• Is Pedro Florimon Meeting or Exceeding Expectations?

    On Tuesday, we took a look at Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier and noted that his performance is certainly trending in the right direction, and that continued on Wednesday night in Kansas City. Today, weíll shift to the other side of the infield and try to determine whether Dozierís keystone combination partner Pedro Florimon is meeting or exceeding expectations.

    If Iím being honest, my expectations for Mr. Florimon were not terribly high. In fact, when I posted my 2013 Twins hitting predictions, I thought that he would be Designated for Assignment in June with an OPS below .500.

    Strangely, I was not all that impressed by his defense in his late-season run at shortstop with the Twins. Looking at some defensive metrics, they lined up pretty closely with those of Brian Dozier, who many fans thought was pretty bad at shortstop.

    So, letís start with the defense. When the Twins claimed Florimon after he had been DFAd by the Orioles, he was known as a tremendous defensive shortstop. Offensive expectations were very low, but that only meant that his defense must be incredible. Reports I was hearing out of New Britain and Rochester last year didnít disagree with that. They were seeing a great glove man. But again, I thought he was disappointing, relative to expectations, with the glove in 2012.

    So, letís jump to 2013. How is Florimon doing defensively? He had four errors in about the first week of the season. Not a great start to the season, but in total, he has just ten errors this season. Now to the more advanced defensive metrics.


    • According to fangraphs, Florimon ranks third among MLB shortstops with a 7.7 UZR. Only the Braves Andrelton Simmons (17.7) and the Rays Yunel Escabar (8.2) rank ahead of him right now.
    • By DWAR (Defensive WAR), Florimonís (1.9) is second to Simmonsí 4.2. Third on the list is former Twins shortstop, JJ Hardy at 1.5.
    • If Range Factor is what you prefer, then Florimon is Number One on your list. His 5.46 is 0.50 ahead of Simmonsí 4.96. The Number Two AL shortstop is Seattleís Brendan Ryan at 4.30.


    So, from a defensive perspective, he has been very good. For me, thatís actually a little bit better than I expected.

    So, letís turn to the offense. My expectations were incredibly low so it wonít take a whole lot to be better than my expectations for him with the bat. Overall this year, in 300 plate appearances, he is hitting .232/.286/.353 (.639) with 12 doubles, seven home runs and 35 RBI. Looking at those numbers with no context says that they are not very good numbers. So, letís look at how his numbers rank with other big league shortstops.


    • Of 14 shortstops with more than 200 plate appearances, only Seattleís Brendan Ryan has a lower batting average.
    • Of the 14 shortstops, only Ryan and Kansas Cityís Alcides Escobar have a lower on-base percentage.
    • Of the 14 shortstops, only Ryan, Escobar, the Yankeesí Jayson Nix and the Rangersí Elvis Andrus have a lower slugging percentage.
    • Those same four players are the only ones who have an OPS lower than the .639 that Florimon boasts.


    In general, Florimonís offense has been pretty poor, but heís not the worst shortstop in baseball offensively, which is what I expected. Imagine if the Twins were paying him as much as the Rangers are paying Elvis Andrus!!

    So, when you combine the offense of Pedro Florimon with his defense, what happens? Well, if you believe in WAR, the answer might surprise you. Here are the WAR rankings for the shortstops with more than 200 plate appearances:
    1. Jhonny Peralta 3.5
    2. JJ Hardy 2.4
    3. Yunel Escobar 2.3
    4. Elvis Andrus 2.1
    5. Pedro Florimon 2.0
    6. Alexei Ramirez 1.8
    7. Stephen Drew 1.7
    8. Jose Reyes 1.7
    9. Erick Aybar 1.3
    10. Jed Lowrie 1.1
    11. Asdrubal Cabrera 1.0
    12. Mike Aviles 0.8
    13. Jayson Nix 0.5
    14. Brendan Ryan 0.3
    15. Alcides Escobar 0.2

