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Article: Patience Warranted With Struggling Youngsters

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 09:59 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...ling-youngsters

#2 beckmt

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 10:16 PM

Great article, need to give these youngsters a chance, not total mess up their minds with pressure to succeed now.

#3 grumpyrob

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 10:31 PM

Completely agree with your take. We know we are not going too do to much this year, and while the fast start was nice, there does need to be a sense of reality here. While we might compete against some teams, we are not set to take over the division for at least a couple of years. Having some patience in this situation is the key to these players.

#4 dakotanative

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 03:02 AM

Completely agree with your take. We know we are not going too do to much this year, and while the fast start was nice, there does need to be a sense of reality here. While we might compete against some teams, we are not set to take over the division for at least a couple of years. Having some patience in this situation is the key to these players.


This article is soooo true. How many times was Tori Hunter sent back to the minors before he finally matured as a player to stick with the big club - 2-3? As with all sports patience is required when developing talented players (this is true in business as well). The attitude of the player and the player developing culture of the organization is the key. We do not have a Steinbrenner or, in the case of football, a Dan Snyder running the team. With Ryan and Gardenhire we at least have a leadership team with a track record of patience in the development of talented young ballplayers. Doesn't always work - just ask Luis Rivas - but we have a wave of talented kids coming that will rival any group of kids in the history of the Twins. We and they will go through our ups and downs, but it is the prospect of seeing a line up with Hicks, Buxton, Rosario, Santana, Sano, Harrison, etc., along with a staff of Meyer, Barrios, May, Tonkin, etc. in it that keeps me reading Twins Centric and excited for the future of our beloved Twins.

#5 grumpyrob

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 06:28 AM

This article is soooo true. How many times was Tori Hunter sent back to the minors before he finally matured as a player to stick with the big club - 2-3? As with all sports patience is required when developing talented players (this is true in business as well). The attitude of the player and the player developing culture of the organization is the key. We do not have a Steinbrenner or, in the case of football, a Dan Snyder running the team. With Ryan and Gardenhire we at least have a leadership team with a track record of patience in the development of talented young ballplayers. Doesn't always work - just ask Luis Rivas - but we have a wave of talented kids coming that will rival any group of kids in the history of the Twins. We and they will go through our ups and downs, but it is the prospect of seeing a line up with Hicks, Buxton, Rosario, Santana, Sano, Harrison, etc., along with a staff of Meyer, Barrios, May, Tonkin, etc. in it that keeps me reading Twins Centric and excited for the future of our beloved Twins.


I am excited about the future as well. And in all honesty, if I had a chance, I would love to be able to watch this team battle its tail off at a live game or at least live on tv. But, I guess I will have to settle for re-runs after knowing the outcome. Not that great, but I still watch.
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#6 SurroundedByTigers

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:09 AM

Why should we be patient? We're asking for performance - good at-bats, grounds balls, something. Right now, Hicks is overmatched, and needs to get his act together and show us he WANTS to play in the majors. If Hicks can't perform, he's got to go back to AAA or wherever to learn what he needs to do to be successful. Parmalee was not hurt by bouncing back and forth between AAA and the majors. Hendricks is not hurt by bouncing between AAA and the majors. Here's the bottom line - I want Hicks to succeed, and I hope he succeeds. Patience lasts only so long. Then he's got to do it, or send him down.
PS - Same for Dozier.

#7 ThePuck

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:11 AM

'Parmalee was not hurt by bouncing back and forth between AAA and the majors. Hendricks is not hurt by bouncing between AAA and the majors.'

How do you know that?

#8 jay

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:21 AM

Great stuff, Nick. No reason not to give the kids plenty of time this year to prove or disprove their ability to be MLB players. Struggling or not, I'd rather see the ABs go to a Hicks, a Parmalee, a Dozier than some washed-up scrub vet.

#9 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:30 AM

Parmalee was not hurt by bouncing back and forth between AAA and the majors.


Chris Parmelee and his 2012 .671 OPS do not endorse this statement.

#10 mike wants wins

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:32 AM

I agree, the team needs to be patient. I'm not sure that is true of fans, but I'm not sure it isn't true. Not sure what my role is in this process.....should I just accept bad play and keep paying for it? Should I boo bad play? should I just ignore bad play? Should I shout random encouragment that the players can't hear?

In the long run, if it matters to a player if the fans are patient, I doubt that player has the confidence to be great.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#11 Badsmerf

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:34 AM

With Ryan and Gardenhire we at least have a leadership team with a track record of patience in the development of talented young ballplayers.

