Sometimes it is hard to be a Minnesota Twins fan

I went out to the CenturyLink Sports Complex on Tuesday morning and it was pretty much what I expected with the team on the road in Port Charlotte to play the Rays in an exhibition game. The players that stayed behind went through some light workouts and I watched Jose Berrios and Trevor May throw in the bullpen for a short time. Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer stayed behind according to old baseball tradition they have earned the right not to have to travel to road games. Some things never change I guess. 

The one odd thing I noticed when I first drove into the complex was some guy flying a drone over the back fields where the minor league players who have not officially started camp yet were going through their paces. I wish I would have stopped and chatted with him to find out who he was and what he was doing but I didn’t. It did get me to thinking though about how long this kind of thing will be allowed. Who was this guy anyway? Maybe just a fan, maybe a Twins employee, maybe a reporter, or maybe a spy… We will never know unless he shows up again I guess.

Alex Kirilloff

Rhett Bollinger wrote this morning outfield prospect Alex Kirilloff, the Twins’ first-round pick in the 2016 draft suffered a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on March 8. Kirilloff is the second high Twins position player prospect in recent years to require Tommy John surgery. Miguel Sano missed the 2014 season due to the same procedure. Kirilloff was apparently injured at Elizabethton in late August and a platelet-rich plasma injection therapy was attempted but Kirilloff experienced pain again this spring. I know surgery is always a last resort but had he had the surgery right away, Kirilloff would be almost six months behind the surgery at this point. I know, easy to say now after the fact, but that is the beauty of doing this blog, it gives me the fredom to do so. Is this just a coincidence that the Twins have had two highly rated position players require TJ surgery in three years? This old guy does not believe in coincidences but I am not sure what to make of it, maybe it goes back to those trees being taken out of Target field back in 2010 when the Twins downward spiral began.

I was doing some painting yesterday at our condo and listening to the Twins play the Rays in Port Charlotte. I could not believe what I was hearing as the Rays ripped pretty much every pitcher the Twins sent to the mound. The Twins didn’t even get a hit until the 7th inning I believe. The game I was listening to was a Rays station so it was interesting to hear their perspective on things. Former player Dante Bichette who had a 14 year big league career was one of the announcers and he had some interesting thoughts and observations as the game went along, I enjoyed listening to him much more than I do to our guy Dan Gladden. But losing 19-0, how can you lose a spring training game 19 to zip and only get three hits yourself? That is dismal, actually it is pathetic, and to think the Twins had numerous Twins “regulars” playing. I am confident that the Twins will be a better team in 2017 than what they showed in 2016 but games like this won’t sell tickets and put fans in the seats. 

Manager Paul Molitor

In 2015 the Twins started the season 1-6 and last year they started 0-9 before putting a game in the “w” column. If the Twins get off to another miserable start in 2017, I am thinking that manager Paul Molitor will be looking for a new job before the end of April. The Twins can’t afford a third consecutive slow start and ticket sales certainly can’t handle that kind of stress. I find it interesting that nothing is being written about the Twins slow starts under Molitor and what happens if the same scenario takes place in 2017. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have no loyalty to Paul Molitor and his leash could be a short one.

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How many starters does a MLB team really use?

Twins beat-writer Phil Miller wrote in past Sunday’s edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the Minnesota Twins could have as many as 12 different pitchers fighting for the five spots in the Twins 2017 starting rotation. Keep that number 12 in the back of your mind as you read this. Here are the pitchers Miller listed as possible starters in 2017.

TWINS STARTING ROTATION CANDIDATES

Ervin Santana (R), 34: 7-11 last season, but his 3.38 ERA was 10th-best in the American League.

Phil Hughes (R), 30: Missed most of last season because of thoracic outlet syndrome. Gave up league-high 29 home runs in 2015.

Kyle Gibson (R), 29: Fourth year in rotation (98 starts), but ERA rocketed to 5.07 in 2016.

Hector Santiago (L), 29: Acquired from Angels last season. Another starter who gives up lots of home runs.

Jose Berrios (R), 22: Team’s top young pitching prospect has been bombed in majors (8.02 ERA).

Tyler Duffey (R), 26: In 26 starts last season his 6.43 ERA was worst among pitchers with more than 130 innings.

Trevor May (R), 27: Back injury hampered him last season, when he was a reliever. He wants to start.

Adalberto Mejia (R), 23: Picked up from Giants in Eduardo Nunez trade last season. In 566 minor league innings he has 487 K’s.

Nick Tepesch (R), 28: Had 39 starts for Texas in 2013-14. He missed 2015 because of shoulder issues; he’s on a minor league deal.

Ryan Vogelsong (R), 39: Grizzled veteran has 179 starts in 12 seasons; 3-7, 4.81 ERA for Giants last year.

Justin Haley (R), 25: Proven starter in Class AAA was picked up in the Rule 5 draft, meaning he’s likely to make the team.

Stephen Gonsalves (L), 22: Twins minor league pitcher of the year in 2016; was dominant at Class AA Chattanooga.

It would be nice to have quality over quantity but one has to play with the cards they are dealt or the starters they might have. In 2016 the American League teams used 157 different starters an average of 10.47 starters per team. The Toronto Blue Jays used only seven starters in 2016 while the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sent 15 different starters to the mound. The Twins marched out 11 different pitchers to start their games in 2016.

The National League teams used 176 different starters in their quest for wins and that comes out to an average of 11.73 starters. The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants only required eight starters each while the Atlanta Braves had double that, they needed 16 starters to get through the season. 

