I just don't trust any of the metrics that have attempted to measure outfield arms. (The obvious response is they're better than a computer game, and that's true, but I'm relying more on what I think is common sense, which the computer game got me thinking about.) I could be wrong, but it seems to me that the general consensus is that Span's arm is considerably better than Revere's.
I mean, of course you move back and forth according to whether you've got a left- or right-handed hitter up there. But with a RHB, expect Span to cheat less toward left than he would if, say, Delmon Young were in LF. They'd have to be incredibly stupid not to play it that way, and I don't think they're incredibly stupid.
I agree with you. It's pretty good either way -- we're probably talking about a couple of runs either way over the entire season. I just think Span in center probably gives you the better chance of saving those couple runs.
Without knowing the ins-and-outs of the Diamond Mind runs saving accounting systems, I can't speak to the strengths and weaknesses of it. I do know the Plus/Minus system and Stats Inc's methods so I can rely on that. I will say this, Plus/Minus does not think outfield arms costs nearly as many runs Diamond Mind seems to think - even from the worst CF arms - and I tend to agree with that, even factoring in the distances of the throws.
What's more is that Span's arm hasn't been substantially better than Revere's to even merit the consideration of pushing him out of center field a given. P/M finds that Revere's arm - although rated one of the worst - was only 3 runs below average. Span, whose arm was also fairly bad last year, was 2 runs below average - making him at the bottom of the list - and he was run on at about the same frequency as Revere.
In his introduction to center field and Target Field in 2010, Span struggled with (1) the leadership role of center, failing to call off corner outfielders and pulling up to allow a Cuddyer or Kubel to attempt to get a gapper when he had the ability to get to it and (2) the wind effects of Target Field. Now, Span did improve in both areas in 2011 but Revere, in his first year, was much more poised at the position and carried a bit of that Carlos Gomez catch-it-at-all-costs attitude when patrolling center. As I said before, there's a 100 additional plays in CF each year versus the corners so I would prefer to have the better fly-catcher out there and, so far, I believe that is Revere.
It helps, of course, that you've got Revere's range in LF,not dragged down (to nearly the same degree) by the bad arm.Then you free Span up to kind of cheat toward right-center, minimizing the impact of having Willingham (or, gulp, Doumit) out there, and when he makes the plays a good RF might have, you don't have to cover your eyes when he winds up to throw it back in..
I've seen this scenario outlined before and I can't recall if Span cheating towards right this was mentioned by Gardy in the winter caravan or not. Here's the thing, I don't believe this will play out in reality. While you would want to have that alignment, the majority of hitters in baseball are right-handed and thus Span will likely cheat towards left. Of course, I'm sure the outfielders will be positioned on a case-by-case basis depending who's hitting, pitching, and what the runner and outs situations are.
In the end, I don't think it is a bad decision to go Revere-Span-Willingham in the outfield. That's still a very above-average defensive alignment 2/3rds of the way through.
One of the biggest bomb throwers at 1500 is Phil Mackey. He took some shots at the Centric Crew yesterday. He will never take a call and engage in some conversation with people he disagrees with. Its just easier to take his unopposed shots and move on. Maybe that's the reward for always being the smartest man in the room.
Keep up the great work. I plan to call-in over the next week and confront Anderson on it. He only has a job because the best baseball guy around Matt Thomas went to Texas. He takes the typical kiss-ass approach and agrees with every decision the front office makes. I listen to KFAN anyways.
The Folks on 1500 Kstp basically tow the Twins Company line. They take a lot of shots at people who they do not agree with. That's my problem with them.
"Suddenly everybody, because of their interweb, everybody is a baseball expert now. Everybody and their grandmother has a blog and their an expert on the game, a game they sit at home and watch at home on television. Go to Ft. Myers, go in the clubhouse, sit in the press box, cover it, and then form an opinion."
Yeah, that's the kind of stuff I'm talking about.
The whole "you have to be there" argument is too simplistic. Imagine applying that idea to religion, astronomy, or medicine.
I had to go back and listen again, just to see if I over-reacted...
