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  1. Former Twins player Trevor Plouffe started the conversation on Twitter when he brought up the fact that umpires “aren’t held accountable” and thy have “as much job protection as a Supreme Court justice.” Josh Donaldson responded by saying, “It’s embarrassing. It’s tough to watch any game.” He went on to say, “This isn’t high school where you can say that’s too close to take. As a MLB hitter our job is to take close pitches that are out of zone.” Plouffe went on to talk about the difference between a hitter’s count or a pitcher’s count and Brandon Warne brought up some interesting numbers. https://twitter.com/Brandon_Warne/status/1313693693329715201?s=20 First, let’s examine Donaldson and his 2020 season. Not all the pitches he took went against him. In fact, he took 10 pitches in the zone that were called balls, which is very similar to his numbers stretching back to 2017. His biggest discrepancy was on pitches outside the zone that were called for strikes. From 2017-2019, Donaldson saw 2.7% of those pitches called for strikes. In 2020, that percentage jumped all the way to 3.8%, the highest mark of his career. Complaining about umpires has been part of the fabric of baseball. One of the biggest changes is the fact that technology has allowed fans from home to see pitches and plays multiple times in slow motion where an umpire must make a call in real-time. Baseball broadcasts also put up a strike zone box, which makes it easy for fans to see if an umpire made the correct call. So, how have umpires fared when calling balls and strikes in recent years? During the 2019 season, MLB umpires made 33,277 incorrect calls which means there were 13.8/game and 1.5/inning. Looking back to 2018, MLB umpires made 34,294 incorrect calls for an average of 14/game and 1.6/inning. While those numbers may seem high, a 2019 Boston University study showed that bad calls have been declining every year since 2008. The 2020 season was unique in many ways with most teams playing 60 games and other rule changes for extra-innings and double-headers impacting how long games lasted. This meant umpires had fewer opportunities to make mistakes and the data backs that up. In 2020, MLB umpires made 11,920 incorrect calls for an average of 13.3/game, but with fewer innings the bad calls per inning was up to 1.54/inning. Do you agree with Donaldson? Do you feel umpires have gotten worse at calling balls and strikes? 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
  2. It was May 4th and not a reliever was stirring all through the pen, that’s when the news came that this drought would soon end. Former Twins third basemen Trevor Plouffe broke the report that baseball is coming, and sooner rather than later. Using his dates which have now been more widely reported, how does that leave the Twins looking at their 2020 schedule?For some time, I’ve tried to wrap my head around what the 2020 schedule may look like given its fractured state. If teams aren’t going to go through a temporary division realignment, how will there be a level playing field in regard to common foes. Will games be rescheduled or shuffled around, and how do you traverse the logistical nightmare that would present? The most straightforward avenue to all of these questions is to simply suggest, play it out. Beginning July 1st, play the schedule through as it stands. Include an extra team or two in the postseason if you wish but keep the opponents and locations exactly as they are. We have a blueprint for that, and that’s where this discussion begins. On July 1st, the Twins would be slated to take part in Opening Day at Comerica in Detroit. It would be the first of 11 games with the Tigers, and count as one of 46 total games against the AL Central Division. From that day forward there are exactly 76 games scheduled, and a 61% clip against divisional foes would not be an unwelcome reality for Minnesota. Within the division Minnesota has another 13 games scheduled with both Cleveland and Kansas City, while having to face the White Sox just nine times. Only 10 games are scheduled against teams outside of the Central that made the postseason in 2019, and all five of the games against the Dodgers (2) and Astros (3) would be played at Target Field. Traditionally a difficult matchup for the Twins, AL East teams are seen only on three separate occasions. Minnesota would not reap the benefit of facing the Orioles, but they also would avoid the Yankees altogether. Seven games would be split between a Mookie-less Boston (4) and Tampa Bay (3) on the road, while the Blue Jays travel to Target Field for a four-game set. Although it’s not quite a 50/50 split, the Twins are looking at being the road team in 40 of the 76 contests. Last season they owned a strong .568 winning percentage at the home yard, but they generated a ridiculous .679 winning percentage on the road. I think it’s safe to say that given the talent of this team, they’ll likely be in a strong position to compete on a nightly basis. Now, there are two outliers that I think could factor into any 2020 schedule with these established parameters. One, July 4 makes substantially more sense for Opening Day than July 1st does. Capitalize on the patriotism towards our great country and realize there’s nothing more American than baseball and apple pie. Two, stretch the currently laid out schedule to incorporate at least five more games, creating an 81-effort affair. The former seems incredibly doable, and the latter to a certain extent as well. Major League Baseball has noted that teams will likely have expanded rosters this season, and the inclusion of doubleheaders will also become somewhat of a regular occurrence. Needing to add just five games, playing two on that few occasions seems simple. Should baseball push for something closer to a 100-game season, they’d need to add doubleheaders (or remove off days) on roughly 30% of the currently scheduled action. It’s also safe to assume that minor league baseball won’t be what we have traditionally seen. Having guys play in some sort of spring training back-field league makes a good deal of sense. Housing players at the complex, still getting in important development time, and having players ready to be called upon seem like benchmarks worth striving for. We’re still in the infancy of this all coming to fruition, but things appear to be trending in a positive direction. Following Plouffe’s initial report Jeff Passan noted that MLB is finalizing a proposal for MLBPA to review and agree upon. That would act as one of the last obstacles to overcome and should then lead quickly to the announcement of “Play Ball!” Initially feeling apprehensive about one of the best Twins teams in history being wasted on a goofy year, the blueprint laid out for what may be ahead is worth salivating about. The sport returns, the schedule remains soft, and close to 100% health for baseball’s beloved Bomba Squad could foster the most talked about World Series title in the history of the sport. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  3. For some time, I’ve tried to wrap my head around what the 2020 schedule may look like given its fractured state. If teams aren’t going to go through a temporary division realignment, how will there be a level playing field in regard to common foes. Will games be rescheduled or shuffled around, and how do you traverse the logistical nightmare that would present? https://twitter.com/trevorplouffe/status/1257422311772360706 The most straightforward avenue to all of these questions is to simply suggest, play it out. Beginning July 1st, play the schedule through as it stands. Include an extra team or two in the postseason if you wish but keep the opponents and locations exactly as they are. We have a blueprint for that, and that’s where this discussion begins. On July 1st, the Twins would be slated to take part in Opening Day at Comerica in Detroit. It would be the first of 11 games with the Tigers, and count as one of 46 total games against the AL Central Division. From that day forward there are exactly 76 games scheduled, and a 61% clip against divisional foes would not be an unwelcome reality for Minnesota. Within the division Minnesota has another 13 games scheduled with both Cleveland and Kansas City, while having to face the White Sox just nine