Boer Finds Himself
Twins righty overcomes struggles
MINNEAPOLIS—After striking out 43 hitters in 25 innings and walking just three during his first taste of professional baseball in 2011, Madison Boer remembers thinking: "OK, I can do this."
A month into his first full season in 2012, the 22-year-old righthander was having a different conversation with himself.
"I was saying, 'I'm not horrible. I can play baseball. I shouldn't just quit and go back to school,' " Boer said. "It was hard, but you just trust yourself and think, 'OK, am I just having a bad streak or am I really this bad?' "
He's pretty sure he's not the strike-zone-challenged fastballer who posted an 11.29 ERA in May and walked more hitters than he struck out. But it took a season's worth of adjustments to convince himself and the Twins that his career is headed in the right direction again.
"Madison had a tough go. Plain and simple, he got hit pretty hard for awhile," high Class A Fort Myers manager Jake Mauer said. "I think he learned a lot from getting hit. He never shied away from taking the ball."
He never quite got the hang of being consistent with his pitches either, though he detected the flaw in his delivery that was causing some of the problems.
"My arm was lagging, so the ball was coming in flatter, higher and slower. And that's a bad combination," said Boer, a second-round pick in 2011 out of Oregon. "I picked up some bad habits. But I finally started putting together some good innings."
He finished the season with an unsightly 6.41 ERA between low Class A Beloit and Fort Myers, but he turned in quality starts in seven of his final 10 apperances with Fort Myers. The mid-90s fastball stayed in the strike zone, too—in six of those starts, Boer walked no more than one hitter.
• Righthander Kyle Gibson, a 2009 first-round pick out of Missouri who is recovering from Tommy John surgery one year ago, allowed one earned run in his first three starts in the Arizona Fall League, with 19 strikeouts and two walks over 13 innings.
• Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who batted .258/.315/.324 at Triple-A Rochester in 2012 after a dismal rookie season with the Twins, was released after asking the Twins to terminate the third and final year of his $9 million contract so he could return to Japan.