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Thread: Projections have Twins headed for fourth-straight 90-loss season

  1. #121
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    I for one have seen enough of this whole business from management about teaching the young players a lesson, how about a second on that one!

  2. #122
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Three arguments that are not sitting right with me:

    1) Mauer has never had an X under Z. Well, yeah, but does that hold true ad infinitum? At some point, age and wear and tear will take their toll. I personally don't believe it's this year, but let's not kid ourselves that this particular argument matters much for a catcher past the age of 30 with some injury issues in the recent past.

    2) Young players don't mature along some steady incline. Sometimes they take a step back to go forward. Arcia started showing some steps back late last year and as HUGE a fan as I am of this kid going foward - I'm hardly banking on him yet. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked if Arcia went through a tough year that was vital for him to be a great hitter long-term.

    3) "It can't be any worse than last year" was a refrain we heard....last year...about our pitching. The thing is....if you're not all that talented, it's hardly a given that you can't be any worse. You can, absolutely, be just as bad. Bad teams with bad talent tend to be unlucky as well as untalented.

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  4. #123
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    It can be equally stated that based on every projection that is out there, that .850 for Mauer:

    at age 31, coming off of a high BABIP year, increasing trend in upward K rates and no immediate heir apparent providing plate protection, is optimistic. I certainly think .875 is entirely possible, as well, you say I'm being overly negative, I say I'm trying to be realistic with expectations.
    You said "the most optimistic projections have him <.850". My point is that in a ten year career, he has one healthy season where he OPSed under .850, his second year in MLB. Again, those are *not* optimistic projections. Mauer could certainly regress this season. He's over 30. But "optimistic" projections would have him around his career mark, not plummeting like a stone. There are just as many reasons to expect him to improve from the move away from the plate as there are concerns surrounding his age and 2013 BABIP.

    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    Regarding DH, Willingham is a career .706 OPS as a DH, this is primarily all with MN and Oakland the last 3 years, when he supposedly has been healthy. How does that square with your assertion that the DH number will be well over .700 OPS?
    Josh Willingham has ~450 career PAs at DH. In other words, about 2/3rds of a season.

    Over 150 of those PAs came in 2013, a year he could barely swing a bat due to injuries.

    Come on. No MLB player is a .900 OPS guy in the field and a .700 OPS DH. Using his DH stats are completely irrelevant and smells a lot like cherry-picking to suit a point.

    Feel free to argue that Willingham will not rebound. It's certainly a possibility. But to use his DH stats to indicate that he can't hit because he's not playing in the field? Nah, man. That's completely illogical.

  5. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    You said "the most optimistic projections have him <.850". My point is that in a ten year career, he has one healthy season where he OPSed under .850, his second year in MLB. Again, those are *not* optimistic projections. Mauer could certainly regress this season. He's over 30. But "optimistic" projections would have him around his career mark, not plummeting like a stone. There are just as many reasons to expect him to improve from the move away from the plate as there are concerns surrounding his age and 2013 BABIP.



    Josh Willingham has ~450 career PAs at DH. In other words, about 2/3rds of a season.

    Over 150 of those PAs came in 2013, a year he could barely swing a bat due to injuries.

    Come on. No MLB player is a .900 OPS guy in the field and a .700 OPS DH. Using his DH stats are completely irrelevant and smells a lot like cherry-picking to suit a point.

    Feel free to argue that Willingham will not rebound. It's certainly a possibility. But to use his DH stats to indicate that he can't hit because he's not playing in the field? Nah, man. That's completely illogical.
    As I stated, there is one outlier to the upside amongst the projections for Mauer to OPS at around .840, the rest go from .830 down to .792. I gave Mauer the benefit of the doubt on that one and said to myself, they're generalzing and don't know Mauer like we do and he's always outperformed the expectations when he's healthy, but then, trying to rationalize the dissonance between my optimism and the projections negativity, my thinking went something like this:

    "OK, BABIP in 2013 was .383...>career BABIP is .349, 34 points....>OPS in 2013 was .880....>OPS is likely to drop back similarly.....> particularly- and this was the part you left out- since his K% has gone from 9% to 11% to 13% to 17% in the last 4 years, 3 of these 4 years he has played while healthy"

    I hope I'm wrong, but even if he duplicates his .880 OPS from last year, look where that got us, lowest run total since 1968- and is anyone questioning that there isn't going to be a decent-sized drop-off at the other 2 spots in this triad?


