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Monitor: Manager of the Year and Fired?

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Aside from the first team to go from 100 losses to the playoffs (sort of), they may also be the first team to fire a manager just before...
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Article: Charting A Twins Playoff Rotation

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What once seemed unthinkable is now a crystallizing reality: The Twins are in all likelihood headed toward a one-game Wild Card showdown...
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Let's remember some "Twins guys" thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:16 AM
Best Minnesota trip in a long time for me, Vikes win, and Twins win (both big time!) in the midst of tonight's ass kicking started talkin...
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Kennys Vargas....yes again.

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:54 PM
Dont blame another Vargas article on me! Well...not entirely anyway. My mind seldom shuts off, sometimes works in weird and mysterious wa...
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Article: MIN 10, DET 4: Deja Vu All Over Again

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:30 PM
For the second straight game the Twins beat the Tigers by the score of 10-4. Jorge Polanco continued his second-half surge, hitting a dou...
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Recap: Slegers Shines in Debut, Twins Split Doubleheader

Aaron Slegers was excellent in his major league debut Thursday, helping the Twins take the second game of their doubleheader and put an ugly loss in the first contest behind them. Glen Perkins also made his 2017 debut, but the Twins unfortunately lost Robbie Grossman to a fractured thumb.
Image courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
This is like a choose your own adventure recap. If you wanna get to the good stuff, just go ahead and scroll down to Game 2. Otherwise, buckle up for a whole lotta ugliness from Game 1.

GAME 1
Win Expectancy (via Fangraphs)
Attached Image: WinEx817_1.png
Top 3 Twins per WPA: Polanco .175, Gee .167, Buxton .088

The day didn’t get off to a good start for the Twins. Not only did they get beat handily, but they had to use five guys from the bullpen to cover five innings, thanks to another short start from Kyle Gibson. Not what you want to have happen in your first of seven games scheduled over a stretch of just five days.

Gibson lasted just four innings, and it took him 97 pitches to get that far. He gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk. He also hit two batters and threw a wild pitch. Regardless, the Twins managed to stick around in this game and were trailing 3-2 heading into the eighth inning.

Ryan Pressly gave up a three-run homer and a solo shot in the eighth, crushing any hopes of a Twins late-inning comeback. What that did allow, however, is a low-leverage spot for Glen Perkins to make his 2017 debut.

It was a long journey back from torn labrum surgery, and Perk deserves credit just for working his way back to a big league mound, but he’ll hope for better results the next time out. He faced six batters and only got one out, surrendering two runs on a pair of singles, two hit batsmen and a walk. Below are Perkins’ velo readings from the game via Baseball Savant. He averaged 91.3 mph on his fastball. He was at 93.7 back in 2015.
Attached Image: PerkinsMPH.png
How about the lineup? Well, they set a team record by striking out 19 times. They got the bases loaded with no outs in the first inning and couldn’t score. And, to top it all off, they made some poor baserunning plays, too. Jorge Polanco got picked off at second base on an odd Max Kepler bunt attempt.

And Eddie Rosario hit a ball high off the wall that somehow failed to score Joe Mauer from second base and only advanced Miguel Sano 90 feet. The ball hit at least halfway up the wall in right-center field, at least 10 feet up, and neither Cleveland outfielder was faking out the runners. Hard to see why Mauer didn’t get a better read.

Byron Buxton was a bright spot, as he hit his seventh homer, drew a walk and scored twice.

GAME 2
Win Expectancy (via Fangraphs)
Attached Image: WinEx817_2.png
Top 3 Twins per WPA: Slegers .242, Kepler .136, Escobar .101

The Twins desperately needed a starting pitcher to provide them length, so why not the 6-foot-10 Aaron Slegers? He delivered 6.1 innings, and surely could have gone longer, but Paul Molitor decided to let him end his major league debut on a high note after just 82 pitches.

The only run Slegers gave up while he was on the hill was on a solo homer, which was also one of just two hits he surrendered. He walked two men and had three strikeouts. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Slegers became the first Twins pitcher to throw at least 6.0 innings and allow two or fewer hits in his debut since Pat Mahomes in 1992.

Slegers, the Twins fifth-round pick in 2013, opened up the game by setting down Cleveland 1-2-3 in both the first and second innings. He also faced the minimum in the third inning, thanks to a double play. He opened the fourth by retiring the first two batters he faced, then gave up the homer to Jay Bruce, his 30th of the year. Slegers followed that up with a four-pitch walk to Edwin Encarnacion, but just when it looked like he may be unravelling, he got Carlos Santana to ground out to end the inning. Then it was right back to where he started. Slegers again had 1-2-3 innings in both the fifth and sixth innings. Brian Dozier helped out with an web gem on a slow roller that got past the big man.

