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Miles Death

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About Miles Death

  • Birthday 09/06/1993

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  • Location:
    Minneapolis, MN

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  1. Stay positive! We all know a traditional closer role is going away in baseball. That being said, with the short sample we've seen from Trevor May, he seems like a good candidate. I like a Hildenberger/Hard Throwing Righty (May, or somebody else) as a closer committee. Hildy has better numbers career against lefties due to that devastating change.
  2. I’m at Target Field, and it was the Sunday before the all-star break. We were already losing to the Tampa Bay Rays, and it was a high leverage spot in the 5th inning. Suddenly, my friend and I hear the infamous Lil Jon song start to heat up. Fernando Rodney is coming in? I think, “wow, Molitor is finally getting out of his comfort zone with preassigned inning roles for relievers!” I also don’t judge any of Molitor’s decisions to bring Rodney in because of how fun that walk-up song is at Target Field for the fans. We later find out that no, Molitor isn’t breaking his habits, and Rodney came in that day early to catch a flight to his U.S. citizenship ceremony in Florida. I enjoyed watching Rodney pitch in Minnesota. For all the hype of how frustrating he would be to watch, I didn’t experience as much of that as advertised. I saw a veteran pitcher who knew his approach better than anybody else, and didn’t give in to hitters trying to mess that up. I also love watching any pitcher with a great changeup. He ended his time this season with the Twins with a 3.79 FIP, 10.31 K/9, and 25 saves. Now the Oakland A’s get to experience the FRE. I hope they make the postseason and we get to watch Rodney provide some value to that team. With his fastball still topping out at 97 mph this season, there’s no reason we don’t get treated to 2-3 more years of this fantastic personality. -Miles
  3. I get that it's more expensive, but we could sign a free agent starter to replace Gibson, if we deem 2019 viable for contention. I'm in support of dealing Gibson if you get a nice return. If Buxton and Sano don't come back in form in the end of 2018, I don't think you can entertain 2019 being the year to go for it.
  4. Nice post, Andrew. I still have this feeling that if the price isn't high enough for Dozier and/or Escobar, the Twins may be considering bringing one of them back on the QO. But, you need to be all in in 2019 to do that, and they may be better suited to go all in in 2020 and beyond.
  5. Ted - Great post. While some improvements have occurred as you note, I'm worried overall about his swing mechanics limiting him in the future. Parker Hageman's swing analysis of Kepler enlightened me. Because of how steep he is compared to say, Eddie Rosario, there is so much less room for error, and he has to guess more frequently. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm worried Max has a 4th outfielder skill set in the long term.
  6. When I was growing up, I thought Dick and Bert were awesome. They had the fun “Circle me Bert” shtick, seemingly great rapport with each other, and good timing on bringing excitement to the game. But, I was young - I didn’t know any better. This season is the first summer I’ve enjoyed diving into statistical truths in baseball. I think the analytical trend in the game has not been kind to our FSN announcing crew. It’s made them both increasingly bitter and more frequently inaccurate. Starting in April, I decided to make a list of falsehoods uttered by FSN contributors. I’ve come up with my top 5 at the midway point in the year, but hope many are added in the comments section below 1. Jack Morris claims you can’t measure spin rate. This one was an absolute doozy and I believe almost every Twins Daily writer picked up on it and commented on it on Twitter. Jack claimed during a game that he didn’t think it was possible to accurately calculate the spin rate of either a batted ball or a pitch. This is on par with somebody saying they just don’t “believe” in climate change. Ridiculous. 