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Greg Logan

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  1. Great read. Sabato's really intriguing too. Longenhagen has him at 55 FV for both hit and game power, and his defensive limitations are the main thing holding back his prospect stock. From a purely hitting standpoint I'm looking forward to what we see in full-season ball.
  2. They consider him to have some value, but I think the challenge with Sano would be finding a team that's currently selling but still needs a 3B/1B for 2020 and 2021. That seems like a tight needle to thread.
  3. This is fair, but I think in that case we need to be realistic about the caliber of starter we'd receive in a trade. Guys like deGrom and Syndergaard aren't going to change hands without a potentially franchise-changing prospect attached. I also think this is a reason we're hearing chatter about the Padres and Syndergaard. They just have such a deep top of the farm to work from for that kind of deal.
  4. I like Rooker a lot too but he’s nearly MLB-ready and the Twins are deep at both OF and 1B. Rosario, Buxton, Kepler and Cron will all be back, and Sano will need to shift to 1B eventually. You never know with anyone, but Rooker feels as dispensable as anyone in the system.
  5. The other day I was listening to one of my go-to baseball podcasts, Effectively Wild. The hosts interviewed John Bitzer, creator of BaseballTradeValues.com. BTV is designed to simulate trades scenarios and estimate relative value of the players included, and the model incorporates variables like projected performance, prospect rankings, committed salary, inflation, years of control, aging curve, and roster flexibility. The timing couldn't be better with the trade deadline fast approaching. I spent literal hours on BTV today and came up with some interesting scenarios. The site is quick to note that they won't be 100% accurate and don't factor in things like a specific club's propensity to spend or its roster needs, but even so, it's a great way to double-check your own assumptions about what a player on the Twins or a potential trade partner is worth relative to other trade chips. You could make a case that Royce Lewis should be a bit lower given his early season struggles or Jordan Balazovic should be significantly higher after a strong start, but most of the Twins values feel pretty close. Below are a few examples of trades BTV gave a thumbs up to as fair for both sides: Diamondbacks: Robbie Ray Twins: Brent Rooker, Nick Gordon, Fernando Romero Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman, Ken Giles Twins: Brusdar Graterol, Nick Gordon, LaMonte Wade Jr. Mets: Noah Syndergaard Twins: Royce Lewis, Lewis Thorpe Mets: Jacob deGrom Twins: Alex Kirilloff, Nick Gordon Giants: Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith Twins: Wander Javier, Lewis Thorpe Comment with some trades you work out on BTV!
  6. Every artist gets asked the question ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ The honest artist answers ‘I steal them.’ - Austin Kleon As Twins fans, we tend to look at roster moves through Twins-colored glasses. We know there are approaches to roster construction and talent acquisition outside of the Falvey/Levine mold and we try our best to keep track of them, but it’s difficult and time consuming to monitor 29 other rosters for ideas the Twins could adopt. Unfortunately opposing players don’t have 'amateur free agent' or 'trade acquisition' on their jerseys along with their name and number.The good news, friends, is that your humble author has done the hard work for you. Over the past few weeks I’ve studied the teams that made the 2018 postseason in an effort to better understand to what degree they relied on homegrown talent (i.e. drafted and signed internationally) and external talent (i.e. free agents and trade acquisitions) to reach the postseason. I looked at every player that suited up for these clubs and tracked how they were acquired and how they performed. The results were surprising and fascinating, showing one key area where the Twins have fallen behind - an opportunity they can’t afford to continue to miss if they want to return to the postseason. Before we dive in, a few notes on methodology: All WAR figures are based on FanGraphs’ WAR formula. If you aren’t a fan of WAR, you may want to turn back now, but you’re reading a baseball site on Super Bowl Sunday so my guess is we’re safe.The 2019 Twins projections below are FanGraphs’ Depth Chart projections, which are a blend of Steamer’s projection system and playing time estimates by FanGraphs’ staff.Several types of averages below help summarize the postseason field as a whole, including median, unweighted average (mean) and weighted average. The weighted average favor the clubs that advanced further into the postseason (crediting 19 games for advancing to the World Series, 12 games for advancing to the league championship series, and so forth). So the Red Sox are weighted more heavily in that average than the A’s, for example.The “Small Market Average” is an average of Cleveland, Oakland, Milwaukee and Colorado, meant to represent the postseason clubs more closely aligned with the Twins’ revenues and spending capabilities.Okay, let’s get started. Homegrown Talent Any conversation around Minnesota’s underwhelming 2018 starts with the struggles of Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, but readers may be surprised by how competitive the Twins’ homegrown core was relative to those of the postseason clubs, even factoring in Buxton's and Sano’s struggles. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers: Download attachment: HomegrownChart.png In fact, players the Twins drafted or signed as amateur international free agents contributed 19.6 wins to the 2018 club, roughly even with the average playoff team. Among the contending clubs, the Red Sox and Rockies led the way with 23.7 and 23.5 wins respectively from their homegrown talent, while the Brewers managed to lead the National League in wins despite only 3.6 wins’ worth of production from players they’d drafted or signed internationally. Fangraphs projects the Twins’ drafted and international signings to continue to produce at or above the level of a postseason team in 2019, but 2018 showed us that this won’t be enough to take the club to October. So if the Twins maintained pace with baseball’s best in homegrown production and still fell short, where did the eventual postseason clubs pull away? Free Agency The state of free agency has been a hot topic this offseason, and it’s no secret to Twins fans that the free agent market wasn’t kind to their club in 2018. Logan Morrison, Lance Lynn and Addison Reed fell flat, and key free agent investments from previous offseasons Ervin Santana and Jason Castro were non-factors. Let’s take a look at free agent production as compared to the 2018 playoff teams: Download attachment: FAWAR1.png Download attachment: FAWAR2.png While the Twins got a mere 1.3 wins from players acquired via free agency, playoff teams enjoyed an average of nearly 8 wins apiece. There were outliers even within one division, with the Dodgers needing nearly 14 wins from former free agents to squeak into the postseason while the Rockies needed less than 2 free agent wins to do the same. The NL West race also demonstrates a split in strategy between larger- and smaller-market teams, with the smaller predictably relying less on free agents than their larger-market counterparts. If Twins fans are looking for some good news, it’s unlikely their luck will be nearly as poor in 2019. FanGraphs has rosy projections for former free agents Nelson Cruz, Michael Pineda and Jonathan Schoop, but a return to the postseason will likely hinge on every ounce of the 13.5 wins FanGraphs projects the Twins getting from players acquired in free agency. But here’s where things get interesting, because if the homegrown core still looks promising and the free agent acquisitions appear poised for fairly strong production, there’s only one player acquisition strategy left that jumps off the page as a missed opportunity for the Twins, and if you took a close look at the charts above you may be way ahead of me. The Trade Market While last year’s playoff teams may have had a step up on the Twins in free agency, they absolutely torched the Twins when it came to finding surplus value in the trade market. Let’s take another look at the breakdown of external production: Download attachment: TradeWAR1.png Download attachment: TradeWAR2.png Outside of the trade for Jake Odorizzi, the Twins have been largely absent from the trade market, and it shows when you compare them to the best teams in baseball. Excluding midseason trades, which we’ll omit due to the Twins having very different goals in those trades than the other teams on this list, trade acquisitions contributed only 6.1 wins to the Twins in 2018, and those were largely concentrated between Odorizzi and erstwhile fan favorite Eduardo Escobar. By comparison, 2018’s postseason teams averaged a whopping 17.9 wins from players acquired via trade, again excluding midseason trades. That’s nearly 40% of their production coming from such trades, and the number balloons to nearly 50% when you look at just the smaller market clubs. The A’s and the Indians have written the book on building a small market contender by acing the trade market, with the A’s acquiring over half their 2018 production and the Indians acquiring four of five pieces of a dynamic rotation (all of whom were worth 4 or more WAR) via trade. If there’s one lesson to take from this review of the 2018 postseason field, it’s that effectively leveraging the trade market is critical to building a postseason contender, and the Twins have not kept pace with their competition. Twins fans have seen what can happen when trades go wrong, but we also saw in 2018 the effect that conservative trade activity can have on a club that has eyes on the postseason. Is it time to get out there and make some aggressive moves? Click here to view the article
  7. The good news, friends, is that your humble author has done the hard work for you. Over the past few weeks I’ve studied the teams that made the 2018 postseason in an effort to better understand to what degree they relied on homegrown talent (i.e. drafted and signed internationally) and external talent (i.e. free agents and trade acquisitions) to reach the postseason. I looked at every player that suited up for these clubs and tracked how they were acquired and how they performed. The results were surprising and fascinating, showing one key area where the Twins have fallen behind - an opportunity they can’t afford to continue to miss if they want to return to the postseason. Before we dive in, a few notes on methodology: All WAR figures are based on FanGraphs’ WAR formula. If you aren’t a fan of WAR, you may want to turn back now, but you’re reading a baseball site