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  1. In this series of promotional shorts leading up to the 1985 Minnesota Twins season, we're offered a throwback to some classic faces that contributed to the 1987 World Championship team: Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Tom Brunansky, and Gary Gaetti's mustache. But despite these iconic players taking the stage, the real star of the show ends up being the free tube socks. Presented in partnership with TC Media Now. View full video
  2. In this series of promotional shorts leading up to the 1985 Minnesota Twins season, we're offered a throwback to some classic faces that contributed to the 1987 World Championship team: Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Tom Brunansky, and Gary Gaetti's mustache. But despite these iconic players taking the stage, the real star of the show ends up being the free tube socks. Presented in partnership with TC Media Now.
  3. Minnesota was at the top of the baseball world in 1987 as the team had just secured their first World Series title. One of the key members of that team was right fielder, Tom Brunansky. Only three position players finished with a higher WAR than him that season and he seemed to be part of a young core that would continue winning in Minnesota. However, the front office had other plans. Early in the 1988 season, general manager Andy MacPhail dealt Brunansky to the St. Louis Cardinals for infielder Tommy Herr. Brunansky had become a fan favorite in Minnesota and this trade certainly left fans scratching their heads. Herr was a second baseman and the Twins already had Steve Lombardozzi on the roster. Brunansky was off to a slow start and Lombardozzi was hitting under .100 at the time. For Brunansky, the trade came as a shock. “They told me I had been traded and I had three days to report (to St. Louis). It was like bam, right in the gut. Then I walked back to my locker, and the guys knew something had happened. They said my face was white.” Herr was equally shocked as he wanted to be a Cardinal for life. Said Herr, “Sure, I’m shocked. I’ve loved my years as a Cardinal and it’s hard to say goodbye.” After arriving in the Twin Cities, he told the Star Tribune, “I tried to take the trade like a man, but when the plane left St. Louis, I cried like a baby for a half hour.” Herr was supposed to add to Minnesota’s infield depth and give them something extra at the top of the batting order. However, Herr wasn’t interested in being part of the Twins as his batting average and slugging percentage dropped lower than his career totals. Also, he became a distraction in the clubhouse as he was very open about his religious beliefs including convincing some members of the team that an apocalyptic event would occur on September 13, 1988. Needless to say, Herr didn’t last long in Minnesota. From the Cardinal’s perspective, their top run producer Jack Clark had left in free agency and their Opening Day right fielder, Jim Lindeman, was on the disabled list. Brunansky was amid a stretch of six straight seasons where he hit 20 or more home runs. Herr was also in his final year of a four-year contract, so the Cardinals didn’t want to lose another player in free agency. The trade had a chance to been much worse for the Twins when considering the Cardinals original asking price. Third baseman Gary Gaetti and outfielder Kirby Puckett were inquired about by St. Louis. MacPhail said, “I told [the Cardinals GM] I wouldn’t trade Gaetti and that my house would be burned to the ground if I traded Puckett.” Herr didn’t want to play in Minnesota, and it was clear to all involved. Patrick Reusse wrote, Herr “came to Minnesota with a chance to play an important role on a team trying to defend a championship. Herr brought with him the enthusiasm normally associated with being called to an IRS audit.” Over parts of three seasons in St. Louis, Brunansky hit .238/.327/.411 (.738) with 20 or more home runs in each full season he played with the club. He would be traded in May 1990 to the Red Sox for future Hall of Famer Lee Smith. He would resign with Boston that winter as a free agent and his last two full seasons came in a Red Sox uniform. TV play-by-play announcer Dick Bremer shares an interesting story about the trade’s aftermath in his book Game Used. Bremer was sharing a cab with MacPhail in Seattle after the trade had occurred and the driver started asking the passengers about the deal. Bremer wrote, “Oblivious to who his passengers were, [the driver] asked who the hell was running the show in Minnesota and why in the world they would trade a young slugger like Brunansky for a washed-up second baseman like Tom Herr.” To lighten the mood in the cab, Bremer told the driver, “You have to remember that the general manager in Minnesota was just an inexperienced kid who got lucky in winning the World Series the year before.” What are your thoughts after looking back at this trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. After reviewing some of the top players to wear a Minnesota Twins uniform in the 1960s and 1970s in past weeks, this week we will be jumping to the 1980s. Today we start with the top hitters of the 1980s, many of who helped the Twins to their first World Series championship.The 1960s presented Minnesota baseball fans with a new team, the Twins, and those teams provided some really good baseball for most of the decade. There were so many great players. The 1970s presented Minnesota Twins fans with a lot of mediocrity. Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven put up Hall of Fame caliber numbers, but other than that, there were some strong single seasons, and a few players had two or three quality seasons. The 1980s Twins teams began really bad. Really bad. However, a young core of players were developing into a team that brought the first World Series title to Minnesota... and then a second four years later. There were several Twins Hall of Famers, and one MLB Hall of Famer in that group. The Twins of the second half of the decade could certainly hit. Below you'll find my choices for a Twins All-Decade lineup. A couple of the choices were difficult and will likely cause some discussion. Some were quite easy. Enjoy! C - Tim Laudner (1981-1989) 734 games, .225/.292/.391 (.682) with 97 doubles, 77 homers, 263 RBI. Laudner went to high school at Park Center, in Brooklyn Park (MN), and went to the University of Missouri. In 1979, the Twins made him their third-round pick. In 1981 he hit 42 homers at Double-A Orlando before the Twins called him up late in the year and he added two more. While he never hit, he was the team’s regular catcher for most of the decade. In the 1987 postseason, he was referred to as “Buck-Ninety” because he hit just .191 on the season. He hit .318 with a double and a homer in the World Series. He then was named an All-Star in 1988. 1B - Kent Hrbek (1981-1989) 1,156 games, .290/.368/.496 (.864) with 224 doubles, 201 homers, 724 RBI. The Twins made Hrbek their 17th-round pick in 1978 out of Bloomington (MN) Kennedy High School. He made his debut in August 1981. In 1982, he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting (to some Ripken guy who played in Baltimore). As a 22-year-old, he also played in his first (and only, by choice) All-Star Game. In 1984, he hit .311/.383/.522 (.906) with 27 homers and finished second in MVP voting. He hit over 20 homers in seven seasons in the ‘80s. In 1987, he hit a career-high 34 home runs. He added a home run in both the ALCS and the World Series in 1987. 2B - John Castino (1980-1984) 518 games, .277/.329/.398 (.727) with 73 doubles, 36 homers, 197 RBI. Castino’s career was cut short by major back issues. He debuted and was the co-Rookie of the Year in 1979. However, he played most days for the first four seasons of the 1980s. His best season was 1980 when he hit .302 with 17 doubles, seven triples and 13 home runs. He had another strong season in 1983, hitting .277 with 30 doubles and 11 homers. However, after just eight games in 1984, his career was done. 3B - Gary Gaetti (1981-1989) 1,207 games, .259/.311/.445 (.757) with 225 doubles, 185 homers, 673 RBI. Does anyone else feel that Gary Gaetti is a little underrated in Twins history? He is overshadowed, to some degree, by Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett. Gaetti debuted late in the 1981 season and became the team’s regular third baseman the following year. He was an All-Star in both 1988 and 1989, and was better in 1986 (34 homers, 108 RBI) and 1987 (31 homers, 109 RBI). He hit 19 or more homers in seven of the eight seasons in the 1980s. In addition to hit offensive prowess, Gaetti won four straight Gold Glove Awards between 1986 and 1989. SS - Greg Gagne (1983-1989) 717 games, .250/.294/.396 (.689) with 115 doubles, 47 homers, 216 RBI. Early in the 1982 season, the Twins traded their shortstop Roy Smalley to the New York Yankees. One of the players who came to the Twins in the deal was their shortstop for most of the rest of the decade, Greg Gagne. Gagne played 12 total games for the Twins between 1983 and 1984, but in 1985 he became the team’s regular shortstop. With Gagne, there wasn’t a lot of offense. However, in 1987, he hit .265/.310/.430 (.740) with 28 doubles, seven triples and ten homers. While not a great base stealer, Gagne had great speed. He also was a very good defensive shortstop. LF - Gary Ward (1980-1983) 407 games, .284/.332/.463 (.795) with 80 doubles, 51 homers, 218 RBI. Ward originally signed with the Twins in August of 1972. It was a slow process up the ladder. He spent 1975 and 1976 in Double-A. He spent 1977-1980 in Triple-A. He played a combined 23 big league games between 1979 and 1980. In 1981, he became an everyday player and remained with the team until a trade to Texas following the 1983 season. In 1982, he hit .289 with 33 doubles, seven triples and had career-highs with 28 homers and 91 RBI. In 1983, he played in his first All-Star Game and hit a career-high 34 doubles. He continued to play through the 1990 season. CF - Kirby Puckett (1984-1989) 924 games, .323/.357/.469 (.826) with 197 doubles, 96 homers, 506 RBI. Puckett was the third overall pick in the January phase of the draft. Two years later, he was in the big leagues. He came up as a speedy centerfielder and grew into one of the game’s most feared overall hitters and a first-ballot Hall of Famer after his 12- year career. In the 1980s, he had 199 or more hits in every season but his rookie year (when he had 165 hits in 128 games). In 1986, his power emerged with a career-high 31 homers. He was an All-Star each season starting in 1986. He won four Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers in the decade (and more in the 1990s). In the ‘80s, he led the league in hits three times and in batting average in 1989 at .339. He had hit .356 in 1988 and finished runner up. He finished in the Top 6 in MVP voting four straight years from 1986 through 1989. RF - Tom Brunansky (1982-1988) 916 games, .250/.330/.452 (.782) with 154 doubles, 163 homers, 469 RBI. “Bruno” had been the 14th overall pick in the 1978 draft by the California Angels. In May 1982, he came to the Twins in a trade involving Doug Corbett and Rob Wilfong. He immediately became the Twins primary right fielder and a leading source of power for the team. He was really quite consistent. He hit between .240 and .260 most years. He hit 21-30 doubles each year. He hit between 20 and 32 homers each year (32 in both 1984 and 1987). He represented the Twins in the 1985 All-Star Game at the Metrodome. Traded to the Cardinals after just 14 games in 1988. DH - Roy Smalley (1980-1982, 1985-1987) 575 games, .263/.354/.416 (.770) with 88 doubles, 59 homers, 221 RBI. Smalley began the 1980s as the Twins shortstop, coming off of his 1979 All-Star season. Between 1980 and 1981, he hit .274/.364/.415 (.779). As mentioned above, he was traded to the Yankees just four games into the 1982 season. He returned to the Twins before the 1985 season and was the team’s primary DH all three seasons, averaging 127 games played. Over those three seasons, he hit a combined .258/.350/.419 (.768) and willingly took on a lesser role late in the 1987 season as the Twins made their way toward their first World Series title. Let the discussion begin... Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with TBD) Click here to view the article
  5. The 1960s presented Minnesota baseball fans with a new team, the Twins, and those teams provided some really good baseball for most of the decade. There were so many great players. The 1970s presented Minnesota Twins fans with a lot of mediocrity. Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven put up Hall of Fame caliber numbers, but other than that, there were some strong single seasons, and a few players had two or three quality seasons. The 1980s Twins teams began really bad. Really bad. However, a young core of players were developing into a team that brought the first World Series title to Minnesota... and then a second four years later. There were several Twins Hall of Famers, and one MLB Hall of Famer in that group. The Twins of the second half of the decade could certainly hit. Below you'll find my choices for a Twins All-Decade lineup. A couple of the choices were difficult and will likely cause some discussion. Some were quite easy. Enjoy! C - Tim Laudner (1981-1989) 734 games, .225/.292/.391 (.682) with 97 doubles, 77 homers, 263 RBI. Laudner went to high school at Park Center, in Brooklyn Park (MN), and went to the University of Missouri. In 1979, the Twins made him their third-round pick. In 1981 he hit 42 homers at Double-A Orlando before the Twins called him up late in the year and he added two more. While he never hit, he was the team’s regular catcher for most of the decade. In the 1987 postseason, he was referred to as “Buck-Ninety” because he hit just .191 on the season. He hit .318 with a double and a homer in the World Series. He then was named an All-Star in 1988. 1B - Kent Hrbek (1981-1989) 1,156 games, .290/.368/.496 (.864) with 224 doubles, 201 homers, 724 RBI. The Twins made Hrbek their 17th-round pick in 1978 out of Bloomington (MN) Kennedy High School. He made his debut in August 1981. In 1982, he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting (to some Ripken guy who played in Baltimore). As a 22-year-old, he also played in his first (and only, by choice) All-Star Game. In 1984, he hit .311/.383/.522 (.906) with 27 homers and finished second in MVP voting. He hit over 20 homers in seven seasons in the ‘80s. In 1987, he hit a career-high 34 home runs. He added a home run in both the ALCS and the World Series in 1987. 2B - John Castino (1980-1984) 518 games, .277/.329/.398 (.727) with 73 doubles, 36 homers, 197 RBI. Castino’s career was cut short by major back issues. He debuted and was the co-Rookie of the Year in 1979. However, he played most days for the first four seasons of the 1980s. His best season was 1980 when he hit .302 with 17 doubles, seven triples and 13 home runs. He had another strong season in 1983, hitting .277 with 30 doubles and 11 homers. However, after just eight games in 1984, his career was done. 3B - Gary Gaetti (1981-1989) 1,207 games, .259/.311/.445 (.757) with 225 doubles, 185 homers, 673 RBI. Does anyone else feel that Gary Gaetti is a little underrated in Twins history? He is overshadowed, to some degree, by Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett. Gaetti debuted late in the 1981 season and became the team’s regular third baseman the following year. He was an All-Star in both 1988 and 1989, and was better in 1986 (34 homers, 108 RBI) and 1987 (31 homers, 109 RBI). He hit 19 or more homers in seven of the eight seasons in the 1980s. In addition to hit offensive prowess, Gaetti won four straight Gold Glove Awards between 1986 and 1989. SS - Greg Gagne (1983-1989) 717 games, .250/.294/.396 (.689) with 115 doubles, 47 homers, 216 RBI. Early in the 1982 season, the Twins traded their shortstop Roy Smalley to the New York Yankees. One of the players who came to the Twins in the deal was their shortstop for most of the rest of the decade, Greg Gagne. Gagne played 12 total games for the Twins between 1983 and 1984, but in 1985 he became the team’s regular shortstop. With Gagne, there wasn’t a lot of offense. However, in 1987, he hit .265/.310/.430 (.740) with 28 doubles, seven triples and ten homers. While not a great base stealer, Gagne had great speed. He also was a very good defensive shortstop. LF - Gary Ward (1980-1983) 407 games, .284/.332/.463 (.795) with 80 doubles, 51 homers, 218 RBI. Ward originally signed with the Twins in August of 1972. It was a slow process up the ladder. He spent 1975 and 1976 in Double-A. He spent 1977-1980 in Triple-A. He played a combined 23 big league games between 1979 and 1980. In 1981, he became an everyday player and remained with the team until a trade to Texas following the 1983 season. In 1982, he hit .289 with 33 doubles, seven triples and had career-highs with 28 homers and 91 RBI. In 1983, he played in his first All-Star Game and hit a career-high 34 doubles. He continued to play through the 1990 season. CF - Kirby Puckett (1984-1989) 924 games, .323/.357/.469 (.826) with 197 doubles, 96 homers, 506 RBI. Puckett was the third overall pick in the January phase of the draft. Two years later, he was in the big leagues. He came up as a speedy centerfielder and grew into one of the game’s most feared overall hitters and a first-ballot Hall of Famer after his 12- year career. In the 1980s, he had 199 or more hits in every season but his rookie year (when he had 165 hits in 128 games). In 1986, his power emerged with a career-high 31 homers. He was an All-Star each season starting in 1986. He won four Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers in the decade (and more in the 1990s). In the ‘80s, he led the league in hits three times and in batting average in 1989 at .339. He had hit .356 in 1988 and finished runner up. He finished in the Top 6 in MVP voting four straight years from 1986 through 1989. RF - Tom Brunansky (1982-1988) 916 games, .250/.330/.452 (.782) with 154 doubles, 163 homers, 469 RBI. “Bruno” had been the 14th overall pick in the 1978 draft by the California Angels. In May 1982, he came to the Twins in a trade involving Doug Corbett and Rob Wilfong. He immediately became the Twins primary right fielder and a leading source of power for the team. He was really quite consistent. He hit between .240 and .260 most years. He hit 21-30 doubles each year. He hit between 20 and 32 homers each year (32 in both 1984 and 1987). He represented the Twins in the 1985 All-Star Game at the Metrodome. Traded to the Cardinals after just 14 games in 1988. DH - Roy Smalley (1980-1982, 1985-1987) 575 games, .263/.354/.416 (.770) with 88 doubles, 59 homers, 221 RBI. Smalley began the 1980s as the Twins shortstop, coming off of his 1979 All-Star season. Between 1980 and 1981, he hit .274/.364/.415 (.779). As mentioned above, he was traded to the Yankees just four games into the 1982 season. He returned to the Twins before the 1985 season and was the team’s primary DH all three seasons, averaging 127 games played. Over those three seasons, he hit a combined .258/.350/.419 (.768) and willingly took on a lesser role late in the 1987 season as the Twins made their way toward their first World Series title. Let the discussion begin... Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with TBD)
