November 15, 2013

Link-O-Rama

Headline of the week: "Woman having sex at Waffle House uses burger for sandal."

• I lost a lot more weight in a lot less time, so where's my $10,000?

• Everyone's favorite retired Twins blogger, Batgirl, was featured in the New York Times for the writing she does under her "Anne Ursu" alter ego.

• Monday night I saw Dave Chappelle at First Avenue and it was amazing. He took the stage at around 11:00 p.m. and begrudgingly left at 2:10 a.m. after three hours of stand-up and chatting with the audience. Chappelle is such a gifted, relaxed performer that it was often hard to figure out what was a planned routine and what was improvised riffing, but he had the sold-out crowd wrapped around his finger all night.

Chappelle famously removed himself from the spotlight for a long time and in going back on tour he recently made headlines for a messy show in Connecticut, but his genius was on full display Monday and he seemed to feel such a genuine bond with the adoring Minneapolis crowd that he couldn't bring himself to leave the stage. As an insomniac comedy junkie, watching him light up cigarette after cigarette and shoot the shit until 2:00 a.m. was an experience I'll never forget.

It's tough to fully describe the late-night craziness Monday night, but Chris Riemenschneider of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave it a good try.

UPDATE: Chappelle got his own star on the side of First Avenue.

Kevin Love apparently took in one of the Chappelle shows too.

• I had my first TCF Bank Stadium tailgating experience before (and during/after) last weekend's Gophers-Penn State game and took a bunch of pictures.

• Did the Twins and Joe Mauer make the right decision moving him from catcher to first base?

This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode features an update on my $4,700 exploding tire, tales of tailgating, dumb pranks, and our growing feud with "The Sportive" podcast. Oh, and it was literally recorded in a basement.

Five words: Puppies. Learning. How. To. Walk.

On a related note: Boston Terriers in shower caps.

• Here's how KFAN's website described my Thursday morning return to the airwaves with Paul Allen: "Aaron Gleeman joins PA in-studio to catch up on baseball, Mauer's move to first base, his love life, and his mom." Not quite accurate, though: We talked about Twitter too.

Scott Melker mashed up Hall and Oates with a bunch of different rappers, including a combo of "Maneater" and "C.R.E.A.M." by Wu-Tang Clan that's brilliant.

Carson Cistulli of Fan Graphs explains why Big Pun was the real MVP this season.

Amanda Brooke Perrin's awkward guide to first dates is fantastic.

• I'm printing this out and taking it on all future dates.

• See, now this is my type of (almost) love story.

Ricky Rubio got an assist through Jarrett Jack's legs.

• There is where I'm getting noted jumpsuit enthusiast Michael Rand's birthday present. And possibly my entire wardrobe from now on.

• My breakdown of some free agent starting pitchers the Twins might actually sign.

Brian Wilson can't sign with the Yankees because he won't shave his beard.

Ten years ago this week the Twins traded A.J. Pierzynski to the Giants for a decent haul.

• Hey look, it's David Ortiz's first career walk-off home run and he's wearing a Twins uniform:

That video has so much amazing in it. There's even a Bobby Kielty sighting.

• Sure, there could in theory be multiple people named D.J. Short, but I choose to believe that my Rotoworld and HardballTalk colleague has been living a secret life this entire time.

• For anyone interested in supporting the free content at AG.com, I've cut the sponsor of the week price in half from now until the end of the year.

• The latest from my future wife, sans video but still pretty damn good.

Nick Punto is the new Moneyball.

• I'm into not-safe-for-work burrito talk, so Liz Welle and Maggie LaMaack are my favorite same-sex Twitter couple.

• To honor Tom Scharpling announcing that he's ending "The Best Show on WFMU" next month after 13 years the Fenway Park organist played the theme song during a World Series game.

Saoirse Ronan has the greatest accent of all time.

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

- "Aaron Gleeman bullshit theories"
- "Gleeman vs. vegetables"
- "Boy who lost 23 pounds with water"
- "Blowing a .789"
- "Chubby kid making pizza"
- "How the hell do I get the elliptical to fold?"
- "Breaking cartilage in the ear"
- "Yangtze restaurant best dish"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Bad" by Wale and Rihanna:


Interested in sponsoring a week of AG.com and advertising your product, service, local business, or website directly to thousands of readers each day? Click here for details.

