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Blunt Comments from Gladden

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#1 TheLeviathan

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 02:13 PM

Gladden: “You know what, here’s one thing I hope can kind of get rooted or maybe even changed to an extent, and that is the philosophy of the Twins. … You’ve heard it: ‘You’ve got to hit the ball the other way.’ It’s almost like everybody who puts a Twins uniform on, they’re taught to go the other way. … A guy like Arcia right here, what are we hearing? ‘He’s trying to pull the ball. He’s trying to pull the ball. We need to have him go the other way.’ Arcia to me is a dead-red pull guy, so let’s teach him to pull the ball rather than try to teach him to go the other way and hit doubles and singles — which he can do, but that’s not his game. … We had Jim Thome here, kind of a one-dimensional, one-field type guy. David Ortiz, when we heard after he left, they told him to pull the ball and that’s what he’s done. I think the philosophy — you need to be able to evaluate the player. Vargas is a guy that should have opposite-field power.”

 

 

 

He said much the same on 1500 today saying something to the effect of: "You can bet no one has told Willingham to go the other way" as a reason to just let some kids be what they are.

 

Is this something he's aware of in-house or is this just his observations much like a fan?


#2 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 02:15 PM

That is way too coherent to have come from Dan Gladden.

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#3 Brad Swanson

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 02:15 PM

I have no idea where this came from or what the context was, but I love it and I now want to marry Dan Gladden.

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#4 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 02:19 PM

I think there's value in being able to do it.It's all part of the adjustments.If I know a hitter is going to pull, I'm going to give him a lot of stuff on the outer half.A hitter that can take a hittable pitch to the opposite field will still be able to get base hits when getting that steady diet, but if he tries to yank those, he's more likely to roll over it and ground out. 

 

As for Arcia, yes, if he's a true pull hitter, he needs to develop that, no question.Knowing how to go oppo when necessary is still worthwhile though.Not sure he should be going to the plate with the intent of doing it (unless there's a nice shift on), but being able to recognize that he's not getting anything he can pull and adjusting is something any hitter should learn. 

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#5 Boom Boom

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 02:19 PM

Gladden's not the first to make this known. Ortiz and Hardy and Gomez have all said the Twins tried to tinker with their swings to make them hit the ball the other way more.

It could be overblown based on the success those guys have had after leaving the Twins, but where there's smoke there's fire in my opinion.I think this is a primary focus the Twins put on their hitters ever since the TK administration, and probably moreso than most other teams.

 

It's not just the manager.I hear it on the TV broadcast all the time, "When a guy gets hits to the opposite field you know he's going good".


#6 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 02:23 PM

I think there are reasons to teach a player to go opposite field but it depends on the player. Is Arcia more Trevor Plouffe or more David Ortiz? I think he's more Ortiz, though he probably won't have that kind of career.

 

If the player is good enough to be a dead-pull hitter and succeed, leave him be. JJ Hardy and David Ortiz are obvious examples of players to leave alone.

 

If the player isn't good enough to be a dead-pull hitter - like Trevor Plouffe - then convincing the player to consider going opposite field isn't the worst idea in the world.

 

Personally, I think Arcia is good enough that he can be a quality dead-pull hitter and the Twins shouldn't try to change that.


#7 TheLeviathan

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 02:25 PM

He also talked about that in the context of Kenny Vargas on the Judd and Mackey show today.  

 

I think his point is not to force someone to be something they're not, he credited the Red Sox for allowing Ortiz to be himself as one of the reasons behind his breakout.

 

Just an interesting perspective from one of the Twins' voices.


#8 Trov

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 03:36 PM

I think the philosophy of hitting the opposite field should be that they have the ability, but should not be mandated to HR power guys.I think knowing when you should look for an outside pitch and drive it to the other field is an important skill.It can also teach to stay back on fastballs so you are not so out in front of off-speed pitches. 

