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  1. Keon Broxton was signed to a minor league contract today by the Twins. He does offer some things that the Twins could use in a backup outfielder--good speed (possible pinch runer), plus defense and a right-handed bat. Especially if Kirilloff and Arraez are spending a lot of time in left field, it would figure that using Broxton as a defensive replacement might make some sense. Broxton has never hit much and he'll be 31 for most of the coming season, but I think the Twins'prospective bacup outfielders really lack speed and defense and none really figure as a fill-in for Buxton. If he can provide anything offensively, he might be a good fit for the 2021 Twins.
  2. Akil Baddoo Position: OF B/T: L/L Height: 5'11" Weight: 185 lbs. (Yeah right!) Birthday: August 16, 1998 AGE: 19 Drafted in the 2nd round (74th overall) in 2016 He will be playing his first FULL professional season this year. Starting in Cedar Rapids, and hopefully ending the year in Fort Myers. Have you ever needed motivation to work out and get RIPPED?! Well, my friends, let me introduce you to Akil Baddoo, the winner of Twins' Daily's Short-Season Hitter of the Year in 2017. His instagram is loaded with pictures of him working out, and building himself for future success in baseball. His first taste of professional baseball didn't go as planned in 2016, where he only managed a .570 OPS in 127 PA. The second time was the charm for Akil, as he returned to the GCL in 2017 and made headlines with his speed and his bat! In 243 PA, he batted .323/.436/.527, 19 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, and 9-for-13 in stolen base attempts! The largest improvement for Baddoo from 2016 to 2017 was his K/BB ratio. In 2016, it looked like we had another Eddie Rosario on our hands, with 36 K's to go with only 18 walks. In 2017, we may have a LaMonte Wade on our hands, with 36 walks and 32 strikeouts. Baddoo played a majority of his games in CF, and he has the athleticism to play anywhere in the OF. And now, here's some fun videos! First, here's Baddoo starting the fireworks early on July 4th hitting a walk-off HR https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RQDxu3WAzo And here's a video of him getting some work in the cages before heading down to Spring Training this year. If you're a Twitter person, follow him here
  3. I have hardly been able to keep up with all the free agents signings this winter. Kaat, Cuddyer, Morneau, join Hawkins and Hunter - and I almost forgot Eddie Guardado who will probably be joined in our front office bullpen by Glen Perkins soon. it is like an all star team! Is Johann next? http://m.twins.mlb.com/roster/coaches I have never seen so many coaches or so many special assistants - the team front office should be able to beat any other front office in a game! And I cannot begin to explain all the men hired for the pitching staff from minors to majors to FO. But who am I to care about that? I want to add one or more. I have stated in some threads that they can take the Yu Darvish money and give Gonsalves and Romero personal coaches to follow them around and get them in the rotation, but now I have another addition - Rickey Henderson. Who else can understand Byron Buxton and his unique combination of speed, power, and potential? Only Rickey combined so many attributes. Of course it would take a second coach or translator so we could figure out what Rickey would say, but boy would he give the writers something to write about. But, if that is not possible, how about having Byron acquire a few hours of Rickey being Ricky (before Manny was Manny).
