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Twitter

  1. Nick Nelson and John Bonnes continue their conversation about the Minnesota Twins' 2003 season, focusing on the most memorable moments of the season. These moments include the Shannon Stewart trade, the final relief appearance of Johan Santana, the AJ Pierzynski trade that brought back Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano, and more. View full video
  2. Nick Nelson and John Bonnes continue their conversation about the Minnesota Twins' 2003 season, focusing on the most memorable moments of the season. These moments include the Shannon Stewart trade, the final relief appearance of Johan Santana, the AJ Pierzynski trade that brought back Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano, and more.
  3. Somewhere along the line the outfield of Jones-Hunter-Lawton became known as the Soul Patrol. How did they get that nickname? (Pitchman voice) The answer... may surprise you. Any time the Twins have a stretch of futility, a few names are bound to be forgotten. Due in part to the utter hopelessness of the late 90's Twins and in part to the quality players that came after him, Matt Lawton sadly is one of those players. Drafted by the Twins in the 13th round of the 1991 MLB Draft, Lawton made his debut with the big club in 1995 and stuck as a regular in 1997. The Mississippi native made two career All-Star teams, including one with the Twins in 2000. Lawton was a very good to great offensive player, boasting a .379 on-base percentage over seven seasons with the Twins. For his career, Lawton walked 681 times and struck out just 613. He had a strong arm in right field and used it to throw out 12 runners in 1998. The 1999 season saw the arrival of Kirby Puckett's heir apparent in center field, Torii Hunter. Hunter had his ups and downs over his first couple of seasons before establishing himself as an All Star in his own right in 2001. The second half of that '99 season also saw the emergence of Jacque Jones, who would end up playing 976 career games with the Twins. The trio roamed the Metrodome outfield for the equivalent of two seasons beginning in the second half of 1999 through the team's trade of Lawton at the deadline in 2001. They made up Major League Baseball's only all black outfield. Somewhere along the line the outfield of Jones-Hunter-Lawton became known as the Soul Patrol. How did they get that nickname? (Pitchman voice) The answer... may surprise you. According to the Star Tribune, it was none other than the Dazzle Man himself, Dan Gladden, who coined the nickname. Well, he foisted the job on La Velle E. Neal III: After Lawton was traded to the Mets for Rick Reed the left field spot was manned by a platoon of Brian Buchanan, Dustan Mohr and Bobby Kielty. It was Kielty who was dealt to Toronto at the 2003 trade deadline for left fielder Shannon Stewart, moving Jones to right field and restoring the Soul Patrol outfield for another season (until Jones left after the 2005 season). There were many highlights for the Soul Patrol in each iteration. Who could forget Jacque Jones opening the 2002 season at Kansas City with a two home run game, setting the tone for one of the most fun seasons in team history? Torii Hunter running over White Sox catcher Jamie Burke in the heat of the 2004 Pennant Race... Shannon Stewart's catch at the wall in the 2003 playoffs... Lawton's 'Jumpman' pose when catching a fly ball in right at Yankee stadium. The Soul Patrol made Twins baseball cool again with highlight-reel defense and some pop on offense. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  4. Any time the Twins have a stretch of futility, a few names are bound to be forgotten. Due in part to the utter hopelessness of the late 90's Twins and in part to the quality players that came after him, Matt Lawton sadly is one of those players. Drafted by the Twins in the 13th round of the 1991 MLB Draft, Lawton made his debut with the big club in 1995 and stuck as a regular in 1997. The Mississippi native made two career All-Star teams, including one with the Twins in 2000. Lawton was a very good to great offensive player, boasting a .379 on-base percentage over seven seasons with the Twins. For his career, Lawton walked 681 times and struck out just 613. He had a strong arm in right field and used it to throw out 12 runners in 1998. The 1999 season saw the arrival of Kirby Puckett's heir apparent in center field, Torii Hunter. Hunter had his ups and downs over his first couple of seasons before establishing himself as an All Star in his own right in 2001. The second half of that '99 season also saw the emergence of Jacque Jones, who would end up playing 976 career games with the Twins. The trio roamed the Metrodome outfield for the equivalent of two seasons beginning in the second half of 1999 through the team's trade of Lawton at the deadline in 2001. They made up Major League Baseball's only all black outfield. Somewhere along the line the outfield of Jones-Hunter-Lawton became known as the Soul Patrol. How did they get that nickname? (Pitchman voice) The answer... may surprise you. According to the Star Tribune, it was none other than the Dazzle Man himself, Dan Gladden, who coined the nickname. Well, he foisted the job on La Velle E. Neal III: After Lawton was traded to the Mets for Rick Reed the left field spot was manned by a platoon of Brian Buchanan, Dustan Mohr and Bobby Kielty. It was Kielty who was dealt to Toronto at the 2003 trade deadline for left fielder Shannon Stewart, moving Jones to right field and restoring the Soul Patrol outfield for another season (until Jones left after the 2005 season). There were many highlights for the Soul Patrol in each iteration. Who could forget Jacque Jones opening the 2002 season at Kansas City with a two home run game, setting the tone for one of the most fun seasons in team history? Torii Hunter running over White Sox catcher Jamie Burke in the heat of the 2004 Pennant Race... Shannon Stewart's catch at the wall in the 2003 playoffs... Lawton's 'Jumpman' pose when catching a fly ball in right at Yankee stadium. The Soul Patrol made Twins baseball cool again with highlight-reel defense and some pop on offense. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Nick Nelson and John Bonnes conclude their look back on the Minnesota Twins' breakout 2002 season. They cover the top moments from that thrilling season: the Sports Illustrated cover, Torii Hunter robbing Barry Bonds of a home run in the All-Star Game, winning the division for the first time since 1991, and the thrilling Oakland series in the postseason that culminated with an AJ Pierzynski home run. View full video
  6. Nick Nelson and John Bonnes conclude their look back on the Minnesota Twins' breakout 2002 season. They cover the top moments from that thrilling season: the Sports Illustrated cover, Torii Hunter robbing Barry Bonds of a home run in the All-Star Game, winning the division for the first time since 1991, and the thrilling Oakland series in the postseason that culminated with an AJ Pierzynski home run.
  7. Recently, Torii Hunter fellow former Twins greats LaTroy Hawkins and Michael Cuddyer found their names on the new Hall of Fame ballot. All three had fantastic, long careers and deserve the honor. On this show, we will be talking about Torii Hunter. Whether you believe that he had a Cooperstown-worthy career or not, Hunter has been a popular player, teammate and mentor to many in and around the game. Our panel includes three people that have great relationships with Torii Hunter to discuss his career and his role as a mentor. JACQUE JONES Jones found himself on the Hall of Fame ballot about seven years ago, and he got a vote. Jones and Hunter came up through the Twins farm system together after Jones was the team's second-round pick out of USC. Jones debuted and was Hunter's teammate through the 2005 season. The two remain good friends. NIKO GUARDADO Guardado has found himself in a number of memorable roles in TV and movies over the past eight years or so including a recurring role on The Goldbergs and a leading role in the remake of Party of Five. As you know, he is the son of Twins Hall of Famer and remains a fan of the team. He got to view those early '00s Twins team from a pretty special, unique perspective. Torii and Jacque remain active in many charities including the Eddie Guardado Autism Foundation Stars & Strikes event. Get to know more about Niko here. ROYCE LEWIS The Twins top prospect hails from southern California where he grew up watching Hunter with the Angels. The two met before the Twins even drafted Lewis and have built a very strong relationship. Lewis says that Hunter has been a tremendous mentor to him, giving him knowledge about topics on the baseball diamond as well as in the real world. Last offseason, Lewis moved to Texas and lives in the same city and the Hunter family. In this show, it will be fun to hear stories from all three about their relationships with Torii Hunter over the years. ------------------------------------------- Please watch LIVE at 8:00 central time tonight on the Twins Daily Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages live. Also feel free to ask questions in the comments below or on those social media platforms during the show and we'll ask them. Subscribe to the Twins Daily podcast on Libsyn, Apple iTunes or anywhere you download podcasts. Here is the YouTube link where you can watch the show.
  8. Looking for a good story on perseverance and believing in oneself? There have been many in baseball’s history. Former Twins infielder Augie Ojeda was told that he wasn’t big enough, wasn’t tall enough, wasn’t a lot of things that baseball people look for in prospects. Instead, he worked and played really hard. He persevered and ultimately put together a career that should be looked back upon and inspire other ballplayers who are told they can’t do something. Did you remember that Ojeda spent a couple of months in a Twins uniform?Augie Ojeda grew up in southern California where he learned to love the game of baseball. “I was a big Dodgers fan. I was diehard!” He continued, “Fernando Mania in 1981! All the excitement and the hype that he brought to the Dodgers.” But because he was small, he didn’t have scouts looking at him in high school. He went to Cypress College, a two-year program with a strong baseball tradition. That’s where he started to get noticed as a ballplayer. “You still haven’t developed into that prototypical 6-2 baseball player, especially back in those days. Scouts were big on height and numbers and the 40-yard dash. I started realizing I had a chance in junior college. I grew a little bit, got stronger, and played really well against better competition.” He still wasn’t a big guy, but he was attracting the attention of some of the top baseball schools in the country. Because of scholarship limitations, many of the prominent southern California baseball schools didn’t really recruit him. But he was hearing from all over the country. His five school trips were to Arizona State, Oklahoma, Miami, Tennessee and Texas Tech. Each school gave him a 100% scholarship offer. “My decision was kind of easy. It was basically my pick, and I chose Tennessee. They had a good team the prior season and went to the College World Series, and most of the guys were coming back. It was between Tennessee and Miami, and Miami at the time had Alex Cora at shortstop.” He chose Tennessee where he continued to find great success. In 1996, Ojeda was the 13th round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles. He didn’t sign right away, but there was a good reason for that. He was heading to the Olympics. He joined some great college players, including former Twins Jacque Jones, Matthew LeCroy and Chad Allen on the 1996 USA Olympic team. The team won the bronze medal in those Atlanta Olympics. “It was a blessing. It was awesome. It kind of snuck out of nowhere. I didn’t really see that coming.” Ojeda added, “Any kid wants to represent the flag. It’s an honor, and a fun experience that words cannot describe. It was a blessing playing with all these first rounders. I was just happy to be a part of it, and anytime you get a chance to represent your country is an honor.” Following the Olympics, Ojeda went back to school for a semester before signing with the Orioles. Things moved pretty quickly in 1997. It started with an invite to big league camp. “Getting ground balls next to Cal Ripken… that was pretty cool.” Because of an injury to another shortstop, Ojeda began his pro career in Double-A. He played in three levels that season, even getting some time at Triple-A Rochester, a place he would return years later. He was traded to the Cubs before the 2000 season. “I was kind of heart broken because I was the type of kid who followed baseball in the ‘80s and guys stayed with one team forever. Rivalries, and you don’t like the Giants because you’re a Dodgers fan, and you see the same faces for seven, eight years. I was bummed. I was crushed. I thought I was going to be an Oriole forever.” “It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.” That June, he made his big league debut with the Cubs. He spent parts of the next four seasons as a utility infielder for the Cubs. He became a fan favorite because of his size and work ethic, but also because he played really strong defense all around the infield. “The Cubs fans are really supportive, and they do their homework on the minor league guys. And they didn’t know much about me, but they saw my size and thought I was a long shot to make it. I hit a double in my first game and I got a standing ovation, and they started calling my name.” What an experience. However, following the 2003 season, the Cubs placed him on waivers and the Twins claimed him. Minnesota Twins “I got a call from Terry Ryan that they were picking me up. I didn’t know much about the Twins. But from playing in the same league in Double-A, I realized they were strict on their development. Every single guy played together for years, and they had to produce. It wasn’t like any other organization where if you do well or you do bad you skip or you stay back. You had to earn your stripes. And they were stacked. They did a really good job with their scouting and player development.” He returned to Rochester to start the 2004 season. In early August, he was called up to the Twins. He spent August in a utility role, but by September, he was playing nearly every day… and putting up numbers. “The coaches did a good job of working extra with the guys. So every day at home, it was extra batting practice. Every day, extra batting practice. And I took advantage of that. I never had that in my career. The coaches would throw a half hour of extra batting practice, and I was a switch-hitter so I got a lot of reps. They were a young team. They emphasized big time extra work and working hard, and I think that helped me the most. In 30 games for the Twins in 2004, Ojeda hit .339/.429/.458 (.886) with a double and two home runs. “That was the best month I had in my entire life.” He continued, “I played all of September, and that was in a pennant race. We won the Central that year. Gardenhire sat (Luis) Rivas. He was struggling. I came into a game in Anaheim, and I went 2-for-4 in late August. Then after that I played almost every day. Playing every day is a little easier. You know your rhythm. You know your timing.” For whatever reason, Ojeda spent all of 2005 in Rochester with the Red Wings. “To this day, I never knew what happened. What did I do to them? I helped them. I was part of the big push in a pennant race. Then I never got called up. I never knew what was going on.” “The coaches really worked hard. Really worked hard. They were different though. It was a different organization. I was kind of shocked the way the way they handled things. Gardenhire, I don’t know if he got it from Tom Kelly, but they were really big on picking their own apples.They didn’t get bad apples. And when they got good apples, they wanted to control them, which was different. The guys were young so they didn’t say much, but it opened my eyes.” After that season, he became a free agent. He re-signed with the Cubs but spent all of 2006 in Triple-A. In 2007, the Diamondbacks gave him a chance. It was a chance for him to play at home in Arizona where he had bought a house during his time in the Cubs organization. He fully took advantage once he was called up. He spent the second half of 2007 with the Diamondbacks. He played over 100 games in both 2008 and 2009 and another 59 in 2010. “Bob Melvin. I give him all the credit. He believed in me. Kind of similar to the Twins. Orlando Hudson got hurt my first year in ‘07, and that summer I hit .340 in September playing every day. We made the playoffs. I stuck around and got rewarded. I made the team the next year. I did well in ‘08 again. I spent four years there, and that’s the best little run in my career, and I had the best time of my life, thanks to the Diamondbacks and Bob Melvin.” Since retiring, Ojeda has had offers and options for coaching in pro baseball, but he is happy living in Arizona, and helping his wife take care of their three kids. He’s got two daughters, an eight year old and a five year old. They are both in swimming and gymnastics. The couple have a two-year-old son as well. “With my three kids being so young, I don’t have time, and I don’t want to leave them. I’d rather stay home and raise them and see them develop. Playing all these years, you see teammates interact with their parents or their kids and there really isn’t a relationship. I told myself that’s not the life I want to live when I have kids. You’re basically gone for six, seven months out of the year. You’re not going to see them. You’re not going to bond. You’re not going to have a relationship. It’s definitely not worth it.” He’s also proud of what he was able to accomplish on the baseball field despite the odds being against him. He was “too small”. He had the “utility player” label. And yet, he had a nine-year, major-league career. “I never thought I would have the resume that I have. Never in a million years did I think I’d be a big leaguer. Never in a thousand years did I think I’d play in the Olympics. Went to a big-time college on a full scholarship. Being in high school and 5-4, 130 pounds. No scouts. No connections, and three years later I was in the Olympics, getting drafted and then minor league ball. My goal was to be a big leaguer. I didn’t know if I would make it. I knew what scouts wanted, and I knew that’s not what I had. But I had the heart and determination. I worked hard, and that’s what got me over the hump. I look back in awe, to be honest. I’m ecstatic and blessed.” He adds, “To all the kids who don’t have the size, keep working. Outwork them. There’s no talent for outworking people. There’s no talent for grinding and putting in the work.” While Augie Ojeda doesn’t tweet much, but you can follow him at @augieojeda. Click here to view the article
  9. Augie Ojeda grew up in southern California where he learned to love the game of baseball. “I was a big Dodgers fan. I was diehard!” He continued, “Fernando Mania in 1981! All the excitement and the hype that he brought to the Dodgers.” But because he was small, he didn’t have scouts looking at him in high school. He went to Cypress College, a two-year program with a strong baseball tradition. That’s where he started to get noticed as a ballplayer. “You still haven’t developed into that prototypical 6-2 baseball player, especially back in those days. Scouts were big on height and numbers and the 40-yard dash. I started realizing I had a chance in junior college. I grew a little bit, got stronger, and played really well against better competition.” He still wasn’t a big guy, but he was attracting the attention of some of the top baseball schools in the country. Because of scholarship limitations, many of the prominent southern California baseball schools didn’t really recruit him. But he was hearing from all over the country. His five school trips were to Arizona State, Oklahoma, Miami, Tennessee and Texas Tech. Each school gave him a 100% scholarship offer. “My decision was kind of easy. It was basically my pick, and I chose Tennessee. They had a good team the prior season and went to the College World Series, and most of the guys were coming back. It was between Tennessee and Miami, and Miami at the time had Alex Cora at shortstop.” He chose Tennessee where he continued to find great success. In 1996, Ojeda was the 13th round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles. He didn’t sign right away, but there was a good reason for that. He was heading to the Olympics. He joined some great college players, including former Twins Jacque Jones, Matthew LeCroy and Chad Allen on the 1996 USA Olympic team. The team won the bronze medal in those Atlanta Olympics. “It was a blessing. It was awesome. It kind of snuck out of nowhere. I didn’t really see that coming.” Ojeda added, “Any kid wants to represent the flag. It’s an honor, and a fun experience that words cannot describe. It was a blessing playing with all these first rounders. I was just happy to be a part of it, and anytime you get a chance to represent your country is an honor.” Following the Olympics, Ojeda went back to school for a semester before signing with the Orioles. Things moved pretty quickly in 1997. It started with an invite to big league camp. “Getting ground balls next to Cal Ripken… that was pretty cool.” Because of an injury to another shortstop, Ojeda began his pro career in Double-A. He played in three levels that season, even getting some time at Triple-A Rochester, a place he would return years later. He was traded to the Cubs before the 2000 season. “I was kind of heart broken because I was the type of kid who followed baseball in the ‘80s and guys stayed with one team forever. Rivalries, and you don’t like the Giants because you’re a Dodgers fan, and you see the same faces for seven, eight years. I was bummed. I was crushed. I thought I was going to be an Oriole forever.” “It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.” That June, he made his big league debut with the Cubs. He spent parts of the next four seasons as a utility infielder for the Cubs. He became a fan favorite because of his size and work ethic, but also because he played really strong defense all around the infield. “The Cubs fans are really supportive, and they do their homework on the minor league guys. And they didn’t know much about me, but they saw my size and thought I was a long shot to make it. I hit a double in my first game and I got a standing ovation, and they started calling my name.” What an experience. However, following the 2003 season, the Cubs placed him on waivers and the Twins claimed him. Minnesota Twins “I got a call from Terry Ryan that they were picking me up. I didn’t know much about the Twins. But from playing in the same league in Double-A, I realized they were strict on their development. Every single guy played together for years, and they had to produce. It wasn’t like any other organization where if you do well or you do bad you skip or you stay back. You had to earn your stripes. And they were stacked. They did a really good job with their scouting and player development.” He returned to Rochester to start the 2004 season. In early August, he was called up to the Twins. He spent August in a utility role, but by September, he was playing nearly every day… and putting up numbers. “The coaches did a good job of working extra with the guys. So every day at home, it was extra batting practice. Every day, extra batting practice. And I took advantage of that. I never had that in my career. The coaches would throw a half hour of extra batting practice, and I was a switch-hitter so I got a lot of reps. They were a young team. They emphasized big time extra work and working hard, and I think that helped me the most. In 30 games for the Twins in 2004, Ojeda hit .339/.429/.458 (.886) with a double and two home runs. “That was the best month I had in my entire life.” He continued, “I played all of September, and that was in a pennant race. We won the Central that year. Gardenhire sat (Luis) Rivas. He was struggling. I came into a game in Anaheim, and I went 2-for-4 in late August. Then after that I played almost every day. Playing every day is a little easier. You know your rhythm. You know your timing.” For whatever reason, Ojeda spent all of 2005 in Rochester with the Red Wings. “To this day, I never knew what happened. What did I do to them? I helped them. I was part of the big push in a pennant race. Then I never got called up. I never knew what was going on.” “The coaches really worked hard. Really worked hard. They were different though. It was a different organization. I was kind of shocked the way the way they handled things. Gardenhire, I don’t know if he got it from Tom Kelly, but they were really big on picking their own apples.They didn’t get bad apples. And when they got good apples, they wanted to control them, which was different. The guys were young so they didn’t say much, but it opened my eyes.” After that season, he became a free agent. He re-signed with the Cubs but spent all of 2006 in Triple-A. In 2007, the Diamondbacks gave him a chance. It was a chance for him to play at home in Arizona where he had bought a house during his time in the Cubs organization. He fully took advantage once he was called up. He spent the second half of 2007 with the Diamondbacks. He played over 100 games in both 2008 and 2009 and another 59 in 2010. “Bob Melvin. I give him all the credit. He believed in me. Kind of similar to the Twins. Orlando Hudson got hurt my first year in ‘07, and that summer I hit .340 in September playing every day. We made the playoffs. I stuck around and got rewarded. I made the team the next year. I did well in ‘08 again. I spent four years there, and that’s the best little run in my career, and I had the best time of my life, thanks to the Diamondbacks and Bob Melvin.” Since retiring, Ojeda has had offers and options for coaching in pro baseball, but he is happy living in Arizona, and helping his wife take care of their three kids. He’s got two daughters, an eight year old and a five year old. They are both in swimming and gymnastics. The couple have a two-year-old son as well. “With my three kids being so young, I don’t have time, and I don’t want to leave them. I’d rather stay home and raise them and see them develop. Playing all these years, you see teammates interact with their parents or their kids and there really isn’t a relationship. I told myself that’s not the life I want to live when I have kids. You’re basically gone for six, seven months out of the year. You’re not going to see them. You’re not going to bond. You’re not going to have a relationship. It’s definitely not worth it.” He’s also proud of what he was able to accomplish on the baseball field despite the odds being against him. He was “too small”. He had the “utility player” label. And yet, he had a nine-year, major-league career. “I never thought I would have the resume that I have. Never in a million years did I think I’d be a big leaguer. Never in a thousand years did I think I’d play in the Olympics. Went to a big-time college on a full scholarship. Being in high school and 5-4, 130 pounds. No scouts. No connections, and three years later I was in the Olympics, getting drafted and then minor league ball. My goal was to be a big leaguer. I didn’t know if I would make it. I knew what scouts wanted, and I knew that’s not what I had. But I had the heart and determination. I worked hard, and that’s what got me over the hump. I look back in awe, to be honest. I’m ecstatic and blessed.” He adds, “To all the kids who don’t have the size, keep working. Outwork them. There’s no talent for outworking people. There’s no talent for grinding and putting in the work.” While Augie Ojeda doesn’t tweet much, but you can follow him at @augieojeda.