on Super Bowl Sunday so my guess is we’re safe. The 2019 Twins projections below are FanGraphs’ Depth Chart projections, which are a blend of Steamer’s projection system and playing time estimates by FanGraphs’ staff. Several types of averages below help summarize the postseason field as a whole, including median, unweighted average (mean) and weighted average. The weighted average favor the clubs that advanced further into the postseason (crediting 19 games for advancing to the World Series, 12 games for advancing to the league championship series, and so forth). So the Red Sox are weighted more heavily in that average than the A’s, for example. The “Small Market Average” is an average of Cleveland, Oakland, Milwaukee and Colorado, meant to represent the postseason clubs more closely aligned with the Twins’ revenues and spending capabilities. Okay, let’s get started. Homegrown Talent Any conversation around Minnesota’s underwhelming 2018 starts with the struggles of Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, but readers may be surprised by how competitive the Twins’ homegrown core was relative to those of the postseason clubs, even factoring in Buxton's and Sano’s struggles. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers: In fact, players the Twins drafted or signed as amateur international free agents contributed 19.6 wins to the 2018 club, roughly even with the average playoff team. Among the contending clubs, the Red Sox and Rockies led the way with 23.7 and 23.5 wins respectively from their homegrown talent, while the Brewers managed to lead the National League in wins despite only 3.6 wins’ worth of production from players they’d drafted or signed internationally. Fangraphs projects the Twins’ drafted and international signings to continue to produce at or above the level of a postseason team in 2019, but 2018 showed us that this won’t be enough to take the club to October. So if the Twins maintained pace with baseball’s best in homegrown production and still fell short, where did the eventual postseason clubs pull away? Free Agency The state of free agency has been a hot topic this offseason, and it’s no secret to Twins fans that the free agent market wasn’t kind to their club in 2018. Logan Morrison, Lance Lynn and Addison Reed fell flat, and key free agent investments from previous offseasons Ervin Santana and Jason Castro were non-factors. Let’s take a look at free agent production as compared to the 2018 playoff teams: While the Twins got a mere 1.3 wins from players acquired via free agency, playoff teams enjoyed an average of nearly 8 wins apiece. There were outliers even within one division, with the Dodgers needing nearly 14 wins from former free agents to squeak into the postseason while the Rockies needed less than 2 free agent wins to do the same. The NL West race also demonstrates a split in strategy between larger- and smaller-market teams, with the smaller predictably relying less on free agents than their larger-market counterparts. If Twins fans are looking for some good news, it’s unlikely their luck will be nearly as poor in 2019. FanGraphs has rosy projections for former free agents Nelson Cruz, Michael Pineda and Jonathan Schoop, but a return to the postseason will likely hinge on every ounce of the 13.5 wins FanGraphs projects the Twins getting from players acquired in free agency. But here’s where things get interesting, because if the homegrown core still looks promising and the free agent acquisitions appear poised for fairly strong production, there’s only one player acquisition strategy left that jumps off the page as a missed opportunity for the Twins, and if you took a close look at the charts above you may be way ahead of me. The Trade Market While last year’s playoff teams may have had a step up on the Twins in free agency, they absolutely torched the Twins when it came to finding surplus value in the trade market. Let’s take another look at the breakdown of external production: Outside of the trade for Jake Odorizzi, the Twins have been largely absent from the trade market, and it shows when you compare them to the best teams in baseball. Excluding midseason trades, which we’ll omit due to the Twins having very different goals in those trades than the other teams on this list, trade acquisitions contributed only 6.1 wins to the Twins in 2018, and those were largely concentrated between Odorizzi and erstwhile fan favorite Eduardo Escobar. By comparison, 2018’s postseason teams averaged a whopping 17.9 wins from players acquired via trade, again excluding midseason trades. That’s nearly 40% of their production coming from such trades, and the number balloons to nearly 50% when you look at just the smaller market clubs. The A’s and the Indians have written the book on building a small market contender by acing the trade market, with the A’s acquiring over half their 2018 production and the Indians acquiring four of five pieces of a dynamic rotation (all of whom were worth 4 or more WAR) via trade. If there’s one lesson to take from this review of the 2018 postseason field, it’s that effectively leveraging the trade market is critical to building a postseason contender, and the Twins have not kept pace with their competition. Twins fans have seen what can happen when trades go wrong, but we also saw in 2018 the effect that conservative trade activity can have on a club that has eyes on the postseason. Is it time to get out there and make some aggressive moves?
