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

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#61 ChiTownTwinsFan

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:23 PM

Moderator note: We are ALL fans for better and for worse. Let's stop that aspect of this debate, please, and back to the discussion of this year's team ... better or worse than last year?

Edited by ChiTownTwinsFan, 23 March 2014 - 09:32 PM.

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#62 Boom Boom

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:24 PM

Side note - can we refrain from arguing who is a better fan than whom?

Looks like ChiTown beat me to that.

#63 CRArko

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:24 PM

The more interesting question is: will this be the worst team of the next four years?

#64 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:24 PM

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.


Ugh. And the betting aggregate is generally in line with predictions. Seriously, Levi. Don't miss the forest for the trees.

#65 TheLeviathan

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:27 PM

Ugh. And the betting aggregate is generally in line with predictions. Seriously, Levi. Don't miss the forest for the trees.


I'm not, you're using it as evidence for your sentiment and it isn't. The worst part is you're giving the same lecture many did last year about how awful people are for being pessimistic because "they just have to be better".

Well, no, they don't and the pessimist label is too often thrown around as a way to diminish a legitimate opinion.

I see an awful defense, an awful offense, and a bullpen I worry about regressing. It may very well be the worst of the bunch.

#66 birdwatcher

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:32 PM

My bet coincidentally was placed today in Vegas. I bet the over (73 wins, maybe).
Five main reasons: Worley, Diamond, Hernandez, DeVries, and Walters.

#67 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:35 PM

I'm not, you're using it as evidence for your sentiment and it isn't. The worst part is you're giving the same lecture many did last year about how awful people are for being pessimistic because "they just have to be better".


I'm not arguing they have to be better as a team. I'm saying it will require disaster to be worse than 2011, which happens to be the point of the thread.

And it requires a lot of pessimism to believe this team is worse than the 2011 squad.

#68 TheLeviathan

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:38 PM

I'm not arguing they have to be better as a team. I'm saying it will require disaster to be worse than 2011, which happens to be the point of the thread.


The disaster may have already happened in thinking Suzuki, Bartlett, and Kubel represented enough help for the offense.

We're three years running in which these always-wrong pessimists have been right, despite any mountain-top preaching to the contrary. At this point, I think we're about 66 wins again, but I wouldn't rule out 100 losses given this roster and its depth. I also wouldn't begrudge anyone who did.

#69 jokin

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:45 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.


Add in Arcia, Presley and Kubel to that OF mix, and in the immortal words of Gardy, circa 2011: "...that's scary.....scary."

But I'm trying to stay optimistic and say that the team is hitting rock bottom as we speak..... and I'm sticking with my 70-74 number with the starting pitching lowering it's ERA by around 1 run/game. Why, you ask? There were 49 one run games in 2013 and 16 extra inning games. With an improved rotation and some rookie help on the way, the bullpen will be less taxed, meaning shooting for giving up one less run/game gives you many more chances to win 4-9 more close games in 2014 than the 24 won in 2013. And might I add to that, the SOS of this year's schedule is essentially the same as last year's, with Detroit possibly coming a little back to the pack in the Central.

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:56 PM

My bet coincidentally was placed today in Vegas. I bet the over (73 wins, maybe).
Five main reasons: Worley, Diamond, Hernandez, DeVries, and Walters.

Some of those same names were used as justification at this time last year for why the Twins couldn't be worse in 2013, no?

Personally, it matters little to me whether the Twins lose 100 games or 92. While losing 92 would technically be better than the last three years, it wouldn't feel much if any different to me, and coming on the heels of three 90+ loss seasons, would probably feel worse, because there have now been multiple offseasons to fix the problems, yet where are we?

And for my money, it's going to take an extraordinary combination of positive answers to questions with mostly negative possible answers for this team not to lose 90+ again.

