Jump to content
  • Create Account

Notebook: Dobnak Shines Again


The Twins lost to the Braves (again), but Randy Dobnak was excellent (again). Plus, Jorge Polanco is back on the diamond and two Twins pitchers get sent down.Final: Braves 4, Twins 2

Box Score

Twins Takeaways

Standout Pitcher: Randy Dobnak (3.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 5 K)

Standout Hitter: Brent Rooker (1-2, 2B, RBI)

 

Dobnak Remains Impressive

Randy Dobnak added to his impressive spring tonight, allowing a run on only one hit in 3 1/3 innings of work. He struck out five Braves including Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson and Travis d’Arnaud. Dobnak, formerly a pitch to contact guy, has been on a strikeout tear this spring thanks to a retooled slider that he hopes will turn at least one head:

Continued dominance from the Twins’ funniest starting pitcher, mixed with Matt Shoemaker’s recent poor performance, gives Wes Johnson and Rocco Baldelli a lot to think about regarding the fifth rotation spot. Dobnak has seemingly pitched himself into at least a spot on the major league roster and could be a valuable member of the Twins’ starting staff in 2021.

 

Brent Rooker Adds to LF Case

The battle for the Twins’ starting left field spot has been well-documented, and Brent Rooker made his case stronger tonight with a ringing RBI double off the very top of the left field wall in the fifth inning. Statcast data isn’t available in the Braves spring home but if it was, Rooker’s near-homer would’ve likely lit up the exit velocity radar gun.

Rooker is now slashing .400/.409/.700 with a homer and three RBI this spring, which would make him an obvious choice to make the big club, except for the fact that Kyle Garlick is slashing .368/.409/.895 with three bombs and eight driven in. As with the fifth starter battle, the Twins don’t seem to have any bad options for the left field spot, with Rooker, Garlick, and Alex Kirilloff all presenting a strong case.

 

Canterino Makes Second Spring Appearance

The Twins’ young flamethrower got his second crack at the Spring Training mound tonight and his outing was nothing if not interesting. On the plus side, Canterino struck out two (Albies and Acuña) and his fastball lived in the upper nineties. On the negative side, he walked three and those strikeouts were the only two outs he got. Nobody’s expecting Canterino to be polished at this point, so the walks are going to happen. Plus, it was good to see his immense stuff on display against big-time major league hitters.

 

Tomorrow: Rays at Twins, 5:05 CST, Wacha vs. Maeda

 

Polanco Gets Work In

Jorge Polanco left Tuesday’s Grapefruit League game with a left adductor injury after landing on a baseball while diving. The injury wasn’t believed to be serious at the time, and that still seems to be the case, as Polanco was back on the practice field today.

With the obvious exception of Royce Lewis’s ACL (and the hilarious exception of Buxton’s steak-induced chipped tooth), the Twins have been relatively injury-free through three weeks of Spring Training games. Now, it looks like Polanco will rejoin the team soon, too.

 

Anderson, Smeltzer Optioned

The Twins optioned starting pitchers Shaun Anderson and Devin Smeltzer to the alternate training site today. Anderson pitched to a 13.50 ERA in 3 1/3 innings this spring and Smeltzer was even worse with a 15.75 mark over four innings.

With each players’ struggles this spring, neither move comes as much of a surprise. However, it is worth noting who didn’t get optioned today. Just a few weeks ago, Lewis Thorpe was considered to be in a similar situation as Anderson and Smeltzer. Five scoreless (and high velocity) spring innings later, and it’s clear that Thorpe has elevated himself to a much better position.

 

Travis Blankenhorn and Twins’ Photographer Clash Over FIFA

Infielder Travis Blankenhorn and Twins’ photographer Brace Hemmelgarn got into some Twitter banter regarding their FIFA 21 skills. As an avid FIFA player myself, this is headline news. Also, I hearby challenge Travis and Brace. Let me know when and where, guys.

 

MLB Still Virtually COVID-Free

This is getting to the point where it’s not news, but that’s a good thing.

 

MORE FROM TWINS DAILY

— Latest Twins coverage from our writers

— Recent Twins discussion in our forums

— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email

 

Click here to view the article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

#1] The jury is still out on Dobnak as it should be for any young pitcher. After only 75IP at the ML level you still don't know what you have, whether he's a top prospect or a great story and surprise. BUT, in his milb career and those 75 IP Dobnak has performed and looked good thus far. (There are ALWAYS highs and lows for ANY pitcher, young or veteran).

 

I have listened to and watched Dobnak pitch almost every game since his debut. He seems to have control, an idea how to pitch the mythical "bulldog" mentality you want, and doesn't seem to beat himself. I've been generally impressed from what I have seen from a YOUNG pitcher still feeling his way and learning. What has been frustrating is his inability to just make that ONE PITCH to get a guy out who battles him hard. And I'm not talking about necessarily striking someone out. He seems to often cruise and then spend too much time in a battle that limits his potential to extend himself in a game.

