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  1. Tampa Bay has an intelligent front office known for identifying players from other organizations that help them “win” almost every trade they complete. So, how have the Twins fared in trades with the Rays? November 28, 2007 Tampa Bay Received: Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, Eddie Morlan Minnesota Received: Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, Jason Pridie Minnesota’s first trade with Tampa Bay was its biggest as it included vital pieces from both teams’ rosters. The Twins acquired Delmon Young to be a right-handed bat to slide in between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. He never lived up to his potential as the number one overall pick, but he played parts of ten big-league seasons. Minnesota was his only stop where he posted an OPS+ over 100, and he finished in the top-10 for the AL MVP in 2010. Pridie only got six plate appearances with the Twins and never recorded a hit. Harris posted a .669 OPS in three years with the Twins before being packaged with JJ Hardy in the infamous trade for Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey. Tampa ended up getting the two best players in this trade. Matt Garza pitched over 1700 big-league innings and accumulated a 12.5 WAR. Garza won the 2008 ALCS MVP for Tampa, his first season with the club. Jason Bartlett played three seasons in Tampa, including his lone All-Star season, where he had a 132 OPS+ and a 6.2 WAR. Morlan topped out at Double-A, but it’s clear the Rays ended up with the better package of players. Winner: Tampa Bay July 31, 2015 Tampa Bay Received: Alexis Tapia, Chih-Wei Hu Minnesota Received: Kevin Jepsen At the trade deadline, Minnesota found themselves in contention and wanted to add a late-inning bullpen arm. Kevin Jepsen posted a 1.61 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP in 29 appearances through the rest of the 2015 season. Unfortunately, Minnesota fell short of qualifying for the playoffs, but Jepsen couldn’t have pitched much better in his first season for the Twins. Alexis Tapia never made it out of High-A in the Rays system, while Chih-Wei Hu was limited to 11 big-league appearances. In his second season with the Twins, Jepsen pitched horribly, and the team released him on July 11, 2016. Even with this poor ending, Jepsen provided the 2015 Twins with solid innings for a contending team. Winner: Minnesota June 24, 2016 Tampa Bay Received: Oswaldo Arcia Minnesota Received: Cash Considerations Oswaldo Arcia was supposed to be part of the first wave of prospects that helped turn things around for the Twins. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, as he posted a .732 OPS in over 250 games for the club. In June 2016, the Twins sent Arcia to the Rays for cash considerations. He’d only play in 21 games for Tampa as he appeared in games for four different big-league clubs that season. Minnesota shed Arcia, and Tampa got a player that accumulated negative value while playing for them. Winner: Minnesota February 17, 2018 Tampa Bay Received: Jermaine Palacios Minnesota Received: Jake Odorizzi This trade was a slam dunk win for the Twins. Jake Odorizzi pitched parts of three seasons in Minnesota with a 107 ERA+ and an All-Star appearance in 2019. Jermaine Palacios topped out at Double-A in the Rays organization before resigning with the Twins. His unique prospect journey has come full circle this year as he made his big-league debut for the Twins. Winner: Minnesota July 22, 2021 Tampa Bay Received: Nelson Cruz, Calvin Faucher Minnesota Received: Joe Ryan, Drew Strotman Last summer’s blockbuster trade looks to be working out significantly in favor of the Twins. Nelson Cruz played 55 games for the Rays and posted a .725 OPS. Since rookie ball, Calvin Faucher has yet to post a sub-4.00 ERA at any level. Minnesota received six years of team control over Joe Ryan, an AL Rookie of the Year contender, and Drew Strotman, a solid organizational depth piece. Even if Ryan regresses, the Twins are still getting more value from him than what the Rays got from Cruz. Winner: Minnesota Do you agree with the winners named above? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  2. November 28, 2007 Tampa Bay Received: Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, Eddie Morlan Minnesota Received: Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, Jason Pridie Minnesota’s first trade with Tampa Bay was its biggest as it included vital pieces from both teams’ rosters. The Twins acquired Delmon Young to be a right-handed bat to slide in between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. He never lived up to his potential as the number one overall pick, but he played parts of ten big-league seasons. Minnesota was his only stop where he posted an OPS+ over 100, and he finished in the top-10 for the AL MVP in 2010. Pridie only got six plate appearances with the Twins and never recorded a hit. Harris posted a .669 OPS in three years with the Twins before being packaged with JJ Hardy in the infamous trade for Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey. Tampa ended up getting the two best players in this trade. Matt Garza pitched over 1700 big-league innings and accumulated a 12.5 WAR. Garza won the 2008 ALCS MVP for Tampa, his first season with the club. Jason Bartlett played three seasons in Tampa, including his lone All-Star season, where he had a 132 OPS+ and a 6.2 WAR. Morlan topped out at Double-A, but it’s clear the Rays ended up with the better package of players. Winner: Tampa Bay July 31, 2015 Tampa Bay Received: Alexis Tapia, Chih-Wei Hu Minnesota Received: Kevin Jepsen At the trade deadline, Minnesota found themselves in contention and wanted to add a late-inning bullpen arm. Kevin Jepsen posted a 1.61 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP in 29 appearances through the rest of the 2015 season. Unfortunately, Minnesota fell short of qualifying for the playoffs, but Jepsen couldn’t have pitched much better in his first season for the Twins. Alexis Tapia never made it out of High-A in the Rays system, while Chih-Wei Hu was limited to 11 big-league appearances. In his second season with the Twins, Jepsen pitched horribly, and the team released him on July 11, 2016. Even with this poor ending, Jepsen provided the 2015 Twins with solid innings for a contending team. Winner: Minnesota June 24, 2016 Tampa Bay Received: Oswaldo Arcia Minnesota Received: Cash Considerations Oswaldo Arcia was supposed to be part of the first wave of prospects that helped turn things around for the Twins. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, as he posted a .732 OPS in over 250 games for the club. In June 2016, the Twins sent Arcia to the Rays for cash considerations. He’d only play in 21 games for Tampa as he appeared in games for four different big-league clubs that season. Minnesota shed Arcia, and Tampa got a player that accumulated negative value while playing for them. Winner: Minnesota February 17, 2018 Tampa Bay Received: Jermaine Palacios Minnesota Received: Jake Odorizzi This trade was a slam dunk win for the Twins. Jake Odorizzi pitched parts of three seasons in Minnesota with a 107 ERA+ and an All-Star appearance in 2019. Jermaine Palacios topped out at Double-A in the Rays organization before resigning with the Twins. His unique prospect journey has come full circle this year as he made his big-league debut for the Twins. Winner: Minnesota July 22, 2021 Tampa Bay Received: Nelson Cruz, Calvin Faucher Minnesota Received: Joe Ryan, Drew Strotman Last summer’s blockbuster trade looks to be working out significantly in favor of the Twins. Nelson Cruz played 55 games for the Rays and posted a .725 OPS. Since rookie ball, Calvin Faucher has yet to post a sub-4.00 ERA at any level. Minnesota received six years of team control over Joe Ryan, an AL Rookie of the Year contender, and Drew Strotman, a solid organizational depth piece. Even if Ryan regresses, the Twins are still getting more value from him than what the Rays got from Cruz. Winner: Minnesota Do you agree with the winners named above? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  3. As we countdown the days to Target Fields's 1000th home run, let's countdown the Twins who made it happen. Here are the 11th through 15th best home run hitters in Target Field history and their biggest hits. 15: Jim Thome: 21 HR Thome became a home run legend during his Hall of Fame career. He hit the first walk-off home run in Target Field history, and it is still one of the best moments in Minnesota Twins history. 13. Oswaldo Arcia/ Kennys Vargas: 22 HR Arcia and Vargas were supposed to be part of the first wave of prospects that helped the Twins turn things around at the big-league level in the 2010s. That didn't come to fruition, but they each were known for their power in their prospect careers. 12. Mitch Garver: 27 HR During the Bomba Squad season, Garver had multiple important home runs. He broke Earl Battey's Twins single-season home run record, which stood since 1963. He also hit the home run that broke the season home run record. 11. Eduardo Escobar: 28 HR Escobar became a beloved figure in Twins history, and he has gone on to have a solid big-league career. His most valuable home run at Target Field came with the Twins trailing by two in the bottom of the eighth inning. Which home run do you remember the most? Which player do you think hits Minnesota's 1,000th home run at Target Field? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. 15: Jim Thome: 21 HR Thome became a home run legend during his Hall of Fame career. He hit the first walk-off home run in Target Field history, and it is still one of the best moments in Minnesota Twins history. 13. Oswaldo Arcia/ Kennys Vargas: 22 HR Arcia and Vargas were supposed to be part of the first wave of prospects that helped the Twins turn things around at the big-league level in the 2010s. That didn't come to fruition, but they each were known for their power in their prospect careers. 12. Mitch Garver: 27 HR During the Bomba Squad season, Garver had multiple important home runs. He broke Earl Battey's Twins single-season home run record, which stood since 1963. He also hit the home run that broke the season home run record. 11. Eduardo Escobar: 28 HR Escobar became a beloved figure in Twins history, and he has gone on to have a solid big-league career. His most valuable home run at Target Field came with the Twins trailing by two in the bottom of the eighth inning. Which home run do you remember the most? Which player do you think hits Minnesota's 1,000th home run at Target Field? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. There’s certainly been more than a handful of promising Twins players that just haven’t worked out for one reason or another. Maybe the prospect status wasn’t there, or perhaps the realization of talent never happened. No matter the situation, there’s more than a handful of guys that we had always wished would pan out. As we trudge through this ugly lockout and look forward to the Twins revamping their 2022 roster, I found myself thinking back to some of the guys that could have been. Maybe they were fan-favorites we had hoped for more from, or perhaps a flash in the pan never extended. At any rate, these were some names that immediately came to mind. Oswaldo Arcia Arcia had a decently-long career with the Twins playing in 251 games. He was a top 100 prospect in 2013 and owned a career .901 OPS in the minors. The body type just suggested he should be able to rake even if he was a poor defender. The problem was that he couldn’t make contact. The strikeout rates were egregious, and the on-base ability was non-existent. I held out hope for quite a while, but it became evident he didn’t have it. At 30, Arcia did tear up the Venezuelan Winter League this year. ByungHo Park If there’s a What Could Have Been in recent memory, it’s Park for me. On top of acclimating to new teammates in a new country, Park dealt with a wrist injury in 2016 that he played through for most of the season. The .684 OPS was indicative of a guy who lost his power bat, and even the .823 mark at Triple-A Rochester didn’t afford him another opportunity. After playing in 2017 at Triple-A, he returned to the KBO and immediately posted a 1.175 OPS. Now 35, he’s at the tail end of his career, but there was a productive player here had circumstances worked out differently. Fernando Romero Probably the last pitching prospect Twins fans dreamed on before this current crop, Romero was supposed to be an impact arm. He was a top 100 prospect as recently as 2018 and owned a 3.57 ERA at Triple-A that year. The strikeouts never came, and his command got completely lost after transitioning to the bullpen. Visa issues kept him from being an option for Minnesota in 2020, and he’s since gone to Japan trying to find it again as a 27-year-old. Kennys Vargas Debuting for Twins fans at Target Field during the Futures Game alongside Jose Berrios, Vargas drew plenty of fanfare. He was seen as a David Ortiz protégé, and that’s a comparison no Minnesotan will ever turn away from. The 115 OPS+ in his debut season was a positive sign, but a .626 OPS the next year fell flat. Vargas seemed to come into his own for 47 games during 2016, where he posted an .833 OPS, but that was the height of his abilities. Vargas has been out of affiliated baseball since 2018 but did post strong numbers in Mexico and Puerto Rico this past season. At 31, though, it’s unlikely another chance is coming. Alex Burnett After posting a 1.85 ERA at Single and Double-A in 2009, it was hard not to get excited about Burnett pitching out of the pen. Making his debut in 2010, Burnett compiled a 5.40 ERA across 98 and 1/3 innings the next two seasons. He had mediocre defensive help, but his FIP still sat at just 4.60. He did manage a smoke-and-mirrors level of success with a 3.52 ERA in 2012 despite a 36/26 K/BB in 71 2/3 innings. It wasn’t ever that the ceiling was incredibly high, but I wanted to believe there was more for whatever reason. Max Kepler It’s understandably an egregious ask to put Kepler here, but given his ceiling, it also seems to make sense. Kepler has played 722 games for the Twins and posted just a .756 OPS. His .855 OPS in 2019 looked like a solid response to a contract extension, but it hasn’t been touched since. Kepler is an extraordinary defender, but the bat has always profiled as so much more, and a guy who deservedly flashed as a former top 100 prospect has largely failed to substantiate his ceiling. What other Twins players do you wish would have worked out? Are there some prospects you consistently expected to be great? View full article
