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Article: Is Paul Molitor the Right Man to Lead the Twins?

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#41 Darius

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 11:34 AM

Frankly, he's a poor decision maker as a manager.

That said, the Twins FO and players aren't doing a lot help the guy.

I know everyone likes to believe that this team is the great one from the second half last. But, that was the outlier. This is a bad baseball team. It's possible that he should get loads of credit for getting a great second half out of an awful team. The roster was always hanging by a thread, and the thread snapped.

As far as the FO, adding Lance Lynn and Logan Morrison is kind of a joke. We're just so used to nothi happening, that we all thought it was amazing.

As much as I can't put the performance of the team entirely on Molitor. I still the awful bullpen usage, head scratching substitutions, etc. He's a great baseball mind, but I just don't think he's really cut out for managing a team. Maybe as a coach, or a FO position, he'd be wonderful.
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#42 dbminn

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 11:52 AM

 

Yet, injuries can't be blamed for the lack of situational awareness, prevalent base running gaffes, defensive gaffes and poor bullpen management that have plagued the entirety of his managerial tenure.The first three take no level of talent to understand or execute - it's simply being aware of what is going on in the game.So simply saying that Molitor has been handcuffed with injuries or a lack of talent and should get a pass because of it is missing where the dissatisfaction stems from.  

 

Base Running (Based on 2018 BsR /2017 BsR ranking given for missing players)

Three worst baserunners - Kepler , Grossman, Wilson

Key missing players - Buxton (1), Polanco (2)

 

Twins are missing their two best baserunners. Grossman has taken a lot of Buxton's at bats. 

 

Defense (Based on DRS)

Three worst defenders - Esco (at SS), Garver, Sano

Key missing players - Buxton (1), Castro (2), Polanco (8)

 

Escobar has been forced to play SS with Polanco out of the lineup. He's a league-average 3B. Garver has replaced Castro. Buxton is one of the best but MIA.

 

RP Management (Appearances / IP - MLB Rank)

Current RP - Pressley (4/27), Hildenberger (26/48), Reed (37/38)

 

I won't comment on when RP are called in, but they aren't overworked by MLB standards.

 

 

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#43 mazeville

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 11:55 AM

 

Yet, injuries can't be blamed for the lack of situational awareness, prevalent base running gaffes, defensive gaffes and poor bullpen management that have plagued the entirety of his managerial tenure.The first three take no level of talent to understand or execute - it's simply being aware of what is going on in the game.So simply saying that Molitor has been handcuffed with injuries or a lack of talent and should get a pass because of it is missing where the dissatisfaction stems from.  

 

What "defensive lapses?" What "poor bullpen management?" What "base running gaffes?" 

 

Are these your perception or do you have data to back up your contention? 

 

The defense has taken a hit this year. But you lose a Byron Buxton and a Jason Castro from a team for most of the year and your defense will take a hit.

 

People complain about bullpen management. I don't see that at all. What poor bullpen management? From what I can see, the problem has been mostly pitchers who should be entrusted to pitch an inning haven't done so often enough. And if you're talking overuse, which some people think is the problem, only two Twins are among the top 50 relief pitchers in games. So I'm not sure where people are getting that. 

 

 

The baserunning? I don't even know what to say about that. 

 

And injuries are going to make ALL of that worse by forcing the coach to insert replacement players. The good news for the Twins has been the emergence of Eduardo Escobar as an offensive force. But when your center fielder is Ryan Lamarre, your team is going to have some problems.

 

Back your contentions up. And if you simply point to the team's record, which is legitimate, you have to take into account injuries. 

 

Tell you what: I'll take that into account.

 

The loss of Ervin Santana, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jason Castro and Jorge Polanco removed 17 wins above replacement from the starting nine. 

 

As roughly, what, 40% of the season is done? That's about seven wins.

 

Twins would be in first place, theoretically, with those players in the lineup, playing simply at the level they performed last year. And we aren't having this conversation.

 


#44 jorgenswest

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 12:00 PM

I don't know. There is so much I don't see in his role.

 

It is critical that Falvey and Levine have made an accurate assessment. The Twins need a top 10 manager. Average isn't good enough. 


