Author Archives: jjswol

Things are not getting any better over at Target Field

MoneyI was updating the “Salaries” page with 2016 Forbes team valuation data and decided to see how some of the Minnesota Twins numbers stack up going back to 2010 when the team last made the playoffs. But first here is what the Forbes Twins profile states for 2016:

“Minnesota’s home attendance has fallen every season since the team moved into Target Field in 2010. During the ballpark’s inaugural season, average attendance was 34,287. Only 27,408 per game paid to come through the turnstiles last season. Likely reason: the Twins have the third-highest non-premium average ticket price ($33) in the American League, yet have posted only two winning seasons (2010, 2015) since moving into Target Field. Meanwhile, the team failed to win more than 70 games during each of the other four seasons at Target Field. The team’s relatively quiet off-season was highlighted by a four-year, $24.85 million investment in Korean slugger Byung Ho Park.”

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Twins walk-off history

walk-offThe walk-off hit that gives your team the win is as exciting as it gets at your home ballpark and a walk-off loss on the road is frustrating and depressing. Let’s take a look at Minnesota Twins history from 1961-2015 and see how the Twins have fared.

Seasons with most walk-off wins


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The MLB June amateur draft is far from a science

2016 Draft

The 2016 MLB will take place June 9, 2016 in Secacus, New Jersey and the Minnesota Twins will have the 17th selection this year. There are already numerous mock drafts being published but as normal they are all over the board, so what else is new. Here is a list (with pictures) on of their proposed top 100 2016 prospects.

Baseball draft are so different from all the other sports in many ways but the two main differences that stand out is that baseball drafts are more international than other sports and if you get drafted in baseball you can look forward to spend a number of years in the minor leagues before you have the experience and necessary skill sets to play in the major leagues. Sure there have been some players that went directly to the major leagues but they are rare and the last player to do so I believe is RHP Mike Leake who was drafted eighth overall in 2010 by the Cincinnati Reds from Arizona State and now pitches for the Cardinals. The last Twins player to be drafted and go straight to a big league mound was LHP Eddie Bane who also was from Arizona State.

The June amateur draft is exciting for the fans but it is serious business for the MLB teams that have spent lots of time and money watching these young prospects as they try to determine who is the best player available when it comes time to make their selection. Mistakes in a draft can and do haunt teams for many years. There are many ways to mess up a draft choice, the player may not turn out to be as good as you thought, you might have bypassed a star player, you might not be able to sign the player, the player and/or his agent may state they don’t want to play for you, and of course an injury may cut his career short. If everything goes your way you have yourself a baseball player but the odds are stacked against you.

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Consternation in Twins land

The Twins finished 2nd in the AL Central and could be the Houston Astros type of 2015 club in 2016. If you think they can finish 2nd in the AL Central one more time, it may be enough to secure a Wild Card Spot. I think the AL East will beat each other up - and will only produce one playoff team in 2016.

consternation: a strong feeling of surprise or sudden disappointment that causes confusion

It is May 6 and the Minnesota Twins have a 8-20 record and find themselves in Chicago where they will play three games against the high-flying White Sox this week-end who are in first place in the AL Central division 10 1/2 games ahead of the Twins. Holy moley, 10 1/2 games back and it is not even Mother’s Day yet.

The Twins had a day off yesterday and the rumors started that the Twins have put pitchers Tommy Milone and Casey Fien on waivers. Supposedly catcher John Ryan Murphy is on his way to Rochester and 25-year-old catcher Juan Centeno is coming to Minnesota. The Twins also announced that pitchers Ryan O’Rourke and J.R. Graham were designated for assignment and outfielder Darin Mastroianni was brought up and Ervin Santana was brought back from the DL. That is a lot of changes to a baseball team in such a short window.

What is causing all this chaos?

Yesterday team owner Jim Pohlad said that it appears to be “total system failure” but at the same time he fully supports manager Paul Molitor and GM Terry Ryan. Talk about the kiss of death. It is easy to pile-on with the Twins playing so badly and I am not going to waste time here today listing all the characters from the players to the team president that are responsible for this mess. I do find it funny that the owner would say that the team does not want to give the “be patient” message to its fan base when they have been doing that since 2011.

