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A Maestro At First: Trading For Vic Power, April 2, 1962

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Easy-Going Slants of Jake Odorizzi

 Easy like Sunday morning, in fact. Meet new Twins free agent starter (Fangraphs), right hander Jake Odorizzi, signed by the team barely 24 hours ago. The phrase "rotation shot in the arm" never rang more true. [Photo below via Winslow Townson, AP]

Image result for jake odorizziOdorizzi should inspire about 10,000 words of description from Twins television analyst, Bert Blyleven this season. His usual cue card, bullet points will undoubtedly include such humdingers as "centers himself over the pitching rubber," "strides straight towards home plate," and "has a consistent release point," and last, but not least, the sure-fire "doesn't try to do too much." Which may all be true.

Do activate the volume control, lower right hand corner. The slowed down audio plays up the robotic quality of our fine, young automaton.

I'll sum it up as "economical simplicity." At least I'm consistent with my title.

Simplicity is a nice thing to have. As are reinforcements, especially for a pitching staff that was inspiring underwhelming reviews from scouts and Twins fans alike, as the Twins roll out of first gear in the first full-camp days of 2018 spring training.

So long, everybody! - Herb Carneal

Monday, June 26, 2017

Brandon Kintzler Climbing Twins Single Season Saves Chart

Interesting remarks about developing his slider, and having another weapon.
Glad to know he's in attack mode on the mound, as opposed to Ron Davis's attack
mode on the post-game food spreads. I know, I shots on easy targets.

As the Twins roared back this weekend to retake the Central Division lead with a three game sweep of division rival Cleveland, it seemed an appropriate time to examine one of the players responsible for their success in 2017. Brandon Kintzler is one of the more unlikely heroes to emerge, especially among all-time Twins relievers, but is nonetheless a very compelling, feel good story. I keep waiting for him to blow up, fall back to earth, have his coach turn back into a pumpkin (all the usual cliches, dig?). Not yet, anyway!

The Twins all-time, single-season saves leaders are represented in the below chart. Kintzler is stacked up against the best the Twins have had to offer, and it's an interesting look! His percentage of saves per appearances / innings pitched is looking impressive at this point, though with some caveats. I completely expect a drop off as the schedule progresses, with more innings pitched, wear on his arm, a go-against-the-grain reliance on grounders as opposed to strikeouts, and the level of opponents and tough innings pile up. 

But who knows? I wouldn't bet on him sustaining this percentage of save conversions, but he's already surprised me about his apptitude for finishing games and ability to put away tough hitters in high leverage situations. He's doing this by relying on a sinker to generate groundballs, a 5.94 K/9 innings pitched rate, while his flyball rate has increased to 28.3% (up from 19.9), and his vaunted 61+% 2016 groundball rate is down to 47% this year. That notwithstanding, his opportunity to turn in a 30-40 plus save season is within reach, even though his past performances wouldn't seem to have provided that possibility.

The slider "thing" should be interesting to watch, to see if it becomes more of a "go-to" pitch in critical situations.

