The world's been terrible, but the Seagers have been joy.
This is a curiosity, really, more than anything else. There’s no deeper meaning to it, and you probably won’t leave this piece with a better sense of why the sky is blue, the sea deep, or the winter cold. But it’s a fun curiosity, I think, and moreover it’s possible you’ll find the 10 minutes you invest in reading the words I’m about to write a worthwhile diversion from your ongoing journey toward nonexistence. Here’s Corey Seager’s 2016 line, through games played on Monday night:
The season is getting on in days. The corn is getting overripe, the kids are getting sick of midday TV, the fields have turned into kindling. Have the catchers become exhausted?
Catching, for lack of a better word, is hard. You strap on 18 interlocking pieces of gear, some of them plated in solid gold, and then squat for hours at a time working with maybe 25 percent visibility, getting hit by bounced splitters and backswings, feeling the cartilage twist and fray inside your knees, worrying about what each batter wants to hit and what pitch the pitcher wants to throw and how well you can fake that awful slider into almost being a strike. And then you head back into the dugout, strip off all the armor, head to the plate and get cheered half-heartedly by the fans who don’t understand why you don’t hit as many home runs as the right fielder. You develop late, fade early, play through constant pain and tear, and maybe get Sundays off.
The Twins finally change course, firing longtime GM Terry Ryan and perhaps setting the club up for its first real philosophical change in decades.
In a move that’s somehow simultaneously a long time coming and shocking, the Twins fired Terry Ryan after two stints and 18 total years as general manager. Ryan’s teams won four division titles in five years from 2002-2006, but that success was limited to the regular season and bookended by ineptitude. Overall with Ryan as GM the Twins had a .474 winning percentage and were 149 games below .500, including a 318-421 (.430) record in his second stint. Their lone postseason series win under Ryan was 15 years ago and they haven’t won a playoff game in 13 years.
Few, if any, teams would have stuck with a GM for that long given the limited amount of winning amid 11 losing seasons in 18 years, but for better or worse Ryan—old school, conservative, loyal, and ultimately not all that successful—has represented everything about the Minnesota Twins for two decades. In firing Ryan the Twins named his longtime right-hand man Rob Antony as interim GM and it speaks to the culture of inertia and in-house loyalty that there’s legitimate reason to worry he may given the full-time job after 30 years in the organization.
At the very least Antony is now tasked with making several key decisions about veteran players leading up to the July 31 trade deadline. Ryan spent the past month saying repeatedly that he planned to be active at the deadline, uncharacteristically making public pronouncements about how the Twins couldn’t afford to stand pat when they’ve typically done just that in recent years. His departure two weeks before the deadline raises eyebrows, as does putting an interim GM in position to immediately make significant trades.
Notes on those who made an impression from the West representatives in the latest minor league all-star game.
Last week the Eastern League held its all-star game, and Adam McInturff and Grant Jones were there to take in the festivities. Today we’ll examine the standouts from the league’s Western Division, with notes on the best of the East coming forth tomorrow.
Surveying the ninth-inning situations around the league.
We’re coming off a three-day week in the baseball world, but there was still plenty of closer news to unwrap. As always, you can keep up with the changes in real time with the closer grid. The recent changes are highlighted in yellow. Now, on to the news.
A look at how the wise guys spent their money in expert leagues this week.
Welcome to The FAAB Review, the series that looks at the expert bidding in LABR mixed, Tout Wars NL, and Tout Wars AL every week in an effort to try and help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Bret Sayre and I participate in LABR mixed while I have a team in Tout Wars NL, so I can provide some insight on the bids and the reasoning behind them. LABR uses a $100 budget with one-dollar minimum bids, while the Tout Wars leagues use a $1,000 budget with zero-dollar minimum bids. I will also be including Bret’s winning bids in Tout Wars mixed auction league where applicable.
LABR and Tout Wars both use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Anthony Alford, Gleyber Torres, Amir Garrett, and Chris Paddack.
Prospect of the Day: Anthony Alford, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 2-for-6, R, 2 BB, K, 3 SB.
This has been a disappointing season for Alford, without question, but it’s games like this that remind you just how talented he is. Keep in mind that not only is he only 21 years old, but he also had his development in baseball delayed by that egg-shaped sport. He’s still a tremendous athlete who has shown he has a game plan at the plate, and he’s going to be a big-leaguer because of his speed and ability to go get it in center field. It’s not a fast-track profile, but if you’re patient, this could be a leadoff hitter someday.