 

It's always felt to me he was just lacking that little something, that one offering, that could provide a K or an earlier out to just be done and move on. (He stated that same thing in an interview after his performance today). He doesn't have to suddenly find some crazy new velocity mark or amazing SO per 9. All he's needed is just another pitch on a consistent basis he could rely on. It may only be ST, but the early returns are exciting.

 

But no, there is no controversy regarding Shoemaker's spot. Barring injury or some continued ineptitude...remember Shoemaker looked good previously...a talented, experienced and healthy Shoemaker is a quality SP. He has his spot. Dobnak is clearly the 6th man at this point and ready and able. Opportunity will present itself.

 

Funny how close we are to the Twins in our view/perspective of things and our opinion. Perhaps skewed too much to the past? This rotation is the best we've had in YEARS. And to have someone like Dobnak looking good and showing improvement and a former top prospect like Thorpe doing the same...WOW.

 

#2] I feel sorry for Garlik. He's done everything he can do to make an impression, if not the roster. But no way you keep him over Rooker. But there will be opportunity at some point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is how they hit in the playoffs - just got to convince them it is the regular season and they will be okay. Astudillo and Rooker have both looked good at the plate. In fact we have 8 players hitting 300 so far and Donaldson and Polanco join Astudillo, Rooker, Garlick - 

 

Cruz 261, Arraez 250, Garver 235.  Celestino 267 has outshined Buxton 150.

 

Cave, Kiriloff and Larnach at all below 167 making a heck of a LF battle - Rooker by a mile at this point.  

 

Then there is Sano 125 and Kepler 087.  

 

How many wake up with the season and show us again that ST stats don't matter. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the poor spring by Kirilloff it gives the Twins the chance to stash him for a month to extend his service time.

 

That might give Garlick and Rooker both a chance to make the roster and fight it out until Alex is called up in May (if they don't keep Astudillo).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am starting to believe this tweak has given Dobnak a plus pitch. We have all seen Dobnak’s inability to put guys away hurt him so it’s not hard to imagine this having a dramatic effect on Dobnak’s position in the rotation. If this turns him into a solid 3 or potentially a 2, I am not putting him in the pen so that Shoemaker has a spot. Shoemaker is 1yr $2M dollar guy. We would get plenty use out of him pitching 2-3 innings out of the pen.

 

Six quality SPs and a handful of good prospects knocking at the door. Is this really the MN Twins?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Couple of interesting observations on this post:

 

1. A little too early to panic, but Varela has to be put on the hot seat soon.  Our offense was poor last year, especially the playoffs, and putrid this spring, especially the regulars like Kepler, Sano, Buxton, and the two rooks - Larnach and Kirillof.  They have to give some of the guys who are good contact hitters a chance, like Astudillo, Garlick, and make sure Arraez is at top of lineup every day.  Not convinced yet about Rooker's staying power with his K tendencies, but yes, he is certainly in a good position for the 26 man.

 

2. Can't blame the manager for everything, but Baldelli is too laid back for my taste.  Time to crack the whip!  TK never would have put up with such lackadaisical play!!  There is some fire missing on this team.  Are there any team leaders like Hunter, Puckett, Gaetti?  This was Molitor's big weakness and maybe Baldelli's too.

 

The rotation seems to be the strength of this team.  The bullpen looks shaky - Thielbar yesterday, Robles many times, and Rogers and Colome have been erratic.  Color me worried about this group, but it won't mean much in the end if the hitters do not hit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"As with the fifth starter battle, the Twins don’t seem to have any bad options for the left field spot, with Rooker, Garlick, and Alex Kirilloff all presenting a strong case."

 

What exactly has Kirilloff done to make a strong case?  He's done very little this spring. Let him earn his way up and get the extra year of control.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I'm worried about offense....I'm worried about defense....I'm worried about Starting Pitching....We don't have 4 lefties in the pen....Who's going to be our #3 Right Fielder.....SIGH...Aaron Rodgers once said something profound "R-E-L-A-X" I know it's our job to be concerned. I know it sucks Kriloff is hitting .100 but this team wasn't thrown together overnight and 4 plus years of FalVine makes me comfortable. Games count as much in April as September, but let's not freak (until May 1)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

There is little historical correlation between Spring Training performance and regular season performance. There is however, a strong correlation between Spring Training performance and fan over reaction.

 

I am totally with you on this one.  As a fan Spring is an incredibly frustrating time.  The players are just slowly ramping up and working on things they wouldn't be during the season.  The managers main goal is to keep players healthy.

 

Still when other teams players perform better and guys you would think should perform better don't, it makes the mind wonder and worry. 