Young teams are going to lose while they learn to play the game, just like all of us learned the tricks of the trade in our everyday jobs when we first were hired. Youth and potential are wonderful but they don’t make you a great team, you learn to win by playing and making mistakes. Do you remember 1982? The big mistake the Twins made over the last year or two was marketing their up and coming players as “stars” to be and making it sound like the Twins were playoff bound in 2016. Young players and teams take leaps forward but you have to also be prepared for the times when they fall backwards flat on their butts. Right now the Twins are looking up at the sky and wondering what the hell happened. I will tell you what happened, baseball happened, in baseball you never know what tomorrow will bring, that is what makes baseball so much fun.

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The Twins and their strikeouts – a look back

Twins strikeouts versus runs scored history. Feel free to click on the chart to make it larger and easier to see.

Twins strikeouts versus runs scored history. Feel free to click on the chart to make it larger and easier to see.

Our Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves both stand at 0-7 and the race is on to see can win a game first. It is tough when you have just played seven games into a new season and find yourself five games out of the division lead. Never-the-less, Paul Molitor‘s gang will try again tonight.

The Twins might have to consider changing their name to the Minnesota Flailers. Joe Mauer is hitting .375 and Eduardo Escobar is hitting .370 but the rest of the line-up is hitting between .125 and .192 with a combined team OBP of .290. Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Byung-ho Park have each struck out in 50% of their plate appearances.

OH! but the strikeouts. Needless to say the team is on a record pace and after seven games, admittedly a small sample size, they have struck out once every 3.29 PA’s and 11.29 times a game. It is hard to miss the ball that often. Their previous worst for strike-outs per PA was 4.34 in 2013, that same Twins team struck out an all-time franchise high of 1,430 times. But if you use the current running rate of 11.29 strike outs per game the 2016 Twins will strike out a record-breaking 1,829 times. I know that is unlikely to happen but right now that is exactly what is happening.

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Cuba Béisbol


The Tampa Rays played (and defeated) the Cuban National team yesterday in Havana and President Barak Obama and his family were in attendance along with Raul Castro and a host of other dignitaries. The game marks the second time since 1959 that an American team has played in Cuba — the Baltimore Orioles defeated the national team, 3-2, in Havana in 1999. It will be interesting to see how the baseball relationship between these two baseball loving countries takes shape in the next few years.

The Minnesota Twins and the island of Cuba have a long history and it goes back to the 1960’s prior to the Washington Senators becoming the Minnesota Twins in 1961. The relationship between Calvin Griffith and Joe “Papa Joe” Cambria was an interesting one. The Senators/Twins had a nice Cuban pipeline going for a number of years.

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Looking back to the spring of 1961

The-Sporting-News-The-Game-We-LoveWhen I was growing up on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River about 70 miles north of the Twin Cities and just starting to follow baseball in the late 1950’s we had no TV at home so my sources of information about baseball were the radio, the Minneapolis and St. Paul newspapers and eventually The Sporting News. My parents were not sports fans and they pretty much felt that my interest in baseball was a waste of time that could be put to better use by doing more tasks around the dairy farm that we lived on.

For those of you that were raised on a dairy farm you know how hard the work can be. You started and finished each and every day in the barn milking the cows. You probably got up about 5 AM and went to bed between 10 PM and 11 PM before you started the process all over again the next day. There is no such thing as an eight-hour day, a sick day, a holiday or a week-end, every day is the same, work on a dairy farm is relentless.

You can read the rest of the story as it was posted earlier today at .

Miguel Sano too big to fail

Miguel Sano

                   Miguel Sano

I have told you all before that my glass is half empty and it is leaking. You can say that it is a negative attitude or what ever you want but this type of thinking has served me well during my life time and it helped me immensely in my 38 year career in IT.

I hope like hell that Miguel Sano has finally found a position he can call home but I can’t help but wonder what would happen if for some reason it does not pan out. It is unlikely that a decision like that would be made quickly because the Twins want and need Miguel Sano to play right field, if Sano isn’t an outfielder all kinds of poop hits the fan.

