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Thread: Projecting the Twins 2013 Record... with rosy projections

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    Projecting the Twins 2013 Record... with rosy projections

    A post in another thread (thanks, beckmt) got me thinking about this real hard... if by chance things do "go right" for the Twins next year, where could we expect them to end up? We can have a little fun with the Pythagorean Theorum to get a back-of-the-napkin idea. This formula factors runs scored and allowed to come up with the number of wins a team could expect on average.

    Last year, the Twins scored 701 runs and gave up 832 for a pythag-projection of 68 wins (compared to our actual 66 wins). So, if we run through a series of potential and desireable fates, we can take a stab at adjusting the number of runs scored (or allowed) from last year and see where we stand.

    1. CF production is adequately replaced by a young player (or retread, for that matter) and matches Span's production. Net 0 runs.

    2. Plouffe turns into an above average three-bagger with a .270 avg and 25+ HRs. This would put his offensive production in the Ryan Zimmerman range and move his projected RC (runs created) from mid-50s to 95ish. +40 runs scored.

    3. Parmelee sticks and does well enough to post .280 / 30 2Bs / 15 HRs. This puts C-Parm around 90 runs created. The Twins generated 80 offensive runs from RF in 2012. Parmelee's defense compared to Revere will cancel out that gain. +10 runs scored, +10 runs allowed.

    4. Mauer and Morneau have good years and stay healthy. Mauer did just that last year, so no change there. Morneau could top his second half numbers and end up with an OPS around .825 for +20 runs scored.

    5. Dozier, Carroll, and Florimon hold down the MI and hit .260+. The defense improves some and a marginal increase in BA provides +10 runs scored and -5 runs allowed .

    6. Fresh blood in the rotation allows starting pitching to improve dramatically with a group ERA a little above 4. This would get the rotation back to about MLB-average and, despite an increase in IP, result in -100 runs allowed.

    7. Bullpen remains solid. The Twins were MLB-average here last year despite marginal performances by some contributors. The improved rotation results help the pen stay rested and pitch fewer innings (558 down to 500) resulting in -25 runs allowed.

    Now, this all assumes the team stays healthy and we don't see regression from any of the folks not named here (looking at you, Josh Willingham). These rosy scenarios would put the Twins runs scored at 781 and runs allowed at 712 for a pythagorean projected record of 88-74.

    So, what do you say? Could everything go right for the Twins in 2013 and reverse the dreaded start of our downfall in 2011 when everything went wrong? What else could go right and push these numbers higher?

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    Some of that looks quite realistic.

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    Super Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    > Now, this all assumes the team stays healthy and we don't see regression from any of the folks not named here (looking at you, Josh Willingham).

    Cast an eye in Diamond's direction as well. (Not just because he's one of the few 2012 mainstays not mentioned, but because he seems like a serious regression risk.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    Some of that looks quite realistic.
    Probably unlikely it all goes exactly right, but certainly not impossible. Hopefully it at least gives a little hope to the other side of all the doom and gloom projections.

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    Super Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    > 6. Fresh blood in the rotation allows starting pitching to improve dramatically with a group ERA a little above 4. This would get the rotation back to about MLB-average and, despite an increase in IP, result in -100 runs allowed.

    I thought about this some more. Unlike your analysis position-by-position for the batters, the situation for starting pitching cries out a little bit for "show your work". Here is my rough cut at it. The Twins employed 12 different starting pitchers in 2012, none of whom had a full workload of 32 or 33 starts: so I grouped them together in approximately 32-start bunches, which happened to work out neatly except I had to split Duensing's year into two slots.

    Hopefully, the following arithmetic doesn't contain major mistakes (I had to guess in a couple of spots), the assumptions I made are sound (e.g., 6+ innings per start from a successful staff), and the work is reasonably self-explanatory. Sorry, I don't know how to change the font so that columns of numbers line up; the bottom lines and differentials are meant to be in units of Earned Runs, in keeping with your analysis.

    The conclusion I draw is I don't really see where a savings of 100 runs is possible from the 2013 starting staff in its current state. Around 50 seems the best to hope for. This is because DeVries and Deduno had better ERAs than we probably choose to remember, limiting the upside possible from upgrades. Starters going deeper into games somewhat skews these run counts (100 runs by a #5 starter going 6+ innings all the time is obviously better than the guys in 2012 giving up 100 in only 5 innings), but I think you have already taken this into account by assuming fewer runs given up by the relief staff given a lower work load in your bullet item #7.

