Call Me Perplexed

18 May

Good morning, folks. I don’t know why, but I am unable to post at www.SethSpeaks.net today. But I did want to post something. First, be sure to tune in at 10:00 central time tonight for Twins Minor League Weekly, a podcast from Travis Aune and myself to discuss the goings on in the Twins farm system.

Yesterday, the Twins again made several transactions in their farm system. Most of them make sense. One completely baffles me. Here is the rundown:

  • Toby Gardenhire is promoted to AAA Rochester.
  • Erik Lis demoted from Rochester to AA New Britain. (This combination of moves makes sense to me. With both Jose Morales and Wilson Ramos getting AAA at bats, and Brock Peterson at 1B, Lis would get very little playing time with the Red Wings. Gardenhire at least provides flexibility on the bench.
  • Chris Cates and Brandon Roberts move to AA New Britain. Cates becomes a AA utilty player even though he’s really struggled at the plate this year. Roberts’ rehab is complete and he heads back to New Britain yet again.
  • Loek Van Mil comes off of his rehab and reports to AA New Britain as well.
  • Chris Parmelee, Estarlin de Los Santos are demoted from New Britain to High-A Ft. Myers. Both are really struggling. Parmelee never hit for high batting average, but he would take walks and show power. This year, he was not doing either. De Los Santos only played half of the 2009 season in Ft. Myers due to injury, and he coudln’t hit AA pitching either. He also had a lot of errors at SS.
  • Joe Benson was demoted from New Britain to Ft. Myers. This is the one that has me completely perplexed. So, why am I so confused by the demotion of a 22 year old who is hitting .219? Let me count the ways:
    • In the minor leagues, you look for continued improvement and adjustments. In April, Benson hit .169. In May, he was hitting .283.
    • In April, he hit one home run. In May, he hit four home runs. His five homers are tops among all Twins minor leaguers so far this year.
    • In 2009 at Ft. Myers, Benson hit .285 and got on base .414. Even when Benson hit .169 in April, he was taking walks and had an IsoD of .127. In May, his IsoD was .128. He consistently walked about 14% of his plate appearances.
    • Defense is a strong suit of Benson’s. He has nearly the speed of Ben Revere and is fully capable in centerfield, but he has a very strong arm and can also play right field. He has shown his strong arm with several outfield assists, enough that in recent weeks, he is not being tested as much.
    • I am told that this is not a disciplinary demotion in any way. So that is a good thing.
    • The one number that is worth noting to be fair to this decision is striking out 27.6% of his plate appearances, and actually in his month of May (when he has an OPS of 1.020) he struck out 32.1% of his plate appearances.
    • Maybe this is an attempt to help Ft. Myers win a 1st half title and allow Aaron Hicks and Angel Morales another month of development time in Beloit.
    • I know my prospect rankings and thoughts don’t matter in the least, but last week, when I was considering how my Top 50 would look now, I had Joe Benson ranked ahead of Ben Revere, and I will stand by that. Benson’s potential is so much higher than Revere’s, and maybe this demotion will help him to achieve that. And if so, that’s all that matters. Benson’s upside is as high as anyone in the organization, with the possible exception of Aaron Hicks. Had this demotion happened in April, I would not have even been surprised. In fact, before the season, when I was projecting rosters, I actually had Benson starting the year in Ft. Myers. So, it’s not like he couldn’t have used more FSL at bats. I’m just not sure the message it sends when one of the top hitters of the month gets demoted while guys like Chris Cates and Toby Gardenhire get promoted.

But what do I know… I’m just a lowly blogger!! Any thoughts?

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41 Responses to “Call Me Perplexed”

  1. TT May 18, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    “I’m just not sure the message it sends when one of the top hitters of the month gets demoted while guys like Chris Cates and Toby Gardenhire get promoted.”

    The message is that organization players go where they are needed, prospects are placed based on their development.

    I think calling Benson the “top hitter of the month” based on 15 games is a bit of a stretch. New Britain scored 25 runs in 4 games against New Hampshire. At the end of that series, on May 6th. Benson was hitting .215. Nine games later, he was still only hitting .219 when sent to Fort Myers.

    In addition, New Britain has three outfielders who are doing well, Revere, Tosoni and Dolenc. With Lis back at AA as DH and Roberts on the roster, there are no at bats for a fifth outfielder. Somebody had to go.

