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Tom Brunansky Job Security?

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#1 powrwrap

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 09:48 AM

The Twins just set a single season record for strikeouts with 1,127, eclipsing the record of 1,121 set by the woeful 1997 club. The Twins are 25th in MLB in runs scored and 26th in BA. They are on a pace to set a new AL record for strikeouts in a season.

They are terrible at getting hits with runners in scoring position. I read in the Strib today that the Twins have gone 38 consecutive innings without scoring more than one run.

In years past this sort of futility would lead to Twins' fans brandishing torches and pitchforks and yelling for the firing of the batting coach. This year, I've hardly heard a peep. Why is that?

Yes, this team has some young and/or lousy hitters but so did the 1997 club. But look at the Marlins, an NL team with a pitcher getting a couple of ABs per game--they are young AND lousy and they only have 964 strikeouts.

Should Tom Brunansky's job security be called into question?
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#2 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 09:48 AM

Not yet.

#3 Marta Shearing

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 09:58 AM

Bruno's had so much talent to work with.

#4 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 10:02 AM

I give any hitting coach (or any coach for that matter) 3 years to evaluate. It serves no point to have a revolving door of coaches.

#5 James

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 10:05 AM

It doesn't help that Vavra is still with the club. I could see some of the other players still going to him for advice as well. They may be sending mixed messages.

Then again, Vavra is a professional and could be telling players seeking his advice to go to Bruno instead. Who knows.

I'd say his job is secure for now though.

You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.


#6 gunnarthor

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 10:06 AM

I was thinking it was surprising how little anti-Bruno stuff we've heard, compared to anti-Gardy and anti-Andy stuff (and those two have good track records). I don't really care one way or other. I think the Twins should add another Spanish speaking coach and if that's the hitting coach, fine. I don't particularly think Bruno's a good hitting coach but I don't think it matters that much. I think it's up to Gardy. If Gardy tells Ryan he doesn't like Bruno, Bruno will be gone. If Gardy's fired, I think a new manager would want to bring in his own coaches.

#7 Thegrin

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 10:07 AM

I give any hitting coach (or any coach for that matter) 3 years to evaluate. It serves no point to have a revolving door of coaches.

3 years of this ? The Twins have 2 former hitting coaches (Vavra and Ullger) who can evaluate the job Bruno is doing. If he wasn't competent he would be gone already.

#8 Rosterman

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 10:07 AM

A good question.

Hicks was an utter failure.

Parmelee didn't advance.

Plouffe is an enigma.

Part of the issue is the players he was dealt. Plus, the long-term of the players he worked with previously in the minors and currently in the majors.

How much work to you put into, say, a Clete Thomas at some point.

I would've expected better with new bench coach Terry Steinbacj, with Vavra and his sheets of paper running about, and Bruno...plus the mastermind of Gardenhire filling out the lineup card.

When you have no bonifide #1 and #2 hitter, you suck. When you don't have a clean-up bat continuously in the line-up, you suck. Mauer is #3. Willingham and Morneau are #5's.

Hitting wise, it has been a disaster. Especially the strikeouts with men on base.

Round Two with the same crew or totally clean house, that is the decision that needs to be made.
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#9 nicksaviking

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 10:39 AM

In years past this sort of futility would lead to Twins' fans brandishing torches and pitchforks and yelling for the firing of the batting coach. This year, I've hardly heard a peep. Why is that?


Appathy? Two years ago we would have been calling for his dismissal but we have grown accustomed to this level of incomepetence.

Besides, when a business is in a nose dive, no one calls for the guy in the mail room to get canned, they lynch the CEO. Ryan and Gardenhire are the ones in the crosshairs and for good reasons. After all, Bruno didn't hire himself.

#10 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 10:57 AM

In years past this sort of futility would lead to Twins' fans brandishing torches and pitchforks and yelling for the firing of the batting coach. This year, I've hardly heard a peep. Why is that?


