Thursday, November 10, 2016

The coaching staff: Bruno and Butch

Tom Burnansky is
out as lead hitting
On Monday, the Derek Falvey-Thad Levine duo indicated that they would decide the fate of the major league coaching staff within 72 hours. Turned out to be more like 24.

Two got the ax: hitting coach Tom Brunansky and first base coach-outfield/baserunning instructor Butch Davis.

Everybody else, including pitching coach Neil Allen, remains.

As is typical (and decent) in such moves, the decision makers are bland and non-specific about the reasons for the ousters. Which won't stop me from naming two reasons: Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. Excuse the doggerel:

If the Twins get
where they want to go, 

the big reasons will be
Buck and Sano

Too many K's,
too many E's

too many pitches
fanning the breeze

Taking the fall
for Buck and Sano
a pair of coaches
Butch and Bruno

Brunansky had his success stories as a hitting coach. Brian Dozier, certainly. Kurt Suzuki hit better overall for the Twins than I would have expected. Robbie Grossman was surprisingly good at the plate,

But Sano regressed last year, and Buxton struggled overall, and they are, absolutely and without question, priorities 1 and 1A. Keith Law of ESPN said repeatedly in chats last summer that Buxton needed either a new organization or a new coaching staff. Buxton had a strong September, but there was a lot of tinkering going on during his repeated demotions and promotions.

If Chad Allen, who has been the hitting coach at Triple A Rochester the past couple years, gets Brunansky's position, his work with Buxton at that level will probably be a factor. No matter who is the hitting coach, better production from both Buxton and Sano is essential. They have to be better players in the future than they were in 2016.

As for Davis: The Twins outfield defense this year was awful, The Sano Experiment was a failure. As good as Grossman was at the plate, he essentially gave up the runs he created in the field. Even the center field-capable contingent -- Buxton, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario and Danny Santana -- were prone to errors and misplays.

Blaming the instructors for the pupils' failures may be a bit unfair, but it's pretty common. Now Buxton and Sano will hear new voices.

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