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Excruciating Pain With Numbers


jkcarew
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It's taken 2 seasons for the catcher position to go from the top of the league to the bottom.

In 2021, the catcher position has 40 K's in 86 PA, with 6 BB. On pace for 324 K's over 162 games.

 

HR trend (162-game rate)...

2019: 307

2020: 246

2021: 170 (Buxton, Cruz on pace to account for 104 of those)

 

2021 Record when scoring 3 or fewer runs (13 games, 65% of all games): 3-10

2021 Record when scoring 5 or more runs (6 games, 30% of all games): 3-3

 

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It's taken 2 seasons for the catcher position to go from the top of the league to the bottom.

In 2021, the catcher position has 40 K's in 86 PA, with 6 BB. On pace for 324 K's over 162 games.

 

HR trend (162-game rate)...

2019: 307

2020: 246

2021: 170 (Buxton, Cruz on pace to account for 104 of those)

 

2021 Record when scoring 3 or fewer runs (13 games, 65% of all games): 3-10

2021 Record when scoring 5 or more runs (6 games, 30% of all games): 3-3

 

OK, but I would argue that the problem isn't dingers or catcher strikeouts. The issue is bullpen management with a dash of pandemic.

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OK, but I would argue that the problem isn't dingers or catcher strikeouts. The issue is bullpen management with a dash of pandemic.

There are a lot of problems right now but first and foremost the offense has to be at the top of the list.

 

The Twins have played 20 games and scored three runs or less in 13 of them. That's not how teams win in the modern game.

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Starting pitchers, three weeks in to 2021:

 

Maeda/Berrios/Pineda: 4-4, 3.69 ERA (12 starts)

 

Darvish/Gibson/Ynoa: 5-2, 2.67 ERA (14 starts)

 

Which group would you rather have? I think I would prefer the group with Berrios, and if there were a mock draft consisting of those six pitchers, Berrios would be the player taken first in most of them, in my opinion. I also don’t think Ynoa lasts the season in the rotation. But interesting trios of guys who either are, or might have been, rotation pieces for the Twins.

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There are a lot of problems right now but first and foremost the offense has to be at the top of the list.

 

The Twins have played 20 games and scored three runs or less in 13 of them. That's not how teams win in the modern game.

Worth noting that league offense is down quite a bit in 2021. Teams are averaging only 4.31 runs per game, down from 4.65 in 2020.

 

The Twins specifically are just shy of that average figure at 4.25 runs per game in 2021, down from 4.48 in 2020.

 

But that doesn't factor in the distribution of runs, and of course the expectation for the Twins offensively was to rebound from 2020 rather than repeat it.

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Worth noting that league offense is down quite a bit in 2021. Teams are averaging only 4.31 runs per game, down from 4.65 in 2020.

 

The Twins specifically are just shy of that average figure at 4.25 runs per game in 2021, down from 4.48 in 2020.

 

But that doesn't factor in the distribution of runs, and of course the expectation for the Twins offensively was to rebound from 2020 rather than repeat it.

The distribution is really where things go sideways. Here are the runs scored by game in descending run order:

 

15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 0, 0

 

What we generally consider the "middle of the road winning game" batch of 4-6 runs per game sure is small.

 

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The distribution is really where things go sideways. Here are the runs scored by game in descending run order:

 

15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 0, 0

 

What we generally consider the "middle of the road winning game" batch of 4-6 runs per game sure is small.

 

Especially if you take the 15, 12, and 10 run games out of the mix, the team is only averaging about 2.8 runs/game. Tough to win a game when the other team is able to keep their ERA below 3.00

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Worth noting that league offense is down quite a bit in 2021. Teams are averaging only 4.31 runs per game, down from 4.65 in 2020.

 

The Twins specifically are just shy of that average figure at 4.25 runs per game in 2021, down from 4.48 in 2020.

