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"Attacking the ball" on defense

defense dozier escobar florimon plouffe
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#1 stringer bell

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 05:44 PM

DickBert commented several times that Florimon was "attacking the ball" on grounders to the left side. Also, a topic of conversation was that Dozier was better at second because he could wait back, inferring that shortstops couldn't effectively wait for extra hops. I happen to believe this is true in Dozier's case because he doesn't have a gun like Florimon and Escobar.

Also, in the strib gamer for today, it was indicated that Plouffe also wasn't attacking the ball at third and that apparently was a reason he wasn't in the starting lineup. Gardyspeak, or is there something to this?

#2 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 06:14 PM

I'm not really sure how a third baseman would "attack the ball" in most situations but the other night when I was at the game, Plouffe backed up and stabbed at a ball instead of getting in front of it. He made the play but it was pretty ugly looking and could have easily bounced into left.

#3 glunn

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 06:21 PM

I wish that Plouffe could be punished when the Twins are facing a right handed starter, instead of a lefty.

#4 Seth Stohs

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 06:34 PM

The "attacking the ball" on defense thing is a cliche. However, all cliches become cliches because they tend to be true. In my time, I played primarily SS and 3B. Very different positions. At SS, if you have the arm, you can sit back a little more, but not all the time. Obviously this depends on the batter/runner.

We hear so much about 3B being a reactionary position, and it is. The reasoning goes beyond the obvious (that rocket-shots get hit at the 3B). It also is because they have to make the decision of whether to charge or sit back, backhand or get in ftont, etc., much quicker.

Attacking the ball often refers to hops. It's obviously best to get a big hop or a short hop, and often you hear about a player not attacking the ball when he didn't charge fast enough to get a short hop and was eaten up on a between-hop.

#5 Thrylos

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 08:15 PM

I wish that Plouffe could be punished when the Twins are facing a right handed starter, instead of a lefty.


+1
Didn't hurt them tonight either, but the concept is ridiculous to begin. Would love to see some video of Gardy "attacking the ball" as a Met in the early 80s, but 45 errors in 230 games would tell me that despite his attack, the ball won.
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#6 Seth Stohs

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 08:37 PM

+1
Didn't hurt them tonight either, but the concept is ridiculous to begin. Would love to see some video of Gardy "attacking the ball" as a Met in the early 80s, but 45 errors in 230 games would tell me that despite his attack, the ball won.


The best managers were not necessarily the best players... to paraphrase a phrase, "those who can, play. Those who can't... coach."

#7 gunnarthor

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 08:49 AM

I'm ok with Plouffe get benched last night. According to the strip, the team was concerned that the Rangers would be pulling shots off our LH starter. And it's not like Plouffe is hitting that well anyway. I'm not sure how much longer the team can use him at third. He might end up being part of a platoon down the road.

#8 TheLeviathan

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 01:06 PM

Plouffe out again too. Methinks some of the aggressively optimistic predictions on him are going to fizzle. I always had major doubts about him staying as a regular, but it was more for his offense than his defense. Not that his offense has been much better.

#9 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 02:03 PM

Attacking the ball often refers to hops.

Yup. When possible, a good SS reads the ball off the bat and tries to pick the hop he's going to field. Obviously you can't always do that, but when possible, that's the idea, and it's generally best to be moving forward, toward the infield, when you field the ball. Getting yourself into that position is the trick. 2nd basemen can do that as well, but it's difficult for third baseman because you have much less space to work with between you and the hitter. The ball gets on you much faster, and it's much more difficult to try to pick a hop. Same for first base.

#10 Jim H

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 02:30 PM

I am not going to comment on the "coachspeak" but Gardy does like to go with the hot hand. With all 4 middle infielders playing well, and Escobar playing exceptionally well, he is looking for ways to play them all, more often. Escobar will find his way into the lineup pretty often till his bat cools. He may even get a start in centerfield.

As for Plouffe, he will keep getting more chances at 3rd. The Twins won't want to play either of Escobar or Carroll there full time, unless they really have no choice. Plouffe is really the only viable 3rd baseman above single A ball and nobody is sure Sano or Harrison can stay at 3rd. Plouffe has the skills for a above average 3rd baseman, it mostly a matter of fundamentals and consistency. He also has the power you look for in a 3rd baseman.


Plouffe may not be able to field or hit well enough to be full time 3rd baseman but the Twins will likely give him enough time at 3rd to be sure of that.

#11 TheLeviathan

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 03:12 PM

Plouffe may not be able to field or hit well enough to be full time 3rd baseman but the Twins will likely give him enough time at 3rd to be sure of that.


