Tag:Danny Valencia
Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 1:38 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins



By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no waivers, no minor- or major-league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. 

For years, the Minnesota Twins were the model of how to build a consistent winner in a small market. From 2001-2010, the Twins appeared in the playoffs six times and recorded just one losing season. But the wheels fell off in 2011, with a mixture of bad fortune and bad pitching. The Twins have two former MVPs in their lineup, but it would be tough to find two former MVPs who did less in 2011 than Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Those two homegrown players were supposed to be cornerstones for the franchise, but their performance last season was more fitting a tombstone. The team's fortunes, for better or worse, will be tied to those two for the next few years.

Lineup

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Michael Cuddyer, 3B
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Torii Hunter, RF
6. Jason Kubel, LF
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Danny Valencia, 2B
9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Matt Garza
2. Nick Blackburn
3. Kevin Slowey
4. Brian Duensing
5. Anthony Swarzak

Bullpen

Closer - Jesse Crain
Set up - LaTroy Hawkins, J.C. Romero, Pat Neshek, Glen Perkins, Grant Balfour, Peter Moylan

Notable Bench Players

A.J. Pierzynski, Ben Revere, Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe.

What's Good?

With Ramos and Pierzynski on the roster, there's zero reason for Mauer to get anywhere near catching gear -- unless it's for another commercial. With Mauer freed of pitching duties, he can concentrate on first base and Justin Morneau doesn't have to worry about playing in the field. Even though Morneau is a very good defensive first baseman, keeping him off the field could keep him on the field. Last year he suffered concussion-like symptoms after merely diving for a ball. Limiting his risks for a recurrence of head injuries should be a top priority for the Twins, and the easiest way to do that solves the team's other big problem, getting the most out of their long-term deal with Mauer. While the Twins don't have anyone on this list with a large number of saves on their resume, there are a ton of good relievers.

What's Not?

It's a good thing the team has good relievers, because they're going to need them -- and even more than the seven listed above. The rotation, after Garza, is shaky. That rotation isn't going to get much help from its defense, either. The roster makeup requires several position shuffles, including Cuddyer to third, a position he's played, but is not too keen on playing. The Twins also have to put Nishioka at shortstop. Although he played there some in 2011, the team signed Jamey Carroll to play shortstop every day in 2012 for a reason.

Comparison to real 2011

Well, if you thought it couldn't get much worse in Minnesota than it did in 2011, it may with this lineup and rotation. Minnesota went 63-99 in 2011, and it probably breaks the 100-loss barrier with this squad, but don't expect them to be historically bad, so it'd probably only cost four-to-eight wins in my unscientific research. Either way, it's an ugly summer in Minneapolis.

Up next: Pittsburgh Pirates

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Posted on: September 23, 2011 5:36 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 5:36 pm
 

Span rear-ends car, concussion symptoms resurface

By Matt Snyder

Twins woes
Since the Twins' nightmare 2011 season isn't yet concluded, the apparent curse still has more work to do. The latest incident? Outfielder Denard Span -- who has missed a huge chunk of the season dealing with post-concussion symptoms -- was following third baseman Danny Valencia on the way to the airport from Target Field in stop-and-go traffic Thursday. And Span rear-ended Valencia's car, which was being driven by Valencia's fiancee (Rhett Bollinger via Twitter).

Both players are out of the Twins' lineup Friday night due to "whiplash and headaches," (Bollinger) but are reportedly hopeful to returning Saturday. Span did say that some of his migraines, stemming from a concussion earlier this season, have returned (Bollinger).

Those who pictured some racing scene where both cars were battered beyond recognition like in "Days of Thunder" will be disappointed. Span estimated he was only going about 10 miles per hour, though Valencia joked he felt like he was "hit by a bomb." (Bollinger)

What kind of negative karma did the Twins gather for this season? Only three players have appeared in more than 100 games, there was a near locker-room-wide flu outbreak earlier this season and they've collectively run the gauntlet on nearly every injury imaginable.

Fortunately, the season ends in five days, so the misery will soon be over.

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Posted on: September 5, 2011 9:38 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2011 10:40 pm
 

Valencia breaks up Stewart's perfect game bid

By Matt Snyder

Rookie starting pitcher Zach Stewart came to the White Sox in the Edwin Jackson/Colby Rasmus three-way trade in July, and Monday evening he started to make a name for himself. The 24-year-old pitcher got the start in the second game of a doubleheader against the Twins, and he cruised through 7 1/3. In fact, he had a perfect game until Danny Valencia doubled to right field with one out in the seventh.

The outing comes as a bit of a surprise, as Stewart was shelled in his previous two outings. Plus, this is only his eighth career start.

Still, he went the distance, allowing only Valencia's double in a complete game shutout. He struck out nine and dominated the Twins from start to finish in a 4-0 White Sox victory. They are now eight games behind the Tigers in the AL Central playoff race.

There are two perfect games in White Sox history, most recently Mark Buehrle on July 23, 2009 against the Rays. Click here to see a list of all perfect games in MLB history.

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Posted on: June 29, 2011 4:27 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 4:41 pm
 

Twins win another 1-0 game

Ben Revere

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Twins just won another 1-0 game, their seventh overall 1-0 game and fifth victory in a 1-0 contest. Five of the seven games came at Target Field and the only two losses were on unearned runs.

Here's all of their 1-0 games this season:

June 29: Twins 1, Dodgers 0: Scott Baker went 7 1/3, allowing six hits and a walk, striking out 9. Rubby De La Rosa allowed just one run on six hits in seven innings for the Dodgers to get the hard-luck loss. The only run came in the first after Ben Revere led off the game for the Twins with a triple and Tsuyoshi Nishioka knocked in the game's only run with a dribbler down the first-base line.

June 18: Twins 1, Padres 0: Another great start by Baker, who allowed just four hits and a walk in eight innings, striking out 10. Padres starter Tim Stauffer went seven innings allowing six hits, one of them a Danny Valencia homer in the seventh inning.

June 16: Twins 1, White Sox 0: Right fielder Michael Cuddyer homered off of Mark Buehrle in the second for the only run of the game and one of three hits Buehrle surrendered in seven innings. Nick Blackburn gave up seven hits (all singles) in eight innings, walking one.

June 7: Indians 1, Twins 0: In Cleveland, Indians starter Carlos Carrasco held the Twins to just three hits in 8 1/3 innings, while Chris Perez came in for the final two outs. Minnesota starter Francisco Liriano went 5 innings, giving up three hits and an unearned run. Cleveland scored in the fourth when left fielder Delmon Young's throw allowed Carlos Santana to advance to third on his leadoff double, followed by an RBI groundout by Shelley Duncan.

May 28: Twins 1, Angels 0: Anthony Swarzak took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and Valencia's RBI single in the 10th gave Minnesota the victory. The Angels' Jered Weaver allowed just two hits in 9 innings, but Hisanori Takahashi gave up a single in the 10th inning and Jason Repko came in, Takahashi allowing three straight singles to decide the game.

May 3: Twins 1, White Sox 0: Liriano no-hit the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field and Jason Kubel homered in the seventh for the lone run. Edwin Jackson gave up six hits in eight innings for the White Sox.

April 9: A's 1, Twins 0: With two outs in the sixth, Blackburn gave up a single to Kurt Suzuki who moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error by shortstop Alexi Casilla for the game's only run. Minnesota used five relievers, while Gio Gonzalez allowed four hits in six innings for Oakland.

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Posted on: May 3, 2011 9:54 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2011 11:06 pm
 

Francisco Liriano no-hits White Sox

By C. Trent Rosecrans 

Francisco LirianoEntering Tuesday's game, Francisco Liriano was 1-4 with a 9.13 ERA, allowing 10.3 hits per nine innings. Tuesday, he didn't allow a single hit.

That's the beauty of baseball -- while your numbers may give you an idea of what's expected, they have no bearing on what's going to happen on any given day.

Liriano walked five batters -- including Juan Pierre three times -- but it didn't hurt him, as the Twins won 1-0.

Liriano has looked unhittable at times in his career, but Tuesday wasn't one of them. He struck out just two batters, and just 66 of his 123 pitches were for strikes. But he still became the fifth Minnesota Twin to throw a no-hitter.

The 27-year-old had never thrown a complete game until Tuesday, his 95th career start.

