from all of us to all of you
According to Twins Notes in todays Star Tribune Sports section the Minnesota Twins have contacted Mike Napoli‘s agent about signing with Minnesota. Napoli would be a bench player with power who can still play first base every now and then. The big reason for signing him according to the Twins is that he would be a clubhouse leader to replace Chris Gimenez who is a free agent.
Clubhouse leadership is a job that is earned, not bought on the free agent market. Why the Twins want to waste their money and a roster spot on a 36 year-old player that hit .193 in 485 plate appearances and struck out 163 times in Texas is beyond me. Kennys Vargas can do what they want Napoli for and he is much younger and cheaper.
The Twins don’t need a clubhouse leader, the Twins need some pitching that can help them in 2018, signing Michael Pineda who is coming off TJ surgery and won’t pitch until 2019 does not help the team now. There have also been reports that the Twins were in on Drew Smyly before he signed with the Cubs and are nosing around Trevor Rosenthal. Both of these pitchers are coming off TJ surgery and likely won’t pitch in 2018 either. What the heck is up with that? Are we collecting injured players who can maybe pitch in 2019?
When does this organization quit talking about what they hope to have in the future and start adding pieces that can help them in 2018? The current group of players is young and talented and could use some help with their pitching staff. I know, I know, they just signed Fernando Rodney a few days to be their closer. The team still needs one or two good starters and another reliever and so far they have done nothing to help that problem.
I am not a huge free agent fan and wouldn’t pay the bucks to sign Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta but there are a number of pitchers like Gerrit Cole and Chris Archer out there that could be had in a trade for prospects. How about we trade some futures for some pitchers that can pitch now and won’t need to be salary dumps in a few years? I am not getting any younger…
Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have done a lot of talking but so far it has been just that, talk. You don’t get a “W” for talk, you need real live pitchers to get that. How much longer can the Minnesota Twins organization keep selling the future to Twins fans? The future is now Mr. Falvey and Mr. Levine, please act like it.
The Winter GM meetings are almost over and the Minnesota Twins have done nothing to make me say “Wow” I didn’t think the Twins would do something like that. This years winter meeting were like most of the others that I have followed, high hopes going in and a snoozer coming out.
With the 20th selection in the Rule 5 draft the Twins selected soon to be 27 year-old right-handed pitcher Tyler Kinley from the Miami Marlins organization. Kinley has spent five seasons with the Marlins since being picked in round 16 of the 2013 amateur draft. In 2016 Kinley split his season between AA and AAA but this past season spent his time between high A and AA so he seems to be headed backwards. Kinley has been used almost exclusively as a reliever and I assume that the Twins will do the same.
The team did however; lose RHP Nick Burdi a Twins second round pick in 2014 when the Phillies picked him with the third pick in the Rule 5 draft and then traded him to the Pirates for international bonus space. The team also lost RHP Luke Bard to the Angels with the 17th pick in the Rule 5 draft. Bard was a Twins round 1 compensation pick 42nd overall in 2012.
The Twins did sign RHP Michael Pineda who is coming off of TJ surgery in 2017 and will miss most or all of 2018 to a two-year $10 million deal. Pineda will turn 29 years of age in a couple of weeks and has pitched for the Mariners and Yankees and has a career record of 40-41 with a 4.05 ERA. On the plus side he has only given up 652 hits in 680 innings and he has struck out 687. But he is a year away, another one of those “he will help us in the future” signings, how about signing some players to help us this year? The Twins are coming off a good year, how about making some moves to keep the fans interested?
WAIT, hot off the press, the Twins have apparently found their closer, MLBRumors reports that the Twins and Fernando Rodney have agreed on a deal, $4.5 million plus another $1.5 million in possible incentives. Rodney will be 41 in March and will bring his 300 career saves to Minnesota, his ninth major league team. Rodney has been an interesting closer for many years and he will bring the Fernando Rodney Experience to Target Field, hopefully the arrows will be flying. Having said that, I would rather see a starter coming to the Twins.
It is still a long time before spring training starts so there is always hope that the Twins will make some moves to help their team but unless they can sign or trade for a big time starter you have to say that Mr. Falvey and Mr. Levine have under-performed.
