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Casey Fien

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#1 jorgenswest

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

Listening to Gleeman and the Geek and their preference for Casey Fien motivated me to learn a little more about him.

How much weight will the Twins put in Casey Fien's performance in a small sample in the majors?

Reasons for concern...

His numbers in AAA were mediocre for a reliever.
His small sample in the majors was aided by an unsustainable .229 BABIP.
His ground ball rate was 24.7% in the majors and 29.4% over the previous 2 years in the minors.
Already 29, his age gives him no hope for upside.

Do you share their confidence in Fien? Will he be an asset in the bullpen this year?

#2 Chance

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:14 PM

For me personally I thought he passed the eye test. His pitches looked great. As long as his he continues to locate I think he could stick. He's not expected to close or setup but just to do a better job than Burnett or Swarzak or Gray. He does through harder than any of our relievers as well which is nice. Here's to hoping he continues to eat up quality innings anyway he can.

#3 spycake

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:34 PM

I can't speak for Gleeman or the Geek, but I'd guess it's all about K rate and BB rate. The guy has always had solid rates in the minors, even if he wasn't dominant, and unlike some other minor league relievers (Jim Hoey, Sean Henn), he actually carried it over to major leagues, at least for 35 innings last year. He's definitely worth a shot this year, possibly better than any of our 2012 relievers outside of Perkins and Burton.

#4 Seth Stohs

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:43 PM

Something seemingly clicked for Fien mid-way through his time with the Red Wings last year. Before that, he was very mediocre, but at some point, he just started airing it out and found much more success. He carried that into his time with the Twins, and was a guy that Gardy could count on most times out. I think he's a given. I think when I did my roster projections, I had him and Burnett both very high in terms of likelihood to make the opening day roster. Pretty much a given.

#5 jorgenswest

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:45 PM

He has had good strike out numbers in the minors. It wasn't good enough for the Astros (2011) or Tigers(prior to 2011) to give him a sustained chance in the majors.

I hope you are right. It will give the Twins two Cal-Poly guys on the staff. Maybe they can engineer some wins.

#6 nicksaviking

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:57 PM

He has had good strike out numbers in the minors. It wasn't good enough for the Astros (2011) or Tigers(prior to 2011) to give him a sustained chance in the majors.

I hope you are right. It will give the Twins two Cal-Poly guys on the staff. Maybe they can engineer some wins.


Well as far as the Tigers go, all they have are guys with good strikeout numbers in the pen. Over the last couple of years it's getting harder to crack into that staff. As far as I'm concerned, the BP guys should be evaluated most heavily on the K numbers. These guys are often being called into the game to clean up the starters messes, their first priority should be getting the batters out without letting the guys on base advance, hence, not letting the batter put the ball in play should be considered the main objective.

#7 snepp

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:43 PM

As far as I'm concerned, the BP guys should be evaluated most heavily on the K numbers. These guys are often being called into the game to clean up the starters messes, their first priority should be getting the batters out without letting the guys on base advance, hence, not letting the batter put the ball in play should be considered the main objective.


Which makes me sick that the best arm in the bullpen comes into the game with the bases empty 95% of the time, the 2nd best arm in the pen (Burton) comes in with the bases empty 85% of the time, while the worst strikeout rate in the pen entered with runners on base nearly 50% of the time.

#8 jorgenswest

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:14 PM

Well as far as the Tigers go, all they have are guys with good strikeout numbers in the pen. Over the last couple of years it's getting harder to crack into that staff. As far as I'm concerned, the BP guys should be evaluated most heavily on the K numbers. These guys are often being called into the game to clean up the starters messes, their first priority should be getting the batters out without letting the guys on base advance, hence, not letting the batter put the ball in play should be considered the main objective.


Is an 8.2 K/9 significant in AAA? It is close to his 8.4 rate through 5 seasons or partial seasons in AAA. (Note: it is probably more sound to use K/PA). I decided to use the more familiar k/9.

I looked at Rochester last year and among relievers 8.2 looks well below average. Once you get to individuals relievers, all will have sample size problems. Looking at it as a group, Slama(13.9), Gutierrez(11.2), Oliveros(10.7), Robertson(10.4), Deduno(9.9), Vasquez(8.8) and Guerra(8.8) all put up better rates. Compared to the group, 8.2 looks a little mediocre. I looked at the 2011 data in Oklahoma City. His 8.9 looks good until you see a bunch of relievers on the team did better. Look at 2010, you will find the same mediocre results when looking at K rate.

It doesn't seem likely that a pitcher would maintain his K9 rate in the majors over time.

Given that he doesn't get ground balls (in the majors or minors), how far can his K9 rate fall in the majors while still being effective over time? I don't think it has any room to fall. Even at 8.2, he may not have enough to be effective.

#9 70charger

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:35 PM

Which makes me sick that the best arm in the bullpen comes into the game with the bases empty 95% of the time, the 2nd best arm in the pen (Burton) comes in with the bases empty 85% of the time, while the worst strikeout rate in the pen entered with runners on base nearly 50% of the time.


This. I get it, but I don't get it. The bullpen is an area in serious need of a rethink, and I would hazard a guess that the first manager to use it effectively in a statistics-driven way will change the paradigm. However, I wouldn't expect much of this type of thinking out of Gardenhire, nor honestly would I expect it out of pretty much any manager out there today. Maddon, maybe.

#10 snepp

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:51 PM

This. I get it, but I don't get it. The bullpen is an area in serious need of a rethink, and I would hazard a guess that the first manager to use it effectively in a statistics-driven way will change the paradigm. However, I wouldn't expect much of this type of thinking out of Gardenhire, nor honestly would I expect it out of pretty much any manager out there today. Maddon, maybe.



I agree, it's not an indictment on Gardy as much as it is the usage of the bullpen by the league as a whole.