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Jake Cave is Primed to Break Out in 2020

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#41 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:47 PM

If Cave breaks out, great, but I'm not holding my breath.

 

But he's just fine as a fourth outfielder. He's pretty good in that role, actually.

 

But he's also the kind of marginal player that teams let go once they start making more than a couple of million dollars a season.

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#42 Doctor Wu

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 06:35 AM

I just don't see Cave getting enough at bats to have a "breakout" season. And as saviking noted, we also have prospects like Krilloff, Larnach, and Rooker who could likely make appearances this year. Cave is a good guy to have as a backup, but I just don't see where he's going to become some sort of star starter.


#43 birdwatcher

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 07:43 PM

It would be great if Cave had the capacity to transition from an excellent #4/5 OF into a consistent 2WAR starting player, but here's the thing that confounds me: 

 

1. First, let's not replace ANY starter with someone who is not an immediate and appreciable upgrade please. People who are convinced Cave is an immediate and appreciable upgrade over Rosario, I believe, are under-appreciative of how often Rosario is MUCH better than his numbers, on both offense and defense, and perhaps also in the dugout and clubhouse. Simply looking at his slash line invites myopia IMO.

 

2. The bet I'm making is that Rosario can calm down and achieve more consistency and exhibit less brain flatulence. And if THAT happens, I can't imagine Cave's BEST stretches being as good as Rosario's production.

 

3. If anything, I see BOTH Rosario and Cave as possible trade opportunities, along with Gonzales. I can see Larnach or Kirilloff, possibly not perhaps until 2021 of course, being an appreciable and immediate upgrade over Rosario. I can see Celestino, Rooker, and others as possibly a superior #4/5 OF, making Cave expendable. I can envision someone stepping up, perhaps in combination with others, to be a better option than Marwin. Maybe Gordon/Adrianza/Blankenhorn?

 

4. But FGS, do not trade out Buxton for Syndegaard with thinking that, hey, let's just plug Cave in. Please don't create one massive hole to fill a smaller one.

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#44 Danchat

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 08:15 PM

I think it might be smart to view Cave's 2019 season in two halves:

 

March to August 8th: (112 PAs) .211/.321/.326 (.648 OPS) 2 HR

August 9th on: (116 PAs) .301/.379/.573 (.952 OPS) 6 HR

 

I do remember some wanting Cave DFA'd during the first half of the year, but now he's better than Rosario? Eh... I don't think so. He's a streaky hitter who needs to get hot, but when he does, he can sure hit well. 

 

Also, fun fact: Cave hit all 8 of his HRs against divisional opponents - and not a single one against any other team!

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#45 HrbieFan

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 06:18 AM

Cave is a starting OF on a losing team. I just don't see enough defense or offense for him to warrant 500 ABs. No issues with him being an injury fill in, but he is not a stat filler
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#46 Riverbrian

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 08:25 AM

I think it might be smart to view Cave's 2019 season in two halves:

March to August 8th: (112 PAs) .211/.321/.326 (.648 OPS) 2 HR
August 9th on: (116 PAs) .301/.379/.573 (.952 OPS) 6 HR

I do remember some wanting Cave DFA'd during the first half of the year, but now he's better than Rosario? Eh... I don't think so. He's a streaky hitter who needs to get hot, but when he does, he can sure hit well.

Also, fun fact: Cave hit all 8 of his HRs against divisional opponents - and not a single one against any other team!


That's not two halves.

That's 112 AB's over 115 games.
And
That's 116 AB's over 47 games.

You can call that streaky. I call it opportunity.

Personally... I'd be hesitant to label anyone with 500 AB's as streaky or anything for that matter.
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#47 jorgenswest

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 08:34 AM

I would call it random variation due to sample and the skew of a schedule where his opportunity came with a disproportionately larger number of games against weaker pitchers. I wouldn’t use slash stats to make a decision about Cave at this sample or even double this sample.

