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View Full Version : Terry Ryans Rules for constructing a low cost, risk averse winner as i see it part I



Brandon
10-03-2013, 12:44 AM
I am going to breakdown the concepts I introduced the other day into a series so we can go more in depth into each area of what I mean exactly with each rule. The goal is to construct a team with the most cumulative talent at the lowest cost with the lowest amount of risk in the process. When you consider the costs we need to be mindful of, the Twins have stated they will use up to 52% of their revenues and we have seen them go as high as 110 million. So that’s our ceiling. So with that in the back of our minds let’s start with pitching since it is the biggest issue. What does out staff ERA need to look like to give us a chance at 90 wins next year? Teams 2-7 in the AL team ERA all won 90+ games. Kansas City led the League but only won 86. Cleveland was 7th with a 3.82 and Detroit was 3rd at 3.61. So I think it is safe to say that a 3.70 ERA would give us a great chance at 90 wins next season if all things remain the same. How do we get to a 3.70 team ERA? Detroit’s starters had a 3.45 ERA while their bullpen era is closer to 4.01 (from espn.com stats 2013 MLB Team Pitching Stats - Major League Baseball - ESPN (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/stat/pitching/seasontype/2/league/al) ). Our bullpen had an era at 3.50 because of the late season swoon from pitching by far the most innings this season so I am going to use 3.30 for this exercise (you can debate the numbers I am using these for this exercise regardless). This allows us to have a higher ERA for the rotation and still achieve our goal of a 3.70 team ERA. This brings us to the equation I introduced the other day. (I was surprised no one talked about this more or considered tweaking the numbers)
(Number of innings per game X earned runs per game) / 9 = weighted average of earned runs per game
Starters = (6 innings X N) / 9 = Unknown #
Relievers = (3 innings X 3.30 ERA) / 9 = 1.1 earned runs per game
Total earned runs should be 3.70
That would make the starters averaging 2.6 earned runs per game. Now we can solve the whole equation and get the following needed rotation ERA to reach our goal.
Starters = (6 innings X 3.90 earned runs) /9 = 2.6 Earned runs per game.
So we need a rotation ERA of 3.90 to end up with the team ERA of 3.70. The most cost effective way to achieve this goal is to find 5 starting pitchers who all average 6 innings per start with a 3.90 era capability. There are costs associated up or down depending on performance and likely continued performance on the FA market. And those costs do not go in a linear line. A pitcher who can pitch to a 2.50 ERA is likely to command a 20+ million per season and 5+ years like Kershaw, Greinke, Verlander. The next tier is someone who can be in the low 3.00’s will command 15-20 million like Sanchez (Schertzer is about to get paid too). Then you have the 3.5 ish pitchers like Edwin Jackson who got 4 years 52 million. Then there are those from last offseason who got 2 year deals in the 10-15 million. Those are good budget pitchers if you get the right ones. (these examples are not exact) The most ideal pitcher coming on the market this offseason is Scott Feldman who had 181.2 innings with a 3.86 ERA. MLBtraderumors.com is estimating a 2 year 17 or 3 year 25 tops for him (this is great because the contract is less money per year and less years for the risk averse) AL East Notes: Orioles, Matusz, Casilla, Red Sox: MLB Rumors - MLBTradeRumors.com (http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/10/al-east-notes-orioles-matusz-casilla-red-sox.html)
If we signed Feldman this offseason we would have a rotation of Feldman, Corriea, and Dedunno with 1 spot for a free agent and one for the 5th/6th/ and 7th starters next season Gibson, Albers, Diamond, Hendriks, and potential future ace Meyer when he is ready. So we have room for 1 more FA. We can go expensive and get Tanaka or Ervin Santana or go down a tier and there are several to choose from, or a buy low candidate like Hughes with high upside and lower risk, Pelfry is more stable at a lower cost as well. This will make for an interesting debate. But I propose we hold off to the end of the exercise and determine our other needs and options available at likely costs and how we want to allocate them with this offseason and beyond in mind.

Some side notes on this topic. While getting 5 pitchers close to the aggregate is in theory the lowest risk and lowest cost way to build a rotation, we can do other things too such as sign an expensive FA and a minor league FA to compete for a spot. Or an even better idea is a market efficiency such as Santana’s first contract extension of 4 years and 42 million which was a bargain while his next extension of over 120 million was not. Meyer is the hope for an ace in that regards but his extension is a few years away. Radke was also a market efficiency for us as he signed below market deals to remain here.
Last post I pointed out the 2010 Twins rotation to prove that an ace is not needed to be a winning team. Also that a low cost bullpen can be valuable. Who was more valuable this season? Verlander with a 3.46 era in 218 innings at 20 million salary or our bullpen with a 3.50 era in 579 innings at a total lower cost than Verlander…. You decide.

