Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Minnesota Twins Rain Delay Special

Thanks to Al Gore, it's been raining for the last eight weeks.  As a result, the Twins haven't played since Saturday.  That doesn't give a Twins blog-guy much to write about, so I came up with some rain delay programming.  If you really need a baseball fix, here's a link to the Monday Morning Madness from earlier this week.

I often comment on how players wear their caps.  In fact, I've been critical of how players wear their caps in the past.  Former Twins' center fielder Ben Revere was a player I often singled out.  Here's a picture of Mr. Revere wearing his cap:

Revere doesn't wear his cap poorly, he just has style.  I have no style whatsoever, so whatever Revere wants to do with his cap is totally cool with me.  However, his solid cap-wearing did inspire me to look at how other Twins players wear their caps.

Let's start with the most straight-laced player in the history of the Twins, Mr. Joe Mauer:

Nothing special here.  The guy just wears his hat centered with an adequate amount of curve on the bill.  No fuss, no muss.  Here's another player with a pretty straight-forward hat, Mr. Wild Sam Deduno:

Pretty shocking.  You'd think Deduno's cap would be all over the place, but I guess he wants to keep at least one part of his game predictable.  He wears his cap a little lower than Mr. Mauer, but he keeps it right down the middle of the head strike zone.  

These two just wear caps like one would expect.  Right down the middle, some curve to keep the sun out, logo visible, nothing fancy.

The rest of the team has a little more flash, a little more style, a little more individuality.  For instance, Brian Dozier wears his cap high upon his beautiful mane.  He doesn't sport the curly locks any longer, but when he does, he needs to be able to keep his cap from messing his hair.  Now Mike Pelfrey, well, he has the ability to shrink his entire head beneath his collar.  Like a turtle.  It's really something.  Of course, not to be outdone, Eduardo Escobar can actually draw his entire body into his cap, like a super turtle, or ninja turtle, if you will.  Check these three out:

Adaptations!  I don't remember that Target Field sign.  It must be new.

If Pelfrey or Escobar get scared, they can retreat with ease.  Of course, not all of the Twins wear their caps as a survival mechanism.  Oswaldo Arcia likes to show off his hair too, but also prefers to not lug around a heavy cap.  Chris Colabello didn't work his butt off for nearly a decade in Independent Ball to lose his cap now.

 Some of the Twins don't even wear their caps out of survival or necessity, some wear their caps for style.  The new style in cap-wearing is to leave the tags on.  Well, Trevor Plouffe takes that to a whole new level by actually adding tags to his cap:

Aaron Hicks doesn't wear a standard cap.  He actually requires his cap to be painted on the top of his head.  Unfortunately, his painter doesn't know what a baseball cap looks like and does know what Cap'n Crunch's cap looks like:

Phil Hughes doesn't approve of logos and he takes that disapproval very seriously:

Finally, Glen Perkins will not be outdone:

Now that we've investigated the Twins' caps, we can come to only one conclusion:  We need actual baseball games.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Morning Madness: April 28, 2014

Weekend Recap

Rain is stupid.  The Twins lost the opportunity to win their series against the Tigers because rain had to be such a massive jag.  By the way, the Dodgers series is in danger.  Here's the forecast from my weather app:


Thus, the Twins split the two-game series with the Tigers.  The Twins got one good start and won and one bad start and they lost.  It's almost like this starting pitching thing is important or something.  Let's look at some individual performances. 

If Ricky Nolasco was the "safe" signing this offseason, then Phil Hughes was the "home run" signing.  He's young, talented and has been inconsistent.  So far, he's been those three things in 2014.  He was great on Saturday.  He gave up two runs (one earned) in the first and then shut down a very solid Tigers offense for the next six innings.  He struck out six without issuing a walk, running his season totals in those categories to 26 and 6, respectively.  Hughes will always be more FIP-champ than ERA-champ, but he's certainly capable of great starts like this one.  I've given up the hope that he'll greatly exceed expectations, but I think he will have a handful of truly great starts each season.  

