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View Full Version : One thing we tend to overlook about Span



Brock Beauchamp
08-01-2012, 07:36 AM
Going into this deadline, we kind of gave Span a pass for the past two seasons where he's been a pretty mediocre player, posting a 1.2 WAR in 2010 and a 2.3 WAR in last year's injury-plagued season. this season, he's already sitting at a 3.2 WAR with an OPS over .060 higher than he's posted since his very good 2009 campaign.

It's not surprising that other teams were a little hesitant to meet the (reportedly) high asking price set by Ryan. I also don't blame Ryan for not lowering that price. Span looks to be on the rebound and if he continues his current pace through the end of the season, he should easily match the career high WAR of 4.2 he posted in 2008. Span is still on the right side of 30 and is signed for three more seasons after this one.

We talk a lot about selling high on this board. Right now, Span's value is moderately high. But it could go higher if he posts an entire season of 4+ WAR ball with an OPS+ of 110, two things he hasn't done since his first season with the club.

I'm disappointed that there wasn't more action on the trade front yesterday. On the other hand, if we truly want to see JR sell high on his players, holding on to Span isn't the worst idea in the world. Going into this season, he looked like a player on the decline, posting an OPS+ well under 100 for two consecutive seasons. It's not surprising that teams were a little hesitant to loot the farm for Denard.

If he keeps hitting like he's done this season, he quickly shoots back onto the list of premiere center fielders in baseball. Not elite, but very good and well above average. And, more importantly, with a much higher value than he had going into this season and a higher value than he has right now.

JB_Iowa
08-01-2012, 08:18 AM
Wasn't he injured in both 2010 and 2011 or did the inner ear thing go back to 2009? While not as scary as Morneau's history, it seems to me that there are red flags about Span, too.

I jsut hope that the Twins can keep both Morneau and Span on the field so that there's some chance of increasing their value. Everybody else, too.

I've been holding my breath on the injury front.

IdahoPilgrim
08-01-2012, 08:30 AM
Not everyone has overlooked it. I've advocated keeping him for some time. If the point is to create a roster that can compete 3 years down the line, I think Span can be a part of that roster (although perhaps in left or right instead of center).

Brock Beauchamp
08-01-2012, 08:32 AM
Not everyone has overlooked it. I've advocated keeping him for some time. If the point is to create a roster that can compete 3 years down the line, I think Span can be a part of that roster (although perhaps in left or right instead of center).

Span can definitely be a part of the next contending team but I don't think he will be. The Twins have too many OF prospects rising through the system, making Span (and possibly Revere) expendable.

But that doesn't mean JR needed to trade Span yesterday. He is signed through October of 2015. There is plenty of time to maximize his value and keep him around until the next wave of prospects arrive. I would have liked to see him traded (just to get prospects in the system and working toward the majors) but if the right deal wasn't on the table, JR was right to just keep him.

SpiritofVodkaDave
08-01-2012, 08:35 AM
I honestly think after this season the Twins should trade Revere at his high point, the return won't be as great but I worry about Revere's ability to continue to hit above .310 moving forward.

If he dips down to the .275 range he suddenly becomes a rather weak link in a persons lineup. Though having his speed in the lineup is nice as well, plus he is super cheap.

In regards to Span, it should be noted that for the most part there weren't exactly a ton of top prospects that were traded this trade season, the package for Grienke wasn't awful, but only had one real nice player and even he isn't that special. Guys that were rated high prior to 2012 like Cox and Turner were traded, but both have lost a bit of value with medicore 2012 campaigns.

I'm not sure if its the new FA compensation plan or the fact that teams are now capped in the draft, but teams seem to be holding onto there prospects much tighter this year.

DPJ
08-01-2012, 08:36 AM
I honestly think after this season the Twins should trade Revere at his high point, the return won't be as great but I worry about Revere's ability to continue to hit above .310 moving forward.

If he dips down to the .275 range he suddenly becomes a rather weak link in a persons lineup. Though having his speed in the lineup is nice as well, plus he is super cheap.

