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.


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May 9, 2014

Link-O-Rama

• "Gleeman and The Geek" was removed from iTunes on Wednesday because MLB contacted Apple to inform them about several team-related podcasts whose titles and logos "include infringing uses of trademarks of Major League Baseball and certain clubs." For our podcast that apparently boiled down to the inclusion of the words "Minnesota Twins" in the description, because our title and logo certainly weren't infringing on anything.

MLB and iTunes were both incredibly difficult to deal with, but eventually after almost an entire day of nagging them via phone calls, e-mails, and Twitter messages we received word that the whole thing was a big misunderstanding. I'm not sure I buy that, but ultimately I just wanted the silly podcast back on iTunes so people can listen to it and after 24 hours or so of being removed "Gleeman and The Geek" was finally restored.

And then, because my day wasn't surreal enough, Keith Olbermann devoted a segment of his ESPN show to "Gleeman and The Geek" being removed from iTunes. Seriously. Here's the video:

Thanks to Olbermann for sticking up for the little guy and also for making me laugh by questioning my sanity for "voluntarily talking about the Twins."

This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode was recorded at my favorite bar, Stella's, and features me interviewing my favorite bartender, repeatedly revealing things I immediately regret revealing, and singing "Me and Mrs. Jones."

Shea Serrano of Grantland attempted to quantify which rappers you should and shouldn't get into a fight with and two of my favorites are on the extreme opposite sides of the spectrum.

• After studying Matt Daniels' brilliant analysis of the largest vocabularies in hip-hop I've come to the conclusion that the fewer words a rapper uses the more I like their music.

• Breaking news: Rihanna is more fun than Avril Lavigne.

• On a related note, Carmelo Anthony is only human.

• I'm way too excited about the news that the gross Rainbow Foods in Uptown will soon become a slightly less gross Cub Foods.

• One of my earliest crushes appears to be not doing so well, although maybe this is my chance.

• This video of two teenage girls fighting was fascinating and disturbing even before one of them got hit in the head with a shovel.

• Marlins minor leaguers are breaking their teammate's jaws in bar fights and I'm very proud of the photo I chose to use for the HardballTalk post.

• Who should be the Twins' starting shortstop? I'm glad you asked.

• As someone deathly afraid of talking to people on the phone I'm not sure if this chair would make things better or worse.

Glen Perkins agreed to play match-maker for me.

• It turns out at least one NBA player is a big fan of "Gleeman and The Geek."

• This is probably the best picture I've ever taken.

• I went to Todd Barry's crowd work-only show at The Cedar last month and loved it, so it was fun to hear him talk about that on "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross.

Hilarious person on Twitter and big-time baseball fan Alison Agosti was a guest on "Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend" with, coincidentally, Alison Rosen.

• Friend of AG.com Lindsay Guentzel is hosting a bowling-and-beer party Saturday night at Park Tavern in St. Louis Park to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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

- "What language does Eddie Rosario speak?"
- "What are Eddie Rosario's accomplishments?"
- "Pizza diet to lose 60 pounds"
- "Brian Dozier trade contract"
- "Stella's blog"
- "Outstanding Minnesota Twins ball players"
- "Joe Nathan's hobbies"
- "Built like a fire hydrant"
- "People staring at phones together"

• Finally, in honor of our MLB/iTunes experience this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Fight The Power" by Public Enemy:


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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:

December 31, 2013

Power Rankings: Top 30 Twin Cities Tweeters Of 2013

twitter follow me

City Pages ran an article by Maggie LaMaack ranking the "Top 20 Twin Cities Twitterers" among non-mainstream media and non-celebrities. She did a very nice job on the piece, which included artsy caricatures of each person and lots of fun quotes, but my Twitter obsession won't let me go on living without posting my own ranking. Mine is slightly different in that I refuse to use the word "Twitterers" and anyone is eligible, but it's the same basic idea. Oh, and I chose 30 instead of 20.


wessel twitter1. @DanaWessel (Dana Wessel from 96.3 K-TWIN)

So funny that it's worth putting up with his soccer fandom. Great taste in roommates.


randball's stu twitter2. @RandBallsStu (Randball's Stu from Twinkie Town)

Writer of the brilliant Uptown dating/Twins bloggers parody. Possibly our best doofus.


hageman twitter3. @ParkerHageman (Parker Hageman from Twins Daily)

