08-11-2013, 11:55 AM #1
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How are we doing?
With 70% of the season in the books, I thought I would take a look at what has happened compared to my expectations. I thought the Twins would improve slightly, but because of starting pitcher issues, they wouldn't contend. So far, in this very general prediction, I am right. The Twins look like they will win a few more games, finishing somewhere in the high 60s to low 70s and their starting pitching has been a bigger mess than I would have predicted.
More specifically, I said that the overall success of the season would be determined by the number of players who established themselves. In that category of players were non-rookie, first year starters--Florimon, Dozier, Plouffe, and Parmelee. In addition, Aaron Hicks was the Opening Day CF, making his debut on that night. So far, the results in this category have been distressing. Only Dozier has made a case to be a solution, with Florimon probably exceeding expectations but still a poor offensive option. Plouffe had a decent first half, but since an injury he's been dreadful. Parmelee never really got going and Hicks spent about a minute above the Mendoza line and is now assigned to Rochester.
As far as development of pitchers, we can start with the failures--Worley and Diamond--both sent to AAA on merit. The hope is that perhaps neither were fully recovered from off-season surgeries and that they will compete for spots in 2014. Correia and Pelfry, on balance, have been close to what would be expected (which isn't much). The guy who has stepped forward is Deduno, who has seemingly put his own spin on "pitch to contact" and has done well in his dozen or so starts. The bullpen has been a team saver. IMHO, it has kept the Twins from becoming the Central Division version of the Astros. From middle guys to the closer, all have performed at least decently on balance. There is an excess there, particularly if the Twins come up with enough starting pitching next year to average 6 innings instead of this season's norm of barely 5.
The defense, on balance, has improved. Up the middle, with an improved Mauer behind the plate, Florimon and Dozier in the middle infield and mostly Hicks in center, they are much better than 2012. The outfield corners not so much. First and third are status quo.
I haven't mentioned a couple of rookies. Gibson has not been good at all, but he looks like he has enough stuff to be a decent starter. Caleb Thielbar has been a real revelation as a member of the bullpen. Chris Colabello and Oswaldo Arcia have hit some long balls. Arcia has reinforced the opinion that he will be a cornerstone for the club in the years ahead.
In summary, this is a team in transition. The next wave is getting closer and we've seen a couple of players who will be part of that wave. It is disappointing that some medium talents haven't stepped up, but not really that surprising. Because of this, the prospects for next year look more bleak than I would have predicted at the start of the year.
08-11-2013, 12:04 PM #2the Central Division version of the Astros
Also, who gets to 20 home runs first? Morneau or Arcia?
Good write up, btw.
08-11-2013, 12:05 PM #3
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Last year we ranked 18th in defensive efficiency according to Baseball Prospectus. This year we are 29th.
Last edited by ThePuck; 08-11-2013 at 12:09 PM.
08-11-2013, 12:54 PM #4
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With regard to the pitchers, only Correia was signed purely as a stopgap in a year viewed at the outset as one of transition, and only one guy has stepped forward in this environment of opportunity. Neither of the other off-season MLB-ready moves with potential upside (being generous here with Pelfrey) has worked out, the two other young guys acquired in trade aren't ready yet, and none of the young guys already in the organization aside from Duduno has made his case to be instrumental even in 2014, although Gibson/Hendriks/Albers have the remainder of the season to change that statement. The one guy they thought was solid, Diamond, regressed to a level becoming his status as available in a rule-5 draft. The process has seemed right, but the results to date are unsatisfactory.
08-11-2013, 03:12 PM #5
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I have a gut feeling that Worley will perform well next year again with an ERA around 4. He pitched well his first few seasons and I think he will return to form. He will never front the rotation but he could fit somewhere in the middle for us.
08-11-2013, 06:47 PM #6
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Let's see... the starting pitching is as bad as I predicted. I didn't figure Deduno would do so well and I didn't know Worley would suck so much.
Kudos to Arcia and Dozier who are hitting the baseball. Florimon is meh. Parmelee just needs to get it together, and the same to Hicksie.
At least our batting and bullpen has moved forward. Our starting pitching... including the injury/struggles of Alex Meyer and the medicore pitching of Trevor May in AA... I don't see any legit solutions in the rotation outside of Deduno. And he could collapse next year. (a la Diamond)