    “Benson’s potential is so much higher than Revere’s”

    That is assuming he eventually learns to make contact. But that is doubtful enough that he isn’t really close to the prospect Revere is.

    • Louie Schuth May 18, 2010 at 11:02 am #

      As Seth said, in 2009 he hit .285 at Fort Myers. How is that not making contact?

      • TT May 18, 2010 at 11:16 am #

        Benson struck out 1 in every four plate appearances last year. And that was against A ball pitchers. His average at Fort Myers was decent because he got 75 hits while putting the ball in play 189 times. It appears he was over-matched at AA with his strikeouts up and his hits when making contact down. That appears to be the Twins conclusion anyway.

      • jay lethal May 21, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

        Ben reveres BABIP was .419 the 2 years ago, which is way higher than bensons BABIP last year. But you seem less concerned about the sustainability of reveres line.

  2. LetsGoMiracle May 18, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    How about the fact that the Rock Cats are at 7W 28L (?!) (.200) on the season for a team that pretty much won first and second half of the FSL South in 2009 as the Miracle.

    Maybe things needed to be mixed up a bit in AA?

    Watch Chris Cates well, collectively we have here in Fort Myers and we liked what we saw.

  3. thrylos98 May 18, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    I think that the Gardenhire promotion makes about as much sense as the Benson demotion, if it a permanent decision… Hopefully Gardenhire will be gone from Rochester when Tolbert returns there and/or when Hughes gets off the DL. I suspect that it has to do with the lack of able bodies in Rochester.

    Also with Morales and Ramos alternating at DH and C there was not much place for Lis in Rochester. Rochester still needs another OF, though…

  4. TT May 18, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    With Morales and Ramos both in the lineup, Rochester needs an emergency catcher. That would be Gardenhire. This is the reason he took up catching.

    • mike wants wins May 18, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

      I agree with TT. He’s up because he’s the emergency catcher, utility guy with no MLB future. He’s filling in the holes. It does seem odd that year after year the Twins leave Rochester short on players at some point. Do other teams do this to their AAA affiliates?

  5. Richard May 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Seth – why are you so perplexed? Haven’t you learned by now that the Twins love light hitting utilitymen like Harris, Casilla, Tolbert, and Punto! Thus the promotions of the light hitting Gardenhire and Cates!

  6. Dave Nelson May 19, 2010 at 2:20 am #

    I hope the demotion of Benson wasnt BA motivated but i suspect it was the main factor. .219/.346/.419 is a solid line especially considering his BA is so low.

    As for who the better prospect; revere or benson, if you think it revere you are ignoring performance, tools, upside and defensive ability and hoping that revere starts taking more walks, learns how to play CF and develops gap power. Revere has been living off of almost hitting 400 for more than a year now.

    2009 FTM
    Benson: .285/.414/.403
    Revere: .311/.372/.369

    2010 NBR
    Benson: .219/.346/.419
    Revere: .279/.353/.328

    Add to that Benson playing better defense and being a more versatile defender. Ben revere is not even a good base stealer. Benson gets demoted despite playing better this year than revere, and im sure ben is well on his way to a 3rd consecutive player of the year award because he happens to be in an organization thats allergic to walks and absolutely hypnotized by batting average and speed.

    Theres a pretty good chance revere is going to be a huge disappointment. He doesnt hit near enough to play a corner outfield position so his only role with the twins would be to take over CF and move span to a corner. But right now reports are that he doesnt play CF particularly well so he might not be a good option to move span. Either way hes got Hicks on his tail as CF of the future. And if hicks does supplant revere in CF, revere has few tools to transition to a corner spot.

  7. TT May 19, 2010 at 9:32 am #

    “revere has few tools to transition to a corner spot.”

    Teams will find a place for someone who hits close to .400 with lightning speed.

    “Ben revere is not even a good base stealer”

    He stole 45 bases last season, third most in the FSL. He has 11 this year, fourth in the EL. I believe both numbers lead the Twins organization.

    “Benson playing better defense”

    I haven’t seen that. The only thing I have seen is that Benson has a better arm than Revere. But Revere is faster, with more range. I haven’t seen anything that says Benson gets better reads on balls or makes more heads up plays.

    “I hope the demotion of Benson wasn’t BA motivated but i suspect it was”

    Not being able to hit AA pitching can and should get you demoted.

