An Attempt towards an Objective 2013 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

'Tis the time of the year when BBWAA writers who have ballots for the Hall of Fame voting, as well as everyone else, indicate who they want to be in the Hall of Fame.   There are a lot of those lists and most of them come without much explanation and most of the picks are somewhat subjective (of the type: "Jack Morris should be in because he was the best post-season pitcher like ever").  Also, you have the steroid witch hunters sharpening their arrows and tightening their bows trying to make it all "alright".  Furthermore, you have the people who think that because someone is a "nice guy", he should be in (Dale Murphy supporters now and Jim Rice supporters earlier fall into this category.)

What are my ground rules for crating a Hall of Fame Ballot (and even though the word "objective" is on the title, this is the list of the subjective criteria I am using - and one has to use subjective criteria, since there is no objective direction from the Hall on when someone should or should not be in):

  • You cannot "punish" one type of PED users (steroid users) and not another.  So either all deserved players are in or all out.  Since MLB listed amphetamines or "greenies" in the PED banned list, lots of the enshrined players should be out, according to the ones who are on the Steroid witch hunt, starting with Hank Aaron, who in a televised interview with Bob Kostas, admitted to have taken greenies.  All in or all out.  Period. Otherwise it is a hypocrisy akin to that of a pro-lifer supporting the death penalty.  So, in my ballot, they are all in.  No time for witch hunts
  • I believe that the Hall of Fame should not be the Hall of Very Good (or with the recent addition of the likes of Jim Rice, the Hall of All Stars).  Only the best players of an era should be there.  A handful.  The very best
  • I would like to find an objective criterium to use to rank players.  And since this is a lifetime achievement, career WAR is as close as it gets.  WAR takes care of the era and included hitting, fielding and base running for position players, and it is adjusted for position so it is pretty holistic (and helps obliterate arguments that someone who is a Catcher or a Short Stop could be lighter hitting than an OF/1B and still in the Hall.  That is all reflected in the number).  Some people indicate that pitcher WAR is useless; my take is that (since it is a cummulative achievement award) for this exercise works pretty well (and the data below show it) unless it is for a reliever.
Without further ado, here is a list of all players in the 2013 ballot, in decreasing WAR (Baseball-Reference style), including recently selected players in blue backgrounds.

The players in green (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Jeff Bagwell and Curt Schilling) will have my vote.  The players in yellow are in a bubble (based on the previously inducted Roberto Alomar and Barry Larkin) and will get some votes.  There are 11 playes in yellow and green and only 10 spots.  Lee Smith will always get votes, but his WAR is just too low compared with that of Goose Gossage (whom I consider borderline)  Players like Dale Murphy, Jack Morris, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa do not belong in the Hall.

You heard it correctly:  Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa do not belong in the Hall of Fame.  And not because they used steroids potentially.  They do not belong because their numbers are not good enough.  Objectively.  Not witch huntingly.  Roger Maris of 61 in 61, whose record was broken, has a career WAR in the 30s, btw.

So here you have it.  And there will be the McGwire and Sosa debate (for the wrong reasons) and the Morris and Murphy debate, but objectively, none of these guys should be in.


Who will be the one who will push Plouffe at third base for the Twins?

The Twins' General Manager has been on the record many times this offseason indicating that he would like to get someone who will "push" Trevor Plouffe at third base.  The Twins' field and front office staff are unhappy with Plouffe's defense in the hot corner.   Plouffe has had his moments there, but he is still learning the position.  Let us not forget that the powers of being who feel that Plouffe is inadequate defensively are the same who gave starting roles at third base to Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris, who, arguable were worse defenders than Plouffe, plus Buscher has played the position all his life.  Regardless, for some reason getting another player who can play third base is a priority for Terry Ryan for the Twins to rebound from consecutive 99 and 96 loss season.

Who would that player be?

There are three internal options:  Jamey Carroll, Deibinson Romero and Mark Sobolewski.  I have already discussed that last two here.  For some reason, it seems that Terry Ryan does not like these options (Only Carroll was invited in Spring Training) and had an offer out to light hitting 33 year old Jack Hannahan whose greatest claim to fame is that he is Minnesotan; he snubbed the Twins and elected to sign a 1 year $2 million dollar contract with the Twins.  I suspect that Ryan will not be bringing back Nick Punto or sign Chone Figgins.  The pickings out there at the major league level are really slim and all remaining are aging utility players with very weak bats plus Scott Rollen who is old but serviceable mulling retirement or returning to the Reds.  But, this would be the team to take 24 HRs away from a RHB (Plouffe) to install a light hitting third baseman.

Are there any other possibilities?

Looking at the list of the minor league free agents, here are the ones who are still available and at least decent defensively and offensively at third base.  I suspect that unless Ryan chooses any of the aforementioned internal options, one of these folks would be it:

Shawn Bowman, 29, RHB
Audy Ciriaco, 26 RHB
Brooks Conrad, 33, SHB
Mike Costanzo, 30, LHB
Ruben Gotay, 30, SHB
Michael Hollimon (re-sign) 31, SHB
Kevin Howard, 32, LHB
Tug Hulett, 30, LHB
Andy LaRoche, 29, RHB
Mario Lisson, 29, RHB
Matt Mangini, 27, LHB
Jimmy Swift, 26, RHB

Your guess is good as mine


Mike Pelfrey interview about his elbow injury - pre surgery.

Complete Injury History of Twins' Rich Harden

The newly signed by the Minnesota Twins, Rich Harden has been 10 times on the disabled list in his career and has been day to day in the majors, injured in the minors or in the training camp 14 more times, for a total of 758 days lost.  His major issues has been with his right shoulder (italicized and underlined below), which have occurred annually and until last off-season, been treated with "rest and rehab".  Some of them were severe, some of them were described as "fatigue" or "soreness".  Hopefully the shoulder surgery will help him overcome those issues.  In addition he has had a UCL Sprain that has not been treated surgically in 2006, but also with "rest and rehab".  Maybe his shoulder gave up the following years before his elbow, but his elbow will be something to watch as well (Potentially Similar situation with Joel Zumaya who came in the Twins' camp last season and blew his UCL)   Note: His Labrum Surgery in 2005 was on his left shoulder, to correct an issue that happen after a collision while covering first base in 2004.  The other issues were in his right, throwing shoulder.  His shoulder issues were reported first in 2004 when he arrived in the MLB camp, but it is hard to know his MiLB medical history...

On the other hand, a broken down Rich Harden is still a very effective pitcher, which makes me really hopeful if the surgery cleared his practically chronic elbow issue.

Here is a complete list of his injuries, chronologically:


Right angle sprain (13 days, MiLB)
Low Back Spasms (2 days, 2 games)


Right Shoulder Stiffness (50days, 0 games, training camp)
Left Shoulder Subluxation (6 days, 5 games)


Right middle finger blister (4 days, 4 games)
Left Oblique Strain (38 days, 34 games)
Right Shoulder Strain (38 days, 36 games) 
Left Labrum (shoulder) surgery (10/5/2005 - off-season no days lost)


Low back strain (38 days, 34 games)
Right Elbow Ligament (Ulnar Collateral Ligament) Sprain (104 days, 84 games)


Right Shoulder Impingement (66 days, 58 games)  
Right Shoulder Strain (84 days, 74 games)  


Right Shoulder Strain (38 days, 34 games)
Right Shoulder Soreness (6 days, 5 games)


Partial tear of Right Shoulder Labrum (50 days, January - no games)
Flu-like symptoms (5 days, training camp)
Middle Back Strain (26 days, 22 games)
Right Shoulder Fatigue (17 days, 16 games)


Left Hip Strain (49 days, 42 games)
Right Shoulder Inflammation (15 days, 13 games)


Right Shoulder Strain (101 days, 82 games)


Right Rotator Cuff capsule surgery 1/31/2012; out for the season


Thoughts about the Pelfrey signing by the Minnesota Twins

Ryan did ok with this singing, but there are other issues, namely the fact that it increases the already horrid logjam of starting pitchers in the 3 higher levels of the organization by another body.

