Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email
Photo

Article: Twins Building Off The Mound

minnesota twins paul molitor
  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#1 Ted Schwerzler

Ted Schwerzler

    Cedar Rapids

  • Twins Writers
  • 125 posts

Posted 17 August 2017 - 11:25 PM

One hundred and nineteen games into the 2017 Major League Baseball season, the Minnesota Twins find themselves hovering one game above the .500 mark. Looking back to where they were a year ago at this time, they’ve taken a massive leap forward. Considering how 2017 has gone, Paul Molitor’s club can certainly pat themselves on the back. Pitching has once again been an adventure, but this club has weathered the storm.Through a full season last year, the Twins used 11 different starting pitchers, and they trotted out 29 in total. Both of those numbers have been blitzed in 2017, as the club has set franchise records using both 14 starters and 33 arms in total. While that’s a pretty monumental feat in and of itself, those numbers should only be expected to swell over the final 43 games of the season.

A year ago, the Twins' 5.09 team ERA was tied for dead last in all of baseball. Whether looking at starters or the bullpen, the result wasn’t pretty. Realistically, a complete overhaul of the staff wasn’t a one-year project, and the Twins addressed the issues on the bump in an unconventional but interesting way. Jason Castro was brought in as one of the game’s elite gloves behind the dish. Thanks in part to his efforts, as well as those around the diamond, the Twins have written a different story this time around.

Realistically, it’s not fair to say the Twins pitching is all that much improved from where they found themselves in 2016. Instead of being dead last in the current campaign, they find themselves checking in at 26th with a 4.78 team ERA. The results have differed however, as a result of the surrounding parts.

On defense, Twins fielders have been worth 17 DRS (defensive runs saved), a mark good enough for 10th in the big leagues. A season ago, Minnesota found themselves totaling a -49 effort, coming in 28th among the competition. With the growth of the glove Molitor’s club has put its best foot forward.

To date, the hometown nine is one starter shy of having run out three separate starting rotations. Over the course of a season, having to turn to ten starters is seemingly a monumental task, asking to triple the required number is extraordinary. What’s even more mind boggling is that the Twins have traveled this path, and yet remained competitive.

It’s fair to note that the AL Central is far from a juggernaut. It’s only been a matter of weeks that the Cleveland Indians started rolling, and the Kansas City Royals have appeared the only other team with a semblance of competitiveness thus far. However, where things stand today, the Twins were expected to be in the rear view and find themselves just 6.0 GB of the division while remaining within one of the wild card.

2015 was the last time Minnesota found themselves playing competitive baseball late in the year. That club won 83 games and was in the thick of things until the final weekend. In Molitor’s first year at the helm, Minnesota ran out 24 pitchers, and just nine different starters. When reaching their 60th win though, they had already lost 61 games, and found themselves 13.5 GB of the division-leading Indians.

What the Twins have done this season is far from an enviable path. They’ve burned through pitchers at an alarming rate, and the depth of the system has been tested in every way possible. However, thanks to a key acquisition behind the dish, and the emergence of strong play in front of it, Minnesota has remained relevant against all odds. As has been the case for some time now, this organization’s bugaboo remains on the mound. To take the next step forward, pitching needs to become an asset. For where they are however, the sum of all parts must be credited.

It’s a near certainty that the Twins will play meaningful and exciting September baseball. Given the pitching records being set, that’s nothing short of a miracle. This club is plenty close to making some real waves, and while we are now seeing their warts, we can’t ignore the strengths either.

Click here to view the article
  • DocBauer likes this
- Ted Schwerzler
Off The Baggy
@tlschwerz

#2 Sconnie

Sconnie

    From the "right" side of the St Croix

  • Members
  • 3,117 posts
  • LocationNW Wisconsin

Posted 18 August 2017 - 04:43 AM

10 starting pitchers for how this club was prepared last year is really tough, however 10 starting pitchers in a season is no "monumental task".

https://www.google.c...-depth.amp.html

In 2015 on average, a ball club trotted out 10.9 starters.

From 2012 to 2015 40 teams made the post season. Those 40 teams has on average 39 starts per season by pitchers not in the opening day rotation.


The Twins aren't breaking new ground. They're getting better quality pitching from the reserves than seasons past, but it's not alarming at all.

By the way, the one team in 2015 that used 16 starters; the Dodgers, who were playoff contenders and have built their strength largely on a strong farm club (and huge cash).
  • birdwatcher, DocBauer and Vanimal46 like this

#3 mikelink45

mikelink45

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 1,215 posts

Posted 18 August 2017 - 06:54 AM

The Twins defense is the difference - especially Buxton.  Take the difference from -49 runs to +17 runs saved in defense value and add that to the ERA and suddenly we have a staff with a 5.33 ERA (and probably more since we would need more outs to compensate).  

