HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2015 Happy New Year

 

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If I had a Hall of Fame vote

Hall of FameIt won’t be long before the MLB Hall of Fame announces its newest members so it is time once again for me to dream and pretend that I have a vote that counts. Heck, I have probably seen more games and follow baseball more closely than a lot of the clowns that have a vote but that is a whole different story. If I had a vote I still can’t find it in my heart to vote for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and that bunch. I am not going to waste my time and yours on my reasoning because we have heard all those pro’s and con’s before. Maybe some time in the future they will get my vote but it won’t be this year. Just to show how time can change your thinking I am just about ready, not quite there yet but very close to saying that Pete Rose has served enough time in purgatory to get elected to the Hall of Fame. I know he has been a jerk at times but he could play some baseball and who could argue his hustle? The rub is that “hustle” can have several meanings. I am not going to quote a bunch of stats here because if you want to see them then go to B-R and check them out for yourself.

Randy Johnson gets my first vote, simply because I think he was the most intimidating pitcher in my era. Johnson has to be the pitcher that most batters would hate to face and the man was just scary to watch but you couldn’t help but stay focused on the mound whenever he pitched.

Vote number two goes to Pedro Martinez, 5 foot 11 and 170 pounds and I think 170 may have been pushing it. Are you kidding me? The man could throw a baseball and he knew how to pitch. He never pitched for teams I liked so I was always hoping he would lose but the man seldom did, a career .687 winning percentage over 18 seasons. Hall of Fame in my book.

Tim Raines gets vote number three. Again, small in stature at 5 foot 8 and 160 pounds but the “Rock” could play some baseball. Not as well-known as some because he played in Montreal for so long but Raines had six straight seasons with 70 stolen bases or more to go with his .810 OPS.

Vote number four goes to Craig Biggio. The man was a catcher, second baseman and a center fielder and through out all those position moves he still found time to post a .281 career batting mark in over 10,800 at bats. Heck, playing for 20 years for the Houston Astros should get you a few bonus votes too.

My fifth vote goes to one of my favorite all-time players, John Smoltz. 213 wins and 154 saves to boot spread over 21 seasons. I still remember that fateful day in August 1987 when the Detroit Tigers traded him to the Atlanta Braves for Doyle Alexander. When someone mentions the word “winner”, I have an image of Smoltz in my mind. A great pitcher and a real gentleman.

My final vote this season goes to Jeff Bagwell. OMG, those Houston Astros sure cleaned the Boston Red Sox’s clock when they acquired Bagwell for Larry Andersen. Only 15 seasons but 449 home runs along with a .948 OPS is good enough for me.

How will my votes compare to the “real” votes? I am thinking I will be 4 for 6 with Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell coming up short of the 75% required. That will be a shame but we all know that life is not always fair and that there is no crying in baseball. Good luck to all the Hall of Fame candidates, you had to be a pretty special ballplayer just to make the ballot.

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Twins add ex-Padre Tim Stauffer to bullpen mix

Tim Stauffer

Tim Stauffer

The Twins recently signed 32 year-old right-handed pitcher Tim Stauffer to a one year $2.2 million deal. Stauffer was a 36th round selection of the Baltimore Orioles in 2000 but he chose not to sign and went on to college. Stauffer then was selected in the first round by the San Diego Padres in the 2003 draft and was the 4th overall pick. Prior to signing with the Padres, Stauffer and his agent Ron Shapiro stepped up and notified the team that Stauffer was suffering from some arm weakness after his last collegiate start. According to reports the Padres eventually signed Stauffer for $750,000, far short of the slot for a fourth overall pick of $2.4 million and way under the $2.6 million the team originally offered. The Padres loved his make-up and honesty and praised his integrity and then gave him almost $2 million less to sign. I guess the old saying “that no good deed goes unpunished” is true, at least it was here.

Stauffer debuted with the Padres in May of 2005 and pitched in 18 games for the friars between 2005-2007 before running into elbow issues and ended up having Tommy John surgery in May 2008 and missed the entire season. Stauffer’s best season was probably 2011 when he started 31 games and had a 9-12 record with a 3.73 ERA in 185 innings. The elbow injury bug struck Stauffer again in 2012 and after pitching just five innings in one game in 2012 Stauffer decided to have elbow flexor surgery in August and was forced to sit out the remainder of the season.

With two elbow surgeries on his resume, the Padres sent Stauffer to the bullpen in 2013 where Stauffer may have found his niche. In the last two seasons Stauffer has gone 9-3 with a 3.63 ERA in which he has struck out 131 batters in 134 innings. Stauffer’s SO/9 ratio has jumped to 8.8 as a reliever after sitting at 6.2 as a starter. Stauffer throws five pitches, a sinker 36% of the time, a cutter 27%, fourseam fastball 16%, a change-up 11% and a curve with a knuckleball grip about 10% of the time. According to Brooks Baseball, Stauffer throws between 76-91 MPH and his change-up generates more strike-outs than an average change-up does. The fly in the ointment as far as Stauffer is concerned besides his injury history is that he has a career 3.0 BB/9 mark and a 1.31 WHIP which kind of goes against the Twins pitching grain but then again maybe the Twins will look at this stat differently under the new Paul Molitor and Neil Allen regime.

So where does Tim Stauffer fit in the Twins pitching staff if at all? The Twins aren’t paying Stauffer $2.2 million to pitch for the Red Wings. According to what I have read Stauffer likes starting and the Twins have promised him a chance to be just that but in reality his chances of starting are about as good as my chances are of starting for the Twins. The Twins have a spot on the bullpen bench with Stauffer’s name on it. The only question is what his role will be coming out of the pen. Some have said that he will get a shot at the set-up role replacing Burton but I don’t see that in the cards, at least not to start the season if at all. I see Stauffer taking over as an upgrade over Anthony Swarzak as the Twins long guy with emergency start potential. We will see how it all plays out this spring.

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Merry Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS

 2014 Merry Christmas 2We at TwinsTrivia.com would like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy this wonderful holiday with all your family and friends and don’t forget to think about and give thanks to those that are in the military serving and protecting us all over the world and not able to spend this Christmas with their families and friends. Having been there myself once upon a time I remember how lonely that can be. We hope that this Christmas will be the best ever and one that you will never forget!

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Hal Naragon 1965 AL Championship ring sold

Hal NaragonA couple of weeks ago while doing some research for this site I ran across an auction web site that was selling a 1965 American League championship ring so I had to stop and investigate.

Here is how Legendary Auctions described the ring they had up for bids:

Hal Naragon used his skills behind the plate to craft a ten-year career in the major leagues, ending his playing days in 1962 as a member of the Minnesota Twins. Immediately after that he took a job as a Twins coach and was on-hand for the teams unforgettable run to the 1965 American League championship. Offered here is Hal’s actual AL Championship Ring awarded to him for his efforts in that season that came only inches away from producing a World Series championship when Sandy Koufax downed the Twins 2-0 in a Game 7 duel with Jim Kaat. Dazzling diamond is centered on the face of this Jostens 14K ring is a brilliant round stone set upon a deep-blue background. Encircling the stone is “American League Champions.” On one shank, “MINNESOTA” is engraved above a raised “TC” logo. The bottom of the shank bears a baseball and two crossed bats with “1965” engraved within the ball. The other shank is topped with the name “NARAGON.” An image of the state of Minnesota and the Twin Cities logo is above another baseball and two crossed bats. It would seem that Hal has always appreciated how special this ring is and what it represents as he has clearly taken exceptional care of it over the past five decades. In comparing this to the one other 1965 Twins ring that we’ve seen, there is no question that this is a far superior example and it grades NM with spectacular visual qualities.

When the bidding closed, there were 14 bids and the final bid was $3,585. I am not sure why Hal Naragon who is now 86, chose to sell his 1965 AL Championship ring but to me it is always sad to see something personal like this get sold to anyone other than the person that earned it. I did an interview with Hal Naragon, who is one of the original Minnesota Twins back in September 2010 that you can listen to here.

(click on the images to make them larger)

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Twins hitters with best BB per PA %

Today we take a look through Minnesota Twins history and see what hitters were most likely to draw a walk during their Twins career. To make this list the player had to play in at least 162 games in a Twins uniform. IBB are included.

Harmon Killebrew

NAME BB PA % OF TIME WALKED PER PA GAMES
1. Harmon Killebrew 1321 8018 16.47% 1939
2. Jim Thome 95 582 16.32% 179
3. Chili Davis 168 291 14.45% 291
4. Bob Allison 641 4643 13.81% 1236
5. Bobby Kielty 102 750 13.60% 224
6. Josh Willingham 184 1364 13.49% 324
7. Craig Kusick 187 1398 13.38% 473
8. Matt Lawton 408 3150 12.95% 771
9. Steve Braun 356 2830 12.58% 751
10. Don Mincher 220 1762 12.49% 590
11. Glenn Borgmann 177 1423 12.44% 442
12. Joe Mauer 676 5578 12.12% 1298
13. Doug Mientkiewicz 300 2505 11.98% 643
14. Corey Koskie 385 3257 11.82% 816
15. Bobby Mitchell 82 694 11.82% 183
16. Kent Hrbek 838 7137 11.74% 1747
17. Roy Smalley 549 4676 11.74% 1148
18. Lenny Green 204 1754 11.63% 485
19. Butch Wynegar 358 3188 11.23% 794
20. Chuck Knoblauch 513 4573 11.22% 1013

Interactive Whiteboards by PolyVision

I noted earlier that IBB were included in the table above, so here are a couple of trivia questions for you.

1. Four Twins drew 100 or more IBB during their Twins career, can you name them?

2. I played in 618 Twins games and had 1,876 plate appearances but no opposing pitcher ever saw fit to give me an intentional free pass, who am I?

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Twins and post season play

As 2014 is coming to an end it is a good time to look back on another Twins season, their fourth in a row without post season play. But you have to be a winner to make post season play and the Twins have been anything but a winner the last few years. It has been a toss-up when you try to determine who has been more inept, the Twins players on the field or the ownership and Twins executives that sit behind their desks and make the decisions that determine the experience that Twins fans will have to live with during the up-coming season.

The Twins have had many losing seasons over the years and the real core Twins fans complained but they accepted the team they had and they looked forward to the next season with renewed hope for more wins “next year”. But it is seems different now, I am not sure why, maybe the fans are more passionate, maybe it is social media that allows Twins fans to better express their frustrations but today’s Twins fans are just plain mad and disgusted with the caliber of play their home team has displayed since the 2010 ended. Hopefully the Minnesota Twins organization feels some of the passion that Twins fans have and will start to look at the product from the fans perspective and see what they can do to make the fans experience a little more fun and and not so tough on the wallet.

Since the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota after the 1960 season and became the Minnesota Twins the team has played 8,617 regular season games, winning 4,274, losing 4,335 and playing to a tie on eight occasions in 54 seasons of play. Boy, how time flies by, I still remember that 1961 season.

Looking back at Twins history they have two World Series winners and a third World Series appearance in which they lost game seven to Sandy Koufax and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In addition to the 8,617 regular season games the team has played a total of 64 post season games winning 25 and losing 39. Their last post season appearance was in 2010 and that brief playoff run lasted just three games when they were swept by the New York Yankees 3 games to zip. The teams last post season win was back in 2004 (if I am not mistaken that is about 10 years ago, YIKES!) when they beat the Yankees in game 1 of the ALDS series before losing the next three games.

So let’s take a look at the hitting and pitching statistics of the Minnesota Twins in post season play. Let’s see who stood out under the bright lights of post season play and who couldn’t or didn’t deliver when the pressure was on. The names you will see below will bring back many memories, some good, some bad, some sad and in some cases you will say “who in the hell is so and so, I don’t remember him”. But it is fun looking back.

