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The 5 Rule Draft

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 11:24 PM
This year's Rule 5 draft we lost Akil Baddo and Tyler Wells. So I thought I'd check to see how they were doing. 1st I checked on Baddo, h...
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Why isn't Buxton on MLB OPS leaders list?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:55 PM
Buxton is listed only on the MLB HR leaders list. Not on OPS or AVG or SLG or OBP. He should be the leader in several of these. He has as...
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2021 Regular Season Game Threads

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:40 PM
Welcome to the 2021 edition of Twins' Baseball. Twins Daily plans to have a game thread during the regular season for every game (one thr...
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Morneau

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 06:58 PM
I thought he was was really good last year. Maybe I'm on an opening day high (Not high) but he is so good.Who would have thought he would...
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Fun with Numbers 2021

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 06:27 PM
Nelson Cruz is on pace to hit over 150 home runs if he gets 500 at bats.   Josh Donaldson slash line:1.000/1.000/2.000/3.000
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Recent Blogs


AL Central Rundown: Left Field

There has been a lot of turnover in left field in the AL Central ahead of the 2021 season. Let's examine how the teams stack up at the position, both offensively and defensively.
Image courtesy of Image Courtesy of Jesse Johnson, USA Today Sports
The Rundown
Left field has become far more interesting ahead of the 2021 season. Every Central team besides the Twins have a good deal of certainty around the position. Ex Twins will man the position for two other Central teams in 2021, while the Royals recently traded for a reclamation project at the position. Let’s see what the division has to offer at left field in 2021.

Detroit Tigers
The Tigers recently brought former Twin Robbie Grossman in on a 2 year, $10MM deal. Grossman projects as Twins fans will remember him, a patient gap hitter. Grossman had an excellent season at the plate in 2020 for Oakland, putting up a 127 wRC+, mostly thanks to a HardHit% which improved 7.5% from 2019. Grossman has improved in the field since his Twins tenure, putting up 6 OAA in Oakland in his last two seasons (-15 in the previous 3 in Minnesota). Ultimately, Grossman projects as a slightly above average hitter in 2021 (105 wRC+), and a solid defender. He’ll likely put up 1.0-1.5 fWAR, and is the worst of the bunch in the AL Central.

Kansas City Royals
Andrew Benintendi’s trade to the Royals marked the final member of the 2018 World Series winning outfield departing the Red Sox. Benintendi has occupied a huge range of outcomes in his short career, putting up a 4.4 fWAR in 2018 and -0.5 fWAR in 2020 (in only 14 games). He’ll likely feature somewhere in the middle of those two extremes in 2021. Steamer projects him to put up 1.6 fWAR and be a marginally above average hitter (103 wRC+). Benintendi is a poor outfielder (-10 OAA in his last three seasons). Despite this, the Benintendi trade made a ton of sense for the Royals, who have a strong young offensive core and excellent organizational pitching depth. While it’s far from a sure thing, Benintendi is young enough to rebound and return to form as an above average left fielder.

Cleveland
It seemed almost inevitable that Eddie Rosario would sign with Cleveland after being non-tendered by the Twins. Rosario made improvements in his approach in 2020, adding 5% to a previously criminal BB%. He fills a huge need in Cleveland, where a few similar signings 3-4 years ago could have put them over the top for a World Series. Steamer projects Rosario for 1.6 fWAR in 2021, with a 108 wRC+. Rosario is a horrible defender, which is often overlooked because he has an incredible arm. In 2019 alone he put up -18 OAA, making him easily the worst fielding outfielder of those examined so far (still got to get to Eloy!). Remarkable throws, baserunning blunders, you'll likely see it all again, just in a different uniform.

Chicago White Sox
Get used to seeing Eloy Jimenez in left field for the White Sox. He’s signed through 2024 with two further years of team options. Acquired in the deal with the Cubs for Jose Quintana, Jimenez is a classic slugging outfielder. Huge bat, wretched, truly horrible glove. Jimenez mashed 45 HR over the last two seasons, and Steamer likes him to be the best of the AL Central bunch in 2021, projecting him for 3.3 fWAR and a 130 wRC+. It would be remiss not to mention his abjectness in the field, managing -14 OAA in left over the last two seasons. Make no mistake, he more than makes up for it adding another huge bat to a potent Sox offense.

