04-14-2012, 09:23 AM #1
Luke Hughes and Defense
Hughes has had a couple of big errors recently at second base, particularly with respect to turning double plays. I remember quite a few people on this forum telling me that Hughes D at second base was comparable if not better to Casilla's when Hughes was lighting it up in spring training. So I have a couple of questions...
1) Still feel that way?
2) Is his roster spot (for position players) the most in jeopardy, even though he doesn't have options? I pointed out after the first game that it looked like Plouffe was the first guy off the bench for an infield need, and Plouffe is also right-handed. If something happens, like Doumit or Mauer or Carroll is dinged up a bit (but not bad enough to go on the DL), and the Twins feel like they need to call up a third catcher or utility infielder, Hughes looks like the most redundant player right now.
04-14-2012, 10:13 AM #2
Yeah, I'd have to agree, I expressed surprise that Plouffe came in at 2nd base in game one instead of Hughes, since then Hughes hasn't done anything for that not being the best option. I'm not completely down on Hughes yet but he is the most redundant player right now, Plouffe is arguably a little more versatile and if the team needs some depth at catcher or utility Hughes would be the odd man out right now...............except he's out of options, s it ain't gonna happen.
My dreams of a Hughes-Dozier middle infield is entering the nightmare stages.
04-14-2012, 10:20 AM #3
I like Hughes, but he is going to have to bring more defense. I can see where it would be tough to be consistent defensively if your playing a middle infield position 1-2 times per week and not considered a "defensive" replacement. Obviously, he was in the lineup for his bat last night. Also, I did like seeing that lineup even though they only scored one run. I cringe when I see this lineup; 8) Revere 9) Casilla 1) Span 2) Carroll. That's way too many slap hitters in a row once you get past the first inning, if you count Span as a slap hitter.
I'm not nearly as worried about Hughes' redundancy at this point as I am the waisting away of the "potential" of Ben Revere. As little as he has played the first 7 games, he should be down in Rochester manning CF every day, honing his craft, learning how to bunt, and gaining value, be it for the Twins or on the trade front. The threesome of Doumit, Plouffe, and Hughes are more than enough to cover our bench needs, both infield and out.
04-14-2012, 10:36 AM #4
If Revere would be sent down, who would take his place? Or is the idea of sending him down just assuming the need for depth after an injury?
04-14-2012, 10:46 AM #5
1.) Yes, I still feel that way. I've never said Hughes is a great defensive player, but he's solid enough. Last night's error was just an error. Errors happen. Casilla is probably better defensviely, but I don't think it's a huge differnce.
2.) I also don't disagree that his spot on the roster (hitter-wise) may be the most up for grabs. I mean, Plouffe is pretty safe and out of options. Burroughs provides little, but is also out of options and left-handed. Revere plays good D, has speed, left-handed, Gardy likes him. But, of the four, he's the only one with options remaining.
04-14-2012, 11:15 AM #6
I have alway considered Hughes as suspect on defense since he has been moved around a lot in the minors. It has seemed that the Twins were trying to find a place for him to play and not hurt the club too much in the field. As I said earlier, his defense seemed adequate last year, but he only did play thirty-some games at second. I think Hughes' position is pretty solid on the team--he can play three infield positions plus he has minor league experience at the outfield corners. LEN3 has said that he is the emergency catcher as well. I would say that he needs to show promise hitting to get playing time, and that will mean producing while not playing for fairly long stretches.
04-14-2012, 11:38 AM #7
I don't think there is great risk in sending Hughes to the minors and losing him on options. He isn't very useful on a bench. He isn't a useful utility infielder without the ability to play SS well. He doesn't have speed. He doesn't hit left handed. History is full of hitting AAAA second basemen like him. They either need to hit well enough to start in the majors or they end up a journeyman spending a lot of time in the minors.
04-14-2012, 11:47 AM #8
Yes John, I still believe that Hughes can be a solid second baseman. His biggest problem this year is lack of time playing there. You will recall he missed nearly half of spring training because of his shoulder injury. I don't recall him playing many games at second base this spring, maybe a handful. Give him some regular reps at second and he will be solid with acceptable, not great range. Let him play a game or two every two three weeks and you are going to get errors, much as you would for any young player.
04-14-2012, 11:59 AM #9
Hughes is fine defensively. He just made ONE error. He turn THAT DP but the umpire blew the call. Blame the umpire not Hughes (like DickNBert did.)
I think the first one down will probably be Burroughs. LH bat and all but he is an overmatched LH bat and the Twins have way too many LH bats any ways. I just hope they are able to work a couple of trades for some of the players (inc. pitchers) who are out of options...-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
04-15-2012, 09:47 PM #10
I think at this point, on a defensive level Hughes, Plouffe, and Burroughs have all been pretty even. Burroughs hasn't been on the field more than the one game, so it's hard to get a gauge on him, but Plouffe has the same number of errors Hughes does.
Look at the Offensive numbers though, and Hughes is hitting much better than Plouffe, and Burroughs has a big fat .000.
Barring another waiver claim or injury, I'm betting our next position player roster change will be Burroughs DFA'ed for a 3rd catcher. If Burroughs can't hit off the bench, we need to make it easier for Doumit to be used as a bench bat, and Gardy isn't likely to do that without a third catcher available.
04-15-2012, 11:21 PM #11
04-16-2012, 09:00 PM #12
I haven't been able to watch every play of the game tonight (1st game vs NYY) but that diving stop by Casilla in the 8th was awesome, and the jump DP turn was impressive, too. There is NO WAY Hughes makes that play in the 8th.
I think you can argue tht Hughes offense makes up for his defense versus Casilla, but I don't think it's reasonable to suggest he's on par with Casilla defensively.
04-16-2012, 09:27 PM #13
Ahem . . . what offense has Luke Hughes actually demonstrated with the Twins? People keep talking as though he has been a productive hitter. That is false.
04-16-2012, 09:35 PM #14
Luke Hughes = .627 in 327 plate appearances (and he was actually worse against lefties)
Alexi Casilla = .691 in 365 plate appearance (much better as a lefty against righties)
Maybe if Hughes could hit lefties appropriately like a major leaguer should, the duo could be an interesting platoon option.
I think both of them will be gone in before next season starts. Hopefully in a trade for some kind of hard-throwers in A ball or something.
04-16-2012, 10:26 PM #15
Now, let's remember that Luke Hughes is essentially filling a role that has previously been held by Matt Tolbert, Nick Punto, Brendan Harris, and Alexi Casilla during his rough streaks. Our "utility infielder" spot has traditionally been a guy who can't hit his way out of a wet paper bag.
04-16-2012, 10:43 PM #16