### Twins could easily be 4 to 5 up in the Wild Card.

Jason Bartlett now has approximately the same number of innings played as Juan Castro did before her was traded. My goal now is to try to determine how man runs the left side of the infield cost the Twins, offensively and defensively. I will look at some offensive and defensive statistics of Castro and Batista compared to their replacements, Bartlett and Punto.

On the face of it, it is easy to see the differences offensively. Batista hit .236/.303/.388, Castro hit .231/.258/.308 and the replacements have hit much better with Punto .308/.399/.408 and Bartlett .377/.443/.497. Those are drastic improvements.

Punto has an OPS over 100 points higher than Batista, and Bartlett has an OPS nearly 400 points higher. The most important stat of OBP is the real difference maker. Punto’s is 100 points higher and Bartlett’s is an amazing 200 points higher.

The differences are profound and amazing.

Runs Created is a real good stat to use to determine the real world value of the players. Punto has an RC/27 outs of 6.5, Bartlett 8.4, Batista 3.8, and Castro 2.1. This means that a lineup of all Castro’s will average 2.1 runs per game.

Then I divide that number by 9, to get the amount of runs 1 player adds to the lineup then I multiply it times 50 to get the amount of runs each player added to the team in that 50 game stretch. Then I get the difference to compare the two players.

In 50 games Bartlett created 35 more runs than Castro. Punto created 15 more runs than Batista. That means, with all things being equal, the Twins lost 5 wins by playing an old left side of the infield that has shown throughout their careers that they could not hit. It isn’t a surprise to anyone how poor those 2 were offensively. Yet Gardy threw them out there to cost the Twins 5 wins.

Now it is tough to assume that Punto would be as good as he is and that Bartlett would be hitting the ball as well as he is, but like I said already, everyone knew the abilities of Castro and Batista.

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that Bartlett would not have done as well as he is now if he had been on the squad all year. I think that is a fair assumption. So maybe Bartlett would have only offered 75% of the value he has given the Twins so far. That is still a 24 run difference. That is a 2 win difference between Bartlett and Castro. That is a lot over 50 games. So even if Bartlett had only played at 75% of his current level the Twins would still have 4 more wins. Even if Bartlett played as an average shortstop he would have added 15 more runs.

What about defensively? That is tough to measure. By watching the twins we all have seen a difference in the ranges on the left side of the infield. Also the Twin’s Defense Efficiency Rating (DER) has improved dramatically since it was one of the worst all time at the beginning of the season. So anecdotally the Twins defense has improved. It is just hard to prove statistically.

I looked at defensive stats from BaseballProspectus.com. They rank the replacements at nearly the same level as the previous players. I really can’t agree with that. So I looked at each player’s zone rating which is also an imperfect stat. But I think it is the best one in this situation.

Both Bartlett and Punto have zone ratings of about .050 higher than the player they replaced. I determined this to be approximately 31 extra singles allowed by the old infield. This is about 14 runs. This is 1 more win lost by the Twins.

If Bartlett had played the entire season at his current level rather than Castro the run differential between Castro and Bartlett would have been about 42 runs, 4 wins. If Bartlett would have fallen off or just played at 75% of his current production it would have been a run differential of about 29 runs, 3 wins.

The run differential between Batista and Punto is 22 runs and 2 wins.

In conclusion, it is in my best estimation that the Twins lost 5 to 6 wins during the 1st 50 games of the season using the Castro/Batista experiment. At worst it cost the Twins 3 wins, at best it cost them 7 wins, in only 50 games.

The hardest part of this is that it was predicted by most of us before the season started.

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