times. Only 10 games are scheduled against teams outside of the Central that made the postseason in 2019, and all five of the games against the Dodgers (2) and Astros (3) would be played at Target Field. Traditionally a difficult matchup for the Twins, AL East teams are seen only on three separate occasions. Minnesota would not reap the benefit of facing the Orioles, but they also would avoid the Yankees altogether. Seven games would be split between a Mookie-less Boston (4) and Tampa Bay (3) on the road, while the Blue Jays travel to Target Field for a four-game set. Although it’s not quite a 50/50 split, the Twins are looking at being the road team in 40 of the 76 contests. Last season they owned a strong .568 winning percentage at the home yard, but they generated a ridiculous .679 winning percentage on the road. I think it’s safe to say that given the talent of this team, they’ll likely be in a strong position to compete on a nightly basis. Now, there are two outliers that I think could factor into any 2020 schedule with these established parameters. One, July 4 makes substantially more sense for Opening Day than July 1st does. Capitalize on the patriotism towards our great country and realize there’s nothing more American than baseball and apple pie. Two, stretch the currently laid out schedule to incorporate at least five more games, creating an 81-effort affair. The former seems incredibly doable, and the latter to a certain extent as well. Major League Baseball has noted that teams will likely have expanded rosters this season, and the inclusion of doubleheaders will also become somewhat of a regular occurrence. Needing to add just five games, playing two on that few occasions seems simple. Should baseball push for something closer to a 100-game season, they’d need to add doubleheaders (or remove off days) on roughly 30% of the currently scheduled action. It’s also safe to assume that minor league baseball won’t be what we have traditionally seen. Having guys play in some sort of spring training back-field league makes a good deal of sense. Housing players at the complex, still getting in important development time, and having players ready to be called upon seem like benchmarks worth striving for. https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/1258198747730915328 We’re still in the infancy of this all coming to fruition, but things appear to be trending in a positive direction. Following Plouffe’s initial report Jeff Passan noted that MLB is finalizing a proposal for MLBPA to review and agree upon. That would act as one of the last obstacles to overcome and should then lead quickly to the announcement of “Play Ball!” Initially feeling apprehensive about one of the best Twins teams in history being wasted on a goofy year, the blueprint laid out for what may be ahead is worth salivating about. The sport returns, the schedule remains soft, and close to 100% health for baseball’s beloved Bomba Squad could foster the most talked about World Series title in the history of the sport. 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. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/Ep_463_Winter_Meltdown_Hrbek_Plouffe.mp3?dest-id=74590
  5. Aaron and John are live from Twins Daily's seventh annual Winter Meltdown event, with special guests Kent Hrbek, Trevor Plouffe, and 400 of our closest friends. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. http://traffic.libsy...3?dest-id=74590 Click here to view the article
  6. According to FanGraphs, Eddie Rosario has provided the Twins $83.7 million worth of value over the course of his five big league seasons. His best season was 2018 when he accumulated a 3.5 WAR and FanGraphs valued him at $27.6 million. He was worth $20.6 million in 2017 and $19.6 million in 2015, his rookie season. These are some great seasons, especially since the Twins have only paid him $5.89 million throughout his career. Last season was Rosario’s least valuable season besides the 2016 campaign where he was limited to 92 games. He set career highs in home runs and RBI while having less than 90 strikeouts for the first time. Even with those positives, his defensive decline is drastically impacting his value to the Twins. SABR’s Defensive Index ranked Rosario as the third worst AL left fielder last season with a -5.7 SDI. Only Seattle’s Domingo Santana and Boston’s Andrew Benintendi ranked lower than Rosario. Baseball Savant’s Outs Above Average, a newly released statistic, ranks Rosario even worse. Among the 92 qualified outfielders his -17 OAA is the lowest total by four outs. Even with his positive offensive numbers, FanGraphs puts Rosario’s value at $9.3 million last season. He will cost the Twins nearly $8 million in 2020 and his salary would increase for 2021, his age-29 season. It could be getting to the point where Rosario’s on-field value doesn’t match the salary he is being paid. Minnesota’s front office is smart enough to look at his overall value and it could be in the best interest of the team to cut ties with Rosario. Back in 2016, the Twins went through a similar situation with Trevor Plouffe. He was projected to earn $8.2 million in his final year of arbitration. Instead Minnesota cut ties with him, because the roster had other first base/DH options and Miguel Sano was ready to take over at third base. Plouffe had been limited to 84 games in 2016 and he would only play 107 more games at the big-league level. To take the place of Rosario, the Twins could have other prospects waiting to take over a corner outfield spot. Players like Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach could both be ready for a full-time role on the 2021 Twins. Each would be making the minimum salary and they could be able to provide more value without being as much of a defensive liability. Rosario has provided some dramatic moments throughout his Twins tenure, but his days in a Twins uniform could be numbered. Do you think the Twins keep Rosario beyond the 2020 season? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. Trevor Plouffe is a very familiar name to Twins fans. Not only did he play in 723 games for the Twins between 2010 and 2016, he was, and continues to be, a fan favorite. Over his time with the Twins, his 148 doubles rank 25th in team history. He ranks 20th with 96 home runs. He is the Twins all-time leader in most buttons left unbuttoned on a game jersey. While he spent parts of seven seasons with the Minnesota, Plouffe actually spent 13 seasons in the Twins organization. Plouffe was the 20th overall pick in the June 2004 draft out of Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, California. --------------------------------------------------- Looking Back: 2004 MLB Draft, First-Round 7 - Homer Bailey (Reds) 20 - Trevor Plouffe (Twins) 22 - Glen Perkins (Twins, via Mariners for losing Eddie Guardado in free agency) 23 - Phil Hughes (Yankees) 25 - Kyle Waldrop (Twins, via Cubs for losing LaTroy Hawkins in free agency) --------------------------------------------------- He worked his way up the organizational ladder and made his debut in 2010 at shortstop. He spent a couple of seasons riding that Rochester-to-Minnesota train before establishing himself as a full-time big leaguer in 2012. He played all over the diamond before becoming a very solid defensive third baseman while developing his extra-base power. Plouffe became a free agent after the 2016 season. He spent time with the A’s to start 2017 before being traded to the Rays where he worked with current Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. He signed with the Rangers in 2018 but ended up playing seven games with the Phillies that year. He had three hits in 12 at-bats, but one of them was a walk-off home run. (Instead of showing you the Phillies walk-off, here’s a 2015 walk-off for the Twins!) He went to spring training with the Phillies in 2019 but was released before the season started. Plouffe has kept himself busy since his playing days came to an end. During the postseason, he provided analysis for Stadium. https://twitter.com/Stadium/status/1189618219784519680 He’s been on several radio stations and podcasts: https://twitter.com/trevorplouffe/status/1202345916855771136 He accomplished many things on the field during his baseball career and now he’s working on his list of accomplishments after his playing career. https://twitter.com/trevorplouffe/status/1207093799559684096 And he’s also working with and helping develop the Twins first-round pick in the 2034 draft. (I’m certain Twins scouts in southern California already have an initial report on this young talent.) https://twitter.com/trevorplouffe/status/1202993043692912642 We are very excited that Trevor Plouffe will be joining us at the Twins Daily Winter Meltdown on Saturday night. For those who will be attending Saturday night’s Winter Meltdown (which is sold out), you will receive: The 2020 Twins Daily Winter Meltdown Pint Glass. Two complimentary local craft pints from 612 Brew Drink specials and tasting tables from Gray Duck Vodka and Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey. Food stations. Interviews with Kent Hrbek and Trevor Plouffe and Several raffle prizes
