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Terry Doyle Stars on Twins Podcast

14 Feb

Twins Rule 5 draft pick Terry Doyle was the star guest on last night’s Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast. The right-hander comes to the Twins organization after spending the past few seasons in the Chicago White Sox organization. The New Hampshire native went to Boston College where he went four years, was drafted twice and graduated with a math major. He teamed with the Twins prospects on the Mesa Solar Sox roster in the Arizona Fall League where he went 4-0. All told, last season, he passed the 200 innings pitched count. He is certainly excited about his opportunity with the Twins.

Twins pitchers and catchers will report to Ft. Myers (officially) on Saturday and their first workout is on Sunday. Of course, as is always the case, most of the Twins roster, including many minor leaguers, are already working out in Ft. Myers.

Following the 20+ minute interview with the talented right-hander, Fanatic Jack and I discussed/argued several Twins related topics. I also gave a minute or two rant about why I chose to be optimistic and positive despite my ability to be realistic as well. I actually think it went pretty well as it wasn’t an interview session, it was just back and forth Twins banter on a smorgasbord of Twins topics.

If you missed the live show on Tuesday night, be sure to listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Any thoughts? Please feel free to use the Comments Section!

Prediction Time!

7 Feb

This is the hardest time of the year to be a baseball fan. At least it is for me. I actually really enjoy the offseason. I love hearing rumors, and trying to think about what the Twins could do, and what they will do. Who will they sign? Will there be a trade? From the end of the World Series until about the middle of January, it is fun. Then there is the Twins Winter Caravan which is a great time, followed by the weekend of Twins Fest. In a little over a week, one of the great phrases will be uttered, “Pitchers and Catchers Report!” And, I’m of the belief that Opening Day should be a national holiday! And, then there is the 162 game season. Obviously it’s much more fun when your team is winning, but that long journey from April to October is what it’s all about. 

However, there are those pesky three weeks between Twins Fest and the beginning of spring training. Generally, there won’t be any more transactions. The Super Bowl is done, and all we can do is wait. Once Spring Training starts, there will be plenty of storylines to follow!

So, on days like today, the best idea for a topic to discuss is: Predictions.

Predictions are always fun. We can voice our opinions and even if they seem funny now, after the long season, it’s possible to be right.  We probably won’t look back at them, but we can. So today, get your votes in for the following 2012 Twins awards:

1.) Twins Hitter of the Year 2012

2.) Twins Pitcher of the Year 2012

3.) Breakout/Surprise Offensive Player of the Year for the Twins 2012 (not necessarily the best hitter, but a guy who far exceeded expectations) -

4.) Breakout/Surprise Pitcher of the Year for the Twins 2012 (may not be the best pitcher, but really stepped up)

5.) Twins Rookie of the Year 2012

6.) Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year 2012

7.) Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year 2012

Let’s stop with that for today. We can make more predictions as the season approaches. My votes would be:

1.) Joe Mauer – One injury-plagued season should not deter people from remembering how good he is!

2.) Francisco Liriano – It’s a contract year for him. If he wants to make any money, he better step up!

3.) Ben Revere – He made a lot happen last year in the field and on the bases, and he didn’t even hit well. Watch him actually get on base in 2012 and see what happens! Should be fun!

4.) Matt Capps – If he’s healthy, he is pretty good. Right now, people are very down on him, but he’s solid when healthy.

5.) Liam Hendriks – I believe that if any of the starters get hurt in June or early July, Hendriks will be the guy to step in. Parmelee could be the guy if Morneau can’t play.

6.) Oswaldo Arcia – Should be back completely at 100% Needs to cut down strikeout rate, but hits and hits for power to all fields.

7.) Alex Wimmers – many thought he would be last year, but it was a crazy season for the right-hander. He could jump 2-3 levels in 2012… we hope!

Get your predictions in today!

Twins Organizational Depth Chart: First Basemen

23 Jan

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Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2012 – Now Available as an e-book for $6.99 by clicking here. You can, of course, still get the print version for $13.99 by clicking here.

After looking at the catchers throughout the Twins system yesterday, I’ll be looking at the first basemen today before continuing around the diamond throughout the coming weeks. Again, the purpose is two-fold. First, it’s a look at the depth at or near the big leagues. Second, it’s a glance at the depth at the position throughout the system. You can find out who might be coming up to the Twins if there is a need, and you can find out who the prospects to watch might be.

