Friday, May 31, 2013

25 Minnesota Twins Drafts in 25 Days: 2007

The 2005 and 2006 drafts were Snickers bars, just packed with peanuts.  In this analogy, players are peanuts.  The Twins added 2 current Twins and 10 more former Twins.  While there were no superstars added to the organization, this is still a windfall of peanuts/players.  The 2007 draft is more of a tumbleweed or perhaps a Milky Way with a rogue peanut.  Only two players have reached the Majors and realistically, maybe two or three more have a chance to join them.  However, one of the more popular recent Twins was added...

1st Round Pick

The Twins selected the diminutive (required adjective) Ben Revere with the 28th overall pick in the 2007 draft.  Revere was a high school kid out of Kentucky.  He's small, listed at 5' 9" and 170 lb, but that is part of what made him so much fun to watch.  Revere has crazy range in the outfield and could track down fly balls like a homing beacon.  Plus, he was kind of clumsy, so he'd fall and do somersaults and whatnot.  It was all very entertaining.

Ah, but what if? 

The Twins pretty much nailed the Revere pick.  If you can get a starting player with the 28th pick, it's a success.  However, since I am legally obligated to present a "what if" scenario, you could make the case that Giancarlo Stanton would have been a nice selection.  Stanton went 76th overall, which was somehow in the second round because there were roughly 400 compensation picks in 2007.  For serious, take a look (at the bottom).  Stanton is an excellent power hitter, but rarely falls down while trying to make amazing catches.  Just stating the facts.

Best Player Drafted

Well hey, welcome back Ben Revere!  I think I need to change these categories for the more recent drafts.  The Twins finally rid themselves of the malcontent that is Ben Revere last off-season, acquiring Trevor May in a trade with the Phillies.   

Worst Player to Reach MLB  Worst At Hat-Wearing

I apologize for the previous section.  Ben Revere is neither a malcontent or a "worst player" in any way.  However, he is the only player who the Twins signed in 2007 who also made it to the Majors.  Thus, in a totally unfair way, and based on an extreme technicality, he is the worst player to reach the MLB from this draft.  More accurately, he always wore his hat poorly, and that cannot go unpunished.  So, Revere is not the worst player, but he was the worst hat-wearer from the '07 draft.

The One Who Got Away

The only other Twins' 2007 draftee to make the Majors (so far) is Mickey Storey.  Storey was drafted in the 22nd round, and went back to school to become a Senior and thus the "top dog" on campus.  If I have learned anything from movies, he wasted this year partying before ultimately learning a lesson right before finals.  He was drafted in the 31st round just one year later.  Storey is currently pitching for the Blue Jays organization, and has a career ERA of 4.24.  He strikes out a lot of batters. 

Best Name

With the 1453rd overall pick in the 2007 MLB draft, the Twins selected Christopher Freshcorn, a  catcher out of Alonso High School in Alonso, Florida.  The Twins' 50th round selection does not have any stats. 

Fun Facts
  • Despite Ben Revere being the only player from the 2007 draft to play for the Twins, he still has a higher WAR than all seven players drafted in 2006 who also played for the Twins combined.
  • Andrew Schmiesing, the Twins' 11th-round pick, went to St. Olaf College and played for the St. Paul Saints.  He's from Northfield, Minnesota!  So many local angles!
  • Third-round pick Angel Morales is currently playing with Fort Myers.  He is a local Angel.  He has played over 260 games in Fort Myers.  He's spent more time in Fort Myers than long-time Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson, Jr.  EEEYYY-OOO!  That's actually not true. 
  • Twins' 8th-round pick and current Rochester Red Wing Danny Lehmann has hit eight career Minor League home runs in over 1000 at-bats. 
  • Twins' 14th-round pick Dan Rohlfing was playing in New Britain but just got the call to Rochester.  He has seven career Minor League home runs in over 1100 at-bats, but of course, he hit one in his first AAA game.  Your move, Danny Lehmann.
  • Twins' 16th-round pick Nelvin Fuentes has never hit a professional home run.  He's a pitcher, so that's not a fair way to assess him.
  • In the 28th round, the Twins drafted Seth Rosin out of Mounds View High School.  I went there!  He did not sign and went to the University of Minnesota.  I went there!  In 2010, Rosin was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 4th round.  Rosin is pitching well at AA for the Phillies now.  This is more of a fun fact for me.  I am going to really enjoy reading it later. 
All those drafted who made it to the Bigs (so far)

Ben Revere and Mickey Storey.

One Sentence Summary

The 2007 draft was all about Ben Revere and that wonderful smile.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How dumb is the guy you hear on the field mic?

Field microphone technology has improved the overall TV experience for home viewers.  You can hear the sounds of the game better.  You can hear the crack of the bat, the sound of a slide in the dirt and the sound of the ball popping the catcher's glove.  Of course, the field microphone also does a pretty good job picking up the loudest and dumbest guy at the game.  This is exacerbated when there is a small crowd.  I find this fascinating, so I did some research and created this chart to help you understand just how dumb the guy you can hear really is.  Use this chart during a future game, as it will help you better understand why that one guy won't stop shouting "Let's go Brewers!" when the Brewers are losing by 15 runs.

