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Nick Nelson
02-19-2013, 11:40 PM
You can view the page at http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.php?r=1391-2013-Spring-Training-Preview

Grady Kruse
02-20-2013, 12:44 AM
Good take, but I'd put Dozier in the two hole. Mauer is too good of a hitter to feel the need to pull the ball to move Hicks to third with nobody out. Let someone who is less of a hitter sacrifice to move the runner.

Nate Haseman
02-20-2013, 09:28 AM
If I'm Kevin Correia, I've got a huge chip on my shoulder about all the negativity my signing has caused and I've got something to prove. I bet he puts up career numbers this year. I like this rotation a whole lot better than last year's. I think all of those young guys who put up pedestrian numbers in 2012 come out and show what they are capable of in 2013. If we go at least .500 in April, I think this team has a shot to do some things. GOD I LOVE SPRING!

jmlease1
02-20-2013, 10:21 AM
Mauer is very well suited to be the #2 hitter, but Gardy won't put him there. History tells us he'd rather have one of his middle INF at the spot. But the lineup posted above is very strong 2-7. But if Hicks or Dozier can't hit/get on-base there's going to be a pretty nasty gap over 8-9-1.

I agree the odds of the Twins succeeding this season aren't high. There are enough pieces there to make it happen, but as we saw last season when you have too many question marks the odds aren't good. I believe this lineup will end up scoring runs roughly equivalent to last season (which is good) and the bullpen should be dependable and reasonably strong. But there are loads of question marks all over the rotation.

LewFordLives
02-20-2013, 12:02 PM
I wouldn't shed a tear if they cut ties with Burnett and/or Swarzak and gave a shot to one of the new guys they acquired (Pressley, Roenicke, Wood). I assume you included Perez only because you believe Gardenhire will insist on another lefty.

cmathewson
02-20-2013, 12:29 PM
Good work. It will be interesting to see what happens when Diamond is ready. Probably Hendriks goes down until Gibson runs out of innings. But what if Hendriks, Gibson, Worely and Pelfrey shine, Correia tanks and Diamond is ready?

Nick Nelson
02-20-2013, 12:52 PM
I assume you included Perez only because you believe Gardenhire will insist on another lefty.
Basically I just wanted to take a little bit of a leap since most of my picks were on the safe side. I think Perez will impress people and force his way into the picture. And yes, I do think Gardy will want an extra lefty, especially since Perkins is going to be a match-up guy.


Good work. It will be interesting to see what happens when Diamond is ready. Probably Hendriks goes down until Gibson runs out of innings. But what if Hendriks, Gibson, Worely and Pelfrey shine, Correia tanks and Diamond is ready?

An interesting question and a very plausible scenario.

Riverbrian
02-20-2013, 01:13 PM
Good work. It will be interesting to see what happens when Diamond is ready. Probably Hendriks goes down until Gibson runs out of innings. But what if Hendriks, Gibson, Worely and Pelfrey shine, Correia tanks and Diamond is ready?

If anyone tanks... They should be placed in the bullpen or AAA or cut... It's that simple. I'm hoping that Gardy and Ryan don't try to complicate it by letting players work through the tankings.

Oldgoat_MN
02-20-2013, 01:34 PM
Cannot really see Hicks or Gibson on the opening day roster.
For a team that isn't going to threaten for the division championship it just doesn't seem like losing a year of control is worth it.
Still, I suppose it could happen...

twinsfan214
02-20-2013, 01:36 PM
The starting lineup doesn't look tooo bad but that bench makes me cringe.

Rosterman
02-20-2013, 01:44 PM
I see Wood and Roiencke pushing out Brunett (has options) and Swarzak (opens season on DL). Pressly is the dark horse. If those first two, of Fein, falters, look to DeVries to be a long man in the bullpen. Of course, if Perez becomes the 5th starter..... Would almost like to see a Thome on the bench, with Doumit getting more time in right and first.

CDog
02-20-2013, 02:42 PM
If anyone tanks... They should be placed in the bullpen or AAA or cut... It's that simple. I'm hoping that Gardy and Ryan don't try to complicate it by letting players work through the tankings.

I would argue that it SHOULD matter who is doing the tanking, the nature of the tanking, and the severity of the tanking. There are guys I'd be more willing to let work through some things on the big league roster than others. (I'm thinking of a younger guy who may just need the experience of figuring out major leaguers as opposed to someone who's doing something mechanically wrong that could be fixed elsewhere.)

