Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Morning Madness: July 14, 2014

Weekend Recap

Hey, two series wins in a row.  The Twins out-slugged the slugging Rockies over the weekend, pulling to within six games of .500 with a ten-game homestand on the other end of the All-Star Break.  They received a pretty balanced attack from their offense as just about every player contributed in some way.  The offense has been so poor recently, perhaps this is a glimpse of what is to come in the second half.  We can hope, right?

I'm starting to wonder if the Twins should hang on to Correia for the rest of the season.  With Ricky Nolasco out indefinitely, Sam Deduno better suited for the bullpen, Yohan Pino and Kris Johnson mediocre at best and Mike Pelfrey donated to Derek Jeter, the Twins might need Correia for the remainder of the season. 

This is counter to basically everything I have written about Correia this season, but I can't argue with his results over the last two months.  Since his poor start against Boston on May 14, Correia has made eleven very solid starts, posting a 3.22 ERA and averaging just over six innings per start.  It's easy to dismiss a couple good starts, but eleven?

Even if the Twins decide to promote Alex Meyer and Trevor May, they still have room for Correia.  When you consider that Meyer might pass his innings limit by September, Correia may be needed even if Nolasco returns in August.  I'm all for giving younger players opportunity, but I'm not convinced that Pino, Johnson or Logan Darnell can out-produce Correia for the remainder of 2014. 

Of course, my entire perspective changes if the Twins are offered a good prospect for Correia.  Then, I'll finally get my Yohan Pino shirsey.  Even with Correia's improved performance, I'm not sure that a team will offer a good prospect. 

Jared Burton

Burton's ERA is down to 4.82.  That's pretty good.  Since May 1, Burton has an ERA of 3.49 and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is 3.33.  He hasn't been dominant like he was in 2012, but he's been steady like he was in 2013.  I'm not on the "release Burton" bandwagon, as I think he might be the Twins' second most talented right-handed reliever on the roster.  Releasing Burton would hurt the bullpen, so the Twins should hang on to him.  I'd still like to see Michael Tonkin join the Twins very soon, but I don't feel Burton is the player to swap him out for. 

In 2013 and 2014, Willingham has batted .209/.347/.381, good for a 102 OPS+.  Willingham has been better in 2014, getting on base more and providing more power.  His batting average is insanely low, but his BABIP is freakishly low too.  His line drive rate is about four percentage points below his career-average and his ground ball rate is nearly nine percentage points below his average.  Willingham's bad luck is going to become the Twins' bad luck if they are serious about trading him. 

It would be fantastic if Willingham could receive some positive baseball karma.  He's been injured a lot recently, his luck stats are all going against him and he might get traded from a place that he really likes.  Hopefully, he'll start to get some good luck, mash for a few weeks, get traded to a contender for a good prospect and then win a World Series.  He seems like a legitimately good guy, so that would be the best-case scenario for all parties. 

Former Twin Update - Justin Morneau

We failed.  Morneau lost the Final Vote to Anthony Rizzo and will not be in the All-Star Game on Tuesday.  As a result, I ripped up my tickets, baked them into a cherry pie and fed it to anyone in Minnesota who voted against Morneau.  Congratulations!  The better player defeated the better story.  Whoopie!  By the way, morons, you still got it wrong.  If we were really going to take the best player, you got the wrong Anthony.  Anthony Rendon has been better than Rizzo. 

Regardless, Morneau was cool enough to compete in the Home Run Derby and hopefully he wins.  When he wins, I hope he melts down the trophy, bakes it into a cherry pie and feeds it to anyone in Minnesota who voted against him. 

Adieu Scott Diamond

The Twins released Scott Diamond over the weekend, ending his Twins career.  In a perfect world, he latches on with another team and puts together another MLB run.  It's shocking how quickly his career fell apart.  He was so good in 2012 but he couldn't sustain the one thing that he did at an elite level that season.  When Diamond was able to Maddux everyone, he was great.  When he was just simply "good" at limiting walks, he didn't have the same level of success.  Alas, 2012 was fun and we'll always remember his flash of dominance. 