Proximity to the Field Mic
How Dumb?
Not close, can't be heard
Rhodes Scholar
Far Away; A faint voice asking where you put his books
Barely audible, perhaps only as part of the crowd
Average Human
Close enough for an occasional "Hey" or "Joe" or "Nachos" to register
Average Human at the Post Office
Barely audible, except when they whistle for some reason
Calls Francisco Liriano "Francisco Lariano"
Close enough to hear their constant whistling
Thinks the blue part of the map is the land
Rows away, but can be heard yelling at players who aren't on the field
Will eat anything for 5 bucks, but won't take a minimum wage job
Rows away, but can be heard talking in their normal voice about Joe Mauer and how much he sucks
Guy who throws fireworks at fireworks
A few seats down; can be heard chanting and screaming constantly; typically alone
Has fallen of the top of a moving truck at least once
The microphone is inside his mouth; you hear every thought or chant/rant/manifesto that he has
The dumbest guy you've ever met

25 Minnesota Twins Drafts in 25 Days: 2006

The 2005 draft almost directly led to the Delmon Young trade.  If that isn't the worst summary of a draft, then I don't know what is!  The Twins had a very successful 2005 draft, adding a four future Twins pitchers.  Would they replicate this level of success in 2006?  Well, not really.  They had seven players reach Minnesota; all have combined for -0.6 WAR.  Yikes.  However, that number could climb I suppose.  Let's find out why!

1st Round Pick

The Twins selected Chris Parmelee with the 20th overall pick in 2006.  Parmelee was a high school outfielder out of Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, California.  Parmelee took the long road to the Majors, and seems to be the team's everyday right fielder right now?  I question this because he might not be.  Parmelee might be an MLB regular, but he also might not be.  At least he isn't definitely not an MLB player, right?  That sentence makes no sense; I wish I still had my delete key.

Ah, but what if? 

The 21st overall pick was Ian Kennedy, who has emerged as a decent right-handed starter in Arizona.  Kennedy has declined a bit in the last two seasons, but still may have banked enough value to win a head-to-head battle with Parmelee.  If you look at the second round, Trevor Cahill was selected two picks after Joe Benson.  Benson was recently waived by the Twins, while Cahill is a steady member of the Arizona rotation.  Just think, the Twins could have drafted 2/5th of the Arizona rotation!  But hey, the Twins don't really need starters. 

Best Player Drafted

This is a tie between Parmelee and 19th-round selection Danny Valencia, each with 0.8 WAR.  The tie goes to the later pick, so Valencia wins!  This is equally nice because Danny Valencia so rarely wins anything.  Valencia came up 2010 and looked great, posting an OPS+ of 119 in just under a half-season.  In 2011, he slipped a bit, but did hit 15 home runs.  In 2012, he was brutal and then traded to the Red Sox.  He has surfaced in Baltimore, and has been playing some DH for them.  I'd make a fielding joke, but it's just not nice. 

Worst Player to Reach MLB

Jeff Manship was the Twins' 14th-round pick.  He threw about 85 innings for the Twins over four seasons.  He posted an ERA over six and generally was used in long-relief.  As he was never better than Anthony Swarzak, the Twins did not retain his services after the 2012 season.  He is currently at Colorado's AAA affiliate and if you are a Manship fan, it's probably best if you don't look at his stats.

The One Who Got Away

The Twins drafted Andy Oliver in the 17th round.  He did not sign.  The Tigers grabbed him in the second round in 2009.  He reached the Majors in 2010.  Oliver looked like he would turn into a useful lefty starter.  In fact, prior to the 2011 season, Oliver was a top 100 prospect.  However, he has encountered major control problems and has not overcome them.  While he is still only 25-years-old, he is probably hanging on to his career at this point. 

The Twins also drafted J.D. Martinez in the 36th round.  He did not sign.  He was drafted by the Astros in the 20th round in 2009.  He hasn't been impressive to this point, although he is hitting for some power in Houston right now.  I don't think he'd be good enough to crack the Twins' outfield though.  Neither of these guys are exciting, but both have reached the Majors, so they qualify in this category.  I guess.

Best Name

So many choices!  Aaron Tennyson in the 22nd round, Gibert Buenrostro in the 20th round, Nick Papasan in the 24th round, Braxton Chisholm in the 29th round...  The winner is Brian Dinkelman, of course.  He was drafted in the 8th round and became far more popular than he should have, likely due to his silly name.