    Starts ERA ER
    Diamond 27 3.54 68
    Swarzak 5 8.10 21
    ---
    89
    2013: Diamond 3.50 80 Diff: -9

    Blackburn 19 7.39 81
    Vasquez 6 5.68 20
    Marquis 7 8.47 32
    ---
    133
    2013: Worley 4.00 90 Diff: -43

    Liriano 17 5.31 54?
    Pavano 11 6.00 42
    Duensing 4 6.92 15
    ---
    111
    2013: Correia 4.50 100 Diff: -11

    Deduno 15 4.44 39
    Walters 12 5.69 39
    Duensing 7 6.92 25
    ---
    103
    2013: Gibson 4.50 100 Diff: -3

    DeVries 16 3.99 38
    Hendriks 16 5.59 53
    ---
    91
    2013: Some guys 4.50 100 Diff: +9

  6. #6
    Can the starters pitch 6 innings minimum giving up no more than 3-4 runs average. Will the bullpen hold in a range of 1-1.5 runs for their work.

    If so, can the Twins score a minimum of 850 runs for the season. Average 5 a game, by chance? Will four most games do it?

    Don't see either happening (except perhaps the bullpen).

    The starters are middlin. The offense has no lineup or player protection, you can pitch around whomever whenever and hope that the others are playing...well, like they usually do.
    Joel Thingvall
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    rosterman at www.twinscards.com

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    If you look at innings and runs rather than starts and ERA, it isn't unreasonable to foresee a 100 run improvement from the pitching staff next season. I did an analysis a few weeks ago, and was able to get a 113 run improvement: Pitching Improvement - Twinkie Town

    The short version: if you look at the 10 pitchers who (hopefully) won't be back next year (Liriano, Hendriks, Blackburn, Pavano, Gray, Marquis, Manship, Duensing as a starter, Walters, Maloney), there is a lot of room for improvement. Collectively, they averaged almost 7 runs per 9 innings over 580 innings. If those 580 innings are gobbled up by the new arms (Harden, Correia, Worley, Gibson, Pelfrey), the new arms average 5 runs per 9 innings (an okay rate, but not good or great), and everyone else on the staff matches last year's performance (yes, a lot of ifs), then the Twins would give up 113 less runs than last season.

    I think allowing 100 less runs next year is achievable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markos View Post
    If you look at innings and runs rather than starts and ERA, it isn't unreasonable to foresee a 100 run improvement from the pitching staff next season. I did an analysis a few weeks ago, and was able to get a 113 run improvement: Pitching Improvement - Twinkie Town

    The short version: if you look at the 10 pitchers who (hopefully) won't be back next year (Liriano, Hendriks, Blackburn, Pavano, Gray, Marquis, Manship, Duensing as a starter, Walters, Maloney), there is a lot of room for improvement. Collectively, they averaged almost 7 runs per 9 innings over 580 innings. If those 580 innings are gobbled up by the new arms (Harden, Correia, Worley, Gibson, Pelfrey), the new arms average 5 runs per 9 innings (an okay rate, but not good or great), and everyone else on the staff matches last year's performance (yes, a lot of ifs), then the Twins would give up 113 less runs than last season.

    I think allowing 100 less runs next year is achievable.
    liam hendriks? you remember diamond in 2011? hopefully liam gets a shot and runs with it ...he will never be an ace of the staff but certainly has the stuff to be a 3,4,5th starter especially for the twins

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    Twins go 61-101.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
    liam hendriks? you remember diamond in 2011? hopefully liam gets a shot and runs with it ...he will never be an ace of the staff but certainly has the stuff to be a 3,4,5th starter especially for the twins
    I hope so too! I should have been more clear - I hope the Liam Hendriks that gives up 0.72 runs per inning won't be back next year. If there is a version that only gives up 0.5 runs per inning, I'd love to see that version pitch 175 innings next year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
    Unlike your analysis position-by-position for the batters, the situation for starting pitching cries out a little bit for "show your work".
    Great question. It wasn't a 'by the pitcher' breakdown that I used, but rather a look at the whole group. Here's the math I used to arrive at 100 runs for the rotation:

    The 2012 starters allowed 528 ER in 880 IP.
    (Minnesota Twins Team Stats » 2012 » Starters » Standard Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball)
    If we think they can be league-average in 2013, the ERA for the group will be around 4.10.

    I assumed the improved performance would lead to longer starts, for 940 IP. The 4.10 ERA at that many IP is 428 runs.

