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I was going to title this thread "Underrated" but changed my mind.  I am going to name two Twins players who have made underappreciated contributions to the team so far IMHO.  I have stated on other threads that Molitor has major league players to work with, while sometimes his predecessor did not.  These two guys were among the last guys to make the team, they aren't starters but they have contributed in their roles.

 

#1 Shane Robinson.  Many were upset when Robinson made the club.  Some thought of Robinson as an AAAA player who should never make an Opening Day roster. While many players in AAA have more talent than the 5-9 Robinson, he makes full use of what talent he has.  Robinson is 30 years old and has settled in as the platoon center fielder and a defensive replacement at either corner outfield spot.  So far, Robinson has made a couple of outstanding catches and no glaring misplays.  Given the surprising number of left handed starters the Twins have faced, Robinson has gotten more plate appearances than expected and he has hit well.  In yesterday's one-run game Robinson produced a run by stealing third base, knowing exactly when to take off and giving the A's catcher no chance to throw him out. 

 

#2 Chris Herrmann.  I didn't want Chris Herrmann to make the Twins Opening Day roster.  He hasn't hit in the majors enough to expect that he'll make much of a contribution and I didn't think his defense was good enough to be the backup catcher.  So far, Herrmann has been a real good counterpoint to Kurt Suzuki.  Herrmann has only played one game in the outfield, an inning in a lopsided victory, but he is available to play the corner outfield spots, if needed.  In games that Herrmann has caught, he has looked very good behind the plate.  He has started six games and the Twins are 4-2 in those games.  He's thrown out a couple runners and seemed to work very well with whoever is pitching.  If the Twins are going to play Suzuki 80% of the time, it is nice to have a guy that hits left handed, can play other positions and does a good job as a receiver.  Herrmann also seems to be a pretty good base runner and has taken an extra base a couple times.  28 plate appearances is too small of a sample to know whether he will hit this time around.  Otherwise, he has surprised me by doing a fine job in his role.

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I was so pulling for Herrmann to make the squad out of spring training.  He had his taste of the bigs and just wanted to be back, so he did everything possible to give himself a chance.  He earned it.  And IMO he's a better hitter than the stats suggest. 

 

I paid Robinson very little attention in spring training, but one day someone from Cinci, I think that's where he came from, said we were going to love him.  That he was their best outfielder last year.  Well he's certainly shown he knows how to play the game and has some skills.  If he were 6' 2" instead of 5' 9", he probably be drawing more attention. 

 

I agree, both these guys are underappreciated and contributors to the team. 

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This is how many guys who were well below average through their prime pitch at 32. Injuries might be an explanation, but recovering and coming back at 33 usually doesn't happen. Even if he does come back, does he come back to a pitcher 15% off league average? I think the Twins were fooled by his constantly lower FIP than ERA and assessed a better pitcher than they purchased.

 

Give him 10 starts and see if he can find the form he had in 2013. That season was likely an outlier and only one of two in his career where he had a league average ERA+, but maybe Nolasco can find it.

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This is how many guys who were well below average through their prime pitch at 32. Injuries might be an explanation, but recovering and coming back at 33 usually doesn't happen. Even if he does come back, does he come back to a pitcher 15% off league average? I think the Twins were fooled by his constantly lower FIP than ERA and assessed a better pitcher than they purchased.

Give him 10 starts and see if he can find the form he had in 2013. That season was likely an outlier and only one of two in his career where he had a league average ERA+, but maybe Nolasco can find it.

 

 

Is this supposed to be in the Nolasco thread???

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Goid writeup. One more name I would add is Aaron Thompson. He didn't make the team out of spring training but I think he's got a solid hold in his bullpen spot now.

 

I always liked Herrmann. As a backup catcher he's a useful contributor. As a corner outfielder, the way Gardy used him, he's miscast.

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Goid writeup. One more name I would add is Aaron Thompson. He didn't make the team out of spring training but I think he's got a solid hold in his bullpen spot now.
 

 

Great point.  Thompson has been the surprising star in the BP.  We expect Perkins to do well but Thompson has really shouldered his fair share of the load.  Hope he continues.

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Goid writeup. One more name I would add is Aaron Thompson. He didn't make the team out of spring training but I think he's got a solid hold in his bullpen spot now.

I always liked Herrmann. As a backup catcher he's a useful contributor. As a corner outfielder, the way Gardy used him, he's miscast.

Thompson has been awesome.  After seeing Duensing and Thielbar struggle to get anyone out, it has been refreshing to see a guy come in and get 3-6 outs.  I don't think the ERA should be as high as it is, I can recall a couple instances when he left a runner on first with two out and the reliever (probably Boyer) allowed Thompson's guy to score. 

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Since he doesn't draw walks at any kind of special rate as it is, I'd take my chances with the potential for better power from a hitter with a bigger frame.

 

And even if he did walk a lot at present, someone's offensive game that could be negated by an opposing pitcher saying "OK, big boy*, here it is," isn't my preference for long term success.

 

But he's done the job, as a table setter or occasionally by driving in someone who's already put himself in scoring position. He's been asked to fill the 4th outfielder role, and done it well.

 

*uttered with a straight face

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