Souhan: Perkins relieved to be in Twins' bullpen

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 14, 2013 - 12:21 PM

The closer is a numbers guy but likes situational roles.

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jastkeJun. 14, 13 7:14 AM

Perkins has written a very good column here. (I thank Jim Souhan for ghost-writing it.) Statistics can be a valuable and reliable tool to analyze baseball. There are two significant problems with relying on statistics. One is that statistics are valuable and reliable only with a large sample size. The second is the one that Perkins addresses here. How an individual player will perform on an particular day can't be determined by statistics. When you roll a die you know that each of the six numbers has a 1-in-6 chance of coming up. That's not the case for an athlete. The manager's goal is what Tom Kelly is known for saying: put the player into a role in which he is most likely to succeed. Knowing what kind of physical, mental and emotional position a player is in at a given point in time and doing what you can to keep the player physically, mentally and emotionally prepared are much more important than knowing what his statistics are.

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ollie3Jun. 14, 13 8:55 AM

This column makes relief pitchers sound like bigger divas than NFL wide receivers. "Gee coach, I'd love to be able to help the team by pitching the 8th or 9th inning, but I'm just a lot more comfortable only pitching the 7th. Thanks for understanding." Why do these babies get away with it, but we ridicule Randy Moss for playing when he wants to play?

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liner1900Jun. 14, 13 9:45 AM

Uh Oh... Gleeman is gonna un-friend Perkins over this...

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Dantes929Jun. 14, 1311:37 AM

"Old-school thinkers, like Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, believe in defined roles." Defined roles are fine. I understand and approve of that thinking. To suggest that he is old school in the way he uses the bullpen is short sighted. Relievers used to have roles of throwing two or more innings to get saves and guess what? For every game a team won another team lost, just like today. Managers started bringing in lefties to face lefties and vice versa based not on how individuals do but on how the very large sample of left handed pitchers do against lefthanded batters, etc, etc. You can't get more sabermetric than that. I get that not everyone has the mentality to do every role but Perkins was a very good 8th inning guy and he is a very good 9th inning guy. Again, I am all for defining roles but you can't tell me that if you defined his roll as being "if we have the lead in the 8th and are facing the top of the order, that is when you go in, that he would not succeed in that roll and Perkins can't tell you that either because he has never tried it. Sabermetrics to me was always that a guy like Guerrier who used to wear out at the end of the season might have been used better pitching 2 innings 40 times rather than one inning 80 times. Again, defining roles is good but there is more than one way of definng those roles. This is coming from a guy that has never really had a big issue with Gardy's use of his bullpens. Someone once came up with the idea of using 4 or 5 pitchers a game rather than 2 or 3 and that idea caught on and is now called old school. Someone can define roles differently and it may work just as well.

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fuzzypilgrimJun. 14, 13 2:09 PM

Why is it the Twins can develop world-class closers (Aguilera, Guardado, Nathan, now Perkins) but not starters?

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bjflorida28Jun. 14, 13 8:48 PM

At least he tells the truth

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kw1949Jun. 15, 13 8:21 AM

SABR geeks can ridicule baseball traditionalists all they want, but when they gave the Cy Young Award to Felix Hernandez in 2010 for a 13-12 record, they lost me forever. That was a disgrace.

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swmnguyJun. 15, 13 9:35 AM

I can't tell if SABRmetrics are the cart or the horse. There's certainly a value to knowing the large-scale tendencies, and sometimes the facts are surprising. On the other hand, there are times when you can tell a guy is going good, or has been going bad but seems to be due; and regardless of the matchup or the situation, going with the gut seems like the better thing to do. Defined roles in the bullpen seems like it's here to stay, and mental and physical preparation routines make a good case for that. The key to everything is having a solid rotation that goes deep into games. I don't have to get out the slide rule to tell you that.

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netjesJun. 15, 13 2:31 PM

Yesterday's game is a perfect example of what could be. Perkins would know from the start of the game his job is to pitch to Cabrera, Fielder and Martinez on either their third or fourth at bats, adjusting as necessary. Sixth inning, two outs, Jackson on second and Cabrera at bat. Diamond walks Cabrera. Perkins comes in to face Fielder, Martinzez and Peralta. Hopefully to end the sixth and start the seventh. Three batters, regardless of outcome. I'd like to see it.

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BallFourJun. 15, 13 2:37 PM

Much of Leo Durocher's comment applies to in-game decisions, too. That comment: You don't save your best pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow, it might rain.

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