Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Morning Madness: May 20, 2013

Weekend Recap

Welp.  The Twins weren't really supposed to be good or even decent this season, so a 2-7 homestand isn't crazy.  It's more disappointing, after what seemed like a such a positive start.  Regardless, this franchise is clearly trending upward, even if this past week doesn't reflect that. 

The thing that struck me the most from the weekend was another shaky Scott Diamond start.  I did a detailed breakdown of Diamond's 2012 and concluded that 2012 Scott Diamond was a good pitcher and if he can replicate what he did in 2012, he could have long-term success.  You can read it here, if you missed it back in February. 

I looked at Diamond's stats from the first half of 2012 (when Diamond was a borderline Ace), the second half of 2012 (when Diamond was good, but not great), and the start of this season (when Diamond looks like he might be regressing).  What is different?  Here's a chart with Diamond's peripherals:

K%
BB%
LOB%
GB%
LD%
FB%
HR/FB
HR/9
BABIP
xFIP
ERA
2012 1st Half
13.9
3.7
79.3
59
20.3
20.7
14.8
0.91
0.285
3.57
2.61
2012 2nd Half
11.6
4.9
68.6
48.9
21.5
29.6
9.5
0.86
0.298
4.23
4.31
2013
9.8
5.5
70.6
47.4
19.7
32.8
13.3
1.36
0.318
4.62
4.99
League Avg (2012)
19.8
8
72.5
45.1
20.9
34
11.3
1.02
0.293
4.01
4.01

2013 Scott Diamond has looked a lot more like the 2012 second half Scott Diamond.  He's getting fewer ground balls, and more of his fly balls are going over the fence.  His walk rate is ticking upward and his strikeout rate is ticking downward.   These numbers need to start reversing, or Diamond will have a very difficult time replicating his 2012 success. 

I looked at some PitchF/x data as well.  The samples are small, so there isn't much significance.  However, some trends are evident.  Looking at this chart, it appears that his curveball is as good as ever:

CB
O-Swing%
O-Contact%
SwStr%
2012
48.2
52.4
15.2
2013
46.7
48.6
15
Average (2012)
29
63.8
9.1

Batters still swing at a very high percentage of his curve outside the zone and they still make little contact.  In addition, they swing through many of these pitches for strikes.  That's good!  However, this chart shows there are other concerns with the curve:

CB
LD%
FB%
HR/FB%
2012
24.8
27.4
11.6
2013
19.4
35.5
36.4

Mainly, batters are hitting more curves in the air and many more over the fence.  That's bad!  It's still early, but not a great sign so far.  Let's look at his change:

CH
Contact%
Zone%
SwStr%
2012
79.6
38.2
9.9
2013
90.6
46.4
4.4
Average (2012)
79.7
44.9
9.1

His change was a pretty average pitch last year, but as his third pitch, it worked.  This season, players are making better contact and rarely missing that pitch.  He's throwing it in the zone more, and it's getting hit more.  Not a great combo.  Finally, here's a very small chart regarding his fastball:

FB
GB%
2012
56.5
2013
48.3

Basically, the decline of Diamond's ground ball rate can be almost fully correlated to the decreasing percentage of ground balls Diamond has coaxed with his fastball.  If you add it all up, Diamond has basically been this pitcher in 2013:  A league-average ground ball pitcher, with low strikeout totals and a good walk rate.  In 2012, Diamond was a ground ball pitcher with low strikeout totals and an elite walk rate.  These aren't major differences, but enough to turn a good pitcher into a shaky pitcher. 

All that being said, it is still very early and I won't be convinced that Diamond is a different pitcher until at least a full season passes. 

Analysis!  Now on to the Madness:

Random Paint Image


I choose to remember this Scott Diamond, being ceremoniously carried off the field by his teammates after a series of spectacular starts. 

Random Plug/Former Twin Update - Randy Ruiz

Ben Noble of Puckett's Pond posted a feature on a former Twin.  I fondly remember Randy Ruiz and hopefully you do too.  Plus, Ben's a really good dude and a great writer.  If you remember Randy Ruiz as fondly as I do, you should check it out

Random Photoshop

Byron Buxton hit a walk-off Grand Slam on Wednesday night.  It was a bomb.  Buxton has basically become the "next big thing" and fans are starting to clamor for Buxton's debut sooner than later.  I don't know anything about his realistic ETA, but I do know that Nikola Pekovic of the Minnesota Timberwolves was clearly impressed, as he updated his crazy tattoo after he heard about Buxton's feat:


Good gravy, that tattoo is crazy.

Answering a random question from the Twins' Facebook page:

Q:  Best movie ever...where is The Beast?

For context, this question was posted in reference to a picture of "Squints" and "Ham" from The Sandlot. 

A:  The Beast probably died 10-15 years ago.  A dog of that size likely had a lifespan of about 8-10 years. The dog was likely at least 2 or 3 when the movie was filmed and the movie is now 20 years old.  Thanks for asking though, it's a super uplifting topic to discuss. 

While on the topic of The Sandlot, how come only two of the actors were present for this weekend?  What are any of those guys doing right now?  Shouldn't the Twins have been able to get 5 or 6 of those guys, at minimum.  I bet if you give them free airfare, 20 bucks, and the chance to talk to people who think they're cool, they'd all be there.  Typical cheap Twins, slashing payroll and stiffing Sandlot actors.  Embarrassing. 

Random Top 12 List

Here are the Twins' leaders in wRC+ for the month of May (as of 5/19/2013):
  1. Joe Mauer - 228
  2. Oswaldo Arcia - 132
  3. Trevor Plouffe - 123
  4. Justin Morneau - 123
  5. Jamey Carroll - 115
  6. Pedro Florimon - 112
  7. Ryan Doumit - 108
  8. Aaron Hicks - 89
  9. Chris Parmelee - 74
  10. Eduardo Escobar - 55
  11. Josh Willingham - 55
  12. Brian Dozier - 19

Something I wrote

I have been recapping the last 25 Twins drafts.  If you missed them, here are a whole mess of links: 


Check back each day for a new draft!

Something stupid I wrote

I'm not sure this even qualifies as writing, but it is stupid.  What is Oswaldo Arcia doing with his arms?  I have 13 theories, and a bonus Paint image to boot.  Also, I did start a Facebook group for some reason.  There are six likes, which is five more than I expected.  If you are interested, you can find and like it here

Haiku

The Twins may be down
I refuse to frown or drown
Haiku should not rhyme

Have a nice week everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment