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Article: 2013 Spring Training Preview

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#21 Mauerpower

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:49 AM

I would start De Vries, Hendriks, and Deduno over Correia.Correia has had one decent season in the national league. I hope he proves me wrong. I just wouldn't take the risk without seeing what these young guys have first. Aslo, Escobar over Florimon

#22 bcntwinsfan

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:19 AM

Good take, but I'd put Dozier in the two hole. Mauer is too good of a hitter to feel the need to pull the ball to move Hicks to third with nobody out. Let someone who is less of a hitter sacrifice to move the runner.


Dozier batting second? He's shown no on base skills in the majors. Carroll should bat second and start at second. Dozier needs regular playing time at AAA. And if anybody thinks that Hicks is going to be on the opening day roster and thus become a super 2, stop drinking the Kool Aid. Mastroianni and AAAA filler til June in center. They are punting on this season and we all know it. That being said, I'd go huge on the over of 64.5.

#23 bcntwinsfan

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:49 AM

Hicks will not be called up til June. Super 2 sound familiar? Anybody who thinks that the Twins will give up an extra year of control, in a season they're punting on anyway, got past the security check points coming back from their recent trip to Jamaica.

#24 grover738

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:51 AM

That looks like a 65 win roster to me. I hope they keep Hicks down for a few months to gain another year of service from him, no need to lose that year of control when he probably won't be that huge of an upgrade over Mastroianni. That bench is awful. I too think Pelfry will be one of the five starters. The 2-7 lineup is ok, should score some runs, but with those starters combined with that defense (weak in LF, RF, 3B) look out.

Hopefully they can trade some combo of Morneau / Willingham / minor league outfielder for a decent young middle infielder that can come up with the 2014/15 youth movement.

#25 Nick Nelson

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:13 AM

Hicks will not be called up til June. Super 2 sound familiar? Anybody who thinks that the Twins will give up an extra year of control, in a season they're punting on anyway, got past the security check points coming back from their recent trip to Jamaica.


Guess Gardy must have gotten some of the good stuff then.

#26 Steve Lein

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:41 AM

The Twins are coming off consecutive 90+ loss seasons. Ticket sales are luke warm at best. They need to get off to a good start. It makes no sense to come north with anything less than their best roster.


I'm in the camp that you should always go north with the "best roster," regardless of where the player's are on their Arbitration timeclock. I have never understood this thought process, and frankly, it should only weigh on penny-pinching franchises, which the Twins are not anymore, or at least shouldn't be operating as such (that's another debate). If a player is ready and seizes the opportunity, let him play and sort it all out later. It's a disservice to fans everywhere to keep any player held back when you know, or he's shown, that he can contribute more than what you have on the MLB roster.

And to everyone who is going to say "why would you want a guy on the MLB roster at age 23, when you could have him for an extra year during his peak at age 29." Well...

Look at the Twins history, if a player is brought up and he contributes a good amount to the MLB team, they extend him before the Arbitration years run out anyway. Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Denard Span, Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker... I'm sure there's plenty more examples. Also, if a guy is kicking ass and taking names at the MLB level, using Arbitration isn't exactly a good option to keep a player's contract costs down.

Frankly, to me, Arbitration is designed for players like Alexi Casilla. They've shown something, but not enough yet to warrant a long-term commitment, and if the price gets too high, you just let them go. I'd say it's pretty rare for a good player to make it to that last year of Arbitration without at least having extension talks, their arbitration prices just get too high. Take Mike Trout for example, you really think he's even going to go through the arbitration process once? I don't.

If Hicks takes the CF job on day 1 and runs with it, the same thing will happen with him (in addition to the fact you might have the best player available for your MLB CF job). If he falters, then what happens you ask? He gets sent back down to AAA and likely misses the MLB service time cutoff for Super 2 status anyway. Then, in 2014/15/16, If he ends up middling in the Majors like Casilla, are you really gonna be worried about having him around that age 29 season?!