 

I would hope they are more so teaching players to have a plan at the plate and know how the pitchers are pitching them and adjust.Also, teaching to hit other way teaches hitters to keep hips closed long which typcially will increase power and the ability to reach other pitches.I do agree though that trying to mess with a guys swing who has performed well at all levels before they even face major league pitching is a mistake.Some players need to have the see ball hit ball approach.

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#9 Seth Stohs

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 04:07 PM

I see nothing wrong with encouraging hitters to be complete hitters. I don't want Josh Willingham slapping a single to right field on a pitch right down the middle of the plate, but on a pitch on the outside corner, I don't want him rolling over a weak ground ball to SS either.

 

I'm good with Gladden's comments. But, Ortiz has also hit a lot of balls off the Monster in his years too. He's not entirely a pull hitter. He's been able to hit for average to go with the home runs because of his ability to use the whole field.

 

What I like about the comments, and what I think Brunansky teaches, is that when you get your pitch, don't be afraid to crush it.

 

I've talked to players that played for him in the minors and he said that there were times that it was OK to just go out and swing out of your shoes on your pitch. Other times, being able to take a good swing and be productive is important. 

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#10 Seth Stohs

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 04:08 PM

Kirby Puckett is a great example... He stayed inside the ball and hit line drive after line drive to right field (Jeter does the same thing)... but as Puckett matured as a player, he found pitches that he was able to turn on and pull for long home runs as well. 


#11 TheLeviathan

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 04:13 PM

I think Bruno has changed some of that mentality.  The problem Gladden is speaking to isn't that you can't help a hitter become more complete....it's the mentality that I think was here at one point that taught that approaching every at-bat with an "up the middle or opposite field" mindset.  And, I think, was punitive to hitters that didn't take that mindset.

 

I think that was harmful for some hitters that came through our system at the time.  I've personally seen the emphasis decrease substantially over the last decade.  Particularly under Vavra and now Bruno.  It's a change for the better IMO.

Edited by TheLeviathan, 06 August 2014 - 04:15 PM.


#12 Thrylos

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 04:35 PM

Kirby Puckett is a great example... He stayed inside the ball and hit line drive after line drive to right field (Jeter does the same thing)... but as Puckett matured as a player, he found pitches that he was able to turn on and pull for long home runs as well. 

 

There are not many Kirby Pucketts out there.And I think that the point is, unless someone is Puckett or Gwynn or something, it is more effective to go with their strengths as hitters rather than trying to make them something they are not.And the Twins are treating younger hitters different than veterans for sure. 

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#13 Kwak

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 05:07 PM

Changing a players "swing"?Successful hitters don't need to change, failing players must change!I don't read poters onTD complaining about Dozier's hitting approach.I most definitely don't think Dozier will change his philosophy--his HR production will guarantee him a huge salary in the near future. 

 

I agree with Gladden.I do get frustrated when the Twins sign a new draft choice and then decide a major change is required.Sort of like putting ketchup on your meal before you've tasted it. 

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#14 jaimedude2

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 05:19 PM

I hope the Twins hitting philosophy is were not programming robots or trying to change a hitters natural swing. There is nothing wrong with teaching a player to hit to all fields and even to the opposite field or having this as an objective or philosophy. The problem becomes when that mentality is programmed or ingrained to the entire team to the point where the philosophy overrides a players natural abillities, or tries to change a hitters actual style, and goes against their instincts. Some players are just dead pull hitters and you should not dink with that to much, you would think even Twins management and field staff know that. Target field has always seemed like it favors pitchers, but now it plays fair as the seasons progress,  but at the same time it also seems to favor dead pull hitters to left field, and right handed power bats.

