It would be fun to take in a game at Elizabethton

Courtest of littleparks.com

Courtesy of littleparks.com

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

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

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Annual batting championships named for Gwynn, Carew

MLB Press Release dated July 12, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That famous Harmon Killebrew swing

That famous Harmon Killebrew swing

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

Box score

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According to ELIAS

Twins win by 10 in Arlington

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

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Twins minor league player of the week – Mitch Garver

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

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

Twins Minor League Report July 10 2016

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Twins open for business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Eduardo Nunez an All-Star – he earned it

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

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

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According to ELIAS

Santana shuts out A’s

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

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

Ron Keller

Ron Keller pitched for the Twins in 1966 and in 1968

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Twins can’t be fixed unless they trade Joe Mauer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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According to ELIAS

Kepler and Sano go deep and combine for 10 RBIs

Max Kepler

Max Kepler

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

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

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Twins Minor League Player of the Week – Jaylin Davis

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

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

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

Birthday is a piece of cake for Twins’ Davis

Twins Minor League Report July 3 2016

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According to ELIAS

No extra-base hit for Dozier

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

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According to ELIAS

Dozier streak evokes Twins greats… and Rogers Hornsby

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

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

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Why don’t Twins just jettison Jepsen?

Kevin Jepsen

Kevin Jepsen

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

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

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

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

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

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According to ELIAS

Dozier ties Twins franchise mark

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

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

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According to ELIAS

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

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

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

Twins shock Yankees with home-run blitz

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

 

Twins nine inning games with 6 or more home runs

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

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

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

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Former Twins pitcher Duensing on opt-outs

Brian Duensing

Brian Duensing

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

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

Brian Duensing Ponders Opt Outs and Home

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This Day in Twins History – Twins beat WSOX in Milwaukee

Bud Selig

Bud Selig

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

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

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According to ELIAS

Suzuki takes lessons from Mauer

Kurt Suzuki 2016

Kurt Suzuki went 4-for-5 with six RBIs in the Twins’ 14-10 victory over the Phillies on Tuesday. Suzuki is only the second catcher in the Twins’ franchise history to produce at least four hits and six RBIs in a game, joining Joe Mauer, who had five hits and seven RBIs on July 26, 2010.

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Things can always be worse

Terry FeltonEveryone is upset with the Twins poor play this season but at this stage of the season the 1982 Twins were worse. On this date in 1982 the Twins were in Chicago where they lost 5-4 to the White Sox when Harold Baines hit a double off reliever Terry Felton and knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Sounds just like 2016 doesn’t it? The Twins record dropped to 16-53 and 25 games behind the division leaders. Felton’s 1982 season wasn’t a good one, he finished 0-13.  Box score.

The Twins of today stand at 21-48 and 18 games out of first as they prepare to take on the Phillies tonight.

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According to ELIAS

Santana gets back on track


Santana, Ervin 2016Ervin Santana
was charged with two earned runs in 7 1/3 innings to earn the victory in the Twins’ 7-4 win over the Yankees at Target Field yesterday. Santana was coming off perhaps the worst five-start stretch of his major-league career (0-5 with a 7.71 ERA). He had never before lost five consecutive starts while producing an ERA that high. Santana also snapped his personal eight-game losing streak against the Yankees, which spanned 11 starts since September 2008 and was the longest current losing streak against the Bombers for any major-league pitcher entering play on Sunday. That distinction now belongs to CC Sabathia, who has lost his last seven decisions against his current team (2001 to 2008).

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Twins minor league player of the week – Felix Jorge

TWINS MINOR LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Felix JorgeFt. Myers Miracle (High A) right-handed pitcher Felix Jorge is the Twins minor league Player of the Week. Jorge made one start for the Miracle, allowing one run on six hits in 7.2 innings pitched, with no walks and six strikeouts against Lakeland on Wednesday.

The 22 year-old Jorge has made 11 starts for the Miracle this season, going 6-3, 1.59 ERA (73.2 IP, 13 ER) with 10 walks and 61 strikeouts.

Jorge has described by a Twins source as a poor man’s Ervin Santana. He has a thin body and doesn’t throw hard, but he has a good mix of pitches and throws strikes, lending hope that he can stick as a starter. Signed by the Minnesota Twins as a non-drafted free agent on Feb. 21, 2011 for $250,000.

Twins sign Dominican right-hander Felix Jorge

Twins Minor League Report June 19, 2016

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According to ELIAS – and we thought our SP was bad

Shields sets mark for futility

I am thinking that the beard is the problem.

I am thinking that the beard is the problem.

James Shields allowed eight runs while recording only five outs in the White Sox 13-2 loss to the Indians yesterday. Shields has now allowed seven or more runs before the end of the third inning in each of his last four starts. That is the longest streak of its kind for any pitcher in major-league history.

I guess it just goes to show that anyone can have a bad game, a bad month, a bad streak, or a bad year!

