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Thread: Will this team be the worst of the last four years?

  1. #81
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Just a quick question, but since when was the Pythag results the be all/end all of wins and losses? It seems to me that the Twins have consistently outperformed their pythagorean results from year to year... maybe that's just faulty memory, but that tells me that the theory doesn't necessarily hold water.... or that there's a reason they are able to do this (I believe bull pen has often been cited as the main possibility).

    I'll stand by my original post. The pitching is vastly improved. The offense is more or less the same, adn there's a good case for improvements from several key components to the offense. Baring injury, they should be a lot easier to watch this year. Not expecting playoffs, but I woudln't be surprised in the least if they had less than 90 losses.

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  3. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by notoriousgod71 View Post
    Why does everyone assume improvement? Haven't we seen time after time that lots of players regress? While Dozier was statistically average last season, he could very well go the way of Plouffe. Pinto could very well go the way of Parmelee. Swarzak very easily could go the way of Tony Fiore. Some are likely to regress, some will probably improve.
    I doubt those who are not in the camp believing this team is going to be even worse are making any assumptions about the players we had last year improving. The only loss offensively was Morneau and he certainly was not a difference maker. And it seems reasonable to believe that it is more likely that Hicks and Arcia improve vs regress. Pinto had no impact in terms of wins and lossess. They had a terrible record the last month of the season. The most reasonable assumption IMO is that they will remain the same offensively and could be slightly better if Hicks plays to his potential. That would be a big boost at the top of the order where they got absolutely no production last year. I doubt Willingham could be worse than last year but I suppose it is possible.

    Is it safe to say the pitching SHOULD be much improved. If the offense is the same and the pitching is much better, I don't know how you come to the conclusion this team is going to be worse than the last three years.

    They can also improve defensively quite a bit by keeping Willingham in a DH role. Even Kubel is quite a bit better than him in the OF. There is also a reasonable chance they make a trade or pick up someone off waivers in the next week or so.
    Last edited by Major Leauge Ready; 03-24-2014 at 07:44 AM.

  4. #83
    Senior Member All-Star crarko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
    Last year's team collasped in September--finishing 4-20. While there were several reasons, it is reasonable to conclude that "fight of the fight had left the dog."
    Having Mauer healthy and able to play the last couple months of the season may make a difference, too.

    And if Willingham regresses to the mean his season should be considerably better than last year.
    Last edited by crarko; 03-24-2014 at 07:15 AM.

  5. #84

    Yes. Awful.

    Even before spring training began, I saw their pitching "improvements" as just guys who could be cannon fodder for longer innings per start. Their performances this month do nothing to change that opinion. Dramatic pitching improvement????!!! Posh! And the offense is, indeed, worse. Even though the bullpen hasn't shown much this spring, I expect it will be fine once the games start counting. But even the management is publicly complaining about the lack of production with the bats. But who can they trade? Who would WANT any of these guys? It will be tough for this team to get 65 wins. And I'm staying away from Target Field as long as Gardenhire and Anderson are still wearing Twins uniforms.

  6. #85
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    There's plenty of reason to be optimistic or pessimistic about this year. I don't even know how people can be so certain what's going to happen. The whole team is a big set of if's. If Mauer is healthy, if Dozier is for real, if Willingham can bounce back, if Arcia can limit his strikeouts, if Hughes is better outside of New York, if Pelfrey is better 2 years after TJ, if Kubel isn't cooked, if Hicks isn't horrible, if, if, if...

    Could it be the worst? Sure. It could also be pretty decent. I don't see much likelihood of going below 60 wins, and I also don't see much chance to get over .500 for the season. With that much uncertainty, though, I'll just split the difference and guess around 70 wins, add a couple for being optimistic before the season officially starts and predict 72-90.

    I just hope they make it watchable this year, and hopefully the starting pitching improvements are enough for that. So many games last year I watched the starter implode in the first couple innings and just turned it off. It was depressing. Yeah, our offense might be really bad. But I'd rather watch them lose 3-1 than 8-3.

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  8. #86
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    Just a quick question, but since when was the Pythag results the be all/end all of wins and losses? It seems to me that the Twins have consistently outperformed their pythagorean results from year to year... maybe that's just faulty memory, but that tells me that the theory doesn't necessarily hold water.... or that there's a reason they are able to do this (I believe bull pen has often been cited as the main possibility).
    It's not, but it's typically a reliable predictor. Especially when you are projecting the next season because it may indicate a team more talented than it's record but unlucky or vice-versa.

    The Twins have done a good job under Ryan of keeping the bullpen solid, but it's also a group that looks likely for regression. Perhaps significantly more regression than people realize. What the pyth. shows is that, for whatever reason, the Twins were a bit lucky to finish with the record they had. (Odd as that sounds)

    I think they'll be roughly the same as they have been. What I don't understand is all the fuss in whether you think they'll be 4-5 games better or 4-5 games worse. Really that boils down to luck. Last year we had good luck to avoid 100 losses. Maybe this year we will again....or maybe not.

