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Article: Hunter And Garnett: The Marketing Angle


Nick Nelson
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Cuddy had to in 2011 with us :-(

Thanks, forgot about 2011.  In any case, Cuddy's post-game presser magic that year did not make it any more bearable.  (What made it bearable, at least more than 2012-2014, was the recency of our 2010 success, and the fact that we climbed to only 5 games back of the division lead in late July.)

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I also challenge anyone to name 10 American League outfielders who had better offensive seasons than Hunter did last year.

Hunter wasn't bad last year with the bat, but he was only 13th in the AL out of 27 qualified AL OF in wRC+:

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=of&stats=bat&lg=al&qual=y&type=8&season=2014&month=0&season1=2014&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=17,d

 

Lower the PA threshold to 300 and he was 20th:

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=of&stats=bat&lg=al&qual=300&type=8&season=2014&month=0&season1=2014&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=17,d

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I didn't want any more players over 30, but there's no one to block in the OF at this time except for maybe Schaffer, so I don't much care about his actual production and I could care less about his paycheck.

 

Charisma goes a long way, if the front office and the players themselves think Hunter will improve the clubhouse atmosphere and/or instill leadership skills in the youngsters, he probably will.  It's basic self-fullfilling prophecy stuff.  I'd feel the same if everyone was brainwashed and thought Danny Valencia and Delmon Young would improve the clubhouse atmosphere and improve leadership skills.  MY thoughts on Hunter, his skills or his views don't matter.

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And Hunter's 113 wRC+ was equal to Willingham's last year, a guy who cleared waivers in August and retired at season's end.  Willingham was admittedly less healthy but also 4 years younger.  And even though Willingham's defensive numbers weren't that bad last year (DRS approximating Hunter's 2013), he still only projected at about a 2 WAR player over a full season.

 

How would you have felt if the Twins brought back Willingham to start in an outfield corner?

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I also challenge anyone to name 10 American League outfielders who had better offensive seasons than Hunter did last year.  Not to say that will translate to this year or  that it might not hurt our outfield defense but could it be any worse than last year?

Why would we only take offense into consideration when he isn't going to be a primary DH? Let's take a look at those AL outfielders who ranked ahead of him in WAR last season: 

 

Trout

Brantley

Gordon

Bautista

Zobrist

A. Jones

Cruz

Ellsbury

Calhoun

Y. Martin

Cespedes

Jennings

Gardner

Eaton

M. Cabrera

Markakis

Moss

Aoki

Ackley

Fowler

De Aza

A. Jackson

C. Crisp

 

That is 23. There are 15 teams in the AL meaning 45 OF spots. Ranking 24th of 45 would put him in the middle of the pack.

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Let's start with this list:

 

Trout

Brantley

Gordon

Bautista

Zobrist

A. Jones

Cruz

Ellsbury

Calhoun

Y. Martin

Cespedes

Jennings

Gardner

Eaton

M. Cabrera

Markakis

Moss

Aoki

Ackley

Fowler

De Aza

A. Jackson

C. Crisp

 

That is 23, does that work?

In fairness, he said offensively.  You used WAR, which incorporates the horrific and unreliable defensive stat called UZR :-) Psychics, Palm Readers, UZR...

 

If you use wRC+, there are still 12 qualifying guys out of 27 that were better.  If you go to 400 PAs or more, there were 41 guys in which he ranked 16th, so now we have 15 guys who had better offensive seasons. :-)

Edited by jimmer
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In fairness, he said offensively.  You used WAR, which incorporates the horrific and unreliable defensive stat called UZR :-)

 

I edited my above post as I see that he did mention offense, but as I said why would you only take offense into consideration when Hunter wasn't signed to be the primary DH? UZR is far from perfect but to completely discredit it in order to try and make Hunter look better than he was last year doesn't make sense either. By pretty much any defense metric you choose to you, Hunter's defense was atrocious last season.

Edited by bombo
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I edited my above post as I see that he did mention offense, but as I said why would you only take offense into consideration when Hunter wasn't signed to be the primary DH?