 Hitting in Post Season (had at least one PA)

Rk Player #Matching PA ? AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP OPS SB
1 Dan Gladden 24 115 104 17 29 6 3 1 15 9 12 .279 .348 .771 7
2 Kirby Puckett 24 109 97 16 30 3 2 5 15 8 17 .309 .361 .897 3
3 Kent Hrbek 24 103 91 10 14 1 0 3 12 11 12 .154 .252 .516 0
4 Greg Gagne 24 96 89 12 19 5 0 4 10 5 22 .213 .271 .675 0
5 Torii Hunter 21 88 80 15 24 8 1 3 8 5 11 .300 .337 .875 2
6 Jacque Jones 18 79 76 6 15 5 0 2 5 1 23 .197 .215 .557 0
7 Michael Cuddyer 21 78 74 5 25 2 1 2 8 4 18 .338 .372 .845 0
8 Corey Koskie 18 78 67 8 15 4 1 1 9 7 21 .224 .321 .679 0
9 Cristian Guzman 18 75 67 9 16 3 0 1 2 5 12 .239 .301 .630 3
10 Doug Mientkiewicz 14 56 53 4 12 1 0 2 6 3 5 .226 .268 .626 0
11 Chuck Knoblauch 12 55 46 8 15 3 0 0 5 7 5 .326 .407 .799 6
12 Harmon Killebrew 13 54 40 6 10 1 0 3 6 14 10 .250 .444 .944 0
13 Tony Oliva 13 53 51 7 16 5 0 3 5 2 10 .314 .340 .928 1
14 Gary Gaetti 12 53 47 9 13 3 1 3 9 3 8 .277 .340 .914 2
15 A.J. Pierzynski 14 50 45 6 14 0 1 2 7 4 4 .311 .360 .849 0
16 Tom Brunansky 12 50 42 10 12 4 0 2 11 8 7 .286 .400 .924 1
17 Shane Mack 11 44 41 4 9 2 1 0 4 2 11 .220 .250 .567 2
18 Luis Rivas 14 43 38 3 6 1 0 0 1 2 9 .158 .195 .379 0
19 Tim Laudner 12 43 36 5 8 2 0 1 6 7 9 .222 .349 .710 0
20 Chili Davis 11 42 35 7 9 2 0 2 6 7 11 .257 .381 .867 1
21 Brian Harper 11 41 39 3 13 4 0 0 2 2 4 .333 .366 .802 0
22 Joe Mauer 9 39 35 1 10 1 0 0 1 4 7 .286 .359 .673 0
23 Shannon Stewart 8 38 35 1 10 2 0 0 2 2 6 .286 .316 .659 1
24 Steve Lombardozzi 11 37 32 5 11 1 0 1 5 4 4 .344 .417 .885 0
25 Jason Kubel 8 32 29 0 2 1 0 0 0 3 13 .069 .156 .260 0
26 Bob Allison 10 30 26 3 2 1 0 1 3 3 10 .077 .167 .397 1
27 Zoilo Versalles 7 30 28 3 8 1 1 1 4 2 7 .286 .333 .833 1
28 David Ortiz 9 29 29 0 8 3 0 0 4 0 10 .276 .276 .655 0
29 Justin Morneau 7 29 29 4 9 3 0 2 4 0 3 .310 .310 .931 0
30 Mike Pagliarulo 11 28 26 5 8 1 0 2 5 1 4 .308 .333 .910 0
31 Matt LeCroy 10 28 26 2 7 0 0 0 1 2 9 .269 .321 .591 0
32 Denard Span 6 28 28 1 10 1 0 0 1 0 2 .357 .357 .750 1
33 Delmon Young 6 27 24 2 5 1 1 0 0 2 6 .208 .296 .630 1
34 Cesar Tovar 6 27 26 2 6 0 1 0 1 1 2 .231 .259 .567 1
35 Randy Bush 11 26 22 5 5 1 1 0 4 3 4 .227 .308 .671 3
36 Frank Quilici 9 26 22 2 4 2 0 0 1 4 4 .182 .308 .580 0
37 Leo Cardenas 6 26 24 1 4 0 1 0 1 1 8 .167 .200 .450 0
38 Don Mincher 7 25 23 3 3 0 0 1 1 2 7 .130 .200 .461 0
39 Earl Battey 7 25 25 1 3 0 1 0 2 0 5 .120 .120 .320 0
40 Nick Punto 6 25 21 0 6 1 0 0 1 3 2 .286 .375 .708 0
41 Don Baylor 7 21 18 3 7 0 0 1 4 1 1 .389 .476 1.032 0
42 Joe Nossek 6 21 20 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 .200 .200 .400 0
43 Rich Reese 5 21 19 0 3 0 0 0 2 2 2 .158 .238 .396 0
44 Scott Leius 9 20 18 2 5 0 0 1 2 2 3 .278 .350 .794 0
45 Rod Carew 5 17 16 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 .063 .118 .180 0
46 George Mitterwald 4 16 15 2 5 1 0 0 2 1 5 .333 .375 .775 0
47 Dustan Mohr 7 15 14 4 7 2 0 0 0 1 4 .500 .533 1.176 1
48 Orlando Cabrera 3 15 13 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 3 .154 .267 .421 1
49 Lew Ford 4 14 12 1 3 1 0 0 2 0 3 .250 .357 .690 1
50 Luis Castillo 3 14 11 0 3 0 0 0 0 3 3 .273 .429 .701 0
51 Jim Thome 3 13 10 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 3 .100 .308 .408 0
52 Orlando Hudson 3 13 12 2 4 0 0 1 2 0 2 .333 .333 .917 0
53 Gene Larkin 12 12 11 1 3 1 0 0 2 1 1 .273 .333 .697 0
54 Rondell White 3 12 12 1 5 1 0 1 2 0 0 .417 .417 1.167 0
55 Brendan Harris 3 12 12 1 3 0 1 0 1 0 3 .250 .250 .667 0
56 Al Newman 6 11 9 0 2 0 1 0 1 1 1 .222 .300 .744 0
57 Sandy Valdespino 5 11 11 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 .273 .273 .636 0
58 Danny Valencia 3 11 9 1 2 1 0 0 2 1 3 .222 .273 .606 0
59 Jason Bartlett 3 11 11 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 2 .273 .273 .636 0
60 Henry Blanco 4 10 8 1 2 0 0 1 2 0 2 .250 .222 .847 0
61 J.J. Hardy 3 10 10 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 .100 .100 .300 0
62 Danny Thompson 3 9 8 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 .125 .222 .472 0
63 Mudcat Grant 3 9 8 3 2 1 0 1 3 0 1 .250 .250 1.000 0
64 Brant Alyea 3 9 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 .000 .222 .222 0
65 Bobby Kielty 7 8 7 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 .000 .125 .125 0
66 Junior Ortiz 4 8 8 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .125 .125 .250 0
67 Jason Tyner 2 8 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 .000 .250 .250 1
68 Jimmie Hall 2 8 7 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 .143 .250 .393 0
69 Jim Kaat 4 7 7 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 6 .143 .143 .286 0
70 Rick Renick 3 6 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .167 .167 .333 0
71 Denny Hocking 3 6 6 0 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 .500 .500 1.167 0
72 Ted Uhlaender 2 6 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .167 .167 .333 0
73 Matt Tolbert 2 6 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .200 .333 .533 0
74 Carlos Gomez 1 6 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .333 .333 0
75 John Roseboro 2 5 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .200 .200 .400 0
76 Jim Holt 2 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 0
77 Paul Sorrento 4 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .000 .250 .250 0
78 Roy Smalley 4 4 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 .500 .750 1.750 0
79 Jim Perry 2 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
80 Paul Ratliff 1 4 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .250 .250 .500 0
81 Dave Boswell 1 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 .000 .000 .000 0
82 Rich Rollins 3 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .333 .333 0
83 Jose Offerman 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
84 Tom Prince 2 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 0
85 Phil Nevin 1 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
86 Jose Morales 1 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 0
87 Sal Butera 1 3 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .667 .667 1.333 0
88 Charlie Manuel 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .500 .500 0
89 Les Straker 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 0
90 Jack Morris 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
91 Jarvis Brown 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
92 Pat Borders 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
93 Bert Blyleven 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
94 Jerry Zimmerman 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
95 Dick Woodson 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 2.000 0
96 Stan Williams 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.000 0
97 Frank Viola 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
98 Kevin Tapani 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
99 Mike Ryan 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
100 Ron Perranoski 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
101 Camilo Pascual 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
102 Graig Nettles 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 2.000 0
103 Tom Hall 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
104 Scott Erickson 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
105 Mark Davidson 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
106 Rick Aguilera 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/17/2014.

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Pitching in Post Season (faced at least one batter)

