1 coaching change the Twins need to make before it’s too late

  • Twins have a bottom-five offense according to ESPN
  • Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton and others continue to struggle
Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Let's spare hyperbole, it's been a massively disappointing season for the Minnesota Twins.

For what feels like the first time in the lifetime of many fans, the pitching staff has been Minnesota's strongest unit but the same frustrating woes remain. Where the starters are stepping up, the Twins offense has been sorely lacking.

That's being nice about it, as the Twins own a bottom-five offense despite having stars like Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa in the lineup. Those two have struggled mightily this season, which is a big reason why the offense has been so putrid.

Buxton and Correa struggling isn't the only reason the Twins offense has been lacking, and they aren't the ones who will ultimately pay the price if things continue as such.

Minnesota has fallen under .500 more than once this season after squandering a hot start to the year. Treading water might be enough to stay in contention in a horrid AL Central, but to truly compete in October something needs to change.

It's not the change that most fans are thinking, though.

Twins need to consider a Hitting Coach change

Fans might want Rocco gone, but he’s not the head that must roll in an effort to turn the Twins ship around before it’s too late. Instead, the hot seat belongs to hitting coach David Popkins and it’s a chair that is on fire.

Popkins might not be a name that every Twins fan knows, but he could be the first one we hear when it comes to changes to Rocco's coaching staff. His ascent to the Majors gives off the impression that he was some sort of wunderkind, as he went from above high-A as a hitting coach to the Twins clubhouse.

Finding a scapegoat as part of a larger problem is always an unfair thing to do, but Popkins isn't doing much to make himself anything other than an easy target.

feed

Through almost 90 games, the Twins are barely averaging more than four runs per game and have a team batting average hovering around .233, which ranks 25th in the league. Detroit is the only team in the AL Central with a worst team batting average than the Twins, and they're not that far behind.

The struggles of Correa and Buxton are the headline, though, as is the inabilty to get guys like Joey Gallo and Max Kepler going. That's partly on those guys, but it's also on Popkins for not being able to coach them out of their slumps.

It's quite literally the one job he has to do, and he's been notciably ineffective.

Perhaps the final nail in Popkins' coffin is the player's only meeting that happened after a series sweep by the Braves. Following that series, in which the Twins scored just three runs, players decided to take more control of the hitting game and the result has been phenomenal.

While the offense is still lacking from where it should be, the Twins came out of that player's only meeting by scoring 19 runs over the last four games and resulting in a 3-1 record.

It's hard to determine how much of that was the players and how much of it was adjustments by Popkins, but the evidence so far this season suggests it's more the former. There's still a lot of season left, but the Twins instant reversal of offensive fortunes after taking more control of the hitting game might mean the end of Popkins in Minnesota is near.