  4. After the back-slapping is done at Twins Way, the general manager should have time to take a long, hard look at the season that just played out. The Twins won 83 games and were competitive. The season was highlighted by one fine month (May) and a pluckiness that kept them from sinking too far when times got tough. The Twins pitching improved more than their metrics indicated while offensively the team scored more runs than their numbers indicated. The Twins scored 695 runs, while the league averaged 710. In 2014, the club scored 715 runs, ranking in the top half of most offensive statistics except for home runs. What changed? Plenty. In 2014, the Twins had better than average performance from a player at all nine positions. In 2015, they managed to have players with an OPS+ above 100 at three positions, and only one player (Miguel Sano) whose numbers could be classified as well above average. The team was dead last in on-base percentage and their top hitter had a batting average of .265. The 2014 had more than 100 more walks than the 2015 team, while accumulating 65 more strikeouts. Somehow the 2015 group finished in the middle of the pack in runs scored, but overall offense took a severe downturn. Part of that can be explained by personnel--the Twins got more than 450 at-bats from Eddie Rosario, who provided first-rate defense in the outfield corners instead of playing lumbering DHs and first basemen in the outfield. Regression hit the Twins hard as well. 2014 newcomers Santana and Vargas along with Oswaldo Arcia all struggled and were banished to the minor leagues, with Arcia not even being recalled when rosters were expanded. Full-time regulars Dozier and Plouffe saw their seasons fall off after seeing career bests in 2014. 2014 All-Star Kurt Suzuki came back to earth with a BA 40 points lower and his OPS+ falling from 104 to 67. Pitching was more of a mixed bag. The Twins' rotation wasn't great, but wasn't the embarrassment that previous editions had been. Only Kyle Gibson made it through the season without missing a start, but every starter had good moments. The bullpen, which all along seemed to be a weak link, was aided by the addition of a couple of guys via trade and one guy via demotion from the starting rotation. Also assisting in the staff's improvement was better, more athletic defense, particularly in the outfield. Still, the Twins still ranked last in strikeouts and first in hits allowed while yielding the second-fewest walks, a continuation of the much-maligned "pitch-to-contact" meme from previous seasons. Looking at the roster, it is a combination of veterans and young players with a couple (Dozier and Plouffe) in between. Suzuki, Mauer, and Hunter are all in the second half of their careers, while youngsters handle the other positions. The pitching staff had many over-30 guys pitching, including almost all of the bullpen. In general, the offense needs to improve by getting on base more. Too much of the team's power is concentrated in right handed hitters, and more speed would help. On the mound, more power arms are needed. There are specific questions that need to be answered, as well. Here are five questions that need to be answered in the off-season and my takes on each one: 1) What will Trevor May's role be for the 2016 Twins? May is one of the top arms on the Twins. While he wants to start and profiles to be a good one, I think he should be in the bullpen as the eighth inning guy, and perhaps as the closer. His stuff "played up" in the bullpen and he had several outings that were dominant. 2) How can the Twins augment the catcher position? Kurt Suzuki had a 67 OPS+ and his backups were dreadful at the plate. Suzuki was among the worst at throwing out base stealers (his pitchers didn't help much) and there were too many unblocked pitches. I think there are two options--acquire a backup from outside the organization or get a starting replacement also from outside the organization. I don't know who that player is, but I think a lefty hitter who is respectable defensively. Ideally, Suzuki should either share time or be the backup. 3) What of Torii Hunter? Hunter was a valuable presence who provided 22 homers, but he hit .242 with a .701 OPS at a premium offensive position. Hunter has stated that he doesn't want to be a part-time player and the Twins have top prospect Byron Buxton and minor league Player of the Year Max Kepler perhaps ready to help next year. Oswaldo Arcia also figures in here. 4) Is it time for Trevor Plouffe to be traded? He has led the club in RBIs the last two years, provided steady and improved defense and has become a team leader. However, Miguel Sano looks the part of a superstar and shouldn't be a DH at 22 years of age. I think that it is in fact time. Plouffe is a good player, but he shouldn't stand in the way of Sano. The Twins could perhaps fill the catcher gap by trading Plouffe. 5) Rick Nolasco is still under contract for two more years. He's been a total disappointment for the first two years of his contract. Can the Twins get out from under his contract? It would be great if Terry Ryan could slough off the contract, but I doubt it. I think Nolasco enters the 2016 season as one of the guys in the Twins rotation. That, in my opinion, seals the deal that May starts in the bullpen. It also indicates that JO Berrios and Tyler Duffey will have a mountain to climb in order to make the rotation to start the season. While it seems silly not to have the best arms starting the season, every rotation goes through changes over the course of the season. I see only eight guys on the short list of starters in the Twins' organization, including May. That isn't too much depth and might not be enough.
  5. I have been impressed with Eddie Rosario since the AFL season. He's done a lot of things right since being recalled by the Twins in May. He's had a nice assortment of extra base hits, beat out enough bunts and rollers to avoid a slump, played well in the field, run the bases aggressively and risen to the occasion in key situations quite often. Many have compared his season to the 2014 season for Danny Santana. Everything I wrote about Rosario could be said about Santana in 2014, with the possible exception of good defense. The BABIP has been good for Eddie, but not crazy good like the number put up by Santana last year. Do you, the TD faithful, think Rosario will fade similar to the fate that befell Santana? Why or why not?
