Monday, October 27, 2014

Is a Nolasco for Buehrle trade imminent for the Twins?

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe indicated that the Toronto Blue Jays, are shopping Mark Buehrle.  Knowing the infatuation of the Twins' General Manager, Terry Ryan for the former White Sox' slow tossing, fast working Lefty, I suspect that he might be interested.   Could the Twins also show buyer's remorse and trade disgruntled and ineffective Rick Nolasco, who after the season was over, indicated that he wish he were in LA, even further away from there, for Mark Buehrle?  I am not sure that this will be a win for the Twins, other than saving some money and getting a potential headache out of the clubhouse.

Time will show, but it might be an interesting off-season.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Catchers at the Outfield? The 2014 Twins and respectability

If anyone thinks that playing shortstops, first basemen, catchers and DHs at the outfield did not hurt the Twins, here is a pretty astonishing set of numbers allowed to us by the new technology that tracks hit balls.   I am just showing the significant departures from league averages:

Up the Middle RHB:

Twins: PA against: 1339 Slash line: .336/.330/.498 (.826 OPS)
AL: PA against:  19461 Slash line:  .308/.303/.439 (.742 OPS)

Opposite field RHB (i.e hit at the Twins RF):
Twins: PA against: 404 Slash line: .332/.326/.532 (.858 OPS)
AL: PA against: 6191 Slash line: .279/.274/.408 (.682 OPS)

That is a huge difference (from average and not from league best too).  I hope that someone at the Twins looks at that and adjusts accordingly.  If you are a defensive stats minded person, here are plus/minuses (which is actually appropriate for the sample size; devised by Bill James and indicates runs saved from average) and UZR/150 (which is not appropriate for numerical calculation, but the direction gives a sense of what is going on.) 

Santana (CF) plus/minus: -2, UZR/150: -12.2
Mastroianni (OF) plus/minus: -3, UZR/150: -9.2
Hicks (OF)  plus/minus: -6, UZR/150: -8.2
Schafer (OF) plus/minus: -3, UZR/150: 1.2
Herrmann (OF)  plus/minus: -4, UZR/150: -21.9
Kubel (RF)  plus/minus: -7, UZR/150: -29.1
Parmelee (OF)  plus/minus: -7, UZR/150: -7.4
Colabello (RF)  plus/minus: -6, UZR/150: -73.8
Bartlett (OF)  plus/minus: -2, UZR/150: -293.1
Arcia (OF)  plus/minus: -12, UZR/150: -6.9
Willingham (LF)  plus/minus: -5, UZR/150: -6.6
and
Escobar (OF) plus/minus: -1, UZR/150: -27.2
Nunez  (OF) plus/minus: -1, UZR/150: 19.9

Adding those plus/minuses is 57.  Which means that the Twins' outfield gave up 57 more runs than an average outfield.  In 2014 the Twins scored 715 runs and gave up 777 for a 62 run differential.  If they had an average outfield, that differential projects at -5, which projects to an 80-82 record, which, albeit not competitive, is respectable.

The 2014 outfield defense was not the reason the Twins did not compete, but it was the reason the Twins were not respectable. 

I really cannot believe that anyone should use the adjective "solid" to describe any of the above players - maybe with the exception of Schafer - as outfielders.  Some of them are young enough and they can learn and improve, but "solid" they are not.   Nope.  Mr Parmelee is not a solid outfield.  . Mr Herrmann is not a solid outfield.  Mr Santana is not a solid centerfielder.  Mr Hicks is not a solid centerfielder.

Yes, starting pitching beyond Hughes and Gibson (and maybe Pino, his FIP and WHIP are close to Gibson's) was a problem, but it was not the only problem in opponent scoring.   The Twins need to address outfield defense in 2015 as a top priority.


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