Thursday Links – Minnesota Twins Spring Training Edition

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Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Despite what you may have been hearing about Twins prospect Brian Dozier (The Pioneer Press’ Tom Powers is a fantastic writer, that does not mean that he’s infallible.  He’s a little too high on Dozier, at least for now.), he just is not yet ready to play shortstop every day for the Minnesota Twins.  The Baseball Outsider takes a look beyond Jamey Carroll, Alexi Casilla, and Tsuyoshi Nishioka, to  the Middle Infield Prospects.

This image IS Spring Training.  Enjoy.

Getting Blanked projects the Twins to win just 80 games in 2012.  While 80 wins is a significant improvement over the 63 the Twins had a year ago, a lot of Twins fans are going to be disappointed if the Twins fail to post a winning record.  80 wins is probably a fair assessment, but c’mon, at least give Twins fans something position, would 82-80 have been such a stretch?

In which J.J. Hardy rips the Twins approach to hitting, and Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra tells another side of the story.  Hardy would come out of this looking like the bad guy if it was not for the numbers he put up in Baltimore (.801 OPS, 30 HR) just a year after struggling in Minnesota (.714 OPS, 6 HR).  Part of that increase is health, part of it is the hitting environment in Baltimore, but there is no denying the surge in power that Hardy saw in 2012.

Nick, over at Top of the 1st, ranks the 5 worst offseasons of the year, and the hometown 9 check in at #2.  The Twins’ offseason was not great, but I would not have had them on this list, again, I think they were pretty much a middle of the pack team again.  But any time you lose long time fan favorites like Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, and Joe Nathan, AND you cut payroll 15%, fans will not be happy.

The Tenth Inning Stretch posted a list of transactions this past winter involving former Twins, and it is a staggering list to read over.  Hard to believe there are former Twins players linked with almost every MLB franchise this past offseason alone.

The Knuckleballs Blog just celebrated their 2nd Knuckle-versasry!  Knuckleballs is one of my favorite Twins sites, and to go-to place for Twins Game Chats and rants against the MLB Blackout Rules.

The Marcel projections are out.  They project Miguel Cabrera (1) and Prince Fielder (6) to be two of the best hitters in all of Baseball, by wOBA.  Look out, American League Central.

With the 2nd pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, the Twins are likely to select a high upside pitcher, hoping to land a potential ace to anchor the rotation for seasons to come (I do not think the Twins or the Astros were ever going to take Lucas Giolito, so it will not affect their draft process, but the top high school pitching prospect has been diagnosed with a sprained UCL, that could ultimately push him out of the 2012 draft into college ball at UCLA).  But in case they go another way, The Twins way, and draft a toolsy high school player, check out J.P. Breen’s list of High School Bats to Watch.

NotGraphs calls this Ball Meets Face, which is a pretty humorous graphic of baseballs hitting people in the face.  For Twins fan, I propose a more enjoyable game, Name That Twin Getting Hit In The Face.

What effect do college coaches have on college pitchers?  And how can that effect be measured accurately?

Umpires > Steroids.  Rob Neyer explains.

Bill Parker usually writes over at The Platoon Advantage, but he occasionally fills the pages of Baseball Prospectus, and sometimes he writes one of those articles that BP gives away for free!  You are in luck Twins fans, on Wednesday Parker wrote one of those free BP articles, and it was all about the Minnesota Twins!  Well, maybe it was more about Parker hoping that the Twins are respectable, but that is what Spring Training is for.  To hope, with the help of some analysis, in the face of reality.

The Tenth Inning Stretch is monitoring the Twins’ bullpen battle, and has a very handy color coded chart to help you keep track of who is doing well, and who might be joining the rest of the Minor Leaguers (or worse) later this week.

Jose Canseco – He. Just. Doesn’t. Quit.

Video of the Week: ESPN’s Tim Kurkijan has one of the most recognizable voices among baseball’s media.  The Blue Jay’s Arancibia does a SPOT ON impersonation.

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Topics: Alexi Casilla, Brian Dozier, Jamey Carroll, Jason Kubel, Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan, Jose Canseco, Justin Morneau, Prince Fielder, Tsuyoshi Nishioka

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