RandBall

Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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Wednesday (MLB patience and Torii Hunter's return to the Twins?) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated November 20th at 7:10am 283205241

hicksAaron Hicks has 538 plate appearances over the past two seasons with the Twins, and in that time he has shown very little in terms of production. In 2013, as a rookie, he hit eight homers, but more than one of every four trips to the plate ended in a strikeout. Last year, he boosted his walks, cut down a little on the strikeouts, but any semblance of power basically vanished as he fluctuated between switch-hitting and going from just the right side.

It adds up to a .606 career OPS. He’s a gifted centerfielder, but many Twins fans question whether he will ever be a quality everyday player, let alone a very good one.

The answer they might not want to hear is this: patience, still, is key. That notion was hammered home by a very good recent piece in the Providence Journal about MLB prospects these days. While some arrive and have quick success (like Danny Santana), others require more time than ever to make the leap from the minors to the majors. There are multiple reasons for this, per the article:

The gap between Triple-A and the big leagues has never been larger,” Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington said. “You hear it from scouts. You hear it from major-league guys. You hear it from minor-league guys. That’s our biggest challenge — that gap becomes readily apparent when you see guys who have been dominant in Triple-A come up and struggle in the big leagues.”

Also:

More information than ever is available about prospects and their performance at various minor-league levels, boosting to unrealistic levels the expectations for their performance once they reach the major leagues — at which point more information than ever is available about their tendencies and weaknesses.

That’s not to say Hicks, or any other Twins prospect, will turn some magic corner in 2015 or beyond. It’s easier to believe in this happening with someone like Oswaldo Arcia, who has shown more flashes of competency and even downright brilliance at the plate than Hicks.

But it’s also a reminder that these things take time, perhaps now more than ever. Remember: Torii Hunter had about the same number of plate appearances in his career when he got to Aug. 1, 2000. He had just turned 25 — just like Hicks — and was hitting .190 with a .503 OPS in that season at the end of that day. For the rest of the year, he hit .355 with a .912 OPS. And from 2001-07, he was a lineup mainstay.

The Twins are said to be courting Hunter aggressively for a late career return to Minnesota. Our guess is that he would be brought in not only because he can still hit but because he can tell Hicks, Arcia and co. first-hand stories of turning a corner. It doesn’t always happen, but patience rewarded is a beautiful thing.

TFD: Most states disagree with NFL ruling against Peterson; Wisconsin doesn't

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated November 18th at 6:34pm 283112531

ESPN’s SportsNation poll breaks down how voters in each state feel about the punishment levied by the NFL against Adrian Peterson. Voters overall — and in most states, including Minnesota — said they don’t agree with it.

But a few states, including voters in Wisconsin, agreed with it.

Here’s a link to the full poll.

espnpeterson

The strangely changing status of the Wolves' Nikola Pekovic

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated November 18th at 6:33pm 283098901

pekSomething weird is going on with Wolves center Nikola Pekovic. Now, it might just be a series of strange coincidences or circumstances, but whatever it might be it strikes us as strange. Let’s follow the bouncing ball (or, more aptly, the big man not bouncing a ball):

That was during the Dallas game Saturday, after Pekovic had just two points (and zero field goals made) in 12 first-half minutes an then sat the entire second half in what appeared to be a benching. That followed a four-point, minus-24, 19-minute appearance in Friday’s blowout loss to New Orleans.

But after that Dallas game, Pekovic said his ankle had been bothering him — yes, the same one that kept him out of 28 of Minnesota’s final 38 games a season ago.

On Monday, Pekovic missed practice because of what was deemed a “personal situation” by head coach Flip Saunders, though the notion that he had an ankle injury was still being offered up.

On Tuesday at practice, Saunders reportedly said Pekovic hurt his wrist during the Dallas game and that the ankle isn’t the issue.

So we went from Pek being fine to play Saturday, per trainers and that tweet from the Wolves’ official PR staff … to Pek saying postgame his ankle was still hurting … to him missing practice Monday but for a personal situation while his ankle still hurt … to Tuesday, where we learn he apparently had a wrist injury in that Dallas game that will keep him out until next week.

Weird. Again, not sure what to make of it. But definitely strange.

We will say this: We had concerns about how Pekovic would fit into a Kevin Love-less team, and how his style of play would fit with the new Wolves in general, and there have been games this season where those concerns have been validated. He has a hard time passing out of double teams. He doesn’t protect the rim. He scores down low and works the offensive boards like a beast, which are valuable things, but he hasn’t topped 20 points in any game this season for a team that could use established scorers.

If he’s hurt, that could be an explanation, but it would be nice if the pieces added up in a more tidy fashion.

Jose Canseco says he is going to sell his severed finger on eBay

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated November 18th at 6:32pm 283087361

Jose Canseco shot his finger accidentally recently. (There’s a sentence we’ve never typed, but not one that we completely expected to never have to type).

Canseco’s mangled finger then fell off during a poker game. (Again, never typed it … but never ruled it out).

But this? this we never imagined: Canseco is planning to sell his severed finger on eBay and also wants it known that he will sell you the gun that did the deed. We’re just going to leave these two tweets from Jose right here:

Tuesday (Peterson a pawn in NFL-NFLPA game) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated November 18th at 9:25am 283050101

goodellFirst off: There’s no need to feel sorry for Adrian Peterson. He put himself in this mess with what many people would consider a malicious and criminal act against his 4-year-old son. He’s missed 9 games this season but has made more during that span than almost every one of us will make in a lifetime.

However: With the NFL and Roger Goodell’s announcement today that Peterson has been suspended without pay for the rest of the season, the league’s statement regarding that suspension, and the NFLPA’s subsequent response, it has become even more abundantly clear that this has become less and less about Peterson’s situation itself and more and more about the power struggle between the league and players’ association.

The NFL is probably over-correcting after facing a public backlash for being too soft in punishment of players over the years. The NFLPA is saying they’re not playing by the rules; the NFL is saying it can make whatever rules it wants.

The key part of the NFLPA statementThe decision by the NFL to suspend Adrian Peterson is another example of the credibility gap that exists between the agreements they make and the actions they take. Since Adrian’s legal matter was adjudicated, the NFL has ignored their obligations and attempted to impose a new and arbitrary disciplinary proceeding. … We call on the NFL Management Council to show our players and our sponsors leadership by committing to collective bargaining so a fair personal conduct policy can be implemented as quickly as possible.

The NFLPA is, of course, appealing the suspension. But we have to imagine Peterson will, in fact, miss the rest of the season — and that he has played his final game for the Vikings already.

If that’s the case, again, we don’t feel sorry for Peterson. He brought this whole chain of events on himself. But it’s clear the big picture is much larger than just him.

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