Thursday, January 18, 2007
Q&A with Frymaster
Good morning! Today we've got a little something different, something I haven't done in awhile. As spring training approaches and we start to think about the 2007 season, I thought it would be fun to start a series of Q&As with several Twins bloggers. I have done this in the past, but I thought it would be good to do some new ones. So, in the next week or two, there will be a few more Q&As. Most of the questions will be in regard to the Twins. I always think it is fun to read other perspectives. I'm sure you're all tired of just reading my angles! It will also be fun to introduce some of your to some new Twins blogs although I would guess many of your already know about some of these as well.
Today, I want to thank Frymaster for taking the time to answer some questions for us! His site is Twins, Not Twinkies. (I did a Q&A for his site yesterday.) I love that name because if you remember correctly, it was a great Steve Lombardozzi quote after the Twins won either the AL crown or the World Series in 1987. I am sure you are all wondering, but Frymaster is not his given name. However, to protect his anonymity, we will not give that out. I'm sure if people knew his identity, the paparazzi would be all over him, and I hate to see that, especially with someone so young. You see, Frymaster is just a sophomore at one of the many Twin Cities metro area high schools. (Another reason for the anonymity is that he admitted to me that he is a big Brett Favre fan, and that may not go over so well!). He is a big baseball fan, a big Twins fan, and it was fun getting to know him a little bit better through his responses.
Anyway, I really hope that you all enjoy the Q&A today. If you have any comments for me or Frymaster, please e-mail me, and I will try to answer your questions or forward them on to him and see if we can get you an answer. Also, leave Comments below if you would prefer. Maybe Frymaster will stop by once or twice and answer any other questions you may have.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: What is your baseball history and background? Did you play much baseball growing up?
Frymaster: I played baseball in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. I played 1B, OF, and I got to pitch a little bit in 8th grade.
SethSpeaks: Who were some of your favorite players growing up? Any names that might surprise us?
Frymaster: To be honest, I really only started watching the Twins on a daily basis during the 2004 season. Johan Santana has been my favorite for awhile now, but I remember not liking Chuck Knoblauch because I went to a game and yelled his name, but he never turned around to acknowledge I was there.
SethSpeaks: How long have you been writing your blog, and what made you start it?
Frymaster: I started it up in June of 2006. My friend and I were bored during the summer, so we each started one up. He stopped writing for his, but I've been able to keep mine going.
SethSpeaks: What is your process for deciding what you will write about?
Frymaster: I've got an RSS feeder that I check daily to see if there's any interesting tidbits about what's going on in the offseason. It's a pretty dead time right now. During the season, I do a recap of the game that was played that day/night and then try and predict what's going to happen in the next game.
SethSpeaks: Where do you stand on the SABRmetrics versus "Traditional" way of thinking?
Frymaster: I believe it depends on what people like to see. Aaron Gleeman uses some metrics in his blog, but he does it very well. For me the use of terms like RSAA and BABIP get a little overwhelming, so I try and stick to the traditional use of stats, but like to use some that may be less mainstream, like K/9IP and such.
SethSpeaks: What were your overall thoughts on the 2006 Minnesota Twins season?
Frymaster: I think there are three parts of the season: April-early June was plain awful, June-September was amazing, and the playoffs were disappointing. I really thought that the Twins would perform to the level they were at when they had that 19-1 run. Oakland was a decent team, but I really thought we'd give up a fight.
SethSpeaks: What do you think that the 2007 Twins will do? About how many wins do you think they will have and how will they finish in the division?
Frymaster: It's tough to say right now. People forget that last year, down the stretch, we didn't have Francisco Liriano or Brad Radke, and the team still played together and they won games. It won't be any different this year, except now they have some additional people on the roster. I predicted earlier last week that they'd win 85 games and not make the playoffs. I think they'll finish 2nd in the division, because the Indians are always a "contender" on paper but can never get it done on the field, and I think Chicago has hit a rough patch in the organization right now.
SethSpeaks: Who do you think will comprise the Opening Day starting staff?
Frymaster: Johan Santana, obviously. I think Boof will be number 2, because he really proved himself after he got called up for the last time last season. Unless Sidney Ponson has a great Spring Training, it has to be Silva in the 3 hole. I've been saying Matt Garza will start the season in AAA, so I think either Scott Baker or Glen Perkins will start 4th, and the "veteran" presence of Ponson will round out the rotation.
SethSpeaks: Obviously Johan Santana is the unquestioned Ace. What do you expect from him in 2007?
Frymaster: My predictions were pretty vague, but I said an ERA under 2.70, more than 240 strikeouts, less than 50 walks, a WHIP less than 1.00, and less than 70 earned runs. I'm thinking he gets 20 wins, too.
SethSpeaks: Which young pitcher or pitchers do you think will have a breakout season?
Frymaster: Glen Perkins has a great mindset for a big league starter. I read somewhere that he doesn't think about pitching, he just goes out there and throws. And nothing seems to rattle him. I don't think Matt Garza will have the type of year that people are expecting the former (and current, if you talk to some people) #1 prospect to have.
SethSpeaks: Is there are pitcher that you fear will flop?
Frymaster: Jesse Crain. He had flashes of brilliance last season, but then flashes of flop followed.
SethSpeaks: How comfortable are you when the Twins hand a lead over to their bullpen in the 6th or 7th inning?
Frymaster: I think most people would agree with me when I say pretty comfortable. Dennys Reyes is a great lefty specialist, and Joe Nathan is lights out for a save.
SethSpeaks: Joe Nathan gets injured (let's hope this is solely hypothetical), who would you install as the team's closer?
