Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lineup Ineptness

Serious question to Ron Gardenhire:

Did you really expect to get much production from your lineup today when you had successive hitters named Brendan Harris, Drew Butera, Nick Punto, and Trevor Plouffe?

Let's be honest. Gardenhire won't be reading this blog, therefore the question will never be answered - but it is something worth asking, even if it is rhetorical, based on the performance shown by today's lineup versus Kris Medlen, a pitcher making just his 11th career start at the Major League level.

While this is arguably one of Gardenhire's most talented teams during his tenure as the Minnesota Twins manager, there is still a significant amount of fat that needs to be trimmed - beginning with the four players mentioned above. Granted Plouffe is on the roster out of necessity due to the lingering wrist injury hampering J.J. Hardy, but a legitimate case can be made to replace the other three players.

There will be a number of different statistics used on this blog - with the first being wOBA - which happens to be Weighted On Base Average. This is one of the more underrated baseball statistics considering it gives a good indication as to what the hitter actually does at the plate - regardless of the situation, amount of runners, inning, etc. Not at all hits are created equal, and this statistic supports that.

For the aforementioned trio of players, here is their respective wOBA for the 2010 season:

Butera: .160
Harris: .221
Punto: .276

So you know, the league average is typically around .330-.335 - varying on a year-to-year basis. What does that tell us? Well, something that you probably already know; Butera, Harris, and Punto are bad baseball players. Very bad.

Shocking, I know. This offense was supposed to be a juggernaut. With a foundation led by Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, this offense was supposed to erase all the memories of when Jason Tyner was the Twins' DH and when Tony Batista and Juan Castro patrolled the left side of the Twins infield.

However, that has not happened. Based on projections, this offense has underachieved up until this point in the season; and while injuries and slow starts have hampered that, the fact that guys like Punto, Butera, and Harris continue to get AB's is a much bigger concern than anything else facing the Minnesota Twins right now.

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