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Thread: Official 'Twins Aren't Doing Stuff' Thread

  1. #101
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Morris View Post
    It was reasonable to assume the 2013 rotation would show substantial improvement over 2012
    And it was plenty reasonable to assume it wasn't. No one needs to revise history to go back to last March and think that group wasn't going to improve much of anything. And plenty of people said as much and were right, the rest of your argument is pretty moot after that. (I for one, thought the rotation had "meager" upgrades and any improvement would basically be because 2012 was so bad that the odds were luck would help them be better. Turns out the upgrades were as meager as I thought)

    It's a strange argument to suggest that people who made reasonable arguments for why guys wouldn't succeed (Diamond regressing, Pelfrey needing time to recover, Correia being what he was, plus a lack of viable alternatives) and ended up being accurate is somehow unreasonable, drunk, crazy talk. This is a team that swapped Baker, Pavano, and Liriano for Worley and his shoulder, Pelfrey and his TJ, and Correia. And you think one had to be unreasonable to think they may not improve? I get that we have a few people on TD that like to label anything pessimistic as unreasonable, but that's simply not fair.

    They were reasonable arguments - pessimistic for sure, but nonetheless reasonable - and they turned out right. You claiming that anyone is "revising history" to suggest they predicted that is just plain inaccurate.
    Last edited by TheLeviathan; 11-22-2013 at 06:01 AM.

  2. #102
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    And again, this is why I feel as though we're talking past each other. There is plenty of reason to believe many or all of them would perform somewhat poorly. The issue I have is not with the idea that people predicted these acquisitions wouldn't be good. I've agreed that Diamond was due for regression, that Pelfrey was trying to make it back from Tommy John on a tight schedule and that Worley had an inflated Krate due to swinging strikes

    My issue is not in the direction of performance, but in the magnitude


    The Twins had to replace 162 starts. I agree that replacing the 28 combined starts of Liriano and Pavano and the 27 of Diamond are where regression was likely (Napkin Math has that at around 4.5-4.75 for a ERA). But that's not even a third of the starts made on the season. Where else did the starts come from?

    42 of those came from the quartet of Blackburn-Duensing-Swarzak-Marquis. The combined 7.55 ERA of those starts help to illustrate what happens when 3 people who have no business in a major league starting rotation and one person who just underwent immense personal tragedy wind up with the ball.

    Deduno and Hendricks combined for another 31 starts with a 4.44 and 5.59 ERA respectively. I'm not sure why either of them was a likely regression candidate (Deduno I could see up until the WBC). The remainder of the starts came from absolute nonprospects like De Vries or Walters and total scratch tickets like Vazquez.

    What I'm trying to say is this:
    I can see reasonable arguments for why Correia would put up something much closer to a 5 than what he did (making him an almost exact replacement for Liriano despite drastic style differences). I can understand why someone might suggest that Pelfrey's season will look like Pavano's 6.00 ERA-though expecting worse than that is suspect. I can see why someone might say Scott Diamond would wind up settling in at a higher ERA just from returning to the mean. And once those starts have been replaced-we come to the remainder. The ones thrown by has beens (Blackie), never wases (most of the rest) and guys who are clearly better suited for the bullpen in Duensing and Swarzak.

    And here's where my point of contention lies: Even when assuming that Correia and Pelfrey might be as bad as Liriano and Pavano were in 2012 (no easy feat), even when assuming that Scott Diamond will not anchor the rotation while keeping his ERA under 4.5 again (despite a solid xFIP and a strikeout rate that had dropped substantially from where it was in the minors), and even while assuming that Deduno's WBC experience was a flash in the pan while Liam wouldn't develop at all and have as bad a season as he did the year prior... the rotation would be in line for a marked improvement because Blackburn-Marquis-Duensing and Swarzak were simply that awful. There was nothing in Worley's track record to suggest he would implode TO THE EXTENT THAT HE DID. There's nothing in Gibson's track record to suggest that he would scuffle as hard as he did when he was called up (I recall many on this board complaining that he was wasting innings in the minors because he was clearly ready. FWIW, I agree).

    All of this started because I disagreed with the idea that anyone predicted Worley, Correia and Pelfrey would combine to rival the performances put on by Duensing, Swarzak, Marquis and Blackburn the year before. And I stand by my point. I do not believe anyone predicted that the new acquisitions would combine for a 7+ ERA-and anyone who did predict that did so out of a general pessimism rather than an analysis of the situation.