Frymaster: I can't see how it wouldn't be Pat Neshek. Forget all the stuff about not faring well against lefties and understand that he was the closer for the Red Wings at AAA. He also averages more than a strikeout an inning, something that ML closers seem to have going for them.
SethSpeaks: Joe Mauer, at age 22, and Justin Morneau, at age 24, had monster breakout seasons. Generally speaking, just how good can these guys be? What would a ceiling for each be?
Frymaster: Their ceiling seems to be non-existent right now. A batting champ at catcher? An MVP at first? There is no limit for these guys. Morneau definitely is capable of hitting 40 dingers, but I think if he does that his average will suffer. People keep saying that Mauer will develop more power, but I'd like to see him get on base like he's good at. And maybe not ground out into so many double plays.
SethSpeaks: Are there any other hitters that you expect to break out in 2007?
Frymaster: A lot of people are speculating that Michael Cuddyer's 2006 season was a fluke. I have to strongly disagree with that. He was a #1 pick awhile back, so it's not like he sucks. It always surprises me to see that his average at the end of the season was .284. It seems that Joe Vavra is teaching Cuddyer and Morneau to hit for average instead of power, which both are capable of.
SethSpeaks: Can Michael Cuddyer repeat his '06 performance?
Frymaster: Heh, I wrote the answer to that last question without looking at this one. Yes, I think he can and will repeat his performance, and then some. Look for 30 homers while scoring 100 runs and knocking in 100 of his own.
SethSpeaks: Do you follow the Twins minor league system? If so, who are a couple of the prospects that you will be watching in 2007?
Frymaster: try to follow the pitchers as much as I can. I have to say, although neither of these guys are experienced enough for the majors right now, I'm really excited to see how Alexander Smit and Johan Pino perform. At the A level last season, these guys were a combined 17-3. Smit started 9 games and pitched in 30, and Pino started 4 games and pitched in 39. Both average more than 9K/9IP and I love pitchers who can strike out batters. Also look for Jose Mijares to possibly make a splash. He's a strikeout pitcher who has work to do, but has a high ceiling.
SethSpeaks: Finally, who do you think will be the Twins biggest threat in the AL Central... and why?
Frymaster: I have to say the Tigers. The addition of Gary Sheffield, although he may be old, can not be ignored. I also think that Jim Leyland's experience levels out the inexperience of the team playing together. I think only 2 players on last year's team were there in 2002 when Detroit lost 106 games.
Do you have any thoughts or questions for Frymaster or me? If so, please feel free to e-mail me or leave a question or comment below.
If you would like to read any previous Q&A's, I have set up a new page that contains the links to all of them. Click here to see who all has done a Q&A with SethSpeaks.
Rich Lederer of The Baseball Analysts has been a great supporter of Bert Blyleven and his Hall of Fame candidacy for years. In the last couple of days, he has had two great articles this week already on the subject. The first was a response to an article by ESPN.com's Buster Olney who did not vote for Blyleven. The second was a comparison of Blyleven to his contemporaries, the Hall of Famers that played while he played.
The Twins' mlb.com beat writer Kelly Thesier is busy again right now. She is traveling with the Twins Caravan, to the Northwest part of Minnesota and into North Dakota with Nick Punto, Joe Nathan, Dick Bremer and Tony Oliva. She is writing articles on her trip. She is also, like all mlb.com writers, writing position by position breakdowns of the teams. Her most recent article was on the Twins middle infielders.
One of her caravan articles told us that the Twins had signed Matthew LeCroy to a minor league deal. If he makes the Twins roster, he will make $500,000. Sounds like a fair deal. He may not be all that great, but I can't help but like the guy!
John Sickels had a nice Prospect Retro on Kent Hrbek recently on his minor league blog.
You just wonder if some people will ever get it. Elijah Dukes is one of those people. Amazing talent, but just a lot of trouble. Is he worth it?
Pat Neshek is on the Northern portion of the Twins Caravan this week which is keeping him incredibly busy. But, he is still posting items on his blog for trade. Some very fun stuff can be had. Check it out!
Yesterday, I wrote about the Twins arbitration numbers. So did Taylor's Twins Talk. Check out Josh's perspective!
Nick N wrote a great article on The Future of Johan Santana.
Stick & Ball Guy may be the best in the Biz. He has had some great articles of late including one on the Arbitration numbers and one on a quote from Flip Saunders saying that Chris Webber is a lot like Kevin Garnett. I agree with SBG! (That could work on a bumper sticker, or a political button or something!)
Bill Ferris of Detroit Tigers Blog wrote a very interesting article about how well a team hits the deeper into the count they get. I would encourage everyone to check it out here. It is incredibly interesting! There was a follow-up posting on pitches per plate appearance that includes a couple of files that you can look at to see more detail.
Baseball Digests' Joe Hamrahi had a Q&A with Terry Ryan that is interesting to read.
Just a quick thought on American Idol - As you know, I am a big fan of the show. Tuesday night, Season Six started with a show on the auditions on Minneapolis. There were over 10,000 that tried out and just 17 went on to Hollywood. Not a good showing. I love watching the early shows to see the bad singers and the reaction of the judges. However, they had a two hour show of the Minneapolis auditions, just 17 passed through, and we didn't see all of them. We saw may four or five that made the cut. In that much time, those people deserve to at least have their name read off. Other than that, I still love the show!
That is it for today. By the way, if you have any ideas for the site, people to try to get Q&As from, article concepts or more, please leave some Comments or send me an e-mail. I would appreciate your help. Have a terrific day!
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