  6. The past two days, we have provided an All-Decade Team for the 1980s Minnesota Twins for you to read about and consider. Today, I am excited to publish this week's Ge tto Know 'Em podcast in which we discuss the 1980s Twins with StarTribune.com's Howard Sinker.The Twins began the decade of the 1980s in really bad shape. The 1981 strike may have kept them from being one of the worst teams in baseball history. The 1982 Twins lost 102 games. However, that team was developing a strong core of young players, taking their lumps, who would be World Series champions just five years later. While our look at the hitters of the decade shows that there was some good offense, the pitching staffs were generally quite "offensive." With the exception of Frank Viola, it's clear why the Twins struggled at finding quality starting pitchers. Bert Blyleven came back in the mid-80s and helped the team toward that 1987 championship. Who would the player of the decade be for the Twins? Kirby Puckett? Kent Hrbek? Maybe Frank Viola? Which players were underrated? Which players were your favorites, whether they were great players or not. To help talk about the 1980s Twins, we are joined by friend of Twins Daily's Howard Sinker. Howard is the digital man behind the startribune.com sports pages online. In September of 1984, he was the Twins beat writer for the Star Tribune. It was a job that he held until August of 1987. He saw some bad baseball. He saw some very good baseball. He interacted with some of your favorite players from that 1980s. You can follow Howard on Twitter at @afansview. And be sure to check out his great work at StarTribune.com as well. Enjoy, and discuss! You can subscribe to the Get to Know 'Em podcast on iTunes. or follow Libsyn for new episodes here as well. Please leave ratings or feedback. And did you know that you can listen to the Get To Know 'Em podcast by asking Alexa to "Listen to the Get To Know 'Em Podcast." PAST EPISODES Episode 1: Get to know Niko Guardado (Actor and son of Eddie Guardado) Episode 2: Get to know Pat Dean, Brent Rooker Episode 3: Get to know Royce Lewis, AJ Achter Episode 4: Get to know Devin Smeltzer Episode 5: Get to know Jaylin Davis, Tyler Wells Episode 6: Get to know: Travis Blankenhorn, LaMonte Wade Episode 7: Get to know: Matt Wallner (and Ten Minutes with Tyler Wells) Episode 8: Get to know: Caleb Hamilton, Austin Schulfer, Nick Anderson Episode 9: Get to know: Andy Young, Billy Boyer (and Ten Minutes with Tyler) Episode 10: Get to know: Wesley Wright (Twins Pro Scout) Episode 11: Get to know: John Manuel(Twins Pro Scout) Episode 12: Get to know: Marshall Kelner(Mighty Mussels broadcaster) Episode 13: Get to know: Dick Bremer (Twins broadcaster, author) Episode 14: Get to know: Anthony Slama (former Twins pitcher, entrepreneur) Episode 15: Get to Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook. Click here to view the article
  7. The Twins began the decade of the 1980s in really bad shape. The 1981 strike may have kept them from being one of the worst teams in baseball history. The 1982 Twins lost 102 games. However, that team was developing a strong core of young players, taking their lumps, who would be World Series champions just five years later. While our look at the hitters of the decade shows that there was some good offense, the pitching staffs were generally quite "offensive." With the exception of Frank Viola, it's clear why the Twins struggled at finding quality starting pitchers. Bert Blyleven came back in the mid-80s and helped the team toward that 1987 championship. Who would the player of the decade be for the Twins? Kirby Puckett? Kent Hrbek? Maybe Frank Viola? http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep17_Howard_Sinker.mp3 Which players were underrated? Which players were your favorites, whether they were great players or not. To help talk about the 1980s Twins, we are joined by friend of Twins Daily's Howard Sinker. Howard is the digital man behind the startribune.com sports pages online. In September of 1984, he was the Twins beat writer for the Star Tribune. It was a job that he held until August of 1987. He saw some bad baseball. He saw some very good baseball. He interacted with some of your favorite players from that 1980s. You can follow Howard on Twitter at @afansview. And be sure to check out his great work at StarTribune.com as well. Enjoy, and discuss! http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep17_Howard_Sinker.mp3 You can subscribe to the Get to Know 'Em podcast on iTunes. or follow Libsyn for new episodes here as well. Please leave ratings or feedback. And did you know that you can listen to the Get To Know 'Em podcast by asking Alexa to "Listen to the Get To Know 'Em Podcast." PAST EPISODES Episode 1: Get to know Niko Guardado (Actor and son of Eddie Guardado) Episode 2: Get to know Pat Dean, Brent Rooker Episode 3: Get to know Royce Lewis, AJ Achter Episode 4: Get to know Devin Smeltzer Episode 5: Get to know Jaylin Davis, Tyler Wells Episode 6: Get to know: Travis Blankenhorn, LaMonte Wade Episode 7: Get to know: Matt Wallner (and Ten Minutes with Tyler Wells) Episode 8: Get to know: Caleb Hamilton, Austin Schulfer, Nick Anderson Episode 9: Get to know: Andy Young, Billy Boyer (and Ten Minutes with Tyler) Episode 10: Get to know: Wesley Wright (Twins Pro Scout) Episode 11: Get to know: John Manuel (Twins Pro Scout) Episode 12: Get to know: Marshall Kelner (Mighty Mussels broadcaster) Episode 13: Get to know: Dick Bremer (Twins broadcaster, author) Episode 14: Get to know: Anthony Slama (former Twins pitcher, entrepreneur) Episode 15: Get to Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook.
  8. Part 5 of a 12-part series that breaks Twins history into fun-sized chunks.You can find more here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 The roots of that decline could be traced back to late 1975, when an arbitrator’s ruling essentially struck down MLB’s reserve clause and granted players free agency at the expiration of their contracts. Griffith had a miserly reputation – the Twins built an advertising campaign around that very topic in 1976 - and baseball’s new economic reality hit the Twins hard. Before the 1978 season, both Bostock and Hisle signed with other teams and the offense suffered to the tune of 200 fewer runs. The team finished 16 games under .500 and attendance fell with it, down to just 787,000, which perpetuated the problem of retaining premier players. But even if the Twins had continued to draw fans, circumstances had deteriorated to the point where keeping a superstar like Carew with the club might have been impossible. For starters, Carew wanted more quality ballplayers around him to give the team better chance at winning. Moreover, the relationship between Carew and the Twins became irreparable after Griffith made several off-color remarks--some of a racial nature--at a Lions Club function in Waseca, Minnesota. Carew, due to become a free agent following the 1979 season, was traded for four players to the California Angels, where he would finish his career. Without their superstar, the Twins competed in two of the next three years. They finished above .500 in 1979 and had a surprise run at a division title in the second half of the strike-impacted 1981 season. But the focus was shifting from the present to the future, which would include overwhelming changes for the franchise. The first of those changes was a brand new indoor ballpark. The Metrodome was the result of a 1977 Minnesota Legislature stadium bill, but could only be built if the Vikings and Twins both signed a 30-year lease. Griffith, skeptical of the facility but intrigued by an increase in outstate attendance due to no rainouts, negotiated an out-clause: if the team failed to average 1.4 million in attendance over three consecutive years (a level the Twins had not averaged over a 3-year period in their history), he could break the lease. When the new stadium opened in 1982, the honeymoon lasted exactly one night. In its inaugural home opener, the Metrodome drew 52,279 fans amid much pageantry. The next night the club drew 5,213. By the end of the season, attendance would fail to reach the 1,000,000 mark. And by the end of the first week, Griffith started dismantling the team for a youth movement, trading quality shortstop Roy Smalley to the Yankees. Two more trades would complete the fire sale by the middle of May. The 1982 team, in their brand new home, would finish with 102 losses. But 1982 wouldn’t just be remembered for a record-setting number of losses for the Twins. It would also become known as the beginning of a new generation of Twins that would finally reach the mountaintop. Nineteen-eighty-two was the rookie season for Kent Hrbek (22 years old), Tom Brunansky (21) and Gary Gaetti (23), all of whom slugged at least 20 home runs. Starting pitcher Frank Viola (22) would also debut that season, pitching to battery-mate and rookie Tim Laudner (23). Griffith had put together the cornerstones of the next contending Twins team. But it wouldn’t be his Twins team.
  9. The Twins appeared to be ascending in 1977. The 'Lumber Company' made a charge towards the division title and over a million fans watched Rodney Carew fall just eight hits shy of hitting .400. But the team was about to go sharply downhill - before the next season even began. Part 5 of a 12-part series that breaks Twins history into fun-sized chunks.You can find more here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 The roots of that decline could be traced back to late 1975, when an arbitrator’s ruling essentially struck down MLB’s reserve clause and granted players free agency at the expiration of their contracts. Griffith had a miserly reputation – the Twins built an advertising campaign around that very topic in 1976 - and baseball’s new economic reality hit the Twins hard. Before the 1978 season, both Bostock and Hisle signed with other teams and the offense suffered to the tune of 200 fewer runs. The team finished 16 games under .500 and attendance fell with it, down to just 787,000, which perpetuated the problem of retaining premier players. But even if the Twins had continued to draw fans, circumstances had deteriorated to the point where keeping a superstar like Carew with the club might have been impossible. For starters, Carew wanted more quality ballplayers around him to give the team better chance at winning. Moreover, the relationship between Carew and the Twins became irreparable after Griffith made several off-color remarks--some of a racial nature--at a Lions Club function in Waseca, Minnesota. Carew, due to become a free agent following the 1979 season, was traded for four players to the California Angels, where he would finish his career. Without their superstar, the Twins competed in two of the next three years. They finished above .500 in 1979 and had a surprise run at a division title in the second half of the strike-impacted 1981 season. But the focus was shifting from the present to the future, which would include overwhelming changes for the franchise. The first of those changes was a brand new indoor ballpark. The Metrodome was the result of a 1977 Minnesota Legislature stadium bill, but could only be built if the Vikings and Twins both signed a 30-year lease. Griffith, skeptical of the facility but intrigued by an increase in outstate attendance due to no rainouts, negotiated an out-clause: if the team failed to average 1.4 million in attendance over three consecutive years (a level the Twins had not averaged over a 3-year period in their history), he could break the lease. When the new stadium opened in 1982, the honeymoon lasted exactly one night. In its inaugural home opener, the Metrodome drew 52,279 fans amid much pageantry. The next night the club drew 5,213. By the end of the season, attendance would fail to reach the 1,000,000 mark. And by the end of the first week, Griffith started dismantling the team for a youth movement, trading quality shortstop Roy Smalley to the Yankees. Two more trades would complete the fire sale by the middle of May. The 1982 team, in their brand new home, would finish with 102 losses. But 1982 wouldn’t just be remembered for a record-setting number of losses for the Twins. It would also become known as the beginning of a new generation of Twins that would finally reach the mountaintop. Nineteen-eighty-two was the rookie season for Kent Hrbek (22 years old), Tom Brunansky (21) and Gary Gaetti (23), all of whom slugged at least 20 home runs. Starting pitcher Frank Viola (22) would also debut that season, pitching to battery-mate and rookie Tim Laudner (23). Griffith had put together the cornerstones of the next contending Twins team. But it wouldn’t be his Twins team. Click here to view the article
  10. Brian Dozier has become one of the best second basemen in baseball. He's played in an All-Star Game. He's participated in a Home Run Derby. He hit over 40 homers once. He's become the leader of the team. However, this story is from a year before Brian Dozier made his major league debut. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Brian Dozier grew up in the small town of Fulton, Mississippi. The town’s population is just shy of 4,000 in the northeast corner of the state. To Dozier, it’s the “best place on Earth to me. Everything is always the same. You always know what you’re going to get when you come back here.” Occasionally, Dozier tells people that he’s from Tupelo. “I’m actually ten minutes outside of Tupelo. I tell people sometimes when I’m on the road that I’m from Tupelo just because a lot of people have heard of Tupelo with Elvis being from there.” But Dozier is proud of his Mississippi toots. “It’s awesome. Everybody knows everybody. All of my best friends are still here. It’s just very laid back, and I love it here.” Brian Dozier was the choice for Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year for 2011. It may be a cliche, but Dozier can be described as a “Baseball Player.” If you’re looking for someone in the Twins farm system who represents the organization perfectly, look no further than Dozier. “I grew up around baseball. My dad was my coach throughout all of my years. I had an older brother - two years older than I am - that I looked up to throughout my younger days, and even now. He has taught me a lot.” Although he grew up a big Mississippi State fan, watching all the greats that came through here, Dozier decided to attend the University of Southern Mississippi. “I had a lot of offers. I’m actually from right outside of Ol’ Miss and Mississippi State, two great SEC schools that kind of recruited me. I chose well by going to Southern Miss, I believe. It was also a great fit with me, a blue-collar program, and I fell in love with the coaching staff. Dozier was very successful in college. As a freshman, he played in 62 games and hit .368/.442/.488 (.930) with eight doubles, four triples and three home runs. As a sophomore, he played 61 games and hit .339/.402/.456 (.858) with 17 doubles and four home runs. In his junior year of 2008, he played in 64 games and hit .342/.403/.476 (.879) with 17 doubles, two triples and five home runs. Despite the tremendous numbers, he went undrafted and returned for his senior year. Unfortunately, a broken collarbone cost him time during his senior season. It limited him to just 37 games, but he hit .391/.485/.587 (1.072) with 13 doubles, a triple and four home runs. However, it was all worth it. “We had the opportunity to go to Omaha (to play in the College World Series) which was one of the best times of my life my senior years.” In his four seasons, he walked 87 times while striking out just 73 times. He was also hit by a pitch 25 times. The Twins used their eighth round pick in 2009 to draft the shortstop. “I was very blessed to be drafted by the Twins and believe it was a great fit for me.” He signed quickly and reported to Ft. Myers where he spent five games with the GCL Twins. He was then sent to Elizabethton where he hit .353/.417/.431 (848) with 17 doubles in 53 games with the E-Twins. He was able to get off to a fast professional start, and he quickly credits the coaching staff. “Right out of the gate, we have the best managers in our system in Elizabethton, Ray Smith, Reeder (Jeff Reed), and Shelly (Jim Shellenback). Those guys have been around the game so long, and they are just so knowledgeable about everything. I remember going to Elizabethton and Reeder being my hitting coach. I didn’t really have to ask him much. Rather, I just fed off of his stories. The stuff he was telling, it just gave you goosebumps. He talked about playing with Barry Bonds, catching a perfect game, that kind of stuff. And, he taught me a lot. Right away, he found a little hole in my swing, and we got going on fixing it Day 1. Elizabethton had a great influence on me.” --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This article was originally posted in the 2012 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. Available in paperback. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- He began 2010 with the Beloit Snappers. In 39 games, he hit .278/.347/.338 (.685) with seven doubles and a triple. On May 22, he was promoted to Ft. Myers. He played 93 more games and his .274/.352/.354 (.706) with 11 doubles, on triple, and five home runs. One the season, he walked 60 times with 57 strikeouts. He had 16 stolen bases in 21 attempts. He successfully laid down 12 sacrifice bunts. It was a solid 2010 season for Dozier, his first full season in the Twins system. It came as a surprise to many when the Twins announced that Dozier received an invitation to big league spring training. Dozier said, “I was very much surprised. I got the invite on Christmas Day. We were opening presents and that was the biggest one of them all. Very blessed.” Merry Christmas, indeed! Dozier made a strong impression on the Twins coaching staff, but he also learned a lot from the experience. “For me, the experience to get to know all the guys. I came in the first day, and I was locker mates with Michael Cuddyer, who I’ve been watching for years on TV. He has become a friend of mine now. I learned a lot from him and the other older guys, how they are on and off the field, how they interact with fans. I think that’s the biggest thing. As a young guy, you worry so much about the baseball side, you also have to think about the stuff that comes with it. I had an awesome time and had a lot of fun.” Having ended 2010 in Ft. Myers, he knew that he would not be making the big club. He was sent back to Ft. Myers to start the 2011 season. He played in 49 games with the Miracle. He hit .322/.423/.472 (.895) with 11 doubles, five triples and two home runs. Again, he credited his manager, Jake Mauer. “I tell you what. He’s a player’s coach. He’s been there, gone through the system and everything. He really relates to his players very well.” He moved up to New Britain and worked with former Twins hero Tom Brunansky, a member of the Twins 1987 World Series championship team. Dozier said, “He is one of the best when it comes to hitting. He knows how to hit. Actually, when I got moved up, he found a couple of little tweaks in my swing that I never knew I was doing. He showed me on film. I was like, ‘Well, that makes sense!’ Ever since then, since that first week, we worked really hard in the cage, and he found a couple of things, and it took off from there.” Under the tutelage of Brunansky and manager Jeff Smith, Dozier played in 78 games with the Rock Cats and hit .318/.384/.502 (.886) with 22 doubles, seven triples and seven home runs. Just days after he was promoted to New Britain, he was hit in the face with a pitch and missed just a week. Mark Dolenc is a Minnesota native who spent the past two seasons in New Britain. He said, “When Dozier came up, he immediately stepped in and took on a leadership role.” Dozier said, “I think from a leadership aspect, everybody kind of looks to the shortstop. They are the captain on the infield. I know Gardy takes a lot of pride in his shortstop being like the quarterback on the field. I’ve taken that to heart a lot. Same thing with my college coach. He was the same way. I’m not a big vocal guy. I never have been. I do try to put myself into the right situations, the right place at the right time, not only on the field but off the field. We see a lot of guys that aren’t playing the game the way it is supposed to be played, but if you play the game the way it is supposed to be played and always give 110%, people will respect that. I try to do that each and every day.” Not only did Dozier put up big numbers for the Rock Cats, but he did so while helping his team push for a spot in the playoffs. The team fell short on the final day, but it was a great experience. “We had a great year with the Rock Cats. Even in Ft. Myers, before I got called up, we were in the race for the first half of the division. I left a week early to go to New Britain and found myself in a great situation. They were in a playoff race the whole time I was there. You can’t ask for anything else when you come down to the wire. It just makes it that much more fun.” So how does he separate winning with personal development in the minor leagues? “Sometimes everybody is worried about stats and you want to move up, but at the same time, stats will come if you work hard and put yourself in the right position for when the time comes. So you have to sit back and let that take care of itself and just play the game of baseball. Sometimes, especially at this level, we get into this mindset that it’s such a business. We try to do too much, but it’s a game. It’s a game we all grew up loving to play. We’ve got a group of good friends that have we’ve made over the years. If we just go out and play that game, which we all love to do, we have a lot of fun, and that’s what we did.” Combined, Dozier hit .320/.399/.491 (.890) with 33 doubles, 12 triples and nine home runs. He scored 92 runs and drove in 56. He stole 24 bases. He was hit by 11 pitches. He successfully laid down 10 sacrifice bunts. He primarily played shortstop (93 games), but he also played 28 games at second base and three games at third base. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Be sure to pick up your copy of the 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook now. Available in paperback or e-book. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Late in the season, he found out that he was invited to participate in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. He was excited. It’s a great opportunity to play with and against the best guys in the minor leagues. I’m truly blessed that they picked me for that.” In 26 games for the Mesa Solar Sox, Dozier hit .296/.358/.454 (812) with eight doubles and three home runs. He scored 28 runs and knocked in 22. He was 4-4 in stolen base attempts. He was selected to play in the league’s Rising Stars game, and in his first at-bat, he homered. Did he get out of the AFL what he was hoping to? “Yeah, I really did. The Fall League offers so much. You get to see where you are versus some of the best competition in the game at our level. I got to meet a lot of new guys, guys I’ve played against but never actually got to develop a friendship with. Now I have, and hopefully I can play many years against them down the road. I got to play under a great manager in Joe McEwing. He’s so intelligent with the game. I got to learn a few things from him. Actually, he gave me some insight on being set up for the play. I think that’s the biggest thing I learned from ‘Super Joe.’ I had a great time.” Between 1998 and 2006, Joe McEwing played in 754 games with the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, and Houston Astros. He was a very solid utility player. He played more than 45 games in the big leagues at second base (238), left field (161), shortstop (99), third base (92), right field (79), first base (61) and center field (46). McEwing ended his playing career after the 2008 season and has quickly moved up the coaching ranks in the White Sox organization. In 2011, he was the manager of the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. After Robin Ventura was named the new manager of the White Sox, McEwing was named his third base coach. McEwing was a great influence for Dozier. “He stressed to me that I’m still a young guy and primarily a shortstop, and the TWins want me to play shortstop, but down the road, you never know, may have to play second base. I may have to in the near future. He saw one little thing with my set up before plays, a tip, and it flew out from there, improved my range. I’m very grateful for that. Anything you can learn from a guy like Joe McEwing is always a positive. He’s a great guy, and I’m lucky that he got to be our manager out there.” 2011 was a great year for Brian Dozier. But he knows that he still has more work to do before he reaches his goal of getting to the big leagues. “I’ve just got to be prepared. I have to get myself into the best shape possible. I’m not taking too much time off from baseball. Swinging that bat. Taking ground balls. All that footwork and stuff to put myself in the best possible position when I go to big league camp in February.” With all the Twins issues and injuries in 2011, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire mentioned Brian Dozier several times as a guy he would like to see up with the Twins. It didn’t happen for various reasons, many of them business-related. But Dozier said, “I’m going to get there. It’s just the fact that you’ve got to wait it out and prepare yourself so when that time does come, you’re fully prepared and ready to go. I felt like I had a pretty good year and put myself in the talk up there (with the Twins management) to actually be called up just two years into the system, which is great. Hopefully I can work hard this offseason and get that opportunity next year.” There is a strong likelihood that Twins fans will see Dozier in the big leagues sometime in 2012. And when he gets there, Twins fans will see a “Baseball Player.” They will see a team-first leader. They will see a guy who is proud of where he is from and appreciative of all those who have helped him get to where he is. He hasn’t played in a big league game yet with the Twins, but Brian Dozier is already a strong representative of what defines a “Minnesota Twin.”
  11. It's been a very slow offseason all around baseball, so I thought it would be fun to take a look back. For the 2012 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, I wrote a story on the 2011 Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year, Brian Dozier. It was a fun story, going back to his roots in Mississippi, his college days and working his way quickly up the Twins minor league system.Brian Dozier has become one of the best second basemen in baseball. He's played in an All-Star Game. He's participated in a Home Run Derby. He hit over 40 homers once. He's become the leader of the team. However, this story is from a year before Brian Dozier made his major league debut. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Brian Dozier grew up in the small town of Fulton, Mississippi. The town’s population is just shy of 4,000 in the northeast corner of the state. To Dozier, it’s the “best place on Earth to me. Everything is always the same. You always know what you’re going to get when you come back here.” Occasionally, Dozier tells people that he’s from Tupelo. “I’m actually ten minutes outside of Tupelo. I tell people sometimes when I’m on the road that I’m from Tupelo just because a lot of people have heard of Tupelo with Elvis being from there.” But Dozier is proud of his Mississippi toots. “It’s awesome. Everybody knows everybody. All of my best friends are still here. It’s just very laid back, and I love it here.” Brian Dozier was the choice for Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year for 2011. It may be a cliche, but Dozier can be described as a “Baseball Player.” If you’re looking for someone in the Twins farm system who represents the organization perfectly, look no further than Dozier. “I grew up around baseball. My dad was my coach throughout all of my years. I had an older brother - two years older than I am - that I looked up to throughout my younger days, and even now. He has taught me a lot.” Although he grew up a big Mississippi State fan, watching all the greats that came through here, Dozier decided to attend the University of Southern Mississippi. “I had a lot of offers. I’m actually from right outside of Ol’ Miss and Mississippi State, two great SEC schools that kind of recruited me. I chose well by going to Southern Miss, I believe. It was also a great fit with me, a blue-collar program, and I fell in love with the coaching staff. Dozier was very successful in college. As a freshman, he played in 62 games and hit .368/.442/.488 (.930) with eight doubles, four triples and three home runs. As a sophomore, he played 61 games and hit .339/.402/.456 (.858) with 17 doubles and four home runs. In his junior year of 2008, he played in 64 games and hit .342/.403/.476 (.879) with 17 doubles, two triples and five home runs. Despite the tremendous numbers, he went undrafted and returned for his senior year. Unfortunately, a broken collarbone cost him time during his senior season. It limited him to just 37 games, but he hit .391/.485/.587 (1.072) with 13 doubles, a triple and four home runs. However, it was all worth it. “We had the opportunity to go to Omaha (to play in the College World Series) which was one of the best times of my life my senior years.” In his four seasons, he walked 87 times while striking out just 73 times. He was also hit by a pitch 25 times. The Twins used their eighth round pick in 2009 to draft the shortstop. “I was very blessed to be drafted by the Twins and believe it was a great fit for me.” He signed quickly and reported to Ft. Myers where he spent five games with the GCL Twins. He was then sent to Elizabethton where he hit .353/.417/.431 (848) with 17 doubles in 53 games with the E-Twins. He was able to get off to a fast professional start, and he quickly credits the coaching staff. “Right out of the gate, we have the best managers in our system in Elizabethton, Ray Smith, Reeder (Jeff Reed), and Shelly (Jim Shellenback). Those guys have been around the game so long, and they are just so knowledgeable about everything. I remember going to Elizabethton and Reeder being my hitting coach. I didn’t really have to ask him much. Rather, I just fed off of his stories. The stuff he was telling, it just gave you goosebumps. He talked about playing with Barry Bonds, catching a perfect game, that kind of stuff. And, he taught me a lot. Right away, he found a little hole in my swing, and we got going on fixing it Day 1. Elizabethton had a great influence on me.” --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This article was originally posted in the 2012 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. Available in paperback. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- He began 2010 with the Beloit Snappers. In 39 games, he hit .278/.347/.338 (.685) with seven doubles and a triple. On May 22, he was promoted to Ft. Myers. He played 93 more games and his .274/.352/.354 (.706) with 11 doubles, on triple, and five home runs. One the season, he walked 60 times with 57 strikeouts. He had 16 stolen bases in 21 attempts. He successfully laid down 12 sacrifice bunts. It was a solid 2010 season for Dozier, his first full season in the Twins system. It came as a surprise to many when the Twins announced that Dozier received an invitation to big league spring training. Dozier said, “I was very much surprised. I got the invite on Christmas Day. We were opening presents and that was the biggest one of them all. Very blessed.” Merry Christmas, indeed! Dozier made a strong impression on the Twins coaching staff, but he also learned a lot from the experience. “For me, the experience to get to know all the guys. I came in the first day, and I was locker mates with Michael Cuddyer, who I’ve been watching for years on TV. He has become a friend of mine now. I learned a lot from him and the other older guys, how they are on and off the field, how they interact with fans. I think that’s the biggest thing. As a young guy, you worry so much about the baseball side, you also have to think about the stuff that comes with it. I had an awesome time and had a lot of fun.” Having ended 2010 in Ft. Myers, he knew that he would not be making the big club. He was sent back to Ft. Myers to start the 2011 season. He played in 49 games with the Miracle. He hit .322/.423/.472 (.895) with 11 doubles, five triples and two home runs. Again, he credited his manager, Jake Mauer. “I tell you what. He’s a player’s coach. He’s been there, gone through the system and everything. He really relates to his players very well.” He moved up to New Britain and worked with former Twins hero Tom Brunansky, a member of the Twins 1987 World Series championship team. Dozier said, “He is one of the best when it comes to hitting. He knows how to hit. Actually, when I got moved up, he found a couple of little tweaks in my swing that I never knew I was doing. He showed me on film. I was like, ‘Well, that makes sense!’ Ever since then, since that first week, we worked really hard in the cage, and he found a couple of things, and it took off from there.” Under the tutelage of Brunansky and manager Jeff Smith, Dozier played in 78 games with the Rock Cats and hit .318/.384/.502 (.886) with 22 doubles, seven triples and seven home runs. Just days after he was promoted to New Britain, he was hit in the face with a pitch and missed just a week. Mark Dolenc is a Minnesota native who spent the past two seasons in New Britain. He said, “When Dozier came up, he immediately stepped in and took on a leadership role.” Dozier said, “I think from a leadership aspect, everybody kind of looks to the shortstop. They are the captain on the infield. I know Gardy takes a lot of pride in his shortstop being like the quarterback on the field. I’ve taken that to heart a lot. Same thing with my college coach. He was the same way. I’m not a big vocal guy. I never have been. I do try to put myself into the right situations, the right place at the right time, not only on the field but off the field. We see a lot of guys that aren’t playing the game the way it is supposed to be played, but if you play the game the way it is supposed to be played and always give 110%, people will respect that. I try to do that each and every day.” Not only did Dozier put up big numbers for the Rock Cats, but he did so while helping his team push for a spot in the playoffs. The team fell short on the final day, but it was a great experience. “We had a great year with the Rock Cats. Even in Ft. Myers, before I got called up, we were in the race for the first half of the division. I left a week early to go to New Britain and found myself in a great situation. They were in a playoff race the whole time I was there. You can’t ask for anything else when you come down to the wire. It just makes it that much more fun.” So how does he separate winning with personal development in the minor leagues? “Sometimes everybody is worried about stats and you want to move up, but at the same time, stats will come if you work hard and put yourself in the right position for when the time comes. So you have to sit back and let that take care of itself and just play the game of baseball. Sometimes, especially at this level, we get into this mindset that it’s such a business. We try to do too much, but it’s a game. It’s a game we all grew up loving to play. We’ve got a group of good friends that have we’ve made over the years. If we just go out and play that game, which we all love to do, we have a lot of fun, and that’s what we did.” Combined, Dozier hit .320/.399/.491 (.890) with 33 doubles, 12 triples and nine home runs. He scored 92 runs and drove in 56. He stole 24 bases. He was hit by 11 pitches. He successfully laid down 10 sacrifice bunts. He primarily played shortstop (93 games), but he also played 28 games at second base and three games at third base. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Be sure to pick up your copy of the 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook now. Available in paperback or e-book. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Late in the season, he found out that he was invited to participate in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. He was excited. It’s a great opportunity to play with and against the best guys in the minor leagues. I’m truly blessed that they picked me for that.” In 26 games for the Mesa Solar Sox, Dozier hit .296/.358/.454 (812) with eight doubles and three home runs. He scored 28 runs and knocked in 22. He was 4-4 in stolen base attempts. He was selected to play in the league’s Rising Stars game, and in his first at-bat, he homered. Did he get out of the AFL what he was hoping to? “Yeah, I really did. The Fall League offers so much. You get to see where you are versus some of the best competition in the game at our level. I got to meet a lot of new guys, guys I’ve played against but never actually got to develop a friendship with. Now I have, and hopefully I can play many years against them down the road. I got to play under a great manager in Joe McEwing. He’s so intelligent with the game. I got to learn a few things from him. Actually, he gave me some insight on being set up for the play. I think that’s the biggest thing I learned from ‘Super Joe.’ I had a great time.” Between 1998 and 2006, Joe McEwing played in 754 games with the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, and Houston Astros. He was a very solid utility player. He played more than 45 games in the big leagues at second base (238), left field (161), shortstop (99), third base (92), right field (79), first base (61) and center field (46). McEwing ended his playing career after the 2008 season and has quickly moved up the coaching ranks in the White Sox organization. In 2011, he was the manager of the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. After Robin Ventura was named the new manager of the White Sox, McEwing was named his third base coach. McEwing was a great influence for Dozier. “He stressed to me that I’m still a young guy and primarily a shortstop, and the TWins want me to play shortstop, but down the road, you never know, may have to play second base. I may have to in the near future. He saw one little thing with my set up before plays, a tip, and it flew out from there, improved my range. I’m very grateful for that. Anything you can learn from a guy like Joe McEwing is always a positive. He’s a great guy, and I’m lucky that he got to be our manager out there.” 2011 was a great year for Brian Dozier. But he knows that he still has more work to do before he reaches his goal of getting to the big leagues. “I’ve just got to be prepared. I have to get myself into the best shape possible. I’m not taking too much time off from baseball. Swinging that bat. Taking ground balls. All that footwork and stuff to put myself in the best possible position when I go to big league camp in February.” With all the Twins issues and injuries in 2011, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire mentioned Brian Dozier several times as a guy he would like to see up with the Twins. It didn’t happen for various reasons, many of them business-related. But Dozier said, “I’m going to get there. It’s just the fact that you’ve got to wait it out and prepare yourself so when that time does come, you’re fully prepared and ready to go. I felt like I had a pretty good year and put myself in the talk up there (with the Twins management) to actually be called up just two years into the system, which is great. Hopefully I can work hard this offseason and get that opportunity next year.” There is a strong likelihood that Twins fans will see Dozier in the big leagues sometime in 2012. And when he gets there, Twins fans will see a “Baseball Player.” They will see a team-first leader. They will see a guy who is proud of where he is from and appreciative of all those who have helped him get to where he is. He hasn’t played in a big league game yet with the Twins, but Brian Dozier is already a strong representative of what defines a “Minnesota Twin.” Click here to view the article
  12. May 20, 1970 Carew Hits for First Cycle in Twins History Rod Carew hit for the first cycle in Twins history in a 10-5 win in Kansas City. He completed the cycle with an eighth-inning triple, driving in Cesar Tovar. Carew was 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored on the day. After Carew’s triple, St. Cloud Cathedral High School graduate and future-Twin Tom Burgmeier came in to finish the game for KC. Ten Twins have hit for the cycle: Carew (1970), Cesar Tovar (‘72), Larry Hisle (‘76), Lyman Bostock (‘76), Mike Cubbage (‘78), Gary Ward (‘80), Kirby Puckett (‘86), Carlos Gomez (‘08), Jason Kubel (‘09) and Michael Cuddyer (‘09). May 20, 1984 Clemens Earns First Win In his second major league start, Roger Clemens earned the first of his 354 career victories, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk over seven innings in a 5-4 Red Sox win at the Metrodome. With two out in the bottom of the sixth, Tom Brunansky hit the first of the 363 home runs that the Rocket would allow over his 24-year career. May 20, 1986 Keith Atherton Acquired from Oakland The Twins traded a player to be named later and cash to Oakland for pitcher Keith Atherton. The player to be named wound up being minor league pitcher Eric Broersma, who never made it to the majors. Atherton, on the other hand, pitched in 62 games for the 1987 Twins, including Games 1 and 5 of the World Series. May 20, 1989 Randy Bush Collects Twins Record 8 RBI Randy Bush drove in a eight runs in a 19-3 win in Texas, tying the Twins' single-game record set by Glenn Adams on June 26, 1977. Six of those RBI came in the final two innings of the game, as Bush hit three-run home runs in the eighth and ninth. He was 3-for-4 with a walk, eight RBI (one on a sac fly) and two runs scored on the day. Leadoff hitter Dan Gladden tied a major league record with seven plate appearances in the game, going 1-for-7 with an RBI and run scored. Two players have driven in 12 runs in a game, both playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. Hall of Fame first baseman Jim Bottomley did so versus the Dodgers at Ebbets Field in 1924. And, in 1993, Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten drove in 12 of the Cardinals’ 15 runs with four home runs, including a first-inning grand slam, versus the Cincinnati Reds. May 20, 1994 16 Bat in 11-Run Inning Already beating Boston 10-1 at the Metrodome going into the bottom of the fifth, the Twins sent 16 men to the plate, tying a team record established in the tenth inning on June 21, 1969. Alex Cole, the seventh Twin to the plate, made both the first and last outs of the inning. The Twins tied team records for runs in an inning (11), hits (10) and consecutive hits (8). Kirby Puckett had a huge day, going 3-for-3 with a HR in the fifth, seven RBI and a run scored. DH Dave Winfield was only Twins starter without a hit. The Twins won 21-2, improving to 21-19 on the season. May 20, 1995 Marty Cordova Homers in Fifth Consecutive Game Marty Cordova tied a Twins record, homering in his fifth consecutive game as Scott Erickson and the Twins fell to Lou Piniella’s Seattle Mariners 10-6 at the Metrodome. Cordova would hit a career-high 24 home runs in 1995 en route to being voted the American League’s Rookie of the Year. Harmon Killebrew homered in five consecutive games on two separate occasions during the Twins’ 1970 Division Championship season. Twenty players have homered in at least six consecutive games. Barry Bonds is the only player with two such streaks, homering in six straight in 2001 and seven straight in ‘04. Jim Thome homered in seven straight for Cleveland in 2002. The major league record for consecutive games with a home run is eight. Pittsburgh’s Dale Long did so in 1956, followed by Don Mattingly in 1987, and Ken Griffey Jr. in 1993. May 20, 2005 Silva Throws 74-Pitch Complete Game Carlos Silva allowed just one run on five hits, no walks and three strikeouts in a complete game 7-1 Twins win over Milwaukee at the Metrodome. Silva needed only 74 pitches to complete the game, an average of 8.2 per inning. Second baseman Nick Punto wwent 4-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. The Twins had 16 hits as a team. The only Twin without a hit was Torii Hunter, though he did drive in Punto with a sac fly. May 20, 2011 Twins Attend Funeral of Harmon Killebrew Putting a silver lining around an otherwise sad situation, the Twins were in town to play the Arizona Diamondbacks and able to attend the funeral of Harmon Killebrew, who had passed away three days earlier. Bert Blyleven spoke at the funeral, while Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Frank Quilici, Joe Nathan, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor served as pallbearers. May 20, 2012 Drew Butera Pitches a Scoreless Inning Trailing 16-4 in Milwaukee, Ron Gardenhire called on Drew Butera to pitch the bottom of the eighth. Butera pitched a scoreless, hitless frame, walking one and striking out Carlos Gomez. Drew threw several pitches in the 90s, topping out at 94 on the radar gun. While playing with the Dodgers in 2014, Butera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning versus the Miami Marlins. He pitched again for Los Angeles just three days later, this time giving up a two-run HR to Paul Goldschmidt as he recorded the final two outs of the game. Drew’s dad, fellow catcher Sal Butera, did not allow a hit in his two major league pitching appearances. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning in his big league pitching debut for Montreal in 1985. In 1986 he pitched a scoreless ninth for the Cincinnati Reds, walking one and striking out one. May 21 Happy 57th Birthday, Kent Hrbek! It's the birthday of 1978 Bloomington Kennedy graduate Kent Hrbek, born in Minneapolis in 1960. The Twins drafted Hrbie in the 17th round out of high school. Only Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett have played more games in a Twins uniform. The big 6'4" first baseman made his major league debut on August 24, 1981 at Yankee Stadium, hitting a game-winning home run off of George Frazier leading off the twelfth. Hrbek made his only All-Star team in 1982, and finished second to Cal Ripken, Jr. for American League Rookie of the Year. Hrbek drove in 107 runs in 1984 and finished second to Tigers pitcher Willie Hernandez for American League MVP. He hit three grand slams in 1985, tying Bob Allison, Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett, and Torii Hunter for the Twins' single season record. The 34 home runs Hrbek hit in 1987 are the most ever by a Twins lefty. His grand slam in Game 6 of the 1987 World Series is an iconic moment in Twins history. His reaction after catching Gary Gaetti's throw for the final out of Game 7 is immortalized in bronze outside Gate 14 at Target Field. Hrbek retired following the strike-shortened '94 season. His 239 HRs and 1,086 RBI are second in Twins history to only Harmon Killebrew. His 1,749 hits rank sixth behind Kirby Puckett, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, and Joe Mauer. The Twins retired Hrbek's #14 on August 13, 1995. May 21, 1967 First 4-Extra-Base Hit Game in Twins History Cesar Tovar had the Twins' first four-extra-base hit game in a 12-3 win versus the Angels in California. Tovar, the Twins' leadoff hitter, hit two doubles and two HRs. He went 4-for-6 on the day, improving his batting average to .323. Tony Oliva went 3-for-4 with two doubles. Oliva would lead the American League with 34 doubles, with Tovar coming in second with 32. Kirby Puckett (1987 and '89), Rich Becker (1996), Corey Koskie (2001) and Michael Cuddyer (2005) have since tied Tovar's record of four extra-base hits in a single game. Eight players in major league history have hit five extra-base hits in a game. May 21, 1981 Viola Wins Greatest College Game Ever After Yale's Ron Darling pitched 11 no-hit innings, Frank Viola and St. John's University win it in the twelfth. May 21, 2009 Twins Snap Losing Streak with Blowout Win The Twins snapped a six-game losing streak, beating the White Sox 20-1 in the series finale in Chicago. The Twins collected 20 hits and five walks in the game. Bartolo Colon took the loss, giving up eight runs on seven hits and two walks in just two innings. Michael Cuddyer went 4-for-6. Designated Hitter Joe Mauer hit a grand slam in the Twins' six-run sixth inning. It was already his eighth home run of the season. He would go on to hit 28 in 2009 en route to being voted the American League's Most Valuable Player. Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  13. May 18th and 19th in Twins history feature Rod Carew and Billy Martin terrorizing Detroit pitchers, one of the signature "accomplishments" of the Ron Davis Era, Bruno having a big day (for the wrong team) and a pinch-hit grand slam from a Twin about whom you may have forgotten. Here we go:May 18, 1969 Rod Carew Steals Second, Third, and Home With the Billy Martin-managed Twins trailing 2-0 in Detroit, Cesar Tovar led off the bottom of third with a single off of Mickey Lolich. Then, with Rod Carew at the plate, Tovar was balked to second and stole third. Perhaps distracted by Tovar, Lolich walked Carew. Then, with Harmon Killebrew at the plate, the Twins executed a double steal, with Carew swiping second as Tovar stole home. With Killebrew still at bat, Carew stole third and home to tie the game. Killebrew ultimately struck out, and the Twins went on to lose the game 8-2. They would, however, go on to win the division but were beat in the League Championship Series by Baltimore. Forty players have stolen second, third and home consecutively a total of 50 times in MLB history, 11 since 1940. The feet was accomplished four times in the '80s, twice in the '90s, once in the '00s, and, most recently, by Dee Gordon in 2011. Paul Molitor pulled it off in the first inning versus Oakland on July 26, 1987. May 19, 1982 Twins Begin Record Losing Streak The Twins lose 4-2 in Baltimore, beginning a team-record 14-game losing streak. They won't win again until June 4. They will lose eight games on the road, and six at home in the Dome. Ron Davis and Brad Havens will each pick up three of the losses. The Yankees' Goose Gossage, on the other hand, will pick up two wins and two saves. May 19, 1990 Tom Brunansky’s Big Day The Twins had an ugly day at Fenway. The Red Sox’s Tom Brunansky drew first blood, driving in Wade Boggs with a one-out double in the first. The Red Sox went on to score five runs on five hits in the first off of Twins starter Allan Anderson, who only lasted ⅔ of an inning. Brunansky went 5-for-5 with two home runs, seven RBI, and three runs scored as the Red Sox pummeled the Twins 13-1. Tom Kelly called upon outfielder John Moses to pitch the bottom of the eighth. He gave up just one run on two hits in his second pitching appearance for the Twins. His previous appearance had also come at Fenway in 1989 as he pitched a scoreless eighth inning, not allowing a hit but walking one. He would pitch a third time for the Twins in July, 1990. May 19, 2004 Matt LeCroy Hits Game-Winning Pinch-Hit Grand Slam Trailing 2-5 in the top of the ninth in Toronto with Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, and Henry Blanco on base and one out, the Twins sent Matt LeCroy out to pinch-hit for third baseman Alex Prieto. LeCroy hit the Blue Jays' Terry Adams' 1-0 pitch out of the park, giving the Twins a one-run lead. Joe Nathan put the Jays down in order in the bottom of the ninth, earning his 13th save of the season. LeCroy's is the most recent of twelve pinch-hit grand slams in Twins history. Rich Reese hit three pinch-hit grand slams during his Twins career. The Twins as a team hit two in 1970, one each by Reese and Rick Renick. Keep in touch with the @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter. Click here to view the article
  14. May 18, 1969 Rod Carew Steals Second, Third, and Home With the Billy Martin-managed Twins trailing 2-0 in Detroit, Cesar Tovar led off the bottom of third with a single off of Mickey Lolich. Then, with Rod Carew at the plate, Tovar was balked to second and stole third. Perhaps distracted by Tovar, Lolich walked Carew. Then, with Harmon Killebrew at the plate, the Twins executed a double steal, with Carew swiping second as Tovar stole home. With Killebrew still at bat, Carew stole third and home to tie the game. Killebrew ultimately struck out, and the Twins went on to lose the game 8-2. They would, however, go on to win the division but were beat in the League Championship Series by Baltimore. Forty players have stolen second, third and home consecutively a total of 50 times in MLB history, 11 since 1940. The feet was accomplished four times in the '80s, twice in the '90s, once in the '00s, and, most recently, by Dee Gordon in 2011. Paul Molitor pulled it off in the first inning versus Oakland on July 26, 1987. May 19, 1982 Twins Begin Record Losing Streak The Twins lose 4-2 in Baltimore, beginning a team-record 14-game losing streak. They won't win again until June 4. They will lose eight games on the road, and six at home in the Dome. Ron Davis and Brad Havens will each pick up three of the losses. The Yankees' Goose Gossage, on the other hand, will pick up two wins and two saves. May 19, 1990 Tom Brunansky’s Big Day The Twins had an ugly day at Fenway. The Red Sox’s Tom Brunansky drew first blood, driving in Wade Boggs with a one-out double in the first. The Red Sox went on to score five runs on five hits in the first off of Twins starter Allan Anderson, who only lasted ⅔ of an inning. Brunansky went 5-for-5 with two home runs, seven RBI, and three runs scored as the Red Sox pummeled the Twins 13-1. Tom Kelly called upon outfielder John Moses to pitch the bottom of the eighth. He gave up just one run on two hits in his second pitching appearance for the Twins. His previous appearance had also come at Fenway in 1989 as he pitched a scoreless eighth inning, not allowing a hit but walking one. He would pitch a third time for the Twins in July, 1990. May 19, 2004 Matt LeCroy Hits Game-Winning Pinch-Hit Grand Slam Trailing 2-5 in the top of the ninth in Toronto with Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, and Henry Blanco on base and one out, the Twins sent Matt LeCroy out to pinch-hit for third baseman Alex Prieto. LeCroy hit the Blue Jays' Terry Adams' 1-0 pitch out of the park, giving the Twins a one-run lead. Joe Nathan put the Jays down in order in the bottom of the ninth, earning his 13th save of the season. LeCroy's is the most recent of twelve pinch-hit grand slams in Twins history. Rich Reese hit three pinch-hit grand slams during his Twins career. The Twins as a team hit two in 1970, one each by Reese and Rick Renick. Keep in touch with the @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  15. May 18, 1969 Rod Carew Steals Second, Third, and Home With the Billy Martin-managed Twins trailing 2-0 in Detroit, Cesar Tovar led off the bottom of third with a single off of Mickey Lolich. Then, with Rod Carew at the plate, Tovar was balked to second and stole third. Perhaps distracted by Tovar, Lolich walked Carew. Then, with Harmon Killebrew at the plate, the Twins executed a double steal, with Carew swiping second as Tovar stole home. With Killebrew still at bat, Carew stole third and home to tie the game. Killebrew ultimately struck out, and the Twins went on to lose the game 8-2. They would, however, go on to win the division but were beat in the League Championship Series by Baltimore. Forty players have stolen second, third and home consecutively a total of 50 times in MLB history, 11 since 1940. The feet was accomplished four times in the '80s, twice in the '90s, once in the '00s, and, most recently, by Dee Gordon in 2011. Paul Molitor pulled it off in the first inning versus Oakland on July 26, 