Rk Player #Matching W L W-L% ERA GS CG SHO SV IP ? H ER HR BB SO WHIP
1 Jack Morris 5 4 0 1.000 2.23 5 1 1 0 36.1 35 9 1 10 22 1.24
2 Brad Radke 6 2 3 .400 3.60 6 0 0 0 35.0 37 14 6 8 17 1.29
3 Johan Santana 11 1 3 .250 3.97 5 0 0 0 34.0 35 15 2 10 32 1.32
4 Frank Viola 5 3 1 .750 4.31 5 0 0 0 31.1 31 15 3 8 25 1.24
5 Bert Blyleven 5 3 1 .750 3.18 4 0 0 0 28.1 27 10 3 5 23 1.13
6 Mudcat Grant 3 2 1 .667 2.74 3 2 0 0 23.0 22 7 3 2 12 1.04
7 Kevin Tapani 4 1 2 .333 6.04 4 0 0 0 22.1 29 15 1 5 16 1.52
8 Jim Perry 5 0 1 .000 6.75 2 0 0 0 17.1 21 13 6 6 10 1.56
9 Joe Mays 3 1 1 .500 4.76 3 0 0 0 17.0 21 9 4 2 4 1.35
10 Jim Kaat 4 1 3 .250 4.41 4 1 0 0 16.1 24 8 1 4 7 1.71
11 Eric Milton 3 1 0 1.000 1.65 2 0 0 0 16.1 13 3 2 3 9 0.98
12 Scott Erickson 3 0 0 4.91 3 0 0 0 14.2 13 8 4 9 7 1.50
13 Dave Boswell 2 0 1 .000 1.35 1 0 0 0 13.1 10 2 0 9 7 1.43
14 Carl Pavano 2 0 2 .000 4.15 2 0 0 0 13.0 15 6 3 1 12 1.23
15 Carl Willis 7 0 0 2.92 0 0 0 0 12.1 8 4 2 2 5 0.81
16 Kyle Lohse 5 0 2 .000 3.00 1 0 0 0 12.0 9 4 1 2 14 0.92
17 Les Straker 3 0 0 6.94 3 0 0 0 11.2 12 9 1 7 7 1.63
18 Rick Reed 3 0 2 .000 8.18 2 0 0 0 11.0 15 10 6 2 8 1.55
19 Juan Berenguer 7 0 1 .000 5.23 0 0 0 1 10.1 11 6 1 3 7 1.35
20 Jeff Reardon 8 1 1 .500 2.70 0 0 0 3 10.0 12 3 1 3 8 1.50
21 J.C. Romero 12 0 1 .000 5.59 0 0 0 0 9.2 10 6 1 6 7 1.66
22 Juan Rincon 8 0 0 5.19 0 0 0 0 8.2 6 5 1 6 9 1.38
23 Dan Schatzeder 5 1 0 1.000 3.12 0 0 0 0 8.2 6 3 0 3 8 1.04
24 Rick Aguilera 7 1 1 .500 1.08 0 0 0 5 8.1 7 1 0 1 6 0.96
25 Brian Duensing 2 0 2 .000 11.25 2 0 0 0 8.0 14 10 2 2 4 2.00
26 Joe Nathan 6 0 1 .000 4.70 0 0 0 1 7.2 8 4 1 6 9 1.83
27 Francisco Liriano 2 0 0 5.87 1 0 0 0 7.2 7 5 1 4 8 1.43
28 Ron Perranoski 5 0 1 .000 10.29 0 0 0 0 7.0 13 8 0 1 5 2.00
29 LaTroy Hawkins 10 1 0 1.000 6.75 0 0 0 0 6.2 9 5 0 1 11 1.50
30 Mark Guthrie 6 1 1 .500 1.35 0 0 0 0 6.2 3 1 0 4 3 1.05
31 Tom Hall 3 0 1 .000 6.00 1 0 0 0 6.0 6 4 1 4 6 1.67
32 Stan Williams 2 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 6.0 2 0 0 1 2 0.50
33 Boof Bonser 1 0 0 3.00 1 0 0 0 6.0 7 2 0 1 3 1.33
34 David West 4 1 0 1.000 6.35 0 0 0 0 5.2 3 4 1 8 4 1.94
35 Nick Blackburn 1 0 0 1.59 1 0 0 0 5.2 3 1 0 2 3 0.88
36 Al Worthington 3 0 0 1.69 0 0 0 0 5.1 5 1 0 2 3 1.31
37 Eddie Guardado 5 0 0 9.00 0 0 0 3 5.0 10 5 2 2 5 2.40
38 Carlos Silva 1 0 1 .000 10.80 1 0 0 0 5.0 10 6 1 0 1 2.00
39 Camilo Pascual 1 0 1 .000 5.40 1 0 0 0 5.0 8 3 0 1 0 1.80
40 Matt Guerrier 5 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 4.2 1 0 0 1 4 0.43
41 Steve Bedrosian 5 0 0 3.86 0 0 0 0 4.2 6 2 0 2 4 1.71
42 Jim Merritt 2 0 0 2.70 0 0 0 0 3.1 2 1 0 0 1 0.60
43 Jon Rauch 5 0 0 3.00 0 0 0 0 3.0 1 1 0 2 1 1.00
44 Terry Mulholland 1 0 0 3.00 0 0 0 0 3.0 3 1 1 0 0 1.00
45 Dick Woodson 2 0 0 10.12 0 0 0 0 2.2 5 3 0 4 2 3.38
46 Johnny Klippstein 2 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 2.2 2 0 0 2 3 1.50
47 Brian Fuentes 2 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 2.2 1 0 0 0 2 0.38
48 Grant Balfour 2 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 2.2 0 0 0 0 2 0.00
49 Terry Leach 2 0 0 3.86 0 0 0 0 2.1 2 1 0 0 2 0.86
50 Scott Baker 1 0 0 3.86 0 0 0 0 2.1 3 1 1 0 2 1.29
51 Jose Mijares 5 0 1 .000 4.50 0 0 0 0 2.0 1 1 1 2 0 1.50
52 Joe Niekro 1 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 2.0 1 0 0 1 1 1.00
53 George Frazier 1 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 2.0 1 0 0 0 2 0.50
54 Dean Chance 1 0 0 13.50 0 0 0 0 2.0 4 3 1 0 2 2.00
55 Michael Jackson 4 0 0 16.20 0 0 0 0 1.2 6 3 0 2 2 4.80
56 Jesse Crain 4 0 1 .000 16.20 0 0 0 0 1.2 7 3 2 1 1 4.80
57 Ron Mahay 3 0 0 5.40 0 0 0 0 1.2 0 1 0 1 2 0.60
58 Keith Atherton 3 0 0 5.40 0 0 0 0 1.2 1 1 0 1 0 1.20
59 Bob Miller 1 0 1 .000 5.40 1 0 0 0 1.2 5 1 0 0 0 3.00
60 Bill Zepp 2 0 0 6.75 0 0 0 0 1.1 2 1 1 2 2 3.00
61 Kenny Rogers 1 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 1.1 1 0 0 1 3 1.50
62 Tony Fiore 1 0 0 20.25 0 0 0 0 1.1 4 3 0 2 0 4.50
63 Bob Wells 2 0 0 9.00 0 0 0 0 1.0 2 1 0 0 2 2.00
64 Dennys Reyes 2 0 0 9.00 0 0 0 0 1.0 1 1 1 2 0 3.00
65 Pat Neshek 2 0 1 .000 9.00 0 0 0 0 1.0 1 1 0 0 1 1.00
66 Bill Pleis 1 0 0 9.00 0 0 0 0 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 2.00
67 Matt Capps 1 0 0 9.00 0 0 0 0 1.0 2 1 0 0 0 2.00
68 Luis Tiant 1 0 0 13.50 0 0 0 0 0.2 1 1 1 0 0 1.50
69 Joe Grzenda 1 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
70 Glen Perkins 1 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0.1 2 0 0 0 0 6.00
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/17/2014.

Since the Twins started play in 1961 through the 2014 season a total of 751 players have put on a Minnesota Twins uniform and appeared in a game either as a hitter or a pitcher. Only 162 of them or 21.57% have appeared in a Twins post season game over the 54 seasons the Twins have called Minnesota home.

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News about new Twins, former Twins, and Twins to be

Ervin SantanaThe Twins today signed free agent pitcher Ervin Santana to a four-year $55 million deal. According to ESPN, the right-hander is guaranteed $54 million over the four years, with a conditional option worth $14 million in 2019 if he throws more than 200 innings. He will receive a $1 million buyout if the Twins don’t exercise the option. The contract sets a new Twins high water mark for a free agent spending, eclipsing the $49 million deal with Ricky Nolasco last year. Because he was tendered by the Braves, Santana will cost the Twins a draft choice, a second rounder since their first round selection was protected due to the Twins poor record last year. The most recent (2006) Twins second round pick to play for Minnesota was outfielder Joe Benson. To view a complete list of Minnesota Twins round two selections you need to click here.

Santana who just turned 32 yesterday is from the Dominican Republic and pitched for the Atlanta Braves this past season going 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA in his first and only season in the National League. Santana was originally signed by the Angels in 2000 and made his major league debut with them in 2005. 2015 will be Santana’s eleventh in the big leagues and he has a career 119-100 record with a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians in 2011 on his resume. In his 10 previous seasons Santana has averaged 188 innings per season and he has a career mark of 7.2 SO/9.

Over all this should be a very nice addition to the Twins starting pitching staff. I would expect Ricky Nolasco to pitch better than he did in 2014, Phil Hughes may not put up the same kind of numbers this season as he did last but he should still be a very good pitcher, Kyle Gibson should be improved with another season under his belt, and who ever fills out the rotation in the fifth spot should make this staff the best the Twins have had in many years. I like it!

Chris Colabello

Chris Colabello

During the just concluded baseball winter meetings the Twins lost Chris Colabello to the Toronto Blue Jays on a waiver claim.

J.R. Graham

J.R. Graham

The Twins picked up 24-year-old right-handed pitcher J.R. Graham from the Atlanta Braves via the Rule 5 draft this past Thursday. Graham must make the Twins 25 man roster in 2015 or be returned to Atlanta or a trade could be worked out with Atlanta for the Twins to keep Graham but not be forced to put him on the 25 man roster. The New York Mets selected Twins LHP Sean Gilmartin in the same Rule 5 draft.

 

 

Brayan Villarreal

Brayan Villarreal

MLBtradeRumors has reported that the Twins have also signed 26-year-old right-handed pitcher Brayan Villarreal to split contract with an invitation to spring training. Villarreal last pitched in the majors in 2013 and spent last season in AAA with the Red Sox organization. During spring training with the Detroit Tigers in 2013 Villarreal’s family was the victim of a kidnapping attempt in his native Venezuela. Armed robbers had broken into the family home and threatened his father and 14-year-old brother in an attempt to extort money. Police however, and were able to free the hostages without injury.

Juan Berenguer

Juan Berenguer

Former Twins pitcher Juan Berenguer filed suit this week in U.S. District Court alleging that “personnel from various entities in Minnesota illegally obtained Berenguer’s private, personal and confidential driver’s license information without a legitimate or permissible law-enforcement purpose or any other lawful purpose.” The suit says his private information was viewed more than 125 times between 2005 and 2011, in violation of the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.

The Arizona Fall League this past Wednesday announced its 2014 Top Prospects Team. Twins minor league outfielders Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario both made the team.

Torii Hunter

Torii Hunter

I didn’t write alot about the Twins recent free agent signing of outfielder Torii Hunter and to be honest I am really torn by this. How can you not like that great smile and that bubbly personality but yet the man is 39 years old and he will bank about $10 million for his efforts.  This former and now current Twin is one of my all-time favorite Minnesota Twins but I am not sure how much Hunter has left in the tank. The Twins plan to use him in right field and plan to move Oswaldo Arcia to left. I had really hoped that the Twins would give prospect Eddie Rosario a real shot at left field but now that looks like it won’t happen unless either Arcia or Hunter fails big time. Rosario is not really a center fielder but the Twins have had worse players out there the last few years, still, I don’t see the Twins giving Rosario a shot there. I think the biggest plus from adding Hunter will simply be his presence on the team, his will to win and professional attitude can’t help but rub off on the teams younger players and show them the path they need to take and the effort they need to put forth to once again make the Minnesota Twins winners.

Chris Parmelee

Chris Parmelee

I just saw on MLBTradeRumors that the Twins have designated Chris Parmelee for assignment to make room on the roster for Ervin Santana. I didn’t see this move coming at this stage of the off-season. Parmelee was the Twins first round selection in 2006 (20th over all) and made his big league debut in September of 2011. Parmelee played sparingly for the Twins from 2011-2014 and just never lived up to what the Twins expected from this former first rounder.

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CenturyLink Sports Complex Infographic

CenturyLink Sports Complex infographix

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Torii Hunter comes home

The ever smiling Torii Hunter took over center from Puckett and played in the Dome from 1997 - 2007. He helped the Twins to four division titles and won seven gold gloves with the Twins. Torii hit .324 in 10 playoff games at the Metrodome.

The ever smiling Torii Hunter took over center from Puckett and played in the Dome from 1997 – 2007. He helped the Twins to four division titles and won seven gold gloves with the Twins. Torii hit .324 in 10 playoff games at the Metrodome.

The Twins announced their newest free agent signee on Wednesday and had an introductory press conference the same day but Torii Hunter needs no introduction here in Twins Territory. Hunter was the Twins first round pick in 1993 and he made his big league debut in a pinch-running role with the club at the age of 22 at Camden Yards. He became the Twins starting center fielder in 1999 and kept that job until he left as a free agent after the 2007 season to sign with the Angels. Torii played for the Angels from 2008-2012 before moving on to the Tigers where he spent the last two seasons.

Rumors have been circulating for some time now that the Twins and Hunter had a mutual interest in joining forces again and yesterday it became a reality when the Twins signed the 39 year-old Hunter to a one-year $10.5 million deal that supposedly includes a full no trade clause.

I had written a piece about the Twins/Hunter romance back on November 23 and it was a real head scratcher to me then and it still is today. I know the Twins outfield situation is a mess but I am not sure that throwing $10.5 million to Hunter is the answer. Hunter no longer can play center field and the Twins have stated that Hunter will play right field and Oswaldo Arcia will move to left field. Apparently center field will again be patrolled by Aaron Hicks if he shows anything at all with the bat. The fallback plan would be Danny Santana who apparently will be given a shot to win the shortstop job if Hicks holds on to center field but the Twins aren’t talking about shortstop too much right now. Terry Ryan did say that the focus will now turn to pitching so that means that the club will go with an in-house center fielder. Who ever plays center for a year or two is just a place-holder for Byron Buxton who hopefully can have a healthy and productive season in 2015 and maybe, just maybe get a September call-up for a taste of big league coffee.

If Twins fans are looking forward to seeing the Torii Hunter of old, they will be sorely disappointed. I have always liked Torii Hunter, who doesn’t? The man has a million dollar smile and a personality to match but he will be 40 in July and baseball skills start to erode pretty quickly when you get around the 40 mark. The man is a winner although the World Series has eluded him in his 18 years in the big leagues. The odds of him getting there with Minnesota, at least as a player are slim to none. Hunter said that he wanted to finish his career at home and he calls the Minnesota Twins home so maybe after he hangs up his spikes as a player the organization will have another role for him. Hunter knows how to play the game and hopefully he can teach some of the Twins players what it takes to get that done.