 

But that doesn't factor in the distribution of runs, and of course the expectation for the Twins offensively was to rebound from 2020 rather than repeat it.

shows how misleading some stats can be. 65% of the Twins games they have scored 3 or fewer...so to lean on an average of 4.25 runs per game is disingenuous. Take out the 12 they scored, in a loss BTW, and the numbers will be different overall. The pen is a huge problem, but the offense is huge problem 1-A. The inability to put bat on ball and produce runs has been pretty sad. it has been so long, I have totally forgotten they scored 15. (did they really?..yeah thats right, they gave up a bunch of meaningless runs in the 9th...harbinger of things to come?)

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Especially if you take the 15, 12, and 10 run games out of the mix, the team is only averaging about 2.8 runs/game. Tough to win a game when the other team is able to keep their ERA below 3.00

 

 

shows how misleading some stats can be. 65% of the Twins games they have scored 3 or fewer...so to lean on an average of 4.25 runs per game is disingenuous. Take out the 12 they scored, in a loss BTW, and the numbers will be different overall.

 

I acknowledged that the distribution of runs has made a difference, but if you throw out outliers for the Twins, you'd have to throw out outliers from other teams too to make a proper comparison.

 

The first-place Royals, for example -- take out the 34 runs they scored in just 3 games, and they're down to a 3.33 average. Still better than the Twins, but not as much as the overall league rate.

 

Likewise, those first-place Royals have scored 3 or fewer runs in 57% of their games. Still a little better than the Twins, but not enough to explain their current 7 game lead in the standings either.

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The distribution is really where things go sideways. Here are the runs scored by game in descending run order:

 

15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 0, 0

 

What we generally consider the "middle of the road winning game" batch of 4-6 runs per game sure is small.

No doubt that the Twins have been struggling offensively relative to other teams, but you might find some of these trends around the league too.

 

Twins have 3 games where they scored 4-6 runs, but the Royals only have 4. Twins have 14 games scoring fewer than 4 runs, while the Royals have 12. Yet we have a 7 game gulf between the two teams!

 

How to explain? A couple games on the Twins offense; a couple additional games of worse-than-average luck for the Twins; and a couple additional games better-than-average luck for the Royals?

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No doubt that the Twins have been struggling offensively relative to other teams, but you might find some of these trends around the league too.

 

Twins have 3 games where they scored 4-6 runs, but the Royals only have 4. Twins have 14 games scoring fewer than 4 runs, while the Royals have 12. Yet we have a 7 game gulf between the two teams!

 

How to explain? A couple games on the Twins offense; a couple additional games of worse-than-average luck for the Twins; and a couple additional games better-than-average luck for the Royals?

The Twins aren’t as bad as their record, we should all acknowledge that.

 

Going 0-5 in extra inning games before we’re even out of April tends to make a team look worse than it probably is.

 

And the Royals are likely the inverse.

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The Twins aren’t as bad as their record, we should all acknowledge that.

 

Going 0-5 in extra inning games before we’re even out of April tends to make a team look worse than it probably is.

 

And the Royals are likely the inverse.

Baseball has always been a game about averages. I've never understood why it isn't common to take the next step beyond mean, and look at standard deviation. It's not a hard concept - it's merely what we're discussing here. Skew and kurtosis aren't much harder, and likewise help to explain at a glance the string of number shown above.

 

(The average, how much variation from the average, how much symmetry if you drew the numbers on a graph, and how far out the tail of the graph is, respectively. Someone will correct me if I got these wrong.)

 

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The Twins aren’t as bad as their record, we should all acknowledge that.

 

Going 0-5 in extra inning games before we’re even out of April tends to make a team look worse than it probably is.

 

And the Royals are likely the inverse.

They are exactly as bad as their record. You can play around with any factor you want but the only one that counts is wins and losses.

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I acknowledged that the distribution of runs has made a difference, but if you throw out outliers for the Twins, you'd have to throw out outliers from other teams too to make a proper comparison.

 

The first-place Royals, for example -- take out the 34 runs they scored in just 3 games, and they're down to a 3.33 average. Still better than the Twins, but not as much as the overall league rate.

 

Likewise, those first-place Royals have scored 3 or fewer runs in 57% of their games. Still a little better than the Twins, but not enough to explain their current 7 game lead in the standings either.

