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Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:01 PM
There haven't been many yet, but I'll start this today...   The Twins just announced that Zack Littell (hamstring) has been placed o...
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Eno Sarris - Quality of Stuff

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 05:51 PM
Do you get the Athletic? If you do go take a look at Eno Sarris’ early season quality of stuff report.   Here are some notable Twins...
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Marlins: 14 positive Covid cases, home opener cancelled...

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Before the season started, I was wondering about what would happen if the virus started spreading like wildfire in a clubhouse. Well here...
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Fun With Numbers - 2020 Season

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:28 AM
I’m glad to see Ex-Twins in 2020 thread is back up and running. This is also one of my favorite threads over the last 5 years. The Twins...
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Maeda

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:18 AM
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Fun With Narratives: How 3 Offseason Targets Can Be Portrayed in the Best and Worst of Ways

Statistics in baseball are a funny thing. Often stats are cherry-picked to best support the narrative we want to push, leaving out any that contradict that narrative. I’ll show you what I mean with the current crop of potential Twins' free agent targets by pushing a “Sure Bet” and “Washed Up” narrative for each of them …
Image courtesy of © David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Since we have talked so much about Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Josh Donaldson this offseason, I will use my personal “next three” offseason targets for the Minnesota Twins in this exercise.

Dallas Keuchel

Sure Bet: Dallas Keuchel is a multi-time All-Star, World Series champion and just four years removed from winning the Cy Young Award for the Astros. Over the past six seasons, Keuchel has only had an ERA over 3.75 once, and simply does not allow home runs, with a career HR/9 of just 0.91. Keuchel finished 2019 incredibly strong, posting a 2.55 ERA in 53 innings from Aug. 14 through the end of the season.

Washed Up: While Keuchel has a Cy Young to his name, that was four years ago and he simply isn’t the pitcher he used to be. Over the past two seasons, Dallas has posted a 4.06 FIP and a very pedestrian 6.9% K%. Keuchel will be 32-years-old heading into the 2020 season, and operating with a fastball that averaged a velocity of just 88.4 MPH in 2019.

Julio Teherán

Sure Bet: Julio Teherán is just 28-years-old and has seen his ERA decrease in each of the past three seasons, highlighted by his 3.81 ERA in 2019. Teherán is coming off of a 2019 season in which he posted a career best K/9. With spin rates on his fastball and curveball in the 70th and 84th percentile respectively, Teherán certainly has the pitching arsenal to be successful. Additionally, Teherán is an incredibly healthy and durable pitcher, as evidenced by >170 IP in each of his past seven seasons.

Washed Up: While Teherán had a solid 3.81 ERA in 2019, the numbers point to this coming more from luck than skill as shown by his 5.26 xFIP. Teherán has been walking more batters than ever before, posting a 4.30 and 4.28 BB/9 in each of the past two seasons. Teherán has posted an xFIP of greater than 4.00 in each of the past five seasons, and with a fastball that has declined in velocity each of the past three seasons, things might be getting worse rather than better for the Colombian right-hander.

Eric Thames

Sure Bet: From 2017-19, Eric Thames trails only Cody Bellinger, Freddie Freeman and Paul Goldschmidt in OPS by first basemen (min. 750 PAs). Thames’ power is legit, too. In 2019, of first baseman with at least 300 plate appearances, Thames was fourth in SLG and second in ISO. Thames is not butcher at first base either, posting a positive DRS for Milwaukee last season.

Washed Up: While Thames put up solid power numbers in 2019, it largely came at the expense of his plate discipline. In 2019, Thames was third of all first baseman with a K% of 29.3. Thames also has not shown that he can be a consistent option at first base, playing in less than 100 games in three of his five seasons in the MLB. Thames isn’t getting younger either — while he has only been in the majors for five seasons, the first baseman is already 33-years-old. Additionally, moving away from the hitter-friendly confines of Miller Park would seemingly call for a statistical decline and disappointing 2020 for Thames.