The Twins have used as many as 13 different starters in 1962 and 1995 and as few as six starters in 1972 but they only played 154 games that year. If you look at the Twins average number of starters used over the years per season you end up with 9.68 so even though the battle for the starting rotation will take place this spring and there will probably be five winners by Opening Day, there is no assurance they will be starting games at Target Field come September. Starting pitchers will be lost due to injury, performance, trades, and personal reasons so the more pitchers the Twins have ready to start big league games the better. The message to the pitchers who won’t be Twins starters on Opening Day is to hang in there because your turn is coming, be ready.

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Minnesota Twins second day of full squad workouts

Yesterday I checked out the Twins second full workout of the spring as Paul Molitor ran his boys through their paces. I saw nothing really unusual but I thought it was kind of interesting that I saw no pitchers throwing in the bullpen at all the entire time I was there. The outfielders went through their drills on the Hammond Stadium field while the rest of the team appeared to be split into three groups with a mixture of infielders and pitchers in each group going through pitching and infield drills on three separate fields.

As I watched the drills I couldn’t help but miss Tom Kelly putting the guys through the drills and hearing his banter and seeing him pull guys aside to give them some tips on playing the game better. The drill without TK this spring was noticeably quieter. TK has a long history with the Twins and belongs out here in spring training and I am not convinced that he is back in Minnesota by his own volition.

Niko Goodrum – number 71

The one incident that stands out in my mind were pitcher drills where the pitchers practiced the pick-off at second base. In this case starter Hector Santiago wheeled around and threw “a pea” wildly over shortstop Niko Goodrum‘s. To me two things stood out about that play, how quick and hard Santiago’s throw was and the fact that shortstop Niko Goodrum barely jogged to get the loose ball. It is only the second full day of drills, a little more effort from Goodrum would seem appropriate.

Hopefully the Twins will get a lot of work in today and rain is predicted for Wednesday. As always, I took a number of pictures and you can check them out on the 2017 spring training pictures link on the right hand side of the main page.

 

 

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Complete game streaks a rarity nowadays

The franchise leader in complete games pitched for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins is Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson who had 38 complete games in 1910 in 42 starts for the Washington Senators. Twins pitcher Bert Blyleven, also in the Hall of Fame is the Twins leader in complete games in a single season with 25 complete games in 40 starts back in 1973. The last Twins pitcher to lead the AL in complete games was Carl Pavano with seven in 2010.

But who holds the Minnesota Twins record for the most complete games in a row? That record of course belongs to Twins curve-ball ace Camilo Pascual who had 8 complete games in a row between May 10, 1964 and June 17, 1964. Bert Blyleven is second on the Twins list below but he pitched 10 complete games in a row in 1985 for the Cleveland Indians.

 

Camilo Pascual

Rk Name Strk Start End Games W L GS CG SHO IP H ER BB SO HR ERA
1 Camilo Pascual 1964-05-10 1964-06-17 8 7 1 8 8 1 71.2 58 19 28 58 4 2.39
2 Bert Blyleven 1986-07-22 1986-08-11 5 3 2 5 5 1 43.0 19 10 10 37 6 2.09
3 Roger Erickson 1978-08-05 1978-08-23 5 3 2 5 5 0 46.0 40 13 12 18 2 2.54
4 Dave Goltz 1976-05-14 1976-05-30 5 5 0 5 5 0 47.0 32 11 12 33 1 2.11
5 Bert Blyleven 1975-08-02 1975-08-19 5 4 1 5 5 1 44.0 26 10 11 30 3 2.05
6 Jim Hughes 1975-05-09 1975-05-28 5 5 0 5 5 2 45.0 25 5 17 26 2 1.00
7 Bert Blyleven 1973-09-14 1973-09-30 5 3 2 5 5 1 43.0 27 10 6 37 2 2.09
8 Dick Woodson 1972-08-01 1972-08-18 5 4 1 5 5 2 45.0 25 4 11 26 1 0.80
9 Jim Merritt 1968-04-11 1968-05-01 5 3 2 5 5 0 45.0 31 9 7 27 3 1.80
10 Jim Kaat 1966-08-23 1966-09-09 5 5 0 5 5 2 45.0 29 5 9 35 4 1.00
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/18/2017.

Back in 1980 Oakland A’s starter Rick Langford as a 28 year-old pitched an amazing 22 complete games in a row between May 23 and September 12 and that included a 14 inning win against the Cleveland Indians. The A’s starting staff had an work-man like 94 complete games in 1980. The starting five made up of Rick Langford, Mike Norris, Matt Keough, Steve McCatty and Brian Kingman started all but three A’s games that season. The team finished with a 83-79 record under skipper Billy Martin and pitching coach Art Fowler.

Nolan Ryan who was pitching for the California Angels at the time had a streak of 10 complete games in a row against the Minnesota Twins from September 30, 1972 through September 28, 1974 but the Twins did manage to win 3 of those 10 games. About the time Ryan’s streak was ending, teammate Frank Tanana started a streak of his own pitching 7 complete games in a row against the Twins from September 27, 1974 through June 15 1977.

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New security measures at CenturyLink Sports Complex

The Minnesota Twins recently sent out an e-mail that states that new security measures have been put in effect that may impact you when you attend a Twins spring training game so please keep them in mind.

“There will be enhanced security measures as required by Major League Baseball at the CenturyLink Sports Complex this year, with the most visible being the use of metal detectors at all gate entrance points. We don’t expect that these changes will create any major inconvenience or lengthy delays. However, it is a good idea to arrive a bit earlier than you may have in the past in order to allow for extra time to enter and get seated prior to the start of the game. New security policies at Hammond Stadium include uniform bag checks, metal detection screenings, and bag size limits (16 inch by 16 inch by 8 inch). “

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Time for Eddie Rosario to step up and “be the man” out of the Twins 2010 draft

The Minnesota Twins were 87-76 in 2009 and scored six runs in three games in the ALDS against the New York Yankees and were swept in three games. That earned them the right to pick 21st in the 2010 June Amateur draft. Yep, that is the year Bryce Harper was picked number one, Manny Machado was number three and Chris Sale was number 13. The Twins meanwhile selected Alex Wimmers at 21, Niko Goodrum at number 71, Pat Dean at 102, and Eddie Rosario with the 135th overall selection. 

