• Offensively, Twins Remain Uneven

    "We have holes. And some of it is pitching, and some of it is not. There are other areas we need to address."
    - Minnesota Twins GM Terry Ryan as reported by Phil Mackey


    If you squint hard enough, you can see a very tiny Tsuyoshi Nishioka smack dab in the middle.The Twins rotation currently ranks 29th in the majors in ERA and 28th in innings pitched. But Ryan is right – they aren’t the only sore spot that will need to be addressed this offseason.

    The decision to promote and play Tsuyoshi Nishioka at second base highlights one such area. The Twins rank 29th in the majors in OPS(On Base Plus Slugging) from that position. Even if their best option, Jamey Carroll, had played there the entire season, his OPS would only rank 25th. Similarly, the shortstop position ranks 27th overall.

    The Twins are likely to use the rest of the year to further evaluate this offseason’s priorities. They might start be looking at where each position ranks offensively versus the rest of the league:


    OPS MLB Rank
    Left Field 938 2
    Catcher 822 5
    Designated Hitter 845 8
    Third Base 765 11
    Center Field 718 17
    First Base 749 19
    Right Field 692 25
    Shortstop 575 27
    Second Base 571 29

    2B – Let’s start with the worst and get more optimistic. Most of the damage has been done by Alexi Casilla whose overall OPS is 580, which is one hundred points below his OPS last year and 50 points below his career OPS. He’ll likely get better, if he hasn’t already played himself out of the picture. (Again.)

    SS – Either you believe Brian Dozier will get better or you don’t. I think he will. He certainly needs to.

    RF – Even if Ben Revere had all the at-bats here, his 738 OPS would only rank 22nd. However, according to Ultimate Zone Rating, he has also saved another 10 runs with his glove. Using WAR, which tries to include defensive value, he ranks 12th overall.

    1B – Parmelee (667 OPS) and Mauer (752 OPS) are responsible for about 40% of the at-bats here.

    CF – The Twins have only given 15 at-bats to players other than Revere and Denard Span in center field. Those players have gone 0 for 15, which drags down the number about 20 points.

    3B – Imagine where the Twins would rank if Danny Valencia and his 522 OPS hadn’t eaten up about 1/3 of the at-bats this season.

    DH – The at-bats have been split four ways, but Ryan Doumit gets most of the credit. His OPS is 939 as a designated hitter, just 766 as a catcher.

    C – Not that the Twins two-headed catching monster isn’t working well. They only rank behind St. Louis (Yadier Molina), Milwaukee ( Jonathan LuCroy), San Francisco (Buster Posey) and Philadelphia (CHOOOOCH!)

    LF – Speaking of monsters, ladies and gentlemen, Josh Willingham, version 2012.

    Certainly, the Twins pitching has been an issue. But Ryan is correct to not overlook the uneven production from the lineup, too.
    This article was originally published in blog: Offensively, Twins Remain Uneven started by John Bonnes
    Comments 35 Comments
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      Where is the bar set? Compete for a central title, or field a team that is playoff caliber? Adding a couple mid level starters and an upgrade in MI may get you a chance in the Central but it won't make you a playoff quality team, imo. Without very good top of the rotation starters getting far in the playoffs is slim at best.
      Looking at next year should also include what we have this year and are these guys likely to repeat. Are Willy and Doumsie going to stay healthy and productive their track record says probably not. Will young guys like Reverie and Plouffie repeat in a soph. yr? Will M & M boys stay healthy? This team has been very heathy this year amoung the position players, that is not likely to repeat. All of the big bats have a history of injuries and all have been healthy, hold your breath because our depth is next to zero!
    1. crarko's Avatar
      crarko -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      Where is the bar set? Compete for a central title, or field a team that is playoff caliber? Adding a couple mid level starters and an upgrade in MI may get you a chance in the Central but it won't make you a playoff quality team, imo. Without very good top of the rotation starters getting far in the playoffs is slim at best.
      Looking at next year should also include what we have this year and are these guys likely to repeat. Are Willy and Doumsie going to stay healthy and productive their track record says probably not. Will young guys like Reverie and Plouffie repeat in a soph. yr? Will M & M boys stay healthy? This team has been very heathy this year amoung the position players, that is not likely to repeat. All of the big bats have a history of injuries and all have been healthy, hold your breath because our depth is next to zero!
      Since there's no chance then, cutting the payroll to like 60 million is a good thing then, right? Why waste good money on these stiffs.
    1. PopRiveter's Avatar
      PopRiveter -
      Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
      Completely valid criticism on the Bartlett and Hardy decisions, diehard.
      My trouble with that criticism is that he pointed to "Gardy's doghouse." Gardenhire has made it clear in interviews that he was disappointed to lose Bartlett. I wish I could recall the exact wording, but I remember him saying something like "I thought we finally had our long-term shortstop, but they traded him."
      And does anyone remember Gardenhire ever criticizing Hardy? All I remember is a lot of "He knows how to pick it," and "He makes all the plays," etc.
      It's been my impression that these were FO decisions that he didn't care for much.
    1. PopRiveter's Avatar
      PopRiveter -
      Found it! Lavelle E Neal wrote the article http://m.startribune.com/news/?id=141377903
      "When we lost Bartlett, that was the most frustrating thing for me," Gardenhire said. "I thought we had Bartlett where we wanted him. So when we made the trade with Bartlett, then I was frustrated. But it is what it is. I wanted Bartlett to stay here. I thought we had gotten him to the point where we wanted, so I was not on the Bartlett side of the trade."
    1. RickSchuette's Avatar
      RickSchuette -
      Excellent point on this. Gardy exhibits some of the same issues with young middle infielders that Tom Kelly had with catchers. He has never met one that he thinks is a bona fide major leaguer.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by PopRiveter View Post
      Found it! Lavelle E Neal wrote the article http://m.startribune.com/news/?id=141377903
      "When we lost Bartlett, that was the most frustrating thing for me," Gardenhire said. "I thought we had Bartlett where we wanted him. So when we made the trade with Bartlett, then I was frustrated. But it is what it is. I wanted Bartlett to stay here. I thought we had gotten him to the point where we wanted, so I was not on the Bartlett side of the trade."
      It is easy to make a statement like that now, in spring training of 2012 after Bartlett is an established regular, but in practice, when Bartlett played for this team, he was constantly in the dog house with Gardy, whether that was because he was made to spend more time in AAA to learn to be more vocal in the IF (while Juan Castro started for them) or getting benched after not being able to handle a grounder that no other SS in the league would have even been able to get to. Perhaps Gardy was overruled by teh front office, but there's little indication in his treatment of Bartlett while he was a Twin that this was the case.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      Where is the bar set? Compete for a central title, or field a team that is playoff caliber? Adding a couple mid level starters and an upgrade in MI may get you a chance in the Central but it won't make you a playoff quality team, imo. Without very good top of the rotation starters getting far in the playoffs is slim at best.
      Looking at next year should also include what we have this year and are these guys likely to repeat. Are Willy and Doumsie going to stay healthy and productive their track record says probably not. Will young guys like Reverie and Plouffie repeat in a soph. yr? Will M & M boys stay healthy? This team has been very heathy this year amoung the position players, that is not likely to repeat. All of the big bats have a history of injuries and all have been healthy, hold your breath because our depth is next to zero!
      Whether you like it or not, the team is going to need to take some baby steps to move forward. They have glaring weaknesses in their SP, but that isn't going to get fixed in one offseason. They need to figure out if Dozier can be a competent regular, and while he's shown some flashes of being a good player, there have been lumps too. I'm fine with being a competitor in 2013, especially since I would expect both Hendricks and Gibson to take some lumps next year. I don't think the Twins should be satisfied with that though.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      OPS does break down a bit at the extremes, but in general it's pretty effective.

