The Astros finished with a 16-4 win, and one cannot help but think this gets Houston going a little bit. This was the high-octane, fun team that everyone expected to see since the season started. We caught our first glimpse on the fourth of May.
Berrios is the rare starter to flash three plus pitches, each lethal in their own right. The fastball can touch 95 and sits 93-94 with arm-side run to both sides of the plate. This pitch is still improving, and a bump in sitting velocity shouldn’t surprise, as he adds muscle to his frame. Berrios has solid command of his fastball, and has little trouble locating it for strikes.
The secondaries are even more exciting. Berrios uses a 10-5 curve as his strikeout pitch, and hitters haven’t done much besides flail at it at any level. The pitch has sharp, two-plane action and late horizontal movement that should agonize right-handed hitters. His command of the deuce can waver, but if Berrios can locate it consistently, it should tick up another notch. Berrios attacks left-handers with his changeup, another plus pitch that he hides well. Expect to see hitters struggle with its effective fade.
Although some may have concerns with the atypical frame for a starting pitcher (he’s only 6-feet, 185 pounds), Berrios has the physicality and strong lower half to rack up innings. Described as a “workout warrior” in the 2016 BP Annual, the right-hander has both the drive and physique to handle a starters workload. His plus arm speed, high leg kick, and easy delivery allow him to generate velocity while still remaining loose and comfortable on the mound.
Berrios should be a ton of fun to watch, and adds to a nice little core the Twins are trying to build.
Yesterday the legend of Bryce Harper continued to take shape. He had the day off yesterday, and was called upon by his skipper Dusty Baker to pinch-hit in the ninth inning with the Nationals trailing 4-3 to the Minnesota Twins and without much hope. And a note real quick, it’s dawned on me that Dusty Baker might just be the perfect manager to bring out the most in Bryce Harper.
I mean, if Harper can put up the numbers that he did in 2015 playing for a total dick like Matt Williams; just imagine what he’s going to do playing for Ol’ Dusty! It’s like pairing a guy with all the talent in the world in ring with a great mouthpiece manager in wrestling. But it’s even more dynamic than that.
So back to the no-hope thing. Harper enters the game and gets into a battle with Kevin Jepsen he will assuredly win. Jepsen is no match for the hottest hitter on the planet. And Harper hits his most dramatic home run possibly ever.
The Nationals went on to play SIXTEEN innings and win in magical fashion on a Chris Heisey walk-off home run. The box score is something to marvel at.
On a wild day in baseball where a lot of bonus baseball was played, this one was possibly the one talked about most. This game began when my daughter went down for her nap, and didn’t end until after she was in bed. Baseball is neat like that.
Today we lost a music legend. And if you’re frequent to this site you know we love some 80’s music. Prince, rest in peace. This was the coolest tweet we saw today in regards to Prince’s death:
And it’s surprising how much homage was paid around baseball to the man himself. Brandon Phillips used a different batter walk up song each time he came to the plate tonight. The Purple Prince logo was on the big screen in Arlington (even though the announcer said ‘what is that’). As seen above, the Twins lit their park up purple. And then they went out and spanked the Brewers 8-1.
I was always partial to Little Red Corvette in a big way, but on a day like today; no other song needs played.
I’m going back and forth now on whether what Albert Pujols is doing this year in his age 35 season, or Alex Rodriguez is doing in his age 40 season was more unpredictable or more unbelievable. I think at the moment, I’m leaning Rodriguez.
In an 8-5 Yankees win in Minnesota – a pretty hard ballpark to hit home runs – Alex Rodriguez hit three on Saturday evening. All three home runs traveled at least 420 feet. It was the 62nd multi-homer game in his career.
He’s played in over 90 games this season and has an OPS over .900, and with 23 home runs on the season I’m wondering where he’ll end up (he’s on pace for 37).