October 16, 2013

Twins Notes: Roster cuts, post-trade Morneau, attendance, and Big Papi

josh roenicke twins

• Three weeks ago I listed 16 players in danger of being removed from the 40-man roster and so far the Twins have dropped five of them: Josh Roenicke, Clete Thomas, Doug Bernier, Cole De Vries, Shairon Martis. I'd expect at least another 3-4 cuts by the end of the World Series, but in the meantime the Twins already re-signed Bernier to a minor-league contract that keeps the 33-year-old journeyman in the organization without a 40-man roster spot.

Roenicke being cut might have surprised some people simply because he spent the entire season in the Twins' bullpen and logged the same number of innings as Glen Perkins, but he posted a 4.35 ERA compared to the league average of 3.69 for relievers and his secondary numbers were actually even worse with a 45-to-36 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His stats for the Rockies last season were similarly underwhelming and at age 31 he was due for a raise via arbitration.

Thomas started 79 games for the Twins, including 48 in center field, but hit .214/.290/.307 with 92 strikeouts in 322 plate appearances to finish with the same exact .597 OPS as Aaron Hicks. He was a bit better defensively than I expected, but Thomas is hardly a great center fielder and doesn't hit enough to be more than a backup. That player type is always available on waivers or minor-league deals, and Alex Presley's arrival made Thomas especially superfluous.

Bernier, De Vries, and Martis are exactly who baseball analysts are talking about when they refer to "replacement-level players" being readily available. It's important to have them stockpiled at Triple-A heading into every season, but it's also important to bring in a fresh batch every winter without clogging up the 40-man roster and as the Twins have shown recently things get ugly in a hurry when more than a few of them are pressed into extended action.

• Making official what was reported at the time of the trade, the Twins acquired Duke Welker from the Pirates as the player to be named later in the Justin Morneau deal. I wrote quite a bit about Welker as part of my overall analysis of the trade on August 31, but the quick version is that he's a big right-handed reliever with a mid-90s fastball, good strikeout totals, and terrible control. Not a bad flier to get along with Presley, but Welker is already 27 years old.

Including the postseason Morneau ended up hitting .267 with zero homers and a .317 slugging percentage in 31 games for the Pirates. Overall this season between Minnesota and Pittsburgh he hit .260/.325/.413 in 158 games and combined for the past three seasons he hit .256/.329/.406 in 361 games. There are still local media members stumping for Morneau's return to the Twins as a 33-year-old free agent, but it's awfully hard to understand why.

David Ortiz's dramatic grand slam for the Red Sox led to all the usual grousing about why the Twins let him go back in 2003 and it's important to note that it wasn't for a lack of hitting. Ortiz has the fifth-highest OPS in Twins history among all hitters with at least 1,500 plate appearances through age 26, which is when he left. The only Twins with a higher OPS through 26?  Joe Mauer, Kent Hrbek, Morneau, and Lyman Bostock. Ortiz could always hit. And look at that punim.

Speaking of Ortiz's time in Minnesota, here's an interesting Associated Press story from 2001:

Minnesota Twins designated hitter David Ortiz was placed on the disabled list Saturday, a day after breaking his right wrist diving into home plate.

Ortiz was injured Friday night in the fourth inning of Minnesota's 6-2 victory over Kansas City. One inning later, he homered into the right-field bullpen, but rounding the bases he knew the pain was more than discomfort. He then went to a hospital for X-rays. Ortiz is expected to miss six to eight weeks. ...

Twins' trainers at first thought Ortiz hurt a thumb. "We asked David maybe 90 times or 100, I'm not sure, I lost track: Are you all right?" manager Tom Kelly said. "He said he was, so we let him hit. After he hit, the trainers said his wrist was starting to swell, so we got him out of there."

Kelly seemed to take the injury in stride. "We don't cry about injuries," he said. "We never have and we're not going to start now. I had a man go blind one day, a Hall of Fame player. We just move along. Injuries are part of the game."

Ortiz might be out of place in the Twins' lineup these days, but the injury stuff sounds familiar.

• Twins attendance fell by 3,688 fans per game this season, which was the fifth-largest drop in baseball. In their first two seasons at Target Field the Twins averaged 39,000 fans per game, but that dropped to 34,000 last year and 31,000 this year. And those are tickets sold figures rather than actual fans in the seats. In their final season at the Metrodome the Twins averaged 29,446 fans per game, which seems fairly likely to top next year's totals at Target Field.