Because many of the people calling for Vavra's head last year were touting Brunansky as a replacement? Does make it kind of awkward to be critical of him this year - nothing like the taste of of your own toes to kind of spoil the whole day.:)

#11 ThePuck

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 11:07 AM

I think most people understand it takes awhile for a new coach to institute his ways, especially if they are different than the ways being taught for years by someone else.

#12 TwinsTX

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 02:59 PM

The Twins just set a single season record for strikeouts with 1,127, eclipsing the record of 1,121 set by the woeful 1997 club. The Twins are 25th in MLB in runs scored and 26th in BA. They are on a pace to set a new AL record for strikeouts in a season.


Apparently you haven't been paying attention to the Houston Astros (which is certainly understandable). They are already at 1252 strikeouts.

Let's see how Bruno does when he has some talent before we make a decision. Not that our decision carries any weight. :)

#13 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 03:55 PM

Bruno's had so much talent to work with.


That doesn't seem to be the theme that I recall hearing going into the year. I (almost universally) heard everywhere coming into this season that our offense would not be the problem, and would actually be one of the better lineups in the league.

#14 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 03:59 PM

The most alarming (to me anyways) thing about the strikeouts is that it is coming from a team almost completely devoid of power.
Striking out because you are swinging for the fences is one thing, striking out this much when you are simply trying to slap the ball into play is quite alarming.

#15 Winston Smith

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 04:10 PM

This is having it both ways. People defend Gardy because he doesn't have anything to work with. So Bruno has good hitters to work with but Gardy has bad ones?

Clean sweep all of them gone. If they are good coaches they will get another job.
But unless Ryan gets better players it won't matter anyway.

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#16 ThePuck

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 04:30 PM

That doesn't seem to be the theme that I recall hearing going into the year. I (almost universally) heard everywhere coming into this season that our offense would not be the problem, and would actually be one of the better lineups in the league.


That's weird...considering we lost our #1 and #2 hitters...it was pretty obvious we'd see a dropoff on offense. I mentioned it many times and I'm hardly the only one.

#17 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 04:38 PM

That's weird...considering we lost our #1 and #2 hitters...it was pretty obvious we'd see a dropoff on offense. I mentioned it many times and I'm hardly the only one.


I would have agreed with you, I didn't see much talent on either side of the ball, but we were in the minority.
Phil Mackey predicted we would have one of the best lineups in all of baseball.
ALL of the Strib writers said that our lineup would be fine, it was pitching that would be our problem.
You would have been in the minority in here. If you'd like I can go dig up the threads coming into the season, it was at least 80/20 with the vast majority thinking our offense would be at least league average.

Regarding losing Span, go find the Hicks thread during ST. The majority opinion was that he'd at worst only be a slight step back from Span, with several posters even saying he'd be an upgrade over Span, immediately.

#18 ashburyjohn

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 05:39 PM

The most alarming (to me anyways) thing about the strikeouts is that it is coming from a team almost completely devoid of power.
Striking out because you are swinging for the fences is one thing, striking out this much when you are simply trying to slap the ball into play is quite alarming.


Haven't seen Dozier's name raised in Bruno's defense yet. He might be the one guy who fits the profile that you are describing, trading some extra whiffs for some extra pop to supplement a low BA.

Guys who already show some pop in the majors, maybe aren't benefitting from Bruno's approach yet.

#19 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 08:53 PM

Appathy? Two years ago we would have been calling for his dismissal but we have grown accustomed to this level of incomepetence.

Besides, when a business is in a nose dive, no one calls for the guy in the mail room to get canned, they lynch the CEO. Ryan and Gardenhire are the ones in the crosshairs and for good reasons. After all, Bruno didn't hire himself.


