I do have to continue posting this because if you haven't listened to either yet, you really should over the weekend:
Friday, August 19, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
MAUER'S RBI QUERY
Good Friday morning everyone! Oh, those silly former Vikings, Randy Moss and Robert Smith! How are you today?
DOG BLOG - I have to be honest, I have been better. Two nights ago, I let my dog out to, I thought, go to the bathroom. I let her out, as I have hundreds of times. She took a few steps from the door, and everything looked fine. She looked at me, turned away, put her head down and sprinted away from me, full speed, into the trees, and into the darkness. I haven't seen her since. I feel horrible about it. People keep telling me stories about their dogs that have run away for a day or two, or three, or even twelve, but they find their way home and are just fine. However, I am coupling my hope with the reality that the longer she is gone, the less likely she is to come home. So yes, I have a lot on my mind.
For awhile, I considered not driving down to the cities for the Twins games on Saturday and Sunday. If I stay here, I will just sit at home and hope she comes back. I have called the pounds, the radio stations, the kennels, and placed posters throughout the area. My cell number is on there, so I figured that for me, it may be best to just get away and try to enjoy the weekend. I can't do anything more. So that is what I am going to do. If someone finds my dog, they can call my cell phone, and I can arrange for her to be cared for and returned. People will be at my place, just in case she comes home. My hope, of course, is that she does find her way home, preferably before I leave. I will feel so much better. But I really do think it is best that I go to the Twins games. They will be fun.
Plus, Saturday night, I will get to see Felix Hernandez in person! That should be a treat. Hopefully the Twins can give him his first rocky start as a big leaguer! I will get to Johan's pitching performance against the Sox as the Twins swept them in Chicago. I will also briefly discuss last night's win over Seattle in the first game of the four game series. But first, here are the remaining pitching matchups for this weekend's series with the Mariners:
Silva has been great all season. Word is the his meniscus is flaring up again, but he should be ok the remainder of the season. The Twins need him. Kyle Lohse has been solid his last three starts. He was the hard-luck loser when he and King Felix hooked up last week in a 1-0 pitcher's dual. And Brad Radke has been great, no matter what anyone wants to tell you. The Mariners are struggling, but they do have a capable lineup. See below for thoughts on the Twins past two games. But first, our main thought of the day:
OK, I got another couple of e-mails in the last couple of days about Joe Mauer's lack of RBI. Through Wednesday, he had just 47 RBI on the season. The assumption seems to be that he just does not come through in RBI situations. Is that true? I didn't think so. So, I looked at Mauer's numbers in six RBI situations to see if he wasn't doing the job. I also looked at the same statistics for the top five RBI men in the major leagues, Manny Ramirez (108), David Ortiz (107), Alex Rodriguez (97), Mark Teixeira (95) and Albert Pujols (94). Here is what I found:
With Men on and 2 Outs
Joe Mauer - .316/.409/.625 (18-57), with no home runs and 13 RBI
Manny Ramirez - .235/.343/.482 (20-85) with 6 homers and 33 RBI
David Ortiz - .338/.470/.675 (27-80) with 7 homers and 38 RBI
Alex Rodriguez - .292/.409/.625 (28-96) with 10 homers and 39 RBI
Mark Teixeira - .293/.386/.747 (29-99) with 13 homers and 43 RBI
Albert Pujols - .265/.451/.471 (18-68) with 3 homers and 22 RBI
I always figure that two-out RBIs are so important. Not only do they drive in a run, but they also continue an inning. Comparing these statistics, Mauer certainly is performing just fine with an OPS over 1.000. He has batted in less of these situations than the others, but when he has been in them, he has hit well, just without home runs.
With Men on 3rd, Less than 2 outs
Joe Mauer - .278/.483/.333 (5-18) with no homers and 13 RBI
Manny Ramirez - .379/.425/.931 (11-29) with 5 homers and 29 RBI
David Ortiz - .333/.353/.457 (8-24) with no homers and 23 RBI
Alex Rodriguez - .300/.407/.350 (6-20) with no homers and 15 RBI
Mark Teixeira - .368/.417/.474 (7-19) with no homers and 16 RBI
Albert Pujols - .409/.516/.909 (9-22) with 3 homers and 16 RBI
OK, Manny's and Albert's numbers in this situation are insane. Mauer's batting average is down, but look at the on-base. Maybe he walks too much when we would rather he swing the bat. The others are nowhere near as patient. Here, all it takes is a sacrifice fly to get an RBI. It looks like Manny has hit a lot of deep fly balls!
