Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Morning Madness: May 5, 2014

Weekend Recap

I'll be honest, I only took in the Sunday game.  I had a cold or Ebola or something, so I was sleeping for most of Friday and Saturday.  Sunday's game was great.  Phil Hughes was good.  Brian Dozier was everywhere.  I didn't get to watch any of the Dodgers series either, so it was nice to come back to a win.  

The Twins made the right move on Friday, moving Mike Smelfry Pelfrey out of the rotation and Sam Deduno into the rotation.  This is a move I called for earlier that day and I can only imagine that Twins' officials were reading a fake mailbag and decided that was the right place to take advice.  Pelfrey was put on the disabled list with a "groin injury."  We'll address this later. 

Deduno has looked like Deduno so far this season.  He's successfully executed his high-wire act.  He has an ERA of 2.89 but a WHIP of 1.55.  His strikeout, walk and hit rates are all up from last season, but his ground ball rate has fallen significantly.  The added strikeouts are likely a product of the move to the bullpen.  I'd guess his K rate will dip and his ground ball rate will rise.  If he can limit walks better, he could have success similar to his success in 2013. 

That said, Deduno is not a long-term building block.  He's keeping a rotation spot warm for a better pitcher.  Stop crying, that doesn't mean you can't root for him.  Here are just three facts to remember as you enjoy your Deduno:
  • Sam Deduno is not young.  He'll be 31 in July.  He's older than Mike Pelfrey.
  • Sam Deduno does not throw hard.  He hasn't thrown a fastball higher than 92 this year. 
  • Sam Deduno is not "effectively wild."  That does not exist.  Deduno is effective because he induces a lot of ground balls.  He's inconsistent because he's wild.  He's not magic.
Watch Your Head:  Falling Averages Everywhere!

Offenses across the league are starting to heat up, but the Twins are employing the opposite tactic.  Just one Twins' regular is currently hitting above .300 (Kurt Suzuki).  Most of the Twins regulars were hitting above .300 just one week ago.  That said, if you add Pedro Florimon's .113 batting average to any given player, they're all above .300, so that's something!

On the positive, the Twins are still walking at an impressive rate, so their offense hasn't completely cratered.  Entering Sunday's game, the Twins had fallen to 4th in the American League in runs scored.  Unfortunately, they were still tied for third in runs allowed, so the dip in offense has really hurt.  Not surprisingly, the Twins lost 4 of 6 this week. 

I still hold out a crazy sense of hope that the rotation will get it together (this weekend was pretty nice), so the offense can fall a bit and the team should still be able to win about as often as they lose.  Plus, I still think the Twins' hitters are accomplished enough to carry the team for games at a time.  Of course, if my hope is misguided, then we're all in for a long summer.      

No analysis here, I want wish Aaron Hicks a speedy recovery.  Concussions are obviously scary, so I hope Hicks takes his time and comes back when he's fully ready.  Don't mess with your brain, it's not worth it.


Former Twin Update - Drew Butera

I'm pretty sure the Dodgers were trolling the Twins last week.  They started Drew Butera not once, but twice, in the three-game series.  He finished the series with nine plate appearances.  Say you polled Twins fans prior to the series with the following question:  How many times will Drew Butera reach base given nine plate appearances in this upcoming series?  I would guess that 99% of fans would answer with 0 or fewer, defying math. 

Instead, Butera reached base three times, scored twice, singled, walked and actually hit a home run, his first career home run (just kidding, he has 6).  Years of derision from Twins fans and Butera had simply had enough.  Butera mad, Butera smash. 

Mike Pelfrey-related Questions from Readers

Q1 - Mike Pelfrey is on his way out of the rotation, or already out. Is the bullpen his next stop? If so, who gets sent down?
One more! Pelfrey unfortunately may have an effect on this as well. Does Matt Guerrier make his way into the Twins bullpen anytime soon?

