Thursday, September 4, 2008

Twins Over Under

By Soup

Would you like to play a hypothetical and completely futile game of "over under"? You would!?!? And you're not just saying that because that's what I want to hear, right? Because I don't want you to say "yes" if you don't mean it and your heart is not 100% behind it. You sure? Okay then, you're in the right place!!!!

Justin Morneau MVPs: 2

The homer in me says OVER, and I'll stick with it. I think Morneau is a tremendous all around player. We'll get to his offensive numbers in a second, but lets first talk about his defense. It's good. I think. I don't really know. I don't closely watch the defense of the other AL first basemen for a sense of relative comparability. I hear it's gold glove caliber. Okay, yes. That may just be from Dick and Bert. But if he does win a gold glove or two that will definitely increase his chances. And let's face it. The sports writers that vote on this will say that defensive ability plays a factor, but it's obviously not enough of a factor that they will actually try to examine the defensive ability of players. That's what gold gloves are for, silly! They tell people which players are good at defense without requiring analytical scrutiny.

We are pretty familiar with Morneau's offensive numbers. He has actually given a little validity to the often undeserved term "clutch." Phil Mackey at KFAN provides a more SABRy explanation of the MVP race here. Morneau is probably not going to be a 45 home run hitter, but here's what he has going for him: the old-school baseball writers love him. They view him almost as if he is of a dying breed of run producing hitters that actually takes good at bats. I heard Tim Kurkjian on Barreiro's show appreciating Morneau in contrast to strike-out-huggers like Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard (who was Morneau's NL MVP counterpart in 2006). Howard, though, struck out nearly twice as many times that year, 181 to Morneau's 93.

The thing is, winning a MVP is really hard. So by picking the over I'm saying that Morneau will win 3 MVPs. That's more than Ernie Banks, Johnny Bench, Lou Gehrig, Roger Maris, Willie Mays, Joe Morgan, Dale Murphy, Cal Ripken Jr, Frank Robinson, Frank Thomas, Ted Williams, and Robin Yount.

Yikes. Is it too late to change my opinion?

Joe Mauer batting titles: 2.5

Again I'll take the OVER. Batting titles are also hard to win, especially if you're a catcher. But I think winning two more is definitely feasible for Mauer. I have no reason to believe that he won't be battling for a title for the next 8 years. With Ichiro getting older there are no other real perennial competitors. Mauer will always stay in the race and will hang around often enough to win a couple.

Total Cy Youngs for the current rotation (Liriano, Slowey, Perkins, Baker, Blackburn): 1.5

I say UNDER. I love the staff, but Liriano and maybe Slowey probably have the only chances to be aces. But you never know. Cliff Lee is the favorite to win it this year, and Johan Santana was THIRD in voting in 2005.

Total gold gloves for the current outfield (Young, Gomez, Span, Cuddyer): 2.5

Yeah, I don't know what the outfield is going to look like next year. But obviously Gomez and Span are the real potential winners of the bunch. I'm going UNDER. Unfortunately you need offensive numbers to get the gold gloves. As of yet, that's not exactly Gomez's strength, and Span believers are hoping that his offensive success is the product of eye surgery and not the all-too-common statistical fluke. They both obviously have the potential to win 10 each, but the award has more to do with name recognition than ability. Unfortunately, Gomez and Span have the later, but are a long way from gaining the former.

Gardenhire World Series victories: 1.5

I'm takin' the OVER baby! WOOOOOO! My argument you ask? Twins rule!!! Try to argue with that logic, idiot. If you argue for the "under"...the terrorists have already won.

Number of times Joe Mauer says, "You know" per minute of an interview: 27

UNDER. How dare you, sir? How dare you make fun of MinneJoeta? He's one of us, jerk. Joe gives a good interview. You naysayers should just back off and drink some Land O Lake milk like the rest of us in the heartland.

Percentage of the Twin's 2009 roster that receives obligatory nicknames from Ron Gardenhire: 80%

Ha, okay this one was a free-bee. The joke is that Gardenhire gives everyone nicknames. Get it?!?! I give this a very comical OVER!


Daymonster said...

A damn good read. For me I would go with the following.

MVP: Morneau will get one more, not with the Twins.
Batting Titles: Mauer will get one more, with the Twins, at third base.
Pitching Staff: None will get any Cy Youngs.
Gold Gloves: This year? 0.
World Series Victories: Like a million.
Ya Knows: None, Mauer will stop talking.
Nicknames: Way over 80% many players have 3 or 4 nicknames.

