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  • Notebook: Happ and Thielbar Make Spring Debuts


    Andrew Luedtke

    The Twins dropped today’s Grapefruit League contest to Atlanta 5-1. But, J.A. Happ and Caleb Thielbar made their Spring Training debuts and one member of the Twins continues to hit this Spring. That and more from the March 15 edition of the Offseason Notebook.

    Image courtesy of © Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    Atlanta 5, Minnesota 1 (9 innings)

    Box Score

    Twins Takeaways:

    Standout pitcher: J.A Happ (2 IP, 1H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K)

    Standout hitter: Kyle Garlick (1-for-3 with a solo HR)

    Not much going today for the Twins who were on the road to face the Atlanta Braves. This usually means that a lot of the regulars do not make the trip. Nevertheless, there’s always a few takeaways from any Spring Training game.

    Here’s how the Twins lined up today against an Atlanta team that had Acuña, Albies, Freeman, Ozuna, Swanson and other potential starters in it’s lineup.

    https://twitter.com/betsyhelfand/status/1371508373347315715

    Highlights:

    J.A. Happ made his Twins debut and looked pretty good! Well actually, sounded pretty good. Today’s game wasn’t televised so all fans could do is listen to the Atlanta radio feed.

    https://twitter.com/dohyoungpark/status/1371518286421241856

    This is an encouraging start as Happ’s Spring was delayed due to COVID-19. It will be interesting to see how the Twins ramp him up prior to Opening Day and when he will make his debut. Nate Palmer details that, here.

    Caleb Thielbar also made his debut today after missing some time due to a back strain. He faced four players that subbed in for the middle part of the Braves lineup. He retired three of them with a flyout, groundout, and strikeout. He only allowed one hit, a single.

    Some notables on the offensive side…

    Luis Arraez went 2-for-3 with two singles. He now has six hits on the Spring, second most on the Twins. He noted after the game today he “feels ready to go”. Arraez hit leadoff today and started at 3B. When he does play in 2021, could Rocco be batting Arraez in the top of the order more often? Check out this piece from Cody Christie.

    https://twitter.com/dohyoungpark/status/1371542038366326789

    Kyle Garlick continues to mash this Spring. He went 1-for-3 with a solo HR off RHP Jacob Webb. Garlick leads the Twins in hits (7) and homers this Spring (3).

    Twins send more players to alternate training site:

    For the second day in a row, the Twins assigned players to the alternate training site as the roster starts to take shape. Blakenhorn and Gordon were contenders to make the club for the second utility spot.

    https://twitter.com/morsecode/status/1371561356890099716

    Starters to see more playing time?

    If you haven’t noticed, the Twins played nine innings today for the first time all Spring. Now that there have been some players reassigned, Rocco Baldelli mentioned in his post-game press conference that players should start to see more frequent playing time and stay in games longer. 51 players remain in camp, meaning they have 25 more moves to make before going north with the final 26-man roster in Milwaukee. More from Phil Miller of the Star Tribune, here.

    Celebrating 40 years of Baseball America

    If you love prospects (and I know many of you do at Twins Daily), you’ll love this 40 year recap from Baseball America detailing the 40 best prospects in the last 40 years. HINT: I think you will recognize one of Minnesota’s own on this list.

    https://twitter.com/BaseballAmerica/status/1371544291839987712

    That’s a wrap from today. Make sure to check back tomorrow when we recap the Twins vs. Pirates at Hammond Stadium. First pitch is at 12:05pm CST.

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY

    Sire of Fort Myers Update!

    How the Twins Win the 2021 AL Central

    Kirilloff’s Poise Fits Baldelli’s Mantra

    You can follow Andrew Luedtke on Twitter here.

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    Happ making his debut is the most important thing. Really good chance be gets 3 more starts and can also be the 5th starter to open the season to continue his ramp up.

     

    Thielbar ready to pitch is great. Takes far less for him to get ready as a RP.

     

    Garlik is on the 40 man and has done all he can. But he absolutely has to be behind the younger Rooker if there is a spot on the initial roster.

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    One player I haven't heard talked about very much is astudillo he is done everything that's been asked of him and has done it well this spring. I know that a lot of people think he was just a good humor story 2 years ago, but I've been very impressed with how he has played this spring. No predictions, but he deserves some credit.

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    One player I haven't heard talked about very much is astudillo he is done everything that's been asked of him and has done it well this spring. I know that a lot of people think he was just a good humor story 2 years ago, but I've been very impressed with how he has played this spring. No predictions, but he deserves some credit.

     

    I am a huge Turtle fan but I feel like the last couple of springs he has fooled me.  In spring the pitchers are more likely to throw first pitch strikes and at times batters face non-MLB pitching competition.  This benefits Austudillo because at the MLB level pitchers generally throw pitchers pitches early in the count and while he might hit the ball it tends to be weak contact.  He generally doesn't wait for something better or work counts at all.  So the book on him is easy.  Throw your best breaking balls and let him get himself out more often than not.  Work the edges and bottom of the zone he'll swing don't worry it doesn't even have to be a strike just close.

     

    Don't get me wrong he has done well this Spring.  He is always dialed in and never takes a play off and that is what we love about the guy.  I still think he makes the 26 man and is good player but I also think that once teams start playing "real" baseball he won't be this good. 

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    I am a huge Turtle fan but I feel like the last couple of springs he has fooled me.  In spring the pitchers are more likely to throw first pitch strikes and at times batters face non-MLB pitching competition.  This benefits Austudillo because at the MLB level pitchers generally throw pitchers pitches early in the count and while he might hit the ball it tends to be weak contact.  He generally doesn't wait for something better or work counts at all.  So the book on him is easy.  Throw your best breaking balls and let him get himself out more often than not.  Work the edges and bottom of the zone he'll swing don't worry it doesn't even have to be a strike just close.

     

    Don't get me wrong he has done well this Spring.  He is always dialed in and never takes a play off and that is what we love about the guy.  I still think he makes the 26 man and is good player but I also think that once teams start playing "real" baseball he won't be this good. 

    It might be the walk that he took two games ago that caught my attention the most.  

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    I am a huge Turtle fan but I feel like the last couple of springs he has fooled me.  In spring the pitchers are more likely to throw first pitch strikes and at times batters face non-MLB pitching competition.  This benefits Austudillo because at the MLB level pitchers generally throw pitchers pitches early in the count and while he might hit the ball it tends to be weak contact.

    This being a known problem with Spring stats, it's maybe not too surprising that somebody has tried to do something about it.

     

    2021 Spring stats are being kept at baseball-reference.com, and in that site's basic display they show a column called "OppQual", which as the name suggests is a measure of the average quality of the opposition (MLB, AAA, AA, etc) in a batter's plate appearances.

     

    To my surprise, the Turtle's opposition quality is exceeded only by Simmons (who has only 6 PA so far) - if there's any padding, it's not of his stats. :)

     

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    This being a known problem with Spring stats, it's maybe not too surprising that somebody has tried to do something about it.

     

    2021 Spring stats are being kept at baseball-reference.com, and in that site's basic display they show a column called "OppQual", which as the name suggests is a measure of the average quality of the opposition (MLB, AAA, AA, etc) in a batter's plate appearances.

     

    To my surprise, the Turtle's opposition quality is exceeded only by Simmons (who has only 6 PA so far) - if there's any padding, it's not of his stats. :)
     

     

    I stand corrected.  :) Thanks for the info very valuable.

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