  8. The Kansas City Royals are on the field. They already took a round of infield, and now I am watching Alex Gordon launch baseballs into the bleachers. Over the speakers, Prince songs are blaring. Moments ago, Adalberto Mondesi was taking his hacks while "...You sexy m()%#*@($#%" played. It's Prince Night tonight at Target Field. The Twins took batting practice earlier sporting t-shirts with the Prince symbol on the front and their name and number on the back. But in the end, this weekend is a celebration of the career of all-time Twins great Joe Mauer. On Saturday the Twins will officially retire Joe Mauer's uniform number 7 in a pregame celebration. The ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday so be sure you don't miss that whether you are at the stadium or watching on TV. Recently, the Twins sent a list of about 40 former players, coaches, Twins Hall of Famers and more who will be in attendance. The list is really impressive and speaks to not only the Hall of Fame-worthy, 15-season career of Mauer, but to the impression that he made on his teammates. I had the chance to catch up with former Twins GM Terry Ryan for about 10 minutes before the game. He will be here, as will Bill Smith, 15 members of the Twins Hall of Fame (including 5 National Hall of Fame players), and many former teammates including Trevor Plouffe, Nick Punto, Denard Span and Matt Belisle, and a lot more. All seven previously retired numbers will be in attendance or represented (Kirby Puckett's daughter will be here). I wonder what is behind the covered up circle? As we know, Mauer also did a ton in the community, and Joe Mauer weekend began with a great event on Friday morning at Target Field. Mauer and a bunch of his friends welcomed kids from the Gillette Children's Hospital to play ball on the field. https://twitter.com/morsecode/status/1139565094369660928 https://twitter.com/DanHayesMLB/status/1139574010369519616 https://twitter.com/DanHayesMLB/status/1139567873842667523 There will be opportunities to get photos and autographs with some of the former players throughout the weekend. And, what is really exciting is going to Target Field and seeing crowds. I know that can be tough in some ways, but people really care about this team. The passion for Twins baseball is back. Of course, there is also baseball to be played. Tonight Kyle Gibson will be on the mound, taking on Brad Keller. With a huge, sold out crowd, it would sure be fun to see a lot of Twins Bombas! Keller is making his 15th start of the year for the Royals. The 23-year-old was a Rule 5 draft pick of the Royals from the Reds in 2017. He is 3-8 with a 4.29 ERA. In his most recent start (last Saturday), he went eight innings against the White Sox. He gave up just two runs on five hits, though the big hit was a two-run Eloy Jimenez homer. No Twins hitter has more than six at-bats against Keller. Kyle Gibson is 6-3 with a 4.14 ERA. The 31-year-old has 71 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings. If Gibson records the second out of the top of the sixth inning tonight, he will reach 1000 career innings pitched. He comes into the game with 994 1/3 innings. He will become the 11th Twins pitcher to reach that milestone number. It sure is great to see these big crowds to see the Twins and sell outs throughout the weekend. .
  9. The Twins are about an hour away from starting a three-game intradivision series with the Kansas City Royals. However, thanks to a huge lead in the division, let's be honest, this weekend is about Joe Mauer. And a bit about Prince.The Kansas City Royals are on the field. They already took a round of infield, and now I am watching Alex Gordon launch baseballs into the bleachers. Over the speakers, Prince songs are blaring. Moments ago, Adalberto Mondesi was taking his hacks while "...You sexy m()%#*@($#%" played. It's Prince Night tonight at Target Field. The Twins took batting practice earlier sporting t-shirts with the Prince symbol on the front and their name and number on the back. But in the end, this weekend is a celebration of the career of all-time Twins great Joe Mauer. On Saturday the Twins will officially retire Joe Mauer's uniform number 7 in a pregame celebration. The ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday so be sure you don't miss that whether you are at the stadium or watching on TV. Recently, the Twins sent a list of about 40 former players, coaches, Twins Hall of Famers and more who will be in attendance. The list is really impressive and speaks to not only the Hall of Fame-worthy, 15-season career of Mauer, but to the impression that he made on his teammates. I had the chance to catch up with former Twins GM Terry Ryan for about 10 minutes before the game. He will be here, as will Bill Smith, 15 members of the Twins Hall of Fame (including 5 National Hall of Fame players), and many former teammates including Trevor Plouffe, Nick Punto, Denard Span and Matt Belisle, and a lot more. All seven previously retired numbers will be in attendance or represented (Kirby Puckett's daughter will be here). I wonder what is behind the covered up circle? As we know, Mauer also did a ton in the community, and Joe Mauer weekend began with a great event on Friday morning at Target Field. Mauer and a bunch of his friends welcomed kids from the Gillette Children's Hospital to play ball on the field. Click here to view the article
  10. On Twitter, Bissen detailed the assault charge. "I pulled back as he held onto my wrist. It hurt, how badly he was grasping at my wrist, but he wouldn't let go. I wasn't going to give up my fight though. He then leaned down and tried to kiss me, more than once. Every time he did, I said no and kept pulling back. I was in a squatted position with my wrist throbbing. I screamed, no one came to help me. He finally gave up after a solid ten mins of fighting to pull me thru that door." https://twitter.com/BitzyBetsy/status/946407707606740992 In response, Sano told TMZ that the event never happened. The Twins tweeted out that they take the allegation very seriously, but that they will have no further comment until more information is gathered. Bissen's tweet did get some replies from a former Twins player and a current Twins player: https://twitter.com/trevorplouffe/status/946422786205007872 https://twitter.com/trevmay65/status/946436194585296897
  11. This morning, photographer Betsy Bissen posted assault allegations against Twins third baseman Miguel Sano. The incident took place at an autograph signing event where Bissen worked as a volunteer. [Editor's note: Bissen has also volunteered as a credentialed photographer for Twins Daily.]On Twitter, Bissen detailed the assault charge. "I pulled back as he held onto my wrist. It hurt, how badly he was grasping at my wrist, but he wouldn't let go. I wasn't going to give up my fight though. He then leaned down and tried to kiss me, more than once. Every time he did, I said no and kept pulling back. I was in a squatted position with my wrist throbbing. I screamed, no one came to help me. He finally gave up after a solid ten mins of fighting to pull me thru that door." Click here to view the article
  12. Heard an interesting rumor the other day about Boston considering signing Trevor Plouffe to a 1 year deal for $2-3M and use him as a utility role. Sounds pretty cheap for a decent veteran who can fill in at 1st or 3rd and you could throw him in the outfield if you had no bench players left. There could be a few more teams that could use him at that price.
