The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Baseball Blog

March 17, 2009

Infield Win Shares: Gaetti or Koskie

Before I went to the work of charting out the win shares of the Twins infielders since 1961, I was pretty certain that Gary Gaetti was a better third basemen for the Twins than was Corey Koskie.

Now I have my doubts.

G-Man held the coveted title of My Favorite Twin for most of his tenure. He earned it with a piece of bitter self-evaluation after a costly throwing error late in the 1984 pennant race: It's hard to throw to first base with both hands wrapped around your neck. It's a rare player who'll admit he choked. Gaetti was that rare player, and I admired him for it.

Still, I always figured Gaetti blew the '84 division title for the Twins — not with that throw, but with a drastic drop off in home runs. Here are his home runs by season for this time as the regular third sacker for the Twins: 25, 21, 5, 20, 34,31, 28, 19, 16. That italicized 5 is 1984. The 1984 Twins weren't a great team, but they shoulda, coulda, woulda at least won the divisional title.

Odd that I hold 1967 against Zoilo Versalles, especailly since I was two years away from caring about baseball at the time, but never held '84 against Gaetti.

Anyway, Gaetti was a regular in Minnesota for nine seasons, 1982-90. He earned 146 win shares, an average of 16.2. (In 1984, he had 16 win shares, so he was doing other things to help.)

Koskie was the regular for six seasons, 1999-2004. He earned 106 win shares, 17.7 per season.

Koskie was more consistent; he had a low of 13 in '99, when he was given only 342 at-bats, and again in 2004. Gaetti had lows of 11 and 12. Koskie's best season, 2001 (24), scores better than Gaetti's best season, 1986 (23).

Koskie's best was better, slightly, than Gaetti's best. His worst was better, slightly, than Gaetti's worst. His average was better than Gaetti's.

The only advantage, at least viewed through the prism of win shares, that Gaetti has is three extra seasons of longevity. Does that allow him to rank ahead of Koskie? I'm inclined to say no.

e-mail Edward Thoma

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