Seven years later Rosario appears to be the plum of the Twins selections in that draft. There is still a chance that Goodrum or Ryan O’Rourke or Logan Darnell will suddenly blossom but it looks more and more unlikely.

The Twins drafted Rosario as an outfielder out of Rafael Lopez Landron High School in Guayama, Puerto Rico at the age of 18 and Rosario started his professional career as an outfielder in the Gulf Coast League. Rosario’s career took a brief turn in 2012 when the Minnesota Twins were desperate for a second baseman and decided that Eddie Rosario might be just the guy to fill that hole. In the Fall of 2013 the Twins sent Rosario to sharpen his skills in the AFL but Rosario struggled and hit just .238 in 80 at bats. History shows us that Brian Dozier stepped in and laid claim to the second base role in Minnesota in 2013 and so the Twins started planning to transition Rosario back to the outfield in 2014.

In January of 2014 Eddie Rosario who was then the Twins number 5 prospect, found himself suspended for 50 games for his second failed drug test according to MLB. The suspension was for an undisclosed “drug of abuse,” such as marijuana or cocaine, as distinct from a performance-enhancing drug. The Twins sent Rosario to the AFL again in the Fall of 2014 so he could make up some of the at bats he missed due to his suspension and this time Rosario had 33 hits in 100 at bats and stole 10 bases in the process.

After starting the 2015 season in AAA Rochester where he hit a mediocre .242 in 23 games Rosario finally got the call he had been waiting for and he was on his way to Target Field. On May 6, 2015 Rosario made his big league debut at Target Field against the Oakland A’s in right field hitting in the eight spot. In his first at bat, as a matter of fact his very first pitch, he hit a home run becoming just the 29th player in major league history to accomplish that rare feat. Rosario played well and finished the 2015 season hitting .267 with 13 home runs and a league leading 15 triples in 122 games. In addition, Rosario was second in the league in outfield assists with 16.

The future looked bright for Eddie but 2016 rolled around and Rosario struggled both in the field and with his bat and by mid May his average sat at .200, with the ballclub losing game after game Rosario found a one-way ticket to AAA Rochester waiting for him in his locker. Rosario hit well in Rochester and found himself back at Target Field in early July and seemed to have his swagger back by hitting .305 in his final 60 games.

The question going on to 2017 is what Eddie Rosario are we going to see, the good Rosario or the seemingly dis-interested Rosario? I think people are in for a pleasant surprise. That 2010 draft is just a distant memory now but if Eddie Rosario gets it together the Minnesota Twins will have gotten something out of the draft. Come on Eddie, the Twins and their fans are counting on you.

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Minnesota Twins who have received Hall of Fame votes over the years

We all know about the Minnesota Twins players who have been enshrined in the MLB Hall of Fame and it is a great and rare honor to get voted in. Over the years a number of outstanding and I think “hall worthy” Minnesota Twins players have received votes but never enough to get that call they have waited for, I would put players like Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat and Jack Morris in that category.

Oliva

Kaat

Morris

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a list of other one-time Twins players who received at least one vote in HOF balloting through 2017 voting, some deserved it and others I have to wonder what the voter was thinking.

 Jacque Jones, Kenny Rogers, Brad Radke, Bret Boone, Jesse Orosco, Chuck Knoblauch, Gary Gaetti, Rick Aguilera, Chili Davis, Terry Steinbach, Jim Eisenreich, Luis Tiant, Frank Viola, Steve Bedrosian, Jim Deshaies, Jeff Reardon, Kent Hrbek, John Candelaria, Rick Dempsey, Graig Nettles, Don Baylor, Chris Speier, Joe Niekro, Bill Campbell, Jerry Koosman, Mike Marshall, Leo Cardenas, Jim Perry, Ron Perranoski, Vic Wertz, Camilo Pascual, Vic Power, Elmer Valo, and Billy Martin.

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Best players drafted by Minnesota Twins by round

I went through the history of the Minnesota Twins June Amateur draft choices to see who the best players were that the club drafted, signed and the player debuted with Minnesota across his chest. The player may or may not have played his entire career with the Twins but the WAR numbers are for their entire careers. Why are they ranked by WAR you may ask? Simple, I know of no other way to rank them, so right or wrong, I have chosen B-R WAR.

Twenty five of the 61 rounds shown have no players that qualified meaning that no one ever drafted in that round has made it to the majors with Minnesota. So if the Twins draft you in one of those rounds in the future, the odds are very much against you. Unless you have followed the Twins since day one, you might not recognize or remember some of these players.

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Minnesota Twins go high tech….. back in 1967

Their computer might have looked like this. Is that Derek Falvey?

According to the February 25, 1967 issue of the Sporting News the Minnesota Twins went high-tech by installing their first computer in their accounting department and Twins PR man Tom Mee thought that in the future they might even use it for Twins statistics. 1967 was the year that IBM created the first floppy disk, the first CES (Consumer Electronic Show) was held and GPS first became available for commercial use. About the same time the Minnesota Twins also announced that they would begin accepting credit cards for ticket purchases albeit only from “our good” customers said Twins ticket manager Charlie Lavender. The article also has a nice story about Cesar Tovar, one of the forgotten Twins.

Sporting News Feb 25, 1967 P 23

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Players and fans still sparse at CenturyLink

Yesterday I paid another visit to the CenturyLink Sports complex the spring training home of the Minnesota Twins less than a week before pitchers and catchers report and both the players and fans were sparse in number but those in attendance appeared to  be having fun. 