Brian Dozier is having a great, but super weird season.  The easiest of his weirdness to see is the fact that he has seven home runs but just nine RBI.  On pace statements are kind of stupid, but he's on pace for 49 home runs and just 63 RBI.  I'm going to go ahead and assume he doesn't get to those exact figures. 

Dozier currently sports a .217 batting average and a .217 BABIP.  He's also taken a ton of walks (more on that later) and scored a bunch of runs.  He currently has a 124 OPS+.  As a result, he's on pace for a bunch of additional weirdness. 

If Dozier's batting average holds and he maintains most of his run scoring pace, he would have the lowest batting average of any player with at least 100 runs since 1961.  Currently, Curtis Granderson owns that distinction with a .232 batting average and 102 runs scored back in 2012. 

In addition, if Dozier maintains his batting average and OPS+, he would have the second-lowest batting average of any player with an OPS+ greater than or equal to 124 (also since 1961).  Currently, Gene Tenace and his .211 batting average and 130 OPS+ in 1974 owns this weird title. 

The conclusion:  Brian Dozier is weird.

Josmil Pinto

Not a lot of analysis here, just awe.  Pinto has impressive power.  His home run in the 8th inning of Saturday's game was a bomb.  Pinto doesn't hit "just barely" home runs.  His homers go well over the fence.  Currently, Pinto is hitting a home run on over 22% of his career fly balls, a rate that will not continue.  That said, his power looks pretty real to me.  He may not keep up a 35-home run-pace, but I'd say he's a lock for 20-25 if he keeps getting at-bats. 


Former Twin Update - A.J. Pierzynski

The Twins were rumored to be interested in Pierzynski in the offseason, but he chose to sign with the defending champion Boston Red Sox.  I suppose that's logical.  The Twins settled for Kurt Suzuki and he's been great so far.  What about All-Star A.J.?  About what you would expect.  He's making good contact, he's barely walking, he's got occasional power, he's probably bugging people, you know, his normal routine.  Pierzynski's fine, but at nearly a third of the price, I'll take Suzuki. 

Random Link - The Twins are watching...pitches

Dave Cameron at FanGraphs had a pretty interesting article on the Twins' patience at the plate this season.  He noted that the Twins hadn't utilized the walk as an offensive weapon in the past, despite having one of the most famous walkers (Joe Mauer) on their roster.  However, this year, the Twins have the highest walk rate in the majors and the second-highest OBP.  In addition, they are swinging at pitches at the lowest rate in the majors.  You can read more here. 

This is interesting to me because the Twins are basically admitting that they don't have batters talented enough to drive in runs, so they'll be patient and generate runs by volume of baserunners.  If that's true, it will be interesting to see if they keep this philosophy as younger, more talented hitters start to join the team.  It seems to be working right now and Joe Mauer has proved how it can work for a more talented hitter.  Regardless, it's been noticeable and effective this year, so I'll support this new approach. now and going forward.

Randon Top 7 List - Walks

Speaking of walks, one of the Twins who has embraced this patient philosophy the most is Brian Dozier.  Dozier has 19 walks on the season, getting closer to the Twins' record for most walks in April.  Here's a chart with the top 8 walk totals in Twins' April history:

1 Chuck Knoblauch 1997 26 27 26 121 90 18 22 4 2 2 11 12 .244 .421 .400 36 2 2
2 Matt Lawton 2001 24 24 22 99 73 21 19 3 0 2 7 12 .260 .444 .384 28 1 2
3 Justin Morneau 2010 21 21 21 96 75 18 26 5 1 5 17 14 .347 .490 .640 48 0 2
4 Brian Dozier 2014 23 19 23 113 92 24 20 1 0 7 9 26 .217 .354 .457 42 1 0
5 Roy Smalley 1980 20 19 20 91 69 15 18 2 0 6 16 14 .261 .418 .551 38 1 1
6 Dave Hollins 1996 25 19 24 103 82 19 24 4 0 7 22 18 .293 .437 .598 49 2 3
7 Harmon Killebrew 1969 20 18 20 88 68 14 21 4 0 4 17 11 .309 .455 .544 37 1 4
8 Shannon Stewart 2004 19 18 19 94 75 12 23 3 0 2 13 8 .307 .436 .427 32 0 3
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/27/2014.

