• How Do You Feel About This Year's Roster?

    About a year ago, the Minnesota Twins left Florida with a roster of 25, bound for the Twin Cities and, ultimately, the basement of the American League Central.

    Quite a bit of turnover has occurred from that collection of individuals Ė a whopping 12 from the 2012 Opening Day roster are no longer with the organization. Several of those players caught on elsewhere but have deemed unfit to place on another teamís 40-man roster. A few of those are out of major league baseball.

    Among the departed is last yearís Opening Day starter (Carl Pavano, who remains unsigned because of a life-threatening injury sustained while shoveling), the teamís closer (Matt Capps, who was recently cut from the Cleveland Indians but was retained on a minor league deal), two of the five bench bats (Sean Burroughs, unsigned, and Luke Hughes, who last played in Australia) and their situational lefty in the Ďpen (Matt Maloney, who may not pitch much due to recovering from Tommy John surgery).

    Beyond that group, Opening Day third baseman Danny Valencia failed to catch on with the Baltimore Orioles this spring and will start the season with their Triple-A affiliate. Reliever Jeff Gray did not merit enough of a role to even make the Chicago White Soxís 40-man either and will be stashed with their International League team as well.

    Think about that for a second. These were supposed to be either key contributors or maneuverable pieces that turned into flotsam and now a vast majority of the other 25 teams would not bend over to pick up for nothing. Just one year removed from the Twins evaluators determining these guys were among their best 25 players.

    [How did they ever win 66? Itís a miracle. Itís a miracle.]

    With the finalization of the roster occurring over the next few days, the Twins staff will be attempting to move on from a group that went 6-16 through the seasonís first month.

    The objective of the offseason was to create a rotation that can keep the Twins in the game long enough to remain competitive but this year, the staff is having troubles identifying their number one guy as the Opening Day starting pitcher still remains unknown (but is widely believed to be Worley). Outside of Jamey Carroll, the bench will consist of athletically talented yet unproven players in Eduardo Escobar, Wilkin Ramirez and Darin Mastroianni. Maloney and Gray will be replaced in the bullpen with Tyler Robertson and Ryan Pressly, two guys who have 25 major league innings between the pair.

    While the success of the team is dependent on the rotation, the starting lineup and defense, depth plays a large role as well. Is this group solid enough to finish April at or near .500, let alone for the duration of the season?
    This article was originally published in blog: How Do You Feel About This Year's Roster? started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 83 Comments
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      I feel OK about the roster... just ok... The teams success depends on pitching. We have the offense to compete... If the pitching can be at least average... We got some bats who can take it from there.

      I'm not OK with the quality of arms but I am OK with the quantity of them. In terms of pitching... I will be watching one thing primarily. If a pitcher is struggling... Do they let him work through the struggles on a major league mound or do they replace them. I don't know what the correct answer is but if a pitcher is allowed to toe the rubber repeatedly with an ERA plus 5... The Quantity of arms isn't doing us any good.

      The Key is... How does Gardenhire and Ryan handle the struggling pitcher this year because you know someone is going to struggle... Just average pitching will go a long way for us.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      First, it's amazing to think how few players are left from the 2011 team that opened the season. If my maths are right, it's just four (Duensing, Perkins, Mauer and Morneau).

      As far as this year goes, I am cautiously optimistic. I think the Twins have improved at several positions over the team that went north last year. Really, all the positions except 2, 3, 7 and 10. I also think the bullpen is better with the subtraction of Capps and Gray and the additions of Fien and Roenicke.

      The rotation is the big question mark. I'm more optimistic than I was last year at this time, especially after the Baker injury. I had little hope for Blackburn or Marquis. I thought Pavano would be OK. I thought Hendriks wasn't ready. Now I'm confident in Diamond, I think Worley will be OK. I think Hendriks is ready. And I like Pelfrey's chances. I am not confident at all about Correia, but with Devries and Deduno ready to step in and with Gibson and Meyer waiting for their chance, I feel the rotation will eventually settle out to be pretty decent.

      I don't think it will be good enough to help the team contend. But I think it will be competitive. I'm betting on 83-79.
      Wow! Talk about a roster turnover. Still adding in Plouffe (who was the shortstop) and Swarzak (currently DL), the only prospects to see time were Parmelee and Hendriks. Quite a turnover since that season.

      And considering Morneau MAY be gone next year, and Swarzak is arbitration expensive!

