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Article: Week in Review: Opening Salvos

jose berrios jake odorizzi nelson cruz byron buxton kyle gibson
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#21 kenbuddha

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 12:35 PM

 

I don’t mind not pinch hitting for Kepler against Hand.

But down one run in the 9th with a speedster on second with no one out is an automatic bunt situation. The only way it isn’t is if your batter is Mike Trout because he would get IBB anyway. If the opponent is pitching to your hitter, your hitter needs to bunt. If Kepler isn’t good at bunting, pinch hit someone who is. Adrianza is probably the best of the bench players. Castro didn’t start that game. He’s probably a good bunter. Berrios maybe or maybe some other pitcher with bunting experience. Not sure who that would be on this staff.


Bottom line: Buxton needs to be on third base when that PA is over.

I'm not sure that's true. If you believe in Run Expectancy (which you may not), there's a lower probability of scoring from 3rd with 1 out than there is from 2nd with 0 outs. In fact, one could make a claim that an outfield single with Buxton on 2nd scores him easily. Similar to having a Trout at abat, you have an elite baserunner on 2nd.

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#22 Vanimal46

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 12:46 PM

I'm not sure that's true. If you believe in Run Expectancy (which you may not), there's a lower probability of scoring from 3rd with 1 out than there is from 2nd with 0 outs. In fact, one could make a claim that an outfield single with Buxton on 2nd scores him easily. Similar to having a Trout at abat, you have an elite baserunner on 2nd.


Yeah, I'm with Parker Hageman on Team #NoBunt so I agree with you. They needed someone who could put the ball in play, find a hole, and Buxton scores easily from 2nd base.

I was disappointed Baldelli left Kepler in and swing away when he's not seeing the ball well. Plus, Brad Hand is elite against LH batters.
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#23 wallyrichards

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 01:14 PM

 

From ESPN

Astudillo was 2 for 2, raising his career batting average to .368 in 100 plate appearances. That's the highest average in major league history among players with at least 100 plate appearances, just ahead of Ty Cobb (.366).

 


#24 wallyrichards

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 01:20 PM

The guy can hit! I was so happy to see him get a chance. I can only imagine how hard it was for him to make it to the Majors. They're always looking for the prefect player and I think they over look a lot of guys that should be in the majors but aren't because they may be a bit on the heavy side. He's one of these guys that motivates others. otherwise known as a

Spark Plug.

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#25 wallyrichards

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 01:27 PM

All these days of are a real drag especially when you're wining. After the first 3 games it looks like the biggest question is our bull pen. I like our line up knock on wood and our starters have looked really good. Bull pen on the other hand has a couple guys that may not be with the team at the end of the year. The game we lost had more to do with not being able to throw strikes. 


#26 yarnivek1972

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 01:34 PM

I'm not sure that's true. If you believe in Run Expectancy (which you may not), there's a lower probability of scoring from 3rd with 1 out than there is from 2nd with 0 outs. In fact, one could make a claim that an outfield single with Buxton on 2nd scores him easily. Similar to having a Trout at abat, you have an elite baserunner on 2nd.


My understanding of run expectancy is that it is a formula based equation, not an analysis of real life data. That is to say, you input factors and get a number. I think knowing what has actually happened over the course of hundreds of thousands of actual games would be more useful. Run expectancy is a tool, but that’s all IMO.

Polanco was the batter after Kepler. Other than Astudillo (SSS), there is no one on the Twins who puts the ball in play with more regularity than Polanco. With Buxton at third, that’s all you need. IMO having a contact hitter changes the likely outcome in a way that as far as I understand the run expectancy formula can’t fully account.
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#27 Dantes929

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 01:43 PM

 

My understanding of run expectancy is that it is a formula based equation, not an analysis of real life data. That is to say, you input factors and get a number. I think knowing what has actually happened over the course of hundreds of thousands of actual games would be more useful. Run expectancy is a tool, but that’s all IMO.

Polanco was the batter after Kepler. Other than Astudillo (SSS), there is no one on the Twins who puts the ball in play with more regularity than Polanco. With Buxton at third, that’s all you need. IMO having a contact hitter changes the likely outcome in a way that as far as I understand the run expectancy formula can’t fully account.

Well, along those lines,Having a guy on 2nd that has a perfect steal rate over the last two seasons changes odds as well. What are his chances of stealing 3rd? That should be compared to the odds of getting a bunt down successfully as well.In any case, I believe the Turtle pinch hitting would have been a good move there. 

