Thursday Links – Minnesota Twins Spring Training Edition

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Spring Training is in full swing down in Fort Myers.  The Twins are playing (meaningless) baseball games everyday, often more than a game per day!  Although Ron Gardenhire made a point of beginning Major League camp a couple of days early, the Twins are still making blunders and errors on the base paths and out in the field.  But not everything is going poorly for the Twins in southern Florida.  They have beaten the Tampa Bay Rays on three consecutive occasions, and, despite dropping a couple of games to the Red Sox, they are still in possession of the Mayor’s Cup, which Gardy insists is his for the keeping.

While you are waiting for the Twins to once again take the field against the Rays (this afternoon at 12:05 pm CST) enjoy another edition of the Thursday Links:

A must read site for any Twins fan is John Swol’s Twins Trivia.  Not only does Swol possess a great archival knowledge of the Minnesota Twins, but the recaps he does chronicling his visits to the Twins’ Spring Training home, Lee County Sports Complex, are candid and entertaining.  Last week, John Swol spent Another Beautiful Day at the Ballpark.

At the end of last week, FanGraphs wrapped up their review of MLB’s TV broadcasting teams.  The Minnesota Twins finished in the middle of the pack.  Of particular interest to fans is this tidbit of information, “Bert Blyleven — a man who, it must be said, both (a) loves to fart and (b) is zero percent ashamed to admit it.”  FanGraphs will be taking on the AM dial later this week as they begin gathering data on the best and worst radio teams.

Looking for more middle-of-the-row rankings for the Minnesota Twins?  MLB DepthCharts ranks the Twins 16th in their organizational rankings that combine scores for the 40-man roster, the farm system, management, ownership, and the stadium.  If the Twins were still playing in the Homer Dome they’d fall about 10 spots. 

What?  The Metrodome?  Here is a look at the Twins’ plans to build a new stadium and move out of the Metrodome that was published at Baseball Prospectus 7 years ago, when Target Field was just a twinkle in our eyes.  As noted in the piece, the Twins were hoping to get out of the Metrodome almost as soon as they were in it, making plans to move as far back as 1991.

Of particular note in this article at Beyond the Boxscore is the graph towards the bottom of the page that displays quite clearly the advantage that American League teams have in making the post season in 2012.  Teams in the AL West, for example, are almost 10% more likely to play meaningful October baseball than teams in the NL Central.  The statistical analysis does not even factor in the recent success of the Angels and the Rangers, who are early season favorites in the American League.

Compounding the statistical advantage for teams in the AL West is Baseball’s dirty little schedule secret, that gives teams competing for the 1st and 2nd Wild Card spots an unequal playing field.

If a 2nd Wild Card team is not enough to raise your eyebrows, what about the universal adoption of the Designated Hitter in the National League?

It is stuck behind the ESPN Insider pay-wall, but Buster Olney wrote about the Twins being cautiously optimistic in 2012.  Buster, like many Twins fans, pins his expectations for the Minnesota Twins squarely on the shoulders of Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.

Aaron Gleeman continues to send off not only another entry in his Top 40 Twins prospect series, but also 153 pounds in a single year.  Pretty impressive stuff for one of the most tenured writers in the Twins’ blogosphere.