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Target Field Tax Status

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:14 PM
Been reading about all the losses (alleged or not) that MLB has (and maybe will again) taken with the pandemic, and wondered how the tax...
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What to do with Lewis Thorpe?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 07:57 PM
Lewis Thorpe is out of options. The Twins either need to keep him on the MLB team as their 5th starter or as a reliever out of the bullpe...
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Nelson Cruz wants 2 years

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 05:54 PM
https://www.mlbtrade...-year-deal.html
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2020 MLB (non-Twins) Postseason Discussion Thread

Other Baseball Yesterday, 11:46 AM
Feel free to chime in here about any of the (non-Twins) 2020 MLB postseason games!
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Not to add more doom and gloom

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:47 AM
This is interesting and sort of concerning. Article snippet comes from the incomparable Jayson Stark of The Athletic (Which is must read...
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Treason: Is Dobnak Lucking Out Against Easy Competition?

Randy Dobnak has produced Cy Young level results in the first four games of 2020 and, in reality, since he first appeared in the Majors. With a 0.90 ERA and WHIP regression is guaranteed, but this article looks at the bigger pitcher: Can Dobnak be effective against the best lineups in baseball?
Image courtesy of © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Randy Dobnak’s start to the season has not gone unnoticed by Twins twitter and those of us here at Twins Daily ... you can find Dobnak articles here and here. Rightfully so, both of the aforementioned articles focus on the positives that Dobnak has brought to the table thus far, but I’m here to play devil's advocate of sorts. I’m not convinced that Dobnak is someone who can be trusted against the most formidable lineups in baseball such as the Yankees, Astros, Braves, and Dodgers. Afterall, the Twins are a World Series contender and they likely will need to be two of the aforementioned teams to win the World Series.

My first thought was not just to look at who he’s pitched against but, more specifically, how was that lineup performing coming into his start. I went back to each of his starts and looked at the BB/K, OPS, and wRC+ for the previous 10 days of each of his opponents. The two exceptions are when I looked at the 10 days after his start against the White Sox on July 25th (only the second day of the season) and his start against the Indians on July 31st only went back seven days. I then averaged out their results and compared them to the Yankees 10 days leading up to game two of the ALDS.
Attached Image: 1.png
Dobnak’s game log has some solid teams on it in Cleveland (four times), Washington, and Boston but this table shows that he has regularly been facing lineups that were performing at “below average” levels, per FanGraphs. In fact, the only offense that was “above average” in all three categories coming into their matchup against Dobnak were the Red Sox on August 3rd, 2019 and he was only used as an opener for a single inning. Specifically compared to the Yankees, the lineups he has faced in the regular season just haven’t had the same “umph”, so to speak.

I know it’s only one start but unfortunately that extra “umph” turned out Dobnak’s worst start of his career allowing eight baserunners and four earned runs over just two plus innings. So this leads to the following question: was it just one bad start or will Dobnak struggle against better competition? In my opinion, the answer can be as simple as looking at his Baseball Savant profile and, if you’re not familiar, seeing a lot of blue is typically not encouraging.
Attached Image: 2.png

To be honest, I’ve been visiting his page throughout the season and all of the batted ball percentile rankings have been slightly increasing as the season has gone on despite still being below in the lower half of the league. To back up these numbers I went back to his FanGraphs page and noticed an 88.9% strand rate, a 0.217 BABIP, and a 66.7% groundball rate. Although Dobnak is a ground ball pitcher, even 66.7% is a significant increase over his career norms and his strand rate and BABIP are further indicators that a combination of luck and poor opponents are skewing his results. What’s even more telling is that it’s more typical for a ground ball pitcher to have a higher than average BABIP...not significantly lower. As much as pitchers norm don’t have to follow the league norms, the next data point that stood out to me was the “fastball spin” ranking.

This sent me looking at Baseball Savants Pitch Arsenal page for Dobnak where I could see how Dobnak’s pitches rank against other pitchers in the league, which is picture below.
Attached Image: 3.png

This chart displays the movement of each of Dobnak pitches (the circles) compared to the league average (the gear symbols). With Dobnak topping out in the mid to low 90’s, he needs to rely on precision accuracy and movement to experience good results against good teams. He’s shown the precision accuracy living in the bottom of the strike zone, but as seen in the chart above he doesn’t really have a “plus” pitch compared to his peers. Again, more data that tells me Dobnak won’t fare well against the better offensive teams in baseball.

