Ryan Doumit is a great fit in Minnesota
By Paul Pleiss
Ryan Doumit was signed by the Twins last winter to a 1-year, $3 million dollar deal. The Twins suffered through a miserable 2011 in which hometown hero Joe Mauer battled Bi-lateral leg weakness for most of the season and appeared behind the plate in only 51 games last season (78 total) and offensive black-hole Drew Butera saw significant playing time (93 games) and put up abysmal numbers (.167/.210/.239 w/ an OPS+ of 24, WOOF!). Doumit was signed to help give the Twins another option behind the plate and to help replace departed sluggers Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel who left for greener pastures and more money than the Twins were willing to provide.
Doumit mashes a grand slam against Detroit. Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
Doumit was a bit of a question mark coming into Twins camp, a player who was stuck with the “injury prone” tag with sub-standard defensive skills behind the plate. Doumit has quietly been having a career year with the Twins in 2012, putting up career highs in games played, HR’s, doubles, RBI, walks and as of this post has an OPS+ of 115 (that’s 89 points higher than defensive specialist Drew Butera from a year ago). In June the Twins signed Doumit to a 2-year extension
While Doumit’s durability has been proven this year, a closer look at what Doumit has been doing this season reveals that his offensive slash line for 2012 (.277/.323/.460) is almost perfectly matched up to his career average (.273/.332/.446). Doumit has been worth between 1-1.7 WAR (1.0 WAR Baseball-reference, 1.7 WAR Fangraphs). 1 run of WAR this year is worth about $4.5 million, which means that Doumit has been worth between $4.5- 7.6 million dollars, and no matter which WAR stat you prefer, that’s a wonderful return for a player who’s making $3 million per year.
Doumit has been a great addition to the Twins, and while the season has been a disappointment overall, Ryan has been a bright spot for the hometown ball club and has limited Butera to only 40 games this season (30 starts). The limited playing time has been good for the Twins and for Butera, who in 2011 was a -1.6 WAR player, posting a positive WAR value in 2012 (0.2).
But what does it all mean? This is not the first time that Doumit has been able to play 100+ games, it’s actually his 3rd time reaching the feat. Unfortunately every time he reached 100+ he played in less than 80 games the following season. Can Ryan Doumit stay healthy yet again in 2013? I think that’s a big question mark going into the off-season. I think his production, right in line with his career numbers, is repeatable, and I’ve never been a fan of Doumit being labeled injury prone. In 2009 Doumit suffered a fracture to one of his legs, not really a nagging injury that fans should be worried about coming back to haunt Doumit as he ages. And yes, he is getting older, but the switch-hitting catcher should continue to be a good bat to plug in the line-up each and every day. His ability to move around the diamond (C, 1B, LF, RF, DH, PH) has been a key component of Ron Gardenhire’s ability to get Doumit into the line-up day in and day out.
Outside of Twins Territory Doumit is fairly over-looked by the media, and that’s just fine by me. While I am generally not in support of trading offense for defense, when Doumit has been in the OF pairing him with speedy outfielders like Denard Span and Ben Revere make up a little bit for his lack of range, and he goes out and provides plus value at the plate.
I look forward to seeing Doumit back with the Twins in 2013 where I believe he will again out perform his contract and provide the Twins with great value and offensive production.