Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.

The Store

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Photo

Will this team be the worst of the last four years?

  • Please log in to reply
230 replies to this topic

#31 LaBombo

LaBombo

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 3,309 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 07:59 PM

Way too much doom and gloom in this thread.

The same was said often in the runup to the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and even sometimes before the 2011 season.

Nearly 300 losses later, predictions of 90+ losses no longer represents the threshold of irrational pessimism. Predictions of relocation or contraction do.

#32 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,734 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:04 PM

The same was said often in the runup to the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and even sometimes before the 2011 season.

Nearly 300 losses later, predictions of 90+ losses no longer represents the threshold of irrational pessimism. Predictions of relocation or contraction do.


I wouldn't go as far as that last part, but the rest is spot on. At this point, what has this club earned but doom and gloom? Especially with what the offense looks like. It could be historically awful.

#33 Sconnie

Sconnie

    King of his Castle

  • Members
  • 1,445 posts
  • LocationNW Wisconsin

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:09 PM

The pitching is improved, but that improvement is limited by poor fielding behind them. I don't think the hitting is significantly worse than last year. 70 wins

#34 stringer bell

stringer bell

    Front office apologist

  • Twins News Team
  • 4,610 posts
  • LocationZumbrota MN

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:12 PM

Willingham and Arcia are absolute keys to the offense. If they both hit like last year, the club will be worse offensively. There are reasons to expect turnarounds for both, but no promises. The Twins will need to hit homers since they really don't have a lot of players good at producing runs in other ways. Arcia and Willingham need to hit homers and drive in runs.

Pitching should be better, but it will still probably be below average. We've ignored the possibility that members of the bullpen will regress. I believe that will happen, but that the starters and the back end of the bullpen will improve.

#35 Brock Beauchamp

Brock Beauchamp

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 9,305 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:19 PM

The same was said often in the runup to the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and even sometimes before the 2011 season.

Nearly 300 losses later, predictions of 90+ losses no longer represents the threshold of irrational pessimism. Predictions of relocation or contraction do.


People aren't predicting 90 losses... I think that's about where the Twins end up this year, were I a betting man.

The operative word is "worse". To be worse than a 96, 99, and 96 loss team, you need to lose 100 games.

And given the pitching improvements, it takes quite a bit of doom and gloom to predict a 100 loss season.

#36 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,734 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:24 PM

People aren't predicting 90 losses... I think that's about where the Twins end up this year, were I a betting man.

The operative word is "worse". To be worse than a 96, 99, and 96 loss team, you need to lose 100 games.

And given the pitching improvements, it takes quite a bit of doom and gloom to predict a 100 loss season.


We also heard the same thing before last season and by all measures but the actual W-L, you could argue the team was, in fact, worse last year than the previous year. This after an offseason of insistence that there was " no way" we could pitch any worse.

This could be a 97, 98, 99 loss team and actually play better overall than last year.

#37 Brad Swanson

Brad Swanson

    Señior Member

  • Members
  • 675 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:25 PM

There's absolutely an avenue that leads the Twins to an improved offense in 2014.

- Mauer plays more games at the level of performance that he has already established
- Willingham rebounds to pre-2012 form, or just slightly worse (126 OPS+ from 2009-2011, it would be unwise to expect his 2012 form).
- Hicks and Arcia improve. This seems reasonable considering their talent, age and the fact that Hicks couldn't get any worse.
- Dozier improves. For all the praise we gave Dozier last year, he was exactly league-average offensively (100 OPS+). He was better than that from June on though.
- If Hicks falters, the Twins can go to Alex Presley instead of Clete Thomas, Presley is a much better hitter than Thomas.
- While Suzuki certainly cannot match Morneau's production in 2013, Pinto could. If the Twins tire of Suzuki's bat or Pinto forces their hand, he could easily match Morneau's 104 OPS+.
- Eduardo Escobar should get Jamey Carroll's at-bats from last year. Escobar was nothing special last year, but he's young and his OPS+ (74) was significantly better than Carroll's (53).

So far, the two biggest reasons that have been cited for the Twins having a worse offense are the Morneau for Suzuki swap (legit) and the energy level of the veterans during Spring Training (subjective at best, unfair and irrelevant at worst).

The lineup doesn't look great right now, but I think the dial has swung just a little too far toward the cliff, when there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic and realistic at the same time.

Edited by Brad Swanson, 23 March 2014 - 08:29 PM.

"Let's get after it." ~ Someone on the Twins, probably.
Kevin Slowey was Framed!


#38 twinsnorth49

twinsnorth49

    Moderately Moderate

  • Twins Mods
  • 3,976 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:28 PM

People aren't predicting 90 losses... I think that's about where the Twins end up this year, were I a betting man.

The operative word is "worse". To be worse than a 96, 99, and 96 loss team, you need to lose 100 games.

And given the pitching improvements, it takes quite a bit of doom and gloom to predict a 100 loss season.



I don't want this team to lose 100 games , or even 90 games for that matter Brock. But are you telling me it isn't possible? The pitching is better but by no means a certainty.

#39 Brock Beauchamp

Brock Beauchamp

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 9,305 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:30 PM

We also heard the same thing before last season and by all measures but the actual W-L, you could argue the team was, in fact, worse last year than the previous year. This after an offseason of insistence that there was " no way" we could pitch any worse.

This could be a 97, 98, 99 loss team and actually play better overall than last year.


The title of this thread is "is this the worst team of the last four years?"

That requires a 100 loss season. I don't see how anyone could predict that without a healthy dose of pessimism.

#40 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,734 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:33 PM

The lineup doesn't look great right now, but I think the dial has swung just a little too far toward the cliff, when there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic and realistic at the same time.


Except there are serious flaws in your reasons. Mauer will play in more games, but that doesn't mean it'll be an improvement on last year. In the games Mauer missed he was replaced by Pinto's superhuman September.

Willingham is old and breaking down. It's more likely 2012 is his reality than 4 years ago or even 2 years ago.

And it ignores how many at-bats this team might feed to Suzuki, Kubel, Florimon, Plouffe, Hermann, etc. that might be as bad or worse than their complements last year.

Dozier, Arcia, and Hicks are really the only hopes the Twins have for improvements and there is reason to be dubious of all three. And reason to be optimistic as well.

#41 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,734 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:35 PM

The title of this thread is "is this the worst team of the last four years?"

That requires a 100 loss season. I don't see how anyone could predict that without a healthy does of pessimism.


They are likely to have a worse record if they play about the same as last year.

You think it's impossible that the SP upgrades might be offset by a worse lineup and bullpen?

#42 Twins Daily Admin

Twins Daily Admin

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • 202 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:38 PM

FWIW, Vegas set the number at 70.5, which is 4.5 games more than they have won any of the last three years. So it seems there are plenty more believers than pessimists.

#43 Brock Beauchamp

Brock Beauchamp

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 9,305 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:39 PM

They are likely to have a worse record if they play about the same as last year.

You think it's impossible that the SP upgrades might be offset by a worse lineup and bullpen?


The pitching staff and offense were ranked 14th and 13th respectively last season; it's hard to envision the offense lapsing badly enough to offset the substantial pitching upgrades.

#44 Boom Boom

Boom Boom

    Hydraulic Choppers

  • Members
  • 1,226 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:40 PM

I was expecting the offense to be bad, but after seeing this team in action I'm very concerned about the defense. Specifically Mauer. I thought it would be a smooth transition but there's going to be an adjustment period. I was surprised with how raw he was at first.

Add that in with Willingham, Arcia, and Plouffe, and it could be uglier than we've seen in a long time.

#45 Brad Swanson

Brad Swanson

    Señior Member

  • Members
  • 675 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:41 PM

I don't want this team to lose 100 games , or even 90 games for that matter Brock. But are you telling me it isn't possible? The pitching is better but by no means a certainty.


I'm not sure we are fully embracing how much better the pitching could be in 2014. The Twins got 72 starts from these five individuals last year: Kyle Gibson (10 starts), P.J. Walters (8 starts), Liam Hendriks (8 starts), Vance Worley (10 starts), Pedro Hernandez (12 starts), and Scott Diamond (24 starts). Those guys combined for an ERA just above 6.

I'm not sure how good Ricky Nolasco will be in the AL and I'm not sure that all of Phil Hughes' struggles will be fixed due to a ballpark change, but I am 100% certain that those guys can give the Twins 50-60 starts that are significantly better than the five guys in the previous paragraph. If Gibson improves (a reasonable bet based on his talent and age), then those 72 horrible starts I listed above could become league-average starts or better. If that happens, the rotation should be just fine.

You could argue that Kevin Correia pitched above his head last year and I would probably agree with you. However, I'd also argue that Mike Pelfrey was generally better in the past than he was last year, so maybe those two will swap roles in 2014 and their combined performance will even out.

I'm clearly an optimist when it comes to this team, but I also don't think that I've written anything that is crazy or delusional. There's a realistic chance that this team wins 75 games in 2014.

"Let's get after it." ~ Someone on the Twins, probably.
Kevin Slowey was Framed!


#46 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,734 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:42 PM

The pitching staff and offense were ranked 14th and 13th respectively last season; it's hard to envision the offense lapsing badly enough to offset the substantial pitching upgrades.


Those "substantial upgrades" are represented by a pitcher who had an ERA+ of 78 last year, a guy coming over from the NL who has never been dominant, and a guy hoping for a bounceback from an injury. Let's not pretend we signed a couple aces here.

They are probably a couple games better...but that's not so wide a margin to suggest a couple games worse is somehow preposterous.

#47 Brock Beauchamp

Brock Beauchamp

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 9,305 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:43 PM

I don't want this team to lose 100 games , or even 90 games for that matter Brock. But are you telling me it isn't possible? The pitching is better but by no means a certainty.


Possible? Sure.

Likely? No.

People are ignoring just how awful the starters were last season. Teams give 162 starts to pitchers. All but about FORTY (~25%) went to below replacement level pitchers.

Think about that for a moment. Three quarters of your starts given to guys who shouldn't be on an MLB roster.

The 2014 rotation alone could be worth ten wins over the 2013 version by not being anything more than "meh". And there's simply no way the offense, already bad in 2013, can give back even five wins unless Mauer gets injured.

Hell, the offense might even improve if a few things go right.

#48 bdoom5

bdoom5

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 11 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:52 PM

They should be a little better this year. Their SP was horrible last year. Nolasco and Hughes are going to help. A fully recovered Pelfrey should have a better year (start to finish) as compared to last year. The 5th starter is also not going to be a AAAA pitcher. Gibson/Deduno will be better than the 5th SP of last year.

The offense might not be any better but they can't hardly be worse than last year. I believe we will see a better version of Aaron Hicks this year. The big question is will we get something remotely close to the 2012 version of Willingham or will he play at or even below 2013 levels. He has looked horrible this spring.


Oh, it can be worse than last year. Hicks might not even make the club out of spring. I saw Presley in person two weeks ago in Ft. Meyers, he looks like a high schooler. Pinto might not make the club. Suzuki isn't a good hitter, and he doesn't get on base. Florimon is a terrible hitter and his "D" is overrated. Mauer is a great hitter but he doesn't drive in a lot of runs. Mainly because no one is on base when he is up, but even when they are, he hits into a ton of DP's. The front office should've went after Michael Young, Stephen Drew, and nelson Cruz. I know they aren't all stars, but at least decent hitters that want to win. And they all could've been had on the short and relative cheap. Nobody in this lineup scares pitchers.

#49 D. Hocking

D. Hocking

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 536 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:53 PM

I tend to lean towards being overly-optimistic this time of year (figure what harm can it do, and there will be enough time to be pessimistic in the regular season).

But since this thread is a little more doom and gloom...I am starting to wonder if Mauer will be Mauer as mentioned earlier in this thread. It seems like he has not been sharp defensively and his hitting has not been up to his standards. Now, the defense could easily be just getting used to the new position and spring training hitting really does not mean anything, but it has planted a seed in my head that the concussion might have done some permanent damage to his skills. It sounds like his symptoms were bad last fall, and I am wondering if it is possible that he might never have a full recovery (Justin never really did). There is all the talk about him being able to play more, but will it be the Joe Mauer of old, or a lesser version of him.

This is all just worst case scenario speculation. I have heard had no reports about him having any issues. I do think we will be a little better than last year, but spring training has not exactly given me many positive vibes (but again, spring training often does not reflect how the season will go).

#50 Brock Beauchamp

Brock Beauchamp

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 9,305 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:56 PM

Those "substantial upgrades" are represented by a pitcher who had an ERA+ of 78 last year, a guy coming over from the NL who has never been dominant, and a guy hoping for a bounceback from an injury. Let's not pretend we signed a couple aces here.

They are probably a couple games better...but that's not so wide a margin to suggest a couple games worse is somehow preposterous.


Excluding Correia and Deduno, last year's rotation had something around a -6.0 WAR.

Again, we don't need to see anything better than a 90 ERA+ to see a 6-8 win improvement from the rotation.

They were THAT BAD.

#51 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,734 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:58 PM

Excluding Correia and Deduno, last year's rotation had something around a -6.0 WAR.

Again, we don't need to see anything better than a 90 ERA+ to see a 6-8 win improvement from the rotation.

They were THAT BAD.


We heard the same refrain and the same lecturing before last year. You should understand why many would need to see it to believe it.

#52 Brad Swanson

Brad Swanson

    Señior Member

  • Members
  • 675 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:04 PM

We heard the same refrain and the same lecturing before last year. You should understand why many would need to see it to believe it.


This is true, but the Twins' starting pitching was actually worse in 2012 (5.40 starters' ERA) than in 2013 (5.26 starters' ERA) and they did less to address the starting pitching in the 2012 offseason than they did in the 2013 offseason.

