Changes or additions to the site

  • Updated running 2016 attendance number on Attendance page. 7/18/2016
  • Salaries page with updated with 2016 Forbes team valuation data. 6/10/2016
  • If you are not checking out the Linksville page regularly you are making a big mistake, some great stories there. 4/9/2016
  • Updated Twins Ticket Price History Page to include 2016. 2/24/2016
  • Added early edition of Twins 2016 Media Guide. 2/22/2016
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According to ELIAS

Hard-luck loss for Santana

Ervin Santana 2016The Twins’ Ervin Santana allowed just two runs over nine innings but the Braves kept their offense in check as Atlanta prevailed, 2-0. It’s the fifth time over the last three seasons that a Twins starter tossed a complete game and lost (Ricky Nolasco pitched one game of this type in 2014, Phil Hughes once each in 2014 and 2015, and Kyle Gibson in 2015). That’s tied with the Giants and the Indians for the most losses of this type for any team’s starting pitchers over that span.

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Twins Minor League Player of the Week – Andrew Albers

Andrew Albers 2016Rochester Red Wings (AAA) left-handed pitcher Andrew Albers is the Twins minor league Player of the Week. Albers made two starts for the Red Wings, pitching 15.0 shutout innings, allowing 14 hits, two walks and seven strikeouts, he earned the win last Saturday over Norfolk and again with a 9 inning complete game on Thursday vs. Syracuse.

The 30-year Canadian pitched for the Twins in 2014 and was released when that season ended and he then signed with Toronto. Albers became a free agent after the 2015 season and signed with Minnesota again. Albers has made 16 starts for the Red Wings this season, going 9-3, 3.14 ERA (97.1 IP, 34 ER) with two complete games, 23 walks and 63 strikeouts.  Albers is one of those “crafty lefties” with good control and whose fastball tops out at only 86 mph and is complemented by a slow curveball that he throws around 67 mph.

Twins Minor League Report July 24, 2016

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According to ELIAS

Twins finally get to Price

The Minnesota Twins rapped out 11 hits against David Price in their 11-9 win in Boston yesterday, ending years of frustration against him. Price entered the game 9-3 with a 2.12 ERA against the Twins, having won his last five starts against them. Five runs tied the most that Minnesota had ever scored against Price, and its 11 hits were three more than in any other game.

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According to ELIAS

Kepler 10 homers in last 33 games

Max Kepler

Max Kepler

Max Kepler‘s home run off Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth inning gave the Twins a 2-1 lead in their eventual 4-1 win over the Tigers yesterday. Kepler has hit 10 home runs over his last 33 games. Kepler is the fourth Twins rookie over the last 40 years to hit 10 or more homers over 1 33-game span. The other Twins rookies to do over the last 40 years are Kent Hrbek and Tom Brunansky, both in 1982, and Miguel Sano in 2015.

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Terry Ryan is gone and the sun still rises in the East

Change is comingThe sun still rose in the east this morning just as it always has but the difference is that Terry Ryan is no longer the Twins GM. Lots of Twins fans are happy that Ryan is gone and many are sad and disappointed. I am never happy to see someone lose their job, especially a job they love.

But life moves on, and almost 48 hours after the announcement I think I would like to jot down some thoughts and questions that come to mind.

Owner Jim Pohlad

Owner Jim Pohlad

My over-riding thought about the situation is that I now have a different opinion of owner Jim Pohlad. I had originally thought that he was a hands off owner and that he would let his brain-trust run the Minnesota Twins organization. Now it appears to me that is not the case, in true Pohlad fashion he is taking charge and showing everyone that he who holds the gold makes the rules. There is nothing wrong with that, just don’t try to blow smoke up my skirt saying that you let the experts run the show. What I don’t understand about this announcement is why Pohlad would tell Ryan that his contract would not be renewed after the season ended? Why tell your GM in June that his services are no longer required but that he can run the team for the rest of the season if he wishes to do so? I guess that the team just did not want to announce a “firing”, they would have preferred simply not renewing his contract. Another thing, why would Pohlad say that the only stipulation for a new GM is that Paul Molitor will manage in 2017? Only Jim Pohlad and Dave St. Peter know for sure.

Continue reading

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According to ELIAS

Milone doesn’t need strikeouts to win

Tommy Milone  2016Tommy Milone defeated the Tigers last night in the Motor City giving him wins in each of his last three starts, and he hasn’t struck out as many as five batters in any of those games. Three other pitchers have won three straight starts without a 5-K game this season: Martin Perez (a four-game streak), Jeff Locke (a pair of three-game streaks) and J.A. Happ.

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Twins announce GM Terry Ryan has been relieved of his duties

The Minnesota Twins announced today that long time Twins GM Terry Ryan has been let go and that assistant GM Rob Antony will take over as the interim GM. I can’t say that I am surprised but the timing, just two weeks or so before the trading deadline does surprise me. It appears that there must be some differences of opinion on how the Twins will move forward. Why didn’t the Twins make this move at the All-Star break? Looks to me like the Twins will be busy the next few weeks and you had better buy a scorecard because you might not recognize some of the new Twins players.