  8. “Every artist gets asked the question ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ The honest artist answers ‘I steal them.’” - Austin Kleon As Twins fans, we tend to look at roster moves through Twins-colored glasses. We know there are approaches to roster construction and talent acquisition outside of the Falvey/Levine mold and we try our best to keep track of them, but it’s difficult and time-consuming to monitor 29 other rosters for ideas the Twins could adopt. Unfortunately opposing players don’t have “amateur free agent” or “trade acquisition” on their jerseys along with their name and number. The good news, friends, is that your humble author has done the hard work for you. Over the past few weeks I’ve studied the teams that made the 2018 postseason in an effort to better understand to what degree they relied on homegrown talent (i.e. drafted and signed internationally) and external talent (i.e. free agents and trade acquisitions) to reach the postseason. I looked at every player that suited up for these clubs and tracked how they were acquired and how they performed. The results were surprising and fascinating, showing one key area where the Twins have fallen behind - an opportunity they can’t afford to continue to miss if they want to return to the postseason. Before we dive in, a few notes on methodology: All WAR figures are based on FanGraphs’ WAR formula. If you aren’t a fan of WAR, you may want to turn back now, but you’re reading a baseball site on Super Bowl Sunday so my guess is we’re safe. The 2019 Twins projections below are FanGraphs’ Depth Chart projections, which are a blend of Steamer’s projection system and playing time estimates by FanGraphs’ staff. Several types of averages below help summarize the postseason field as a whole, including median, unweighted average (mean) and weighted average. The weighted average favor the clubs that advanced further into the postseason (crediting 19 games for advancing to the World Series, 12 games for advancing to the league championship series, and so forth). So the Red Sox are weighted more heavily in that average than the A’s, for example. The “Small Market Average” is an average of Cleveland, Oakland, Milwaukee and Colorado, meant to represent the postseason clubs more closely aligned with the Twins’ revenues and spending capabilities. Okay, let’s get started. Homegrown Talent Any conversation around Minnesota’s underwhelming 2018 starts with the struggles of Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, but readers may be surprised by how competitive the Twins’ homegrown core was relative to those of the postseason clubs, even factoring in Buxton and Sano’s struggles. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers: In fact, players the Twins drafted or signed as amateur international free agents contributed 19.6 wins to the 2018 club, roughly even with the average playoff team. Among the contending clubs, the Red Sox and Rockies led the way with 23.7 and 23.5 wins respectively from their homegrown talent, while the Brewers managed to lead the National League in wins despite only 3.6 wins’ worth of production from players they’d drafted or signed internationally. Fangraphs projects the Twins’ drafted and international signings to continue to produce at or above the level of a postseason team in 2019, but 2018 showed us that this won’t be enough to take the club to October. So if the Twins maintained pace with baseball’s best in homegrown production and still fell short, where did the eventual postseason clubs pull away? Free Agency The state of free agency has been a hot topic this offseason, and it’s no secret to Twins fans that the free agent market wasn’t kind to their club in 2018. Logan Morrison, Lance Lynn and Addison Reed fall flat, and key free agent investments from previous offseasons Ervin Santana and Jason Castro were non-factors. Let’s take a look at free agent production as compared to the 2018 playoff teams: While the Twins got a mere 1.3 wins from players acquired via free agency, playoff teams enjoyed an average of nearly 8 wins apiece. There were outliers even within one division, with the Dodgers needing nearly 14 wins from former free agents to squeak into the postseason while the Rockies needed less than 2 free agent wins to do the same. The NL West race also demonstrates a split in strategy between larger- and smaller-market teams, with the smaller predictably relying less on free agents than their larger-market counterparts. If Twins fans are looking for some good news, it’s unlikely their luck will be nearly as poor in 2019. FanGraphs has rosy projections for former free agents Nelson Cruz, Michael Pineda and Jonathan Schoop, but a return to the postseason will likely hinge on every ounce of the 13.5 wins FanGraphs projects the Twins getting from players acquired in free agency. But here’s where things get interesting, because if the homegrown core still looks promising and the free agent acquisitions appear poised for fairly strong production, there’s only one player acquisition strategy left that jumps off the page as a missed opportunity for the Twins, and if you took a close look at the charts above you may be way ahead of me. The Trade Market While last year’s playoff teams may