TheLeviathan
10-03-2013, 06:08 AM
Your final point has a number of flaws. First, having an ace and a good cheap bullpen are hardly mutually exclusive. Hell, is argue Ryan's prowess at rostering cheap, good bullpens actually should facilitate more spending on SP, not discourage it. Second, you are comparing apples to oranges - Verlander is still more valuable because his role is still far more crucial as an individual versus some conglomerate of guys with different roles. Third, you seem to be minimizing the value of starting pitching. Having a rotation of guys like Feldman and Correia might keep you vaguely competitive if your offense is great but it has no margin for error. We saw this with our collapse - when guys like Blackburn or Diamond fail....they fail HARD. A guy like Verlander has a down year and he's still a damn fine pitcher. Good bullpens are a luxury you seek when you are competing, rotations are essential to compete.

And fourthly, cost effectiveness need not be our primary concern. That mentality is a major part of the problem.

old nurse
10-03-2013, 06:26 AM
The Feldman contact guess will be off. He is going to get a raise. When last fall the speculation about how much it would take to sign a player most came back low. Buy a TD handbook and see how far off knowledgeable people can be. IIRC there was a post from someone thinking that Sanchez would get an 8 million/yr contract

JB_Iowa
10-03-2013, 08:09 AM
The following is an excerpt from a Danny Knobler story on cbssports.com about last night's Ray's win. To me, it encapsulates the reason why you can't substitute 5 mid-level pitchers (which the Twins don't even approach anyway) for at least one ace (or near Ace):

"Cobb stayed calm, even when the Indians loaded the bases with one out in the fourth inning, even when the first two batters reached in the fifth. Pitching coach Jim Hickey came to the mound, not so much to settle him as to just allow him to reset.

'He doesn't need to slow him down,' second baseman Ben Zobrist said. '[Cobb] never seems fazed by anything.'

Cobb said he learned from watching Price, just as Price once learned from James Shields. Cobb watched Price handle the playoff-like atmosphere Monday in Texas, and figured he could do the same."

Noise is nice, but pitching is better, and Rays beat the Indians - CBSSports.com (http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/danny-knobler/23973697/noise-is-nice-but-pitching-is-better-and-rays-beat-the-indians)

There is significant value to having a great leader on your pitching staff. We've seen it with the Rays per this post and with how Scherzer and Fister, et. al. have learned from Verlander. They are the stopper. They also take responsibility and put the team on their shoulders -- and they are teachers, more so than any pitching coach could be.

The Twins had a hint of it with the 2010 Pavano although that was soon derailed by age and injuries.

Cliche or not, good pitching does seem to breed good pitching.

Brandon
10-03-2013, 08:26 AM
Actually what I am saying is to look at the aggregate pitching. It doesn't matter how your team gets to a 3.7 ERA in this example. what matters is that the team has a 3.7 era. And I am not saying it is right or wrong. I am saying this is how I see he Twins and Terry Ryan approach constructing his pitching staffs. This is why he goes after the pitchers he does. Ryan seems to go after average or less than average pitchers because he has a good bullpen to balance it out. He does this because that is the most economical and risk averse way to get to the Team ERA goal to compete. It does work but you need the other aspects to win as well. hence why I wrote all the rules the first time. I will try to show how these interconnect as I go. the bullpen and rotation ERA are combined and aggregated when looking at the final number of where we need to be.

Brandon
10-03-2013, 08:30 AM
The Feldman contact guess will be off. He is going to get a raise. When last fall the speculation about how much it would take to sign a player most came back low. Buy a TD handbook and see how far off knowledgeable people can be. IIRC there was a post from someone thinking that Sanchez would get an 8 million/yr contract

mlbtraderumors has been fairly accurate in arbitration guesses so while I do not expect them to be 100% right but from a deserving or arbitration standpoint the contract is not far off and if he does get more I doubt it will be too much. What do you anticipate Feldman making?

Brandon
10-03-2013, 08:38 AM
The following is an excerpt from a Danny Knobler story on cbssports.com about last night's Ray's win. To me, it encapsulates the reason why you can't substitute 5 mid-level pitchers (which the Twins don't even approach anyway) for at least one ace (or near Ace):

"Cobb stayed calm, even when the Indians loaded the bases with one out in the fourth inning, even when the first two batters reached in the fifth. Pitching coach Jim Hickey came to the mound, not so much to settle him as to just allow him to reset.

'He doesn't need to slow him down,' second baseman Ben Zobrist said. '[Cobb] never seems fazed by anything.'

Cobb said he learned from watching Price, just as Price once learned from James Shields. Cobb watched Price handle the playoff-like atmosphere Monday in Texas, and figured he could do the same."

