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Jack Barrie - 2014

Adopt A Prospect 2014 Today, 08:10 AM
Name: Jack BarriePosition: 1BHeight/Weight: 6'4", 250 lbsBats: RThrows: RSummary:Barrie, an 18-year-old power hitter from Queensland,...
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What would Phil Hughes get?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:08 AM
Right before Thanksgiving, the Minnesota Twins signed Phil Hughes to a 3 year, $21 million contract.    At the time, risk was t...
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Article: A Closer Look at the 2015 Twins

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:06 AM
Last week, when I wrote that the Twins have only one major need to address during the coming offseason, I expected the piece of generate...
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Article: That's the Ticket: September Sox

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:50 AM
I think I speak for most of Twins Territory when I double-negatively say that I will never NOT want to beat the White Sox. It’s sure nice...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (9/1): Polanco Hot; E-...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 07:46 AM
Happy Labor Day!Still a lot of meaningful activity going on as the minor league regular season comes to a close. The Twins were led to a...
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Morneau is steadily improving

Attached Image: Morneau.jpg In early July Justin Morneau had been plodding through a season in which he was completely lost at the plate against left-handed pitching.

Even though his performance against right-handed pitchers was classic Morneausie, against the sinister his swing was basically a clusterbleep. His front side leaking so far open, he was left with little choice but to pull the ball. Left-handed opponents attacked this weakness by throwing more sliders which would run away from his swing zone. He flailed away helplessly as southpaws painted the outer-half of the plate and anything he did manage to put lumber on was typically bounced to the right side of the infield.
[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
By the end of June his average against lefties had sunk to below .100 and was the worst in baseball. In a little over a month however Morneau has doubled that average - .174 heading in to last night’s game – and, what’s more, his swing has looked 100 times better.

Last night, the Twins’ Director of Baseball Communications, Dustin Morse, highlighted Morneau’s improvement against same-sided pitchers by tweeting this:

Attached Image: Morse.JPG

Now, the answer could be as simple as a small sample size fluctuation and that his suppressed batting average on balls in play was due to shoot up once the Baseball Gods felt like blessing the Canadian. However, just a few weeks before this streak started, Morneau made a noticeable adjustment to his approach at the plate. While this tweak lasted just a handful of games, the Twins first baseman emerged a different hitter.
Morneau, who had a sizeable stride accompanied by a hearty swing, was hitting just .229/.301/.435 heading into the final June series against the Kansas City Royals when he made the changes. Instead of the leg lift, Morneau would lift only his heel, keeping his toes stationary which would likely increase his connectivity and, more importantly, help him refrain from opening up his front side.

As I described back in the beginning of July:

“The rationale behind this alteration seems to be focused on making contact by keeping him from drifting out with his front side. By not having a stride, Morneau’s hips will have less of a tendency to open up. Likewise, by minimizing the movement it allows him to keep his head still and in theory see the ball better.”


This mechanical adjustment did not last long – somewhere around five games – and Morneau returned to his previous swing on July 5. But this practice seems to have righted the ship and helped him stay on the ball better. In addition to the improved numbers against left-handed pitching, he hit .313/.360/.488 overall in 86 plate appearances (not including last night’s game against Boston). He had gone from striking out in 20% of his plate appearances pre-July 5 to striking out in just 10% of his plate appearances since then.

In short, Morneau appears to be on the right path both against righties and lefties. Friday night, look for him continue this success against Boston’s rookie lefty Felix Doubront – who has limited left-handed hitters to a .229 average.


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