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5 Realistic Overreactions from Opening Day


The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Opening Day is down, so naturally, it’s time to make early, blanket assumptions for the remaining 161. Happy April Fools or are we the fools?But first, let’s address the elephant in the room. Overreactions are good natured and fun on paper, but could there be an iota of truth of what’s to come? Here are some Opening Day events of the past two seasons that ironically laid out the rest of the season:

 

2019:

  • Jose Berrios will have the best season of his career (so far)
  • Taylor Rogers will be the Twins’ best reliever this year
  • The Twins will beat Cleveland to take the division
2020:
  • Tyler Duffey and Trevor May will lead the pack in the year of the relievers
  • Mitch Garver will not repeat his 2019 feats
  • Luis Arraez will be an OBP God
  • The Twins will beat the White Sox to take the division
While it’s unlikely the Twins will beat the Brewers to take the division, here are some other good natured, questionably valid overreactions from this season’s Opening Day.

 

Mitch Garver’s Will Be Better in 2021, but This Isn’t a Comeback

 

Mitch Garver had an unfortunate first day. The recipe just hasn’t quite clicked for Minnesota’s beloved GarvSauce. While he stayed one strikeout away from the golden sombrero, there was very little to celebrate. Twins Daily’s Matthew Taylor highlighted Garver’s continued struggles at the plate with fastballs today.

 

 

While Garver’s decline last year can be explained by his oblique injury, his recent good health indicates that he should be ready for a comeback. However, after a serious injury and a change in his swing mechanics to adjust for said injury, it’s more likely that this is an adjustment season for Garver, rather than a full comeback. While I am the biggest believer that Spring Training statistics shouldn’t be taken at face value, Garver’s run this spring showed that he may still be perfecting his plate approach and swing.

 

With Ryan Jeffers and red-hot Willans Astudillo ready in the wings, the Twins will see a more frequent revolving door of catchers throughout the season.

 

Kenta Maeda’s Demeanor Will Lead to his Second Cy Young Candidacy

 

Had Shane Bieber had a season akin to this outing, Kenta Maeda may have gone down in history as last season’s Cy Young winner. Today, Kool, Kalm, and Kollected Kenta had a shaky third inning that cost him the cusp of his pitch count but only one run. Unlike other pitchers today, Maeda was the only who successfully pitched himself out of a bases loaded jam with only this run as collateral. Although his WHIP inflated to a 1.85 in his first outing, more than two times last season, his stability and demeanor kept his bad situation from becoming a disaster, even when his command was off. Maeda has proved season after season that his stuff has the IT factor. If Maeda can continue to keep his demeanor through days like today where his command is a factor, a second Cy Young candidacy is definitely in the cards for this overdue ace.

 

Guess Who's Buck, Buck Again (Tell a Friend)

 

2021 is Byron Buxton's year, and we are just living in it. Buxton showed every side of his abilities today, from his baserunning, defense, and the immense power behind his 456 ft. (!!!) home run. This is the Byron Buxton the Twins have prayed and wished for for the past six years. It doesn’t take an expert to see that Byron Buxton has the athleticism and talent of an MVP. With a strong outfield presence behind Byron Buxton, the Twins can surely do their part in giving him enough days away from the wall to keep him healthy.

 

Josh Donaldson’s Legs Can Cost the Division

 

No one reading this needs an introductory paragraph explaining why Josh Donaldson is a crucial player for the Twins. The Twins need Donaldson behind Arraez, who seems to live on base. Unlike the outfield, there are no outstanding prospects waiting in the wings. Donaldson is the only solution. Losing Donaldson for an extended period of time puts the Twins back on even playing field with the White Sox.

 

Eliminate the Closer

 

Former closer Taylor Rogers hit 98. Current closer Alex Colomé was hit around instead. A reason for Rogers’ success was that he was finally put into a situation where the matchup was favorable, instead of shelving him exclusively for the ninth inning. Given his history, I’m not ready to write off Colomé entirely, but signs show that he could be on the decline. Therefore, if a favorable matchup occurs before the ninth inning, there is no reason to save him until later, just because he is the “closer.”

 

*Disclaimer: this paragraph was not sponsored by the Tampa Bay Rays

 

What are some other overreactions that you have from Opening Day? Comment them below.

 

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The walks are the most encouraging part of Buxton's day. His power, as well as his skills on the base paths and in the field have been on display for a while.

 

My concern is the strikeouts in the first two ABs. Dialing in his K% and BB% is an ongoing battle, and I expect some volatility. It was the manner in which the strikeouts occurred that was troubling; he simply looked overmatched facing Woodruff. It was like watching the '15 or '16 version of him, where he on the defensive the entire AB rather than attacking with a plan.   

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For me the Kepler fielding play was horrible. There are softball players in the beer leagues making that catch. He is a pro. It's not the playoffs anymore, it's ok to win. 

