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Enough Offense?

santana vargas arcia buxton
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#1 stringer bell

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 06:12 AM

The Twins face reigning Cy Young winner Max Scherzer today, so their run of big offensive games could come to an end.  It is also important to note that a week ago, the team was struggling to score one or two runs.  However, today the Twins are fifth in the AL in runs scored, they are second in walks, fifth in OBP, eighth in OPS, and 10th in home runs.  They have three guys, Arcia, Santana, and Vargas, all 24 and under, who look like they could be stars for years to come.  The Twins have two top prospects, Buxton and Sano, who also profile to be great offensive players. 

 

Currently, according to BB Ref, regulars Plouffe, Escobar, Dozier, Mauer, and Suzuki all are over 100 in OPS+.  Adding the five youngsters gives the Twins a pretty good and deep offensive nucleus.  Do the Twins need to add any more offense in the off-season or should they concentrate on pitching and defense?


#2 goulik

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 07:12 AM

Yes, The OF is thin and we should pick up a bat out there either through free agency or by trade.
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#3 mike wants wins

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 07:48 AM

left field, they need a left foelder.
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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. :)


#4 Thrylos

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:11 AM

 

Currently, according to BB Ref, regulars Plouffe, Escobar, Dozier, Mauer, and Suzuki all are over 100 in OPS+.  Adding the five youngsters gives the Twins a pretty good and deep offensive nucleus.  Do the Twins need to add any more offense in the off-season or should they concentrate on pitching and defense?

 

100 OPS (i.e. league average) should be the baseline, and not the goal.  Because if you have 100 OPS+ and 100 ERA+, you will likely have a .500 record.   A better analysis is to look at both offensive and defensive measures in each position, look how the Twins are against the league, take into consideration injuries, prospects and contracts etc and go from there to further analyse things like contact rates, K rates, WPA, speed etc and to figure out who might be part of the solution and who part of the problem. 

 

One thing for sure: 100 team OPS+ is not enough, unless the ERA+ is in the 120s or so

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#5 SheboyganBrats

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:31 AM

I don't think the question is whether you need more offense.  Can you ever have too much offense?  I think the question is what you have to give up to get it.  Defense?  Pitching?  The future?  I'd like to see the Twins add a power-hitting left fielder and some improved bench bats to the current lineup.  Maybe they can get that in the offseason without sacrificing anything.  Yes, they need more offense. But they need better starting pitching and improved defense too. 

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#6 stringer bell

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:36 AM

Of course, this is both speculation and projection.  My point was that the Twins project to have 10 or more league average or better hitters on their roster by midseason.  None of them is now a leftfielder, but I have been of the opinion that Plouffe could move out there if and when supplanted by Sano.  Santana could also move there, if he can handle center, with some work I think he can be capable as a left fielder.

 

Finding the right guy for the outfield might be a good idea, but IMHO it is threading a needle to find the right guy at the right price with the right number of years. 


#7 CRArko

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:43 AM

The offensive numbers are generally in the top half of MLB, at least after pounding Tiger pitching. The pitching numbers are still near the bottom in most categories.

Continue to spend the money on upgrading the pitching.
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#8 SheboyganBrats

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 10:05 AM

I agree that the future of the Twins batting lineup is promising.  Hopefully, barring further injuries/lost time, Buxton, Sano, and Rosario will be arriving in the near future.  I think the Twins will have plenty of power with Sano, Vargas, and Arcia in the middle of the lineup.  I'd like to see a Wade Boggs type of hitter ahead of them, but maybe Buxton or Santana will be that guy.  I suppose you could argue that a healthy Joe Mauer already is that type of hitter.  So, as a matter of projection, I don't think the Twins have to do a lot, and I agree that pitching should be their main focus.

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#9 TheLeviathan

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 11:44 AM

The offense has been ok (far better than I expected, but that's largely been fueled by some guys jumping up to be producers out of nowhere), but we can't separate out how much the poor defense on this team may be hurting the pitching staff.

 

I'd suggest one way we might be able to improve both is to target an OF that can play good defense and bring some improved offense.  Victorino, as suggested elsewhere, may fit that bill well.

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#10 Thrylos

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 01:41 PM

Average != median.

 

 

OPS+ of 100 is average, unless fangraphs and the guy who created OPS+ (here is the definition by Wikipidia) are also wrong.  Also there are stated what is considered good and excellent OPS+

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#11 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 01:45 PM

The Twins still have holes they could fill on offense.

But, either way, it is meaningless until/unless they figure out a way to fix the league's worst pitching rotation. 

