Friday, June 22, 2012

For love of the glove: Denard Span, center fielder

Denard Span may be the best
defensive center fielder among the
American League's regulars, but
some of the part-timers have been
even better.
Earlier this week, I posted about what the metrics tell us about Ben Revere as a right fielder. There is no shortage of fans who believe that Revere ought to be the Twins center fielder, with Denard Span playing right field. Ron Gardenhire is obviously not among that crowd.

What about Span as a center fielder?

Turning again to the Baseball Info Systems' plus-minus and runs saved analytical stats:

Span is +13 in plus-minus, +9 in runs saved.

Good numbers, but not the best in the American League. The best numbers:

  • Texas: Craig Gentry, who has about half the Rangers' innings, is +13, +9.
  • Anaheim: Mike Trout, with less than half the Angels' innings, is +18, +10 -- and Peter Bourjos, who has 32 more innings in center than Trout and a little more than half of Span's time, is +9, +6.
  • Toronto: Colby Rasmus is +11, +7. He's a bit shy of Span's numbers, and the only full-time center fielder in his class.

Trout was called up last month and is only leaving the Angels lineup if he gets crippled. I figure Gentry isn't a regular because his bat is perceived as a bit weak, although you can't really prove it by his limited major league playing time (334 career plate appearances, career slash line .285/.355/.356, with most of that production coming this season).

Span is a contender for best defensive CF in the league. Revere probably would be too if he were a full-time center fielder. But the Anaheim duo, at least by these measurements, is better still.

At any rate, I don't think the Twins are hurting themselves with the Span-in-center, Revere-in-right alignment.

1 comment:

  1. Fix the Twins

    Trade #1

    Justin Morneau to Toronto for Travis Snider, Adam Lind and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.

    All the players are currently in Triple A for Toronto

    It does not address Twins need for pitching but Toronto is not in a position to give up arms in a trade. Jays have lost Morrow, Hutchinson and Drabek(tj surgery) to injury, but it is a nice package for our roster. 24-yr old Snider is a big-time failed prospect who needs a change of scenery, classic case of that kind of player. Snider can rake, just hasn't yet at the major league level.

    28-yr old Adam Lind can easily re-find himself. Jays signed him to a big contract after he hit 84 HRs from 2009-2011. He has fell on his face since.

    In order to take on his contract terms

    14:$7M club option ($2M buyout)
    15:$7.5M club option ($1M buyout)
    16:$8M club option ($0.5M buyout).

    The Jays have to throw us the slick-fielding Hechavarria in the trade, currently hitting .336 in Las Vegas. Known for his glove. An A+ defender.

    Trade # 2

    Josh Willingham to the Rays for Wade Davis or Chris Archer.

    Either arm would be a nice addition to the Twins starting staff immediately. They have the potential to be long-term solutions, not the stop gap Walters types.

    Hechavarria gives the Twins options up the middle. Voted best defensive shortstop in the minors makes him somebody Gardy will likely take a shine to. It pushes Dozier eventually to his more natural 2nd base position and Carroll to a UI position ... and Casilla to the street.

    Strengthens the Twins all around. It is all about having options and having to play well, not gifting jobs to the Casilla's of the world year after year.

    Lind is a one time Twins draftee who didn’t sign. He gets 1st base all to himself with Parmelee as the back-up plan.

    Snider gets LF/DH duty and settles in, his job is to hit.

    c: Mauer
    1b: Lind/Parmelee
    2b: Dozier
    ss: Hechavarria
    3b: Plouffe
    lf: Snider
    cf: Span
    rf: Revere
    dh: Doumit/Snider/Parmelee

    An offense will some potential. Not the mostly popgun littered outfit we presently throw out there nightly. Not great but much better potential.

    Immediately put Davis or Archer into the rotation.

    The rotation is still a work in progress but at least they are potential solutions not band -aids. They are legit # 3's with #2 upside. It took the org. several years to get into this hole so it you are not going to get out of it by snapping your fingers. These two trades are a good start.