Not only was a no-hitter on the line in the ninth, so was the game, with Minnesota clinging to a 1-0 lead. Shortstop Matt Tolbert had to rush on Brent Morel's grounder leading off the ninth, but Justin Morneau was able to come up with the one-hop throw and get Morel at first for the out. Liriano then walked Pierre before Alexi Ramirez popped out to Tolbert and then after going 3-0 to Adam Dunn, Dunn hit a liner to Tolbert on a full count to start the celebration.

There were other close calls --Liriano got help to end the seventh, when third baseman Danny Valencia made a nice play to get Carlos Quentin. Quentin hit a chopper down the third-base line that Valencia fielded in foul territory. He then set his feet and made a strong throw to get Quentin.

The Twins also dodged a bullet in the eight, when a bad call at first ended the inning. Justin Morneau missed a tag on Gordon Beckham at first at the tail end of a double play, but he was called out. 

Liriano had pitched so poorly this season, the team was stretching out Kevin Slowey in the minor leagues in case they needed to replace Liriano in the rotation.

White Sox starter Edwin Jackson, who threw a no-hitter last season for the Diamondbacks, pitched well, too. He gave up one run on six hits, while walking just one and striking out two. Minnesota's lone run came on a Jason Kubel home run in the fourth.

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Posted on: April 18, 2011 4:46 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 4:57 pm
 

Hobbled Twins lack depth due to 'Twins way'

By Evan Brunell

TolbertThe last-place Minnesota Twins, sporting a 5-10 record that is tied with several other teams for least amount of victories thus far, are scrambling to find answers.

Of course, a major answer is currently on the disabled list, as star Joe Mauer has been felled by a debilitating viral infection. The Twins have also had to deal with a closer crisis, as Joe Nathan has already been demoted from the job after struggling in his return from Tommy John surgery. The team also has to withstand the loss of starting second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka is out over a month after breaking his leg. And then of course, Justin Morneau is still working his way back from a concussion that knocked out the last several months of 2010. Morneau is receiving his second straight day off Monday after playing in a doubleheader Saturday, so it's clear he isn't quite right yet.

That's a whole lot of bad luck for the Twinkies.

"We understand the importance of every game," GM Bill Smith said to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. "You can lose a division in April just as easily as you can lose it in September. You can win it in April just as easily as you can win it in September. We've got to right the ship, and we're going to get our guys back on track."

The problem with this is that the Twins have a thoroughly unexciting squad, even when Mauer and Nishioka return. The cost of trying to acquire "Twins" players is that the club is often left with punchless players who get by on grittiness and defense. (Or in case of the outfield, no defense and a solid offensive game but with glaring deficiencies.) Nick Punto personified this aspect for years as he hit .248/.323/.324 in 2,707 plate appearances over seven years. That works out to 387 PA a year, which is a ton of at-bats to get, and he had two years with more than 500.

Punto's moved on to St. Louis, but his legacy lives on as the lineup Sunday indicates. Matt Tolbert led off the game, with Alexi Casilla following. Skip the power spots and you have Danny Valencia as the starting third baseman, and although he was out of the lineup, Denard Span is the team's starting center fielder.

And the career batting lines of those named?

Tolbert (pictured) is 29 years old with a career line of .246/.304/.349 in just 474 plate appearances. Casilla, 26, has a career .246/.302/.323 line in 1,108 plate appearances, while Valencia is 26 as well and has an impressive .294/.346/.426 mark in 381 plate appearances. However, Valencia had a hot 2010 in a 322-PA stint and his minor-league totals from his time in Triple-A are markedly less impressive. Out of the names mentioned thus far, Valencia has the most capability of sticking in the lineup, but the lack of power in his bat limits his value. Lastly, Span is 27 and is rather promising and a more than viable leadoff hitter as his .290/.367/.394 career line in 1,854 PA boasts.

And those players are actually valued by the team.

Granted, Tolbert probably exits the lineup once Nishioka returns and his ceiling is a bit higher, but that's still an awful lot to compromise on offense -- and the fact Tolbert led off the game tells you everything you need to know about both the team's struggles and the fact that Tolbert was their best option with Span out of the lineup.