have had a step up on the Twins in free agency, they absolutely torched the Twins when it came to finding surplus value in the trade market. Let’s take another look at the breakdown of external production: Outside of the trade for Jake Odorizzi, the Twins have been largely absent from the trade market, and it shows when you compare them to the best teams in baseball. Excluding midseason trades, which we’ll omit due to the Twins having very different goals in those trades than the other teams on this list, trade acquisitions contributed only 6.1 wins to the Twins in 2018, and those were largely concentrated between Odorizzi and erstwhile fan favorite Eduardo Escobar. By comparison, 2018’s postseason teams averaged a whopping 17.9 wins from players acquired via trade, again excluding midseason trades. That’s nearly 40% of their production coming from such trades, and the number balloons to nearly 50% when you look at just the smaller market clubs. The A’s and the Indians have written the book on building a small market contender by acing the trade market, with the A’s acquiring over half their 2018 production and the Indians acquiring four of five pieces of a dynamic rotation (all of whom were worth 4 or more WAR) via trade. If there’s one lesson to take from this review of the 2018 postseason field, it’s that effectively leveraging the trade market is critical to building a postseason contender, and the Twins have not kept pace with their competition. Twins fans have seen what can happen when trades go wrong, but we also saw in 2018 the effect that conservative trade activity can have on a club that has eyes on the postseason. Is it time to get out there and make some aggressive moves?
  9. Greg Logan

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  10. It would be nice to find another left handed to complement Garver but pickins will be slim. Yasmani Grandal was rumored to be trade bait this offseason after Barnes got so much postseason playing time, but he’s been behind the plate more often than Barnes so far. Tucker Barnhart might be available?
  11. I'm not ready to make that jump. With so many left-handers in this lineup you have to have someone who can hit LHP even at a league-average clip, and until we have more than a year's worth of PA's suggesting Grossman can't, you have to trust his track record.
  12. The Twins offense has been right around average so far in 2018, ranking 7th in the AL in runs scored per game and 9th in wRC+. It’s early, but if we assume that Logan Morrison, Robbie Grossman and Byron Buxton (once healthy) improve as the season progresses, and even if Max Kepler can’t maintain a 1.000 OPS and Ryan LaMarre isn’t the greatest hitter of our (or any) generation, the Twins offense should eventually settle closer to the top-5 offense they displayed in 2017. But in order to do so, they’ll need to address one potential weakness. Let’s consider the Opening Day lineup, the Twins' most frequently used to date, and their career OPS against left-handed pitching: Dozier - .889 Mauer - .742 Sano - .898 Rosario - .697 Morrison - .694 Escobar - .736 Kepler - .542 Buxton - .697 Castro - .564 Dozier and Sano both crush left-handed pitching, but among Twins Opening Day starters they represent the only two career marks above .745 (last year’s MLB average against LHP). It begs the question: are the Twins vulnerable to left-handed pitching? It’s a question Paul Molitor luckily hasn’t had to address with much frequency to start the season. Fewer than 17% of the Twins’ plate appearances have been against left-handed pitching so far, the second lowest rate in baseball. But the southpaws won’t be held at bay for long, and if Saturday’s lineup is any indication, Molitor is already exploring ways to mitigate the issue. With Rays left-hander Blake Snell on the mound, Molitor opted to bat Robbie Grossman fourth despite a horrendous .077/.143/.115 start to the season. It was a bold move to be sure, and Molitor deserves credit for looking past early-season struggles and even medium-term platoon splits to acknowledge Grossman’s longer-term track record of hitting left-handers. Across his career, Grossman owns a .750 OPS vs. LHP across 500 plate appearances. That OPS number places him behind only Dozier and Sano among Twins hitters, even after it declined a bit in 2017 with Grossman actually hitting better against right-handers. A single year’s sample of platoon splits is rarely as reliable as multiple years, and it’s encouraging to see Molitor making decisions based on the larger sample. It’s anyone’s guess how long it might take for Grossman to return to his usual production, but multiple seasons' worth of above-average hitting against left-handed pitching can’t be ignored, and we shouldn't be surprised if we continue to see Robbie Grossman's name penciled into the middle of the order against opposing left-handers.
  13. I hadn't really thought about Lackey but he projects reasonably well if you're just trying to fill a 5th starter slot with something above replacement level. 2017 WAR: 0.5 (Fangraphs), 1.2 (BR), 0.7 (BP) 2018 proj fWAR : 1.4 (Steamer), 1.6 (ZiPS) Not bad if you're out on the "Big Four" and just trying to upgrade on Hughes/Slegers on a one-year deal. Certainly better than Tillman.
