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Preview: Goin' Yard With Jonzard

Goin' Yard With Jonzard



Twins Blog by a lifelong Twins fan. Analysis and Random thoughts.



Updated: 2012-04-11T19:07:50.851-05:00

 



Cytana Hope

2005-10-02T14:24:22.603-05:00

Johan looks like he will get win 16 today. Maybe U'm crazy but I think he should get the AL Cy Young.

More to come...



Rollin'

2005-08-19T19:18:32.796-05:00

Just when we had reached our low point for the season, the Twins started winning. Not only have we won, but we have been beating two of the best teams in the American league. Oakland had won some ungodly amount of games in their last 20 coming into that series and Chicago had been winning all season. We had been losing in every way possible and were resorting to starting Abernathy in the outfield.

We came out of those series and continued on into tonight with a five game winning streak. Baseball is a crazy game. We are getting mentioned in the Wild Card chase again, although I doubt we will capture it there is hope once again.

The pitching has been stellar as it has all season but the bats have picked it up in recent games. Most notably Fatty Lecroy has picked up a lot of the team with his hitting .333 with an amazing 1.312 OPS in the last week.

I just wish we played Chicago more earlier in the season. We could have used that confidence booster a month ago!



Rumors and Hearsay!

2005-08-18T20:17:39.616-05:00

There is a rumor I just read on the front page of ESPN.com (no link due to their insane East coast bias....Yanks, Sox, Eagles, blargh!). It says that JC Romero wants out of of Minnesota. Its a shame I cannot read the article without a friggen ESPN insider subscription.

Since I do not know why he wants out I can only speculate. It is probably due to the fact that he is stuck as a left handed reliever. He isn't starting and isn't closing. It could also be conflicts within the organization and himself. I don't know.

If this is true, I am going to assume it has been an issue for a while. An issue well before the trade deadline. I then ask why didn't we trade him for a bat? I was a person upset that he was in trade rumors because we do not have another left hander to fill his spot in the bullpen. Terry Mulholland doesn't count since he only pitches batting practice to the opposing team due to the compromising pictures he has of Gardy. Back to the point.... Romero should have been moved if this was a legitimate concern.

Then again, not every player is T.O. and becomes a ginormous distraction when he is upset. JC should be careful though. He doesn't want to become the next Chuck Knoblauch. Dollar-Dog day might just be cancelled all together!

I just hope JC is not too upset about the situation and this is just an overblown news report. If it isn't, something may need to be done in the offseason.



Looking Towards The Farm

2005-08-09T01:03:45.713-05:00

The Twins made a decision at the deadline that made me happy. It was a decision that kept Alfonso Soriano from patrolling second base for us, but I think it was the right choice. Even if we could have made the playoffs with Soriano, we didn't have a great team and were not going to win in October.

What was this decision? We decided to hold onto Francisco Liriano. The fans should get their first glimpse at Mr. Liriano in September when the 25 man roster expands to a 40 man roster. It should be something exciting to look forward to with our playoff chances dwindling daily.

So what is the big deal? He has 3 big league ready pitches and was named the best pitching prospect in the International League by Baseball America. He backs up the praise of his abilities with his performance.

Last Thursday, Francisco struck out 13 and allowed a single hit in seven innings of work. This year for Rochester he has a record of 6-1 with a 1.62 ERA and a WHIP of 0.74.

Even more amazing than his numbers are the fact that he is only 21 years old. Not to mention left handed. I know that every other team in the Majors will envy our left handed duo of Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano for years to come.

It is interesting to note that Liriano was a piece of what may be remembered as the greatest trade in franchise history. He came over with Joe Nathan for AJ. The Giants had major problems with AJ and he is no longer on their roster while Nathan has become one of the games greatest relievers. If Liriano lives up to his ability, the Giants may never talk to Terry Ryan again.



Deadline Deals

2005-07-31T17:21:17.093-05:00

Here are the moves we made:








*crickets chirping*



MorNOOOOOO!

2005-07-22T02:55:19.233-05:00

So, a funny thing happened to Justin Morneau on his way to hitting 40 home runs this season. He quit hitting.

Ever since his fast start, when hopes were high, and the White Sox didn't lead the division by 10 games, Justin Morneau has plummeted back down to Earth. His OPS fell with each month that passed.