Minnesota Twins
There should be a whole article about who will play LF for the Twins. Luckily, Matthew Lenz already wrote it. For the purposes of this preview, I’m going to focus on Kirilloff. While he likely starts in the minors to suppress service time, he’s the heir apparent to the position. Kirilloff is now a consensus top prospect but with only one MLB game, he’s not going to get a ton of love in projection systems.

Steamer projects a 101 wRC+ and 0.8 fWAR in 2021 from around 400 plate appearances. This feels like the floor for Kirilloff, with the eventual ceiling being an All Star outfielder. Kirilloff has averaged a 145 wRC+ in his last two MiLB seasons, and performed well at the alternate site in 2020.

Rooker has a big bat but is a poor outfielder (-2 OAA) in just 7 MLB games in 2020. He could be a good platoon option with Jake Cave for the first month of the season but is better suited to a DH or 1B role. Cave is a perfect 4th outfielder for the Twins, with a close to league average bat, good outfield defense, and the ability to play all three outfield positions. It's likely Luis Arraez may see time in left, particularly at the beginning of the season as the Twins will give a player projected to be AL batting champion as many ABs as possible.

Grade ‘Em

Attached Image: Screenshot (32).png

Detroit Tigers: D
Grossman is a solid addition and credit to the Tigers for adding to a poor team. Grossman is a league average hitter and a fine option for Detroit in 21/22 when they won’t be competing for the AL Central.

Kansas City Royals: C
Kansas City has had a great winter. Even if Benintendi doesn’t return to his 2018 peak, the Royals have acquired a solid MLB outfield to supplement their strong, young offensive core.

Cleveland: C+
There’s no denying Rosario is a good signing for Cleveland. He’s a solid, if streaky hitter but a vast improvement for a Cleveland outfield which has been miserable for years. You’ll get highs and lows. The dynamic of Twins VS Cleveland will be much more interesting as a result.

Chicago White Sox: A-
Despite being a horror show defensively, Eloy Jimenez is currently the cream of the crop in the central and probably the AL. He’s going to be a big, problematic bat in a great offensive for at least the next 4 seasons.

Minnesota Twins: B-
The Twins are hard to grade here. Kirilloff projects to be an excellent MLB hitter who is ready now. The Twins have enough options to keep his spot warm at a respectable level until he takes over the role full time sometime in 2021.

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11 Comments

I have to give the Cleveland team an A. Of course I am an Eddie fan, but take that away and think of what Cleveland has had in the OF the last two years.I have never seen a worse team of OFs than they have put together.So they get an A because they really changed the dynamics and if Francona is healthy Rosario will look even better in the OF.Their projected lineup has Eddie #3.In the final Off Season video on TD the panelists - Bonnes, Nelson, and Stohs were all stuck trying to put the lineup together because of Eddie's absence - that said a lo too.  

I really hope Kiriloff gives us a solid B - I am expecting it. 

KC has made some very interesting moves this off season and I am anxious to see what they put together. 

 

Detroit did better than the grade.For them any position that gives you anything above replacement is a positive.They deserve at least a C.

 

Eloy is a mystery.If Rosario is knocked down for his fielding and Giminez is much worse as you indicate than the grade is too high. 

    • DocBauer, Jamie Cameron, bighat and 1 other like this

I don't see how Rosario grades lower than Kiriloff for this season. I think Grossman is average which should make him a C.I agree Benintendi is a bit of an unknown but worth a shot for KC.Thanks for the article.

    • mikelink45 and Jamie Cameron like this

 

I don't see how Rosario grades lower than Kiriloff for this season. I think Grossman is average which should make him a C.I agree Benintendi is a bit of an unknown but worth a shot for KC.Thanks for the article.

 

If all goes well this season, you'll see.

    • Jamie Cameron likes this
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Jamie Cameron
Feb 22 2021 05:59 PM

Mike,

 

Thanks for reading and commenting. The grading process was hard. I relied in projected fWAR for the grades, which overwhelmingly made Eloy the best.

