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Can you spot an early trend?

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#21 birdwatcher

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 08:01 AM

Despite the fact that not many of the actors have changed, this is a different team this year. In comparing the two teams, my perception is that there are several meaningful differences, and it's not too early to say they aren't fundamental in nature. Young players emerging, team defense, a stronger and deeper bullpen, a better hitting coach, an improved manager. BUT...the one area I'm skeptical about, where we may not be seeing a sustainable and fundamental upgrade in the works, is the rotation.

 

I'm a big Tom Kelly disciple that a team goes as their rotation goes. Last year I was pessimistic about them advancing further along because I felt they had a hodgepodge of mediocrity and no ace. We got awful instead of mediocre, and no ace. A true #1-2 guy impacts a team psychologically as well as by increasing the team's chances dramatically every fifth game. This year, other than Gibson, we have true mediocrity. What a relief, right? And of course Ervin is acting the part of a #1-2 starter. For now. If this keeps up, the wild card is not out of the question.  I'm not optimistic about this however. I expect to see a decline in performance from one or more, an injury to one or more, and I'm not as optimistic about getting mediocrity immediately from anyone in AAA, including Berrios. 

 

I see this team flirting with .500. I'll take it.

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#22 Linus

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 08:03 AM

I'm of the opinion they just kept as many guys as they could to buy more time before making long term decisions. I have to admit that it might be the right strategy as I was all for sending Haley back to the Sox and he is giving a glimpse of competence.
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#23 Han Joelo

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 08:08 AM

Maybe a defining characteristic of good teams is that everybody manages to not suck at once, unlike last year's total system failure.  

 

Hitting wise, despite the early offense, as some players cool off, other's have room to get hot.  I'm losing a bit of hope in Vargas or Park making a meaningful contribution, and am starting to see why they went after Napoli.  Still, there are viable options in those two, Garver, Granite, Goodrum maybe, and Gorgonzola.

 

Relief wise, Hildenberger, Burdi, and Melotakis are pitching well and can supplement later on.

 

Rotation...Berrios looks pretty good.

 

Anyway, we'll see.  Last years version looked like a bunch of losers, and these guys don't.  We'll see where that takes us.

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#24 Vanimal46

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 08:11 AM

and Gorgonzola


I don't know, I'm pretty salty over Gorgonzola...

Edited by Vanimal46, 16 April 2017 - 08:13 AM.

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#25 USAFChief

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 08:14 AM

Maybe a defining characteristic of good teams is that everybody manages to not suck at once, unlike last year's total system failure.

I think there's a lot of truth in that.

I might say it's also a characteristic that good teams have multiple players good enough to get hot and make a huge difference for a week or two, while "sucking" for only short and infrequent periods.

One of the reasons I want another hitter in the lineup (Park and/or Vargas) and Grossman mostly in the OF is just that...one more guy theoretucally capable of periods of dominance, while removing a weak link.
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I am not the paranoid you're looking for.


#26 Physics Guy

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 08:19 AM

I am convinced it will come down to starting pitching. If this staff hovers anywhere near a 4.00 ERA I think they can be in the fight for a WC spot. Sano looks like he may fulfill the promise of his rookie season. Polanco is not looking overwhelmed at SS (I was doubtful). I haven't been able to watch much yet, but it seems like the OF pulls off a Web Gem on a daily basis. This beats the hell out of 0-9 to start the season.
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#27 twinssporto

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 08:26 AM

 

I'm of the opinion they just kept as many guys as they could to buy more time before making long term decisions. I have to admit that it might be the right strategy as I was all for sending Haley back to the Sox and he is giving a glimpse of competence.

You may have a valid point here.  However, I'm not sure what long-term decisions need to be made for this team right now.  The ones that jump out are Dozier and Mauer.  After that it's who do you want to bring up from AA/AAA and draft choices.

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On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.


#28 TKGuy

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 09:31 AM

I wanted to see at least competent baseball, and obviously meeting those goals. Attended 1st game of the year yesterday and obviously playing competently. If the Twins cannot stay in contention, Ervin may be the prize of the trade deadline, which bodes well for the future. If Mauer could pull the ball, he'd be a triples machine with the OF alignment. Sano has figured it out, he is a perennial AS in the making. I'd like to see us go back to a 12 man staff, we are barely using 2-3 pitchers a game, with Dozier being out yesterday, we had nothing on the bench.
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#29 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 09:38 AM

The elephant in the room is Mauer. His start this year is a continuation of a bad second half (or really, bad second 2/3) of last season and a poor spring training. I've been a big fan for many years so it pains me to say this, but ..... it looks like the team would be better off with Park or Vargas playing IB every day, the other one playing part time as a DH and Joe either on the DH or shaking hands and selling tickets. It hurts but his decline is becoming painful to watch. I just hope I'm wrong. 

Edited by LA VIkes Fan, 16 April 2017 - 09:38 AM.

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#30 bluechipper

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 10:24 AM

 

The elephant in the room is Mauer. His start this year is a continuation of a bad second half (or really, bad second 2/3) of last season and a poor spring training. I've been a big fan for many years so it pains me to say this, but ..... it looks like the team would be better off with Park or Vargas playing IB every day, the other one playing part time as a DH and Joe either on the DH or shaking hands and selling tickets. It hurts but his decline is becoming painful to watch. I just hope I'm wrong. 

I think Joe should be playing most days against right handers. He's just gotten off to a bad start. A positive is only 3 strikeouts in 40 PA, but the outlier is that he's only walked 3 times too.

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#31 Danchat

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 11:38 AM

 

Totally agree.  Things can always change.  The main point is we are going in the right direction.  I'd rather be in the spot we are now versus 0-9 and having injuries too.  We saw that last year.  

