Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bad Gardy

The lineups for tonight's tilt against the Indians have been released, and a quick glance at Ron Gardenhire's lineup has confirmed my fears: Delmon Young is starting in left field, and Jim Thome is on the bench.

This is egregious because Cleveland's starter in the game is Justin Masterson, a grounder-inducing righty who delivers from a three-quarters slot. Almost without exception, pitchers that throw from this angle are extremely vulnerable to opposite-handed batters (think Pat Neshek) and Masterson is certainly no exception. During his career, left-handed hitters have posted an OPS nearly 300 points higher than righties against him. That's not a platoon split, it's a chasm. It's an enormous, glaring number that should make the decision to bench a player like Young -- who already hits the ball on the ground too often and has always struggled to hit right-handed pitching -- an absolute no-brainer.

When Gardenhire made a similarly misguided decision earlier this month, I pointed out that the thinking behind his decision was "a significant flaw in Gardy's managerial approach, and one that is likely to manifest repeatedly throughout the season." Here, we see it again, in an even more inexcusable situation. Like last time, this is but one lineup decision and odds are that it won't be the deciding factor in tonight's game, but we're seeing a manager overlooking blatantly obvious statistical evidence and failing to put key players in a position to succeed.

26 comments:

Travis said...

True to form, Delmon has grounded out to short twice already and gotten lucky by having the ball go through the shortstop's legs.

Mark G said...

Doesn't Thome have an at bats incentive where he gets a bonus if he has a certain number of at bats? Or is it hits? Could that be the motivation for not starting him in some of these situations?

Travis said...

Mark -

I found this:

1 year/$1.5M (2010)
performance bonuses:
$0.1M each for 250, 300, 350 PAs; $0.15M each for 400, 450, 500 PAs

bingrassia said...

See, Gardy knew that one of Young's double play balls would roll thru SS's legs and spark 4-run rally.

Nick N. said...

Aaand Young hits a grounder directly at the shortstop in each of his three plate appearances against Masterson. I'm not a genius folks, this stuff is obvious.

Doesn't Thome have an at bats incentive where he gets a bonus if he has a certain number of at bats? Or is it hits? Could that be the motivation for not starting him in some of these situations?

This would still be idiocy. This is exactly the type of situation Thome was signed for. If you want to conserve his at-bats, sit him against right-handers that Young might actually stand a chance against.

Joe gurelli said...

Lots of you twins bloggers have some serious antidelmon slant. There are certainly times where getting thome a start is a good idea and this was likely one of them. But im sick of bloggers calling for a thome start vs every rhp. DY has hit the ball as well as anyone on the team this year. Hes pulling the ball more. He crushes the ball to left and itll die and get caught, cuddy hits a 200 ft popup that blows out for the most absurd hr ive seen in a long time.

"I'm not a genius folks, this stuff is obvious." Cherry picking single game stats and saying that you called them is beyond stupid. You could have mentioned that kubel was 0-4 with 3k and mauer was 0-4 with 1 k. Masterson has these huge rh lh splits and kubel and mauer are 2 of the better lh in the league. The ball should have been on a tee for them. Why werent you able to predict that theyd have a terrible game. What if DY had hit a couple of lazy pop ups. Would that have changed your mind about his ground ball tendencies? No. You found a meaningless single game statistic that happened to support your claim and presented it as meaningful evidence of your claim.

Anonymous said...

Hey,
What do you guys think of the long term effects of the Santana trade and Delmon Young trade? How bad has it been for the Twins? Garza is going to win the CY Young, or at least is off to a great start and typically great starts get noticed. They also have an everyday SS. What do the Twins have to show for it? IS there anyone left from the Santana trade? Gomez was a bust.

The AJ Pryzenski trade is happened a while ago now and now Nathan is 2 years away, if ever.

Nick N. said...

But im sick of bloggers calling for a thome start vs every rhp.

