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Thread: Article: Twins Sign Catcher Kurt Suzuki

  1. #121
    Senior Member Triple-A
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    Some here mention the prowess of Fryer and Hermann as base runners. Hello! What's up with that? Being good baserunners is hardly what teams look for in their catchers.

  2. #122
    Senior Member Triple-A DocBauer's Avatar
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    I admit to being highly on board for signing AJ for his bat, his experience, and his harder "gamer" edge that I think would have been excellent. But I can't blame him for the choice he made, nor was he long-term for our team. For the record, I wasn't as IN on Salt, feeling his game wasn't as proven as well as the financials. (He did sign for less than I expected however)

    In rebuild mode, and with a talented young C like Pinto, I was and am ready to move forward. Even with AJ signing, I was still looking looking at Pinto as the primary, and not just based on last September. We've heard he's rough around some edges, but so are most youngsters, especially catchers. We've also been told he's made consistent progress, and has a great work ethic, and for his young career he's done a good job throwing out runners.

    I was prepared to begin the season at this point with Herrmann or Fryer as the backup and just go for it. (With Herrmann as the probable winner in my mind)

    But I love the idea of a veteran to share the load and provide experience, as well as allow Fryer and Herrmann more time a AAA. And from what was still on the market, past production, experience, defense, working with different pitchers, etc, I really think the Twins signed the best option available. I don't expect Suzuki to suddenly transform himself to an offensive juggernaut, but I have to wonder if a change of scenery, and coaches like Steinbach, Molitor, Vavra and Brunansky might bring out a little bit more of the production he showed earlier in his career.

    Smart signing!

  3. #123
    Senior Member Triple-A DocBauer's Avatar
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    I'd like to talk for a moment, slightly off subject but still very much on, about Chris Herrmann. I seem to keep reading a lot of posts that, frankly, are down on him and I'm rather stumped why.

    According to Baseball America, he was drafted in the 10th round by the Orioles but didn't sign. He was then drafted in the 6th round by the Twins and signed. He has been ranked in the top 20 as a prospect twice by BA, 2011-2012, and was ranked as the best defensive prospect in the system following the 2012 season.

    He is still relatively young, especially for a C, 26, and athletic enough to have played INF and OF in college, and OF early in his Milb career, including a few games in CF.

    A brief scan of his Milb statistics show a first season w a .297/.391/845 slash with a 14/1/7 XBOX slash.

    2010 showed a rough first year jumping from Elizabethton to high A Ft Myers.

    In 2011 he began the season in Ft Myers where he hit very well before advancing to AA for the majority of the season. His combined triple slash for that year was 269/385/783 with a little bit of power and 10 SB in 13 attempts thrown in.

    Except for some brief time with the MN Twins, 2012 saw him, as mentioned, the best defensive C in the system, and with AA NB the entire season with a slash of .276/.350/.741.

    Last season saw a bit of a tailspin at AAA in his first year of experience there, as well as some time with the major league club. As of yet, he has never repeated a full season at any level. When he has ended at a level, and begun the next season there, he has done nothing but improve.

    I guess I just don't understand all the negativity here. I see him as a useful and valuable reserve in the future, possibly starting this next season.

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  5. #124
    Senior Member Triple-A DocBauer's Avatar
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    Please ignore the XBOX slash comment above. That was meant to be XB but I didn't catch the spell correct on my pad.***

  6. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocBauer View Post
    I'd like to talk for a moment, slightly off subject but still very much on, about Chris Herrmann. I seem to keep reading a lot of posts that, frankly, are down on him and I'm rather stumped why.
    I'm using Fryer in comparison to Herrmann as they're very comparable players.

    Both players were drafted as 21 year olds. Both players played in the same leagues going through the minors. Both players played quite a bit in the outfield in the minors. Both players reached AAA in their age 25 season.

    Minor league numbers going into their age 26 season.

    Chris Herrmann - (.258/.349/.372) (.721 OPS) (20/30 SB)
    Rookie Ball OPS - (.845)
    A+ OPS - (.654)
    AA OPS - (.754)
    AAA OPS - (.608)

    Eric Fryer - (.281/.371/.427) (.798 OPS) (45/57 SB)
    Rookie Ball OPS - (.619)
    A+ OPS - (.770)
    AA OPS - (.976)
    AAA OPS - (.647)

    If you take out Rookie Ball numbers, Herrmann's OPS is sub (.700). Herrmann may be athletic, but he has 20 stolen bases over 5 years in the minors, while being caught 10 times. So he's not adding value on the bases.

    Herrmann's Major League Numbers - (.189/.268/.297) (.565 OPS)

    Small sample size, but they're not out of line with his minor league numbers. His ISO and BB% are where they should be. There's a spike in K% and a drop in BABIP which can be attributed to facing major league pitching.

    These are reasons I don't have much hope in Herrmann and why I still have some in Fryer. Especially since 2012 seems like an outlier, everything else tells me Fryer can be a viable major league catcher. Can't say the same about Herrmann.

  7. #126
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JP3700 View Post
    I'm using Fryer in comparison to Herrmann as they're very comparable players.

    Both players were drafted as 21 year olds. Both players played in the same leagues going through the minors. Both players played quite a bit in the outfield in the minors. Both players reached AAA in their age 25 season.

    Minor league numbers going into their age 26 season.

    Chris Herrmann - (.258/.349/.372) (.721 OPS) (20/30 SB)
    Rookie Ball OPS - (.845)
    A+ OPS - (.654)
    AA OPS - (.754)
    AAA OPS - (.608)

    Eric Fryer - (.281/.371/.427) (.798 OPS) (45/57 SB)
    Rookie Ball OPS - (.619)
    A+ OPS - (.770)
    AA OPS - (.976)
    AAA OPS - (.647)

    If you take out Rookie Ball numbers, Herrmann's OPS is sub (.700). Herrmann may be athletic, but he has 20 stolen bases over 5 years in the minors, while being caught 10 times. So he's not adding value on the bases.

    Herrmann's Major League Numbers - (.189/.268/.297) (.565 OPS)

    Small sample size, but they're not out of line with his minor league numbers. His ISO and BB% are where they should be. There's a spike in K% and a drop in BABIP which can be attributed to facing major league pitching.

    These are reasons I don't have much hope in Herrmann and why I still have some in Fryer. Especially since 2012 seems like an outlier, everything else tells me Fryer can be a viable major league catcher. Can't say the same about Herrmann.
    Nothing against Chris Hermann. He's a good player. But he's a converted outfielder. That's a really tough transition. According to scouts, he still has a lot to work on in the catching department. Given his athleticism, it seems like he's better suited as a super utility guy than a catcher. And that is how he's been used the last couple of years, further stunting his development as a catcher.

    In the age of 12-man pitching staffs on 25-man rosters, his versatility is a really valuable thing. For that reason, I wouldn't be surprised if he spends more time on the Twins roster than Eric Fryer this year. But, by most accounts I read, Fryer is a much better pure catcher than Hermann.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  8. #127
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    The problem with Herrmann is that he definitely doesn't have enough bat to not play catcher other than as a warm body. Primarily a lack of power for a non-catcher. Defensively reports are all over the place. If I actually felt confident that he was decent at catching I would like him more.

    But that really isn't the big issue that I have with Herrmann as the backup catcher this year. The big issue is if Herrmann is the backup is that there is almost no depth behind him anywhere in the minors until you get to Stuart Turner. Catching is a tough job and it's very likely that a catcher misses significant time. Pinto/Suzuki/Herrmann/Fryer in the MLB and AAA gives the Twins at least some depth

  9. #128
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer biggentleben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
    Greg Maddox got every borderline call but I think that had more to do with his reputation than it did his personal catcher du jour's framing skills.
    While that has some truth, Eddie Perez and Henry Blanco were also regarded as elite defensive guys, and one of them was the Maddux catcher for most of his Braves tenure.
    Staff Writer for Tomahawktake.com, come check it out!

  10. #129
    Senior Member Triple-A Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
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    So, the Twins deal a utility player/catcher whose concussion history makes one wonder if he's willing/able to catch. They gain a superior defensive catcher (Suzuki), a former 1st round draft pitcher (Gilmartin), and they make room for a young, up-and-coming catcher (Pinto).

