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The Completely Arbitrary +/- System to Predict "Something" About the Twins

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Somewhere, somewhen, I realized I'm generally ill-suited to responding to internet forums as I often type up ten times as much information as is really suited to being in a forum post. It hasn't stopped me from doing it, but it has stopped me from posting more than about 1% of the things that pop through my head when reading forums. I type up a response to a thread that starts growing as I try to add details to clarify why some of the things I was saying were as they were until it gets to the point I realize it no longer has anything to do with the posted topic.

My usual response is to just close the page before I add tons of unnecessary text to what doesn't need to be so complicated. Recently it occurred to me, the site owners in their infinite "wisdom" allowed people like me to spew out random ideas for some reason and let us call it a blog. Well, that is pretty much what blogs are for I guess. So here it is, my completely arbitrary thoughts unposted to a forum thread and instead turned into some kind of system with which I can predict almost nothing about the Twins in 2013 based mostly on a bunch of hunches. Look out, Bill James!

When approaching the topic of how the Twins will compare to last year's team, I decided the best way to approach it was position-by-position to make assumptions about my expected performance in relation. The resulting "system" ended up being a +/- system. What are the pluses and minuses, you ask? In essence, a plus means I predict better performance than last year, and minus is conversely a prediction of worse performance. Simple right? At the end I can just total up all the pluses and minuses and "accurately" predict why the Twins will be better or worse than last year. Or something...

The biggest assumption being made in this is one player manning the position for the majority of the season, which of course completely nullifies most of the value from predicting anyway. Many players will suffer injuries, many will be replaced/traded mid-season, and various other things can happen to make that a truly horrible assumption. But it's easier than the alternative, and therefore is perfect for my arbitrary system.

So here we go...

Left Field: Josh Willingham manned it last year and will again this year. While I'm inclined to believe he'll have a hard time repeating what he did last year, I'm letting my optimism run wild with this one and going with a push both offensively and defensively. Offense=, Defense=.

Center Field: Denard Span is gone and being replaced by Aaron Hicks. Span was a good hitter last year, though that .342 OBP wasn't exactly stellar for a leadoff hitter. It'd be fine for a lot of teams, but he's done much better in the past. Hicks had perhaps his best year as a hitter in AA last year, but there's no way it translates to as much success at the majors as a rookie. Boy would that be nice, though. I don't see much chance Hicks hits as well as Span did last year. Defensively is a more interesting proposition. Reports have Hicks being extremely fast with good instincts and a very strong throwing arm. Span has never seemed much more than average to me, but he seemed to have his best year defensively by a good bit last year. Any other years' defense by Span and I'd call this a plus, but Span's best year to a young Hicks's first year in the majors makes this a push. Offense-, Defense=.

Right Field: Ben Revere turns this over to Chris Parmelee. There's really nothing similar about these two players. Best I can do is WAG this one as a push offensively. We're trading some OBP and stolen bases for slugging on this one, hopefully it's about equal. Defensively, well, that's a pretty huge loss. No need to expound anymore. Offense=, Defense-- (yep that's a double minus).

3B: Trevor Plouffe gives way to new and improved Trevor Plouffe. Pretty much I'm just predicting more offense for the entire season than what we saw last year and improved defense based on being able to prepare to be the 3B for the entire offseason. Plus he's already gotten through the inital learning curve. I pretty much think he'll be better. How's that for scientific? Offense+, Defense+.

SS: (redacted) last year to Pedro Florimon (more on this later) this year. Well, the position was pretty much terrible both offensively and defensively last year, and that's being kind. And apparently our starter is going to be part of what contributed to the (redacted) last year. That being said, I'm hoping Florimon just had a few bad errors in a compressed timeframe last year when he was trying too hard to impress. His offense will be a push with last year's, which doesn't require much, and his defense will be a little better than what we got last season. Offense=, Defense+.

2B: (Mostly) Alexia Casilla to Brian Dozier. One of my biggest hunches is Brian Dozier taking over second and playing well. I want my gut to shut up so I'm not disappointed, but unfortunately it's been growing larger every year, and I can't control it like I used to. If Dozier hits like I think he can, we have a massive improvement from last year's contribution. While I think he'll be adequate defensively, I don't think Dozier matches Casilla's defense. Offense++, Defense-.

1B: Another totally scientific prediction of "he'll be better than last year offensively." I don't think there's much reason to expect his defense to be any different, so hopefully last year's second half is more indicative of the Morneau we're getting this year. Offense+, Defense=.

C: Joe Mauer to Drew Butera. Watch as we run the best-hitting catcher in baseball out there game after game and he guns down runners while calling perfect gameplans for the pitchers. Nuff said.
Okay, reality says Joe Mauer matches last year. I'm hoping for better defense this year, but honestly I'm not real confident in it. Offense=, Defense=.

