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Discussion point for the future in LF

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#1 Brandon

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 10:51 AM

When Buxton comes up next year halfway through the season, Santana will be without a position as he will go almost a year without playing SS and Escobar so far has done a good job there and Polanco is knocking on the door there as well. 

 

Santana if he still has close to an .800 OPS can play LF and have really good range there with all of his speed.  Why does he have to remain at SS?  Right now do we have any better options there?  Rosario is struggling in AA, Parmelee is hitting .710-.720 OPS and Colabello is below .700.  Willingham will not be back next season so the only other option is to sign a FA as both Cuddyer and Hunter will be available.  What should the Twins do there? 

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#2 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 11:31 AM

Danny Santana has a career MiLB OPS of .703. Counting on him to hit like a corner outfielder is a stretch. Love what the kid's doing out there but it's hard not to be skeptical that he's a MLB quality bat long-term, much less whether his bat will carry at a corner position.

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#3 gunnarthor

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 11:55 AM

The ideal situation would be for Hicks to hit like he has been at AA when he gets to AAA.  If he can carry that over, a future outfield of Hicks/Buxton/Arcia could be pretty good. 

 

In the meantime, Santana will get another 600 AB or so to prove he belongs at the ML level, mostly at CF and SS.  If he turns out to be a .280/.350/.380 hitter, the team will find a spot for him. 

 

As for LF next year, I'd be happy if the Twins tried to address it or 3B with a good free agent - Markakis, Cruz, Big Panda, or hoping for a bounce back from someone like Colby Rasmus.  But they might turn it over to Parmelee.


#4 spycake

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 02:19 PM

When Buxton comes up next year halfway through the season, Santana will be without a position as he will go almost a year without playing SS and Escobar so far has done a good job there and Polanco is knocking on the door there as well. 

If Buxton forces his way up by July 2015, and Escobar still deserves the starting SS job at that time, AND we're healthy and productive at 2B/3B... whatever Santana produces (and wherever he does it) will be gravy.  (To say nothing of Jorge "<50 PA above A-ball" Polanco "knocking on the door" of MLB on his 22nd birthday.)  You may as well start speculating on what happens to Gibson when Meyer, May, and Berrios all join the rotation mid-2015!

 

I'd guess that, if they can stay league-average (or better) hitters, Santana and Escobar are more likely to fill a "super-utility" position than Plouffe, as some have speculated around here.  The added ability to play middle IF and perhaps CF are huge for such a player having value (not to mention trade value).

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#5 drivlikejehu

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 02:58 PM

A super utility role could be a good fit for Santana. His bat isn't a long-term asset, but his flexibility might be.


#6 beckmt

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:22 PM

I see Santana as the shortstop of the future(at least the next 2-3 years).  Depending on how the Twins feel, Hicks could be the CF/LF starting next year or be in Rochester to make that level,  Escobar can move to the super utlilty role.  Twins may have to buy a corner outfielder for a 1-2 year deal until all the minor leagues get to Minnesota.  Buxton will not be in Minnesota until mid 2015 at the earliest.  Best would be to trade Dozier while his value is very high for a good corner outfielder and more(very good second basemen are worth more than corner outfielder) I would suggest either Ethier or Kemp with the Dodgers eating some amount of the pay for either.  Ethier is more of a platoon outfielder based on splits and should cost less, plus another player.


#7 mike wants wins

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:30 PM

Kemp is terrible in the field right now. he's a DH.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#8 Monkeypaws

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:34 PM

Danny Santana has a career MiLB OPS of .703. Counting on him to hit like a corner outfielder is a stretch. Love what the kid's doing out there but it's hard not to be skeptical that he's a MLB quality bat long-term, much less whether his bat will carry at a corner position.

Brock, I usually agree with you.

 

However, maybe part of a young ballplayer's progress is to become better, no matter the level. 

 

He doesn't profile as a corner guy per se, but given his relatively tender age, he is kicking ass right now.


#9 Thegrin

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 04:15 PM

Parmalee and Arcia's August and September will tell us much about 2015.  If they hit in the last 2 months, they will play in 2015.  If not ....  2015 is going to be very interesting (in a bad way.  :)


#10 whosafraidofluigirussolo

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 04:46 PM

 Best would be to trade Dozier while his value is very high for a good corner outfielder and more(very good second basemen are worth more than corner outfielder) I would suggest either Ethier or Kemp with the Dodgers eating some amount of the pay for either.  Ethier is more of a platoon outfielder based on splits and should cost less, plus another player.

