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Article: Twins 2019 Position Analysis: Designated Hitter

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#21 Nick Nelson

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Posted 16 March 2019 - 02:32 PM

 

"Only once in my lifetime have the Twins signed a more accomplished hitter as a free agent, and it worked out supremely well. Can Cruz follow in the footsteps of Jim Thome with a legendary late-career pitstop?" 

Are you really that young?Paul Molitor in 1996 and I would be thrilled if Cruz follows in his footsteps and has the kind of year Molitor had then.  

Ahhh yes! Molitor totally slipped my mind. Maybe I should've said they've only once signed a more accomplished slugger. 

 

 

chili davis.

I think Cruz is more accomplished than he was. 


#22 yarnivek1972

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Posted 16 March 2019 - 03:16 PM

Ahhh yes! Molitor totally slipped my mind. Maybe I should've said they've only once signed a more accomplished slugger.


I think Cruz is more accomplished than he was.



If you’re going to count Molitor who was WAY past his prime when he came to Minnesota, you should count Dave Winfield in 1993 as well.

#23 DocBauer

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Posted 16 March 2019 - 07:04 PM

You are right, we don't agree.
Most players don't have max tools across the board.
Once you remove the handful of true superstars that have elite bats and gloves, most players have a scale of tools. Every game that someone who gets a legitimate chunk of their value from defensive tools starts at DH, is a game that you completely waste a portion of someone's value.
Roster spots are tight in the NFL too, think of the extra flexibility a team could have on game day if, instead of rostering a punter, they just used that position to rotate in other position players?
If guys need a day off, just give them a day off. How are you making your lineup better by removing Cruz from the roster so that a guy like Kepler or Polanco can DH? Are their bats better than Cruz's? Isn't your lineup better with Kepler on the bench, Cave in RF and Cruz at DH than it is with Cave in RF, Kepler at DH, and Cruz on another team?
Obviously this only applies if you can find a bat only guy whose bat is superior to most of the position players. If Robbie Grossman is your DH, then sure, you are better off just gaining flexibility and rotating guys.


Nice to know we can disagree...but not by much. (Including Ash in this as well).

Especially with the pending 26 man roster, I can see room for a Cruz or similar bat to be just that, a bat. No arguement there.

And I think we can all agree that a Grossman as our DH is just an immediate stopping point! Lol (No insult meant to Robbie).

The sticking point to our two opinions is; "most players don't have max tools across the board". Agree with you 100%! My contention is simply that over the next couple of seasons, with what is on hand, and what is coming up, some of them very quickly, the depth at OF/1B/3B could be such that instead of having a "bat only" DH, you could be rotating Sano, Khirilloff, Rooker and others between the field and DH. Simply means your roster is deep enough and talented enough that you wouldn't have to carry a bat only player because your roster was deep enough and talented enough you spread around the playing time.

Is that a pipedream? Meh...maybe. But the potential is there, IMO, to have this "problem" of too many good bats on hand.

A fun debate! Let's hope I'm right and the Twins have too many guys to work in to the lineup!
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#24 Nebtwinsfan

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Posted 17 March 2019 - 07:46 PM

 

Cruz should be great for us. He was #2 on my list of guys I wanted the Twins to sign (after Machado who would have been f-ing perfect). He'll also add some leadership and mentorship to some of our younger players.

 

He'll be an all-star.

 

I was fortunate to watch Nelson Cruz doing some batting practice on Friday morning. First of all, he is impressive in person. Second, he was also having so much much fun with his teammates and Tony Oliva and Rod Carew. It was entertaining but you could also see him being a leader and mentor. 

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#25 caninatl04

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Posted 18 March 2019 - 11:25 AM

Thanks for writing this JLease:

 

"There's plenty of franchise depth for this spot: Sano could move in there easily, Austin is a good fit if the team finds a way to keep him around, Cron could shift in if they decide they don't like his defense but he keeps on hitting, Rooker might be ready for extended MLB time soon...lots of options."

 

The '19 Twins may have more hitters than spots.And, as pointed out, by July, there will be more knocking on the door.


#26 railmarshalljon

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Posted 18 March 2019 - 01:13 PM

The only problem I see with this signing Cruz is how are we gonna get him in our lineup come WS time? For away games are we sticking him in the outfield or do we give him a first basemans glove and hope for he best?

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#27 DocBauer

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Posted 18 March 2019 - 07:30 PM

I was fortunate to watch Nelson Cruz doing some batting practice on Friday morning. First of all, he is impressive in person. Second, he was also having so much much fun with his teammates and Tony Oliva and Rod Carew. It was entertaining but you could also see him being a leader and mentor.


Jealous of you being there. My dad was there a week ago and had a great time. He's been there a couple of times, Ft Myers once and Orlando back in the day.

Where in Nebraska do you hail from? (Omaha here)

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#28 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 10:02 AM

 

Jealous of you being there. My dad was there a week ago and had a great time. He's been there a couple of times, Ft Myers once and Orlando back in the day.

Where in Nebraska do you hail from? (Omaha here)

 

Not that you asked, but I was born in Lincoln, my parents are from Omaha and Fairbury.

