Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Alex Meyer

Other Baseball Today, 01:33 AM
Meyer logged another poor start for the Angels last night. He had a poor one in AAA prior, but the Angels apparently needed an arm to fil...
Full topic ›

Article: Miguel Sano Could Really Make This Work

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:33 AM
Through their first 41 games, Miguel Sano has been nothing short of a monster for the Minnesota Twins. He's been every bit the offensive...
Full topic ›

It's over. Post your offseason plan

Minnesota Timberwolves Talk Today, 01:33 AM
From what I can tell, here's what we have to look forward to:   Either the sixth or seventh pick in the draft.   Lots of cap sp...
Full topic ›

Eduardo Del Rosario - 2017

Adopt A Prospect 2017 Yesterday, 11:46 PM
Eduardo Del Rosario, 21, was a late-2012 international signing by the Twins out of the Dominican Republic.   Del Rosario started the...
Full topic ›

Trevor May: Writer

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:46 PM
Check out this cool article at MLB trade rumors https://www.mlbtrade...-you-think.html
Full topic ›

Santiago Starting To Turn Heads

As Nick wrote earlier in the week, Ervin Santana has been a legitimate threat in the Twins rotation. Santana is off to a tremendous start to the season and it's easy to see why the Twins decided to hang on to the veteran right-handed hurler.

What might be more of a surprise than Santana's start are the outings put together by Hector Santiago. For those who have forgotten, Santiago and Alan Busenitz were the two players acquired from the Angels last season in exchange for Alex Meyer and Ricky Nolasco.

Santiago, the former 30th round pick by the White Sox, could be on the cusp of a breakout season.
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today Sports
Another All-Star First Half
Santiago has shown flashes of this type of pitching in the past. During the 2015 campaign, he got the season off to a great start and was named an American League All-Star. In the season's first half, he posted a 2.33 ERA with a 98 to 33 strikeout to walk ratio. In those 18 games, batters hit .213/.281/.356 against him.

Following his All-Star first half, things fell apart in the second half of the season. His ERA rose to 5.47 and his WHIP rose from 1.10 to 1.49. Batters OPS also rose by over 200 points. Minnesota is seeing glimpses of Santiago's all-star abilities but there's no evidence of him being able to sustain this level for an entire season.

What's Up, Pitches?
Opponents have struggled this season with making consistent contact against Santiago's sinker. For his career, batters have hit .217 against him when he throws this pitch. So far this season, opponents have been limited to a .135 average with two extra-base hits. His velocity has dipped a little with this pitch but he seems to be using it more effectively.

He has yet to surrender an extra-base hit with his secondary pitches but he throws these less than 40% of the time. When throwing his change-up, batters have been limited to a .200 average which is almost 60 points lower than his career mark. His cut fastball has yielded a .750 opponent's batting average, the highest of any pitch he throws.

The Jason Castro Factor
During the entire off-season, Twins fans heard rave reviews about Jason Castro and his ability to coax umpires into calling strikes. This might not have been more evident than on Sunday afternoon when "Castro had the best day of any backstop at getting his pitchers extra strikes."
Posted Image

For seven innings on Sunday, Santiago was the beneficiary of Castro's catching abilities. Fangraphs showed multiple pitches from Santiago that ended up being called strikes. Castro is clearly factoring into the Twins early season pitching success.
Posted Image
It's been a small sample size and there is plenty of season still ahead. Santiago needs to prove that he can sustain these numbers over the course of an entire season. He's shown flashes of this type of pitching in the past but the league will adjust. Can he make the types of changes necessary to sustain this success?

Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

  • Taildragger8791 likes this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

81 Comments

 

600 PA's is still just one full season and players have lucky seasons all the time. 

Santana had 430 great PA's his rookie year. Rosario had 480 pretty good PA's his rookie year. But maybe 600 PA's is the magic number.

 

But Grossman's success isn't driven by unsustainable luck like Santana's was. His fall was predictable. What in Grossman's success looks like luck?

Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Apr 20 2017 09:00 AM

 

600 PA's is still just one full season and players have lucky seasons all the time. 

Santana had 430 great PA's his rookie year. Rosario had 480 pretty good PA's his rookie year. But maybe 600 PA's is the magic number.

If it was one season, I'd be more skeptical of it... But picking up a second half season and performing at the same level gives it a bit more weight, IMO.

 

Guys get hot all the time and ride that streak for a couple of months. Picking up that hot streak six months later and doing it again seems more unlikely, IMO.

    • howieramone2 likes this
Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Apr 20 2017 09:01 AM

 

But Grossman's success isn't driven by unsustainable luck like Santana's was. His fall was predictable. What in Grossman's success looks like luck?

His BABIP is maybe 20 points too high, 30 points tops.

 

It's hardly the 60-80 points Santana and Colabello saw in their "breakout" seasons.

There was a time when Robbie Grossman was considered a hot Pirates prospect and Houston pursued him as part of a trade. Maybe he just took a couple of extra years to hit his stride. . I think Grossman is for real as a .280/.375/.425 kind of hitter. Also food for thought on waiting for Rosario and Buxton to hit their potential (for that matter, Kepler and Polanco too). Sometimes it takes some time.


Not only that, they were trying to sign him to an early extension (which Grossman turned down). So he isn't exactly coming from nowhere.
    • howieramone2 likes this

 

But Grossman's success isn't driven by unsustainable luck like Santana's was. His fall was predictable. What in Grossman's success looks like luck?

.370 BAPIP

Let's consider him an above average BAPIP hitter and he can maintain a .320-.330 BAPIP. The reduction in BAPIP will knock 60-80 points (or thereabouts) off of his OPS along. Now we are talking about .750-.775 hitter. I can see .750-ish out of him. But .800+? Not really.

And multiple projection solidly put him around .730.

Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Apr 20 2017 09:04 AM

 

.370 BAPIP

Let's consider him an above average BAPIP hitter and he can maintain a .320-.330 BAPIP. The reduction in BAPIP will knock 60-80 points (or thereabouts) off of his OPS along. Now we are talking about .750-.775 hitter. I can see .750-ish out of him. But .800+? Not really.

And multiple projection solidly put him around .730.

It's definitely a question but I looked at Grossman's peripherals a bit more closely and it's entirely possible he's a .340-.350 BABIP guy. He puts few balls in the air, a decent amount are line drives, and quite a few are on the ground.

 

That's going to lead to an abnormally high BABIP. Also fewer homers than he's probably capable of hitting but that's okay.

That would make him about median for corner OFers....a 730-750 OPS. I'd take a median OF right now.

 

It's definitely a question but I looked at Grossman's peripherals a bit more closely and it's entirely possible he's a .340-.350 BABIP guy. He puts few balls in the air, a decent amount are line drives, and quite a few are on the ground.

 

That's going to lead to an abnormally high BABIP. Also fewer homers than he's probably capable of hitting but that's okay.

So your optimism depends on him ranking around the 10th percentile of all (qualified) batters in BAPIP? Good luck with that.

 

That would make him about median for corner OFers....a 730-750 OPS. I'd take a median OF right now.

I will take it also. In fact it is what I projected BEFORE the season began when some people wanted to cut him.

 

That would make him about median for corner OFers....a 730-750 OPS. I'd take a median OF right now.

Until he actually plays in the OF, then his defensive shortcomings make him a liability.

Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Apr 20 2017 09:28 AM

 

So your optimism depends on him ranking around the 10th percentile of all (qualified) batters in BAPIP? Good luck with that.

I wouldn't rule it out entirely, no.

 

And you're talking about a .750-.770 OPS and I'm talking about an .800 OPS. That's about 7-8 hits scattered over the course of a season, or about one extra hit every 20 games.

 

Is that truly unreasonable?

 

The fact is that neither you nor I have any idea where Grossman will land when it comes to BABIP because he doesn't have the track record one way or the other.

