Welcome back to another exciting week of POWER RANKINGS. Oh man, the Twins have been doing mad stuff over the past week, and the only way to truly appreciate their moves is to make an awkwardly ordered list. Here we have the final POWER RANKINGS of 2013. It's time to rock...and roll...and rank!
10. Liam Hendriks
Hendriks didn't even get a chance to play for the storied Cubs franchise. He was claimed off waivers by the Orioles this past week. While I did disparage the city of Baltimore for smelling of crab cakes last week, I do think this is a better fit for the 24-year-old starter. Basically, when the Orioles deal with Grant Balfour went sour, they needed another right-handed Aussie. Hendriks meets both of those criteria. Orioles GM Dan Duquette was realistic about Hendriks and stated that he could be a good spot starter if the MLB club needs him. High praise for a guy with a career ERA over 6.
9. Taylor the Prospect Octopus
Wait, who? If you don't visit Puckett's Pond very often, you might not be familiar with Taylor. Basically, I was deep-sea diving and I came across an octopus with a bunch of Twins Minor League hats on. We got to talking and it turns out that he is a prospect enthusiast without the proper fingers and thumbs required to write about them. He tried podcasting but it just sounded like he was underwater. Therefore, he and I chat from time to time and I write up his thoughts. Taylor just finished a 128-player recap of the Twins' Minor Leagues and he is unveiling his top 30 Twins prospects, starting on January 6. Head to Puckett's Pond to see what all the fuss is about!
8. Independent Power Hitters
If you're a big, powerful man and also an Independent Ball masher, you might just get a chance with the Twins. They signed Chris Colabello from the Indys before the 2012 season and now they added another prodigious power-hitting Indy sensation in C.J. Ziegler. Actually, the Twins bought him from the Wichita Wingnuts, in a move that would make Abe Lincoln roll in his grave. Ziegler hit 30 home runs with the Wingnuts in 2013, in just 100 games. That extrapolates to 300 home runs in a 1000-game season. Think about it. Ziegler is a mountain of a man at 6' 5" and 245 lb. He'll probably play first with Rochester and who knows, he could be the next Chris Colabello! Bulk up, America; you could end up with the Twins.
7. Alex Meyer's Students
There was a story circulating this week about Alex Meyer's off-season occupation. As a former substitute teacher, I salute this young man because subbing is not an easy job. The real winners are Meyer's students. I've subbed many times and kids are usually stoked to simply have a sub. However, when the sub is someone "famous" I can imagine extra excitement. The kids used to love to ask me about my job at the nut and bolt shot, I can only imagine how excited they would be to ask Meyer about his career. Plus, Meyer is really tall and kids like that.
6. Alex Presley
With Darin Mastroianni outrighted off of the 40-man roster, Presley has to feel pretty secure with his MLB job. Presley is the favorite to start the 2014 season in center and he could hold down the job for the season if he plays well. Personally, I'd like to see Aaron Hicks start 2014 with the job, but almost everyone else prefers that he is forced to retire from baseball and disappear forever. Even if Hicks defies the odds and wins the starting center field job, Presley will have a roster spot as the fourth outfielder. It's all pretty win-win for Presley.
5. An Article from Twinkie Town
I really enjoyed this article from Andrew Bryz-Gornia: Radar Mapping the Five Tools. Basically, he used stats and math to create some cool radar maps that show how 12 different Twins players stack up in the "five tool" categories. I'll let you read his methods and findings, but I wanted to call attention to the article, in case anyone missed it.
4. "The Eddie 400"
I'm starting a new campaign for 2014! I even created a dope logo:
Basically, I'm intrigued with Eduardo Escobar and I would like to assume that at least one person calls him "Eddie." So, my campaign aims to get Escobar 400 at-bats this season. Basically, I want to see what he can do with some playing time. He hasn't gotten consistent MLB playing time in his career. He's two years younger than Pedro Florimon and a very similar player. He might be better offensively too. Plus, he could play third when the Twins face a tough righty and want to save Trevor Plouffe three strikeouts. If nothing else, the Twins' defense would be great with Escobar on the field. He might not be worth it, but why not find out? The Eddie 400; get used to hearing about it from me.
In fact, you can support The Eddie 400. Copy the image above and make it your Twitter avatar, add it to your blog, or go lo-fi and print it out and cover the windows of your car with it. Together, we can get Eduardo Escobar 400 at-bats.
3. Miguel Sano
I meant to include Sano in the inaugural POWER RANKINGS last week, but there just wasn't enough room! Sano was cleared for baseball activity and will not have to have surgery on his throwing elbow. At least not now. Yay! I choose to be 100% optimistic and assume that Sano will never have another injury issue again in his entire life. Sano could make his MLB debut in 2014. I'm predicting four home runs in his first game.
While doing research and analyzing the Twins' 40-man roster last week, I decided to see how impressive Arcia's rookie season really was. What I found surprised me. Arcia posted a 102 OPS+ last season and did so in his age 22 season. I used Baseball Reference's play index tool to find all instances of a 22-year-old or younger posting a 102 OPS+ with the amount of plate appearances Arcia received in 2013. I just looked at the last 25 seasons, but the number of players was much lower than I was expecting. In fact, it had only happened 76 times in the past 25 seasons, by just 54 different players. Nice! Here's the link.
Now, you can be all cynical and say "oh, Junior Felix is on that list twice, Ben Grieve's there, and is that Gordon Beckham? Really?" Or, you can see guys like Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Trout, Roberto Alomar and just start drooling like a baby. Only four players met this criteria in 2013: Trout, Bryce Harper, Yasiel Puig and Arcia. Strong company.
Please, let me explain. Tanaka was officially posted last week. Each of the 30 MLB teams can now mess around with Tanaka to try to woo him to their franchise. He is the "Belle of the Ball!" See, the picture makes sense now. I'm going to be bold and predict that Tanaka ends up with the Twins. Why? Because I want it to happen. Tanaka would probably become the Twins' best starter and would headline a suddenly stacked rotation (objectivity!). MLB Trade Rumors said that the Twins have interest. That's enough for me. I've bought my jersey, cleared a spot for his bobblehead and legally changed my daughter's name to Masahiro.
Mr. Tanaka, if you are reading this (and come on, we both know you are), I pledge to keep you at number 1 on the POWER RANKINGS until you sign with the Twins. At that point, I will retire the number one position and simply count from 10-2. Not only would you make the Twins a contender, but you would save me 10% of the work I put into my POWER RANKINGS. Do it for the people of Minnesota; do it for me. Sign with the Twins.
Also, when you do sign, can you please create and wear an "Eddie 400" patch for me? Thanks!
Another week, another set of POWER RANKINGS! We'll just keep countin' it down, week after week. Frequent visitors to this blog can look forward to some New Years' resolutions and a fresh (fake) mailbag later this week. I hope everyone enjoys these final fleeting seconds of 2014. Have a great week, everyone!