Random Top Five List - Fewest First Half Walks

I am obsessed with Phil Hughes' ability to limit walks.  While he has been getting hit around a bit lately,  his elite walk rate should help him turn things around when the hits stop falling in.  Here are the top five fewest walks in a first half in Twins' history (minimum 75 innings pitched):

  1. Carlos Silva - 2005 - 5 walks
  2. Brad Radke - 2005 - 10 walks
  3. Brad Radke - 2004 - 10 walks
  4. Bob Tewksbury - 1998 - 11 walks
  5. Phil Hughes - 2014 - 11 walks
2005 - "The Year of the No Walk."  I have a way with words.

Baseball Card from the Past

This was my favorite baseball card as a kid.  I started collecting around 1988, when I was five or six.  I got the 1988 Topps complete set for Christmas and I opened it up and started sorting like a madman.  The fact that there were two Kirby Puckett cards in the set blew my mind.  I liked this card better because it was an All Star card.  I always wanted to get this specific card signed, which sadly did not happen.  However, I did accumulate about 25 copies of this card via trades, so at least I have a bunch of them somewhere. 

Futures Game Recap!

Can Jose Berrios start the first game after the All-Star Break?  Can he start every game?  Seriously, that inning was impressive.  It was one inning, but it was super impressive.  Alex Meyer was impressive as well and he might actually be ready for the Majors in the near future.  Before the 2013 season, the Twins had exactly zero impressive starting pitching prospects.  Now, they have Meyer, Berrios, Kohl Stewart, Lewis Thorpe and Trevor May.  Each seems likely to contribute and impress at some point in the future. 

This wasn't really a recap of the game, but the other players in the game aren't on my favorite team so I loathe them and hope their hair turns to snakes.  That is, unless the Twins trade for one of them, then I hope for reverse hair snakes.  Oh, Joey Gallo seems strong. 

All-Star Fan Fest Recap!

My wife, daughter and I went to Fan Fest on Saturday.  We arrived shortly before 7pm, right about when all the fun was beginning.  It was an impressive display.  There looked to be a lot of activities that a younger version of myself would have really enjoyed.  There were batting cages, fielding drills, men writing their names on things, etc.  My daughter isn't old enough to partake, although we did take her picture with the World's Largest Baseball.  My wife also went 3 for 3 at trivia kiosks and won a couple prizes.  She really wants me to give them away on the blog.  Maybe in a few years when they hold absolutely zero value. 

Celebrity Softball Game Recap!

Oh wait, I did not watch this.

Parting Thoughts

I am very excited for the All-Star Game on Tuesday.  I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to attend in person.  I have admitted in the past that the player intros are my favorite part, but if the game is exciting, I might enjoy the actual baseball just as much.  Even if the game isn't exciting, I'll be very happy that I shelled out hard-earned dollars for tickets.  It's the experience!

I am also excited that the Twins enter the break having won 5 of 6.  They might not make the playoffs in 2014, but they might play reasonably relevant games in September for the first time since 2010.  It's funny how low my standards have fallen, but what can you do?  Have a great week, everyone!  


  1. Yoenis Cespedes' contract is up after next season. The Twins need to sign him - no one has ever hit better at Target Field ever!

    1. I would shell out $100 mil for Cespedes. It would be a fun experience no matter what.

  2. Oops, I used two evers in that one. Oh well...

    Cespedes is fascinating to watch. He, much like Yasiel Puig, still has not fully adjusted to the MLB level in some ways. You can tell that when he played for Granma in Cuba he was a man among boys, and could dominate with his eyes closed. As a result, he isn't always fully dialed in. He'll drop an easy catch, but then gun the guy out at second. If he'd fully apply himself, he'd be in the MVP race every season.

    1. Yeah, he seems to really care about the HR Derby though, so maybe there's hope that the Twins can show him how to care about actual games too.