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Reusse: Optimistic About 2013 Twins

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:18 AM

Ever the contrarian, Patrick Reusse finds himself more optimistic than the fan base this offseason:Reusse's Reality Script: Episode 8 (Twins) | 1500 ESPN Twin Cities ? Minnesota Sports News & Opinion (Twins, Vikings, Wolves, Wild, Gophers) | Sportswire: Minnesota Twins

[SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Times New Roman]This is my anticipated Opening Day rotation: Pelfrey, Worley, Gibson, holdover Scott Diamond and journeyman Kevin Correia. As journeymen go, I'd take Correia over last year's trial horse and error, Jason Marquis.[/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]That five would be far better than anything the Twins offered up as a rotation the past two seasons.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]


#2 East Coast Twin

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:42 AM

Ever the contrarian . . . .


Exactly my thought when I read the thread title.

#3 gunnarthor

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:51 AM

Ever the contrarian, Patrick Reusse finds himself more optimistic than the fan base this offseason:Reusse's Reality Script: Episode 8 (Twins) | 1500 ESPN Twin Cities ? Minnesota Sports News & Opinion (Twins, Vikings, Wolves, Wild, Gophers) | Sportswire: Minnesota Twins


Well, he is right. I've posted it many times now but simply replacing the 88 starts that amassed -8 WAR last year, the Twins are a lot better.

#4 nokomismod

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:59 AM

Wow, I don't see it. The biggest piece I see totally differently is how he feels about the starting rotation going into last season compared to this one. Last season we had:
Pavano (who we thought would be an innings eater and compete)
Liriano (who we thought might have a bounce back year)
Baker (who we thought could have a really good year)
Blackburn (who because he had an injury healed we thought he might be okay)
Marquis (who I thought would be an okay 5th starter).

This year, there isn't a single one of the starters who I feel confident will go 180 innings and be effective. I am concerned about injuries with Worley and Diamond. Pelfrey and Gibson are both coming back from serious surgery, and Correria (sp?) is similar to Marquis. Plus our offense and defense will take a step back based on the losses of Revere and Span.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer.

#5 Badsmerf

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:00 AM

Hendriks will go north with the team over Gibson IMO. The Twins would be making a huge mistake not to allow Gibson some time at AAA and get an extra year of team control. If there was a chance the Twins would compete I could see it, but bringing Hicks and Gibson north would be stupid stupid stupid stupid.
Do or do not. There is no try.

#6 Nick Nelson

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:09 AM

I don't know that the rotation is better on paper than it was a year ago, but they'll almost certainly perform better.

#7 Badsmerf

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:20 AM

Wow, I don't see it. The biggest piece I see totally differently is how he feels about the starting rotation going into last season compared to this one. Last season we had:
Pavano (who we thought would be an innings eater and compete)
Liriano (who we thought might have a bounce back year)
Baker (who we thought could have a really good year)
Blackburn (who because he had an injury healed we thought he might be okay)
Marquis (who I thought would be an okay 5th starter).

This year, there isn't a single one of the starters who I feel confident will go 180 innings and be effective. I am concerned about injuries with Worley and Diamond. Pelfrey and Gibson are both coming back from serious surgery, and Correria (sp?) is similar to Marquis. Plus our offense and defense will take a step back based on the losses of Revere and Span.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer.


Every one of those starters failed. That is the difference. We felt going into the year last year that the Twins could be competitive with those starters, maybe a bubble playoff team. Things fell apart pretty quickly. It's almost a guarantee this rotation will outperform last season. That is what Reusse is suggesting.
Do or do not. There is no try.

#8 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:23 AM

Good point Nick. The bar is set pretty low.
Good chance the starting rotation will out-perform last year's stats.

#9 nokomismod

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:39 AM

Yes, good point guys. Almost everything went wrong that could regarding last year's starting rotation. This year hopefully everything will go well that can go well.

