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The Defense And Reality of Dobnak

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#1 DocBauer

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 05:35 PM

I almost posted this in a front page thread but decided it needed it's own. I know we are in a playoff push with mixtures of optimism and consternation, but Dobnak has been brought up more than once lately and I thought it was time for some evaluation and honest reflection in the guy. There has been so much "story" and early success surrounding him that I think perspective has been lost.

I think what gets lost is he is a ROOKIE MLB SP. He pitched a total of 29.1 innings in 2019 which is about what a late fill-in/September audition might be expected to tnrow. And he has all of 49.2 IP in 2020 to the time I post this.

These are his current ML numbers:

W/L ERA IP H BB SO AVG WHIP
8-5 3.12 75 77 18 50 .266 1.27

Yes, the ERA is not a be-all stat and is skewed from his 1.59 in SSS from 2019. But his 2020 is still only 4.05 even with a couple recent bad games. Regression was always going to happen.

There is nothing in his repetoire/arsenal that suggests he will ever be a big SO pitcher or a dominate front of the rotation SP. I counter with "so what"? He is a sinker/slider control pitcher who induces pop ups and ground balls with the occasional hard hit liner. He seems intelligent seems to have a bulldog mentality and has the frame to throw a lot of pitches and innings...as long as his stuff is working decently...though Rocco has pulled him "early" in a few games.

Time will tell how good he can be. It's easy to say his last couple of games are reality and he was just a good story or an aberration. But again, we are talking about a ROOKIE SP with 75 IP under his belt. Simple math shows that to be about 1/2 of a normal season to this point, OR, he has pitched roughly 1/3 of a "normal" season if you only look at his 2020 numbers.

I am NOT attempting to build him up to be anything but a back of the rotation #4 or #5 starter. But look at the numbers thus far, or even just his 2020 numbers...still solid and not going to bore everyone with tons of stats...and tell me you wouldn't be at least a little excited the Twins had found themselves a nice back end rotation piece? There is no room in baseball for a sinker/slider guy with control and SOME projectability with experience going forward?

Again, I'm not projecting stardom for the Dobber. And the 2021 rotation starts with Maeda, Berrios and Pineda. And we will have the off-season to debate any additions or a re-sign of Odorizzi, but I feel pretty comfortable going forward with Dobnak as my #5 starter with some other really nice arms coming up behind him.

For now, he probably fits best in the pen for the post season, with everyone healthy. But I don't think a productive rookie with a couple bad games recently should be dismissed for what be has accomplished thus far and what he could potentially develop in to.
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#2 BeatTheRich

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 06:02 PM

I'm still a fan. I think he'll adjust and be a Twin for a long time. I love the way he goes about his business.

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#3 Doctor Gast

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 10:12 AM

Like you said, Dobnak isn`t going to blow away the competion, he`s just very good ground ball pitcher. He`s only as good as the INF that backs him if they can his service could be valuable. He`s a rookie so we can`t expect him to pitch on short rest or be perfect every outing. You got to love his attitude, does everything that he`s told w/ determination & w/o complaining 

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#4 gil4

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 04:29 PM

 

I'm still a fan. I think he'll adjust and be a Twin for a long time. I love the way he goes about his business.

I can't see him ever being more of a fringe guy. He is going to have to time his rough patches right - if he has one at a time the Twins need a roster spot, he will be a candidate to lose his.

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#5 IndianaTwin

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 06:44 PM

It’s cliche, but it depends on his ability to adjust. His stuff probably isn’t going to ever be blow-them-away stuff, but there are a lot of players who have been in that boat and been very successful. Not suggesting he’s Tom Glavine, for example, but Glavine had an ERA+ of 80 in his first 40-plus starts. Then he adjusted. Dobnak has certainly been better through 40 starts than Glavine. 

 

Then again, there have been plenty of guys who were as good as Dobnak through 40 starts and didn’t adjust. So which will he be? I certainly give him the chance to go in Glavine’s direction.

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#6 DocBauer

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 03:10 PM

It’s cliche, but it depends on his ability to adjust. His stuff probably isn’t going to ever be blow-them-away stuff, but there are a lot of players who have been in that boat and been very successful. Not suggesting he’s Tom Glavine, for example, but Glavine had an ERA+ of 80 in his first 40-plus starts. Then he adjusted. Dobnak has certainly been better through 40 starts than Glavine. 
 
Then again, there have been plenty of guys who were as good as Dobnak through 40 starts and didn’t adjust. So which will he be? I certainly give him the chance to go in Glavine’s direction.