Given what has happened the last two days I'm not so sure. It's easy to say Plouffe will get time as they get sick of playing Carrol/Escobar but the truth is Plouffe is doing nothing that warrants keeping that job - upside or not.

#12 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 03:23 PM

Plouffe may not be able to field or hit well enough to be full time 3rd baseman but the Twins will likely give him enough time at 3rd to be sure of that.

I agree. There's really not much of a choice to make. They'd be stupid to install Carroll there, and Escobar doesn't profile as a major league third baseman.

#13 stringer bell

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 04:04 PM

I see this as a trip to the doghouse for Plouffe. Either in the field, or more likely at the plate, he I going to have to perform well to get out. Certainly, he will get more chances, but he will see some pine time until he plays better in the estimation of Gardy and the coaches.

#14 Thrylos

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 04:24 PM

I see this as a trip to the doghouse for Plouffe. Either in the field, or more likely at the plate, he I going to have to perform well to get out. Certainly, he will get more chances, but he will see some pine time until he plays better in the estimation of Gardy and the coaches.



Yeah, this is probably what is going on.

Despite the fact that Plouffe has been about as good as everyone with the bat as far as starters go, other than Mauer and Willingham. His 97 OPS plus before today was 3rd on the team. (4th if you count Escobar.)
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#15 Shane Wahl

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 06:20 PM

The "attacking the ball" on defense thing is a cliche. However, all cliches become cliches because they tend to be true. In my time, I played primarily SS and 3B. Very different positions. At SS, if you have the arm, you can sit back a little more, but not all the time. Obviously this depends on the batter/runner.

We hear so much about 3B being a reactionary position, and it is. The reasoning goes beyond the obvious (that rocket-shots get hit at the 3B). It also is because they have to make the decision of whether to charge or sit back, backhand or get in ftont, etc., much quicker.

Attacking the ball often refers to hops. It's obviously best to get a big hop or a short hop, and often you hear about a player not attacking the ball when he didn't charge fast enough to get a short hop and was eaten up on a between-hop.


This is absolutely correct. Spot on in every way. And there was one game where, at third, I sat back for two innings in a row (and the only thing that was good about me and baseball at that point WAS my defense at third in particular) and I ended up getting handcuffed by hops to up to about my belly, which is bad if you are staying down the whole time. My coach instructed me on what I was doing while I was in the on deck circle before the next inning started. He didn't bench me, he just pointed out what I was doing wrong.

He also didn't complain about me to the local newspaper either.

#16 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 12:34 PM

This is absolutely correct. Spot on in every way. And there was one game where, at third, I sat back for two innings in a row (and the only thing that was good about me and baseball at that point WAS my defense at third in particular) and I ended up getting handcuffed by hops to up to about my belly, which is bad if you are staying down the whole time. My coach instructed me on what I was doing while I was in the on deck circle before the next inning started. He didn't bench me, he just pointed out what I was doing wrong.

He also didn't complain about me to the local newspaper either.


I'm glad that approach worked for you, and I am not necessarily jumping to Gardenhire's defense, but just two thoughts:

1) We have no info as to whether this is something they've already worked with him on behind the scenes to get him to improve, and for whatever reason he just hasn't responded. If there is some concern about his work ethic (just speculation) and he hasn't responded to coaching, pointing that out to the press when asked about it is not completely out of line.

2) I'm guessing you weren't being paid half a mil per season to play - for that kind of cash, the tolerance for lack of improvement is understandably less.

#17 Steve Lein

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 12:52 PM

To me, when a player is lacking some confidence defensively, "sitting back" or "not attacking the ball" tends to creep in - this has been my experience playing all over the diamond. Third base is probably also where this is most commonly manifested due to the reasons mentioned above. I'd bet this is going on with Plouffe. Hopefully just needs to put in some extra work to take care of it.

All I know is on a chopper you don't want to let that second bounce happen if you can, or try your best to have it hit the ground as close to your glove as possible. It will skip or do some other crazy bounce due to the physics, almost never will it be a nice candy hop - which is what a player is looking for when they're "sitting back."

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#18 J-Dog Dungan

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 01:05 PM

As a baseball player myself, attacking the ball means that you charge the ball and take it on the hop that you want, not the hop that the ball chooses for you.

#19 Riverbrian

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 01:39 PM

As a baseball player myself, attacking the ball means that you charge the ball and take it on the hop that you want, not the hop that the ball chooses for you.


Seth, You and others have summed it up perfectly... It's a tried and true method of fielding a baseball... Play the ball... Don't let the ball play you.

It's a stupid little sentence that means a lot.



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