April: 1.149
May: .757
June: .737

And now with only 10 days remaining on the Month his OPS is at a horrific low.

July: .364

Wait! Sorry, I thought I would make his OPS look a little better by giving the OPS of another 1b. Here is his real number.

July: .489

Despite it being better than the abysmal .364 OPS, Justin's numbers in the month of July are atrocious. There are even a few out there who think that he should go back to AAA. To that I say no. This is not something he will sort out in AAA. The problem with Justin Morneau is that he has a hard time readjusting to major league pitching after they adjust to him. Even before this season, Justin Morneau has had problems adjusting. He starts off with a bang, and once pitchers go over film and find holes in his swing, they exploit it and he has a difficult time adjusting. He will not adjust to major league pitching in AAA. If anything he will just kill AAA pitchers and get a boost of confidence. It will not solve the problem.

So for now we must ride out the storm. He cannot hit much worse than he currently is, so things have to look up. I may be premature in saying this, but it is time to find out what kind of player we have in Justin Morneau. He will either sink or swim. As a big fan of Justin Morneau, I hope he swims. The Twins are lost without him.

By the way, if you were wondering the name of the first baseman that is posting a .364 OPS then I can reply with a spelling exercise.

M-I-E-N-T-K-I-E-W-I-C-Z

So remember.... It could be worse.



ZING!

2005-07-20T22:55:49.920-05:00

Brad Radke got a letter on Dodgers letterhead suggesting he serve as Hee Seop Choi's pitcher in the Home Run Derby. Trouble is, the note really was sent by jokester Torii Hunter. Just in case Radke had forgotten about those three homers he gave up to Choi in a game earlier this season.

Link



Tears In My Eyes

2005-07-14T20:35:00.120-05:00

Batgirl was on ESPN's Page2, and the article was so great I thought I should plug it. Prepare to be moved.



High Hopes

2005-07-14T20:09:35.173-05:00

Well, the Twins begin their second half tonight. Right now we are in a scoreless game with the Angels and Brett Boone in in the lineup.... Batting 3rd.

This better not happen ever again. Seriously. Brett Boones OPS this season against lefties: .692. At least he is better than Juan FREAKIN Castro and his .547 OPS!

I do think we will make the playoffs as a wild card because Gardy cannot be crazy enough to bat Brett Boone third for the rest of the year. This is probably just due to Washburn, a lefty, pitching. Boone should probably bat 7th against right-handers, depending on the matchups. Tonight is probably just some show of confidence Gardy is giving to Boone. It is one of those ego boosters and intangible things that will help the team. I myself, prefer tangible things that win games, such as runs. Right now we have none of those so it just goes to show what a show of confidence can do for the team. Hopefully we can at least get a third baserunner in this game.

The 3-1 pitch to Boone.... does the magic start now!? Nope, he flied out to left field lowering his average to .229. Maybe we can get Juan Castro to make up for the lack of production in the 3 spot....

OH LORD, what did I just say?



Brett Boone a Twin

2005-07-12T15:51:02.813-05:00

Brett Boone is now a Twin

When I first heard that Brett Boone might be a possibility in a trade a little while back, I cringed. Brett Boone is washed up as a player. He is never going to be as good as he once was in Seattle. In fact, he seems like he could have been a roider. His contract was far too large for me to consider him worth taking on. He simply wasn't good enough.

My opinion changed drastically when I saw the deal the Twins had made. Boone will cost us about $750,000 and a player to be named later (some minor league lifer you can bet). We are taking a chance on Boone with very little risk. He isn't very good, but as much as I dislike Boone and the crappy player he has become, he is still a million times better than Juan Freakin Castro!

Boone is a 4 time gold glover at second if I remember right. But if I remember right, he isn't young anymore. My question now is if it would be a good idea to play him at 3rd and move Cuddyer to 2nd. I am really not sure if it would be a good idea, but it is certainly a thought worth entertaining.

So, I am pretty happy with this move but am not completely satisfied. Boone will not be the answer to the Twins' problems. He isn't going to be a boost like Shannon Stewart was a while back. He is a small addition and a good improvement over the waste of a roster spot named Castro. The Twins still need to improve offensively. I hope for another smart deal to be made before the deadline that doesn't blow our farm system up. Lets hope this will not be our only deal this year.



