Drew Butera, on his knees, begging to be your Baseball BoyfriendMandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Thursday Links - Baseball Boyfriend Edition

The most discouraging news this past week  was not even the Twins’ inability to sign a starting pitcher to replace Nick Blackburn.  It was the release of the Baseball Boyfriend app, a mini-fantasy baseball game designed partnered with CBSSports.com, and I’m completely guessing here, to create interest in fantasy baseball from women.  “If he stays past noon,” BaseballBoyfriend.com says, “he’s your BBBF for the night.”  Unsurprisingly there has been a lot of backlash since the app was announced on Tuesday afternoon.  I cannot believe this game made it past the idea phase, and even more surprised that CBS Sports signed off on the partnership.  “Bring your girlfriends and BFFs together for a fun baseball season this summer.”  No thanks.

On with the links, boyfriend or not:

If I had a baseball boyfriend I would want it to be Dustin Parkes.  Parkes neither plays baseball, nor is my boyfriend, unfortunately, but he did do an excellent job explaining some of the intricacies of BABIP, and how there is more than just dumb luck at play when BABIPs fluctuate up and down.

Beyond he Boxscore continues to take a visual look at the Window to Win for different Major League teams.  Last week they posted the Twins’ infographic, which detailed the contract lengths of the Twins’ 40 man roster members as well as some key prospects and minor leaguers.

As part of the 2012 Projections series here on Puckett’s Pond I’ve been evaluating the Twins’ 2012 projected starters using an increasingly common MLB stat, Wins Above Replacement, WAR.  The Platoon Advantage’s Mark Smith takes WAR to a whole new level, and finds a way to use WAR in Everyday Life.  Today, my sack lunch is worth about 1 WARL (WAR Lunch). 

The Tenth Inning Stretch answers the question, Who is the all time Twins’ most valuable player?  Turns out, Joe Mauer, at least in terms of number of times he’s lead his team in WAR (there’s that stat again…).

Jesse Wolfersberger, of Fangraphs, tackles a big project and analyzes Salary Inflation, and calculates the actual value (in terms of WAR), that both Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols will need to produce over the life of their contracts to make their long term deals money makers for their new teams.  For both players, the numbers are north of 36 WAR.

While salaries continue to rise among MLB players, what is the ratio between Money and wins?  Despite what you may think about the Yankees’ $200 million dollar payroll, Dave Studeman from The Hardball Times, but dollars do not necessarily guarantee wins the way a lot of fans think they do.

Mark Teixeira bunting?  Maybe.  Rob Neyer, the National Baseball Editor at Baseball Nation, thinks that Tex is all talk.

More bunting, more Platoon Advantage.  This time Bill looks at sacrifice bunts throughout history, and while the sacrifice bunt is occasionally helpful, even for a slugger, Bill is “pretty confident” Babe Ruth’s 113 career sacrifice bunts are 113 too many.

Can the Twins Contend in 2012?  Nick, from Top of the 1st, does not think so.

With Pitchers and Catchers reporting in just 9 (NINE!!!!!) days, the mess of non-roster invites the Twins will have in Big League camp will be tough to sort out.  Edward Thoma of the Baseball Outsider takes a closer look at the pitching options.

Not to be outdone, Brandon Warne, over at the Bleacher Report, attempts to predict how the Twins’ bullpen will shake out.  Warne offers both what he considers an ideal bullpen made up of current Twins, and the bullpen he expects to head north out of Spring Training to start the year.

If you have no idea who all the men are that the Twins invited to Spring Training are, do not fret.  K-Bro’s Baseball Blog gives you a run down of all 64 players invited to Spring Training.

In addition to looking up all those unknown players, the time before Spring Training gives fans a chance to look deeper at the Minor League players in their system (Nick Nelson’s Top 10 Twins Prospects) and it gives baseball writers an opportunity to rank the Farm Systems of each Major League franchise.  The Twins, despite being thinner at the upper levels of the organization, are ranked 14th in a recent article.  LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune has the details.

