Monday, February 3, 2014

Minnesota Twins Power Rankings: February 3, 2014

It was a quiet week in Twins Territory.  Nothing eventful occurred.  And yet, here we are, ready to get into some POWER RANKINGS.  Since I can't think of anything else to write, let's just start.  Lazy!

Matt Guerrier is back with the Twins, which means I'll have to listen to nearly every member of my family call him Matt Gurreeeer again.  This move makes a lot of sense to me.  Here are all the reasons why:
  • Guerrier has been excellent over the past four seasons
  • Guerrier throws really hard and generates strikeouts
  • The Twins do not have any good right-handed relievers
  • Guerrier does not have a negative walk rate trend
  • Guerrier is young
Oh wait, those are all false.  The real reason why this move doesn't bother me is that it's a Minor League deal and that doesn't harm anyone.  Guerrier is probably just AAA depth/super nostalgia.  The bump in jersey sales won't hurt either.  

The Twins had no interest in Baker likely because they knew they had Guerrier on lock.  Baker barely pitched in 2013 and didn't pitch in 2012.  He's still just 32 and he had been effective prior to his major injury.  He signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners and if he can make the team, he could have a nice season in that pitchers' haven of a ballpark.  The Twins made it clear that Baker was not wanted in Fort Myers in February.  Perhaps they will have interest in him when he's older, throws softer and has a mess of bad seasons under his belt.

Apparently Arroyo has received exactly the same amount of offers as I have this off-season.  I'm entertaining an offer to pitch for some kids who need batting practice.  Arroyo will probably get a better offer than that.  However, as the lack of offers pile up, Arroyo should become increasingly desperate.  If the Twins still want him, they might be able to get him on a one or two-year deal.  Arroyo would probably be the Twins' second-best starter, behind Ricky Nolasco.  He would certainly help the rotation, although he isn't young enough to help when the Twins are ready for actual contention.  Of course, the team could push a .500 record in 2014 with Arroyo in the fold.  Why not?

If I do agree to pitch for those kids, just know that this blog will be on hiatus for at least three years as I recover from a variety of arm and oblique surgeries.  In case you were wondering.
Baseball America had a report ($) a couple weeks back about Vielma and how impressed the Twins, and specifically Mike Radcliff, were with his defense. Then, Keith Law indicated that he considers Vielma to be his 11th best prospect in this loaded Twins system.  I have been counting down my top 30 Twins prospects at Puckett's Pond and I didn't consider Vielma for my top 30.  I did have him in the Honorable Mentions sections, just so I don't hurt his feelings. 

Vielma is just 19 and he's scrawy.  He also shares a birthday with my daughter, so that's cool.  He's an excellent defender and a speedster but he hasn't hit yet.  While I think Law's ranking is crazy high, only one of the two of us have actually seen him play in person.  That said, I doubt Law photoshopped any of the Twins players heads on bird bodies last year, so he had a lot more time than I did.  Vielma is a nice prospect and he's getting some mainstream love.  If he starts to hit, then LOOK OUT! 

6.  Russell Wilson/Tracy McGrady

Wilson chose football over baseball, a decision that looks pretty smart now that Wilson has a Super Bowl Championship under his belt.  McGrady reportedly wants to pitch next year, has been working out with Roger Clemens and apparently can throw in the 90s.  I love to talk about athletes from other sports playing baseball.  I'm fascinated by it.  I would love an exhibition where McGrady tries to strike out Wilson, then he has to catch a pass from him, then he has to catch an alley-oop from him, then he has to score a goal on him (hockey, not soccer) and then they bowl together because they've become such good friends. 

It really seems like a no-brainer.  Make it happen, someone.

5.  Some truly terrifying photos

Look, the current Twins are getting better, there's no doubt about that.  However, this iteration of the Twins needs to take a page from the late-80s, early-90s championship teams.  Thus, I went ahead an fixed a few of the more important Twins for the coming years. 

Here's Byron Buxton, uber-prospect and future MVP with Dan Gladden's hair:

Beautiful.  Here's Casey Fien with Juan Berenguer's mustache:

Tremendous...and intimidating.  And, just in case Phil Hughes can't hack it in the rotation, here he is with Jeff Reardon's beard, which I refer to as a Beardon.

And now we're all on the same page.  Those images should inspire you.

The Big Puma retired last week.  This made me a sad panda.  I have long admired Berkman and his outstanding nickname.  Berkman was a beast too, finishing his career with a 144 OPS+.  He reached base in more than 40% of his career plate appearances.  He was enough of an outfielder to fake it in center for nearly a full-season's worth of games.  It's a shame that his career ended as it did, rife with injuries and jokes about his weight.  I think Berkman is a Hall of Famer, but I also think he has about a 1% chance of ever getting elected.  Grant Brisbee agrees and you know that I love him.  Read this and laugh at the pictures. 

Long live the Big Puma.    

3.  Fans of the New Britain Rock Cats

Check out this article from Andrew Walter at Twins Fan from Afar:  Prognosticating:  2014 Rock Cats Opening Day Lineup

That lineup is stacked.  If you happen to be a Twins fan living in that region or a fan of a AA team for some reason, you have to get out to some games early in the season.  Sano isn't long for AA and Buxton probably isn't either.  If you take those two out, the lineup is still good, but it isn't exciting.  Minnesota will feel the excitement in a year or so, but for now we can just be happy for New Britain. 

Things are going well for Mr. Escobar.  Just check out this tweet:

Of course, Jeff Moore, the person who wrote the linked article, also states that Escobar is "glove-only player with moderate bat-to-ball skills and virtually no in-game power."  Perhaps.  However, can I just remind you of this:

Support the Eddie 400.  He would support you.

1.  Mike Pelfrey

Yeah, not expecting this, were you?  Seth Stohs had a great article about Pelfrey last week.  You can read it here.  In it, Pelfrey basically won me over with his positive attitude and generally pleasant demeanor.  I've been critical of Pelfrey in the past, but this is a wonderful reminder that baseball players are human mammals and they have feelings.  Sometimes, those feelings give you feelings.  That's a good feeling.  I love many things Pelfrey said in that article and it diminished the ire I had felt previously.  Thanks, Seth!

We did it!  A slow news week is no match for my crippling need for symmetry and order.  Hopefully, the Twins will go completely ape this week and make crazy moves.  No matter what, I'll be back next week, countin' 'em down.  Have a nice week, everyone!  

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