  14. Sort of. Santana, Berrios and Gibson are in the rotation regardless, so I think you have to look at it more as replacing Hughes/Slegers's replacement-level projection than replacing Gibson's 2-win projection. Teams value an incremental win at around $8M, which would mean Darvish should command a little over $32M for his 2018 projection. The question is how close will this market get him to that and how many years of it will the winner of his services have to agree to.
  15. This is great. I'm glad you used Berrios as a point of comparison because I see some similarities in their first-year control issues. Berrios in 2016 and Mejia in 2017 both had trouble finding the strike zone consistently with their fastball, and I think that allowed hitters to spit on their breaking pitches and wait for a fastball in the zone. Berrios went from a 6.9% BB rate in the minors to a 12.5% BB rate in his first year in the majors, but then he was able to drop it back down to 7.8% in 2017. Mejia's control issues weren't quite as extreme (5.3 in the minors to 9.9 in the majors), but if he can iron out the fastball control (and especially command since his breaking stuff isn't as electric as Berrios's), it could make a huge difference.
  16. Definitely get where you're coming from with the Hughes vs Tillman thing, but worth noting that Chris Tillman was literally the worst pitcher in baseball by BRef's WAR model last year, and damn close by both Fangraphs and BP's models. Hughes certainly isn't reliable health-wise, but even for how awful he was better than Tillman. If you can get even 50 innings out of him at the start of the year and then hand off to Gonsalves or Romero, wouldn't we rather do that than pay Tillman?
  17. It’s been another painfully quiet week for the free agent market, with Yu Darvish at the center of another series of rumors. Last week I wrote about how the top free agent options stack up by various rate stats, and it was clear by those metrics that Darvish stands well above the rest of the free agent pack – and well ahead of any of the pitchers currently slotted into the Twins rotation. But just how much might one of the “Big Four” impact the Twins’ projections for 2018? That is where we’ll turn our attention for Part II of “By The Numbers.”To start, let’s look at where the Twins currently stand by the one major projection system that’s been fully public so far. On FanGraphs you’ll find an early look at their projected standings for 2018 based on the Steamer projection system. FanGraphs writers have cautioned that their projected standings will be updated sometime in March to incorporate ZiPS, so expect these estimates to change, but Steamer currently projects the Twins to finish at 80-82, or 12 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central and 9 games behind the Yankees and Angels, who are projected about even for both wild cards. Even if an AL Central teeming with 90-loss teams gifts the Twins a few extra wins in the Wild Card race, Steamer seems to think the Twins have a ways yet to go to catch up with the Yankees and Angels after their aggressive offseasons. So how did the free agents stack up with the Twins’ candidates in 2017, and what do the major projections systems expect from them in 2018? Let’s take a look: Download attachment: FASP1.png Download attachment: FASP2.png *As mentioned above, FanGraphs hasn’t yet released their formal “Depth Chart” projections, which aggregate ZiPS and Steamer and prorate for the FanGraphs staff’s playing time projections, so I’ve calculated the Depth Chart projections manually based on FanGraphs’ methodology and the ZiPS projections that have been released so far. Jake Arrieta’s ZiPS projections have not been released, so his Depth Chart projection is based only on Steamer. Unsurprisingly, Steamer and ZiPS both project Yu Darvish to lead the pack in 2018, but what is a bit surprising is by how much the projections see him outperforming the rest of the field. If you look at the aggregated rankings, he is projected to outperform Jake Arrieta and Jose Berrios (ranked 2 and 3 above) by more than a win and to outperform every other free agent starters by at least two wins. Maybe more surprising is that the aggregated projections do not project Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb as clear improvements over Kyle Gibson as the third starter and or even anything more than a slight improvement over Adalberto Mejia as the fourth starter. Of course, the Twins will eventually need a fifth starter, and signing Jaime Garcia or even Chris Tillman could likely help avoid a replacement-level solution (see: Phil Hughes) every fifth day until top pitching prospects Stephen Gonsalves and Fernando Romero prove they’re ready for the show. Do these projections change your opinions of any of the free agent starters? Who would you have the Twins sign? Click here to view the article
