Minnesota's hitting and defense look ready for prime time, but the pitching remains a mess.
Monday was an off day for the Twins, and boy did they need it. As of Friday night they sat atop the American League Central, the unlikely owners of a 34-29 record following a disastrous 103-loss season. Then the second-place Indians came to town for a three-day, four-game series at Target Field and swept the Twins out of first place, thoroughly thrashing Minnesota by a 28-8 aggregate score. In less than 48 hours the Twins went from surprising division leaders to looking like merely something that the defending American League champions had to step over on their inevitable climb back to the playoffs.
On the seventh episode of DFA, Bryan and guest co-host Zach Crizer discuss the Bradley Zimmer call-up, and the potential end of the center field carousel in Cleveland. Then it's on to the big and little moves of the past few days, including former All-Stars going down with injury and former Royals going on to new teams.
It's Baseball Prospectus's newest podcast: DFA! Host Bryan Grosnick (Baseball Prospectus), co-host R.J. Anderson (CBS Sports), and producer Shawn Brody (Beyond the Box Score, BP Mets) are talking about all the transactions and roster moves that make MLB go. From trades and signings to callups and disabled list stints, DFA is here to provide analysis and commentary on all things baseball.
The Situation: Jason Kipnis’ injury means Jose Ramirez will head to second base, opening up a spot for Diaz at the hot corner.
Background: A Cuban defector, Diaz signed for a modest $300,000 back in 2013. Diaz logged full seasons at High-A in 2014, then Double-A, with a brief, four-game cameo at Triple-A in 2015. Though he he hit well, he was assigned back to Akron to open the 2016 season, but earned a promotion to Columbus after 26 games. He’s done nothing but hit his entire pro career, though he’s also been a touch old for his level the entire time.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Patrick stumbles upon a random baseball quote that summarizes how to write, Bryan breaks out his Monster Manual to preview the 2017 season, and Emma sees a fear of quietness in every half-inning break.
There's a lot riding on comebacks by Michael Brantley, Kyle Schwarber, and A.J. Pollock.
Michael Brantley was one of baseball’s best all-around outfielders in 2014 and 2015, hitting a combined .319/.382/.494 with 35 homers, an MLB-high 90 doubles, 38 steals, and more walks (112) than strikeouts (107) in 293 games. He easily led Indians position players in WARP during that two-year span and placed third in the AL MVP voting in 2014. And then he missed nearly the entire 2016 season following offseason shoulder surgery, appearing in just 11 games and seeing zero action after mid-May.
Major League Baseball lost two family members this weekend, as both Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura died in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic. They were about as far away from each other as players as two individuals can get while remaining in the public consciousness.
With the year winding to a close, Baseball Prospectus is revisiting some of our favorite articles of the year. This was originally published on October 27, 2016.
I like people watching, and I suspect I’m not alone. People watching is the only reason anyone likes going to IKEA, and the reason you want to leave IKEA as quickly as possible. It turns out folks can be terrible in small but significant ways when parenting while picking out furniture. People, when they don’t know they are being observed, do all sorts of funny, kind, and awful things. Often they just do human things, like take soda refills they didn’t pay for, or pick up things for a stranger who has dropped them without being asked, or suddenly smirk when they’ve remembered something funny but private. Other people are just like us.
Field Marshal Terry Francona vs. Generalissimo Joe Maddon.
Imagine you are Field Marshal Terry Francona, lined up for battle with your 50 divisions behind you. You and your troops have fought well, having just defeated skilled armies from Boston and Toronto. But your nemesis now is Generalissimo Joe Maddon, who has 70 divisions to throw at you. Picture these two armies fighting over seven separate battlefields—first to seize four fields wins. What’s an underdog to do?
Suppose Maddon puts 10 divisions into position for each battle. Francona could mirror his opponent and evenly spread his forces, but he would be outnumbered all along his front. Or, he could do what outnumbered commanders have done for a long time: concentrate his forces selectively.
Ten innings of high-stakes lever-pulling from Joe Maddon and Terry Francoa.
There’s real freedom in a Game 7. A manager has just one imperative: win this game. Even in a Game 6, a skipper will draw criticism (and perhaps do genuine damage) if he makes a poor decision with regard to some future contest. Just ask Joe Maddon. He entered Wednesday night’s winner-take-all contest with the strange usage of Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 hanging around his neck, and the daunting task of getting 27 outs with a bullpen he largely didn’t trust. Since it was Game 7, though, he had a path to that destination.