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Article: Backup Backstop Battle Royal?

chris gimenez mitch garver john ryan murphy
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#21 JaleelWhite FanClub

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:36 AM

Great article and what a nice problem for the Twins to have!

 

The important thing I would think would be to promote either Murphy or Garver. Which one? I think if you're the Twins, you keep the one you see as the long-term starter in AAA to get the reps as the primary catcher (face LH and RH pitching). The other can be the platoon guy vs. lefties with Castro.

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#22 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:37 AM

I think waiting until July makes sense both to see how the roster falls out with injury and production. Another factor to think about is that we really don't have anyone that has taken hold of the DH role. That would leave some of bats open for Garver should he be called up so he wouldn't simply sit on the bench. Ideally, if you were to do this Garver would be the second catcher, with Gimenez moving down to the third spot.


#23 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:53 AM

 

I'm also not sure whether Adrianza is any better than Vielma but the front office has obviously taken a shine to Adrianza. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing because Vielma is reportedly a polished infielder but if he came to Minnesota and started booting the ball and making stupid mistakes, he wouldn't be the first guy to do so (we all remember Hicks' early fielding difficulties in MLB).

 

All in all, I'm far more concerned with what's (not) happening in the bullpen than I am the catching situation. Gimenez is on track to finish the season with 200 plate appearances. Even if you replace a .600 OPS with an .800 OPS over that time, the actual win difference isn't a whole lot. Not that I'm saying the Twins shouldn't be looking for an advantage here and there, only that the likely difference between Garver and Gimenez is rather small, and that's assuming Garver is the defensive equivalent of Gimenez (a rather big assumption).

 

And as usual, I'm thinking WAY more about being ready for 2018 than this year. Do we think Gimenez will be here next year? If not, do we think Garver will be the backup? If so, and there are only a couple hundred ABs anyway.....why wouldn't Garver be here learning from Castro, getting used to being a MLB, and be truly ready to be the backup next year?

 

Conversely, if they think Gimenez will be the backup next year, they should maybe see if anyone wants to trade for Garver at this point.

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#24 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:17 AM

 

And as usual, I'm thinking WAY more about being ready for 2018 than this year. Do we think Gimenez will be here next year? If not, do we think Garver will be the backup? If so, and there are only a couple hundred ABs anyway.....why wouldn't Garver be here learning from Castro, getting used to being a MLB, and be truly ready to be the backup next year?

 

Conversely, if they think Gimenez will be the backup next year, they should maybe see if anyone wants to trade for Garver at this point.

I want to see Garver next year for sure, I'm just not really sure it's a question whether Garver can handle backup catching duties if the front office feels his defense is adequate.

 

Does it really matter if your backup catcher hits? I don't think it does. Even if Garver posts a .500 OPS in 2018 over 200 plate appearances, I don't know if I really care to "see what we've got" in 2017.

 

I'm not saying I don't think Garver should get a taste of MLB this season, I just don't know if it really matters right now. He could come up in July or even August and get some reps.


#25 Tom Froemming

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:25 AM

 

I think you let this play out for another month or two (i.e. closer to the trade deadline).

 

- there could be an injury (C or MI)

- Escobar or Dozier are a prime trade chip for a MLB for MLB type trade (for a SP) if the right situation aligns. Don't be in a hurry to get rid of a good utility IF (Adrianza)

- Gimenez's 45 PA (vs Castro's 100+) are not exactly killing the team

- Garver shouldn't be relegated to a non-catching role (3rd catcher/PH/DH) this early in the season

I'm sure you're right. It's better to keep Gimenez and Adrianza in the org, and it's not going to hurt any of the alternatives to spend some more time down on the farm. But, it's pretty outstanding to look down and see every hitter on the 40 man currently in the minors is making something of a case for a callup (Garver, Murphy, Vielma, Palka and Granite).

 

We have had Ryan in enough games to diminish any hopes we might have.  

I don't know, Murphy only played 26 games with the Twins last year. It was bad, real bad, but I wouldn't completely give up on him just yet.

 

No, a returned Turner would not have to go on the 40-man.

