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."

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:


Advertise your product, service, business, or website to thousands of people each day and support the free content on AG.com by becoming a Sponsor of the Week.

September 6, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• Will you guys come visit me in Pennsylvania?

• Imagine how great LeBron James would be if he didn't have the world's most disgusting feet.

Chase Utley finally responded to Mac's love letter from "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

• I'm proud to have been there to see Twins Daily writer and local rap superstar Nick Nelson get kicked out of karaoke for swearing.

• My analysis of the Twins trading Justin Morneau to the Pirates, including the identity of the not-yet-official player to be named later.

• I went back through my archives to find the earliest stuff I wrote about Morneau in 2003.

This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode was recorded live in front of an audience at the Minnesota State Fair. We broke down the Morneau trade, fan favorite producer Kate Butler made her triumphant return, the microphones exploded, and the crowd booed John Bonnes when he explained that Paul Allen and Dan Barreiro wouldn't be showing up because it was just us. And we said goodbye to KFAN for the season. Next week it's back to podcast-only (and beer drinking).

• In fact, Saturday afternoon we'll be recording "Gleeman and The Geek" at Summit Brewing's annual "Backyard Bash" event. Details here.

• As a Twins fan it makes me incredibly sad whenever prominent media members ignorantly and dangerously downplay the damage done by concussions, so watching this video felt good:

Imagine being the guy on the other end of that.

• 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.

• I'll probably never write a better headline in my life and I'm fine with that.

"Where Bloggers Blog" might only be of interest to me.

• I really enjoyed this New York Times story about Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem and his wife.

• As someone who lost 150 pounds almost exclusively via counting calories and moderate exercise Susan Perry's "why we can't rely on counting calories" piece for MinnPost was very interesting.

• Much like me, Alison Pill regrets having a BlackBerry.

Craig Finn from The Hold Steady talked Twins with The A.V. Club.

• Defensive lineman Terrence Stephens, who eventually got cut by the Bengals, sang a John Mayer cover on "Hard Knocks." It wasn't bad, either.

Ben Revere is bootylicious.

• I'm always a sucker for bloopers and "Parks and Recreation" has some of the best:

Keep clicking through YouTube, because it's broken up into five parts.

• I had Korean food for the first time in Philadelphia during the SABR convention last month and loved it, so Thursday night I went to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant located in the back of a grocery store in Columbia Heights called Dong Yang Oriental Food and fell further in love.

dong yang restaurant

Definitely worth checking out.

Road Warrior Animal followed me on Twitter, so 10-year-old me had an amazing week.

• "Jordan, Jesse, Go!" is always great, but Shelby Fero joining Jordan Morris and Jesse Thorn this week was especially delightful. And also Thorn encouraged listeners to "write something about us on your f***ing blog." Done and done.

• Netflix just added Gary Gulman's stand-up special and it's basically perfect.

• During my weekly half-hour chat with Paul Allen we discussed the Twins' projected 2014 lineup and my pick to win the World Series. And dating at the State Fair, of course.

Julie Klausner was also at the Minnesota State Fair last week and her recap was magical.

Neko Case is really funny/great.

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

- "Chase Utley groupies"
- "Pirates trade for Joe Mauer"
- "Dick Bremer awful"
- "Jonny Flynn shirtless"
- "Complete list of all Matt Capps cards"
- "Kevin Garnett prom picture"
- "Tim Lincecum fan fiction"
- "Who is Aaron Gleeman?"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Wake Me Up" by Avicii and Aloe Blacc:


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.