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A Twins fan since 1969 and a copy editor for The Free Press (Mankato, Minn.) since 1985, I've written a weekly column on baseball since 1989.


Latest Content from Baseball Outsider

Should they have played in San Juan?
via Baseball Outsider April 20, 2018 at 07:13 PM

As it became evident last September how badly Hurricane Maria had damaged Puerto Rico,  I expected MLB to cancel the planned Indians-Twins series in San Juan. They didn't.Those games were played Tuesday and Wednesday -- the second one in the midst of an island-wide blackout, with literally millions of Puerto Ricans in the dark and backup generators powering Hiram Bithorn Stadium. The stadium

Ryan LaMarre, starring in small sample size theater
via Baseball Outsider April 19, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Ryan LaMarre'ssecond major leagueRBI was a gane-winner/Ryan LaMarre, who had the game-winning hit in the 16th inning in the midnight hour in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is now 7-for-12 with five strikeouts. All seven hits are singles.The man's BABIP -- batting average, balls in play -- is 1.000. His batting average is .583.Obviously, he's not THAT good. If he was, he wouldn't be coming off the bench, m

A game! A game! (A loss)
via Baseball Outsider April 18, 2018 at 07:13 PM

The Twins finally played a game Tuesday night. And they got beat.News flash: Corey Kluber is pretty good. So is the Cleveland lineup.Both the Twins and Cleveland had been a long time between games; four days without playing for Minnesota, three for the Tribe. Another news flash: It's been a miserable spring all over.Facing Cleveland is tough enough; facing Cleveland with a well-rested bullpen and

Small sample size theater
via Baseball Outsider April 17, 2018 at 07:13 PM

"Small sample size theater." That's a phrase I heard Monday afternoon on MLB Network in discussing Shohei Ohtani. I like it, amd I'm stealing it.Scene IA regular reader of these posts dislikes the Twins decision to play Eduardo Escobar at shortstop during the suspension of Jorge Polanco. Shortstop, he opines, should prioritze defense, and Escobar is not as good with the the glove as Ehire Adrianza

Notes, quotes and comment
via Baseball Outsider April 16, 2018 at 07:13 PM

The Twins promoted relief pitcher Alan Busenitz during the weekend snowouts to take the roster spot vacated with Ryan LaMarre's demotion.This would make more sense to me if the Twins bullpen was overworked and weary. But they haven't played for three days now and won't play today either.Two possible rationales to going to 13 pitchers:Addison Reed's illness (reported earlier last week as strep thro

Pic of the Week
via Baseball Outsider April 15, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Fernando Rodney strikes a pose during Saturday's blizzard.This photo comes via the @LosTwins twitter account, the Twins' official Spanish language feed.He may be from the Domincan, but, as with the image from the previous week of him catching snowflakes in his mouth while pitching, he seems to get some enjoyment from the snow.I also suspect that he'll be happy to get to Puerto Rico this week.

Demoting Ryan LaMarre
via Baseball Outsider April 14, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Ryan LaMarre, optioned to Triple A Rochester soon after Friday's game was postponed, has had an odd eight at-bats this season.He has four singles, and he has four strikeouts. His BABIP -- Batting Average on Balls In Play -- is 1.000. File that under "samll sample size oddities" and forget it as insignificant.The demotion itself may not be highly significant either. Nobody expects the Twins to play

Mauer 2K
via Baseball Outsider April 13, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Joe Mauer is hitting .412 so far.Joe Mauer got career hit number 2,000 Thursday night, a ground ball through the box against a drawn-in infield that drove in a pair of runs and doubled Minnesota's lead.Regular readers of this blog know that I see Mauer as having done the heavy lifting for the Hall of Fame. His decade of excellence as a catcher stands with anybody in the game's history, and he will

Contemplating Max Kepler
via Baseball Outsider April 12, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Max Kepler's big day Wednesday -- two homers, including the walk-off in the ninth inning -- gave him a slash line on the young season of .281/.395/.625.Even before Wednesday's long ball exploits, when his slash numbers looked more like 2017's, Kepler simply looked like a better, more advanced hitter this spring than in seasons past. This is certainly plausible; he turned 25 just before spring trai