No team is gonna give up **** for Revere when you can sign Juan Pierre or Scotty Pods for nothing and get damn near equal value.

Thrylos
08-01-2012, 08:39 AM
We talk a lot about selling high on this board. Right now, Span's value is moderately high. But it could go higher if he posts an entire season of 4+ WAR ball with an OPS+ of 110, two things he hasn't done since his first season with the club.

I'd argue that Span's value is close to its peak. Maybe this offseason, but there is a risk. He is another inner ear flare up or another injury away from having that value decreased. The good thing about the off-season is that there are 29 other buyers not only 15 so there is more demand out there... We shall see

Brock Beauchamp
08-01-2012, 08:45 AM
I'd argue that Span's value is close to its peak. Maybe this offseason, but there is a risk. He is another inner ear flare up or another injury away from having that value decreased. The good thing about the off-season is that there are 29 other buyers not only 15 so there is more demand out there... We shall see

I'm not entirely sold that his value is at its peak but it's a lot higher than it was four months ago. Four months of a good season doesn't really dispel 2+ seasons of mediocre, injury-riddled baseball.

Like everything else, it's a risk. Span could fall on his face at any moment but given his track record, if he's healthy, he's well above average. If he posts an entire healthy season with a .750 OPS, that goes a long way toward assuring teams that his 2010/11 were the aberrations, not his 2008/9 seasons.

SpiritofVodkaDave
08-01-2012, 08:50 AM
No team is gonna give up **** for Revere when you can sign Juan Pierre or Scotty Pods for nothing and get damn near equal value.

Pods has 17 games in the past 2 years and Pierre is about to be 35.

Brock Beauchamp
08-01-2012, 08:50 AM
No team is gonna give up **** for Revere when you can sign Juan Pierre or Scotty Pods for nothing and get damn near equal value.

Yes and no. Pierre is having a nice season but Pods is pretty bad.

But even with Pierre's good (for him) offensive season, he's not in the same class as Revere defensively. Slot Revere over to CF (where he should be) and his value shoots through the roof while Pierre and Podsednik are nothing more than light-hitting corner outfielders at this point.

JB_Iowa
08-01-2012, 09:06 AM
But you always have to remember that it is "all about the money"

Span: 2013 - $4.75 million; 2014 - $6.5 million; 2015 - $9 million club option ($.5 million buyout)

Revere: I don't think he becomes eligible for arbitration until after next year and then still 3 years of arbitration (still likely to keep him significantly cheaper than Span)

Seems to me the Twins are more likely to trade Span with the possibility still being there to trade BOTH Span and Revere depending on what some of the minor leaguers do.

Part of the formula for success for small or mid-market teams is to keep replacing more expensive players with younger, cheaper models.

TheLeviathan
08-01-2012, 09:11 AM
I thought what we overlooked was just how brutal he is as a base-stealer for his speed. Good god is he bad. Think how much better his .360ish OBP would look if he could actually swipe a bag from time to time.

Brock Beauchamp
08-01-2012, 09:14 AM
I thought what we overlooked was just how brutal he is as a base-stealer for his speed. Good god is he bad. Think how much better his .360ish OBP would look if he could actually swipe a bag from time to time.

He's 12 for 18 this season. He should definitely be better than that but it's not an awful percentage.

SpiritofVodkaDave
08-01-2012, 09:26 AM
He's 12 for 18 this season. He should definitely be better than that but it's not an awful percentage.
I'd bet he has been picked off 6 times this year. 12 out of 24 is pretty awful.

TheLeviathan
08-01-2012, 09:30 AM
He's 12 for 18 this season. He should definitely be better than that but it's not an awful percentage.

18 attempts alone is part of the problem. Mastro, in a fraction of the ABs has that many stolen bases. Span's inability to utilize his speed on the basepaths is a MAJOR hit on his value.

Brock Beauchamp
08-01-2012, 09:30 AM
I'd bet he has been picked off 6 times this year. 12 out of 24 is pretty awful.

