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Article: Twins Being Crushed by Constant Contact

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 10:06 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...onstant-Contact

#2 fairweather

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 06:46 AM

You forgot Deduno. He should be able to help before May, Meyer, Gibson, or Perez are ready.

#3 Winston Smith

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 07:34 AM

I don't think healthy and Rich Harden fit in the same sentence.

#4 nicksaviking

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 07:35 AM

Thank you for this post. This is the most frustrating part of the the Twins approach. Every other team has realized the most efficient way to get outs is by strikeout. This season and last the Twins have a team K/9 of 5.84 while the Indians are second lowest at 6.85. The Indians are actually closer to a top 10 team in terms of K/9 than they are to the Twins; the gulf is that large.

Even if these guys were limiting hits, having five pitch-to-contact arms is never advisable. The good teams only have one per rotation. Why do they treat the pitching staff this way? They'd never put a lineup together with 9 leadoff hitters.

This team is so set in it's ways it fails to adapt to the changing tides in this league. This is a multi-billion dollar industry and leaders like Ryan and Gardenhire belittle the one guy in the organization who deals in statistics. This "old school" way of managing a baseball team is crap. You now have these many tools to evaluate players, USE THEM. I don't know when stubborness became a positive attribute. Adapt or die.

#5 sorney

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 07:47 AM

Thank you for this post. This is the most frustrating part of the the Twins approach. Every other team has realized the most efficient way to get outs is by strikeout. This season and last the Twins have a team K/9 of 5.84 while the Indians are second lowest at 6.85. The Indians are actually closer to a top 10 team in terms of K/9 than they are to the Twins; the gulf is that large.

Even if these guys were limiting hits, having five pitch-to-contact arms is never advisable. The good teams only have one per rotation. Why do they treat the pitching staff this way? They'd never put a lineup together with 9 leadoff hitters.

This team is so set in it's ways it fails to adapt to the changing tides in this league. This is a multi-billion dollar industry and leaders like Ryan and Gardenhire belittle the one guy in the organization who deals in statistics. This "old school" way of managing a baseball team is crap. You now have these many tools to evaluate players, USE THEM. I don't know when stubborness became a positive attribute. Adapt or die.



Agree times 100000!!!

#6 Nick Nelson

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 08:11 AM

You forgot Deduno. He should be able to help before May, Meyer, Gibson, or Perez are ready.


You're right, I meant to mention him as well. Another guy who has a chance to break that mold a little bit, which is why I'd like to see him added to the mix ASAP.

#7 DK

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 08:14 AM

What is the Harden situation as of now?

#8 mike wants wins

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 08:48 AM

I don't think they are opposed to strikeouts, I just think they've done a terrible job of acquiring and devloping arms since they drafted Garza, Baker, Slowey. Hopefully that is about to change.
Lighten up Francis....

#9 nicksaviking

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 09:03 AM

I don't think they are opposed to strikeouts, I just think they've done a terrible job of acquiring and devloping arms since they drafted Garza, Baker, Slowey. Hopefully that is about to change.


I think they are opposed to A) the percieved risky price tag of strikeouts on the free agent market, B) the risk associated with young arms with a lot of torque which happens to generate strikeouts and C) the idea that young strikeout pitchers tend to allow too many walks.

This team is just too frightened of risk.

I think they are gradually getting away from B), likely because they've now realized all pitchers can get hurt. Still, they need to realize allowing an extra walk a game is better then allowing an extra hit as runners don't move over two bases on a base-on-balls and the runner on 3B doesn't score unless the bases are loaded.

This team is about a decade behind the rest of the league in this facet of the game.

#10 cmathewson

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 09:06 AM

LEN III posted something recently, saying he was surprised that Correia has been able to get through 7 innings a start considering he is not a strikeout pitcher. This reflects a misconception: Strikeout guys struggle to complete more than six innings because Ks require more pitches than the quick outs a sinkerballer can get, when he's on his game.

This points up the reason the Twins prefer contact pitchers. In a word, innings. The two biggest strikeout pitchers in Twins history--Blyleven and Santana--tended to hit 100 pitches after six innings. Bert pitched before pitch counts and was an absolute horse. But Santana lived within pitch counts, and only rarely pitched into the eighth inning. Six innings was common for him. And he is exceptional in his own right. His combination of high Ks and low walks is almost unheard of in the game.

Guys who have strikeout stuff but don't have Santana's control struggle to get through five innings, especially when they are developing. Because everyone wants strikeout pitchers, they are really expensive. Strikeouts are like home runs, they're expensive. So you can only really afford to have K pitchers when they are developing. Getting more than five innings out of a developing K pitcher is rare.