From the Twins perspective this deal fills a couple of needs. First of all it fills a corner outfield role that was in essence vacant. Although the Twins organization will not admit it the Twins team has a no leader and many times has looked like they are just going through the motions. The only players that the Twins have that show any passion at all are Brian Dozier, Casey Fien, and Glen Perkins. Hunter can help with that problem for sure. From the non-baseball side this helps the Twins organization sell some tickets. Hunter has always been a popular player and his coming back to Minnesota may help persuade a few season ticket-holders to re-up for one more season. The Twins are in desperate straits and anything they can do to stop the hemorrhaging of season ticket holders is worth a try. I think the team has a bright future but they need to find a way to hold on to their fan base because once that train leaves the station it takes lots of time and money to get it back

There are some good reasons to put Torii back in a Twins uniform, I just don’t think that signing him will do much for the Twins record in 2015. However, if you look at this signing as an investment for the future, bringing Torii home to Minnesota might make some sense. I hope so because I hate to see anyone waste $10.5 million and I want the Minnesota Twins to learn how to win and play good baseball again before I get too much older.

Welcome back Torii Hunter!

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Twins find new way to improve on the field product

Construction imageThe Minnesota Twins announced yesterday that they would like to build a new “destination bar” and add a “skyline suite” by combining several existing suites down the left field line before the team begins play at Target field on April 13. The bar would replace retail space on the main concourse between Gate 6 and the left-field foul pole.

The cost for the renovation is expected to be about $2.5 million and no public funds will be requested for these improvements to the ballpark. The Twins need to get approval from the Minnesota Ballpark Authority (MBA) which operates Target Field.  The  MBA is expected to approve the plan. According to MBA executive director Dan Kenney “We like the fact that the team has continued to invest in a first-class facility,” adding that the team has spent at least $10 million to upgrade the facility since it opened in April 2010.

With attendance dropping from 3.2 million in 2010 to 2.2 million this past season the Twins are looking for ways to stop the attendance decline and improve their on the field product. I’m not sure these improvements fit the bill. My personal take on this years proposed renovations to Target Field is “are you serious?” Boring! Combining a couple of suites to make one larger suite doesn’t even constitute a renovation in my book and certainly adds nothing to improve the average fans experience at the ballpark.

But what about the new destination bar you say? The one that will also have a “video element” so that patrons can watch the action on the field? Maybe Twins fans are going to the bar so that they don’t have to watch the on the field product. Target Field needs another bar? They already have the Town Ball Tavern, Hrbek’s, and Twins Pub (which is actually two bars). It appears that the Twins organization must be thinking that they can make the on the field Twins look better after you have a few drinks. With the way the Twins have played since 2011 it probably takes several drinks to make the Twins team worth watching in person so the Twins may be on to something there. Maybe the Twins should invest that $2.5 million towards a pitcher that could help them win a few more games but then again if you look at it from a business perspective and you ask what will help my ROI more, a pitcher or a bar? Jim Pohlad, Dave St. Peter and the rest of the Twins gang said, let’s go with the sure thing and go with the bar. Same old play it safe don’t take any chances Minnesota Twins for you.

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The 2014 Twins Turkey of the Year winner is -

Turkey CartoonOnly three teams in major league baseball lost more games than our Minnesota Twins did in 2014 when they lost 92 times, their four straight 90 plus losing season. You would think that a team that Forbes listed this past March as the 19th most valuable franchise in major league baseball at $605 million with an estimated revenue of $221 million could put a better product on the field wouldn’t you? The Twins 2014 Opening Day payroll was around $85 million give or take, ranking them 24th out of the 30 teams. The Twins front office bragged that they wouldn’t be raising ticket prices in 2014. Raising ticket prices? My God, when the team is this bad for that long the ticket prices should be automatically dropping until the teams shows some competitive life.

With a team like the Minnesota Twins, in its current state of affairs, it is not all that difficult to get candidates for the 2014 Twins Turkey of the Year award “so let’s get after it” and see who we have waiting in the wings.

Vance Worley

Vance Worley

Finalist but did not make the final cut - Vance Worley was acquired in a trade with the Phillies in December 2012.  In the first two months of 2013 the “Vanimal” started 10 games for Minnesota and posted a 1-5 record with a 7.21 ERA and allowed 82 hits in 48.2 innings and eventually pitched his way to AAA Rochester where after a few games he went on the DL. During spring training in 2014 Worley announced that he had pitched hurt in 2013 because of a bone spur in his pitching elbow. The Twins had seen enough of the Vanimal and sold him to the Pittsburg Pirates in March of this year. Another bad pitcher who had more excuses then you could shake a stick at and had a problem telling the truth. Worley was 8-4 for the Pirates with a 2.85 ERA in 2014, what’s up with that?

Finalist but did not make the final cut - The Twins troika of Ron Gardenhire/Rob Antony/Terry Ryan had a rough go of things in 2014. In what turned out to be his last season at the helm as the Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire did the best he could with the players that Terry Ryan and Rob Antony provided but when your pitching staff ranks last in the league in ERA, hits allowed, runs, earned runs, and strikeouts, your chances for a good season are slim at best. Terry Ryan had personal health issues that kept him away from the club for all of spring training and most of the regular season. Rob Antony was the acting GM for a good portion of the season and did what he could to fill Ryan’s shoes. The Twins made several personnel moves that when looked back on could probably have been handled differently and maybe prevented some of the chaos that the team experienced in the outfield. Then again when the manager keeps sending infielders to play the outfield, what can you expect?

Finalist but did not make the final cut - Twins Center fielders  – Manager Ron Gardenhire started the season with Aaron Hicks playing center field and had high hopes for the young switch-hitter particularly when Hicks started out 4 for 7 in his first two games. But then he quit hitting, got hurt, over slept and found himself packing his bags for New Britain in late June. In the first two and a half months of the season Hicks appeared on the DL twice and missed 19 games. He didn’t return until the minor league season was over in September. The Twins ended up trying Sam Fuld, Jordan Schafer, Chris Parmelee, Eduardo Escobar, Darin Mastroianni, and Danny Santana in center field and the best of the bunch was Santana but he is a natural shortstop. The rookie Santana never really got a chance to play short and to show how he can handle that position because Gardy kept sending him out to center field. At this point in the off-season center field remains a huge question mark.

Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer

Finalist but did not make the final cut - Joe Mauer – Last November (2013) the Twins brain trust in conjunction with Joe Mauer decided that Mauer was done as a catcher due to concussion issues and would become the teams first baseman. In the teams first 70 games (March 31 through June 18) Mauer played in 64 of them getting 289 plate appearances while hitting primarily third in the batting order, he managed to hit just two home runs with 16 RBI while hitting for a .254 batting average. On July 1st while playing against the Royals at Target Field, Mauer pulled his right oblique and missed 34 games between July 2 and August 11th. By the time the season was over Mauer had played in 120 games, hit four home runs, knocked in 55 and struck out a career high 96 times while posting an un-Maueresque OBP of .360 and a .732 OPS. His play in the field although not stellar was acceptable for a player learning a new position on the fly. Unless Mauer starts hitting like the Mauer of old, manager Paul Molitor has no business hitting him third. Why not hit Mauer at lead-off? Since 2004 when he first joined the Twins, Mauer has the highest OBP at .401 and is followed by Jim Thome at .387, Denard Span at .357, Luis Castillo at .357 and Danny Santana at .353 when you compare players that have played 100 games or more. Fans just have a hard time accepting the fact that Joe makes $23 million a year, seems to show no urgency, and the man never seems to get mad about anything. Come on Joe, throw something or at least get thrown out of a game arguing a strike call so we know you are still alive out there.

Ricky Nolasco Finalist but did not make the final cutRicky Nolasco was signed by Minnesota in December 2013 and is the highest paid free agent signing in team history. In early July after posting a season todate 5.90 ERA in 104 innings in 18 starts Nolasco revealed he had bad pitching through elbow pain since spring training. You would think that for $49 million that Nolasco could at least be truthful about his condition and have enough confidence in his abilities to step up and speak up instead of hurting his team by continuing to pitch when he is injured. The announcement came as a complete shock to the Twins who then placed Nolasco on the DL where he missed 32 games between July 8th and August 15th. Then in late September he further alienated himself to the Twins community when he responded to a tweet from a Dodgers fan who said they wished he was still in LA and he responded by saying “So do I!!!”  OMG! What a clown on so many levels. The man has fences to mend everywhere. “Minnesota nice” only lasts one season Ricky, pick it up their buddy and show us you are not the dud you showed in 2014.

Chuck Knoblauch was the Twins first round pick in 1989 and was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1991 and an All-Star in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1997. Knobby played in the Dome from 1991 - 1997.

Chuck Knoblauch was the Twins first round pick in 1989 and was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1991 and an All-Star in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1997. Knobby played in the Dome from 1991 – 1997.

Second runner-up is Chuck Knoblauch was the Twins first round (25th over all) draft choice in June of 1989 and by 1991 he was the Twins starting second baseman on a World Championship team and the American League rookie of the year. The mercurial Knobby demanded to be traded in 1997 and the Twins granted him his wish after the season ended and sent him to the Yankees where he played from 1998-2001. During his stay in New York Knoblauch started having issues with throwing to ball to first base and he left as a free agent after the 2001 season. Knoblauch spent his final season in the big leagues in Kansas City in 2002 and when the season ended so did the 34 year-old Knoblauch’s big league career. After his career ended Knoblauch had issues with alcohol and was arrested in 2010 for hitting his wife and he ended up with a years probation. In January 2014 the Twins announced that Chuck Knoblauch had been elected as the 27th member of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame and would be inducted in August. But Chuck had another alcohol related issue in July of this year and again was arrested and charged with assaulting his ex-wife. This was too much for the Twins organization and they cancelled his August Twins Hall of Fame induction and cut off communications with Knoblauch. By the way, former Twins manager Tom Kelly was on hand at the award ceremony as a guest of Knoblauch and he asked the guests to refrain from throwing Domedogs and other miscellaneous items at Chuck as he stepped up to the podium to accept his second runner-up trophy.

Twins Marketing VP Nancy O'Brien

Twins Marketing VP Nancy O’Brien

The runner-up is non other than the infamous Twins brand survey – As the 2014 season was coming to an end and another 90+ season was just around the bend, the Minnesota Twins Marketing department decided to send a brand survey to their season ticket holders. I did not actually see the entire survey and can’t find a copy of it but one of the questions the Twins asked in the survey attracted national attention, albeit not necessarily positive. So here is the question and you need to keep in mind that the Twins are well on their way to losing 90 or more games for the fourth year in a row when the survey is sent out.