David Wintheiser said...

I can play:

Morneau MVP's: Over

I actually think he'll win just two, but that's apparently not an option.

I wasn't sure what the connection was between MVPs and Gold Gloves, so I took a look: when the MVP is relatively open (that is, the same player isn't winning it every year or in alternating years), the MVP tends to also have a Gold Glove about every other year. The last time an AL Gold Glover won the MVP was Alex Rodriguez in 2003; before that Ichiro in 2001, Ivan Rodriguez in 1999, and Griffey Jr in 1997. In the NL, Jimmy Rollins last year was the first to win the MVP and a Gold Glove in the same season since 1997, when Larry Walker won both, but then you go back to a time when Barry Bonds was winning both the MVP and Gold Gloves and the pattern seems to return.

Mauer batting titles: Under

As long as Mauer remains a catcher, the pressure to keep him in the lineup in seasons where the team is doing well will hurt his hitting more than those of his competitors who aren't catchers, so I suspect that while he's a catcher, he'll come close but not close enough at least twice more (probably including this year). Mauer doesn't seem to want to move off catcher (and the Twins, who don't really have anybody in the organization who could replace him as an everyday catcher, probably won't press the issue), so by the time Mauer has to move off catcher, he'll likely be old enough so that other players with his skills will be in their prime and thus beating him for batting tltles as well.

Cy Youngs for current rotation: Under

Easy pick. Liriano is one more significant injury from having his career end right out from under him. Blackburn has been surprising, but I don't see any of the other four starters establishing himself the way Jake Peavy and Brandon Webb have in the NL as the top starters of thsir generation.

Gold Gloves for the outfield of Young, Gomez, Span, Cuddyer: Over

There are actually two ways to win a Gold Glove -- be about as good defensively but better offensively at your position, or be average or worse offensively but keep a big-league job on a competitive ballclub, which tells people that you must be 'hella' good with the leather to earn your paycheck. Consider the AL from 1985-1995 when all but one outfield Gold Glove were won by either Gary Pettis or Devon White, or the nine consecutive Gold Gloves won by Omar Visquel.

Gomez already, for better or worse, has a good defensive rep -- probably better than he deserves. Still, he could end up winning more Gold Gloves than the other three guys combined, simply because of the Pettis effect.

World Series Victories under Gardenhire: Under

Yes, Tom Kelly won two in five years, and yes, the current Twins look to be a young club that will hold its competitiveness for some time to come. Still, it's hard to bet on the Twins winning more than one World Series in the next decade when they haven't yet shown that they can consistently even get to the League Championship Series, much less win it.

Last two categories: No opinion

haasertime said...

thanks for the info on the gold glove to mvp stuff, david.

i don't think morneau will win another MVP. I don't think Mauer will win another batting title. None of our pitchers will win a cy young. Pessimistic? Hardly. I agree with the Twins Rule logic. We'll win it this year. you heard it here first...

TwinsWin83 said...

thats a pretty ballsy prediction to be made in the middle of this blue jays series mike.

soup said...

You can certainly play, David. Thanks for the info. Good stuff.

Holmer said...

My heart is in it to win it.

Morneau: Over. He wins at least three, including this year. Without Morneau on this team, we would be dangling around the Indians record. He has consistantly come through in the "clutch" as mentioned. He could snag the RBI title from Hamilton (He might have to for us to win this race). His glove is considered one of the best in the league, and I'm a homer.

Mauer: Under. He will win 2. He's 25, with about four years of "prime" left. He probably won't see .347 again, but I don't think he'll need to. If Pedroia stops being so hot, it could happen this year. If not, he'll take the title back before we leave the dome(next year). In any case, he will finish in the top five for the next four years, if healthy.

Cy Youngs: Hard to say, since we've seen what Lee has done, but I really think it's under. One of them might pull one off, but I don't think we have any repeaters.

Gold Gloves: Over. I believe that Span could win at least three by himself. I have not seen him make a poor play out there in quite some time. He gets everything hit his way. He has the plate presence and speed to stay in a competitive line-up(hopefully ours) for a while. He will make a name for himself showing up on ESPN's top ten plays once a week for the rest of this season, and will continue the trend into years to come. He also has a good arm.

Gardy: Over. As many seasons as he's alive for.

Ya knows: Under. It's more like 26 a min.