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The Bench (Its a huge team strength gone unnoticed)


Brandon

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When you think of players on the bench, usually there is a reason they are on the bench.  Usually the bench players can field really well but not hit, or they hit and can't field, or they have severe platoon splits.  Whatever the reason its there, they are not able to be successful enough as everyday players.  Looking at our bench we have players that fit that mold in one shape or another.  but when you look at the production we are getting from our bench players you have to take notice and appreciate the job they are doing.

Gordon is a player that appears to be just shy of being good enough to be an everyday starter.  not enough walks and not enough power and just low enough batting average to keep the obp low.  but he has speed and has taken well to playing the OF.  He is even OPS+ 104 as of today.  with 16 XBH in 193 AB he is only -3 in what I consider average power.  (1 XBH per 10 AB)  Garlic has 7 HRs and an OPS+ of 148 Killeroff and Miranda are raking and now OPS+ 107 and OPS+ 111 after really slow starts.  Gary Sanchez is a league average hitter for a back up C with an OPS + 96  Celestino has been slumping lately but was hitting over .300 for most of the season and is at OPS+ 94 Celestino is also the only bench player with little power at all with 8 XBH in 147 AB as a -6 or -7 if you round up.  

Compared to other play off contenders:

The Redsox have Refsnyder off to his fast start and Duran as the only 2 OPS+ 100 or more players on their bench.  in fact Cordero at OPS+ 90 is the next best and there is a drop off from there.

The Rays have 2 OPS+ 130 players in Paredes and Margot (on 60 day DL) and no one with any serious playing time is over OPS+70

The Yankees are getting production from their bench but dont really use them that often.  Marwin GOnzales is league average at OPS+100 Matt Carpenter is hitting HRs like Garlic, and Hicks and LeMahieu should be starters are both over OPS+100

On the Whitesox bench the good players are hurt, or do not have much playing time while the bad players are getting the bulk of time at this point and they are not hitting well at all.

Houston's bench is their achillies heal as well theyhave one player at OPS+104 and no one else over OPS+95  

Cleveland's bench is bad too.  

So if you are looking for an area where we stack up better than the rest of the league (Maybe the Yankees are as good if not better).  Look no further than our bench.  

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The weakest hitters on our current major league squad are just barely below league average, and none except maybe Miranda when he's at third seems like an absolute butcher on defense.  So whoever sits for a given game is a capable substitute if the need arises.  That relatively high "floor" does seem like an underappreciated asset.

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17 hours ago, ashbury said:

The weakest hitters on our current major league squad are just barely below league average, and none except maybe Miranda when he's at third seems like an absolute butcher on defense.  So whoever sits for a given game is a capable substitute if the need arises.  That relatively high "floor" does seem like an underappreciated asset.

Really good point Ashbury. And to Roco's credit, the players seem to be able to put the team goals ahead of personal goals. That gets tricky sometimes, but this years Twins, led by veterans, Correa, Buck, Urshela, Gray and Archer, seem to have a "team first" attitude, which I thoroughly enjoy. Now, Rocco, about bunting and advancing those runners with less than 2 outs and hitting against the shift, may I humbly suggest there are some strategic changes which could produce more runs at critical times.

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A hearty "yes" to this post, Brandon.

I have a feeling we may find out that catcher is the one exception, but there are a lot of teams who would love to have the "Sano problem," for example. A bunch of teams would be forced to rely on the hope of him coming back productively. In the Twins case, he's simply bonus, thanks to the production of guys you mentioned. Similarly, it hasn't been a backbreaker to have a productive, with good potential for more, rookie like Larnach go on the IL.

I know I'm going to get myself in trouble for saying this, but I think you can carry some of the same observation to the rotation. I haven't gone to the work of checking, but I'm wondering how many teams have had only 21 games started by someone with an ERA+ under 95. That means more than three-fourths of our starts were by someone who is essentially league average or better. The White Sox, for example, have had 42. 

And much of that is because of depth. In Smeltzer/Ober/Winder, we've got 25 starts from guys who weren't in the opening day rotation and have an ERA+ of 95 or better. I'm guessing not many teams have that many.

Now the bullpen...

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There are two factors when filling out a major league roster.

A guy is a bench player, filling a hole on the roster.

A guy is developing in the minors and is brought up to play when a position player goes down, because theya re the future. In this case, we HAD Royce Lewis briefly for Correa.

In the first instance, the Twins have had a wide variety of names from Reboulet to Hocking to Adrianza who stepped into a starting role fulltime instead of the future (we could add names like Grossman, Cave and Refsnyder to that list).

This year, the Twins bench has settled into GEM level. If you consider that the DH is basically a rotating spot, you have Hamilton (now) as the reserve catcher, Miranda at first or third, Gordon at second/short/outfield, and Garlick and Celestino in the outfield. In reality, if ANY of the bench players start, whomever they are replacing would probably be the DH.

Now that will all change when Sano returns, and there are 10 million reasons he has to play. Best at DH. No need to put him ever in the field. Of course, one of the above names will have to depart, and picture it will be between Garlick or Celestino, although IF the Twins would like Miranda to play third/first everyday...just maybe he will go.

But everyone has been hitting Sano's weight. So......

A decent luxury for the Twins to have. Especialy with other players being versatile to play elsewhere (Polanco at short, Arraez at second or third, Kirilloff at first). 

The only BIG change is to keep Sanchez primarily at catcher, and never DH. Can't wait to see if Hamilton has anything in his arsenal.

 

 

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IF, if the Twins want to trade some rookies that have good bat, at this point, then Kirilloff and Miranda are teh two that , maybe, could bring some value.

Gordon is too much like Willie Mays Hays early in the movie too often so he has no big value, we need Celestino in center.

Jeffers , regardless of two weeks of better at bats, isn't valuable.

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Bench has been a big problem for the Twins especially at SS and CF. But this year we've had great back ups where there isn't a big drop off and we still have a chance to win a game when the starter has been out. I believe our bench is one of the main reason why we are in 1st place in the Central. Catcher was our deepest position is now our weakest.

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