On the Road, a Minnesota Twins Blog, gets in on the prospect action too, teasing readers with the first installment of his Top 50 Twins Prospects.  Among the early surprises is Dakota Watts at 49.

This is an interesting trio of links.  The first is Buster Olney’s list of the winter’s top 10 value moves.  Within these 10 moves is the Twins’ signing of Ryan Doumit, and the signings of Jason Kubel and Jim Thome, by the Diamondbacks and the Phillies respectively.  A couple of these signings appear on Dave Cameron’s 10 Best Transactions of the Winter, but nothing the Twins did cracked Cameron’s top 10.  The Twins, however, did make it onto Cameron’s 10 Worst Transactions of the Winter with their $4.75 million dollar contract for Matt Capps.

Coming off a 2011 in which the Twins had to “battle their tales off” not to lose 100 games, the Sweet Spot’s Christina Kahrl looks ahead to 2012 and sees 5 teams with at least a 20% chance of losing 100 games.  Not to fear, Twins fans, the Home 9 checks in at just 12%.

If your two favorite things are cross stitch and baseball, you’re in luck.

Seth Stohs continues his winter series examining the organizational depth of the Minnesota Twins.  This week he looked at both Starting Pitchers, and Relief Pitchers.  The sheer volume of arms looking for spots in the Twins organization is staggering, especially the pile of relievers looking for a home in Rochester.

Stohs also invites readers to make predictions for the upcoming season.  Here’s my own (click through to see the categories):

  1. Josh Willingham
  2. Scott Baker
  3. Alexi Casilla
  4. Nick Blackburn
  5. Liam Hendriks
  6. Aaron Hicks
  7. Alex Wimmers

Remember Johan Santana?  Carlos Gomez? Philip Humber?  Bueller?… Bueller?…
Long time Twins Blogger, Aaron Gleeman, investigates the aftermath of the trade that sent Santana to the Mets for Gomez, Humber, and a couple of other Minor League players.  Gleeman’s assessment?  A bad trade for both sides.

The NoDak Twins Fan is rolling out a pre-Spring Training series of his own, profiling the Bench Buddies, featuring likely backups for the 2012 Twins.  The first two installments feature Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Trevor Plouffe.

With the stock-pile of early draft choices the Twins will have in the 2012 MLB draft, the Twins would do well to draft more than their fair share of college players, not only because they can help fill the upper ranks of the Twins’ farm system, but also, as Jim Breen writes, because they’re more likely to become elite players.

Stadium Journey, that recently ranked Target Field as the best stadium in Major League Baseball, has just released their yearly list of the Top 10 Stadiums in any sport.  TF comes in at number 5.  Despite the high praise, Stadium Journey ends their article on Target Field with this:

“From the 100,000 square feet of Minnesota limestone that make up the stadium’s façade, to the history of the team (which, prior to the Minnesota Lynx’s WNBA title in 2011 was the lone Minnesota professional sports franchise to have won a championship), to the food, to the copious amount of diversions available for you inside the stadium, Target Field has easily become the top stadium in the Twin Cities – that is, at least until the Vikings build theirs, anyway.”

Finally, from our friends at NotGraphs, some Aesthetically Pleasing Triple-Slashes.  Because, what is baseball, if not pleasing to the eye?

Video of the Week:  Boston’s Mark Melancon swimming with sharks.  Real sharks.  With real teeth.

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Tags: Aaron Hicks Albert Pujols Alex Wimmers Alexi Casilla Carlos Gomez Dakota Watts Drew Butera Frank Viola Jason Kubel Jim Thome Johan Santana Josh Willingham Liam Hendriks Mark Melancon Mark Teixeira Matt Capps Nick Blackburn Philip Humber Prince Fielder Ryan Doumit Scott Baker Tsuyoshi Nishioka

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