    • Dave May 19, 2010 at 10:39 am #

      From baseball prospectus ranking of Twins prospects this year:

      The Good: On tools alone, Benson ranks with nearly any outfielder in a system rich with them. He has above-average raw power, plus-plus speed, covers more ground in center field than Ben Revere, and his arm also rates as plus. A former football star in high school, he brings that gridiron mentality to every plate appearance while maintaining good plate discipline.

      Revere is not a good defensive center fielder and I believe Gardy said as much.. Benson’s stats are better than Revere’s and create more runs. Revere will not hit anywhere close to .400 going forward but will probably stay around .300 with a a slightly higher OBP as he doesn’t take many pitches.

      • TT May 19, 2010 at 10:52 am #

        “baseball prospectus” has zero scouts and the claim Benson “covers more ground” than Revere contradicts all the scouting reports I have seen that say Revere is faster than Benson. He certainly steals more bases.

        “On tools alone”

        Apparently BP does not consider making contact with a pitched baseball a “tool”.

        “Revere is not a good defensive center fielder and I believe Gardy said as much.”

        Yes, he did. He also said Ramos has stuff to learn as a catcher. He is probably right in both cases when comparing them to major league players. He would no doubt say the same thing of Benson.

        Gardy also commented on Revere’s speed allowing him to run stuff down.

      • TT May 19, 2010 at 11:17 am #

        BTW, here are Denard Span’s numbers when he was 22 at New Britain:

        .285 .340 .349

        At the moment, here are Revere’s:

        .291 .361 .354

        Yeh – those are higher than two days ago, which is what makes comparisons at this point in the season pretty meaningless.

        If you look at the previous year, here are Span’s numbers (A and AA):
        .307 .377 .369 23 SB

        Here are Revere’s at the same age (A ball):
        .311 .372 .369 45 SB

        If you see a difference, its only in that last number.

        BTW, wasn’t it one of the BP guys who labeled Torii Hunter a “slap hitter” when he was in the minor leagues?

  8. Seth May 19, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    This is the beauty of the discussion; They’re both very good prospects who, at this young age have different traits and positives over each other. They both could be all stars. They both could be flops. There is no sure-thing when it comes to how prospects will develop. I personally think that Span is an exception and someone whose minor league path is very interesting. It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out. And numbers are still some subject to change that to make anything out of them now is silly, as TT said. But the discussion is great!

    • SoCalTwinsfan May 19, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

      Span is definitely an exception because he transformed himself into one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball. He was considered somewhat of a disappointment for much of his minor league career before suddenly developing much greater patience at AAA. He obviously worked hard to improve himself which often is not the case for many first-round picks and is a big reason why he is one of my favorite Twins right now.

  9. Dave Nelson May 19, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

    Ill address TT’s claims one by one because i think they are all wrong.

    “Teams will find a place for someone who hits close to .400 with lightning speed.” While this is true revere is not going to be a .400 hitter. He almost certainly wont be a .330 hitter. If he could be a .320/.380/.380 hitter i think hed certainly have value but if the line is .320/.360/.350 much less value you. And if the line slips farther to say .300/.340/.330 he may end up being a utility outfielder. So much of his value is wrapped up in his BA and right now he doesnt have the power or discipline to be a productive hitter with out a very high batting average.

    “He stole 45 bases last season, third most in the FSL. He has 11 this year, fourth in the EL. I believe both numbers lead the Twins organization.” He’s a 70% base stealer which isnt good especially for a player whose only tool is superior speed. I suspect hes just learning the nuance of base stealing which is what the minors is for but his percentage isnt good. Either way you have to have such a high % steal rate to add any value i really dont consider being able to steal bases a super skill.

    “haven’t seen that. The only thing I have seen is that Benson has a better arm than Revere. But Revere is faster, with more range. I haven’t seen anything that says Benson gets better reads on balls or makes more heads up plays. ” Ive never seen a good scouting report about reveres defense. Ive read that he takes terrible routes to balls which translates below average range. Ive read that his instincts for the position arent very good. Add to that his notoriously weak arm. I think you are making the common mistake of attributing speed to rangy defense. Denard span and curtis granderson are both below average defenders and a guy like jeff kent was an above average defenders. There is skill to good defense besides just good athleticism.