Close & Late
Joe Mauer - .246/.391/.377 (17-69) with a homer and seven RBI
Manny Ramirez - .245/.317/.453 (13-53) with 3 homers and 12 RBI
David Ortiz - .352/.446/.778 (19-54) with 6 homers and 22 RBI
Alex Rodriguez - .310/.452/.552 (18-58) with 3 homers and 10 RBI
Mark Teixeira - .296/.333/.493 (21-71) with 3 homers and 13 RBI
Albert Pujols - .220/.347/.424 (13-59) with 4 homers and 11 RBI
Close and Late is defined as after the seventh inning with your team tied or within a run or two (I suppose I could look it up, but...). It is easy again to look at Mauer's batting average and thing he's not doing well. But again, check out that isolated OBP and he is being walked a lot. Also notice that Albert Pujols has not hit for much average in this situation either. I was surprised by the fact that Mauer has so many at bats in this situation.
Runners on 2nd and 3rd
Joe Mauer - .250/.727/.250 (1-4) with no homers and 2 RBI
Manny Ramirez - .000/.282/.000 (0-6) with no homers or RBI
David Ortiz - .667/.727/1.000 (6-9) with no homers and 12 RBI
Alex Rodriguez - .125/.365/.250 (1-8) with no homers and 4 RBI
Mark Teixeira - .375/.583/.875 (3-8) with a homer and 9 RBI
Albert Pujols - .000/.429/.000 (0-4) with no homers or RBI
You'll notice that no one really has a lot of appearances with this situation. You will also notice that Joe Mauer has been walked a lot to load the bases, most likely intentionally. Ortiz is pretty good in this one!
Joe Mauer - .250/.250/.250 (2-8) with no homers and four RBI
Manny Ramirez - .286/.333/.714 (6-21) with 3 homers and 22 RBI
David Ortiz - .385/.333/.923 (5-13) with five homers and 13 RBI
Alex Rodriguez - .400/.571/.800 (4-10) with a homer and 14 RBI
Mark Teixeira - .143/.125/.286 (1-7) with no homers and 6 RBI
Albert Pujols - .125/.273/.125 (1-8) with no homers and 5 RBI
Wow! Those Red Sox get a lot of bases loaded situations, and when they do, Manny and David both take advantage. A-Rod does very well too. The other three have done little, but have had little opportunity.
Runners on 1st and 2nd
Joe Mauer - .560/.577/.800 (14-25) with 1 homer and 15 RBI
Manny Ramirez - .600/.650/1.314 (21-35) with seven homers and 33 RBI
David Ortiz - .444/.561/.778 (20-45) with three homers and 23 RBI
Alex Rodriguez - .167/.259/.333 (8-48) with 2 homers and 12 RBI
Mark Teixeira - .265/.342/.529 (9-34) with 2 homers and 12 RBI
Albert Pujols - .389/.436/.639 (14-36) with 2 homers and 20 RBI
I wanted to look at this situation because there is a runner in scoring position, but there isn't a free base so the pitcher really has to pitch to the hitter. The numbers put up by Mauer, Pujols, Manny and Ortiz are incredible. This is the case where Mauer simply has a lot less chances than the others.
SELF DRIVEN-IN PERCENT
I don't know if there is a real statistical term for this concept. What I am trying to show is what percentage of the player's RBI are himself. In other words, with a home run, the player bats himself in. To calculate this is simple. It is just the # of home runs divided by the total number of RBI. Here is how these six players rank:
Alex Rodriguez - 37.1% (36/97)
Albert Pujols - 35.1% (33/94)
Mark Teixeira - 32.6% (31/95)
Manny Ramirez - 29.6% (32/108)
David Ortiz - 29.0% (31/107)
Joe Mauer - 17.0% (8/47)
Again, this is simply a home run category. Is the player able to get RBI that are not dependent upon their teammates being on base in front of them? Joe Mauer is not a home run hitter, never has been. So for him to usually drive in runs, he has to have other runners get on base. The other guys looked at here are power hitters who have at least 23 more RBI than Mauer just because of the home run difference.