True. He's been picked off way too many times this season.

Harrison Greeley III
08-01-2012, 09:38 AM
If I'm another team looking for a center fielder, I'm calling on Revere. Range, swiping ability, serf-salary, service time, no walks but no strikeouts either.

Yes, he's give or take the second coming of Juan Pierre. But Juan Pierre in his prime would give you between around 3.4 WAR a year. Since now we know he can make contact at this level, it's pretty clear exactly what you're getting and what you should expect to pay for it. I like Span a lot, but the armchair GM for an arbitrary team would suggest that the savings and the service time on Revere are probably more valuable in terms of building a team.

crarko
08-01-2012, 10:08 AM
True. He's been picked off way too many times this season.

Not just this season, if I recall. It is one of the few real weak spots in his game. Also, you get the feeling this is a guy with the power to hit 10-15 homers a year; about the same as Mauer.

Brock Beauchamp
08-01-2012, 10:13 AM
Not just this season, if I recall. It is one of the few real weak spots in his game. Also, you get the feeling this is a guy with the power to hit 10-15 homers a year; about the same as Mauer.

If he didn't play half his games in Target Field, I think he'd be a 10 homer guy pretty easily.

jimbo92107
08-01-2012, 11:05 AM
I just looked at the AA New Britain Rock Cat roster. In the outfield they have




Oswaldo Arcia (http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=RF&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=542455)

Joe Benson (http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=CF&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=501994)
Aaron Hicks (http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=CF&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=543305)
Rene Tosoni (http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=LF&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=459434)





We all know that AA is the level where teams put their blue-chip prospects just before they jump them to the show. At least a couple of these guys will be called up in September, maybe three of them. Arcia, Benson and Hicks are all high-ceiling prospects, and Tosoni has already played at the major league level, and he looked pretty good before he got hurt.

The 2013 Twins might just have a whole new outfield. Whether Denard Span remains may depend on his willingness to shift to right field, where I believe he would be an all-star. Otherwise, with Arcia in LF, Benson in CF and Hicks in RF, you've got solid LF, plus speed/plus arm in CF, and good speed/cannon arm in RF.

Where do Span and Revere fit into this picture? Revere might stick for defense and lead-off hitting if his average stays above .300. It's nice to have speed at all three outfield positions with a slim lead in a close game. Span's in the same situation. He's an established lead-off hitter, and a good one. Better arm than Revere, almost as fast. Revere gets the nod for base stealing. Personally, I'd keep Revere and deal Span, because the younger guy can also hit first, has less injury history, and he's cheaper.

Denard Span is an excellent player, but the guys coming up may be even better, and we know the Twins are leaning towards getting younger and cheaper.

SweetOne69
08-01-2012, 11:12 AM
First of all a 67% BS percentage is awful. If your percentage isn't greater than 75% you are bad at it.

2nd, Span has "only" been picked off 3 times this year. While it is still 3 too many it is far better than the 10 times he was picked of in 2009 and 2010.

Brock Beauchamp
08-01-2012, 11:20 AM
First of all a 67% BS percentage is awful. If your percentage isn't greater than 75% you are bad at it.

Not awful. Mediocre. What is the cutoff where stolen bases are of benefit versus doing harm? 70% or something like that, which Span is right around. He should definitely be better than that but it's not awful.

TKGuy
08-01-2012, 11:22 AM
Picked off counts as a caught stealing, so if he was picked off 3 times, then he would be 12 of 15 in actual attempts, 80%.

Brock Beauchamp
08-01-2012, 11:25 AM
Picked off counts as a caught stealing, so if he was picked off 3 times, then he would be 12 of 15 in actual attempts, 80%.

It's only considered caught stealing if the player makes a move toward the next base. If Span is taking too large a lead off first and is picked off diving back to the bag, it's not considered caught stealing.

