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A Crucial Time for Pinto, Colabello and Plouffe

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#1 stringer bell

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 10:08 AM

Three early stars of the surprising Twins' offense have struggled of late. All are still playing regularly, but diminished playing time could be in the offing if the current disabled players return.

Josmil Pinto has been in a long o-fer, broken in his last at bat last night. He hasn't driven the ball much in the past week and has struck out more while walking less. Pinto has DHed a majority of the time, and the return of Arcia (and demotion of Herrmann) could diminish his at bats as a DH.

Colabello hasn't hit well at Target Field and had a poor homestand. Much like Pinto, the strikeouts are up and hard hit balls are rare. The return of an outfielder would make Colabello into the DH, and two returning outfielders could mean a platoon.

Plouffe has no such worries, but still has struggled for more than a week. So far, he hasn't gotten the ball in the seats and the strikeouts are climbing.

Each of these players seemed to be "riding the wave" in April, but now have fallen off. Which ones will adjust and find continued success and which ones will be thought of as having a fluky month?

#2 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 10:12 AM

Pinto should re-establish himself, though probably not at an .800+ OPS in the short-term.

Plouffe, thanks to the new approach, should continue hitting well enough to be an asset though the home run power might never return.

Colabello, yikes. Not looking good for him right now.

#3 Monkeypaws

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 10:17 AM

Watching the last few innings of last night's game reminded me a lot of last year - whiff whiff whiff.

#4 mike wants wins

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 10:46 AM

Pinto, imo, is a very good offensive catcher. I'm not convinced he's a very good DH. I'd like to see him catch 2 times a week, to get better at it.

I think Plouffe is fine, about averageish....I'm good with that.

I have no opinion on Collo....other than Arcia and Pinto should both be in the lineup when they are both healthy and able.
Lighten up Francis....

#5 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 10:59 AM

I didnt expect any of them to post 1.000 OPS's so it doesn't yet concern me to see them come back to earth. Of the three, it looks to me like Plouffe has a real chance to stay a competent MLB hitter, and Pinto a real chance to develop into a very good hitter for a catcher. I've always been skeptical of Colabello, and I still am, so I would expect the recent struggles to continue.

#6 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:02 AM

No question this could be a crucial moment. Danny Haren said it in the Dodgers series: the way you pitch to these guys is throw the first pitch strike. So we need to adjust before these mini-slumps become something more serious. Mauer is a two strike hitter but I'm not sure Plouffe or Colabello have it in them.

I don't think this is a fluke -- I think these guys are having good at bats and figured out how to do that. But nothing is guaranteed.

Hopefully at some future date we're not looking back fondly on those "three weeks in April" as some golden moment.

#7 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:11 AM

Someone smarter than me can probably diagnose what's up with Colabello recently compared to his hot streak. I'm assuming his slump is a direct result of MLB pitchers making adjustments and/or finding the hole in his swing. So it's his turn to adjust, and hopefully he can figure out what they are doing.

#8 iTwins

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:12 AM

Of the 3, I'm really only concerned about Colabello, who has seemingly turned right back into a pumpkin after hitting that homer on his mom's birthday.

Pinto's at bats have looked rough, but I think that's to be expected as a young player adapts to Major League pitching.

For the most part, Plouffe's at bats have been solid and he's still making very good contact. He looked at strike 3 on the corner a few too many times for my liking last night, but they were also well thrown pitches. I think his new approach will help him weather these rough spots.

#9 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:17 AM

One thing to keep in mind is that Colabello was supposed to be the bench bat - he's getting a lot of at bats right now because Willingham and Arcia are out of the office. His contribution in April was huge, no question about that, but he's being used in a way that he was not intended to be.

#10 zwiefz

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:22 AM

I would also add Kubel to the list of those who have cooled off quite a bit.

But most importantly I think this is a critical time for Brunansky. Before the Dodgers series everyone was praising him for getting the players to become more patient and wait for the good pitches to hit. But now pitchers have made the adjustment to what the Twins want to do. Haren even directly said it. As a side note there is a really interesting story on SI.com about the Brewers hacking at first pitches, etc since pitchers are being told to get ahead in counts and throw first pitch strikes. Why take a 3-0 pitch when you know it will likely be a fastball down the middle? The article calls it Brewerball and discusses it as a response to the Moneyball philosophy that a walk is as good of a hit. Personally I like the aggressive approach,(in moderation) walks don't score a runner from second or go for extra bases.