If you have more than a couple of guys in your rotation who only give you five innings on a regular basis, and then you have a short start every other time through the rotation or so, you need 13 pitchers. That is a huge cost for the love of strikeouts.

The Twins prefer to have guys who get quick outs and have a chance to get you into the eighth inning regularly. Then you bring in the strikeout guys to shut the door. Good contact pitchers are also rare, which is why we end up with the likes of Blackburn and Correia. But it makes sense to me to develop better contact pitchers. Not to abandon the philosophy of contact pitchers.

I hope Gibson is the kind of contact pitcher we need. We could have the luxury of a strikeout pitcher with good control in Meyer for a while. And if he turns out to be that guy, we should find a way to keep him long term. May looks more like the prototypical strikeout pitcher, one who will pitch five innings with six Ks and four BBs.
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#11 jay

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 09:11 AM

Guys, GUYS...

The Twins don't pitch-to-contact anymore, remember? So says Rick Anderson.

#12 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 09:26 AM

LEN III posted something recently, saying he was surprised that Correia has been able to get through 7 innings a start considering he is not a strikeout pitcher. This reflects a misconception: Strikeout guys struggle to complete more than six innings because Ks require more pitches than the quick outs a sinkerballer can get, when he's on his game.

This points up the reason the Twins prefer contact pitchers. In a word, innings. The two biggest strikeout pitchers in Twins history--Blyleven and Santana--tended to hit 100 pitches after six innings. Bert pitched before pitch counts and was an absolute horse. But Santana lived within pitch counts, and only rarely pitched into the eighth inning. Six innings was common for him. And he is exceptional in his own right. His combination of high Ks and low walks is almost unheard of in the game.

Guys who have strikeout stuff but don't have Santana's control struggle to get through five innings, especially when they are developing. Because everyone wants strikeout pitchers, they are really expensive. Strikeouts are like home runs, they're expensive. So you can only really afford to have K pitchers when they are developing. Getting more than five innings out of a developing K pitcher is rare.

If you have more than a couple of guys in your rotation who only give you five innings on a regular basis, and then you have a short start every other time through the rotation or so, you need 13 pitchers. That is a huge cost for the love of strikeouts.

The Twins prefer to have guys who get quick outs and have a chance to get you into the eighth inning regularly. Then you bring in the strikeout guys to shut the door. Good contact pitchers are also rare, which is why we end up with the likes of Blackburn and Correia. But it makes sense to me to develop better contact pitchers. Not to abandon the philosophy of contact pitchers.

I hope Gibson is the kind of contact pitcher we need. We could have the luxury of a strikeout pitcher with good control in Meyer for a while. And if he turns out to be that guy, we should find a way to keep him long term. May looks more like the prototypical strikeout pitcher, one who will pitch five innings with six Ks and four BBs.

I'm going to need to see some evidence before I accept any of this. In fact, I'm pretty skeptical of your theory that strikeout pitchers pitch fewer innings than guys who don't strike anyone out.

#13 cmathewson

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 09:45 AM

I'm going to need to see some evidence before I accept any of this. In fact, I'm pretty skeptical of your theory that strikeout pitchers pitch fewer innings than guys who don't strike anyone out.


There's that word again. Evidence. What counts as evidence for you? Just stats? How about inductive reasoning from stats? How about quotes from the coaches? How about observations? Stats only provide you with a limited view of reality. If you're going to limit the discussion to stats, you're going to be disappointed with a lot of what I write. I don't have any control over whether you accept what I write or not. Give me a counter argument and I can work with you.

My theory is you have to be able to get quick outs to get into the eighth regularly. If you strike everybody out, you're going to average around 15 pitches in inning. That's seven innings, assuming no hits and no walks. Best case scenario, you go seven, with today's pitch counts.

The best pitchers pitch to contact and can strike people out when they need to. Verlander comes to mind. He throws sinkers in the low 90s early in the game. When he gets into trouble, he breaks out the high 90s four seamer and the curve. That's why he leads the league in innings every year. He primarily pitches to contact and only tries to strike people out when he gets guys on base.

Then again, Verlander is a rare bird. Teams are lucky to have one such pitcher on their staff. Most staffs have a lot of middling pitchers. If you have those guys, what do you emphasize? I would emphasize getting quick outs if they can. It saves the bullpen and gives you a better chance to win.
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#14 sorney

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 09:56 AM

Re: K rate and innings pitched:

The internet rules....
2013 MLB Baseball Pitching Statistics and League Leaders - Major League Baseball - ESPN
2013 MLB Baseball Pitching Statistics and League Leaders - Major League Baseball - ESPN

The data is available to interpret as you wish

#15 nicksaviking

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:01 AM

There's that word again. Evidence. What counts as evidence for you? Just stats? How about inductive reasoning from stats? How about quotes from the coaches? How about observations? Stats only provide you with a limited view of reality. If you're going to limit the discussion to stats, you're going to be disappointed with a lot of what I write. I don't have any control over whether you accept what I write or not. Give me a counter argument and I can work with you.