    “Not being able to hit AA pitching can and should get you demoted.” Benson was certainly holding his own against AA pitching. There is more to being productive offensively than batting average.

    And comparing revere to 22 year old span hurts your argument that revere is going to become an impact player. Denard span developed gap power and started walking more. If revere does that he will be a good player. If he doesnt revere could turn into the player most thought span was going to be, 4th outfielder.

  10. TT May 19, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    “He’s a 70% base stealer which isnt good”

    Revere’s stealing percentage closer to 73%, right at the major league and Twins average last year. If he steals 60 bases every year, no one is going to complain about his percentage except the folks at BP and their followers.

    “I’ve read that he takes terrible routes to balls which translates below average range.”

    Sure it does. But again routes are a learnable skill not a tool. Ramos doesn’t call a good game and has some problems with his foot work, but that hardly means he isn’t a good catching prospect.

    If you want to talk about performance, rather than tools, then Benson’s arm produced 3 assists last year, the same number as Revere’s. The fact a player has a cannon for an arm doesn’t mean he knows how to use it.

    “Denard span and curtis granderson are both below average defenders and a guy like jeff kent was an above average defenders.”

    Only in an alternative universe.

    “Benson was certainly holding his own against AA pitching.”

    No, he wasn’t. He was striking out one in every four plate appearances and he wasn’t getting many hits when he managed to put the ball in play.

    “There is more to being productive offensively than batting average.”

    There really isn’t anything you can do to make up for not being able to hit the ball. Benson’s power isn’t much use if he can’t make contact. And the only way to get a walk is if the pitcher doesn’t put the ball over the plate. If you can’t hit it when they do, the only pitchers that will walk you are the ones that can’t find the plate even when they try. There are a lot of those in A and AA ball, but none that last long at the major league level.

    “Denard span developed gap power and started walking more.”

    Which is a typical development pattern. Similar to BP’s “slap hitter” Torii Hunter – although Hunter always projected to have more power than Span or Revere. But try to find a major league player like Benson who struck out 25% of the time in A ball. I don’t think there are any on the Twins.

    Which is the point. Revere is a prospect because he has tools and developed skills that make it likely he will continue to develop into a major league player. Benson has flaws that make it likely he won’t. His getting sent back to A ball is just an indication of that.

    • Dave May 20, 2010 at 6:53 am #

      “If you want to talk about performance, rather than tools, then Benson’s arm produced 3 assists last year, the same number as Revere’s. The fact a player has a cannon for an arm doesn’t mean he knows how to use it.”

      This argument is just plain stupid. You know that an outfielder gets credited with an assisit when he throws it to a cut off man who in turn throw the runner out at a base? Go to a game – teams run on Revere and take the extra base all the time. Nobody runs on Benson. He had 14 assists in half a season at Beloit in 2008. Also Benson only played about half a season last year where Revere played the whole year.

      To say that Benson doesn’t know how to use his arm as a defensive tool is patently wrong.

  11. The real deal bill mcneal-durbin May 19, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    Ive read some literature about how stealing bases really doesnt add much value because you give away baserunners and outs when you are unsuccessful and the reward is only a base. If you look at old expected run matrices from 2000-2005, which gives the average number runs scored in every possible baserunner/out situation over that time period, you can see that its tough for steals to generate many runs. Teams averaged .8968 runs with a guy on first and no one out and 1.1385 runs with a guy on second and no one out and .2769 runs with no one on and 1 out. Using that data you can figure out how successful a base stealer must be to score the same number of runs he would if he would just stay on first using the equation: 1.0(.8968)=1.1385(x)+.2796(1-x) where is is the stolen base %/100. This % for stealing a base with no one out is 71.86. With one out the break even % is 75.86 and 71.03 with 2 outs. If you assume that a hitter is going to be on first base the same number of times with 0, 1 and 2 outs than you can average this % and you get a break even % of 72.83 %. If you dont steal a higher % than this then you are not generating extra runs for you team and if you are less than that you are losing runs. So its not good enough to just steal a high number of bases, its more important to steal a very high % of bases as well which revere at this point does not do.

    “Sure it does. But again routes are a learnable skill not a tool. Ramos doesn’t call a good game and has some problems with his foot work, but that hardly means he isn’t a good catching prospect.” Its not that revere cant become a good CF, but right now hes not and hes not better than benson. I would be great if he gets better on defense but theres certainly no guarantee he will.

