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Found 6 results

  1. 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
  2. "Hot catchers are a lot like goalies standing on their heads in hockey - once you get on a roll in the postseason, you tend to stick with your horse. With his batting average hovering around .300, Garver has a knack for clutch hits in big spots and could absolutely take over a tight game with one swing of his bat. Maybe even a series." Click below for the full article on why the catcher is the most important position in baseball and why that will equare to a Twins Championship https://www.boutdamn.com/blog/twins-world-series-hopes-rest-behind-the-plate
  3. That New Pack Smell Every year, I treat myself to one pack of baseball cards. I've always enjoyed recapturing the glee, the confusion and the memories of stale bubble gum. This year, with the Twins careening below .500, it seems that plenty of fans would appreciate a diversion like this, but, as a curious soul, I wondered. Would the Twins be any better, if I replaced players on the team with those individuals in my particular deck of cards? Or, put another way, is the Twins Front Office any better at assembling talent than a random machine at the Topps factory? The results, both of my nostalgia and my exercise in Random GMing are as follows. *** PART THE FIRST: RANDOM MUSINGS *** Really? Parker? I always trick myself into thinking the top card will be someone of magic and wonder, someone to trick you into saying: YES! BEST PACK EVER!!...This year's magic man...Jarrod Parker...a good pitcher coming back from elbow surgery...oh boy...this might be more trying than one of Mike Pelfry's starts. Jose Lobaton (Catcher of the Washington Nationals) follows...Lobaton is fun to say, but I might prefer Loba-tron: Android Catcher of the Future. It's funny because he's a Tiger. Cody Ross of the Diamondbacks might be the most stereotypical Millenial suburban baseball boy name ever...but he was actually born in 1980 so he squeaks into the avant garde of Gen X suburban baseball names and the pack's determined outfield partner would be Rajai Davis, who is shown missing a catch...c'mon Topps, that's just mean! Oh boy, it's the middle of the pack time, hitting the role players, fringe prospects and journeymen part of the deck: Wily Peralta from the Brewers, Robbie Grossman from the Astros, and Robinson Chirinos of the Texas Rangers. These are all guys I could sit next to on a flight to New Delhi and never know they were major league baseball players (assuming they would A: fly to New Delhi and B: Fly coach) Ahh, memories of Mike Piazza Oh! We've got a throwback card! (Also known as fan service for the aging buyers of baseball cards) It's Mike Piazza from his Mets days. Side note: I was a big Piazza buff during my teenage years when the Mets were easier to see on Montanan TV than the Twins. I look forward to his induction in the Hall of Fame, even though I never actually did see him play live. Woah, it's time for some quality here at the end of the deck: Stephen Vogt (A's Catcher, and three pitchers who had strong seasons recently: Stephen Strasburg, Jhoulys Chacin, and Hisashi Iwakuma). Clearly my assumptions about the top of the pack being magical need to be re-evaluated. That might actually be the cleverer marketing ploy: save the best for last and convince the kids to go buy more...I'm on to you Topps, you and your diabolical machinations!! *** PART THE SECOND: "ANALYSIS" HERE BE HEARSAY AND CONJECTURE, BE YE WARNED *** So The Topps Pack of 12 contains 0 Infielders, 3 catchers (not counting Piazza), 3 Outfielders and 5 pitchers (all starters). So how would that do at replacing Twins players? In an unscientific study using baseball-reference's WAR so far this season (and a selection of Twins players who have logged most of the time in the line up, here's where the Twins players* (see note 1) stand. Starters: Suzuki/Mauer/Dozier/Plouffe/Santana/Rosario/Hicks/Sano Bench: Nunez/Escobar/Hermann/Robinson Line up Total (6.9) Starting Pitchers: Hughes/Gibson/Pelfry/Milone/Santana Relievers:Thompson/Duensing/Graham/Fein/Boyer/May/Perkins Pitching Staff Total (11.2) Twins Total: 18.1 WAR After that I hunted down the year for those players in this pack to see how they compare. Obviously I couldn't I didn't just want to replace bad players with someone better (any team is better if they choose better players), rather I wanted to see how the Twins could be expected to do if they brought in all 12 of these guys