Here is the Twins Press Release.

 

Twins announce GM Terry Ryan has been relieved of his duties

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan  (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

Assistant GM Rob Antony to assume GM role on interim basis

Press Release | 12:24 PM ET
The Minnesota Twins announced today that Executive Vice President, General Manager Terry Ryan has been relieved of his duties. Beginning immediately, Vice President, Assistant General Manager Rob Antony will assume Ryan’s duties on an interim basis.

“Since joining our organization as a player in 1972, Terry has been a dedicated, loyal and respected member of the Minnesota Twins family,” Twins owner and CEO Jim Pohlad said. “Terry has been a gifted leader of the baseball department for over eighteen seasons. It is impossible to overstate his contribution to our game, our team and the Upper Midwest baseball community. The decision to part ways with Terry was difficult, painful and not obvious. We are extremely grateful and very thankful to Terry, his wife Karilyn and their family for being a part of the Minnesota Twins.”
“While disappointed we were unable to bring Minnesota a third World Championship, I leave the GM post with immense pride in being part of the Twins organization for the better part of three decades,” said Terry Ryan. “I’m grateful for the leadership opportunities provided by the Pohlad family; the collaboration and talents of my colleagues in the front office; the hard work and dedication of our manager, coaches and clubhouse personnel; the commitment and professionalism of our players; the passion and attention to detail of our minor league staff and scouts; and most importantly, the incredible support of our fans. It’s been an honor to be part of the Twins organization and I wish everyone nothing but the best going forward.”

Ryan was named Executive Vice President/General Manager on November 7, 2011, after spending the previous four seasons as a Special Assistant to General Manager Bill Smith (2008-11). He was originally named as the fourth General Manager in Minnesota Twins history on September 13, 1994, holding that position until stepping down following the 2007 season.

Ryan began his professional career with the Twins in 1972 after being drafted in the 35th round out of Parker High School in Janesville, WI. He pitched in the Twins minor league system for four seasons, posting a 14-3 record, including 10-0 in 1973, before an arm injury cut his career short. In 1975, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated with a degree in Physical Education in 1979.

Ryan returned to baseball in 1980 as Midwest Scouting Supervisor for the New York Mets, a position he held for six years before being named Scouting Director for the Twins in January, 1986. He was recognized by Topps in 1998 with the Advancement Through the Game Award. Prior to his first tenure as General Manager, Ryan served as the Vice President of Player Personnel, a position he assumed at the end of the 1991 season. In that role, Ryan was responsible for scouting and evaluating all talent at the major league level and assisting in personnel decisions. Ryan was also responsible for signing all major league players with less than three years of major league service.

In addition to his duties with the Twins, Ryan was appointed to the Commissioner’s Special Committee for On-Field Matters in December of 2009, as well as being a member of the Major League Baseball Playing Rules Committee since 2005. He has also served on the Arizona Fall League (AFL) Steering Committee since 2005, a position he also held in 1997-98. In 2009, Ryan was the recipient of the AFL’s Roland Hemond Award, which is presented annually to a baseball executive in recognition of at least 15 years of outstanding service to the AFL and professional baseball in a key leadership capacity. In 2013, he was awarded the George Genovese Lifetime Achievement Award in Scouting from the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, as well as the Roland Hemond Award, voted upon by SABR, recognizing a baseball executive that demonstrates a lifetime commitment to professional baseball scouts and scouting, and player development history. In 2014, he was inducted into the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Through the efforts of Ryan and his staff, the Twins have won the American League Central Division title in four of his last 10 years as the general manager (2002-04 and 06). He has twice been named Sporting News Executive of the Year (2002 and 2006), and was also named Baseball America’s Major League Executive of the Year in 2004. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum honored Ryan with the Andrew “Rube” Foster Legacy Award as American League Executive of the Year in 2004, and again in 2006. In 2002, the Twins were named Organization of the Year by Baseball America (also in 2004), USA Today and Sportsticker.

Rob Antony

Rob Antony

Rob Antony is in his 29th season in the Twins organization and his ninth as Assistant General Manager, after being named to that role on September 13, 2007. He was promoted to Vice President in December, 2013. He is responsible for major league contracts, including arbitration, and evaluating major and minor league players.

Prior to his current position, he was Director of Baseball Operations for 12 seasons and was responsible for various duties in the minor league and scouting departments, including the spring training operation and free agent draft preparations. He was also responsible for establishing and overseeing the budget for the major league, minor league and scouting departments. He worked closely with the scouting department and scouted players eligible for the free agent draft, as well as amateurs in Australia and Latin America.

Antony was hired as Assistant Director of Media Relations in 1988 after graduating from the University of Minnesota. In June, 1991, he was promoted to Director of Media Relations and held that post until December, 1995, when he was promoted to Director of Baseball Operations.

