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Thread: Suzuki the front-runner?

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    Senior Member All-Star Boom Boom's Avatar
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    Suzuki the front-runner?

    http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/news/...&vkey=news_min

    Bollinger says that (according to Terry Ryan) Suzuki is the favorite to be the starting catcher for the Twins with Pinto, Herrmann, and Fryer competing for the backup role.

    Obviously there's something fishy here because if Pinto isn't the starter, he'll be in AAA as the starter. A Suzuki/Herrmann/Fryer catching corps makes me and also *pukey*

    Is TR trying to send a message to Pinto that he hasn't earned his spot yet? The offense looked ratty enough before potentially taking Pinto out of the equation.

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    I figured there was about a 90% chance that Suzuki opens the season as the starter.

    Hopefully, Pinto hits his way into the position by mid-May and they start splitting duties.

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    I wonder if, rather than sending a challenge message to Pinto, if they're simply trying to take the pressure off and fully expect him to come through and win the job. I know that's what I'd do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
    I wonder if, rather than sending a challenge message to Pinto, if they're simply trying to take the pressure off and fully expect him to come through and win the job. I know that's what I'd do.
    Two birds with one stone.

    Really, there's no reason to start the season with Pinto as the "starter". Give him some time to work in the background, getting spot starts and learning the game from Suzuki as he acclimates to MLB pitching, both defensively and offensively.

    If he acclimates well, then start splitting duties between the two later in the season.

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    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    I think this is a 2 birds/one stone issue. I think he earned a look last year, but I do think it's fair to say he's still has to earn the job this year. He'll have it eventually, but I fully expect Suzuki to have those honors initially.

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    Senior Member All-Star Badsmerf's Avatar
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    Not worried about this. Suzuki is the veteran and is fully aware of what his role will be. Easing Pinto into starting is a good thing. This isn't Joe Mauer we're looking at. Pinto should be a solid player once he is comfortable, the main objective for the Twins is getting him there.
    Do or do not. There is no try.

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    My belief is, no matter how Pinto plays in ST, Suzuki will start opening day. If Pinto plays well in ST, he could start on the big club and play a higher percentage of games than Kurt to start the season. If healthy Suzuki will start day 1.

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    Senior Member All-Star Boom Boom's Avatar
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    I don't believe that the Twins will keep Pinto as a backup. He's going to be the guy, or he's going to be in the minors. They keep saying he's got defense to work on and Suzuki can be a good mentor, but if Pinto isn't the starter he won't get enough playing time to hone his craft. He can work with Suzuki and Steinbach in spring training.

    I predict that if Suzuki starts game 1, Herrmann or Fryer (or both) will also be on the roster.

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    Once they signed Suzuki, I took it as a given that he would be the starter and that Pinto would start at AAA. It makes no sense for him to be sitting on the bench in Minny. Once they are comfortable with his performance in Rochester, he will be called up and be the permanent starter and Suzuki will ride the pine. May I introduce your opening day back up catcher? Please meet Eric Fryer.

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    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
    I don't believe that the Twins will keep Pinto as a backup. He's going to be the guy, or he's going to be in the minors. They keep saying he's got defense to work on and Suzuki can be a good mentor, but if Pinto isn't the starter he won't get enough playing time to hone his craft. He can work with Suzuki and Steinbach in spring training.

    I predict that if Suzuki starts game 1, Herrmann or Fryer (or both) will also be on the roster.
    I wouldn't call Pinto a back-up as much as a right-handed platoon. Fryer is a backup. I just don't think Suzuki can handle the grind as well as he used to, so it's more of a job share. And Pinto needs to learn how to handle pitchers, which is perhaps best done under the tutelage of Suzuki, Steine and the major league staff. At least that seems like a likely outcome to me.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

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    Not a fan of Pinto not getting the majority of the games this year....starter or whatever, he should start more games at catcher than anyone else imo. But then, no one here should be surprised to read me typing that it is silly to expect players to be perfect when they first come, like they have to be finished products before jumping into the deep end. Let them come and play and learn. I would think the best coaches are up hin MN, not in Rochestor or New Britain.
    Lighten up Francis....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
    I don't believe that the Twins will keep Pinto as a backup. He's going to be the guy, or he's going to be in the minors. They keep saying he's got defense to work on and Suzuki can be a good mentor, but if Pinto isn't the starter he won't get enough playing time to hone his craft. He can work with Suzuki and Steinbach in spring training.

    I predict that if Suzuki starts game 1, Herrmann or Fryer (or both) will also be on the roster.
    The thing is that a "backup" catcher gets a lot more playing time than any other position. Couple that with Suzuki's problems breaking down the past couple of seasons and Pinto could easily begin the season starting at catcher twice a week. Toss him at DH in another game and he could be playing in half of the team's games without much effort.

    The upside being that he gets to work with three MLB catchers in Suzuki, Mauer, and Steinbach while he's learning the ropes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    I wouldn't call Pinto a back-up as much as a right-handed platoon. Fryer is a backup. I just don't think Suzuki can handle the grind as well as he used to, so it's more of a job share. And Pinto needs to learn how to handle pitchers, which is perhaps best done under the tutelage of Suzuki, Steine and the major league staff. At least that seems like a likely outcome to me.
    At this stage in his development, even being in a platoon would not make sense. He needs to play nearly every day and that basically means Rochester. He's a great prospect but people are way too carried away with last September, which I am guessing we will find out the hard way if he starts for the Twins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
    I don't believe that the Twins will keep Pinto as a backup. He's going to be the guy, or he's going to be in the minors. They keep saying he's got defense to work on and Suzuki can be a good mentor, but if Pinto isn't the starter he won't get enough playing time to hone his craft. He can work with Suzuki and Steinbach in spring training.

    I predict that if Suzuki starts game 1, Herrmann or Fryer (or both) will also be on the roster.
    I think a lot will be determend in spring training, If Pinto hits ,he can catch a couple times a week and DH a couple more, letting him slide into the full time catching position. If he doesnt have a good spring training then its a moot point where he will start....

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    Way too early to assume that Pinto will/should be a solid player once he is "comfortable". Many of the worst players over the years have become "comfortable" and never amounted to anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    The thing is that a "backup" catcher gets a lot more playing time than any other position. Couple that with Suzuki's problems breaking down the past couple of seasons and Pinto could easily begin the season starting at catcher twice a week. Toss him at DH in another game and he could be playing in half of the team's games without much effort.

    The upside being that he gets to work with three MLB catchers in Suzuki, Mauer, and Steinbach while he's learning the ropes.
    Why would you DH Pinto if his defense needs work? Don't the Twins have other DH options, and wouldn't that mean the Twins would have to carry a 3rd catcher anyway if their 2nd catcher is also a part-time DH?

    Mauer as a DH for a few games, I get, he's a once in a lifetime catcher. Now that Mauer's not a catcher anymore, I don't want the Twins to have any catchers DHing... but I guess we'll have to wait and see on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
    Why would you DH Pinto if his defense needs work? Don't the Twins have other DH options, and wouldn't that mean the Twins would have to carry a 3rd catcher anyway if their 2nd catcher is also a part-time DH?
    No. Why would you need a third catcher to back up a guy who DHes once a week?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
    Mauer as a DH for a few games, I get, he's a once in a lifetime catcher. Now that Mauer's not a catcher anymore, I don't want the Twins to have any catchers DHing... but I guess we'll have to wait and see on that.
    The Twins aren't exactly overflowing with quality designated hitters. I don't see the harm in investing in the future by letting Pinto hit there occasionally, provided he can hit at all.

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