Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Photo

Infield Defense

  • Please log in to reply
40 replies to this topic

#1 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 15,183 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks, ND

Posted 13 August 2013 - 12:29 PM

Watching the play made by Florimon last night was a treat. I watch a lot of baseball and I have the impression (right or wrong) that there have been more plays like this one than ever before.

Florimon's play at SS wasn't even the play of the night because Jose Iglasias made an absolutely sick underhand bullet flip to 1st that I still don't know how he did it without gunpowder in his palm.

I watch a lot of baseball and the plays being made by Pedro Florimon, Brett Lawrie, Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado, Dee Gordon, Didi Gregarious, Andrealton Simmons, Brandon Phillips, Jurickson Profar and Brian Dozier are jaw dropping.

Leading me to believe (right or wrong) that infield defense is at a whole new level.

The athleticism and talent level is increasing before our eyes.

Decades ago... Brooks Robinson and Ozzie Smith were the unquestioned elite. Nobody else could do what they did defensively. In my opinion... There are a bunch of Brooks and Ozzie types in the majors right now.

BTW... Personal note to Trevor Plouffe... Do you watch these 3B Highlights from Lawrie, Machado and Arenado. Do you see the plays that Florimon and Dozier are making on your team.

I understand that you may not be capable of doing what they do but get your uniform dirty and try at least. When is the last time you've left your feet? I'm struggling to recall anything. Lawrie I'm watching highlights of him doing it every night. It can't be case of Lawrie getting more opportunity to make an amazing play.

A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

 

President of the "Baseball Player Positional Flexibility" Club 

Founded 4-23-16 


#2 cmathewson

cmathewson

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,273 posts

Posted 13 August 2013 - 12:35 PM

I agree with you. And so do the numbers.

On Plouffe, my biggest concern is how nonchalant he seems, even on routine plays. He's gotten the benefit of a couple of calls lately, but fast guys beat out his throws more than I'm comfortable with. I understand not wanting to rush, but a bit more urgency is called for with fast runners. And yeah, that same urgency might lead to getting his uniform dirty more often.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#3 Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 2,702 posts

Posted 13 August 2013 - 12:45 PM

Florimon's play was terrific. Dozier's sprint to catch that fly ball in the middle of right field was also awfully impressive. This is a legitimately great defensive middle infield, which the Twins have always striven for but have so often struggled to field. With Dozier producing offensively, I can even live with P-Flo's weak stick.

The Twins will probably be pretty weak defensively at third next year, whether it's Plouffe or Sano, so the strength up the middle is important and encouraging.

#4 ThePuck

ThePuck

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 3,232 posts

Posted 13 August 2013 - 01:35 PM

Jose Iglasias made an absolutely sick underhand bullet flip to 1st that I still don't know how he did it without gunpowder in his palm.


That throw was unbelievable!

#5 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 15,183 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks, ND

Posted 14 August 2013 - 05:50 AM

That throw was unbelievable!


His arm didnt even cock. It was a long wrist flip throw with no arc. Unbelievable Indeed.

A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

 

President of the "Baseball Player Positional Flexibility" Club 

Founded 4-23-16 


#6 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 15,183 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks, ND

Posted 14 August 2013 - 06:17 AM

Florimon's play was terrific. Dozier's sprint to catch that fly ball in the middle of right field was also awfully impressive. This is a legitimately great defensive middle infield, which the Twins have always striven for but have so often struggled to field. With Dozier producing offensively, I can even live with P-Flo's weak stick.

The Twins will probably be pretty weak defensively at third next year, whether it's Plouffe or Sano, so the strength up the middle is important and encouraging.


You are right... Offensively... Dozier has been equal to Brandon Phillips and Ian Kinsler this year. Granted... Phillips and Kinsler have been producing a little less than normal.

I also agree... Florimon isn't an offensive issue unless you start piling up offensive issues around him.

Plouffe is heading for a super utility role. Sano is gonna steamroll him if he doesn't move. Sano could be here by June 2014.

Oddly... When Sano comes to town... It will be Plouffe's ability to play multiple positions average to below average that could keep him around.

His defense could save him... How odd is that?

A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

 

President of the "Baseball Player Positional Flexibility" Club 

Founded 4-23-16 


#7 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 15,183 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks, ND

Posted 14 August 2013 - 06:36 AM

I agree with you. And so do the numbers.

On Plouffe, my biggest concern is how nonchalant he seems, even on routine plays. He's gotten the benefit of a couple of calls lately, but fast guys beat out his throws more than I'm comfortable with. I understand not wanting to rush, but a bit more urgency is called for with fast runners. And yeah, that same urgency might lead to getting his uniform dirty more often.


