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Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano Need to Fix The Same Problem For 2017

The Minnesota Twins aren’t your run-of-the-mill 103-loss team. Yes, the starting rotation is a mess and new chief of baseball operations Derek Falvey has a lot of work to do, but he inherited what should be a nice core at the MLB level.

Two players getting the most attention in this regard are Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. While they boast vastly different skill sets on the diamond, there was one aspect of the game in which they both struggled with equally in 2016: striking out way too much.

This isn’t exactly a new problem for either of them, though.

In a disappointing 46-game stretch in 2015 as a rookie, Buxton struck out 31.9 percent of the time. He then watched his strikeout rate balloon to 35.6 percent in 331 plate appearances this past season in multiple stints with the Twins.

On the other hand, Sano broke out in 2015 by hitting 18 home runs in 335 plate appearances. His 35.5 percent strikeout rate wasn’t great; but that number was easier to swallow with a 15.8 percent walk rate and 150 wRC+. Since his strikeout rate didn’t improve (36 percent) and both his walk rate (10.9 percent) and wRC+ (107) took nosedives in 2016, it’s something worth being concerned about.

In order to be the cornerstones this organization wants them to be, they must cut down on the strikeouts. And they can do that by taking back control of the strike zone.

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OTBB: 10 MLB Teams With a Very Important Offseason Ahead of Them

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on On The Bench Baseball.

The 2017 MLB regular season is the furthest thing from our minds right now with the postseason in full swing, but not for the majority of the league.

Most are at home watching the playoffs, trying to figure out how they could be playing baseball next October instead of sitting on their respective couches. The winter months don’t include any on-field action, but the Hot Stove does plenty to keep us warm and occupied until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.

Before the slate officially gets wiped clean for the coming year, front offices around baseball put in a lot of hours to decide what pieces could make their team a playoff contender. Here are 10 MLB teams who have a very important few months ahead:

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Brian Dozier has Literally Been the Only Bright Spot in 2016 for the Minnesota Twins

After surprising most of baseball by finishing second in the American League Central with a 83-79 record last year, there was reason for the Minnesota Twins to feel optimistic in 2016.

In a year in which a lot of things had to go right for second-year manager Paul Molitor, nothing did. Instead of building off 2015’s success, they own MLB’s worst record at 51-87 entering action on Tuesday.

It’s been especially difficult since August 18. Fresh off a two-game sweep of the equally bad Atlanta Braves, Minnesota has lost 16 of its last 18 games, which included a 13-game losing streak. Playing the Twins has almost guaranteed a victory for the opposing team.

Frankly, second baseman Brian Dozier has been the only reason why Twins fans have smiled consistently over the last couple months. He’s been on an incredible run since the All-Star break, and is on the brink of history because of a prolonged power surge.

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Terry Ryan is gone and the sun still rises in the East

Change is comingThe sun still rose in the east this morning just as it always has but the difference is that Terry Ryan is no longer the Twins GM. Lots of Twins fans are happy that Ryan is gone and many are sad and disappointed. I am never happy to see someone lose their job, especially a job they love.

But life moves on, and almost 48 hours after the announcement I think I would like to jot down some thoughts and questions that come to mind.

Owner Jim Pohlad

Owner Jim Pohlad

My over-riding thought about the situation is that I now have a different opinion of owner Jim Pohlad. I had originally thought that he was a hands off owner and that he would let his brain-trust run the Minnesota Twins organization. Now it appears to me that is not the case, in true Pohlad fashion he is taking charge and showing everyone that he who holds the gold makes the rules. There is nothing wrong with that, just don’t try to blow smoke up my skirt saying that you let the experts run the show. What I don’t understand about this announcement is why Pohlad would tell Ryan that his contract would not be renewed after the season ended? Why tell your GM in June that his services are no longer required but that he can run the team for the rest of the season if he wishes to do so? I guess that the team just did not want to announce a “firing”, they would have preferred simply not renewing his contract. Another thing, why would Pohlad say that the only stipulation for a new GM is that Paul Molitor will manage in 2017? Only Jim Pohlad and Dave St. Peter know for sure.

Check out the rest of the story at Twinstrivia.com .

Looking at the length of Twins games from 1961-2015

Clock baseballjpgSome time ago I did a piece on the length of MLB games after the league announced its changes to quicken the pace of play prior to the 2015 season that I called Looking back at the pace of play in 2015. You can read that article here. Today I want to take a look at the entire history of Minnesota Twins game duration’s going back to 1961.

First off we are going to note of some rule changes that baseball implemented since 1961 that may or may not have had an impact on the length of games. I am not saying I have them all listed here but I listed as many as I am aware of. I appreciate Stew Thornley’s help in compiling this list

