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  1. At the beginning of this offseason, the Minnesota Twins paid Miguel Sano $2.75 million to simply go away. His career here ended with a whimper, and his knee injury allowed him to play just 20 games in 2022. When 2023 rolls around, where is the former top prospect going to be playing? Image courtesy of Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports Derek Falvey and Thad Levine signed Miguel Sano to a three-year extension worth $30 million right before the 2020 season. Sano was coming off a year as a key contributor to the Bomba Squad. He blasted a career-best 34 homers while playing 105 games. His .923 OPS was easily a career-high, and at 26 years old, he looked the part of a premier power hitter. From that point forward, Sano was basically league-average offensively. In 208 games with the Twins from 2020 on, he slashed .207/.295/.441 with 44 homers. Health was an issue, and there were plenty of periods where it looked unnecessary to have him on a big-league roster at all. The 20 games he played in 2022 accounted for a team-worst -0.9 fWAR, and only 20 players made appearances in the majors last season while being worse. Now a free agent for the first time in his career, a once highly-regarded prospect will see an expected amount of scrutiny on the open market. Not only does Sano need to prove he can still be an asset at the major-league level, but he’ll need to also show he’s healthy and worthy of a presence in a major-league clubhouse. The adoption of the designated hitter in the National League is a welcomed reality, and that gives Sano another 15 teams that realistically could use his services. He’s still relatively young, even if it shouldn’t be expected that he ages well. Sano can handle first base, although he’s a bit below average there. I don’t think any team will get Terry Ryan crazy and put him in the outfield, so his roster flexibility is largely limited. (That said, maybe at this stage in his career, Sano might actually try to become a decent outfielder...) Having been paid through his buyout and having made a decent amount on the extension, it would stand to reason that Sano could probably be had for peanuts. If he’s going to get a guaranteed major-league deal, which seems like somewhat of a longshot, a couple of million bucks should do the trick. He could also very likely be headed toward a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training. A team with nothing to lose and low expectations could be a good fit for Sano. Maybe Derek Shelton would welcome him to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Miami Marlins could be a team to make use of him as a designated hitter, and he’d certainly feel at home in Florida. The Royals and Tigers have taken fliers on worse, but I’d bet they’ve seen enough over the years. Maybe Oakland tried to get something out of him, or the Rockies could be determined that the ball would fly at Coors Field. Seeing him go anywhere with real aspirations seems difficult. This is and never was going to be another David Ortiz scenario, no matter how many times it has been mentioned. Sano is not young, and there isn’t some key to unlocking a superstar. He’s a fine slugger that’s a known commodity, and the upside isn’t immense. It will be weird seeing him in another uniform for 2023, but here’s to hoping he makes the most of it. View full article
  2. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine signed Miguel Sano to a three-year extension worth $30 million right before the 2020 season. Sano was coming off a year as a key contributor to the Bomba Squad. He blasted a career-best 34 homers while playing 105 games. His .923 OPS was easily a career-high, and at 26 years old, he looked the part of a premier power hitter. From that point forward, Sano was basically league-average offensively. In 208 games with the Twins from 2020 on, he slashed .207/.295/.441 with 44 homers. Health was an issue, and there were plenty of periods where it looked unnecessary to have him on a big-league roster at all. The 20 games he played in 2022 accounted for a team-worst -0.9 fWAR, and only 20 players made appearances in the majors last season while being worse. Now a free agent for the first time in his career, a once highly-regarded prospect will see an expected amount of scrutiny on the open market. Not only does Sano need to prove he can still be an asset at the major-league level, but he’ll need to also show he’s healthy and worthy of a presence in a major-league clubhouse. The adoption of the designated hitter in the National League is a welcomed reality, and that gives Sano another 15 teams that realistically could use his services. He’s still relatively young, even if it shouldn’t be expected that he ages well. Sano can handle first base, although he’s a bit below average there. I don’t think any team will get Terry Ryan crazy and put him in the outfield, so his roster flexibility is largely limited. (That said, maybe at this stage in his career, Sano might actually try to become a decent outfielder...) Having been paid through his buyout and having made a decent amount on the extension, it would stand to reason that Sano could probably be had for peanuts. If he’s going to get a guaranteed major-league deal, which seems like somewhat of a longshot, a couple of million bucks should do the trick. He could also very likely be headed toward a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training. A team with nothing to lose and low expectations could be a good fit for Sano. Maybe Derek Shelton would welcome him to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Miami Marlins could be a team to make use of him as a designated hitter, and he’d certainly feel at home in Florida. The Royals and Tigers have taken fliers on worse, but I’d bet they’ve seen enough over the years. Maybe Oakland tried to get something out of him, or the Rockies could be determined that the ball would fly at Coors Field. Seeing him go anywhere with real aspirations seems difficult. This is and never was going to be another David Ortiz scenario, no matter how many times it has been mentioned. Sano is not young, and there isn’t some key to unlocking a superstar. He’s a fine slugger that’s a known commodity, and the upside isn’t immense. It will be weird seeing him in another uniform for 2023, but here’s to hoping he makes the most of it.
  3. Releasing David Ortiz was the biggest mistake in Minnesota Twins history. They went from division champs in Big Papi's last season to ... well, they actually won two more AL Central titles and had seven winning seasons in the first eight years after Ortiz left. That streak of success was followed by four-straight 90-loss seasons. The signing of Tsuyoshi Nishioka was part of the early reason for that downfall. Both the cases of Ortiz and Nishioka illustrate how baseball is such a team game. View full video
  4. Releasing David Ortiz was the biggest mistake in Minnesota Twins history. They went from division champs in Big Papi's last season to ... well, they actually won two more AL Central titles and had seven winning seasons in the first eight years after Ortiz left. That streak of success was followed by four-straight 90-loss seasons. The signing of Tsuyoshi Nishioka was part of the early reason for that downfall. Both the cases of Ortiz and Nishioka illustrate how baseball is such a team game.
  5. David Ortiz had a legendary career, but unfortunately, his best years were outside the Twins organization. He found out that he would be enshrined in Cooperstown on Tuesday night. Ortiz began his big-league career with the Twins back in 1997 after the team acquired him in the 1996 offseason from the Mariners organization. Over the next six seasons, he became a regular in the Twins line-up, and he helped the Twins win the division for the first time since 1991. During his Twins tenure, he hit .266/.348/.461 (.809) with 169 extra-base hits in 455 games. He wasn't on a path to Cooperstown, and Terry Ryan faced a tough decision. Ortiz would start getting expensive through the arbitration process with an expected salary close to $2 million. The Twins front office had multiple reasons for non-tendering Ortiz. Matt LeCroy was an adequate replacement for Ortiz as the team's DH. Also, the club wanted a roster spot to make a Rule 5 pick. Minnesota was being cheap, but there is no guarantee Ortiz would have followed his HOF path if he stayed in Minnesota. After signing with Boston, Ortiz immediately transferred himself into one of the game's best hitters. He finished in the top-5 for AL MVP in his first season outside the Twins organization. Over the next 14 seasons, he hit .290/.386/.570 (.956) with 483 home runs. Ortiz was a 10-time All-Star, a 7-time Silver Slugger winner, and he finished in the top-5 for AL MVP in five straight seasons. October is where Oritz shined as he led the Red Sox to three World Series titles. He played 85 postseason games in his career and posted a .947 OPS with 41 extra-base hits. Ortiz won the ALCS MVP as part of the Red Sox's remarkable comeback over the Yankees in 2004. In 2013, he won World Series MVP as he went 11-for-16 with four extra-base hits and six RBI in the series. He was truly an October legend. Even with his on-field accomplishments, Ortiz wasn't seen as a lock for Cooperstown because of the looming steroid cloud. Back in 2003, 100 players failed a supposedly anonymous steroid survey test. Six years later, The New York Times reported that Ortiz was one of the players that failed the survey test. Other players tied to steroids have struggled to reach the 75% threshold needed for election, but voters were able to look past Ortiz's steroid ties. Congratulations to Ortiz on a Hall of Fame career! Other Twins On the Ballot While other former Twins were on the ballot, many didn't have a chance at being elected in the current cycle. In fact, many were in danger of falling off a crowded ballot. Torii Hunter made his second appearance on the ballot, and the two halves of his career make him an intriguing candidate. He received 21 votes (5.3%) and will remain on the ballot. Joe Nathan is one of the best relievers of all time, but relievers are historically underrepresented in Cooperstown. Nathan finished with 17 votes (4.3%) and fell three votes shy of staying on the ballot. The other former Twins on the ballot were expected to be one-and-done candidates. Justin Morneau was a great player, especially to the current generation of Twins fans. Morneau was named on five ballots (1.3%). AJ Pierzynski played many years at a grueling defensive position, but he doesn't have the resume of other enshrined catchers and he received two votes. HOF Class Includes Oliva and Kaat The Minnesota Twins will be well represented in Cooperstown this summer. Former Twins Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat found out last month that they will be part of the current Hall of Fame class. It was a long time coming for both players as they had waited decades and multiple votes before finally getting the call. Following his election, the Twins also announced that Jim Kaat will become the ninth member of the organization to have his number retired. That ceremony will take place this summer at Target Field. Bonds and Clemens Question Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens entered their tenth and final year on the ballot with their best chance at enshrinement. Leading into the ballot announcement, both players were tracking at over 75% of the announced ballots, but that was no guarantee that they would get the famous call from Cooperstown. There is no question that Bonds and Clemens are two of the best players in baseball history. However, the steroid cloud has surrounded them, which has prevented them from being elected by the writers. Bonds finished second behind Ortiz on the 2022 ballot with 260 votes (66.0%). Clemens was three votes behind Bonds (65.2%). Now, both players will have to wait for their chance on the committee era ballots. What are your thoughts about this year's Hall of Fame voting? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  6. Ortiz began his big-league career with the Twins back in 1997 after the team acquired him in the 1996 offseason from the Mariners organization. Over the next six seasons, he became a regular in the Twins line-up, and he helped the Twins win the division for the first time since 1991. During his Twins tenure, he hit .266/.348/.461 (.809) with 169 extra-base hits in 455 games. He wasn't on a path to Cooperstown, and Terry Ryan faced a tough decision. Ortiz would start getting expensive through the arbitration process with an expected salary close to $2 million. The Twins front office had multiple reasons for non-tendering Ortiz. Matt LeCroy was an adequate replacement for Ortiz as the team's DH. Also, the club wanted a roster spot to make a Rule 5 pick. Minnesota was being cheap, but there is no guarantee Ortiz would have followed his HOF path if he stayed in Minnesota. After signing with Boston, Ortiz immediately transferred himself into one of the game's best hitters. He finished in the top-5 for AL MVP in his first season outside the Twins organization. Over the next 14 seasons, he hit .290/.386/.570 (.956) with 483 home runs. Ortiz was a 10-time All-Star, a 7-time Silver Slugger winner, and he finished in the top-5 for AL MVP in five straight seasons. October is where Oritz shined as he led the Red Sox to three World Series titles. He played 85 postseason games in his career and posted a .947 OPS with 41 extra-base hits. Ortiz won the ALCS MVP as part of the Red Sox's remarkable comeback over the Yankees in 2004. In 2013, he won World Series MVP as he went 11-for-16 with four extra-base hits and six RBI in the series. He was truly an October legend. Even with his on-field accomplishments, Ortiz wasn't seen as a lock for Cooperstown because of the looming steroid cloud. Back in 2003, 100 players failed a supposedly anonymous steroid survey test. Six years later, The New York Times reported that Ortiz was one of the players that failed the survey test. Other players tied to steroids have struggled to reach the 75% threshold needed for election, but voters were able to look past Ortiz's steroid ties. Congratulations to Ortiz on a Hall of Fame career! Other Twins On the Ballot While other former Twins were on the ballot, many didn't have a chance at being elected in the current cycle. In fact, many were in danger of falling off a crowded ballot. Torii Hunter made his second appearance on the ballot, and the two halves of his career make him an intriguing candidate. He received 21 votes (5.3%) and will remain on the ballot. Joe Nathan is one of the best relievers of all time, but relievers are historically underrepresented in Cooperstown. Nathan finished with 17 votes (4.3%) and fell three votes shy of staying on the ballot. The other former Twins on the ballot were expected to be one-and-done candidates. Justin Morneau was a great player, especially to the current generation of Twins fans. Morneau was named on five ballots (1.3%). AJ Pierzynski played many years at a grueling defensive position, but he doesn't have the resume of other enshrined catchers and he received two votes. HOF Class Includes Oliva and Kaat The Minnesota Twins will be well represented in Cooperstown this summer. Former Twins Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat found out last month that they will be part of the current Hall of Fame class. It was a long time coming for both players as they had waited decades and multiple votes before finally getting the call. Following his election, the Twins also announced that Jim Kaat will become the ninth member of the organization to have his number retired. That ceremony will take place this summer at Target Field. Bonds and Clemens Question Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens entered their tenth and final year on the ballot with their best chance at enshrinement. Leading into the ballot announcement, both players were tracking at over 75% of the announced ballots, but that was no guarantee that they would get the famous call from Cooperstown. There is no question that Bonds and Clemens are two of the best players in baseball history. However, the steroid cloud has surrounded them, which has prevented them from being elected by the writers. Bonds finished second behind Ortiz on the 2022 ballot with 260 votes (66.0%). Clemens was three votes behind Bonds (65.2%). Now, both players will have to wait for their chance on the committee era ballots. What are your thoughts about this year's Hall of Fame voting? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. Next week, Major League Baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the results from this year's voting cycle. Plenty of former Twins are on the ballot, but do any of them have a chance at Cooperstown? To be elected to Cooperstown, a player must be named on 75% of the ballots submitted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Players remain eligible for ten years as long as they continue to receive a minimum of 5% of the vote. Some former Twins players are sitting dangerously close to falling off the ballot. David Ortiz, DH Cooperstown Case Ortiz is currently one of three players trending at over 75% of the known ballots, and he has the highest vote total with 83.5% of the vote. Twins fans are well aware of Ortiz and his case for Cooperstown as he went on to a legendary Red Sox career after Minnesota released him following the 2002 season. Entering this voting cycle, Ortiz's first ballot election wasn't guaranteed because his transition from Twins castoff to legendary slugger came under a cloud of steroid suspicion. It doesn't seem like those suspicions will keep him from being elected as it has with other players on the ballot. Joe Nathan, RP Cooperstown Case Nathan is one of the best relievers in baseball history, but relief pitchers are highly unrepresented in Cooperstown. It also means Nathan is dangerously close to falling off the ballot because of a slew of other worthy candidates on the ballot and a 10-vote limit. Through 170 ballots, Nathan has four votes (2.4%) which means he likely needs another 16 votes to reach the 5% threshold to stay on the ballot for 2023. Billy Wagner, another reliever, has comparable numbers to Nathan, and he is tracking at over 47%. Nathan has a Hall of Fame resume, but he may have to wait for a committee vote in the years ahead. Torii Hunter, OF Cooperstown Case Hunter's case is unique because of how he started and ended his career. He was an elite defender who won nine straight Gold Glove awards as a younger player. In his career's second-half, he became an improved hitter as he posted a 120 OPS+ from 2006-2013. Hunter received 8.1% of the vote in 2021, his first year on the ballot. This season, he has three votes (1.8%), and he will need 17 more votes to reach the 5% threshold. Hunter's closest comparison on the ballot may be Andruw Jones, also known as an elite defender, and he is tracking at over 48% of the known votes. Justin Morneau, 1B Cooperstown Case Morneau collected many accolades throughout his big-league career, including an AL MVP Award and an NL Batting Title. Those accomplishments likely will not be enough to keep him on the ballot past 2022, as he currently has one vote, and he will need to be listed on 19 other ballots to reach 5%. Morneau had some great moments throughout his career, but there's no question that one slide in Toronto changed the course of his career. AJ Pierzynski, C Cooperstown Case Pierzynski is best known in Twins Territory for being part of one of the most famous trades in team history. He'd go on to have a long career at a grueling defensive position, and some writers may consider this as part of the voting process. Like Morneau, he has one vote so far, and he would need a significant boost in the remaining ballots to reach 5%. Are the results playing out as you expected? Do you think Nathan or Hunter deserves to stay on the ballot? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  8. To be elected to Cooperstown, a player must be named on 75% of the ballots submitted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Players remain eligible for ten years as long as they continue to receive a minimum of 5% of the vote. Some former Twins players are sitting dangerously close to falling off the ballot. David Ortiz, DH Cooperstown Case Ortiz is currently one of three players trending at over 75% of the known ballots, and he has the highest vote total with 83.5% of the vote. Twins fans are well aware of Ortiz and his case for Cooperstown as he went on to a legendary Red Sox career after Minnesota released him following the 2002 season. Entering this voting cycle, Ortiz's first ballot election wasn't guaranteed because his transition from Twins castoff to legendary slugger came under a cloud of steroid suspicion. It doesn't seem like those suspicions will keep him from being elected as it has with other players on the ballot. Joe Nathan, RP Cooperstown Case Nathan is one of the best relievers in baseball history, but relief pitchers are highly unrepresented in Cooperstown. It also means Nathan is dangerously close to falling off the ballot because of a slew of other worthy candidates on the ballot and a 10-vote limit. Through 170 ballots, Nathan has four votes (2.4%) which means he likely needs another 16 votes to reach the 5% threshold to stay on the ballot for 2023. Billy Wagner, another reliever, has comparable numbers to Nathan, and he is tracking at over 47%. Nathan has a Hall of Fame resume, but he may have to wait for a committee vote in the years ahead. Torii Hunter, OF Cooperstown Case Hunter's case is unique because of how he started and ended his career. He was an elite defender who won nine straight Gold Glove awards as a younger player. In his career's second-half, he became an improved hitter as he posted a 120 OPS+ from 2006-2013. Hunter received 8.1% of the vote in 2021, his first year on the ballot. This season, he has three votes (1.8%), and he will need 17 more votes to reach the 5% threshold. Hunter's closest comparison on the ballot may be Andruw Jones, also known as an elite defender, and he is tracking at over 48% of the known votes. Justin Morneau, 1B Cooperstown Case Morneau collected many accolades throughout his big-league career, including an AL MVP Award and an NL Batting Title. Those accomplishments likely will not be enough to keep him on the ballot past 2022, as he currently has one vote, and he will need to be listed on 19 other ballots to reach 5%. Morneau had some great moments throughout his career, but there's no question that one slide in Toronto changed the course of his career. AJ Pierzynski, C Cooperstown Case Pierzynski is best known in Twins Territory for being part of one of the most famous trades in team history. He'd go on to have a long career at a grueling defensive position, and some writers may consider this as part of the voting process. Like Morneau, he has one vote so far, and he would need a significant boost in the remaining ballots to reach 5%. Are the results playing out as you expected? Do you think Nathan or Hunter deserves to stay on the ballot? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. While having until January to cast my annual IBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot, I decided to get it in before the holidays this year. Once again, the IBWAA is not part of the Official BBWAA vote to enshrine players in Cooperstown but with a large voting body this is a fun process to partake in each season. The IBWAA selection process allows for 12 candidates to be voted. My previous ballots can be found here: 2018 2019 2020 I didn’t hit the 12 max but did decide to open up my restrictions a bit. I’ve never been a “Small Hall” type but keeping out those on the border doesn’t make much sense to me considering there’s always going to be more worthy players. After Larry Walker and Derek Jeter were inducted last cycle, I have just three holdovers this time with seven new candidates. Let’s get into it: Alex Rodriguez 113.7 fWAR Arguably one of the best to ever play the game, Rodriguez rubbed plenty the wrong way, but his numbers are otherworldly. I’m still mad he missed 700 homers by just four, but the career .930 OPS is beyond impressive. Rodriguez also racked up three MVP awards and was a 14-time All-Star. He’s remade his image a bit after his playing career while being an analyst, but regardless of what you think about him, the talent was something that doesn’t come around often. Curt Schilling: 79.7 fWAR Bloody sock nonsense aside, Schilling is a three time Cy Young runner-up, and six-time All Star. He struck out 3,116 batters in his career and owns a 3.46 ERA while totaling more than 200 wins. Three World Series rings, an MVP, and a 2.23 postseason ERA do him favors as well. Since voting for him last year, Schilling has made plenty of splashes in the media. He's not well liked off the field, but the character clause is among the most dated pieces of inclusion into the Hall of Fame. On baseball merit alone, he's worthy of the nod. Scott Rolen 70.1 fWAR Vastly underappreciated, Rolen started as a Rookie of the Year winner, and went on to tally eight Gold Glove awards. He was a seven time All Star and among the best to ever field the Hot Corner. With an .855 career OPS, his bat more than does enough to supplement what was an exceptional defensive career. Andruw Jones 67.1 fWAR Jones's 17 year career is often going to be questioned as he held on for five uninspiring seasons to closer out his time as a big leaguer. That aside, the 10 year stretch from 199-2007 was one for the ages. With 10 Gold Glove's and five All Star appearances, he was easily among the greatest in the game for a decade. Manny Ramirez 66.3 fWAR In 2002 Manny Ramirez picked up his only batting title with a .349 average. He’s a career .312 hitter and has a .996 OPS. He’s a member of the 500 home run club with 555 and picked up MVP votes in nine-straight seasons. Ramirez won nine Silver Slugger’s and was a part of two World Series championship teams. One of the best pure hitters to ever step on the diamond, Ramirez is worthy of induction. Gary Sheffield 62.1 fWAR Sheffield grabbed his batting title with the San Diego Padres in 1992 with a .330 tally. His .907 OPS is borderline for induction, but the 509 career home runs is enough to get it done for me. Sheffield picked up nine All-Star appearances and won the Silver Slugger five times. He was part of the 1997 Florida Marlins World Series team and was consistently a middle-of-the-order hitter. Sammy Sosa 60.1 fWAR Giving baseball one of the best home run chases in history, Sammy Sosa tangled with Mark McGwire during the amazing 1998 season. Sosa won his MVP that season hitting 66 homers and finished his career with 609. Sosa’s .878 career OPS isn’t all that special, but I can’t continue to ignore the career home run tally. David Ortiz 51.0 fWAR It took a while for the Hall of Fame to make room for designated hitters, but David Ortiz is among the best of them. He’s been both an ALCS and World Series MVP while picking up three rings. His career 541 home runs is beyond impressive, and the fact that he finished his career at 40 with a 1.021 OPS continues to be among the best seasons ever. Billy Wagner 24.0 fWAR Relievers are very under-represented in the Hall of Fame and Billy Wagner is another good one to get in. His career 2.31 ERA is impressive, and the 11.9 K/9 was ahead of his time. Saves are an overrated metric, but Wagner has 422 of them. A seven-time All-Star, put him in. Joe Nathan 19.5 fWAR Not far off from the man above him, Nathan falls into the category of relievers needing to make their way to Cooperstown. He posted 377 saves and owned a 2.87 ERA. Nathan’s K/9 of 9.5 wasn’t spectacular, but he was named to six All-Star games of his own. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  10. Multiple former Twins are making their inaugural appearance on the 2022 Hall of Fame ballot. In Twins Territory, David Ortiz lives in infamy, and he has a polarizing Cooperstown case. The Seattle Mariners originally signed David Ortiz in 1992, so the Twins weren't the only team to let him go before he reached his full potential. He played three seasons in the Mariners system, and he hit 18 home runs in the Midwest League as a 20-year-old. That's where his Twins' journey began. In the 1996 offseason, Minnesota liked what they saw in Ortiz, and he was dealt from Seattle as the player to be named later in a trade for Dave Hollins. He flew through Minnesota's three highest minor league levels during the following season, and he even made his debut by the season's end. In 140 minor league games, he cracked 31 home runs, drove in 124, and posted a .940 OPS. He was only 21-years-old, and it looked like he might be one of the players to help turn around Minnesota's losing ways. He played part of six seasons in Minnesota while hitting .266/.348/.461 (.809) with 58 home runs in 455 games. He wasn't exactly on a course for Cooperstown. Minnesota non-tendered him following the 2002 season because he was set to make close to $2 million in arbitration, Matt LeCroy could fill the DH role, and they needed a roster spot to make a Rule 5 pick. When David Ortiz played his final series in Minnesota, Twins GM Terry Ryan didn't beat around the bush regarding the Ortiz decision. "Obviously, it's a situation that I watch, and I've observed, and I see what he's done, and I see what he's meant to the Boston Red Sox. Ok, I screwed it up." That's easy for Ryan to say at this point, but it wasn't as big of a mistake as it has been made out to be. It's not as if Boston was beating down the door to sign Ortiz as he was inked for $1.25 million, which was almost half of what he would have made in arbitration. The Red Sox took a flyer on him, and that forever changed their franchise. He finished in the top-10 of the American League Most Valuable Player voting seven times. He was a 10-time All-Star selection and seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner. In October, Ortiz really left his mark as he appeared in 18 Postseason series over nine seasons with the Twins and Red Sox. In 85 games, he hit .289/.404/.543 (.947) with 41 extra-base hits and 61 RBI. He was a three-time World Series Champion, and he was named MVP of the 2004 ALCS and the 2013 World Series. Even with all of his on-field accomplishments, Ortiz isn't a lock for Cooperstown because of the looming steroid cloud. Back in 2003, 100 players failed a supposedly anonymous steroid survey test. Six years later, The New York Times reported that he was one of the players that failed the survey test. Other players tied to steroids have struggled to reach the 75% threshold needed for election, and Ortiz will add another intriguing debate. However, commissioner Rob Manfred has talked differently about Ortiz than other players that failed the survey test. When Ortiz was retiring, Manfred told Boston reporters, "There were double digits of names — so, more than 10 — on that list where we (the MLB Players Association and the league office) knew that there were legitimate scientific questions about whether or not those were truly positives…. Back then, it was hard to distinguish between certain substances that were legal — available over the counter and not banned under our program — and certain banned substances." While not fully exonerating him, it is certainly something for the voters to consider. In the end, Ortiz had a long career with lots of memorable postseason moments. Will that be enough to push him to enshrinement? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  11. The Seattle Mariners originally signed David Ortiz in 1992, so the Twins weren't the only team to let him go before he reached his full potential. He played three seasons in the Mariners system, and he hit 18 home runs in the Midwest League as a 20-year-old. That's where his Twins' journey began. In the 1996 offseason, Minnesota liked what they saw in Ortiz, and he was dealt from Seattle as the player to be named later in a trade for Dave Hollins. He flew through Minnesota's three highest minor league levels during the following season, and he even made his debut by the season's end. In 140 minor league games, he cracked 31 home runs, drove in 124, and posted a .940 OPS. He was only 21-years-old, and it looked like he might be one of the players to help turn around Minnesota's losing ways. He played part of six seasons in Minnesota while hitting .266/.348/.461 (.809) with 58 home runs in 455 games. He wasn't exactly on a course for Cooperstown. Minnesota non-tendered him following the 2002 season because he was set to make close to $2 million in arbitration, Matt LeCroy could fill the DH role, and they needed a roster spot to make a Rule 5 pick. When David Ortiz played his final series in Minnesota, Twins GM Terry Ryan didn't beat around the bush regarding the Ortiz decision. "Obviously, it's a situation that I watch, and I've observed, and I see what he's done, and I see what he's meant to the Boston Red Sox. Ok, I screwed it up." That's easy for Ryan to say at this point, but it wasn't as big of a mistake as it has been made out to be. It's not as if Boston was beating down the door to sign Ortiz as he was inked for $1.25 million, which was almost half of what he would have made in arbitration. The Red Sox took a flyer on him, and that forever changed their franchise. He finished in the top-10 of the American League Most Valuable Player voting seven times. He was a 10-time All-Star selection and seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner. In October, Ortiz really left his mark as he appeared in 18 Postseason series over nine seasons with the Twins and Red Sox. In 85 games, he hit .289/.404/.543 (.947) with 41 extra-base hits and 61 RBI. He was a three-time World Series Champion, and he was named MVP of the 2004 ALCS and the 2013 World Series. Even with all of his on-field accomplishments, Ortiz isn't a lock for Cooperstown because of the looming steroid cloud. Back in 2003, 100 players failed a supposedly anonymous steroid survey test. Six years later, The New York Times reported that he was one of the players that failed the survey test. Other players tied to steroids have struggled to reach the 75% threshold needed for election, and Ortiz will add another intriguing debate. However, commissioner Rob Manfred has talked differently about Ortiz than other players that failed the survey test. When Ortiz was retiring, Manfred told Boston reporters, "There were double digits of names — so, more than 10 — on that list where we (the MLB Players Association and the league office) knew that there were legitimate scientific questions about whether or not those were truly positives…. Back then, it was hard to distinguish between certain substances that were legal — available over the counter and not banned under our program — and certain banned substances." While not fully exonerating him, it is certainly something for the voters to consider. In the end, Ortiz had a long career with lots of memorable postseason moments. Will that be enough to push him to enshrinement? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. We can debate who should or shouldn’t be inducted into Cooperstown based on transgressions or the dreaded character clause. Still, there’s no denying that the Baseball Writers Association of America could vote in the single greatest class in Major League Baseball history. Let’s get this out of the way from the top. Steroid users cheated, yes. It’s impossible to understand when and how they used. There are other players in the Hall of Fame that used steroids. Players have been cheating for as long as the game is old. Arguably most damaging to any argument against PED users is Bud Selig, the Commissioner who oversaw the era and turned a blind eye. At the same time, the muscles that saved his post-lockout sport are enshrined in The Hall. If Cooperstown is considered a museum as is stated, it’s incomplete until all of the history is adequately accounted for. Alright, breathe. You can go back to the distaste saved for any players you want to be kept out. But, by the numbers...let’s take a look: Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Gary Sheffield, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, David Ortiz, and Alex Rodriguez Look at that group. It’s arguably the greatest assembled collection of eight baseball players tied together at any point in history. Barry Bonds is 2nd All-Time in career fWAR while Alex Rodriguez is 13th. David Ortiz is undoubtedly the single greatest designated hitter ever to play the game. Gary Sheffield and Manny Ramirez both are members of the 500 home run club, while Sammy Sosa has 609 homers and an MVP to his credit. Curt Schilling has over 3,100 career strikeouts and finished runner-up for the Cy Young in three different seasons. Roger Clemens may arguably be the greatest pitcher to have ever played the game, and his seven Cy Young awards certainly don’t detract from that. On statistical merit alone, it’s hard to look at any one of these players and suggest they are not worthy of enshrinement in Cooperstown. The BBWAA has been tasked with the impossible when needing to employ the character clause. Some writers choose to abide by it. Others have decided it doesn’t hold the same intended weight it once did. Others yet struggle with the gray area and completely exclude anyone that gets too close. What Cooperstown could do to help the process as a whole is to simplify it. Give every player on the ballot the ability to be voted for with a simple “yes” or “no” check-box. Make the voting criteria no more than a reflection of the accolades that took place on the field. If you cheated and got caught, you no doubt suffered time lost and an opportunity missed. If you were banned from the game while operating as a player or manager, your statistical accomplishments become invalidated in that particular realm. As fans, we should be clamoring for the greatest we have ever seen to be part of the footnote that is a museum where the dust settles. You can disagree with any number of players because of who they are as people or how you feel about them, but if the stats counted, then that’s where the decision needs to lie. Of course, we know my feelings don’t matter. This isn’t going to happen. If Bonds and Clemens are to be enshrined, it will likely come from a committee at a later date. Those with less percentage of the vote aren’t going to magically jump up either. It’s too bad that we’ll continue to tell only parts of the story deemed relevant today, but we can dream on the eight men out that would represent the greatest eight together. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  13. Let’s get this out of the way from the top. Steroid users cheated, yes. It’s impossible to understand when and how they used. There are other players in the Hall of Fame that used steroids. Players have been cheating for as long as the game is old. Arguably most damaging to any argument against PED users is Bud Selig, the Commissioner who oversaw the era and turned a blind eye. At the same time, the muscles that saved his post-lockout sport are enshrined in The Hall. If Cooperstown is considered a museum as is stated, it’s incomplete until all of the history is adequately accounted for. Alright, breathe. You can go back to the distaste saved for any players you want to be kept out. But, by the numbers...let’s take a look: Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Gary Sheffield, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, David Ortiz, and Alex Rodriguez Look at that group. It’s arguably the greatest assembled collection of eight baseball players tied together at any point in history. Barry Bonds is 2nd All-Time in career fWAR while Alex Rodriguez is 13th. David Ortiz is undoubtedly the single greatest designated hitter ever to play the game. Gary Sheffield and Manny Ramirez both are members of the 500 home run club, while Sammy Sosa has 609 homers and an MVP to his credit. Curt Schilling has over 3,100 career strikeouts and finished runner-up for the Cy Young in three different seasons. Roger Clemens may arguably be the greatest pitcher to have ever played the game, and his seven Cy Young awards certainly don’t detract from that. On statistical merit alone, it’s hard to look at any one of these players and suggest they are not worthy of enshrinement in Cooperstown. The BBWAA has been tasked with the impossible when needing to employ the character clause. Some writers choose to abide by it. Others have decided it doesn’t hold the same intended weight it once did. Others yet struggle with the gray area and completely exclude anyone that gets too close. What Cooperstown could do to help the process as a whole is to simplify it. Give every player on the ballot the ability to be voted for with a simple “yes” or “no” check-box. Make the voting criteria no more than a reflection of the accolades that took place on the field. If you cheated and got caught, you no doubt suffered time lost and an opportunity missed. If you were banned from the game while operating as a player or manager, your statistical accomplishments become invalidated in that particular realm. As fans, we should be clamoring for the greatest we have ever seen to be part of the footnote that is a museum where the dust settles. You can disagree with any number of players because of who they are as people or how you feel about them, but if the stats counted, then that’s where the decision needs to lie. Of course, we know my feelings don’t matter. This isn’t going to happen. If Bonds and Clemens are to be enshrined, it will likely come from a committee at a later date. Those with less percentage of the vote aren’t going to magically jump up either. It’s too bad that we’ll continue to tell only parts of the story deemed relevant today, but we can dream on the eight men out that would represent the greatest eight together. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  14. Over the weekend, the Star Tribune sent out a headline to subscribers that said, “Twins can’t let Buxton leave and become their new-age David Ortiz.” For those unfamiliar, the Twins famously non-tendered David Ortiz following the 2002 season. He signed with Boston and went on to have a legendary career culminating in multiple World Series titles, 10 All-Star selections, and seven silver sluggers. It was one of the worst decisions in franchise history, but baseball is a funny game. Ortiz was a very different player than Byron Buxton when the Twins non-tendered him. From 1997-2002, he averaged 76 games per season with the club and hit .266/.348/.461 (.809) with 169 extra-base hits in 455 games. There were multiple reasons to let Ortiz go, including he was set to make close to $2 million in arbitration, the team had Matt LeCroy to fill the designated hitter role, and they wanted a roster spot to make a Rule 5 pick. When David Ortiz played his final series in Minnesota, Twins GM Terry Ryan didn’t beat around the bush regarding the Ortiz decision. “Obviously, it’s a situation that I watch, and I’ve observed, and I see what he’s done, and I see what he’s meant to the Boston Red Sox. Ok, I screwed it up.” That’s easy for Ryan to say at this point, but it wasn’t as big of a mistake as it has been made out to be. Fans know Buxton is good, but Ortiz was still an unknown quantity when he left the organization. In his seventh season, Buxton has played in 38 more games in a Twins uniform than Ortiz. During that time, Buxton has been worth 16.2 WAR while Ortiz was worth 2.6 WAR. Ortiz went on to have four seasons with a 5 WAR or higher, a mark Buxton has yet to reach. The Buxton contract discussions seem like a no-win situation for the team’s followers. Fans are going to be disappointed if he leaves and plays well elsewhere. If he stays, fans will expect him to stay healthy and play at an MVP level. Buxton is one of baseball’s best players when he is on the field, and that is something Ortiz couldn’t say during his Twins tenure. Baseball is a sport where one move doesn’t alter the course of a franchise. Ortiz’s release was a poor baseball decision at the time, but the Twins were still relevant for nearly a decade after Ortiz left. Nothing says his career would have followed the same trajectory if he had stayed in a Twins uniform. The same unknowns circle around Buxton and his future. Every player that leaves Minnesota isn’t going to go on to have a Hall of Fame career. Ortiz is the exception and not the rule. In the end, Buxton’s situation is much more complicated than the decision surrounding Ortiz, and that’s what makes the Buxton decision one of the most intriguing in the months ahead. Do you see any connection between the Buxton decision and the Ortiz decision? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. It’s becoming one of the most tired takes in Twins Territory. Not every player that can potentially leave the organization is going to turn into the next David Ortiz. So, why doesn’t Byron Buxton fit that mold? Over the weekend, the Star Tribune sent out a headline to subscribers that said, “Twins can’t let Buxton leave and become their new-age David Ortiz.” For those unfamiliar, the Twins famously non-tendered David Ortiz following the 2002 season. He signed with Boston and went on to have a legendary career culminating in multiple World Series titles, 10 All-Star selections, and seven silver sluggers. It was one of the worst decisions in franchise history, but baseball is a funny game. Ortiz was a very different player than Byron Buxton when the Twins non-tendered him. From 1997-2002, he averaged 76 games per season with the club and hit .266/.348/.461 (.809) with 169 extra-base hits in 455 games. There were multiple reasons to let Ortiz go, including he was set to make close to $2 million in arbitration, the team had Matt LeCroy to fill the designated hitter role, and they wanted a roster spot to make a Rule 5 pick. When David Ortiz played his final series in Minnesota, Twins GM Terry Ryan didn’t beat around the bush regarding the Ortiz decision. “Obviously, it’s a situation that I watch, and I’ve observed, and I see what he’s done, and I see what he’s meant to the Boston Red Sox. Ok, I screwed it up.” That’s easy for Ryan to say at this point, but it wasn’t as big of a mistake as it has been made out to be. Fans know Buxton is good, but Ortiz was still an unknown quantity when he left the organization. In his seventh season, Buxton has played in 38 more games in a Twins uniform than Ortiz. During that time, Buxton has been worth 16.2 WAR while Ortiz was worth 2.6 WAR. Ortiz went on to have four seasons with a 5 WAR or higher, a mark Buxton has yet to reach. The Buxton contract discussions seem like a no-win situation for the team’s followers. Fans are going to be disappointed if he leaves and plays well elsewhere. If he stays, fans will expect him to stay healthy and play at an MVP level. Buxton is one of baseball’s best players when he is on the field, and that is something Ortiz couldn’t say during his Twins tenure. Baseball is a sport where one move doesn’t alter the course of a franchise. Ortiz’s release was a poor baseball decision at the time, but the Twins were still relevant for nearly a decade after Ortiz left. Nothing says his career would have followed the same trajectory if he had stayed in a Twins uniform. The same unknowns circle around Buxton and his future. Every player that leaves Minnesota isn’t going to go on to have a Hall of Fame career. Ortiz is the exception and not the rule. In the end, Buxton’s situation is much more complicated than the decision surrounding Ortiz, and that’s what makes the Buxton decision one of the most intriguing in the months ahead. Do you see any connection between the Buxton decision and the Ortiz decision? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  16. Signed to a two-year $26 million pact prior to the 2019 season, Cruz was brought in for his age 39 and 40 seasons. Yes, he’s an elder statesman, but he keeps himself in impeccable shape and didn’t make his big-league debut until age 24. Last season he was among the chief reasons Minnesota was dubbed the Bomba Squad as he went on to blast 41 dingers. Posting a career high 1.031 OPS it would be hard to fathom a reason to bet against him in the immediate future. Looking at Cruz’s slash line provides some beautiful imagery. He finished 9th in the American League MVP voting despite being active solely as a designated hitter. His .311 average was the best in a single season dating back to 2010, and he hit 40 homers for just the 4th time in his career. Virtually anywhere you looked in the counting digit fields, you left impressed. Statistics aren’t generally indicative of future production however, and a fall off can seem drastic if and when the production disappears. Fortunately for Cruz, who turns 40 on July 1st, the process is what suggests a positive trend of results can continue. Venturing from his Baseball Reference page, both Baseball Savant and Fangraphs tell an equal exciting story. It was Cruz that topped the 2019 leaderboards across baseball in terms of barrels per plate appearance (12.5%). His average exit velocity trailed only the Yankees Aaron Judge and teammate Miguel Sano. He also sat third in batted balls of 95+ mph exit velocities, producing those instances over 51% of the time. The .351 BABIP doesn’t suggest a great deal of luck was in play, and that’s to be expected when you’ve got a 52% hard hit rate and 31% HR/FB output. Not only was Cruz absolutely murdering baseballs, but he was staying within himself to do so. His 13.8% whiff rate sat right on his career average, and then 30.5% chase rate mimicked that as well. While his 69.7% contact rate was a career low dating back to 2009, he was successfully contacting 80% of the pitches he offered at within the strike zone. This isn’t entirely unprecedented ground either. Fellow countryman David Ortiz retired following his age 40 season in 2016. Despite a wildly successful career, his final season was among his best. Posting a 1.021 OPS with 38 dingers, the former Twins slugger went out at what could certainly be considered the peak of his existence. Like Cruz, Ortiz had become a full-time designated hitter, and focusing on the craft of obliterating pitches took significant strain off a much less athletic frame. This isn’t to say there won’t be a decline in store for Cruz. Father time is undefeated, and some of the percentages Nelson produced a year ago are at a level even he has never before seen. However, what he has going for him is that hitting is a craft he’s mastered and the only one tasked of him. He’s intimately in tune with his body, and although the wrist tendon issue could prove more cumbersome as time goes on, risk for future problems should be relatively mitigated. What Cruz has brought to the table from a production standpoint makes both years of his deal a steal. What he has contributed in the clubhouse, and most importantly imparted upon Miguel Sano, has taken that value up another level on its own. We’ll see what baseball has in store for us in the coming months but asking Nelson to put on a Twins uniform for a couple of seasons into his 40’s seems like more than a reasonable ask. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. Terry Ryan decided that a 26-year-old David Ortiz, and his career .809 OPS with 58 homers, was worthy of release prior to the 2003 season. Jose Morban was the man worthy of a roster spot, and the 23-year-old never wound up playing for the Twins before returning to Baltimore and generating just a .412 OPS in 61 games. Fast forward to 2020 and we’re looking at the question of regression regarding Nelson Cruz, but able to do it through the lens of Red Sox legend, Mr. Ortiz. “Big Papi,” as he’s affectionately known, went on to play 14 seasons with the Boston Red Sox. He didn’t retire until he was 40 years old, and he swatted 541 career home runs. Unlike many players that are simply lapped by the game in their later years, Ortiz went out on top. In 2016 he played 151 games while posting a ridiculous .315/.401/.620 slash line. He blasted a league-leading 48 dingers and paced the crowd with 127 RBIs. Despite a 6th place MVP finish and clearly being capable of big-league production, he stepped away. Last season Cruz entered his maiden voyage in Twins Territory. The late-blooming slugger joined his fifth organization and posted a career best 1.031 OPS. At 38-years-old he hit 41 longballs and owned a career best .392 OBP. He played in just 120 games dealing with intermittent wrist injuries, but ultimately showed there were no signs of slowing down. The hope would be that 2020 represents more of the same, and Ortiz provides the example that age may simply be just a number. On pace for a 5.8 fWAR over the course of a full season, Cruz was more productive on a per-game basis than he’s ever been. Steamer projects a step up in games played at 147 in 2020, but the 2.9 fWAR is quite a bit of regression. The OPS sags to .909 with the home run total ending at 40. It’s a very solid output, but with the additional games adding to the body of work, leaves plenty of production on the table. Although projection systems are mathematically sound, there’s analytical substance to the idea that Cruz may not be ready to give in yet. Say what you want about the baseball itself from a season ago, but the controlled outputs were plenty impressive on their own. A 52.5% hard hit rate was a career best and paced the sport (among hitters with 450 ABs). While he was walloping the baseball, a 31.3% rate of fly balls leaving the yard was only topped by Brewers MVP candidate Christian Yelich. Nelson didn’t chase more, or swing through more pitches, and he actually took a slight dip in contact. What that formula suggests is quality of contact being through the roof. Branching out from Fangraphs, Baseball Savant agrees with the data as well. A 12.5% barrels/plate appearance tally put him in first place by nearly a full percentage point. His average exit velocity was trumped by only Aaron Judge and teammate Miguel Sano, and his xwOBA of .418 ranked 5th highest in the game. In short, Nelson Cruz is doing all the right things that would make his production regression projection go poof. Now, as bodies age, a dip could be seen unexpectedly. Time is undefeated, and at some point, will get its due. To suggest that it’s coming simply because he’s a year older and approaching 40 however, does not seem like the greatest bet. David Ortiz is the latest example to prove competence in his twilight, and as much fun as slugging sendoffs are (looking at you Jim Thome), Cruz appears to be more contributing than cooling in the year ahead. Toting only a bat to the ballpark on a regular basis isn’t a bad gig for an aging star and having a few less big-league miles on a late bloomer can’t hurt either. Nelson Cruz had his nap room installed in the bowels of Target Field, and allowing him the opportunity to continue to wake and rake is something his employer should bask in. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. Today they announced that David Ortiz was shot in the back in the Dominican Republican. Not lethal, but lower back and there is no good gunshot. He was in the Dial Bar and Lounge and two other people were wounded. It sounds like the way that Wild Bill Hickok was killed. The shooter, a motorcyclist, was beaten by the crowd and has to recover from his injuries before he can be questioned. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/david-ortiz-shot-dominican-republic_n_5cfdbf29e4b0aab91c083ba5?ncid=newsltushpmgnews__TheMorningEmail__061019 or https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/09/americas/mlb-david-ortiz-shot-dominican-republic/index.html?utm_source=CNN+Five+Things&utm_campaign=6dbb0347ae-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_06_10_07_50&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6da287d761-6dbb0347ae-98628329 First photos https://nypost.com/2019/06/10/first-photo-emerges-of-david-ortiz-after-dominican-republic-shooting/
  19. Ask any long-standing Minnesota Twins fan and one of the most repeated mantras they’ll have heard about the goals of the big league team is pitching to contact. We’ve seen an adjustment in that department with minor leaguers pushing triple-digit heat, and a pitching coach known as a velocity guru. Another oft-repeated principle is slapping the ball the other way, and that may be dying before our eyes.Across major league baseball, the shift is now commonplace in an attempt to get batters out. Every team does it, and in fact, Minnesota is an organization that employs it at one of the highest clips. With the shift on, your goal is to downplay the strengths of an opposing batter. It’s less about worrying whether a bunt gets dropped down, or the hitter can change their approach and simply “go the other way” on some smoke, than it is taking away the highest percentage of batted balls. Truly beating the shift isn’t about going around it, but rather, going over it. The launch angle revolution is something that’s caught on across the big leagues, and while keyboard managers everywhere debate its viability the principles are sound. Hitting the ball in the air, harder, is going to produce positive results far more often than anything on the ground. Although often this is mentally categorized simply as fly balls, both home runs and rocket line drives fall into this optimal category as well. David Ortiz, arguably the largest stain on Terry Ryan’s career, getting away was in part because of an inability for the organization to work within a player’s abilities. Rather than get left behind in the current game, it seems Minnesota is maybe leading the charge in some respects. Back in 2017 Minnesota owned the third-lowest ground ball to fly ball ratio. They improved upon that factor a season ago, finishing with the second lowest tally in the big leagues. While the sample size is tiny, Rocco Baldelli’s club currently owns a 0.86 GB/FB ratio, trailing only the Seattle Mariners (0.83). So, what can we deduce from this information? The reality is launch angle isn’t useful on its own, as is the case with many advanced metrics. Pairing launch angle with exit velocity however gives you a formula for some quantifiable positive. That is to say, hit the ball higher, harder, and watch what happens. Seems like common sense right? Here’s what the Twins are doing right now, today, with that second-lowest GB/FB rate. Currently they’re only 20th in hard hit percentage. Mitch Garver is actually leading the club in barrels per plate appearance, and he’s top-10 in the big leagues with his output. Also let’s remind ourselves that fly balls include line drives, and Minnesota’s 19.4% is only 20th in all of baseball for that category. Where the outlook appears a bit shinier, the Twins' .315 BABIP is eighth best in all of baseball (Seattle’s .328 is 4th). With the numbers above, we can see that the results of an updated process currently look like. Now, let’s add some context to who is actually generating these inputs. Over the winter the Twins front office added thumping bats like Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop, and C.J. Cron. Right now, Cruz owns the 10th highest hard hit rate in baseball, with Schoop not far behind at 22nd. Stretch a bit further and Jorge Polanco is just under 50% hard hit, but checks in one place ahead of superstar Mike Trout. Generating hard contact, like we discussed with launch angle, is not all that valuable in a vacuum. Pairing it with zone control, and optimal launch angle, is a formula for strong production though. This is where the idea that teams wanting big power guys and not caring about strikeouts breaks down. What we know is that strikeouts are as damaging as any of the other 27 outs within a game. They aren’t more detrimental, and sometimes, they can be even less harmful. Shying away from a player because he strikes out isn’t a worthwhile proposition for organizations today. The guys who succeed however, are not those who do so despite the strikeouts, but rather in spite of them. Joey Gallo, Giancarlo Stanton, and Khris Davis all fanned at least 175 times in 2018, but each of them had an OPS north of .800. Their strikeouts weren’t a problem because of the ability they showed to command the zone in any other situation. Rather than making soft contact, or simply putting the ball in play, they were taking walks or doing damage each time they were at the plate. I’m not here to suggest that Cruz, Schoop, Cron or any number of Twins hitters is going to finish 2019 in the upper tier of power hitters. What I do think is worth watching however, is whether or not a consistent command of the zone and strong plate approach becomes a regular expectation for these guys. If that does wind up being the outcome, it appears Minnesota’s strategy to get the ball off the ground and hit it hard, will result in a positive outcome this organization has long not achieved. Click here to view the article
  20. Across major league baseball, the shift is now commonplace in an attempt to get batters out. Every team does it, and in fact, Minnesota is an organization that employs it at one of the highest clips. With the shift on, your goal is to downplay the strengths of an opposing batter. It’s less about worrying whether a bunt gets dropped down, or the hitter can change their approach and simply “go the other way” on some smoke, than it is taking away the highest percentage of batted balls. Truly beating the shift isn’t about going around it, but rather, going over it. The launch angle revolution is something that’s caught on across the big leagues, and while keyboard managers everywhere debate its viability the principles are sound. Hitting the ball in the air, harder, is going to produce positive results far more often than anything on the ground. Although often this is mentally categorized simply as fly balls, both home runs and rocket line drives fall into this optimal category as well. David Ortiz, arguably the largest stain on Terry Ryan’s career, getting away was in part because of an inability for the organization to work within a player’s abilities. Rather than get left behind in the current game, it seems Minnesota is maybe leading the charge in some respects. Back in 2017 Minnesota owned the third-lowest ground ball to fly ball ratio. They improved upon that factor a season ago, finishing with the second lowest tally in the big leagues. While the sample size is tiny, Rocco Baldelli’s club currently owns a 0.86 GB/FB ratio, trailing only the Seattle Mariners (0.83). So, what can we deduce from this information? The reality is launch angle isn’t useful on its own, as is the case with many advanced metrics. Pairing launch angle with exit velocity however gives you a formula for some quantifiable positive. That is to say, hit the ball higher, harder, and watch what happens. Seems like common sense right? Here’s what the Twins are doing right now, today, with that second-lowest GB/FB rate. Currently they’re only 20th in hard hit percentage. Mitch Garver is actually leading the club in barrels per plate appearance, and he’s top-10 in the big leagues with his output. Also let’s remind ourselves that fly balls include line drives, and Minnesota’s 19.4% is only 20th in all of baseball for that category. Where the outlook appears a bit shinier, the Twins' .315 BABIP is eighth best in all of baseball (Seattle’s .328 is 4th). With the numbers above, we can see that the results of an updated process currently look like. Now, let’s add some context to who is actually generating these inputs. Over the winter the Twins front office added thumping bats like Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop, and C.J. Cron. Right now, Cruz owns the 10th highest hard hit rate in baseball, with Schoop not far behind at 22nd. Stretch a bit further and Jorge Polanco is just under 50% hard hit, but checks in one place ahead of superstar Mike Trout. Generating hard contact, like we discussed with launch angle, is not all that valuable in a vacuum. Pairing it with zone control, and optimal launch angle, is a formula for strong production though. This is where the idea that teams wanting big power guys and not caring about strikeouts breaks down. What we know is that strikeouts are as damaging as any of the other 27 outs within a game. They aren’t more detrimental, and sometimes, they can be even less harmful. Shying away from a player because he strikes out isn’t a worthwhile proposition for organizations today. The guys who succeed however, are not those who do so despite the strikeouts, but rather in spite of them. Joey Gallo, Giancarlo Stanton, and Khris Davis all fanned at least 175 times in 2018, but each of them had an OPS north of .800. Their strikeouts weren’t a problem because of the ability they showed to command the zone in any other situation. Rather than making soft contact, or simply putting the ball in play, they were taking walks or doing damage each time they were at the plate. I’m not here to suggest that Cruz, Schoop, Cron or any number of Twins hitters is going to finish 2019 in the upper tier of power hitters. What I do think is worth watching however, is whether or not a consistent command of the zone and strong plate approach becomes a regular expectation for these guys. If that does wind up being the outcome, it appears Minnesota’s strategy to get the ball off the ground and hit it hard, will result in a positive outcome this organization has long not achieved.
