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Ask Jack: Minnesota Twins' Jack Goin Answers Your Questions

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:20 PM

Jack Goin, the Twins' Manager of Major League Administration and Baseball Research, has been kind enough to field question from the Twins Daily community.

Naturally, Mr. Goin cannot answer any specifics regarding payroll, player movement and free agents -- so don't bother asking if the Twins will sign Ervin Santana, as an example -- but if you have questions about functions of the front office, analytics or processes, he will do his best to answer them here.

Feel free to leave your questions in the thread below and stop back soon.

#2 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:22 PM

What do you think of front offices starting to sign guys away from "stats websites"?

Why aren't there more/any women in stats work (or ar there)? There are certainly women actuaries....so it isn't all "fear of math".

What is your favorite color?
Lighten up Francis....

#3 jay

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:34 PM

Hi Jack, if forced to choose just one, what is your single favorite publically-available stat to measure offensive performance and why? (ie - BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, RC, RAA, OBA, VORP, TAv, any of their weighted brethren, etc)

#4 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:38 PM

Again, thanks,

Ok, if you can answer this....if 1 is the smallest stats department in MLB, and 10 is the largest, the Twins fall in what range. I won't hold it against you if you can't answer.

edit: to be clear, I'm not asking for a range of how many people you have.....but a ranking compared to other MLB teams. So, if 15 teams have 10 guys, and you have 4, then you are probably in the 2-3 ranking....or something like that.

Edited by mike wants wins, 01 November 2013 - 02:47 PM.

Lighten up Francis....

#5 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:43 PM

What was the main reason the Twins let David Ortiz go after he hit 38 HR in his last 700 at bats as a 25/26 year old, posted a 120 OPS+, and a .950 OPS in the 2nd half of his last season in Minnesota?

#6 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:48 PM

What was the main reason the Twins let David Ortiz go after he hit 38 HR in his last 700 at bats as a 25/26 year old, posted a 120 OPS+, and a .950 OPS in the 2nd half of his last season in Minnesota?


Objection your honor, leading the witness.....(trying for some humor here).
Lighten up Francis....

#7 jay

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:52 PM

That'd probably be a better question for TR (which he has answered) given that Jack had nothing to do with that decision back then.

In line with mike's wit... motion to strike the question from the record.

#8 Jack Goin

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:57 PM

What do you think of front offices starting to sign guys away from "stats websites"?

Why aren't there more/any women in stats work (or ar there)? There are certainly women actuaries....so it isn't all "fear of math".

What is your favorite color?

It's a good avenue to evaluate their work and understand their skill sets and interests.

I can't answer that question. The Orioles Coordinator of Analytics is a woman. After that I'm not sure.

I think grey.

#9 daanderson20

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:59 PM

Do you find the higher-ups are receptive to your recommendations? Has it been tough to get your thoughts/strategies on to the field?

#10 Jack Goin

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:01 PM

Again, thanks,

Ok, if you can answer this....if 1 is the smallest stats department in MLB, and 10 is the largest, the Twins fall in what range. I won't hold it against you if you can't answer.

edit: to be clear, I'm not asking for a range of how many people you have.....but a ranking compared to other MLB teams. So, if 15 teams have 10 guys, and you have 4, then you are probably in the 2-3 ranking....or something like that.

I CAN tell you this. I believe the largest department is nine. The smallest is 0. We are somewhere in-between.

#11 Willihammer

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:01 PM

Your title is "Manager, Major League Administration and Baseball Research," how big is the staff you manage?

How much of your effort is dedicated to scouting, minor league development, research, mechanics, and whatever else we might associate with analytics, and how much is dedicated to Major League Administration?

#12 daanderson20

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:02 PM

What are your thoughts on defensive shifts? Have you done any studies similar to what has been done in Pittsburgh?

#13 jay

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:02 PM

Having taken a lot of criticism due to recent on-field results, is this part of a larger effort from the Twins to shed light on their process and operations that leadership is confident in?

#14 Jack Goin

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:02 PM

That'd probably be a better question for TR (which he has answered) given that Jack had nothing to do with that decision back then.

In line with mike's wit... motion to strike the question from the record.

Terry has answered this question repeatedly. Let it go!

#15 Jack Goin

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:03 PM

Having taken a lot of criticism due to recent on-field results, is this part of a larger effort from the Twins to shed light on their process and operations that leadership is confident in?