As I did yesterday, I need to point out that these are my thoughts. I have no insider information to know where players will be playing for certain in 2012. Obviously after spring training, some of these players will be let go. There will be Disabled List players, extended spring training and more.

Minnesota Twins  

Justin Morneau, Ryan Doumit (Joe Mauer, Luke Hughes)

As much as I have no worries about Joe Mauer as he comes back in 2012, I am equally concerned about Justin Morneau’s ability to come back and play. Obviously I really hope that I am wrong. I hope he comes back and performs to the MVP-like caliber that we saw from 2006 through 2010. Defensively, he was tremendous and that is a great example of his work ethic. Hopefully by now, fans understand the seriousness of head injuries and concussions. As much as they’re saying that Morneau won’t be just a DH, that has to be considered an option.

We talked quite a bit yesterday about Doumit as a backup catcher, and his ability to hit. He’s not good defensively behind the plate, and frankly, he’s not too great in front of it either. He could play some at 1B, but it may not be pretty.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Joe Mauer play first base a couple of times a week to keep his bat in the lineup. He played rather well there with the glove a year ago. Luke Hughes showed last year that he could adapt to first base. He had a positive UZR at both 1B and 2B. He also provides a solid right-handed bat off the bench. He’s the only right-handed bat in these four options.

Rochester Red Wings

Chris Parmelee, Aaron Bates, Steve Pearce

Parmelee showed in September what he could be capable of in the big leagues. He has been very solid the past two seasons in New Britain, but no one could have anticipated his strong September performance with the Twins. It’s the beauty of small sample size. That said, Parmelee seems to have figured a couple of things out the last two years. He puts together solid at bats, uses the whole field and hits for power. He needs a half-season at Triple-A to continue to progress, but the Twins’ 1st round pick in 2006 can be a solid contributor to the Twins lineup for years to come.

If the Twins need a 1B option early in the year, or just want a good left-handed bat off the bench, Bates should be considered. The Red Sox third round pick in 2006 debuted with the Sox in 2009. Last year, he joined the Red Wings in early May and was their best, most consistent hitter. He hit .316/.408/.439 with 30 extra base hits. He was invited to big league camp. So was Steve Pearce who burst on the prospect scene in 2007 when he dominated at four levels. Since then, he has not put up big numbers, but he has had over 100 plate appearances in four of the past five years in the big leagues. The Twins drafted him in the 45th round in 2003 out of high school. He didn’t sign. He is kind of a right-handed Aaron Bates.

New Britain Rock Cats

Nate Hanson, Steve Liddle

Hanson is a Minnesota native who played for the Gophers before being drafted by the Twins as a third baseman. During the 2010 season, he played more and more first base, and now he is well respected for his glove and athleticism at first base. He joined the Rock Cats at about the halfway point of last season and held his own. Liddle was hurt much of the 2011 season. He has surgery on his non-throwing shoulder in the offseason. Although he has played more outfield, he played quite a bit of first base as well. After a frustrating 2011 season, it will be interesting to see if he jumps to New Britain.

Ft. Myers Miracle

Michael Gonzales, Lance Ray, Danny Rams

Gonzales returned to Beloit in 2011 about 25 pounds lighter. He came through with a healthier, more productive season. He showed better range at first base. More important, his hands and his bat were much quicker. He increased all of his numbers from 2012 and is certainly ready for the Florida State League. Lance Ray has primarily played in the outfield, but he does a nice job when he plays at 1B as well. Rams will catch at times, but he will play some other positions including outfield and DH. He played quite a bit of 1B in Beloit in 2010.

Beloit Snappers

Rory Rhodes, Kennys Vargas

Rhodes is 6-7, so the natural comparison for him will likely be Richie Sexson, and I think that’s a fair comp. He has a ton of power at such a young age. The Australian needs patience, but he also will need to compete in a full-season league in 2012. Putting the ball in play more often will be a big thing. Defensively, he was a solid defensive third baseman, but with Miguel Sano in the picture, Rhodes primarily played first base at E-Town last year.

Vargas is a big guy, a switch-hitter with a powerful swing from both sides of the plate. He was putting together some solid numbers, hitting in the middle of the E-Town lineup when he was suspended for 50 games for using a banned weight-loss supplement. It cost him the end of the 2011 season and will cost him the first 32 games of the 2012 season. But he has some real potential, so I expect the Twins to stick with him after the suspension is up.