#71 old nurse

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 10:00 PM

Morneau, Doumit and a bunch of other outfielders that are available in AAA were the losses from the offense. Pinto could provide what Morneau did last year. If the rest maintain where they were at and Hicks hits better the offense should not be any worse than last year. Pitching staff is better. It might mean that they lose closer games, it might mean a better team. The one thing that is certain is nothing. There is a big pile of ifs. If a few things go bad, they could lose 100. If everything breaks to the good, they could be .500.
That everything is Hughes, Pelphry, Nolasco pitch like middle of rotation pitchers, Gibson gets there by mid season, Arcia, Hicks and Pinto are the real deal, Danny Santana gets there by mid season, and one of Collabello or Parmelee steps forward or the Twins pick up an above average player to fill that role like they did with Shannon Stewart. One can be optimistic until cold reality hits.

#72 old nurse

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 10:07 PM

Some of those same names were used as justification at this time last year for why the Twins couldn't be worse in 2013, no?


no. Diamond and Devries were on the DL by the start of the season. Hernandez and Walters were in AAA

#73 notoriousgod71

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 10:18 PM

Why does everyone assume improvement? Haven't we seen time after time that lots of players regress? While Dozier was statistically average last season, he could very well go the way of Plouffe. Pinto could very well go the way of Parmelee. Swarzak very easily could go the way of Tony Fiore. Some are likely to regress, some will probably improve.

Everyone also seems to assume better health for Mauer. I will believe it when I see it. He is not exactly the model for endurance. People also seem to assume his statistics will automatically get better by moving to first base. I don't think that's a given by any means. He's now on the wrong side of 30, much like Willingham, Suzuki, and Kubel if he makes the team. Suzuki could be a Mike Lamb signing.

That's a lot of "coulds" and "maybes". Hopefully we see some measurable improvement out of more guys than not but it's not unthinkable that we a lot of guys could regress.

#74 jokin

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 10:42 PM

I see an awful defense, an awful offense, and a bullpen I worry about regressing. It may very well be the worst of the bunch.


I'm with you on the defense, but primarily the OF, the IF won't be too bad. No queston the offense stands a good chance to be worse. But the silver lining in the bullpen- and while I concur there may be some regression from last year's crew- is that there is immediate available alternative help at the ready---and Gardy has gone public in even maybe adding Meyer to that mix of good young arms like Tonkin champing at the bit in AAA and AA. Not only that, but consider:

1) Signing Guerrier could end up being a shrewd move on a healthy bounceback,

2) If I was Antony, I'd be ringing Jose Mijares' agent about a minor league deal as a backup plan for the LOOGY role, plus there are bound to be a couple more guys available for free next week.

3) Speaking of LHB pitching dominance, Deduno in an RP role is intriguing. Consider this 2012-2013 record of all qualifying pitchers against LHB, this is some pretty lofty company to be ranked #3 in this list-

1) Cliff Lee 1.56 ERA/98 IP
2) Jose Fernandez 1.91 ERA/89 IP
3) Samuel Deduno 2.04 ERA/111 IP
4) Jered Weaver 2.20 ERA/208 IP
5) Kris Medlen 2.42/171 IP
6) Gerrit Cole 2.58/52 IP
7) Matt Harvey 2.59/125 IP
8) Justin Verlander 2.67/263 IP
9) Johnny Cueto 2.69/137 IP
10) Matt Cain 2.74/130 IP

Edited by jokin, 23 March 2014 - 10:56 PM.


#75 ChiTownTwinsFan

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 10:45 PM

Why does everyone assume improvement? Haven't we seen time after time that lots of players regress? While Dozier was statistically average last season, he could very well go the way of Plouffe. Pinto could very well go the way of Parmelee. Swarzak very easily could go the way of Tony Fiore. Some are likely to regress, some will probably improve.

Everyone also seems to assume better health for Mauer. I will believe it when I see it. He is not exactly the model for endurance. People also seem to assume his statistics will automatically get better by moving to first base. I don't think that's a given by any means. He's now on the wrong side of 30, much like Willingham, Suzuki, and Kubel if he makes the team. Suzuki could be a Mike Lamb signing.

That's a lot of "coulds" and "maybes". Hopefully we see some measurable improvement out of more guys than not but it's not unthinkable that we a lot of guys could regress.


By that same logic why is it not unthinkable that we could see a lot of guys not regress, too. It's just the other side of the same coin. Frankly, I don't know what to think at this point so I'm going with my old standard of hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. It's anyone's guess at this point. But you asked the question, and the answers we've seen is that some think yes and some think no. And the truth is we won't know until the end of September.
When life gives you lemons, suck on them and persevere.