Did you watch the team from 2002 to 2010?
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#12 cmathewson

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:42 AM

Good Job Nick. It makes perfect sense to me. One thing I was thinking about is the affect of a day off. By my maths, Hicks played more innings than any other ballplayer in the majors this spring. Then he has played all nine innings of every game until last night. It looks like today's game will be rained out. So he might get a three-day break before Friday's game. Hopefully, the rest will refresh his mind so he can start fresh on Friday.

#13 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:42 AM

Did you watch the team from 2002 to 2010?


This. Cuddyer and Kubel's management was particularly aggravating.

#14 70charger

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:54 AM

The last thing the Twins need to is to repeat their 2012 handling of Chris Parmelee, who shuttled back and forth between the minors and majors, dominating one level and looking flummoxed (in sporadic playing time) at the other. Looking back, did we really learn anything about Parmelee last year?


This is an apt analogy. I don't think we learned anything about Parmelee's long-term prospects last year, which is why we're pretty much back to square one with him this year.

As much as I don't like Hicks' approach thus far - he is certainly capable of better - if you don't let him play through the slump, you'll never know how he responds to slumps. Calls for demotion are way premature.

#15 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 09:41 AM

Why should we be patient? We're asking for performance - good at-bats, grounds balls, something. Right now, Hicks is overmatched, and needs to get his act together and show us he WANTS to play in the majors. If Hicks can't perform, he's got to go back to AAA or wherever to learn what he needs to do to be successful. Parmalee was not hurt by bouncing back and forth between AAA and the majors. Hendricks is not hurt by bouncing between AAA and the majors. Here's the bottom line - I want Hicks to succeed, and I hope he succeeds. Patience lasts only so long. Then he's got to do it, or send him down.
PS - Same for Dozier.


I would be willing to put a pretty decent sum of money on the fact that these players WANT to play in the majors. In the end, it really isn't that simple. They cannot just will themselves to be able to play baseball in the ML at a high level. It comes with practice and patience. I'm not sure Hicks was ready to skip AAA personally, but that's a different issue alltogether. Bottom line is that he's here now, and he should get an extended tryout where he knows the job is his before any decisions are made to send him down.

#16 jimbo92107

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 10:01 AM

Hicks is doing a couple basic things wrong, both related to getting his bat on the ball. First, he's planting his feet and standing like a statue at home plate. You've got to keep your body in motion and try to time your weight shift so you put weight on your rear foot just as the pitcher puts weight on his front foot.

Second, he's not following the pitch in right out of the pitcher's hand. If you watch great hitters, clearly they are aligning their hands with the pitcher's delivery, as if they were trying to catch it in a glove rather than hit it. You have to pretend you're going to catch the baseball with your rear hand, then time your lag-loop-lag with the pitcher's rhythm.

I play tennis. When somebody smacks a 100+ mph serve at you, the only way to get your racket on the ball is to react automatically to your opponent's movements. You take your clues from his alignment and movement, just like an interactive dance. All action sports are like this. You also have to conserve momentum, which is why you don't really do a back swing; instead, you move around the stick and perform a little lag-loop-lag gesture, aligning both hands to the level of the ball. Otherwise, you'll always be late on your swing. You adjust the size of the loop to the speed of the ball. If the ball is coming really fast, you can abbreviate the loop, and the forward lag allows you to bring your hands forward early, squaring up the sweet spot with the incoming ball. That's the secret of hitting fast moving objects. The weight shift provides power, while the adjustable lag-loop-lag compensates for differences in speed and trajectory.

#17 birdwatcher

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 10:54 AM

jimbo, thanks for your comments. Very interesting stuff. I've never heard the process described quite like this.

Many years ago I suffered the indignity of being an early cut from the T-ball team. Finally, I know why. It was because of my exagerated lag-loop-lag, which caused me to knock the post out from underneath the ball every time.

#18 ashburyjohn

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:09 AM

If you watch great hitters, clearly they are aligning their hands with the pitcher's delivery, as if they were trying to catch it in a glove rather than hit it.


Not having played the game at a better level than beer-league softball (and badly at that), I had not run across this analysis/advice. Interesting.

#19 ThejacKmp

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:24 AM

Chris Parmelee and his 2012 .671 OPS do not endorse this statement.


I don't think that this is what the original guy was saying but that stat doesn't endorse the fact that a player is hurt by moving back and forth between AAA and the majors. The player could've gotten three months with a "you're not going anywhere" guarantee and posted the same OPS. No one has come up with proof that shuffling back and forth is bad because we don't have time machines and can't judge which method is worse by looking at both paths. I can make an argument in my head that its bad for continutity's sake and I can also make an argument that its good for a player to get a chance to look at both levels in turn and see the difference.

Point is, just as the original guy can't prove that it doesn't hurt them, you can't prove that it does.

#20 Alex

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:28 AM

This is an apt analogy. I don't think we learned anything about Parmelee's long-term prospects last year, which is why we're pretty much back to square one with him this year.