#10 Brandon

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:53 AM

I am optimistic that at least one pitcher will improve and that 3 starting pitchers will be solid and give the staff at least 3 12 game winners Worely, Diamond and ???. I also think the bullpen will be solid again. the big question is whether CF, SS and 2B will we be able to have at least 2 decent seasons from the 3 lineup spots. beyond that its just a matter of health and how will the other 2 spots in the rotation fare? will we get 2 suprise pitchers and an adequate Correia? That will allow the Twins to be competetive. Can they do that? Sure but the odds are not in their favor on paper at the moment.

#11 Alex

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:15 PM

I don't know that the rotation is better on paper than it was a year ago, but they'll almost certainly perform better.


Absolutely. Hard to argue that the rotation won't be better (even if some of us would have liked to see more done with it than was). A lot of people focus on that and think the team will be better overall just for that, but that assumes the lineup is going to be at least the same and that too often defense is getting ignored.

The big lineup/defense question for me is will the CF/RF combo of Hicks(?)/Parmelee not only match Span/Revere offensively but do enough with the bat to make up for their definitely weaker defense? For me, it's very likely a downgrade overall but even just offensively unless Hicks is more than ready.

For me, because of shifts like that and other questions (no real backup plan at SS, for example), the team might not be better overall than last year.

Edited by Alex, 28 January 2013 - 01:22 PM.


#12 mnfanforlife

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:26 PM

No real reason for optimism until 2015 when we have a deeper pitching staff. BUT, I am very optimistic about the farm system as it stands now with another top-5 pick to be added.

#13 mike wants wins

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:30 PM

Two more top 5 picks....since they were historically bad, pitching wise, it almost has to be better. Does not mean it will be good, or adequate......

#14 ThePuck

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:39 PM

No real reason for optimism until 2015 when we have a deeper pitching staff. BUT, I am very optimistic about the farm system as it stands now with another top-5 pick to be added.


IF we have a deeper pitching staff in 2015...

#15 jokin

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:52 PM

Ever the contrarian, Patrick Reusse finds himself more optimistic than the fan base this offseason:Reusse's Reality Script: Episode 8 (Twins) | 1500 ESPN Twin Cities ? Minnesota Sports News & Opinion (Twins, Vikings, Wolves, Wild, Gophers) | Sportswire: Minnesota Twins


Not only a contrarian, this is a Reusse's Reality-esque satiristic "Modest Proposal" of the likes that would almost make Jonathan Swift blush.

Either that, or the Reusse-Reality is early onset senility rearing its ugly head.

#16 drjim

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:08 PM

Not only a contrarian, this is a Reusse's Reality-esque satiristic "Modest Proposal" of the likes that would almost make Jonathan Swift blush.

Either that, or the Reusse-Reality is early onset senility rearing its ugly head.


Wow. You're a pretty miserable person aren't you?

#17 jokin

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:10 PM

Wow. You're a pretty miserable person aren't you?


I think it's fair to say that Reusse has that market cornered.

#18 FrodaddyG

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:18 PM

[COLOR=#000000][FONT=Times New Roman]"That five would be far better than anything the Twins offered up as a rotation the past two seasons."

[FONT=arial]And the next time the dog craps on the carpet it might be a solid turd instead of diarrhea. Doesn't make it a good or acceptable situation.[/FONT]
[/FONT][/COLOR]

#19 TheLeviathan

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:02 PM

Improving this rotation wasn't exactly challenging, the problem is that the lineup and defense have been significantly downgraded. What will be interesting is to see how much the VERY modest improvements to the rotation offset the fact that we have a bunch of plodding oafs playing defense for them.

#20 PseudoSABR

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:10 PM

Improving this rotation wasn't exactly challenging, the problem is that the lineup and defense have been significantly downgraded. What will be interesting is to see how much the VERY modest improvements to the rotation offset the fact that we have a bunch of plodding oafs playing defense for them.

The infield defense should be better, shouldn't it? Yes the OF defense certainly took a hit. Span/Revere = Hicks/Parmelee in the lineup, IMO. In any case, I don't see 'significant' downgrades for lineup and infield defense, in fact, I think we could argue that each could improve.

#21 drjim

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:13 PM

I think it's fair to say that Reusse has that market cornered.


But even Reusse occasionally lifts himself out of the muck for a ray of sunshine.