Elizabethton Twins

Josh Hendricks

Another Australian, Hendricks was signed as a catcher but was quickly moved to first base. He was very streaky and inconsistent with the bat in 2011, but he does have good size and power potential. He could have a big year in 2012 at E-Town.  


1.)    Chris Parmelee, 2.) Michael Gonzales, 3.) Rory Rhodes


For 2012, Justin Morneau is the question mark. He hasn’t finished a full season in several years. He has the concussion injury, but the wrist surgery is also concerning for a power hitter. If the Twins didn’t have so many other needs and concerns, maybe it would make sense to add a 1B to the mix. However, Chris Parmelee is close and could take over the position for the next half-dozen years. Bates and Pearce are guys that could pinch hit or fill in very temporarily. 

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me at or leave your thoughts in the Comments Section!

Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2012 (Now Available!)

17 Jan

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Seth Stohs of and TwinsCentric is proud to announce that the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2012 is now available.
From AJ Achter to Jacob Younis (or Aaron Hicks to Miguel Sano to Liam Hendriks to Alex Wimmers, if you prefer), learn more about the prospects throughout the Twins minor league system. From last year’s book, a dozen players rose to the big leagues. How many will play with the Twins in 2012, and who should Twins fans get excited about?
Stohs noted, “I hope Twins fans will use this as a coffee table type of book. The Twins do build from within, so fans can learn more about these players before they get to the big leagues. The book is about the top prospects and the guys that 99% of fans haven’t heard of. They all work very hard to achieve their big league goals. Few will get there, but they also deserve recognition for all of their efforts.”
This is the fourth annual Twins prospect handbook by Stohs. The 2012 version features:
  • Self-published, available at as a 6×9 paperback book, with 179 pages of Twins minor league content.
  • More than 150 Prospect Profiles. Profiles by Seth Stohs, Cody Christie (North Dakota Twins Fan), Nick Nelson (Nick’s Twins Blog), Josh Johnson (Josh’s Thoughts).
  • Article on the 2011 Twins Major League Debuts, by Seth Stohs (quotes from Brian Dinkelman, Chris Parmelee and Liam Hendriks)
  • What do big stats in the Appy League really mean? by Roger Dehring (Twinkie Town)
  • Plotting a path through the 2012 Draft, by Cody Christie
  • Minor League Player of the Year: SS Brian Dozier, by Seth Stohs
  • Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year: RHP Liam Hendriks by Seth Stohs
  • Minor League Reliever of the Year: LHP Andrew Albers, by Seth Stohs
  • Top 5 Twins Dominican Summer League Prospect Profiles, by Seth Stohs
  • 2012 Minnesota Twins Top 30 Prospects
  • Top 30 Twins Prospects History (past six years of good and not-so-good choices)
  • Top Ten Twins Prospect Rankings by many Twins bloggers, media and national rankings
  • Cover by Josh Johnson with photos from David McQueen (Elizabethton photos) and Ashley Marshall/ (New Britain photos)
  • Photos inside by Greg Wagner (Ft. Myers photos) and Rinaldi Photos (Beloit photos)
If you’re interested in your own copy of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, it is now available here for $13.99 (10% discount through Thursday).  If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail Seth Stohs at

Kevin Slowey or Jason Marquis

23 Dec

Since the salaries are more or less the same, I look at it is a trade.

The Twins received a proven mediocre starter in Jason Marquis, who, up until an injury in 2010 (and a freak comebacker in 2011), had been extremely durable.  Plus they got an upside challenged prospect.  We could call him the infamous PTBNL.

The Twins gave up a younger, mediocre, seemingly injury prone starter in Kevin Slowey.  His career high in innings pitched is just 160 1/3, and that was 4 years ago.  There could still be some projection left in Slowey, but he’ll also be 28 in May.  As his solid 2008 season gets smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror, it is certainly feasible that we may have already seen Slowey’s best.

They are very comparable in innings per start over their careers.  Marquis has averaged 5.95 innings per start while Slowey has averaged 5.66.

Here’s where I see this being a solid move for the Twins.  For 2012, which pitcher would you rather count on for 150-175 roughly league average innings spread over 30 starts?  I’d go with Marquis.

At the end of the day, switching out reasonably interchangeable pieces like Marquis and Slowey is a pretty lateral move.  It’s certainly nothing to get excited about in either direction.  I like the added stability that Marquis hopefully brings to the back of the rotation.