• Over the years I've criticized Ron Gardenhire and the Twins for their unwillingness to platoon hitters, which is something Gardenhire and general manager Terry Ryan talked openly about last month in a series of somewhat maddening quotes. Jack Moore of Sports On Earth wrote a very interesting article about how the A's among the teams to take the opposite approach to platooning with lots of success.

• In addition to Bernier the Twins also re-signed Triple-A players James Beresford, Jermaine Mitchell, Lester Oliveros, and Virgil Vasquez to minor-league contracts. Beresford could get a look as a potential utility infielder next season and Oliveros was in the majors before missing this season following Tommy John elbow surgery.

Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors took a lengthy look at some of the key roster issues facing the Twins heading into the offseason.

• MLB Productions released some old video this week that involved a bit of Twins history.

• For more on Morneau's post-trade performance, plus Twins payroll projections and reviewing over/under picks, check out this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode.


Interested in sponsoring a week of AG.com and advertising your product, service, local business, or website directly to thousands of readers each day? Click here for details.

October 11, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• This week the New York Times' "fashion and style" section featured an article by Matt Haber about Minnesotans trying to date in Uptown. It was met mostly with derision, as locals felt it was cheesy and cliche-filled. And it definitely was, as the intro makes very clear:

As night-life emissaries go, one could do worse than Robert John Wayne, a 31-year-old artist here who happily told a recent visitor about everything from an indigenous delicacy called the Juicy Lucy (a burger with cheese baked into the patty) to what women want, something Mr. Wayne should know, seeing as how he's dating four of them.

"Nobody's exclusive," he said "That's what dating is." Mr. Wayne, who described his work as "graffiti realism," was at Mortimer's, a wood-paneled bar on Lyndale Avenue in the swath of Minneapolis known as Uptown.

However, as someone who started hanging out in Uptown recently I mostly found it amusing and made a joke about what a quote of mine would've looked like in the article. And then a few days later friend of AG.com Randball's Stu wrote a brilliant parody of the Times article starring local sports bloggers for the Minneapolis Star Tribune's site. I'd suggest reading the Times version first and then reading Stu's version, because it's a masterful spoof, but here's how it begins:

As night-life emissaries go, one could do better than Aaron Gleeman, a 30-year-old Minnetonka sports blogger who wearily told a recent visitor about everything from a baseball statistic called FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) to what women want, something Mr. Gleeman shouldn't know, seeing as how he recently asked one if he could live-tweet their date.

"It's an endless series of half-starts and missed opportunities," he said. "That's what dating is." Mr. Gleeman, who described his work as "sitting at my computer and writing about baseball as I wait for death's sweet embrace," was at Stella's, a multi-level bar in the swath of Minneapolis known as Uptown.

And then it just keeps building from there. As one of the main characters I'm biased, but it's one of the funniest things I've ever read and so perfectly matches the tone and structure of the New York Times version. My sincere hope is that for the rest of my life whenever anyone Googles me that article is the first result they see. Also, you should follow Stu on Twitter for more genius.

• Here's a non-parody response to the New York Times dating-in-Minnesota article that's also interesting. I'm definitely very guilty of No. 2 on her list and thought for a second she might be talking about me with the quote: "We had a really awesome date and then he bailed on the second date citing 'baseball' as the reason."

• So the Twins are hiring a "full-time data engineer" and OH MY GOD LOOK AT THE COMMENTS.

• Going back to read the stuff about Christian Ponder from right after the Vikings drafted him is quite an experience.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode we talked a ton about Ron Gardenhire, sung the praises of 612 Brew, and unknowingly had our picture taken from across the bar.

• I'm probably Hawk Harrelson's biggest/only fan in Minnesota, but Awful Announcing's lengthy compilation of the season's best "Sad Hawk" moments is undeniably magical:

Harrelson is the Vin Scully of freaking out on the air when things go against the White Sox.

• Speaking of which, Scully will record your outgoing voicemail message for $299 and the money goes to Autism charity. "Hello, this is Vin Scully. You’ve reached Aaron, but there’s zero chance he wants to talk to you, or anyone, on the phone. Seriously, just text him. But leave a message if you want to, I guess."

• Scully's radio call of Juan Uribe's series-winning homer was predictably lovable.

• No one ever listens to me about John Mayer, but maybe you'll listen to Molly Lambert and Tess Lynch.

• Seriously, are any of you even real?