I don't know what "bloggers" you're referring to, but I personally have only complained on two occasions this year when Young has been in the lineup instead of a lefty (last time it was Kubel) and in both instances it was because the match-up was clearly terrible for Young and the exact type of situation you'd want both Kubel and Thome in the lineup. It's not coincidence that Young went hitless in both the games I complained about. I certainly don't advocate pulling him from the lineup against every RHP -- far from it -- but Gardenhire needs to better recognize the obvious situations in which he should be benched in favor of a lefty bat.

You found a meaningless single game statistic that happened to support your claim and presented it as meaningful evidence of your claim.

This isn't really cherry-picking, given that I had an entire post earlier in the day criticizing this particular move, but it would have been an ill-advised decision regardless of the outcome. That Young hit three grounders right to short just after I complained about leaving him and his GB tendencies in the lineup against a side-arming sinker-baller only helped reaffirm my point, which had plenty of evidentiary support even without Young's three at-bats last night. It was a bad match-up and Young showed us exactly why; people would be a lot more frustrated with him had his tailor-made DP ball actually been converted by Cabrera, ruining the team's only rally and possibly costing the Twins the game.

What do the Twins have to show for it? IS there anyone left from the Santana trade? Gomez was a bust.

The only player left in the organization from the Santana trade is Deolis Guerra, a pitching prospect who maintains moderate upside. The Twins did convert Kevin Mulvey and Carlos Gomez into Jon Rauch and JJ Hardy though, so they're still getting value from that trade. Not a total bust.

USAFChief said...

"I personally have only complained on two occasions this year when Young has been in the lineup instead of a lefty "

LOL. That's once a week, Nick.

Delmon is the (24 year old) left fielder, as he should be, possibly for the next 10 years. Thome is a (40 year old) bench player with no Twins future past 2010, as he should be.

Thome will get 200-250 PAs, barring injury. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

"That Young hit three grounders right to short just after I complained about leaving him and his GB tendencies in the lineup against a side-arming sinker-baller only helped reaffirm my point, which had plenty of evidentiary support even without Young's three at-bats last night."

Yet your analysis was flawed, because you failed to take into account that baseball is generally a game played by "humans", some of whom suffer from "human" frailties, and although rarely, make mistakes.

"It was a bad match-up and Young showed us exactly why; people would be a lot more frustrated with him had his tailor-made DP ball actually been converted by Cabrera, ruining the team's only rally and possibly costing the Twins the game."

The common refrain from stat's based analysis. MY analysis was correct, AND you would have fealt bad IF what I predicted had actually happened.

You're 0-2 so far, or rather the Twins are 2-0 in games Gardy by your thinking, has committed managerial malpractice. I'm waiting for the next missive, so I can get down a LARGE bet. The statistics say it's a winner.

Regards,

David McGraw

joe gurelli said...

Im not saying your criticisms of delmon wernt accurate but nothing that happens in a single baseball game should be used confirm or deny your analysis. If you are confident in your analysis is should be regardless of the result of what your were analyzing

Travis said...

I don't understand some of the comments here. Nick's not bashing Delmon Young, he's just stating that given the particular match-up that occurred last night, Gardenhire had a better option sitting on the bench.

I'm not a Gardy hater and I don't believe Nick is either (I've only been reading this blog for a few weeks), but I do scratch my head sometimes at decisions he makes even when they do turn out for the best. No one knows what would've happened last night if Thome would've started over Young, but the Twins got the win with Young in the line-up so I can't complain.

I think we're all on the same page here, we want to see the Twins keep winning and we hope that Gardenhire does his job and puts the best team on the field given the situation.

Nick N. said...

Delmon is the (24 year old) left fielder, as he should be, possibly for the next 10 years. Thome is a (40 year old) bench player with no Twins future past 2010, as he should be.

I'm less concerned with these players' ages and more concerned with who gives the team a better chance to win.

You're 0-2 so far, or rather the Twins are 2-0 in games Gardy by your thinking, has committed managerial malpractice. I'm waiting for the next missive, so I can get down a LARGE bet. The statistics say it's a winner.

