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Report From The Fort: Measure What Matters

FORT MYERS, FL -- Big day at Hammond Stadium.

Kyle Gibson started his road to recovery from e coli. Rocco Baldelli named the Opening Day starter. A former Cy Young winner visited the Twins' camp. And we're just three weeks away from real baseball.
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
"E coli can just wreck your system," Twins starter Kyle Gibson told reporters after his first spring training outing.

Gibson was likely referring to his insides but his system for getting ready for the season was also disrupted some. He struggled to maintain weight and said his legs were a bit shaky yet his results in his first outing looked like mid-season form.

"Now it’s just about getting the endurance back and keep working on the leg strength and keep gaining the weight back."


Asked how he felt about the performance of his slider, Gibson demurred.

“I’m not really a guy who has a mutually exclusive that I can go out there and throw 80 times and get a swing and miss on 40,” he said. True, a 50% swinging strike rate would be ridiculous but in 2018, Gibson’s slider held a 27.3% swinging strike rate -- bested only by Patrick Corbin and Carlos Carrasco. In short it’s a wicked weapon.

Gibson said that his secondary pitches performance are contingent on being able to spot his fastball.

“When my fastball’s located well inside to a lefty it makes [my slider] better and when my fastball’s located well inside to a righty it makes my changeup better.”


***


The Twins announced today that Jose Berrios’ will be the opening day starter, which will make him the youngest Twins Opening Day starter since Brad Radke in 1997. Radke won 20 games that season -- or 29% of the team’s total wins that year.

***


Johan Santana was in camp today, observing minor league bullpens. According to one Twins official, Santana, who lives in the Fort Myers area, has offered his services to the organization and may spend more time with the prospects during the summer.


***


The souped-up bullpen session included some additional elements beyond just a catcher. The Twins had hitters standing in the box -- giving them the added benefit of tracking pitches -- and brought in umpires to call balls and strikes. They also have Rapsodo 2.0 devices capturing all of the velocity and spin.


Twins catching coordinator, Tanner Swanson, told me that the umpires serve a dual purpose for improving the catchers as well. With the human element umpiring, the organization can compare how well their backstops are at framing when cross-referenced against the Rapsodo data.

In essence, the Twins are optimizing even the most mundane practices.

***


Speaking of optimizing practices, the Twins believe they have trimmed a lot of fat off their daily workouts.

MLB Network did an excellent inside profile on how Derek Shelton and the Twins have streamlined and refocused their daily routines in camp, trying to be more efficient.

Gibson observed that one area that has been de-emphasized is time spent on defensive bunt coverage.

“Bunting has obviously become less and less prevalent in the game so we didn’t have to focus as much on bunt plays or stuff like that,” he said.

The Twins still practice it, to be sure, but since peaking at 2,878 attempts in 2012 over the last eight seasons, attempts were down to 1,810. It was determined that the player’s time would be better served working on other portions of the game.

***


Unlike Sunday afternoon where the added velocity of Martin Perez and Jose Berrios, reliever Addison Reed struggled to crack 90 in his second outing of the spring. Reed had elbow impingement in 2018 which may have brought his average velocity down to 90.3 after hitting 92.3 in 2017.

Baldelli wasn’t necessarily concerned over the results.

“Addison is also a veteran pitcher as well. So you definitely balance knowing that he, probably more than anyone else here, knows how to prepare for a major league season.”

That doesn’t mean that the staff won’t continue to help him make adjustments.

“Wes or Hef, regardless whether a guy is a veteran or not, we do breakdown all the outings and we spend time on them and locate a couple of things we talk about.”

***

Nelson Cruz is reportedly scheduled to make his first spring training game appearance. The big man put on a power display during live BP on the backfield and Baldelli hinted that his presence in the lineup could come as early as Thursday of this week.

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41 Comments

Reed does not look right and he hasn't since the middle of last season.I wonder whether he will make the club or the DL-60 if this continues.He tries to throw and there is just nothing there.Just like Perkins and Hughes the seasons past...

