It doesn't make a lot of sense to attempt any meaningful analysis after just two weeks, but here are some random observations I've had while watching the Twins start 6-7 ...
• Last year Brian Dozier set the Twins' record for homers by a second baseman with 18, which came as a surprise after he totaled just 16 homers in 365 games as a minor leaguer. There was evidence that Dozier changed his approach at the plate to pull the ball more, and he's already gone deep four times in 13 games this year. I'm still not convinced he's a top-of-the-order bat, but 15-20 homers along with a solid glove would make him a long-term solution.
• It took 13 games for Trevor Plouffe to homer, but that might not be a bad thing because he looks like a much different hitter. He came into this season with a lifetime .240 batting average and 289/89 K/BB ratio, but so far he's hit .314 with an 8/8 K/BB ratio. His batting average will obviously go down soon enough, but Plouffe has been much more willing to push pitches to the opposite field and assuming at least some of the power remains that's a positive change.
• I'm not a big Alex Presley fan because he's stretched defensively in center field and stretched offensively in a corner spot, but as backup outfielders go he's a decent one. Losing him on waivers for nothing left the Twins lacking in outfield depth and injuries to Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia quickly made that a problem. When it's still early April and you're starting replacement-level talent like Chris Herrmann in an outfield corner something went wrong in the offseason planning.
• With that said, given their current options the Twins might as well continue to trade defense for offense by using Jason Kubel and Chris Colabello in the outfield corners. For one thing their intended corner duo of Willingham and Arcia is brutal defensively anyway. Beyond that by using Kubel and Colabello somewhere other than designated hitter it also allows Josmil Pinto to get into the lineup and his long-term development could be one of the biggest keys of the season.
• Back when Miguel Sano underwent Tommy John elbow surgery I wrote about how so many of the best Twins prospects of my lifetime have suffered major injuries early in their careers, ruining the chance to see what they were fully capable of becoming without any road blocks along the way. On a sadly related note, Byron Buxton hasn't played since injuring his wrist diving for a ball on March 16 and the Twins announced that he won't see game action until at least May 1.
• I'm curious to see if Joe Mauer is more vocal arguing balls and strikes with umpires as a hitter now that he no longer has to help pitchers get calls from them as a catcher. That certainly seems to be the case so far, although being on the wrong end of a couple incredibly obvious terrible calls could be skewing the small sample size. Thanks in large part to Mauer's patience at the plate, the Twins lead the league in walks.
• Jared Burton has had back-to-back brutal appearances despite nearly a week off between outings. Tuesday night he walked three consecutive hitters with two outs and then served up a grand slam, which really should have its own name along the same lines as a "golden sombrero" for hitters. Burton also struggled down the stretch last season, so it might be time to let him get some low-leverage work with plenty of days off mixed in.
• Ron Gardenhire and assistant general manager Rob Anthonyhad some odd quotes about Eduardo Nunez after acquiring him from the Yankees, saying stuff like "we know he can swing the bat" and calling him an "offensive-oriented player." Meanwhile, he's 26 years old and has hit .267/.313/.379 in 270 games as a major leaguer after hitting .272/.315/.366 in 712 games as a minor leaguer.
• Phil Hughes' results haven't been very good so far, but he's managed to keep the ball in the ballpark in two of his three starts and a 17/5 K/BB ratio in 15 innings will definitely work over the long haul. On the other hand even with Hughes racking up plenty of strikeouts the Twins' rotation as a whole ranks dead last among MLB teams with 5.9 strikeouts per nine innings. By comparison, four rotations are averaging more than 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings.
• For anyone going to Target Field: I highly recommend the Butcher and The Boar rib tips. They're new this season in right field around Section 140 and one of the best things I've ever eaten at a baseball game. Plus for $5.50 you can get a shot of Knob Creek bourbon with them.
• Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are coming to St. Paul next month. I saw them in concert 18 years ago.
• I'm completely sick of everything Hall of Fame related, but Frank Thomas is my favorite player of all time and his first-ballot induction makes me happy. Big Hurt, in his twenties: .330/.452/.600 in 1,076 games. Such a bad motherf-er.
• James Avery, who played Uncle Phil on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and voiced Shredder on "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," died at age 65. He had a big role in any decent 90s childhood.
• I'd never read it before, but Gay Talese's famous Esquire profile of Frank Sinatra from 1966 definitely lives up to the hype and then some. I mean, this is the opening line:
Frank Sinatra, holding a glass of bourbon in one hand and a cigarette in the other, stood in a dark corner of the bar between two attractive but fading blondes who sat waiting for him to say something.
And then there are like 10,000 more words of greatness.
• At my house party a couple weeks ago "The Sportive" podcast crew recorded a star-studded, filthy, trainwreck of an episode in my basement. Literally one minute into the episode they accuse me of having killed multiple women in my basement. And then it goes downhill from there.
• Louis C.K.was the first guest on the new season of "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee" with Jerry Seinfeld. They went boating and he explained getting high at the movies. I loved it.
• Being a huge Howard Stern fan also means I'm a huge Artie Lange fan, and his interview with Marc Maron was especially fantastic for anyone interested in addiction and recovery.
• I set my alarm each night, yet wake up a few minutes before it goes off 99 out of 100 mornings, which makes a lot more sense after reading about the science of it on Mental Floss.
• Gophers football coach Jerry Killon Minneapolis Star Tribune columnistJim Souhan: "Kiss my ass. I'm going to show you. I'm a Division I coach, OK? I've got epilepsy. I've been doing this shit and winning for a long time. I'll show you."
• Don't pay attention to this troubling report. Cuddling season has officially started in Minnesota. Lower those standards, send out some desperate texts, and get cuddling!
• I've always said that relationships and baseball don't mix.
• This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode features the first f-bomb in the podcast's history, along with lots of talk about Joe Mauer changing positions and me getting married. It's also the first brunch episode we've done, so you can hear what I sound like hungover and on zero sleep.
• Living legend Carson Cistulli of Fan Graphs chatted with my former Hardball Times partner Dave Studeman and approximately six minutes in they discussed my social habits, with Cistulli concluding: "Aaron actually is very sweet despite what I've said about him."
• For those of you with massive crushes on baseball bloggers, Jamie Shupak of How About We explains how to transition an online relationship offline, including: "The first time my fiance ever contacted me was through a direct message on Twitter."
• As part of a Saturday bachelor party I'm tailgating at the Gophers-Badgers football game to kick off an all-day party bus bender, so my Twitter account should be pretty annoying/amusing.
• Some of this week's weird and random search engine queries that brought people here:
- "Aaron Gleeman married"
- "Aaron Glee"
- "How can an unhealthy teen boy lose 100 pounds?"
- "Boys face stuffing"
- "Top travesties"
- "Doing the truffle shuffle"
- "Twins nerd on KFAN"
- "Effects of the drug known as Kubel"
- "Cory Cove pornstar"
• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Unbroken Promise" by Erick Baker:
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