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  1. MLB and the player's union agreed on adjustments to be made in the short season. It appears that when the season starts, all teams will have a roster of 29. Service time will be prorated so however long the season goes will be counted as a full year this year. The draft has been modified and pushed back. https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/03/mlb-mlbpa-reach-deal.html The Twins might get almost a full season out of Rich Hill, probably a better deal than they could have expected, and it would make sense that Michael Pineda's suspension will be prorated.
  2. Third and last in my series on the conundrums of protecting players from Rule V, getting rid of deadwood, choosing what to do about free agents and lining up trades. The Outfield and Infield had a lot of names and decisions, but nothing like the pitching staff. Here we have our Ace – Berrios – who has worn down in August as an annual ritual letting others that the Ace spot until he recovers – and hopefully he can. Looking at performance is not just a calendar event – we might also look at who he has been suffering against and it is not an all-star group of teams. So, is he an ACE? We have no one else and we still have him under control. So, do we extend him? Putting an Ace in front of him, adding more quality to the rotation would do a lot. Behind him is Pineda, but he is unsigned after this year and we just paid for two years to get one. Do we resign? Will he resign? Odorizzi was an All Star then he stunk and now he looks good but he is a free agent. Do we resign him? Gibson continues to perform as an underperforming pitcher with potential, but he is too old to have potential anymore. Do we resign him. Perez has an option – do we take it? Great start, horrible middle, is he okay now? Not after his performance with against the Tigers! Smeltzer came in and looked good, then he looked bad, and now he looks like a gimmick that might not have a lot of upside – is he in the rotation next year? Thorpe has stuff, he has looked good. He looks like he should be in the rotation next year. Graterol looks and sounds good because we actually have not seen him. Is he a starter or reliever next year or is he a bust? Stewart has been up and down and frankly he looks like a pitcher who has shown us all he has and it is not great. Littell seems to have risen and looks good, but that is as a reliever. Can he start again? Should he? Poppen has some stuff, but is it enough for the MLB staff? The Pen has Rogers on the top – can he keep it up? Romo has been great – do we keep him? Dyson has done well – is he long range? Duffey and May look like they are ready to settle in to the BP. Who do we keep? And Who do we let go? The starting rotation has the most fluidity. Cody Stashak has debuted – did you like what you saw? Who is Randy Dobnak? Is Gonsalves still a prospect or someone who missed his turn? Did Romero get moved to the pen to be moved to the DFA list? Has Ryne Harper had his fifteen minutes of fame? Can Hildenberger come back or was his strange delivery a short-term success? Marcos Diplan is a name that came in a trade but has not grown into a person of prominence. And can Alcala jump to the pen and be a difference maker? That is a long list. We do not know if there will be a trade – we do not know who will DFA nor do we know the trade scenarios. Is Balazovic ready soon? Is there a FA we can afford and attract from other teams? Is there a trade? Must Keep - Berrios, Rogers, Duffy, May, Littell, Thorpe, Graterol Want to keep - Pineda, Odorizzi, Romo, Dyson Say good-bye - Gibson, Perez, Gonsalves, Harper ???? - Dobnak, Stashak, Romero, Diplan, Hildenberger,
  3. The Twins entertain Texas today at Target Field today at 1:10 PM in the middle game of a three-game series immediately prior to the All-Star break. The Twins will send out big Mike Pineda while the Rangers counter with Jesse Chavez making his seventh start of the season (he's relieved in 30 other games). Pineda has pitched pretty consistently in his last 10 starts, but with a few encouraging factors. He has limited free passes, has increased his velocity and has been getting a good number of strikeouts. Crooked numbers have been his nemesis. Yesterday, the Twins got well against the Rangers. The flagging defense was good to spectacular, power was there and outside of a five-run seventh inning, the pitching was good. The Twins scored fifteen runs, hit four homers, and every position in the batting order had at least two hits. Slumping Jonathan Schoop and CJ Cron had multiple hits and Schoop hit a homer. The team set a record for the most homers prior to the All-Star break. I have my doubts that the Twins will eventually set the major league single season home run record (probably the Yankees), but they will shatter their own team record and probably most importantly will set a club record for home run differential. Yesterday's game was delayed almost two hours. Weather forecast for the rest of the weekend is promising. A series win is essential and a sweep would be very helpful. If the golf course is dry enough I'm there, so please post the lineups. Enjoy this first-place club!
  4. Game 2 of the four-game series features Michael Pineda versus Gerrit Cole. The Twins currently have the second-best record in MLB while the Astros are percentage points ahead in the AL West. Pineda has been inconsistent so far, while Cole has been disappointing. It would figure that many more runs will be scored tonight in cold, wet Target Field. Today marks the end of April and the Twins, in addition to their 17-9 record, have some good stats going for them. They lead in homers per game, OPS, and are in the top quadrant for runs per game. Pitching is middle-of-the-pack. They have out-homered their opponents by a 50-29 count. Even in good years, the Twins haven't outhomered their opponents often. This year's club is constructed differently, for sure.