Until that happens, this team will never get above .500, even if Buxton/Sano both hit their ceilings. 

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#12 RealTwinsFan357

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 03:32 PM

The Twins still have holes they could fill on offense.

But, either way, it is meaningless until/unless they figure out a way to fix the league's worst pitching rotation. 

Until that happens, this team will never get above .500, even if Buxton/Sano both hit their ceilings. 

 

I agree with you completely. This team can acquire as much hitting as they want, but even if we had nine all stars in the everyday lineup we would have a hard time outhitting the ridiculous starting pitching ERAs we've been putting up over the past couple years.

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#13 mike wants wins

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 04:54 PM

Ryan has signed five free agent pitching contracts, traded for May, Worley, Meyer, Milone and Gilmartin, and they are still awful.......oh, and they graduated their top pitching prospect from the last drafts more than two years ago.....and they are still awful. Maybe we are looking at the wrong source of the problem......
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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. :)


#14 Thrylos

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 06:10 PM


 

If you have OPS+ of 100 and ERA+ of 100, I would be very surprised if you found yourself a .500 team. I'd wager they'd be a good bit better because they won't be weak anywhere. Simply being average doesn't mean you'd find yourself in the middle of the pack.

 

Furthermore, the idea that we should treat an OPS+ of 100 as a "baseline" is just facile. Do we want the OPS+ equivalent of Bill Gates? Of course. Guess what? Every team does. Guess what else? There's only one Mike Trout. Bitching and moaning about how the Twins don't have Mike Trout (which is in essence what you're doing) isn't helpful, useful, or intelligent. Tossing aside guys like Dozier, Suzuki, Arcia, etc. because their OPS+ "should" be a "baseline" is a terrible idea among terrible ideas.

 

We all want the Twins to win a World Series, but acting like the players that we have who are solid major leaguers don't matter is just silly.

 

 

 

In 2012, the Twins had a team OPS+ of 98 and 6 players with OPS+ higher than 100.  And they lost 96 (ERA+ 86)

 

We know what happened the next couple seasons.  Just facts.  Not analysis.  Got to do better than average to win.

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#15 Jaykay

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:00 PM

They're sixth in the majors in runs scored. Pitching should be the focus. 


#16 DocBauer

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:19 PM

I disagree on the pitching.

Why you ask?

To me it's relatively simple. Pitching is still the bread and butter of a team. Period. But aren't the Twins rebuilding? Didn't they sign Hughes and keep Gibson to largely good to excellent results? If healthy next season, after struggling through an arm situation this season, shouldn't we expect a healthy, proven veteran such as Nolasco to pitch to at least career norms?

So with all the angst over May and Meyer, and all their potential, and all their AAA numbers this past season, and all the clamoring to have them up at the ML level, are we just going to cut bait on them now to make another big FA signing or big prospect for veteran SP trade?

You can't make a big offseason move AND promote your top pitching prospects.

There is some real offensive potential with the Twins right now, even more when Buxton and Sano arrive. But there is also room to add one more quality, experienced bat. LF makes the most sense. They can do it via FA or trade. I'd rather go the FA route and hold on to every top prospect I can for at least one more season. That FA could be a short sign for a make good or possibly final 1 year deal, or a 30 yo signing a 2-3 year deal. And since when did 30 suddenly become old and AARP elgible for a ML performer?

I'd love to say Arcia and Vargas are cranked and ready to set the league on fire next season. But do we bet on that? Or do we spend available money to deepen and improve our lineup?
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#17 TwinsCD

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:19 PM

Twins put 42 runs on the board in the 4-game series against the Tigers this weekend.  With the exception of May, none of the Twins starters in those 4 games pitched into the 6th inning.  If that doesn't tell us where the offseason priorities should lie, I don't know what does.  With the exception of 3 or 4 pitchers, this staff is a disaster and I'm hoping that there's about 75% turnover in the offseason.  I know that it's probably an impossibility but I'm getting tired of rolling my eyes every time I see certain guys on the mound.


#18 mike wants wins

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:32 PM

We know they won't sign any of the big three good pitchers, who does that leave? And, they are not getting rid of Nolasco.


Btw, there is room and money to work on both.....

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. :)


#19 Sconnie

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:46 PM

Average != median.
 

mean, median, mode are all specific terms for average. If all you are striving for is the median, then that's as high as you will achieve.

