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Twins fire Dougie Baseball

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 07:15 AM
http://m.startribune...?section=sports   Bummer. He sounds pretty pissed about it. Best of luck to him in the future.
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Article: NYY 5, MIN 2: Tough Night For Berrios, Twins

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:13 AM
The Twins led early but surrendered four unanswered runs and Jose Berrios lasted just 3.1 innings. Outside of Joe Mauer, this is an entir...
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Baseball is Good

Other Baseball Today, 06:27 AM
I've started a baseball-centric podcast. It touches on twins topics often, but otherwise it is more about the sport and life of baseball....
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It's Never Too Early for Magic Number

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:10 AM
Just a little Spreadsheet fun for those interested in knowing how many wins/losses the Twins need to clinch a playoff spot  ...
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Mauer 2000 hit countdown

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:10 AM
Three hits today brings him up to 1974, which was a very good year. How many of those 26 hits will he get in 2017? Can he get two hits...
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Santiago Starting To Turn Heads

As Nick wrote earlier in the week, Ervin Santana has been a legitimate threat in the Twins rotation. Santana is off to a tremendous start to the season and it's easy to see why the Twins decided to hang on to the veteran right-handed hurler.

What might be more of a surprise than Santana's start are the outings put together by Hector Santiago. For those who have forgotten, Santiago and Alan Busenitz were the two players acquired from the Angels last season in exchange for Alex Meyer and Ricky Nolasco.

Santiago, the former 30th round pick by the White Sox, could be on the cusp of a breakout season.
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today Sports
Another All-Star First Half
Santiago has shown flashes of this type of pitching in the past. During the 2015 campaign, he got the season off to a great start and was named an American League All-Star. In the season's first half, he posted a 2.33 ERA with a 98 to 33 strikeout to walk ratio. In those 18 games, batters hit .213/.281/.356 against him.

Following his All-Star first half, things fell apart in the second half of the season. His ERA rose to 5.47 and his WHIP rose from 1.10 to 1.49. Batters OPS also rose by over 200 points. Minnesota is seeing glimpses of Santiago's all-star abilities but there's no evidence of him being able to sustain this level for an entire season.

What's Up, Pitches?
Opponents have struggled this season with making consistent contact against Santiago's sinker. For his career, batters have hit .217 against him when he throws this pitch. So far this season, opponents have been limited to a .135 average with two extra-base hits. His velocity has dipped a little with this pitch but he seems to be using it more effectively.

He has yet to surrender an extra-base hit with his secondary pitches but he throws these less than 40% of the time. When throwing his change-up, batters have been limited to a .200 average which is almost 60 points lower than his career mark. His cut fastball has yielded a .750 opponent's batting average, the highest of any pitch he throws.

The Jason Castro Factor
During the entire off-season, Twins fans heard rave reviews about Jason Castro and his ability to coax umpires into calling strikes. This might not have been more evident than on Sunday afternoon when "Castro had the best day of any backstop at getting his pitchers extra strikes."
Posted Image

For seven innings on Sunday, Santiago was the beneficiary of Castro's catching abilities. Fangraphs showed multiple pitches from Santiago that ended up being called strikes. Castro is clearly factoring into the Twins early season pitching success.
Posted Image
It's been a small sample size and there is plenty of season still ahead. Santiago needs to prove that he can sustain these numbers over the course of an entire season. He's shown flashes of this type of pitching in the past but the league will adjust. Can he make the types of changes necessary to sustain this success?

Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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81 Comments

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TheLeviathan
Apr 19 2017 12:45 PM

 

Who says we have to spend it during the offseason? It was money earmarked to be spent in 2017 and we have plenty of 2017 left. 

 

Given that ownership and the former GM both have stated in the past that budgets and money for the team don't work that way.....not really.

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stringer bell
Apr 19 2017 12:49 PM

From what I can see, the new strike zone and new catcher both help Santiago. He works up in the zone (so did Phil Hughes during his fine 2014) and has a lot of balls hit in the air. The good defensive outfield the Twins can put out there helps greatly, so does the weather if the fly balls aren't carrying that much.

 

It is an oversimplification to say pitches at the top of the zone are mistakes, particularly fastballs. Last night, Bert criticized every well-hit ball by the Tribe with "he got that one up", more accurately the pitches were up in the zone and over the heart of the plate. Movement can allow a high strike over the middle to be a good pitch, too.

 

From what I can see, the new strike zone and new catcher both help Santiago. He works up in the zone (so did Phil Hughes during his fine 2014) and has a lot of balls hit in the air. The good defensive outfield the Twins can put out there helps greatly, so does the weather if the fly balls aren't carrying that much.