  21. The DH began in AL only in 1973 and Tony Oliva with terrible knees was the first to take advantage of the new position. He was DH in 142 games, Mike Adams 16, Danny Walton 13 and 10 others appeared in various games. 1974 had Oliva 112, Killebrew 57, Terrell 20 and 5 others. Oliva continued with 120 games in 1975, Darwin 19, Hisle 15, Luis Gomez 10 and 15 others got appearances. In `976 Tony O got just 32 appearances, Steve Braun 71, Craig Kusick 79, Butch Wynegar 15 and 8 others. Tony Oliva 15 seasons, 4 seasons DH .304/.353/.476/.830 43.1 WAR, 0.6 WAR for DH Kusick had 85 games in 1977 Chiles 62, Adams 46 and 14 others. In 1978 Glenn Adams had 100 games, Jose Morales 77, Craig Kusick 34 and seven others. 1979 Jose Morales 77 games, Danny Goodwin 51, Mike Cubbage 22, Willie Norwood 17 NS 10 more players. This same crew had Morales 85 games, Glen Adams 81, Danny Goodwin 38, and 12 others. Craig Kusick 7 years, .235/.342/.392/.733. 3.6 WAR 214 of 250 games at DH Glenn Adams 5 years, .281/.325/.399/.725. minus -0.1 370/661 games at DH In 1981 Adams had 62 games, Roy Smally 15 and 16 more. Then in 1982 Randy Johnson 66, Jesus Vega 39, Mickey Hatcher 29, Randy Bush 26, Dave Engle 20 and six more. Other than Tony Oliva there was no real DH at this point. Randy Bush whose only real position was batter was DH in 1983 104 games, Hatcher 39, Engle 29, and 11 others. 1984 Bush 88, Hatcher 37, Engle 22, Darrell Brown 15 and nine more. Roy Smalley was at DH 56 games in 1985, Engle 38, Randy Bush 28, Mike Stenhouse 27, Mark Funderburk 15, and eight more. In 1986 Smalley was DH 114 games, Hatcher 28, Ron Washington 15 and nine more. In 1987 Smalley was at DH 73 times, Larkin 40, Brunansky 17, Don Baylor 17 and 11 more. Roy Smalley 10 years, .262/.350/.401/.750 20.9 WAR, 2.1 as a DH, 272/1653 games at DH. Randy Bush 251/.334/.413/.747 1.4 WAR 349/1219 games at DH Larkin had 86 games in 1988 and Hrbek 37, Bush 17 and 11 more players. 1989 it is hard to say anyone is the DH. John Moses 33 games, Carmelo Castillo 31, Jim Dwyer 27, Randy Bush 25, and 16 more. Same kind of scrum in 1990 – Larkin 43, Carmelo Castillo 35, Randy Bush 27, Sorrento 23, Dwyer 22, Hrbek 20 and 10 more. Gene Larkin 7 years, 266/.348/.374/.723. 1.6 WAR 221 games DH out of 468. In 1991 we had a real DH – Chili Davis 150 games and 10 others. 1992 Chili had 125, Bush 24 and 14 more. 1993 DH was turned over to Winfield and 9 others. Chili Davis .282/ .385/.476/.862. 5.2 WAR 1160/2436 games at DH Winfield had 76 games in 1994, Puckett 13 and 9 others. In 1995 Pedro Munoz, 77, then Puckett and Hale and 11 others. Dave Winfield 2 years, .264/.324/.436/.760. 0.3 WAR. 419/2973 DH, 181 DH for MN Paul Molitor took over for the ST Paul native in 1996 with 143 games at DH and 10 others have games there. Molitor held the position in 1997 too with Roberto Kelley 12, and Greg Myers 10 and 11 more. In 1998 Molitor held DH with Coomer and Ortiz next and 9 others. Paul Molitor 3 years .312/.362/.432/.794. 5.2 WAR as DH, 1174/2683 games at DH, all DH for MN. Hard to believe, but David Ortiz was our primary DH in 2000 with 88 games, Butch Huskey 39, Midre Cummings 15 and 12 more. Ortiz 80, Allen 23, Buchanan 19 and 13 more. Ortiz 95, LeCroy 41 and 11 more in 2002. David Ortiz 6 years, .266/.348/.461/.809 . 2.6 WAR 2029/2408 DH games. 279 DH MN.. From Ortiz to LeCroy 63 games DH, Kielty 32, Jones 29, Morneau 23, and 13 more in 2003. 2004 was a year without a main DH – Jose Offerman got 39, LeCroy 30, Lew Ford 26, Shannon Steward 21 and 14 more. LeCroy got the most DH games again in 2005 and Lew Ford 44, Joe Mauer and Mike Ryan 13 each and 12 more. Matt LeCroy 7 years - .261/.324/.444/.768. 0.4 WAR for 7 years. DH 212/476 games. In 2007 Kubel was the leader with only 36 games, Jason Tyner 27, Jeff Cirillo 24, Mauer 19 and 11 others. Kubel got 85 in 2008, Craig Monroe 36, Randy Ruiz 17 and 15 others in 2008. 2009 had Kubel with 82, Mauer 28, Morneau 12 and 10 others. Kubel had 42 games in 2010, but Jim Thome was the DH – 79 games with Mauer at 23 and 13 others. Jason Kubel 8 years .269/.334/.449/.783. 3.7 WAR. 333/1036 games at DH for MN. Thome 59 games in 2011 and Kubel 37 in 2011. Jim Thome 2 years with MN. .265/.391/.542/.933. 4.5 WAR 818/2543 games at DH. 138 DH for MN In 2012 DH was a free for all – Doumit 48, Mauer 42, Morneau 34, Willingham 25, Mastroianni 10 and 7 more. The same mess in 2013. Then in 2014 look at this list – Vargas, Morales, Pinto, Mauer, Colabello, Willingham, Plouffe, Nunez, Suzuki, Fryaer, Santant, Arcia, Florimon (really?) Hicks, Barlett, Bernier, Escobar, Kubel 1, and Parmelee! Sano was the leader with 69 in 2015, Vargas 29, Mauer 20 and then six more. In 2016 ByungHo Park and Sano and Mauer split DH – enough said. That is a difficult group to sort out since their time at DH is usually fairly short. We all remember Thome, but he was in 138 games in two years. Not even a full season worth of games. Tony Oliva was our first and one of the best, but he is also our Right fielder in the lists of Bests. 1. Paul Molitor 3 years .312/.362/.432/.794. 5.2 WAR as DH, 1174/2683 games at DH, all DH for MN. 2. Jim Thome 2 years with MN. .265/.391/.542/.933. 4.5 WAR 818/2543 games at DH. 138 DH for MN 3. Jason Kubel 8 years .269/.334/.449/.783. 3.7 WAR. 333/1036 games at DH for MN. 4. Craig Kusick 7 years, .235/.342/.392/.733. 3.6 WAR 214 of 250 games at DH 5. David Ortiz 6 years, .266/.348/.461/.809 . 2.6 WAR 2029/2408 DH games. 279 DH MN.. 6. Roy Smalley 10 years, .262/.350/.401/.750 20.9 WAR, 2.1 as a DH, 272/1653 games at DH. 7. Gene Larkin 7 years, 266/.348/.374/.723. 1.6 WAR 221 games DH out of 468. 8. Randy Bush 251/.334/.413/.747 1.4 WAR 349/1219 games at DH 9. Tony Oliva 15 seasons, 4 seasons DH .304/.353/.476/.830 43.1 WAR, 0.6 WAR for DH 10. Dave Winfield 2 years, .264/.324/.436/.760. 0.3 WAR. 419/2973 DH, 181 DH for MN 11. Matt LeCroy 7 years - .261/.324/.444/.768. 0.4 WAR for 7 years. DH 212/476 games. 12. Chili Davis .282/ .385/.476/.862. 5.2 WAR 1160/2436 games at DH 13. Glenn Adams 5 years, .281/.325/.399/.725. minus -0.1 370/661 games at DH The other posts in this series: https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11390-%7B%3F%7D/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11388-%7B%3F%7D/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11386-the-twins-best-left-fielder-in-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11380-the-best-third-baseman-in-minnesota-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11367-the-best-first-baseman-in-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11377-the-best-ss-in-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11365-the-best-catcher-in-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11371-%7B%3F%7D/
  22. Vargas was designated for assignment by Cincinnati and Minnesota claimed him back. https://twitter.com/DanHayesMLB/status/977603010418348032 The Reds seemed like a tough spot for Vargas to fit, with Joey Votto occupying first base and no designated hitter in the National League. Because of his switch-hitting ability, there was some thought that he could serve as a bench bat or the club could try to sneak him through waivers to the minors. That plan didn’t work as he is back in Minnesota. Some Twins fans were a little paranoid about losing Vargas. It’s hard to blame fans for remembering when the club made one of the biggest judgment gaffes in baseball history. Letting David Ortiz go was a mistake. Even former General Manager Terry Ryan has admitted as much. But let’s make one thing clear… Kennys Vargas isn’t David Ortiz. It’s easy to see why fans can see similarities between the two players. Both players fit a similar profile as large men who have little to no defensive value. Even more eerie might be the fact that the Twins let both players go entering their age-27 season. Beyond those surface level similarities, there are some stark differences between these two players. Ortiz broke into the majors as a 21-year old in 1997. He played a little over 100 games through his first three seasons before becoming a regular player in 2000. From 1997-2002, he hit 266/.348/.461 (.809) while averaging 10 home runs and 18 doubles per season. He also had 339 strikeouts compared to 186 walks in 455 games. His best season in Minnesota was his last as he hit .272/.339/.500 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs in 125 games. He battled injuries throughout his time in a Twins uniform. During the 2002-2003 off-season, Ortiz was due to make roughly $2 million through the arbitration process. Matt LeCroy would take over the designated hitter role with Doug Mientkiewicz penciled in at first base. Justin Morneau was closing in on the big leagues as well. “There wasn’t any one thing,” Terry Ryan told MLB.com. “If you look at his numbers across the board, they were very respectable. And not that it was totally about money, but we were a little bit strapped. That would be a good excuse, but it wasn’t that entirely. It was just a bad error in judgment of a guy’s talent.” Ortiz would sign with the Red Sox for $1.25 million and the rest is history. Vargas is a much different story. He made his debut as a 23-year old in 2014. During his four seasons in Minnesota, he hit .252/.311/.437 (.748) with 35 home runs and a more strikeouts (251) than hits (197). While Ortiz showed flashes of brilliance in the upper minors, Vargas posted a .248 batting average in 630 Triple-A at-bats. Vargas might the definition of a replacement level player. https://twitter.com/AaronGleeman/status/973962957653553152 Ortiz became known for his clutch hits to help the Red Sox win multiple championships. Vargas struggled to be successful in high-leverage spots on rebuilding Twins teams. Because both the Twins and Red Sox train in Fort Myers, Vargas and Ortiz have become acquaintances over the years. In fact, a friendship has developed between these Caribbean born players. Vargas also knows it took Ortiz multiple years to make it as a big leaguer. “He was in my spot years and years ago,” Vargas told the Pioneer Press. “He just trusted in himself, and he found a spot and (won) three World Series.” Vargas is still searching for his spot and now he’s back with the organization he’s known for his entire career.