    SUMMARY


    Has Pedro Florimon met or exceeded our expectations? Well, my expectations were immensely low. Again, I expected his defense to be like he was last year, which is to say, look like he should be a good shortstop but the numbers donít match. I thought he wouldnít hit at all, especially over the course of a full season where his weaknesses could be more and more exposed. He hasnít hit great at all, but much better than I expected. So, maybe not to the extent as Brian Dozier, but Pedro Florimon has exceeded my expectations by a decent amount. We said before the season if he could post a .600 OPS and play great defense, we would be happy. I think we can be happy with Pedro Florimon.
    This article was originally published in blog: Is Pedro Florimon Meeting or Exceeding Expectations? started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 54 Comments
    1. Thegrin's Avatar
      Thegrin -
      For me, Florimon passes the eyeball test. I watch most all the games on TV and he seems to get to most of the balls he shouldn't be able to reach. He doesn't make many throwing mistakes. He seems to get a key hit every couple games or so. I would be happy to have Florimon and Dozier as our keystone combination to start next year.
    1. Marta Shearing's Avatar
      Marta Shearing -
      He's an adequate stopgap, but when/if they ever contend again, they gotta have a SS who hits a little better.
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      I like Florimon & Dozier but get more excited about Santana & Rosario. Both have exceeded expectations but I consider them replaceable although Dozier is making that a hard point to argue lately and looking like he wants to play in the all-star game at Target field next year or something.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      I think he's been doing fantastic and I love this article. I was talking shortstop defense a day or two ago and I have him as the third best defensive shortstop in baseball. I, too, wasn't impressed with his defense last year, and am gladly eating crow this year.

      One thing though. Sometimes people mistakenly think range factor measures range. RZR is the stat that measures range. Florimon is 6th in MLB for shortstops.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Whether Florimon meets, does not meet or exceeds expectations, is a very subjective matter (as are the individual expectations). The most important question is whether Florimon is a starting SS for a competitor and a World Series winner. The answer to that question is that likely not. Can he be that? Maybe, because his bat showed some flashes, but I think that it is not likely.

      Unless the Twins are asking these questions about every player in the club, and adjust their team accordingly, they will not be competitive or win. Period.
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      I didn't think he would make it past the first not the or two. Defense has been great and the bat has been good enough. Especially with the bit of power he has hit for. If he could hit for higher average he would be a stud.
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      He's exceeded my expectations offensively and defensively, that's not even a question.

      It was noted already by Thrylos, though, the real question is whether he's good enough to be your starting shortstop on a long-term basis. He's fine for now in the sense that there's no quick replacement for him in our current system. Danny Santana may be getting close, but is he really going to be better than Florimon and how soon? Dozier could try and move back, but will his defense play as well at short as at 2nd? Is there anything in the Free Agent field that would be a legitimate improvement over Florimon?

      If you're looking to trade for something, is Texas the place to look? They've got Andrus locked up for a long time, Profar a natural SS playing out of position, and the #76 overall prospect (#2 in Texas' system) on MLB's list Luis Sardinas playing short at AA right now.

      Back to Florimon, I'm happy with him for now. I'd love to see a little more stick there, but his defense is good enough that I can live with him for now. If his bat doesn't get much better we'll still probably want to keep looking, though. If all of our prospects worked out to the extent they look like they might (which isn't going to happen), then you could hide his bat in the lineup and not suffer much, but it probably isn't ideal if you're hoping to win the World Series.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by ericchri View Post
      He's exceeded my expectations offensively and defensively, that's not even a question.

      It was noted already by Thrylos, though, the real question is whether he's good enough to be your starting shortstop on a long-term basis. He's fine for now in the sense that there's no quick replacement for him in our current system. Danny Santana may be getting close, but is he really going to be better than Florimon and how soon? Dozier could try and move back, but will his defense play as well at short as at 2nd? Is there anything in the Free Agent field that would be a legitimate improvement over Florimon?

