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Thread: Scoggins lowers the boom on Twins/Hicks situation

  1. #21
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    The situation is FUBAR, without a doubt. I guess I'm just not as ready as some to give Hicks a free pass in terms of sharing responsibility. He wasn't exactly rushed to the Bigs. He was a first round draft choice that spent five seasons in the minors, four of them with full-season afiliates.

    The roster has been mismanaged. Whether that's Antony's, Gardenhire's or Ryan's responsibility, I don't pretend to know. But mistakes have been made.

    Now that the mistakes have been identified, I just think it's tougher to fix than we think. It's not like there's a supply of capable MLB-level CFs sitting around waiting for a phone call. If they try to trade for one, they're trading from a known position of weakness and I'd rather they keep patching things up than trade any prosect with real potential just to get a replacement-level CF to hold the position until Buxton arrives.

    It's painful to watch (even more so if you're a pitcher on the mound, I imagine), but other than continuing to try guys out there and hoping Hicks eventually gets better, there aren't many options available at this point.

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  2. #22
    Perhaps the situation would not be as dire if the Twins would not pigeon hole their outfielders in the minors as corner outfielders and center fielders. All minor league outfielders should play some games in center field as a matter of course. With the organization's love of players playing multiple positions in the higher levels and the major league level, it makes sense that all outfielders should have at least some minimal training in center field. An outfielder, whether a corner or center fielder would have more experience reading a fly ball off the bat than a stopgap infielder playing out of position.

    Typically the 4th outfielder position on the 25 man roster has some ability to play center field. Why not require that all outfielders have some training in playing that position? Yes, I understand the corner outfield type player tends to be slower, that doesn't mean he would be any less effective than a shortstop or catcher playing out of position in the outfield.

    As far as Hicks goes, he is currently playing at the level of a 4th outfielder. The kind that teams waive and get picked up by other teams.

  3. #23
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    I'm not sure I agree that OFs are pigeonholed as corner OFs in the Twins minor league organization. Certainly, there are some guys you simply would not want to see in CF. Adam Brett Walker, for example, is not going to play CF at any level. He needs to work on being a capable corner OF (and I believe he is and will remain capable).

    But we've seen a few OFs who are probably destined to be corner OFs spend some time in CF in at least the rookie-to-Class A levels. JD Williams, Max Kepler, Chad Christensen, just to name 3 off the top of my head.

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  4. #24
    Senior Member All-Star Sconnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    Meanwhile, this is Hicks since May 10:

    May 10: 1-3, BB
    May 11: 0-1, BB
    May 14: 1-3, BB
    May 15: 1-4, BB
    May 16: 2-4
    May 17: 1-2, BB
    May 18: 1-2, BB
    May 20: 0-3
    May 21: 1-3
    May 23: 0-2, 2BB
    May 24: 0-3
    May 26: 2-4 (both right handed against a right handed pitcher)

    I look at this and ask, where's the crisis? It seems like he has turned a corner. If he has more confidence hitting right handed against right handed pitchers, perhaps he'll be better than he was over the last 15 games. That's a pretty good hitter at the bottom of the order. Let's give him a chance to see if it works.

    Parmelee is barely a right fielder. The only reason he has done decently in TF is he studied that wall and he plays it very well. But his range is severely limited. Parmelee in center would be a blood bath.
    So comparing hitting stats to fielding acumen is a good argument? I will give you that Parms is less than ideal in RF, let alone CF, but to say that Hicks is taking a lot of walks and went 2-4 yesterday, his first game as a Righty hitter, so everything is fine. I am certain that Hicks will not continue his .500 batting average as a Righty. He has been a .180 batter this season. Why would you walk him. Pitchers will blow it by him until he can prove to be a good hitter and take the bat off his shoulder. He should be in triple A learning to hit Righty and while he's there track a fly ball.