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Looking at the length of Twins games from 1961-2015

Clock baseballjpgSome time ago I did a piece on the length of MLB games after the league announced its changes to quicken the pace of play prior to the 2015 season that I called Looking back at the pace of play in 2015. You can read that article here. Today I want to take a look at the entire history of Minnesota Twins game duration’s going back to 1961.

First off we are going to note of some rule changes that baseball implemented since 1961 that may or may not have had an impact on the length of games. I am not saying I have them all listed here but I listed as many as I am aware of. I appreciate Stew Thornley’s help in compiling this list

1961 – 162 game schedule implemented
1966 – artificial turf first implemented (Astrodome)
1969 – mound lowered 5 inches
1969 – strike zone was shrunken to the area from the armpits to the top of
the batter’s knees
1969 – saves rule added
1969 – playoffs started
1971 – all players must wear protective helmets
1973 – AL DH started
1973 – glove sizes standardized
1975 – ball was permitted to be covered with cowhide because of the shortage
of horses
1995 – wild card team added to playoffs
1997 – interleague play introduced
2008 – limited instant replay introduced on August 29
2013 – In addition to interpreters taking the mound with the pitching
coach/manager, two other rule changes of note were implemented. 1. A seventh
coach will be permitted to suit up and sit in the dugout, one more than in
previous seasons. This change comes as a result of several teams hiring an
assistant hitting coach, most of whom were forced to sit out games in the
clubhouse last year. 2. The fake-to-third, throw-to-first pick-off move that
almost never works will now be considered a balk. The “trick move” was voted
out by the Playing Rules Committee last year — giving MLB the authority to
bar the move but approval by the player’s union would make the ban
unilateral.
2014 – MLB’s new system of instant replay dictates which plays are subject
to review, how instant replay will be initiated by field managers and how
the review process will be conducted. As a part of the expansion of instant
replay, Clubs will now be allowed to show all replays on the ballpark
scoreboard, regardless of whether the play was reviewed. Home plate rules
were also changed.
2015 – MLB introduced new pace of game rules 1. With certain exceptions,
hitters must keep one foot in the batter’s box between pitches throughout
their at-bat. 2. Each ballpark now has between-inning countdown timers to
ensure that the next half-inning starts promptly.
The timers are set at 2 minutes, 25 seconds for most games and 2:45 for
nationally televised games. Pitchers and hitters have been encouraged to be
ready to go when the clock reaches 20 seconds. 3. Managers can now signal
instant-replay challenges to umpires from the dugout area, instead of from
the field.
2016 – Netting behind home plate to reach out to dugouts. Possible strike
zone change?

My personal definition of a long game is one that last 3 hours or more. I love watching baseball but when the game drags on and there is a modicum of action than I start to get bored. For the most part I would rather watch a 2 1/2 hour game over a 3 1/2 hour game but there are exceptions, a high scoring back and forth game can be fun just as a 2 hour and 20 minute game with no action can be boring. For my purposes here I will consider games that last 3 hours or more as long games. The chart you will see tracks game duration averages as well as games that last 3 hours or more. Games of less than nine innings are excluded in my study. Continue reading

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Twins Minor League Player of the Week – Zander Wiel

Zander WielSingle-A Cedar Rapids 1B Zander Wiel is the Twins minor league Player of the
Week. Wiel appeared in five games for the Kernels, hitting .444 (8-for-18) with one double, three home runs, 12 RBI, four walks and six runs scored. In 83 games for the Kernels this season, he is hitting .246 (80-for-325) with 18 doubles, five triples, 10 home runs, 51 RBI and 43 runs scored. The 23-year-old Tennessee native was drafted by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Vanderbilt University.

Zander Wiel ready to start pro career

Twins Minor League Report July 17 2016

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Why would Twins want to trade Ervin Santana?

Ervin Santana 2016There has been lots of rumors floating around that Ervin Santana is available and to be honest I don’t understand it and I don’t believe it. I am not saying that GM Terry Ryan shouldn’t listen to offers because with this Twins team he should be listening to any and all offers.

However; Santana is worth more to Minnesota than he is to any other team because here in Minnesota he is currently their best pitcher and he is locked up for at least 2 years if not three with his option and this Twins team is going to get better sooner than later. Why would you want to put the team in a hole if you have no replacement ready? This young Twins team needs to learn to win and it needs veterans to help them to do that.

There is even talk that the Twins are going to agree to pay part of Santana’s salary to take him off their hands and supposedly this will help the Twins get better players in return. That is just plain preposterous, why would the Twins want to move Santana, pay someone to take him and probably get prospects in return. At this stage of the Twins rebuild the team should not be looking for prospects, they need major league ready players to get them to the next step up the ladder towards the playoffs. Instead of getting prospects they should be ready to move some prospects to get the players they need.

Having said that, there are some pieces on this team that are of no value to the team in the long run and I would have no  issue with getting prospects for them if that is all they will fetch, but Ervin Santana is not one of those players.

Bottom line, trading Ervin Santana would be stupid unless he would fetch a king’s ransom of players, which he will not, so keep him until we get more starting pitching and then you can still move him down the line if we should be so fortunate.