    ““Denard span developed gap power and started walking more.”

    Which is a typical development pattern.” This is absolutely not true. Denard is a very rare exception. Revere is not projected to hit for much power because hes so small and players typically to improve their plate discipline dramatically as them move up levels.

    As for players with high K rates, many players with high k rates in the majors had high k rates in the minors. Ryan howard, mark reynolds, adam dunn were all over 25% k rate.

    ““Benson was certainly holding his own against AA pitching.”

    No, he wasn’t. He was striking out one in every four plate appearances and he wasn’t getting many hits when he managed to put the ball in play.” He got on base as much as revere and hit for more power. Also his BA was up the last month he was in NBR. Both benson and revere have flaws. Benson k rate is more likely than any of reveres flaws to keep him out of the majors completely but I believe reveres lack of power and mediocre plate discipline and defense make benson more likely to be an impact major league player.

    • TT May 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

      “If you look at old expected run matrices from 2000-2005, which gives the average number runs scored in every possible baserunner/out situation over that time period”

      Which is basically meaningless isn’t it, since players don’t attempt steals randomly? The idea that stealing second base has equal value whether Joe Mauer is coming to the plate or Nick Punto would surprise most people. Even more surprising would be that a player would attempt a steal with a ten run lead.

      “Ryan howard, mark reynolds, adam dunn were all over 25% k rate. ”

      Howard still does. You are right. If Benson projected to hit close to 60 HR like Howard did one year or 40+ on an annual basis, then striking out 25% of the time might be acceptable. He doesn’t. He hit 5 home runs last year, Howard hit 23 in his FSL season. The year, Howard hit for extra bases 1 in every 10 plate appearances, Benson about half that often.

      “This is absolutely not true. Denard is a very rare exception.”

      No, he really isn’t a rare exception. Most players develop more power as they age – its what Torii Hunter has called “grown-up muscles”.

      “Nobody runs on Benson. ”

      Based on what? He has hardly played enough for minor league players or coaches to respect his arm.

      “You know that an outfielder gets credited with an assisit when he throws it to a cut off man”

      Your point being that Revere hits the cutoff man more often than Benson …? Because frankly, that is part of my point. There are plenty of major league outfielders who lack cannon arms, but make the right plays. And there are guys with cannon arms that air mail balls past the cutoff man. Its spectacular when it works, but not when it lets the trailing runner advance or the ball pulls the defender away from the bag.

      Just so we are clear Benson made 4 errors last year, Revere made none. Benson had 2 more in his brief stint at New Britain. Revere still had none.

      “Its not that revere cant become a good CF, but right now hes not and hes not better than benson.”

      Right now, neither one of them is better than Jason Repko.

      The fact is that Revere has the ability to hit and great speed. He is in the minor leagues because he still has a lot to learn. Benson also has some great tools. But his inability to hit the ball – more exposed in AA – makes him much less a prospect.

      • Lisa Miller May 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

        A run expectation matrix over that long of a time period is an enormous data set which makes bills analysis quasi situationaly independent. While certainly there are times when stealing is more and less beneficial, over a long period of time these will even out and this is where the run expectation becomes predictive. Bills point was just a crude illustration of high % stealing is much more important that quantity. And if say revere was a leadoff hitter and on base in front of mauer and morneau stealing becomes less advantageous because those hitters more likely to get extra base hits and hits in general than the rest of the team. That means giving up an out and a baserunner is more detrimental than it would be if say nick punto was up. Trying to steal a base with nick punto up is a much higher percentage play because punto is unlikely to hit a run scoring xtra basehit and being on second instead of first will lead to a run more than it would with a normal player.

      • Dave May 20, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

        “Based on what? He has hardly played enough for minor league players or coaches to respect his arm”

        You are not serious are you? The twins farm teams play the same teams 8 to 23 or so games per season. How long do you think it takes the opposing teams to compile their scouting reports?

        Also many outfield errors are the result of balls thrown to the bases that don’t get picked by the fielder or in some cases may hit the runner.Revere doesn’t accumulate any throwing errors because he can’t throw a runner out at a base. Not a very useful stat for determining an outfielders contribution to the teams defense.

        You may not agree but Revere currently is not a good defensive centerfielder with a poor throwing arm.

