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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

2008 ZiPS Projections - Minnesota Twins

About 20 years ago (geez, I feel old), in one of the Elias Baseball Analysts, they did a study on which types of teams are most likely show big improvement and they found that teams with glaring weaknesses and some strengths improved more and more quickly than teams that were just generally mediocre all-round.  I think the Twins are a good example of the former team.  2B, 3B, LF, and to an extent, DH, were so awful offensively for the Twins that the team will substantially improve if they just could find some players that aren’t truly awful there.

Obviously, the Twins would miss Santana, but if they’re not going to re-sign him, they could really pick up some offensive value if they chose to do so.  Just upgrading Punto at 3rd to a player 15 runs better than replacement is worth 4 wins.  The team could easily pick up another 2 wins at each of the other 3 positions with non-horrible players and if they do all this, they’ve already replaced Hunter’s value and are starting to chip a little off the Santana loss.  Liriano, Baker, Garza, and Slowey combined for only 49 starts and with a little fortune on the injury front, they could combine for 120 or more in 2008 - standing pat here is arguably as valuable as acquiring two starting pitchers.  Now, all this might very well not happen, Liriano could have a setback, Nick Punto isn’t exiled so Gardenhire lets him be the frontrunner at 2B, and so on and so forth.  But there’s a realistic scenario out there that has the Twins winning 92 games.

One thing I can tell you is that any help the Twins get offensively in 2008 won’t be through the farm system, so the Twins really need to be aggressive at picking up players on the fringe, especially on waivers and the minor league free agent roles.  No, there’s nobody out there that will do what Carlos Pena did this year after a minor league invite, but the Twins will upgrade in a lot of players if they just find someone better than Geronimo Pena.


Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Joe Mauer*          c   25 .315 .404 .458 141 524 80 165 33 3 12 78 78 58 8 2
Justin Morneau*      1b 27 .283 .355 .527 162 598 93 169 32 3 36 122 65 102 1 2
AVERAGE 1B——————- 1b——.275 .354 .462—————————————————————
AVERAGE LF——————- lf——.274 .345 .448—————————————————————
AVERAGE RF——————- rf——.273 .342 .450—————————————————————
Michael Cuddyer       rf 29 .269 .352 .427 144 527 84 142 32 3 15 75 62 113 3 1
Torii Hunter         cf 32 .276 .329 .462 141 532 80 147 34 1 21 84 38 92 16 7
AVERAGE 3B——————- 3b——.271 .339 .440—————————————————————
Jason Kubel*        lf 26 .268 .332 .436 136 447 53 120 28 1 15 67 43 85 4 0
AVERAGE CF——————- cf——.268 .332 .418—————————————————————
AVERAGE 2B——————- 2b——.273 .333 .406—————————————————————
Ken Harvey           1b 30 .274 .328 .406 56 212 22 58 10 0 6 27 14 38 1 1
AVERAGE SS——————- ss——.271 .326 .399—————————————————————
Jason Bartlett       ss 28 .275 .341 .367 150 528 79 145 26 4 5 45 45 76 14 4
Mike Redmond         c   37 .299 .342 .362 51 174 16 52 11 0 0 25   8 16 0 0
Brock Peterson       1b 24 .253 .318 .404 132 446 44 113 21 2 14 56 30 115 2 2
AVERAGE C———————c——- .256 .317 .395—————————————————————
Chris Basak         ss 28 .242 .317 .393 105 326 43 79 19 3 8 36 32 77 10 4
Rashad Eldridge#      cf 26 .249 .315 .381 108 349 50 87 21 2 7 37 30 90 4 4
Erik Lis*          lf 24 .249 .294 .399 144 511 39 127 34 2 13 68 30 113 2 1
Jason Tyner*        lf 31 .280 .330 .325 127 421 59 118 15 2 0 27 27 43 7 3
Garrett Jones*        lf 27 .235 .289 .401 141 494 51 116 30 2 16 66 35 111 2 2
Brian Buscher*        3b 27 .251 .309 .361 139 463 43 116 22 1 9 50 35 76 2 3
Matt Tolbert#        2b 26 .255 .306 .363 130 444 53 113 22 4 6 48 30 70 6 3
Darnell McDonald       cf 29 .256 .310 .357 126 454 50 116 24 2 6 42 34 110 12 7
Matt Macri           2b 26 .231 .302 .359 94 320 31 74 14 0 9 30 30 79 3 2
Rondell White         dh 36 .250 .291 .370 54 184 20 46 7 0 5 22   7 28 0 0
Jose Morales         c   25 .257 .311 .347 93 300 27 77 19 1 2 27 21 49 1 2
Tommy Watkins#        ss 25 .246 .310 .344 116 349 36 86 16 0 6 36 30 66 8 3
Chris Heintz         c   33 .261 .303 .337 90 303 27 79 14 0 3 31 16 61 0 0
Alexi Casilla#        2b 23 .260 .311 .319 146 524 66 136 19 3 2 32 36 76 27 11
Glenn Williams#      1b 30 .226 .303 .318 85 283 21 64 12 1 4 27 30 66 1 1
Nick Punto#          3b 30 .235 .311 .306 141 464 58 109 19 4 2 32 51 83 11 5
Alejandro Machado     2b 26 .245 .307 .304 122 375 47 92 12 2 2 29 30 52 12 5
Denard Span*        cf 24 .257 .305 .326 149 533 62 137 18 5 3 48 35 97 15 10
Trevor Plouffe       ss 22 .240 .290 .328 123 445 50 107 25 1 4 34 30 94 6 3
Matt Moses*          3b 23 .214 .263 .305 135 485 33 104 20 0 8 55 30 127 3 3

