27 thoughts on “May 4, 2021: Live Long And Prosper”

  1. Besides currently having the best OPS+ in baseball, the Twins have the best WAR for non-pitchers, at 2.9, buoyed by Bux' 2.0 at CF. Combine that with our solid pitchers' WAR of -4.1 (last), the Twins have the 25th best WAR at -1.2

    We all know where help is needed.

    1. Well, I agree that the pitching has stunk up the joint, but I think we can’t say it’s fully the culprit. Yes, Maeda’s slider seems broken; yes, Matt Shoemaker has not lived up to the muted expectations anyone should really have had for him; and yes, Alex Colomé.

      Still, I think looking at the Twins this way flattens things a little bit. On the positive side, the offense ranks 1st in Barrels, 2nd in Barrel%, 4th in ISO, 7th in wRC+, and 8th in wOBA. But, it also ranks 12th in WPA/LI, 18th in runners left in scoring position/game, and 22nd in WPA. Confoundingly, it’s 10th in OPS with RISP, but 17th in OPS with RISP+2 outs.

      Five of the Twins’ ten “regulars” (by playing time) have OPS+ below 100. Of those five, only Jake Cave figures to lose playing time in the short run, now that Kirilloff is up. That leaves Garver (93), Kepler, (90), Polanco (80), and Sano (66) as below-average drags on the lineup. Garver’ s .185/.221/.462 line looks positively Laudnerian, and he’s the top of that heap. The Twins essentially were forced to send either Garver or Jeffers down to AAA in order to get both of them enough playing time to get their bats sorted out.

      You can have a successful team with a sub-100 OPS+ from your catcher…but when your primary right fielder and first baseman are also both sub-100, that hole in the lineup looks a lot bigger. (When that first baseman is at a 66 OPS+, I’m not sure how you justify not making some kind of more significant change.) Of course, part of failing to execute is a function of luck — where the spots in the lineup come up relative to the game situation. The Twins have about as good of a top of the lineup as you could ask for with Arráez, Donaldson, Cruz, and Buxton. But the more holes there are, the more “bad luck” seems like a convenient excuse for hitters who don’t get the job done when it needs to get done. And hitters 5–9 have to do some work in describing why, despite the gaudy ISO and quality-of-contact metrics, the Twins are mid-pack in WPA/LI and worse in WPA, runners left on, not to mention 19th in OPS in Late/Close situations and 25th in OPS in tied games.

        1. If you can get something for him, yes. Trending in the wrong direction - both production and cost. And Kirillof should be at first base, not the outfield.

            1. At some point, we have to realize that 2019 isn't going to happen again. It was a different baseball.

              I really wish you were a GM for another team. I doubt there is much of a trade market for ab guy with those offensive numbers with no defensive value. Look at his similarity scores. Best comp is Schwarber.

              Overweight sluggers don't age well. Fielder, Ryan Howard, etc.

                    1. For a guy who brings a below-replacement glove to the party, you kind of expect to see a lot out of his bat.

                      Last year was a weird year, but he was replacement-level at the plate. Career year in 2019, and still only 2.5 rWAR (3.7 oWAR), in part because of limited availability. Below-replacement in 2018.

                      I want to believe, but at some point, you gotta pull the plug on a guy.

                      Sano has struck out on >1/3 of his PA every year. Ortiz never did as a regular (he had high K rates in cups of coffee in 1997 and 1999) and averaged only a couple points over his career 17.3 pct while with the Twins. You can live with a lot of Ks if a guy is a 3 True Outcomes Guy weighted toward HRs (or at least XBH) and walks. But Sano's career walk rate (12.0 pct) is about the same as Ortiz's was with the Twins. His .253 ISO is comparable to Ortiz's career .265 (better than what Ortiz put up with the Twins, clearly lower than what Ortiz did later in his career).

                      Sano is not Ortiz waiting to happen. He's a right-handed power hitter with holes in his swing and mediocre plate discipline.

                    2. And I'm definitely not saying he'd going to turn into Papi. I'd bet money again st that happening. I'm simply saying that for anyone who thought that the twins were fools for giving papi the axe but thinks cutting Sano is a no-brainer is being a little disingenuous

        2. Where above did I say the Twins should dump Sanó?

          There are other options — weak side of a 1b platoon with Kirilloff, for example — that exist between the status quo being unsustainable and cutting bait entirely.

            1. I wish FanGraphs included K+% or similar. Something to display how above or below the league average strikeout rate a player is, position or pitcher. I can get the league average, looks like it's around 24%, but I want scaled numbers like ERA-.

      1. Boston Red Sox Lineup, by OPS+

        C - Vasquez, 82
        1B - Dalbec, 63
        2B - Arroyo, 116
        SS - Bogaerts, 168
        3B - Devers, 159
        LF - Cordero, 16
        CF - Hernandez, 87
        RF - Renfroe, 57
        DH - Martinez, 215

    2. Twins are 11-7 in real games. Shoemaker is easily replaceable, and he's still just their fifth starter. Berrios has flashed dominance at times and has generally been good overall. Pineda and JA Japp have been very good. Maeda has struggled, but April is the worst month for him in his career, so it may just be weather plus odd schedule (day games, lots of extra off days) and just trying to get into a groove. We shouldn't expect him to be an ace like last year, but hopefully he will pick it up here in May. The 8 Ks were encouraging in his last start. The bullpen has been the biggest culprit, although 2 of Colome's blown saves were far more defensive issues. Plus it seems like every key reliever has taken a turn in having a bad game to blow a lead. Fortunately, bullpens are generally the easiest thing to bolster or retool midseason.

      1. Twins are 11-7 in real games

        Unfortunately the "not real games" still count. Also, the other teams the Twins have lost to in the not real games have played by the same rules. Pointing it out is meaningless at this point.

        1. Well, not entirely meaningless. It is the Twins' fault for not winning them, yes, and you can't just disregard them, but they do point a finger at a problem -- whether it's the managing, or RISP/late innings, or...relief pitching.

  2. 24 hours later, no real issues with the second Pfizer vaccination. I've had some general muscle soreness and lethargy and a bit of a headache but nothing worth complaining about.

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