  10. When attempting to compile names for this list I couldn’t help but enjoy the trip down memory lane. I’m not big on re-watching previously completed sporting contests. The idea of the already known result isn’t all that exciting to me. Specific plays or portions can be fun, but much of the programming we’re being delivered doesn’t hit home here. Without needing to relive a full season, these snapshots provide pop up excellence amidst otherwise static careers. There really aren’t any specific parameters other than the season in question truly had to be an outlier. I utilized fWAR to designate that, but a bar to clear wasn’t a hard and fast rule. Before getting into the top five here’s a relatively recent honorable mention: 2014 Phil Hughes 6.3 fWAR (17.7 career) The first season in a Twins uniform was one for the ages when it comes to Hughes. The former Yankees top prospect and World Series winner entered Twins Territory and went on to set the All-Time MLB single-season strikeout-to-walk record. It was the only time he surpassed 200 innings in his career, and he posted a career best 3.52 ERA. With a 2.65 FIP Hughes was every bit as dominant as could be hoped for. The team wasn’t any good, but that didn’t stop him from getting serious steam in terms of Cy Young consideration. 5. 1995 Marty Cordova 3.6 fWAR (6.5 career) It’s not surprising that a Rookie of the Year winner would put up a good season, and it’s also not unfathomable they’d fall off from there. Cordova wasn’t otherworldly in his debut, but he was better than he’d ever be again and that’s why he makes this list. He trumped the 114 wRC+ in 2001 with the Indians, but the 24 longballs always remained a high-water mark. Within two years Cordova had turned into a negative asset for the Twins and he lasted just five with the big-league club. Bouncing around between three organizations in his final four major league seasons, the magic of that debut was never recaptured. 4. 2006 Nick Punto 3.6 fWAR (15.1 career) There has never been a team that Nick Punto was on and he didn’t provide value. The light hitting utility man was a swiss army knife that did little at the dish but was exceptional in the field. For a guy that owned a career .646 OPS and .245 average, the .725 and .290 marks in 2006 were amazing. He played five different positions that year and helped to propel Minnesota to a 96-win season capped off with an AL Central division title. More of a complimentary asset throughout his 14 years in the majors, Punto was absolutely a strong contributor on that Ron Gardenhire squad. 3. 2001 Cristian Guzman 3.9 fWAR (8.2 career) Debuting in 1999, things didn’t go well for the Twins new shortstop. He contributed -3.1 fWAR and there wasn’t value on either side of the diamond. Fast forward two years and the script had flipped entirely. Guzman made his first All-Star Game appearance and owned a .302/.337/.477 slash line. He led the league in triples (14) for the second straight season and launched a career best 10 dingers. He wouldn’t again eclipse 2.0 fWAR in his career until 2008 with the Nationals at the age of 30 and had made a career of being slightly above replacement level by then. The 2001 Twins paved the way for a great 2002 club, and Guzman’s performance arrived just a year too soon. 2. 2004 Lew Ford 3.4 fWAR (5.9 career) Owner of arguably the most interesting career in recently memory, Lew Ford just misses out on the top spot for this list. He played in the big leagues for just six years but had a five-year gap between year five and six. On top of that, the now 43-year-old is still playing professional ball with the Long Island Ducks and has 21 years under his belt. 2004 was Ford’s first full major league season and he contributed in a big way. The .299/.381/.446 slash line was easily a career best, and his 15 homers were 43% of his career total. He swiped 20 bases being thrown out just twice, and he posted an impressive 11 DRS. 1. 2002 Jacque Jones 5.0 fWAR (12.5 career) The best season of any hitter on this list, Jones easily had the largest outlier year of recent Twins memory back in 2002. A team that wins 94 games and goes to the ALCS needs stars, and Jones was one of them. His .852 OPS was a career best, and it was one of only two times in his career that he batted .300. The 27 homers were also a career best, and 132 of his 149 games came with him starting in the leadoff spot. His 11 outfield assists were a high career high, and he had completely embodied an offensive and defensive threat. At no point throughout his career did he ever surpass 2.0 fWAR in a single season aside from that magical 2002 run. What other one-year wonders can you think of in Twins history? Who do they come from further back in history? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. April 1, 2002 Twins Hit 5 HRs on Opening Day The Twins tie an American League Opening Day record with five home runs in Kansas City. Jacque Jones hit a solo and three-run home run, while David Ortiz, Brian Buchanan, and Torii Hunter each hit solo shots in a 8-6 Twins win. The Twins are the most recent of five AL teams to hit five homers on Opening Day. The Mets set the major league Opening Day record with six home runs against the Expos in 1988. The major league record for home runs in any game is 10, by the Blue Jays against the Orioles in 1987 (full list on Baseball Almanac). April 1, 2007 Carneal Passes Away Legendary Twins radio broadcaster Herb Carneal passes away at age 83. Carneal spent 44 years calling Twins games, joining Ray Scott and Halsey Hall in 1962, the Twins’ second season in Minnesota. He received the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award in 1996. He and Jim Kaat comprised the sophomore class of the Twins Hall of Fame, inducted on July 7, 2001. On a personal note, when I was in elementary school I won a drawing at Hardee’s (true story) and got to spend an inning in the booth with Herb Carneal and John Gordon. April 2 Happy 67th Birthday, Tom Johnson It’s the birthday of former Twins reliever Tom Johnson, born in St. Paul in 1951. Johnson graduated from St. Paul’s Murray High School (now a middle school) in 1969, the same year that Dave Winfield graduated from St. Paul Central. Both players accepted scholarships to play for coaches Dick Siebert and Jerry Kindall at the University of Minnesota, but Johnson backed out at the last minute and signed a professional contract with the Twins. Johnson made his major league debut at Met Stadium on September 10, 1974 (age 23), starting the top of the 14th in relief of 1961 St. Cloud Cathedral graduate Tom Burgmeier. The Twins had a 4-1 lead entering the ninth when White Sox catcher Brian Downing hit a three-run homer off Bill Campbell to tie it up (Campbell had a historic ’76 season with the Twins, which he parlayed into a big pay day with the Red Sox following the season). Each team scored in the 11th and 13th innings for a 6-6 tie. Johnson struck out the first batter he faced, Eddie Leon. He gave up a single to the second batter, Jorge Orta. During the next at-bat, Johnson had Orta picked off first but made a throwing error, allowing Orta to advance to second. Orta later came around to score, with the run being unearned, despite the error being on Johnson himself. Trailing 7-6 in the bottom of the inning, Eric Soderholm reached on a two-out single, and scored on a Tony Oliva double. Johnson came back out to pitch a 1-2-3 top of the 15th. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Goose Gossage walked Rod Carew, who stole second, and scored on a Larry Hisle walk-off single, giving Johnson the win over future Hall of Famer Gossage. Johnson also earned the win in his second appearance three days later (September 13), again with Carew scoring the walk-off run, this time with a home run leading off the 10th. He pitched in both halves of a doubleheader on September 14, earning a save in Game 1. He pitched seven innings total in four appearances in 1974, giving up just four hits and no walks (0.571 WHIP). After making 18 appearances in both 1975 and ’76, Johnson had the best season of his career in 1977, going 16-7 with 15 saves, 3.13 ERA, and 1.357 WHIP in 71 games (146.2 innings pitched). He struggled during 18 appearances in 1978, his final major league season. Read Jim McKernon‘s SABR BioProject essay on Johnson (click here). April 2, 1962 Twins Trade Ramos for Power and Stigman It what is commonly considered the first major trade in team history, the Twins trade Pedro Ramos to Cleveland for four-time All-Star Vic Power and 1954 Sebeka High School graduate and 1960 All-Star Dick Stigman. Ramos started the first regular season game in Twins history, pitching a three-hit shutout at Yankee Stadium on April 11, 1961. He was involved in an interesting piece of Twins history on May 12, 1961, as he and Angels pitcher Eli Grba traded homers off each other. Grba homered off Ramos in the top of the fifth to give the Angels a 3-2 lead. Ramos returned the favor in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. He added a two-run single in the sixth, and the Twins held on to win 5-4, with the pitcher driving in the final three runs. Dick Stigman went 12-5 in 40 appearances (15 starts) in 1962. 1963 was his best season. He pitched a three-hit shutout in his second start of the season on April 18, and went on to post a 15-15 record in 33 starts. That’s just three no-decisions! He posted career-bests with a 3.25 ERA, 1.207 WHIP, 15 complete games, and 193 strikeouts, finishing third in the American League in the latter two categories (Camilo Pascual led the league in both). Pedro Ramos, incidentally, was second in the AL with a 1.067 WHIP, and 8.237 strikeouts per nine innings in 1963. April 2, 2010 First MLB Game at Target Field The Twins and Cardinals play an exhibition game at Target Field, the first major league game at the new ballpark. Center fielder Denard Span had himself a day, collecting the stadium’s first hit (a triple, of course), first home run, and first run scored. Jacque Jones, attempting a comeback with the club, pinch-hit and received a memorable standing ovation. I sure wish the Twins would make this kind of footage available. If they want to monetize it, fine, but don’t just keep it in the damn vault! April 3, 1982 First MLB Game in the Dumb Dome The Twins and Phillies play an exhibition game at the Metrodome, the first major league game at the new ballpark. After Pete Rose collected the Dome’s first base hit, 1978 Bloomington Kennedy graduate Kent Hrbek hit the first AND second home runs in Metrodome history, powering the Twins to a 5-0 win. April 3, 1997 Old Man Grand Slam 40-year-old Twins DH Paul Molitor hits a grand slam off Detroit’s Willie Blair at home in the Dome, driving in Todd Walker, Chuck Knoblauch, and Rich Becker. It is the third and final grand slam of the 1974 Cretin High School graduate’s career. The second came off Minnesota’s Dave Stevens on July 5, 1994. The first came way back on April 22, 1981. 41-year-old Dave Winfield hit a grand slam at the Metrodome on April 4, 1993. I believe he is the oldest Twin to do so. Atlanta’s Julio Franco became the oldest player in major league history to hit a grand slam on June 27, 2005 at age 46. Playing for the Mets, he became the oldest player to hit a home run off the Diamondbacks’s Randy Johnson on May 4, 2007 at age 48. April 4, 1990 Twins Trade Pomeranz for Ortiz The Twins trade future-KARE11 anchor Mike Pomeranz to the Pirates for Junior Oritz and minor league pitcher Orlando Lind. Oritz, who wore number 0, hit .335 (57-for-170) in 71 games (47 starts) in 1990. He is best remembered at Scott Erickson‘s personal catcher during the Twins’ 1991 World Championship season. He hit .209 in 61 regular season games (41 starts), and went 1-for-8 in six postseason games. Mike Pomeranz never made it to the majors. These days he works in San Diego, doing, among other things, Padres pre- and post-game broadcasts. April 5, 2004 Wuertz Makes MLB Debut 1997 Austin High School graduate Michael Wuertz strikes out the first two batters he faces in his major league debut, pitching a 1-2-3 sixth in a 7-4 Cubs win in Cincinnati. Wuertz made 426 relief appearances over eight seasons with the Cubs and Athletics. April 5, 2014 Gardenhire Wins 1,000th Brian Dozier homers on the second pitch of the game, leading the Twins to a 7-3 victory in Cleveland for Ron Gardenhire’s 1,000th managerial win. The milestone victory didn’t come without a new gray hair, however, as 2001 Stillwater grad Glen Perkins gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth before securing the Kyle Gibson win. April 6 Happy 67th Birthday, Bert Blyleven It’s the birthday of Rik Aalbert “Bert” Blyleven, born in Zeist, Holland in 1951. He grew up in Garden Grove, CA, and was drafted by the Twins out of high school in the third round in 1969. After only 21 minor league starts, Blyleven made his major league debut on June 2, 1970 (age 19) at RFK Stadium versus the Ted Williams-managed Senators. After Tony Oliva drove in César Tovar in the top of the first, staking the youngster to a 1-0 lead, Blyleven gave up a home run to the first batter he faced, Lee Maye. He recovered, striking out the second batter for the first of 3,701 career K’s, and pitched seven strong innings, allowing just the one run on five hits and a walk while striking out seven. Tovar put the Twins back on top 2-1 in the fifth, driving in Frank Quilici. Ron Perranoski pitched the final two innings, saving the first of Blyleven’s 287 major league wins (currently 27th all-time). Blyleven earned a 7-1 complete game victory over the Brewers on July 12, 1972 for the 1,000th win in Twins history. Remarkably, he also earned the 2,000th win in Twins history on September 25, 1985. Only July 31, 1972, Blyleven gave up two inside-the-park home runs at Met Stadium to Chicago’s Dick Allen, who went on to win the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award that season. The next player to hit two inside-the-park home runs in the same game was Greg Gagne at the Metrodome on October 4, 1986, doing so in his first two at-bats. He tripled in his third at-bat. Remarkably, Blyleven was on the mound for that game, too. More on Blyleven’s ’86 season later. On May 23, 1973, Blyleven pitched a one-hit shutout versus the Royals at Met Stadium. He would pitch two more one-hitters on September 26, 1973, and July 4, 1974, but the first was the only shutout of the three. Jim Kaat also pitched a one-hitter in 1973. 1973 was Blyleven’s best season, posting his only 20-win season (with 17 losses), with a career-best 2.52 ERA, major league-leading 2.32 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), and a major league-leading nine shutouts in a staggering 325 innings pitched (Wilbur Wood led the majors with 359.1 innings pitched). He pitched back-to-back shutouts twice in 1973 (and once in 1971). His 25 complete games, nine shutouts, and 325 innings pitched are still Twins records. He finished the season with 258 strikeouts, a team record that would stand for 31 years until Johan Santana K’ed 265 in 2004 (Nolan Ryan led the majors with 383 K’s in 1973, 125 more than Blyleven’s team record!). Blyleven made his first of two career All-Star teams in ’73. Blyleven earned an 11-inning 1-0 win in Milwaukee on August 27, 1975. Craig Kusick tied a major league record with three hit-by-pitches in the game. Blyleven earned a remarkable 15 1-0 complete game wins in his career. Blyleven was involved in contentious contract negotiations with Calvin Griffith early in the 1976 season. With trade rumors swirling, Blyleven walked off the mound after the top of the ninth on May 31 trailing the Angels 3-1. Some of the 8,379 fans in attendance, frustrated by Blyleven’s refusal to sign Griffith’s latest contract offer, gave the pitcher grief, singing “bye, bye, Bertie.” Before he got to the dugout, Blyleven, visibly angry, looked to the stands and gave someone—possibly hecklers, but likely Griffith himself—the ol’ one-finger salute. The next day, June 1, Blyleven was traded along with Danny Thompson to the Rangers for four players, including Roy Smalley and Mike Cubbage, and $250,000 cash. Blyleven wasn’t the only player involved in the trade that had bad blood with Griffith. Contract negotiations between Danny Thompson and the owner were also at a standstill. Griffith refused to give the infielder, who had been diagnosed with leukemia prior to the 1973 season, a fair price, insisting that no other team would offer someone with cancer a contract at all. Thompson struggled in Texas, and passed away that December. Blyleven pitched a two-hit shutout at Met Stadium in his first game against the Twins on July 26, 1976. He pitched a no-hitter in his final start as a Ranger on September 22, 1976. The Rangers sent him to the Pirates as part of a four-team, 11-player trade on December 8. Not until the Phillies traded Cole Hamels to the Rangers during the 2015 season would another pitcher be traded after pitching a no-hitter in his final game with a team. Blyleven made his second postseason with the Pirates in 1979 (he had pitched two innings of relief in the ALCS as a rookie in 1970). He earned a complete-game 1-0 win over the Reds in the third and decisive game of the NLCS in Pittsburgh. Johnny Bench homered for the Reds’ only run. Blyleven started Game 3 of the World Series in Baltimore, leaving after six in a 2-2 tie. The Pirates went on to win 3-2 on a Manny Sanguillen RBI single in the ninth. Down three games to one and trailing 1-0 in Game 5 in Pittsburgh, Blyleven entered in relief in the sixth and held the Orioles scoreless on just three hits over the final four innings of the game. The Pirates rallied for a 7-1 win, sending the Series back to Baltimore where they won both games. Blyleven was traded with Manny Sanguillen to Cleveland following the 1980 season. He won 19 games with Cleveland in 1984, finishing third in AL Cy Young balloting. He finished third again in 1985, when, playing for both Cleveland and Minnesota, he led the AL with 24 complete games, five shutouts, 206 strikeouts, and 293.2 innings pitched. After making his second All-Star team that summer, the Twins reacquired Blyleven on August 1 in exchange for four players, including former first-round draft pick and future All-Star Jay Bell, who would become the 11th player to homer on his first major league pitch on September 29, 1986. The Twins’ Andre David had also homered on his first MLB pitch on June 29, 1984, as did Eddie Rosario on May 6, 2015. The Twins put on one heckuva show at the Metrodome on August 1, 1986, as Blyleven two-hit the A’s, striking out a team record 15 (broken by Johan Santana with 17 strikeouts in just eight innings on August 19, 2007), becoming just the tenth player in major league history with 3,000 strikeouts. One of Oakland’s two hits, not surprisingly, was an Alfredo Griffin homer in the eighth. Kirby Puckett, meanwhile, hit for the seventh of ten cycles in team history, and the first at the Dome. Twins won 10-1. On September 13, 1986, Blyleven set a team record by giving up five home runs in a 14-1 loss to the Rangers at the Metrodome. Carlos Silva tied that record with five home runs allowed on August 22, 2006. On September 29, 1986, Blyleven gave up his 46th home run of the season, breaking Hall of Famer Robin Roberts’ 30-year-old single-season record. He would give up 50 altogether, while notching 17 wins and pitching an American League-leading 271.2 innings. Blyleven was solid again in 1987, going 15-12 in 37 starts, pitching 267 innings. He did, however, again lead the majors with 46 home runs allowed. He beat Jack Morris in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, and earned the win the fifth and decisive game in Detroit. He held the Cardinals to two runs over seven innings as the Twins won Game 2 of the World Series 8-4. He took his only postseason loss in his final postseason appearance, giving up three runs over six innings as the Cardinals won Game 5 4-2 to take a 3-2 Series lead. The Twins, of course, won Games 6 and 7 back in Minnesota. Altogether, Blyleven went 5-1 in eight career postseason games (six starts), with a 2.47 ERA and 1.077 WHIP. Blyleven tied a major league record by hitting four Cleveland batters on April 22, 1988, giving up seven runs in just 4.2 innings. That wasn’t the worst thing that happened that day, though. After the game, the Twins traded Tom Brunansky to the Cardinals for clubhouse cancer Tommy frickin’ Herr. Blyleven notched his 250th major league win on June 19, 1988. Of his eventual 287 wins, 149 came in a Twins uniform, second only to Jim Kaat‘s 190 (including one as a Senator). Blyleven holds Twins records with 141 complete games and 29 shutouts. For comparison, Brad Radke pitched 37 complete games. 