May 16, 2014

Link-O-Rama

• Being able to "mute" people you choose to follow on Twitter is the most Minnesota thing ever.

• What's with the New York Times being obsessed with Uptown? And will Randball's Stu write a parody article about this one too?

• It's reassuring to know that Jay Z joins me on Team Rihanna.

• Also, if Rihanna and Drake can't make it work what chance do the rest of us have?

Aaron Rodgers is apparently dating Olivia Munn, which sounds fun except he probably has to watch "The Newsroom" in a non-hate watch way.

Jon Hamm is playing in the celebrity softball game at Target Field during the All-Star break so that he can see what a real man like Jim Thome looks like in 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.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode we discussed the whole Apple/MLB ruckus that got us kicked off iTunes and how we ended up on Keith Olbermann's television show.

Drew Butera took the mound for the Dodgers and, just like he once did for the Twins, looked like a really good pitcher:

I seriously think Butera should become a catcher/pitcher, ala Brooks Kieschnick. Why not?

Mike Redmond's preference for nude batting practice is always a great story, but especially when it's being told by Vin Scully.

Ben Revere's honeymoon in Philadelphia appears to be over. Great smile, though.

• "Gleeman and The Geek" producer Kate Butler sent me this article literally while she was running our live radio show, so you know it's extremely important.

• I wanna sit around and listen to Richie Havens with Joe Maddon.

Malik Bendjelloul, who directed the Oscar-winning documentary "Searching for Sugar Man" about Sixto Rodriguez, committed suicide at age 36.

Matt Williams and Kirk Gibson are the cutest:

Also worth noting: Gibson cheated.

• It sounds like the Twins have been unhappy with Aaron Hicks for a while and now they're telling the media about it.

Oswaldo Arcia is finally healthy, so naturally the Twins demoted him to Triple-A.

• I found this at my mom's house on Mother's Day, so for any parents out there with a sense of humor ... be careful what you wish for.

• On a related note, this is the best, most fitting picture of me and my mom that I could possibly ever find.

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

- "J.J. Hardy syphilis"
- "First base baseball"
- "Why pou got back to baby size"
- "Kent Hrbek net worth"
- "Leroy Hoard wife"
- "Do feet change shape with weight loss?"
- "Chris Colabello the real deal"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Empty" by Ray LaMontagne:


This week's blog content is sponsored by R.F. Moeller Jeweler's repair department, which is recognized as the premier jewelry repair facility in the Twin Cities. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

February 21, 2014

Link-O-Rama

• Back in my day babies played much better man-to-man defense.

• If you want to sell a shitload of girl scout cookies just set up a table in front of a pot dispensary.

• I took notes while reading Molly Fitzpatrick's guide to making out in bars.

• Oh nothing, just someone eating four Chipotle burritos in three minutes without exploding.

• At some point very soon I'm going to be the last single person not on Tinder.

• Multiple studies show that Minnesota men are really bad at sex.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode John Bonnes scolded me for not kissing girls quickly enough, we sang the praises of Rye Deli, and celebrated pitchers and catchers reporting.

Pitbull and Kesha isn't really a combination that interests me, but a doo-wop cover of Pitbull and Kesha is right up my alley:

(Note: I refuse to use a dollar sign for Mase's name, so I'm damn sure not using it for Kesha.)

CC Sabathia is legitimately skinny now, which means he also probably misses Chinese food.

Maggie LaMaack's media blitz continues with another City Pages cover story, this one about 50 things to do in the Twin Cities before you die. I've done 12 of them and will likely die very soon.

• LaMaack also took time out of her cover story-writing schedule to interview one of my top 30 local tweeters, the ever-hilarious Ampersandria.

• At least we'll be able to continue doing the podcast even if one of us gets arrested.

Mike Redmond took a big step in his second year as manager, allowing the Marlins to grow beards after Ricky Nolasco broke all the rules last season.

The Onion: "Tips for pulling an all-nighter."

• Bodies are the worst. Mark Mulder was making a comeback after not pitching since 2008 ... and ruptured his Achilles' tendon on Day 1.

• During his amazing show at First Avenue last week Jason Isbell told us about an incident in the audience the previous night and, the internet being the internet, someone caught it on video:

Wisconsin, man.

• This interview is decent, but the larger point is that there's a human being who looks like this.

• My first ever experience working from a coffee shop was captured by intrepid photojournalist and internet creeper Megan Weisenberger.