Not really. Pretty different roster makeup. Royals are built to compete in tight low-scoring games. The Twins, between mediocre defense, plenty of swing-and-miss and low BA, very limited base running and contact skills in the order, and squishy bullpen without dominant flame-throwers on the back end...not at all built to succeed in that environment. Everything that contributes to consistently competing in tight low-scoring games...the 2021 Twins, as a team, are average at, or worse...with only the bullpen with a chance to materially change that equation as the season progresses.

 

It’s noteworthy that this trend started last year. 2019 Twins were at the top of AL in R/G...In 2020 and so far in 2021, slightly below league average, although wildly inconsistent so far in 2021. Twins got away with it in 2020 (barely, and over only 60 games), by being at the very top of the league in fewest RA/G. In 2021 they have the second highest RA/G, thanks primarily to an imploding bullpen, and with contributions from a shaky defense.

 

Better start mashing...doesn’t have to be 2019 mashing, but needs to be well north of league average, I think.

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We're less than four weeks into the season. I'm obviously speaking of talent level as a predictor, not what has already happened.

Baseball is a random game. Whatever talent they may have doesn’t necessarily translate to wins and losses which is what counts. They haven’t been good and there are holes all over the place. That counts way more than their perceived talent.

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Baseball is a random game. Whatever talent they may have doesn’t necessarily translate to wins and losses which is what counts. They haven’t been good and there are holes all over the place. That counts way more than their perceived talent.

I'm not even sure what you're getting at here. The Twins currently have an 8-15 record. If that's what you want me to say, okay, I said it.

 

You're using a lot of words to say very little about a point I'm not trying to make.

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Fun with Numbers: Byron Buxton has a 2.3 fWAR in only 17 freakin' games! At that pace at 162 games his season fWAR would be 21.9. That's basically double Matt Lawton's career fWAR.

 

Excruciating Pain with Numbers: Something, something, something about Buxton not being able to play 162 games.

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Actually my point is clear. You just don’t like it which is fine.

FWIW, I don't know what you're getting at either. It's not even May, no team knows who they are yet. Everyone is trying to figure something out. Some more than others, obviously. The season doesn't end tomorrow, so whatever it is that a team is today, doesn't mean that that is what they'll be at the end of September.

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FWIW, I don't know what you're getting at either. It's not even May, no team knows who they are yet. Everyone is trying to figure something out. Some more than others, obviously. The season doesn't end tomorrow, so whatever it is that a team is today, doesn't mean that that is what they'll be at the end of September.

Let me try again. Some people are assuming the Twins are better than their current record. Perhaps they believe based on their assessment of the talent on the team or perhaps some set of metrics.

 

My point is perhaps the Twins just aren’t that good. Perhaps their record is a ballpark indicator of how good they really are. 2011 started with great expectations and ended up a disaster. That’s how baseball works sometimes.

 

I’m normally optimistic but this club has enough holes that I’m starting to think it’s going to be a disappointing season.

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I do think they they hand Buck a Player of the Month trophy for April despite missing about 20% of the first month.

As they should, since he still has the highest WAR total in MLB despite missing those games! I kind of think it might go to Trout though, since he's not far behind Buck and a lot of people are making a big deal of the fact that this has been the best month of Trout's career. The fact that Buxton's April has been better than the best month of Trout's career is pretty mindblowing! Now if he could just sustain it and stay on the field...

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Let me try again. Some people are assuming the Twins are better than their current record. Perhaps they believe based on their assessment of the talent on the team or perhaps some set of metrics.

My point is perhaps the Twins just aren’t that good. Perhaps their record is a ballpark indicator of how good they really are. 2011 started with great expectations and ended up a disaster. That’s how baseball works sometimes.

I’m normally optimistic but this club has enough holes that I’m starting to think it’s going to be a disappointing season.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to be pessimistic about this team, but as a few people have pointed out on this thread, there is evidence to suggest that the true talent on this team is better than their record of 8-15. I think your point would be stronger if you used some evidence to lay out why you're pessimistic rather than just basing it on their current record and your feelings.