 

You also bring up a great point.  The championship level teams/playoff teams have very few injuries and if they suffer a few they have capable people to back them up.  I'd love to see if any Sabermetric types have done studies on injuries and winning percentages, etc.  I'm sure there a some good stats on that scenario.  As you said, Vikings are a good example.

Yup, now that I think about it, the Twins definitely lost multiple games because Jepsen was closing for an injured Perkins. They weren't prepared for that.

 

Some teams can overcome injuries and still excel - the Indians had 3 or 4 starters injured last year but they nearly won the World Series. The Super Bowl winning 2010 Packers had 17 players on the injured reserve and still were a great team [unfortunately].

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#32 USNMCPO

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 11:46 AM

 

They've played 11 games so far right? Ok...

 

I'm enjoying the start but talk about the WS or playoffs is getting a little carried away IMO. A record even close to .500 would be a major step for this team. 

I know you are right in my mind, but as a lifelong Twins fan, my heart says enjoy the hell out of it and never stop dreaming.

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#33 Shaitan

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 12:11 PM

I'm enjoying it so far, but have they won any games where they've walked fewer than 5 times? You have to hit to score runs too.

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#34 Tweety

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 12:28 PM

Here's what I'm worried is going to happen:

 

A hot early season will obscure the massive hole that is basically our entire pitching staff, convincing the front office to not sell high on our couple short-term veteran assets, and ride it out. Our young lineup blossoms, but the lack of any high-upside pitching depth means that we're on the edge of contention for 5 years, and then our promising young offense ages out leaving us back where we started.

 

Thoughts?

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#35 ScrapTheNickname

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 12:32 PM

 

Despite the fact that not many of the actors have changed, this is a different team this year. In comparing the two teams, my perception is that there are several meaningful differences, and it's not too early to say they aren't fundamental in nature. Young players emerging, team defense, a stronger and deeper bullpen, a better hitting coach, an improved manager. BUT...the one area I'm skeptical about, where we may not be seeing a sustainable and fundamental upgrade in the works, is the rotation.

 

I'm a big Tom Kelly disciple that a team goes as their rotation goes. Last year I was pessimistic about them advancing further along because I felt they had a hodgepodge of mediocrity and no ace. We got awful instead of mediocre, and no ace. A true #1-2 guy impacts a team psychologically as well as by increasing the team's chances dramatically every fifth game. This year, other than Gibson, we have true mediocrity. What a relief, right? And of course Ervin is acting the part of a #1-2 starter. For now. If this keeps up, the wild card is not out of the question.  I'm not optimistic about this however. I expect to see a decline in performance from one or more, an injury to one or more, and I'm not as optimistic about getting mediocrity immediately from anyone in AAA, including Berrios. 

 

I see this team flirting with .500. I'll take it.

I would say (tongue in cheek) that no one flirts with .500. Teams flirt with winning it all! That's true flirtation.

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#36 amjgt

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 01:39 PM

People keep talking about how this is better than an 0-9 start, while I agree, now that we've played 11 games, are we going to change it up?

 

Like...

 

Sure beats a 7-17 April

 

Sure beats a 10-31 first quarter of the season.

 

Where's our bar now?

 

 

 

 

ps. There's a decent chance that by the end of the week, we will have gotten to our win total from the first quarter of last season.


#37 hybridbear

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 01:42 PM

 

Here's what I'm worried is going to happen:

 

A hot early season will obscure the massive hole that is basically our entire pitching staff, convincing the front office to not sell high on our couple short-term veteran assets, and ride it out. Our young lineup blossoms, but the lack of any high-upside pitching depth means that we're on the edge of contention for 5 years, and then our promising young offense ages out leaving us back where we started.

 

Thoughts?

I would definitely have feared that with Terry Ryan. I hope that Falvey & Levine are too smart to make such a mistake. I hope Ervin Santana keeps pitching like he has so far this season & that the Twins can trade him for a worthwhile prospect. I also hope Dozier gets on a tear again soon so that the Twins can trade him at the deadline for a King's ransom.

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#38 twinssporto

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 02:10 PM

 

Here's what I'm worried is going to happen:

 

A hot early season will obscure the massive hole that is basically our entire pitching staff, convincing the front office to not sell high on our couple short-term veteran assets, and ride it out. Our young lineup blossoms, but the lack of any high-upside pitching depth means that we're on the edge of contention for 5 years, and then our promising young offense ages out leaving us back where we started.

 

Thoughts?

I think the staff will be ok.  We can go a long way with just an average starting rotation.  The bull pen can hopefully pick up the remaining slack.  Conversely, there are some good guys we can bring up if the car starts to go off the road.  The improved defense can also act as a crutch for a mediocre pitching staff.

On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.


#39 D.C Twins

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 02:11 PM

Kepler, Sano, and Planco are progressing nicely so far....this is by far the biggest positive. As stated in another string.... a hot Park or Vargas in AAA with an imploding Mauer in the MLB would make things awfully interesting.

 

If Grossman keeps this up, I will have to issue and apology for my naysaying :)

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#40 Tweety

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 04:39 PM

 

I think the staff will be ok.  We can go a long way with just an average starting rotation.  The bull pen can hopefully pick up the remaining slack.  Conversely, there are some good guys we can bring up if the car starts to go off the road.  The improved defense can also act as a crutch for a mediocre pitching staff.

I absolutely agree that this could be a solid team with an average rotation. Problem is, the version of the rotation that took the field last year was a LONG way from average. They were historically bad. I have zero faith in Hughes or Santiago, Santana won't be around after the next couple years (plus he's getting up there in years), and Gibson is only under team control for a couple more years, as well. The only really high-upside arm in the high minors is Berrios, so there's not a surfeit of help coming soon.

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