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I'm done with Fernando Rodney

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:13 PM
Shocking. A 41 year old doesn't have it anymore to be a closer.
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Article: NYY 4, MIN 3: Rodney Spoils Great Gibby Start, T...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:49 PM
The Twins carried a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning thanks to an excellent start by Kyle Gibson, but Gary Sanchez blasted a...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (4/26): Ober Debuts at...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 10:24 PM
Aaron Slegers lasted just one day with the big league club, getting sent back to Rochester when the Twins claimed Yankees RHP David Hale...
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Article: Rodney Living His Own Experience

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:20 PM
For the past number of years, Fernando Rodney has come on to close baseball games for any number of big league teams. He’s been asked to...
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Ryan Pressly Appreciation Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:57 PM
The bullpen as a whole has been a huge disappointment but how 'bout Ryan Pressly?   The ERA won't stay at 0.00 all year, but there's...
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Tuesday Notes: Changeups, Cuts, Pinto & Destroyed Bats

Have the Twins pitchers embraced Neil Allen's change-up philosophy? How is catcher Josmil Pinto feeling since his concussion? Which Twins pitcher was cut from the 40-man on Tuesday?

Read about these topics and more in the latest Report From The Fort.
Pitchers Buying In On Changeup

One of the bigger stories of the year has been the hiring of Neil Allen who brings with him the change-up secrets from the Rays organization. Over the last three seasons, no team has thrown more change-ups than Tampa Bay -- almost 1,000 more than the next closest team. Their .604 OPS against on the pitch was the fourth-lowest. Throwing more change-ups was a point of emphasis and Allen has his staff confident that they can succeed with the pitch.

“My change-up is my best offspeed pitch so why not throw it to both sides?” left-handed starter Tommy Milone said of the philosophy of more changes. Coming into the spring, Milone had thrown a same-sided change-up 7% of his mix to lefties. And it clearly is his best pitch considering it gained him the highest number of swinging strikes of his repertoire. Expanding the offering to lefties should making him more effective.

In his most recent spring start, Ricky Nolasco battled through a tough first inning but was able to limit the Orioles after that because he focused on using his change-up. “I threw a lot of good change-ups which is what I wanted to do.”

Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer, who was informed that he made the opening day roster this week, said that he had rarely thrown a change-up in his career but has incorporated a change-up that he has enjoyed this spring. Boyer uses a non-standard change-up grip that is similar to a two-seamer with a slightly wider split and he places his thumb on the side and he said it has been sitting at 84 mph for him in his bullpen sessions. “This is a legit change-up,” Boyer said of the new pitch. “I can’t wait to use it in my arsenal.”

READ: Walking Away Gave Blaine Boyer's Career A Second Life

Starter Kyle Gibson has had a plus-change-up for most of his baseball career dating back to high school when he first began throwing the pitch because his Dad would not allow him to throw curves. According to PitchF/X data, like Milone, Gibson did not use his change as much against same-sided hitters, throwing a change just 3% of the time to righties.

“Coming into spring, that was the one thing Neil and I were talking about a lot and that I really wanted to work on: executing change-ups to righties,” said Gibson. “It’s a pitch that looks really similar to my sinker whenever I have the same release point and I think it is something that will help my sinker against righties.”

So far this spring, Gibson has seen a spike in strikeouts which he attributes to being able to throw the change to righties. “I know the one things that has gotten me a few more strikeouts is throwing the change-up to righties,” Gibson said.

Allen brings with him the data that the analytic Rays organization uncovered that supports the logic behind increasing the change-up in certain counts and throwing it to same-sided batters. More importantly, he has been able to impart confidence to his pitchers.

Josmil Pinto “Feeling Good” After Passing Concussion Test

Josmil Pinto was all smiles in the Twins’ clubhouse this morning after returning to action on Monday for the first time since taking three blows to the head from Orioles’ Adam Jones bat on March 21.

“He played well,” Ryan said. “I think he was back there for three innings. He did a nice job actually. He handled [Tyler] Duffey, which was good, because he was somewhat familiar with him. It made sense to put him back there when Duffey was pitching. We just got him reacclimated.”