Noise is nice, but pitching is better, and Rays beat the Indians - CBSSports.com (http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/danny-knobler/23973697/noise-is-nice-but-pitching-is-better-and-rays-beat-the-indians)

There is significant value to having a great leader on your pitching staff. We've seen it with the Rays per this post and with how Scherzer and Fister, et. al. have learned from Verlander. They are the stopper. They also take responsibility and put the team on their shoulders -- and they are teachers, more so than any pitching coach could be.

The Twins had a hint of it with the 2010 Pavano although that was soon derailed by age and injuries.

Cliche or not, good pitching does seem to breed good pitching.

This is a great point on why aces or veterans are good to have around but the point I am making is this is how the Twins use statistics to build their staff and try to minimize risks. Everyone says the Twins don't use statistics to build a team but no one ever writes about the aggregate and only writes about the individual. Terry Ryan builds his staff by thinking of the aggregate more than the individual.

notoriousgod71
10-03-2013, 09:37 AM
I have an easy solution to how to get our staff to a 3.70 ERA. Just pay Stew to charge more errors. Then we can artificially make the ERA to our liking.

Siehbiscuit
10-03-2013, 09:58 AM
Everyone says the Twins don't use statistics to build a team but no one ever writes about the aggregate and only writes about the individual. Terry Ryan builds his staff by thinking of the aggregate more than the individual.

I completely understand the math, so that is not the problem and I am not blaming you for being the messenger of TR's thought process. The problem I have is that after the Twins FO figures out the bullpen portion of the ERA formula (1.10/game in this scenario) the FO goes after guys that could get to the projected ERA in a best case scenario. Correia pitched better than any of us expected, but still fell short. If Pelfrey could have reached his potential, MAYBE he could have reached the ERA that was required to get us to that magical 3.70 team ERA. Investing in higher quality starters is a must. I am not completely opposed to this philosophy, if there are young, cheap arms that are already in the system (like if it were 2016 and Meyer, Gibson and May have all pitched to their potential. Filling in the backend of the rotation with a Correia to give a the team a veteran presence is one thing, but to lead a rotation as the likely Opening Day starter is another. There is money to get better starting pitching, but hanging the season on the Pelfrey's and Correia's of the world to have their best season ever is a poor strategy.

Badsmerf
10-03-2013, 10:06 AM
Brandon, you offer this up theoretically, but the game doesn't work that way. A pitcher that sits under a 4 ERA is worth over 10m per year. When a guy like Kazmir or Colon do it, it is because someone took a gamble and gave them a shot. When a guy like Sanchez does it, he is being paid a lot of money because he has expectations. The Twins took a gamble on Rich Harden, and he didn't pitch an inning this season.

Finding 5 starters that can pitch 6 innings with an aggregate 3.90 ERA is incredibly tough when you don't even have 1 starter with an ERA under a 4.18 ERA (unless you count Albers, who only threw 60 innings... but I wouldn't). That is not an easy task when you want to sign guys like Pelfrey, Feldman (who I want no part of) etc. You can't count on those guys to have an ERA under 4. They are ok guys to fill out a rotation, but not when you don't have legitimate talent to go with it. The Twins don't need more back of the rotation starters, they need a power arm that can compete for a Cy Young. Problem is, every team needs and wants that so they are expensive.

I would trade our entire bullpen for Verlander without a hesitation. Would you? Asking which is more valuable is hilarious. Which is more rare? A bullpen that puts together a nice season or a guy that is considered one of the best 5 pitchers in baseball?

Counting on a bullpen to bail you out of games is foolish. You know why the bullpen threw that many innings? Because starters were getting destroyed and putting the team in a hole within the first 5 innings. When all you're doing is mop-up duty (Swarzak) there isn't a lot of pressure on you. There is a reason the market values high quality pitchers. GM's don't pay them 20m a year because they are good people, they pay them because they are the most important players on the roster.

Alex
10-03-2013, 10:09 AM
This is a great point on why aces or veterans are good to have around but the point I am making is this is how the Twins use statistics to build their staff and try to minimize risks. Everyone says the Twins don't use statistics to build a team but no one ever writes about the aggregate and only writes about the individual. Terry Ryan builds his staff by thinking of the aggregate more than the individual.

This is an interesting theory and maybe they do (not unlike Beane in the opening scene/chapter of Moneyball, but do you have evidence of that?)

Considering the resulting aggregates recently, I'd say there's little evidence of it, or at least he's not been successful in the evaluation to do so.

JB_Iowa
10-03-2013, 10:58 AM
This is a great point on why aces or veterans are good to have around but the point I am making is this is how the Twins use statistics to build their staff and try to minimize risks. Everyone says the Twins don't use statistics to build a team but no one ever writes about the aggregate and only writes about the individual. Terry Ryan builds his staff by thinking of the aggregate more than the individual.

