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Twins Pitching Philosophy

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 10:32 AM

Pavano on the mound yesterday sparked some debate about this, but it's worth it's own thread. The common criticism is that the Twins don't care enough about strikeouts and power, opting instead for control and low walk rates. This runs counter to sabrmetric studies that suggest the one of the most effective way to keep runners off base is to keep them from putting the ball in play. I might counter with this: it's not like one can go out and buy flamethrowers off the shelves at Cub (especially not at a discount). There is nothing revolutionary about saying "Guys who strike guys out are very good." Every team wants those guys. They want them in free agency, and they want them in trades and they want them in the draft. It's hard to compete for those guys when a team: a) played with a fairly low payroll for most of the last decade B) was adamant about sticking to the "slot" amount in the draft and c) was successful enough to consistently get lower picks in the draft d) and, let's face it, has dealt with some injuries to some high upside pitchers. Rather than compete in a crowded market, they've looked for a market inefficiency and that is control. And for the most part it has worked. They've had enough starting pitching to keep them competitive and enough bullpen arms to consistently give them an advantage over most of the last decade. But a decade of success is catching up with them and things are getting even leaner. Am I wrong?

#2 Seth Stohs

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 10:41 AM

I would argue that in recent drafts, the Twins have attempted to add a lot of power arms. They certainly seem to have a higher injury risk (although I could be proven wrong). I think pitchers can be successful throwing 89-91, but when Pavano was throwing 84-86, it won't work because all it takes is a pitch not moving like you'd hope for it to be crushed. I love 'pitch to contact' in theory, when it is just saying "throw strikes and don't worry about strikeouts. It also has to mean that you have to play good defense. The Twins won for so long because of pitch to contact and great defense.

#3 Thrylos

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 10:47 AM

I don't know whether you are wrong or not but the Twins: a. Tried to make strikeout pitchers pitch to contact pitchers at every level of the organization (for recent examples look at Liriano at the MLB level and Slowey -check his k/9 before he met Andy) and prey to the devine 2-seamer that supposely induces ground balls (I do not know a single pitcher in the organization who does not throw it...) Problem with the 2-seamer is that often it low and away and it takes a while to command. Now I am thinking about it, I wonder whether the yips that several prospects have exhibited are because of the 2-seamer... And if you don't have above average IF defense, that is a problem. b. They get rid of their strikeout pitchers even when they don't have to, while sign pitch to contact guys long term. Compare and contrast the treatment of Liriano and Garza with that of Blackburn and Pavano. Pitch to contact guys are ok for your 3rd starters down, but you got to have at least a couple starters on your staff who miss bats, unless you want to live in mediocrity like the Twins have since after 1991. Also, pitching to contact in the pen is a fairly deleterious recipe (esp if contact is made on straight mid 80s FBs down the middle). And the Twins have been poisoned last season with it... This season? We'll see...
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#4 Nick Nelson

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:34 AM

I don't know whether you are wrong or not but the Twins:

a. Tried to make strikeout pitchers pitch to contact pitchers at every level of the organization (for recent examples look at Liriano at the MLB level and Slowey -check his k/9 before he met Andy)

I think this is an exaggerated myth. Slowey's K-rate dropped because his stuff wasn't good enough to fool big-league batters -- I don't think that had much with his coaching instruction. Liriano's K-rate dropped from 10 K/9 in the minors to 9 K/9 in the majors -- that's a pretty typical transition, esp with the injury problems.

The Twins definitely seek out pitch-to-contact types, but the idea that they are always trying to reinvent strikeout pitchers is overblown.

#5 silverslugger

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:10 PM

I agree with John that they may have been able to take advantage of an inefficiency in the market over the past decade. If so, it's quite possible that said inefficiency doesn't exist anymore since in professional sports immitation is the highest form of flattery. They have attempted to draft power arms more recently and have had horrible luck as witnessed by a few of the minor league releases this spring. I have read or heard about how the Rays have done an excellent job of developing power arms and keeping those arms healthy. Anybody got any further information on their success and how the Twins might try to imitate the Rays success?

#6 Thrylos

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:24 PM

Liriano's K-rate dropped from 10 K/9 in the minors to 9 K/9 in the majors -- that's a pretty typical transition, esp with the injury problems.


I think that if you look back to quotes from Andy and Gardy around ST 2011 and throughout the 2011 season, you will remember them saying that they wanted Liriano to pitch to contact and generate quicker outs. Plus they asked him to start throwing the 2-seamer (which he did not throw before.) All in all I blame Andy and Gardy to a large degree for messing up Liriano's 2011...
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#7 powrwrap

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:33 PM

"Guys who strike guys out are very good." Every team wants those guys. They want them in free agency, and they want them in trades and they want them in the draft.

Am I wrong?


I don't think the Twins want those guys. They tried Jim Hoey and that didn't work out. That probably tainted their view of power arms. They traded Billy Bullock, a big, hard throwing 2nd round pick to the Braves a year ago for Scott Diamond. Diamond is yet another 89-91 mph back of the rotation guy that the Twins were inexplicably enamored with. They had Matt Garza and they traded him. They signed Jason Marquis. Didn't they alter Carlos Gutierrez' style from power pitching to control pitcher? For years the "Twins Way" was to pitch to contact (it still is) and they had this view from the bottom up. Remember minor league pitching coach Rick Knapp? He was all about pitching to contact and keeping walks down. Their recent draft picks are not overpowering pitchers.

I think you are right that they've overworked that avenue of success.
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#8 Nick Nelson

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:47 PM

I think that if you look back to quotes from Andy and Gardy around ST 2011 and throughout the 2011 season, you will remember them saying that they wanted Liriano to pitch to contact and generate quicker outs. Plus they asked him to start throwing the 2-seamer (which he did not throw before.) All in all I blame Andy and Gardy to a large degree for messing up Liriano's 2011...

This seems to be a popular sentiment, and IMO it's utterly ridiculous. Liriano showed up to camp out of shape and unable to throw strikes. The coaches starting asking him to "pitch to contact" as in "throw strikes early in the count," which is a perfectly reasonable request given that he was overthrowing erratically. It's not like you were hearing all this pitch to contact stuff being applied to Liriano in 2010 when he was striking people out and pitching effectively.

As much as Liriano wanted to blame others last year (and apparently he succeeded in getting people to buy into it), his problems were his own. If you can't throw the ball over the plate, it's on you, and that was the case for Frankie basically all year.

#9 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:51 PM

It's hard to compete for those guys when:

1. Your payroll issues are at least partially self-imposed.

2. You squander a good chunk of your self-imposed payroll limitations on tossing $16.5M at a Carl Pavano, and in the process cost yourself a high draft pick. By comparison, Yu Darvish is being paid $5.5M in 2012, and will average less than $10M per season thru 2017. I realize the Rangers had to pay a lot for his rights, but we were told we can't use Nishioka's signing rights fees when we claimed signing Nishioka wasn't much cheaper than signing Hardy.

3. You make choices such as trading arms like Bullock for Diamond

I agree that it's not as easy as snapping your fingers to acquire guys who throw hard. I agree the Twins face some limiting factors. But one of the biggest limiting factors is their own philosophy. I might be in the minority, but I'd like to see a couple things change:

a. I don't expect the Pohlad brothers to consistently lose a ton of money on yearly operations. I do expect them to push payroll less than 3 yrs into a new stadium deal, after selling out the place 2 years running. Current Forbes estimates have the value of the franchise now around $500M (purchase price, $44M), while generating in excess of $15M operating income at last years payroll level. For that, we get a CUT of $15M this year? Is it too much to ask to expect the Pohlad brothers to operate the team at something approaching break even? The value of the franchise has a paper profit of $450M, and they gotten over $400M from the public for 2 stadiums.

b. Stop wasting money on the Carl Pohlads of the world. If you can't spend it wisely, save it up for a couple years and go get an actual impact player.

c. Draft, trade, and sign FAs with the goal of finding impact players, rather than finding the next 4.50 ERA innings eater. You can get Jason Marquis in FA every year, there's no need to try to develop your own.

d. Realize that drafting a Ben Revere in the first round, just because you're sure you can sign him cheaply, is penny wise and pound foolish.

