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  1. Hugh Morris's Avatar
    Parker- That's terribly embarrassing. I apologize, you defintiely deserve credit for the interview and that's anything but a small quibble.

    First off, thanks for the compliments, to those of you whom it applies. Always nice to know that adding a night to the constantly ticking carpal tunnel clock was appreciated. Starting to address other comments

    Paul-I get the visceral reaction against Anderson. To an extent I've got it too, which is what inspired me to dig into things more.

    Spycake-Yes, more context would definitely be helpful. I'll update this (or perhaps post a thread) based on the results of what I've found. Given that grabbing 30 games worth of data for a pitcher based on these criteria isn't necessarily quick, are there any specific pitchers you'd like to see him compared to? Doing any sort of normalized comparison on the topic isn't feasible under my current constraints, so I'd welcome any pitchers you think would make helpful comps. BBref suggests Westbook as a similar pitcher, so he'll be included. Let me know if there's anyone else.

    beckmt-Fangraphs has his slider rate as being the highest it's been since he blew out his arm (not very far below it either). That's... troubling. I hope he figured out whatever has given him arm issues and he's going to be durable. I just wouldn't bet any cash on that.

    twinsfan34: NOW THAT is what I call meeting effort with effort. I loved the breakdowns you gave and appreciate your insight from your own past. Assigning cause to injuries is... difficult. Seems like every year a new team has found the way to resolve injury issues on pitching staffs-Texas started ignoring pitch counts and had a pretty healthy year. The following year was a disaster. Other organizations have emphasized non-throwing conditioning to seemingly random results. Dusty Baker's teams seem to favor lifting heavy boxes with a wrenching, jerking motion.

    Jokes aside-I think people could go for ages on assigning blame- debating between blaming player evaluation, MiLB coaching, MLB Pitching Coaches, Player Misreporting and random luck. The only exception is Dusty Baker. I think everyone can agree he's a coach with a body(arm?) count on his permanent record.

    It's perhaps an intellectual copout, but I have to say I simply don't think most human beings are built to throw a small, hard object over 90 MPH while adding deception or movement tens of thousands of times in our adult lives. Some people (Verlander) are the exceptions. I don't believe there's an effective way to identify those players before the first injury happens-but maybe the Rays will sustain their success and I'll buy that there's something to it.

    Regarding the various pitchers:
    Silva was sought after enough that Seattle decided to make a (at the time) pretty large commitment to bring him in, both dollars and years.
    Pavano hadn't had a productive season in the four before coming here, and even his time in Cleveland the season we traded for him was just barely on the rosy side of passable. I agree that he was a veteran by the time he arrived, but his last success came back in the NL (before Mauer's first full season, even)... I suppose that's more where things continue into subjective rankings, but something seemed to start "going right" for Pavano when he arrived in Minnesota and continued (though not as strongly) through his time here even as his age and injury history would hint at a decline.
    Boof is definitely granted-got lost as I was researching everyone else and forgot he'd lost his starters job even before he was sent away.
    Loshe I definitely struggle with. He is a person who very clearly struggled with maturity/impulse control issues and was worse than his time here for the first few years off the roster. Even after meeting up with Duncan and the Cards, Loshe had a good season, followed by an average one, a terrible one and an excellent one. Of course, he was also four years older by the end of that process and it may just be that time mellowed him. I've got him as a push but could be swayed either way.
    Garza I initially had as a push, I may have overcorrected when attempting to avoid my own bias.

    Perhaps Bonser ought to be grouped in with Albers, Diamond, and others that have seen a season of competent results coaxed out of them with skillsets that are charitably described as mediocre. Does Albers have the same "success" in Houston or Chicago or elsewhere as he did here? I don't know. But that is a category I wound up paying little attention to.

    With regards to in game adjustments, I can't pretend that my lipreading skills are good enough to have any idea of what he says. I also don't know what he prepares as far as a "book" for the battery on batter tendencies or any variety of other duties that are generally assigned to the pitching coach.

    Admitting that I have little actual knowledge to base this on, it strains credulity for me to believe that Anderson somehow kept his job while not being helpful to his pitchers on the mound and while not competently accomplishing the basic tasks one would usually assign a pitching coach. Even with Gardy's backing, this sort of consistent awfulness from the rotation combined with subpar performance on the tasks he can directly control would lead to a dismissal from any organization, even this one.
  2. Parker Hageman's Avatar
    SI did an article,Gleeman lit up a blog post about it, so Neyer called up Assistant GM Rob Antony...
    Small quibble: I did the interview with Rob Antony that revealed he was not familiar with the FIP statistic.

    Gleeman's write-up (here: http://aarongleeman.com/2010/04/01/s...ether-at-last/) was based on my March 2010 interview in Ft Myers (here: http://www.startribune.com/sports/tw.../88887222.html) which Rob Neyer then picked up. The remainder of the interview (including the FIP part) is at my former site OverTheBaggy which now redirects here.

    Again, small quibble but awesome stuff/thoughts.

