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Article: Mailbag: Buxton’s Leash, Likely Lineup, Ticket Sales

byron buxton cj cron tyler austin manny machado dave st. peter
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#21 Shaitan

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 01:37 PM

 

I don't think the FO signed Schoop with the expectation of repeating last year's numbers.

True, but the proposal to bat Buxton is based on his recent performance, not his potential to be better.

 

I see him hitting 7th or 8th until he hits his way higher in the lineup.

 

But that's Baldelli's call.


#22 ewen21

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 03:11 PM

 

Buxton's 162 game average is also 3.7 WAR. That seems like more good than harm.

That, to me, is just another illustration of how WAR isn't the end-all/be-all

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#23 spycake

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 04:33 PM

 

That, to me, is just another illustration of how WAR isn't the end-all/be-all

Maybe it should make you look closer at the data you just posted instead.

 

You posted that Buxton's career OPS is .672 and said that was a black hole in the lineup. Well, MLB CF collectively posted only a .726 OPS in 2018. The league non-pitcher OPS was only .740.

 

In that context, .672 isn't good, of course. But it's not a black hole either, and certainly not anything that good defense and baserunning can't vault to average or even above-average overall performance, which was the contention of the post to which your were originally responding.

 

You don't even need to WAR to see that either -- Buxton's career OPS+ relative to the league is 80, and Greg Gagne's was 83 during his tenure with the Twins. Chuck Knoblauch posted a 90 and 91 in 2 of his first 3 seasons. Nobody really disputed that those guys were still valuable overall performers, with or without WAR (although I feel that WAR is a handy shorthand for illustrating the concept).

 

Buxton is certainly capable of even worse, truly "black hole" type performances in smaller samples, and there are posters here who have argued those bad months have an outsized effect on his overall value. But his overall numbers which you presented, by themselves, don't suggest a black hole that can't be overcome by defense and baserunning.

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#24 ChrisKnutson

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 04:54 PM

I know Buxton has struggled, but I don’t like the idea of him batting 9th, if anything, that should be Castro. And when it comes to Kepler, he and his 11.6% walk rate should be hitting lead off.

#25 ewen21

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 05:29 PM

 

Maybe it should make you look closer at the data you just posted instead.

 

You posted that Buxton's career OPS is .672 and said that was a black hole in the lineup. Well, MLB CF collectively posted only a .726 OPS in 2018. The league non-pitcher OPS was only .740.

 

In that context, .672 isn't good, of course. But it's not a black hole either, and certainly not anything that good defense and baserunning can't vault to average or even above-average overall performance, which was the contention of the post to which your were originally responding.

 

You don't even need to WAR to see that either -- Buxton's career OPS+ relative to the league is 80, and Greg Gagne's was 83 during his tenure with the Twins. Chuck Knoblauch posted a 90 and 91 in 2 of his first 3 seasons. Nobody really disputed that those guys were still valuable overall performers, with or without WAR (although I feel that WAR is a handy shorthand for illustrating the concept).

 

Buxton is certainly capable of even worse, truly "black hole" type performances in smaller samples, and there are posters here who have argued those bad months have an outsized effect on his overall value. But his overall numbers which you presented, by themselves, don't suggest a black hole that can't be overcome by defense and baserunning.

If you are posting a .672 OPS as a centerfielder in the American League that is pretty damn bad.Name me the CF who had an OPS below .700 with 600 plate appearances.The answer is NO ONE.Take it down to 500 plate appearances and you have some scrub on the Padres, Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton.

 

If this team aspires to reach higher than they need to stop lowering the bar with Buxton.His bat is a black hole in the lineup if he strikes out nearly 200 times, can't get on base and has an OPS of .672.Whether you agree with me or not a .672 OPS for THIS PLAYER and this point in his career is unacceptable.Can we at least agree on that?

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#26 ewen21

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 05:33 PM

 

 

 

Buxton is certainly capable of even worse, truly "black hole" type performances in smaller samples, and there are posters here who have argued those bad months have an outsized effect on his overall value. But his overall numbers which you presented, by themselves, don't suggest a black hole that can't be overcome by defense and baserunning.