After calling Twins fans "stupid", he later said, "Suddenly everybody, because of their interweb, everybody is a baseball expert now. Everybody and their grandmother has a blog and their an expert on the game, a game they sit at home and watch at home on television. Go to Ft. Myers, go in the clubhouse, sit in the press box, cover it, and then form an opinion."
So yeah, apparently if people don't cover the Twins and hang out in the clubhouse or the press box all day, they aren't entitled to an opinion.
I was listening to the radio when he made the comment. I blew it off because he was basically saying that all Twins bloggers should be in the press box if they want to form an opinion about the organization. As bloggers, we don't know what is going on behind the scenes.
Just thought of something... but I need to check with you TC people for accuracy: If I am correct, Mr Phunn himself is a radio guy and not a sports reporter, correct? And he himself has not been to clubhouses and locker rooms recently. So he just basically told himself to shut up. Nice.
I read you guys. I don't listen much to sports radio. Love the new TwinsDaily site. Go get em.
I heard that little rant too... He was refering to the negativity in the blogosphere after the Zumaya injury related to Ryan not having a plan B after Zumaya.
Agreed it was to rile people up and I really gave it as much thought as Souhan's rants
Regardless, I think that the one thing that radio personalities really underestimate is the frustration of the Twins' fans (and bloggers) after last season, which got compound by a. the team not really making any drastic changes to react (even to the medical staff) and b. the MLB player payroll was cut. Right or wrong there is a lot of frustration going on there
Its the beauty of being a sports fan, period.
That's the beauty of being a baseball fan... we can all have opinions. We don't have to always agree with each other, and that's OK.
Diamond Mind Baseball, the simulation game, teaches me that center field is the most important position not only for range, but for OF arms. I don't know for sure that that carries over to real baseball, of course, but it makes sense. You have to make some pretty long throws -- many about as long as your typical throw from RF -- and you have to make a ton more of them. In that game, a bad outfield arm can cost you something like 10-12 runs per year (vs. 2-3 runs from a left fielder, 5-7 from a right fielder), and as I think about it, that seems about right to me.
I'd put Revere in left for that reason. There are a lot of teams on which Revere would be the best defensive option in center, but I don't think this Twins team, assuming Denard Span is healthy, is one. Span himself has excellent range, and an averageish arm. By my reckoning, to make it worth putting Revere in center, his range would have to be 7-10 runs a year better than Span's, and Span is good enough that I just don't think there's anybody who would reliably be that. I think the balls Span doesn't get to that Revere might have will be more than outweighed by the extra bases Span's arm prevents. It helps, of course, that you've got Revere's range in LF, not dragged down (to nearly the same degree) by the bad arm.Then you free Span up to kind of cheat toward right-center, minimizing the impact of having Willingham (or, gulp, Doumit) out there, and when he makes the plays a good RF might have, you don't have to cover your eyes when he winds up to throw it back in...
I think it's extremely close, but that Span in CF is just barely the better option.
Great analysis. I don't understand how they wouldn't look at the difference between the two seasons and get him back on track delivering like he did in 2010 for this year. That will definitely be a thing to watch at the beginning of the season.
I honestly think that with a larger left field at Target Field, I think Revere's value as a defender won't be completely lost if he plays there. And, obviously, his arm better suits him there than anywhere else.
I'm not quibbling over how he would play in left field - I'm certain he would be a very much above average left fielder. The difference is that - on average - a center fielder gets 100 more balls hit in their direction over the corner outfielders. My preference would be to have the best fly catcher of the two in that position to create more outs. So far, that person is Ben Revere.
Some days, Ben Revere's arm will cost the Twins a run or two and some days his range will save a run or two. The problem is that giving up a run because of a lack of arm strength is typically easier for fans to see (than saving a run because of great range).
I honestly think that with a larger left field at Target Field, I think Revere's value as a defender won't be completely lost if he plays there. And, obviously, his arm better suits him there than anywhere else. My bigger concern is that Ron Gardenhire will from time to time put Revere in right field. That makes me cringe.
One thing that I cannot help but look forward to is a potential outfield that consists of Joe Benson, Aaron Hicks, Denard Span, and Revere. Hicks and Benson are premier defenders, both capable of playing in center field in terms of range and arm strength. That could be a real treat if everything works out for both of them at the plate.