Don't Panic

2005-07-07T22:31:49.043-05:00

July 7, 2004: 18 starts, 7-5, 3.89 ERA with 29 BB & 125 K’s
July 7, 2005: 18 starts, 7-5, 3.98 ERA with 26 BB & 143 K’s

The above is Johan Santana's stats at this time both this year and last year. Their striking similarities say one thing to me: DON'T PANIC.

Johan has recently been suffering with his control. He has walked more and more hitters as the season has progressed:

BB/Month

April: 3
May: 7
June: 11
July: 5 (so far)
This has also lead to a constantly increasing ERA. Johan has an ERA of 5.84 thus far in July. Now this is only two starts, so it is most likely going to drop. DON'T PANIC.

These numbers have worried some Twins fans, but I am not worried. Johan is NOT a one year wonder. His strikeout totals are still sky high and his ERA will get lower. Players go into funks as often as they get hot. It is the eb and flow of a season. Johan has his control problems at the moment, but he will regain it. The ERA will then start dropping and you worrisome fans will stop worrying.

July 7, 2004: 18 starts, 7-5, 3.89 ERA with 29 BB & 125 K’s
July 7, 2005: 18 starts, 7-5, 3.98 ERA with 26 BB & 143 K’s

18 starts does not a season make.

DON'T PANIC



tWINNIN'!

2005-06-27T10:19:06.706-05:00

The Twins pulled out a win in the land of the Brew Crew. It seems like forever since the Twins had won despite it being only two days. I suppose that is because of their current awful play. They have lost six of eight games.

The offense needs to pick it up. According to ESPN's power rankings, through the first 20 games this month, the Twins rank 12th in the AL in runs scored (95), 12th in RBI (95), 13th in average (.265) and 13th in OBP (.315).



Our Woes Are Central

2005-06-24T10:13:34.773-05:00

CENTRALWLPCTGBHOMEROADRSRASTRKL10Chicago Sox4922.690-26-1023-12344271Won 78-2Minnesota3931.5579.521-1718-14320289Won 13-7Cleveland3733.52911.517-1620-17306284Lost 37-3Detroit3534.5071318-1717-17316300Lost 17-3Kansas City2546.3522415-2110-25312396Lost 35-5 Despite a nice complete game last night by Carlos Silva, the Twins still find themselves buried 9.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox. Considering that it is nearly the end of June, this is a significant hole to be stuck in. The White Sux are playing better than any team in baseball and it appears that their start was not a fluke. This is definitely not looking good.Anything can happen, but I do not think the Twins will win the division this year. The offense just seems to be too poor to help make up the gap between the Sux and the Twins. Its not awful, it is just too much to make up a 9.5 game gap on the team with the best record in baseball. Truthfully, the Twins may not get within a sniff of the White Sux. I remain hopeful, but I think the wild card may be our only ticket to the playoffs and the streak of recent division titles may be over.I do not want to place all the blame on our hitters. The pitching has really fallen off recently. Radke has gone in the tank and Joe Mays has hit a wall. I suppose a two year layoff will do that to a guy.Adding Joe Randa (as is the rumor) could help the team, but it won't be enough. Perhaps if we signed him in the offseason (as I wanted them to), this hole would not be so big. Ah, dispair!I hope the Twins make me feel foolish.[...]



Bartlett in AAA

2005-06-24T10:02:11.940-05:00

Bartlett AAA
Do you agree with Jason Bartlett being sent down to AAA?

Yes 5 (50%)
(image)
No 5 (50%)
(image)
10 Total votes


Here are the results of the poll regarding Jason Bartlett's demotion to AAA. It came out to be an even split, but I still believe he should have been given more time to prove himself.



Brad Radke: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Mostly)