#45 mazeville

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 12:05 PM

 

Base Running (Based on 2018 BsR /2017 BsR ranking given for missing players)

Three worst baserunners - Kepler , Grossman, Wilson

Key missing players - Buxton (1), Polanco (2)

 

Twins are missing their two best baserunners. Grossman has taken a lot of Buxton's at bats. 

 

Defense (Based on DRS)

Three worst defenders - Esco (at SS), Garver, Sano

Key missing players - Buxton (1), Castro (2), Polanco (8)

 

Escobar has been forced to play SS with Polanco out of the lineup. He's a league-average 3B. Garver has replaced Castro. Buxton is one of the best but MIA.

 

RP Management (Appearances / IP - MLB Rank)

Current RP - Pressley (4/27), Hildenberger (26/48), Reed (37/38)

 

I won't comment on when RP are called in, but they aren't overworked by MLB standards.

 

All of this.

 

Outside of Pressly, none of the Twins relievers are anywhere near overworked. That's the one criticism I just don't get, and which just isn't based on any sound data whatsoever. 


#46 mazeville

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 12:13 PM

 

Frankly, he's a poor decision maker as a manager.

That said, the Twins FO and players aren't doing a lot help the guy.

I know everyone likes to believe that this team is the great one from the second half last. But, that was the outlier. This is a bad baseball team. It's possible that he should get loads of credit for getting a great second half out of an awful team. The roster was always hanging by a thread, and the thread snapped.

As far as the FO, adding Lance Lynn and Logan Morrison is kind of a joke. We're just so used to nothi happening, that we all thought it was amazing.

As much as I can't put the performance of the team entirely on Molitor. I still the awful bullpen usage, head scratching substitutions, etc. He's a great baseball mind, but I just don't think he's really cut out for managing a team. Maybe as a coach, or a FO position, he'd be wonderful.

 

Wow, is this comment wrong. Lance Lynn was one of the better starters on the market. Logan Morrison was a legitimate power hitter. Jake Odorizzi was also a solid mid-rotation starter. Frankly, the front office did far more than just about any previous front office did to improve the Twins over the offseason. The FO definitely did its job. 

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#47 mazeville

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 12:20 PM

 

Injuries:

Santana: injured and so far well replaced. Off season decisions might have turned out quite differently if on hand. Quite possibly worse.
Polanco: suspended
Sano: sent down due to performance and ???
Buxton: mysteriously sent for rehab, injured, back, DL, rehab. And no production at any time.
Mauer. Good performance, out a month.
Castro: injured, but was really not making any difference, offensively.

When you get down to it, the end result is a pitch framing catcher, and Joe Mauer for a month, and Buxton defense. Polanco from late last year is likely missed, as is Buxton from late last year. Bottom line, the only known loss of consequence was actually Mauer for a month. The rest are "but what if's"

 

Santana + Buxton + Sano + Castro + Polanco = 17 WAR.None currently playing. All of them have missed most of the season thus far, at least. Plus Mauer's absence, which hurt a lot and which I've never mentioned. 

 

Injuries matter. They matter a lot. 

 

And you're so wrong on Santana it's not even funny. He has not been "easily replaced." You do not "easily replace" a good starter like that. Santana's absence forced the Twins to go with Phil Hughes in the rotation early, then replace him with Fernando Romero. Romero was great early and has been exposed more recently. So no. He has NOT been easily replaced. 


#48 USAFChief

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 12:28 PM

 

All of this.

 

Outside of Pressly, none of the Twins relievers are anywhere near overworked. That's the one criticism I just don't get, and which just isn't based on any sound data whatsoever. 

The Twins have played 68 games. Pressly has appeared in 36, Reed/Duke 32, and Hildenberger 31.

 

At that pace, Pressly will make 85 appearances, Reed/Duke 76, and Hildenberger 73.

 

For reference, those numbers would have been 1st, 4th, and 5th in the majors last year. 79 appearances led the majors. Rogers led the Twins with 69 appearances (but only 55 IP), Matt Belisle was second with 62. No other reliever had more than 57.

 

All four of Pressly/Reed/Duke/Hildy are, or certainly appear to be, overworked IMO

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#49 wsnydes

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 12:48 PM

 

What "defensive lapses?" What "poor bullpen management?" What "base running gaffes?" 

