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Don't Build Like The Twins

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#1 30whales

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 11:14 PM

Interesting article on ESPN about the roster the Twins have put together this season. You have to be an insider to read it http://insider.espn....-build-team-mlb

#2 blindeke

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 12:46 AM

As tempting as this is (Posted Image[COLOR=#333333][FONT=Verdana] To see why teams should do the opposite of what the Twins are doing, become an Insider today.) [/FONT][/COLOR]care to sum it up for us?

#3 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 05:09 AM

I saw that yesterday... Not an insider, so not much help here. That said, let's keep the conversation civil :)

#4 SarasotaBill

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 06:28 AM

Article said Twins have pitchers who have below average strike out rates and bad defensive out fielders.

#5 Beezer07

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 07:30 AM

Additional note from that article: In discussing why the Twins OF is bad defensively, he tosses in facts about Hicks and Fuld, noting that they aren't hitting well. Author kinda rambles and jumps all over the place before coming to his shocking conclusion--the Twins aren't going to make the playoffs.

Mostly it discusses how the Twins have a deadly combo of pitchers who don't strike people out and a terrible defensive outfield. Hard to argue with it. I saw two slow-rolling ground balls turned into a double and triple during yesterday's game.

#6 mike wants wins

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 07:33 AM

Yup, no strikeouts and bad OF defense is a bad combination. Another nice route by Hicks yesterday....
Lighten up Francis....

#7 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 07:33 AM

I agree that in the long-term, building a contact pitching staff with a bad outfield is a terrible idea. I think most of us saw that writing on the wall.

The thing is that the Twins didn't really "build" their outfield... They patched it together in a bridge year until Buxton arrives.

Swap out Hicks, Parmelee, and Arcia/Willingham/whatever for Buxton, Hicks (if he can hit), and Arcia and the outfield goes from bad to very good in a hurry.

#8 ericchri

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 07:43 AM

Next year could also see Hughes, Meyer, and May in the rotation, meaning the low-strikeout days are hopefully a problem for this year only. Nolasco and Gibson should both be capable of league-average'ish strikeouts, though it's not showing right now for whatever reason.

The Twins didn't build this team with it being intended to be the final blueprint version, this was revision D of the old version on the way to opening the brand new shiny version in the near future.

#9 tobi0040

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 07:49 AM

Next year could also see Hughes, Meyer, and May in the rotation, meaning the low-strikeout days are hopefully a problem for this year only. Nolasco and Gibson should both be capable of league-average'ish strikeouts, though it's not showing right now for whatever reason.

The Twins didn't build this team with it being intended to be the final blueprint version, this was revision D of the old version on the way to opening the brand new shiny version in the near future.


That is what I thought when I read the article too. I thought it was unfair. The word "built" to me would imply they should look beyond this year. We signed two pitchers last off-season that have over 7 K per 9 for their career. Alex Meyer will probably be an 8-9 K per 9 guy and he is knocking on the door (also build via trade). And we took a power arm in Kohl Stewart #5 overall. And Gibsons K's have fallen quite a bit since his promotion and his total should rise. Regarding the outfield, I think you could see an OF next year of Buxton in CF and Hicks in a corner. Come talk to us at that point.

#10 drivlikejehu

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 07:53 AM

I think the author's argument is that, if you're going to patch the OF together, and have a low-strikeout flyball staff, then patch it with guys who can catch the ball.

The Twins' missteps with Bartlett and so forth are obviously very well-worn territory on this site, but the article was for general consumption on ESPN.

What is with people talking about Hicks in a corner outfield spot? That is not going to happen.

#11 TheLeviathan

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:27 AM

Swap out Hicks, Parmelee, and Arcia/Willingham/whatever for Buxton, Hicks (if he can hit), and Arcia and the outfield goes from bad to very good in a hurry.


.....

You realize that's only switching one guy right? Yes, this year we're trotting out components that aren't part of the future, but Arcia and Hicks have shown absolutely nothing defensively to be excited about. I also find it a bit odd to call Hicks a "patch" and not part of the build.

The bigger issue has been the guys that are part of the build that aren't living up to expectations. Particularly Hicks and his continuing circus act in CF.

#12 tobi0040

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:48 AM

I think the author's argument is that, if you're going to patch the OF together, and have a low-strikeout flyball staff, then patch it with guys who can catch the ball.

The Twins' missteps with Bartlett and so forth are obviously very well-worn territory on this site, but the article was for general consumption on ESPN.

What is with people talking about Hicks in a corner outfield spot? That is not going to happen.