Former Detroit Tigers teammates Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were elected to the baseball Hall of Fame on yesterday completing the journey from Motown to Cooperstown. Morris, a St. Paul, Minnesota native pitched for the Minnesota Twins just one season but it was a good one. The work-horse right-hander posted 254 wins and 18 of those were wearing a Twins uniform. He also won two ALCS and two World Series games for the Twins. Although Morris will probably go into Cooperstown wearing a Detroit Tigers hat, he is probably best remembered for his famous World Series victory, a 10-inning shutout, winning 1-0 for Minnesota over Atlanta in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.
Morris, a big-game pitcher, and Trammell, a star shortstop, were picked by a 16-man Modern Baseball Era committee that considered 10 candidates whose biggest contributions came from 1970-87. Former catcher Ted Simmons fell one vote short of election and former players’ union head Marvin Miller was five shy of the 12 required for election.
Baseball fans certainly got their moneys worth when they showed up at a major league ballpark to watch the Minnesota Twins play this past season. First and foremost they were able to see Paul Molitor‘s boys win 85 games and an average Twins game lasted 3 hours and 11 minutes. Four minutes longer on average than their previous longest game average of 3 hours and 7 minutes back in 2014. That is getting your moneys worth.
An average MLB game in 2017 averaged 3 hours and 5 minutes according to MLB about 4 1/2 minutes longer than a 2016 baseball game.
In 2017 the Twins played 108 games that lasted 3 hours or more as compared to a season low of just 10 games over 3 hours back in 1981. The Twins longest game in 2017 lasted 386 minutes (6 hours and 26 minutes) and took place at Target Field back on May 28 in a 15 inning 8-6 loss to the Tampa Rays making it the second longest game in Twins history in terms of time and the longest game in terms of time in MLB in 2017. Nine Twins pitchers threw a total of 289 pitches and eight Rays pitchers threw 264 pitches. The Twins only had six extra-inning games in 2017 and only the 15 inning affair lasted 12 or more innings.
The Twins longest game in terms of time was played at Jacob’s Field on May 7, 1995 when the Twins and Indians played for six hours and 36 minutes and the Indians came out on top 10-9 on a Kenny Lofton walk-off single off Twins reliever Mark Guthrie in the bottom of the 17th inning with one out. It took nine Twins pitchers and 322 pitches to play that game.
Back in 1961 when major league baseball first moved to Minnesota, an average Twins game took 161 minutes (2 hours and 41 minutes) and just 32 of those games lasted more that three hours. That is exactly a half hour shorter for each Twins game from 1961 to 2017. Even back in 1984, Twins games averaged just 2 hours and 31 minutes and only 11 games went beyond three hours.
For additional information on the length of Minnesota Twins games in terms on time and/or innings, please visit our Length of games including longest Twins games page.
I was looking at my Facebook account the other day and I saw that someone had posted a picture of a couple of old cars from the 40’s and he stated that he wished that time travel existed so that he could see some of those beauties when they were in their prime.
That mention of time travel got me to thinking about it and how cool it would be to be able to travel backwards or forwards in time in relation to baseball. Assuming that was possible, but you could only revisit the past or go into the future, what would I choose? Would I revisit the past and see some of baseball immortals in their prime or would I choose to go into the future and see what is in store for baseball 50, 100, or 200 years from now?
I guess for me that would be relatively a simple choice as I love history so I would be off to revisit the past. I have seen the entire history of the Minnesota Twins so there is nothing more for me to see there, but to be able to see and interact with players in their prime like Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Roy Campanella, Bob Feller, Dizzy Dean, Jimmy Foxx, Roger Hornsby, Jackie Robinson, Honus Wagner and oh so many more would be fun. What about all those great Negro League players like Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, Satchel Paige and those great barnstorming black teams. How cool would it be to watch the 1919 World Series and learn what really happened. How great would it be to see all those players in their prime and really understand how they compare to the players of today. How about equipment and technology, what role have they played in baseball history. Would the players of today just be a shadow of themselves if they had to play with the ball, gloves and bats of yesterday? How about the reverse, would the great players of the past still be the stars of today with modern-day equipment? What impact did the difference in travel from trains to planes have on baseball? Who wanted to win more, yesterday’s players or today’s players or has that not changed at all with the big bucks being paid today.
