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  • Monday Morning Madness: September 9, 2013

    The Twins revived a fun tradition and got swept by the Blue Jays late in the season. It wasn't the traditional stomping we're used to, but the same basic idea. The Twins have also lost a shocking 10 games in a row at home. Where's the home field advantage, Target Field? Maybe it's time to remove that Target dog from the batters' eye. It's very distracting.

    Punto's back?

    I got a random text from my mom earlier this week. All it said was "punto is back?!?" and I was confused. I then realized she meant "Pinto" and it all made sense. After a few texts back and forth, I was able to show my mom that Pinto and Punto are two different players. She was disappointed. Nick Punto was her favorite player. Josmil Pinto was my favorite player last week. It was really fun to see him get a lot of hits and earn more playing time. I'd start him every day until the end of the season and I'm at the point where I'd pencil him in to the everyday lineup in 2014. One week may not be enough time to get an accurate read, but I enjoy watching him hit and with this team, that's enough to make him a starter for me.

    Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed!

    Kevin Correia

    The Blue Jays shelled Correia in the first inning on Saturday and the Twins weren't able to overcome the early deficit. It was annoying and it made me wish that I didn't have the knowledge that Correia would certainly be back in 2014. However, is it possible that Correia has been everything the Twins had hoped for? I made a chart that shows how his 2013 season compares with his 2009-2012 average season. Take a look:

    2013 2009-2012 (Avg)
    Wins 9 12
    Innings 167.1 167
    ERA 4.3 4.51
    ERA+ 96 83
    WHIP 1.41 1.362
    K/9 5.1 5.7
    BB/9 2.1 2.9
    K/BB 2.41 1.99
    HR/9 1.3 1.1

    He might be slightly better than he was the previous four seasons. He gets fewer strikeouts, but he's also walking fewer batters. His WHIP is higher, but his ERA is lower. He's almost a league-average pitcher, if you believe in ERA+. I'm not sure if the Correia signing was smart or not, but if the Twins wanted what Correia did from 2009-2012, they got it.

    Alex Presley

    When I analyzed the Justin Morneau trade last weekend, I referred to Presley as a Clete Thomas type and a potential DFA candidate at the end of the season. Clearly, the second part of that statement was borderline insane. The Twins wouldn't DFA the guy they got for Morneau. However, the first part seems incorrect too. Presley certainly looks like a better overall hitter. He makes more consistent contact and he appears to be more aggressive without racking up strikeouts. But, can we tether him to first base when he gets there? He's 19 for 34 in his career on stolen base attempts. Hopefully, the Twins can work with him on that element of his game, because he does seem to have good speed.

    In summary, the Twins now have four 4th outfielders. See if you can name them all! Madness.


    Michael Sack at Two Men On took a crack at predicting the Twins' 2014 lineup. Check it out! His projected lineup might be a bit ambitious on the youngster level, but I love the idea of a lineup that consists of Joe Mauer, Byron Buxton, Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks, Miguel Sano and Josmil Pinto. Those are six players who I would be genuinely excited to see at the plate a few times each game. Heck, even Brian Dozier is fun to watch now. I'm not sure about the likelihood of his lineup, but it would be a whole lot of fun to watch that team try to win 70-75 games.

    The Next Big Thing?

    Speaking of Pinto:

    Yep, I'm calling it. It's the circle of life.

    Fun Stat

    Kevin Correia's 96 ERA+ is not very exciting. However, only 20 Twins pitchers have surpassed that figure in the last 10 seasons, while throwing at least 167 innings. It's shocking. Here's the list:

    Johan Santana and his Merry Band of Pitching Men

    If Correia gets to 190 innings with that same ERA+, the list of guys to match his feat will be even smaller. Scary stuff. For comparison sake, the Red Sox have had just 26 pitchers pass this new Correia Threshold. So, is Correia better than we think or is the Twins' pitching situation not as dire as we think? Interesting question.

    Answer to a Hypothetical Facebook Question

    Q: Why would I waste my time on the Twins. The Vikings rule this town.

    A: I'm not going to bother to point out the lack of a question mark and the fact that you are posting on the Twins' Facebook page. Also, which town are you referring to? Bird Island? Instead, I will earnestly answer your question with five legitimate reasons.

    1. Christian Ponder is not on the Twins, thus everyone's ankles are safe.
    2. The Twins have a lot of talent coming through the pipeline and it's going to be exciting to watch them play over the years.
    3. Target Field is built.
    4. Brian Dozier's face isn't covered by a football helmet.
    5. Baseball > Football

    What to watch for!

