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Article: Twins Trade Rumors Roundup: Teams Pondering Selling

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:08 PM
The rumor mill has been pretty dry lately, so Bob Nightengale’s recent story with trade talk rumors was a tall glass of water. The revela...
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Article: Twins Game Recap (7/17): Mets Blow Out Twins, Co...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:08 PM
Things started out great for the Twins, who had the lead until the sixth inning, after yet another quality start by Martín Pérez. But ter...
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Matt Magill DFAd

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:58 PM
The Minnesota Twins just announced that RH RP Matt Magill has been DFAd. Kohl Stewart recalled, likely in a new role.    
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Twins stuff from around the Web (Fangraphs, Twitter, Athl...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:45 PM
Per request.....new thread! this seems like a really odd post to start with, which makes sense for a thread about the Twins and Internet....
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Twins World Series Hopes Rest Behind the Plate

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:45 PM
"Hot catchers are a lot like goalies standing on their heads in hockey - once you get on a roll in the postseason, you tend to stick with...
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Twins Need to Cruz Above the Line

After laying in the weeds for a handful of weeks, the Minnesota Twins made another free agency splash in the form of signing designated hitter Nelson Cruz. A hulking power threat with a respectable level of on-base skills, the former Mariners slugger is an ideal fit for Rocco Baldelli’s lineup. In 2019 though, Steamer projections tab him as the high-water mark in terms of fWAR across the entirety of the club, and that is what will determine the fate of the season.
Image courtesy of © Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
In coming up with his 3.0 fWAR total, Steamer has Cruz slated for a .282/.361/.533 slash line with 36 homers and 104 RBI. For a guy who’s played a grand total of nine games in the field since 2016, it’s his bat that will solely carry the production. The numbers projected for Cruz are right on par with fair expectations. Despite him being 38 years-old, there’s little indication that a steep decline is about to set in. His batted ball profile is still at an elite level, and Target Field is a stadium even more friendly to his approach at the dish.

What I’m getting at here isn’t where Nelson Cruz winds up, but instead how the rest of his teammates fare in comparison to his projected production.

Last season Paul Molitor’s Twins had two players surpass the 3.0 fWAR mark. Eddie Rosario finished with a 3.4 fWAR and Jose Berrios ended with a 3.3 fWAR. Neither Miguel Sano or Max Kepler has surpassed the 3.0 fWAR bar, and Byron Buxton’s 3.5 fWAR in 2017 seems a distant memory at the current juncture. It’s in performances from those players that this team will go, however.

There’s no denying that the Cleveland Indians have left the door open in the AL Central for 2019. They’re coming off just a 91-win season in which they got career years from Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Trevor Bauer, and Mike Clevinger. It’s fair to expect sustainability from some of that elite talent, but they’ve also lost Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes, and Lonnie Chisenhall, while also teasing the idea of dealing Corey Kluber. This is more of a retooling for Cleveland as they add new assets, but the immediate future leaves the division up for grabs.

Minnesota cannot simply rest on their laurels at this point, and I’d assume we’ll see at least another signing or two prior to spring training taking place. Though the bullpen is an area still needing improvement, it’s the lineup that will push this club over the top. Generating 3.0+ fWAR seasons from the likes of Sano, Buxton, or Kepler is a must. Getting that level of production out of new additions Jonathan Schoop or C.J. Cron could also be necessary. The former surpassed that plateau as an All-Star in 2017, while the later would be looking at a career year in realizing that value.

There’s nothing wrong with suggesting Nelson Cruz reach the 3.0 fWAR bar for the fifth time in the last six seasons. He was a key acquisition and the talent speaks for itself. What Minnesota can’t have happen however, is that to be the only player capable of production at that level. Seeing Rosario or Berrios take drastic steps backwards would be nearly as detrimental as watching the young trio of offensive talent flop yet again.

When signing Cruz, the front office suggested a message of immediate competition. Though there’s a option for the pact to be a two-year deal, the hope is that Cruz helps to solidify the roster, rather than to anchor it. By pairing his production with what you’d hope is already internally available, Minnesota would be looking at a best-case scenario.

It’s relatively hard to tie team production to a projected fWAR mark. However, I feel good about suggesting that if the Twins can have Cruz at the suggested level with at least three teammates producing above him, they’ll have a very good shot at winning the division when the dust settles. If that ends up not being the case, and should the writing be on the wall early in the summer, the newest asset could find himself gone almost before he ever got started.

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15 Comments

So it was Aaron Slegers who was cut from the 40-man to make room for Cruz.

I think "splash" might be a bit of a strong word.

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RatherBeGolfing
Jan 04 2019 08:04 AM

 

I think "splash" might be a bit of a strong word.