Anyway, back to my original point. MLB is a constant challenge of adjustments. It is coaches job to try and stay one step ahead. Bruno came up with a good formula, pitchers caught up to it, now the next move is up to him.

#11 ashburyjohn

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:29 AM

and/or finding the hole in his swing.


I'm going out on a limb to guess that the hole doesn't reside between his feet and the inside edge of home plate, but somewhere beyond that.

#12 stringer bell

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:57 AM

A response to a couple thought expressed here: Colabello doesn't seem to have much of a platoon split--while he was slated for occasional DH duty, he would be most likely hitting against both left handers and right handers as he has. He hit everyone early in April, not so much the last two weeks.

Kubel is being used every day (as opposed to being platooned) and has spent most of his time in left field (not DHing). I agree that he has cooled, but he is being asked to play out of his element. Also, he is an established major leaguer who has experienced seasons of success, as opposed to the three I listed (Plouffe and Pinto both had a hot month, Colabello had experienced no more than a couple of good games).

#13 Winston Smith

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:02 PM

5 guys with 30+ k's after 30 games. Walks have been going down, k's are still there (9.2 per 9) likely reverting to the norm is happening.

Todays silly comment:
Maybe when Joe gets back, he could bat 1st and move Dozier down to 2nd or 3rd. It kind of makes sense to have the high obp guy on in front of the guy who is hitting the hr's. Let Joe do what he does best get on base and not worry about him being a middle of the order bat.

May all our prospects be All Stars and the beer be free.


#14 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:02 PM

One thing to keep in mind is that Colabello was supposed to be the bench bat - he's getting a lot of at bats right now because Willingham and Arcia are out of the office. His contribution in April was huge, no question about that, but he's being used in a way that he was not intended to be.


Actually Kirby I think you nailed it.

Though if he had been this hot as a part timer or bench bat, there would have been pressure to play him full time eventually.

#15 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:04 PM

5 guys with 30+ k's after 30 games. Walks have been going down, k's are still there (9.2 per 9) likely reverting to the norm is happening.

Todays silly comment:
Maybe when Joe gets back, he could bat 1st and move Dozier down to 2nd or 3rd. It kind of makes sense to have the high obp guy on in front of the guy who is hitting the hr's. Let Joe do what he does best get on base and not worry about him being a middle of the order bat.


Tallest lead off batter in history?

Why not?

#16 mike wants wins

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:18 PM

5 guys with 30+ k's after 30 games. Walks have been going down, k's are still there (9.2 per 9) likely reverting to the norm is happening.

Todays silly comment:
Maybe when Joe gets back, he could bat 1st and move Dozier down to 2nd or 3rd. It kind of makes sense to have the high obp guy on in front of the guy who is hitting the hr's. Let Joe do what he does best get on base and not worry about him being a middle of the order bat.



Why do I always think your silly ideas are really good ideas?
Lighten up Francis....

#17 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:27 PM

I expect Pinto to blossom into an above average C. I think with Arcia returning, he's going to slide more into a C role and Suzuki is going to get a bit of extra time off, and i'm fine with that. It should keep them both fresh too.

I'm pretty excited about what Plouffe is doing and I think he can sustain it.

I'm not sure on Cola. I hope he can adjust.

#18 gocgo

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 01:56 PM

Of the 3, I'm really only concerned about Colabello, who has seemingly turned right back into a pumpkin after hitting that homer on his mom's birthday.

Pinto's at bats have looked rough, but I think that's to be expected as a young player adapts to Major League pitching.

For the most part, Plouffe's at bats have been solid and he's still making very good contact. He looked at strike 3 on the corner a few too many times for my liking last night, but they were also well thrown pitches. I think his new approach will help him weather these rough spots.


The thing that concerns me about Plouffe of late is the struggle with the outside corner appears a lot like last year. Pinto seems pretty aggressive on first pitch swings and I like to see that mixed in the lineup so that a pitcher can't get comfortable grooving the first pitch for a gimme strike. Cola seemed last night to be a bit less disciplined and was swinging at pitches out of the zone.