#48 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 09:42 AM

 

I would call it random variation due to sample and the skew of a schedule where his opportunity came with a disproportionately larger number of games against weaker pitchers. I wouldn’t use slash stats to make a decision about Cave at this sample or even double this sample.

But, see, now you're just skewing it the other direction. Cave became a regular player on August 3rd, when the Twins still had to face Cleveland three times, Boston once, the Nats once, Atlanta once, and Milwaukee once.

 

Cave's improvement could be entirely luck-based or it could be a legitimate improvement. The reality of the situation is that over ~100 plate appearances, anything we try to glean from that minimal number of chances shows our own bias, not any factual evidence of who Jake Cave will be in 2020.

 

Unless someone wants to spent a few hours digging into the minutia of exit velocity, opposing pitcher handedness, zone swing/take rates, and the slew of other data that might tell us more about Jake Cave's (possibly superficial) improvement, we're just throwing ideas at a wall. Andrew dug into those numbers a bit but it's still not convincing me of anything one way or the other because we saw two Jake Caves in 2019.

 

The sample size is still small enough that there's a good chance it all means nothing.

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#49 Riverbrian

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 09:53 AM

I would call it random variation due to sample and the skew of a schedule where his opportunity came with a disproportionately larger number of games against weaker pitchers. I wouldn’t use slash stats to make a decision about Cave at this sample or even double this sample.


Too soon to use these positive numbers as a negative.

He had no choice but to swing the bat when he was given the chance to swing the bat.

However... if you want to point out that he faced inferior pitching during his best stretch. Ok... we can do that but I will point out that everyone else faced the same pitching during this time frame and his OPS was better than everyone not named Cruz or Garver.

Why does Cave get a negative check mark for hitting sub par pitching really well while Kepler, Arraez, Polanco, Schoop, Rosario, Marwin and Cron dont get a negative check mark for not hitting that same pitching as decently as Cave did?

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#50 jorgenswest

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 10:40 AM

I don’t think you get that I am not using them as a negative or positive. In this case I added the context that the typical batter against his set of pitchers hit them better. I will often add context not to suggest a negative (or positive) but to suggest the futility of arguing with stats as a foundation - particularly stats resulting from a plate appearance. I think it comes off as a negative (or positive) when I offer that contrasting context. I am doing the same in another thread about Odorizzi the third time through. I am not suggesting a positive or negative but only pointing out that it can’t be seen by the skewed data offered.

I offer this context to point out that teams need to make decisions long before these samples (that have a variety of skews) become reliable. You can't give all of your prospects the opportunity necessary to get to the point where the data becomes reliable. In fact that time span is multiple years so any improvement gets lost. That improvement can not be seen in slash stats. It needs to be seen by the staff.

I trust the eyes of this staff and the skills of the data team. I think they took an organizational step forward in 2018 with hitting and a step forward last year with pitching. They haven’t been perfect but they need to get it right more often than most.
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#51 stringer bell

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 11:18 AM

If Cave's role this year is "fourth outfielder", he needs to be able to help the club win if he is getting a start or two a week. Last year he did not do that. When Cave got more regular play (from August on when Buxton got 0 plate appearances) he did quite well. 

 

Based on that admittedly small sample (and his 2018 season) I see him as not that valuable to the 2020 Twins. If the Twins had two right handed hitting regular corner outfielders, I would see a decent role as something of a platoon with Cave getting plenty of starts versus right handers, but that is not the case. 


#52 Riverbrian

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 11:59 AM

I don’t think you get that I am not using them as a negative or positive. In this case I added the context that the typical batter against his set of pitchers hit them better. I will often add context not to suggest a negative (or positive) but to suggest the futility of arguing with stats as a foundation - particularly stats resulting from a plate appearance. I think it comes off as a negative (or positive) when I offer that contrasting context. I am doing the same in another thread about Odorizzi the third time through. I am not suggesting a positive or negative but only pointing out that it can’t be seen by the skewed data offered.

