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Random thoughts.....


- Jose Miranda is a disaster with a glove on.   We can attempt to hide him at first where it is not as painful as watching him play third.    But with Buxton at DH, Arraez has to bat somewhere so he is at first as well (trying to hide his glove) and wanting Miranda's bat in the lineup, third becomes an option.   However, even when catches the ball, his throws are terrible.   It is not like we do not have a Gold Glove caliber third baseman on the roster.  The answer to the whole logjam is to play Buxton in center.   That way Miranda and Arraez can split first and DH.  This leads me to my second point.

- We were told that by Buxton only playing centerfield twice a week or less, that after the All-Star break he would play more regularly in center.   We are now two weeks past that point and Buxton is still only playing centerfield once a week.   This from the same medical staff that cannot fix Kiriloff's wrist, Acala's shoulder and various other ailments that seem to keep Twin players out longer than say Chicago or Cleveland players. 

- Similar to Alex Colome last season, the front office will refuse to admit it's mistake with Pagan and force feed him to us the rest of the year.   At least they have removed him from high leverage situations, but he is still able to lose games in the sixth inning.    If they insist on keeping him, he should be the last option in the bullpen.

- This is tough for me, but it is time to cut bait with Tyler (Three-Run Homer) Duffey.    We send Coffee and others down who have shown better results out of the pen to keep him but how many games does he enter when we are behind by 2 - 3 runs and are down by 5 - 6 when he leaves.   The front office made some good moves at the trading deadline to upgrade the pen, now it is time to take it one step further by weeding out the ineffective members of it.

- Sounds strange, but I have more confidence with Nick Gordon at the plate, than I do with Buxton, Correa, Polanco, and Arraez at this point.   Speaking of Correa, if he opts out, is Royce Lewis that big of a drop off?  I don't think so.

- We miss Kepler.   I will never complain about his pop-ups again.

- Tyler Alexander will live in infamy for his gopher ball to Mark Conteras.   Since that mammoth blast, Conteras has only put the ball in play once, that being a double play grounder.  However, on the flip side I must admit that Jake Cave seems to have figured something out.    No longer trying to hit each pitch 700 feet, he seems to be concentrating on putting the bat on the ball.   I realize it is a small sample size but if this is true to form, he could help this team whose offense right now is stagnate. 

Done ranting, just had to get some of these thoughts out here.

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I go back and forth on Pagan.  I don't love him and he needs to be used early but he does have swing and miss stuff.  Duffy is a whole other matter though.  He has been getting hit hard last year and even worse this year.  How much more evidence do the Twins need that he is worse than Moran or even Cotton? I don't know.  It seems incredibly strange to me that a team battling for a playoff spot and a team so into analytics would be rostering Tyler Duffy.  I lose a little respect for them letting this happen again and again and again.

The top of the order just hasn't been productive enough.  Get Correa to two strikes and he will chase all kinds of pitches out of the zone until he strikes out.  No need to come back into the zone just let him get himself out.  For a veteran (supposedly clutch bat) I haven't been impressed.  Buxton on one leg might be better than most of this lineup but the K's are at an egregious level at this point.  I think he might hurting more than helping at this point.

I think this team is just too banged up to get to the finish line in first place.  It looks like a long slow fade into third to me.  It was a better year than last year but disappointing in a lot of ways but it will be the pen that sunk the season.  I hope that is a solid lesson learned by the FO.  

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Is Sano officially done? As has been the case for a while now, the Twins are hanging on the precipice and seem to stay in must win the next game situations tonight being another one. They have been able to avoid falling off the cliff so far but if they lose the Jays series at home before heading to LA Dodgers it could be the beginning of the end for 2022.

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Good points. Hitters ebb and flow, but right now Correa has been pretty bad for quite a while. He got his BA up over .300 in June, but the prolonged cold spell has him having perhaps his worst season. The irony is that the worse his season gets, the more likely he returns for next year. I’d like to see him bet on himself and come back for his age 28 season. 
 

We all know Buxton isn’t 100% and that his injury is limiting the team. We don’t know if the current load management is/was the correct course. 
 

I am not terribly impressed with Miranda’s defense either, but he has impressed with the bat. He’s been the club’s best hitter for at least the last five weeks, maybe longer. 
 

I think the Twins have used Pagán correctly of late and he’s had some good innings. Yesterday’s game pivoted on the inning that Pagán pitched however. The problem is that they don’t have better options than Pagán and Duffey to fill out the bullpen. Adding the two arms and getting Thielbar back improve the club and bullpen, but everyone on the staff will have to throw key innings and Duffey and Pagán fail too often. 
 

Finally, Mark Contreras is a nice story. He’ll be able to tell his kids and grandkids that he was a major league ball player. He doesn’t belong in the majors based on what I’ve seen. I would definitely rather see Jackie Bradley Jr. playing in the outfield  right now. 