What is most disconcerting is the mediocrity of the rotation behind Liriano and Baker, who each come with their own set of concerns to boot.  This is a very flawed rotation as it stands, and the Twins may simply be out of money to address it.

The Matt Latos Trade

17 Dec

The San Diego Padres, who already had a top farm system, made a trade with the Cincinnati Reds.  They traded young starter Matt Latos to the Reds for 4 players.  Probably the most recognizable name in the trade from the Reds is starter Edinson Volquez, part of the infamous DVD trio of the Texas Rangers from a few years ago who netted the Rangers one Josh Hamilton.  But he’s really just a throw-in in this trade.  The Padres also received prospects Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger from the Reds.

I can’t say it enough.  I love, love, love this trade for the Padres.

Yes, the Padres are giving up a potentially great young starter in Matt Latos.  He’s a 24 year old righty who is already entering his third full season in a major league starting rotation.  Barring injury, he’s ready to go 200+ innings for the first time in his career.  In the past 2 seasons, he has struck out roughly a batter per inning while allowing just 3 walks per 9 innings pitched.  He was more hittable last season while striking out fewer hitters and allowing more walks.  None of the changes were large, so we’ll just chalk it up to statistical noise at this point without digging into it too much.

As with all Padres starters, I’m curious about the home and away splits to see if he is a Petco mirage.  Latos allowed a .641 OPS at home and a .668 OPS on the road in 2011.  The only thing that really stands out in his home and away splits is a 3.50 to 1 strikeout to wake rate at home and a 2.61 strikeout to walk rate on the road.  That’s still a solid strikeout to walk rate on the road.   In 2010, his home and away OPS allowed numbers were similar, and his strikeout to walk rate was actually better on the road.  In other words, Matt Latos is a legitimately good major league starting pitcher.

Now onto the Reds players going to the Padres.  At 28 years old, to say right handed starter Edinson Volquez is a bit of an enigma may be a bit of an understatement.  His career year was 2008 which was also his rookie year.  He threw a career high 196 innings while winning 17 games.  He struck out 206 batters in those 196 innings but also walked 93.  Health has been a major issue, but he has not been able to approach that 2.22 strikeout to walk ratio in the 3 season since his rookie year.  The strikeouts remain high, but he walks have been more than 5 per 9 innings pitched.  This is not to worry for the Padres fans.  We’ll refer to him as a cheaper, more enigmatic, right handed version of Francisco Liriano – a worthwhile throw in in any deal.

Yonder Alonso was the Reds’ 2008 first round pick (7th overall).  He’s a 24 year old major league ready hitting machine who is limited to 1B and 1B only defensively.  He should be able to hit .280-.300, get on base 34-36% of the time, and hit 20-30 home runs in his sleep.  With Joey Votto entrenched at first for the near future and his fairly obvious defensive limitations (to put it lightly), Alonso had no clear cut path to get into the Reds’ lineup and was deemed expendable.  We could only wish Chris Parmelee was this caliber of prospect.

Speaking of blocked, the Reds also included a top notch catching prospect in the deal in 23 year old Yasmani Grandal, their 2010 first round pick (12th overall).  The switch hitting catcher may be major league ready by the middle of 2012.  He looks like he has the on base abilities of Joe Mauer and perhaps similar power.  The Reds let incumbent catcher Ramon Hernandez walk after the season to make room for one of the few better catching prospects in the game, Devin Mesoroco.

So the Padres got 2 top notch prospects from the Reds in Alonso and Grandal, but they also received a stud relief prospect in Brad Boxberger.  The 23 year old right handed relief pitcher, also a former first round pick (43rd in 2009), has all the makings of a late inning reliever.  He has struck out 203 batters in 153 2/3 career innings in the minors, including 93 strikeouts in 62 innings last year split between AA and AAA.  There are some control issues – career 4.1 per 9 innings pitched in the minors, but that’s the case with a lot of hard throwing relief propects.  He has a mid-90s fastball and a slider.  This is a prospect to keep an eye on.   And he’s the 3rd best prospect in the trade.

Did I mention I love, love, love this trade for the Padres?  I’m not sure what this means for Anthony Rizzo’s, Kyle Blanks’, or even Jesus Guzman’s respective futures with the Padres.  There are still rumors of Chase Headley trades floating around, too, so perhaps one or more of them could be included to sweeten the pot in a deal involving Headley.   The Padres already had a top notch system, and now they get to add all of this talent.  This is fun and exciting stuff for prospect followers!