The most recognizable player there was Korean first baseman Byung Ho Park who was recently DFA’d. The players didn’t do much, first they took some infield and then proceeded over to another diamond to take BP. Park blasted a number of balls over the outfield fence and and he certainly got your attention when his bat sent the ball flying over the fence. I think it would be a bad move if the Twins organization lets this guy go, they should show some patience and see what he can do.

Isaiah Aluko

Another player on the field seemed to stand out and appeared to be a man among boys, at least in size alone. Everyone kept asking each other who was this number 74? Larry Corrigan identified him as Isaiah Aluko. Accoring to B-R he is 6’4″ and goes 230 but he seems bigger than that. Last year Aluko appeared in just a handful of games for the GCL Twins and he is 23 years of age. I don’t know if Aluko will turn out to be a big leaguer some day but if you pictured a big league player in you mind, he might look like Aluko.

As always I took a few pictures and will get them loaded out to my 2017 Spring Training picture link that you can find on the right hand side of the page.

I will leave you with a quick trivia question, what player played the most games wearing a Twins uniform but never earned an ejection?

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Minnesota Twins Top 10 Second Basemen

Here are the Minnesota Twins top 10 second basemen based of the WAR numbers from Baseball-Reference.  To qualify a player must have played at least 51% of his games at second base. The results to I’m sure no ones surprise, is that Rod Carew comes out on top. The Twins current second baseman Brian Dozier comes in third.


Rk Player WAR/pos From To G AB R H HR RBI SB BA OPS
1 Rod Carew 63.7 1967 1978 1635 6235 950 2085 74 733 271 .334 .841
2 Chuck Knoblauch 37.9 1991 1997 1013 3939 713 1197 43 391 276 .304 .807
3 Brian Dozier 18.4 2012 2016 699 2715 422 668 117 346 74 .246 .762
4 Tim Teufel 5.5 1983 1985 316 1080 145 286 27 117 5 .265 .751
5 Rob Wilfong 5.3 1977 1982 554 1591 210 417 22 152 41 .262 .681
6 Steve Lombardozzi 4.0 1985 1988 423 1226 148 286 19 104 13 .233 .652
7 Bob Randall 3.8 1976 1980 460 1325 154 341 1 91 11 .257 .621
8 Luis Castillo 3.7 2006 2007 227 933 138 279 3 67 34 .299 .720
9 Alexi Casilla 3.5 2006 2012 515 1580 210 395 11 147 71 .250 .639
10 Bernie Allen 3.2 1962 1966 492 1595 195 392 32 163 3 .246 .682
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/2/2017.

If you looked at the entire American League during this same time period (1961-current) the top three second basemen are Lou Whitaker at 74.9, Bobby Grich at 70.9, and at 62.4 the still active Robinson Cano. Carew did not make this list because he didn’t play second base most of his career. Yet, neither Whitaker nor Grich are in the Hall of Fame. Hmmm!

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Minnesota Twins Super Bowl Predictions

 

 

 

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Someone, please throw Falvey and Levine a life-line

What the heck? What is going on there in Twins territory? Just a year after signing Korean first baseman Byung Ho Park to a four-year, $12 million deal, the Twins decide to designate him for assignment. All this after paying a $12.85 million posting fee to win the rights to negotiate with him in December 2015. That is almost $25 million down the tube, owner Jim Pohlad must be proud of his organization.

With spring training starting in less than two weeks this story makes page 10 of the Star Tribune Sports section. WOW! Interest in Twins baseball is dropping faster than President Donald Trump’s approval rating.

Park appeared in just 62 games for the Twins in 2016 hitting just .191 but he did hit 12 home runs. The Twins ended up sending him to AAA Rochester where he played briefly before under-going tendon surgery on his right hand that ended his 2016 campaign.

The question I have to ask is why do this 10 days before pitchers and catchers report for spring training? What’s the point?

All this after the 2011-2012 fiasco with Tsuyoshi Nishioka, I know you can’t live in the past but you should be able to learn from history. Sadly, the Minnesota Twins are quickly becoming the laughing stock of MLB. The old term of doing it the “Twins Way” has a whole new meaning.

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What are these guys doing?

clicking on the picture twice makes it bigger

I stopped off at the ballpark yesterday to see what was going on and if some veteran players have started to work out since TwinsFest was behind them.Turns out I saw no players that I recognized but I saw this small group of players along with some Twins staff members setting up some odd-looking devices so I stayed to see what would happen next. 

Come to find out there was a guy there with some electronic equipment to measure reaction and decision times. I watched them as they had a player act the part of a pitcher and then when he lifted his leg the player pretending to be a base runner would take off for the next base and the equipment measured the time from when the pitcher lifted his leg to when the base runner took off. It appeared to also measure the time it took the base runner to cover a certain distance showing how quick they could get to top speed. 

I guess the old stopwatch just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore, these folks are interested in timing things in hundredths of a second. Technology is definitely taking over the game of baseball. I’m not sure if it is good or bad but it is interesting never the less.

A bit later they changed fields and they started what appeared to be reaction times for infielders and outfielders A light would flash for 3/10 of a second and the player was measured on how quick he reacted to that light and went towards a predetermined point. Depending on the color of the light he might need to go either left or right. 

I was hoping to talk to the guy who seemed to run the equipment and find out more about the equipment and the company he represented but I had to leave before the testing was completed.

I took a few pictures and I will try to get them posted on my 2017 Spring Training photos in the near future.

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Minnesota Twins Top 10 Catchers

In their 56 seasons of baseball in Minnesota the Twins have had 71 different players don the tools of ignorance and squat down behind the plate to catch a major league pitcher. Two those 71 players only caught in one inning of one game. Cesar Tovar did it when owner Calvin Griffith had him play every position in a game in 1968 as a gimmick and  manager Tom Kelly had Jeff Reboulet catch the ninth inning in a 1995 game against the Royals in the Metrodome. It wasn’t an easy inning for Reboulet either, as he caught two different pitchers as the Royals sent 12 men to the plate and scored 6 runs on 6 hits not to mention 2 walks and a wild pitch.