  13. After speaking about "very difficult decisions" on Thursday, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine made their first one on Friday, announcing the release of Trevor Plouffe after a dozen years in the organization. Plouffe was a first-round draft pick out of high school back in 2004, and successfully turned himself into a quality power-hitting corner infielder in the majors. However, after emerging with a breakout 24-homer campaign in 2012, he never really improved. And so, facing a 2017 price tag that was going to approach $9 million, Minnesota's new braintrust elected to move on. Let's examine the fallout of this decision: Who's on Third? In their Q&A session Thursday, Levine foreshadowed the outrighting of Plouffe by stating that third base was "most logically" where Miguel Sano would end up. Now there is nothing standing in Sano's way, so it appears that he'll now have the chance to entrench himself at the hot corner. While others like Eduardo Escobar and Jorge Polanco could be in line for occasional starts, Sano is in all likelihood going to be the man at third base for the foreseeable future. He showed good flashes in his time there this year amidst a medley of errors. Hopefully with a full offseason to focus on honing his skills (and tightening up his physique), the cannon-armed Sano can fulfill his potential defensively at a position where he has spent most his time as a pro. Replacing a reliably solid commodity in Plouffe with a question mark like Sano does magnify the importance of having a strong glove to the right at shortstop. In my opinion, Polanco should not be an option. We'll see if Falvey and Levine agree. Dominoes in the Infield and Lineup With Sano presumably heading to third base while Joe Mauer remains at first, the designated hitter spot is open. Right now Kennys Vargas looks like the favorite to be penciled in as DH. Despite batting just .230 during his limited time with the Twins in 2017, he provided enough power and patience to be a quality producer. As a switch-hitting slugger who can frequently spell Mauer at first base, Vargas is a good fit in the lineup. With Byung Ho Park coming back from wrist surgery and looking to rebound, there will be healthy competition for the job. The Twins would be ill advised to give up on another talented power hitter after letting Adam Walker slip away to the Brewers last week. Speaking of power, the Twins are losing some with Plouffe, who could be counted on for 20 to 25 homers when healthy. But pop from the right side is already a strength in the Minnesota lineup with Sano and Brian Dozier (for now) in place. Between Vargas and Park, making up for the loss of Plouffe's thump shouldn't be an issue. Payroll Implications Shedding Plouffe's 2017 commitment provides the Twins with dramatically more financial flexibility. Wherever their spending cap lies, the front office now has considerably more room before reaching it. As you can see in the payroll breakdown below from the Offseason Handbook, releasing Plouffe will free up about $9 million. That would of course be helpful toward signing a free agent like Jason Castro, who has now received an offer from the Twins according to Darren Wolfson. With Plouffe out of the picture, the current estimated payroll stands at around $90 million, which is $15 million short of where they started in 2016. (Worth noting: it sounds like the Twins are viewing the $4 million they shipped to the Angels along with Ricky Nolasco as an expense toward next year, so the current figure may sit closer to $95 million.) What's Next for Plouffe? After accruing nearly 3,000 plate appearances as a Minnesota Twin, Plouffe is now a free agent. He shouldn't have a hard time finding work. The 30-year-old is a professional hitter who is streaky in spurts but extremely consistent overall. Everyone who has watched him during his time in Minnesota has seen Plouffe light it up during red-hot slugging streaks (most memorably a power surge in 2012 that saw him blast 18 homers in 40 games) and flounder during prolonged slumps. But year after year, he ends up within shouting distance of his lifetime .727 OPS. Even this season, while injuries forced him to miss nearly half the games and nagged him on the field, he finished with rate stats that were essentially identical to his career averages. Plouffe made 13 of his 80 starts at first base this year and looked very capable, helping his case as a versatile piece. Plenty of teams are seeking help at corner infield spots and would welcome some extra power in the lineup. His career .809 OPS could appeal to those seeking platoon assets. Coming off an injury-riddled campaign, it's highly unlikely that the veteran infielder will receive a salary exceeding $8 million, as he would have through arbitration, but he might be able to land a multi-year deal given his age and track record. What's Next for the Twins? Plouffe was one of six arbitration-eligible Twins players, leaving five more that the team must make decisions on: Hector Santiago, Kyle Gibson, Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Pressly and Eduardo Escobar. At this point it seems safe to say the front office is planning on keeping all of those players, because otherwise they would have likely cleared out their spaces on the 40-man roster. The non-tender deadline is a week from Friday, so Falvey and Co. have until then to make those final judgments. For now, we at Twins Daily bid a fond farewell to Plouffe, who we've enjoyed watching in a Twins uniform for the last seven years. Share your favorite memories of Plouffe, as well as thoughts on the decision and where he might end up, in the comments.
