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Thread: 39 Games in - Reason for optimism

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer amjgt's Avatar
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    39 Games in - Reason for optimism

    I think most of agree that this team passes the eye test in terms of improving from last year, but I had remembered reading an insider article (Buster Olney - http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/bust...ly-al-schedule) this winter that talked about what a brutal early schedule the Twins had.

    ------------
    1. Minnesota Twins

    Games against teams with records of .500 or better in 2013: 31 of their first 40.
    Home/road: 18 of their first 40 are at home.

    Notable: My son plays a video game called "Injustice," and I think that lineup of villains is easier than what the Twins will face early in the year. They start out the season with six road games, and then beginning April 18, the Twins will play 25 straight games -- count 'em, 25 -- against teams that either made the playoffs or contended, including the Red Sox, Tigers, Rays and Dodgers. The Twins' new pitching will be tested early.


    --------------

    Not only are we hovering around 500, but that feels like about where we belong, and we've had a brutal schedule the first quarter of the season

  2. #2
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Kirby_Waved_At_Me's Avatar
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    With the exception of the Dodgers, the Twins won a series against all of those teams - it is a reason to be optimistic, for sure. The blurb left out Oakland as well - they took the Twins to task early.
    Cleveland seems to be better this year, too - I'll be interested to see how the Central division shakes out as the season goes along. If the Twins can stick with the pack for another month or two, that would be exciting.

  3. #3
    Please ban me! All-Star stringer bell's Avatar
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    I don't think the Indians will be better. They lost both Ubaldo and Kazmir, who had fine years, and are trying to fill from within. Cabrera seems to be declining at an early age and Bourn was a foolish signing (at least for the future). Their defense is pretty suspect and they are counting on a lot of guys to be better late in their careers.

    The Indians played the Twins when their roster issues were at critical mass. I like the Twins chances in future games with the Tribe.

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    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    I agree that the Indians are almost certainly a worse team than they were in 2013.

    On the other hand, I don't think the Bourn signing was terrible. They got him for a reasonable per year rate and much less than the market originally suggested he would be paid. I'm one of the most vocal people on this forum about hating long-term contracts to speed guys in their late 20s but Bourn's price is reasonable. I wouldn't have signed the contract but for 4/$48m, it's not going to be a disaster.

    The one big problem I see with it is that it's typically back-loaded. He only made $7m last season and will make up to $14m in future seasons for production that probably won't warrant that money.

    Cleveland, as an organization, just doesn't have the wiggle room to swallow $14m on a speed guy with no legs in 2016. And it's very possible that ends up being the description of Bourn in just a year or two.

    Just not a lot of upside there and, as is typical with no discipline burners, lots and lots and lots of downside.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Kirby_Waved_At_Me's Avatar
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    Fair enough - my judgement of Cleveland is probably a bit clouded by the games against the Twins. Looking at BRef, it seems like they have cooled off a bit offensively (with the exception of a big game vs. Toronto). I don't think their pitching is terrible - they don't have any Pelfrey/Correia level holes in their rotation, though I think the Twins have a better staff overall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    I agree that the Indians are almost certainly a worse team than they were in 2013.

    Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
    I don't think the Indians will be better. They lost both Ubaldo and Kazmir, who had fine years, and are trying to fill from within.


    Cabrera seems to be declining at an early age and Bourn was a foolish signing (at least for the future). Their defense is pretty suspect and they are counting on a lot of guys to be better late in their careers.

    The Indians played the Twins when their roster issues were at critical mass. I like the Twins chances in future games with the Tribe.
    Going into the season, I was pretty doubtful on the Indians chances and the jury's still out on if they can sustain what they're doing, but I was short-sighted to sell Terry Francona short. For instance, Carlos Santana's bat is finally waking up. Unlike the Twins, the Tribe didn't take their CF/OF situation for granted and brought in Nyjer Morgan and David Murphy. Both have proven to be excellent signings- Murphy has an OPS+ of 127. Morgan has been playing well subbing for Bourn and acting as the 4th OF, he is now on the the DL, along with Kipnis and Giambi, assuming they all come back and hit around career norms, they will provide a huge shot in the arm for the Indians going forward.

    Regarding the pitching....though they lost Ubaldo and Kazimir, it appears that they thought that likelihood out quite well. The Indians currently rank 2nd in MLB Starting Pitching, behind only the Tigers, and 5th in MLB overall pitching. http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.asp...ter=&players=0

    They have a big 3 core starting group that the Twins would kill for: Masterson, Kluber, McAllister. And the Indians filling from within?... They had/have at least 5 capable SPs in AAA- Josh Tomlin has been called up and as we saw, has been dominant, and they have 4 more guys in Columbus that could be very impactful: Bauer, House, Davies, Banwart.