If Ryan had not re-signed the likes of PJ Walters, Sairon Martis and Luis Perdomo and singed the likes of Kevin Correia, Scott Elarton, Jason Lane and Virgil Vasquez (add Nick Blackburn, Sam Deduno and Cole De Vries and now you have AAA-level pitchers to fill 2 teams' rotations), I would have loved the signing of Mike Pelfrey.

I am probably more optimistic for Mike Pelfrey than most in the Twinsland; on the other hand, due to location, I have been able to follow Mike's career for a few years, unlike most in the Twinsland.  And there are more this to Pelfrey that his numbers:

Pelfrey was drafted by the Mets as the 9th overall pick of the 2005 draft (the one the Twins drafted Matt Garza).  With the addition of Pelfrey to Jeff Clement, who was the 5th overall pick of that draft, the Twins now have 2 of the top 10 picks of the 2005 draft.  He will turn 29 the coming January 14th and just entering his prime.

Pelfrey is 6'7" and came out of college with a plus plus fastball that topped at 97 mph with a lot of movement, an above average change up and a borderline average-above average curveball with hard movement but command issues.   Pelfrey in typical Mets' fashion was rushed in his first professional season (2006) and moved from high A all the way to the majors with short stops in AA and AAA.  He started 4 games in the majors in 2006.   In the 2006 post-season he was ranked the #38th best prospect in Baseball by Baseball America.  In 2007 he spent part of the season in AA and AAA before moving up to the Mets for good as a 23 year old with less than a year of professional baseball and only one good (actually great) pitch under his belt.

At next spring training Rick Peterson asked him to stop using the curveball and start learning a slider.  2 spring trainings later, Mets' next pitching coach, Dan Warthen, made him junk the slider, rethrow the curve and learn a splitter.  So there has been a lot of trial and error in the quest for a secondary offering.  I suspect that Bobby Cuellar will do wonders working with his change up.

A couple of encouraging numbers:  His career FIP is 4.20 (and relatively dropping each season), his BABIP is >.300 and his %K has been increasing every season.  All that with one (and a half pitch).   I think that with a bit of coaching and the development of at least another plus pitch, he will be a solid middle of the rotation starter, unlike Kevin Correia.

A few interesting tidbits about Mike:  

  • He has been wearing number 34; this is no longer an option with the Twins
  • He was part of the players who were involved with unethical brokers in the banking scandal and lost about $9 million in it.
  • He has a tendency to lick his hands during the game.  The Wall Street Journal reported that he did it 89 times in a game they were counting  
 All in all a good move in my book, but lots of pitchers need to be cut in spring training. 


The Twins have way too many starting pitchers, but too few good enough.

The common wisdom among the Twins' fans and the media that cover the Minnesota Twins is that the Twins are on the prowl for adding starting pitching.  Unfortunately, the spendthrift ways of Terry Ryan have already resulted in a huge number of sub-par starting pitchers, the best of whom is Vance Worley or Scott Diamond (depends on who you ask) and they are tops number 3 starters in a competing team.  This massive mess of starting pitching is the result of Ryan's love for MiLB free agents.  Right now the Twins have enough older Starting Pitchers in the organization to fill an MLB, a AAA and a AA rotation (and then some), which guarantees stagnation of their prospects by being stuck at most at Fort Myers (and some of them pitched at AA last season.)

Here is the mess, analytically:

On the 40-man roster and projected on the 25-man roster:

Kevin Correia
Scott Diamond
Vance Worley   

On the 40-man roster potentially fighting for a spot for the Twins rotation:

Cole De Vries
Kyle Gibson
Liam Hendriks
B.J. Hermsen
Pedro Hernandez

not on the 40-man but got a shot to make the Twins' team (and if not, they will be in AAA):

Nick Blackburn
Luis Perdomo
Samuel Deduno
Scott Elarton
Jason Lane
Michael O'Connor
Bryan Augenstein
Virgil Vasquez
PJ Walters
Sairon Martis

This is 18.  Enough to Fill the MLB, AAA, AA rosters with a couple to spare. This means that unless some of the MiLB FAs are cut, the following will start at most at Fort Myers:

Unaccounted Prospects:

Trevor May (40-man)
Alex Meyer
Tom Stuifbergen
Manuel Soliman
Pat Dean
Madison Boer
Marty Popham
Matt Houser
Adrian Salcedo
Steven Hirschfeld
Andrew Albers

This is at least 2 rotations worth and sorry to the SPs who pitched at Beloit or Elizabethton last season:  Cedar Rapids and Etown will be your destination this season.   This indiscriminate collection of pitchers who are not good enough, in addition to not creating a competitive major league team, it destroys development of the best prospects.  Unfortunately Terry Ryan once again is going for rotation breadth vs. depth throughout the organization.

36-year old Scott Elarton


Twins' Rule 5 draftee Ryan Pressly pitches in the Arizona Fall League

Who is Mark Sobolewski and what does he mean to the Twins?

The additions of three high quality arms (in the Denard Span and Ben Revere trades) and another one via the rule 5 draft, stole the spotlight of another Twins' acquisition, this of Minor League third baseman Mark Sobolewski previously in the Toronto Blue Jays' organization in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft.  The reason that he was able to be selected was that he was not protected in the Jays' AAA reserve list and, unlike the MLB rule 5 picks, he does not have to be with Rochester the whole season or be returned to his original club.  He will be a Twin.

I believe that this acquisition is more than organizational depth at 3B, which is needed, since the only pure third baseman in the upper levels of the organization is now Deibinson Romero who will probably start the season in Rochester.  

A couple of interesting things about Sobolewski (btw, his first name is Robert; Mark is his middle name) : He replaced former Twin Danny Valencia as the starting third baseman at University Miami and he looks a lot like the former Twin with the bat, hitting 18 HRs for the AA New Hampsire Fisher Cats in less than 400 plate appearances, but is much better on the field.   He has above average range at third and makes all the routine plays, which was not Danny V's strength.

Sobo (his nickname), is a cancer survivor.  He is 25 years old, just like Romero who, also just like Romero, had a break through season in the Eastern league (AA) last season. Sobolewski's defense is slightly superior, while Romero has a better eye at the plate. I suspect that these 25 year olds will provide competition for Trevor Plouffe (something that Terry Ryan wants for some reason) at Spring Training and they will probably start the season in AAA Rochester. It is worth mentioning that both guys are pure third basement and they primarily played there other than a couple of games at second for Sabolewski and at first for Romero.

Sobolewski's acquisition is not like those of Matt Carson, JR Towles, Sean Burroughs and the like of the past season, since, unlike the aforementioned, he has not been a disappointment at the majors and he is just 25, ahead of his prime.

Here is a video of Sobolewski hitting a home run last season:


One trade the Twins should make right now

There have been a lot of official and unofficial "blue prints" based on what the Twins should be doing this off-season; surprisingly they are all centered around starting pitching.  Even the Twins' brass has admitted that they probably need at least 2-3 new starting pitchers in their rotation in order to be competitive, since the only pitcher who is guaranteed a spot is Scott Diamond, who despite his great success last season compared to the rest of the Twins' rotation members, based on his numbers from last season, is a number 3 starter in an average team and a number 4 starter in a competitive team at best.

