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Terry Ryan interview on Fangraphs

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#1 snepp

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 06:11 AM

Q&A: Terry Ryan, Twins general manager
"Maybe you could go grab a bat and ball… and learn something. Maybe you will get it."
- Strib commenter educating the elitists on the value of RBI's

#2 DPJ

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 07:03 AM

Working the count, preaching patience at the plate to young hitters...no just go hack at anything in the strike zone. TWINS BASEBALL

#3 Oxtung

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:11 AM

Working the count, preaching patience at the plate to young hitters...no just go hack at anything in the strike zone.

TWINS BASEBALL


Yeah, don't bother to actually read the article or anything just go with your gut feeling! Here's a direct quote, "You know, we do not take many strikes. If there’s a strike there, we encourage our hitters to go get it. Get good pitches to hit, and go ahead and take a whack at it." Now you can believe that isn't true which is of course your prerogative but at least read the article before responding...sheesh.

#4 Seth Stohs

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:14 AM

I like the philosophy. A good plate approach and plate discipline really has little to do with walks. If the pitcher throws no strikes, take the walk. But it's about knowing the strike zone and recognizing good pitches to hit. When you get a good pitch to hit, take a hack. That's the way it should be.

#5 mike wants wins

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:14 AM

Great interview. I appreciate their willingness to talk.
Lighten up Francis....

#6 Oxtung

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:16 AM

I found something Terry Ryan said interesting that I had not heard before and I was wondering if this was common knowledge and I am unaware or if any actual analysis had been done on this issue: "...usually when you get strike-throwers, that means they’ve got pretty good mechanics and pretty good deliveries. That usually means they stay healthy." Recently that doesn't seem to be the case. How many of our "strike throwers" have had TJ surgery or just gone on the DL in general? Seems like a bunch. Have we just been unlucky or are other teams even more inflicted?

#7 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:29 AM

Seems like a bunch. Have we just been unlucky or are other teams even more inflicted?


The Royals have had like 6 guys go town with Tommy John surgery this year.

I think its just bad luck to be honest. Pavano has been completely healthy since joining the Twins and Blackburn has been healthy for the most part up until this year as well. (I could be wrong on this)

#8 J-Dog Dungan

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:38 AM

I found something Terry Ryan said interesting that I had not heard before and I was wondering if this was common knowledge and I am unaware or if any actual analysis had been done on this issue:

"...usually when you get strike-throwers, that means they’ve got pretty good mechanics and pretty good deliveries. That usually means they stay healthy."

Recently that doesn't seem to be the case. How many of our "strike throwers" have had TJ surgery or just gone on the DL in general? Seems like a bunch. Have we just been unlucky or are other teams even more inflicted?


Well, like it says in the quote, it says, "USUALLY when you get strike-throwers [...] they stay healthy." With the recent injuries to their top pitching prospects, it seems like they are more unlucky than picking guys who are likely going to get injured.

#9 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:39 AM

Really good article, glad he expanded on the "curve ball/change up" thing that Thyrlos was going nuts about. He is absolutely right, if you don't have a good fastball you can locate, not a whole lot else matters.

Also I like how they don't try to build one inning relievers, keeping them stretched out in the minors is a very good thing.

I liked this as well re: Minnesota Twins using statistical anaylsys, also the fact he does read Fangraphs/others probably comes to a huge shock to the Ryan haters (DPJ, Thrylos etc)

People don’t want to hear that out of the Minnesota Twins. But we’ve been looking at that forever. Way before some. We’re not as deep as some, but we do believe in certainly doing our work, and that stat page is one big piece to the puzzle of putting players together. Our scouts, and our people, will tell you if I’m looking at a player, and I go down and look at his line, and it doesn’t add up, I’ve got to give him a call quick. I tell him, “This doesn’t make any sense.” His role, his skills and his statistical history, and you’re going to tell me this? How do you get there? I believe in that. All forms of information are good. I’ve drilled that into our people. Bring it on. All forms, let me sort it out. If a scout or a statistician is going to be smart enough to do that, he probably ought to be in a different world. Because I don’t know that any general manager in the game wouldn’t take that type of information and try to predict what players are going to do. That’s kind of what projection is in scouting. You’re going to project on a kid that’s 22 up here more than you are a kid that’s 28. And you’re certainly going to project a player that’s 28 more than you are a player that’s 38.
I read all that stuff, and sometimes it’s so much information that I do get paralyzed reading it and taking it all in. You can spend as much time as you want on everything that is available. It’s almost mind-boggling how much stuff is out there. I mean, I read you guys’ stuff.