  6. As we trudge through this ugly lockout and look forward to the Twins revamping their 2022 roster, I found myself thinking back to some of the guys that could have been. Maybe they were fan-favorites we had hoped for more from, or perhaps a flash in the pan never extended. At any rate, these were some names that immediately came to mind. Oswaldo Arcia Arcia had a decently-long career with the Twins playing in 251 games. He was a top 100 prospect in 2013 and owned a career .901 OPS in the minors. The body type just suggested he should be able to rake even if he was a poor defender. The problem was that he couldn’t make contact. The strikeout rates were egregious, and the on-base ability was non-existent. I held out hope for quite a while, but it became evident he didn’t have it. At 30, Arcia did tear up the Venezuelan Winter League this year. ByungHo Park If there’s a What Could Have Been in recent memory, it’s Park for me. On top of acclimating to new teammates in a new country, Park dealt with a wrist injury in 2016 that he played through for most of the season. The .684 OPS was indicative of a guy who lost his power bat, and even the .823 mark at Triple-A Rochester didn’t afford him another opportunity. After playing in 2017 at Triple-A, he returned to the KBO and immediately posted a 1.175 OPS. Now 35, he’s at the tail end of his career, but there was a productive player here had circumstances worked out differently. Fernando Romero Probably the last pitching prospect Twins fans dreamed on before this current crop, Romero was supposed to be an impact arm. He was a top 100 prospect as recently as 2018 and owned a 3.57 ERA at Triple-A that year. The strikeouts never came, and his command got completely lost after transitioning to the bullpen. Visa issues kept him from being an option for Minnesota in 2020, and he’s since gone to Japan trying to find it again as a 27-year-old. Kennys Vargas Debuting for Twins fans at Target Field during the Futures Game alongside Jose Berrios, Vargas drew plenty of fanfare. He was seen as a David Ortiz protégé, and that’s a comparison no Minnesotan will ever turn away from. The 115 OPS+ in his debut season was a positive sign, but a .626 OPS the next year fell flat. Vargas seemed to come into his own for 47 games during 2016, where he posted an .833 OPS, but that was the height of his abilities. Vargas has been out of affiliated baseball since 2018 but did post strong numbers in Mexico and Puerto Rico this past season. At 31, though, it’s unlikely another chance is coming. Alex Burnett After posting a 1.85 ERA at Single and Double-A in 2009, it was hard not to get excited about Burnett pitching out of the pen. Making his debut in 2010, Burnett compiled a 5.40 ERA across 98 and 1/3 innings the next two seasons. He had mediocre defensive help, but his FIP still sat at just 4.60. He did manage a smoke-and-mirrors level of success with a 3.52 ERA in 2012 despite a 36/26 K/BB in 71 2/3 innings. It wasn’t ever that the ceiling was incredibly high, but I wanted to believe there was more for whatever reason. Max Kepler It’s understandably an egregious ask to put Kepler here, but given his ceiling, it also seems to make sense. Kepler has played 722 games for the Twins and posted just a .756 OPS. His .855 OPS in 2019 looked like a solid response to a contract extension, but it hasn’t been touched since. Kepler is an extraordinary defender, but the bat has always profiled as so much more, and a guy who deservedly flashed as a former top 100 prospect has largely failed to substantiate his ceiling. What other Twins players do you wish would have worked out? Are there some prospects you consistently expected to be great?
  7. Back in late May, Eddie Rosario appeared to be destined to become this season's Danny Santana and fall prey to the sophomore slump so many had predicted. After an electric rookie season, Rosario stumbled mightily out of the gate this year and was sent down to Rochester. Unlike Oswaldo Arcia before him, Rosario responded well to the demotion and is quietly having a nice second half.At the time of his demotion, Rosario was at serious risk of becoming an afterthought if he couldn't find some success in Triple A. Robbie Grossman was called up the same day and got off to a brilliant start. Miguel Sano was still occupying right field and Arcia was also still on the roster at that point. Rosario was joining a Rochester outfield that already included Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Adam Walker. If things went poorly, it was entirely possible Eddie wouldn't make it back to Target Field until September, or (like Arcia in '15) not at all. But instead, Rosario went down, took care of business and the rest of the cards fell in his favor. In 41 games with the Red Wings, he posted a .319/.343/.538 slash line and tallied seven home runs, earning a promotion on July 3. His numbers have been markedly better since his recall, even though it doesn't appear Rosario has made any major adjustments. He still swings at everything. He swings at 58% of pitches, which ranks third of 184 hitters to log 800 plate appearances over the past two seasons (only Adam Jones and Jonathan Schoop swing more often). And since his recall, he's still striking out in over 25% of his plate appearances and drawing walks less than 4% of the time. But, thanks to a .143 point increase in BABIP (.244 vs. .387), the rest of his numbers look great. And while there's certainly some luck involved, with Rosario hitting fewer fly balls than most batters (38.5 FB%) and possessing good wheels, you'd think he'd be a good candidate to sustain a higher than average BABIP. Either way, Rosario's current totals (.268/.294/.420) are probably a pretty fair representation of who he is as a hitter. He's not nearly as bad as he was at the start of the year (.200/.218/..313), but also probably not as good as he's been since his return (.307/.336./.482). In the end you're left with a guy who's been a slightly below average hitter so far in his career (96 OPS+). Despite his flaws, there's still a lot to like about Rosario's game. He hasn't looked comfortable in center or right, but Rosario has been among the best left fielders in baseball the past two years. Among players who've logged at least 1,000 innings in left field, Rosario's UZR/150 of 11.1 ranks fourth, ahead of highly regarded defenders such as Alex Gordon and Starling Marte. He also rates out as an elite base runner. His 6.9 UBR ranks sixth among the 184 hitters with at least 800 plate appearance the past two seasons. And while he still has strides to take at the dish, it is refreshing to see a young left-handed hitter hold his own against fellow southpaws (.739 OPS vs. RHP and .719 vs. LHP for his career). There's also a lot to like about his age and contract status, as Rosario isn't arbitration eligible until 2018. He turns 25 later this month, and while some people would like to see the team call up Adam Walker or Daniel Palka, both those guys are only a few weeks younger than Eddie. Whether they provide any upside over Rosario is highly debatable, seeing as both Walker (38.0 K%) and Palka (38.6 K%) had alarming issues making contact in Rochester. If there's one word I'd use to describe Rosario's game it would be aggressive. And it's his aggressive brand of play that leads him into trouble. We've seen him flail at countless terrible pitches, overthrow cutoff men and run into outs. But we've also seen him do things like get outs by throwing behind runners and score from second base on sacrifice bunts. When you get to see a player's flaws on a regular basis like that they become magnified and it can warp your perception. It can wear you down as a fan to see a guy make the same mistakes over and over. But, just the same as Walker and Palka, Rosario is not a finished product. He still has time to smooth out those rough spots in his game. He still has upside. It's anybody's guess how the new front office will view Eddie Rosario, but he deserves credit for playing his way back into the picture. No, he hasn't quite lived up to his impressive rookie showing, but his turnaround is a much welcomed sight after watching both Arcia and Danny Santana fail to get things back on track after encouraging early showings. Click here to view the article
  8. At the time of his demotion, Rosario was at serious risk of becoming an afterthought if he couldn't find some success in Triple A. Robbie Grossman was called up the same day and got off to a brilliant start. Miguel Sano was still occupying right field and Arcia was also still on the roster at that point. Rosario was joining a Rochester outfield that already included Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Adam Walker. If things went poorly, it was entirely possible Eddie wouldn't make it back to Target Field until September, or (like Arcia in '15) not at all. But instead, Rosario went down, took care of business and the rest of the cards fell in his favor. In 41 games with the Red Wings, he posted a .319/.343/.538 slash line and tallied seven home runs, earning a promotion on July 3. His numbers have been markedly better since his recall, even though it doesn't appear Rosario has made any major adjustments. He still swings at everything. He swings at 58% of pitches, which ranks third of 184 hitters to log 800 plate appearances over the past two seasons (only Adam Jones and Jonathan Schoop swing more often). And since his recall, he's still striking out in over 25% of his plate appearances and drawing walks less than 4% of the time. But, thanks to a .143 point increase in BABIP (.244 vs. .387), the rest of his numbers look great. And while there's certainly some luck involved, with Rosario hitting fewer fly balls than most batters (38.5 FB%) and possessing good wheels, you'd think he'd be a good candidate to sustain a higher than average BABIP. Either way, Rosario's current totals (.268/.294/.420) are probably a pretty fair representation of who he is as a hitter. He's not nearly as bad as he was at the start of the year (.200/.218/..313), but also probably not as good as he's been since his return (.307/.336./.482). In the end you're left with a guy who's been a slightly below average hitter so far in his career (96 OPS+). Despite his flaws, there's still a lot to like about Rosario's game. He hasn't looked comfortable in center or right, but Rosario has been among the best left fielders in baseball the past two years. Among players who've logged at least 1,000 innings in left field, Rosario's UZR/150 of 11.1 ranks fourth, ahead of highly regarded defenders such as Alex Gordon and Starling Marte. He also rates out as an elite base runner. His 6.9 UBR ranks sixth among the 184 hitters with at least 800 plate appearance the past two seasons. And while he still has strides to take at the dish, it is refreshing to see a young left-handed hitter hold his own against fellow southpaws (.739 OPS vs. RHP and .719 vs. LHP for his career). There's also a lot to like about his age and contract status, as Rosario isn't arbitration eligible until 2018. He turns 25 later this month, and while some people would like to see the team call up Adam Walker or Daniel Palka, both those guys are only a few weeks younger than Eddie. Whether they provide any upside over Rosario is highly debatable, seeing as both Walker (38.0 K%) and Palka (38.6 K%) had alarming issues making contact in Rochester. If there's one word I'd use to describe Rosario's game it would be aggressive. And it's his aggressive brand of play that leads him into trouble. We've seen him flail at countless terrible pitches, overthrow cutoff men and run into outs. But we've also seen him do things like get outs by throwing behind runners and score from second base on sacrifice bunts. When you get to see a player's flaws on a regular basis like that they become magnified and it can warp your perception. It can wear you down as a fan to see a guy make the same mistakes over and over. But, just the same as Walker and Palka, Rosario is not a finished product. He still has time to smooth out those rough spots in his game. He still has upside. It's anybody's guess how the new front office will view Eddie Rosario, but he deserves credit for playing his way back into the picture. No, he hasn't quite lived up to his impressive rookie showing, but his turnaround is a much welcomed sight after watching both Arcia and Danny Santana fail to get things back on track after encouraging early showings.