Dave Hollins sighting!  It would be nearly impossible for Dozier to catch Knoblauch, but he could pass Morneau for third with a couple of patient games against the Dodgers (if the rain cooperates).  Josmil Pinto would join this list with one more walk, as would Joe Mauer.  What a month!

Let's Get Excited About a Prospect! - Jorge Polanco

We hear a lot about Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Alex Meyer but the Twins have a ridiculous farm system with lesser known guys at every level who are truly exciting.  Jorge Polanco is currently playing at High-A Fort Myers and he's lighting things up.  Through Saturday's game, Polanco is hitting .354/.446/.532 with two home runs, six doubles and more walks than strikeouts.  He's 20.  This guy is going to be in the Twins' middle infield in the near future and he could be a star. 

Also, he's played primarily as a shortstop in 2014 and in 19 games he's made just...well, he's made 10 errors.  He's not perfect.  No one is. 

Baseball Card from the Past

I was thinking about Studio baseball cards this weekend.  I'm not sure why.  These cards were interesting because they weren't taken on the field, but in a photo studio.  There are plenty of seductive poses and players hugging their bats, but this Rick Aguilera card is my favorite. 

If it's possible to stare of a hole through a someone's face within a baseball card, this might be the example.  Just keep staring right into his eyes and you'll learn the meaning of life. 

Plugging My Way

I brought back the Power Rankings last Friday, counting down the ten best Twins performances thus far.  Brian Dozier was the winner, and I'll give you that one for free.  Also for free, the entire list, which you can find right here.  I mean, I guess you do have to click a button, so it's not completely free.  It won't cost you any money at least.  Pedro Florimon was not on the list, in case you were wondering.  I'll save you that time. 

Parting Thought

Last season, the Twins made it through 36 games with a .500 record.  They lost game 36 and then the next eight to fall well below that mark.  How far can the Twins make it with a .500 or better record this season?  I'm not sure, but I don't see a lot of 9-game losing streaks in their future.  The offense has been too patient and the pitching is just too capable, even if they are also capable of being terrible.  I thought the Twins would win 75 games in 2014 and I'm not ready to bump that figure just yet.  I do feel better about that prediction though.

Have a great week, everyone! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Minnesota Twins April Power Rankings!

Welcome to the first official Power Rankings of the young season.  On the last Friday of every month, I'll count down the 10 best Twins' performances up to that point in the season.  Today, we'll look at the Twins through three weeks.  I'm not going to do any projecting, I'm basing these rankings solely on how the players have performed.  BABIPs and FIPs be darned!  Well, maybe I'll cite those stats when they support my argument.  BIAS!  Anyway, let's count down the 10 best Twins through the Twins' series with Tampa Bay.

NR.  Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer's 2014 season hasn't been the derailed train that crashed into a tire fire while covered in octopus' ink that it's been made out to be, but there's no doubt that he hasn't been one of the ten best Twins players to this point.  His strikeout rate is alarmingly high and while he's still getting on base and scoring runs, he has almost no power and he hasn't been great with the glove.  That said, I'd put money on Mauer being in the top 3 when I do this in May.  He's too talented to slump for seven weeks.  Put me in the "not worried" camp.   

Brian Duensing's demise appears to have been a bit exaggerated.  He wasn't great in 2013, but there were plenty of factors that pointed toward some bad luck and some potential regression on the horizon.  Duensing has yet to give up a run and he's pitched an inning or more in five of his eight appearances.  While he's only thrown 9 and 2/3 innings, that volume of good innings on this staff is practically worthy of team Cy Young consideration.    

