The "Twins Way"
Posted 27 February 2012 - 11:45 AM
Of course, Ortiz goes to Boston where he is told to just swing the bat (i.e. pull the ball) and he morphs into Big Papi (with some PED help of course).
Today I see this on Twitter from Jon Krawczynski:
"Talked to O's SS JJ Hardy today. Gave same story Ortiz did after leaving Twins. O's told him not to mess around and pull the ball. 30 HRs"
"Hardy said when he took 1st BP w/Twins, Carew told him to use whole field. 1st BP w/O's hit coach: "I want you to hit homers." "
"Hardy didn't say one approach was better than the others, just said he tried to do what each coaching staff wanted."
Anyone else slightly frustrated the Twins don't just let guys who can pull the ball well just do that? Not saying it would be the second coming of Ortiz but sometimes you have to just work with a guy's strength and just let him pull the ball or strike guys out!
Posted 27 February 2012 - 11:57 AM
Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:00 PM
Brandon Warne's interview with Joe Vavra at Twinkie Town is essential reading for those looking to get into the organization's mindset. In regards to this specific topic, Vavra said this:
So there’s a bit of a preconceived notion that the organization is more of a "go the other way/don’t care much about home runs" philosophy-wise. Care to put that to bed ?
JV: No, it’s not that at all. I mean, we have a lot of young hitters, and we teach young hitters balance. You certainly don’t want to take their power away. Or say, take a pull hitter and make him go the other way. You don’t want to take away the strength from the kid; that just shocks him. You want him to be able to use it, but you also want to be able to push the outfield back on the opposite side of the field. Probably 70 percent or more of the pitches are likely to be away, so they do have to learn how to hit the ball the other way, and have some kind of balance to the playing field. If the field is tilted, they better have outstanding power to the pull side. You see a David Ortiz, who we had in this organization, and well, the ballpark changes the way you go about your hitting. I think the perception with Target Field is that you can’t hit home runs here, and they get that in their mind. I’m totally of the opposite mindset; you can drive the ball out of this ballpark. It’s certainly playing smaller than it did last year. This singles, slap-hitting stuff, that’s Denard Span to a degree, and it’s Ben Revere. They’re that type of guys; they’ve gotta get on base and gotta attack the opposite side, but they also gotta be able to pull it. You can’t be just on one side of the plate, so to speak, and that includes those two guys.
Posted 27 February 2012 - 02:13 PM
Posted 27 February 2012 - 02:48 PM
“My first round of BP with the Twins, I was trying to (pull the ball), and Rod Carew and those guys call me over and say, `That’s not we want. We want line drives the other way,”’ Hardy said. “So that was my approach for the Twins.”
Posted 27 February 2012 - 03:14 PM
Posted 27 February 2012 - 04:54 PM
Posted 27 February 2012 - 04:54 PM
It'll be interesting to see what happens with Willingham. We should be able to judge by what he does rather than by what any of the coaching staff says.
I agree with this that it should be interesting to see what Willingham does and judge from there. I feel like Hardy could have done whatever he wanted when he was at the plate but he wasn't healthy enough to make that big of an impact. It's hard to get into an offense rhythm when you aren't on the field.
Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:02 AM
Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:32 AM
Posted 28 February 2012 - 09:47 AM
Parker, thanks for posting the link and quote from the Brandon Warne piece. I read that a while back and have a much better perspective on Vavra and how he goes about working with hitters as a result.
I also think we need to remember the context of Hardy and his beginning with the Twins. He was coming off some horrendous hitting problems that developed when we was with the Brewers, who demoted him. He, and others, said he lost his confidence and really did not have a good approach at the plate. It makes sense that he start regaining confidence by hitting to all fields. One other thing to remember, when he was with the Twins, he dealt with the wrist injury for a good part of the year. That almost certainly had an impact on his power numbers.
Pulling the ball can be good and it can be bad. If you are trying to pull everything, you will not hit well even if you hit a few home runs. I think Danny Valencia slipped into that "pull the ball" mindset last year and that is one reason he struggled.
Ultimately, each player has to find his own best way of hitting with the help of the coaches.
^This. Valencia did hit around 15 HR and 76 RBI last year, but the .246 AVG really hurt. He was really pull happy. If he starts to use move of the field while still trying to go long, I see all those numbers improving this season.
Posted 28 February 2012 - 09:47 AM
Posted 28 February 2012 - 10:20 AM
Posted 28 February 2012 - 10:56 AM
But he went the other way about 13.7% of the time as a Twin and he went the other way 13.7% of the time as an Oriole. For his career, he's gone the other way about 13.9% of the time. He certainly did pull the ball more as an Oriole (as would any RH hitter playing a ton of games at Camden, Fenway and Yankee stadium) but I think it's a bit much to say that the Twins approach was the problem.
Right, he didn't go oppo as much either with the Twins but he did go up the middle a bit more thus "using the whole field". One big differential between his time with the Twins (and Brewers before that) was his ability to turn on an inside pitch better. That could be a response to focusing on pulling the ball more or it could be that his wrist was fully healed and allowed him to get to the inner-half better.
Posted 28 February 2012 - 11:43 AM
Posted 28 February 2012 - 12:57 PM
"An almost religious personality" is gold, and the (often angry) blindness of many serious (almost always white) Twins fans to the subtle institutional racism is unfortunate. The fact that a handful of players of color are held up as paragons of Twinsness is more an indictment more than mitigating evidence.
Posted 28 February 2012 - 01:43 PM
Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:03 PM
Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:15 PM
Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:54 PM
Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:28 AM
First of all as a coach I love it when players hit the other way. It is a huge advantage for a team if they can have their players do this. The issue we have with the twins way shouldn't be how they want players to spray the ball around the field but how they continue to get players that dont have the ability to do it. For example if the twins wanted to change Hardy into someone he isnt then why do they go out and get him? In my opinion especially in pro ball where they can some what pick and choose who plays for them they should focus more on what fits the twins system than signing and attempting to change players. Obviously there are always changes that must be made but changing a strong pull hitter to a hitter that sprays the ball is a extremely large and difficult change.
I was thinking the same thing this morning Auggie about Hardy. They knew what they were getting when they traded for him so they should have know to work with Hardy's strengths than change them. Of course the trainers not being able to figure out how to keep Hardy on the field was another problem (which Hardy also addressed that O's figured out his wrist issue).
Still, a new guy on the Twins is going to have a hard time not listening to someone like Carew-he commends respect. But as others have said, he was never a good hitting coach. Some players just can't teach their skills that well.