  14. "Don't get too attached to your favorite Twins" was the leading advice in Phil Miller's column for the Star Tribune late last week, his primary takeaway from an annual question-and-answer session between the front office and season ticket holders. It didn't take long for the warning to ring true.After speaking about "very difficult decisions" on Thursday, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine made their first one on Friday, announcing the release of Trevor Plouffe after a dozen years in the organization. Plouffe was a first-round draft pick out of high school back in 2004, and successfully turned himself into a quality power-hitting corner infielder in the majors. However, after emerging with a breakout 24-homer campaign in 2012, he never really improved. And so, facing a 2017 price tag that was going to approach $9 million, Minnesota's new braintrust elected to move on. Let's examine the fallout of this decision: Who's on Third? In their Q&A session Thursday, Levine foreshadowed the outrighting of Plouffe by stating that third base was "most logically" where Miguel Sano would end up. Now there is nothing standing in Sano's way, so it appears that he'll now have the chance to entrench himself at the hot corner. While others like Eduardo Escobar and Jorge Polanco could be in line for occasional starts, Sano is in all likelihood going to be the man at third base for the foreseeable future. He showed good flashes in his time there this year amidst a medley of errors. Hopefully with a full offseason to focus on honing his skills (and tightening up his physique), the cannon-armed Sano can fulfill his potential defensively at a position where he has spent most his time as a pro. Replacing a reliably solid commodity in Plouffe with a question mark like Sano does magnify the importance of having a strong glove to the right at shortstop. In my opinion, Polanco should not be an option. We'll see if Falvey and Levine agree. Dominoes in the Infield and Lineup With Sano presumably heading to third base while Joe Mauer remains at first, the designated hitter spot is open. Right now Kennys Vargas looks like the favorite to be penciled in as DH. Despite batting just .230 during his limited time with the Twins in 2017, he provided enough power and patience to be a quality producer. As a switch-hitting slugger who can frequently spell Mauer at first base, Vargas is a good fit in the lineup. With Byung Ho Park coming back from wrist surgery and looking to rebound, there will be healthy competition for the job. The Twins would be ill advised to give up on another talented power hitter after letting Adam Walker slip away to the Brewers last week. Speaking of power, the Twins are losing some with Plouffe, who could be counted on for 20 to 25 homers when healthy. But pop from the right side is already a strength in the Minnesota lineup with Sano and Brian Dozier (for now) in place. Between Vargas and Park, making up for the loss of Plouffe's thump shouldn't be an issue. Payroll Implications Shedding Plouffe's 2017 commitment provides the Twins with dramatically more financial flexibility. Wherever their spending cap lies, the front office now has considerably more room before reaching it. As you can see in the payroll breakdown below from the Offseason Handbook, releasing Plouffe will free up about $9 million. That would of course be helpful toward signing a free agent like Jason Castro, who has now received an offer from the Twins according to Darren Wolfson. Download attachment: payroll1.png With Plouffe out of the picture, the current estimated payroll stands at around $90 million, which is $15 million short of where they started in 2016. (Worth noting: it sounds like the Twins are viewing the $4 million they shipped to the Angels along with Ricky Nolasco as an expense toward next year, so the current figure may sit closer to $95 million.) What's Next for Plouffe? After accruing nearly 3,000 plate appearances as a Minnesota Twin, Plouffe is now a free agent. He shouldn't have a hard time finding work. The 30-year-old is a professional hitter who is streaky in spurts but extremely consistent overall. Everyone who has watched him during his time in Minnesota has seen Plouffe light it up during red-hot slugging streaks (most memorably a power surge in 2012 that saw him blast 18 homers in 40 games) and flounder during prolonged slumps. But year after year, he ends up within shouting distance of his lifetime .727 OPS. Even this season, while injuries forced him to miss nearly half the games and nagged him on the field, he finished with rate stats that were essentially identical to his career averages. Plouffe made 13 of his 80 starts at first base this year and looked very capable, helping his case as a versatile piece. Plenty of teams are seeking help at corner infield spots and would welcome some extra power in the lineup. His career .809 OPS could appeal to those seeking platoon assets. Coming off an injury-riddled campaign, it's highly unlikely that the veteran infielder will receive a salary exceeding $8 million, as he would have through arbitration, but he might be able to land a multi-year deal given his age and track record. What's Next for the Twins? Plouffe was one of six arbitration-eligible Twins players, leaving five more that the team must make decisions on: Hector Santiago, Kyle Gibson, Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Pressly and Eduardo Escobar. At this point it seems safe to say the front office is planning on keeping all of those players, because otherwise they would have likely cleared out their spaces on the 40-man roster. The non-tender deadline is a week from Friday, so Falvey and Co. have until then to make those final judgments. For now, we at Twins Daily bid a fond farewell to Plouffe, who we've enjoyed watching in a Twins uniform for the last seven years. Share your favorite memories of Plouffe, as well as thoughts on the decision and where he might end up, in the comments. Click here to view the article
  15. According to a tweet from Mike Berardino, veteran infielder Trevor Plouffe has been placed on Outright Waivers. He should clear and become a free agent soon. He was the Twins first of five first-round picks in the 2004 draft out of high school in California. 2016 was his 13th season in the organization.Plouffe steadily worked his way up the Minnesota Twins farm system as a shortstop. He reached the big leagues in May of 2010. Shortstop wasn't for him. He struggled with the throws that season. He also outgrew the position. When given an opportunity as the team's third baseman, he took off with a power-filled month. Overall, he played 723 games in a Twins uniform. He hit .247/.308/.420 (.707) with 18 doubles, 96 home runs and 357 RBI. He turned himself from a spotty third baseman to an above average defender. Plouffe works very hard. Most likely the Twins attempted to trade the veteran. A decision needed to be made. Would they tender him a contract in arbitration, or non-tender him. Essentially they made their decision today, allowing Plouffe to become a free agent earlier in the process. The move makes room for Miguel Sano to take over at third base, or at least be able to take it over. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out. Today is also noteworthy as the Twins need to add players to their 40-man roster or risk losing them in free agency. They were at 36 players. This move puts them at 35 with more day left. On a more personal level, before my writing days, I went to Twins Fest with a three-year old little girl, my daughter (in case you were wondering). We were "Down on the Farm" an area where minor leaguers signed autographs for free. We walked through the line, and my daughter asked if he would sign a ball for her. He talked to her, smiled, and said that he would sign for her if she would sign for him. He handed the three-year-old a Sharpie and told her to write her name on the plastic white paper in front of him. It became a series of lines on the table, but it was great. Plouffe became a father a little over a year ago and often talked about what it has done. He's always been charismatic, and he was always very friendly to me going back a decade. So, yes, I get this move. I fully understand it. At the same time, I'm sure I'm not the only one with good stories about Plouffe. For what it's worth, I hope he catches on elsewhere and establishes himself again! As Derek Falvey told season-ticket holders in their call-in last night, this is something we're going to have to get used to as Twins fans. His job is to not get too attached... but as fans, always get attached! In addition, Phil Miller reporting that Adam Brett Walker was claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers. He grew up in Milwaukee, and went to Milwaukee Lutheran before going to Jacksonville University. He was the Twins 3rd round pick in 2012. Click here to view the article
  16. Plouffe steadily worked his way up the Minnesota Twins farm system as a shortstop. He reached the big leagues in May of 2010. Shortstop wasn't for him. He struggled with the throws that season. He also outgrew the position. When given an opportunity as the team's third baseman, he took off with a power-filled month. Overall, he played 723 games in a Twins uniform. He hit .247/.308/.420 (.707) with 18 doubles, 96 home runs and 357 RBI. He turned himself from a spotty third baseman to an above average defender. Plouffe works very hard. Most likely the Twins attempted to trade the veteran. A decision needed to be made. Would they tender him a contract in arbitration, or non-tender him. Essentially they made their decision today, allowing Plouffe to become a free agent earlier in the process. The move makes room for Miguel Sano to take over at third base, or at least be able to take it over. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out. Today is also noteworthy as the Twins need to add players to their 40-man roster or risk losing them in free agency. They were at 36 players. This move puts them at 35 with more day left. On a more personal level, before my writing days, I went to Twins Fest with a three-year old little girl, my daughter (in case you were wondering). We were "Down on the Farm" an area where minor leaguers signed autographs for free. We walked through the line, and my daughter asked if he would sign a ball for her. He talked to her, smiled, and said that he would sign for her if she would sign for him. He handed the three-year-old a Sharpie and told her to write her name on the plastic white paper in front of him. It became a series of lines on the table, but it was great. Plouffe became a father a little over a year ago and often talked about what it has done. He's always been charismatic, and he was always very friendly to me going back a decade. So, yes, I get this move. I fully understand it. At the same time, I'm sure I'm not the only one with good stories about Plouffe. For what it's worth, I hope he catches on elsewhere and establishes himself again! As Derek Falvey told season-ticket holders in their call-in last night, this is something we're going to have to get used to as Twins fans. His job is to not get too attached... but as fans, always get attached! In addition, Phil Miller reporting that Adam Brett Walker was claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers. He grew up in Milwaukee, and went to Milwaukee Lutheran before going to Jacksonville University. He was the Twins 3rd round pick in 2012.
