Thursday, March 12, 2015

"... out of the reach of an outstretched Torii Hunter"

From Wednesday's exhibition game, Twins vs Rays:

I suspect we'll be seeing and hearing a lot of that second sentence this year.

To be sure, that sentence is open to interpretation. I bring my expectations to it, you bring yours. I am quite certain that Hunter's range isn't good any more, a belief I hold in large part because of the defensive metrics; at least one of my readers thinks I'm nuts to put any weight on the objective measurements. He and I are never going to convince each other, and I'm fine with that. I didn't see this play, and I haven't seen or heard anybody describe it in detail.

Maybe it was a ball that reasonably should have been caught but Hunter couldn't get there. Maybe it wasn't catchable. Maybe Hunter came closer to it than right field predecessor Oswaldo Arcia would have -- which isn't necessarily saying much. I don't know.

I expect that there will be an above-average number of extra-base hits against the Twins outfield (at least until Byron Buxton is installed in center). Some will say that's on the pitchers. I think the outfielders will share a big part of the blame. Arcia, by either the metrics or the eye test, is a poor outfielder; Hunter, by the metrics, is now worse than Arcia; and none of the likely center fielders is good enough to make up the difference.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think you are nuts, misguided perhaps. I am less worried about Hunter's defense than you, in part because I find it hard to see how he starts even a hundred games this year in the outfield. It will be interesting how the Twins work things out. They have made statements that Hunter could start over 140 games this year. They have stated that Rosario is almost ready. Clearly Buxton could be as good right now as any of the other CF candidates(as you stated in your last post). The Twins also seem committed to giving Hicks a real shot at proving he is a real major leaguer. It may be that Plouffe will have to be shifted to the outfield to make room for Sano. I am interested in how the Twins will work all of this out. At some point this year there could be, perhaps should be too many outfielders for too few positions. I can't imagine the Twins playing a 40 year old outfielder if the future shows it belongs in the majors.