I offer this context to point out that teams need to make decisions long before these samples (that have a variety of skews) become reliable. You can't give all of your prospects the opportunity necessary to get to the point where the data becomes reliable. In fact that time span is multiple years so any improvement gets lost. That improvement can not be seen in slash stats. It needs to be seen by the staff.

I trust the eyes of this staff and the skills of the data team. I think they took an organizational step forward in 2018 with hitting and a step forward last year with pitching. They haven’t been perfect but they need to get it right more often than most.

I agree with you that the data is not sufficient. I don't declare Jake Cave anything at this point. I only state that he has been capable for 500 AB's and believe he should be allowed to keep going.

I do disagree with the level of trust you place in the staff to make pre-determinations and that isn't a slam or statement against our front office.

I assume and believe with all my heart that they are better at it than you and I and am glad they are making the calls.

But Logan Morrison, Martin Perez and Nick Anderson are enough to demonstrate that they can and do get it wrong. I believe every GM can and does get it wrong.

There is one way to avoid those type of mistakes. Let the players determine the course of action through performance.

I'm opposed to hard lines drawn on very small margins or insufficient data.

Hard lines or predetermined assessments gaurentees a failed result. That's how Nick Anderson happened and it's how Logan Morrison happened.

If I was Jake Cave... I'd be pissed if I wasn't given an honest chance to control my fate. I wouldn't want anyone telling me that I can't be as good as anyone and subsequently preventing me from proving you wrong especially if I have been playing as decently as anyone so far.

If you spread the AB's across the roster. No one has to give up significant playing time to feed the entire roster.

The players who shouldn't get playing time are the ones who are not playing well. Cave doesn't belong in that group based on his performance thus far.

13 bingo balls instead of 9 bingo balls with 4 blank balls and you have increased your output by 25% and a better chance at a filled out bingo card.

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#53 USAFChief

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 01:06 PM

I agree with you that the data is not sufficient. I don't declare Jake Cave anything at this point. I only state that he has been capable for 500 AB's and believe he should be allowed to keep going.

I do disagree with the level of trust you place in the staff to make pre-determinations and that isn't a slam or statement against our front office.

I assume and believe with all my heart that they are better at it than you and I and am glad they are making the calls.

But Logan Morrison, Martin Perez and Nick Anderson are enough to demonstrate that they can and do get it wrong. I believe every GM can and does get it wrong.

There is one way to avoid those type of mistakes. Let the players determine the course of action through performance.

I'm opposed to hard lines drawn on very small margins or insufficient data.

Hard lines or predetermined assessments gaurentees a failed result. That's how Nick Anderson happened and it's how Logan Morrison happened.

If I was Jake Cave... I'd be pissed if I wasn't given an honest chance to control my fate. I wouldn't want anyone telling me that I can't be as good as anyone and subsequently preventing me from proving you wrong especially if I have been playing as decently as anyone so far.

If you spread the AB's across the roster. No one has to give up significant playing time to feed the entire roster.

The players who shouldn't get playing time are the ones who are not playing well. Cave doesn't belong in that group based on his performance thus far.

13 bingo balls instead of 9 bingo balls with 4 blank balls and you have increased your output by 25% and a better chance at a filled out bingo card.

if you spread ABs across the roster, you are by definition intentionally taking ABs from the better players and giving them to the weaker players.

I dont want Adrianza to get ABs at the expense of Polanco, except as necessary, and I dont want Cave to get ABs at the expense of Kepler or Buxton.

I trust our management to be capable of using history, health, and potential to determine ahead of time where the regular playing time should go.

Now, if someone has 3 months of poor performance, and you have someone worth trying, fine. But I absolutely dont want them to make that decision based on who was hot yesterday.
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#54 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 01:43 PM

 

Twins fans WAY under-value Eddie Rosario...

Jake Cave is a nice player, no doubt. His approach at the plate is a little better than Rosario's. His defense is OK in left. But Rosario's a better player. Of course, $8 million versus $600,000 is the bigger thing that makes the comparison closer. 

 

For Cave it'll again be about opportunity. 

Thank you!!!!!

