I have mixed feelings about Jason Bartlett making the Twins and it has nothing to do with nostalgia.

The Twins have been busy trying to finalize their 25 man roster, this week, the last of Spring Training, and unless you are lucky enough to vacation to a remote island away from mobile phones and the Internets, you would know by now that there was a waiver wire frenzy that had two Twins without options (Chris  Parmelee and Scott Diamond) passing through waivers unclaimed and assigned to Rochester (with Diamond sleeping on whether he will accept the assignment or not and become a free agent) and a third (Alex Presley of Justin Morneau trade fame) getting claimed by the Astros.  While frantically counting bodies to see who might be the backup Centerfielder in the squad, the Twins' Communications Director, Dustin Morse gave the answer on twitter:

That conclusion was there, just by looking at who remained after the waiver activity, and in addition to Jason Bartlett it seems that Chris Colabello, who had a terrific Spring Training, also made the team.  However, unlike with Bartlett, no official announcements have been made about Colabello (who does have 2 years of minor league options remaining) and since yesterday the Twins have 2 open 40-man roster spots, even if you include Kubel and Bartlett, which they might use to pick someone from the waiver wire and promote to the 25-man roster.

I really have mixed feelings about Bartlett making the team.  I did not like the idea that the Twins gave minor league contracts to both Kubel and Bartlett, mainly because I thought that both of them had their best years well behind and, like when they traded a Hamburger to the Rangers for Yesterday Eddie, the Twins were signing the ghosts of Jasons past.   And Bartlett had a horrible Spring on paper and did not get any better when I was down there and saw him in person.   His appearances on the plate made me think that he would have hard time making contact from a tee and allowed me to make snide in game remarks like this and this. But something changed yesterday.  On one hand I still do not think that he is in shape to help the team with his bat, but it is not the end of the world and he might actually do help the team.  Why is that?

First of all, to make it clear.  It is not because of nostalgia.  If you have been reading this blog for a while, by now you should know that I think that one of the darkest seasons in the Twins' history was the smallball team of 2006, which lost all 3 of its postseason games, despite the facts that it had both the AL MVP and the AL Cy Young and it was the favorite to win it all.  Dark times for the Twins, Gardy's piranhas and all, and Bartlett was part of the problem in my book.

It is not even because I think that Florimon probably will not be ready to begin the season and Bartlett might provide insurance.  I already think that the Twins have a very capable shortstop (other than Florimon) who should be starting and is due for a break through season.  

It is because of this.  I really disliked the vibe I got from the Twins when I was down in Fort Myers, especially as far as effort goes, and I wrote about it in detail, predicting that it will be the downfall of the Twins this season.  But Barlett actually gave it all this Spring.  Inability to make contact or not.  He was fine on the field as well, he was always with a smile on his face, including when he made that catch at Centerfield (I was sitting at the new OF seats right above him practically) and he looked like he had fun playing the game like a kid.  I think that the Twins can use this kind of energy right now, despite the fact that the Bartlett as a major leaguer experiment might be short-lived. 

So, sarcasm aside, I am warming up to the idea...


Twins and Stranded Runners: Cuddyer, Kubel and Plouffe. Who strikes out more with 2 outs and RISP?

Given the troubles the Twins have in stranding I was recently in a discussion regarding who has been the worst rally killer in recent history with the Minnesota Twins as far as striking out with two outs and runners in scoring position.   My recollection, is that it was Micheal Cuddyer; it was suggested that Jason Kubel and Trevor Plouffe were worst that Cuddyer in this metric.   Here are their career statistics as far as Plate Appearances and Strikeouts with Runners In Scoring Position.   Note:  Cuddyer's and Kubel's numbers include their seasons away from the Twins, which help Cuddyer.

Without further ado:

Cuddyer: 770 PA, 183 K, K%: 23.8%
Kubel: 427 PA, 99 K, K%: 23.2%
Plouffe: 161 PA, 38 K, K%: 23.6%

It is a virtual three way tie, as far as career goes.

If you look at their Twins' only numbers you have:

Cuddyer: 651 PA, 156 K, K%: 24.0%
Kubel: 331 PA, 73 K, K%: 22.1%
Plouffe: 161 PA, 38 K, K%: 23.6%

Definitely Cuddyer is the leader in this category, with Plouffe close second and Kubel further removed. 

How about the MLB average?  Here are the MLB Totals in 2013:

2013 MLB total with RISP and 2 outs: 21837 PA, 4536 K, K%: 20.8% 

So all three do strike out more than the imaginary average/composite player in this situation.