So, it becomes apparent that in order for a player like Mauer to get opportunities for RBI without home runs, he needs the guys in front of him to get on base. Let's take a look at where each of these guys hit in their respective lineups, and then who hits in front of them and how often they get on base (on-base percentage).
David Ortiz - Big Papi hits third in the Red Sox lineup.
Johnny Damon (.381), Edgar Renteria (.347), sometimes Bill Mueller (.380)
Manny Ramirez - he hits cleanup for the Red Sox.
Damon, Renteria, and David Ortiz (.400)
Alex Rodriguez - hits fourth in the Yankees lineup.
Derek Jeter (.383), Robinson Cano (.303), Gary Sheffield (.392)
Mark Teixeira - hits third in the Rangers lineup.
David Dellucci (.388), Michael Young (.380)
Albert Pujols - hits third in the Cardinals lineup.
David Eckstein (.353), in the past three Cards' games, they have used three different #2 hitters - So Taguchi (.342), Abraham Nunez (.370), John Rodriguez (.343)
Joe Mauer - hits third in the Twins lineup, although he also spent some time batting second, and a couple of games batting fourth.
Shannon Stewart (.326) and a combination of Juan Castro (.279), Luis Rivas (.293) and Nick Punto (.313)
Well, it is clear that of these players, Joe Mauer has hitters in front of him that get on base nowhere near as frequently as the others. That just means that a double, or even a single, could score more runs.
So, have I really answered anything about why Joe Mauer has so many fewer RBI than many #3 and #4 hitters? I don't know that all of this analysis really helps explain too much. But I do still have a few theories on this:
1.) He is a catcher - That automatically means that he will be given more off days than players from any other position.
2.) His knee - Don't forget that early in the season, the team was unwilling to catch him more than two games in a row, which was smart! Then for about another month, he would catch more often. However, it was only in the last month or so that Mauer has DHd many games that was not behind the plate.
3.) Opportunity - I didn't mention this above, but take a look at total number of at bats by each player. Teixeira (484), A-Rod (449), Pujols (448), Ortiz (442), ManRam (394), Mauer (353). And if you also add in the number of walks to get closer to total plate appearances (I'm just going to add walks, not HBP or Sacrifices): Teixeira (534), A-Rod/Pujols (517), Ortiz (516), ManRam (454), Mauer (396). So, just from that, you see that he has at least 58 less chances for RBI than Ramirez, and as many as 138 less plate appearances than Teixeira.
4.) Home Run Power - I think that the "Self-Driven In Percent" really shows that to be a top RBI guy, being a home run hitter is almost mandatory. The top 5 RBI guys in the Major Leagues each have at least 31 homers. Mauer has just eight. Some may be disappointed by that number, and I guess that is their right. However, he has never been a home run hitter. I still think that he has the potential to hit 25-30 homers a year as he develops more, but even in people's high expectations for Mauer, they should not have expected more than 15.
5.) Runners on Base - As you saw above, the other guys simply have hitters in front of them that get on base a lot. Shannon Stewart's On-Base Percentage is really poor for a lead off hitter, and the rotation in the two-spot (other than Mauer) have been even worse! When Mauer was hitting 2nd, that just means that he was two spots from the #9 hitter, which was still the likes of Castro or Rivas much of the time.
6.) Protection - Mauer's on-base percentage is a very solid .372, and that is without much help hitting behind him in the #4 spot. Justin Morneau struggled mightily for awhile and Gardy moved him. As we know, Matt LeCroy can crush lefties, but against righties, he is bad, so it is smart to pitch around Mauer to get to him. And, again, Torii Hunter had a good three or four weeks earlier in the season, but he is not a guy that will scare pitchers either. Look at who hits behind the other guys on this list. Ortiz has Manny. Manny usually has Jason Varitek. Teixeira has Hank Blalock or Alfonso Soriano. Rodriguez has Jason Giambi or Hideki Matsui. Pujols usually had Scott Rolen, but also Jim Edmonds.
