Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Twins to Watch at the Trade Deadline

Kurt Suzuki
The most likely Twin to be traded should have been traded during his last good season of 2014 when he rode a .328 BABIP to hit .316 in the first half and made the AL All Star team. The Twins extended him rather than trading him that summer. This year, his value isn't quite as high as it was that All Star year, but it's not terrible. He rode a scorching hot stretch in June to get his batting average up to the respectable .292 it is right now, and brings a reputation of great intangibles to the table.
Ervin Santana
Santana got his trade value up with a quietly terrific July, only going 2-3 but pitching into the seventh inning in four of his five starts, including two complete games. Overall, his ERA dropped .72 points this month. While he isn't likely to continue pitching like that, he's established enough and has a good enough reputation for any team needing a solid, back of the rotation starter to be interested.
Eduardo Nunez
As you probably heard, the Twins recently shipped Nunez to San Francisco for minor league pitcher Aldalberto Mejia. It's not a bad deal for Minnesota; it was pretty obvious Nunez wasn't in the long term plans, evidenced by his abysmal .197 batting average after the All Star Break. He's actually pretty similar to Suzuki in 2014, only this time the Twins managed to deal him before he lost too much value. Mejia looks like a decent prospect, posting a 2.81 ERA this year between double and triple-A.
Brandon Kintzler
Fernando Abad
Veteran relievers are always wanted commodities around the deadline. Kintzler's stepped up into the closer's role with Perkins' injury and Jepsen's implosion. So far he's done better than most expected, allowing seven runs in 32 innings. Abad overcame some struggles early in the season and has pitched well of late. Both could go to any team looking for relief help, possibly the Cubs if they're still looking to upgrade after getting Chapman. The Rangers and their AL-worst 4.86 bullpen ERA could be another possible trade partner.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Midseason All MLB Team

Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw
I don't need to say anything more. He's Clayton freaking Kershaw. I don't care if he's injured. I don't care how good Arrieta and Sale have been. Kershaw has just been better.
Catcher: Wilson Ramos
Excuse me while I wander into traffic. This is a 27-year-old catcher hitting .327/.380/.523 with 13 homers half way through the season. This is a catcher the Twins traded for the abominable Matt Capps. Abominable isn't even the right word here. Words can't describe how awful it was having Matt Capps in the bullpen. If I had been writing this when he was around he would have overtaken Derek Jeter as my number one person to rant about. Anyway, congratulations to Wilson Ramos for being good, I guess.
First base: Anthony Rizzo
It's tough not going with Goldschmidt here, but Rizzo is beating him in every stat this season. On an unrelated note, I like Rizzo because he's a rare player that not one but two teams are kicking themselves over. He was originally drafted by the Red Sox, who traded him to the Padres in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, and then, in an underrated awful trade, the Padres sent him to Chicago for Kyung-Min Na and Andrew Cashner.
Second base: Jose Altuve
The AL's leading hitter is also leading the league in stolen bases, and even has already tied a career high in homers with 15.
Shortstop: Francisco Lindor
After having the Rookie of the year award stolen from him in 2015, Lindor is just as good of a season this year, hitting .307/.363/.460 with ten homers and 13 stolen bases, while displaying his usual wizardry at shortstop ranking third in the AL in defensive WAR with 1.7.
Third base: Manny Machado
Machado has become one of the best players in the league, and my personal favorite to watch. He's just so smooth and relaxed. You can read the rest of my Machado thoughts here.
Mike Trout
Trout's perch on top as best player in the game reminds me of Adrian Peterson's status as best running back in the NFL. Both facts have generally been accepted by fans, but every couple some new hotshot comes up who people try to say is better, just because they're bored with. With Peterson people tried to say Chris Johnson was better, then Maurice Jones-Drew, and then whoever they could think of. Trout's the same way. Even if Josh Donaldson and Jose Altuve have great stretches, or even a full season for Bryce Harper, it's going to take a lot more than that for anyone to knock off Trout.
Ian Desmond
The offseason's weirdest signing is shaping up to be it's best, as the converted shortstop is hitting .322/375/.524 while playing an above average center field, saving five runs with his glove so far. The good fielding is especially surprising considering he spent most of his career as a subpar fielder at his natural position. The fact that he's good in the outfield makes it even more of a steal for the Rangers.
Marcell OzunaResurrected his career from the dead after a disappointing 2015 season where he hit .259 and had a stint in Triple-A. In a breakout season this year he's emerged as the best player in a loaded Miami outfield with Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich.