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Article: MLB Power Rankings #29: Minnesota Twins

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#21 jokin

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 11:04 PM

The Sox staff doesn't scare me at all outside of Sale. They were a real bad defensive team last year and I don't see any evidence they addressed that problem and that will keep those lofty projections of the starting staff unrealized in my opinion.

The White Sox were horrible to watch last year much like the Twins. Just a team that needed to slug to cover their other shortcomings and they didn't and they packed it in.

The Twins defense is OK and that will help them keep games close enough to win a couple but they have a problem with the lack of speed on the current roster because if Willingham and Plouffe dry up this year like they did last year. The Twins don't have another way to get the job done. I don't want another year of station to station baseball but the roster looks like it might be.

I know we can't wait for Sano to show up and start hitting bombs but I think decent MLB play from Aaron Hicks would be the bigger boost in 2014. Both teams have to dig in like they didn't do in 2013.

We need SPEED... Not stolen bases per se... Just flat out Run of the mill speed.

Who's better between the White Sox and Twins? I don't know... But if they both don't start playing better more inspired baseball with pride... Who's taller... Ronnie James Dio or Udo Dirkschneider? Is a similar question.


Dio is taller than Udo, although technically, Ronnie James loses, as he is now 6 Feet Under.
:fenforcer:



I question seeing the Twins defense as improving or even being "OK". The corner OF of Willingham, Arcia and Kubel has to be one of the worst in baseball, and Presley didn't impress me much in 2013 (-0.8 dWAR). And we all know about Plouffe, plus there will definitely be a defensive downgrade at Catcher.

FWIW (always controversial)-
White Sox UZR: -15.1
Twins 2013 UZR: -42.2

Edited by jokin, 06 February 2014 - 11:18 PM.


#22 Riverbrian

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 06:04 AM

Dio is taller than Udo, although technically, Ronnie James loses, as he is now 6 Feet Under.
:fenforcer:



I question seeing the Twins defense as improving or even being "OK". The corner OF of Willingham, Arcia and Kubel has to be one of the worst in baseball, and Presley didn't impress me much in 2013 (-0.8 dWAR). And we all know about Plouffe, plus there will definitely be a defensive downgrade at Catcher.

FWIW (always controversial)-
White Sox UZR: -15.1
Twins 2013 UZR: -42.2


Florimon and Dozier up the middle. Those two take away hits. And they by themselves make us respectable defensively in my opinion.

I think Suzuki, Mauer and Presley will be alright.

And I completely agree with you that the outfield corners and Plouffe are defensive compromises.

UZR? I don't belong to that church. ;)

But we do need speeeeed.

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#23 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 07:34 AM

What a sad state of affairs for our favorite team...we're reduced to arguing whether the Twins or the Sox are really the worst team in the league.

#24 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 07:50 AM

Sounds like you're underselling what the Sox accomplished both in-season last year in trading off their veterans and in their offseason upgrades- admittedly not a very good offensive team, but, in comparison to the Twins, at least they addressed the issue and landed one wild card, huge breakout potential bat in Abreu and a minor breakout bat in Eaton, but most importantly, you're underselling a far superior Starting Staff:

1) ZiPS projects Chris Sale has the second-highest projected WAR value among SPs in 2014....The true Ace that the Twins lack.

2a) The combined projected ZiPS WAR for the Sox SPs is 11.2...for the Twins, 3.3.

2b) The Sox top 4 Starters all project higher ZiPS WAR than the Twins second highest projected pitcher, Phil Hughes (0.8 zWAR).

3) The average ZiPS projected ERA+ per SP on the Sox is 108.2...for the Twins, 84.6.


Yeah, the Sox staff looks better on paper, for sure... No arguments there. But the Twins drastically upgraded their staff in both quantity and quality. The gap between the two is almost surely going to be less than it was in 2013 and could reach parity if a few things break right for the Twins. The Twins' starters had a 5.26 ERA in 2013... Without catastrophic injuries, is that any way they don't cut close to a run off that total? How many wins is that worth by itself?

