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Article: Five things to watch as you watch this April

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:38 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...atch-this-April

#2 Shane Wahl

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 11:57 PM

1. and 2. are very interesting. I knew next to nothing about either of those two things aside from Blackburn moving on the rubber. Not that he is a crucial element of the team, but is there any difference between Matt Maloney's delivery with the Reds and what it is this spring? I was thinking in particular about his weight loss and if that instigated a change in his delivery. If there is some significant change, maybe there is something to these spring numbers. That should be probably number 14 or so on your list, but I am curious.

#3 Parker Hageman

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:14 AM

I've got some video footage of his outing against the Pirates last week that I could compare to his Reds delivery. Just reflecting back on the game, I'd wager there isn't a delivery change as he threw from the stretch throughout the duration of the game - even when the bases were empty - but I'll give it a comparison to see if anything's been altered.

#4 gunnarthor

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:07 AM

If Blackburn could give the Twins 30+ starts, 200+ innings and manage a 100 ERA+ or so, that would be a huge asset to our bullpen.

#5 Parker Hageman

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:55 AM

Blackburn's ability to rebound and contribute will be crucial to the team's ability to turn things around. Alleviating a suspect bullpen will be one way he can add value to this rotation.

#6 raindog

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:22 AM

Wow, very interesting stuff. Thanks for the in depth analysis.

#7 Kirsten Brown

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:30 AM

I think I need a shirt that says "I'm a Genuine Hipster Seamhead." Good stuff, Parker.

#8 Paul

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:59 AM

Nice article Parker. It makes sense that a more over the top slot for Blackburn would help him. The higher you go the better the slider becomes. The high slot helps to keep the slider from flattening out but, it makes getting sink on the 2-seamer trickier. The fact he has gone to the higher slot seems, to me, to indicate he is very confident in his sinker now. This bodes well. I hope you're right about Casilla. There's a tremendous ceiling there. You can just see his mind go a million MPH when he struggles. He loses focus and then everything seems to snowball.

#9 peterb18

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:08 PM

Was visiting with a couple of ex-gopher baseball players (both were captains in different eras) and they both thought that one of Baker's problems is walking around too much between pitches. Wanders too much--this causes a loss of focus. This ,of course, is based upon a healthy Baker. When healthy he has a very live arm. Blackburn's problems have always been the lack of secondary pitch. His breaking ball was so flat--we used to call it a "nickel" curve. Ever notice that most great pitchers(or strikeout pitchers) have a breaking ball that has an extreme downward break--like Sandy Kofax, or Camilo Pascual. Like Bert says--drop the breaking ball into the dirt.

#10 Montecore

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:06 AM

Nice article Parker.

It makes sense that a more over the top slot for Blackburn would help him. The higher you go the better the slider becomes. The high slot helps to keep the slider from flattening out but, it makes getting sink on the 2-seamer trickier. The fact he has gone to the higher slot seems, to me, to indicate he is very confident in his sinker now. This bodes well.

I hope you're right about Casilla. There's a tremendous ceiling there. You can just see his mind go a million MPH when he struggles. He loses focus and then everything seems to snowball.



Like Lexi, would really like to see him be terrific this year. It could spark the team in very surprising ways.

#11 jorgenswest

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:16 AM

Great insight.

I will also watch for...

Glen Perkins velocity

Last year in the relief role his fastball was up 2 mph. He always virtually abandoned a change up and curve and threw the slider about 30% of the time. The relief role is given credit for giving his career a new life, but the slider he started throwing at a greater rate in 2010 gave him an out pitch. A new pitch can sometimes be an elixer. The slider can also lead to arm trouble and he experienced some trouble in the second half of the season. Is he healthy? Will he continue to throw 94? Will he continue with a slider at the 2011 rate?
Right Field Playing Time

Who gets the playing time? Doumit, Plouffe, Parmelee and Revere are all flawed defensive right fielders. Will any step forward and take that position? How will Gardenhire manage the position? From the outside, it seems the perfect opportunity to platoon Plouffe against all lefties. Is that what we will see in April?