    For as warty and bad as Pelfrey, Correia and Worley may have been, all three had demonstrated at least some aptitude for starting pitching at a major league level, and had no signs entering the season that they'd lost that. The same simply cannot be said after the performances of Duensing, Blackburn and Swarzak in the rotation during 2012. I'll leave Marquis out of that last statement because I can't imagine trying to prepare for a season and keeping your mind right while going through the despair and helplessness he must have felt-I don't put the performance on his abilities, but it was an awful performance. Tremendously so.


    For what it's worth, "sober" was synonymous with clear/levelheaded rather than antonymous with "drunk"-I had hoped that the discussion of the rainy day made that clear. Apologies if any were offended.

    also-
    TheLeviathan; clear out some PM space or send me one! Got something I'd like to cover in private real quick!
    Last edited by Hugh Morris; 11-22-2013 at 08:25 AM.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Morris View Post
    The thought of substantial improvement in the rotation was far from unreasonable and had support within analytics. The most readily available projection set (Steamer) had the Twins improving their rotation ERA by roughly 15% (even with some laughable HR/FB numbers and a few other quirks I found questionable). That improvement would have made them the 6th most improved rotation in the majors.
    I looked up Steamer for 2013:

    http://steamerprojections.com/blog/downloads/

    Steamer projected EVERY Twins starter (start percentage greater than zero, including Walters, Hernandez, etc.) to have an ERA between 4.30 and 4.92, with the exception of Esmerling Vazquez, whom it projected to have a whopping 5.11 ERA. I hope the Twins were using more than simple regression to the mean to evaluate their starting pitchers.

    You dismiss Humber and Slowey, but Steamer gave them virtually identical projections to those it gave the top Twins starters (including GS, IP, ERA, and "reliability").

    In fact, running some quick totals on that spreadsheet, Steamer projected the AL team starter ERAs to range from 3.78 to 4.61 (this is calculated on projected IP, so it doesn't include marginal guys like Esmerling Vazquez). Actual range last year? 3.44 to 5.26. Guess who was projected to finish last at 4.61? The Twins. Guess who actually finished last at 5.26? The Twins.

  4. #104
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    Guess who was projected to finish last at 4.61? The Twins. Guess who actually finished last at 5.26? The Twins.
    I think you guys are saying the same thing.

    No one here has said they were going to be good. We all thought they were going to be bad, but I think they were even worse than some of us were expecting -- including Steamer, as you've highlighted here.

  5. #105
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat_MN View Post
    Pardon me Jay, but have you just started following this team?

    After 3 years of over 95 losses, some of us who have supported the Twins for decades are getting frustrated. Tough to be me, right?

    But that is why I hang out here. I love baseball. I love the Twins. I am usually an optimist, kind of to the extreme.

    So call it an easy target if you like. See how if feels in 20 years.
    Thanks for asking. I'm in the decades fan camp as well. That still doesn't make me think it is necessary to ridicule any and every move the team makes just because it wasn't signing [insert your favorite FA here]. You're more than entitled to be bearish on our prospects for success (while claiming to be an optimist). Personally, I'll never understand the joy in being a cynical, defeatist fan.

  6. #106
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Morris View Post
    42 of those came from the quartet of Blackburn-Duensing-Swarzak-Marquis.
    The problem is you comp Pelfrey and Pavano and say they are a wash when Pavano only had 60 innings and Pelfrey pitched much more than that and equally as bad. Was it really that unreasonable to think Pelfrey would be little better than the combined efforts of Pavano, Walters, and Vasquez? I'd argue, based on historical evidence, we had plenty of reason to think that.

    But the bigger issue is that the guys you are fingering as a problem in 2012 were STILL ON THE ROSTER for 2013! They weren't pushed all that far down the depth chart. They were till the first guys up when needed. So it wasn't unreasonable to suggest that given approximately the same roster with only questionably upgraded changes, we might be in for the same results. That was a reasonable expectation to have IMO.

    hell, the only reason I wasn't in that camp was because I thought they might get a bit lucky. My mistake was that I didn't realize how lucky they may have been in 2012 that Diamond and Devries did what they did. That was mighty lucky and in retrospect it was that regression was key to why, even with better luck and consistency in 2013, they didn't improve much. Those two masked just how deep the problems were.

