Spring Training games are underway! I watched a few innings on Saturday and it was fun to see my favorite team back on the field. I got to see Byron Buxton look smooth in the field and I got to see a host of guys who wore really high jersey numbers. The only hard news from last week was pretty depressing, and we'll get to the biggest story soon. The Twins are interested in Joe Saunders, and you can gauge how much that interests me by the fact that I didn't put Saunders in the power rankings. Let's get to the really important stuff!
10. Phil Hughes' beard
Hey, guess who's growing a beard! It must be so liberating to get away from the Yankees and their ridiculous "no beard" policy. Hughes would have been my hero if he had just simply grown a beard while with the Yankees. What are they going to do, shave him on the mound? Void his contract?
Well, yeah, that's probably what they would do. I'm sure the Players' Union would be ok with that. Anyway, Minnesota is a great place for a beard. It's cold for almost 8 months of the year. Of course, it's shockingly hot during most baseball months, so this is a bit of a catch 22 for Mr. Hughes.
By the way, who remembers Mr. Hughes? Remember that time his sunglasses broke and he cut up his eyes? That was unfortunate.
9. Alex Presley
Presley is not being handed the starting job in center. This report from Rhett Bollinger states that Presley is the presumed starter, but that he isn't taking that for granted. And that's good because he shouldn't. Aaron Hicks is more talented and much younger. Presley had a .699 OPS for the Twins in September, much better than Hicks managed in 2013, right? Well, if you just look at Hicks post-April 20 (prior to April 20, Hicks forgot to bring a bat with him for his plate appearances), Hicks posted a .671 OPS as a rookie at age 23. Hicks is a better baserunner and outfielder and Presley might only hit a tad better.
In summary, Presley is 9th because I like Aaron Hicks? This list is weird.
I've noticed that Colabello is growing his hair out. That's cool; I always support a shaggy look. However, I think I've figured out what is actually going on here, as it seems we're getting a more rebellious Colabello in 2014. Here's how I think it all plays out:
- Phase 1 - Colabello refuses to go to Korea.
- Phase 2 - Colabello grows his hair out.
- Phase 3 - Colabello starts calling Gardy "pops."
- Phase 4 - Colabello sets his sights on the starting first base job.
- Phase 5 - Colabello uses his size to take first base by force, in the process he calls Joe Mauer a "lanky goon."
- Phase 6 - Mauer heads to Siberia to train and try to win his job back.
- Phase 7 - Mauer defeats Ivan Drago to reclaim his first base job.
I kind of got lost at the end, but this all makes perfect sense if you really think about it.
7. Kurt Suzuki
In that same Rhett Bollinger report regarding Alex Presley, we learn that Kurt Suzuki is fine with the new collisions rule. He said that "my main focus is always to keep myself out of danger and keep myself safe." In addition, "I'm never a guy that's going to stand in front of the plate ... just because I don't want to get run over."
Yes! I love honesty and I love whatever the opposite of stupid machismo is. Since the rule was changing anyway, it would be very easy for Suzuki to say something like "dang, I'm bummed, I love getting bowled over by giant people," but instead he was honest. He could have stood there with his chest puffed out and barked some nonsense about toughness, but instead he was just a normal human being about it. Good for him; I like him more now.
I only caught a few innings of Saturday's game, but I did see Parmelee's monster three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth. Not only did he flex some impressive power, he hit his home run off of Jose Mijares. Last I looked, Mijares throws with his left hand. In his career, Parmelee has managed just a .650 OPS and 2 home runs against lefties. In the writing business, we refer to that as "sucky." However, if one Spring at-bat is an indication of some change Parmelee has made to his approach, then perhaps the Twins will be wise to keep him for 2014. I've always liked how he plays the outfield and he seems nice enough. I guess we need a bigger sample, huh? That one at-bat was pretty sweet though.
5. Jack Barrie
Ah, another Australian! Well then. Let's put another shrimp on the Barrie!!
Excuse me, I'll just see myself out...
I want to apologize for that. I evoked a self-imposed two line ban in response to that sentence/reference. I feel that I will be a better blog-guy as a result of my suspension.
Back to Barrie, he got about 200K from the Twins. According to this story, his nickname is "Big Jack," which is not creative because he is big and named Jack. He's 6'4" and 250 lb and has been described as "one of the most talented batters to emerge from Australia." I know nothing of Barrie, but I like the idea of signing big, strapping lads to cheap contracts. Barrie will certainly be a guy I will be on the lookout for when the Rookie leagues start in June.
According to another report, Jack "eats, sleeps and breathes baseball," which is admirable, but will likely end with asphyxiation if he doesn't start to breathe more air. (Note - I somehow spelled asphyxiation right on the first try. That suspension totally worked.)
I caught another important AB during the Saturday game! Eduardo Escobar strutted to the plate, worked the count and roped a double into the left field corner. He was immediately mobbed by his teammates and named "Captain for Life." Some of that happened, and some of it did not. The double was encouraging. Escobar has that kind of power. If given say, 400 at-bats, he could hit 20-25 doubles. I'm not sure Pedro Florimon can do that. In fact, Florimon had just 17 doubles last season.
The Eddie 400 movement is off to a rollicking start. Remember to use #Eddie400 in your tweets when you're talking about whatever beer you're drinking or which celebrity you are hopelessly in love with.
3. Grant Brisbee's genius
Brisbee takes the simplest ideas and weaves them into magic. Last week, he started unveiling his "Google autocomplete" starting lineup and rotation descriptions. It's such a simple concept, but then, no one else thought to do it. Anyway, here's a link to the AL Central. By definition, the Twins are not as interesting as other teams. However, there are some laughs to be had and I want to share them with all of you.
2. Miguel Sano
When I woke up on Saturday, I was greeted with the news of Sano's surgery. Because I am very mature, I provided my analysis on Twitter:
Ligaments are stupid
— Brad Swanson (@bridman77) March 1, 2014
I was able to expand on that enlightened statement a bit and you can read my thoughts here. This is what you're missing if you don't follow me on Twitter. I maintain that ligaments are stupid, but Sano rates 2nd on the power rankings because he's still a young man with a promising career ahead of him. He'll be gone for a year and then back to blasting bombs. He's taking it well, we should too.
1. Mike Pelfrey
My favorite news from the week was reported by Mike Berardino and involves off-season whipping boy Mike Pelfrey. The man plans to work quicker this year! Pelfrey stated, "...but I want to get through an inning without maybe the outfielders' or infielders' going numb." Well said, Mr. Pelfrey. The fans appreciate it too! All of my ire directed at Pelfrey was due to his slow pace. If he can work quicker between pitches, he and I will be cool. With our feud officially over, he'll finally be able to sleep soundly at night.
That's all I have for this week, Twins fans. Stay warm, stay positive and be sweet. Have a good week, everyone!