Some players are natural pull hitters like Arcia. I don't mind that they try and teach him to use all fields but they should not program him to the point where he is constantly thinking about it and trying to do that push the ball up the middle every game. Same for a Hicks or a Vargas or any young player let them be who they kind of are already. Ultimately players just reacting to what they are seeing from the pitcher each at bat is going to help dictate outcomes of that at bat, baseball is not a game for robots you have to be able to adjust and react every pitch and every at bat. No sense in over coaching, just correct mistakes and try to maintain consistency. i think Gladdens point in talking with Willingham is don't try to change everyone, some guys already have it figured out for themselves on what will make them most successful.

Edited by jaimedude2, 06 August 2014 - 05:23 PM.


#15 birdwatcher

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 05:22 PM

I think there are reasons to teach a player to go opposite field but it depends on the player. Is Arcia more Trevor Plouffe or more David Ortiz? I think he's more Ortiz, though he probably won't have that kind of career.
 
If the player is good enough to be a dead-pull hitter and succeed, leave him be. JJ Hardy and David Ortiz are obvious examples of players to leave alone.
 
If the player isn't good enough to be a dead-pull hitter - like Trevor Plouffe - then convincing the player to consider going opposite field isn't the worst idea in the world.
 
Personally, I think Arcia is good enough that he can be a quality dead-pull hitter and the Twins shouldn't try to change that.

 
 
I personally don't know squat, but something tells me Gladden's comments are a bit simplistic. We're hearing Smalley lately talking about how Dozier could go from .240 to .280 if he uses the whole field. Plouffe's improvement was about plate coverage and how taking it the other way was his only option with those pitches. Arcia can look foolish up there, and Brock, I'm not so convinced he's talented enough to be dead-pull even if he rids himself of the hitch in his swing that gets talked about. I mean, wouldn't he be better of showing the ability to drive the ball with authority to all fields?


#16 drock2190

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 05:28 PM

He was also wondering today why the Twins havent signed any good Cuba players since they have Tony O as a representative. 

 

He does have some thoughts sometimes.


#17 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 05:40 PM

I personally don't know squat, but something tells me Gladden's comments are a bit simplistic. We're hearing Smalley lately talking about how Dozier could go from .240 to .280 if he uses the whole field. Plouffe's improvement was about plate coverage and how taking it the other way was his only option with those pitches. Arcia can look foolish up there, and Brock, I'm not so convinced he's talented enough to be dead-pull even if he rids himself of the hitch in his swing that gets talked about. I mean, wouldn't he be better of showing the ability to drive the ball with authority to all fields?

 

Would Carlos Gomez, Adam Dunn, or David Ortiz be better players if they used the entire field?

 

Some players don't swing that way. If they have the swing and the power to be dead-pull and do it successfully, I see no reason to change that.

 

Oswaldo Arcia has just over 600 MLB PAs with an OPS+ of 100. He just turned 23 years old a few days ago. There's a lot more power coming from that swing as he matures and I think it's a mistake to force him into an uncomfortable plate approach.

 

Work on his discipline, sure. Work on pitch recognition, definitely. Tell him to go oppo field? Nah, not so much.


#18 TheLeviathan

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 06:18 PM

Not only that, but could Brian Dozier increase his average by 40 points?  Sure, he might also cut his homeruns in half.  Or worse.

 

Let a guy do what he does well and help on the things Brock mentioned.


#19 Riverbrian

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 10:52 PM

Yes Carlos Gomez... Adam Dunn and David Ortiz would be better players if they used the whole field.

It's really simple... Unless you have Gorilla arms... You can't jerk an outside pitch and pull it out if the park. If Brian Dozier learned to go the opposite way... He'd raise his average 40 points and still have the same amount of homeruns because going the opposite way with an outside pitch doesn't prevent you from still turning on a the cookie down the middle. He isn't hitting the outside pitch into the seats.

Hit it hard and go with the pitch.
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#20 ashburyjohn

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 10:58 PM

because going the opposite way with an outside pitch doesn't prevent you from still turning on a the cookie down the middle.

Not only that.You'll get more of those cookies when the other guys find out that pitching outside isn't so much of a win.

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