Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Twins Minor League Update
Fun with Numbers
Good morning! This morning is when my selection for the Twins Face of the Franchise will be posted over at ESPN.com's Sports Nation. Be sure to check out who I picked and then come back here and discuss it. If you are coming to the site through the link at ESPN.com, please e-mail me and say hi. Today, I have thoughts on the Twins loss to the Mariners and all the minor league updates, but as a Math minor, I thought it would be cool to start with some Fun with Numbers. As always, please feel free to e-mail me or leave comments below. Let's start with a few other notes:
For the Minnesota Timberwolves fans out there, former Wolves forward Eddie Griffin was killed when his SUV collided with a freight train down in Houston. Hopefully Griffin now has the peace inside that I think he has been searching for throughout his life. I am sure that more information will come out in coming days and weeks and it will likely be disturbing which is unfortunate.
Josh Thinks things are getting a bit old!
The Baseball Savant discusses trends regarding the Pythagorean numbers of several teams.
Check out and chime in to the discussion about recent great pitching feats over at Joe Christensen's blog, Around the Majors.
Josh Taylor discusses the surprising success of Tommy Watkins.
FUN WITH NUMBERS
How many times and ways have I used the term "Small Sample Size." The phrase is quite popular among fans of baseball stats. Small sample size is the reason why I love the 162 game schedule and realize that the better team doesn't always win a short playoff series. When Ron Gardenhire chooses to play a 'role' player because he has gone 2-4 against a given pitcher rather than a regular who is 1-6 against the same pitcher, you have to use the term "small sample size."
Secondly, you hear the word "Splits" a lot. Simply put, those are numbers such as how well a hitter hits against lefties or righties, at home or on the road, and such. Situational Stats are those like how well a guy hits with runners in scoring position or with a 3-1 count. Today, I am going to discuss some of these things using some Twins statistics (through Monday's games). Let's get started:
Example 1: So far this season, Justin Morneau has just a .706 OPS against left-handed pitchers. Against righties, his OPS is .985. So, should Gardy platoon with Morneau at 1B? Of course not. Why? Well, first, even if he is struggling, he is still the reigning MVP and has the potential to hit a homer any time. But it was just 2006 when Morneau hit .904 against lefties (and .951 against righties). In other words, he can do it, just needs to keep getting the at bats.
Example 2: Fans like to look at Joe Mauer's low RBI total and assume that he isn't coming through. Consider the following:
With Runners in Scoring Position, he is 33-93 (.355/.479/.591) with 11 doubles, a triple and three home runs. He has also walked 23 times and struck out 16 times.
With Runners in Scoring Position and two outs, he is 12-34 (.353/.511/.559) with two doubles, a triple and a homer. He has walked 11 times and five strikeouts.
With the Bases Loaded, he is 3-6 with a double and a homer.
Some want Mauer to lead off, but with no one on and one or two outs, he is hitting just .256/.316/.352.
Example 3: Who do you want to bat with a runner on 3rd base and less than two outs??? How about Jason Kubel? You may be surprised, but he is hitting .438/.478/.875 in that situation (7-16 with a double, two homers and 20 RBI.)
Example 4: We have learned that Tom Kelly would bench Dan Gladden during game days because he said Gladden couldn't hit during the day, something the Dazzle Man obviously disagrees with. Maybe Ron Gardenhire should consider the same thing with Torii Hunter. This year, his OPS in Night games is a robust .971. However, in Day Games, it is just .673. Maybe Jason Tyner can play afternoon games for Hunter. When he plays CF, he has gone 9-24 (.375/.423/.458).
Example 5: Speaking of Torii Hunter, he has been batting third of late. However, in his brief time hitting in that spot, he is hitting just .212/.235/.212. That's why it is important to fact or in sample size. To this point, he has just 33 at bats batting third. When he has batted fourth, he is hitting .462/.517/.654, but again, that is in just 26 at bats. The reality is that over time, these numbers should even out.
Example 6: Michael Cuddyer's extreme splits:
His OPS against left-handed pitchers is .932. Against righties, it is just .728.
His OPS at home is .884 while his OPS on the road is .699.
Example 7: Alexi Casilla has some interesting splits so far where the term "small sample size" is more than a little appropriate. We were told that he was a little better hitter from the right side of the plate. So far this year with the Twins, he is 14-63 (.222/.290/.238) batting right handed. As a lefty, he is 12-48 (.250/.265/.271). Overall, his OPS's are .536 (vs LHP) and .528 (vs RHP). But what is interesting to me is that, as a right-handed hitter, he must be more aggressive. He has just one walk and three strikeouts over 48 at bats. As a left-handed hitter, he has six walks and 14 strikeouts over 63 at bats. Does this mean anything at this point? Probably not. Just as it probably means nothing yet that Casilla's home OPS is just .432 and it is .652 on the road.
Example 8: Should Joe Mauer be more aggressive at the plate? I know I'm not the only one who wishes he would be more aggressive with first pitches. Did you know that when he puts the ball in play on the first pitch, he is hitting .440/.407/.480. But if he is able to work the count to 2-0, he is hitting .625/.625/.875. Or, on 3-1 pitches, he is hitting .688/.865/1.188. That's a nice 2.052 OPS.
