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Getting Rid Of The Bad Odor Might Be Izzi

Do you smell that? No, it isn’t Ervin Santana and his patented “smell baseball” routine. Minnesota made a splash on the trade market over the weekend to help fill in for Santana while he starts the year on the DL. However, new Twins pitcher Jake Odorizzi struggled through different parts of 2017.

Can the Twins find a way to get rid of the bad Odor? It might be Izzi…
Image courtesy of Marilyn Indahl-USA Today Sports
It’s no secret that the beginning of the 2017 campaign was rough for Mr. Odorizzi. Through the end of July, his ERA was almost 4.50 and batters were getting on base over 30% of the time against him. By season’s end, his FIP was 5.43 and his walk rate jumped from 7.0 percent to 10.1 percent.

He was also allowing more fly balls as he allowed 30 home runs for the first time in his career. His ground ball rate (30.6 percent) was also below league average. His third time through the order was usually when some fatigue would set in. Odorizzi allowed a 7.52 ERA when facing an order for the third time in a game.
Something wasn’t quite right.

Starting last spring training, a back injury bothered him and this followed him throughout a large chunk of the season. This wasn’t the only injury he fought through as a hamstring issue also caused him to miss some time. He’d make two different trips to the DL but his performance on the field also suffered because of the injuries.

As those with back injuries can attest, range of motion can be tough when dealing with a back issue. Scientific research has been conducted to look at pitching biomechanics in relation to injury risk and performance. A lot of things can go wrong from the time a pitcher starts his wind-up until he releases the ball, especially if a pitcher isn’t healthy. He's even admitted that his back ailment impacted his fastball control last year.

After a second stint on the DL, a different version of Odorizzi emerged. During the month of September, he allowed three earned runs over 26.1 IP. He posted a 30 to 9 strikeout to walk rate and opponents hit .116/.198/.221. Even with the rough season, the right-handed pitcher was able to hold lefties to a .205 batting average while only getting on base 28.5% of the time.

Minnesota also has a newly hired Odorizzi expert in the front office. Josh Kalk, the Minnesota Twins new pitching analytics expert, joined the Twins from the Rays organization. One has to think Derek Falvey and Thad Levine relied on Kalk’s insight to make this trade.

According to FanGraphs, Odorizzi has relied heavily on a four-seam fastball high in the zone. Batters started to figure that out in 2017 and it led to a career high 30 home runs allowed in under 150 innings. One adjustment he could make in Minnesota is to use more of the strike zone when throwing his fastball. The article also notes the difference in Odorizzi’s release point. This could be attributed to his injuries in 2017 and it could be an easy fix for Twins coaches.

It might also help to pitch in front of quite possibly the best defensive centerfielder in the game. Plus it helps to have two other strong defenders in the other corner outfield spot.

With a couple of small tweaks, the bad Odor might be Izzi to remove.

What are your thoughts on the new Twins acquisition? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

  • nclahammer, Dave The Dastardly and less cowbell more neau like this

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30 Comments

That is a lot of hoping. As a person with a bad back I can tell you it takes a lot more than wishing.I hope he finds the magic. 

    • glunn likes this

Gagne with a spoon.

    • Carole Keller, ashburyjohn, USAFChief and 8 others like this

I nominate Cody for the worst article title of the year!!! But it's also creative. But I don't know... that's a tough one. 

    • ashburyjohn, Parker Hageman, Steve Lein and 8 others like this
Oh gee, if only he's healthy. But then again, that refrain is almost all ballplayers, in any sport, in any given year, isn't it? At least some degree. And no other previous injury or lingering issue that I'm immediately aware of.

A change of scenery for a solid, experienced, and fairly young arm. A new pitching coach. A FO that embraces new age analytics who brought over an expert in such who is familiar with Ordozzi.

I don't know if we end up with hard boiled, scrambled or over easy. But I see a lot of potential here as a quality #3.
    • USAFChief, glunn, howieramone2 and 1 other like this

I have a favorable impression of Jake Odorizzi.  I watch all the Twins games and many other games as well.  I get impressions.  I trust these impressions and I like this trade.

I like Berrios to improve but I don't trust Gibson or Meija.  We had to bring in at least one outside pitcher of worth.  I think (hope) (pray) that Odorizzi will be a reliable starter.

:D

    • glunn and howieramone2 like this

I think "Bux" will help a "ton" in helping to get rid of the bad Odor.

    • Mike Frasier Law, woolywoolhouse, Taildragger8791 and 3 others like this

It might also help to pitch in front of quite possibly the best defensive centerfielder in the game.


Buxton shouldn't hurt, but note that Odorizzi has already been pitching in front of Kiermaier for virtually his entire MLB career. It's one reason metrics seem to downgrade him, he has had great defensive support.
    • Shane Wahl, tarheeltwinsfan and Doctor Wu like this

Two big ifs, if Odorizzi has gotten rid of the back issue he should be fine.

If Twins help him with another pitch mix or move the fastball around more.  

Fixing either should help.

I'm a member of the Eternally Optimistic Club, so I'm hoping that all those things --- good health, a new team and change of scenery, new pitching coach, good outfielders --- will factor into Odorizzi having a good season. Gotta believe!