And conversely, if you subtract out those 7 weeks at the end of 2017 you have some historically dreadful numbers for a player with over 800 plate appearances.That burst boosts his numbers unbelievably.If we are going to brush aside 5/6 of his numbers in favor of 1/6 of this numbers then we really need to take a step back and be a little more objective.

 

I* am not saying he is a bust just yet, but he sure is skating on the edge of it if he doesn't start showing some competence as an offensive player.

 


#27 yarnivek1972

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 05:39 PM

I'd rather Garver was the main catcher, but otherwise agree with all this. Great stuff, as always.


I suspect Garver will play more behind the plate than Castro.
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#28 yarnivek1972

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 05:42 PM

I know Buxton has struggled, but I don’t like the idea of him batting 9th, if anything, that should be Castro. And when it comes to Kepler, he and his 11.6% walk rate should be hitting lead off.

That’s actually not a bad idea that I had not considered.

The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Edited by yarnivek1972, 29 January 2019 - 05:43 PM.

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#29 bighat

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 06:06 PM

 

I hope the front office doesn't botch things with Tyler Austin like they did with Daniel Palka.Guess who is a left handed power hitter that the Twin's front office let go last year and immediately led the White Sox in home runs last year with 100 fewer at bats than the next closest guy?Yup.....Palka! (Palka does have some flaws...but left handed power hitter who is only 27 years old.......)

 

I hear ya - I'm baffled at how often Aaron Hicks gets mentioned and nobody ever says a peep about Palka. The guy was just tossed on the scrap heap and went on to bash 27 dongs last year. Sure, he might be the next Paul Sorrento, but I think the Twins wouldn't have needed to sign Cron if they'd have somehow hung on to Palka. It's the biggest mistake nobody's talking about.


#30 Knuckleball9

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 07:05 PM

Would like to see Buck get the CF job all season, no point in giving up. Remember how horrid Tori looked at the beginning? And his speed also helps the Pitching staff... All my ripping of ownership aside, this could* be a sneaky good team.

 

 


#31 ewen21

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 07:11 PM

 

Would like to see Buck get the CF job all season, no point in giving up. Remember how horrid Tori looked at the beginning? And his speed also helps the Pitching staff... All my ripping of ownership aside, this could* be a sneaky good team.

Once again.Hunter was not THIS bad, nor was he THIS fussed over.

 

No player should have the latitude to play with an endless amount of rope.When you say give him "the whole season" what does it mean?Does it mean he can hit .194 and play everyday?

 

That to me is utterly ridiculous.It shows everyone there is no standard and certain players have certain rules.We cannot operate like this.If he is hitting .190 on Mother's Day he goes back to Rochester.Ultimately it would be nice not to have this problem.


#32 ewen21

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 07:14 PM

The idea that we need to give Buxton an endless amount of rope to hang himself this year doesn't wash with me.Not after last year, not after his "I'm not gonna sugarcoat nothing" speech at the Children's Hospital.

 

Sugarcoating things, coddling him and saying his defense and speed bails him out is exactly what needs to stop happening.There needs to be accountability.He is screaming for it. 


#33 spycake

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 09:31 PM

 

If you are posting a .672 OPS as a centerfielder in the American League that is pretty damn bad.Name me the CF who had an OPS below .700 with 600 plate appearances.The answer is NO ONE.Take it down to 500 plate appearances and you have some scrub on the Padres, Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton.

By definition, there won't be many .672 OPS (80 OPS+) regulars. In order to do that, one needs to play a premium defensive position, and one needs to be one of the best defenders in the game at that position. It's going to be fairly uncommon.

 

But Buxton does play a premium position, and there is evidence he is among the best defenders. If Buxton actually had a full season .672 OPS as your first post in this thread alluded to (and called a "black hole"), Buxton would likely contribute just as much value to the Twins as Greg Gagne did, or rookie Knoblauch did. He wouldn't be a star, but he'd easily be an average or above average regular overall.

