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6/4/08

Why I don't give up on Bonser?

Because he reminds me of this guy:
MLB stats:

Player X:

Age 23: 10-7 21 games 19 s, 122.3 IP, 37 BB, 74 K, 3.24 ERA, 108 ERA +, 1.267 WHIP
Age 24: 10-7 28 games 20 s, 141.7 IP 36 BB 104 K 3.88 ERA, 92 ERA + 1.278 WHIP
Age 25: 11-3 18 games 17 s 115.0 IP 33 BB 77 K 3.60 ERA 106 ERA+ 1.365 WHIP
Age 26: 0-4 11 games 3 S 24.7 IP 10 BB 16 K 6.93 ERA 47 ERA+ 1.581 WHIP

Boof:

Age 24: 7-6 18 games 18S 100.3 IP 24BB 84 K 4.22 ERA 106 ERA+ 1.276 WHIP
Age 25: 8-12 31 games 30S 173.0 IP 65BB 136K 5.10 ERA 85 ERA+ 1.526 WHIP
Age 26: 2-6 12 games 12S 66.3 IP 20BB 42K 5.97 ERA 66 ERA+ 1.402 WHIP


fast forward player X:

Age 29: 4-5 63 games 40 saves, 69.0 IP 30BB 61K 2.35 ERA 182 ERA+ 1.072WHIP
Age 33: 3-3 52 games 32 saves 55.3 IP 13BB 52 K 2.60 ERA 186 ERA+ 1.066WHIP
career totals:

Age 38: 86-80, 732 games 318 saves 351BB 1030K 3.57 ERA, 117 ERA+ 1.227 WHIP

6/3/08

Draft?

Alright, with the amateur draft coming up, here is an obscure factoid to file under the “once bitten, twice shy” category:

The Twins drafted Nick Punto in the 33rd round of the 1997 draft out of Saddleback College in CA, but he elected not to sign and drafted next year (in the 21st round by Philly). BTW, Gardy was the Twins’ 1st base coach in 1997. The next is history

Why does the draft matter?

Here is a list of all players who participated in an all star game since 2003, sorted by the way they were introduced into the majors:

1st Round picks:

Moises Alou
Josh Beckett
Lance Berkman
Barry Bonds
Kevin Brown
Chris Carpenter
Roger Clemens
Chad Cordero
Johnny Damon
Carl Everett
Prince Fielder
Nomar Garciaparra
Jon Garland
Troy Glaus
Ken Griffey
Roy Halladay
Cole Hamels
Todd Helton
Torii Hunter
Geoff Jenkins
Derek Jeter
Scott Kazmir
Paul Konerko
Barry Larkin
Derrek Lee
Brad Lidge
Felipe Lopez
Mike MacDougal
Joe Mauer
Gil Meche
Mark Mulder
Mark Prior
Manny Ramirez
Mark Redman
Alexis Rios
Brian Roberts
Alex Rodriguez
Aaron Rowand
C.C. Sabathia
Ben Sheets
Gary Sheffield
Mark Teixeira
Chase Utley
Justin Verlander
Jason Varitek
Billy Wagner
Vernon Wells
Jake Westbrook
Rondell White
Preston Wilson
Kerry Wood
David Wright
Dmitri Young
Barry Zito

2nd Round Picks:

Carlos Beltran
Sean Casey
Carl Crawford
Jason Giambi
Tom Glavine
J.J. Hardy
Danny Haren
Randy Johnson
John Lackey
Brian McCann
Scott Rolen
Jimmy Rollins
Curt Schilling
Bob Wickman
Randy Wolf

3rd Round Picks:

Bronson Arroyo
Hank Blalock
Aaron Boone
Shawn Chacon
Matt Clement
Justin Morneau
A.J. Pierzynski
Scott Podsednik
Grady Sizemore
Chris Young

4th Round Picks:

Garret Anderson
Luis Gonzalez
Russ Ortiz
Jonathan Papelbon

5th Round Picks:

Bret Boone
Tom Gordon
Ken Harvey
Ryan Howard
Bobby Jenks
Brad Penny
Derrick Turnbow
Michael Young
Javier Vazquez