DH: Ryan Doumit both years. Not much reason to expect different results that I can think of. Offense=.

So for the starting lineup, that totals up as Offense +3, Defense -1. Yay, we're better this year.

Moving on to the bench, at this point my arbitrary system to compare positions 1-to-1 gets thrown out for the new arbitrary system to call the bench a wash as a whole. Bad last year, bad this year.

Bullpen. Hmmm, you know that 1-to-1 comparison thing is a lot less fun when it's not a starter. Most of the same guys back from last year, bullpens are notoriously impossible to predict, I'm calling a wash and hoping nobody's looking.

Now for the rotation. Quick, name the top five starters from last year. Scott Diamond, ummm... Cole DeVries, Sam Deduno, all right executive decision says 1-to-1 comparisons are again pointless. Good thing this system is arbitrary. I'm making up a separate system for the rotation to see how many ranks better I think this year's rotation will be than last year's and making that equivalent to a +/-. The ranks from worst on top to best at the bottom of the list:

Fairly Good

I say we go from last year's putrid to this year's mediocre. Diamond is about equal, to last year (he didn't pitch the whole season last year, either), Worley should be better than anything else we trotted out last year, hopefully Hendricks is better, Pelfrey and Gibson combine for a season's worth of starts better than most contributions last year. Still below average, but compared to last year's I'll take it. That's a nice ol' +2. Woot.

All right, the grand total says +4. It's a good thing that in my arbitrary system each plus translates to 6 more wins right? Right? There you have it, the Twins are winning 90 games next year.

Okay, obviously my pluses don't actually translate to anything beyond saying I'm predicting the Twins to be a little better next year as a whole. In trying to come up with the reason I was going to be optimistic about this year's record, I ended up going through this drawn out exercise, and it was enjoyable even if it'll be proven completely absurd in a couple more months.

About Pedro Florimon. I think if they'd just admit Jamey Carroll is their best shortstop, even though he's 39, it'd also contribute to the overall improvement of the team. He's solid. Unspectacular, but solid, both offensively and defensively. If I substitute Jamey Carroll for Pedro Florimon in the above assumptions it leads to another +2, which then means the Twins are winning 102 games next year. How awesome is that? There seems to be some notion we should run Florimon out there because he's younger, as if they can pretend he's the shortstop of the future by doing so. If he's an amazing defensive player and below-average on offense, I'll be pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately I just have no hopes of that, and am instead expecting inconsistent defense to go with atrocious hitting. I do know Carroll was third on the team in OBP last year, though, and didn't make many stupid errors like much of our infield. I'll take a workman-like Jamey Carroll over our combined shortstops from last year any day. I haven't seen/don't know enough about Escobar to have any real opinion about him, so I'm leaving him out of the equation.

And there it is. You can take all those other projection systems and shove them. My clearly superior system predicts the Twins win 102 games next year based on pretty much nothing and should handily win the AL Central because I've also arbitrarily decided nobody else is winning 102 games. Detroit can take their loaded roster home and cry about it.

Enjoy the season!

Updated 02-20-2013 at 02:45 PM by ericchri

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  1. John Bonnes's Avatar
    Recently it occurred to me, the site owners in their infinite "wisdom" allowed people like me to spew out random ideas for some reason and let us call it a blog. Well, that is pretty much what blogs are for I guess. So here it is, my completely arbitrary thoughts unposted to a forum thread and instead turned into....
    You've got it exactly right. This is almost precisely what happened to me eleven years ago. Welcome to the Twins blogosphere. We're glad to have another member. I'm looking forward to seeing how your writing style changes.
  2. ashburyjohn's Avatar
    I can't put my finger on it, but there is something wrong in the analysis leading to 102 wins.
  3. ericchri's Avatar
    You're totally correct! I feel so stupid. Since each player's contribution to a game is 1/25, and there are 162 games, each player plus therefore accounts for 6.48 wins, not just 6. I can't believe I rounded down.

    So in actuality the Twins are +6 over last year's squad due to coming to their senses and playing Jamey Carroll all season. 6.48 x 6 is essentially 39 wins. So the 2013 Twins are 39 wins better than last years team and are actually winning 105 games. Thanks for pointing that out.
  4. Twins Twerp's Avatar
    I catch a hint of sarcasm...but I like it. Your method is less scientific than sabremetrics but probably just as effective. Plus you probably get laid more. Great blog!
  5. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
    ericchri - Your plus/minus system is amazing. The brilliance behind it is absolutely elusive!
    The science is mythical!
    The best example of the 'hunch-theory' logic I've ever seen.
    I look forward to your next post.
    (105 wins.... can't wait...)
  6. ashburyjohn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Twins Twerp
    I catch a hint of sarcasm...but I like it. Your method is less scientific than sabremetrics but probably just as effective. Plus you probably get laid more. Great blog!
    I wanted to switch away from sabrmetrics but my wife won't let me.
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