Coming into the year, I thought we would see a guy who barely hit above .230 (he’s at .277) and whom the Yankees just tried to hide all the way throughout the season. How improbable it is that the Yankees are in a pennant race becauseof Rodriguez being a key middle of the order force for the Bombers. Any talk of the Yankees wanting nothing to do with A-Rod has been quieted, and it’s clear they’re better off with him and his near 3.0 WAR.
You just have to hope Rodriguez isn’t on some type of foreign substance and is doing this completely clean as when he entered baseball. Because if he is, this is truly one of the better seasons I’ve seen an aging player have out of nowhere. The guy looked like an old Clydesdale ready for the glue factory in 2013, and didn’t even play last season.
A list of every 39-year-old in MLB history with an OPS above .900:
Barry Bonds, 2004
Ted Williams, 1958
Babe Ruth, 1934
Alex Rodriguez, 2015
Young Miguel Sano seems like a fun kid. He (along with Byron Buxton) are going to make the Twins a lot of fun to watch over the next decade or so. We’ve kind of had Sano on our radar since watching the documentary Pelotero.
Tonight, Sano wrote a new chapter in the book. Look at this arching parabola home run he gets into in the Twin Cities in front of the home crowd.
Kevin Gausman got knocked around the yard as per usual and the Twins won the game 8-3. Any time a highly heralded prospect like Sano does something like this, we have to document it. This could be the first of three or four hundred round-trippers.
Sano will force us to use the Twins tag a lot more often. The Twinkies are 45-39 right now, one of the better stories in baseball as we near the All Star Break.
We continue the 2015 Team Previews today with the lovable basement-dwelling Minnesota Twins. Since he lives right down the street from them and was nice enough to write about the Twins for us (we wanted no part of the Twins), Corey is back at it again with another season preview. If you enjoy his preview and you’re a baseball fan, give him a follow on twitter.
Living in Minneapolis, I was lucky enough to enjoy some of the All Star festivities and I snapped this shot at the HR Derby. Unfortunately for Twins fans, there wasn’t much excitement at Target field outside of the All Star break. The Twins finished in the cellar of the AL Central with a 70-92 record and they appear to be in a waiting mode for some of the young players that make up one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. Will 2015 bring more hope to the Twin Cities or will it be another rebuild season with a dash of top prospects getting their cup of coffee late in the season?
Mike Trout hit his 17th home run of the season, and the Angels beat Kyle Gibson and the Twins 8-6 to move to 42-33 on the season in winning their fourth straight game. The nine games over .500 represents their high-water mark on the season.
While Trout was the main story as he so often is, he wasn’t the only story. Josh Hamilton, Kole Calhoun, and Howie Kendrick also logged solid nights at the plate and the Angels overcame a tumultuous start by C.J. Wilson.
Another story that emerged was Ernesto Freri throwing a scoreless frame in the 8th inning for the hold and Joe Smith earned his sixth save. After the game Mike Scioscia (it’s so hard to spell without checking) said that Smith would “remain in the back end for now”.
The Angels are a fun team and they’re going to continue to hang around, we believe.
We first became interested in Sano after seeing the documentary Pelotero.
Sano has been bothered by arm troubles dating back to last minor league season. He elected to rest and strengthen at that time, but now there’s no avoiding the surgery and dreaded long recovery time.
Here’s to a quick recovery for Sano. We are hopeful to someday see a lineup that contains both Byron Buxton and Sano at the same time in Minneapolis. The jury is very much out right now as to if we will ever see that – or if either guy will ever fully develop.
To pass a week of time in the dullest and most hideous month of them all, we bring you Hideous Ballplayer Week, a time-honored tradition at Diamond Hoggers. We’ll bring to you your middling player who hung around long outliving his sill set, or something brutal that occurred on the baseball diamond. We’ll pass the time swapping stories of yesteryear, sitting around the fire talking about the players we’ve seen that made us want to gouge our eyes out with their mediocrity. Today, it’s Jeff Reboulet’s turn.