2014 Twins brand survey question

The survey caught the attention of ESPN’s Keith Olbermann and here is a short YouTube video clip on his thoughts about the Minnesota Twins. The Twins come up at about the 2:30 mark on the video if you want to skip over the first part. Olbermann clip on Twins brand survey. Twins president Dave St. Peter took offense to Olbermann’s comments and you can see what he had to say here and here. Nancy O’Brien the Twins vice-president of Marketing almost became our first female Twins Turkey of the Year winner but the crack marketing staff came up just short in the final balloting. To be honest a couple of votes had some hanging chad and the Twins were offered a recount but since they would have to pay for it they chose to pass and are planning to spend their money on a starting pitcher and they are looking at possible reunions with Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker. The Twins organization and Mr. St. Peter need to remember that “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

Aaron Hicks

Aaron Hicks

This years winner isAaron Hicks was the Twins first round (14th over all) selection in the June 2008 draft. Hicks was on fire during spring training in 2013 hitting .370 with four home runs and 18 RBI and the 23 year-old switch-hitting rookie won the center field job that had been vacated when Denard Span and Ben Revere were traded for pitching depth after the 2012 season. Hicks could not hold on to the job in 2013 but he again started the 2014 season as the Twins center fielder. Hicks hit poorly in his second chance with the club and then got hurt on May 1st and was put on the concussion DL the next day. After being activated from the concussion DL Hicks continued to struggle with the bat, particularly from the left-side where he is has a career average of .185 and on May 26 without consulting with Twins management Hicks announced that he was through with switch-hitting and would bat only from the right side going forward. The Twins were caught by surprise but they were desperate for a center fielder so Twins said OK, go for it and they didn’t even bother to send him to the minors to soften the transition. Just several days later Hicks came up with lower back stiffness and missed a couple more games. Then on June 9th Hicks hurt his shoulder diving for a ball and went on the DL the next day. The Twins then sent Hicks down to New Britain to rehab and on June 22 Hicks plays in a rehab game and hits left-handed. After the game Hicks announces that he has had a change of heart and is again a switch-hitter. The Twins recalled Hicks on September 2 and Hicks appeared in 21 September games hitting .250 (15 for 60) with three doubles and nine RBI. But even during the last month of the season Hicks could not stay out of Gardy’s doghouse when he again had lower back stiffness on September 20th and not only did he not show up early for treatment on Sunday, he didn’t show up until 11:00 AM for a 1:00 game saying that he had over slept. As the season was winding down the Twins brain trust talked to Hicks about playing winter-ball but he resisted stating that he was getting married in the off-season. Hicks finally consented to play winter ball in Venezuela but the team cut him after just 16 games when Hicks hit .220 in 50 at bats with one home run and four RBI but on the plus side he did draw 13 walks. Coming off back-to-back horrendous seasons Aaron Hicks has to be on the cusp of joining the scrap heap of former Twins first round picks that have failed to live up to expectations. The man is an athlete but so far he has not put it together and his attitude and perceived lack of effort is hurting his chances. Hicks seems to think he is entitled to play in the big leagues and does not seem to be willing to put in the work to get there and become the player he should be. Hicks might not have earned his pay in 2014 but he does earn the title as Twins Turkey of the Year for 2014. Step up here Mr. Hicks and claim your award.

 

Previous Twins Turkey of Year Winners

2013 – Twins President Dave St. Peter
2012 – Twins owner Jim Pohlad
2011 – Catcher Joe Mauer
2010 – Infielder Brendan Harris
2009 – Pitcher Glen Perkins
 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Bonus Thanksgiving content – Can a player be traded for a turkey? An interesting question because apparently it happened back in 1931 and the Washington Senators who would become the Minnesota Twins in 1961 were involved. Better yet, the Twins new AA team the Chattanooga Lookouts were the team that actually made the trade. This is a cool read and you should check it out at Baseball Prospectus.

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Twins Organization All-Stars

Adam Brett Walker. Lakeland Flying Tigers v. Ft. Myers Miracle. Aug. 2, 2014. Photo by Tom Hagerty.

Adam Brett Walker. Lakeland Flying Tigers v. Ft. Myers Miracle. Aug. 2, 2014. Photo by Tom Hagerty.

This offseason, MiLB.com is honoring players — regardless of age or prospect status — who had the best season in their organization. Today, they covered the Minnesota Twins.

The Twins ranked sixth in baseball — and fourth in the American League — with a combined .536 winning percentage across its Minor League affiliates. You can read the article by going here. If you follow young players in the Twins system you might want to check this out.

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Some real head scratchers

I do not profess to be some baseball expert by any means but I have followed major league baseball since the mid 50’s and I started becoming a serious follower of major league baseball when the Milwaukee Braves beat the New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series in 7 games. To me, baseball is interesting because of its history, its characters and last and certainly not least the fact that on any given day at any given game that you might be lucky enough to attend, that you will see something that you have never seen before. I have been to a lot of games at numerous baseball parks but I still have never seen a no-hitter or a batter hit for the cycle at a game I attended but I have seen many other interesting and historic baseball feats over the years.

Baseball is a unique game for a whole bevy of reasons such as the fact that there is no clock in baseball, each playing field has its own peculiarities, there are 162 games to be played and that does not count playoffs or spring training, some extremely interesting characters both from the player’s side and the ownership/front-office side, cheating by players has been tolerated even encouraged unless it becomes too blatant, owners have no payroll limitations, free agency has given players the right to work/play where ever they wish for the most part and various other reasons that I haven’t listed here.

MLB players, its owners and baseball fans everywhere actually benefit from free agency. When the last out of the World Series is made and the off-season begins you would think that baseball would go on hiatus as far as the fans are concerned but that is not the case in modern-day baseball. When the playing season ends the free agency season begins and hot stove league baseball remains a hot topic of discussion for true baseball fans even if football, hockey, and basketball seasons are underway and the ballparks are covered with ice and snow. Fantasy baseball is almost a year round event now as its players follow the free agency moves and make their draft plans accordingly. Heck, there are already drafts going on for the 2015 season.

But I am getting side-tracked here, my intent was to do a short piece on “why are these things happening”? Real head scratcher as far as I am concerned. As I said earlier, I am no expert but some of the moves or more accurately stated “proposed moves and /or rumors” by our local Twins team or other MLB teams make me really wonder what the heck these people in baseball are thinking? First off, the average person has no concept of the dollars in play and that it is easy to spend someone else’s money, I realize that. No one really know for instance what the Twins revenue really is and the few people who do surely aren’t going to divulge those secrets. How often do you hear someone say or write “it’s only $5 million, we should do it”.  Or what idiotic owner first brought options into baseball contracts where as they can sign a player for $10 million dollars or they can choose to pay him $1 million to walk away, what is up with that? What bozo pays someone a million dollars not to work for them? MLB does.

So here are a couple of real head scratcher’s for me –

Michael Cuddyer

Michael Cuddyer

Why would former Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer who will turn 36 before the 2015 season begins turn down a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Colorado Rockies to sign a two-year deal with the New York Mets for $21 million. Cuddyer missed all but 49 games for the Rockies this season due to injury. Maybe I don’t understand this qualifying offer business as well as I thought I did. As I understand it this process has been in place for three years and 34 qualifying offers have been made and zero have been accepted. Hard for me to fathom turning down $12-$15 million for one year’s work.

Torii Hunter

Torii Hunter

Numerous stories are being written about the Twins pursuing outfielder Torii Hunter who played for Minnesota from 1997-2007 before leaving via free agency. Hunter will be 40 years old this coming July and he just put $14 million in the bank thanks to the Detroit Tigers in 2014. No argument here the Twins outfield is a mess with no center fielder, no left fielder, and Oswaldo Arcia in right is not exactly a gold glover. Still, having said that I don’t understand why the Twins would pay Hunter around $10 million to play for them in 2015. We are talking 15 home runs and 80 RBI and a .280 average but is that worth $10 million or so even now for a team that has little to no chance of achieving the .500 mark? I know that fans still love Torii and he was a good player here for many years but let it go for God’s sake. The man can’t play like he did back in his 20’s. Why do the Twins and their fans always want their former stars to come back home? Haven’t you folks heard the old saying “you can never go home again?”

Wily Mo Pena

Wily Mo Pena

Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press tweets that there is interest between Wily Mo Pena and the Minnesota Twins. The soon to be 33-year-old Of/DH goes about 260 and has played in Japan for the last three season. Pena last appeared in the majors in 2011 with the Seattle Mariners and has never played in more than 110 games in the majors at any point in his career. I could care less that he hit 32 home runs in Japan in 2014, the last thing the Twins need to spend money on is a DH. Rumor or fact, this is just plain STUPID! If the Twins look they will find other positions that need more help then at DH.

Adam LaRoche Let’s move on from the Twins for a bit and see what else is going on in the AL Central. Last year the Chicago White Sox signed first baseman Jose Abreu from Cuba to a $68 million six-year deal and in 2014 the 27-year-old Abreu rewarded them with the American League Rookie of the Year award. Now the Sox go out and sign free agent 1B Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal for $25 million. I hate to repeat myself but what the heck are they thinking? They have numerous holes to fill and they chose to sign another first baseman. I sure hope the Sox know something we don’t because as first glance this is another dumb Sox move.

Raul Ibanez

Raul Ibanez

Joe Maddon opted out of his manager gig in Tampa a couple of weeks ago because things were heading south in Tampa and the Chicago Cubs seem to have a future. That created an opening for a new Rays manager and the three finalist are Kevin Cash, Don Wakamatsu, and Raul Ibanez. RAUL IBANEZ? Where did he come from? Why is he qualified to manage a big league team? The last time I saw him he was playing for the Kansas City Royals in 2014 and now he is a finalist for the Tampa Rays manager job, how do things like this happen? Like I said, a real head scratcher for me.

You can’t make this stuff up but yet it happens in baseball day in and day out.

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Historical look at Twins pitchers and home runs allowed

Minnesota Twins pitchers allowed 147 home runs in 2014. The fewest home runs allowed by a Twins pitching staff in a full season of 162 games occurred in 1976 when that pitching staff gave up just 89 round trippers to the opponents and the Twins went on to finish with an 85-77 record. On the opposite end of the spectrum the 1996 Twins pitching staff allowed a franchise record 233 home runs and finished the season with a 78-84 record. It only took one season for Ricky Nolasco to make the list but he can pitch his way off this list, the others can’t.

Twins career HR/9 with minimum of 120 innings pitched

Dave Stevens

Rk Player HR9 IP From To G GS W L W-L% SV ERA HR BA
1 Dave Stevens 1.88 191.2 1994 1997 135 6 14 12 .538 21 5.82 40 .296
2 Scott Aldred 1.81 199.1 1996 1997 42 32 8 15 .348 0 6.10 40 .298
3 Jose Parra 1.78 131.2 1995 1996 39 17 6 10 .375 0 6.77 26 .310
4 Liam Hendriks 1.73 156.0 2011 2013 30 28 2 13 .133 0 6.06 30 .313
5 Pat Mahomes 1.64 366.2 1992 1996 114 51 18 28 .391 3 5.82 67 .284
6 Jim Deshaies 1.63 297.2 1993 1994 52 52 17 25 .405 0 5.71 54 .285
7 Rick Reed 1.50 390.2 2001 2003 72 65 25 25 .500 0 4.47 65 .280
8 Kevin Slowey 1.42 532.2 2007 2011 100 90 39 29 .574 0 4.66 84 .285
9 Boof Bonser 1.40 391.2 2006 2008 96 60 18 25 .419 0 5.12 61 .281
10 Mark Portugal 1.40 238.2 1985 1988 72 26 11 19 .367 4 5.13 37 .280
11 Terry Felton 1.37 138.1 1979 1982 55 10 0 16 .000 3 5.53 21 .240
12 Eric Milton 1.36 987.1 1998 2003 166 165 57 51 .528 0 4.76 149 .259
13 Ray Moore 1.35 159.2 1961 1963 126 1 13 10 .565 25 4.90 24 .252
14 Dick Stigman 1.34 643.2 1962 1965 138 85 37 37 .500 7 3.69 96 .229
15 Pedro Ramos 1.33 264.1 1961 1961 42 34 11 20 .355 2 3.95 39 .258
16 David West 1.32 285.1 1989 1992 63 47 15 18 .455 0 5.33 42 .262
17 Charlie Lea 1.32 130.0 1988 1988 24 23 7 7 .500 0 4.85 19 .301
18 Mark Redman 1.31 213.0 1999 2001 46 34 15 13 .536 0 4.86 31 .283
19 Neal Heaton 1.30 124.1 1986 1986 21 17 4 9 .308 1 3.98 18 .273
20 Nick Blackburn 1.29 818.2 2007 2012 145 137 43 55 .439 0 4.85 117 .303
21 Eddie Guardado 1.28 704.2 1993 2008 648 25 37 48 .435 116 4.53 100 .253
22 Kyle Lohse 1.27 908.1 2001 2006 172 152 51 57 .472 0 4.88 128 .285
23 Bob Wells 1.26 300.1 1999 2002 265 0 18 16 .529 13 4.47 42 .268
24 Ricky Nolasco 1.25 159.0 2014 2014 27 27 6 12 .333 0 5.38 22 .316
25 Mike Trombley 1.25 645.2 1992 2002 365 36 30 34 .469 34 4.53 90 .266
26 Lee Stange 1.25 351.2 1961 1964 97 37 20 14 .588 3 3.61 49 .251
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/20/2014.

