Saturday, July 8, 2017

Notes, quotes and comment

Friday was quite the busy day in Twinsdom. Let's get chronologic:

* Joe Mauer went on the disabled list with Kennys Vargas recalled. The Twins demoted Vargas on Monday to reactivate Ehire Adrianza. Mauer injured his back on Tuesday, and the Twins dawdled a couple of days before pulling the trigger, presumably (as I noted Thursday) because Vargas hasn't given them a lot of reason to get excited about playing him.

So naturally Vargas went 3-for-4 with a double and a couple RBIs.

*Brandon Kintzler was one of a handful of replacement All-Stars named Friday, and good for him. That gives the Twins three members of the AL squad: Miguel Sano, Ervin Santana and Kintzler.

Kintzler currently leads the American League in saves, which

  • is meaningless as an evaluative stat and
  • made his selection almost inevitable.

* The Twins signed Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal.

Colon became an unlikely cult hero in his three years with the Mets; he's old (44), fat (listed at 285 pounds) and amusingly inept at the plate. But the Braves released him after he put up an 8.18 ERA in 13 starts.

I'm not optimistic about Colon. But I'm not optimistic about the rotation "fixes" on hand either. Derek Falvey told the press corps during the game that Colon thinks he can correct himself and pitch beyond this season, and noted (accurately) that Colon has reinvented himself as a pitcher a few times. So we'll see; the Twins have a minimal investment in "Big Sexy," so all they have to lose are a couple of games.

* Felix Jorge started, got shelled, got demoted (that last, as least, as predicted here).

Roy Smalley drew a Johan Santana comp to Jorge early in the game on FSN, which is ridiculous. Santana is left-handed and threw harder than Jorge. A more realistic comp, at least in terms of what kind of pitcher Jorge might become, is Brad Radke -- a fastball that sits around 90, a good change-up, top-notch command of both pitches.

And, hey, if Jorge becomes Radke, that's marvelous. He's not there yet. He has no chance of becoming Santana. And the signing of Colon, plus the presence in Rochester of Dillon Gee (opt-out date July 15), plus Friday's failed outing  -- that all adds up to he's not getting another shot at the majors anytime soon. Jorge is returning to Chattanooga, and I would expect to see him back in September but not before.

* Outfielder Zack Granite was recalled. He's hitting .360 in Rochester, which is good. He's drawn about as many walks in Rochester as Eddie Rosario has in Minnesota, which is less good, and has far less power.

The gaudy batting average not withstanding, Granite is a fringe prospect, a protoypical fourth outfielder -- left-handed contact hitter, fast enough to play center, not enough pop to be a regular. And as a lefty bat, he's not a particularly good fit as a backup in an outfield with Rosario and Max Kepler among the regulars.

Granite is, at best, Ben Revere with a better arm.

My prediction: He won't be up long.

*Byron Buxton scored from first base on a single to center. Wowzers.

Anybody who thinks Granite should get Buck's playing time is deluded. Baseball Reference, at this writing, has Buxton as the third-most valuable player on the 2017 Twins with 1.8 WAR, behind Ervin Santana and Kepler and fractionally ahead of Sano.

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