Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Our Only Hope: The Law of Averages

Ok, I'll be honest, "law of averages" is a meaningless term. But right now this Twins team is so bad that we all need something to put our hope in, and this is the route I have chosen to go. I thought to myself, "ok, the Twins have been bad, as a whole, but how well would they have to perform to get back to their respective career averages by season's end?" Naturally that won't happen in every case, but it will in a few and so that can give us hope that yes, this team will improve. I'll start from the top of the order, give you their current hitting line, give you their career averages based on the stated number of PAs/ABs, and project what their hitting line and production-level would need to be to meet their career averages. I will clearly state how many PAs and ABs I expect them to have at the end of the year, obviously making the assumption that they will stay healthy for the rest of the season. I'm not bothering to project Slugging % because I don't have that much time.

1.) Denard Span - CF (700PAs/600ABs) - 150-160 games played
Current line: .284/.339/.367   13Rs   6RBI   1HR   2SB
Career line: .288/.365/.390    90Rs   63RBI   5HRs   24SB
Future line: .289/.370             77Rs   57RBI   4HRs   22SB

2.) Alexi Casilla - SS (540PAs/500ABs) - 120-130 games played
Current line: .190/.257/.286   10Rs   3RBI   0HRs   2SB
Career line: .246/.303/.324    60Rs   42RBI   4HRs   15SB
Future line:  .254/.313            50Rs   39RBI   4HRs   13SB

3.) Joe Mauer - C (500PAs/440ABs) - 115-120 games played
For Mauer, I'm making the assumption that he returns within the next 2-3 weeks...if that's not the case then obviously you have to adjust these numbers, but 2-3 weeks sounds reasonable at this point.
Current line: .235/.289/.265   2Rs   4RBI   0HRs   0SB
Career line: .326/.406/.479    65Rs   70RBI   6HRs   2SB
Future line: .333/.413             63Rs   66RBI   6HRs   2SB

4.) Justin Morneau - 1B (600PAs/540ABs) - 135-145 games played
Current line: .225/.287/.338   6Rs   9RBI   1HR   0SB
Career line: .284/.356/.507   80Rs   95RBI   24HRs   1SB
Future line: .296/.370            74Rs   86RBI   23HRs   1SB

5.) Jason Kubel - RF/DH (585PAs/535ABs) - 140-150 games played
Current line: .354/.406/.510   11Rs   10RBI   2HRs   1SB
Career line: .274/.338/.465    75Rs   90RBI   23HRs   1SB
Future line: .257/.322             64Rs   80RBI   21HRs   0SB

6.) Delmon Young - LF (575PAs/525ABs) - 130-140 games played
Again, with Young I'm assuming his stay on the DL is not an extended stay and that he'll return to the lineup in 1-2 weeks.
Current line: .228/.286/.281   3Rs   6RBI   0HRs   1SB
Career line: .291/.324.431     76Rs   91RBI   16HRs   7SB
Future line: .298/.327             73Rs   85RBI   16HRs   6SB

7.) Michael Cuddyer - Utility (650PAs/575ABs) - 150-160 games played
Current line: .226/.287/.355   8Rs   4RBI   3HRs   2SB
Career line: .269/.341/.448    86Rs   81RBI   20HRs   6SB
Future line: .277/.351             78Rs   77RBI   17HRs   4SB

8.) Danny Valencia - 3B (600ABs/550ABs) - 155-160 games played
Current line: .211/.292/.305   8Rs   13RBI   2HRs   1SB
Career line: .287/.336/.414    55Rs   77RBI   13HRs   5SB
Future line: .303/.343             47Rs   64RBI   11HRs   4SB

9.) Random Player - 2B/SS
With Nishioka coming back eventually, and this role being shared by Drew Butera, Luke Hughes, etc, etc., it's pretty meaningless to try and project this slot in the lineup. Most of the guys who fill the 9-hitter role for the Twins don't have enough Major League at-bats to give us a reliable career-average.

So what does all this mean? It means that most of the Twins regulars, aside from Span and Kubes, are going to have to play above their heads (in some cases way above their heads), just to finish with an average year. 27 games (the number the Twins have played so far) represents about 17% of the total 162 game schedule. In some cases (Morneau, Cuddyer, Mauer) these guys are going to have to fit 90% of a year's production into just over 80% remaining on the season....and I haven't even touched the pitching!

I assume there are other people out there who listen to Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio in the morning and every Tuesday morning they have Jayson Stark who is a baseball guru and loves stats and baseball history. Anyway, they were talking about the Twins and White Sox this morning, and it was mentioned that the Twins are 10 games out before 30 games have been completed. According to Elias (via Stark) only 3 teams in baseball history have ever won the division after trailing by 10 or more through 30 games. Only 1 (!) team in the modern-era has done it, and that was the 1987 Tigers. I'll never stop hoping as a Twins fan, but things are getting serious now, to the point where if they don't turn around soon, we'll be looking at a fire-sale come July...mark my words, you heard it here first. At least 7/9ths of the lineup are performing far below their career-averages...and we've said for awhile now "ah, it's going to turn around soon" and it hasn't. Now would be a great time to start...I'd love to hear a bunch of "dad-gummit's" from Hawk Harrelson this week.

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