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Thread: Will this team be the worst of the last four years?

  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    I will take the under on a few of these from ZIPS:

    Vance Worley 4.93 ERA, 46 IP. For some reason I don't think he will get that many innings with the Twins this year.

    Phil Hughes, they basically have his career ERA in there (4.50). He has a 4.24 ERA out of the new Yankee stadium.

    Not a huge KC fan, but I will go under 5.11. That is 60 basis points above his career.

    Gibson 5.04. I will go under that.

    Meyer is not even on the list and I expect 80-100 IP out of him in the 3's or very low 4's.

    BTW, can someone explain to me how WAR can differ so drastically from ERA? My understanding is that wins and losses were determined by runs scored versus runs allowed. Detroit has an ERA of 3.72 with 18.8 WAR. Rays have a 3.70 ERA with 12.3 WAR.
    Well-stated. For whatever mathematical set of forumulae that is claimed to be used in ZIPS, it still comes across as pretty lazy work, generally biased towards expectation of the worst possible outcomes.

    In a separate ZIPS rating of rookies, Meyer is projected to have the numbers I used in my scenario, 110 Innings @ 4.20 ERA.

  2. #202
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    BTW, can someone explain to me how WAR can differ so drastically from ERA? My understanding is that wins and losses were determined by runs scored versus runs allowed. Detroit has an ERA of 3.72 with 18.8 WAR. Rays have a 3.70 ERA with 12.3 WAR.
    Without digging into it, I'd assume that has to do with defense, ie. the Rays are good at it (and therefore less credit goes to the pitching staff) and the Tigers are not-so-good at it (more credit goes to the pitching staff).

    And then there are ballpark adjustment considerations.

  3. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    FWIW, I'd note that I wouldn't expect to see Meyer pitching in Minnesota this season (except September). He is not on the 40 man roster and will only get placed on it if several guys "in front" of him fail (Johnson, Darnell, etc).

    That said, I'll echo what Jokin and others are saying. I have a tough time believing this team will be worse (baring a nastly bite from the injury bug) than the last 3 seasons. I get that there are unknowns, but there's a lot better depth to deal with them this season. I don't see the offense being great, but again I have a tough time believing that there won't be guys who improve.. and for various reasons. I think a win total in the 70s is very realistic, and a few breaks could see that creep up to the .500 mark. Not expecting .500, but I think it's a far more realistic bet this year than last.
    Roster spots open for sure when Willingham and Correia are traded. While I can envision the "consistency" argument, ala Gibson, being used to keep Meyer down, justifiably through the arb date, Gardy has already publicly mentioned that he can envision Meyer in a relief role if a starting spot hasn't opened up yet. But yes, guys like Johnson and Diamond (if he's still here) would be the first call-ups before the arb date if there is an injury. The main thing is, I hope the Twins have learned from the recent past, and don't waste most of his innings in AAA if he's performing like he did in 2013 in AA and the AFL. And pitching in September seems pretty problematic if indeed he's on an innings limitation, which is why I see him getting called up much sooner rather than later.
    Last edited by jokin; 03-25-2014 at 03:12 PM.

  4. #204
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    BTW, can someone explain to me how WAR can differ so drastically from ERA? My understanding is that wins and losses were determined by runs scored versus runs allowed. Detroit has an ERA of 3.72 with 18.8 WAR. Rays have a 3.70 ERA with 12.3 WAR.
    One partial explanation is that it seems WAR values, for example, two starters who each throw 65 innings at a given level less than it values a single starter who pitches 130 (Drew Smyly) at the same level. My guess is Smyly gets credit simply for using up only one roster spot.

    In other words, and this an extreme example but maybe still valid, would you rather manage a rotation of five 200 inning starters or ten 100 inning starters of the same average ERA? My guess is that WAR probably favors the former as well and it shows in the projections.

    It any case it appears that WAR doesn't credit many pitchers who throw fewer than 100 innings with more than a few tenths of a point above replacement unless those innings are in mostly high-leverage situations. The projections sees the Rays getting well over 200 rotation innings from 6 pitchers fitting that description. The Tigers are projected to use only 3 of them and rely on them for fewer than half as many innings.

    Another possibility is that WAR thinks the Tigers higher K rate and the (I would guess) Rays superior defense and more pitcher-friendly park means that the Tigers staff will achieve that ERA with less help from their defense and home park and is therefore more valuable.
    Last edited by LaBombo; 03-25-2014 at 03:52 PM.