So the Twins need pitching.  And lots of it.  And they can only get so many starters better than Scott Diamond in free agency, so they would need to trade.  But in order to be competitive, they should not disrupt their core.  They do have too many centerfielders in the majors right now, and they can safely trade Denard Span (the older one who makes the most money and probably has the largest trade value of the three).  They can potentially trade Justin Morneau, because Chris Parmelee has put similar numbers in the majors (as far as WAR is concerned) and would be an adequate replacement, but other that the likes of Jamey Carroll (who is not a core player).  The Twins cannot trade any other starting position players without disrupting the competitiveness of the team.   The Twins will not trade any of their top prospects (and at this point, this is a superb approach).  Morneau and/or Span can probably bring a decent starting pitcher in return.   Maybe they can sign another one (but I do not have confidence in the team who re-signed Carl Pavano and Matt Capps for what they re-signed them for or the general manager who likes to bottom feed with the likes of Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez, Ramon Ortiz, Sidney Ponson etc, to sign any decent free agents)

Rock and a Hard Place?  Well, it gets harder...  There have been many season ticket cancellations and reductions based on the fact that the Twins finished with 99 and 96 losses the last 2 seasons.  So the need to do something to a. get starting pitching better than Scott Diamond and b. put some bottoms on the seats (or the eating and drinking establishments) of Target Field.

What should they do?  Make a trade that is a win-win for both teams and will guarantee an increase in attendance.  But:  It will require thinking outside the box.  Here is the trade:

Allow the New York Mets to pick any 2 pitchers from the Twins' 40-man roster who pitched for the MLB team last season and not named Scott Diamond, Glenn Perkins, Jared Burton, Brian Duensing or Liam Hendriks and any middle infielder of the ones who played with the Twins last season not named Brian Dozier for $12.5 million and Johan Santana.

This would would be something like Cole DeVries plus Alex Burnett plus Pedro Florimon for a year of Johan Santana at $12 million and an option that the Twins will not pick up.

Johan pitched 117 innings last season with a 8.54 K/9, 2.85 K/BB an 1.33 WHIP and a  4.02 xFIP in a pretty much rehab situation.  This season he will be at full force and he is just 34.  BTW, that 8.5 K/9 is his highest in his Mets' career.  There is another intangible:  Johan will be reunited with Bobby Cuellar, the man who taught him the change up and has been somewhat of a father figure for him.  So Santana will be better than Diamond, will come at a price less than half for what the Twins paid for Pavano and Capps and Marquis last season and is guaranteed to put butts on the seats and bar stools of Target Field.  So it is a no-brainer for the Twins, esp since they will practically give nothing in return.

Would the Mets do it?  In a heartbeat and in a New York minute.  Why?  For the same reason they let Jason Bay go:  They need up front money to extent David Wright and they know they are not contending next season, so a season of Santana means less to them than the $12 million they will save and some of the MLB-ready players they will get in return.

Will it happen?  I am not sure that the Twins' brass can think that much outside the box.

Should it happen?  What do YOU think?


Five Potential Targets in the upcoming Rule 5 draft for the Twins

With the Winter Meetings (December 3 to 6, in Nashville, TN) just around the corner and the Rule 5 draft highlighting the last day of the meetings, here is a look at potential targets for the Minnesota Twins.

As a reminder, here is a primer on the rules of the Rule 5 draft from last season, which are somewhat convoluted...

The Twins' 40-man roster is full for the time being; however, several players could be designated for assignment without much pain and potentially a trade of two before the draft could alleviate the logjam.

The Twins have been collecting middle infielders via the waiver wire, and SPs via the Rule 5 draft and I feel that they will try again their luck for a starting pitcher.

Here is a list of five SPs who might interest the Twins (in alphabetical order; the ages are for the 2013 season) :

Chad Bell (Rangers)  23, LHP.  A lot like Scott Diamond, jumped 3 levels in 2012 from High A Myrtle Beach to AAA Round Rock.  Low 90s fastball with good command, plus curve, plus change.

Scott Gorgen (Cardinals) 26, RHP. A year back from surgery and a lost 2011, he had a solid 2012 in AA and AAA.  Gorgen has a low 90s FB, an average curve ball and a plus plus change up.  He is a control pitcher very much fits the Twins' mold.  

Kyle Lobstein (Rays) 24, LHP.  Kyle is one of those guys who what scouts love does not aptly translate into statistics on the field.   He made it up to AA last season but there are scouts who believe that he can hold on his own at the back end of a major league rotation at this point.  Soft tossing lefty (mid to high 80s FB) with plus secondary offerings.  Excellent command and control, which spells T-W-I-N-S.

Kyle Stroup (Red Sox) 23, RHP.  This is all about potential.  The big righty with the big mid to high 90s fastball and 3 average to plus secondary pitches missed all of 2010 and 2012 seasons with ACL tears both times on different knees.  He tore his left ACL in 2011 and spend all 2012 rehabbing it in EST at Fort Myers and the Twins know a lot about him.  His arm is healthy and could possible hide in the back of the Twins' bullpen in 2013 and produce better than Jeff Gray, while putting a stake in the ground for the 2014 rotation.  Not quite a safe "Twins-like" pick but a great upside.

Nick Struck (Cubs) 23, RHP.  Nick Struck spent the whole season in AA Tennessee Smokies and had a great season, rebounded from a bad AAA half season in 2011 as a rushed 21 year old.  He played in the Arizona Fall League and pitched a full 155 innings this season as a 22 year old.  Command and control guy with a two seamer as his primary weapon with a decent change and plus breaking stuff.  The Cubs' 2012 MiLB pitcher of the year.


Presenting the New and Improved Minnesota Twins manager and coaches

Still is to be determined, but there is a lot of smoke.  And mirrors

After Scott Ullger and Mr Vavra were "fired" and "re-hired" and "were re-assigned" yesterday, we are learning today that they will fill 2 of the 5 perceived coaching vacancies for the Twins in 2013.

Without further ado here are your "new" Twins' coaches:

Gardy: manager
Andy: Pitching
Scottie: Outfield/3B (or 1B)
Vavry: Infield/1B (or 3B)

and 3 openings:

Glynn: Bench
Bruno: Hitting
Cuellar: Bullpen

And the 2 least responsible people for the debacle (Stally and Jerry White) are fired.

Did anyone mention rearranging chairs?


Separated at birth? Sugar Bear and Ron Gardenhire

You make the call:

Sugar Bear:

Ron Gardenhire:

Still haven't figured who Honey Boo Boo looks like...


Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits

Here is this week's installment:

  • Kyle Gibson returned to Rochester about a year or so after he was injured there
  • This is a really interesting article (and well researched too) about Baseball announcers favoring certain kind of players. Interesting to see whether there is a follow up about managers following suit. Great read.
  • The New Britain Rock Cats (Twins' AA affiliate) will host the 2013 Eastern League All Star Game.
  • Speaking of, current Rock Cats, Deibinson Romero, Aaron Hicks and Chris Collabelo were named as Eastern League All Stars
  • Congratulations to Candido Pimentel of the Elizabethton Twins to be named player of the year for the Appalachian League. He and fellow E-Twins OF Max Kepler made the All Star team. In addition their trainer Ryan Hedwell was named League Trainer of the Year.
  • SS Aderlin Mejia and OF Jeremias Pineda made it to the Gulf Coast League (rookie) All Start Team
  • The ink on this piece by John Wagner indicating that Liam Hendriks is feeling at home at Rochester, did not dry and the righty was called up by the Twins. I am sure that he did not mind. Interestingly enough, this is how the official International League Home Page looked the day after Hendriks pitched for the Twins (last Thursday)
  • This is an interesting article about what Twins' Jose Berrios and Astros' Carlos Correa are doing for the island of Puerto Rico.
  • Because you probably did not see it here is video of Terry Ryan announcing the extension of the Twins Player Development Contract with Rochester, as well as commentary.
  • And who said that you cannot have fun if you are Twins' minor leaguer in a pennant race?
  • And from the you-cannot-make-it-up department: The NY Yankees acquired a player the Twins cut after Spring Training and changed a couple more franchises before he got there this season, and they added him to their 40-man roster
  • And if you always always wanted to have a TK and Gardy and Ray Miller and Billy Martin Bobblehead, you gotta check this out.
  • Looks like the Twins' owners are diversifying
  • Twins' product of the week is the Minnesota Twins Dog Tag. The way this season has been going...
The parting shot today is one that is worth more that 1000 words, but also needs some to describe it: Last few days of 2012 Spring Training. Fort Myers, Florida. A workout drill with AAA pitchers, and most of them were cut from the major league club a while before this was taken. There are 6 gentlemen pictured here. All but Brad Thompson (who never recovered from injuries and was released - he is second from the left in the background, right behind the guy who is pitching, btw) made the Twins this season and have contributed in varying degrees. Do you recognize them? And this is somewhat of a lesson that perseverence and not getting disappointed by short term perceived failures is a good thing. The tide can and will change...


