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Brandon
10-02-2013, 12:20 AM
Terry Ryan has a formula for winning baseball on a budget and I am going to do my best to explain most of the concepts so we can have a clear picture of how the Twins won and being reconstructed to win again. Rule number 1. Winning is a team concept. The Twins have always been a team that is better than the sum of all parts. There is a science to this and I am about to show you.

Pitching Rule #2: You don't need an ace to win, you need 5 solid starters. What did I just say. We don't need an ace, but we had Santana all those years... One of the most successful seasons in franchise history was the 2010 Twins team. If you go back and look at the rotation, we had Pavano 220 innings 3.75 ERA, Liriano (almost an ace) with 191.2 innings and 3.62 ERA, Baker 170.1/ 4.49, Blackburn 161 / 5.42 and Slowey 155 / 4.45. Pelfry, Corriea, Dedunno, and 2012 Diamond fit that mold. In 2010 the team used primarily 6 starters as Deunsing did get 13 starts and had 130 innings / 2.62 for season including bullpen time. Now I am not saying we couldn't use an ace if there was an affordable one out there. Corriea costs just 4.5 million this year Pelfry will not be expensive to resign either should we go that route. Here is the True formula for Pitching Rule #3: For winning plus cost control follow formula below.

6 innings from starters with 4.00 ERA = 2.67 earned runs per game + 3 innings of 3.30 ERA from bullpen = 1.1 earned runs per game = 3.77 Team ERA. How good would our team be if we had a 3.77 team era? The bullpen did their part this year on this equation. And we'll get to them in a few. The media and stat heads focus on K's and BB's and that's part of it but ultimately the question is can we have a pitcher with a 4.00 era that pitches between 180 and 200 innings. That type of pitcher keeps us in the ball games so the other aspects of winning can take over and those pitchers don't break the bank. Radke made 9 million per season, Pavano 8 million for 2 seasons, Santana was the ace that got paid 42 over 4 if I remember correctly, but outside there wasn't many expensive contracts....(there was the mistake of Mays and Blackburns extentions).

Now we get to the bullpen where it helps to currently be 9 deep and relatively inexpensive for at least 2 more seasons, (Perkins, Burton, Fien, Deunsing, Swarzak, Pressly, Reonicke, Theilbar, and Tonklin) The Twins have several generations of relievers who were inexpensive and let go when they became expensive. Look at all of the savings by having the ability to find inexpensive arms Rule #4 The bullpen is a great way to gain wins at a minimal cost. Here is a list of pitchers let go after they became too expensive.

1. Hawkins from 1995-2003 cost us 9 million then cost the Cubs 7.5 for the next 2 seasons.
2. Guardado 12 seasons for 9.5 million vs 16 million for 3 in Seattle
3. Guerrier 7 seasons for 6,650,000 vs LA 3 year 9 million
4. Crain 7 seasons for 5,900,000 vs Chi 3 year 13 million
5. Rincon 7 seasons around 6 million but he was done after that
6. Ron Mahay made 8 million in 2 seasons before coming here on a contract for less than 1 million.
7. Nathan made from 2004-2008 17,500,000 before signing the one big deal 4 year 47 million
Capps is under Bill Smith so I am not counting him for this exercise.

so we received 51 seasons for a total of 93 million with almost 65 going to Nathan vs 15 seasons for 67 million (14 for Nathan at Texas, 8 for Mahay before coming to Twins, Plus the contract Guardado, Hawkins, Crain, Guerrier signed after leaving the Twins)

Rule#5 Defense wins games: The Twins have built there teams with an emphasis on playing solid defense or playing the "Twins way" in 2010 they started to get away from that but I think they are headed back in the right direction here. the early 2000 teams had Hunter, Koskie, and Mientkiewicz anchoring the defense while Jones was really good in LF and Guzman and Rivas were solid MI. the Twins also had Cuddyers Cannon in RF, Span took over CF, then Revere, Bartlett, Hardy and Hudson were also solid MI and of course Punto was good enough to win a gold glove if he stayed at one position long enough. Today we are returning back to those roots as we have Mauer (hopefully) at C, Dozier and Florimon in MI, Hicks and soon Buxton in the OF. If Sano can become a plus defender at 3B watchout.