  18. To start, let’s look at where the Twins currently stand by the one major projection system that’s been fully public so far. On FanGraphs you’ll find an early look at their projected standings for 2018 based on the Steamer projection system. FanGraphs writers have cautioned that their projected standings will be updated sometime in March to incorporate ZiPS, so expect these estimates to change, but Steamer currently projects the Twins to finish at 80-82, or 12 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central and 9 games behind the Yankees and Angels, who are projected about even for both wild cards. Even if an AL Central teeming with 90-loss teams gifts the Twins a few extra wins in the Wild Card race, Steamer seems to think the Twins have a ways yet to go to catch up with the Yankees and Angels after their aggressive offseasons. So how did the free agents stack up with the Twins’ candidates in 2017, and what do the major projections systems expect from them in 2018? Let’s take a look: *As mentioned above, FanGraphs hasn’t yet released their formal “Depth Chart” projections, which aggregate ZiPS and Steamer and prorate for the FanGraphs staff’s playing time projections, so I’ve calculated the Depth Chart projections manually based on FanGraphs’ methodology and the ZiPS projections that have been released so far. Jake Arrieta’s ZiPS projections have not been released, so his Depth Chart projection is based only on Steamer. Unsurprisingly, Steamer and ZiPS both project Yu Darvish to lead the pack in 2018, but what is a bit surprising is by how much the projections see him outperforming the rest of the field. If you look at the aggregated rankings, he is projected to outperform Jake Arrieta and Jose Berrios (ranked 2 and 3 above) by more than a win and to outperform every other free agent starters by at least two wins. Maybe more surprising is that the aggregated projections do not project Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb as clear improvements over Kyle Gibson as the third starter and or even anything more than a slight improvement over Adalberto Mejia as the fourth starter. Of course, the Twins will eventually need a fifth starter, and signing Jaime Garcia or even Chris Tillman could likely help avoid a replacement-level solution (see: Phil Hughes) every fifth day until top pitching prospects Stephen Gonsalves and Fernando Romero prove they’re ready for the show. Do these projections change your opinions of any of the free agent starters? Who would you have the Twins sign?
  19. It’s been another painfully quiet week for the free agent market, with Yu Darvish at the center of another series of rumors. Last week I wrote about how the top free agent options stack up by various rate stats, and it was clear by those metrics that Darvish stands well above the rest of the free agent pack – and well ahead of any of the pitchers currently slotted into the Twins rotation. But just how much might one of the “Big Four” impact the Twins’ projections for 2018? That is where we’ll turn our attention for Part II of “By The Numbers.” To start, let’s look at where the Twins currently stand by the one major projection system that’s been fully public so far. On Fangraphs you’ll find an early look at their projected standings for 2018 based on the Steamers projection system. Fangraphs writers have cautioned that their projected standings will be updated sometime in March to incorporate ZiPS, so expect these estimates to change, but Steamer currently projects the Twins to finish at 80-82, or 12 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central and 9 games behind the Yankees and Angels, who are projected about even for both wild cards. Even if an AL Central teeming with 90-loss teams gifts the Twins a few extra wins in the Wild Card race, Steamer seems to think the Twins have a ways yet to go to catch up with the Yankees and Angels after their aggressive offseasons. So how did the free agents stack up with the Twins’ candidates in 2017, and what do the major projections systems expect from them in 2018? Let’s take a look: *As mentioned above, Fangraphs hasn’t yet released their formal “Depth Chart” projections, which aggregate ZiPS and Steamer and prorate for the Fangraphs staff’s playing time projections, so I’ve calculated the Depth Chart projections manually based on Fangraphs’ methodology and the ZiPS projections that have been released so far. Jake Arrieta’s ZiPS projections have not been released, so his Depth Chart projection is based only on Steamer. Unsurprisingly Steamer and ZiPS both project Yu Darvish to lead the pack in 2018, but what is a bit surprising is by how much the projections see him outperforming the rest the field. If you look at the aggregated rankings, he is projected to outperform Jake Arrieta and Jose Berrios (ranked 2 and 3 above) by more than a win and to outperform every other free agent starters by at least 2 wins. Maybe more surprising is that the aggregated projections do not project Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb as clear improvements over Kyle Gibson as the 3rd starter and or even anything more than a slight improvement over Adalberto Mejia as the 4th starter. Of course, the Twins will eventually need a 5th starter, and signing Jaime Garcia or even Chris Tillman could likely help avoid a replacement-level solution (see: Phil Hughes) every fifth day until top pitching prospects Stephen Gonsalves and Fernando Romero prove they’re ready for the show. Do these projections change your opinions of any of the free agent starters? Who would you have the Twins sign?