 

It is an oversimplification to say pitches at the top of the zone are mistakes, particularly fastballs. Last night, Bert criticized every well-hit ball by the Tribe with "he got that one up", more accurately the pitches were up in the zone and over the heart of the plate. Movement can allow a high strike over the middle to be a good pitch, too.

 

Of course, we know that hitters are trying to hit "up" on the ball, and higher pitches inhibit that. Bert is rather stuck on this point, and has been forever.

    • USAFChief and Oldgoat_MN like this
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Winston Smith
Apr 19 2017 12:54 PM

With him Santana and Dozier we could have 3 real strong trade chips come July.

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KirbyDome89
Apr 19 2017 12:55 PM

 

Who says we have to spend it during the offseason? It was money earmarked to be spent in 2017 and we have plenty of 2017 left. 

It was spent in 2017. The "savings," from that trade are gone. They used the money to resign Santiago and they're paying part of Nolasco's salary this season. 

 

With him Santana and Dozier we could have 3 real strong trade chips come July.

 

I wouldn't sleep on Kintzler either.

So can we safely say that Santiago is the Bumble Bee of pitchers?He defies the laws nature of FIP (I.E. Flight).

    • Mike Sixel likes this
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drivlikejehu
Apr 19 2017 04:19 PM

His swinging strike rate is well above his career norms - 10.5% instead of 8-8.5% (it dipped below that in 2014 but then came back up). On a related note, hitters so far have chased outside the zone much more often than has been the case in the past against Santiago.

 

So, arguably his xFIP is misleading, regardless of whether he has the true ability to outperform it, because his strikeout rate is lower than would be expected based on his swinging strike %. 

 

But . . . it's 18 innings. Pitch data seems to indicate that his stuff and command are basically in line with the past. He certainly could have a decent year but there's no reason to think he's stepped up his overall game.

Before we crown either Santiago or Castro as Totally Awesome™, let's let the sample size grow a bit.

Before we crown either Santiago or Castro as Totally Awesome™, let's let the sample size grow a bit.

Yep and we can do the same with Mauer, Rosario and Buxton before we burn them at the stake.
    • 70charger, Doomtints, howieramone2 and 1 other like this

 

His 90.0% LOB, 4.2 HR/FB, .222 BABIP along with 15.3% K% / 5.4 K/9 and 4.76 xFIP makes me think that it will be nice to enjoy the mirage while it lasts (or even better, finding a trade partner ASAP.)

Of course a 1.47 ERA is a mirage just like the 5.58 ERA last season with the Twins was a mirage. I think nearly everyone in this thread expects him to revert back to the average 4.00 (career ERA is a little lower) that he has always been and your stats do nothing to refute that.

I think we should all have the expectation that every GM knows that Santiago will go back to being Santiago. There is no find a trade partner fast because he has had 3 great starts.

The issue that I see the Twins facing is somehow clinging to a .500 record and not selling Santana or Santiago. Of course as a fan of MN sports I expect an 6 game losing streak at some point breaking our hearts. But winning would be great even if we weren't able to pawn off a couple of veterans for mediocre prospects.

 

Yep and we can do the same with Mauer, Rosario and Buxton before we burn them at the stake.

 

It's almost like the last 2 years didn't happen, and people are only judging these guys on this year. Not.

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Brock Beauchamp
Apr 20 2017 08:03 AM

 

It's almost like the last 2 years didn't happen, and people are only judging these guys on this year. Not.

Sure, Buxton and Mauer have question marks but people are concerned about Rosario.

 

Why?

 

It's fine to show emotion and want players to succeed. What I find maddening is watching people who have been baseball fans for a decade or longer gnashing their teeth over a dozen games. What an exhausting way to live.

 

Yes, I'm concerned about Buxton. I'm concerned about Mauer. I'm watching Rosario closely... but man, it's 14 games. If Rosario has two good games, he jumps above his career OPS. If Buxton or Mauer have two good games, their numbers are suddenly respectable.

 

Baseball is a long, grueling season. I'll ride the ups and downs but I won't let them control me.

 

I also won't wave the Hector Santiago flag loud and proud for the same reason. I'm glad he's off to a good start but he's still Hector-freakin-Santiago.

I'm tired of being told that judging Buxton this early is wrong/bad/evil, as if the last 2 years didn't happen and we are just knee jerk loser fans. And yes, that's what is being said.

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Brock Beauchamp
Apr 20 2017 08:19 AM

 

I'm tired of being told that judging Buxton this early is wrong/bad/evil, as if the last 2 years didn't happen and we are just knee jerk loser fans. And yes, that's what is being said.

Well, it kinda seems everyone is right to me. Buxton is having huge problems right now. He's also played only a dozen games.

 

If Buxton hadn't shown windmill tendencies in the past, I'd chalk this up to a horrific start and that's that. But this isn't new to Buxton. He's done this before. And we should be really concerned about it happening over and over again.

