June 30, 2014

Gleeman and The Geek #152: Falling to Pieces In More Ways Than One

Topics for this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode included starting pitching (and podcast hosts) falling apart, Jorge Polanco's rushed arrival, Alex Meyer and Trevor May having issues in the minors, Chris Parmelee as a center fielder, puking in cabs, throwing out backs, Joe Mauer turning things around, Eduardo Escobar returning to earth, Aaron Hicks going back to Double-A, and Clayton Kershaw vs. Johan Santana.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 152

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


This week's blog content is sponsored by R.F. Moeller Jeweler's repair department, which is recognized as the premier jewelry repair facility in the Twin Cities. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

June 25, 2014

Twins Notes: Berrios, Vargas, Dozier, Hughes, Hicks, Pino, and Perkins

Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox

• Right-hander Jose Berrios and first baseman Kennys Vargas will represent the Twins in the Futures Game, which is MLB's annual prospect showcase as part of the All-Star festivities. Berrios was the Twins' supplemental first-round pick in 2012, going 30 spots after they snagged Byron Buxton. Last season a mediocre ERA hid what was a strong overall performance for a 19-year-old at low Single-A and this season his ERA and secondary numbers are on the same page.

Berrios is one of just two 20-year-olds in the entire Florida State League with at least 50 innings, posting a 2.05 ERA and 98/21 K/BB ratio in 83 innings. His strikeout rate of 10.6 per nine innings ranks second in the league behind only a 23-year-old and he's held opponents to a .219 batting average with just three homers. Berrios ranked fifth on my list of Twins prospects coming into the season and has upped his stock even further since then.

Vargas placed 23rd in that same ranking, but has also upped his stock considerably by hitting .318/.395/.531 in 70 games at Double-A. At age 23 he's not particularly young for the Eastern League and massive first basemen who'll probably wind up as designated hitters generally aren't a great prospect group on which to bet long term, but the switch-hitter has huge power potential and has made big strides with his strike-zone control.

UPDATE: Triple-A right-hander Trevor May has also been added to the Futures Game roster.

Brian Dozier hasn't slowed down following his surprisingly powerful start to the season and in fact June has been by far his best month with a .310/.449/.549 line that includes four homers and more walks (16) than strikeouts (13) in 21 games. Going back even further, in the past calendar year Dozier ranks as the third-best second baseman in all of baseball according to Wins Above Replacement, behind only Matt Carpenter and Robinson Cano.

During that 365-day span Dozier has hit .252/.340/.444 with 26 homers and 23 steals in 160 games, which along with very good defense adds up to an all-around performance that tops big names like Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, and Chase Utley. Not only does Dozier rank among the league leaders in walks after showing strong strike-zone control in the minors, his power has come out of nowhere after he hit a grand total of 16 homers in 365 games as a minor leaguer.

Ricky Nolasco has been disappointing, but the Twins' other free agent pitching pickup has outperformed expectations in a big way. Phil Hughes has a 3.40 ERA and 82/9 K/BB ratio in 95 innings after posting a 5.19 ERA for the Yankees last season and a 4.53 ERA in seven seasons for New York overall. He's issued zero walks in nine of 15 starts (60 percent) this season. Prior to this season Hughes had zero walks in 24 of 132 starts (18 percent).

Aaron Hicks giving up switch-hitting to exclusively bat right-handed seemed like a reasonable decision given his struggles from the left side of the plate, but after all of one month and very few at-bats thanks to a shoulder injury he's already gone back to switch-hitting. Hicks is technically in the minors on a rehab assignment, but it's hard to see what's gained by keeping him in the majors at this point. Let him try to thrive versus Triple-A pitching for a while.

UPDATE: Hicks has been activated from the disabled list and demoted to Double-A.

Yohan Pino had the seventh-best "Game Score" by any Twins pitcher in his MLB debut behind Andrew Albers, Bert Blyleven, Anthony Swarzak, Allan Anderson, Eddie Bane, and Brad Havens. Take from that group what you will.

Kendrys Morales has hit .222/.271/.333 in 14 games for the Twins. Josmil Pinto has hit .282/.417/.513 in 12 games at Triple-A since his demotion. And his career OPS in the majors remains higher than Morales' mark since 2012.

• On a related note, Glen Perkins had some pretty damning things to say about Pinto's pitch-framing skills, which puts a dent into his already slim chances of being a catcher long term.

• Perkins' record as a reliever is 13-5, including 8-1 since 2012 and 5-0 since 2013, and the Twins have won five of his last six blown saves. Among all MLB relievers with 30 or more innings this season Perkins ranks fifth in K/BB ratio, seventh in strikeout rate, and ninth in xFIP.

• In the same presented-without-comment vein as the previous versions:

Tony Gwynn: .338 AVG, .388 OBP, .459 SLG, .847 OPS, 132 OPS+
Joe Mauer: .320 AVG, .401 OBP, .461 SLG, .863 OPS, 133 OPS+

• Random thing I noticed while looking up some other stuff: Denard Span had a .390 on-base percentage in his first two seasons. Since then he has a .329 on-base percentage in five seasons, never topping .342 in any year.