2005-06-18T21:35:53.716-05:00

The sad truth I am admitting right now is this: I have watched two Twins games in the last couple of weeks. Maybe that is obvious from my lack of posting here... but I should make it clear. Work and whatnot has really cramped my viewing schedule. I am however, watching tonight's game against San Diego. I am glad to be seeing the ol' Twinkies play some baseball... but it is certainly a bittersweet viewing.The score is now 7-1 Padres and Brad Radke has reminded me that not much has changed since I last watched a game. His pitiful first innings were always a point of humor for me over the last few years. After he made it through the first without allowing a run I would make a remark like "PHEW! This game is in the bag." Now I cannot even laugh about it. Observe this line: By Inning / PitchesABRH2B3BHRRBIBBHBPSOSBCSAVGOBPSLGOPS Inning 169202861720101200.406.408.8261.235 Now typical thinking would leave you to believe that a starting pitcher gets worse as a game goes along. This is not true for old Brad. In the first innings he makes players look like Barry Bonds. Sure, he almost always gets better as the game goes along, but these first innings are becoming big obstacles.Here are his numbers in 3 inning sets. Considering how bad his first innings statistics are, its amazing how much he improves after inning one. By Inning / PitchesABRH2B3BHRRBIBBHBPSOSBCSAVGOBPSLGOPS Inning 1-317629541011028102811.307.307.545.853Inning 4-6154113820711212631.247.256.396.652Inning 7-946815511511600.326.347.543.890 My gripe is that it is hard starting off in a 2-0 hole after one inning. We have come to expect this from Brad, which is inexcusable. Our offense shouldn't be saddled with that burden in EVERY GAME! This is especially true from a pitcher that started opening day for us. Something has to be done whether its more focus, willingness to walk more hitters instead allowing homers, or more bullpen work, SOMETHING has to be fixed.[...]



Sacrilege!

2005-06-17T03:25:23.446-05:00

One of my fondest memories of Twindom in recent years has to be the tied All-Star Game a couple of years back in Milwaukee. Most notably, I remember the Torii Hunter catch in center-field that robbed the greatest offensive force of our lifetimes, Barry Bonds. My reaction was a definite exuberance, but surprise? Surprise was the farthest thing from my mind.

As Twins fans, we have come to expect those home-run saving catches from Torii on an almost weekly basis. He seems to make at least one amazing play every game. When he isn't jumping at the wall, Torii is getting turf-burns from diving after short bloopers. His glove gets more attention than his bat in nearly every discussion about his play.

I will repeat that:

His glove gets more attention than his bat in nearly every discussion about his play.

This isn't a good thing. His pitiful OBP (.320 career) makes him somewhat of a liability at the plate. His shortcomings as a hitter cannot be made up by his defensive prowess. He simply cannot make up more runs than he costs us with the rate he gets on base and produces runs. I love Torii Hunter. I love to watch him play centerfield. He is the face of the Twins and their identity but Torii Hunter is overrated and should not get more money when his contract is up.

In this contract year, the Twins are paying Hunter an estimated $8 million. For another $4.5 million the Twins could be paying the best outfielder in the game today, Vlad. I know that you are thinking the Twins would never have a guy on the team making over $12 million a year. In fact we would probably cut costs and go with a cheaper player than Torii Hunter.

OK.

Juan Encarnacion has put up eerily similar offensive numbers in his career and is a year younger than Torii. Their OBP and SLG% numbers are so close that there is a .023 difference between the two. Encarnacion is having a great year so far and could prove to be a better hitter than Hunter. All in all, its nearly a push. They are equally productive at the plate. The difference is that Torii makes nearly TWICE as much as Juan Encarnacion. His fielding is not so good that he merits making twice that of Encarnacion.

Here is another way to look at this. We could do the following with $16 million:
  1. Pay for two Torii Hunters
  2. Pay for an Encarnacion (equivalent hitter with some drop in fielding) and add a Vlad (huge step up)
Now I know that this isn't possible to do since these players are all under contract, but this is just a way to look at the situation. Our team can allocate that money in a much better way than an outfielder with a career .320 on-base percentage. With Torii making so much money, he will have to take a pay-cut when his contract is up after 2006 or hit the road. The future success of the franchise will depend on it.



One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

2005-06-02T18:19:46.023-05:00

The Twins pulled off a nice win in extra innings today against Cleveland but came out of the win in much worse shape than we did entering today's game.

In a horrible turn of events Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, and Nick Punto left the game with injuries. Ugh...

Let me repeat that for emphasis: Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, and Nick Punto left the game with injuries.

Nothing quite like losing your first basement, second basemen, and catcher to put a real damper on the win. The good news is that neither M&M boy has a serious injury.

