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3/10/12

Twins Bench Battle Dashboard; 3/10/12

I have been creating dashboards to look at the progression of the Spring Training battle for the 3 bullpen sports for the Twins (You can read about the rationale and details here.) I decided to create a dashboard for the 2-3 bench position battles. To quantify position players performance I am using another Bill James' measurement, the "Batting Game Score", as modified by Baseball Reference. I made 2 changes on the BR way of calculating Batting Game Score: I took away the bonus points for multi-HR games and for hitting for the cycle and I am adding a point for a catcher when he throws out a runner trying to steal a base.

Here is the way it is calculated (again, one needs a box-score and a calculator:)

Start with 0 points (unlike the pitching Game Score that starts with 50)
Add 1 point for each Run, RBI, 2B, SB, BB, and HBP recorded.
Add 2.5 for each hit, 3 for each 3B and 4 for each HR.
Subtract 1 for each CS and GIDP,
subtract 1 for each error,
for catchers add 1 for each CS
Subtract 0.2 for each SO and 0.5 for each AB.

Again, as in the Bullpen Battle Dashboard, the Bench Battle Dashboard is color coded based on average, above average and below average performances, where:

Average is Batting Game Score between 0 and 2
Above average is Batting Game Score higher than 2
Below average is Batting Game Score less than 0

Also the Dashboard, is broken down by catchers, infielders and outfielders

One comment before I present the Bench Battle Dashboard: Before Spring Training, I thought that Luke Hughes was a lock. However, based on his continuous below average performances (actually the worse by any position player in the team), I think that his position might be in jeopardy, so I am tracking his performance as well:

Here is what the Dashboard looks like after today's game against the Pirates:





And the rankings by position:

Catchers:

J.R. Towles 3
Rene Rivera 2.6
-----
Daniel Rohlfing 1.25
Chris Herrmann 0.433333333
Danny Lehmann 0.4
----
Drew Butera -0.4
Danny Rams -0.566666667

Infielders:

Chris Parmelee 3.65
Mike Hollimon 2.2
----
Ray Chang 1.5
Tsuyoshi Nishioka 1.466666667
Aaron Bates 0.95
Sean Burroughs 0.02
----
Brian Dinkelman -0.04
Brian Dozier -0.433333333
Pedro Florimon -0.55
Steve Pearce -0.733333333
Luke Hughes -1.525

Outfielders:

----
Wilkin Ramirez 0.95
Matt Carson 0.76
Darin Mastroianni 0.375
Rene Tosoni 0.35
----
Oswaldo Arcia -0.58
Joe Benson -0.04


I will be updating this daily and posting updates here close to daily. As always you can find all Spring Training coverage at The Tenth Inning Stretch here.

Updated Twins Bullpen Battle Dashboard; 3/10/2012

You can read the basic premise in detail behind this dashboard here. This is the most current iterration after yesterday's game vs the Cardinals:





Here is a ranking of the combatants based on average game score:

Terry Doyle 56
Matt Maloney 54.5
Jared Burton 53.5
Liam Hendriks 53.5
Aaron Thompson 53
Brendan Wise 53
Casey Fien 52.7
Jeff Manship 52.5
Carlos Gutierrez 52
Kyle Waldrop 52
P.J. Walters 52
Esmerling Vasquez 51.5
---
Daryl Thompson 50
Luis Perdomo 49.5
Tyler Robertson 49.5
---
Alex Burnett 48.5
Scott Diamond 47.5
Phil Dumatrait 46.7
Lester Oliveros 46
Jeff Gray 41
Deolis Guerra 37.5
Jason Bulger 25


Samuel Deduno DNP

I will be updating this daily and posting updates here close to daily. As always you can find all Spring Training coverage at The Tenth Inning Stretch here.

3/9/12

Updated Twins Bullpen Battle Dashboard; 3/9/2012

You can read the basic premise in detail behind this dashboard here. The summary is that I have created a visual dashboard that uses Bill James' Game Score to measure the performance of each pitcher who is vying for a spot on the Twins' 25-man roster (you can see their profiles here) and track their performance through spring training.

Performances are classified as "above average" (green color), "average (yellow), "below average" (red) with the Game Score numbers indicated for each performance. I also average all performances to day, list that average and color the pitcher's name accordingly. At the end, there is a ranking of all pitchers in the list based on their average game score this spring training. Game Scores of 49-51 are "average", everything higher than 51 "above average", and everything below 49 "below average".

Here is what the dashboard looks, including yesterday's game vs Tampa Bay:





Here is a ranking of the combatants based on average game score:

Terry Doyle 56
Matt Maloney 54.5
Jared Burton 53.5
Liam Hendriks 53.5
Tyler Robertson 53
Aaron Thompson 53
Brendan Wise 53
Casey Fien 52.5
Jeff Manship 52.5
Carlos Gutierrez 52
Kyle Waldrop 52
P.J. Walters 52
Esmerling Vasquez 51.5
---
Daryl Thompson 50
Luis Perdomo 49.5
---
Alex Burnett 48.5
Scott Diamond 47.5
Lester Oliveros 46
Phil Dumatrait 45
Jeff Gray 41
Jason Bulger 25
Deolis Guerra 21

Samuel Deduno DNP

I will be updating this daily and posting updates here close to daily. As always, you can find all Spring Training coverage in this site here

3/8/12

Breaking down Glen Perkins' contract extension with the Twins

Glen Perkins has signed a 3 year contract extension with the Twins, which will keep him with the team until 2015. The Twins have an option for 2016. The extension is for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons, so the 1 year, $1.55 million contract that Perkins has signed for 2012 still stands. The total value of the contract is for $10.3 million dollars, including the buy out of the 2016 option. There are additional incentives for games finished, which will pay Perkins more, if he assumes the closer role from 2013 on.

Glen has proven to be one of the most reliable relievers in the majors in 2011 and the Twins are getting a great bargain for 4 years of his service covering his age 29-32 seasons (2012-15) for a total of $11.85 million plus incentives.

His annual salaries are:

2012: $1.55 million
2013: $2.5 million
2014: $3.75 million
2015: $3.75 million
2016 (option) : $4.5 million with $300K buyout

Quantifying the Twins Spring Training bullpen battle: Bullpen Battle Dashboard

Here is the basic premise: The Twins have a whole bunch of relievers in their Spring Training Camp who are batting for 3 spots on the 25-man roster. I listed and analysed these players previously. Spring training is long and it is hard to track each appearance of each player, trying to have an objective view of how this battle might be ending (or at least trending,) especially, when the usual statistics fail with such a small sample size. Yesterday I created a dashboard to look at each pitcher's performance on a daily basis and use visual color clues to get the big picture at once. That was step one. But for some reason I was not really happy with it.

My major objection to that first iteration was that individual daily performances were subjective. "Average", "above average" and "below average" were determined by glances at boxscores and what I saw or heard in games. Not too good. Plus, there are various degrees of greatness or non-greatness, and those need to be separated. Thus the need for quantification and for an objective way to measure each pitcher's daily performance and I think that I found it: It is a measurement created by Bill James more than a decade ago called "Game Score". Truth of the matter is that James created that to measure starting pitcher performance, but I think that it is applicable here and will fit my purpose (albeit things will be a bit compressed on the top, but the middle and the bottom will differentiate nicely.) What is Game Score? Here is how it is determined: You start with 50 points for each pitcher. Add 1 point for each out. Add 1 point for each strikeout. Subtract 2 points for each hit. Subtract 4 points for each earned run. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run. Subtract 1 point for each walk. There is a point bonus for pitching more than 4 innings as well, adding 2 points for each IP after the 4th, but this is not too applicable here. All you need to calculate Game Score is a box score and a calculator. Done deal. However, there are no box scores for B games, and the caveat is I cannot include them (which might not be that bad in the big schema of things.)

I am ready to present the final version of the 2012 Spring Training Bullpen Battle Dashboard. I will update the dashboard and post it on a weekly basis. The next update will be early next week before the first cuts are made. Like the previous version, performances are classified as "above average" (green color), "average (yellow), "below average" (red). But now there are numbers there to tell how much bellow or above average each performance is. I also average all performances to day, list that average in the first column and color the pitcher's name accordingly as well. Following, there is a ranking of all pitchers in the list based on their average game score this spring training. Game Scored of 49-51 are "average", everything higher than 51 "above average", and everything below 49 "below average".