Rule#6 Smart baserunning is the hidden secret to the Twins scoring so much without hitting the expensive longball. The Twins were never the team to lead the league in stolen bases but they did execute more bunts, bunt singles to get on base, run from 1B to 3B on a single Sometimes the Twins over executed this one. how many times did we write about Ulger blowing a call? I think Hageman wrote an article about going 1b to 3b once and Twinsgeek wrote about the statistical analysis of the likeliness someone scores when on each base with 0,1,or 2 outs. wish I had the links for you on this one.

the offensive rule is kindof hard to describe. there is basically 2 parts to it. Rule #7 The lineup is better off with 20 HR /75-85RBI or .270/.330/.370 hitters 1-8 than 1 35HR hitter and several holes in the lineup. The Twins didn't really go for the HR hitters too much. They liked the guy who would hit 20 HR and 75-85 RBI. Those hitters are more than half the cost at 3/4 the production. The Twins had several of these hitters: Shannon Stewart, Jones, Hunter, Koskie, Cuddyer, Kubel, Crede, Mientkiewicz (minus the power) Hardy, Morneau (though he was also one of their allstars with Mauer) Of those only Hunter became really expensive and that was more star power and defense in CF than just his hitting again Morneau's contract was from when he was MVP caliber. The other type of hitter listed is effective too. the "piranhas" scored runs because they could get on base and run them aggressively. So where that leaves us is with a lineup with some development still going on Arcia, Rosario, Dozier, Hicks, and more as the next wave of the 20 HR 75-85 rbi guys (Arcia has a chance to be more) Buxton is the superstar Piranha with power. (I can't wait to see him score from first on a single). Sano is the future MVP slugger. Florimon and maybe Hicks, Mastroianni form the piranha club.


The club appears to be just a few development years for a few players and a few starting pitchers away from being the same old winning Twins we all know and love. be patient. we've seen the blueprint before and it is in progress again. with this model it takes all parts contributing to Win. but this formula does work as we had 6 division titles in 9 seasons and with the stadium we should be able to keep some of the players a little longer this go round so the minor league system will have more time to develop the following round of Twins as this is an on gong cycle.

Blackjack
10-02-2013, 07:28 AM
Good analysis!!!! Thanks for taking the time to write it!!! Gives some of us that aren't in the 'Ron Gardenhire and Terry Ryan suck' camp some hope.

Mr. Ed
10-02-2013, 08:45 AM
Someone in Twins Daily alert the rest of the media that the current GM is also the GM that oversaw a number of consecutive drafts of washouts and never-were's.

After the Perkins draft, there are a number of drafts where the depth washed out. And those are some of the drafts that would have given the Twins depth in the past 3 years vs the merit-badge players they keep signing and adding to the 40-man roster.

Look it up. Tons of guys that never made it. College slop-ballers that couldn't even get to AAA.

And Terry Ryan was the GM during those drafts before handing things over to Billy Smith.

So while Bill Smith gets the blame on bad decisions recently,long-term problems started with all the bad drafts while Ryan was the GM.

twinsfan34
10-02-2013, 08:59 AM
I was befundled how poor those drafts were. We went for a lot of college prospects who were "tapped out". Pitchers who were control pitchers and position players who were solid defenders. Perhaps this is due to the fact we were a perennial playoff team and so we wanted players that were 1-3 years away to keep the ship running versus taking higher talent yet undeveloped higher ceiling players that would take 3-5 years time in fear of the quality of the major league club not being able to have people fill in the spots as players went for those higher contracts as mentioned above.

1st Round Draft History (http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft/?query_type=franch_round&team_ID=MIN&draft_round=1&draft_type=junreg&)

amjgt
10-02-2013, 08:59 AM
Someone in Twins Daily alert the rest of the media that the current GM is also the GM that oversaw a number of consecutive drafts of washouts and never-were's.

After the Perkins draft, there are a number of drafts where the depth washed out. And those are some of the drafts that would have given the Twins depth in the past 3 years vs the merit-badge players they keep signing and adding to the 40-man roster.

Look it up. Tons of guys that never made it. College slop-ballers that couldn't even get to AAA.

And Terry Ryan was the GM during those drafts before handing things over to Billy Smith.

So while Bill Smith gets the blame on bad decisions recently,long-term problems started with all the bad drafts while Ryan was the GM.
Which, other than the words "Terry" and "Ryan" has nothing to do with anything posted above.

Mr. Ed
10-02-2013, 09:04 AM
IF the GM is going to draft and develop to build through his Innovative formula, then he'd better have a ton of hits, vs all the blanks the Twins shot during past drafts.

Else he's not going to have the personnel for this formula for the majority of positions.

Like they don't now.

Seth Stohs
10-02-2013, 09:16 AM
Great work, Brandon!! I've always wanted to do what you did. It isn't about having the greatest players, though I would add that it's important to have 2-3 that should be considered perennial All-Star types, and then surround them with solid players. Guys with a little pop, some speed, play good defense, and are pretty smart. I especially like what you did with the pitchers. The Twins had an Ace in Johan and that didn't get them to the WS because you need more than just one. You need solid, give-you-a-chance-most-times-out guys in all five spots, and probably a couple of others that can fill in for injury.

nicksaviking
10-02-2013, 09:18 AM
Good post, clearly a lot of effort was put into it. I have to disagree with some aspects though. You may be able to win a division without an ace, but a team is unlikely to win in the postseason. The other team IS going to throw out an ace game one, and in the playoffs, digging yourself an 0-1 hole in a best of 5 series is pretty dangerous. Then you have to do it two more series to bring home the trophy. Both Twins WS winning teams had aces.