Do we have to listen only to the Twins coaches? Because the other 29 teams seem to favor strikeout pitchers. My inductive reasoning tells me the more balls that are put in play means more opportunity for runners moving over on routine outs, sac flies, errors, seeing-eye-singles, Texas Leaguers, Steve Bartmans, Delmon Young pirouette triples and Jose Conseco-head-homers. All those are taken out of the equation if the ball hits the catchers mitt.

#16 drivlikejehu

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:10 AM

Last season, 31 pitchers threw 200+ innings. Of those, 5 had a strikeout rate under 6 per 9 IP.

It takes more pitches to get through an inning when the opposition keeps getting hits.

Everyone in baseball knows you want pitchers who actually have good stuff. Why the Twins are so devoid of such pitchers is another issue.

#17 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:16 AM

Last season, 31 pitchers threw 200+ innings. Of those, 5 had a strikeout rate under 6 per 9 IP.

It takes more pitches to get through an inning when the opposition keeps getting hits.

Everyone in baseball knows you want pitchers who actually have good stuff. Why the Twins are so devoid of such pitchers is another issue.

This would count as evidence to me, CMat.

#18 ThePuck

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:25 AM

Santana lived within pitch counts, and only rarely pitched into the eighth inning. Six innings was common for him.


'Santana lived within pitch counts, and only rarely pitched into the eighth inning.'

Santana became a full time starter for us in 2004. From 2004-2007, Santana pitched into the 8th inning 36 times between. That's more than 1/4 of his starts. So that's not 'rarely'

'Six innings was common for him.'

In 2004, he had 25 games where he pitched into the 7th inning. 22 games where he went 7 inning or more.

In 2005, he had 24 games where he pitched into the 7th inning. 22 games where he went 7 innings or more.

In 2006, he had 26 games where he pitched into the 7th inning. 24 games where he went 7 innings or more.

In 2007, he had 20 games where he went 7 innings or more.

How was 6 innings common for him?

#19 Boom Boom

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:30 AM

The best pitchers pitch to contact and can strike people out when they need to. Verlander comes to mind. He throws sinkers in the low 90s early in the game. When he gets into trouble, he breaks out the high 90s four seamer and the curve. That's why he leads the league in innings every year. He primarily pitches to contact and only tries to strike people out when he gets guys on base.

Then again, Verlander is a rare bird. Teams are lucky to have one such pitcher on their staff. Most staffs have a lot of middling pitchers. If you have those guys, what do you emphasize? I would emphasize getting quick outs if they can. It saves the bullpen and gives you a better chance to win.


Strikeout pitchers CAN get quick outs. It's much easier for a strikeout pitcher to pitch to contact than for a contact pitcher to blow somebody away.

#20 kab21

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:34 AM

Thank you for this post. This is the most frustrating part of the the Twins approach. Every other team has realized the most efficient way to get outs is by strikeout. This season and last the Twins have a team K/9 of 5.84 while the Indians are second lowest at 6.85. The Indians are actually closer to a top 10 team in terms of K/9 than they are to the Twins; the gulf is that large.


it's even worse than that. Starters have a K/9 of 3.76. RP'ers check in at a still unimpressive 6.89.

I think there has been a shift in philosophy recently. Meyer, May and Berrios were added in the last year and they all have strikeout stuff but it will take awhile for this to pay off.

#21 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:35 AM

How was 6 innings common for him?

Inductive reasoning?

#22 Nick Nelson

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:42 AM

I'm not sure why Cmat is getting so much flack for what is a pretty straightforward and logical statement. The idea behind pitching to contact is very much aimed toward efficiency and lasting deeper into games. I remember Carlos Silva once pitched a complete game on 60-some pitches, and that was during a 2005 season in which he was in the zone.

The problem (and I don't think I've seen Cmat deny this) is that pitchers who can't strike many hitters out tend to not be very good, or they're prone to extended slumps, so poor results prevent them reaching the seventh rather than pitch counts. As a case in point, outside of Correia's three outings, how many times has a Twins starter completed six innings this year? That's not because they've been reaching 100 pitches too early...

#23 kab21

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:44 AM

This whole strikeout pitcher and pitch count issue has gone a little too far. Imo this is true of guys with high K and BB rates. These guys tend to extend AB's to a lot of full counts and because they are walking batters they also face more batters/inning.