Edited by Brad Swanson, 23 March 2014 - 09:06 PM.

"Let's get after it." ~ Someone on the Twins, probably.
Kevin Slowey was Framed!


#53 Joe A. Preusser

Joe A. Preusser

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 726 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:04 PM

A real fan? As one who isn't all that confident this team will match last year's wins total I assume you're talking to me.

Just so I have this straight, real fan -70 wins, not real fan-65 wins, is that correct?

Don't think you're more of a fan of this team just because you choose to believe something I don't. It's an insult to my intelligence and yours.



I'm certainly not insulting my intelligence.
To be a fan of something, it is assumed a person actually likes that thing, is excited by that thing, and enjoys experiencing that thing. Such blatant pessimism from the majority of posters is not congruent with that. No one is saying blind optimism is needed, but realism and perhaps guarded optimism would seem appropriate. We are fans because doing so makes up happy. I've watched the same three extremely difficult years you all have and been just as frustrated at times as you all have too. Yet I'm not on here trashing the team, the management, the ownership, the chances for success ad nausea just out of bitterness and spite. So yes, that makes me a better fan than many posters on here. I won't apologize for that.

#54 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 7,257 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:04 PM

Didn't they outperform their pythag by 5-8 games? I am still going with "no", not the worst of the last 4 years, but I still think they are looking at 90 losses, again. Pretty depressing, with Sano out....and now not likely to start up here next year either. The defense might be the worst it has ever been, if you think this is a fly ball pitching staff and Willingham will play in the OF.....that's a lot of extra hits/runs.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#55 Brock Beauchamp

Brock Beauchamp

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 9,305 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:04 PM

We heard the same refrain and the same lecturing before last year. You should understand why many would need to see it to believe it.


Despite obvious improvements, you need to see improvement from the pitching staff before you can predict anything but this team being a 100 loss team?

How do you not see the inherent pessimism in this stance?

I'm not being blindly optimistic; Vegas is also predicting the Twins to be better.

#56 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,734 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:09 PM

You need to see improvement from the pitching staff before you can predict anything but this team being a 100 loss team?

How do you not see the inherent pessimism in this stance?

I'm not being blindly optimistic; Vegas is also predicting the Twins to be better.


Vegas is not "predicting" anything. They set a line they feel they can make money on and there are a multitude of factors in that.

And given that they outperformed their pythagorean by 5 games, no, I don't think it's pessimistic. To get to 70 they'd essentially have to play 9 games better than last year. I'm not convinced (by a long shot) that this team is 9 wins better. I could see the argument for 3-5 wins which would essentially put them where they were last year.

#57 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,734 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:12 PM

So yes, that makes me a better fan than many posters on here. I won't apologize for that.


Couldn't I, by your same logic, argue the fact that I continue to support the team and care about it inspite of my belief that the team won't be very good makes me a better fan? After all, I don't have to pretend it's all roses to care, right?

Or, better yet, maybe we're all fans and trying to maintain a superiority about your fandom is juvenile and unnecessary.

#58 Brock Beauchamp

Brock Beauchamp

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 9,305 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:18 PM

Vegas is not "predicting" anything. They set a line they feel they can make money on and there are a multitude of factors in that.

And given that they outperformed their pythagorean by 5 games, no, I don't think it's pessimistic. To get to 70 they'd essentially have to play 9 games better than last year. I'm not convinced (by a long shot) that this team is 9 wins better. I could see the argument for 3-5 wins which would essentially put them where they were last year.


Vegas puts the odds in the middle. That way they earn money. They split what people are betting to guarantee profit. Don't turn this into a semantical argument. You know what I mean by "Vegas is predicting".

If you want to argue that this is a 66 win team, I won't bother arguing that. It's close, though I think they end up at 70-72.

But 100 losses? No way. That will require multiple injuries to key players.

#59 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,734 posts

Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:21 PM

But 100 losses? No way. That will require multiple injuries to key players.


You're talking about a four game swing either way. I'd suggest the odds of 70 are about as good as 62.

You keep implying their line is "in the middle" as a way to suggest a range of likely record. It's in the middle of betting sentiment. These are not the same thing.

#60 Willihammer

Willihammer

    ice cream correspondent

  • Members
  • 3,328 posts
  • LocationSaint Paul

Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:21 PM

The 2013 team overperformed their pythagoran w-l by 5 games but the offense also underperformed by 31 runs, according to wRC. Plouffe, Hammer, Parmelee, Arcia, Florimon, Presley, and Mauer all hit worse with RISP than they did overall. Its reasonable to expect them as a group to regress.

edit: the 2013 team only overperformed their pythagoran w-l by 3 games.

Edited by Willihammer, 23 March 2014 - 09:28 PM.