Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bonser Back Up

So the Twins have decided that Boof Bonser is their man for Saturday's game against the Blue Jays, and presumably will go with Bonser until Liriano is ready to return to the rotation. I expected that Baker would be the guy to get the call, but Ron Gardenhire said that Bonser has a legitimate Major League level out pitch right now, while Baker doesn't. That logic is as good as any for deciding which of these two underperforming pitchers to bring back up, so hopefully Bonser can demonstrate an ability to...well...actually get some people out with that out pitch.

I said yesterday that I wanted to address a question from Marty Andrade, and this seems a good time to do it. The question was why Baker and Bonser, who have been successful in AAA this year, haven't been able to bring that success to the Majors. As a subpart to that question, Marty essentially asks if Baker and Bonser could be examples of the dreaded "AAAA" player, aka a player too good for the minors and not good enough for the Majors.

Let me start by saying that I don't believe in the AAAA player. I think any player who can succeed at AAA has the raw ability to be succesful in the Majors. The big question is do they have the mental makeup to handle the pressure that goes with playing against Major League level talent day in and day out. So, no, I don't think Baker or Bonser are AAAA players, doomed to never having success at the Major League level.

Instead, I think it's a matter of continuing to work on their pitches, and especially their mental makeup. Last week, Baker and Bonser were victims of the same kind of mental lapse, both in the fourth innings of their respective starts, that Major League pitchers can't have. In both cases, the fielding let them down, and the result was that they let their concentration disappear, they started to miss with their pitches, and they got shelled. If you go back and look at their starts, I think it's a lack of concentration and mental toughness that has been the biggest problem for these two guys all season.

Unfortunately, the Twins haven't helped matters. I'm usually an apologist for Terry Ryan and the rest of the front office staff, but in this case I think they've made a mistake. Baker and Bonser have been up and down like a pair of yo-yo's all season, and they know at this point that they are on an incredibly short leash. One start and gone isn't a good formula, and if Mike Smith was an actual prospect, rather than an inning-eater with no future on the team, I would be saying the same thing about the Twins treatment of him.

What the Twins need to do is pick a guy and go with him for the rest of the season. If Bonser has an out pitch ready now, that's great. Tell him he's with the team for the rest of the year, and let him settle into his role. The Baker, then Bonser, then Baker, then Bonser, then Smith, then Bonser (you get the idea) routine hasn't worked at ALL, and I don't think it's from a lack of ability. Instead, it's the old idea that these guys have no security, and so try to do too much. Give Bonser the security, and I bet he'll settle down and start going 5-6 innings per start, keeping the Twins in the game and giving them a chance to win.

Justin Morneau Update
With his 2 RBI's tonight, Morneau has jumped into a tie for 23rd All-Time on the Twins single season RBI list, tied with Tony Oliva's 1969 season. With 3 more RBI's, he'll move into 20th.


  • At Fri Aug 11, 11:13:00 AM , Blogger Marty said...

    I like how you say "there is no AAAA players" and then go on to point out how, if there's a mental deficiency, the player will not succeed at the Major League level.

    I though the great part about baseball was that there is a physical and mental aspect to the game. What you don't believe in is a player who is physically a AAAA players, but you make a wonderful case for them being a mentally AAAA player.

    Looks to me if you just made an argument for a AAAA player actually existing.

  • At Fri Aug 11, 11:22:00 AM , Blogger JST said...

    It's a legitimate point, one that I can't refute (nor would I have any real reason to). I guess you're right, so consider the statement amended to what you suggest; there are no players with AAAA physical talent, but when considering the mental part of the game, they may develop.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home