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The list below show The Twins pitching staff leader board of home runs allowed. Bert Blyleven loves to talk about how many home runs he has allowed but he is only third best or worst, depending on how you want to look at it.

Brad Radke

Brad Radke

Rk Player HR IP From To G GS CG SHO W L W-L% SV SO ERA BF
1 Brad Radke 326 2451.0 1995 2006 378 377 37 10 148 139 .516 0 1467 4.22 10244
2 Jim Kaat 270 2959.1 1961 1973 468 422 133 23 189 152 .554 6 1824 3.28 12385
3 Bert Blyleven 243 2566.2 1970 1988 348 345 141 29 149 138 .519 0 2035 3.28 10542
4 Frank Viola 213 1772.2 1982 1989 260 259 54 10 112 93 .546 0 1214 3.86 7450
5 Jim Perry 166 1883.1 1963 1972 376 249 61 17 128 90 .587 5 1025 3.15 7791
6 Eric Milton 149 987.1 1998 2003 166 165 10 4 57 51 .528 0 715 4.76 4196
7 Johan Santana 144 1308.2 2000 2007 251 175 6 4 93 44 .679 1 1381 3.22 5281
8 Kyle Lohse 128 908.1 2001 2006 172 152 4 3 51 57 .472 0 561 4.88 3982
9 Joe Mays 127 946.1 1999 2005 193 146 10 6 48 65 .425 0 487 4.85 4110
10 Scott Baker 123 958.0 2005 2011 163 159 4 2 63 48 .568 0 770 4.15 4004
11 Camilo Pascual 123 1284.2 1961 1966 184 179 72 18 88 57 .607 0 994 3.31 5362
12 Dave Goltz 119 1638.0 1972 1979 247 215 80 11 96 79 .549 3 887 3.48 6887
13 Nick Blackburn 117 818.2 2007 2012 145 137 5 0 43 55 .439 0 388 4.85 3577
14 Kevin Tapani 109 1171.1 1989 1995 181 180 19 6 75 63 .543 0 724 4.06 4897
15 Carlos Silva 106 773.2 2004 2007 129 124 5 2 47 45 .511 0 306 4.42 3277
16 Dave Boswell 106 1036.1 1964 1970 187 150 37 6 67 54 .554 0 865 3.49 4344
17 LaTroy Hawkins 105 818.0 1995 2003 366 98 2 0 44 57 .436 44 532 5.05 3614
18 Mike Smithson 103 816.0 1984 1987 128 126 26 5 47 48 .495 0 438 4.46 3509
19 Eddie Guardado 100 704.2 1993 2008 648 25 0 0 37 48 .435 116 610 4.53 3009
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/20/2014.

 

 

 

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Quality Starts and Twins Wins

A pitcher gets credit for a quality start (QS) any time he allows three earned runs or less in a start that lasts at least six innings. John Lowe who was writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer at the time developed and coined the term Quality Start back in 1985.

Most arguments against the QS begin with the statement that a QS equals a 4.50 ERA and an ERA of 4.50 is not seen as top-notch by anybody. If you look up QS on Wiki you can find some strange situations for and against the term QS, for example, in 2000 Mark Mulder goes 6 and 2/3 innings giving up 15 hits, nine runs but only two were earned and so he gets a QS, in 1982 Mike Scott goes the required 6 innings giving up 7 hits, 5 walks, zero strikeouts, allows 7 runs albeit only 3 earned and he get a QS, on the other side of the coin, back in 1974 Gaylord Perry goes 15 innings and allows 4 earned runs and get no QS, same with Randy Johnson who pitches a complete game while striking out 19 but gives up 4 earnies and gets no QS.

Since 1961, the most MLB QS in a single season record is held by White Sox knuckleballer Wilbur Wood who had 37 QS in 41 starts in 1971. Next on the list is Dodger great Sandy Koufax with 36 QS in 1966 (his final season) in 41 starts. The career leaders in QS from 1961-current are Don Sutton with 483, Nolan Ryan with 481, and Greg Maddux with 480.

LHP Jim Kaat

LHP Jim Kaat

The Twins top five career QS leaders are Jim Kaat with 253, Bert Blyleven with 218, Brad Radke with 208, Jim Perry with 156 and Frank Viola with 144. The Twins most QS in a season  record belongs to Bert Blyleven who had 31 QS in 1972 in 38 starts. That 1972 Twins team had the most QS in a single season with 114 in 154 games, that means that 74% of their games were QS and yet the team finished with a 77-77 record. The others starters that season were Dick Woodson with 26 QS, Jim Perry with 22, Jim Kaat and Ray Corbin with 14 and Dave Goltz with 7. Compare that with the 66 QS in 2014 where the team leader was Phil Hughes with 20, Kyle Gibson had 15, Kevin Correia, had 13, Ricky Nolasco had 10, Yohan Pino had 3, Trevor May and Sam Deduno had 2 each and Tommy Milone put one in the books.

Bert Blyleven

Bert Blyleven

But how close is the relationship of a QS to what really counts, a team victory. If you look at the list that I have provided below that shows the Minnesota Twins QS and the team record you can get a feel for how the two compare. Sure, there are outlier seasons like 1972 when the team had 114 QS and finished the season with a 77-77 record or when the opposite happened in 2006 when the Twins went to the play-offs with a 96-66 record but only had 73 QS. By the way, I don’t remember seeing any Rick Anderson for governor buttons back then.

The Twins historical QS numbers are kind of strange, almost a bell-shaped curve. The Twins have had 90 or more QS in a season 11 times and went to the playoffs zero times. No Twins team with 72 or less QS has sniffed the playoffs either. The Twins have advanced to the playoffs 11 times and their QS were always in the 73-89 range and if you exclude the 2006 season with just 73 QS, the other ten fall between 78-89. Having said all that, in the past 54 seasons the Twins have had 4,266 QS, the team record during that period is 4,274-4,335. 4,266 QS and 4,274 wins over 54 seasons, is that strange or what?

The chart below shows you in a pictorial fashion the relationship of QS and Twins victories. Click on the chart to make it larger.

Quality Starts versus Wins

 

Twins Quality Start History

YEAR QS RECORD
1972 114 77-77
1967 105 91-71
1968 100 79-83
1966 99 89-73
1963 95 91-70
1973 93 81-81
1978 92 73-89
1974 90 82-80
 1984  90  81-81
 1988  90  91-71
 2005  90  83-79
 1965*  89  102-60
 1970*  89  98-64
 1991*  89  95-67
 1969*  88  97-65
 1971  88  74-86
 1989  88  80-82
 1964  86  79-83
 2008  86  88-75
 2010*  86  94-68
 1976  83  85-77
 1992  83  90-72
 2004*  83  92-70
1980  82 77-84
 1987*  80  85-77
2001  80  85-77
 2003*  80  90-72
2007  80  79-83
 2011  80  63-99
 1962  79  91-71
2009* 79 87-76
 1998 78 70-92
 2002* 78 94-67
 1961  75  70-90
1990 75  74-88
 1985 74  77-85
 1979  73  82-80
 2006*  73  96-66
 1975  71  76-83
 1986  71  71-91
 2000  71  69-93
 1977 70 84-77
 1993 69 71-91
 1996 69  78-84
 1983 67  70-92
 1982 66 60-102
 2014 66 70-92
 1999 63  63-97
 2012 62  66-96
2013 62  66-96
1997 61 68-94
1981 56  41-68
 1995 43  56-88
 1994 37  53-60
 TOTALS  4,266  4,274-4,335

Twins QS data by decade

DECADE QS AVG. QS PER SEASON
1960’s 816 90.7
1970’s 863 86.3
1980’s 764 76.4
1990’s 667 66.7
2000’s 800 80.0
2010’s 356 71.2

I asked Jim Kaat if he would comment on Quality Starts and here is what Jim had to say-

Thanks John,
I’m happy to comment on “Quality Starts”. It’s one of my favorite subjects because it is misunderstood. My pitching stats person, Merrianna McCully, has compiled a 25 year profile on QS’s in her book ‘Three Up Three Down’. She kept all sorts of pitching stats for me from 1988-2006…
The MINIMUM DAILY REQUIREMENT,[ like a vitamin pill] is 6 ip. 3 er or less..the actual earned run averages in a Quality start is a little under 2 in the NL and about 2.05 in the American league..DH factor…The IP’s in a QS game will close to 8 innings pitched. The records show that if a team got just a minimum daily requirement for a QS they would win about 2/3 of their games unless they had an extremely ineffective bullpen.

Jim

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This Day in Twins History – November 12

Killebrew, Harmon 2111/12/1969 – Twins infielder Harmon Killebrew, who led the American League with 49 home runs, 140 RBI, and a .430 on-base percentage, is voted the American league MVP and becomes the second Twins player so honored. You can read what the Daily Illini wrote the next day about Killebrew being named the American League MVP by clicking here.

Ron Gardenhire11/12/1986 – The New York Mets traded shortstop Ron Gardenhire to Minnesota for a player to be named later, RHP Donnie Iasparro. Iasparro would never pitch above class A ball and was out of baseball after the 1987 season. Who knew at that time that in 2002 Gardenhire would become the Twins 12th manager and manage the team to a 1,068-1,039 record between 2002-2014.

 

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Thank YOU to all you veterans!

Veterans-Day

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Checking out the CenturyLink Sports Complex

Since I am here in SW Florida for a couple of weeks I thought I would stop by the Minnesota Twins spring training complex which has been renamed as the CenturyLink Sports Complex and see how thing are progressing on Phase II of the $48.5 million (Twins kicked in $6 million) remodeling effort.

The old Lee County Sports Complex sign at the entrance is gone and as of yet there is no new sign. The complex and a number of its fields are currently being used to host the Roy Hobbs World Series so there were a lot of cars in the parking lot with players and fans milling about. The stadium itself is a beehive of activity as you can see in some of the pictures I took while I was there. There is dust, dirt, and construction equipment everywhere.

When I looked around the fields I could see some players off in the distance with some Twins gear on running around on that new agility field that was built last year that has what looks like a little hill on it. There were about two dozen players running around throwing a basketball back and forth as they ran from one end to the other in groups of three. I didn’t recognize anyone off-hand  so I asked one of the guys that seemed to be running the exercise who the players were he grunted that they were some Twins minor league players going through rehab and he did not seem interested in chatting.

I then wandered over to the new minor league player dormitory and that is really a very cool building. Right now the building is also home to the Ft. Myers Miracle offices while work at the stadium continues. When you first walk in the door you are greeted by a security guard that is sitting at a desk that has a huge TC logo behind him that must be 10-12 feet tall. The area has a very high ceiling and the entire ceiling is a huge Twins logo, the pictures I took do not do it justice because it is just too big and I could not get far enough away to get a good picture.

The security guard was very nice and seemed very proud of the complex and he spent some time with me telling me all about it. He mentioned that the dormitory has 58 rooms and 54 of them are doubles for the minor league or rehab players. The other four are used to house management and one of the units is strictly for display to other organizations or teams that may be interested in seeing what the Twins have. I asked if I could get a quick tour of the main floor to take some pictures and he was very nice about it and took me around and explained things.