Why he’s here: Career .240 hitter whose unheralded career spanned 1018 games and 12 seasons. Sported a .649 career OPS, which is better than you would expect. Posted seasons of .190, .162, .222, and .208 batting averages. Never had more than 261 at-bats in a season, which came in his final season at age 39 with who else; the 2003 Pirates. A ho-hum 1 for 7 in the postseason (he would say “but that one hit was a home run). He’s got us there.
Notoriety: Was the guy you never really heard of on the Puckett/Knoblauch era Twins teams, but had a great mustache. Is now a financial advisor. Reboulet was probably definitely a guy who managed his ‘wealth’ carefully for good reason. If you want to lie and act like you have a few extra bucks in the bank, you can actually probably exchange e-mails with the real Jeff Reboulet. I don’t know which would be worse; lying about how much money you have or doing it in order to attract attention from Jeff Reboulet.
Career Year: One must spend some time to decipher the finest of Reboulet seasons. They really all run together. Flip a coin between 1995 in Minnesota or 2001 with the Dodgers. We’ll say ’95. This was the year that Reboulet-mania ran wild. The groupies were abundant. He was over the .300 mark as late as September 23rd that year, but then ended the year with a 1 for 11 slide. And when you’re only coming to the plate some 200-plus times in a year like an extended high school season, you better not pull too many 1 for 11’s.
“If I demanded a trade with just 40 at-bats, it would be nothing more than a note.”It was just one of many times in his career that Reboulet has laughed at himself and his role as a utility infielder.But once Reboulet steps on the field, all the jokes stop.”I told Syd Thrift [director of player development] last year, they ought to put a camera on Jeff every time he walks on the field and show it to all the minor-leaguers,”
Yeah – if you wanted all of your minor leaguers to hit like shit and be completely ordinary in every way imaginable – you should definitely show them some Jeff Reboulet highlight footage. In fact, just hold a week of camp in the spring, lock them in a room with the Reboulet tape and let them learn. This brilliant idea was given life by short-lived big league manager Ray Miller.
Also to correct the Baltimore Sun writer – who obviously did not watch much baseball – the jokes certainly did not stop when Reboulet stepped on the field.
Best Pitcher he Homered off of: Without a doubt, Randy Johnson in 1997. Also Trevor Hoffman and Goose Gossage. He also caught that inconsistent shithead Chuck Finley for one, and the only guy he homered multiple times off of was that poor enigma disguised as a pitcher, Ricky Bones. I think Ricky Bones just earned himself a future spot in this feature for this merit alone.
Avid Fan of ‘Fashion Police’:
Ok, I admit it. Fashion Police is one of my favorite shows!
Teammates of Note: Carlos Beltran, Cal Ripken, Paul Molitor, Aramis Ramirez, Terry Mulholland, Jason Bay, Roberto Alomar, Kirby Puckett, Dave Winfield, Eric Karros, Lenny Webster, Gary Sheffield, Hideo Nomo.
Why: This is how our infamous Reboulet illustrator got his photo signed.
Not sure what picture I’m showing you above, but it appears to be friendly Minnesotans(?) – possibly twins, smiling and giving each other a hand hug. Bad news guys, the Twins are not going to give you much to smile about, except the overwhelming flavor bomb you’ll get when you shove a jucy lucy in your cold weather thickened body. Outside of Joe Mauer and (maybe) Josh Willingham, this team is void of any star power. It feels like the Twins were on the verge several years and were trying to hang on too long in hopes of making a run. It’s hard when a seriously tradeable chip is a homegrown hero who is impossible to trade. This team is a long way away from the team that stole won the 1991 World Series.
Let’s take a closer look at the Twins.
Major Off-Season Moves:
Acquired Vance Worley
The Twins traded their highest WAR player player in Denard Span and another talented OF in Ben Revere for what they hope will be a deep starting rotation of the future. The only SP of note for this season is Vance Worley, who has been the “other” pitcher in Philadelphia behind Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels. Worley is no doubt talented and we’ll touch on the other pitchers later. All small market teams will go through this rebuilding process, but it’s unfortunate when their “up” cycle doesn’t produce more than a spattering of playoff appearances.