  5. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    Just for the Twins? Are they only down on the Twins, or everyone? Do other systems predict them to be anywhere near the median?
    I've only looked at individual players, and in most instances when the projections are laid side-by-side, ZIPS is the outlier to the downside, sometimes really out there. (Remember the low-ball Mauer projection by ZIPS, even though they knew he would be at First Base? The Phil Hughes out-of-Yankee Stadium situation also stands out as a pretty glaring omission of taking proper account of the facts on the table.)

  6. #206
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    If you're asking about Fangraphs WAR, I believe they use what they think should have happened (FIP) rather than what did happen (ERA) for pitchers.
    Every post is not every other post. - a wise man

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    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    At least by ERA, league average last year was 4.15. It's actually better than jokin's too-rosy estimate.

    That would require dramatic 2013 Royals style improvement.

    When it all shakes down, Baltimore's 2013 staff isn't a bad target. No standout aces or special durability guys among the group, just a decent collection of pitchers, a few injuries, 4.57 SP ERA (albeit in a hitter's park?) was 12th in the league, 58 more IP and 40 fewer R than Twins SP.

    Of course, the reason Baltimore was a contender was their offense ranking #4 in runs scored (and #1 in HR). Still, such a staff gives us potential to be more of a run-of-the-mill bad team, rather than a truly awful squad. Baby steps!
    By your own admission, the Royals got career years from a couple of their guys. My estimate doesn't take that into account- is there a 2012 Scott Diamond year in one or two of our guys this year? (And why didn't we sign Bruce Chen when we had the chance to do so? )

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    So Zips is negative for all the teams....meaning they could/are in the right order.....or are you trying argue that Zips has a bias agains the Twins. To me, the absolutes aren't the key....they key is, are they league median, or close to the worst. That's the question. I can't see how they can be projected to be league median. If they are, it proves money can buy wins, btw.
    Lighten up Francis....

  9. #209
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    Do people expect other teams to be worse, even though they gradutated guys from the minors, traded for players, and signed free agents? Or, could some of those teams also have gotten better in the off season? Are the Twins so far behind, does it matter if they are better, or does it matter if they are A LOT better?
    Lighten up Francis....

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    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    Do people expect other teams to be worse, even though they gradutated guys from the minors, traded for players, and signed free agents? Or, could some of those teams also have gotten better in the off season? Are the Twins so far behind, does it matter if they are better, or does it matter if they are A LOT better?
    Any amount of improvement matters if it comes from players who will still be contributing when the team returns to contention.

    If it comes from bouncebacks by Willi, Kubel, and the like, it will be almost completely meaningless to me unless it leads to a flip for a prospect of some stripe. Should sell more tickets though. But how will they spend the revenue? Oops. Threadjack.
    Last edited by LaBombo; 03-25-2014 at 07:26 PM.

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  12. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    So Zips is negative for all the teams....meaning they could/are in the right order.....or are you trying argue that Zips has a bias agains the Twins. To me, the absolutes aren't the key....they key is, are they league median, or close to the worst. That's the question. I can't see how they can be projected to be league median. If they are, it proves money can buy wins, btw.
    No bias against the Twins, just an overall tendency by ZIPS to lowball projections. And since they have one of the worst rosters in baseball, coming off of a lousy year, the lowball estimates kind of create a cascading effect? You're right Mike, they are close to the worst team overall in baseball, but there were significant moves made to the rotation, significant dollars added to SP relative to the overall payroll, and potentially positively consequential developments that ZIPS failed to account for both with a guy like Hughes, and from a couple returnees and rookies who offer reasonably possible significant improvements over last year, rather than the ZIPS assumption that EVERYBODY will be the same or even worse than last year or even their career averages, ie, Mike Pelfrey projected at last year's numbers, and only 118 innings pitched. Really?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
    Stumble further ? They improved by 5 wins in 2013, so is that like falling up the stairs? Or do you mean some of the lesser projections for their 2014 based on offseason moves.

    Wasn't referring to 2013 or any projections, more to a variety of the offseason moves, the injury bug that's struck and the idea that Castellanos has any business playing 3rd. Obviously, I don't expect the Twins to compete with the Tigers for the division title this year (would be thrilled to be proven wrong), but I think they've left the door open for a possibly competitive Cleveland and Kansas City much moreso than in years past.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    Do people expect other teams to be worse, even though they gradutated guys from the minors, traded for players, and signed free agents? Or, could some of those teams also have gotten better in the off season? Are the Twins so far behind, does it matter if they are better, or does it matter if they are A LOT better?
    Some teams will certainly be worse than last year. Some teams will certainly be better. For a variety of reasons, it looks like the Twins will be in the "better" category. Yes, it's possible that they're so far behind everyone that whatever improvement over last year they made will be lost behind the improved records of other teams.