• I'm definitely not the type of person who feels at home working from a coffee shop, for several different reasons, but Spyhouse Coffee in Uptown was a perfectly lovely venue.

• Old friend Matt Capps is having shoulder problems for the second straight season.

• Brunch spot recommendation: Meritage in St. Paul. Expensive, but well worth it.

• I used Local Motion to move me from Minnetonka to Uptown and couldn't have been happier with the whole experience. Professional, friendly, and efficient.

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

- "Parker Hageman second chance"
- "Kat Dennings porn lookalike"
- "Robin Wright porn lookalike"
- "Chelsea Peretti porn lookalike"
- "1982 Minnesota Twins roster"
- "Elisha Cuthbert podcast"
- "Aaron Gleeman top tweeters"
- "Who is John Sharkman?"
- "No cake, no pizza, no Chinese food"
- "How much does a Twins player get paid?"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Can't Tell Me Nothing" by Kanye West:

June 27, 2013

Who are the best old hitters in Twins history?

twins best old hitters

Last week I wrote about the best young hitters in Twins history, using OPS to highlight the most productive seasons by players at ages 20 (Butch Wynegar), 21 (Tom Brunansky), 22 (Kent Hrbek), 23 (Joe Mauer), 24 (Hrbek), and 25 (Harmon Killebrew). I'm going to focus on the other side of the age spectrum today, examining the best old hitters in Twins history. Let's start with the 35-year-olds ...


AGE 35              YEAR      PA      OPS
Kirby Puckett       1995     602     .894
Harmon Killebrew    1971     624     .850
Tony Oliva          1974     494     .739
Terry Steinbach     1997     489     .696
Vic Power           1963     578     .682
John Roseboro       1968     435     .611

Those are the only six 35-year-olds in Twins history to log 300 plate appearances, led by Kirby Puckett in the strike-shortened 1995 season. In what was his final season he hit .314/.379/.515 with 23 homers and 39 doubles in 137 games. Defensively he'd shifted to right field, but Puckett remained a force offensively with an OPS that was 60 points above his career mark. He smacked his most homers since 1988 and set career-highs with 56 walks and a .379 on-base percentage.

And adjusting for the offensive levels of the two eras Killebrew's age-35 season was arguably even more productive than Puckett's despite lower raw numbers. Puckett edged Killebrew by 44 points of OPS, but the league average was .771 in 1995 compared to .681 in 1971. Killebrew split time between third base and first base while hitting .254/.386/.464 for the league's 10th-best OPS and led the AL in both RBIs (119) and walks (114).

Tony Oliva joins Puckett and Killebrew as the only other Twins who were above average at 35, hitting .285/.325/.414 in league that hit just .258 with a .371 slugging percentage as a whole. Terry Steinbach was well below average while hitting .248/.302/.392 in 1997, but his modest .696 OPS was just slightly below the AL average for catchers and he caught 116 games in his first of three seasons with the Twins. Oh, and he doubled his career-high with six steals.


AGE 36              YEAR      PA      OPS
Harmon Killebrew    1972     532     .817
Tony Oliva          1975     515     .722
Terry Steinbach     1998     465     .720
John Roseboro       1969     406     .654

Only four 36-year-olds in Twins history topped 300 plate appearances and all of them were also on the age-35 list, led by Killebrew hitting .231/.367/.450 with 26 homers and 94 walks in 139 games. Those may not stand out as huge raw numbers, but in 1972 he ranked third in the league in both homers and walks while placing among the AL's top 10 in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS.

Just like the previous season Oliva remained a slightly above average bat, hitting .270/.344/.378 in a league that hit just .258/.328/.379 in 1975. Steinbach was actually better at 36 than he was at 35, upping his OPS by 25 points and catching 119 games. John Roseboro made his name with the Dodgers, but after a decade in Los Angeles he moved on to the Twins for two seasons and, like Steinbach, was remarkably durable for a mid-30s catcher.


AGE 37              YEAR      PA      OPS
Terry Steinbach     1999     380     .748
Harmon Killebrew    1973     290     .698

For the young hitters lists the cutoff was 300 plate appearances, but because there aren't nearly as many old hitters I've reduced the minimum to 200 plate appearances for age 37 and up. And even then Steinbach and Killebrew are the only 37-year-old regulars in Twins history. Steinbach again raised his OPS, going from .696 at 35 and .730 at 36 to .748 at 37. He wasn't as durable, but still started 96 games behind the plate and posted a career-high .358 on-base percentage.