Fully appreciate your nod to Glavine, while fully acknowledging you aren't saying that is who he is or who may expect him to be. I found myself also about Mark Buehrle or even a more modern reference to Dallas Keuchel, albeit a RH version. And in NO WAY am I saying at this point I see him being of the quality of pitchers of their career standing. But I believe there remains room for lower velocity pitchers who can maintain control with "heavy" stuff who can be effective.

Dobnak will almost certainly never be a high SO pitcher. And there will be times when his stuff is just barrelled-up for a hard hit ball or two, of course. It seems to me, after such a relatively SSS, is if he can continue to learn and adapt and find a better "out" pitch to eliminate some of those prolonged AB he has a chance to continue to be solid and consistent and thrive as a quality back of the rotation SP.

Doctor Gast referenced infield defense behind him. I think that's an important consideration. IMO, the addition of Donaldson and growth of Polanco help provide that. Unfortunately, 2B hasn't been as kind to our defense with Arraez playing on a bad leg, though Marwin and Adrianza have been at least OK filling in.
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#7 Channing1964

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:40 PM

I like him as a gamer and a winner. Im not selling him out. But to think he is more than a spot starter or long reliever is a bit far fetched. I feel like if he listens to and observes guys like Maeda, Hill , Odorizzi, Romo, and Clippard he will be a valuable member of this pitching staff for quite awhile. He seems smart enough to realize that. I predict a bright future for him. And he deserves it.

#8 Diesel

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 07:13 AM

Dobnak just needs a bit more control to be a good starter in this league. Less walks would mean less baserunners. He will always give up a few ground ball hits, so he needs to limit the guys on the basepaths in other ways

#9 twins1095

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 07:39 AM

I am pretty confident in Dobnak's ability to develop into a pitcher of a similar caliber to Odorizzi, Pineda, and even Maeda (Maeda's peripheral's have always been good, but he hasn't always been as good as this season). His fastball has the most vertical movement out of any fastball in the MLB. He also generally has really strong control, though we say that control fade a little bit during his struggles--which was the main difference for him. I would argue that his control issues were due to a recent change in fastball grip that he has made that has given him even MORE movement... he's having trouble learning to control the movement... however long-term I think it's still a good thing.

 

 I understand that in this short of a season, with the SP depth that the Twins have, Dobnak may not be someone who is a playoff starter. However, I do really think that Dobnak is definitely a rotation piece going forward that has the potential to even develop into a solid #3 or maybe even touch higher than that in his best seasons.

 

He is reliant on his defense though and the BABIP gods more-so than most pitchers these days. That is to say that in a modern-MLB where the philosophy is all about trying to control as many outcomes as possible... Dobnak has less control over his own outcomes than most pitchers. I think this will lead to some games or periods where he struggles, however it shouldn't always be a concern if his struggles consist of infield hits, bloopers, and seeing eye singles.


#10 Twodogs

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 09:21 AM

Well I don't know, but a guy like Kyle Hendricks doesn't blow people away, but he is one of the better pitchers in MLB as of today and he has been near the top for quite some time. Fact is, because he doesn't rely on Velo he might last longer than many of the pitchers who do. But we are talking about Dobnak. So far he has been a pleasant surprise, but I think the Twins have better options for the rotation for the current playoffs as long as guys are healthy. I think Dobnak could be a long guy in the bp for when a game gets out of control. However, Dobnak could be a decent pitcher going forward, he could be great like a Kuechel or a Hendricks or he could just be an ok back end dude, or he could stink. But that pretty much sums up every pitcher in the organization high velo or not. So only way to find out is by pitching him and see how he shakes out. I think next year he could be a 5th guy and go from there.

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#11 jimbo92107

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 09:47 AM

Innings-eating horse is Dobnak's floor, in my opinion. That puts him #3 or 4 in the ro. He has already established a great foundation game of sinkers low in the zone, but that gets him only to the 5th inning, when hitters starting finding his sinker. I think he's been experimenting with widening his repertoire, and that's why he got knocked around. He's looking for other parts of the zone to throw the stuff he's got today. If that doesn't work, he'll look into developing new pitches. If he develops command of his cutter / 2-seamer mix, then he could be an ace.

 

Dobbs is going to make a ton of money over the next decade throwing sinkers, forks, cutters, sliders, then a slow curve like Hill's, then finally he'll try knuckle balls. 

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#12 Dodecahedron

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 09:52 AM

I'm not worried about Dobnak or any of the Twins long-term pitching options.