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Damning article in the Washington Post re: Pressly / Analytics

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#1 Possumlad

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 10:34 AM

Very damning article for the (now former) coaching/analytics staff. Pressly is used an example of how the Astros use analytics & coaching to get more out of their pitchers: 

 

https://www.washingt...m=.f70052d2bf60

 

A key quote from Pressly: 

 

""Every team has an analytics department, and this is no knock on the Twins, but seeing the time [the Astros] put in and the scouting reports you're given, it's like, 'Whoa.' It's a different level," Pressly said. "You kind of see, 'Wow, if I just pitch a little more to this percentage instead of that percentage I can have some better results.' When I came over here, they were like, 'Look, your curveball is your best pitch. Everyone tells you your best pitch should be your fastball. But with the amount of spin you have on the ball, you need to throw that more, and it will set up your fastball even more.' ""

Edited by Possumlad, 15 October 2018 - 10:35 AM.

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#2 nicksaviking

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 11:29 AM

Fortunately math is still free and can't be copyrighted so unlike having a high payroll, similar success based on analytics is still attainable for the Twins.

 

Better get it rounded into shape before everyone is doing it though, the window to gain the upper hand here is likely to close soon.

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#3 Mike Sixel

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 11:43 AM

2 years in, and they still can't explain this to pitchers........there's always next year*

 

*the annual Twins' slogan, btw....

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I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#4 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 11:44 AM

2k5vy7.jpg

 

I thought this would be the FIRST thing FalVine would fix.

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Trust everybody ... then cut the cards.


#5 USAFChief

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 11:55 AM

Regardless what you think of the mid-season dump, the Pressly trade was always a head-scratcher.

 

Why?

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#6 Rosterman

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 12:01 PM

This is all right and fine. Like batters, pitchers DO have to know their strengths. It is getting to that point.

 

Factor one is The Manager.

 

Factor Two is usage, are there runners on base, does the pitcher have total command.

 

In some ways, the "closer" roles had been redefined as the role for most all pitchers. You find the strength and find the situation and use it.

 

Even starters are being redefined. Do they need to go thru a batting order only three times? Will the opened challenge the need to have strong batters in the opening part of a lineup?

 

In a closer, a guy basically had to throw strikes and dominate the batter, hopefully work quick, keep the batter on edge.

 

And then, for awhile anyways, we had the situational pitcher or just needed to get one or two outs.

 

First off, a strong bullpen is one evenly used. Hopefully you strive to have starting pitchers that can actually pitch six innings (not five) and some that will get you into the 7th. You have a long relief guy, and maybe a mop-up guy. You wish you had bullpen arms that could pitch two innings (once thru the order).

 

Pressly had closer material, I though so last season and would've gone with him then. But, man, Molitor overworked the guy this season. With the amount of video available, and the coaching available (the Twins had two pitching coaches on their field staff, Bob McClure in the wings, and even Bert in the Booth to call upon. Baseball is becoming more and more technical instead of natural, but you still have to fight the natural tendencies of a player everyday.

 

 

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#7 nicksaviking

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 12:33 PM

 

2k5vy7.jpg

 

I thought this would be the FIRST thing FalVine would fix.

 

It seems better than before, but clearly it's not up to par with the Astros.

 

With full control of their entire field staff starting next year they'll have no excuses not to be at the cutting edge. I hope they can find some time in between reading spreadsheets to read the WaPo.

 

Then get back to reading the spreadsheets.

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#8 spycake

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 01:10 PM

I'd take this with a grain of salt, as it is pretty subjective and Pressly doesn't really say anything bad about the Twins operation. It's quite possible he was just more receptive to this kind of discussion in Houston, given their status/title.

 

It wouldn't surprise me if the Astros analytics department is better than that of the Twins, obviously, but they've also had a lot more time to establish themselves. If we're still seeing these quotes a few years down the line, and posting these kind of middling records a few years down the line, obviously that will indicate a problem.

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#9 TheLeviathan

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 01:11 PM

For the record, in a previous fangraphs article the Twins did highlight his spin rate with his curve ball and encouraged him to use it more.  

 

The Twins didn't miss this particular case, they correctly identified this with analytics as well. The criticism might well be warranted, but just throwing that nugget out there.  

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#10 Thrylos

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 01:11 PM

From that article (emphasis mine) :

 

“If Ryan Pressly had shown up exactly the way he was in Minnesota, we would have been perfectly satisfied. His stuff was electric, one of the highest swing-and-miss arsenals in game, and that’s what we were looking for,” Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow said Sunday. “The fact he came in and was willing to work with our coaches and found ways to get even more out of his stuff is great.”

 

Coaches are a big part of it.With Molitor and Yesterday Eddie both old school, and the former managing the bullpen the way he did, no analytics could have saved the Twins' relievers.

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#11 nicksaviking

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 01:20 PM

 

I'd take this with a grain of salt, as it is pretty subjective and Pressly doesn't really say anything bad about the Twins operation. It's quite possible he was just more receptive to this kind of discussion in Houston, given their status/title.

 

It wouldn't surprise me if the Astros analytics department is better than that of the Twins, obviously, but they've also had a lot more time to establish themselves. If we're still seeing these quotes a few years down the line, and posting these kind of middling records a few years down the line, obviously that will indicate a problem.

 

Good point, the new front office did seem to transform Pressly from what he was prior to their arrival after all. The Astros may have added additional tweaks or perhaps their field staff just used him situationally in conjunction with the data better than the Twins field staff. Or maybe they just have better Powerpoint presentations that are appealing to Pressly.