 

(The ballpark radar gun has been a consistent +2 mph; I have seen Duensing and Swarzak hit 97 there; will see what the diff is this year when I get down there)

    • bighat and caninatl04 like this
Was at the game today. Reed gave up a grand slam bomb. Duffey also got rocked. Time to pull the plug on both of them.
    • bighat likes this

For all their talent and skill I have always thought that major league'rs were not that great at fielding bunts even when they did spend a lot of time practicing it in spring training. How about bucking the trend and using the time saved but not practicing the defense of bunts and use it to actually get good at bunting themselves. 

    • glunn, h2oface, birddog and 3 others like this
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MMMordabito
Mar 04 2019 06:20 PM

Was at the game today. Reed gave up a grand slam bomb. Duffey also got rocked. Time to pull the plug on both of them.


While I would normally say that it's way too early to even entertain thoughts plug pulling, I do find myself slightly less quick to disagree with you on those two.
    • Thrylos, Danchat, Sconnie and 2 others like this
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MMMordabito
Mar 04 2019 06:26 PM
Johan Santana - Minor League Change-Up Development Instructor (They could call it Director of Player Pitch Variance Development for more prestige in the team program)
    • ashbury, glunn, bluechipper and 3 others like this

 

Johan Santana - Minor League Change-Up Development Instructor (They could call it Director of Player Pitch Variance Development for more prestige in the team program)

 

The guy who taught Johan (and Pedro, and Big Unit) the changeup is still available ;)

 

Was at the game today. Reed gave up a grand slam bomb. Duffey also got rocked. Time to pull the plug on both of them.

Jeez maybe they shoulda signed a reliever or two.

    • Danchat, lukeduke1980 and wabene like this

Addison could barely crack 90 MPH, you say? It looks like he's still toast. Knowing how the Twins operate, he'll get about 8-10 innings and put up a 7/8 ERA and then finally get DL'd for a good chunk of the season. Why have we only added Blake Parker to the bullpen? It looks like Matt Magill is probably going to end up on the roster for most the season....

 

Meanwhile, can someone remind me why Duffey still has a 40 man roster spot? I think he's been given enough chances in the majors to see that he isn't MLB caliber.

    • lukeduke1980, Minny505, bighat and 2 others like this
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Old Twins Cap
Mar 04 2019 08:09 PM

There's a new sheriff in town.

 

Addison was not hired on his watch.

 

And, reading body language, Addison knows that he got 16M on a guarantee when others beggar for a job.

 

Ain't going to persist.

 

There's a new sheriff in town.

 

Addison was not hired on his watch.

 

Reed was signed by Falvey and Levine...

    • Danchat and bighat like this

Saw Reed take over while watching a bit of the game on my lunch break. Didn't see the Grand Slam but saw him give up a hit right away, then got bailed out with a diving stop by Cron, then plunked a guy. He's looked just awful in every capacity for a while now. Here's hoping he's just "working out the kinks" - but it's fair to worry that this might be the real Addison Reed.

    • lukeduke1980 and wabene like this

For all their talent and skill I have always thought that major league'rs were not that great at fielding bunts even when they did spend a lot of time practicing it in spring training. How about bucking the trend and using the time saved but not practicing the defense of bunts and use it to actually get good at bunting themselves.


Nnnnnnnnoooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!
    • Dantes929 likes this
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Cast of Thousands
Mar 04 2019 09:40 PM

 

Reed does not look right and he hasn't since the middle of last season.I wonder whether he will make the club or the DL-60 if this continues.  

How dare you say DL.  The politically correct mob has forced a change from the Disabled List to the Injured List.

    • h2oface, Tibs, Tomj14 and 1 other like this

 

Nnnnnnnnoooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

To each their own.As far as I have seen no one has made any kind of sustained effort to lay down bunts to beat the shift. I am not talking sacrifice bunts.Buxton beating out a bunt is one of my favorite things to watch and I love what it does to the other teams psyche.

    • USAFChief, glunn, h2oface and 5 others like this
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Nick Nelson
Mar 04 2019 11:31 PM

Great notes Parker!

