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3 Things That May Be Worth Worrying About

It’s easy to get caught up in a pennant chase, especially with all of the moving pieces this year. Because of that, we might be looking right past a few storylines that deserve more attention. Here are 3 things that may be worth worrying about.
Image courtesy of © Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Dobnak’s Control
Regression was always expected for Randy Dobnak, just not in the way we’ve seen so far. The sinkerballer may have benefitted from batted ball luck and an improved defense, but we always figured the floor was set.

Dobnak is successful because of a pitch to contact profile complemented by a “no free passes” approach. Unfortunately, the last few starts have seen the walks creep up along with his ERA. A 6.8% walk rate is still good, though it’s the second highest it’s ever been in his professional career. Paired with just a 13% K rate, success is going to rely on every single ball put in play being an out, or sometimes even a double play for Dobnak to keep that ERA at respectable levels.

Dobnak surely won’t be starting game 2 of the playoffs this year. That being said, he’s going to pitch some important innings down the stretch and it would be nice to pencil him into the back end of the rotation for 2021. However, a 6.04 ERA and 5.06 FIP in his last 5 starts gives us a look at the tightrope Dobnak walks. His control in his next few starts will be interesting to watch after his last two starts have uncharacteristically yielded walk rates over 10%.

Missing Polanco
Going into Tuesday’s double header, the story was Donaldson and Cruz returning from injury to play both games even though Buxton sat out game two. However, people seem to have overlooked Polanco’s absence in game two after getting a “breather” the day before as well. At this point we just assume every injury is more complicated than the update provided by the Twins. It’s very uncharacteristic of Polanco to sit out two games in such close proximity.

It could have very well been a small nagging injury the likes of which will recover after the two off days. There’s always risk however that it’s a lingering issue that could get worse. We saw last year that it takes a lot to get Polanco off the field, and the lineup will rely on his bat which has recently heated up heading into October. Keep an eye on Polanco.

Duffey’s Missing Velocity
Tyler Duffey’s fastball currently sits at 92.6 mph on the season, missing about a tick and a half from his 2019. Especially for relievers, this can be more than enough to be a pitcher’s undoing. In Duffey’s case, he’s still the dominant reliever he was last year with a 2.16 ERA and 3.00 FIP. Regardless of this, it’s fair to wonder if his success can continue to this extent with so much missing on the fastball that’s crucial for pairing with his curveball. So far the one difference we’ve seen is Duffey’s average exit velocity allowed increasing from 89.4 mph to 92.2, putting him in the 4th percentile. This could be a case where things aren’t bad until they are, as the rest of his peripherals check out.

On top of hoping for the velocity to come back, it’s also fair to wonder where it went. The season has had far from a normal ramp up time for pitchers, and IL trips are at an all time high. We’ve also seen occasions where he’s gone 5-6 days without making an appearance, which is strange to see considering Duffey is likely the Twins best overall reliever. If he has a nagging injury, time is running out. Any kind of aches and pains may affect not only Duffey’s effectiveness, but his durability. Hopefully Duffey continues to look great and we see some 95 mph fastballs to finish the season.

All three of these situations may prove to be unnecessary worries looking back, but if one of them turns out to be an ongoing issue the repercussions could leave the Twins limping into the playoffs like last year. The finish to the season will provide plenty of fun baseball to watch on the field, but it may be worth keeping an eye on these issues that currently seem to be flying a bit under the radar.

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10 Comments

I worry more about May than Duffey, but now you have trip my worry meter - thanks alot.

 

    • tarheeltwinsfan and dbminn like this
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Channing1964
Sep 12 2020 07:32 PM
it'll be aight...trust in the Rocco!

 

I worry more about May than Duffey, but now you have trip my worry meter - thanks alot.

 

With May, his K rate has gone from 29.7% last year to 38.4% this year, and his BB rate has been cut almost in half from 9.8% to 5.5%. This tells me he's attacking hitters more this year, going right after them instead of nibbling around the strike zone like he did last year, but then when he does gets beat, he's got beaten badly with all the hard hit balls and home runs.

 

Verlander has had a similar philosophy the last couple of years, but I think it's better suited for a starter than it is for a reliever, and JV obviously executes much better.

    • mikelink45 and JoshDungan1 like this
Also global warming.
    • TopGunn#22, gbg, tarheeltwinsfan and 1 other like this

We definitely don't spending enough time at TwinsDaily worrying about the Twins.

    • denarded, whosafraidofluigirussolo, gbg and 1 other like this

My two biggest worries are Dobnak and Rocco leaving pitchers in too long. Last night he did better. I’m still not really sold on Dobnak being a long term rotation pitcher. I’d plug in Odorizzi and move Dobnak to Bullpen for now.

How about sitting Buxton so much? He sat out last Sunday, one of the double header games.Team off 2 days and he is sitting again today?That is a huge worry. Resting him for the playoffs doesn't make sense either because we need to win now to get there.I am worried if we don't get into first somehow we will end up playing the Yankees in the first round so all of this babying him won't be worth it.He can buck up and play for two weeks in a row and if not do we really need him?I love him and watching him play is amazing but it is getting old and FAST.

Also global warming.


 

    • USAFChief and blindeke like this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Sep 13 2020 11:10 AM
I will add 4 more things to worry about: Garver, Avila, Astudillo, Jeffers

I’m not worried long-term, but we need one of those guys to tighten up their game before the first series.

I would be more worried about Duffy, if we were not as deep as we are in the pen, and we did not have a manager that will not just march his guy out there because he is the guy in that spot.If the team thinks Duffy is cooked or will not get it done they will choose someone else.Other managers will just follow the well Duffy is top setup guy so put him out there in this spot.Rocko does not roll that way.  

 

Dobnak I am not worried about either because he is not in top 3 starters, may be number 4, but not like we are leaning on him to carry us, he has just been a nice story and been good, but he will not be the reason we fail in the playoffs. 

 

Polonco is worth keeping an eye on, but at this point playoffs are going to be a lock basically, just against who.Let them rest if they need it.