Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • Factors for Frustration

    When spring training opened up in late February, I posted an article called Twins Two-Way Planning in which I said that the Twins 2011 roster was probably built perfectly to go one of two directions. In essence, if things went poorly, they had enough one-year, veteran contracts of guys that other teams might have interest in at the trade deadline. The Twins could get prospects to help push forward the rebuilding process.

    However, the other scenario was, “IF seven or eight of the factors listed above are going positively, AND the Twins are getting positive performances from their minor leaguers and these new players, AND the team is in contention in mid-July, THEN they will have plenty of payroll flexibility to add a significant piece or two at the deadline, if they choose.”

    So, what were the “factors listed above” and how are the Twins doing in those categories… you know, since they barely have double-digit wins on the season.
    • FACTORS
      • The health of Joe Mauer
      • The health of Justin Morneau
      • The health of Denard Span
      • The elbow of Scott Baker
      • The durability of Carl Pavano
      • The mindset and performance of Francisco Liriano
      • The improvements of Danny Valencia, Ben Revere and other young players
      • Matt Capps ability to get outs in the 9th
      • 2-5 bullpen arms need to step up and contribute consistently well.
      • Minor Leaguers coming up and contributing when needed throughout the season (Hendriks, Diamond, Gutierrez, Guerra, Waldrop, Oliveros, Benson, Parmelee, Dozier, etc.)
    Each one of those ten Factors was a factor whether or not the Twins brought in any free agents. If seven or eight of those factors wind up positive for the Twins, they have a chance to compete.

    Let’s review:

    Joe Mauer has been healthy, or at least he has been in the lineup all but one game this year. (1)

    Justin Morneau just came off of the 15 day disabled list. If there are positives from this, they are that 1.) he just missed the 15 days, and 2.) it was for wrist pain, not concussion symptoms.

    The health of Denard Span has been good all season, until the last couple of days when he has been out of the lineup with a hamstring injury. Hopefully this is just another day at most, and he’ll be back at the top of the lineup where he has been quite good. (2)

    The elbow of Scott Baker certainly was a big story in spring as Baker tried so hard to get back while also trying so hard to make people understand that he really was in pain. He went in for elbow surgery that turned into Tommy John surgery too.

    The durability of Carl Pavano probably can’t be questioned yet as he has not yet missed a start. However, concerns about his velocity have led to an MRI. He will make his next start this weekend, but this factor certainly is in flux at this point. (2.5)

    The mindset of Francisco Liriano is always a question, and despite very good performance throughout spring training, his performance since Opening Day has been nothing short of immensely disappointing. He was finally moved to the bullpen a week ago.

    The improvements of Danny Valencia, Ben Revere and otbher young players. I would assume that I meant players like Trevor Plouffe, Alexi Casilla and Luke Hughes in the “other” players grouping. Well, Valencia is in Rochester after a really horrible start to his season. Revere has spent most of the season in AAA as well. Plouffe is hitting below .150. Hughes was lost to the A’s when he was Designated for Assignment, and Casilla has a sub-.600 OPS.

    Matt Capps is 7-7 save opportunities and despite two losses, he has been pitching fairly well. (3.5)

    Two to five bullpen arms needed to step up. I would say that Glen Perkins, Matt Capps, Brian Duensing and Jared Burton have been really good in their roles this season. Anthony Swarzak has played multiple roles, but he has been solid for the most part. Jeff Gray has walked too many, but he has been better than expected. The bullpen was a huge concern coming into the season, and to this point, they have been alright. (4.5)

    It’s always good to get help from the minor league roster, and this will or can happen throughout the season. Scott Diamond and PJ Walters have come up from Rochester and been very good in limited duty so far. Brian Dozier made his much-anticipated 2012 debut and has been very solid defensively and with the bat in his ten days with the club. Hendriks and Parmelee struggled after making the Opening Day roster and are back in Rochester but likely will contribute later in the. Waldrop should be healthy soon. Deolis Guerra is doing very well. (5)

    As for the new guys, Willingham has carried the offense most of the season. Carroll has been a stabilizing force in the infield. Doumit started slow, but he has been great with the bat the last three weeks. (and now he may be hurt) However, Marquis has been quite bad, and Zumaya didn’t throw even twenty bullpen pitches before needing Tommy John surgery. (6)

    Add to these factors that the Twins starting pitchers’ have all performed to a nightmarish, worst-case-scenario, and although no one could have predicted 11-25, it shouldn’t be surprising that this team is struggling already in the season.