So, in my opinion, Joe Mauer is doing just fine. He is doing his job. Remember that, like the Win stat, the RBI statistic is greatly overrated. I will contend that it is, in fact, important because there are few runs without RBI. But, the fact is that, with the exception of home runs, the RBI is contingent upon their being teammates on base to knock in. Sure, I would like to see Mauer with more RBI, but for the above reasons, it is not happening. Will Mauer add power? I assume so, but time will tell. Will Justin Morneau develop into that intimidating #4 hitter to protect Mauer? I think so, but time will tell.
For now, we should all just be thrilled with Joe Mauer. He is a great player!
What do you think?? E-mail me.
Well, the Twins have won five games in a row and seven of their last nine. They are now just 3 1/2 games out of the Wild Card. Maybe we were all a bit premature in saying that the Twins were out of contention this year! Hey, they have three more games against the Seattle Mariners. Then they play the White Sox at home for three. Then they head to Texas and Kansas City. It could happen. They will have to win better than 2 out of 3 the rest of the way though. Here are the remaining series:
Mariners - 3
@ Rangers - 3
@ Royals - 3
Indians - 3
Rangers - 3
@ Indians - 3
@ Tigers - 3
White Sox - 3
@ A's - 3
@ White Sox - 4
Royals - 4
Tigers - 1 (if needed, makeup from rain out in April)
So, 20 games against teams behind them in the race. Six games against the Indians, who are just ahead of them in the Wild Card. Seven games against the White Sox. I still don't think that they can catch the Sox, but these are big games to try to win. And finally, three games with the current Wild Card leader, the Oakland A's. I think it is safe to say that the Twins do really have a chance, but they will still have to play very well! What do you think?? E-mail me.
WEDNESDAY - Twins 5, White Sox 1
Remember when the Twins couldn't beat Mark Buehrle? That is certainly not the case any more as the Twins have won six of the last eight decisions against him. Of course, it helps when the Twins have Johan Santana start against him. Santana was on last night. He took a no-hitter into the 7th inning before a bloop single by Carl Everett ended that. Santana had a shutout into the ninth when he allowed a solo home run to Paul Konerko. I'm just going to steal this from Aaron Gleeman's article yesterday because he put it so well. He also mentioned his 2nd half record, which was a statistic that shouldn't have, but did, just shock me:
...So let's end today's entry on a happy note, with a look at Santana's line for the season after an 8.1-inning, 10-strikeout, one-run performance last night:GS IP W L ERA SO BB OAVG 25 173.2 12 6 3.37 182 32 .224Everyone seems to assume that he's out of the running for the AL Cy Young this year, but here's an interesting little tidbit: After 25 starts last season, Santana was 12-6 with a 3.25 ERA. He now leads the league in strikeouts and Quality Starts, ranks second in batting average against and OPS against, third in innings pitched, fifth in wins and strikeout-to-walk ratio, and seventh in ERA.
One more tidbit to chew on while you send me angry e-mails for writing off a team that is now four games out of the postseason: Santana is 5-1 with a 1.82 ERA since the All-Star break this year, which means he is now 26-2 (yes, twenty-six and two) with a 2.02 ERA in 240 innings after the All-Star break during the past three seasons.
26-2... are you kidding me!? Johan Santana has been incredible, especially in the 2nd half, which is really exciting. The team needs him to perform to this level if the Wild Card is really going to be an option. Of course, it will also take Brad Radke and Carlos Silva performing at their peak levels, and probably at least one of the Kyle Lohse/Joe Mays pair.
