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Who is responsible for lack of fundamentals?


BadgerFan

Every time we play the Twins it seems like we see how fundamentally sound they are while the Brewers are making mistake after mistake. For whatever reason, this topic always seems to come up during the Minnesota series. I don't know if it's a coincidence or what the deal is. But the question is, who is to blame for the Brewers poor play in the field?

 

There was a time when I would've said it's the player's fault for missing a cutoff man or not laying down a bunt, but it seems to go beyond the guys on the field. The Twins seem to be a fundamentally sound team no matter who they have in the field and the Brewers continue to embarrass themselves no matter who they have on the field. Are the Twins' coaches doing something the Brewers' aren't? What makes them so much better?

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The Twins are well-schooled in the fundamentals because they are preached and practiced by the coaching staff from Day One of spring training. And they are a coachable bunch who listen. They have their bad days, but by and large, Gardenhire is light years ahead of Yost when it comes to teaching and managing the game.

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I'm pf the opinion that this issue manifests itself well beofe the players make it to the big club. The Twins seems to understand, and insist, that guys in the system don't come up (or if they do, stay long) unless they are solid. I think thte guys in the system understand that. If they are fundamentally solid, even if not the biggest talents, they may not win games for you, but they won't give games away either. And, the longer they stay in the bigs, they have a chance to grow in certain ways, though they never regress from the fundamental soundness.

 

The Brewers seem to look too much at players strenghts and ignore weaknesses. They're willing to take a +3 -2 guy, figuring the +s will outweigh the -s. The Twins figure if they eliminate/minimize the minuses, they never have to play that math.

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Heh. The Twins have more errors than the Brewers, despite the fact they never get a bad hop at home and the Crew has Eddie Error as their official scorer. Aaron Gleeman sees the Twins play every day and says they make tons of mental errors.

 

I'll take those "fundamentals" and toss them aside. They do not exist, other than Joe Mauer, who is as good as it gets.

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I think it's a mix of a number of factors:

1. Minor leagues--It seems like the Brewers frequently bring up players from the minors who lack fundamentals. This is likely a product of this not being emphasized throughout the system. It's not just us (sacrifice bunts don't earn you that promotion), but Weeks, Fielder, and Braun have all had defensive issues.

2. Major leagues--I know the frequent excuse is that the Brewers are "young" but I don't buy it based on the terrific defense by the Rockies last year. In their defense, Yost and the coaching staff have been emphasizing fundamentals since day 1 of spring training and there has been significant improvement made. Ryan Braun is doing just fine in left field and has started to make impressive diving catches. I'm left to wonder if maybe there are better coaches out there than 1980's Brewers players that remind us of our "glory years".

3. The players--What happened to Mike Cameron recently? For a veteran player with a number of gold gloves, you can't really look at anyone else but the actual player.

The Twins may be fundamentally sound, but the consequence is that they are a speedy, slap hitting team. They have 20 triples and only 43 home runs.

Overally, I think we are fundamentally better than last year, but it sticks out more this year because the offense hasn't been clicking. Remember the Diamondbacks series? We definitely weren't the team making errors/mistakes two weeks ago.

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Number of errors, while a component of the argument, is not the only characteristic that defines good, fundamental baseball. The Brewers has a low error total early in the year, but it was clear they were still making way too many mental errors in the field. Braun's throw to the plate against one of the fastest guys in the league, allowing runners to move to 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, is a recent example, even though it didn't cost them any more last night.

 

It's also evident offensively, in terms of approaches to particular ABs and adjusting to what a given pitcher is doing in a game. The Twins were disciplined enough to let Tavarez hurt himself; the Brewers often have trouble in that regard in their own plate appearances.

 

The Twins have decided that with Morneau, Cudduyer, and Mauer (more in terms of 2B than HR for him) they have enough pop most nights to let the slap hitters do thier thing. The Brewers don't have very many of those guys, and for the most part the fans around here don't really like those guys very much anyway. The Twins, with Crain Reyes and Nathan at the back end, can afford to keep it close and win late if need be. Though the team has changed a bit recently (most notably losing Santana to the NYM and Liriano for now), it's still the general formula that keeps them in contention almost every year.