With the Minnesota 2017 TwinsFest going on I thought it would be a good time to rank the Twins catchers. The Twins have been looking for an everyday catcher ever since Joe Mauer hung up his catcher’s mitt after the 1993 season due to a variety of injuries the most serious of which were his concussion problems. Kurt Suzuki filled in since then but he too has moved on. The Twins Top 10 Catchers list ranks the catchers by B-R WAR statistics. Player must have appeared in at least 51% of his games as a catcher to qualify for this list.

Joe Mauer

Rk Player WAR/pos G From To Age AB H HR RBI SB BA OPS
1 Joe Mauer 50.0 1590 2004 2016 21-33 5919 1826 130 804 50 .308 .837
2 Butch Wynegar 15.2 794 1976 1982 20-26 2746 697 37 325 8 .254 .682
3 Earl Battey 14.3 853 1961 1967 26-32 2762 768 76 350 8 .278 .765
4 Brian Harper 13.4 730 1988 1993 28-33 2503 767 48 346 7 .306 .773
5 A.J. Pierzynski 9.4 430 1998 2003 21-26 1428 430 26 193 6 .301 .788
6 George Mitterwald 6.0 514 1966 1973 21-28 1578 377 50 176 9 .239 .676
7 Glenn Borgmann 5.0 442 1972 1979 22-29 1207 277 14 137 4 .229 .630
8 Tim Laudner 3.2 734 1981 1989 23-31 2038 458 77 263 3 .225 .682
9 Terry Steinbach 3.1 347 1997 1999 35-37 1207 309 30 150 8 .256 .719
10 Kurt Suzuki 3.0 368 2014 2016 30-32 1230 323 16 160 0 .263 .680
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/28/2017.
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Anybody on this list surprise you? 

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Most plate appearances with zero home runs

The players on the list below had 400 or more plate appearances in a season as Minnesota Twins but hit no home runs. That didn’t necessarily mean they had a bad season, as you can see that second baseman Rod Carew led the American League in batting that year. Al Newman and Ben Revere make the list twice each.

Rk Player PA HR Year G AB R H RBI BA Pos
1 Rod Carew 591 0 1972 142 535 61 170 51 .318 *4/H
2 Kirby Puckett 583 0 1984 128 557 63 165 31 .296 *8
3 Ben Revere 553 0 2012 124 511 70 150 32 .294 *98/7H
4 Al Newman 521 0 1989 141 446 62 113 38 .253 *456H/7D8
5 Ben Revere 481 0 2011 117 450 56 120 30 .267 *87H/9D
6 Al Newman 433 0 1990 144 388 43 94 30 .242 *465H/7
7 Lyman Bostock 400 0 1975 98 369 52 104 29 .282 *987/HD
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/27/2017.

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Some of the Twins worst games ever pitched

Minnesota Twins pitchers have pitched some bad games over the years, here is a list of Twins pitchers that gave up 10 or more runs in a single game. The most runs given up by a Twins pitcher was 11 by the 38-year-old Rick Reed in a 15-1 loss at the Metrodome to the New York Yankees back in 2003.

Rk Player Date Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit
1 Rick Reed 2003-04-21 NYY L 1-15 GS-5, L 4.1 10 11 10 3 4 2 95
2 Rick Aguilera 1996-06-11 SEA L 8-18 GS-4, L 3.0 10 10 9 1 0 1 70
3 Scott Erickson 1994-04-12 SEA L 0-12 GS-4, L 4.0 11 10 7 3 2 1 85
4 Pat Mahomes 1993-04-24 DET L 1-17 GS-3, L 2.2 11 10 10 1 3 3 70
5 Willie Banks 1992-08-04 CHW L 11-19 3-4 1.2 8 10 10 4 1 1 56
6 Frank Viola 1983-07-08 CLE L 4-10 GS-4, L 3.1 8 10 9 3 2 1  
7 John Pacella 1982-07-15 DET L 2-18 1-4 2.2 8 10 4 4 4 3  
8 Geoff Zahn 1980-07-21 (2) BAL L 5-12 GS-6, L 5.2 11 10 10 5 2 3  
9 Joe Decker 1976-05-12 KCR L 5-17 GS-2, L 1.0 8 10 10 3 2 0  
10 Vic Albury 1974-08-06 KCR L 3-17 3-7 5.0 12 10 10 5 2 1  
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/26/2017.

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Do you remember Twins All-Star catcher Dave Engle?

Dave Engle was drafted in 1978 by the California Angels in the third round (66 over all) as a third baseman out of USC. His stay in his home state however; was short-lived as he was traded on February 3, 1979 with pitchers Paul Hartzell and Brad Havens and outfielder Ken Landreaux to the Minnesota Twins for Rod Carew who wanted out of Calvin Griffiths Minnesota Twins organization.

Engle spent 1979 in AAA Toledo as a third baseman and in 1980 he again found himself in Toledo but that year he played in the outfield. Engle made the 1981 Twins team out of spring training and debuted on April 14, 1981. Engle was always first a hitter and finding a position for him was a struggle for Minnesota and they decided to turn him into a catcher. Engle must have been a quick study because by 1983 he was catching for Minnesota. In 1984 he was the Twins lone representative to the All-Star game but did not get a chance to play in the game at Candlestick Park. In 1984 Engle started having more issues throwing the ball back to the pitcher although he had no problems throwing to second or third base if needed. The problem continued to plague him in 1985 and he soon found himself a part-time player. In January of 1986 he was traded by the Twins to the Detroit Tigers for Chris Pittaro and Alejandro Sanchez in one of those “I’ll take yours if you take mine” trades. 

