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11/2/11

Can the Twins rebound? Part II: Quick ranking of MLB position player free agents

Looking at what went wrong with the 2011 Twins club and try to prioritize changes that would help the 2012 club rebound, I have previously examined the starting rotation, and concluding that despite the conventional words of wisdom, it should not be a priority, if the best pitchers are used and if they stay healthy. The bullpen is a different story, which I will try to examine in a later day; so let's examine the position players.

Here is the Twins "Batting Value" (Fangraphs metric) :




as you can see only 2 current non-pitchers had positive value with the bat (Jim Thome was traded and Mike Cuddyer and Jason Kubel are free agents). And with Parmelee probably starting at AAA Rochester, Joe Mauer is the only 25 man roster in 2012 who had a positive batting contribution. This is a problem. We also know that this team is practically devoid of power right hand bats, especially with Cuddyer a free agent and Delmon Young traded. With Morneau healthy and potentially Parmelee in some role, left handed power might not be much of an issue, and this team is slated to have at least 4 LH hitting strarters (Mauer, Span, Revere, Morneau) so more balance is needed


Here is the Twins "Fielding Value" (Fangraphs metric) :




From the remaining 2012 players there are stong outfield fielders (Revere and Span), catching is not a problem, first base is not a problem if Morneau is healthy, but infield is a problem, other than Luke Hughes (2.6) and Casilla (-0.1 league average). Also a 3rd outfielder is needed.

Here is the Twins "Running Value" (Fangraphs metric) :




Running was supposedly the strong suit of the team, but the data indicate that only a 3 players (Revere, Span and Hughes) were above average, several were average and a lot were not that great. So this element should be upgraded as well.


Surprisingly, Luke Hughes was both an above average runner and defender, and he should have a role in the 2012 team.


So hitting is a problem. Kubel and Cuddyer are free agents. Should the Twins be knocking at their doors and signing them as fast as possible? Especially Cuddyer who is a power right hand bat? Let examine how Cuddyer and Kubel stack with the other availbable 2012 free agents. The following list is ranking free agents by IsoP (Isolated Power) and also displays the Fangraphs Defence and Running values (Minimum 100 PA) for their 2011 seasons:



Prince Fielder isoP .267 Fld -5.1 BsR -5.4
Andruw Jones isoP .247 Fld 2.7 BsR -2.2
David Ortiz isoP .246 Fld -0.1 BsR -5.4
Albert Pujols isoP .242 Fld 2.4 BsR -3.6
Carlos Pena isoP .237 Fld 0.7 BsR -1.0
Scott Hairston isoP .235 Fld -3.2 BsR -0.1
Josh Willingham isoP .232 Fld -5.4 BsR -2.7
Carlos Beltran isoP .225 Fld -7.3 BsR 1.1
Jim Thome isoP .220 Fld 0 BsR -2.7
Wily Mo Pena isoP .212 Fld -0.2 BsR 0.5
Aramis Ramirez isoP .204 Fld -9.4 BsR -4.9
Jason Varitek isoP .203 Fld -5.0 BsR -2.5
Laynce Nix isoP .201 Fld -5.0 BsR 1.2
Rod Barajas isoP .200 Fld -1.0 BsR -3.2
Grady Sizemore isoP .198 Fld -5.8 BsR 0.8
Kelly Johnson isoP .191 Fld 2.5 BsR -1.4
Jonny Gomes isoP .180 Fld 3.4 BsR 1.7
Derrek Lee isoP .179 Fld 1.4 BsR -2.5
Mike Cuddyer isoP .176 Fld -0.7 BsR -1.1
Ryan Doumit isoP .174 Fld -1.0 BsR -2.7
Raoul Ibanez isoP .174 Fld -18.9 BsR -1.6
Russell Branyan isoP .173 Fld 1.2 BsR -1.2
Wilson Betemit isoP .167 Fld -8.7 BsR -1.2
Cody Ross isoP .165 Fld -5.5 BsR -0.1
Ramon Hernandez isoP .164 Fld 0.0 BsR -2.6
Kelly Shoppach isoP .163 Fld -1.1 BsR 1.1
Jason Kubel isoP .161 Fld -2.8 BsR -0.3



Clearly the Twins will not make a run for Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder (and they don't need to). Signing Andrew Jones and Jonny Gomes to replace Mike Cuddyer and Jason Kubel, would provide better power and better fielding and in Gomes' case better base running (his 2011 runnning value would rank him second in the 2011 Twins behind only Ben Revere). In addition, there will be some money left over to sign Ryan Doumit upgrading the C position offensively and providing some 1B insurance (the other argument about re-signign Cuddyer.) An outfield of Revere,Span, Gomes/Jones (with the other one at DH) will also provide superior defense for the Twins' flyball starters.


What do you think?

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