      GPA? Why bother? If you're not going to use OPS, you may as well go straight to a linear weights measure like wOBA that includes base running.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      Quote Originally Posted by crarko View Post
      Since there's no chance then, cutting the payroll to like 60 million is a good thing then, right? Why waste good money on these stiffs.
      "no chance" are your words. Who did I call a stiff?
      Building a playoff type team takes steps and part of that is being prepared for injuries and failures. The last few years this team hasn't really had much of a backup plan. Lack of depth is not unique to the Twins it just seems like it always or nearly always comes into play with us.
      My question was are we just trying to compete or is there a longer term plan in place to be a quality playoff type team? (I can't see us ever buying a team like some do with a 120m or larger payroll) If you just want to compete you keep all these guys and try to find a few starters to fill out the rotation. If you are looking at building a strong playoff team it probably means trading some of these guys and building up the talent level in the minors for a run a few years down the road.
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      2B and RF are the big ?.....Can Parmalee learn to play well enough in RF to earn a full time spot and thus hold down a everyday spot in the lineup?? If Span is traded and Revere takes over CF he may get a shot especially if they keep Justin going into next season.
    1. SeanS7921's Avatar
      SeanS7921 -
      No Trevor Plouffe hasn't even been close to the level of Mauer's performance. Below average defense at 3rd base and a 330 OBP with a 259 Average doesn't translate into a better season than a player who leads the league in OBP and is in the top 5 in average with a war 3+ as opposed to Plouffe who has one around 2. Plouffe has struck out 57 times. That is 2 less than Mauer while having a 100 less at bats. It's not even close.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SeanS7921 View Post
      No Trevor Plouffe hasn't even been close to the level of Mauer's performance. Below average defense at 3rd base and a 330 OBP with a 259 Average doesn't translate into a better season than a player who leads the league in OBP and is in the top 5 in average with a war 3+ as opposed to Plouffe who has one around 2. Plouffe has struck out 57 times. That is 2 less than Mauer while having a 100 less at bats. It's not even close.
      Speaking of close-

      Qualifers in AL/OBP

      1) Ortiz .414
      2) Mauer: .413
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SeanS7921 View Post
      No Trevor Plouffe hasn't even been close to the level of Mauer's performance. Below average defense at 3rd base and a 330 OBP with a 259 Average doesn't translate into a better season than a player who leads the league in OBP and is in the top 5 in average with a war 3+ as opposed to Plouffe who has one around 2. Plouffe has struck out 57 times. That is 2 less than Mauer while having a 100 less at bats. It's not even close.
      Mauer's WAR is goosed as a part-time C.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Mauer's WAR is goosed as a part-time C.
      And part time DH and part time 1B. Those would seem to average out to be perhaps only slightly above a 3B in the "value added by position" category.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by SeanS7921 View Post
      No Trevor Plouffe hasn't even been close to the level of Mauer's performance. Below average defense at 3rd base and a 330 OBP with a 259 Average doesn't translate into a better season than a player who leads the league in OBP and is in the top 5 in average with a war 3+ as opposed to Plouffe who has one around 2. Plouffe has struck out 57 times. That is 2 less than Mauer while having a 100 less at bats. It's not even close.
      WAR with respect to defensive position aside, I agree with this perspective. I don't think it's accurate to say that Plouffe has had a better season. From mid-May until his injury? Yup. (Again, not because Mauer is doing badly; because Plouffe beginning about May 15 was otherworldly.) But that's only about a month, and Mauer has been back to his old rock-solid, consistent self.

      Perhaps we're splitting hairs.
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