    My assumption on Willingham is that he's likely to get every chance to play LF, until proven otherwise, to maximize trading options, so how much time he spends DHing is problematic at this point, but he appears to be their best option. The drop-off as a DH bat after Josh is obviously huge and/or very speculative (Kubel).

    Regarding DHing, it's pretty well-documented that while some guys do well in the role, others have a tougher time adjusting to not playing in the field. The small data as a DH is admittedly not much, but it's what we have to go on, that, and the doubts remaining that he can come back to form at age 35. Oliver is the outlier to the downside, projecting .708 for the Hammer, the other 3 range from .767-.774

    Hey, I hope I'm wrong on this one, too, but I'm not the one tilting at windmills. I'm trying to be more optimistic than all these negative projections- and to me, there's little doubt that C/1B/DH combined is going to be less productive than 2013. Convince me that Willingham is going to full-time DH and come close to matching his career OPS- I"ll be on board with that one when all the evidence is in. To this point the case hasn't been made, and that's why the Twins desperately need more quality bats. Terry Ryan's repeated offseason quotes wishing for offensive upgrades demonstrates that he's on my side in this discussion.
    Last edited by jokin; 01-30-2014 at 10:43 PM.

  6. #125
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    This has been a spirited discussion about Twins players and OPS. I am curious to learn what is the impact on the team won/lost record given the various conclusions of OPS? Is it like 1 or maybe two wins?--or a substantial number?

  7. #126
    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    The thing is, the best batters - Mauer, Kubel, Hammer, are made of glass. Kubel will get the Thome treatment I bet. That would put Hammer in the OF everyday. There's just no room for error and not many candidates to sustain them through a stretch where one of those 3 hits the DL. Dozier and Arcia could help stop the bleeding but they're still a bat short IMO.

    Right now they seem to be hoping for someone to come out of nowhere or Plouffe/Parms to finally put it together. Both long shots IMO.

  8. #127
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
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    Did anyone else bother to sort his predictions by BA?

    According to Clay Davenport, Mike Trout is going to lead MLB in batting average.
    He will hit .297.

    Davenport needs a new program to work with.
    I'm on a whiskey diet. I've lost 3 days already.

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  10. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    You said "the most optimistic projections have him <.850". My point is that in a ten year career, he has one healthy season where he OPSed under .850, his second year in MLB. Again, those are *not* optimistic projections. Mauer could certainly regress this season. He's over 30. But "optimistic" projections would have him around his career mark, not plummeting like a stone. There are just as many reasons to expect him to improve from the move away from the plate as there are concerns surrounding his age and 2013 BABIP.
    re:Mauer
    Mauer's K rate is very worrisome. Let's look at how it affected him in 2013. He K'd in 17.4% of his at-bats up from 9.1% in 2009. That means he's putting the ball in play 8% less often. He had 508 PA's in 2013. That means he missed out on putting the ball in play 41 times over the course of the year (this would be higher but his season was cut short because of the concussion). His BABIP was .383 meaning he missed out on 16 hits last season. When you add those into his 2013 stats his average goes from .324 to .360. His OBP rises to .435 from .404. Mauer's SLG would rise to .515.

    His final line, if he was striking out at the same rate as 2010, would be .360/.435/.515. His OPS would be .950, up from .880.

    So, because Mauer struck out 8% more often his OPS dropped 70 points. That is significant. His K% over the last four seasons: 9, 11, 14, 18. What if it rises again this season? Next I'll look at how his BABIP affected his numbers.

  11. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
    re:Mauer
    Mauer's K rate is very worrisome. Let's look at how it affected him in 2013. He K'd in 17.4% of his at-bats up from 9.1% in 2009. That means he's putting the ball in play 8% less often. He had 508 PA's in 2013. That means he missed out on putting the ball in play 41 times over the course of the year (this would be higher but his season was cut short because of the concussion). His BABIP was .383 meaning he missed out on 16 hits last season. When you add those into his 2013 stats his average goes from .324 to .360. His OBP rises to .435 from .404. Mauer's SLG would rise to .515.

    His final line, if he was striking out at the same rate as 2010, would be .360/.435/.515. His OPS would be .950, up from .880.

    So, because Mauer struck out 8% more often his OPS dropped 70 points. That is significant. His K% over the last four seasons: 9, 11, 14, 18. What if it rises again this season? Next I'll look at how his BABIP affected his numbers.
    Yup. It was inexplicable so many times last year. A Mauer swing and miss K, and the members of my viewing group, collectively, "Who was that guy?" "What's wrong with Mauer?" "Past time for an eye exam." Etc.

    Does anyone know the history and precedent for actually breaking a disturbing three-year trend like this?