 

The Twins had a bad weekend last weekend in Chicago against a streaky White Sox squad. Other than that series, they have about the same record as the Brewers in the still superior AL.

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The Brewer's draft bats first, because that's the hardest tool to find, generally these players have been average to poor defensively. While coaching helps, I feel it's generally on the players to improve their all around game. If you can hit, you're going to play, and you're going to have to improve your defense as you go.

 

This is the first wave, of many to come... I think the guys in the second wave will be more polished as there really isn't a need to rush them. The organization has some big bats in AA that could be pushed, but different members of the organization have been quoted recently saying that the team is going to stay together in Huntsville. It seems they are not going to aggressively promote any of the young bats, so they'll have more time than a Hall, Weeks, or Braun to develope their defense.

 

I've said it before, but I think it bears repeating, that there are not many young players who have such a polished all around game that they are relatively finished products from the time they are drafted. If you run down the list of guys that had very short careers in the Minors and were all around excellent you end up with a list almost solely comprised of Hall of Fame players... Yount (who struggled early), Griffey, Puljos, Bonds, Arod... the average player, regardless of talent, has holes in their game that they need to work on.

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From the day they got on the field after being drafted they are taught the Minnesota way of baseball and that is fundamentals. They don't go out and sign a bunch of free agents each year they just call up another prospect they have waiting who has been learning there system since day one.

 

Milwaukee also seems to focus more on bats than they do on a well rounded player which makes a big difference.

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If we're talking about defense, that seems to be a talent that certain players have over other players. Defense can certainly be improved upon in the minors, as can offense. I'd say drafting is the reason we have bat-heavy light-fielding players currently on the roster. That's not to say it was necessarily an error to draft better hitters. We still have a better record than the Twins on the season, which doesn't mean we're better, only that their "strategy" in and of itself doesn't necessarily make them a better team.
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Who is responsible for lack of fundamentals?

 

I don't know. Maybe...Satan

http://www.getincensed.com/wp-content/uploads/3_church_lady.jpg

 

This is kind of a chicken and egg question, as one would think the organization may be emphasizing hitting (and for power) a lot. However, it may simply be that those are our prospects' strengths, so it looks like it's been the most important facet.

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Part of it is drafting philosophy I think. We draft for player's bats and hope the defense comes along. Twins seem to go after more complete players.

I think that is part of it along with bringing up those same players before letting them mature to become better all around players. Of course this may go in the same file as the "we make to many outs on the bases" theory.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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One, it is an organizational philosophy as other posters have mentioned. The Brewers really don't have any players like (or at least as good) as Casilla and Gomez. Those two players excel on fundamentals. Other players like Morneau and Mauer are different players than Fielder and Braun in that they hit for a high average. Braun may get there and Fielder has raised his average considerably the last month but they don't look for HR's like the Crew does.

 

Secondly, most young players lack quality fundamentals. I think that is a huge part of it. Coaching can help improve those but the athletes I coach have the poor fundamentals when they get to us in high school. Maybe I am wrong in this because both the Crew and Twins have a young roster but I don't get a chance to watch the Twins very much. Many of the Brewers definitely do not excel in this area.

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Part of it is drafting philosophy I think. We draft for player's bats and hope the defense comes along. Twins seem to go after more complete players.

I tend to think there is something to that. Considering the fairly smallish payrolls the Twins have had to work with under Terry Ryan before his recent retirement, they have have had a good amount of success. When they've won, it seems from my outside view that they won mostly with pitching, defense, speed, and high batting average hitting vs winning with power and guys who walk a lot. They don't seem to draft many young mashers with fielding issues that they hoped would learn to defend later.

Even though i don't follow the AL that much, this young Twins team seems typical of other Twins teams when Ryan was the GM. A young pitching staff of mostly homegrown arms, some young toolsy athletes with speed, a high batting average team, and not much power.