Terrible taste in beer. Questionable taste in friends. Excellent baseball analysis.


lamaack twitter4. @MaggieLaMaack (Maggie LaMaack from L'étoile and City Pages)

Writer of the list I'm ripping off. Got a real good Aubrey Plaza vibe going. Too huggy.


rand twitter5. @RandBall (Michael Rand from the Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Weird internet enabler. Editor of Modern Jumpsuit Enthusiast Quarterly. Pug owner.


weisenberger twitter6. @foyobli (Megan Weisenberger from Minneapolis Beards)

Strip club aficionado. Beard curator. Mimosa consumer. Former volleyball superstar.


perkins twitter7. @glen_perkins (Glen Perkins from the Minnesota Twins)

One of the best relievers in baseball. The only Twin Cities athlete I follow on Twitter.


welle twitter8. @LizWelle (Liz Welle from Legends)

Burrito and whiskey lover. Essentially perfect except for being a KFAN/podcast groupie.


ampersandria twitter9. @ampersandria (Alexandria from Airplanes)

One of the funniest people on Twitter. Can really rock a poncho. Mediocre bingo player.


nelson twitter10. @nnelson9 (Nick Nelson from Twins Daily)

Single and looking to mingle. White rapper. Has been kicked out of VFW karaoke.


ugh twitter11. @heidi_ugh (Heidi from Helping Old People)

By far the funniest member of her family. Fell asleep within two minutes of meeting me.


krawczynski twitter12. @APkrawczynski (Jon Krawczynski from the Associated Press)

Hardest-working man in Twin Cities sports media. Really good. Not on "The Office."


white twitter13. @amanduhwhite (Amanda White from City Pages)

"Parenthood" analyst. Blonde-dating snob. Online bully of Aaron Rupar.


guentzel twitter14. @LindsayGuentzel (Lindsay Guentzel from 96.3 K-TWIN)

Stella's regular. Outstanding mid-90s acoustic sing-along partner. Pizza roll bringer.


bonnes twitter

15. @TwinsGeek (John Bonnes from Twins Daily and "Gleeman and The Geek")

I dunno. Whatever.


sauce twitter16. @MeatSauce1 (Paul Lambert from 100.3 KFAN)

Taste worth acquiring. Parking monitor. Troll baiter. Hanukkah cookie eater. Hadouken.


brauer twitter17. @dbrauer (David Brauer from MinnPost)

Knower of all things local media. Multi-time podcast guest. Oldest college student ever.


butler twitter18. @kateMbutler (Kate Butler from 100.3 KFAN)

Wild and Gophers reporter. Producer. Morning show regular. Dook-shoer. Sleepy baby.


miller twitter19. @MillerStrib (Phil Miller from the Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Twins beat reporter. Probably the best Twin Cities baseball writer. Jerry Sloan survivor.


mandy twitter20. @mandyapolis (Mandy Lee from Terrible OK Cupid Messages)

[Borat voice] My wife. [/Borat voice].


wolfson twitter21. @DarrenWolfson (Darren Wolfson from KSTP-TV and 1500-ESPN)

Other hardest-working man in Twin Cities sports media candidate. My former babysitter.


rupar twitter22. @atrupar (Aaron Rupar from City Pages)

Amanda White's online punching bag. Timberwolves sadomasochist. Beardo.


marthaler twitter23. @jmarthaler (Jon Marthaler from "The Sportive")

Ring-leader of the Twin Cities' filthiest podcast. Unrelenting sports fan. Soccer weirdo.


gigi twitter24. @_omgigi_ (Gigi Berry from Wherever Unicorns Are From)

Lover of nugs and beards. Frequently turnt. Goes back and forth regarding my worth.


than twitter25. @thanland (Than Tibbetts from Public Insight Network)

Keeps this blog running. The only person I met in journalism school and didn't hate.


mitich twitter26. @JohnnaMitich (Johnna Mitich from The Best Advice I Ever Got)

Filled in as "Gleeman and The Geek" producer once before I realized she was so funny.


gibson twitter27. @actuallyerin (Erin Gibson from Hip Hop BBQ Radio)

Mid-90s rap connoisseur. Claims to like brunch. Irish whiskey drinker. Soccer weirdo.


matteson twitter28. @solace (Kyle Matteson from Every Concert Ever)

Fastest favorite draw in the Upper Midwest. Music fiend. Brunch paparazzi. Beardo.


bollinger twitter29. @RhettBollinger (Rhett Bollinger from MLB.com)

Twins beat writer. Lane Kiffin superfan. Mediocre bowling alley trivia player.


gellner twitter30. @MarneyGellner (Marney Gellner from FOX Sports North)

My mom's favorite person. Upon meeting me, said: "You're not as weird as I expected."