Let’s look at worst case here for a moment and see what you do with Sano if that should happen. He was signed as a shortstop and the Twins said for several years that he might have to be moved to third base and eventually they did move him to the hot corner. Now with Trevor Plouffe finally playing well at 3B and hitting in the middle of the line-up the Twins aren’t excited about moving him to another position or trading him. Sano has shown (albeit in the minor leagues) he is far from a gold glover at 3B anyway so why take Plouffe off 3B? Last year Sano played a little 3B and DH but you really don’t want to waste an athletic young player like Sano at DH. If he is so athletic why can’t he play outfield or anywhere else for that matter? I think the answer is simply his size, the man is a brute, I didn’t say fat, he is huge for a baseball player. Maybe he eventually settles in at 1B but not for the time being, we have Joe Mauer there, Byung-ho Park was signed as a first baseman, and Kennys Vargas wants to play there too.

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Are Daily Fantasy Sports Sites For You?

daily-fantasy-sportsI ran across this article not too long ago about Daily Fantasy Sports sites and found it interesting and thought that I would share it. I will state up front that I play fantasy sports (baseball and fottball) but not daily fantasy sports sites. Here is an article and Infographix that was posted on last November entitled the Daily Fantasy Sports Racket. Based on what these folks say it might just be a waste of your money. If you are DFS player, you might want to check it out.

Twins roster make-up from 2006-2015

The Twins finished 2nd in the AL Central and could be the Houston Astros type of 2015 club in 2016. If you think they can finish 2nd in the AL Central one more time, it may be enough to secure a Wild Card Spot. I think the AL East will beat each other up - and will only produce one playoff team in 2016.We are on the cusp of a new baseball season and that means that Spring Training is underway and players from all over the world including peach-fuzz faced rookies and grizzly old veterans are beginning their fight for a MLB roster spot, they want to be one of the 750 players on a 25-man roster participating in “The Show“. Some players are already guaranteed spots, others will win a job, and still others will get a job because someone else had the misfortune to get injured.

Baseball fans all over have been watching free agency, hot stove league action as well as play in the winter leagues and everyone has their own idea what each of the 30 GM’s should have done and what they can still do to improve the home team. One of the fun aspects of spring training is pretending to be the GM and manager and decide who gets to make the 25 man roster for the big trip up north when April rolls around.

Choosing who makes up the 25-man is no easy task because there is so much that goes into deciding who gets to wear a MLB uniform when the season-opener finally arrives. You obviously want to put your 25 best players on the roster but it is not that simple, sometimes money, politics, injuries, legal issues, MLB rules and options and just plain luck come into play. Say you have three players for a single position, one is a better hitter, one is better in the field and the third player isn’t the best hitter or fielder but can do an adequate job of both and is good in the club house, who gets the job?

Choosing a 25 man roster is important but not as big a deal as you may think. GM’s and managers have quite a bit of flexibility in changing the roster over the span of the 162 game schedule and the playoffs. If you want to be the team that wins the final baseball game of the season you need depth and 25 players doesn’t cut it. Having depth is more important than ever, the 1965 World Series team used 35 players, the 1987 team used 36 players and the 1991 Twins used 35 players. The 2015 champion Kansas City Royals needed 45 players to win it all. The number of players the Twins have used for the last 10 years has ranged from 39 to 48 players, last season the Twins used 44 players.

Today I am not going to try to guess at the 2016 Minnesota Twins 25-man roster but we are going to take a look at the number of players that the Twins have used each season for the last 10 years and determine where those players came from. Are the Twins players predominately home-grown via the draft and amateur free agent signings or did they become Minnesota Twins through the waiver wire, a trade, free agency or some other means. Every team, be it the Twins or anyone else is obviously a mix of home-grown and acquired players but some clubs like the Yankees or the Red Sox have reputations of trading their prospects for experienced players other teams can no longer afford and teams like the Twins, A’s and others believe the way to go is through growth from within. There is no right or wrong way to go, it all depends on your circumstances and your pocket-book.

The PDF shows that the Twins used 433 players during this time frame but not 433 unique players as many players were on the roster year after year. It shows the number of roster spots the Twins needed in each of those 10 seasons and how many pitchers and position players made up the roster and how the Twins got their rights.

You can read the rest of the story and check out the PDF over at where it was originally published.

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