Monday, March 21, 2016

2016 Twins Spring Training Coverage from Fort Myers. 3/21: Zen and the Art of Situational Hitting

.351/.387/.524 - The Twins' team slash line with less than two outs and men on third in 2015.
.489/.460/.766 - The Twins' team slash line with one out and men on third in 2015.
.000/.100/.100 - The Twins team slash line under the above circumstances today.

They simply have to do better than this to compete in the upcoming season.  And if that means trying to get the ball in play softly, instead of trying to hit home runs (Brian Dozier, Carlos Quentin, Oswaldo Arcia) or take a worthless base on balls (Kurt Suzuki,) let it be it.   And the problem here is that at least 3 of the aforementioned 4 will make the 2016 Twins, but still have not understood those fundamentals.

Today's Twins' game was closer that the box score would suggest.  Also based on today's play, I am about to make a prognostication:

Prognostication:  Danny Santana won a job in the 25-man roster for 2016.

Santana was one of the few Twins who played like they wanted to get a job today.  Two good hits in his first plate appearances and good follow ups on the bases, negate loosing the ball in the sun at RF in the later innings.  He played like he wanted that job, and I think that it is his to lose.

Albeit, Carlos Quentin did not do so.  Struck out twice with a man on third and less than two outs, and was a disaster about to be made in first with the globe (but thankfully did not happen.)

Byron Buxton was pretty awful today.  Yes, he took first on bases on balls by avoiding slapping at balls in the dirt in the first inning and moved to second on a mistake, but failed to score from second on a smoking single to RF corner by Santana in the same inning.   Hard time in the rest of his plate appearances and the cherry on top was the 3 pitch strikeout in his last inning.  Pretty sure that Buxton does not get it, and I don't know what he needs to get it.  The one thing that he does not need is pampering and false hopes and  major league roster sports.  He has to start at AAA, until he can prove that he is the hitter people hoped he will be.  Also, he looks at least one step slower, since he was called out on a ball that he hit to deep short, a ball that he would have beaten last season easily for an infield single.  Unless he did not get slower, but got lazier.  Regardless, the big leagues are way above his head right now and I hope that the Twins brass do not make the mistake to bring him up North soon.

Kyle Gibson made another brilliant appearance, allowing mainly ground balls.  His outing was very much like the one I described a few days ago.    Likely will be the Twins second or third starter this season. 

Taylor Rogers who relieved Gibson had a good outing with a fastball between 86 and 91 mph and a curve between 75 and 77.  Nothing spectacular, and had a lot of us on an edge, but it was effective.

So was Glen Perkins'.  He threw fastballs at 91, 91, 91, 89, 89, 94, 89, and 89 mph and two sliders at 78 and 81 mph in an 1-2-3 inning.  About 3-4 mph below where he should be, but...

Casey Fien threw his fastball between 88 and 91 mph, a single slider at 83 and a single changeup at 79 mph, retiring everyone he faced.

Trevor May had a fastball of 91-94, changeup in the low 80s, and a curveball about 75-76, but was not effective and did not have even a decent defense behind him

I expect more than a few cuts today.  Tomorrow the Twins are playing the Orioles in the Hammond Stadium at 1:05 PM local time.

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