I'm not going to address this here because I just wrote a reply to your initial thread on the whole idea of TR's "plan" as you call it.

Unfortunately I fear you are right about his plan, more's the pity.

TheLeviathan
10-03-2013, 11:21 AM
Actually what I am saying is to look at the aggregate pitching. It doesn't matter how your team gets to a 3.7 ERA in this example. what matters is that the team has a 3.7 era. And I am not saying it is right or wrong. I am saying this is how I see he Twins and Terry Ryan approach constructing his pitching staffs. This is why he goes after the pitchers he does. Ryan seems to go after average or less than average pitchers because he has a good bullpen to balance it out. He does this because that is the most economical and risk averse way to get to the Team ERA goal to compete. It does work but you need the other aspects to win as well. hence why I wrote all the rules the first time. I will try to show how these interconnect as I go. the bullpen and rotation ERA are combined and aggregated when looking at the final number of where we need to be.

well, you are kind of pulling a number out of thin air here. It's only one season you based on and there is very little to concretely suggest the Twins take this path. In fact, I'd argue the Twins concentrate on the exact opposite. They just want semi competent innings at SP and a reduced bullpen role, not a featured one. Moreover, filling your rotation with mediocre players with no room for error makes your ERA mark infinitely harder to attain.

spycake
10-03-2013, 11:43 AM
Who was more valuable this season? Verlander with a 3.46 era in 218 innings at 20 million salary or our bullpen with a 3.50 era in 579 innings at a total lower cost than Verlander…. You decide.

TR built a good bullpen in 2013, no one's disputing that. And he's built good ones before. But you cannot compare bullpens to starters like this. Until they double the roster size to 50, you need both.

Verlander 2013 WAR: 4.6 total or .021 WAR/IP *** and this was a "down" season for him!
Twins Bullpen 2013 WAR: ~6.7 total or .012 WAR/IP

Notice how one accumulates WAR at almost twice the rate of the others?

The current Twins are about as devoid of starting pitching as a major league organization can get. They either need to start using their best "asset" (spending room) to acquire some, or they need to admit they're perfectly happy wasting 5-6 seasons in cheap "rebuild" mode, waiting for future success which might never come.

spycake
10-03-2013, 12:02 PM
If we signed Feldman this offseason we would have a rotation of Feldman, Corriea, and Dedunno with 1 spot for a free agent and one for the 5th/6th/ and 7th starters next season Gibson, Albers, Diamond, Hendriks, and potential future ace Meyer when he is ready. So we have room for 1 more FA. We can go expensive and get Tanaka or Ervin Santana or go down a tier and there are several to choose from, or a buy low candidate like Hughes with high upside and lower risk

Any of Feldman, Hughes, Tanaka, Ervin Santana, Josh Johnson, etc. will command a contract worth at least twice as much as the Twins have ever bestowed upon a free agent pitcher. Some of them almost certainly more than our biggest outside free agent position player signing too.

So if you expect them to sign TWO of that group, in the same offseason... that's optimism.

For the record, I'd endorse a plan to sign two of that type of group, almost regardless of the money or years needed. The Twins have the cash and have no other outlets for it, for at least 4+ years. Throw in a lottery ticket like Johan or Halladay and I'd be especially pleased.

howieramone
10-03-2013, 12:39 PM
Any of Feldman, Hughes, Tanaka, Ervin Santana, Josh Johnson, etc. will command a contract worth at least twice as much as the Twins have ever bestowed upon a free agent pitcher. Some of them almost certainly more than our biggest outside free agent position player signing too.

So if you expect them to sign TWO of that group, in the same offseason... that's optimism.

For the record, I'd endorse a plan to sign two of that type of group, almost regardless of the money or years needed. The Twins have the cash and have no other outlets for it, for at least 4+ years. Throw in a lottery ticket like Johan or Halladay and I'd be especially pleased.The Hot Stove League is a time for optimism. Ryan was recently quoted as saying even our best assets, Sano and Buxton, are not off the table in the right deal. We have money to spent, we have assets to trade, let's see how this plays out.

JB_Iowa
10-03-2013, 12:55 PM
The problem on free agents should not be the money but it will be the years. Even in Sid Hartman's column this morning there was the following sentence: Don’t expect the Twins CEO to sign off on pricey long-term deals, but he realizes personnel needs upgrading.

I'm not going to go back through all the Pohlad interviews but there has been a consistent pattern of making it clear that short-term dollars are okay but there is a definite unwillingness to commit to long-term deals.

The number of years will be a huge factor in whether the Twins are able to sign quality free agents.

Shane Wahl
10-03-2013, 01:08 PM
Three years can get you Hughes and Feldman pretty easily. Santana might demand 4 years unless the dollar amount is high for the three years.