Fun Facts

  • The Twins drafted C Jeff Christy in the 6th round.  I looked, it's not the same guy.
  • The Twins drafted Aaron Senne out of Rochester Mayo in Rochester, Minnesota.  There have been four players drafted from this high school and the Twins have drafted three of them.  Michael Restovich and Jeffrey Milene are the other two.  This school has produced -0.5 WAR (all Restovich).
  • The Twins received a 4th-round compensation pick for losing Jacque Jones to the Cubs.  I seriously hope there was a change in the CBA between 2005 and 2006, because the Twins received a second-round pick for Henry Blanco and a third-round pick for Christian Guzman just one year prior.  This is a complete slap in Jacque Jones' face.  I am appalled.
  • Chris Parmelee's WAR increased from 0.8 to 1.0 in the time it took me to write this.  I am not even kidding.  He must have hit like 30 home runs or something.  (checks).  Nope.  (insert WAR is stupid remark).  No it isn't.
  • The Twins drafted eight catchers in 2006, each chosen to further slight Joe Mauer
  • The Twins drafted Anthony Slama in the 39nd round and immediately imprisoned him.  
All those drafted who made it to the Bigs (so far)

Chris Parmelee, Danny Valencia, Anthony Slama, Brian Dinkelman, Tyler Robertson, J.D. Martinez, Joe Benson, Andy Oliver, and Jeff Manship

One Sentence Summary

Chris Parmelee is the last remaining glimmer of hope from the 2006 draft.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

25 Minnesota Twins Drafts in 25 Days: 2005

In the 2004 draft, the Twins had picks a'plenty.  The 2005 draft was a little more subdued, a little more chill.  However, that all changed when the Twins made their first selection.  Subdued, chill, calm, these are not words used to describe the player who the Twins would take with their first first-round pick.  In fact, no more teasing, although I think you all know who I allude to.

1st Round Picks

The Twins selected Matt Garza with the 25th overall pick, with the plan all along to trade him for a roly-poly outfielder one day.  That's probably not true.  I still remember Garza's MLB debut.  He was so amped up and there was a lot of energy in the stands.  His fastball looked electric and I thought I was watching the next big thing.  Sadly, Garza was not long for Minnesota.  He was traded after just 24 starts with the Twins.  Boo.

The Twins' other first-round selection was Hank Sanchez, a high school first baseman who couldn't hit.  Fun.  They received this pick (and a second-round pick used on Paul Kelly) for losing Corey Koskie to the Blue Jays. 

Ah, but what if? 

Garza was an outstanding pick, so I refuse to specularte.  However, three picks after Sanchez, the Red Sox picked Clay Buchholz.  Imagine the underachieving outfielder the Twins could have traded for him!  I'm not really bitter about the Garza-Young trade, I swear.  I liked Delmon Young for the first couple seasons and I liked the trade when it was made.  The Twins had pitching and needed hitting.  It was simple.  It's just way too much fun to make fun of Delmon Young.  I'm sorry, I won't apologize for that.  Except, I just did and I do apologize for that.

Best Player Drafted

Garza, who has a career ERA+ of 108.  Garza is borderline crazy though.  I prefer a more subdued, intellectual approach to pitching.  That is why I am giving an honorary "best player" distinction to Twins' second-round pick Kevin Slowey

Slowey was apparently equally hated in the clubhouse and in the press box.  That combo makes me like him even more.  Stick it to them all, Kevin!  Slowey has revived his career a bit in Miami (which you already know if you read this blog) and I think it is just a matter of time before he becomes the next Greg Maddux

Worst Player to Reach MLB

If you read my 2004 recap, you know that Rene Tosoni was "the one who got away" in 2004.  Well, he's back and he was terrible!  Tosoni was Canadian and handsome, so he's got something there.  However, he wasn't all that good as a Twin.  His 70 OPS+ is below average.  Whatever, he's still kicking around and could still raise his career WAR above -0.9.

The One Who Got Away

The Twins drafted Yonder Alonso in the 16th round.  Back in 2005, Alonso was a high school catcher.  Alonso is a first baseman now, but has proved to be a good hitter with the Reds and Padres.  He's probably not a star, but he would have been an excellent get with a 16th round pick. 

Best Name

Denver Wynn in the 46th round.

Fun Facts
  • The Twins drafted Toby Gardenhire again, this time in the 41st round.  As Ron Gardenhire's son, he is the heir to the Twins' secret fortune.  I've said too much.
  • The Twins drafted Brian Duensing in the 3rd round with a pick they received as compensation for losing Christian Guzman to the Nationals.  This pretty much proves that all players lead to compensation.
  • The Twins also received a second second-round compensation pick for losing Henry Blanco as a free agent.  What is going on here?  They used that pick on Drew Thompson.  Ball don't lie.
  • The Brewers ate a sandwich that the Twins left in the visiting clubhouse.  The Twins received a 4th round compensation pick for the sandwich.
  • The Twins used their 12th-round pick on Alex Burnett.  Burnett looked promising once upon a time, but now has been released roughly 1200 times this season.  He's still only 25.
  • Kevin Slowey was Framed! Don't ever forget that.

All those drafted who made it to the Bigs

Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, Brian Duensing, Yonder Alonso, David Herndon, Steven Tolleson, Alex Burnett, and Rene Tosoni

One Sentence Summary

Not a lot remains from the 2005 draft, but the volume of players who reached the Majors is impressive.