#10 Highabove

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:45 PM


In Ben Goessling's article, Espn lead writer Keith Law opines on the Twins pitching philosophy.

"They built their rotations - they still do build their rotations, to a large degree - around strike-throwers who don't have big stuff. Those guys can get you through a regular season, and you can do pretty well. But when you go up in the postseason against a deep, patient lineup, those lineups chew those pitchers up and spit them out.
It's, You can't miss my bat, so I'm just going to wait you out, and eventually, you're going to leave something over the plate that I can drive."

Will this also apply to the power lineups that the Twins will be facing during the regular Season? Detroit and others???

Edited by Highabove, 08 April 2012 - 02:51 PM.


#11 VodkaDave

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:57 PM

I think this is an exaggerated myth. Slowey's K-rate dropped because his stuff wasn't good enough to fool big-league batters -- I don't think that had much with his coaching instruction. Liriano's K-rate dropped from 10 K/9 in the minors to 9 K/9 in the majors -- that's a pretty typical transition, esp with the injury problems.

The Twins definitely seek out pitch-to-contact types, but the idea that they are always trying to reinvent strikeout pitchers is overblown.


+1. People got up in arms when the Twins asked Liriano to pitch more to contact last year, but in all reality that is the right advice to give to a guy who is walking 5+ guys a game and throwing 100+ pitches by the 6th inning.

I have a hard time blaming Gardy/Anderson for the lack of strike out pitchers on the staff, if you want power arms you gotta go out and trade for them (or not trade them away in Garza's case), draft them or sign them in free agency.

#12 twinstalker

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:20 PM

Most of these replies fit with what I was going to say, so I'll omit my Bullock for Diamond comment. Sure it looks bad now, but where was everyone when the trade was made? Oh! That's right! We all knew it was a stupid trade then. Which leads me to my point: The Twins have done way too many stupid things through the years to deserve to win anything. What really happened was they got lucky. They got lucky that a certain group of players (Koskie, AJP, Minky, Hunter) had the right stuff. That at the same time these guys were developing got lucky that tthree draft picks were MVP-caliber. Still they made great decisions on Mauer, Morneau, and then Santana in Rule V...but they got lucky. Most good teams get lucky like this, so it's not a denigration. They also had a great manager in Tom Kelly. When Kelly left, he had them ready to win. Add in the MVP-types, and you get a decade of success in a poor division. But besides getting lucky, an organization has to do smart things all along the way. Gardenhire was a consistently poor manager, Ryan consistently a poor GM, and Smith maybe the worst ever. Ryan has some redeeming qualities...almost exclusively in the scouting and development areas, so if he never makes a major league move, it's an optimization of his abilities. Let's face it. Everything lucky thing happened at the right time...when Cleveland went downhill, and Detroit was floundering, Chisox mediocre, KC just pure sucking. Now Detroit and KC will be strong for years, and the Twins don't have the players, the smarts, and certainly not the manager to really be able to compete on a consistent basis...there might be a lucky year in the next ten. I expect the football Gophers to compete better this decade than the Twins will.

#13 nova_twins

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:23 PM

I think there are a couple different issues at work. First is the idea of pitching to contact, versus refusing to give in. It's a trade-off between extra-base hits and walks. I'm not sure one approach is necessarily better than the other... it just depends on the pitcher and the team around him. The second and more important issue is pitcher quality. If a guy stinks there is no approach that will yield great results. A guy with good stuff can attack the zone and be effective. I think the main reason the Twins lack pitchers with good stuff is their drafting strategy- even after the first few rounds they strongly prefer low-ceiling college guys to raw high schoolers. If you draft enough 18-year olds with a live fastball, some of them will turn into Major League power pitchers. They have obviously drafted high school pitchers over the years, and had disappointments, injuries, etc., but not to the same degree as a lot of clubs. I understand focusing on college pitchers in the first 2 rounds or so, but after that it's really hard to find guys with much upside. Why bother drafting someone with 5th-starter upside? They can get that anywhere. Take a high school pitcher and work with him. Most will flame out but some will add velocity and learn how to pitch.

