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Twins Hire New Hitting Coach David Popkins


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Twins  reaching  deep.  Guy has had 2 seasons as assistant hitting coach in Rookie League, followed by one year at Single A as Hitting Coach.  Never reached the majors as prospect and is not even 32.  Not jumping to conclusions, but if he really is The Hitting Coach, his resume is awful thin.  Is this Falvey's hubris showing again?

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6 minutes ago, mike8791 said:

Twins  reaching  deep.  Guy has had 2 seasons as assistant hitting coach in Rookie League, followed by one year at Single A as Hitting Coach.  Never reached the majors as prospect and is not even 32.  Not jumping to conclusions, but if he really is The Hitting Coach, his resume is awful thin.  Is this Falvey's hubris showing again?

I guess they could refer to him as "Pop". 🙂

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11 minutes ago, mike8791 said:

Twins  reaching  deep.  Guy has had 2 seasons as assistant hitting coach in Rookie League, followed by one year at Single A as Hitting Coach.  Never reached the majors as prospect and is not even 32.  Not jumping to conclusions, but if he really is The Hitting Coach, his resume is awful thin.  Is this Falvey's hubris showing again?

The Twins also reached deep on Wes Johnson (more good than bad thus far) and Tanner Swanson (outstanding results before he was poached by the Yankees) so I'd be a little wary of declaring this "hubris".

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52 minutes ago, Seth Stohs said:

David Popkins... 

We know little right now, but we'll certainly do some digging. The Dodgers definitely have a strong development system for hitters. Also, both Jeremy Zoll and Alex Hassan came from the Dodgers organization. 

Mary's husband?

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The results have been varied, but this is one of the things I most appreciate about this current front office. This team's go-to hires used to be people they new intimately and I think by the end that got too incestuous and the team was getting way too removed from outside perspectives.

No clue about this guy, but obviously you don't hire some wet-behind-the-ears guy from the Dodgers minor league system without significant research and vetting. Bring on the new perspectives. 

 

Also:

The 5 best 'Mary Poppins' cover songs

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For what it's worth, here are Great Lakes' offensive rankings in the High A Central league/Midwest League (same league as the Twins High A affiliate Cedar Rapids), with 2021 first and 2019 second

AVG--2nd (3rd)

OBP--2nd (1st)

SLG--1st (2nd)

OPS--1st (1st)

BB--5th (1st)

SO--2nd highest (4th highest)

Without having done any research on roster makeup (that is, were there a ton of studs in 2019, and none in 2021) color me pretty unimpressed.  Seems like he made moderate improvements at best, with real regression in a couple of areas.  If this is simply because the Dodgers have implemented a fantastic system that works, and this is the Twins essentially stealing the blueprint, then I'm good with that.  However, on the surface, this looks to me like thinking the Dodgers have an assembly line that churns out hitters, but instead of hiring an engineer, they hired a foreman.

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44 minutes ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

For what it's worth, here are Great Lakes' offensive rankings in the High A Central league/Midwest League (same league as the Twins High A affiliate Cedar Rapids), with 2021 first and 2019 second

AVG--2nd (3rd)

OBP--2nd (1st)

SLG--1st (2nd)

OPS--1st (1st)

BB--5th (1st)

SO--2nd highest (4th highest)

Without having done any research on roster makeup (that is, were there a ton of studs in 2019, and none in 2021) color me pretty unimpressed.  Seems like he made moderate improvements at best, with real regression in a couple of areas.  If this is simply because the Dodgers have implemented a fantastic system that works, and this is the Twins essentially stealing the blueprint, then I'm good with that.  However, on the surface, this looks to me like thinking the Dodgers have an assembly line that churns out hitters, but instead of hiring an engineer, they hired a foreman.

But if you're not going to account for literally the biggest variable possible in a team aggregate stat - the on-field talent level - it feels like you're using the stats to support the conclusion you had decided beforehand.

Because "good before, still good now" really doesn't tell us anything if the numbers aren't adjusted for player talent and/or expected results.*

*which is just one of many reasons why outside evaluation of coaching is mostly a fool's errand, IMO

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11 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

But if you're not going to account for literally the biggest variable possible in a team aggregate stat - the on-field talent level - it feels like you're using the stats to support the conclusion you had decided beforehand.

Because "good before, still good now" really doesn't tell us anything if the numbers aren't adjusted for player talent and/or expected results.*

*which is just one of many reasons why outside evaluation of coaching is mostly a fool's errand, IMO

True.  Perhaps that's why I included that caveat...

Twice.

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Well they definitely hit on pulling Wes Johnson out of obscurity but he did have a real good college resume, I still also like Rocco a lot and he was hired with little coaching experience.

31 is shockingly young for an mlb hitting coach but maybe that is a market inefficacy they are trying to exploit?  He does come from a very forward thinking organization.  One would think he is heavily new school/ analytics focused.  He should be able to really connect with the players as they are his peer group. 

They made this hire very early so it must be the guy they wanted.  I think this probably means there will be at least one if not multiple assistants with way more experience added as well.