Ben Revere, Denard Span, and Jose Constanza???

29 Jul

Hey SethSpeaks readers,

It’s mini_tb with what I think is an interesting discussion question regarding 2 popular topics lately: Denard Span and Ben Revere.  You will have to keep reading to get to it.

The Atlanta Braves have Jose Constanza batting leadoff tonight as the season winds down toward the homestretch.  Check out his batting line on

  • .312/.361/.351 for a .712 OPS, just 2 doubles, 4 triples and 1 HR in 333 ABs on the season with 23/31 stolen bases.

How does that compare to the Twins’ Ben Revere‘s 2010 season numbers?  I picked his 2010 season because it is a larger sample than 2011 – and, frankly, better than 2011, so we’ll act like this is how he will hit in majors given a bit more seasoning.

  • .305/.361/.363 for a .734 OPS, just 10 doubles for triples, and 1 HR in 361 at bats on the season with 36/49 stolen bases.

Both are 5’9″ left handed hitters.  Constanza weighs in at 150 pounds.  Revere is in at a “staggering” 170 pounds.  I guess the higher weight class for Revere explains how he could possibly have more power than anyone else in organized baseball.

Oh yeah…  One thing I left out is age.  Constanza is 28 in a month.  Revere just turned 23.  That age difference is obviously a huge factor when labeling a player a prospect or a non-prospect.

Revere is still young.  Of course there is still room for improvement.  Look at Revere’s stats for 2010 again.  That’s Denard Span’s 2011 line of .294/.361/.385 (.746 OPS) with less power, more steals, and better D when he gets more comfortable.  And a noodle for an arm that brings back nightmares of Shannon Stewart…  Revere is 1 year removed from putting up pretty Denard Span-like season in AAA.  And about 4 1/2 years younger.

Here’s the discussion question(s):

  • Are we overvaluing Span, or are we undervaluing Revere?

Maybe we are being too hard on Ben Revere.  There’s got to be a Beevis and Butthead reference I could throw in here somewhere…



Why Wait?

9 Feb

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When I’ve been asked this offseason when I thought that Kyle Gibson would be promoted to the Twins, my response has been late-June, maybe July. If you’ve been reading this site for any period of time, the typical follow-up is that it doesn’t make sense to bring him up until there is no concern about him being a Super-2 candidate.

I thought I’d take a step back and make sure that everyone understands what that means, but also look at Gibson and other similar scenarios.  I will use Gibson in many of the examples because he is the current player who Twins fans are wondering about, but just a year ago, the Twins waited until June to promote Danny Valencia. Buster Posey was promoted in June by the Giants last year. Matt Weiters was promoted in June of 2009.

Let’s start with when a player becomes arbitration-eligible. From

A player with three or more years of service, but less than six years, may file for salary arbitration. In addition, a player can be classified as a “Super Two” and be eligible for arbitration with less than three years of service. A player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and he ranks in the top 17 percent in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86 days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season.

86 Days essentially puts them to the end of June. Of those players that were called up by that time, the 17% with the most service time are Super-2s. That is why a lot of teams wait until June because they are generally more likely to not reach Super-2 status. It is possible that the date will be later each year for awhile because most, if not all, organizations are following this philosophy with its top prospects. More teams are being brutally honest about the reason now. What does it mean in terms of dollars?

Here is a chart with estimated salaries:

Year Gibson’s Age Full Season or Super 2 Up in June, Not Super 2
2011 23 $400K $200K
2012 24 $420K $410K
2013 25 $450K $430K
2014 26 $3M $450K

The chart illustrates what we have talked about before, that by getting past the Super 2 date; the team saves money in that fourth year. I use $3 million, but that’s assuming that Gibson pitches to a level similar to Kevin Slowey (who made $2.7 million in his first year of arbitration). Doesn’t this just make a lot of sense?

But what if we expand this chart to look at probably the even more important factor in why Kyle Gibson should not start the season with the Minnesota Twins.

Year Gibson’s Age Full Season or Super 2 Up in June, Not Super 2
2011 23 $400K $200K
2012 24 $420K $410K
2013 25 $450K $430K
2014 26 $3M $450K
2015 27 $6M $3.5M
2016 28 $8M $6.5M
2017 29 F/A $9M
2018 30 F/A F/A

More important, the Twins would have one more year of Gibson before he could become a free agent. Obviously these dollars values are all estimates, and this is making an assumption that a long-term contract is not worked out to buy-out some arbitration and/or free agency years.  