Games aren't won and lost by single players. That being said, had Young's tailor-made double play ball been properly handled by Asdrubal Cabrera, the Twins' game-winning rally would have never occurred and they might not have won. Gardenhire didn't lose the game last night, but decisions like this one don't help the team win.

Im not saying your criticisms of delmon wernt accurate but nothing that happens in a single baseball game should be used confirm or deny your analysis. If you are confident in your analysis is should be regardless of the result of what your were analyzing

I briefly mentioned Young's results at the plate last night because I found them amusing. It's not like I dedicated an entire post to his 0-for-3 performance against Masterson and how it proved me right.

I don't understand some of the comments here. Nick's not bashing Delmon Young, he's just stating that given the particular match-up that occurred last night, Gardenhire had a better option sitting on the bench.

Exactly. I want to see Delmon Young succeed, I really do. But it would seem that confidence is an important factor for the young left fielder, and Gardenhire is not helping build Young's confidence by putting him in situations where he is very unlikely to succeed. Young matches up terribly against a pitcher like Masterson, and that much should be obvious even without looking at the numbers.

I'm not a Gardy hater and I don't believe Nick is either

I'm the furthest thing from a "Gardy hater." I'm probably one of his most adamant supporters in the blogosphere. The decision to start Young over Thome last night is but one example in a painful pattern of managing by his gut rather than logic, though, which drives me nuts.

Anonymous said...

I'm less concerned with these players' ages and more concerned with who gives the team a better chance to win.

Would you write the same blog post about a 24 year old (right handed) Jason Kubel? Or would you perhaps be lobbying for the manager to just let him play through growing pains and keep the aging veteran on the bench?

Nick N. said...

Would you write the same blog post about a 24 year old (right handed) Jason Kubel? Or would you perhaps be lobbying for the manager to just let him play through growing pains and keep the aging veteran on the bench?

I have never had any problem with Kubel being benched against tough left-handers. Once again, I'm not advocating that Young be sitting on the bench three times a week. He just shouldn't be facing pitchers like Masterson, who is a downright terrible match-up for Young for a variety of reasons I've already gone over.

In point of fact, I didn't mind the Craig Monroe acquisition back in 2008 solely because he could sub in for Kubel against tough lefties, despite being a washed-up vet with no future in Minnesota. Just because you like a player and want him to succeed doesn't mean you should simply ignore/overlook their obvious weaknesses.

USAFChief said...

But it would seem that confidence is an important factor for the young left fielder, and Gardenhire is not helping build Young's confidence by putting him in situations where he is very unlikely to succeed.

Benching Young every time the opposition throws a mediocre righty will build Young's confidence?

Would you write the same blog post about a 24 year old (right handed) Jason Kubel? Or would you perhaps be lobbying for the manager to just let him play through growing pains and keep the aging veteran on the bench?

Bingo!

You're missing the forrest for the trees, Nick.

Anonymous said...

I have never had any problem with Kubel being benched against tough left-handers.

I said a right-handed Kubel. There's a big difference between sitting agains LHPs and RHPs.

Nick N. said...

I said a right-handed Kubel. There's a big difference between sitting agains LHPs and RHPs.

Maybe, but the point is that hitters should sit against pitchers they are unlikely to succeed against, particularly when better options are available. I've always recognized Kubel's weakness against tough left-handers, and similarly it's not hard to see Young's weakness against righties with good stuff.

Young doesn't match up that badly against all righties, but he does against Masterson. Meanwhile, lefty hitters feast on Masterson more than most RHPs thanks to his arm slot, which made it a perfect opportunity to get Thome's righty-mashing bat into the starting lineup.

People are morphing my position into a cut-and-dry "Bench Young against right-handers," but that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying THIS particular match-up was exactly the type where Young should sit in favor of Thome, and Gardy whiffed. It's a manager's job to put players into positions where they can succeed; Young stood very little chance against Masterson last night.