 

Are these your perception or do you have data to back up your contention? 

 

The defense has taken a hit this year. But you lose a Byron Buxton and a Jason Castro from a team for most of the year and your defense will take a hit.

 

People complain about bullpen management. I don't see that at all. What poor bullpen management? From what I can see, the problem has been mostly pitchers who should be entrusted to pitch an inning haven't done so often enough. And if you're talking overuse, which some people think is the problem, only two Twins are among the top 50 relief pitchers in games. So I'm not sure where people are getting that. 

 

 

The baserunning? I don't even know what to say about that. 

 

And injuries are going to make ALL of that worse by forcing the coach to insert replacement players. The good news for the Twins has been the emergence of Eduardo Escobar as an offensive force. But when your center fielder is Ryan Lamarre, your team is going to have some problems.

 

Back your contentions up. And if you simply point to the team's record, which is legitimate, you have to take into account injuries. 

 

Tell you what: I'll take that into account.

 

The loss of Ervin Santana, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jason Castro and Jorge Polanco removed 17 wins above replacement from the starting nine. 

 

As roughly, what, 40% of the season is done? That's about seven wins.

 

Twins would be in first place, theoretically, with those players in the lineup, playing simply at the level they performed last year. And we aren't having this conversation.

What defensive gaffes?Rosario throwing to the wrong base or no base in particular.Grossman airmailing cutoff men.Throwing down to 2B to nab a slow as molasses runner stealing 2B while the runner on 3B scampers home to score.These aren't physical errors, they're mental and they happen far too frequently for a professional baseball team.

 

What baserunning gaffes?Logan Morrison getting picked off of 2B late in a tie game.Rosario rounding 1B on a hit to RF and getting picked off when the throw goes behind him.Getting in more rundowns than a Little League team.These are mental errors and they happen far to frequently for a professional baseball team.

 

Neither of those two things require any particular level of skill, just awareness of what's going on.  

 

Poor bullpen management - I'll refer you to Chielf's comment (post #48) above since he already did the work for me.

 

These things contribute to the overall record and have no relation to the injuries you're using as an excuse.  

 

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#50 mazeville

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 01:06 PM

 

The Twins have played 68 games. Pressly has appeared in 36, Reed/Duke 32, and Hildenberger 31.

 

At that pace, Pressly will make 85 appearances, Reed/Duke 76, and Hildenberger 73.

 

For reference, those numbers would have been 1st, 4th, and 5th in the majors last year. 79 appearances led the majors. Rogers led the Twins with 69 appearances (but only 55 IP), Matt Belisle was second with 62. No other reliever had more than 57.

 

All four of Pressly/Reed/Duke/Hildy are, or certainly appear to be, overworked IMO

 

Maybe they might be on pace to be "1st, 4th and 5th in the majors" but they are not remotely "1st, 4th and 5th" in the majors this year. Only Pressly is in the top 20.

 

And by the way, we're talking about a reliever whose ERA has improved by more than a full run over last year. So maybe he IS "overworked," as you say, but he clearly likes the way he's being worked this year because his numbers are vastly improved. It's a ridiculous complaint at this point. 


#51 mazeville

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 01:11 PM

 

What defensive gaffes?Rosario throwing to the wrong base or no base in particular.Grossman airmailing cutoff men.Throwing down to 2B to nab a slow as molasses runner stealing 2B while the runner on 3B scampers home to score.These aren't physical errors, they're mental and they happen far too frequently for a professional baseball team.

 

What baserunning gaffes?Logan Morrison getting picked off of 2B late in a tie game.Rosario rounding 1B on a hit to RF and getting picked off when the throw goes behind him.Getting in more rundowns than a Little League team.These are mental errors and they happen far to frequently for a professional baseball team.

 

Neither of those two things require any particular level of skill, just awareness of what's going on.  

 

Poor bullpen management - I'll refer you to Chielf's comment (post #48) above since he already did the work for me.

 

These things contribute to the overall record and have no relation to the injuries you're using as an excuse.  

 

And yet the injuries have had a far worse impact. And chief's reliever comments completely ignore that only one of those three relievers is currently among the top 10 in the league in appearances. 

 

You pointed to a few gaffes. That hardly counts as solid statistics. Give me a few minutes and I'll find some baserunning and defensive lapses by the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. 

