Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Baseball America's Top Ten Minnesota Twins Prospects

Baseball America released their top 10 Minnesota Twins prospect list today:
1. Aaron Hicks, of

2. Ben Revere, of

3. Wilson Ramos, c

4. Jose Mijares, lhp

5. Danny Valencia, 3b

6. Anthony Swarzak, rhp

7. Shooter Hunt, rhp

8. Kevin Mulvey, rhp

9. Carlos Gutierrez, rhp

10. Angel Morales, of

I can't say I disagree with it much. I'm not as high on Gutierrez as they are. I like that they rated Mijares that high, he will be a huge help to the bullpen next year. My view on the Twins farm system is that it is very deep, much deeper than in years past, but that it isn't very top heavy, in other words they don't have a top prospect like a Mauer, or a Liriano or Garza or a Young or Morneau sitting there. These guys are probably more like a Kubel, a Slowey, a Casilla, a Bartlett, potential to be good, but maybe not all-stars. But then again, I do have high hopes, especially Hicks should be an all-star, maybe Revere, Ramos, or Morales. I don't know. Nobody does. Nobody knew Span would all of a sudden break out. I guess most these guys won't be helping the team within the next 2 years so we will be able to better judge them as time goes on. But it sure is fun, even though every fan overvalues their team prospects.

Here is Baseball America's former top 10 picks for Twins top prospect:
1999 Michael Cuddyer, 3b
2000 Michael Cuddyer, 3b
2001 Adam Johnson, rhp
So. Maryland (Atlantic)
2002 Joe Mauer, c
2003 Joe Mauer, c
2004 Joe Mauer, c
2005 Joe Mauer, c
2006 Francisco Liriano, lhp
2007 Matt Garza, rhp
2008 Nick Blackburn, rhp

Blackburn was a weird choice, but he was solid last year. Ouch, Adam Johnson was a big bust.

And here is what they think our lineup will look like in 2012:
Catcher Joe Mauer
First Base Justin Morneau
Second Base Alexi Casilla
Third Base Danny Valencia
Shortstop Trevor Plouffe
Left Field Ben Revere
Center Field Aaron Hicks
Right Field Delmon Young
Designated Hitter Jason Kubel
No. 1 Starter Francisco Liriano
No. 2 Starter Scott Baker
No. 3 Starter Kevin Slowey
No. 4 Starter Nick Blackburn
No. 5 Starter Glen Perkins
Closer Joe Nathan

I like it. Plouffe is the worst guy on that list. I'd sure like the Twins to trade for a shortstop like Yunel Escobar or JJ Hardy this winter. But the Twins immediate and long-term future looks very bright.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What others are saying about Tim's Sports Blog

Some folks have been doing some in-depth research of my blog. I gave them permission. Here are the results: believes "We think is written by a man (87%)." believes I am a...


The entertaining and friendly type. You are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill your surroundings with bright colors and sweet smells. You live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - you are always in risk of exhausting yourself.

You enjoy work that makes you able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. You tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for you in management positions.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Season at a Glance

AK-- Has been the MVP of the Jazz this season. It would be a shame if he didn't make the all-star team and win 6th man of the year award if he keeps this up. Moving AK to 6th man duties was pure genius. I wish Williams knew how to play with Kirilenko better. But anytime Williams is not on the floor, Kirilenko better be there. His shooting is improved as well. This is the old AK that we grew to love so much and I love watching him again. When he is on like this, he is one of the most exciting players to watch and perhaps one of the top 5 overall, best well-rounded players in the league.

Boozer-- The guy has been great on offense and rebounding. He still can be abused on defense but he is trying more this year. He would have even better numbers if D-Will was playing. He feeds off Williams more than anybody. Hopefully Boozer won't miss time from his injury last night.

Brewer-- Still inconsistent although he is improving. Has some amazing hands, he can rack up the steals fast! His outside shot is much better and can hit the 3 now. His defense and now his more improved offense game is taking playing time away from Korver.

Millsap-- Defense, rebounds, and scoring is great. I really don't see how they could afford to not resign him this offseason.

