You can view the page at http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.ph...-Twins-Offense
You can view the page at http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.ph...-Twins-Offense
Mastroianni too. People seem to forget he OPSed nearly the same as Hicks last ST, when he was healthy.
Plouffe, Parmalee or Colabello could have a break out season as a DH, bench or at 3B. Sano could come up and add to the offense too. I expect several of these things to happen, but will there be enough improvement on the offense to put us into contention.
No AB's for Clete Thomas and Doug Bernier will help. If Plouffe and Parmelee are struggling again they can be replaced easier this year by Sano, Kubel. If Centerfield is as bad as last year they may just bring up Buxton. So I think there is some hope for improvement by subtraction.
Nice article Nick. I tried to make some of the same arguments in the Florimon thread. I'm curious to see how others respond. I had forgotten completely about Kubel. Hopefully he provides some insurance in case Parmelee finally proves he can't cut it (which I'm starting to feel is true).
It appears we fans will have to suffice with the tone of this story--"they can't all be as bad as they were last year!" After some weather as brutal as the baseball, hope is starting to look pretty good right now.
Seems to me the only realistic "hope" is a full year of Arcia. The rest are based around the improvement of guys who have a proven track record below that improvement level.
Joe often talks about the toll catching takes on his hands. The year he won the MVP, he came in May 1 driving the ball like we've never seen him, which he attributed to "fresh hands". That is as much of a benefit to moving out from behind the plate as stronger legs, especially the way he hits.
Besides Arcia, who will surely benefit from more ABs and a better understanding of the league, I look to regression to the mean. In most cases, they performed well below their career averages last year, so regression looks much more like progression. Willingham is the best example. His year was wrecked by injuries. Kubel and Suzuki also had injury-plagued years. I don't know what to make of Plouffe, but he has to be a bit better. Both Dozier and Florimon performed better than their career averages last year, so regression looks like slippage to me. Then again, I don't expect a lot from them anyway.
Dozier was abysmal the first two months of the season, posting a .609 and .513 OPS in April and May. Then he changed his stance with Bruno and posted an OPS around .800 for the rest of the season. That wasn't a fluke. You can draw a line in the sand the day Dozier made that change to his approach and he was a different player after that day.
He finished the season with a .726 OPS. Given what happened last season, if he stays healthy, I think a .710-.730 OPS is his floor with a ceiling of around .800. Predicting regression below .726 doesn't make any sense given why he improved last season.
I like the offenses chance to be a bit better but nothing makes me think they're going to improve too much. Hoping Mauer stays healthy for 150 games I the number 1 way to improve the offense. Also no one is really due for regression except maybe Pinto. Dozier won't likely be the guy we saw the second half but I'd bet his overall numbers will resemble last years and could improve a bit.
Even slight improvements at 3B and outfield positions could be huge and seem realistic to expect. The real improvements should be 2015.when the roster consists of some combination of these players:
Hicks, Buxton, Arcia, Pressly, Rosario, Parmelee
Dozier, Sano, Santana, Florimon, Escaobar, Mauer, Parmelee, Rosario, Plouffe
Pinto, Hermann? Turner in AA or AAA maybe?
Parmelee, Arcia, Plouffe?
Could be a nice lineup out of that crew come 2015. Also depending on what the Twins do for spending the rest of this offseason, they could likely afford to add a Free Agent either to solidify SS or add a power bat at DH. (Still have my fingers crossed that Plouffe or Parmelee could help us out there)
I would suggest that if this is the best optimism we can find within the organization (I think it is), that the results of Nick's search is the strongest evidence yet that the team needs to go outside the organization for help if it believes it can contend.
Better players would help!
Just a gut feeling. I can see the twins scoring 100 more runs next year. I don't see them contending until 2015 but they be around .500. I expect Mauer, hammer, CF, and Arica better but i can see him go down to AAA once or twice during the season.
Arcia will be familiar with the league, but the league will also be more familiar with him.
2015 promises to be big, but it would help if the propsects of that year get lineup time this year.
The Twins have not stop striking out so much, move runners, MAYBE steal some bases, and ALL hit for their average or better. That's a lot to ask.
Hopefully the starters will keep the team in the game better than last year, yet the batters must also help the rotation out by putting more early runs on the board, too...which brings up the question when playing another team...who DOES have the best starter on the mind today. The Twins still lack a super starter to go against another (co
ntending) club's super starter.
That's part of the problem of living in Minnesota -- even if you've got the hot water of optimism, by the time you throw it in the air, it freezes into the snow-and-ice of reality. Point by point:
- Mauer may end up stronger at first base then he's been at catcher, but people seem to keep forgetting that Mauer's MVP year happened in the Metrodome and that Target Field simply isn't the same kind of ballpark for offense. Plus, Mauer's going to be 31 next year -- he's still got some good seasons left in him, for certain, but predicting a breakout season past 30 is a sucker's bet. Speaking of which:
- Predicting that Willingham will rebound is extremely optimistic, given his age. The two big problems with older players is that 1) they lose skills, especially hand-eye coordination, and 2) they have a harder time staying healthy and recovering from injury. Willingham's 2012 should not be considered a baseline; it's the healthiest he's ever been in a big league campaign and the best season of his career. Willingham is much more likely to 'rebound' to a 115 OPS+ than a 130, which while improved, won't be so far improved that you'll notice much.
- If you think Josmil Pinto is going to be the opening day starter at catcher, you' haven't been watching this team while Ron Gardenhire has been the manager. With very few exceptions (Mauer, primarily), Gardenhire strongly prefers veterans to young players, which means that unless Suzuki washes out in spring training, he's almost certainly going to be given the starting job for the first two months of the season. Given Suzuki's career OPS+ of 86, I'm not expecting he'll set the offense on fire.
- You might think center field should get better, but as recently as 2011, center was a serious offensive weakness, despite the presence of Ben Revere (72 OPS+) and Denard Span (90 OPS+). The club scored 619 runs that season, versus 614 last year. Yes, injuries were a factor, but they always are -- the collection of players available for 2014 simply isn't deep enough to withstand any problems.
- Hey, I want to believe that Kubel's return to the Twins is the harbinger of a return to 'good old days', but there's little reason to think it will. For starters, with the Twins carrying 12 or even 13 pitchers on their roster, there simply isn't room for a platoon DH who can't play the field, so it's possible that Kubel won't even be on the roster to start with. Even if he is, as a part-time player and pinch-hitter (and Kubel has been a horrible pinch-hitter in his career, with a BA/OPS of .220/667 in the role), he's simply not going to play enough to make much of an impact.
Even with all that said, the offense could easily still improve from the barely-above-600 runs it has scored two of the last three seasons. But the Twins scored 700 runs in 2012 and still lost 96 games. Unless the changes to the pitching staff bring a ridiculous increase in the Twins' ability to prevent run scoring (akin to the 671 runs scored they allowed in 2010), even a hundred-run improvement in the offense isn't going to give the team a winning record, much less put them in playoff contention.
The rebuilding continues...