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Friday, March 24, 2006

Twins discourage power hitters?

Aaron Gleeman posted this interesting article on his blog regarding the Twins offense. It is true that they haven't had much in the way of power hitting offense in recent years, and the article indicates that the Twins may even discourage players from hitting for power. Given that Krivsky has been a major part of that organization over the years, it's something a Reds fan should pay attention to.

The Reds play half of their games in a park that favors home runs and disfavors singles, doubles, etc -- making for a net neutral ballpark (park factors I've seen range from 0.993 to 1.010). Therefore, the Reds will be best served by ground-ball pitchers, solid infield defense, and an offense built around power. In contrast, the Twins play on astroturf in a more uniformly neutral ballpark. The astroturf increases the value of groundball hitters, and may favor fly ball pitchers. This means that the optimal team for the Reds will be different from that of the Twins. I'm sure Krivsky realizes this--he's a smart guy--but scouting preferences and player development philosophies may die hard. I've got nothing against hitting to the opposite field on a two-strike outside pitch, but Reds players with at least modest power should absolutely be encouraged to try to pull the ball when they get a fat pitch out over the plate.

I'm high on Krivsky, and unless some astonishingly silly things happen over the course of the next few seasons in terms of player management I'm going to stay upbeat on the guy. I think any general manager deserves two seasons to start getting things going in the right direction (DanO had those two seasons, and was thoroughly unsuccessful). By the third or fourth, the team should be noticeably improved. And there's a way in which I don't care how Krivsky does it; I can deal with low power production, etc, if we actually do WIN. That said, the player development strategies the Reds use are still worth paying attention, if for no other reason than so we can better cheer Krivsky and crew on as they build us a winner. :)

Thanks to Baseball Musings for the link. -j