  9. Let's start with the decision on Thursday. Obviously this decision wasn't made just today. It is likely something that the front office has been pondering for a week or more. By designating Arcia for assignment, he is immediately removed from the team's 40- man roster. The team will have ten days to trade him, place him on waivers or release him. What other options did GM Terry Ryan have in this case? Well Byron Buxton and Max Kepler have options left. They could have been sent down to Rochester. A case certainly could be made that they could both use continued time at AAA. At least for now, the Twins are clearly looking to the future, a future that includes Buxton and Kepler in the starting lineup almost every day. In mid-June of a losing season, it's hard to argue that. You could DFA Robbie Grossman. I mean, he's been arguably the Twins best hitter since he signed with them almost a month ago. I can't imagine anyone would think that's a good idea. They could have designated Danny Santana for assignment, but with his speed and versatility, he is able to do more things in a backup role for the Twins. The team could have gone down to a 12-man pitching staff, but with the worst pitching staff in baseball and many short starts, it's hard to justify that. At that point, the best - though not easy whatsoever - decision was to DFA Oswaldo Arcia. Frankly, he hasn't been given much opportunity this season and because he 1. can't hit left-handed pitching, 2. can't hit breaking balls, and 3. can't play very good defense, he just doesn't give a manager many options. Now that's not to say that this may not be the best thing that could have happened for Arcia too. He could go to a statistically strong organization which will use him solely against right-handed pitching. That team could use him in the outfield, or if it's an AL team, he could be a strong DH. Again, against right-handed pitching. There is little question that when he is on, Oswaldo Arcia - still just 25-years-old - has the ability to be a dangerous, impact hitter in the major leagues. There is so much strength and so much talent. Consider that in 103 games for the Twins in 2014, he hit .231 with 16 doubles and 20 home runs. His minor league track record certainly indicated that he had the ability to hit. He hit well - for average and power - at each and every minor league level including AAA, with the exception of his horrific 2015 season. He knew he needed to put together a strong spring training to remain with the Twins. He put in the work in the offseason. I don't think anyone will question that. He came to camp in really good shape. Despite some good moments, he just wasn't getting any consistently playing time. Was it the right decision by the Twins? Probably. Was it probably the best situation for Oswaldo Arcia? I think so. In my mind, the perfect scenario for Arcia would be in Milwaukee. His younger brother, Orlando, is one of baseball's best prospects and is pretty much ready to take over shortstop for the Brewers. Maybe being around his brother would help push Arcia to some success. But also, Miller Park is a good place for power hitters. If utilized properly, I have little doubt that Arcia can be a 20+ home run guy in the big leagues again. Consider Danny Valencia. When he left the Twins, he was able to crush left-handed pitching but really struggled against right-handers. When he went to Toronto, they used him almost solely against left-handers and he put up great numbers. He went to Oakland and the same thing, he crushed southpaws. Then after some transactions, he started playing against right-handers too. Now he is hitting well overall. I see Arcia being able to do something very similar. Again, that doesn't mean that this move was bad, or wrong... The Twins have options for their future in the outfield that we think are going to be better, and right now those guys need to play. This is a classic case where a change of scenery might just be the best thing for Oswaldo Arcia. I hope it is.
  10. Danny Santana's rehab was nearing an end, so the Twins had a difficult decision to make for how to get him back on the 25-man roster. Following the Twins loss at Target Field to the Yankees, Paul Molitor announced that the team had designated Oswaldo Arcia for assignment.Let's start with the decision on Thursday. Obviously this decision wasn't made just today. It is likely something that the front office has been pondering for a week or more. By designating Arcia for assignment, he is immediately removed from the team's 40- man roster. The team will have ten days to trade him, place him on waivers or release him. What other options did GM Terry Ryan have in this case? Well Byron Buxton and Max Kepler have options left. They could have been sent down to Rochester. A case certainly could be made that they could both use continued time at AAA. At least for now, the Twins are clearly looking to the future, a future that includes Buxton and Kepler in the starting lineup almost every day. In mid-June of a losing season, it's hard to argue that. You could DFA Robbie Grossman. I mean, he's been arguably the Twins best hitter since he signed with them almost a month ago. I can't imagine anyone would think that's a good idea. They could have designated Danny Santana for assignment, but with his speed and versatility, he is able to do more things in a backup role for the Twins. The team could have gone down to a 12-man pitching staff, but with the worst pitching staff in baseball and many short starts, it's hard to justify that. At that point, the best - though not easy whatsoever - decision was to DFA Oswaldo Arcia. Frankly, he hasn't been given much opportunity this season and because he 1. can't hit left-handed pitching, 2. can't hit breaking balls, and 3. can't play very good defense, he just doesn't give a manager many options. Now that's not to say that this may not be the best thing that could have happened for Arcia too. He could go to a statistically strong organization which will use him solely against right-handed pitching. That team could use him in the outfield, or if it's an AL team, he could be a strong DH. Again, against right-handed pitching. There is little question that when he is on, Oswaldo Arcia - still just 25-years-old - has the ability to be a dangerous, impact hitter in the major leagues. There is so much strength and so much talent. Consider that in 103 games for the Twins in 2014, he hit .231 with 16 doubles and 20 home runs. His minor league track record certainly indicated that he had the ability to hit. He hit well - for average and power - at each and every minor league level including AAA, with the exception of his horrific 2015 season. He knew he needed to put together a strong spring training to remain with the Twins. He put in the work in the offseason. I don't think anyone will question that. He came to camp in really good shape. Despite some good moments, he just wasn't getting any consistently playing time. Was it the right decision by the Twins? Probably. Was it probably the best situation for Oswaldo Arcia? I think so. In my mind, the perfect scenario for Arcia would be in Milwaukee. His younger brother, Orlando, is one of baseball's best prospects and is pretty much ready to take over shortstop for the Brewers. Maybe being around his brother would help push Arcia to some success. But also, Miller Park is a good place for power hitters. If utilized properly, I have little doubt that Arcia can be a 20+ home run guy in the big leagues again. Consider Danny Valencia. When he left the Twins, he was able to crush left-handed pitching but really struggled against right-handers. When he went to Toronto, they used him almost solely against left-handers and he put up great numbers. He went to Oakland and the same thing, he crushed southpaws. Then after some transactions, he started playing against right-handers too. Now he is hitting well overall. I see Arcia being able to do something very similar. Again, that doesn't mean that this move was bad, or wrong... The Twins have options for their future in the outfield that we think are going to be better, and right now those guys need to play. This is a classic case where a change of scenery might just be the best thing for Oswaldo Arcia. I hope it is. Click here to view the article
  11. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/gatg_6_26_16_final.mp3
  12. Aaron and John talk about Tyler Duffey's gem vs. the Yankees, Brian Dozier's hot stretch, Oswaldo Arcia finding a new home in Tampa Bay, Terry Ryan's promise to be active at the trade deadline, voting for Jesse Ventura, Miguel Sano's rehab stint, thanking the Minnesota Corn Growers, Glen Perkins' surgery, and House Shopping 101. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click the Play button below. Click here to view the article
  13. Patience is a commodity in baseball. Each team can only have so much. More patience is warranted in certain circumstances, particularly for rebuilding teams, but it is never infinite. With Oswaldo Arcia, patience was a luxury the Minnesota Twins could no longer afford.There was much frustration amongst fans over the decision to designate Arcia for assignment last week in order to make room for Danny Santana. Plenty of commenters voiced their displeasure in a 13-page thread here on Twins Daily. It's understandable. These are the same fans that have watched so many players leave Minnesota and excel elsewhere. The "David Ortiz Complex" is very real as the legendary DH wraps up a Hall of Fame career that took off as soon as the Twins unwisely gave up on him. There are too many more recent examples currently on other rosters in the league. Seeing the youth, the raw power, and the seemingly untapped potential, it's tempting to lump Arcia with some of the organization's most painful past mistakes. Don't do it. Let's lay out a few of the facts with regard to Arcia. He has been utterly terrible this year. In 114 plate appearances, he has batted .214/.289/.369 with 46 strikeouts. That's a 40 percent K-rate. Guys who are above 40 percent do not belong in the majors. The only MLB player with a higher strikeout rate this year (min. 100 PAs) is Byron Buxton. It's debatable whether Buxton belongs in the bigs right now but he gains leeway because he's so young and brings so much to the table defensively. Arcia, conversely, is approaching 1,000 plate appearances in the majors, and offers almost no defensive value. If he isn't mashing he isn't really an asset, and it's been quite a while since he has mashed. Last year, as we all recall, the outfielder turned a short rehab assignment into a permanent banishment at Triple-A because he never got going there. Save for a brief power splurge in July, Arcia basically slumped for three months straight, finishing with a .199 average in 79 games at Rochester. For someone who had hit 20 homers with a 752 OPS in the majors a year before, it was embarrassing. The Twins gave him a chance to make it right. Despite being tempted by Carlos Quentin's veteran bat in spring training, they stuck with Arcia, who was out of options. And while I've seen some people complaining about the team not putting Arcia in a position to succeed, that just isn't true. Actually, Paul Molitor has been quite good about using the righty-mashing slugger in the most advantageous spots. Eighty-two percent of Arcia's plate appearances have come against right-handed pitchers, and in those appearances he has batted .202 with a 42 percent K-rate. Yuck. Arcia is still young, but he