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Minnesota Twins April Report Card

The month of April is over for the Twins and they managed 14 wins versus 11 losses while fighting slumps and injuries. Here is the report card for each player on the Active Roster.

Boof Bonser: Boof, a starting pitcher, gets a C- for the month. He has a ballooning ERA and hasn’t been able to replicate his success from last year.

Jesse Crain: The weak link in a strong bullpen, Jesse earns himself a C+ but I hope to see some improvement.

Matt Guerrier: The long arm in the bullpen earns himself an A. Guerrier should probably be a #4 starter rather than a relief pitcher but he’s going to play a very important role this year for the Twins. We’re going to see him in more games and in tighter situations than last year.

Joe Nathan: The Twins star closer has struggled a bit, giving up a lot of hits to opponents. He still has got the job done with only one blown save on the season. I give him a B-

Pat Neshek: People pretty much know that I think Pat Neshek is going to become one of the premier relief pitchers in the league. He has so far been excellent this year and earns himself an A

Ramon Ortiz: Ortiz came into the Twins organization last year having struggled the previous season and leaving most of us bloggers wondering what was going on in Terry Ryan’s head. He’s 5-5 in quality starts and earns himself an A+

Glen Perkins: Perkins has been a late addition to the Twins club. He has spent his time in the majors in the ‘pen but has gained valuable experience which will serve this future starter well. His contributions to the club haven’t been what I’d like to see but he passes with a B-

Sidney Ponson: He hasn’t been as bad as his ERA suggests. He’s only been as bad as his numbers from last year suggest. This guy has been the waste of a spot all April and the Twins have 5 people (Guerrier, Perkins, Slowey, Baker and Garza) he could do better in the 5th spot in the rotation. F+

Dennys Reyes: The left handed relief pitcher who played so well last year had a few rough outings right away but has been very good since. B-

Juan Rincon: Rincon has done well for himself out of the bullpen and he’s a solid A for the Twins.

Johan Santana: The two-time Cy Young Award winner had a better than average start. Even when Santana is at his worst he’s still better than the average major league pitcher. B+

Carlos Silva: I don’t know what Faustian pact this man has made but he’s been great this year. Unfortunately the Twins haven’t been able to get him enough run support. A

Joe Mauer: I was surprised when on the podcast both The Scribe and Jeff Straub gave Joe Mauer something other than an A. The guy was hitting over .350 and had been one of the most important run producers in the Twins lineup as well as a solid defenisve catcher. He get’s an A from me.

Mike Redmond: You can judge Mike in two ways. You can look at his sub .300 average this year and compare it to the .341 average he had last year and give him a poor grade. Or you can judge Mike Redmond for what he is, an aging back up catcher. I give him a B though he probably deserves higher for the 4 runners he’s gunned down trying to steal.

Jason Bartlett: Bartlett needs to find that special something he had last year. He’s hitting below where he did last year but that’d be okay if he wasn’t a basket case in the field. His fielding has taken a nosedive compared to last year when he was an above average short stop. D-

Alexi Casilla: He has done well considering he was supposed to gaining experience in the minor leagues. Casilla is not living up to our hopes but probably near our expectations. He’s going to get sent down pretty soon but I still give him a passing C+

Luis Castillo: Castillo has missed the last ten games because of an injury so he gets an Incomplete. However, he must improve on his OBP if this second basemen is to remain the all star second basemen we have come to rely on.

Justin Morneau: He hit a bit of a slump in April but the big first basemen leads the team in Home Runs and is on pace to improve his power numbers from last year. B+

Nick Punto: Punto was probably playing over his head last year when he took over third base for the slow footed slow swinging Tony Batista last year. Punto is a career utility guy but he hit .291 last year and was excellent in the field. This year he has struggled to get his batting average above the .200 mark and has been a real anchor in the lineup. D-

Luis Rodriguez: Another guy he shouldn’t be in the lineup but because of the injury situation the Twins have been playing him a lot more than they should. He has yet to produce offensively but has been tolerable in the field. D

Michael Cuddyer: I think Cuddyer is on the road to having a break out season and his ridiculous number of assists in rightfield is just icing on the cake. A+

Torii Hunter: The guy has more extra base hits than singles, an incredible slugging percentage and OPS and is still quick of foot in the outfield. A

Jason Kubel: Everyone is waiting to see Kubel become the player he could be. He’s nearly there and earns a B-

Josh Rabe: I personally want to see more of him. B-

Jason Tyner: He doesn’t get a lot of respect but he’s hitting over .300 and he’s another player I’d like to see more often. B

Alejandro Machado, Jeff Cirillo and Rondell White all get incompletes. If these guys get healthy and into the lineup and this Twins team could get really good in a hurry.