Minnesota Twins Minor League Weekly Transactions: 8/18-8/24

This is the fourth instalment in this series. You can find the older ones here (most recent on top.) Promotions and demotions are listed under the team where the player currently plays (this means promotions to the Minnesota Twins will not be listed here)

Here are the transactions in all levels in the Twins organization from August 11th until yesterday August 17th:

Rochester Redwings (International League, AAA):

8-24 - Minnesota Twins optioned OF Matt Carson to Rochester Red Wings.
8-23 - LHP Pedro Hernandez was placed on the 7-day disabled list. strained lat muscle
8-23 - RHP Kyle Gibson assigned to Rochester Red Wings from Fort Myers Miracle.
8-20 - Minnesota Twins outrighted RHP Nick Blackburn to Rochester Red Wings.
8-20 - Minnesota Twins outrighted IF Tsuyoshi Nishioka to Rochester Red Wings.

New Britain Rock Cats (Eastern League, AA):

8-22 - C Josmil Pinto assigned to New Britain Rock Cats from Fort Myers Miracle.

Fort Myers Miracle (Florida State League, A+):
8-18 - Fort Myers Miracle activated LHP Pat Dean from the 7-Day disabled list.
8-18 - Fort Myers Miracle placed 1B Michael Gonzales on the 7-Day disabled list. Strained elbow.

Beloit Snappers (Midwest League, A):

No Transactions this weeklist.

Elizabethton Twins (Appalachian League, Rk+):

8-22 - Elizabethton Twins placed RHP Christian Powell on the temporarily inactive list
8-21 - Elizabethton Twins placed RHP Luke Bard on the 7-Day disabled list.

GCL Twins (Gulf Coast League, Rk):

No Transactions this week

DSL Twins (Dominican Summer League, Foreign Rk):

No Transactions this week


Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits

Here is this week's installment:
  • The biggest recent news from the Minnesota Twins (other than the product on the field) is that they outrighted Nick Blackburn and Tsuyoshi Nishioka off the 40-man roster to Rochester. What does this mean for these two players for 2013 is still unknown, but it will be interesting to see.
  • Speaking of waivers.... One little detail because the rules are somewhat complicated: Blackburn and Nishoka did not get Designated For Assignment, they got outrighted. There are four types of waivers in baseball, all explained really well here (this is a must read and bookmark link) : Trade Waivers, Waivers for the purpose of granting a player his unconditional release (DFA), Outright Waivers and Option Waivers. The first kind is revocable and happen only in August, the other 3 are irrevocable. The difference between DFA and Ouright waivers is that if a veteran (Blackburn is that and Nishioka is not) refuses, in both cases he becomes a free agent, but in a DFA situation the team in on the hook for his contract while in Outright Waivers, if he refuses assignment he loses what is owed to him.
  • You can find all the transactions by the Twins' Minor League affiliates last week here
  • Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press is on a personal quest to find the scout who gave the thumbs up to the Twins to sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka. He also proposed some resolution, but leaves out door number three, which is exactly what the Twins are doing right now: Having discussions with Japanese teams to assume his contract.
  • This is a great interview of Liam Hendriks by Minor League Ball's John Sickels. Hendriks admits that he has changed his delivery mechanics "several times this season", talks about his pitches and ponders why he has been so effective in AAA and not quite so much in the Majors, yet.
  • Miguel Sano was the first draft pick in the Dominican Winter Leagues. He will play for his hometown Esrellas Orientales.
  • The wife of a Twins' player wrote a guest blog here and she keeps her own full time blog here.
  • Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah was defeated in a primary vote (link to a Dave St. Peter tweet). Not certain what that means for the future of the Twins there, since the county approved improvements in the Twins' Spring Training facilities and Hammond Stadium, which made the Twins renew their lease for 30 more years. Not sure whether papers were signed (I suspect so) but this is an intereasting story line to follow...
  • And apparently this article in the Fort Myers paper, indicates that indeed there might be issues because the winner in the primary is lobbying against baseball spending and breaking the lease
  • Picture day for the Twins a week ago and a Matt Capps sighting. Top row to the left number 55. He looks like he gained a few because of the inactivity.
  • Speaking of rehabing (or not) Twins' pitchers on the DL, Carl Pavano's fastball is sitting at mid 80s, which is not very good for the Twins' prospects to get something for him this August or for his prospects to continue playing baseball next season
  • Here is an interesting article about the Twins' A level affiliate Beloit Snappers' pitching coach Gary Lukas.
  • Meanwhile, Beloit is the worse Twins' affiliate as far as attendance goes
  • Another killer article by Tyler Mason on food and major league vs the minors.
  • Here is an interesting article that, among other things, lists what the Twins did when they moved from an air-conditioned environment to Target Field to battle hot and humid days
  • With the Twins looking more and more likely to get another high pick in the 2013 MLB draft, apparently, according to Baseball America the draft is pretty deep in high school Left Hand Pitchers, which is always desirable.
  • One particular Twins' outfielder would not only be happy to move to the infield, it is where he played mostly before he became a pro. Also he was exclusively an infielder his first professional season.
  • It seems that the Twins are looking for help at high places
  • This is great work looking at Twins contracts, projected payrolls, Options of minor league players, rule 5 draft exposure and related topics.
  • Looks like Ron Gardenhire found his next shortstop
  • If you wonder what some major leaguers do during rain delays, check this out.
  • And a certain Twins' player has been claiming falsely that he was his High School's mascot. And, no, it was not Drew Butera who was a professional clown for a while.
  • Twins' product of the week is the Minnesota Twins Therma Base Hoodie. Because Winter Is Coming
The parting shot today brings us to happier times in the Twins' land. Spring training. Last week of March. The team is ready to get up North hopeful for a new season with the slate wiped clean. Tabula Rasa. Rick Anderson is pitching batting practice to a group of Twins' infielders and catchers not in that days' lineup and he is using what it looks like a four-seamer, and not his signature two-seamer, grip. Happy days. This has been a long season. Spring training 2013 is (almost) around the corner. Hope Springs Eternal. Just about 190 days left until Spring Training 2013. Go Twins!


Minnesota Twins Minor League Weekly Transactions: 8/11-8/17

This is the third instalment of this series. You can find the older ones here (most recent on top.) Promotions and demotions are listed under the team where the player currently plays (this means promotions to the Minnesota Twins will not be listed here)

Here are the transactions in all levels in the Twins organization from August 11th until yesterday August 17th:

Rochester Redwings (International League, AAA):

8/16 - Minnesota Twins optioned RHP Jeff Manship to Rochester Red Wings.
8/16 - Minnesota Twins optioned RHP Louis Perdomo to Rochester Red Wings.
8/15 - Rochester Red Wings activated 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
8/15 - Minnesota Twins optioned SS Brian Dozier to Rochester Red Wings.
8/14 - Rochester Red Wings activated SS Michael Hollimon from the 7-Day disabled list.
8/13 - 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka optioned to Rochester Red Wings.
8/11 - 3B Trevor Plouffe assigned to Rochester Red Wings(rehab).

