Monday, July 29, 2013

Looking ahead to the Twins' August

It’s August! I know it’s not, but for the sake of argument the next two days are going to be the adopted step-children of the month of August. Meet your new mommy, July 30 and July 31.

With the addition of these two days to the month of August, the Twins play every game in the month (except for this upcoming weekend series against the Houston Astros and the final series of the month against the Texas Rangers) against the American League Central.

That’s right. Tigers, Indians and Royals… Oh my! Oh.. the White Sox too, but not much about the South Siders is making anyone go ‘Oh my!’ at the moment.

25 of the next 28 games are against division foes. That’s a lot of familiar faces in a short time. It’s pretty much the holiday season for the Twins. The month of August has turned into what November-December is for us commoners. We see our relatives like three times in that month span between Thanksgiving and Christmas and then never see them again until the next Thanksgiving rolls around. That’s what the Twins get to face this month with the AL Central cousins.

Now while it is quite unlikely the Twins will make a run at a playoff spot (only 11 games out of the second Wild Card spot, guys!!!!), this month will tell us a lot about what this Twins team is made of.

No one knows you better than your family and playing your family for a month strait will expose what is working for the Twins and what’s not exactly working.
So grab your popcorn and an ice cold beverage, because we have reached the dogs days of summer. Kick back and enjoy the Twins play the rest of the Central family. Trust me, it will be a welcome distraction from Vikings’ training camp and State Fair fever.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The good side of Miguel Sano's pimping

The Twins need a lot of things. We can all agree on that. One thing they defiantly need is a lot more dingers or home runs for you old folk.

If you follow me on Twitter, looking at my followers number it doesn’t look like you do, I stumbled across a rare interesting thought about Miguel Sano.

As you may or may not have stumbled across by now, Miguel Sano slammed a home run a long ways on Tuesday and ‘pimped’ it. Stood in the box for a loooong time and it also took a looooong time for him to trot around the base path. For that pimping Sano has been benched ever since.

(Mr. Patrick Reusse wrote a nice blog post about this.)

The thought tha hit me was this: Lost in all of this Sano pimping a home run business is the fact that the #MNTwins finally have a guy who can hit #dingers on command.

Who on the this current Twins team do we really trust to smack a slam-a-jamma anytime he steps up to the plate? Willingham? Plouffe? Arcia? Jamey Carroll?

Sano is only 20. He’s literally (but not literally)  a college kid.

If I could hit a ball a mile, I know I’d do the same exact thing. Hell, I’d skip around the bases backwards, but I’m weird.

Maybe the Twins just need a little pimping as well.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I'm scared, guys... really, really scared

“Load up on guns, bring your friends. It’s fun to lose and to pretend.”

Yes, I’ll do anything for a musical reference and since the Twins are headed to Seattle for four games this weekend there is no better time than now for a Nirvana reference… Now why did I pick that line?

In my mind, it could be a lot of things, but I’m going to be frank with you all… I’m scared. Very scared.
I happened to look at the pitching matchups for the series and I don’t know what I’m going to do on Friday. The Twins send Scott Diamond <insert sad trombone here> to the mound while the Mariners will send King Felix Hernandez. <insert screams of horror here>

Hernandez is really, really good, just in case you weren’t aware. He is 11-4 on the year with a 2.43 ERA and a WHIP of1.09. That’s nasty stuff.

So what can we do on Friday night to distract ourselves from the Twins?

Gun range? Go see a Nirvana tribute band? Drink heavily? An awesome combination of the three?!

I know I’m not the most positive guy in the world, but I really hate to see the Twins struggle mightily and is there any sign that they won’t on Friday?

Someone show me a sign. Someone tell me a reason I should watch. Somebody give me a reason to live.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

ALL YOUR CATCHERS BELONG TO US

As I sit here at work, staring at the wall, waiting for the Twitter updates for today’s Twins contest to start rolling in, I start to daydream about all the beautiful things in the world. The big beautiful thing that I can’t get out of my mind right now is, of course, how the Twins now have three catchers.

That’s right. With Joe Mauer’s wife giving  birth to twin girls on Wednesday morning, Joe went to the paternity list so the Twins have the opportunity to call someone up for those three games. The Twins could have taken Chris Parmelee or Oswaldo Arcia, but now they brought up a third catcher in Drew Butera.

The Twins now have more pure catchers than pure outfielders on their roster. Please read that last sentence again. Did it sink in? Did it?

This is just absurd.

I love Ryan Doumit and I have the inkling of a mancrush coming on from Chris Herrmann, but Drew Butera is just pushing it. Drew Butera is a nice catcher and cute, apparently too, (you learn these things when your best friend is a girl). But why?!

Give me someone that can knock the ball over the fence for three games and then send them back to Rochester. I don’t ask for much in life. Like, I’ve maybe asked for a pony once or twice in life, but that’s it.

Let’s not shoot ourselves in our own foot by having more catchers than outfielders. This current edition of the Twins have enough issues the way it is.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Twins simply do not have enough juicers


We have all heard about the “Twins Way”. The team from top to bottom is supposed to play solid defense, have some solid pitching and win the game by manufacturing runs. We can all see how great that is currently working.

On Monday, the news of the Ryan Braun suspension came down the line and made me realize what the Twins have been missing... a whole lot of PED use. That’s performance enhancing drugs for all you kids out there.

