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Article: CAMPAIGN: Elect Joe Mauer for #2 Hitter

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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 02:46 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...mber-two-hitter

#2 Expression451

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 03:39 PM

I agree with you. Mauer should be the number two hitter or the leadoff hitter, but you brought up one of the biggest problems in all of Twindom... Gardenhire is the manager.

#3 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:42 PM

The old adage is that the best hitter on your team should hit third. I would be very interested in data to support or argue this point.
Regardless of what the age old wisdom is, we have no one on our team with a high enough OBP to keep Mauer batting third. I vote Mauer for number two hitter.

#4 edavis0308

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:48 PM

The old adage is that the best hitter on your team should hit third. I would be very interested in data to support or argue this point.
Regardless of what the age old wisdom is, we have no one on our team with a high enough OBP to keep Mauer batting third. I vote Mauer for number two hitter.

yeah, old adage also doesn't account for a manager that insists on following the play second bat second philosophy. Especially when we can't find a second baseman that can OBP over.. what...275?

Edited by edavis0308, 19 January 2013 - 04:51 PM.


#5 Shane Wahl

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 05:39 PM

Obviously a hell yes from me.

The old adage is wrong. The best OBP and overall hitters should be batting 1,2, and 4, with a speedier type batting first and a power guy 4th. The guy batting 3rd should be a slugger because he often comes up with no one on base and two out in the first inning (Willingham). Batting fifth should be another slugger, but one who shouldn't live and die with it and simply be a HR or K guy.

Disclaimer: lineup construction is somewhat overrated and does really only take shape in the first inning (though it can still be the case in 1-4 innings in tight games).

That said:

X
Mauer
Willingham
Morneau (here's to hoping that he returns to form in 2013.
Doumit
Plouffe
Parmelee
X
X

would seem to make the most sense.

#6 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:00 PM

Hells yeah.

#7 ThePuck

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:03 PM

For me, Mauer hits too well with RISP to be batting 2nd.

#8 Thrylos

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:08 PM

Obviously a hell yes from me..


But that would mean moving him to second base or short stop, no? Isn't it illegal to not have a middle infielder in the second spot?
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#9 snepp

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:09 PM

For me, Mauer hits too well with RISP to be batting 2nd.


Here's the problem I have with this, he's going to be hitting behind the same couple of guys regardless of if he hits 2nd, or 3rd.

You can either move him, along with the rest of the good hitters up in the order, giving them all additional plate appearances, or you can leave him where he is and have two weak players at the top of the lineup instead of just one.

#10 lee_the_twins_fan

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:05 PM

This is exactly why we need Hicks here at the beginning of the season. We don't have an effective leadoff hitter. *There's news the Twins are seeking Scott Podsednik . He would be a good addition to the team, but the question is where? As the CF? As a fourth or fifth outfielder? If the Twins got him, and kept all of their present players, he could be an effective #2 hitter. But I don't think he's an effective defensive CF; he would be a 4th or 5th outfielder.

#11 jctwins

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:09 PM

But that would mean moving him to second base or short stop, no? Isn't it illegal to not have a middle infielder in the second spot?

Great question, and I believe the answer is yes.

#12 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:31 PM

I like Mauer at 2, Eric and I discussed just this idea a couple episodes ago on Talk To Contact, Mauer looks good at 2, especially with the big bats behind him to bring him around the bases.

#13 glunn

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:18 AM

I would vote for this as well. More ABs for Mauer would be a good thing, unless Mauer starts showing more power.

#14 snepp

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 04:22 AM

I would vote for this as well. More ABs for Mauer would be a good thing, unless Mauer starts showing more power.


So if Mauer starts showing more power you want to give him fewer plate appearances?

#15 kab21

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 04:55 AM

This is exactly why we need Hicks here at the beginning of the season. We don't have an effective leadoff hitter. *There's news the Twins are seeking Scott Podsednik . He would be a good addition to the team, but the question is where? As the CF? As a fourth or fifth outfielder? If the Twins got him, and kept all of their present players, he could be an effective #2 hitter. But I don't think he's an effective defensive CF; he would be a 4th or 5th outfielder.


I would not count on Hicks to be an effective leadoff hitter this year nor would I would put him there.

If Podsednik is brought in then the Twins are clearly planning on keeping Hicks in AAA. Podsednik fits as a platoon partner with Mastro. His defense in CF will be another reason that our pitchers are crying though. And there isn't any room for 5 OF'ers on the team with 12 pitchers, 3 catchers (1 at DH) and a mess in the IF. The team needs 2 backup IF's although I wish one of them was a better hitting 3Bman.

As for Mauer? He gets my vote as a #2 hitter. The team has 4-5 power hitters to put behind him (Morneau, Willy, Doumit, Plouffe and Parmelee) and a few wimpy contact hitters in front of him. The OBP's of these hitters aren't awful but I prefer not to give them extra AB's.

#16 Miraclemat

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:14 AM

I don't like it. Mauer is a double play machine if the leadoff hitter happens to get on base. We need a guy who can lay down a bunt, hit the opposite way, etc to give Mauer a guy standing on 2nd base when he comes to the plate.