1987. May 19, 1982 Twins Begin Record Losing Streak The Twins lose 4-2 in Baltimore, beginning a team-record 14-game losing streak. They won't win again until June 4. They will lose eight games on the road, and six at home in the Dome. Ron Davis and Brad Havens will each pick up three of the losses. The Yankees' Goose Gossage, on the other hand, will pick up two wins and two saves. May 19, 1990 Tom Brunansky’s Big Day The Twins had an ugly day at Fenway. The Red Sox’s Tom Brunansky drew first blood, driving in Wade Boggs with a one-out double in the first. The Red Sox went on to score five runs on five hits in the first off of Twins starter Allan Anderson, who only lasted ⅔ of an inning. Brunansky went 5-for-5 with two home runs, seven RBI, and three runs scored as the Red Sox pummeled the Twins 13-1. Tom Kelly called upon outfielder John Moses to pitch the bottom of the eighth. He gave up just one run on two hits in his second pitching appearance for the Twins. His previous appearance had also come at Fenway in 1989 as he pitched a scoreless eighth inning, not allowing a hit but walking one. He would pitch a third time for the Twins in July, 1990. May 19, 2004 Matt LeCroy Hits Game-Winning Pinch-Hit Grand Slam Trailing 2-5 in the top of the ninth in Toronto with Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, and Henry Blanco on base and one out, the Twins sent Matt LeCroy out to pinch-hit for third baseman Alex Prieto. LeCroy hit the Blue Jays' Terry Adams' 1-0 pitch out of the park, giving the Twins a one-run lead. Joe Nathan put the Jays down in order in the bottom of the ninth, earning his 13th save of the season. LeCroy's is the most recent of twelve pinch-hit grand slams in Twins history. Rich Reese hit three pinch-hit grand slams during his Twins career. The Twins as a team hit two in 1970, one each by Reese and Rick Renick. Keep in touch with the @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  16. Tom Brunansky came back to the Twins organization in 2010 and coached in the GCL, AA and AAA before being named the Twins hitting coach before the 2013 season. Brian Dozier often gave Brunansky a ton of credit for his successes. They worked together in the minors, both the AA and AAA levels. Reports indicate that Rudy Hernandez will not be promoted to the hitting coach. He was named the Twins assistant hitting coach two seasons ago. One name to watch is Chad Allen. He has been back in the organization the last couple of years. He has had success with several of the young Twins players the last couple of years. Kennys Vargas, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler and Byron Buxton have all thrived under his leadership. It is, of course, also possible that the new regime will go outside the organization. Butch Davis came to the Twins organization from the Orioles system when Paul Molitor was named manager. He also worked with the outfielders. Besides Hernandez, those remaining on the coaching staff are pitching coach Neil Allen, third base coach Gene Glynn, bullpen coach Eddie Guardado and bench coach Joe Vavra,
  17. The Minnesota Twins announced tonight that hitting coach Tom Brunansky and first base coach Butch Davis will not be offered contracts to return to the staff in 2017. The remainder of the 2016 Twins coaching staff were offered contracts to return. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine were quickly at work in determining the futures for the coaching staff who have been in limbo since the season's end.Tom Brunansky came back to the Twins organization in 2010 and coached in the GCL, AA and AAA before being named the Twins hitting coach before the 2013 season. Brian Dozier often gave Brunansky a ton of credit for his successes. They worked together in the minors, both the AA and AAA levels. Reports indicate that Rudy Hernandez will not be promoted to the hitting coach. He was named the Twins assistant hitting coach two seasons ago. One name to watch is Chad Allen. He has been back in the organization the last couple of years. He has had success with several of the young Twins players the last couple of years. Kennys Vargas, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler and Byron Buxton have all thrived under his leadership. It is, of course, also possible that the new regime will go outside the organization. Butch Davis came to the Twins organization from the Orioles system when Paul Molitor was named manager. He also worked with the outfielders. Besides Hernandez, those remaining on the coaching staff are pitching coach Neil Allen, third base coach Gene Glynn, bullpen coach Eddie Guardado and bench coach Joe Vavra, Click here to view the article
  18. As the Minnesota Twins slipped across Lake Erie and back into the United States on Sunday night following a three-game series in Toronto, the pitching staff would not be blamed if they sat the entire flight curled in the fetal position. The stats were horrific. Over the weekend series the Blue Jays mashed nine home runs, ten doubles and scampered for one triple. They compiled 38 hits overall and plated 32 runs. They walked more than they struck out. This was nothing new. Since the beginning of 2015 Toronto has out-slugged, out-homered and out-scored everybody. They also have the second-highest on-base percentage, falling just being the Red Sox. The series against the Twins was just business as usual for the pride of Canada. When it comes to hitting, the Toronto Blue Jays just get it.Twins hitting coach Tom Brunansky doesn’t think Toronto’s style of offense -- from the big movements and swings from likes of Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and others -- is anything new to the club. “It started a long time ago,” said Twins hitting coach Tom Brunansky. “I think that philosophy started when Cito Gaston was there, when he was their hitting guy. Then it kinda took off when Cito was the manager and then they had Dwayne Murphy there, you know Murph had a leg kick. I think you can go back to the days when George Bell, Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield and the era that I played, those were the same type of guys, a bunch of free swingers.” It is true that Gaston and Murphy are credited with helping Bautista unlock his swing that has resulted in 243 home runs in 6 years -- the most in baseball in that time -- but there are also guys like Donaldson who refined his mechanics while in Oakland and other players such as Danny Valencia, Chris Colabello and Kevin Pillar who have patterned some elements of their swing after Donaldson (in conjunction with the Blue Jays coaching staff). After all, the Blue Jays third baseman blew the lid off the hitting community with his recent breakdown of his process on the MLB Network. That ideology goes beyond just grip-and-rip, what Donaldson talks about is closer to a cheat code. Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe agrees that it is invaluable to have players around who like to bounce swing talk off one another. Brian Dozier said he learned how to decimate fastballs by watching and picking the brains of Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham. If it is Bautista and Donaldson encouraging organizational newcomers like Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki to add more rhythm to their swing or transfer more weight on their back legs before driving at the the ball, that type of communication can influence the makeup of an entire lineup. Plouffe, who the Twins drafted out of Crespi Carmelite High School in 2004, highlighted some of the differences in philosophy between the two organizations. Early in his development, Plouffe said there was an emphasis placed on just making contact and that came with a request to alter his swing. “I remember coming into my rookie ball season and I went and just played,” Plouffe said. “I thought I did a pretty good job. Then the following spring training our hitting coordinator, [Jim Dwyer], wanted to change some things and I was up for the change. I wanted to produce and do well by the team and the organization. He started to have me do a toe-tap thing. It started to evolve from there. I didn’t really have success with [the toe tap] and as I got a little older and further up the line, I realized that you have to do what’s comfortable for you.” Plouffe’s story does not differ much from that of Byron Buxton. Buxton says that the Twins staff changed him in rookie ball, slowing down his movement and installing a toe-tap stride. Four years later, Buxton is struggling to rediscover his original swing which made him the most sought after draft pick in 2012. Plouffe eventually landed on a leg lift as a timing mechanism, which coincides when he started hitting for power. According to Plouffe, Brunansky calls his swing “awkward” and “unorthodox”. The Twins do have plenty of hitters who come into the system, either by draft, trade or signing, who have incorporated the big movements in their swing similar to what is seen from the Blue Jays lineup. Some hitters who have passed through the organization have complained that the Twins have tried to get them to eliminate that portion of their swing, sending them into disastrous stretches because they are trying to overhaul a key component of their swing in season. Brunansky said that is not his philosophy and that the organization does not tell their hitters to tone down the swing. “One thing is you never want to take away somebody’s ability,” said Brunansky. “If they want to use a leg kick and that’s something they feel good about and that’s who they are, we will certainly work with it. [The leg kick] is gonna continue until they prove that they can’t [use it]. That’s the one thing once you get to this level up here, the game dictates whether you can or can’t.” In regards to copying the Blue Jays’ approach, Brunansky bristles a bit. “I think that they come in free to not worry about certain things,” Brunansky said of Toronto’s organizational hitting philosophy. “They’re not worried about striking out. They are not worried about putting the ball in play in certain situations. They are going to go attack. They figure they are going to do enough damage.” Brunansky said that differs from his philosophy, which places priority on not striking out in key situations. The Blue Jays approach, he believes, will lead to more strikeouts. “I’m not a big fan of strikeouts and I know the game has progressed to the point where strikeouts have become commonplace,” he emphasized. “I certainly don’t want it to be such a negative where hitters fear getting in the box with two strikes. I don’t like strikeouts with runners on base -- and certainly not with a runner on third. And I get it, you are not always going to put the ball in play with a runner on third but that has been a backbreaker for us.” It is a misconception that the Blue Jays’ approach equates to strikeouts. After all, since the start of the 2015 season, they have struck out in 20% of their plate appearances, 20th of the 30 teams. And their contributors in Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion all have strikeout rates well below the league’s average. Meanwhile, the Twins’ just-put-it-play mindset has led to a 21.5% strikeout rate, 9th highest out of 30. The Twins have had a history of players who have had minimal, foot-down-early approaches over the last decade plus. Joe Mauer excels at the craft of hitting by reducing his movement. Miguel Sano’s approach involves minimal movements. Brian Dozier’s power numbers are a testament to the notion that you don’t have to have any leg kick if you do everything else right in the swing. In the modern game, however, that kind of thinking has gone by the wayside, along with pitch-to-contact pitchers. “There is a lot more video available now, I think people understand now that you need to get to a certain spot but you can get to that spot in a lot of different ways,” Plouffe said. “In my opinion you don’t want to conform everybody to the same type of swing because everybody has grown up swinging differently. We’ve swung for 27 years now and it’s who we are. If you can get to that certain spot, people are realizing there are a million different ways to get there.” Click here to view the article
  19. Twins hitting coach Tom Brunansky doesn’t think Toronto’s style of offense -- from the big movements and swings from likes of Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and others -- is anything new to the club. “It started a long time ago,” said Twins hitting coach Tom Brunansky. “I think that philosophy started when Cito Gaston was there, when he was their hitting guy. Then it kinda took off when Cito was the manager and then they had Dwayne Murphy there, you know Murph had a leg kick. I think you can go back to the days when George Bell, Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield and the era that I played, those were the same type of guys, a bunch of free swingers.” It is true that Gaston and Murphy are credited with helping Bautista unlock his swing that has resulted in 243 home runs in 6 years -- the most in baseball in that time -- but there are also guys like Donaldson who refined his mechanics while in Oakland and other players such as Danny Valencia, Chris Colabello and Kevin Pillar who have patterned some elements of their swing after Donaldson (in conjunction with the Blue Jays coaching staff). After all, the Blue Jays third baseman blew the lid off the hitting community with his recent breakdown of his process on the MLB Network. That ideology goes beyond just grip-and-rip, what Donaldson talks about is closer to a cheat code. Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe agrees that it is invaluable to have players around who like to bounce swing talk off one another. Brian Dozier said he learned how to decimate fastballs by watching and picking the brains of Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham. If it is Bautista and Donaldson encouraging organizational newcomers like Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki to add more rhythm to their swing or transfer more weight on their back legs before driving at the the ball, that type of communication can influence the makeup of an entire lineup. Plouffe, who the Twins drafted out of Crespi Carmelite High School in 2004, highlighted some of the differences in philosophy between the two organizations. Early in his development, Plouffe said there was an emphasis placed on just making contact and that came with a request to alter his swing. “I remember coming into my rookie ball season and I went and just played,” Plouffe said. “I thought I did a pretty good job. Then the following spring training our hitting coordinator, [Jim Dwyer], wanted to change some things and I was up for the change. I wanted to produce and do well by the team and the organization. He started to have me do a toe-tap thing. It started to evolve from there. I didn’t really have success with [the toe tap] and as I got a little older and further up the line, I realized that you have to do what’s comfortable for you.” Plouffe’s story does not differ much from that of Byron Buxton. Buxton says that the Twins staff changed him in rookie ball, slowing down his movement and installing a toe-tap stride. Four years later, Buxton is struggling to rediscover his original swing which made him the most sought after draft pick in 2012. Plouffe eventually landed on a leg lift as a timing mechanism, which coincides when he started hitting for power. According to Plouffe, Brunansky calls his swing “awkward” and “unorthodox”. The Twins do have plenty of hitters who come into the system, either by draft, trade or signing, who have incorporated the big movements in their swing similar to what is seen from the Blue Jays lineup. Some hitters who have passed through the organization have complained that the Twins have tried to get them to eliminate that portion of their swing, sending them into disastrous stretches because they are trying to overhaul a key component of their swing in season. Brunansky said that is not his philosophy and that the organization does not tell their hitters to tone down the swing. “One thing is you never want to take away somebody’s ability,” said Brunansky. “If they want to use a leg kick and that’s something they feel good about and that’s who they are, we will certainly work with it. [The leg kick] is gonna continue until they prove that they can’t [use it]. That’s the one thing once you get to this level up here, the game dictates whether you can or can’t.” In regards to copying the Blue Jays’ approach, Brunansky bristles a bit. “I think that they come in free to not worry about certain things,” Brunansky said of Toronto’s organizational hitting philosophy. “They’re not worried about striking out. They are not worried about putting the ball in play in certain situations. They are going to go attack. They figure they are going to do enough damage.” Brunansky said that differs from his philosophy, which places priority on not striking out in key situations. The Blue Jays approach, he believes, will lead to more strikeouts. “I’m not a big fan of strikeouts and I know the game has progressed to the point where strikeouts have become commonplace,” he emphasized. “I certainly don’t want it to be such a negative where hitters fear getting in the box with two strikes. I don’t like strikeouts with runners on base -- and certainly not with a runner on third. And I get it, you are not always going to put the ball in play with a runner on third but that has been a backbreaker for us.” It is a misconception that the Blue Jays’ approach equates to strikeouts. After all, since the start of the 2015 season, they have struck out in 20% of their plate appearances, 20th of the 30 teams. And their contributors in Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion all have strikeout rates well below the league’s average. Meanwhile, the Twins’ just-put-it-play mindset has led to a 21.5% strikeout rate, 9th highest out of 30. The Twins have had a history of players who have had minimal, foot-down-early approaches over the last decade plus. Joe Mauer excels at the craft of hitting by reducing his movement. Miguel Sano’s approach involves minimal movements. Brian Dozier’s power numbers are a testament to the notion that you don’t have to have any leg kick if you do everything else right in the swing. In the modern game, however, that kind of thinking has gone by the wayside, along with pitch-to-contact pitchers. “There is a lot more video available now, I think people understand now that you need to get to a certain spot but you can get to that spot in a lot of different ways,” Plouffe said. “In my opinion you don’t want to conform everybody to the same type of swing because everybody has grown up swinging differently. We’ve swung for 27 years now and it’s who we are. If you can get to that certain spot, people are realizing there are a million different ways to get there.”