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#20 Sconnie

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:59 PM

I disagree on the pitching.
Why you ask?
To me it's relatively simple. Pitching is still the bread and butter of a team. Period. But aren't the Twins rebuilding? Didn't they sign Hughes and keep Gibson to largely good to excellent results? If healthy next season, after struggling through an arm situation this season, shouldn't we expect a healthy, proven veteran such as Nolasco to pitch to at least career norms?
So with all the angst over May and Meyer, and all their potential, and all their AAA numbers this past season, and all the clamoring to have them up at the ML level, are we just going to cut bait on them now to make another big FA signing or big prospect for veteran SP trade?
You can't make a big offseason move AND promote your top pitching prospects.
There is some real offensive potential with the Twins right now, even more when Buxton and Sano arrive. But there is also room to add one more quality, experienced bat. LF makes the most sense. They can do it via FA or trade. I'd rather go the FA route and hold on to every top prospect I can for at least one more season. That FA could be a short sign for a make good or possibly final 1 year deal, or a 30 yo signing a 2-3 year deal. And since when did 30 suddenly become old and AARP elgible for a ML performer?
I'd love to say Arcia and Vargas are cranked and ready to set the league on fire next season. But do we bet on that? Or do we spend available money to deepen and improve our lineup?

good points, I think there is room to improve on both fronts. While I expect Nolasco to be a better pitcher in 2015, Milone is still being trotted out there every 5 games or so. He's fine and all, but can be improved upon via FA or trade. There's no guarantee that both or either Meyer and May become what we all want them to be. Not that I think the Twins should cut bait, but wouldn't it be better if the number 5 guy in the rotation turn out to be the ace or a really good staff, than the number 1 guy in the rotation turn out to be a dud?

I agree with your assessment of LF being a high priority, but a stop gap CF isn't exactly apparent either. I'd like it to be Hicks for 2015, but so far not so reliabl

#21 SwainZag

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:03 PM

Twins put 42 runs on the board in the 4-game series against the Tigers this weekend.  With the exception of May, none of the Twins starters in those 4 games pitched into the 6th inning.  If that doesn't tell us where the offseason priorities should lie, I don't know what does.  With the exception of 3 or 4 pitchers, this staff is a disaster and I'm hoping that there's about 75% turnover in the offseason.  I know that it's probably an impossibility but I'm getting tired of rolling my eyes every time I see certain guys on the mound.

Hughes, Gibson and Nolasco will all be around next season.  You have your top prospects in May and Meyer as well.  Not to mention Pelfrey and Millone.  

 

Relievers under contract: Perkins, Fien, Thielbar, Pressley, Swarzak, Tonkin and Duesing is arb eligible.  

 

Which 75% do you want gone?  

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#22 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:17 PM

Hughes, Gibson and Nolasco will all be around next season.  You have your top prospects in May and Meyer as well.  Not to mention Pelfrey and Millone.  
 
Relievers under contract: Perkins, Fien, Thielbar, Pressley, Swarzak, Tonkin and Duesing is arb eligible.  
 
Which 75% do you want gone?

can't speak for TwinsCD, but from your list of 14, I could get to 50% without much sweating. :)
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#23 Oxtung

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 11:30 PM

I disagree on the pitching.

Why you ask?

To me it's relatively simple. Pitching is still the bread and butter of a team. Period. But aren't the Twins rebuilding? Didn't they sign Hughes and keep Gibson to largely good to excellent results? If healthy next season, after struggling through an arm situation this season, shouldn't we expect a healthy, proven veteran such as Nolasco to pitch to at least career norms?

So with all the angst over May and Meyer, and all their potential, and all their AAA numbers this past season, and all the clamoring to have them up at the ML level, are we just going to cut bait on them now to make another big FA signing or big prospect for veteran SP trade?

You can't make a big offseason move AND promote your top pitching prospects.

There is some real offensive potential with the Twins right now, even more when Buxton and Sano arrive. But there is also room to add one more quality, experienced bat. LF makes the most sense. They can do it via FA or trade. I'd rather go the FA route and hold on to every top prospect I can for at least one more season. That FA could be a short sign for a make good or possibly final 1 year deal, or a 30 yo signing a 2-3 year deal. And since when did 30 suddenly become old and AARP elgible for a ML performer?

I'd love to say Arcia and Vargas are cranked and ready to set the league on fire next season. But do we bet on that? Or do we spend available money to deepen and improve our lineup?

 

Hughes and Gibson have been about average so I'm not sure where "good" comes from and certainly can't see the "excellent".  While it's possible his injury is to blame Nolasco is turning 32 next season.  It's entirely possible that we are currently seeing the future as his body continues to age.  Either way his career norms are as a below average pitcher.....