1988 was a rough season overall, though, as Blyleven led the majors with 17 losses. After the season he was sent to the Angels as part of a five-player trade that brought Paul Sorrento to Minnesota. Blyleven came roaring back in 1989, going 17-5 with a league-leading five shutouts. He finished fourth in Cy Young balloting and was named AL Comeback Player of the Year. 1992 was his final major league season. He was 41 years old. He retired with 3,701 strikeouts, fifth-most in major league history behind Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and 1987 teammate Steve Carlton. Blyleven was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2011, his fourteenth year on the ballot. The Twins retired his number 28 on July 16, 2011. April 6, 1973 Oliva Hits First HR by DH With Rod Carew aboard in the top of the first on Opening Day, Tony Oliva hits the first regular season home run by a designated hitter in major league history off Oakland’s Catfish Hunter. Interestingly, it was Oakland owner Charlie Finley who spearheaded the movement for the AL to adopt the DH. Bert Blyleven pitched the first of his 25 complete games of the season as the Twins won 8-3. April 6, 1982 First Regular Season Game at Dome The Twins opened the 1982 season versus Seattle at home in the dumb new Dome. 1977 St. Cloud Tech graduate Jim Eisenreich, making his major league debut, had the honor of being the first Twins batter to the plate. He grounded out to short. Two batters later right fielder Dave Engle homered for the first regular season hit in Metrodome history. Gary Gaetti was thrown at at home trying to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park home run in his first at-bat. He put the ball over the fence in his next two at-bats, going 4-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored in an 11-7 Twins loss. April 6, 1993 Winfield Homers in Twins Debut 1969 St. Paul Central graduate Dave Winfield (age 41) homers in his Twins debut, a 10-5 loss to the White Sox at the Metrodome. Kirby Puckett also homered in the game. Winfield signed with the Twins after winning a World Series in his only season with the Blue Jays. He had been sensational in 1992, hitting .290 with 26 home runs, 33 doubles, 92 runs, and 108 RBI, finishing fifth in American League MVP voting (Dennis Eckersley won the award, with Kirby Puckett coming in runner-up). It was certainly exciting to have him in Minnesota, but his production was pretty pedestrian, hitting .270 with 21 home runs, 27 doubles, 72 runs, and 76 RBI in 143 games for a 0.2 WAR (wins above replacement). He hit another 10 of his 465 major league home runs in 77 games with the Twins in 1994. He wrapped up his 22-year Hall of Fame career with Cleveland in 1995. April 7, 1970 Alyea Has Record-Setting Opening Day In his first game as a Twin, outfielder Brant Alyea drives in a team record seven runs, helping Jim Perry to a 12-0 shutout on Opening Day in Chicago. Alyea went on to drive in 21 runs in the Twins’ first 12 games. Remarkably, 19 of those 21 RBI came in Jim Perry’s first four starts. Perry would go on to win the AL Cy Young Award that season. Pretty hot start to his Twins career. His Senators career got off to a hot start, too, homering on his first major league pitch on September 11, 1965. Alyea matched his team RBI record on September 7, 1970, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and driving in all seven Twins runs in a 7-6 win over the Brewers at Met Stadium. Glenn Adams broke Alyea’s record with eight RBI on June 26, 1977. Rod Carew also made Twins history that day, going 4-for-5 with a walk and a team record (since tied) five runs scored, raising his season average to .403. Randy Bush tied Adams’ team record with eight RBI on May 20, 1989. April 7, 1984 Morris Pitches No-Hitter Playing for the Tigers, 1973 Highland Park (St. Paul) graduate Jack Morris pitches a no-hitter in Chicago. April 7, 1987 Hrbek Hits Walk-Off in Opener After tying the game with his second RBI groundout in the eighth, Kent Hrbek hits a walk-off single in the tenth to give the Twins a 5-4 Opening Day win over Oakland at the Metrodome. Kirby Puckett homered and doubled in the game. Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Facebook and Twitter. If you have any notes to contribute, please leave a comment or e-mail me at Matt@TwinsAlmanac.com.
  12. Only two short seasons ago, Kepler exploded at Double-A on his way to winning Southern League MVP honors. He hit .322/.416/.531 with 56 extra-base hits across 431 at-bats. These numbers were an improvement from his career totals in the minor leagues (.281/.363/.446) and many prospect followers believed he had put it all together. Following a brief September call-up in 2015, Kepler became a mainstay in the Twins line-up during 2016. He struggled through his rookie campaign by hitting .235/.309/.424 with 17 home runs and 20 doubles. Hitting isn't the only part of his game as he provided 4.4 runs on the bases according to BsR (FanGraphs' base running statistic and the base running component of their WAR) and six defensive runs saved. Kepler has made measurable strides in his second full MLB season. Compared to 2016, he's raised his batting average over 30 points and this has helped him to get on base almost 34% of the time. He has improved his wRC+ from 93 in 2016 to 108 in 2017. According to both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, the only Twins position player worth more WAR this season is Miguel Sano. He's hitting the ball hard as well. Last season, Kepler hit the ball at an average exit velocity of 89.4 mph. He ranked 81st among 225 hitters with a minimum of 250 balls in play which ranked him higher than the likes of Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado. This season, his average exit velocity has dipped to 88.4 but he ranks 64th among 147 players with 200 at-bats. He's hitting the ball harder than Anthony Rizzo, Joey Votto, and Evan Longoria. Earlier this season, I identified Kepler as one of a trio of players who was helping to spur Minnesota's defensive turnaround. He ranks in the top-12 among AL outfielders in defensive runs saved. This spring MLB Advanced Media introduced a new Statcast metric called Catch Probability, which measures how likely a fielder is to catch a given ball in play based on its distance and hang time. Kepler leads MLB in "three-star outs" as he has gone 15-for-17 in those opportunities. Three-star outs have a 51-75% chance of being caught. To stay in the hunt for a division title, the Twins need young core players to perform at a high level. Jacque Jones was one of those players for the Twins in the early 2000s. He didn't have a season worth more than 2.0 WAR until he was 27-years old. Kepler has managed that in each of his first two seasons and he won't be 25 until next February. Kepler may never be an all-star like Miguel Sano or track down fly-balls as well as Byron Buxton but he is slowly improving. His offense and defense continue to improve and he is part of the team's long-term plans. Fans should appreciate the value he has brought to the 2017 version of the Twins. Show your appreciation for Kepler in the COMMENTS.
  13. Continue on to read what current Twins players like Brian Dozier and Tyler Duffey remember from their draft day. How about former players like Jacque Jones or Jeff Reboulet? And for many Twins minor leaguers, the memories are clear as they happened recently. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the stories shared below. Thank you very much to the players for participating and sharing their stories with us. Brian Dozier, 2B, Minnesota Twins (2009, 8th round): As you may remember, I was hurt (broken collarbone and had a plate and 8 screws put in) during the draft in 2009. Leading up to the draft, I knew I would get drafted but did not know exactly how high and who would take a chance on someone that was hurt. I remember being in a Firehouse sub shop eating lunch with a few of the guys on the Southern Miss team. I honestly forgot the draft was even going on. We had just beat Florida to advance to Omaha for the World Series. While eating, I got a call from Earl Winn with the Twins, and I can vividly remember how excited he was to tell me that the Twins had taken me in the 8th round. I was surprised that the Twins took me because when they flew the cross checker in to watch me earlier that year, I had the worst game of my career. 0-5, 3 k's and 3 errors at shortstop. Somehow, they still wanted to take me. Ha! There was really no negotiating since I was in my senior year. I do remember Earl Winn calling a few days later and said they had $30,000 to give me for signing. He said he would also take me out to dinner to celebrate. I said meet me at Outback at 7, and you have a deal! Ryan O’Rourke, LHP, Minnesota Twins (2008, 13th round): For me, the draft was a surreal experience. Invited a lot of friends and family over to watch day two. Looking back, that's a pretty confident move and something I probably would have done differently. The pick came and went, it's not the most vivid memory. Taking a picture with my mother, father, and brother while I put on a Twins hat will be something I treasure for the rest of my life. Mitch Garver, C, Rochester Red Wings (2013, 9th round): I think the main emotions were excitement and relief. I had always wanted to play professional baseball and when I heard my name called, I remember just rejoicing with my family around the computer. This huge sigh of relief came over us because the long and unpredictable process of getting drafted was done, and I was very proud to call myself a pro. My family then spontaneously threw a party together and all of my closest friends and family members came over to the house and we celebrated. It was an amazing feeling. Tom Hackimer, RHP, Ft. Myers Miracle (2016, 4th round): For me, the draft was a bit clearer than the previous year when it had surprised me a little bit. I had a good idea that the Twins were going to take me on the pick they had in the fourth round, but when they did it was still a huge relief, and an incredibly satisfying feeling Casey Scoggins, OF, Extended Spring Training (2016, 39th round): My memories from draft day was a roller coaster of emotions. It's an exciting experience for everyone in your life that helped you get to that point, and the anticipation can get overwhelming the farther you drop in the draft. That's what made it a roller coaster. But when you hear your name get called, no matter where it is, it becomes a sense of accomplishment and that's the most exciting part! Zack Granite, OF, Rochester Red Wings (2013, 14th round): I remember just seeing all these names being called. It felt like the time was never going to come. But when it did, I was the happiest kid in the world. Daniel Kihle, OF, Ft. Myers Miracle (2015, 18th round): I was at a lake in SW Missouri during the draft. When I got the phone call, I was on the boat hanging out with my dad, my girlfriend, and my dad's friend and his family. Once I got the call, there were lots of hugs and smiles all around! We celebrated the rest of that day, and then I headed home to start packing! Keaton Steele, RHP, Ft. Myers Miracle (2014, 18th round): Basically just pure excitement on the outside to everyone that knows you, but inside you are being torn apart. In my experience and maybe to others as well is that there's always a chance that you don't get picked or get an opportunity. When you finally do get to hear or see your name come up, it's a relief and the waiting is over. Then you get the feeling of, now what? What do I need besides baseball gear? What clothes do I need, car, housing, and what to really expect. The reaction from people around me was always positive and your phone blows up. You hear stories, but who knows if they are true. At the end the day, only X amount of kids get a chance, and I was excited I got the opportunity. Dereck Rodriguez, RHP, Chattanooga Lookouts (2011, 6th round): I was asleep when I got drafted!! I didn't even know I got drafted until my mom started to scream. Then everyone started to call me. It was a fun day. Alex Kirilloff, OF, Extended Spring Training (2016, 1st round): Big memory that sticks out to me was just watching the draft on TV when my name was called. We were at a local restaurant with all my teammates, family, and close friends. Just a pretty awesome moment filled with excitement. Lean Marrero, OF, Extended Spring Training (2015, 16th round): My draft experience was unforgettable because it changed my life. It was a big step for me, not only career wise but personally. The first thing I did was thank God for the opportunity that the Minnesota Twins gave me. At the time I was not with my family, I received the news by myself. In that moment I thought about all the sacrifices I would have to make, I started screaming and thanked my parents for all the values they taught me. Tyler Wells, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2016, 15th round) The draft itself felt like forever. Three long days that felt like 3 weeks. When my name was finally called, it was a house full of excitement! It was a dream come true. We were all very happy that I was able to begin living out my dream to get to the big leagues! Patrick McGuff, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2016, 36th Round) It was great! Being given the opportunity to play professional baseball is a blessing. I had a lot of support from family and friends during the draft and continue to have it now. Although it was a little long and unsure at times, definitely worth it in the end and wouldn't change a thing. Trevor Hildenberger, RHP, Rochester Red Wings (2014, 22nd round): I was drafted while I was at my mom’s birthday BBQ in a public park. I was manning the grill when the phone rang and my area scout told me I was drafted. Didn't miss a beat, kept turning the sausages. After I hung up, everyone was excited. Jake Reed, RHP, Chattanooga Lookouts (2014, 5th round): I was lucky enough to have my family up with me in Eugene and have them there for the draft. I was extremely nervous, but it was definitely a relief when my name got called and one of the best days of my life, for sure. Travis Blankenhorn, 3B, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2015, 3rd round) My experience was great. I did not have a big party while the draft was going on because I was not sure when I was going to get picked, my family and agent gathered around my computer once the Twins called and told me they were going to pick me. That night, I did have a party with all my family and friends. Then I went to Minnesota to sign and saw a couple games and had a great first experience with the organization. Sean Miller, IF, Ft. Myers Miracle (2015, 10th round) I constantly try and describe the moment I was drafted. And I don't think I can. It's one of those things you play out in your head every night a couple weeks before it actually happens but nothing will live up to it. Tyler Duffey, RHP, Minnesota Twins (2012, 5th Round) It's a great time. Being selected at all is a privilege. So many with talent don't get opportunities. Guys have to realize that and fight to make the most of their chances. Really exciting and a dream come true and wouldn't trade what I get the opportunity to do for anything else. Trey Cabbage, 3B, Extended Spring Training (2015, 4th Round) My draft experience was stressful because I didn't know where I'd go. I really hoped it would be first day, but I'm very blessed and happy to be taken where I was and be here. Travis Harrison, OF, Chattanooga Lookouts (2011, supp. 1st Round) What I remember on draft day is that it was a school day for me. Starting at 8am I was constantly leaving class to take calls from different teams. Calls ranged from asking if I would take a certain money amount or teams just calling me to tell me if I'm available, they're taking me (Mostly lies). When school was over, I went home and just tried to relax. A lot of my friends and family came over to the house shortly before the draft started. I remember playing wiffle ball in the front yard up until about the 25th pick or so. My family and I were being told that I could be picked any moment at this point. Picks came and went and I wasn't being taken, then Jon Leavitt, my area scout for the Twins, called my dad and had a brief conversation. A few picks later, Rod Carew announced my name on TV. It's a moment I will always remember. My best advice for guys going through the draft is don't look at mock drafts and nowadays don't look at what people on Twitter are saying. They're only guessing like you. Try and have fun and make sure to record the draft on TV! Tyler Beardsley, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2016, 16th round): It truly was the best day of my life. Super thankful for the Twins giving me this incredible opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing professional baseball. I was with my parents at my house when I got the call. I had family members, former teammates, coaches, and friends reach out to me and congratulate me. Truly a day I'll never forget. Dan Rohlfing, C, Chattanooga Lookouts (2007, 14th round): Draft day was definitely an exciting day. You hear all these rumors about potential rounds and what teams will take you. So it's hard to sit there and wait to find your destiny. For myself, it was a little different though. I was on an airplane flying back from Cancun, Mexico. It was a trip a few other baseball players and myself took as a graduation gift because we weren't allowed to go on spring break with our fellow classmates because of a baseball tournament. Not realizing the dates of the trip fell on draft day, I was sitting in the airport in Mexico racking up an international phone bill talking to scouts from various teams. While boarding the flight, I had still not been taken and after multiple warnings from the stewardess, I finally shut my phone off and squirmed through the 3 hour flight. Turning my phone on once we hit the ground I had congrats texts flying in from friends and family, but I still had no idea who drafted me (this was 2007, aka pre iPhone days). My phone began to ring and it was my father saying, Congrats you're a Minnesota Twin! Shortly after, I was contacted by the Twins and the rest is history. Michael Quesada, C, (2010, 24th round): Quesada played in the Twins minor league system from 2010 through 2015. 