CDog
02-20-2013, 02:45 PM
Good work. It will be interesting to see what happens when Diamond is ready. Probably Hendriks goes down until Gibson runs out of innings. But what if Hendriks, Gibson, Worely and Pelfrey shine, Correia tanks and Diamond is ready?

I think some of that will work itself out with Gibson's innings limit (and I haven't seen anything that makes it really clear to me when Diamond will be ready). But as Nick said, it's a pretty interesting question if you get possibly six or seven (or more) guys all performing at about the same level as starters.

cmathewson
02-20-2013, 03:41 PM
Cannot really see Hicks or Gibson on the opening day roster.
For a team that isn't going to threaten for the division championship it just doesn't seem like losing a year of control is worth it.
Still, I suppose it could happen...

The Twins are coming off consecutive 90+ loss seasons. Ticket sales are luke warm at best. They need to get off to a good start. It makes no sense to come north with anything less than their best roster.

CDog
02-20-2013, 04:39 PM
Mauer is very well suited to be the #2 hitter, but Gardy won't put him there.

Should be noted that Mauer got nearly a quarter of his plate appearances batting second as recently as 2009. Obviously some things have changed since then, but I don't think it's out of the question given the likely roster construction.

frightwig
02-20-2013, 06:24 PM
The Twins are coming off consecutive 90+ loss seasons. Ticket sales are luke warm at best. They need to get off to a good start. It makes no sense to come north with anything less than their best roster.

The better of the two projections currently at Fangraphs has Hicks hitting .249/.329/.404 this season; the other projects .217/.298/.340. Aside from the possibility of a flukey hot start, we probably should expect about league-average on-base skill + light pop if things go well for him this year, but there's also a strong possibility that he's just going to look in over his head.

Meanwhile, the same projections for Mastroianni have him between .256/.325/.350 and .235/.307/.329. If you plug him into CF for one month, instead of Hicks, how much of a difference to the team record is it likely to make?

Riverbrian
02-20-2013, 06:48 PM
I would argue that it SHOULD matter who is doing the tanking, the nature of the tanking, and the severity of the tanking. There are guys I'd be more willing to let work through some things on the big league roster than others. (I'm thinking of a younger guy who may just need the experience of figuring out major leaguers as opposed to someone who's doing something mechanically wrong that could be fixed elsewhere.)

Yeah... Context is always a trump card.

However... The only way that average pitching can work for a club is if everyone in the rotation is at least average.

If starts are gobbled up by pitchers throwing up numbers like Blackburn and Marquis did last year. Any depth of potentially average pitchers that we have is marginalized.

I'd hate to be the one to make that call... Who is just momentarily stumbling and who is in a deep i'm having issues funk. It's a thin line.

Oldgoat_MN
02-20-2013, 07:33 PM
The better of the two projections currently at Fangraphs has Hicks hitting .249/.329/.404 this season; the other projects .217/.298/.340. Aside from the possibility of a flukey hot start, we probably should expect about league-average on-base skill + light pop if things go well for him this year, but there's also a strong possibility that he's just going to look in over his head.

Meanwhile, the same projections for Mastroianni have him between .256/.325/.350 and .235/.307/.329. If you plug him into CF for one month, instead of Hicks, how much of a difference to the team record is it likely to make?

cmathewson had a reasonable business-based counter to my original post, but I agree with you, frightwig. In 2019 (or whenever it comes to be an issue) it will look pretty stupid that they gave up a year of control to try to salvage something out of the 2013 season.
--

Thrylos
02-20-2013, 07:54 PM
Beyond these three, there are a number of fringe contenders – such as Brian Duensing, Nick Blackburn, Rich Harden, Sam Deduno and Cole DeVries – that cannot be discounted.

kind of a detail but Blackburn will not be ready until June.

I just hope that Harden is healthy and ready and he got it, so he can be this team's ace. Otherwise these Twins are not going anywhere

cmathewson
02-20-2013, 08:18 PM
The better of the two projections currently at Fangraphs has Hicks hitting .249/.329/.404 this season; the other projects .217/.298/.340. Aside from the possibility of a flukey hot start, we probably should expect about league-average on-base skill + light pop if things go well for him this year, but there's also a strong possibility that he's just going to look in over his head.

Meanwhile, the same projections for Mastroianni have him between .256/.325/.350 and .235/.307/.329. If you plug him into CF for one month, instead of Hicks, how much of a difference to the team record is it likely to make?

Offensively, they might be comparable. But defensively, Hicks is the far better player.