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Twins inside-the-park home runs are a rarity

From the time the Twins started play in 1961 through yesterday June 14 (2016) the Minnesota Twins have hit 7,462 home runs, 3,746 have been hit on the road and 3,716 have been hit at home. The Twins hit 1,872 home runs at the Metrodome, 1,424 at Met Stadium and 420 at Target Field. The most home runs the Twins have hit on the road have been at the Angels home park where they have hit 257.

Eduardo Nunez 2016Of the Twins 7,462 round-trippers only 50 of them have been inside-the-park home runs. Inside-the-park home runs are relatively rare so I am a bit surprised that when Eduardo Nunez hit the latest one back on June 2 that no one mentioned that it was number 50 in Minnesota Twins history. How rare are they? Only .0067% of Twins home runs are of the inside-the-park variety. So what Twins have hit IPHR’s? We have put together a complete list here for you with the help of Baseball-Reference.

 

Twins inside-the-park home runs from 1961-June 2, 2016

Date Batter Opp Pitcher Play Description
1961-07-04 (2) Harmon Killebrew CHW Cal McLish Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1962-04-27 Zoilo Versalles @CLE Dick Donovan Home Run
1963-09-22 Jimmie Hall @BOS Bob Heffner Inside-the-park Home Run to RF
1963-09-28 Vic Power @NYY Whitey Ford Inside-the-park Home Run to RF
1964-07-04 (1) Tony Oliva @NYY Jim Bouton Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1964-08-04 Rich Rollins BOS Bill Monbouquette Inside-the-park Home Run to RF
1964-09-04 Tony Oliva BOS Dave Gray Inside-the-park Home Run to RF
1965-04-22 Zoilo Versalles @NYY Pedro Ramos Inside-the-park Home Run to LF
1965-06-04 Jimmie Hall WSA Howie Koplitz Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1965-06-18 Rich Rollins @NYY Bill Stafford Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1966-06-04 Tony Oliva CLE Tom Kelley Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1967-05-08 Ted Uhlaender WSA Phil Ortega Inside-the-park Home Run to LF
1969-05-13 Rod Carew BAL Mike Cuellar Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1971-07-22 Jim Nettles @NYY Fritz Peterson Inside-the-park Home Run to RF
1972-10-04 Eric Soderholm CHW Ken Frailing Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1974-06-24 Danny Thompson @TEX David Clyde Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1975-06-17 (1) Dan Ford OAK Vida Blue Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1975-09-07 Steve Brye @CHW Claude Osteen Inside-the-park Home Run to RF
1979-05-08 Ken Landreaux TOR Balor Moore Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1979-05-15 John Castino TEX Sparky Lyle Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1980-07-11 Rick Sofield @SEA Glenn Abbott Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1980-08-20 Mike Cubbage TOR Jackson Todd Inside-the-park Home Run to LF
1982-05-28 Tom Brunansky NYY Ron Guidry Home Run
1982-07-19 Tom Brunansky MIL Jerry Augustine Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1982-09-10 Gary Ward @KCR Larry Gura Home Run
1982-09-30 Kent Hrbek @TOR Luis Leal Home Run
1983-09-25 Tom Brunansky @KCR Keith Creel Inside-the-park Home Run
1984-06-23 Randy Bush CHW Tom Seaver Home Run
1984-06-24 Tim Teufel CHW Richard Dotson *WALK-OFF*:*ENDED GAME*:Home Run
1984-09-11 Kent Hrbek KCR Charlie Leibrandt Home Run
1985-07-03 Dave Engle CLE Neal Heaton Inside-the-park Home Run to RF
1986-07-03 Ron Washington BAL Mike Boddicker Inside-the-park Home Run to LF
1986-10-04 Greg Gagne CHW Floyd Bannister Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1986-10-04 Greg Gagne CHW Floyd Bannister Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1987-05-31 (1) Gary Gaetti @DET Jeff Robinson Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1987-09-24 Greg Gagne TEX Charlie Hough Inside-the-park Home Run to LF
1988-07-08 Steve Lombardozzi MIL Bill Wegman Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1988-09-28 Steve Lombardozzi OAK Todd Burns Inside-the-park Home Run to LF
1990-05-26 Gene Larkin BOS Mike Boddicker Inside-the-park Home Run to LF
1991-05-19 Mike Pagliarulo @DET Dan Petry Inside-the-park Home Run to LF
1994-05-17 Shane Mack NYY Jimmy Key Inside-the-park Home Run to RF
1997-04-26 Rich Becker TEX Bobby Witt Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1997-05-25 Pat Meares OAK Ariel Prieto Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1997-08-08 Roberto Kelly NYY Dwight Gooden Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
1999-09-05 Todd Walker @TBD Ryan Rupe Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
2000-07-29 Chad Moeller NYY Ramiro Mendoza Inside-the-park Home Run to LF
2001-07-26 Torii Hunter @OAK Mark Guthrie Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
2007-07-21 Joe Mauer LAA Scot Shields Inside-the-park Home Run to LF
2014-05-20 Kurt Suzuki @SDP Nick Vincent Inside-the-park Home Run to CF
2016-06-02 Eduardo Nunez TBR Matt Moore Inside-the-park Home Run to RF
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/14/2016.