    So, 528-428... 100 fewer runs allowed.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by markos View Post
    The short version: if you look at the 10 pitchers who (hopefully) won't be back next year (Liriano, Hendriks, Blackburn, Pavano, Gray, Marquis, Manship, Duensing as a starter, Walters, Maloney), there is a lot of room for improvement. Collectively, they averaged almost 7 runs per 9 innings over 580 innings. If those 580 innings are gobbled up by the new arms (Harden, Correia, Worley, Gibson, Pelfrey), the new arms average 5 runs per 9 innings (an okay rate, but not good or great), and everyone else on the staff matches last year's performance (yes, a lot of ifs), then the Twins would give up 113 less runs than last season.
    Wow! Looking at it that way one understands why the Twins front office is more optimistic with Correia, Pelfry, Harden, etc. in the fold than the bunch they suffered with last year. The front office probably sees Correia as a better option than Liriano and Pelfry as a less expensive risk than Baker. No wow factor there but if they just put up their average career numbers they'll be a huge improvement over the bunch that gave the Twins up an average of 7 runs over 580 innings. I still think the Twins could land either Saunders or Marcum.

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    I think there is more room or improvement in the MI. I also believe that Mourneau will be much better than he was last year because he will be another year remove from all those injuries (espn1500 had a nice article about him). Butera getting less ABs because Gardy trusts Doumit more could lead to an increase in production from C. However, I find it unlikely that the twins replace Span's production in CF. Willingham and Doumit are both also due for regression.

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    Even if we lose outfield production, it is reasonable to think that every IF spot and every SP spot should have better production than last year.

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    What exactly are your projections for Pelfrey and Correia? Seeing as one is coming off significant arm surgery and both are making the NL to AL jump.

    EDIT: Oops I just no saw the 'not a by the pitcher breakdown' part.
    Last edited by edavis0308; 01-02-2013 at 04:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    Great question. It wasn't a 'by the pitcher' breakdown that I used, but rather a look at the whole group. Here's the math I used to arrive at 100 runs for the rotation:

    The 2012 starters allowed 528 ER in 880 IP.
    (Minnesota Twins Team Stats » 2012 » Starters » Standard Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball)
    If we think they can be league-average in 2013, the ERA for the group will be around 4.10.

    I assumed the improved performance would lead to longer starts, for 940 IP. The 4.10 ERA at that many IP is 428 runs.

    So, 528-428... 100 fewer runs allowed.
    Why would you think they can be league average? Let's assume Diamond can replicate his season (big assumption), and Worley his. Then what? Correia won't be. Hendricks very well may not be, and his ceiling is probably an average pitcher. Gibson has a chance at being above average, but as a rookie on an innings limit, I wouldn't put a ton of hope into that either. Pelfrey was an innings eater but hasn't been average in quite some time. That's not a lot of hope for shaving 100 runs off.

    I'd say the best hope for the starting 5 is a healthy and effective Rich Harden along with a Sam Deduno figuring out how to locate that fastball just enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    Why would you think they can be league average? Let's assume Diamond can replicate his season (big assumption), and Worley his. Then what? Correia won't be. Hendricks very well may not be, and his ceiling is probably an average pitcher. Gibson has a chance at being above average, but as a rookie on an innings limit, I wouldn't put a ton of hope into that either. Pelfrey was an innings eater but hasn't been average in quite some time. That's not a lot of hope for shaving 100 runs off.

    I'd say the best hope for the starting 5 is a healthy and effective Rich Harden along with a Sam Deduno figuring out how to locate that fastball just enough.
    I agree that league average is a lofty goal for the starting staff coming off of a league worst 5.40. They had a 4.64 in 2011 and a 4.17 in 2010.

    I'd be satisfied with the 940 innings and a 4.50ish ERA. That would be still be a 60 run improvement of 2012.

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    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    Nice thread, jay. I like the idea of trying to tangibly envision a best-case scenario and what this team could do if everything breaks right. Unfortunately, some of the assumptions required to meet these parameters are dauntingly huge stretches, especially on the pitching side. I really feel like adding even one legitimate, quality starter to the mix would greatly increase their chances of staying afloat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    Why would you think they can be league average?
    Can't disagree here. It's a hopeful wish, not so much a projection of reality. You never know though... someone could surprise... Gibson, Harden, Pelfrey, even Worley. Given how wretched production was at the bottom of the lengthy list of starters as someone else pointed out, it's not hard to see a significant improvement compared to last year, even if it's not all the way to average.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
    Nice thread, jay. I like the idea of trying to tangibly envision a best-case scenario and what this team could do if everything breaks right. Unfortunately, some of the assumptions required to meet these parameters are dauntingly huge stretches, especially on the pitching side. I really feel like adding even one legitimate, quality starter to the mix would greatly increase their chances of staying afloat.
    Thanks, Nick. I prefer my offseason filled with visions of fresh beginnings and a dose grandeur. If I go through these realistically, I'd probably project this current squad to put up 715 and give up 770. A little closer to competitive, but more like 76-86.

    I do think 3, 4, 5, and 7 are very do-able. 1, 2, and 6 are stretches of varying levels from a toe-touch to Stohs dropping into the splits.

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