  17. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/Episode_285_The_Breakfast_Club.mp3?dest-id=74590
  18. Aaron and John talk about the Twins parting ways with Trevor Plouffe, whether Hector Santiago might actually stick around, dropping Adam Walker's power, Thanksgiving recipes made easy, adding six prospects to the 40-man roster, trying Harry's Razors for free, Ron Gardenhire's new gig, and paying tribute to friend of the podcast Adam Czech. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click the Play button below. http://traffic.libsy...3?dest-id=74590 Click here to view the article
  19. Minnesota had lots of issues during the 2016 campaign. Pitchers didn't pitch well, hitters were inconsistent, and there were defensive gaffes. After nearly making the playoffs in 2015, the 2016 season was tough to swallow. The 2015 Twins likely overachieved and the 2016 Twins underachieved. Hopefully, the 2017 Twins find a spot somewhere in a middle. Here are five candidates who could rebound in 2017 and help the Twins get back to respectability. Jose Berrios 2016 Stats: 3-7 W-L, 8.02 ERA, 1.87 WHIP, 49 SO, 35 BB, 58.1 IP Berrios dominated the upper levels of the minor leagues so it was hard to swallow the rough start to his MLB career. One of the biggest problems might have been that Berrios was tipping his pitches. Another issue was his increased walk rate. In the minors, he was touted for his excellent control, 2.5 BB/9, but that number more than doubled (5.4 BB/9) in the majors. Minnesota has been in search of an ace and there's still hope for him to be a front of the rotation hurler. Kyle Gibson 2016 Stats: 6-11 W-L, 5.07 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 104 SO, 55 BB, 147.1 IP At the end of the 2015 season, Gibson was named the Twins Daily Pitcher of the Year. He finished that season with a respectable 3.84 ERA and 145 SO in 194.2 IP. Gibson started 2016 with a 0-5 record and a 6.05 ERA over his first seven starts. This included missing six weeks with a shoulder injury. From June 28-August 17, he won five of his seven decisions while posting a 4.19 ERA. If he can avoid injury and return to his 2015 form, Gibson should fit back into the middle of the rotation. Trevor Plouffe 2016 Stats: .260/.303/.420, 12 HR, 13 2B, 60 SO, 19 BB, 84 G The 2016 season was the first time Plouffe failed to play over 110 MLB games since 2011. He suffered through an oblique strain, a strained intercostal muscle, a cracked rib, a groin strain, some knee soreness, and another intercostal strain. When he was on the field, Plouffe put up some respectable numbers. However, he needs show he can stay healthy since next year will be his age-31 season. Plouffe will be a free agent at the end of the season so it would be nice for the Twins to be able to get something for him before the deadline. Eddie Rosario 2016 Stats: .269/.295/.421, 10 HR, 17 2B, 91 SO, 12 BB, 92 G Rosario hit .294/.340/.484 in seven minor league seasons. On his way to the big leagues, his hit tool was praised and many thought it would translate to baseball's highest level. There were some positive signs in his rookie campaign as he combined for 46 extra-base hits including a MLB leading 15 triples. His average and OBP rose this season but his slugging percentage dropped by almost 40 points. If he can continue to mature as a hitter, he could be the Twins breakout player in 2017. Miguel Sano 2016 Stats: .236/.319/.462, 25 HR, 22 2B, 178 SO, 54 BB, 116 G In 80 games during the 2015 campaign, Sano hit .269/.385/.530 (146 OPS+) with 17 doubles and 18 home runs. He turned a lot of heads as he hit 13 home runs over his final 48 games. Expectations were high entering 2016 and it was tough for Sano to reach those lofty heights. The year started with the team trying to transition him to the outfield. This experiment failed and it's hard not to think that some of his defensive struggles followed him to the plate. Sano should spend 2017 as a DH and a third baseman and this could be trouble for American League pitchers. Who will have the biggest bounce back season in 2017? Would you add someone else to the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  20. Jose Berrios 2016 Stats: 3-7 W-L, 8.02 ERA, 1.87 WHIP, 49 SO, 35 BB, 58.1 IP Berrios dominated the upper levels of the minor leagues so it was hard to swallow the rough start to his MLB career. One of the biggest problems might have been that Berrios was tipping his pitches. Another issue was his increased walk rate. In the minors, he was touted for his excellent control, 2.5 BB/9, but that number more than doubled (5.4 BB/9) in the majors. Minnesota has been in search of an ace and there's still hope for him to be a front of the rotation hurler. Kyle Gibson 2016 Stats: 6-11 W-L, 5.07 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 104 SO, 55 BB, 147.1 IP At the end of the 2015 season, Gibson was named the Twins Daily Pitcher of the Year. He finished that season with a respectable 3.84 ERA and 145 SO in 194.2 IP. Gibson started 2016 with a 0-5 record and a 6.05 ERA over his first seven starts. This included missing six weeks with a shoulder injury. From June 28-August 17, he won five of his seven decisions while posting a 4.19 ERA. If he can avoid injury and return to his 2015 form, Gibson should fit back into the middle of the rotation. Trevor Plouffe 2016 Stats: .260/.303/.420, 12 HR, 13 2B, 60 SO, 19 BB, 84 G The 2016 season was the first time Plouffe failed to play over 110 MLB games since 2011. He suffered through an oblique strain, a strained intercostal muscle, a cracked rib, a groin strain, some knee soreness, and another intercostal strain. When he was on the field, Plouffe put up some respectable numbers. However, he needs show he can stay healthy since next year will be his age-31 season. Plouffe will be a free agent at the end of the season so it would be nice for the Twins to be able to get something for him before the deadline. Eddie Rosario 2016 Stats: .269/.295/.421, 10 HR, 17 2B, 91 SO, 12 BB, 92 G Rosario hit .294/.340/.484 in seven minor league seasons. On his way to the big leagues, his hit tool was praised and many thought it would translate to baseball's highest level. There were some positive signs in his rookie campaign as he combined for 46 extra-base hits including a MLB leading 15 triples. His average and OBP rose this season but his slugging percentage dropped by almost 40 points. If he can continue to mature as a hitter, he could be the Twins breakout player in 2017. Miguel Sano 2016 Stats: .236/.319/.462, 25 HR, 22 2B, 178 SO, 54 BB, 116 G In 80 games during the 2015 campaign, Sano hit .269/.385/.530 (146 OPS+) with 17 doubles and 18 home runs. He turned a lot of heads as he hit 13 home runs over his final 48 games. Expectations were high entering 2016 and it was tough for Sano to reach