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It would be fun to take in a game at Elizabethton

Courtest of littleparks.com

Courtesy of littleparks.com

Elizabethton and the Minnesota Twins have been associated since 1974 when the Twins first fielded a rookie team there that was managed by some guy by the name of Robert Butler. The team was known as the Elizabethton Twins and played at Joe O’Brien Field as part of the Appalachian League and they finished second in their division with a 41-27 record. The only player from that team that ever went on to wear a Twins uniform was catcher Butch Wynegar. Other Twins notables such as Kent Hrbek, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, A.J. Pierzynski, and Kirby Puckett all started their careers there.

This morning I ran across a story on MiLB.com called “On the Road: Elizabethton’s timeless appeal.” It is a fun read on how different life is at a “rookie” league ballpark that was built in 1974 and has a capacity of 1,500. For more info/images on Joe O’Brien Park please go here. It is also worth noting that the field is also the home park of the local high school baseball team.

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Annual batting championships named for Gwynn, Carew

MLB Press Release dated July 12, 2016

SAN DIEGO – Baseball’s annual batting championships have been named in honor of Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn and Rod Carew, Major League Baseball announced during pregame festivities for the 87th All-Star Game, played at Petco Park in San Diego. The players who earn the highest batting averages in each League will now be known as the “Tony Gwynn National League Batting Champion” and the “Rod Carew American League Batting Champion,” paying homage to two of the most accomplished hitters of the modern era. Carew participated in tonight’s ceremonies in San Diego, while the late Gwynn was represented by his family.

Gwynn_TonyGwynn was a .338 career hitter who batted above .300 in 19 of his 20 Major League seasons, all with the San Diego Padres. The record-tying eight-time NL batting champion collected 3,141 hits. Gwynn, a 15-time NL All-Star, batted a career-best .394 in the 1994 season and hit at least .353 in each of the five seasons between 1993 and 1997. The former San Diego State University player and coach drew 790 career walks and struck out only 434 times, including never more than 40 in any single season. Gwynn remains tied with fellow Hall of Famer Honus Wagner of the Pittsburgh Pirates for the most batting titles in NL history. He led the Padres to their two World Series in franchise history (1984, 1998). His plaque at the National Baseball Hall of Fame calls Gwynn “an artisan with a bat.”

2B Rod Carew played for the Twins from 1967-1978

2B Rod Carew played for the Twins from 1967-1978

Carew was a seven-time American League batting champion who was a lifetime .328 hitter with the Minnesota Twins (1967-78) and the California Angels (1979-85). With this trademark crouched stance, the legend of Panama topped the .300 mark in 15 consecutive seasons (1969-83), and he was an 18-time AL All-Star (each year from 1967-1984). Between 1972-1978, he won six batting crowns in seven years; in the only year he did not win (1976, when he was runner-up to George Brett), he missed a share by .002. Carew batted a career-best .388 with 239 hits in his AL Most Valuable Player-winning season of 1978 (38 2B, 16 3B, 14 HR, 100 RBI, 128 runs, .449 OBP, .570 SLG). His Hall of Fame plaque refers to Carew as a “batting wizard who lined, chopped and bunted his way to 3,053 hits.”

Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: “Rod is one of the most highly decorated players in American League history, who made 18 straight All-Star appearances in his Hall of Fame career. Tony is considered one of the greatest hitters in the history of the National League and there is no better place to honor him than in San Diego. Major League Baseball is pleased to recognize their extraordinary careers by naming our batting crowns in their honor.”

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This Day in Twins History – July 11, 1965 – Killebrew walks off Yankees

That famous Harmon Killebrew swing

That famous Harmon Killebrew swing

Mikkelsen, PeteJuly 11, 1965 – With the Twins AL lead at only 4 games and the All-Star game break coming up the next day, the Twins took on the New York Yankees at the Met and after 8 innings the score was tied at 4 apiece. The Yanks scored one in the top of the ninth and the Twins had their backs to the wall. In the bottom of the ninth, Zoilo Versalles grounded out to the pitcher but Rich Rollins coaxed a walk from Pete Mikkelsen and the Twins had the tieing run on base with Tony Oliva due up. Oliva flew out to center and the Twins were down to their last out but the last Twins hitter was Harmon Killebrew and he took Mikkelsen to a full count before hitting a walk-off 2 run homer and the Twins fans celebrated. The Twins players never looked back and ended up winning the league pennant by 7 games over the White Sox. Killebrew’s described his home run as “It’s one of the sweetest of the sweet” and it stands in Twins lore as one of their most famous home runs.

Box score

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According to ELIAS

Twins win by 10 in Arlington

Since the Twins moved to Minnesota in 1961, they have won only two road games by at least 10 runs against a team that entered the day with the best record in its league. The first took place in late June 1988, an 11-0 whitewash of the Canseco-McGwire A’s at the Oakland Coliseum, and the second came on Sunday, when they routed the Rangers in Arlington, 15-5.