So much can change with one moment. An entire season’s emotion can be directed in just one week. With Josh Willingham’s soul-crushing bomb off Aroldis Chapman yesterday (a 4-3 loss), the Reds dropped five of six contests this past week. I think for the first time I’ve started to question my beliefs in the 2012 Reds, if only just a little bit.
Baseball really has a way of sobering you. This was supposed to be a series that really got the Reds back on track. I saw the club exploding for offense at home against the patchwork Twins pitching staff. A sweep could easily have been hoped for but at worst I saw the Reds taking two of three and heading into another home series against the Brewers beginning today.
The Baseball Gods had other ideas.
What seems to be both funny and ironic about Willingham destroying a Chapman pitch into the seats is there’s probably no other guy around baseball that should be wearing a Reds uniform than Willingham. The Reds bypassed him in the off-season, allowing him to sign with a non-contender in Minnesota. He and Jay Bruce share the same agent, Sosnick & Cobbe. Tell me right now that Josh Willingham couldn’t have fit in beautifully in this current Reds lineup playing the outfield.
Instead, he stepped to the plate on Sunday to play the part of Darth Vader in baseball cleats. No one should have been shocked. And perhaps my cocky and invincible feelings about this Reds team were based too much off high-running emotions when things were going well.
A Major League baseball season is so much like life. While there are both high and low moments it’s important to never feel too comfortable. You never want to feel like too much is guaranteed or certain until you’re sure you’ve reached the end. Right now, I’ll admit that I don’t know what is going to happen with these Reds and while all along I’ve promised anyone who will listen that the Reds are going to the postseason, the truth is right now I really don’t know.
Dusty Baker is making managerial moves like he would like to be terminated. I walked into my house Friday night just in time to see Scott Rolen held at third base rather than scoring. I quickly received a barrage of text messages from friends watching the game berating Dusty’s lack of forethought to pinch run for the aging Rolen. That move cost us that game.
Don’t be surprised if the Reds get back on track tonight with a big win. It’s the way things go. But if they don’t, more doubt starts to creep in. If the Reds don’t deliver this season, they’ll waste the finest season of Joey Votto’s career just as they wasted an incredibly clutch two-run home run that should have went down as the game winner yesterday.
We can’t make time speed up so we can know how each chapter end. We just have to patiently see how it all plays out, with the characters taking on a different role in the novel each week and each night. As we ride along with them, it’s important to never allow ourselves to get too high. We can’t control anything, despite what outcomes we wish for.
The Minnesota Twins have a bright spot right now, sort of.
Trevor Plouffe, the 26 year-old renaissance man who entered this season with 10 career home runs went deep again last night off Cole Hamels. It was his 11th of the season and 10th in the last calendar month.
Plouffe has fantasy owners excited because he has played every position on the diamond except center field. Despite the .232 batting average at the press time of this post, he boasts a nice .829 OPS that plays well at shorstop and a few other spots.
April 2006 Chris Shelton says hello. Plus he’s a Minnesota Twin. You would probably have a better chance of scoring some fruit on the vine if you got involved in a pull of the date Ron Gardenhire will be fired.
There’s nothing else noteworthy in the Minnesota box scores this season (yes, even Scott Diamond hasn’t reached that yet). Congrats and all to Plouffe on his month of big league fame, but we don’t expect it to continue much longer. Still, there are players every year that jump off the page in terms of what Zips, Bill James, Marcel and other projection systems thought they would offer. It’s entirely possible that this is Trevor Plouffe’s dream season and he hits 30 long ones at a .230 clip while wowing those northerners up at Target Field until the Vikings return. What do we really know anyways?
The most amazing part of it as I watched it unfold was that one of my best buddies and resident Angels fan MJ Lloyd (of Halo Hangout and Off-Base Percentage) called it earlier in the day. Above are the text messages to prove it.