• Twins Daily's annual "Offseason Handbook" is available for presale, so order now and you can get tons of great content featuring analysis of free agent and trade targets, payroll breakdowns, and organizational depth charts for just $4.95. Not only is it a worthwhile product for a very fair price, buying the "Offseason Handbook" also supports all the free content John Bonnes, Parker Hageman, Nick Nelson, and Seth Stohs churn out at Twins Daily all season.

• Hageman's year-end collection of Twins numbers has lots of interesting tidbits.

• I'm not on Tinder, in part because I have a Blackberry and in part because it sounds awful, but if I were on it I'd follow this guy's lead and exclusively talk to women in rap lyrics.

David Ortiz celebrating with Koji Uehara is not safe for work.

• America's highest-paid sportswriter.

• It might be time to re-think America's drug laws now that they're hurting our chubby comedians.

Aubrey Plaza behaved around Chris Bosh the same way I'd behave around Aubrey Plaza.

• In addition to being one half of my favorite podcast, Dave Shumka also writes funny stuff for CBC Music, like how WebMD would diagnose Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus based on their lyrics.

• Take two minutes and see why Jen Kirkman is great:

Related: My mom really liked that video.

Michael Rand is now shooting daily videos for the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website and his latest captures the pure, unadulterated Dana Wessel Experience.

Gabe Vodicka of Flagpole wrote a really good article about Jason Isbell's success as a solo artist, struggles with substance abuse, and songwriting prowess. I'm going to see Isbell at the Varsity Theater in a couple weeks and couldn't be more excited about it.

• How much payroll space do the Twins have and will they actually spend it?

This exchange made me chuckle. Funny how fast it goes from strong opinion nationally to being nice locally.

• Also: Presented without comment, other than to say those all occurred within 24 hours.

Amy Poehler wrote about working at an ice cream parlor for The New Yorker.

Marc Maron's new stand-up comedy special "Thinky Pain" is now available on Netflix and I love that the first person you see and hear is Tom Scharpling giving a pep talk.

• I enjoyed Todd Barry's chat with Natasha Leggero.

• Does anyone in or around Green Bay have any leads on lodging for Packers-Vikings weekend next month? I'm thinking about driving there with a bunch of doofuses, but hotels are all booked up and we'd rather not make a trek from somewhere like Appleton. We're willing to get creative.

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

- "Professional baseball duos"
- "Aaron Gleeman hot wife"
- "What if I eat Green Giant steamers every night?"
- "Nick Punto head-first slide"
- "Influential conservative podcasts"
- "Aaron gettin fat"
- "0.25 pounds in one day is how many pounds in one year?"
- "Lori Loughlin socks"

• Finally, because I stumbled across this video and immediately fell in love with both the singer and her acoustic rendition of the Whitney Houston song this week's AG.com-approved music video is Possum Plow's cover of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody":


Interested in sponsoring a week of AG.com and advertising your product, service, local business, or website directly to thousands of readers each day? Click here for details.

August 14, 2013

The future is now with Oswaldo Arcia

oswaldo arcia homer

Oswaldo Arcia would have entered this year as the No. 1 prospect in most other farm systems and would have been the Twins' top prospect in most of the past 10 years, but instead he's largely been overshadowed by Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton (and for a while at least, Aaron Hicks too). None of which is to say that Arcia is on the same level as Sano or Buxton, but rather that perception and context often play big roles in the amount of hype attached to prospects.

Arcia climbed the minor-league ladder very quickly, particularly in the typically slow-paced Twins system, and now he's showing a ton of promise in the majors as a 22-year-old rookie. There have been plenty of bumps along the way, including strikeout-filled slumps and multiple demotions back to Triple-A, but for a 22-year-old to show this kind of power potential and overall hitting ability is incredibly encouraging.

This year at Triple-A he hit .313/.426/.594 with 10 homers and 22 walks in 38 games and dating back to the beginning of last year Arcia has played exactly 162 games in the minors while hitting .318/.396/.551 with 27 homers, 77 total extra-base hits, and 73 walks. And while posting those monster numbers Arcia was very young for every level of competition and never stuck around in one place for more than a couple months. He was young, he moved quickly, and he crushed.

