Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday Morning Madness: June 9, 2014

Weekend Recap

Ugh, not great.  The Twins got two pretty poor starts from their two most consistent starters and dropped two of three to the lowly Astros.  Houston has one of the worst offenses in the AL, but they looked like a powerhouse last weekend.  Oh well, it's just one series.  The Twins did make a pretty significant move to upgrade their roster, so that's nice. 

And one that came out of nowhere.  Everyone knew that Morales would sign very soon after the draft, because the draft pick compensation attached to him would expire.  However, I didn't see one rumor linking the Twins to Morales.  I'm quite pleased though.  I don't think this changes the Twins' 2014 ceiling a ton, but having a professional hitter as the everyday DH is never a bad thing.  Morales has a career OPS+ of 120 and has basically met that figure each of the last two seasons.  He's a much better hitter from the left side, but he's competent from the right side as well.

The Twins DFA'd Jason Kubel to make room for Morales.  This is something I had advocated for a few times over the last couple weeks.  I was actually sad after it happened, as I really do like Kubel.  Unfortunately, a DH has to hit and Kubel hasn't hit since a hot start.  Of course, Kubel isn't the only player affected by this signing. 

I had been up in arms about Josmil Pinto's lack of playing time, but much of that was because he was losing starts to far less talented players.  Now, he's competing for ABs with a very talented hitter.  I would still like to see Pinto in the lineup more often than not, but I think that might start to happen naturally, as I still don't think Kurt Suzuki is capable of a full season at the level he's been hitting.

Now, the Twins have five above average hitters in their everyday lineup (Morales, Brian Dozier, Oswaldo Arcia, Josh Willingham and yes, Joe Mauer).  Pinto should provide good offense when he's in the lineup and Trevor Plouffe has been pretty good so far this year.  If the shortstops and center fielders can be halfway decent, the Twins' lineup could be very potent.  I'm excited, can you tell?

Gibson was great on Saturday, leading the Twins to an 8-0 victory and winning his fifth game of the season.  Gibson matched a career-high with five strikeouts.  He also issued his first walk since May 16, snapping a string of 23 consecutive innings without giving a free pass.  Gibson has done a much better job of limiting walks since April.  He hasn't improved his overall strikeout rate, but he has totaled four or more strikeouts in four of his last five starts. 

Gibson will never be a high strikeout guy, but if he can manage about six per nine innings, he could have a really nice career.  Right now, his 54.1% ground ball rate is fifth in the American League, so he already has one elite skill.  His walk rate is no longer in the bottom ten and should continue to improve.  While he was getting dynamic results early in the season, he's actually pitching better now.   

Santana hit his first Major League home run on Friday night.  He went 4-5 with a double and five RBI on Saturday.  Sunday...well Sunday wasn't really great for anyone.  Santana is quite fun to watch.  He's young, he's fast, he's new.  New toys are always exciting.  I thought Santana would be with the Twins for a couple weeks and then he would head back to Rochester until September.  However, he's been great and Ron Gardenhire seems to like and trust him.  It would be very hard to send him back to AAA right now.

Look, you know I love Eduardo Escobar.  I made this:

However, Santana is not a long-term option in center.  Byron Buxton owns that position from 2015 to 2035 (hopefully).  Santana is a long-term option at short and I don't think Escobar is.  Perhaps it might be time to get Santana a few starts at short, possibly transitioning him to that position full-time in the next couple of weeks.  Santana isn't as good as Escobar defensively, but he also needs reps to actually get better.  Escobar has cooled off a bit at the plate and Santana profiles as a better hitter anyway.  I'm not sure this matters a whole lot over the course of the next decade, but I'd hate to stunt Santana's growth just because he is very fun to watch and a utility guy is going through a hot streak. 


Former Twin Update - Johan Santana

This sucks.  Johan Santana was about a week from making his 2014 MLB debut when he tore his Achilles trying to make a defensive play.  Santana is an excellent athlete and made some great plays in the field in his day, but this one cost him the rest of the 2014 season and could be his final play as a professional athlete.  I hope that is not the case.  I'd like to see Santana come back for 2015 (with the Twins please) because I am a huge fan of his and I want him to have more success as a pitcher.  Ah, so awful, let's move on. 

Random Link - Grant Brisbee's Draft Analysis

On the much lighter side, Grant Brisbee analyzed the first round of the MLB draft.  Here's the link.  The article itself is outstanding, although it could be a bit confusing if you aren't familiar with his work.  The comments from the article are great, but the Facebook comments from the article are gold.  It's never fun to be the guy who isn't in on the joke, but being one of the guys who is in on the joke, watching the guy who isn't in on the joke is quite amusing.  Anyway, the article is fun on its own, even if you don't like making fun of innocent people.

What kind of food is Glen Perkins?

A brand new feature!  Award-winning, too!

Glen Perkins is pizza.  He's simple, but versatile.  He's basically fastball/slider (cheese and sauce), but he throws those pitches like he doesn't give a what (pepperoni?).  BUT, he also can adapt.  He can be a BBQ chicken pizza, he can be a Hawaiian pizza, he can be a garbage pizza.  He can be anything!  He's funny, he's personable, he's charismatic and he's awesome.  Plus, everyone loves him.  I have found few people in this world who dislike pizza and even fewer who dislike Glen Perkins.  Glen Perkins, the pizza of the Twins.    

Fun Stat - Power-Speed

No one has the Power-Speed of Brian Dozier!  What is Power-Speed, you ask?  Well, it's the harmonic mean of home runs and stolen bases, of course!  It's a Bill James stat designed to look at which players provide the best combination of these two skills.  Of course, there's a ton more to power and speed than just home runs and stolen bases, but it's still fun to see Dozier at the top of the list.  Someone should really teach that Bill James guy about sabermetrics. 

Improving Celebrations?

Last year, I proposed silly hats to improve celebrations.  I even made a picture:

Fun, right?  Well, every coin has a heads and a tails. 

See, now they don't add a whole lot.  Super unprofessional, trainer.  By the way, this is the last time I'll reference this event, Kendrys.  I promise. 

Plugging My Way

I did a mailbag last week.  It was about 1300 words and 500 were about snow pants.  You'll just have to read it to figure out why.  I also answered questions about Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia, Nick Gordon and Mike Pelfrey.  Woof, that list tapered off hard.  Here's the link.  

Parting Haiku

Morales is nice
Not going to win it all
Still great for the fans

Have a nice week, everyone!


  1. I always had thought that Bill James was anti-stolen base. That's one part I remember of the "Moneyball" movie - no more stealing bases! That, and the Twins knocking out the A's from the 2002 playoffs. I still gloat about that sometimes. And then I'm swiftly reminded of 2006. Ugh.

    1. I thought so too, that's why that stat makes me laugh. At least the 2006 season isn't immortalized in a Brad Pitt movie!