 

Still, if there's room for improvement, and there likely is, I want the gulf between what the Astros have and what the Twins have closed, and pronto.

 

 

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#12 USAFChief

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 01:47 PM

I don't really care much about the usage.

 

I want the Twins to be adding this kind of talent, not shedding it.

 

That's why that trade was bad. 

 

Similar to the Hicks/Murphy trade...why let that kind of natural ability leave the organization when not forced?

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#13 LaBombo

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 01:55 PM

 

I'd take this with a grain of salt, as it is pretty subjective and Pressly doesn't really say anything bad about the Twins operation. It's quite possible he was just more receptive to this kind of discussion in Houston, given their status/title.

 

It wouldn't surprise me if the Astros analytics department is better than that of the Twins, obviously, but they've also had a lot more time to establish themselves. If we're still seeing these quotes a few years down the line, and posting these kind of middling records a few years down the line, obviously that will indicate a problem.

 

Doesn't really say anything bad about the Twins? Sure he does. He contrasts the greater time and effort the Astros put into their preparation of pitchers relative to the Twins. Pressly's disclaimer that it's no knock against the Twins indicates one thing and one thing only, which is that his parents raised him to be polite.

 

You could even infer that by going out of his way to describe the Astros' scouting as being on a "different level", Pressly is politely saying that at least relative to the Astros, the Twins don't really know what they're doing.

 

And if "a few years" means more than two for Falvine to get the organization's... stuff... together after nearly a decade of Target field baseball that's mostly ranged from 'competent' all the way down to 'historically embarrassing', I'm going to be bitterly disappointed with ownership.

 

GRRRR!!!

 

End Monday rant. Better now.

Edited by LaBombo, 15 October 2018 - 02:11 PM.

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#14 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 02:18 PM

He had a great curve ball with the Twins.

 

But, he couldn't throw it for strikes.

 

And hitters sat on his fastball.

 

When he threw the curve for strikes, he was pretty much lights out.

 

Did Astros change anything about how he threw his curve?, because he is in the zone with it now.

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#15 mazeville

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 02:33 PM

I think now you probably get why Molitor got fired.

 

As others have mentioned, the Twins saw his spin rate with his curveball and wanted him to use it more and he didn't. In some fashion, that means that the coaching staff couldn't get this stuff through to him. Then, of course, he goes to Houston and voila, starts throwing his curveball more with devastating effect.

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#16 TheLeviathan

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 02:58 PM

No, Pressley did use it more and credits our pitching coach for pushing him in that direction.  

 

This isn't something to bash our coaching staff on, they did the right thing.What Houston did was push it even further.Now that's great and is a credit to Houston (and something we should strive to be better at) but let's not pretend the difference is between lighting your home with a fireplace and one with electricity.It's far closer than that. 

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#17 Danchat

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 03:15 PM

I don't really care much about the usage.

I want the Twins to be adding this kind of talent, not shedding it.

That's why that trade was bad.

Similar to the Hicks/Murphy trade...why let that kind of natural ability leave the organization when not forced?

My problem is not with the trades, but how the players panned out. The Twins couldn’t use Pressly to his full effectiveness, now he’s an ace elsewhere. They couldn’t coach Hicks, but they should have gotten a great defensive catcher with a decent bat, but they bungled JR Murphy as well. Just bad coaching and bad talent evaluation through the past few years, no matter the FO.
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#18 Battle ur tail off

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 03:23 PM

 

No, Pressley did use it more and credits our pitching coach for pushing him in that direction.  

 

This isn't something to bash our coaching staff on, they did the right thing.What Houston did was push it even further.Now that's great and is a credit to Houston (and something we should strive to be better at) but let's not pretend the difference is between lighting your home with a fireplace and one with electricity.It's far closer than that. 

 

I agree with you. It is something to bash our front office on. That they let a top 10 relief arm in the league go for a couple of a team's 10-15 ranked prospects. If Houston were to turn around and flip him this offseason, he probably fetches a teams top 5 prospect +, or even better.

 

Now when they go out to look for another arm like Pressly, they are going to have a sign someone to a pretty hefty deal, or deal prospects much better than the ones we got back for Pressly. 

Edited by Battle ur tail off, 15 October 2018 - 03:26 PM.

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#19 jkcarew

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 03:58 PM

The results have more to do with usage than pitch selection, I’d guess. It’s noteworthy that the Astros refrained from using him in yesterday’s game despite the fact that the circumstances of the game where such that it would have been REALLY easy to ask him to go back-to-back with another inning or two. Molitor would never have had the discipline to do that under those circumstances. Also, he’s going to say something nice about his new team when asked, and it’s no secret they are ahead of the pack with the sophistication of the analytics approach.

The trade was justifiable if the assessment was that, even with Pressly, the club would not be in a position to compete in 2019. Sadly, that call could still end up being correct.
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#20 TheLeviathan

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 03:59 PM

 

I agree with you. It is something to bash our front office on. That they let a top 10 relief arm in the league go for a couple of a team's 10-15 ranked prospects. If Houston were to turn around and flip him this offseason, he probably fetches a teams top 5 prospect +, or even better.

 

Now when they go out to look for another arm like Pressly, they are going to have a sign someone to a pretty hefty deal, or deal prospects much better than the ones we got back for Pressly. 

 

I highly doubt Pressley would ever net much more than what the Twins got.They got a nice return.

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