Monday, January 20, 2014

Minnesota Twins POWER RANKINGS: January 20, 2014

Welcome to another epic week of POWER RANKINGS!  If you haven't noticed already, there really isn't a lot of rankin' goin' on here.  Essentially, I just wanted to find an adorable way to recap the past week in Twins and Twins-related baseball.  This is a secret that I am letting you in on, so please do not tell anyone.  Especially ESPN.  If we want to get an ESPN Minnesota, we'll need to have some POWER RANKINGS and Who's Nows ready to go. 

Ok, enough dancin', let's hit the RANK button!

10.  Elmn Yung

If you recall, I refer to Delmon Young in that manner because he offers no "O" or "D" and because I don't really like him.  Yung signed a Minor League contract with the Orioles last week, putting all of the hot dogs in Baltimore at risk.  That's not fair.  Apparently Young is in good shape right now.  He's had some transgressions in the past, but I can forgive and forget.  He's somehow just 28, even though he's been in the Majors for a record 56 seasons.  We'll see if he can revive his career in 2014.

9.  Fred Manrique the Timecop?

In the event that I can't find ten stories from the past week, I reserve the right to shameless self-promotion.  Last Friday, I unveiled my latest Forgotten Twins? player - Fred Manrique.  In that post, I uncovered the fact that Manrique is/was a Timecop.  If you missed it, you can read it here.  The evidence is scant, but compelling.  Here's a image to further convince you:

The Expos Nationals signed Carroll to a Minor League deal last week.  Carroll is one of the last former Expos players left in the Majors.  He will be 40 on Opening Day and might have a decent avenue to the Nationals' roster as they shipped off former utility man Steve Lombardozzi in the Doug Fister trade.  Carroll has EXACTLY 1000 hits, which means he either needs to not make the team, or hang around long enough to retire with exactly 2000 hits.  I prefer the second option, as I love the idea of a 61-year-old Carroll on the 2035 Twins. 

7.  Shane Mack's 1985 Topps Rookie Card

When I was a kid, there were three baseball cards I wanted more than anything in the world. 

1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr

1984 Topps Don Mattingly

1985 Topps Kirby Puckett

The last one is pretty obvious, as I am a Twins fan with a pulse.  Back in the day, each of these cards cost upwards of and including 100 dollars (actually, the Puckett and Mattingly cards were around 50 each, but that seemed like 100 dollars in my tiny head). I couldn't possibly save that much money, as that would mean not buying 40 packs of Bazooka cards at a time.  Now an adult with an adult income, each of these cards are easily within my budget.  That said, my interest has waned.  I did buy the Puckett a few years ago for 5 bucks, mostly out of principle.  The other two are on my eBay watch list and have been for well over a year.

What does this have to do with this card?

I bought that card last night for one dollar.  I never wanted that card as a kid and I probably could have gotten it for 2 or 3 bucks back in the 90s.  Now, as a 31-year-old human with a wife, a child and a weimaraner, I decided that I couldn't live without it.  Life is super weird. 

If anyone wants a mess of Bazooka cards from the early 90s, just DM me.

The Twins shelled out about $5 million bucks to retain these guys, while I spent 1 dollar on that dope Shane Mack card.  Now you tell me who won?  In all seriousness, these three will likely earn that money next season.  I think I like Swarzak the most, as he filled that "long-man" role very well last season.  Plouffe gets ripped by fans at times, but he's had a 100 OPS+ over the past two seasons.  Duensing still owns lefties, but hit a rough patch of luck last season.  The Twins are a better team with these three in the fold, even if they aren't stars. 

5.  Paul Molitor

As the Twins new bench coach, Molitor is going to be in charge of defensive shifts.  Yep, the Twins are going to try some new stuff.  I guess when you lose almost 300 games in 3 years, you have to be willing to try some of that new-fangled cybermetrics and whatnot.  Twins Daily's Parker Hageman analyzed this development about 8 billion times better than I ever could.  If you missed it, you can read it here.  There's a clean chart and some skeptical commenters too.   

