Thursday, June 02, 2011


A few questions that I wondered about and looked up recently…

1. So, who hit for the Twins in May?

Top of the OPS (On-base Plus Slugging) list? Alexi Casilla with a .281/.351/.424 line. Then came Denard Span (.762), Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer (.746), Justin Morneau (.723) and Trevor Plouffe (.715). Nobody had an 800 OPS.

The bottom of the list should be of no surprise to Twins fans. Delmon Young, in 66 AB, had a line of .197/.206/.242 – and still wasn’t the lowest regular. Drew Butera’s 346 OPS (.137/.170/.176) beat him out in a (sigh) not especially close race.

2. Am I right in thinking that Span’s defense has improved?

The defensive metrics imply that he’s getting to more hits. Span’s UZR this year in center field is +10, meaning he’s saved 10 runs over an average center fielder. That puts him on pace to save something like 30 runs over the course of the season, which is Gomezian or even Hunterrific.

Carlos Gomez, by the way, is about six runs better than average. And his on-base percentage has actually dipped this year, to .280. But that may represent progress, as he’s on pace for a career record number of walks with 13 so far. His career high is 25.

3. How soon before I watch a shortstop routinely make routine plays look routine?

This one struck me on Tuesday night at the exact moment that Matt Tolbert’s bone-headed throw to third base sailed over Danny Valencia’s confused head. I consider myself a pretty calm, analytical and detached guy – but that was the straw-brained play that broke this camel’s back. Why could he not make that throw? Why would he try that throw before looking to see if Valencia is on third? Why try that throw at all considering the easy play was at first and it would be the second out? The questions came in waves – and so did the rage.

The answer – and maybe my salve – is that Tsuyoshi Nishioka made it into a rehab game on Monday and Wednesday and will again today. He’ll likely begin a rehab assignment no later than Saturday, the 4th. Which means that barring any injuries (knock, knock) I’ll be seeing him no later than the 25th, if not earlier.

Believe me, I remember how overmatched he looked that first week. But he didn’t look blatantly stupid. And I’ve seen way too much stupid at that position the last couple of weeks. Let the countdown begin.

4. What is it that misery loves again?

Answer: Company. Or alcohol. Fortunately, we can provide you both.

On Friday night, the Twins face the Royals at 7:10 PM. They’ll play in Kansas City, which has a beautiful stadium and fantastic BBQ, but is eight hours (and a whole Iowa) away. So what to do?

Join myself and the rest of the TwinsCentric guys at Smalley’s near Target Field. They’re giving us appetizer specials and (more importantly for people watching the game) drink specials. We’ll have some kind of raffle for some front row Twins tickets and other stuff where the money will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We’ll watch the game, bitch about Casilla, Hoey, Delmon, etc., and you can tell me, Nick, Seth and Parker exactly how stupid we really are. Sounds like a pretty solid Friday night to me.

We’ll see you there. If you have any questions, post ‘em in the comments below.


Antelope said...

I'm shocked that Casilla is on the top in that OPS list... At first I was glad to realize he hasn't stunk as much as I thought, and then I realized what that means for the rest of the team.

There is definitely going to be some alcohol accompanying these weekend games...

USAFChief said...

Thinking that Alexi Casilla could be an everyday major league shortstop is among the reasons it's time for Bill Smith to go away. Casilla has had multiple opportunities, and every single time a combination of shoddy defense, weak offensive skills, and worst of all, the total absense of any baseball instincts has been as obvious as the nose on your face. Yet he starts the season not only in the lineup, but at the most important defensive position. Then when he fails yet again--holding on to the starting job for something like 2 weeks--people seem shocked to learn Casilla features shoddy defense, weak offensive skills, and worse baseball instincts than the average little leaguer.

Sometimes you get what you asked for, Mr Smith.

TT said...

"Casilla has had multiple opportunities, and every single time a combination of shoddy defense, weak offensive skills, and worst of all, the total absense of any baseball instincts has been as obvious as the nose on your face."

The noses of everyone who watches the games on TV, but apparently not to the manager, scouts or general manager who have put the Twins in the playoffs year after year. But hey, two bad months and they are all bums.

This from a fan who insists JJ Hardy, who is hitting worse than Casilla since he got off the DL, was the several million dollar answer at shortstop. The guy who seemed to approach every ground ball by heading it off just before it reached the outfield. But hey, his "baseball instincts" are good, he knew he had no range.

USAFChief said...

"The noses of everyone who watches the games on TV, but apparently not to the manager..."

I'm not going to get into an argument with you TT, I'll just point out that it took the manager about 2 weeks to come to the same conclusion about lexi as everyone else. They've run options 2 and 3 (both unpalatable) through the position rather than reinstate him, and are strongly considering giving option number 4 (Nishioka - who they previously decided couldn't handle the position) a chance when he returns.

So either Gardy and I are wrong, or you are. Gardenhire's on my side in this argument, not yours.

TT said...

Gardy continues to regularly play him at second base despite, according to you, his "shoddy defense, weak offensive skills, and ... total absense of any baseball instincts". That sounds like the kind of guy you write in the lineup every day.

Casilla moved to second base, according to Gardy, only after he told Gardy he was more comfortable at second base than shortstop. Apparently Gardy needed to be told what was "obvious as the nose on your face".

You are scraping for affirmation of an opinion which its pretty clear the Twins don't agree with.

I would be surprised if Casilla is back at shortstop when Nishioka returns, given that Gardy said Nishioka now feels more comfortable there. A not surprising change from spring training after having his leg broken turning a double play. But I will be surprised if Casilla isn't still his double play partner.