    Though- "wins" aren't my only metric for a successful season (unless you're a starting pitcher. Then it's the only worthwhile thing to judge )-similar to others, I'd take another 66 wins if it's because Willingham, Kubel and Suzuki posted Buteraesque numbers and Correia was atrocious if Dozier, Pinto, Arcia, Hicks, Gibson and Meyer all had successful years that showed meaningful and lasting development.

    Regarding money buying wins, who is that directed towards? Is that even controversial? I've followed (and mostly lurked) this site from day 1. I can't say I've seen a single post stating that money CAN'T buy wins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Morris View Post
    Regarding money buying wins, who is that directed towards? Is that even controversial? I've followed (and mostly lurked) this site from day 1. I can't say I've seen a single post stating that money CAN'T buy wins.
    I do have it on good authority that money can't buy me love. Wins? That's anybody's guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Morris View Post
    Wasn't referring to 2013 or any projections, more to a variety of the offseason moves, the injury bug that's struck and the idea that Castellanos has any business playing 3rd. Obviously, I don't expect the Twins to compete with the Tigers for the division title this year (would be thrilled to be proven wrong), but I think they've left the door open for a possibly competitive Cleveland and Kansas City much moreso than in years past.
    My bad, but in my defense, after 3 years of conspiracy theories that a relatively young team with arguably the best rotation in baseball and a strong offense is 'ripe for a fall', my patience has worn thin. Perennially underrating the Tigers is nowhere the tradition that the downgrading of the Packers is for Vikings fans, but it's certainly gained some ground the last few years.

  18. #215
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    By your own admission, the Royals got career years from a couple of their guys. My estimate doesn't take that into account- is there a 2012 Scott Diamond year in one or two of our guys this year? (And why didn't we sign Bruce Chen when we had the chance to do so? )
    Perhaps you missed my point about the Royals. They had a massive turnaround, but they needed two super durable ace level performances, plus another 200 IP, 100 ERA+ guy to do it because A) almost every pitching staff suffers some injuries, and B) almost every pitching staff will have some underperformers in any given year.

    Your forecast of the Twins top 7 to all be healthy and have zero underperformers is highly unlikely, even if none of the individual forecasts seem all that crazy. That's just not a reliable way to predict things in aggregate. (It might be part of the reason for your dissatisfaction with ZiPS too -- quantitative mean projection systems mostly have to work in the aggregate, young guys improve and older guys decline -- there's just no way you can quantitatively predict certain mean results, like a non-elite prospect with 70 IP above A-ball tearing up MLB in his first go-around.)

    Remember last spring? A common refrain around here was

    - Worley and Correia can repeat their modest 2012 numbers
    - Pelfrey can rebound to his modest career averages
    - Deduno can be an effective fill-in
    - Gibson comes up midseason and pitches effectively, maybe even Meyer or May by season's end
    - Diamond can even regress a bit from 2012, and we will still have a nice deep average starting rotation! And anything we get from Hendriks, Hernandez, or Walters will just be a bonus!

    See what I did there? All of those things seem perfectly reasonable, and in fact some of those things actually happened (or even exceeded those marks), yet the staff as a whole still struggled.

    Now, we're probably not that far apart. I certainly believe the 2014 staff will be better than 2013. Near league average, +8 wins from SP alone is a best-case scenario, however. Part of the reason Hughes and Pelfrey came so cheap (and Nolasco signed early, and Correia signed cheap last year) is the inconsistency and volatility of their performances. If signing a handful of guys like this gave you a mean projection of a league average staff, the Twins would have "fixed" the staff long ago, and in fact no one would ever have staffs as bad as the Twins recent ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    BTW, can someone explain to me how WAR can differ so drastically from ERA? My understanding is that wins and losses were determined by runs scored versus runs allowed. Detroit has an ERA of 3.72 with 18.8 WAR. Rays have a 3.70 ERA with 12.3 WAR.
    Detroit's ballpark is rated as hitter friendly right now, and Tampa's is just the opposite. So it's harder (and more valuable) for Detroit pitchers to achieve the same ERA. I'd guess that's a big factor.

    Tampa is also generally regarded as having better defenders too, which makes it easier for their pitchers to achieve a lower ERA.