If you follow the Canadian Baseball Network website as closely as I do, you're already aware that it was Andrew Albers week.  If you don't follow that site, Seth Stohs at Twins Daily has you covered.  There was not one, but two stories about Albers this week.  First, it was reported that Albers will compete with Vance Worley, Scott Diamond (also Canadian, as pointed out in the story), and Sam Deduno for the final rotation spot.  I think Kyle Gibson is in that mix too, but he's not Canadian.  I'd say Albers is the darkest of dark horses in that race, but he did look good last year.  He did use the word "neat" in a sentence twice, tying Joe Mauer for the World record. 

The second story chronicles Albers' Winter job as a substitute teacher at his alma mater in Saskatchewan.  I'll always remember Saskatchewan as the place where Bret Hart won the WWF title from Ric Flair.  Albers probably remembers that too.  Anyway, good for Albers.  Substitute teachers are truly unsung heroes.  There is nothing more terrifying than walking into a classroom filled with 7th graders who know full well that you are not their permanent teacher and you'll probably be gone tomorrow either by plan or by force.  I subbed for a few months and I loved it, but it was exhausting. 

On a related note, I thought Mounties taught school in Canada.

3.  Trevor May

May was a guest on the always entertaining Talk to Contact podcast last week.  He was really engaging on the podcast, and you should listen (click here).  May is a really interesting player.  He repeated AA last season and saw incremental, but minor improvements in his performance.  He almost certainly will start with AAA in 2014 and since he is on the 40-man roster, he could join the Twins at some point. 

May's stats aren't eye-popping, but that's probably better for your sight.  He hasn't missed a start in three seasons, and that kind of durability is extremely valuable.  I'm on record:  Trevor May is underrated.  I think that his durability and stuff will almost certainly make him an MLB starter within the next couple seasons.  I think he could fill the Kevin Correia/Mike Pelfrey innings-eater role at a tenth of the price. 

This was a banner week for me.  A real, live Twins player followed me on Twitter.  Dan Rohlfing officially became my favorite player of all-time when he clicked that fateful button.  Rohlfing is a catcher who finished the 2013 season with the Rochester Red Wings.  He hit .314/.402/.430 in 26 games with the Red Wings last season.  He also hit a home run in his first AAA game.  My greatest wish for the 2014 season is that Rohlfing makes his MLB debut.  Thanks for the follow!  You should follow him, if you don't already.  

I never break a promise, Mr. Tanaka.  I plan to honor my pledge to keep you in the top spot of the weekly POWER RANKINGS! until you officially sign with the Twins.  I can't help but notice that you went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last season.  Here are a few fun facts related to the number 24:

  • 24 is a Harshad number.  Cool!
  • The Barnes-Wall lattice contains 24 lattices.  Sweet!
  • 24 is the atomic number of chromium.  Nuclear!
  • Tom Chambers wore the number 24 for the Phoenix Suns.  Dope!
  • 24 is the maximum number of Knight Companions in the Order of the Garter.  WHAT?!?
Mr. Tanaka, once you officially sign, I'll show you how to use Wikipedia just like me.  It's going to be swell. 

Another week ranked!  If you're a fan of this blog, you can look forward to another profile of one of the 14 most important Twins for the upcoming 2014 season and potentially something else if I decide that I don't want to be lazy.  I've got ideas.  No matter what happens, I hope you all have a wonderful week!


  1. I just looked at Kirby Puckett rookie cards on Ebay. They are going anywhere from $0.95 to $600. I don't understand how anyone would pay $600 for that when you can get it for far cheaper, but I guess that's me.

    1. Baseball cards are so confusing. Apparently, you can send them to places to have them graded. That costs money, but it raises the value. Isn't that a wash? I don't get it.

  2. That is probably why I stopped collecting them when I was fourteen. But, thanks to your inspiration, I did buy a Kirby Puckett Rookie Card (Donruss) just after I wrote that a few days back. 'Twill be a late birthday gift for my brother. He will be excited.

    1. When I went and got all those Puckett cards a few months ago, I was shocked at how cheap they were. I remember them being a million dollars as a kid.

  3. And let's be honest - in retrospect, I have a better chance at winning a Grammy tonight for my singing in the shower than the Twins ever did at Tanaka.

    1. Ha, yeah, it's so true. But, it was fun to dream!