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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Powers: Twins need fewer smiles, more snarls

Super Powers! Move over Franklin Richards here’s some real reality warping!

The Twins are loaded with this type of player: Nice guys who take losing in stride. Sweethearts with “big smiles on their faces” who appear to be just happy to be here.

If the Twins were a hockey team, they’d be considered soft. If they were a college football team, they would be the scheduled foe for every homecoming game in their conference. They are docile. And this has to change.

Yes, they need clutch hitters and better starting pitchers, but they also need an attitude adjustment. For 3-1/2 years they have meekly taken their beatings and then trudged off the field. They tip their caps and congratulate their opponents on jobs well done. They put up with all manner of insults.

...When will they stop going so quietly? When will they get fed up?

I can’t imagine any other team taking so much abuse for so long without reacting. The Twins need to deliver the message that, you may beat us but you won’t enjoy it so much. Instead, Twins players inevitably can be seen laughing and gabbing with opposing players on the basepaths. How’s the wife and kids? Great weather today! And they’re often getting hammered at the time.

I’m all for civility. These aren’t the old days when players spit tobacco juice and tried to maul each other. But after 3-1/2 years or being patsies, maybe it’s time to get a bit surly.

How often have the Twins been down by four or five runs in the early innings? When hitters are teeing off like that, they need to be made to feel uncomfortable at the plate. Granted, it’s not right to throw at a hitter, especially above the waist. But those guys should be skipping rope and dancing and playing hopscotch in the batter’s box.

Infielders should consider dropping a knee in front of the bag when guys are running wild. Let them dive headfirst into that. I’ve seen that pulled against the Twins a half-dozen times this season. And slam those tags on, even when someone is diving back to first base.

The Twins don’t need more nice guys. They need snarls, not smiles. This can’t come from the coaching staff.

Repoz Posted: August 10, 2014 at 08:09 PM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: twins

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   1. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 10, 2014 at 09:09 PM (#4768280)
I would opine that the author is about 5'4" , 135 and hasn't been in a fight since 3rd grade
   2. TJ Posted: August 10, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4768281)
Gee, maybe the Twins can engineer a trade with the Diamondbacks to get some of those "snarly" types who are doing so well this year...

This article is typical sportswriter crap. The Twins don't need more "in your face" guys. They need to quit drafting and developing pitchers who nibble at 90 MPH or less, quit wasting precious resources putting gas cans like Kevin Correia as rotation pieces, quit playing guys who can't hit, and get Buxton and Sano up from the minors the nanosecond they are close to MLB ready. Don't give me Torii Hunter as an example of a guy you want because of his "snarl"- you want a guy like Torii Hunter because he was a pretty damn good MLB player while in Minnesota...
   3. frannyzoo Posted: August 10, 2014 at 09:13 PM (#4768284)
Too bad there are only so many Lackeys and A.J.s to go around. Ty Cobb would be worth eleventy billion dollars a year in this new "snarl market."
   4. TJ Posted: August 10, 2014 at 09:36 PM (#4768290)
I'm in a foul mood because my beloved Detroit Tigers bullpen blew another one today, so I'll take it out on Tom Powers.

This is the same dolt who wrote in his 2014 HOF article that "I've never had any use for OPS, never mind OPS+. Or WAR or RAR or any of the other fairly recent measures concocted in the basements of, as Ron Gardenhire calls them, sabermagicians. To me, on base percentage remains the key metric." Well, through today, those "too nice" Twins ranked 7th in the AL (above league average) in On Base Percentage as a team, but ranked 11th in that new-fangled OPS (10th in OPS+, and 9th in runs scored (all below league average). Why? Because they have the third worse slugging percentage in the AL. Hate to break this to Tom, but you can't snarl your way into extra base hits. Maybe if Powers and Gardenhire got out of their own basements and paid more attention to OPS, OPS+, WAR, etc, the Twins might be scoring a few more runs, allowing a few less, and winning a few more games...