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Twins minor league player of the week – Mitch Garver

Mitch Garver 2016Chattanooga Lookouts (AA) catcher Mitch Garver is the Twins minor league Player of the Week. Garver appeared in six games for the Lookouts, hitting .455 (10-for-22) with four doubles, one home run, five RBI and six walks. Garver has played 68 games for Chattanooga this season, hitting .282 (71-for-252) with 18 doubles, eight home runs, 48 RBI and 35 walks.

In his senior year at New Mexico Garver hit .390 with 68 RBI in 59 games and stole 12 bases. The Albuquerque, NM native was drafted by the Twins in the ninth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of New Mexico and signed for a reported $40,000. Garver was one of four catchers drafted and signed in 2013 by the Twins, the others were Stuart Turner (3rd round), Brian Navarreto (6th round) and Alex Swim (22nd round).

Twins Minor League Report July 10 2016

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Twins open for business

open for businessTwins GM Terry Ryan has stated several times now that the Twins are open for business and will consider any and all offers. But it does take two to tango as they say and Mr. Ryan hasn’t exactly been “Trader Jack”.

If I am Terry Ryan I make it clear to all comers that I am all ears and will listen to all  offers and my team and I are ready to deal if the price is right and the deal helps the Twins. If the trade helps the other team than fine but my only obligation is to make the Twins a better team now. This does not mean however; that this is a fire sale, the Twins are not looking to dump players, they are looking to improve their team, there is a big difference. The team has a group of young core players that they are building around, I am not interested in trading for prospects unless they are major league ready.

Who would I look to trade? I would NOT trade Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, Byron Buxton or Jose Berrios. There are several young pitchers in the farm system that could be had in the right deal but the price would be very steep. Having said that, everyone else on the Twins 25 man roster would be available in the right trade. I would even trade manager Paul Molitor if I could help my team. There are some prospects in the Twins system that they may have to part ways with in order to get better.

You have to remember that the team has the worst record in baseball as we approach the All-Star break so don’t over value the players you have. You have to listen to your brain and look at the stats versus listening to your heart. Loyalty is great but winning is even better.

The Twins are not going to jump from the outhouse to the penthouse in this trading season but they could take some big steps forward with some good moves over the next few weeks. In my book the next three weeks will make or break the Twins season and will decide the future of the Twins organizations make-up for the forseeable future. Terry Ryan and his team have to be open to all offers and suggestions and be willing to travel roads they have never visited before. The road may be unfamiliar and you will hit some bumps but if you do nothing you will surely continue to fail. Personally I have always hated change but sometimes you have to accept it and embrace it, this is one of those times.

Oh yes, there will be those fork in the road decisions that might be difficult but keep in mind that this whole season has been difficult for us Twins fans and if you are not willing to take some chances then you need to step aside and put someone there that is willing to do so.

Good luck Mr. Ryan, lots of Minnesota Twins fans are watching and waiting!

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Eduardo Nunez an All-Star – he earned it

ASWe finally had our power restored late yesterday after being without electricity for 47 hours due to the late Tuesday afternoon storm, we take so much for granted here in the USA. Thanks Xcel for your efforts, those 60-80 MPH winds caused a lot of damage. We were lucky, just some down limbs and the power outage, others had it a lot worse.

Now that I am back on-line I want to congratulate Twins shortstop Eduardo Nunez on being selected to the 2016 All-Star game, you earned it Eduardo. Besides having a great season, Nunez is one of few Twins that has been fun and exciting to watch this season. Keep up the good work Eduardo Nunez!

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According to ELIAS

Santana shuts out A’s

Ervin Santana 2016Ervin Santana twirled a two-hit shutout in the Twins’ 4-0 victory over the A’s. It was the first complete-game shutout by a Twins pitcher since Andrew Albers threw one in August 2013. Every other major-league team besides the Twins has had at least two complete-game shutouts over the last three seasons. The 453-game streak without a complete-game shutout by a starting pitcher is by far the longest such streak in Twins franchise history. Minnesota’s previous longest streak was 271 games spanning from August 2005 to June 2007.

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Meet the first player to be drafted by the Twins to play for the Twins

Ron Keller

Ron Keller pitched for the Twins in 1966 and in 1968

Major League Baseball’s first amateur draft was held in June 1965. Teams chose players in reverse order of the previous season’s standings, with picks alternating between the National and American Leagues. With the first pick, the Kansas City Athletics took Rick Monday, an outfielder from Arizona State University.

Originally, three separate drafts were held each year. The June draft, which was by far the largest, involved new high school graduates, as well as college seniors who had just finished their seasons. Another draft was held in January, which typically involved high school players who graduated in the winter, junior college players, and players who have dropped out of four-year colleges. Junior college players were required to wait until their current season was completed before they could sign. Finally, there was a draft in August for players who participated in amateur summer leagues. The August draft was eliminated after only two years, while the January draft lasted until 1986.

Ron Keller was an eighth round selection and the 143 pick overall by the Minnesota Twins in MLB’s first amateur draft that was held in New York City in 1965. Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan was the New York Mets 12 round pick and 295th overall that same year. The Twins selected the 6’2″ Keller out of Indiana University as a right-handed pitcher.