    This article was originally published in blog: Factors for Frustration started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      When reading this article it is obvious how terrible the hitting/pitching coach and medical staff have been for 3+ years yet Terr Ryan has failed to shake things up.

      When is the last time Vavra or Anderson made a positive impact on a player? Loshe, Dicky, Garza, Humber, Hardy and many others have to be overjoyed they got out when they did.
    1. prairiejack's Avatar
      prairiejack -
      It is perplexing why this coaching staff can't seem to help players move forward. I heard or read Gardenhire say that it will be good for Parmelee to go back down to AAA and work with Brunansky to get his hitting stroke back. Huh? Don't the Twins have a hitting coach for that?
    1. jeffk's Avatar
      jeffk -
      Add to these factors that the Twins starting pitchers’ have all performed to a nightmarish, worst-case-scenario, and although no one could have predicted 11-25, it shouldn’t be surprising that this team is struggling already in the season.
      I guess my reading of this has been different. If you had told me on April 1st that given that list, we'd be 6/10 on May 16, I would have been quite happy and expected we'd be in the .500 range. I guess it goes to show (a) just how spectacularly terrible our starting pitching has been and (b) not only did the young players not maintain or improve, they have been awful.
    1. Curt's Avatar
      Curt -
      Nicely done.
    1. cr9617's Avatar
      cr9617 -
      I don't think we should have been all that surprised to be 11-25.
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      Frustration is the right word. This team was full of question marks going in, and was facing a rough schedule to start the season.

      What's most frustrating to me is that you don't really need much to be competitive in this division. None of these teams would have a prayer of finishing higher than third in the East or West. Everyone assumed Detroit would run away with it, and I'd still pick them to win it. But they are keystone cops on defense, their bullpen is shaky, the rotation after Verlander isn't all that great and while their lineup is strong, I think the absence of V-Mart has hurt.

      Think about it this way - suppose the Twins had been able to win 5 more games thus far, which they could easily have done had the rotation not been completely awful.

      We'd be sitting at 16-21, right in the middle of a cluster of teams a few games behind Cleveland and looking at things very differently. With the toughest part of the schedule behind us and a ton of games left against the AL Central, the Twins could have hung around by faring well against their division opponents, none of whom are particularly good.

      But it's hard to look at it that way having gone 11-26, and looking pretty darn ugly doing it.
    1. SpinnesotaGirl's Avatar
      SpinnesotaGirl -
      I agree with you Prairiejack. I have never understood why players with the Twins seem to hit a wall and then they go somewhere else and excel. Prime example would be David Ortiz. Matt Garza also. This organization HAS TO look at the coaching staff and shake it up. Hitting and pitching coaches included.

      Quote Originally Posted by prairiejack View Post
      It is perplexing why this coaching staff can't seem to help players move forward. I heard or read Gardenhire say that it will be good for Parmelee to go back down to AAA and work with Brunansky to get his hitting stroke back. Huh? Don't the Twins have a hitting coach for that?
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpinnesotaGirl View Post
      I agree with you Prairiejack. I have never understood why players with the Twins seem to hit a wall and then they go somewhere else and excel. Prime example would be David Ortiz. Matt Garza also. This organization HAS TO look at the coaching staff and shake it up. Hitting and pitching coaches included.
      You mean the Matt Garza who performed almost exactly as he had in his last year in Minnesota for the next three years after he left and THEN took a step forward in his fourth?

      Oh...and it should probably be noted that a big part of Ortiz's success after leaving the Twins was his willingness and ability to drive the ball the other way and pound the Green Monster...which happens to be the approach he supposedly was resistant to that those very Twins were recommending.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.