those lofty heights. The year started with the team trying to transition him to the outfield. This experiment failed and it's hard not to think that some of his defensive struggles followed him to the plate. Sano should spend 2017 as a DH and a third baseman and this could be trouble for American League pitchers. Who will have the biggest bounce back season in 2017? Would you add someone else to the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  21. Derek Falvey, Minnesota's new chief baseball officer, will be at the helm for plenty of changes in the years to come. The following names could be just a few of the players he might be looking to deal as he takes the reins this off-season. Trevor Plouffe Over the last couple of seasons, Miguel Sano's emergence has meant that Plouffe's name has swirled around the rumor mill. Plouffe is coming off one of his worst MLB seasons and he still has one more year of arbitration eligibility. He was limited to under 115 games for the first time since 2011 as he battled through a groin injury, a cracked rib, a strained intercostal muscle and a strained oblique. It might be best for Plouffe to prove he is healthy in the first half of 2017 and then he could be dealt closer to the trade deadline. This would mean Sano and Plouffe having to split time at third base and designated hitter. Brian Dozier Dozier is coming off a record-breaking season where he set the American League record for home runs by a second baseman. Likely, his trade value is the highest it will ever be. Dozier will turn 30 next May and the Twins have him under contract for an average of $7.5 million per season. With multiple years of team control and a team-friendly contract, there could be multiple suitors looking for a veteran bat. I've been critical of Dozier's defense in the past but other teams might be able to look past his flaws because of his monster power numbers from a middle infield position. Joe Mauer When Mauer signed his eight-year deal to stay in Minnesota, no one had any idea that he wouldn't play catcher after the 2013 season. There are now two years remaining on his contract and there have been few flashes of the Mauer of old. On August 16 of this season, Mauer was hitting .284/.384/.417 before injuring his right quadriceps in that game. While playing through the injury, he strained his other quad and ended up batting .146/.255/.244 the rest of the way. No team is going to willingly take Mauer unless the Twins eat most of the contract. He's not getting any younger as he turns 34 near the beginning of next season. Mauer probably can't be moved at this point but it might start coming to the point where he's taking at-bats away from younger players. Ervin Santana Twins Daily recently named Santana as the Twins' "Pitcher of the Year." When the team has the worst pitching staff in the American League, this isn't a huge honor, but there were flashes of brilliance from Santana in 2016. His best stretch of pitching was in the middle of the season and this led to plenty of trade rumors. From June 19 through August 21 (11 starts), he posted a 1.79 ERA with two complete games and one complete-game shutout. Minnesota's biggest weakness is starting pitching so it's tough to imagine the team dealing Santana unless they are getting some young pitching in return. He is signed through the 2018 season and it seems likely that he won't finish his current contract in a Twins uniform. There's a very good chance that none of the players mentioned above will be on the next winning team in Minnesota. Dozier and Santana seem to be likely options to be traded while Plouffe's and Mauer's value might be too low this winter. Even if all of these players are on the Opening Day roster, it's time to start moving out with the old and in with the new. Who will be on the roster when spring rolls around next year? Could any of these players bring back a decent prospect or two in return? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  22. Days before the July trade deadline, the Minnesota Twins traded their All-Star Game representative Eduardo Nunez to the San Francisco Giants for lefty Adalberto Mejia. Also that day, the Twins announced that infielder Jorge Polanco was being recalled. At the time, I wrote an article asking Where Should Jorge Polanco Play? With Brian Dozier at shortstop, and Miguel Sano and Trevor Plouffe at third base, shortstop made the most sense, at least until you looked at his playing time at shortstop at that time in 2016:: In Rochester, he had played: 2B - 64 games, 559.1 innings3B - 2 games, 17 inningsSS - 0 games, 0 inningsIn his brief time with the Twins, he played:2B - 4 games, 34 innings3B - 1 game, 7 inningsSS - 1 game, 8 inningsAnd there was good reason for it. In 2015, between Chattanooga and Rochester, he had 28 errors in 102 games at shortstop. In AAA, he had a .908 fielding percentage at shortstop in just 19 games. In 83 games in AA, his fielding percentage at shortstop was just .942. As noteworthy, I had people who watched him frequently last year wonder whether he could play any defensive position adequately. His arm was questioned at shortstop, but many saw that he struggled mightily just fielding the ball at times. His spring training performance this year was more than enough to understand why he was moving to second base. Since that article was written, here is the breakdown of games and innings played by Polanco: 2B - 1 game, 9 innings3B - 8 games, 70 inningsSS - 34 games, 310 inningsIn the first weeks or two following the Nunez trade, Polanco pretty much split time between third base and shortstop. However, with his start at shortstop on Sunday, his last 29 games have been played at shortstop. What does our readership think of the Polanco defense at shortstop? Here’s a look at some numbers: In 148 chances, Polanco has just six errors. That is a .959 fielding percentage.If you’re a fan of UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), Polanco has been a -2.4. That equates to a UZR/150 of -11.3.Both of those bullet points certainly indicate - in a small sample - that Polanco is clearly a below average defensive shortstop. Again, no surprise. But can Polanco be a regular shortstop if this is the question: Can he make the routine play? For many, if you don’t have a shortstop with huge range, the key is for that player to make the routine plays. In watching, the eye test tells me that he’s been solid. He’s made most of the plays. He’s had a half-dozen errors, but not many have been of the really bad category. My eyes tell me that he has been fine. Certainly not great. Maybe not even all that good, but certainly well within the realm of adequate. Well, Inside Edge provides some numbers to FanGraphs to help quantify that. They break each ground ball into six categories: 1.) Routine, 2.) Likely, 