  9. #87
    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    Will they be a good team? No, I don't believe they will. However, that doesn't mean they will be the worst team of the last four years. The rotation has improved from AAAA filler to quality starters. The bullpen is solid, and is less likely to be worn out prematurely due to starters who only last 1-2 innings.

    Even if the offense stays as stagnant as it's looked this spring (and I don't believe it will) I think they improve by 4 to 5 wins on the strength of pitching alone (putting them right around 70 wins). If anyone of the Kubel/Willingham/Arcia/Hicks/Pinto group has a breakout season, I think we're looking at 72-77 wins.

  10. #88
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    Don't turn this into a semantical argument.
    Pot, meet kettle. Your entire argument in this thread is just legal deposition posturing about defining the team in terms of wins and losses.

    Do you really believe that the Twins being better or worse than last season comes down to whether they lose more or fewer than 96 games? That just sounds absurd to me.

    Yes, Nolasco and Hughes are replacing PJ DeWormondez in the rotation, and that's great.

    But a Hall of Fame catcher was replaced by Kurt Freaking Suzuki, the next best catcher in the organization is likely to ride the bench, both Jasons are apparently back to rob playing time from potentially meaningful players, Josh Willingham doesn't look like he could pass the physical for a beerball league, and the roster features exactly zero players under age 30 and coming off of consecutive above average seasons.

    And they'll be led by an obsolete manager whose retention was an epically historical anomaly and an assistant GM who doesn't know his xFIP from his lower lip.

    So, yeah, the Twins might lose only 95 games this year, and be better in a purely abstract, meaningless way.

    But if that extra 'win' comes at the expense of a lineup with less youth and potential, and if the two value-priced rotation saviors don't show us they're likely to be better than 4th starters when the Twins return to contention, and if no young player takes a stride forward toward being part of a solid core, then the 2014 version of the Twins will absolutely be worse than last year.

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  12. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    Except there are serious flaws in your reasons. Mauer will play in more games, but that doesn't mean it'll be an improvement on last year. In the games Mauer missed he was replaced by Pinto's superhuman September.

    Willingham is old and breaking down. It's more likely 2012 is his reality than 4 years ago or even 2 years ago.

    And it ignores how many at-bats this team might feed to Suzuki, Kubel, Florimon, Plouffe, Hermann, etc. that might be as bad or worse than their complements last year.

    Dozier, Arcia, and Hicks are really the only hopes the Twins have for improvements and there is reason to be dubious of all three. And reason to be optimistic as well.
    While I am dissapointed with the lack of upgrades offensively, I don't see how this team could be worse than last year.

    Our starters had an ERA of 5.25 last year. Here are the career marks of our top four guys:

    Nolasco 4.37
    Pelfrey 4.48
    Hughes 4.54
    Correia 4.49

    I can see the winner of Gibson/Meyer averaging a 4.50 ERA. If we get 180 innings on average out of these five at about a 4.50, we will give up 75 fewer runs.

    Offensively, I think you have a few cases for regression. Dozier over last year is one. Pinto/Suzuki over Morneau is another. Then you have potential improvements, Hicks over last year. Josh over last year. Plouffe over last year. and Mauer staying healthy at 1B over last year. All told, I think our offense is slightly better than last year.

    Lastly, if anything our division got a little worse. What is likely to happen? I think this team wins 5-7 more games than last year. I think we have much more upside opportunity than we do to the downside. I think Hughes has a shot to blow away his career 4.54 ERA. I think Hicks could trump his .597 OPS by 100-150 basis points. And I think Meyer could surprise people.
    Last edited by tobi0040; 03-24-2014 at 09:34 AM.

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  14. #90
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    While I am dissapointed with the lack of upgrades offensively, I don't see how this team could be worse than last year.
    Because LaBombo and others aren't looking SOLELY at won-loss record to determine worse.

    LaBombo is looking at what the team may/may not accomplish and whether the team shows growth toward a sustainable better.

    It all depends on how you look at it.

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  16. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
    Because LaBombo and others aren't looking SOLELY at won-loss record to determine worse.

    LaBombo is looking at what the team may/may not accomplish and whether the team shows growth toward a sustainable better.

    It all depends on how you look at it.
    Then it really comes down to Hicks, Meyer, Gibson, Pinto, and a few young relievers and whether they establish themselves.

  17. #92
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    And looking at the original post, notoriousgod wasn't necessarily defining it in terms of W-L either when he/she starts looking at how many plate appearances younger players get, etc.

