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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

Widening the rotation
via Baseball Outsider May 26, 2017 at 09:38 AM

The Twins had an off-day Thursday. They have played 43 games so far; their opponent this weekend, the Tampa Bay Rays, have played 50. Nobody in baseball has played fewer games than the Twins to date.The relative lack of games allowed manager Paul Molitor to sharply narrow his starting rotation this month. Ervin Santana, Hector Santiago and Phil Hughes have made every scheduled start (although Hugh

Ervin Santana and the 1.80 ERA
via Baseball Outsider May 25, 2017 at 09:38 AM

Ervin Santana has made 10 starts this season, going 7-2 with a 1.80 ERA.Wins are an exceptionally noisy stat, but he had seven wins total in each of his first two seasons with the Twins -- and now seven before the end of May.More significant is the ERA, which is about 2.2 runs per nine innings below his career figure.He's getting these results even though both his walks per nine innings and his st

Jorge Polanco, shortstop
via Baseball Outsider May 24, 2017 at 09:38 AM

Jorge Polanco isone ot three Twinsin the top 10 indefensive WARin the AL ascalculated byBaseball Reference.Jorge Polanco played regularly at shortstop the last two months of 2016. He played the position like a pinball bumper -- 11 errors in 406 innings -- which essentially fit his erratic results in the minors.And yet Paul Molitor persisted. He saw a major league shortstop in Polanco where almost

Add one pitcher, subtract one pitcher
via Baseball Outsider May 23, 2017 at 09:38 AM

A bit more than a week ago, in discussing the dominance of Jose Berrios in his first major league start of 2017, I noted in the Monday print column that the Twins had two veteran starters who were pitching quite well (Erivin Santana  and Hector Santiago) and one pitching acceptably (Phil Hughes). Berrios, optimistically, deepens the rotation:That's the optimistic take, and it assumes not only

Michael Cedaroth, we hardly knew ye
via Baseball Outsider May 21, 2017 at 09:38 AM

Readers with a particularly good retention of what shows up here might remember that last September my wife and I went to Cedar Rapids to see the Kernels and I came home with a Michael Cederoth jersey.I never actually saw the 2014 third-round pick pitch, but winning the jersey in a silent auction gave me a mild emotional investment in him. Then the news this weekend:Confirmed: The #MNTwins have re

The closed window in Kansas City
via Baseball Outsider May 20, 2017 at 09:38 AM

The Kansas City Royals won the World Series in 1985. They (or more precisely, their fans) then endured almost 30 years without a playoff appearance until 2014, when they lost the World Series in seven games. They they won the Series in 2015.We're still more than a week from the spot in the calendar when I allow myself to pay attention to the standings, but the 2017 Royals are in last place. What's

Feelin' a draft
via Baseball Outsider May 19, 2017 at 09:38 AM

A few more mock drafts came across my view Thursday.Baseball America's John Manuel unveiled his third mock, and once again had a different 1-1. This time it was Kyle Wright, right handed pitcher from Vanderbilt. In his first, it was high school right-hander Hunter Greene; in the second, Brendan McKay, a two-way star from Louisville.Manuel:Minnesota appears to be leaning toward McKay, but consideri

It ain't the pitching, it's the defense
via Baseball Outsider May 18, 2017 at 09:38 AM

I don't know exactly when the team fielding page for Baseball Reference gets updated, but as of 5:45 this morning the Twinswere second in MLB in defensive fielding efficiency -- which is the percentage of balls in play turned into outsfirst in MLB in the Baseball Info Systems metric Runs Savedfirst in MLB in the Baseball Projections metric Total Zone Total Fielding Runs Saved Above AverageMea

Notes, quotes and comment
via Baseball Outsider May 17, 2017 at 09:38 AM

The #Twins still are undecided but now leaning towards passing on HS pitcher Hunter Greene and taking Louisville 1B Brendan McKay w 1st pick— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) May 15, 2017No link, no indication of source. Noteworthy, however, for the identification of McKay not as a pitcher but as a first baseman.---A few Twins roster moves of late that I hadn't noted:Michael Tonkin passed through w

Ex-Twins watch: Ricky Nolasco and Alex Meyer
via Baseball Outsider May 16, 2017 at 09:38 AM

Last summer the Twins disposed of Ricky Nolasco, who over three seasons and 56 starts wth Minnesota had pitched to a 5.44 ERA, His FIP -- Fielding Independent Pitching -- wasn't nearly that bad, but that had been true of Nolasco at his previous teams as well.The Twins got back Hector Santiago from the Angels in exchange, but to do so they had tothrow in some cash to even out the salaries involved