While he has allowed a hilarious five of seven inherited runners to score, he hasn't given up many runs of his own and his ERA currently sits below two.  Deduno does not seem like a particularly good fit for high-leverage relief innings, but as a mop-up guy, he could actually provide some interesting value.  Case in point, he came in after a short Kyle Gibson start on Tuesday, let all of Gibson's runners score, then threw four shutout innings, striking out two and walking just one.  I'm 100% certain that Deduno finds his way into the rotation at some point, but I think this long-man role is a better fit for Deduno's "effectively wild' shtick. 

Perkins blew his first save opportunity of the season on April 2, then he gave up another two runs in a blowout win on April 5.  After that game, his ERA sat at 12.  Since then, he's thrown eight shutout innings, notching four saves while striking out twelve and walking just one batter.  Basically, he's the same nasty ol' nasty Perkins.  That doesn't sound nice, but I swear it's meant as a compliment.  He was particularly nasty in this most recent series against Tampa Bay.  He earned two saves by pitching two innings, striking out three and allowing no baserunners.  He needed just 20 pitches to complete those two innings.  Filthy.  Nasty.  Perkinsy.      

Suzuki made a grand debut as a Twin with four RBI and a .500 average in his first two games.  He's cooled off significantly, which is annoying because I had 5,000 "Kurt Suzuki is better than Ted Williams" t-shirts printed in early April and now I'm worried if I'll be able to sell them.  My lack of foresight, business sense, common sense, and intelligence aside, Suzuki has done a nice job as the Twins' regular catcher.  He's not good at pitch framing, but he handles the rest of the defensive responsibilities quite nicely.  While I think he finishes the season as a backup, his presence on the roster is a positive. 

Who doesn't love a good reclamation project?  You break out that old bench, polish it up, add some lacquer (?), sand it (?) and BOOM, you have a newer bench.  Jason Kubel = New Old Bench.  I'm not very handy.  Kubel has come in handy though!  He's hit for some power and driven in some runs.  His defense is...well, he can physically play defense and that's just a nice thing for him to do.  With the injuries the Twins have had in the outfield, it's nice that Kubel has been able to produce at the plate. 

Pinto seems to be one of those guys who just won't accept a part-time role.  Last year, he wasn't going to be the everyday catcher in September.  Then, he hit like a Wildman (specifically, Wildman Marc Mero) and forced his way into regular activity.  This year, it seemed that Pinto would get a start every third day or so and maybe a DH start every now and then if Ron Gardenhire wanted to put a cigarette out on his wrist.  Pinto was all "hey man, I'm just going to play a lot because I'm really good" and no one can really argue with him. 

He's shown impressive power, excellent plate discipline and a winning smile.  His defense at catcher hasn't been great, but that's an area of development and we all knew that coming into the season.  DON'T ACT LIKE YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT!   

Brandon Warne, who is doing some writing for the Pioneer Press, articulated something that I was noticing this season in regards to Plouffe's approach to hitting.  While I was all "duh, he looks different," Warne wrote this really great article that you should read.  In short, Plouffe is using the whole field instead of pulling everything.  This approach is not only helping his batting average, it's leading to much improved plate discipline.  Compared to 2013, his strikeout rate is way down and his walk rate is over twice as high.  These are the adjustments that take a hitter from "fringe regular" to "everyday player."  If these developments hold all season long, Plouffe will turn in a very nice season. 

3.  Kyle Gibson

Tuesday's rough start aside, Gibson has been the Twins' best starter and it hasn't been remotely close.  His first three starts established Gibson as one of the better ground ball pitchers in the American League and he currently ranks in the top ten in that category among qualified AL starters.  In addition, he has not allowed a home run this season and his strikeout rate has been slowly climbing as the starts go by.  Gibson should continue to be the Twins' best starter.  He actually could get better if he can get his walks under control.     

