First of a New Series: Twins Back Page News: 4/6/2017

This is a somewhat new feature in this blog.  In the past, during the off-season and the trading deadline, I have done news and rumors posts, like this,  and five years ago or so, I did the weekly Random Tuesday Twins' Thoughts, like this, which were very popular.  With the tenth year of this blog, I decided to bring their evolution back as a (hopefully) weekly feature, called Twins Back Page News.  In 2017, unlike in 2007 when this blog started, there is a myriad of ways to get information about what is happening with the Twins.  I suspect that there are about Fifteen daily writeups of each Twins game.  Nobody wants a sixteenth.  And those reports are better left to people with access, so we all get the nice quotes.  

The Twins Back Page News are all about things that are either important enough, but have slipped between the cracks, or interestingly enough (like news regarding former Twins) but nobody cares to cover them or analyze them.  Also expect things out of the left field and less serious.  My goal is for this to be a unique compilation of Twins' things, and I would love your feedback about how it works (or not) and what else you would like to see here.  You can find the complete series in reverse chronological order here.  This is the piece for 4/6/2017.

  • The Twins have won 2 games and clinched their first series.  This included victories by SP Ervin Santana and  Hector Santiago.  Santiago started the 2016 season with the Angels, but Santana who started the season with the Twins got his first victory in 2016 in game 34,  on May 14th at Cleveland.  Progress.
  • Might have been lost in the light of the Twins first Opening Day win for a while, but Jorge Polanco's defense at SS was very good; he participated in a couple of double plays and made a few non-routine plays as well.  
  • Statcast classifies catches made with less than 25% probability to be made, as "5 star catches".   Twins CF Byron Buxton, had the first one of the 2017 season on Opening Day.
  • Apparently  the reason that there were not so many changes this off-season for the Twins, was because manager Paul Molitor convinced the new Chief of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey and new GM Thad Levine that the team was not that bad.  Feel free to be convinced by that article that this was the case.  Or not. 
  • Twins' LHP Stephen Gonsalves who is in AA DL because of shoulder issues, is healthy.  He is being stretched out in Fort Myers before returns to Lookouts rotation.
  • The Twins have signed 24 year old middle infielder Bradley Strong and assigned him to EST. Formerly in the White Sox' organization, played last season with the full A South Atlantic League Kannapolis Intimidators.  Was singed as a SS from Western Carolina, but has played exclusively at second base in the pros.
  • The Twins have also signed 24 year old RHP Chris Anderson who was released by the Dodgers.  He was the 18th overall pick in the first round of the 2013 draft from Jacksonville.  He is a Minnesota native who started his pro career as a starter but was mostly a swingman in 2016.  He reached AA last season and pitched in the Arizona Fall League with not very good results.
  • The Twins have released the following minor leaguers: IF Tom Belza,  C Dominic Blanco, OF Leandro Castro,  OF Austin Diemer, OF Jorge Fernandez, RHP Tyler Fox,  OF Roberto Gonzalez, LHP Bo Hellquist, IF Chris Ibarra (signed with Independent American Association League Lincoln Saltdogs), RHP Garrett Kelly RHP Confesor Lara, RHP Jim Miller, RHP Brandon Peterson (signed with the Angels), C Eddy Rodriguez, 1B Reynaldo Rodriguez, RHP Seth Rosin, RHP Zach Strecker, LHP Austin Tribby
  • Baseball America published their opinion on the 2016 Twins' International Free Agent class (pay link.)  The Twins signed 24 players with their top signing being Dominican 3B Wander Valdez.  In addition to Valdez, RHP Prelander Berroa (Dominican), SS Jesus Felix (Dominican), RHP Yeremi Garcia (Venezuela), C Victor Heredia (Venezuela), OF Fransisco Martinez (Dominican), RHP Junior Navas (Venezuela), CF Felix Reyes (Dominican), and SS Estamy Urena  (Dominican), are highlighted in the BA Article.  
  • Still early but according to Baseball America's "industry sources", the Twins are concentrating in 9 players for the first overall pick of the 2017 Draft: College: LHP/1B Brendan McKay (Louisville), RHPs JB Bukauskas (North Carolina), Alex Faedo (Florida) and Kyle Wright (Vanderbilt), OF Jeren Kendall (Vanderbilt), 1B Pavin Smith (Virginia); Prep RHP/SS Hunter Greene (CA), and OFs Austin Beck (NC) and Royce Lewis (CA).
  • Former Senators'  four time All-Star 1B/OF Roy Sievers has died; he was 90
  • It looks like former Twins' OF Drew Stubbs will sign with the Giants as a potential replacement for injured former Twins' OF Denard Span.
  • The following former Twins were released by their teams recently and are free agents:   RHP Blaine Boyer (Braves),  LHP Sean Burnett (Phillies), RHP Kevin Jepsen (Diamondbacks), RHP Joe Nathan (Nationals), RHP Mike Pelfrey (Tigers, discussions to sign with the White Sox), OF Jason Pridie (Diamondbacks),  LHP Caleb Thielbar (Marlins), RHP Blayne Weller (Angels)
  • The MLB commissioner might want to fasten the pace of baseball games, however the "slow pace of the game makes it perfect for blind fans".  I admit I never thought about that. 
  • Cooper Tires is sponsoring the Twins (and 9 more MLB teams) and it is featuring an interesting promotion that they call “Buy Four and Score!” where if someone buys four Cooper tires in May, they receive a voucher for home game tickets.  
  • The four pitchers who preceded closer Santiago Casilla for the Athletics' on Opening Day were:  Graveman, Dull, Doolittle, and Madson.  Despite their names, they beat former Twin Ricky Nolasco and the Angels.

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