continues to head in the wrong direction and the Twins have too many other players ahead of him that they are rightfully prioritizing. Miguel Sano, as things stand, remains an outfielder and has nowhere else to play. Max Kepler himself will be out of options next year and needs to get comfortable in the majors. Eddie Rosario has been absolutely tearing up Triple-A since his demotion – not struggling and sulking, mind you – and should be back up soon. Even Robbie Grossman is making a case as a long-term piece in some capacity. There's no argument to be made for Arcia starting ahead of any of these guys that doesn't fall back on his production from two years ago. Keeping him on the bench was doing neither him nor the Twins any good. He played himself out of the team's plans and it isn't anyone's fault but his own. This is not an indictment of the 25-year-old's long-term outlook; it wouldn't surprise me if he falls into the right situation and hits 30 homers in a couple of years. It's not unusual for players to reach their late 20s before they really figure things out in the majors. This game is tough. Yet, to argue that the Twins should have perpetually kept Arcia planted on their 25-man roster until that day arrived is silly. You can quibble with the timing and specifics of the DFA move, since Danny Santana isn't necessarily a player worth giving up anything to make room for and it's only June. But there were no signs of positive change, and keeping Arcia around was only going to get tougher with more deserving players like Sano and Rosario returning to the fold. All of the hand-wringing over the decision to designate Arcia overlooks the basic realities of the situation. You need to earn things on merit in Major League Baseball and he wasn't doing it. There is certainly a discussion to be had about how the organization may be culpable in his failure to adjust and grow as a player, especially given how many different times we've seen it happen, but that is a separate discussion. As of this post going live on Sunday night, there is still no word that Arcia has been claimed off waivers by another club. Maybe this will all be moot. But even if he does land elsewhere, and even if he does finally turn a corner eventually, it won't be because the Twins screwed up and gave up too early. It will be because he exhausted every last bit of patience they could show him. Click here to view the article
  14. There was much frustration amongst fans over the decision to designate Arcia for assignment last week in order to make room for Danny Santana. Plenty of commenters voiced their displeasure in a 13-page thread here on Twins Daily. It's understandable. These are the same fans that have watched so many players leave Minnesota and excel elsewhere. The "David Ortiz Complex" is very real as the legendary DH wraps up a Hall of Fame career that took off as soon as the Twins unwisely gave up on him. There are too many more recent examples currently on other rosters in the league. Seeing the youth, the raw power, and the seemingly untapped potential, it's tempting to lump Arcia with some of the organization's most painful past mistakes. Don't do it. Let's lay out a few of the facts with regard to Arcia. He has been utterly terrible this year. In 114 plate appearances, he has batted .214/.289/.369 with 46 strikeouts. That's a 40 percent K-rate. Guys who are above 40 percent do not belong in the majors. The only MLB player with a higher strikeout rate this year (min. 100 PAs) is Byron Buxton. It's debatable whether Buxton belongs in the bigs right now but he gains leeway because he's so young and brings so much to the table defensively. Arcia, conversely, is approaching 1,000 plate appearances in the majors, and offers almost no defensive value. If he isn't mashing he isn't really an asset, and it's been quite a while since he has mashed. Last year, as we all recall, the outfielder turned a short rehab assignment into a permanent banishment at Triple-A because he never got going there. Save for a brief power splurge in July, Arcia basically slumped for three months straight, finishing with a .199 average in 79 games at Rochester. For someone who had hit 20 homers with a 752 OPS in the majors a year before, it was embarrassing. The Twins gave him a chance to make it right. Despite being tempted by Carlos Quentin's veteran bat in spring training, they stuck with Arcia, who was out of options. And while I've seen some people complaining about the team not putting Arcia in a position to succeed, that just isn't true. Actually, Paul Molitor has been quite good about using the righty-mashing slugger in the most advantageous spots. Eighty-two percent of Arcia's plate appearances have come against right-handed pitchers, and in those appearances he has batted .202 with a 42 percent K-rate. Yuck. Arcia is still young, but he continues to head in the wrong direction and the Twins have too many other players ahead of him that they are rightfully prioritizing. Miguel Sano, as things stand, remains an outfielder and has nowhere else to play. Max Kepler himself will be out of options next year and needs to get comfortable in the majors. Eddie Rosario has been absolutely tearing up Triple-A since his demotion – not struggling and sulking, mind you – and should be back up soon. Even Robbie Grossman is making a case as a long-term piece in some capacity. There's no argument to be made for Arcia starting ahead of any of these guys that doesn't fall back on his production from two years ago. Keeping him on the bench was doing neither him nor the Twins any good. He played himself out of the team's plans and it isn't anyone's fault but his own. This is not an indictment of the 25-year-old's long-term outlook; it wouldn't surprise me if he falls into the right situation and hits 30 homers in a couple of years. It's not unusual for players to reach their late 20s before they really figure things out in the majors. This game is tough. Yet, to argue that the Twins should have perpetually kept Arcia planted on their 25-man roster until that day arrived is silly. You can quibble with the timing and specifics of the DFA move, since Danny Santana isn't necessarily a player worth giving up anything to make room for and it's only June. But there were no signs of positive change, and keeping Arcia around was only going to get tougher with more deserving players like Sano and Rosario returning to the fold. All of the hand-wringing over the decision to designate Arcia overlooks the basic realities of the situation. You need to earn things on merit in Major League Baseball and he wasn't doing it. There is certainly a discussion to be had about how the organization may be culpable in his failure to adjust and grow as a player, especially given how many different times we've seen it happen, but that is a separate discussion. As of this post going live on Sunday night, there is still no word that Arcia has been claimed off waivers by another club. Maybe this will all be moot. But even if he does land elsewhere, and even if he does finally turn a corner eventually, it won't be because the Twins screwed up and gave up too early. It will be because he exhausted every last bit of patience they could show him.
  15. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/gatg_6_19_16_final.mp3
  16. Aaron and John talk about time running out on Oswaldo Arcia, Max Kepler stepping up, Glen Perkins' season-ending shoulder injuries, Byron Buxton's ongoing struggles, trying to find the point of Kevin Jepsen, swapping out Pat Dean for Tommy Milone, Danny Santana's return, the Minnesota Corn Growers, and Miguel Sano's timetable. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click the Play button below. Click here to view the article
  17. In an attempt to salvage what can be salvaged of the 2016 season, and put a best foot forward for 2017, here's the strategy I'm going with sooner rather than later. Move 1: Demote Eddie Rosario I've been telling you this would happen since way back in February. My comments on Eddie Rosario have generally been met with the question of why I "dislike him." That really couldn't be further from the truth. Rosario was my "Danny Santana" pick in 2015. He was the early call up who was going to force his way into the lineup and stick. It happened, but what also became apparent was that it wasn't sustainable. Some have tried to categorize Rosario as a "bad-ball hitter" but really, he isn't that. He's swung and missed over 19% of the time in 2016, and has chased pitches outside of the zone a staggering 40.6% of the time. His 67.7% contact rate is in line with a guy who hits a lot of balls out of the park. but that's not Rosario's game either. He saw an inflated OPS a season ago due to his MLB leading 15 triples, and that shouldn't have been expected to be repeated. Now, compounding the problem, Rosario has posted a negative defensive runs saved metric and isn't operating as an asset in the outfield. He's a guy who has long been talked about being bored on the farm. That may be fair, but his head isn't on straight, and he isn't above having to work at being good at this game. He needs to go down and rework his approach, while also figuring out who he wants to be between his ears. Move 2: Start Oswaldo Arcia, then trade him Fresh off of his 25th birthday, Oswaldo Arcia is still a part of the crop of youth the Twins employ. Despite being yanked around the last few seasons, and in part because of his lack of production, he's stuck with the Twins due to being out of options. Now drawing more regular starts due to Eddie Rosario's struggles, Arcia should be finding himself in the lineup every day. Arcia is always going to struggle against lefties, and his OPS in 2016 is nearly 70 points higher off of righties with all of his four homers coming against those pitchers. He can hit for power though, and despite facing shifts quite often at the plate, he's a capable power bat for a good club. He's just two seasons removed from being worth nearly 1.0 fWAR and remaining under team control until 2020 works to his value as well. You probably aren't going to get a huge return for him, but opening up some room for Move 3 to happen makes sense. Move 3: Promote Byron Buxton and Max Kepler It wasn't expected that Bryon Buxton would struggle so mightily to start off 2016, and it wasn't hoped that Max Kepler would be called up to be so poorly mismanaged by Paul Molitor. That said, both guys are beginning to force the Twins hand, and removing Rosario and Arcia from the picture could help to accommodate that. Over his last 12 games, Buxton is slashing .374/.423/.625. He's hitting for gap power, as well as putting the ball over the fence, and most importantly, his strikeout rate is reduced below 20%. Now finally getting consistent at bats (something Molitor stunted him of), Kepler is also heating up in Rochester slashing .324/.425/.529 across his last nine. Bring them up together, and make them your starting outfield along with Miguel Sano. In this scenario, both Buxton and Kepler are able to work towards being cornerstones of the future, while Sano is allowed to continue his transition. While much is made about Sano defensively, he's far from an issue when you look at the landscape of power bats playing right field (Jose Bautista, J.D. Martinez, Nelson Cruz...all are negative defenders). Danny Santana then returns to his super utility role that he's best suited for, and you have the largest amount of talent on the field at one time. Note that this is ove three. I'd look to