 

That doesn't mean that Buxton and the Twins shouldn't strive for more than a 80 OPS+, or that there aren't glaring concerns about his game right now. Chiefly, the ~.550 OPS months, which are truly black holes, and health are the obvious ones. If anything, the .672 career OPS, which you introduced to this thread, actually understates the concern about him -- that was what struck me about your post. I'm not making excuses for him, or coddling him, as you so often object.

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#34 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 09:56 PM

I hear ya - I'm baffled at how often Aaron Hicks gets mentioned and nobody ever says a peep about Palka. The guy was just tossed on the scrap heap and went on to bash 27 dongs last year. Sure, he might be the next Paul Sorrento, but I think the Twins wouldn't have needed to sign Cron if they'd have somehow hung on to Palka. It's the biggest mistake nobody's talking about.


If losing an 0.6 bWAR corner outfielder (barely), is one of your biggest mistakes, then you're doing ok.

Aaron Hicks was a 4.7 bWAR player last year. 3.9 the year before.
They aren't even comparable.

There is much more to baseball than hitting HR's. Palka does none of those other things. He's basically a replacement level player.
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#35 Jham

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 10:59 PM

Hicks v Palka... Buxton v blackhole all based off the ubiquitous "bwar". Look how it's calculated and you can pretty easily determine where the most likely discrepancy arises.

"position adjustment". CF are given a 2.5 runs bump just for showing up. Corners are docked 7.5 runs. (Explains Kepler's elevated war as well). Where's the basis for the adjustment? Not actual defense, since that is calculated separately. If Buck and Kepler traded spots, would Kepler be the more valuable defensive player? No. If Rosie moved to CF instead of Kep last year, what would their WAR have been? The idea that it's harder to put up runs saved in CF than the corners isn't well founded IMO. and neither is the position adjustment.

This is compounded by the fact that good cf are ball hawks who run down many balls that the corners might be in perfect position to catch. Thus it is harder for Rosie to increase his radius while Buxtons catch radius looks huge. The actual amount of runs saved is skewed for both. As is their WAR.

Edited by Jham, 29 January 2019 - 11:02 PM.


#36 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 11:06 PM

Hicks v Palka... Buxton v blackhole all based off the ubiquitous "bwar". Look how it's calculated and you can pretty easily determine where the most likely discrepancy arises.

"position adjustment". CF are given a 2.5 runs bump just for showing up. Corners are docked 7.5 runs. (Explains Kepler's elevated war as well). Where's the basis for the adjustment? Not actual defense, since that is calculated separately. If Buck and Kepler traded spots, would Kepler be the more valuable defensive player? No. If Rosie moved to CF instead of Kep last year, what would their WAR have been? The idea that it's harder to put up runs saved in CF than the corners isn't well founded IMO. and neither is the position adjustment.

This is compounded by the fact that good cf are ball hawks who run down many balls that the corners might be in perfect position to catch. Thus it is harder for Rosie to increase his radius while Buxtons catch radius looks huge. The actual amount of runs saved is skewed for both. As is their WAR.


Someone has to play CF, and it can't be Palka, so yes, there has to be a positional adjustment.

A player that isn't good enough to play a premium position is going to lose more runs through poor performance than he gains from adjustment, so no you don't really get a bonus just for showing up.

I also don't need WAR to see that Hicks is a really good player and Palka isn't, it just makes a handy tool to show roughly how big the delta is.
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#37 Jham

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 11:18 PM

Someone has to play CF, and it can't be Palka, so yes, there has to be a positional adjustment.

A player that isn't good enough to play a premium position is going to lose more runs through poor performance than he gains from adjustment, so no you don't really get a bonus just for showing up.

I also don't need WAR to see that Hicks is a really good player and Palka isn't, it just makes a handy tool to show roughly how big the delta is.


But defense is also factored in. So you're factoring it twice. Putting Palka in center wouldn't make him more valuable. He'd be a liability there. That's not more value. It's less. The defensive metric would bear that out.

