Tuesday April 20, 2004
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE UPDATE
The baseball blogging world has taken off. There have been a couple of good articles recently about the blogging world. Last week, I mentioned an article this site was mentioned in, on the MSN Slate site called Baseblogs. On Sunday, there was an article in the York County Sunday News, a paper with a distribution of 100,000, called Blogs Attract Passionate Fans about the blogging world with quotes and comments from a number of bloggers.
Last night, the Twins were off. My lineups have been set for the week in my fantasy leagues. I wrote on the site all weekend long. So today, I am going to take a little time and direct you to some of the blogs that I check every day, and some new sites that I have added that I have enjoyed to this point. These are sites that are prominent in my bookmarks, and if you're a baseball fanatic like I am, you will want to consider bookmarking these too! But before we start, I want to link you to this article that shows just how great Torii Hunter is! Jim Souhan, who took time to do a Q&A with me for this site, wrote an excellent article in today' paper on veteran Terry Mulholland.
In describing each site, I will explain what it is about their site that I enjoy about the blogging phenomenon.
The Baseball Savant
David Bergner writes some great, analytical entries. I had a Conversation with David two months ago that was very fun and interesting. His favorite team is the Reds, but he writes about anything baseball. For instance, he has a couple of weekend entries discussing the current standings in the big leagues with quick thoughts on each team and division. For instance:
"-speaking of Minnesota, the Twins are heating up. Once they get going at full strength, the Twins and White Sox should make the AL Central at least tolerable to watch."
But, my favorite thought that he made...
"-josh beckett will win 300 games in his career. as good as Prior and Wood are, Beckett is the best pitcher in baseball...period."
Now, I may not agree with his comment. Beckett is still young and if anyone has a chance at 300 wins, it is Beckett or Prior. However, the name of Curt Schilling may also need to be mentioned in the 'best pitcher in baseball' discussion. Maybe the names of Pedro Martinez, Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, and Jason Schmidt could also be in that category.
But to me, that is the beauty of the baseball blogging community. Fans can express their thoughts and opinions for the world to see. I have mentioned before that I enjoy it because of interaction with readers and baseball fans from all over the country. David's statements all create baseball discussion, and isn't that what it is all about?
The Hardball Times
There are a dozen great writers that comprise The Hardball Times. But I want to mention two that, when I see they have new articles posted, I won't miss them.
Jacobs was a part of our panel of "expert" NFL game predictors. Ben finished second in that. When it comes to writing, Ben doesn't play second fiddle to anyone! He is one of my favorite baseball writers anywhere. For THT, Ben writes about fantasy baseball. He wrote great previews. He also has been writing a weekly Fantasy Stock Watch of interesting players to consider drafting or dropping.
Everyone knows of and reads Aaron's work. He still occasionally writes entries for Aaron's Baseball Blog, but now he primarily writes a daily article on THT. Aaron writes very well, and in his writing uses much statistical data to prove any point he wants to make. He is very thorough and interesting. Those that read both Aaron's stuff and my stuff realize that he and I are completely different in many of our baseball beliefs. I believe that there is more to baseball than stats. Again, Aaron seems to believe that stats say everything. We differ, but I love reading Aaron's writing. If nothing else, it makes me think, sometimes gets me mad, but always is worth reading! Yesterday, he wrote a very interesting News, Notes & Quotes posting. In it, he discusses the Barry Bonds versus Eric Gagne at bat from this weekend. He discusses the incredible early season of journeyman Calvin Pickering, who has already hit 10 homers at Omaha, the AAA Affiliate of the Royals. Finally, he discusses who he thinks Kerry Wood and Cubs fans should really have been upset with after he left the game in the 9th inning and was ejected.
Last week, I prematurely announced the beginning of a new Twins Blog, Twins Chatter. It is written, in part, by Ryan Maus. Well, I may have mentioned it a little early, but I absolutely have to mention it again today! Yesterday, he posted a great article called Braves Still Struggle Under Curse of Henry "Babe" Blanco. It is written in the perspective of an Atlanta sports columnists early in the 2014 baseball season. It talks about how letting Blanco go was the worst decision the Braves have ever made and has caused them years of anguish. Obviously it is written in a fairly sarcastic tone. But, I have to say it is one of the best entries I remember reading!
The other Twins Chatter writer, John Betzler, wrote another great entry on the Underappreciated Twins players that is also well worth the read.