It's all a moot point in Hicks' case if he doesn't show enough to win the job right out of ST, but I don't see why there is such a big issue with this. If a Span vs. Gomez ST situation plays out with Hicks vs. Mastroianni/Benson/etc... though, I'll be nonplussed, as will Gardy from the sounds of it.

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#27 ThePuck

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:55 PM

Should be noted that Mauer got nearly a quarter of his plate appearances batting second as recently as 2009. Obviously some things have changed since then, but I don't think it's out of the question given the likely roster construction.


...and only 2009. In that one season he also got almost about 40% of his plate appearances as a #2 hitter for his career.

#28 nicksaviking

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:40 PM

Correia is getting the first Grapefruit League start. I wonder if this is an early indication of where they are leaning come opening day.

#29 CDog

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:43 PM

...and only 2009. In that one season he also got almost about 40% of his plate appearances as a #2 hitter for his career.


True. I don't think that changes my point which was: The notion of Mauer hitting 2nd is in play to some extent. Not that it's likely or anything, just that there is some precedent. I don't expect it to happen. I get a morsel of hope from the fact that 2009 was a fairly good year for him (understatement intentional) and that he absolutely RAKED from the 2-spot that year, even compared to his more familiar slots.

#30 CDog

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:44 PM

Correia is getting the first Grapefruit League start. I wonder if this is an early indication of where they are leaning come opening day.


I think it was made fairly clear that they were doing it for scheduling purposes to try and get him and extra turn before he leaves for the birth of his child. I feel like it's unlikely he'll be repeating that less than two months down the road!

#31 Steve Lein

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:36 PM

True. I don't think that changes my point which was: The notion of Mauer hitting 2nd is in play to some extent. Not that it's likely or anything, just that there is some precedent. I don't expect it to happen. I get a morsel of hope from the fact that 2009 was a fairly good year for him (understatement intentional) and that he absolutely RAKED from the 2-spot that year, even compared to his more familiar slots.


It's funny how that year is also the only year he's really hit like a prototypical #3 hitter should... (outside of the Avg./OBP, of course)

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#32 ashburyjohn

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:57 PM

before he leaves for the birth of his child.


Maybe he would have had a better second half in 2012 if he hadn't been suffering from morning sickness.

#33 LoganJones

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:27 PM

It's funny how that year is also the only year he's really hit like a prototypical #3 hitter should... (outside of the Avg./OBP, of course)


Of course Joe's SLG has been higher than league avg for 3rd place hitters in nearly all of his seasons. 2011 Being a glaring exception.

#34 bcntwinsfan

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:28 PM

Guess Gardy must have gotten some of the good stuff then.


Come on Nick. You know as well as anybody that he has nothing to do with payroll decisions. I'm sure he wasn't a happy camper to lose both his center fielders and thus made that Hicks comment. But six weeks less of Hicks in the bigs is going to have almost no effect on their win total. Maybe they'll win 69 instead of 70. That being said, I'm going big on the over of 64.5. It's already moved up. That starting pitching disaster from last year happening again is about as likely as likely as Ponder throwing for 5000 yards next season.

#35 Nick Nelson

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:06 AM

Come on Nick. You know as well as anybody that he has nothing to do with payroll decisions. I'm sure he wasn't a happy camper to lose both his center fielders and thus made that Hicks comment. But six weeks less of Hicks in the bigs is going to have almost no effect on their win total. Maybe they'll win 69 instead of 70. That being said, I'm going big on the over of 64.5. It's already moved up. That starting pitching disaster from last year happening again is about as likely as likely as Ponder throwing for 5000 yards next season.

I don't really have any idea what their win total will be, but I would like to see them put the best team on the field to start the season. I'm really not concerned about the guy's contract situation six years down the line. The phrase "it'll take care of itself" comes to mind, especially when you've got younger outfield prospects coming through the pipeline that could make him a trade candidate long before then.

#36 grover738

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:06 AM

I don't really have any idea what their win total will be, but I would like to see them put the best team on the field to start the season. I'm really not concerned about the guy's contract situation six years down the line. The phrase "it'll take care of itself" comes to mind, especially when you've got younger outfield prospects coming through the pipeline that could make him a trade candidate long before then.


