Friday, October 27, 2017

Notes, quotes and comment (Twins edition)

A little Twins news on the World Series off day:

There were a number of name brand pitching coaches on the market, and the Twins hired one whose name I'm unfamiliar with. Which isn't necessarily a bad move.

Alston has bounced around some -- he worked for two different organizations last year alone -- and has filled a variety of roles, including at least two major league stints as bullpen coach. 

Most pitching coaches come in preaching some version of the Rabbit Miller Mantra: "Work fast, change speeds, throw strikes." Neil Allen, the pitching coach the past three seasons, put an emphasis on the second part. Judging from this quote contained in this John Shipley piece on Garvin, he may put a bit of emphasis on a version of part three:

“First,” he said, “one of the biggest things I teach is commanding the zone with the fastball.”

And I'm absolutely certain that I just oversimplified Alston as a coach.

That said: Among the things the Twins need to do to move up the heirarchy of the American League is come up with at least one and preferably two starters who can slot above Ervin Santana. If Santana is your third-best starter, you can talk World Series; if he's your best, it's not very realistic. The best in-house candidate to do that, because he has the raw stuff, is Jose Berrios. Berrios needs better fastball command.

If, as I surmised last winter, Jame Rowson's mission as hitting coach was to get Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano going, Alston's Job One may be polishing Berrios.


Two Twins were named Gold Glove finalists at their respective positions, which was kinda expected. The identity of one was a surprise.

Byron Buxton in center, absolutely. Brian Dozier at second, a bit less so. And the absence of Joe Mauer at first base got some immediate blow back on Twins twitter.

I wrote a bit about the subject of Mauer and a Gold Glove earlier this month. Giving the big ugly trophy to Mitch Moreland or even Carlos Santana would not be a travesty.

Meanwhile, there's even better evidence than bypassing Mauer that despite a variety of changes the Gold Glove selection process is flawed. The three finalists for the NL award at second base include superutility man Ben Zobrist of the Cubs but not that team's regular second baseman, Javy Baez.

If Zobrist were the better second baseman, he'd be the Cubbies' full-time second baseman. He's not better than Baez, so he plays a lot of outfield.

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