* - Bats Left
# = Switch-Hitter

Name           CThr 1b 2b 3b ss lf cf rf
Mauer*        Vg                
Morneau*          Av            
Cuddyer           Av           Fr
Hunter                       Av  
Kubel*                    Av   Av
Harvey             Pr            
Bartlett                 Av      
Redmond         Vg                
Peterson           Av
Basak               Av Av Av Av    
Eldridge#                  Vg Fr Vg
Lis*              Av       Av    
Tyner*                    Vg Av Vg
Jones*            Av       Av   Fr
Buscher*          Av   Fr        
Tolbert#            Av Av Fr
McDonald                   Fr Fr Fr
Macri               Fr Fr Fr      
White                     Fr    
Morales         Fr                
Heintz         Fr                
Watkins#            Fr Vg Pr Fr
Casilla#            Fr   Fr      
Williams#          Av   Fr        
Punto#              Av Av Av   Av  
Machado             Vg   Av Vg Av  
Span*                    Vg Vg Vg
Plouffe                 Fr      
Moses*              Pr Av        

Player Spotlight - Justin Morneau
Name           AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Optimistic (15%)  .303 .382 .574 162 598 105 181 36 3 40 145 74 89 1 1
Mean         .283 .355 .523 162 598 93 169 32 2 36 122 65 102 1 2        
Pessimistic (15%) .257 .322 .445 124 456 60 117 21 1 21 72 44 86 0 2

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps:  Kent Hrbek, Boog Powell

Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Joe Nathan           33   2.19   6   1 68   0   70.0   53   17   4   20   82
Johan Santana*        29   3.21 18   8 34 34   230.0 200   82 29   47 236
Francisco Liriano*      24   3.42 13   7 33 25   166.0 148   63 18   46 178
Dennys Reyes*        31   3.45   3   2 53   1   47.0   46   18   2   21   37
Matt Guerrier         29   3.49   2   2 58   0   80.0   81   31 10   24   55
Pat Neshek           27   3.62   6   4 71   0   82.0   70   33 13   26   93
Juan Rincon           29   3.68   4   3 71   0   71.0   68   29   6   26   66
Jesse Crain           26   3.80   7   5 66   0   71.0   72   30   7   22   44
Kevin Slowey         24   3.93 11   8 30 29   181.0 195   79 22   23 113
LEAGUE AVERAGE RELIEVER———4.04———————————————————————-
Matt Garza           24   4.21 13 12 33 32   186.0 198   87 19   52 140
LEAGUE AVERAGE STARTER———- 4.39———————————————————————-
Yohan Pino           24   4.46   8   7 37 14   113.0 125   56 14   24   68
Scott Baker           26   4.50 11 12 31 30   186.0 205   93 24   39 127
Jeff Manship         23   4.64   9 10 24 23   132.0 147   68 18   25   90
Carlos Silva         29   4.83 11 13 32 30   190.0 228 102 26   29   81
Nick Blackburn         26   4.86   7   9 29 23   150.0 178   81 19   32   63
Anthony Swarzak       22   4.90   7   8 24 23   134.0 151   73 16   43   80
Boof Bonser           26   4.98 10 12 31 31   179.0 194   99 29   63 142
Oswaldo Sosa         22   5.01   8 11 29 29   160.0 194   89 13   53   71
Eduardo Morlan         22   5.01   4   6 42   9   97.0 105   54 17   30   78
Bobby Korecky         28   5.08   5   6 46   0   62.0   72   35   7   24   31
Jay Sawatski*        26   5.19   3   5 49   3   85.0   99   49 11   28   48  
Brian Duensing*        25   5.23   8 11 29 29   167.0 200   97 25   41   83
Brian Bass           26   5.28   6 10 30 17   121.0 144   71 19   30   65
Carmen Cali*          29   5.38   3   5 56   1   72.0   82   43 10   33   41
Glen Perkins*        25   5.42   5   8 28 17   103.0 113   62 17   47   76
Julio DePaula         25   5.44   5   8 61   0   96.0 113   58 14   37   47
Brad Baker           27   5.76   3   6 43   6   86.0 103   55 14   26   50
Ryan Mullins*        24   5.77   6 10 29 28   167.0 207 107 28   47   93
Ricky Barrett*        27   5.82   3   5 40   3   65.0   69   42 11   45   55
Errol Simonitsch*      25   5.82   7 13 20 19   119.0 149   77 21   31   59
Jason Miller*        25   5.87   3   6 39 10   95.0 112   62 17   37   59
Kyle Waldrop         22   5.89   7 13 29 29   168.0 219 110 27   38   62
Jerome Williams       26   5.98   5 11 32 19   125.0 155   83 19   51   55
Dave Gassner*        29   6.22   5 11 20 19   107.0 136   74 21   30   45
Jose Mijares*        23   6.78   3   7 46   2   73.0   84   55 20   41   57

* - Throws Left

Player Spotlight - Kevin Slowey
              ERA   W   L   G GS INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Optimistic (15%)  3.16 15   6 34 33 211 207   74 20   22 149
Mean           3.93 11   6 30 29 181 195   79 22   23 113
Pessimistic (15%)  4.90   7   9 25 24 147 173   80 24   24   86

Top Near-Age Comps:  Ismael Valdes/z, Bret Saberhagen

Disclaimer:  ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance. 
Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors -
many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2008. 
ZiPS is projecting equivalent production - a .240 ZiPS projection may end up
being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example.  Whether or not a player will play
is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting
the future.

Players are listed with their most recent teams unless Dan has made a mistake. 
This is very possible as a lot of minor-league signings are generally unreported in
the offseason. 

ZiPS is projecting based on the AL having a 4.49 ERA and the NL having a 4.40 ERA.

Nationals

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Blue Jays

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Rangers

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Rays

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Cardinals

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Mariners

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Giants

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Padres

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Pirates

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Phillies

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A’s

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Yankees

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Mets

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Dan Szymborski Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:28 PM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Cris E Posted: November 07, 2007 at 06:42 PM (#2608126)
Torii Hunter - Av

If the choice is Vg or Av I could go either way, but it sure doesn't smack of $75m.
   2. Cris E Posted: November 07, 2007 at 06:47 PM (#2608144)
Also, only seven guys on the whole list project to slug .400, which is sort of amazing. They've got four guys projected to hit more 3b than hr. Yikes.
   3. The Essex Snead Posted: November 07, 2007 at 06:51 PM (#2608154)
KEN HARVEY!

Maybe if they bring Tony Batista in THIS year, he'll give them something positive.
   4. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 07, 2007 at 06:54 PM (#2608164)
This team needs a bat or two but if they can get them, I think they have as good a chance to win the WS as anyone as long as Liriano doesn't take too long to get back to where he was in 2006. The guy had a sub-2.00 ERA in 16 starts. That 1-2 punch of Liriano and Santana could be devastating.
   5. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:00 PM (#2608175)
Huh, for some reason I thought Cuddyer would project better, even with his mediocre 2007.

The Twins' young pitching looks pretty damn good.
   6. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:04 PM (#2608183)
This team needs a bat or two but if they can get them, I think they have as good a chance to win the WS as anyone as long as Liriano doesn't take too long to get back to where he was in 2006. The guy had a sub-2.00 ERA in 16 starts. That 1-2 punch of Liriano and Santana could be devastating.