#10 Riverbrian

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:46 AM

I found something Terry Ryan said interesting that I had not heard before and I was wondering if this was common knowledge and I am unaware or if any actual analysis had been done on this issue:

"...usually when you get strike-throwers, that means they’ve got pretty good mechanics and pretty good deliveries. That usually means they stay healthy."

Recently that doesn't seem to be the case. How many of our "strike throwers" have had TJ surgery or just gone on the DL in general? Seems like a bunch. Have we just been unlucky or are other teams even more inflicted?


I don't know about more inflicted but I think Pitchers go down all over the place and all the time. Throwing as many pitches as they do takes a toll on the arm. Not just the pitch counts in the game but the bullpen sessions, off season programs... all of it. Years of throwing from Little League on up... adds up. Curve Balls, Sliders, the different spins put on a baseball.

I'm sure mechanics help along with stretching and weights but you are still overusing a part of the human body and unnaturally. I think arms were probably not designed for throwing. I think they were designed for reaching into farm equipment to unjam stuff.

#11 nicksaviking

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:47 AM

DL: "Is there a specific Minnesota Twins hitting philosophy?" TRL: "You can’t cookie-cut hitters....There are guys that cannot hit the ball to the opposite field. OK. Well then, why would you force him to do that?" That only rings true starting this year once they realized righties had to hit it exclusively to LF in order to hit one out. The Twins used to force EVERYBODY to try to go opposite field, which was why there was animosity with former hitters like JJ Hardy and David Ortiz. I wish Ryan would have acknowledged that this philosophy is new to the Twins.

#12 JB_Iowa

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:52 AM

Thanks for the link. It's an interesting article. I have a really mixed reaction to it especially the section on keeping the organization fresh by rotating people in their jobs. I think that moving people around in the organization does help in keeping it fresh but I also think that if you don't, from time to time, inject NEW, OUTSIDE talent into the organization at the highest levels, you still become stale. He says they aren't stagnant. But if one compares it to water, it is more like a recirculating pool -- and even that becomes stale when you don't add a regular influx of new water. As for his comments about statistical analysis, it reflects a lot of what I often feel when I read stats-based articles -- my head starts spinning. I may read them and I may try to digest them but I don't think I really appreciate all that they could tell me. And I still wonder if Mr. Ryan and most of the Twins higher-ups don't lack that same appreciation.

#13 mike wants wins

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:54 AM

This explains why slama is not valued....he is a one inning guy.
Lighten up Francis....

#14 nicksaviking

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:03 AM

TR: "We draft people that our scouts recommend. And if they’re recommending them, they got their name on them. They’re going to be accountable whether the guy succeeds or fails." I don't know enough about the Twins scouts. Anyone know of any scouts getting the axe recently? The organization just seems like an old boys club and jobs are pretty secure rain or shine. With the poor development over the past seven years or so, you'd think there would be a lot of scout turnover but I've never heard about an overhaul. Can anyone back up Ryan's claim of scouts having accountablity with their draft picks?

#15 twinswon1991

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:06 AM

I appreciate that Terry stated the so called "Twins Way" is a farce. The Twins don't do things other teams aren't already aware of. The Twins were lucky to be in a horrific division where they could use their limited resouces to win in the regular season even if they knew the y had zero chance of winning a post season series. This strategy was an extremely smart business plan but it only proved they were happy being mediocre instead of "going for it". However, now that the Twins have drafted poorly for 5 + years they don't have the reinforcements to plug in with cost controlled deals. Add in the albatross Mauer contract and wasted funds on Blacky/Capps/Nishi/Carroll/Morneau this franchise is in big trouble. It all starts with the draft and this team much get better!