  7. #107
    First off Duensing and Swarzak have started before and we all know they can pitch, so why sign kris johnsons, josh johnson, pelfreys, worleys, when you can work within the organization, would be much easier and cheaper finding middle releivers than it is excellent starting pitchers for low costs. Lets face it the Twins are a very cheap organization! Instead of spending $10 million for one starting pitcher hoping they will pan out, why not just make swarzak/duensing a starter and save that $10 million, for nothing. These starters are getting very Expensive!! Josh Johnson $8 million with a 2-8, with a 6.20, sorry to say, but I'd feel more confident in starting Scott Diamond, he had a better year than that!

    Swarzak and Duensing were confronted end of last summer and asked if they could start, i remember that, and that led to know where. But come this spring the twins can have them adjust and work with them as starting pitcher instead of relievers. We were in disparate need for middle relievers last year, cause 5 out of 8 days we had to rely on the bullpen!

    This year we can find time to replace the two starters we needed with Duensing/Swarzak or both, and have time to find new middle relievers to replace duensing/swarzak.

    But what about all our back-up position players starting! Oh my!

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    I think you guys are saying the same thing.

    No one here has said they were going to be good. We all thought they were going to be bad, but I think they were even worse than some of us were expecting -- including Steamer, as you've highlighted here.
    Definitely not saying the same thing. Just looked at 2012 Steamer -- Twins starters were projected at 4.58 ERA that year. Actual ERA: 5.40. Steamer is more or less worthless for this exercise.

    It might be more illuminating to look at a projection system like ZIPS, which offers projections at varying confidence intervals. I'd guess the Twins had virtually no chance of significant improvement simply due to the almost complete lack of upside.

    The most charitable thing you could say is that in 2013 they were unlikely to be any worse than 2012, simply because they were already pushing the limits of statistical badness in 2012. However, them being almost exactly as bad was not an unlikely outcome -- in fact, given the thorough lack of upside throughout the entire starting staff, the low innings projections for even the top starters, and a nearly identical supporting cast of AAA fill-ins, I'd say that repeating the 2012 performance was probably the most likely outcome.

  9. #109
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    Definitely not saying the same thing. Just looked at 2012 Steamer -- Twins starters were projected at 4.58 ERA that year. Actual ERA: 5.40. Steamer is more or less worthless for this exercise.
    First Steamer is your source to make your point and now it is worthless?

    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    However, them being almost exactly as bad was not an unlikely outcome -- in fact, given the thorough lack of upside throughout the entire starting staff, the low innings projections for even the top starters, and a nearly identical supporting cast of AAA fill-ins, I'd say that repeating the 2012 performance was probably the most likely outcome.
    Either way, I don't even disagree with the sentiment in any of your points. When you look at the exact number of innings pitched by each starter in 2013 (using a high-end 5.80 for Albers since I couldn't find a projection for him), ZIPS projected a pretty darn close 5.15 vs the 5.26 actual.

    I guess my only point would be that going in the season, I was expecting Diamond, Worley, Pelfrey, Deduno, and Correia with Gibson ready to step in for the weakest performer around June and some decent replacement level options beyond that if necessary. You could have projected that for around 4.90. Admittedly, before I ran the numbers just now, I would have thought the projection would be closer to 4.60 and bottom 5 in MLB than still MLB-worst. Those are both bad, but not quite the 5.26 bad that we had the joy of watching. All of those numbers do represent slight improvements over the 5.40 from 2012, but nothing we should be happy about in the least.

    So, again, I still think we're saying the same thing and we're really splitting hairs here in any case. I guess we can agree to disagree on just what shade of really bad they were projected to be. I'll concede.
    Last edited by jay; 11-22-2013 at 10:15 AM.

  10. #110
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    So, again, I still think we're saying the same thing and we're really splitting hairs here in any case. I guess we can agree to disagree on just what shade of really bad they were projected to be.
    Agreed, I think most of us were in this camp. I just took umbrage when I heard "competent" being thrown around. I don't think it was unreasonable to disagree with that sort of projection.

  11. #111
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    If I may contribute to the projected '13 projection vs '12 actual discussion....

    My take is that the Twins and those who believed that '13 would be better than actual, are using the "incremental improvement approach" rather than a "step change improvement approach". Ergo, acquire three pitchers that collectively will be slightly better than those they replaced for a cost of $X vs. spend $X for one pitcher who is projected to be significantly better than the guy replaced. Much depends on what final outcome is desired, or--what is the definition of success? The incremental approach contains less risk, but lower "upside". Two star pitchers with average support can power a team through the playoffs, but five slightly above average pitchers will most likely suffer the same fate as the Twins in the previous decade. So which is to be preferred?--one great season (WS) or a few short appearances in the playoffs?