Johan Santana was on the verge of completing his multi-year comeback from multiple shoulder surgeries by joining the Orioles' rotation, but now he's done for the season with a torn Achilles' tendon. Just in case anyone forgot:

Clayton Kershaw, 2009-2014: 1,145 innings, 9.4 K/9, 3.4 K/BB, 155 ERA+
Johan Santana, 2002-2008: 1,413 innings, 9.5 K/9, 4.2 K/BB, 156 ERA+

• Since the beginning of last season the Twins are 16-10 (.615) against the White Sox and 86-125 (.408) against everyone else.

• For way more on Hicks, Vargas, Morales, and Pino, plus lots of talk about Oswaldo Arcia and Kyle Gibson, check out this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode.


This week's blog content is sponsored by R.F. Moeller Jeweler's repair department, which is recognized as the premier jewelry repair facility in the Twin Cities. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

June 23, 2014

Gleeman and The Geek #151: Beating the White Sox and Falling Out Of Trees

Topics for this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode included dominating the White Sox, Yohan Pino's impressive debut, Aaron Hicks going back to switch-hitting, Kyle Gibson's mind-changing run, Joe Mauer showing signs of life, Oswaldo Arcia swinging "too hard" for Ron Gardenhire's taste, Tony Gwynn's lasting legacy, Kennys Vargas' upside, and how to have fun and injure yourself at a 25-year reunion.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 151

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


This week's blog content is sponsored by R.F. Moeller Jeweler's repair department, which is recognized as the premier jewelry repair facility in the Twin Cities. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

June 20, 2014

Link-O-Rama

Tony Gwynn: Great baseball player, better dude.

• By using facial recognition software Match.com is offering to find someone who looks like your ex for the low, low price of $5,000.

Ryan Howard responded to Nickelback-listening allegations, which are very serious.

• I've had this blog since 2002, so I'm biased, but it's surprising that only seven percent of people have a personal website and that number jumps to only 15 percentage among millennials.

• "The Situation Arrested In Tanning Salon Brawl" is the least surprising headline of all time.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode we talked about removing Sam Deduno from the Twins' rotation, Josmil Pinto's demotion to Triple-A, and how I became a cat person.

Lizzy Caplan and Scott Aukerman turn the tables and explain why men just aren't funny:

Every few months it's important to remember that Lizzy Caplan is the best.

• The man, the myth, the legend: Randball's Stu.

Mike Trout is, once again, the best player in baseball.

• As a big fan of the Oxford comma I'm pleased to see that I'm apparently in the majority.

• If we can start suing people for not understanding sarcasm I'm going to be a billionaire.

• AMC has already ordered a second season of the "Breaking Bad" spinoff "Better Call Saul" and the show isn't even scheduled to debut until 2015.

Sean Doolittle has the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in baseball history and it's not even close.

Ben Revere is the cutest and don't you ever forget it:

Also potentially relevant: Revere has a .665 OPS for the Phillies after posting a .645 OPS for the Twins, so he's been the same very interesting, very flawed, and ultimately very mediocre player.

• Fresh off his wedding party taking a group photo on a dock as it collapsed, friend of AG.com and "No Juice Podcast" co-host Dan Anderson took his new bride on a honeymoon to the Dominican Republic ... and wrote about visiting the Twins' baseball academy there.

• Not only is the food incredibly disappointing, everything about BoneYard's brunch setup sounds disgusting to me.

• At the opposite end of the spectrum one of my favorite new restaurants, Heyday, is starting brunch service next month.

• I saw Lake Street Dive at The Cedar a few months ago and they were great, so everyone should go see them at the First Avenue mainroom on August 27.

• One of my favorite stand-up comedians, Jen Kirkman, is coming to Acme Comedy Company in late September. I'll be there and you should be too.

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

- "Tom Barnard baseball scout"
- "10-pound Chinese foods"
- "Trevor May throws hard"
- "David Ortiz blames Tom Kelly"
- "Ryan Doumit shirtless"
- "Shane Mack's new album"
- "Dime store Ryan Gosling"
- "Jim Souhan is fit"
- "Michael Jordan striking a baseball"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Oxford Comma" by Vampire Weekend:


This week's blog content is sponsored by R.F. Moeller Jeweler's repair department, which is recognized as the premier jewelry repair facility in the Twin Cities. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

June 16, 2014

Gleeman and The Geek #150: Mixed Messages, Done Deduno, and Cat Fancy

Topics for this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode included Sam Deduno being on thin ice, pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May being almost ready, the Twins sending mixed messages about now vs. later, Josmil Pinto's demotion, weird phobias, Trevor Plouffe and Aaron Hicks getting hurt, the end of the line with Jason Kubel, Vance Worley rising from the ashes in Pittsburgh, and how to become a cat person in one week.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 150

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


This week's blog content is sponsored by R.F. Moeller Jeweler's repair department, which is recognized as the premier jewelry repair facility in the Twin Cities. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

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