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Article: Playoffs Or Bust?: Molitor's Murky Future

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:02 PM
The Twins are at a crossroads. When Derek Falvey and Thad Levine were brought into the fold last off-season, there was one stipulation: P...
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Game Thread: Twins v Cleveland, 8/16 @ 7:10pm CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:58 PM
I have a confession to make. It’s a rather serious confession and one that is not easy to say… I grew up in Cleveland. Now before you dis...
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Ian Kinsler: Angel Hernandez needs to find a new job.

Other Baseball Today, 09:52 PM
http://www.freep.com...ndez/571202001/     You don't see a player go into this must depth very often and it's pretty refreshing...
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Article: Feeling The Draft: Analyzing Minnesota's Ste...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 10:02 PM
When Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over the Minnesota Twins front office, they inherited a tremendous gift: the first overall pick, a...
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Joe Mauer 2019 odds?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:59 PM
What are the odds that Joe Mauer will look to continue his career after his contract finally expires after 2018?   The reason I ask...
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Morneau no longer thrown for a curve

Attached Image: Morneau.jpg Last night Justin Morneau hit multiple home runs in a game for the third time this season. As impressive as that is, the most noteworthy aspect about that feat is that the Twins first baseman hit both of those off of curve balls – something that he had done only once since 2010.

Heading into Monday’s game against the Indians, Morneau’s numbers against curves had been very underwhelming. According to Fangraphs.com, his Pitch Value on curveballs had been 5.7 runs BELOW average – making it the third worst output against benders in all of baseball.

But now, after two home runs off of uncle charlies from Zack McAllister and Josh Tomlin, Morneau is looking tougher to retire on that pitch.

Why is this significant to his progress?
[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]

As I wrote about in May, teams had exploited Morneau’s tendency to jump the gun with his swing with a high percentage of curve balls. While he was opening up his front side drastically, opponents who simple throw him a wrinkle. Because he was firing open, the off-speed breaking stuff likely caused him to be too far out front to put a proper swing on the ball. Now, instead of pulling his front side out he has remained locked in on the ball – leading to better connectivity and punch on those pitches.

And, because of that, he is hitting .360/.404/.590 since July 5 after going through a series of mechanical adjustments which seemingly have helped him stay back - from the start of the season until July 4, Morneau swung and missed at 14.1% of curves but that rate has dropped to 6.3% since then. In fact, his .415 weighted on-base average over the past 30 days is in the top ten among AL performs.

It’s good to see Morneau crushing curve balls again and all pitching in general. As John Bonnes wrote about today, this performance (combined with his soon-to-be expiring contract and Chris Parmelee’s AAA outbreak) may make the 31-year-old attractive to the few clubs in the league who are in need of a high-priced first baseman.


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