Because if you just look at just offense, add in leadership, and blow off defensive stats as hocom, the Hunter signing makes more sense? Heck, practically a bargain :-)

 

And remember, he was worth over 12M in 2013. So it's possible he bounces back to that or close. I wouldn't count it out, honestly.

Edited by jimmer
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Hunter seems to fare better by wRC+ than Rbat too.

 

By Rbat per PA, among guys who played some OF in 2014 (okay, I threw out Adam Dunn :) ) and had 300+ PA, Hunter ranks roughly 26th (out of 61, although that it's artificially long with some utility guys like Escobar near the bottom).  And he's behind our regular 2014 CF (Santana), LF (Willingham), and RF (Arcia).

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Why would we only take offense into consideration when he isn't going to be a primary DH? Let's take a look at those AL outfielders who ranked ahead of him in WAR last season:

 

Trout

Brantley

Gordon

Bautista

Zobrist

A. Jones

Cruz

Ellsbury

Calhoun

Y. Martin

Cespedes

Jennings

Gardner

Eaton

M. Cabrera

Markakis

Moss

Aoki

Ackley

Fowler

De Aza

A. Jackson

C. Crisp

 

That is 23. There are 15 teams in the AL meaning 45 OF spots. Ranking 24th of 45 would put him in the middle of the pack.

how many of these were Twins?

 

Seems to me the Twins would've been lucky to have Hunter last year.

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And remember, he was worth over 12M in 2013. So it's possible he bounces back to that or close. I wouldn't count it out, honestly.

I wouldn't count it out either.  But Willingham had comparable performance and worth when he was on the field last year too.  I don't know that anyone was clamoring to replace his performance/role for 2015.

 

I might rather have a guy who is only "worth" $6M in 2015, but has some upside/potential for on-field performance beyond 2015.  Or at least offers a complimentary set of on-field skills to help our other players look better.

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how many of these were Twins?

 

Seems to me the Twins would've been lucky to have Hunter last year.

Would the Twins have been lucky to have Willingham?  Hunter's overall 2014 offensive contribution was basically the same as his, on a per-PA basis.

 

Willingham 2014 was basically the same as Hunter 2014 at the plate and not-disasterous Hunter 2013 in the field, minus 40 games for injury.

 

Was our one dimensional veteran outfielder missing 40 games to injury was a key problem for our 2014 season?  Worth addressing in our first offseason move by adding a soon-to-be 40 year old with a history of good health?

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Why would we only take offense into consideration when he isn't going to be a primary DH? Let's take a look at those AL outfielders who ranked ahead of him in WAR last season: 

 

Trout

Brantley

Gordon

Bautista

Zobrist

A. Jones

Cruz

Ellsbury

Calhoun

Y. Martin

Cespedes

Jennings

Gardner

Eaton

M. Cabrera

Markakis

Moss

Aoki

Ackley

Fowler

De Aza

A. Jackson

C. Crisp

 

That is 23. There are 15 teams in the AL meaning 45 OF spots. Ranking 24th of 45 would put him in the middle of the pack.

I'll give you Trout, Bautista, Brantley, Cruz, A.Jones, Cespedes, M. Cabrerra & Gordon.  The rest do nothing for me.  Sorry.  You can use WAR all you want.  But if I can't measure it myself by looking a box score, it's useless to me. 

Edited by dxpavelka
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 But if I can't measure it myself by looking a box score, it's useless to me. 

Info found outside of a box score might by useless to you, but that doesn't mean it actually is useless or that it's useless to people answering your question.  You probably should have rephrased your challenge .

 

Instead of just writing this: 'I also challenge anyone to name 10 American League outfielders who had better offensive seasons than Hunter did last year.' you maybe should have added, 'but when you do so, only use archaic information even though you know a good chunk of it doesn't really tell us much about the players actual ability.'  I know it seems wordy, but parameters need to be set.  :-)

Edited by jimmer
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After last season (or several seasons) I would be happy to have a middle of the pack (23/45) OF'er on the team. No more Nunez, Clete Thomas, Wilkin Ramirez, and other AAAA/utility IF'er types starting please.

Outside of Clete, those guys got very few at-bats. And they never really comprised our whole outfield --we got similar or better production than Hunter from Willingham the past 3 years. Heck, even Doumit's 2012 was similar to Hunter's recent efforts.

