Archive for the ‘Casilla’ Category

Casilla sent down, called back up, still sucks

July 18, 2009

Please don’t make me watch this dude anymore.

Alexi Casilla came into Friday “hitting” .180/.242/.225 in 31 Major League games this season. That’s good for a 28 OPS+. 28% of an average major league hitter. For comparison’s sake, the first no-name National League pitcher who popped into my head (and I’ll never even be able to guess why) is the Pads’ Kevin Correia. Correia, this season, has a 32 OPS+.

Which would be fine if he were the best defensive second baseman in the history of the world (that’s a total lie — there’s nothing that can make a 28 OPS+ okay). But the sad truth is, he’s also a terrible second baseman. UZR thinks that he’s cost them 5 runs out there in his limited work this season, and from watching him, that seems low to me. All in all, FanGraphs has him at just over one win below replacement, which is something like saying if you had put pictures of random AAA second baseman on a board and threw a dart at it, then played the guy that dart hit for 31 games instead of Casilla, the Twins could expect to be a game closer to the Tigers right now. Just gross, all the way around.

Unfortunately, Matt Tolbert isn’t noticeably better, with a 37 OPS+ (and -0.9 wins below replacement, meaning that if you’d played Random AAA Guy at 2B every day, they could be two whole games better), and Casilla was tearing it up, relatively speaking, in the minors ( .340/.379/.449). So, contrary to my hopes and expectations, the Alexi Casilla Era began anew last night.

Ian Kinsler reached leading off the Rangers’ first, and then attempted to steal second. Mauer uncorks an absolutely perfect throw, coming right up to Casilla on the short hop, and Kinsler’s out by a good six feet. Except Casilla doesn’t even touch the ball. Just skips on past him; Kinsler ends up on third, and somehow Mauer gets stuck with the error. Later in the game, the Rangers double steal, and Mauer has the guy at second dead to rights…except Casilla doesn’t even cover the base.

And that’s the thing that gets me. I have a certain tolerance for terrible players, especially if they’re 24 years old and were considered decent prospects not so long ago. I also have patience for good players who sometimes make mental mistakes. But if you’re a terrible player and you have no idea how to play the game or where you’re supposed to be in a given situation? GTHO.

The Twins would be doing both themselves and the Pirates a big favor to go out and make a really solid offer for Freddy Sanchez before the deadline. The Twins get an automatic 3-win-or-so expected improvement over the last 70 games, while the Pirates are spared from their GM’s apparent inexplicable desire to sign two 30-something middle infielders to multi-year deals. C’mon Freddy!

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Hasta Luego, Alexi

May 7, 2009

I’ve taken a couple shots at Alexi Casilla already. He clearly has some talent, very athletic and quick and all that, but I can’t stand to watch the kid play second base. His defensive numbers, UZR in particular, don’t look that bad (not good, either), but he just looks like he’s always out of position and just starting to get moving as the ball takes its million or so hops right past him.

Oh, and he’s hitting .167/.231/.202. I guess that’s not quite what the Twins were hoping to get out of their #2 hitter, because yesterday they recalled Matt Tolbert and sent Casilla down to Rochester. What can you do?

As down as I am on Alexi, I really hope he’s not done with the Twins entirely, as Dave Cameron suggests he is; I don’t think he has much trade value right now, and I’d sure like to see him turn himself into something eventually — though Aaron Gleeman joins me in thinking that’s probably unlikely at this point. (I really hope, as Cameron advocates for on his less even-handed outlet, that a trade for Yuniesky Betancourt, a worse version of the same problems with an even more awesome name, isn’t in the works.) But Casilla just obviously didn’t have whatever it was he had (maybe just luck?) in the spring and early summer of 2008, and the Twins weren’t going to compete in the Central with an absolute zero at second base.

But as Cameron says in the Fangraphs article, they’re not very likely to contend with Brendan Harris or Matt Tolbert there, either. I have a hunch that, if they’re still in the race in a month or so, a call will be put in to 39 year old Mark Grudzielanek or 37 year old Ray Durham, both of whom are apparently still sitting by the phone from the offseason. And frankly, I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Neither can really field the position anymore, but neither can Brendan Harris, and both can still hit a little–Durham posted a .380 OBP and hit 36 doubles last year, and Grudzielanek has had a batting average within 10 points of .300, OBP over .330 and SLG at or over .400 for each of the last six seasons. I guess I’d prefer Durham. But at least one of them is probably still worth a look, don’cha think?

In any case, I wish Alexi nothing but the best (unless the White Sox are in his future somehow) and look forward to not having to watch him wave at singles bouncing through the right side of the infield anymore, at least for a while. Of course, a couple Twins pitchers not named Francisco or Joe are going to have to stop throwing batting practice the way Kevin Slowey did on Wednesday night for any of this to make any sort of difference.