    the Bert Blyleven school of theology: Cardinal Sin- Never walk the pitcher (or Aaron Hicks)
    Last edited by Riverbrian; 05-27-2014 at 12:46 PM.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sconnie View Post
    Why would you walk him. Pitchers will blow it by him until he can prove to be a good hitter and take the bat off his shoulder. He should be in triple A learning to hit Righty and while he's there track a fly ball.

    the Bert Blyleven school of theology: Cardinal Sin- Never walk the pitcher (or Aaron Hicks)
    And yet they've been doing it regularly this year, enough for a sub .200 BA to have a near league average OBP. Apparently Major League pitchers don't subscribe to your philosophy. Why are they more likely to pitch meatballs to him now that he's only swinging right-handed?

    And for the record I agree, I don't understand why you take chances on walking guys who are unlikely to hurt you otherwise (Nick Punto fell heavily into that category for me for years, he was lucky to hit one homerun every 2-3 years), but it continues to happen.
    Last edited by Riverbrian; 05-27-2014 at 12:46 PM. Reason: Moderation required it

  6. #26
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sconnie View Post
    So comparing hitting stats to fielding acumen is a good argument? I will give you that Parms is less than ideal in RF, let alone CF, but to say that Hicks is taking a lot of walks and went 2-4 yesterday, his first game as a Righty hitter, so everything is fine, is ridiculous. I am certain that Hicks will not continue his .500 batting average as a Righty. He has been a .180 batter this season. Why would you walk him. Pitchers will blow it by him until he can prove to be a good hitter and take the bat off his shoulder. He should be in triple A learning to hit Righty and while he's there track a fly ball.

    the Bert Blyleven school of theology: Cardinal Sin- Never walk the pitcher (or Aaron Hicks)
    I didn't compare offense to defense. I just think you need a good defensive center fielder. Imagine putting Plouffe at shortstop. It would be ugly. Same with Parmelee in center. Up-the-middle positions require good defenders. It's one of those maxims you don't mess with. You start with a good defender. If he can hit, he will stick. If not, you try someone else. It's one of the reasons I hate trying to convert career shortstops into center fielders. Right there you violate a key maxim of team construction.

    I never said everything is fine. I said it's not a crisis. There are lots of worse things happening to this team than their starting center fielder. Nolasco is a mess. Correia is, well, Correia. Burton is not right. Guerrier is on the roster. Hicks is getting on base and scoring runs. That's a lot more than can be said for Jason Kubel right now.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

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  8. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericchri View Post
    And yet they've been doing it regularly this year, enough for a sub .200 BA to have a near league average OBP. Apparently Major League pitchers don't subscribe to your philosophy. Why are they more likely to pitch meatballs to him now that he's only swinging right-handed?

    And for the record I agree, I don't understand why you take chances on walking guys who are unlikely to hurt you otherwise (Nick Punto fell heavily into that category for me for years, he was lucky to hit one homerun every 2-3 years), but it continues to happen.
    For the record in 2014, Hicks has a slightly higher K-rate batting right-handed, with a much higher BB-rate (7th overall in baseball, @ 16.9%), which has yielded him a .408 OBP batting right handed. These results seem unsustainable if he maintains his current hitting philosophy, especially with the likely steady diet of curveballs that start out right at his head.

    Hicks is the 2nd most passive player in baseball, with a 34.8% swing rate, even though he's receiving pitches in the zone at around only 1% less than league average (47.8%).

    Somewhat surprisingly, Hicks is number 2 in change-up percentage received (18.7%), double league average. And this has been a pitch he has had the most success against. One would think that the book will improve on him, resulting in a heavier diet of curves, sliders and down in the zone inside fastballs right in on his fists.