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#28 ashbury

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 02:39 PM

My understanding of run expectancy is that it is a formula based equation, not an analysis of real life data. That is to say, you input factors and get a number.

I don't think "formula" or "equation" is an accurate representation of run expectancy. In its basic form, it's historical data, sorted (and averaged) into 24 spots in a matrix that comes from there being 3 numbers of outs (0,1 and 2) and each of the three bases might either be occupied or not (2x2x2=8 configurations). Here is an example compilation from game data 1950-2015:

http://www.tangotiger.net/re24.html

 

Now, I think FanGraphs goes to another level, and has some proprietary formulas that they use to adjust the real-world data for various purposes, such as to speculate on an era where offense is higher across the board. But those aren't formulas that people like us need, when putting the RE table to use.

 

I guess you can say there is a "formula", of sorts, on how to use the table. When a plate appearance is finished, take the RA value of the new situation, subtract the RA value before the play started, and of course add any actual runs that were scored. That's the result, from either the batter's or the pitcher's perspective.

 

Also, there are two main variations of the table: expected number of runs to score the rest of the inning, or the probability of scoring at least one run. In late innings, particularly the bottom of the ninth (which was the discussion point), the latter may be more important.

 

But the numbers you crank, through this process, are at heart real life data, even if sliced and diced a few ways.

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#29 yarnivek1972

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 02:40 PM

Well, along those lines, Having a guy on 2nd that has a perfect steal rate over the last two seasons changes odds as well. What are his chances of stealing 3rd? That should be compared to the odds of getting a bunt down successfully as well. In any case, I believe the Turtle pinch hitting would have been a good move there.


That would have been an option too. With a LHP, it’s generally considered easier to steal third. I have no idea how good a thrower the Indians’ catcher is, however. The biggest risk is leaving too early. I remember watching a game where Eric Milton picked a guy off who was trying to steal third.

Regardless, Buxton absolutely needed to be at third when Kepler’s at bat was over.

#30 Platoon

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 03:09 PM

Yarnivek has an interesting observation. And I feel a valid one. Things like run expectations are an average of what will happen with non identified players in a certain situation. I think Mauer led the team in RISP last year? I doubt Andrianza did. So I can easily see a Mauer swinging away with someone on second, no outs. But having a lesser light in that position and having him swing away likely will not have the same result. For the sake of this post I will stick with the first batter. A Mauer AB likely raises the run expectancy level above the norm. An Andrianza AB lowers it. That's why MLB managers get paid lots of money, to make those decisions. If you simply manage by the spread sheet, you could probably get some 30 something guy to manage who has never managed a baseball game in his life, and stick him in the dugout?
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#31 ashbury

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 03:15 PM

Yarnivek has an interesting observation. And I feel a valid one. Things like run expectations are an average of what will happen with non identified players in a certain situation.

FanGraphs has taken a crack at this. I'm not sure how successfully.

https://blogs.fangra...xpectancy-tool/

 

I agree that we're a long way away from using actual RE tables to make game decisions. They're just (IMO) interesting as a way of setting a baseline for discussion. Fast/slow runner on second, a good/bad hitter at the plate, a good bunter on the bench... all these will adjust the numbers, at the risk of cutting down the numbers to Small Sample Size, meaning that the manager using his noodle to decide is still probably for the best.

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#32 Channing1964

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 03:40 PM

i didnt get to see that game but this is exactly the situation when i say you have to manage with your heart and not your folder full of analytics mumbo jumbo. Who in there right mind wouldn't have pinch hit for Kepler in that situation? A bunch of information showing you how excellent Astidillo is at handling the bat doesnt tell you he should be up in that situation? And this decision came from a "forward thinking analytics friendly" manager? Wow! IMO this kind of thing contradicts everything this FO has tried to force feed us. Let me see, man on second, down by one at home, nobody out.(AND, the runner is Buxton) Hmmmm what should I do....OMG....HMMMM....Why wont Derek answer my calls ...OMG....im running out of time...LET HIM HIT....I know...he has no chance in hell...the analytics tell me.... Now old school thinking in order of the first thoughts in my head. Pinch hit Astudillo for Kepler(or maybe even Austin), have Kepler bunt him over because in extra innings i dont wanna lose Kepler's defense out there, or three, try to steal third. Not once does having him swing away enter my mind in that situation. Molitor would have won that game. (i know....but I'm just sayin...lol)

