46 thoughts on “June 1, 2012: You’ve Got to be Hawking Me”

  1. Interesting story by Jerry Crasnick on Jeff Luhnow and the Astros' plans. The Twins draft history isn't as bad as Houston's, but I wouldn't mind a GM with Luhnow's outlook*. Though in fairness, we probably won't know until 2015 or so which GM did a better job this summer.

    *I don't profess to know TR's outlook. In any case, it appears that only one of the Twins' picks (Brian Dozier) since 2008 are, or have been, in the majors - though Gibson would have been up this year if not for the injury.

    1. That's not a lot of time for a draft pick to make it though. Considering it's now uncommon for high draft picks in a given year to play for the organization until the following year, that's three seasons of playing. Certainly possible/probable for a highly touted pick, but the Twins haven't had the opportunity to draft those in a while.

      1. No, but one would hope we'd have more guys - at least the college guys - knocking on the door. Some got hurt, but there doesn't seem to be a lot there beyond that either.

        1. Absolutely. The Twins should have players waiting in AAA from the 2008 draft and they don't.

      2. I guess I was focusing on college selections. If on the other hand you draft him out of high school, you're expecting the kid to take, what, maybe 5 years - hoping he develops. If he makes it up to the big show, he's ONLY 23 and shows so much promise! Then he takes a few years in the majors to figure it out. 25-28 and you know (Finally) what you've got and he might be solid MLB player or not. If by 25-28 he hasn't made it up, people start looking at him going, 25-28 yrs old and he hasn't figured it out...well, that was a miss.
        If on the other hand you draft out of college, you're hoping he has it mostly figured out and you'll see him in AA, AAA or the majors in a couple of years. Again, if by 25-28 he hasn't made it up, people start looking at him going, 25-28 yrs old and he hasn't figured it out...well, that was a miss.
        In either scenario, the whole institution (not just a 162 game season) requires the long view. I guess my point (and why I enjoyed Crasnick's piece) is that I'm both concerned and excited to see what the draft brings, but I don't want to be a bad baseball team while we wait for the results.

        Until last year happened, it had been a long time since I paid much attention to the Twins farm system...didn't realize that the "cupboard is bare" though I agree that it is.

        1. True, but if the Twins are going to take their time preparing minor leaguers, then there shouldn't be a two or three year span of them adjusting to MLB.

        2. I guess I feel less worried about who is coming up through the minors than I would have a couple years ago. The Twins don't have a bunch of rock stars in the minors, but they could realistically be getting some value out of their farm system. And if their current "winning" percentage is any indication, they could wind up with back-to-back Top 3 picks in the draft, which can change the quality of your farm system in a hurry.

          I mean, consider what has recently come through the system:

          2009: Brian Duensing.
          2010: Valencia. (Revere, Plouffe, Butera barely worth mentioning.)
          2011: Barely worth mentioning: Parmelee, Benson (given that Benson's seemingly been set back quite a bit.)

          Over the last three years, the list of significant additions from the farm system is basically Duensing, Valencia, and Revere. That's even stretching it as Revere has plenty to prove, Valencia is currently in AAA, and Duensing couldn't stick in the rotation. The Twins would probably be better off if Drew Butera had pursued a different career. Plouffe could maybe become Cuddyer Lite, which would be useful, and Parmelee is maybe not an embarassing option for depth at first base, but as it stands, the Twins have no regular starting position players or starting pitchers who came up through the system from '09 to '11.

          So while the current crop of farm players isn't mind-blowing, it couldn't get much worse than what the Twins got from '09 to '11. Even this year, Dozier seems like the only intriguing addition. Diamond might stick at the back of the rotation, I suppose, his minor league numbers are reasonable.

          1. We should probably mention Burnett, Swarzak, and Manship. Slama had a cup of coffee and should have more opportunities. So, I guess they were right to draft him and wrong to let him stay in AAA.

            1. We should? Swarzak has 1.1 fWAR over 2+ years and I suppose is in the "barely worth mentioning" category. Of the others, Burnett's fWAR by year: -0.2, -0.1, -0.1. Not worth mentioning. Manship has 0.4 fWAR scattered over 3+ seasons. Not worth mentioning. And personally, I am not a Slama believer. Too many walks.

              I mean, maybe Swarzak, Burnett, and Manship have some value going forward, but they've essentially been worth nothing over the last three years, and their performance in the minors wasn't really anything to write home about.

            1. Ramos could be the best of that bunch, but that's not saying much. Catchers are tricky because A) their defensive value matters a lot and B) it's really hard to measure their defensive ability. If Ramos is really bad behind the plate (so far this year 23 SB attempts against and only 4 CS, for instance, and I don't know how he is at blocking pitches, etc.), then it knocks 10-15 runs off his value, maybe more. So was Ramos a 3-win player last year or a 1.5-win player last year? That's a pretty big gap, and I'm not confident expressing an opinion one way or the other.

              I mean, if you think Ramos is a poor defensive catcher, then I don't think there's a big gap between Ramos and Doumit.

              (I also hate the topic of Ramos because there's no way I would have thought Capps was the guy to put the Twins over the top in 2010, and I would not have made that trade, but I also think Ramos has been overvalued at times.)

              1. This reminds me of a stat the other day that there's only a handful of relievers with a lower K rate than Capps this year and one of them is Jon Rauch. Don't know what the qualifications were.

      1. The 39th pick is hilarious. 218 WAR, but 138 WAR of that is Barry Bonds. I wonder what the curve would look at if they used a more robust statistic like median, or even something like the 75th percentile, given that the distributions are likely highly asymmetric.

        1. It is very odd that Bonds is listed at the 39th pick, given that he is also listed at the 6th pick. Wouldn't it make more sense to aggregate only on the pick at which a guy signed?