As I said, I love history and I think if I could travel back in time I would not be too disappointed in what I saw. Traveling to the future however; might pose more of a risk, maybe baseball does not survive, how disappointing would that be. A world without baseball and spring arriving every year but with no spring training? As Twins skipper Tom Kelly would often say to someone who asked him a question that he deemed stupid, Oh My!
What if the game has been changed so much that I would no longer recognize it. What if the game gets taken over by technology to make sure there is never a bad call, how boring would that be? What if someone with a robotic arm wants to pitch, and the technology is there for him or her to throw it 150 MPH, what then? What if pitchers injuries became so frequent that live pitching was outlawed and pitching machines replaced them and pitching machine mechanics that had the skills to make these machines throw pitches never seen before and now these mechanics were now being recruited and signed for huge dollars.
What if baseball priced itself out of existence? What if the cost of going to a game became so prohibitive that fans just quit going? Could major league baseball survive if they played their games and no fans showed up at the ballpark to watch?
What’s that sound? Oh crap, it is the alarm going off and it is time to get up. I slip out of bed and look out the window and I see that the thermometer reading just 11 degrees, snow covering the back yard and the pond is frozen over except for a small circle of open water around the aerator that keeps chugging along trying to keep the ice from taking over. The alarm keeps playing and now I hear Derek Falvey being interviewed and he says the Twins need pitching, particularly a front of the rotation type of starter and some bullpen help. Wait, I think I have heard that before from Calvin Griffith in 1961. Some things never change, all talk and no action. Who would have thought that baseball and politics have so much in common. But there is always hope, the baseball winter meetings start in a few days.
Back to my thoughts on time travel, where would you go? Visit the past or the future and why?
Appearing in a big league game and stepping on a major league pitching mound for the first time is something you never forget. It makes no difference if you are the starter or if you enter the game in relief, you have reached the goal that has been waiting for you since you first started playing baseball in your backyard as a child.
Many a pitcher has made his major league debut with Minnesota across his chest and some have had good games and others have not been as lucky but only 20 Twins pitchers can lay claim to the fact that they earned the “win” in their first big league game. Bill “Shorty” Pleis was the first Twins pitcher to accomplish this feat and he did so in relief.
It took more than 10 years for the Twins to have a starting pitcher start his major league career and get credited with a “W” and it was none other than Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven and as he has told us many times, the first batter he faced, Lee Maye, did indeed hit a home run off him at RFK Stadium. Bert however; maintained his composure and earned the win with seven innings of five hit ball with seven strikeouts and one walk and the Twins went on to beat the Washington Senators in a 2-1 game.
|1||Bill Pleis||1961-04-16 (2)||MIN||BAL||W 6-4||9-10, W||1.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4|
|2||Joe Bonikowski||1962-04-12||MIN||KCA||W 9-5||4-GF, W||5.2||3||1||1||4||3||0||0||23|
|3||Bert Blyleven||1970-06-05||MIN||WSA||W 2-1||GS-7, W||7.0||5||1||1||1||7||1||0||27|
|4||Hal Haydel||1970-09-07 (2)||MIN||MIL||W 8-3||2-6, W||5.0||4||2||2||0||2||1||0||19|
|5||Jim Strickland||1971-05-19||MIN||CAL||W 12-6||3-5, W||2.1||1||0||0||0||4||0||0||8|
|6||Tom Johnson||1974-09-10||MIN||CHW||W 8-7||14-GF(15), W||2.0||2||1||0||0||1||0||1||8|
|7||Pete Redfern||1976-05-15 (2)||MIN||CAL||W 15-5||GS-6, W||5.0||3||4||4||3||2||1||0||21|
|8||Paul Thormodsgard||1977-04-10 (2)||MIN||OAK||W 7-1||GS-7, W||6.1||6||1||1||3||2||0||0||28|