I fear that the Twins are who we thought they were.

#19 Sconnie

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 02:56 PM

Pinto is off tonight, with Plouffe DHing. Are both a bit tired?

#20 Trevor0333

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 02:58 PM

This is the beauty of Baseball & long seasons. Its always a balance pitchers adjusting to the hitters and the hitters making adjustments to those adjustments in how they are pitched to. With the new approach this was fully expected, the challenge will be for Bruno to help these guys adjust to the new approaches they are seeing.

This is why talent + hard work always wins out.

#21 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 04:29 PM

Pinto should re-establish himself, though probably not at an .800+ OPS in the short-term.

Plouffe, thanks to the new approach, should continue hitting well enough to be an asset though the home run power might never return.

Colabello, yikes. Not looking good for him right now.


Three great points, although I think if we're using Cola at a bench bat/part time DH there's no problem with him either.

Lots of doom and gloom in this thread, like everyone was just waiting for us to struggle for a game or a week and then POUNCE. We're playing .500 baseball and the SP has almost certainly not shown us their best yet. I'm still excited.

#22 DocBauer

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 07:09 PM

Lot of great points and observations.

My initial thoughts.

There are always ebbs and flows to the season, team wide and player wide. Hot streaks and cold streaks, etc. And yeah, a whole bunch of .900 and .1000 OPS numbers is just sustainable or expected. Bruno has done a great job so far, IMO, and I believe he will continue to work hard with all the guys and you'll see adjustments makes and hotter bats will prevail again.

Pinto has shown, minors and majors both, power and discipline. He's young and learning. There will obviously be good and bad moments, but I think he'll continue to shine, learn and grow overall.

Plouffe, to me, just looks like a different hitter than before. Call it a new approach, Bruno's coaching, or TK's famous observations about a batter needing 1,500-2,000 AB's to find himself and figure out what's going on, or a combination of all three. He simply appears more confident, and seems to have a real approach at the plate. Last few games I caught, I was upset by the strikeouts of course by everyone, but I also so a few pitches on the outside corners that were between awesome and "how could the ump call that 4-5" outside the black?!"

Kubel, I think, has fooled everyone. It appears there's still real life in him. I am so glad to have been wrong about him. (Also, his defense is as good as it has ever been)

I can understand worry about Colabello. No matter what, he's a great story. But as I stated before, I've quit doubting him until I have no choice. Ever since the Twins signed him, he's done nothing but defy odds and make adjustments. Again, I believe he will again until/unless proven wrong. Not probably ever a ML level stud hitter, but a good one.

#23 DocBauer

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 07:26 PM

As to Mauer, he's shown signs of getting back on track recently. Except for a few stetches in his career, and it seems to me to usually be in the early season, he's one of the best pure hitters in all baseball, and most days, could fall out of bed and go 2 for 4 with a double and a walk.

I still maintain, in a decent and balanced lineup, good hitter behind him, couple solid hitters with various talent in front of him, he's best in the 3 hole. Call me old fashioned in my thinking, but I like my best pure hitter in that 3 hole to "stack" the lineup. Using Mauer, in this case, you have a perennial .300 hitter, batting champ, who gets OB at a .400 clip, hits 40 doubles a year in a healthy year, works the count, can hit with 2 strikes, doesn't seemed bothered by runners on base who move around and might steal, is good for about 12-13 HR's, with potential for more if healthy and getting a good 500-600 AB's, which is the plan for this season. It allows your best overall hitter to drive in runs, and help set the table himself with his various contributions.

That being said, I grew up watching guys like Downing for the Angels and Boggs for the Red Sox be very effective, non-conventional LO hitters with high Avg, high OB, and good double power with HR's mixed in setting the table for the rest of the lineup.

Dozier is turning in to a real, complete stud. And if we don't have someone on the roster who can join him as a solid, productive presence at the top of the lineup, I'm in agreement that perhaps Mauer should be considered for the 1 spot with Dozier dropping a spot. The only problem I see with he and Mauer flip-flopping is I wonder if it would slow Dozier on the base paths in regard to SB threat.

#24 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 07:50 PM

The most interesting part of this thread, to me, has been the talk of flip-flopping Mauer and Dozier in the 1/2 slots. That's interesting and intreaguing with the power Dozier has displayed the last half-season plus. I wouldn't want to see Dozier moved any further down the lineup, nor Mauer. I think those two guys at the top of the lineup is the right call, in either order, but I like the speed of Dozier leading off. Dozier gives you that advantage of taking more bases on the Joe Mauer singles/doubles that are sure to come.

#25 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 05:07 AM

As to Mauer, he's shown signs of getting back on track recently. Except for a few stetches in his career, and it seems to me to usually be in the early season, he's one of the best pure hitters in all baseball, and most days, could fall out of bed and go 2 for 4 with a double and a walk.

I still maintain, in a decent and balanced lineup, good hitter behind him, couple solid hitters with various talent in front of him, he's best in the 3 hole. Call me old fashioned in my thinking, but I like my best pure hitter in that 3 hole to "stack" the lineup. Using Mauer, in this case, you have a perennial .300 hitter, batting champ, who gets OB at a .400 clip, hits 40 doubles a year in a healthy year, works the count, can hit with 2 strikes, doesn't seemed bothered by runners on base who move around and might steal, is good for about 12-13 HR's, with potential for more if healthy and getting a good 500-600 AB's, which is the plan for this season. It allows your best overall hitter to drive in runs, and help set the table himself with his various contributions.

That being said, I grew up watching guys like Downing for the Angels and Boggs for the Red Sox be very effective, non-conventional LO hitters with high Avg, high OB, and good double power with HR's mixed in setting the table for the rest of the lineup.

Dozier is turning in to a real, complete stud. And if we don't have someone on the roster who can join him as a solid, productive presence at the top of the lineup, I'm in agreement that perhaps Mauer should be considered for the 1 spot with Dozier dropping a spot. The only problem I see with he and Mauer flip-flopping is I wonder if it would slow Dozier on the base paths in regard to SB threat.


Mauer has only been good for 12 or more HR's twice in his 10 year career.

#26 bear333

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 07:44 AM

Three early stars of the surprising Twins' offense have struggled of late. All are still playing regularly, but diminished playing time could be in the offing if the current disabled players return.

Josmil Pinto has been in a long o-fer, broken in his last at bat last night. He hasn't driven the ball much in the past week and has struck out more while walking less. Pinto has DHed a majority of the time, and the return of Arcia (and demotion of Herrmann) could diminish his at bats as a DH.

Colabello hasn't hit well at Target Field and had a poor homestand. Much like Pinto, the strikeouts are up and hard hit balls are rare. The return of an outfielder would make Colabello into the DH, and two returning outfielders could mean a platoon.

Plouffe has no such worries, but still has struggled for more than a week. So far, he hasn't gotten the ball in the seats and the strikeouts are climbing.

Each of these players seemed to be "riding the wave" in April, but now have fallen off. Which ones will adjust and find continued success and which ones will be thought of as having a fluky month?

The Twins had a much better April then any of us were predicting at the start of the season. We need to hold tight with the hitters that got us here. They need to stop screwing around and bring Arcia back up and start Escobar at SS. Add that to Mauer back in the lineup and the fact that the starters are looking better and better and I see a formula for some good baseball and a chance to be at .500 in early June. That would be a great position from which to tweek the lineup for a run at second place in the division.

#27 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 05:28 PM

That would be a great position from which to tweek the lineup for a run at second place in the division.


I think the Twins can hope to be within a few games of .500 at the end of May, but I don't think there's any hope of this team competeing for 2nd in the division. They could, however, battle for 3rd, and that's a lot better than fighting for last with the B@#$H Sox

#28 chavez

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 06:28 PM

I'm surprised everyone is giving up on Cola already. The guy has a good track record in the minors and has looked great for the majority of this season. Everyone goes through slumps in this game - lets give him a chance to work through it - maybe he hits .280/24/100 - everyone would be happy with that.

#29 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 06:30 PM

I'm surprised everyone is giving up on Cola already. The guy has a good track record in the minors and has looked great for the majority of this season. Everyone goes through slumps in this game - lets give him a chance to work through it - maybe he hits .280/24/100 - everyone would be happy with that.


There is a good argument that most of his early season success was extremely luck based.