His numbers in the majors aren't as jaw-dropping, but within the context of being a 22-year-old rookie they're every bit as impressive. Arcia has hit .264/.321/.452 with 10 homers and 25 total extra-base hits in 70 games, which makes him solidly above average in a year when MLB as a whole has hit .254/.317/.398. Here's how he ranks in slugging percentage, OPS, and adjusted OPS+ compared to the other 22-year-olds in Twins history with at least 250 plate appearances:

SLUGGING %                 OPS                        ADJUSTED OPS+
Kent Hrbek       .485      Kent Hrbek       .848      Kent Hrbek       128
OSWALDO ARCIA    .452      David Ortiz      .817      David Ortiz      111
David Ortiz      .446      Joe Mauer        .783      OSWALDO ARCIA    110
Tom Brunansky    .445      OSWALDO ARCIA    .773      Joe Mauer        107
Joe Mauer        .411      Tom Brunansky    .753      Tom Brunansky    103

In the entire history of the Twins only four 22-year-olds have been above-average hitters in 250 or more plate appearances. Arcia is on pace to become the fifth, which would mean joining Kent Hrbek, David Ortiz, Joe Mauer, and Tom Brunansky in some pretty nice company. Breaking his production down even further, Arcia's current Isolated Power of .188 would be second among all 22-year-old Twins, sandwiched between Brunansky at .218 and Hrbek at .184.

Looking to all of MLB, if Arcia maintains his current production he'd join this list of 22-year-olds from 2005-2012 to reach a 110 adjusted OPS+ and a .180 Isolated Power: Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, Grady Sizemore, Prince Fielder, Hanley Ramirez, Brian McCann, Chris Davis, Evan Longoria, Andrew McCutchen, Pablo Sandoval, Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton, Freddie Freeman, Giancarlo Stanton. Guys who hit like Arcia at 22 turn out pretty well.

There are still plenty of rough edges to be smoothed out too. Arcia has struck out 81 times in 70 games, which is the equivalent of 179 strikeouts prorated to 600 plate appearances. Studies have shown that high strikeout totals can actually be a positive thing for very young hitters because it often foreshadows significant power development down the road, but it's nearly impossible to post high batting averages whiffing in 30 percent of your trips to the plate.

Arcia whiffed a lot in the minors too, including 99 strikeouts in 454 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A. He managed to hit .323 in the high minors despite striking out nearly once per game, but that was due to a .380 batting average on balls in play that simply isn't sustainable in the majors. To put that in some context, no active big leaguer has a career batting average on balls in play above .365 and a .335 mark is in the top 30.

So despite his lofty batting averages in the minors it's hard to see Arcia challenging for batting titles in the majors barring a change in approach. Of course, with his power even a .285 batting average could be enough to make him one of the league's best hitters. More worrisome than the high strikeout total is Arcia's ugly strikeout-to-walk ratio, which stands at 81-to-18 through 70 games. Plenty of excellent hitters strike out a lot, but very few have strike-zone control that bad.

The good news is that walk rate and strike-zone control are weaknesses for many young hitters and also tend to improve with age and experience. And in this specific case Arcia drew a decent number of walks in the minors, especially factoring in his age and rapid promotions. He's certainly a free-swinger right now and Arcia seems unlikely to ever become a truly patient hitter, but if he can draw walks somewhere around a league-average rate he'll be just fine.

Arcia's long-term ceiling is very high, but in trying to be at least somewhat realistic projecting his future performance based on his current strengths and flaws a .285 hitter with 30-homer power and mediocre plate discipline seems reasonable. Jason Kubel spent five seasons as a regular for the Twins and hit .273 with an average of 22 homers, 55 walks, and 113 strikeouts per 600 plate appearances, so a rich man's Kubel might not be a bad target for now.

Kubel's upside became limited by his inability to do damage versus left-handed pitching, against whom he's hit just .244/.316/.420 for his career. That may also end up limiting Arcia, who has a 30-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio versus left-handers in the majors so far. Small sample size caveats apply, but Arcia showed extreme splits in the minors too. Over the past two years in the minors Arcia had a .961 OPS against righties and a .742 OPS against lefties.

Also like Kubel he figures to be a below-average defensive corner outfielder. His early defensive numbers are awful, with a collection of awkward plays to match, and even in a best-case scenario he seems destined to be a minus in the field. None of that will impact his ability to develop into a middle-of-the-order slugger offensively, but defense will certainly play a big part in Arcia's overall value and raises the bar for his offense on any potential path to all-around stardom.

Dreaming about the arrivals of Sano and Buxton is exciting, but in the meantime Arcia is already in Minnesota and already a quality middle-of-the-order bat having more success at age 22 than anyone in Twins history but Hrbek, Ortiz, and Mauer. He's the best Twins position player prospect to reach the majors since Mauer in 2005 and the best young power hitter the Twins have called up since Justin Morneau in 2003.