see what can be done about at least move one or two before going here. I think that both Buxton and Kepler stand to benefit from playing at Rochester at least until early June. Move 4: Trade Jorge Polanco This move has been complicated in how Paul Molitor has used Polanco since Eduardo Escobar has landed on the disabled list. Polanco has long been one of the guys the Twins have promoted, gone unused, and then has been sent back down. He'll now be out of options in 2017 because of it, and the big league club has very little idea what he can do at the highest level. Polanco has not played shortstop at all, at any level, in 2016. He's probably not capable of playing the role at the big league level due to his tendency for errors. That being said, the Twins have a second basemen in Brian Dozier (and no I'm not worried about his slow start). If you aren't going to see what Polanco has while the already struggling Escobar is hurt, then there's no place for him on the Twins roster. It's pretty widely regarded that Polanco's bat is big league ready. His glove may not be, but playing at second should help to alleviate some of those concerns. I'd be shopping Polanco immediately and if a team would rather give you a decent haul for Brian Dozier, then sure go ahead and pursue that route. If both Polanco and Dozier are in the organization to begin 2017 however, the Twins may have fumbled an opportunity. Move 5: Promote J.T. Chargois and Alex Meyer This offseason, I was completely behind the idea of Terry Ryan standing somewhat pat on his pen. Sure, they weren't good a year ago, but it's also one of the organizations areas of strength. Fernando Abad looked like a shrewd signing from the get go, and has been absolutely that. Glen Perkins put the Twins in a bind, but they weren't going to be in the market for a closer. What has compounded the problem is the lack of follow through on what appeared to be the plan. Coming into the year, and now 26 years old, the Twins still seem lost as to what Alex Meyer is. He was worked as a starter in Rochester and dominated. Then he was promoted, went unused, was thrown into a start, imploded, and was demoted. Rather than seeing some time in relief, where he appears destined to succeed, the Twins continue to jerk their return for Denard Span around. He should be up in the big league pen generating strikeouts at a 10+ K/9 pace and hoping the command issues stay as they were to start in Rochester (see nonexistent). Along with Meyer, flame-throwing reliever J.T. Chargois could be up helping the Twins. He was dominant to start 2016 with Chattanooga, and appeared to have earned the call. His 10.8 K/9 and 1.54 ERA as the Double-A closer were more than respectable. When healthy, Chargois has been nearly as good as they come in the Twins system. Instead, he was handed a ticket to Triple-A Rochester. For a floundering team and struggling bullpen, the Twins saw fit to add guys like Pat Dean and Brandon Kintzler to the fold, despite having no real long term viability with the club. At the end of the day, this club is playing horrible baseball right now. Unlike the Atlanta Braves who are actually bad, the Twins are a average to good collection of players, all playing well below their capabilities (save Joe, Byung Ho, and one or two others). With the season where it is now, you don't throw in the towel, but if you aren't positioning for 2017 and working in some of the ones above, you're doing it wrong. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  18. Today, though, I'm going to pick out the worst players for the Twins at each position, DH included, since 1989. Here are the stipulations. 1. The players have to come from a losing season. 2. They had to have played at least half of their season at the specific position during a losing season. 2a. For the DH position, they had to lead the team in appearances as a DH in that given year. 2b. The starting pitcher had to make at least 15 starts during the season. 3. While the Twins have strung together consecutive losing seasons, I am not allowing players to span seasons. They had to play in a specific year. 4. We are excluding 2016 because we are not even a quarter of the way into the season. We could revisit this at the end of the season. 5. I'm only picking one starting pitcher and no one from the bullpen. Again, that is a post for another time. The rules are set! Let's do this. Catcher - Matt Walbeck 1994 Walbeck was never known for his offense but really had no business ever being a starting catcher. He played in 97 games for the Twins in 1994, starting 89 of them at catcher. He hit a measly .204 and had a minus 20 runs above average. His defense was above league average and he threw out a career high 39 percent of base stealers that season. That still wasn't enough to avoid putting him on this team. Especially when you consider the 1994 Twins had the fifth best team batting average in the American League. First Base - Scott Stahoviak 1997 The Twins thought they had found the first baseman of the future in 1996 when Stahoviak hit .284 with 13 home runs and 30 doubles. Problem was that Stahoviak did not return in 1997. Stahoviak hit .229 in 91 games, was a minus 13 in runs above average and committed seven errors on defense. Stahoviak also struck out a lot. He struck out 114 times in 1996 and 73 times in 1997. His career percentage of at bats that ended in strikeouts was 24. The league average over that time span was 16.3 percent. We should have seen the dramatic drop off. Stahoviak hit .364 on balls put in play in 1996. That dropped to .270 in 1997. The Twins would move on from one tough-to-spell last name to another in the next couple seasons. Second Base - Wally Backman 1989 The Twins probably believed they were getting a middle-of-his-prime player in Wally Backman when they received him in an off-season trade. Backman, at age 28, had hit .303 in 99 games in 1988. He was a veteran and the term "professional" was probably thrown around a bunch of times when describing him. He ended up being pretty terrible in his lone season with the Twins. A .231 average was just the half of it. His WAR, -2.7, and RAA, -18, were both career lows for Backman. He hit .268 on balls put in play and had a .306 on base percentage. Both were well below his career averagesfor those stats. He was never a great defensive second baseman but was solid during his time with the Mets. With the Twins, though, he had a minus 6 total zone fieldiung runs above average. Backman would spend 14 years in the league and never have one more trying than his season with the Twins. He would move on to Pittsburgh the next season and only return to the American League in 1993 when he played 10 games in Seattle. Shortstop - Cristian Guzman 1999 This one was hard. It was between Guzman and 2013 Pedro Florimon. Both were pretty terrible at the plate but it was Guzman's struggles in the field that give him the edge. He committed 24 errors as a shortstop that season. That ended up being tied for second in the American League for a shortstop and tied fifth most in the AL for any position that season. His batting didn't win him any fans either. He hit .226 with 90 strikeouts. He was striking out in nearly 20 percent of his plate appearances. Considering that he played 131 games in 1999 shows you how committed the Twins were to the young man. It would eventually pay off as he led the league in triples three times and go on to be a career .271 hitter. Third Base - Danny Valencia 2011 Known more for his looks than playing ability, Valencia surprised some people with a strong 2010. His power numbers were solid in 2011 but it was the strikeouts and defense that were down right ugly. He struck out 102 times in 608 plate appearances. He was a team leader in that category. The defense was even worse. Valencia committed 18 errors at third base and had a total zone rating of minus 18. He would never again close in on the nearly 1,300 innings he played in 2011. In defense of Valencia, he was the Twins most consistent player in 2011. His 154 games led a team that was plagued by injury. There really was no other option but to play the guy. Left Field - Josh Willingham 2013 Josh Willingham mashed 35 home runs and drove in 110 RBIs in 2012. Both career highs and numbers the Twins hoped he would duplicate in 2012. Instead they got a .208 hitter that had a runs better than average of minus 15. His homer per at bat rate in 2012 was 14.8. It dropped to 28.8 in 2013. Never a great fielder, Willingham's defensive runs saved above average was minus 8. That number was minus 13 the year prior but you could ignore that when you are driving in 110 runs. The other problem Willingham tended to encounter was injuries and 2013 was no different. Maybe a healthy Willingham, much like the one the Twins had in 2012, would've performed differently. We will never know. Center Field - Rich Becker 1995 Rich Becker's first full season in the majors was one to forget. He was not quite ready for the duties of patrolling the outfield. Add in the pressure of replacing the greatest Twins of all-time in Kirby Puckett and you have the makings of a disaster. Becker's runs above average was minus 24 as a hitter and his .303 on base percentage was the worst of his career. His defense was not terrible but he was taking over for a six-time gold glove winner. Unless you are Torii Hunter, you are not going to win approval based on being average. Becker would improve and hit .279 while driving in 116 runs over the next two seasons. Numbers the Twins would gladly take from their center fielder today. Right Field - Oswaldo Arcia 2014 Arcia hit 20 home runs in 2014 and at the age of 23 was believed to be an up-and-coming power hitter. However, the power numbers belied the reality behind Arica. He struck out 127 times or once every three at-bats. His patience was starting to go away as well as he swung at the 1st pitch 32 percent of the time. He struck out 31 percent of time and would have been 4th in the majors had he qualified. His defense wasn't much better. He had a .975 fielding percentage, well bellow the league average of .986 for a right fielder. He would become way more impatient at the plate the next season and was eventually sent down to the minors. He's back, now, and showing more patience at the plate although the strike outs are still prevalent. Designated Hitter - Ryan Doumit 2013 Doumit led the team with 49 games played as the DH in 2013. He hit .220 with a .351 slugging percentage and just five homers as a DH that season. He also struck out 43 times in 191 at-bats. He split time between there, right field and catcher in 2013. The Twins would trade him in the off-season to the Atlanta Braves. Starting Pitcher - Nick Blackburn 2012 Nick Blackburn appeared in 19 games for the Twins in 2012, all of them starts. He had a 7.39 ERA, a ERA+ of 56, gave up an average of 2.1 home runs per nine innings over the span of 98.2 innings pitched. All 81 runs he gave up were earned and he only once got past the seventh inning. You have to take into account the starting pitching rotation to really appreciate how bad Blackburn was. The Twins had Scott Diamond start 27 games. Francisco Liriano started 17 games. Cole De Vries and Liam Hendriks both started 16 games. Sam Deduno started 15 and P.J. Walters started 12. Of all of those players, only Hendriks and Liarano are still in the league with several being out of the majors by 2013. It might be the Twins worst starting rotation ever. Of course, that is a different discussion for a different post.