- Chart: 20 or More Saves In Team History, Kintzler at Top For comparison -

Rk Player SV G IP Year Age SO ERA FIP K% BAbip
1Brandon Kintzler213333.1201732222.703.7116.9%.268
2Bill Campbell2078167.21976271153.013.1616.4%.270
3Jon Rauch215957.2201031463.122.9418.8%.322
4Mike Marshall215499.0197835562.453.0013.9%.259
5Al Worthington216280.1196536592.133.3417.7%.244
6Bill Dailey2166108.2196328721.992.7617.4%.231
7Ron Davis2263106.0198226894.424.3619.4%.297
8Rick Aguilera234444.2199432463.633.7822.9%.373
9Doug Corbett2373136.1198027891.983.0616.8%.247
10Mike Trombley247587.1199932824.334.5221.8%.315
11Ron Davis255764.2198529723.483.6725.3%.293
12Rick Aguilera266168.1199735683.823.8823.9%.313
13LaTroy Hawkins286251.1200128365.964.7414.5%.333
14Ron Davis296483.0198428744.554.2620.3%.292
15Ron Davis306689.0198327843.342.9622.0%.332
16Jeff Reardon316573.0198933464.073.5415.5%.264
17Jeff Reardon316380.1198731834.484.2324.6%.269
18Ron Perranoski3175119.2196933622.113.2412.8%.229
19Glen Perkins326057.0201532543.323.8222.7%.299
20Rick Aguilera325665.1199028612.762.9922.8%.279
21Mike Marshall3290142.2197936812.653.4213.8%.285
22Glen Perkins346361.2201431663.653.1025.4%.320
23Rick Aguilera346572.1199331593.113.6020.6%.252
24Ron Perranoski3467111.0197034552.433.6311.7%.281
25Glen Perkins366162.2201330772.302.4932.1%.275
Rk Player SV G IP Year Age SO ERA FIP K% BAbip
26Joe Nathan366468.1200631951.581.6836.3%.243
27Joe Nathan376871.2200732771.882.6527.3%.279
28Rick Aguilera386874.1199836574.243.6518.6%.300
29Joe Nathan396867.2200833741.332.7928.4%.236
30Eddie Guardado416665.1200332602.893.2323.1%.244
31Rick Aguilera416466.2199230522.833.4019.1%.272
32Rick Aguilera426369.0199129612.353.0022.2%.229
33Jeff Reardon426373.0198832562.473.0018.7%.287
34Joe Nathan436970.0200530942.702.2134.1%.266
35Joe Nathan447372.1200429891.622.1631.3%.273
36Eddie Guardado456867.2200231702.933.4625.9%.259
37Joe Nathan477068.2200934892.102.8832.8%.233
Generated 6/26/2017.

Kintzler also has three blown saves to this point in the season. That's as many as he had last year, in 2016. It is conceivable he could be in the running for the most blown saves in team history, but he'll have to go hard, regress to the mean, to catch up with the worst in team history.

- 10 or More Blown Saves -
Rk Player BSv
SV G IP Year Age
1Ron Davis14296483.0198428
2Rick Aguilera11386874.1199836
3Jeff Reardon11316573.0198933
4Ron Perranoski113467111.0197034
5Ron Perranoski113175119.2196933
6Jeff Reardon10316380.1198731
7Mike Marshall103290142.2197936
8Bill Campbell102078167.2197627

NOTE: For all the criticism Matt Capps received in 2011, 9 BSs (pardon the phrase!) was the most he ever had in any season as a Twins reliever.
Generated 6/26/2017.

"So long, everybody!" - Herb Carneal

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Some Twins Purple Fireworks For A Dad and His Girl

- Definitely: start playback, then bust for 720 HD view, hover cursor near gear, lower right of vid - 
Just imagine: if Prince had mixed fireworks audio into every track, could have been such a star! 


It was a gift-wrapped, late spring night, hinting at rain, but never actually materializing. One that I could spend with my oldest daughter on a rare night off from her restaurant job. It wasn’t perfect - her sister was scheduled to work at the same venue, but you take what you can get.

Thus, I put away my stat charts, calculators and nerdball Twins stories to just enjoy time with the dear one, and buy up some frosty malts and hot dogs. The real payoff for her, however, more than the game itself (let’s not kid ourselves, here)  was the Prince umbrella giveaway and the promise of the Twins spectacular, post-game fireworks.

So, even a lousy, languid  8-2 beating at the hands of the surging Cleveland Indians (BRef Box Score) couldn't take away that goldenness. The girl made her feelings very clear about my idea to leave early and avoid possible postgame traffic, or protesters of the Philandro Castillo verdict invading local roadways. NOT favorable! So damn the consequences, we stayed to enjoy another spectacle together, because that's what you do in life. When there's joy to be had, sleep and comfort can wait. Gold-dang worth it.

And if it isn’t obvious already, the Twins devoted the evening to honoring the departed star Prince. I’ve always admired his talent, and recall vividly the mid-1980s, when “Purple Rain” took over the national charts. These days, I can pull up the Prince station on iHeart Radio and completely marvel at just how incredible his artistry was, even though I never bought an LP or CD of his while he was alive (the Twins let me in the gates, despite that). It’s been stated before, but Prince truly did light up our musical sky, and added color and passion and inventiveness to Minnesota and the world...and then poignantly disappeared one day. Isn’t that just like life?  Appearing one day with splendor and glory, and then...gone forever?
It’s a little bit like those carefree days I spent with my daughter, pushing her and her sister in a suspended rope tree swing -  where did they go?

Were we ever really that young? Was I really such a geeky goofball, trying to make them laugh with silly faces and boisterous games of tag, giving horseback rides, reading “Three Billy Goats Gruff” and “Tuck Everlasting,” or building card castles on the living room carpet??