Dave Engle stay in Minnesota lasted 439 games, 176 of them behind the plate. Engle hit .268 as a Twin with 28 home runs and 13 triples which is not too shabby for a catcher. The Tigers released Engle in August of 1986. Engle went on to play for Montreal in 1987-1988 and finished out his big league career in 1989 with Milwaukee.

Did you know that Dave Engle hit the first home run at the Metrodome and that he is Tom Brunansky‘s brother-in-law?

 

Catcher Dave Engle’s ‘stardom’ with Twins was short-lived

Q&A: Engle reflects on childhood with Ted Williams

 

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Twenty two years ago, replacement players almost opened the baseball season

Twenty two years ago, the 1995 Opening Day that no one wanted loomed over Major League Baseball. The reason? After the games were completed on August 11, 1994 major league baseball players went on strike forcing MLB to cancel the remaining games in 1994 and for the first time since 1904 there was no World Series. I remember how disappointing it was back then and I hope that we never see it happen again. What is Fall without the World Series? Not to mention how it messed up my fantasy baseball league with me at the top of the standings.

As spring training approached the majority of the teams signed replacement players, players that had retired, career minor league players and anyone that could pitch or hit a baseball was signed. A few major league players crossed the picket lines and some active minor league players also thought the risk was worth the effort. Wannabee baseball players all over the country left their families and jobs behind to see if they could become the new stars of major league baseball. A few teams said they would not play with replacements and some major league managers and coaches said they wanted no part of this charade. 

Some replacements received a reported $5,000 at the beginning of spring training with a bonus of $20,000 if they made it to Opening Day. Salaries reportedly were set at $115,000, with each team permitted to have three players making $275,000. Continue reading

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Looking ahead to the 1967 baseball season

Fifty years ago the Boston Red Sox won the American League pennant in 1967 in what many think is one of the most if not thee most exciting AL pennant races ever. The Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins finished one game back and the Chicago White Sox finished 3 games behind the Red Sox. My plan is to do some postings as the year goes along about the 1967 AL pennant race. I found an article in the April 17, 1967 Sports Illustrated called “RISING DYNASTY FOR THE BIRDS?” that does a recap on each AL team and predicts their chances for the 1967 season. Kind of a fun read. The Boston Red Sox of course played the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series and lost 4 games to 3.

Carl Yastrzemski won the triple crown in 1967 although he and Twins 1B Harmon Killebrew each had 44 home runs that year. Even though you know how the story ends, it will still be fun reliving it.

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A quick visit the CenturyLink Sports Complex

With a little extra time on my hands this morning I took a quick trip out to the CenturyLink Sports Complex to see what might be going on out there. I had low expectations of what I would see out there this early in January and those expectations were met.

I arrived about 10 A.M. and the parking lot was pretty much empty, maybe two dozen cars were parked in the hot sun. The spring training ticket window (yes, just one) was open but there was no one buying any tickets, as a matter of fact the entire time I was there I didn’t see anyone buy any tickets. As I walked past the ticket window I saw Pat Reusse head towards the Twins clubhouse and we exchanged pleasantries as we passed each other. The Twins maintenance crews were busy, a couple of guys were power-washing the sidewalk, others were raking, fertilizing the fields, and adjusting sprinklers.

I walked to the back fields and they were empty so I chatted briefly with a friend that was out there and finally I saw my first player as Glen Perkins came out to play long toss with rehab coordinator Lanning Tucker. He did that for about an hour and went inside. A couple of other players came out one or two at a time to throw the ball around but I didn’t recognize any of them. There were also a few players that I didn’t recognize starting to do some running on the agility field and I snapped a few photos. About 11:15 A.M. or so things quieted down and I headed back to the condo.

A pretty quiet day and things will pick up each day but I don’t expect to see a lot of players until after Twins Fest is over. I will get the few photos I did take posted in my 2017 Spring Training link in the next day or so. 

 

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Analyzing Minnesota Twins First Round Picks – Part 2

 

How long does it take a Twins first round pick to reach the majors?

I wanted to see how long it takes a Minnesota Twins first round selection to reach the major leagues and there is really no good way to measure that so I decided to use the number of months it took for the player to debut in the major leagues after being drafted. I took nothing else, including injuries into consideration. It also does not mean the player stayed in the big leagues, it simply means he made his major league debut by appearing in a big league game.

Straight to the big leagues – just one, Eddie Bane a LHP out of college.

Second Season

10th month of pro ball – just one, Bryan Oelkers a LHP out of college.

13th month of pro ball – again just one, Adam Johnson a RHP out of college.

14th month of pro ball – again just one, Matt Garza RHP out of college.

Third Season

22nd month of pro ball – two players, Paul Powell an OF out of college and Chuck Knoblauch a SS out of college who went on to win ROY award as a 2B.

23rd month of pro ball – one player, Dave McCarty a collegiate 1B.

26th month of pro ball – two players, Travis Miller a LHP out of college and Todd Walker a collegiate 2B.

27th month of pro ball – three players, Lenny Faedo a SS out of high school, Scott Stahoviak a SS out of college and briefly played 3B in the majors, Glenn Perkins a LHP out of the University of Minnesota.

Fourth Season

34th month of pro ball – two players, Joe Mauer a C from Cretin-Derham Hall a Minnesota high school and Matt LeCroy a C out of college.

36th month of pro ball – one player, Byron Buxton a high school OF.

39th month of pro ball – two players, Steve Brye a 3B/OF out of high school went on to become the first Twins first round draft choice to debut as a Twins player and Ben Revere a high school OF.

Fifth Season

46th month of pro ball – three players, Jose Berrios a high school RHP, Jeff Reed a C out of high school and Rick Sofield who was drafted as a SS out of high school but play in the OF for Minnesota.