Example 9: Pinch Hitting options? Mike Redmond is hitting .750/.600/1.00 with the bases loaded. You guessed it, 3-4 with a double and seven RBI. When he has come up with a runner on 3rd base and less than two outs, he has hit .667/.625/.667. At least that covers 15 at bats. As a pinch hitter, Jason Tyner has gone 5-10.
Example 10: If you can't say something nice... I tried and tried to find a split or stat that showed Rondell White's 2007 season in a positive light. Really... I tried.
MINOR LEAGUE NUMBERS
I thought I would check out just a few minor league splits and see how some of the Twins farmhands look when looking a little deeper:
Garrett Jones has struggled with the Twins, but he has a surprising split this year with the Red Wings. Against lefties, he has hit .319/.336/.546 (.882). Against righties, he has hit .263/.333/.441 (.774). Remember, Jones is a left-handed hitter.
Another such example is New Britain OF Garrett Guzman. He also bats left-handed. Against lefties, he has hit .330/.369/.521 (.890). Against righties, he has hit a solid .302/.355/.437 (.792). Another Guzman positive... with Runners in Scoring Position, he has hit .393/.427/.437 (.954). So far in August, he is 23-48 (.479/.519/.667). Not a bad month!
I know a lot of people didn't like the selection of Ben Revere by the Twins in the June draft, but so far, he has done very well. Another left-handed bat, he has hit lefties very well in the Gulf Coast League. He has hit .391/.473/.522 (.994) against lefties and a very good .300/.348/.446 (.794) against righties. With runners on base, he has hit .382/.430/.592 (1.022).
Chris Parmelee, another lefty, has hit .200/.290/.274 (.563) with four doubles and one homer against lefties. Against righties, he has hit .248/.311/.466 (.777) with 15 doubles and the other 14 homers. Against Lefties, he has struck out 39 times in 95 at bats. That's once every 2.43 at bats. In 307 at bats against righties, he has struck out 86 times. That's once every 3.57 at bats.
Any thoughts? Any other numbers/splits that you have found interesting? Please e-mail me or leave Comments below.
Twins and their Minor League Updates
Here are the game reports of the Twins and their minor league affiliates. Before you get started, check out Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet. Although there is just one Twins prospect in the Top 20, three others get mentioned in the Helium Watch. Check out who!
Tuesday SethSpeaks Player of the Day Chris Parmelee, Beloit Snappers
Tuesday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day Anthony Swarzak, New Britain Rockcats
Tuesday - Twins 2, Mariners 7
Scott Baker "Pitched" last night. He gave up two homers in the 2nd innings and a single run in the sixth. Technically, he went 6.2 innings and gave up three runs, so that is a Quality Start. This is a case where ERA is what matters... and WHIP should only be used to tell the story. Three runs in the game is all that matters, but he pitched out of a lot of trouble. You see, in 6.2 innings, he gave up 14 hits and a walk! And yet he found a way to get out of innings. That is certainly not a pattern that any starter would go into a game hoping for, but it does show something about Baker.
Baker was helped by Juan Rincon who got that final out of the seventh inning without another run scoring. But then came the Return of Rincon. He gave up three runs on a hit, a walk and a hit batter. Pat Neshek came in and allowed the inherited runs to score, plus one of his own. It has amazed me to see some of the Mariners hits. Jose Guillen and Adrian Beltre both had doubles off the baggy off of fastballs up and well out of the strike zone and on swings they wouldn't use to coach anyone. But it must have just been the good part of the bat. I also thought that Neshek was getting squeezed, and I'm not sure why.
I have found a level of respect for Dick Bremer. Sitting out with the fans, he refused to do The Wave. He said he has been refusing to participate in it since 1984! Now, I don't know what happened then, but like him, I think it is arguably the dumbest thing in baseball. Even dumber than the whole beach ball thing!
When Tommy Watkins came to the plate against Brandon Morrow in the bottom of the 7th inning, he popped up to 2nd base. But as I saw that matchup, I couldn't help but notice just how different the career paths of the two players has been Watkins was a 38th round pick out of high school. He spent 10 seasons in the minor leagues before getting his first big league call up this month. Morrow was the 5th overall pick in last year's draft out of the University of California. He signed and pitched in seven games of rookie ball, then one game at Hi-A. He was on the Mariners opening day roster this year and has remained with the team since then.
Because the bullpen has been used so much the last couple of days, the team needed another bullpen arm. After the game, Ron Gardenhire told us that Julio DePaula would be back with the Twins, and Luis Rodriguez was headed down to AAA. It is a move that makes sense on several levels. Yes, I am a fan of Luis Rodriguez and think given any playing time, he would be able to contribute solid at bats, but he has had just one at bat in the last two weeks. Tommy Watkins has taken over 3B and done well, and even with Jason Bartlett out the last several games, Luis(!) still hasn't been on the field. It's just good roster management. DePaula had a great debut, then two really bad outings before being sent down. In 83.2 innings for the Red Wings, he is 12-5 with a 2.90 ERA. He has walked too many (27) and struck out just 63, but remember he is a sinkerball pitcher and gets a lot of groundballs. Is he necessarily ready yet? We don't know that. But he can eat innings if need be, and that's what they need right now. It will now be interesting to see what happens when Brian Buscher comes back in a day or two and Jason Bartlett is able to play. Will Watkins be sent down?