  20. Dozier, as anyone who has followed the team even for a second could tell you, has transformed into a dead-pull hitter. Last year he led baseball in pull-happy tendencies by taking 62 percent of all batted balls to the left side. In fact, dating back to 2009, it was the pull-happiest season on record. Think about that: Over the past seven years, no one has been as much of a yanker as middle infielder Brian Dozier. “Why don’t I hit more balls to right?” Dozier asked prior to the 2015 season in the midst of a conversation about his hitting success. “Why do you want to go out to right when the shortest distance is to left?” With that, Dozier began a season in which he hammered out a career-high 28 home runs...but also fell off the face of the earth in the season’s dog days. Even as others in the organization have criticized it, he is unabashedly unapologetic about his approach. Not everyone was satisfied with his mindset at the plate. Manager Paul Molitor had discussed the topic with KSTP’s Darren Wolfson this spring, raising questions about how the team feels about Dozier’s offensive identity. “It’s kind of maybe caused a little confusion as where his ultimate value offensively is going to be,” Molitor said. “Do I sit back and try to hit more home runs? Do I still try to spray the ball around and be a good base runner and score runs?” From the Twins’ perspective, the second baseman/two-hitter isn’t suppose to pull the ball all the time. They see the position as someone who slaps a pitch the other way when there is a runner on first, moving that runner along even if it means recording an out at the plate. Dozier’s play was often viewed as selfish and the team’s announcers were quick to point it out as such. Like many others, Tom Brunansky watched as Dozier struggled with pitches on the outer half, hitting just .185 in the second-half last year when pitchers went away. This past spring training Brunansky shared what he felt was ailing Dozier’s swing and what the pair were doing to rectify it. At no point did he discuss using the entire field or going the other way. Simply put, Brunansky wanted to see Dozier drive the ball on the outer half into any part of the field. “On the middle-out pitch it’s like [the barrel] gets there and then it tries to finish really quick. We’ve talked about extension of the barrel through the zone a little bit more,” Brunansky said. “He’s always had great plate coverage, it’s just, on that pitch out there, he sees it, the barrel gets to it but it never finishes.” The two would have long discussions on hitting philosophy and Dozier would just smile or roll his eyes playfully when they talk of using the entire field would come up. He emphasized that the prolonged slump of 2015 opened Dozier’s eyes to the possibility of altering his swing. “He looks at me and laughs, and he looks at me and makes some comments,” Brunansky said about getting through to Dozier about modifying his swing. “But we have a relationship enough were we trust each other.” http://i.imgur.com/7yNVwrd.gif When the season started, Dozier faced a new challenge: a defensive shift. Teams moved their second baseman to the shortstop side of second base to combat Dozier’s pull-heavy tendencies and then would pepper the other side of the plate, hoping he would fall right into their trap. In 45 of his 106 April plate appearances, he came to the plate facing this alignment. Shift or no, Dozier did not hit: He batted .205 with the shift and he batted .214 without a shift. By May, Dozier and Brunansky had found a new problem that they felt needed correcting. Film study had revealed that Dozier had moved up too close to the plate, causing him to pass on some better pitches on the inner-half. "I didn't even know I was doing it, but I got into the habit of having my feet almost on the white line over the plate," Dozier told MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger. "Some of the pitches that were close to hitting me, I realized were actually middle-in or over the plate. So mentally, it got me in the habit of trying to cheat on inside pitches. And I was swinging at balls way off the plate that I thought were on the black. So it was totally different than last year." Even if it was mere inches in the batter’s box, cheating for pitches on the inner-half would cause him to overpull or miss the sweet spot of his bat on pitches inside that he would normally crush. Plus, it made the outer-half unhittable. Despite the attempted adjustments, by May 23rd Minnesota Twins’ All-Star second baseman was hitting under .200 and relegated to the bench. His offensive season was an unsightly mess and it opened the floodgates for mounds of criticism what became viewed as a stubborn approach. With each plate appearance, more condemnation of his methods. “It’s pull mode, (swinging) out of the zone and trying to do too much,” Ryan told reporters. “It’s basically everything we saw in August and September. They bunch you on the left side. He’s hitting pop-ups in the air, and they aren’t going over the fence like they were last year. That means he’s probably not getting a pitch he can handle.” At the deepest, darkest depths of his season, Dozier turned a corner. On May 25th he was back in the starting lineup and tagged a hanging curve from Kansas City’s Dillon Gee into the second deck at Target Field. He followed that the next day with a deep double at Safeco off of Felix Hernandez. That kicked off ten consecutive games of reaching base and Dozier’s average began to rise. Dozier, however, didn’t pull out of his funk by going the other way. He was able to find success by pulling the ball MORE. Certainly Dozier saw success when he did drive a few pitches for extra base hits into the right-center gap. And he was gifted a double after flaring a ball down the right field line that could have been caught had the outfield not been shifted around to protect against his pull tendencies. Several of those pitches were down-and-away that Dozier actually drove -- a sign that the work with Brunansky to keep the barrel in the zone longer was paying off. In short, Dozier is back to who he has been in the past. For the month of June, Dozier is hitting .333/.413/.580 while pulling the ball at a 63 percent clip. He has addressed the issue with his swing and it did not have to do with going the other way. The hand-wringing over his extreme pull tendencies needs to stop.
  21. Brian Dozier is predisposed to prolonged slumps. Over the past two years those stretches have come in the latter portion. In 2014 Dozier had a sharp decline in home runs, hitting just five after jacking 18 pre-All Star Break. Masking the power outage was the fact he maintained a solid on-base presence. Last season, however, not only did the home runs evaporate but the batting average and on-base abilities did too, leading to a sad .210/.280/.359 batting line as the Twins’ slim playoff chances slipped away. The good news is that this season it seems that the Twins’ second baseman has been kind enough to hold his annual slump in the first-half, getting the depressing numbers out of the way at the beginning of the year.Dozier, as anyone who has followed the team even for a second could tell you, has transformed into a dead-pull hitter. Last year he led baseball in pull-happy tendencies by taking 62 percent of all batted balls to the left side. In fact, dating back to 2009, it was the pull-happiest season on record. Think about that: Over the past seven years, no one has been as much of a yanker as middle infielder Brian Dozier. “Why don’t I hit more balls to right?” Dozier asked prior to the 2015 season in the midst of a conversation about his hitting success. “Why do you want to go out to right when the shortest distance is to left?” With that, Dozier began a season in which he hammered out a career-high 28 home runs...but also fell off the face of the earth in the season’s dog days. Even as others in the organization have criticized it, he is unabashedly unapologetic about his approach. Not everyone was satisfied with his mindset at the plate. Manager Paul Molitor had discussed the topic with KSTP’s Darren Wolfson this spring, raising questions about how the team feels about Dozier’s offensive identity. “It’s kind of maybe caused a little confusion as where his ultimate value offensively is going to be,” Molitor said. “Do I sit back and try to hit more home runs? Do I still try to spray the ball around and be a good base runner and score runs?” From the Twins’ perspective, the second baseman/two-hitter isn’t suppose to pull the ball all the time. They see the position as someone who slaps a pitch the other way when there is a runner on first, moving that runner along even if it means recording an out at the plate. Dozier’s play was often viewed as selfish and the team’s announcers were quick to point it out as such. Like many others, Tom Brunansky watched as Dozier struggled with pitches on the outer half, hitting just .185 in the second-half last year when pitchers went away. This past spring training Brunansky shared what he felt was ailing Dozier’s swing and what the pair were doing to rectify it. At no point did he discuss using the entire field or going the other way. Simply put, Brunansky wanted to see Dozier drive the ball on the outer half into any part of the field. “On the middle-out pitch it’s like [the barrel] gets there and then it tries to finish really quick. We’ve talked about extension of the barrel through the zone a little bit more,” Brunansky said. “He’s always had great plate coverage, it’s just, on that pitch out there, he sees it, the barrel gets to it but it never finishes.” The two would have long discussions on hitting philosophy and Dozier would just smile or roll his eyes playfully when they talk of using the entire field would come up. He emphasized that the prolonged slump of 2015 opened Dozier’s eyes to the possibility of altering his swing. “He looks at me and laughs, and he looks at me and makes some comments,” Brunansky said about getting through to Dozier about modifying his swing. “But we have a relationship enough were we trust each other.” http://i.imgur.com/7yNVwrd.gif When the season started, Dozier faced a new challenge: a defensive shift. Teams moved their second baseman to the shortstop side of second base to combat Dozier’s pull-heavy tendencies and then would pepper the other side of the plate, hoping he would fall right into their trap. In 45 of his 106 April plate appearances, he came to the plate facing this alignment. Shift or no, Dozier did not hit: He batted .205 with the shift and he batted .214 without a shift. By May, Dozier and Brunansky had found a new problem that they felt needed correcting. Film study had revealed that Dozier had moved up too close to the plate, causing him to pass on some better pitches on the inner-half. "I didn't even know I was doing it, but I got into the habit of having my feet almost on the white line over the plate," Dozier told MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger. "Some of the pitches that were close to hitting me, I realized were actually middle-in or over the plate. So mentally, it got me in the habit of trying to cheat on inside pitches. And I was swinging at balls way off the plate that I thought were on the black. So it was totally different than last year." Download attachment: Doizer_Plate.png Even if it was mere inches in the batter’s box, cheating for pitches on the inner-half would cause him to overpull or miss the sweet spot of his bat on pitches inside that he would normally crush. Plus, it made the outer-half unhittable. Despite the attempted adjustments, by May 23rd Minnesota Twins’ All-Star second baseman was hitting under .200 and relegated to the bench. His offensive season was an unsightly mess and it opened the floodgates for mounds of criticism what became viewed as a stubborn approach. With each plate appearance, more condemnation of his methods. “It’s pull mode, (swinging) out of the zone and trying to do too much,” Ryan told reporters. “It’s basically everything we saw in August and September. They bunch you on the left side. He’s hitting pop-ups in the air, and they aren’t going over the fence like they were last year. That means he’s probably not getting a pitch he can handle.” At the deepest, darkest depths of his season, Dozier turned a corner. On May 25th he was back in the starting lineup and tagged a hanging curve from Kansas City’s Dillon Gee into the second deck at Target Field. He followed that the next day with a deep double at Safeco off of Felix Hernandez. That kicked off ten consecutive games of reaching base and Dozier’s average began to rise. Download attachment: output_r7sZUK.gif Dozier, however, didn’t pull out of his funk by going the other way. He was able to find success by pulling the ball MORE. Download attachment: Dozier.PNG Certainly Dozier saw success when he did drive a few pitches for extra base hits into the right-center gap. And he was gifted a double after flaring a ball down the right field line that could have been caught had the outfield not been shifted around to protect against his pull tendencies. Several of those pitches were down-and-away that Dozier actually drove -- a sign that the work with Brunansky to keep the barrel in the zone longer was paying off. In short, Dozier is back to who he has been in the past. For the month of June, Dozier is hitting .333/.413/.580 while pulling the ball at a 63 percent clip. He has addressed the issue with his swing and it did not have to do with going the other way. The hand-wringing over his extreme pull tendencies needs to stop. Click here to view the article