Yes, Brunansky's job security should be called into question. But I would think most people are drumming their fingers waiting for Ryan to fire Gardenhire, or Pohlad to fire Ryan (or Gardenhire to fire Ryan) or whatever. Not sure about these fans who are so inured to mediocrity that they get offended -- after three consecutive 90-loss seasons -- when someone suggests firing a coach. The "blame the players" mentality fostered by the coaches, FO and Media is disturbing. Look at the vitriol aimed at Mauer, an MVP and three time batting champion not to mention fine defensively (if not the greatest handler of pitchers) -- there's your unintended secondary effect of the "our players are horrible" media campaign. True, are current guys are not the greatest, but they deserve better leadership. Dozier is a good story but the overall record is pretty cut and dried.

As for Brunansky, we traded him in 1988, which was a bit of a shock, but I remember TK telling the media afterward that "we're not getting through to that guy, have you seen him? doesn't think he has a job to do anymore", that's essentially what TK said after Brunansky was traded. The Twins don't "owe" him a couple more years to teach our players his "system" nor do we need to keep Steinbach around either "just because he's Steinbach" -- to Rosterman's question I say Clean house.

#20 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 08:57 PM

I don't think anyone is saying that we "owe" Brunansky anything. I think they are saying that 1 season is not enough to judge his effectiveness.

#21 clutterheart

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 09:21 PM

Thomas, Ramirez, Willingham, Florimon, Parmelee Arcia & Hicks have had high SO rates their whole careers
Now guys like Colabello Bernier & Herrmann are getting AB and proving to be High SO guys

How can a hitting coach change the trend of high SO guys in one year?

It all falls on Ryan.
He is the one who brought in these guys and put them on the same roster.
He is the one who traded Carroll one of the team's lower SO guys.

Ryan built this team to SO a lot and Bruno is responsible?

That doesn't fit for me.

#22 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 09:28 PM

Mr. Brooks, I liked your example of Hicks. He was highly regarded, highly hyped, but then fell on his face. There's no rule that says all rookies must struggle. Maybe the Brunansky-Hicks relationship never got off the ground, and maybe Hicks cant stand Bruno or Bruno can't get through to Hicks, and if that's true, then I guess the Twins need to decide who they have more invested in, Hicks or Brunansky. Same with Gibson and Rick Anderson. Same with other examples. You can express it more diplomatically than I and I will get a little heated, but I guess I don't feel scandalized when people speculate on bringing in new coaches to try turning the team around.

#23 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 09:34 PM

Lets let the new manager next season have the say-so on his coaching staff.

#24 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 09:47 PM

Mr. Brooks, I liked your example of Hicks. He was highly regarded, highly hyped, but then fell on his face. There's no rule that says all rookies must struggle. Maybe the Brunansky-Hicks relationship never got off the ground, and maybe Hicks cant stand Bruno or Bruno can't get through to Hicks, and if that's true, then I guess the Twins need to decide who they have more invested in, Hicks or Brunansky. Same with Gibson and Rick Anderson. Same with other examples. You can express it more diplomatically than I and I will get a little heated, but I guess I don't feel scandalized when people speculate on bringing in new coaches to try turning the team around.


Rookies can struggle for many number of reasons other than the hitting coach.
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#25 Kobs

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 10:30 PM

I have a hard time believing that major league hitting coaches have a significant impact. The best thing they can do is stay out of the way.

#26 Marta Shearing

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 06:03 AM

Yes, Brunansky's job s
ecurity should be called into question. But I would think most people are drumming their fingers waiting for Ryan to fire Gardenhire, or Pohlad to fire Ryan (or Gardenhire to fire Ryan) or whatever. Not sure about these fans who are so inured to mediocrity that they get offended -- after three consecutive 90-loss seasons -- when someone suggests firing a coach. The "blame the players" mentality fostered by the coaches, FO and Media is disturbing. Look at the vitriol aimed at Mauer, an MVP and three time batting champion not to mention fine defensively (if not the greatest handler of pitchers) -- there's your unintended secondary effect of the "our players are horrible" media campaign. True, are current guys are not the greatest, but they deserve better leadership. Dozier is a good story but the overall record is pretty cut and dried.