 

I know you don't want to hear this but the Twins are going to be better defensively without Eddie. I don't necessarily think uncertainty means they get knocked.

I have to give the Cleveland team an A. Of course I am an Eddie fan, but take that away and think of what Cleveland has had in the OF the last two years.I have never seen a worse team of OFs than they have put together.So they get an A because they really changed the dynamics and if Francona is healthy Rosario will look even better in the OF.Their projected lineup has Eddie #3.In the final Off Season video on TD the panelists - Bonnes, Nelson, and Stohs were all stuck trying to put the lineup together because of Eddie's absence - that said a lo too.  

I really hope Kiriloff gives us a solid B - I am expecting it. 

KC has made some very interesting moves this off season and I am anxious to see what they put together. 

 

Detroit did better than the grade.For them any position that gives you anything above replacement is a positive.They deserve at least a C.

 

Eloy is a mystery.If Rosario is knocked down for his fielding and Giminez is much worse as you indicate than the grade is too high. 

 

A few quick thoughts on the grades themselves:

Detroit: IF they get the 2020 version of Grossman they have to be a C. He can be a solid table setter with a few RBI at the top of the order.

KC: Agree on the C grade based on the Benintendi we've seen the last couple of seasons.

Cleveland: "A" for effort and improvement...the kind of signing they should have made 2-3yrs ago...but the C+ is probably accurate. If Rosario hits to the same level as he bas the past couple of years, I would argue for a grade somewhere in the "B's".

Dirty Sox: IMO, you can't discuss/examine Rosario's defense and not downgrade Jimenez for the same. I think a slight downgrade to B+ may be in order.

Twins: INCOMPLETE. I fully appreciate the perspective presented here, but I'm calling the grade incomplete at this time as theee are too many things in motion right now to put any big, red letter at the top of the page.

I think AK will be fine defensively, and I think he is going to be an outstanding offensive player. I'm still a little uncertain as to his AVG/OB skills vs pure power ceiling, but he's going to be a STUD. I agree Cave is a nice ballplayer and a fine 4th OF who gets a bad rap only because his offense has been streaky at times. Rooker has a chance to have a nice career as a bat first player who can play 3 spots as well as DH. Jury is still out, obviously, as to how good he can be.

Arraez was handed an OF glove in 2019 and thrown out in to LF. All things considered, I didn't think he performed all that bad. Now he has time to actually work on the position to be at least passable in his new role. Kirilloff will be the guy soon, if not immediately. And I'm not going to rehash the service time issue as it's been done to death already and we don't even know if jts going to happen. But I will repeat that a few weeks at AAA to get going and let Arraez and Rooker get a shot isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I wouldn't be shocked if AK is in the ROY conversation once the smoke clears however.
    • TopGunn#22, Dman and Jamie Cameron like this
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Jamie Cameron
Feb 22 2021 07:41 PM

Thanks for reading and commenting, Doc.

 

A agree on the incomplete for the Twins. A little homerism shining through. 

 

For Rosario VS Eloy, the bat makes the difference. I relied in the fWAR projections of 1.6 VS 3.3 and that Eloy is projected to be the best in the AL.

A few quick thoughts on the grades themselves:

Detroit: IF they get the 2020 version of Grossman they have to be a C. He can be a solid table setter with a few RBI at the top of the order.

KC: Agree on the C grade based on the Benintendi we've seen the last couple of seasons.

Cleveland: "A" for effort and improvement...the kind of signing they should have made 2-3yrs ago...but the C+ is probably accurate. If Rosario hits to the same level as he bas the past couple of years, I would argue for a grade somewhere in the "B's".

Dirty Sox: IMO, you can't discuss/examine Rosario's defense and not downgrade Jimenez for the same. I think a slight downgrade to B+ may be in order.

Twins: INCOMPLETE. I fully appreciate the perspective presented here, but I'm calling the grade incomplete at this time as theee are too many things in motion right now to put any big, red letter at the top of the page.