#14 Montecore

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:39 PM

Most of these replies fit with what I was going to say, so I'll omit my Bullock for Diamond comment. Sure it looks bad now, but where was everyone when the trade was made? Oh! That's right! We all knew it was a stupid trade then. Which leads me to my point:

The Twins have done way too many stupid things through the years to deserve to win anything. What really happened was they got lucky. They got lucky that a certain group of players (Koskie, AJP, Minky, Hunter) had the right stuff. That at the same time these guys were developing got lucky that tthree draft picks were MVP-caliber. Still they made great decisions on Mauer, Morneau, and then Santana in Rule V...but they got lucky. Most good teams get lucky like this, so it's not a denigration. They also had a great manager in Tom Kelly. When Kelly left, he had them ready to win. Add in the MVP-types, and you get a decade of success in a poor division.

But besides getting lucky, an organization has to do smart things all along the way. Gardenhire was a consistently poor manager, Ryan consistently a poor GM, and Smith maybe the worst ever. Ryan has some redeeming qualities...almost exclusively in the scouting and development areas, so if he never makes a major league move, it's an optimization of his abilities.

Let's face it. Everything lucky thing happened at the right time...when Cleveland went downhill, and Detroit was floundering, Chisox mediocre, KC just pure sucking. Now Detroit and KC will be strong for years, and the Twins don't have the players, the smarts, and certainly not the manager to really be able to compete on a consistent basis...there might be a lucky year in the next ten. I expect the football Gophers to compete better this decade than the Twins will.


Correct. They got lucky. Last year their luck ran out. This off-season to address the pitching woes they re-signed Capps and got Marquis. Now, you're playing with bad loaded dice. It's gonna be craps you lose, and snake eyes every time.

#15 Highabove

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:49 PM

At the time of the Diamond trade, there was various criticism on the internet over the trade.

#16 twinstalker

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:54 PM

At the time of the Diamond trade, there was various criticism on the internet over the trade.

Various? Did anybody but the bobos who will always accept anything like it? I think the more knowledgeable among the internetters were pretty much all against it.

#17 Riverbrian

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 04:59 PM

If you can't strike them out... Don't walk them. When those extra base hits happen. They are less damaging without the bases clogged on free passes. Rather elementary. In the End, I'd like to have the Phillies Rotation but if you don't... Don't walk batters. It's not the perfect answer but if it's the best you can do. Do it.

#18 ashburyjohn

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:06 PM

"They built their rotations - they still do build their rotations, to a large degree - around strike-throwers who don't have big stuff. Those guys can get you through a regular season, and you can do pretty well. But when you go up in the postseason against a deep, patient lineup, those lineups chew those pitchers up and spit them out.


I've long felt the same argument applies to your batters, too. Hustle guys like Punto make their mark every now and then during the season, and then when you insert them in the post-season can you be at all surprised if they collect an ofer?

#19 CDog

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:11 AM

A few things that struck me reading this thread... 1) Not trying to strike everyone out is NOT the same as trying not to strike everyone out. I seriously think that should be read several times until it makes sense by some people. More so in the case of Liriano than anyone I can remember for the Twins, this is a key piece of what I see as the perception of people who I don't think necessarily even know what "pitch to contact" means. I think the phrase is a bit misleading, even. 2) Agree with Nick that I haven't seen much or any evidence that the Twins have tried to stop people from throwing hard. Also think they've clearly gone out of their way to acquire velocity on some occasions lately (Hoey, Oliveros are examples). And I know there was at least one time I saw Gardenhire quoted this off-season talking about trying to get more high-velocity pitchers (I believe he was specifically talking about the bullpen in the case quoted). It's possible that they thought Diamond was a better pitcher than Bullock in that particular case, isn't it? Shouldn't that be a more important factor than "one throws harder than the other so we have to keep that one?" 3) Rather a general comment on tone. There's been a few threads that have gotten derailed due to name-calling and people upset about someone having a different general philosophy. Hopefully this isn't taken that way, but instead as a legitimate attempt to make a point. I don't see how this pattern is "realist" more than "fantasy"... Observe success, conclude luck. Observe another success, conclude luck. Observe another success, conclude luck. Observe neutral outcome, conclude luck. Observe success, conclude luck. Observe neutral outcome, conclude luck. Observe three more successes in a row, conclude luck. Observe failure, AHA!!!!!!!! My premise is finally proven that they were terrible all along!