This is the trick, though, isn't it? They've got the pitching to trade, but will they do it? This is going to be a fun hot stove season!
   7. The Essex Snead Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:06 PM (#2608188)
Ha - if they re-up Rondell White (assuming they haven't already), and sign Cliff Floyd, I would totally root for them to coax Larry Walker and his umpteen chins out of retirement.
   8. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:49 PM (#2608240)
Boof Bonser is the #6 starter? That's impressive.
   9. Craig in MN Posted: November 07, 2007 at 08:09 PM (#2608267)
They've got the pitching to trade, but will they do it?

I'm not even that sure if they have pitching to trade, at least not young good starters. Santana, Garza, Slowey, and Baker should all start. Silva will be gone. If Liriano comes back healthy, he'll take that spot. If not, or if anyone else is injured or struggles, Boof would fill in. If they trade one of those guys, Glen Perkins would likely be next up, I guess, but he's coming off of an injury, has thrown 40 innings above AA, and projects to a 5.4 ERA. I think he could use another year in the minors. If they trade any of the more established starters, the staff will be very thin on depth. Maybe that's a risk they should take, but when one of the top 6 starters is coming off of injury and a lot of the rest have taken turns at pitching poorly, I think it's perfectly reasonable to keep all 6 as necessary depth.

They've got other interesting young arms, but I don't know if any of them would get much in return for in trade just yet. Swarzak might be the one guy who is good enough and close enough that they could do something with. They could also get by with trading Nathan, I think, or Rincon. But other than that, I don't see them doing much to weaken their starting depth. That is especially true if they can't count on Santana being there past next season.

If I was GM, I'd trade Nathan soon for whatever bat(s) I could get, and install Rincon as the closer, and hit the free agent market pretty hard to fill in those other spots.....they've got $20+ million to spend, maybe $30 million if they free up Nathans money. Even with $20 million to spend (as Dan points out) they can put together 3 or 4 signings of guys in the $3 to $7 million range and upgrade from terrible to mediocre at a lot of spots.
   10. andrewberg Posted: November 07, 2007 at 10:35 PM (#2608528)
This is my third straight offseason arguing that trading Nathan would help the team a great deal. I think the relief depth behind him is a little less than it was a couple of years ago (Rincon has started wearing down, as shown by his K rate, but that's a decent proj., and I'm not totally sure about Neshek or Reyes as full time players). Still, trading Nathan for a ML ready corner OF and a positional prospect would help the team now and later. Contenders that need closers... Milwaukee could offer Hart straight up, maybe not realistic. Atlanta can't spare too many OFers themselves, Detroit is too close to home. Maybe they could hold out to see if the Cubs' trio bombs and they can get Murton + a B+ prospect. Or when Mo becomes a Phillie, maybe Melky becomes a little more expendable. Hell, shoot for the moon, I want Melky and Tabata.

At the other positions of need, I'll allocate up to $15mil to be spent thusly (the remainder goes to getting extensions done for Morneau and Cuddyer):
DH- Mike Lamb, $8mm for 2 years. Spots at 3B when needed, can probably handle an OF corner in a pinch, hits better than the majority of the returnees.
3B- Corey Koskie, $3mm for 1 year with a vesting option for $5mm at 400 PAs. His best years came in the dome, he plays enough defense to please TK's perpetual gaze, and he's coming very cheaply. Obviously, there's a risk of getting nothing, but that's why I want a DH who can also spot at 3B.
LF- Brad Wilkerson, $12mm for 2 years. I've barely heard his name so far, but Wilkerson has always been considered enough of a good guy that the Twins would seemingly consider him. He's not very durable, but he has some pop, and could use the shallow RF in the homer dome to his advantage.

If the three of those players combine for 1200 PAs next year, that's a huge improvement at those positions. I'm ok with giving Casilla more OTJ training at 2B with Punto as his caddy. Otherwise, I'd shoot for Loretta at 2B to avoid giving up a first rounder.

Other interesting players- Tony Clark at DH, Ryan Klesko at DH (could be Phil Nevin part II), Mike Sweeney at DH for 150 PAs, Reggie Sanders in OF, Kenny Lofton as new CF.

Players to avoid- Tad Iguchi at 2B/3B (not worth the type A comp), Sean Casey at DH, Marcus Giles at 2B (very bad since PED testing began. I'm just sayin'), Luis Gonzalez in OF.
   11. Honkie Kong Posted: November 07, 2007 at 10:41 PM (#2608543)
Thats a sweet projection for Liriano. Does ZiPS treat it this as his sophomore year, or does it account for the entire 2007 missed due to injury?

