September 11, 2012

Liam Hendriks vs. Pitcher X (and a podcast update)

Much has been made about Liam Hendriks beginning his career with a 0-9 record and failing to record a win through 16 starts. Judging pitchers on wins and losses is mostly pointless, especially when one of those "losses" was a complete game in which he allowed one run, but even setting that aside Hendriks has a 6.19 ERA and .324 opponents' batting average while serving up 15 homers in 84 innings.

In other words, it hasn't been pretty whether you focus on his record or his overall numbers. With that said, Hendriks is still just 23 years old with a sub-3.00 ERA at every level in the minors and a young pitcher struggling in his first taste of the big leagues is hardly a death sentence. In fact, here's how Hendriks' current numbers through 16 career starts compare to another young Twins pitcher--let's call him "Pitcher X" for now--through 16 career starts:

                                 IP      ERA     SO     BB     HR     OAVG
Hendriks after 16 starts       84.1     6.19     54     25     15     .324
Pitcher X after 16 starts      93.1     5.40     49     25     17     .339

"Pitcher X" is Brad Radke, about whom people probably said things like "he doesn't throw very hard" and "he gives up too many homers" as he posted a 5.40 ERA through 16 starts with a .339 opponents' average and 17 homers in 93 innings. That doesn't prove anything, of course--plenty of other pitchers have had similarly poor numbers through 16 starts and simply gone on to be bad pitchers--but the point is that writing off Hendriks would be a mistake.


A quick note for Gleeman and The Geek listeners: This week's episode has been pushed back until tonight because ... well, John Bonnes apparently has a life or something. My apologies. Delaying the recording does give us a chance to solicit questions and/or topic ideas, so if you have anything to ask us please post it in the comments section and we'll answer it on the podcast tonight. And it definitely doesn't have to be about the Twins or even baseball.

This week's blog content is sponsored by Mr. Base Man, a book about personal redemption and the Minnesota Twins by Darrell Roehl. Please support him for supporting AG.com.

  • Ron

    Please comment on the Shipley article on the pioneerPress that quotes Gardenhire as saying that one of the things the Twins will be looking for in the off season is a “closer” and that he hopes to see Matt Capps pitch again before the end of the season – like he is hoping the Twins exercise his option for next year.

    Say it ain’t so!!!! If this is really part of the Twins plan this off season we all may as well pack it in as Twins fans – at least for the next 5 years.

  • Jon

    Assuming we have to go with one or the other at SS next year – Florimon or Dozier? I know, I know, who cares? But entertain me. Now that you’re drinking again I want to hear a good ol’ fashioned 30 minute long G&G argument.

  • doug

    Realistically, how long until the Twins are a playoff team again?

  • Daddy

    Question for the podcast:

    For some reason, Vavra intrigues me—he’s a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Or maybe he’s just mediocre.

    In your opinions, does he deserve credit for Mauer and Morneau breaking out shortly after he arrived or blame for over lack of punch in the lineup? Or neither? Or both?

    Later homiezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • J.T.

    I’ve heard you say many times that the twins, given their need to rebuild,  should be willing to trade every player on the team if they can get good value for them. I understand the logic of this, but it does beg the question, what exactly about the MN Twins makes you a Twins fan? Do you feel a sentimental attachment to any of our players that might outweigh, say, a 10% increase in value that might result from trading that player? Let’s say by some crazy twist of fate that the entire active Twins roster was traded overnight to Tampa Bay in exchange for theirs. Which team would be at the center of your universe the next day? 

    I realize this is an absurd premise, and I don’t intend it to sound antagonistic. I would just love to hear you guys discuss/argue about this theme in general. 

  • Bradley

    If you and John had to guess right now who would you guess would be the five pitchers in the starting rotation on opening day next year. Kind of scary to think about, no? I’ll go with Hendricks, Gibson, Diamond, Shawn Marcum and — God help us — Blackburn.

  • Ray

    You often talk about a player that is “old”. Please define what old is for position players and pitchers. Also, what are the optimum ages for players.

  • Aaron

    Some buddies of mine from college and I–Twins fans all–recently started a baseball reading group. Do you and John have any favorite baseball books that you’ve read over the years and would recommend?

  • BR

    What’s the one best (and realistic) offseason trade the Twins could make? Lots of variables, but let’s say they have to be shipping out a guy from the 25 man roster to acquire a MLB-ready prospect. Who are the players?

  • Scott

    book recommendation: Lords of the Realm by John Helyar.

    It looks like it would be boring (about MLB labor relations) but it’s a really good study on how traditionally the owners can’t even agree with each other let alone come to an agreement with the players. Lot’s of insight into well known players and owners over the years. Including a really good story over how Griffith saved money and (partially) because of it, he moved the Senators to Minnesota as opposed to Los Angeles. Just a really fun, interesting read.

  • Dave T

    For next year’s starting rotation, I’ll go with Deduno, De Vries, Gibson, and two guys who emerge out of spring training. Diamond is on the bubble right now — he started strong, but lately, not so much.

  • Dave

    I don’t think Diamond’s on the bubble – I think he’s earned a spot in the rotation next year. He’s had three rough starts in a row, but prior to that had 19 starts with a 2.95 ERA, 15 of which were quality starts. I don’t think 3 bad outings undoes 15 quality starts.

  • Mark

    1. What do you think the 25 player roster would look like next year (assuming no free agent additions) based on what we know today?

    2. I have been impressed by Fien, Robertson (how big is he?) and to a lesser extent with Waldrop–with Burton and Perkins; do we have a bullpen now?

    3. My fear from your critical comments (many justified) is that the Twins’ scouts, medical staff and managers are like the people depicted in Money Ball; do you think that fear is justified? (e.g., let’s not add that player because his girlfriend is only a ’6′ and that shows that he lacks self confidence).

  • Mark

    Book Recommendation:

    Why Time Begins on Opening Day by Thomas Boswell

  • Jon

    Can Ben Revere stick as a full time leadoff hitter next year if Span were not on the roster? His OBP is slightly above leage average this year. In your opinions, can he do that well or better next season?

  • Paul E Walnuts

    Parmelee’s been killing it lately, but I remain skeptical that it will continue. Does he have any value to other teams? Since a Morneau trade seems unlikely due to his salary, and a 1B prospect isn’t exactly a rare find, why not see what you can get for Parmelee? I doubt he would ever be worth more than he is now. Morneau’s been on the uptick the second half of the season, and if he can can continue to improve maybe the Twins can get a few good years out of him yet. Maybe Sano will be able to take over once Morneau’s run is over.

  • Bradley

    Thought of another question. As a fan that’s throughly fed up with the Twins “training” staff what do you think should be done going forward? Who would decide whether they get to keep their jobs? Personally I’d like to see all of them on gov’t cheese since they can’t decide to put anyone on the disabled list until 10 days in.

  • Aaron

    Scott: I actually think MLB labor relations sound interesting (especially concerning the birth of free agency, which I assume it covers). It definitely goes on the list.

    Mark: Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll look into it.

  • jim cowling

    Am i safe in counting on Deduno, DeVries and Diamond for the Twins Rotation Next Year? Where will the other two spots come from?