Nick N. said...

You're missing the forrest for the trees, Nick.

If Kubel's "growing pains" had lasted through three full seasons of consistent at-bats, I wouldn't have much cause for complaint when he got benched against a pitcher he didn't match up well against.

Anonymous said...

Thome is a better hitter against righties. You made the argument for a power pitcher and now again for a soft tosser. I'm pretty sure the OPS numbers will bear out for every type of right handed pitcher that Thome is a better option. This is baseball 101. Obviously Gardy knows this because he hasn't given Thome one at bat against a lefty all season.

But you need to understand that if a young player does not get at bats then he isn't going to be there for you come playoff time. Thome will be good to go no matter what, assuming his at bats are reduced enough for his body to hold up. But Delmon on the other hand will only be worth a damn if he gets the time now.

Split OPS stats are something Gardy knows all too well. Don't kid yourself. But you just need to understand that in the MLB it is actually quite common for younger players to get at bats over aging vets regardless of who is better that day for that game.

Thome is 39 and needs many days off. Young is 24 and needs at bats (assuming we haven't given up on him). There are more righties than lefties. Should it not be self evident that Delmon will be hitting him some righties this season?

Steven Ellingson said...

Benching Young every time the opposition throws a mediocre righty will build Young's confidence?

Mediocre? Yes, he is Mediocre. But WHY is he mediocre? Because he is HORRIBLE against left-handed pitchers. Against right handed batters, he an ACE - 8.96/2.96 k/bb ratio career, along with getting a ton of groundballs. Basically, he's Justin Verlander when facing a righty, and Joe Saunders when facing a lefty.

This isn't about sitting Delmon against every righty, it's about picking WHICH righties to sit him against. If there was ever a time to do it, it was against the guy who has as large of platoon splits as anyone in the league.

Seriously, his splits are LARGER than Neshek's! If Neshek was starting a game, the manager would stick every lefty possible in that lineup.

The problem is, that instead, Gardy is probably going to start Thome tomorrow, with Mitch Talbot on the mound, a guy who's been almost exactly as effective vs. RHB as LHB over his minor league career.

This isn't about Thome vs. Delmon, it's about recognizing an obvious and huge weakness, and exploiting it.

Dave said...

I've figured it out! The forum troll that obviously uses multiple aliases on this site is, in fact, DELMON YOUNG!!

He has finally slipped up and tried to defend himself utilizing his underdeveloped brain mass and overdeveloped cheek flab. Like when he tries to track down a routine fly ball, this flailing attempt to deflect criticism has failed miserably. While Delmon believed that he was outsmarting Nick with his half English jabbering and inappropriately used punctuation, he was just as confused as he is when he steps into the box.

“OK Delmon, skip told me to take the first pitch, and every time I swing at the first pitch I ground out. But the other team knows that too. In fact, they probably are counting on me finally taking that first pitch. They must be planning on it and calling up a juicy fastball. Oh man! I bet that the infielders are totally not expecting me to hit it to them. Well I have a surprise for them, time to Delmonize that ball!!”

Assuming that Delmon has the same ability with computers as he does with throwing into the infield (“oh gosh, that was a cutoff man?!”), mayhaps a simple IP block would prevent his meddling in my favorite blog? While his misguided rants were amusing in the offseason, I really can’t handle another undercover brother racism rancor riser like the one that occurred on the O-dog kerfuffle post.

Anonymous said...

Gee dave, I feel thoroughly outmatched. Your wits have put me in my place. I will now read every blog post and use the comments for what they were meant for: to tell Nick how amazing and infallable he is.

Dave said...

Delmon, the only thing you aren't outmatched by is a chili dog...

Nick N. said...

This is perhaps the most entertaining comments section in this blog's history. You guys crack me up.

Oh, and Steven nailed it.

Anonymous said...

酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗幻想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗幻想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗幻想,
夢世界,