Monday, April 28, 2014

An Old Memory: The Bob Feller Museum

When I traveled to Evansville, Indiana this past weekend, the Evansville Courier brought back a memory that I hadn't thought about in a long time.  The article, Feller museum struggling to survive by Luke Meredith, brought me back to the spring of 2009 when I was making a trip down to the University of Iowa and we made a stop in the small town of Van Meter.

This town is so small if I blinked, we would've been out of the city limits.  But I had to make a stop at the Bob Feller Museum.  It was fascinating.

I learned that Feller was offered a $1 signing bonus from the Cleveland Indians and he never even received that money.  I also learned he is the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter on Opening Day.

Meredith's article though was about how the museum is struggling to stay open.  Obviously, being in such a small town, it does not get many people through its doors which makes it hard to turn any sort of profit.

This saddens me because I think this is what baseball is all about.  The history and the great players of the past who have made the game so enjoyable for me and millions of other people around the world.

This isn't the typical Pitcher's Duel post but just a friendly reminder that if you ever have the chance to honor the great history of baseball by visiting Cooperstown, reading a biography on a former player or by stopping in Van Meter, take the time to soak it all in.  Life is short and it should be everybody's goal to learn something new and honor America's Pastime.

Here is a link to Meredith's article:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Some Early Trends in Twins Territory

-Trevor Plouffe has shown great plate discipline to the tune of a .326/.446/.413 batting line. He's walking (16.1% of PAs) at a rate almost double of his career rate and cut his strikeout rate from 21% to 14%. It appears the change in approach has traded off on-base skills for power as he only has 4 extra base hits on the young season.

It's difficult to say if this trend will continue, but at the very least it's a bright spot for the future of third base with top prospect Miguel Sano sidelined by injury for 2014. If Plouffe can continue to shrink his strikeouts and take walks, he could be an excellent role player for the Twins.

-Dozier's Pop: He's not turning into Robinson Cano, but it looks like Dozier has legit home run power. A lot of people believed that last year's 18 home runs were a fluke and a number in the low teens would be more realistic in the coming seasons.

That said, he will likely see more of his home runs turn to doubles in the coming months. I would tack him as a good bet to repeat a home run count in the high teens with a chance to top 20 bombs.

-Josmil Pinto. It's clear he can hit based on what we've seen so far this season. I still expect him to hit a rough patch in the middle of the season as he's forced to adjust to pitchers who know will have a book on him, but I still love what I see. Additionally, Kurt Suzuki is doing very little to keep Pinto on the bench and we should see Pinto getting more and more time behind the dish.

-I still do not believe in Jason Kubel at all.

-Kyle Gibson has put up a shiny 2-0 record and 1.59 ERA but I'd be shocked if he kept it up. I've been a big Gibson fan in the past, but not right now. He's stranding 87.5% of runners on base and surrendering hits on just 23.5% of balls hitters put in play. I'd expect him to be good at both of these aspects of the game because he is a groundball pitcher, but nowhere near these rates. For now, Gibson is just a back-end guy with the pitching repertoire to be a mid-rotation guy in the future.

-I still really like what I've seen from both Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco. Neither will be aces and both have been frustrating in the past, but they both have really impressive pitching ability.