While I agree he should have caught it, I blame Colome more for giving up that rocket.

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Serious question - will Josh Donaldson play 100 games in a Twins uniform? I mean, in total before his contract expires in 2024.

 

We were all thrilled when the contract signed. Four years was steep, but we all thought "those first two years, 2020 and 2021 will be worth it". Well, we saw 2020 went poof and now 2021 starts out with JD having leg problems on the first dang AB.

 

He's a cool dude and his personality and experience helps the team, but this could go down as the biggest contract gaffe in Twins history. And it won't be close.

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JD leg problems will not go away.  He has a history with them and Twins should have been buyer be aware and yet, here we are once again.  Fluke leg issue is one thing, but everytime he has to run, you cringe on the outcome.  So taking him out for precaution, really means he is on the shelf for at least the weekend and most likely the road trip.  

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Polanco was the terrible 2020 version, not the career year 2019 version.

Simmons impressed at the plate, yet made a costly Little League error that led to a run scoring.

The Twins defense and bullpen were exposed and they are not really a World Series contender.

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Fielding 101 for Colome', know the score and get the out at first base!  Kepler should have been given an error for the drop, the ball hit him right in the glove.   Simmons with the error at SS on what should have been a sure out.   Very spring training-like defense.

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Serious question - will Josh Donaldson play 100 games in a Twins uniform? I mean, in total before his contract expires in 2024.

 

We were all thrilled when the contract signed. Four years was steep, but we all thought "those first two years, 2020 and 2021 will be worth it". Well, we saw 2020 went poof and now 2021 starts out with JD having leg problems on the first dang AB.

 

He's a cool dude and his personality and experience helps the team, but this could go down as the biggest contract gaffe in Twins history. And it won't be close.

 

Contract gaffe? Everybody wants them to sign the big free agent, I mean everybody. It is a risk and JD wasn't going to sign for less than 4 years. Even if he doesn't play 100 games as a Twin I don't think you can both want them to sign big time free agents and call this signing a gaffe. The front office just can't win I guess.

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I get that there is a day off today....but do we have to burn through pitchers every inning?  Stashak threw 10 pitches.  He could have gone one more.  Robles looked good.  Rogers looked effective.  Colome didn't have his normal bite.  Never should have got to Dobnak.  Will Rocco ever bunt over the guy at second in extra innings? Donaldson leads off the year with a double.  Why would he stay in when Dick even saw it from Minneapolis.  What if there was a base hit and he had to try to score?  Hader is good.

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For me the Kepler fielding play was horrible. There are softball players in the beer leagues making that catch. He is a pro. It's not the playoffs anymore, it's ok to win. 

While it was a pretty embarrassing play for Kepler, no beer league player makes that catch because they're ten feet from the ball when it drops.

 

You're really underrating Kepler's speed and how quickly he was moving to get that ball. It was not an easy play to make because many right fielders don't get there in time. Kepler got there but he dropped the ball and that's on him. He's such a smooth player that while it really hurt to watch the ball drop, it's not something I expect to see often from him.

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I get that there is a day off today....but do we have to burn through pitchers every inning?  Stashak threw 10 pitches.  He could have gone one more.  Robles looked good.  Rogers looked effective.  Colome didn't have his normal bite.  Never should have got to Dobnak.  Will Rocco ever bunt over the guy at second in extra innings? Donaldson leads off the year with a double.  Why would he stay in when Dick even saw it from Minneapolis.  What if there was a base hit and he had to try to score?  Hader is good.

Bunting the running to 2nd would have been fruitless because then Hader just strikes out the next two batters and strands the runner at 3rd. You can't afford to waste an AB against a flamethrower like him. And even if they somehow get the run in, well, they needed at least 2 runs because the Brewers would have tied it up in the bottom of the 10th. As the away team, you need to try and score multiple runs in under the new rules.

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Serious question - will Josh Donaldson play 100 games in a Twins uniform? I mean, in total before his contract expires in 2024.

 

We were all thrilled when the contract signed. Four years was steep, but we all thought "those first two years, 2020 and 2021 will be worth it". Well, we saw 2020 went poof and now 2021 starts out with JD having leg problems on the first dang AB.

 

He's a cool dude and his personality and experience helps the team, but this could go down as the biggest contract gaffe in Twins history. And it won't be close.

Not all of us were thrilled with the signing at the time. I was immediately disappointed they chose to allocate so much to broken down former star player. Especially one I saw as a hothead. 

 

I believe he managed hurt the team (even from the bench) last offseason when he soured the officials against our 9. To me, the playing field looked pretty lopsided from the moment of his "They don't care" rant.

 

I totally agree with you that 2020 and 2021 should be the pay-off years while 2022 and 2023 should be the overpay years. I wish they would have used the resources to keep Rosario and/or Odorizzi instead.

