Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Morning Madness: August 11, 2014

Weekend Recap
Well said, me.

I'm not going to dwell on May's debut.  He was wild; he was nervous.  It wouldn't shock me if we just witnessed one of May's only truly disastrous starts of his career.  One start doesn't mean much to me.  I still think that May can be a good 3rd/4th starter on a good team.  I like his durability and the fact that his stuff can play better than a 3/4.  I like that he seems to have an affable personality, likely perfect for shrugging off a rocky debut. 

It would have been awesome if May had come out and fired off eight shutout innings with a bunch of strikeouts and no walks.  Maybe he's saving that performance for Minnesota.  Yeah, that's what he's doing.  He's got flair!  I just hope the Twins don't overreact to one bad start and send him away.  I don't think that's likely, so I'm not even going to address it further. 
I'm not sure when this happened, but I've become a pretty big Trevor Plouffe fan.  I've been impressed with him this season.  His batting average is still nothing special, but he's improved his walk rate enough to post a respectable OBP.  In fact, his .322 OBP is just slightly higher than the AL average (.319).  His SLG is better than the AL average, thanks to 31 doubles.  He only has 8 home runs, but his HR/FB% is down about five percentage points from his career rate.

Most importantly, he's become an adequate defender at third.  He doesn't have a ton of range, but he makes routine plays.  His arm is no longer a danger to the fans behind first, which is great because his arm has always been very strong, just not very accurate. 

I tweeted earlier this week that Plouffe would be on pace for about a 3.5 rWAR season.  He did miss some games, so he won't get there.  Only 7 third basemen reached 3.5 rWAR or better in 2013.  Most likely, Plouffe won't be the Twins' third baseman at this time next season, but he's rounded into a pretty nice player.  My question to you - is Trevor Plouffe, based on his first-round pedigree, a disappointment?  I'm curious what everyone thinks.  I'll weigh in later.  I need a sandwich.

Youth Movement
While May's debut did not go well, it does seem to signify that the Twins are furthering their "youth movement."  Kennys Vargas made his debut just a couple weeks back.  Ryan Pressley is back on the roster.  Danny Santana is basically the starting center fielder.  The Twins have even taken looks at Logan Darnell and Jorge PolancoEduardo Escobar has proved that he's an MLB player in some capacity.  Oswaldo Arcia has awesome hair.  Every player in this paragraph is either 25 or younger. 

As I wrote last week, I want this movement to continue.  I hope to see Alex Meyer, Michael Tonkin, Josmil Pinto and (gasp) Aaron Hicks before the season ends.  If the Twins are truly committed to seeing what they have in their young, on-the-cusp players, then those four should be on the MLB team before too many games pass by. 

Former Twin Update - Kevin Correia
Well, well, well, the Twins found a taker for Mr. Correia.  The Dodgers now employ two of the more maligned former Twins of the past decade in Correia and Drew Butera.  I bid Correia a very fond adieu.  I was extremely critical of his signing, but I have been very satisfied with his performance over the last two seasons.  I could try to explain my feelings with my words, but why do that when someone else nailed it:


Weekly Josmil Pinto Update
I'm adding this section and including it every Monday until Pinto is recalled.  Hopefully, there aren't many updates. 

Pinto was 0-4 on Sunday, completely justifying this section.  However, if you throw out that game, he had hit .357/.444/.643 in five games this week.  He had four doubles.  He had a sacrifice fly.  That kind of selfless play goes a long way with coaches and managers. 

I know, there's nowhere to put Pinto right now.  He isn't polished enough to catch and Kennys Vargas is about to become the full-time DH with Joe Mauer (remember that guy) coming back this week.  I don't care.  Find a way.  Listen to A Tribe Called Quest (or Amy Grant) for inspiration. 

Fun Stat - Doubles
Eduardo Escobar is tied with Jose Abreu for 10th in the AL with 29 doubles.  It seems like a good time to remind everyone that he was behind Pedro Florimon on the depth chart when the season started.  Pedro Florimon was batting .108/.194/.154 when the Twins finally switched to Escobar on May 7. 

Just a reminder -

Some of us were ahead of the curve.  Please play this song while you think about that.  

Let's Get Excited About a Prospect - Max Murphy
Two Minor League sections?  The MLB club isn't too great, I think it's justified.  Murphy was so good at Appalachian League Baseball that he was promoted to Cedar Rapids a couple weeks back.  He was batting .298/.365/.489 for the Kernels going into Sunday's game.  His plate discipline isn't great, as he has 18 strikeouts with just one walk. 

Wait, how can his OBP be so much higher than his batting average with just one walk?  He's been hit by four pitches in 52 plate appearances.  He was hit six times in the Appy League.  He's been great at getting hit, which might be a replicable skill, right?  Does this guy just have one of those faces?  If so, he should probably roll with it.  If he can add 40 points to his OBP by being "hit-able," then he could be set. 

Plugging My Way
You know that feeling when you're really proud of something and then it takes you 15 seconds to find something better?  On Friday, I wrote about the Twins selecting their 5th hot dog.  I thought it was pretty clever.  Then, I went to Twinkie Town later that morning and read this piece by RandBall's Stu and I realized that I am but a tadpole to his giant, agile frog.  Read them both, but I'm going to be honest, I enjoyed the Jade Idol piece more. 

Parting Thoughts
The Twins were leading in the 9th inning against the Padres on Wednesday.  I had a tweet fired up because that win would have put the Twins on a 75-win pace.  Of course, they didn't win that game, then they lost three of four in Oakland.

Now, they're on a 72-win pace.  That's still better than the last three seasons, but not the big improvement I was expecting.  Plus, the Twins have been known to coast through September.  It's looking like another sub-70-win season.  Hopefully, it's the last one.  Have a great week, everyone!


  1. Plouffe as a first rounder was slightly subpar, but not by much. The Twins have gotten three solid years of above replacement play out of him. Many people feel that a first rounder has to be a perennial All Star to be a worthwhile pick, but that doesn't always happen. However, absolute busts do happen more often than not. Look at Travis Lee, for example. So, hey, he made it to the Twins, he made positive contributions, he improved over time. I wish it had been four or five years, but hey, wasn't bad.

    1. Yep, I think I feel almost exactly the same way. I wish he was a superstar, but with the 20th overall pick, he didn't turn out badly. If you look at all the guys drafted 20th overall since Plouffe, Plouffe might out-WAR the combined lot of them.

  2. Wow - the Twins are moving people! First Correia, and now Willingham! Looking at Jason Adams' numbers, doesn't seem like a great return on the investment, but the Royals did recently promote him from AA to AAA, so they must have liked something about him.

    In addition to that, I'm visiting my parents in Dakota, and watching the Twins right now, and Mauer just hit a clutch two run double in his first game since coming off the DL. The Twins are feeling like they have some better days ahead of them, for a change.