#22 TheLeviathan

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:17 PM

The infield defense should be better, shouldn't it? Yes the OF defense certainly took a hit. Span/Revere = Hicks/Parmelee in the lineup, IMO. In any case, I don't see 'significant' downgrades for lineup and infield defense, in fact, I think we could argue that each could improve.


How exactly are you arguing the infield defense improves? Plouffe is still a wild card, Florimon's rep is that he's good but I wasn't impressed at the end of last year, and second base is....Carrol? I guess he's ok, but there is a solid chance Dozier is in that spot at some point and he hardly wowed anyone either.

I'd also suggest that "took a hit" is way too nicely phrased for comparing Span/Revere to Willingham/Parmalee. Hard to count Hicks until he's actually there and we see him play. I'm optimistic, but right now we have to look at things for what they are. I'm praying to whatever Baseball God has smote us with Drew Butera that they show mercy and have Benson ready to take over CF and stick in RF when it comes to Hicks, but that's hard to count on too.

Also, replacing their OBP could be difficult from their replacements.

#23 jokin

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:21 PM

But even Reusse occasionally lifts himself out of the muck for a ray of sunshine.


When the sun actually shines, as it even rarely does in Twinsland, we all register our approval. It just seems odd that the perpetual optimists can't understand that the sunshine scale is severely out of whack these last 3 years and with the exception of 2 moves (the 2nd move of Revere being quite accidental), more of the same-old, same-old simply isn't acceptable.

#24 FrodaddyG

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:24 PM

The infield defense should be better, shouldn't it? Yes the OF defense certainly took a hit. Span/Revere = Hicks/Parmelee in the lineup, IMO. In any case, I don't see 'significant' downgrades for lineup and infield defense, in fact, I think we could argue that each could improve.

The infield defense could be decent or terrible. Plouffe may settle in and get better at third, but given his history elsewhere on the infield, he could just as easily be a trainwreck. Florimon, Escobar, Carroll all could be acceptable, but they aren't really "upgrades", seeing as they represent the majority of what the infield was running out there the end of last year. They just are what they are, and what you got the last few months of last year (which was neither great nor terrible on defense) is probably what you'll get this year, unless Carroll's age finally caught up to him. Morneau should be fine at first, but that's easily the least important aspect of the discussion.

As for the lineup, I don't think there's any way to expect any kind of upgrade. Willingham is likely due for some kind of regression. It may be small, but he had a career year last year, and it would be hard to expect those numbers again. Mauer should do Mauer things. Morneau could improve back towards his All Star numbers which would help.

The problems arise when you consider that you are going to be giving a couple thousand ABs to these three groups:

Black holes like Butera, Florimon, and Escobar.

Guys who need to stay on the MLB roster and prove their role as part of the long-term plan like Mastro, Parmelee, and Plouffe.

Young guys like Hicks, Benson, or Arcia, depending on who is up and playing at any given point in the year.

Now, the last two groups could be acceptable, or could completely Plouffe the bed. It likely lies somewhere in the middle, with group 2 being the more likely to hold their own at the dish. Group 3 could also be decent, but some serious struggles are to be expected if this is the first go-round for Hicks/Arcia, or the first long-term run with the MLB club for Benson. When this much of the roster is made up of unproven or proven-to-be-poor-offensively players, it's hard to think the smart money lies with betting on improvement in the lineup.

#25 PseudoSABR

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:31 PM

How exactly are you arguing the infield defense improves? Plouffe is still a wild card, Florimon's rep is that he's good but I wasn't impressed at the end of last year, and second base is....Carrol? I guess he's ok, but there is a solid chance Dozier is in that spot at some point and he hardly wowed anyone either.

Plouffe year 2 at 3b > Plouffe year 1 at 3b Florimon at SS >> Dozier at SS (by all accounts) Dozier/Carrol at 2b = Cassila/Carrol at 2b. I also imagine firstbase defense will improve with a healthier Morneau and a more experienced Mauer. At worse it's a draw, but it's far from a downgrade in any case.

Look, you're taking the half-empty approach to any ambiguous outcome, so of course, you're going to see downgrade everywhere, but I don't think that's particularly honest or realistic assessment.