  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    First Steamer is your source to make your point and now it is worthless?
    Steamer was Hugh Morris' source, for his point that even "analytics" expected the Twins rotation to improve in 2013. I was disproving that and pointing out how Steamer was worthless for that judgment (or judgement, for you British types).

    Agreed we're probably splitting hairs here.

  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    I guess my only point would be that going in the season, I was expecting Diamond, Worley, Pelfrey, Deduno, and Correia with Gibson ready to step in for the weakest performer around June and some decent replacement level options beyond that if necessary. You could have projected that for around 4.90. Admittedly, before I ran the numbers just now, I would have thought the projection would be closer to 4.60 and bottom 5 in MLB than still MLB-worst.
    The league's starting pitcher ERA last year was down to 4.15. Actually, the league starting ERA went down by more than the Twins ERA last year, so you could still make the argument they were worse in 2013. But that would be more hair splitting... and depressing...

  14. #114
    Please ban me! All-Star stringer bell's Avatar
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    On the larger issue of "same old, same old", I have to agree. There is a stockpile of great talent in the minors and if it pans out the Twins will have a couple of perennial all-stars. However, the parts that fit around that talent haven't been finalized, in fact the picture is more unclear than it was a year ago. I don't see anything that indicates that the team has changed direction in several areas. More later.
    Last edited by John Bonnes; 11-22-2013 at 05:59 PM. Reason: Edited out deleted post

  15. #115
    Senior Member All-Star Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
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    To get away from statistical arguments for a moment... These Twins teams feel much worse than the sum of their parts. The 2011 roster loses 99 games are you kidding me? Now multiply by 3. "Yeah but injuries yeah but prospects…"

    There's an intangible badness right now. That's part of why we see battle lines being drawn, why some people propose "fire the manager" (me) or "sign Pierzynski" (not me) or "rush the prospects up" or some other sexy but unquantifiable idea that the other side scoffs at. Or as Terry Ryan himself let it slip, "we've got to try something." Well one thing he can try, and we all pretty much agree, is he can somehow lure a top pitcher to come here, who by himself can win us some games, draw some fans back, maybe keep us around .500 going into the ASG, get that winning feeling back. Also it might create a nicer clubhouse atmosphere for the young whippersnappers to come into later in the year to save the day.
    Last edited by John Bonnes; 11-22-2013 at 06:03 PM. Reason: Edited out deleted post

  16. #116
    Please ban me! All-Star stringer bell's Avatar
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    OK, I'm back. It seems that the front office hasn't figured how to go about getting better starting pitchers in this new (pitching dominated) sub-era, where strikeouts are reaching record numbers and pitching to contact has become the watch-word for guys who don't have enough stuff to consistently succeed. Finally, it seems the FO has shrugged off three straight failure seasons as part of a cycle. With the resources available, the drop-off shouldn't have been this deep and lasted this long. I really don't see much hope for improvement in 2014 and the culture of losing is becoming more and more the accepted atmosphere. I understand that the answers aren't as easy as opening the checkbook, but there is money to spend and I think the time for patience for the major league club should be over.

  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hosken Bombo Disco View Post


    Or as Terry Ryan himself let it slip, "we've got to try something."
    And people wonder why some of us get cynical about the recent state of affairs....

  18. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
    OK, I'm back. It seems that the front office hasn't figured how to go about getting better starting pitchers in this new (pitching dominated) sub-era, where strikeouts are reaching record numbers and pitching to contact has become the watch-word for guys who don't have enough stuff to consistently succeed. Finally, it seems the FO has shrugged off three straight failure seasons as part of a cycle. With the resources available, the drop-off shouldn't have been this deep and lasted this long. I really don't see much hope for improvement in 2014 and the culture of losing is becoming more and more the accepted atmosphere. I understand that the answers aren't as easy as opening the checkbook, but there is money to spend and I think the time for patience for the major league club should be over.
    +1. Thanks for coming back! Excellent summation.

  19. #119
    Owner All-Star John Bonnes's Avatar
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    Guys, just to save your hard-working mods some work, if you see a comment in questionable taste, please notify us rather than comment on it. Thanks.

  20. #120
    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    I didn't realize it was too soon to post a harmless Lee Harvey Oswald joke.

    Also it wouldn't let me send a message back to you PM, so consider this my message.

    People need to lighten up and have a sense of humor.

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