I don't think we can write off Hicks after 400 at bats.

His OBP this year is .339. Only 16 players listed as an LF or RF in the entire league are getting on base more. His OPS is .610, which means if he gets the average up to .240 or so and mixes in a few more doubles and HR he can get his OPS up to .730. 25 guys listed as LF or RF have a higher OPS than .730, very few have the arm and speed.

#13 spycake

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:49 AM

Swap out Hicks, Parmelee, and Arcia/Willingham/whatever for Buxton, Hicks (if he can hit), and Arcia and the outfield goes from bad to very good in a hurry.


In addition to what Levi said (that you're only swapping one guy), it's not the result of a one-year patch: this team has been ignoring or misjudging OF defense for several years now. First Willingham was signed, then Doumit was stuck out there, then Span and Revere traded, then Parmelee, Arcia, and Hicks promoted... all of these have been more or less negative moves in terms of OF defense, even when the Twins seemed sure they would be positives like Hicks. Heck, even the cheap marginal guys, guys who should normally be more valuable with the glove than the bat, Presley, Mastro, Thomas, and Fuld (not to mention Colabello, Herrmann, Bartlett or the shortstop du jour, etc.), have all been fairly weak to bad defenders, at least in CF if not in the corners too.

This pattern does not look like a one-year Buxton patch; heck, it started before Buxton was even in the organization. The good news is, once we decide to fix it, it could be done fairly easily: Buxton, Rosario, plus a modest FA could get it done. Hopefully this FO can make that determination though!

#14 cmathewson

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:49 AM

.....

You realize that's only switching one guy right? Yes, this year we're trotting out components that aren't part of the future, but Arcia and Hicks have shown absolutely nothing defensively to be excited about. I also find it a bit odd to call Hicks a "patch" and not part of the build.

The bigger issue has been the guys that are part of the build that aren't living up to expectations. Particularly Hicks and his continuing circus act in CF.


It's really early to pronounce Arcia and Hicks as poor defenders forever, based on less than a year of judging balls in major league parks off the bats of major league hitters, who tend to hit the ball harder. Also, I believe Arcia has been out since April, so we would swap him out for Colabello or Kubel, which is an upgrade.

The team has had about five games all year with the outfield they "built". It was not the best built outfield, but the main problem is guys playing out of position because of injuries and roster mismanagement, which is more about Antony's incompetence than the guy who built the outfield.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#15 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:52 AM

.....

You realize that's only switching one guy right? Yes, this year we're trotting out components that aren't part of the future, but Arcia and Hicks have shown absolutely nothing defensively to be excited about. I also find it a bit odd to call Hicks a "patch" and not part of the build.


You don't think that Hicks will bring more defensively to right field than he does center, particularly when you compare it to relative performance of his peers?

#16 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:54 AM

In addition to what Levi said (that you're only swapping one guy), it's not the result of a one-year patch: this team has been ignoring or misjudging OF defense for several years now. First Willingham was signed, then Doumit was stuck out there, then Span and Revere traded, then Parmelee, Arcia, and Hicks promoted... all of these have been more or less negative moves in terms of OF defense, even when the Twins seemed sure they would be positives like Hicks.


But in those years, worrying about outfield defense was akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. It simply did not matter because the team was awful in every way.

#17 mike wants wins

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:54 AM

Aaron Hicks has a negative 4.0 DEF score for WAR right now on Fangraphs. He had a negative score last year. I find it hard to believe that major league hit balls are so much harder hit than minor league balls, requiring a MLB who has been a profession baseball player for 6 years to literally get turned around on multiple occassions.
Lighten up Francis....

#18 mike wants wins

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:55 AM

I find it odd that people think Hicks could play in a corner, with his bat, but argue that Rosario doesn't have the bat for a corner spot.
Lighten up Francis....

#19 Beezer07

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:55 AM

Have we blamed Rick Anderson for the Twins' bad outfield defense?

#20 Beezer07

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:57 AM

I find it odd that people think Hicks could play in a corner, with his bat, but argue that Rosario doesn't have the bat for a corner spot.


This is a conversation about Hicks's outfield defense, isn't it? And for the record, I'm pretty tired of the all offense, no defense corner outfielder philosophy, especially when "all offense" means mediocre.

#21 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:57 AM

I find it odd that people think Hicks could play in a corner, with his bat, but argue that Rosario doesn't have the bat for a corner spot.


Notice that after I mentioned Hicks, I added (if he can hit).