  6. The Twins take on the Royal at Target Field today. The winner of today's game will take over first place in the American League Central. The Twins and Royals have split the first six games of their season series. The Royals started the season on a tear. They have been at or near the top of the division since the season started. The Twins started slow in April, but caught fire in May. They currently hold a one-game lead in the Central. Here's a look at the prospects for today's game: Who's Hot/Who's Not--(HOT) Royals bullpen. They've been the #1 strength of the team this year and last year. If the Royals get a lead in the seventh, the game is basically over. Royals are #1 in run suppression in the American League. They have a staff of hard throwers and perhaps the best defense in baseball. (NOT) Offense. No one is going really well and several regulars are struggling (Cain, Rios, Perez, Morales). The Royals now rank just behind the Twins in runs scored per game next to last in homers. (HOT) Brian Dozier leads the league in runs scored, extra base hits and doubles, leads second sackers in homers. Dozier has never hit .250 in a season and currently is hitting .267. Twins starters are a net 24-15 with a 3.89 ERA, a huge improvement from the last three years. (NOT) Most of the lineup is struggling. Starting shortstop Danny Santana was sent to AAA on Sunday. Starters: Phil Hughes vs. Jason Vargas. Hughes hasn't been the pitcher he was in 2014. He's been okay in most starts, but has allowed too many home runs. His strikeouts and velocity are down. This will be Hughes first start this year against the Royals. Vargas was hit pretty hard by the Twins in two early starts, getting a loss and a no-decision. He spent time on the Disabled List and so far hasn't gone longer than six innings in any game. The Royals were eight games over .500 in April, but have played .500 ball since. This is a pretty big series for early June. A series win would be nice for Minnesota, but there is a lot of season left. If either team sweeps, it will be a big boost. Short of that, the battle will go on. I like the Twins to win the opener with some power and solid pitching from Hughes.
  7. Jordan Schafer had his second three-hit game of the season today, getting his batting average above .200 for the first time since the first week of the season. He also made a fine catch for the third out of the eighth inning and drew a walk. It was probably the game in which he had the most (positive) impact for the entire season. Schafer has been the whipping boy for many of us. His batting average got very low (.125?), he demonstrated that good speed doesn't equal good range in center field and lastly, he hasn't been able to be a threat on the bases. Schafer was caught stealing for the third time in three attempts today. Several days ago, Schafer beat out a bunt single, but had to be removed from the game due to a knee injury. A day or two after the injury he pronounced himself ready to play and has started against right handed pitchers since. Schafer also revealed that he has been dealing with a toe injury since the first week of the season. This information brings several questions to mind. Have the injuries, especially the toe injury cost him speed both in the field and on the bases? If his situation were different, would he have gone on the disabled list? Did the Twins' staff know of the toe injury from the time it happened? Schafer is a 28-year old outfielder picked up by the Twins when he was designated for assignment by the Atlanta Braves. His resumé includes disappointing hitting, less than stellar fielding, drug problems and an elite ability to steal bases. Schafer performed very well for the Twins after he was acquired. He faded in September after experiencing a shoulder injury. Schafer claimed the left handed hitting half of a center field platoon with adequate play this spring. It wouldn't be an understatement to say that Schafer's hold on his role in center field is tenuous. Further complicating Schafer's prospects is three potential replacements playing in the upper minors. Just-promoted Eddie Rosario has played all three outfield positions, although he will probably play mostly left field for the Twins. Byron Buxton was Player of the Week in Chattanooga and is one of the top five prospects in all of baseball and 2013-14 Opening Day starter Aaron Hicks is doing quite well in Rochester. Schafer knows that the window that is open to allow him to start in center will close soon and if he doesn't succeed now, he might never get another chance. I think the pressure supplied by the depth chart could cause many players to underachieve and perhaps that is what has happened to him. It would also mean that if he suffered a nick,he might never get the opportunity be a starting player again. I think he may have kept his injury quiet and tried to keep playing when it might have been better to heal up and rest. I doubt that Jordan Schafer will be a Minnesota Twin beyond this year. I wish him well because he is on the team I support, but also because he's a guy trying to make good on probably his last chance. I hope he succeeds and can help his present team.
  8. I saw a note on the "other baseball" thread that mentioned that Chris Carter of the Astros was available and my first thought was "not the Twins" with their backlog of DH and poor-fielding corner players. I started thinking what the Twins might want to trade for and besides high-ceiling starting pitching, I really don't see what they would be looking for. I guess they could use premier talent at any position, but they appear to have starting depth (at least now), relief pitching depth and a prospect at almost every position. My point here is that it would seem unlikely that the Twins will be trading for any out-of-options types or any guys who would be only a small improvement over what they have. We have all noted that the starting corner outfielders don't profile as good defenders. There is a competition in center between three candidates who haven't set the big leagues on fire, and there are at least three positions where significant regression is (unfortunately) pretty likely. If the Twins were to trade some pitching excess (starting or relieving) who or what should they be looking for in return?