Just in observing Tommy Watkins in the handful of games he has now played in, I've noticed a few things. His swing is anything but pretty, but to this point, it has remained successful. I like how he takes pitches, draws walks and yet doesn't strike out very often. Defensively, it appears that he doesn't have great range, but he does make the plays. He also has a decent arm. The main thing that I have noticed is that he is absolutely a Ball Player. The term is certainly a positive. It simply means that he just looks like he knows what he's doing, he has good instincts, he makes the right plays, he's smart and in general, he just gets it!
I can see some fans enjoying listening to Ron Coomer, but has anyone else noticed that, like Bert Blyleven, Coomer has already developed many of his clichιs and key points. Quite annoying!
Two more backwards- K's for Jason Kubel. But very nice to see him back in the lineup against a lefty!
Alexi Casilla went 2-4 with a single and a double. At the plate, he seems to understand his role and his limitations. But I also loved his big swing at a high fastball. I like that mentality. Sure, Coomer or Bremer or someone said that he can't be doing that to which I say Why Not? If this series has shown Twins fans anything, it is that home runs are important too!
Garrett Jones deserves this call up and he deserves some more consistent time and opportunity... but the guy looks lost. There is a reason that he was ranked in the 30s of my Top 50 Twins Prospects lists, and then didn't make the Top 50 with my most recent update, even after making it to the big leagues.
Tuesday - Game 1 - Red Wings 3, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 1 Dave Gassner had a solid outing and improved to 5-12. The lefty went 6.1 innings and gave up a run on two hits. He walked two and struck out four. Bobby Korecky got the final two outs to record his 33rd save. Chris Basak went 2-3 against his former team. Denard Span was 2-4 with his 25th stolen base. Chris Heintz hit a two run double.
Tuesday - Game 2 - Red Wings 0, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 1 The Red Wings sent their best pitcher to the mound in Game 2, and he didn't disappoint. Because of lack of run support, he also didn't get a Win. Kevin Slowey went all six innings. He gave up one first inning run on three hits. He walked none and struck out four. Kei Igawa went six shutout innings for the Yankees (Formerly the Red Barons) and struck out seven. Minnesota-born Jim Brower came in and got his 22nd save. Darnell McDonald went 2-3 with his 27th double. Gil Velazquez went 2-3 as well.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Tuesday - Rockcats 2, New Hampshire 0 The Rockcats didn't hit much either last night, but a Kyle Geiger two run double in the second was all that Anthony Swarzak needed. Swarzak improved to 5-4 with 8.1 shutout innings. He gave up six hits, walked one and struck out eight. Jose Mijares came in to get the last two outs and his eighth save. Of the five hits that New Britain had, four of them were doubles including Trevor Plouffe's 36th of the year.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Tuesday - Miracle 2, Dunedin 9 Two straight rough nights for the Miracle. Kyle Waldrop took the loss in this one. He gave up seven runs (5 earned) on nine hits, two walks and a hit batter. David Shinskie gave up a run on four hits and a walk in just two innings. Robert Delaney then gave up a run in 2.1 innings, striking out four. No Miracle batter had more than one hit. The team had seven hits. Steve Tolleson and Johnny Woodard each doubled.
Tuesday - Snappers 7, Kane County 5 2006 1st round pick Chris Parmelee had an nice well around game. He went 2-3 with a walk and two doubles (21 on year). He also had two outfield assists, one at 2B and one at the plate. Steve Singleton went 3-5 with his 16th double. Wilson Ramos went 2-5 with two RBI. Eli Tintor was 1-3 with a walk. Alex Burnett improved to 8-7. He gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out five. Matt Williams threw two perfect innings. Jose Lugo gave up a run in 2/3 of an inning. Anthony Slama got the final four outs, two on strikeouts, for his eighth save.
Tuesday - E-Twins No Game Scheduled
GCL TWINS REPORT
Tuesday - GCL Twins 7, GCL Red Sox 8 Ben Revere is definitely starting his career well. He went 2-3 with a walk and his tenth triple. James Beresford went 2-3 with a walk and his seventh stolen base. Danny Rams went 2-4 with his sixth double. Jon Waltenbury went 2-5 with his sixth double. Alexander Soto went 2-5. Winston Marquez gave up two runs on five hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out three. Dominique Rodgers took the loss. He gave up six runs (3 earned) on five hits. He did strike out four. Jose Acosta pitched a scoreless inning.
That is it for today. As always, if you have any questions, comments, ideas or opinions, please feel free to e-mail me any time or simply leave Comments below. Have a good one!|
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