Thank you for adding that. Seems there would be very little reason for the Twins not to want Stuart back basically for free. But who knows, maybe we could poach an intriguing arm from Cincy in a trade if they decide to send him down. It's an interesting situation to keep an eye on. 

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#26 by jiminy

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:27 AM

"I know a lot of people hate the idea of having three catchers, but Castro is so vulnerable against lefties (career .192/.254/.289 hitter off southpaws) that having the ability to pinch hit for him late in games could be a big asset. You’re never going to see Paul Molitor do that when he’s only got two catchers on the roster because the very last thing he ever wants to do is put his emergency catcher, Escobar, behind the dish."

 

Man, I really hope this is still not an issue! As an actual risk, the numbers are so far from adding up to a legitimate concern that I would assume Falvey and Levine are way past this kind of Gardenhire era paranoia.

 

If you pinch hit for Castro in the 7th with Vargas and play Gimenez for two innings, what's the downside? The extremely low probability that Gimenze will get injured? And that Escobar -- or Mauer for that matter -- would catch a few innings?That seems so far from catastrophic as a worst case scenario, and so unlikely to occur anyway, that it pales in comparison to the very high odds of losing a game by letting Castro bat with men on base. Shouldn't you be more worried about losing a game by a needless but oh so predictable out?

 

And it's not like letting Mauer or Escobar catch two innings automatically loses you the game, either. The odds of a catcher injury in any particular inning are pretty small. The odds of Castro or Gimenez stranding the potential winning run on base are close to 80%.

 

It's like Gardenhire's phobia of losing the DH. So what? On a team that regularly started Jason Tyner at DH, you're worried about the tiny, tiny chance a pitcher might have to bat, due to a very unlikely freak injury? Even though it it's a big at-bat you can just pinch hit anyway and replace the pitcher?

 

There's a statistical term called Loss Aversion that refers to exaggerated worries about a potential loss blinding you to the opportunity of a potential gain. If there are two men on base, you're down by a run, and you bat Gimenez instead of pinch-hitting, because you're afraid that if you put Castro in the following inning he might get hurt, that's a text book example. It's like refusing to go outside because you don't want to get hit by a meteorite. The loss aversion you should feel is to losing the game, by leaving the winning run on second base when you had Vargas or Grossman on the bench!

 

And that's true even if you only had Escobar as a third catcher. But you also have Mauer. I'm all for moving Mauer out from behind the plate because of his concussion history. But to me that doesn't mean he's not available as an emergency fill in. The risk of catching for a year is too high to consider. But the rosk of taking a ball to the mask in any given inning are very small -- probably about the same as getting a concussion diving for a grounder, like Morneau did. A couple innings are no big deal. Especially if the only scenario in which you play Mauer is that both Gimenez AND Escobar got injured in the same few innings!

 

Anyway if you'reworried about concussions, the real ticking bomb is letting Buxton keep smashing into walls. That's a huge, huge fear of mine. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that any hopes of a future Twins' dynasty rest on Buxton and Sano. As it stands, I can't see Buxton surviving, the way he plays. I love his attitude but to me it seems like a matter of time before he goes the way of Koskie, Morneau, and Mauer.

 

And for what? If you look at the cost-benefit ratio of running full speed into a wall, it's not pretty. On the one hand. you're adding a tiny increase to the chance of getting an out that has a tiny chance of affecting a game that has a tiny chance of affecting the season standings. On the other, you're running a major risk of torpedoing the team's chances of ever making the World Series in the next ten years.

 

We take out pitchers based solely on pitch counts to reduce the chance of injury. And we should. Injuries are bad! Yet we don't tell players not to concuss themselves against walls, or tear up their hands sliding head first. In a truly analytically based franchise, these things would all be subject to rigorous cost-benefit analyses. Pointless, major risks would not be tolerated. And tiny risks with potentially large payoffs, like pinch-hitting for your catcher with men on base, would.

 

 

 

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#27 spycake

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:44 AM

 

But, it's pretty outstanding to look down and see every hitter on the 40 man currently in the minors is making something of a case for a callup (Garver, Murphy, Vielma, Palka and Granite).