    See here for other factors:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/ab...ed_pitch.shtml

    And as Chief mentioned, FanGraphs uses FIP instead of ERA for their WAR calculations (fWAR). Detroit's pitchers had better peripherals last year, so that's probably another factor in their fWAR favor.

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    Senior Member All-Star Bark's Lounge's Avatar
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    I'll make this short hopefully, and this is not meant to be a "Thread Jack".

    I am pretty sure Nick Castellanos is thought to have a super great chance of sticking at 3B. The only reason he was moved to the OF last year was because he was blocked by Cabrera.

    Castellanos not only improves Detroit's defense a strong amount... besides Cabrera, he is their franchise offensive player of the future and probably now.

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  23. #218
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    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    Remember last spring? A common refrain around here was

    - Worley and Correia can repeat their modest 2012 numbers
    - Pelfrey can rebound to his modest career averages
    - Deduno can be an effective fill-in
    - Gibson comes up midseason and pitches effectively, maybe even Meyer or May by season's end
    - Diamond can even regress a bit from 2012, and we will still have a nice deep average starting rotation! And anything we get from Hendriks, Hernandez, or Walters will just be a bonus!

    See what I did there? All of those things seem perfectly reasonable, and in fact some of those things actually happened (or even exceeded those marks), yet the staff as a whole still struggled.

    Now, we're probably not that far apart. I certainly believe the 2014 staff will be better than 2013. Near league average, +8 wins from SP alone is a best-case scenario, however. Part of the reason Hughes and Pelfrey came so cheap (and Nolasco signed early, and Correia signed cheap last year) is the inconsistency and volatility of their performances. If signing a handful of guys like this gave you a mean projection of a league average staff, the Twins would have "fixed" the staff long ago, and in fact no one would ever have staffs as bad as the Twins recent ones.
    While I appreciate the point you're trying to make, I'm struggling to find a connection between Worley/Correia/Pelfrey and Hughes/Nolasco beyond "Starters who the Twins acquired over an offseason and people I disagree with were optimistic about".

    Pitchers are volatile and inconsistent. Nearly all of them. "Inconsistent" shouldn't be taken as synonymous with "bad", however, nor should one assume that "inconsistent twins pitching acquisition A" and "inconsistent twins pitching acquisition B" are comparable based on the words before the capital letter.

    If there's something I've missed that suggests Nolasco has a propensity to be Correia/Pelfrey/Worley redux or anything else that makes the preceding (or following) statement unfair, I apologize-but as it stands, I can't find the validity in any iteration of that comparison I've seen in the thread.

    Regarding ZIPs/Mean Projection generally, fans have to tread a fine line. Using additional information to explain why a projection you dislike is too high/low is very tempting but done at too large a scale, it tends to miss the basic truth that ballplayers and their statistics generally behave in a certain manner. On the other hand, players out-or-under perform their projections every year. ZIPs isn't aware that this specific catcher who has reached the age where stats and skills tend to drop off is no longer catching and has shown abnormal ability at the plate throughout his career, or that this specific pitcher is an extreme flyball pitcher with a tendency to get hammered and is going from a home park with one of baseball's shortest rightfield porches to one of baseball's tallest right field wall.

    PS Barks-I'd like to hear your insight on the subject since it goes against pretty much everything I've read or watched, but we can take it to PM

  24. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    Remember last spring? A common refrain around here was

    - Worley and Correia can repeat their modest 2012 numbers
    - Pelfrey can rebound to his modest career averages
    - Deduno can be an effective fill-in
    - Gibson comes up midseason and pitches effectively, maybe even Meyer or May by season's end
    - Diamond can even regress a bit from 2012, and we will still have a nice deep average starting rotation! And anything we get from Hendriks, Hernandez, or Walters will just be a bonus!

    See what I did there? All of those things seem perfectly reasonable, and in fact some of those things actually happened (or even exceeded those marks), yet the staff as a whole still struggled.

