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How much credit does Anderson get for Hughes

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#1 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:06 AM

Most of us have been hard on Anderson and for good reason. Most of the Twins' starters have underperformed in the past 3+ seasons and the rotation has been dreadful.

With that said, how much credit do you give Anderson for turning around Phil Hughes? Obviously, most of the credit goes to Phil because he's the one throwing the ball but I believe some credit should go to Rick for helping him establish consistency, change his approach, and stick with it. Hughes has spent the past 3-4 seasons changing his approach every few months and seeing mixed success. Now it appears that he found something that works and has stuck with it for the first 13 starts of the season.

I've said that if there's one coach I would consider firing it's Anderson but I have to admit that he's done a phenomenal job with Hughes, a player with immense talent and not enough confidence in his stuff.

#2 Badsmerf

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:22 AM

How do you know it is Anderson and not someone else? I don't think Phil Hughes doing well covers up the flawed philosophy he pushes. He wouldn't be an MLB coach if he was terrible. I just feel like his time has come and gone.
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#3 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:27 AM

How do you know it is Anderson and not someone else? I don't think Phil Hughes doing well covers up the flawed philosophy he pushes. He wouldn't be an MLB coach if he was terrible. I just feel like his time has come and gone.


Well, if we bash him for his failures of the past, it's only fair to congratulate for his successes.

Most of the responsibility falls on the player throwing the ball but if we take a coach to task for players bombing out of baseball under his tutelage, he should get a pat on the back for struggling pitchers who turn into a fringe Cy Young candidate under his watch.

#4 ashburyjohn

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:33 AM

fringe Cy Young candidate


I really hope no fans of other teams run across this side comment and make fun of us for how low our standards have sunk. :)

#5 gunnarthor

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:41 AM

I think Anderson does a fine job with the talent he is given. How do we not know he didn't get them to overachieve? A 100+ ERA from Cole De Vries? 2.4 WAR season from Diamond? Duduno isn't completely useless. Rehabbed Burton and Fein.

#6 Dman

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:43 AM

I am of the opinion that coaching has fairly limited influence on players. I don't buy into the line of thinking that coaching changes the player all that much. If coaching was the key then everyone in the Dodgers system should be pitching close to the same as Clayton Kershaw. They have the same coaches the same system etc. and yet only one Kershaw. Why? Talent. He has a rare talent that few posses.

Certainly he has been coached throughout his career on how to throw etc but by the time he hits the big leagues he doesn't need much coaching as he is a coach unto himself. He knows what he needs to do and now he needs to execute it. You can mess with mechanics and have thoughts and theories but in the end it is the pitcher and the thing between his ears that is important. There is only so much you can teach. If there was a pitching coach that turned everyone into Kershaw then by all means give them credit. Otherwise it appears to me that a pitching coach is a pitching coach is a pitching coach IMO.

I will agree that the people who think Mr. Anderson sucked ala Liriano need to buck up and give him credit for Hughes.

#7 Kirby_Waved_At_Me

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:43 AM

I think a new player coming to a new team will benefit from the coaches there. Having a new perspective, an opposing scouting report, just getting feedback that is different from the philosophy of your former coaches can help a player gain some insight they wouldn't have with the same opinions over and over.
I'd like to see that level of sucess for every new Twins pitcher before giving Anderson a lot of the credit, but I certainly see how having another opinion can help Hughes make a more informed choice.
A few of the articles I've read recently talk about how Hughes likes to tinker with his approach and try different things to find what works, so moving to a new team is a great way to do that.

#8 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:54 AM

I really hope no fans of other teams run across this side comment and make fun of us for how low our standards have sunk. :)


It's not that our standards are so low, it's that Hughes has been that good. Following a very unlucky April (xFIP 3.69, ERA 5.14), he has an ERA just over 2 and an xFIP of ~3.25).

#9 Boom Boom

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:54 AM

Like, 99.9999%. Moar pitch-to-contact!

But seriously, if Anderson gets credit for turning around Hughes, does that mean that the pitching coach in NY was really bad?

#10 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:55 AM

But seriously, if Anderson gets credit for turning around Hughes, does that mean that the pitching coach in NY was really bad?


I think the NYY pitching staff is somewhat responsible for Hughes' struggles. No coaching staff in their right mind is going to allow a guy to drop and add a pitch on a whim and that's exactly what Hughes did from 2009-2013.