Powers also said that "It's still stunning to me that Tommy John and Jim Kaat never got elected. How could the other voters leave them out? They always were at or near the top of my ballot", and that wins and losses are the key pitching metric, as in "Jack Morris won more ballgames than Don Drysdale, Bob Gibson and Whitey Ford. Yet look at the problems he's had getting into the Hall. When did style points come into play?" Anyone who thinks Bob Gibson and Whitey Ford got into the Hall and Tommy John, Jim Kaat, and Jack Morris did not because of "style points" is surely unqualified to be paid to write anything about baseball...

There- now I feel better, or at least as good as a Tiger fan can feel with a bullpen staffed with the bunch of misfits and relics we have this season...

   5. morineko Posted: August 10, 2014 at 10:04 PM (#4768293)
#2: The article is so, so full of crap; the A's are a bunch of smiley nice guys with "good chemistry" (and who play in a dump and don't make any money) and they're the best team in MLB, and they just finished winning 3 out of 4 games from the Twins. Did Powers watch that series?

"Infielders should consider dropping a knee in front of the bag when guys are running wild."--yeah, they already tried that, ask Tsuyoshi "Yearly Fielding Accident" Nishioka....

Admittedly I think the major reason the Twins signed Correia was that he was one of the few uninjured free agents after the 2012 season who was willing to take their money, and he was the one who was willing to take the least money. The other major acquisition they made via free agency that winter was Mike Pelfrey and he was (and is) damaged goods. It was a very bad free agent market at the lower end of the spectrum (in hindsight, they could have had Scott Kazmir, but they picked up Rich Harden instead. Or they could have had Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has been cheaper and entirely more useful than Pelfrey over the past two seasons.)

The Twins have changed up a bit of their draft and development process--Trevor May and Alex Meyer, despite being acquired by trade, aren't the usual run of Twins pitchers and their newer picks like Kohl Stewart aren't the Twins type of control over strikeouts either. But what they do with the minor league system doesn't seem to translate much to anything once they get called up. I don't want to point fingers at the pitching coach and organizational philosophy, but I've got this finger handy and they seem to be easily pointed at things.
   6. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 10, 2014 at 10:36 PM (#4768302)
Powers is a long-running joke. The fact that he's still employed by a daily paper in a major city is just a further indictment of sports "journalism".

In short, there's nothing to see here.

EDIT:

Did Powers watch that series?


Almost certainly not.
   7. Chris Fluit Posted: August 11, 2014 at 07:59 AM (#4768353)
#2. Did the article actually cite Torii Hunter for his snarl? Because Hunter is exactly the type of player that the article tears to pieces. Hunter plays the game with a smile. He jokes around with opponents during games. He's a nice guy. And, oh yeah, he's a pretty good player despite his lack of snarl.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 11, 2014 at 08:39 AM (#4768367)
torii hunter has had WAY more of a career than anyone could have predicted. the fella will finsih at some point with over 50 war. that is really something.
   9. Hans Van Slooten Posted: August 11, 2014 at 09:18 AM (#4768379)
The best thing to do when you are down in a game is to risk putting another guy on base with a HBP. It's shows you're "gritty," and that you don't understand basic cause and effect.
   10. Greg K Posted: August 11, 2014 at 09:49 AM (#4768401)
There- now I feel better, or at least as good as a Tiger fan can feel with a bullpen staffed with the bunch of misfits and relics we have this season...

To be fair, the Tigers bullpen let in 2 runs in 12 innings, that's not too bad (or 1 in 10 innings if you don't count Porcello as a bullpen arm).

That was quite an interesting game, I was at the pub having a pint with a friend with the game on in the background. We decided if it went to extra innings we could have one more drink. Three hours later...
   11. TJ Posted: August 11, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4768456)
To be fair, the Tigers bullpen let in 2 runs in 12 innings, that's not too bad (or 1 in 10 innings if you don't count Porcello as a bullpen arm).