2017 has been his first year as an area scout for the Twins. My draft experience was enjoyable. As a JC player with no representation, I asked for a number that was over my value knowing I would probably get less. I had received a few calls after Day 1 from scouts hoping to take me on Day 2, but I was never called. On Day 3, the Twins called multiple times but the spot didn't happen until the 24th round. At the time, my family and I were sitting in front of the computer waiting to see my name pop up on the screen, and it was a great moment. The reaction was pure joy after all the hard work and sacrifices everyone in my life made for that moment to happen. It was 7 years ago and feels like it was yesterday. Hank Morrison, OF, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2016, 22nd round): I will always remember the day I got drafted! It was the third day of the draft, and I was very nervous because I hadn't been picked yet. My dad had listened to every pick, and I wanted him to put his headphones on cause I couldn't listen anymore! One of my buddies got picked in the 18th round, and I asked him how it happened, and he said they called him 3 rounds ahead of time. So every round that went by I was adding 3 more rounds to that and the 22nd round came around and my dad screamed my name! Then I went to the computer and saw my name pop up for the Twins and me and my parents cried out with joy! It was a dream come true! Max Cordy, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2015, 40th round) The draft was a hectic couple days, but a huge weight was lifted off my chest, and I was super excited once I found out I had been drafted/given an opportunity to pursue my dream. My family and friends were all super happy for me and supportive throughout the process. Jeff Reboulet, IF, Minnesota Twins (1986, 10th round): Reboulet played for the Twins from 1992-1996. He stayed in the big leagues through the 2003 season. Drafted by the Twins in the 10th round, my senior year, while at Omaha. Didn't know I was drafted until I got back to Dayton, Ohio, after the College World Series and had a plane ticket to Visalia, California (Cal League - High A) that left the next day. Henry Bonilla, RHP, (2000, 8th round) Bonilla is the Miracle pitching coach. He played in the Twins farm system from 2000-2006, spending a couple of seasons in AAA. Actually, i was home alone. Parents were working. Got a phone call. Then went to lunch with some buddies one, of which got drafted. Pretty boring actually. Jamie Ogden, 1B/OF (1990, 3rd round) Ogden is from White Bear Lake, so he was drafted by his hometown team. He played in the system through the 1998 season, a teammate of many very popular former Twins. His final three seasons were spent in AAA. It was a looooong time ago. I remember not having any clue on when I would get drafted. Got a call on day one of the draft from my scout Terry Ryan that I was taken by the Twins with the 77th pick/3rd round. I also remember the negotiations between my dad and Terry being entertaining. They both are very kind men but very direct. Terry would come in with a number. Dad would reiterate what it would take ($100k + college). I was planning to go to Oklahoma to play hoops and baseball (Clem wouldn't let me play both at the U). So June 30th the Twins agreed to our conditions and on July 4th I was on a beach in Sarasota (Twins rookie ball he year before Ft. Myers) JP Martinez, RHP, Minnesota Twins (2004, 9th round): Martinez spent four seasons in the Twins system, making a couple of appearances in AAA. He is now the pitching coach for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. On the day of the draft in 2004, we hung out in my college coach's office at Univ of New Orleans (Randy Bush, won two World Series with the Twins), where we listened to the broadcast. Our Friday starter went 10th overall. My brother-in-law (who was my just my best friend at the time), was getting calls as early as the 2nd round. First call I got was from Mark Quimoyog telling me the Twins had taken me in the 9th round (2 picks before my bro in law). Drafted the day before my 22nd birthday, signed my contract on my kitchen table on my birthday. Good times! Sam Clay, LHP, Chattanooga Lookouts (2014, 4th round): Well, I remember being at home with my family on the second day of the draft. My parents were very excited the whole day, and they had the draft pulled up on their computer. I was trying to keep myself distracted and calm until I got a call from my advisor. It was late during the 3rd round when I got a call and was told that the Twins were interested. The Twins pick came up in the 4th round and my name came on the screen and my parents were ecstatic. I got a lot of phone calls and texts from friends and family members congratulating me. It's a special and life changing moment. Dane Hutcheon, IF, Extended Spring Training (2016, 29th round): The draft for me was definitely a roller coaster of emotions. But through those emotions it all dawned on me how fortunate I was for the opportunity to play at the next level. I remember getting the call from my Area Scout (Jack Powell) and I didn't even hesitate to say yes. I just wanted an opportunity to be something special. It was something I dreamed of from when I was just a little kid. It was pretty sweet to see all the love and the support you got. I remember getting tons of texts messages and my phone was just blowing up, but I wanted to call and text the people closest to me first. I was actually alone up in the Cape Cod League so I really never got a chance to celebrate with my family and friends, but I made sure to call my Mom and Dad first thing and just cherish what had happened. I later went on to call my coach and other family members and some of my best friends and to see the love and support was pretty neat. It will definitely be a day that I will always remember. Cody Stashak, RHP, Ft. Myers Miracle (2015, 13th round): I had no clue my name was called. I was outside grilling some food and my phone just started going crazy. Jacque Jones, OF, Minnesota Twins (1996, 2nd round): Jones was a popular player in the Twins organization through the 2005 season. He is currently a hitting coach with the Washington Nationals. Didn't really have an experience was in the middle of preparing for the Olympics. Was a quick phone call and then went to practice. Steve Singleton, 2B, Minnesota Twins (2006, 11th Round) “Sing” played in the Twins organization until the 2011 season. He reached AAA Rochester. He is now the hitting coach of the Ft. Myers Miracle. Draft day was whirlwind. I was just with my immediate family. Mom, Dad and brother. I had heard a lot of different noise about what rounds and what teams. I thought I had a chance to go in the top five rounds and really expected top ten. I ended up going in the 11th with the Twins and was surprised. I had never filled out a questionnaire or had a sit down with the scout who ended up taking me, John Leavitt. I got calls in the 10th and 11th from the Yankees saying they were taking me with their picks right then and neither time they pulled the trigger, so I was pretty anxious after that. Once my name was called, it was a very happy moment for my family. While there was some anxiety and disappointment while we were waiting, it all disappeared once I was selected. I went to dinner with a few close friends right after and prepared for the next chapter of my life. It was a wild day. Clark Beeker, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2016, 33rd round): I remember sitting at my house and watching TV with the audio of the draft picks going on in the background. I knew there was a chance of being selected, but it definitely wasn't a given that I would be drafted in one of the final rounds. Then I heard it announced that the Twins had selected me and the next couple hours or so were extremely hectic. I received a call from my area scout about five minutes after the pick and then texts and phone calls from friends, family, and former teammates started pouring in. It was a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life. How fun was that, getting to read so many draft day memories!? I’m guessing a small percentage of those of us reading this have had the great opportunity to experience being drafted. What a moment, not only for the player but clearly for their families, coaches and friends. ---- The Twins have made that dream happen for 11 players already in the 2017 draft, and on Wednesday, they’ll do the same for 30 more players. Hopefully we can hear more of those stories too. Feel free to discuss and tell us which are your favorite stories.
  14. The Twins made three draft picks on Monday night. On Tuesday, they drafted eight more players. On Wednesday, the Twins will select 30 more players. I haven’t personally experienced it, but can you imagine getting that phone call or hearing your name online as being drafted and having an opportunity to play ball professionally? I asked several Twins players from the past, the present and the future what they remember about finding out they had been drafted. I got a lot of great responses. If I receive more throughout the day, I will be sure to add them.Continue on to read what current Twins players like Brian Dozier and Tyler Duffey remember from their draft day. How about former players like Jacque Jones or Jeff Reboulet? And for many Twins minor leaguers, the memories are clear as they happened recently. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the stories shared below. Thank you very much to the players for participating and sharing their stories with us. Brian Dozier, 2B, Minnesota Twins (2009, 8th round): As you may remember, I was hurt (broken collarbone and had a plate and 8 screws put in) during the draft in 2009. Leading up to the draft, I knew I would get drafted but did not know exactly how high and who would take a chance on someone that was hurt. I remember being in a Firehouse sub shop eating lunch with a few of the guys on the Southern Miss team. I honestly forgot the draft was even going on. We had just beat Florida to advance to Omaha for the World Series. While eating, I got a call from Earl Winn with the Twins, and I can vividly remember how excited he was to tell me that the Twins had taken me in the 8th round. I was surprised that the Twins took me because when they flew the cross checker in to watch me earlier that year, I had the worst game of my career. 0-5, 3 k's and 3 errors at shortstop. Somehow, they still wanted to take me. Ha! There was really no negotiating since I was in my senior year. I do remember Earl Winn calling a few days later and said they had $30,000 to give me for signing. He said he would also take me out to dinner to celebrate. I said meet me at Outback at 7, and you have a deal! Ryan O’Rourke, LHP, Minnesota Twins (2008, 13th round): For me, the draft was a surreal experience. Invited a lot of friends and family over to watch day two. Looking back, that's a pretty confident move and something I probably would have done differently. The pick came and went, it's not the most vivid memory. Taking a picture with my mother, father, and brother while I put on a Twins hat will be something I treasure for the rest of my life. Mitch Garver, C, Rochester Red Wings (2013, 9th round): I think the main emotions were excitement and relief. I had always wanted to play professional baseball and when I heard my name called, I remember just rejoicing with my family around the computer. This huge sigh of relief came over us because the long and unpredictable process of getting drafted was done, and I was very proud to call myself a pro. My family then spontaneously threw a party together and all of my closest friends and family members came over to the house and we celebrated. It was an amazing feeling. Tom Hackimer, RHP, Ft. Myers Miracle (2016, 4th round): For me, the draft was a bit clearer than the previous year when it had surprised me a little bit. I had a good idea that the Twins were going to take me on the pick they had in the fourth round, but when they did it was still a huge relief, and an incredibly satisfying feeling Casey Scoggins, OF, Extended Spring Training (2016, 39th round): My memories from draft day was a roller coaster of emotions. It's an exciting experience for everyone in your life that helped you get to that point, and the anticipation can get overwhelming the farther you drop in the draft. That's what made it a roller coaster. But when you hear your name get called, no matter where it is, it becomes a sense of accomplishment and that's the most exciting part! Zack Granite, OF, Rochester Red Wings (2013, 14th round): I remember just seeing all these names being called. It felt like the time was never going to come. But when it did, I was the happiest kid in the world. Daniel Kihle, OF, Ft. Myers Miracle (2015, 18th round): I was at a lake in SW Missouri during the draft. When I got the phone call, I was on the boat hanging out with my dad, my girlfriend, and my dad's friend and his family. Once I got the call, there were lots of hugs and smiles all around! We celebrated the rest of that day, and then I headed home to start packing! Keaton Steele, RHP, Ft. Myers Miracle (2014, 18th round): Basically just pure excitement on the outside to everyone that knows you, but inside you are being torn apart. In my experience and maybe to others as well is that there's always a chance that you don't get picked or get an opportunity. When you finally do get to hear or see your name come up, it's a relief and the waiting is over. Then you get the feeling of, now what? What do I need besides baseball gear? What clothes do I need, car, housing, and what to really expect. The reaction from people around me was always positive and your phone blows up. You hear stories, but who knows if they are true. At the end the day, only X amount of kids get a chance, and I was excited I got the opportunity. Dereck Rodriguez, RHP, Chattanooga Lookouts (2011, 6th round): I was asleep when I got drafted!! I didn't even know I got drafted until my mom started to scream. Then everyone started to call me. It was a fun day. Alex Kirilloff, OF, Extended Spring Training (2016, 1st round): Big memory that sticks out to me was just watching the draft on TV when my name was called. We were at a local restaurant with all my teammates, family, and close friends. Just a pretty awesome moment filled with excitement. Lean Marrero, OF, Extended Spring Training (2015, 16th round): My draft experience was unforgettable because it changed my life. It was a big step for me, not only career wise but personally. The first thing I did was thank God for the opportunity that the Minnesota Twins gave me. At the time I was not with my family, I received the news by myself. In that moment I thought about all the sacrifices I would have to make, I started screaming and thanked my parents for all the values they taught me. Tyler Wells, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2016, 15th round) The draft itself felt like forever. Three long days that felt like 3 weeks. When my name was finally called, it was a house full of excitement! It was a dream come true. We were all very happy that I was able to begin living out my dream to get to the big leagues! Patrick McGuff, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2016, 36th Round) It was great! Being given the opportunity to play professional baseball is a blessing. I had a lot of support from family and friends during the draft and continue to have it now. Although it was a little long and unsure at times, definitely worth it in the end and wouldn't change a thing. Trevor Hildenberger, RHP, Rochester Red Wings (2014, 22nd round): I was drafted while I was at my mom’s birthday BBQ in a public park. I was manning the grill when the phone rang and my area scout told me I was drafted. Didn't miss a beat, kept turning the sausages. After I hung up, everyone was excited. Jake Reed, RHP, Chattanooga Lookouts (2014, 5th round): I was lucky enough to have my family up with me in Eugene and have them there for the draft. I was extremely nervous, but it was definitely a relief when my name got called and one of the best days of my life, for sure. Travis Blankenhorn, 3B, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2015, 3rd round) My experience was great. I did not have a big party while the draft was going on because I was not sure when I was going to get picked, my family and agent gathered around my computer once the Twins called and told me they were going to pick me. That night, I did have a party with all my family and friends. Then I went to Minnesota to sign and saw a couple games and had a great first experience with the organization. Sean Miller, IF, Ft. Myers Miracle (2015, 10th round) I constantly try and describe the moment I was drafted. And I don't think I can. It's one of those things you play out in your head every night a couple weeks before it actually happens but nothing will live up to it. Tyler Duffey, RHP, Minnesota Twins (2012, 5th Round) It's a great time. Being selected at all is a privilege. So many with talent don't get opportunities. Guys have to realize that and fight to make the most of their chances. Really exciting and a dream come true and wouldn't trade what I get the opportunity to do for anything else. Trey Cabbage, 3B, Extended Spring Training (2015, 4th Round) My draft experience was stressful because I didn't know where I'd go. I really hoped it would be first day, but I'm very blessed and happy to be taken where I was and be here. Travis Harrison, OF, Chattanooga Lookouts (2011, supp. 1st Round) What I remember on draft day is that it was a school day for me. Starting at 8am I was constantly leaving class to take calls from different teams. Calls ranged from asking if I would take a certain money amount or teams just calling me to tell me if I'm available, they're taking me (Mostly lies). When school was over, I went home and just tried to relax. A lot of my friends and family came over to the house shortly before the draft started. I remember playing wiffle ball in the front yard up until about the 25th pick or so. My family and I were being told that I could be picked any moment at this point. Picks came and went and I wasn't being taken, then Jon Leavitt, my area scout for the Twins, called my dad and had a brief conversation. A few picks later, Rod Carew announced my name on TV. It's a moment I will always remember. My best advice for guys going through the draft is don't look at mock drafts and nowadays don't look at what people on Twitter are saying. They're only guessing like you. Try and have fun and make sure to record the draft on TV! Tyler Beardsley, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2016, 16th round): It truly was the best day of my life. Super thankful for the Twins giving me this incredible opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing professional baseball. I was with my parents at my house when I got the call. I had family members, former teammates, coaches, and friends reach out to me and congratulate me. Truly a day I'll never forget. Dan Rohlfing, C, Chattanooga Lookouts (2007, 14th round): Draft day was definitely an exciting day. You hear all these rumors about potential rounds and what teams will take you. So it's hard to sit there and wait to find your destiny. For myself, it was a little different though. I was on an airplane flying back from Cancun, Mexico. It was a trip a few other baseball players and myself took as a graduation gift because we weren't allowed to go on spring break with our fellow classmates because of a baseball tournament. Not realizing the dates of the trip fell on draft day, I was sitting in the airport in Mexico racking up an international phone bill talking to scouts from various teams. While boarding the flight, I had still not been taken and after multiple warnings from the stewardess, I finally shut my phone off and squirmed through the 3 hour flight. Turning my phone on once we hit the ground I had congrats texts flying in from friends and family, but I still had no idea who drafted me (this was 2007, aka pre iPhone days). My phone began to ring and it was my father saying, Congrats you're a Minnesota Twin! Shortly after, I was contacted by the Twins and the rest is history. Michael Quesada, C, (2010, 24th round): Quesada played in the Twins minor league system from 2010 through 2015. 