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Thread: Leadoff Spot

  1. #21
    I don't think there's much doubt from his minor league line that Hicks is going to strike out some this year. His minor league peripherals and numbers scream more Mike Cameron or Chris Young than Carlos Beltran. But both of those first two have been All-Stars at some point. If you can't have patience with a kid like that, then it's 1997 all over again and things are going to get ugly real fast.

  2. #22
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StormJH1 View Post
    Yes It is actually to Hicks' advantage that we aren't overflowing with tons of other alternatives. My point was if Hicks failed or was sent down, what would we do? The answer has to be Mastroianni, but I don't like him as a leadoff guy either. Joe Benson might be the first OF called up, and he certainly hasn't demonstrated MLB "patience" at the plate.

    Probably a "lost season" anyway, but I just don't want to go to the ballpark and see Florimon or Escobar leading off because they "look" the part physically.
    You've raised an excellent point and made all the due diligence disclaimers. But the minute you speculate what to do if Hicks isn't ready, you're in for some flak on a board where the 2013 expectations for him frequently range from net average to RoY or even All Star.

    While I think the Twins shouldn't have rushed Hicks, I'm hoping he'll stick and we won't have to count on Mastro as an everyday guy. But if the Twins see Mastro as a quad A guy who will be so exposed as a starter that he can't sustain an OBP high enough to lead off for a non-contender, why didn't they someone who can? And if they DO think Mastro can start in CF if Hicks is sent down, who is the backup?

    I'm a little more optimistic than you about what Mastro might manage if Hicks isn't ready. Even so, I think it was wrong to enter ST without a realistic CF alternative to Hicks and Mastro. And no, I don't consider Benson a realistic alternative, although I'm still hoping he manages to turn things around.

    Oh, and don't worry about Floribar leading off. They'll be too busy battling Dozier for AB's in the two spot if/when the Mauer experiment is pronounced a failure, and probably whether it is or not.

  3. #23
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    How is having a first round pick spend 5 years in the minors considered rushing?

  4. #24
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ALessKosherScott View Post
    If you can't have patience with a kid like that, then it's 1997 all over again and things are going to get ugly real fast.
    The fact that he's in the majors at all instead of AAA pretty much ensured that patience would be out the window.

    Those look like very good comps for Hicks, minus some power. If he can maintain a low to mid-teens walk rate and average .250, his glove should make him a plus player, and with several years to improve his offensive skill set.

  5. #25
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
    How is having a first round pick spend 5 years in the minors considered rushing?
    What on earth does the round he was picked in have to do with skipping a level for a player who's needed at least a full season at every level?

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
    How is having a first round pick spend 5 years in the minors considered rushing?
    A reflection of his learning curve?

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
    What on earth does the round he was picked in have to do with skipping a level for a player who's needed at least a full season at every level?
    I guess the belief that this guy was a first round pick for a reason and that maybe a guy that is that high of a draft pick shouldn't take 6, 7 years to make the bigs?

  8. #28
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    we promote slower than any team in baseball over the last decade...do ALL of our players have a slow learning curve?

  9. #29
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    Hicks is projected to have a slightly better OPS than Revere, Carroll or Mastroianni. It is unlikely any of the 3 will be in the 700s. Overall, they will all be close with Hicks having a little more power and the others a little more on base.

    If Hicks is given a chance, he should grow well into the 700s in the next few years while Revere and Mastro remain static and Carroll goes into coaching.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
    we promote slower than any team in baseball over the last decade...do ALL of our players have a slow learning curve?
    I don't think that is true any longer. The study that is often referred to used data from 2005-2009.

    Baseball Prospectus | Overthinking It: Promoting Prospects

    At that time, the Twins were winning and healthy. They did not need to rush prospects. Had the time frame been 2000-2004 or 2010 to current, I think the results would be quite different. The Twins had young teams in the early 2000s and recent injuries and poor play has resulted in numerous call ups.

    If you read the study, the Twins were among the better teams in average WARP over the first two years for the players they did call up. Only Oakland(7) and Cincinnati(6) had more players than the Twins(5) that performed well upon entering the majors. While the Twins did not call up a lot of guys the ones they did call up did well. Somehow this study has become an indictment of the Twins development of players from 2005-2009.

  11. #31
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
    I guess the belief that this guy was a first round pick for a reason and that maybe a guy that is that high of a draft pick shouldn't take 6, 7 years to make the bigs?
    My point was that the AAA or majors decision should be based on what Hicks has accomplished (and what he has not) in his 5 years and over 2000 plate appearances in the minors, not what Twins scouts thought of him in high school.