    Have you ever thought to yourself, "I wonder if a team of animals could beat a team of birds at baseball?" If so, you're gonna get your answer. I've put together a team of animals so powerful that those birds don't stand a chance. Oh, and watch out, both teams, because Torii Hunter has brought a couple of friends.

    Parting Thought

    The Twins play the A's and the Rays this week, and that rhymes. It also showcases two teams who have built winning franchises despite financial and market problems. In fact, these might be the two worst markets in all MLB. Even so, if the playoffs started today, both teams would be there and the Twins would not. Worrying too much about the team's market and baseball economics will get you into the situation the Twins are in right now. Figuring out a way to work around financial and market issues is a part of baseball. Cities aren't going to randomly increase in size. Fan bases won't shift. Players aren't going to suddenly become cheaper.

    The Twins will always have to deal with being a middle market (not small, that's a fallacy). Hopefully, the wave of talent on the horizon will inspire management to be more creative in the other areas of the game. If not, they'll waste the prime years of Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, like they did with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Ugh, so sad, don't think about that. Just stop right now. Here's a guy in a silly hat:

    Have a nice week, everyone!
    This article was originally published in blog: Monday Morning Madness: September 9, 2013 started by Brad Swanson
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Another fantastic article!
    1. frightwig's Avatar
      frightwig -
      Correia also has a 4.52 FIP, 4.19 xFIP.

      2009: 3.81, 4.14
      2010: 4.71, 4.06
      2011: 4.85, 4.38
      2012: 4.43, 4.34
      Career: 4.52, 4.41

      It's still fair to wonder why Terry Ryan felt it necessary to sign Correia for 2 years, or to criticize Ryan for not getting anybody with more upside this year, but Correia is doing just what the Twins and their fans should have expected of him. He's a mediocre back-end starter, worth 1.0 WAR to date. And there's something to be said for a starting pitcher being just exactly the level of mediocre value that you should be expecting for $5M/yr. on the open market. It would've been nice if Ryan had been the one who signed Scott Feldman or Scott Kazmir this year, but teams looking for bargain innings-eaters often do worse than Kevin Correia. You know, Correia could have been Joe Saunders or Aaron Harang. He's not really good, but he's earned his money.
    1. Wookiee of the Year's Avatar
      Wookiee of the Year -
      That 2014 line-up is ambitious--certainly too ambitious for Opening Day. But the idea that the Twins could have that line-up at some point in August 2014? It's optimistic, but not unbelievably so. It would be exciting if the Twins finished 2014 with those players all as "regulars" in one form or another.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      I agree the line-up is too ambitious for opening day, but I really liked it anyway.

      Go Twins!
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Twins manager Ron Gardenhire acknowledged that the team won't promote Aaron Hicks this month.

      "This is a good breather for him," Gardenhire said. "Hopefully he'll come back with a little attitude." Hicks had a nightmare season, but it's interesting that Gardenhire and the front office continue to feed the media platitudes that imply this situation is the center fielder's fault. Quite simply, that's intellectually dishonest. Minnesota rushed Hicks into the Opening Day roster as a 23-year-old who'd never taken a Triple-A at-bat. He predictably struggled, though nobody knew he'd manage to hit only .192/.259/.338. Hicks' attitude doesn't need adjusting, in all likelihood. Baseball America's No. 72 prospect coming into the year just needs more experience. The attitude of Twins' management on this subject, however, is another story.

      Source: Mike Berardino on Twitter
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Correia - Yep, not great, but not bad either. His certainly wasn't an exciting signing, but he's panned out about as well as could have been hoped.

      Hicks - That quote annoys me on a couple of levels. First, Berardino is right, the Twins rushed him. It's not as though Hicks just showed up on Opening Day and refused to leave. Second, what does Gardenhire mean by attitude? Quotes like those bother me so much. A follow-up question might have been warranted, but he probably wouldn't have explained what he meant very well either. Isn't it just fine to say that he needed more time in the Minors? Why put something about attitude out there?

      I'm reading into this far too much and I apologize for that.
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      That Gardy quote looks to me like he was hinting that Hicks might come back with a chip on his shoulder/something to prove due to his non-promotion, not that he showed a bad attitude on the season.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      "Fun Stat

      Kevin Correia's 96 ERA+ is not very exciting. However, only 20 Twins pitchers have surpassed that figure in the last 10 seasons, while throwing at least 167 innings. It's shocking. Here's the list:

      Johan Santana and his Merry Band of Pitching Men"

      You know that any list with Carlos Silva on it three times is exclusive company.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by ericchri View Post
      That Gardy quote looks to me like he was hinting that Hicks might come back with a chip on his shoulder/something to prove due to his non-promotion, not that he showed a bad attitude on the season.
      Yeah, you're almost certainly right.
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