I would honestly look to give market value and then add money in incentives to try to entice. Probably innings pitched. Santana at 3/45 plus up to 3 million a year in incentives might be enticing to him.

I would like an owner to approach the market in this way. Build in incentives that you aren't going to mind paying since it will mean good-great performance.

oldguy10
10-03-2013, 02:13 PM
Somewhat off topic but here goes - Quite a bit of praise is heaped on the Twins' bullpen for a good year in 2013 but most of it is predicated on their ERA's being decent to good. However, allowing inherited runners to score or not is never brought up and isn't that the best barometer for relief pitchers? I sure think so, how about some intelligent discourse on this topic?

ThePuck
10-03-2013, 02:16 PM
Somewhat off topic but here goes - Quite a bit of praise is heaped on the Twins' bullpen for a good year in 2013 but most of it is predicated on their ERA's being decent to good. However, allowing inherited runners to score or not is never brought up and isn't that the best barometer for relief pitchers? I sure think so, how about some intelligent discourse on this topic?

I've brought that up many times in here over the last month or so. IMO, part of that is Gardy waiting too long to make the necessary moves, but certainly part of it is on the bullpen as well. It has been talked about, though....but Ryan isn't going to bring it up. Besides Pelfrey and Correia, it's the bullpen and the up the middle defense he wants to emphasis as good.

spycake
10-03-2013, 02:41 PM
The Hot Stove League is a time for optimism. Ryan was recently quoted as saying even our best assets, Sano and Buxton, are not off the table in the right deal. We have money to spent, we have assets to trade, let's see how this plays out.

This front office has a track record that inspires pessimism. Yes, they built a nice winner from 2001-2010 but TR helmed 6 losing seasons prior (and the org as a whole had 8 losing seasons prior). He's never really helmed a quick turnaround, certainly not with the kind of teams we fielded in 2013. The 2000 Twins were much, much better positioned than their 2013 counterparts. (Same with past Twins turnarounds 1986 and 1990)

Also, we have assets to trade? That's crazy talk. Yeah, I am sure we could trade Sano and Buxton, but those kind of trades are rare for a reason. I'm not sure if a trade like that has ever been done by a team as bereft of MLB-ready talent as the 2013 Twins.

ThePuck
10-03-2013, 02:44 PM
This front office has a track record that inspires pessimism. Yes, they built a nice winner from 2001-2010 but TR helmed 6 losing seasons prior (and the org as a whole had 8 losing seasons prior). He's never really helmed a quick turnaround, certainly not with the kind of teams we fielded in 2013. The 2000 Twins were much, much better positioned than their 2013 counterparts. (Same with past Twins turnarounds 1986 and 1990)

Also, we have assets to trade? That's crazy talk. Yeah, I am sure we could trade Sano and Buxton, but those kind of trades are rare for a reason. I'm not sure if a trade like that has ever been done by a team as bereft of MLB-ready talent as the 2013 Twins.

Additionally, I think there's zero chance Buxton is on the table and close to zero chance for Sano as well, regardless of what Ryan says.

Alex
10-03-2013, 05:05 PM
Additionally, I think there's zero chance Buxton is on the table and close to zero chance for Sano as well, regardless of what Ryan says.

If Perkins goes down, we'll need them to grab Capps.

Major Leauge Ready
10-03-2013, 06:17 PM
Three years can get you Hughes and Feldman pretty easily. Santana might demand 4 years unless the dollar amount is high for the three years.

I would honestly look to give market value and then add money in incentives to try to entice. Probably innings pitched. Santana at 3/45 plus up to 3 million a year in incentives might be enticing to him.

I would like an owner to approach the market in this way. Build in incentives that you aren't going to mind paying since it will mean good-great performance.

I think this is a very smart approach. The FA market is pretty darn thin and would be a big mistake to go 4 or 5 years right now. An agressive 3 year contract as you have suggested has a good chance of landing SPs that will make a difference without risking our future. One of the changes I would like to see instituted is to extend key players early in the careers like the Rays have done.

I hope the are really agressive with Sanatana and Hughes on 3 year deals. Add those two guys and this is a much better team.

Teflon
10-03-2013, 10:26 PM
Actually what I am saying is to look at the aggregate pitching. It doesn't matter how your team gets to a 3.7 ERA in this example. what matters is that the team has a 3.7 era. And I am not saying it is right or wrong. I am saying this is how I see he Twins and Terry Ryan approach constructing his pitching staffs. This is why he goes after the pitchers he does. Ryan seems to go after average or less than average pitchers because he has a good bullpen to balance it out. He does this because that is the most economical and risk averse way to get to the Team ERA goal to compete. It does work but you need the other aspects to win as well. hence why I wrote all the rules the first time. I will try to show how these interconnect as I go. the bullpen and rotation ERA are combined and aggregated when looking at the final number of where we need to be.