As for the offense, the Sox added Abreu, which is nice for them. But, again, they have no breakout players on the team outside of him. They have a smattering of good young players and a bunch of stiffs. Not terribly different than the Twins, really... Until you factor in that the Twins have a handful of wildcards that could drastically alter the 2014 season.

Hicks, Arcia, and Gibson out of spring training. Hey, they could all flop on their faces, like Gibson and Hicks did in 2013... Or they could just as easily turn into 2+ WAR players apiece.

Later in the season, Sano will be on the roster and Meyer will probably be right behind him. Hey, maybe they flop as well... Or maybe they dominate right out of the gate.

That's five guys who could be the difference between 65 and 75 wins on the season and I'm not even mentioning Phil Hughes, who *should* profile extremely well in Target Field and easily trump his Yankee Stadium numbers. He's still just entering his age 28 season.

Again, both are bad teams. One team has a bunch of kids who could break out and change the team dynamic beginning in Spring Training. The other, not so much and one very good player isn't going to change that. Hughes, Nolasco, and Pelfrey combined should easily post a larger WAR increase over 2013 than Abreu unless he suddenly turns into Miguel Cabrera.

#25 TheLeviathan

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 09:33 AM

Without catastrophic injuries, is that any way they don't cut close to a run off that total? How many wins is that worth by itself?


But we've heard that before haven't we? I'm pretty confident we'll be better, but we're also banking on an NL convert and two rebound seasons to do that. With the Sox, their floor is lower but they have much more reason for optimism than we do.

Essentially, some Sox fan could make the exact same arguments you are based on their inherent bias. I see the case for both sides and they look about equally weighted to me.

The only way that changes, in my opinion, is if Sano starts the year with the team. Then we're talking a different situation.

#26 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 09:37 AM

But we've heard that before haven't we? I'm pretty confident we'll be better, but we're also banking on an NL convert and two rebound seasons to do that. With the Sox, their floor is lower but they have much more reason for optimism than we do.


The Twins haven't hauled in the quality or quantity of starting pitchers we've seen this offseason since, what, 1991? While "we've heard it before", it doesn't really apply here.

Essentially, some Sox fan could make the exact same arguments you are based on their inherent bias. I see the case for both sides and they look about equally weighted to me.


The Sox aren't in the midst of deploying five top 100 prospects to the MLB roster in 15 months. They may have optimism but it's not very grounded.

#27 spycake

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 10:05 AM

The White Sox offense indeed looks pretty dreadful, but man that starting pitching staff looks good. Sale is a legit ace, of course, Quintana's been pretty darn good too, and we'd love to have a guy like Erik Johnson right now.

I feel like the Twins have a lot more question marks at the moment -- Mauer is probably our most "solid" projectable guy but even he's coming off that concussion. Everybody else, outside the bullpen, has been up and down (or is thoroughly mediocre). And as much as the starting staff is improved, there is plenty of doubt that any of them can exceed a 95 ERA+. Meanwhile, Sale and Quintana project as confidently as any SP in the game right now -- quality, young, durable, etc.

On the other hand, the Twins do have some minor league reinforcements, but outside of Sano and Meyer they're not terribly close to arrival.

#28 Mike Sixel

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 10:14 AM

You guys crack me up....As Chief says, we are arguing over which team is likely to be bottom 5 vs bottom 10 in the entirety of MLB.....both teams are likely to BAD again this year. Sure, they both have some hope....but hope isn't "likeliness".....

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#29 spycake

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 10:34 AM

The Twins haven't hauled in the quality or quantity of starting pitchers we've seen this offseason since, what, 1991? While "we've heard it before", it doesn't really apply here.

That's an incredibly low bar, though.

The "quantity" was necessary only because how epically bad the starting staff has been the past two years. So they're already starting from a super-low point.

And the "quality" added is very modest -- the best and healthiest guy is a career 94 ERA+ pitcher. Heck, the two other guys barely even provide quantity if you want to look at their recent IP totals. It's really only "quality" in that it's an improvement over our historically bad performances. It doesn't compare in the slightest with Chicago's starting staff (even acknowledge Chicago is far from perfect).

Sale is legit ace, and the White Sox had two additional starters basically top any performance by the Twins starters or signees last year (Quintana and Santiago, although the latter has since been traded for offense). Plus Erik Johnson, who's like a younger Kyle Gibson without the injury and with a successful MLB debut.

The Sox aren't in the midst of deploying five top 100 prospects to the MLB roster in 15 months. They may have optimism but it's not very grounded.

And to this, just remember that none of Quintana, Santiago, or Johnson have ever been ranked as BA top 100 prospects. (Although Johnson may get ranked this year)

I'm not going to argue if someone says the White Sox are better at the moment, at least not until the Twins future is at least a little closer -- our best prospects have yet to even take the field in a AAA game (or AA, in the case of Buxton and all of our pitching prospects outside of Meyer).

#30 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 10:44 AM

That's an incredibly low bar, though.

The "quantity" was necessary only because how epically bad the starting staff has been the past two years. So they're already starting from a super-low point.

And the "quality" added is very modest -- the best and healthiest guy is a career 94 ERA+ pitcher. Heck, the two other guys barely even provide quantity if you want to look at their recent IP totals. It's really only "quality" in that it's an improvement over our historically bad performances. It doesn't compare in the slightest with Chicago's starting staff (even acknowledge Chicago is far from perfect).


It's an incredibly low bar, yes... But considering that most of the Twins rotation was negative WAR in 2013, it doesn't take much to get a lot better.

And if Hughes is healthy, I don't see how he doesn't improve drastically in Target Field. The guy was a Yankee Stadium nightmare and his home/road splits were comical. Ignoring potential injuries, worst case scenario is that he turns into Scott Baker lite. Best case scenario, he turns into "good" Scott Baker. That's a 3-4 win difference in the rotation right there.

Yeah, lots of stuff can go wrong... But you can say that about any baseball team. When your team is graduating around a half dozen top 100 prospects in 13-14 months, chances are at least two or three of them will stick.

I just don't see how the White Sox improve much on their 2013 campaign while the Twins are almost surely going to improve on theirs. It's not as if Sale and Quintana are going to get that much better than they were in 2013 and the Sox won only 63 games. In 2013, they posted 10 WAR between the two of them. What kind of upside do they have at this point?

#31 Willihammer

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 10:46 AM

I say this every year but I think team Cuba could surprise some people. 3 pretty good lefties in that rotation and if the timing is right, they could match up favorably in 3-4 game series within the division, with Detroit being the only real RH-heavy lineup.

I think Abreu will rake. Dunn is always a threat (contract year). Eaton, Viciedo, Garcia... definitely upside.

#32 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 10:52 AM

Boy, it's hard to be a Twins fan right now.

"Hey, I think the White Sox are the 28th best team in baseball."

"No, the Twins are 28th. The Sox are 29th."

"I'm gonna go watch some soccer."

#33 birdwatcher

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 10:56 AM

You guys crack me up....As Chief says, we are arguing over which team is likely to be bottom 5 vs bottom 10 in the entirety of MLB.....both teams are likely to BAD again this year. Sure, they both have some hope....but hope isn't "likeliness".....


You're absolutely right, mike, there's practically zero chance either team will even reach the level of mediocrity in 2014. But there's nothing wrong with hope unless it's false hope, and that's the difference between the teams. I certainly wouldn't tune in to watch the Twins if there was little hope. But here's why I'm willng to tolerate whatever happens in 2014: Arcia, Pinto, Hicks, Gibson, Tonkin, Meyer, and Sano. I hope they ALL contribute by or before 2015, and it's very highly likely that most of them will. That's a boatload of hope,and then it gets even better: Buxton, Rosario, Santana, May, Gilmartin, Baxendale, and Turner. Another seven who could possibly arrive as early as 2015. So that's 14 players that make the hope very real and huge improvement very likely, starting in 2014 and accelerating.

The Twins have 12 prosects who have been ranked among baseball's top 125 prospects by various credible sources. Twelve!! The White Sox? Three.

The Twins will be more fun to watch in 2014. ecae wehave real hope arriving.

#34 birdwatcher

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:03 AM

Twelve prospects ranked among MLB to 125 in the past tw years: Buxton, Sano, Meyer, Stewart, Rosario, Pinto, Berrios, Gibson, Hicks, Arcia, Kepler, and Thorpe.

#35 Mike Sixel

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:09 AM

I agree, 2015 and beyond looks promising....but this is about 2014 and outcomes. It isn't even about if they are more or less fun to watch due to youth, which is what I think will happen this year, finally. The discussion was about outcomes in 2014.

As a warning on "prospects" and the future, there is a nice article on Fangraphs reminding us that SD had traded a bunch of vets for prospects, and had the #1 farm system in the league three years ago.....and thanks to injuries and other problems, they now have a mid-tier farm system, and little improvement (or actual worsening) at the MLB level. Not trying to say I think that will happen, but it reminds us that until a guy is good at the MLB level, its all projection.

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#36 ashburyjohn

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:16 AM

Those two take away hits. ...
UZR? I don't belong to that church. ;)


If they take away hits, it should show up somewhere in the record, and should be measurable (even if indirectly). What way of verifying a middle infielder's hits-taken-away do you like, instead?

#37 ashburyjohn

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:18 AM

What a sad state of affairs for our favorite team...we're reduced to arguing whether the Twins or the Sox are really the worst team in the league.


Don't overlook the Astros. It's hard to repeat but they have a shot.

Edited by ashburyjohn, 07 February 2014 - 11:22 AM.
Would be a three-peat but I forgot they weren't in the league in 2012


#38 birdwatcher

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:20 AM

Sorry, I missed the fine print that restricted the conversation about the power rankings to 2014 outcomes. :o

So, sticking to that, the outcome for 2014, for me, will be a much more fun, interesting, and hopeful season and the Twins will end up with a better poewr ranking than #26. Even better that Chicago.

And San Diego's farm system was no match for the Twins in 2014, not even close.

#39 TheLeviathan

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:27 AM

The Twins haven't hauled in the quality or quantity of starting pitchers we've seen this offseason since, what, 1991? While "we've heard it before", it doesn't really apply here.


Well, if you base those acquisitions on their production last year....how much of an improvement will it really be? You are basing the improvement of the staff on the improvement of those pitchers...not their storied histories of success in the AL. So you're writing in as near-certain things that weren't even true last year. Then doing the reverse when you assess the Sox. Just not a fair analysis.

The Sox aren't in the midst of deploying five top 100 prospects to the MLB roster in 15 months. They may have optimism but it's not very grounded.


How many of those will be here this year and for how much of the year? I don't think that's very settled, that's a major wild card quite frankly. I'd wager most of them are closer to 15 months than 5.

Edited by TheLeviathan, 07 February 2014 - 11:29 AM.


#40 Mike Sixel

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:34 AM

Sorry, I missed the fine print that restricted the conversation about the power rankings to 2014 outcomes. :o

So, sticking to that, the outcome for 2014, for me, will be a much more fun, interesting, and hopeful season and the Twins will end up with a better poewr ranking than #26. Even better that Chicago.

And San Diego's farm system was no match for the Twins in 2014, not even close.


ha, good one on the "restriction".....I got the feeling you were arguing against a point I was not making, that's what I was trying to say, but didn't.

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?