#17 kab21

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:34 AM

i think my head exploded reading the last post.

#18 Brandon

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:46 AM

Mauer should bat leadoff. Just think of how many double plays he wouldn't be able to hit into. Plus a 400+on base percentage would be a great way to start off the game. Podsedinek would be a CF/4th OF placeholder till Hicks comes up and to provide competetiton to make sure Hicks is ready. He would be a solid 1 or 2 hitter. Carroll would work as a 2 hitter as well just not as top choice.

#19 ThePuck

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:41 AM

i think my head exploded reading the last post.


I'm not sure there's a more worthless stat to judge a batter by than GDP.

#20 PopRiveter

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:06 AM

You've got my vote. I like:
1. Mastro
2. Mauer
3. Morneau
4. Willingham
5. Parmelee
6. Doumit
7. Plouffe
8. Carroll
9. Dozier

I think Morneau will be the best overall hitter on the team next year, and I don't think you hurt yourself by having 2 lefties in a row. When healthy, both Mauer and Morneau have had great splits. I expect Morneau is returning to that type of production. If he doesn't, batting order is moot as the offense won't be effective.

#21 DelawareTwinsFan

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:33 PM

Always felt Mauer was a prototypical #2 hitter. Great bat control, hits to all fields but maybe a bit too often to left. I would be concerned about his propensity to hitting into double plays. Am I wrong but does it seem that Mauer doesn't like hitting when runners steal?

#22 glunn

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:31 AM

So if Mauer starts showing more power you want to give him fewer plate appearances?


Yes, but hopefully with more men on base. It seems to me that if he increases his extra base hits, it might make more sense for him to bat #3.

#23 jokin

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:50 AM

Obviously a hell yes from me.

The old adage is wrong. The best OBP and overall hitters should be batting 1,2, and 4, with a speedier type batting first and a power guy 4th. The guy batting 3rd should be a slugger because he often comes up with no one on base and two out in the first inning (Willingham). Batting fifth should be another slugger, but one who shouldn't live and die with it and simply be a HR or K guy.

Disclaimer: lineup construction is somewhat overrated and does really only take shape in the first inning (though it can still be the case in 1-4 innings in tight games).

That said:

X
Mauer
Willingham
Morneau (here's to hoping that he returns to form in 2013.
Doumit
Plouffe
Parmelee
X
X

would seem to make the most sense.


That order does make a lot of sense and is why Gardy won't use it. He'll have Mastro/Hicks at the top and Carroll/Dozier in the 2-slot, with Florimon or one of the above in the #9 spot. I could see one minor adjustment, keeping the L/R splits going by flipping Plouffe and Parmelee.

On the matter of Parmelee, I think with the dearth of punch at the top of the order and the likelihood that Hicks won't be seeing action until at least his Super2 Arb date at the earliest, it's time to consider the highly unconventional as a possible antidote to the hitting conundrum the Twins have placed themselves into:

Chris Parmelee in the #2 slot.

That's right, I said it. Left-handed pull hitter? Check. Contact hitter? Check. Low GIDP rate? Check. High OBP rate? Check.

Before you completely dismiss the notion because of his obvious (conventional) flaws in the 2-hole, consider the following points:

1) Parm would greatly benefit hitting in front of Mauer and behind the always-baserunning threat represented by Mastro and eventually, Hicks....versus....hitting in front of an automatic out and behind the lumbering herd in the #7#8 spot.

2) Bill James projects that Parmelee will have the #2 OBP on the team @ .359 with Mauer #1 (.407) and Willingham #3 @ .354. This fits perfectly within your definition of having Parmelee up at the top of the order, not at the bottom! Since Mauer is never going to be moved from the 3 spot, the logical choice is Parmelee.

3) The AL average slash line for the #2 spot in 2012 was : .254/.314/.389/.703 Bill James projects Parm to produce this slash in 2013: .274/.359/.457/.816. Even if this is optimistic, it leaves considerable room on the downside for Parm to significantly outproduce the league at the spot.

4) The top team in production for the #2 spot in the AL in 2012? I'm glad you asked. Why, that would be the New York Yankees, here's their slash: .253/.341/.479/.820 (The next closest OPS was .771 by the Angels!) This was produced with Nick Swisher getting a big chunk of the ABs. Here's his slash in the 2-hole: .244/.347/.449/.796 Granderson got a little over 50% of the ABs in the spot with this slash: .249/.341/.517/.858
According to James for 2013, Parmelee projects to walk at or near the same rate as both (11.0%) and strike out much less than either (only 18.3%).