  9. "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you". Aaron Hicks has been the starting center fielder for the Twins the last two Opening Days. He was a thorough disappointment in 2013, eventually getting demoted to AAA and not being recalled in September. With the bar set considerably lower in 2014, Hicks still fell far short of expectations and offered a lot of content for sports analysts with his supposed lack of preparation and short-lived decision to abandon switch hitting. Hicks spent much of this summer in New Britain and Rochester, but was recalled in September. Aaron got 70 plate appearances in September with the big club. There was talk of better focus and more confidence, but the result was something short of scintillating. Hicks hit .250 with a .648 OPS. His OBP was an entirely acceptable .348, but he had only three extra-base hits in those seventy plate appearances. My "eye test" observation was equally unimpressed. Hicks hit the ball hard only a handful of times that I can remember. Getting good wood on the ball is a part of his hit tool that seems to be missing to this point. On top of the offensive struggles, there have been whispers and inferences that Hicks is not committed to being a great baseball player. He skipped winter ball last year. He supposedly didn't know who was pitching one day and showed up late for a non-mandatory session with the training staff so that the manager felt he couldn't use him on that particular day. And then there is the switch-hitting debacle. Hicks has always been better as a right handed hitter. Many on this site thought the answer was simple--abandon switch hitting. Without consulting his manager and not discussing it with anyone else on the team, to my knowledge, Hicks decided to give up switch hitting. When it became obvious he needed work to have an acceptable chance against right handers and because he was able to rehab after a disabling injury, Hicks was sent to Double A and then optioned there when his rehab time ended. The idea was to work on the swing, but shortly after being optioned, Hicks went back to switch hitting. The platoon splits are pretty stark--Hicks' combined OPS was .615 but his OPS was .792 against left handed pitchers and only .512 vs right handers. To me, this is the contrast between tools and skills. Everyone remarks that Hicks has tools and he does--good speed, strong throwing arm, and big athletic body. The tools are good, but they aren't exceptional, except for maybe his outstanding throwing arm. The skills haven't caught up with the tools. Maybe they never will. I think Hicks' absolute upside is Austin Jackson--supposedly the next great all-around center fielder, who has been pretty good, but never an All-Star and a guy that hasn't become a high average hitter, accomplished power hitter, stolen base threat or Gold Glove defender. Given the Twins' dearth of outfield options, Hicks will most likely get another chance to make good on his potential. I maintain that what is best for his development and ultimately best for the team is to go to Triple A and build his confidence by dominating at that level. He has just turned 25 so there is a chance that he is a late bloomer who will thrive when he "gets it". The Twins, however, can't assume that he will. Fool them three times, shame on them.
  10. With one game to go in the month, here are the Twins' hitting statistics for the month of August: http://espn.go.com/mlb/team/stats/batting/_/name/min/split/44/minnesota-twins Who is the player of the month? Arcia has the power numbers, but Plouffe has put up a very good overall month and has the better OPS. The Twins have scored exactly as many runs as they have allowed. They've been outhomered by four, but have stolen more bases than they've allowed. Schafer has had a really nice month, getting on at a .400 and of course stealing those 10 bases. Dozier hasn't hit for much power, but he's drawn 25 walks in the month and scored 23 runs. Of the nine regulars, seven have an OPS over .800, then Escobar (.723) and finally Suzuki (.653). Edit: This is after games of 8/31/14
  11. In today's major league baseball, we have 12 and 13-man pitching staffs, which means that benches are three or four players. That bench contingent usually has a light-hitter backup catcher and a couple more players. Despite their poor record, the last several weeks have seen the Twins evolve into having a near-set lineup. The bench has been three players--the light-hitting catcher (Fryer) along with Chris Parmelee and Eduardo Nuñez. Yesterday, both Parmelee and Nuñez started the get-away game in Kansas City and both guys had good games. I am not advocating that space be made so these guys can start, but I think they could be part of a pretty good bench, not only for the balance of this year, but also for next year. It appears to me that neither Parmelee nor Nuñez will get a real opportunity to win starting spots next year if they are retained, but I believe they have the makeup and necessary skills to be decent bench options. First of all, not everyone can be a good bench player. I suggested on another thread that Jordan Schafer would be the example of a guy who might need to play regularly in order to help his club, basing this mostly on his miserable 2/3 season as a bench guy for the Braves. The Twins appear to be using both Parmelee and Nuñez in bench roles, having them sit for three or four games and seldom starting more than one game in a row. Both have pinch hit a fair amount and both have demonstrated some extra-base sock, although neither would be classed as a slugger. Parmelee (first and the corner OF) plays three positions and Nuñez has been used sparingly at second and in right along with left, third and shortstop. Nuñez also offers plus speed. Neither guy is a glove-first type. I think the Twins will go into 2015 hoping to contend. If they do proceed in this manner, they may well have a bench of Nuñez and Parmelee, even thought these two guys don't have the highest upside. Having versatile, experienced guys coming off the bench and playing sparingly might be the way to go.