Yup- problem is the game never should have went 19 innings, as the Tigers led 5-2 going into the 7th. Price put two on, and the relievers being paid major league money to hold a three-run lead couldn't do it, which led to a 19-inning game in which Detroit had to rely on two rookies to go multiple innings, Joe Nathan for one (after throwing about 60 pitches the previous two nights) and bringing in a starter when the bullpen ran out of arms. They have one reliever with an ERA under 3.00, and he's a rookie lefthander who is rarely used in high leverage situations. Their only reliever with a WHIP under 1.20 also balked in the winning run once this year. Oh, and their closer has an ERA of 5.23 and an ERA+ of 80. Their save percentage is league-average, and their relievers Wins Above Average is 4th worse in the AL (leading only the White Sox, Rangers, and Astros). So I think referring to their pen as a collection of relics and misfits is entirely fair...
   12. TJ Posted: August 11, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4768463)
Did the article actually cite Torii Hunter for his snarl? Because Hunter is exactly the type of player that the article tears to pieces. Hunter plays the game with a smile. He jokes around with opponents during games. He's a nice guy. And, oh yeah, he's a pretty good player despite his lack of snarl.


FTFA...
"And I remember Torii Hunter and others perched on the top step of the dugout, bellowing at the opposing pitcher about perceived brush-back pitches." So no, the word "snarl" wasn't explicitly used, but I think the example Powers used with Hunter falls within his "snarl" universe, at least in his eyes...

   13. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 11, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4768483)
Twins need fewer smiles, more snarls

More good players would help, too.

(Nah, I'm pretty optimistic for next year. Our front office gives me hope--they turned 6 weeks of Kendrys Morales and AAAA star Sam Fuld into two guys who will almost certainly be on their big league pitching staff for them next year <Tommy Milone and Stephen Pryor>.)
   14. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: August 11, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4768539)
Maybe they can hire Kirk Gibson after ARI fires him.
   15. Moeball Posted: August 11, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4768737)
Ty Cobb would be worth eleventy billion dollars a year in this new "snarl market."


And would turn it into multiples of that with which to expand his evil empire!

"I've never had any use for OPS, never mind OPS+. Or WAR or RAR or any of the other fairly recent measures concocted in the basements of, as Ron Gardenhire calls them, sabermagicians. To me, on base percentage remains the key metric."

So On-Base % is no longer a basement stat? When did that happen? Why, just 30 years ago people were complaining about Bill James' and Pete Palmer's constant references to OBA as though they were basement dwellers. My, how times have changed. Well, except in Philadelphia, of course, where RAJ is still apparently befuddled by the concept.

Maybe they can hire Kirk Gibson after ARI fires him.


Yeah, but I don't think Kirk can get around on the fastball anymore. Besides, I thought he wrote the article!

   16. Walt Davis Posted: August 11, 2014 at 06:15 PM (#4768897)
The Twins are loaded with this type of player: Nice guys who take losing in stride. Sweethearts with “big smiles on their faces” who appear to be just happy to be here.

And their children are all slightly above average.

It's Minnesota Jake.
   17. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 11, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4768902)
The thing is, snarls are cheap and easily developed and talent is expensive and hard to develop.
   18. DL from MN Posted: August 11, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4768903)
The HR celebration at the ballpark is literally an animated scoreboard of two people shaking hands.
   19. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 11, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4768906)
"I've never had any use for OPS, never mind OPS+...To me, on base percentage remains the key metric."

Does he realize that there are only two ingredients in OPS, and that OBP is one of them?
   20. DFA Posted: August 12, 2014 at 01:53 AM (#4769158)
#18: I laughed out loud.

Perhaps this is a revolt against Minnesota nice? I dunno, I think the Twins old affinity for pitch to contact types versus strikeout pitchers. I guess they weren't the new market inefficiency.
   21. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 12, 2014 at 02:05 AM (#4769160)
GRRRR, go get 'em Twinkies!

The HR celebration at the ballpark is literally an animated scoreboard of two people shaking hands.


I'm not even sure what to make of this. It's like a "well thank you very much sir for the very lengthy hit baseball"

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