What is almost as amazing about this dominant game is that the Twins did it with a very strange lineup:
Lew Ford CF
Nick Punto 2B
Brent Abernathy LF
Justin Morneau 1B
Matthew LeCroy DH
Michael Cuddyer RF
Terry Tiffee 3B
Mike Redmond C
Jason Bartlett SS
Not exactly an intimidating lineup, is it? The outfield was given the nickname "The Polka Patrol" in difference to "The Soul Patrol" of Shannon Stewart, Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones. Of course, it could be argued that the team is no worse off with this lineup than their more standard lineup. Of course, Mike Redmond is more than a notch below Joe Mauer, but Mauer had caught 16 innings the night before so he was in need of a day off. Bartlett is better than any other SS option they have. Ford and his excellent on-base percentage are just fine in the leadoff position. No, this is not a good lineup, by any means. I mean, Abernathy was in AAA a week ago, and has been hitting 9th in the order in the other games he has played, so him in the three-spot is not good. But it isn't like Stewart has done much this year, particularly in terms of getting on base. Hunter had a solid month, but has been, well, Torii Hunter the rest of the season. And Jones is very inconsistent. Of course, the outfield defense, despite Ford being just fine in center, was not too strong. But no matter, it worked, much thanks to the double-digit strikeouts by Santana.
Matthew LeCroy homered in his first two at bats against Buehrle, a lefty. Again, check out Gleeman's article yesterday for some more great thoughts and data on LeCroy's splits between lefties and righties.
THURSDAY - Twins 7, Mariners 3
I was listening to Twins GM Terry Ryan interviewed on KFAN. I was happy that Chad Hartman directly asked him why Mays was still in the rotation, and not replaced by Scott Baker. I enjoy listening to Ryan because he is quite candid. He came back with the "correct" answer, that being that he can't ensure that Baker would do as well as Mays, which, of course, is true. That said, I know I would take my chances! But by the end of the segment, he also admitted that last night's game was important for the Twins, but also for Mays. In other words, the tone was that Mays had to pitch well, or that may have been it for him.
Well, Mays got hit hard, as he always does, but somehow it all resulted in a quality start. He went six innings and allowed just three runs. He gave up nine hits and two walks. The bullpen then finished out the game as JC Romero, Juan Rincon and Jesse Crain each pitched a scoreless inning. I suppose such a performance (despite a WHIP near two!) will keep Mays in the rotation for a couple more weeks.
Matthew LeCroy had another homer last night. This one on a hanging breaking ball by Ryan Franklin in the first inning.
Shannon Stewart went 4-5. He appears to be on a bit of a role after his three-hit game in Tuesday's 16 inning game. Of course, I'd still like to see him get on base more, at least if he is going to stay in the leadoff spot.
Lew Ford and Joe Mauer each had two hits. Brent Abernathy did again, including a big 2-out RBI single. He was replaced for defensive purposed by Luis Rodriguez, who had a hit. Abernathy is 7-16 (.438) since his return to the Twins.
Jason Bartlett was not in the lineup yet again. We know he's not still sick because he played the entire game on Wednesday. Gardy just doesn't get it, as he continues to play Nick Punto every day! He kept talking about how he doesn't think that Punto can be an every day player, but he has had him in the starting lineup every day since his return from his last injury. Meanwhile, he initially said that Bartlett would be his every day shortstop. But he's a rookie, so he doesn't get the benefit of the doubt! Frustrating!
If you have any thoughts, please e-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Be sure to notice that on Wednesday, not only did the Twins beat the White Sox, but all six minor league affiliates won as well. The title of the posting that was supposed to show up yesterday was Twins 7, Others 0... but I fell asleep and forgot to wake up early! But I do think that it is fair to note. It is also necessary to note that the same thing happened the day before too. Last night, the Twins won, and their affiliates went 4-1 with only Rochester losing, and Elizabethton not playing.
ROCHESTER RED WINGS
Wednesday - RED WINGS 4, Syracuse 3 - Five bullpen guys split up the game, but each did well enough for the Wings to grab the one-run win. Henry Bonilla started and gave up two runs on three hits and four walks in three innings. Jason Miller then threw two shutout innings. Brent Schoening struck out three in his two perfect innings. Beau Kemp gave up an unearned run in the eight, but still got the win. Travis Bowyer struck out two in the 9th for his 20th save.