Morneau tweaked his left elbow while hitting balls off a tee before the game and was replaced after going 0-for-2 against Indians starter Scott Elarton. Morneau was taken for X-rays after the game and his status is uncertain.Punto is headed to the disabled list after pulling his right hamstring while trying to steal second base."It'll be awhile for him," Gardenhire said.Mauer aggravated a groin strain that kept him out last month. He was removed from the lineup in the 12th inning.
Thats from ESPN. I hear now that Morneau is day to day and should be back in a bit. Mauer and his groin could be a problem for a while I think. He keeps aggravating it so who knows how much it will affect his playing time. I presume that he will see more time at DH.

For Punto, after finally ousting Rivas from second, getting hurt is just salt in the wound. I hope his stint on the DL isn't as long as advertised when we find out the extent of his hamstring pull.

Terry Tiffee will be called up to replace Punto on the roster. The interesting thing is that he does not play second base. This leads me to the hopeful conclusion that Michael Cuddyer will see time at second base and TT will play some third base. I have been wrong before when predicting what Gardy will do so we will see.

My biggest hope is that none of these injuries will be long term or drag out all season like Mauer's knee did last year.

Ugh.



Gardy and I Can be like Two Peas in a Pod

2005-05-27T21:28:56.030-05:00

I am a big Gardy critic. I like the guy but I disagree with many of his lineups he uses. That said, I like him more than most managers out there. Baseball managers (along with scouts) think differently than myself. I stick with numbers while they often times use gut instincts and skill sets. I firmly take an OBP guy over a speed guy at the top of the lineup any day of the week. A good example of a bad lineup is the Mets and Reyes at the top of their lineup. He never draws walks and holds an offense killing OBP. Sure he can steal, but he just doesn't get on base enough. Some might call me a "Moneyball" guy but I am more for the title of a Sabermetric guy. With that said I continue...Gardy has done something that really irked me most of the season. His #2 hitters were out of place. He was batting #7-9 hitters there. He was putting guys in the 2 hole who just got out too much. This season, the Twins #2 hitters have had an OBP of .310. For comparison, Boston has had a .361 OBP from their second batter. This fact has had myself been begging for the Twins to quit putting poor OBP guys in the #2 hole. Most notably, Bartlett should have never batted second. When batting there he had a .301 OBP. Really quite poor. Seven of ten times at the plate Jason got out. That is an out that takes away at bats from the rest of the hitters that follow him. Mauer and Morneau would also have less runners on base every time they came to the plate.Other notables inserted there include Castro and Rivas who have had sub .200 OBP there. Simply awful! Otherwise, a complete waste in the lineup. It is one thing to have a waste batting ninth, but a whole other mess when it is the player who gets the 2nd most plate appearances on the team.Nick Punto is the only player that has helped bring up our team OBP up. He has had a .380 OBP when batting in the two hole, which is pretty good. That is good if he could keep it up, but with an OBP of .345 on the season and .340 last year he is bound to come back to his average numbers. Another point is that Punto doesn't play every day (like he should) and only plays against matchups that are more favorable than if he had to play every day. His numbers are likely to drop off a bit.My wish of a worty #2 hitter was granted a few games ago. The player I had been begging for Gardy to move to 2nd in the lineup was put there. JOE MAUER! Joe Mauer is the perfect guy for the #2 spot. Sure he isn't as fast as a guy like Bartlett or Punto but he gets on base about 40% of the time! For every 10 plate appearance he commits 6 outs while our #2 hitters this season commited 7 outs. That provides more at bats for the hitters behind him as well as more baserunners.Now if Mauer is at #2 you might wonder what happens to the #3 spot in the lineup. Well, in the game Mauer batted second, Ford was inserted at #3. This is a downgrade in terms of OBP and slugging, but I suspect that Ford's numbers will get a boost batting in front of Morneau. Therefore, the power remains there. Not only that, but our lineup becomes more effective in terms of left and right handed matchups. With a R-L-R-L lineup at 1-4, opposing teams cannot throw a left handed specialist to get out both Mauer and Morneau because Ford protects them. This provides better matchups for each of player and would improve all of their numbers across the board.After the game he batted second, Mauer has skipped a few starts to rest. My dream lineup was effectively destroyed. Now I hope that when Mauer returns, so will the lineup with him at the #2 spot. I would not be surprised if Punto was inserted at #2 and Mauer at #3, but I w[...]



Rincon Keeps on Distracting Me

2005-05-26T20:30:53.676-05:00

Juan Rincon will appeal his suspension.