|9||Jeff Holly||1977-05-01||MIN||DET||W 6-5||3-GF, W||7.0||2||0||0||1||6||0||0||23|
|10||Roger Erickson||1978-04-06||MIN||SEA||W 5-4||GS-7, W||6.1||5||3||3||1||4||0||0||25|
|11||Darrell Jackson||1978-06-16||MIN||DET||W 5-2||GS-8, W||7.1||7||1||1||4||7||0||0||31|
|12||Doug Corbett||1980-04-10||MIN||OAK||W 9-7||8-GF(12), W||5.0||1||0||0||0||6||0||0||16|
|13||Scott Erickson||1990-06-25||MIN||TEX||W 9-1||GS-6, W||6.0||4||1||1||2||4||0||0||94||53||25|
|14||Todd Ritchie||1997-04-03||MIN||DET||W 10-6||4-6, W||3.0||3||1||1||0||3||0||0||50||30||11|
|15||Eric Milton||1998-04-05||MIN||KCR||W 10-1||GS-6, W||6.0||6||0||0||2||1||0||0||88||60||26|
|16||Dave Gassner||2005-04-16||MIN||CLE||W 6-4||GS-6, W||6.0||3||2||1||1||1||1||1||72||48||22|
|17||Anthony Swarzak||2009-05-23||MIN||MIL||W 6-2||GS-7, W||7.0||5||0||0||2||3||0||0||98||64||27|
|18||Kyle Gibson||2013-06-29||MIN||KCR||W 6-2||GS-6, W||6.0||8||2||2||0||5||0||0||91||64||26|
|19||Andrew Albers||2013-08-06||MIN||KCR||W 7-0||GS-9, W||8.1||4||0||0||1||2||0||0||109||67||29|
|20||Felix Jorge||2017-07-01 (2)||MIN||KCR||W 10-5||GS-6, W||5.0||7||3||3||1||2||1||0||85||54||21|
With the Minnesota Twins having 57 MLB seasons in the rear view mirror, the Houston Astros winning the World Series in 7 games, the temperatures in the mid 40’s and with no snow on the ground it is a good time to look back on and revisit the hitters that have found Twins pitching to their liking over the years.
Today we are going to take a look at Twins opponents that have 200 or more hits against the Twins, there are 23 players who fit this criteria. 200 hits is a lot of hits. Six of the 23 hit from the left side, 13 were right-handed hitters and just four (Vizquel, Martinez, Wilson and Murray) of them were switch-hitters. Just missing out on this list were Frank Thomas with 194 hits, Al Kaline with 192 and Sal Bando with 190 hits.
One oddity that I noticed when looking over this data was that only two players got their 200 or more hits from one spot in the batting order. Ricky Henderson had 214 out of his 215 hits against Minnesota hitting lead-off while Carl Yastrzemski had 228 of his 321 hits out of the three-hole.
WOW! Look at the Hall of Famer’s on this list plus some of the others will be in shortly. Anyone on this list surprise you? How about players that you thought would be on the list but are not?
The Twins haven’t signed any free agents this off-season but it is only a matter of time before they do. One of the relief spots they need to fill is the closer role. The Twins traded Brandon Kintzler, their closer to the Washington Nationals this past summer for 20 year-old left-handed starter Tyler Watson and some international bonus slot cash. Watson pitched in class A ball for both the Nats and Twins.
Brandon Kintzler earned $2.925 million last year and saved 28 games in Minnesota during the four months he was a Minnesota Twin in 2017. In 2016 he saved 29 games. Although not a prototypical closer, he got the job done for the Twins for a modest price on a team in 2016 that lost 103 games. After the Twins traded Kintzler, reliever Matt Belisle received the most save opportunities and he notched 9 saves.
Let’s take a look at the Twins last 12 seasons and see how their closers did and how much they were paid.
|2017||Kintzler ($2.93 M)||28||4||87.5%|
|2017||Belisle ($2.05 M)||9||5||64%|
|2016||Jepsen ($5.31 M)||7||4||63.6%|
|2015||Perkins ($4.66 M)||32||3||91.4%|
|2015||Jepsen ($3.03 M)||10||1||90.9%|
|2014||Perkins ($4.03 M)||34||7||82.9%|
|2013||Perkins ($2.5 M)||36||4||90%|
|2012||Perkins ($1.55 M)||16||4||80%|
|2012||Capps ($4.5 M)||14||1||93.3%|
|2011||Nathan ($11.25 M)||14||3||82.4%|
|2010||Rauch ($2.9 M)||21||4||84.0%|
|2010||Capps ($3.5 M)||16||2||88.9%|
|2008||Nathan ($6.0 M)||39||6||86.7%|
|2007||Nathan ($5.25 M)||37||4||90.2%|
|2006||Nathan ($3.75 M)||36||2||94.7%|
Interactive Whiteboards by PolyVision
If you look at the percentage of games closed for the top three Twins closers over the last 12 seasons you end up with a save percentage of 90.3 for Joe Nathan, 86.8 for Glen Perkins, and 86.5 for Brandon Kintzler. In 2017 the average closer had 25 saves in 29 opportunities and saved 86.7% of games they were asked to save.