  22. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160507_171027_zpsfuptnh3h.jpg May 8, 1967 Rod Carew Gives Twins First 5-Hit Game Rookie Rod Carew became the first Twin to collect 5 hit in a single game in a 7-4 Twins loss to the Senators at home in Bloomington. Rodney was 5-for-5 on the day with a double, an RBI and run scored. The Twins had 11 hits in total, but no other Twin had more than one. Kirby Puckett set a new Twins record for hits in a game when he went 6-for-6 with 2 home runs and 2 doubles in a 10-6 Twins win in Milwaukee on August 30th, 1987. Puckett had gone 4-for-5 with 2 home runs the day before, making him 10-for-11 with 6 RBI and 7 runs on the weekend. He had gone 0-for-4 on Friday in the first game of the series, a 1-0 Twins loss. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160507_104617_zpsrhgchzsa.jpg May 8, 1968 Catfish Hunter Pitches a Perfect Game 22-year-old Catfish Hunter pitched a perfect game against the Twins in Oakland, striking out 11 in the 4-0 win which was only attended by 6,298 fans despite it being the Athletics’ first season in Oakland. Harmon Killebrew struck out in each of his three plate appearances. In addition to pitching the perfect game, Hunter went 3-for-4 at the plate, driving in 3 of the Athletics’ 4 runs. Reggie Jackson was 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts. May 8, 1979 Twins Hit Team-Record 12 Extra Base Hits The Twins set a team record when 12 of their 19 hits went for extra bases in a 16-6 shellacking of the Blue Jays at home in Bloomington. Roy Smalley and Craig Kusick each hit 2 home runs. Ken Landreaux hit a home run and a double. Bombo Rivera hit 2 doubles, while Willie Norwood, Glenn Borgmann and Bob Randall hit one each. John Castino hit a triple. Roy Smalley had the best day of anybody, going 4-for-5 with the 2 home runs, a walk, 4 RBI and 4 runs scored. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160501_110914_zpsrrdo52fb.jpg May 8, 1984 Kirby Puckett Goes 4-for-5 in MLB Debut Kirby Puckett went 4-for-5 with a run scored in his Major League debut as the Twins beat the first place Angels 5-0 in Anaheim. Puckett, hitting leadoff, grounded out to short to start the game. He collected singles in his next four at-bats, becoming the sixth player in American League history to debut with 4-hit performance. Frank Viola pitched a complete game, 4-hit shutout. Kirby collected 16 hits in his first 7 Major League games, hitting .485. He would finish the season with 165 hit in 128 games, batting .296 and finishing 3rd to Seattle’s Alvin Davis and Mark Langston in American League Rookie of the Year balloting. Minnesota’s Tim Teufel came in 4th. 22-year-old Twins catcher, Wilson Ramos, also went 4-for-5 in his Major League debut on May 2nd, 2010. The following night, he went 3-for-4 with a double, becoming the third player in Major League history with 7 hits in his first two games, and the first since the Chicago Cubs’ Coaker Triplett in 1938. May 9th It’s Oswaldo Arcia’s Birthday Nothing happened today, unless you count the birth of Oswaldo Arcia in Venezuela in 1991. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/Arcia.2015Topps_zps8pe4y60u.jpg May 10, 1962 Twins Hit Back-to-Back Home Runs to Begin Game Lenny Green and Vic Power hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the game versus Cleveland pitcher and future-Twin, Jim Perry. Cleveland came back to win the game 9-4. Back-to-back home runs to begin a game tied the Major League record at the time. Has a team since started with three? Anybody? Let’s get collaborative here. May 11th It’s Frank Quilici's Birthday Frank Quilici was born on this day in 1939 in Chicago. He played for the Twins in 1965 and 1967-’70, including the ‘65 World Series and 1970 American League Championship Series. He spent the ‘66 season at Triple A, Denver. He retired as a player after the 1970 season but was brought back as a coach in 1971. In July of ‘72 he replaced Bill Rigney as manager, a position which he held through the end of the 1975 season. He was succeeded by Gene Mauch. Quilici, who turns 77 today, makes his home in Burnsville, MN. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160507_110427_zpsfve038ml.jpg May 11, 1967 Dean Chance Pitches a One-Hitter Dean Chance pitched a complete game, one-hit shutout versus the Kansas City Athletics at home in Bloomington. Chance struck out 8 and walked 6 as the Twins won 8-0. Chance would get his no-hitter on August 25th of that season. 21-year-old Catfish Hunter, already in his third season, started for the Athletics, allowing all 8 Twins runs on 7 hits and 6 walks in just 5 innings. He would pitch a perfect game against the Twins 363 days later. May 11, 1982 The Twins Trade for Tom Brunansky The Twins traded Doug Corbett and Rob Wilfong to the California Angels for Tom Brunansky, pitcher Mike Walters, and $400,000 cash. Brunansky, a southern California-native, was drafted in the first round in 1978 out of high school by the Angels. He had played 11 games with the Angels in 1981, and was at Triple A Spokane at the time of the trade. Brunansky was, of course, an integral part of the Twins’ 1987 championship season when he hit 32 home runs, drove in 85 and scored 83 runs. He played for the Twins until an ill-advised April ‘88 trade to St. Louis for clubhouse cancer, Tommy Herr. Brunansky’s 163 home runs in a Twins uniform are ninth most in team history. He hit a total of 271 home runs over his fourteen year Major League career. Bruno has served as the Twins’ hitting coach since 2013. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160507_110719_zpszjb70wil.jpg May 12, 1961 Twins and Angels Pitchers Homer Off Each Other Pitcher, Eli Grba, homered in the top of the fifth to give the Angels a 3-2 lead. Twins pitcher, Pedro Ramos, led off the bottom of the inning with a home run of his own, tying the game. Ramos added a 2-run single the following inning and the Twins held on to win 5-4, with Ramos driving in the Twins’ final 3 runs. May 12, 1982 Twins Trade Butch Wynegar to the Yankees Just one day after trading two bonafide big leaguers for a minor league pitcher and the unproven Tom Brunansky, the Twins traded pitcher Roger Erickson and standout catcher, Butch Wynegar, to the Yankees for not a whole lot. Wynegar was an all-star in his first two seasons and finished second to Detroit’s Mark Fidrych in 1976 American League Rookie of the Year balloting. Despite the Brunansky deal working out very well in retrospect, both trades were seen at the time as cheap cost-cutting measures by Twins ownership. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160507_110827_zpsrm91abas.jpg May 13, 1989 Kirby Puckett Hits Four Doubles Kirby Puckett hit a team record 4 doubles as the Twins beat the Blue Jays 10-8 at the Metrodome. Kirby, who was 4-for-5 with 3 RBI and a run scored, hit two doubles each off of Dave Stieb and Tom Henke. May 14th It’s the Birthday of Hosken Powell Nothing happened today, except the birth of Hosken Powell in 1955 in Selma, Alabama. The '75 Minnesota draft choice played for the Twins from 1978-'81 before playing his final two big league seasons in Toronto. Powell hit his first Major League home run off of Hall of Famer, Jim Palmer, in May of his rookie season. His third home run was off of Hall of Famer, Fegie Jenkins. Powell hit the final home run of his career off of Hall of Famer, Don Sutton. Keep in touch with the Twins Almanac on Facebook, and by following @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  23. And here is The Twins Almanac for the week of April 17th through the 23rd. Two of the 50 Greatest Twins share a birthday this week. This week in 1961 the Twins played their first home opener and celebrated their first walk-off win. Several impressive streaks began and ended. The Twins put together a 6-run inning on just 1 hit. And this week in Twins history, just 14 games removed from the 1987 World Series, Minnesota made a demoralizing trade with St. Louis for a pontificating clubhouse cancer. April 17, 2009 Kubel Completes Cycle with Game-Winning Grand Slam Playing the LA Angels at the Metrodome, the Twins trailed 4-9 going into the bottom of the 8th. They scored 3 runs on RBI hits by Mike Redmond and Denard Span. After Brendan Harris struck out looking for the second out, the Angels, still leading by 2, intentionally walked Justin Morneau to load the bases for Jason Kubel, who had already gone 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored and was a HR shy the cycle. Kubel hit the 0-1 pitch out of the park, completing the Twins’ 7-run 8th inning rally. Joe Nathan retired the Angels in order in the top of the 9th for the save and an 11-9 Twins win. April 17, 2014 The Twins 8-Walk 8th Inning (aka, Minnesota’s 6-Run, 1-Hit Inning) The Twins and the Blue Jays played two cold ones on April 17th after having been snowed out the previous night. The Twins won game 1 by a score of 7-0. The gametime temperature of 31 degrees was a record for a Twins home game. The temperature was up to 42 for the start of game 2. The Twins trailed 3-5 going into the bottom of the 8th when they would score 4 runs before their first hit, and ultimately score 6 runs on just 1 hit. Blue Jays pitcher, Steve Delebar, walked Josmil Pinto and Chris Hermann to start the inning.Eduardo Nunez then dropped down a successful sacrifice bunt. In retrospect the sacrifice was completely unnecessary, as Sergio Santos (replacing Delebar) and J.A. Happ combined to walk the next five Twins batters. Three runs scored on Santos wild pitches, and a fourth run scored when Happ walked Chris Colabello with the bases loaded. Finally, after having already scored 4 runs, the Twins got their first hit of the inning, a 2-run Jason Kubel single to right. Josmil Pinto then walked for the second time in the inning before the Blue Jays finally recorded the final two outs of the inning. Glen Perkins sat down the Jays in order in the 9th, securing a 9-5 Twins victory. April 19th Twin Birthdays 4/19 is the birthday of Frank Viola (born in 1960 in East Meadow, NY) and Joe Mauer (born in 1983 in St. Paul). The Twins drafted Frank Viola in the 2nd round in 1981 out of St. John’s University (Queens, NY). Viola was the MVP of the 1987 World Series, and was an All-Star and Cy Young Award-winner the following season when he won a Major League-leading 24 games. On July 31st, 1989, the Twins traded Viola to the New York Mets for pitchers Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, David West, Tim Drummond, and Jack Savage. As a Met, Viola was an NL All-Star in 1990 and ‘91, finishing 3rd in NL Cy Young balloting in 1990. Viola was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame with Carl Pohlad in 2005. Cretin-Derham Hall alumnus, Joe Mauer, was the #1 overall draft choice in 2001. Mauer made his Major League debut on Opening Day, 2004, at age 20. He went 2-for-3 with a strikeout, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored. Mauer was on second in the bottom of the 11th with 2 out when Shannon Stewart hit a 3-run walk-off homer, giving the Twins a 7-4 win over Cleveland. The Twins went on to win the AL Central in Mauer’s rookie season before losing to the Yankees in the Divisional round. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160416_185555_zpsxnup2udc.jpg Joe Mauer has won three American League batting championships (2006, ‘08 and ‘09). No other American League catcher has ever won a batting title. The last National League catcher to win a batting title was Cincinnati’s Ernie Lombardi in 1942. Lombardi was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. Mauer was the 2009 American League MVP, hitting a career-high .365, and collecting career-highs in hits (191), home runs (28), and RBI (96). He is a 6x All-Star. April 19, 1961 A crowd of 3,000 fans gathered at the airport to welcome home the 5-1 Twins, two days before their inaugural home opener. April 19, 1988 Niekro Called for 3 Balks After the Yankees’ Rickey Henderson led off the game with a single to center, Joe Niekro was called for back-to-back balks, advancing Henderson to second and to third. Henderson scored on a Don Mattingly double. Henderson came up again in the 2nd inning, this time hitting a 2-RBI single to left. Niekro was promptly called for his 3rd balk of the game, moving Henderson up to second. After giving up a 2-run home run to Mike Pagliarulo to make it 7-0 Yankees in the 2nd, Niekro was replaced by Juan Berenguer. Berenguer, Keith Atherton and Jeff Reardon did not allow a run the rest of the game. Trailing 3-7 in the bottom of the 9th, the Twins scored 3 runs on RBI hits by Kirby Puckett and Tom Brunansky beforeHrbek lined out to first, ending the game with the tying runner, Mark Davidson, stranded on third. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160416_184731_zpsini02nam.jpg April 21, 1961 Inaugural Home Opener The 5-1 Twins played their first ever home game, taking on the expansion Washington Senators at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. The teams were tied 3-3 when the Senators scored 2 off of Ray Moore in the top of the 9th to win 5-3. Only 24,606 fans attended the game, 6,000 short of a sell-out despite a gametime temperature of 63 degrees. April 21, 1985 John Butcher 1hr 55min Complete Game Shutout The Twins had lost 9 in a row, falling to 2-9 on the season, entering the Sunday series finale in Oakland when Twins pitcher John Butcher hurled a remarkable complete game shutout. Butcher allowed 3 hits, but faced just 28 batters, one over the minimum. He threw just 81 pitches and the game was over in 1 hour and 55 minutes. Leadoff hitter Kirby Puckett went 3-for-5, driving in both Twins runs in the 2-0 victory. It was the beginning of a 10-game Twins winning streak. April 21, 2007 Twins Start Season with 19 Consecutive Stolen Bases In the 17th game of the season, Alexi Casilla stole second base for the Twins' 19th consecutive successful steal attempt to start the season. Torii Hunter was caught stealing in the 8th to end the streak. With a 7-5 lead in Kansas City, Joe Nathan pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th, with all three outs coming on called third strikes. April 21, 2012 Willingham Begins Twins Career with 15-Game Hit Streak First-year Twin, Josh Willingham, led off the top of the 9th in Tampa Bay with a line drive single to center, extending his season-opening hit streak to 15 games. Willingham would score on a Ryan Doumit sac fly, but the Twins lost 4-1. Willingham’s streak was the longest to begin a Twins career, and tied Kirby Puckett’s 1994 streak for the longest by a Twin to begin a season. April 22, 1961 Twins 1st Walk-Off Win In game 2 of their first ever home series, the Twins and expansion Senators played to a 4-4 tie through nine. In the bottom of the 10th, with the bases loaded and one away, Zoilo Versalles gave the Twins their first ever walk-off win, driving in Earl Battey with a sacrifice fly to center. The freshly minted Twins improved to 6-2 on the season. April 22, 1980 Geoff Zahn pitched a complete game for an 8-1 Twins win in the 1980 home opener. The gametime temperature was a balmy 89 degrees outside the Metrodome. Hosken Powell, Ron Jackson and Roy Smalley each hit home runs in the game. April 22, 1988 Twins’ Day Goes from Bad to Worse Bert Blyleven gave up 7 runs on 9 hits and 4 hit batters in 4 2/3 innings in an 11-6 loss to Cleveland at the Metrodome. Four of those runs came on a Cory Snyder grand slam. Later in the game, Joe Carter also hit a grand slam off of Keith Atherton. To add insult to injury, after the game the Twins traded Tom Brunanskyto the Cardinals in exchange for clubhouse cancer, Tom Herr. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160416_184502_zpslydldyma.jpg April 23, 1961 In the final game of the Twins' first ever home series, Jack Kralick pitched a complete game, 4-hit shutout in a 1-0 Twins win versus the expansion Senators. Kralick's bat provided the Twins' only run, driving inBilly Gardner with a 5th inning single. The Twins improved to 7-2 on the season. April 23, 1980 Ken Landreaux begins a 31-game hitting streak by breaking up Angel pitcher Bruce Kison's no-hitter with a one out double in the 9th. California holds on to win 17-0. For the history of the Minnesota Twins, told one day at a time, like The Twins Almanac on Facebook, and follow @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter. For the stories of the Major Leaguers who grew up in Minnesota, like Major Minnesotans on Facebook, and follow @MajorMinnesota on Twitter. Click here to view the article