2. Bert Blyleven compares Jake Odorizzi to Brad Radke multiple times This is the one that kicked off this project. I could be mistaken, but I believe it was first in Odorizzi’s second start that Bert mentioned how similar he was to Radke. My immediate reaction was to look up prevalence of free passes in both players’ careers. Odorizzi has a career BB/9 of 3.1 (4.1 in 2018 so far). Now, this isn’t a ridiculously high number, but let’s compare in Radke’s career BB/9 – 1.6. Radke was a master of control; it was beautiful to watch. In 2005, in 200.2 IP, he only had 23 walks. Maybe he meant both pitchers were American and 6 feet, 2 inches tall, but I doubt it. 3. Torii Hunter has a strange take on launch angles. This one was admittedly rather hilarious. Parker Hageman and Aaron Gleeman called my attention to it as I missed it live. Here is the quote: “Like I said, the launch angle is good for some people, but I think everybody can’t hit with the launch angle,” said Hunter. “I heard [Toronto Blue Jays third baseman] Josh Donaldson say he launches the ball. If you look at his swing, it really has no launch. It actually goes through the ball, and then it launches actually through the ball. But you can’t go after it with the launch.” This isn’t even Torii’s hottest take in the world of sports. He once said (as a player for the Tigers) “But I can tell you this, I made love to my wife the other night and I caught a cramp in my hamstring. I actually put my leg out and kept performing. So there’s no excuse,” in response to Lebron James suffering cramps in the NBA Finals. Torii Hunter is one of my favorites and I enjoy having him on the broadcast, but seriously? 4. Bert Blyleven says Fernando Rodney doesn’t give a lot of free passes. Just this last Monday against the Royals, Rodney was in to save a nice win for the Twins. During Rodney’s appearance (I believe on a 3-0 count), Bert blurted out that Rodney “doesn’t walk a lot of people.” Huh? Even to people who don’t check stats, Rodney has a reputation of making things interesting in save situations by walking batters. In fact, his career BB/9 is 4.4…definitely not a low walk rate. 5. Tim Laudner yells at the rulebook. Now, I will admit this isn’t a falsehood. He just has a strong opinion on the rule change dealing with catchers and how they block the plate. The issue came up with Anthony Rizzo sliding and clipping the leg of Pirates’ catcher Austin Hedges. I included this on the list for two reasons: 1) it was hilarious how mad he got and 2) it goes with the theme of ex-players at FSN that can’t seem to progress with the times. It got to the point on Twins Live that Laudner was essentially getting worked up looking at the rule on a piece and paper and saying what a disgrace the change has been. We understand you’re mad, but calm down. The rules aren’t going to go back, so just accept. Honorable Mention: Tim Laudner says the Twins swept a “very good” Orioles team I don’t even need to say anything about this, do I? Thus concludes my top 5 falsehood list. I hope you’ve gotten a kick out of our broadcast crew. For all the falsehoods, they are pretty good contributors and I enjoy the comparisons and theories every once in a while. Plus, we always have Cory Provus on play-by-play on the radio, and the occasional appearance of Justin Morneau in the TV booth (the eventual dream team, I hope). What are some of your favorite contributions from our FSN crew? Let me know in the comments below! -Miles
  7. You will know for sure on August 10, after 7 games against CLE in 11 days. At that point, there is plenty of playing time to be awarded to guys who need a look for 2019. As far as the deadline is concerned, you really only need to decide on Gibson and Escobar, as the others are basically getting nothing in return. Obviously Dozier could heat up, and you may be able to get a B/C level prospect for him from Boston/L.A. Dodgers.