2017 has been his first year as an area scout for the Twins. My draft experience was enjoyable. As a JC player with no representation, I asked for a number that was over my value knowing I would probably get less. I had received a few calls after Day 1 from scouts hoping to take me on Day 2, but I was never called. On Day 3, the Twins called multiple times but the spot didn't happen until the 24th round. At the time, my family and I were sitting in front of the computer waiting to see my name pop up on the screen, and it was a great moment. The reaction was pure joy after all the hard work and sacrifices everyone in my life made for that moment to happen. It was 7 years ago and feels like it was yesterday. Hank Morrison, OF, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2016, 22nd round): I will always remember the day I got drafted! It was the third day of the draft, and I was very nervous because I hadn't been picked yet. My dad had listened to every pick, and I wanted him to put his headphones on cause I couldn't listen anymore! One of my buddies got picked in the 18th round, and I asked him how it happened, and he said they called him 3 rounds ahead of time. So every round that went by I was adding 3 more rounds to that and the 22nd round came around and my dad screamed my name! Then I went to the computer and saw my name pop up for the Twins and me and my parents cried out with joy! It was a dream come true! Max Cordy, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2015, 40th round) The draft was a hectic couple days, but a huge weight was lifted off my chest, and I was super excited once I found out I had been drafted/given an opportunity to pursue my dream. My family and friends were all super happy for me and supportive throughout the process. Jeff Reboulet, IF, Minnesota Twins (1986, 10th round): Reboulet played for the Twins from 1992-1996. He stayed in the big leagues through the 2003 season. Drafted by the Twins in the 10th round, my senior year, while at Omaha. Didn't know I was drafted until I got back to Dayton, Ohio, after the College World Series and had a plane ticket to Visalia, California (Cal League - High A) that left the next day. Henry Bonilla, RHP, (2000, 8th round) Bonilla is the Miracle pitching coach. He played in the Twins farm system from 2000-2006, spending a couple of seasons in AAA. Actually, i was home alone. Parents were working. Got a phone call. Then went to lunch with some buddies one, of which got drafted. Pretty boring actually. Jamie Ogden, 1B/OF (1990, 3rd round) Ogden is from White Bear Lake, so he was drafted by his hometown team. He played in the system through the 1998 season, a teammate of many very popular former Twins. His final three seasons were spent in AAA. It was a looooong time ago. I remember not having any clue on when I would get drafted. Got a call on day one of the draft from my scout Terry Ryan that I was taken by the Twins with the 77th pick/3rd round. I also remember the negotiations between my dad and Terry being entertaining. They both are very kind men but very direct. Terry would come in with a number. Dad would reiterate what it would take ($100k + college). I was planning to go to Oklahoma to play hoops and baseball (Clem wouldn't let me play both at the U). So June 30th the Twins agreed to our conditions and on July 4th I was on a beach in Sarasota (Twins rookie ball he year before Ft. Myers) JP Martinez, RHP, Minnesota Twins (2004, 9th round): Martinez spent four seasons in the Twins system, making a couple of appearances in AAA. He is now the pitching coach for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. On the day of the draft in 2004, we hung out in my college coach's office at Univ of New Orleans (Randy Bush, won two World Series with the Twins), where we listened to the broadcast. Our Friday starter went 10th overall. My brother-in-law (who was my just my best friend at the time), was getting calls as early as the 2nd round. First call I got was from Mark Quimoyog telling me the Twins had taken me in the 9th round (2 picks before my bro in law). Drafted the day before my 22nd birthday, signed my contract on my kitchen table on my birthday. Good times! Sam Clay, LHP, Chattanooga Lookouts (2014, 4th round): Well, I remember being at home with my family on the second day of the draft. My parents were very excited the whole day, and they had the draft pulled up on their computer. I was trying to keep myself distracted and calm until I got a call from my advisor. It was late during the 3rd round when I got a call and was told that the Twins were interested. The Twins pick came up in the 4th round and my name came on the screen and my parents were ecstatic. I got a lot of phone calls and texts from friends and family members congratulating me. It's a special and life changing moment. Dane Hutcheon, IF, Extended Spring Training (2016, 29th round): The draft for me was definitely a roller coaster of emotions. But through those emotions it all dawned on me how fortunate I was for the opportunity to play at the next level. I remember getting the call from my Area Scout (Jack Powell) and I didn't even hesitate to say yes. I just wanted an opportunity to be something special. It was something I dreamed of from when I was just a little kid. It was pretty sweet to see all the love and the support you got. I remember getting tons of texts messages and my phone was just blowing up, but I wanted to call and text the people closest to me first. I was actually alone up in the Cape Cod League so I really never got a chance to celebrate with my family and friends, but I made sure to call my Mom and Dad first thing and just cherish what had happened. I later went on to call my coach and other family members and some of my best friends and to see the love and support was pretty neat. It will definitely be a day that I will always remember. Cody Stashak, RHP, Ft. Myers Miracle (2015, 13th round): I had no clue my name was called. I was outside grilling some food and my phone just started going crazy. Jacque Jones, OF, Minnesota Twins (1996, 2nd round): Jones was a popular player in the Twins organization through the 2005 season. He is currently a hitting coach with the Washington Nationals. Didn't really have an experience was in the middle of preparing for the Olympics. Was a quick phone call and then went to practice. Steve Singleton, 2B, Minnesota Twins (2006, 11th Round) “Sing” played in the Twins organization until the 2011 season. He reached AAA Rochester. He is now the hitting coach of the Ft. Myers Miracle. Draft day was whirlwind. I was just with my immediate family. Mom, Dad and brother. I had heard a lot of different noise about what rounds and what teams. I thought I had a chance to go in the top five rounds and really expected top ten. I ended up going in the 11th with the Twins and was surprised. I had never filled out a questionnaire or had a sit down with the scout who ended up taking me, John Leavitt. I got calls in the 10th and 11th from the Yankees saying they were taking me with their picks right then and neither time they pulled the trigger, so I was pretty anxious after that. Once my name was called, it was a very happy moment for my family. While there was some anxiety and disappointment while we were waiting, it all disappeared once I was selected. I went to dinner with a few close friends right after and prepared for the next chapter of my life. It was a wild day. Clark Beeker, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2016, 33rd round): I remember sitting at my house and watching TV with the audio of the draft picks going on in the background. I knew there was a chance of being selected, but it definitely wasn't a given that I would be drafted in one of the final rounds. Then I heard it announced that the Twins had selected me and the next couple hours or so were extremely hectic. I received a call from my area scout about five minutes after the pick and then texts and phone calls from friends, family, and former teammates started pouring in. It was a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life. How fun was that, getting to read so many draft day memories!? I’m guessing a small percentage of those of us reading this have had the great opportunity to experience being drafted. What a moment, not only for the player but clearly for their families, coaches and friends. ---- The Twins have made that dream happen for 11 players already in the 2017 draft, and on Wednesday, they’ll do the same for 30 more players. Hopefully we can hear more of those stories too. Feel free to discuss and tell us which are your favorite stories. Click here to view the article
  15. April 2, 1962 Twins Trade Ramos For Stigman It what is commonly considered the first major trade in Twins history, Minnesota trades Pedro Ramos for Nimrod native, 1954 Sebeka High School graduate, and 1960 All-Star Dick Stigman. Pedro Ramos started the first regular season game in Twins history, pitching a complete game three-hit shutout vs. Whitey Ford at Yankee Stadium on April 11, 1961. He was involved in an interesting piece of Twins history on May 12, 1961 as he and Angels pitcher Eli Grba traded homers off of each other. Grba homered off of Ramos in the top of the fifth to give the Angels a 3-2 lead. Ramos returned the favor in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Ramos added a two-run single in the sixth. The Twins held on to win 5-4, with the pitcher driving in the Twins’ final three runs. April 2, 2010 First MLB Game at Target Field The Twins and St. Louis Cardinals play an exhibition game at Target Field, the first major league game at the new ballpark, and Denard Span has himself a day. The center fielder collects the stadium’s first hit (a triple, of course), first home run, and first run scored. Jacque Jones, attempting a comeback with the club, pitch-hits and receives a moving standing ovation. I sure wish the Twins would make this kind of footage available. If they want to monetize it, fine, but don’t just keep in the damn vault! April 3, 1982 First MLB Game at the Dumb Metrodome The Twins and Philadelphia Philles play an exhibition game at the Metrodome, the first major league game at the new ballpark, and 1978 Bloomington Kennedy grad Kent Hrbek has himself a day. The Phillies’ Pete Rose collects the Dome’s first basehit, but the hometown kid hits the first AND second home runs in Metrodome history, powering the Twins to a 5-0 win. April 3, 1997 Old Man Grand Slam 40-year-old Twins DH Paul Molitor hits a grand slam off Detroit’s Willie Blair at home in the Dome, driving in Todd Walker, Chuck Knoblauch, and Rich Becker. It is the third and final grand slam of Molitor’s career. The second came off of Minnesota’s Dave Stevens on July 5, 1994. The first was way back on April 22, 1981. April 4, 1990 Twins Trade Pomeranz for Ortiz The Twins trade future-KARE11 anchor Mike Pomeranz to Pittsburgh for Junior Oritz and minor league pitcher Orlando Lind. Oritz, who wore number 0, is best-rememberd as Scott Erickson’s peronal catcher during the Twins’ 1991 World Series Championship season. April 5, 2004 Michael Wuertz Makes MLB Debut 1997 Austin, Minnesota High School graduate Michael Wuertz strikes out the first two batters he faces in his major league debut, pitching a 1-2-3 sixth in a 7-4 Cubs win in Cincinnati. Wuertz would pitch 426 major league games over eight seasons with the Cubs and Oakland A’s. April 5, 2014 Gardy Gets Win 1,000 Brian Dozier homers on the second pitch of the game, leading the Twins to a 7-3 victory over the Cleveland ballclub for Ron Gardenhire’s 1,000th managerial win. The milestone victory doesn’t come without a new gray hair, however, as 2001 Stillwater grad Glen Perkins gives up two runs in the bottom of the ninth before securing the Kyle Gibson win. April 6 Happy 66th Birthday to Bert Blyleven It’s the birthday of Rik Aalbert “Bert” Blyleven, born in Zeist, Holland in 1951. Blyleven grew up in Garden Grove, California and was drafted by Minnesota out of high school in the 3rd round in 1969. After only 21 minor league starts, Bert made his major league debut on June 2, 1970 at age 19. Blyleven would pitch for 22 seasons, 11 in Minnesota (‘70-’76, ‘85-’88). He is a 2x World Series Champion, winning his first in 1979 as a Pittsburgh Pirate, and his second as a member of the ‘87 Twins. Blyleven won 149 games as a Twin, 2nd only to Jim Kaat (190). He pitched three one-hitters with the Twins, two in 1973 and another in 1974. He pitched a no-hitter in his final game as a Texas Ranger, September 22, 1977. His 3,701 career strikeouts rank fifth in major league history. Only Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Steve Carlton had more strikeouts. Bert Blyleven was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011, his 14th year on the ballot. His number 28 is retired by the Minnesota Twins. April 6, 1973 First DH Home Run With Rod Carew aboard in the top of the first on Opening Day, Tony Oliva hits the first home run by a designated hitter in major league history off of Oakland’s Catfish Hunter. Bert Blyleven pitches the first of 25 complete games on the season in the Twins’ 8-3 victory. April 6, 1982 First Regular Season Game in the Dome The Twins opened the 1982 season vs. Seattle at home in the dumb new Dome. 1977 St. Cloud Tech graduate Jim Eisenreich had the honor of being the first Twins batter to the plate. He grounded out to short. Two batters later right fielder Dave Engle homered for the first regular season hit in Metrodome history. In his first at-bat in the dumb new Dome, Gary Gaetti was thrown at at home trying to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park home run. He put the ball over the fence in his next two at-bats, going 4-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored. The Twins fell to the Mariners, however, 11-7. April 7, 1970 Alyea Has Record-Setting Opening Day Outifielder Brant Alyea, who the Twins had just acquired on March 21, drives in a Twins record seven runs to back Jim Perry on Opening Day. He will go on to drive in 21 runs in the Twins’ first 12 games. Quite remarkably, 19 of those 21 RBI come in Jim Perry’s first four starts. Alyea matched his own record, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and driving in all seven Twins runs in a 7-6 win on September 7, 1970. Glenn Adams broke Alyea’s record with 8 RBI on June 26, 1977. Randy Bush matched that on May 20, 1989. Alyea’s career had gotten off to an Eddie Rosario-esque start, homering on the first big league pitch he saw as a Washington Senator on September 11, 1965. April 8, 1988 The Dazzle Man Has Himself a Day Dan Gladden goes 4-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI, and three runs scored in a 6-3 Twins win vs. Toronto at home in the Dome. Gladden homered to lead off the Twins’ half of the first, and knocked out another in the bottom of the eighth. With Kent Hrbek batting in the seventh, Gladden stole home off of David Wells. It was the first of three times that Gladden would steal home in his career. He would do so again later in the ‘88 season, and once more in 1989. He was caught trying to steal home five times in his career. Rod Carew stole home 17 times and in his caeer, and Paul Molitor did so 10 times. Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter, and on Facebook.
  16. Apparently there is a big football game on Sunday in Houston. The Super Bowl will pit the Atlanta Falcons against the New England Patriots. That has nothing to do with the Twins, or really even with baseball, but like a million-billion people are going to watch it. They watch it for the football, or for the commercials, or maybe even just for the halftime show. But everyone has an opinion. So, I reached out to a ton of current, former and future Minnesota Twins players to get their thoughts on the big game.This page will be updated frequently throughout the day, right up until the start of the Super Bowl. Below you will find the picks of over 70 Twins-related people. Be sure to post your predictions in the comments below. Let's get to the picks: Seth Stohs - Twins Daily Falcons 37, Patriots 20 This is a tough one. First, I will always root for whoever Tom Brady and the Patriots are playing… But, I also would love to see Roger Goodell have to hand over the Lombardi Trophy to Robert Kraft and Tom Brady. But I also think that the Falcons offense will dominate a lot. Jeremy Nygaard - Twins Daily Falcons 28, Patriots 20. Eric Pleiss - Twins Daily Falcons 27, Pats 24 Juan Gamez - GCL pitcher and 2016 draft pick Patriots are winning it 24-21! Tom Brady is by far the greatest player in NFL history! Zack Granite - Chattanooga outfielder, Twins Minor League Player of the Year The final score will be 31-26 Patriots. As good as Atlanta’s offense is I think the Patriots slow them down. My MVP is LaGarrette Blount as he rushes for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns. Book it Lean Marrero - GCL Twins outfield prospect, 2015 draft pick 33-20 Patriots, Brady 320 yards, 3TD Casey Scoggins - Kernels outfielder and 2016 draft pick I'm tired of New England winning, and I'm not a fan of them even though Brady and his squad are solid. I think Matt Ryan and Atlanta have something special this year. So I'm going to say: 35-28 Atlanta wins on a late score in the 4th. Aaron Whitefield - GCL Twins prospect from Australia I'm going Patriots, cause Brady is a stud but low scoring game! 20-7. Travis Blankenhorn - Kernels 2B prospect and 2015 draft pick I'm going to have to go with 28-24 Patriots. Trey Cabbage - Elizabethton 3B prospect and 2015 draft pick I'm rooting for the Falcons, but I think Tom and the Pats will pull it out. 31-23 Pats. Ryan Walker - Lookouts infield prospect ATL 38 NE 23. Hank Morrison - Elizabethton outfielder and 2016 draft pick I am a Steelers fan so I definitely want the Patriots to lose. I think the Patriots will lose, but I think it will be very close 24-17 Falcons! Justin Hazard - GCL Twins catcher and 2016 signee. My predictions for this Super Bowl is Falcons win 24-20. They just have too many weapons on offense and look for Sanu to have a big game with a lot of attention being paid to Julio Jones. Brandon Lopez - Kernels shortstop prospect and 2016 draft pick My prediction is 24-17. Pats take it home! Tyler Wells - Elizabethton RHP prospect and 2016 draft pick I predict that the Patriots will win by a score of 34-28 Kevin Garcia - Kernels and Miracle catching prospect I got the Patriots! It's hard to beat tom Brady although Matt Ryan will put up a fight I still believe the Patriots will come on top. DJ Baxendale - Red Wings RHP prospect My prediction for this years’ Super Bowl is the same prediction as the beginning of the NFL season. Sir Thomas Brady will lead the New England Patriots to another Super Bowl victory! David Hurlbut - Red Wings LHP prospect I have the Patriots over the Falcons 24-21. Tom Brady will seal the deal. But it will be a dogfight with Matt Ryan leading the Falcons. Randy LeBlanc - Miracle RHP prospect 31-27 Pats. Who dat! Daniel Kihle - Miracle outfield prospect and 2015 draft pick I think it's going to be a shootout with the two quarterbacks. My guess is a lot of action with the Falcons winning it late in the 4th quarter. 35-31 Falcons. Alex Kirilloff - Elizabethton outfield prospect and 2016 first-round pick 28-21 Falcons. Tom Hackimer - Kernels RH RP prospect and 2016 draft pick I've got Patriots 42, Falcons 27. Logan Darnell - free agent LHP, spent years with the Twins O'Rourke is going to hate me for this. Falcons 30 - Pats 21. Zack Jones - Lookouts RH RP prospect I want the Falcons to win, but I have the Patriots winning 31-23. Kolton Kendrick - GCL Twins 1B prospect and 2015 draft pick It's really a hard question because I want the Falcons to win, and it's going to be a great game. But I see the Patriots winning 31-24 and the Falcons jumping up early in the game. Pat Light - Twins RH RP prospect Patriots 37 Falcons 21 … Never bet against Tom Brady. Patrick McGuff - Elizabethton Twins RH RP prospect, 2016 draft pick Patriots, It would feel wrong to pick against the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Shane Carrier - Elizabethton outfield prospect, 2016 draft pick I've got Atlanta 27, New England 24. Ryan O’Rourke - Twins Left-handed relief pitcher Pats 34, Falcons - thanks for coming. Keaton Steele - Miracle RHP prospect Brady is 4-0 all-time against Atlanta. With that being said, all streaks must come to an end just like the Cubs this past year. I've got Atlanta by a field goal. Zach Strecker - GCL Twins RH RP prospect, 2016 signee I'm hoping the Falcons win like 50-0, but I don't see that happening. But, more like a 34-31 Falcons instead is more realistic. Jake Reed - Red Wings RH RP prospect I got the Falcons! Tight end Levine Toilolo went to the same high school as I did and it would be great to see him win a championship. Travis Harrison - Lookouts Outfield Prospect Patriots 31, Falcons 28. Jeff Manship - Former Twins pitcher, recently signed to play in Korea I'm predicting the Falcons because they are such a high powered offense. Plus, I really want them to win because I like Matt Ryan and I'm sick of the Patriots always being in the Super Bowl. Hector Lujan - Elizabethton RH RP prospect and 2015 draft pick I'm taking the Patriots winning by a score of 24-17. Luke Bard - Lookouts RH RP prospect 31-27 Pats. Can't bet against Tommy. Sean Miller - Miracle infield prospect, 2015 draft pick Can't go against Tom Brady. I think it'll be a good game, but I'm taking the Patriots! Mitchell Kranson - Elizabethton C/3B prospect, 2016 draft pick I have the Patriots winning 35-30. Tyler Benninghoff - Twins RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick I got the Pats winning 31-17! Stephen Gonsalves - Lookouts LHP prospect, Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year Atlanta 28-24. Matty Iceis going to take care of business. Anthony Slama - former Twins pitcher, Slama Time! Patriots 31-24. Ryan throws one interception, Brady throws one interception. New England will win coin toss and defer. Cody Stashak - Miracle RHP prospect I'm going to have to go with Atlanta over New England, 34-31. Callan Pearce - South African, GCL Twins RH RP prospect I'm not too clued up on the points system, but I'll have the Patriots winning 34-24. Cory Provus - Twins Radio Voice 34-24 Falcons. Austin Malinowski - Minnesotan and former LHP in Twins system Patriots by 14. Tom Brady Super Bowl MVP! Brice Zimmerman - The Voice of Miracle baseball 38-31 Falcons. #RiseUp!!!!! Dallas Gallant - Former Twins RH RP prospect Patriots win 27-20. Matt Fiedler - Minnesotan, former Gopher, Big 10 MVP, Cardinals 2016 draft pick I got the Pats winning 21-17! Alex Wimmers - Twins RH RP prospect, debuted in 2016 I'm rocking with the Patriots. I can't go against Tom Brady in Super Bowls. Even though he went to Michigan... He just plays well in big games and the Atlanta defense won't know how to stop them. The Patriots will shut down Julio and the Falcons won't make the right adjustments in which they need to. I got Patriots 31, Falcons 17 with