#11 Boom Boom

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:57 AM

I think the NYY pitching staff is somewhat responsible for Hughes' struggles. No coaching staff in their right mind is going to allow a guy to drop and add a pitch on a whim and that's exactly what Hughes did from 2009-2013.


Maybe not, but they can't force him to throw a pitch he doesn't want to.

I mean, no coaching staff in their right mind would allow a guy to drop switch-hitting in the major leagues during the season, right?

#12 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:58 AM

I mean, no coaching staff in their right mind would allow a guy to drop switch-hitting in the major leagues during the season, right?


No. No, they wouldn't.

#13 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:01 AM

I think I deserve the credit, I had been calling for the twins to trade (and years later) sign Hughes for years. Saw him pitch a lot in NY, always had the stuff, just never lived up to the pressure of being the future ace hall of famer of the Yankees.

I still think we could turn Joba into something useful as well

#14 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:02 AM

I think I deserve the credit, I had been calling for the twins to trade (and years later) sign Hughes for years. Saw him pitch a lot in NY, always had the stuff, just never lived up to the pressure of being the future ace hall of famer of the Yankees.


Then I get credit as well. I wanted to see the Twins acquire Hughes more than any other pitcher in baseball.

We'll share credit, Dave. I get 51%, you get 49%.

#15 Boom Boom

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:02 AM

I guess we'll never know, but it's probably a combination of things. Maybe Andy has tweaked Hughesie's mechanics a bit. Maybe he's just healthier than he has been previously. Maybe it's the ballpark. Maybe there's something to that whole "out of the NY media meat-grinder" thing.

My suspicion is that Hughes has been somewhat luckier than he was in NY. As good as he's pitched, I'm not convinced he'll be able to keep going at this pace.

#16 big dog

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:03 AM

I will agree that the people who think Mr. Anderson sucked ala Liriano need to buck up and give him credit for Hughes.


Yeah, people were quick to heap praise on the Pirate's pitching coach last year when Liriano went on one of his incredibly hot streaks. Now he's had a poor year and is back on the DL. That's probably Anderson's fault again. I certainly don't think the Twins have had enough pitching, and he's by no means blameless, but not everything's his fault.

As mentioned previously, when someone like Lohse leaves and then improves, even a little, it's used as an indictment of Anderson. If that's the rather tenuous level of analysis used, it's got to work both directions. Personally, I think humans are pretty complicated and I think coaches are like CEOs- too much blame when things go badly and too much credit when things go well.

#17 ALessKosherScott

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:12 AM

How do you know it is Anderson and not someone else? I don't think Phil Hughes doing well covers up the flawed philosophy he pushes. He wouldn't be an MLB coach if he was terrible. I just feel like his time has come and gone.


When a pitcher has a BB/9 rate that starts with a 0, that's a vintage sign that Anderson had something to do with it. Then again, Target Field not being the band box that Yankee Stadium is also has something to do with it.

When it's all said and done, if the Twins wanted to go out and find more former top prospects and try and do similar things with them next year, I wouldn't mind.

#18 mike wants wins

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:14 AM

Does he also get credit for Nolasco? Coaches make a difference, no idea how much.

#19 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:17 AM

Does he also get credit for Nolasco?


Absolutely. That's my point, really.

#20 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:18 AM

Then again, Target Field not being the band box that Yankee Stadium is also has something to do with it.


Oddly enough, Hughes has been much better on the road.

#21 tobi0040

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:25 AM

Like, 99.9999%. Moar pitch-to-contact!

But seriously, if Anderson gets credit for turning around Hughes, does that mean that the pitching coach in NY was really bad?


He has spent too much time with Hughes though and needs to make the rounds with Pelfrey, Nolasco, and Gibson on the road games.

I am with Dman on this, I think the coaches have very little role here. If I could put this on anything, I would say getting out of Yankee stadium did a ton for his confidence. That is on Terry more than anything. Also only 82 IP, so let's not start a parade yet.

Edited by tobi0040, 13 June 2014 - 11:36 AM.


#22 JB_Iowa

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:34 AM

I think it may be too early to tell. The test will be whether Anderson can keep him from tinkering too much during the course of the season but I do think that Hughes' mindset (strikethrowing) meshes perfectly with Anderson's control philosophy.

