Tagged: Justin Morneau

I’m (Jokingly) Worried About the Twins here, Guys

The Minnesota Twins are just falling apart lately. Talk is that Francisco Liriano won’t pitch until past the All-Star break (and if he does it’ll be a big mistake), which is good for Sox fans and bad for Twins fans. Justin Morneau is still feeling the effects of the concussion from last July. That must be insanely scary and I can’t even imagine how he feels. And now Joe Mauer is having knee trouble, resorting to shots of “lubricating medicine” (whatever that means) into his knee once a week. 
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is insisting on starting Joe Mauer behind the plate for 162 games knowing full well that Mauer’s body is obviously breaking down. The best Joe will be able to do in the future is first base, and then after that it’s full time DH. I hate Joe Mauer, but I acknowledge the fact that he’s the best catcher in the game right now. That’s why I hate him. If I were Gardy, I’d shut Mauer down until I knew 100% that he’s good to go. A starting catcher with bad knees is a horrible idea. Sure they need his bat in the lineup, but I’d rather have a healthy Joe Mauer than just Joe Mauer. 
It’s a mess up there in Minnesota but I know they’ll still fight with us up until the last week of September. Looking forward to an excellent season, Twins.
Go Sox.

What If

So I’m an intern at Fox Sports Radio and tonight was my first night. I was happily surprised when I and my friend Ethan got to jump on the radio and talk baseball for a segment (roughly twenty minutes). We got on the topic of Albert Pujols and how he may or may not come to the Cubs. That, of course, lead to the Adam Dunn signing and the one host, John Popovich, said “There’s no way Adam Dunn will hit forty homers this year.” Even though I smiled and disagreed, this got the back of my mind working.

What if Adam Dunn doesn’t hit forty homers this year? What if Adam Dunn doesn’t produce the way we’re projecting him to? What if he strikes out 220 times? 
We’re placing a lot of expectations on a guy who has never even played in the American League. He’s faced a handful of these pitchers in interleague play, but that isn’t the same as playing 162 games a season and seeing some guys five or six times each. 
It’s nice to look at Dunn’s stats and think “Man, I can’t believe we have this guy.” Then you have to jump into reality and face the truth that he might not perform like that. Sure he’s hit 46 homers in a season and has driven in 100 runs a few times. It isn’t guaranteed that he’ll do it again. Nothing is guaranteed. 
I’m not trying to sound like Debbie Downer here, I’m really excited that we brought in Dunn for the 2011 season. Konerko, Dunn, and Rios (not necessarily in that order) in the 3-4-5 slot should be able to match Mauer, Morneau, and Cuddyer up in Minnesota. Heck, they could even do better than those three guys. I’d love for Adam Dunn to club fifty homers and drive in 120, for all we know right now it could happen. 
But for every upside there’s a downside.
Nobody thought Jake Peavy would tear his arm clean off his shoulder and miss the remainder of the 2010 season. 
Nobody thought Carlos Quentin would randomly break his hand back in 2008. I know I joked yesterday about how he was practicing krav maga, but that ruined our playoff hopes. Sure we still made it but if we had Quentin we could’ve gone farther than we did.
However, like I mentioned, there are upsides as well.
Nobody thought Paul Konerko and Alex Rios would bust out like they did, Konerko finishing fifth in AL MVP voting because of it. 
Nobody thought a kid who was in college in March would be saving games in the Major Leagues by August the same year. 
The beauty of baseball is that we have no idea what will happen, to whom it’ll happen, and when it will happen to that person. Be it good or bad, this sport is completely random and in my mind that’s what makes it so compelling. 
So sure Adam Dunn might not hit forty homers. Sure he couldn’t even get to thirty. But it’s the thought that he might lead us to the playoffs and earn every penny Kenny Williams is paying him that is making me excited for this season. 
41 days until Opening Day. 
Go Sox.

American League MVP Prediction

There is no denying the fact that my strongest love, more than anything in this world, is for baseball. Writing about it, watching it, listening to it — anything that has to do with America’s greatest sport, I’m going be involved with. One of my favorite times of the year is when they hand out the awards after the playoffs.

Me and my best friend would argue for hours on end during the season on who we think deserves to win before we even get to arguing about who will win. One of the strongest candidates, in my mind, for the Most Valuable Player award in the American League is, without a doubt, Carlos Quentin.

Being the extreme Chicago White Sox fan that I am, I know it’s probably the most obvious choice, but I’m not only a White Sox fan — I’m a baseball fan in general.

The reason I would fight for Quentin to win the MVP award is because of what he did for the team over the course of our 163 game season, even though his temper got the best of him and he was out for the last quarter of the year. Hitting a team high 36 home runs and driving in exactly 100 runs, while missing 33 games is quite the admirable feat! Think of what he had been able to do, had he not slammed his wrist and broken it! He was well on his way to a good 120 driven in and possibly 45 home runs before the end of the year!

Sitting on the bench watching his team win three games in a row against three different teams (the first time in MLB history) will drive you mad any day. He sat it out, though, like a true sport and watched his team continue to the American League Division Series. His consistent performance, the opposite of what I often talk about on this blog, is something you should look for in an MVP. His defense was always up-to-par, he had an uncanny knack at making base coaches double-take at his extraordinary rocket launcher for an arm. “LEGO Hair” was a good teammate on the bench, even at his young age, and should be highlighted as one of the front runners for this award.

Another player I have in mind, though it pains me to an unimaginable depth to mention him, would be Justin Morneau. The man is a workhorse to the absolute pinnacle of the definition. He, like Quentin, played his butt off every day and was consistently doing his part to help the Minnesota Twins win each and every game he participated in. Though his team came down to the final game and eventually lost, this amazing player deserves to be noticed by a person who hates the Twins as much as I do.

Francisco Rodriguez. The man who broke a record that not only shows the ability to close out a game, but also shows the stamina of a pitcher. K-Rod saved 62 games for Los Angeles last season, possibly the most impressive performance I’ve seen since becoming a regular fan in 2003.

The Boston Red Sox have a pesky little second baseman who is about as professional as one is going to get. Dustin Pedrioa is a slap hitter who can put the ball where no one can get it then capitolize on it and advance an extra base, if needed. His defense is also the best you’re going to get from an American League second baseman by a name other than Alexei Ramirez.

Then finally, there’s the Comeback Kid: Josh Hamilton. The Spiritual battle’s this guy fought, overcoming drug addiction to return to Major League Baseball and eventually set the record in the home run derby, is strictly amazing! Hamilton hit 32 home runs and drove in 130 base runners while hitting for an average of .304! I can guarantee you with 100% confidence that nobody at the beginning of the year foresaw this aweinspiring return to the majors.

I feel comfortable locking in the obvious Carlos Quentin as my official prediction. I observed his maturation over the year, coming into his own in the power column around mid-May, and it was unbelievable how quickly he adjusted from Arizona to Chicago. Though it didn’t happen immediatley, he was clearly evolving as a player and was an absolute joy to watch since opening day.

Best of luck to all who are in the competition, and may Carlos Quentin bring home the gold next week!