 

This is probably a little too crazy ever to become reality, but what about Nolasco for Ethier or Kemp? Both sides take on a bad contract so it's a little more palatable for each (maybe a prospect or cash goes in the deal to even it out); Dodgers were rumored to be looking for a rotation patch; each team addresses an area of relative need; and Nolasco has pitched well in LA before.

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#11 old nurse

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 05:16 PM

This is probably a little too crazy ever to become reality, but what about Nolasco for Ethier or Kemp? Both sides take on a bad contract so it's a little more palatable for each (maybe a prospect or cash goes in the deal to even it out); Dodgers were rumored to be looking for a rotation patch; each team addresses an area of relative need; and Nolasco has pitched well in LA before.

75 mil for Ethier, 120 mill for Kemp or 36 million for Nolasco. Nolasco as a bullpen arm might be more value for the dollar than the 2 outfielders .

Edited by old nurse, 04 August 2014 - 05:17 PM.


#12 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 05:40 PM

Santana loses a ton of value in LF vs. SS or CF. Let's just say for a second that he's capable of posting a .850-.900 OPS. That's immensely valuable at SS or CF. In LF, there's a lot more people who can do that. If there's no room for him at SS or CF (and I highly doubt it if he continues to play the way he's playing as he'd be an all star), he's far more valuable in a trade than on the Twins.

That said, he's hitting well now, but I doubt that he's going to maintain an OPS around .850 as he is currently doing. His career minor league OPS is .702, and his best season OPS was in 2012 at .739 (though as a bonus in the pitcher friendly FSL). Given his age, outperforming his minor league numbers is not an unreasonable expectation and his increase power this year is also something that is sustainable given his age, but given his plate discipline and other tendencies, I suspect he's going to regress a bit, but posting a line between .750-.800 OPS over the next few seasons is far more reasonable. In LF, that's really nothing special. At SS, it's very valuable.

My take on Santana is that given his play, he's earned the 2015 starting SS role. I expect some growing pains defensively, but I think it's far better for Santana and for the Twins to let him have the spot. Escobar can move into a utility role spelling 3 IF spots. There's not much at SS in the high minors, so I think the position is his. The Twins are better off signing a decent LF or perhaps trading someone like Darnell or Gilmartin for one.
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#13 drivlikejehu

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 06:03 PM

I suspect he's going to regress a bit, but posting a line between .750-.800 OPS over the next few seasons is far more reasonable. In LF, that's really nothing special. At SS, it's very valuable.
 

 

If he can do that, then you won't need to worry. An .800 OPS, with decent defense, would make Santana one of the top young position players in the league - a star. The Twins wouldn't block a star player with Eduardo Escobar.

 

If the Twins don't think he is, I'm not going to disagree. 


#14 DocBauer

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:32 PM

[quote name="diehardtwinsfan" post="266520" timestamp="1407195636"]Santana loses a ton of value in LF vs. SS or CF.

Understand your opinion, but choose to disagree with you here. And I'm sorry if I'm being repetitive of a post like this is Nick's recent CF piece.

Within the next season or so, the Twins should be fielding a team that includes Sano, Buxton, Arcia, Dozier, Vargas hopefully, and also hopefully Mauer once again being Mauer. Possibly Polanco at SS as well. There's a lot of potential offense there, including multiple power/RBI candidates. An effective team and offense can be built in many ways, and there is no clear cut definition where power, for example, has to come from. There is also room for guys who can hit and run and make things happen that way. With the potential lineup mentioned, I could see Santana as an exciting and dangerous LF option. I refer/reflect on Mickey Hatcher playing LF in the 80's for the Twins. He didn't have speed or much power, but he played good defense, hit, made contact, and was a very effective #2 hitter for the Twins. Santana could be a more exciting and dangerous type of player in LF than Hatcher was, at the top of the order, or perhaps the bottom setting the table for Buxton and others.

"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."

 

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#15 DocBauer

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:49 PM

I love Arcia's potential and still believe in him. I hope and pray Vargas can make the jump straight from AA and stick. But even with those two, and a hopeful return to complete health and normal productivity from Mauer in 2015, there is still a big hole in the lineup, primarily at the #4 spot where we could really use someone to bring a veteran, experienced and effective bat.

The Twins basically have 3 options to fill this hole:

1) they can make a trade for, probably a LF, replacing Willingham, ideally with someone late 20's or early 30's, who can give us a few years, and be part of the turnaround. The cost in prospects MIGHT make this prohibitive. It depends in the deal and player.

2) put out some real cash for a similar FA. This keeps the prospects in house, and the Twins absolutely have the payroll flexibility to make this move. In other words, a younger more expensive version of Willingham. Not a bad option. But will a player that fits this option be available. Well...maybe. FA isn't here yet, and these things are fluid.