 

And in any event, injuries mean you have more replacement players getting more playing time than they should, which exposes all of that. 

 

It is completely unfair to look at the first half of 2018 and simply say, "Well, bad managing ..." when the team has lost so many starters. Injuries happen. That many injuries to that many starters at one time is not usual.

 

Talk to me at the end of the year, after Polanco, Buxton, Sano and Santana have all returned and contributed a significant portion to the season. But simply pointing to a few mistakes and some very debatable statistics on bullpen use simply does not work. 


#52 jtkoupal

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 01:21 PM

Paul Molitor deserves a share of the blame for what has happened this year. He has made some very questionable in-game decisions. In particular, he has not utilized the pitching staff effectively at all times.

 

However, he has also come along in some aspects. For example, the lineup. He has finally gotten on board with Mauer as the leadoff hitter and dropping Dozier down, while leaving Rosario, the best hitter, in the #2 hole. Mauer in the leadoff spot should have happened 4 years ago.

 

He is not the ideal manager for the modern game of baseball. He is still stuck in his old ways in a number of areas of the game and is not analytics-driven. Undoubtedly, he is not Falvine's ideal manager. However, he will still be spared by the team's good record last year. 


#53 wsnydes

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 01:22 PM

 

And yet the injuries have had a far worse impact. And chief's reliever comments completely ignore that only one of those three relievers is currently among the top 10 in the league in appearances. 

 

You pointed to a few gaffes. That hardly counts as solid statistics. Give me a few minutes and I'll find some baserunning and defensive lapses by the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. 

 

And in any event, injuries mean you have more replacement players getting more playing time than they should, which exposes all of that. 

 

It is completely unfair to look at the first half of 2018 and simply say, "Well, bad managing ..." when the team has lost so many starters. Injuries happen. That many injuries to that many starters at one time is not usual.

 

Talk to me at the end of the year, after Polanco, Buxton, Sano and Santana have all returned and contributed a significant portion to the season. But simply pointing to a few mistakes and some very debatable statistics on bullpen use simply does not work. 

I gave you some examples, there are plenty more.Were you expecting me to list all of them?Sure, things happen to even good teams.They happen more to bad teams.

 

At no point have I claimed that I was looking at just 2018.In fact, I have clearly stated that I am looking at Molitor's entire managerial resume.These are things that have plagued his teams throughout his tenure, not just this year.His resume includes a .466 winning percentage.I don't know where that sort of record, accrued over a handful of seasons equates to good; especially in a division as putrid as the Central has been during that time.

 

At this point, we're going to have to agree to disagree.It's pretty clear that we won't agree on much regarding this topic.

Edited by wsnydes, 19 June 2018 - 01:23 PM.

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#54 USAFChief

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 01:46 PM

 

Maybe they might be on pace to be "1st, 4th and 5th in the majors" but they are not remotely "1st, 4th and 5th" in the majors this year. Only Pressly is in the top 20.

 

And by the way, we're talking about a reliever whose ERA has improved by more than a full run over last year. So maybe he IS "overworked," as you say, but he clearly likes the way he's being worked this year because his numbers are vastly improved. It's a ridiculous complaint at this point. 

Check the number of games played by each team. Hint: The Twins have played the fewest games in the majors, so counting stats are going to be a little misleading. Rate stats, less so.

 

///

 

Also: Pressly's numbers by month:

 

Apr: 0.59 ERA, 1.109 WHIP

May: 4.15 ERA, 1.462 WHIP

Jun: 9.00 ERA, 1.833 WHIP

 

Some of that might be SSS noise, but the trend is pretty striking, no? So I'm not sure he really "likes" the way he's been worked. And I'd like to see where his ERA ends up at the end of the season if he keeps appearing in every other Twins game

as he has so far.

 

 

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#55 Parker Hageman

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 01:56 PM

Buster Olney had a good blog recently about how managers have a shrinking role in the outcome of the modern game. He cited one unnamed veteran manager as saying "There’s almost nothing for me to do [during a game]. You change the pitchers, and you wait for somebody to hit a home run. You’re not doing nearly as much stuff as you used to. You don’t even think about doing some of that stuff."