While the club has Jim Thome as a power bat, he is merely a part-time player as the Twins try to milk all they can out of Delmon Young who has yet to justify his hype. Minnesota also has Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer for the middle of the order, but Cuddyer is slipping and Kubel is trying to shake off a poor 2010.

No one's saying these Twins can't contend. After all, they're coming off back-to-back division titles. That said, the Twins have made several curious moves the past few years, ranging from acquiring Matt Capps despite his exorbitant salary and demoting Kevin Slowey from the rotation to the bullpen to start Nick Blackburn, a worse pitcher who somehow lucked into a lucrative contract extension. Speaking of the Capps acquisition, it forced the Twins to go cheap on the rest of the relief squad given the dollars tied up in Capps and Nathan. Going cheap on middle relief is actually not a bad thing at all, but the pitchers Minnesota chose are hardly exciting, and the bullpen is now an Achilles' heel given Nathan's poor performance.

Although the Twins still have a good ballclub and will contend for the division before it's all said and done, this is a team thin on depth and power. For Minnesota to contend, the saving grace will have to come from the rotation which has an impressive blend of starters. In addition, Slowey could always return to the rotation and top prospect Kyle Gibson should make his debut by season's end.

Unfortunately, the rotation may not be enough to overcome the White Sox or Tigers in 2011.

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Posted on: November 29, 2010 12:50 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 4:09 pm
 

Rookie all-stars announced


Topps announced its annual rookie all-star team Monday, and it's a pretty nice-looking lineup. It was a good year for rookies.

1B: Gaby Sanchez, Marlins
2B: Neil Walker, Pirates
3B: Danny Valencia, Twins
SS: Starlin Castro, Cubs
OF: Austin Jackson, Tigers
OF: Michael Stanton, Marlins
OF: Jason Heyward, Braves
C: Buster Posey, Giants
RHP: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
LHP: Jaime Garcia, Cardinals
RP: Neftali Feliz, Rangers

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 15, 2010 2:22 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:36 am
 

Feliz, Posey win Rookie honors

Buster Posey Rangers closer Neftali Feliz and Giants catcher Buster Posey are your Rookies of the Year. No surprise, really.

The only question about today's results was which deserving National League rookie would win. Buster Posey ended up winning, taking the award over Atlanta's Jason Heyward.

While I would have voted for Heyward, I have zero problem with Posey winning. Both were incredible. What strikes me as interesting is the voting results, as Posey won comfortably, getting 20 of the 32 first-place votes and finishing with a total of 129 points. Heyward got nine first-place votes and 107 total points. I honestly thought it would be closer.

Three voters didn't vote for either, one voter went with Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia, while two voted for Gaby Sanchez.

The American League spread was about the same, as the National League. Feliz received 20 first-place votes and finished with 122 points. Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson finished second, with eight first-place votes and 98 total points. Twins third baseman Danny Valencia was third.

Pedro Feliz The difference, as discussed last week, was the caliber of candidates in both leagues. Feliz had a good year, but he's a closer, and that's a different role. Just for the record, let's look at the stats from the American League Rookie of the Year:

69 1/3 IP, 43 H, 21 R, 21 ER, 18 BB, 71 K, 2.73 ERA, .880 WHIP

Not bad numbers. Now let's look at a rookie in the National League who didn't garner a single vote.

68 IP, 56 H, 25 R, 22 ER, 17 BB, 92 K, 2.91 ERA, 1.074 WHIP

How about that? How did that guy not even get considered for the National League Rookie of the Year?

That's because he got hurt -- and he was a starter.

Stephen Strasburg made just 12 starts, but still pitched nearly as many innings as Feliz, who was the Rangers' closer. He didn't have 40 saves.

That said, Feliz definitely deserved the award.

The voting:
National League (points)
Buster Posey 129
Jason Heyward 107
Jaime Garcia 24
Gaby Sanchez 18
Neil Walker 3
Starlin Castro 3
Ike Davis 2
Jose Tabata 1
Jonny Venters 1

American League
Neftali Feliz 122
Austin Jackson 98
Danny Valencia 12
Wade Davis 11
John Jaso 3
Brandon Boesch 3
Brian Matusz 3

The National League Cy Young Award will be announced tomorrow.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com