        IMO Benson is the better prospect and appears to be improving his hitting skills (similar to what he did in 2009). 2 weeks in May is a small sample size – but its hard to argue with a 1000+ OPS.

        My guess is he was moved down to make room for Roberts and shake things up in New Britain given the poor start.

      • TT May 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

        “While certainly there are times when stealing is more and less beneficial, over a long period of time these will even out ”

        No, they won’t. Not any more than the numbers of home runs hit when Justin Morneau is batting will even out with the number of home runs hit when Nick Punto is batting. The size of your data set has nothing to do with whether it is random.

        What the run matrix actually shows is that if players attempt steals randomly in every situation where they are on first base with second open, stealing bases more than 70% of the time is going to help their team on average. But no one actually steals bases that way.

        “if say revere was a leadoff hitter and on base in front of mauer and morneau stealing becomes less advantageous because those hitters more likely to get extra base hits and hits in general than the rest of the team. ”

        I don’t think that is always true. Both Mauer and Morneau are more likely to get a single than an extra base hit. If there are two outs, getting to second base is going to more than double the chances of scoring. The quality of the pitcher and the game score are also factors runners and coaches consider before attempting a steal. Which is the reason “random” run probabilities are irrelevant.

  12. mike wants wins May 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    great discussion. Lots of information, w/o a lot of getting mad at each other. I generally like Seth’s posters for this very reason.

  13. TT May 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    “Also his(Benson’s) BA was up the last month he was in NBR”

    I want to repeat this comment:

    “New Britain scored 25 runs in 4 games against New Hampshire. At the end of that series, on May 6th. Benson was hitting .215. Nine games later, he was still only hitting .219 when sent to Fort Myers. ”

    What puzzles me, is that people think the Twins, who look at detailed reports every day, don’t have a clearer idea of how Benson is doing than we can get from just two weeks worth of stats. Or any amount of stats for that matter.

    The fact that Benson got sent down to A ball does say something about his status as a prospect. The same is true of Parmelee. You can be in denial about that. But it is true, nonetheless. If they had been successful at New Britain they would still be there. And if their failure had been anticipated they never would have been sent there to begin with.

    • Ted k May 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

      So benson was responsible for NBR not scoring runs but revere had nothing to do with it? And dont over estimate the twins ability to properly analyze player statistics because they are a professional baseball organization. I was reading the twincentric interview with rob anthony where he said the things the twins look for in a player are RBI totals and RISP (?!?!). He also didnt know what FIP stood for. I dont care that they dont like or use FIP but not knowing what it stands for simply for the sake of due diligence is terrible. The twins are pretty barbaric when it comes to statistics. And TT i think you are too hung up on BA. Orlando cabrerra was a .300 hitter for the twins but was still terrible because he never took walks. OBP>SLG>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>BA

      • TT May 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

        FIP is just another meaningless, misnamed, number, why would anyone pay attention to it?

        “So benson was responsible for NBR not scoring runs but revere had nothing to do with it? ”

        I was actually referring to Benson and Parmelee’s failure, not New Britain’s. But yeh, I think its likely the guy who is hitting around .300 while 4th in the league in stolen bases is less of a problem than the guy who is struggling to get to the Mendoza line.

        Benson had one good series in May where New Britain scored 25 runs. Apparently everyone was getting big fat pitches that even Benson could hit and he got to display his power. Unfortunately, the rest of the time he had a hard time making solid contact, when he made any contact at all.

        “TT i think you are too hung up on BA”

        No, I just don’t dismiss it. And when a guy struggles to get above the Mendoza line against AA pitching, I think there is a problem. And when they are also striking out a lot, I think there is a big problem. And when they get sent back a level, its not a surprise or a mistake.

        In that situation, those walks some people seem to be impressed by just add to the impression of a guy who is struggling. That “patience” is really desperation. It appears Benson is taking a lot of pitches because he can’t hit them. If the pitcher misses the plate enough, he gets a walk. If they don’t, he gets struck out. Usually he struggles even if he manages to put the ball in play. But if they occasionally groove him the right pitch, he may stand a chance to hit it out of the park.