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40 minutes ago, Dman said:

I go back and forth on Pagan.  I don't love him and he needs to be used early but he does have swing and miss stuff.  Duffy is a whole other matter though.  He has been getting hit hard last year and even worse this year.  How much more evidence do the Twins need that he is worse than Moran or even Cotton? I don't know.  It seems incredibly strange to me that a team battling for a playoff spot and a team so into analytics would be rostering Tyler Duffy.  I lose a little respect for them letting this happen again and again and again.

The top of the order just hasn't been productive enough.  Get Correa to two strikes and he will chase all kinds of pitches out of the zone until he strikes out.  No need to come back into the zone just let him get himself out.  For a veteran (supposedly clutch bat) I haven't been impressed.  Buxton on one leg might be better than most of this lineup but the K's are at an egregious level at this point.  I think he might hurting more than helping at this point.

I think this team is just too banged up to get to the finish line in first place.  It looks like a long slow fade into third to me.  It was a better year than last year but disappointing in a lot of ways but it will be the pen that sunk the season.  I hope that is a solid lesson learned by the FO.  

It's mental with those guys at some point I think. They've blown so many this season. Duffey for sure is not trusting his stuff so he gets behind in counts and has to grove.

Pagan just doesn't command the strike zone very well. One of those smoked balls yesterday came on an 0-2 pitch. Come on, you are a major leaguer, 0-2's shouldn't sit middle in thigh high.

Agree on the lineup. Aareaz, Correa and Buck are really struggling right now. And let's be honest, if we don't get offensive production out of that group, it's going to be hard to win anything, especially when you starting outfield looks like the St. Paul Saints lineup.

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29 minutes ago, Number3 said:

Is Sano officially done? As has been the case for a while now, the Twins are hanging on the precipice and seem to stay in must win the next game situations tonight being another one. They have been able to avoid falling off the cliff so far but if they lose the Jays series at home before heading to LA Dodgers it could be the beginning of the end for 2022.

Sanó is on the 60-day IL. He’d be eligible to come off the list the last week of September. Pretty tough to imagine he’ll be a factor in the last two weeks or the postseason. 
 

Probably the most amazing thing about the Twins this year has been their ability to avoid a longish tailspin. They’ve foundered for months but haven’t lost more than three in a row at any time IIRC. I wrote about a month ago that I’ll believe in their ability until they do have a tailspin. Yes, the trip to LA might be their sternest test, but they seem to have the ability to right the ship. 

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Alcala just had elbow surgery... So I have no idea your point there. 

Miranda definitely has defensive issues.... And it isn't like Arraez is great at first.... Buxton has lifetime knee issues. There likely isn't anything to be done, other than live with it best he can. 

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Miranda's defense isn't good, but if he's got Correa in his ear, I'd guess that's something he could get better at.

Buxton has tendinitis, no doctor can fix that.

Pagan is a lot like Colome, which might be why the front office is giving him some leash. Colome was actually pretty good last year after the fans gave up on him.

Yeah Duffey's shot. I know his performance is angering everyone, but it's also a bit sad, he's been here a long time.

Nick Gordon can play at the MLB level. I wouldn't have said that to start the year. But with his lack of power and minimal ability to draw walks, I'd much rather see those other guys at bat.

We could use Kepler back. But just outfield depth in general is missed.

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Our bullpen is halfway good. Who is in the minors that can give immediate help? Moran and Cotton come to my mind. Anyone else?  Just get the first pitch in the strike zone and that improves the pitcher's odds immensely. Fine each reliever $100 for each walk. I recently heard Duke Snider on a tape say that Don Drysdale was told from the bench to intentionally walk a batter. So the first pitch, Drysdale hits the batter. Later Drysdale said there was no sense having to throw 4 pitches just to put the batter on base. :) 

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I'm not too worried about Miranda's defense when thinking about the future because he's a likely 3/4 DH candidate so he should play minimal 1B. Sano is likely done and he should be.

The thing that really annoys me is we sent Moran down to make room for Mahle instead of Duffey. I realize Duffey went on a hot streak for a month, but the infatuation with him needs to go away. Moran had an era under 2 and struck out 12 per 9 innings. Why was he the sacrificial lamb? That's a dumb move.

I'm over the Pagan experience. We all want him to be good but it isn't going to happen. Are we trying to win a division and trying to make the Pagan situation work? Make the moves that allow your team to win, I dont care if it means Pagan is DFA'd.

Arraez, Buxton, and Correa all struggling for a month does not help. Twins haven't won 3 in a row since June and that's a joke for a team leading their division. I'm still hoping the deadline moves bring back some energy that the team had in May, but i'm losing optimism by the day.

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I don’t understand giving Pagan the ball for the Toronto 4-6 hitters. 
 

