Sunday, July 05, 2009

OtB Twins Notes: 07.06.09

Twins have placed Kevin Slowey on the DL with a strained right wrist injury.  After the game Slowey told the media that "I think more than anything it's concerning because it's in my right wrist. It's in a pretty significant area, and we'll look at it Monday and go from that. It was something that affected how I held onto the ball. It was very uncomfortable." According to the wrist injury appeared to affect the horizontal break on his slider.  Here is a graph of his June 12th outing against the Cubs where he struck out ten, this one is of his most recent start on July 3rd (his June 27th three inning start in St Louis shares the same movement).  As you can see, there is a foot difference in the break between a healthy Slowey and an injured Slowey.   Despite claiming his wrist was not acting up on his previous start against the Cardinals, Slowey was torched by opponents for a slugging percentage above .800 in those six innings.
Patrick Reusse wrote yet another inflammatory column directed at bloggers and those who analyze non-traditional statistics.  In his most recent column, Reusse actually quote a real, live blogger who had pounded out a piece following the Matt Joyce-for-Edwin Jackson trade before the season.  The blogger in question, Matt Wallace of Take 75 North, highlighted the fact that Jackson's 4.88 FIP (which is an acronym for Fielding Independent Pitching) was strikingly similar to Nate Robertson.  Reusse wrote "[a]pparently, FIP stands for Fudge I'm Pathetic among bloggers, since Joyce has played 11 games for the Rays this season and again is back in Durham, N.C."  Admittedly, your average fan is not considering what makes the best measurement for a pitcher's performance, but it doesn't mean that the local media coverage has to cater to the lowest common denominator either.  The FIP formula was contrived by Tom Tango who is now a consultant for the Seattle Mariners thanks to his groundbreaking research in baseball.
At the same newspaper, Joe Christensen learned how to use data, which is good...even if he failed to use it properly. Christensen notes the curiosity that is Cleveland's Kerry Wood, writing how his fastball's velocity is up from 94.8 a year ago to 95.3 this season.  This is an interesting sidebar but it doesn't address Wood's deficiency at all. The real mystery, however, is why his slider that was so vicious with the Cubs last year, has transformed into a hybrid slider-cutter thrown at a much harder velocity (at 89 mph instead of 82 a year ago).  Instead of a sweeping slider (seen in graph form here) it is a much flatter pitch with far less movement (seen here).  Because of this, Wood has seen his chases outside of the zone drop significantly from 31.3 percent in 2008 to just 17.7 in 2009.  The real question then is whether this is an injury-drive or a management-driven adjustment to his pitch.  The later would be of relevance as former Twin Carl Willis is currently the pitching coach for the Indians.   
After making some noise in the derby to sign the Dominican super-prospect shortstop Miguel Angel Sanos, the Twins fell to third in the courtship behind the Pirates and Orioles but netted 16-year-old German uber-prospect (yes, because it is German, it is okay to use 'uber' here) outfielder Max Kepler-Rozycki.  According to Baseball America, one scout told the outfit that "Kepler is the toolsiest kid we’ve ever had in Europe.  No question."  Random thought: Is "toolsiest kid in Europe" kind of like being the tallest midget?
The Twins field staff have been emitting positive quotes about Delmon Young.  "He's actually trying different things right now, getting a little more balance in his stance, rather than leaning so far forward," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We've been talking to him about driving the ball. He's just making the adjustments, and he's been doing it."  On June 7th, I noted the same thing saying that Young's offensive woes is related to a "loading problem where his weight is shifted too far on his front foot".  In 35 games prior to June 7th, Young was batting .233/.273/.267.  In the most recent 16 games since, Young is hitting .323/.328/.500. I'm not saying, I'm just saying.  "He got into some bad habits, and then you have to talk him out of it. You can't just say do this or you're out," Gardenhire said. "It's not that way; it's not that easy. So, it's been a process. I think there's a little more trust there now, and not just with the coaching staff, with the players, everybody's talking to him, and he's trying. You can really see it."
He's going to get a lot of attention given his power-arm status (something that is blood in the water for the Yankees), but David Aardsma should be hot on the trade market.  With the Mariners deep out of the AL West, Aardsma has been dominating at the back-end of the game.  In his last 13 innings of work, he's struck out 22, walked four and allowed just seven hits.  Finangling him from Seattle will be difficult but the dividends for the Twins in the second-half would be huge. 
The Florida Marlins nabbed Luis Ayala and have shipped him down to AAA New Orleans.  In spite of having one of the league's better bullpens statistically, the Fish have are losing relievers like flies in the Dome's ceiling. They have just lost Chris Leroux, forcing them to sign Brandon Donnelly, after already having closer Matt Lindstrom and set-up man Kiko Calero on the 15-day DL.  Desperation is a stinky cologne. 
David Dorsey provides us with how Twins scout Bill Corrigan stumbled upon current Miracle outfielder Ben Revere in Lexington, KY.  While Revere's power numbers are down from his first two seasons, he's still getting on base at a .377 clip and has shaved down his strikeout rate.  Since advancing to HA Fort Myers, Revere has had less luck against left-handed pitchers, slugging .318 in 66 ABs, down from .479 a year ago.
You get drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 10th round this past June and then your team wins the College World Series.  What more could you ask for if you are Blake Dean?   How about getting Blake Dean Day in your hometown of Crestview, Florida?  Done and done.
Adam Peterson puts together an excellent analytical look at RBIs over at Twinkie Town.
Judd Spicer takes a moment to defuse the Detroit Tigers. 
The New York Times has a great retrospective on the infamous Disco Demolition promotion
Sometimes I can't tell if this headline is baseball or Viagra related