All of this said, Dobnak is a solid pitcher. In my opinion, a back end of the rotation guy or long reliever out of the pen is a realistic long-term role. With the Twins schedule this season, widely considered the easiest in baseball, we may continue to see Cy Young-esque numbers from Dobnak although some regression is almost guaranteed. What’s your confidence level with Dobank making a playoff start?

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16 Comments

We loaded the bases with no outs against Severino and he got out of it with no damage. Dobnak loads them up with no outs, was pulled and all inherited runners scored. I didn't like the move because to that point Dobnak had a short history of battling and executing quality pitches in tough situations. Now of course he could have just as easily given up those runs but my levelof confidence in him was such that I wish he had been left in.I had more confidence in Odorizzi last year but by the end of the year next in line was Dobnak and Pineda over Berrios. I don't get the logic that says he is pitching like CY Young against weaker lineups, the rest of the staff gives up twice as many runs against the same lineups but Dobnak benefits from it more. Of course, he could end up getting shelled by anyone any time but until it happens my confidence in him is as great as it is in anyone.  

    • mikelink45 and JoshDungan1 like this
Appreciate the numbers, graphs opinion and speculation. And I won't argue against any of it.

I don't think anyone will argue that Dobnak is any kind of Cy Young candidate in any way shape or form. That would be ludicrous. Between 2019 and this season he has yet to even hit 50IP as I write this. So ANY speculation on his future is a bit ridiculous at this point. He's off to a great start and you can only do what you can do every time you go out there, no matter what team/lineup you face.

Again, good so far, and he offers up optimism.

And he could SO a few more. At worst, he could just put away a few more guys earlier rather than extending himself in certain AB. And I highly doubt he will be a front of the rotation SP in any way. But, even in SSS, there is enough evidence to at least suggest he can continue to develop in to a bulldog pitcher who can successfully fill the role of a quality 4th, or at worst 5th ML SP.

I don't think anyone expects him to continue the numbers he's shown thus far. But when things settle down, and he proves to be an innings eater with a high 3.0 ERA who does a solid job daily, I'll take that.
    • Dantes929, LA VIkes Fan, JoshDungan1 and 1 other like this

How has Berrios performed against the same teams?Dobnak is not an Ace, he is just dependable and that is really nice.I wish the others had his consistency. 

 

    • D.C Twins likes this

How has Berrios performed against the same teams? Dobnak is not an Ace, he is just dependable and that is really nice. I wish the others had his consistency.


This. He isn’t an analytics dream. All he does is get guys out. Will it continue I don’t know but until then maybe some of the Twins other starters should take notice especially Berrios.
    • mikelink45 and D.C Twins like this

 

This. He isn’t an analytics dream. All he does is get guys out. Will it continue I don’t know but until then maybe some of the Twins other starters should take notice especially Berrios.

I love the guys that can't be quantified - they just win.

    • Dantes929 and Doctor Gast like this

Are there any command statistics? That is where Dobnak really stands out and where Berrios is lacking.

I'm very much OK with the slotted 5th starter consistently beating inferior competition. Last time I checked that is the definition of a superior 5th starter.

 

I would focus the concern on our slotted #1 and #2 starters.

    • mikelink45 likes this
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Richard Swerdlick
Aug 16 2020 07:02 AM

I like Dobnak. However he is a pitch to contact guy and when he faces a loaded lineup, like the Yankees, his luck will likely run out.

    • Matthew Lenz likes this
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Doctor Gast
Aug 16 2020 07:07 AM

Dobnak`s success comes from his high GB % not his SOs, along w/ his consistency & tenacity. He will do well as long as he gets the support he needs. I don`t think he`ll ever wow us w/ his stuff but he gets the job done.

    • mikelink45 and Weave like this

one reason for his improved performance and lower BABIP could be an improved defense; the Twins are shifting even more, Arraez appears to have improved defensively...again, we expect regression. Dobnak isn't likely to have the best ERA in baseball, or the best ERA+ in baseball. But his FIP is still excellent and if he's keeping the ball in the park he's going to be fine.

 

There's also the interesting question of counter-programming for a pitcher like Dobnak. With the focus on velocity, pitching up in the zone, and more hitter on the all or nothing plan...we may be seeing that a pitcher like Dobnak may benefit by utilizing a pitching style that hitters aren't seeing often (especially in a weird year like this one).

 

It's an interesting question, but this is also a year where a guy might be able to ride small sample size results.

 

Regardless, Dobnak has been great for the Twins so far and they've really needed him in the rotation.

