RandBall: Statistical difference between Twins outfielders in 2012 and '13 is really ugly
- Blog Post by: Michael Rand
- August 28, 2013 - 6:04 PM
Not to end the day on a negative note, but we're going to end the day on a negative note. We were Waist-Deep in FanGraphs -- also the name of Aaron Gleeman's one man show, which is nothing but accordion solos accompanied by podcast highlights* -- for a Page 2 item when we came across some really scary WAR numbers (wins above replacement player, which factors in both offense and defense) in comparing Twins outfielders from 2012 and 2013.
In 2012, the Twins' trio of Josh Willingham, Denard Span and Ben Revere all finished in the top 20 among American League OFs (minimum 250 PAs) with WAR numbers of 3.0 or higher -- the cutoff for what FanGraphs deems a "good player, which is a step above "solid starter."
In other words, the Twins had a very good outfield last year, despite winning just 66 games.
The Twins, of course, traded Span and Revere in the offseason for young pitching -- not a terrible idea, of course, since outfield depth is a strength in the minors (Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks, Byron Buxton, etc). We knew the tradeoff would be some rough patches in 2013. What we didn't know is just how rough things would be.
Willingham has been hurt and largely ineffective since a strong start. Hicks and Arcia showed flashes but are still raw. Chris Parmelee was sent down. Clete Thomas has seen EXTENDED action. Ryan Doumit and Chris Herrmann, catchers by trade, have played a lot of right field. Wilkin Ramirez. Etc.
As a result, the Twins' LEADER among outfielders right now in WAR is ... Thomas. Clete Thomas. At 0.7, 35th in the American League. FanGraphs not so delicately calls anyone with a WAR between 0 and 1 a "scrub."
Sorry to ruin your night.
*For some reason, we have decided to start taking random amusing cheap shots at Gleeman because he seems to really like it. We're going to keep doing this until he objects.
© 2013 Star Tribune