Brevin-- The Jazz have to be thankful that he is on the team. He is a great defender and a much better point guard than Price.

CJ Miles-- At the beginning of the season it looked like he wasn't going to start for much longer. But the last few games he has exploded, leading the Jazz in scoring 2 games in a row. He will take away Korver's and Harpring's minutes. I am glad we resigned him, and it will be fun to see his improvement in the next 4 years.

Price-- He would be better if his FG% was better. He was great last night, playing the whole 2nd half.

Korver-- One of the most disappointing players this season. His wrist is hurt and isn't shooting as well. His defense leaves much to be desired and he is losing playing time fast to Brewer and Miles.

K2 (Kousta Koufos)-- This guy looks like he was a steal. He plays the best inside defense on the whole team already. He has a good shot as well. Look for him to get a few minutes a night and he should be one of the top 3 Jazz centers of all-time when it is all said and done.

D-Will-- He came back too early, but I can't blame him. The one problem with Deron is that he can't co-exist with Kirilenko on the floor. With Williams gone, it is clear that Kirilenko is easily the Jazz 2nd best player and best player when Deron is out.

Memo-- He hasn't played much due to a bad back and his dad's illness. We need him to be back to full strength soon.

Collins-- Hasn't played much, I don't know why he is on the team.

Harpring-- I really don't think he will get much playing time this season. He is too banged up. When he is healthy he is an excellent player but CJ and Brewer are starting to play really good and his minutes are being eaten up.

Almond-- I am confused. Sloan all of a sudden likes the guy and praises him and starts giving him a few minutes a night. Why did they decide to not exercise their option for him on next season?

Fess-- Likely headed to the D-League.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Morneau 2nd, Mauer 4th in AL MVP

I am disappointed but not shocked. Today Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox won the AL MVP. Morneau finished 2nd and Mauer finished 4th. Had Morneau not batted .146 over the last 16 games, he likely would have won it. Or had the Twins made the playoffs he likely would have won it. Really just a few things change and Morneau wins it. However, Joe Mauer would be my pick for the MVP. Sadly I doubt he will ever win it because of his low home run totals. I would go into deep statistical analysis to prove my pick but I dont have time. But here is one stat to chew on: Mauer led the league in Win Probability Added… which means he was the most clutch hitter in the league when the game counted. Rob Neyer agrees with my pick for the MVP:

Morneau had 257 points and Mauer received 188. Pedroia won with 317. Morneau had 7 first place votes, while Mauer received 2. Honestly I think the awards are overrated and the people who vote for them don't put much thought into it, or who only vote based on their opinion and don't back it up with important stats and information. I mean, how did one voter leave Pedroia off the vote completely?? How did Jason Bartlett get a 5th place vote??? How did Francisco Rodriguez, who wasn't even the best AL closer, get a first place vote?? How did Torii Hunter win another gold glove award? And worst of all, how did some voters vote for Edison Volquez for NL Rookie if the Year when he wasn't even a rookie!?!?

Postseason awards are starting to become something that don't really matter, they are becoming a joke.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jazz vs Suns notes

-The Jazz remain unbeaten at home despite not having Memo Okur and Deron Williams.
-The Jazz are 31-1 at home in 2008. That is just unbelievable. Does anybody question that the Jazz #1 priority is to obtain the #1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs?
-CJ Miles was a beast, scoring 15 in the 1st and 21 overall.
-Millsap and AK combined to block Shaq on three straight plays.
-The Jazz played hard and with a lot of energy tonight.
-Jarron Collins got his first start of the year.
-AK, Korver, Millsap, and Knight were huge off the bench.
-Koufos only played 5 minutes but had some nice defensive moves.
-Jazz were +19 with Knight on the floor.
-Will Okur and Williams finally be on the floor on Wednesday? Okur has a strained back and Williams still hasn't recovered from a preseason ankle sprain.
-It was a good knight for the Jazz and they picked up a much needed victory.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Silver Sluggers for Mauer, Morneau

Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer both won their second career Silver Slugger awards. This is an award given to the best hitters in each league at each position. The winners are determined by a vote from coaches and managers. Both won the award in 2006 also.

Mauer now has a Gold Glove, 2 AL Batting Titles, 2 Silver Sluggers, and a couple of All-Star appearances.

Morneau has 2 Silver Sluggers, a Home Run Derby crown, 2 All-Star appearances, and an MVP award, and is in the running for AL MVP this year as well.

The winners in the American League were:

Catcher:Joe Mauer, Twins
First base:Justin Morneau, Twins
Second base:Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Third base: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
Shortstop:Derek Jeter, Yankees
Outfield: Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Outfield:Carlos Quentin, White Sox
Outfield:Grady Sizemore, Indians
Designated hitter: Aubrey Huff, Orioles

Trade Targets: Yunel Escobar and JJ Hardy

One rule I have learned over the years observing the Twins is that they are much better traders than free-agent signers. Yes there are some good names out there that would help the Twins,and the Twins have the money to spend, but the Twins have shown the inability to make a good, big free-agent signing. We have already discussed trading for 3B Adrian Beltre of the Mariners and 3B Garrett Atkins of the Rockies, perhaps the Twins top two trading targets for that position. But the Twins, believe it or not, the 3B position for the Twins had 91 RBI last year, and that was with Mike Lamb getting 186 or the 576 at-bats. A Buscher/Harris platoon would be almost as good as many of the 3B free agent options out there. Plus their top two position prospects in the higher levels of the minors are probably two third basemen, Luke Hughes and Danny Valencia, who should be ready by 2010.

Third base is somewhat of a problem but the Twins should try to plug their shortstop hole instead. I hope that they won't resign Nick Punto because we all know Ron Gardenhire loves him like his own son and Punto would start every day at SS. We all know about his putrid 2007 season when he was handed a starting job right from the get-go. He is a utility player.

Two names that I would really like the Twins to pursue via trade are Yunel Escobar of the Braves and J.J. Hardy of the Brewers. Both teams are great trading partners for the Twins because the Braves really need outfielders and starting pitching, and they have an excess of infielders, and the Brewers need starting pitching and they are looking to trade some of their infield depth.

Escobar is 26 years old, and a Cuban. He has been with the Braves for 2 years. Last year he had a .366 OBP and .401 SLG and he hit 10 HR while playing good defense at SS. He is young and projects to hit 20-25 HR. He probably projects as an All-Star SS. Solid all-around.

Hardy is also 26. He is ok with the glove. But his bat is amazing. Over the past two seasons he has combined to hit 50 home runs. Last year he had a .343 OBP and .478 SLG.

They both are right-handed hitters, something the Twins need as well.

I have no idea what it would take to get them. Here are trades I would make:

Cuddyer and Blackburn for Escobar.
Cuddyer and Pridie for Hardy.
Bonser, Humber, and Perkins for Hardy.
Slowey for Escobar and a good infield prospect.
Slowey for Hardy and a good prospect.
Young for Escobar.
Span for Escobar.

untradeable players:
Liriano, Baker, Mauer, Morneau, Nathan.

With free-agents free to sign starting tomorrow I am sure we will see more and more Twins rumors.

Let's just hope they don't sign another Livan Hernandez, Tony Bautista, Mike Lamb, Adam Everett, Sidney Ponson, Ramon Ortiz, etc.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Return of Williams

-The biggest story of the night was the unexpected early return of Williams. He helped the team while not reinjuring himself. Williams clearly isn't at 100% but he didn't embarrass himself. He had 9 assists to go with 7 points.

-Brewer is starting to receive tons of playing time. He scored 16 points in the 4th quarter, a quarter that used to be exclusively Korver's. Brewer is going to be a guy who gets 38 minutes a night in this league. He has 10 steals in the past 2 games, not to mention his 9 assists and 6 rebounds.

-Koufus looked good tonight. I think he will be in Utah for a long time. He even had 2 blocks. Maybe the Jazz let Memo go and keep Boozer and Millsap and Koufus. It is way too early to tell.

-Kirilenko and Millsap are wrecking havoc on other team's 2nd units. rates the Jazz bench as the best in the league and I agree. They score more points than any other team's bench.