to replace others at similar positions (i.e. Starters, Catchers, and outfielders) So how would the Twins have done if they'd grabbed this pack of cards and plugged them into the rotation? Here's the results: SP1-Phil Hughes (1.8) Stephen Strasburg (-0.3) SP2-Kyle Gibson (2.4) Hisashi Iwakuma (0.6)--Only 10 starts SP3-Mike Pelfrey (1.7) Jhoulys Chacin (0.0)--Injured all year, hopefully maybe this would be May SP4-Tommy Milone (1.4) Willy Peralta (0.5) SP5-Ervin Santana (0.0) Jarrod Parker (0.0)--Injured all year, so it's a wash Regular Twins Staff: 7.3; Trading Card Staff: 0.8 Net Change (-6.5 WAR) The key take away, other than that my initial reaction to pitchers is based much more on name recognition than performance this year, has to be that despite even the worst outings of late for Twins pitchers, over the season, it's WAY better to have the devil we know than the devil we don't Maybe my initial pleasure with these pitchers was ill founded... If we acknowledge that Terry Ryan can build a rotation better than a completely random player generator, how about the line up? Here are the lineup replacements# (see note 2): C-Kurt Suzuki (-0.3) Stephen Vogt (2.5) LF-Eddie Rosario (1.0) Robbie Grossman (-0.4) Most games are in Left CF-Aaron Hicks (1.4) Rajai Davis (0.9) Most games in center. Utility IF- Eduardo Nunez (0.4) Jose Lobaton (-0.1) 2nd C-Chris Hermann (0.0) Robinson Chorinos (1.6) 4th OF-Shane Robinson (0.2) Cody Ross (-0.9) He only played 9 games (so I kept him here) Regular Twins Line up: 6.9; Trading Card Line up: 7.9 Net Change: (+1 WAR) Clearly the outfield is hurt by that set of swaps, but shockingly (or unshockingly I suppose) any combination of these three random catchers would all outperform the Suzuki/Hermann Tandem with room left over for a third catcher and a couple of days of Vogt spelling Mauer at first base...heck Chorinos even has starts at 3rd on his resume. All told, if the Twins let a random pack of trading cards determine half their line up, they would be significantly worse than they are: 18.1 Team WAR to 12.6 Team WAR. I won't use this as some asinine proof that the Twins are secret geniuses, but at the very least, I won't tweet out some claim that monkeys at typewriters could bang out a better roster than the front office. ...At least...until I open a better pack.... *Note 1: A case could be made that I should have used some different players who either played better (i.e. drop Santana and include Vargas instead) or worse (i.e. Drop Santana for Nolasco), but like my warning says, it's hearsay and conjecture, stick with me guys. #Note 2: I suppose you could quibble and say that I should have removed Hunter for Davis and kept Hicks, or dropped Santana instead of Nunez for the third catcher, but whatever way you do it, the gain of 1-3 Wins above Replacement isn't enough to offset for the dismal pitching changes. And besides that: HEARSAY! CONJECTURE! Smarter writers will have better reasons, I'm just a shmuck who opens trading cards and writes about it.
  4. As SpiritofVodkaDave mentioned in the Rotation forum, Ervin Santana is bound to make his Twins debut in 2 weeks. That leaves us fans with a lot of questions on who's in, and who's out in the rotation. The lowest hanging fruit to clear up the rotation log jam and free up a spot on the 40 man roster going forward is Mike Pelfrey. The man is currently on the final year of his contract, and is most likely viewed as a rental player on a contending team. The question is, what could the Twins get via trade for Mike Pelfrey? Could we get a close to MLB ready catcher for a Pelfrey/prospect package deal? Or is he only worth a low-level, take a chance on me type of prospect?
  5. With Opening Day having come and gone, I made a check of all the major league rosters. I always check for ex-Twins and this year there are 28. Here is a list: Drew Butera, Samuel Deduno, Pat Neshek, Sam Fuld, RA Dickey, Liam Hendriks, Danny Valencia, AJ Pierzynski, Matt Garza, Kyle Lohse, Carlos Gomez, Anthony Swarzak, Michael Cuddyer, Wilson Ramos, Delmon Young, Francisco Liriano, Vance Worley, Ben Revere, Rene Rivera, Craig Breslow, David Ortiz, Jason Marquis, LaTroy Hawkins, Justin Morneau, Kendrys Morales, Joe Nathan and Garrett Jones. Lots of catchers, first basemen, outfielders and DHs. In addition I checked the number of teams that carried three catchers (5) and 13 pitchers (5). Two teams are listed with only 11 pitchers, but I believe they both will activate their 12th pitcher when he starts a game in the first week.