 

Neither the pitching coaches or the catchers have made the difference.  The defense along with a better offense has allowed us to surf the series with mediocre teams to our advantage.

 

Castro and Giminez are not the ones that deserve the credit although I constantly see that.  Give them a little credit, but I am not convinced we would be worse off with Garver behind the plate.  Pre season Fan Graphs had our catching ranked 22nd. http://www.fangraphs...nkings-catcher/

Jason Castro has 1.84 WAR, 1.18 defensive.  Good, but not team changing.

Giminez has negatives on all the ratings and cannot hold up as the second catcher.  

 

As the signature move of the FO I know Castro came in just before the upswing in record, but I think we have to delve further to find the real causes and judge the real value.  In defensive ratings of catchers the best I found for Castro was 16 which is pretty much the place for league average. 

  • clutterheart, LA VIkes Fan, Doomtints and 1 other like this

#4 Linus

Linus

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,888 posts

Posted 18 August 2017 - 07:02 AM

I agree that catching is not the difference. Castro has been OK defensively and Susuki like with the bat. Giminez is awful and should be done.

#5 ThejacKmp

ThejacKmp

    Wing Commander

  • Members
  • 1,406 posts

Posted 18 August 2017 - 07:03 AM

Two weeks til Garver! Unless it's today til Garver!

  • joeshmoe likes this

#6 Tomj14

Tomj14

    Cedar Rapids

  • Members
  • 194 posts

Posted 18 August 2017 - 07:33 AM

Is it safe to start talking about SANO having a somewhat disappointing season?

 


#7 wsnydes

wsnydes

    Armchair Connie Mack

  • Members
  • 2,533 posts
  • LocationApple Valley

Posted 18 August 2017 - 07:58 AM

 

Is it safe to start talking about SANO having a somewhat disappointing season?

With how he started, I know that I'm disappointed about how it's turned out.  

  • puckstopper1 likes this

"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." - Meat 


#8 Shaitan

Shaitan

    Chattanooga Lookouts

  • Members
  • 532 posts

Posted 18 August 2017 - 08:04 AM

I'd also credit health this year (outside of pitching). Grossman, Buxton, and Mauer are the only regulars I can think of to go on the DL. The latter 2 were basically out for the minimum.

  • Tomj14 likes this

#9 joeshmoe

joeshmoe

    Elizabethton

  • Members
  • 2 posts

Posted 18 August 2017 - 08:10 AM

If Sano had played the first six weeks like he has played the last six weeks, he likely would have spent some time in AAA.
Miguel, can you lay off the slider low and away for once?
  • Tomj14 likes this

#10 Tomj14

Tomj14

    Cedar Rapids

  • Members
  • 194 posts

Posted 18 August 2017 - 08:30 AM

 

I'd also credit health this year (outside of pitching). Grossman, Buxton, and Mauer are the only regulars I can think of to go on the DL. The latter 2 were basically out for the minimum.

Completely agree, to assume we will stay this healthy the next few years is  crazy talk.


#11 LA VIkes Fan

LA VIkes Fan

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 837 posts

Posted 18 August 2017 - 09:58 AM

Good article. The defense really is the difference. It's why some starters like Santana can out-perform their peripheral numbers, how a "pitch to hopefully soft but sometimes really hard contact guy" like Colon has a chance, and how Gibson can even be the underperforming yet still in the Majors pitcher he is.  The catching is part of that, but not all of it.

 

This is actually one of the changes the new Fo has brought in. If you can't get pitchers, at least upgrade the defense so the pitchers you have can perform as well as is possible. They went out and got a better defensive catcher(s), moved Sano back to the IF where he belongs, and picked up Adrianza as a glove first backup infielder. All good moves; all help the pitching staff.  


#12 Sconnie

Sconnie

    From the "right" side of the St Croix

  • Members
  • 3,117 posts
  • LocationNW Wisconsin

Posted 18 August 2017 - 11:30 AM

The Twins defense is the difference - especially Buxton. Take the difference from -49 runs to +17 runs saved in defense value and add that to the ERA and suddenly we have a staff with a 5.33 ERA (and probably more since we would need more outs to compensate).

Neither the pitching coaches or the catchers have made the difference. The defense along with a better offense has allowed us to surf the series with mediocre teams to our advantage.

Castro and Giminez are not the ones that deserve the credit although I constantly see that. Give them a little credit, but I am not convinced we would be worse off with Garver behind the plate. Pre season Fan Graphs had our catching ranked 22nd. http://www.fangraphs...nkings-catcher/
Jason Castro has 1.84 WAR, 1.18 defensive. Good, but not team changing.
Giminez has negatives on all the ratings and cannot hold up as the second catcher.

