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11/3/11

Can the Twins rebound? Part III: Quick ranking of MLB middle infielders and not only free agents

Yesterday I examined the Twins' performance in 2011 and indicated that fielding and hitting were subpar and really needed to improve. Outfield defense with Span and Revere will be fine and also indicated 3 free agent additions (2 OF/DH and a C) who are power right hand bats and will be able to improve both fielding and hitting (and in case of one, base running) if they join the team in 2012.


Looking at potential middle infield targets is a necessity, because the overall Twins' middle infield defense was a very sore point in 2011. So the requirement is that a new acquisition should not field worse than what the Twins have in house. In other words, we want to improve the defense. So players with less than average (0) fielding are not included


Thus, I am listing all MLB SS and 2B who had positive "Fielding" (Fangraphs value. I am also listing their "Hitting", "Base Running" and Wins Above Replacement values. 2012 Twins' players are in Bold and free agents are underlined.


Here are the short stops ranked by decreasing fielding:
(Name/Batting/Base Running/Fielding/WAR)

Alexei Ramirez -0.7 5.1 11.9 4.9
J.J. Hardy 10.7 -0.3 10.7 4.8
Alcides Escobar -16.5 0.4 10.2 2.2
Jhonny Peralta 16.0 -1.9 9.9 5.2
Craig Counsell -11.9 1.3 8.6 0.5
Clint Barmes -2.0 1.9 7.9 3.1
Brendan Ryan -7.4 2.8 7.6 2.6
John McDonald -13.2 1.6 7.4 0.6
Troy Tulowitzki 28.2 -2.8 7.3 6.3
Elvis Andrus -0.4 7.7 7.0 4.5
Ronny Cedeno -15.7 2.6 6.1 1.4
Sean Rodriguez -2.2 1.3 5.1 2.3
Stephen Drew -3.4 1.3 4.5 1.9
Elliot Johnson -8.3 0.8 4.4 0.5
Paul Janish -25.0 0.6 4.2 -0.4
Zack Cozart 1.0 0.2 4.1 0.7
Miguel Tejada -16.3 -1.5 4.0 0.0
Justin Sellers -5.0 3.0 3.9 0.8
Ramon Santiago -3.0 1.4 3.3 1.4
Brandon Crawford -9.5 1.1 3.1 0.5
Jimmy Rollins 6.2 0.1 2.9 3.8
Cesar Izturis -2.9 -0.5 2.9 0.1
Donnie Murphy -6.1 0.5 2.6 0.1
Alberto Gonzalez -15.1 0.9 2.3 -0.2
Alex Cora -7.7 0.8 2.0 0.2
Mike McCoy -8.9 1.3 1.9 0.3
Chris Valaika 0.1 0.1 1.6 0.3
Yunel Escobar 13.5 0.2 1.6 4.3
Eric Sogard -3.5 -0.8 1.5 0.0
Jack Wilson -11.1 0.0 1.3 0.0
Erick Aybar 8.5 1.3 1.2 4.0
Omar Quintanilla -4.6 0.0 1.1 -0.3
Ruben Tejada 1.0 -0.3 1.1 1.8
Pedro Ciriaco 0.3 -0.2 0.8 0.2
Edgar Renteria -7.4 0.2 0.8 0.9
Mike Fontenot -3.0 1.8 0.6 1.0
Marco Scutaro 7.2 -0.3 0.6 2.9
Eduardo Escobar -0.4 0.1 0.5 0.0
Andrew Romine -2.2 0.0 0.4 -0.1
Angel Sanchez -11.3 2.3 0.4 0.5
Julio Lugo -5.5 -0.6 0.2 -0.4
Reid Brignac -22.4 0.1 0.1 -1.1
Josh Wilson -3.2 1.0 0.0 0.1
Cody Ransom -2.0 0.3 0.0 0.0
Tommy Field -2.6 0.6 -0.1 0.0
Alexi Casilla -0.8 -0.4 -0.2 1.4
Matt Tolbert -14.4 1.3 -0.3 -0.5
Alex Gonzalez -15.5 -0.1 -0.3 1.1




Here are the second basemen ranked by decreasing fielding:
(Name/Batting/Base Running/Fielding/WAR)


Dustin Pedroia 31.7 -0.9 17.9 8.0
Howie Kendrick 16.2 3.2 16.7 5.8
Ian Kinsler 26.9 5.8 15.0 7.7
Brandon Phillips 17.1 3.2 11.4 6.0
Ben Zobrist 27.0 2.9 10.2 6.6
Craig Counsell -11.9 1.3 8.6 0.5
Chase Utley 9.9 2.2 8.4 3.9
Omar Infante -6.9 0.8 8.2 2.7
Darwin Barney -11.8 5.0 6.1 2.2
Mark Ellis -16.1 3.7 5.9 1.3
Chris Getz -13.3 1.2 5.6 1.0
Sean Rodriguez -2.2 1.3 5.1 2.3
Gordon Beckham -16.4 1.1 4.9 1.1
Logan Forsythe -7.0 0.6 4.0 0.4
Nick Punto 5.0 1.4 4.0 1.8
Justin Sellers -5.0 3.0 3.9 0.8
Ramon Santiago -3.0 1.4 3.3 1.4
Kelly Johnson -3.0 -1.4 2.5 2.2
Luke Hughes -8.5 1.6 2.5 0.4
Dustin Ackley 8.9 0.9 2.3 2.7
Alberto Gonzalez -15.1 0.9 2.3 -0.2
Robert Andino -5.8 0.9 2.2 1.8
Rickie Weeks 17.8 -3.0 1.6 3.7
Jack Wilson -11.1 0.0 1.3 0.0
DJ LeMahieu -3.9 -0.3 1.3 -0.1
Maicer Izturis 0.7 0.3 1.2 2.0
Omar Quintanilla -4.6 0.0 1.1 -0.3
Jonathan Herrera -13.8 1.0 1.1 0.0
Ruben Tejada 1.0 -0.3 1.1 1.8
Peter Kozma -0.6 -0.5 1.1 0.1
Danny Espinosa 5.2 2.9 1.0 3.5
Brad Emaus -3.8 0.2 0.9 -0.1
Chris Woodward -2.5 0.7 -0.2
on Hill -11.8 -2.1 0.7 0.8
Brooks Conrad 0.2 0.8 0.7 0.6
Mike Fontenot -3.0 1.8 0.6 1.0
Esteban German 2.2 0.2 0.5 0.3
Angel Sanchez -11.3 2.3 0.4 0.5
Taylor Green -1.3 0.7 0.3 0.1
Steve Lombardozzi -2.9 -0.4 0.2 -0.2
Josh Wilson -3.2 1.0 0.0 0.1
Eugenio Velez -8.0 0.0 0.0 -0.7
Lopez -10.7 1.1 -0.1 -0.2
Manny Burriss -10.7 -0.4 -0.1 -0.6
Juan Castro -0.3 -0.1 -0.1 0.0
Adam Kennedy -10.6 0.6 -0.2 0.1
Danny Worth -1.1 -1.5 -0.2 -0.1
Alexi Casilla -0.8 -0.4 -0.2 1.4
Pete Orr -6.2 0.6 -0.2 -0.2
Matt Tolbert -14.4 1.3 -0.3 -0.5
Brian Roberts -6.4 2.2 -0.4 0.2


So what do the Twins do? Ideally, they want to improve the fielding but do not not want a player who has a large negative impact in the lineup as far as hitting and base running goes(i.e an all glove no bat player.) If you look at the free agents Clint Barmes, Ramon Santiago, Jimmy Rollins (not really a realistic possibility), Cesar Izturis, Kelly Johnson and Nick Punto fit the bill. There are not many good or even average bat better than average middle infielders in the majors and I cannot imagine that the ones who are under team control are realistic trade targets for the Twins. Just look at the list. There is another option, that might sound a bit counter-intuitive (and it is very similar to my contrarian starting pitching opinion:

The Twins have an average fielding and average hitting shortstop (Alexi Casilla) and an above average fielding and below average hitting second baseman (Luke Hughes). The problem is that they did not play much in those positions and additional players (Cuddyer, Nishioka, Plouffe, Tolbert) took a lot of innings. So unless the Twins get one of Barmes, Santiago, Johnson, Rollins, Izturis or Punto, they will be better of starting the season with Alexi Casilla in SS and Luke Hughes in 2B, instead of lesser fielding alternatives.


What do you think?

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