Here is what the dashboard looks, including yesterday's game at Baltimore:




And here is the ranking:

Terry Doyle 56
Carlos Gutierrez 55
Liam Hendriks 55
Matt Maloney 54.5
Jared Burton 53.5
Tyler Robertson 53
Aaron Thompson 53
Brendan Wise 53
Casey Fien 52.5
Kyle Waldrop 52
P.J. Walters 52
Esmerling Vasquez 51.5
---
Luis Perdomo 49.5
Jeff Manship 49
---
Alex Burnett 48.5
Daryl Thompson 48
Lester Oliveros 46
Phil Dumatrait 45
Scott Diamond 42
Jeff Gray 41
Jason Bulger 25
Deolis Guerra 21

Samuel Deduno DNP

Of course this is a small sample size at this point and will change during the next weeks, but I think that I have found a way to dashboard Twins' pitchers' performance this Spring. I am keeping track of the performances of the pitchers who I consider locks to make the team, but I will wait to publish for another week or so, because these players are not part of this discussion.

There are some pretty obvious outliers here, especially at the low end of performance, so it will be interesting to see how things will play out this weekend and early next week before the first cuts.

3/7/12

Keeping track of the Twins bullpen battles; version 1

Previously, I listed all the players who are battling for one of the 3 bullpen spots this Spring Training. Because they are so many, I decided to create a spreadsheet and keep track of their performance this Spring day by day, using color coding and symbols to get a quick visual. In other words, creating a dashboard of their performance.

Green (+) is better than average appearance that day, yellow (0) is average appearance that day, red (-) is below average appearance that day, uncolored (DNP) is did not play that day. As players get cut, their dashboard lines will be in italics.

I am also using the same conversion to color the players' names, to see overall performance the spring. I also think that looking at how often someone pitches is important, and as spring training progresses, looking at trends.

Here is the first version including all games (including B games) up to 3/6/12, without any comments. My comments about the bullpen battle can be found here (that was before yesterday's game) :




the next versions will be quantitative, in order to allow for more granularity and objectivity.

3/6/12

Notes and Thoughts from Today's Twins' Game

Not a game report by any means; just some random, stream of conscious type notes I took while I was watching the Twins' game on TV this afternoon:

  • Jamey Carroll's strike zone is smaller than Ben Revere's. He really gets down in the box

  • Doumit looks like Kubel. A lot

  • Great double steal by Revere and Carroll in a botched pick-off move. Carroll seams a very astute base runner

  • Baker's fastball at 86 mph to start the game, then up at 87-88 by the end of the 1st inning. Nice and easy first for Baker.

  • Niemann really fooled Brian Dinkelman with a called strike 3 on a 57 mph curve to start the second inning. Did not realize he had that pitch to go with his 93 mph fastball

  • Baker's fastball at 83-84 to start the second inning then up to 86-87. His change up sat at 78-79 and was very effective. Up to 88 with the FB

  • Casilla was avoiding Nunez' heat (93-94) but waited on a change and pushed it nicely through the middle; then appropriately stole second on the next pitch. Then Revere sacrifice bunts to get him to 3rd with one out. Smart ball

  • Interesting situation to see Carroll hit with one out and man on third. He was slapping every pitch. This guy can make contact. Takes ball four at shoelaces to walk. Then steals second on a ball in the dirt.

  • Maloney started the bottom of the third. Hitting 86-89 with fastball and lots of movement with the slider. Strikes out the first pitcher he saw (that is 4 in a row for him), second one grounds out and the third one bleeds a single through the SS (Carroll's range was exposed). Another hit to left, Revere bobbles the ball and runners in the corners with Pena up. Twins are shifting the infield with 2 outs for Pena. Interesting Leftie-Leftie match up for Maloney. Got him to fly out. Pretty good performance by Maloney overall. He is a dark horse to make the team

  • Steve Pearce seems to have problems making contact with breaking balls. Not sure if it is just early, or it is an issue

  • Benson looks really over-matched at the plate

  • Maloney in for a second inning. Gets the first batter to ground out to short on a cutter. Nice deceptive delivery and long arms and legs. Second and third batter flies out to center. Nice spotting of the fastball. He looks in a very good shape. Very impressed overall. Reminds me a bit of Matt Guerrier, in a lefty kind of way.