    Scout evaluations in 2012 and in 2013 ST have relevance, but even those are made less and less revealing as we increasingly see what Hicks is becoming by what he's actually done, as opposed to what the scouts think he'll be, much less what they thought 5 years ago.
    Last edited by LaBombo; 04-02-2013 at 04:32 PM.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
    How is having a first round pick spend 5 years in the minors considered rushing?
    I concur.

    And let's not forget that he earned his way onto the roster. What's the point of having a spring training and inviting non-roster invitees to camp if we're going to determine who belongs and who doesn't by minor league regular season numbers only anyway? Based on his performance in ST, he deserves his shot now. Whether he capitalizes on it is up to him.

    And if I recall from earlier this year, the big question people were debating in these forums wasn't whether he was ready for the majors - it was should he be held back a few months to get the extra year of team control.

  13. #33
    Senior Member All-Star IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
    My point was that the AAA or majors decision should be based on what Hicks has accomplished (and what he has not) in his 5 years and over 2000 plate appearances in the minors, not what Twins scouts thought of him in high school.

    Scout evaluations in 2012 and in 2013 ST have relevance, but even those are made less and less revealing as we increasingly see what Hicks is becoming by what he's actually done, as opposed to what the scouts think he'll be, much less what they thought 5 years ago.
    You've hit upon a major source of disagreement, both in these forums and in baseball in general. How much should player evaluation depend primarily on past results and various sabermetric statistics, and how much should it depend on visual evaluation by scouts and coaches?

  14. #34
    Super Moderator MVP Riverbrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
    You've hit upon a major source of disagreement, both in these forums and in baseball in general. How much should player evaluation depend primarily on past results and various sabermetric statistics, and how much should it depend on visual evaluation by scouts and coaches?
    I think the best are believers in both.

  15. #35
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
    I concur.

    And let's not forget that he earned his way onto the roster. What's the point of having a spring training and inviting non-roster invitees to camp if we're going to determine who belongs and who doesn't by minor league regular season numbers only anyway? Based on his performance in ST, he deserves his shot now. Whether he capitalizes on it is up to him.

    And if I recall from earlier this year, the big question people were debating in these forums wasn't whether he was ready for the majors - it was should he be held back a few months to get the extra year of team control.
    It's called spring training instead of spring tryouts for a reason. Trusting 50 plate appearances over 2000 as an indicator of ability because they're the 50 most recent is a very bad decision. Good lord, ST barely even resembles major league ball the first couple of weeks.

    And after the train wrecks that resulted from the promotions of Benson, Dozier, and Parmelee, it's pretty clear that promoting another position player without establishing that he can hit in AAA should absolutely be debated, regardless of the team control issue.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
    You've hit upon a major source of disagreement, both in these forums and in baseball in general. How much should player evaluation depend primarily on past results and various sabermetric statistics, and how much should it depend on visual evaluation by scouts and coaches?
    People tend to forget that it was just a year ago, that Hicks' national and team prospect rankings had nosedived and there were more than a few calls by bloggers and fans that Hicks was appearing to be a bust as others in the organization were leap-frogging him. Of course, we all know that no sooner was the ink dry on these prognostications that Hicks proceeded to prove them all wrong. Talk about forest for the trees evaluation, his numbers in 2012 were very reflective of his entire pro career. It takes time for him to adjust at each level- let's give it time before we indict him or the organization for his rate of development- he is who he is. An argument can be made that the Twins should have pushed him harder, sooner, faster, but they had Span on a cheap long-term deal so they were more than happy with Hicks' baby-step progression. Fast forwarding to 2013, to me, the Twins knew this was a punted season, so moves were made and Hicks is now learning on the job in preparation for 2014 or even 15, there could easily be some backtracking to AAA when he struggles. The Twins would be pleased either way- if he is the 2013 ROY- or if he finally begins fitting comfortably into a Twins uniform for good in a year or two, it happened with Hunter.

  17. #37
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
    First off, your argument is based on what? Those averages and formulas you referenced are based on years of results from all prospects, not just non-prospects but guys like Mauer and Cabrera who outperform their minor league careers. Dismissing them is simply ignoring overwhelming evidence, or just being ignorant of them. I would like to know more about why you feel Hicks can outperform his past 4 years results by 20 or 30%. The numbers you referenced are what I am hoping from Hicks in his prime (with a little more power) not his rookie year! I like him and his approach, just would like to know where these high expectations are coming from.

    Also, if my wife is fat, I'd tell her. I firmly believe in not lying to your wife, including things she might not want to hear. You owe her that much IMO. If she doesn't want to hear it, she shouldn't ask.
    I think you missed my point. I said "average", which I think includes all the best guys and all the worst guys and every guy in between. No one thought Mauer or Cabrera or Fielder would project to average. They were exceptional. I don't think Hicks is in that class, but he's well above average. Someone quoted those averages recently, which translated to something like .233/.290/.350 for Hicks. I think Hicks will be 20 to 30% above that, which was .270/.360/400/760

    If that is all you expect Aaron Hicks to do in his prime, you do have low expectations for him.