New Britain Rock Cats (Eastern League, AA):

8/17 - OF Rene Tosoni was outrighted to New Britain Rock Cats (removed from the 40 man roster)
8/16 - New Britain Rock Cats activated LHP Andrew Albers from the 7-Day disabled list.
8/16 - RHP Dave Bromberg assigned to New Britain Rock Cats from Rochester Red Wings
8/14 - RHP Luke French assigned to New Britain Rock Cats from Rochester Red Wings

Fort Myers Miracle (Florida State League, A+):

8/16 - RHP Carl Pavano assigned to Fort Myers Miracle (rehab).
8/13 - RHP Kyle Gibson assigned to Fort Myers Miracle from Rochester Red Wings (this might mean that he was officially off the Rochester DL).
8/12 - Fort Myers Miracle placed LHP Pat Dean on the 7-Day disabled list
8/12 - RHP Kyle Gibson assigned to Fort Myers Miracle (rehab) from GCL Twins.

Beloit Snappers (Midwest League, A):

8/12 - Beloit Snappers placed RHP Dallas Gallant on the 7-Day disabled list.
8/12 - Beloit Snappers activated RHP Cole Johnson from the 7-Day disabled list.

Elizabethton Twins (Appalachian League, Rk+):

8/12 - C Michael Quesada suspended (50 days, tested positive for a banned diet supplement)
8/11 - C Kelly Cross assigned to Elizabethton Twins from GCL Twins.

GCL Twins (Gulf Coast League, Rk):

8/12 RHP Carl Pavano assigned to GCL Twins from Fort Myers Miracle.

DSL Twins (Dominican Summer League, Foreign Rk):

No Transactions this week


Minnesota Twins' Minor League Affiliates Attendance Figures

With the Minnesota Twins about to announce another 2-year extension of their Player Development Contract with the Rochester Red Winds of the AAA International League and only their A-level relationship with the Beloit Snappers of the Midwest League being an unfinished business, I thought that it might be interesting to look at the average draw of the Twins' affiliates in all levels.

I am listing ticket sold averages for each Minnesota Twins' affiliate from AAA to Rookie Leagues and also indicate the best and the worse sellers in their leagues (as well as their affiliations.)  This does not include yesterday's games.  In GCL and DSL games are free, but those teams are included for completeness.  The cities (if not included in the name) and the states of the affiliates are also listed.

Looks like the Philadelphia Philly affiliates (including the team closest to me Lehigh Valley IronPigs) are leading in ticket sales in every league they are with the Twins.  Other than the Miracle and the E-Twins, that perennially is pretty high in sales for their leagues, all other affiliates are close to the middle.  Beloit being the only exception and this is part of the reason the Twins are looking to change affiliation.

Here are the numbers:

Rochester (NY) Red Wings, AAA, International League

Average Attendance: 5,710
Rank in League: 9th out of 14
League High: 9,083 Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies)
League Low: 3,613 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees

New Britain (CT) Rock Cats, AA, Eastern League

Average Attendance: 4,933
Rank in League: 6th out of 12
League High: 6,265 Reading Phillies
League Low: 2,864 Binghamton Mets

Fort Myers (FL) Miracle, high A, Florida State League

Average Attendance: 1,792
Rank in League: 5th out of 12
League High: 2,558 Clearwater Threshers (Phillies)
League Low: 844 Dunedin Blue Jays

Beloit (WI) Snappers, A, Midwest League

Average Attendance: 989
Rank in League: 15 out of 16
League high: 8,512 Dayton Dragons (Reds)
League low: 862 Burlington Bees (Athletics)

Elizabethton (TN) Twins, Rookie, Appalachian League.

Average Attendance: 948
Rank in League: 4th out of 10.
League High: 1,322 Greeneville Astros
League Low: 781 Pulaski Mariners

Gulf Coast League (Fort Myers, FL) Twins, Rookie, Gulf Coast League.

Average Attendance: no formal attendance/ free games
Rank in League: N/A

Dominical Summer League (Boca Chica Baseball City, DR) Twins, Rookie, Dominical Summer League.

Average Attendance: no formal attendance/ free games
Rank in League: N/A


xPE, xFIP, SIERA, the 2012 Twins pitching and other stories

For a while I wanted to take a bit of a formalized look at the Twins' pitching this season to see what we have learned and see what would make sense for the team to do in the future.  Also, it has been a while since I took a formalized look at Twins pitching, so it was about time.

The metrics I like to use to do this have been some simple things of my own device: Pitching Effectiveness or PE and Expected Pitching Effectiveness or xPE.  I fiddled around with PE in 2008 and with xPE in 2009.  Here is the reason I devised PE and here is the reason I optimized it to xPE.  My main arguments were a. I felt like xFIP and FIP and DICE weigh too much things like home runs (which anyone who watched the home runs by Miquel Cabrera and Delmon Young against the Twins yesterday cannot deny that they are a matter of inches and ballpark and luck and fielding performance from being a long fly ball).  Also these formulae are hard to memorize and I wanted something simple I can calculate looking at a stat sheet and also something that you can calculate using splits (e.g. how has Brian Duensing or Glen Perkins been as a starter vs as a reliever); you can find xFIP around, but not in a spit form.  So in 2008 I devised PE, which simple takes account three things:  Strikeouts, walks and hits.  So a pitcher who strikes out more people, walks fewer and gives lesser hits is more likely to succeed than someone who doesn't.  And all hits are counted equal because the difference between a single and a triple might be the difference of having Delmon Young or Ben Revere play Left Field or the difference between a fly ball out and a home run might be the difference of having Torii Hunter or Rich Becker playing Center Field.  And I use WHIP, K/9 and K/BB to calculate PE (a simple PE= (K/9*K/BB)/WHIP).  xPE further normalizes for BABIP (to league average .290) to account for "luck" with hits.  And unlike FIP and ERA, these two measures go the opposite directions (higher is better) and have a large variation (0.x to 100+) to allow for granularity in comparisons vs. compressing performance from 0 to 10 or so.

Fast-forward to 2010: Matt Swartz and Eric Seidman in a series of 4 articles at Baseball Prospectus (part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4) introduced the metric of Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average or SIERA.  Automatically, I realized that these guys had something (because a lot of their argument of creating this measure were similar to my objections with FIP and xFIP) and the more and more I dug, the more and more I like it.  It basically looks at individual ways of pitching skills like inducing ground balls vs fly balls, striking out people, not walking people etc. Which is great. I think that is has become my favorite ERA-like measure (it too is on a ERA scale and lower is better) to look, but it is also a pain to derive (one needs Excel, on the other hand it is available in places like Fangraphs), but good luck try to figure splits like ground balls allowed as a starter vs as a reliever...  The formula for posterity's sake is:  SIERA = 6.145 – 16.986*(SO/PA) + 11.434*(BB/PA) – 1.858*((GB-FB-PU)/PA) + 7.653*((SO/PA)^2) +/– 6.664*(((GB-FB-PU)/PA)^2) + 10.130*(SO/PA)*((GB-FB-PU)/PA) – 5.195*(BB/PA)*((GB-FB-PU)/PA)

So, if it does not fit on a T-shirt (and it doesn't), I still need a quick way of looking at things.  In the following table I took aggregate (i.e. Duensing's numbers are both for starting and relieving) Twins pitching numbers from 2012 from Fangraphs, including ERA, FIP, xFIP, SIERA and tRA (another measure I am not going to get into right now), calculated PE and xPE and looked at how all correlate with SIERA, xFIP and ERA:

As I mentioned PE and xPE go on a different direction (bigger number is better) than the others (ERA, FIP, xFIP, tRA and SIERA) so -1 is the best possible correlation factor for those (that would be a perfect match)

Happy to say that xPE, xFIP and SIERA correlate really nicely with themselves than with FIP and tRA and they all do not correlate with ERA, which is a good thing.  Actually, I can get more into the nitty gritty dirt and say that xPE seems to correlate better with SIERRA in good to average performances and less in the bad performances, but still a .89 vs .91 correlation factor difference with this sample size is not significant.
(one of these off-seasons I promise I will play with bigger data samples, but I am keeping this about the Twins and their 2012 pitching....)