Our first stop on one end of the complex was the huge theatre type room that sits I think about 260-280 people and I believe it is called the Hall of Champions. It was dark in the room and difficult to get a good picture but it was pretty luxurious with some soft leather looking chairs. Some of the recent Twins meetings after the 2014 season ended used this room. It has several big screen TV’s as well as a huge pull-down display screen. As we wandered over to the other side of the complex we passed a very nice looking large  cafeteria that supposedly has some pretty good food. We then went on to the huge players recreation area that had TV’s, foosball tables, tennis tables, pool tables and a few other odds and ends. There are also various class rooms that are used for English classes and things like that. The walls are nicely decorated with uniforms of the various Twins teams ranging from rookie leagues to the major leagues and huge baseball cards of former Twins players similar to what you see at Target field. There is also a display of Twins bobble-heads and another display has the caps from all the Twins organizational teams. I did not go upstairs to see any of the dorm rooms but all in all it is a very impressive building and will serve the Twins and their players very nicely.

Randy RosarioWhile I was in the complex pitcher Randy Rosario wandered in and was kind enough to spend some time chatting with me. I sure wish I would have brought my little recorder but I did not bring it on this trip. Randy is one of the Twins players that is currently rehabbing from TJ surgery. When I asked Randy how he was doing he said he was doing great and will continue with his rehab for a couple more weeks before heading home for the holidays to the Dominican and then returning for spring training. I asked him if he would be throwing in spring training and he said that probably would not happen until April which is about 11 months out from his TJ surgery in May of this year. A nice chat, thank you Randy.

Twins pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to camp on February 22 and the rest of the team is scheduled to report on February 27. The Twins say that everything is on schedule with the remodeling and that it will be ready to go when they play the Boston Red Sox in their first official home exhibition game of the season on March 5. The actual first game at Hammond Stadium is the day before on March 4th when the Twins take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. I added a link to the Twins 2015 Spring Training schedule on the right hand side of the home page. The pictures I took the other day can be seen on the 2014 CenturyLink Sports Complex remodel link.

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Twins hire Paul Molitor as 13th manager and add Brunansky to coaching staff

Paul MolitorThis past Monday the Minnesota Twins announced that they had concluded their search for a manager and that coach Paul Molitor would slide into the Twins driver’s seat. The Twins then held their introductory press conference on Tuesday.  Molitor is a Hall of Famer and played from 1978-1998 with the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays and the Minnesota Twins (1996-1998).

Molitor becomes the 13th Minnesota Twins manager but only the third since 1986. The St. Paul native has no managing experience on any level but has served as a coach with the Twins in 2000 and 2001 before moving on to coach with the Seattle Mariners in 2004. Molitor was also on the Twins coaching staff in 2014. Prior to 2014, he served as the Twins minor league baserunning/infield coordinator for 10 seasons (2003, 2005-13). The 58 year-old Molitor has agreed to a 3 year contract that runs through the 2017 season.

The Twins interviewed numerous internal and external candidates before narrowing the field to three finalists, Torey Lovullo, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Molitor. My preference from this list was Lovullo and my second choice was Mientkiewicz and Molitor was last on my list. Joe Maddon who opted out from his Tampa Bay gig would have been great but he ended up going to the Chicago Cubs.

I was sure, more than sure, I was positive the Twins would not hire Molitor since they could have easily have given him the job when Ron Gardenhire was let go and saved everyone a lot of time, angst and money. The fact that Molitor had substantial baggage (drinking, drugs, womanizing) from his time as a player I though would work against him but apparently that was discussed but didn’t seem to matter. The word is that Twins President Dave St. Peter and owner Jim Pohlad are big Molitor boosters so that probably helped persuade GM Terry Ryan to recommend Molitor for the job. I don’t like the choice but it is what it is and I hope I am wrong and that Molitor can turn this Twins team around and get them back on the winning track. Having said that, I won’t be purchasing any Twins season tickets until I see this team improve dramatically and start putting up some games in the “W” column. I am in the “you have to show me first” camp right now. Molitor claims to have the passion needed to do this job, let’s see what a losing team in 2015 will do to that passion.

 

Tom Brunansky

Tom Brunansky

Now the Twins have announced that former hitting coach Tom Brunansky is coming back to fill the same role for Molitor in 2015. Again, I disagree with the choice. I though that Tom Brunansky should have been fired after his first season as the Twins hitting instructor in 2013 when the team scored just 614 runs and struck out a franchise record 14,30 times and hit for a putrid .242 average. Now after the Twins again finished with 90 plus losses and the Twins scored 715 runs the Twins make Brunansky sound like the best hitting coach ever. 715 runs scored is mediocre at best, the team still struck out 1,329 times so his teams now hold the two highest strikeout records in franchise history going back to 1901. The team batting average jumped to .254, whoopy dooo.

It will be interesting to see who the Twins pitching coach will be and who will fill the remaining coaching vacancies. Who will be the guy on the staff that Molitor goes to talk with and confide in when the going gets tough? We shall see.

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This Day in Twins History – November 4, 2005

Minnesota Twins Press Release on November 5, 2005

Reggie JacksonThe Minnesota Twins would like to take this opportunity to confirm that the team did recently receive an unsolicited phone call from Reggie Jackson regarding his interest in acquiring a Major League Baseball team. During the phone conversation Mr. Jackson recounted his four previous efforts to finalize such a transaction and went on to inquire about availability of the Twins franchise. Mr. Jackson was told the Twins are not for sale at this time and that the Twins organization was currently 100% focused on working to ensure approval of the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark plan.

While not surprising considering the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the franchise’s future, the Twins view the publicity surrounding Mr. Jackson’s inquiry as unfortunate. To that end, the Pohlad family and Twins organization want to stress that this story was in no way initiated by the baseball team.

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Is this the year that Oliva and Kaat finally get in to the Hall of Fame?

Nine former players and one executive are up for consideration by this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame Golden Era Committee. These candidates either played or contributed to the National Pastime between 1947 and 1972.

The 10-person ballot for consideration by this year’s Golden Era Committee consists of Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Bob Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant and Maury Wills. Pitcher Jim Kaat and outfielder/DH Tony Oliva had long careers with the Minnesota Twins and Luis Tiant also has ties to Minnesota when he was a Twins pitcher in 1970 but only appeared in 18 games due to injury.

RF Tony Oliva played for the  Twins from 1962-1976

RF Tony Oliva played for the Twins from 1962-1976

Kaat (10 votes in 2011), Hodges (9 votes), Minoso (9 votes), Oliva (8 votes), Boyer (less than 3 votes) and Tiant (less than three votes) return to the ballot after appearing in the fall in 2011 in the first vote of the Golden Era Committee. Allen, Howsam, Pierce and Wills will be considered by the Golden Era Committee for the first time. Ron Santo was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Golden Era Committee in 2011, the last time a Golden Era ballot was considered.

The 16-person Golden Era Committee consists of SABR members Pat Gillick, Roland Hemond, Steve Hirdt, and Tracy Ringolsby, along with Hall of Famers Jim Bunning, Rod Carew, Fergie Jenkins, Al Kaline, Joe Morgan, Ozzie Smith and Don Sutton; baseball executives Jim Frey, David Glass, and Bob Watson; and veteran media members Dick Kaegel and Phil Pepe.

Any candidate receiving votes on 75 percent of all ballots cast will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2015 on July 26. Voting will take place on December 8th at the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego.

Jim Kaat

Jim Kaat pitched in the big leagues for 25 years and pitched for the Senators/Twins from 1959-1973.

You can make an argument for each of these guys being elected to the Hall of Fame but as a long time Twins fan I obviously would love to see Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat elected. It is a crying shame some of these guys that deserve Hall of Fame election have had to wait so long and it some cases like Ken Boyer and Gil Hodges, it is too late for them to enjoy the fruits of their labors as they have passed away. That is just plain wrong!

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Our last World Series, how long has it been?

MLB World Series trophyThe 2014 MLB season is over and the San Francisco Giants have won their third World Series in the last five years, congratulations to the Giants. I wanted the Kansas City Royals to win and they made it close, but no cigar for the Royals. The fact that the Royals did not win could be my fault because my World Series favorites always lose, I think the last team I cheered for in the World Series that won it all were the 1991 Minnesota Twins.

When the playoffs started lots of fans were jumping on the KC bandwagon because they had not been to a World Series in 29 years and everyone except maybe Yankee and Red Sox fans likes an underdog. So now that the Royals have been to a World Series again, what teams out there have not played in a World Series in a long time? The other day someone from the Twins called me to try to get me to sign up for Twins season tickets again and during the conversation the topic of “last to first” came up in the discussion. It was then that it dawned on my how long it has been since our Twins last played in a World Series, it was 1991, 23 seasons ago, wow, that is a long time. Everyone talks about those poor Cubbies whose last appearance in a World Series was in 1945, that was before I was born and many generations of Cub fans have been born and died and have never seen their team play in the Fall Classic. Is that crazy or what? Two teams, the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos who began play in 1969 and the Seattle Mariners who began play in 1977 have never ever appeared in a World Series.

Last appearance in a World Series

TEAM LAST APPEARANCE IN  WORLD SERIES COMMENTS
Nationals/Expos Never started play in 1969
Mariners Never Started play in 1977
Cubs 1945
Pirates 1979
Brewers/Pilots 1982 Started play in 1969
Orioles 1983
Dodgers 1988
A’s 1990
Reds 1990
Twins/Senators 1991
Blue Jays 1993 Started play in 1977
Indians 1997
Padres 1998 Started play in 1969
Braves 1999
Mets 2000 Started play in 1962
Diamondbacks 2001 Started play in 1998
Angels 2002 Started play in 1961
Marlins 2003 Started play in 1993
Astros 2005 Started play in 1962
White Sox 2005
Rockies 2007 Started play in 1993
Rays 2008 Started play in 1998
Phillies 2009
Yankees 2009
Rangers/Senators 2011 Started play in 1961
Tigers 2012
Red Sox 2013
Cardinals 2013
Royals 2014
Giants 2014

World Series appearances since 1961

TEAM WORLD SERIES APPEARANCES COMMENTS
Yankees 15
Cardinals 10
Dodgers 8
Orioles 6
Red Sox 6
Reds 6
A’s 6
Giants 6
Braves 5
Phillies 5
Tigers 4
Mets 4 Started play in 1962
Royals 3 Started play in 1969
Twins 3
Indians 2
Marlins 2 Started play in 1993
Pirates 2
Padres 2 Started play in 1969
Rangers/Senators 2 Started play in 1961
Blue Jays 2 Started play in 1977
Diamondbacks 1 Started play in 1998
White Sox 1
Rockies 1 Started play 1993
Astros 1 Started play in 1962
Angels 1 Started play in 1961
Brewers/Pilots 1 Started play in 1969
Rays 1 Started play in 1998
National/Expos 0 Started play in 1969
Mariners 0 Started play in 1977
Cubs 0
TOTAL 106

I guess it is tough being a baseball fan in the windy city…..

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Arizona Fall League broadcasts

Arizona Fall LeagueThe World Series could end as early as today and there will be no more baseball to watch, or so it seems. If you get the MLB Network or want to check in at MLB.com you can watch some games from the Arizona Fall League and see what some of the up and coming young stars are doing. The Minnesota Twins contingent of players is with the Salt River Rafters and they will be on a number of times as you can see on the schedule below.

The Fall Stars game will be taking place on Saturday, November 1 and you don’t want to miss that one where supposedly the best of the best are playing. Byron Buxton and Jake Reed were named to the team but now Buxton is hurt once again so it remains to be seen if he will play or not. I have to add though that it must be a cruel Halloween joke that Eddie Rosario who is second in the league in hitting with a .407 average the last time I looked, is not on the team. Maybe he will be added before this week-end.

 

Oct. 30 – Surprise at Salt River
Watch live on MLB.com at 9:35 p.m. ET/6:35 MST
Oct. 31 – Scottsdale at Salt River
Watch live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 3:35 p.m. ET/12:35 MST
Nov. 4 – Mesa at Salt River
Watch live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8:35 p.m. ET/6:35 MT
Nov. 6 – Mesa at Salt River
Watch live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8:35 p.m. ET/6:35 MT
Nov. 8 – Mesa at Surprise (Military Appreciation Game)
Watch live on MLB Network at 8:05 p.m. ET/6:05 MT
Nov. 15 – AFL Championship Game at Scottsdale Stadium
Watch live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 3:08 p.m. ET/1:08 MT

In addition, the Fall Stars Game featuring Arizona Fall League All-Stars from the East and West divisions will play at Salt River Fields at 8 PM ET on Saturday November 1, which will be shown on the MLB Network.