#76 jokin

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 10:52 PM

Morneau, Doumit and a bunch of other outfielders that are available in AAA were the losses from the offense. Pinto could provide what Morneau did last year. If the rest maintain where they were at and Hicks hits better the offense should not be any worse than last year. Pitching staff is better. It might mean that they lose closer games, it might mean a better team. The one thing that is certain is nothing. There is a big pile of ifs. If a few things go bad, they could lose 100. If everything breaks to the good, they could be .500.
That everything is Hughes, Pelphry, Nolasco pitch like middle of rotation pitchers, Gibson gets there by mid season, Arcia, Hicks and Pinto are the real deal, Danny Santana gets there by mid season, and one of Collabello or Parmelee steps forward or the Twins pick up an above average player to fill that role like they did with Shannon Stewart. One can be optimistic until cold reality hits.


Add Alex Meyer and Michael Tonkin to this list of "if" reasons to stay positive. I think you're correct that they can pick someone up for the OF and a Bat, only with the cold reality striking the Twins FO in the face this week, it could very well happen as soon as next week.

#77 TheBigGuy7273

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 01:53 AM

Pitching is much better, Gibson will be the 5, yes the offense is going to be bad, but they were pretty terrible last year. Defensively its the same guys for the most part, they aren't great but they are pretty good up the middle, and below average on the corners other than Joe. You'll have to remember, that the pitchers are going to miss more bats than last year, probably twice as many from the starters did last year, just with Ricky and Phil, and Gibson will probably be at 6.5-7 K/9 by mid season if not right up there with Ricky and Phil. If Gibson and get to or maybe just below league average and Ricky and Phil stay at their career numbers, you will probably have 400-450 k's just from those three, where as last year you didn't have that from the starters and didn't have much more then that from the pitching staff as a whole. As good as Perkins is, a closer should never come close to leading the team in strikeouts,

#78 Reider

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 04:26 AM

On paper the starting rotation and bullpen have more depth this year. 4 capable starters plus Gibson, who will hopefully pitch good enough to stay with the club this year. There are concerns about the bullpen, but with the addition of Deduno and possibly Tonkin, the Twins should be just fine. I hope Burton doesn't take another step backwards, but there's more depth this year, so it's not overly concerning to me.

Defensively, it will be similar to last year. Respectable up the middle, but a bit weak on the corners. Joe Mauer will make the odd mistake at first, but he'll do just fine.

The offense is the big question mark for me. I wasn't overly impressed with the hitting this spring training. It doesn't appear that the offense will be good this year, but if everyone hits the way they have in the past or the way many think they can hit in the future, this team could win more games than last year. Hitting would have to be down right awful in order for the Twins to lose 100 games this year. Odds are, the Twins will finish with a record similar to the last 3 seasons.

#79 Kwak

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 05:38 AM

Last year's team collasped in September--finishing 4-20. While there were several reasons, it is reasonable to conclude that "fight of the fight had left the dog." Simply 'battlin' as they did the previuos 5 months should have added 4 wins--closing at 8-16. While a poor finish, that is far more typical of what happens in baseball for "a rough patch". Conclusion: Adding those four wins and another four wins would not indicate "a better team"--just one that that is more typical of losing teams in MLB.
A big factor to guage this season's wins would be what did the othe other four teams in the division do to change their teams? A huge portion of the season is against division opponents. Changes in opponents will definately affect the season's total of wins.

Summing up: the betting line is reasonable (71) because last year's team basically threw away September (would they do it twice?!) and Cleveland (maybe KC) won't have the same success as 2013. But, we shouldn't conclude that winning 71 indicates improvement, but simply the vagarities of statistics.

#80 VATwinsFan

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 05:43 AM

The better starting pitching will only mean more 3-1 and 2-0 losses and fewer 8-1 and 10-2 losses.

They'll be fortunate to avoid 100 losses.