1961 – 162 game schedule implemented
1966 – artificial turf first implemented (Astrodome)
1969 – mound lowered 5 inches
1969 – strike zone was shrunken to the area from the armpits to the top of
the batter’s knees
1969 – saves rule added
1969 – playoffs started
1971 – all players must wear protective helmets
1973 – AL DH started
1973 – glove sizes standardized
1975 – ball was permitted to be covered with cowhide because of the shortage
of horses
1995 – wild card team added to playoffs
1997 – interleague play introduced
2008 – limited instant replay introduced on August 29
2013 – In addition to interpreters taking the mound with the pitching
coach/manager, two other rule changes of note were implemented. 1. A seventh
coach will be permitted to suit up and sit in the dugout, one more than in
previous seasons. This change comes as a result of several teams hiring an
assistant hitting coach, most of whom were forced to sit out games in the
clubhouse last year. 2. The fake-to-third, throw-to-first pick-off move that
almost never works will now be considered a balk. The “trick move” was voted
out by the Playing Rules Committee last year — giving MLB the authority to
bar the move but approval by the player’s union would make the ban
unilateral.
2014 – MLB’s new system of instant replay dictates which plays are subject
to review, how instant replay will be initiated by field managers and how
the review process will be conducted. As a part of the expansion of instant
replay, Clubs will now be allowed to show all replays on the ballpark
scoreboard, regardless of whether the play was reviewed. Home plate rules
were also changed.
2015 – MLB introduced new pace of game rules 1. With certain exceptions,
hitters must keep one foot in the batter’s box between pitches throughout
their at-bat. 2. Each ballpark now has between-inning countdown timers to
ensure that the next half-inning starts promptly.
The timers are set at 2 minutes, 25 seconds for most games and 2:45 for
nationally televised games. Pitchers and hitters have been encouraged to be
ready to go when the clock reaches 20 seconds. 3. Managers can now signal
instant-replay challenges to umpires from the dugout area, instead of from
the field.
2016 – Netting behind home plate to reach out to dugouts. Possible strike
zone change?

My personal definition of a long game is one that last 3 hours or more. I love watching baseball but when the game drags on and there is a modicum of action than I start to get bored. For the most part I would rather watch a 2 1/2 hour game over a 3 1/2 hour game but there are exceptions, a high scoring back and forth game can be fun just as a 2 hour and 20 minute game with no action can be boring. For my purposes here I will consider games that last 3 hours or more as long games. The chart you will see tracks game duration averages as well as games that last 3 hours or more. Games of less than nine innings are excluded in my study.

You can read the rest of the story at Twinstrivia.com .

Daily Fantasy MLB DFS Picks For Fanduel, DraftKings, and Fanpicks 7/9/16

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DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Lineup Picks (7/9/16): MLB DFS Advice

Fanduel Daily Fantasy Baseball Lineup Picks (7/9/16): MLB DFS Advice

Fanpicks Daily Fantasy Baseball Lineup Picks (7/9/16): MLB DFS Advice


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Daily Matchups for 7/9/2016

Pitcher

STUDS

Max Scherzer-  Easily the top pitcher on the day. Mets haven’t been hitting well of late. Should get plenty of strikeouts and a shot at the W.

Carlos Martinez- Brewers have combined to hit 13-56 of Martinez, and are one of the worst offenses vs. RHP’s this season.

MID RANGE

Danny Salazar- Right  now the Yankees offense is a hot mess.  Only down fall here is they don’t strike out much, which limits his upside. More of a GPP play here.

Lance McCullers- McCullers has great strikeout numbers but at 4 walks per 9, it runs that pitch count up in a hurry  that being said, a matchup with Oakland could offer some nice fantasy value.

VALUE

Rick Porcello- Only there Rays really have good match ups vs. the Boston righty, but the Rays as a whole have been horrible this season vs. righties. Porcello is in play in cash and GPP for  me today.


CATCHER

STUDS

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Twins can’t be fixed unless they trade Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer

The Minnesota have lots of issues that need fixing and in spite of their horrendous pitching the very first problem they need to address is Joe Mauer. I know Mauer is making $23 million a year but money is not the issue here. The problem here is that he is playing first base and hitting in one of the top three spots in the batting order while hitting .258 with 26 RBI in 337 plate appearances. Catcher Kurt Suzuki who hits in the bottom of the order is hitting .278 with 25 RBI in just 194 PA’s. I am not trying to show how good Suzuki is, I am trying to show how bad Mauer really is.

For the rest of the story go to Twinstrivia.com .

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.”

Please go to Twinstrivia.com to see the rest of the story.

Minnesota Twins draft trivia

The 2016 June amateur draft starts today and the Twins will have the number 15 selection. The Twins have picked 15th just once since the draft started in 1965 and that was way back in 1977 when they selected an outfielder from a high school in New Jersey by the name of Paul Croft. Croft spent four years in the Twins system and during that time advanced up to “A” ball before the Twins let him go.

Any player the Twins draft today or over the next few days has a small chance of ever wearing  a Minnesota Twins uniform at any point but even the ones that do get to the top of Twins mountain won’t arrive until 2020 or later so don’t get too excited about these draft picks just yet.

Interest in this years draft seems really down this year here in Minnesota, probably because of the apathy in Twins baseball due to the Twins miserable play in 2016 and Twins management refusal to accept what is going on around them. Pat Reusse did a piece on the Twins in today’s Star Tribune called “Dancing after victories? These Twins have no shame“.

I am here to “second” what Reusse said and push it a step farther. The Twins should start running ads now that a “huge” surprise for Twins fans is coming at the All-Star break and when the break arrives the Minnesota Twins should announce that they understand how bad the team has been and to show appreciation to Twins fans for supporting this historically bad team the rest of this season that they will cut ticket prices in half for all remaining home games. People that have tickets in hand for future games should be credited for half their ticket price for tickets in 2017. Seems to me that is the least they can do for their fans. Twins ownership should appreciate that Twins fans are mad as hell, at least that shows the team that there is still interest in Twins baseball versus the apathy that could and is building around this franchise very quickly. Remember, it costs less to keep fans than it does to get new fans.

But let’s have a little fun here versus crying in our milk about the Twins poor play. How much do you know about the Twins and their adventures in the MLB June amateur draft? Give these questions a try.

To see the questions and the rest of the story please go to Twinstrivia.com.

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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For the rest of the story please go to twinstrivia.com.

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