Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Morning Madness: July 28, 2014

Weekend Recap
Who won the most recent game?  Those of us with a healthy recency bias are pretty high on the Twins right now.  Everyone else?  Not so much.

Logan Darnell...sort of
Congratulations to Darnell for making his first MLB start on Saturday.  He got lit up, but it's still a great moment for him.  Darnell absolutely deserved this opportunity.  He's slowly climbed through the Twins' system since being drafted in the 6th round in 2010.  In 2014, he's made 17 AAA starts and has a 3.43 ERA.  When the Twins needed a starter on Saturday, Darnell was a logical choice.

In fact, Darnell, Yohan Pino (who was great on Sunday) and Kris Johnson have all deserved the starts they have received.  Each has pitched well at AAA and each has paid their Minor League dues.  That said, can we please have Trevor May and Alex Meyer now? 

Darnell, Pino and Johnson are deserving, but Meyer and May are more talented and much more likely to be in the rotation for a long time.  Pino is 30, Johnson joins him at 30 in October and Darnell actually has a higher AAA ERA than either Meyer or May.

I understand being patient with prospects, but at this point in the season, Meyer and May need to be on the active roster, learning how to get MLB hitters out.  If the Twins have any shot of contending in 2015, one or both of these talented pitchers need to contribute.  

Here's an old Bill Simmons trope for you:
  • Player A - .230/.325/.418
  • Player B - .221/.303/.385
Player A is Dozier, Player B is Arcia.  Player A was elected President of Twins Territory, Player B is having an abysmal sophomore season.  At least, that's how I've read and heard things.  Since May 21, when Dozier's line peaked at .263/.377/.480, he is batting .211/.290/.383. 

This isn't even meant to be a criticism of Dozier, more of a call to "back off" of Arcia.  I'm glad to see Arcia in the lineup most days, something I called for last Monday.  He rewarded the Twins with a pretty decent week.  The major difference between Dozier and Arcia is the Twins' willingness to let Dozier work through his slumps.  Arcia needs to be afforded the same opportunity, especially if the Twins want him to be a cornerstone player in the near future.

Why I hated 2011-2013
You may have already picked up on a trend from these past two sections, but the thing that bothered me most during the crummy 2011-13 seasons was the Twins' unwillingness to commit to young players with an eye toward the future.  To me, a disappointing season is a great time to see what you have in a young player.  I'll give the Twins a pass in 2011, because they didn't think they would be bad.  2012-13?  No pass.

Oswaldo Arcia was shuffled from AAA to Minnesota routinely in 2013.  Liam Hendriks wasn't given a chance to work through struggles in 2012 or 2013.  Brian Dozier wasn't even on the Opening Day roster in 2012, which I had actually forgotten about. 

When Josmil Pinto was called up in September of 2013, it didn't seem like he was going to get much playing time.  Then, he hit like freaking Ted Williams and the Twins had no choice but to give him more playing time.  The better plan would have had Pinto as the primary catcher from the start of September. 

Well, at least they tried with Aaron Hicks.  Of course, they also gave up in the middle of the 2013 season.  Granted, he was awful, he had hit better as the season had went on.  As such, the Twins came into 2014 with no clue how Hicks would perform.  He performed as the baseball equivalent of Courtney Love.  

Maybe these guys hadn't fully earned their chances.  They almost certainly should have played better when they actually arrived.  But what was the point in either waiting on them or not giving them opportunity to adjust?  It wasn't an effort to win games because if it was, it was a massive failure. 

After the trade deadline later this week, the Twins should be prepared to commit to their young players.  Meyer, May, Arcia, Pinto, Danny Santana, Michael Tonkin, maybe even Kennys Vargas.  There is no way the Twins plan to be bad in 2015, so they need to figure out if any of these guys are going to be reliable next year and after next year. 

Or, they can just call up a bunch of AAA duds and watch the fans enjoy the Vikings pre-season.  It's really up to them. 

