Friday, October 19, 2012

2012 Twins Report Card

I am a teacher by trade.  I am a teacher period.  One of the most important parts of teaching is giving quality feedback.  Students need to understand what mistakes they are making and how they can fix them.  It is equally important to provide good feedback to students when they do something well.  Without feedback, students have a hard time understanding whether or not they met expectations. 

Grades are given because they are fairly universal.  Most people know what an A or an F is.  Although, a letter by itself is not effective either.  Combining a letter grade with good feedback can help a student understand where they are successful and what they need to work toward.  The Twins are a work-in-progress.  They need reinforcement for what they are doing well and they need instruction on what they can do better.  Who better to give them this feedback than some random Middle School Social Studies teacher with just enough free time to write about the Twins a couple times per week?

Can someone mail this report card to the proper place for me?

Language Arts

Teacher Feedback:
The Twins have shown both increased creativity and decreased creativity during the same period of time.  Signing a player like Ryan Doumit shows that the Twins are willing to think outside of the backup catcher box.  Doumit is versatile enough to play outfield and has enough pop in his bat to DH.  Having a player like Drew Butera on the roster as a 3rd catcher shows that the Twins still value that backup catcher role. 

I'd like to see the Twins think creatively more frequently going forward.  Creating some platoons might be a good avenue, rather than employing a bench with mostly utility players. 

Grade - C

Statistics and Probability

Teacher Feedback:
The Twins seem to be a lot less interested in the statistics part and much more interested in the probability part of this equation.  I will say, the Twins seem to be more interested in some of the new ways of statistical thinking, as they seem to be trying to add on-base type players to their lineup (Willingham, Doumit, Carroll, etc) instead of simply looking for guys with high batting averages.  I would like to see the Twins continue in this way, over the next offseason.  My comment about probability refers to the fact that the Twins seem to think it is good enough to have a 1 in 5 chance of winning a poor Division, rather than trying to build a team that can win a World Series.

I would like to see the Twins continue to build a statistically balanced team.  In addition, I would like to see the Twins break the American League Central Probability conundrum.

Grade - C+


Teacher Feedback:
I don't see any specific issues with Chemistry on this team.  It seems that the manager is well-liked by his players and there doesn't seem to be a particular player that rubs his teammates the wrong way.  Even through two consecutive long, losing seasons, the team does play hard.  They were trying all the way until the very end, which is commendable.  Hopefully this team will be given a chance to show how their chemistry works in more pressure situations going forward.
I imagine that there are some players who assume the role of team leaders within the clubhouse.  

Since I was not invited to the clubhouse, I cannot comment on that area of chemistry.

Grade - B


Teacher Feedback:
Some of the issues the Twins had with economics this year were beyond their control.  The team was terrible for the second straight year, which really hurts attendance.  Lower attendance means less revenue.  Less revenue means a lower payroll.   However, the Twins must remember that lowering a payroll for another season will be a major turnoff to the fans.  The demand might go down.  They can't build another ballpark, so the Twins have to stay creative with their economics. 
My advice would be to spend the money.  Forget about the lower revenue and put money toward the big-league club.  A temporary loss of revenue can be made up with future revenue, if the team becomes competitive again.  Spend as though the team will be good again.  Get the fans energized and keep the demand high.  The 2012 Twins were better than the 2011 Twins, but you wouldn't know it from the stands. 

Invest in pitching.  There aren't going to be off-seasons with the quality of starting pitching available very often.  Take advantage of your opportunities, Twins.

Grade - D+


Teacher Feedback:
The offense stayed mostly healthy.  The pitching was mostly unhealthy.  The medical staff was much maligned.  I am not going to go through the litany of odd injuries with inaccurate recovery times.  Needless to say, this part of Health was not a success.  The Twins need to make sure that injuries are diagnosed properly, by their experts.  Don't rely on players to be honest about their injuries.  Players gon play. 

The Twins have not been fully healthy for 2 straight years.  I will be very interested to see what a healthy 2013 can bring.

Grade - D


Teacher Feedback:
The Twins do not seem to have a good handle on the evolution of the game of baseball.   They seem to be stuck in an era where "pitching to contact" and "doing the little things" were King.  Those things are all well and good, but have not lead to a bit of playoff success for this team.  The Twins' bench often consists of players who are just flat out terrible or have but one skill.  This works on a good team, but not on a bad team. 

Perhaps the Twins should look to Oakland and their model of using their bench to create platoons.  Instead of having a 3rd catcher, why not sign a lefty who can play 3rd base and let him split time with Trevor Plouffe?  Maybe they could find an infielder who can hit for some power?  Your middle infielders don't all have to be slap hitters with zero power.  Paying close attention to how the game is evolving is key.  I am not sure the Twins are doing that.

I won't harp on the lack of power pitching.  That is much harder to find than we give credit for.  However, the offense needs to evolve to make the bench more efficient and a part of the team that can contribute. 

Grade:  Incomplete

Architectural Design

Teacher Feedback:
Target Field is a wonderful place.  No one can take that away.  The field is beautiful the concourse is easy to navigate.  The seats are pointed in the proper direction and there seems to be no bad seat in the house.  I have nothing bad to say about Architectural Design.
However, Twins, don't rest on this building's charm.  The charm will wear off eventually.  Pretty soon, everyone will have been there, and done that.  When that happens, the team better be watchable.  I can sit outside just about anywhere, so that novelty isn't going to cut it forever.  Make sure that the product on the field is equal to the product that is the field.

Grade - A

What grades would you give the Twins?

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