Link to the Twins' 2005 draft from Baseball Reference

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

25 Minnesota Twins Drafts in 25 Days: 2004

The 2003 draft produced Scott Baker and heartache.  First-round pick Matt Moses never reached the Majors, marking the 3rd time in 6 years where the Twins' top pick did not play MLB baseball (not the video game, the real life).  Adam Johnson was one of the three who made it, so I'm not sure that really counts.

The solution to that problem?  Have a whole mess of first round picks!  The Twins had five in 2004.  Five!  They received a first and a supplemental first for both Eddie Guardado and LaTroy Hawkins.  Both of those guys had their moments, but wow, that is just way too much compensation.  The Twins would not complain.  Would they cash in?

1st Round Picks

They kind of cashed in.  With the 20th pick, the Twins selected Trevor Plouffe.  Plouffe was a high school shortstop and has proved to be a relatively valuable player due to his power and low salary.  With the 22nd pick, the Twins selected Glen Perkins.  Perkins did not pan out as a starter, but has become a reliable closer.  The next three don't go so well. 

Kyle Waldrop at 25, Matt Fox at 35 and Jay Rainville at 39.  Waldrop and Fox pitched briefly for the Twins and Rainville was out of baseball after 2009.  Waldrop is having a really good season at AAA for Pittsburgh, but that's of little value these days.  These five first-round picks have produced just under 6.0 WAR so far.  I do expect that number to climb, mostly from Perkins and possibly from Plouffe. 

Ah, but what if? 

Let's keep Perkins.  Other than Perkins, there are probably four names the Twins would rather have.  Gio Gonzalez went 38th, right before Rainville.  In the second round, Yovani Gallardo went 46th, Hunter Pence went 64th and Dustin Pedroia went 65th.  What if the Twins had somehow hit the jackpot and left the 2004 draft with Perkins, Gonzalez, Gallardo, Pence and Pedroia?  I believe MLB would just stop holding drafts and award the Twins the winners.

Also, what if the Twins could have packaged their five firsts and traded up for Justin Verlander?  That would be cool.  Although, I'm not sure those five firsts were worth the second-overall pick, where Verlander went.  Also, it's very cool to follow the rules, so this scenario is actually uncool.

So many what ifs!

Best Player Drafted

Glen Perkins, which sounds like a nice fielded area to visit.  Perkins did not thrive as a starter, as I mentioned before.  He also did not appreciate the treatment he received from the organization.  However, fences were mended and then immediately destroyed by Perkins' revived fastball.  It seems that relieving agrees with Perkins, as he has turned into a dominant closer.  Seems appropriate that he was compensation for losing Eddie Guardado. 

Worst Player to Reach MLB

In 2010, Matt Fox made one start with the Twins, going 5.2 innings and giving up four runs, eight hits, two walks with no strikeouts.  He then made three appearances with Boston, giving up two more earned runs in 1.2 innings.  He never recorded a strikeout.  At least not yet...  He's still kicking around, pitching for the Mets' AAA team. 

The One Who Got Away

Toronto's own Rene Tosoni!  Tosoni was a 34th-round pick out of Terry Fox SS, which probably stands for Super School or something Canadian that I am not aware of.  However, Tosoni wanted to pursue his dream of playing one year at Chipola College in Marianna, Florida, so he did not sign.  Don't be too sad, we all know how this story ends.

Best Name

Eammon Portice, in the 17th round.  He did not sign, but he made an impact with his name.

Fun Facts
  • Trevor Plouffe went to Crespi Carmelite High School, which sounds like a tasty candy bar.
  • 32nd-round selection Nolan Mulligan was drafted three times, which seems appropriate. 
  • The Twins drafted Anthony Swarzak with the 61st overall pick in the second round.  At least, that's what they want you to think...
  • Twins' 18th-round pick Josh Rose was the inspiration for Seal's song, "Kiss from a Rose."
  • 16th-round pick Matt Tolbert looks a little bit like a bird.
  • Four of the Twins' five first-round picks reached the Majors.  I think that's pretty good.
All those drafted who made it to the Bigs

Glen Perkins, Kyle Waldrop, Anthony Swarzak, Matt Tolbert, Matt Fox, Trevor Plouffe, and Rene Tosoni

One Sentence Summary

It would be impossible to convert five first-round picks. 

Link to the Twins' 2004 draft from Baseball Reference

Monday, May 27, 2013

25 Minnesota Twins Drafts in 25 Days: 2003

The 2002 draft could never compare to the 2001 draft.  The 2001 draft was just too handsome.  However, the 2002 draft did produce a future MLB regular in Denard Span.  The Twins were looking to go three straight drafts with a good first-round pick?  Could they complete the trifecta?

