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Enough Defense

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#21 stringer bell

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 01:50 PM

I don't buy defensive metrics, but if they indicate something that both scouting and the eyeball test agree with, well then, that is a pretty convincing statement.


I believe the defense in the infield is (in answer to the OP) good enough.


Arcia (much improved in the field) is a given in right field, left field and center field must improve.I agree that Hicks has looked less than awesome as a CF.Santana, too, although criticism of him must be tempered with the fact that he is learning a key defensive position on the fly.If Hicks or Santana is the regular center fielder next year, it is important, if not vital, to have a plus defender man left field. 


Finally, while I am a Pinto believer, it would be outstanding to be grooming a glove-first catcher as a backup and successor to Suzuki.Backups and stopgaps have hurt the Twins defense more than anything.Having regulars start 140-160 games would really help the overall defense IMHO.

#22 TheLeviathan


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Posted 25 August 2014 - 06:57 PM

The Twins don't have to just use FA, they should also explore trades.  Their first priority should be a left-fielder that can field the position well and provide some power.

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#23 Thrylos


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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:20 PM

I'm pretty skeptical about defensive metrics in general, and I'm rather surprised at Hicks negative grade in particular.I'm also trying to figure out how Santana as a CF isn't on the bad list. 


Santana has a negative UZR, Defensive runs saved, and plus/minus runs both as CF and SS this season (SSS notwithstanding.)Not sure where those numbers posted are from. Suzuki is at -4 in DRS too.

Here are the Twins Defensive Runs Saved in 2014 in ascending order.Not that I care much about the metric, URZ is better.Heck, Plouffe leads the Twins with +6 DRS in 2014...

Edited by Thrylos, 25 August 2014 - 07:21 PM.

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#24 jorgenswest


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Posted 25 August 2014 - 09:43 PM

The difference between the Twins FIP and ERA is the largest in baseball. At the team level, it's not bad luck. That doesn't even factor in any negative pitch framing effect which would be part of FIP.

Whether or not the front office believes in a metric, they need to believe in defense. Defense matters. The Twins defense costs them wins.

#25 DocBauer


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Posted 25 August 2014 - 09:54 PM

I'm going to cop out here and say yes and no, while showing my age somewhat with naïveté toward advanced metrics in this area.

I've seen teams in the past rank at the top of defensive statistics simply due to few errors. But the eyeball test showed the team was filled with statues who simply didn't make mistakes. And to be sure, there is value in making the normal plays and not shooting yourself in the foot. But the eye test has also shown me teams who ranked below the top, who had more errors, but also more range and athleticism, made more great plays, and who's "errors" came on plays where other teams never would have reached a ball in play.

I think Arcia is looking better and better in RF, something I've been outspoken about. He's not there yet, but he's getting there. And the arm is very good! Maybe I'm missing something when I watch and listen, but how is Mauer bad at first? It's a work in progress, never really playing the position until last season, but I think he's OK and will probably get better. Dozier is a stud at 2B in my opinion. Nobody is perfect, and I speculate he's still learning a few nuances to a new position still, but I actually enjoy him playing defense. SS is solid with Escobar, despite a few errors. And he's been a godsend there. No question Santana offers more range, and probably an even better arm. I think SS is still a bit in flux, but still far better off than it's been in a long time.

Plouffe has grown, IMO, in to a quality 3B. Suzuki is solid behind the plate. The real questions are CF and LF. Speaking of Santana, I am so impressed with what he has shown in CF, not that he's great, but to do as well as he's done, and actually show improvement under a very difficult situation is impressive. I still believe and hope we sign that quality bat for LF, but also someone who can actually play quality defense out there. I think it could go a long way to helping the defense.

(Sorry Hammer...over 500 words. Lol)

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#26 stringer bell

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 10:08 PM

Nice take, Doc, and less than half a page.Mauer was very uncertain the first thirty games or so.He seems to have gained confidence and I think he's been very good for a while now.One area where Mauer appears uncertain of himself going after foul popups.Other than that, he has been very good.I think he might even get a gold glove if he plays enough games there in future years.


Center and left field need improvement. 

#27 DocBauer


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Posted 25 August 2014 - 10:21 PM

[quote name="stringer bell" post="273808" timestamp="1409026087"]Nice take, Doc, and less than half a page.

OK, now I'm just getting paranoid. Lol

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#28 glunn


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Posted 25 August 2014 - 10:44 PM

Based on the eye test, it seems to me that Santana might perform better if he were to play 5 to 10 feet deeper.  It seems to me that Santana has problems getting to balls that are hit to the wall, and playing a little deeper might make a significant difference for him.