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This Day in Twins History – has it already been 19 years?

AstrodomeFriday the 13th, June 1997.  The Twins play their very first interleague game and beat the Houston Astros 8-1 in the infamous Astrodome. Chuck Knoblauch leads off the game with a single for the Twins getting their first hit and Brad Radke goes 8 innings for the win. Who hits the Minnesota Twins first interleague home run? That would be current Twins skipper Paul Molitor. Box score

Classic SI photo’s of the Astrodome

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According to ELIAS

Kepler, Max walkoff 061216Max Kepler‘s first career home run–a 10th-inning three-run blast over the centerfield wall and off the batters-eye at Target Field gave the Twins a dramatic 7-4 win over the Boston Red Sox yesterday afternoon. Among the 138 players in major-league history to hit 300 career home runs, only two had their first one come as a walkoff shot in extra innings: Miguel Cabrera (in his major-league debut) and Alfonso Soriano.

Congratulations Max!

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Twins minor league player of the week (again) – Daniel Palka

Daniel Palka

Daniel Palka

Chattanooga Lookouts (AA) outfielder Daniel Palka is the Twins minor league Player of the Week for the second time this season. Palka played in seven games for the Lookouts, hitting .320 (8-for-25) with two triples, four home runs, 11 RBI, six walks and eight runs scored. Palka was acquired this off-season from Arizona, in exchange for catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann. Palka has played in 58 games this season, hitting .273 (60-for-220) with nine doubles, three triples, 15 home runs and 48 RBI.

The write-up for the first time he won the award in 2016 can be seen here.

Twins Minor League Report June 12, 2016

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Things are not getting any better over at Target Field

MoneyI was updating the “Salaries” page with 2016 Forbes team valuation data and decided to see how some of the Minnesota Twins numbers stack up going back to 2010 when the team last made the playoffs. But first here is what the Forbes Twins profile states for 2016:

“Minnesota’s home attendance has fallen every season since the team moved into Target Field in 2010. During the ballpark’s inaugural season, average attendance was 34,287. Only 27,408 per game paid to come through the turnstiles last season. Likely reason: the Twins have the third-highest non-premium average ticket price ($33) in the American League, yet have posted only two winning seasons (2010, 2015) since moving into Target Field. Meanwhile, the team failed to win more than 70 games during each of the other four seasons at Target Field. The team’s relatively quiet off-season was highlighted by a four-year, $24.85 million investment in Korean slugger Byung Ho Park.”

YEAR TEAM VALUE /REVENUE PLAYER EXPENSES PLAYER EXP % of REVENUE
2016 $910/$240 $125 52.08%
2015 $895/$223 $106 47.53%
2014 $605/$221 $97 43.89%
2013 $578/$214 $122 57.00%
2012 $511/$213 $121 56.80%
2011 $490/$213 $112 52.58%
2010 $405/$162 $83 51.23%

Interactive Whiteboards by PolyVision

(Team value, revenue and player expenses are in millions)

The Twins team value  has gone up every year, more than doubling from 2010 when they moved into Target Field, team revenue has also gone up every year but one when it stayed stagnant. From 2010-2016 the team has brought in $1.486 billion in revenue and the player expense for that time period comes out to $766 million which means that over these seven years the Twins spent 51.55% on player expenses.

But what does that really mean? Not much in my opinion because it depends on how the money is spent, you can spent 75% of your revenue on player expenses but if you are not getting good value for your money and you are paying for players not longer with the team, or for pitchers that can’t pitch or $23 million for an average player than the numbers mean nothing. But yet lots of people are interested in what ownership is spending on player salaries and expenses. It is not totally clear in the Forbes report what all falls in the player expenses category other than player salaries.

Bottom line of course is how many games you win and if you get in the playoffs where anything can happen. Since 2010 the Twins have appeared in the playoffs just once and their record between 2010 and today stands at 460 wins and 572 losses for a winning percentage of 44.57%.

Team owner Jim Pohlad, President Dave St. Peter and GM Terry Ryan have each said over and over again that it is not about the money and I truly do believe that. Jim Pohlad wants a championship on his ownership resume badly but that doesn’t mean that he wants to spend money foolishly either. So the question is, if it is not about the money then what is left in the equation? There are always the players, the coaching staff, and of course the management. We have changed players over and over again trying the old and the young but no luck there. The manager and the coaching staff were changed and yet the Twins team is marching straight towards a record-breaking bad season. That leaves the management, the President and the GM, the glue that keeps the organization headed forward or are they? One problem solving technique used over the years by many of us is if all else fails than change out one part at a time until the engine starts. BUT, you can’t fix the problem until you admit that you have a problem. What a sorry situation we Twins fans find ourselves in, and it is only June 10.

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