That is interesting to note. I was concerned he would not and in my eyes this would have given him a lot more reason to appear guilty. I doubt he will win his appeal, but some interesting news could come out of this since Rincon is the first player to appeal his suspension. We might get an idea of what it was that caused his positive test.

He just got the Twins out of the top of the ninth too :)



Bartlett Sent Down

2005-05-21T12:49:06.296-05:00

Jason Bartlett was sent down to AAA. I would not have a huge problem with it if it weren't for the fact we have Juan Castro in his place. Juan Castro may turn out to be this year's Jose Offerman. Frightwig wrote a good piece on this very topic here. Check it out.



Rincon Poll

2005-05-21T12:41:36.596-05:00

Juan Rincon

Guilty 2 (18%)
(image)
Innocent 9 (81%)
(image)
11 Total votes


This poll is over. Rincon is back. Most think he is innocent. That said, I am curious as to why appeal talk has completely died out. It definately makes me more suspect to thinking he might have known what he was doing. But that is purely speculation.

At least he isn't Onterrio Smith



Rinconless Recap

2005-05-18T01:20:25.940-05:00

Like Juan Rincon, I was absent for a time but am now back. Thinking about the Rincon suspension, I got to thinking if it actually cost the Twins any games. Sure it wore on the other guys' arms and could possibly cost us later indirectly, but to find out if Rincon's absence cost us any wins I thought a recap of the games he missed would give a good idea of how much the suspension hurt the Twins in the W-L column.Of the nine games he missed, here are the games where Rincon could not have made a difference. Game 1: Cleveland 4, Minnesota 2 With only runs scored by the Indians coming with 2 in both the first and second innings, the Rincon factor was zero. Game 3: Cleveland 0, Minnesota 9 Radke went a complete game. They could have had me in the pen and won this one. Game 4: Minnesota 7, Tampa 1 Santana did his best Radke impersonation, going for a complete game. Game 5: Minnesota 8, Tampa 1 Lohse only went for five innings forcing us to use Baker, Crain, Romero, and Nathan. Each did a modest amount of pitching at best. Game 6: Minnesota 9, Tampa 6 Mays threw a good game until the seventh inning when he gave up five runs. Mulholland came in for some work, followed by the right-handed duo of Crain and Nathan who worked for a second straight day. Game 7: Minnesota 0, Baltimore 3 We couldn't score a run and the only person out of the bullpen was Matt Guerrier, who didnt give up only a hit in his inning of work. Game 8: Minnesota 6, Baltimore 4 This one went into extra innings. I remember thinking that this might be the time for the Rincon void to be felt. I was wrong. Romero, Crain, and Nathan gave us enough to win in the 10th inning. Crain threw 21 pitches, the most of the three. That makes seven games where we got away without having Rincon. That leaves two games to analyze. Game 2: Cleveland 5, Minnesota 4In the ninth inning, switch-hitting catcher Jason Bard stepped up to the plate and hit a game winning homer off of soutpaw JC Romero. Rincon threw only 17 pitches that inning and Bard was only the second hitter he faced. What is interesting is that Bard has hit better against lefties in his career. The same goes for the next two hitters. Belliard and Crisp are better hitters against lefties. It is possible that Romero could have been pulled after facing one batter. While this is an interesting thought, there are three things that seem to outweigh the possibility that Romero would have been pulled before that homer was given up. First, Romero is effective against righties for a left. Second, Crain could have been brought in if we wanted a righty to pitch. Thirdly, Bard, Belliard, and Crisp are anything but threats to go yard. This is especially true for Bard. While the Rincon void might have hurt us, I tend to think that it did not. Game 9: Minnesota 4, Baltimore 7 Johan Santana vs. Sidney Ponson looked like a gimme but somehow we lost. We were tied in the bottom of the eighth inning until we managed to give up three runs. Guerrier gave up two and Romero gave up one. You may look at that and see that the wear on the bullpen finally came to a head but that is not necessarily true. Only one run was earned. A pair of errors by Terry Tiffee gave the Orioles a couple of runs. With that said, one run was earned and it only took one run to beat us that game. Matt Guerrier wouldn't usually come into a game that was tied in the eighth inning normally. That would be Rincon time. He would have probably been used a couple of inn[...]