Thank you,
Jarren Duffy

Q2 - Was Mike Pelfrey put on the DL with a groin injury or a "Groin Injury (wink wink)?" Is there any oversight from the MLB to make sure that injuries are legitimate when a player is put on the DL so it isn't just used as a place to stash an underperforming player?

Erik Williams, Puckett's Pond

I received two questions this weekend and both were Mike Pelfrey-related!  I'm going to try to answer everything all at once.  Pelfrey has never been a good pitcher.  However, he's never been this bad either.  I would guess he does have some sort of nagging injury and hopefully this DL stint will take care of it.  The fact remains that Pelfrey is under contract for the rest of this season and next season as well.  Therefore, the Twins will give him at least one more chance. 

I wonder if the bullpen is a better place for him.  He does throw relatively hard, so maybe he could amp things up even more if he only needs to go an inning or two.  Who knows?  I don't think Matt Guerrier makes it back to Minnesota.  He's behind too many players, in my opinion.  Although, the Twins do like to get the band back together...  

As for stashing crappy players on the DL, I'm sure it is against the rules, but it would be very hard to prove.  Unless they really want to get elbow-deep into Pelfrey's groin, I would guess MLB takes the team doctors at their word. 

Random Top Six - UZR

UZR is an advanced defensive metric that I'm sure a bunch of people hate.  I think that the metric works pretty well, but I can't explain it without adding about 1000 words to this post.  Here's a link to FanGraphs, where you can learn more about how UZR is calculated and what goes into measuring it.  Here are the top six players in the Majors by UZR, through Saturday:
  1. Jason Heyward - 8.3
  2. Mike Trout - 6.8
  3. Alex Gordon - 5.8
  4. Abraham Almonte - 4.7
  5. Zack Cozart - 4.0
  6. Brian Dozier - 3.7
Why top six?  Who cares after the Twins player, right?  Brian Dozier is a transcendent player and person.  I'm in love. 

Half-Hearted Rant - Danny Santana

Why is Danny Santana just rotting on the Twins' bench?  With Aaron Hicks and Mike Pelfrey on the DL, the Twins needed a pitcher and a batter.  Logan Darnell took Sam Deduno's spot in the rotation and Santana has apparently been summoned to eat sunflower seeds.  This is a young kid who needs playing time.  If Ron Gardenhire, often referred to as "Gardy," can't figure this out, then someone needs to step in and figure it out for him!  

I understand that the Twins didn't have any other options to add to the roster.  Oswaldo Arcia isn't ready to come off his rehab assignment.  Eduardo Nunez is hurt.  Kennys Vargas, Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler aren't ready for the Majors.  Fine.  Here's an idea though:  let Santana play!  Could he possibly hit worse than Pedro Florimon?  Are we worried he might break one of Florimon's bats?  Florimon barely uses them anyway.  If he went up to the plate with two drumsticks tied together, he'd be just as likely to get a hit. 

Get this guy off the pine, Gardy!

KWL Chart - Sam Fuld

Shameless Self-Promotion

I wrote some stuff last week.  On Friday, I answered some of my own questions.  I addressed the Mike Pelfrey situation and the Twins responded just a few hours later.  What other changes are we in store for?  Why not just read the mailbag and find out!  In addition, make sure to check out the blog on Wednesday.  I'm dabbling in writing tests.  This test determines how tortured you are as a Minnesota sports fan.  That sounds fun, doesn't it?  Find out Wednesday!

Parting Haiku

Pedro Florimon
It is time for you to go
Eddie 400

Have a nice week, everyone!


  1. As always, fantastic! And I learned what a KWL Chart. I also learned that a knowing what a KWL Chart is will never benefit me again in life.

    1. In the end, isn't that what learning is all about?

      Thanks for the kind words as well!

  2. Agreed on Florimon - he's a homeless man's Nick Punto. #Eddie400

  3. Escobar is on pace to have 384 at bats this season! Almost on pace for #Eddie400.

    1. This is going in the next post!