I think AK will be fine defensively, and I think he is going to be an outstanding offensive player. I'm still a little uncertain as to his AVG/OB skills vs pure power ceiling, but he's going to be a STUD. I agree Cave is a nice ballplayer and a fine 4th OF who gets a bad rap only because his offense has been streaky at times. Rooker has a chance to have a nice career as a bat first player who can play 3 spots as well as DH. Jury is still out, obviously, as to how good he can be.

Arraez was handed an OF glove in 2019 and thrown out in to LF. All things considered, I didn't think he performed all that bad. Now he has time to actually work on the position to be at least passable in his new role. Kirilloff will be the guy soon, if not immediately. And I'm not going to rehash the service time issue as it's been done to death already and we don't even know if jts going to happen. But I will repeat that a few weeks at AAA to get going and let Arraez and Rooker get a shot isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I wouldn't be shocked if AK is in the ROY conversation once the smoke clears however.

 

    • DocBauer likes this

I think Kiriloff has an excellent chance to be ROY as well even though the competition will be fierce.

Eloy Jim HAS to be rated above Eddie.They are both poor defensive OF'ers but Eloy Jim's offensive potential is certainly higher than Eddie's.  

If you had a chance to have either Eddie or Eloy Jim, who would you take ???

Eloy Jim.Discussion ended.

If we have healthy Buxton we could live with Rooker in short bursts, but if Rooker is our starter in LF we will be in for some adventures in OF.He is basically a statute out there and teams will drool thinking of hitting balls his way.Eloy is similar bad defender.I am looking forward to having not Gordon in LF for royals stealing doubles away every game.Personally, I do not get why they put such poor defenders in LF for offense. 

 

Mike,

 

Thanks for reading and commenting. The grading process was hard. I relied in projected fWAR for the grades, which overwhelmingly made Eloy the best.

 

I know you don't want to hear this but the Twins are going to be better defensively without Eddie. I don't necessarily think uncertainty means they get knocked.

I have not read that Kiriloff is good in the field.I have to see that.Here is what baseball Savant has as his scouting grades - Kirilloff has the skills to be an average corner outfielder, with enough range and a solid arm to fit nicely in right field. He played a good amount of first base in 2019, something that will continue as the Twins want to increase his versatility, and he could be a better than average defender there. 2020 Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55

 

I do not want to knock Kiriloff, I have high hopes that he will not only surpass Eddie, but also Kepler and Buxton in everything but fielding.And he should at least match Eddie this year, but as a rookie I do not see him unlocking his potential, just giving us an excellent player.I said B because I also see him being kept out of the lineup for contract considerations in the first month.So solid B and hoping for more.

 

I gave you the reasons for my grading of the others.I also saw it as a team grade not an individual which is why I gave Cleveland such a good grade. Here are the starting OFs for Cleveland last year - Luplow - LF - 192/304/359,DeShields - CF - 252/310/318,Naquin - RF - 218/248/383.That is a horrible OF and it was terrible in 2019 too.So Eddie raises the bar significantly which is why the team gets an A for LF from me. 

 

I know grading is hard (I have been a college instructor for decades) and in this case it is all subjective.So nothing personal, I just gave you my take.I really enjoy these exercises - thank you. 

    • Jamie Cameron likes this
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Jamie Cameron
Feb 23 2021 11:18 AM

All love, Mike

    • mikelink45 likes this

These grades need help. 

 

I would give Detroit a C / C+.When you get league average /solid both defense and offense for just 5 million is a solid grade.

 

Kansas City B- Benentini can be anywhere from done to near allstar level.With the expectation he will be above average.

 

Cleveland B Rosario has his warts but he can also hit and comes at a reasonable price.I wouldn't blame a B- grade either, but a C is league average baseline. 

 

White Sox is A-/B+it depends on just how bad his defense really is and if he can take that next step.  

 

Minnesota C+ / Incomplete We don't have a set LF at the moment.We do know we have a lot of potential options who should develop into above average and all star level players but rookie seasons can be a developmental season and not give us above average production.I guess with Arreaz getting enough time with his batting title bat in the lineup can push the grade to a B- with enough time there....

 

 

    • mikelink45 likes this

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