 

Putting "another" before it was more where I was lost

    • USAFChief, SF Twins Fan and sweetmusicviola16 like this
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Tom Froemming
Jan 04 2019 08:16 AM

 

Steamer has Cruz slated for a .282/.361/.533 slash line with 36 homers and 104 RBI.

 

Yes please! That's an .894 OPS. Do you know the last time a Twins hitter had an OPS that high in 400+ PAs? 

 

It was Joe Mauer's MVP season in 2009.

    • USAFChief, TheLeviathan, Danchat and 7 others like this

 

Yes please! That's an .894 OPS. Do you know the last time a Twins hitter had an OPS that high in 400+ PAs? 

 

It was Joe Mauer's MVP season in 2009.

Uffda.

 

 

    • PseudoSABR and SF Twins Fan like this

Nice write up Ted.

 

Here's hoping that Boomstick is a piece that gives the other hitters in the lineup a little protection and thus helps improve overall production of the offense.

There are a lot of things I worry about for this team next year but Eddie Rosario is not one of them. He's going to put up something close to .290/.325/.480 115 OPS+. And he's a pretty good reason we shouldn't overly worry about WAR. Rosario had essentially the same season twice in a row but defensive marks gave him plenty of added value last year. That also just happens to be because Buxton wasn't in center. 

 

 

    • LA VIkes Fan, adorduan and jkcarew like this
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jorgenswest
Jan 04 2019 09:39 AM

There are a lot of things I worry about for this team next year but Eddie Rosario is not one of them. He's going to put up something close to .290/.325/.480 115 OPS+. And he's a pretty good reason we shouldn't overly worry about WAR. Rosario had essentially the same season twice in a row but defensive marks gave him plenty of added value last year. That also just happens to be because Buxton wasn't in center.


Would the statcast coach probability numbers give us an idea about Rosario’s range independent of Buxton? The data goes back three years so we might see if there has been a decline since 2016.

 

There are a lot of things I worry about for this team next year but Eddie Rosario is not one of them. He's going to put up something close to .290/.325/.480 115 OPS+. And he's a pretty good reason we shouldn't overly worry about WAR. Rosario had essentially the same season twice in a row but defensive marks gave him plenty of added value last year. That also just happens to be because Buxton wasn't in center. 

I'm a little worried about Rosario but less than many other Twins players.His monthly OPS for 2018 show two really good months and the rest are poor.His average, OBP, and Slugging all followed the same path, his season was boosted by those two amazing months.He didn't injure his quad until Aug 30th so I don't believe that explains the July and August decline.Hopefully he is less streaky next year but overall I am confident he will have another decent stat line over the full season.2017 he was much more consistent.

 

Mar/Apr.659

May       1.004

June       1.084

July        .622

Aug        .669

Sept      .625

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jorgenswest
Jan 04 2019 10:36 AM
I wouldn’t look at slash stat splits. They really need a large sample to be reliable. The natural variation of BABip and short term injuries highly influence that data. There may be reason to be concerned about Rosario but shifts in OPS by month do not make a path or a trend or a streak. It is most likely random variation due to sample while his skill level remained the same.
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tarheeltwinsfan
Jan 04 2019 01:22 PM

 

I wouldn’t look at slash stat splits. They really need a large sample to be reliable. The natural variation of BABip and short term injuries highly influence that data. There may be reason to be concerned about Rosario but shifts in OPS by month do not make a path or a trend or a streak. It is most likely random variation due to sample while his skill level remained the same.

Wait, wait. What?

Wait, wait. What?

He's right. Everyone who isn't elite or terrible is going to have wild swings in monthly OPS. It's just not a large enough sample size to be stable.
I'd look to k and bb rates, and line drive percentage if you want to look at monthly trends.

Edit to add: That doesn't mean that it can't tell a story, just that it needs to be verified with those other things that stabilize more quickly.
    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this

 

Everyone who isn't elite or terrible is going to have wild swings in monthly OPS.

I think it's worth asking, "how wild?"

 

For example, Buxton's wild swings in monthly OPS (as well as his wild swings in general :) ) seem noteworthy.

 

Rosario isn't at that level, of course. And especially not based on just 1 season. But I suspect there could be players who fall outside the normal range of streakiness over larger samples, and it might affect their value/forecast somewhat.

Here’s a great tool to illustrate that:
https://www.fangraph...at-sample-size/

If it’s too mathy, just check the boxes for OBP and SLG then check the boxes for K% and BB%. You’ll notice a huge difference in their curves illustrating which stats are more reliable than others for the sample size.

 

Putting "another" before it was more where I was lost

I hope it is a splash and not a belly flop.I get so hopeful but we have been let down so many times I feel like I should get ready for a flop instead.But I don't want to be negative since this is of the biggest things in years.As I write this I wonder why we are the team that hopes for splash instead of getting the for sure thing.I like to imagine him playing every day with a great chance of an RBI or HR.

 


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