September 10, 2014

Twins Notes: Santana, Escobar, St. Peter, Thorpe, Mauer, and May

Danny Santana Twins

Danny Santana picked a bad season to be a .320-hitting rookie center fielder, because White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu is hitting .317/.378/.590 with 33 homers and will run away with the Rookie of the Year award. However, assuming that he doesn't go into a prolonged slump down the stretch Santana's performance would be enough to make him a deserving Rookie of the Year winner in quite a few previous seasons. Last season, for instance.

Last season's winner, Wil Myers of the Rays, hit .293/.354/.478 in 88 games as a right fielder. Santana has hit .320/.358/.475 in 84 games as a center fielder/shortstop. They've been nearly identical as hitters and Santana has large edges in base-running, defense, and positional value. Looking at Twins history, Marty Cordova won the award in 1995 while hitting .277/.352/.486 in 137 games as a left fielder in a much higher era for offense.

Here's where Santana currently ranks among Twins rookies in Wins Above Replacement during the Ron Gardenhire era of 2002-2014:

                    YEAR     WAR
Francisco Liriano   2006     4.5
Lew Ford            2004     4.5
Denard Span         2008     4.3
Bobby Kielty        2002     2.7
DANNNY SANTANA      2014     2.7

Longtime readers of this blog will probably remember that I thought Bobby Kielty was destined for stardom. He was not.

• Santana was thrust into center field without ever playing there regularly before and has done reasonably well, but assistant general manager Rob Antony recently said: "I think he's going to be our shortstop of the future. Any opportunity we get to play him at shortstop is a good thing." Which is fine, except with Aaron Hicks back in the majors the Twins are still going out of their way not to play Santana at shortstop, even using Eduardo Nunez there instead of him.

• On a related note: Since a strong start Eduardo Escobar has hit just .247/.292/.365 in his last 85 games. He's now a career .253/.299/.363 hitter in 761 plate appearances as a big leaguer.

• For most of the past four years the Twins' bullpen has been a strength amid the team's overall struggles, but now the relievers are struggling too. In the first half the bullpen had a 3.21 ERA with a 13-10 record. In the second half they have a 4.92 ERA with a 6-10 record, including a 5.81 ERA during the past month. Their season totals now include ranking 22nd in ERA, 29th in xFIP, and dead last in strikeout rate. Of course, the rotation has still been worse.

• Twins president Dave St. Peter apparently didn't mind Keith Olbermann ripping the team to shreds on ESPN, but he predictably did mind me saying their brand survey was "tone deaf." On a related note, we spent a large portion of this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode discussing the Twins' increasing assurances of "we get it" in the face of mounting evidence that they don't.

• Pitching prospect Lewis Thorpe, an 18-year-old left-hander from Australia with 144 strikeouts in 116 career innings and one of the highest-upside arms in the Twins' farm system, has been diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. For now the Twins are insisting he'll be fine, but UCL injuries are what lead to Tommy John surgery.

Jose Berrios had one of the 10 best starts by any pitching prospect this season, according to Baseball America.

Joe Mauer has a .405 on-base percentage with more walks than strikeouts in 28 games since returning from the disabled list. During that time he's got an .848 OPS. His career OPS is .861.

Kurt Suzuki has hit .235/.279/.337 in 27 games since his two-year, $12 million extension. He hit .237/.294/.357 in 477 games from 2010-2013.

Tommy Milone allowed 21 runs in 21 innings for the Twins after coming over from the A's in exchange for Sam Fuld and now he's hurt. (Fuld has hit just .218/.269/.307 in 35 games since the trade.)

• Since his disastrous MLB debut Trevor May has a 24/12 K/BB ratio and three homers allowed in 27 innings. It'll take a while for his ERA to not be hideous, but he'll be just fine.

• After nine seasons as the Twins' minor-league hitting coordinator and 14 total seasons in the organization Bill Springman has been let go.

• At one point this season the Twins were 23-21. Since then they are 39-61.


This week's blog content is sponsored by Uber, which is offering a free ride to first-time users who sign up with the promo code "UberGleeman."

September 5, 2014

Link-O-Rama

• As part of a "brand survey" sent out by the Twins' marketing department fans were asked the following question via e-mail:

Twins survey

Those options are wildly optimistic for a team headed for a fourth consecutive 90-loss season and to ask fans if their brand is more "quality and luxury" or "efficient and forward-thinking" struck me as silly and tone deaf. I tweeted about the survey a few times and then wrote a brief post about it on HardballTalk. And then Keith Olbermann picked up the story for his ESPN show, giving the Twins' marketing department an award and giving me a shoutout:

In the wake of the Olbermann attention and criticism Twins president Dave St. Peter responded to the situation by saying, among other things: "We're not tone deaf. We get it."