  24. April 17, 2009 Kubel Completes Cycle with Game-Winning Grand Slam Playing the LA Angels at the Metrodome, the Twins trailed 4-9 going into the bottom of the 8th. They scored 3 runs on RBI hits by Mike Redmond and Denard Span. After Brendan Harris struck out looking for the second out, the Angels, still leading by 2, intentionally walked Justin Morneau to load the bases for Jason Kubel, who had already gone 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored and was a HR shy the cycle. Kubel hit the 0-1 pitch out of the park, completing the Twins’ 7-run 8th inning rally. Joe Nathan retired the Angels in order in the top of the 9th for the save and an 11-9 Twins win. April 17, 2014 The Twins 8-Walk 8th Inning (aka, Minnesota’s 6-Run, 1-Hit Inning) The Twins and the Blue Jays played two cold ones on April 17th after having been snowed out the previous night. The Twins won game 1 by a score of 7-0. The gametime temperature of 31 degrees was a record for a Twins home game. The temperature was up to 42 for the start of game 2. The Twins trailed 3-5 going into the bottom of the 8th when they would score 4 runs before their first hit, and ultimately score 6 runs on just 1 hit. Blue Jays pitcher, Steve Delebar, walked Josmil Pinto and Chris Hermann to start the inning.Eduardo Nunez then dropped down a successful sacrifice bunt. In retrospect the sacrifice was completely unnecessary, as Sergio Santos (replacing Delebar) and J.A. Happ combined to walk the next five Twins batters. Three runs scored on Santos wild pitches, and a fourth run scored when Happ walked Chris Colabello with the bases loaded. Finally, after having already scored 4 runs, the Twins got their first hit of the inning, a 2-run Jason Kubel single to right. Josmil Pinto then walked for the second time in the inning before the Blue Jays finally recorded the final two outs of the inning. Glen Perkins sat down the Jays in order in the 9th, securing a 9-5 Twins victory. April 19th Twin Birthdays 4/19 is the birthday of Frank Viola (born in 1960 in East Meadow, NY) and Joe Mauer (born in 1983 in St. Paul). The Twins drafted Frank Viola in the 2nd round in 1981 out of St. John’s University (Queens, NY). Viola was the MVP of the 1987 World Series, and was an All-Star and Cy Young Award-winner the following season when he won a Major League-leading 24 games. On July 31st, 1989, the Twins traded Viola to the New York Mets for pitchers Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, David West, Tim Drummond, and Jack Savage. As a Met, Viola was an NL All-Star in 1990 and ‘91, finishing 3rd in NL Cy Young balloting in 1990. Viola was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame with Carl Pohlad in 2005. Cretin-Derham Hall alumnus, Joe Mauer, was the #1 overall draft choice in 2001. Mauer made his Major League debut on Opening Day, 2004, at age 20. He went 2-for-3 with a strikeout, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored. Mauer was on second in the bottom of the 11th with 2 out when Shannon Stewart hit a 3-run walk-off homer, giving the Twins a 7-4 win over Cleveland. The Twins went on to win the AL Central in Mauer’s rookie season before losing to the Yankees in the Divisional round. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160416_185555_zpsxnup2udc.jpg Joe Mauer has won three American League batting championships (2006, ‘08 and ‘09). No other American League catcher has ever won a batting title. The last National League catcher to win a batting title was Cincinnati’s Ernie Lombardi in 1942. Lombardi was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. Mauer was the 2009 American League MVP, hitting a career-high .365, and collecting career-highs in hits (191), home runs (28), and RBI (96). He is a 6x All-Star. April 19, 1961 A crowd of 3,000 fans gathered at the airport to welcome home the 5-1 Twins, two days before their inaugural home opener. April 19, 1988 Niekro Called for 3 Balks After the Yankees’ Rickey Henderson led off the game with a single to center, Joe Niekro was called for back-to-back balks, advancing Henderson to second and to third. Henderson scored on a Don Mattingly double. Henderson came up again in the 2nd inning, this time hitting a 2-RBI single to left. Niekro was promptly called for his 3rd balk of the game, moving Henderson up to second. After giving up a 2-run home run to Mike Pagliarulo to make it 7-0 Yankees in the 2nd, Niekro was replaced by Juan Berenguer. Berenguer, Keith Atherton and Jeff Reardon did not allow a run the rest of the game. Trailing 3-7 in the bottom of the 9th, the Twins scored 3 runs on RBI hits by Kirby Puckett and Tom Brunansky beforeHrbek lined out to first, ending the game with the tying runner, Mark Davidson, stranded on third. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160416_184731_zpsini02nam.jpg April 21, 1961 Inaugural Home Opener The 5-1 Twins played their first ever home game, taking on the expansion Washington Senators at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. The teams were tied 3-3 when the Senators scored 2 off of Ray Moore in the top of the 9th to win 5-3. Only 24,606 fans attended the game, 6,000 short of a sell-out despite a gametime temperature of 63 degrees. April 21, 1985 John Butcher 1hr 55min Complete Game Shutout The Twins had lost 9 in a row, falling to 2-9 on the season, entering the Sunday series finale in Oakland when Twins pitcher John Butcher hurled a remarkable complete game shutout. Butcher allowed 3 hits, but faced just 28 batters, one over the minimum. He threw just 81 pitches and the game was over in 1 hour and 55 minutes. Leadoff hitter Kirby Puckett went 3-for-5, driving in both Twins runs in the 2-0 victory. It was the beginning of a 10-game Twins winning streak. April 21, 2007 Twins Start Season with 19 Consecutive Stolen Bases In the 17th game of the season, Alexi Casilla stole second base for the Twins' 19th consecutive successful steal attempt to start the season. Torii Hunter was caught stealing in the 8th to end the streak. With a 7-5 lead in Kansas City, Joe Nathan pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th, with all three outs coming on called third strikes. April 21, 2012 Willingham Begins Twins Career with 15-Game Hit Streak First-year Twin, Josh Willingham, led off the top of the 9th in Tampa Bay with a line drive single to center, extending his season-opening hit streak to 15 games. Willingham would score on a Ryan Doumit sac fly, but the Twins lost 4-1. Willingham’s streak was the longest to begin a Twins career, and tied Kirby Puckett’s 1994 streak for the longest by a Twin to begin a season. April 22, 1961 Twins 1st Walk-Off Win In game 2 of their first ever home series, the Twins and expansion Senators played to a 4-4 tie through nine. In the bottom of the 10th, with the bases loaded and one away, Zoilo Versalles gave the Twins their first ever walk-off win, driving in Earl Battey with a sacrifice fly to center. The freshly minted Twins improved to 6-2 on the season. April 22, 1980 Geoff Zahn pitched a complete game for an 8-1 Twins win in the 1980 home opener. The gametime temperature was a balmy 89 degrees outside the Metrodome. Hosken Powell, Ron Jackson and Roy Smalley each hit home runs in the game. April 22, 1988 Twins’ Day Goes from Bad to Worse Bert Blyleven gave up 7 runs on 9 hits and 4 hit batters in 4 2/3 innings in an 11-6 loss to Cleveland at the Metrodome. Four of those runs came on a Cory Snyder grand slam. Later in the game, Joe Carter also hit a grand slam off of Keith Atherton. To add insult to injury, after the game the Twins traded Tom Brunanskyto the Cardinals in exchange for clubhouse cancer, Tom Herr. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160416_184502_zpslydldyma.jpg April 23, 1961 In the final game of the Twins' first ever home series, Jack Kralick pitched a complete game, 4-hit shutout in a 1-0 Twins win versus the expansion Senators. Kralick's bat provided the Twins' only run, driving inBilly Gardner with a 5th inning single. The Twins improved to 7-2 on the season. April 23, 1980 Ken Landreaux begins a 31-game hitting streak by breaking up Angel pitcher Bruce Kison's no-hitter with a one out double in the 9th. California holds on to win 17-0. For the history of the Minnesota Twins, told one day at a time, like The Twins Almanac on Facebook, and follow @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter. For the stories of the Major Leaguers who grew up in Minnesota, like Major Minnesotans on Facebook, and follow @MajorMinnesota on Twitter.
  25. d-mac

    Patience

    At what point do changes with the FO/coaching staff get made? How much patience should we have with the status quo? This is a team that was expected to improve and contend this year. As a self admitted pessimist I always have low expectations, but this team has underperformed even my wildest nightmares. Obviously, this team will not lose every game and will improve, sample sizes are fairly small yet and won't continue to be sub-Buterean with RISP, but if this team continues on it's current trajectory should changes be made and if so, when? 1.) If this team is still leading baseball in K% come early May, Bruno needs to go, IMO. None of the young hitters have learned anything resembling plate discipline and many of them have regressed. None of them had issues with plate discipline in the minors (Sano's strikeouts notwithstanding). The evidence is pretty damning, IMO. And I was a big supporter of Bruno after what he did with Dozier. But even Dozier is looking like he has regressed in terms of plate discipline the past two seasons. 2.) Molitor is starting to look like a bad choice as a manager. Batting Rosario and Santana second are indefensible decisions. Not playing Arcia at all until the 5th game is indefensible. Sac bunting early in games is indefensible. And the running game is something else. He has been uber aggressive with base stealing, but this team as a whole is so poor at base running it's costing this team runs, which is a trend that carried over from last year. And it's not that this team is slow, there is plenty of speed on the roster, the runners are just very unskilled. I prefered both Dougie M and the bench coach from the Red Sox org they interviewed over Molitor. But I was fine with the hire and approached it with an open mind, but I think it's fairly obvious at this point that Molitor was not the right man for the job. 3.) And of course everybody here knows my thoughts on Terry Ryan. I've been calling for him to be canned for several years now. I had always thought was not the right to guide the team through a rebuild- the last time he rebuilt the Twins, it took almost a full decade, not to mention he's a complete idea dinosaur when compared to most GM's today. Needless to say, I've been highly critical with how he's handled the rebuild. I felt it's been half-a**ed a bit. He never fully committed to tearing down the obviously bad teams in the early part of this decade. He had many chances to sell high and trade away established/veteran players and acquire more young talent, but instead chose to save face with the fans after he promised in the media to contend every year (even though nobody believed it). Both Willingham in 2012 and Suzuki in 2014 should have been traded at the deadline for anything that could have been had. Based on their ages, their values could not and would not ever have been higher. Predictably, the aging Willingham couldn't stay on the field the next two years before retiring and Suzuki has regressed and aged into being one of the worst starting catchers in baseball. Not to mention Perkins never being shopped was also indefensible. That was the lowest of low-hanging trade-able fruit: an all-star closer in his prime on a team that was losing 90 games a year. Predictably, when the team is expecting to contend the aging Perkins, due to decreasing fastball velocity is all but washed up. Not only did Ryan do a disservice to the Twins by not trading Perkins for young talent, but did a disservice to Perkins himself by wasting the prime of his career on crummy teams with no shot at winning. INDEFENSIBLE. Resigning players after career seasons has also been a pretty indefensible. After failing to trade Suzuki at the deadline in 2014, he was EXTENDED for two years (with a vesting option for 3, WHY?) after having a career year at age 30 as a catcher which had followed two seasons of terrible offense. While, the extension of Suzuki was indefensible, I have to admit the original signing of Suzuki going into 2014 on a one year deal after Mauer had moved out behind the plate (should have been done way sooner, but I won't go there) was fairly astute. In 2013 Suzuki cut down his K% from the previous year and saw a significant jump in line-drive %, yet saw one of his worst BABIP seasons of his career. But compounding the lack of selling after his hot start was the extension. That shows a clear lack of understanding of aging curves for catchers, BABIP, and the principle of buy low/ sell high. Another astute signing that was ruined by extension after a career season was Phil Hughes. Hughes was a great value signing- a flyball pitcher with a good K/BB rate that was being penalized by an extreme hitters' park in a division filled with hitters' parks. He was signed to a team-friendly three years, $24m. Hughes was a solid #3 signed to a reasonable contract through his prime. But after a career year, where he pitched like a high-end #2 starter, he was extended for 3 additional years at $58m and included paying him $1.2m more for years he was already under contract. WHAT?! WHY?! Terry must have been drunk, that's the only explanation. Pitchers are fickle, they get injured or become ineffective for no reason. In Hughes' case he's an extreme fastball pitcher that relies on velocity, fastball command, a deceptive short-arm delivery, and lacks a quality third pitch. As predictable as the sun rising in the morning are pitcher injuries, and sure enough, Hughes got injured this past year, his fastball velocity was sapped, and because of his lack of a third pitch has turned into a pumpkin. This shows a lack of understanding basic awareness of pitcher injuries, how age affects fastball velocity (research shows average fastball velo maxes out between age 24-26 seasons, Hughes will be turning 30 this season), and lack of the buy low/ sell high (bought low, but bought again really, really high). Ryan has filled the rotation with middling free-agent 3/4 types that have pushed more talented (i.e., higher upside) and less expensive pitchers to the pen (May) or left them in AAA (Berrios). You'd think with a strike-out challenged, potential limited starting rotation he would have assembled a lock-down bullpen. Guess again. Outside of Perkins this bullpen is and has also been strike-out challenged and filled with minor league free-agents and rule 5 selections. The one time he goes outside the org (Jepsen), he traded for a reliever at the deadline, when relievers are the most expensive as contending teams get panicky about their pens. After telling the public that the pen was the top priority, signed a couple of minor league free-agents and filled it with a talented, young starter misallocated to the bullpen. Ryan and the Twins appear to be all in on the fireballing college relievers they've drafted (not going to touch the ridiculousness of drafting college relievers in the top few rounds) the previous few years. None of them have debuted with the team yet. Typically, teams that draft top college relievers and push them to the majors by the following season, because the value that top college relievers provide are a quick turnaround time to the majors. Remember, pitchers get hurt, and peak velocity occurs between ages 24-26. None of the fireballing relievers have pitched above AA. Some have had TJ surgery, and the older relievers are already using their peak velocity innings in the minors. Finally, the Ryan FO has married itself and the short and long-term success to the risky strategy of depending 100% internally drafted, signed, and developed prospects. What happens if a few of the prospects end up being busts when all is said and done? Trading for areas of need, whether it be prospect for major leaguer, major leaguer for prospect, or prospect for prospect, has to this point almost entirely been eschewed. Trading Hicks for Murphy was a good start, but indefensibly Suzuki is still starting over Murphy. Forcing Buxton into the majors before he is ready (detrimental to the team and his long-term development), with a real lack of alternative options is pretty indefensible. It's maddeningly obvious he's overmatched and they are repeating the same mistakes they made with Hicks. Plus, forcing Sano into a position he's never played before while he's still trying to establish himself in the majors is so incredibly short sighted. Plouffe is not the future, Sano is. And now if by some miracle everything goes according to plan, then Kepler is blocked. Bottom line: this team is walking a tightrope based on Ryan's strategy, a lot will have to go right for this team to be a perennial contender. TL;DR Version: After ranting for a bit about Bruno, Molitor, and a lengthy rant about Terry Ryan, what say you Twins Daily? If the current trend of this team continues, what changes do you think will likely happen, or what do you think should happen? And when? What would you do? If you don't think any changes should happen, then why? Do we or should we fire Bruno if the Strikeouts and lack of progression for the young hitters continue? How soon? Do we replace Molitor at some point or give him more leash if this team tanks? If I were the owner, I'd obviously clean house in the FO immediately. But if the rebuild fizzles and the Twins never seriously contend in the next few years, do you think Pohlad finally sweeps out the Old Boy Club in the front office?
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