  • Both Doumit and Carroll are taking many more pitches and working the count deeper than the men who they replaced (Kubel and Nishioka). This will be good for the Twins.

  • Capps in for the bottom of 5th. FB starts at 91 with decent movement and get the first batter to fly out. The second batter gets a broken bat bloop. Capps' FB looks heavy. Up at 94 later in the inning. Overall a good performance

  • Glen Perkins' fastball at 91-94 with good downward motion. Picked two K on a hard slider and a ground out to him on a 94 mph FB. Close to season form. He looks so there and ready to pick up from last season. Very impressive.

  • Casilla is locked in

  • Duensing's FB 90-92. Looks nice and loose but some command issues (it is early). Great defensive play by Benson to cut a double into single.

  • Towles shows pretty good patience on the plate. Going 3-0 (and took ball 4 but was called a strike.) Then shows some speed by beating the throw on a tailor made double play ball. Then he was asked to steal second and was barely caught. So he's got an eye and wheels. Two things that Drew Butera lacks.

  • Jeff Gray makes his first appearance this spring. Problems locating his fastball outside, then goes inside with a FB that goes into a double. That is not a good prescription for success... Major command issues. This reminds me of Marquis' second inning the other day minus the wild pitches

  • Very windy out there, but if Mastroianni wants to make the team he better not drop those fly balls. That one hit the heel of his glove

  • Oswaldo Arcia is build like a bull, but does not like the breaking ball

  • Doumatrait in to close the 9th. Can locate his FB somewhat consistently, unless he is nitpicking at the corners, but breaking ball is either all over the place or the middle of the plate. I think that right now he is behing Maloney at the depth chart

  • Perkins, Maloney, Capps, Revere, Carroll, Doumit and Towles impressed me today in various degrees. Good to see Perkins close to mid-season form and Maloney and Towles were happy surprises

Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits

Here is this week's installment (also heavily influenced by Spring Training) :


  • Today is Spring Training Reporting day for the Twins' minor leaguers. You can find the full MiLB Spring Training Schedule here.

  • And if you wonder what the Twins' minor leaguers feel about the off-season and Spring Training, you should read this article by Twins LHP prospect Tony Davis, this by fellow LHP prospect Ryan O'Rourke, this by RHP prospect Dakota Watts, and this from AJ Petersen, Twins' middle infield prospect, who are all reporting at the Lee County Sports Complex today

  • Joel Zumaya will have Tommy John surgery with Dr Andrews. The Twins will pay for the surgery. He will try for a comeback next season, but will be a free agent, and I hope that the Twins get first dibs to sign him back. Still not clear whether they will keep him in the 60 day DL all season (and pay and extra $450K,) or release him. He has not been officially released.

  • Weird concurrence number one on Sunday when the Twins had split squad games against Boston and Tampa Bay: Both Rene Rivera and Drew Butera got out at the same time to finish the inning in their respective games. Weird concurrence number 2: the Tampa Bay and the Boston pitchers struck out the side at the same time in their respective games. Weird concurrence number three: When Chris Parmelee hit his home run in the Rays' game, Luke Hughes missed one by two feet (knocked down by the wind) at the Boston game. You cannot make that stuff up.

  • A former Twins' player has been unsuccessful in reaching Justin Morneau.

  • Also, a Twins' hopeful, 1B Aaron Bates, started to blog at the Twins Daily site.

  • Two former Twins are very vocal against Target Field. This is what one of them looks in his new uniform. Meanwhile, we learned that Joe Mauer has become an action figure; whereas Ryan Doumit showed a strong OF arm

  • We also learned that Drew Butera has another career lined up if Baseball is not in his future.

  • Twins' player tweet of the week goes to Ben Revere (again) with this one. This one from an ESPN analyst, should be posted on the walls of the Twins' clubhouse.

  • Word of the Week is maladroit, as in "Jason Bulger's performance against the Red Sox (4 walks, a grand slam and a hit) was maladroit". Jason Marquis's second inning against the Red Sox last night was one of those, too.