Mauerpower
02-21-2013, 06:49 AM
I would start De Vries, Hendriks, and Deduno over Correia.Correia has had one decent season in the national league. I hope he proves me wrong. I just wouldn't take the risk without seeing what these young guys have first. Aslo, Escobar over Florimon

bcntwinsfan
02-21-2013, 08:19 AM
Good take, but I'd put Dozier in the two hole. Mauer is too good of a hitter to feel the need to pull the ball to move Hicks to third with nobody out. Let someone who is less of a hitter sacrifice to move the runner.

Dozier batting second? He's shown no on base skills in the majors. Carroll should bat second and start at second. Dozier needs regular playing time at AAA. And if anybody thinks that Hicks is going to be on the opening day roster and thus become a super 2, stop drinking the Kool Aid. Mastroianni and AAAA filler til June in center. They are punting on this season and we all know it. That being said, I'd go huge on the over of 64.5.

bcntwinsfan
02-21-2013, 08:49 AM
Hicks will not be called up til June. Super 2 sound familiar? Anybody who thinks that the Twins will give up an extra year of control, in a season they're punting on anyway, got past the security check points coming back from their recent trip to Jamaica.

grover738
02-21-2013, 08:51 AM
That looks like a 65 win roster to me. I hope they keep Hicks down for a few months to gain another year of service from him, no need to lose that year of control when he probably won't be that huge of an upgrade over Mastroianni. That bench is awful. I too think Pelfry will be one of the five starters. The 2-7 lineup is ok, should score some runs, but with those starters combined with that defense (weak in LF, RF, 3B) look out.

Hopefully they can trade some combo of Morneau / Willingham / minor league outfielder for a decent young middle infielder that can come up with the 2014/15 youth movement.

Nick Nelson
02-21-2013, 09:13 AM
Hicks will not be called up til June. Super 2 sound familiar? Anybody who thinks that the Twins will give up an extra year of control, in a season they're punting on anyway, got past the security check points coming back from their recent trip to Jamaica.

Guess Gardy must have gotten some of the good stuff then.

Steve Lein
02-21-2013, 10:41 AM
The Twins are coming off consecutive 90+ loss seasons. Ticket sales are luke warm at best. They need to get off to a good start. It makes no sense to come north with anything less than their best roster.

I'm in the camp that you should always go north with the "best roster," regardless of where the player's are on their Arbitration timeclock. I have never understood this thought process, and frankly, it should only weigh on penny-pinching franchises, which the Twins are not anymore, or at least shouldn't be operating as such (that's another debate). If a player is ready and seizes the opportunity, let him play and sort it all out later. It's a disservice to fans everywhere to keep any player held back when you know, or he's shown, that he can contribute more than what you have on the MLB roster.

And to everyone who is going to say "why would you want a guy on the MLB roster at age 23, when you could have him for an extra year during his peak at age 29." Well...

Look at the Twins history, if a player is brought up and he contributes a good amount to the MLB team, they extend him before the Arbitration years run out anyway. Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Denard Span, Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker... I'm sure there's plenty more examples. Also, if a guy is kicking ass and taking names at the MLB level, using Arbitration isn't exactly a good option to keep a player's contract costs down.

Frankly, to me, Arbitration is designed for players like Alexi Casilla. They've shown something, but not enough yet to warrant a long-term commitment, and if the price gets too high, you just let them go. I'd say it's pretty rare for a good player to make it to that last year of Arbitration without at least having extension talks, their arbitration prices just get too high. Take Mike Trout for example, you really think he's even going to go through the arbitration process once? I don't.

If Hicks takes the CF job on day 1 and runs with it, the same thing will happen with him (in addition to the fact you might have the best player available for your MLB CF job). If he falters, then what happens you ask? He gets sent back down to AAA and likely misses the MLB service time cutoff for Super 2 status anyway. Then, in 2014/15/16, If he ends up middling in the Majors like Casilla, are you really gonna be worried about having him around that age 29 season?!

It's all a moot point in Hicks' case if he doesn't show enough to win the job right out of ST, but I don't see why there is such a big issue with this. If a Span vs. Gomez ST situation plays out with Hicks vs. Mastroianni/Benson/etc... though, I'll be nonplussed, as will Gardy from the sounds of it.

ThePuck
02-21-2013, 12:55 PM
Should be noted that Mauer got nearly a quarter of his plate appearances batting second as recently as 2009. Obviously some things have changed since then, but I don't think it's out of the question given the likely roster construction.