It is getting to be time for everyone to start publishing their 2015 prospect ratings and I noticed that TopProspectAlert.com had published their list a few days ago, you can see it here.

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Do you remember Marty Keough?

Marty Keough on a 1962 Post cereal Canadian card

Marty Keough on a 1962 Post cereal Canadian card

Marty Keough was a journeyman that played in the major leagues off and on as an outfielder/first baseman from 1956-1966 for the Red Sox, Indians, Senators, Reds, Braves and the Cubs. During his 11 seasons in the big leagues he only had 2,008 plate appearances and he had a .242 carer batting average. Keough finished his playing career in 1968 when he spent a season with the Nankai Hawks in the Japanese Baseball League.

A big “bonus baby” when he signed with the Boston Red Sox prior to the 1952 season Keough arguably had his best year in his one and only season with the 1961 expansion Washington Senators when in 135 games Keough hit nine home runs and stole 12 bases while hitting for a .249 average. Marty Keough is the brother of Joe Keough and the father of Matt Keough. SABR Bio.

So why this blog about Marty Keough? No, he never wore a Minnesota Twins uniform but he did do something against the Twins that will live on in Met Stadium history, what did he do?

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A vote for Torey Lovullo

Voted

Terry Ryan (courtesy of SI.com)

Terry Ryan (courtesy of SI.com)

Terry Ryan continues in his quest to find just the right man to become the Minnesota Twins thirteenth manager. Ryan has not had to perform this task since late in 2001 and this will only be his second hire of a Twins manager so he doesn’t have a lot of experience with the process but that is a good thing I think.

According to recent reports the list of potential candidates has been reduced to the final three, Paul Molitor, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Torey Lovullo. But who knows, the Twins keep their cards close to their vest so there is no way to know how accurate these reports are. If these indeed are the finalists I am fine with it.

Who would I hire if I was in Terry Ryan’s shoes? For me it would be between Mientkiewicz and Lovullo. I would eliminate Molitor because of the baggage he brings and the fact that he has been part of the Twins organization off and on for a number of years. My perception is that I don’t see Molitor as really wanting the job, I see him as thinking he is entitled to the job because he is a Hall of Fame player and that in his mind he is the most qualified. I don’t see him as having earned a big league managers job and I don’t see any passion from him for getting the job. I don’t see him as the “guy” that will lead the Twins back to respectability, I see him as the old guy that will bring more of the same.

I like Doug Mientkiewicz very much and think that down the line he will be a wonderful manager either here in Minnesota or somewhere else but right now I have to pass. I love his passion for the game and the fact that he is managing in the minor leagues, earning his stripes so to speak. But in the end it is his inexperience and the fact that he is part of the Twins organization right now that works against him.

I think it is great that the Twins have always rewarded loyalty but every now and then you have to bring in new blood to make your herd that much stronger and to look at things from a different perspective. Think about it, in each of our lives we have taken a new job at some point in time where we first felt that maybe we were not qualified, then over time we became more comfortable in the job as we learned the tricks of the trade. As we were learning we were open to suggestions on how to do the job but as time went along and as we gained confidence in our roles we tended to start to ignore or blow off suggestions because we have been doing this job for some time and no one knows how to do this job better than I, just ask me. Things get done the same way because that way has worked for me in the past and besides, it has always been done that way.

Change is difficult but life and baseball are all about change, once you quit changing you die and the Twins organization is on life support. It is easy to be comfortable because you have no assurance that the new will be better than the old, why go out on that scary limb when you can stay in your safe place? But staying in your safe place does not make you a leader or a winner, it keep you average at best. When change is instituted it will either make the situation better or worse, it will work or it won’t. There is a 50% chance that it will make things better. The Twins have lost 90 or more games for four consecutive seasons, how much worse can it get?

Torey  Lovullo

Torey Lovullo

Bringing in Torey Lovullo as the Twins new manager along with a brand new coaching staff will bring new thinking into the organization and give the team a chance to break free of the bonds that have held them going down the same path for years. Why wouldn’t you bring in someone new, why should Twins fans have to continue to endure the same old boring brand of bad baseball the Twins have shown us since 2011? Give us a break, show us you are at least willing to try a new approach.

I know that hiring from the outside will have consequences, Molitor will probably leave the Twins organization and that Tom Kelly‘s may also cut back on his active role with the team as the new regime takes over. But is that all bad? Sometimes the best addition is through subtraction.

Terry Ryan and the Twins are at the fork in the road, will they take the same old path home they always do or will they try that other path that they have not traveled for a long time? The last time the team tried a new path they ended up in Ray Miller land and that was not fun. The newer path probably has some bumps and unexpected surprizes but who knows what they may find, maybe it is a shortcut to the promised land of playoffs and a World Series. I for one can’t wait to see what the Twins choice will be.

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Sticky: Changes or additions to the site

  • Added a new page called “Linksville”, a collection of links to Twins history. 2/27/2015
  • Added 2015 Twins Media Guide to the Twins Media Guide page. 2/24/2015
  • Added eight video clips I found that you will enjoy to our Twins Audio & Video clips page. 2/21/2015
  • “1965 Twins win the pennant”, 40 minute video clip added to the Twins Audio & Video clips page. You don’t want to miss this one. 2/6/2015
  • Twins Ticket Price History page updated to reflect 2015 ticket prices. 2/5/2015
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Keeping up with the latest Twins news and notes

GM Terry Ryan

GM Terry Ryan

On one hand the Minnesota Twins front office keep saying that they have no idea on how long the process will take to hire a new Twins manager but they have to make sure that they pick the right person for the job. Apparently GM Terry Ryan isn’t keeping the organization appraised of progress because in today’s edition of the Star Tribune Phil Miller has a quote from Ryan where he states ” I wouldn’t pretend to tell you that we’re done” with the search for the new manager, said Terry Ryan. “We still have a ways to go yet before we get there. But I would say we’re right on schedule.” According to various reports the Twins have interviewed internal candidates Paul Molitor, Doug Mientkiewicz, Gene Glynn, and Terry Steinbach. They have also reportedly talked with Torey Lovullo, Sandy Alomar Jr., Joe McEwing, Chip Hale (who just took the Arizona managers job), and maybe looking to talk with DeMarlo Hale.

Twins president Dave St. Peter

Twins president Dave St. Peter

The Twins payroll for 2015 has been getting some play in various Twins blogs and news reports. According to Twins prez Dave St. Peter “We haven’t finalized a 2015 budget, but I can assure you, we don’t see it going down significantly.” Going down? Why should it go down? The Twins have stated numerous times that they try to keep player payroll at about 50% of revenue. With the Twins having terrible seasons on the field from 2011-2014, fan attendance at Target Field has fallen each season so everyone assumes that revenue is down. Why is everyone making that assumption and playing right into the Twins hands? According to Forbes Magazine who publishes annual MLB team valuations the Twins revenue in 2010 was $162 million, in 2011 and 2012 it was $213 million, in 2013 it was $214 million, in 2014 it was $221 million. Why doesn’t anyone call the Twins on this? What am I missing here?

Jake Reed

Jake Reed

Twins pitching prospect Jake Reed who was drafted out of Oregon in round five this past summer is making the pick look really good. Reed pitched for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids this summer  and the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Reed was 3-0 with a 0.29 ERA in a combined 20 games, had eight saves and 39 strikeouts and only three walks in 31 innings. Now in his first week of Arizona Fall League play he has earned AFL Pitcher of the Week honors.

Curious how your favorite Twins and Twins minor leaguers are doing as they play in off-season leagues? You can see their stats here.

Luke Hughes (courtesy of MLB Photos)

Luke Hughes (courtesy of MLB Photos)

The Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League have announced that former Minnesota Twins infielder Luke Hughes will be their new player/coach during the 2014/2014 season.

Last but certainly not least we have the following announcement. What is the world coming to? YIKES! Starting with the 2015 season, the American Association (the league that St. Paul Saints play in) has announced the adoption of extra-inning tiebreaker rules to be used in all regular-season games, based upon existing International Baseball Federation and Can-Am League rules.

Beginning in the 11th inning, the player in the batting order immediately preceding that inning’s leadoff hitter will be placed on second base. The inning will otherwise proceed as usual, with each team getting a turn at bat.

Should the player starting the inning on second base eventually score, it will count in statistics as a run for the player and an RBI for the batter who drove him in (if applicable), but it will not count towards the pitcher’s earned-run average.

American Association commissioner Miles Wolff commented, “This rule was very well-received in the Can-Am League last year, and we’re looking forward to using this innovation in the American Association.” Similar rules are also in effect for most international competitions, including during the World Baseball Classic and the IBAF World Championships.

I am looking forward to a good World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants. Go Blue!

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Why is Eddie Rosario the forgotten man?

Rosario, Eddie 3Twins prospect Eddie Rosario is hitting .409 in the Arizona Fall League and I haven’t seen a word about him. I know the AFL season has just started and the Salt River Rafters have only played six games (going 5-1) and Rosario has played in five of those games. Small sample size I know, but the man is on fire in Arizona.

The 23 year-old from Puerto Rico with the sweet left-handed swing has been playing left field  Rafters and follows Byron Buxton (who hits lead-off) in the Rafters batting order. Yesterday’s game was the first time since play began that Rosario has not gotten two hits in a game. Rosario has nine hits in 22 at bats with two runs scored and five RBI to go along with his four stolen bases in as many attempts. Todate Rosario has only one extra base hit, a double but he has a slick .391 on-base percentage.

Rosario put himself in the Twins doghouse when he had to sit out the first two months of 2014 on a 50-game suspension for a second violation of Major League Baseball’s drug-of-abuse policy. Had this suspension not occurred, it is very likely that Rosario would have made an appearance in a Twins uniform at Target field this past season.

As it turned out, after his suspension Rosario started the season in Ft. Myers where he hit  .300 albeit in just 30 at bats before being bumped up to New Britain. Rosario struggled at New Britain both on and off the field. Rock Cats manager Jeff Smith benched Rosario in late July for four games for what Brad Steil the Twins director of minor league operations called “just a team situation.” Rosario, who continues to play second base while spending time in the outfield hit only .237 in 316 at bats, scored 40 times and hit eight home runs and knocked in 36 while stealing eight bases in 12 tries. Rosario has never hit below .284 in any season prior to 2014 has a lifetime batting average of .294. It was a bad year for Rosario all around but he seems to have caught a second wind in Arizona this fall.

The Twins didn’t call Rosario up to the big leagues for a cup of September coffee and maybe Rosario got the message loud and clear. I sure hope so because this man can hit the ball and he has some pop in his bat as he showed in 2011 when he hit 21 round trippers for Elizabethton and 12 in Beloit in 2012 in just 392 at bats.

Rosario was the Twins fourth round (135th pick over all) in 2010 and signed for about $200,000. Baseball America had him rated as the Twins sixth best prospect after the 2013 season. BA also had Rosario rated as the Twins best hitter for average in 2011 and 2012. There is a spot for Rosario with the Twins next season but he needs to wake up and smell the roses or his dream of wearing a Twins uniform in Minnesota will fade quickly. I sure hope that the Minnesota Twins organization does not give up on Eddie Rosario because down the road this man can help the Twins, he just needs some help staying on the right road.

 

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This Day in Franchise History – October 10, 1924

1924 World SeriesOn this day back in 1924 the Washington Senators who were playing in their first ever World Series won game 7 in extra innings 4-3 over the New York Giants and became baseball’s world champions. It wasn’t easy and they needed a pebble to help them win the game in the 12th inning. Read a very good review of game seven at dcbaseballhistory.com . You might also check out a nice review (with great pictures) of the entire 1924 World Series here.

1924 World Series box scores can be found here

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