No power yet for Mauer? He is headed into his age 25 season..
   12. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 07, 2007 at 10:45 PM (#2608553)
Is Liriano expected to be back for Spring Training? Or unknown at this point?
   13. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: November 07, 2007 at 10:48 PM (#2608557)
How much does it change Liriano's line if he's a couple of years older than listed?
   14. 1k5v3L Posted: November 07, 2007 at 10:51 PM (#2608561)
The Twins need young hitters and have excess young pitchers.
The Dbacks need young pitchers and have excess young hitters.

Talk about a match made on LavaLife.
   15. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: November 07, 2007 at 10:52 PM (#2608564)
I reallllly can't wait to watch Liriano again. He was so sick.
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 07, 2007 at 10:53 PM (#2608567)
KEN HARVEY!

Looks like Ken could make millions if he could just learn to play shortstop.
   17. WillYoung Posted: November 07, 2007 at 11:03 PM (#2608579)
The Twins need young hitters and have excess young pitchers.
The Dbacks need young pitchers and have excess young hitters.


Sorry levski, but the best match I've contended for several months is the other expansion team. I would love to package Nathan/Bonser for a Longoria/Brignac package in return. Do it, Bill Smith!
   18. 1k5v3L Posted: November 07, 2007 at 11:07 PM (#2608584)
I would love to package Nathan/Bonser for a Longoria/Brignac package in return.


I'm sure you do. And maybe Aaron Gleeman can bang Jessica Alba to complete the trade.
   19. andrewberg Posted: November 07, 2007 at 11:11 PM (#2608587)
I'd do Nathan/Bonser for Longoria or Bossman pretty happily.
   20. Cris E Posted: November 07, 2007 at 11:31 PM (#2608604)
Their problem isn't money so much as fear of paying outsiders big money, and the $20m is enough to pay for the type of guys they are comfortable acquiring. This may change with Ryan out in the bleachers, but I doubt it. Perhaps things will really change and they'll keep Johan and make a run in 07. Who knows? Hopefully they don't price themselves out of the game and have to settle for AAAA talent and suspects in July.

My choice would be to prove Rincon healthy in the spring and then move him out right away. Rincon has been ridden very hard the past few years (348 games in the past five years) and wasn't very effective down the stretch, eventually hitting the DL again. Neshek wore down pretty badly in his first tour at the top level and Crain is coming off a missed year due to surgery. Given the number of kids in the rotation there will be days when they need a deep bullpen and I trust Nathan to stay healthy and perform better than others this year. I think Perkins will be a big part of that pen as well, since he performed well in the role last year and it'll give him a chance to work into a regular gig the way Guerererer has done. (He's another guy they could move while everyone still remembers 06: he's been quite good for a few years now.)

Anyway, the rotation will be Santana, Baker/Slowey/Garza, Liriano/Blackburn/Bonser. I think Silva is super-gone. I think they'll ease Liriano in slowly. I think based on his second half Baker gets to be leader of the non-Johans. I think Bonser has a lot to prove next spring starting with his weight/conditioning the moment he enters the locker room.

But mostly I agree that they hang onto the core until they decide if they want to trade Santana and what they want for him. Once that's done they'll mess around elsewhere.

I'd like to see some bullpen depth traded for a 3B. I'd like a real thumper for DH, not this Klesko or Clark nonsense. I'd be comfortable with a glove guy in CF since it seems unlikely they're going to play with the big dogs in the tall CF grass. (I too have been asking if Kenny Lofton can still cover CF.) I think Bartlett is a good SS and they have planty of other priorities above that. I think Koskie is done - he hasn't played in a year and a half due to that concussion and I haven't heard anyone hinting that it suddenly got better.

A ton of everything rides on how different Smith is from Ryan. I hope there's a good difference, but I fear there will be a consolidation year or two while they wait for the new park to open and they won't try again behind Santana and Nathan and Morneau and such.
   21. spycake Posted: November 08, 2007 at 01:44 AM (#2608732)
Players to avoid-

Can I add Darin Erstad to this list?
   22. andrewberg Posted: November 08, 2007 at 01:59 AM (#2608741)
there isn't really a spot for erstad. I hope that ship will not sail. Maybe they can play him at punter
   23. NTNgod Posted: November 08, 2007 at 02:03 AM (#2608744)
Contenders that need closers... Milwaukee could offer Hart straight up, maybe not realistic.