...and only 2009. In that one season he also got almost about 40% of his plate appearances as a #2 hitter for his career.

nicksaviking
02-21-2013, 01:40 PM
Correia is getting the first Grapefruit League start. I wonder if this is an early indication of where they are leaning come opening day.

CDog
02-21-2013, 02:43 PM
...and only 2009. In that one season he also got almost about 40% of his plate appearances as a #2 hitter for his career.

True. I don't think that changes my point which was: The notion of Mauer hitting 2nd is in play to some extent. Not that it's likely or anything, just that there is some precedent. I don't expect it to happen. I get a morsel of hope from the fact that 2009 was a fairly good year for him (understatement intentional) and that he absolutely RAKED from the 2-spot that year, even compared to his more familiar slots.

CDog
02-21-2013, 02:44 PM
Correia is getting the first Grapefruit League start. I wonder if this is an early indication of where they are leaning come opening day.

I think it was made fairly clear that they were doing it for scheduling purposes to try and get him and extra turn before he leaves for the birth of his child. I feel like it's unlikely he'll be repeating that less than two months down the road!

Steve Lein
02-21-2013, 04:36 PM
True. I don't think that changes my point which was: The notion of Mauer hitting 2nd is in play to some extent. Not that it's likely or anything, just that there is some precedent. I don't expect it to happen. I get a morsel of hope from the fact that 2009 was a fairly good year for him (understatement intentional) and that he absolutely RAKED from the 2-spot that year, even compared to his more familiar slots.

It's funny how that year is also the only year he's really hit like a prototypical #3 hitter should... (outside of the Avg./OBP, of course)

ashburyjohn
02-21-2013, 04:57 PM
before he leaves for the birth of his child.

Maybe he would have had a better second half in 2012 if he hadn't been suffering from morning sickness.

LoganJones
02-21-2013, 05:27 PM
It's funny how that year is also the only year he's really hit like a prototypical #3 hitter should... (outside of the Avg./OBP, of course)
Of course Joe's SLG has been higher than league avg for 3rd place hitters in nearly all of his seasons. 2011 Being a glaring exception.

bcntwinsfan
02-21-2013, 06:28 PM
Guess Gardy must have gotten some of the good stuff then.

Come on Nick. You know as well as anybody that he has nothing to do with payroll decisions. I'm sure he wasn't a happy camper to lose both his center fielders and thus made that Hicks comment. But six weeks less of Hicks in the bigs is going to have almost no effect on their win total. Maybe they'll win 69 instead of 70. That being said, I'm going big on the over of 64.5. It's already moved up. That starting pitching disaster from last year happening again is about as likely as likely as Ponder throwing for 5000 yards next season.

Nick Nelson
02-22-2013, 02:06 AM
Come on Nick. You know as well as anybody that he has nothing to do with payroll decisions. I'm sure he wasn't a happy camper to lose both his center fielders and thus made that Hicks comment. But six weeks less of Hicks in the bigs is going to have almost no effect on their win total. Maybe they'll win 69 instead of 70. That being said, I'm going big on the over of 64.5. It's already moved up. That starting pitching disaster from last year happening again is about as likely as likely as Ponder throwing for 5000 yards next season.
I don't really have any idea what their win total will be, but I would like to see them put the best team on the field to start the season. I'm really not concerned about the guy's contract situation six years down the line. The phrase "it'll take care of itself" comes to mind, especially when you've got younger outfield prospects coming through the pipeline that could make him a trade candidate long before then.

grover738
02-22-2013, 09:06 AM
I don't really have any idea what their win total will be, but I would like to see them put the best team on the field to start the season. I'm really not concerned about the guy's contract situation six years down the line. The phrase "it'll take care of itself" comes to mind, especially when you've got younger outfield prospects coming through the pipeline that could make him a trade candidate long before then.

He'd have more value as a trade candidate if he was under control for an extra year....

The other thing to think about is that he never played in Rochester. At a certain point, the Red Wings are going to get pissed if the best players skip Rochester. They're running a business, want to put fans in the stands, the best way to do this is a better product on the field. Clete Thomas or whoever they'll have in center if Hicks skips AAA isn't going to sell tickets. I get that keeping Rochester happy isn't everything, but it is another factor to consider.

ashburyjohn
02-22-2013, 12:41 PM
I get that keeping Rochester happy isn't everything, but it is another factor to consider.

It's an excellent observation, since I believe it's pointless to play armchair-GM without at least attempting to see things through the eyes of the guy actually in the big chair.