  12. Dick Bremer broached the subject of outfield defense in tonight's broadcast. He spoke of the Twins' wishes to have more athletic, speedier defenders in the outfield, particularly the corners. As with most things Bremer says, I am sure he is clear that the Twins want the topic out there or he wouldn't bring it up. In my mind, this brings up the acquisition of Jordan Schafer, who is 27 and has shown superior speed (and base stealing skill), while being deficient in most other areas. The Twins are getting a good look at Schafer (33 PAs so far this month) and he has utilized his base stealing skill. Actually, Schafer has been rather impressive in an extremely small sample size. He is 9 for 28, six for six stealing bases, and has made no glaring misplays in the field. Once thought to be a top prospect, maybe just maybe, could Schafer become more than a pinch runner? There's always a chance. The Twins are due to strike gold on a player given up on by other organizations. They have had their share of times where a player develops/evolves into a good player after the Twins have given him away for little or nothing. It is time for some payback. In light of the merry-go-round that has happened in center field the last two years, it would be heartening for Schafer to be part of the solution to the problem. More likely, however, the best the Twins can hope for with a career .223 hitter (1280 PAs) is someone who hits enough to be a fourth outfielder. Having a fourth OF, who could player center along with the corners and who could be decent defensively and provide value as a pinch runner would be pretty good for claiming a guy off the scrap heap. Another fast guy is Danny Santana. He has been given over 250 plate appearances since being recalled in May, mostly because the Twins didn't have anyone else available to call up from their 40-man roster. Santana has spent most of his time in center, and although he had hardly played there, he has been an adequate defender and has hit surprisingly well. Could Danny Santana be the solution to the center field problem? Two months ago, I would have said "no way, no how", a month ago, "barely a chance" and now I'm thinking "if no one else is ready, why not?" Santana is still regarded as a shortstop by the Twins organization, but if 1) Eduardo Escobar continues to be an above-average shortstop and 2) no one steps forward in center, then Santana should start 2015 as the Twins regular center fielder. What about the prospects? The Twins have three guys who have been or still are regarded as top prospects for center field in the upper minors--Aaron Hicks, Eddie Rosario, and #1 prospect Byron Buxton--and if any of those guys seizes center field it will be good for the organization. Each has their question marks--Hicks has failed twice to hold on to center for the Twins, Rosario has flirted with becoming a second baseman, been suspended for street drugs, and is currently hitting <.250 at AA, and Buxton has had an injury riddled season and only played one game above Class A. There is a lot of talent there, but also a lot of question marks and no guarantees. The prudent thing to do IMHO is to open center field up for a wide-open competition in the spring. Unless he tanks dramatically in the last six weeks, Santana will be starting somewhere. It probably would increase his value even more if Santana would be an option in left field as well as center. Hicks and Rosario have gotten reps in the corners as well as center and if one of them step forward, perhaps they could be playing a corner OF spot. Left field could be a consolation prize for one of the guys trying to become the Twins' regular center fielder. Finally, if the hype is to be believed, when Buxton arrives, he will take over center field for as long as he is a Twin. Having an outfield with two fast guys being out there between Buxton, Rosario, Hicks, Santana and Schafer would probably go a long way towards improving a leaky outfield. It also could provide excitement on the base paths and give the Twins balance between power and speed. If Santana claims shortstop, there is one less contestant in the competition, but regardless, it would be nice to see range out of at least two of the three outfield positions.
  13. I wanted to start a discussion on the status of Escobar as an everyday player. I decided to contrast and compare him with previous Twins' utility infielders. Due to the length of that comparison, I posted the entry as a blog entry http://twinsdaily.com/entry.php/5400-Twins-Utility-Infielders I hope this starts some conversation about the future roles on the Twins of Eduardo Escobar.
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