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The Road To Baseball's Pearly Gates


Dave The Dastardly

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The Years of the Rookies: 1982 and 2022


I’ve mentioned in several (okay, numerous) posts that as far as I was concerned the 2022 season is primarily a “look-and-see” season for the Minnesota Twins; a fish-or-cut-bait season for testing out those promising young players that have been shining at the minor league level. Are they ready to play at the major league level or aren’t they? If they are, we’re a contender in 2023. If not… back to the Baseball Trade Casino looking for “deals” followed by another couple seasons of wallowing in baseball hell.

That’s why I argued back before spring training even got started that the Twins needed to move Sano, Donaldson and Cave to make room for Kirilloff, Larnach, Lewis and Miranda. Did I think these four rookies were sure things? No. But I did think they showed “promise”; that is, enough talent to be at least as good as the older players on the team and hopefully, better in the long term whereas Sano, Donaldson and Cave were all on the downhill slide of their careers. There is no future in the past.

Anyway, reminiscent of the early 1980’s Twins team, which also brought a number of rookies up to the major league level, I prepared a chart comparing the 2022 rookies to Gary Gaetti and Kent Hrbek so as to gain a perspective how this year’s “experiments” are doing as compared to a solid ball player like Gaetti and a star player like Hrbek, both mainstays on the team throughout the 1980’s.

Draw your own conclusions. Me, I think we’re headed to baseball’s Pearly Gates in 2023.

*Lewis I left off because of his latest ACL injury, though I think most of us were ready to declare him a future star before he went down.
* Stats are current as of 1:46 PM 6/29/22
* Hrbek finished second in Rookie of the Year Award in 1982 to Cal Ripken, Jr.  Gary Gaetti finished 5th.

 

Hitting Comparisons

Player

Games

ABs

Ave.

OPS

Larnach

51

160

.231

.712

Miranda

42

138

.239

.696

Kirilloff

21

65

.231

.560

 

 

 

 

 

Gaetti 1981

9

26

.192

.615

Gaetti 1982

145

508

.230

.723

 

 

 

 

 

Hrbek 1981

24

67

.239

.659

Hrbek 1982

140

532

.301

.848

 

 

 

 

 

* Interesting to note how many games Gaetti and Hrbek played that season.

 

 

 

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Unless you want to emabarass the current rookies NOT a good comparison, by second year both were full time players with double digit home runs while Hrbek batted over .300.

Gaetti played 9 games his first year and Hrbek played 24.

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3 hours ago, RpR said:

Unless you want to emabarass the current rookies NOT a good comparison, by second year both were full time players with double digit home runs while Hrbek batted over .300.

Gaetti played 9 games his first year and Hrbek played 24.

Gaetti and Hrbek were brought up way at the end of the season in '81 just so the Twins could get a look at them. That was typical in those days. The fact they started as full time players in '82 (their rookie season) is a testament to Manager Billy Gardner as well as to their talent. Gardner didn't give out "rest" days or constantly screw around with the lineup. If you made the team you played, usually one position and often the same spot in the lineup. I doubt either Hrbek or Gaetti would have gotten in over 140 games if Rocco had been their manager. More playing time means more player development when you're a rookie. Not playing regularly, in my opinion, is hampering the development of Kirilloff, Miranda and Larnach. All three should be around 70 games by the All-Star break, Larnach excepted of course, but I don't see that happening. So a smaller sample size to work from.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make is the 2022 rookies aren't doing half bad at the plate despite limited playing time and often playing out of position. 

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