Thursday - RED WINGS 2, Syracuse 7 - Scott Baker pitched pretty well, but took another loss. He gave up three runs on eight hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out seven. But Ricky Barrett came in and gave up four runs on three hits and two walks in just one inning. For the offense, Chris Heintz, Brian Buchanan, Garrett Jones and Luis Rivas each had two hits.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Wednesday - ROCKCATS 7, Erie 4 - Jim Abbott got another start and did well. In five innings, he gave up two runs on six hits and no walks. John Thomas allowed an unearned run in his 1.2 innings. Pat Neshek then threw two innings for his 21st save. Danny Matienzo led the offense. He was 2-4 with his 31st double, 20th homer and three RBI. Luis Jimenez went 2-4. Matt Moses hit his fifth AA homer.
Thursday - ROCKCATS 1, Erie 0 - What a game for Levale Speigner, and I couldn't be happier for him. He put together an incredible start to improve to 5-8 with a 4.20 ERA. He threw a complete game two-hitter for the win. He walked two and struck out seven. James Tomlin got the start in CF and went 3-4 with two doubles. Matt Moses was 2-4 with a double. Danny Matienzo was 2-3 with a walk.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Wednesday - MIRACLE 3, Clearwater 2 - Justin Jones had another decent start. He gave up two runs in 5.1 innings. He struck out eight. Jan Granado got his fifth win with 3.2 shutout innings. Matt Tolbert went 2-5 with two RBI. Allan de San Miguel went 2-3.
Thursday - MIRACLE 1, Clearwater 0 - The Miracle got a nice 1-0 win as well. Anthony Swarzak had been struggling of late, but he was great. Seven shutout innings. Just six hits and no walks, and he struck out eight. Josh Gray finished up the shutout with a two inning save. Angelo Fermin provided the lone run with an RBI triple. He was 2-3.
Wednesday - SNAPPERS 4, Quad Cities 3 - Kevin Slowey had another quality start. He went six innings and gave up three runs (2 earned) on five hits. He walked none and struck out seven. David Shinskie got the win by pitching two shutout innings. JP Martinez picked up his 19th save with a no-run, two strikeout inning. Trevor Plouffe was 2-4 with his 13th homer. David Winfree went 2-3 with his 29th double.
Thursday - SNAPPERS 7, Quad Cities 4 - Kyle Waldrop put together another quality start. He gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings. Of course, he walked none, and struck out two. Kevin Culpepper lost the lead, but ended up picking up the win. He gave up a run in two innings. Jose Cordero got his first Snapper Save with two shutout innings that included three strikeouts.
Wednesday - E-Twins 7, Bristol 0 - Adam Hawes was the story of this game. He threw a complete game shutout. He gave up three hits and didn't walk a batter. He also struck out nine hitters. Josh Land went 3-4 with a double and two RBI. Travis Kalin went 3-4 with a triple, a homer and four RBI. Yancarlos Ortiz went 2-4 with a walk. Juan Portes went 2-5.
Thursday - E-Twins/Bristol - Rained Out.
GULF COAST TWINS
Wednesday - GCL Twins 4, GCL Pirates 2 - Kyle Edlich improved to 4-1 with a 1.51 ERA. In 6.2 innings, he gave up a run on four hits and two walks. He also struck out 13 hitters. Matt Williams pitched the final 2.1 innings and gave up just a run on three hits. He struck out four.
Thursday - GCL Twins 16, GCL Pirates 8 - It was a great offensive night for the GCL Twins! And I think I am going to name names. Why not? They deserve it! Josh Dean went 3-5 with a double. Henry Sanchez went 3-4 to increase his average to .170. Paul Kelly, the 2nd round pick, went 2-4 with a walk, a double ,and his second homer. Drew Thompson was 2-6 with a double. Marion Knowles was 2-6 with his first homer. Richard Sojo and Greg Yersich were each 2-4. John Wilson was 1-2 with three walks. Alex Burnett, the youngest 18 year old on the team, got his fourth win. He went five innings and allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk. Nathan Crawford gave up two runs in his inning. Omar Burgos got a save despite allowing three runs in three innings.
On that note, I am going to call it a day and a week! I hope everyone has a good one! As always, please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on the Twins, the minor leagues, or anything you would like to discuss.
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