For a lot more about Arcia's rookie-year production and long-term potential, check out this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode.


Interested in sponsoring a week of AG.com and advertising your product, service, local business, or website directly to thousands of readers each day? Click here for details.

August 2, 2013

Miguel Sano, Chad Rupp, David Ortiz, and the chase for Tim Laudner

sano and sluggers

Friends and family, we are gathered here today to drool over Miguel Sano's power potential.

As a 19-year-old last season Sano played 129 games at low Single-A and hit 28 homers. Not only did that lead the Midwest League, no one else had even 20 homers. And that's nothing compared to what he's doing now. Sano began this season with 16 homers in 56 games at high Single-A and has homered 10 times in 40 games since a promotion to Double-A. That adds up to 26 homers in 96 games and puts Sano on pace for the most homers by any Twins minor leaguer in 25 years:

                    YEAR      PA     HR
Chad Rupp           1997     491     32
Garrett Jones       2004     563     31
Mike Ryan           2002     600     31
David Ortiz         1997     594     31
Michael Cuddyer     2001     593     30
Matthew LeCroy      1999     506     30
David Ortiz         1999     563     30

Chad Rupp was a 44th-round pick in 1993 out of the University of Miami who hit .272/.352/.575 with 32 homers in 117 games at Triple-A in 1997. That season the Pacific Coast League as a whole hit .293 with a .465 slugging percentage, so Rupp's power wasn't as impressive as it looked and as a 25-year-old first baseman who hadn't hit much before that he was a non-prospect. He was out of baseball two seasons later.

Garrett Jones and Mike Ryan were longtime Triple-A fixtures for the Twins in the early 2000s, combining to play parts of 10 seasons there in the organization. Ryan had his 31-homer season as a 24-year-old in the hitter-friendly PCL, a year before the Triple-A team moved to Rochester. He hit .261/.330/.522 in 131 games, but never produced like that before or after. Ryan got a handful of brief chances with the Twins, hitting .265/.313/.408 in 285 plate appearances.

Jones is one of the Twins' most prolific minor-league sluggers, homering 31 times at Double-A in 2004 and then topping 20 homers at Triple-A in four of the next five seasons. He also hit just .259 with a .318 on-base percentage and 411-to-167 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 518 games at Triple-A and no tears were shed when he left the organization as a free agent in 2009. Jones signed with the Pirates, worked his way to the majors, and has hit .258/.319/.462 in 661 games.

Michael Cuddyer had his 30-homer season as a 22-year-old at Double-A, hitting .301/.395/.560 in 141 games in 2001. He was repeating the level following a mediocre season for New Britain in 2000 and didn't get an extended opportunity with the Twins until 2004, when he was 25. Cuddyer had good power for the Twins and is nearing 200 career homers, but he's topped 25 homers in a season just once with 32 in 2009.

Matthew LeCroy had his 30-homer season as a 23-year-old at Single-A in 1999 and then hit 20 homers in 89 games back at Single-A the next season before the Twins finally promoted him to the high minors. He continued to show big-time power at Double-A and Triple-A with 57 homers in 246 games, but never managed more than 17 homers in the majors because he struggled against right-handed pitching and served as a part-time designated hitter/first baseman/catcher.

David Ortiz is the only Twins minor leaguer to reach 30 homers twice in the past 25 years. He did it split between Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A as a 21-year-old in 1997, hitting .317/.372/.568 in 140 games. And then he did it two years later at Triple-A, hitting .315/.412/.590 in 130 games. And now 15 years later Ortiz is closing in on 500 career homers, although only 58 of them came with the Twins.

What does all of that mean for Sano? Who knows. In terms of upside he's certainly more Cuddyer and Ortiz than Rupp and Ryan, but Sano is a year younger than Ortiz was in 1997 and two years younger than Cuddyer was in 2001. And if Sano stays in the minors for the entire season he may end up closer to 40 homers than 30 homers. Tim Laudner is the last Twins minor leaguer with 40 homers, going deep 42 times at Double-A as a 23-year-old in 1981. Sano was born in 1993.


This week's blog content is sponsored by Ticket King, a local ticket broker that doesn't charge check-out fees, offers in-store pickup, and specializes in Twins tickets. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

Older Posts »