Notes, quotes and comment
via Baseball Outsider May 15, 2017 at 09:38 AM

A pretty good weekend for the Twins. They took a series in Cleveland and may have found another rotation piece in Jose Berrios.Berrios's strong outing Saturday was not flawless, but he looked like the pitcher Twins fans have been anticipating for a few years.Of course, for those of use inclined to see the glass half-empty, that was followed by a poor outing by Hector Santiago, whose ERA rose more

Pic of the Week
via Baseball Outsider May 14, 2017 at 09:38 AM

Mookie Betts enjoys the moment after hittinga three-run ninth inning homer Tursdayin Milwaukee.This just in: Mookie Betts is a helluva baseball player.

Reshaping the rotation
via Baseball Outsider May 13, 2017 at 09:38 AM

The Twins made the Jose Berrios callup official after Friday's game and optioned Nick Tepesch  back to Triple A.Tepesch was called up April 25. He sat around until May 6 -- 11 days if I count correctly -- started, didn't get out of the second inning, and hasn't pitched since.Three weeks, roughly speaking, on the active roster with one appearance. We'll see how long Adam Wilk sits around

Shoulda seen this coming
via Baseball Outsider May 12, 2017 at 09:38 AM

Jose Berrios to start Saturday— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) May 12, 2017Earlier Thursday, in my biweekly chat with Jim Gullickson on KMSU, I explained why the Twins were going slow on promoting Berrios. I mentioned the service time issue, but emphasized the fastball command question. I'm not sure those concerns have gone away.But ... Berrios has racked up a 1.13 ERA in six starts this season

Another marginal pitcher
via Baseball Outsider May 11, 2017 at 09:38 AM

The Twins on Wednesdaygot rained out in Chicago andshuffled one marginal pitcher off the active roster to add another.Incoming is Adam Wilk, a left-handed pitcher claimed off waivers from the Mets. He's 29 and  has picked up 30 major league innings since 2011 with an ERA of  7.20.Perhaps all we really need to know about him is this: The Mets are so decimated for starting pitchers that th

Can't get no relief
via Baseball Outsider May 10, 2017 at 09:38 AM

Paul Molitor's bullpen opened the season with five right-handers. Two of them -- closer Brandon Kintzler and Tyler Duffey -- are getting the job done. The others, not so muchRyan Pressly, expected to be the primary setup man and closer in waiting, has an 8.74 ERA in 11.1 innings. Matt Belisle, the journeyman veteran who essentially inherited that role whe Pressley started throwing home runs with r

Good-bye, D. Santana
via Baseball Outsider May 09, 2017 at 09:38 AM

The Twins on Monday traded Danny Santana to the Atlanta Braves for left-handed reliever Kevin Chapman.Chapman has pitched 55 major league innings the past four seasons, all with Houston, but he wasn't on the Braves 40-man roster and had a pretty ugly ERA with their Triple A club (7.71 in 11.2 innings). He's minor league depth right now, but the Twins have been pretty active even with the new regim

Up or Out: Michael Tonkin and the missed opportunity
via Baseball Outsider May 08, 2017 at 09:38 AM

The Twins swapped out another piece of the pitching staff over the weekend, dumping Michael Tonkin (designated for assignment) and restoring Justin Haley from the disabled list.Michael Tonkingave up fourhomers in 11innings this year.As noted in the Monday print column, Tonkin had more than a year in the major league bullpen, a period of extreme disruption in that bullpen, and never managed to seiz

Pic of the Week
via Baseball Outsider May 07, 2017 at 09:38 AM

Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles gets an ovationfrom the Boston crowd on Tuesday, the day after theoutfielder was subjected to racial slurs.You eitheralready know the Adam Jones-racist fans story ordon't care about it.So I won't spend my time or yours trying to recap it here.I just have one thought to share. After Jones made his complaint public, and other African American players chimed in wit

Roster moves and Mauer in the ninth
via Baseball Outsider May 06, 2017 at 09:38 AM

You probably have heard that Joe Mauer hit a walk-off homer Friday night, his first such four-bagger in his illustrious career.I checked his career splits on Baseball Reference. It was his 14th ninth-inning homer. He sported coming into the game a .290/.377/.447 slash line in the ninth (a total of 520 plate appearances) with an OPS in the innings slightly below his career figure.It hasn't been a p