I'm not seeing too much of a case for a few of those guys.  Palka's K's are down, but so is his generally offensive effectiveness: his wRC+ at AAA in 101, his ISO less than either Garver's and Murphy's so far.  I'd guess he might be making something of a case for being dropped from the 40-man later this year, as much as he's making a case for a callup.  Vielma had a decent start repeating AA, but has looked overmatched as expected in first outings at AAA.  Still early, of course, but he looks very much like someone you wouldn't want to call up this year unless you had a roster emergency.

 

The two catchers are hitting well, though, and Granite is continuing his Ben Revere impression, which could be useful on the MLB bench under the right circumstances.


#28 Ryan Atkins

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:20 PM

I would like to see them wait a bit longer.

Maybe if they were to trade Escobar, then it could make sense to bring up Murphy as a 3rd catcher.

But if we're starting to characterize a .232 BA at AAA as a "strong start", then it suggests he can't do much better than that. And those numbers probably drop at the big league level (down to say Castro/Giminez level).

Either way, this seems a low impact decision whichever way they go.

 

In unrelated news: Chris Herrmann (.185) hit a walk-off HR for the D-backs a couple nights ago.

Folks, there just aren't many Buster Posey's out there. The 7th top hitting catcher in MLB is hitting a whopping .214

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#29 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:33 PM

Wow, that's telling. I guess it just shows that teams all around the leagues are valuing defense over offense at the catcher position. I think the Twins problem is not that they have weak hitting catchers, we kind of expected that coming into the season, but they also have a weak hitting centerfielder, corner outfielders who are not ready yet to hit in the middle of the order, and the two veterans at first and second base are not hitting much although Mauer is starting to come around a little. We do have the DH spot to get that additional middle of the order bat, but we haven't been able to find anyone give us that level of production. I think a lot of the hitting issues at the catching position become a whole lot less important if we can find someone to consistently DH and consistently provide production in the middle of the order. Unfortunately, Vargas has not done that yet this year and Park was injured and has not done that yet at AAA since he came back. We really don't have anyone else.

 

I think the solution is  glaringly simple.  We need to find a middle of the order bat to be the DH. That would lessen the load on everyone else and we could then carry a weak hitting catcher and a weak hitting centerfielder without much trouble. Does anyone know of anyone who might be available in trade that hits but doesn't really field much so they won't be too expensive?

Edited by LA VIkes Fan, 19 May 2017 - 12:34 PM.

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#30 drjim

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:36 PM

Wow, that's telling. I guess it just shows that teams all around the leagues are valuing defense over offense at the catcher position. I think the Twins problem is not that they have weak hitting catchers, we kind of expected that coming into the season, but they also have a weak hitting centerfielder, corner outfielders who are not ready yet to hit in the middle of the order, and the two veterans at first and second base are not hitting much although Mauer is starting to come around a little. We do have the DH spot to get that additional middle of the order bat, but we haven't been able to find anyone give us that level of production. I think a lot of the hitting issues at the catching position become a whole lot less important if we can find someone to consistently DH and consistently provide production in the middle of the order. Unfortunately, Vargas has not done that yet this year and Park was injured and has not done that yet at AAA since he came back. We really don't have anyone else.

I think the solution is glaringly simple. We need to find a middle of the order bat to be the DH. That would lessen the load on everyone else and we could then carry a weak hitting catcher and a weak hitting centerfielder without much trouble. Does anyone know of anyone who might be available in trade that hits but doesn't really field much so they won't be too expensive?


A veteran bat with minimal defensive value is one of the cheapest assets available at the deadline, so that's nice.
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Papers...business papers.

#31 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:37 PM

 

Wow, ........ Does anyone know of anyone who might be available in trade that hits but doesn't really field much so they won't be too expensive?

 

Depends, do you mean for this year, or for the next 5+ years? those lists are VERY different.

 

For example, the Dodgers have a minor leaguer that some think has no position, but he can really hit. That's very different than saying that bad team X has player Y that can hit.