James Richter
08-01-2012, 11:35 AM
Span's numbers in 2010 were mediocre because his BABIP was about 25 points below his career average. That happens to everybody once in awhile. I think he overreacted to it by being more aggressive at the plate, reducing his walk rate. Still, given normal luck his OPS would have easily been over .700 (which is about the best we can expect from Revere).

Last year, if you throw out the games in which he was trying to play through a concussion, he hit .298/.361/.408. As of today, he's hitting .297/.361/.402 in 2012. His non-concussed career averages are .291/.365/.395. Twins fans have undervalued him. The front office, fortunately, has not.

Nick Nelson
08-01-2012, 11:39 AM
I honestly think after this season the Twins should trade Revere at his high point, the return won't be as great but I worry about Revere's ability to continue to hit above .310 moving forward.
Why? He's done it everywhere.

StormJH1
08-01-2012, 11:46 AM
He's 12 for 18 this season. He should definitely be better than that but it's not an awful percentage.
For as solid as an "overall ballplayer" I think that Span is, he will never be a great basestealer. I think he has enough speed, but that isn't the problem. The fact that he gets on 1st as much as he does (singles and walks) and has only tried it 18 times tells you something. His problem is that he can't read pitchers and is literally the most likely guy to get picked off every year. If you can't generate a good lead with any confidence, you'll probably also get a late jump.

Which is just as well because most of the stats guys will tell you that basestealing is rarely worth the risk. It's just a good way of generating "free outs" for the defense, in addition to bunting.

Honestly, I don't think the return for Span was going to be enough to benefit us long-term or satisfy the fan base for losing an effective and popular player. If you can't achieve that objective, then why do you need to trade him? (Well, saving money, I guess).

This isn't a situation like Liriano or Delmon where the guy had one foot out the door anyway, so it doesn't matter if the returns are negligible. Span does have actually value to this franchise over the next few years. Plus (and I hate this, but it's true), I really do feel that TR and company are still in denial over what has happened in 2011 and 2012. The 2010 team was so successful, and it felt so good with the opening of the new park, that it's now become a detriment to our long-term development. Morneau's problems are well-documented, and while Mauer is elite at what he does, his skill set is not one that you can build a reliable offense around. Plug him into an already great lineup (like the Yanks or Red Sox lineups of the mid-2000's), and his ability to get on-base at a scarce position would be incredibly valuable. On this team, it has value, but not the kind of value that a Cabrera or other elite power hitter has.

I don't doubt that Span is young enough to figure into "our plans" several years down the road. I'm worried about what those plans are...and what they are not.

twinswon1991
08-01-2012, 11:49 AM
The concussion issues and repeated baserunning blunders keep his value down more than anything.

I like WAR but it doesnt account for the two very important factors

jokin
08-01-2012, 11:56 AM
Which is just as well because most of the stats guys will tell you that basestealing is rarely worth the risk. It's just a good way of generating "free outs" for the defense, in addition to bunting.



"In 'Stats Guys' We Trust"

TheLeviathan
08-01-2012, 12:38 PM
Good basestealers also help you avoid double plays and create scoring chance. Madtro almost single handedly got us on the board last night. Revere in the ninth kept us out of two. Span sat at first and created the need for an xbh or multiple hits rather than one. I still like him and he's a solid player, but the fact that he is a 15 SB a year guy rather than 40 hurts his value. And with his speed that is a shame because physically he should be capable but he's just awful at it instinctively.

jokin
08-01-2012, 12:51 PM
Good basestealers also help you avoid double plays and create scoring chance. Madtro almost single handedly got us on the board last night. Revere in the ninth kept us out of two.


And they disrupt pitcher's rhythm and IF defenses. Hit and runs create infield gaps for batters to exploit. But the stat guys know better...right....

snepp
08-01-2012, 12:54 PM
True. He's been picked off way too many times this season.

You mean every season?

snepp
08-01-2012, 12:58 PM
And they disrupt pitcher's rhythm and IF defenses. Hit and runs create infield gaps for batters to exploit. But the stat guys know better...right....

Hit and runs also mess with the batter, forcing them to swing at crap they would otherwise take.