    This is one of those seasons where a team has to decide what is more important: trying to get enough wins to (hopefully) stop the bleeding in terms of season ticket sales and make watching this season's games more palatable or trying to get younger players experience at the ML level to try to hasten better days in the future.

    Each poster gets to decide what his/her priority would be and to decide whether this season will be better/worse in meeting that goal.

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  19. #93
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
    Some of those same names were used as justification at this time last year for why the Twins couldn't be worse in 2013, no?

    Personally, it matters little to me whether the Twins lose 100 games or 92. While losing 92 would technically be better than the last three years, it wouldn't feel much if any different to me, and coming on the heels of three 90+ loss seasons, would probably feel worse, because there have now been multiple offseasons to fix the problems, yet where are we?

    And for my money, it's going to take an extraordinary combination of positive answers to questions with mostly negative possible answers for this team not to lose 90+ again.
    Can you name anyone who thought, going into 2013, that Worley, Diamond, and even Hendriks would be as awful as they were? I can't. And that we'd have to put up with Walters, Hernandez and DeVries besides? So, count me among those who thought they'd be a bit better in 2013. I think I was down for 75 wins in 2013.


    It's possible Nolasco, Hughes, and others will be worse than people like me expect. So, I'd label a 73-win prediction to be optimistic and at least somewhat realistic.


    Like you, Chief, I'm not happy about the prospects of watching even a 73-win team. But personally, it matters to me if they lose 100 games rather than 90, because it would probaly be the result of prospects failing, injuries, etc, which is never a good thing.

  20. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
    But a Hall of Fame catcher was replaced by Kurt Freaking Suzuki,.
    I don't think this is a fair comparison.

    A) Pinto will get 40-50% of the reps or he would not have made the team. You won't find 15 better bats at this position than Pinto.

    B) If you look at it this way, Mauer then replaces Morneau and his .741 OPS last year. With a career .871 OPS, certainly you agree that Mauer should surpass Justin's production? Logic would suggest Mauer gets more than 113 games as well. Not a lock, but you would think.....
    Last edited by tobi0040; 03-24-2014 at 09:48 AM.

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  22. #95
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    Then it really comes down to Hicks, Meyer, Gibson, Pinto, and a few young relievers and whether they establish themselves.
    There are other factors as well. Which Ricky Nolasco are we getting? Will Target Field represent salvation for Hughesey's career? Does Willingham hit enough to net a decent prospect? Is Dozier for real? Is Gardenhire really the right guy to manage this team? And did somebody finally buy Rob Antony the current Baseball Prospectus for his birthday?

    It's not like wins and losses are totally irrelevant. If the team is on the way to 100+ losses at the ASB, Gardenhire has to be gone and the season is a disappointment almost no matter what the youngsters do. By the same token, a 78 win season is at least some degree of success, even if it's achieved with only 250 Pinto PA's and huge rebound years for Willi and Kubel.

    But yeah, 2014 is mostly about 2015 and beyond for me.

  23. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
    And looking at the original post, notoriousgod wasn't necessarily defining it in terms of W-L either when he/she starts looking at how many plate appearances younger players get, etc.

    This is one of those seasons where a team has to decide what is more important: trying to get enough wins to (hopefully) stop the bleeding in terms of season ticket sales and make watching this season's games more palatable or trying to get younger players experience at the ML level to try to hasten better days in the future.

    Each poster gets to decide what his/her priority would be and to decide whether this season will be better/worse in meeting that goal.
    If we are going strictly on PA and IP. Last year we didn't really have a single pitcher step up. Deduno maybe but he is 30 and always hurt. So while he is talented, he is probably not a SP here in 2 years. But Gibson and Meyer are both getting IP this year. Tonkin and others will get some bullpen reps.

    In the lineup, Pinto will get more reps. Hicks will get as many or more. Santana could get some reps. And one of the best prospects in franchise history will likely get some reps in September. So even from this perspective, I think this team is better.

  24. #97
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
    Pot, meet kettle. Your entire argument in this thread is just legal deposition posturing about defining the team in terms of wins and losses.

    Do you really believe that the Twins being better or worse than last season comes down to whether they lose more or fewer than 96 games? That just sounds absurd to me.

    Yes, Nolasco and Hughes are replacing PJ DeWormondez in the rotation, and that's great.

    But a Hall of Fame catcher was replaced by Kurt Freaking Suzuki, the next best catcher in the organization is likely to ride the bench, both Jasons are apparently back to rob playing time from potentially meaningful players, Josh Willingham doesn't look like he could pass the physical for a beerball league, and the roster features exactly zero players under age 30 and coming off of consecutive above average seasons.

    And they'll be led by an obsolete manager whose retention was an epically historical anomaly and an assistant GM who doesn't know his xFIP from his lower lip.