If you read this whole thing and still won't follow @AaronGleeman on Twitter you're a monster.

September 20, 2013

Link-O-Rama

Nick Punto had his most Nick Punto moment ever, sliding head-first into first base on a single to the outfield. Randball's Stu may have to update his oral history of Punto's head-first slides.

Baseball America's article naming Byron Buxton as their minor league player of the year is essentially porn for Twins fans.

• "Breaking Bad" fans will enjoy this Yelp page.

• As an embarrassed, longtime BlackBerry user I can safely say most of these reasons are bullshit.

• My blog-mate Craig Calcaterra showed why I almost never call into radio shows when invited.

• There's a ton of dead weight on the Twins' roster, so who will they get rid of this offseason?

• Thanks to everyone who attended the "Grand Drunk Railroad" event Saturday. It was a major success, as more than 100 people joined the light rail pub crawl in the afternoon and the group continued to have fun at night despite the Twins-Rays game being delayed by rain, thanks in no small part to Glen Perkins buying us a round of beers from the bullpen. It went so well that we'll definitely do something similar again and we're already brainstorming other get-together ideas.

• We recorded this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode at various stops along the pub crawl, so it features multiple special guests and everyone getting progressively drunker/weirder as the show goes on. I already posted a bunch of videos and photos from the event on the episode page, but here are a couple more pictures of the podcasting in progress:

pub crawl podcast

We're recording a new "Gleeman and The Geek" show this weekend at New Bohemia's inaugural beer fest, where a taster pass gets all-you-can-drink beer from 10 different breweries.

• More people will probably click on this link than watched the Astros on CSN Houston.

Chiara Atik of How About We explains why I'll never stop tweeting at Jon Taffer.

• One of my rules is that whenever Lizzy Caplan appears on a talk show I'll link to it.

• During my weekly half-hour chat with Paul Allen he grilled me about a first date, I complained about getting a ticket driving to the studio, and we brainstormed questions for Terry Ryan.

Todd Helton is one of the most productive home hitters in baseball history, but Coors Field is all over the list.

• After six years as Minneapolis Star Tribune editor Nancy Barnes left for the Houston Chronicle.

Conan O'Brien playing "Grand Theft Auto" made me also want to play the game without a clue.

• I have no idea how to handle this emotionally.

• One second on the internet is plenty of time for anything.

• In real life Jonathan Banks is very different than the Mike Ehrmantraut character he played on "Breaking Bad." But he's no less fun to watch.

• After watching last week's "Breaking Bad" episode I wondered on Twitter what happens if no one ever tells Huell he can leave that room now and it turns out someone did the research:

I watched that for ... well, longer than I'm comfortable admitting.

• This conversation started at 1:30 a.m.

• Uh oh. It turns out NBC has had a hidden camera in my office this entire time.

• One of my favorite stand-up comedians, Gary Gulman, is performing all this weekend at the comedy club in the Mall of America.

• Netflix recommendation: "Starlet" is a well-done, small-scale story that avoids the usual movie cliches and features two really strong lead performances by unknown actresses.

Alison Agosti is always one of my favorite podcast guests and she was great on "Hey, Teens!" with Eric Gosselin and Jon Wiener.

• "Parks and Recreation" writer (and former AG.com commenter) Harris Wittels had a funny, interesting chat with Marc Maron.

• Two of my favorite podcasts joined forces when Graham Clark from "Stop Podcasting Yourself" was on a live show with Jesse Thorn and Jordan Morris from "Jordan, Jesse, Go!"

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

- "Byron Buxton's mom"
- "Grand Drunk Railroad"
- "How did Meatsauce from KFAN lose weight?"
- "Nick Punto head-first slide"
- "Ben Grieve net worth"
- "Jim Souhan is the worst"
- "Gillian Jacobs introvert"
- "Connie and Aaron play me"
- "Tevin Campbell radio interviews in 1999"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground:


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