I really didn't like Valencia. It got to the point with Valencia where I had about given up. Danny would be content to reach instead of center on ground balls and when you see that you wonder about his engagement. I saw it way too often to decide for myself that he was a lazy 3B. (my opinion).

Now Plouffe has been better than Valencia but I think he could be better than what he is. It bugs me that I can't recall Plouffe diving for a ball. He flipped into the camera well but that catch wasn't a high degree of difficulty. His momentum just carried him over after a routine catch.

So after Valencia and Plouffe... Now I'm wondering if I'm just a jerk to third basemen in general. My expectations are too high for the position or something.

All I know... After watching what Machado, Lawrie and Arenado are doing on defense. I want one... And if I can't have one... They better hit like Miggy or Sano.

A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

 

President of the "Baseball Player Positional Flexibility" Club 

Founded 4-23-16 


#8 drjim

drjim

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,589 posts
  • LocationSt. Paul

Posted 14 August 2013 - 06:43 AM

Plouffe is heading for a super utility role. Sano is gonna steamroll him if he doesn't move. Sano could be here by June 2014.


I think you are quite conservative in Sano's timeline.

#9 E. Andrew

E. Andrew

    Member

  • Members
  • 99 posts
  • LocationOakland, CA

Posted 14 August 2013 - 07:50 AM

Danny would be content to reach instead of center on ground balls and when you see that you wonder about his engagement. I saw it way too often to decide for myself that he was a lazy 3B. (my opinion).... Now I'm wondering if I'm just a jerk to third basemen in general. My expectations are too high for the position or something.


Getting in front of the ball is one of the most textbook skills in the game, I don't think that's demanding too much. Not doing it is where most errors come from, and I think you make a good point - - It suggests not being engaged. You could also read it as not being challenged, but that's something that can't really be changed.

#10 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 15,183 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks, ND

Posted 14 August 2013 - 08:51 AM

I think you are quite conservative in Sano's timeline.


I could Be... I hope I am... I can't wait to see him.

A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

 

President of the "Baseball Player Positional Flexibility" Club 

Founded 4-23-16 


#11 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 15,183 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks, ND

Posted 14 August 2013 - 08:52 AM

Getting in front of the ball is one of the most textbook skills in the game, I don't think that's demanding too much. Not doing it is where most errors come from, and I think you make a good point - - It suggests not being engaged. You could also read it as not being challenged, but that's something that can't really be changed.


Amen!!!

A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

 

President of the "Baseball Player Positional Flexibility" Club 

Founded 4-23-16 


#12 stringer bell

stringer bell

    Staunch supporter of the worst team in mlb. Who's the fool?

  • Twins Mods
  • 7,377 posts
  • LocationZumbrota MN

Posted 14 August 2013 - 09:23 AM

You are right... Offensively... Dozier has been equal to Brandon Phillips and Ian Kinsler this year. Granted... Phillips and Kinsler have been producing a little less than normal.

I also agree... Florimon isn't an offensive issue unless you start piling up offensive issues around him.

Plouffe is heading for a super utility role. Sano is gonna steamroll him if he doesn't move. Sano could be here by June 2014.

Oddly... When Sano comes to town... It will be Plouffe's ability to play multiple positions average to below average that could keep him around.

His defense could save him... How odd is that?

Much like Cuddy, it would be defensive versatility, rather than ability that would get him more playing time.

#13 Oldgoat_MN

Oldgoat_MN

    What is going on with this team?

  • Members
  • 862 posts

Posted 14 August 2013 - 09:31 AM

Very nice article.

I wonder if Bill James has anything to do with the way fielding is valued these days.
There are probably guys at those MI positions who may not have had the chance 30 years ago because they didn't hit. Were teams more forgiving of poor range/poor arms because they had a guy who could hit?

#14 drjim

drjim

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,589 posts
  • LocationSt. Paul

Posted 14 August 2013 - 09:47 AM

Very nice article.

I wonder if Bill James has anything to do with the way fielding is valued these days.
There are probably guys at those MI positions who may not have had the chance 30 years ago because they didn't hit. Were teams more forgiving of poor range/poor arms because they had a guy who could hit?


I would maybe go the other way (though not blame Bill James). I think no hit good glove middle infielders were common until the last decade or two as advancements in hitting analysis emerged and the true nature of their hitting ability was realized.