  20. I have a hard time with the "Zack Granite has reverse splits" argument. As Seth noted, Granite had an .822 OPS vs RHP and a .781 OPS vs LHP in 2017, which isn't a bad split for a LHB, but one-year platoon splits typically aren't enough of a sample size to be reliable long-term. If you go back to 2016 he had a pretty notable OPS platoon split at .672 vs LHP and .744 vs RHP. Seth notes that his OBP is similar, but he leaves out slugging from his slash line, which is important to have a full view. I'm curious why SLG was left out. Going any further back has us looking at his performance against single-A pitchers, which likely doesn't project very well.
  21. I keep waiting to see a really in-depth analysis of the "stickiness" of contact quality. Craig notes there that there are some sample size concerns, and I'd agree. We still only have three seasons of Statcast data to work with, so hopefully as we get more data we'll be able to see a bigger n on an analysis like Craig's. I'm curious why he doesn't look at 2015-to-2016 in addition to 2016-to-2017 since the data's there. Regardless of the projectability, I think xwoBA shows us a much more objective view of a pitcher's performance independent of defense than FIP does, and certainly more than ERA does.
  22. As we near the two week mark before pitchers and catchers report in Fort Myers, we're starting to see signs that this painfully frigid free agent market may be finally thawing. The Brewers staked their claim on a crowded NL Central with two big outfield acquisitions last week, and rumors abound that Yu Darvish is closing in on a decision that might open the free agent starter floodgates. While we wait to hear whether Darvish picks the Twins or sends the front office scrambling for Plan B, let's take a look at how the top four free agent starters – Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb – stack up against the existing Twins rotation candidates by the numbers. Today we'll start with rate stats, and I'll follow up with a "Part II" that takes a deeper look at the major WAR and projection models. I imagine every Twins Daily reader is familiar with the drawbacks of both ERA and FIP. ERA holds the pitcher completely responsible for every ball in play, ignoring defense, ballpark factors and dumb luck. FIP clears the pitcher of any responsibility on balls in play that don't leave the ballpark, ignoring quality of contact on those balls in play. Enter this author's new favorite pitching stat: Statcast's new xwOBA metric. You can find a detailed description at the previous link, but you could say that xwOBA takes FIP to the next level: maintaining the pitcher's responsibility for strikeouts and walks while also giving pitchers due credit (or penalty) for their quality of contact beyond just home runs. Ervin Santana is a great case study here. Erv's 2017 ERA was stellar, but his FIP suggests that it was helped out quite a bit by some combination of defense, ballpark factors and luck. xwOBA helps us cut through the noise here by showing that Santana's overall production (.292 vs. .320 lg avg) was more in line with his ERA (3.28 vs 4.49) than his FIP (roughly lg avg). Yu Darvish's numbers, especially in the second half, tell a similar story. xwOBA suggests that he was far and away the best of the available free agent starters in spite of his inflated ERA, and that his second half was terrific despite some of the traditional results suggesting he faded. Perhaps this, and his strong early starts in the playoffs, suggest that his World Series collapse was in fact the result of pitch tipping rather than an overall fade in production. Arrieta's second half may be even more interesting. His ERA drops substantially in the second half, and while his FIP suggests that it may have been more luck than production, his xwOBA reinforces that he was indeed generating significantly better quality of contact to go with his continued strong strikeout and control rates. With Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb we can say with some certainty that either would have slotted well ahead of any Twins pitchers not named Santana or Berrios in 2017, but let's take a closer look at the numbers. Nick recently applauded Lynn on Twitter for his consistency and the numbers back him up here, particularly looking at xwOBA which suggests that an inflated 2017 FIP may not be that concerning. With Cobb, many have pointed to his hot second half as a positive, but his FIP remained essentially the same and his xwOBA actually regressed in the second half, suggesting his second half surge may have had a fair amount of luck attached to it. What else jumps out at you in these numbers? Mejia's second half? May's strong 2015 xwOBA as a starter?
  23. Cotillo and others have been suggesting it's Cubs vs. Brewers (possibly because of yesterday's rumors that Twins might be backing off due to price tag), so maybe Morosi was just reiterating that the Twins were still in it too?
  24. I've been wondering about this too. Greinke's remaining deal will seriously limit the prospect asking price. The AAV is daunting, but it's been pretty well covered that the Twins have almost no salary obligations after 2018.
  25. I was looking for something like this! Thanks for posting.
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