    Pitch Values
    Projections | Minor Leagues | Regular Season
    Season Team wFB wSL wCT wCB wCH wSF wKN wFB/C wSL/C wCT/C wCB/C wCH/C wSF/C wKN/C
    2013 Twins -4.1 -3.5 -1.4 -1.9 3.3 0.1 0.5 -0.55 -2.49 -3.01 -1.21 1.97 0.97 10.12
    2014 Twins -4.2 -0.5 -0.6 -1.1 1.9 1.5 -0.4 -1.41 -1.23 -1.98 -1.55 1.79 22.06 -6.67
    Total - - - -8.3 -4.0 -2.1 -3.0 5.1 1.7 0.1 -0.80 -2.20 -2.60 -1.31 1.90 8.35 0.96

    Last edited by jokin; 05-27-2014 at 05:28 PM.

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  10. #28
    Senior Member All-Star Winston Smith's Avatar
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    Parmalee is 2-34 over the last 10 games. Looks like his bubble has burst again and he is not a major league quality outfielder, imo.
    This comment brought to you from the Rosedale Mall studio by Hamm's Beer, brewed in the land of sky blue waters.

  11. #29
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    The Twins would not be better with Mastroianni or Presley in CF, that is why they were DFA'd No doubt they were a better option than Bartlet, but that is not Scroggins' argument.

  12. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    One other thing about this situation: They put Hicks in an almost impossible situation last year and again this year.

    Hicks had 5 years of minor league baseball, over 500 games played. Hicks has been given long stretches in the majors and has not been subject to frequent promotions and demotions. During his time in the majors he has been given reasonably regular playing time. He has been given 2 long chances in the majors with 80 games last year and 40 and counting this year.

    The Twins could have handled some things better(some more AAA time, another option in CF, ect...) but there are countless minor leaguers who would love to be given the type of shot Hicks has been given and there is no doubt in my mind that Hicks deserves a good chunk of the blame for his bad performance. To say it is all on the Twins for putting Hicks in an “impossible situation” suggests a lack of accountability for Hicks.
    Last edited by jharaldson; 05-27-2014 at 03:05 PM.

  13. #31
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    One other thing about this situation: They put Hicks in an almost impossible situation last year and again this year.
    And the funny part is....you want to double down on that impossible situation by making him continue to play it out.

    People are talking about the dropped switch hitting like it's some sort of miracle cure. Even his right handed hitting isn't at an acceptable level, much less completely relearning something at this level. (A level, by the way, that has completely kicked his butt since he's been up)

    And while I totally agree Parmelee is likely to be incompetent in CF....continuing to throw Hicks under the bus doesn't just hurt us for a 3-4 week stretch. It's hurtful long term. We're talking about a player we nearly moved as the blue chip for Cliff Lee and hung on to. That's the guy we're content to keep running out there with a .190 batting average and miserable contact to learn something he hasn't done for 12 years. Against pitchers who are already too good for him.

    Even gag-worthy "solutions" like Parmelee in CF sound better than that. (And, to be clear, I don't advocate this as a good idea. I just advocate it as better than beating our head against the wall with an integral part of this team's future given the current roster)

  14. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jharaldson View Post

    Hicks had 5 years of minor league baseball, over 500 games played. Hicks has been given long stretches in the majors and has not been subject to frequent promotions and demotions. During his time in the majors he has been given reasonably regular playing time. He has been given 2 long chances in the majors with 80 games last year and 40 and counting this year.

    The Twins could have handled some things better(some more AAA time, another option in CF, ect...) but there are countless minor leaguers who would love to be given the type of shot Hicks has been given and there is no doubt in my mind that Hicks deserves a good chunk of the blame for his bad performance. To say it is all on the Twins for putting Hicks in an “impossible situation” suggests a lack of accountability for Hicks.
    Reasonable take, but really, think back to April 2013....that should have been all the Twins brass needed to know that an extended stay in AAA was mandatory. Sticking him out there day after day would have been spirit-crushing to anybody, accountability-wise, or not.

    Clearly at that point in time, an extended run or two in AAA was mandatory. And he probably should have stayed down for the 2013 duration, as his minor league career to that point had suggested he should. Unfortunately, Mastro was a 4th OFer, and injury or not, had never demonstrated that he could sustain a major league level of performance over a full season....and we all are trying to forget the Era of Clete.