The parting shot today is a video of the Twins' new twitter ad campaign featuring Joe Mauer and Ron Gardenhire


3/5/12

Breaking news: Twins 1st base coach Jerry White hospitalized

Twins first base coach Jerry White was rushed to the Hospital in Fort Myers to undergo tests. He will stay overnight. The symptoms were reported as "Stomach" and "Chest Tightness". My prayers are with Jerry and I will update as soon as I receive additional information.

Update on the Twins Spring Training roster battles

I have highligheted the four questions the Twins need to answer this Spring Training previously. With a couple weeks in the books in Spring Training, the Twins so far have played 4 games (3 official and a "B" game that does not count in the standings or in the players' statistics officially) so there are hints of light for some of those.

  • The starting outfield: All indication seem that the Twins will go with Span at Center Field and Willingham at right field, whereas there will be a platoon of Ben Revere and Trevor Plouffe at left. This will happen, unless one of the two left fielders will have either a very impressive or very unimpressive season, which will result in bench relegation (or in Revere's case because, unlike Plouffe, he has options, in a trip to Rochester.) Another issue that needs to be resolved is how Willingham's defense is at RF. If he has problems and becomes the starting left fielder, the mix will need to be re-looked and Doumit also added to the equation. So far Willingham did not have problems in the single game he played on the field, and both Plouffe and Revere have been performing well with the bat (even though Revere has a gaffe on the base paths against Boston the other day. Also, Denard Span seems to be better as far as his concussion goes, since he had a couple of mishaps, including french-kissing the chain link fence at Center Field to save a home run, and he reportedly had no concussion issues. He also got two hits against the Rays

  • The bench. As I speculated previously, Luke Hughes and Trevor Plouffe are virtual locks, since they are out of options, and this will likely leave 2 additional spots. If indeed there are 3 catchers in the roster, JR Towles (with an RBI single in the B game and a two-run home run against Tampa Bay, in three plate appearances) and Rene Rivera (with a runner thrown out and a single in two plate appearances, moved ahead of Drew Butera who has not reached base yet in 5 plate appearances this spring. Chris Herrmann has an RBI single in his only plate appearance, but he likely is not considered for the major league roster. From the other position players fighting for a spot, Aaron Bates and Chris Parmelee each hit a 2-run home run (Bates in the B game and Parmelee against Tampa Bay) and Mastroianni has been pretty efficient with a hit, a walk and a stolen base in three plate appearances. Burroughs is 2 for 4 (a double) with two walks, but participated with Nishioka in a very bad fielding play against Boston yesterday. Nishioka has 2 hits, including a triple, in 8 trips, so is still working on his swing. Brian Dozier, a fans' darling, who I do not think that has any chances to make the team, at least in April, went hitless in 2 trips against Boston yesterday and had an RBI single in the B game.

  • The bullpen. I have previously introduced and analyzed the combatants for 3 spots here. Jason Bulger has put himself in a hole with a very bad (4BB, a single and a grand slam, a third of an inning) performance against Boston, which followed surrendering a run in the B game. I think that it will be very hard to crawl out of that hole. Carlos Gutierrez had an almost equally bad performance in the B game, getting 2 outs and surrendering 3 walks and a double for 2 runs. Phil Dumatrait allowed 2 runs in 2 hits and a walk against Boston. Jeff Manship, Brandon Wise, Deolis Guerra, Matt Maloney (he struck out the side vs Tampa), Alex Burnett, Aaron Thompson, Esmerling Vasquez, Kyle Waldrop and Jared Burton pitched a scoreless inning each. Terry Doyle and PJ Walters pitched 2 scoreless innings each. Doyles' performance was a no-hit performance, even though he hit a batter and walked another. Despite allowing a run in a solo home run, who was the only batter who reached against him, Luis Perdomo had an impressive performance against Tampa Bay, striking out 2 batters. At this point, Bulger, Gutierrez and Doumatrait seem to be behind the pack, whereas Maloney (if they carry 3 lefties in the pen), Doyle, Perdomo, Burton and Waldrop seem to be ahead of the pack. There still are a lot of games ahead, but the first cuts will be very soon, since the Minor League Camp is opening tomorrow


As always, you can find all the Spring Training news and analysis on this site here.