The fallacy of believing you can offset the ERAs of your starting staff with the ERAs of your relievers and achieve the same number of wins is the fallacy of believing that innings pitched by relievers when trailing occur in wins as frequently as innings pitched when holding the lead.

Brandon
10-03-2013, 11:04 PM
The fallacy of believing you can offset the ERAs of your starting staff with the ERAs of your relievers and achieve the same number of wins is the fallacy of believing that innings pitched by relievers when trailing occur in wins as frequently as innings pitched when holding the lead.

If we average 3.7 earned runs per game given up who cares how they are given up. TR doesn't and that is why he patterns the staffs this way. The dollars and years are too high so he goes after lesser pitchers for the rotation. How often has the Twins signed a good pitcher in FA? Once when the pitcher had no where else to go. He kept the team good by having a strong relief corps to follow the starting pitcher. How often did we have a vulture reliever go in and get a win? Crain won 12 one year, Fiore won 10 another, Guerrier and Rincon would win 4-6 games consistently, with a strong bullpen we are able to come back a lot of times as long as the game wasn't too far gone by the time they came in.

Note the 3.7 ERA is a number I came up with.

beckmt
10-03-2013, 11:27 PM
Twins will have to spend more money than I think they will to come close to the 3.7 number. You need starters to go 6+ innings for that to happen. Those starters do not come cheap.

USAFChief
10-04-2013, 07:59 AM
If we average 3.7 earned runs per game given up who cares how they are given up. TR doesn't and that is why he patterns the staffs this way.


The Twins have come close to a 3.7 team ERA once in the TR years (2005).

I think he should find another pattern.

Brandon
10-04-2013, 08:49 AM
3.7 would put the Twins 5th in the league in ERA. They have been 5th before. I think they were 5th in 2010. The environment to score runs is changing and going down across the board.

spycake
10-04-2013, 09:22 AM
The Twins have come close to a 3.7 team ERA once in the TR years (2005).

I think he should find another pattern.

To be fair to the OP, a 3.7 team ERA in 2013 would have equated to roughly a 109 ERA+ in Target Field. The Twins have eclipsed that a few times, although not since 2006.

To be more critical of the OP, the team ERA+ last year was 89, the third straight year at or below that number. Previously, the Twins hadn't had a single year ERA+ mark that low since 1995, another mess that TR largely inherited but did not turn around quickly.

spycake
10-04-2013, 09:32 AM
Looking at yearly ERA+ numbers, looks like our recent max year-to-year swing was about 14 points (adding 14 from 2003 to 2004, subtracting 14 from 2010 to 2011).

The Royals just had a 22 point jump, but they were far more aggressive last offseason than the Twins have ever been. The Indians made a 17 point jump, but of course they had suffered an 11 point drop from 2011-2012 due to career-worst performances from Masterson and Jimenez (plus the rotting hulk of Derek Lowe).

Joe A. Preusser
10-13-2013, 11:49 AM
I've brought that up many times in here over the last month or so. IMO, part of that is Gardy waiting too long to make the necessary moves, but certainly part of it is on the bullpen as well. It has been talked about, though....but Ryan isn't going to bring it up. Besides Pelfrey and Correia, it's the bullpen and the up the middle defense he wants to emphasis as good.

Inherited runners are the fault of the pitcher who put them on base. If I'm a starter and leave with the bases loaded, then I deserve to have a few runs charged against me for it. Getting out of that scenario scott-free is a gift which artificially deflates an ERA. If the Twins BP allowed more IRs to score than other teams, it is mostly because they came in to more situations where there were guys in scoring position. And that's not all on Gardy, it is more on our starters who seemed to be able to handle 5-6 innings of solid work and then quickly implode with little or no notice once the next inning started.

And I'm not sure what you meant by your last comment, Correia and the up-the-middle defense WERE good this year. Correia was better than at least one starting pitcher on every single MLB team this year...(Ok, I didn't fact check that one, but it's hard to believe that there was any MLB team with 5 starters under 4.2 ERA.)

Oxtung
10-13-2013, 12:31 PM
Inherited runners are the fault of the pitcher who put them on base. If I'm a starter and leave with the bases loaded, then I deserve to have a few runs charged against me for it. Getting out of that scenario scott-free is a gift which artificially deflates an ERA. If the Twins BP allowed more IRs to score than other teams, it is mostly because they came in to more situations where there were guys in scoring position. And that's not all on Gardy, it is more on our starters who seemed to be able to handle 5-6 innings of solid work and then quickly implode with little or no notice once the next inning started.