48th month of pro ball – two players, Kyle Gibson a collegiate RHP and Dan Serafini a high school LHP.

49th month of pro ball – two players, Mark Redman a collegiate LHP and Willie Banks a high school RHP.

50th month of pro ball – one player, Torii Hunter a high school OF.

51st month of pro ball – one player, Michael Cuddyer was drafted as a high school SS and played primarily in the OF.

Sixth Season

58th month of pro ball – one player, Aaron Hicks a high school OF.

63 month of pro ball – one player, Chris Parmelee a high school OF.

Seventh Season

70th month of pro ball – one player, Denard Span a high school OF.

71st month of pro ball – one player, Trevor Plouffe a high school SS but played 3B

74th month of pro ball – one player, Alex Wimmers a collegiate RHP

75th month of pro ball – two players, Matt Fox a collegiate RHP and Derek Parks drafted as a RHP and C but was a catcher for Minnesota.

Eighth Season

82nd month of pro ball – two players, Todd Ritchie a RHP out of high school and Bob Gorinski drafted as a high school SS but played OF with the Twins.

87th month of pro ball – one player, Kyle Waldrop a high school RHP 

Continue reading

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Analyzing Minnesota Twins First Round Picks – Part 1

Since the June Amateur Draft began in 1965 the Minnesota Twins have selected 72 players in round one, some are their regular first round selections and other are supplemental picks for the loss of a free agent or failure to sign a round one selection. 

Over the years the Twins have failed to sign seven first round selections, about 10% of their total first round picks. The seven players that did not sign were four position players and three pitchers. You would think most of these would be high school players that chose to go on to college but that is not the case here, six were college players and only one was a high school player. The last time the Twins organization failed to sign a player was 2000 supplemental pick RHP Aaron Heilman.

Minnesota Twins first round draft picks 1965-2016

POS HS COLLEGE
C 2 1
1B 1 1
2B 0 1
SS 8 3
3B 4 2
OF 12 2
RHP 9 10
LHP 1 8
DID NOT SIGN 1  6
  38 34

Continue reading

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I miss the old days

The Minnesota Twins have announced that all their arbitration eligible players have been signed for 2017. All five pocketed some nice change but starting pitcher Kyle Gibson increased his pay by 394% from $587,500 in 2016 to $2.9 million in 2017.

Bob Gibson

For that kind of increase I would have expected a “Cy Young” award season but I don’t remember that being the case. Lets see, I remember a real good pitcher named Gibson, oh, that was a guy named Bob Gibson and he is in the Hall of Fame. He last pitched in 1975 and his salary peaked out at $175,000.

Our Gibson, Kyle was 6-11 last season with a 5.07 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. In his 25 starts he pitched 147.1 innings and allowed 175 hits including 20 home runs. The man deserved a pay cut and not a pay increase of 394%, he should be pitching for the major league minimum this year of $535,000. But the MLB arbitration rules prohibit common sense like that.

In the old days they could give a player a maximum pay cut of 20%, that rule should still be in place. It is BS that baseball players get increases year after year no matter how bad a season they have. But that is the world we live in today. No one said that life is fair but things like this are just plain wrong.

Hey Kyle, don’t forget to increase your charitable contributions by 394% this year too. If you start 30 games in 2017 that comes out to almost $100,000 a start, you can afford it.

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Time for Falvey and Levine to make a decision

Brian Dozier

The rumors of the Minnesota Twins trading their 29 year-old power hitting second baseman have been flying this entire off-season but here it is mid-January and Brian Dozier is still part of the Twins organization. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining that he has not been traded, right now Dozier is the heart and soul of the Minnesota Twins and I would hate to see him go unless the Twins can get major league ready players in return. I am getting real tired of all the talk about the future, I want to see some players that can play today. Prospects are nice but why trade an All-Star power hitting second baseman for more prospects. There is no guarantee with prospects, with Dozier you have a known commodity.

The problem I see here now is that the Twins have gone so far down the road with all this trade talk is the possible repercussions that may occur in not trading Dozier. No one likes to hear their name bandied about in trade talks and all this chatter about being traded may have negative impacts on Dozier’s play this season even if he tries to make it a non-issue. Dozier is no different from the rest of us, the more comfortable and happy you are in your work environment the better work you will perform.

Miguel Sano

I blame the Twins for Miguel Sano‘s poor season in 2016 by sending him to the outfield with little or no experience. Sano with just 80 games of big league experience all at third base or DH was forced to try to learn how to play the outfield while learning how to play in the big leagues. Sano did his best but the pressure of learning the outfield and playing in the big leagues was just too much for the then 22 year-old. 

I know that Dozier is more experienced but I can see a similar scenario playing out with Dozier. Starting the season with Minnesota but waiting for the hammer to drop in a trade deadline deal might just cause him to struggle and the more he struggles the worse it would get and then his value plummets. Will Brian Dozier hit 42 home runs again? No one knows the answer to that but he is at peak value now, either trade him or just say he will not be traded and move on. End this thing with the Dodgers once and for all, either they give us what we want or we move on, this limbo business helps no one. Personally I am not a fan of Jose De Leon so a deal for De Leon and another prospect doesn’t spin my wheels so moving on from the Dodgers would be a blessing in my eyes. Whats wrong with keeping Dozier and building around him?

The time has come for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to make a decision, so let’s move on boys, spring training is just around the corner.

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Baseball Cards

I started collecting baseball cards back in the late 1950’s. I didn’t collect cards because I thought they would be worth some money some day, I collected them because I loved baseball and we had no TV so the only way I had to see what these players looked like was through baseball cards or a picture in the paper now and then. I also collected baseball cards because they showed all the stats that a player had accumulated as he worked his way up from the “D” leagues to the big leagues. Today’s cards don’t have that, a damn shame I say.