  5. No game thread in sight, so I'll start one. The Twins are 4-2 after a 10-4 defeat in the rain last night. We saw bad Odo after good Odo pitched the second game of the season. Jorge Polanco went 5-5 and hit for the cycle in his first four ABs. Kepler and Polanco homered, now giving the Twins 3 homers on the year. The pitching staff walked eight and the game was brutal to watch, but today is another day! Lineups: Twins Kepler RF Astudillo C Polanco SS Cron 1B Cave LF Schoop 2B Adrianza 3B Buxton CF Pineda P Phillies McCutchen LF Segura SS Harper RF Hoskins 1B Herrera CF Hernandez 2B Knapp C Franco 3B Arrieta P
  6. Sound the alarm! The Twins pitchers currently lead the league in team strikeout percentage! I know, I know, we’re talking about three games in March. This sample size hopes one day it will grow up to become a “small sample size.” That said, Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi each struck out 10+ batters in the Twins first two games, something that only Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling have ever done before. As an encore, Michael Pineda and Martin Perez teamed up for 11 strikeouts in 7.2 IP in game three. There’s a legitimate chance that this is the best starting rotation to ever reside on Target Field’s mound. It would not surprise the reader to know that the Twins have been really bad at getting strikeouts. For five straight seasons, from 2011 through 2015, they finished dead last in team K% in all of baseball. In the 35 years since the Pohlad family took over as the Twins’ owners, their 15.9 K% is the second to worst in the MLB, just 0.1% better than the last-place Tigers. So ya, leading the league in strikeout percentage is very unusual, even if it is only three games into the year. But the question is: are the Twins pitchers really this good or are the Indians hitters really bad? Should we commence construction of Wes Johnson's statue? Or should we point and laugh at the Cleveland’s crappy lineup? A point in the favor of Twins pitchers is that their stuff has been better. Odorizzi’s velocity is up nearly a mile per hour over where it was a year ago, and his swinging strike rate was up 140% over his career mark. Berrios had a similar increase in his swinging strike rate (156% increase over his career mark). Pineda also got more whiffs and was insanely efficient in blanking Cleveland through his four innings. Perez maintained his spring velocity bump with a fastball that maxed out at 97 mph while producing a swinging strike rate at nearly double his career mark. Here’s the problem though: if the Indians hitters really do suck, then these improvements in swinging strike rates are exactly what we’d expect to see. Bad hitting teams make opposing pitchers look good. It’s the pitching equivalent of a Snapchat filter that removes your blemishes and makes your eyes look like Alita (you know, the freaking Battle Angel). With proven major-league hitters Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis on the injured list, the Indians gave 18% of their team’s plate appearances to a putrid combination of Eric Stamets, Max Moroff, and Brad Miller. Hanley Ramirez was batting fifth despite not having played a major-league game since last May. Their leadoff hitter Leonys Martin has never produced an above-average DRC+ in his career. These guys are … not great. It’s Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana, and the cast of The Expendables up there hacking. To see if having a bad lineup explains the Twins’ pitching dominance, I looked at the PECOTA projections for each Cleveland hitter and weighted them based on the number of plate appearances they actually had in this series. This gave me with a PECOTA-projected K% for the Indians when Jose Ramirez gets 12 plate appearances and Jake Bauers gets 9 and Jordan Luplow gets 4 … you get the picture. I did the same with Twins pitchers, weighting them by batters face for each pitcher and adding them all together. INDIANS HITTERS PROJECTED K% 21.7% TWINS PITCHERS PROJECTED K% 21.2% ACTUAL K% FOR BOTH 38.6% Had the Indian’s projected strikeout percentage been worse, I would’ve been tempted to chalk this up to terrible Indians hitting. Similarly, had the Twins projected strikeout percentage been higher, I'd talk myself into thinking the Twins pitchers are great. As it is, we’ve probably got a little from Column A and a little from Column B, but even that is uncertain in our tiny sample. We can’t glean anything conclusive from three games, we knew that coming in, but these are interesting data points that trend in an exciting direction. As we collect more and more data points over the coming weeks and months, the picture will continue loading until it eventually becomes clear. In the meantime, we can stare these particular data points and admire their beauty. Twins pitchers are striking people out and it’s amazing.
  7. Eno Sarris’ top 175 pitchers for the 2019 fantasy baseball season The Twins top five according to Sarris all make it in the top 175! Berrios 18 Above Strasburg, Corbin, Price, Wheeler, Morton and Greinke Kyle Gibson 60 Above Matz, Woodruff, Lucchesi, Quintana Odorizzi 69 Above Jimmy Nelson Pineda 71 Above Stroman, Gonzales, Smith and Gray Fernando Romero 135 Above Valdez, Cease, Gohara, Williams, Lynn Take all those positions and average them out and our rotation comes out in with an average of 70. It is interesting to see how Gibson/Odorizzi/Pineda are all bunched and that they project Romero. Based on 32 teams that is pretty average - a 500 team. 32 teams would have five rotation places or 160 spots. At least Romero keeps us above the 160 mark.
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