  6. In the interest of preliminary disclosures, I am well aware that it's more difficult to get all-star votes if your team is bad, and Joe Mauer plays for an objectively bad team, with a record 11 games below .500 and sitting in last place in a bad division. I also realize that there's probably some lack of knowledge of the fact that Joe Mauer is legitimately back from a poor outing in 2011 - having in played in all but 5 games this year. But is it not insane what is going on with the all-star voting for catcher? Current vote totals (6/14/2012) have Joe Mauer sitting at third, a huge margin behind Mike Napoli in the lead: #1 - Mike Napoli - 1,224,565 #2 - Matt Wieters - 713,469 #3 - Joe Mauer - 637,364 The stats do not seem to bear this out. In my mind, Joe Mauer is clearly an all-star, and I hope the following will show you why. First, batting (note that all league leaders are among eligible all-stars only): The following are the league leaders in batting average, with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses: #1 - Joe Mauer - .303 (3rd) #2 - AJ Pierzynski - .293 (5th) #3 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia - .253 (n/a) #4 - Alex Avila - .250 (n/a) #4 - Mike Napoli (tied) - .250 (1st) ... #6 - Matt Wieters - .245 (2nd) The following are the league leaders in on-base percentage, with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses: #1 - Joe Mauer - .406 (3rd) #2 - Mike Napoli - .356 (1st) #3 - Carlos Santana - .342 (n/a) #4 - AJ Pierzynski - .338 (5th) #5 - Matt Wieters - .328 (2nd) The following are the league leaders in slugging percentage, with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses: #1 - AJ Pierzynski - .520 (5th) #2 - Mike Napoli - .477 (1st) #3 - Matt Wieters - .433 (2nd) #4 - Joe Mauer - .423 (3rd) ... #6 - JP Arencibia - .402 (n/a) The following are the league leaders in on-base plus slugging, with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses: #1 - AJ Pierzynski - .858 (5th) #2 - Joe Mauer - .833 (3rd) #3 - Mike Napoli - .830 (1st) #4 - Matt Wieters - .760 (2nd) #5 - Carlos Santana - .699 (n/a) The following are the league leaders in wOBA (weighted on-base average, with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses: #1 - Joe Mauer - .364 (3rd) #2 - AJ Pierzynski - .363 (5th) #3 - Mike Napoli - .356 (1st) #4 - Matt Wieters - .331 (2nd) ... #6 - Carlos Santana - .310 (n/a) The following are the league leaders in wRC+ (weighted runs created, plus), with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses: #1 - Joe Mauer - 133 (3rd) #2 - AJ Pierzynski - 127 (5th) #3 - Mike Napoli - 121 (1st) #4 - Matt Wieters - 106 (2nd) ... #6 - Carlos Santana - 95 (n/a) When it comes to fielding, the story is a little different. Joe Mauer is very competent behind the plate, but he is perhaps not the force he once was. I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that he could bring these numbers up, though. But I do think that fielding, taken alone, makes Joe Mauer look average - on the other hand, it makes current leader Mike Napoli look downright bad. (Again, these numbers are for all-star eligible players only - I am not counting write-in candidates.) The following are the league leaders in FLD (PO+A)/(PO+A+E), with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses: #1 - Matt Wieters - 3.0 (2nd) #2 - Carlos Santana - 2.8 (n/a) #3 - Kurt Suzuki - 2.0 (n/a) #4 - AJ Pierzynski - 1.0 (5th) ... #7 - Joe Mauer - -1.0 (3rd) ... #9 - Mike Napoli - -3.2 (1st) And then of course there is the comprehensive WAR. And when taking into account Joe Mauer's absolutely stellar batting (as compared to catchers - perhaps "well above-average" when compared to everyone on the field), plus his not-gonna-blow-you-away fielding, Joe Mauer comes out looking pretty darn good if you ask me. The following are the league leaders in WAR (wins above replacement), with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses: #1 - AJ Pierzynski - 2.0 (5th) #2 - Joe Mauer - 1.9 (3rd) #3 - Matt Wieters - 1.7 (2nd) #4 - Mike Napoli - 1.2 (1st) #5 - Carlos Santana - 1.1 (n/a) So what have we learned? First of all, that Mauer is clearly not back into the public eye to the extent that he was in 2009-2010. This is perfectly understandable. The injuries made him something of a non-factor over the last year and a half, and let's face it, the Twins just aren't a team that the national media is paying attention to. The average fan may give him "recognition" votes, but it seems like the vast majority of those are going to Mike Napoli, whose Rangers have gone to the World Series twice in a row. He's now the household name, even though in my mind, he is clearly the lesser catcher. Secondly, there is a lot of venom directed towards Mauer, but I don't buy it. Yes, he needs a dump truck to cash his paycheck, but part of that is the hometown premium. And speaking of premium, when you're smack in the middle of a below-career-average season and you're still among the league's best hitters, you're doing well. He's also among the very best hitters at catcher, which puts his bat at a premium position, and the guys who are ahead of him, such as Carlos Ruiz, while currently hot, are not going to stay at the top of the heap consistently. So my ultimate point is that the all-star voting isn't making much sense at this point. If I were the "general manager" of the all-star team and got to pick my players, my starting catcher would be Joe Mauer. I would also probably hold my nose and pick AJ Pierzynski to back him up. As for the rest, Matt Wieters is very good, but not at Mauer's level. Mike Napoli is criminally overrated. Russell Martin (4th in the voting) is nowhere to be found on the leaderboard and is maybe worth 100 pity votes, tops. And Carlos Santana may be underrated, but he's still not good enough to be an all-star. Can we get Mauer onto the team with concerted a voting effort over the next week or so? How about we give it a shot?: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2012/ballot.jsp
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