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Article: A Twins Mainstay Dying Before Our Eyes?

minnesota twins nelson cruz jonathan schoop jorge polanco david ortiz
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#21 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 07:00 PM

Every time I see a lefty slugger get in the box, the defense shift, and no bunt is laid down, a little bit of me dies.
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#22 Danchat

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 07:33 PM

 

Every time I see a lefty slugger get in the box, the defense shift, and no bunt is laid down, a little bit of me dies.

Watching Jose Ramirez attempt to bunt and waste pitches made more of me die. Most of these guys can't bunt, and when they attempt to, they usually can't get him down the 3rd base line. Maybe if they could be bothered to learn how to bunt...

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#23 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:31 PM

 

Watching Jose Ramirez attempt to bunt and waste pitches made more of me die. Most of these guys can't bunt, and when they attempt to, they usually can't get him down the 3rd base line. Maybe if they could be bothered to learn how to bunt...

Well, yeah. But if you're shifted every time, spending a few hours in March learning how to lay down a bunt seems like a useful way to spend the day.

 

There literally is no excuse for some of these players. You don't even need to be able to bunt well, you just need to be able to aim it within ~30 degrees... in fact, the harder you hit the bunt, the better off you are. Hell, if you hustle it out, you could see a few bunt doubles come your way over the course of a season. Pretty hard for the left fielder to get to a ball bouncing down the line lazily if he's holding position in left-center.

 

Get it past the pitcher and you're guaranteed at least one base. Literally. That's all it takes. Hell, you don't have to hit it on the ground. Sky that "failed bunt" to third and that's even a better result.

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#24 Jim Hahn

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 10:58 AM

I agree with this. It is hard for me to understand why more major leaguers aren't better at bunting. Especially when it doesn't take a particularly good bunt to give you a "free" hit. Since teams hardly work on defending a bunt anymore, you would think more players and teams would want to get better at bunting.

I also wonder about players or teams worrying about changing their swings to take advantage of shifts. I heard Rod Carew say that he had 3 different swings. Clearly Carew was a pretty special player. But if he could work on and maintain 3 different swings, you would think modern players could make adjustments to take advantage of the shift without destroying their swing.
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#25 Nine of twelve

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 11:34 AM

 

Maybe it's just me but I find basketball to be super boring.

I remember reading a Patrick Reusse column many years ago that said something to the effect that you can watch an NBA game closely and see nothing new at all, but you can watch an MLB game closely and see something new every time.

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#26 Nine of twelve

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 11:52 AM

There is absolutely nothing wrong with pitching to contact. It's an excellent strategy but it's not one-size-fits-all. Nolan Ryan never thought about pitching that way and he never should have. But pitchers who rely on finesse and deception, and there have been many very good ones, should try to induce less-than-ideal contact. Don't waste pitches trying to strike someone out unless the situation calls for it. That type of pitcher should have as his goal getting through an inning on two ground-outs and a fly-out in 7 pitches.

I seem to remember a game that Brad Radke won with no K's. I guess he said afterward that he couldn't get anyone out.

Edited by Nine of twelve, 13 April 2019 - 11:55 AM.


#27 Aerodeliria

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 08:31 PM

If we compare the likes of last's years version of Schoop and Joey Gallo to emphasize the point of controlling the strike zone, we can see some interesting differences. They both are known as home run hitters, so strikeouts are something one would expect.

 

We often throw phrases around when referring to players like Gallo as "All or nothing" or "Either or home run or a strikeout." Hence, to the casual observer it might seem like Schoop was at least a comparable player to Gallo based on the more obvious stats:

 

Strikeouts:

Gallo: 207 (sounds ghastly)

Schoop: 115

 

BA:

Gallo: .206

Schoop: .233

 

That Gallo had more strikeouts than his BA is death-defying, but from that point forward, all metrics are solidly in Gallo's favor. Despite Schoop having a BA .027 higher than Gallo's, his OBP was .046 lower. This is due to strike zone expansion in many cases I would surmise.

 

OBP:

Gallo: .312 (.106 higher than his BA)

Schoop: .266 (.033 higher than his BA)

 

Walks:

Gallo: 74

Schoop: 19

 

Strikeout/walk ratio

Gallo: 2.8

Schoop: 6.1

 

In a weird world where walks were counted as hits, their respective batting averages would be inverted:

 

Weird world BA:

Gallo: .354

Schoop: .294

 

This is why, from last year's point of view, Gallo was a far more dangerous player than Schoop. It is true that when Gallo did swing the bat, he certainly was 'all or nothing,' but he didn't always swing the bat as evidenced by the walks. Gallo took those mighty swings at pitches that tended to be in the strike zone to his overall advantage. His 92 RBI attest to this (Schoop had 61).

 

It is good that Schoop has managed his OBP very well in 2019. He has strikeout/walk ratio is better (3.67) so far, which indicates he hasn't chased as often, but it is still early. Let's hope he keeps this pace as he would be a very dangerous player if her could return to 2017 form.




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