The Twins Have Found a Diamond In The Rough

It’s no secret that the Minnesota Twins’ pitching staff is having a horrendous season. Their 4.69 FIP is last in the American League and is only ahead of the Colorado Rockies 4.70 FIP. Overall there isn’t much to be excited about when a Twins pitcher takes the mound. Recently that has changed though. In 2010 the Twins selected starting pitcher, Scott Diamond. Diamond was with the Braves at the time of his selection. As spring training was coming to a close the Twins traded relief pitcher Billy Bullock to Atlanta, and that allowed them to send Diamond to the minors. Diamond struggled in the seven games he started last year, but this year has been a whole different story. Continue reading

Could Justin Morneau Finally be Healthy?

In the summer of 2010 Justin Morneau was on his way to another MVP season, posting 5 WAR by July. During a game against the Blue Jays that all changed, when he got kneed in the head by Toronto infielder John McDonald. He didn’t play again that season, and hadn’t been the same since. This year it looks as if that maybe has changed.

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2012 Outlook: Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins are coming off one of their worst seasons in franchise history. They had problems everywhere, whether it be the horrid pitching staff or the atrocious batting. Mauer and Morneau struggled with injuries for most of, if not all of the season. They had some of their minor league talent give a glimpse of the future towards the end of the season, though.
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Appreciating Joe Mauer.

Joe Mauer is widely regarded as one of the games best catcher in all of baseball. Just how good is he though? In this post I am going to see how Mauer stacks up against some of the greatest catchers to ever play the game.

When Joe Mauer attended Cretin Derham High School in St. Paul, Minnesota he was widely regarded as a three sport star. He was the quarterback for the varsity team, played varsity basketball as a sophomore and was also a pretty good baseball player. During the 2001 draft the Twins had the first pick and were debating between hometown hero Joe Mauer and a pitcher out of USC named Mark Prior. Prior told the Twins he didn’t want to sign with them and the rest is history.

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What Happened to Francisco Liriano?

One of the most enigmatic pitchers in the game had a season he’d like to forget in 2011.  Francisco Liriano posted an ugly 5.09 ERA, and his 4.54 FIP and 4.53 SIERA showed the ERA was fairly deserved.  He had one shining moment, a no-hitter on May 3.  However, his 6 BB, 2 K performance was good for a 6.12 xFIP, one of, if not, the worst no-hitters of all-time.  Nearly every statistic declined for Liriano last year, so I hope you have some time on your hands. Continue reading

Twins Replace Cuddyer With Willingham

The Minnesota Twins finalized a 3 year, $21 million dollar deal with outfielder Josh Willingham today, meaning that the Michael Cuddyer era is all but over in Minnesota. The Twins offer to Willingham was roughly $3 million dollars cheaper overall than the offer the Twins submitted to Cuddyer. Cuddyer was the longest tenured Twin but baseball is a business and in the end Willingham was the cheaper (and better) option. During the past three season Willingham has actually been the better player as well as the more valuable player even though he has roughly 400 less at-bats since 2009.

Cuddyer:

ISO: .189

OBP: .341

wOBA: .351

wRC+: 117

WAR: 6.8

Willingham:

ISO: .222

OBP: .360

wOBA: .366

wRC+: 128

WAR: 7.7

As you can see, Willingham has the advantage in every one of these statistical categories. He has much more power than Cuddyer while getting on-base at an impressive .360 clip. According to park factors the Coliseum makes it 20% harder for right handed hitters to hit home runs compared to league average, making Willingham’s power numbers even more impressive last year. Willingham is also producing offensively 11% better than Cuddyer over that span. Both of them are ok defenders, slightly below league average but not much. If anything Cuddyer might have the stronger arm.

Willingham’s contract on the other hand is pretty team friendly. For $7 million dollars a year he needs to average less than 2 WAR, that shouldn’t be a problem given his past success. If he can average between 2.5 and 1.5 WAR during his contract he should be able to give the Twins roughly $28.14 million dollars in value. Moving from Oakland to Minnesota should be a big help in achieving that goal.

By not signing Cuddyer and signing Willingham the Twins also got two compensation picks when Cuddyer signed a 3 year deal with the Colorado Rockies. The Twins aren’t really in re-build mode but when you can get two picks you take it.

Overall, I like this deal a lot for the Twins. They get a power hitting right-handed bat to hit behind Mauer and Morneau and they get him at the right price. If he can stay healthy and produce some pop than the Twins should be very pleased with this deal.

Twins Sign Ryan Doumit

Today it was announced that the Minnesota Twins and free agent Ryan Doumit came to terms to a one year, three million dollar deal. Doumit can play a variety of positions. He can catch, play first, play the outfield and DH. Doumit will be able to give Morneau and Mauer days off during the the season or fill be able to fill in for someone if an injury occurs.

Doumit is known more for his offense rather then his defense. The Twins didn’t sign him for his defense but going to the AL which has the DH should help give him a little boost in the offensive category. The Twins will take all of the offensive help they can get. Besides Joe Mauer the Twins got awful production from their catchers last year.

Doumit out produced Drew Butera and Rene Rivera in K%, BB/K, OBP, SLG, OPS, ISO, BABIP, wRAA, wOBA and wRC+. If you look at this table you’ll be able to see that Doumit destroyed those categories. Rivera and Butera were really pathetic.

Name Team PA BB% K% BB/K AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO   BABIP   wRAA wOBA wRC+
Ryan Doumit Pirates 236 6.8 % 14.8 % 0.46 .303 .353 .477 .830 .174   .331   8.3 .360 129
Drew Butera Twins 254 4.3 % 16.5 % 0.26 .167 .210 .239 .449 .073   .194   -23.0 .202 20
Rene Rivera Twins 114 7.0 % 28.1 % 0.25 .144 .211 .202 .412 .058   .194   -11.2 .192 13 

For his career Doumit has been a solid player when healthy. He has decent power, posting a .174 ISO. He does a good job at getting on base, his career OBP is .334. His 104 wRC+ is slightly above league average but Doumit is a slightly above league average player. Like I stated earlier he isn’t a good defensive player but makes up for it offensively. Doumit should be able to put up at least 2 WAR this season giving the Twins $10 million dollars of value. If Doumit can come into Minnesota and do what he’s good at which is getting on base, hitting for some power and being a versatile player then Minnesota got a good deal.

So far I’ve liked what the Twins have done this off-season. They got a quality shortstop in Jamey Carroll and a solid versatile offensive player in Ryan Doumit. With about $20 million dollars left to spend they should be able to at least get an outfielder and a decent pitcher.