From 1957 to 1961 Keller earned six letters at Cathedral High in Indianapolis playing baseball and basketball. According to teammates, Keller was a very intelligent player and knew how to keep the ball down and to throw strikes. At IU Keller majored in accounting and played under Ernie Andres who had a short stint in the big leagues as a third baseman for the Boston Red Sox in 1946. After retiring from baseball Andres coached the IU baseball team from 1949-1973.

After being drafted and signed by the Twins, Keller was assigned to the St. Cloud Rox (A) where he led the league in wins with 9 (3 losses) and he completed 11 of the 14 games that he started. Keller posted a 2.03 ERA and he struck out 132 batters in 111 innings.

In 1966 started the season with the Wilson Tobs (A) where he was 4-2 in 55 innings before being bumped up to the Charlotte Hornets (AA) where he was 3-0 in 48 innings. After his brief stop in Charlotte he was assigned to the Denver Bears (AAA) where he started seven games and posted a 5-1 record. When Camilo Pascual took one of his annual trips to the DL, Keller was called up by the mother club and he made his inauspicious big league debut at Met Stadium on July 9, 1966 in an 8-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers, just barely a year after being drafted and starting his professional career. Keller shut down the Tigers in 2 of the 3 innings he pitched but he gave up 3 “earnies” in the middle inning. Keller only appeared in one more game again in relief for the Twins in 1966 before being send down. Advancing from “A” ball to the big leagues in just one year after signing was very impressive indeed.

Ron Keller spent all of 1967 in the minors at Denver (AAA) and posted and 10-11 record with a 4.78 ERA. Keep in mind we are talking Denver which was no easier to pitch in then than it is now. Keller spent most of 1968 with Denver again but was called up by the Twins and appeared in just 7 games in 3 months with the parent club. In the spring of 1969 the Twins brain trust wanted to ship Keller back out to AAA but Keller said “no” and retired from baseball at the age 25.  “I thought I had nothing more to prove in the minors,” he said. “Twins owner Calvin Griffith refused to trade me, and wouldn’t believe my threats to quit baseball.”

You have to wonder if either Griffith or Keller regretted their stubbornness and their decision.

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Twins can’t be fixed unless they trade Joe Mauer

Joe MauerThe Minnesota have lots of issues that need fixing and in spite of their horrendous pitching the very first problem they need to address is Joe Mauer. I know Mauer is making $23 million a year but money is not the issue here. The problem here is that he is playing first base and hitting in one of the top three spots in the batting order while hitting .258 with 26 RBI in 337 plate appearances. Catcher Kurt Suzuki who hits in the bottom of the order is hitting .278 with 25 RBI in just 194 PA’s. I am not trying to show how good Suzuki is, I am trying to show how bad Mauer really is.

In spite of the money that Mauer makes and how poorly he hits, the most biggest problem with Mauer is that he is blocking lots of other moves that can make this team better. I know that Mauer has a no-trade clause and he wants to be a Twin for life but the time has come for Joe to move on. I like Mauer as a person but the reality is that the best thing for Joe and the Minnesota Twins is for him to say good-bye to the Land of 10,000 Lakes and join a contender. Joe deserves to be on a playoff contender as he plays his 13th season in the majors and his leaving would start a new era in Twins baseball. Mauer has been the face of the franchise for years but he has never been the Twins leader. To me it is ironic that an athlete that was good enough to be a catcher, a quarterback, and a point guard doesn’t have leadership skills. Mauer is a follower and not a leader but it is difficult for any other Twins player to step up and assume the leadership role as long as Mauer dons a Twins uniform.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan  (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

GM Terry Ryan and the rest of the organization have to bite the bullet on this one and move Mauer to a team that works for him and probably receive very little in return unless they are willing to swallow a huge chunk of Mauer’s salary. There is just no way I can see Mauer starting for this team the next two plus years without hindering its progress. The team is out the money anyway so why not move Joe to a contender and free up a roster spot and make it a win/win for Mauer, the Twins and most of all, the fans.

It is hard to move forward when you have an anchor that keeps you in that same old spot. Lots of things in our life are not fun to do but these tasks still need to be done, life isn’t always a bowl of cherries. Step up Mr. Ryan and let’s get this deal done.

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According to ELIAS

Kepler and Sano go deep and combine for 10 RBIs

Max Kepler

Max Kepler

Max Kepler homered twice in a seven-RBI performance, while Miguel Sano contributed a home run and three RBIs to the Twins’ rout of the Rangers. Kepler and Sano are the first pair of teammates–each age 23 or younger–to combine for 10 RBIs in a game in which they each homered since Chipper Jones and Ryan Klesko did that for the Braves in 1995. Before the Atlanta duo, you have to go back to Andre Dawson and Ellis Valentine of the 1977 Expos, and then Lou Gehrig and Tony Lazzeri with the 1927 Yankees to find pairs of that kind.