It certainly isn't "all on Gardy" but some of the blame is on his shoulders. It is his job to put the Twins in the best position possible to win games. If folding in the 5th or 6th inning is common for the starting pitchers then he needs to be ready to deal with that either pulling them before it happens or he needs to have a quick hook once they do start to struggle.


And I'm not sure what you meant by your last comment, Correia and the up-the-middle defense WERE good this year. Correia was better than at least one starting pitcher on every single MLB team this year...(Ok, I didn't fact check that one, but it's hard to believe that there was any MLB team with 5 starters under 4.2 ERA.)

I think he was saying that there are very few "bright" points on the team this season and the bullpen is one of them, like Correia and the middle defense. Ryan isn't going to go out of his way to tear down the BP about the inherited runners scored because they are one of the few things seen as a success this season.

As for Correia I didn't look at every team but he was better than only 5 of the 20 starters in the AL Central and none of those played for the Detroit Tigers.

Joe A. Preusser
10-13-2013, 05:21 PM
It certainly isn't "all on Gardy" but some of the blame is on his shoulders. It is his job to put the Twins in the best position possible to win games. If folding in the 5th or 6th inning is common for the starting pitchers then he needs to be ready to deal with that either pulling them before it happens or he needs to have a quick hook once they do start to struggle.



I think he was saying that there are very few "bright" points on the team this season and the bullpen is one of them, like Correia and the middle defense. Ryan isn't going to go out of his way to tear down the BP about the inherited runners scored because they are one of the few things seen as a success this season.

As for Correia I didn't look at every team but he was better than only 5 of the 20 starters in the AL Central and none of those played for the Detroit Tigers.

Of all qualified starting pitchers in MLB with at least 100 innings pitched, Correia's ERA checked in at 102. 102 divided by 30 teams = ~3.3. So on average, Correia was better than 1.7 of the starting pitchers for each team. I admit, that is a big generalization, and I apparently misunderstood Puck's intention in the first place, so I'm happy to let it drop.

As far as Gardy needing a quicker hook, I kind of go back and forth. My first, gut instinct tells me that if our SP isn't going 6+ innings consistently he isn't doing his job. By not catering to that weakness, Gardy is in a way holding them accountable for their performance. On the other hand, I agree there were a bunch of instances last year where we all just knew that our SP was doomed when he came back out for another inning. But at the end of the season, we all saw our pen was just gassed and much less effective. Maybe it was doomed from the start because we didn't add enough starting pitching who could be effective and protect the pen for the whole year?

As far as inherited runners go, I still put most of the blame on the SP. I'd be interested to see some stats on the number of IRs we handed off to the pen and how many scored, as well as how we stacked up %wise against other teams. I also wonder what the inning ERA is for those innings where pitchers enter the game with RISP.

Joe A. Preusser
10-13-2013, 05:24 PM
Additionally, I think there's zero chance Buxton is on the table and close to zero chance for Sano as well, regardless of what Ryan says.

It would have to be one of the best hauls in the history of MLB, something akin to the Herscheal Walker trade the Vikes made with the Cowboys. Otherwise there seems to be way too much hype built up around both of those guys to deal them.

dgwills
10-13-2013, 08:24 PM
What if we just abandoned our starting pitchers and had all relievers? We would have to cut down the position players to ten, but that would just take away the opportunity for Gardy to screw up pinch hitting. Double win. You could have the best bullpen arms in the game with all the money you would save.
Technically someone would have to start. We would just draw straws for it. I have to think we could have a better pitching staff that way. At the very least it would be interesting to see.

Siehbiscuit
10-14-2013, 10:08 AM
What if we just abandoned our starting pitchers and had all relievers? We would have to cut down the position players to ten, but that would just take away the opportunity for Gardy to screw up pinch hitting. Double win. You could have the best bullpen arms in the game with all the money you would save.
Technically someone would have to start. We would just draw straws for it. I have to think we could have a better pitching staff that way. At the very least it would be interesting to see.

I haven't thought about going to that extreme, but have thought about going to a 4 man rotation. Getting Gibson, Correia, Deduno and FA 'X' go 4-5 innings and then they are done. Hopefully, they can get through the order twice and not have to see it a third time. Then guys like Albers, Swarzak, Diamond, Duensing, Pressley and our other numerous AAAA caliber guys can be on a second rotation going the next two innings. This will limit the rotations exposure. The Twins still have three guys: Burton, Fien and Perkins to clean up the last two innings. The key is our starters gotta keep us in the game through at least 4 innings. Still not an easy thing to do with this staff.

Brandon
10-14-2013, 10:25 AM
TR built a good bullpen in 2013, no one's disputing that. And he's built good ones before. But you cannot compare bullpens to starters like this. Until they double the roster size to 50, you need both.

