April 30, 2014

Twins Notes: Meyer, Pelfrey, Fuld, Mastroianni, Wilson, Pinto, and Morneau

alex meyer twins

Alex Meyer was already the Twins' top pitching prospect and one of the top dozen or so pitching prospects in all of baseball, but now there's some reason to think his upside might be capable of rising a little further. Meyer has abandoned his old changeup grip for a new grip taught to him by Triple-A teammate Deolis Guerra, who was once a top prospect acquired from the Mets in the Johan Santana trade and has always received tons of praise for his changeup.

Meyer got off to a slow start this year, but he's racked up double-digit strikeouts in back-to-back games while throwing 12.2 innings of shutout ball. He's now made 21 total starts as a member of the Twins organization, posting a 2.97 ERA with 135 strikeouts in 103 innings. His control could still use plenty of work, but Meyer is 24 years old and seemingly very close to being MLB ready, assuming the Twins are willing to dump a veteran from their rotation at some point.

• On a related note, dropping Mike Pelfrey from the rotation would be an easy call except for the fact that the Twins re-signed him to a two-year, $11 million contract four months ago. It made little sense then and looks even worse now that Pelfrey has a 7.32 ERA with nearly twice as many walks (15) as strikeouts (8) through four starts. He's now 5-15 with a 5.43 ERA in 33 total starts for the Twins, who got a long look at him in 2013 and decided they needed to see a lot more.

• They had to play short-handed without a true backup center fielder for a while after losing Alex Presley for nothing to the Astros on waivers, but the Twins essentially replaced him by claiming Sam Fuld off waivers from the A's. Presley is a better hitter than Fuld and he's also four years younger, but Fuld is a better defender even if his range has slipped a bit at age 32. Aaron Hicks should be playing just about every day, but it won't be surprising if Fuld steals some starts.

• In adding Fuld to the roster the Twins designated for assignment Darin Mastroianni, who was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays. And then in adding Mastroianni to their roster the Blue Jays designated for assignment Kenny Wilson, who was claimed off waivers by the Twins. Oh, and here's the kicker: Back in 2012 the Twins originally acquired Mastroianni by claiming him off waivers from the Blue Jays.

Mastroianni had a solid 2012 in a part-time role, but injuries wrecked his 2013 and because he's not really an up-the-middle defender despite elite speed his weak bat makes him a marginal bench option. Wilson has an even weaker bat and in fact might be one of the worst hitters on any team's 40-man roster, but he does have 50-steal speed and is a much better center field option than Mastroianni in addition to being four years younger.

Josmil Pinto through 40 career games: .292/.401/.533 with nine homers and 23 walks. Those are basically the same numbers he posted at Double-A and Triple-A, but with more power. It took injuries to Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia for Ron Gardenhire to play Pinto regularly, but hopefully his spot in the lineup is now secure. It might be time to get very excited about what the Twins have in Pinto, whether or not he can be passable enough defensively to catch regularly.

• Twins starting pitchers have a combined 6.04 ERA, which is the worst in the league by more than a full run. They also have a combined strikeout rate of 5.1 per nine innings and no other team in baseball has averaged fewer than 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

Justin Morneau hit .256/.319/.406 in 355 games from 2011-2013, so naturally now he's hitting .357/.381/.643 in 26 games for the Rockies. And so far at least it's not all Coors Field-driven.

David Cameron of Fan Graphs wrote a very interesting analysis of how the Twins are scoring tons of runs by not swinging the bat.

• For a lot more about the Twins' no-swing approach and what they should do about the starting rotation, check out this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode.

April 28, 2014

Gleeman and The Geek #143: Not Swinging and Built Like A Fire Hydrant

Topics for this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode included the Twins' no-swing approach, Alex Meyer's new pitch, another batch of car problems, dumping Mike Pelfrey, waiver wire madness, Josmil Pinto's first 40 games, ugly rotation numbers, seeing each other out in the wild, being mean to Paul McCartney, freezing on rooftops, how not to party, and punching someone for the suspension.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 143

In addition to the direct download link above you can also subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

My view moments before the show started:

bonnes hat

April 25, 2014

Link-O-Rama

Chris Colabello hitting a home run while his mom and dad were being interviewed on FOX Sports North was spectacular television:

Baseball can be a helluva thing sometimes.

George Clooney and Steve Wynn got into a fight at dinner and it's hilarious to me that there's an entire newspaper report devoted to recapping what happened.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode Parker Hageman filled in as co-host even though our producer, Kate Butler, was vehemently against his being involved with the show.

• Speaking of which, Hageman has a new podcast of his own called "The No Juice Podcast."

Drake sat courtside at a Raptors playoff game in Toronto and took out a lint roller to clean his pants in the middle of a play:

You can laugh if you want, but he goes home to Rihanna.

Tyler Mason of FOX Sports North wrote a good article talking to various Twins players about their opinions of sabermetrics.

• Wanna buy Brad Radke's house for $6.8 million?

• You can listen to my half-hour chat with Paul Allen from earlier this week on KFAN.

• I mean, sure, Mike Pelfrey is 5-15 with a 5.43 ERA in 33 starts for the Twins, but this makes giving him a two-year contract worth it.

• Combining a comedy club and a taproom seems like a pretty great idea.

John Mayer covered "XO" by Beyonce and of course I loved it:

This is probably considered blasphemy, but I officially like Mayer covering Beyonce more than I like Beyonce.

• This is where I've chosen to live.