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#29 DocBauer

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 06:40 PM

Not that you asked, but I was born in Lincoln, my parents are from Omaha and Fairbury.


Nope I didn't ask but thanks for playing Mike!

Very cool! Been in South Dakota and Nebraska my whole life. No wonder I'm a Twins/Vikings/Husker fan huh? Any chance you bleed Husker Red as well? Or are you a Ducks or Beaver fan up there?

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#30 Riverbrian

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 09:01 PM

 

Nice to know we can disagree...but not by much. (Including Ash in this as well).

Especially with the pending 26 man roster, I can see room for a Cruz or similar bat to be just that, a bat. No arguement there.

And I think we can all agree that a Grossman as our DH is just an immediate stopping point! Lol (No insult meant to Robbie).

The sticking point to our two opinions is; "most players don't have max tools across the board". Agree with you 100%! My contention is simply that over the next couple of seasons, with what is on hand, and what is coming up, some of them very quickly, the depth at OF/1B/3B could be such that instead of having a "bat only" DH, you could be rotating Sano, Khirilloff, Rooker and others between the field and DH. Simply means your roster is deep enough and talented enough that you wouldn't have to carry a bat only player because your roster was deep enough and talented enough you spread around the playing time.

Is that a pipedream? Meh...maybe. But the potential is there, IMO, to have this "problem" of too many good bats on hand.

A fun debate! Let's hope I'm right and the Twins have too many guys to work in to the lineup!

 

I think you and Brooks are both right and I think Ash summed it all up pretty well. 

 

If you have a chance to grab a bat like Nelson Cruz... you grab it. But, it can come with a cost if you don't set up your team to support it. 

 

Cruz is a great signing unless you give back your gains elsewhere by using up valuable roster space on a guy who can't play in the field. .

 

If by utilizing the DH position and Brooks is right... it is a position. If by utilizing the DH position in the traditional fashion...you can be forced by lack of alternatives (due to roster space limitations) to play a player every day hitting very poorly... anything you gain from the DH position is then neutralized.  

 

That's why I agree with you... I would rather see a 25 (or 26) man roster where the DH spot in the lineup can be used for overflow. If Tyler Austin and CJ Cron are both going nuts with OPS over 1,000... It would be sad that one has to ride the pine because there is only one first base bag and Cruz has got the DH spot. 

 

But... Nelson Cruz is a special bat so it's a good addition.. Give him the DH position and take the rest of your lineup... make it deep and flexible enough to cover the defensive void left by a full time DH. Then you got Cruz and a supporting staff that will may not marginalize his contributions. 

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#31 Riverbrian

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 09:05 PM

 


Roster spots are tight in the NFL too, think of the extra flexibility a team could have on game day if, instead of rostering a punter, they just used that position to rotate in other position players?

 

 

I'm calling Zimmer... This is a great idea... Find a position player who can punt. Gain a roster spot for another position... Brilliant!!! 

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#32 DocBauer

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 09:49 PM

I think you and Brooks are both right and I think Ash summed it all up pretty well. 
 
If you have a chance to grab a bat like Nelson Cruz... you grab it. But, it can come with a cost if you don't set up your team to support it. 
 
Cruz is a great signing unless you give back your gains elsewhere by using up valuable roster space on a guy who can't play in the field. .
 
If by utilizing the DH position and Brooks is right... it is a position. If by utilizing the DH position in the traditional fashion...you can be forced by lack of alternatives (due to roster space limitations) to play a player every day hitting very poorly... anything you gain from the DH position is then neutralized.  
 
That's why I agree with you... I would rather see a 25 (or 26) man roster where the DH spot in the lineup can be used for overflow. If Tyler Austin and CJ Cron are both going nuts with OPS over 1,000... It would be sad that one has to ride the pine because there is only one first base bag and Cruz has got the DH spot. 
 
But... Nelson Cruz is a special bat so it's a good addition.. Give him the DH position and take the rest of your lineup... make it deep and flexible enough to cover the defensive void left by a full time DH. Then you got Cruz and a supporting staff that will may not marginalize his contributions.


I think you summed up both of our positions. I have no problem with Cruz, or a similar bat, assuming the DH spot. Especially with the 26 man roster next season. Said bat can be a difference maker!

I'd just rather have a roster "crunch" of Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Cave, Sano, Kirilloff, Rooker maybe, and rotate and play matchups. Really good news this could be a good "problem" to have as early as late in 2019. (Not that I would dismiss or dump Cruz, of course).
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#33 USAFChief

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 10:06 PM

I think you and Brooks are both right and I think Ash summed it all up pretty well.

If you have a chance to grab a bat like Nelson Cruz... you grab it. But, it can come with a cost if you don't set up your team to support it.

Cruz is a great signing unless you give back your gains elsewhere by using up valuable roster space on a guy who can't play in the field. .

If by utilizing the DH position and Brooks is right... it is a position. If by utilizing the DH position in the traditional fashion... you can be forced by lack of alternatives (due to roster space limitations) to play a player every day hitting very poorly... anything you gain from the DH position is then neutralized.