He opened the seventh by getting some revenge on Bruce, striking him out, before giving up a single to Encarnacion. That ended Slegers’ night, but unfortunately Trevor Hildenberger allowed Encarnacion to score, tacking on an earned run to Slegers’ line and costing him a shot at picking up the win.

Below is some data on pitch usage and velocity for Slegers, via Baseball Savant (FF stands for four-seam fastball and FT is the two-seamer).
Attached Image: Slegers.png
The repertoire/usage reminds me a lot of Bartolo Colon, though it’s not a perfect comp. He throws a whole lotta fastballs even though they don’t really light up the radar gun and just enough other stuff to keep hitters honest. Here’s hoping Slegers will be back up and able to soak up some knowledge from Colon. Slegers served as the 26th man for the doubleheader, so he’ll rejoin Rochester.

Mauer and Eduardo Escobar each had three hits, but Max Kepler came up with the biggest hit of the game, pounding the go-ahead homer in the seventh inning, his 15th of the season.

Robbie Grossman fractured his thumb in a collision with Buxton (who is just fine) in the outfield. It’s possible this will end Grossman’s season. It was also reported Nik Turley was at Target Field Thursday night, so expect a few transactions coming.

Postgame With Slegers

Twins W-L Record
Overall: 60-59 (.504)
Last 10: 7-3 (.700)
Last 20: 11-9 (.550)
Last 40: 20-20 (.500)
Last 80: 39-41 (.488)

AL Central Standings
Cleveland 66-53
Kansas City 61-59 (-5.5)
Minnesota 60-59 (-6.0)

AL Wild Card Standings
WC1: Yankees 65-55
WC2: Angels 62-59
Kansas City 61-59 (-0.5)
Minnesota 60-59 (-1.0)
Seattle 61-61 (-2.0)

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Attached Image: Bullpen817.png
Looking Ahead
FRI: Twins (Ervin Santana) vs. Arizona (Zack Godley), 7:10 pm CT
SAT: Twins (Jose Berrios) vs. Arizona (Zack Greinke) 6:10 pm CT
SUN: Twins (Bartolo Colon) vs. Arizona (TBD), 1:10 pm CT

Question of the Day
With Grossman injured, would you like to see as the primary DH?

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46 Comments

Defensive expert Grossman doesn't give way to Buxton. What the hell was he doing out there anyway? Kepler sitting at this point is just poor management. I will be very happy when the 3 year Molitor era is over.

    • jun likes this

I would like to see Slegers start again on this turn in the rotation.

 

DH?  Who's on the waiver wire?  Mike Napoli?  How about Stanton?

Parkas (PAlka + paRK + vargAS) doesn't inspire...Garver, I guess.

 

I've no comments on Perkins.  Good luck to him, and to Molitor, on how this will go down.

 

Kepler, Polanco, and Co. need to turn on the sprinklers tonight before they leave, then maybe hit a strip club, get an obnoxious tatoo, sleep in, and then go to the zoo and feed raw meat to the polar bears or something.  They should do it all in a montage.  Let their facial hair grow out, put in new, random surprise walk-up music in for each other.  That sort of thing.

 

Or, get lots of sleep, get up early and watch TIVOed Bachelor episodes, and drink a kale smoothy.  Whatever it takes.  It's August.

    • TNTwinsFan and MN_ExPat like this

Well, since the Twins have to be pitcher heavy, I guess I would like to see Granite. But who is the DH then, Escobar? Okay, let's bring up Garver!

 

But watch, The Twins will bring up Daniel Palka!

 

Defensive expert Grossman doesn't give way to Buxton. What the hell was he doing out there anyway? Kepler sitting at this point is just poor management. I will be very happy when the 3 year Molitor era is over.

 

I have a lot of complaints about Molitor, but it was the second game of a double header and 1/3 of their bench plays OF. 

Grossman had no business going for that ball. It's his own damn fault he broke his thumb. You gotta know that's the CFers ball, especially when it's Byron Buxton.

    • h2oface, Taildragger8791 and CUtomorrownight like this

I'd like to see:

 

Gibson to AAA, Grossman to DL, Sledgers stays in the rotation, Garver comes up. Granite is another LH outfielder who does you little good - the Twins need a RH bat to play a corner OF spot. Garver can't be much worse than Grossman in the field and maybe Molitor will be more willing to PH for catchers. Painful to watch those guys swing the bat.