Tying Kirby Puckett's April record for RBI isn't enough to get to the number one spot?  Hitting a home run on his Mom's birthday while she's being interviewed isn't enough for the number one spot?  Slugging nearly .550 isn't enough for the number one spot?  Yep.  Colabello has been the Twins' best hitter so far but his defense leaves a lot to be desired.  The number one guy is deserving and we'll get to him in a second, but Colabello is certainly worthy of number one consideration himself.  He went 0-5 on Thursday, but everyone has a bad game.  It was probably Colabello's first bad game in 2014.  He's earned a ton of playing time and I have no idea how the Twins can keep him out of the lineup even when the whole team is healthy.  He looks legit. 

How can a guy hitting .224 lead the list of best Twins performances?  A 16.3% walk rate leading to a .356 OBP.  Six home runs that are contributing to a .447 slugging percentage.  22 runs scored, setting the table from the leadoff spot quite nicely.  Six stolen bases and generally great baserunning.  Excellent defense?  Aaaaaaaaay, you got it.  It all adds up to a player who is hitting .224 and still third in the American League in fWAR.  In addition, Dozier's BABIP is very low, so we could be discussing an even more impressive player by May.  Good thing the Twins didn't give up on him after 2012!  

There we have it, the ten best performances thus far.  You certainly noticed the lack of balance between the batters and the pitchers.  I expect there to be better balance by May, but I'm just happy to be cheering for what looks like a pretty fun team. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

5 Players the Minnesota Twins Gave Up On Too Soon

Pining for the past is something we're all guilty of.  It's hard to see guys like Torii Hunter, David Ortiz and Carlos Gomez enjoying success with other franchises and not wonder what could have been.  When those former players are breaking out or enjoying pseudo-Hall of Fame careers, it's hard to just look the other way.  Heck, this one guy keeps writing about guys like Clete Thomas and continuously linking to it.  Like this link, which you can click. 

Since Twins fans seem to be in this mode right now, I thought this would be a great time to catch up with some guys the Twins may have given up on too soon.  I'll fill you in on what they're doing right now and how they could have helped in 2014 if the Twins' organization had just an ounce of foresight. 

Player - Brian Bass
Year with Twins - 2008
Current Age - 32

What is he up to?  Restaurateur

Bass owns and operates Brian Bass' Bombastic and Bodacious Walleye Bistro.  Since leaving baseball, Bass has used his trademark wildness to his favor, infusing delicious and bold spices into disgusting creatures that have been marinating in lake water and their own filth for their entire lives.  It may surprise you, but this fish restaurant has a great meatball stew!  Bass may have just one career MLB save, but he always saves the best for last at BBBBWB's with a delicious carrot cake that just dangles in front of the customer's taste buds, basically begging to be hit, I mean, eaten.      

Did the Twins give up too soon?

It seems like it.  Owning a restaurant requires a lot of time, perhaps indicating that the Twins and other teams had miscast Bass as a reliever.  Had he been given a starter job, he may have used his skills to post an ERA lower than 5.18.  In addition, his proclivity toward lean fish dishes could really help some of the more corpulent players on the roster (the fatties).  

Player - Jim Hoey
Year with Twins - 2011
Current Age - 31

What is he up to?  Math Teacher

Now teaching math to 9th graders in New Jersey, Hoey uses his spare time to try to prove that 7.02 isn't a very high number at all.  He's very generous with his students, handing out free passes to anyone who wants one.  His height gives him great leverage and allows him to use every inch of the chalkboard.  Lauded for his unpredictable style, his students report that they often have no idea where his math is going to go.    

Did the Twins give up too soon?

Yes, and I can prove it using the Pythagorean theorem.  With Hoey and his math skills in the fold, the Twins would be at the forefront of the now 10+-year-old sabermetric revolution.  Plus, you don't know real pressure until you try to get a group of 14 and 15-year-olds to stop texting long enough to do just one freaking practice problem. 