Edited by twinswon1991, 12 July 2012 - 09:13 AM.


#16 DPJ

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:13 AM

Yeah, don't bother to actually read the article or anything just go with your gut feeling! Here's a direct quote, "You know, we do not take many strikes. If there’s a strike there, we encourage our hitters to go get it. Get good pitches to hit, and go ahead and take a whack at it." Now you can believe that isn't true which is of course your prerogative but at least read the article before responding...sheesh.


He says the team doesn't take many strikes, they encourage the minor league guys to swing away at anything in the zone. How did I misread the article?

Outside of Mauer and Metro-dome Span the Twins haven't had any any hitters that can patiently work the count and get themselves into a favorable count. I don't think that's by mistake when the GM of the team comes out and says they teach the kids in the minors to "swing away"

#17 John Bonnes

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:20 AM

Great article. I started out frustrated by the generality and ended up loving hearing about the philosophies.

#18 DPJ

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:21 AM

Recently that doesn't seem to be the case. How many of our "strike throwers" have had TJ surgery or just gone on the DL in general? Seems like a bunch. Have we just been unlucky or are other teams even more inflicted?


You can look at it as unlucky or you can look at it as a issue within the organization. When a few guys go down maybe it's ****ty luck. But like the Royals when your entire crop of good young pitchers elbows are exploding, that's something that needs to be investigated deeply.

For the Twins has been been unlucky what's happened, or more and more as we hear about the morons in the Twins medical staff does it mean there's a deeper issuse at hand.

#19 Boom Boom

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:26 AM

I wish the interviewer had brought up the contradiction in hitting and pitching philosophies that Ryan mentioned. He said the Twins like strike-throwers first... and they teach their hitters to get a strike and swing away. If walks were so dangerous to pitchers, why would you not teach your hitters to work the count? And if getting a strike and hitting it is a good approach to hitting, why would you teach your pitchers to fall right into that trap?

Edited by Boom Boom, 12 July 2012 - 09:33 AM.


#20 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:42 AM

I wish the interviewer had brought up the contradiction in hitting and pitching philosophies that Ryan mentioned.

He said the Twins like strike-throwers first... and they teach their hitters to get a strike and swing away. If walks were so dangerous to pitchers, why would you not teach your hitters to work the count?

And if getting a strike and hitting it is a good approach to hitting, why would you teach your pitchers to fall right into that trap?


Because these guys are human. You can only teach so much. "Take a hack at a good pitch" is about all some of them will understand. It's not as if it's possible to turn every hitter into Joe Mauer with his pitch recognition and baseball smarts just by telling him to "take hacks at good pitches and hold off on bad ones". And it's not as if the Twins have been bad at taking walks, not like they were in the early 2000s. The past 5 years, they've been a very good OBP team.

And when you're teaching pitchers, you don't teach them to miss the plate. That has "bad idea" written all over it. You tell them to throw it over and as their stuff develops, you hope their stuff gains (or already has) movement. Once they can throw it over, hopefully they can start moving the ball around the plate.

In short: basics first, complicated stuff later.

#21 Intramural Legend

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:55 AM

I wish the interviewer had brought up the contradiction in hitting and pitching philosophies that Ryan mentioned.

He said the Twins like strike-throwers first... and they teach their hitters to get a strike and swing away. If walks were so dangerous to pitchers, why would you not teach your hitters to work the count?

And if getting a strike and hitting it is a good approach to hitting, why would you teach your pitchers to fall right into that trap?


It seems to me he is saying don't take called strikes. If it is a good pitch, don't take it just to take it. This is what everyone complains Mauer is doing when he takes the first pitch fastball down the middle.

#22 minn55441

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:57 AM

Thanks for the link Snepp. Lots of good info. Nice closing statement.