      If you're looking to trade for something, is Texas the place to look? They've got Andrus locked up for a long time, Profar a natural SS playing out of position, and the #76 overall prospect (#2 in Texas' system) on MLB's list Luis Sardinas playing short at AA right now.

      Back to Florimon, I'm happy with him for now. I'd love to see a little more stick there, but his defense is good enough that I can live with him for now. If his bat doesn't get much better we'll still probably want to keep looking, though. If all of our prospects worked out to the extent they look like they might (which isn't going to happen), then you could hide his bat in the lineup and not suffer much, but it probably isn't ideal if you're hoping to win the World Series.
      Concur.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      I'd have to say I really had no expectations as I rarely considered Florimon. If asked I likley would have said DFA early but his defense is nice.

      Still, in a lost year I think the Twins need to give Dozier some time at SS once again. Rosario is almost surely going to take the 2B job at some point and Dozier is showing some flashes of being a plus offensive middle infielder. I think the team needs to re-evaluate whether he can play SS, at the very least as a utility player.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Yeah, the question of whether or not he's met/exceeded/etc. expectations is a subjective one. That's it's intent. That's where the discussion comes in.

      The question of whether he's good enough to start on a World Series team is always a weird one to me. If he's playing gold-glove caliber defense, then of course he can be part of a world series caliber team. Of course, that's assuming you're making up for the lack of offense somewhere else. But, not all World Series caliber teams have great or even good hitters at every position. Yadier Molina wasn't a great hitting catcher early in his career, and the Cardinals were always a contender. There have been other examples. So to think that any one player makes a breaks a team's chances of contending is not there, in my opinion.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      For those above who do not think he has a bat for the world series take a closer look at how comparable his line is to another former Twins SS Greg Gagne who consistently hit .230-.250 with 10 HR and 10 SB with above average defense.

      player A
      408 52 108 23 3 8 42 11 9 26 72 .265 .310 .395 .705
      player B
      276 31 63 12 0 7 35 8 3 21 74 .228 .282 .348 .630

      Player a is Gagne's 1991 season and B is Florimon year to date. Florimon has hit for about the same power and has better success on the basepaths in terms of not getting caught stealing and the only real difference is about 35 points in batting. note Gagne hit .265 in both World series seasons and that was some of his better hitting seasons with the Twins.

      I think if Florimon can continue to hit like he has and contribute every once in a while and continues to be above average defensively, he is fine at SS especially since we have so many good hitters coming up. His hitting flaws will keep his contract price down in future seasons too. So he won't get too expensive over the next 6-8 seasons if the Twins decide to run him out there that long.

      What is making Florimon appear to be above expectations as a hitter?
      He does have a high number of RBI for a 9 hole hitter with his hitting line so that's masking his bat a little and creating more optimism about his future and so is the fact that so many other lineup pieces are below expectations this season making him look like an even better hitter relative to expectations.

      As far as defense goes he has been an allstar. and if he is around when the Twins next competitive streak happens he'll be a veteran leader, and with Sano, Buxton, Mauer, Arcia, Rosario and others do we need him to hit if he is the third best defensive SS in terms of how the team is constructed?
    1. E. Andrew's Avatar
      E. Andrew -
      Florimon is very acceptable, and you can see that Gardy, often deservedly, loves him. What's lost sometimes is his ability to do things like make contact on the hit and run, not try throws, fake out runners... etc. Gardy beams in those moments.

      That said, it would be great to see Dozier get some time at SS. It would confuse fans, if not tick them off, but it's necessary. I think it's much more probable that Rosario makes it than Santana, as much as I like both. So they have to try moving him back. Either way, he'll have one job in the off-season...

      Anyone know about Dozier's eligibility for Arizona Fall League? Could be an option...
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      Realistically speaking every single starter on our currently terrible team could also theoretically be a starter on a World Series winning team if the roster supports them. That doesn't mean they're a player you should target as being a piece that you build around when shooting for the World Series. That's basically my point with Florimon. Is he good enough to play for a top team? Sure. Is he good enough that you don't think you could improve over him somehow? Probably not. In the end tying that notion to the World Series is probably distracting away from the real point, and it's that you should be looking to upgrade the position if you can.