(I was previously mentioned on Olbermann's show in May regarding MLB shutting down "Gleeman and The Geek" and other baseball podcasts.)

• My first question after reading this story: How did his owners not miss 43.5 socks?

Joan Rivers died at age 81. She was a powerhouse and a pioneer who had an amazing career with a huge influence on multiple generations of comedians. Watch her documentary "A Piece Of Work" on Netflix.

• This is why I've never worked in an office or had a sip of coffee in my life.

• Two years ago a minor leaguer anonymously called Chelsea Peretti's podcast and told his sad story of being a bust and blowing through his signing bonus. Tuesday he pitched in the majors.

Switched at birth: Ricky Rubio and Ringo Starr.

• Wanna join my "Hardball Dynasty" league? New season is starting and we need a few owners.

This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode was recorded live in front of an audience at the State Fair. It was also our final KFAN/radio show of the season, so starting next week we'll be back to podcast-only episodes recorded at bars and restaurants around the Twin Cities.

• What happens when you give a little baby with hearing problems his first hearing aid?

What a smile.

• September roster expansion means a bunch of Twins call-ups and I profiled all of them.

• Mariners minor leaguer Jesus Montero took a bat into the stands after a Mariners scout heckled him with an ice cream sandwich.

• I'm feeling much less embarrassed about recently warming up to cats now that I know Howard Stern is in the same boat.

• The best baseball player of all time joined Twitter this week and his first non-introductory tweet gave condolences over Joan Rivers' death.

Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw got me thinking about the best MVP "pairings" of all time, so I tried to answer that question.

• Bar Abilene in Uptown closed. It had $5 bottomless mimosas and was feet from my front door, but I actively avoided going there.

• It sounds like Uptown is getting an upscale hotel soon, possibly right next to Calhoun Square.

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

- "How to lose 100 pounds when you are lazy"
- "Nick Punto mom"
- "Alone at the bar"
- "Chris Pratt pitches baseball"
- "Waitress jokes"
- "Analysis of Minnesota Twins baseball team"
- "Had Joe Mauer ever met Kirby Puckett?"
- "Where is the best macaroni and cheese?"

• Finally, in honor of the Twins' brand survey this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman:


This week's blog content is sponsored by Uber, which is offering a free ride to first-time users who sign up with the promo code "UberGleeman."

August 8, 2014

Link-O-Rama

• Well, this is a first on HardballTalk: "Seth Stohs of Twins Daily reports ..."

• Former general manager turned media member Jim Bowden had a very rough trade deadline and made things worse for himself at every stop along the way.

• I'm so sick of these nerds like Glen Perkins trying to act like they know so much about baseball when they never even played the game.

Gregg Popovich and the Spurs do things their own way and also a great way.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News the Wolves will get Anthony Bennett from the Cavs in the Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins trade and then flip him to the 76ers for Thaddeus Young.

Phil Hughes gave up a hit to the outfield, but thought it was a line drive back through the box.

Delmon Young's older, much better-hitting brother, Dmitri Young, has lost a ton of weight.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode we reviewed the Twins' trade deadline moves and non-moves, looked ahead to Vargas' future, and I sang way too much.

Chris Pratt rapped the entire Eminem part of "Forgot About Dre" and it was actually decent:

I have zero interest in comic book movies, but I'd love Pratt to become a huge star.

Kennys Vargas is not David Ortiz, as Jesse Lund of Twinkie Town explains.

• On a related note: Vargas really, really doesn't like eating vegetables. "I don't like salad. I eat just meat."

Kate Upton and Justin Verlander are the cutest.

Jason DeRusha interviewed Twins president Dave St. Peter over lunch and I especially liked his quote about Twitter: "If you can filter out the crazy stuff and the people who are looking to push buttons, you can make a real connection."

• Here's my weekly half-hour chat with Paul Allen on KFAN.

Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal wrote about one of my least favorite (and increasingly prominent) aspects of sports media.

Sam Fuld, now starting in center field for the A's, made a sick full-body throw.

Drew Butera caught Chrissy Teigen's ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium:

Much, much better than the time Butera hung out with Kim Kardashian (and Matt Capps).

• Should everyone be freaking out about how bad Oswaldo Arcia has been against lefties?

• Cedar Rapids will be home to the Twins' low Single-A affiliate until at least 2020.

• Impending free agent Pat Neshek has a 0.78 ERA and 49/6 K/BB ratio for the Cardinals, but says he'd like to stay in St. Louis.