            1. But B-R does already have that data. On his player page, it lists him as the sixth overall pick while under transactions it lists both draftings and says he did not sign the first time. I would have to check the Retrosheet transaction data, but there is an indicator if a player was drafted but did not sign. I'm guessing it's just a mistake in the code.

    1. Thanks for the link, free. Im always amused when products are named poorly, Aciphex for instance, but it's a hard thing to get right considering the decisions are usually made by committee.

    1. Keri predictably whiffs on the Santana trade. Everyone seems to think that contracts just don't matter. Except for Mauer, whose contract is obviously unbearable.

      1. Yeah, mentioning the Santana trade and not the Garza/Bartlett trade is criminal. There's also no perspective on drafting in the top 10 vs. the bottom 10, which makes a big difference. (Looking at MagUidhir's link above, historically there has been about 1580 rWAR in the bottom 10 picks compared to 3960 rWAR in the top 10 picks.)

        It's funny seeing the two extremes of how people will evaluate trades for prospects. On the one hand, you've got the grizzled cynics who basically say all prospects are just prospects and are basically interchangeable and worth nothing until they "prove" themselves. On the other hand, you have the 20/20 hindsight crowd, who wants to pretend, for instance, that the AJP trade was brilliant because the Twins got a lot of value from Nathan/Bonser/Liriano and the Santana trade was crap because the Twins haven't gotten a lot of value from Gomez/Guerra/Mulvey/Humber. Well, sure, the AJP turned out well, but how does it look if Nathan was as good as LaTroy Hawkins and Liriano needs TJ before he even reaches the majors? And Humber, for instance, clearly has talent, but his career hasn't gone as well as it could have.

        Really, it's a matter of not all prospects being created equal, but their relative value is more equal at the time you make a trade than when you judge their careers in hindsight.

    2. Of course, Joe Mauer's not going anywhere anytime soon, not even with every objective measure in the world pointing against paying him $184 million for what he has left.

      And of course, by "every objective measure in the world," Mr. Keri means "one season in an 8-year career."

  2. looking at the AL leaderboard today, I see Denard Span is in the top ten in doubles with 14 (tied for 9th with 3 others). Span has put together a fine season so far with a slash line of .302/.365/.402/768. Also a 19/23 BB/KO ratio

    1. Its kind of scary that mauer, morneau, willingham, and span have basically done what you would expect cumulatively and the team still stinks due to awful starting pitching.

      1. right. Morneau has been mashing the ball when he makes contact. 31 hits, 19 for extra bases (10 doubles, 9 HR). .244/.315/.535/.850.
        But he has been awful against LHP. 4 hits in 42 AB.

      2. Pavano's even been pretty decent if you go by his peripherals. I guess the pitching could get a little better if Pavano keeps that up, Diamond settles in as a mid-rotation guy, and some of the flotsam can improve to replacement level. (Marquis had -0.7 fWAR which is pretty spectacularly bad for 7 starts.)

        Looking through the stats on fangraphs, I was a little (but not completely) surprised by how much negative fWAR the Twins have on offense. Komatsu, Valencia, and Parmelee combine for -2.0 fWAR.

      3. Yeah, the starting pitching has been historically bad. However, the Twins are still just 12th in runs scored. Doumit has been pretty good after a slow start, at least not worse than you would expect, but the rest of the support lineup has been bad.

        1. I think the pitching is at least trending the right way. Only the 4th-worst starters' xFIP in the league, rather than the worst. I'd go out on a limb and say that Diamond is a legitimate upgrade over Marquis, but wouldn't be too confident about anyone else. Some of the "anyone else" could be replacement level, though, which would be an upgrade on what we've seen.

          1. I don't think it would be possible (or at least highly unlikely) that the starters could get any worse than they were. It would be difficult to find someone in AAA that couldn't improve on what the original starters had been doing.

    2. Absolutely, Span's nearly up there with Mauer and Willingham. And if you believe Carroll's, Casilla's, and Revere's defensive numbers on fangraphs, they've been pretty decent (0.7-0.8 fWAR to date.)

      On the other end of the spectrum, the Twins have 5 position players with a sub-zero fWAR, and 10(!) pitchers with a sub-zero fWAR.

    1. He sounded beyond comatose about ten years ago. While I normally found his opinions to be basically the equivalent of "BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" and "ALL CAPS!!!ELEVENTY1!!!," he was the only guy who could truly get TK to open up. When TK opens up, magic happens so he'll always get credit for that.

  3. TWINS (18-32)
    1. Denard Span, CF
    2. Ben Revere, RF
    3. Joe Mauer, DH
    4. Josh Willingham, LF
    5. Justin Morneau, 1B
    6. Ryan Doumit, C
    7. Brian Dozier, SS
    8. Alexi Casilla, 2B
    9. Jamey Carroll, 3B
    Starting pitcher: RH Carl Pavano (2-4, 5.46 ERA)
    INDIANS (27-23)
    1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
    2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
    3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
    4. Jose Lopez, DH
    5. Michael Brantley, CF
    6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
    7. Johnny Damon, LF
    8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
    9. Lou Marson, C
    Starting pitcher: Derek Lowe (6-3, 3.25 ERA)

    I was going to complain about the bottom third of the Twins' order before I realized the Indians have Jose Lopez batting cleanup. Ouch.

  4. I just puked. I'm fairly certain it's due to the dinner I just ate, but whatever the reason I'm reminded that I hate to barf.

    1. I had that happen to me on Christmas day. No food poisoning, no stomach illness, just a simple matter of something I ate completely disagreeing with me.

      Tis true, it sucks hardcore.

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