#81 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 05:50 AM

Just a quick question, but since when was the Pythag results the be all/end all of wins and losses? It seems to me that the Twins have consistently outperformed their pythagorean results from year to year... maybe that's just faulty memory, but that tells me that the theory doesn't necessarily hold water.... or that there's a reason they are able to do this (I believe bull pen has often been cited as the main possibility).

I'll stand by my original post. The pitching is vastly improved. The offense is more or less the same, adn there's a good case for improvements from several key components to the offense. Baring injury, they should be a lot easier to watch this year. Not expecting playoffs, but I woudln't be surprised in the least if they had less than 90 losses.

#82 Major Leauge Ready

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 06:24 AM

Why does everyone assume improvement? Haven't we seen time after time that lots of players regress? While Dozier was statistically average last season, he could very well go the way of Plouffe. Pinto could very well go the way of Parmelee. Swarzak very easily could go the way of Tony Fiore. Some are likely to regress, some will probably improve.


I doubt those who are not in the camp believing this team is going to be even worse are making any assumptions about the players we had last year improving. The only loss offensively was Morneau and he certainly was not a difference maker. And it seems reasonable to believe that it is more likely that Hicks and Arcia improve vs regress. Pinto had no impact in terms of wins and lossess. They had a terrible record the last month of the season. The most reasonable assumption IMO is that they will remain the same offensively and could be slightly better if Hicks plays to his potential. That would be a big boost at the top of the order where they got absolutely no production last year. I doubt Willingham could be worse than last year but I suppose it is possible.

Is it safe to say the pitching SHOULD be much improved. If the offense is the same and the pitching is much better, I don't know how you come to the conclusion this team is going to be worse than the last three years.

They can also improve defensively quite a bit by keeping Willingham in a DH role. Even Kubel is quite a bit better than him in the OF. There is also a reasonable chance they make a trade or pick up someone off waivers in the next week or so.

Edited by Major Leauge Ready, 24 March 2014 - 07:44 AM.


#83 CRArko

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 07:13 AM

Last year's team collasped in September--finishing 4-20. While there were several reasons, it is reasonable to conclude that "fight of the fight had left the dog."


Having Mauer healthy and able to play the last couple months of the season may make a difference, too.

And if Willingham regresses to the mean his season should be considerably better than last year.

Edited by crarko, 24 March 2014 - 07:15 AM.


#84 rpar1951

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 08:03 AM

Even before spring training began, I saw their pitching "improvements" as just guys who could be cannon fodder for longer innings per start. Their performances this month do nothing to change that opinion. Dramatic pitching improvement????!!! Posh! And the offense is, indeed, worse. Even though the bullpen hasn't shown much this spring, I expect it will be fine once the games start counting. But even the management is publicly complaining about the lack of production with the bats. But who can they trade? Who would WANT any of these guys? It will be tough for this team to get 65 wins. And I'm staying away from Target Field as long as Gardenhire and Anderson are still wearing Twins uniforms.

#85 ericchri

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 08:23 AM

There's plenty of reason to be optimistic or pessimistic about this year. I don't even know how people can be so certain what's going to happen. The whole team is a big set of if's. If Mauer is healthy, if Dozier is for real, if Willingham can bounce back, if Arcia can limit his strikeouts, if Hughes is better outside of New York, if Pelfrey is better 2 years after TJ, if Kubel isn't cooked, if Hicks isn't horrible, if, if, if...

Could it be the worst? Sure. It could also be pretty decent. I don't see much likelihood of going below 60 wins, and I also don't see much chance to get over .500 for the season. With that much uncertainty, though, I'll just split the difference and guess around 70 wins, add a couple for being optimistic before the season officially starts and predict 72-90.

I just hope they make it watchable this year, and hopefully the starting pitching improvements are enough for that. So many games last year I watched the starter implode in the first couple innings and just turned it off. It was depressing. Yeah, our offense might be really bad. But I'd rather watch them lose 3-1 than 8-3.

#86 TheLeviathan

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 08:35 AM

Just a quick question, but since when was the Pythag results the be all/end all of wins and losses? It seems to me that the Twins have consistently outperformed their pythagorean results from year to year... maybe that's just faulty memory, but that tells me that the theory doesn't necessarily hold water.... or that there's a reason they are able to do this (I believe bull pen has often been cited as the main possibility).