 

When you boil it down, for better or worse, Molitor hasn't done a lot of tinkering.

 

He's called just 8 sac bunts this year, which is on the lower end of the AL (Gardenhire's Tigers have bunted just TWICE this season).

 

They've tried to steal just 32 times, fourth lowest amount in baseball. They also have been picked off 10 times, behind just the Nationals in that amazing category. 

 

They've had runners cut down at home an MLB-leading 13 times (they had 17 outs at home all of last year) but they have been fairly aggressive in this area, sending runners from 2nd home on a single or a runner on 1st home on a double at a higher clip than most teams. This is a similar trend that made them successful last year, albeit with different components thanks to injuries.

 

In 2016 and 2015, the Twins were not nearly as aggressive on the bases. They tried to swipe bases but they were not trying to push runners across like they have the last two years. I don't know if this is the manager imparting his will on the strategy to take more chances or not. (In 1992 Molitor was 2nd in the AL in outs at the plate with 6. He definitely tried to make things happen.) 

 

As far as bullpen management, outside of the love affair of Ryan Pressly, he's made reasonable decisions. He's called on Pressly 11 times on back-to-back days (which is one of the highest amounts in MLB). Part of it I actually understand too. Pressly's been called upon in late/close situations, often when there have been runners on base (19 inherited runners). At that point, Molitor is looking to miss bats and no one does that more frequently than Pressly. With one more bat-misser in the bullpen for the mid-to-late innings and he'd probably ease up on him.

 

0Days.PNG

 

(Also, it's amazing how much Gardenhire is redlining his bullpen in Detroit. Several guys at the top of the list of arms who are asked to go on consecutive days.)

 

 

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#56 mlhouse

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 03:56 PM

I think if you gave Molitor a talented team of veteran players he would be a very good manager.  

 

I think the real problem with having Molitor as the manager is that he is not a rebuilding guy.We need someone who can patiently work with the younger players, accept their mistakes and work with them to correct, and accept the ensuing losses.  

 

That the Twins have not committed to that manager and that rebuilding philosophy is why we are where we are today.  

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#57 Platoon

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 04:24 PM

Santana + Buxton + Sano + Castro + Polanco = 17 WAR.None currently playing. All of them have missed most of the season thus far, at least. Plus Mauer's absence, which hurt a lot and which I've never mentioned. 
 
Injuries matter. They matter a lot. 
 
And you're so wrong on Santana it's not even funny. He has not been "easily replaced." You do not "easily replace" a good starter like that. Santana's absence forced the Twins to go with Phil Hughes in the rotation early, then replace him with Fernando Romero. Romero was great early and has been exposed more recently. So no. He has NOT been easily replaced.

17 WAR? This year? Or all of last year?
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#58 Platoon

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 04:29 PM

Check the number of games played by each team. Hint: The Twins have played the fewest games in the majors, so counting stats are going to be a little misleading. Rate stats, less so.
 
///
 
Also: Pressly's numbers by month:
 
Apr: 0.59 ERA, 1.109 WHIP
May: 4.15 ERA, 1.462 WHIP
Jun: 9.00 ERA, 1.833 WHIP
 
Some of that might be SSS noise, but the trend is pretty striking, no? So I'm not sure he really "likes" the way he's been worked. And I'd like to see where his ERA ends up at the end of the season if he keeps appearing in every other Twins game
as he has so far.

Add this: The other day Pressly was brought into a game with us up 6? That alone bordered on incompetence.
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#59 Vanimal46

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 05:11 PM

I don't know. There is so much I don't see in his role.

It is critical that Falvey and Levine have made an accurate assessment. The Twins need a top 10 manager. Average isn't good enough.


I'm curious what you and others think what criteria is considered to be a top 10 manager?

It's tough for me to define how good a manager is. I believe there are some that are better than others like Francona. Does it boil down to intangibles that we as fans can't see and measure?

#60 jorgenswest

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 05:46 PM

I'm curious what you and others think what criteria is considered to be a top 10 manager?
It's tough for me to define how good a manager is. I believe there are some that are better than others like Francona. Does it boil down to intangibles that we as fans can't see and measure?


Tough for me to evaluate also but that doesn’t matter. It better be something Falvey does well and he can’t accept an average manager. They need better.



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