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Article: LAA 5, MIN 4: More Missed Opportunities

jose berrios jorge polanco marwin gonzalez
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#21 Don Walcott

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 08:39 AM

 

Not sure where to dig up the numbers specifically on shifting, but I know the Twins are inside the top five in shifts and have allowed the 11th-lowest BABIP in baseball, .284. Last season they ranked 25th with a .302 BABIP. 

 

I'm not saying those stats make it an open and close case, there's a lot of other factors to consider about why that BABIP is so much lower, and there was quite a bit of turnover in terms of personnel, but they're doing something right. That's a pretty significant increase in balls in play they're turning into outs. But when the shift doesn't work it most definitely stands out a lot more than when it does.

Byron Buxton accounts for some of this difference.

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#22 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 08:41 AM

I’m not scoffing at the idea of productive outs, but I’m not bothered that Kep didn’t advance the runner there. Yes, it would have been nice, sure. Twins fans have endured 25 years of “move ‘em over, get ‘em in” ... “play for a run, lose by a run” style of baseball. I like this version better!
He measured the achievements of others by what they had accomplished, asking of them that they measure him by what he envisaged or planned.
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#23 Don Walcott

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 08:45 AM

I don't mind bringing Rogers into a 1-run game, or a tie game for that matter. If they'd done that against Detroit they might have come out of that series with another win or two. Rogers did his job, and the Twins offense did not do theirs. Down one at home, guy on second and no outs. You have to score there.

 

I'm happy with our record and optimistic about this team. But it seems like we're losing games we should win due to some questionable managerial decisions and failing at basics. I just hope the players and manager are learning from it.

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#24 Cap'n Piranha

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 09:08 AM

 

I don't have the stats, or know how to find them, but I remember many times that the shift has hurt us badly, but don't remeber where it has helped. I am sure it might have, but I remember lots of grounders into the shift that were hit where the fielder would have been anyway, even without the shift. I wonder how they keep stats on the effectiveness. I am not a fan so far, at all.

 

Do you remember the times not shifting has hurt us badly?The totality of the logic behind shifting is to place more defenders in areas to which each individual batter is more likely to hit the ball.Smart teams move their defenders to maximize the odds of success--that doesn't mean it can't look really bad.Just like how in blackjack smart betters double down on ten when the dealer is showing six.That doesn't mean you won't get a 2, and the dealer won't flip a five and then get a face card.

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#25 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 09:11 AM

Do you guys really like Kepler as a lead off hitter? He's back to his old self at the plate from the last 3 years of full time play - .236/.304/.457(.761) this year, .233/.312/.421(.733) career. His OPS is up a little because of a better slugging %, not because of a better batting average and his OBP is down and actually pretty bad. He's OBP is better vs. RH pitching than LH pitching - .331 v. .216 so maybe that's why Baldelli doesn't play him or at least doesn't lead him off against LH pitching. I know a lot of people here want him to succeed, but let's face facts. He's had 1800 MLB ABs and so far he is a below average hitter for a corner OF. I know his peripherals are better and I've heard the rationalization that he "just suffers from a low BABIP". That may be true, but's it's now been true for 3 plus years of full time play. His track suggests that this may be who he is - an above average to elite defender in the corner who could besolid to better fielding CF, who doesn't really hit much for average or OBP but does have some power. He's really the strong half of a platoon.  

 

My point isn't to sit or replace Kepler, but I think batting him lead off isn't a good idea. He isn't there because he's good at it - by statistical definition he's a mediocre lead off hitter against RH pitching and a truly lousy lead off hitter against LH pitching. He also seems to press a little there and under pressure over all. Witness last night's awful AB with a man on second a no outs in the 8th down a run where he lunged at the first pitch trying to hit a home run when a ground ball to the right side was his job. Only one AB, but right now he has a .485 OPS with runners in scoring position this year (admittedly a SSS). The Twins are committed to him now, so let's develop him by putting him where he can hit with a little less pressure. We should hit Kepler 7th or 8th where he belongs. 

 

I come not to bury Kepler, but to argue that he hasn't "broken out" yet and leading him off is not helping him do that. I would lead off Garver when he plays and Polanco when Garver sits, move Gonzalez to the 2 hole when Garver isn't playing, and put Kepler at 6 ahead of Schoop at 7. Peripherals are nice but don't show a breakout. At most, they suggest that a breakout may be coming. A breakout happens when one's BA, SLG % and OPS show the breakout. Those are the stats that matter on the field. Kepler's stats don't show a breakout. There's a better chance of Kepler breaking out lower in the order IMHO.

 

Performance matters. It matters even when we want and hope a player does well. Now, I'll crawl into my bunker, fortify the door, waiting for the responses. 

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#26 Aerodeliria

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 09:14 AM

So I guess Cruz's wrist is not so bad? If so, that's good news.

 

When is Sano expected to show his face in a Twin's uniform?...this series?