6th Round Picks:

Tim Hudson
Danny Kolb
Jamie Moyer
J.J. Putz
Jose Vidro

7th Round Picks:

Jim Edmonds
Matt Holliday
Mark Loretta

8th Round Picks:

Ron Belliard
Justin Duchscherer
Jason Schmidt
Brandon Webb
Dontrelle Willis

9th Round Picks:

Keith Foulke
Jack Wilson

10th Round Picks:

Shea Hillenbrand
Mike Sweeney

11th Round Picks:

Trevor Hoffman
Freddy Sanchez
Dan Uggla

13th Round Picks:

Matt Lawton
Carl Pavano
Albert Pujols
Jim Thome

14th Round Picks:

Mike Williams

15th Round Picks:

Jake Peavy

17th Round Picks:

Johnny Estrada
Russell Martin
B.J. Ryan

19th Round picks:

David Eckstein
Placido Polanco

20th Round picks:

Jeff Kent
Mike Lowell

21st Round Picks:

Lance Carter
Eddie Guardado

22nd Round Picks:

Jason Bay
John Smoltz

23th Round picks:

Ted Lilly
Roy Oswalt

24th Round picks:

Jorge Posada
Richie Sexson

25th Round picks:

Brian Fuentes
Paul Lo Duca

27th Round picks:

Brendan Donnelly

28th Round picks:

Woody Williams

38th Round picks:

Mark Buehrle

39th Round Picks:
Kenny Rogers

43rd Round picks:

Orlando Hudson

44th Round picks:

Jason Isringhausen

53rd Round Picks:

Marcus Giles

62nd Round Picks:

Mike Piazza

Amateur free agent signings(USA/Canada):

Eric Gagne
Edgar Martinez

Amateur free agent signings(Latin America):

Bobby Abreu
Danys Baez
Armando Benitez
Miguel Cabrera
Robinson Cano
Luis Castillo
Bartolo Colon
Jose Contreras
Francisco Cordero
Carlos Delgado
Vladimir Guerrero
Carlos Guillen
Ramon Hernandez
Cesar Izturis
Andruw Jones
Carlos Lee
Francisco Liriano
Esteban Loaiza
Javy Lopez
Jose Lopez
Pedro Martinez
Victor Martinez
Melvin Mora
Magglio Ordonez
David Ortiz
Aramis Ramirez
Mariano Rivera
Edgar Renteria
Jose Reyes
Ivan Rodriguez
Francisco Rodriguez
Johan Santana
Sammy Sosa
Miguel Tejada
Jose Valverde
Carlos Zambrano

Amateur free agent signings (Japan):

Shigetoshi Hasegawa
Hideki Matsui
Hideki Okajima
Takashi Saito
Alfonso Soriano
Ichiro Suzuki



Observations: It is obvious that the first round (and lesser the next 3-4) and the latin american development programs are extremely important. Teams should focus on both of those aspects of the developing process

taking a breather and looking at the season numbers so far - part one

So far the Twins have a team OPS+ of 99, which is much better than last year and a team ERA+ of 93, which is the lowest this team had since the 68-94 squad of 1997. How much of a contender is this team, or more accurately, what are the flaws of this team that needed to be examined:

Even though the team has a league average OPS, against RHP the team is hitting 271/.332/.393 while only .262/.306/.368 against LHP. In 2007 for comparison, the team was hitting an eerily similar .265/.331/.393 against RHP and a much better (by 38 OPS points) .263/.326/.385 against LHP. There are clearly some issues there. Here is a list of the current players and their records against LHP in 2008, ranked by OPS:


Casilla .417/.417/.667/1.083
Gomez .353/.377/.569/.946
Everett .364/.462/.455/.916
Mauer .368/.393/.456/.850
Morneau .273/.294/.470/.764
Cuddyer .278/.366/.361/.727
Team average .262/.306/.368/.672
Tolbert .286/.310/.357/.667
Young .250/.308/.354/.662
Punto .250/.250/.350/.600
------Mendoza line------------
Redmond .214/.250/.286/.536
Harris .196/.288/.239/.528
Kubel .171/.231/.171/.402
Lamb .091/.130/.227/.358
Monroe .135/.200/.135/.335

a similar look at the ranking of players against RHP:

Morneau .316/.403/.513/.917
Casilla .304/.393/.435/.828
Monroe .229/.315/.500/.815
Mauer .297/.409/.383/.792
Kubel .255/.299/.438/.737
Team average .271/.332/.393/.725
Harris .267/.338/.359/.697
Young .280/.335/.357/.692
Punto .265/.350/.324/.674
Redmond .250/.318/.350/.668
Lamb .276/.306/.359/.665
Cuddyer .252/.296/.362/.659
Gomez .257/.291/.353/.645
Tolbert .255/.305/.327/.632
------Mendoza line------------
Everett .159/.191/.302/.493

It is clear that there is A. a higher discrepancy in the team hitting against LHP (there are several people hitting way above the team average and certain people hitting way bellow the team average) and B. Way too many people are hitting below the Mendoza line against LHP, including the 2 primary DHs and 2 starting IF. Is it too early in the season? Could it be solved by a platoon possibility? Could it be solved by roster moves? There are 14 players listed here (2 in the DL currently) and probably space of only 13 or 12.

Lets look at lifetime splits of the people below the Mendoza line against LHP and Everett against RHP

Redmond .214/.250/.286/.536 life:.329/.386/.433/.820
Harris .196/.288/.239/.528 life:.295/.370/.432/.802
Kubel .171/.231/.171/.402 life: .227/.298/.313/.611
Lamb .091/.130/.227/.358 life: .258/.326/.401/.727
Monroe .135/.200/.135/.335 life:.267/.314/.478/.792
Everett (RHP).159/.191/.302/.493 life:.244/.291/.356/.647

From these numbers, it looks that even though everyone in the above group is underperforming their career expectations, there is enough upside for Harris, Mornoe, and Redmond; and somewhat Lamb. However, Kubel cannot hit LHP and Everett cannot hit RHP at an adequate rate.


Some suggestions:

The team should not go with 13 pitchers and 12 batters. There is just too much risk.
Everett should be platooned against righties and Kubel against lefties to give the team the higher probability of success.

The best every day lineups based on these numbers would be (platoons noted against RHP/LHP):

C Mauer
1B Morneau
2B Casilla
3B Lamb
SS Harris/Everett
LF Young
CF Gomez
RF Cuddyer
DH Kubel/Monroe

Helter-Skelter substitutions (like the use of mediocre hitters like Punto) have been robbing ABs from people like Harris, Lamb and Everett who need ABs to get going. Another bat that can hit lefties (especially a RHB 3rd baseman) would help. Morgan Ensberg is a career .278/.400/.512/.912 hitter against LHP, is available on the waiver wire but would probable cost the roster spot for someone like Nick Punto or Adam Everett and is not the best clubhouse presence and this year (and last) his performance has been extremely mediocre. Not sure that he might be the answer. There are a couple of people in the Twins' system who potentially might be part of the answer. Luke Hughes is one, the 23 yo third baseman in New Britain who is batting .337/.410/.610/1.020 with 12 HRs and 31 RBI this year. Hughes is playing primarily 3B this year, but has played 2B and outfield and would be a platoon 3B against LHP and take Nick Punto's utility spot.

So the optimal position player roster for the Twins would be:

  1. Mauer
  2. Morneau
  3. Casilla
  4. Lamb
  5. Harris
  6. Young
  7. Gomez
  8. Cuddyer
  9. Kubel
  10. Monroe
  11. Everett
  12. Redmond
  13. Hughes

(Pitching in another post)

6/2/08

Prospects

I've always believed that prospect lists have been (more that somewhat) arbitrary. Being a number person, I wanted to devise a formula that could actually put a numerical value to support a prospect ranking.