 

The fact that Reed isn't cracking 90 on the same gun that's flashing Gonsalves at 92 and Perez at 97 is... really unsettling.

    • glunn, Blake, Twins33 and 12 others like this
The magnificent LEN111 is reporting that Gonsalves was back to 88-91 in his latest outing. Maybe that gun is just fine after all. I've always been sceptical when people talk inaccurate radar guns. This is very mature technology. Anybody try using that argument on the side of a road with a cop?
Ironic the one guy they plunk down on for multiple years can't give them one. What I want to see is them make the call on Reed without costing the team wins. We need to operate like every game is crucial.
    • h2oface, Minny505, bighat and 3 others like this

 

For all their talent and skill I have always thought that major league'rs were not that great at fielding bunts even when they did spend a lot of time practicing it in spring training. How about bucking the trend and using the time saved but not practicing the defense of bunts and use it to actually get good at bunting themselves. 

 

Most other teams probably aren't practicing fielding bunts as much either! It surely would be a weapon to bunt on them, especially with the speed on this team and the shifts. 

I hope Garver starts hitting..... 

    • bighat likes this

The magnificent LEN111 is reporting that Gonsalves was back to 88-91 in his latest outing. Maybe that gun is just fine after all. I've always been sceptical when people talk inaccurate radar guns. This is very mature technology. Anybody try using that argument on the side of a road with a cop?
Ironic the one guy they plunk down on for multiple years can't give them one. What I want to see is them make the call on Reed without costing the team wins. We need to operate like every game is crucial.

because you can’t argue with the cop. You have to make your case with the judge. Heck of a lot of work for a $150 speeding ticket, but .... https://www.pennlive...cketed_for.html

Now you’ll notice it’s not exactly apples to apples as it’s not the same device.

Point is, technology is fallible.

because you can’t argue with the cop. You have to make your case with the judge. Heck of a lot of work for a $150 speeding ticket, but .... https://www.pennlive...cketed_for.html
Now you’ll notice it’s not exactly apples to apples as it’s not the same device.
Point is, technology is fallible.

I read the article and the faulty device mentioned isn't even a radar gun. When they do mention a radar gun failing it's because more than one vehicle are close together moving at different speeds. So I guess your right as long as the pitcher throws two balls.
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bunt_vs_the_shift
Mar 05 2019 07:05 AM

 

To each their own.As far as I have seen no one has made any kind of sustained effort to lay down bunts to beat the shift. I am not talking sacrifice bunts.Buxton beating out a bunt is one of my favorite things to watch and I love what it does to the other teams psyche.

I'm sure this is shocking given the handle, but I agree. I don't understand why a walk is considered a win when it comes to getting on base, but a bunt is somehow a lesser achievement. Not only did it require more skill, but as mentioned, it also plays with the psyche of your opponent. 

 

I'ts simply adjusting to the adjustment of the defensive alignment. Even showing them that you'll do it once or twice a game could open up the field for your more standard approach. There's obvious context you would have to apply in terms of who is on base and when you would do this, but why would you swing the bat when they are in essence, giving you an intentional walk? The fact that there's reduced defensive emphasis on it should only make it more effective. 

 

The magnificent LEN111 is reporting that Gonsalves was back to 88-91 in his latest outing.

 

His latest outing was not at Hammond.Different gun

    • wabene likes this

His latest outing was not at Hammond.Different gun


The plot thickens...

I read the article and the faulty device mentioned isn't even a radar gun. When they do mention a radar gun failing it's because more than one vehicle are close together moving at different speeds. So I guess your right as long as the pitcher throws two balls.


Police radar guns can be miscalibrated though.
You can demand records of calibration for a speeding ticket, and if they haven't been properly calibrated and/or recorded, you can get the ticket dismissed.
Some cops will even provide the reports on the scene, if you ask.
    • Sconnie likes this

 

His latest outing was not at Hammond.Different gun

Sounds like the voting machines they use in Florida too. No consistency!


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