Four years of Hart for a one-year rental of Nathan? Err, no.
   24. Craig in MN Posted: November 08, 2007 at 02:31 AM (#2608755)
No power yet for Mauer? He is headed into his age 25 season.

Zips doesn't know that he had a hernia problem most of the year last year. I wouldn't be surprised if the power pops up a little more next year.

Is Liriano expected to be back for Spring Training? Or unknown at this point?

I think has been throwing off a mound for a while now, and the team expects he to be ready for the start of Spring Training. Everything sounds pretty positive.
   25. MM1f Posted: November 08, 2007 at 03:08 AM (#2608775)
Jose Morales is 63?
   26. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 08, 2007 at 03:42 AM (#2608807)
No, it appears that on DMB, when I hit player-ID lookup, I picked the 70s Jose Morales.
   27. a wider scope of derision Posted: November 08, 2007 at 05:58 AM (#2608934)
So I guess ZiPS doesn't read much into Kubel's 2nd half numbers?
   28. Walt Davis Posted: November 08, 2007 at 11:21 AM (#2609018)
But there's a realistic scenario out there that has the Twins winning 92 games.

How much money do they have to spend?

This is a team with only 4 players projected to hit better than the average C! OK, 5 but one of them is the backup C. They've got to find 3500 PAs of non-suckitude via trade or FA. That's really hard to do even if you have lots of money, especially with this crop of FA.
   29. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 08, 2007 at 12:38 PM (#2609024)
I'm sure you do. And maybe Aaron Gleeman can bang Jessica Alba to complete the trade.

Why would you wish a STD on a fellow Primate?
   30. Craig in MN Posted: November 08, 2007 at 02:57 PM (#2609065)
How much money do they have to spend?

This is a team with only 4 players projected to hit better than the average C! OK, 5 but one of them is the backup C. They've got to find 3500 PAs of non-suckitude via trade or FA. That's really hard to do even if you have lots of money, especially with this crop of FA.


Well, offense is only half the game. They have 10 above average pitchers there as well. Actually, if you just compare the projections above to the averages, you'll see where Dan was going by saying they could fill a couple holes and be solid. They have 10 above average pitchers, 2 above average starting position players. 12 above average players on a team of 25 sounds like a good start. Baker, Bartlett, Cuddyer and Redmond are close to average for their positions....not great, but reasonable players. That leaves 9 spots that are some version of terrible....5 of them are starting position players. If they can upgrade 3 or 4 of those spots to be average or close to it I would think that they should be an above average team overall.

There have multiple reports that the Twins will have > $20 million to spend after the sign their arbitration players. They really need a CF and two players to augment/platoon with Kubel as the DH and LF. They should be able to split $20 million 3 ways to fill those holes pretty well. They'd still have a terrible 2b and 3b and a few poor reserves, but they'd be good enough elsewhere to survive that.
   31. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 08, 2007 at 03:16 PM (#2609101)
So I guess ZiPS doesn't read much into Kubel's 2nd half numbers?

No. Even smart people frequently put way too much stock into monthly splits. It's part of the way our brains work, attempting to see patterns where none exist. And when you combine that with wishful thinking, it's a pretty potent pair.

The most recent obvious examples of this I can remember is the beginning of May when David Wright was getting a number of boos and there were frequent media mentions of him having only 4 homers in the last 3 months (going back to August/September of 2006) and worrying about his lack of power and Bobby Abreu's slump at the beginning of the season, which seemed to people to confirm their wishes that the Yankees big acquisition was old and failing, complete with comments from scouts illustrating exactly why he was done as a major leaguer.

Of course, Wright ended up the season as a serious MVP candidate and Abreu had a 137 OPS+ the second half of the season.
   32. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: November 08, 2007 at 05:00 PM (#2609264)
Maybe they can play him at punter

They already have a punto.

Oh, wait, I guess I read that wrong.
   33. booond Posted: November 08, 2007 at 05:42 PM (#2609338)
I agree that a couple hot months means little, but Kubel is a much different case than Wright or Abreu. They set a baseline of performance with which we could believe they'd repeat or come close to repeating. Kubel, due to his injury, may not have set that baseline, yet. Or maybe he has.

Still, if there is a player that bears watching after a hot couple months, it likely is the player who has yet to fulfill his potential due to forces out of his control. Jason Kubel fits that mold.