3) go the short-term older veteran over 30 player. This again keeps the prospects at home, and financially is less of an expenditure both in dollars and time. For example sake only, as there may very well be other options, even better ones, but Cuddyer or Hunter have been mentioned. Let's say one of these two, or someone similar, could be brought in on a 1 year, or 1 plus team option, but no more than a 2 year deal for a fair but not high price tag. You bring in a veteran clubhouse guy, in theory, who can play LF, provide 20+ HR power, an experienced bat/approach and RBI bat short term for that 4 spot with Arcia, Vargas, Plouffe and others filling in behind.

Personally, I like the third option. It keeps our prospects in house for at least another year. And I'd feel more comfortable making a trade move after another year of watching and promoting the youngsters to have a better idea of their value/development/potential/readiness, then making a move for a "finishing" piece to the lineup.

"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."

 

--Lou Brown


#16 curt1965

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 09:29 PM

I like Doc's idea of bringing in a plus free-agent, but when was the last time a really good (not great) player wanted to come to Minnesota? And not because he was washed up, and no one else offered him a contract. Honestly, who was the last player to do that? I probably have little brain function right now, but I can't remember the last guy who did that. Someone help me out! Molitor and Winfield did that at the end of their careers, but I can't remember that last time someone had an impact few years as a free agent pickup, or for that matter as someone who came in a trade. I guess my opinion is that most players want to play in a large market city.
I also have a concern that everyone has deeded Buxton as the for sure, certain, positively 100% guaranteed next superstar for the Twins. He is everyone's can't miss stud in the making. He has been hurt this year,yes, but when he has been healthy he hasn't had weeks when he has dominated in FM. I know before his second injury he was player of the week once, but since that time he has been mainly average. And he hasn't progressed to AA either. Hope I am worrying for nothing, but when you are a fan of Minnesota teams, you are taught to think the worse!

#17 curt1965

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 09:30 PM

Maybe Stewart from Toronto?

#18 kab21

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 10:39 PM

Brock, I usually agree with you.

 

However, maybe part of a young ballplayer's progress is to become better, no matter the level. 

 

He doesn't profile as a corner guy per se, but given his relatively tender age, he is kicking ass right now.

 

Of course Santana works to become better but it is incredibly rare that players hit significantly better in the majors than the minors.  It's possible that Santana end up starting in LF after Buxton comes up but that would be more of a result of the Twins not having a better option at the time.

I look forward to the day that a pitching prospect is truly blocked by good pitchers.


#19 JustcallupSANO

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 02:11 AM

2016

LF-?????

CF-Buxton

RF-Arcia

3B-Sano

SS-Santana

2B-Polanco or Dozier(start one, trade the other)

1B-Mauer

C-Suzuki


#20 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 06:39 AM

Of course Santana works to become better but it is incredibly rare that players hit significantly better in the majors than the minors.  It's possible that Santana end up starting in LF after Buxton comes up but that would be more of a result of the Twins not having a better option at the time.

 

To add to that: if players hit much better in MLB than they do MiLB, they're either an outlier or were very young in MiLB (eg. Miguel Cabrera).

 

That doesn't mean Santana can't keep hitting... but given his peripherals and plate discipline, it does mean it's very unlikely he will continue being an .850 OPS player.

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#21 mike wants wins

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 07:26 AM

On what planet is Cuddeyer or Hunter fielding, let alone hitting 20 HRs?

 

Of course a hitter putting up numbers in LF or SS is more valuable at SS. The question is, if you think Polanco is your SS, and you have Santana and no LF anywhere near the majors........are you really better getting a crappy old player for a year or two, or are you better trying Santana in LF?

 

IF Buxton puts up numbers like many think, those numbers work in LF/RF/DH even........so, if he was your LF, and Santana your CF, you'd all be "happy" with Santana's numbers.

 

Now, let's pretend you think Buxton is a better OF, so you move him to CF, and Santana to LF.....are you now unhappy with their offense, even though the defense is better?

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What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#22 spycake

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 07:30 AM

No reason to bring up .850 OPS yet.  Heck, no reason to really bring up Santana's OPS of .793 from 2 games ago.

 

A .717 OPS is average right now in the AL.  An average overall player in LF is still worth about 2 WAR.  With a few added runs on the bases, Santana could be a 2.5 WAR guy in LF with just average offense/defense.  An extended spike to .760 OPS (110 OPS+) like Dozier's 2014, or some improvement on defense, and he should clear 3 WAR easy, even in LF.

 

Of course, that same average defense/offense would make him a 3.5 WAR shortstop, with any kind of extra offense or defense pushing him up around 4.5 and borderline all-star territory.  By comparison, Escobar might only be a 2-2.5 WAR shortstop in this, what might be his "peak", year.