  12. #130
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    re:Mauer & BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play)

    BABIP is how often a ball put in play lands for a hit. League average hovers around .300 usually. Mauer's career BABIP average is .349 and last season it sat at a ridiculous .383. Let's compare Mauer's 2013 both with a .383 BABIP, a .349 BABIP and a league average .300.

    Mauer's 2013 stats w/ .383 BABIP
    .324/.404/.476 OPS:880

    Mauer's 2013 stats w/ .349 BABIP
    .294/.378/.434 OPS:.812

    Mauer's 2013 stats w/.300 BABIP
    .254/.343/.375 OPS:.718

    As we can see Mauer's BABIP has a huge effect on his offensive productivity. Now Mauer has some advantages when it comes to BABIP, namely that he hits an above average percentage of balls for line drives. Line drives fall in for hits almost 50% more frequently than flyballs or ground balls. Joe hits roughly 4% more balls for line drives than the average player for his career. In 2013 he had a career year, 27.7% of his contact were line drives. That is nearly 6.5% better than league average. You can see why his 2013 BABIP, and his career average BABIP, was so high. Hit more line drives, more balls land for hits, your BABIP is higher. Your BABIP is higher and you get more hits which leads to a higher batting average, on base percentage and slugging.

    Next up we look at what happens if his BABIP regresses and his K% continues to climb for a fifth straight year.

  13. #131
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    "Fangraphs projects .744" Link please?
    http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts...n=ALL&teamid=8

    C - .697
    1B - .811
    DH - .745

    I must have added wrong earlier. That actually averages to .751. Makes that .737 look even more "fairly conservative" and .725 certainly wouldn't qualify as "optimistic". It probably wouldn't be the first time you've heard this and I don't mean this as a personal attack, but maybe you're being a bit too negative?

    All figures are an average of ZIPS and Steamer multiplied out by some playing time projections from the staff at FG. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/intro...and-standings/

  14. #132
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    re:Mauer and BABIP regression and a continuing increase in his K%.

    For this round I'll use Joe's career averages except in K% which will be 20%. That would be right in line with the rate at which his K% has been increasing over the last 4 seasons.

    For 2014, with the above assumptions, Joe Mauer's batting line would look like:

    .286/.370/.414 OPS: .784

    We can see now that a drop to career norms in BABIP and a slight rise in his K% has a pretty drastic effect on his stat line. We can also see why the statistical models are predicting a fall in his offensive statistics.

    Now, he is moving to first base. Perhaps that will allow him to stay healthier. That in turn might increase his power slightly thereby directly raising his SLG. It also might allow him to barrel up more balls leading to more line drives leading to a higher than average BABIP which in turn would lead to higher numbers across the board. Though remember that last year he was 3rd in the league already in LD% and above league average by over 6%. This was well above even his own career norms. Expecting him to again post a career high in LD% seems a bit much, it seems likely there will be some regression to the mean. How much is certainly arguable because of the move to first base.

    To me it seems entirely likely that he will see a decrease in LD% from last season leading to a drop in BABIP and his K% will rise slightly. Combined I believe that Mauer will see a decrease in his production. When factoring in his move to first base I believe an OPS in the .815 range is entirely possible, perhaps even probable.

  15. #133
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
    As we can see Mauer's BABIP has a huge effect on his offensive productivity. Now Mauer has some advantages when it comes to BABIP, namely that he hits an above average percentage of balls for line drives. Line drives fall in for hits almost 50% more frequently than flyballs or ground balls. Joe hits roughly 4% more balls for line drives than the average player for his career. In 2013 he had a career year, 27.7% of his contact were line drives. That is nearly 6.5% better than league average. You can see why his 2013 BABIP, and his career average BABIP, was so high. Hit more line drives, more balls land for hits, your BABIP is higher. Your BABIP is higher and you get more hits which leads to a higher batting average, on base percentage and slugging.
    It's possible that Mauer has changed his approach, leading to more strikeouts. You're assuming that this is a natural effect of aging or the loss of skill... Yet as Mauer's K rate has increased, his LD% has increased along with it. This leaves open the possibility that Mauer is intentionally changing his approach and accepting more strikeouts as a result.

    Mauer LD%:
    2012: 25.0%
    2013: 27.7%
    Career: 23.5%

    Mauer K%:
    2012: 13.7%
    2013: 17.5%
    Career: 11.1%

    There's a chance that Mauer is regressing. I am fully open to that being the case and no matter what happens, his 2013 BABIP is unlikely to be repeated, which is a minor cause of concern. Then again, any increase in LD% is likely to correspond with an increase in BABIP. But at this point, I remain unconvinced that his increased strikeouts are a problem, particularly if he stays healthy (and stronger) after a move to first base.