 

Until he actually plays in the OF, then his defensive shortcomings make him a liability.

 

How so? offensively, he is putting up about 2 WAR as a DH.....that's quite high, actually. He put up over 1 WAR even being historically bad on D last year, something I doubt he could repeat. But as a DH, he's actually above average.

 

How so? offensively, he is putting up about 2 WAR as a DH.....that's quite high, actually. He put up over 1 WAR even being historically bad on D last year, something I doubt he could repeat. But as a DH, he's actually above average.

That was my point Mike.  He has negative value in the field, whether that is as much as last season or not he is a poor fielder.  I am actually liking him at the DH position. Keep the bat in the lineup and the glove off the field.  Of course that raises issues about who the 4th OF would be but that is a different conversation.

Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Apr 20 2017 09:48 AM

 

That was my point Mike.  He has negative value in the field, whether that is as much as last season or not he is a poor fielder.  I am actually liking him at the DH position. Keep the bat in the lineup and the glove off the field.  Of course that raises issues about who the 4th OF would be but that is a different conversation.

One could also argue the following:

 

1. Grossman's bat is slightly more valuable in LF than DH

2. The Twins have three centerfielders already on the roster

3. Grossman crushes LHP

4. All of those centerfielders have questionable, bad, or terrible bats against LHP

 

If you play Grossman in a corner spot once a week against a lefty, is the 200 OPS points you gain with his bat offset by his decreased defensive ability?

 

I honestly don't know the answer to that question but I suspect it's not clearcut either way... and the offensive flexibility it affords the Twins to replace Santana with Vargas is pretty hard to resist.

    • Mike Sixel, LA VIkes Fan and howieramone2 like this

 

I wouldn't rule it out entirely, no.

 

And you're talking about a .750-.770 OPS and I'm talking about an .800 OPS. That's about 7-8 hits scattered over the course of a season, or about one extra hit every 20 games.

 

Is that truly unreasonable?

 

The fact is that neither you nor I have any idea where Grossman will land when it comes to BABIP because he doesn't have the track record one way or the other.

You did say .800+ and the .750-.770 number was only for BAPIP drop. I said I expect him around .750. In addition his SLG is still higher than expected. And he is getting rested a lot vs RHP.

And don't discount what a 50 points of OPS is. It is the difference between a very good to great player and a good one.

Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Apr 20 2017 09:53 AM

 

You did say .800+ and the .750-.770 number was only for BAPIP drop. I said I expect him around .750. In addition his SLG is still higher than expected. And he is getting rested a lot vs RHP.

And don't discount what a 50 points of OPS is. It is the difference between a very good to great player and a good one.

Oh, not discounting it at all. My initial expectation for Grossman going into the season was, like you, around a .750 OPS.

 

All I'm saying is that I'm beginning to question that expectation. I'm still not sold on Grossman but I'm opening up to the idea that he's a lot better than I expected him to be.

 

One could also argue the following:

 

1. Grossman's bat is slightly more valuable in LF than DH

2. The Twins have three centerfielders already on the roster

3. Grossman crushes LHP

4. All of those centerfielders have questionable, bad, or terrible bats against LHP

 

If you play Grossman in a corner spot once a week against a lefty, is the 200 OPS points you gain with his bat offset by his decreased defensive ability?

 

I honestly don't know the answer to that question but I suspect it's not clearcut either way... and the offensive flexibility it affords the Twins to replace Santana with Vargas is pretty hard to resist.

I would argue the solution to that problem is a better 4th OF.  Then you can keep Grossman's .800 OPS bat in the lineup and not have a large drop in the OF defense.  Given the Twins flyball prone pitching this seems preferable to me.  

Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Apr 20 2017 09:59 AM

 

I would argue the solution to that problem is a better 4th OF.  Then you can keep Grossman's .800 OPS bat in the lineup and not have a large drop in the OF defense.  Given the Twins flyball prone pitching this seems preferable to me.  