It's not, but it's typically a reliable predictor. Especially when you are projecting the next season because it may indicate a team more talented than it's record but unlucky or vice-versa.

The Twins have done a good job under Ryan of keeping the bullpen solid, but it's also a group that looks likely for regression. Perhaps significantly more regression than people realize. What the pyth. shows is that, for whatever reason, the Twins were a bit lucky to finish with the record they had. (Odd as that sounds)

I think they'll be roughly the same as they have been. What I don't understand is all the fuss in whether you think they'll be 4-5 games better or 4-5 games worse. Really that boils down to luck. Last year we had good luck to avoid 100 losses. Maybe this year we will again....or maybe not.

#87 iTwins

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 08:45 AM

Will they be a good team? No, I don't believe they will. However, that doesn't mean they will be the worst team of the last four years. The rotation has improved from AAAA filler to quality starters. The bullpen is solid, and is less likely to be worn out prematurely due to starters who only last 1-2 innings.

Even if the offense stays as stagnant as it's looked this spring (and I don't believe it will) I think they improve by 4 to 5 wins on the strength of pitching alone (putting them right around 70 wins). If anyone of the Kubel/Willingham/Arcia/Hicks/Pinto group has a breakout season, I think we're looking at 72-77 wins.

#88 LaBombo

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 09:18 AM

Don't turn this into a semantical argument.


Pot, meet kettle. Your entire argument in this thread is just legal deposition posturing about defining the team in terms of wins and losses.

Do you really believe that the Twins being better or worse than last season comes down to whether they lose more or fewer than 96 games? That just sounds absurd to me.

Yes, Nolasco and Hughes are replacing PJ DeWormondez in the rotation, and that's great.

But a Hall of Fame catcher was replaced by Kurt Freaking Suzuki, the next best catcher in the organization is likely to ride the bench, both Jasons are apparently back to rob playing time from potentially meaningful players, Josh Willingham doesn't look like he could pass the physical for a beerball league, and the roster features exactly zero players under age 30 and coming off of consecutive above average seasons.

And they'll be led by an obsolete manager whose retention was an epically historical anomaly and an assistant GM who doesn't know his xFIP from his lower lip.

So, yeah, the Twins might lose only 95 games this year, and be better in a purely abstract, meaningless way.

But if that extra 'win' comes at the expense of a lineup with less youth and potential, and if the two value-priced rotation saviors don't show us they're likely to be better than 4th starters when the Twins return to contention, and if no young player takes a stride forward toward being part of a solid core, then the 2014 version of the Twins will absolutely be worse than last year.

#89 tobi0040

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 09:21 AM

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.


While I am dissapointed with the lack of upgrades offensively, I don't see how this team could be worse than last year.

Our starters had an ERA of 5.25 last year. Here are the career marks of our top four guys:

Nolasco 4.37
Pelfrey 4.48
Hughes 4.54
Correia 4.49

I can see the winner of Gibson/Meyer averaging a 4.50 ERA. If we get 180 innings on average out of these five at about a 4.50, we will give up 75 fewer runs.

Offensively, I think you have a few cases for regression. Dozier over last year is one. Pinto/Suzuki over Morneau is another. Then you have potential improvements, Hicks over last year. Josh over last year. Plouffe over last year. and Mauer staying healthy at 1B over last year. All told, I think our offense is slightly better than last year.

Lastly, if anything our division got a little worse. What is likely to happen? I think this team wins 5-7 more games than last year. I think we have much more upside opportunity than we do to the downside. I think Hughes has a shot to blow away his career 4.54 ERA. I think Hicks could trump his .597 OPS by 100-150 basis points. And I think Meyer could surprise people.

Edited by tobi0040, 24 March 2014 - 09:34 AM.


#90 JB_Iowa

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 09:35 AM

While I am dissapointed with the lack of upgrades offensively, I don't see how this team could be worse than last year.


Because LaBombo and others aren't looking SOLELY at won-loss record to determine worse.

LaBombo is looking at what the team may/may not accomplish and whether the team shows growth toward a sustainable better.

It all depends on how you look at it.