[FONT=Verdana][FONT=verdana]"I asked him what was the deal with the homers over there," Anderson said. "I said, `Is there anything I should watch for in your deliveries?"
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[FONT=Verdana][FONT=verdana]The problem, both agreed, was that when Hughes struggled, he tinkered with his mechanics. He was thinking too much about what to do instead of just taking the mound and doing it.
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[FONT=Verdana][FONT=verdana]"I was constantly making adjustments last year after I got off to a rough start, couldn't really get out of it and that wasn't necessarily a good thing," he said. "I had success in this league doing a certain thing and when I got away from that it was just kind of a downward spiral."
[/FONT]
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[FONT=Verdana][FONT=verdana]Anderson puts it more simply: "When that mind gets in the way, it's hard to have success."[/FONT][/FONT]
http://espn.go.com/m...tching-new-park

Also, it seems like in Spring Training, he was concentrating on his curve (http://www.twincitie...-lost-curveball) whereas his success this season may be due to the increased use of his cutter (http://www.cbssports...cess-with-twins) Don't know how much Anderson may have contributed to that pitch selection but some input seems reasonable.

The Axisa piece on CBS sports points out several possibilities contributing Hughes' success: extreme strikethrowing with seemingly better placement; pitch selection -- including the increased use of the cutter; getting out of New York; and reaching a certain level of pitching maturity at 27.

Hard to know how much Anderson contributed to any of them. But if he (and Suzuki) can manage to keep Hughes' head in the right place, all should be well. It was one reason it was great to see PH come back with a good game in Toronto after a bit of a clunker against the Astros -- stick with what had been working even if it lets you down once in a while.

Edited by JB_Iowa, 13 June 2014 - 11:36 AM.


#23 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:42 AM

I am of the opinion that coaching has fairly limited influence on players. I don't buy into the line of thinking that coaching changes the player all that much. If coaching was the key then everyone in the Dodgers system should be pitching close to the same as Clayton Kershaw. They have the same coaches the same system etc. and yet only one Kershaw. Why? Talent. He has a rare talent that few posses.


I'm going to disagree here. I think coaching is probably one of the more unrecognized talents in baseball, and I suspect that this is going to get a lot more scrutiny as the money ball people realize there's an inefficiency here. I don't think it's all coaching, but I do think there's a healthy balance between talent and coaching, and it's an extremely difficult task to quantify. I also think that coaches and their approach can be too narrow and get stale, and as such, a coach can have a tremendous amount of success early on only to see that evaporate. As a team, I see value in bringing in different folks to assist with that. I think that is in part of the reason why several players have turned around offensively as Bruno was a better fit for these guys than Vavra, but that doesn't mean that Vavra was worthless. He also had success early on.

Baseball is all about adjustments. Here's an example of one good one: Danny Santana. Everyone says he's not going to continue hitting this well, and I'm inclined to agree. It isn't as much that he's getting lucky as it is that there's not much data on him. As that data becomes more complete, pitchers are going to adjust to exploit his weaknesses. When that happens, he's going to get into a bit of a slump. SABR people will say he's regressing to the mean, but this has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with smart people exploiting his weakness. This is where his coach is going to come into play. The coach will have to help him adjust. Santana could possibly do this on his own, but a good coach should be able to look a bit more objectively at what Santana is and isn't doing well and help him adjust. That may be mechanical, teaching him how to better spot that pitch to not swing at, or something else altogether. Bottom line though is that a good coach will help him with things like approach and in game strategy. His talent does the rest. If he has the talent to be an all star (like Hughes), a good coach will coax that out of him... I agree though that there's more to it than this such as personalities, media, etc.

Bottom line though, to me, coaching matters, and I don't think it's a job that anyone can do. I don't see them coming up with WAR values for managers and coaches, but I do think that a good staff is worth a few wins over a bad one. It's unfortunately impossible to quantify.

#24 nicksaviking

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:42 AM

I think it's just a matter of the Twins finally finding a pitcher who's skill set fits their desired philosophy. The Twins have always wanted pitchers who pound the strikezone but Hughes is the first starter since Johan Santana and (the good) Scott Baker that can do that AND miss an above average number of bats.

#25 Dman

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:59 AM

I'm going to disagree here. I think coaching is probably one of the more unrecognized talents in baseball, and I suspect that this is going to get a lot more scrutiny as the money ball people realize there's an inefficiency here. I don't think it's all coaching, but I do think there's a healthy balance between talent and coaching, and it's an extremely difficult task to quantify. I also think that coaches and their approach can be too narrow and get stale, and as such, a coach can have a tremendous amount of success early on only to see that evaporate. As a team, I see value in bringing in different folks to assist with that. I think that is in part of the reason why several players have turned around offensively as Bruno was a better fit for these guys than Vavra, but that doesn't mean that Vavra was worthless. He also had success early on.