As for Brunansky, we traded him in 1988, which was a bit of a shock, but I remember TK telling the media afterward that "we're not getting through to that guy, have you seen him? doesn't think he has a job to do anymore", that's essentially what TK said after Brunansky was traded. The Twins don't "owe" him a couple more years to teach our players his "system" nor do we need to keep Steinbach around either "just because he's Steinbach" -- to Rosterman's question I say Clean house.

Well, Bruno had a very nice career with the twins, topped off by his outstanding 1987 postseason. And he went on to be very successful in st. louis and boston. I dont think his april 1988 slump should have warranted trading him, although I heard rumors there were scandalous reasons that contributed to him being traded.

#27 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 06:24 AM

I have a hard time believing that major league hitting coaches have a significant impact. The best thing they can do is stay out of the way.


There's a lot of major league players that would disagree with that. They provide a second set of eyes to look at players. Granted, there's a rapport that must be built and a whole bunch of other things as well, but I don't think they are worthless. That said:

1) As I said previously, "not yet" in terms of his job security. He needs more than one year to prove he can do it, and he did a pretty good job in the minors over his career, so I think some time is required unless the guy is an absolute cancer in the clubhouse.

2) I grow tired of the "he doesn't have talent to work with". That's a pretty easy excuse that can be tossed around any time a player fails. I tend to think it's a pile of crap too. Any one that makes it to the show is a pretty talented player... Period. Now I agree that some are more talented than others, but a coaches job is to develop talent. Parmelee, for instance is a former first rounder, and he was putting up video game stats last year as a 24 year old in AAA. No question that there's talent there. The job of the coaching staff is to develop it. Will they succeed with everyone? No, but consistent failure is a red flag, and brushing it off as a lack of talent is silly. Dozier also had a minor league track record of success, and he appears to be panning out. Hicks got off to an abysmal start, but that start also masks the fact that he made some pretty big strides forward in May and June. Bruno was involved in that.

3) Gus like Morneau, Doumit, Willingham, etc. are all established major leaguers. I tend to hold the hitting coach less responsible for these guys simply b/c they've done this successfully and know what they are doing. They also know when to ask for help. Willie has been hurt a good chunk of the year, and that's definitely an issue, not as much with Morneau and Doumit. It's a bit trickier working with these guys, though some of that can fall on Bruno as well.

#28 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 07:35 AM

I have a hard time believing that major league hitting coaches have a significant impact. The best thing they can do is stay out of the way.


If you were a business owner, would you throw away money on a high salaried position that had no impact on your business? If you would, your business wouldn't last very long.
The manager/coaches "have little to no impact" argument always amuses me. The people who make this argument must really think that sports owners are idiots when it comes to running a business. It really is amazing that they managed to make so much money with such little business acumen that they would just burn money every year on zero impact employees.

#29 BHtwins

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 10:07 AM

I think its an organizational issue. I'm not exactly thrilled with Brunasky though

I think the Twins screwed up Lew Ford who had these incredibly fast hands and could turn on almost anything. 500 at bats though and he hit everything on the ground at someone. I think to a lesser extent the messed up Jacque Jones. They screwed up JJ Hardy while he was here. I think they cost Cuddyer power. I swear to god they would have screwed up Ted Williams because he wasnt a prototypical hitter either.

I think until the organization figures out that they cant turn every hitter into a carbon copy of their dream ideal of a bat control guy it doesnt matter who the hitting coach is. I swear to god I hear Tom Kelly saying "You gotta hit the ball up the middle and the other way" in my nightmares.

They dont platoon well, they dont play to a hitter strengths, they seem almost oblivious to controlling the strike zone. How often do the Twins really punished a pitcher who cant keep his pitch count down?

Doesnt matter who the hitting coach is.