So, if the Twins don’t care about Super 2 status, they really should be sure to wait a few days before calling up Gibson. If he were to be called up in late April, he would likely be a Super 2 and would be arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2014. However, since he would not have six full years of service time at the end of the 2016 season, he still would not be a free agent until after the 2017 season.

One such example happened with the Rays and Evan Longoria. He did not make the Rays 2008 opening day roster, but on April 12th, he debuted with the big league club. He would have been a Super 2, and probably would have been eligible for arbitration four years. However, on April 18th, just six days after his debut, the Rays and Longoria agreed on a six year, $17.5 million contract with options for 2014 and 2015 and 2016. Such a team-friendly, long-term contract meant that none of the above arbitration/free agency years) matters.

So, even if the Twins would decide that Kyle Gibson should be in the starting rotation to start the season, the smartest thing would be to send him to Rochester, and then add him to the 40-man roster and call him up four days later. Again, that would mean that his service time would be just shy of six years after the 2016 season, and the Twins would get an extra season before he hit free agency. Gibson would get a fourth year of arbitration, but he would be under Twins control for an extra season.

That isn’t being ‘cheap,’ it’s just being smart.

Finally, there are many reasons to wait to promote Kyle Gibson to the big leagues that go beyond the financial, although that is clearly very important. The Twins have six starting pitchers right now who have all experienced some level of success over the last couple of years. In fact, I think we could say that Glen Perkins has had some success in the big leagues as a starter and as he is out of options, he deserves another crack at a roster spot. The Twins will give every opportunity to Scott Diamond to make the roster. Eric Hacker was brought in and put on the 40 man roster. Jeff Manship and even Anthony Swarzak have pitched well at times with the Twins. The Twins have options that deserve an opportunity at the start of the season.

Kyle Gibson will be a big league pitcher. Having depth allows the team to be more patient with him, as well. We seem to forget that 2010 was Gibson’s first full season. He moved from Ft. Myers to New Britain, and ended the season with three starts in Rochester. Giving him a couple more months to continue to work on some things can only benefit him. As he pitched about 150 innings last year, the Twins would certainly prefer to keep him to about 175-180 innings in 2011, and they can control his innings for the first couple of months in Rochester to keep him strong through the rest of the season.

As terrific as we think that Gibson will be, like any pitching prospect, we won’t know until he is there. And, most pitching prospects don’t come up and have an immediate huge impact. Gibson will come up when he is ready, and at that time, he will have four big league pitches. He will induce a lot of ground balls. He has incredible makeup and mound presence. He has a chance to be pretty good.

When the Twins season reaches June, we will have much better idea of what holes the team has in its lineup, in the bullpen and maybe in the rotation. If Gibson is pitching well at that time and someone in the rotation is struggling, the Twins will not hesitate to bring him up.

Hopefully this helps illustrate a little better the arbitration and Super-2 terminology. Again, I used Kyle Gibson as the example because that is what people are talking and asking about now. But this is also a theme we are hearing all around baseball as teams are not afraid to talk about it out loud. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to discuss in the comments section.


  • Last night’s Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast was about ½ hour of me and Cody Christie (North Dakota Twins Fan) talking about a bunch of Twins topics. Check it out.
  • Following the podcast, I answer Twins-related question in a Live chat for about two hours. Lots of good questions. You can read the transcript here.
  • Seth’s Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2011 is now available online here. For just $14.95, you get 170 page of Twins minor league content.
  • Edited by John and featuring the entire TwinsCentric crew and several more of your favorite Twins writers, the Maple Street Press Twins Annual 2011 is now available for pre-order here. Pre-ordering means that you will get it before it reaches news stands, and you won’t have to stand in line to pick yours up!!
  • 100 Things Twins Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is a new book which will be available March 1. Twins writer Alex Halsted is the author, and I’m told I may have a cameo.

Happy Holidays

24 Dec

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Good morning and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Just a real quick note as you can imagine today and tomorrow will be rather busy, and I’m hoping to not spend too much time at the computer. But if you eat a bit much, and all of your family falls asleep after a big meal, and you just sneak to the computer and happen to come here, please feel free to e-mail me some of your thoughts on, the podcasts, radio appearances, the books, TwinsCentric, or anything. 2010 has been a big year for me and for blogging, and it’s exciting, but there is always room for improvement, and I will always welcome your e-mails for thoughts, suggestions, etc.

