I think they are heading for rebuilding the Twins pitching staff looks like it structured to be pitching staff for the future as you look the players they signed will come off when there young pitching prospects are projected to be ready and will have one veteran pitcher available to lead these young kids in the future on contract. Offense is on old side but were seeing beginning of change over already with Hicks, Arcia, Pinto and I would include Dozier. Look by year end we could see likes Buxton doing September call up and for sure we would have seen Sano being called up. My guess next year we could see lineup of the following Buxton center, Arcia in left field, and Hicks in Right Field. Pinto Catching, Florimin at SS and Santanna pushing him, Dozier at second, Mauer at First, Sano at third, and Plouffe if he has good year as backup 3 baseman and outfielder. Pitching could be Myer, Gibson, Nolasco, Hughes, Pelfry and number of young pitchers pushing to make the team. I think this what Twins are looking at them selves you would have Sano and Buxton at 21 and 22; Arcia (24) and Hicks and Pinto (26); Flormin, Dozier, Plouffe, Gibson, and Hughes at 27-28, and leaving Nolasco, Mauer, Pelfry and Perkins as 30 years olds on the team. Not a very old team and number players just coming into their prime playing years 27 to 30. Some older pitchers but with Gibson and Myers in their middle 20's very nice balance of young to old pitcher. Also with number of future prospects being able to fill in for some of older players if injuries would occur. The big question will be if these players can produce offense at major league level. I think all of them are good enough defensively to play at major league level. The whole problem with this scenario we have go threw this season which could be long season if some these players don't start producing better than they have shown this spring. They have given Twins nothing that they can sell to the fans why they should be excited about this team. Pitching will be better but not near good enough to win if this team doesn't start producing some offense.
Problem with going younger is that the younger Twins players have just hit AA. Most of the Twins AAA farm club is that the players have already have had their chances and failed. Wait until next year hopefully.
I would love the idea of them going younger and not clinging to some of these older guys, but the problem is the young guys aren't ready yet or they are hurt(ie: Sano). It's starting to become painfully clear this year is not the youth movement year...maybe next year, or if we are lucky things change this summer and they go young.
If you look at our division rivals, the White Sox, they did the youth movement thing this offseason...not sure what the Twins were waiting for...we will see how things turn out I guess.
I loved the 1999-2000 teams too. But you didn't need to be a genius to see that Hunter, Cuddyer, Pierzynski, Radke, Koskie, Mientkewicz, and Jones had real talent.
Escobar, Parmelee, Hendriks, Robertson, Worley, Herrmann... I just don't get the same feeling from most of the young guys we have seen recently.
Nice write-up, Jorgenswest.
Very few teams make significant improvements without getting younger. In the past couple of decades only the Yankees have had the money to have a team of aging players who are good enough to be in a HOF conversation.
The other teams get better by getting new blood in the lineup.
p.s. Earl Battey was a favorite of mine, too
Agree, agree, agree! Unless the Twins somehow catch lightning in a bottle and everybody has a peak year and they contend, they must turn over the roster to younger, higher ceilinged players. Every player over thirty not born in Minnesota really should be on the block. I was thinking that success this year would be measured by the progress of the young players and when I mentally went through them, I realized how many over-30s were on the team. I still stand by that definition of success: It will be a good year if Arcia, Gibson, Pinto, and Hicks establish themselves and I'll add Plouffe to that list.
The Twins will open with only one player born in the '90s (Osvaldo Arcia) and two born in the '70s (Bartlett & Willingham)
We just need better analytics, to give us the "home runs per dead fish slider" ratio in Spring.
Home run rate stabilizes at 170 regular season plate appearances. A home run off of Wainwright or 5 off of AAAA are equally meaningless in determining a roster spot.
Can any of those HRs be traced to actual MLB pitching, instead of guys just trying to make it?
e.g. a HR off of Adam Wainwright matters more than 5 homers off AAAA talent.
Be curious how that translates. Even so, a very small sample size.
