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  • For Better or Worse: Ryan Doumit

    The Minnesota Twins have been aware of Ryan Doumit for more than fifteen years, but it was only in the last 15 months that he was in the organization. In 1999, the Twins drafted outfielder BJ Garbe with the 5th overall pick in the draft. In the second round that year, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Doumit from the same high school as Garbe, Moses Lake High School in Washington.

    Ryan Doumit debuted as a 24-year-old with the Pittsburgh Pirates in June of 2005. For the next three seasons, he split time at catcher, first base and right field but never played in more than 83 games in a season because of various injuries. In 2008, he had his breakout season. He played in 116 games and hit .318/.357/.501 (.858) with 34 doubles and 15 home runs. Following that season, he signed a three year, $11.5 million contract that included club options for the 2012 and 2013 season. However, after playing in less than 80 games in two of the next three years, the Pirates chose not to pick up his 2012 option after he posted an .830 OPS in just 77 games.

    The Piratesí loss was certainly the Twinsí gain. Terry Ryan acted quickly and signed Doumit to a one year, $3 million contract before Thanksgiving 2012 for the 2013 season.



    2012 Recap

    Signing the switch-hitting Doumit made so much sense to the Twins. Following a 2011 season in which Joe Mauer fought various injuries and illnesses, the Twins needed someone who could provide offense at the catcher position. Doumit allowed the Twins to play Mauer behind the plate less frequently and yet be in the lineup more. In fact, Mauer finished the 2012 season with a career-high in plate appearances (641). Doumitís versatility allowed him to also play a career high 134 games and reach a career-high 528 plate appearances.

    Doumit started 56 games behind the plate. He also started at DH in 48 games. He started 16 games in left field and six games in right field. He even played three innings at first base. Sure, he had his issues with the glove at each of those positions, but the value of the versatility was in allowing Mauer and Justin Morneau to get time away from their positions and time at DH.

    Offensively, Doumit was very good. He hit .275/.320/.461 (.781) with 34 doubles, 18 home runs and 75 RBI. The 34 doubles tied a career high. The homers and RBI were also career highs.

    In late June, the Twins and Doumit agreed to a two year contract extension that could keep the catcher in a Twins uniform through the 2014 season.

    Why Heíll Be Worse

    To be truthful, the success of Ryan Doumit in 2013 is greatly dependent upon his ability to stay healthy. Of the eight years that he has spent in the big leagues, he has played more than 84 games just three times. The first two times he played over 100 games, the following season he played less than 80. Can he avoid injury in 2013?

    There are other reasons for some concern. His 5.5% walk rate was his lowest since he walked just 4.9% of the time in 2008. His 18.8% strikeout rate was the second-highest of his career. If those numbers continue to go in opposite directions, he could really struggle.

    Why Heíll Be Better

    Doumitís first year in the American League was certainly a success. Ron Gardenhire did a great job of keeping Doumit, Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham and to a lesser extent, Justin Morneau, healthy. Doumitís versatility is a great way for him to help the team while at the same time helping himself stay on the field, and more importantly, in the lineup more often.

    If Doumit is able to take a few more walks and drop his strikeout rate to rates that are closer to his career averages, it will certainly help. Although he posted a very solid .781 OPS, his career high OPS was .858, so if he can be healthy, he can be even more productive.

    Doumit is likely to hit sixth in the Twins lineup on most nights. Mauer, Willingham and Morneau will be on base in front of him. He will have Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee hitting behind him. Now, there is some debate about how much protection in the lineup truly means to a hitterís statistics, but in theory, if those younger guys are productive, it can only help Doumit.



    Seth Projected 2013 Stats for Ryan Doumit Ė 127 G, 505 PA, 470 AB, .257/.305/.430 (.735), 49 R, 31-2B, 1-3B, 16-HR, 63 RBI, 33 BB, 92 K.