    Thanks for posting here.
  3. spycake's Avatar
    Your Correia stat gymnastics aren't too interesting without context. How does he compare in this regard to other pitchers? That is, if the average starter's ERA improves by 0.6 if you throw out his worst innings, then Correia isn't that notable or unlucky. Also, if Correia has had this problem throughout his career, it's probably not due to luck either. (In fact, he may have been lucky in 2013 to avoid some big innings)

    Bill Smith's tenure started with two pretty awful moves (the Santana and Delmon Young deals), but he then did pretty well until the Capps trade and the second Hardy trade (and probably the Butera promotion too). At that point, it was looking pretty clear that he was thinking too much like Gardy or giving too much deference to Gardy in player acquisition matters. At least he was willing to take some risks with money and low-level prospects, though.
  4. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
    Great work. A lot of points that raise even more questions which is good. I'm also curious about your selection of pitchers for evaluating Anderson. At some point everything does get subjective. Pavano adored pitching to Butera so maybe Anderson can't take as much credit? I also think Liriano is a TBD until he repeats 2013 which all Twins fans know he won't. Dickey goes in the "Gardy=fail" column which I won't get into here. Scott Baker was pretty good here (injury confusion and departure aside) so mark one for Anderson.

    Quote Originally Posted by twinsfan34
    I don’t see many of those ‘in-game’ adjustments coming from Anderson’s trips to the mound. I have to think that a pitching coach is more than “You got this champ” psychology.
    This is what it boils down to to me too. You feel like all Anderson ever says anymore is "attack this guy" or "be careful with this guy." Now that's not being completely fair, but results matter. There's no indication that Anderson really deeply studies his pitchers mechanics, studies subtle tendencies of the opposing lineup, can impart that knowledge during a game, or has any advanced insight on how pitchers really feel about their 2nd best pitches, on the pitcher-catcher relationship, on how a game develops, and so on. Some guys (Duncan, Maddox) seem to intuitively take it all in at a glance. You feel like when Anderson leaves the park after a game he just wants to go home and have a beer and not think about it. Lots of us can empathize with that. It's a hard job. Few of us here could do it. But there are people who know they can do it and haven't had the opportunity yet. Dick Such took a lot of heat but Kelly swore by him. But Kelly and Such also had those two rings. They were together about 15 years and they were done. Kelly had talked of burnout. We burn out at different rates. It's doing nobody any good to leave someone in a job they know they need a break from.
  5. twinsfan34's Avatar
    First off – I want to say I really enjoy those who put time into thinking and thinking that is informed (involves some research). I probably have an ‘unfair’ bias (I’m Mathematician, SABR member, work in Analytics) towards those who back up their claims with findings, facts, and well developed theories to those numbers. So I appreciate that. It makes for better thinking, imo.

    Enjoyed the Correia analysis, shed light on his outings. Personally, I never thought he was terrible and was a decent return on the investment. Could have been worse and more expensive, e.g. Ryan Dempster. But I definitely believe a good defense as you stated can help eliminate a few bad innings and that often is a reason teams make it to the world series and win it. The ball bounces their way. Look at that error and obstruction for the Cardinals win and the home run saving catches in the playoffs versus not.


    Rick Anderson. I’m not a really a big fan of him. I have very little expertise when it comes to pitching and I threw my shoulder out in high school pitching. Never had stride length coaching, video analysis, etc to correct the strain I was putting on my shoulder. Before long I had acromial ligament tears (works within the rotator cuff) by my senior year of high school. I don't think it was because I pitched on average two games a week or high pitch counts. I think it was a mechanics problem that could have been stopped by proper training (weights, bands) and mechanics when pitching. All that to say, I think a pitching coach is largely responsible for the (pitching motion related) health of his pitchers. They need objective eyes. I needed objective eyes.

    By the time the pitcher has made it to the pros, they usually have developed the pitches they'll use. A pitching coach, to me, would try to make sure they're not getting off track. I would see video analysis and fine detail as really important. It's the little things in pitching that makes a difference.

    Who makes the first trip to the mound? The pitching coach. A lot of times it's situational, so and so is up, remember what we talked about, etc etc. But a lot of times I would think it's also minor changes in the game - "you're landing on your heal too much." "Keep your weight back, explode through." "It looks like your release point is a little behind, etc"

    How to evaluate that - I don't know. Bill Belichick, the Patriots coach, and other coaches seem to make great in-game adjustments. It's more apparent in football and perhaps, in baseball, in the NL, with the pitching position requiring more 'double switches', platoon playing, situational hitting, and hitting matchups. So hire NL managers?

    I don’t see many of those ‘in-game’ adjustments coming from Anderson’s trips to the mound. I have to think that a pitching coach is more than “You got this champ” psychology.

    Per the players you mentioned in the Anderson carousel.