Killebrew was a shell of his former self in 1973, as major knee problems limited him to 69 games and he managed just five homers, although he still walked 41 times and posted a .352 on-base percentage. Oliva fell too short on playing time in 1976 to make the list, but he played his final season at age 37 and was a below-average hitter for the only time in his career, struggling for 67 games before calling it quits.


AGE 38              YEAR      PA      OPS
Harmon Killebrew    1974     382     .672
Jamey Carroll       2012     537     .660

Killebrew is technically the most productive 38-year-old in team history, but it wasn't pretty. He was healthy enough to play 122 games in 1974, but hit just .222/.312/.360 with 12 homers in his final Twins season before moving on to the Royals for one last forgettable season. Meanwhile, in basically matching Killebrew's age-38 production Jamey Carroll set a career-high with 537 plate appearances and also drove in the most runs of his career.

Mike Redmond's limited action as a backup catcher keeps him from appearing on any of these lists, but he spent ages 34-38 with the Twins and hit .294/.337/.352 for them after turning 35. Only six players in Twins history logged more plate appearances than Redmond after age 35 and his .690 OPS is plenty solid for a catcher. In fact, Redmond's adjusted OPS+ was the exact same as Steinbach's post-35 mark.


AGE 39              YEAR      PA      OPS
Jim Thome           2010     340    1.039
Paul Molitor        1996     729     .858
Jim Dwyer           1989     254     .794
Otis Nixon          1998     500     .705

When the Twins signed Jim Thome for just $1.5 million in 2010 he was supposed to fill a limited role as a bench bat and occasional designated hitter, but instead he turned in one of the best age-39 seasons of all time. Thome hit .283/.412/.627 with 25 homers and 60 walks in 340 plate appearances for a 1.039 OPS that's the fourth-highest age-35 mark in MLB history, one spot ahead of Babe Ruth and trailing only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams.

Not only is his 1.039 OPS in 2010 the best mark by any Twins hitter after age 35, no one else has even cracked .900. And regardless of age his 1.039 OPS in 2010 is the highest in Twins history for all hitters to play at least 100 games, with only Killebrew twice and Mauer and Rod Carew one apiece joining Thome in the 1.000 OPS/100 games club. Not bad for a guy who signed for $1.5 million and began the season behind Delmon Young in the line for playing time.

Thome's age-39 season is so amazing that it overshadows an incredible age-39 season by Paul Molitor, who batted .341 with a league-leading 225 hits in 1996. Molitor signed with the Twins after three seasons in Toronto and joined the 3,000-hit club in September, missing just one game while setting a career-high with 113 RBIs, tying a career-high with 41 doubles, and stealing 18 bases. Molitor is the only 39-year-old in MLB history to top 200 hits or 110 RBIs.

Otis Nixon looked 39 years old for his entire career and had one of his best seasons as an actual 39-year-old, hitting .297 with a .361 on-base percentage and 37 steals in 110 games during his one-season stay in Minnesota. Nixon broke his jaw in April when Royals shortstop Felix Martinez kicked him in the face during a double play, yet still managed the second-most steals in MLB history for a 39-year-old behind Rickey Henderson.


AGE 40              YEAR      PA      OPS
Jim Thome           2011     242     .827
Paul Molitor        1997     597     .786

Here's how ridiculous Thome's age-39 season was: He lost more than 200 points from his OPS the next year and still had one of the most productive age-40 seasons ever. Thome hit .243/.351/.476 with 12 homers in 240 plate appearances for an .827 OPS that tops the Twins' age-39 list ahead of his lone competition in Molitor. And then Thome was even better after being traded to the Indians in August, hitting .296/.390/.479 in 22 games back where his career started.

Molitor was also very good as a 40-year-old, hitting .305/.351/.435 in 135 games to join fellow Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Sam Rice, Luke Appling, and Henderson as the only players in MLB history to bat .300 at age 40. Thome and Molitor are the only Twins to get regular playing time at 40 and the only other hitters in team history to see any sort of game action at 40 are Jim Dwyer, Ruben Sierra, and Elmer Valo, who combined to bat .179 in 144 trips to the plate.


AGE 41              YEAR      PA      OPS
Dave Winfield       1993     594     .767
Paul Molitor        1998     559     .718

Three seasons before Molitor notched his 3,000th hit in Minnesota fellow St. Paul native Dave Winfield signed with the Twins and did the same at age 41. And he was hardly just a novelty act, hitting .271/.325/.442 with 21 homers in 143 games in 1993. Winfield joins Williams, Bonds, and Darrell Evans as the only 41-year-olds with 20 homers. Molitor managed a nice-looking .281 batting average at age 41, but his .718 OPS in his final season was below the AL average of .771.