    • jun, mikelink45, Taildragger8791 and 1 other like this

Also, just had a thought.

 

When the Twins are on the road in September and rosters have expanded, could they have Vargas start at catcher and lead off the game and then after the Twins bat, immediately sub in Castro? Is there anything in the rulebooks that says you can't do this? I get why a team might not want to burn a position player with 25 man rosters but when they balloon, it gets an extra at bat for a better hitter.

 

It would also be interesting for an AL team in interleague or postseason play. They could get an at bat for their DH early in the game. You lose him as a pinch hitter but it seems like it might be worth it to for sure get a chance to use him rather than maybe get a chance later in the game.

    • mikelink45 likes this

 

I have a lot of complaints about Molitor, but it was the second game of a double header and 1/3 of their bench plays OF. 

 

Well, only three players are listed on the active roster as outfielders, and Grossman is listed as DH. The bench, at this time, is only 3 people, with an infielder, a catcher, and a DH. I don't know that you can really call Grossman an outfielder, even though they play him out there, and watch him flail, but if you are inclined to, 1/3 of the bench = one person that can sit. He also pinch hit and struck out batting for Kepler in the bottom of the 7th and played 2 innings in the opener. At this point, I don't pull Kepler for Grossman to try to milk a walk, and he is only hitting .243 now.

 

Grossman had no business going for that ball. It's his own damn fault he broke his thumb. You gotta know that's the CFers ball, especially when it's Byron Buxton.

Well, It's the CF'ers job to be traffic cop out there and I didn't see Buxton calling anyone off.

    • Danchat, Broker and MN_ExPat like this

 

Grossman had no business going for that ball. It's his own damn fault he broke his thumb. You gotta know that's the CFers ball, especially when it's Byron Buxton.

Here's the problem: For some reason Grossman was yelling, "I got it I got it I got it," and Buxton didn't say anything. Both men are converging on the ball, eyes up, and Buxton cuts in front of Grossman without a word. I agree that Buxton should catch that ball, but as the boss of the outfield, he's supposed to yell loudly to call off Grossman. Why didn't he? This is another detail that Twins coaches will have to work on with Buxton. 

    • Danchat, dgwills, adorduan and 3 others like this
Photo
twinstalker
Aug 17 2017 10:44 PM

Did Slegers have to be put on the 40 for this, or am I so dumb that he's been on the 40 all year?  If not, where do you make the space, because I have to believe he'll be up as soon as possible.

Went back and watched Slegers from inning 1 through 6. Very tall, downhill plane, throws like a shortstop with the ball cocked behind his ear, long stride gets on the hitter suddenly. Slegers has excellent control, and I expect it will get even better as he calms down on the mound. We didn't see much of his off-speed stuff tonight, but it looks like h delivers it with almost exactly the same motion as his fastball, making it very hard to read as the ball suddenly appears from behind his head. 

 

Though his fastball tops out at about 93, his forward release point and masking the ball behind his head cuts the hitter's recognition time down almost like he's throwing mid to upper 90s. If Slegers develops a good change, that could be a deadly strikeout pitch. As is, his control of the fastball keeps hitters from barreling it up, which is why he produces a lot of easy outs. That forward release gives hitters very little time to figure out what he's throwing. I saw a lot of emergency swings. 

    • wavedog, beckmt, bluechipper and 15 others like this
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Taildragger8791
Aug 17 2017 10:55 PM

Also, just had a thought.
 
When the Twins are on the road in September and rosters have expanded, could they have Vargas start at catcher and lead off the game and then after the Twins bat, immediately sub in Castro? Is there anything in the rulebooks that says you can't do this? I get why a team might not want to burn a position player with 25 man rosters but when they balloon, it gets an extra at bat for a better hitter.
 
It would also be interesting for an AL team in interleague or postseason play. They could get an at bat for their DH early in the game. You lose him as a pinch hitter but it seems like it might be worth it to for sure get a chance to use him rather than maybe get a chance later in the game.


I suppose the only issue with that is now you have that catcher hitting at the top of the order the rest of the game unless you really go whole hog and pull a double switch. I don't see how it would be illegal, but if that strategy caught on I'm sure you'd see a new rule against it pretty quickly.
Slegers deserves another shot, or two, but with the double header on Monday, it could cause some creative shuffling. If he's down, temporarily at least, who comes up? Gonsalves or Melville? Could make a strong argument for both. Granite obviously comes up to replace Grossman. Really stinks he go hurt in a freak injury. Not sure there is any point in blaming anyone. Garver or Vargas needs to come up also. (Preferably Garver). But then a RP has to go down. Perkins was just added so I doubt it's him, but is anyone else really deserving of a demotion? Can we juggle enough for a few days to keep Slegers and send Gibson down again? I'm just not seeing the math in my head right now.
    • Dantes929 likes this

 

Well, It's the CF'ers job to be traffic cop out there and I didn't see Buxton calling anyone off.