    That kind of starting pitching depth makes up for a lot of warts elsewhere, I no longer am dismissing their chances to hang around.
    Last edited by jokin; 05-16-2014 at 12:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby_Waved_At_Me View Post
    Fair enough - my judgement of Cleveland is probably a bit clouded by the games against the Twins. Looking at BRef, it seems like they have cooled off a bit offensively (with the exception of a big game vs. Toronto). I don't think their pitching is terrible - they don't have any Pelfrey/Correia level holes in their rotation, though I think the Twins have a better staff overall.
    See my post above, the current stats don't bear out the conclusion that the Twins have the better overall staff....perhaps that will change over the course of the season, but their SP current top 4 pitchers, plus all of their AAA depth suggests differently. In addition, the Tribe's relief core has a better xFIP by 0.35, and have a K% of 24%, vs. the Twins 17.9%.

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    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Oh, I don't think the Indians are a bad team by any stretch of the imagination, I just think they're markedly worse than their 2013 record of 92-70. I don't see that happening again.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Kirby_Waved_At_Me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    See my post above, the current stats don't bear out the conclusion that the Twins have the better overall staff....perhaps that will change over the course of the season, but their SP current top 4 pitchers, plus all of their AAA depth suggests differently. In addition, the Tribe's relief core has a better xFIP by 0.35, and have a K% of 24%, vs. the Twins 17.9%.
    Yes- it will be interesting to see how it plays out over the course of a full season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby_Waved_At_Me View Post
    Yes- it will be interesting to see how it plays out over the course of a full season.
    Nolasco is historically a very effective summertime pitcher, it's a good bet that his numbers will improve significantly. Hughes is performing precisely how we could have expected and hoped for out of Yankee Stadium and NY. Gibson is going to show flashes of excellence as he continues to learn on the job, my hope is that he can finish just below league average, but he'll probably be a little lower than that. Deduno is a potential upgrade, for as long as he stays healthy, anyway. Correia will be gone sooner or later. So, the best hopes for significant upgrades in the overall performance is Nolasco flipping the switch and matching somewhere near his 3-year trailing averages, ie, 3.60 FIP and for 1, or perhaps 2 guys stepping up and taking two of the starting jobs away and grabbing it by the horns. I am optimistic that all of these things can happen.....but.....

    The current yawning gap between the Twins and Indians staff will be difficult to surmount. Consider, the SP numbers for both teams, with respect to BABIP, LOB%, GB%, DIP% and HR/FB are virtually identical, and the teams' defenses are fairly equally "challenged". And yet, the ERA and FIP numbers favor the Indians by over 1 run. If anything, the "bad luck" and "good luck" numbers will normalize, and still leave the yawning run-producing gap between the two teams.

    The big qualitative difference is the K/9 rates.....Indians 9.06- which is MLB BEST......Twins 5.51- which is MLB WORST.

    The Indians combined K/9 is 9.13 is also #1 in MLB, a net advantage that will be hard to overcome. (Indians relievers K/9- 9.25.....Twins relievers K/9- 6.77).

    Obviously, the only direction the Indians can go from here is down, and for the Twins to go is up But given the above, I don't see them meeting somewhere in the middle, let alone have the Twins somehow surpass the Indians.

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    Senior Member All-Star Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    Nolasco is historically a very effective summertime pitcher, it's a good bet that his numbers will improve significantly.
    He had a good July-August last year but otherwise this notion has been bouncing around TD for a while, so after checking it out I see that it hasn't really been true since 2009.

    He typically has good April-May and then sometime in the summer he wilts (of course Miami summers are worse than MN summers).

    Forgive me for using traditional stats but this is for ballpark purposes:

    year APRIL-MAY SEASON TOTAL
    2013 3-6, 3.69, 1.15 13-11, 3.70, 1.21
    2012 5-3, 4.26, 1.30 12-13, 4.48, 1.37
    2011 4-1, 3.82, 1.30 10-12, 4.67, 1.40
    2010 4-4, 4.65, 1.24 14-9, 4.51, 1.28

    The good thing about Nolasco is he's a good candidate to give us some 200+ inning seasons, which we haven't seen here for a few years.

