Blog Comments

  1. jorgenswest's Avatar
    I looked at the data and I don't see the relationship between team, catcher and quality of pitchers.

    All of the new metrics about fielding and its impact on wins is very new. I am not certain how strongly the Twins should embrace all of the data that is available today.With their moves, they don't seem to be embracing it at all. I hope they are right.
  2. Jim H's Avatar
    I suspect the quality of the pitching is the key here. Neither the Pirates or the Twins had very good pitching in those years. Tampa certainly did.

    That is the problem with some of these new metrics, they actually corolate better with something else than what they are trying to measure. I remember when everyone was excited because Jeter's UZR improved one year over the previous year. The real reason was a number of better starting pitchers. Nobody ever really considered that.

    Finally, I don't doubt that Molina is good at framing pitches. The question is, what is the impact of that rather limited skill. I suspect that Molina has a large impact on a game because of his all around defensive skills. Including working with his pitcher, calling a game, blocking pitches and throwing out runners. While I don't doubt that stealing a pitch here and there is useful, the idea that it is a 5 win skill over 80 games, is pretty unbelievable, and pretty much ruins this metric as anything to pay attention to.
    Updated 12-01-2012 at 06:20 PM by Jim H
  3. jorgenswest's Avatar
    2011 data on Butera and all other catchers with reference to pitch fx is below

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...hl=en_US#gid=0

    He did not fare well in the 2011 analysis.

    Entering 2012, Jose Molina was ranked #1 and Doumit was at the very bottom. Is it simply an amazing coincidence that in spite of changing teams and parks they were ranked at the top and bottom for the 2012 season?

    If the catcher has no control, why isn't it random?
  4. Jim H's Avatar
    The problem with this metric is that you are giving the catcher credit for something he has no control over. First of all, on close pitches you can't sure that Pitch f/x is any more accurate than the umpire. Camera angles and the inability of Pitch f/x to show the depth of the plate mean that often the umpire could be right and Pitch f/x could be wrong. 2nd, the umpire usualy doesn't see the "framing of the pitches" he is focused on where/if the ball crosses the plate not where the ball is caught. When an umpire misses a call it can be for a variety of reasons. Maybe the catcher blocked the umpires view, maybe the umpire was expecting the pitch to move different than it did, maybe because the pitcher is getting credit for an extra inch because his control has been so good, maybe he missed it because he is human.

    The idea that a catcher can steal enough pitches for his pitcher to save 50 runs in 80 games isn't just an exaggeration, it is an insult to umpires. They aren't so bad at their jobs that how a catcher catches the ball is going to have much of an effect.

    I also find it strange that it ok to give exaggerated credit for Molina being a good catcher, but not to Butera.
  5. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    While the defensive metrics might lead to exaggerated figures, I agree generally with the basic point that Doumit caught too many games last year. That's the problem when you have non-MLB players on your roster like Drew Butera. That is why I was bullish on Herrmann last year to get promoted and play in AAA. That is why I would like the Twins to either go with Herrmann or spend 1-2 million on somebody other than Butera (this would only really amount to around a $1 million difference in salary).
  6. jorgenswest's Avatar
    It is hard to believe. Can it be ignored?

    While other teams have hired some of the pitch f/x pioneers like Mike Fast, the Twins watch from the sidelines. Hopefully time will show that the Twins took the right path.

    Understanding the impact of defense on winning ball games is still in the early stages. It is easy to see the side the Twins stand on with their decisions to sign Willingham and Doumit last year and willingness to trade their best defensive player this year. What's next? Starting Parmelee in RF?
  7. Jim H's Avatar
    "If the metric is accurate, Molina saved his team 50 runs in 80 games. Doumit cost the Twins 21 runs in 59 games. Molina's value is all defense but those 50 runs saved represent 5 wins. Doumits -21 represents a loss of 2 wins and completely wipes out his contribution to the team as a hitter" Quote from above article.

    I used to think most fans underrated defense. Some of these new "metrics" distort it. You really think that how a catcher catches the ball can save his team 50 runs in 80 games? I suspect that most good umps don't even see where the catcher catches the ball. They are focused on the strike zone above the plate. One of the problems with that nice little box that most TV broadcasts use to show whether a ball or a strike, is that it doesn't show the depth of the strike zone.

    All of this isn't to say that Doumit is a good catcher. He is not. Molina is a lot more valuable than his offensive numbers suggest. Just like Butera is. But saying that Molina won 7 more games than Doumit by how he frames pitches-I don't think that is remotely true.

  8. glunn's Avatar
    I agree with those who feel that the Twins should go young.
  9. beckmt's Avatar
    This assumes the Twins do not add ptiching this offseason. Adding a couple of pitchers would get us to the area that is discussed above, middle 70's in wins. Adding 3 ptichers and a shortstop could get us to about .500. At that point luck could go either way. As long as we do not trade future(top of the line ) prospects, this seems to me to be a reasonable way to go.
  10. Brad Swanson's Avatar
    I'd like to see what Escobar could do with some consistent playing time. He likely won't set the world on fire, but his defense could help a lot if the Twins go with their usual pitching philosophy.
  11. jorgenswest's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom
    Well, that .237/.291/.331 projection for Florimon looks OK as long as he provides his patented gold-glove defense.

    Evidently ZIPS is projecting that Dozier will be swallowed into the Bermuda Triangle.
    Leaving them out was my error. I didn't expect someone would infer that I was hiding the positive. Unfortunately, they don't pick up the slack. Plouffe and Revere's numbers were essentially the same as 2012.

    Dozier 247/296/348

    As for Florimon and defense. There is no evidence that he is an elite defender. His UZR/150 of 5 was well below the league average. He has had flashy and inconsistent performance in the minors. He was taken off the 40 man roster twice in the last year and the Twins were the only interested team.