Brock Beauchamp
08-01-2012, 01:20 PM
And they disrupt pitcher's rhythm and IF defenses. Hit and runs create infield gaps for batters to exploit. But the stat guys know better...right....

I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a stat guy that doesn't believe a speedy runner on first is disruptive and changes how the game is played. The only quantification I've seen about base-stealing is that if you're not successful around 70% of the time, you're actually costing your team runs instead of benefiting it.

Nick Nelson
08-01-2012, 01:24 PM
In fairness, Span does lead the team with 27 doubles so he's at least been putting himself on second base fairly often without needing to steal. He'll probably finish the season with around 40 doubles and 20 steals. I'll take that.

twinzgrl
08-01-2012, 01:44 PM
I'm still confused by the Twin's thinking that Clete Thomas and Komatsu were better answers to our outfield when they shipped Revere to AAA earlier this season. But, then again, they thought Marquis would be a serviceable starter. I agree with whoever said that they are in denial.

mike wants wins
08-01-2012, 01:44 PM
Span is a very good baseball player, but he is an outfielder, and they have four in AA. The only way this team gets better is by trading for pitching, and the only position to do that from is the outfield.

jokin
08-01-2012, 01:49 PM
Hit and runs also mess with the batter, forcing them to swing at crap they would otherwise take.

Obviously, everything is situational, it makes no sense to HnR with poor contact guys and the power hitters, but it makes a lot of sense with guys that hack alot at a high contact rate, tend to GIDP at a hi %, or hit like Carroll.

jokin
08-01-2012, 01:53 PM
Obviously, everything is situational, it makes no sense to HnR with poor contact guys and the power hitters, but it makes a lot of sense with guys that hack alot at a high contact rate, tend to GIDP at a hi %, or hit like Carroll.

That was just a bad example of HnR. (Willingham K/Mauer CS DP, WTF-ouch!)

Paul
08-01-2012, 02:21 PM
...The only quantification I've seen about base-stealing is that if you're not successful around 70% of the time, you're actually costing your team runs instead of benefiting it.

I'm curious. Do you know if the 70% finding is the derived from historical results? Or is it simply the mathematics of probabilities using assumed or actual values on the variables?

Brock Beauchamp
08-01-2012, 02:26 PM
I'm curious. Do you know if the 70% finding is the derived from historical results? Or is it simply the mathematics of probabilities using assumed or actual values on the variables?

You know, I'm not sure. It's probably been close to ten years since I read that study. I can't remember.

TheLeviathan
08-01-2012, 06:08 PM
In fairness, Span does lead the team with 27 doubles so he's at least been putting himself on second base fairly often without needing to steal. He'll probably finish the season with around 40 doubles and 20 steals. I'll take that.

It's a very good player - Span is probably my favorite Twin at this point - but I'm just suggesting that we overlook just how valuable he'd be as a 40 double-40 steal guy. His speed is capable of that, his instincts are just brutal.

It's almost sad to watch him try to be that guy, but he's just not able to do it. He can't read a pitcher's move to save his life.

TheLeviathan
08-01-2012, 07:47 PM
Also....Span's home/road splits are amazing. What the hell?

biggentleben
08-02-2012, 11:45 AM
Cristian Guzman was similar to Span, minus the OBP. Tremendously quick, but a horrid base stealer. He was a very good base runner, however, in fact, I'd say he's one of the best I've ever seen live at running bases. He didn't get the triples he did by accident.

Alex
08-02-2012, 12:22 PM
You know, I'm not sure. It's probably been close to ten years since I read that study. I can't remember.

The book by Tom Tango. It's derived from actual numbers.

diehardtwinsfan
08-02-2012, 03:37 PM
Cristian Guzman was similar to Span, minus the OBP. Tremendously quick, but a horrid base stealer. He was a very good base runner, however, in fact, I'd say he's one of the best I've ever seen live at running bases. He didn't get the triples he did by accident.

No, but he did get help from the concrete under the metrodome turf.