Player - Luis Rivas
Years with Twins - 2000-2005
Current Age - 34 (I know, it seems impossible, but he's just 34!)

What is he up to?  Real Estate Agent

Ironically, Rivas is really great at making contact with potential buyers.  His clients describe him as a having a "careful approach," an "attention to detail," and an "obscene unwillingness to make any mistakes."  In addition, he's really fast so you could imagine him adding more sales as he matures.  He just opened his own agency but some are worried that he may be too young for that responsibility.  Time will tell. 

Did the Twins give up too soon?

Obviously, yes.  It took a long time, but Rivas owns his own business now!  Who on the Twins owns their own business?  Joe Mauer's brother?  That doesn't count.  His new real estate experience will help him actually find home plate from time to time too.  If nothing else, he could help Aaron Hicks find a place in Rochester.

Player - Rob Delaney
Year with Twins - 2009
Current Age - 29

What is he up to?  Abstract Artist

Well, he's drawing and painting stuff.  Honestly, it looks like a lot of colors but I can't really make heads or tails of it.  I'm told it's really good, so I totally agree with that sentiment.  If I had known that Delaney was so creative, I might have appreciated his one game with the Twins a bit more.  He pitched that one game, popped up with Tampa Bay the following year for a gutsy and brave seven-walk in five innings performance and then disappeared into the art shadows.  It was brilliant artistry.  I think.     

Did the Twins give up too soon?

You know, I'm not sure.  I don't really understand art.  One time, I thought some art was good and I later found out that the art was actually bad.  It was really hard for me.  If Delaney was on the active roster, he could always explain his performance as "artistic" and I'd pretty much have to take his word for it.  I bet some of his teammates would be in the same boat.  OH!  Maybe we could get him to paint a picture of the whole team in a boat.  An image like that could really tie the room together/unify the team. 

Player - Jeff Gray
Year with Twins - 2012
Current Age - 32

What is he up to?  Law Student

Gray is currently studying law at Missouri State University.  While he's early in his coursework and it really isn't going all that well, his advisors are confident that he will become a better law student as he gets older for "no particular reason whatsoever and based entirely on zero facts."  The thick skin he grew while drawing the ire of every single Twins fan will help him as a law student as every single friend and family member will get immediately sick of the constant talk of law and law-related matters that all law students are legally required to engage all times.       

Did the Twins give up too soon?

It seems like it.  His new knowledge will make it a lot easier to settle debates within the Clubhouse, keeping things loose.  Who gets the corner locker?  What type of non-walleye food to provide?  Should everyone wear pants or should no one wear pants?  Why not have Gray litigate?  Plus, as an added bonus, Gray will create a unified sense of scorn as he explains the difference between libel and slander for the 500th time. 

Do you miss these former Twins?  Do you wish just a couple were still around?  Can you tell that I have a thing against law students?  If you are a law student, I deeply apologize for this slander.  As we can clearly see, these players could be providing value for the Twins right now.  Instead, they are all off engaging in other pursuits.  It's disappointing, but perhaps these five former Twins found their true callings.  I'm happy for each of them.  Except Jeff Gray.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Morning Madness: April 21, 2014

Series Recap

The Royals series didn't quite go to plan.  The Twins' starters threw almost 18 innings in three games, holding the Royals' offense in check for the most part.  However, when the Royals struck, they typically struck for multiple runs (more on that below).  The Twins managed to win the final game and therefore, they sit at 9-9 as they head to Tampa Bay to finish up this road trip.   

I'm officially worried about Aaron Hicks.  I preached patience with Hicks in 2013 all the way to the bitter end.  I preached patience this Spring and early this season.  But now, I can't ignore what I see.  He looks passive.  He looks shaken.  He looks unconfident.  I'm not in his head, so I can't truly gauge his confidence, but it doesn't look good as an observer.  His strikeout rate is far too high and he isn't driving the ball when he's actually hitting.  He's walking more, which would be a good sign if he didn't look so passive in doing so. 