      • jay lethal May 21, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

        The point wasnt that FIP is or isnt a good stat, the point was that its something a baseball executive should atleast be aware of. And TT what exactly is the value of a BA without context of obp and slg? Would you rather have the guy that goes 3-10 with 3 singles or a guy that goes 0-0 with 10 walks? Youd take the guy with 10 walks even though his BA is .000. Revere and Benson were getting on base at the same pace despite revere sizable BA advantage. Is that somehow unclear? And your argument that Bensons walk rate are the result of him taking pitches because he knows he wont make contact and lucking his way into walks is really really stupid. What if instead of being desperate and hoping for a walk benson is simply laying off tough pitches early in the count and looking for a pitch he can drive? The result of that would be going deeper into counts which leads to more strikes and more walks. And by being patient he get more pitches he can hit hard. I think its very possible that revere doesnt strike out much because he takes way few pitches, and puts more pitches in play. This leads to few walks and fewer k’s, fewer pitches seen, and hes less likely to get a mistake from the pitcher. Id venture a major factor difference between reveres k rate and bensons k rate is that benson takes way more pitches. And the argument that Benson taking a lot of pitches is desperation is really really dumb.

  14. Dave May 21, 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    Boy that Joe Benson sure sucks. Only slugging 1.422 so far this week. He did strike out 3 times with 2 walks and a HBP. Obviously his patience is really desperation in disguise. But don’t worry TT will tell us how Revere would have done better by not striking out those 3 times.

    • TT May 22, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

      Dave – You clearly have your mind made up.

      Benson only struck out 3 times in 23 plate appearance, half as often as he did in New Britain. He also walked about half as often. He seems to have lost some of his “patience”. Do you think that might be because he is getting pitches in A ball that he thinks he has a chance of hitting?

      • jay lethal May 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

        There are probably a few sample size issues with extracting much information from a 4 games sample size.

  15. TT May 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    “The point wasnt that FIP is or isnt a good stat, the point was that its something a baseball executive should atleast be aware of”

    I don’t know why. You think they have nothing better to do than read baseball blogs?

    “What if instead of being desperate and hoping for a walk benson is simply laying off tough pitches early in the count and looking for a pitch he can drive? ”

    I don’t doubt that is what he is doing. The problem is he is never getting those pitches, isn’t it? Or not very often anyway. The result is that batting average near the Mendoza line.

    “Revere and Benson were getting on base at the same pace despite revere sizable BA advantage.”

    There are two issues here. One is whether a walk is the same as a hit, and it really isn’t. The second is that it isn’t true. Benson had a .346 OBP and Revere’s is at .381. That is a hefty difference.

    “id venture a major factor difference between reveres k rate and bensons k rate is that benson takes way more pitches. ”

    Maybe, but what explains that he got so many fewer hits when he swings and puts the ball in play? I don’t doubt Benson is taking a lot of called strikes, but part of that was because he couldn’t hit them.

    • jay lethal May 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

      Im sure most teams are using pitching formulas much more complex than FIP by now but the point is the twins front office seems to be uninterested in anything but pretty deceptive rate statistics. ERA is not a very good pitching specific metric for a lot of obvious reasons and whether the twins use advanced statistics or not they should be more aware of them than they are. Not unlike yourself TT.

      Ben reveres OBP when benson was demoted was .353 not .381. .353 and .348 are pretty close. And your complaint that a single is more valuable than a walk is accurate. However the difference in value is not all that large. Certainly not as large is the value difference between a double and single which speaks to bensons sizable advantage slugging the ball. Reveres .328 slg is putrid. Certainly a bigger obstacle than bensons K rate in becoming a good major league player. There is no doubt in my mind that benson was have a more productive season than revere when he was demoted both offensively and defensively.

      • TT May 22, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

        “Im sure most teams are using pitching formulas much more complex than FIP ”

        That would not be hard, but I doubt it. I am sure teams, including the Twins, are keeping track of all sorts of information and analyzing it in a variety of ways. That has nothing to do with numbers like FIPS which are invented by bloggers.

        “ERA is not a very good pitching specific metric”

        Metric of what? It is a perfect metric for the number of earned runs a pitcher gives up for every 27 outs they get. In any case, who said the Twins use ERA to evaluate pitchers?

        “353 and .348″

        I don’t know what Revere’s OBP was when Benson was demoted, but since you can’t get Benson’s right … it was .346 this year at New Britain.

        “Reveres .328 slg is putrid.” Revere’s SLG is .374 – I don’t know what it was when Benson was demoted.