I don't think I quite understand the question but I think the answer is no.

#16 Jack Goin

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:11 PM

Your title is "Manager, Major League Administration and Baseball Research," how big is the staff you manage?

How much of your effort is dedicated to scouting, minor league development, research, mechanics, and whatever else we might associate with analytics, and how much is dedicated to Major League Administration?

I scout the AL Central and I work closely with our pro scouting director and VP, Player Personnel on professional scouting - maintaining knowledge of the 29 other clubs. I work closely with Terry and Rob Antony on issues pertaining to the big league club. I am not involved our Minor Leagues much. Our Minor League Director, Brad Steil, does a great job with our farm system. I am always involved in Major League administration (waiver/option rules, contract rules, arbitration, CBA issues, etc.)

#17 daanderson20

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:15 PM

Are you guys starting to put a greater value on catcher framing? Who is the best framer in the Twins system? I know Mauer has a tough time getting low strikes, does he work on this much?

#18 Craig in MN

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:17 PM

The Twins have long had a propensity to go after control pitchers who don't walk batters....finding a lot of value in that. It makes sense that on offense, going after hitters that can/will work a walk would have the same value, but the Twins haven't put nearly as much effort on that side. Is there anything to that?



The Twins (and every team really) plays lefty/righty matchups constantly with relievers from a pitching perspective....presumably knowing that the platoon advantage is a big deal in those at-bats. Doesn't it make as much sense to make an effort to platoon hitters to take advantage of that on the offensive side? Or is the idea of a platoon really just overrated because of roster limitations? Maybe swapping one less lefty reliever would allow for one more lefty hitter to allow for a platoon?

#19 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:18 PM

What player has been the most "positive" player brought in that you suggested? Which player did you recommend yet the Twins didn't bring in that you regret?

(sorry for the poorly worded sentence...long day)

#20 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:38 PM

What is your opinion of publicly available defensive statistics, such as UZR and similar measurements? Do the Twins use any/all? Do the Twins use any proprietary defensive evaluation system (s)?

#21 Jack Goin

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:40 PM

Hi Jack, if forced to choose just one, what is your single favorite publically-available stat to measure offensive performance and why? (ie - BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, RC, RAA, OBA, VORP, TAv, any of their weighted brethren, etc)


We regularly refer to OPSBI.:D

#22 twinscowboysbulls

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:45 PM

Jack, thanks for being a part of Twins Daily.

Why do the Twins hold certain qualities or skills, if you will, so near and dear to their heart when there are statistics out there that prove otherwise. I'm just going off the top of my head, Drew Butera. The front office put a ton of weight on his "ability to call/catch a good game" and chose to overlook his career .500 OPS.

When a defensive-oriented player is struggling to this extent offensively, do you step in ever or in Butera's case, did you step in and say that his defense is no where near outweighing his lack of offensive production? Is Management willing to completely overlook a players offensive totals if they can "catch the ball?" Nick Punto is another player that comes to mind, Pedro Florimon, etc. This sounds stupid, but have you been able to help the Twins FO forget about things like grit, chemistry, toughness?

#23 Thrylos

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:47 PM

Jack,
here is a question for you (let's call it hypothetical situation) :

Who would you rather have:

Pitcher A who never pitched in the majors, is 25 (and let's say his birthday is today), had a record of 24-0 with 1.27 ERA in a foreign league that is likely a AAA equivalent competition, is projected to have an about 3.50 xFIP in the majors and would cost about $150 million for 5 years

or

Pitcher B who has been pitching in the majors for a while with a few All Star appearances and post-season, including World Series, experience, just turned 33, and in the majors in 2013 he finished 10-14 with an ERA of 4.70 and an xFIP of around 3.65. He struck out more per 9 in the majors than pitcher A did in his league. Let's say that he would cost around $25 million for 2 years with an additional option and incentives.

If you could sign either (No problems, they both want to come and play for you. Cleared by doctors. Scouts say they are both great) Who would you rather sign?

Thanks

Edited by Thrylos, 01 November 2013 - 03:52 PM.