    • gil4 and CUtomorrownight like this
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puckstopper1
Feb 20 2018 07:29 AM

When you mentioned Bad Odor I thought the article was about Colon (cologne).

    • Twins33, blindeke and less cowbell more neau like this

When seen only, I think Jake Odorizzi is a kick butt name.  Looks like a character name in a Hemingway novel.  And if you say it with as much Italian flair as you can muster, it remains awesome--oh-du-RI!-zee.

 

The egg/odor angle will get played pretty quick for me.

    • gil4 and less cowbell more neau like this

 

I nominate Cody for the worst article title of the year!!! But it's also creative. But I don't know... that's a tough one. 

Go with your first instinct - not tough at all. It's an excellent article, but the headline really detracts. Plus, Cody isn't a fragile newbie blogger; he can handle the truth.

 

Gagne with a spoon.

That was the perfect response.

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Twinfan & Dad
Feb 20 2018 08:44 AM
Either you're a believer or not. Let's believe that now "yes I'll have my eggs odor izzi" will regain his 3 slot stuff. He is only 27 and has proven that he can do the job.
    • CUtomorrownight, howieramone2 and less cowbell more neau like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Feb 20 2018 08:47 AM

 

Buxton shouldn't hurt, but note that Odorizzi has already been pitching in front of Kiermaier for virtually his entire MLB career. It's one reason metrics seem to downgrade him, he has had great defensive support.

Yeah, any gains from the Twins OF will be minimal. He might gain a little from improved corner play but given Rosario's bizarre defensive regression, hard to say.

 

On the upside, Odorizzi had injury issues last season and he starting pitching up in the zone to an even more extreme degree. Minus back problems and adding a refinement of his approach by a new coaching staff and front office, it's not hard to see a potential rebound in there.

 

That doesn't mean it will happen, though. It's not as if the Rays org is full of morons, but it's easy for one guy to lose his approach and mess up in a season before the problem gets fixed.

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howieramone2
Feb 20 2018 09:13 AM

1/2 Santana/Berrios

3 Odorizzi

4/5 Gibson/Mejia

6-10 Is the strongest group in years.

 

No doubt whatsoever, we will be in the hunt for 3rd time in the last 4 years.

 

    • Twins33 and Twinfan & Dad like this

Being in the same conversations as Cleveland, Houston, Yankees, and now Red Sox with JD Martinez provide lots of incentive for Odorizzi which the Rays at Tropicana Field never could. He probably felt like he had to shut out teams in Tampa Bay to win, whereas he knows if he holds teams to 3-4 runs with the Twins he has a very good chance of winning. 16 wins and a sub 3.50 ERA if he stays healthy smells good to me.

I liked the move, I just don't think it moves the needle on the top end of the rotation like I (and most) were hoping. And I don't really see us grabbing Arietta, so that makes me nervous, especially with ervin missing some time at the start of the season.

 

The price was right and he's a good pitcher when healthy...let's just hope he's healthy? Gah. I hate having to hope twins pitchers are healthy. Hasn't gone great for us recently.

    • birdwatcher likes this
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Parker Hageman
Feb 20 2018 11:02 AM
It might also help to pitch in front of quite possibly the best defensive centerfielder in the game. Plus it helps to have two other strong defenders in the other corner outfield spot.

 

 

While I agree with a lot of what is being said here, statistically speaking, there is little upgrade to be had between the Twins OF defense and the Rays, after all, the Rays had the second best defensive unit in baseball last year. According to Runs Saved, the Rays were the 2nd best outfield unit (45 RS) and the Twins were 4th (23 RS). Rays' center fielder Kevin Keirmaier had 22 RS while Buxton had 24. 

 

While I do think Buxton is a superior defender the difference is not that significant, I don't see this moving the needle in anyway for Odorizzi. 

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TheLeviathan
Feb 20 2018 11:05 AM

Pittsburgh and a few other teams developed a reputation for taking other team's castoffs and under-performers and finding ways to tinker with them.If this FO can bring that kind of approach to value added FA, then it's going to go a long way towards moving the franchise forward. 

 

So much so, that I'm perfectly fine with less splashy moves as long as they can show they can "fix" guys with regularity.

    • Twins33 likes this

 

When seen only, I think Jake Odorizzi is a kick butt name.  Looks like a character name in a Hemingway novel.  And if you say it with as much Italian flair as you can muster, it remains awesome--oh-du-RI!-zee.

 

The egg/odor angle will get played pretty quick for me.

 

What would Gardy call him?

 

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TheLeviathan
Feb 20 2018 11:18 AM

 

What would Gardy call him?

 

Gardy's head may explode trying to figure out that one.

    • gil4 likes this

Rays OF defense FTW!!!

 

    • Twins33 likes this
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less cowbell more neau
Feb 20 2018 11:28 AM

 

What would Gardy call him?

Jakey

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less cowbell more neau
Feb 20 2018 11:29 AM

 

I nominate Cody for the worst article title of the year!!! But it's also creative. But I don't know... that's a tough one. 

I thought it was very punny

I like the title here.


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