View Full Version : Terry Ryan interviewed by Fangraphs writer David Laurila

07-13-2012, 12:43 AM

Very cool Terry Ryan interview. Ryan is one of those guys who would get called "old school" by people who still believe in that nonsense from last decade.

Couple of interesting ones:

Who to draft in bulk?:

DL: In your address at the SABR convention this morning, you cited the importance of drafting catchers, left-handed pitchers and shortstops.

TR: Theyíre the toughest thing to find. You go out into any minor league organization and look at the catchers, and theyíre just not there. You can look at the amateur world, and if thereís a good catcher on the board, heís going to go early.

On drafting pitchers:

DL: Another thing you mentioned at the SABR conference is that youíre not a big fan of drafting pitchers because of their changeups and curveballs.

TR: If he doesnít have a fastball to go with it ó there are players up here in the big leagues who live and die on a changeup. Trevor Hoffman was one of them, but he also ó back in the day ó threw pretty hard. People might disagree with me on that, but if youíre going to push a guy thatís got a great curveball, or a great changeup, Iím going to want to hear a lot more about him before Iím going to start getting excited. Itís nice to have a great curveball, but if you donít have a fastball that you can locate, or keep hitters honest with ó those guys usually donít come up here and become dominant starting pitchers.

If a guy canít throw a changeup ó itís a tough pitch to develop. Most guys that have changeups show up with a changeup. Theyíve got a good feel for it and confidence in it. They can throw it to the right-hander and they can throw it to the left-hander. Itís got action and theyíre not afraid to throw it on 2-1 or 3-1. Radke was the example Iíve talked about. Radke could throw a changeup anytime and anywhere he wanted. But he also threw hard enough and he could also spin a ball good enough to make the changeup effective. If he didnít have much fastball, or he didnít have enough breaking ball, hitters will kill that changeup. I donít care how good it is. There are pitchers that are good up here that have the best changeup in the world ó but if you donít have something to go with it ó the hitters will just sit on that thing and destroy it.


DL: You also talked about how youíre not a believer in developing one-inning relievers.

TR; What good does that do you? Thereís an old saying, ďAnybody can pitch one inning, unless youíre the ninth.Ē Thatís a different animal out there in the ninth. Anybody can pitch one inning. Thatís a specialist and we donít want to develop specialists up here. We want guys that can give you some length to your pitching rotation and to your bullpen. We donít believe in one-inning relievers, I can tell you that. We donít have any of those guys.

Most of the people that are up here ó that are relievers in the back of the bullpen ó were starters in the minor leagues. Look at the rosters. Look at the [former] starters that are closers right now. So why would you do that? It just doesnít make any sense. Let them start in the minor leagues and let them pitch innings in the minor leagues. Those guys are ultimately the guys that are the one-inning guys in the back of the bullpen.

There are some legitimate closers that were closers in the minor leagues, but not too many. We had Jesse Crain here, and he was a reliever, but he was more than a one-inning guy for us. He had three pitches when he came out of University of Houston, and we contemplated making him a starter. We decided not to because we thought his delivery and his arm action, and so forth, was really conducive to the bullpen. Iíve always been of the belief ó and Iíve never had anyone argue with me ó to let these guys go two, three innings in the bullpen in the minor leagues. Develop their pitches, develop command, develop control, get an out pitch, pitch through some problems. Thatís how you develop pitchers. I might be wrong, but no oneís ever really argued with me about it. Iím more than willing to listen.

The numbers game:

Statistical analysis. We never messed with that too much back in the Ď70s, but we did in the Ď80s and the Ď90s and the 2000s. Weíve been looking at that forever.

This is something that pissed alot of people off last decade, the idea that statistical analysis was some new found discovery within baseball just because most outside the game didn't pay attention. Alot of really good FOs have been on board for 30+ years.

...that stat page is one big piece to the puzzle of putting players together. Our scouts, and our people, will tell you if Iím looking at a player, and I go down and look at his line, and it doesnít add up, Iíve got to give him a call quick. I tell him, ďThis doesnít make any sense.Ē His role, his skills and his statistical history, and youíre going to tell me this? How do you get there? I believe in that.

All forms of information are good. Iíve drilled that into our people. Bring it on. All forms, let me sort it out. If a scout or a statistician is going to be smart enough to do that, he probably ought to be in a different world. Because I donít know that any general manager in the game wouldnít take that type of information and try to predict what players are going to do. Thatís kind of what projection is in scouting. Youíre going to project on a kid thatís 22 up here more than you are a kid thatís 28. And youíre certainly going to project a player thatís 28 more than you are a player thatís 38.

Really, really good interview.

07-13-2012, 12:59 AM
Is this the same Terry Ryan from the Twins, or a different guy?

07-13-2012, 01:17 AM
Didn't read a word? The Ryan from the Twins.

07-13-2012, 07:02 AM
Im pretty sure Bwarne, the PSD poster, had a hand in this interview.

07-15-2012, 01:15 PM
This is something that pissed alot of people off last decade, the idea that statistical analysis was some new found discovery within baseball just because most outside the game didn't pay attention. Alot of really good FOs have been on board for 30+ years.


People act like Moneyball was invented by Billy Beane and that was the start of it. And that's not even close.