As much as I don't like Hicks' approach thus far - he is certainly capable of better - if you don't let him play through the slump, you'll never know how he responds to slumps. Calls for demotion are way premature.


And who put Parmalee in that position last year? And, if it happens to Hicks, who will have put him in that position?

While I don't think he should have been demoted yet, this is something different from a slump. I also think that if a player is major league ready, he should be, you know, major league ready. I don't expect numbers like he put up in AA, but I would expect numbers where you wouldn't consider using Drew Butera as a pinch hitter for him.

The Twins said he was ready. So far, they've been wrong.

Edited by Alex, 10 April 2013 - 11:33 AM.


#21 ThejacKmp

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:29 AM

This is an apt analogy. I don't think we learned anything about Parmelee's long-term prospects last year, which is why we're pretty much back to square one with him this year.

As much as I don't like Hicks' approach thus far - he is certainly capable of better - if you don't let him play through the slump, you'll never know how he responds to slumps. Calls for demotion are way premature.


Not to be a naysayer but if you leave a guy in AAA all year you still don't know who he is long-term until he faces major league pitching. You also can have a guy struggle in the majors the entire year and not know that he's washed up. There is no magic way to handle guys: some do better getting brief chances at the majors whenever there's an option, other need that sense of security with "this is my job."

The only thing we can really say with any certainty is that players need to play. If Hicks is going to be platooned, might as well send him down and let him work everyday.

#22 jimbo92107

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:31 AM

Not having played the game at a better level than beer-league softball (and badly at that), I had not run across this analysis/advice. Interesting.


The lag-loop-lag technique is used by a lot of players, both in tennis and baseball. Good example in tennis - Federer's forehand. Good example in baseball - Manny Ramirez's swing. In both cases, the palm forward (fore) hand never actually moves backwards, and the head of the stick initially lags forward.

A good test of proper lag is to position yourself sideways to a fence with the bat or racket raised up, head lagged forward, right hand up near your right ear. As you shift your weight away from the fence, your hand must not move backwards (that is what's called a hitch), and the head of the stick will not hit the fence. As you finally bring your hands forward (in a little loop), that movement makes the bat head lag behind, which helps generate an efficient outward snap to the bat. This accomplishes the 'short to, long through' all with one wonderful, magical loop. Pow, the ball goes screaming off into fame and fortune.

Now here's an important addition: You can do a decent lag-loop-lag swing with your feet planted, but you'll never hit a home run. As Kirby Puckett discovered, shifting your weight into the swing as you do your loop will vastly increase the power of your swing, if you still manage to achieve a tight snap. That's how a spindly little guy like Ted Williams managed to generate such a shocking amount of power. Good rhythm and a nice, tight loop.

Edited by jimbo92107, 10 April 2013 - 12:06 PM.


#23 ThejacKmp

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:35 AM

Hicks is doing a couple basic things wrong, both related to getting his bat on the ball. First, he's planting his feet and standing like a statue at home plate. You've got to keep your body in motion and try to time your weight shift so you put weight on your rear foot just as the pitcher puts weight on his front foot.

Second, he's not following the pitch in right out of the pitcher's hand. If you watch great hitters, clearly they are aligning their hands with the pitcher's delivery, as if they were trying to catch it in a glove rather than hit it. You have to pretend you're going to catch the baseball with your rear hand, then time your lag-loop-lag with the pitcher's rhythm.

I play tennis. When somebody smacks a 100+ mph serve at you, the only way to get your racket on the ball is to react automatically to your opponent's movements. You take your clues from his alignment and movement, just like an interactive dance. All action sports are like this. You also have to conserve momentum, which is why you don't really do a back swing; instead, you move around the stick and perform a little lag-loop-lag gesture, aligning both hands to the level of the ball. Otherwise, you'll always be late on your swing. You adjust the size of the loop to the speed of the ball. If the ball is coming really fast, you can abbreviate the loop, and the forward lag allows you to bring your hands forward early, squaring up the sweet spot with the incoming ball. That's the secret of hitting fast moving objects. The weight shift provides power, while the adjustable lag-loop-lag compensates for differences in speed and trajectory.


Though this is all very interesting, perhaps you shouldn't quit your day job.

Hicks didn't suddenly change his batting habits when he went to the majors. He didn't change his swing or start batting with his helmet on backwards. If he was doing something radically different the Twins would send him down no questions asked, or work to fix it. You can dislike the Twins coaching staff all you want (for good reason sometimes) but they are professionals who do this for a living. Maybe you should call them up and tell them what you saw?

If you want us to see this you need to get fancy with some GIFs to show us what's different. Telling us you played tennis against 100MPH serves doesn't really convince me.