Did you ever wonder how much your favorite players are making this year, or how long their contract runs? Well, this is the best site for that information. Yesterday, the Payrolls for each major league team were posted, and it is very interesting. Here are a couple of things I noted:
Top 5 Payrolls
1.) New York Yankees ($183.1 million)
2.) Boston Red Sox ($131.03 million)
3.) Anaheim Angels ($117.66 million)
4.) Chicago Cubs ($92.98 million)
5.) Philadelphia Phillies ($92.88 million)
6.) Los Angeles Dodgers ($92.84)
Where will those teams finish? The Yankees and Red Sox will battle it out for the AL East title, the other will probably win the Wild Card. The Angels will have to deal with Seattle and Oakland for the AL West. The Cubs will have to deal with the Astros and maybe the Cardinals in the NL Central. Philadelphia will struggle with the Braves and Marlins in the NL East. And the Dodgers will contend with the Giants and Diamondbacks in the NL West. So, to me, spending the money means that you have a chance to compete. Beyond that, it promises nothing!
Bottom 5 Payrolls
1.) Tampa Bay Devil Rays ($27.27 million)
2.) Milwaukee Brewers ($28.73 million)
3.) Pittsburgh Pirates ($33.99 million)
4.) Montreal Expos ($38.91 million)
5.) Cincinnati Reds ($40.93 million)
Tampa Bay seems to have a plan. They are developing some young players, some in the big leagues (Crawford, Baldelli), some in the minor leagues (Upton, Young, Gathright), while building with Aubrey Huff and acquiring cheap veterans (Cruz, Martinez, Abbott) to make them a little competitive this year.
Milwaukee traded a big contract in Richie Sexson for five players at various levels. Their minor league system was rated #1 in baseball by Baseball America. They are developing some young players, some in the big leagues (Capuano, Podsednik), some in the minor leagues (Weeks, Fielder, Hardy, Nelson, Hart), while building with Geoff Jenkins and Ben Sheets and acquiring cheap veterans (Spivey, Counsell, Grieve) to make them a little competitive this year.
Pittsburgh has traded a couple of big contracts already and a couple more (Wells, Benson, Kendall) could be next. They are developing some young players, some in the big leagues (Bay, Davis, Redman, Perez), some in the minor leagues (Von Benschoten, Bullington), while building around, well, no one really, and acquiring cheap veterans (Mondesi, Simon) to make them... ok, they won't be at all competitive this year.
Montreal lost two top players in the offseason (Guerrero, Vazquez) and could lose a couple more by the end of the season (Cabrera, Vidro). They are developing some young players, some in the big leagues (Sledge, Day), some in the minor ... ok, they don't have much in their minor league system, while building (apparently) around Livan Hernandez and acquiring cheap veterans (Everett, Johnson, Batista) to make them. OK, Montreal needs an owner and a new city before they will ever compete again!
Cincinnati is in a different, yet still interesting situation. Without the contract of Ken Griffey, they would be higher on this list. He could be traded. This team is, and really should be, built around their prize outfielders, specifically Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns. Their payroll is down, not because they are unwilling to pay, as much as they simply don't have to at this point. Dunn and Kearns, as well as D'Angelo Jiminez, Ryan Freel, Brandon Larson and Jason Larue are not even eligible for arbitration yet, so they are still cheap. Sean Casey doesn't make a lot, and Barry Larkin took a huge pay cut to stay in Cincinnati. The reason the Reds probably won't contend is more because of their pitching staff. Cory Lidle, Paul Wilson, Aaron Harang, Jimmy Haynes and Jose Acevedo are all quality #5 pitchers for most rosters. However, their lone #1 or #2 type pitcher is Brandon Claussen and he is continuing to pitch well at AAA and should be up soon.
AL Central Payrolls
1.) Chicago White Sox ($61.66 million)
2.) Detroit Tigers ($60.38 million)
3.) Minnesota Twins ($56.13 million)
4.) Kansas City Royals ($49.80 million)
5.) Cleveland Indians ($41.12 million)
The whole "small-market" myth bugs me. Let's look at these teams by the size of their market. Chicago is the #3 market in the country. Detroit ranks 8th, followed by Minneapolis at 15th, Cleveland at 16th and Kansas City at 24th. So, don't by that argument (except for Kansas City). The 'median' of the salaries is $63 million, so at least three of these teams are within reach of it. Each team has a plan. The White Sox complain about being a small market type team, but they have some big salaries. The Tigers forgot about their rebuilding plan and just spent this offseason. The Twins have a lot of young players, but they have signed three or four players to big deals. The Royals have a few big contracts, but also some young guys. Cleveland is in Year 2 of their rebuilding plan. They are already competitive, and their minor league system, like the Twins, is stacked.
The Twins Geek was my introduction to the baseball blogging world a couple of years ago. Recently, his site was added to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune payroll! What I enjoy about reading his work is that he is just very well writing and almost eloquent. His writing is so entertaining and reader friendly, yet presents a point or an issue very clearly. He is getting about 6,000 hits a day there. That would be cool! I would be happy with 1,000 hits each day!
THE BASEBALL BOYS
This site is about the Twins and the Pittsburgh Pirates. They just recently set up a new URL for their website, so be sure you have the correct link. Today, Eric wrote an article expressing his feelings (And my feelings and likely the feelings of many Twins fans) about Twins fans current inability to watch Twins games on TV. It is two weeks into the season, and this issue is still not resolved. I'm done being mad at the cable companies. I'm done being mad at Victory Sports and the Twins. I don't care what it takes, I wan to watch the Twins! I had a Conversation with Eric two months ago.