  13. #12
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    I'd suggest that we all just enjoy the ride ....

    And hope that when they are 139 games into the season, there is still some interesting scenery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hosken Bombo Disco View Post
    He had a good July-August last year but otherwise this notion has been bouncing around TD for a while, so after checking it out I see that it hasn't really been true since 2009.

    He typically has good April-May and then sometime in the summer he wilts (of course Miami summers are worse than MN summers).

    Forgive me for using traditional stats but this is for ballpark purposes:

    year APRIL-MAY SEASON TOTAL
    2013 3-6, 3.69, 1.15 13-11, 3.70, 1.21
    2012 5-3, 4.26, 1.30 12-13, 4.48, 1.37
    2011 4-1, 3.82, 1.30 10-12, 4.67, 1.40
    2010 4-4, 4.65, 1.24 14-9, 4.51, 1.28

    The good thing about Nolasco is he's a good candidate to give us some 200+ inning seasons, which we haven't seen here for a few years.
    That's why I didn't use traditional stats, they're not the best measurement of how well a pitcher is performing. Nolasco month-by-month, 2011-13, I've highlighted his FIP totals, note the cascading trend of effectiveness as the season progresses:


    PITCHING MAIN
    Split G BF IP ERA FIP SIERA
    v L as R (MLB) 105 1434 318.2 - 4.38 4.47
    v R as R (MLB) 106 1342 328.1 - 3.11 3.52
    at Home (MLB) 53 1392 325.1 3.96 3.50 3.91
    on Road (MLB) 53 1384 321.2 4.78 3.97 4.10
    Mar (MLB) 1 27 6.0 7.50 7.20 4.28
    Apr (MLB) 19 491 117.2 4.05 4.01 4.42
    May (MLB) 21 582 137.0 4.20 3.90 3.70
    June (MLB) 16 422 96.0 4.97 3.75 4.51
    July (MLB) 17 436 101.1 3.91 3.53 3.81
    Aug (MLB) 16 440 102.2 3.94 3.65 3.86
    Sep (MLB) 16 378 86.1 5.21 3.19 3.71

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    Senior Member All-Star Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    That's why I didn't use traditional stats, they're not the best measurement of how well a pitcher is performing. Nolasco month-by-month, 2011-13, I've highlighted his FIP totals, note the cascading trend of effectiveness as the season progresses:


    PITCHING MAIN
    Split G BF IP ERA FIP SIERA
    v L as R (MLB) 105 1434 318.2 - 4.38 4.47
    v R as R (MLB) 106 1342 328.1 - 3.11 3.52
    at Home (MLB) 53 1392 325.1 3.96 3.50 3.91
    on Road (MLB) 53 1384 321.2 4.78 3.97 4.10
    Mar (MLB) 1 27 6.0 7.50 7.20 4.28
    Apr (MLB) 19 491 117.2 4.05 4.01 4.42
    May (MLB) 21 582 137.0 4.20 3.90 3.70
    June (MLB) 16 422 96.0 4.97 3.75 4.51
    July (MLB) 17 436 101.1 3.91 3.53 3.81
    Aug (MLB) 16 440 102.2 3.94 3.65 3.86
    Sep (MLB) 16 378 86.1 5.21 3.19 3.71
    FIP -- noted.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Twins Twerp's Avatar
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    I am so optimistic that i planned my first trip to the cities since year one of target field (saw 8 games that year). I planned it for the july first series against kc. Hopefully i will get to see may or meyer. Im sure meyer will play in futures game so i might only see may. I feel the team will be at or above .500 in july. Go twins!

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    Senior Member Triple-A DocBauer's Avatar
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    I am one of those that started the season more optimistic than most. Not a surprise if you read my posts I guess. I got a little down the last week or so of ST and got a little Scrooge-like. But I really felt our pen, a better rotation, an offense that simply had to be better, and a couple youngsters taking a step forward would/could lead us to a .500 season, possibly slightly better by a few games. Building momentum for 2015.

    To be honest, while the team has indeed been that .500 team so far, despite what has been reported as a rough early schedule, it's been a surprising and rather confusing start to 2014.

    Early, the pen was awful. Except for a few bad performances recently, it's pretty much rounded back to form. Though there is definitely room for more consistency.

    The rotation, with the exception of Gibson, started pretty horribly. Hughes has looked dynamite after a few rough starts, and Nolasco has been looking very good. A change of teams, bad weather, and, in my opinion, not being fully stretched out in ST maybe. Pelfrey and Correia have been the biggest surprise and disappointment. While not a big proponent of either, we saw decent consistency from Correia last season. And with Pelfrey, while there were others I favored signing, I bought in to stronger and better this season further removed from surgery, more like the solid couple of months he gave us mid-season before faltering at the end.

