Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Morning Madness: June 30, 2014

Weekend Recap

I wrote about Kyle Gibson's road struggles on Friday and then he totally redeemed himself by breaking the Twins' five-game losing streak with an excellent road effort.  The rest of the series was a real drag, although Jorge Polanco's triple in the ninth on Friday was pretty exciting.  In fact, Jorge Polanco's everything is pretty exciting.

Over the last ten games, Mauer has raised his average about 15 points.  If he maintains that pace, he'll be hitting over .400.  So yeah, pretty good.  That's probably not realistic, but it does seem that Mauer is getting his proverbial stuff together.  His line drive rate has been slowly climbing and it seems that he has been finding more holes on the field.  Maybe he is figuring out the "Mauer shift" or maybe his luck is evening out or maybe nothing is different at all. 

No one is happy that Mauer is having a bad season (even if it seems like some revel in it at times) and a productive Mauer is extremely important to the success of the Twins.  It seems that he could be on the path back to his old self.  I hope so.

So you know when you join a new website and you have to create a password?  If you don't set up a proper password, you get that red "x" next to your choice and you have to enter a new password.  I think baseball lineups should be entered in the same manner.

There are literally 11 better options than Fuld.  Fuld's OPS is better than only Kendrys Morales and Pedro Florimon.  One of those is a fluke and the other is a from a guy who probably shouldn't have a Major League job (more on that shortly!).  Fuld plays center, runs fast and is short.  Those three things alone should not overshadow that Fuld plays poorly, can't run when he isn't on base, and, well...I can't think of something that pairs with his height. 

It's almost as if the Twins are on a runaway bus that is set to explode if anyone thinks outside of the box.  Pop quiz hot shot:  Isn't it bad enough that the lineup options are so limited that Sam Fuld has to simply be in the lineup every day?  It doesn't mean he needs to be put in a position where he could bat upwards of five times in one game. 

How's that for a 20-year-old reference?

Oh my goodness.  I hate when people say "it was better in my day" or "they don't make things like they used to" because there's some serious confirmation bias working there.  However, it's a scientific fact that nicknames were better in the early 1900s.  I found Ol' Pickles up there because I was doing some Pedro Florimon research. 

Florimon is currently hitting under .100.  His OPS is just barely above .300.  If Florimon can somehow get to 100 plate appearances this season (and I think we all hope he doesn't), he'll be the first player since 1931 to hit under .100 and have an OPS under .300 with 100 or more PAs.  Unreal.  It wasn't Pickles, it was Ed Connolly, but Pickles did hit .126/.144/.158 in 104 plate appearances in 1917.  He's also went by "Pickles."  If Florimon starts going by "Pickles" Florimon, he'll become my favorite player, even with a .100 BA.    

Former Twin Update - Ryan Doumit

I think it's safe to say the Twins sold Doumit at the right time.  When they originally signed Doumit, I thought it was a safe, smart signing.  He performed well for the Twins to start the 2012 season and earned an extension.  However, he was always a comedy act in the field and his value as a batter was tied up in his power. 

The Twins unloaded Doumit for Sean Gilmartin this past December and if Gilmartin can simply perform as a sign post, he'll provide more value than Doumit has in 2014.  Doumit isn't playing very often, shocking considering his defense and the lack of a DH in the NL.  He currently has a strikeout-to-walk ratio over ten.  TEN!!!  He wore number 9 in his final season with the Twins, so I'd like to see that ratio dip just a tad in honor of his Twins' career. 

Random Top Ten List - BB/9 in a season since 1961

1 Carlos Silva 0.43 2005 26 MIN 27 9 8 188.1 212 72 9 71 3.44 4.18 130 .290 .300 .441 .741 93
2 Bret Saberhagen 0.66 1994 30 NYM 24 14 4 177.1 169 54 13 143 2.74 2.76 153 .254 .271 .389 .660 75
3 Cliff Lee 0.76 2010 31 TOT 28 12 9 212.1 195 75 18 185 3.18 2.58 133 .240 .255 .363 .618 66
4 Bob Tewksbury 0.77 1992 31 STL 32 16 5 233.0 217 56 20 91 2.16 3.13 158 .248 .265 .353 .618 81
5 Greg Maddux 0.77 1997 31 ATL 33 19 4 232.2 200 57 20 177 2.20 2.43 189 .236 .256 .311 .567 50
6 Bob Tewksbury 0.84 1993 32 STL 32 17 10 213.2 258 91 20 97 3.83 3.36 103 .301 .318 .412 .730 102
7 David Wells 0.85 2003 40 NYY 30 15 7 213.0 242 98 20 101 4.14 3.94 106 .286 .306 .442 .749 96
8 LaMarr Hoyt 0.86 1985 30 SDP 31 16 8 210.1 210 81 20 83 3.47 3.44 102 .261 .280 .386 .666 91
9 Phil Hughes 0.87 2014 28 MIN 16 8 4 103.0 110 41 10 88 3.58 2.60 112 .273 .289 .397 .686 91
10 Jon Lieber 0.92 2004 34 NYY 27 14 8 176.2 216 85 18 102 4.33 3.71 104 .301 .317 .442 .758 97
11 David Wells 0.92 2004 41 SDP 31 12 8 195.2 203 81 20 101 3.73 3.88 104 .266 .285 .410 .694 89
12 Greg Maddux 0.99 1995 29 ATL 28 19 2 209.2 147 38 23 181 1.63 2.26 260 .197 .224 .258 .482 29
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/29/2014.

