Sunday, October 12, 2008

Burrel

Friday night I was out with Kyle Eliason, the GameDay editor who is responsible for the visiting side of the Dugout Splinters. While most of us have been talking about the Twins offseason plans in terms of position, Kyle wanted to go about it in a different way..

"Get me a #3 hitter."

I gotta say, I don't get too worked up about the whole "Joe Mauer is not a #3 hitter" thing. But let's play along, if for no other reason than I would love to add a big right-handed bat to this lineup. So what is out there?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Casey Blake?

walter hanson said...

Kyle there is a number three hitter on the Twins roster. His name is J-0-E M-A-U-E-R!

He has a good eye!

He doesn't strike out a lot!

He has a great average!

With three speedsters in theory batting in front of him (I count Gomez in the nine spot) he has a lot of room to hit to right field easily on hit and runs.

Paul Molitor drove in a lot of runs batting third and basically hit the same number of homers. The difference we have Mauer in his prime for ten plus years.

Walter Hanson
Minneapolis, MN

TT said...

I think Mauer is a fine number three hitter for the Twins, when he is in the lineup. But the reality is that he is going to sit out at least 20 or 30 games. So the real number three hitter is a combination of Mauer and Redmond. That is a lot easier to improve on than Mauer alone. Molitor played every day, Mauer won't.

Craig said...

Milton Bradley. He's a switch hitter, but close enough. Trade an outfielder for a 3rd baseman, sign Bradley to DH, cross your fingers and hope he stays healthy.

SoCalTwinsfan said...

The Twins' split OPS+ for their No. 3 hitters was 106, while their split OPS+ for No. 4 hitters was 106. It appears the Twins need a No. 4 hitter as much as they need a No. 3 hitter. Considering Redmond often batted third when Mauer sat, it would seem that Mauer was a better No. 3 hitter than Morneau was a No. 4 hitter.
What the Twins really need is a No. 5 hitter. Their split OPS+ was 78, the worst for any spot in the lineup. (Interestingly, the Twins' best split OPS+ for any spot in the lineup was ninth with a 160. Next, was the 106 at Nos. 3 and 4).

Topper said...

My assumption was that the suggestion is once again to slot Mauer into the #2 slot, thus creating the need for a #3 hitter. I dont' think there's any disagreement that Mauer's a fine top-of-the order hitter, but if we put him in the two-hole and find a #3 hitter on the market or by trade, that woudl be excellent.

walter hanson said...

Craig:

What's your lineup?

If Bradley is the DH than you have Spann, Gomez, and (Young, Cuddeyer, and Kubel minus one of them in the trade for the third baseman) getting ab's. The idea is to use the angel system where you use the DH spot to give all four of them in the lineup everyday.

Walter Hanson
Minneapolis, MN

Craig said...

What's your lineup?

Whatever works out best, while everyone is healthy. When one gets injured, then everyone plays every day. Given that group, someone will get hurt at some point.

I'd say (assuming that Span or Gomez is traded) that Kubel sits against lefties and Cuddyer and Young rotate sitting against righties, and Bradley gets a day off per week. Whoever is on the bench is available to pinch hit if needed. If miraculously everyone stays healthy all year, you have Bradley, Cuddyer, Young and Kubel each giving up 200 PAs to Bradley. More likely, someone will miss a month, someone else will be gimpy for a few weeks here or there, and it will be more like 100 PAs from each. Bradley is a better hitter than any of them in almost any situation, so you win no matter which player sits.

Really, just give Gardy 5 players for 4 spots and let him decide which ones are best on any given day. He can figure it out. It seems like almost every season, the Twins have 5 plausible infielders for the 3 spots and everyone trusts Gardy to figure it out. Do the same with the outfield/DH.

Anonymous said...

even if we don't need a 3 hitter, we do need another big bat.

TT said...

The Twins' split OPS+ for their No. 3 hitters was 106, while their split OPS+ for No. 4 hitters was 106. It appears the Twins need a No. 4 hitter as much as they need a No. 3 hitter.

More likely it means OPS+ isn't very meaningful.

even if we don't need a 3 hitter, we do need another big bat.

The Twins had the third best offense in the American League last year. The Twins need their defense and pitching to improve.

BeefMaster said...

The Twins had the third best offense in the American League last year. The Twins need their defense and pitching to improve.

That doesn't necessarily follow - just because the offense was good doesn't mean that it can't get better. Also, much of the offensive success was predicated on the Twins' excellent hitting with running in scoring position, which is statistically not likely to be repeated (although I've heard that the Twins' organizational focus on situational hitting may help them buck that trend). By that school of thought, power-heavy offenses are less dependent on luck than offenses like the Twins, so adding a power bat might make the offense more predictably good.

One reason people are focused on hitting is that it's a easier to know what to expect - defense and pitching are much harder to measure and predict, in comparison to hitting. PECOTA and similar tools are generally far more accurate for batters than pitchers.

TT said...

That doesn't necessarily follow - just because the offense was good doesn't mean that it can't get better.

Of course not, it just makes it more difficult since there are limited, and not very deep, holes in the lineup.

You are at least as likely to see improvement from Young and Kubel as you are to replace them with someone who is better. So you are talking about improving your 7th and 8th hitters, Buscher/Harris and Punto.

One reason people are focused on hitting is that it's a easier to know what to expect

That isn't really true if you are evaluating players directly. Its only true because fans mostly have to use statistics and other indirect methods.

For instance, unlike most fans, the Twins management didn't really need to watch Liriano struggle last spring to know he wasn't ready. But they needed to let him struggle so that he recognized it.

And fans would have been livid if they hadn't. Just as they were when Santana was sent down.

Kyle Eliason said...

I'd just love to see Mauer hit second.

1. Works counts.
2. Makes great contact, no problem taking pitches, and is left handed (perfect to help the leadoff hitter).
3. Fantastic OBP.
4. Has only homered in 1.8% of his MLB plate appearances.

He's a fantastic hitter, but not a power hitter. I would love to get his OBP infront of a couple big bats and he gives Gardentool an excellent option for hit and runs and the like.

Kyle Eliason said...

Oh, and John didn't mention the reason this conversation came up: I won our bet that a healthy Mauer wouldn't reach double digit homeruns in 2008.