Changes or additions to the site

  • See stats of your favorite Twins in the blue box on the right hand side of the page called “Offseason Leagues Stats” . 11/30/2018
  • New Twins trivia quiz added to Twins Trivia Questions page called “Twins in the 80’s”. 11/20/2018
  • Check how Twins minor league players are doing in Winter leagues by going to the “Offseason Leagues Stats” button on right-hand side of page. 10/23/201
  • I finally broke down and joined Twitter, you can follow me at @Stoke63538501
  • The Twins Minor League History Page has been updated. 10/14/2018

Please vote for Cesar Tovar in this year’s Twins Hall of Fame voting. And as they say in Chicago, vote early and vote often. Thank you! Voting ends January 4, 2019. Come on, vote for Pepe now.

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Is Bryce Harper the biggest Scott Boras flimflam ever?

Scott Boras and Bryce Harper – Credit Getty Images

 

I know this won’t be popular but I will say it anyway, Bryce Harper is not worth $350 to $400 million and any team that signs him for that amount will pay dearly and not only from a financial perspective.

I grant you that Harper is just 26 years old and baseball wisdom says that his best years are ahead of him. However; you would be a fool to ignore history, Harper has played for Washington for seven seasons and he has averaged 132 games a year, (81% of the schedule) he has exceeded 150 games twice. His 2015 MVP season was his one great season and Harper has hit 30+ home runs just twice, has 100 RBI once and he has a .279 career average. If you look at 2015 as an outlier season in which his WAR was 10.0, his other six seasons average out to a WAR of 2.9. 

Harper is an above average player but he has not shown that he is the super-star that the experts predicted so why pay him like he is a player like no one before him? Harper’s work ethic has also been questioned in the past. Harper is player that plays for Harper and the team is secondary, the Washington Nationals will be a better team without him and they won’t be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars to boot. A win-win situation for the Nationals and their fans.

Scott Boras will find a way to make Bryce Harper a richer man, he always does, because there is a sucker born every minute, but this might be the best hustle ever by today’s version of P.T. Barnum.

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Keep the “shift” in baseball and quit crying about it

(Original Caption) This photo diagram shows the positions of the Cleveland infield and outfield in the so-called “Cleveland Shift” defense against terrible hitting of Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox during the game in Boston. This photo was made after Williams had found a chink in the defense and slapped one to the left for a single. Left fielder case of the Indians recovered the ball to hold Williams on first. The Indians won the game 6-3.

I am not a huge fan of the shift in baseball but now that it is here and used as often as it is, MLB should keep its hands off of it. I know there a lot of players that don’t like it and there are rumors floating around that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred would like to see it be eliminated. I have no idea if this rumor is real or just fake news but I think baseball should just let it be.

As a long time fan I think it is odd to see the team in the field set up so different then I have normally seen baseball played but we all need to be willing to see our game change. Some changes are for the better and maybe some are not but that is how life goes.

The pitching mound was lowered in the past and the strike zone has been adjusted several times. Players in the field used bigger and better gloves now then they had in the past.

The bottom line in a baseball game is that you need to score more runs than the other team to win the game. The players in the field should be allowed to line up any way they want to best get the batter out. 

Hitters need to adjust and learn how to counteract the different shifts. MLB players are professionals, they need to quit crying and start learning how to hit the ball the other way or maybe just bunt now and then. Baseball is not just about hitting the ball over the fence. What happened to “there is no crying in baseball”?

Why Baseball Revived A 60-Year-Old Strategy Designed To Stop Ted Williams

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Jonathan Schoop now a Minnesota Twin

Jonathan Schoop

The Minnesota Twins confirmed yesterday that they have signed free agent second baseman and Curacao native Jonathan Schoop to a one year deal. Reports state that Schoop will get $7.5 million plus incentives but there is no mention of any player or team option. 

Schoop was signed as an amateur free agent by the Baltimore Orioles in August 2008 and made his big league debut with the O’s on September 25, 2013 and was 2 for 3 with a home run, three runs scored and a RBI.