#24 cmathewson

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:44 AM

This. Cuddyer and Kubel's management was particularly aggravating.


The Cuddyer demotion was particularly damaging. Kind of a worst-case scenario, since he got hurt in AAA and missed most of the season in which he should have been breaking out.
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#25 mike wants wins

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:49 AM

Jason Barlett also appreciates the opportunity and patience the FO and manager show young players, rather than going with terrible veterans.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#26 Badsmerf

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:58 AM

Hicks is doing a couple basic things wrong, both related to getting his bat on the ball. First, he's planting his feet and standing like a statue at home plate. You've got to keep your body in motion and try to time your weight shift so you put weight on your rear foot just as the pitcher puts weight on his front foot.

Second, he's not following the pitch in right out of the pitcher's hand. If you watch great hitters, clearly they are aligning their hands with the pitcher's delivery, as if they were trying to catch it in a glove rather than hit it. You have to pretend you're going to catch the baseball with your rear hand, then time your lag-loop-lag with the pitcher's rhythm.

First, a major obstacle for prospects is to stop excess movement at the plate. The only movement you want, is movement toward the ball. Extra movement causes flaws in the swing. The timing thing is different for everybody. Gary Shefield had huge movement in his bat, but when the pitch was being delivered he always returned to the same cocked position. Parker has some articles with good examples of eliminating movement in swings.

Second, WTF are you talking about? lag-loop-lag? As a hitter, you hit by taking your hands through the ball. The bat is an extension of your hands. The motion is completely different than swinging a racket. I am having a big problem with your explanation of hitting. You generate power by hip rotation and follow through, I'd guess that tennis isn't that much different. I feel like the fundamentals of a swing are just not the same. In tennis you are moving side to side, generated power comes from leverage. Baseball you are stationary and generated power comes from the hips. The swings attempt to accomplish different things.

Maybe I am off-base since I don't know a ton about tennis. Just looking at youtube explanations they are too different.
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#27 ashburyjohn

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 12:21 PM

Second, WTF are you talking about? lag-loop-lag?


NOW I'm really learning something. Let's you and him fight. :)

/ I'm not a mod, but: nicely, my brothers.

#28 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 12:40 PM

I don't think that this is what the original guy was saying but that stat doesn't endorse the fact that a player is hurt by moving back and forth between AAA and the majors. The player could've gotten three months with a "you're not going anywhere" guarantee and posted the same OPS. No one has come up with proof that shuffling back and forth is bad because we don't have time machines and can't judge which method is worse by looking at both paths. I can make an argument in my head that its bad for continutity's sake and I can also make an argument that its good for a player to get a chance to look at both levels in turn and see the difference.

Point is, just as the original guy can't prove that it doesn't hurt them, you can't prove that it does.


More to the point, we now need to spend another season watching Parmelee play to know if he's an MLB regular or not. While shuffling between levels may not have "hurt" Parmelee himself (but it certainly didn't help), it definitely hurt the team's ability to see what they have in the player. Parmelee and Hendriks have dominated AAA at various times. They have nothing left to prove in the minors. All shuffling them up and down does is delay the inevitable, and that is to give them playing time to determine whether they have the chops to be an MLB player.

#29 Alex

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 12:51 PM

Not to be a naysayer but if you leave a guy in AAA all year you still don't know who he is long-term until he faces major league pitching. You also can have a guy struggle in the majors the entire year and not know that he's washed up. There is no magic way to handle guys: some do better getting brief chances at the majors whenever there's an option, other need that sense of security with "this is my job."


At the same time, having players basically skip a level (especially when there are big question marks -Hicks this year and Dozier and Parmalee last year), leads to far more question mark, whereas had they spent a significant time in AAA, some of their holes might have been recognized and been in a much better situation to fill.

#30 jimbo92107

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 01:09 PM

Though this is all very interesting, perhaps you shouldn't quit your day job.

Hicks didn't suddenly change his batting habits when he went to the majors. He didn't change his swing or start batting with his helmet on backwards. If he was doing something radically different the Twins would send him down no questions asked, or work to fix it. You can dislike the Twins coaching staff all you want (for good reason sometimes) but they are professionals who do this for a living. Maybe you should call them up and tell them what you saw?

If you want us to see this you need to get fancy with some GIFs to show us what's different. Telling us you played tennis against 100MPH serves doesn't really convince me.


Manny Ramirez Swing Analysis - YouTube

In the linked video, note how Ramirez rocks backwards in a very pronounced way in time with the pitcher's front foot landing. Note how his hands follow the pitch up, then down. Note the initial forward lag of the bat head. Note that once his hands move forward, the bat head does not travel back beyond his back foot. Nice, flat loop.

I predict this Ramirez kid will hit a lot of baseballs very hard.