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Let me try again. Some people are assuming the Twins are better than their current record. Perhaps they believe based on their assessment of the talent on the team or perhaps some set of metrics.

My point is perhaps the Twins just aren’t that good. Perhaps their record is a ballpark indicator of how good they really are. 2011 started with great expectations and ended up a disaster. That’s how baseball works sometimes.

I’m normally optimistic but this club has enough holes that I’m starting to think it’s going to be a disappointing season.

Over the long run, yes, some believe they'll be better. You're taking a small snapshot of a long season and broadly applying it to the whole season. What were your thoughts after the first week of the season? And what I, and I believe Brock, are saying is that we don't really know what this team is going to be yet.  They really don't even have an identity. The season is so young that people need to let the team figure out what they have that works, what is not, and make adjustments accordingly. What you're seeing right now is not what you will see later in the season. Players will be brought in. Players will be shipped out. Players will play better. Players will drop off. The end result may very well be the same, but we don't know that yet. Just like we don't know that they'll be better. That's the same for every team. That's why the don't hand out playoff spots in April.

 

Could this be what the team is? Sure. Is it possible that they tweak some things and start playing better? Yup. Could it get worse? Entirely possible. We've got such a small sample size that nothing can be determined yet. They're 23 games into a 162 game schedule, not even 15% of the way through. Buxton isn't going to keep hitting .438. As you said, that's how baseball works. Anyone can catch fire or go ice cold for extended periods of time (see Sano, Miguel). Sustaining those for a full season is more difficult.

 

I understand the pessimism, but it's a bit early to write anyone off. Especially in this division. I don't think they're celebrating a division title in KC yet. Still a long way to go.

 

Apologies if that got preachy. That is not my intent.

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Over the long run, yes, some believe they'll be better. You're taking a small snapshot of a long season and broadly applying it to the whole season. What were your thoughts after the first week of the season? And what I, and I believe Brock, are saying is that we don't really know what this team is going to be yet. They really don't even have an identity. The season is so young that people need to let the team figure out what they have that works, what is not, and make adjustments accordingly. What you're seeing right now is not what you will see later in the season. Players will be brought in. Players will be shipped out. Players will play better. Players will drop off. The end result may very well be the same, but we don't know that yet. Just like we don't know that they'll be better. That's the same for every team. That's why the don't hand out playoff spots in April.

 

Could this be what the team is? Sure. Is it possible that they tweak some things and start playing better? Yup. Could it get worse? Entirely possible. We've got such a small sample size that nothing can be determined yet. They're 23 games into a 162 game schedule, not even 15% of the way through. Buxton isn't going to keep hitting .438. As you said, that's how baseball works. Anyone can catch fire or go ice cold for extended periods of time (see Sano, Miguel). Sustaining those for a full season is more difficult.

 

I understand the pessimism, but it's a bit early to write anyone off. Especially in this division. I don't think they're celebrating a division title in KC yet. Still a long way to go.

 

Apologies if that got preachy. That is not my intent.

I’m cool with your thoughts. I would like to point out that they aren’t based on anything more than what I’m saying. Other side of the same coin. I just happen to think their record and what I’ve witnessed doesn’t bode well for this season.

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I’m cool with your thoughts. I would like to point out that they aren’t based on anything more than what I’m saying. Other side of the same coin. I just happen to think their record and what I’ve witnessed doesn’t bode well for this season.

I'd disagree that I'm on the other side of the coin. I'm not even on the coin. I'm allowing the team to adjust and try to improve itself before I decide what they are. I'd be saying the same thing if their record were reversed. You've already decided on an outcome. You're correct, this team hasn't shown anything that justifies expectations. So far. The frustration and pessimism is definitely reasonable at this point. I don't really consider myself to be optimistic. While I don't think they'll be a team that wins only 38% of their games, I'm not convinced that they'll come close to the expectations of many. I've always thought the White Sox would win the division anyway. 

 

All I'm (and I believe Brock) are saying is that people should allow a team to get into a season and evolve. Still a lot of games left...for better or worse.

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