The Orioles traded Schoop to the Milwaukee Brewers at the July 31 trade deadline last year to help the Brew Crew in their playoff run but Schoop was not the player the Brewers hoped for and he hit just .202 in 46 games. The arbitration eligible Schoop was not tendered by the Brewers and thus became a free agent.

Jonathan Schoop has played in 681 big league games and has a career batting average of .258 with 110 home runs playing most as a second baseman but he has also played at short and at third base in the big leagues. Although he has no Gold Gloves on his resume he is regarded as a good second baseman. 

I think the 27 year-old Jonathan Schoop who goes by the nickname of “Mamba” is a very nice addition to the Minnesota Twins and should help the team in 2019. I tend to think that Schoop will be more like the Oriole player he has been versus the Brewer player he was in the second half of last season in the National League. If worse come to worse and the Twins are playing terrible baseball in 2019 he can always be traded but I don’t see that happening as I think the Twins will be one of the big surprises in 2019.

Ronald Torreyes

The Twins also announced that they had signed free agent infielder Ronald Torreyes. The 26-year old Venezuela native has played parts of four seasons in Major League Baseball with the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, hitting .281 (162-for-576) with 30 doubles, six triples, four home runs and 56 RBIs in 229 career games.

 Fancred’s Jon Heyman adds that the deal will be with $800k if Torreyes makes the Major League team. Dan Hayes of The Athletic further clarifies that it’s a split Major League contract for Torreyes, who does have a minor league option remaining.

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Astudillo tearing it up in Venezuela

Willians Astudillo – Credit AVS Photo Report

Willians Astudillo is knocking the cover off the ball with Caribes de Anzoátegui of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. The 27-year-old Astudillo has appeared in 38 games, mostly as a catcher and is hitting .350 with four home runs and 30 RBI in 143 AB’s and has a .898 OPS. But it is the strikeouts isn’t it? You want to know how many times he has struck out. The answer is ONCE! I can’t wait to watch him up close and personal in spring training.

The man has less than a 100 big league at bats but is already a legend in Twins Territory.

Check out all the offseason stats for Minnesota Twins organization players in the blue box on the right hand-side of the page called “Offseason Leagues stats”.

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Best seasons by Twins position players & pitchers

As the Twins prepare for their 59th season of play in Minnesota we should look back and be thankful for some great seasons these players have given us in the past. I am using B-R Play Index to come up with the ten greatest seasons by Minnesota Twins players over the years and I am once again using WAR as the tool to do this. I think you might be surprised at some of these. Continue reading

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2018 Twins Turkey of the Year is:

The 2018 baseball season is in the books, free agents everywhere are sitting back and waiting for the offers to pour in, a number of teams (including our Twins) have hired new managers. The temperature is 31 degrees outside and there is a slight coating of snow on the ground here in Plymouth so we know it is time to start sorting our candidates for the 2018 Twins Turkey of the Year.

The Twins finished in second place again this season behind the Cleveland  Indians. This past season the Twins were 78-84 as compared to 85-77 in 2017 and this year they were just 13 games back as compared to 17 games behind the year previous. Yet the 2018 Twins were looked on as failures as compared to the 2017 team that was a Wild Card participant albeit for just the one game against the New York Yankees. Manager Paul Molitor was the American League Manager of the Year in 2017 and after the 2018 season ended he found himself unemployed along with most of his coaching staff after signing a new three-year contract just a year earlier. Twins fans were unhappy and attendance dropped to its lowest point since 2004 at the Metrodome. Meanwhile the Twins Front Office added to staff and continued the “new ways of fielding a winning team” such as increasing the number of shifts, playing four outfielders here and there and jumping on the new “opener” strategy employed by teams such as Tampa Bay and Oakland.   Continue reading

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Looking back at the Minnesota Twins in the 60’s

The Minnesota Twins started play in 1961 after moving from Washington D.C. where they were known as the Washington Senators. In their final year as the Senators in 1960 the team had a 73-81 record. Between 1946 and 1960 they had one, just one, winning season and that was in 1952 when they barely made it over the .500 mark with a 78-76 record.

Nevertheless the baseball fans of Minnesota were excited about getting a major league team (some might disagree with that description) to move to their state. Team owner Calvin Griffith felt he had some good young players that were just starting to make their mark.

