Friday, May 21, 2010

The Sky is NOT Falling!

The Twins just returned from the road. East coast trip vs. the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox! The Twins generally do not do well in these venues and this lack of success continue. The team went 2-5 on the trip. While, this is not a great road trip, the sky is NOT falling. Many in the Twins community would tell you otherwise. Fanatic Jack often thinks the sky is falling or worse. The twitterverse has been rife with people ready to write off the season. They are willing to write off the team after every one of the 17 losses and some of the 24 wins.

Are the Twins frauds? Is the 24-17 record a mirage or even that decent of a record?

Well 24-17, played out for a full season comes out to 95-67 record. That would win the division.

The Twins have been accused of playing poor vs the AL West and AL East.

In 2010, they are 3-1 vs. the West, all on the road vs. Anaheim. Nice numbers, but very small sample.

They are 6-8 vs. the East, 2-5 on the road. 4-3 at home. These numbers are nothing to write home about, but no reason to panic.

More numbers: They are 12-11 on the road. Only 3 AL teams have better records on the road. They are 12-6 at home. They have played 5 less games at home. Their opponents winning percentage is .484. So, they are essentially 7 games over .500 against a schedule that is 1 under.

Fans hold up the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels as the teams the Twins must beat. I think the Twins need to beat them at home and play competitive on the road.

There has almost been a lot of stress over Detroit pulling even with the Twins at 24-17. Detroit has a slightly tougher strength of schedule at .495, but not a huge difference over the Twins. Detroit has also played 2 more games at home. They are 14-6 home and 10-11 on the road. Detroit may be tough all year, but going 2-5 against the Eastern division, on the road, has nothing to do with Detroit.

The Twins have scored 30 more runs than they has allowed and have allowed the second fewest runs in the American  League.

What does this all mean?

It means the Twins have been slightly better than average through 41 games of a 162 game season. They have not been great yet but certainly have not been poor.

2010 may not end in a championship, but nothing I have seen so far changes my opinion on this team. The 2010 Twins are a good team. It's only May 21st. Kubel and Cuddyer haven't been hitting and Hardy has been hurt.

Inter-league play has just started. The Twins are very successful, over the years, versus the National League. As I write this, they are up 7-0 vs. Milwaukee in the first inning.

The Twins Are Fine!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Delmon Young Day.... days late

Delmon Young day came and went! I did nothing! Sure, I've had alot going on and alot of stressers in my life, but as a wanna-be Twins writer/blogger guy, it is my job to make sure i weigh in on every opportunity. So, a few days late here we go.

Delmon Young was the #1 pick in the 2003 amateur draft. Generally considered one of the best prospects in the minor leagues in 2004-2006. He was runner up to rookie of the year in 2007 for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He had a decent if unremarkable rookie campaign in his age 21 year. He hit .288/.316/.408 but it was the 93 runs batted in that probably went the furthest in garnering him the runner-up vote for the ROY.

In the winter of 2007, Delmon, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie were sent to Minnesota in exchange for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Eduardo Morlan. This trade had all the makings of teams trading off of strength. Tampa had an excess of young OFs and Minnesota an excess of young starting pitching. I was all for the trade at the time, it seemed like a reasonable gamble for a mid-market team looking to compete long term. It hasn't worked out....... YET?

Young was sold to the Twins fans as the next Frank Robinson. Frank went .290/.379/.558 and .322/.376/.529 in his age 20 and 21 year. Young has certainly not attained that success yet.

Garza became a star pitcher. the 2008 ALCS MVP went 11-9 with a 3.70 ERA in 2008 and 8-12 with a 3.95 ERA in 2009. He had a 6.4 WAR in the 2 seasons. He is off to a 5-1 start with a 2.49 ERA this season and considered one of the better pitchers in the AL.

The real surprise has been Bartlett. He batted .289/.326/.389 in 08 and .320/.389/.490 in 2009. He had a 6.7 WAR in the 2 seasons. By contrast Young has gone .290/.336/.405 and .284/.308/.425 the last 2 seasons along with terrible defense providing a WAR of -1.8. And Brendan Harris? Bartlett's replacement has gone .265/.327/.394 and .261/.310/.362 along terrible defense, his 1.3 WAR over the last 2 seasons is still better than Young. Young has been the worst of these four players when he was supposed to be the star!

Coming into 2010, Where does Young go from here?

Young is still only 24. He may be figuring it out a little more at the plate. Always a slow starter, Young is hitting .278/.333/.464 in the early going. His defense in left has gone from horrible to merely slightly below average. By contrast his most common comparable, Michael Cuddyer is hitting .270/.316/.433 while playing awful defense in right field to the tune of a UZR/150 of -28.3.

So, the question has to asked, has Young turned the corner? Is he ready to be a decent player for the team, if not a cornerstone? A mid-market team like the Twins with such a high payroll could look to shed Cuddyer's 11.5 million in 2011. (assuming a team will take it) Is Young ready to replace him in RF and as the primary power righty on the team? His defense in 2007 in right field was pretty decent. Will Gardenhire even play him there. Will Ben Revere be ready enough to come up in 2011, improving the team's outfield defense?

If Young had gotten to a slow start he's probably be on the brink of being let go in favor of a Rene Tosoni or at least buried deep on the bench.

What I can say for certain is that Delomn will not be another Frank Robinson. Frank by the way went .297/.407/.595 in his age 24 year. the following year he won the NL MVP.

Young has a long way to go, but i predict that he will round into a fair bat and a decent RF option assuming Cuddyer is elsewhere in a year or two.

what say you?