Does Kepler really need a different WAR calculation when he plays CF than RF?

#38 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 11:43 PM

But defense is also factored in. So you're factoring it twice. Putting Palka in center wouldn't make him more valuable. He'd be a liability there. That's not more value. It's less. The defensive metric would bear that out.

Does Kepler really need a different WAR calculation when he plays CF than RF?


Yes. A player that can play centerfield is more valuable than a player who can only play a corner position.

Palka wouldn't gain more value there than he would in a corner spot. He'd be expected to get to more balls in CF than he is in RF, so he'd lose more runs than he'd gain from the positional adjustment.
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#39 ewen21

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 07:18 AM

 

By definition, there won't be many .672 OPS (80 OPS+) regulars. In order to do that, one needs to play a premium defensive position, and one needs to be one of the best defenders in the game at that position. It's going to be fairly uncommon.

 

But Buxton does play a premium position, and there is evidence he is among the best defenders. If Buxton actually had a full season .672 OPS as your first post in this thread alluded to (and called a "black hole"), Buxton would likely contribute just as much value to the Twins as Greg Gagne did, or rookie Knoblauch did. He wouldn't be a star, but he'd easily be an average or above average regular overall.

 

That doesn't mean that Buxton and the Twins shouldn't strive for more than a 80 OPS+, or that there aren't glaring concerns about his game right now. Chiefly, the ~.550 OPS months, which are truly black holes, and health are the obvious ones. If anything, the .672 career OPS, which you introduced to this thread, actually understates the concern about him -- that was what struck me about your post. I'm not making excuses for him, or coddling him, as you so often object.

What?Do I really need to explain it to you or are you intentionally misinterpreting what I said just to make me seem silly?The guys who actually work with him would be the ones doing that.Not saying you are making excuses for him either.I just think your rationale is off.

 

Also, how in the world does stating a fact about his 162 game average understate anything?It states the reality and that is what I am interested in first and foremost.OF COURSE the injuries and horrible starts are a huge concern.I have discussed that already in other posts about him, but you challenged what I said about his 162 game average OPS.

 

As far as your Knoblauch rookie season comparison goes you are comparing apples to trout.Knoblauch had a .351 OPS, was a second baseman, was 21 years old and at a different stage in his career.He also had an OPS of .701 (which for a second baseman with and OPS in 1991 is fine).Furthermore, looking through the league over the last 20 years I tried to find CFs with a OPS lower than .672 with 2,000 plate appearances.Those players would be: Billy Hamilton, Willy Taveras, Ben Revere and Jarrod Dyson.That is all and Buxton's OBP is worse than all of them.Not by a little bit either.In the case of Revere, Tavares and Dyson 35 points.All of them have much higher batting averages.  

 

How long exactly does he get?That is my bone of contention.I don't think he should have a whole season starting in the outfield.He can't go on being the one the absolute worst offensive CF in baseball over the last 20 years and remain in the daily lineup.It is wrong on several levels.What message does it send to other players in the system?We are going to give Buxton more rope than anyone even after he publicly moans about his situation?

 

We are miles apart, I think.If he is hitting .190 by Mother's Day I send him down to Rochester.Here is hoping he doesn't give us his career average .464 OPS April (even worse than .550).Dude has had almost 1.000 at bats at the major league level.HOwmuch further do we continue this apprenticeship?

Edited by ewen21, 30 January 2019 - 07:19 AM.


#40 ewen21

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 07:25 AM

Bottom line is he should not be given an entire season to flounder.If he isn't hitting his weight over the first 3 or 4 weeksthe heat is on him.He was the one who said he didn't want to "sugarcoat" things.This is the major leagues.He cannot start off looking completely pathetic again.It kills the lineup to have him doing that and it starts us off on the wrong foot.

 

It is up to him to turn that around.Not up to the Twins to bring him along and give him an over-abundance of patience.He has to meet a standard offensively and he better not start off like he has in other seasons. He just might panic




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