Let Gray try to get 1-2 more outs in the 6th or get lucky and get through the 6th on 10 pitches or so.

Then use Pagan if you must for the 7-9. 
 

If you are going to take the ball away from Gray with 90 pitches put in Jax who wasn’t used Wednesday for the 4-6 hitters, keep Jax in for the 7th if he gets out of the 6th quickly.  
 

Then use some combination of Fulmer/Duran/Lopez to close out the last 2 innings. 
 

What happened to squeezing a couple more outs out of a starter or reliever? 
 

there’s no rule that says Gray couldn’t have gotten 2 outs in the 6th, Jax 4-5 outs in the 6th and seventh. Fulmer or Duran 3-4 outs in the 7/8th depending on who you want to rest more. Lopez for the save.

 

Rocco is managing to lose instead of managing to win in a 1-0 ballgame going into the 6th with a 1 game division lead.

 

It’s dumb and the local sports media needs to start calling him out on it.

 

sure if it’s a blow out loss or we’re up by 6 runs give it to Pagan and Duffey, or maybe give it to Pagan for the bottom of the order, but to the 4-6 hitters of this Toronto team to start the sixth with a 1 run lead? Hell no. 

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Give Miranda a break. He's not that bad at either 3B or 1B and he just got here. He will improve in the field. We NEED his bat in the lineup every day. Move him to 1B, play Urshela at 3B, make Arraez more UTL/DH/even LF. There are ways to get all 3 in the order 6 days a week and we need them there.

Time to DFA or release Duffy, He's done unless he is willing to go to AAA  and try to improve. Bring up Jharel  Cotton assuming he didn't get picked up after his DFA. We need a multi inning guy and let's not forget his ERA was below 3. I know his FIP and SIERRA were a lot higher but hey, results are reults. Stick with Pagan but only for low leverage and leave Moran in AAA as next man up in case of injury since he has options. 

The offense is sputtering because we are at least 1 or 2 bats short. Kepler will help some but he's a 7th or 8th place hitter on a good team. We need another top 5 or 6 hitter. Can Cave be that guy? Seems unlikely but he's looked good so far..... How about Nick Gordon? Also seems unlikely but he's doing better than anyone expected. Anybody out there we can pick up? If not, Gordon or Cave is probably our best hope other than hoping that Kepler or Urshela all of sudden become better hitters than they have been so far in their careers.  We are too dependent on the top 4, now 5 with Miranda, and need depth in the order. You know, like Toronto has. 

Great to see Contreras get a cup of coffee in MLB. Now time to send him back to AAA where he belongs. 

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One more thought. More Miranda to the 2 hole as a way to lengthen the order and think about leading off Gordon. Two lineups - Gordon, Miranda, Correa, Buxton, Arraez, Polanco, Kepler, Urshela, Sanchez or Arraez, Miranda, Correa, Buxton, Polanco, Gordon, Urshela, Kepler, Sanchez. Cave plays anybody sits and hits #7. Leon spells Sanchez, Celestino is a late inning defensive replacement, Beckham pinch hits. plays only occasionally. 

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14 minutes ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

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Give Miranda a break. He's not that bad at either 3B or 1B and he just got here. He will improve in the field. We NEED his bat in the lineup every day. Move him to 1B, play Urshela at 3B, make Arraez more UTL/DH/even LF. There are ways to get all 3 in the order 6 days a week and we need them there.

 

You keep saying that but reality says other wise; he will improve, based on what fact?

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Baseball Savant rates Miranda at 0 outs above average overall, +2 at 3B, -1 at 1B. That's why I say he's not that bad; the metrics say he's average, slightly bellow at 1B, slightly above at 3B. By the way, they rank Gio Urshela at -6 outs above average at 3B. He's the other option and he's below average. Arraez is -7. 

Why do I think he'll get better? Because he's 24 and in his first year in the bigs. It has been my experience that young people improve at their jobs over time as they gain experience. I know I did. In baseball, they get better in the field with more reps and position themselves better once they know opposing hitters. If you start out average it makes logical sense that you improve to above average over time or at least stay at average.   

 

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Biggest problem with Miranda's defense at 3rd isn't his glove...it's his arm. He bounces every other throw to 1st base. He can make most of the plays with his glove. Even if we have a gold glover at 1st, some of those throws are going to be missed. Urshela HAS to play 3rd with the occasional day off. Right now, Miranda should be a DH/1B. No way can we take his bat out of the lineup. I don't know why Arraez can't play some LF, he wasn't that bad out there before. We're so short handed in the OF now, he could handle that from time to time. There are ways to rotate some of these guys around and give them all adequate playing time. Cave is a marginal major leaguer. Only in emergency situations. Contreras doesn't belong up here. Celestino is a late inning defensive replacement guy...that's all. I'd DFA Duffey immediately, and another melt down by Pagan, and he goes too. There's no way you can convince me that we don't have someone better to replace either of them. Just do it. We're trying to win a weak division, we can't keep blowing games with the same old usual suspects in the bullpen. 