 

On the flip side of that coin, he's begun to strike out less in recent games. He looks a bit more cohesive at the plate. If he keeps trending in that direction, he should begin to come around. And given how early it is in the season, if he has three consecutive good games, this problem fades from memory in a hurry.

    • Mike Sixel and LA VIkes Fan like this

 

Well, it kinda seems everyone is right to me. Buxton is having huge problems right now. He's also played only a dozen games.

 

If Buxton hadn't shown windmill tendencies in the past, I'd chalk this up to a horrific start and that's that. But this isn't new to Buxton. He's done this before. And we should be really concerned about it happening over and over again.

 

On the flip side of that coin, he's begun to strike out less in recent games. He looks a bit more cohesive at the plate. If he keeps trending in that direction, he should begin to come around. And given how early it is in the season, if he has three consecutive good games, this problem fades from memory in a hurry.

 

I'm looking, as KLAW suggested, for months of good outcomes before I can erase months of bad outcomes from my mind.

I'm tired of being told that judging Buxton this early is wrong/bad/evil, as if the last 2 years didn't happen and we are just knee jerk loser fans. And yes, that's what is being said.


I, for one, appreciate the burden you're willing to bear for the good of the board.

It's a lonely island to say Buxton is struggling right now.
    • Mike Sixel, Oldgoat_MN and 70charger like this

 

EDITED out

 

Baseball is a long, grueling season. I'll ride the ups and downs but I won't let them control me.

 

I also won't wave the Hector Santiago flag loud and proud for the same reason. I'm glad he's off to a good start but he's still Hector-freakin-Santiago.

But Robbie-freakin-Grossman OTOH ;)

 

I, for one, appreciate the burden you're willing to bear for the good of the board.

It's a lonely island to say Buxton is struggling right now.

 

this made me laugh out loud. Nicely done. 

    • Oldgoat_MN and kab21 like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Apr 20 2017 08:32 AM

 

But Robbie-freakin-Grossman OTOH ;)

Hey, I'm still skeptical of the guy. My original thread was a pretty simple question:

 

When do we consider a guy a good hitter? How long does it take?

 

And Grossman has over 450 consecutive PAs of being a very good hitter across parts of two seasons. Is that enough? It's not entirely enough for me personally but now is the time I begin to consider that it's possible this is who Grossman is going forward.

 

Still not convinced, though. If he crosses 600 PAs with this kind of performance, I'll consider Grossman an .800+ OPS hitter going forward.

    • howieramone2 likes this

 

I'm looking, as KLAW suggested, for months of good outcomes before I can erase months of bad outcomes from my mind.

I agree. Waiting for Buck to have a 2 for 4 game with 2 doubles and 5 RBI in a 6-4 win. Some will proclaim that Buck is now a star!

I believe consistent hitting will come.

I am, on the other hand, finding it increasingly difficult to be patient.

    • Mike Sixel likes this

 

Hey, I'm still skeptical of the guy. My original thread was a pretty simple question:

 

When do we consider a guy a good hitter? How long does it take?

 

And Grossman has over 450 consecutive PAs of being a very good hitter across parts of two seasons. Is that enough? It's not entirely enough for me personally but now is the time I begin to consider that it's possible this is who Grossman is going forward.

 

Still not convinced, though. If he crosses 600 PAs with this kind of performance, I'll consider Grossman an .800+ OPS hitter going forward.

 

I'd say it's close. Another half year of this, and it's hard to say he's not this, imo.

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
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Brock Beauchamp
Apr 20 2017 08:40 AM

 

I'd say it's close. Another half year of this, and it's hard to say he's not this, imo.

Yeah, pretty much my thoughts as well.

 

Hey, I'm still skeptical of the guy. My original thread was a pretty simple question:

 

When do we consider a guy a good hitter? How long does it take?

 

And Grossman has over 450 consecutive PAs of being a very good hitter across parts of two seasons. Is that enough? It's not entirely enough for me personally but now is the time I begin to consider that it's possible this is who Grossman is going forward.

 

Still not convinced, though. If he crosses 600 PAs with this kind of performance, I'll consider Grossman an .800+ OPS hitter going forward.

600 PA's is still just one full season and players have lucky seasons all the time. 

Santana had 430 great PA's his rookie year. Rosario had 480 pretty good PA's his rookie year. But maybe 600 PA's is the magic number.

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LA VIkes Fan
Apr 20 2017 08:54 AM

There was a time when Robbie Grossman was considered a hot Pirates prospect and Houston pursued him as part of a trade. Maybe he just took a couple of extra years to hit his stride. .  I think Grossman is for real as a .280/.375/.425 kind of hitter. Also food for thought on waiting for Rosario and Buxton to hit their potential (for that matter, Kepler and Polanco too). Sometimes it takes some time.   

    • howieramone2 likes this

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