 

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The game yesterday was not what the Twins can do. The defense let us down, they didn't hit well with men in scoring position and Colombe was awful. HOWEVER, the worst play and the play that cost us the game was the failure of THE CATCHER to yell out "first base" on the slow roller that Colombe threw to second base in the 9th inning. If he throws to first, we win the game- period. I still like Rogers in the 9th and no one else but that may not happen. We'll see. It's only 1 game. Oh, and the Donaldson signing may wind up as the worst in Twins history if this keeps up.

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Contract gaffe? Everybody wants them to sign the big free agent, I mean everybody. It is a risk and JD wasn't going to sign for less than 4 years. Even if he doesn't play 100 games as a Twin I don't think you can both want them to sign big time free agents and call this signing a gaffe. The front office just can't win I guess.

I think we can do both want big free agent signings and call the Donaldson signing a gaffe if things continue the way they are going!

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Yesterday's loss was painful but there were many good points highlighted here in the Article - Maeda pitching out of difficulty, Buxton, Kepler at the plate, Stashak, Rogers and Robles in the Bullpen.   Perhaps most worrisome to me is the 17 K's but just one game we will see how it plays out.     Watching the White Sox-Angels game made me feel a little better.  Chicago had some issues in the field late and their bullpen blew the lead in the 8th.    Iglesias closing for the Angels looked pretty Haderish - right-handers had some futile swings against him.  

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Yesterday's loss was painful but there were many good points highlighted here in the Article - Maeda pitching out of difficulty, Buxton, Kepler at the plate, Stashak, Rogers and Robles in the Bullpen.   Perhaps most worrisome to me is the 17 K's but just one game we will see how it plays out.     Watching the White Sox-Angels game made me feel a little better.  Chicago had some issues in the field late and their bullpen blew the lead in the 8th.    Iglesias closing for the Angels looked pretty Haderish - right-handers had some futile swings against him.  

I still don't get how Iglesias, one of the league's best closers, got traded for next to nothing. Just an A+ no-brainer move from the Angels to scoop him up. Also, they had former Twin Aaron Slegers throwing in the pen. Maybe he'll be the next Liam Hendricks!

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For me the Kepler fielding play was horrible. There are softball players in the beer leagues making that catch. He is a pro. It's not the playoffs anymore, it's ok to win. 

It is not an easy catch, but yes should have been made.  It happens though.  The play that I am most upset at is the decision to throw to second base.  Colome should have thrown to first for easy out. That runner would be meaningless overall.  No need to try and cut him down.  If it was 1 run game, then so be it, but with 3 run lead taking harder play to cut him down is a little league mistake. 

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Serious question - will Josh Donaldson play 100 games in a Twins uniform? I mean, in total before his contract expires in 2024.

 

We were all thrilled when the contract signed. Four years was steep, but we all thought "those first two years, 2020 and 2021 will be worth it". Well, we saw 2020 went poof and now 2021 starts out with JD having leg problems on the first dang AB.

 

He's a cool dude and his personality and experience helps the team, but this could go down as the biggest contract gaffe in Twins history. And it won't be close.

I am wondering same thing.  I mean he hit easy double and comes up with injury.  I said the second I saw it, well he is out for awhile now.  I mean how is he always injured the second real games are played?  They claim it is hamstring, and it may be, but those take a long time to heal and you do not want to ever rush him back when it comes to leg issues. 

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Serious question - will Josh Donaldson play 100 games in a Twins uniform? I mean, in total before his contract expires in 2024.

 

We were all thrilled when the contract signed. Four years was steep, but we all thought "those first two years, 2020 and 2021 will be worth it". Well, we saw 2020 went poof and now 2021 starts out with JD having leg problems on the first dang AB.

 

He's a cool dude and his personality and experience helps the team, but this could go down as the biggest contract gaffe in Twins history. And it won't be close.

 

The deal reminded me too much of the Willingham deal. I felt he was going to be often injured and I did not like the deal.

 

There is still plenty of time left in the contract for me to be wrong, and hopefully I am.

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Bunting the running to 2nd would have been fruitless because then Hader just strikes out the next two batters and strands the runner at 3rd. You can't afford to waste an AB against a flamethrower like him. And even if they somehow get the run in, well, they needed at least 2 runs because the Brewers would have tied it up in the bottom of the 10th. As the away team, you need to try and score multiple runs in under the new rules.

You just described the conflict between the Twins having a "top" bullpen in 2020 versus having actual multiple shutdown bullpen pieces to use. I accept that the stats tell us the bullpen isn't trash, but I have a hard time thinking of them as being better than average, which means they will get exposed by top opponents when the games are close - i.e. the post-season is different than the regular season. I think there must be stats that bear this admittedly subjective view out.

 

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