Friday, December 7, 2018

Schoop and Torreyes

The Twins on Thursday signed a pair of infielders.

The big name is Jonathan Schoop, a second baseman who hit 32 homers while making the AL All-Star squad in 2017 with Baltimore only to see his 2018 season crater.

The smaller name is Ronald Torreyes, who spent the 2016 and '17 seasons as the Yankees' primary backup middle infielder and spent most of 2018 in the minors. The Yanks waived him at the start of the offseason; the Cubs claimed him, when waived him themselves, and now the Twins have signed him.

Torreyes has hit for decent averages in his limited major league at-bats, but with little power or strike zone judgment. He has an option left, so he might spend 2019 in the International League again. Or -- I think this more likely -- he may supplant Ehrie Adrianaza as the Twins backup middle infielder.

Schoop figures to be the starting second baseman. There's obvious upside to him despite his horrid 2018 season. He has power, he's a good fielder and he's only 27, in his theoretical prime. He signed for one year and obviously hopes to have a season more like 2017, then try to cash in.

But even in his good seasons, he had terrible on-base percentages. The Twins have already lost their two best hitters at reaching base (Joe Mauer and Robbie Grossman). Schoop and C.J. Cron are both hackers; they have terrible walk-to-strikeout ratios but occasionally "run into one," as the saying goes. (The same is true of Tyler Austin, at the moment the most significant challenger to Cron for the first base job.)

Solo homers is not a sound foundation for an offense. Adding one of these guys is defensible; adding two, especially to a lineup that already features a number of impatient hitters, is a bad sign. The Twins lineup as it currently stands has too many easy outs.  There's time to correct this, of course.


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