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LastOnePicked

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Everything posted by LastOnePicked

  1. Yup, that's the spirit. OR ... I think Parker H. posted a year or so ago about high-stress, high-leverage situation performance drills that some teams were making a part of conditioning and training. Basically, coaches run through mock do-or-die skills scenarios and then check to see if the players seem mentally ready to handle these situations when they would arise in an actual game. Not sure if the Twins are doing these, but it doesn't seem like a bad idea. At the very least to run these in Spring Training, and in St. Paul.
  2. For some reason, we never seem to look at the psychological aspects of player performance. They're very hard to pinpoint or quantify, I know, and they don't make for good analytics. But the issue with Pagan sure seems to be the yips. Did he perform better after the new breaking ball, or because he was relegated to low-leverage situations by the time he showed improvement? I am no expert, but when Pagan was getting shelled, it wasn't so much his pitch selection as location. He would serve up extra-base hits right down the heart of the plate. No MLB relief pitcher does that unless they're mentally distracted or rattled. In fact, I think the Twins as a team have the yips, and have had them for a few years. They seem to do okay in no-pressure situations. But in high-pressure situations, we seem to see a lot of bad a bats, a lot of bad pitch location and a lot of errors in the field. When the Twins play the Astros, Yankees or Dodgers, they play like they're afraid. This is a layman's take and could be ridiculous. But bringing back Pagan to ruin games for this club again in 2023 - unless rebuilding, or unless there's some clear strengthening of the mental aspect of his game - seems even more ridiculous.
  3. Tell that to the Astros and the Rays. Of course, you blend established vets with rookies, but you need lots of great rookies first. But I'll stop on this, since I think this side conversation will derail the celebratory thread. Hats off to Arraez. I'll keep my thoughts about rebuilding for a later thread on 2023.
  4. Good points, but if the Twins stink again (stinking being defined by a sub-.500 season) in 2023 and 2024, will Arraez really be that much of a draw? I mean, people like Arraez, but they LOVED La Tortuga. I think fans will always find a scrappy player to cheer here. People want to see the Twins win playoff games - that's what will sell tickets again. The best path to that outcome in my opinion is restocking the minors and going through a talent rebuild.
  5. He, too, has some injury history and knee/hamstring troubles. By the time this team is close to contention again, he'll be 28-30. Not sure a rebuilding - not a rebuilt - team will really need him. He likely won't be a difference-maker here. But it's possible that the FO is not rebuilding in 2023, in which case you're right. Get every weapon you can in the lineup. It's not the path I want them to take, but I'd understand.
  6. He's probably the fan's favorite player on this team at this point, so that might be a hard sell. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine his value will ever be higher than it is right now. I'm in a rebuild state of mind, so I say yes. You hope that Martin can step up his game in 2023 and beyond and attempt to fill the OBP gap left by Arraez, while adding speed to the lineup.
  7. I had three waves of prediction: 1) Pre-Correa signing 2) Post-Correa signing and 3) Opening Day, Post-Rogers/Paddock Trade. I think I ultimately settled on the predictive line: "A lot of things changed, but their record will stay the same - 73-89." I was a lot closer than I wanted to be, and a lot closer than I thought I would be in May. By June, I thought I had let preseason pessimism sway me too far, and that I had ignored the promise in the pipeline and the overall impact of Correa. I should have remembered that pessimism can't sway a person too far with this team. Whether it's the late innings, the playoffs or even a mid-season series against a top team, it almost seems like the mission of this Twins team is to disappoint. But I also though Detroit was going to have a very competitive year and that Baddoo was on the cusp of being an all-star, so clearly I'm more Nostradummy than Nostradamus.
  8. Hey, have optimism and keep the faith. Good for you. But the Twins are going to be losing a 5 WAR player in just a few weeks here. Can't quite see how they're "already better" than 2022. Pessimism can be a downer, sure, but the blind optimism around here can get a little tough to swallow, too. It's not your fault, and it's not our fault, The Twins need to learn how to silence critics and reward believers. Until then, skepticism is probably well warranted.