Today, I will be on 740 TheFan in Fargo at about 12:30. So, see if your Christmas Eve lunch plans can be moved to 1:00 so that you and your family can all snuggle around the transistor radio (or online) and listen to some Twins talk. I’m sure that fits in with the rest of your traditions, right?

Also, here are our panel’s Week 16 football picks.

Again, I just want to say thank you to all of the other Twins bloggers, the TwinsCentric guys, the Twins media, the Twins organization, and to you readers and podcast listeners for all of your support throughout the year (or years, in many cases). I hope for your continued support. So with that, I do welcome your feedback, so please feel free to e-mail me, if you would like.

Thank you, and again, Happy Holidays to you, and your families!

Friday Links and Thinks

17 Sep

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Quick Note – NFL “Expert” Picks to be posted around 12:30.

Also, there is some technical difficulty on this site. Go to for proper formating and to see the links. Thank you!

Happy Friday!! It is currently good to be a Twins fan. Remember when the team was really struggling around the All Star break? Remember when many thought that Joe Mauer should sit out the All-Star game to rest up? Remember when we were scared of the Yankees and the Rays, and wondered if home field in the first round of the playoffs was feasible? Remember the concern about handing over the 3B job to Mr. Valencia? Remember all the injuries? Remember the excuses? Remember the fan outrage?

Ah, memories. It’s good to be a fan of baseball’s best team. Joe Mauer is again an MVP candidate. Ron Gardenhire should be the unquestioned manager of the year. Danny Valencia has snuck into Rookie of the Year discussion. There are some injuries yet, some tired players, to be sure, but this team is playing at its finest, and it would be great to see it continue. They are ½ game behind the Rays for the best record in the American League, and tied with the Yankees.


Who would you rather play in the first round of the playoffs? The Yankees or the Rays? We know that the Twins will not be playing the Rangers because two teams from the East will be in the playoffs. So, who would you rather see the Twins play in the 1st round, Yankees or Rays?

Yankees – The Twins have really struggled, inexplicably, the last two years against the Yankees, but Jason Kubel did go yard-work on Mariano Rivera in Yankees Stadium earlier this year. The Yankees lineup does contain Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and MVP candidate Robinson Cano… don’t ya know? The Yankees have CC Sabathia? But then who? AJ Burnett has been really bad. Phil Hughes has not been the same in the second half. How healthy and productive can Andy Pettitte be when he comes back from his injuries? Mariano Rivera is still Mariano Rivera, but how do the Yankees get the ball to him? Joba Chamberlain hasn’t been what people hoped. Sergio Mitre pitches for them.

Rays – An immensely talented and athletic team, the Rays are led by Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria. But for all the speed that the team has, this offense has really not produced at times this year. BJ Upton remains an enigma. Jason Bartlett fell back to reality. Carlos Pena is more home run or nothing than ever. Ben Zobrist fell back to the pack. But the talent, athleticism and speed make this a scary matchup. They could bunt on the Twins pitchers. They will try to run against the Twins pitchers and catchers. But this team is built on pitching. David Price is a strong Cy Young candidate. The tough lefty lost twice to the Twins this year, but pitched quite well both games. Matt Garza is up and down. James Shields has pitched in big games before, but he’s had a rough. Wade Davis has been better of late, but Jeff Niemann has really struggled. Jeremy Hellickson has not taken to the bullpen as they likely hope. That said, the Rays bullpen is very good and deep. And Rafael Soriano is one of the top closers in baseball.

There is no denying two things. First, regardless of whether the Twins play the Rays or the Yankees, they will be playing a tremendous baseball team and will have to be playing at their peak to win. However, second, these two great teams are not perfect. They have weaknesses. They can be beaten.

So which team would you prefer to play in the first round… with the understanding that there is a good chance that if the Twins win their ALDS series, they will play the other team in the ALCS.

The Twins did wonders for their AL Central hopes by sweeping their three game series in Chicago. The Magic Number is now down to eight. It isn’t a matter of if the Twins will win the division, but a matter of when they will clinch, and if they can take home field advantage. The Twins don’t play anyone else with a .500 record this season, but it doesn’t mean things will be easy.