  19. The Minnesota Twins have struggled this year. They have been swept six times and have only two victories on the road. Instead of building on last year's success, they have brought plenty of things into question. I could spend several days on what the reasons are behind the failures. That would just end up in a lot of head shaking and maybe even some tears. Instead, I intend to start a bar room type discussion. Some of you remember the Twins of the 60s or 70s or even the 80s. For me, it is the 1990s to now. I was born in 1989 and have been alive for 15 losing seasons. Some of those 15 seasons have been worse than the others and at a different time I may rank them accordingly.Today, though, I'm going to pick out the worst players for the Twins at each position, DH included, since 1989. Here are the stipulations. 1. The players have to come from a losing season. 2. They had to have played at least half of their season at the specific position during a losing season. 2a. For the DH position, they had to lead the team in appearances as a DH in that given year. 2b. The starting pitcher had to make at least 15 starts during the season. 3. While the Twins have strung together consecutive losing seasons, I am not allowing players to span seasons. They had to play in a specific year. 4. We are excluding 2016 because we are not even a quarter of the way into the season. We could revisit this at the end of the season. 5. I'm only picking one starting pitcher and no one from the bullpen. Again, that is a post for another time. The rules are set! Let's do this. Catcher - Matt Walbeck 1994 Walbeck was never known for his offense but really had no business ever being a starting catcher. He played in 97 games for the Twins in 1994, starting 89 of them at catcher. He hit a measly .204 and had a minus 20 runs above average. His defense was above league average and he threw out a career high 39 percent of base stealers that season. That still wasn't enough to avoid putting him on this team. Especially when you consider the 1994 Twins had the fifth best team batting average in the American League. First Base - Scott Stahoviak 1997 The Twins thought they had found the first baseman of the future in 1996 when Stahoviak hit .284 with 13 home runs and 30 doubles. Problem was that Stahoviak did not return in 1997. Stahoviak hit .229 in 91 games, was a minus 13 in runs above average and committed seven errors on defense. Stahoviak also struck out a lot. He struck out 114 times in 1996 and 73 times in 1997. His career percentage of at bats that ended in strikeouts was 24. The league average over that time span was 16.3 percent. We should have seen the dramatic drop off. Stahoviak hit .364 on balls put in play in 1996. That dropped to .270 in 1997. The Twins would move on from one tough-to-spell last name to another in the next couple seasons. Second Base - Wally Backman 1989 The Twins probably believed they were getting a middle-of-his-prime player in Wally Backman when they received him in an off-season trade. Backman, at age 28, had hit .303 in 99 games in 1988. He was a veteran and the term "professional" was probably thrown around a bunch of times when describing him. He ended up being pretty terrible in his lone season with the Twins. A .231 average was just the half of it. His WAR, -2.7, and RAA, -18, were both career lows for Backman. He hit .268 on balls put in play and had a .306 on base percentage. Both were well below his career averagesfor those stats. He was never a great defensive second baseman but was solid during his time with the Mets. With the Twins, though, he had a minus 6 total zone fieldiung runs above average. Backman would spend 14 years in the league and never have one more trying than his season with the Twins. He would move on to Pittsburgh the next season and only return to the American League in 1993 when he played 10 games in Seattle. Shortstop - Cristian Guzman 1999 This one was hard. It was between Guzman and 2013 Pedro Florimon. Both were pretty terrible at the plate but it was Guzman's struggles in the field that give him the edge. He committed 24 errors as a shortstop that season. That ended up being tied for second in the American League for a shortstop and tied fifth most in the AL for any position that season. His batting didn't win him any fans either. He hit .226 with 90 strikeouts. He was striking out in nearly 20 percent of his plate appearances. Considering that he played 131 games in 1999 shows you how committed the Twins were to the young man. It would eventually pay off as he led the league in triples three times and go on to be a career .271 hitter. Third Base - Danny Valencia 2011 Known more for his looks than playing ability, Valencia surprised some people with a strong 2010. His power numbers were solid in 2011 but it was the strikeouts and defense that were down right ugly. He struck out 102 times in 608 plate appearances. He was a team leader in that category. The defense was even worse. Valencia committed 18 errors at third base and had a total zone rating of minus 18. He would never again close in on the nearly 1,300 innings he played in 2011. In defense of Valencia, he was the Twins most consistent player in 2011. His 154 games led a team that was plagued by injury. There really was no other option but to play the guy. Left Field - Josh Willingham 2013 Josh Willingham mashed 35 home runs and drove in 110 RBIs in 2012. Both career highs and numbers the Twins hoped he would duplicate in 2012. Instead they got a .208 hitter that had a runs better than average of minus 15. His homer per at bat rate in 2012 was 14.8. It dropped to 28.8 in 2013. Never a great fielder, Willingham's defensive runs saved above average was minus 8. That number was minus 13 the year prior but you could ignore that when you are driving in 110 runs. The other problem Willingham tended to encounter was injuries and 2013 was no different. Maybe a healthy Willingham, much like the one the Twins had in 2012, would've performed differently. We will never know. Center Field - Rich Becker 1995 Rich Becker's first full season in the majors was one to forget. He was not quite ready for the duties of patrolling the outfield. Add in the pressure of replacing the greatest Twins of all-time in Kirby Puckett and you have the makings of a disaster. Becker's runs above average was minus 24 as a hitter and his .303 on base percentage was the worst of his career. His defense was not terrible but he was taking over for a six-time gold glove winner. Unless you are Torii Hunter, you are not going to win approval based on being average. Becker would improve and hit .279 while driving in 116 runs over the next two seasons. Numbers the Twins would gladly take from their center fielder today. Right Field - Oswaldo Arcia 2014 Arcia hit 20 home runs in 2014 and at the age of 23 was believed to be an up-and-coming power hitter. However, the power numbers belied the reality behind Arica. He struck out 127 times or once every three at-bats. His patience was starting to go away as well as he swung at the 1st pitch 32 percent of the time. He struck out 31 percent of time and would have been 4th in the majors had he qualified. His defense wasn't much better. He had a .975 fielding percentage, well bellow the league average of .986 for a right fielder. He would become way more impatient at the plate the next season and was eventually sent down to the minors. He's back, now, and showing more patience at the plate although the strike outs are still prevalent. Designated Hitter - Ryan Doumit 2013 Doumit led the team with 49 games played as the DH in 2013. He hit .220 with a .351 slugging percentage and just five homers as a DH that season. He also struck out 43 times in 191 at-bats. He split time between there, right field and catcher in 2013. The Twins would trade him in the off-season to the Atlanta Braves. Starting Pitcher - Nick Blackburn 2012 Nick Blackburn appeared in 19 games for the Twins in 2012, all of them starts. He had a 7.39 ERA, a ERA+ of 56, gave up an average of 2.1 home runs per nine innings over the span of 98.2 innings pitched. All 81 runs he gave up were earned and he only once got past the seventh inning. You have to take into account the starting pitching rotation to really appreciate how bad Blackburn was. The Twins had Scott Diamond start 27 games. Francisco Liriano started 17 games. Cole De Vries and Liam Hendriks both started 16 games. Sam Deduno started 15 and P.J. Walters started 12. Of all of those players, only Hendriks and Liarano are still in the league with several being out of the majors by 2013. It might be the Twins worst starting rotation ever. Of course, that is a different discussion for a different post. Click here to view the article
  20. Daniel and I are huge fans of the television show, “Community.” Outside of the former “Top Gear,” it’s the show we watch the most when we hang out. Since the current Minnesota Twins team is a bunch of underachieving misfits (sans Mauer, Park, and a few others), we decided to compare current and recent Twins players as some of your favorite faces at Greendale. Greendale’s school slogan is “E. Pluribus Anus,” which is fitting for the kind of baseball the Twins have played through the month of April. Britta Perry – Kevin Jepsen: This wasn’t much of a stretch. If you’ve ever watched the show, you know Britta is the butt end of most jokes, much the same way Jepsen has been the butt end of a bad bullpen. As someone who’s constantly blamed for ruining things, Jepsen has blown enough saves this year that he’s the teams Britta. We see flashes of Britta’s genius(?), kind of like Jepsen’s 2015 with the Twins. However, it happens infrequently, and it’s not enough to rely on either of them. He is human tennis elbow, he is the pizza burn on the roof of the world’s mouth, he is the opposite of Batman. Jeff Winger – Miguel Sano: While the lead role of Community would better fit someone like Plouffe, Mauer, or even Dozier; Miguel has shown he has the personality of one Mr. Winger. Maybe a bit full of himself after his debut last season, he’s still a young player looking to find his way. While Jeff has his goals and dreams, along with his selfishness, and many insecurities; Sano seems to be a big picture guy. Miguel wants what’s best for the team, while Jeff wants what’s best for him. Hopefully Sano will mature quickly, and find the swing that Twins fans grew to love in a few short months. Shirley Bennett – Brian Dozier: Dozier has a sweet, Southern likeability to him, much like Shirley has a sweet, Lord driven likeability to her. Most of the time they’re lovely, and even keeled... Most of the time. Sometimes they’ll fly off the handle when things aren’t going their way. Through it all both of them find ways to dig down and achieve their roles to the best of their abilities. While I enjoy watching these two have meltdowns (especially when Dozier is yelling about balls and strikes on his way back to the dugout), it’s the friendly smiles and laughter that keeps you coming back. Though sometimes at a distance. And let’s be honest; the Dozier’s Christmas card was the best thing you saw in 2015. Troy Barnes/Abed Nadir – Eduardo Escobar, Eduardo Nunez, Eddie Rosario: “Ed, Edd, and Eddy” would be a much better comparison, but these three are rarely brought up without one of the other two being named. Just like Troy and Abed, the Eddie’s seem bound to each other. While I don’t know if they have a sweet handshake, or if they’ve ever hosted a fake TV show together; the Eddies come up clutch. Just look at what Rosario and Escobar did throughout last season. Now Nunez is hitting like his job depends on it. Though if his job depended on how often his helmet stayed on his head, he’d be gone faster than his helmet falls off his head. Pierce Hawthorne – Ricky Nolasco: The elder statesman of the group, Pierce isn’t liked or respected by many of his peers. While his peers may like him, Twins Territory seems pretty hell bent on shipping Ricky Nolasco as soon as humanly possible. While doing just enough to stay productive and in the good graces of his Greendale classmates, Nolasco has seemingly done the same through 2016. Off to a better than his career average start, Nolasco has been rather dependable. Much like Pierce, Twins fans are waiting for the other shoe to drop, and see the not