The 1961 team was managed by Cookie Lavagetto until he was fired by Griffith after a 23-36 start and replaced by coach Sam Mele. The team went on to finish seventh in the ten team American League with a 70-90 mark and 38 games out of first place. The team won 91 games in both 1962 and 1963 but in 1964 they fell back to a 79-83 record and fans were calling for manager Mele to hit the road. However; Griffith stuck with his man and in 1965 Mele’s Twins won 102 games and found themselves in the World Series playing the Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale led Los Angeles Dodgers. The Twins came out on the short end of that Series losing four games to three but baseball was exciting in Minnesota. 

The 1966 Twins were not able to defend their 1965 pennant and finished with a 89 win season but they were nine games behind the Baltimore Orioles. The 1967 season saw the American League with a pennant race like none before it with the Red Sox, Twins, Tigers, White Sox and Angels battling down to the very end of the season. The Twins started the season at just 25-25 and that was not what the Twins owner was expecting so he fired Mele and brought Cal Ermer to lead his team. The team responded to Ermer and had a one game lead with two games to play with the Red Sox at Fenway Park and they lost both games allowing the Red Sox to win the 1967 AL pennant by one game over Minnesota and Detroit, three games over the White Sox and 7.5 games over the Angels.

The Twins started the 1968 season with six straight wins, five of them on the road but that was their high-water mark for the season and when the season ended so did the managing career of Cal Ermer. Less than two weeks later Calvin Griffith hired Billy Martin as his new manager.

1969 saw the AL break in two divisions with the Twins being part of the six team AL West along with the Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, California Angels, Seattle Pilots, and the Kansas City Royals. 1969 was also the first season that had a best of five ALCS. In this case the West Division winning Twins played the East Division winning Baltimore Orioles and the Twins lost all three games. They lost the first game in Baltimore in 12 innings 4 to 3, the lost game two again in Baltimore in 11 innings 1 to 0 and their third and final game was a blowout 11-2 loss at the Met when Billy Martin went on a hunch and started Bob Miller, a part-time starter/reliever and he lasted just 1.2 innings. Martin’s decision to start Miller turned out to be one of the key reasons he would be fired by Griffith after just one season.

The Twins played winning baseball (.542) in the 60’s and had a record of 789-666. So who were the key Twins hitters and pitchers in the Twins first decade of baseball in the Minnesota? It is difficult to determine the value that a player brings to the team without being arbitrary so the best way that I know of to measure a players worth is WAR. I know of lot of you either don’t like it and don’t know how it is calculated exactly (either do I), but if we apply the same measurement to everyone it will serve our purpose here. The position player with the highest WAR for the period of 1961-1969 probably is no surprise to anyone, it is Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew and the pitcher for that same time period is Jim Kaat. Continue reading

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Twins Filling Coaching Ranks

The Twins announced four new coaches to manager Rocco Baldelli‘s staff yesterday, as they hired Wes Johnson (pitching coach), Jeremy Hefner (bullpen coach), Tony Diaz (third-base coach) and Tommy Watkins (first-base coach). The Twins had retained hitting coach James Rowson, assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez and bench coach Derek SheltonContinue reading

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Joe Mauer calls it a career and a fine one it was

I was watching the KARE 11 News the other day (November 9) when they announced the breaking news that Joe Mauer had announced his retirement. It caught me by surprise but yet I wasn’t surprised at all, it was still kind of shocking. Joe Mauer has been in the sports news in Minnesota since I first heard of him in the late 90’s when he played and starred in three sports at Cretin-Derham Hall High School.

Then Mauer was drafted number 1 overall by the Minnesota Twins in the 2001 June amateur free agent draft. He spent 2001 playing for Elizabethton in the Rookie League, in 2002 he was in Low A ball with Quad Cities in the Midwest League, and in 2003 he started the season with High A Ft. Myers before being bumped up to AA New Britain.