He'd have more value as a trade candidate if he was under control for an extra year....

The other thing to think about is that he never played in Rochester. At a certain point, the Red Wings are going to get pissed if the best players skip Rochester. They're running a business, want to put fans in the stands, the best way to do this is a better product on the field. Clete Thomas or whoever they'll have in center if Hicks skips AAA isn't going to sell tickets. I get that keeping Rochester happy isn't everything, but it is another factor to consider.

#37 ashburyjohn

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:41 PM

I get that keeping Rochester happy isn't everything, but it is another factor to consider.


It's an excellent observation, since I believe it's pointless to play armchair-GM without at least attempting to see things through the eyes of the guy actually in the big chair.

#38 Steve Lein

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:50 PM

Of course Joe's SLG has been higher than league avg for 3rd place hitters in nearly all of his seasons. 2011 Being a glaring exception.


Just an FYI - I've been doing a lot of research for an article I've been writing, which is basically about Joe Mauer vs. the rest of the #3 hitters in baseball (He's not nearly as good in this regard as you think) that I may or may not ever finish. For this, I have a spread sheet with all the primary #3 hitters for each team in the league last year.

The results of that show your statement is flat out not true (and I assume is the same for almost all other years). The "average" slugging percentage of primary #3 hitters last year was .489, Joe Mauer was .446. "Average" amount of HR's was 23.03, Mauer had 10.

And If I do a little more math instead of taking a straight "average", the slugging percentage of primary #3 hitters across the league last year was .491.

Now, he does come out above average in a lot of other categories, but he's not nearly the same level of run producer (which a #3 hitter should be) as most others.

And since you brought up slugging percentage, the only primary #3 hitters Mauer beat last year in this category were: Justin Upton, Jason Kipnis, Brett Wallace, Alex Rodriguez, Chase Utley, and Kyle Seager. That's only 6 out of the 29 other players.

And thanks Nick for agreeing with me about "best roster" going north and how 6 years down the line shouldn't come into the thought process!

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#39 ashburyjohn

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:37 PM

Now, he does come out above average in a lot of other categories, but he's not nearly the same level of run producer (which a #3 hitter should be) as most others.


#3's job is a blend of getting on base and driving in guys in front of him, since the 4-5-6 hitters on a good team are no slouches either. I hope you'll include OBA in your article. The Twins are a bit heavy on the table-setters and lack enough true power guys, but I would not straighten that out by monkeying too much with the best-balanced of our table-setters. If the thesis of your article will be to move Joe to #2, then whoever they move to #3 may not fare too well in your rankings either. Perceived deficiency in the #3 slot might just be a symptom of an overall teamwide deficiency in hitting talent.

#40 Steve Lein

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:58 PM

I'm assuming you mean Weighted-On-Base-Average, which Joe fares pretty well in (as does every .300+ hitter), he is above average in that. But what it doesn't do is measure how good a guy is at "producing" runs by himself or when the opportunity presents itself (hitting HR's, men-on-base, etc...), it measure's that players own contribution to the potential for "scoring" a run himself (if I understand it right).

Take Adam Dunn. Last year his batting average was .115 pts lower than Mauer's, but his wOBA is only .030 points lower...

Joe also is one of the best OBP guys in the league, but that hurts his value as a run-producer as well. There is only one situation where a walk can score a run, and it's a pretty rare one.

If I'm comparing these primary #3 hitters with high OBP's (.370+, there are 12 of them) to their wOBA, Mauer's is on the low end (he beats only 2 of them, and not by much). And this is while he led the league in OBP.

It's very interesting stuff to see the data you can pull looking at this stuff.

One final stat of note I've found, is the "average" primary #3 hitter grounded into 11.5 double plays on the year. Joe had 23. Ironically, the only guy with more than Joe, was your AL MVP, Miguel Cabrera (with 28).

And even though I'm pulling all this data, I do agree with you, as much as I'd like to see Mauer hit #2, he's still probably the best fit on this team for #3. Only way I see it differently is If Morneau is raking, 'cause then it's him.