Verlander 2013 WAR: 4.6 total or .021 WAR/IP *** and this was a "down" season for him!
Twins Bullpen 2013 WAR: ~6.7 total or .012 WAR/IP

Notice how one accumulates WAR at almost twice the rate of the others?

The current Twins are about as devoid of starting pitching as a major league organization can get. They either need to start using their best "asset" (spending room) to acquire some, or they need to admit they're perfectly happy wasting 5-6 seasons in cheap "rebuild" mode, waiting for future success which might never come.

Verlanders 4.6 WAR cost 20 million the Twins bullpen cost half that with 6.7 WAR. we have 2.1 more WAR with an extra 10 million to spend. I just compared their value. and I would rather have the extra WAR even though Verlander is more entertaining.

ThePuck
10-14-2013, 10:32 AM
Verlanders 4.6 WAR cost 20 million the Twins bullpen cost half that with 6.7 WAR. we have 2.1 more WAR with an extra 10 million to spend. I just compared their value. and I would rather have the extra WAR even though Verlander is more entertaining.

Sorry, that doesn't even make sense. This ONE player is giving you a value that is 2/3 the value of EIGHT players. That's what make him, and pitchers like him, so valuable.

USAFChief
10-14-2013, 10:39 AM
Verlanders 4.6 WAR cost 20 million the Twins bullpen cost half that with 6.7 WAR. we have 2.1 more WAR with an extra 10 million to spend. I just compared their value. and I would rather have the extra WAR even though Verlander is more entertaining.
How'd that work out for the Twins?

old nurse
10-14-2013, 10:57 AM
The combined WAR for all Twins starters is exceded by every Detroit starter except Porcello who had a 3.2 WAR. That 3.2 WAR as a 5th starter made him by WAR the 36th best pitcher in MLB. As Detroit will attest, you need a good bullpen. A good bullpen doesn't do much for you when there is nothing there to protect.

ashburyjohn
10-14-2013, 12:21 PM
Verlanders 4.6 WAR cost 20 million the Twins bullpen cost half that with 6.7 WAR. we have 2.1 more WAR with an extra 10 million to spend. I just compared their value. and I would rather have the extra WAR even though Verlander is more entertaining.

Budget for salary is one (soft) constraint. The 25-man active roster limit is another (hard) constraint. WAR/dollar is fine but you can't assemble a 20+ WAR pitching staff, like Detroit did, one Casey Fein (0.4 WAR) at a time - unless you are allowed to use 50 men.

Alex
10-14-2013, 01:01 PM
Budget for salary is one (soft) constraint. The 25-man active roster limit is another (hard) constraint. WAR/dollar is fine but you can't assemble a 20+ WAR pitching staff, like Detroit did, one Casey Fein (0.4 WAR) at a time - unless you are allowed to use 50 men.

I'd add that innings are also a hard constraint. You have a finite amount of innings to accumulate WAR so if you're counting by WAR you need good pitchers in those innings.

Brandon
10-21-2013, 08:10 AM
Seeing as how the Tigers bullpen blew 1 excellent start and put another one of his starts out of reach against Boston in the playoffs I bet the Tigers would like to rethink their bullpen which also goes back to the mean argument I presented with this article. If you have excellent starting and a bad or below average bullpen vs an average rotation and a great bullpen you end up in the same area for team ERA. While the Tigers have the best rotation in the league, they didn't lead the American league in ERA as the Royals did that. When the pitching matches up aggregately then it comes down to inches to who will win the most and for the Twins those inches are found in the other rules I have been posting showing how the Twins gain those inches. There will be another post coming soon.

Badsmerf
10-21-2013, 10:48 AM
Seeing as how the Tigers bullpen blew 1 excellent start and put another one of his starts out of reach against Boston in the playoffs I bet the Tigers would like to rethink their bullpen which also goes back to the mean argument I presented with this article. If you have excellent starting and a bad or below average bullpen vs an average rotation and a great bullpen you end up in the same area for team ERA. While the Tigers have the best rotation in the league, they didn't lead the American league in ERA as the Royals did that. When the pitching matches up aggregately then it comes down to inches to who will win the most and for the Twins those inches are found in the other rules I have been posting showing how the Twins gain those inches. There will be another post coming soon.
Everyone knew the Tigers bullpen wasn't a strength. They just don't seem to assemble very good bullpens. Boston, however, has done very well with their bullpen. Also, the Tigers didn't lose that series because of their bullpen, they lost it because they scored less than 3 runs in 4 of the 6 games. Hard to win if you can't score.

I'm looking forward to your coming posts.

TheLeviathan
10-21-2013, 11:26 AM
One could argue the managerial decisions were every bit as liable as the actual bullpen performance. The real downfall was what Smerf alluded to - Boston's starters matched Detroits which negated a huge strength.