 

 


#27 Aerodeliria

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 09:32 AM

 

Do you guys really like Kepler as a lead off hitter? He's back to his old self at the plate from the last 3 years of full time play - .236/.304/.457(.761) this year, .233/.312/.421(.733) career. His OPS is up a little because of a better slugging %, not because of a better batting average and his OBP is down and actually pretty bad. He's OBP is better vs. RH pitching than LH pitching - .331 v. .216 so maybe that's why Baldelli doesn't play him or at least doesn't lead him off against LH pitching. I know a lot of people here want him to succeed, but let's face facts. He's had 1800 MLB ABs and so far he is a below average hitter for a corner OF. I know his peripherals are better and I've heard the rationalization that he "just suffers from a low BABIP". That may be true, but's it's now been true for 3 plus years of full time play. His track suggests that this may be who he is - an above average to elite defender in the corner who could besolid to better fielding CF, who doesn't really hit much for average or OBP but does have some power. He's really the strong half of a platoon.  

 

My point isn't to sit or replace Kepler, but I think batting him lead off isn't a good idea. He isn't there because he's good at it - by statistical definition he's a mediocre lead off hitter against RH pitching and a truly lousy lead off hitter against LH pitching. He also seems to press a little there and under pressure over all. Witness last night's awful AB with a man on second a no outs in the 8th down a run where he lunged at the first pitch trying to hit a home run when a ground ball to the right side was his job. Only one AB, but right now he has a .485 OPS with runners in scoring position this year (admittedly a SSS). The Twins are committed to him now, so let's develop him by putting him where he can hit with a little less pressure. We should hit Kepler 7th or 8th where he belongs. 

 

I come not to bury Kepler, but to argue that he hasn't "broken out" yet and leading him off is not helping him do that. I would lead off Garver when he plays and Polanco when Garver sits, move Gonzalez to the 2 hole when Garver isn't playing, and put Kepler at 6 ahead of Schoop at 7. Peripherals are nice but don't show a breakout. At most, they suggest that a breakout may be coming. A breakout happens when one's BA, SLG % and OPS show the breakout. Those are the stats that matter on the field. Kepler's stats don't show a breakout. There's a better chance of Kepler breaking out lower in the order IMHO.

 

Performance matters. It matters even when we want and hope a player does well. Now, I'll crawl into my bunker, fortify the door, waiting for the responses. 

 

Actually, I like your post very much, but now that Marwin is getting in his groove, why not bat him first? He is probably the most patient hitter we have and he just seems like a player who doesn't press very much...of course, once Sano returns and Cruz is also in the lineup, it's hard to work around all of the contingencies. Probably Marwin could switch with Kepler when there was a lefty on the mound, and he could fill in on the infield or outfield to give others a rest considering he so versatile.

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#28 spycake

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 09:55 AM

 

What do all you Marwin doubters think now?

I don't know that anyone ever doubted Marwin's ability to post a 81 wRC+ for the season. :)

 

Let's hope he keeps his hot streak going, to significantly best his career 102 mark.

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#29 stringer bell

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 10:14 AM

Regarding not bunting--with all of the strikeouts and pop flies in today's game, it is far from a guarantee that the next guy will bring in that run. Kepler hits a lot of pop flies and a lot of grounders into the shift, one of the two would have advanced the runner, the other not so much. 

 

Kepler is consistently inconsistent. He's already had three or four "snags" where he's 1-10, 2-15. He'll come out of it with multiple hits and extra base hits. I'd like to see a true leadoff hitter, but given what is available, I think Kepler is as good a choice as anyone.


#30 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 10:32 AM

We agree that there aren't a lot of good choices for the lead off role. This all gets back to the preseason discussion that the Twins had upgraded the roster but had not found enough higher OBP guys to go with the increase in power guys. I think where we disagree is in the choice.

 

I think Polanco is a better choice to lead off. I would lead him off when Garver isn't playing with Gonzalez hitting 2 now that he's knocked the rust off. I would bat Garver and Polanco 1 and 2 when Garver is playing and the order doesn't matter much to me with a slight preference for leading off Polanco because of his speed compared to Garver. I just don't see Kepler as hitting in the top 5 or maybe even the top 6 once Sano is back. I think he's better suited for the 6-8 holes in combination with Schoop and Castro; the more inconsistent boom or bust guys. I also think that's better for Kepler; he has a lot of development left to do (we hope) and putting him in a lower pressure situation should help that. Move him up when he's ready. 

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#31 puckstopper1

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 11:16 AM

 

I think this team will be fine. It's unfortunate they've been kinda playing with the 'B' team for the past couple of days. We might get the "B" team for the remainder of this series, unfortunately. Glad Castro will be on the bench tonight, Kepler will be back in his leadoff spot, and hopefully we'll have an infield of Astudillo, Polaco, Schoop and Cron. A few nagging problems:

 

 

2. Schoop has been out with a sore left shoulder. Odd injury...

 

 

 

Bighat - Schoop hurt his shoulder when he dove for a ball against the Tigers in the 1st game of the DH on Saturday.I was at the game and my friend even commented on how much Schoop was working his shoulder while in the field between batters.Not surprised he needed a few games off to see how it reacted.Hopefully him getting in the game last night means that the injury is a minor one.