Baseball is all about adjustments. Here's an example of one good one: Danny Santana. Everyone says he's not going to continue hitting this well, and I'm inclined to agree. It isn't as much that he's getting lucky as it is that there's not much data on him. As that data becomes more complete, pitchers are going to adjust to exploit his weaknesses. When that happens, he's going to get into a bit of a slump. SABR people will say he's regressing to the mean, but this has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with smart people exploiting his weakness. This is where his coach is going to come into play. The coach will have to help him adjust. Santana could possibly do this on his own, but a good coach should be able to look a bit more objectively at what Santana is and isn't doing well and help him adjust. That may be mechanical, teaching him how to better spot that pitch to not swing at, or something else altogether. Bottom line though is that a good coach will help him with things like approach and in game strategy. His talent does the rest. If he has the talent to be an all star (like Hughes), a good coach will coax that out of him... I agree though that there's more to it than this such as personalities, media, etc.

Bottom line though, to me, coaching matters, and I don't think it's a job that anyone can do. I don't see them coming up with WAR values for managers and coaches, but I do think that a good staff is worth a few wins over a bad one. It's unfortunately impossible to quantify.


Sure I am inclined to agree with you as well. I agree coaching is needed and matters otherwise why would baseball have them. My point is how much better is one coach over another? They will all point out things to make players better. A coaches influence is also limited.

As for coaches getting stale and fresh starts, sometimes a different approach works better. no questions about it, but it can't make up for a players talent and too many people seem to think that it does else they wouldn't blame coaches for things out of their control.

Hughes has more to do with his success than Anderson. Yes they look at things together analytic s and other info like all coaches and players do to try and get better but the coach can't make Hughes execute a pitch in a certain situation. Hughes has to trust his stuff when the time comes and execute the pitch. The player is far more responsible for the results than the coach. If you don't recognize this then you will always be wondering why with the same coaches Liriano isn't as good this year or that Tampa's team stinks this year. How can that be with the great insight and coaching that they are known for. If your theory is correct that should never happen because their coaching and insight make such huge differences. The only way out is to admit it is on the players to perform.

#26 PseudoSABR

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 12:21 PM

Given the talent Anderson has had to work with over the years (sans Santana and Liriano), it's hard to hold the specific failings under his tutelage. More, Anderson has coached plenty of pitchers who have never had the relative success that they had in Minnesota. If anything the Twins front office, overvalued and emphasized Anderson's capacity to make low-talent pitchers effective--that's hardly Anderson's fault.

#27 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 12:47 PM

I think I deserve the credit, I had been calling for the twins to trade (and years later) sign Hughes for years. Saw him pitch a lot in NY, always had the stuff, just never lived up to the pressure of being the future ace hall of famer of the Yankees.



I still think we could turn Joba into something useful as well


I was going to 'LIKE' your post until I saw the Joba comment....
I'm on a whiskey diet. I've lost 3 days already.

#28 TheLeviathan

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 01:00 PM

Given the talent Anderson has had to work with over the years (sans Santana and Liriano), it's hard to hold the specific failings under his tutelage. More, Anderson has coached plenty of pitchers who have never had the relative success that they had in Minnesota. If anything the Twins front office, overvalued and emphasized Anderson's capacity to make low-talent pitchers effective--that's hardly Anderson's fault.


If you're going to take that angle then it's also fair to note that those guys with less raw talent also were the types of pitchers that fit his coaching style. The real indictment of Anderson, IMO, was that he wasn't even able to maximize the performances of the types that fit his mantras.

That said, Hughes has been an unmitigated success thus far and that should be given as a credit to Anderson.

#29 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 01:03 PM

The real indictment of Anderson, IMO, was that he wasn't even able to maximize the performances of the types that fit his mantras.


I'd agree if any of those pitchers left the Twins and found success. While Anderson may petition for these types of pitchers and deserves blame for that (just speculating here), it's not his fault that the GM provides him with little-to-no-talent stiffs who never succeed in MLB.

#30 TheLeviathan

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 01:19 PM

I'd agree if any of those pitchers left the Twins and found success. While Anderson may petition for these types of pitchers and deserves blame for that (just speculating here), it's not his fault that the GM provides him with little-to-no-talent stiffs who never succeed in MLB.


I'd argue he's only employed with the Twins because he believed he could turn mediocre talents into functional starters.