#24 cmathewson

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:49 AM

Given the choice, I'm sure the Twins would love to have a staff full of Harveys. If memory serves, he was the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft. That year, we drafted in the late 20s, as we have for most of the last decade. There just aren't a lot of pitchers with the kind of stuff to get a high K rate available when we draft. Shooter Hunt does not count.

Point is, we can rail against the team's lack of K pitchers. But true K pitchers who don't also have high BB rates are actually really rare, and difficult to acquire. To get a sense of the value of them, look at the Span trade. Given the pitchers who we do have an opportunity to get, it makes sense to me to not have them try to strike everybody out. 'Cause they will fail at it.

Of course guys with high K rates eat a lot of innings. Those are the best pitchers. They just are not that easy to acquire. And when you get them, they are expensive to keep. Given what you can get, I don't think pitch to contact is a bad philosophy. The Twins are not the only team in the league to adopt it.
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#25 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:56 AM

I'm not sure why Cmat is getting so much flack for what is a pretty straightforward and logical statement. The idea behind pitching to contact is very much aimed toward efficiency and lasting deeper into games. I remember Carlos Silva once pitched a complete game on 60-some pitches, and that was during a 2005 season in which he was in the zone.

The problem (and I don't think I've seen Cmat deny this) is that pitchers who can't strike many hitters out tend to not be very good, or they're prone to extended slumps, so poor results prevent them reaching the seventh rather than pitch counts. As a case in point, outside of Correia's three outings, how many times has a Twins starter completed six innings this year? That's not because they've been reaching 100 pitches too early...

If "the idea" matched reality, you'd routinely see low K guys toward the top of the league in IP, no? The idea itself is flawed. BTW, it was 74 pitches in that game for Silva, not that it matters. For the record, though, even in that season where he was "in the zone" Silva put up 188 IP.

#26 jay

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:01 AM

What counts as evidence for you? Just stats? How about inductive reasoning from stats? How about quotes from the coaches? How about observations?


An observation is nothing more than a possible conclusion your mind has reached based on the quantitative things you've experienced and suffers from a lot of perception errors (sample size, confirmation bias, etc). When you make an "observation" after you've seen something 10 times out of 20... you could word that a little differently to call it a stat, just a very inaccurate one.

Now, being too lazy to back up your claims is a whole different issue.

#27 ThePuck

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:02 AM

Given the choice, I'm sure the Twins would love to have a staff full of Harveys. If memory serves, he was the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft. That year, we drafted in the late 20s, as we have for most of the last decade. There just aren't a lot of pitchers with the kind of stuff to get a high K rate available when we draft.


Well, we drafted 2nd last year, and still didn't get that type of pitcher...how much higher of a draft pick do we need to have?

#28 jay

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:03 AM

Now, being too lazy to back up your claims is a whole different issue.


That reads harsher than I intended. Not referring directly to you with that, cmathewson.

#29 Nick Nelson

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:06 AM

If "the idea" matched reality, you'd routinely see low K guys toward the top of the league in IP, no? The idea itself is flawed. BTW, it was 74 pitches in that game for Silva, not that it matters. For the record, though, even in that season where he was "in the zone" Silva put up 188 IP.


No, because the best pitchers are the ones who rack up the most innings and typically those are the guys who are able to throw the ball past opposing hitters while also limiting walks. Those kinds of pitchers are clearly the most desirable but they're also incredibly hard to get. Cmat is framing this as contact pitchers vs. high-K/high-BB pitchers, which is more relevant because then we're talking about players that might be realistically available to the Twins.

Also, Silva threw 188 innings in 27 starts in 2005, meaning he averaged 7IP/start. He also topped 200 innings in '04 and '07.

#30 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:09 AM

Given the choice, I'm sure the Twins would love to have a staff full of Harveys. If memory serves, he was the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft. That year, we drafted in the late 20s, as we have for most of the last decade. There just aren't a lot of pitchers with the kind of stuff to get a high K rate available when we draft. Shooter Hunt does not count.

Point is, we can rail against the team's lack of K pitchers. But true K pitchers who don't also have high BB rates are actually really rare, and difficult to acquire. To get a sense of the value of them, look at the Span trade. Given the pitchers who we do have an opportunity to get, it makes sense to me to not have them try to strike everybody out. 'Cause they will fail at it.

Of course guys with high K rates eat a lot of innings. Those are the best pitchers. They just are not that easy to acquire. And when you get them, they are expensive to keep. Given what you can get, I don't think pitch to contact is a bad philosophy. The Twins are not the only team in the league to adopt it.

Of the AL top ten in IP in 2012, only two (Verlander and Price) were drafted ahead of where the Twins would have had a chance at them. Two were FA's (Hernandez and Kuroda), the other six were drafted in the 2nd round or later.