AGE 42              YEAR      PA      OPS
Dave Winfield       1994     328     .746

Winfield is the only hitter in Twins history to appear in a game at age 42 or older and he was still a decent hitter in 1994, batting .252/.321/.425 with 10 homers and 15 doubles in 77 games before the strike ended the season. Unfortunately he didn't call it quits during the strike, instead coming back in 1995 with the Indians and hitting .191 in 46 games to end a Hall of Fame career. Winfield has the ninth-most plate appearances in MLB history after turning 40 with 1,722.


This week's blog content is sponsored by Curt's Salsa, a locally owned salsa company that believes in fresh ingredients and rooting for the little guy. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

October 26, 2012

Link-O-Rama

Clark Kent quit his newspaper job at the Daily Planet and might become a blogger.

• Something tells me this isn't quite how "the archetypal blogger's lair" should really look, if only because it appears to be an above-ground room.

Behind the scenes of HardballTalk, where we're very serious about the photos used in posts.

Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs are my new favorite tag team, replacing The Road Warriors.

Delmon Young, in addition to being MVP of the ALCS, is also the reigning king of GIFs.

• Old friend Mike Redmond is a strong candidate to replace Ozzie Guillen as Marlins manager.

This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode featured lots of talk about what to expect from the Twins' offseason and me singing a Beyonce song. We're recording next week's episode Saturday afternoon at "Surly Darkness Day" in Brooklyn Center, so if you see a couple weirdos talking into microphones while everyone around them drinks beer come say hello.

• Last week my YouTube debut was such a massive hit that I decided to get behind the camera for this week's video, so here's my debut as a film maker:

Hey, at least I figured out how to shoot the video in landscape mode.

Marco Scutaro as Andy Dufresne is my favorite moment from the playoffs so far.

• It's almost as if Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunis doesn't care what I think any more.

• CopyBlogger.com posted "eight strange habits for very successful writers" and I'm happy to say at least three and sometimes four of them apply to me. Feel free to guess which ones.

Louis C.K. is hosting "Saturday Night Live" on November 3, so I'll be watching "Saturday Night Live" for the first time in a long time.

Carlton Fisk decided to make his own very weird sequel to "Field of Dreams."

• Ball Don't Lie has an interesting, lengthy preview of the Timberwolves co-written by three of the best basketball bloggers around.

• The world's toughest job is now open.

• Truth or dare? Truth. I took two pages of notes while watching this week's "Survivor" so I could write a stupid Jeff Kent recap post.

• This review of "Gleeman and The Geek" describes exactly what we're going for.

• In bad movies forcing the title into the dialogue can seem incredibly forced, but in a good movie you get some memorable moments like this:

I also appreciate the sheer randomness of the movies picked for that video.

• If you're into mixed martial arts this lengthy roundtable discussion with Ariel Helwani and my old NBCSports.com colleague Mike Chiappetta is definitely worth watching.

• And people say Twitter bots are dumb.

• Finally, some meaningful analysis about homefield (or grass) advantage in the World Series.

• Whatever you think of the Twins' farm system in recent years, at least they aren't forcing top prospects to go through this silliness.

• Since the World Series is also known as the "fall classic" it's safe to say Lil Wayne finally gave at least one of the seasons reason to hate him.

• "Fantasy Football Almanac" is a pretty cool idea from Deadspin.

• Oh, no. This changes everything.

• I'm proud to be a very small part of MinnPost, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary.

• My new thing is watching dark, depressing foreign movies on Netflix after midnight, so if you want to be a miserable insomniac check out "King of Devil's Island," "Bonsai," and "Sidewalls."

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

- "What real men look like"
- "Brooklyn Decker baseballs"
- "Authentic dark colored chicken fried rice"
- "John Sharkman"
- "Susan Tedeschi baseball game"
- "Top rated elbow surgeons"
- "Glen Perkins net worth"
- "Carson Cistulli wife hot"
- "Chelsea Peretti drugs"
- "Livan Hernandez golf club"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Could You Be Loved" by Bob Marley:

December 1, 2010

Twins Notes: Pavano, Crain, Hudson, Hardy, Nishioka, and Pimentel

• As expected Carl Pavano, Jesse Crain, and Orlando Hudson each declined arbitration offers from the Twins ahead of last night's deadline. Pavano and Crain had no-brainer decisions, as they're both drawing significant interest as free agents and should have no trouble securing multi-year deals, and Hudson was only offered arbitration in the first place because he agreed ahead of time to decline.

