Star Tribune readers had a fair share of ideas on how to turn this season around, from figuring out how to win extra innings games (where the Twins are 0-7), to maybe letting the starters pitch deeper into games to avoid the bullpen (which has a 1-12 record and a 5.26 ERA). And, of course, they had some tips for manager Rocco Baldelli.
Here were some of the most compelling comments:
jshapiro777: Put down the analytics book and start managing with your gut!!
Analysis: Few issues divide baseball fans more than the push towards analytics-driven baseball decisions over the past few decades. Fair or not, many fans view Twins President Derek Falvey and Rocco Baldelli as being beholden to the numbers. And to be fair to the numbers, Baldelli is the winningest manager in Twins history with a .617 winning percentage.
dberthia: Cut bait on Sano - he's 7 years in and completely hopeless.
Michaelslygh: Sano must go
Analysis: Twins first baseman Miguel Sano has gotten off to a rough start, hitting .129 with two home runs in 19 games while also battling injuries. At the same time, he leads the club in walks with 15 and his .299 on-base percentage is better than starters like Max Kepler, Jake Cave and Mitch Garver. Still, for a power-hitter, having just two extra-base hits in 62 at-bats is not ideal. Sano is due $9.25 million next season before the Twins have a club-option for $14 million in 2023.
gelfdaddy: Rocco, in extra innings, with no outs and a runner starting on second, bunt the runner over to third. You might just win one...
Analysis: There is no answer for why the Twins have performed so miserably in extra innings. In fact, one of the few times they advanced the lead runner was when Nelson Cruz singled to start the 10th against Detroit on April 1, moving Jorge Polanco to third. Polanco was thrown out at home trying to score on a Byron Buxton grounder. But with the Twins hitting just .130 in the 10th inning this season, there's no question that bunting couldn't hurt.
tde444: I am sorry. But I commented it last year. Baldelli has built a weak minded club. This was bound to happen. There is no intensity and drinking cafe mocha's in the morning is the priority. There is no moxie on this team.
Analysis: My favorite comment because it is hard to categorize weak-mindedness, but pointing to drinking cafe mocha's in the morning as the issue is undeniably fun. Also, who doesn't like or need a little cafe mocha in the morning?
justthetruth: The reality is that the bullpen is 1 and 11 [now 1-12]. The bullpen rotation needs to be stabilized and Alcala should be the closer for now. He has stuff that misses bats.
Analysis: justthetruth gets to some hard truths here and offered an option that looked less certain after the Twins lost 9-3 to the White Sox on Tuesday. Reliever Jorge Alcala now has a 4.05 ERA but his 0.825 WHIP is the best amongst Twins relievers with more than one appearance. Alcala's 131⁄3 innings aren't far from leading the bullpen, but the question of whether he could be used in more high-leverage situations is a fair one — despite the showing on Tuesday.
Obitchecker: The Twins need to develop young pitching.I get mega frustrated when team after team rolls out young 95 plus miles an hour arms and the Twins roll out their typical pitch to contact fluff.What is wrong with the Twins organization that they cannot consistently develop good young arms?
Analysis: A reasonable argument here that goes back to the Twins draft history. Of the Twins regular five starters — Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, Michael Pineda, J.A. Happ and Michael Shoemaker — only Berrios was drafted by the Twins. (He was selected No. 32 overall in the 2012 MLB amateur draft.) And looking at MLB.com's list of the Twins top prospects shows just three pitchers in the Top 10. Jordan Balazovic (No. 4), Jhoan Duran (No. 5) and Matt Canterino (No. 7).
stevemkto: Most certainly I would try to hire back James Rowson, the old hitting coach for next year.Give him a big raise and promotion. They lost their hitting mojo last year and haven't gotten it back.Sano seems utterly lost without him.
amtrekman1: The Twins thrived offensively in 2019, under hitting coach James Rowson. But he left after the season and the offense hasn't been the same. What, if anything, has been different?
Analysis: A number of readers looked to Rowson as the solution to the team's hitting woes. Under Rowson the Twins hit 307 home runs and slugged .494 in 2019 before he left to become the offensive coordinator with the Miami Marlins. The Twins have seen their offensive numbers dip in every category since Rowson left. Their batting average went from .270 to .242 in both 2020 and 2021; on-base percentage from .338 to .315 in 2020 and .313 2021. And slugging percentage from .494 to .427 in 2020 and .423 in 2021. When it comes to Rowson, Miami has their own struggles in 2021. While the Twins are hitting .242 and slugging .427, Miami is hitting .230 and slugging .373.