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46 minutes ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

Baseball Savant rates Miranda at 0 outs above average overall, +2 at 3B, -1 at 1B. That's why I say he's not that bad; the metrics say he's average, slightly bellow at 1B, slightly above at 3B. By the way, they rank Gio Urshela at -6 outs above average at 3B. He's the other option and he's below average. Arraez is -7. 

Why do I think he'll get better? Because he's 24 and in his first year in the bigs. It has been my experience that young people improve at their jobs over time as they gain experience. I know I did. In baseball, they get better in the field with more reps and position themselves better once they know opposing hitters. If you start out average it makes logical sense that you improve to above average over time or at least stay at average.   

 

Good, sensible reply. Thanks. 

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2 hours ago, bwillly said:

I don’t understand giving Pagan the ball for the Toronto 4-6 hitters. 
 

Let Gray try to get 1-2 more outs in the 6th or get lucky and get through the 6th on 10 pitches or so.

Then use Pagan if you must for the 7-9. 
 

If you are going to take the ball away from Gray with 90 pitches put in Jax who wasn’t used Wednesday for the 4-6 hitters, keep Jax in for the 7th if he gets out of the 6th quickly.  
 

Then use some combination of Fulmer/Duran/Lopez to close out the last 2 innings. 
 

What happened to squeezing a couple more outs out of a starter or reliever? 
 

there’s no rule that says Gray couldn’t have gotten 2 outs in the 6th, Jax 4-5 outs in the 6th and seventh. Fulmer or Duran 3-4 outs in the 7/8th depending on who you want to rest more. Lopez for the save.

 

Rocco is managing to lose instead of managing to win in a 1-0 ballgame going into the 6th with a 1 game division lead.

 

It’s dumb and the local sports media needs to start calling him out on it.

 

sure if it’s a blow out loss or we’re up by 6 runs give it to Pagan and Duffey, or maybe give it to Pagan for the bottom of the order, but to the 4-6 hitters of this Toronto team to start the sixth with a 1 run lead? Hell no. 

This, sooooooo this! 100% agree. Rocco is not a competent MLB manager. His decisions lose 3 games for every 1 game his decisions win. 

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2 hours ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

Baseball Savant rates Miranda at 0 outs above average overall, +2 at 3B, -1 at 1B. That's why I say he's not that bad; the metrics say he's average, slightly bellow at 1B, slightly above at 3B. By the way, they rank Gio Urshela at -6 outs above average at 3B. He's the other option and he's below average. Arraez is -7. 

Why do I think he'll get better? Because he's 24 and in his first year in the bigs. It has been my experience that young people improve at their jobs over time as they gain experience. I know I did. In baseball, they get better in the field with more reps and position themselves better once they know opposing hitters. If you start out average it makes logical sense that you improve to above average over time or at least stay at average.   

 

Here are his numbers from Baseball Ref.; which I put more faith in.

image.png.afd4db9ced8314f640d207fbc586d1b3.png

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3 hours ago, CRF said:

 I don't know why Arraez can't play some LF, he wasn't that bad out there before. We're so short handed in the OF now, he could handle that from time to time. There are ways to rotate some of these guys around and give them all adequate playing time. Cave is a marginal major leaguer.

Arraez numbers are very poor; Cave is a far, far better fielder than Arraez.

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1 hour ago, RpR said:

Here are his numbers from Baseball Ref.; which I put more faith in.

image.png.afd4db9ced8314f640d207fbc586d1b3.png

I am guessing the bottom line here is "plays not made".  This is saying the average 3Bman makes nearly 3 plays per nine inning game, and Miranda's making just under 2, which over the course of a season it says might amount to 30 runs, which is a lot and would translate to about 3 missing wins over the course of a season. 

The thing is, though, these stats don't tell us about opportunity - during that short sample of playing time at third so far, have batters been sending a typical frequency of balls his way, or fewer?  It's why things like Zone Rating were invented.

Even if balls are hit his way at a normal clip, do a lot of balls get past him for base hits, that the eye-test tells you another player would have gotten?  Or is it just a matter of positioning, and not being close enough to make the play?

So many questions arise from data like this.

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I have the same issue on the Baseball Reference stats. That's why I like the outs above average stat on Baseball Savant. They seem to be an effort to compare fielding metrics between players at the same position so you can get a sense for whether someone is above or below average for that position. Now that the just be my lack of expertise or lack of understanding of these other metrics.

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11 hours ago, CRF said:

I don't know why Arraez can't play some LF, he wasn't that bad out there before. We're so short handed in the OF now, he could handle that from time to time.  

Rocco was clear in spring training that Arraez would no longer be used in the OF. He hasn't taken any reps out there so no reason to do it now.

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