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Reusse: Modern Game Unkind to Dozier, Plouffe

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:58 PM
I thought thatPatrick Reusse wrote an interesting article, something I know I have been thinking for the last few years.    htt...
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Twins Bench in 2021--Youth or Experience?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:18 PM
With the exception of left field, there are no real contests for starting positions for the 2021 Twins. If he doesn't start as the most f...
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Spring Training Games Thread 2021

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 07:36 PM
One thread to rule them all...   Er. Sorry. Got a bit ahead of myself. (Power does tend to go to one's head.)   Anyway, seein'...
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Cord cutters dilema 2021

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 05:17 PM
So I hate to be this guy every year, but once again the MLB makes it a huge pain to watch the Twins if you're in a blackout market. In 20...
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Hopefully Simmons "issues" are not like Romero...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:36 PM
Per multiple sources, new Minnesota Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons has been delayed to the team's camp by visa issues. The exact detai...
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Recent Blogs

Top 20 Minnesota Twins Assets of 2021: Introduction

It's that time again. With the arrival of a new year, we like to take stock of the Twins' organizational talent by revisiting and updating our rankings of the franchise's top 20 player assets.

On Tuesday, the countdown begins. Today: an introduction, preview, and look back at past rankings.
Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
This will be my fourth time compiling and publishing these rankings, which always publish right around New Year's Day. You can find the previous lists (and some reflections) below, but here are the links if you want to quick-jump to past installments:Here's a breakdown of the methodology and caveats for this exercise:
  • Things that are factored into these rankings: production, age, upside, pedigree, health, length of team control, favorability of contract, positional scarcity (within the system, and generally).
  • Players are people. Their value to the organization, and its fans, goes well beyond the strictly business-like scope we're using here. But for the purposes of this list, we're analyzing solely in terms of asset evaluation. Intangible qualities and popularity are not factors.
  • The idea is to assess players' importance to the future of the Minnesota Twins. In this regard, it's not exactly a ranking in terms of trade value, because that's dependent on another team's situation and needs. (For instance, Jake Cave and LaMonte Wade Jr. would be more valuable to many other teams than they are to the Twins, who are rich with short-term and long-term corner outfield depth.)
  • This is a snapshot in time. Rankings are heavily influenced by recent trends and where things stood as of the end of 2020.
  • Current major-leaguers and prospects are all eligible. The ultimate goal here to answer this question: Which current players in the organization are most indispensable to fulfilling the vision of building a champion?
Before we proceed, a note that will hopefully but these rankings in the proper context:

Two years ago, I had Fernando Romero ranked as the sixth-most valuable player asset in the Twins organization. Last month, he was released so he could go play in Japan.

It's obviously an extreme example, but illustrates a simple reality: these rankings are subjective and timebound. That's what makes them worthy of putting together each year. It's interesting to track the ups and downs, and to debate where different players might fit in or how their stock has changed.

You'll see many examples of dramatic rises and falls from the past three years by looking over these previous lists:


20. Ryan Jeffers, C

19. Eddie Rosario, OF

18. Michael Pineda, RHP

17. Nelson Cruz, DH

16. Tyler Duffey, RHP

15. Jake Odorizzi, RHP

14. Trevor Larnach, OF

13. Jhoan Duran, RHP

12. Taylor Rogers, LHP

11. Miguel Sano, 3B

10. Luis Arraez, 2B

9. Alex Kirilloff, OF

8. Jordan Balazovic, RHP

7. Byron Buxton OF

6. Mitch Garver, C

5. Royce Lewis, SS

4. Brusdar Graterol, RHP

3. Jose Berrios, RHP

2. Max Kepler, OF

1. Jorge Polanco, SS


20. Nick Gordon, SS

19. C.J. Cron, 1B

18. Adalberto Mejia, LHP

17. Jake Cave, OF

16. Wander Javier, SS

15. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP

14. Miguel Sano, 3B

13. Kyle Gibson, RHP

12. Trevor May, RHP

11. Mitch Garver, C

10. Taylor Rogers, LHP

9. Max Kepler, OF

8. Eddie Rosario, OF

7. Jorge Polanco, SS

6. Fernando Romero, RHP

5. Brusdar Graterol, RHP

4. Alex Kirilloff, OF

3. Byron Buxton, OF

2. Jose Berrios, RHP

1. Royce Lewis, SS


20. Alex Kirilloff, OF

19. Trevor May, RHP

18. Wander Javier, SS

17. Jason Castro, C

16. Tyler Duffey, RHP

15. Taylor Rogers, LHP

14. Adalberto Mejia, LHP

13. Nick Gordon, SS

12. Fernando Romero, RHP

11. Trevor Hildenberger, RHP

10. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP

9. Ervin Santana, RHP

8. Brian Dozier, 2B

7. Max Kepler, OF

6. Jorge Polanco, SS

5. Eddie Rosario, OF

4. Miguel Sano, 3B

3. Jose Berrios, RHP

2. Royce Lewis, SS

1. Byron Buxton, OF

As mentioned, we'll start rolling out the 2021 rankings tomorrow with my choices for Nos. 16-through-20. But first, I thought I'd muse a bit on the last three years of rankings, and what insights or lessons we might take away from them.

The Fall of Rosario

In the first edition of these rankings, following the 2017 season, Rosario was pegged as the organization's fifth-best asset. The next year he dropped to eighth, then 19th, and now he's been non-tendered. This reflects broader implications of MLB's compensation system, and how it degrades player asset value en route to the open market. But Rosario also contributed to his own drop, by stagnating if not declining in the midst of his purported prime.

Among the top seven players listed in 2018's rankings, Rosario is the only one gone. All others will be in this year's top 20. (Spoiler alert WOMP WOMP.)

The Rise (and Departure) of Graterol

Brusdar Graterol shows how premium assets can emerge out of nowhere. He wasn't on the 2018 list, and not really even on the radar at that point – an oft-injured teenager who'd thrown zero innings above rookie ball. His meteoric ensuing season launched him to No. 5 on the 2019 list, and in 2020 he moved up a spot to No. 4.

Sadly, Graterol is now gone, although I'm guessing he's not so sad about it, World Series ring and all. The Twins took advantage of Graterol's sky-high stock by trading him for another highly valued asset in Kenta Maeda.
Maeda is on this year's list. And, not to give anything away, but he's higher than the guy he replaced. Guess you'd call that a win.

Steady José

Only one player has appeared in the top three for all three years of rankings. That's José Berríos, the top pitching prospect turned good (at last) who continues to prove his worth. The right-hander never quite ascended to bona fide Ace™ status, but has been a consistent top-shelf starter with almost unrivaled durability. He has also been a supreme bargain, though that's finally starting to change as he inches toward free agency.

Will the ticking service clock and rising pricetag bump him from his entrenched position in the top three this year?

Riding with Buxton and Sanó

Had these rankings existed in the five years before I started them, there's no doubt Byron Buxton and Miguel Sanó would've annually ranked near the very top. The Twins framed their entire rebuild around the two centerpieces. Buxton and Sanó were among the franchise's highest-profile amateur acquisitions of all time, and they both fueled the hype by emerging as top prospects in the game.

The major-league chapter hasn't quite followed the same storybook formula. Things looked bright early on; I had them ranked first and fourth coming off an impressive 2017 campaign in which they helped return the Twins to contention. But Buxton and Sanó fell to third and 14th the following year. Most recently they were seventh and 11th. Meanwhile, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco have risen above them as essential building blocks, merely because they are dependable and durable fixtures with good contracts.

In a nutshell, that probably explains why the Twins have flirted with greatness rather than fully realizing it during the past couple seasons.

Flawed and subjective as they might be, these rankings do tell an illuminating tale over time. I look forward to breaking down and debating this year's list, starting tomorrow night.

BONUS CHALLENGE: If anyone dares take a shot, I'd like to see some predictions for how this year's top 20 will shake out. Share yours in the comments and if someone gets it right (or even close) I'll give a major shout-out in the final edition.

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20. Edward Colina / J Cave
19. Jorge Alcala / J Duran
18. Lamonte Wade Jr
17. Randy Dobnak
16. Miguel Sano
15. Trevor Larnach
14. Tyler Duffy
13. Ryan Jeffers
12. Luis Arraez
11. Taylor Rogers
10. Josh Donaldson
9. Mitch Garver
8. Jorge Polanco
7. Max Kepler
6. Kenta Maeda
5. Jordan Balazovic
4. Jose Berrios
3. Royce Lewis
2. Alex Kirilloff
1. Byron Buxton

Somewhat close to my guess.