Former Twin Update - Trade Deadline
Next week, I'll have a current Twin to profile in this section.  Kendrys Morales was traded last week and he won't be the only 2014 Twin on a different team by the end of this week.  The Twins appear to be fully committed to selling, something I applaud them for.  Anyone who isn't a part of the future should be jettisoned.  I hope that I'm picking between a few different guys for this section next week.

For this week's update, Kendrys Morales continued to be Kendrys Molasses with the Mariners.  

Random Gif - Totally Worth It

People love baseballs that are discarded into the stands.  This clip is proof.  A few things.  One, the guy was okay.  Two, the guy to his left (from his perspective while laying in traction on the ground) seemed legitimately concerned.  Three, hey guy who got the ball, it's actually pretty bad form to hold your trophy over the carcass of the guy who fell neck-first into metal seats to make sure the ball got to you.  Four, Willingham smoked one of the next pitches into the bullpen.  Ryan Presley resisted the urge to try to back flip into the bleachers to catch the ball.   

Get Excited about a Prospect - Lewis Thorpe
For those who aren't in the know, Lewis Thrope is an 18-year-old Australian lefty who is making his full-season debut with the Cedar Rapids Kernels.  While you may not get excited about a guy with a 4.91 ERA in 9 starts, I am ecstatic.  Thorpe had a rough outing on Thursday, but his overall numbers are pretty impressive.  He was a little wild in his first two starts, but since then, he's thrown 29.1 innings over seven starts, has a 4.30 ERA with 32 strikeouts while allowing just 12 walks (4 on Thursday). 

I cannot remind you hard enough (can one remind hard?) that Thorpe is a full four years younger than the average player in the Midwest League.  He may not be dominating like he did in the GCL in 2013, but he's more than holding his own against much more advanced players.  And, he's dominating at times too.  On July 2, he went just 4.2 innings, but he struck out 8 and walked just one.  This guy could be special.  Let's get excited!

Random Link - Trade Perkins?
I really enjoyed this article from Andrew Walter, Twins Fan From Afar.  It was thoughtful, well-reasoned, articulate and fair, four things I am not known for.  The discussion it generated at Twins Daily was great too.  Perkins is such a tough trade chip because he is so popular among all fans in Minnesota. 

Even so, I have to agree with Walter.  If the Twins get a great offer for Perkins, I'd make the move.  The fact is, the Twins might be further from contention than we want to admit.  Perkins could bring back a really impressive haul.  It's hard to remove the heart from the head, but the Twins might be wise to try if a team offers something eye-popping for their proven closer.  

UPDATE (Unsolved Mysteries) - There are two sides to a coin, unless you have a ridiculous coin.  Bill Parker wrote this rebuttal for Twinkie Town and it's very compelling.  I particularly enjoyed his first point as I think the pro-sabr, but not really the principles of sabr crowd misses the point on closers sometimes.  The last paragraphs sums things up nicely, as a good last paragraph is wont to do.  READ IT!

Plugging My Way
While I love to plug better writers' work, I really love plugging my own writing.  Last week, I wrote about Trevor May and the value of a good, cheap, durable 4th starter.  I did some crude research and found that shockingly, they are very valuable.  If you missed it and want to criticize my research skills, just click here.  n = the sample size, I'm pretty sure of that.  Everything else I cobbled together from Moneyball and cereal boxes. 

Parting Haiku
Last weekend was lame
Now they go out on the road
Time for BBQ


  1. Speaking of former Twins and of the Twins giving up too quickly on certain folks, did you see how Vance Worley pitched Monday night in San Francisco for Pittsburgh? Yeah... That kind of hurt.

    1. Yeah, I was not a fan of selling Worley off, but the Twins apparently did not like his personality.

  2. Kendrys Morales and Sam Fuld are it - was hoping for at least a couple more, too.

    1. I hold out some hope for Correia and Willingham in August, but it was not a great deadline.