3.) Even, 4.) Unlikely, 5.) Remote, 6.) Impossible. Here is how Polanco has fared in each of those categories: Routine: 96.9% (of 98) Likely: 80% (of 5) Even: 42.9% (of 7) Unlikely: 25.0% (of 4) Remote: 0% (of 12) Impossible: 0% (of 3) Of course, for each of these categories, the sample size is far too small to make any grandiose statements. For the routine, 96.9% is low end of where you would want to be. However, that is 95 out of 98 which isn’t too bad at all. For the most part, Polanco has made the routine play. Of the likely category, four out of five isn’t too bad. Very small sample. Over time, you would certainly want this number to come up a little bit. “Even” would, in my mind, be a 50/50 proposition. Polanco is at 42.9%, but if he had made one more of those, he’d be at 57.1%, which could be good. Unlikely,remote and impossible are all “bonus” categories, in my mind. Remote would be the great diving plays where not only you make the grab but are able to throw the runner out too. It appears that Polanco has been successful in one out of just four opportunities. I’m not even worried about the 15 that showed up in the remote or impossible categories. A week or so ago, Nick wrote an article in which he discussed the scary idea of Polanco and Sano manning the left side of the Twins infield. It is difficult to envision. It certainly would not provide a lot of range. There would certainly be some limitations. However, after reading Tom’s article on the Recent Success of 100 Loss teams, I am OK should the Twins and their new front office decide they would like to see that alignment on the left side of the infield. Of course, should the Twins decide to trade Brian Dozier, Polanco could make the move to second base and they could go get a new shortstop. At least in my mind, and eyes, and my review of the defensive stats (admittedly small sample), Polanco has expectedly been a little bit below average. However, I believe he has done enough to keep the experiment going, even beyond the 12 games remaining in this season. What do you think? Click here to view the article
  23. And there was good reason for it. In 2015, between Chattanooga and Rochester, he had 28 errors in 102 games at shortstop. In AAA, he had a .908 fielding percentage at shortstop in just 19 games. In 83 games in AA, his fielding percentage at shortstop was just .942. As noteworthy, I had people who watched him frequently last year wonder whether he could play any defensive position adequately. His arm was questioned at shortstop, but many saw that he struggled mightily just fielding the ball at times. His spring training performance this year was more than enough to understand why he was moving to second base. Since that article was written, here is the breakdown of games and innings played by Polanco: 2B - 1 game, 9 innings 3B - 8 games, 70 innings SS - 34 games, 310 innings In the first weeks or two following the Nunez trade, Polanco pretty much split time between third base and shortstop. However, with his start at shortstop on Sunday, his last 29 games have been played at shortstop. What does our readership think of the Polanco defense at shortstop? Here’s a look at some numbers: In 148 chances, Polanco has just six errors. That is a .959 fielding percentage. If you’re a fan of UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), Polanco has been a -2.4. That equates to a UZR/150 of -11.3. Both of those bullet points certainly indicate - in a small sample - that Polanco is clearly a below average defensive shortstop. Again, no surprise. But can Polanco be a regular shortstop if this is the question: Can he make the routine play? For many, if you don’t have a shortstop with huge range, the key is for that player to make the routine plays. In watching, the eye test tells me that he’s been solid. He’s made most of the plays. He’s had a half-dozen errors, but not many have been of the really bad category. My eyes tell me that he has been fine. Certainly not great. Maybe not even all that good, but certainly well within the realm of adequate. Well, Inside Edge provides some numbers to FanGraphs to help quantify that. They break each ground ball into six categories: 1.) Routine, 2.) Likely, 3.) Even, 4.) Unlikely, 5.) Remote, 6.) Impossible. Here is how Polanco has fared in each of those categories: Routine: 96.9% (of 98) Likely: 80% (of 5) Even: 42.9% (of 7) Unlikely: 25.0% (of 4) Remote: 0% (of 12) Impossible: 0% (of 3) Of course, for each of these categories, the sample size is far too small to make any grandiose statements. For the routine, 96.9% is low end of where you would want to be. However, that is 95 out of 98 which isn’t too bad at all. For the most part, Polanco has made the routine play. Of the likely category, four out of five isn’t too bad. Very small sample. Over time, you would certainly want this number to come up a little bit. “Even” would, in my mind, be a 50/50 proposition. Polanco is at 42.9%, but if he had made one more of those, he’d be at 57.1%, which could be good. Unlikely,remote and impossible are all “bonus” categories, in my mind. Remote would be the great diving plays where not only you make the grab but are able to throw the runner out too. It appears that Polanco has been successful in one out of just four opportunities. I’m not even worried about the 15 that showed up in the remote or impossible categories. A week or so ago, Nick wrote an article in which he discussed the scary idea of Polanco and Sano manning the left side of the Twins infield. It is difficult to envision. It certainly would not provide a lot of range. There would certainly be some limitations. However, after reading Tom’s article on the Recent Success of 100 Loss teams, I am OK should the Twins and their new front office decide they would like to see that alignment on the left side of the infield. Of course, should the Twins decide to trade Brian Dozier, Polanco could make the move to second base and they could go get a new shortstop. At least in my mind, and eyes, and my review of the defensive stats (admittedly small sample), Polanco has expectedly been a little bit below average. However, I believe he has done enough to keep the experiment going, even beyond the 12 games remaining in this season. What do you think?
  24. Aaron and John talk about Byron Buxton's spectacular return weekend, Brian Dozier's spectacular three months, Paul Molitor changing his mind on Jorge Polanco, why the pitching staff remains the biggest problem, the upside and downside of finishing a book, Trevor Plouffe's future hanging on the balance, saying goodbye to KFAN for the season, and re-watching the 1987 and 1991 World Series. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click the Play button below. Click here to view the article
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