    Mauer posted the third best slugging percentage of his career last season and his best since moving to Target Field. While it's impossible to say with certainty at this point, there is a good chance that Mauer is intentionally changing his approach and the LD%, K%, and SLG are all linked to this new approach.

  16. #134
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat_MN View Post
    Did anyone else bother to sort his predictions by BA?

    According to Clay Davenport, Mike Trout is going to lead MLB in batting average.
    He will hit .297.

    Davenport needs a new program to work with.
    Yep, which is why so many of these "projection models" are laughable. The good players regress. The bad players progress. Everyone ends up in the middle.

    Used in the aggregate, projection models might have some use. But on an individual basis, they're laughably bad.

    Mike Trout has two full seasons in MLB. He has posted an OPS of .963 and .988. He is going into his age 22 (!) season.

    Davenport's projection? An .871 OPS.

    Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in the league. In the past four seasons, he has posted OPSes of 1.042, 1.033, .999, 1.078. He, like Joe Mauer, is entering his age 31 season.

    Davenport's projection? An .895 OPS.

    Bryce Harper is a phenom, hitting MLB at the age of 19. He has posted an OPS of .817 and .854 in his two seasons. He is entering his age 21 (!!) season.

    Davenport's projection? .816. Another regression candidate.

    Used individually, these projection models are more than inaccurate. They're broken and nonsensical.

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  18. #135
    Senior Member All-Star Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    It's possible that Mauer has changed his approach, leading to more strikeouts. You're assuming that this is a natural effect of aging or the loss of skill... Yet as Mauer's K rate has increased, his LD% has increased along with it. This leaves open the possibility that Mauer is intentionally changing his approach and accepting more strikeouts as a result.

    ...
    I've heard this too. I'm not sure it's the right explanation, but I recall hearing during radio broadcasts when Gladden, Provus & company have talked about Mauer "letting it rip" a little more last year and not worrying about K's as much.

  19. #136
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hosken Bombo Disco View Post
    I've heard this too. I'm not sure it's the right explanation, but I recall hearing during radio broadcasts when Gladden, Provus & company have talked about Mauer "letting it rip" a little more last year and not worrying about K's as much.
    I'm not sure it's the right explanation, either... But it's definitely in the mix of possibilities.

    My point is that expecting extreme regression from Mauer going into his age 31 season should not be taken as fact. There are reasons to expect regression, there are reasons to expect a little progression... And Joe isn't old enough to fall off a cliff physically if he's healthy.

    In short, too many variables to predict with any accuracy. The one thing I do know is that the Twins do not have enough hitters on the roster to field a competitive team unless 2-3 guys break out and play out of their damned minds in 2014.

  20. #137
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    Today's writeup on the worst teams in MLB on ESPN has them with 95 losses......
    Lighten up Francis....

  21. #138

    Why is Mauer's K% up?

    Look no further than new hitting coach Tom Brunansky's love of the longball as detailed in his diary.


    One excerpt: Day 10: Big crowd for BP here in Fort Myers. I pulled the old corked bat out of the bag and gave it to Mauer, told him to put on a show. He just looked at me all confused, and said, "Why?" I guess times are different. Still pumped though.


  22. #139
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by montanatwinsfan View Post
    Look no further than new hitting coach Tom Brunansky's love of the longball as detailed in his diary.


    One excerpt: Day 10: Big crowd for BP here in Fort Myers. I pulled the old corked bat out of the bag and gave it to Mauer, told him to put on a show. He just looked at me all confused, and said, "Why?" I guess times are different. Still pumped though.


    LOL. I'd love to read Bruno's real diary. Probably would be a lot duller reading, though.

  23. #140
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    How many times this offseason did we hear from Twins brass that one reason they went out and bought starting pitching this season, when they didn't do so last season, is that they really expected SOME of their pitching last year to step up and just didn't expect so many of their starting pitchers a year ago to NOT produce?

    Part of me is really afraid they're taking the same approach to offense this year. Not adding anyone substantial based on the theory that some of the existing bats will step up and produce (plus, obviously, they feel there's help coming up through the minors). But if/when none of the collection of "maybes" pan out, will they just come back with the same, "well, we didn't expect that to happen," line to explain why they didn't add any offense this offseason?

    I've been very happy with the rotation overhaul. But I simply do not understand putting all that money in to improving your rotation and then doing pretty much nothing about addressing the inability to score runs.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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