so nice side of Ricky. That is, the Ricky that looks very similar to Kevin Jepsen, A.K.A; Britta. Maybe Ricky’s in it for the long haul, or maybe Ricky’s in it for Ricky. Either way, Ricky hasn’t been the villain since spring training. Hopefully Ricky’s turned a new leaf in Minnesota. Hopefully… Annie Edison – Joe Mauer: I don’t think Joe has ever had a reliance on Adderall (possibly Kemps milk), but he’s definitely the goody-two-shoes of the Twins. Annie never wants conflict or to disappoint people, and is usually reliable. Sound familiar? Mauer’s had a rebirth in 2016 to the delight of some, and to the chagrin of those who wish he’d catch, hit 30+ dingers, and knock in 110+ RBIs in a season (psssst, #ItsNotHappening nerds). I guess the better comparison would be John Cena; a solid contributor who does what he can to help the team. While half of the fans are excited to see Joe healthy and hitting, others want their power first-baseman to do what Byung-Ho Park was brought in to do. Guess you can’t please everyone, no matter how good your career has been. Ben Chang – Oswaldo Arcia: Ken Joeng’s portrayal of the borderline insane Ben Chang seems to fit Arcia well. While not always the focal point, and not always helpful, Arcia is definitely an enigma. Teammates described Arcia earlier this year with the following; “Overreacts to everything, loves to be the center of attention, and the hair isn’t working.” I don’t think I ever questioned Ben Chang’s hair style, but that would describe him to a T. In the later seasons of Community, Chang became more of a frenemy (yes, I’m ashamed I used that too) and had some memorable episodes. Arcia’s April had some ups and downs, but he looked more like his 2014 self than 2015, which should give Twins fans hope that he can help the team this year, and in the future. “Dean” Craig Pelton – Torii Hunter: Yeah, Torii’s not around this season, but you can bet he’s not far away from what’s happening with this team. The Dean was a outrageous (Torii’s dance parties), a unifying force when things weren’t going well (2015), and a helpful mentor when need be. While The Dean was insecure in himself, and had some odd fetishes that turned some people off, Torii was very staunch in his beliefs, and wasn’t afraid to butt heads when he thought he was right (see: The Dean’s insane costumes, and Torii ripping his jersey off in April/May 2015). Torii was an advisor for a few weeks in spring training, helping to shape and mold the outfield to be the best they can be. I can’t imagine he won’t be a coach for the Twins in some capacity very soon. Torii breathes baseball, the same way The Dean breathes Greendale. If Torii starts to show up in questionable costumes with no reason, the comparison will be officially complete. Magnitude – Byung-Ho Park: “Magnetic Attitude,” or Magnitude, for short; he’s described as a one man party known for his catchphrase, “Pop, pop!” In fact, that’s about all Magnitude says during all six seasons of Community. Byung-Ho Park, known by his nickname, “#ParkBang,” is a one man wrecking crew. Park’s up to 6 home runs as of this writing, and has captured the hearts of Twins Territory with his smile, and monster home runs. Park’s English is getting better, but fans and teammates continue to call him by #ParkBang, and I’m not mad about that at all. Park’s shown that he’s learning on the fly, and his stat line continues to improve each week. He’d be a main player on offense and defense, if only we could get rid of that under-achieving Mauer guy… /sarcasm We obviously missed a good chunk of the roster, and that was by design. There just weren’t enough memorable characters to fill out this article. And as much as I’d like to keep making comparisons, this article is for a very specific audience. We did decide that Ron Gardenhire is the Leonard of the Twins, and Danny Santana is the Starburns, based on their questionable hair choices. What did you think? Did we miss some easy comparisons? Do you agree or disagree with our choices? Let us know in the comments section, and don’t forget to follow us on the Innanetz. Facebook: Twins And Losses Twitter: @TwinsAndLosses / @PandaPete21 www.twinsandlosses.com
  21. After a one week absence, Trending is back and better than ever. (But only because it’s better than the first and only week it has appeared.) Let's take a look at some of the roster battles that are going on.The Starting Rotation All along the general consensus was that Tyler Duffey would be in the Twins rotation. Based on how he performed down the stretch last year, why wouldn’t he be? MLB might as well be short for “What have you done for me lately?” because, lately, Tyler Duffey hasn’t done much. He’s gone from “it’s going to take a disaster to not be in the rotation” to “well his name is written in pencil, not ink” to “well we can’t send Nolasco down, so….”. The trend line is pointing solidly to Tommy Milone as being the lone lefty in the rotation. And after Nolasco’s strong performance Wednesday - coupled with Duffey not pitching well against minor leaguers - it appears Nolasco has regained the lead in the quest for the fifth and final rotation spot. That could leave Duffey out in the cold (of Rochester). Trending up, on the other hand, is the Red Wings starting rotation which will include Jose Berrios, Alex Meyer and Tyler Duffey. Taylor Rogers, though, will start the season in the bullpen. The Bullpen The group of Glen Perkins, Kevin Jepsen, Trevor May and Casey Fien will form an average (or better) back end. Non-roster lefty Fernando Abad is expected to join them. When Duffey appeared poised for the rotation, that forced Nolasco to take up one of the two remaining bullpen spots. But now with that race tightening up, there could be two spots available in the bullpen. J.R. Graham was optioned to Rochester on Wednesday. Michael Tonkin finally had a decent showing on Tuesday after giving up runs in each of his last three outings, including two runs in each of his last two one-inning appearances. Tonkin might get a longer look (i.e. into the season) just because he is out of options, but he’s been trending the wrong direction all spring. Some other names to keep an eye on are Dan Runzler, a lefty who has allowed seven men on base in eight innings, and potential LOOGY Ryan O’Rourke, who has been lights-out in his 5 ⅔ innings this spring. Both of those men are trending in the right direction. (Edit: Yes, Ryan Pressly should absolutely be considered for the bullpen and is probably a favorite to secure the spot if there is only one opening. If there are two spots open, Pressly has to be considered a near-lock.) Another name that popped up this afternoon, thanks to Steve Lein, is Tyler Duffey. If he’s not in the rotation, how dominant could he be in the bullpen (a la Trevor May)? You also have the insurance built in that he doesn’t need to be the sixth starter in the organization (Berrios). It’s kinda crazy - and not a move I would make this season - but definitely something that could be worth considering as the roster continues to take shape (and you believe the best 25 should go north). The Bench Danny Santana missed seven days of games due to a sore wrist within the last two weeks but has started to hit (5 for 11) in his last three games. He’s been playing a variety of positions, which gives him a little value. The reality is that Santana, another out-of-options player, is going to be on the 25-man whether he hits or not. The hope here, though, is that Molitor can avoid using him as anything but a late-innings pinch-runner when it’s absolutely necessary. I’d still consider him to be trending down, but the slope isn’t as steep as it was ten days ago. Oswaldo Arcia is in a very similar place. Only Arcia’s (potential) value is in his bat and not his versatility. Arcia teased us in 2014 and frustrated us in 2015. He’s now being pushed by the old knees of the recently unretired Carlos Quentin. Yet it’s still hard to believe that the club will decide to keep Quentin, who has no defensive value compared to even Arcia. But if it’s bat we’re looking for and spring training we’re watching, we still see Arcia’s OPS of .528 next to Quentin’s OPS of .931 in the 15 games they’ve each played and wonder, “What to do with Ozzie?” Smart money is on him taking up a bench spot early in the season. What do you think? What would you do? Click here to view the article
  22. The Starting Rotation All along the general consensus was that Tyler Duffey would be in the Twins rotation. Based on how he performed down the stretch last year, why wouldn’t he be? MLB might as well be short for “What have you done for me lately?” because, lately, Tyler Duffey hasn’t done much. He’s gone from “it’s going to take a disaster to not be in the rotation” to “well his name is written in pencil, not ink” to “well we can’t send Nolasco down, so….”. The trend line is pointing solidly to Tommy Milone as being the lone lefty in the rotation. And after Nolasco’s strong performance Wednesday - coupled with Duffey not pitching well against minor leaguers - it appears Nolasco has regained the lead in the quest for the fifth and final rotation spot. That could leave Duffey out in the cold (of Rochester). Trending up, on the other hand, is the Red Wings starting rotation which will include Jose Berrios, Alex Meyer and Tyler Duffey. Taylor Rogers, though, will start the season in the bullpen. The Bullpen The group of Glen Perkins, Kevin Jepsen, Trevor May and Casey Fien will form an average (or better) back end. Non-roster lefty Fernando Abad is expected to join them. When Duffey appeared poised for the rotation, that forced Nolasco to take up one of the two remaining bullpen spots. But now with that race tightening up, there could be two spots available in the bullpen. J.R. Graham was optioned to Rochester on Wednesday. Michael Tonkin finally had a decent showing on Tuesday after giving up runs in each of his last three outings, including two runs in each of his last two one-inning appearances. Tonkin might get a longer look (i.e. into the season) just because he is out of options, but he’s been trending the wrong direction all spring. Some other names to keep an eye on are Dan Runzler, a lefty who has allowed seven men on base in eight innings, and potential LOOGY Ryan O’Rourke, who has been lights-out in his 5 ⅔ innings this spring. Both of those men are trending in the right direction. (Edit: Yes, Ryan Pressly should absolutely be considered for the bullpen and is probably a favorite to secure the spot if there is only one opening. If there are two spots open, Pressly has to be considered a near-lock.) Another name that popped up this afternoon, thanks to Steve Lein, is Tyler Duffey. If he’s not in the rotation, how dominant could he be in the bullpen (a la Trevor May)? You also have the insurance built in that he doesn’t need to be the sixth starter in the organization (Berrios). It’s kinda crazy - and not a move I would make this season - but definitely something that could be worth considering as the roster continues to take shape (and you believe the best 25 should go north). The Bench Danny Santana missed seven days of games due to a sore wrist within the last two weeks but has started to hit (5 for 11) in his last three games. He’s been playing a variety of positions, which gives him a little value. The reality is that Santana, another out-of-options player, is going to be on the 25-man whether he hits or not. The hope here, though, is that Molitor can avoid using him as anything but a late-innings pinch-runner when it’s absolutely necessary. I’d still consider him to be trending down, but the slope isn’t as steep as it was ten days ago. Oswaldo Arcia is in a very similar place. Only Arcia’s (potential) value is in his bat and not his versatility. Arcia teased us in 2014 and frustrated us in 2015. He’s now being pushed by the old knees of the recently unretired Carlos Quentin. Yet it’s still hard to believe that the club will decide to keep Quentin, who has no defensive value compared to even Arcia. But if it’s bat we’re looking for and spring training we’re watching, we still see Arcia’s OPS of .528 next to Quentin’s OPS of .931 in the 15 games they’ve each played and wonder, “What to do with Ozzie?” Smart money is on him taking up a bench spot early in the season. What do you think? What would you do?
