Power Puntos + Offense Projections

March 23, 2010 at 10:03 pm Leave a comment

Let me preface this post with this (Click on it and it won’t look all scraggly):

Moving on.

As a small market team, the Twins have always emphasized pitching and defense, just like my friend stevenfay likes to emphasize a mantra of ‘slow and steady’ while playing golf.

Well the Twins haven’t had a supremely powerful lineup in quite a while, while I still outdrive stevenfay by 80 yards with regularity.

He’s fine with a lack of distance, but the now mid market Twins seem to be no longer satisfied with a lack of thump.

Last year, to their credit, the Twins hit 172 home runs. That number was 111 the year before, 118 in 2007. And now we’ve gone and added J.J Hardy, who despite his tough 2009 still figures to provide 15 home runs or so. Which is 15 more than we could’ve expected out of a certain Mr. Punto.https://i0.wp.com/cdn.bleacherreport.com/images_root/slides/photos/000/129/861/89084046.jpg.26351.0_display_image.jpg

Then Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson. Neither figures to be a power bat per se (Thome due to lack of at bats), but when compared to the men they replaced, Alexi Casilla and Brian Buscher, you can expect an increase there, too.

Let’s project how many home runs the Twins will hit in 2010, assuming health. Because that’s the favorite activity of every 12 year old Twins fanatic. Which I am on the inside.

Justin Morneau figures to finally hit more than 34 if his back holds up. He’s got way more lineup protection, and the man is due. I’ll give him 36.

Joe Mauer figures to hit less than last year, as pitchers were able to somewhat neutralize his power as the year wore on. But he tends to go the other way with his power, and Target Field has a left field fence 15 feet closer in. And he’s rather superhuman, so how about 27.

Jason Kubel busted through with 28 last year. His HR/Fly Ball took an uptick, but not a dramatic one. His fly ball % stayed the same, and the man is still 27. In this lineup, I’ll give him 30. But I don’t expect him to hit .300 again in 2010.

Michael Cuddyer went crazy last September, hitting 8 home runs after he took over first base. He led the team with 32. His peripherals from 09 are very much in line with his break out 2006 season, suggesting it truly was injury that sapped his performance in 2007-08. His fly ball rate rose a little in 09, yes, but his HR/FB rate was 17.1 compared to 15.7 in 2006. It was 4.3 in 2008. His ISO rose from 12.0 to 24.5 from 08 to 09. It was 22.1 in 2006. And simply put his OPS was .862 in 09 compared to .867 in 2006. He hit 24 home runs in 06, 32 in 09. By using 6th grade math and calculating the middle ground, we’re getting 28 from him in 2010.

From those four men, the Twins received 118 of their 172 home runs last year. Therefore, they received 54 from their non Michon Mormauer quadrant.

This year, through the rather arbitrary but not clueless projections of the preceding four paragraphs, one must assume they will hit a combined 121 dingers.

And now we have Hardy giving you a modest estimate of 15, Hudson a modest output of 8, maybe 12 from Thome, 14 from Young (BIG THINGS), 5 from Harris, 7 from Span. And let’s say you get 10 mystery home runs (They got 8 from Punto, Tolbert, Buscher, and Gomez last year). That’s 71.

Grand total is: 192 home runs. That would have ranked 7th in the majors last year (But 6th in the AL).

Well, we were 29th just two years ago.

And just think, Hardy could hit 25, Young could decide to be Vladimir Guerrero (Well, his version of Vlad) and hit 20, Morneau could finally hit 40, and would you really bet against Mauer doing something ridiculous?

It’s an exciting time. But will this lead to more runs? I have time, don’t you?

Let’s be legit about this and use the Lineup analysis tool that dear old David Pinto loves so much.

I adjusted his projections a lil bit. He had no one slugging over .500. Get real, I’ll bank on all of my mythical Michon Mormauer to accomplish that feat. Although I did lower his projections of Young and Hardy’s OPB, and Hudson and Span’s SLG. Here we are!

On Base %/Slugging %

Span: .395/.420https://i1.wp.com/farm3.static.flickr.com/2041/2085397762_6ac5c21536.jpg

Hudson: .357/.415

Mauer: .412/.535

Morneau: .370/.540

Cuddyer: .340/.500

Kubel: .355/.510

Young: .323/.423

Hardy: .330/.445

Harris/Punto: .324/.360

Those aren’t too ridiculous, I wouldn’t think. Obviously, the one factor here that can’t be counted on is health, but injury is just as much a risk with any team.

This lineup will score 5.68 runs per game at those projections. That’s 920 runs over a full season. Pinto uses Marcel the Monkey projections which are, naturally, less optimistic than my own. That brings a 5.47 runs per game projection. And Marcel the Monkey is a notoriously stingy little primate. Even he’s giving the Twins 886 runs.

Middle ground? 903 runs. That, quite frankly, is a shit ton. Marcel pegs the White Sox at 4.84. Over a 162 game season, that nets them 784. Not terrible. Let’s give them the 17 run boost we gave the Twins. Still over 100 runs behind. And as I have established in a previous post, the two teams rotations actually shape up fairly evenly.

If you have been wondering, and you probably haven’t, I don’t see the Tigers as a legitimate contender. No more Granderson or Polanco and two rookies up the middle in Scott Sizemore and Austin Jackson. The former destroyed his ankle this past offseason. The latter is a typical overhyped Yankees prospect who likely isn’t ready anyway. Marcel has Detroit scoring less than the Sox, at 4.63 per game. That’s 750 for the year. That’s not that good. And their rotation, by anyone’s measure has huge holes in it. I say that partly because I’m very skeptical of their prize in the Granderson-Edwin Jackson trade, Max Scherzer, for a multitude of reasons I won’t bore you with now. Long story short, there’s a reason Arizona gave up on him.

Now.

I know the Twins will have an awful outfield defense next year. I know there’s no Joe Nathan. I know we probably won’t have any sort of ‘ace.’ And who can tell what effect the new ballpark will have. But our bullpen still has decent depth, our infield defense is way better, the offense is ridiculous, the rotation without significant holes, and by golly things would really have to go awry for the Twins to lose the division this year.

But then, this is baseball, and I’m sure Yogi Berra said something at some point about ‘this is why we play the game’ or ‘nothing turns out like you expect’ blah blah blah. What matters is, the Twins front office has created a product that should, given equal luck to all sides, be division champs. And whatever happens, don’t blame Bill Smith if this season takes a bad turn. For my first time as a Twins fan, the GM has improved upon the team in significant ways during the offseason. What other trade or signing that you can think of in the past 15 years comes  remotely close to what has been done this winter? One time, we resigned Shannon Stewart. One time, we signed Joe Crede. One time we, uhhh signed Ramon Ortiz. And this other time, we traded Jason Bartlett and Matt Garza. Don’t forget Butch Huskey.

You see what I’m saying. I’m frickin’ excited, and you should be, too!

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