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Thread: Article: Position Analysis: Second Base

  1. #1
    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    Article: Position Analysis: Second Base


  2. #2
    Thanks for the write up and the discussion topic, but I'm going to have to disagree with the satement "there are a number of solid options to plug in at second". Vehemently.

    Let's just discard Dinkleman and Dozier altogether, both of whom very well may end up being serviceable major leaguers, but have done nothing to guarantee that so far. Dinkleman is 28 and carried a .640 OPS at AAA last year. Dozier has progressed slowly through the minors also, and is not a top prospect, but will probably get a look soon.

    Nishioka? Whatever "solid option" means in MLB, Nishioka represents the opposite of that. I've seen some reports from Spring Training that he's even more of a trainwreck this year.

    Which brings us to Alexi Casilla. I like Casilla just fine...he probably IS the utility infielder that can cover both 2B and SS that this team is looking for, except we're so shallow up the middle that he's required to start somewhere every year. And Gardy doesn't even like him because when Matt Tolbert kicks a routine grounder into right field, we all know that the toolsy American kid gave it his darndest...whereas when someone like Casilla does it, he must have been lazy or something.

    Casilla should be a #8 or #9 hitter on virtually any lineup in baseball. His career OBP is .310. He's never played 100 games in a season, despite getting a legitimate opportunity to do so year after year. Yes, he looks like Omar Vizquel compared to Nishoka, but I hope that isn't our standard. When you look at some of the 2B coming up in this league like Dustin Ackley and Jason Kipnis (not to mention the players that are already stars), we're woefully behind in this position as well.

  3. #3
    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    Casilla should be a #8 or #9 hitter on virtually any lineup in baseball.
    And that's where he'll be hitting for the Twins. I'm no huge Casilla proponent, but when he's your second baseman and No. 8 hitter making less than 1.5M the bar isn't set very high. If he can stay healthy I don't see him becoming a huge liability.

    As for the depth, I don't think much of Dinkelman but I think between Hughes and Dozier you can find a decent fall-back plan. I'm as low as anyone on Nishioka but at least this year he's third or fourth on the depth chart rather than No. 1.

  4. #4
    Why isn't Ray Chang listed as a potential backup?

  5. #5
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    I think that Mike Hollimon is a dark horse to make the team and provide a backup in all 3 IF sports other than 1B and a power SH bat from the bench. So far he has been pretty impressive this ST and will give Nishioka a fight for a bench spot. He has a decent power but battling injuries pretty much all his career till about a couple years ago. I would not keep him out of the equation yet.
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  6. #6
    Super Moderator MVP USAFChief's Avatar
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    Alexi Casilla brings to mind Luis Rivas. A legitimate MLB starter only in the minds of some Twins fans.
    Last edited by USAFChief; 03-12-2012 at 09:42 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jimbo92107's Avatar
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    Casilla's got the talent to be the top 2B in the division, if he can somehow stay healthy for a whole season. Let's hope he remembers to visualize his imaginary strike zone.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo92107 View Post
    Casilla's got the talent to be the top 2B in the division, if he can somehow stay healthy for a whole season. Let's hope he remembers to visualize his imaginary strike zone.
    Too bad there aren't a crap-load of Pedroias and Canos out there. Second base has been another one of those places the Twins have fallen down on since the days of
    Chuck Knaublach. Just a continual parade of one utility man after another. As much as I appreciate the Twins for liking versatility in their players, sometimes having fixtures in certain places would be refreshing. The middle infield in particular. Kind of tired of the revolving door at two critical spots on the field.

  9. #9
    Member Single-A jlovren's Avatar
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    And that's where he'll be hitting for the Twins. I'm no huge Casilla proponent, but when he's your second baseman and No. 8 hitter making less than 1.5M the bar isn't set very high. If he can stay healthy I don't see him becoming a huge liability.
    I think if the only thing we ask a starting position to do is not make a lot of money and make routine plays and hit a little than we are dooming ourselves to a first round exit- at best. In order to be excellent you need to demand excellence (Thank you Al Davis). I do not like any options we have at second base or short stop but we have to go with what we got than lets at least go with something better than a guy we demote every year.

  10. #10
    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    Demanding excellence from a No. 8 hitter isn't very realistic. If he can replicate his .265/.322/.377 hitting line from over the past two years, he's giving you better production than the average bottom-of-the-lineup bat. Really, what it comes down to is staying healthy and making all the plays on defense. It's a lot easier for me to trust Casilla when he's the starting 2B & batting eighth than when he was the starting SS & batting second. Context is important.

  11. #11
    It isn't a question of excellence by "No. 8 hitter" standards, or even by "Alexi Casilla" standards. The title of the article was "Position Analysis: Second Base". I agree with you that .265/.322/.377 for Casilla is appropriate, just like ".230 and awesome defense at 3B" was appropriate for Nick Punto, but a HUGE deficit to overcome compared to other third basemen in the league.

    Fact: Alexi Casilla has never played in more than 98 games in a single season (6 years in the bigs)

    Fact: Alexi Casilla has a career OPS of .647.

    Fact: The league average OPS for second basemen last year was .692 (Granted, Casilla's, in limited duty, was .691).

    Fact/Opinion: Alexi Casilla is not an above-average defender at 2B. I don't know advanced metrics very well, but his Rtot/yr (Total Zone Fielding Runs Above Average) is -10. I don't think Gardy or even the average Twins rube considers him a "good" defender.

    Obviously, Casilla is the best option for the Twins at 2B on Opening Day, given the options they have. My point is that not every team has a #8 hitter as their 2B, or pays them only $1.4 million. I think Casilla is similar to Jamey Carroll in the sense that fans look at some numbers for them, and assume that they will play about 130+ games at 2B and SS respectively (which neither of them have EVER done) and provide their career-best numbers. If that happens, then I will clearly be wrong, and the Twins will be "solid" at second base. That was not the case last year, when the combination of Nishioka, Casilla, Plouffe, Hughes, Tolbert, and probably others I'm forgetting (haha, Cuddyer) led us to a 99-loss season.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Double-A
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    Carroll at 2B & Dozier at SS... mark it down.

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