 

I think Rosario gets penalized by defensive metrics as he's on the field when Buxton and Kepler are there too… Someone gets hurt in that scenario, and unfairly so. If you want some proof of that, just look at how much better Rosario was in 2018 when Buxton was hurt/in the minors. Rosario is not a gold glover, but he has good range and speed and a cannon for an arm. That's more than you'll get out of Cave... and as soon as you plug Cave into that spot, suddenly his defensive metrics drop because defensive metrics aren't all that good.

 

Is Cave potentially a replacement for Rosario? Possibly... especially if he continues to take steps forward in 2020. But as it is, he's an excellent 4th OF right now, and since our best OF spends lots of time on the IL, it's good to have a guy like Cave sitting around. 

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#55 Riverbrian

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 02:24 PM

 

if you spread ABs across the roster, you are by definition intentionally taking ABs from the better players and giving them to the weaker players.

I dont want Adrianza to get ABs at the expense of Polanco, except as necessary, and I dont want Cave to get ABs at the expense of Kepler or Buxton.

I trust our management to be capable of using history, health, and potential to determine ahead of time where the regular playing time should go.

Now, if someone has 3 months of poor performance, and you have someone worth trying, fine. But I absolutely dont want them to make that decision based on who was hot yesterday.

 

if you spread ABs across the roster, you are by definition intentionally taking ABs from the better players and giving them to the weaker players.

 

No I'm not. My diatribes were hardened by Logan Morrison which I never want to see again. I want weaker players to get LESS AB's and if they have no chance of helping the team or increasing in future value, I'd rather they have no AB's at all.  

 

I'm outwardly questioning who are the better players and who are the weaker players and by how much are they better players and by how much are they weaker players.

 

I'm saying without reservation that purposely wasting a roster spot by benching players who can produce above average at low cost is a hundred fold bigger waste of franchise advancement then the daily waste of playing who is maybe .005 to .100 OPS worse over the course of a season and it's an even bigger waste if the player you assume to be .005 to .100 OPS is actually better. 

 

I dont want Adrianza to get ABs at the expense of Polanco, except as necessary, and I dont want Cave to get ABs at the expense of Kepler or Buxton.

 

Polanco doesn't have to shoulder the entire burden if Adrianza is able to increase in value. I question how much Adrianza is going to increase in value because if he does, he becomes cost prohibitive to us anyway. 

 

I trust our management to be capable of using history, health, and potential to determine ahead of time where the regular playing time should go.

 

I also trust our management. They have the data. I was OK with them signing Martin Perez and giving him a chance. I was not fine when they let him continue because they determined ahead of time where the regular playing time should go. 

 

Now, if someone has 3 months of poor performance, and you have someone worth trying, fine. But I absolutely dont want them to make that decision based on who was hot yesterday. 

 

After 3 months, you are in a hole. If the someone worth trying after the 3 months also has poor performance, you are deeper in to the hole. 

 

My viewpoint isn't that difficult. If a player is performing... let him continue. Jake Cave has played well enough to continue.

 

It is not taxing on a roster or a manager to find the AB's for him to continue.

 

It is beneficial to a roster or a manager to find the AB's for him to continue. 

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#56 stringer bell

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 04:09 PM

I come down somewhere between you two (Chief and RB). I think every member of the team is important and each has a role to play. Beyond that, I recall many people giving credit to Tom Kelly for "putting players in a spot where they can succeed". 

 

The 2020 Twins appear to have a position player roster where there are nine regulars and will have a deep and versatile bench with Gonzalez and Adrianza adept at multiple positions and a pretty close to ideal platoon partner for Garver, in Avila. Baldelli's challenge will be to get the maximum out of the players he has. 

 

In order to get the maximum, he needs to get the bench players enough reps that they can help the team win games and he needs to give the "regulars" enough rest that they stay as fresh as possible throughout the season. What is the right number of games for each player? Difficult to answer in a vacuum, but it would seem that less than 150 is desirable for most.