The Future

2005-05-10T12:41:05.600-05:00

Ladies and gentleman, we have seen the future of hitting and his name is Joe. Joe Mauer to be precise. He is the other piece of the two headed monster that will be destroying AL pitching for the next decade or so. The other half of course, is Justin Morneau. Mark my words, Justin Morneau will very soon be a top 20 hitter in the league. But Mauer, Mauer will be a superstar.

Superstar!? Superstar!? Yes, I said superstar. Even if he were to move to DH and never catch again, taking away part of his amazing defensive game, he will still be incredible. He basically missed all of last year, but those in the know consider him an established major leaguer. People don't worry about him playing poorly. The kid is too talented. Frankly, he is the best young talent to swing a bat in a very long time.

If you are not convinced, here is an interesting Stat from BP2005:

Joe Mauer is only the 18th player in the history of major league baseball to:
  • Come to the plate 100 times in a season
  • Bat .300 or better
  • Have and isolated power of .200
  • Be 21 or younger at the end of the season
This basically shows players who showed both talents in hitting for both average AND power at an extremely young age. Of the 17 players before Mauer to do this, 14 are in the Hall of Fame or headed there. I'm not talking about some pretty good players, but the best players to ever play the game. This is the list: Hank Aaron, Orlando Cepeda, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Al Kaline, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Matthews, Willie McCovey, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth are all in Cooperstown. Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez, and Albert Pujols are good bets to get in some day. Considering that Joe is a Catcher elevates his value even higher. When he is done, we could consider him the best catcher to play the game.

The 3 worst players of the 17 are Cesar Cedeno, Gregg Jefferies, and Hal Trosky. As BP puts it, "When Gregg Jeffries is the absolute worst player on your comp list, you're doing well."

I know its kind of early to start thinking about this so early in his young career but it isn't like this isn't expected from the #1 pick in the draft and the #1 prospect in baseball for the last couple of years.

Boy am I glad we took Joe and not Mark Prior.



How Sweep It Is -- Tampa Series Musings

2005-05-08T23:45:28.096-05:00

123456789 R H E MIN (19-11) 002004201 9 11 0 Final TAM (11-21) 000010500 6 9 0 W: J. Mays (2-1) L: D. Waechter (1-2) S: J. Nathan (9) Sunday night just keeps on rolling. So do the Twins. The Twins completed the sweep of the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays today, a franchise with a lot of young talent who could be great in the future.... just not great yet. With guys like Upton and Kazmir I cannot help but think that they will be a pretty strong team in the future.It just isn't very good right now.The Twins are very good right now. Morneau was 4-4 today with a walk, triple, double, and single. Mauer had a homer, so together they hit for the cycle. Mauer's homer was pretty sweet because it silenced a heckler behind home plate. As Joe crossed home plate, the Tampa heckler bowed to Mauer in respect. The real story of the series was Justin Morneau, who has become our best offensive player.In Morneau's last 5 games played he has 4 homers while going 9 for 18 at the plate. It is amazing to think that he is only 23 years old. He probably wont hit his prime for another five years.The White Sux meanwhile, are winners of their last eight games so we have not gained ground during our recent four game winning streak. But there are good signs that Chicago's pitching is slowing down. Garland came down to Earth this week but was saved by their offense finally picking it up. Hernandez and Contreras will wilt in the summer heat and the Twins will take first place and not look back. To be honest, we should be in first by the end of May.One last thing I need to make clear. Ron Gardenhire makes many many moves that irritate me, but I let it go. Hell, I am pretty happy when I see LeCroy come up to the plate against a lefty with the bases loaded. There is this one move that will have me becoming a rabid anti-Gardy Twins fan: Benching Morneau. Seriously it needs to stop. Hopefully he learned his lesson after he benched him (after two games with HRs before that) only to have Morneau come off the bench and hit yet another bleacher shot. There is no reason to put your best hitter next to Mike Redmond at the end of the bench unless he is injured. No excuse for it Gardy. I see this crap again and I may start an Al Newman for Manager campaign.As a reminder for myself: I will probably write something on Liriano in the coming days, so look for that.[...]



Rincon Claims Innocence

2005-05-05T13:16:22.603-05:00

"I'm not a guy who takes supplements," he said. "I used to take fat burners. I'm not a guy who, every week, is looking to see what's going and what's new. I don't even take shakes.

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