-Good victory, especially after Sunday's tough loss at the Knicks. The Jazz regain their winning road record and put their current road trip at .500.

-I wonder if Williams felt obligated to play since Okur left the Jazz very shorthanded. The guy is just a winner.

About that game tonight...

Memo Okur had to leave to Turkey for a family emergency. He might be gone the whole road trip. Jarron Collins is still injured, and Kyrylo Fesenko had to go to Canada to resolve visa issues (although I heard he might try to come back so he won't miss this opportunity to play.) That leaves the Jazz very thin in the middle. They have Koufus, Boozer, Millsap, and Kirilenko to try and fill the 2 big spots. Harpring is also probably still out.

But here is the good news: Deron Williams is a game-time decision. But this time the game-time decision means it is 90% likely that he will start and play tonight. That would be huge! I hope he isn't coming back too early but I'm guessing the Jazz won't let him do that. So I was thinking that without Williams, Okur, Collins, Fesenko, and Harpring, the Jazz would be lucky to win a game on this road trip. But if Williams comes back, even at 85%, I like our chances better. The best center we face on this trip is the Cavs' Z Illgaskus. Go Jazz!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Former Sonics vs Jazz

-Jerry Sloan becomes the first NBA coach to have 1,000 wins with one team. That, my friends, is impressive.

-I had to laugh when Sloan was asked in the postgame interview if any wins over the 1,000 stood out to him. He said no, the games that I remember are the ones we lose. Classic Sloan.

-Easy victory for the Jazz tonight. They fell behind 8-0 early but they cruised most the game.

-The Jazz are ridiculously talented and athletic. They seemed to be toying with the Thunder most the game.

-The Thunder probably have the worst team in the NBA, the worst nickname, and the worst logo. Their unis are okay.

-Towards the end of the game you could hear the crowd chant Jerry Sloan. No big celebration though.

-It is off for a 5 game road trip that will be the first real test this season for the Jazz. Unfortunately it sounds like they might have to do it without Deron Williams.

-Knight had 11 assists in 26 minutes. I think he should be starting soon.

-After a Korver dunk, Williams teased him by clapping with a sarcastic oh wow face. D-Will likes to have fun.

-Looking around the league the Suns and Hornets lost, putting them at 4-2 and 3-2. The Spurs also lost while losing Parker to injury, their record is 1-4. Good to see the Jazz getting early ground on everyone while remaining tied with the Lakers while D-Will is out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cuddyer/Atkins rumors

-The Twins are being pretty quiet at the GM meetings. But on they are reporting that the Twins are in discussions with the Rockies about 3B Garrett Atkins.

From Denver via

"An intriguing name to watch in any Rockies talks about sending third baseman Garrett Atkins to Minnesota is outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who missed 2 1/2 months last season with a strained tendon in his left index finger and has fallen into a backup role because of the emergence of young Twins outfielders."

"The Rockies are looking to add a quality starter in the offseason, and the Twins could offer the likes of Nick Blackburn or Kevin Slowey. But the Rockies would also like to add a right-handed, run-producing hitter in a multiple-player package, which is where Cuddyer, a strong clubhouse presence, would fit."

"The Twins have rebuilt their outfield with Delmon Young in left, Carlos Gomez in center and Denard Span in right."

If they would take Cuddyer for Atkins straight up, I would say do it. It would solve the 5 outfielders for 4 positions problem and the 3B hole/lacking a right-handed power bat with just one trade. I didn't think Cuddyer's trade value was that high. I'd much rather lose Cuddyer than Young or even Span and Gomez. But if the Rockies are asking for Blackburn or Slowey I would say thanks but no thanks.

Atkins plays in the most hitter-friendly park in all of baseball, Coors Field. The thing that scares me about him is his OPS has gone down each of the last seasons.
2006 OPS: .965, 2007: .853, 2008: .780.
HR 2006: 29, 2007:25, 2008:21.
RBI 2006: 120, 2007:111, 2008:99
On Base Percentage: 2006: .409, 2007: .367, 2008: .328

He is only 28 years old and his salary is in the $4 million range. I don't know everything about him, but I know he is a good hitting third-baseman, although the downward slope he is on scares me. Still he is a better option than Brian Buscher or Brendan Harris.