While alleged PEDs and positive PED tests have tainted MVP seasons and Hall of Fame careers for players all around baseball, the Twins have barely been touched by the dirty stuff.

On May 2, 2005 it was announced that Juan Rinc√≥n had been suspended for ten days for a failed drug test. Aaaaaannnndddddd that it…. the Twins biggest name to ever be connected to PEDs is Juan Rincon.
You know what Juan Rincon is doing right now?

He’s currently pitching for the York Revolution, an Independent League baseball team founded in 2007.
Fun fact: Anthony Slama also just signed with the Revolution earlier this month (#freeAnthonySlama).

The Twins have so many problems that we could spend a whole fort week listing them all and trying to solve it, but we never bring up the fact that the Twins just don’t have enough guys that are juicing. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A look at Joe Nathan's Hall of Fame chances

Last night we saw the obvious future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera be the set-up man for former Twins closer and current Texas Ranger Joe Nathan. Now Rivera was in the game in the eighth inning to secure him appearing in the game, but is it possible that we saw a one-two punch of future Hall of Famers?

It's tough to break into the Hall being a relief pitcher, but Nathan might just have right amount of saves at the end of his career to punch a ticket to Cooperstown. Nathan currently sits at 328 career saves which is the 13th most saves in the history of baseball. Nathan has 30 saves so far in 2013 and once he reaches 44 he will pass Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers for 10th all-time.



Nathan is currently 38 years old and probably doesn't have more than two or three years left in his arm, at least as a shut-the-door closer. So father time is sure ticking fast for Nathan to bolster his career saves total. Let's say Nathan reaches the 345 career saves mark this year (47 saves on the year) and do some math from there.



In years that Nathan has been healthy (and a closer), he has never saved less than 36 games in a season. Let's say Nathan notches 35 saves these next two seasons after hitting the 345 mark this year. That means Nathan will end the 2015 season with 415 saves with would be good for sixth all-time and be one of only six men to save over 400 ballgames.



Not even Dennis Eckersley saved over 400 games. The problem is that, at the moment, no one else with 400 saves is also in the Hall. Granted, Mariano and Trevor Hoffman will be in the Hall but that's after a career that saw them chalk up 600-plus saves. This puts Nathan in a group with Lee Smith, John Franco and Billy Wagner. Franco is already off of the Hall of Fame ballot, Smith is probably not going to get in after his highest voting percentage was 50.6% in 2012 after dropping to 47.8% this year and Billy Wagner is not yet eligible for the Hall.



For the sake of Nathan, Wagner better get enshrined. The two are very comparable: Wagner had seven All-Star appearance and Nathan has six, Wagner pitched 16 seasons and if Nathan pitches two more he will have pitched 15 seasons. If Nathan can have a big couple years, he could easily pass Wagner in all of these categories.



This debate will obviously clear-up in a couple years when Wagner become Hall of Fame eligible and Nathan probably hangs it up, but until then it's a fun debate to have. Joe Nathan is clearly a great closer, now the question is will he be enshrined where the greats go for eternity.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Let's Not Forget... Mauer Is A Projected HOFer

At work today I was clicking around Baseball Reference’s website and I stumbled across an interesting section of the website that I have never explored before. If you scroll to the bottom of a player’s profile page you will see a section titled Hall Of Fame Statistics, which is a bunch of sabermetrics designed to project if a player is a Hall of Fame candidate.

Amongst the multiple equations there is one that is entitled JAWS which stands for Jaffe WAR Scoresystem, the system was designed by sabermetrician Jay Jaffe as a means to measure a player's Hall of Fame worthiness and easily compares the players. The main components to the equation are a player’s WAR (wins above replacement) and his 7-year peak WAR.

Not a whole lot of Twins are high up on any of the position lists. Take Justin Morneau for example, he is currently ranked 105 on the list for first basemen. This puts Morneau just six spots above Aubrey Huff, five behind Mike Sweeney or 10 behind John Kruk. That’s pretty tough for a guy who won an American League MVP award just a handful of years ago.

What really caught my eye was where hometown boy Joe Mauer was ranked. Mauer, a 10-year MLB veteran, is currently ranked 14th all-time amongst catchers. Mauer is in great company trailing seven current Hall of Famers and already ahead of six other members of the Hall.

The catchers that Mauer is behind are the following from first to 13th: Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlton Piazza, Mike Piazza, Yogi Berra, Joe Torre, Bill Dickey, Mickey Cochrane, Ted Simmons, Gabby Harnett, Thurman Munson and Gene Tenance.

All of those players are retired and have no chance of moving up or down the list. The closet active player is the Detroit Tiger’s Victor Martinez who is ranked 33rd. Granted, Joe Mauer could move himself down the list since the JAWS system is based a lot on a player’s WAR, but we have no reason to believe that Mauer will turn sour anytime soon.

The scary thing is that Mauer has a good amount of years left in his major league career; at least the Twins hope so since he is signed thru the 2018 season. It’s more than likely that Joe Mauer will move into the top 10 if not the top five before he hangs it up someday.

What really hit me is that while the Twins wallow in dismay and are on pace for their third straight ninety-plus loss season, the Twins have a catcher to that looks to be a Hall of Famer and when it’s all over there shouldn’t be much question about it.


So while you are laughing at what the MLB All-Star game festivities have become and pondering what really is Ron Gardenhire’s job status, just sit back and remember that we are watching a future Hall of Famer every night behind the plate… unless it’s a day game after a night game.