Here is the results of a first take of my formula that takes in account the following:


  • Performance at the end of the year
  • Performance vs the average league pitcher/batter in several categories
  • Fielding Performance for Batters (compared to an average major leaguer)
  • Improvement related to last year's performance (a factor that is somewhat passed by in most rankings)
  • Level of play (A, AA, AAA, higher is better)
  • Promotions to higher levels of play
  • Age (younger is better)

All of these factors are weighted differently.

The results for the end-of-year 2007 (i.e. 2008 results not into consideration) prospects of note in the Twins' system:

Pitchers:

Delaney 0.582*
Slowey 0.443
Gabino 0.385
Blackburn 0.365
Craig 0.347*
Robertson 0.332
Bass 0.297*
Duensing 0.248
De Paula 0.210
Burnett 0.204
Lahey 0.168
Rainville 0.152
Swarzak 0.146
Manship 0.141
Sosa 0.141
Van Mil 0.122
Hernandez 0.121
Mullins 0.095
Morlan 0.092
Fox 0.085
Mulvey 0.056
Mijares 0.051
Pino 0.042
Guerra <0
Humber <0

Batters:

Pridie 0.329
Morales 0.296
Buscher 0.285
Macri 0.221
Sergio Santos 0.189
Hughes 0.183
Romero 0.172
Johnny Woodard 0.157
Tolbert 0.129
Garett Guzman 0.112
Brian Dinkelman 0.102
Ramos 0.082
Steven Tolleson 0.073
Valencia 0.066
Brock Peterson 0.038
Span 0.019
Dustin Martin 0.029
Plouffe 0.009
Casilla <0
Singleton <0
Parmalee <0
Lis <0
Revere etc N/A (only one season pro ball)


Notes:

  • * denotes pitchers whose somewhat surprising high ranking is helped by major improvement (this is not to say that they had league average or worse numbers; as a matter of fact they all have much better than league average numbers). Are those people overlooked, or the formula needs tweaking? Probably both. I know that the formula needs tweaking, but take Delaney for example. He finished 2007 with an ERA of 1.03 and a WHIP of 0.86 had 16 BB and 83 Ks in 70 innings. No matter what he should be very high in this list.
  • I like that the numbers make some sense comparing pitchers to batters. It is true that the Twins system is richer in pitching prospects that batter and this is reflected here
  • Some refinement with the weights is needed. The actually formula penalizes people who have digressed, even if the played in higher levels (see Humber or Lis for examples); on the other hand 0 and <0 denotes average and below prospect...
  • When there are significant numbers I will run again for 2008
  • Cutoff age was 26 years old at 2007
  • I need to refine it so it includes first year prospects. As is to be included a prospect should have played 2 years of pro ball


here is my very preliminary top 25 list, at the end of 2007 season.

  1. Delaney
  2. Slowey
  3. Gabino
  4. Blackburn
  5. Craig
  6. Robertson
  7. Pridie
  8. Bass
  9. Morales
  10. Buscher
  11. Duensing
  12. Macri
  13. De Paula
  14. Burnett
  15. Sergio Santos
  16. Hughes
  17. Romero
  18. Lahey
  19. Johnny Woodard
  20. Rainville
  21. Swarzak
  22. Manship
  23. Sosa
  24. Tolbert
  25. Van Mil
  26. Hernandez
  27. Brian Dinkelman
  28. Mullins
  29. Steven Tolleson
  30. Valencia
  31. Mulvey
  32. Mijares

tidbits

Who would have thought that, at this point, the Twins would have scored more runs than the Yankees, Cleveland, Angels, and would trail Detroit only by 7?

Blackburn seems to be ok after the hit by Abreu (who, btw is a total class act and went to visit at the clubhouse).

The clown has struck again. How can a first place team deal with that turmoil? By not being a first place team for much longer....

And of course, Detroit cannot be in any less disarray and the Indians are making the Royals look like a powerhouse right after they got swept by the Twins. There are no excuses not to win the Central this year. Gardy's job should be on the line if they don't.

Speaking of, this guy would have been a great manager for the Twins. The Twins should snag him and give him a MiLB job until Gardy's contract is up or gets fired. Do you hear Bill Smith?