Joe Mauer wins first Gold Glove

Joe Mauer won his first Gold Glove Award today. He is the first Twins catcher to receive a gold glove since 1962 (Earl Battey).

Mauer had a .997 fielding percentage. He only committed three errors and he threw out 18 base runners.

He also helped guide an extremely young pitching staff.

Mauer also won his second batting title this season.

He is the best hitting catcher and the best defensive catcher arguably in the game, and now he has the hardware to back it up. Mauer is only 25 years old and one of, if not the most valuable player in the American League. Being able to provide from both sides of the plate at such a hard position is extremely rare, and Mauer has a chance to go down as the best catcher in history.

Congrats Joe!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jazz still perfect

-The Jazz moved to 3-0 at home and 4-0 overall.

-Only the Jazz and Lakers remain undefeated in the West.

-Sloan should get victory 1,000 on Friday vs OKC. Big moment.

-AK, Deron, and Boozer were honored before the game for their participation in the 2008 Olympics.

-Williams was supposed to return tonight, but did not play.

-Good win for the Jazz because only the Blazers and Lakers had winning records vs the Jazz last season, and the Blazers handed us one of our 4 losses at home last year.

-Okur ended up with 22, and Boozer had 20.

-Kirilenko: 17 pts, 4 reb, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block. He always has the most interesting box score line.

-Brewer had the play of the game with an awesome reverse dunk. He is so ridiculously athletic. He had a nice game with 16 points and is starting to steal a little of Korver's playing time.

-Knight ended up playing more than Price. Knight had 6 points, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Price's shot just isn't falling this season and Knight looks like a much more pure point guard and can calm the team down.

-Next up: Oklahoma City Thunder (ex-Seattle Sonics) 7PM EnergySolutions Arena

-And Tim's Sports Blog would like to congratulate President-Elect Obama.

Monday, November 3, 2008

3-0 Without Deron

-Denver probably just regained the title of 2nd best team in the Northwest Division with the Iverson-Billups trade. I was not impressed with Iverson at all when the Jazz played Denver this year. Good trade for the Nuggets.

-Deron joined Boler and Booner for the 3rd quarter tonight, and he didn't sound like he will be ready for Wednesday's game like he had originally hoped.

-AK does it again – 15 pts 11 rebs 2 assists and 4 steals.

-Jerry Sloan got win 998 as Jazz head coach. When he reaches 1,000 victories with just one team (Utah Jazz) it will join Stockton's assist record as unbreakable records.

-Millsap was an animal with 24 points and 9 rebounds. It will be interesting to see who the Jazz don't sign out of Boozer/Okur/Millsap.

- Jazz were -3 with Price on the floor compared with +19 with Knight on the floor. I doubt that the Jazz would be 3-0 right now if they hadn't swapped Hart for Knight.

-The defense is looking better, only giving up 86.5 ppg so far this season. The Jazz are also 2nd in the league in point differential (13.0).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Good Knight

Observations from game 2:

-Williams shouldn't push himself to play Monday night at the Clippers. The Jazz can fend for themselves
against LA (especially sans Baron Davis and Marcus Camby) without Deron.

-Perhaps the only positive about Deron's injury is being able to listen to him for parts of the game with Bolerjack and Boone. Williams provides good insights and I just like listening to him. He is my favorite athlete in sports right now.

-Kirilenko will make the all-star team if he keeps this up. 11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals.

-Boozer is playing great so far during his contract year and is carrying the team without Williams.

-Brevin Knight was excellent tonight and gives the Jazz a more pure point guard than Price. The Knight for Hart trade was just amazing by Kevin O'Conner. That along with the Korver for Giricek have been absolute steals for the Jazz.

-Jazz set franchise record for fewest turnovers in a game with 4. Only 1 through 3 quarters.

-The West will be good but the Jazz, Lakers, Hornets, and Rockets should have much better records than the rest this year. It won't be as tight 1-8 this year as it was last year.