The Twins called Met Stadium home from 1961 through 1981 before moving into the HHH Metrodome in 1982. Today we are going to look at the starting pitchers that pitched at the Met for the Minnesota Twins and for their opponents and determine who won the most games.
The opposing pitcher that won the most games at Met Stadium pitched for the Yankees his entire career from 1964 to 1974 and it is Mel Stottlemyre. Not many people remember Mel Stottlemyre but he was what we would consider “a horse” today but his big league career ended way too early due to injury. Here is how his SABR Bio starts out:
A baseball lifer, Mel Stottlemyre burst on the scene as a midseason call-up for the New York Yankees in 1964, helping the club win its fifth consecutive pennant and starting three games in the World Series. One of the most underrated and overlooked pitchers of his generation, Stottlemyre won 149 games and averaged 272 innings per season over a nine-year stretch (1965-1973) that corresponded with the nadir of Yankees history. Only Bob Gibson (166 victories), Gaylord Perry (161), Mickey Lolich (156), and Juan Marichal (155) won more during that period; only Perry tossed more innings, and only Gibson fired more shutouts (43) than Stottlemyre’s 38. Stottlemyre was the “epitome of Yankee class and dignity,” wrote longtime New York sportswriter Phil Pepe. “[He was] a throwback to a winning tradition in those years of mediocrity.” After a torn rotator cuff ended his playing career at the age of 32 in 1974, Stottlemyre embarked on a storied career as a big-league pitching coach.
You can read the rest of his SABR Bio by going here. No opposing pitcher won more games than the 13 that Mel Stottlemyre did at the Met.
|1||Mel Stottlemyre||21||Ind. Games||13||5||.722||3.77||21||145.2||9||NYY|
|2||Wilbur Wood||32||Ind. Games||10||5||.667||2.68||16||147.2||15||CHW|
|3||Jim Palmer||18||Ind. Games||10||5||.667||2.97||15||115.1||10||BAL|
|4||Luis Tiant||22||Ind. Games||9||9||.500||4.65||20||127.2||12||CLE,BOS,NYY|
|5||Dave Wickersham||21||Ind. Games||9||5||.643||3.58||13||105.2||7||KCA,DET,KCR|
|6||Paul Splittorff||24||Ind. Games||8||7||.533||5.66||22||119.1||10||KCR|
|7||Clyde Wright||17||Ind. Games||8||5||.615||3.02||15||107.1||9||CAL,MIL,TEX|
|8||Nolan Ryan||14||Ind. Games||8||5||.615||3.27||14||118.1||5||CAL|
|9||Mike Cuellar||14||Ind. Games||8||6||.571||4.41||14||98.0||16||BAL|
|1||Jim Kaat||235||Ind. Games||93||76||.550||3.53||217||1508.0||151|
|2||Jim Perry||189||Ind. Games||74||35||.679||2.74||128||1020.0||83|
|3||Dave Goltz||124||Ind. Games||54||40||.574||3.11||106||861.2||65|
|4||Bert Blyleven||112||Ind. Games||49||40||.551||2.69||111||864.2||58|
|5||Camilo Pascual||89||Ind. Games||40||30||.571||3.39||85||624.2||62|
|6||Dave Boswell||89||Ind. Games||34||23||.596||3.34||69||509.0||60|
|7||Geoff Zahn||70||Ind. Games||26||28||.481||3.97||65||459.2||37|
|8||Mudcat Grant||68||Ind. Games||24||22||.522||3.61||59||409.1||50|
|9||Al Worthington||164||Ind. Games||23||13||.639||2.67||0||252.2||13|
|10||Dean Chance||48||Ind. Games||21||16||.568||2.79||44||326.0||21|
|11||Dick Stigman||68||Ind. Games||21||19||.525||3.54||44||345.2||57|
|12||Pete Redfern||73||Ind. Games||20||17||.541||4.00||49||335.0||23|