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#24 Jack Goin

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:03 PM

Jack,
here is a question for you (let's call it hypothetical situation) :

Who would you rather have:

Pitcher A who never pitched in the majors, is 25 (and let's say his birthday is today), had a record of 24-0 with 1.27 ERA in a foreign league that is likely a AAA equivalent competition, is projected to have an about 3.50 xFIP in the majors and would cost about $150 million for 5 years

or

Pitcher B who has been pitching in the majors for a while with a few All Star appearances and post-season, including World Series, experience, just turned 33, and in the majors in 2013 he finished 10-14 with an ERA of 4.70 and an xFIP of around 3.65. He struck out more per 9 in the majors than pitcher A did in his league. Let's say that he would cost around $25 million for 2 years with an additional option and incentives.

If you could sign either (No problems, they both want to come and play for you. Cleared by doctors. Scouts say they are both great) Who would you rather sign?

Thanks

Nice try. Creative line of questioning though.

#25 jorgenswest

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:47 PM

What technologies or data or new analysis have most helped major league teams in their decision making process in the last 5-10 years?

What's next? Any emerging technologies or analysis that teams will be available in the next 5 years?

#26 ashburyjohn

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 05:08 PM

Pulling this question of mine from the other thread...

Jack, have you been tasked to look at the business side of things as well as player evaluations? For example, airlines and hotels have expertise by now in a well-developed field of Revenue Management (or Operations Research, more generally) - do the Twins engage in anything that might fall into that category, for example to consider the business ramifications of losing 100 versus keeping it below that threshold?

#27 Jack Goin

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 05:17 PM

What technologies or data or new analysis have most helped major league teams in their decision making process in the last 5-10 years?

What's next? Any emerging technologies or analysis that teams will be available in the next 5 years?

Obviously Pitch fx revolutionized not only the analytics world but scouting as well. The amount of information we have been able to pull from this is amamzing.
A relatively new company TrackMan records much of the same info as Pitch f/x along with batted ball data. You should follow Josh Orenstein on Twitter at @JoshOrensteinTM. He is tweeting out a bunch of fun info from the Arizona Fall League right now.
There are a few tests we do on our medical side that have helped us prevent or recognize injuries faster the past two seasons.
I think Field f/x is the next big thing. This could really help us with defensive metrics.

Edited by Jack Goin, 01 November 2013 - 05:25 PM.


#28 Jack Goin

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 05:23 PM

Pulling this question of mine from the other thread...

Jack, have you been tasked to look at the business side of things as well as player evaluations? For example, airlines and hotels have expertise by now in a well-developed field of Revenue Management (or Operations Research, more generally) - do the Twins engage in anything that might fall into that category, for example to consider the business ramifications of losing 100 versus keeping it below that threshold?

I keep my work to the baseball side of things but we do have business analytics department as well that is separate from what we do.

#29 Jack Goin

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 08:28 PM

The Twins have long had a propensity to go after control pitchers who don't walk batters....finding a lot of value in that. It makes sense that on offense, going after hitters that can/will work a walk would have the same value, but the Twins haven't put nearly as much effort on that side. Is there anything to that?

The Twins (and every team really) plays lefty/righty matchups constantly with relievers from a pitching perspective....presumably knowing that the platoon advantage is a big deal in those at-bats. Doesn't it make as much sense to make an effort to platoon hitters to take advantage of that on the offensive side? Or is the idea of a platoon really just overrated because of roster limitations? Maybe swapping one less lefty reliever would allow for one more lefty hitter to allow for a platoon?

I'm not sure your observation about hitters is totally true. Willingham is capable of working a walk. He had a 14% BB%. Everyone knows Joe's ability to work deep in counts, but he is an anomaly. Most guys don't hit as well with 2 strikes as he does. Doumit had an above average BB%. Even guys with limited experience like Colabello & Herrmann had 9%+ walk rates.
Also, if you look at count splits guys tend to hit well early in the count. I would say it is more about getting a pitch you can drive, no matter if it is early in the count or not. You can get to a bullpen by knocking a guy around and scoring runs just like you can taking pitches and driving up the pitch count.

In regards to your platoon question I think Terry addressed this question pretty well in his Q&A with Parker for the Off-Season Handbook. You would like to find guys who can play everyday, 150+ games. Those are good players. They can hit both RHP & LHP well. If you have the need to platoon for whatever reason it can work if you set it up correctly.

#30 Jack Goin

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 08:32 PM

What player has been the most "positive" player brought in that you suggested? Which player did you recommend yet the Twins didn't bring in that you regret?

(sorry for the poorly worded sentence...long day)

Long day or have you been in a bottle of vodka like your username suggests?