 

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7 hours ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

For what it's worth, here are Great Lakes' offensive rankings in the High A Central league/Midwest League (same league as the Twins High A affiliate Cedar Rapids), with 2021 first and 2019 second

AVG--2nd (3rd)

OBP--2nd (1st)

SLG--1st (2nd)

OPS--1st (1st)

BB--5th (1st)

SO--2nd highest (4th highest)

Without having done any research on roster makeup (that is, were there a ton of studs in 2019, and none in 2021) color me pretty unimpressed.  Seems like he made moderate improvements at best, with real regression in a couple of areas.  If this is simply because the Dodgers have implemented a fantastic system that works, and this is the Twins essentially stealing the blueprint, then I'm good with that.  However, on the surface, this looks to me like thinking the Dodgers have an assembly line that churns out hitters, but instead of hiring an engineer, they hired a foreman.

I’d guess the Twins may be looking for just that. With his current position at the MLB level, he’d no longer be concerned about the minor league development. They have lots of young hitters who were already engineered in the minors, but they appeared aimless at the majors. The thought might be that they needed better motivation and direction putting their already acquired skillset to use.

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From the Strib article

"One of the Giants' boldest and most notable moves in their turnaround was raiding the Dodgers' farm system for a young, little-known but cutting-edge hitting coach, Justin Viele from the Great Lakes Loons."

"They're a lot alike," said Austin Chubb, manager of the Class high-A Dodgers farm team (aka the Loons). "They're amazing game-planners, and they really connect with players. Going from high-A to the big leagues might seem like a big jump, but it'll be an easy transition because of what a great coach [Popkins] is."

Falvine has a Giants fetish confirmed.  Their run this year is amazing, but damn they really hit best possible outcome on a lot to do it.  

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Well, I hope he can earn the respect of the players. It's one thing for minor leaguers to buy in, but another for the Major boys to respect the 32 year old that wasn't able to get where they are. I know, coaching is different than playing, but there is still the respect ticket. Analytics might be the trend, but it may be the main reason for the increased time it takes to play a game. Amazing that Ted Williams and others could hit without the analytics, eh? San Diego tried the young unproven but obedient to the "plan" managers, twice, and now are moving to the proven Melvin. Time will tell, but it is not a hire that conjures confidence for me at the outset.

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1 hour ago, h2oface said:

Well, I hope he can earn the respect of the players. It's one thing for minor leaguers to buy in, but another for the Major boys to respect the 32 year old that wasn't able to get where they are. I know, coaching is different than playing, but there is still the respect ticket. Analytics might be the trend, but it may be the main reason for the increased time it takes to play a game. Amazing that Ted Williams and others could hit without the analytics, eh? San Diego tried the young unproven but obedient to the "plan" managers, twice, and now are moving to the proven Melvin. Time will tell, but it is not a hire that conjures confidence for me at the outset.

Getting the respect of players is more about approach and the ability to explain in a manner that they would be receptive to. Some crochety old dude could fare worse with a communication gap and manners. 

Amazing that Williams could hit without analytics? It was a different era, different style of play. Get over the bygone time.  There was a time when 90 mph on a fastball was considered fast. The world changes. 

Who were the hitting coaches under the so called plan managers. The Twins hired a new hitting coach, not manager.  Apple meet orange.

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17 hours ago, mike8791 said:

Twins  reaching  deep.  Guy has had 2 seasons as assistant hitting coach in Rookie League, followed by one year at Single A as Hitting Coach.  Never reached the majors as prospect and is not even 32.  Not jumping to conclusions, but if he really is The Hitting Coach, his resume is awful thin.  Is this Falvey's hubris showing again?

The fact that he never reached the majors has little to do with anything.  I'm less concerned with his resume and more concerned with his results.  Guess the next few years will tell the story.  That's why they play the games.

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Being a hitting coach in the Major Leagues is like a pilot with a private license and a piper cub teaching Chuck Yeager how to fly a supersonic jet. All you have to do is nothing if the player is hot and say "you're due" if he is in a slump. If the offense goes in the tank it gives the brass someone to fire. Remember that 90% of baseball is half mental as some random Hall of Fame catcher once said.

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For the people that are upset at his age or not being a past MLB player or MLB level coach, who cares?  If he knows what he is doing age does not matter, and maybe he lacked the physical ability but knew how to get the best out of what he had.  Also, being good at something does not mean you know how to coach someone.  Teaching is a skill, knowing how to connect to different people in different ways to get them to understand is a skill.  Some of the best players of all time tried to coach or manage and failed because they had no clue to teach people how to be good because it just came natural to them.  Even if it did not come natural to them they still had no clue to get everyone to see the same picture.

Think of when you play Pictionary, sometimes people will draw a picture and their partner has no clue what it is.  The drawer has two options draw something else that will connect to the partner, or keep pointing at and drawing the same picture, often larger.  The first option is more likely to get the partner to guess the correct answer and see the picture you want.  However, not every person can think of a second picture.  The best coaches/teachers, can tell when the person being coached or taught is not seeing the picture with the first type of attempt, so they change up the picture to get the person to see it.  Good coaches know how to change up approach with different players to get the most out of them. 

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