Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Ace of Diamond, Indians Series Recap, and Other Notes

Another series win! We all could get used this, right? There's nothing like winning to make everyone all confident and happy.

A couple of notes:
  • I think that my buddy Brian Dozier needs a day or two off to clear his head a little. It seems like he's scuffling a bit, especially with his glove. I think he'll be fine, though.
  • Did you see that sick Ben Revere catch on Saturday? That perfect somersault in the outfield with a catch in the middle of it? I was impressed that he held on to the ball and perfectly tucked in his head. He almost stuck the landing, too.
  • I really like watching Glen Perkins pitch. 
  • I'm also beginning to warm up to Matt Capps' pitching, too. We still need to work on that whole trust thing, but we're getting there.
It's really nice to see Scott Diamond succeeding. The Twins really need to have some stability in the rotation, and he's been a nice cornerstone.

The rotation has been weakest part of the Twins season. The offense usually does enough to win most games, and the bullpen has actually been a pleasant surprise. But, oy, the rotation...

When many baseball analysts and columnists talk about pitchers, they refer to them as a "number one starter," "number two starter," etc. on down the line to "number five starters." A number one starter is generally considered an "ace" (think Verlander, Sabathia, or Gonzalez), and a number five starter is generally considered to be just good enough to keep his job as a starter.

Some analysts use the stat WAR (wins above replacement) to make that determination. WAR is a long, convoluted formula, and there is even disagreement over which formula is more accurate (two respected statistical websites, and, each have their own definitions), but "replacement" level (a player with a WAR of 0) is generally considered a good AAA player who is ready to break into the big leagues. A positive WAR means a guy is helping his team win; a negative WAR means he's costing his team wins.

So I decided that I wanted to suffer a little and look up the WAR values for the Twins current rotation (I use's).

First, let's take a peek at the aforementioned Verlander (+3.2), Sabathia (+2.0), and Gonzalez (+2.4). This is what aces look like.

This is what the Twins look like:
  • Carl Pavano: -0.9
  • Francisco Liriano: -1.1
  • Scott Diamond: +0.7
  • PJ Walters: +0.5
  • Cole De Vries: -0.1
So, yeah, at slightly above replacement level, or a number five starter on any other team, Scott Diamond is currently the ace of the staff.

MLB's Rule 4 amateur draft is Monday evening. The Twins have the second overall pick; they haven't picked this high since they drafted Joe Mauer in 2001. They also have six of the top 100 picks. Needless to say, this is an important draft, and the Twins had better get it right.

I haven't really been following any of the draft prospect, so I have no insight or legitimate opinion on the matter. But I am interested to see how it goes.

A lot of the experts have been saying that this draft class isn't as spectacular as recent years; there are no Stephen Strasburgs or Bryce Harpers this year.

But there are two guys that the experts keep talking about: RHP Mark Appel from Stanford University and OF Byron Buxton from Appling County, HS (in Georgia).

All the rumors on Twitter indicate that the Astros will take Appel with the first pick, so he probably won't be available for the Twins.

I googled Buxton, and he seems pretty cool -- five tool guy: speed, throwing, fielding, hitting, and hitting with power. Plus, his nickname is Buck. So, I'm going to go ahead and hope the Twins pick him.

I know that the Twins already have an abundance of outfielders, and they really could use more pitching, but the key to a good draft is to choose the best available player, not necessarily the player the team needs most.

Besides, some decent pitchers will probably fall to the later picks.

No matter what, I hope the Twins don't mess it up. The problem is: we won't know how well it went for, like, four years or so.

Injury Watch and Updates
Carl Pavano left Friday's game early, clearly suffering some more discomfort in his shoulder. He has returned to Minneapolis and is scheduled to have another MRI on Monday. Things don't sound hopeful that he'll be able to avoid the DL.

Joe Mauer left Sunday's game a bit early because he slightly sprained his thumb. He insisted after the game that it's no big deal and he'll be fine.

Kyle Waldrop, who was put on the DL at the end of spring training, was activated as assigned to AAA Rochester.

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