#22 mike wants wins

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 09:02 AM

This is a conversation about Hicks's outfield defense, isn't it? And for the record, I'm pretty tired of the all offense, no defense corner outfielder philosophy, especially when "all offense" means mediocre.



The post immediately above that pointed out that Hick's defense carries a VERY large negative WAR score this year, and that it was negative last year. And, both O and D are needed from players, unless one is elite, imo.
Lighten up Francis....

#23 drivlikejehu

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 09:07 AM

I don't think we can write off Hicks after 400 at bats.

His OBP this year is .339. Only 16 players listed as an LF or RF in the entire league are getting on base more. His OPS is .610, which means if he gets the average up to .240 or so and mixes in a few more doubles and HR he can get his OPS up to .730. 25 guys listed as LF or RF have a higher OPS than .730, very few have the arm and speed.


Even with a .339 OBP, Hicks is below replacement level offensively. That's hard to do, and tells us just how badly he struggles to make good contact. If you mean that, including defense, he could be less horrible than Colabello or Kubel... well you're right, he may already be better because of how awful those two are.

Twins outfielders as a whole this year are far below replacement level. They are the worst in the Majors by an immense margin. If that is your standard, then certainly Hicks can remain a starter. But if you want a productive outfield, Hicks has no place in it.

#24 edavis0308

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 09:08 AM

That is what I thought when I read the article too. I thought it was unfair. The word "built" to me would imply they should look beyond this year. We signed two pitchers last off-season that have over 7 K per 9 for their career. Alex Meyer will probably be an 8-9 K per 9 guy and he is knocking on the door (also build via trade). And we took a power arm in Kohl Stewart #5 overall. And Gibsons K's have fallen quite a bit since his promotion and his total should rise. Regarding the outfield, I think you could see an OF next year of Buxton in CF and Hicks in a corner. Come talk to us at that point.


Look what we have "built" into our rotation this year from the previous years though.

#25 Boom Boom

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 09:17 AM

Swap out Hicks, Parmelee, and Arcia/Willingham/whatever for Buxton, Hicks (if he can hit), and Arcia and the outfield goes from bad to very good in a hurry.


I like Arcia as an offensive player, but I'm pretty sure he's destined to DH.

He looks like Delmon Young out there. Maybe he can improve a bit, but he's never going to be a defensive asset.

#26 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 09:22 AM

I like Arcia as an offensive player, but I'm pretty sure he's destined to DH.

He looks like Delmon Young out there. Maybe he can improve a bit, but he's never going to be a defensive asset.


Agreed on Arcia. I was focusing more on Hicks/Rosario and Buxton. Those guys should be defensive assets.

I see Arcia manning the OF for some time. I think Vargas is going to end up at DH regularly.

#27 spycake

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 09:34 AM

But in those years, worrying about outfield defense was akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. It simply did not matter because the team was awful in every way.


Still not a reason to ignore it, especially when you know you have a low-K starting staff (and when the bats you are running out there have often been replacement level to average at best).

And "ignoring it" is the most charitable interpretation of the Twins OF defense moves over the past 3 years. I think there is a bit of bad talent identification and underrating the effect of the pitching staff at play too.

#28 kab21

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 09:36 AM

Wouldn't it have been easier to write an article about not building a team with bad players?

Twice in the last 3 year the Twins have had the 25th ranked offense. Did the author think the Twins would have been better if they had some defensive wiz's in the corners?

#29 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 09:45 AM

Still not a reason to ignore it, especially when you know you have a low-K starting staff (and when the bats you are running out there have often been replacement level to average at best).


No, not a reason to ignore it, only a reason not to care. The easiest way to shore up outfield defense is to pick up pitchers who aren't awful, something the Twins didn't seem to realize until roughly six months ago.

Fix the big problem and some of the little problems are minimized/eliminated along with it.

#30 jokin

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 09:53 AM

Agreed on Arcia. I was focusing more on Hicks/Rosario and Buxton. Those guys should be defensive assets.

I see Arcia manning the OF for some time. I think Vargas is going to end up at DH regularly.


Yup. Arcia will never be very good defensively, but with 2 other good-to-superior (in the case of Buxton) OFers out there, his shortcomings can be minimized to a great extent. If he can fix his rookie fits and starts at the plate and fully heal his wrist issues, he can be a regular 30+ HR, 130 OPS+, Crush Davis-type mashing guy.

I am very confident about Vargas becoming a fixture at DH and playing maybe 20-30 games/year at First. (And can we drop the "not ready/fragile flower" excuse about Vargas, he's 9 months older than Arcia, with a fully grown body).