#20 gunnarthor

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:41 AM

I agree with Nick, for the most part. Generally, I think the Twins pitching philosophy has been extremely successful and helpful to the team. I don't know how people feel about WAR but a few fun WAR facts - Radke had as many 5 WAR seasons as Red Sox aces Beckett and Lackey have, combined. Blackburn and Slowey have as many 2 WAR seasons as much hyped Yankee prospects Chamberlain and Hughes. Control pitchers have been underrated. And the team hasn't lost in the playoffs b/c of the soft tossers - Baker, Blackburn and Pavano all had good outings for us against the Yankees. It was our hard throwers like Liriano, Nathan and Crain that got roughed up the most. The last few drafts the Twins have seemed to change philosophy a bit and drafted some flame throwing relief pitchers. We'll see how that works out. I also think people should remember how hard it is to get a Verlander type pitcher when you've drafted in the 20s most of the decade.

#21 whydidnt

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:02 AM

Well, this may be a philosophy question, but maybe it should be a question about Rick Anderson's ability as a pitching coach. I'm thinking back over the last several years and am having a hard time recalling any starting pitchers that showed consistent improvement over their time with the Twins, be it after getting called up, or being a acquired in a trade. Liriano and Blackburn have been very inconsistent, Slowey slowly got worse (injuries contributed) Baker has probably improved slightly, but again injuries really make it hard to judge. Pavano has certainly declined, Duensing never made it as a starter, and same with Perkins. Garza blossomed after he left the Twins and Lohse has been pretty good, though probably not much better than when he started with the Twins. None of the young "power arms" that we have brought in over the last few years ever got over their control problems, or if they did it was simply by throwing a 93 MPH fastball over the middle. My point is that based upon the Twins trust in Anderson you would hope there would be some sort of history to back that up. Where you see young guys improve and one or two maybe even turn in to all-stars under his guidance, and maybe every now and then a veteran learns something new from him and gets better. It may have happend, and if so, point it out, but it just seems like guys don't consistently improve once they get to the Twins staff and isn't that what you want your pitching coach to make happen? To get back to the philosophy of pitch to contact as a rule, I think it's more a "throw strikes" rule than pitch to contact. But I also think major league hitters have figured that out and know to be looking for first pitch strikes when facing the Twins. Of course, I haven't researched the stats to see if my conclusion is true, my observations are likely clouded by my pre-conceived notion of this, but if I was hitting against the Twins I would certainly be ready to jump on the first pitch of any at bat. I think the Twins need to show more patience with young power pitchers that have command issues. Guys like Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson were notoriously wild when they came up and eventually figured things out, not comparing any recent Twins minor league to those two, but rather suggesting that power pitchers often take longer to develop their command and sometimes rather than forcing the issue you have to deal with some growing pains. Ask yourself this, if the Twins had a power pitcher who's BB/9 IP was 5.4/4.9/6.8 and 6.2 over the first four years as a starter, how would Anderson and Gardenhire treat that guy. Would they be messing around telling him to throw strikes, and benching him or sending him back to the minors or would they let him figure it out? Those were Johnson's BB/9ip his first 4 years as full time starter. I would much rather see the Twins show some level of patience with a guy like Liriano who has shown the ability to strike guys out, but hasn't quite figured everything out than to a guy like Blackburn who obviously can throw strikes but hasn't shown the upside of a top starter. Yet it's Blackburn that gets the contract extension, it's Blackburn that is guaranteed a spot in the rotation coming out of ST each year and it seems as though Blackburn is given a pass, even when he's getting lit up. Yet Liriano walks 5 guys and he's called out in the paper and told over and over to pitch to contact. Certainly you want to instruct guys to get better and throw more strikes, but you also have to try and build on a pitcher's strengths and let that guy gain confidence and improve, right? Do we have any evidence that the Twins can develop a top level starter, at least under the current regime? I say we don't, and that is scary for a team that will not, or can not spend the money in Free Agency to get one.