 

Another consideration is when to rest guys. It would make sense to rest them when the bench player has as good or better of a chance than the so-called regular. In the Garver/Avila scenario, it would make sense to give Avila at-bats against right handers, since he is stronger against them and Garver is weaker versus same-handed throwers. Switch hitters Adrianza and Gonzalez can also provide a platoon advantage in certain spots. Both Arraez and Polanco were weaker against left handed pitching and Ehire had a higher OPS against lefties than either player. Meanwhile Gonzalez hit lefties better than Rosario did. So a case could be made in those cases that against left handers, Adrianza and Gonzalez should get many, if not most starts. Right handed hitters Sanó and Donaldson will also need some days off, which would give either Adrianza and Gonzalez more at bats.

 

I see no such edge for Cave over either corner outfielder and Jake isn't really a center fielder, so I'm still not convinced he will even get a spot on the roster. Beyond that, I really don't see him as an ideal fit for the 2020 Twins, even though he has put up satisfactory numbers so far in his career.

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#57 Riverbrian

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 04:37 PM

I come down somewhere between you two (Chief and RB). I think every member of the team is important and each has a role to play. Beyond that, I recall many people giving credit to Tom Kelly for "putting players in a spot where they can succeed".

The 2020 Twins appear to have a position player roster where there are nine regulars and will have a deep and versatile bench with Gonzalez and Adrianza adept at multiple positions and a pretty close to ideal platoon partner for Garver, in Avila. Baldelli's challenge will be to get the maximum out of the players he has.

In order to get the maximum, he needs to get the bench players enough reps that they can help the team win games and he needs to give the "regulars" enough rest that they stay as fresh as possible throughout the season. What is the right number of games for each player? Difficult to answer in a vacuum, but it would seem that less than 150 is desirable for most.

Another consideration is when to rest guys. It would make sense to rest them when the bench player has as good or better of a chance than the so-called regular. In the Garver/Avila scenario, it would make sense to give Avila at-bats against right handers, since he is stronger against them and Garver is weaker versus same-handed throwers. Switch hitters Adrianza and Gonzalez can also provide a platoon advantage in certain spots. Both Arraez and Polanco were weaker against left handed pitching and Ehire had a higher OPS against lefties than either player. Meanwhile Gonzalez hit lefties better than Rosario did. So a case could be made in those cases that against left handers, Adrianza and Gonzalez should get many, if not most starts. Right handed hitters Sanó and Donaldson will also need some days off, which would give either Adrianza and Gonzalez more at bats.

I see no such edge for Cave over either corner outfielder and Jake isn't really a center fielder, so I'm still not convinced he will even get a spot on the roster. Beyond that, I really don't see him as an ideal fit for the 2020 Twins, even though he has put up satisfactory numbers so far in his career.


Very impressive. You expertly support my point while killing my poster boy.

You are better than the average bear String.

I agree with all your points on platoon, matchup, rest and the difficulty of expressing the ideal number of AB's for all involved.

I'm just adding potential future trade value, future cost savings to your mix.

Let me ask you this. How do handle Kiriloff if he is called up in June. Let's say the injury that spurs his call up is Cave and he is out for 1 month. Everybody else is healthy.
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#58 stringer bell

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 05:41 PM

 


I'm just adding potential future trade value, future cost savings to your mix.

Let me ask you this. How do handle Kiriloff if he is called up in June. Let's say the injury that spurs his call up is Cave and he is out for 1 month. Everybody else is healthy.

This is a hypothetical. First of all, if Kirilloff were recalled for a Cave injury, it would infer that he is hitting very, very well, given that he'd get the call over Wade, Astudillo, Rooker and Larnach. Wade and Astudillo have big league experience and both Larnach and Rooker are older (Rooker by two years). It would also necessitate a 40-man roster move.

 

I would think that Kirilloff would and should get at least four starts a week. That could be done by resting all the outfielders and occasionally Sanó/Cruz. It wouldn't make sense to sit a Top 50 prospect on the bench using service time. We really don't know if there will be a platoon or other advantage (for example AK might feast on fastballs) but if Kirilloff were recalled, he really would need to be in the lineup more often than not.