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That Twins 2nd baseman - #29 - he doesn't run, he "ca-rew-zes" - Earl Weaver


#32 bighat

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 11:33 AM

 

Bighat - Schoop hurt his shoulder when he dove for a ball against the Tigers in the 1st game of the DH on Saturday.I was at the game and my friend even commented on how much Schoop was working his shoulder while in the field between batters.Not surprised he needed a few games off to see how it reacted.Hopefully him getting in the game last night means that the injury is a minor one.

 

Must have missed that - thanks for the tip! Makes total sense. Hope he's back in there tonight, yeah when he pinch ran that was a good sign.


#33 Don Walcott

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 11:38 AM

Is it possible that Buxton isn't just ready to hit leadoff, but that he's our best option hitting leadoff?

 

I think so. I hope so. Please let it be so.

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#34 bighat

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 11:39 AM

 

 

We agree that there aren't a lot of good choices for the lead off role. This all gets back to the preseason discussion that the Twins had upgraded the roster but had not found enough higher OBP guys to go with the increase in power guys. I think where we disagree is in the choice.

 

I think Polanco is a better choice to lead off. I would lead him off when Garver isn't playing with Gonzalez hitting 2 now that he's knocked the rust off. I would bat Garver and Polanco 1 and 2 when Garver is playing and the order doesn't matter much to me with a slight preference for leading off Polanco because of his speed compared to Garver. I just don't see Kepler as hitting in the top 5 or maybe even the top 6 once Sano is back. I think he's better suited for the 6-8 holes in combination with Schoop and Castro; the more inconsistent boom or bust guys. I also think that's better for Kepler; he has a lot of development left to do (we hope) and putting him in a lower pressure situation should help that. Move him up when he's ready. 

 

I have to agree. The problem is, if you have Polanco batting leadoff, who do you bat second? Buxton? Then where do Cron and Sano fit in? Do we bat Schoop 9th? Should Gaver (when playing) be in the heart of the order? I personally like Garver down at about 7, with Kepler in the 8 hole, Buxton at 9.

 

At some point though, the Twins should move Buxton up and see what he can do in the 1 or 2 hole. He should be ready for that later this year I hope.

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#35 bighat

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 11:40 AM

 

 

Is it possible that Buxton isn't just ready to hit leadoff, but that he's our best option hitting leadoff?

 

I think so. I hope so. Please let it be so.

 

Funny, I was typing the exact same thing as you posted this. At some point I think the Twins have to just give him a shot.

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#36 Don Walcott

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 11:49 AM

 

Funny, I was typing the exact same thing as you posted this. At some point I think the Twins have to just give him a shot.

Assuming he keeps hitting like he is now, he would score a lot of runs. Any hit or walk is like giving him a double (and he has been getting his fair share of actual doubles). Plus Polanco hitting behind him will likely ensure that he gets more good pitches to hit. And having Buxton on second will give Polanco and Cruz more RBI opportunities. Seems like it would be the best of all possible worlds . . . assuming Buxton keeps hitting like he has so far this year.

 

What's the down side? Seems like the up side is hard to resist at this point.


#37 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 11:55 AM

I liked her non-confrontational version of the question better. Granted, there might have been a time in the near past when “what the hell are you doing out there” would have been an honest question for the manager and front office, but not now :)


Only in Minnesota would, "Why did you send Berrios back out for the 6th?", be considered confrontational.
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#38 jkcarew

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 12:19 PM

 

But when the shift doesn't work it most definitely stands out a lot more than when it does.

It would make sense to me that we will see shifts beaten more often going forward as the shift pendulum swings too far. Where the 'marginal' power guys become willing to look to beat the shift. Just eyeball/gut, I thought it was absurd that the Tigers were shifting Polanco. And, sure enough, he burned them multiple times.

 

Maybe I'm just hoping. The pull/launch thing is great, but I like the idea of diverse styles and approaches surviving the data-driven evolution.


#39 Mike Sixel

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 12:20 PM

There are times to bunt late in games, maybe. But here is some math (note, this is not a game thread, so you were not promised no math, sir or madam).

 

https://www.danblewe...cy-bunting-bad/

 

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


#40 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 12:34 PM

 

I have to agree. The problem is, if you have Polanco batting leadoff, who do you bat second? Buxton? Then where do Cron and Sano fit in? Do we bat Schoop 9th? Should Gaver (when playing) be in the heart of the order? I personally like Garver down at about 7, with Kepler in the 8 hole, Buxton at 9.

 

At some point though, the Twins should move Buxton up and see what he can do in the 1 or 2 hole. He should be ready for that later this year I hope.

I was think that until Sano comes back, Garver hits 2 when he plays and Gonzalez when Garver doesn't play. It's a lot tougher Sano gets back because Gonzalez assumedly plays less. That might be the time to give Buxton a shot - on those days when both Garver and Gonzalez are sitting. 




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