#22 gunnarthor

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:25 AM

[QUOTE=
I would much rather see the Twins show some level of patience with a guy like Liriano who has shown the ability to strike guys out, but hasn't quite figured everything out than to a guy like Blackburn who obviously can throw strikes but hasn't shown the upside of a top starter. Yet it's Blackburn that gets the contract extension, it's Blackburn that is guaranteed a spot in the rotation coming out of ST each year and it seems as though Blackburn is given a pass, even when he's getting lit up. Yet Liriano walks 5 guys and he's called out in the paper and told over and over to pitch to contact. [/QUOTE]

In fairness, since 2009 Blackburn has the better ERA, pitched more innings, higher QS% and is paid less than Liriano.

I think the Twins have been fair to Liriano. He gets the ball when healthy, they made him their game 1 starter in 2010 against the Yanks (he blew the lead they gave him). Not giving him a longterm contract and then complaining we gave one to Blackburn doesn't make much sense. If Liriano would sign Blackburn's contract, the Twins would do it in a minute. But he's going to want #1-like money and hasn't really been able to put it together to demonstrate that he should get that kind of money. And the current regime did have Santana, who was a top level starter.

#23 EephusKnuckler

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:26 AM

I agree with Nick, for the most part. Generally, I think the Twins pitching philosophy has been extremely successful and helpful to the team...


I agree, and it's just bad right now because all the supports for it are out of whack. As already pointed out, our pitching philosophy requires solid and consistent fielding, which we haven't had. Also, our bullpen is in shambles right now. Remember when our bullpen was loaded with guys like Crain, Guerrier, and Nathan? Now, we have maybe the worst group of relievers in the league...? If the fielding improves and we get better arms in the 'pen, suddenly the starting rotation and the pitching philosophy won't seem so horrid.

#24 whydidnt

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:16 AM

In fairness, since 2009 Blackburn has the better ERA, pitched more innings, higher QS% and is paid less than Liriano.

Sure, but my point isn't to argue that Blackburn can't be a back of the rotation option, it's that the Twins NEED to develop #1 and #2 pitchers and haven't shown a propensity to do that. It seems to me that they refuse to allow guys to pitch through and learn from their mistakes, rather trying to change them to the "Twins Way". I'll ask the question again, what would Anderson and Gardenhire done with Randy Johnson had he come up in the system and walked 6+ guys a game like he did in Seattle?

In my earlier post, I hadn't mentioned Santana, thinking he came up under the previous regime, but it looks like that was one legitimate Ace developed by Anderson. Any others? He has been here 10 years now, you would hope that we see more than 1 every 10 years, right?

#25 gunnarthor

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:14 AM

Sure, but my point isn't to argue that Blackburn can't be a back of the rotation option, it's that the Twins NEED to develop #1 and #2 pitchers and haven't shown a propensity to do that. It seems to me that they refuse to allow guys to pitch through and learn from their mistakes, rather trying to change them to the "Twins Way". I'll ask the question again, what would Anderson and Gardenhire done with Randy Johnson had he come up in the system and walked 6+ guys a game like he did in Seattle?

In my earlier post, I hadn't mentioned Santana, thinking he came up under the previous regime, but it looks like that was one legitimate Ace developed by Anderson. Any others? He has been here 10 years now, you would hope that we see more than 1 every 10 years, right?


I think that they've kept Liriano out there shows that they would've understood what Johnson might have had. But it's not a real fair comparison either, as Johnson is a once a generation type pitcher who showed the ability to miss a ton of bats and eat innings. While Liriano's walk rates increased, his krate's decreased.