The first site I check out every day is Baseball Musings. David Pinto provides many links to baseball related stories with his brief opinion of it. His page is update frequently throughout the day.
THE UNCOUTH SLOTH
If you're looking for a more adult, risque, profanity-laden baseball site, head over to The Uncouth Sloth. Rob is very honest and upfront on his thoughts about the Cubs, baseball and well, pretty much anything. He also has a picture of the lovely Piper Perabo on there today, so, that helps!!
Al Bethke writes about the Milwaukee Brewers. Of course, much of that deals with their minor league prospects. He also had an interview with Chris Coste a couple months ago. I had a chance to ask Al a bunch of questions for my site. But Al also discusses politics and much more.
JD Arney keeps us up to date on the goings on with the Cincinnati Reds organization. He uses numbers to develop his opinions. He's really very good. I had a Conversation with JD awhile back.
RICH'S WEEKEND BASEBALL BEAT
Another one of the best writers in the blogging community. Rich has spent a lot of time watching Long Beach State's pitcher Jered Weaver pitch and kept us all up to date on how dominant he has been. It is interesting because he has been able to talk to a number of baseball insiders as far as Weaver's potential draft status and more. Today, he has an interesting entry called Small Sample-Size Surprises, about some of the players who have started out really well this season.
And, don't forget about Baseball Interactive. I am a featured writer over there from time to time, but there are some other really good writers, including John Strubel, who runs the site and is also working on a book.
There are a couple of new sites that I have recently become aware of that I would also like to encourage you to read. I have only seen a few postings from each, but they seem great.
Batgirl is another Twins related site. Today, she writes about Michael Cuddyer's Diary that he is keeping for MLB.com's Twins site. I appreciate her pointing out a Chicago article written about why he would not be voting for Kevin Garnett for NBA MVP. She is enraged. After reading that article, so was I! She's cool!
The Bench Coach is a Dodgers website. Terry writes very clear, easy-to-read articles on his team, and more. Something I really appreciate about his page is that at the beginning of each article, he writes the Estimated Reading Time, so you can tell about how long you will be reading the article.
Are there any sites that I have not mentioned that you think I should link to or at least check out. E-mail me your favorite sites, and I would be happy to link. If you have any thoughts on any of these sites or these writers, let me know, e-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
The Twins had an off day yesterday, so here are just some brief recaps of their minor league affiliate's games. The Twins begin a three game series in Detroit tonight.
ROCHESTER REPORT - The Redwings lost last night when Brian Daubach, hit a two out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off of Jesse Crain. It was Crain's second home run allowed this season and second blown save. It was also Daubach's second home run of the game. The Twins had 11 hits. Jason Bartlett (.383), Luis Rodriguez, Justin Morneau (.420), Josh Rabe and Alex Prieto each had two hits. Rabe had two doubles. Matt Guerrier gave up one run in six innings, striking out just two. Todd Erdos pitched two scoreless innings. Then Crain gave up the game winning homer to Daubach and took the loss.
ROCK CATS REPORT - With two runs in the bottom of the 9th, the New Britain squad beat Binghamton 7-6. Jason Kubel knocked in the game-tying run and later scored on a Kevin West single to win the game. Kubel moved back over the .500 mark (.512 actually) with a 3-4, 3 RBI performance. He has a 10 game hitting streak. DH Kevin West, C Gabby Torres and 1B Billy Munoz each had two hits. Kubel, West and Torres each had doubles, while Munoz hit a home run.
MIRACLE REPORT - Ft. Myers got a 2-0 win over Clearwater yesterday. Francisco Liriano is a hard-throwing lefty that the Twins acquired in the AJ Pierzynski trade. He pitched seven shutout innings, giving up three hits and two walks, while striking out five. Marcus Moseley pitched the last two innings, giving up just one walk, for the Save. SS Felix Molina went 2-3. He was the only Miracle player with multiple hits as the team had just six hits on the game. The team now hosts Tampa in a two-game series.
SWING THINGS - The Swing got swept, in their four game series at Burlingham yesterday with a 5-2 loss. 1B Brock Peterson was 3-4 for the Swing, but the rest of the team had just two more hits. Denard Span and Matt Moses were a combined 0-8. Moses is hitting .324. Span is at .227. 2003 draft pick Chris Schutt went six innings. He gave up three runs on three hits and walked four. He did strike out five. The Swing now starts a four game set at Dayton today.
Any thoughts on the Twins or their minor league affiliates, send me an e-mail.
And that is it for today. If you have any questions or comments on anything you've read, let me know. If you have any comments on the format of this weekend's postings, I would love to hear them. Please feel free to e-mail me. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!
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