So how about them Twins?

I am looking at splits, so I am using xPE.  And I am looking at starters vs. relievers vs. the league averages trying to compare the Twins rotation and pen to those and see if I can make any sense doing this.  When I started this 3 and 4 years ago, PE and xPE average for AL starters was around 10 and for AL relievers around 11.5.   And here are some ranges and classifications

35+ Ace
25-35 #1- #2 Starter
15-25 #2- #3 Starter
10-15 #3 - #4 Starter
7.5-10 #5 Starter


35+ Closer
25-35 Closer-Setup
15-25 Setup- Long Relief
8-15 Long Relief-Mopup

The dual classifications indicate positions in Championship-caliber teams vs average teams.  So in other words, in a championship team you better have 3 start pitchers with xPE above 15 and 2 with and xPE above 25 and a forth with xPE above 10.

Here is the data for the Twins rotation and pen (and for pitchers like Swarzak and Duensing I used their individual splits in each to calculate respective xPEs).  Huge surprise (should not be huge but...) :  By looking at the AL Averages, either pitching has improved, especially in the pen (where average xPE is 16; vs 12.5 in the rotation) or hitters do not hit the ball as well.  A 2.5 point jump in averages for starters and 5 point jump for relievers is huge.  And that would be an interesting thing to look during the off-season and might actually make me to adjust the classifications above upwards a bit.

Here are the numbers for the Twins rotation:

and here for the bullpen:

So as far as the rotation goes:

  • The Twins have had 4 number 3 type starters (and not all the time - a lot of Diamond's and De Vries' starts were given to Marquis, Walters and Blackburn) Pavano has been injured and Liriano has ranged from a number one to below replacement.
  • Going forwards the Twins can build on the fact that they have a couple of pitchers who can be number 3 starters in a good team (Diamond and De Vries) and someone who can be a number 5 starter (Hendriks) and seek a couple #1 and #2 starters to make a competitive rotation.
  • Brian Duensing and Anthony Swarzak are better in the pen
  • Something needs to be done with Nick Blackburn

As far as the pen goes:

  • The Twins have a core of 3 very good relievers (Robertson, Perkins, Burton)
  • Casey Fien has been a pleasant surprise
  • Adding Duensing and Swarzak completes a nice pen that would need an additional arm (could be a free agent or some September call up to step up)  It could be Capps, but his performance is not proportional to the $6.5 million option
  • Alex Burnett, Jeff Gray, Jeff Manship, have not been effective (the jury is still out on Perdomo, Oliveros, Maloney and Waldrop because of the small sample )


Dozier to AAA, Florimon to the majors, a mini profile, and controversy?

By now the latest transaction of the Minnesota Twins is about half a day old. SS Brian Dozier was optioned to the Twins AAA club and SS Pedro Florimon was recalled. Dozier was benched for 2 games after a critical error on Sunday and he has been at about replacement level with the bat and been strugging on the field on occasion. Typical rookie season. Even here, yesterday morning the possibility the the Twins might have given up on Dozier temporarily, was mentioned.

Also, it looks like this was not a unanimous decision by the Twins' management. In this article Joe Christensen suggests that the move has been debated for "weeks" among Twins' officials and reported that Ron Gardenhire didn't seem thrilled when it happened and he would not speak on the move.  Rob Anthony answered all questions about the move. Clearly Gardhenhire has been of the loud Dozier supporters the past 2 seasons and it seems that he was against this decision.  MLB.com Rhett Bollinger's piece does not have the Gardenhire information. Phil Mackey's ESPN 1500 story also suggests that there was a long discussion on the subject among the Twins brass and Mackey also adds that the particular play on Sunday and Dozier's reactions afterwards. could have been the decisive point in the demotion (the proverbial last piece of straw). Pioneer Press' Ben Goessling's article is also devoid of mentions of internal discussions and disagreements. Terry Ryan was at Rochester on Tuesday to watch the team and Pedro Florimon played SS; so the timing of his trip might be more than co-incidental.   It will be interesting to see the cohesiveness of the Twins' management in what has been a clearly trying and frustrating season for the Minnesota Twins.

EDIT (Wed afternoon) : Here is new additional information on Ron Gardenhire's reaction and feelings about Dozier, by Phil Mackey  of ESPN 1500.

Pedro Florimon will wear uniform number 25. The last player who wore it was Erik Komatsu earlier this season and Jim Thome before him. Interesting enough, this was Alexi Casilla's number and Jim Thome had to buy it from him. So maybe this is passing of the batton in a way from one Dominican to another in the Twins' middle infield. The most notable Twin associated with number 25 is Randy Bush, member of both Twins' World Championship teams, who wore if from 1982 to 1993.

Pedro Florimon was born on December 10, 1986 in La Romana Dominican Rebublic and signed an amature free agent contract with the Baltimore Orioles organization in 2004 as a 17 year old. He came to the states as a 19 year old and played in Baltimore Appalachian League (Rookie) affiliate Bluefield Orioles and their Short Season A New York Penn League affiliate Aberdeen IronBirds. He ended the season hitting .293/.403/.369 with one HR, 13 RBI, 7 SB in 269 PAs. That was probably his best professional season in the Orioles system. His last season there was 2011, when he repeated AA Eastern League Bowie Baysox and hit .267/.344/.396 with 8 HR, 6 RBI and 15 SB. He was selected off Waivers by the Twins on December 5, 2011 at last off-season's winter meetings. Was invited at the MLB Spring Training camp last spring where he was one of the last cuts, and started his Twins' career with AA Eastern League New Britain Rock Cats and played 30 games before was promoted to Rochester. At New Britain he hit .283/.347/.372 2 HRs, 7 SB (improving his previous season performance in the same league) and for Rochester .251/.308/.344 in his first taste of AAA as a 25 year old.

When I gave a mini scouting report when he was claimed by the Twins last September, I mentioned:  

Defensively, he has exceptional range and instincts, but he (more than occasionally) botches easy plays. In 602 games at SS, he has 174 errors but also turned 363 double plays. He has a strong arm and has some occasional gap power with the bat. All in all, he is very similar to a younger Alexi Casilla and would need some work with his concentration on the field. I think that the Twins signed him as organizational depth at this point, since there are no pure short stops in the higher levels of the organization. If he improves his error rate, he could possibly win a bench position with the Twins.
That was before he played a single inning in a Twins' uniform.  Based on his Spring Training performance and his steadiness with the Rock Cats and Red Wings this season, I think that he did turn the corner on the field and could even potentially challenge for a starting job next season, depending who is still with the team. On a good competing team, unless he progresses further with the bat (he is still 25,) he could be a bench player. A note:   I am calling him a bench vs. a utility player.  All his career, Florimon has played only at short stop exept of a single game at center field (2011, Bowie BaySox) and 2 at second base (2011, Bowie Baysox and 2009, Delmarva Shorebirds) in the Baltimore Orioles' organization. So, unless he receives additional instruction and playing time at second and third next off-season and spring training, his utility future might be uncertain.  Recently, Baseball America, awarded him the "strongest infield arm in the International League" award.


Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits

Here is this week's installment:
  • Unfortunately Matt Capps' MRI did not show any improvement and he is not close to a rehab assingment yet. Probably threw his last pitch as a member of the Twins. And there might be some sugar coating but re-signing him and losing the 2 draft picks was one of the worst mistakes that Terry Ryan made. And there is no sugar coating for that.
  • Congratulations to Oswaldo Arcia for named Eastern League player of the month for July and the Eastern League player of the week for the past week.
  • Twins' RHP Scott Baker, who underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this season, is already playing catch. And he has been saying that he feels better than he felt for the last 2 years, which is really positive.
  • Here are the most recent organization Transactions. Please notice the Carl Pavano shuttle. He is in the GCL and not in the FSL right now.
  • Catcher Michael Quesada was suspended. He last played for the Elizabethton Twins (Rookie, Appalachian League.) He was suspended for 50 days because he tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a banned and dangerous diet supplement similar to ephedra
  • Here is a great article on Cole De Vries.
  • Lots of awards coming up, but Baseball America, named Twins' middle infielder Pedro Florimon, the "strongest infield arm" in the AAA International League.
  • Former Twins' starting pitcher Jason Marquis took a no-hitter into the 7th and ended up with a two-hitter. Happy to see that Gardy and Andy helped him realize his full potential while with the Twins. In 13 starts with the Padres he has 3.66 ERA, 1.195 WHIP, 7.5 K/9 and 3.33 K/BB. Another success story for Andy and Gardy and Terry...
  • The New Britain Rock Cats are celebrating their 30th year of existence in New Britain (after they moved from Bristol, CT) this season. Here is a great write up about the history of the Twins AA affiliate.
  • Here is a great post by the Snappers' Director of Media relations, where she gets the Twins' A level players to give her the number one reason why they play baseball. Great stuff.
  • Apparently the Minnesota Twins' ball cap, is preferred gear of a certrain hip hop artist
  • Interim Twins' GM Terry Ryan, is related to the Republican Vice Presidential candidate
  • In 5 games after his trade to the Twins, GCL Twins' Jeremias Pineda is hitting .273/.304/.273. He hit .421/.447/.534 before traded. Meanwhile, Danny Valencia, the other part of this trade was called up for Boston and has been hitless in 2 games.
  • If you wonder what the Elizabethton Twins' players do in their days off, check this out. And the ones who are not doing that, are doing this
  • Will a particular Twins' player have something going on that explains his offensive surge this season?
  • Twins' product of the week is Minnesota Twins Throwback Gnome. The Twins need luck in any way possible, and this guy looks a bit like their manager as well...
The parting shot today is of Brian Dozier who has been lagging both on the field and with the stick lately. I hope that the Twins do not give up on him, but this has been a long season for him.


Minnesota Twins Minor League Weekly Transactions: 8/4-8/10

This is the second instalment of this series. You can find the older ones here (most recent on top.) Promotions and demotions are listed under the team where the player currently plays (this means promotions to the Minnesota Twins will not be listed here)

Here are the transactions in all levels in the Twins organization from August 4th until yesterday August 10th (it includes Trevor Plouffe's rehab assignment to AAA, which is not official yet) :

Rochester Redwings (International League, AAA):

8/11 - 3B Trevor Plouffe assigned to Rochester Red Wings. (rehab)
8/9 - Rochester Red Wings activated RHP Anthony Slama from the 7-Day disabled list.
8/6 - RHP Dave Bromberg assigned to Rochester Red Wings from New Britain Rock Cats.
8/4 - RHP P.J. Walters assigned to Rochester Red Wings.(rehab)

New Britain Rock Cats (Eastern League, AA):

No Transactions this week

Fort Myers Miracle (Florida State League, A+):

8/7 RHP Carl Pavano assigned to Fort Myers Miracle(rehab).

Beloit Snappers (Midwest League, A):

No Transactions this week

Elizabethton Twins (Appalachian League, Rk+):

8/7 RHP Jose Orlando Berrios assigned to Elizabethton Twins.
8/7 OF Byron Buxton assigned to Elizabethton Twins.

GCL Twins (Gulf Coast League, Rk):

8/6 RHP Anthony Slama assigned to GCL Twins. (Rehab)
8/5 OF Jeremias Pineda assigned to GCL Twins.

DSL Twins (Dominican Summer League, Foreign Rk):

No Transactions this week


Game Video of Twins' Taiwanese Pitcher Chih-Wei Hu

Here is a video of the recent Twins' Taiwanese signee Chih-Wei Hu pitching in a game. He is 18 years listed at 184 cm (6'0.5") and 96 kg (211 lbs). 150 kph is close to 93 mph, which is pretty good for a high school age kid.   He was signed for $220, 000 bonus.


The Nishioka error or baseball size hail falling from the sky

Because there has been a lot of talk of the "The Nishioka error" today (Losing a ball in the overcast sky while wearing sunglasses) and it was a day game and a lot of people did not have a chance to see it happen, I am presenting a still picture of the fact in all its glory.

Here we go:


Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits

Here is this week's installment:
  • The Danny Valencia trade to the Boston Red Sox last Sunday is old news, but if you have not checked it yet, here is a mini scouting report of Jeremias Pineda, the Dominican switch-hitting Center Fielder the Twins received in return.
  • Speaking of the Danny Valencia trade, here. here are a couple of reactions on his trade by current Twins' players. Danny's reactions are here: part 1, part 2 and part 3.
  • Here is an article by Tom Powels lamenting the Twins' inertia during the trade deadline and discussing Terry Ryan's stuck in the past methods.
  • Can you believe that AJ Pierzunski did that and did not leave Target Field with a ball on the helmet? Reason is that he was too much of a coward to start in the Wednesday game. But the Twins are playing the White Sox again...
  • The Twins have signed 18 year old Australian RHP Josh Guyer. He will join the team in Spring Training. This is what he looks like. Apparently he is pretty good with the bat also. This article is as close as it comes to talk about his skills. It is mentioned that he is throwing the ball at 150 kph (this is 93.2 mph), which is alright for a high school kid.
  • On the organizational movement front: I decided that minor league transactions deserve their own space, so you can find them all here (most recent on top) on a weekly basis. I will be updating every Saturday.
  • Listening to Bert Blyleven trying pronounce Samuel Deduno's last name, makes me think of this song
  • If you wonder how glamorous team meals in the minors are, check this out
  • RHP Lester Oliveros has been shut down and will have surgery to clear bone chips from his pitching elbow. And, speaking of MLB-ready relievers, Anthony Slama was assigned to the GCL yesterday for a rehab assignment.
  • Chris Parmelee was named International League hitter of the week for last week. Here is an interesting article on him
  • The Twins are about to be attacked (or at least some Twins' fans) by those of Leeds United a British Premier League Football (Soccer) Club
  • Speaking of places that do not like the Twins, you might want to add Rochester, NY and Beloit, WI, which seem to have lost the priviledge to host a Twins' minor league affilate for 2013 and beyond. I expect announcements to this effect to come on September 1st (the first day franchises can announce new affiliations officially.) To add insult to injury, the Beloit Snappers were giving away bobbleheads of Price Fielder in a Milwaukee uniform. Last time I checked, the guy is playing for one of the major Twins' rivals. Not too good.
  • Because I did not mention it before and I have not seen it mentioned widely: The Twins signed a 30-year committment to their Spring Training facilities at Lee County (Fort Myers) after the county voted to do the improments they required. On related news, Lee County is intensifying its efforts to get a third team in the area to occupy the old Red Sox' facilities.
  • Another former Twins' player is reaching his potential. It is called entering his prime nad not giving up on players before their prime (something the Twins are not exactly great about.)
  • Here is a contest where fans pick current AAA players who will have the most impact as September call ups. The Twins' AAA representative is Pedro Florimon. I think that speaks volumes
  • The Twins' product of the week is the Minnesota Twins Slingback; hey it's back to school shopping time.
The parting shot today is of Tsuyoshi Nisioka (and his sidekick Ryo Shinkawa - never leaves home without it) who was recalled with the Twins Sunday, after Danny Valencia was traded to the Boston Red Sox and his made his MLB-debut for this season last night at Cleveland:


Mini-scouting report of Twins' Jeremias Pineda

Jeremias Pineda who the Twins recieved from the Boston Red Sox, in exchange of Danny Valencia, is a 21 Dominican OF playing in the Gulf Coast League. Even though he seems old for a league dominated by newly drafted or newcomers to the US from foreign leagues who are 18 and 19 years old, this is just his second season of professional baseball. He signed with the Red Sox on March of 2011 and started last season the the Dominican Summer League before coming to the GCL mid last August.  His singing bonus was just $10,000.
He was born on November 16, 1990 in Hormigo, Dominican Republic. This season he leads the GCL in batting with .421/.447/.534 slash line. In 51 plate appearances he has 3 triples and 9 doubles. He struck out 16 times and walked 5. He stole 14 bases and was caught 7 times.  He is a switch-hitter.