    You either have a very forgiving wife or are not married.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  18. #38
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
    How much should player evaluation depend primarily on past results and various sabermetric statistics, and how much should it depend on visual evaluation by scouts and coaches?

    Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
    I think the best are believers in both.
    Absolutely. But like sb said, you can believe in both but still wonder if there is some sort of unofficial ratio of stock to be put in each. And especially which one wins out if they're in conflict. It's pretty clear from both words and actions that the Twins tend to put more stock in scouting.

    They've had some wins with that approach, like sticking with Span when he appeared to be washing out with his lack of production in the minors. What makes the sabre crowd so irritated by the Twins is the number of failures, often spectacular ones like Blackburn, Marquis, Capps, and Nishi vs Hardy that have resulted when they seem to have paid minimal attention to, or just outright ignored, statistical portents of doom.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
    Absolutely. But like sb said, you can believe in both but still wonder if there is some sort of unofficial ratio of stock to be put in each. And especially which one wins out if they're in conflict. It's pretty clear from both words and actions that the Twins tend to put more stock in scouting.

    They've had some wins with that approach, like sticking with Span when he appeared to be washing out with his lack of production in the minors. What makes the sabre crowd so irritated by the Twins is the number of failures, often spectacular ones like Blackburn, Marquis, Capps, and Nishi vs Hardy that have resulted when they seem to have paid minimal attention to, or just outright ignored,

    "statistical portents of doom
    ".
    Isn't that the name of the sequel to Moneyball? ***

    ***Coming to a theater near you

  20. #40
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    People tend to forget that it was just a year ago, that Hicks' national and team prospect rankings had nosedived and there were more than a few calls by bloggers and fans that Hicks was appearing to be a bust as others in the organization were leap-frogging him. Of course, we all know that no sooner was the ink dry on these prognostications that Hicks proceeded to prove them all wrong. Talk about forest for the trees evaluation, his numbers in 2012 were very reflective of his entire pro career. It takes time for him to adjust at each level- let's give it time before we indict him or the organization for his rate of development- he is who he is. An argument can be made that the Twins should have pushed him harder, sooner, faster, but they had Span on a cheap long-term deal so they were more than happy with Hicks' baby-step progression. Fast forwarding to 2013, to me, the Twins knew this was a punted season, so moves were made and Hicks is now learning on the job in preparation for 2014 or even 15, there could easily be some backtracking to AAA when he struggles. The Twins would be pleased either way- if he is the 2013 ROY- or if he finally begins fitting comfortably into a Twins uniform for good in a year or two, it happened with Hunter.
    I don't forget that, but I tend to discount it because he's developed since then. I look at the year he had in AA last year and focus on that. By all accounts, he has turned a corner. I see no reason to take his projection down by looking around that corner. But I also think those who pick apart his earlier years take an overly dim view of it. So let's look at it.

    I don't think Twins fans are used to having guys drafted in the teens who come up as prospects. Hunter was drafted 20th overall. Span was also drafted 20th overall. When was the last outfielder taken higher than 20 in the June draft by the Twins before Hicks? I can't recall. Kirby was drafted in the January draft. It's been a while. Hicks was the top high school outfielder in that draft class at 14th overall. Based on his draft position, he should become a solid major leaguer. I know there are some high-profile busts in the draft. But the vast majority in his draft position succeed.

    He had some issues in his development. But outfielders are known to have issues in development. Hunter didn't hit until AAA. Span didn't hit until his third year in AAA.

    Both took longer than Hicks to get here. Hicks tore up rookie ball. Based on that, they sent him right to Beloit as a 19 year old. He wasn't ready. So they kept him there an extra year. If he had taken the traditional path through Elizabethton, he would have been in Beloit for the first time as a 20 year old and progressed normally to A+ as a 21 year old and AA as a 22 year old. A lot of those who discount him as a prospect talk about repeating Beloit. The neglect the fact that he skipped a level first. He had some issues in Fort Myers. Lots of guys struggle there. But two out of the last three years he's been excellent.

    I do expect him to have his share of slumps in the majors. Hitting in the major leagues is hard. He'll face a lot of guys who are almost as good as Verlander. But his patient approach is relatively slump resistent. He's way more advanced at this age than either Hunter or Span were. I wouldn't surprised if he doesn't put up better numbers than Span did last year. I'm going out on a limb odds wise to say that. But, I've been over that. The odds don't favor better prospects, who often beat their projections by playing closer to their minor league numbers than the average ballplayer.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

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