#26 S.

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:40 PM

So, you're saying Dozier is just as good defensively at 2b as Casilla? Where are you drawing this conclusion from?


Edit: Also, in terms of Florimon being a >> defensive upgrade over Dozier at SS...

Florimon:
Minors at SS: 715 games played, 183 errors
Majors at SS: 47 games played, 8 errors

Dozier:
Minors at SS: 289 games played, 48 errors
Majors at SS: 82 games played, 15 errors

I'm not some defensive metric wiz, so if you have some stats to prove that Florimon is so much better at SS by all accounts, I'd like to see them. However, nothing I've seen from stats or watching him play has exactly inspired great confidence in Florimon to be any sort of upgrade at SS.

Edited by S., 28 January 2013 - 04:51 PM.


#27 ThePuck

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:47 PM

last year, according to baseball-reference, the Twins ranked just below league average in defensive efficiency.

2012 Major League Baseball Standard Fielding - Baseball-Reference.com

according to baseball prospectus, we ranked 18th

http://www.baseballp...php?cid=1091208

..and we lost our two best defenders in the offseason...

Edited by ThePuck, 28 January 2013 - 04:50 PM.


#28 jokin

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:48 PM

Plouffe year 2 at 3b > Plouffe year 1 at 3b Florimon at SS >> Dozier at SS (by all accounts) Dozier/Carrol at 2b = Cassila/Carrol at 2b. I also imagine firstbase defense will improve with a healthier Morneau and a more experienced Mauer. At worse it's a draw, but it's far from a downgrade in any case.

Look, you're taking the half-empty approach to any ambiguous outcome, so of course, you're going to see downgrade everywhere, but I don't think that's particularly honest or realistic assessment.


1) Plouffe and a year's experience might make him better, but his career still suggests Valencia-like Wild Card.

2) Florimon greater than Dozier by "all accounts?" Then why was Dozier given the job first by the FO? Flori got the job by default. Dozier's minor league slash line: .298/.370/.409/.779. Florimon's: .249/.321/.354/.675 An OPS over 100 points higher suggests Dozier projects higher, even with an edge to Florimon on defense.

3) Cassila was a much better defender and base-stealer, but I agree overall that this is probably a wash.

Maybe not a downgrade overall, but when you're not moving ahead and are content with "a draw", and not far removed from last year's mediocrity, net effect is you're moving behind.

Even you are discerning enough to acknowledge that you at least see severe downgrade elsewhere in the OF and top of the lineup, doesn't seem to merit a lot of positivity about the 2013 overall outcome.

#29 70charger

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:48 PM

Every single one of our starting rotation wasn't pitching with club come the deadline. Every. Single. One. 2 went down with injuries, 1 got traded with a 5.3 ERA, and 2 were so sucky they were DFA'd. 2/3 of the innings pitched by our team were pitched by pitchers with ERAs above 5.00, which means that 2/3 of our innings were pitched by people who were #5 starters or worse on normal teams. Is it really that hard to think that maybe things will be better this year?

I guess that since I'm not bitching about everything the Twins have done lately, I'm just drinking the kool-aid. Whatever. Flame away.

#30 jokin

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:01 PM

Every single one of our starting rotation wasn't pitching with club come the deadline. Every. Single. One. 2 went down with injuries, 1 got traded with a 5.3 ERA, and 2 were so sucky they were DFA'd. 2/3 of the innings pitched by our team were pitched by pitchers with ERAs above 5.00, which means that 2/3 of our innings were pitched by people who were #5 starters or worse on normal teams. Is it really that hard to think that maybe things will be better this year?

I guess that since I'm not bitching about everything the Twins have done lately, I'm just drinking the kool-aid. Whatever. Flame away.


Do the Twins have a decent shot at having a sub-5.00 SP ERA from last year's 5.40?

Absolutely.

Given the defensive holes hollowed out of the lineup and huge projected drop in offensive production, would a highly implausible, semi-miraculous, everything-goes-perfect, American League average 4.37 SP ERA make a material difference in the W-L column?

Nope.