Max Kepler’s seven RBI yesterday afternoon set a Twins single-game rookie record for RBI. The previous three to have a share of the record of six were Tony Oliva May 7, 1964 against Los Angeles-AL; Oswaldo Arcia September 22, 2013 against Oakland; and Miguel Sano August 12, 2015 against Texas.

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Twins Minor League Player of the Week – Jaylin Davis

Jaylin Davis is second in the Appalachian League with 11 RBIs in nine games. (Bryan Green/MiLB.com)

Jaylin Davis is second in the Appalachian League with 11 RBIs in nine games. (Bryan Green/MiLB.com)

Elizabethton Twins (Rookie ball) outfielder Jaylin Davis is the Twins minor league Player of the Week. Davis appeared in seven games for the E-Twins, hitting .320 (8-for-25) with five home runs, nine RBI, eight runs scored and three walks. The Greensboro, North Carolina native, who turned 22 on Friday, is in his first season in the Twins system after being drafted in the 24th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Appalachian State University.

Birthday is a piece of cake for Twins’ Davis

Twins Minor League Report July 3 2016

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According to ELIAS

No extra-base hit for Dozier

Brian Dozier 2016Ian Desmond‘s tenth-inning home run was the game-winner for the Rangers in their 3-2 triumph at Minnesota yesterday. Brian Dozier extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games by going 1-for-4 with a single, but it snapped his streak of 11 consecutive games with at least one extra-base hit, which tied the longest streak of that kind in American League history. The only other AL players with 11-game extra-base-hit streaks were Hank Greenberg (1935), Jesse Barfield (1985) and Alex Rodriguez (2006 to 2007).

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According to ELIAS

Dozier streak evokes Twins greats… and Rogers Hornsby

Brian Dozier 2016Brian Dozier extended to 11 his team-record streak of consecutive games with an extra-base hit by belting a fourth-inning home run at Chicago on Thursday. It’s the longest streak by any major-league player since Alex Rodriguez had an 11-game streak overlapping the 2006 and 2007 seasons; and it’s the longest in the majors by a middle infielder since the Hall-of-Famer Rogers Hornsby, like Dozier a second baseman, produced at least one extra-base hit in each of 12 consecutive games in 1928. That was The Rajah’s only season playing for the Boston Braves; his extra-base-hit streak began on May 27, a couple of days after he became the team’s manager in addition to being its second baseman.

Dozier has accumulated 20 hits, including six homers, over his last 11 games. The last four Twins players who produced those totals over an 11-game span were all boldface names: Joe Mauer(2009), David Ortiz (2002), Dave Winfield (1993) and Kirby Puckett (1987).

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Why don’t Twins just jettison Jepsen?

Kevin Jepsen

Kevin Jepsen

Twins reliever Kevin Jepsen will be 32 years old in a month or so and he is pitching in his ninth season in the big leagues. Jepsen was selected in the second round by the Angels in 2002 and the Twins selected Jesse Crain just a few picks later. Like most pitchers, Jepsen started his career as a starter but was moved to the bullpen full-time in 2006 and he has not started a game since.

The Twins acquired Jepsen in a trade with Tampa for prospects Chih-Wei Huh and Alexis Tapia at the trade  deadline in 2015. Not unlike many of the relievers in MLB, Kevin Jepsen has had an up and down career. Very few relievers are consistent from year to year and if they are, they usually find themselves in a closer’s role.

Jepsen was a godsend for the Twins last season when he pitched great as the 8th inning guy before taking over the closer role from Glen Perkins in mid-August. 2016 has been one of those bad seasons for Jepsen from day 1. Jepsen has lost his closer role now but he has appeared in 32 games this season and pitched 29.2 innings. In his 29+ innings Jepsen has given up 42 hits and 12 walks and given up 22 runs, 21 of them earned. The man has pitched horrendously for the Twins while getting paid $5.3 million.

So what do you do with him? Why keep a reliever who is pitching poorly even if he is making a modest $5.3 million? But who will take a reliever off your hands that has given up 42 hits in 29+ innings and has a 6.37 ERA? Jepsen has pitched one clean (no hits or walks) inning in his last 23 appearances going back to April 25th. The Twins may not get much in return but there are teams that would take a chance on Jepsen because it is not unheard of for players like Jepsen to turn their year around with a change in scenery and he is a free agent after this season. Even if the Twins can’t get anyone to take Jepsen than just dump him and you still win, there has to be some minor league pitcher in the Twins system that deserves a look.

UPDATE: Kevin Jepsen was designated for assignment on July 3, 2016.

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According to ELIAS

Dozier ties Twins franchise mark

Brian Dozier 2015Brian Dozier hit two home runs and knocked in four runs in the Twins’ 4-0 win over the White Sox last night. It marked the ninth consecutive game that Dozier delivered an extra-base hit, tying the Twins franchise record in that category. Mickey Vernon had a double, triple or homer in nine consecutive games for the then Washington Senators in 1953. Prior to Dozier, the last major-league player to produce an extra-base hit in at least nine consecutive games while starting at second base in each game during the streak was Chase Utley in 2008.