#23 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 07:34 AM

I'm not a fan of the "if so and so does this, then we can be happy with this" type argument.  I'm a fan of fielding the best team 1-9, and given the present state of the system, that's going to mean aquiring a LF as the next wave gets established (not as concerned about it until then). 

 

If Polanco is the SS of the future (and that I think is NOT a safe assumption at this point), then I think Santana in LF only works if by chance he keeps up this .850 OPS thing as that plays in the corner and the above average defense is even better.  While I think he's earned a shot to start (at SS in 2015), I'm very skeptical that he can maintain those numbers and I think a .750-.800 range is a more resonable expectation.  At that range, I think Santana is far more valuable in a trade if/when Polanco is ready as he'd net a better LF then what he would be. 

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#24 mike wants wins

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 07:45 AM

check it out......only 8 qualified LF have an OPS over .800.....I think you are all stuck in the recent past of offense....

 

http://www.fangraphs...ers=0&sort=10,d

 

I have no idea what Santana can or cannot do. But I doubt anyone will trade for him as a SS, if the Twins play him in the OF for the next year......or if they do, it won't be at the value you all expect.

 

I would hope that if they are playing him in the OF, they view him NOT as their next SS. If they do view him as their next SS, well.....that would be an indictment of their current use of him.

 

So, are you all assuming they are bad at their job, and are playing him out of position? Or, do you think maybe they view him as Zobrist, and are trying to get him some time in the OF? Or, do you think they maybe think he's a better OF than SS?

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What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:10 AM

I have no idea what Santana can or cannot do. But I doubt anyone will trade for him as a SS, if the Twins play him in the OF for the next year......or if they do, it won't be at the value you all expect.

 

Maybe a team won't trade for him as a SS... but it's possible they'll trade for him as a CF if he continues to play there.

 

And given Ryan's recent hauls from the centerfield position (!!!!!!!!!), I'd put good money on Santana bringing back something of value, maybe a legitimate corner outfield bat.


#26 mike wants wins

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:12 AM

That's true, Brock.....which is another reason I think he is in the OF........they like his value in CF more than at SS. Both for them, or for another team.

 

As for "legitimate" corner outfield bat, I think people have unrealistic expectations of LF these days.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#27 Willihammer

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:31 AM

So, are you all assuming they are bad at their job, and are playing him out of position? Or, do you think maybe they view him as Zobrist, and are trying to get him some time in the OF? Or, do you think they maybe think he's a better OF than SS?

I think the Twins hope Polanco is the future SS, but want to give Escobar every opportunity to stick there for the next 1-2 years (if not permanently), because they like his glove more than Santana's or Nunez's.

I think they believe Santana is a defensive liability and would rather he work on those issues in the minor leagues if not for the fiasco in center field this year. And I think Gardy probably lobbied to keep Santana around (even after the Fuld pickup) because he is in love with his skillset - 1. fast, 2, switch hitter, 3. decent bunter. I think the Twins FO is ok because Santana was/is good enough to stop the bleeding in CF and maybe they started to see potential for a Bonifacio/super-utility type player down the line.
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#28 chopper0080

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:33 AM

That's true, Brock.....which is another reason I think he is in the OF........they like his value in CF more than at SS. Both for them, or for another team.

 

As for "legitimate" corner outfield bat, I think people have unrealistic expectations of LF these days.

Agreed.  Hitting is down folks, in terms of both power and average.  If I can get another athletic OF with gap power and average in Target field, I take it to the bank everyday.  Santana in LF or CF really doesn't matter if you believe Arcia and Buxton will both have 20+ HR potential.  Also, let's not count on Buxton making the jump next year.  Personally, I would keep Santana in CF or LF until Buxton is up and then figure it out.  Santana, Buxton and Arcia isn't terrible in terms of athleticism, power and average.  Hicks as a 4th makes it even better and allows you to deal a player if you need to.


#29 Brandon

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:44 AM

Maybe a team won't trade for him as a SS... but it's possible they'll trade for him as a CF if he continues to play there.

 

And given Ryan's recent hauls from the centerfield position (!!!!!!!!!), I'd put good money on Santana bringing back something of value, maybe a legitimate corner outfield bat.

 

Ryan only trades CFers for starting pitchers whose last name starts with M ....May, Meyer, Millone

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#30 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:59 AM

As for "legitimate" corner outfield bat, I think people have unrealistic expectations of LF these days.

 

I consider a legitimate corner OF bat to be a guy in the .775-.825 OPS range.

 

And I'm still skeptical that Santana can maintain that pace going forward. If he can, great. If he can't, he needs to stick at an up-the-middle position to reach max value.