1st Round Pick

Nope.  Sadly, the Twins went with high school third baseman Matt Moses with the 21st overall pick.  I recall Moses as a bit of a bust, but taking a high school kid at 21 is certainly not without inherent risk.  I'd say the odds were always on the side of Moses not making it.  Moses was in AA by the age of 20, but really stalled out at that level, playing 427 games with New Britain.  He only briefly made it to AAA in 2007, before spending his final two pro seasons back in AA.  He was out of baseball at 24.  That being said, he's only 28 right now, so perhaps a comeback?  Eh?  EHH?  Comeback?  Matt Moses Comeback?

Ah, but what if? 

Chad Billingsley was taken at 24 and Adam Jones was taken at 37.  Billingsley has become a useful starter, although a currently injured starter as well.  Jones has blossomed into an excellent centerfielder and seems to be right in his prime.  Jones was a high school shortstop when drafted, so if the Twins wanted an infielder, he would have been a much better choice.  Of course, hindsight is 20/20 .  Although, I actually have 20/15 vision, so what does that really mean?  Bragger.

Best Player Drafted

I always want to ask people to close their eyes and think of things, but that doesn't work because you are reading.  However, if you were to close your eyes and think of a "soft" pitcher, I am guessing a lot of you would think of Scott Baker.  Jerks.  I always liked Scott Baker.  He was effective when healthy, which I always preferred to Nick Blackburn's terrible when healthy and always around act.  Now I'm the jerk.  Baker produced 63 wins and 16.1 WAR.  His 102 ERA+ shows that he was pretty much league-average in his career, which isn't bad for a second-round pick.  I'd pretty much take that every time.  

Worst Player to Reach MLB

The Twins drafted Levale Speigner in the 14th round.  Speigner was a college pitcher, but he never really got the hang of AAA.  Washington took him in the rule 5 draft in 2006.  They kept in on their roster for half a season, but then decided that his 8.78 ERA wasn't all that cool.  Thus, they returned him to the Twins, who promptly traded him back to Washington for Darnell McDonald.  Speigner hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2008.  In 48 innings, he recorded 20 strikeouts, walked 29 batters and gave up 39 earned runs.  Yum.

The One Who Got Away

No one really, but the Twins did draft Steve Pearce in the 45th round.  Pearce went to community college for two years and was then drafted by the Pirates with the 8th overall pick in 2005.  I am 99% sure this is the plot to the show Community but I have never seen that show.

Best Name

Greg Najac in the 20th round. 

Fun Facts
  • Levale Speigner does not qualify for "best name" as his real first name is "Jimmy." 
  • The Twins drafted Jon Uhl in the 19th round.  He has a short name.
  • The Twins drafted John Gaub out of South St. Paul High School in the 25th round.  Due to his uncontrollable tunneling instincts, Gaub chose to head to the University of Minnesota to become a gopher.  He would emerge in 2006 as an Indians' 21st-round pick. 
  • Scott Baker is the only player from the Twins' 2003 draft class to ever play a game in a Twins uniform.  Steve Pearce game close when he was with the Twins in Spring Training in 2011, but he sucked. 
  • Former Twins draft pick Paul Maholm was the 8th overall pick in this draft.
  • Delmon Young was the first overall pick in 2003.  Snicker.

All those drafted who made it to the Bigs

Scott Baker, Travis Metcalf, Michael Hollimon, John Gaub, Steve Pearce, and Levale Speigner

One Sentence Summary

Monday Morning Madness: Memorial Day Edition

The Twins lost three of four from the Tigers this weekend and have now lost eleven of their last twelve.  Yikes.  After flirting with .500 through six weeks, the Twins now have the second worst record in the American League.  The Twins are eleventh in runs scored and 11th in runs allowed.  Bad combo, bro.  The dream has died, as this team doesn't appear to have the talent to hover at .500 for a full season.

The Front Office had a busy week too.  Here is a list of moves that were made this week:
WOW!  Have you ever played in a fantasy league with that one guy who makes a billion moves per year?  Even that guy is exhausted looking at this list.  I don't think that any of the individual moves are all that upsetting alone.  I don't like sending Arcia to AAA and I didn't like waiving Benson, but each move makes sense individually.

When these moves are coupled with the Twins' poor play, the level of discontent within the Twins fan base only increases.  The one move that wasn't made is probably the move that is most upsetting to Twins fans.  Kyle Gibson was not one of the two starting pitchers called up, and since he was on the 40-man, his call-up would have made the Benson move moot.  The Twins want Gibson to be more consistent and they want to further his development, but they made that choice at the expense of another young player who is now with another organization. 

The Front Office often has to make tough decisions.  At times, their decisions look questionable and at times they look flat-out stupid.  Personally, I don't see any flat-out stupid decisions in the list above.  Some of the moves look smarter than others, but that's just the way it goes.   

Since things haven't been great in the past week or so, let's try to have some fun.  On to the Madness!

Random Photoshops

We're off to a bad start.  Here's the deal.  I thought of this in the middle of the night.  I woke up giggling, typed it into my phone and then executed it in the morning.  All along the way, I was seeing how stupid it was, but I went through with it.  I am a determined individual.  As if some form of compromise, I decided that it was fine that it looks horrible.  If you want some context, click here.  I'm not sure the context really helps though.