Dozier broke the Twins record of eight consecutive game XBH that was previously held by Harmon Killebrew (1970) and Tony Oliva (1969). Another long time record bites the dust……

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According to ELIAS

home runA total of 52 homers pushes June’s average into near-record territory

Fifty-two home runs were hit on Sunday in MLB, the most on any single day in more than 10 years since June 11, 2006, to be exact, when 54 home runs were hit. This is just the latest example of the dramatic increase in the home-run rate over the first three month of this season, from 2.09 per game in April, to 2.28 in May, to a near-record 2.52 this month.

In fact, there have been only two months in the history of major-league baseball in which the per-game home-run average was as high is it has been this month (minimum: 10 games played). Those were the first two months of the 2000 season, at the height of home-run hysteria: 2.56 in April and 2.64 in May.

Twins shock Yankees with home-run blitz

The Twins defeated the Yankees, 7-1, yesterday in a game that proved the rule about the futility of trying to predict baseball. Minnesota arrived at Yankee Stadium with the lowest winning percentage in the majors (.311). But the Twins hit six home runs, which was their highest total in any game since 2007 and, perhaps more impressive, the highest total in franchise history in any of their 1887 games against the Yankees (including 1903 through 1960 as the Washington Senators). The last team with the worst record in the majors to hit six homers in one game was Tampa Bay in 2002 at Kansas City.

 

Twins nine inning games with 6 or more home runs

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI
1 1962-04-29 (2) MIN CLE W 7-3 41 7 13 1 0 6 7
2 1963-08-29 (1) MIN WSA W 14-2 49 14 20 1 1 8 14
3 1964-05-14 MIN CHW W 15-7 44 15 15 3 0 6 15
4 1966-06-09 MIN KCA W 9-4 38 9 13 2 0 6 9
5 1993-08-15 MIN OAK W 12-5 44 12 17 0 1 6 12
6 2000-04-09 MIN KCR W 13-7 43 13 16 5 0 6 13
7 2001-07-12 MIN MIL W 13-5 46 13 15 4 0 7 13
8 2004-04-10 MIN DET W 10-5 47 10 15 1 0 6 10
9 2007-07-06 (2) MIN CHW W 12-0 48 12 15 2 0 6 12
10 2016-06-26 MIN NYY W 7-1 37 7 8 0 0 6 7
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/27/2016.
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Twins Minor League Player of the Week – Jose Berrios

Jose Berrios 2015 2Rochester Red Wings (AAA) right-handed pitcher Jose Berrios is the Twins minor league Player of the Week. Berrios made one start for the Red Wings on Thursday at Columbus, pitching 8.0 scoreless innings, with three hits allowed,two walks and nine strikeouts, earning the win. In his last four starts for the Red Wings, Berrios has gone 3-1, 2.51 ERA (28.2 IP, 8 ER) with eight walks and 32 strikeouts. In 10 starts for the Red Wings this season, he is 6-3, 2.92 ERA (61.2 IP, 20 ER) with 25 walks and 67 strikeouts, while holding opponents to a .199 batting average.

Berrios had a brief stint with the Twins earlier this year when he made his major league debut on April 27 but he was not particularly effective so he was sent back to Rochester. His next call-up by the Twins which should be soon could be the one where Berrios comes up to stay for a long time. What have the Twins got to lose, let him come up and polish his skills at Target Field.

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Former Twins pitcher Duensing on opt-outs

Brian Duensing

Brian Duensing

Pitcher Brian Duensing was a 2005 Minnesota Twins third round compensation selection for the Twins losing free agent shortstop Cristian Guzman to the Washington Nationals. Duensing signed with Minnesota for a reported bonus of $400,000 and began his ascent to the big leagues with the Elizabethton Twins and debuted in relief with the Twins on April 10th, 2009 in a 12-5 Twins victory at US Cellular Field. Originally a starting pitcher, the Twins used him as a spot starter and reliever from 2009-2012 before moving him to the bullpen full-time late in 2012.

After appearing in 354 Twins games from 2009-2015 and posting a 41-37 record with 2 saves and a 4.13 ERA it became time for the Twins and the 32 year-old left-handed Duensing to part ways. I recently ran across a Q&A that Duensing did with FanGraphs discussing the opt out and how he used it during his free agency which was a first for him in his baseball career. It shows how baseball isn’t always a bowl of cherries for everyone.

Brian Duensing Ponders Opt Outs and Home

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This Day in Twins History – Twins beat WSOX in Milwaukee

Bud Selig

Bud Selig

June 24, 1968 – In a one game series, the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 1-0 in County Stadium in Milwaukee in a game called after 5 innings due to rain. The reason the game was played in Milwaukee was that in 1968, Bud Selig, a former minority owner of the Milwaukee Braves who had been unable to stop the relocation of his team three years earlier, contracted with the Allyn brothers who owned the White Sox to host nine home games (one against each of the other American League clubs) at Milwaukee County Stadium as part of an attempt to attract an expansion franchise to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Box score

To read more please see “A short history of the Milwaukee White Sox

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