Baseball is a numbers-driven sport and statistics are extremely vital in evaluating the past and predicting the future performance for a player. As you can see from the examples above though, narratives can change completely based on what statistics are being used (and withheld) for a given player.

What are your thoughts on the various narratives being pushed for this crop of free agents? How do you navigate reading the narratives that people write or tweet and formulate your own opinion when there are so many statistics out there? Leave a comment below and get the conversation started.

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6 Comments

Very nice way of looking at it, Matthew. I'll give you my analysis of your competing narratives from the peanut gallery: 

 

Kuechel needs to go to a team with good IF defense. He's always been a salad tosser, so I expect him to be decent for a few years.

 

Teheran - no. You could've added his BB rate to the "washed up" argument. 

 

Thames - Uh, ok. He's wouldn't be a bad addition. He has pretty big splits in his career, so he'd have to sit against decent LHP. I think I'd prefer a RH bat. 

 

 

    • nicksaviking and Captain Torii like this

 

Thames - Uh, ok. He's wouldn't be a bad addition. He has pretty big splits in his career, so he'd have to sit against decent LHP. I think I'd prefer a RH bat. 

 

New 2019 strategy: put a hitter with terrible splits between two mashers. Make the other team choose if a LOOGY is worth it. In other words: make your lineup worse for 1 batter, but better for the 2 that sandwich him.

 

    • Captain Torii and Cody Pirkl like this
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Captain Torii
Dec 16 2019 11:47 AM

 Good balanced analysis; I like this article, and would be curious to see any/all of them signed, if our infield D could improve enough to warrant signing Kuechel and Teheran. Julio walks 1 more per 9 than Gibson, yet has an ERA half a point lower than Gibby did last year; and we could really use a lefty starter and bat in our lineup. When facing a lefty pitcher, we could use Garver at 1st to rest his legs and Thames at his age.

Lower risk, possibly rewarding signings imo...

Twins Daily

 

Sure Bet: Biggest Twins community around! A lot of hard-working writers and commenters, with new content every day, ranging from traditional to analytical, and from serious to fun. Good community events too.

 

Washed Up: Overrun these days with accusations of being Pohlad Pocket Protectors, or by actual Pohlad Pocket Protectors (take your pick). Too-frequent references to uncomfortable subjects like avian flu and Joy Mays. Gardy nickname would be something weird like "Twins Daily-sie". Community events often promote drinking alcohol, which can be damaging to the body.

    • Mike Sixel, Otwins, adorduan and 1 other like this
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nicksaviking
Dec 16 2019 12:14 PM

 

Very nice way of looking at it, Matthew. I'll give you my analysis of your competing narratives from the peanut gallery: 

 

Kuechel needs to go to a team with good IF defense. He's always been a salad tosser, so I expect him to be decent for a few years.

 

Teheran - no. You could've added his BB rate to the "washed up" argument. 

 

Thames - Uh, ok. He's wouldn't be a bad addition. He has pretty big splits in his career, so he'd have to sit against decent LHP. I think I'd prefer a RH bat. 

 

Agree on all points. Kuechel needs a good infield defense, but if he has one he probably has a high floor though low ceiling. Biggest problem is he isn't a front line starter but will likely get paid like one, which would likely hinder the Twins from actually trading for one.

 

Teheran - agreed, but I'm actually more concerned that his FB is down 2 MPH from just two years ago. Everyone is betting on upside with Teheran but I don't see much of a path to improvement for a guy with an 89 MPH fastball.

 

Spot on with Thames - Because of his splits he might be a guy still sitting around in February, I might be interested then if there hasn't been any offensive additions. Now that I think about it, Thames with Sano/Garver spending time at 1B vs lefties doesn't sound like the worst thing. Not better than Donaldson or one of the Cubs corner bats though.

    • dbminn likes this

Interesting article...good concept.

 

Think of these competing narratives as risk. Then think of that risk as the 'hidden' cost of operating at the middle and bottom of the free agency market.