All is not lost, as the photoshop above did inspire this one:

See, all is never lost.  And yes, I am obsessed with Gary Wayne.

Random Link

Grant Brisbee is just fantastic and I know I have linked to him before.  However, he's just that good.  Here is something he wrote about the Rafael Soriano/Bryce Harper kerfuffle from last week.  It has great balance of gifs, analysis and calling a guy a dingus.

KWL Chart

Here is a KWL chart I made with Sam Deduno as the topic.  Remember, the KWL chart tells you what I know, what I want to know and what I have learned.   Pro-tip, click on it.

Former Twin Update

Danny Valencia is somehow back in the Majors.  He has been acting as Baltimore's DH the past few games, which keeps him the court-mandated 50 feet from third base while holding a glove.  Valencia is slugging over .600 and has two home runs in just five games!  He, Alexi Casilla, and J.J. Hardy make up a third of the Orioles' lineup and yet they are 27-23.  Baseball is wild.  I look forward to watching Chris Parmelee patrol their right field area in a couple seasons.  Kidding!

Liz Thoughts

Every so often I will present thoughts directly from my wife.  Liz is a big-time baseball fan.  She has some crazy ideas.  She generally thinks all players are overweight and that their pants are too long.  In addition, she has no patience for any form of poor play.  She does not grade on a curve for young players, old players or injured players.  That sounds so familiar...  She had some thoughts on Gardy that I am going paraphrase in order to clean it up and clear it up:

"Gardy gets tossed all the time!   It's all an act.  He doesn't even look that angry, he's just trying to get on camera and get attention.  He shouldn't get paid for games when he gets thrown out.  If I were manager, I'd get thrown out all the time and go hang out in the clubhouse and collect my check.  (I tell her that he might be trying to fire the team up).  That's stupid."

Random Top 10 List

The Twins head to Milwaukee for an early week series with the Brewers.  There are only 47 players who have played for both the Twins and the Brewers in their career.  That number seems low, but who am I to question Baseball Reference?  Here are the Top Ten players who played for both the Twins and the Brewers, in order based on my own personal preferences:
  1. Paul Molitor - all-time great
  2. Brian Harper - combo of hitting/mullet
  3. Corey Koskie - Canada
  4. Tom Brunansky - bonus points for being traded for Tom Herr
  5. J.J. Hardy - very handsome
  6. Henry Blanco - purely sentimental
  7. Rich Becker - 1996 season
  8. Grant Balfour - Australia
  9. LaTroy Hawkins - he's still active!
  10. Carlos Gomez - "Joe Mauer, the first baseman, and the other guy"
BTW - 47.  Livan Hernandez.

Link to something stupid I wrote

I wrote something about how I would punish fans if elected to the Presidency and if the President had the power to punish fans.  It's pretty stupid, so it certainly fits in this section.  I'd say I'm half-kidding, half-serious, half-hungry.  You can find it here.  If you agree, please contribute to my Kickstarter campaign for President.

Parting Haiku

Lush curly blonde hair
A wild and hot demeanor
I will miss you Joe

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

25 Minnesota Twins Drafts in 25 Days: 2002

Way back in 2001, the Minnesota Twins selected Joe Mauer, a beautiful catcher out of St. Paul, Minnesota.  Basically, the Twins are not going to ever be able to top that wonderful selection.  As a result, the Twins forfeited all of their 2002 picks and promoted Joe Mauer to owner/tsar.  These things did not happen.

These things did happen:

1st Round Pick

If you have read the book Moneyball, you know that Denard Span was supposed to go to the Colorado Rockies at pick nine.  Instead, he balked at their offer and the Rockies selected Jeff Francis.  Span slipped all the way to 20 and the Twins gobbled him up happily.  Span looked like he might be on the bust train after a few minor league seasons, but eventually became a steady leadoff hitter with great defensive skills.  The story from Moneyball contains the F word, and therefore is filthy. 

Ah, but what if? 

Honestly, Span was an excellent selection at 20.  You could argue that Jeremy Guthrie at 22 or Matt Cain at 25 were better picks, but Span worked out really well.  However, in the fourth round, the Twins completely blew their chance to take their future ace, when they drafted Alex Merricks just five picks prior to Kevin Correia.  Just think, Twins fans could have enjoyed years and years of Correia, instead of just these last glorious months.  What a boner.

Best Player Drafted

Denard Span or "Span Man" as he is affectionately called by Ron Gardenhire.  Span has excellent on-base skills, excellent range in the outfield, and an entertaining approach on the basepaths.  I was never fully confident that he would ever hit a ball, as he started his swing so late.  Plus, he always looked a little tired, so I choose to believe that he took tiny catnaps while batting, in order to conserve energy for being picked-off later.  Jokes! 