      Out of the other 35 players who played, 17 are still in the minors, 7 aren't playing, and 11 have jobs this opening day in the majors.
    1. Jack Torse's Avatar
      Jack Torse -
      The starting pitching is not just terrible it's terrible with question marks. Of the new guys, 2 are coming back from arm surgeries and the other lost his starting role with pittsburgh last year...Twice. Diamond, their best of 2012 also coming back from surgery. Naming the opening day starter was an elimination process if not russian roulette. It's bad, like the worst in the game and it's not even close. 100 losses is a possibility this year.

      I don't see where they upgraded defensively. Hicks is great but span was good too. That leaves rf, lf, and 3b as pretty big liabilities. Of course the s.s. is rookie who at best cannot hit.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      In the running only because he ran out of options and we didn't have anyone there remotely deserving to be a starter. He still butchered it...and he's butchered every spot he's been in too...though not as badly as Braun at 3B. Never seen a 3B worse than him on defense.
      You either are not able to see Plouffe objectively, or you don't watch very much baseball, because the numbers show someone who was not very good defensively, but nowhere near as bad as you describe him.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      You either are not able to see Plouffe objectively, or you don't watch very much baseball, because the numbers show someone who was not very good defensively, but nowhere near as bad as you describe him.
      ah, since I don't agree with you those are the only choices...interesting...and not the least bit condescending.

      Last year, at 3B, Plouffe had a -9.2 UZR/150. Of the 18 guys who played as many innings as him or more, he ranked 15th...below Hanley Ramirez who is pretty bad there. Miguel Cabrera, who was the worse, was only 2 points behind him with -11.2. He was 16th out of 18 in defensive runs saved with -8.

      For his career: -15.1 in the OF, -21.1 at shortstop, -42.9 at 2B

      source: fangraphs...they must not watch too much baseball either
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      ah, since I don't agree with you those are the only choices...interesting...and not the least bit condescending.

      Last year, at 3B, Plouffe had a -9.2 UZR/150. Of the 18 guys who played as many innings as him or more, he ranked 15th...below Hanley Ramirez who is pretty bad there. Miguel Cabrera, who was the worse, was only 2 points behind him with -11.2

      For his career: -15.1 in the OF, -21.1 at shortstop, -42.9 at 2B
      Right. Like I said, he wasn't very good.
      However, you said he was the worst you had every seen.
      He wasn't even the worst in the league last year, so like I said, you don't watch much baseball if he is the worst you have ever seen.

      Wasn't meaning do be condescending, just pointing out that the numbers do not show someone who was historically bad.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      Right. Like I said, he wasn't very good.
      However, you said he was the worst you had every seen.
      He wasn't even the worst in the league last year, so like I said, you don't watch much baseball if he is the worst you have ever seen.

      Wasn't meaning do be condescending, just pointing out that the numbers do not show someone who was historically bad.
      No, I said BRAUN was the worst I had ever seen.

      here's the quote 'though not as badly as Braun at 3B. Never seen a 3B worse than him on defense.'
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      No, I said BRAUN was the worst I had ever seen.

      here's the quote 'though not as badly as Braun at 3B. Never seen a 3B worse than him on defense.'
      I misread your post then, I apologize.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      I misread your post then, I apologize.
      Happens...no problem
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Phil Mackey has an interesting analysis over at ESPN 1500 and he is looking at about 80 wins based on RS and RA using sums of individual players' projections.

      I started cranking some numbers differently looking in a few other things including sums of games with =< 2 runs allowed in 2012 for Pavano+Marquis+Liriano+Blackburn vs Worley+Correia+Pelfrey+Harden (the last 2 in 2011) and some RAR- and WAR- based stuff and I am probably more optimistic that Phil at this point. Before Spring training started I was thinking potentially 86 wins or so, now I think that potentially even a couple more. Harden's health will be what makes and breaks this club.

      Another thing one needs to look at is how many different SS/2B combinations were used last season.... the more the worse in things like turning double plays, getting forced outs at second, covering second base etc. Looks that there is a commitment for Florimon and Dozier. If they stick with them and they perform, the infield D will be much better than 2012.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Phil Mackey has an interesting analysis over at ESPN 1500 and he is looking at about 80 wins based on RS and RA using sums of individual players' projections.

      I started cranking some numbers differently looking in a few other things including sums of games with =< 2 runs allowed in 2012 for Pavano+Marquis+Liriano+Blackburn vs Worley+Correia+Pelfrey+Harden (the last 2 in 2011) and some RAR- and WAR- based stuff and I am probably more optimistic that Phil at this point. Before Spring training started I was thinking potentially 86 wins or so, now I think that potentially even a couple more. Harden's health will be what makes and breaks this club.