Matt Ryan throwing a Pick-6 at the end of the game when they are trying to mount a game-tying drive at the end of the game. LaTroy Hawkins - former Twins pitcher, spent 21 years in MLB, Twins Special Assistant to Baseball Operations I'm rooting for Brady and the Pats, 27-21. Can't wait for the Commissioner to hand that trophy to Brady/Kraft. Ryan Mason - Elizabethton RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick My prediction for Sunday's Super Bowl: Patriots 27-24 over the Falcons. Go Brady! Josh Rabe - former Twins outfielder, current head coach and Quincy University Patriots 34, Atlanta 31 -- Brady and Bill will find a way. Terry Doyle - former Twins Rule 5 pick I think the Patriots win a close one. 27-24 is my guess. Dan Osterbrock - former Twins LHP prospect Patriots 31, Falcons 24. Tom Brady is the MVP and secretly spits in his hand before shaking Roger Goodell's hand (just like we used to do in Little League after a loss). Steve Blevins - former Twins RH RP prospect 31-28 Patriots. Chris Colabello - former Twins DH, recently signed with Cleveland I'm not a big prediction guy because I think the team that scores the most points will end up winning... haha (that's why they play the game) With all the bias in the world, as a Pats fan… Pats 37-21 with a garbage time TD by Atlanta. But, I actually hope it's close because Super Bowls are way better when they're down to the wire. Matt Albanese - Twins outfield prospect, 2016 draft pick Pats got it ..... Bill and Tom are winners. Todd Van Steensel - Australian, Twin RH RP prospect I reckon Patriots will win 34-17. Ethan Mildren - former Twins RHP prospect I'd like to see the Patriots lose for my beating my Steelers, but I think they are going to win 24-17. Steve Singleton - former Twins 2B prospect, currently Miracle hitting coach Atlanta 35-31. Sean Johnson - Twins Direction of Scouting I'll go 35-31 Patriots. Hard to not bet on Brady. Atlanta puts up some points but won't quite get it done. Tim Shibuya - former Twins RHP prospect Patriots win 24-17. Brian Dinkelman - former Twins 2B/OF, current Kernels hitting coach I'm going Patriots 27-23 . Late TD by Pats wins it. Austin Tribby - Elizabethton LH RP prospect, 2016 draft pick I think the Patriots will win... Tom Brady is the GOAT, and unfortunately I don't think it will be a close game. I'm calling 42-20. Dalton Hicks - Lookouts 1B prospect I think my man Tom is going to have a good day. They are going to win 24-17 ! Go Dolphins! AJ Pettersen - former Twins infield prospect, current head coach Chanhassen HS I'll take Patriots 28-17! Jake Proctor - former Twins OF prospect Pats have been there-done that far too many times. Falcons come out hot with an early lead, but Tom leads a late comeback to remind people. He's the GOAT. Patriots 31, Falcons 28. Isaiah Aluko - GCL Twins outfield prospect, 2016 signee Yes, I am. My prediction is that the Falcons will win 27-24 on a last minute field goal. #Riseup Jacque Jones - former Twins outfielder, current Nationals assistant hitting coach Don't really care who wins. Just wanna see an exciting game. Tyler Beardsley - Kernels RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick Patriots 34-31. Chris Mazza - former Twins RHP prospect, currently in Marlins system Falcons 36-27, and Jones will have over 150 yards receiving and 2 TDs. Griffin Jax - Twins RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick I really do not care who wins. I just love watching football and am excited for a good game! John Curtiss - Miracle RH RP prospect I think the Patriots are gonna win! I like Brady a lot, respect that guy. AJ Achter - former Twins pitcher, currently with the Detroit Tigers I'll go Pats 28-24. As much as I dislike them because I'm a Bills fan, I can't go against Brady, the best QB of all-time, and I believe he will get his 5th ring. Niko Goodrum - Lookouts IF/OF prospect Of course I'm riding with my home team. Falcons all day, every day! Trey Vavra - Miracle 1B prospect They destroyed the Packers... my heart is broke. Go Falcons! 27-23. Austin Diemer - Miracle OF prospect 31-28 Patriots... going to be a competitive game but Brady won't let his boys lose! Logan Lombana - Miracle RH RP prospect Pats 34-31! Trevor Plouffe - former Twins 3B, recently signed with the Oakland A's Patriots 38-35 Dave St. Peter - Minnesota Twins President New England 30, Atlanta 27 (Overtime) Robby Incmikoski - former FSN reporter, now at Root Sports in Pittsburgh Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are playing in their own world right now and everyone else is just a spectator, and it's fun to watch! But here's the rub: I have a REALLY hard time betting against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. I predict a high-scoring, entertaining game.....and a 34-31 Patriots win! Trevor Hildenberger - Lookouts RH RP prospect (two-time Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year) I think the Pats win by a touchdown or 2. When you give Belichick time to prepare, it helps the Patriots take away what the other team does best. I think the Pats slow down the Falcons enough to win Tommy Watkins - former Twins player, current Kernels manager Patriots 24-21. Will Hurt - former Twins infield prospect Patriots! Michael Theofanopoulos - Miracle LH RP prospect I have Falcons 34, Patriots 28. LaMonte Wade - Miracle outfield prospect Pats 28 Falcons 21. This page will continue to be updated until the Super Bowl starts late Sunday afternoon. As of right now, here is how our picks are leaning. Patriots 59, Falcons 25 Click here to view the article
  17. This page will be updated frequently throughout the day, right up until the start of the Super Bowl. Below you will find the picks of over 70 Twins-related people. Be sure to post your predictions in the comments below. Let's get to the picks: Seth Stohs - Twins Daily Falcons 37, Patriots 20 This is a tough one. First, I will always root for whoever Tom Brady and the Patriots are playing… But, I also would love to see Roger Goodell have to hand over the Lombardi Trophy to Robert Kraft and Tom Brady. But I also think that the Falcons offense will dominate a lot. Jeremy Nygaard - Twins Daily Falcons 28, Patriots 20. Eric Pleiss - Twins Daily Falcons 27, Pats 24 Juan Gamez - GCL pitcher and 2016 draft pick Patriots are winning it 24-21! Tom Brady is by far the greatest player in NFL history! Zack Granite - Chattanooga outfielder, Twins Minor League Player of the Year The final score will be 31-26 Patriots. As good as Atlanta’s offense is I think the Patriots slow them down. My MVP is LaGarrette Blount as he rushes for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns. Book it Lean Marrero - GCL Twins outfield prospect, 2015 draft pick 33-20 Patriots, Brady 320 yards, 3TD Casey Scoggins - Kernels outfielder and 2016 draft pick I'm tired of New England winning, and I'm not a fan of them even though Brady and his squad are solid. I think Matt Ryan and Atlanta have something special this year. So I'm going to say: 35-28 Atlanta wins on a late score in the 4th. Aaron Whitefield - GCL Twins prospect from Australia I'm going Patriots, cause Brady is a stud but low scoring game! 20-7. Travis Blankenhorn - Kernels 2B prospect and 2015 draft pick I'm going to have to go with 28-24 Patriots. Trey Cabbage - Elizabethton 3B prospect and 2015 draft pick I'm rooting for the Falcons, but I think Tom and the Pats will pull it out. 31-23 Pats. Ryan Walker - Lookouts infield prospect ATL 38 NE 23. Hank Morrison - Elizabethton outfielder and 2016 draft pick I am a Steelers fan so I definitely want the Patriots to lose. I think the Patriots will lose, but I think it will be very close 24-17 Falcons! Justin Hazard - GCL Twins catcher and 2016 signee. My predictions for this Super Bowl is Falcons win 24-20. They just have too many weapons on offense and look for Sanu to have a big game with a lot of attention being paid to Julio Jones. Brandon Lopez - Kernels shortstop prospect and 2016 draft pick My prediction is 24-17. Pats take it home! Tyler Wells - Elizabethton RHP prospect and 2016 draft pick I predict that the Patriots will win by a score of 34-28 Kevin Garcia - Kernels and Miracle catching prospect I got the Patriots! It's hard to beat tom Brady although Matt Ryan will put up a fight I still believe the Patriots will come on top. DJ Baxendale - Red Wings RHP prospect My prediction for this years’ Super Bowl is the same prediction as the beginning of the NFL season. Sir Thomas Brady will lead the New England Patriots to another Super Bowl victory! David Hurlbut - Red Wings LHP prospect I have the Patriots over the Falcons 24-21. Tom Brady will seal the deal. But it will be a dogfight with Matt Ryan leading the Falcons. Randy LeBlanc - Miracle RHP prospect 31-27 Pats. Who dat! Daniel Kihle - Miracle outfield prospect and 2015 draft pick I think it's going to be a shootout with the two quarterbacks. My guess is a lot of action with the Falcons winning it late in the 4th quarter. 35-31 Falcons. Alex Kirilloff - Elizabethton outfield prospect and 2016 first-round pick 28-21 Falcons. Tom Hackimer - Kernels RH RP prospect and 2016 draft pick I've got Patriots 42, Falcons 27. Logan Darnell - free agent LHP, spent years with the Twins O'Rourke is going to hate me for this. Falcons 30 - Pats 21. Zack Jones - Lookouts RH RP prospect I want the Falcons to win, but I have the Patriots winning 31-23. Kolton Kendrick - GCL Twins 1B prospect and 2015 draft pick It's really a hard question because I want the Falcons to win, and it's going to be a great game. But I see the Patriots winning 31-24 and the Falcons jumping up early in the game. Pat Light - Twins RH RP prospect Patriots 37 Falcons 21 … Never bet against Tom Brady. Patrick McGuff - Elizabethton Twins RH RP prospect, 2016 draft pick Patriots, It would feel wrong to pick against the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Shane Carrier - Elizabethton outfield prospect, 2016 draft pick I've got Atlanta 27, New England 24. Ryan O’Rourke - Twins Left-handed relief pitcher Pats 34, Falcons - thanks for coming. Keaton Steele - Miracle RHP prospect Brady is 4-0 all-time against Atlanta. With that being said, all streaks must come to an end just like the Cubs this past year. I've got Atlanta by a field goal. Zach Strecker - GCL Twins RH RP prospect, 2016 signee I'm hoping the Falcons win like 50-0, but I don't see that happening. But, more like a 34-31 Falcons instead is more realistic. Jake Reed - Red Wings RH RP prospect I got the Falcons! Tight end Levine Toilolo went to the same high school as I did and it would be great to see him win a championship. Travis Harrison - Lookouts Outfield Prospect Patriots 31, Falcons 28. Jeff Manship - Former Twins pitcher, recently signed to play in Korea I'm predicting the Falcons because they are such a high powered offense. Plus, I really want them to win because I like Matt Ryan and I'm sick of the Patriots always being in the Super Bowl. Hector Lujan - Elizabethton RH RP prospect and 2015 draft pick I'm taking the Patriots winning by a score of 24-17. Luke Bard - Lookouts RH RP prospect 31-27 Pats. Can't bet against Tommy. Sean Miller - Miracle infield prospect, 2015 draft pick Can't go against Tom Brady. I think it'll be a good game, but I'm taking the Patriots! Mitchell Kranson - Elizabethton C/3B prospect, 2016 draft pick I have the Patriots winning 35-30. Tyler Benninghoff - Twins RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick I got the Pats winning 31-17! Stephen Gonsalves - Lookouts LHP prospect, Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year Atlanta 28-24. Matty Iceis going to take care of business. Anthony Slama - former Twins pitcher, Slama Time! Patriots 31-24. Ryan throws one interception, Brady throws one interception. New England will win coin toss and defer. Cody Stashak - Miracle RHP prospect I'm going to have to go with Atlanta over New England, 34-31. Callan Pearce - South African, GCL Twins RH RP prospect I'm not too clued up on the points system, but I'll have the Patriots winning 34-24. Cory Provus - Twins Radio Voice 34-24 Falcons. Austin Malinowski - Minnesotan and former LHP in Twins system Patriots by 14. Tom Brady Super Bowl MVP! Brice Zimmerman - The Voice of Miracle baseball 38-31 Falcons. #RiseUp!!!!! Dallas Gallant - Former Twins RH RP prospect Patriots win 27-20. Matt Fiedler - Minnesotan, former Gopher, Big 10 MVP, Cardinals 2016 draft pick I got the Pats winning 21-17! Alex Wimmers - Twins RH RP prospect, debuted in 2016 I'm rocking with the Patriots. I can't go against Tom Brady in Super Bowls. Even though he went to Michigan... He just plays well in big games and the Atlanta defense won't know how to stop them. The Patriots will shut down Julio and the Falcons won't make the right adjustments in which they need to. I got Patriots 31, Falcons 17 with Matt Ryan throwing a Pick-6 at the end of the game when they are trying to mount a game-tying drive at the end of the game. LaTroy Hawkins - former Twins pitcher, spent 21 years in MLB, Twins Special Assistant to Baseball Operations I'm rooting for Brady and the Pats, 27-21. Can't wait for the Commissioner to hand that trophy to Brady/Kraft. Ryan Mason - Elizabethton RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick My prediction for Sunday's Super Bowl: Patriots 27-24 over the Falcons. Go Brady! Josh Rabe - former Twins outfielder, current head coach and Quincy University Patriots 34, Atlanta 31 -- Brady and Bill will find a way. Terry Doyle - former Twins Rule 5 pick I think the Patriots win a close one. 27-24 is my guess. Dan Osterbrock - former Twins LHP prospect Patriots 31, Falcons 24. Tom Brady is the MVP and secretly spits in his hand before shaking Roger Goodell's hand (just like we used to do in Little League after a loss). Steve Blevins - former Twins RH RP prospect 31-28 Patriots. Chris Colabello - former Twins DH, recently signed with Cleveland I'm not a big prediction guy because I think the team that scores the most points will end up winning... haha (that's why they play the game) With all the bias in the world, as a Pats fan… Pats 37-21 with a garbage time TD by Atlanta. But, I actually hope it's close because Super Bowls are way better when they're down to the wire. Matt Albanese - Twins outfield prospect, 2016 draft pick Pats got it ..... Bill and Tom are winners. Todd Van Steensel - Australian, Twin RH RP prospect I reckon Patriots will win 34-17. Ethan Mildren - former Twins RHP prospect I'd like to see the Patriots lose for my beating my Steelers, but I think they are going to win 24-17. Steve Singleton - former Twins 2B prospect, currently Miracle hitting coach Atlanta 35-31. Sean Johnson - Twins Direction of Scouting I'll go 35-31 Patriots. Hard to not bet on Brady. Atlanta puts up some points but won't quite get it done. Tim Shibuya - former Twins RHP prospect Patriots win 24-17. Brian Dinkelman - former Twins 2B/OF, current Kernels hitting coach I'm going Patriots 27-23 . Late TD by Pats wins it. Austin Tribby - Elizabethton LH RP prospect, 2016 draft pick I think the Patriots will win... Tom Brady is the GOAT, and unfortunately I don't think it will be a close game. I'm calling 42-20. Dalton Hicks - Lookouts 1B prospect I think my man Tom is going to have a good day. They are going to win 24-17 ! Go Dolphins! AJ Pettersen - former Twins infield prospect, current head coach Chanhassen HS I'll take Patriots 28-17! Jake Proctor - former Twins OF prospect Pats have been there-done that far too many times. Falcons come out hot with an early lead, but Tom leads a late comeback to remind people. He's the GOAT. Patriots 31, Falcons 28. Isaiah Aluko - GCL Twins outfield prospect, 2016 signee Yes, I am. My prediction is that the Falcons will win 27-24 on a last minute field goal. #Riseup Jacque Jones - former Twins outfielder, current Nationals assistant hitting coach Don't really care who wins. Just wanna see an exciting game. Tyler Beardsley - Kernels RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick Patriots 34-31. Chris Mazza - former Twins RHP prospect, currently in Marlins system Falcons 36-27, and Jones will have over 150 yards receiving and 2 TDs. Griffin Jax - Twins RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick I really do not care who wins. I just love watching football and am excited for a good game! John Curtiss - Miracle RH RP prospect I think the Patriots are gonna win! I like Brady a lot, respect that guy. AJ Achter - former Twins pitcher, currently with the Detroit Tigers I'll go Pats 28-24. As much as I dislike them because I'm a Bills fan, I can't go against Brady, the best QB of all-time, and I believe he will get his 5th ring. Niko Goodrum - Lookouts IF/OF prospect Of course I'm riding with my home team. Falcons all day, every day! Trey Vavra - Miracle 1B prospect They destroyed the Packers... my heart is broke. Go Falcons! 27-23. Austin Diemer - Miracle OF prospect 31-28 Patriots... going to be a competitive game but Brady won't let his boys lose! Logan Lombana - Miracle RH RP prospect Pats 34-31! Trevor Plouffe - former Twins 3B, recently signed with the Oakland A's Patriots 38-35 Dave St. Peter - Minnesota Twins President New England 30, Atlanta 27 (Overtime) Robby Incmikoski - former FSN reporter, now at Root Sports in Pittsburgh Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are playing in their own world right now and everyone else is just a spectator, and it's fun to watch! But here's the rub: I have a REALLY hard time betting against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. I predict a high-scoring, entertaining game.....and a 34-31 Patriots win! Trevor Hildenberger - Lookouts RH RP prospect (two-time Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year) I think the Pats win by a touchdown or 2. When you give Belichick time to prepare, it helps the Patriots take away what the other team does best. I think the Pats slow down the Falcons enough to win Tommy Watkins - former Twins player, current Kernels manager Patriots 24-21. Will Hurt - former Twins infield prospect Patriots! Michael Theofanopoulos - Miracle LH RP prospect I have Falcons 34, Patriots 28. LaMonte Wade - Miracle outfield prospect Pats 28 Falcons 21. This page will continue to be updated until the Super Bowl starts late Sunday afternoon. As of right now, here is how our picks are leaning. Patriots 59, Falcons 25