    Now, we're probably not that far apart. I certainly believe the 2014 staff will be better than 2013. Near league average, +8 wins from SP alone is a best-case scenario, however. Part of the reason Hughes and Pelfrey came so cheap (and Nolasco signed early, and Correia signed cheap last year) is the inconsistency and volatility of their performances. If signing a handful of guys like this gave you a mean projection of a league average staff, the Twins would have "fixed" the staff long ago, and in fact no one would ever have staffs as bad as the Twins recent ones.
    How common was that "common refrain", really? "perfecly reasonable"? Certainly not from me and the large chorus of doubters who expressed their discontent in the previous offseason and ST. Consider this counter-perfectly-reasonable-evidence, presented a year ago:

    -Most of us were actually down on the Correia signing- he was the upside surprise to most everyone- the "pretty good pitcher" that Ryan had promised he'd deliver and then he produced pretty predictable #5-level SP numbers, whoopee!
    -Most of us questioned what Worley brought to the Twins, what with his injury, down year in 2012 vs 2011 and showing up to ST overweight.
    -Most of us were aware that Deduno was a "found money" journeyman pitcher only, certainly not one to count on over a season, as he'd never done it before, and likely never will.
    -Most of us wanted Gibson, on an innings limitation and a speculative contributor as a rookie and coming off of TJ, called up right after his May arb date, not so much expecting he'd rock the baseball world, but that that is what a rebuilding team with woeful pitching depth should be doing- getting their former #1 pick and next great hope, Gibson, some major league experience once he proved healthy.
    -Most of us expected regression from Diamond, but I didn't hear anyone say we had a "nice, deep starting rotation!" to pick up his regresson slack. Unless they were drunk when they wrote it.

    -Rather than suggesting that Pelfrey could put up past numbers with the Mets, most of us questioned how the Twins could possibly have considered Pelfrey for the opening day rotation, attempting to do something completely unprecedented. If they had signed another discount arm like Bruce Chen, they could have stashed Pelfrey first in Ext. ST and then some minor league time to properly rehab instead of getting free service time from the Twins- It was a bizarre notion, at best, Pelfrey himself has admitted that it was a huge mistake to come back so soon- but he was quite effective for the first 2 months after his demotion in June.
    - Virtually all of us questioned how guys like Hernandez, Walters, Hendriks, Blackburn, DeVries, et al, were actually considered as legitimate SP depth- and the Twins passed on waiver wire guys for free- like Todd Redmond.

    As you said, we're not that far apart on the belated upgrade in 2014, but the team's rotation is far removed from last year's Rotation flim-flam, it's not realistic to compare the expectations in ST in each year as being similar. Obviously, my projection of improving to slightly below league average was for demonstration purposes only- something to shoot for, projecting what each player could, only slightly optimistically, achieve when staying healthy and not having a complete performance collapse like many of the arms did in 2013. I would argue that based on the durable track records for some, and others being in the normally much-better and healthier 2nd year after TJ, that this group of arms is much less likely to sustain an instance of utter collapse- but it certainly could happen. Only now, they have at least 2 arms in Deduno and Meyer (and possibly Diamond) at the ready, who project far better than last year's alleged "depth", to be able to pick up the slack for someone that goes on the DL for 15-60 days. And again, talking about the luck factor finally favoring the Twins again, it is certainly within the realm of possibility given the overall upgrade in quality, that the Twins get a career-year performance like Diamond's in 2012, from someone on this staff- which could also bolster the overall numbers should one of the others perform below expectations.

    And finally, the #7-10 guys in the depth chart for the first time in my memory, don't appear to be holding on to their baseball dreams by a frayed thread.
    Last edited by jokin; 03-26-2014 at 01:05 AM.

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    Please ban me! All-Star stringer bell's Avatar
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    The floor of the pitching staff has been raised considerably. The Twins will start four veterans, all with more than six years of service and long track records before they start a "wildcard" (Gibson). Their ceilings wouldn't project to be very high, but they have all been mostly serviceable pitchers in their careers. The bullpen is pretty good and (especially if Thielbar is sent out) reinforcements from Rochester may be better than the guys pitching in the middle. The lineup isn't good and the players haven't impressed in ST. The success of the offense will depend on how many times Joe Mauer trots around the bases after a home run IMHO. What? No! What I am saying is that because of having so many low OBP guys on their team and little speed, the Twins aren't going to produce many runs by bunching hits and walks or moving guys around with productive outs. Their key to scoring runs will be hitting homers, specifically from the middle of the order. If Mauer gets on at a 40% clip, and Hammer, Kubel or Arcia, and Plouffe hit a lot of homers (100 between the four?) maybe the Twins can score a few more runs and Joe will be jogging around the bases as a runner on board when those guys connect. It's kind of a long shot plan, but so would having the OBPs jump for most or all of Suzuki, Dozier, Hicks, and Florimon. I hope by midseason that Hammer is traded, Suzuki is demoted or traded, and that new DH Kennys Vargas has already made his considerable presence felt. We won't see Sano this year, and Buxton is a long shot, but there are other guys in the system with a chance to be good big leaguers.

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