      But as I said, he's good enough for now. And he's still fairly young, maybe his bat keeps improving. If he plays gold glove defense and raises his OBP and OPS a little more, yeah, he's probably a keeper. I'm skeptical he's got much more upside than what we're seeing right now, but as random fan #45213 on random fan site #126, my opinion probably doesn't count for a whole awful lot.

      One thing I'll add. It really feels like our team this year is horrible at hitting homeruns with men on base, it seems like we have a ton of solo home runs. Florimon seems like the exception to that for whatever reason. I haven't looked into it at all to verify if that impression is correct, but it sure feels like the case to me. Not sure that's really anything of note, but if nothing else at least he can pop the ball over the fence, and that has some value in and of itself, especially when you're getting top notch defense. The playoffs are a whole different beast than the regular season, and having a low average hitter with pop sometimes feels like a better choice than a higher average/low slugging option just for that potential game-changing moment. So put that down as another positive for Florimon.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      If you are comparing shortstops from other eras, it is probably best to use OPS+ in looking at their hitting. Gagne (one of my top 5 all-time favorites) was a lifetime 83 OPS+, peaking in the low 90s. Florimon is at 73 this year, including a truly brutal month of June. I like that Florimon has had probably more than his share of key hits and that he has both some base-stealiing speed and home run power. The OBP and RH hitting splits need to be better, but he's certainly earned at least part of next season to show improvement.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Commenting whether someone is good enough to be on a World Series team is fine. However, this club is far from that. Shortstop and second base are currently not big enough holes that they will prevent the team from improving as starting pitching has been for the last two years. There isn't a position (except probably for catcher and bullpen) that can't and wouldn't figure to be improved if the club is going to contend or at least challenge .500.
    1. DJL44's Avatar
      DJL44 -
      Imagine how bad the Twins' no-strikeout pitching staff would look without Dozier, Florimon, Mauer and Hicks up the middle.
    1. Beezer07's Avatar
      Beezer07 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
      Imagine how bad the Twins' no-strikeout pitching staff would look without Dozier, Florimon, Mauer and Hicks up the middle.
      Not so sure Mauer helps with the up-the-middle defense on a pitching staff that doesn't strike anyone out.
    1. Jham's Avatar
      Jham -
      I've liked Florimon quite a bit. I went to a Deduno start last year, and Florimon had a couple big hits, an opposite field triple to the gap, and several stellar defensive plays. He basically carried us to victory that night. Thusly, I was impressed that a player who had such a reputation as a punching Judy looked so promising at the plate.

      Florimon strikes out too much because he swings with conviction and struggles batting right handed, but he is intelligent, and plays with confidence. He doesn't give away at bats by weakly reaching for low and away in 2-1 count like Punto or Adam Everett did. Most importantly, Florimon seems to be improving and actually shows some fire and leadership. Vote for Pedro.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      He's been better on both O and D than I thought. But man, saying that other bad hitters have been on WS teams does not mean you should assume a similar player can be on another WS team, or that you should not try to be better at the position. But, I think SS is not the "worst position on the team" like I thought it would be this year. That's LF.....or DH
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      The reason Florimon has been a pleasant surprise is that there were no expectations that he'd be any good. Accounting for defense and offense, he's been average. That means there will be some demand for him if the Twins can find a good replacement, but not a ton.

      BTW, Andrus is having a worse year than Florimon. He has a name, and right now that's it. I'd stay away from that deal personally.

      As for the world series comments, ideally, you want all of your guys to be above average. If Florimon can improve with the bat, then yes, I'd say he's a guy who could be on a series team. If not, yes, a series team can get by with a guy like Forimon, but it narrows the room for error for the rest of the team. Given that above average hitting SS are hard to find, I'd much rather the Twins have targed an above average offensive SS who can play average or better defense. Those are hard to find though.
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