  18. Last week, I wrote about Butch Huskey and his dubious tenure in a Twins uniform. There have been plenty of other players to struggle during their time in Minnesota. For a team considered small market and owners that have been cautious with their money, there have been some rough moves made to save a dollar or two. This week's candidate might fit into that category. He played parts of two seasons with the Twins at the end of a 15-year career. He did hit a postseason home run for the club but it wasn't enough to take him away from making this list.Rondell White began his career with plenty of promise. The power-hitting outfielder was taken 24th overall in the first round of the 1990 amateur draft by the Montreal Expos, a pick from the Angels as compensation for free agent Mark Langston. Out of the first round picks that year, White has the fourth highest career WAR behind Chipper Jones (1st overall pick), Mike Mussina (20th overall pick), and Alex Fernandez (4th overall pick). White was ranked as a top 15 prospect by Baseball America in all four years in the minors (1991-94). He averaged double digits in home runs in each of his full minor league seasons and he showed the ability to draw walks by getting on base almost 37% of the time. He did this while being multiple years younger than the competition in each full season league. At age 21, White made his professional debut as a September call-up. In his first taste of the big leagues, he showed a little bit of power and continued to get on base over 32% of the time. The next season saw White go back and forth between Triple-A and the big leagues before finally sticking as a regular in 1995. There were multiple stops on the Rondell White Express before he ended up as a Minnesota Twin. On the trade deadline in 2000, he was dealt from the Expos to the Cubs for Scott Downs. He would sign as a free agent with the Yankees in 2001 and a couple years later be dealt to the Padres. His last two stops before Minnesota were in Kansas City and Detroit. Up to that point in his career, he was a .289/.343/.472 hitter and he'd been selected to the 2003 All-Star team. White had suffered multiple injuries during his career so when the Twins came calling prior to the 2006 season, the idea of becoming an everyday designated hitter sounded good. "I'm really, really excited about [being] in a DH role," said White. Jacque Jones had just left the Twins to sign with the Cubs so the Twins needed to replace his bat in the line-up. The Twins also considered signing Mike Piazza and Frank Thomas. During his first season in Minnesota, White played in 99 games and collected over 350 plate appearances. He posted the second worst batting average of his career to that point (.246) and got on base less than 28% of the time. For his career, he averaged a .799 OPS but this year he'd be held to a .641 OPS. Even though he'd been signed to play as DH, he played over 280 innings in the outfield in 2006. FanGraphs calculated his Total Zone rating (TZ) to be 2 runs below average. He saw 161 fewer innings in the outfield in 2007 but he posted the same TZ rating of -2. Over those two seasons he combined for a -1.0 defensive WAR. White finished the 2006 season strong as he batted .417 with a .750 slugging percentage in the team's ALDS match-up with the Oakland A's. This might have been enough to bring him back for a second trip with the club. The 2007 season was disastrous as he was limited to 38 games and hit .174/.235/.321. White's time in Minnesota was far from stellar but he wouldn't have made it 15 years in the big leagues without some positive play on the field. Baseball Reference gives him a 28.1 career WAR while FanGraphs is a little less at 24.1. His three best seasons were 1995, 1997, 1998 with WAR marks above 3.0 in all three seasons. In December 2007 after retiring, White's name came out in the Mitchell Report. It claimed that he used performance-enhancing drugs to try to overcome injuries and stay in the game. He was the only member of the Twins mentioned in the report who had played on the team in 2007. The allegations in the report regarding White all involve conduct before he played in Minnesota. What memories do you have about Mr. White? Who should be next in the All-Time Worst Twins series? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  19. Rondell White began his career with plenty of promise. The power-hitting outfielder was taken 24th overall in the first round of the 1990 amateur draft by the Montreal Expos, a pick from the Angels as compensation for free agent Mark Langston. Out of the first round picks that year, White has the fourth highest career WAR behind Chipper Jones (1st overall pick), Mike Mussina (20th overall pick), and Alex Fernandez (4th overall pick). White was ranked as a top 15 prospect by Baseball America in all four years in the minors (1991-94). He averaged double digits in home runs in each of his full minor league seasons and he showed the ability to draw walks by getting on base almost 37% of the time. He did this while being multiple years younger than the competition in each full season league. At age 21, White made his professional debut as a September call-up. In his first taste of the big leagues, he showed a little bit of power and continued to get on base over 32% of the time. The next season saw White go back and forth between Triple-A and the big leagues before finally sticking as a regular in 1995. There were multiple stops on the Rondell White Express before he ended up as a Minnesota Twin. On the trade deadline in 2000, he was dealt from the Expos to the Cubs for Scott Downs. He would sign as a free agent with the Yankees in 2001 and a couple years later be dealt to the Padres. His last two stops before Minnesota were in Kansas City and Detroit. Up to that point in his career, he was a .289/.343/.472 hitter and he'd been selected to the 2003 All-Star team. White had suffered multiple injuries during his career so when the Twins came calling prior to the 2006 season, the idea of becoming an everyday designated hitter sounded good. "I'm really, really excited about [being] in a DH role," said White. Jacque Jones had just left the Twins to sign with the Cubs so the Twins needed to replace his bat in the line-up. The Twins also considered signing Mike Piazza and Frank Thomas. During his first season in Minnesota, White played in 99 games and collected over 350 plate appearances. He posted the second worst batting average of his career to that point (.246) and got on base less than 28% of the time. For his career, he averaged a .799 OPS but this year he'd be held to a .641 OPS. Even though he'd been signed to play as DH, he played over 280 innings in the outfield in 2006. FanGraphs calculated his Total Zone rating (TZ) to be 2 runs below average. He saw 161 fewer innings in the outfield in 2007 but he posted the same TZ rating of -2. Over those two seasons he combined for a -1.0 defensive WAR. White finished the 2006 season strong as he batted .417 with a .750 slugging percentage in the team's ALDS match-up with the Oakland A's. This might have been enough to bring him back for a second trip with the club. The 2007 season was disastrous as he was limited to 38 games and hit .174/.235/.321. White's time in Minnesota was far from stellar but he wouldn't have made it 15 years in the big leagues without some positive play on the field. Baseball Reference gives him a 28.1 career WAR while FanGraphs is a little less at 24.1. His three best seasons were 1995, 1997, 1998 with WAR marks above 3.0 in all three seasons. In December 2007 after retiring, White's name came out in the Mitchell Report. It claimed that he used performance-enhancing drugs to try to overcome injuries and stay in the game. He was the only member of the Twins mentioned in the report who had played on the team in 2007. The allegations in the report regarding White all involve conduct before he played in Minnesota. What memories do you have about Mr. White? Who should be next in the All-Time Worst Twins series? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  20. For much of the past 15 years or so, the Twins have had very easy decisions to make with the first spot in the batting order. Jacque Jones settled there, then handed the position over to Shannon Stewart, who was a fixture atop the order until 2006 when Luis Castillo joined the team. He held the role until 2008 when it was briefly handed over to Carlos Gomez, who promptly hit .246/.281/.345 and lost the job to Denard Span. Span locked the role down, holding it until he was traded prior to the 2013 season. (Strangely in 2011, despite Span’s prowess leading off, the team felt that Ben Revere deserved nearly a full-season look in the lead-off spot; he wasn’t quite as bad as Gomez, hitting .291/.322/.349, but still not good enough to keep the team from reverting back to Span.) Since Span’s departure, Brian Dozier has been the Twins’ lead-off hitter of choice, though at various times he has shared the gig with Danny Santana or Aaron Hicks. Dozier has been a fine choice at the top of the order, posting a .243/.313/.459 line when hitting first, but he’s a little more in the mold of Jones (.289/.328/.471) than Span (.285/.352/.389). Does one type of hitter make more sense than the other given how the rest of the Twins' lineup shakes out?The primary job of a lead-off hitter is to get on base and set the table for the more slugging-heavy hitters to come. This is not news. However, in addition to getting on base, a lead-off hitter is often asked to work the starting pitcher a little bit -- not to the extent of laying off of a hittable pitch, but a nine-pitch plate appearance that ends in a strikeout isn’t an entirely negative outcome since it provides the rest of the team with a sense of what that day’s starter has on offer. As I mentioned earlier this season, taking pitches has been one of the few things that Twins hitters have been doing well, so they have some options: http://i.imgur.com/z6mWJNu.png League Average: 3.89 P/PA So the Twins have some options for patience at the top of the order, but how many of these guys can fulfill the primary task of getting on base consistently? http://i.imgur.com/pnFx3cz.png The obvious name on neither of these two lists is Santana’s. He owns a team-worst (among qualified hitters) 3.56 P/PA and his Gomez-esque .256 OBP is the spared from being the low-water mark by the recently demoted Eddie Rosario’s almost unfathomably bad .227 OBP. Santana’s speed makes him interesting when he’s on base, last night’s TOOTBLAN notwithstanding, but he’s not giving the team enough additional value to justify giving him more plate appearances than literally anyone else. Paul Molitor has had Santana’s usage right for the last week or so: Hit him ninth to limit the damage he can do, and if he does get on base, so much the better. Given the way the season is progressing, it would be interesting to see how Byung-Ho Park or Miguel Sano would do leading off, but that’s not a serious suggestion for the long-term, if for no other reason than it would virtually guarantee than any homers hit would be solo home runs. Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor Plouffe offer only fractional upgrades at best over Dozier, and while Dozier’s no Byron Buxton, he is notably faster on the bases than either of the others. This leaves three serious candidates who can both get on base and take an extra pitch or two on their way: Mauer, Dozier, and Nunez, who have combined to lead off in 29 of the Twins’ 40 games. Nunez has been tremendously fun to watch this year, and he’s as good a bench bat as the Twins have had in recent years, but the other shoe is going to drop with him. His .395 BABIP is built largely on flyballs falling in and isn’t supported by an increase in his hard hit percentage. Even if his BABIP dropped to .320, which would still be good for a career high, it would vastly diminish his suitability to lead off. This all assumes that Nunez even gets consistent playing time once Eduardo Escobar returns, which is far from a given. I have been on the bandwagon to bat Joe Mauer second for about as long as it had wheels and a seat, but I understood the theory behind hitting him third. On those early-2000s teams where “get ‘em on, get ‘em over, get ‘em in” was less a team mantra and more a foundational principle, Mauer was clearly in group three and tasked with driving in runs, then being driven in himself by the actual power hitters. Not his ideal usage, perhaps, but his lot in the lineup anyway. This year’s team was never designed to “get ‘em on, get ‘em over, get ‘em in” and they certainly aren’t tricking anyone into thinking that’s their path to glory. They’ve already hit nearly as many home runs in May (17) as they did in all of April (21) and baseballs fly further in warm weather, so it’s reasonable to assume they’re going to actually start scoring a reasonable amount of runs that way; however, if theycontinue to hit solo home run after solo home run, they’ll need to hit an astronomical number of home runs to actually challenge their opponents. Far better to pull a page out of crazy Earl Weaver’s playbook and hit home runs with people on base. Maximizing the average value of a home run hit by the 3-4-5 hitters means ignoring the relative value of slugging for a lead-off hitter -- the increase in expected runs of having a runner on second or third base with no outs -- in favor of fully optimizing for OBP. It also means pairing the hitter with the highest probability of being on base with the hitters most likely to drive him in. So, not only should Mauer be leading off for the foreseeable future, but Park and Sano should be moved up in the order to maximize the likelihood of both of them getting a chance to hit with Mauer available to drive in. Ideally, the Twins would have another high-OBP hitter with slightly more speed to hit ahead of Mauer, as a lineup of XXXX, Mauer, Sano, and Park would be a nice setup, but that hitter doesn't appear to be on the Twins’ roster right now. As long as the hitter in the second slot, between Mauer and Sano, doesn’t have a proclivity for ground balls, having someone hit there shouldn’t change the expected value of setting the lineup this way much at all. This makes Dozier an ideal candidate to bat second. Yes, he’s not a “get ‘em over” guy, but that doesn’t matter. He has the team’s second lowest groundball rate and there’s virtue in giving Dozier the second most plate appearances on the team since he has typically been an offensive asset. Molitor has sent the Twins out with 36 lineups in 40 games, trying to find something that works, but not once has Mauer lead off with Dozier batting right behind him. A top four of Mauer, Dozier, and either Park and Sano or Sano and Park stands to give the Twins the best shot of scoring an early run and of taking advantage when the lineup turns over thanks to Santana. Given how often the lineup is shifting, it seems fairly likely we’ll see this top four sometime this season, hopefully sooner rather than later. Click here to view the article
  21. The primary job of a lead-off hitter is to get on base and set the table for the more slugging-heavy hitters to come. This is not news. However, in addition to getting on base, a lead-off hitter is often asked to work the starting pitcher a little bit -- not to the extent of laying off of a hittable pitch, but a nine-pitch plate appearance that ends in a strikeout isn’t an entirely negative outcome since it provides the rest of the team with a sense of what that day’s starter has on offer. As I mentioned earlier this season, taking pitches has been one of the few things that Twins hitters have been doing well, so they have some options: http://i.imgur.com/z6mWJNu.png League Average: 3.89 P/PA So the Twins have some options for patience at the top of the order, but how many of these guys can fulfill the primary task of getting on base consistently? http://i.imgur.com/pnFx3cz.png The obvious name on neither of these two lists is Santana’s. He owns a team-worst (among qualified hitters) 3.56 P/PA and his Gomez-esque .256 OBP is the spared from being the low-water mark by the recently demoted Eddie Rosario’s almost unfathomably bad .227 OBP. Santana’s speed makes him interesting when he’s on base, last night’s TOOTBLAN notwithstanding, but he’s not giving the team enough additional value to justify giving him more plate appearances than literally anyone else. Paul Molitor has had Santana’s usage right for the last week or so: Hit him ninth to limit the damage he can do, and if he does get on base, so much the better. Given the way the season is progressing, it would be interesting to see how Byung-Ho Park or Miguel Sano would do leading off, but that’s not a serious suggestion for the long-term, if for no other reason than it would virtually guarantee than any homers hit would be solo home runs. Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor Plouffe offer only fractional upgrades at best over Dozier, and while Dozier’s no Byron Buxton, he is notably faster on the bases than either of the others. This leaves three serious candidates who can both get on base and take an extra pitch or two on their way: Mauer, Dozier, and Nunez, who have combined to lead off in 29 of the Twins’ 40 games. Nunez has been tremendously fun to watch this year, and he’s as good a bench bat as the Twins have had in recent years, but the other shoe is going to drop with him. His .395 BABIP is built largely on flyballs falling in and isn’t supported by an increase in his hard hit percentage. Even if his BABIP dropped to .320, which would still be good for a career high, it would vastly diminish his suitability to lead off. This all assumes that Nunez even gets consistent playing time once Eduardo Escobar returns, which is far from a given. I have been on the bandwagon to bat Joe Mauer second for about as long as it had wheels and a seat, but I understood the theory behind hitting him third. On those early-2000s teams where “get ‘em on, get ‘em over, get ‘em in” was less a team mantra and more a foundational principle, Mauer was clearly in group three and tasked with driving in runs, then being driven in himself by the actual power hitters. Not his ideal usage, perhaps, but his lot in the lineup anyway. This year’s team was never designed to “get ‘em on, get ‘em over, get ‘em in” and they certainly aren’t tricking anyone into thinking that’s their path to glory. They’ve already hit nearly as many home runs in May (17) as they did in all of April (21) and baseballs fly further in warm weather, so it’s reasonable to assume they’re going to actually start scoring a reasonable amount of runs that way; however, if theycontinue to hit solo home run after solo home run, they’ll need to hit an astronomical number of home runs to actually challenge their opponents. Far better to pull a page out of crazy Earl Weaver’s playbook and hit home runs with people on base. Maximizing the average value of a home run hit by the 3-4-5 hitters means ignoring the relative value of slugging for a lead-off hitter -- the increase in expected runs of having a runner on second or third base with no outs -- in favor of fully optimizing for OBP. It also means pairing the hitter with the highest probability of being on base with the hitters most likely to drive him in. So, not only should Mauer be leading off for the foreseeable future, but Park and Sano should be moved up in the order to maximize the likelihood of both of them getting a chance to hit with Mauer available to drive in. Ideally, the Twins would have another high-OBP hitter with slightly more speed to hit ahead of Mauer, as a lineup of XXXX, Mauer, Sano, and Park would be a nice setup, but that hitter doesn't appear to be on the Twins’ roster right now. As long as the hitter in the second slot, between Mauer and Sano, doesn’t have a proclivity for ground balls, having someone hit there shouldn’t change the expected value of setting the lineup this way much at all. This makes Dozier an ideal candidate to bat second. Yes, he’s not a “get ‘em over” guy, but that doesn’t matter. He has the team’s second lowest groundball rate and there’s virtue in giving Dozier the second most plate appearances on the team since he has typically been an offensive asset. Molitor has sent the Twins out with 36 lineups in 40 games, trying to find something that works, but not once has Mauer lead off with Dozier batting right behind him. A top four of Mauer, Dozier, and either Park and Sano or Sano and Park stands to give the Twins the best shot of scoring an early run and of taking advantage when the lineup turns over thanks to Santana. Given how often the lineup is shifting, it seems fairly likely we’ll see this top four sometime this season, hopefully sooner rather than later.
  22. 3/27/73: 37 year old future Twins HOFer, Jim Perry, okays trade to Detroit. 3/27/05: Iconic Twins public address announcer of 44 years, Bob Casey, passes away at age 79. Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Dan Gladden and Jack Morris would serve as pallbearers at his funeral. 3/28/96: On the final day of spring training, Kirby Puckett wakes up unable to see out of his right eye. He would be diagnosed with career-ending glaucoma. 3/30/81: Ken Landreaux is traded to the Dodgers for Mickey Hatcher and 2 others. 3/31/87: Just before opening their championship season, the Twins release fan-favorite Mickey Hatcher, and trade 2 minor league pitchers and a player to be named later to San Francisco for Dan Gladden and others. The Twins would send Bemidji-native, Bryan Hickerson, to the Giants in June to complete the trade. 3/31/10: Leading off a spring training game vs. the Yankees and future-Twins pitcher, Phil Hughes, Denard Span fouls off a 3-2 pitch that hits his mother, sitting behind the third base dugout and wearing a Span Twins jersey, square in the chest. It is a scary moment at the ballpark, but she is not seriously hurt. 4/1/07: Herb Carneal, the radio play-by-play voice of the Twins from 1962-2006 (44 years), passes away at age 83. 4/2/62: The Twins trade pitcherPedro Ramos to Cleveland for Vic Power, and Nimrod, MN-native, Dick Stigman. 4/2/02: The Twins open the regular season with 5 HRs in an 8-6 win vs. KC. Jacque Jones hits solo and 3-run HRs. David Ortiz, Brian Buchanan, and Torii Hunter hit solo HRs. 4/2/10: The Twins play the first MLB game at new Target Field, an exhibition vs. St. Louis. Denard Span collects the stadium’s first hit, a triple, and the first HR and run scored. Jacque Jones, attempting a comeback with the club, pinch-hits and receives a moving standing ovation from Twins fans. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160320_153544_zpswn6qfgcj.jpg For the history of the Minnesota Twins, told one day at a time, follow @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter. For the stories of the Major Leaguers who grew up in Minnesota, follow @MajorMinnesota on Twitter, and like Major Minnesotans on Facebook.