 

I would have liked to have seen an effort to get a better player (even just one who could cover CF) or at least one with more of a (playing) future in MN. Or compliments Arcia in skill set.

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Back to the thread topic, I loved the 2000-2007 Twins, but that attitude/leadership/culture was built organically. I would not have been excited about the 2000 Twins bringing back Gary Gaetti for such a role, for example.

 

Though I admit people I know are excited about Hunter's return, I do not think that excitement will last if he and the team do not beat projections this year.

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Though I admit people I know are excited about Hunter's return, I do not think that excitement will last if he and the team do not beat projections this year.

 

I want the players to look like they are having fun (preferably because they are) even if the record isn't that much different.

 

We read about the "library" like atmosphere in the clubhouse the last couple of years.  I think the Twins have set out to change that.  No more cell phones or ipads (or card games) 30 minutes before gametime. Additions of Torii and Ervin -- both outgoing guys with a visible love of the game.  I hope for the continued emergence of Vargas who radiates fun.  Look forward to Sano who also has a big personality.  I also think Hughes & Perkins can be pretty dynamic.

 

Even if they don't win more, at least they won't dull us to death,

Edited by JB_Iowa
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Though I admit people I know are excited about Hunter's return, I do not think that excitement will last if he and the team do not beat projections this year.

Probably true. But how is early season fanbase excitement that fades worse than early season fanbase apathy that persists?

 

This is a thread speculating about marketing as one reason for the signing.

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Long time lurker, first time poster here.

 

This article serves as a perfect opportunity to ask a question I've been wondering about for a few months. So there's a Twins Daily, a Vikings Journal and a Wild Xtra. What about a Wolves Press...name is up for debate of course but you get the idea. The Wolves have such an exciting young core of players and have really been fun to follow since the Love trade. Is there really not enough interest?

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Info found outside of a box score might by useless to you, but that doesn't mean it actually is useless or that it's useless to people answering your question.  You probably should have rephrased your challenge .

 

Instead of just writing this: 'I also challenge anyone to name 10 American League outfielders who had better offensive seasons than Hunter did last year.' you maybe should have added, 'but when you do so, only use archaic information even though you know a good chunk of it doesn't really tell us much about the players actual ability.'  I know it seems wordy, but parameters need to be set.  :-)

Again-useless paramaters.

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I want the players to look like they are having fun (preferably because they are) even if the record isn't that much different.

 

We read about the "library" like atmosphere in the clubhouse the last couple of years. I think the Twins have set out to change that. No more cell phones or ipads (or card games) 30 minutes before gametime. Additions of Torii and Ervin -- both outgoing guys with a visible love of the game. I hope for the continued emergence of Vargas who radiates fun. Look forward to Sano who also has a big personality. I also think Hughes & Perkins can be pretty dynamic.

 

Even if they don't win more, at least they won't dull us to death,

Are those new rules set down by Molitor?

 

Otherwise, I am not all that confident that I can really detect the changes you are describing, at least not based on the minimal roster changes we made. Torii will be a familiar name and face that we fans associate with winning, but that is about the extent of it, I think.

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I agree, the parameter you set (box score stuff, only) is pretty much useless for determining who the best offensive performers are, but it was your challenge :-)

Baseball's a simple game.  Advanced metrics are nice-especially for guys who live in their mother's basement, but bottom line is your players gotta out perform the other team's players.  Advanced metrics MAY help with that but their ability to do so may just as as easily be overstated.  Perhaps you need to develop a metric to measure that.  It still boils down to hitting, catching throwing & running.  If every team were run by Bill James 29 of them would still not win the World Series each year.

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Baseball's a simple game.  Advanced metrics are nice-especially for guys who live in their mother's basement, but bottom line is your players gotta out perform the other team's players.  Advanced metrics MAY help with that but their ability to do so may just as as easily be overstated.  Perhaps you need to develop a metric to measure that.  It still boils down to hitting, catching throwing & running.  If every team were run by Bill James 29 of them would still not win the World Series each year.

I challenge any TD member to find 10 posts better than this.

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