Twins , Wes Johnson and the pitching developmental team need the big Canadian J.B. Balazovic to have a huge year either in '21 or '22 he is a big part of the future OR rlly needs to be.
    • denarded and bighat like this
Jan 04 2021 05:06 AM
Yeah, this is fun but I wonder how we can value Berrios so much? He is a #3 at best. I would argue that Pineda is more valuable. If Odorizzi doesn't come back, and if Maeda can't sustain the short season success he had, we are going to miss Rosario, Romo, Clippard, Gonzalez, Adrianza, and May way more than the yuppie Aaron Gleeman wannabes would ever admit.
Nick Nelson
Jan 04 2021 09:32 AM


Yeah, this is fun but I wonder how we can value Berrios so much? He is a #3 at best. I would argue that Pineda is more valuable.

You would argue that 32-year-old Michael Pineda, on a one-year $10 million deal, is more valuable than 26-year-old Jose Berrios on a two-year ~$16 million deal? I would, um, love to hear your case.


Dating back to 2017, only 8 pitchers have thrown more innings than Berrios with a better ERA: deGrom, Cole, Greinke, Scherzer, Corbin, Nola, Verlander, Bauer. But yeah... #3 at best...


    • denarded, Major League Ready, DocBauer and 5 others like this
Jan 04 2021 10:30 AM

Off the top of my head, without thinking about it too hard, without looking at the lists above, and quite possibly forgetting something obvious:


1. Maeda

2. Kepler

3. Berríos

4. Buxton

5. Kirilloff

6. Arráez

7. Lewis

8. Polanco

9. Duffey

10. Balazovic

11. Larnach

12. Durán

13. Jeffers

14. Rogers

15. Sanó

16. Garver

17. Rooker

18. Alcalá

19. Pineda

20. Sabato


Also considered Donaldson, Dobnak, and Stashak to go somewhere in the last 4 slots or so.


Edit: On a second look at my list, the gap between Kirilloff and other prospects seemed unwarranted. He gets a premium for being basically MLB-ready, but I moved him down and the Balazovic/Larnach/Durán cluster up slightly.

Wookiee of the Year
Jan 04 2021 12:18 PM

I enjoy this series every year! Looking forward to it!

Kepler seems to be valued to high. I know age and cheap contract enhance his value, but he looked mediocre at the plate to me this year (SSS) but I have some concerns with him. Corner outfielders need to hit for value 

Since other teams are asking about Luis Arraez I would definitely put him in the top ten.I have not seen Lewis so unless he comes in this year I put him in the bottom ten. Buxton is top ten, but not top five at this point. Maeda has to be near the top and Alcala is top ten. 















Very interesting exercise, Nick. And with so little happening Twins related, will be fun to follow.


Will be curious to see how you value performance in 2020, given that so many prominent players throughout baseball put up ugly numbers, really ugly. 


But while we all sit back and anticipate a season that may or may not begin on time, a season that many of us will not be able to watch, it should be fun to read your projections and everyone's comments/bashing of your results.

The Wise One
Jan 04 2021 07:35 PM

 When 4 unknown prospects can get you and ace pitcher with 3 years on a contract how can mere mortals know what is a valuable asset. I am sure that the people here would be more than happy to get that level of pitcher. 4 nondescript players may end up San Diego's most valuable asset for this year

Who helps you win the most this year is who is most valuable for this year. 

1) Kenta Maeda
2) Max Kepler
3) Alex Kirilloff
4) Royce Lewis
5) Luis Arraez
6) Jorge Polanco
7) Ryan Jeffers
8) Byron Buxton
9) Jose Berrios
10) Trevor Larnach
11) Jordan Balazovic
12) Jhoan Duran
13) Mitch Garver
14) Tyler Duffey
15) Miguel Sano
16) Randy Dobnak
17) Brent Rooker
18) Gilberto Celestino
19) Keoni Cavaco
20) Matt Canterino
Chinese food is pretty good but maybe not in my top five. I like to listen to Aaron talk but I don't want to be him. Young and upwardly mobile? Phew! I guess he's not talking about me!