 

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I'd say the biggest factor is that its your team. You are emotionally invested in them and when less than excellent play occurs, especially when it costs the team, it is unpleasant or even painful. Other teams have plenty of misplays and errors as well. D-backs fans sometimes call them the E-backs because of their errors. Braun has looked awkward, but generally has played very well. Consider how his fans can recite his only mistakes. Then contrast him with someone like Soriano. Crazy Al has a lot of talent and a quick accurate arm, but he makes some of the ugliest plays in baseball. Or the "fantastic" Fukudome: just seeing about a fifth of the Flubbies games, I've seen him misplay 4 or 5 balls. Wasn't it last year when Tulowitzki had two errors in an inning against us?

 

Really, what sort of player is acceptable? It seems Brewers fans generally want power hitters, who also have a fairly high average and play excellent defense. Its like wanting your significant other to be beautiful, have a great personality and be wealthy. Yes, it does happen. No, not often. If a player is excellent defensively, but not great offensively, then there is a lot of moaning about that.

Formerly AKA Pete
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I'd say the biggest factor is that its your team. You are emotionally invested in them and when less than excellent play occurs, especially when it costs the team, it is unpleasant or even painful. Other teams have plenty of misplays and errors as well.
No doubt there is truth in this. However, I think the Twins have earned a reputation for being sound on fundamentals over the years. Maybe it's because of players like Torii Hunter, Mentkewicz, Koskie, even Jacque Jones in his younger days. Also, they have placed sometimes misguided emphasis on defense, such as giving Nick Punto 108 games at 3B last year. Sticking with Guzman and Rivas for all those years really hurt them offensively too.

 

I think it's also true the Twins don't rush players. Cuddyer didn't play 150 games in a season until he was 27. Morneau didn't have 500 plate appearances until he was 24. Koskie was 27 before he was the everyday 3B. Same with Mientkewicz at 1B. Jones, Hunter, Pierzynski, were 25 before they became everyday players. Keielty and Ford didn't see much playing time until they were 26. They basically kicked Todd Walker off the team because he was a poor defender. They declined arbitration to Ortiz because they couldn't figure out what to do with a guy who doesn't play defense.

 

So, by and large their players are more seasoned when they arrive in the bigs. The Brewers have tended to rush their kids to bigs in recent years. I think they were justified in doing that, but players who have spent substantial time in the minors should be more experienced defensive players.

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The organizational mindset might also be because of the playing fields. The Keg is a smallish park that doesn't offer many 3Bs or inside-the-parkers. Hitters that have decent pop to the gaps excell in our field, hitting a lot of homers. We draft the best bats we can find and figure out where they stand on defense latter. The Triple H Dome has an amazingly fast field with large gaps to put the ball into and run. So thier players need to be able to play very sound defensively to get to and stop those balls. They don't need the big boppers, since a bunch of quick guys that can hit line drives over the infielders heads will end up with huge numbers of extra base hits.

The poster previously known as Robin19, now @RFCoder

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One, it is an organizational philosophy as other posters have mentioned. The Brewers really don't have any players like (or at least as good) as Casilla and Gomez. Those two players excel on fundamentals. Other players like Morneau and Mauer are different players than Fielder and Braun in that they hit for a high average. Braun may get there and Fielder has raised his average considerably the last month but they don't look for HR's like the Crew does.

 

 

 

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For some reason my quoting of thuderbat's comment and my reply came in under his quote. Sorry for any confusion about my comment and his.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fielder actually has a higher career average than Morneau and a considerably higher OBP thus far in his short career.

 

As others have pointed out for the "sound fundamentals" of the Twins they haven't done anything special in the only stats that really count, the W column.

 

They kind of remind me organizationally of the A's. A team who always seems to build to right to the cusp of being really good and failing to acheive a champsionship goal. (As a Brewer fan that is would still be better than what we have experienced for the last 25 years).

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