#33 yarnivek1972

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 04:10 PM

i didnt get to see that game but this is exactly the situation when i say you have to manage with your heart and not your folder full of analytics mumbo jumbo. Who in there right mind wouldn't have pinch hit for Kepler in that situation? A bunch of information showing you how excellent Astidillo is at handling the bat doesnt tell you he should be up in that situation? And this decision came from a "forward thinking analytics friendly" manager? Wow! IMO this kind of thing contradicts everything this FO has tried to force feed us. Let me see, man on second, down by one at home, nobody out.(AND, the runner is Buxton) Hmmmm what should I do....OMG....HMMMM....Why wont Derek answer my calls ...OMG....im running out of time...LET HIM HIT....I know...he has no chance in hell...the analytics tell me.... Now old school thinking in order of the first thoughts in my head. Pinch hit Astudillo for Kepler(or maybe even Austin), have Kepler bunt him over because in extra innings i dont wanna lose Kepler's defense out there, or three, try to steal third. Not once does having him swing away enter my mind in that situation. Molitor would have won that game. (i know....but I'm just sayin...lol)


It should be noted that Buxton was the tying run. Not the winning run.

#34 ewen21

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 04:27 PM

My biggest takeaway are the doubles Buxton has hit, specifically the last one. He had two strikes on him and he SMOKED the ball

Enough of this talk about having him bunt and beat the ball on the ground. Hit the hard and often.
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#35 ewen21

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 04:32 PM

Wayyyy too early to got on Rocco. Look at what Gable Kapler did in Philly last year and they were ROASTING him in April

#36 ScrapTheNickname

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 04:38 PM

 

I'm not sure that's true. If you believe in Run Expectancy (which you may not), there's a lower probability of scoring from 3rd with 1 out than there is from 2nd with 0 outs. In fact, one could make a claim that an outfield single with Buxton on 2nd scores him easily. Similar to having a Trout at abat, you have an elite baserunner on 2nd.

Thank you.


#37 Dantes929

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 04:51 PM

 

My biggest takeaway are the doubles Buxton has hit, specifically the last one. He had two strikes on him and he SMOKED the ball

Enough of this talk about having him bunt and beat the ball on the ground. Hit the hard and often.

I don't know about beat the ball on the ground but enough of this talk about not bunting.He should absolutely be bunting and often. Unless there are guys on base his bunts are the equivalent of doubles since he soon steals 2nd.In essence, is he more likely to get a base hit bunting or swinging away? I think he is more likely to get on by bunting and by a fair margin. Its exciting, it gets under the skin of the opposing team and it is a slump buster.If he's not bunting he is diminishing his best tool which is his speed.

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#38 Dantes929

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 05:06 PM

 

 

 . If you simply manage by the spread sheet, you could probably get some 30 something guy to manage who has never managed a baseball game in his life, and stick him in the dugout?

I'm no where near convinced the results would be much different.Now of course Kepler swinging away could have turned out well but the guy with the spreadsheet probably doesn't keep an 0-7 guy in against a lefty specialist. and either puts in a guy that is likely to make contact or someone more likely to get a bunt down.Of course there is a fair chance that that won't work either so I am not giving a full WAR to the guy with the spreadsheet but I am giving him an edge.I'm not big on hindsight but I think there were definitely those out there questioning the non move before the results were in.

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#39 jorgenswest

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 05:14 PM

I don't know about beat the ball on the ground but enough of this talk about not bunting.He should absolutely be bunting and often. Unless there are guys on base his bunts are the equivalent of doubles since he soon steals 2nd.In essence, is he more likely to get a base hit bunting or swinging away? I think he is more likely to get on by bunting and by a fair margin. Its exciting, it gets under the skin of the opposing team and it is a slump buster.If he's not bunting he is diminishing his best tool which is his speed.


I don’t think it is that easy to bunt. It takes good hands and pitch recognition. It takes hard work which I don’t think anyone doubts about Buxton. The downside of bunting is getting behind early in the count and then having to fight to get back in the count. You really need good pitch recognition to win that battle.

He just had a series where he had two hits that rank as his top two exit velocities of his career. I would rather he put the majority of work towards barreling up the ball.
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#40 ewen21

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 06:57 PM

If he doesn't know how to bunt effectively yet then it's probably too late to push it on him now. It's a lost art and guys just don't make that part of their routine. It's been hard enough having him figure out how to hit and now that it looks like he might be there we are going to ask him to bunt?

No way. Carlos Gomez felt the need to bunt under the Gardy regime and he was a complete basket case with that. I don't want Buxton thinking "should I bunt here?"

No. Go up there thinking about a pitch and drive that thing hard. Would be nice to see him use the right/centerfield gap more but one step at a time. At least he has a few hits and well struck ones at that
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