Worst Player to Reach MLB

The Twins drafted Kyle Phillips out of El Capitan High School in San Diego with their 10th round selection.  Phillips did not make it to Minnesota, but later played 41 games for Toronto and San Diego.  This is a great time to remind myself that all of these "worst players" have more baseball skill in their epidermis than I ever had in my whole skeleton. 

The One Who Got Away

Oh my, where do I start?  The correct answer is Adam Lind, who did not really pan out as a player, but has provided decent power at times.  The Twins drafted him in the 8th round, but he did not sign. 

The snarky answer is either Clete Thomas or Jeff Clement, a couple of current Rochester Red Wings.  Thomas was drafted in the 5th round and Clement was drafted in the 12th round.  Each chose to go to school (nerds) but only one improved his draft stock.  Thomas was drafted in 2005 in the 6th round and Clement was drafted in 2005 with the 3rd-overall pick.  As Borat would say, "Nice!"

Best Name

Doug Deeds in the 9th round.

Fun Facts
  • Twins' 11th-round pick Evan Meek has a career OPS of 2.000.  Yet, the Twins just released him without fanfare back in 2006.  Seems like this should be a bigger deal.
  • The Twins finally nabbed their Neshek, drafting Pat Neshek in the 6th round.
  • Denard Span went to Catholic High School in Tampa, Florida.  That has to be the most generic name for a school in modern history.
  • The Twins drafted Jesse Crain in the 2nd round.  I once stated that Jesse Crain would take over as closer from Joe Nathan.  This was back in 2005.  Nathan saved roughly 180 games from that point on.  I'm so smart.
  • The Twins clearly had it bad for Thomas and Clement.  Really, who can blame them?

All those drafted who made it to the Bigs

Denard Span, Jesse Crain, Pat Neshek, Adam Lind, Evan Meek, Clete Thomas, Kyle Phillips, Garrett Mock, and Jeff Clement.

One Sentence Summary

There wasn't a Joe Mauer in the 2002 draft, but things still worked out just fine. 

Link to the Twins' 2002 draft from Baseball Reference

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Joe Benson: Not a Twin

I had intended to run some errands this afternoon, but then I saw this tweet:

I was confused, but I knew this was an option.  The Twins needed a 40-man spot for the immortal P.J. Walters, and Benson has been injured or terrible ever since his 2011 September call-up.  Even in earning his 2011 promotion, he had basically played two full seasons at AA to get to Minnesota.  It is still a confusing move.  Then this tweet came along:
He was just outright waived, which pretty much says all you need to know about how Benson was looked at within the Twins' organization.  In a lot of ways, he probably earned his reputation, after failing to grow as a player since leaving AA.  Just take a look at how Benson has moved since September 2011:

September 2011:  Promoted to MLB, plays in 21 games, hits .239/.270/.352 and strikes out a lot (23-years-old, no experience above AA).  Benson was also fined by Ron Gardenhire for wearing a suit in the clubhouse.  This was a joke, but still extremely stupid and an event that lead to various eye-rolls from yours truly. 

Winter 2012:  Baseball America lists Benson as the 99th best prospect in baseball.

March 2012:  Benson is assigned to AAA, Terry Ryan has this to say:

"We just need to control the emotional part of his game; he gets a little excited," Ryan said. "We don't want to change his personality, I can tell you that, because he brings a little edge to him."

April 2012:  Benson gets off to an extremely slow start in Rochester, hitting .190/.286/.354

May 2012:  Benson is sent to AA New Britain, where he does not hit any better.

May 24, 2012:  Benson has surgery to repair his left hamate bone, which sidelines him for six weeks.

June 28, 2012:  Benson returns to active play.

July 16, 2012:  Benson returns to New Britain.

August 2012:  Benson returns to not hitting well, hitting .109/.169/.200 in 14 August games

September 2012:  Benson is not part of 2012 September call-ups because he needs surgery on his left knee, which sidelines him for four months.

March 2013:  Benson does not perform well in Spring Training, is assigned to AAA.

April 2013:  Benson hits .217/.278/.337 at Rochester, starts losing starts to Clete Thomas.

May 2013:  Benson hits .162/.230/.221.

May 25, 2012:  Benson is put on outright waivers by the Twins and claimed by the Texas Rangers.

That is a pretty sucky timeline for Benson.  Not only is he not hitting well throughout, but he keeps getting injured and he keeps falling further and further from the Twins' good graces.  I don't have many quotes or anecdotes regarding Benson beyond the two I shared at the beginning of the timeline.  However, it is pretty clear to see that Benson did not fit in well with this organization.  I really gristle at the Terry Ryan quote.  I understand the desire to control the emotional part of his game, but if that is something he has been trying over the past two seasons, it isn't working.  

I won't claim this move was made due to Benson's personality, but if it was, then I really don't like it.  I despise moves made based on personality.  I mean, I named by blog after Kevin Slowey.  However, there are definitely baseball reasons that justify this move, and I really hope that those were the only determinations.  