#15 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 15,183 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks, ND

Posted 14 August 2013 - 10:02 AM

Very nice article.

I wonder if Bill James has anything to do with the way fielding is valued these days.
There are probably guys at those MI positions who may not have had the chance 30 years ago because they didn't hit. Were teams more forgiving of poor range/poor arms because they had a guy who could hit?


That's a good question... My suspicion with nothing to back it is... The Players are just getting better and I imagine that they will continue to get better into the future.

At the plate... Willie Mays didn't have to face 90 MPH Sliders out of the bullpen. The Depth of pitching staff talent has increased.

The Guy who had the 90 MPH Breaking pitch in the 60's was the Ace of the staff and the guy that people came to see and the guy who is in the hall of fame.

Now they are all over the place and the ace is at a new level in my opinion. Subsequently... The Hitting has to improve to keep up with the improved pitching and if the Hitting and Pitching is improving... It stands to reason that the defense is getting better as well.

The SS of today has range and a cannon for an arm.

I remember thinking that Rey Ordonez was an amazing defensive SS who was a couple steps above everyone else. I think Rey Ordonez is just another guy today.

Everyone is getting better.

It's always a popular discussion amongst baseball fans. Who is the greatest player of all time? Babe Ruth... Mickey Mantle... Willie Mays... These guys get mentioned a lot. When comparing Era to Era... Maybe they are...

I always say when this discussion happens...

"Whoever the best baseball player of all time is? He is playing today".

Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle simply didn't have to face the depth of pitching talent that is out there today.

So in a nutshell... I think the defense is just getting better naturally and it's looking jaw dropping at times to me.

Edited by Riverbrian, 14 August 2013 - 10:29 AM.

A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

 

President of the "Baseball Player Positional Flexibility" Club 

Founded 4-23-16 


#16 Linus

Linus

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,458 posts

Posted 14 August 2013 - 10:13 AM

I agree with you. And so do the numbers.

On Plouffe, my biggest concern is how nonchalant he seems, even on routine plays. He's gotten the benefit of a couple of calls lately, but fast guys beat out his throws more than I'm comfortable with. I understand not wanting to rush, but a bit more urgency is called for with fast runners. And yeah, that same urgency might lead to getting his uniform dirty more often.


His throwing is a major issue and has been at every position. He has a strong arm but looks scared when he throws, almost like he has the yips as some other players have experienced. The super utility role for him just doesn't excite me as he is basically below average defensively no matter where he plays which really isn't worth the occasional home run. Until he makes more consistent contact, particularly on pitches on the outer half of the plate, what you see is what you get. My hope is that he stabilizes his play in the field and at the plate and turns into a viable trade chip.

#17 Mr. Brooks

Mr. Brooks

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,630 posts

Posted 15 August 2013 - 03:11 PM

I disagree about the best baseball player of all time being an active player.
Babe Ruth completely revolutionized the game. He came along and started hitting more HR's than entire teams were hitting. Nobody in baseball is doing anything like that today, and I don't think anyone has come close to doing anything like that since.

And he wasn't just a HR hitter.
He was consistently atop the leaderboards in BA, runs scored, RBI, BB, OBP, SLG, even triples! He also stole more than 100 bases, and was a very good pitcher. Ruth is by far the best all around baseball player of all time, to me its not particularly close, especially when you compare his numbers not only historically (which speak enough on their own), but also when you compare them to his peers, in which case they are ridiculous.

When you look at some Ruth's stats, they are mind boggling. There is a reason that "Ruthian" has become a superlative for many extreme accomplishments.

He had a career OPS+ of 206!! To put that in perspective, Miguel Cabrera has a career OPS+ 155. Cabrera's career high for OPS+ in a season is 178.
In 1920, Ruth had an OPS+ of 255.
Ruth's career BA, OBP, SLG and OPS all dwarf Miguel Cabrera's. And Ruth was doing this in a time that nobody else was hitting for anything but average.
Ruth also stole 123 bases in his career, walked more than 2000 times, and never once struck out more than 93 times in a season. Ruth also hit 136 triples!! Cabrera has hit 14.
Ruth was not the overweight, slow, plodding, one dimensional player that some believe him to be.
He was a complete ballplayer. Don't forget he was even a very good pitcher too!
Your comeback to the triples might be that they played in odd shaped stadiums. Ruth was in the top 6 in triples 4 times in his career, so even compared to his peers he could move around the basepaths when he needed to.
He consistently led the league in runs scored as well.

Six times in his career he more than doubled up the 2nd place HR hitter.
Nobody will ever do anything like that again in baseball.