We’ve got pretty good people here and we’ve struggled, so now you start to look at it like, “OK, what are we doing wrong? What should we change?” We’ll make some changes as we go through this thing, but I don’t believe there are many shortcuts in getting to the point here of getting back to a winning club. You get good people, and you get decent players. You teach them and point them in the right direction, and you’ve probably got a pretty good chance to get it right. It’s fairly simple.

Terry is down to earth. It's pretty simple. If you do your job, you win games. If you lose games, something has failed along the way. His job is to find out where that failure is. The problem is that we won't see the impact of those changes at the major league level for some time. Drafting, player development all take time to see the results.

#23 CDog

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:58 AM

The Twins used to force EVERYBODY to try to go opposite field, which was why there was animosity with former hitters like JJ Hardy ...


From Pioneer Press March 8:


But Hardy said Wednesday that he wasn't trying to disparage his former team. He, in fact, credited Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra with fixing the flawed swing he brought to Minnesota in 2010.
"If anything," Hardy said, "a lot of credit goes to Joe." (End quote)

There was a more in-depth series of quotes explaining and expanding on how Hardy thought Vavra helped resurrect his swing the following day in the Star Tribune, but it won't let me copy for some reason. Google "jj hardy vavra" and it will be one of the top two results. Not exactly "animosity" as I understand the word.

#24 CDog

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:01 AM

It seems to me he is saying don't take called strikes. If it is a good pitch, don't take it just to take it. This is what everyone complains Mauer is doing when he takes the first pitch fastball down the middle.


Sigh. Here we go again.

#25 Oxtung

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:05 AM

Working the count, preaching patience at the plate to young hitters...no just go hack at anything in the strike zone.

TWINS BASEBALL


He says the team doesn't take many strikes, they encourage the minor league guys to swing away at anything in the zone. How did I misread the article?

Outside of Mauer and Metro-dome Span the Twins haven't had any any hitters that can patiently work the count and get themselves into a favorable count. I don't think that's by mistake when the GM of the team comes out and says they teach the kids in the minors to "swing away"


Those seem to be contradictory statements. The first seems to contradict the statement made by TR about swinging at strikes. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your first post. If so I apologize.

#26 Boom Boom

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:09 AM

From Pioneer Press March 8:


But Hardy said Wednesday that he wasn't trying to disparage his former team. He, in fact, credited Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra with fixing the flawed swing he brought to Minnesota in 2010.
"If anything," Hardy said, "a lot of credit goes to Joe." (End quote)

There was a more in-depth series of quotes explaining and expanding on how Hardy thought Vavra helped resurrect his swing the following day in the Star Tribune, but it won't let me copy for some reason. Google "jj hardy vavra" and it will be one of the top two results. Not exactly "animosity" as I understand the word.


Hardy was backtracking from his previous comments. You can believe that he was taken out of context the first time, or that he changed his tune because he didn't want to make a public stink about how the Twins coached him like David Ortiz did.

#27 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:11 AM

The Twins have the 5th most BB in baseball this year, and the 4th most in 2010. Its not exactly like they are "swinging away" at everything.

#28 snepp

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:18 AM

The Twins currently have the 3rd lowest swing % in the league.
"Maybe you could go grab a bat and ball… and learn something. Maybe you will get it."
- Strib commenter educating the elitists on the value of RBI's

#29 mike wants wins

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:21 AM

Strategy and execution are not the same thing.....
Lighten up Francis....

#30 PseudoSABR

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:23 AM

I wish the interviewer had brought up the contradiction in hitting and pitching philosophies that Ryan mentioned.

He said the Twins like strike-throwers first... and they teach their hitters to get a strike and swing away. If walks were so dangerous to pitchers, why would you not teach your hitters to work the count?

And if getting a strike and hitting it is a good approach to hitting, why would you teach your pitchers to fall right into that trap?

You're not exactly working the count if you're letting strikes go by you. Both philosophies make sense, and of course, they are counters to one another.