Monday, September 18, 2017

Notes, quotes and comment

During my truncated biweekly appearance on KMSU Thursday, I volunteered the notion that Kyle Gibson was the key figure in the Twins push for the wild card.

He gave us reason to beleive that Sunday, both pro and con.

His first two innings were SOG -- Same Old Gibson. Four walks and four runs in the first inning, five runs -- including two homers -- in the first two innings. And then, four innings practically without blemish, the good Gibson of his previous five starts.

Gibson has had remarkable run support all year, and particularly of late. Five runs allowed in six innings is not a great start, but with 13 runs of support, it was good enough.


Last week the Twins designated Engelb Vielma for assignment. The San Francisco Giants claimed him on waivers.

Last winter, the Giants waived Ehire Adrianza, who was initially claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers, to tried to get him through waivers themselves only to see the Twins claim him. Adrianza has stuck all year, starting games at five different positions. He's been the gloveman I expected (easily the best defensive shortstop on the roster) and a more productive hitter than anticipated.

In a very real sense, the Twins traded Vielma for Adrianza, just about seven months apart. They;re rather similar players -- switch-hitters, shortstops, some speed, glove-first. Vielma has options left, and Adrianza does not, and Adrianza has more pop in his bat, but in the main, they're the same guy.


Adrianza has picked up a good bit of playing time in left field since Robbie Grossman's thumb injury in a platoon with Max Kepler, who has struggled at the plate against lefties. (Eddie Rosario shifts to right when Adrianza is in left.)

It's only 53 plate appearances, but Adrianza has slashed .298/.340/447 against southpaws. And he hasn't embarrassed himself in the outfield despite little previous experience out there. (There have been too few innings for the metrics to be definitive, but they show him as a very good defensive outfielder.)

Grossman, whose splits last year showed more power right handed, has been the opposite this year. He's slugging just .355 as a right-handed hitter, .412 from the left side -- but his on-base percentage as a right handed hitter is a stellar .406, markedly better than his still-useful .355 as a lefty.

I know there are those who want to see more Kennys Vargas as DH and less Grossman, but one long ball a week really doesn't make up for the all the extra outs Vargas would make.

Paul Molitor has this month largely limited his lineup juggling to the outfield corners and DH. I certainly didn't expect Adrianza to emerge as a viable outfielder, and I do believe that platooning Kepler now is detrimental to his future, but Molitor has gotten immediate benefits from this approach.

1 comment:

  1. I read another blogger who claimed the Ump was shrinking the plate in the early innings.

    If true, it explains Gibson's poor start.