  9. Honestly, I don't really want or expect them to spend money on free agents this offseason. I don't have even a single shred of hope for 2023, and I don't think they spend money all that wisely anyway. If we're stuck with this FO, here's what I want from them this offseason more than anything: 1) Cut ties with past-their-prime players who are clogging the roster. No more Bundys, Caves, Pagans or Archers. Trade Kepler. Decline the Sano option. Clean house and commit to a youth movement. DO NOT lose a single promising prospect in the Rule 5 Draft when it returns. 2) Find the best damn pitching coach on the market. Offer him Correa's opt-out contract savings from Year 2 if you have to. Clarify to this person that a full-season commitment is required. Get this person excited about shaping the next 1990s Atlanta Braves-style rotation. 3) Fire bench coach Jayce Tingler and hire someone who can counter Rocco's worse tendencies and accentuate his best ones. Tingler might be a great guy, but he's got the stink of two collapsed seasons all over him now. Goodbye. See if James Rowson is interested in a reunion. Offer him Correa's opt-out contract savings from Year 3. 4) Speaking of coaching, catch up with LaTroy Hawkins and Nelson Cruz. See if they're interested in being a part of the staff in the near future. 5) Revolutionize the training and fitness aspects of the organization. I don't even know what that would look like at this point. Detachable pitching arms? Stem cells mixed into the Gatorade? Vibrating barcaloungers in the dugout? Whatever it takes to boost stamina and reduce injuries. Use whatever you should have used for a Correa extended contract in Years 4-7. Make it happen. And finally, if I get nothing else, please let me have this. 6) Learn how to speak to actual Minnesotan human beings. No more press conferences with ridiculous corporate-speak. Learn how to see things and say things plainly. Admit failings. Promise to improve or die trying. Act like your careers here depend on sober assessments and actual results - because they should.
  10. I'm hopeful these guys can feed off the internal competition. I hope they help each other elevate their game. It's clear that we need to find a top-shelf pitching coach this offseason to assist with the tough transition to the bigs.
  11. It's almost comedic at this point. I checked in on the score at saw the Twins had taken a 2-0 lead in the first. I said to myself, "I'll bet this will be all the runs they get tonight - Sox will probably win 4-2 or 3-2." Sure enough.
  12. Out of all the organizational failures over the last few years, it's maybe Rocco's performance the bothers me the most. He strikes me as entirely inept as a manager. His players never quite seem to have their heads in the game, and neither really does he. He screws up something as simple as mound visits and when he does decide to show emotion, as in the case of the blocked-plate review call vs. Toronto, he ends up screaming and cursing at the umpire who actually had made the call on the field in our favor. The Twins just do not rise up to meet late-inning, late-season or postseason challenges under his management. And rather than deal with issues head-on, he endlessly recycles excuses about "playing hard" and "things not going our way." He does not convey a sense of leadership. I've seen enough of him in this role. He's a decent human being, and seems like he'd be a great person to know. But he is a terrible MLB manager, in that if he doesn't have Nelson Cruz leading the clubhouse, even his regular-season teams look lost, shaken and beaten and the plate, on the mound and in the field. To answer your question, there's nothing he can do at this point - he is what he is. It is time to move on.
  13. Excellent points. And it's not just that people don't want to go downtown, it's that they don't want to go downtown (if they don't live nearby), pay for parking/transit, tickets and food all to watch a totally gutless, lifeless team where you've got maybe a 20% chance of seeing your favorite player play baseball. Yes, roster management is important and yes, injuries have been tragic for this club, but if you're an innovative organization, you've got to learn how to pivot much more quickly. You've got to put an entertaining experience on the field. It's a vicious cycle now, but the Twins have to break it themselves. The fans aren't going to jump up and pick up the pieces anymore.
  14. Sober, careful assessment of the main injury concerns for this club. And there are still issues for Polanco, Kepler, Jeffers, Arraez, Ober and Gray that aren't even addressed here. And the really big concern going forward? All of these injuries make the next IL stints more likely. After Dave St. Peter's comments about Jim Pohlad "overspending" the last few years, I think the writing is on the wall for this club. There will be no big free agents signed in the offseason. The club is about to embark on a payroll-slashing rebuild. The window of contention closed after 2020. And looking at all of these injury question marks on the roster, they probably should rebuild. This team needs a new core for 2025 and beyond, and they need to keep them healthy. 2023 will likely be used to rehabilitate current players and then trade them for whatever can be gotten in return.
  15. LastOnePicked

    High Marks??