    Track history would seem to suggest to me that Deduno has blossomed late in his career, but just might not be good for 30+ starts. He might just be a solid to very good 5th SP who is good for 26-28 starts. And there is nothing wrong with that. His early role in the pen may be just what he needed, and I think he's now back where he belongs and helps the Twins the most.

    Butchering the OF/CF aside, discussed to death, the offense has generally been a huge surprise. The walks and team OB has been outstanding as well as productive. Despite various injuries and ZERO production from the SS position, the offense made things happen and held the Twins in contention while the SP began to get their legs under them.

    I actually began to agree with those who felt, despite youth and some strike-outs, that Arcia would emerge as the 4 hitter at some point. But he's been set back big-time the first half due to injury. I also thought Hammer and Kubel looked like toast. But Hammer actually looked good the few games he played before he too was injured. Kubel surprised the heck out of all of us for the first month. So did Colabello. And Plouffe has been far better and productive offensively and defensively. And we'd be sunk early if not for their contributions. But can any of them make adjustments and continue to make solid contributions yet again? An early 30 veteran, a still young prospect-ish playet and an over-achiever who I refuse to give up on as he's produced at every level and constantly overcome expectations. Are they tired from so much every day play and pressure early? Can they rebound?

    Dozier and Suzuki, frankly, are playing at all-star levels. SS is no longer a black hole in the lineup, at least for the now. We've gotten nice contributions from Fuld, before he also was hurt, and the young, exciting and surprising Santana. Can Santana continue to excite and help? He reminds me a lot of Revere's initial excitement and energy with the Twins. And Mauer, despite the back trouble, looks like he might be heating up. Parmalee has offered a jolt as well.

    We keep getting contributions from different places. Some guys are sliding, some are picking us up, and two more potential impact bats may be ready to rejoin us soon.

    I like us a C very much. The infield is solid overall. Healthy, OF and DH offer the possibilities of Hammer, Arcia, Parmelee, Kubel and Colabello along with Hicks and Fuld in CF with Santana as a possible helping hand when not playing SS. There is something to work with here. But how does this all work out and play together roster and lineup wise?

    And before the season gets too much further along...mid June?...I think we need one more SP. Im in, excited and hopeful. But also unsure where our next steps are.

  20. #17
    Senior Member Double-A
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    Reason for optimism? Through a quarter of the season the Twins are within a game of the wild card. Will be interesting to see how long they can meet the front office criterion of "playing meaningful games in [month]"

  21. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    That's why I didn't use traditional stats, they're not the best measurement of how well a pitcher is performing. Nolasco month-by-month, 2011-13, I've highlighted his FIP totals, note the cascading trend of effectiveness as the season progresses:


    PITCHING MAIN
    Split G BF IP ERA FIP SIERA
    v L as R (MLB) 105 1434 318.2 - 4.38 4.47
    v R as R (MLB) 106 1342 328.1 - 3.11 3.52
    at Home (MLB) 53 1392 325.1 3.96 3.50 3.91
    on Road (MLB) 53 1384 321.2 4.78 3.97 4.10
    Mar (MLB) 1 27 6.0 7.50 7.20 4.28
    Apr (MLB) 19 491 117.2 4.05 4.01 4.42
    May (MLB) 21 582 137.0 4.20 3.90 3.70
    June (MLB) 16 422 96.0 4.97 3.75 4.51
    July (MLB) 17 436 101.1 3.91 3.53 3.81
    Aug (MLB) 16 440 102.2 3.94 3.65 3.86
    Sep (MLB) 16 378 86.1 5.21 3.19 3.71
    You did not include 208, 209, nor 2010 in your statistic, yet Nolasco pitched full time in major league ball. Cherry picking?

  22. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
    I don't think the Indians will be better. They lost both Ubaldo and Kazmir, who had fine years, and are trying to fill from within. Cabrera seems to be declining at an early age and Bourn was a foolish signing (at least for the future). Their defense is pretty suspect and they are counting on a lot of guys to be better late in their careers.

    The Indians played the Twins when their roster issues were at critical mass. I like the Twins chances in future games with the Tribe.
    As compared to all of last season, the ptching staff is doing better this year than last by fip, and xfip. Not so true by ERA, W%

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