    • mikelink45 and Weave like this

I guess I applaud the fact you didn't do an article on how great Dobnik is and that he will become the ace of the staff, but come on. The guy proved everyone wrong as he moved through single A, AA, AAA before making the big league club last year pitching outstanding baseball the whole way. Now he has a phenomenal start to 2020.

 

Keeps the ball down with incredible accuracy and movement on the ball resulting in ground balls and has the confidence to attack the hitters. Sounds like a recipe for success to me. As for pitching against the Yankees who doesn't have problems.

 

But I prefer this to a puff piece.

    • Dantes929 and mikelink45 like this

Dobnak will of course fare worse against better competition, by definition. However, even a good-hitting team isn't chock full of guys that can straighten out all those sinkers, sinking sliders, sinking curves and sinking change-up's that Dobbs delivers low in the zone, over and over. 

 

Assuming every other guy doesn't launch a 5-iron golf swing homer off him, let's say they do get some 1-iron line drives. Some still get caught, a few in the gap. Now you have a runner on 2nd base. Unless the next guy is just as good a golfer, you may get a ground ball out, a strikeout, or some other kind of out. The inning can still end without damage. 

 

Why the rosy scenario? Because I've seen Dobnak work out of situations. He doesn't buckle under pressure, he keeps fighting. He's got statistics on his side. If he continues to command low, sinking pitches on the edges, chances are good that a single hit does little damage. Nor is it likely that his stuff gets hammered for 5 or 6 runs in an inning, for that same reason. Sinking pitches tend to get pounded into the ground, over and over. 

 

Other than even better command, what I'd like to see from Dobnak is to develop a high-riding heater he can plant in the upper corners. 92 mph is just fine if you can throw it where Odorizzi does. But it does need a fair amount of backspin...

    • Weave and MMMordabito like this
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Matthew Lenz
Aug 16 2020 09:55 AM

Dobnak`s success comes from his high GB % not his SOs, along w/ his consistency & tenacity. He will do well as long as he gets the support he needs. I don`t think he`ll ever wow us w/ his stuff but he gets the job done.


Since FanGrapbs started tracking GB% the Major League record by a starter is 67.0%. Dobnak is getting groundballs at an historic rate and I don’t buy into that continuing. Hope I’m wrong!
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Matthew Lenz
Aug 16 2020 09:59 AM

I guess I applaud the fact you didn't do an article on how great Dobnik is and that he will become the ace of the staff, but come on. The guy proved everyone wrong as he moved through single A, AA, AAA before making the big league club last year pitching outstanding baseball the whole way. Now he has a phenomenal start to 2020.
 
Keeps the ball down with incredible accuracy and movement on the ball resulting in ground balls and has the confidence to attack the hitters. Sounds like a recipe for success to me. As for pitching against the Yankees who doesn't have problems.
 
But I prefer this to a puff piece.


Based on the data shared above on of the points I was making is that he doesn’t have incredible movement, but you’re right about the accuracy. Remember he’s hitting the bottom of the zone but teams still have an above average hard hit rate against him...that’s where I worry a better hitting team is able to do more damage.

copy and pasted from twitter

 

Trust me, I know I am Randy’s Dad and I am biased. Having said that, has anyone looked at his minor league numbers?24-9 ERA=2.57. your saying all those were weak teams?Put those minor #’s up against anyone elses minor #’s & make a list. I know this isn't the olympics but if you take out 2 bad starts his  ERA is 2.14

 

I look forward to your list of Pitchers from say the last 5 years that put up better numbers in the minors. Also,as he moved up from low A to triple A, his numbers for the most part, got better at each level. Just because someone isn’t a #1 pick doesn’t mean they can’t be GREAT! #CHASETHEDREAM

 

One other hidden stat. in his first full year as a Pro 2018, he went 7 or more innings 10 times. there was no one (1 that I could find did it 8 times) that came close while putting up similar numbers. playoff gm that year 7ip,6hits,1bb,0runsMan shrugging he avg 5.5 innings per gm that year

 

Has he been Lucky this entire time?  

Based on the data shared above on of the points I was making is that he doesn’t have incredible movement, but you’re right about the accuracy. Remember he’s hitting the bottom of the zone but teams still have an above average hard hit rate against him...that’s where I worry a better hitting team is able to do more damage.


Ummm have you noticed that he has been our best pitcher going on a year now? Maybe focus on the results and not worry so much about how it happens.