    Escobar, on the other hand, had a string of three or four years ranked as the best defensive middle infield prospect in the White Sox system. He can't hit either but being two years younger offers hope for growth that Florimon doesn't have.
  12. Boom Boom's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Swanson
    Not unless you are looking at different ZIPS projections than I am.

    Carroll - .261/.331/.318
    Revere - .285/.325/.332
    Florimon - .237/.291/.331
    Dozier - No projection
    Plouffe - .241/.300/.422

    Those all look reasonable to me. Carroll is old. Revere's on base is completely dependent on his BA. Florimon and Dozier are unproved and have no minor league track record. Plouffe should have power.

    These projections are mid-point projections though. There is upside, but I agree that the offense could regress and probably is more likely to regress than improve.
    Well, that .237/.291/.331 projection for Florimon looks OK as long as he provides his patented gold-glove defense.

    Evidently ZIPS is projecting that Dozier will be swallowed into the Bermuda Triangle.
  13. Brad Swanson's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom
    I'm sure if I was an ESPN insider I could point out how ZIPS projects Revere, Florimon, Dozier, Carroll, and Plouffe to pick up the slack for all those regressing guys.
    Not unless you are looking at different ZIPS projections than I am.

    Carroll - .261/.331/.318
    Revere - .285/.325/.332
    Florimon - .237/.291/.331
    Dozier - No projection
    Plouffe - .241/.300/.422

    Those all look reasonable to me. Carroll is old. Revere's on base is completely dependent on his BA. Florimon and Dozier are unproved and have no minor league track record. Plouffe should have power.

    These projections are mid-point projections though. There is upside, but I agree that the offense could regress and probably is more likely to regress than improve.
  14. Boom Boom's Avatar
    I'm sure if I was an ESPN insider I could point out how ZIPS projects Revere, Florimon, Dozier, Carroll, and Plouffe to pick up the slack for all those regressing guys.
  15. jorgenswest's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kwak
    If we fans have to watch a losing team in 2013, at least make them interesting enough so that there is some realistic chance that the team could win the day's game.
    That is the other end of the argument. A reasonable position.

    Trading aging major league assets for prospects will cost wins in 2013 and reduce ticket sales.

    The 1982 and 1999 seasons were among the Twins poorest. They were also the first painful step towards the playoffs.
  16. Kwak's Avatar
    Let's not pipe dream about 2013. There is merit in trading some talent--provided the yield is bountiful. It's tempting to trade Willingham, but to dismiss his future contributions is just wrong. Consider the near revolt of season ticket holders after 2011, trading every useful veteran position player except for Mauer would yield a volcanic eruption. What's so wrong with older pitchers? Most of those in the next wave of Twins talent is at least two years away so some placeholders are needed--people better than the 2012's rotation to say the least. It's the owner's money, not yours. If we fans have to watch a losing team in 2013, at least make them interesting enough so that there is some realistic chance that the team could win the day's game.
  17. TopGunn#22's Avatar
    If we traded both Willingham and Span, we would have Revere in CF and Parmalee in RF. We could come up with an affordable LF"er. But what if we had Shields/Hellickson...Minor/Hanson, Delgado/Teheran in our rotation? Throw in a FA like Edwin Jackson.
    SP: Shields, Minor, E. Jax, Diamond, (Baker, Gibson, Hendricks, Deduno). What a different rotation. One that could contend in the A/L/ Central.
  18. TopGunn#22's Avatar
    I'm all for trading Willingham to the Braves for pitching and Span to the Rays for pitching. Look at the lineups of the Rays, A's Braves...they are underwhelming. What those teams can do is PITCH. We could/should move BOTH Willingham and Span to load up in the primary area we are WEAK...Pitching.
  19. Brad Swanson's Avatar
    Good stuff here!

    I want to play for the Twins; I'll beg? Should they give me a contract? Teams can't make decisions based on factors like that. They have to field the best possible team they can.

    Morneau isn't what he used to be. It's sad, but it's the reality. Span is different because he is younger and in his prime. He might be worth keeping, but Willingham, Morneau, Doumit and the like are only worth keeping around if the team thinks they can content next year.
  20. Brad Swanson's Avatar
    I am totally with you. Reading your article from March of 2012 was eye-opening. I thought going into 2012 that things would be fine and that 2011 was just a blip. I was wrong. I worry about 2013 as well, but not as much about 2014 and after that.

    That will change for me depending on the moves they make this winter. If they sign Jeremy Guthrie and Joe Blanton types to 2-3 year deals, I'll start to worry about 2014 and 2015. Those moves do nothing to improve a team by 30 wins. If they sign guys like that, they won't trade Morneau or Willingham, possibly not even at the deadline in July.

    My biggest worry is that the team is roughly 5 games under .500 around the All-Star Break. This is pretty much what happened in 2011 and the team did not make the moves they needed to make to improve the team in the long-term. Granted, keeping Kubel and Cuddyer gave them more draft picks, one of which ended up being Berrios, but that can't happen this time.

    If they wait on Willingham, he could start to decline. Honestly, his value is likely as high as it will ever be. If they don't trade Morneau, my worry is that they will re-sign him and that would be a mistake in my opinion.

    I have a lot of worries! Regardless, the moves they make this off-season need to be shark moves. If they miss out on the big names, they should pass on the lesser names altogether and start a massive overhaul of the roster, in the name of improving the farm system. The farm system is actually on the rise, and infusing it with more talent would make things a lot more interesting come 2014 and beyond.

    Thanks for the article, I really enjoyed it and it really got me thinking (as you can see)!
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