Getting back to Benson the player, he clearly has a lot to work on.  He isn't hitting at all.  Since he can't hit, he can't show off his good power and he can't utilize his good speed on the bases.  His inability to hit has landed him on the bench, which makes it impossible to display his excellent range, speed and ability in the outfield. 

It's hard to look back at Benson's 2011 season with New Britain and not be intrigued.  He hit .285/.388/.495 with 28 doubles, 16 home runs and 13 stolen bases.  At his peak, I thought Benson could become a 20/20 player with an OBP around .350.  When you add all that to his centerfield-quality defense and strong arm, the calculus is a great player who provides a ton of value.  None of that works if Benson can't put the bat on the ball.

A fresh start in Texas might be just what Benson needs.  He'll join a new organization which may not hold any of the preconceived notions and opinions that Benson may have earned in Minnesota (perhaps, justifiably).  Texas can already boast one outfield reclamation project in Nelson Cruz, and Benson is even younger.  Benson won't become a Ranger if he doesn't work on his hitting.  Maybe spending time with a new coaching staff will click with Benson and he'll work out the issues that are holding him back.  I hope it happens, as I think there is a solid MLB player within Joe Benson.

This was a move made out of necessity.  The Twins needed to replace some struggling starting pitchers and made the determination that Benson would be the odd man out.  Personally, I think there were better options, but I don't get to make those decisions.  In the end, it was a justifiable move, but a move that could certainly come back and haunt the Twins.  If Benson figures out the one area of his game that isn't working right now, he has enough talent and loud enough tools to "put it all together" and become the player the Twins obviously saw back in September of 2011. 

25 Minnesota Twins Drafts in 25 Days: 2001

MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUER!  Sorry, that's something that happens naturally.  MAUER! MAUER! MAU...  I can't really control it.  2001 was a franchise-changing dr MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! M... Coming off of three straight terrible top 6 first-round picks, the Twins had to  MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUE...

1st Round Pick

With the first overall selection in the 2001 MLB draft, the Minnesota Twins chose Joe Mauer, catcher out of Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Slam dunk.   Mauer can slam dunk I bet.  There was a heated debate regarding this pick.  Take the local high school kid or the college pitcher with big, nasty stuff.  Ultimately, taking Mauer was the right decision and has paid off for years.  However...

Ah, but what if? 

What if the Twins had drafted Prior?  Prior was an great pitcher from late 2002 to 2005.  Adding Prior to a rotation with Brad Radke, Johan Santana and Carlos Silva would have made the 2003,2004 and 2005 Twins teams that much better.  Would Prior have been enough to get those Twins teams out of the first round?  I'm not so sure.  What I do know is that Prior's arm exploded and Joe Mauer is still one of the best hitters in baseball.  The Twins made the right decision and I love Joe Mauer.

Best Player Drafted

I love Joe Mauer.  Mauer has posted 41.0 rWAR in his career and he is only 30.  He is the active leader in batting average.  Mauer won an MVP in 2009 and has three batting crowns on his head.  Also, I'm pretty sure he solved the financial bubble (is that a thing?)  It's Mauer and no one else is all that close.

Worst Player to Reach MLB

The Twins drafted Kevin Cameron in the 13th round.  He was injured for the entire 2002 season and then eventually was taken in the rule 5 draft by the Padres.  He appeared in 69 games and hasn't been in the Majors since 2009.  He wasn't bad, but he wasn't great either. 

The One Who Got Away

The Twins drafted Jason Vargas in the 43rd round, but he opted to head to Long Beach to play college ball.  He would emerge as a 2nd-round pick in 2004 and has been a useful back-of-the-rotation starter for the past few seasons. 

Best Name

Pat Tingley, in the 42nd round.

Fun Facts
  • The Twins drafted Nick Blackburn in the 29th round.  I have been hard on Blackburn for years, but converting a 29th-round pick into an MLB player is impressive no matter who it is.
  • The Twins drafted Joe Mauer's older brother Jake in the 23rd round.  As an older brother, I can attest that having my younger brother drafted 22 rounds higher than me would be just fine. 
  • The Twins drafted Matt Macri out of an Iowa high school, but he decided to go to Notre Dame to play college baseball.  He was a 5th-round pick in 2004, this time by Colorado.  However, because the Twins never forget a player they once drafted, Macri was traded from Colorado to Minnesota for Ramon Ortiz.  That's right, Ramon Ortiz was traded for another player.  I just assumed he was released or put in the garbage can.  The Rockies later signed Macri as a free agent.  He must be super nice.
  • The Twins drafted Vince Serafini in the 6th round.  I don't know why, but I don't think he was Dan Serafini's relative.  He did go to the same college as current Twin Jamey Carroll, so maybe they are actually brothers. 

All those drafted who made it to the Bigs

Joe Mauer, Jason Vargas, Nick Blackburn, Jose Morales, Kevin Cameron, and Matt Macri

One Sentence Summary

You cowards, you pathetic cowards!  Also:  MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUER! MAUERAMAMERUAMUAERR!