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Twins Rubes

The Book on Jamey Carroll

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Original post from Twins Rubes.

Newcomers are always a little intriguing around this time of the year - especially after a disappointing season like 2011. This year Josh Willingham, Joel Zumaya, Ryan Doumit, Jason Marquis, and Jamey Carroll bear the newcomer flag into Target Field. With the shortstop position being such a desperate need after the fail that was Tsuyoshi Nishioka last season, Carroll is the one the Twins chose to jump out of the free agent pile and save the day this spring. Not knowing a whole lot about our new shortstop, I decided to dive in and see who exactly we are getting to shore up the 2012 middle infield.

First of all, Jamey Carroll is old. He was probably entering his sophomore or junior year in high school by the time I learned how to tie my own shoes! Carroll was drafted by the Montreal Expos (remember them?) in the 14th round of the 1996 draft. He spent nearly 7 full seasons in the minors before finally getting his shot with the Expos in 2002 at the age of 28. He just turned 38, actually, last Saturday, and will be starting his 10th full season in the big leagues when the season opener comes around this April.

Carroll is a career .278 hitter, and has hit under .250 only one season in his career. Back in 2007, he hit a Nishi-like .225 in 227 at bats with the Rockies. In 2010 and 2011 with the Dodgers he hit a solid .291 and .290 respectively playing nearly every day. Carroll has only hit 12 home runs in his entire career, so the bullpen catchers need not worry about flying objects at Target Field. The one batting statistic that really stands out is his on-base percentage, which has consistently been in the .350 range his entire career. In addition to a solid OBP, Carroll walks nearly as much as he strikes out. In the past two seasons with the Dodgers, Carroll has struck out only once every 7.57 plate appearances - ideal for that #2 hitter the Twins so desperately need. For getting on base 180 times in 2011, however, Carroll only scored 52 runs. This is a bit concerning, but I don't know whether this is because of a lack of speed, or lack of clutch hitting behind him in the Dodger order. Knowing Matt Kemp put up MVP numbers last year and Carroll's age, I would tend to lean more toward a lack of baserunning ability.

In the field Carroll has spent more than half of his time at 2B in his career, but in the 2 years with the Dodgers he played a majority at SS. In 135 games at SS in the last 2 years, Carroll made only 8 errors (4 throwing and 4 fielding) for a fielding percentage of .984; however, he also sported at RngR rating of -2.9 at SS during those seasons as well. I would expect his range to only continue declining at his age (sorry to keep picking on his age). Overall I would expect him to be solid, consistent, but not spectacular in the field.

In fact solid, consistent, but not spectacular, and not flashy is what I expect from Carroll all around this season. Assuming no injuries, the shortstop position will be solidified with the acquisition of Jamey Carroll. As much as I would like to see Nishioka get a chance to play regularly and redeem himself from his performance last season, this was a good move by the Twins, and maybe Carroll can instill some consistency into Alexi Casilla's game over at 2B too.


  1. PeanutsFromHeaven's Avatar
    Nice summary of an under analyzed move by the Twins this year; I worry sometimes that his solid OBP is more of a result of hitting ahead of the pitcher's spot in the NL (which may partially account for his meager runs scored total last year--especially if the Dodgers pitchers/lead off hitters struggled--they were the Dodgers so...).

    For statistically inept bloggers like me, my biggest hope is that Carroll's offers plenty of "old guy" joke material (especially now that Thome's gone). For example: Jamey Carroll's so old that he has a MedicAlert bracelet for the times when he dives for a ground ball and can't get up."
  2. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    Very good post. I really liked this move from the beginning. He also provides depth at two other positions besides SS, which is nice. I am hoping that his slugging goes up a little bit with the Target Field gaps.
  3. John Bonnes's Avatar
    As you look at the Twins offseason, this is the one place they clearly improved. Nice to see
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