He's reaching historical territory as well.  Since 1961, Hicks has the 46th most plate appearances of any player with a sub-.200 career batting average.  There are a lot of backup catchers in the list of 45 players ahead of Hicks.  If the Twins continue to give him at-bats and he doesn't pull things together soon, he could find his way into the top 20 by the All-Star break.  Here's the full list, if you're a masochist:

It's gross, be warned.

For the record, I don't think Aaron Hicks will be on this list forever.  Although, I'm starting to wonder if some time in Rochester might serve him well. 
To add to Hicks' discomfort, the Twins claimed Fuld off of waivers from the Athletics and DFA'd Darin Mastroianni.  Fuld is a slight upgrade over Mastroianni, but he's not someone who should be replacing Hicks.  I don't think he will replace Hicks, at least not at first.  However, if Hicks continues to falter at the plate, he could lose starts.  If he loses starts, I hope he gets sent to Rochester.  Fuld is a slightly more viable option than Clete Thomas and should be a decent 4th outfielder if Hicks cooperates. 

Starting Rotation

Big innings.  Crooked Numbers.  Get used to seeing them from opposing teams.  The Twins have assembled a rotation that should be better than the previous few seasons, but as we saw all weekend, they are prone to innings where the other team strings together a series of hits.  I looked at the leaders in hits per nine innings among all active starters with at least 500 career innings pitched.  Here is how the Twins' four qualified starters rank:
Many of the players in the top 40 are no longer starters at all.  If you remove all the guys who have not started a game in 2014, here is how the Twins rank:
  • Mike Pelfrey - 2nd
  • Kevin Correia - 8th
  • Ricky Nolasco - 10th
  • Phil Hughes - 22nd
For the record, Kyle Gibson would top this list, but he's about 430 innings short of 500 and will have improved his H/9 substatially by the time he gets there.  Only the Diamondbacks and Phillies have more than one starter in the top 22.  The Twins have four. 

The point of all this?  Expect the hits to keep on coming!  Sam Deduno would be in the mid-60s on this list, for the record. 


Former Twin Update - Denard Span

The Nationals activated Span from the 7-day concussion disabled list over the weekend.  Span missed just the minimum seven days after his most recent concussion, his third since becoming a regular MLB player.  I wish Span the best and I hope he's dealt with his last concussions.  Multiple concussions really worry me, but I do think the MLB concussion protocol is improved and truly designed to make sure players are healthy before resuming play.  If he's healthy (and I have to assume he is), I'm glad he's back in action. 

Random Photoshop - Easter Bunny

Easter was yesterday and in honor of that Holiday, I thought it would be fitting to photoshop a Twins player onto the Easter Bunny's body.  I thought for a good twenty minutes about who it should be or if there was a punny name I could make.  I got nothing.  Since the photoshop is supposed to be random, I truly randomized it.  Here's my proof:

I also learned that I do know the entire active roster by heart, something my wife will no doubt appreciate the next time I forget something at the grocery store.  I made this on Saturday, so my apologies to Sam Fuld.  Kevin Correia was the winner, so here he is, in honor of Easter:

Response to a Hypothetical Facebook question

Q:  How about giving some of his salary back because he never won anything but worthless stat awards and popularity contest!

Note - This, along with a ton of additional vitriol toward Joe Mauer, was written in response to a post wishing Mauer a Happy Birthday.  The nerve of the Twins to do such a thing!

A:  Well, Mauer does contribute a fair amount of money to charities, but I'm guessing that wasn't what you meant.  He COULD give some of the money back to the team, but I'm willing to bet that you also feel that the team doesn't spend enough, so what would be the point of that? 