  23. And here is The Twins Almanac for the week of March 27th to April 2nd, 2016. 3/27 is the birthday of Michael Cuddyer, born in 1979 in Norfolk, VA. He was the Twins’ 1st round draft pick out of high school in 1997. In 2009 he hit for the cycle (5/22), and homered twice in the same inning (8/23). He was an All-Star in his final season in Minnesota (‘11), and again with Colorado in 2013 when he was the National League batting champ (.331).3/27/73: 37 year old future Twins HOFer, Jim Perry, okays trade to Detroit. 3/27/05: Iconic Twins public address announcer of 44 years, Bob Casey, passes away at age 79. Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Dan Gladden and Jack Morris would serve as pallbearers at his funeral. 3/28/96: On the final day of spring training, Kirby Puckett wakes up unable to see out of his right eye. He would be diagnosed with career-ending glaucoma. 3/30/81: Ken Landreaux is traded to the Dodgers for Mickey Hatcher and 2 others. 3/31/87: Just before opening their championship season, the Twins release fan-favorite Mickey Hatcher, and trade 2 minor league pitchers and a player to be named later to San Francisco for Dan Gladden and others. The Twins would send Bemidji-native, Bryan Hickerson, to the Giants in June to complete the trade. 3/31/10: Leading off a spring training game vs. the Yankees and future-Twins pitcher, Phil Hughes, Denard Span fouls off a 3-2 pitch that hits his mother, sitting behind the third base dugout and wearing a Span Twins jersey, square in the chest. It is a scary moment at the ballpark, but she is not seriously hurt. 4/1/07: Herb Carneal, the radio play-by-play voice of the Twins from 1962-2006 (44 years), passes away at age 83. 4/2/62: The Twins trade pitcherPedro Ramos to Cleveland for Vic Power, and Nimrod, MN-native, Dick Stigman. 4/2/02: The Twins open the regular season with 5 HRs in an 8-6 win vs. KC. Jacque Jones hits solo and 3-run HRs. David Ortiz, Brian Buchanan, and Torii Hunter hit solo HRs. 4/2/10: The Twins play the first MLB game at new Target Field, an exhibition vs. St. Louis. Denard Span collects the stadium’s first hit, a triple, and the first HR and run scored. Jacque Jones, attempting a comeback with the club, pinch-hits and receives a moving standing ovation from Twins fans. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160320_153544_zpswn6qfgcj.jpg For the history of the Minnesota Twins, told one day at a time, follow @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter. For the stories of the Major Leaguers who grew up in Minnesota, follow @MajorMinnesota on Twitter, and like Major Minnesotans on Facebook. Click here to view the article
  24. And here is The Twins Almanac for the week of March 27th to April 2nd, 2016. 3/27 is the birthday of Michael Cuddyer, born in 1979 in Norfolk, VA. He was the Twins’ 1st round draft pick out of high school in 1997. In 2009 he hit for the cycle (5/22), and homered twice in the same inning (8/23). He was an All-Star in his final season in Minnesota (‘11), and again with Colorado in 2013 when he was the National League batting champ (.331). 3/27/73: 37 year old future Twins HOFer, Jim Perry, okays trade to Detroit. 3/27/05: Iconic Twins public address announcer of 44 years, Bob Casey, passes away at age 79. Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Dan Gladden and Jack Morris would serve as pallbearers at his funeral. 3/28/96: On the final day of spring training, Kirby Puckett wakes up unable to see out of his right eye. He would be diagnosed with career-ending glaucoma. 3/30/81: Ken Landreaux is traded to the Dodgers for Mickey Hatcher and 2 others. 3/31/87: Just before opening their championship season, the Twins release fan-favorite Mickey Hatcher, and trade 2 minor league pitchers and a player to be named later to San Francisco for Dan Gladden and others. The Twins would send Bemidji-native, Bryan Hickerson, to the Giants in June to complete the trade. 3/31/10: Leading off a spring training game vs. the Yankees and future-Twins pitcher, Phil Hughes, Denard Span fouls off a 3-2 pitch that hits his mother, sitting behind the third base dugout and wearing a Span Twins jersey, square in the chest. It is a scary moment at the ballpark, but she is not seriously hurt. 4/1/07: Herb Carneal, the radio play-by-play voice of the Twins from 1962-2006 (44 years), passes away at age 83. 4/2/62: The Twins trade pitcher Pedro Ramos to Cleveland for Vic Power, and Nimrod, MN-native, Dick Stigman. 4/2/02: The Twins open the regular season with 5 HRs in an 8-6 win vs. KC. Jacque Jones hits solo and 3-run HRs. David Ortiz, Brian Buchanan, and Torii Hunter hit solo HRs. 4/2/10: The Twins play the first MLB game at new Target Field, an exhibition vs. St. Louis. Denard Span collects the stadium’s first hit, a triple, and the first HR and run scored. Jacque Jones, attempting a comeback with the club, pinch-hits and receives a moving standing ovation from Twins fans. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160320_153544_zpswn6qfgcj.jpg For the history of the Minnesota Twins, told one day at a time, follow @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter. For the stories of the Major Leaguers who grew up in Minnesota, follow @MajorMinnesota on Twitter, and like Major Minnesotans on Facebook.
  25. The Twins Daily and Vikings Journal writers posted their Super Bowl predictions earlier in the week. Today, I asked several current, former and future Twins to make their Super Bowl predictions as well. So, keep reading to see their picks and then be sure to post your predictions before the game starts. (Third Baseman Tyler Mautner correctly picked the Patriots 28-24 win. Three guys predicted the Patriots would win 27-24.)AJ Achter – 46th round pick in 2010, Achter was my choice for Twins minor league reliever of the year in 2012. He reached AAA in 2013 and debuted with the Twins in September of 2014. Patriots 28-20 Jason Adam – 23 year old righty came to the Twins in August for Josh Willingham. He had made eight appearances in AAA for the Royals, but the Twins wanted him to start in AA. He pitched in the AFL. Seahawks 26-16 Luke Bard – Twins supplemental first round pick in 2012 out of Georgia Tech. He had surgery in May and missed all of the 2014 season. Patriots 27-24 Jack Barrie – The 6-4, 250 pound, 18-year-old first baseman from Australia played in the GCL in 2014. Go Patriots! Mat Batts – Twins 17th round pick in 2014 out of UNC-Wilmington. Following the long college season, he threw another 60.2 innings between the GCL, E-Town and Cedar Rapids. Combined, he went 4-1 with a 1.78 ERA. Seahawks 17-9 David Bromberg – Twins 32nd round pick in 2005 reached AAA in 2012. Twins minor league pitcher of the year in 2009 when he went 13-4 with a 2.70 ERA and struck out 148 in 153.1 innings. Seahawks 34-21 Nick Burdi – Twins 2nd round pick this season out of Louisville. Pitched a combined 20.1 innings in 20 games between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He walked 10 (four in his first game) and struck out 38. Seahawks 31-23 Chad Christenson – Cedar Rapids native played for the Kernels in 2014. 25th round pick in 2013. He hit 24 doubles, seven triples and nine home runs while stealing 30 bases in 2014. Patriots 42-34 Chris Colabello – Claimed by the Blue Jays in December. Twins signed out of independent leagues. American League player of the month in April 2014. Patriots 27-21, “can’t go against my guys!” Jack Cressend – Pitched in 78 games out of the Twins bullpen from 2000 through 2002. The Twins had signed him after the Red Sox waived him three starts into the 1999 season. Seahawks 26-20 Andro Cutura – Twins 7th round pick in 2014 out of Southeastern Louisiana University. He will make his professional debut in 2015. Patriots Logan Darnell – Twins sixth round pick in 2010 out of Kentucky. Debuted for the Twins in May. Posted a 3.60 ERA in 115 innings at Rochester. Won Rochester’s Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service. Seahawks 28, Patriots 27. “Hawks will take it with Russell Wilson winning drive.” Pat Dean – Twins 2nd round pick in 2010 out of Boston College. Has pitched in AAA, though he spent all of the 2014 season in New Britain. Patriots 21-17 Austin Diemer – Twins 28th round pick in 2014 from Cal State-Fullerton. Played in Elizabethton this year. Patriots “They aren’t going to let Seattle get two in a row.” Onas Farfan – Twins 21st round pick in 2014 from Ridgewater Community College in Wilmar, MN. Graduate of Robbinsdale Cooper. Seahawks Dallas Gallant – Twins 23rd round pick in 2010 out of Sam Houston State. Posted a 0.64 ERA, a 0.75 WHIP and struck out 46 in 28 innings in Cedar Rapids in 2014. Patriots 35-20 Mitch Garver – Twins 9th round pick in 2013 out of New Mexico. My choice for Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2014 when he hit .298/.399/.481 (.880) with 29 doubles and 16 homers in Cedar Rapids. “Tom Brady will deflate enough balls to win 21-17” Kyle Gibson – Twins 1st round pick in 2009 out of Missouri, he debuted in 2013 and won 13 games in 2014 for the Twins. Seahawks 27-17 Stephen Gonsalves – Twins 4th round pick in 2013 out of high school in California. Spent time in Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids in 2014. Patriots 31, Seahawks 21 Zach Granite – Twins 14th round pick in 2013 out of Seton Hall. Spent much of an injury-filled 2014 in Cedar Rapids. ( ) Patriots 27-20 Bryan Haar – Twins 34th round pick in 2012 out of the University of San Diego. He knocked 20 doubles, five triples and 14 home runs for the Kernels in 2014 before moving up to Ft. Myers for the final few weeks. Seahawks win 35-30. Nate Hanson – Twins 28th round pick in 2008 out of the University of Minnesota after playing at Eden Prairie High School. Split 2014 between New Britain and Rochester. “I’ll take the Patriots 31-28. Seattle’s D is banged up and Tom Brady will isolate the guys on Seattle’s D that are banged up.” Zach Hayden – Twins 23rd round pick in 2013 out of South Carolina-Aiken, he pitched in the GCL in 2014. Patriots by 10 Will Hurt – Twins 16th round pick in 2012 out of high school in Kentucky, Hurt played in Elizabethton in 2014. Seahawks by at least 14 CK Irby - Twins 10th round pick in 2013 out of Samford University. In 33.1 innings at Elizabethton, he struck out 51 in 2014. Patriots 27-21. Jacque Jones – Twins 2nd round pick in 1996, he played for the Twins from 1999-2005. He hit 189 doubles and 132 home runs for the Twins. Here are the Top 5 Moments of his career. Seahawks 33-17 Zack Jones – 4th round pick in 2012 out of San Jose State. Pitched late in the year for Ft. Myers and then in the AFL. Patriots 27-17 Jason Kanzler – Twins 20th round pick in 2013 out of the University of Buffalo. Split 2014 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers and posted a .788 OPS with 11 doubles, nine triples, 12 homers and 27 steals. His heroics, and maybe his mustache, helped the Miracle to the FSL Championship. Patriots by 149 (no, that is not a typo) Pat Kelly - Twins 12th round pick in 2014 after three years at Nebraska. The Red Wing (MN) native played second base in Elizabethton after signing. Patriots 35-21 Max Kepler – Signed in 2009 out of Germany, Kepler spent the entire 2014 with the Miracle where he posted a .726 OPS with 31 extra base hits. He then hit .307 with an .808 OPS in the AFL. “Marshawn Lynch is winning it all. #BeastMode” Kyle Knudson – Twins 9th round pick in 2009 out of the University of Minnesota, Knudson spent the entire 2014 season with the New Britain Rock Cats. “Tom Brady ain’t going to lose. Patriots 27-13” Zach Larson – Twins 20th round pick in 2012, Larson hit .265 with 11 doubles in 41 games with Cedar Rapids before a hamstring injury. Patriots 28, Seahawks 20 Randy LeBlanc – Twins 10th round pick in 2014 out of Tulane, he posted a 2.70 ERA in Elizabethton. Patriots 27-24 Brett Lee – Twins 10th round pick in 2011 out of St. Petersburg College, he was a Florida State League All Star in 2014. He went 10-5 with a 2.46 ERA for the Miracle. Patriots 35, Seahawks 24 Jeff Manship -Twins 14th round pick in 2006 out of Notre Dame. He debuted with the Twins in 2009. He pitched for the Twins in parts of four seasons. The last two years, he has pitched for Colorado and Philadelphia. He has signed with Cleveland for 2015. Seahawks 24-20 Dustin Martin – Came to the Twins in 2007 in the Luis Castillo trade. Was in the organization through 2011. Spent parts of last two seasons playing for Gary Gaetti in Sugar Land. Patriots 28-17 Tyler Mautner – Twins 14th round pick in 2014 out of the University of Buffalo. He spent the season with Elizabethton. Patriots 28, Seahawks 24 Chris Mazza – Twins 27th round pick in 2011 out of Menlo College. Posted a 2.79 ERA and struck out 62 in 48.1 innings in Cedar Rapids this year. Patriots 23-20 Alex Meyer – Came to the Twins after the 2012 season from the Nationals in exchange for Denard Span. He spent 2014 in AAA where he posted a 3.52 ERA and struck out 153 batters in 130.1 innings. Recently, he reflected on his 2014 and looked to 2015. “I’m going with the Legion of Boom (Seattle), and the score being 24-19.” Ethan Mildren – Twins 12th round pick in 2013 out of the University of Pittsburgh. Split 2014 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. Patriots by 10 Eric Milton – Came to the Twins before the 1998 season in the Chuck Knoblauch deal. Pitched for the team from 1998 through 2003. In six years, won 57 games, was an All Star and threw a no-hitter. Patriots 23-17 Miles Nordgren – Twins 23rd round pick in 2014 out of Birmingham Southern College. Threw 44.1 innings in the GCL this season. Patriots Ryan O’Rourke – Twins 13th round pick in 2010 out of Merrimack College. Pitched primarily at New Britain though pitched a game in Rochester in their final weekend. The Massachusetts native dominates left-handed hitters and was recently invited to Twins spring training. Patriots 28-17 Dan Osterbrock – Twins 7th round pick in 2008 out of the University of Cincinnati. Pitched in the Twins system in 2011. Last two seasons have been in independent ball. Went 11-4 in Atlantic League in 2014. Patriots 28-17 Callan Pearce – Signed out of South Africa, Pearce debuted in the States in 2014 as an 18-year-old in the GCL. Seahawks 36, Patriots 33 Greg Peavey – The Twins selected Peavey in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft in December. He spent 2014 between AA and AAA with the Mets. Seahawks 24-17 Brandon Peterson – The Savage, MN, native was the Twins 13th round pick in 2013 out of Wichita State. After a month in Cedar Rapids, he was promoted to Ft. Myers. He was my choice for Twins minor league relief pitcher of the year in 2014. “Patriots by 8, Got to go with Belichick” AJ Pettersen – Twins 25th round pick in 2011 from the University of Minnesota. Got to AA before retiring in June of 2014. New varsity coach baseball at Chanhassen High School. Seahawks 31-17 Jeff Reboulet – Twins 10th round pick in 1986. He debuted with the Twins as a 28 year old in 1992 and stayed with the Twins, playing all over the diamond, through the 1996 season. Spent seven more seasons in the big leagues. Patriots 24-17 Taylor Rogers – Twins 11th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky. My choice for Twins minor league starting pitcher of the year in 2013. In 2014, went 11-6 with a 3.29 ERA in New Britain. Pitched in the AFL. Seahawks 31-27 Blake Schmit – Twins 26th round pick in 2014 out of the University of Maryland. The Eden Prairie native played in Elizabethton after signing. Seahawks 31-27 Tim Shibuya – Twins 23rd round pick in 2011 out of UC-San Diego. Went 7-4 with a 3.64 ERA in Ft. Myers. He was awarded a Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service. Seahawks 20-17 Steve Singleton – Twins 11th round pick in 2006 out of the University of San Diego. Split the 2011 season between New Britain and Rochester, his final season in pro ball. Now a college hitting coach. Seahawks 37-27 Aaron Slegers – Twins 5th round pick in 2013 out of Indiana. Made 20 starts for Cedar Rapids before ending the season with three starts in Ft. Myers. Seahawks 27-20 Kevin Slowey – Twins 2nd round pick in 2005 out of Winthrop. Less than two years later he was pitching for the Twins. He remained with the Twins through the 2011 season. In five seasons with the Twins, won 39 games. Spent last two years with the Marlins. Going to spring training with Phillies this year. “I see the Patriots winning 24-21… no deflation.” Tony Thomas – Cubs 3rd round pick in 2007, he came to the Twins on a minor league deal last year and spent the season in New Britain. He was an Eastern League All-Star and returns for the Twins for the 2015 season. Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service winner in 2014. Seahawks 28-24 Stuart Turner – Twins 3rd round pick out of the University of Mississippi in 2013. After big league camp last spring, he spent 2014 with the Ft. Myers Miracle. Seahawks 27-24 – “Shout out to Tharald Simon, 2010 class at Eunice High. It was fun throwing passes to him back in the day!” Lewis Thorpe – As an 18-year-old in 2014, he made 16 starts in Cedar Rapids, posting a 3.52 ERA. He struck out 80 in 71.2 innings. Seahawks by 14 Matt Tomshaw – Twins 42nd round pick in 2011 out of Jacksonville University. He won 11 games and posted a 3.50 ERA in 136.1 innings for Ft. Myers in 2014. Selected by the Marlins in minor league Rule 5 draft in December. Seahawks Todd Van Steensel – The Australian returned to the Twins before the 2014 season and posted a 1.39 ERA in 58.1 innings between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. Struck out 71 in 58.1 innings. Patriots by 10, Love me some Tom Brady Tanner Vavra – Twins 30th round pick in 2013 out of Valparaiso University. Hit .258 with 18 extra base hits in 81 games for Cedar Rapids in 2014. He was the Kernels winner of the Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service. Seahawks 24-20 Trey Vavra – Twins 33rd round pick in 2014 out of Florida Southern College where he played for Lance Niekro, the son of former Twins pitcher Joe Niekro. Hit .319/.392/.454 (.846) with 20 doubles in 50 games at Elizabethton. Patriots 27, Seahawks 24 Adam Brett Walker – Twins 3rd round pick in 2012 out of Jacksonville University. After hitting 27 homers in Cedar Rapids in 2013, he hit 25 homers in Ft. Myers in 2014. Patriots 24-17 Ryan Walker – Twins 18th round pick in 2013 out of Texas-Arlington. He spent the 2014 season playing primarily second base for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. “I’ve got the Seahawks 31-27. I think their defense will be able to contain the Pats enough to win.” Tommy Watkins – Twins 38th round pick in 1998 out of high school in Ft. Myers, Watkins toiled slowly through the team’s farm system. In August of 2007, at 27, he made his big league debut. He hit .357 in his nine game stint with the Twins. He retired following the 2009 season. He will begin his third season as the hitting coach with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Patriots 35-17 Jason Wheeler – The Twins 8th round pick in 2011 out of Loyola Marymount. In 2014, he began at Ft. Myers before being promoted to New Britain. He made one start in Rochester. Following the season, he was named to the Twins 40-man roster. Patriots 24-21 Stephen Wickens – Twins 33rd round pick in 2011 out of Florida Gulf Coast University. He spent most of 2014 with the New Britain Rock Cats though he missed a lot of time with injury. Was the Miracle’s Harmon Killebrew Award winner in 2013. Patriots 24, Seahawks 23 Corey Williams – Twins 3rd round pick in 2011 out of Vanderbilt, he missed all of 2014 with Tommy John surgery. The left-hander should return early in the 2015 season. Patriots 35-28 We've got 69 predictions so far. 40 are picking the Patriots while 29 are picking the Seahawks. I'm sure what we all want is a good, enjoyable game to watch. Now, feel free to add your Super Bowl predictions here. Click here to view the article
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