      Another thing one needs to look at is how many different SS/2B combinations were used last season.... the more the worse in things like turning double plays, getting forced outs at second, covering second base etc. Looks that there is a commitment for Florimon and Dozier. If they stick with them and they perform, the infield D will be much better than 2012.
      Interesting.
    1. The Wise One's Avatar
      The Wise One -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      No, I said BRAUN was the worst I had ever seen.

      here's the quote 'though not as badly as Braun at 3B. Never seen a 3B worse than him on defense.'
      Braun's career tz at 3B was -9. That should make Braun actually not the worse 3B you ever saw, just merely one of the poorer ones.
    1. Kobs's Avatar
      Kobs -
      They are going to need a lot of luck from the BABIP gods to be anything but putrid.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Wise One View Post
      Braun's career tz at 3B was -9. That should make Braun actually not the worse 3B you ever saw, just merely one of the poorer ones.
      He had a -42.5 UZR/150 at 3B in his rookie year. -32 runs saved. He had a revised zone rating (RZR) of .564. Think about those numbers a little bit.

      Oh, and for those who care about fielding percentage...his started with an 8. Between 2002-2012, no regular regardless of position, posted a lower fielding percentage than Braun did in 2007.

      Braun finished with a -32 DRS. If we shift from his 945 innings to DRS per 1,000 innings, then between 2002-2012, no regular, regardless of position, posted a lower DRS/1000 than Braun did in 2007.

      Braun finished with a -28 UZR. If we shift to UZR per 1,000 innings, then between 2002-2012, three regulars posted a lower UZR/1000 than Braun did in 2007. One was Bernie Williams in 2004. One was Bernie Williams in 2005. And one was Brad Hawpe in 2008, trying to man the unusually large Coors Field outfield. Hawpe’s defensive numbers might have park-factor issues, and his UZR/1000 was just 1.4 runs worse than Braun’s.

      Baseball-Reference.com lists the five worst fielding seasons since 1969:

      1. Brad Hawpe (RF), Rockies, 2008: -41
      2. Ryan Braun (3B), Brewers, 2007: -35
      3. Jason Bay (LF), Pirates-Red Sox, 2008: -35
      4. Dante Bichette (LF), Rockies, 1999: -34
      5. Chris Gomez (SS), Padres, 1997: -33

      http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/po...sive-year-ever



      Yes, he's the worst regular 3B I've EVER seen play.
    1. The Wise One's Avatar
      The Wise One -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      He had a -42.5 UZR/150 at 3B in his rookie year. -32 runs saved. He had a revised zone rating (RZR) of .564. Think about those numbers a little bit.

      Oh, and for those who care about fielding percentage...his started with an 8. Between 2002-2012, no regular regardless of position, posted a lower fielding percentage than Braun did in 2007.

      Braun finished with a -32 DRS. If we shift from his 945 innings to DRS per 1,000 innings, then between 2002-2012, no regular, regardless of position, posted a lower DRS/1000 than Braun did in 2007.

      Braun finished with a -28 UZR. If we shift to UZR per 1,000 innings, then between 2002-2012, three regulars posted a lower UZR/1000 than Braun did in 2007. One was Bernie Williams in 2004. One was Bernie Williams in 2005. And one was Brad Hawpe in 2008, trying to man the unusually large Coors Field outfield. Hawpe’s defensive numbers might have park-factor issues, and his UZR/1000 was just 1.4 runs worse than Braun’s.

      Yes, he's the worst regular 3B I've EVER seen play.
      Steve Braun played in the 1970's. If Braun had that bad of UZR in 2007 it was because 59 year olds shouldn't be playing 3b.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Wise One View Post
      Steve Braun played in the 1970's. If Braun had that bad of UZR in 2007 it was because 59 year olds shouldn't be playing 3b.
      Steve Braun?
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Back to the original question - queasy. Like when you pull up to Taco Bell and you're starving and you just can't wait to dig in. And then after you digest the reality of that appetizing meal.....

      Well, I think we all know how that ends. That's my analogy, but I am salivating for the meal, even knowing the reality.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Back to the original question - queasy. Like when you pull up to Taco Bell and you're starving and you just can't wait to dig in. And then after you digest the reality of that appetizing meal.....

      Well, I think we all know how that ends. That's my analogy, but I am salivating for the meal, even knowing the reality.
      How drunk am I, in this analogy?
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Wise One View Post
      Braun's career tz at 3B was -9. That should make Braun actually not the worse 3B you ever saw, just merely one of the poorer ones.
      We've had three worse 3Bs in Twins unis in the last decade: Tony Batista, Mike Lamb and Brian Buscher.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Steve Braun?
      He's not called the wise one for nuthin...
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