Ryan said Pinto did not have any complications but they will continue to have him play in minor league games.

“We’ll ease him in on the minor league side and it accomplishes two things: it will get him reacclimated and just in case something happens, we won’t jeopardize days.”

Twins Cut LHP Aaron Thompson

With the roster deadline nearing, the Twins continued to trim numbers. This morning left-handed pitcher Aaron Thompson was notified that he would be optioned to Rochester. Thompson did well in the spring, working 8.1 innings and allowing only two earned runs with six strikeouts and two walks. The Twins are now down to 29 players in camp.

Napoli Destroys Bat, Ball and Duensing

In the middle of Monday night’s rough inning at JetBlue Park, Boston Red Sox Mike Napoli was able to drive a Brian Duensing fastball over the faux Green Monster despite his bat breaking in two at the handle.

WATCH: Mike Napoli Destroys Bat, Ball And Duensing

While NESN commentator Jerry Remy mentioned that the broken-bat home run was a prime example of how strong Napoli is, Alan Nathan, a professor of physics at the University of Illinois and a baseball researcher, shared research on Twitter that the act has less to do with strength or “muscling” the pitch out of the park than two other factors. Napoli’s quick reflexes played a role but his ability to get the barrel to square the ball was more of a factor.

The home run sent Duensing into a downward spiral and an inning that just wouldn’t end. After allowing runs in only one previous spring training outing, the Sox on six runs on eight hits.
“I told him, I said, that’s obviously not a good night for yourself. You couldn’t make pitches, you got behind but he has had a good spring overall,” said Molitor after the game. “Things snowballed on him. The broken-bat home run was certainly a bad omen of things to come.”


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15 Comments

One of the critical keys to success for Alex Meyer is nailing down that change-up of his as a consistently effective third/fourth pitch.  It doesn't seem very helpful to be 1000 miles away from the guy who might be the difference-maker in getting his major league career jump-started.  

    • glunn, h2oface, Hosken Bombo Disco and 2 others like this
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IndyTwinsFan
Mar 31 2015 10:16 AM

I would hope he gets the message from whomever is the pitching coach in Rochester.Whether or not he can embrace it and use it effectively is another matter altogether.

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Halsey Hall
Mar 31 2015 10:16 AM

It wouldn't be very helpful being right next to him and getting hammered every night either.Meyer's got work to do yet before he's ready to come up. 

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HitInAPinch
Mar 31 2015 10:22 AM

People shouldn't get to crazy over this "change-up" philosophy.It's a relatively easy pitch to throw, different grips cause different motion and [most importantly] it's easy on the arm.I believe the biggest benefactor could be Phil Hughes.

 

I'm still concerned about Pinto.And the Twins leaving him out there to get hit in the head a 3rd time.

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Parker Hageman
Mar 31 2015 01:06 PM
People shouldn't get to crazy over this "change-up" philosophy.It's a relatively easy pitch to throw, different grips cause different motion and [most importantly] it's easy on the arm.

 

 

From what insiders are telling us, the Rays have found some stats that show that in certain sequences (fastball down-change down) makes the pitch damn-near unhittable. Allen is bringing that to this team. It is still a matter of executing but it could be a huge boon to this pitching staff. 

 

    • Carole Keller and glunn like this

 

From what insiders are telling us, the Rays have found some stats that show that in certain sequences (fastball down-change down) makes the pitch damn-near unhittable. Allen is bringing that to this team. It is still a matter of executing but it could be a huge boon to this pitching staff. 

 

Boon to the team, indeed.  And the biggest beneficiaries will be Alex Meyer individually, and the Twins pitching staff and Twins win-loss record collectively- if mastering this pitch helps Meyer reach his full potential- and does so that much sooner.  Allen spent years and years working on this pitch in the minors with the near-ready Tampa Bay pitching greats of the recent past.  Meyer should be spending the next chapter of his apprenticeship in Minnesota, not Rochester.