 

1) Well you really wouldn't see it because he'd be yelling 

 

2.) That ball wasn't some in between one where either guy thinks he might have to get it. That is very clearly the CFers ball. He shouldn't have to call it at the MLB level.

 

I suppose the only issue with that is now you have that catcher hitting at the top of the order the rest of the game unless you really go whole hog and pull a double switch. I don't see how it would be illegal, but if that strategy caught on I'm sure you'd see a new rule against it pretty quickly.

 

That guy is likely batting last anyways so second time through it doesn't change anything - he still hits right before the guy you'd normally have hitting #1 (who is in fact in the #2 spot). All you're really doing is making the catcher bat #10 instead of #9 and getting an extra at bat for a better hitting bench guy.

 

I think it really only works if the bench guy is pretty good because you're also making sure that your best players are one spot back all day too (your normal #3, #12, #21 hitter hits #4, #13, #22 etc. Say you're the Red Sox last year and it's Big Papi's day off because of interleague play but you want to get him one at bat at the start of the game.

 

They have a rule for the pitcher that he has to pitch to one batter but not sure you could do that with a position player - I think the advantage is less stark than with not having a pitcher hit. Though with Gimenez not that stark.

Looks like Slegers deserves another shot in the rotation, while Gibson could be sent to AAA and/or skipped in the rotation. 

 

Sorry, but I don't understand how Perkins "earned" his way back into the MLB bullpen. I don't expect much of anything out of him the rest of the way. 

    • Dantes929, Danchat, bluechipper and 2 others like this

So much to say here - but first let me say that I like the idea of competing for the Wild Card and I think it is worth making decisions based on that, but not doing a trade.  With that said here is what I would like to see:

  • Put Sleger in for Gibson.  If Kyle has not established that this is not his year I do not know what else needs to be done.  
  • Bring up Gonsalves and put him in the fifth spot in the rotation.
  • Tell Perkins it is nice that he is coming back, but we are trying to win something and this is not the time to lose that roster spot.
  • Put together a real bench.  I think we will have Escobar at 3B and Sano at DH now, but I would like some power on the bench and I would have Vargas there and I would have Granite as the fourth outfielder. As I have written elsewhere the defense has been the difference this year and the team ERA would shoot up to 5.33 if the defensive runs saved were the same as last year.
  • Get Giminez off the roster and put Garver in and let him platoon with Castro.  Lets get over the love affair with Castros pitch framing - it has not made a difference - look at all the pitching stats.

For next year I am fine with Molitor but not his pitching coach.  Move on.

    • Dave The Dastardly likes this

1) Well you really wouldn't see it because he'd be yelling 
 
2.) That ball wasn't some in between one where either guy thinks he might have to get it. That is very clearly the CFers ball. He shouldn't have to call it at the MLB level.


You could see on TV Buxton wasn't calling the ball.

And he needs to call it, to avoid just what happened. Basic baseball stuff, for some reason Buxton didn't do.
    • Mike Sixel, Dantes929, Oldgoat_MN and 4 others like this

 

So much to say here - but first let me say that I like the idea of competing for the Wild Card and I think it is worth making decisions based on that, but not doing a trade.  With that said here is what I would like to see:

  • Put Sleger in for Gibson.  If Kyle has not established that this is not his year I do not know what else needs to be done.  
  • Bring up Gonsalves and put him in the fifth spot in the rotation.
  • Tell Perkins it is nice that he is coming back, but we are trying to win something and this is not the time to lose that roster spot.
  • Put together a real bench.  I think we will have Escobar at 3B and Sano at DH now, but I would like some power on the bench and I would have Vargas there and I would have Granite as the fourth outfielder. As I have written elsewhere the defense has been the difference this year and the team ERA would shoot up to 5.33 if the defensive runs saved were the same as last year.
  • Get Giminez off the roster and put Garver in and let him platoon with Castro.  Lets get over the love affair with Castros pitch framing - it has not made a difference - look at all the pitching stats.

For next year I am fine with Molitor but not his pitching coach.  Move on.

Mostly agree even though bullet one and two are unlikely. Slegers looked great but lets not forget SSS.  Agree most on Perkins.  I like the guy and all and hope he can make a come back but like I say about every one coming back from year long injuries, let him show success in the minors before just giving him a spot because he is deemed healthy. 