 

While there is no correlation between spring and the regular season guys on the fringe can win jobs based on their performance in spring so performance is still important but yes in general the stats etc mean very little since for the players this is tune up time.  For die hard fans like me who look for meaning in every pitch and every at bat Spring generally make me worry.  I am hungry for real baseball and have my emotional roller coaster mind ready to go.  Just a few more weeks and the real complaining can begin. :) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I, for one, hope Dobnyk makes the club as a sixth starter preferably in a piggy back role with JA Happ to start the season. In 2019 Jake Odorizzi was a solid pitcher but he never seemed to be able to pitch more than six innings.

 

For comparison 2019

 

J A Happ          30 starts 161 innings

Jake Odorizzi   30 starts 159 innings.

 

Seems like a good fit then to piggy back the one lefty starter who rarely goes past six innings with the righty Dobnyk and ask each to go 4 innings or so as we start the season. Then adjust for injuries, etc.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate to say it....but it looks like we know a few things.

 

1. Sano will strike out too much and hit about .260

2. Kepler may be on a short downslide...why is that???

3. Simmons can't hit.

4. Donaldson is not the power guy anymore that we thought he was.

5. Buxton will hit .260 and get hurt.

6. Garver can't hit anymore [like he did in ONE year]....or play catcher.

 

Our offense is not good.......but with our pitching and defense...it will be plenty good if clutch?? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I hate to say it....but it looks like we know a few things.

 

1. Sano will strike out too much and hit about .260

2. Kepler may be on a short downslide...why is that???

3. Simmons can't hit.

4. Donaldson is not the power guy anymore that we thought he was.

5. Buxton will hit .260 and get hurt.

6. Garver can't hit anymore [like he did in ONE year]....or play catcher.

 

Our offense is not good.......but with our pitching and defense...it will be plenty good if clutch?? 

.260 would be great for Sano, but I fear it's going to be more about .210.

 

Simmons just got here from Curacao and has had something like 10 PAs this spring. He's not going to be a force at the plate, he's here for his defense.

 

If Donaldson had played as much as he did in 2019, he would have hit 39 HRs based on 2020's numbers. How is he no longer a power hitter?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I, for one, hope Dobnyk makes the club as a sixth starter preferably in a piggy back role with JA Happ to start the season. In 2019 Jake Odorizzi was a solid pitcher but he never seemed to be able to pitch more than six innings.

 

For comparison 2019

 

J A Happ          30 starts 161 innings

Jake Odorizzi   30 starts 159 innings.

 

Seems like a good fit then to piggy back the one lefty starter who rarely goes past six innings with the righty Dobnyk and ask each to go 4 innings or so as we start the season. Then adjust for injuries, etc.

 

IF Dobnak can put hitters away .... He will goes as deep as any other starter we have. I don't have statistics to support this but it sure seems like he gets into a lot of long battles after getting ahead of a hitter.  Of course, some of those guys get on and a 4 or 5 pitch AB turns into 8-10 pitches plus he has to face an extra hitter. I think a dominant out pitch makes Dobnak a different SP. They could use Shoemaker and Thorpe as long relievers or stack them if one of the other SPs goes down with an injury. Their depth could be a big deal after a 2020 seasons when innings were a fraction of normal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

"As with the fifth starter battle, the Twins don’t seem to have any bad options for the left field spot, with Rooker, Garlick, and Alex Kirilloff all presenting a strong case."

 

What exactly has Kirilloff done to make a strong case?  He's done very little this spring. Let him earn his way up and get the extra year of control.

.317 BA in the minors  with an .863 OPS.   Spring Training rarely is and rarely should be considered tryouts.   Its training and its small sample size.   I'm not saying he should make the team immediately or automatically but you don't earn your spot in ST.    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The way I see it Rooker's spring bat and the lack of Krilloff's gives the Twins what they want. A good excuse to leave Krilloff at triple A the first month and gain an extra year of service. I bet management is thrilled! And Rooker appears to be the real deal so if I was Jake Cave I'd me looking for a new domicile ..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

.317 BA in the minors  with an .863 OPS.   Spring Training rarely is and rarely should be considered tryouts.   Its training and its small sample size.   I'm not saying he should make the team immediately or automatically but you don't earn your spot in ST.    

he OPS'ed .756 at AA. not bad for Florida, but not earth shaking either. Let him prove himself at AA/AAA for a few months.  Frankly, Rooker has earned his shot. Let him run with it or fail....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I'm worried about the offense too.  I'm also worried about our manager.  He has no fire.

The only manager in Twins history to win WS title had no "fire".  He was about as passive as you can be as a manager.  What does "fire" have to do with being a good manager?  Gardy had all kinds of "fire", but I felt he was terrible manager based on his in game decisions.  Sure, some guys may react well to being yelled at all the time a get a rush when their manager goes out and yells and screams making a scene.  Twins right now have different approach, does not mean it is wrong.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have no worries about offense.  Spring numbers mean nothing.  We have no clue what guys are working on.  Even more so for guys that know they have a spot on team they may be working on identifying specific pitches, or trying to do certain things.  I have seen many a player crush in spring then be off the team mid april because they strike out half the time and hit below 100. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...