    So, what do you think it will it be? Will Ryan Doumit be better or worse in 2013? Let us know what you think.
    This article was originally published in blog: For Better or Worse: Ryan Doumit started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      I'll go with Better. No deep thinking behind it. A BA close to .300 and other stats in keeping, for an OPS north of .800.
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      I think he'll be about the same. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but it seemed to me Every time i was watching that he left a lot of people on base. Although I didn't watch near as many games as I usually do and the ones I did I didn't watch the whole game often.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by tjsyam921 View Post
      I think he'll be about the same. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but it seemed to me Every time i was watching that he left a lot of people on base. Although I didn't watch near as many games as I usually do and the ones I did I didn't watch the whole game often.
      That is true. Especially early in the season, he really struggled with Runners in Scoring Position. If you believe in WPA (Win Probability Added), his was a little negative for the full season, but was much better as the season went along. As someone who doesn't believe that "Clutch" is a tool or a skill someone can work on, I chalk it up to randomness.
    1. mcrow's Avatar
      mcrow -
      I see him as taking a step back in production this year. Not sure exactly why except that most of the projections I've seen think that will be the case and I wonder about health problems.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      I vote for worse--basically cause he has never had two injury free seasons in a row. I expect he will be on the DL a lot this year.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      He's been so injury prone in his career. I wouldn't be surprised to see his production slip due to getting hurt.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      If you believe in WPA (Win Probability Added), his was a little negative for the full season, but was much better as the season went along. As someone who doesn't believe that "Clutch" is a tool or a skill someone can work on, I chalk it up to randomness.
      Even if you don't accept clutchness as an important factor in major league ball, WPA ought to be at worst about the same as Win Shares or VORP or WAR as a useful measure of a season's body of work, shouldn't it? It gets at the heart of what we want to measure as the value a player delivers to his team.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      I don't think so. a 2-run double when the game is 0-0 in the first won't score as well in terms of WPA as a 2 run double when the game is 0-0 in the 8th. But there is value to playing with an early lead, or increasing that lead (or chipping away at an opponent's lead early in the game), that WPA doesn't capture.

      edit: and likewise striking out with the bases full in the first inning is just as damaging as striking out with the bases loaded in the 8th inning. Or near enough as to not really make a difference.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Even if you don't accept clutchness as an important factor in major league ball, WPA ought to be at worst about the same as Win Shares or VORP or WAR as a useful measure of a season's body of work, shouldn't it? It gets at the heart of what we want to measure as the value a player delivers to his team.
      Just to be clear, I definitely accept that clutchness is a thing and it is important in baseball... There are clutch situations, for sure. I just don't think it's something that can be practiced or a skill that someone has.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      I fear Doumit gets even slower, to the point where we measure his speed according to viscosity in relation to oil and ketchup. Seriously, I don't see how he improves over last year. So I'd agree that he'll be injured some, and have a marginal offensive drop off.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      My gut feeling on Doumit is that he's not even our full-time DH by early June. Throughout his career he's had trouble being a consistent part of his team's success. Be it injury or dips in production, he's just never had back-to-back seasons where he gave you 400+ at-bats of good production. I guess I just see that trend continuing.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      He's older than I would like, but he's shown he can hit if he cas stay healthy. And it seems like he can stay healthy if he isn't catching so much. I like the system the Twins are using with he and Mauer - it seems like it brings out the best in both of them. I'll put my money down on the "over".
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Ok, almost everyone here votes no because he's bound to get injured. Let's say, as John assumes he manages to stay healthy by playing catcher less (which I believe to be true), is he productive given that assumption?

      I say he puts up at least equal numbers to last year, perhaps even a little higher SLG% resulting in a higher OPS.
    1. tmerrickkeller's Avatar
      tmerrickkeller -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      He's been so injury prone in his career. I wouldn't be surprised to see his production slip due to getting hurt.
      I think if you tried to put him behind the dish for 500 ab's, he'd regress. But it struck me (as others) that he gained throughout the year in knowledge and the ability to drive the ball. I don't hold out a lot of hope he will balloon in numbers, but I believe if he gets to 500 plate appearances and plays DH a lot, he could push an .800 OPS (which in his case, with few walks, would mean a .475 slugging) that would be both a blessing and a gain - and realistic.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      We need to think of him as a DH. The offense he contributes when catching is negated by his defense.

      How much offensive production can he afford to lose and still be an above average DH?
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      I think he can and will be better, all the Twins have to do is keep him healthy.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      I see his production going up as long as he is healthy, as Im sure he will see more plaing time especially after july.
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Sidenote: Today i was informed by a colleague that Ryan Doumit's dad coaches at a JUCO in Oregon. I bet Ryan got a lot of quality reps as a kid, which is what kids need!

      I like Doumit's abilities, and I agree he was a fantastic sign
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