Those "worthless stat awards" that he has won are pretty helpful toward winning baseball games, but then, is winning baseball games really a baseball player's goal?  I can't deny the popularity contest part.  I mean, the sheer volume of aggravating comments about "Mauer the Sissy" in response to some innocuous birthday wishes pretty much sum up his "popularity." 

Random Top 10 List - Destroying the Narrative

By the way, to all the "Hey Mauer, why not get an RBI for your birthday" crowd, here's a top ten list for you.  These are players with the 10 highest batting averages with runners in scoring position since 1989 (at least 2000 career PA):

1 Tony Gwynn 1044 .359 1632 1322 702 475 98 14 29 655 221 64 .434 .520 .954 688 60 70 131
2 Paul Molitor 1043 .341 1764 1430 709 488 82 14 23 622 242 164 .422 .466 .889 667 38 71 67
3 Joey Votto 620 .339 1007 762 383 258 64 2 41 365 217 165 .479 .589 1.068 449 19 21 80
4 Miguel Cabrera 1287 .334 2157 1750 710 585 123 3 91 868 334 337 .432 .564 .996 987 101 57 180
5 Joe Mauer 857 .333 1417 1089 538 363 81 5 23 518 274 157 .455 .480 .935 523 43 45 105
6 Albert Pujols 1429 .332 2376 1778 962 591 135 3 128 979 487 180 .466 .628 1.094 1116 100 81 272
7 Adrian Gonzalez 971 .328 1565 1258 505 412 90 3 64 614 249 258 .429 .556 .985 700 50 48 126
8 Manny Ramirez 1767 .327 3053 2341 1038 765 171 7 147 1248 579 491 .454 .594 1.048 1391 122 90 212
9 Mike Sweeney 1040 .327 1721 1416 556 463 96 1 66 691 216 161 .411 .536 .947 759 56 59 61
10 Barry Bonds 1862 .326 3045 1909 1276 623 129 16 140 1061 1026 294 .550 .631 1.181 1204 58 84 607
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/19/2014.

Hmm, is that Joe Mauer behind just FOUR other players in all of baseball in the last 25 years?  But...but...he doesn't drive in runs??????  Turns out, maybe he doesn't get enough opportunity in RBI situations because he certainly converts his opportunities at a high rate. 

Hey Facebook Twins fans/Mauer haters...YOU suck.

I apologize for my actions one second ago.  It won't happen again. 

Poll Results!

Thank you very much to the 14 people who voted in the last poll.  That is a truly discouraging number.  I blame myself, as it was a very self-serving poll.  Here are the results:

Question - Who will you tire of me writing about first?
  • Chris Colabello - 1 vote
  • Aaron Hicks - 1 vote
  • Eduardo Escobar - 4 votes
  • Mike Pelfrey - 3 votes
  • Some player with a name that sounds like a bird - 5 votes
Well then.  I guess my Chickie Nolasco photo will have to wait a few weeks. 

I have posted a new poll and it's much better.  Please check it out and vote it up. 

Plugging My Way (sung to the tune of Thumbing My Way by Pearl Jam)

Actually, you know what, no singing.  I wrote about Clete Thomas for one last time and I want to share it with you. 

Also, I wrote about the national perception of the Twins and why I don't think it quite matches reality.  Of course, this last weekend doesn't help my argument but whatever.  In a post about outdated opinions, it only stands to reason that I would provide an outdated opinion.

Song of the Week

With all my talk of the Afghan Whigs and their new album, I don't want Mark Lanegan to think that I am favoring one Gutter Twin over the other.  Here's one of my favorite Lanegan solo songs:

Parting Thought

Last Monday, I wrote about Kyle Gibson and his early success.  I wasn't sold on how he was achieving his success, but I was pleased with the outcome.  This past week, he pitched his best game of the season and he looked good while doing it.  I've been sold on Gibson since the Twins drafted him and I think he's going to be in the rotation for a lot of years.  One piece of the Twins' puzzle seems to be in place; will anyone else join Gibson this season?

Have a great week, everyone!