    Point for Anderson (Outperformed reasonable expectations with theTwins or tanked upon departure):
    Carlos Silva. Boof Bonser, Johan Santana, Carl Pavano
    I didn't think Boof Bonser was much different with us versus not. He was the #29th ranked pitching prospect (2002) which was two years before the Twins acquired him. He had dropped out of the top 100 when the Twins got him. ERA was escalating towards 6 before departure. His career turned for the worse when he tore his rotator cuff and labrum. And he never really recovered. So I wouldn't put him not doing well after the Twins (post injury). And to my earlier point, I put some of being healthy on the pitching coach.

    I'd be curious the research of Pitching coaches and player injuries, if there's a pitching coach(es) out there who frankly, don't have injured pitchers. To quote another football coach, Bud Grant valued healthy players more than talented players. That is to say, if you're not healthy, it doesn't matter how good you were/are.

    Johan Santana, it was a salary thing, and the main reason the Red Sox and Yankees didn't bite was because they felt they saw an injury coming along. He won an ERA title his first year after the Twins. So he was good, but then, as expected, the injury came. My belief, if he didn't have the injury, he'd still be a top-3 Cy Young qualifying pitcher year in and year out.
    Again, how much of Santana's injury could be attributed to Anderson as a pitching coach? I don't know. The research question I had might help shed light on that...it might not.

    Carl Pavano, had better seasons before the Twins, but he did well with the Twins. I can’t agree or disagree with you on if Anderson helped. Pavano did have two good seasons back to back, something he had not done before. But, he got hurt in 2012 and it actually went undiagnosed for over 3 months! It ended up ending his career. I know the medical staff was on the hook for it. But, again, this is just me, I can’t help but wonder – if the pitching coach is also partly responsible. I at least think he needs to be very knowledgeable here.


    Push:
    Kyle Loshe, Joe Mays, Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker, Vance Worley(SSS), RA Dickey (Knuckleball)
    Kyle Lohse absolutely was way better after leaving the Twins. He wasn’t that good with the Reds or the Phillies. But under Dave Duncan, then with the Cardinals, he substituted a 2-seam fastball for his 4-seam fastball and wasn’t giving away his off-speed stuff anymore and voila! Lohse began posting ERAs in the 3’s.


    Scott Baker…elbow injury in 2011…then let go.
    Kevin Slowey…triceps injury in 2010…shoulder strain in 2011…then asked to be a reliever, he balked, then let go…
    Joe Mays only had 1 good season, the rest he had ERAs over 5! But again…2004…injured…Tommy John surgery

    Are we noticing a trend here?

    R.A. Dickey was mostly in the minor leagues with the Twins and still developing his knuckle. Agree with you, this is a push.

    Vance Worley, he had some good years before us. I would leave this one as TBD.


    Point against Anderson (Improved noticeably after release/trade):
    Matt Garza, Francisco Liriano
    I think Matt Garza was young with us. He flashed mid 3’s ERA before the trade. He was not seen as a clubhouse fit. I’d say a push here.

    Francisco Liriano…I’d put him in the “injured under Rick Anderson” category. He finally got healthy and he’s just about as dominant as he was when he healthy.

    Imagine if the Twins pitching staff didn’t have any of those major injuries? We’d a been .500 this past year with Baker, Slowey, & Liriano still slinging it (pre-injury form) for the Twins. And that would make signing a top FA pitcher or other players a lot more likely to yield results (playoff appearances, playoff wins, etc)


    Because this is getting long…and I don’t have much knowledge on Bill Smith.

    I’ll just say, he was aggressive. Right or wrong. And he signed Miguel Sano. If Sano turns out to bop 40+ HR even just one season, I’ll call it a draw for Bill Smith. If he hits 40+ HR more than 4 seasons and posts Killebrew like career numbers, well Mr. Smith, you are a genius.
  6. beckmt's Avatar
    I feel the most damning point on Rick Anderson was Liarano, who the Pirates fixed. That to me is a major black mark. The only point would be if he was throwing the same mix as 2006 and a walking arm injury to ending his career. I do not know that answer.
  7. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
    A well thought out and backed up article. My biggest argument against what you wrote would be the case you built for Rick Anderson. I agree we can't blame him for all of the pitching woes. You can only shine a turd so much. That being said, Gardy "picked" Rick Anderson to be his pitching coach back when both were still in their playing days. I think Gardy and Rick will be together forever, they're a pair. That also seems wrong to me. I can't point to any metrics to help support my thoughts, my views, but I don't think Rick Anderson is good at his job. I think it's wrong to credit him for Carl Pavano, he was a successful veteran pitcher long before he came to MN. Boof Bonser was never good, another guy who shouldn't be in the for Rick Anderson category. Carlos Silva was traded to the Twins where he spent the prime of his career, his decline after he left Minnesota could be a small push towards Anderson. I don't know enough to argue more, I'd have to do some more research, but when I think Rick Anderson, my mind shutters just a little. I am not a fan of his. I'd need to see some more numbers to convince me otherwise.

    Correia was better than expected, the Twins, as a whole, are not sabermetric adverse, and the Twins are an old boys network. I'm glad Bill Smith lost his job as GM, and I'm also glad the Twins retained his services within the organization. He's good at his job, he's not good as a GM.
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