    Hicks' current lack of accountability for his actions began when he refused to play winter ball to continue to address his deficiencies. And yes, he was probably mentally fatigued from what went down last year, but still no excuse....practicing bunting with Rod Carew just wasn't going to be sufficent at getting himself where he needed to be, April 1, 2014. This refusal to follow the Twins advice should have been a warning signal to immediately shore up the CF position, beginning October 1, 2013. Still plenty of blame all around.

  15. #33
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    D/P

  16. #34
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    cmat smacking it down again with regard to Hicks.

  17. #35
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    And the funny part is....you want to double down on that impossible situation by making him continue to play it out.

    People are talking about the dropped switch hitting like it's some sort of miracle cure. Even his right handed hitting isn't at an acceptable level, much less completely relearning something at this level. (A level, by the way, that has completely kicked his butt since he's been up)

    And while I totally agree Parmelee is likely to be incompetent in CF....continuing to throw Hicks under the bus doesn't just hurt us for a 3-4 week stretch. It's hurtful long term. We're talking about a player we nearly moved as the blue chip for Cliff Lee and hung on to. That's the guy we're content to keep running out there with a .190 batting average and miserable contact to learn something he hasn't done for 12 years. Against pitchers who are already too good for him.

    Even gag-worthy "solutions" like Parmelee in CF sound better than that. (And, to be clear, I don't advocate this as a good idea. I just advocate it as better than beating our head against the wall with an integral part of this team's future given the current roster)
    I never said I wanted to. It is the only viable alternative right now. And it's not a miracle cure, but he's trying to make lemon aid from lemons. I'll be rooting for him.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  18. #36
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big dog View Post
    We played multiple shortstops in the outfield for a week before this flap erupted. If they wanted to call them out, they missed a bunch of opportunities.

    There are so many ideas about what the team should do, and they are so conflicted. We should deal Willy/Correia because they aren't part of the future. Fine, but Presley/Mastro aren't part of the future either. Does giving Alex Presley significant at-bats this year have any possible future payoff? I don't see it. I think they should get a CF that they could use for a while, no question. Dumping Mastro? Not a big deal, just a quick short-term non-fix. Solve the problem. And don't look to Reusse for solutions, just expect scorn and late bandwagon-jumping.
    Whatever your opinion of how the Twins have publicly treated Hicks, there's zero comparison between Hicks struggling defensively at the position he played all through the minors at a level that had some talking Gold Glove, and infielders having to play totally out of position.

    My guess is that most people object to Willingham and Correia being on the roster because there are prospects who they are potentially blocking. And it would surprise me if anyone was arguing that either Mastro or Presley, or even a Preslianni platoon, would be a huge upgrade over Hicks.

    The argument in their favor that I'm seeing most, and subscribe to, is that they would have made vastly better reserves than Bartlett and an infinitely better backup plan in the event of a Hicks demotion or lingering injury.

    And since Hicks is re-learning how to do the hardest thing in baseball in a way he has not done so since little league, time in AAA seems very appropriate to me. That was my hope for him not just before the switch to RHB, but before both the 2013 and 2014 seasons began.
    Last edited by LaBombo; 05-27-2014 at 04:21 PM.

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  20. #37
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    I never said I wanted to. It is the only viable alternative right now. And it's not a miracle cure, but he's trying to make lemon aid from lemons. I'll be rooting for him.
    He should set up his lemonade stand somewhere more likely to sell lemonade than the place that is currently smashing his lemons and deflating his confidence.

  21. #38
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    the place that is currently smashing his lemons
    Happened to me on a bad hop once. Coach told me to hold my thigh and fake a limp when I got up.

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  23. #39
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
    Happened to me on a bad hop once. Coach told me to hold my thigh and fake a limp when I got up.
    lemon-smash-med.jpg

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  25. #40
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    Maybe they are hoping to sign Carbonell as the solution to the problem.

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