He is listed generously at 5'11" and 175 lbs. Primarily a Center Fielder, has played at the corners occasionally. Speed, a strong arm and good defense are his main assets. He is an outfield built in the mold of Ben Revere and Darin Mastroianni. His development with the bat will determine his future, but so far so good in a league comprised by younger players. He will probably be assigned in the Twins single A level team next season.


Minnesota Twins Minor League Weekly Transactions: 7/27-8/3

Unfortunately there is not a single place that lists all the transactions in a particular teams' organization in a timely format. Baseball America has a week or two delay in reporting those, so I felt like I should start one, since I am doing it in twitter anyways and on the Tuesday posts. I will be doing it on a weekly basis, Friday to Friday and post them on Saturdays. Promotions and demotions will be listed under the team where the player currently plays (this means promotions to the Minnesota Twins will not be listed here.) 

This week featured 4 new members of the Twins' organization making their debuts:  Pedro Hernandez and Eduardo Escobar with Rochester, Luke Bard with Elizabethton and Randol Rogers in the DSL.  Also, Garrett Jewell was released from the organization.

Here are the transactions in all levels in the Twins organization from July 27 until yesterday August 3:

Rochester Redwings (International League, AAA):

8/3 - Rochester Red Wings placed RHP Lester Oliveros on the 7-Day disabled list.
7/29 - Minnesota Twins optioned LHP Pedro Hernandez to Rochester Red Wings.
7/29 - Minnesota Twins optioned Eduardo Escobar to Rochester Red Wings.
7/27 - RHP Daniel Turpen assigned to Rochester Red Wings from New Britain Rock Cats.

New Britain Rock Cats (Eastern League, AA):

7/27 - RHP Matthew Hauser assigned to New Britain Rock Cats from Fort Myers Miracle

Fort Myers Miracle (Florida State League, A+):

7/28 - LHP Ryan O'Rourke assigned to Fort Myers Miracle from Beloit Snappers.

Beloit Snappers (Midwest League, A):

7/31 - LHP Corey Kimes assigned to Beloit Snappers from Elizabethton Twins.
7/31 - Beloit Snappers activated 2B/OF Eddie Rosario from the 7-Day disabled list.
7/31 - Beloit Snappers placed RHP Cole Johnson on the 7-Day disabled list.

Elizabethton Twins (Appalachian League, Rk+):

7/29 - RHP Luke Bard assigned to Elizabethton Twins from GCL Twins.
7/29 - Elizabethton Twins released RHP Garrett Jewell.

GCL Twins (Gulf Coast League, Rk):

7/31 LHP Andrew Albers assigned to GCL Twins. (Rehab)

DSL Twins (Dominican Summer League, Foreign Rk):

8/3 - RHP Randol Rogers assigned to DSL Twins.


Bert Blyleven and Samuel Deduno's name

Listening to Bert Blyleven trying to pronounce Samuel Deduno's last name reminds me of this:


Twins Trade Talk 2012: July 31: Deadline Edition

This continues the dialy trade talk updates for the Twins and of action around the league that influences the Twins trade moves, up until the deadline. You can find all the older updates here, in reverse chronological order. This is the last of the talk. Potential trade action will happen up till 3:00 PM today. I will post a Twins Trade Deadline Retrospect after the dust settles tonight or tomorrow (probably tomorrow because I want to look at potential reactions) and will pubish August waiver trade talk as it comes. Here is the Twins Trade Talk the past 24 hours or so:
  • Jon Heyman indicates that the Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Fransisco Giants are interested in Justin Morneau.
  • Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Los Angeles Dodgers are out on Justin Monreau. because they have nothing suitable. He also suggests that the Twins are looking for a team to take his salary and want a young MLB-ready starting pitcher in return.
  • Heyman also suggests that Jamey Carroll may be traded, without linking him to particular teams.
  • Darren Wolfson tweets that the Toronto Blue Jays had plenty of scouts at the Twins' game last night.
  • Jerry Crasnick reports that Glen Perkins is in "high demand".

Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits

Here is this week's installment, heavily influenced by today's trade deadline:
  • Fransisco Liriano to the White Sox is old news. Here are profiles of the players the Twins received in return. And this is a very sad sight.
  • Luis Perdomo is the newest Twins' member. He was called up from Rochester (where he was a swing man who started a few games) to take Anthony Swarzak's spot who went to the 15 day DL with soulder issues that were called "mild rotator cuff strain", which is not too good.
  • Apparently replay in MLB will be expanded to include trapped ball calls and balls hit down the line. When and how and other details remain to be worked out.
  • On the organizational movement front: Danny Turpen promoted to AAA Rochester, Jose Gonzalez and Matt Hauser promoted to AA New Britain. Steve Liddle and Ryan O'Rourke promoted to high A Fort Myers. DJ Baxendale and Taylor Rogers promoted to A Beloit. Chris Mazza and Luke Bard promoted to Rk+ Elizabethton. Pedro Hernandez and Eduardo Escobar, whom the Twins received from the White Sox in the Liriano trade were optioned to AAA Rochester. Brian Compton was assigned to the Rk GCL Twins. LHP Steven Evans (A Beloit Snappers) and RHP Garrett Jewell (Rk+ Elizabethton Twins, but did not pitch in 2012) were released from the organization. 
  • The Twins have signed free agent SP Eric Hurley (released by the Angels) and assigned him to AAA Rochester Redwings.
  • Eddie Rosario is back from reconstructive face surgery after hit on the face with a ball and playing with the GCL Twins since last Wedensday, joining Alex Wimmers who was also rehabing there until he had a set-back the other day; he may require Tommy John surgery.
  • Yesterday was Scott Diamond's 26th birthday
  • This did not apparently deserve air time in any of the "major" press outlets, but there are a lot of hints that MLB team contraction might again be upon us
  • Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks? Not in a particular section of Target Field in particular games.
  • Interesting to see few of the first articles in the local Twin Cities area correctly pointing fingers at the interim General Manager for the Twins' pitching issues. Previously, Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire and company have had teflon. Very refreshing to see a change in the local Minnesota press' attitudes. And as soon as I wrote that, here comes another this morning
  • Interesting article about Rick Anderson's relationship with Fransisco Liriano.
  • Also the "interim" tag remains for Terry Ryan, based on his words to Phil Mackey. Ryan realizes that he might lose his job and does not deserve to have the tag removed after this awful season
  • If you were wondering what the Twins do in "all staff" meetings, here is your answer.
  • If anything, this twitter profile picture change by a Twins' player (happened a while ago) speaks tons about how he feels about the organization and the way he has been treated, and I cannot say that I disagree much.
  • Can anyone rationalize why something like this belongs to the official site of the Twins' AAA team and is anyone wondering why the Twins need to get the hey out of Rochester?
  • Pelotero, the movie featuring Twins #1 prospect Miguel Sano and other Dominican players, was produced by current Boston Red Sox' skipper Bobby Valentine.
  • Twins' tweet of the week is this one by Jake Proctor
  • For the Kevin Slowey fans: His dad now is on twitter.
  • Not Twins' related, but my home team, the Lehigh Valley IronPics wore this atrocity last week. Makes the blue custodian uniforms the Twins wore in Kansas City look "nice".
  • The Twins' product of the week is the Minnesota Twins 1965 Cooperstown Legendary Victory Short Sleeve Tee Shirt, which is actually a killer deal at $14 at L and $13 at XL
The parting shot today is of the newest member of the Minnesota Twins Luis Perdomo who made his MLB Twins' debut last Saturday.