For instance, this weekend the Twins will face three left-handed starting pitchers. Brett Anderson’s peripherals are terrific despite his 5-6 record. Dallas Braden’s numbers are solid, and he’s got a losing record. But we know that he also has the ability and talent to throw a perfect game. The reason that the A’s really good starting pitchers are not getting “Wins” is because the Oakland offense is really, really bad. I mean, the Mariners’ offense is bad, but the A’s may be even worse. The Twins bats will have to show up still to put a few runs on the board, but hopefully that will be enough to continue the winning.

The A’s Sunday starter, Bobby Cramer, is quite a story. He signed with the Tampa Bay Rays as a non-drafted free agent out of Long Beach State. He never made it above A-ball with the Rays when he was released in 2005. He went two years without playing baseball. Instead, he was working as a pipeline inspector and teaching algebra to at-risk high school students. But he was given another chance by the A’s in 2008 and pitched for the organization the past two years. But this sprint, the A’s released him and loaned him to the Quintana Roos of the Mexican League. The A’s brought him back, sent him to AAA, and on Monday, the 30 year old made his Major League debut. He got a win by going 5.1 innings and giving up just one run.

Here are the pitching matchups:
• Friday night – Nick Blackburn (9-9, 5.51, 1.50, .311) vs Brett Anderson (5-6, 2.94, 1.21, .261)
• Saturday afternoon – Kevin Slowey (12-6, 4.24, 1.28, .278) vs. Dallas Braden (9-12, 3.56, 1.15, .249)
• Sunday afternoon – Francisco Liriano (14-7, 3.28, 1.24, .248) vs Bobby Cramer (1-0, 1.69, 0.94, .222)

Here is a look around the Twins blogosphere. A good site to find 66 Twins blogs is Newsbobber’s Minnesota Baseball Blog site., but you can also look on the left side of this page for many. I’ve only included blogs that have been updated in the last few days (let me know if I’m missing any sites that I should add):

• Aaron Gleeman, who was on Twins Wrap with Doogie Wolfson the last two nights on, posted his newest Link-O-Rama.
• What was the conversation between Ron Gardenhire and Carl Pavano’s representative when telling him that Joe Mauer would catch Pavano in last night’s game? Twinkie Town’s RandBall Stu has an idea.
• Over at The WGOM, AMR posted a Little Graph for Fun, a graphical look at the 2010 AL Central division.
• Nick Nelson gives a nod to the Twins Bullpen Ace.
• The Baseball Outsider, Ed Thoma, writes about Resting Joe Mauer.
• Coffeyville Whirlwind investigates Paul Molitor’s 3000th hit.
• Andrew from Off the Mark is a little concerned about agreeing with Patrick Reusse.
• FunBobby from Hitting the Foul Pole (blog formerly called Fire Gardy) asks “Will Gardy finally win the AL Manager of the Year?”
• Jim Crikket of Knuckleballs asks What’s Next? The Twins have (pretty much) accomplished their first of three spring training goals, so what do they need to do to reach the two other goals?
• On the Road with Shawn wrote a couple of days ago that the Twins are on Fire, and they have just kept it going. Also, congrats to Shawn on a new job!
• No Smoking in the Metrodome takes a look at the best 2nd half Managers in baseball. Guess who is #2 on that list? And guess which two managers are at the very bottom.
• Granny Baseball’s TT asks, Are the White Sox are finished? Last week, he updated his personal top ten Twins prospects list.
• Hitting the Eephus welcomes All Aboard the Crain Train.
• The Twins Geek puts us Back to Reality about Home Field Advantage.

Here are the links to the TwinsCentric blog postings for this week:
• Monday – Parker Hageman – Why did Flores favor his fastball?
• Tuesday – Seth Stohs – Hometown Hopeful
• Wednesday – Nick Nelson – Straightening out the AL Cy Young Race
• Thursday – John Bonnes – Getting Past Defense
• Friday – Parker Hageman – ???

• John Bonnes is on The Power Trip Morning Show on KFAN Tuesdays and Friday’s during the 7:00 hour. (Podcasts available here.) I am on KFAN with Paul Allen each Thursday morning at about 9:20. If you would like to listen, the podcast is available here.

• On Monday Night’s Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast, I was joined by’s White Sox writer, JJ Stankevitz, City Pages’ Judd Spicer, and Twins non-drafted free agent signees Matt Schuld and Gunner Glad.

Any thoughts on the Twins or the Twins blogosphere? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.


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