    So, yeah, the Twins might lose only 95 games this year, and be better in a purely abstract, meaningless way.

    But if that extra 'win' comes at the expense of a lineup with less youth and potential, and if the two value-priced rotation saviors don't show us they're likely to be better than 4th starters when the Twins return to contention, and if no young player takes a stride forward toward being part of a solid core, then the 2014 version of the Twins will absolutely be worse than last year.
    My argument is technically semantics but it's not a misrepresentation of the point of this thread, which is titled:

    "Will this team be the worst of the last four years?"

    By replacing guys who posted a combined -6.0 WAR with guys who are likely to post positive WAR, I don't see how that will happen unless catastrophic injuries happen early in the season. Vegas oddsmakers agree with me, putting the line at 70.5.

    -6.0 WAR. I think many in this thread are ignoring just how terrible that is and how any improvement into plus WAR territory will mean close to ten additional wins from the pitching staff. Even Drew Butera can't be that bad with the stick to erase that enormous improvement. It took 5-6 guys to combine for a WAR that awful and swapping out Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit for Kurt Suzuki and Parmelee/Colabello/Herrmann/whatever isn't going to even come close to -6.0 WAR.

    Not to mention things like Arcia and Pinto getting full seasons (or close to it) and the fact that centerfield can't really get worse than last season. Overall, I expect the offense to end up somewhere close to where it was last year, which was "really bad" but not "historically bad". And the pitching staff should make huge strides, especially if Meyer is called up in June/July.

    To predict the "worst season in four years", you are expecting regression from every. single. player. on. the. roster.

    And that's pessimistic any way you cut it.

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  26. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
    There are other factors as well. Which Ricky Nolasco are we getting? Will Target Field represent salvation for Hughesey's career? Does Willingham hit enough to net a decent prospect? Is Dozier for real? Is Gardenhire really the right guy to manage this team? And did somebody finally buy Rob Antony the current Baseball Prospectus for his birthday?

    It's not like wins and losses are totally irrelevant. If the team is on the way to 100+ losses at the ASB, Gardenhire has to be gone and the season is a disappointment almost no matter what the youngsters do. By the same token, a 78 win season is at least some degree of success, even if it's achieved with only 250 Pinto PA's and huge rebound years for Willi and Kubel.

    But yeah, 2014 is mostly about 2015 and beyond for me.
    I guess I am confused. I was corrected about looking at it only W-L. Then it is more broad then just the young players, also about Kubel and Josh Willingham, who clearly are not part of the rebuilding effort. The only big positive last year was Dozier. This year, Meyer, Hicks, Gibson, Tonkin, Pinto, and seeing Buxton in a Twins uniform all have the potential to be wins.

    Either way, I think this team will have more wins than last years team and at the end of the year we should have more things to look forward to. So either way this should not be a worse team.
    Last edited by tobi0040; 03-24-2014 at 10:18 AM.

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  28. #99
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    While I am dissapointed with the lack of upgrades offensively, I don't see how this team could be worse than last year.
    Well, count this as offseason three of that same argument. I might be a little sensitive to it as well because every year we get 3-4 people that want to climb their high horse to tell everyone on the pessimistic side what shame they should feel for not believing it can't get worse/not improve.

    Well, it HAS gotten worse/not improved every year. Even when it seemed statistically unlikely to do so. So I understand optimism (I like Hughes a lot for example) but on the flip side some pessimism about the "it just HAS to be better" should be pretty understandable for anyone that has watched the product the last for years. To me, anything from 60-70 is a pretty reasonable guess.

  29. #100
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    To predict the "worst season in four years", you are expecting regression from every. single. player. on. the. roster.
    Well, at least we're not being unreasonable in our representation of the other side right? Yeesh.

    A bullpen regression could cost several of those wins in and of themselves. Zips has Mauer losing at least 2 wins off his WAR. Pelfrey is projected as .1 vs. 2.1 last year. 6 wins can get chewed up pretty quick when you have no depth and limited starting talent.

    So to address that unfair hyperbole above - the pitching staff may make up those 6 wins. (MAY) So right there, we could assume an improvement. We could also see a regression from the bullpen that creates a team closer to it's Expected w/l and eat up 4-5 wins of that 6 right there. Then you throw in the drop from Morneau to Suzuki, the drop from Doumit to Kubel (as it stands today), and you're right back where you were.

    That isn't every single player and it doesn't even factor in many projections expecting a dip from Mauer. Or expecting Willingham sidelined again. Or any number of very possible scenarios that aren't pessimistic but just reasonable. (Any injuries to this offense could get VERY ugly, VERY fast) So when you factor in an almost total lack of depth to go with these shaky scenarios it isn't hard to see them taking a step backward.
    Last edited by TheLeviathan; 03-24-2014 at 10:28 AM.

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