Phil Hughes is doing something borderline historic this season.  Only eight pitchers have qualified for the ERA title and posted a lower BB/9 in a season (since 1961).  Obviously, this season is only roughly halfway over and Hughes has a lot of innings left to throw, but it's still crazy just how great he has been at limiting walks.  It's still shocking to see Carlos Silva at the top of that list.  Hughes already has more strikeouts this season than Silva had that season.  Wild.  Wait, no, not wild.  In control, but wild.  The other wild. 

Get Excited About a Prospect - Nate Roberts

Roberts is not a household name, like say, Coke or Tide, but he is a very intriguing baseball player.  He returned to action last week after missing roughly 45 seasons due to injury.  Roberts is so interesting because he's an absolute Minor League OBP Machine.  His career OBP is over .440, just a ridiculous number even for an older guy at lower levels.  Baseball karma owes this guy some good fortune, so I'm just going to hop headfirst onto his bandwagon.  Even if he makes his MLB debut at 50, I bet he'll walk in his first plate appearance. 

AIM Chat with 12-Year-Old Brad


    KPuckFan34123456:  Hey Future Brad.
    BSwanson0928:  Oh hey, I don't have a lot of time, I have to
    go to the Twins game.
    KPuckFan34123456:  Oh fun, lucky!  
    BSwanson0928:  Eh, I guess.
    KPuckFan34123456:  You aren't excited?
    BSwanson0928:  Well, it's a work night and traffic is awful
    and I'll have to walk from the ramp or pay a lot.
    KPuckFan34123456:  But you get to go to the game.
    BSwanson0928:  Well, yeah, but it's not that great.
    KPuckFan34123456:  Why not?  I love going to the Dome.  
    BSwanson0928:  Well, the Dome is gone, it was replaced with
    Target Field, an outdoor stadium.
    KPuckFan34123456:  Oh, even better!  Isn't it really nice 
    outside in June?
    BSwanson0928:  Eh, it's a little hot, sometimes buggy.  It
    might be a little too sunny too.
    KPuckFan34123456:  Sounds rough...
    BSwanson0928:  Are you being sarcastic?  Do 12-year-olds
    use sarcasm?  
    KPuckFan34123456:  It's just lame that you're being lame
    about going to a baseball game.  I wish I was going to a game
    BSwanson0928:  You'll learn new adjectives soon.  Well, 
    it's different when you're older.
    KPuckFan34123456:  Why?  Do I start to not like baseball?
    BSwanson0928:  No, I still like baseball a lot.  I write about 
    it like three times a week.
    KPuckFan34123456:  You'd rather write about it than go to 
    a game.  You're weird.  I'm going to be weird.
    BSwanson0928:  I'm probably being a baby.  It will be fun
    once I get there.  It always is.  
    KPuckFan34123456:  Always, how often do you go?
    BSwanson0928:  4-5 games a year, although in college I went 
    to like 15-20 games a year.  
    KPuckFan34123456:  College sounds fun.  We had a math 
    test today.  It was easy.  
    BSwanson0928:  Math is cool.   
    KPuckFan34123456:  No it isn't.  I'm going to go now.  
    Have fun at the game.  
    BSwanson0928:  Thanks, I will.

Random Baseball Card from the Past - David Arias

I think I figured out why David Ortiz didn't become Big Papi with the Twins.

It's one thing to keep the bat on your shoulder, it's another thing to keep the bat near both shoulders.  Plus, that's a great way to break a finger.  This card is either shockingly expensive (like $30!), or I don't know how much cards are worth.  

Plugging My Way - Brian Dozier is interesting

Last week, I wrote about Brian Dozier and what a handso...I mean interesting man he is.  Statistically, he's having a good, but super weird season.  If you want more details, just click here.  Also, I may have uncovered the fact that Brian Dozier is Mike Schmidt.  This would be a pretty big discovery. 

Parting Thought

The Twins are awful on the road lately.  They return home for this week and I hope they can pick up a lot of wins.  The Royals have cooled off and the Yankees are hardly scary, but it's still two winning teams coming to town.  If the Twins have any ambition of being in the Wild Card race, they need to have a great week.  I hope you have a great week too!


  1. If that historical landmark with Pedro Florimon should come to pass, I suggest that this blog lead an effort to create a new term in the baseball lexicon. All know of the Mendoza Line - there could be a new level even lower than that - the Florimon Abyss (or something similar).

    1. I love it! If he gets an undeserved promotion later in the season, I'll start the process. I'll need a good photoshopped image...

    2. Now THAT sounds like reveling.

    3. What can I say, I'm a revel.

  2. I would suggest photoshopping Florimon's photo on this graphic. It should be somewhere beneath the "Inverted Mount Everest" icon.

    1. I could make him into a gopher or something and have him tunneling down into the trench. Shame he's in Rochester where he can't add to his infamy.

  3. I just read that Pickles was part of a trade by which the Cubs acquired Grover Cleveland Alexander from the Phillies. That makes the Herschel Walker trade seem almost favorable!

  4. One of the greatest pitchers of all-time was literally traded for Pickles! Baseball is great.