The carefree days of their childhood are definitely past for my wife and me, have left the yard just as Herb Carneal  announced a Harmon Killebrew bomb (audio): "...It's going, going and... GONE."

And just like the wisps of pyrotechnics that reach into the night skies of Minneapolis, above the city streets where young Prince Rogers Nelson used to walk, we parents grasp at these fleeting memories, remembering old days fondly, and yet rejoicing in and savoring the present we have. When did they become so intelligent, thoughtful? So lovely and dear? Those grainy videos of kids playing in the pool and on the playground climber, who are mature, young women now? Who make me proud, and laugh, becoming who they will be?

When did that happen?

All set for the purple haze n' rain
I’ll take that payback for letting go of the past. It’s nice to think of the coming summer days and nights to hang some more with these grown kids and my wonderful wife. As long as I can go back and playback that old video once in awhile.

So long, everybody!” - Herb Carneal

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Eddie Rosario-Glory Hogs Spotlight-3 Homeruns Vs Mariners

Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire
Last night, Eddie Rosario became the seventh Twins player to hit as many as three home runs in a game, in Minnesota's 20-7 bludgeoning of the Mariners (BBRef box). I would judge him the most unlikely one to do so, given that he was batting from the ninth place slot.

That last bit speaks to the relative confidence Manager Paul Molitor had in his ability to generate runs, based on his particularly unspectacular performance over his last ten games, with him batting .242, a .265 OBP, .227 BAbip, and 1 extra basehit in 33 at bats, all causing him to losing playing time in left field to Robbie Grossman. He becomes the second Twin leftfielder (Harmon Killebrew being the first, LOL!) to get the homer hat trick (MLB Video).

Player Date Opp Rslt AB R H HR WPA aLI BOP Pos Summary
EDDIE ROSARIO 2017-06-13SEAW 20-753430.244.3349LF
Brian Dozier2016-09-05KCRL 5-1153330.1491.42212B
Max Kepler2016-08-01CLEW 12-563430.343.5573RF
Justin Morneau2007-07-06 (2)CHWW 12-053330.308.43051B
Tony Oliva1973-07-03KCRL 6-753330.5491.2403DH
Harmon Killebrew1963-09-21 (1)BOSW 13-453330.125.3904LF
Bob Allison1963-05-17CLEW 11-453330.238.7044RF
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/14/2017.

This is not a totally improbable event. Yes, he had played 270 games, and was past 1,000 plate appearances without having a two homer game, sure. But Eddie has drawn comparisons with Tony Oliva (I'm being serious here) and his fluid, spray-hitting swing earlier in his career, and his talent as such as a "pure" hitter is of a high degree. But he takes the "see ball - hit ball" ethic of the latter to such an extreme that he creates a much larger strike zone for pitchers, not being selective enough. That leads to prolonged slumps.

Be that as it may, baseball is nothing if not beautiful in its unpredictability. The previous night's 14-3 drubbing at the hands of these same Mariners would never have prepared one for this gaudy bonanza. I find it also notable that the game's starting lineup featured three of the seven Twins to bag three bombs in a game, Brian Dozier, herr Kepler, and Rosy. That's never happened before, of course. Oliva hit his three after Allison retired, three years previous.

Seriously, Eddie? Picking on poor (catcher turned pitcher) Carlos Ruiz?

The Twins blew past the previous franchise record for hits in a game, previously sitting at 25 in a 2002 game versus the Indians. In fact, the 28 were the 2nd most recorded in a game by one team in this century (Retrosheet link). Here are the top ten hit games in Twins/Senators history:

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB Attendance GmLen
12017-06-13MINSEAW 20-75149202820519217,922184
22002-06-04MINCLEW 23-25750232561322714,029194
31994-06-04MINDETW 21-75749212430420523,780194
41977-05-25 (1)MINBOSW 13-553481324622133195
51925-07-18WSHCLEW 19-652441924531183119
62014-08-03MINCHWW 16-35850162331316723,471241
72003-06-19MINKCRW 16-25450162350316422,559161
81997-07-04MINMILW 13-15447132360313420,024185
91937-07-25 (1)WSHSLBW 16-1050481623512152142
101920-05-18WSHSLBW 17-852431723631165132
Generated 6/14/2017.

"So long, everybody!" - Herb Carneal