    • glunn likes this

I've always thought that the changeup was the most important pitch a pitcher could throw. Velocity is nice, but if you can have a changeup that is 9-12 mph slower than your fastball, with the same arm motion, it doesn't matter if you top out at 99 or 89. Obviously control of that pitch and the fastball are also important. 

 

I like the philosophy! I would disagree that it's an easy pitch to master though. There are different grips and different movements created. It can take time. 

    • glunn likes this
Very tough to keep the arm motion and the release point close to that of a fast ball in order to fool the batter. Those that can conceal it tend to be filthy.
    • Twodogs likes this

The change up is Milone's favorite pitch???  I think it's like his only pitch. :)

 

Ha ha just joking.

 

I think the change is awesome and Frank Viola mastered it.  Likewise however, the most important thing is locating the fastball, pitching it where you want to.  Even Viola admits that when he became more confident that his fastball could get people out then his circle change became even more dangerous.  I think he said that one of his catchers, maybe it was Laudner or Harper, not sure which one, but they told Viola that he was only going to use his fastball one game.  That catcher called every pitch a fastball all game long and I don't completely remember the outcome but paraphrasing Viola won like a 3 - 1 game or something like that.  Basically the catcher, whoever it was, was trying to tell Viola that he can get outs with his fastball and when he became even more confident in that pitch his change up became even more dominating.  I'm pretty sure Viola didn't care who he threw his change up to.  So I like the idea, changing speeds will win the Twins a lot of games.  There have been a lot of pitchers out there who have been very successful without having a super dominant fastball, but location and changing speeds keep hitters off balance.  I am looking forward to this year with a new pitching approach, because changing speeds is definitely not the same as pitching to contact which drove me nuts with the old Twins methods.

 

I've always thought that the changeup was the most important pitch a pitcher could throw. Velocity is nice, but if you can have a changeup that is 9-12 mph slower than your fastball, with the same arm motion, it doesn't matter if you top out at 99 or 89. Obviously control of that pitch and the fastball are also important. 

 

I like the philosophy! I would disagree that it's an easy pitch to master though. There are different grips and different movements created. It can take time. 

Of course it matters, or we'd see pitchers in MLB with 59 MPH fastballs.  Any pitch that's good at 89 is better at 99.  

 

Velocity matters, it's just not the only thing that matters.

 

Very tough to keep the arm motion and the release point close to that of a fast ball in order to fool the batter. Those that can conceal it tend to be filthy.

Yep, exactly.  And the pitcher needs to have confidence in his fastball that he can get the hitter out with it and the hitter needs to know that also, when that happens the hitter has to approach the situation where he needs to be thinking that the fastball is coming.  

    • Dr. Evil likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Mar 31 2015 05:20 PM

Hitting is timing and changing pitch speeds can be devastating--this I am excited about. I could care less if Meyer has a change up, though I think jokin is absolutely right, if the Twins think he needs to master it this early in his career, then maybe he should be in MLB learning it from Allen. Suzuki has been shown to call a lot of fastballs so it might be interesting to get some words from him, too.

    • jokin and Dr. Evil like this

Glad Josmil is feeling better and will soon return to action.HAPPY 26th BIRTHDAY!

    • USAFChief, JB_Iowa, Halsey Hall and 1 other like this
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Parker Hageman
Apr 01 2015 12:08 PM
One of the critical keys to success for Alex Meyer is nailing down that change-up of his as a consistently effective third/fourth pitch.

 

 

Ryan on Meyer's change-up:

 

"That's not the issue here. He's OK with the change-up. I'm good with that pitch...I'm a little bit more interested in making sure his fastball is where he wants to go and stuff like that. Change-up's fine. We gotta get him to get fastball command and pitch ahead and not burn pitches and stuff like that."

 

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Paul Pleiss
Apr 01 2015 06:05 PM

I really really really hope that we don't see Brian Duensing giving up more of those taters. 

 

I love tater tot hotdish as much as the next Minnesotan, but let's just not. okay? Thanks Brian.