• Brunch spot recommendation: Louie's Wine Dive, which has really good food and $12 bottomless mimosas that actually pack some punch. Go there for dinner, too.

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

- "Danny Valencia defense"
- "Danny Valencia, is he a good fielder?"
- "How old is Roy Smalley?"
- "Ben Revere shirtless"
- "Brian Dozier shirtless"
- "Was Danny Santana supposed to be this good?"
- "Aaron Gleeman brunch"
- "Fattest baseball players"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is the original "Forgot About Dre" by Dr. Dre and Eminem:


This week's blog content is sponsored by Uber, which is offering a free ride to first-time users who sign up with the promo code "UberGleeman."

January 31, 2014

Link-O-Rama

• I was chosen as/rigged the voting to be a finalist for Vita.mn's "crush contest" and got invited to a photo shoot/party Wednesday night, so now there are more pictures of me on the internet. This one is my favorite because it perfectly shows the effect I have on women:

crush party

There's a lot more where that came from.

Jon Bois' season-ending edition of "Breaking Madden" is pure genius.

• Someone mapped out the location of every place mentioned in Tom Waits songs.

• I was an in-studio guest on KFAN for the first time in a couple months and Paul Allen basically staged an intervention. Depending on your point of view, it was radio gold or a train wreck.

The Onion is giving me some good ideas: "New Dating Website Helps Plus-Size Jewish Plane Crash Survivors Find Love."

• I thought about moving into one of the new "luxury apartments" in Uptown, but for better or worse various friends talked me out of becoming that type of person.

• I have a couple openings in my "Hardball Dynasty" league on WhatIfSports and the new season begins next week. If you're interested in joining, please read this first.

• This is just a great picture of Sid Hartman and Glen Perkins.

This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode was recorded live in front of a 300-person crowd at Twins Daily's inaugural "Winter Meltdown" event, with special guests Twins president Dave St. Peter, my mom's favorite handsome athlete Scott Erickson, and Miguel Sano documentary filmmaker Jon Paley. I love the look on St. Peter's face as I ask him some dumb question:

st. peter meltdown panel

Me posing with Erickson is pretty good too.

• As a huge DMX fan and a frequent party bus passenger, this was amazing.

• Good collection of the Twin Cities' best late-night breakfast spots, including some of my favorites like Rye Deli and Hell's Kitchen.

Anna Kendrick is the best.

Elijah Aaron's cover of "No Scrubs" is as entertaining as the song could be without Chilli.

• Whole lotta Minnesotans flying to Colorado to get their legal pot on, but the true pros drive.

• As the world's biggest J. Cole fan his birthday gift from Jay Z made me smile.

Chipper Jones is a superhero.

• My idol Rob Neyer is leaving SB Nation for FOXSports.com.

Craig Calcaterra let his 10-year-old daughter write a guest post for HardballTalk.

• For the same money, would the Twins have been better off with Matt Garza or Ricky Nolasco?

• My favorite scene in television history:

Susie Greene is a saint.

• I wrote the Twins essay in this year's "Baseball Prospectus" book, which is now available.

• I'm glad the Twins finally put Chuck Knoblauch in the team Hall of Fame. He's one of the 10 best players in Twins history.

"Metrodome Lashes Out at Twins in Final Interview."

• Old friend Scott Baker signed with the Mariners.

Tina Fey was delightful on "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee" with Jerry Seinfeld.

• I don't even like this song, but Kendrick Lamar screaming "tater tots!" is my new ringtone.

John Mulaney's stand-up special "New In Town" is one of the best hours of comedy I've ever seen and now it's on Netflix.

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

- "Dick Bremer net worth"
- "How much does Louis C.K. weigh?"
- "St. Louis fried rice"
- "How long can you survive without food?"
- "Aaron Gleeman height"
- "Geraldo Rivera vs. Frank Stallone"
- "Robin Thicke socks"
- "Sid Hartman old"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Bad Self Portraits" by Lake Street Dive:

January 27, 2014

Gleeman and The Geek #130: Winter Meltdown with Dave St. Peter and Scott Erickson

This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode was recorded live in front of a 300-person audience at Twins Daily's inaugural "Winter Meltdown" event, featuring special guests Twins president Dave St. Peter, former Cy Young runner-up Scott Erickson, and Miguel Sano documentary filmmaker Jon Paley, along with appearances by Parker Hageman and Seth Stohs. Listen as St. Peter gets laughs at my expense and Erickson wows the crowd with his handsomeness.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 130

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

Mid-interview with St. Peter:

st. peter interview

Posing with my mom's all-time favorite baseball player:

aaron and scott erickson

Older Posts »