Monday, February 11, 2008

2008 Minnesota Twins Offensive Forecast

Exciting title from The Sidler, no?

Before I break down YOUR 2008 Minnesota Twins, two notes:

1. Anyone interested in any Daytona 500 posts? I expect "no" or "F no" will be the response, but I thought it was worth checking.

2. Despite their record, the Indiana Hoosiers are damn disappointing this year. Main culprit - their offense looks like one you'll see during a pick-up hoops game at the YMCA.

On to the Twins. These are an average of Baseball Think Factory's ZIPS projections and Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA forecasts. Strangely, BTF has every Twins infielder rated better than BP while BP likes the outfielders more. Not sure what that means. I've compared OPS to the league average for each player's respective position because that's one of the main ways I judge a player's offensive value. Basically, Mauer is incredibly valuable because he's compared to other catchers while Morneau is only slightly above league average since dudes like Poo-holes and Prince Fielder drive up the average at first.

Sadly, the stats highlighted in green represent a projection better than league average. Not much green there. And I put Punto as an option in CF for a couple reasons--to show how awful he is and because Gardy's put him there before.

Mauer is the most premium offensive talent on the Twins by a big margin. Throw in plus defense and you have one of the top catchers, if not the best in baseball. I'm a Baby Jesus apologist, can you tell?. No, he's not an ideal #3 hitter and the power is probably not coming at this point, which decreases his potential from inner-circle Hall of Famer to perennial All Star.

Morneau is an above average offensive and defensive (slightly) first baseman and for the Twins, that means a lot. He doesn't save 75 runs/year with his glove like Dougie Mientkiewicz though.

Harris is a mixed bag. I haven't heard a single positive review of his defense at any position, but at least he can provide league average offense at 2B, unlike Casilla or Punto. He would have been a great low-cost signing a couple years ago when everyone was cutting him...

Everett is a black hole offensively but a great defender. A loss in range destroys his value, but I don't mind running him out to SS every day since the Twins are going to have a ridiculously young pitching staff and questionable defenders at 2B and 3B. Hopefully he can get a bunt down better than Punto.

Mike Lamb's projections are quite far apart--ZIPS has him at league average for 3B while PECOTA shaves 45 points from his ZIPS OPS. I request he performs to ZIPS levels, thanks. No matter what, he'll be better than Punto and won't be doing stupid dives all over the field (and into first base). Again, not a terrible signing in my opinion considering the alternatives.


I'll start with Cuddyer, the only returning starter from opening day 2007. Great arm, OK range, and we've probably already watched his peak season. Still, getting league average offense at a corner OF position is a plus for the Twins. I like that the Twins aren't committed to his decline years with his new contract.

Delmon Young. Defensively, the scouting reports say he has a great arm. Twins fans aren't sure what that looks like in LF after watching Shannon Stewart and Rondell White the last few seasons. But the Twins didn't trade Garza/Bartlett for his arm, they think he has the potential to be an impact bat. There are some warning signs--he doesn't walk, he swings at everything, and his power has declined at each level. But he's been young, really young, at every level. PECOTA has him rediscovering some power and I can see that since it will be his first time getting a second year at any level. The media is spinning him as replacing Hunter's bat but I don't think that happens this year. He's really going to be the key to whether this is a really bad offense or just a bad one.

If you thought I was a Baby Jesus apologist, you haven't seen anything yet. I have had a spot on the Jason Kubel bandwagon since he hit something like .375 in AAA for half a season...and I didn't give it up when he lost his knee in the Arizona Fall League a few years ago. So I think both ZIPS and PECOTA are factoring in his awful 2006 season a little too much considering he lost the entire 2005 season. The dude (or The Dude) hit .303 after the All Star break last year with an OPS of .882, higher than anyone on the team's projection this year. As long as Gardy doesn't bench him for Craig Monroe, he's a serious break-out candidate.

Really, I have no clue what to expect for CF. I'd give the job to Pridie since he's had a successful year at AAA and Denard Span shouldn't be a legit option. Gomez (sorry, too lazy to grab his forecast, but they are pretty much Span's) could use the seasoning at AAA but is hopefully the answer starting in 2009. Really, those three guys would be starting at AAA for most organizations.

In all, this adds up to a bad offense, especially if Morneau is ineffective, Mauer gets hurt, Punto plays too much, or Gardy plays guys like Craig Monroe too much. There's just not enough on-base ability or power.

Here's the The Sidler's preferred lineup as of today:
1. Mauer
2. Harris
3. Young
4. Morneau
5. Cuddyer
6. Kubel
7. Lamb
8. Pridie
9. Everett


L. Ford said...

Sidler, what about a certain fan favorite OF from the Twins recent past? First name rhymes with Goo? Or Zoo? I don't know the man's DAKOTA rating or ZiP Code, but it sure seems like he could get around the outfield, and he had something Torii never had at the plate, a little something I like to call Clutchiness.
Could the Twins maybe have traded Santana for a guy like that, straight up?

Rob Nen said...

Can someone please breakdown the trade the Twins made with the Mets against the Badard trade Baltimore and Seattle made.

The Sidler said...

I think LEEEEEEEEEWWWWWW is going to play for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. OK, not sure about the team, but last I heard he was looking into Japan. Hopefully Sid can provide as many Lew updates as he does for Dusty Rychart. Man, Lew's on-field performance fell off a cliff quickly.

Breaking down the Bedard trade would probably make me too sad. Adam Jones is a much better prospect than anything the Twins got for Santana. It is important to note that the Orioles didn't have to deal with a no-trade clause or a "richest pitcher in baseball" contract to be signed. The Santana deal is probably worse than both the Bedard and Harden deals. But we will never know how many teams Santana agreed to be traded to (which helped kill the market)--he reportedly said no to Seattle.

move it said...

God, take is shitty blog down so it is easier to get to Dawg's.

Yeah, Balls of Fury. Genius!

Anonymous said...

Sidler no offense but your baseball knowledge is boring.

Next blogger please!

WWWWWW said...

Sidler = smarter than you.

Anonymous said...

He maybe smart, but he sure is boring.