Jump to content

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

The Forums

Teams Inquiring On Eddie Rosario

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:42 PM
Per MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, teams have been contacting the Twins about the availability of Eddie Rosario but so far they have been rebuf...

Front Page: Official Twins Winter Meetings Day 3 Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:40 PM
Day 2 of the Winter Meetings ended with a flurry of activity, ending a busy day. However, the Twins did not consummate any moves on Tuesd...

How high would you go for Cole?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:13 PM
Let’s say Cole would sign if we gave him enough money. How high would you be willing to go? What if we could get him for 8 years, 300 mil...

Minnesota and Big Contracts

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:11 PM
For more than 2 decades I have listened to Minnesota Twins fans complain that the Pohlads never give out big contracts. This is mostly bu...

2019 2020 (non-Twins) off season

Other Baseball Today, 06:06 PM
My first prediction is that WA signs their two big possible FAs to extensions.   My next is that Cole goes to LAA.   The White...

Photo

Baldelli and Line Ups: Which Twin has faced the best pitching?

Posted by jorgenswest , 21 September 2019 · 1,763 views

I became interested in the Astudillo discussion in the resting players topic and wondered about Astudillo's use. I have been thinking about this since his critical hit against Matt Barnes in the Red Sox series.

Matt Barnes is a right handed pitcher with the highest k/9 rate in the AL and nearly the highest AL k-rate at 38%. The Twins are tied with the Red Sox 1-1 in the 7th inning. Miguel Sano is in scoring position with two outs. The Twins have 1 hit through 6 2/3. Jonathan Schoop is coming to the plate and in comes Matt Barnes. It is time to pinch hit with a left handed batter or so I thought. They have Polanco and Wade on the bench. They also have Astudillo. Astudillo? Why Astudillo? Kepler is up next. Let's get someone on base. Polanco or Wade must be a better choice. I was certain.

Astudillo slaps a single to right field for the Twins second and last hit of the game. The Twins hold on to win 2-1. Lucky decision on Baldelli's part I muttered. The moment stuck with me though. I wondered... "When does Baldelli choose to use Astudillo?"

With the help of Baseball Prospectus I looked to the quality of opposing pitcher for each Twin hitter with over 100 PAs. We have heard that the line ups are well thought out and planned. Maybe some hitters have faced a more difficult set of pitchers by design.

Not surprisingly the typical pitcher faced profile for a Twin hitter is Polanco. He plays the most. The opposing pitchers he has faced have allowed a .770 OPS resulting in a 105 oppRPA+. More than half of the Twin hitters bunch in the interquartile range of 104-106. Only one Twin batter has faced better than league average opposing pitching this year with a 99 oppRPA+. Willians Astudillo. Astudillo's 746 oppOPS is two standard deviations away from the typical opposing pitcher faced. I don't think this happens by accident or randomly. Baldelli must either be choosing to play Astudillo against more difficult pitching or at least choosing to rest players against a more difficult pitcher.

If you are still reading and curious the Twin closest to Astudillo is Arraez at .751 and the only other Twin more than a standard deviation away in this direction. There are two Twins on the opposite end though not near as far from center as Astudillo. Marwin Gonzalez (.779) and Byron Buxton (.781) have seen the pitchers who have given up the highest OPS to the hitters they have faced.

Does this or should this give us a different impression on Astudillo's performance at the plate this year?

  • woolywoolhouse, mikelink45, Hosken Bombo Disco and 3 others like this



Photo
jorgenswest
Sep 22 2019 03:21 PM

I explored some more with BP's statistics. This time I looked at the quality of batters each pitcher has faced. 

 

The pitcher who has faced the highest quality of opposing batter is Devin Smeltzer. I found it interesting that opposing batters have fared worse by OPS against Smeltzer(.756) than the rest of the pitchers they have faced (.780). Tyler Duffey has dominated this year. He hasn't faced near the quality of batter (.731) but with a .582 OPS against he has the biggest differential on the team.

 

I don't know what to make of slash stat data at this sample. The opposing batter data set would be huge but the data set for the individual player maybe small. While I am very certain that Smeltzer overall has faced a more difficult set of hitters than Duffey I don't know what to make of their individual opposing OPS number. In any case I find it encouraging to be on the positive side.

 

Of the pitchers that could be eligible for post season there are 11 who have a better OPS against than the opposing pitchers of their batter set. This set is order from biggest positive differential to least.

 

Tyler Duffey
Trevor May
Sergio Romo
Taylor Rogers
Jake Odorizzi
Randy Dobnak
Ryne Harper
Jose Berrios
Zack Littell
Devin Smeltzer
Brusdar Graterol

 

Harper has performed much worse recently. I don't think I would have him on my playoff roster. The other 10 would be on my roster.

 

The remainder needs to come from pitchers who have performed worse by OPS than the other pitchers that have faced the same batters. Stashak, Perez and Gibson are close to even but Perez and Gibson have not performed well recently either. The only other pitcher in consideration is Thorpe who has been hit hard by opposing batters. I guess I would go with Perez and Stashak but treat Perez as more of an opener with a really short leash second time through the line up.

 

Two other Twin pitchers posted a positive this season. Mike Morin and Michael Pineda. Pineda really let us down.

    • mikelink45 and ToddlerHarmon like this

Maybe another factor to consider is, like with Smeltzer, when he is brought in and facing a good hitter; he is usually brought in to face a left handed batter and that may be part of why he does well against good hitters.  

But, nothing against Smeltzer, just wondering if that needs to be factored in; since lefty on lefty, everything else being considered, is an advantage to the pitcher.

Interesting post, thanks - some food for thought!

Photo
jorgenswest
Sep 25 2019 01:56 PM

 

Maybe another factor to consider is, like with Smeltzer, when he is brought in and facing a good hitter; he is usually brought in to face a left handed batter and that may be part of why he does well against good hitters.  

But, nothing against Smeltzer, just wondering if that needs to be factored in; since lefty on lefty, everything else being considered, is an advantage to the pitcher.

 

I should have looked at that and now that I did I was surprised by the data.

 

Smeltzer has faced right handed batters in over 75% of the plate appearances against him. That is much higher than the team split of 59% right handed batters. I guess it isn't that surprising since most of the plate appearances against him have come in starts where the other team stacked the line up with right handed batters.

 

I was surprised that he has been much more effective against right handed batters this year who have posted a .721 OPS against him. Lefties have hit him much harder at an .869 OPS.

    • mikelink45 and Dman like this
Photo
Rhino and Compass
Sep 28 2019 11:00 PM

I think the answer, with regards to Astudillo is right there in your description of Barnes as a pitcher. Astudillo doesn't strike out, so if the imperative is to make contact, it's hard to go wrong with Willians. A high k pitcher is a perfect opportunity to use him if the goal is simply to put a ball in play, given his unique approach

    • jorgenswest likes this