But that doesn't fix the Mauer problem. Even when Joe is "rolling", he only tops out as an .800 OPS guy at this point in his career. Adding a quasi-platoon bat to spell both Mauer and Grossman from their daily roles seems like a good way to increase offensive capabilities overall.

 

The only reason I'd even consider this is because the Twins are in a rather unique situation. They have an elite guy in center and two guys at the corners who can hold their own in center.

 

I believe this opportunity affords the Twins a luxury few other teams enjoy: the ability to carry a fourth outfielder who can hit.

 

Because you're not going to get a fourth outfielder who can hit and field. Those guys are more commonly referred to as "starting outfielders".

    • Mike Sixel, LA VIkes Fan, bizaff and 1 other like this

I'm also not convinced Grossman would be that bad again this year.....I also don't get why he isn't practicing at 1B every day...

Photo
LA VIkes Fan
Apr 20 2017 11:26 AM

 

But that doesn't fix the Mauer problem. Even when Joe is "rolling", he only tops out as an .800 OPS guy at this point in his career. Adding a quasi-platoon bat to spell both Mauer and Grossman from their daily roles seems like a good way to increase offensive capabilities overall.

 

The only reason I'd even consider this is because the Twins are in a rather unique situation. They have an elite guy in center and two guys at the corners who can hold their own in center.

 

I believe this opportunity affords the Twins a luxury few other teams enjoy: the ability to carry a fourth outfielder who can hit.

 

Because you're not going to get a fourth outfielder who can hit and field. Those guys are more commonly referred to as "starting outfielders".

Add to that there is no good 4th OF in AAA - Shuck isn't hitting in AAA even and he's not much of an OF , Palka needs AAA time and strikes out to much, Granite needs AAA time to prove himself and he's hurt - and there isn't any need for or good reason to add a 4th OF absent injury.  We're good where we are and can make roster decisions based on bringing up the best  players without being so worried about making sure one of them is an OF. Bye bye DanSan, Hello Vargas, Adrianza or Park. 

    • Mike Sixel likes this
Photo
howieramone2
Apr 21 2017 09:57 AM

 

Given that ownership and the former GM both have stated in the past that budgets and money for the team don't work that way.....not really.

There is a new sheriff in town.

 

There is a new sheriff in town.

 

Well, every team has pretty much said they operate on an annual budget, this is not unique to the Twins.

Photo
howieramone2
Apr 21 2017 10:12 AM

 

Well, every team has pretty much said they operate on an annual budget, this is not unique to the Twins.

I believe every business in America has an annual budget, so what's your point?

 

I believe every business in America has an annual budget, so what's your point?

 

Baseball teams don't carry money over year to year, they operate on an annual basis, not carrying over unspent "capital" to future years like some other businesses do. So, if htey don't spend it this year, they just pocket it. That's what teams have communicated quite broadly over the last few years on many websites and interviews. 

Photo
howieramone2
Apr 21 2017 10:21 AM

 

Baseball teams don't carry money over year to year, they operate on an annual basis, not carrying over unspent "capital" to future years like some other businesses do. So, if htey don't spend it this year, they just pocket it. That's what teams have communicated quite broadly over the last few years on many websites and interviews. 

You are overgeneralizing. Neither you, nor I know what every baseball team does, or can do. Once again, there is a new sheriff in town.

 

You are overgeneralizing. Neither you, nor I know what every baseball teams does, or can do. Once again, there is a new sheriff in town.

 

Have you ever read anything other than this, on FG, ESPN, CBS, here, or anywhere? I haven't. And, as I pointed out, that's what they communicate, and hence what we know. We can't really know anything else other than what they say, and what they do. 


Similar Articles


by Cody Christie , 24 May 2017
Photo


by Nick Nelson , 23 May 2017
Photo


by Cody Christie , 15 May 2017
Photo


by Cody Christie , 08 May 2017
Photo


by John Bonnes , 26 Apr 2017
Photo