They keep rolling in

Primoz Brezec, NBA, signed 2/2 items c/o team address

Bobby Thomson, MLB Retired, signed 1/1 items c/o home

Kristal Parker-Manzo signed 1/2 index cards sent c/o LPGA

Austin Croshere, NBA, signed 1/1 cards sent c/o team

Craig Stadler, PGA, signed 2/2 index cards sent c/o PGA

Failures: Scripps returned my letter to Wendy Guey stating that they were no longer allowing autograph requests to go through to Wendy (spelling bee champion and current commentator on the national spelling bee) because the Allen and Ginter cards she had previously autographed had been turning up on eBay.

CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge

Week Whatever (Contest ends May 14th)

I hadn’t touched any of my portfolios in a couple of weeks so it was kind of fun to see where my investment ideas went. About three weeks ago I had 2 portfolios in the top 2% of the contest, including one that had approached breaking into the top 1000 portfolios. When I ran the numbers this week I found things had settled down a bit. Here are my picks and how they did:

1)CNXT turned out to be my biggest dog, it was down -11.20%
2)CHRT did well, up 4.44%
3)CMGI was awesome, up 19.12% and in the top 5% of portfolios
4)REV was even better, up 20.65%
5)CNET, one of my favorites, was up 6.46%
6)IMOS was a dog at -2.91%
7)SIRI dog was down -5.06%
8)KRY was the best, top 2% and up 34.37%
9)CHTR was awesome considering it was a serendipitous pick, +15.45%
10)LVLT sucked and was down -6.56%
11)FBR was up 17.22%
12)STEI was even steven at +.36%

Altogether, my picks were up collectively 7.7% in the 8 weeks the contest has run. My goal at the start (before we all learned multiple portfolios were legal) was to crack the top 10% of investors and I didn’t quite make that, 7.7% would put me near the top 20% of all portfolios. Considering that there are 1.5 million portfolios I’m very happy with how I’ve done.

It’s interesting to note, when I went through the numbers at the 6 week mark there were only about 300,000 portfolios and over 80% of them were making money. Now with the word getting out and more “amatuers” in the contest the numbers have shifted a bit, about 53% of the portfolios are making money, a substantial shift.

I took my dogs and sold them for the final two weeks, I invested in some long shot bio-techs: QLTI, CVTX and LGND


Twins Podcast

Today The Scribe (AKA Just Hank AKA The Hankster AKA Hank AKA The Notorious B.I.G) and Jeff Straub join me for a a discussion about our beloved Twins. Among the initial topics we talked about the Twins struggles against leftys, stealing bases and Pat Neshek.

Later we assigned each Twin a grade for April based on their performance and expectation. The report card was a lot of fun to do but it made the podcast a little long. Find the podcast here or you can use the Flash Player I have installed on the sidebar.

Also, the Bleacher Report has published my latest column, Pat Neshek is the subject. Available here.

Minnesota Conservative Wiki

Always looking for anyone interested in joining up.

Another unpublished post, the wiki is now in hibernation

Minnesota Conservative Wiki

Always looking for anyone interested in joining up.

The Return of the Antenna

Rabbit ears were going extinct:

Buying an antenna for a high-definition television seems as out of place as using a rotary phone to make a call. But some consumers are spending thousands of dollars on LCD or plasma TVs and hooking them up to $50 antennas that don’t look much different from what grandpa had on top of his black-and-white picture tube.

They’re not doing it for the nostalgia.

Local TV channels, broadcast in HD over-the-air, offer superior picture quality over the often-compressed signals sent by cable and satellite TV companies.

And the best part? Over-the-air HD is free.

“Eighty-year-old technology is being redesigned and rejiggered to deliver the best picture quality,” said Richard Schneider, president of Antennas Direct. “It’s an interesting irony.”

A few years ago, Schneider started an assembly line in his garage and sold antennas out of the trunk of his car. Now his Eureka, Mo.-based company has seven employees and did $1.4 million in sales last year. He expects revenue to double in 2007.

“People thought I was nuts. They were laughing at me when I told them I was starting an antenna company,” Schneider said.

Before cable and satellite existed, people relied on antennas to receive analog signals from local TV stations’ broadcasting towers. Stations still send out analog signals, but most now transmit HD digital signals as well. (Congress has ordered broadcasters to shut off old-style analog TV broadcasts by Feb. 17, 2009.)

While I like old technology like antennas, I also lament the loss of analog TV.

Question

If you believe you have to be wearing a uniform to have an opinion supporting the war in Iraq do you also believe:

You need to be an Bering Sea fisherman to enjoy Alaskan King Crab Legs? (King Crab fisherman have a similar fatality rate to combat soldiers)

You need to be a lumber jack to use any kind of wood?

You need to be a cop to be against crime?

Twins Podcast

We go live at 6pm CT

I Have a Talk Show

Best of the MOB?

Dan Stover, a good blogger I don’t read often enough, found my gratuitous block quoting of someone else’s work as deserving of being nominated for his new series where he finds the best work in the Minnesota Organization of Blogs and polls readers as to what was the best work of the week. I hope Dan continues the series, it’s a great idea. Thanks Dan.

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