Contemplating Ryan Pressly
via Baseball Outsider April 11, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Ryan Pressly'sstrikeout rate soaredlast season, but so didhis homers allowed.I have been at times -- most of last season, this year's spring training -- eager to see Ryan Pressly's roster spot go to somebody else. What I've seen is velocity with sometimes shaky command that proves all too hittable.The Twins have been more patient. And so far this young season, that patience is being rewarded.On Tu

Logan Morrison and the four-man outfield
via Baseball Outsider April 10, 2018 at 07:13 PM

The Houston Astros have deployed a four-man outfield on occasion this young season. The first to get the treatment was Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers. Logan Morrison on Monday night was the most recent.Both are left-handed power hitters of, let us say, limited batting averages. Gallo is about as close to a "three true outcomes" (strikeout, walk, home run) hitter as we may ever see. Last year he h

Watching an #OldFriend
via Baseball Outsider April 09, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Brandon Kintzler is something of a "the one that got away" for me, and it's a bit strange because I am fully aware of his limitations as a pitcher.I don't know that the Twins front office prefers Fernando Rodney to him, but I believe they do. Rodney has the better strikeout rate, and that, sabermetrically, is more important in 2010s baseball than Kintzler's lower walk rate. I still prefer Kintzler

Pic of the Week
via Baseball Outsider April 08, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Josh Reddick of the Houston Astros is showered withsunflower seeds in the dugout after hitting a grand slam.Honestly, this week gave us two indelible images involving the Twins -- Fernando Rodney catching snowflakes in his mouth during the ninth inning in Pittsburgh, and Challenger the eagle trying to perch on the shoulder of James Paxson before the Target Field home opener. I've already used the

Rule 5 update
via Baseball Outsider April 07, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Tyler Kinley has yet to appear in a game for the Twins; Paul Molitor is, presumably, looking for a really low-leverage situation for his debut, and the Twins haven't had that yet except in the Jose Berrios complete game.Meanwhile, Luke Bard, one of two pitchers claimed off the Twins in Rule 5, has gotten into three games for the Angels. He's pitched four innings and allowed one run on two hits and

Fly like an eagle
via Baseball Outsider April 06, 2018 at 07:13 PM

.@James_Paxton looks at eagles the way mere mortals look at gnats. ?? https://t.co/xfNWy7ViAc pic.twitter.com/XKVebbzPgE— Cut4 (@Cut4) April 5, 2018Nice job, Challenger. But next time, go for the pitching shoulder, not the glove side.Seriously, I'm impressed with how cooly Seattle starter James Paxton handled this "attack" from a big raptor. Fortunately, he was not hurt, and if he was rattled, it'

Fernando Rodney, playing in the snow
via Baseball Outsider April 05, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Fernando Rodney catches snowflakes in his mouthduring the ninth inning Wednesday in Pittsburgh.I wasn't a big fan of the signing of Fernando Rodney to anchor the Twins bullpen, and I continue to have my doubts about the wisdom of that move.But I can like this. The Dominican seems to revel in the snow. That attitude will probably come in handy for the upcoming homestand.

Notes, quotes and comment
via Baseball Outsider April 04, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Thursday is supposed to be the Twins home opener. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which was a months-long hunch (accurate, as it turns out) that the weather today would be inhospitable to baseball, I won't be there; I believe this will be the second home opener I've missed since 1987.So I'll shovel the driveway and sidewalk this morning and report to work in the afternoon.The Twins, as

On bunts and shifts
via Baseball Outsider April 03, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Brian Dozier's complaint about Chance Sisco's bunt on Sunday drew enough blowback Monday that he tried to defend it by noting that the Orioles had not held Ryan LeMarre on first in the top of the ninth:“When they didn’t hold our runner on, they conceded to the fact they didn’t want us to steal, so we didn’t steal.”I'm not going to try to sort out that sentence or hunt for the logic in it. I'm more

On bunts and no-hitters
via Baseball Outsider April 02, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Jose Berrios was spectacular on Sunday, and the Twins won 7-0. Then they turned the spotlight away from their young hurler to a ninth-inning bunt single by Baltimore's Chance Sisco, which they termed "bush league" and "not good baseball."Nonsense. Berrios to that point had pitched out of the stretch to exactly one batter. The O's needed baserunners -- and, crucially, the Twins were in an overshift

Pic of the Week
via Baseball Outsider April 01, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Eduardo Nunez of the Boston Red Sox celebrateshis inside-the-park homer Thursday.Not a bad way to open the season at all.