In 2004 the Baseball America number 1 overall rated prospect Joe Mauer made the Twins team in spring training bypassing AAA ball and was the Twins Opening Day catcher on April 5 at the Metrodome in front of 49,584 Twins fans as a 21 year-old. Mauer hit eighth in the line-up that day getting a walk, a strikeout, a walk, and then two singles in his five plate appearances against the Cleveland Indians. Indians starter CC Sabathia was sharp that night and limited the Twins to just two hits over seven innings and was pulled with a 4-0 lead after throwing 104 pitches. The Twins however came back with four runs in the bottom of the eighth sending the game into extra-innings. In the bottom of the eleventh inning Jacque Jones struck out, Matt LeCroy walked, Joe Mauer walked, Cristian Guzman struck out before Shannon Stewart hit a walk-off three-run home run off Chad Durbin for a Twins 7-4 win over the Indians. Joe’s big league career was underway.

Mauer’s second big league game was not on local TV thanks to Victory Sports and it ongoing negotiations with cable and satellite providers, what a game to miss. The Twins won 7-6 in the 15th inning on a bases loaded two out walk-off single by Jose Offerman off Indians reliever Jake Westbrook after five hours of baseball was played. Joe Mauer was the starting catcher and singled in the third inning but was pinch-run for at that point by Henry Blanco. Earlier in the inning Mauer had raced back for a foul ball pop-up and slid in front of the wall on the rubber warning track behind home plate and heard a “pop” in his left knee. By the time the game ended the home-town Twins had lost Mauer, Johan Santana, and Torii Hunter due to injuries. After the game it was thought that Mauer’s injury was just a mild sprain. However; the next day Mauer went on the DL, the first of ten times he will see his name on the DL during his 15 year big league career. A few days later, April 8th, Joe ends up having surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear in his left knee. Mauer returns to the line-up on June 2 but continues to have trouble off and on with the knee swelling and he plays in his final 2004 game on July 15 and his first season as a Twin ends after just 35 games but in that short period he showed all of us what kind of bat he had as he hit .308 in 107 at bats.

Mauer went on to become a six-time All-Star, win three batting titles, win 5 Silver Slugger awards, win three Gold Gloves, and won the 2009 AL MVP award. Mauer start playing first base periodically starting in 2011 and became a regular at first base in 2014 after concussion problems forced him to give up his catchers gear after the 2013 season. Joe made one more appearance as a catcher in a Twins uniform in his final game in 2018 albeit for just one pitch. Many wondered if it was his last game for the Minnesota Twins but Mauer stuck to his guns and said he would decide soon, on November 9 he did just that with a letter to the fans.

Joe Mauer is one of those players that comes along once in a generation but yet took more than his share of abuse from home-town fans in spite of his baseball skills primarily for two reasons, his $184 million eight-year deal he signed in 2010 and the fact that he didn’t play every day. Catchers don’t play every day but fans thought that if you make $23 million a year you best have your butt on the field day in and day out. To his credit Joe never complained.

As is true with may players, their star shines more brightly after they have retired. I remember Harmon Killebrew being criticised for striking out too often, being slow, and poor in the field. Rod Carew was said to be a terrible baserunner and had a surly attitude. We are talking Hall of Fame players here.

That brings up a good point, is Joe Mauer going into the MLB Hall of Fame? He is borderline and the fact that he had to leave his natural position as a catcher due to injury and become a light-hitting first baseman does not work in his favor. That said, his numbers, skills, and longevity are a plus. If I had to bet I would say that yes, Joe Mauer will be a Hall of Famer and here is why. It can be argued that Mauer was the best catcher in baseball when he was forced to change positions due to concussion issues. Concussions are a big deal in sports today and will be looked upon as valid issues in the future. Another reason and maybe even more important is Joe Mauer’s personality. Everybody loves the wholesome All-American boy who pushed milk in ads and that all of baseball respected. Heck, he was never even ejected from any of his 1,858 big league games. Mauer was alway Mr. Clean on and off the field, if he ever did anything bad, only he knows.

Good luck Joe Mauer as you move to another phase of your life, I sure hope we will be seeing a lot of you around Hammond Stadium and Target Field in the future.

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Who was this Twins player?

“The Golden Glove” sculpture sits outside Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins.  (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

What Twins player holds the Minnesota Twins record for committing the most errors in a single season? How many errors did he have and what year did this happen?

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