  8. *Disclaimer* I wrote this a week or so ago, and it seems Dozier may be heating up. But my attempt at analysis still applies . I know at this point most of you are thinking: who cares why Brian Dozier is struggling? We are moving on from him anyway. While this could be true, I am fascinated by diving into why player results change (positively or negatively) drastically from year to year. So, why did Brian Dozier go from a solid consistent power hitter to struggling this year? It may not be as obvious as you think. “Barreling it Up” When a player’s numbers are down, you expect one of two things: 1) the player is striking out more, or 2) he is making worse contact. In Dozier’s case, it’s the latter. In fact, his strikeout rate is actually down. But we’ll get to that later. Statcast shows Brian’s average exit velocity this year is 86.9 MPH. That is down from an average of 87.5 MPH in both 2017 and 2016. This may not seem like much, but when you look at his “Barrels/Plate Appearance” there is a significant drop this year (2018 – 3.7, 2017 – 5.5, 2016 – 5.8). If you want to learn more about what a “barrel” is and how it’s measured, check out this article. Another key measure here, especially for power hitters, is the average “hard hit” rate. A hard hit is considered to have an exit velocity of over 95 MPH. In 2018, Dozier’s hard hit percentage is 27.8%, compared to 34.5% in 2017, and 36.2% in 2016. Hypothesizing Possible Causes This is the part of the post when I act like James Rowson and take analytical guesses at why a MLB player is struggling at the plate. The most obvious place to start is to determine whether pitchers around the league have started to pitch Dozier differently, thus creating problems for him at the plate. But, when you look at both pitch type and location, I don’t see a major difference. Look at the table below via Fangraphs with pitch type %’s to Dozier over the last few years: As you can see, the only considerable deviation from his career average is he has getting more sliders (SL) in 2018. Sometimes cut fastballs (FC) and sliders merge together in pitch type, so this could account for the adjustment. Next, I looked at whether pitchers are attacking Dozier in different locations than years past. Take the heat maps against Dozier below from 2017 (first) and 2018 (second): Again, pitchers are attacking Dozier almost identically as they did in 2017 (down and away, like most hitters). At this point, I turned to Dozier’s actions for the answer. The Approach You could look at some of Dozier’s 2018 numbers and think his hitting is becoming more efficient. For example, his strikeout rate is down to 18.6% this season from 20% the last two summers. Naturally following that, his plate discipline has improved. His chase rate is down to 22.2% in 2018 from 23.4% in 2017, and 29.1% in 2016. But, if you look deeper, you start to realize his overall swing rate is down from the past couple seasons. Look at his swing % heat maps from 2017 (first) and 2018 (second) below: My impression of the change is this: Dozier is becoming pickier with his pitch selection. Notice in the 2018 chart the red zones are much more concentrated in the middle part of the zone. In 2017, there is a wider distribution of swing % prevalence. In other words, Dozier was much more aggressive in 2017 with his pitch selection, swinging at more pitches outside the middle. Furthermore, Dozier is seeing more pitches at the plate than in years past. In 2018, he is seeing an average of 4.10 pitchers/plate appearance. Compare that to 4.03 pitches/PA in both 2016 and 2017. I know I miss the days watching Dozier hammer the first heater he sees. Maybe there are other contributing factors that I am missing, but I think an approach adjustment could benefit Brian as much as anything else. It also could be he enjoys hitting first in the lineup to attack the pitcher just trying to establish his fastball. Even though Dozier will most likely be gone after this season, I would still like to see him do well in the second half. He deserves it.
  9. Valid argument and well presented. But, we are still in a competitive window, and there is no statistical evidence to predict regression for Gibson in 2019 and 2020. We need his arm in the middle or top of our rotation to maintain the window. You could get a decent haul of prospects for him, but they would be prospects. I know we think we have the depth to back fill our rotation with the likes of Meija, Gonslaves, Thorpe, Romero. But, again none of those guys have proven anything in the league. It is too much of risk to trade Gibson in the middle of our window. That being said, my whole argument is based on if you accept the premise we are in a window...
  10. I'm sorry but most of this is based on complete conjecture. Sure there's affordable options, but the fact is the prices are going up... P.S. take your son's tablet away
  11. Mr. Teflon - You make some really thoughtful points. However I would push back a little on a couple: There was a fantastic article in Baseball Prospectus detailing how the shift may be going away for the majority of hitters in the league due to the high number of walks thrown in front of it (Walking Away From The Shift). If that happens, why shouldn't teams be able to shift against just the Joey Gallo types of the world. As a baseball enthusiast I enjoy the strategy of it. My response to this is the unintended consequences of moves like this could be immense. First, pitchers would get hurt more. If you say they would pace themselves and throw softer, hitters would swing for the fences even more. Thus resulting in more Home Runs and less balls in play, which goes against your main point. I think there's moves to be made for sure. I just think lowering ticket prices is one that should be priority #1. The MLB also does a terrible job at promoting their superstars. Mike Trout is the best hitter (and overall better player) since Barry Bonds, yet we almost never hear from him. These two things should be improved first, then we can talk about changing the fabric of the game. Appreciate your comments!
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