 

All players are not created equal. It is the job of field staff and front office to weigh the various factors, including potential when making roster and playing time decisions. 40-man status, service time, contract, options all fit in somewhere and it complicates decisions for promotion and demotion. Getting back to Kirilloff, if the club decides to promote him early and start his service time clock, they definitely need to have him on the field a lot, if not every day.

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#59 Riverbrian

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 06:38 PM

 

This is a hypothetical. First of all, if Kirilloff were recalled for a Cave injury, it would infer that he is hitting very, very well, given that he'd get the call over Wade, Astudillo, Rooker and Larnach. Wade and Astudillo have big league experience and both Larnach and Rooker are older (Rooker by two years). It would also necessitate a 40-man roster move.

 

I would think that Kirilloff would and should get at least four starts a week. That could be done by resting all the outfielders and occasionally Sanó/Cruz. It wouldn't make sense to sit a Top 50 prospect on the bench using service time. We really don't know if there will be a platoon or other advantage (for example AK might feast on fastballs) but if Kirilloff were recalled, he really would need to be in the lineup more often than not.

 

All players are not created equal. It is the job of field staff and front office to weigh the various factors, including potential when making roster and playing time decisions. 40-man status, service time, contract, options all fit in somewhere and it complicates decisions for promotion and demotion. Getting back to Kirilloff, if the club decides to promote him early and start his service time clock, they definitely need to have him on the field a lot, if not every day.

 

Yep, that's the reason I chose Kiriloff for my example.

 

Let's say that Kiriloff is in Rochester hitting around .350 with an OPS around 1,000. He's seeing the ball well and he is performing a foot taller than everyone else on the 40 man and the Twins call him up. 

 

You are willing to get him 4 starts a week and that makes complete sense to me. 

 

But... as you say, all players are not created equal. At least not in each individual mind's eye. 

 

You are biased against Jake Cave for your personal reasons. I won't question your logic, you may be right but you have expressed that Kiriloff's prospect ranking is part of your reasoning so you are possibly over-weighting prospect ranking over actual performance. 

 

If we want our front office to be data driven and I do because the alternative was the scout driven guessing of the previous regime that produced the dark ages. I'm going to ask my front office to be free of all the common research bias mistakes that influence outcomes.

 

If they don't... they can put down the research and bring back Terry Ryan.:)  

 

 

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#60 DocBauer

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 07:02 PM

Fantastic opinions/debates from Chief and Brian and Stringer. And really, you're all right, and saying a lot of the same things, albeit from different angels.

Kudos!

I would only chime in that I think Rocco is pretty smart and seems to have a good feel for the pulse of the team. So far, one year in, I'd say he's done a pretty good job of getting everyone involved.

The Kirilloff debate is interesting, though not exact. There is still a difference in Cave seizing opportunity and improving as a player, including defensively, vs a top prospect being brought up to play or languish on the bench after his clock starts.

I know Cave is just an example that is under the microscope in these discussions, and we could instead speak about Rooker, Gordon, etc. IMO, Cave has had opportunity. And he will have opportunity. He flashed in 2018, didn't do so well early in 2019, and then did very well the latter part of the season. I still think it falls somewhat on the player. Yes, he needs opportunity to succeed. But he also has to take advantage.

So far, I really like the way Rocco uses his roster. I do feel he could have done a little better job in regard to Garver and Castro last year. But then again, that might have been more of a veteran and young player situation. I have a feeling that will change in 2020.

I'm not entirely sold on Gibson and Perez vs the kids last year. And on record for that. But I also understand the drive to win and hoping for a couple things to break right for the veterans to contribute.

I think this team is deep enough, talented enough, that leashes will be shorter for guys who aren't getting the job done. But I also feel opportunity is there, this manager will provide opportunity, and it's up to the player to take advantage.
"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."

--Lou Brown




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