On top of all that, if you happened to get a star player you had bragging rights with your friends. A favorite card could be anyone, it could be a star player, a player from your favorite team, or in some cases a player became a favorite of mine just because I liked how he looked on his baseball card. Oh the trades, we used to trade baseball cards every day during baseball season. Today fans follow MLB Rumors on the internet to hear about a big signing or a big trade, we made our own big trades day after day. I remember how tough it was to trade a favorite card even if it was for a card you really wanted. There was a life lesson to be learned when we traded those cards, you never get something for nothing.  If you want something bad enough you have to be willing to give up something valuable to get it. Later on in life I learned it was called “opportunity cost”, any time you want something or want to do something there is an opportunity cost, you have to give up something to get something else. A valuable life lesson learned by trading baseball cards.

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Know your Minnesota Twins closers

The folks at Baseball-Reference.com describe a save as follows: 

A save (abbreviated SV or S) is a statistic awarded to a relief pitcher, often called a closer, who enters the game under certain conditions and maintains his team’s lead until the end of the game. The save rule was first adopted for the 1969 season and amended for the 1974 and 1975 seasons. Baseball researchers have worked through the official statistics retroactively to calculate saves for all major league seasons prior to 1969.

The first save credited to a Minnesota Twins pitcher occurred on April 16, 1961 long before the save rule was actually in existence in 1969. Continue reading

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Another bad move at the U of M – Tracy Claeys fired

Minnesota acting head coach Tracy Claeys calls out to players during the fourth quarter against Nebraska in Minneapolis Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

I have to rant this morning and it has nothing to do about baseball or the Minnesota Twins. It has to do with the Minnesota Gophers football team that I have followed since I was a kid living on a farm in the 1950’s. Back then we lived in a small farm-house and our only source of heat was the wood stove that sat in our living room. If you wanted to get up to warm house (we considered low 60’s warm) in the morning you had better get up during the night and put more wood on the fire. It takes a lot of wood to last through those long cold winters in Taylors Falls, Minnesota.

Which takes me back to my rant, I used to spend many a Fall Saturday afternoon listening to Minnesota Gopher football games as I chopped, split and piled the wood in the shed for the long winter ahead. I chopped a lot of wood growing up and listened to the Gophers win a lot of football games. I still remember how disappointed I was when the Gophers lost 17-7 to Washington in the Rose Bowl after the 1960 season. My biggest Gopher disappointment was probably their 14-9 loss to those hated Badgers and QB Ron VanderKelen in 1962 due to some questionable calls by the ref’s.

I have followed Minnesota golden Gopher football ever since….. now we have AD Mark Coyle firing coach Tracy Claeys. I have seen all that has gone with the program this year and the challenges that the team and coaching staff have endured on their way to a nine win season.

For the life of me I don’t see how Tracy Claeys can be blamed and fired after this season. Claeys is a good man who ran a good program and yet the University and Coyle see fit to fire him. On of the stated reasons was low season ticket sales and low attendance at the games, maybe the U of M should look at their own Marketing department for some answers. I guess I didn’t know that the head football coach was also responsible for attendance numbers. You think you saw low attendance numbers this past year? Wait and see what you get in 2017.

This firing is totally unfair and unjust to Tracy Claeys and his staff and the University of Minnesota leadership should be embarrassed to have something like this happen on their watch. I am not a Gopher season ticket holder but the U of M leadership team has chased off yet another Minnesota Gopher football fan.

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How have teams fared with their first round picks in the June Amateur Draft

The 2017 MLB June Amateur  Draft is still a long ways off but since my home town Minnesota Twins have the first overall pick in the draft it got me to thinking. I spent some time recently researching how MLB teams have fared with their first round picks in the June Amateur draft that first started in 1965. The very first pick in the very first draft was made by the Kansas City Athletics and they chose Arizona State University outfielder Rick Monday who went on to a nice 19 year career with three teams with two All-Star selection and a career WAR of 33.1 but he was not HOF worthy. Drafting back in 1965 was an inexact science just like it is today, HOF pitcher Nolan Ryan was drafted in round 12 and ended up with a career war of 81.8 and HOF catcher Johnny Bench who ended up with a 75.0 WAR was selected in round two. Other first round picks that year that you might remember were RHP Joe Coleman, catcher Ray Fosse and third baseman Bernie Carbo.

The question becomes how to rank the teams and I decided to rank them in order of career WAR as determined by Baseball-Reference. I looked at how many players were drafted and signed by each team and then totaled the career WAR numbers and then determined an average WAR for each drafted/signed player.

It was a fun exercise looking at the list of players that were drafted and signed as first round picks. Did they deliver on the promise you thought they had when your team announced that they had drafted and signed them? In baseball there are no guarantees that a first round pick from high school or college will make it to the big leagues and wear your teams colors.

The thing to remember here is that I only looked at first round picks. There are many great players drafted in later rounds but the round one picks get all the ink, most of the money and they wear that “first round pick” label for ever. 

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all. We thank you very much for stopping by our site regardless if you are a first time visitor or a regular at Twinstrivia.com. We hope that 2017 will be the best year of your life and that the Minnesota Twins can put things back together again and show us some winning baseball.

The beginning of a new year is always a fresh start and filled with hopes and dreams. The sun is shining on the white snow today with the temperature pushing the 30 degree mark, it is one of those Minnesota “Top Ten Weather Days as those weather forecasters like to say. But I still can’t help thinking about the green grass, the home-plate umpire yelling “play ball”, the ball hitting the catchers glove, and the crack of the bat when it meets the baseball and sends it flying out towards the scoreboard in deep center.

Maybe the Minnesota Twins can turn things around give us a reason to cheer for the “winning” Twins. Baseball Opening Day is just 93 days away folks!

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