Edited by Mike Sixel, 19 May 2017 - 12:38 PM.

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#32 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:50 PM

I would be in favor of a veteran bat for the short term rather than trying to get another developmental player or someone who could be around long-term unless the positional fit is perfect.  My thought is we have a pretty good developmental team that could potentially stay in contention longer if we had a good veteran middle of the order bat to complement Sano. It would also let the younger players develop without having to be  that second run producer, something I think is beginning to weigh on Kepler and even Sano. It would be kind of like adding Don Baylor or Chili Davis oh so many years ago and hopefully could be done  at a realistic price. I have to  tell you that I'm still fantasizing that Justin Morneau could be that guy but I know I'm wrong.  Anyway, Justin Morneau two years ago was kind of the concept.

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#33 Linus

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:54 PM

The idea that Castro and Giminez have had this magical benefit is folly. Neither can hit and the magic framing factor seems to have disappeared. I think we will eventually learn that a catchers ability to frame pitches is largely dependent on the pitcher throwing the pitch.

#34 spycake

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 01:23 PM

 

But if we're starting to characterize a .232 BA at AAA as a "strong start", then it suggests he can't do much better than that.

It's the slugging.  Murphy actually leads Rochester in isolated power at the moment, ahead of Garver and even Palka and Vargas.

 

It's not worth shaking up the MLB roster for him yet, but it's nice to see some signs of life in Murphy after his 2016 season.

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#35 ashburyjohn

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:51 PM

Folks, there just aren't many Buster Posey's out there. The 7th top hitting catcher in MLB is hitting a whopping .214

That's a useful page, but defaults to players with "qualified" numbers of plate appearances. That might be somewhat appropriate for discussion of every other fielding position, but catchers should be held to a looser standard because of the more-frequent days off built into their careers.

 

You have to drop the number of 2017 plate appearances to 75 to get 31 players, i.e. approximately one for every team. Fourteen of these guys are batting .270 or higher.

 

(Jason Castro appears in the list of 31, but not in the top 14. :) )

 

That's not perfect either, because some of those guys are DHing or playing other positions at times. but ranked lists are just a first cut at understanding anyway.

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#36 kab21

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:53 PM

 

In that case, I'd bring up Murph, and let Garver get even more ABs and steady catching work- some of it with pitchers who may be Twins before long themselves.

It is May and at this point in the season you don't cut competent players (especially catchers) like Gimenez (Adrianza was also mentioned) so a player can get an extra 30 PA/month. Injury (esp catchers) happen and suddenly the team would be down to two competent catchers in AAA/MLB. Getting into July when there are 2+ months left then you can make a move like this and figure things out for the remainder of the year if something suddenly happens.

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Is 2016 2017 the year that a good pitching prospect is truly blocked by 5 good pitchers in the starting rotation? 

Looks like we will have to wait another year until a good pitching prospect is actually blocked.


#37 Linus

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 07:27 AM

Honestly I don't know what I would do probably nothing while we are winning but neither Castro or giminez is good enough to block a legit prospect.

#38 jorgenswest

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 12:43 PM

Changing the catching was the only real move this front office made as they take over. They chose Castro and Giminez knowing they wouldn't hit much. They must believe the value they bring to roster contributes significantly to preventing runs. I find myself agreeing with them though this skill is very complex to measure. Some of the pieces can be measured over the long term.

If you don't support Falvey and Levine's only fundamental roster decision, it is hard to imagine that you would support their continued role leading the Twins front office.
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#39 Sconnie

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 11:05 AM

Who?

no, no, he was traded to get Kevin Jepsen

#40 caninatl04

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 03:32 PM

On behalf of statisticians, I want to apologize. For some reasons, the merits of which are not discussed here, to qualify for AVE rankings, one must qualify by AB's. Sure.

But, to qualify for OBP, and thus, OBP + SLG, of which the ability to take walks (which, as we all know, are Plate Appearances, but not AB's) is a big positive, one would suggest PAs (under which he would qualify) should be used instead of AB's.

Take note BBWA (and SABR)! I'm on to you!



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