        “Certainly not as large is the value difference between a double and single ”

        Whether that is true or not, and I think not, Revere has 5 doubles compared to Benson’s 4 so the point is moot. And yes, Benson has more home runs, and home runs are worth more than singles or walks. But frankly, the whole “OBP uber alles” is getting tired. OBP has value, but it is not the end of the discussion.

        “Certainly a bigger obstacle than bensons K rate in becoming a good major league player.”

        Benson’s problem wasn’t his K rate. His problem was that he couldn’t hit AA pitching. His K rate is just one indicator of that. His inability to get hits was a far more obvious indicator.

        “There are probably a few sample size issues with extracting much information from a 4 games sample size.”

        Whereas 6 weeks is a huge sample? Lets be clear, I doubt Benson was sent down because some geek at the Twins home office looked at his stats and was dissatisfied. The Twins have daily scouting reports that catch a lot more nuance than just the results.

        And, sure, it could just be a coincidence that Benson suddenly started hitting after being sent to A ball. Just like the 4 game series in May that raised his average above the Mendoza line. The fact is, his performance since being sent down is the only information we have.

      • jay lethal May 23, 2010 at 4:21 am #

        “I don’t know what Revere’s OBP was when Benson was demoted, but since you can’t get Benson’s right … it was .346 this year at New Britain. ” Their triple slash data was posted earlier in the comments section. Also, you werent able to get your jab at me quite into a complete sentence which i think is about as relevant as .002 on a listed obp.

        And TT, youre wrong. Not like you make good points and i disagree wrong, I mean your viewpoints have no merit because they are so poorly developed. Ive read a lot of your crap and i disagree with all of it, everything you type. You have no insight when it comes to the twins. But I have a theory about that. I think you just troll these chat boards and say stuff with the hopes of making people upset because you think its funny. You say something absurd and clearly wrong and then when someone questions the validity of what youve said you make a post quoting things theyve said with more absurd analysis. You bring nothing to the table. You must know youre wrong. No one would spend this much time on Twins blogs and only have the depth of knowledge you do.

      • TT May 23, 2010 at 8:38 am #

        “Not like you make good points and i disagree wrong, I mean your viewpoints have no merit”

        Well, that is up to readers to decide I guess. I think they have merit. And, in this case, they support a decision the Twins actually made. You want to understand baseball? Try to figure out why the Twins made the decision they made, instead of inventing some reason they are wrong. Because chances are their decision is not based on crap.

        As for crap. I think it is crap when someone supports attacks a decision by the Twins based on limited data and then complains when those numbers have changed dramatically a week later.

        Does anyone really think Revere dramatically improved in a week? Do his current stats better reflect his ability than his stats a week ago? Who knows? Who cares? As I said, I don’t think the Twins base their decisions just on measuring results after 6 weeks.

        And yes, that comment about your data was an obvious cheap shot.

        “say stuff with the hopes of making people upset ”

        Anyone who is “upset” because someone disagrees with them about the use of baseball statistics has serious problems.
        I think there is a lot of faith based use of statistics by people who don’t really understand them. They are threatened by any notion that what they KNOW may not be true.

        I think my explanation for why Benson was getting a lot of walks, striking out a lot and not getting many hits is pretty clear. He was waiting to get a pitch he thought he could hit and he wasn’t seeing many of those from AA pitchers. If that is the case, it would surely explain why the Twins decided he was over-matched at AA and sent him back to A ball.

        Your explanation seems to be the Twins are not very smart and fail to recognize just how well Benson really was playing.

  16. TT May 22, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    “You are not serious are you? The twins farm teams play the same teams 8 to 23 or so games per season. How long do you think it takes the opposing teams to compile their scouting reports? ”

    Benson only played 78 games last year. As far as I know, there are no advance scouting reports in A ball. So many games does it take to “respect” an outfielder’s arm without testing it? Shouldn’t there have to be a few failed tests before you learn not to?

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Twins Minor League Weekly TONIGHT and Quick Notes « SethSpeaks.net - May 18, 2010

    […] that allows comments. That is the site that contains the RSS feed. I was able to blog about being Perplexed by the demotion of Joe Benson. I won’t repost here, but be sure to click on the link to read that short blog […]

  2. One Last Thing… « SethSpeaks.net - May 19, 2010

    […] in the comments section of my blog the other day, I had one of the best comments I have received in a comments section. I probably should highlight more comments and e-mails that I […]

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