Assuming all three sign elsewhere the Twins will get a total of four compensatory draft picks. Pavano is a Type A free agent, so he'd fetch a first rounder and a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. Crain and Hudson are both Type B free agents, so they'd fetch one supplemental pick apiece. Brian Fuentes, Matt Guerrier, and Jon Rauch weren't offered arbitration and Jim Thome didn't qualify as Type A or B, so there's no compensation attached.

• In reporting on Hudson officially declining arbitration yesterday Jon Heyman of SI.com called him a "fine player who could help any clubhouse." Heyman is basically just parroting the same national media perception of Hudson that ESPN, FOX, and TBS announcers repeated whenever they broadcast Twins games, but in reality little or no effort is being made to re-sign Hudson in part because the team specifically didn't like his presence in the clubhouse.

None of which is to suggest that Hudson is a terrible person or anything, but multiple sources affiliated with the Twins told me throughout the season that his outspoken jokester persona grew tiresome even though national media members like Heyman continue to constantly tout it as a positive trait treated as fact. Hudson will soon be playing for his fourth team in four years despite consistently solid performances on the field, so you can probably do the math there.

• The next key deadline for the Twins arrives tomorrow night, when they must decide whether to tender a 2011 contract to J.J. Hardy. Doing so would essentially guarantee him a one-year deal worth at least $6 million via the arbitration process. Because the Twins have seemingly soured on Hardy despite his above-average performance this season and are now negotiating with Tsuyoshi Nishioka to possibly replace him at shortstop non-tendering him is an option.

However, based on various reports there are multiple teams interested in trading for Hardy. That means even if the Twins are no longer interested in keeping him for 2011 they can tender him a contract and later deal him for some value rather than just cutting him loose and making him a free agent with a non-tender. Of course, I'm still holding out a slim hope that they keep Hardy at shortstop, sign Nishioka to play second base, and use Alexi Casilla as a utility man.

• Speaking of Nishioka, here's a lengthy highlight video that his representatives at the Beverly Hills Sports Complex put together:

Like many Japanese hitters Nishioka has a pronounced leg kick that precedes his swing, so it'll be interesting to see if the Twins would ask him to ditch it. Also of note after years of watching Nick Punto is that Nishioka appears to always slide first first.

• Last year the Twins spent a ton of cash in the international prospect market, landing Miguel Sano and several other high-upside players, and they've followed that up this year by possibly spending around $15 million on Nishioka. Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that they also recently signed 17-year-old Dominican shortstop Javier Pimentel for $575,000. Here's part of BA's scouting report on Pimentel:

Pimentel is a skinny shortstop with a projectable body who has shown good hands and arm in the field. He's a solid-average runner. He isn't a huge threat at the plate right now, but he could grow into more power as he fills out his lanky body.

I'm a big fan of investing heavily in international prospects. They're younger and typically less advanced than American high school and college prospects, but that added risk is mitigated by a lower cost to sign them and the value of draft picks. For instance, Pimentel signed for what is basically second-round money and the Twins were able to acquire him without actually using a second-round pick that, by itself, is worth several hundred thousand dollars.

• Not adding Kyle Waldrop to the 40-man roster and exposing him to next week's Rule 5 draft struck me as an error, but I'm pleased that the Twins did also clear a spot by dropping Estarlin De Los Santos. De Los Santos was a questionable 40-man addition last offseason and ranked just 30th on my annual list of the Twins' prospects. Since then he's hit .225/.294/.295 in 123 games between high Single-A and Double-A, so he had no business being protected.

Mike Redmond left the Twins as a free agent last offseason after five years as Joe Mauer's backup, spent a half-season with the Indians while hitting .206/.242/.270, and announced his retirement. Throughout his time in Minnesota he was regularly mentioned as manager material and sure enough Redmond has been hired to manage the Blue Jays' low Single-A affiliate that plays in the Midwest League with the Twins' team in Beloit.

• Thome being drafted as a shortstop is a known, albeit nearly unbelievable fact, but here's an even harder-to-believe fact discovered while poking around Baseball-Reference.com: Through his first 247 games in the minors Thome stole 24 bases at a 71 percent success rate. In his 2,559 games since then between the minors and majors Thome has stolen a total of 20 bases while being thrown out 25 times, including no more than one steal in any season after 1996.

• While the Twins decide what to do with Hardy, this should be good for a chuckle.

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