Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Wolfson: Twins Scouting Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:49 PM
  Doogie Wolfson tweeted that the Twins are going to be scouting 22-year-old RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto, "one of the premier young pitc...
Full topic ›

2020 MLB (non-Twins) Postseason Discussion Thread

Other Baseball Today, 08:22 PM
Feel free to chime in here about any of the (non-Twins) 2020 MLB postseason games!
Full topic ›

White Sox make changes

Other Baseball Today, 10:44 AM
Both Manager Rick Rentaria and pitching coach Don Cooper were let go.     Was a bit surprised by this, because the White S...
Full topic ›

Not to add more doom and gloom

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:23 AM
This is interesting and sort of concerning. Article snippet comes from the incomparable Jayson Stark of The Athletic (Which is must read...
Full topic ›

Nothing Is Happening This Spring, And That's A Good Sign

Yesterday, Seth wrote more than 1700 words about spring training (1735; I counted), God bless him. I’m glad he has the patience for that stuff, because I sure don’t. We focus on spring training because there’s nothing else to focus on that matters. But, really, when we pretend that the outcomes matter even a little, we’re generally kidding ourselves.

Kidding ourselves like I was last week when I speculated that Ryan Sweeney might have a shot to make this team. In retrospect, of course he doesn’t. I was (and presumably remain) an idiot who was hoping that there was at least a little drama this spring. But, in reality, 24 of the 25 roster spots were essentially preordained coming into camp, with eleventy billion pitchers fighting it out for the last spot in the bullpen. A spot that probably won’t be worth more than a win above replacement over the course of 2016.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs
Spring stats can also be incredibly misleading. Seth discussed Luke Hughes yesterday, for instance, and his knack for impressive March performances that won him a spot on the Twins’ bench in 2011 and 2012. Seth implies that the regular playing time Hughes received those springs helped him, and that the inconsistent playing time he got as a Twin disrupted his rhythm and prevented him from being a success.

With all due respect, I think that’s ridiculous because it ignores who Hughes was facing and the context in which he was facing them. As Seth himself points out, even the greatest pitchers of our generation use spring training to work out the kinks, and couldn’t give a damn if some replacement-level Aussie takes them deep on the fourth slider in a row. Moreover, Hughes was also getting plenty of plate appearances against the Double- and Triple-A pitchers in the same boat he was. When Hughes got to the majors, he performed exactly like you’d expect a hacktastic middle infielder would.

Oh, spring training is important; don’t get me wrong. Guys need the time to get back in shape after the offseason. As Seth points out, guys who have not been healthy need an opportunity to show that they’re recovered. But it’s essentially a tune-up. A four week long Leap Day. Nothing anybody does really matters, unless they get hurt. And none of the decisions a good club makes in March is going to have a significant impact on their regular season.

I’m not complaining, however. After all, bad organizations are the ones that are swayed by unexpectedly strong spring performances. Take Luke Hughes, for instance. Or three years ago, when the Twins talked themselves into Aaron Hicks as the Opening Day center fielder at least in part because of his spring training, in particular his three-homer game. The club lost 96 games. That same year, the Orioles got excited by Jake Fox’s 10 spring training home runs and brought him north for Opening Day. They lost 93 games, Fox was DFA’d in June, and hasn’t ever appeared in the majors again.

So, sure. Try to read the tea leaves. Marvel at Byung-ho Park’s three homers. Ponder whether Fernando Abad’s four innings are more meaningful than Taylor Rogers’ four innings or Ryan O’Rourke’s four innings. Worry about Ricky Nolasco’s 7.36 ERA or Byron Buxton’s .200 batting average. I can’t do it. None of it means anything to me. And it shouldn’t to the Twins either. Good teams have a plan and stick to it, and the lack of drama in Fort Myers is the best lack of news I’ve had in a long time. It's a sign that, maybe, the Twins are a healthier organization than I've given them credit for.


  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

6 Comments

Photo
Pardon My Dinger
Mar 16 2016 07:18 AM

Well, you heard him, fellas. Let's none of us visit TwinsDaily for the next three weeks. 

    • Thrylos, gunnarthor and hybridbear like this

 

Well, you heard him, fellas. Let's none of us visit TwinsDaily for the next three weeks. 

 

Definitely not my point. There's plenty to talk about, even if Spring Training is completely uninteresting.

Photo
Pardon My Dinger
Mar 16 2016 07:52 AM

 

Definitely not my point. There's plenty to talk about, even if Spring Training is completely uninteresting.

I keed, I keed. 

    • ScrapTheNickname likes this

 

Definitely not my point. There's plenty to talk about, even if Spring Training is completely uninteresting.

 

Completely disagree with you. Spring training is about a lot more than who goes north with the team. How prospects perform, where they are dispersed through the system, who gets cut, seeing if Park can handle ML pitching, players like Sweeney and Quentin fighting to regain a major league roster spot. These are the stories that make Spring Training very interesting. 

    • Thrylos, HitInAPinch and Pardon My Dinger like this

Spring training is about March melt and snows like we have today followed by melting and dreaming.  It is a month that passes and the skis sit unused while the rubber boots replace hiking boots for the time being.  This is waiting for the migration, watching the ice turn to mush on the lakes while boats wait and ice houses sit idle.  Give me spring training and false hopes, talk about baseball and fill the days.  After the spring equinox the days get longer than the nights, we will barbecue, mow, plant, and have a pleasant patter on the radio. 

    • SQUIRREL and South Dakota Tom like this

I look for signs of improvement in how players are handling aspects of their game. Park's homers actually are encouraging, even if he was getting multiple fastballs. At least now we know he can hit a ball going over 90mph. The cat and mouse of regular season is the next hurdle. Same with Byron Buxton, who has reportedly showed better plate discipline, as has Oswaldo Arcia, who also slimmed down and looks better in the outfield. 

 

Even within the assumed roster, there are interesting details to mull over. I'd love to hear more about Miguel Sano's progress in RF. Is he getting it? Does he look as athletic as we hoped? 

 

Also, I don't discount promising performances by guys on the outside looking in. Even if a guy like Burdi doesn't make the final cut, if he's buzzing high-90's heaters past hitters, that's a good sign for his near future. Same with Berrios and others. If they're pitching really well in spring, that bodes well for this team, whose pitching staff is rather underwhelming. 

 

Meanwhile, as Mike indicated, the lack of drama this spring is a sign that this team is at least pretty solid. I don't mind that. 


Similar Articles


by Cody Christie , 21 Sep 2020
Photo


by Nick Nelson , 15 Sep 2020
Photo


by Nick Nelson , 23 Aug 2020
Photo


by Matthew Taylor , 23 Aug 2020
Photo


by Matthew Taylor , 21 Aug 2020
Photo