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Twins Hire New Hitting Coach David Popkins


Seth Stohs
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7 hours ago, old nurse said:

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.

I agree with you. Baseball changes much faster even than from Williams era to present. The constant changes and adapting of the pitcher/ hitter confrontation needs to be addressed or you're left behind. '19 with the juiced ball, the rave was launch angle, pulling the ball, putting a full swing and etc, even non power hitters were taught to do this. Post '19 the ball became deader, pitchers have adjusted, defense have adjusted with shifting but many hitting coaches are stuck in the '19 mode. Hitting coaches need to change and convince their pupils to understand the need to change and show them how to change. IMO Twins hitting coaches had not made that transition therefore they weren't able to help them to get out their ruts.

Hope this new hitting coach is able to do that and help them make those adjustment as needed. Creating a great relationship and constant interaction with them is absolute.

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I'm O.K. with this.  He's young, and has obviously impressed people with his work ethic and ideas.  Now, he needs to spend a MONTH with Max Kepler.  I think Max is worth more to the Twins to keep than to trade at this point and if "Pop" can unlock what I think is Kepler's true potential it would be tremendous.   Sano is another key, but if Nellie Cruz couldn't get Sano over the hump, I'm not sure who could.  But imagine a Twins lineup with better and more consistent production from Kepler and Sano.  With mainstays like Polanco, Buxton, Donaldson and Garver and an emerging Kiriloff, as well as an aggressive approach to acquire pitching, we could have an interesting 2022 ahead of us.  

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2 hours ago, dxpavelka said:

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.

Both Charley Lau and Terry Crowley got their first job as a big league hitting coach at age 38. Walt Hrniak got his job at age 30.

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1 hour ago, TopGunn#22 said:

I'm O.K. with this.  He's young, and has obviously impressed people with his work ethic and ideas.  Now, he needs to spend a MONTH with Max Kepler.  I think Max is worth more to the Twins to keep than to trade at this point and if "Pop" can unlock what I think is Kepler's true potential it would be tremendous.   Sano is another key, but if Nellie Cruz couldn't get Sano over the hump, I'm not sure who could.  But imagine a Twins lineup with better and more consistent production from Kepler and Sano.  With mainstays like Polanco, Buxton, Donaldson and Garver and an emerging Kiriloff, as well as an aggressive approach to acquire pitching, we could have an interesting 2022 ahead of us.  

Fantastic comment TopGunn.  As I read this, kept wondering if this guy can only get Max Kepler to bunt or punch the ball thru the shortstop hole.  If he can do that, he might unlock a monster that could be huge for the Twins.

Also not concerned that he is both young and inexperienced as a big league player.  How much of a NHL career did Herb Brooks have?  Or my guy, Bob Johnson.  Two of the greatest hockey coaches ever, college, International and Pro.  And what were their NHL careers like, eh?

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1 hour ago, TopGunn#22 said:

I'm O.K. with this.  He's young, and has obviously impressed people with his work ethic and ideas.  Now, he needs to spend a MONTH with Max Kepler.  I think Max is worth more to the Twins to keep than to trade at this point and if "Pop" can unlock what I think is Kepler's true potential it would be tremendous.   Sano is another key, but if Nellie Cruz couldn't get Sano over the hump, I'm not sure who could.  But imagine a Twins lineup with better and more consistent production from Kepler and Sano.  With mainstays like Polanco, Buxton, Donaldson and Garver and an emerging Kiriloff, as well as an aggressive approach to acquire pitching, we could have an interesting 2022 ahead of us.  

Sano actually changed his approach considerably last season and we should all give him credit for it. He sacrificed power and walks to reduce strikeouts and it worked.

Sano is far more willing to try new things than Kepler, it seems. 

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6 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Sano actually changed his approach considerably last season and we should all give him credit for it. He sacrificed power and walks to reduce strikeouts and it worked.

Sano is far more willing to try new things than Kepler, it seems. 

But Sano still needs to retain the ability to recognize pitches on which to totally unleash. As he did here:

 

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11 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Hopefully the man can convince Kepler to consider occasionally hitting the ball to left. 

I wonder how much of Kepler's seemingly stubborn hitting comes from the batting coaching and how much comes from his swing in general and how well it adapts to directing balls off the bat? Kepler certainly seems to be going the way of many failed Twins outfielders before him, trying to hit a 5 run homer at every plate appearance. That said, Kepler put up another 2 WAR season this year.

In any case, something really needs to be done about those outrageous shifts deployed against him.

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On 10/29/2021 at 7:44 AM, DJL44 said:

You really don't know anything about Ted Williams do you. Try reading "The Science of Hitting".

Book2 (herndonbaseball.com)

ALL the hitting analytics folks have read this book.

Just read through this and a lot of it seemed like it could've been written very recently. Williams complains about hitters swinging for the fences too much, pitchers getting too dominant, pull-hitters getting shut down by shifts (really thought that was a new problem!) and even suspects that the ball has been juiced.

On the other hand, he only mentions three or four types of pitch, seems to face knuckleballs all the time, and talks about the slider as if it's some sort of new lab-developed superweapon.

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On 10/29/2021 at 5:44 AM, DJL44 said:

You really don't know anything about Ted Williams do you. Try reading "The Science of Hitting".

Book2 (herndonbaseball.com)

ALL the hitting analytics folks have read this book.

I can now see that to use Ted Williams as the metaphor was confusing to my point. It could be any of the great hitters pre-analytics. And not the old school "analytics" that were theory without the enormous pool of recorded data (as Ted would express), but the analytics as they are known and used today. Substitute a great hitter of your choice. 

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On 10/28/2021 at 2:26 PM, 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

I asked a former FO member about that last part on Twitter recently. He said it is folly to even try, given how little anyone knows about what goes on day to day. Clubs have a pretty good idea of how good their non-player personnel are, but almost no idea how good anyone else's is. 

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