Steve Lein
02-22-2013, 01:50 PM
Of course Joe's SLG has been higher than league avg for 3rd place hitters in nearly all of his seasons. 2011 Being a glaring exception.

Just an FYI - I've been doing a lot of research for an article I've been writing, which is basically about Joe Mauer vs. the rest of the #3 hitters in baseball (He's not nearly as good in this regard as you think) that I may or may not ever finish. For this, I have a spread sheet with all the primary #3 hitters for each team in the league last year.

The results of that show your statement is flat out not true (and I assume is the same for almost all other years). The "average" slugging percentage of primary #3 hitters last year was .489, Joe Mauer was .446. "Average" amount of HR's was 23.03, Mauer had 10.

And If I do a little more math instead of taking a straight "average", the slugging percentage of primary #3 hitters across the league last year was .491.

Now, he does come out above average in a lot of other categories, but he's not nearly the same level of run producer (which a #3 hitter should be) as most others.

And since you brought up slugging percentage, the only primary #3 hitters Mauer beat last year in this category were: Justin Upton, Jason Kipnis, Brett Wallace, Alex Rodriguez, Chase Utley, and Kyle Seager. That's only 6 out of the 29 other players.

And thanks Nick for agreeing with me about "best roster" going north and how 6 years down the line shouldn't come into the thought process!

ashburyjohn
02-22-2013, 02:37 PM
Now, he does come out above average in a lot of other categories, but he's not nearly the same level of run producer (which a #3 hitter should be) as most others.

#3's job is a blend of getting on base and driving in guys in front of him, since the 4-5-6 hitters on a good team are no slouches either. I hope you'll include OBA in your article. The Twins are a bit heavy on the table-setters and lack enough true power guys, but I would not straighten that out by monkeying too much with the best-balanced of our table-setters. If the thesis of your article will be to move Joe to #2, then whoever they move to #3 may not fare too well in your rankings either. Perceived deficiency in the #3 slot might just be a symptom of an overall teamwide deficiency in hitting talent.

Steve Lein
02-25-2013, 07:58 PM
I'm assuming you mean Weighted-On-Base-Average, which Joe fares pretty well in (as does every .300+ hitter), he is above average in that. But what it doesn't do is measure how good a guy is at "producing" runs by himself or when the opportunity presents itself (hitting HR's, men-on-base, etc...), it measure's that players own contribution to the potential for "scoring" a run himself (if I understand it right).

Take Adam Dunn. Last year his batting average was .115 pts lower than Mauer's, but his wOBA is only .030 points lower...

Joe also is one of the best OBP guys in the league, but that hurts his value as a run-producer as well. There is only one situation where a walk can score a run, and it's a pretty rare one.

If I'm comparing these primary #3 hitters with high OBP's (.370+, there are 12 of them) to their wOBA, Mauer's is on the low end (he beats only 2 of them, and not by much). And this is while he led the league in OBP.

It's very interesting stuff to see the data you can pull looking at this stuff.

One final stat of note I've found, is the "average" primary #3 hitter grounded into 11.5 double plays on the year. Joe had 23. Ironically, the only guy with more than Joe, was your AL MVP, Miguel Cabrera (with 28).

And even though I'm pulling all this data, I do agree with you, as much as I'd like to see Mauer hit #2, he's still probably the best fit on this team for #3. Only way I see it differently is If Morneau is raking, 'cause then it's him.

Willihammer
02-25-2013, 10:14 PM
This idea that the no. 1 hitter has to be a basestealing tablesetter, no. 2 hitter has to be a switch hitting bat handler who can bunt, no. 3 has to be a run producer, whatever - that all gets thrown out the window after the 1st inning, right? Heck, it gets thrown out the window in the first inning quite a bit.

Consider, you have a 1 and 2 hitter who OBP at .340 each. Well, math says .66^2 = .436. Meaning, almost half the time the 3 hitter gets up, there are 2 outs and the bases are empty. What do you want your 3 hitter to do, throw his plate discipline out the window? Cash in a few dozen more strikeouts for 3 or 4 solo home runs?

Joe is going to be 30. Why do people keep trying to square that circle. He's not a power guy, he's a hit and walk guy. Joe is what he is. He hits well in all situations. There's not a weak spot in his game.

glunn
02-26-2013, 01:04 AM
This is a great thread -- lots of insightful points and every poster has exhibited passion, intelligence and respect for other viewpoints.

I would love to see Mauer move up to #2 this year, for all of the reasons that have been given. But the arguments for him staying at #3 are almost as persuasive for me.