As the signature move of the FO I know Castro came in just before the upswing in record, but I think we have to delve further to find the real causes and judge the real value. In defensive ratings of catchers the best I found for Castro was 16 which is pretty much the place for league average.


Defense is big, but 68 runs differential on defense is what, 7 wins Pythag? Where did the other 10 wins come from?

#13 mikelink45

mikelink45

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 1,215 posts

Posted 18 August 2017 - 11:55 AM

 

Defense is big, but 68 runs differential on defense is what, 7 wins Pythag? Where did the other 10 wins come from?

Some where you might have to figure in offense too - this is just defense and this is huge. 


#14 Thrylos

Thrylos

    They Finally fired ’em. Play Ball!

  • Members
  • 8,793 posts
  • LocationLehigh Valley, PA, USA
  • Twitter: thrylos98

Posted 18 August 2017 - 01:06 PM

Here is comparing 2017 team pitching with 2016:

 

Twins team pitching stats:

2017: 4.89 FIP, 27th; 1.41 WHIP, t23-25; K-BB%: 10.1%, 27th
2016: 4.57 FIP, 27th;1.45 WHIP, t25-28; K-BB%: 11.3%, 21st

 

If anything, I'd say they have been pretty much the same, if not regressed a bit.

Matter of fact is that the Twins are where they are despite horrible pitching.

 

Differences:

 

1. This season the Front Office is willing to get rid of pitchers and recycle/reuse until someone sticks

2. This season the team seems to win close games (and still getting pelted in some games) while last season it was consistent pelting

3. Of course defense, and that is what drives the ERA diff, not pitching (check at FIP)

 

Regardless.I do not see how Allen has a job.Period.He should be the first one that goes come October (or even hopefully November.)

  • Danchat, DocBauer and jimmer like this
-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
http://tenthinningst...h.blogspot.com/
twitter: @thrylos98

#15 Sconnie

Sconnie

    From the "right" side of the St Croix

  • Members
  • 3,117 posts
  • LocationNW Wisconsin

Posted 18 August 2017 - 02:05 PM

 

Some where you might have to figure in offense too - this is just defense and this is huge. 

indeed, 68 run differential on defense is huge. 4.45 runs per game scored in 2016. 4.63 runs per game in 2017. that's only 28 runs on 162 games, 3 wins.

 

 


#16 MN_ExPat

MN_ExPat

    Cedar Rapids

  • Members
  • 138 posts
  • LocationSouth Georgia (the state, not the country)

Posted 18 August 2017 - 03:26 PM

I'm sure by now most folks have seen that Garver (#CallupGarver) has finally been promoted.

#17 Thrylos

Thrylos

    They Finally fired ’em. Play Ball!

  • Members
  • 8,793 posts
  • LocationLehigh Valley, PA, USA
  • Twitter: thrylos98

Posted 18 August 2017 - 04:10 PM

 

I'm sure by now most folks have seen that Garver (#CallupGarver) has finally been promoted.

 

Can he pitch?

  • USAFChief and MN_ExPat like this
-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
http://tenthinningst...h.blogspot.com/
twitter: @thrylos98

#18 Jacksson

Jacksson

    Cedar Rapids

  • Members
  • 57 posts

Posted 18 August 2017 - 04:38 PM

NO, Garver can't pitch, but his ability to play C, LF, 1B, DO mean that Gimenez can move to the bullpen full time!
  • USAFChief, Thrylos and diehardtwinsfan like this

#19 Rosterman

Rosterman

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,679 posts

Posted 18 August 2017 - 05:11 PM

It kinda harkens back to 1987 where the team survived with 2 1/2 starters and a bunch of wannabees in the bullpen. 17 pitchers then, 12 made a start at least. Three were regular starters. No one was outstanding in the bullpen, except maybe Senor smoke.

 

The lack of prospects to step in and Twins having to pull together innings from a variety of unlikely sources. Sadly, time will show that few of these guys will pan out more than a season or two in the organization.

 

Be interesting to see how September plays with Twins pitching futures. Sadly, it means jettisoning many of pitching past, and giving an opportunity to some guys who may only be partial season stoppers next year.

 

Joel Thingvall
www.joelthingvall.com
rosterman at www.twinscards.com


#20 mikelink45

mikelink45

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 1,215 posts

Posted 19 August 2017 - 07:54 AM

 

indeed, 68 run differential on defense is huge. 4.45 runs per game scored in 2016. 4.63 runs per game in 2017. that's only 28 runs on 162 games, 3 wins.

Must be the manager!

  • Sconnie likes this



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: minnesota twins, paul molitor