  23. In early November, Twins fans were surprised to learn that the team had won the bid and had the exclusive rights to negotiate with Byung Ho Park. Park then helped Korea to the championship of the inaugural Premier12 event. Park homered in the championship game. Soon after, he arrived in Minnesota and signed a four-year deal. It was announced that he will be the Twins primary DH. He won a Gold Glove in the KBO, so he will also get some time at first base for the Twins as well. However, the Twins didn’t watch him in high school and many times over the last decade because of his glove. It was his bat and power potential that caught teams' eyes. He has spent most of the past five years playing for Nexon in the KBO. In that time, he has been the league’s top player. Over the last two years, he has homered 105 times. Each of the past three seasons, he has hit over .300, been on base at least 43% of the time and posted OPS well over 1.000. Park is certainly intriguing. No one should expect him to hit 50 home runs a year in the far-superior MLB. There will be an adjustment for Park and that will make predicting Park’s 2016 really difficult.Parks’ Nexen teammate in 2014, Jung Ho Kang signed with Pittsburgh and spent his rookie season with the Pirates. After a slow start, he played quite well and if not for a late-season injury, he was giving Kris Bryant a run for NL rookie of the year. Let’s take a look at Kang’s transition last year: 2014 Nexen (age 27) - .356/.459/.739 (1.198) with 36-2B, 40 HR, 68 BB, 106K 2015 MLB (age 28) - ..287/.355/.461 (.816) with 24-2B, 15 HR, 28 BB, 99 K Here is Byung Ho Park’s 2015 in Korea: 2015 Nexen (age 28) - .343/.436/.714 (1.150) with 35-2B, 53 HR, 78 BB, 161 K 2016 MLB (age 29) - We shall find out. While the numbers are pretty similar in the two players’ year before moving to MLB, there are some differences. Park had been better for longer. Park walked a bit more, but he struck out significantly more, and therein lies the concern. If it was just about those overall numbers, we could do some basic math and figure that Park would OPS somewhere around .780. But that strikeout rate is certainly more alarming coming into MLB than Kang’s was.Spring training has shown that Park can perform. He should not be overwhelmed. He hit three home runs, all on fastballs. He took quality at-bats. He drove in runs. He gave reason for optimism, and yet fans need to know that there will be some difficult moments and weeks for Park. Just like any rookie. But I’m more optimistic now that he can make the transition. So, what is in store for him in 2016? Below you’ll find my predictions for Park in 2016. KEY NUMBERS 29 - Though he is a rookie, and arguably a leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year in 2016, he will turn 30 in mid-July. To some extent, he is what he is at this point. He’s actually closer to the end of his prime than the middle of it. However, he is still capable of adjusting, he certainly will have to, and we all hope he will. 105... but 303 - Yes, Park was a power hitting star in the KBO, knocking 105 home runs over the last two seasons. However, he also struck out 303 times in that same time frame. His strikeout rate was between 24% and 26% the last couple of years. I would predict that he’ll strike out closer to 30% in his upcoming rookie season. PREDICTIONS Byung Ho Park: 471 at-bats, .247/.318/.423 (.741), 23 doubles, 0 triples, 20 home runs. With the transition and the rough times I would expect Park to get a day off each week and maybe two days off in the rougher weeks. Remember that Molitor will want to get Oswaldo Arcia’s bat into the lineup on a somewhat regular basis and DH is a good spot for that. As you can see, I predict him to struggle. I think that .741 OPS will be right around league average, and maybe that’s pretty good for a rookie. My hope, of course, would be that we will see improvement from April to June, from June to August, and so on. He will hit some home runs. I feel like my number might be a little low, and he will hit doubles too. While those numbers might seem disappointing, I do believe that Park is going to be fine, and I think he’s shown enough that over the course of his four (and optionally five) years with the Twins under this contract, he will become a better than average hitter with even more power. YOUR TURN Your turn. Share your thoughts on and predictions on Byung Ho Park in 2016. We can take a look back at the end of the season and see how we did. PREVIOUS PREDICTIONS Kurt Suzuki/John Ryan Murphy Joe Mauer Brian Dozier Trevor Plouffe Eduardo Escobar Eddie Rosario Byron Buxton Miguel Sano Click here to view the article
  24. Parks’ Nexen teammate in 2014, Jung Ho Kang signed with Pittsburgh and spent his rookie season with the Pirates. After a slow start, he played quite well and if not for a late-season injury, he was giving Kris Bryant a run for NL rookie of the year. Let’s take a look at Kang’s transition last year: 2014 Nexen (age 27) - .356/.459/.739 (1.198) with 36-2B, 40 HR, 68 BB, 106K 2015 MLB (age 28) - ..287/.355/.461 (.816) with 24-2B, 15 HR, 28 BB, 99 K Here is Byung Ho Park’s 2015 in Korea: 2015 Nexen (age 28) - .343/.436/.714 (1.150) with 35-2B, 53 HR, 78 BB, 161 K 2016 MLB (age 29) - We shall find out. While the numbers are pretty similar in the two players’ year before moving to MLB, there are some differences. Park had been better for longer. Park walked a bit more, but he struck out significantly more, and therein lies the concern. If it was just about those overall numbers, we could do some basic math and figure that Park would OPS somewhere around .780. But that strikeout rate is certainly more alarming coming into MLB than Kang’s was. Spring training has shown that Park can perform. He should not be overwhelmed. He hit three home runs, all on fastballs. He took quality at-bats. He drove in runs. He gave reason for optimism, and yet fans need to know that there will be some difficult moments and weeks for Park. Just like any rookie. But I’m more optimistic now that he can make the transition. So, what is in store for him in 2016? Below you’ll find my predictions for Park in 2016. KEY NUMBERS 29 - Though he is a rookie, and arguably a leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year in 2016, he will turn 30 in mid-July. To some extent, he is what he is at this point. He’s actually closer to the end of his prime than the middle of it. However, he is still capable of adjusting, he certainly will have to, and we all hope he will. 105... but 303 - Yes, Park was a power hitting star in the KBO, knocking 105 home runs over the last two seasons. However, he also struck out 303 times in that same time frame. His strikeout rate was between 24% and 26% the last couple of years. I would predict that he’ll strike out closer to 30% in his upcoming rookie season. PREDICTIONS Byung Ho Park: 471 at-bats, .247/.318/.423 (.741), 23 doubles, 0 triples, 20 home runs. With the transition and the rough times I would expect Park to get a day off each week and maybe two days off in the rougher weeks. Remember that Molitor will want to get Oswaldo Arcia’s bat into the lineup on a somewhat regular basis and DH is a good spot for that. As you can see, I predict him to struggle. I think that .741 OPS will be right around league average, and maybe that’s pretty good for a rookie. My hope, of course, would be that we will see improvement from April to June, from June to August, and so on. He will hit some home runs. I feel like my number might be a little low, and he will hit doubles too. While those numbers might seem disappointing, I do believe that Park is going to be fine, and I think he’s shown enough that over the course of his four (and optionally five) years with the Twins under this contract, he will become a better than average hitter with even more power. YOUR TURN Your turn. Share your thoughts on and predictions on Byung Ho Park in 2016. We can take a look back at the end of the season and see how we did. PREVIOUS PREDICTIONS Kurt Suzuki/John Ryan Murphy Joe Mauer Brian Dozier Trevor Plouffe Eduardo Escobar Eddie Rosario Byron Buxton Miguel Sano
  25. * Quentin and Sweeney are facing an uphill battle given that they are non-roster invites going against homegrown players who are out of options, but both have been productive enough this spring to spark some intrigue. Today, however, was not a banner day for either. The only hit between the two was a Sweeney single that was generously scored as such when Pittsburgh second baseman Cole Figueroa took a wrong first step on a flare and couldn’t recover. Quentin, in particular, had a rough one. He batted cleanup and struck out in both of his first two at-bats, each time with a runner on third and fewer than two outs. He finished 0-for-3 but Paul Molitor viewed it as more of an isolated bad day than a general sign of weakness for the veteran hitter. “He’s been pretty good at shortening his swing with two strikes in camp, today it didn’t work out particularly well.” * Two-strike approach is an area where the manager drew a distinction between Quentin and Oswaldo Arcia, who might be in direct competition for the final bench job. On a quiet day for Quentin, Arcia did little to distinguish himself at the plate, finishing 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and failing to cash in on a pair of early scoring opportunities. “He gets a little long with his swing,” Molitor said. “People have a tendency to get him to climb the ladder, especially with two strikes.” I’d say Arcia has a clear leg up, since the Twins recognize that losing him on waivers would be unfortunate, but I wouldn’t look at this one as a lock just yet. Having a veteran on the bench who can come in and take a quality at-bat is something that the Twins have valued in the past, and while Arcia has shown a somewhat improved approach at the plate this spring, it hasn’t led to much in the way of results. Today’s 0-fer dropped his average to .179. * Danny Santana, meanwhile, had himself a nice ballgame. He collected a couple of hits, including a single that he flicked through the wide-open left side when the Pirates shifted him. Given his lack of remaining options and his ability to play both infield and outfield, it’s tough to see Santana being left off the roster. His versatility, combined with his speed and switch-hitting, make him a nice bench piece. “Danny can spray the ball," Molitor said after the game. “He stayed on the ball better today I thought." * Starting pitcher Kyle Gibson was on top of his game. His 10-to-0 grounder-to-fly ratio is exactly what you like to see from a sinkerballer, and in the second inning he shattered the bat of former Twins farmhand Danny Ortiz with a pitch in on the handle. As usual, Gibson lamented his walks after the outing (he had two), but he generally seemed pleased with where he’s at. “The pitches I’ve been working on are where I want them to be, and they’re getting better,” he said. * Taylor Rogers was first to come on in relief for Twins after Gibson was removed in the fifth. Rogers is involved in one of the other remaining position battles on the roster: the left-handed relief gig. Fernando Abad is considered the front-runner in that race. The 30-year-old veteran has a sizable experience edge over Rogers and others, but he historically lacks the platoon splits that might come in handy for a situational bullpen role. I asked Molitor on Sunday if that weighs into his decision. “I’m kinda looking for guys who are pitching the best,” he replied. “The season [Abad] had in 2014 it seemed like he dominated lefties and righties fairly well. Last year was a little bit of a step back.” “He’s not afraid to throw that changeup to lefties and he can throw that curveball over, which is a good pitch to have. I am aware of the history and the numbers, but I’m just looking for the guys who are throwing the best and give us the best chance." * Glen Perkins fired a scoreless sixth frame with a pair of strikeouts. He has now worked six innings this spring with three hits allowed, a 6-to-0 K/BB ratio and a 0.00 ERA. Sure, it’s spring training and the numbers are ultimately meaningless. But it’s still nice to see after the way he finished last year. * Eduardo Escobar went 1-for-2 with a hustle triple, his second three-bagger of the spring. He also made a couple of slick plays defensively at short. Before the game, Brian Dozier called his double play partner “one of the most underrated players in the game,” and it’s hard to disagree with his assessment, given how many Twins fans I saw beckoning the team to explore options at shortstop this past offseason. "You put his stats up, anything regarding defense, offense, everything, it’s up there with the elite shortstops in the league,” Dozier said. "He’s going to have a chance to play every single day this year. You’ll see his numbers get even better." * David Freese was batting third in the Pirates lineup. I mention him because his situation over the winter was reflective of a lukewarm (at best) third base market that might have contributed to the Twins not trading Trevor Plouffe. Freese was far and away the best third baseman in free agency, and really the only quality starting option, yet he went unsigned until 10 days ago when Pittsburgh acquired him on a meager one-year, $3 million deal. The lack of a market for Freese, and the underwhelming return that the Reds got for dealing Al-Star Todd Frazier to the White Sox, suggest that Ryan made the right choice by holding onto Plouffe. Whether or not it was prudent to send Miguel Sano to right field to make all of the pieces fit is another discussion. * On Sunday I mentioned that Ryan had expressed an inclination to keep Alex Meyer in the rotation at Class-AAA Rochester rather than relegating him to a bullpen role. Today, the general manager made it official that they’ll go with Meyer as a starter for now, with the caveat that it’s not necessarily an assignment that will stick for his career of even for the entirety of the 2016 season. Ryan specifically pointed out that working as a starter enables the big righty to utilize and refine the entirety of his pitch repertoire (particularly his so-so change), which is much more easily done from the rotation than the bullpen. But you also have to think that his fantastic 2014 performance as a starter in the International League – which really isn't all that far in the past – factored in.
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