Would be nice to have other options in the wings , other then Herrmann and Fryer.
By signing Garza , that would make Correia avalible to trade ,and coming off Kevins career year
this is the time to trade him. 2 catcher who come to mind are of course Johnny Monnel and Stassi from Huston. Im sure there are others who would fit the bill, but the Idea is to have more then Plan A and hope
I'd certainly like to see Pinto start the season as the Twins regular catcher, but I won't be overly concerned if Suzuki starts the season getting most of the starts. Pinto has a bit of work to do, having played just a month in Rochester. I hope he starts the season with the Twins, but if he doesn't, good play at Rochester will get him back to Minnesota soon enough.
It's a long season, first of all, and secondly, everyone will get a chance to play and if Pinto is better, I trust he'll get plenty of work.
Excellent analysis, as usual. I'm not excited about seeing Suzuki as the starter, but hopefully Pinto will be dynamic at AAA and force his way into the starting lineup.
These stats can be flukey with not much sample size. However, it is clear that Butera is a better catcher than anyone else that we have had recently. The point that you mentioned about Butera warranting a decent prospect in return is interesting. If we were to trade Doumit, we would get very little unless we sweetened the deal.
To a point, I agree with your claim that teams are overlooking a catcher's hitting attributes and looking at their defense/game management. Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh are two very good examples. However, St. Louis has the best catcher in baseball, offensively and defensively, and they are in the World Series.
The Dodgers entered this season trading for Ramon Hernandez. At the time if his release, he was their best hitting catcher by OPS. He is also a historically poor receiver. Yeager referenced this skill as they changed from Hernandez to Federowicz.
The Dodgers have shown with their Hernandez, Federowicz and Butera roster decisions that they have shifted in how they value defense at catcher. That shift happened after the start of this season.
I am am not sure how Ellis measures up. There is some info in the link below
Studying the art of pitch framing by catchers such as Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, Jose Molina, and others - Grantland
Back to the Twins...
Do they need to make a similar shift?
Kershaw's pitches would appear to have much more movement than Wacha's which could lead to more balls being called. But umpires watch the catcher not the pitch.
Last night was a case in point. Kershaw lost some calls on good pitches. Whereas Wacha, with one or two exceptions, didn't. Wacha also appears to have gotten a couple extra out of zone strike calls.
Could have been home field advantage, hitter bias, etc. If you looked closely though, you could see Ellis did the exact same head ducking as Doumit. Wouldn't surprise me to see Butters taking over next year.
I am not sure why a Butera is almost a run better than Doumit. It isn't Pavano though. Pavano pitched very poorly in 2012 in a injury shortened season.
The Twins need to assess how much of that run and how much is due to the skill of the catcher. One run is huge. A half a run is huge. The difference between Minnesota and the top pitching and defense in the AL in 1.17 runs. They were .57 away from the average pitching and defense.
Doumit caught around 100 games the last two seasons. He wasn't the cause of the poor pitching. His defense made a bad situation much worse. I think the a Twins would have been better off making a bad situation a little better.
Excellent post jorganswest!
Very interesting how many teams seem to be ignoring a catcher's ability at the plate. If you believe in some of these newer ideas then it makes sense to me if:
you spend millions for pitchers
you consider pitching to be the most important position in a given game
you want to give the pitcher every possible advantage to make your team successful
This is still evolving, though some teams (as you point out) are embracing this approach to their catchers. Hitting is clearly secondary.
I'm not saying Mauer isn't a good to excellent catcher. Butera's stats are skewed in that he caught Pavano when Pavano was our ace. More research required before I could manage to draw a conclusion.
(and I bet other team fans are jealous when Mauer steps to the plate, too)
I don't think the Twins get optimal use of platoon advantage. I was surprised to see their position and acknowledged that they have several switch hitters.
Gardenhire may have been able to take the current roster and get a few more wins. Different roster construction may have allowed more. I think the Indians and A's position on the list was intentional on their part. In the Indians case it will be the difference in making the playoffs.