They do need to minimize his play against LH pitching.
   34. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 08, 2007 at 06:41 PM (#2609427)
I'm sure you do. And maybe Aaron Gleeman can bang Jessica Alba to complete the trade.

Well put, levski.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: November 08, 2007 at 08:18 PM (#2609554)
Well, offense is only half the game.

Oops, I lied, they have 5 starters who are projected to hit better than the average C (missed Bartlett). Still, that leaves them with 4 starting positions which are projected to hit worse than the average C, that would be with OPSs below 700. 4 starting positions and almost an entire bench (Redmond being the exception). So sorry, that's only 3,000 PAs they need to upgrade from Brad Ausmus to something decent to fill out even an average offense. They were 12th in scoring last year, are losing one of their better hitters (who had the highest OPS+ on the team last year), and have already lost last year's starting 2B. Their OPS+ last year was 93 and currently they're substantially worse than that -- I wonder if they project any better than an 88 OPS+. They aren't a particularly young team on offense so the only current player you can point to and say "we expect more" might be Kubel playing a full season.

By position, they're way above average at C, above average at 1B, probably a bit below average in RF and SS once bench players are brought into it, below average in LF (especially if Kubel isn't a full-timer) and near replacement level everywhere else. So sure, at one level moving from replacement to average at a couple positions is an "easy" way to add about 4 wins.

So yes, if the Twins can go out and find an average CF and DH and non-suckitude at 2B and 3B and/or a very good bench and do that all for $20 M and Liriano comes back strong and the rest of the team stays pretty healthy ... then they've got a good shot at 85 wins. And "true" 85 win teams have about a, what, 5-10% chance at 92 wins.

Sorry, that doesn't look at all to me like a "realistic" scenario.

Could be wrong ... if folks want to suggest some options. There might be some fairly cheap 2B options -- Iguchi, Matsui, somebody else I forget, or possibly Eckstein. Maybe Cameron's price has fallen far enough. How's Graffanino (bench role) these days? I don't know who you're gonna grab for DH.

It's true you never know. Just before the start of the 84 season, the Cubs managed to trade Bill Campbell for their starting LF and CF.
   36. Craig in MN Posted: November 08, 2007 at 11:03 PM (#2609710)
I agree that the offense stinks. But the pitching is excellent. This was basically a .500 team last year (run differential -7) and the pitching projects to be even better next year. They could trot out the exact same miserable lineup and if one things breaks right for them (Liriano being healthy), they'll probably be an 85 win team.

They would need to replace Hunter's piece of the offense, of course, but they have 5 otherwise miserable spots to use to do that. They averaged a .704 OPS from CF, LF, DH, 2b and 3B combined last year....that shouldn't be hard to replicate on the whole. That is well below average production for any of those spots. You could probably do it without shelling out for even one average player.
   37. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: November 09, 2007 at 12:52 AM (#2609790)
Would the Twins get compensation if Silva was signed by another team? I'm guessing they would offer him arbitration to have him back for 1 year in the 6-8 million dollar range.
   38. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 09, 2007 at 01:06 AM (#2609813)
Elias ranked Silva less than a Type B free agent which means the Twins don't get anything for him when/if he signs with another team.
   39. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: November 09, 2007 at 01:19 AM (#2609835)
Guess having such a horrible year in 2006 hurt his ranking...3 out of his last 4 years have been pretty good though. ERA + of 112,129, 103 in 203, 188, 202 IP..but that ERA + of 75 sure looks ugly.
   40. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: November 09, 2007 at 01:27 AM (#2609853)
Where would you find projections for say Lew Ford or Luis Rodriguez. Eventhough they aren't with the Twins anymore i always thought free agent guys got projected with the last team they were with until another team signed them?
   41. Craig in MN Posted: November 09, 2007 at 02:31 AM (#2609919)
Luis Rodriguez is with the Padres, and he projects as probably being as good or better than any Twins 2b or 3b.
   42. Gold Star for Robothal Posted: November 11, 2007 at 06:19 PM (#2611657)
Dan,

The ZIPS release period is one of my favorite aspects of the long offseason. I was going through the projections you have so far, and I was wondering if you could cook up a projection for Fernando Perez of Tampa Bay -- I'm curious whether ZIPS thinks he's ready for the show yet, or if it thinks he can be more than a middle class Joey Gathright.

Thanks.

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