#18 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 15,183 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks, ND

Posted 15 August 2013 - 04:03 PM

I disagree about the best baseball player of all time being an active player.
Babe Ruth completely revolutionized the game. He came along and started hitting more HR's than entire teams were hitting. Nobody in baseball is doing anything like that today, and I don't think anyone has come close to doing anything like that since.

And he wasn't just a HR hitter.
He was consistently atop the leaderboards in BA, runs scored, RBI, BB, OBP, SLG, even triples! He also stole more than 100 bases, and was a very good pitcher. Ruth is by far the best all around baseball player of all time, to me its not particularly close, especially when you compare his numbers not only historically (which speak enough on their own), but also when you compare them to his peers, in which case they are ridiculous.

When you look at some Ruth's stats, they are mind boggling. There is a reason that "Ruthian" has become a superlative for many extreme accomplishments.

He had a career OPS+ of 206!! To put that in perspective, Miguel Cabrera has a career OPS+ 155. Cabrera's career high for OPS+ in a season is 178.
In 1920, Ruth had an OPS+ of 255.
Ruth's career BA, OBP, SLG and OPS all dwarf Miguel Cabrera's. And Ruth was doing this in a time that nobody else was hitting for anything but average.
Ruth also stole 123 bases in his career, walked more than 2000 times, and never once struck out more than 93 times in a season. Ruth also hit 136 triples!! Cabrera has hit 14.
Ruth was not the overweight, slow, plodding, one dimensional player that some believe him to be.
He was a complete ballplayer. Don't forget he was even a very good pitcher too!
Your comeback to the triples might be that they played in odd shaped stadiums. Ruth was in the top 6 in triples 4 times in his career, so even compared to his peers he could move around the basepaths when he needed to.
He consistently led the league in runs scored as well.

Six times in his career he more than doubled up the 2nd place HR hitter.
Nobody will ever do anything like that again in baseball.


I won't argue any of that... Babe Ruth was a Giant in his generation. Comparing what he did against any one else in the 20's... There is nothing to compare it to. His stats will also dwarf anyone through history. If you look at what a player did against his peers from the same time. Yeah... Babe Ruth... Just may be the greatest.

But my point wasn't a statistical comparison over time. My point was talent.

My point is that Babe Ruth didn't have to face the level of talent that stacks the rosters of today. His 1920 output would look quite different if he had to face the pitching of today instead of what he got to face. The 1920 teams were not stacked with 90 MPH plus fastballs and exploding sliders like the staffs of today. The 12th guy on a roster throws harder and with more movement than the top guys of the 20's. Players get better... if they are not getting better... Something wrong is happening.

Take Bryce Harper from today and bring him back to the 20's and suit him up. Let Harper face the pitching from the 20's and let's see what happens. My theory is that they will sing songs about him because he will be facing less talented pitching staffs.

Babe Ruth may be the greatest player of all time stat wise. I believe the 2013 players have surpassed him in talent. If they haven't... All that coaching... Video Work... Genetic evolution has been wasted.

A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

 

President of the "Baseball Player Positional Flexibility" Club 

Founded 4-23-16 


#19 Mr. Brooks

Mr. Brooks

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,630 posts

Posted 15 August 2013 - 04:12 PM

If your argument is who has more talent, then of course I can't argue with you.
but you didn't say the most talented, you said the greatest.
IMO, there is more to being the greatest than just having the most talent. You have to look at their accomplishments vs. their peers.
Sure, Ruth was facing less talented pitchers back then, but his peers were facing the same pitchers.
Everything is relative.
There is nothing exceptional about the Great Pyramids without context. Any mid sized construction firm in the world could build the Pyramids today.
What makes them an engineering marvel is WHEN they were built, not the fact that they were built.

#20 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 15,183 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks, ND

Posted 15 August 2013 - 04:25 PM

If your argument is who has more talent, then of course I can't argue with you.
but you didn't say the most talented, you said the greatest.
IMO, there is more to being the greatest than just having the most talent. You have to look at their accomplishments vs. their peers.
Sure, Ruth was facing less talented pitchers back then, but his peers were facing the same pitchers.
Everything is relative.
There is nothing exceptional about the Great Pyramids without context. Any mid sized construction firm in the world could build the Pyramids today.
What makes them an engineering marvel is WHEN they were built, not the fact that they were built.


Greatest to me... Means Best of all time... but I can see where the misunderstanding arose.

A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

 

President of the "Baseball Player Positional Flexibility" Club 

Founded 4-23-16