 

To me 3 averagish pitchers does not make a great starting point to build a staff around.  Perhaps Meyer can be the ace we all hope but I would sure feel much better about the future if they inked a legit top of the rotation arm.  That would be a true signal they are confident in the future coming sooner than later and they are going to do what it takes to win. 

 

As I showed in my other posts, if you want to contend for the playoffs (let alone a championship) you had better have 2 stud pitchers and 4 average or better.  Currently we have the average but where are the studs? 

 

Go, Go Gadget Terry Ryan!

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#24 old nurse

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 06:59 AM

How much better would the Twins pitching look with a top 6 defense rather than a bottom 6 defense. Metrics or not, that isn't a very good defense out there.

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#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:01 AM

How much better would the Twins pitching look with a top 6 defense rather than a bottom 6 defense. Metrics or not, that isn't a very good defense out there.

It's a pretty bad defense by any measure. I often wonder how much damage that defense is doing to the pitching staff, making a mediocre/bad staff look absolutely terrible.

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#26 big dog

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:29 AM

Phil Miller from the STrib raised the same point about defense yesterday, too many fly balls hitting the ground or bouncing off the walls or rolling past guys.  The pitching has a lot of problems, but the defense is making it look even worse than it is.

 

I'm not sure how to fix the outfield, though.  Maybe Schaffer can pull things together, maybe he remains inconsistent.  I'm not a buyer on Victorino- he's going to be 34 and coming off major back surgery.

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#27 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:53 AM

Re: Victorino - I think he might still have something left in the tank, but to me, he has to be considered a 4th outfielder at best until he can prove he's recovered from his surgery and hasn't regressed.

 

I'd still advocate making a run at Melky Cabrera or Yasmani Tomas before trying to sign Shane Victorino.


#28 Monkeypaws

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:58 AM

Hughes and Gibson have been about average so I'm not sure where "good" comes from and certainly can't see the "excellent".  While it's possible his injury is to blame Nolasco is turning 32 next season.  It's entirely possible that we are currently seeing the future as his body continues to age.  Either way his career norms are as a below average pitcher.....

 

 

I'd say Hughes has been more than just "average."

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#29 alskntwnsfn

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:11 AM

Phil Miller from the STrib raised the same point about defense yesterday, too many fly balls hitting the ground or bouncing off the walls or rolling past guys.  The pitching has a lot of problems, but the defense is making it look even worse than it is.

 

I'm not sure how to fix the outfield, though.  Maybe Schaffer can pull things together, maybe he remains inconsistent.  I'm not a buyer on Victorino- he's going to be 34 and coming off major back surgery.

 

There were some plays in this last series that could have really helped out the staff. Some were errors, some were tough plays that weren't made. It's too much to expect perfection from any defense, but they could be doing more. The tools are out there, they just gotta execute. You're not going to find better hitters and better fielders than we already have for reasonable money through free agency. At some point, as a pitcher, you've got to strike somebody out when you need it. Can't expect your defense to make every close play, all the time. 

 

About the only place we could improve is on Danny Santana in CF. He's certainly fast enough and has a great arm, but on some of those long doubles he has trouble right at the end. That's just repetition though. He'll get better the more he's out there, but maybe spending today with the jugs machine wouldn't be a bad idea, though I'm sure they are all pretty tired after the last several days. 

 

Arcia too. He made a bad decision on diving for that ball in front of him and it cost us. Overall he just has to learn to when to let it rip and when to just take what the game gives him (at the plate and in the field). If he learns to do that, watch out, he could be unreal. 


#30 SwainZag

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:40 AM

I'd say Hughes has been more than just "average."

Hughes has been much better than average.  Every stat outside of ERA shows that and it ties directly in with the defense.  Current ERA 3.65, FiP 2.62, xFiP 3.18.  The FIP and XFIP would rank him 5th and 11th in the AL, not quite just average.

 

As for Gibson, while he didn't light the world on fire I think people have to remember he had a total of 10 career starts before this year. His K/9 is up, BB/9 is down and his crazy unlucky BABIP of 2013 is way down.  An ERA of 4.31 isn't bad and with better defense it would look better as well.

 

Even as bad as Nolasco has been his BABIP of .360 is ever higher than Gibson's .350 of last year which was very documented as unlucky.  Combine that with the fact that who knows how long he was pitching injured and I think there is a much better chance his numbers bounce back to career norms than not.

 

Those 3 will be in the rotation next year, and while they do lack and an "ace" Hughes has pitched like a very very good 2 and probably a fringe #1 starter for much of the season.

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