That's why I agree with you... I would rather see a 25 (or 26) man roster where the DH spot in the lineup can be used for overflow. If Tyler Austin and CJ Cron are both going nuts with OPS over 1,000... It would be sad that one has to ride the pine because there is only one first base bag and Cruz has got the DH spot.

But... Nelson Cruz is a special bat so it's a good addition.. Give him the DH position and take the rest of your lineup... make it deep and flexible enough to cover the defensive void left by a full time DH. Then you got Cruz and a supporting staff that will may not marginalize his contributions.

if you're playing a guy every day who cant hit, your problem is the guy who cant hit, not the DH.

The guy who cant hit would be playing anyway...if you had a better alternative, he'd already be playing.

And then the guy who cant hit would be your DH, which is what ends up happening too often when you just pick from your unused players to bat in the DH spot every day.

Cruz costs them very little flexibility. He takes the place of an extra futility infielder.
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#34 Mike Sixel

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 10:46 PM

Nope I didn't ask but thanks for playing Mike!

Very cool! Been in South Dakota and Nebraska my whole life. No wonder I'm a Twins/Vikings/Husker fan huh? Any chance you bleed Husker Red as well? Or are you a Ducks or Beaver fan up there?


My family all bleeds red. Well, not my kids, but all my aunts and uncles and cousins and parents.

It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#35 Riverbrian

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 06:34 AM

 

if you're playing a guy every day who cant hit, your problem is the guy who cant hit, not the DH.

The guy who cant hit would be playing anyway...if you had a better alternative, he'd already be playing.

And then the guy who cant hit would be your DH, which is what ends up happening too often when you just pick from your unused players to bat in the DH spot every day.

Cruz costs them very little flexibility. He takes the place of an extra futility infielder.

 

Yeah

 

And it's all your fault because you are picking from "unused" players. You got to stop picking from "unused" players.:)

 

The Twins have been killing themselves in the fashion you describe above for decades... You and I have been watching it... we both see it but have come to different conclusions. 

 

I love the Nelson Cruz signing... He's a special bat. He can help us win games. 

 

But... if I had the choice: I would take Nick Castellanos over Nelson Cruz because Nick can play OF and 3B and we simply can't anticipate our future needs at 3B and OF.  

 

Disclaimer: For everyone (Castellanos is named specifically by me for roster flexibility example purposes... this is not intended to take the discussion a different direction via a comparison of Castellanos to Cruz... I also understand that Castellanos would cost prospects to acquire and may be cost prohibitive while Cruz was a Free Agent... the inclusion of Castellanos is for example purposes only).

 

My dream is for a 25 man roster that can play. When that dream of mine is finally realized... we will need the DH spot to play the over flow that has been created. Over Flow is a good thing. It can give manager viable options and can be traded to restock farm systems. 

 

Yeah... we are miles from getting there and we have always been miles from getting there.

 

We have year over year over year failed to find 9 players who can play, let alone asking for 25 players who can play.

 

I understand this but I'm saying we will never get there as long as we trade away Aaron Hicks because we have no place to put the potential overflow in the OF.

 

In other words... We can't handle over flow... therefore... we can't strive for over flow and must settle for Robbie Grossman or Ryan LaMarre because... we can't handle over flow and if we don't have over flow... we will perpetually live among unexpected holes. 

 

So... if Nelson Cruz blocks a potential outlet for over flow while simultaneously taking a roster spot that could be used for potential over flow... you can't create overflow. Which leads to the problem you describe above. Playing a guy who can't hit.

 

I agree that the problem is the guy who can't hit... but you can't solve that problem with potential solutions eliminated. 

 

If Max Kepler is hitting .185 in June but must play every day because we don't have anyone on the roster to replace Max Kepler. We give back any potential gains from the Cruz signing.

 

Castellanos could play RF. And if Castellanos could play RF... then maybe we have a place to play both Cron and Austin who are both OPS'ing over 1,000.:)

 

With that said... I am for the signing. Because Cruz is a special bat. 

 

 

Ash is 100% correct... By creating flexibility at other positions... It allows you to absorb the DH only and simply enjoy the production.  

 

 

 

 

 

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#36 woolywoolhouse

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 09:21 AM

 

The only problem I see with this signing Cruz is how are we gonna get him in our lineup come WS time? For away games are we sticking him in the outfield or do we give him a first basemans glove and hope for he best?

 

That will be the best problem the Twins could have this year or any year.

 

In 1991 the Twins played Chili Davis in Game 5 in Atlanta in place of the slumping Shane Mack in a futile 14-5 loss, so ultimately it didn't mean much.

 

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#37 railmarshalljon

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 10:14 AM

 

That will be the best problem the Twins could have this year or any year.

 

In 1991 the Twins played Chili Davis in Game 5 in Atlanta in place of the slumping Shane Mack in a futile 14-5 loss, so ultimately it didn't mean much.

Yeah I was mostly joking but I'm also a little curious what we'd do in that event. It will be interesting to see if he grabs a mitt when we play NL teams away.

 

But Chili also pinch hit a homerun in game 3 (according to wikipedia). Maybe if his bat is in the lineup the whole game we actually take a road game and '91 isn't the greatest world series of all time? 

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