5) JJ Hardy batted primarily lead off or #2 in 2011. Here's his slash line for both: .269/.310/.491/801 Batting almost exclusively in the #2 spot in 2012: .238/.282/.389/.671 He added 20 HRs to his total. Shouldn't the Twins be thrilled if they got production (including a 20HR season) somewhere inbetween those 2 seasons in the 2-spot? I have to believe that might be the best #2 line in Twins history short of a terrific Carew season when he got the bulk of his ABs in the #2 spot. BTW, Hardy had ZERO SBs in 2012, Swisher had all of 3 SBs, Granderson had 6 SBs in the #2 spot. Swisher and Granderson each had only 1 sacrifice bunt in 2012, Hardy had 2 in 2011.

6) I would venture to guess that Bill James' projections would tend to be made based on Parmelee batting at the bottom of the order. Isn't it possible that if Parmelee can handle the pressure and responsibility of batting 2nd that it would give him greater hitting opportunities to have a shot at meeting and possibly exceeding the James projections?
Why don't we take a chance and find out?

Edited by jokin, 21 January 2013 - 06:50 AM.


#24 snepp

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:03 AM

Yes, but hopefully with more men on base. It seems to me that if he increases his extra base hits, it might make more sense for him to bat #3.


It seems to me that this has more to do with the players hitting in front of him than it does with him hitting for more power. If the guys in front of him aren't very good, all hitting 3rd is going to accomplish is to give more plate appearances to poor hitters.

If you have these two options, which one makes more sense?

1. Lousy Hitter
2. Putrid Hitter
3. Mauer
4-9 other guys

or

1. Lousy Hitter
2. Mauer
3-8 other guys
2. Putrid Hitter

You've got the same guys leading up to Mauer in both instances, with option two giving a bad hitter 150 fewer plate appearances in the process. He isn't going to magically get more players on base if he hits 3rd instead of 2nd unless the players hitting in front of him get better in the process.

#25 PopRiveter

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:37 AM

Jokin, I enjoyed reading your Parmelee argument. It seems pretty reasonable. I'd add that for those who fear Mauer's GiDP numbers, Parmelee should double a lot. Certainly more than Carroll/Dozier/Escobar/Florimon.
P.S. I really dislike even writing Escobar and Florimon's names in that sentence. Here's hoping a waiver claim or MiLB free agent can knock one of 'em off the depth chart.

#26 edavis0308

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:44 AM

To kind of piggyback the idea of batting Parm in the #2 spot, Nick Johnson has the most AB in his career out of the #2 spot. Granted he is a career .399 OBP, but the point is puttng someone there that can get on base. Not play second base.

#27 kab21

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:23 AM

Bill James is probably the most optimistic projector on the web. Having room for downside doesn't include the chance that Parmelee falls completely flat on his face. Again. Imo the Twins should keep as much pressure off of him (and Plouffe) as possible and keep them behind the Twins big 4 hitters.

Edited by kab21, 21 January 2013 - 11:25 AM.


#28 jokin

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:00 PM

Bill James is probably the most optimistic projector on the web. Having room for downside doesn't include the chance that Parmelee falls completely flat on his face. Again. Imo the Twins should keep as much pressure off of him (and Plouffe) as possible and keep them behind the Twins big 4 hitters.


I agree on the pressure argument being the prime negative to the prospect of moving Parmelee up. Sadly, this is probably the argument that Gardy & Co. would least likely consider in their conventional opposition to making the move. They would no doubt publicly counter with his inability to play at 2nd base, lack of bunting skills and speed, career SLG and OBP averages way too high for the #2-hole, etc. I've already shown that at least 2 teams have been quite successful throwing that old-school "conventional wisdom" on its ear.

I just think that in a lost season, no chance for slotting Mauer at #2, the incentive at keeping Carroll's PAs under 401 and with the remaining alternatives being simply dreadful, it sure seems worth the small gamble at giving Parmelee a shot and see if he responds to the challenge. If he does fall flat on his face, my answer would be "so what?"; the Twins have already thrown up the white flag, time to experiment a little and see what ya got, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Edited by jokin, 21 January 2013 - 02:09 PM.


#29 jokin

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:25 PM

To kind of piggyback the idea of batting Parm in the #2 spot, Nick Johnson has the most AB in his career out of the #2 spot. Granted he is a career .399 OBP, but the point is puttng someone there that can get on base. Not play second base.


What Twins fan wouldn't be stoked if Parmelee could have a Nick Johnson-type career? What the heck, why not just sign Johnson and make him your #2-hole guy, batting DH to show Parmelee how it's done. He'll undoubtedly sign for cheap, perhaps a minor league deal. You could move Mauer to a platoon slot @ Third and pt Catcher to make room for Johnson's bat in the lineup. If it proves that Johnson has nothing left in the tank, you can soon part ways early in the season with nothing lost and perhaps something gained with Parmelee learning something from the old pro.

#30 Shane Wahl

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:00 PM

Interesting to see the Parmelee and Nick Johnson discussion. I always liked Johnson a LOT when he was healthy. But therein lies the problem.

Parmelee batting second is interesting to me (if Gardenhire is simply unwilling to bat Mauer there).

Of the MI options, only Carroll could conceivably be considered in the top two spots. And I really fail to see any real reason to worry about Carroll's 401 plate appearances. Isn't it $2 million? Who cares?