  23. It’s been a whirlwind week for Mr. Kennys Vargas. After spending his entire career in the Twins organization, Vargas was put on waivers earlier this week and claimed by the Reds. His tenure in a Cincinnati uniform didn’t last long. Now just two days later, he finds himself back with the TwinsVargas was designated for assignment by Cincinnati and Minnesota claimed him back. The Reds seemed like a tough spot for Vargas to fit, with Joey Votto occupying first base and no designated hitter in the National League. Because of his switch-hitting ability, there was some thought that he could serve as a bench bat or the club could try to sneak him through waivers to the minors. That plan didn’t work as he is back in Minnesota. Some Twins fans were a little paranoid about losing Vargas. It’s hard to blame fans for remembering when the club made one of the biggest judgment gaffes in baseball history. Letting David Ortiz go was a mistake. Even former General Manager Terry Ryan has admitted as much. But let’s make one thing clear… Kennys Vargas isn’t David Ortiz. It’s easy to see why fans can see similarities between the two players. Both players fit a similar profile as large men who have little to no defensive value. Even more eerie might be the fact that the Twins let both players go entering their age-27 season. Beyond those surface level similarities, there are some stark differences between these two players. Ortiz broke into the majors as a 21-year old in 1997. He played a little over 100 games through his first three seasons before becoming a regular player in 2000. From 1997-2002, he hit 266/.348/.461 (.809) while averaging 10 home runs and 18 doubles per season. He also had 339 strikeouts compared to 186 walks in 455 games. His best season in Minnesota was his last as he hit .272/.339/.500 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs in 125 games. He battled injuries throughout his time in a Twins uniform. During the 2002-2003 off-season, Ortiz was due to make roughly $2 million through the arbitration process. Matt LeCroy would take over the designated hitter role with Doug Mientkiewicz penciled in at first base. Justin Morneau was closing in on the big leagues as well. “There wasn’t any one thing,” Terry Ryan told MLB.com. “If you look at his numbers across the board, they were very respectable. And not that it was totally about money, but we were a little bit strapped. That would be a good excuse, but it wasn’t that entirely. It was just a bad error in judgment of a guy’s talent.” Ortiz would sign with the Red Sox for $1.25 million and the rest is history. Vargas is a much different story. He made his debut as a 23-year old in 2014. During his four seasons in Minnesota, he hit .252/.311/.437 (.748) with 35 home runs and a more strikeouts (251) than hits (197). While Ortiz showed flashes of brilliance in the upper minors, Vargas posted a .248 batting average in 630 Triple-A at-bats. Vargas might the definition of a replacement level player. Ortiz became known for his clutch hits to help the Red Sox win multiple championships. Vargas struggled to be successful in high-leverage spots on rebuilding Twins teams. Because both the Twins and Red Sox train in Fort Myers, Vargas and Ortiz have become acquaintances over the years. In fact, a friendship has developed between these Caribbean born players. Vargas also knows it took Ortiz multiple years to make it as a big leaguer. “He was in my spot years and years ago,” Vargas told the Pioneer Press. “He just trusted in himself, and he found a spot and (won) three World Series.” Vargas is still searching for his spot and now he’s back with the organization he’s known for his entire career. Click here to view the article
  24. Much has been made about the Twins' aversion to making young slugger Miguel Sano an everyday designated hitter. But it hasn't been just Sano, The club has avoided committing regular DH at-bats to any single player for several years now. There were five teams that had a player DH at least 100 games in 2016: the Red Sox (David Ortiz, 140), Tigers (Victor Martinez, 138), Royals (Kendrys Morales, 138), Angels (Albert Pujols, 123) and Mariners (Nelson Cruz, 107). Four more teams had a DH meet that mark in 2015: the Yankees (Alex Rodriguez), Rangers (Prince Fielder), Astros (Evan Gattis) and A's (Billy Butler). That's nine of the 15 AL teams who've had a player meet the century mark in games at DH the last two seasons. How about the rest of the league?You have to go back to 2011 to the last time the Orioles (Vlad Guerrero) and Rays (Johnny Damon) had a 100-game DH, and 2010 for the Blue Jays (Adam Lind) and Indians (Travis Hafner). The White Sox have had their share of veteran sluggers, but the last time they had a player DH in 100 games was 2008 (Jim Thome, who also reached 99 games at DH in '09). That would be the longest drought without an "everyday" DH, except for the fact the Twins have them beat ... by a decade. The last Twins player to DH 100 games? Paul Molitor in 1998 (he also accomplished the feat in '97 & '96). The last time the Twins even had a guy DH in half their games was in 2009 (Jason Kubel, 82). Things were especially unstable at DH last season. Miguel Sano and Byungho Park shared the team lead in appearances at DH with just 36. Joe Mauer (34), Robbie Grossman (19) and Kennys Vargas (13) also had at least 10 games at DH. The only other teams to fail to have a player reach even 60 games at DH were the Yankees (led by A-Rod's 57 games) and A's (led by 53 games at DH for Khris Davis). But it's not like that was all by design. Of course, if Park continued his hot start Paul Molitor would have gladly penciled him in at DH 100-plus times last season. Park had a .900 OPS through his first month and a half in the big leagues before falling apart. And maybe Terry Ryan would never have brought in Park if the team didn't feel it was too early to make 23-year-old Sano an everyday DH. To be fair, that was an entirely sensible approach to take (deciding to put him in right field is another discussion). Even the greatest designated hitters of all-time spent many of their younger years in the field. Any discussion about great designated hitters has to start with David Ortiz, right? Despite being in his mid-20s, the Twins were primarily DHing Ortiz in his last three years in Minnesota, but he played first base in 79 games over his first two seasons in Boston. Once he turned 29, Ortiz never played in more than 10 games in the field in a season. Chili Davis mostly played outfield prior to coming to Minnesota in 1991 and switching to DH as a 31-year-old. Jim Thome was a third baseman through age 25 and didn't switch to DH until joining the White Sox at age 35. Paul Molitor played all over the diamond before becoming a primary DH at age 35. Edgar Martinez primarily played third base until he was 32. Harold Baines was an outfielder before he switched to DH in his age 28 season. Frank Thomas was one of the biggest dudes to play the game, but even he played more first base until he was 30. One last bit of DH info fun, since the DH was instituted in 1973 the Twins have had a 100-game DH 12 times. That's the exact number of seasons David Ortiz played at least 100 games as a DH. Here is the list of Twins' leader in DH games for each season (over 100 games in bold): 16: Miguel Sano/Byungho Park 36 15: Miguel Sano 69 14: Kennys Vargas 40 13: Ryan Doumit 49 12: Ryan Doumit 48 11: Jim Thome 59 10: Jim Thome 79 09: Jason Kubel 82 08: Jason Kubel 85 07: Jason Kubel 36 06: Rondell White 54 05: Matt LeCroy 63 04: Jose Offerman 39 03: Matt LeCroy 63 02: David Ortiz 95 01: David Ortiz 80 00: David Ortiz 88 99: Marty Cordova 85 98: Paul Molitor 115 97: Paul Molitor 122 96: Paul Molitor 143 95: Pedro Munoz 77 94: Dave Winfield 76 93: Dave Winfield 105 92: Chili Davis 125 91: Chili Davis 150 90: Gene Larkin 43 89: Jim Dwyer 73 88: Gene Larkin 86 87: Roy Smalley 73 86: Roy Smalley 114 85: Roy Smalley 56 84: Randy Bush 88 83: Randy Bush 104 82: Randy Johnson 66 81: Glenn Adams 62 80: Jose Morales 85 79: Jose Morales 77 78: Glenn Adams 100 77: Craig Kusick 85 76: Craig Kusick 79 75: Tony Oliva 120 74: Tony Oliva 112 73: Tony Oliva 142 Click here to view the article
  25. You have to go back to 2011 to the last time the Orioles (Vlad Guerrero) and Rays (Johnny Damon) had a 100-game DH, and 2010 for the Blue Jays (Adam Lind) and Indians (Travis Hafner). The White Sox have had their share of veteran sluggers, but the last time they had a player DH in 100 games was 2008 (Jim Thome, who also reached 99 games at DH in '09). That would be the longest drought without an "everyday" DH, except for the fact the Twins have them beat ... by a decade. The last Twins player to DH 100 games? Paul Molitor in 1998 (he also accomplished the feat in '97 & '96). The last time the Twins even had a guy DH in half their games was in 2009 (Jason Kubel, 82). Things were especially unstable at DH last season. Miguel Sano and Byungho Park shared the team lead in appearances at DH with just 36. Joe Mauer (34), Robbie Grossman (19) and Kennys Vargas (13) also had at least 10 games at DH. The only other teams to fail to have a player reach even 60 games at DH were the Yankees (led by A-Rod's 57 games) and A's (led by 53 games at DH for Khris Davis). But it's not like that was all by design. Of course, if Park continued his hot start Paul Molitor would have gladly penciled him in at DH 100-plus times last season. Park had a .900 OPS through his first month and a half in the big leagues before falling apart. And maybe Terry Ryan would never have brought in Park if the team didn't feel it was too early to make 23-year-old Sano an everyday DH. To be fair, that was an entirely sensible approach to take (deciding to put him in right field is another discussion). Even the greatest designated hitters of all-time spent many of their younger years in the field. Any discussion about great designated hitters has to start with David Ortiz, right? Despite being in his mid-20s, the Twins were primarily DHing Ortiz in his last three years in Minnesota, but he played first base in 79 games over his first two seasons in Boston. Once he turned 29, Ortiz never played in more than 10 games in the field in a season. Chili Davis mostly played outfield prior to coming to Minnesota in 1991 and switching to DH as a 31-year-old. Jim Thome was a third baseman through age 25 and didn't switch to DH until joining the White Sox at age 35. Paul Molitor played all over the diamond before becoming a primary DH at age 35. Edgar Martinez primarily played third base until he was 32. Harold Baines was an outfielder before he switched to DH in his age 28 season. Frank Thomas was one of the biggest dudes to play the game, but even he played more first base until he was 30. One last bit of DH info fun, since the DH was instituted in 1973 the Twins have had a 100-game DH 12 times. That's the exact number of seasons David Ortiz played at least 100 games as a DH. Here is the list of Twins' leader in DH games for each season (over 100 games in bold): 16: Miguel Sano/Byungho Park 36 15: Miguel Sano 69 14: Kennys Vargas 40 13: Ryan Doumit 49 12: Ryan Doumit 48 11: Jim Thome 59 10: Jim Thome 79 09: Jason Kubel 82 08: Jason Kubel 85 07: Jason Kubel 36 06: Rondell White 54 05: Matt LeCroy 63 04: Jose Offerman 39 03: Matt LeCroy 63 02: David Ortiz 95 01: David Ortiz 80 00: David Ortiz 88 99: Marty Cordova 85 98: Paul Molitor 115 97: Paul Molitor 122 96: Paul Molitor 143 95: Pedro Munoz 77 94: Dave Winfield 76 93: Dave Winfield 105 92: Chili Davis 125 91: Chili Davis 150 90: Gene Larkin 43 89: Jim Dwyer 73 88: Gene Larkin 86 87: Roy Smalley 73 86: Roy Smalley 114 85: Roy Smalley 56 84: Randy Bush 88 83: Randy Bush 104 82: Randy Johnson 66 81: Glenn Adams 62 80: Jose Morales 85 79: Jose Morales 77 78: Glenn Adams 100 77: Craig Kusick 85 76: Craig Kusick 79 75: Tony Oliva 120 74: Tony Oliva 112 73: Tony Oliva 142
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