In any event, I'm not sure how many Santana like pitchers should be developed by an organization over a ten year period. Over the last decade, what organizations have really developed pitchers that good?

#26 Doug Y

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:56 AM

+1. People got up in arms when the Twins asked Liriano to pitch more to contact last year, but in all reality that is the right advice to give to a guy who is walking 5+ guys a game and throwing 100+ pitches by the 6th inning.

I have a hard time blaming Gardy/Anderson for the lack of strike out pitchers on the staff, if you want power arms you gotta go out and trade for them (or not trade them away in Garza's case), draft them or sign them in free agency.


I agree. It is not Gardy or Anderson's fault that the Twins do not have strike out pitchers. The Twins do not have the ability or don't want to spend big money to sign, trade or draft power pitchers. Of which there are very few of every year in the draft or free agency.

#27 Doug Y

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 12:07 PM

Sure, but my point isn't to argue that Blackburn can't be a back of the rotation option, it's that the Twins NEED to develop #1 and #2 pitchers and haven't shown a propensity to do that.


It is very hard to develop a #1 pitcher. Most #1 pitchers show their top potential from the start or early in their minor league career. However, I agree that the Twins haven't even developed many #2 pitchers.

#28 whydidnt

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 12:18 PM

I think that they've kept Liriano out there shows that they would've understood what Johnson might have had. But it's not a real fair comparison either, as Johnson is a once a generation type pitcher who showed the ability to miss a ton of bats and eat innings. While Liriano's walk rates increased, his krate's decreased.

In any event, I'm not sure how many Santana like pitchers should be developed by an organization over a ten year period. Over the last decade, what organizations have really developed pitchers that good?


Just because they keep Liriano out there, doesn't mean they aren't messing with his delivery and/or his head or a myriad of other things. Based upon mainstream media reports they have been. You know Johnson's K/9 rate those first couple years was less than 8 per 9 innings. I'm not comparing Liriano to Johnson, I'm just attempting to get people to compare how their success and failure is dealt with by the coaching staff. Would the Twins have recognized Johnson as a once in a generation pitcher those first 4 years he was wild and struggling, or would they have told him to take some miles off his fastball, slow down his delivery on the slider and throw more strikes, because we have 9 guys out there waiting to catch whatever is hit? And if he refused, would he have been shipped to Tampa for a head-case left fielder since he didn't want to do things the "Twins way"? I personally have serious doubt that the Twins would have been patient enough with him to let him develop into what he became.

To put it to you another way, what would have to happen for you to criticize the Twins handling of young pitchers, it seems from your posts the staff is above reproach and has done everything perfectly. I'm simply trying to raise the question that perhaps that isn't always the case, and asking people to think about why.

#29 gunnarthor

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:00 PM

[quote name='To put it to you another way' date=' what would have to happen for you to criticize the Twins handling of young pitchers, it seems from your posts the staff is above reproach and has done everything perfectly. I'm simply trying to raise the question that perhaps that isn't always the case, and asking people to think about why.[/QUOTE']

I don't think one player is enough to make a decision on. But, overall, we see that the Twins bring up pitchers who don't have a lot of publicity or high rankings and have good results. Time and again. I posted somewhere that Blackburn and Slowey have as many 2 WAR seasons as Hughes and Chamberlain. Duensing was huge for us in 09 and 10, amassing 4.5 WAR in a little over 200 innings. They were able to turn Guerrier and Reyes into key bullpen pieces. Boof Bonser was huge down the stretch for us in 06. Baker's turned into a good pitcher (when healthy) etc. I think getting that kind of success out of that kind of talent is a reason to trust this regime. They haven't had many top pitching prospects so it's hard for me to ding them for not creating more Santana's.

#30 Boom Boom

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:15 PM

We've seen a lot of Liriano since 2008, and his only consistency is his inconsistency. The only factor that's been the same for that long is the coaches, so they're an easy scapegoat. But I think it's close to time for Twins fans to admit that Liriano may never have been all that good in the first place. MLB hitters hadn't seen him much when he dominated in 2006, but they've caught up to him.