    What's not to like?

    Oh, and they sign another potential DH (Kubel) to replace Doumit's at-bats, while providing Arcia and Willingham more opportunities to hit off the bench. Cool.
    Last edited by Don't Feed the Greed Guy; 12-23-2013 at 11:54 AM.

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  12. #130
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    Christmas came early for me this year- great signing!
    With the Doumit move, we save salary, improve on D, and add tons of intangibles.

    We need a vet who's good with the staff and in the clubhouse. No shortage of turn-around projects in the rotation. Considering the market for catcher, we did great on this deal.
    Feel free to pile on about Suzuki.

  13. #131
    Does anyone think Gardy will nickname him Suzy?

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  15. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by twinsfaninsaudi View Post
    Does anyone think Gardy will nickname him Suzy?
    Bingo!
    Feel free to pile on about Suzuki.

  16. #133
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JP3700 View Post
    I'm using Fryer in comparison to Herrmann as they're very comparable players.

    Both players were drafted as 21 year olds. Both players played in the same leagues going through the minors. Both players played quite a bit in the outfield in the minors. Both players reached AAA in their age 25 season.

    Minor league numbers going into their age 26 season.

    Chris Herrmann - (.258/.349/.372) (.721 OPS) (20/30 SB)
    Rookie Ball OPS - (.845)
    A+ OPS - (.654)
    AA OPS - (.754)
    AAA OPS - (.608)

    Eric Fryer - (.281/.371/.427) (.798 OPS) (45/57 SB)
    Rookie Ball OPS - (.619)
    A+ OPS - (.770)
    AA OPS - (.976)
    AAA OPS - (.647)

    If you take out Rookie Ball numbers, Herrmann's OPS is sub (.700). Herrmann may be athletic, but he has 20 stolen bases over 5 years in the minors, while being caught 10 times. So he's not adding value on the bases.

    Herrmann's Major League Numbers - (.189/.268/.297) (.565 OPS)

    Small sample size, but they're not out of line with his minor league numbers. His ISO and BB% are where they should be. There's a spike in K% and a drop in BABIP which can be attributed to facing major league pitching.

    These are reasons I don't have much hope in Herrmann and why I still have some in Fryer. Especially since 2012 seems like an outlier, everything else tells me Fryer can be a viable major league catcher. Can't say the same about Herrmann.
    His career minor league OPS is .721. That's acceptable for a catcher, especially a good defensive one. Outside of that though, it really doesn't play anywhere. His career major league OPS is south of .600. Given enough PT, that major league OPS should improve, but to what no one knows... To me, he's a role player. If the bat improves, he's an acceptable backup C, but he's not a guy I'm giving OF reps or anything like that.

  17. #134
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer biggentleben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    FWIW, I don't expect improvements on the offensive side. Catching is such a grueling position, and he has caught so many innings, his hitting will continue to decline. Perhaps if he catches less than half the time, his hands will be fresher. Otherwise, he's just OK offensively.

    Defensively, he doesn't score well on the limited metrics available. But that is not why they brought him in. They brought him in to help Pinto work with pitchers. On that score, he is one of the best catchers around. I have often heard people like Bert say "he handles a pitching staff well." I wondered how to quantify that. The best measure I have been able to come up with is team ERA. This is a stat that requires many years of varying staffs to be reliable. Fortunately, in Suzuki, we have that. Oakland continually restructures its rotation. Despite that, they are consistently near the top in team ERA. I think this is good evidence that he handles a pitching staff well, which is the biggest hole in Pinto's game.
    As they say, you can't measure everything, even in a game where everything is measured.


    Many of Oakland's young pitchers came out and said that Suzuki was a big reason for their ease of transition to the major leagues. I've watched him in Oakland and in Washington, and he was an elite-caliber defender in Oakland who got hurt before being traded, and he's had two seasons of injury, basically. If he's healthy, he's not going to put up .280/.330/.440, but he could give you solid offense and be back to that defensive stalwart he was before. It seemed like last season, he'd be just magnificent for a few games back but then tweak something again. Yet another example on why never to abuse a young catcher.
    Staff Writer for Tomahawktake.com, come check it out!

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