If he contributes next year then great but what do they really think he can do this year when his ERA in the minors is over 6.  

Why Escobar at 3rd instead of Sano? I really like Granite and he is a logical permanent replacement for Grossman but I really wish he batted right with two of the regulars batting left. Not likely that he will go in just as a defensive replacement but if you pinch hit for Kepler because of his splits against lefties it would use less players if a right handed 4th outfielder could go in for him. Its why I always envisioned Hicks as having a lot of value for that. Of course now he is showing I was wrong about him from the left side.

    • USAFChief and mikelink45 like this

 

You could see on TV Buxton wasn't calling the ball.

And he needs to call it, to avoid just what happened. Basic baseball stuff, for some reason Buxton didn't do.

Yeah, just like in volleyball. You don't call "mine" for the sake of the 90% of the time you don't need to. You call it to make a habit of it for the 10% of the time it means something.

To be fair though, Buxton may have called it before his image showed up on the screen. We just know he didn't call it a second before the catch.

    • USAFChief, ThejacKmp, Oldgoat_MN and 1 other like this
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IndianaTwin
Aug 18 2017 07:55 AM

 

That guy is likely batting last anyways so second time through it doesn't change anything - he still hits right before the guy you'd normally have hitting #1 (who is in fact in the #2 spot). All you're really doing is making the catcher bat #10 instead of #9 and getting an extra at bat for a better hitting bench guy.

 

I think it really only works if the bench guy is pretty good because you're also making sure that your best players are one spot back all day too (your normal #3, #12, #21 hitter hits #4, #13, #22 etc. Say you're the Red Sox last year and it's Big Papi's day off because of interleague play but you want to get him one at bat at the start of the game.

 

They have a rule for the pitcher that he has to pitch to one batter but not sure you could do that with a position player - I think the advantage is less stark than with not having a pitcher hit. Though with Gimenez not that stark.

 

I'm thinking there may be a rule that addresses this, but I don't recall the specifics. If I'm not mistaken, the rule came about when Earl Weaver did something like list the previous day's SP in the DH slot so that he could wait to make his decision on who to DH based on the game situation when that slot in the order came up.

And maybe it's a DH-specific rule. 

 

    • bluechipper likes this

 

Also, just had a thought.

 

When the Twins are on the road in September and rosters have expanded, could they have Vargas start at catcher and lead off the game and then after the Twins bat, immediately sub in Castro? Is there anything in the rulebooks that says you can't do this? I get why a team might not want to burn a position player with 25 man rosters but when they balloon, it gets an extra at bat for a better hitter.

 

It would also be interesting for an AL team in interleague or postseason play. They could get an at bat for their DH early in the game. You lose him as a pinch hitter but it seems like it might be worth it to for sure get a chance to use him rather than maybe get a chance later in the game.

It's an interesting strategy, but I'm not sure the marginal gains from Vargas are worth it.  Their OPS+ figures are virtually identical this season and for their careers.  You'd also lose Vargas from pinch-hitting and deprive Castro of a chance to see the pitcher before his later plate appearances too.  Also, if you don't push the rest of the lineup down a spot, Castro might come up in an unusual position, and if you do push the rest of the lineup down a spot, you are potentially losing a PA for a guy like Sano by inserting a new guy at the top.

 

If Vargas is good enough for this to benefit us, he'd be good enough to start at DH or 1B, probably.

Congrats to Slegers. Maybe this will encourage the FO to stop ignoring the results of players already in the system.....

 

I'd like to see Garver up. But then, that should have happened a month ago. At this point, I expect Granite and no other position player move until September. Really, really, really not a fan of how the FO has handled the bench.

 

I'd like to see Gonsalves get a start Monday. I doubt he's "ready", but I don't think there is a better option. 

    • Dantes929, Oldgoat_MN, markos and 3 others like this
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Tom Froemming
Aug 18 2017 08:15 AM

Just a few more things to share this morning ...

 

-Sorry for the lack of a Slegers pic to go with the article, the Game 2 photos weren't available on the service TD uses when I published this.

 

-It sounds like Grossman is expected to miss at least three weeks, but will likely return prior to the end of the season.

 

-There are rumblings on Twitter that Mitch Garver is being called up, but no official announcement has been made. Keep an eye out on the TD homepage for more info.

 

And lastly, I just realized that exactly one year ago today Seth invited me to become a regular contributor here at Twins Daily. I just wanted to take a moment to thank Seth, everyone else who worked hard to make this place so great long before I showed up and all of the TD community for your support.

    • Steve Lein, USAFChief, Mike Sixel and 13 others like this

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