    I do think we can file this one under: "What the heck do we expect this person to say?" It's St. Peter's job to buffer and puff the public image of this franchise. He's trying to quell the fan rebellion/reaction and offer a vote of confidence in the general direction of the club. But ... you're right, in that these kinds of puff statements are getting old, and they just aren't working. It might almost help the fanbase to hear an executive with the team admit, "We're not getting it done, and we're almost as tired of making excuses as you all are of hearing excuses. Everyone in this organization knows we're overdue for a championship run. If you reporters are asking the same questions next year about what went wrong again with this team, you're probably going to be talking to a new team CEO about a search for a new Front Office team. The pressure is on us now, right where it should be." Instead, the Twins' executive culture seems extremely insulated and not at all bothered about losing. That's a problem.
  16. I just really, really, really want a pitcher with the nickname "Jordy Blaze" to have a successful career here. It takes too much hope to be a Twins fan these days, but I've still got some left in the tank for both Martin and Balazovic.
  17. Hmm. See if you can think of any differences between the Astros and the Twins. Where they were at this point last season, their roster depth, their plan, their trajectory. Shouldn't take you too long.
  18. A reloading team with as much payroll flexibility as the Twins have, one that sees a potential AL title in 2023, has already signed Correa to an extended contract. They see the value, and they know that if either Lewis or Lee can develop, either can serve as a quality backup while they're learning from one of the best in the game. Either could also be used to trade for high-end pitching. A rebuilding team, one that knows a title is still out of sight, has no need of Correa. They already would have notified him of their decision, not leaving him on the fence for reporters to hassle him about his option and expose him to fan vitriol. That team takes its lumps with Palacios and Gordon while Lee and Lewis try to (re)develop their MLB skills. A driftless team, one with no clue as to where it's headed, lets something like this happen. A great player is left dangling while the FO sees if they can maybe wait out the offseason and pick him or another top SS again for a no-commitments contract. That team will stumble through yet another season, kinda rebuilding, kinda reloading, with no vision or timetable for winning a title. Personally, I wish we were either the first or the second kind of team.
  19. This needed to be said. And needs to keep being said, All of it, actually. Great post.
  20. I'm 1000% behind this. Steal it right out from under a Yankee. Stick a little tiny thorn in their season's side. Yes please.
  21. I've spent a lot of time lately railing on the Twins for blaming their failures on factors out of their control. And I stand by that - a winning team should make its own luck. But, my goodness, the vengeful spirit of those Target Field displaced outfield evergreen trees is fierce. It took out Buxton's career, and then it came for Kirilloff and Larnach. Get a team of exorcists out there pronto. And somebody put some kind of protective amulet around Wallner's neck when he's playing. Sheesh.
  22. I know you're joking, but with the Twins, this is actually starting to become the safest bet. This team and its training staff have their work cut out for them to start proving the pessimists wrong.
  23. Would love to see Martin get back on track and shoot back up the organization's prospect list. I really like the speed and the ability to get on base. Hope 2023 is the year of his ascent.
  24. Will the new logo be holographic? I was promised by virtually every movie as a child that the 2000s would features holograms everywhere. Holograms on the uniforms. Make it happen.
  25. "Yet emotions aside, there's an obligation to look at the reality." - And then the article goes on to cherry pick five aspects of the season that were either good (I agree) or overblown. That's not reality - that's blind optimism. 1) Jose Miranda had a solid rookie campaign ... at the plate. However, he's grounded into more double-plays than almost any hitter in baseball and in the field he's not yet what you could call an asset. Did we get a glimpse a fairly promising career? Absolutely. Is he a ROY candidate? Nope. 2) Gray is a solid starter, and I'm glad he's here. But he's a #3 starter on a good team, and that's when he's available. We'll have to see what Petty becomes before we call this trade a win. 3) Gordon is another great story and he's probably my favorite current Twin. But you need your #5 draft picks to produce, and Gordon seems more like a great utility player than a star in the making. 4) Ryan is maybe the most currently overhyped Twin. He's great against weak opponents, yes. He's also HR-prone, exactly like the scouting reports said. He, too, could be a huge asset to this team as a #4-#5 starter. Sadly, he's being asked to take the #2 slot here. 5) Everything you're saying here has been said about Miguel Sano and Brent Rooker. This team has put a lot of emphasis on slow-speed, two-outcome sluggers. I love that Wallner's getting a chance to play ball at this level, but this team also needs players with speed and defensive chops who can cover OF territory. But, I will never knock Caleb Thielbar. May he pitch like this until he's 60. Bless him. Sorry for the cold water on the rest, but as you so elegantly stated, there's an obligation to look at the reality, too. We'll have to see what next year brings to these potentially promising developments.
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