The Twins stand at 60-77 at the start of September. Let's improve that for 2015 with a few simple tweaks:
Baseball Prospectus puts the Twins 3rd order pythagorean win percentage at .458, which is a touch under 63 wins. Let's call that the current baseline for the talent level of the team.
Kenny Vargas soaking up at-bats at DH that were earlier spent on Chris Colabello and Kendrys Morales does wonders:
OUT: Colabello PAs (-1.0 WAR in 220 PAs) +
OUT: Kendrys Morales PAs (-0.8 WAR in 162 PAs) +
OUT: Vargas' current production (0.5 WAR in 135 PAs, a 0.37 WAR/100PA rate)
IN: Vargas (0.37 WAR/100 PA in 517 PAs) = 1.91 WAR
1.91 WAR - (-1.8) =
Don't hand Chris Herrmann or Chris Parmelee any more at-bats. Give them to Schafer instead.
OUT: Chris Herrmann + Parmelee (285 ABs at about -1 WAR)
IN: Replacement level 4th OF guy
Let's grab a 2 WAR LF free agent. Cuddyer, Melky Cabrera, or Nelson Cruz could fit the bill:
OUT: Kubel ABs (131 PAs in LF) (-1.1 WAR) + Willingham ABs (278 PAs) (0.8 WAR)
IN: 2 WAR LFer
Let's assume Mauer is 1 WAR closer to his old self by this time next year (which would still be well under historic Mauer performance)
OUT: Pino (0.8 WAR), Pelfrey (-0.6 WAR), Deduno (-0.1 WAR) innings
IN: Free Agent 3 WAR starter
Platoon Arcia and Hicks in RF:
Arcia vs R as L = 121 wRC+ in 196 ABs :
This would be similar to Matt Joyce's production, which is 1.9 WAR in 438 PA with a similar defensive value = 0.434/100 PA
Hicks vs L as R = 145 wRC+ in 42 ABs, which, while a very small sample size, compares to Seth Smith = 2.7 WAR in 449 PA with a similar defensive value = 0.601/100PA
Call Arcia vs Hicks a wash defensively, for argument (even though surely Hicks will improve the outfield defense)
30% PAs in the league are vs. LHP, and players get around 650 PAs in a season, so divvy it up as 200 PAs for Hicks, and 450 PAs for Arcia.
Multiply their production rate by their plate appearances, and you'll get:
1.95 Arcia WAR + 1.202 Hicks WAR = 3.1 total WAR for platoon
Subtract 20% (guesstimate) to account for off-handed matchups (for example, when they are facing opposite-handed bullpen pitchers) = 2.5 WAR
I've already counted Herrmann + Parmelee RF ABs going to replacement level, so we have to not double count improving those plate appearances, so just remove Hicks' and Arcia's WAR
Subtract 0.4 Hicks + Arcia WAR this year for the Twins = +2.1 WAR, scaled to how far into the season we are now, for affect on current record (84.5%) =
Let's also cancel out regressions of Hughes, Dozier, and Santana with improvements from Arcia, May, Gibson, and Nolasco.
Now, add it up:
= 76-61 expected this time next year, by adding a 3 WAR starter, a 2 WAR left fielder, an Arcia/Hicks platoon, averaging out the luck, and getting rid of the dead weight from this year's roster.
How would you add more tweaks?