• I've been using Uber a lot and it's very easy/pleasant compared to cabs. If you use my promo code you get $20 off your first ride. If you've been thinking of trying it anyway, why not do it.

• Check out The Balgaard Brothers' new album because it's good music and also one of them has a daughter who's among my favorite people.

• There's a new restaurant opening in my neighborhood called Heyday and after looking at these pictures I'm excited to be trying it this weekend.

• Some of this week's weird and random search engine queries that brought people here:

- "When will Byron Buxton be called up?"
- "Byron Buxton long-term extension"
- "Byron Buxton pitching"
- "Minnesota Twins dating site"
- "How to write the DH into the lineup card"
- "Kevin Love naked"
- "Is Trevor Plouffe for real?"
- "Justin Morneau on the Pohlads"
- "How did Meatsauce lose weight?"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Right Above It" by Drake and Lil Wayne:


This week's blog content is sponsored by Fan HQ at Ridgedale Mall, which will be hosting an autograph and meet-and-greet session with former Twins closer Joe Nathan on April 26. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

April 21, 2014

Gleeman and The Geek #142: Moneyballing Offense and Outfield Logjams

This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode featured guest co-host Parker Hageman and topics included the Twins' surprisingly good offense and unsurprisingly bad pitching, claiming Sam Fuld off waivers, Kyle Gibson's upside, Jason Bartlett's retirement, Aaron Hicks running out of time, winning awards from City Pages, what to make of Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco, dating your sister, new podcasts to try, Uber adventures, and blindfolding women on Hennepin Avenue.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 142

In addition to the direct download link above you can also subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

My view moments before the show started (our producer Kate Butler would later admit, on the air, that she wasn't listening to the show):

kfan view


This week's blog content is sponsored by Fan HQ at Ridgedale Mall, which will be hosting an autograph and meet-and-greet session with former Twins closer Joe Nathan on April 26. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

April 18, 2014

Link-O-Rama

• "Gleeman and The Geek" will be live on KFAN this Sunday (and almost every Sunday) at 4:00 p.m. You can tune into 100.3 FM, stream the show online at KFAN.com, or just continue listening to the show not live as a podcast.

• An online dating website exclusively for Green Bay Packers fans sounds like an excellent idea and certainly isn't something to be made fun of.

• Sure, this looks crazy and all, but let's see him do it in a Honda Fit.

• I was a guest on "Fan Graphs Audio" with one of my favorite people, Carson Cistulli, for a show that completely avoided baseball and ended when his wife finished cooking him dinner in France.

Phil Ivey might be the best poker player of all time and he's a bad motherf-er, so hopefully a casino doesn't have him killed.

According to a recent study people who take daytime naps are much more likely to die before age 65, which is so depressing that it makes me want to take a nap.

• I seriously think this is the best looking a human being has ever been.

• As part of their annual "Best Of" issue City Pages named "Gleeman and The Geek" as the "Best Sports Podcast" in Minnesota. Apparently there isn't even a trophy, but it's still good for my ego.

This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode is what happens when we get kicked off the radio and includes the story of my torn ACL, plus some very memorable waitress interactions.

Jeff Francoeur was the target of one of the best baseball pranks you'll ever see:

I'm not even really a prank fan, but that's pretty good.

Accurate stuff from The Onion: "Determined Restaurant Patrons Tough It Out On Chilly Patio."

• It's possible that we, as a society, have reached peak beard, but I'm not done being lazy about shaving or hiding most of my face yet. Not even close.

• I have some ideas for the Brooklyn Cyclones' upcoming "Seinfeld Night."

• It sounds like I've really got to find a kickball league to join.

• Of course some guy figured out a way to cheat the system on Tinder.

Andrei Kirilenko is a hero to the Russian people.

• I really enjoyed Joy Summers' series for City Pages ranking the top 100 meals in Minnesota.

• Rye Deli owner and former "Gleeman and The Geek" guest David Weinstein explained to Rick Nelson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune why he had to suddenly close up shop last month.

Randball's Stu is so desperate for work that he was willing to talk to Maggie LaMaack. Also: Someone should hire Randball's Stu because he's great and I want to read more of his writing.

• Something tells me there's probably a really sad story behind this.

• I've been using Uber a lot and it's very easy/pleasant compared to cabs. If you use my promo code you get $20 off a ride and I get $20 too. If you've been thinking of trying it anyway, do it.

Parker Hageman of Twins Daily has started his own podcast with his buddy Dan Anderson and, as much as it pains me to say, it's not terrible.

• Friend of AG.com Jack Moore is part of a new sports writing project that needs funding help to survive, so give it a look.

• I started watching "Orphan Black" because I noticed that it's on Amazon Prime and now I want to know why Tatiana Maslany isn't super famous already.

• Some of this week's weird and random search engine queries that brought people here:

- "Minneapolis pub crawls for charity"
- "Ron Coomer sounds like some actor"
- "Is Ron Coomer married"
- "Twins baseball meet and greet"
- "Robby Incmikoski real name"
- "Jenna Fischer and friends"
- "Former Twins pitcher Capps"
- "Aaron Gleeman Twitter"
- "Stella's blogger Gleeman"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Bruce Springsteen doing a slow version of "Thunder Road" in which the girl's name is different than in what became the actual song:


This week's blog content is sponsored by Fan HQ at Ridgedale Mall, which will be hosting an autograph and meet-and-greet session with former Twins closer Joe Nathan on April 26. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

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