A good bullpen can be put together at minimal cost, but a good bullpen doesn't do a lot of good if your team is always behind.

Having 8 players in the lineup hit 20 HR with 75 RBI and a .270/.330/.370 slash is a little unrealistic and I don't think the Twins have ever come close to doing such a thing. They had no one hit 20 HR this year and of the regulars, only Mauer and Willingham had an OBP of over .330.

Most importantly though, this team does not need to rebuild on a budget, even the owner says so. There is no reason to intentionally field a team of average baseball players and hope for the best.

ThePuck
10-02-2013, 09:21 AM
Good post, clearly a lot of effort was put into it. I have to disagree with some aspects though. You may be able to win a division without an ace, but a team is unlikely to win in the postseason. The other team IS going to throw out an ace game one, and in the playoffs, digging yourself an 0-1 hole in a best of 5 series is pretty dangerous. Then you have to do it two more series to bring home the trophy. Both Twins WS winning teams had aces.

A good bullpen can be put together at minimal cost, but a good bullpen doesn't do a lot of good if your team is always behind.

Having 8 players in the lineup hit 20 HR with 75 RBI and a .270/.330/.370 slash is a little unrealistic and I don't think the Twins have ever come close to doing such a thing. They had no one hit 20 HR this year and of the regulars, only Mauer and Willingham had an OBP of over .330.

Most importantly though, this team does not need to rebuild on a budget, even the owner says so. There is no reason to intentionally field a team of average baseball players and hope for the best.

Fantastic post, mirrors my feelings exactly...especially about the pitching. That was the first thing I thought of when I read Brandon's post.

DAM DC Twins Fans
10-02-2013, 09:45 AM
Brandon: Great post. Obviously you put a lot of work in it. I agree that patience is required while we wait for the next generation. Assuming Buxton and Sano come up next summer and live up to the hype--that gives us our slugger and anchor defense in OF. Then we have Hicks and Arcia in the corners. Still not sure if Dozier's second half is a career year or he will continue and be an anchor in the middle IF.

So we need to find a couple of quality starters and hope that Stewart, Gonsalves and the rest of the young pitchers develop in the minors.

gunnarthor
10-02-2013, 09:48 AM
Someone in Twins Daily alert the rest of the media that the current GM is also the GM that oversaw a number of consecutive drafts of washouts and never-were's.

After the Perkins draft, there are a number of drafts where the depth washed out. And those are some of the drafts that would have given the Twins depth in the past 3 years vs the merit-badge players they keep signing and adding to the 40-man roster.

Look it up. Tons of guys that never made it. College slop-ballers that couldn't even get to AAA.

And Terry Ryan was the GM during those drafts before handing things over to Billy Smith.

So while Bill Smith gets the blame on bad decisions recently,long-term problems started with all the bad drafts while Ryan was the GM.

I think this has been gone over before but we can look at it quickly again. The 04 draft was a biggie and BA actually gave the Twins the highest grade after that draft. Unfortunately, Plouffe has never really developed and all 4 first round pitchers ended up getting serious injuries which effected their careers greatly. Perkins turned into a top notch closer but even that took a long time to happen. 2nd round pick Swarzak has been a decent long reliever. 3rd round pick Morlan was part of the Delmon Young trade. But it was an unfortunate draft for us but it was also a weak draft (sorta like 2001). Perkins actually has the 8th most WAR of the first round picks. The best players we missed on were Phil Hughes and Gio Gonzalez (I believe he fell b/c of salary demands). The second round saw guys like Dustin Pedroia, Hunter Pence, Yovani Gallardo, Kurt Suzuki picked. Would we look back on that draft differently if our guys had stayed healthy?

05 they did ok for a bit - Garza's been a pretty good ML player, Slowey (2nd) and Duensing (3rd) both had decent seasons as starters. The Twins had another first round pick and used it on a washout Hank Sanchez, Clay Bucholz went a few picks later (he dropped for criminal reasons, IIRC). Slowey was an ok pick for a 2nd rounder so I guess we can't complain but Yunel Escobar went two picks later and he's easily been the best player from that round. They also missed with the last pick of the second round. Only Bret Gardener of the Yankees has amassed more WAR than Duensing, of the 3rd round picks. I think this ended up being a pretty solid draft for us actually. Garza has been a quality ML pitcher for years (and still is), Slowey was close to solid for a while and Duensing had several good seasons and has become a decent reliever. Obviously, the Garza trade hangs over this one.

06 was a bad draft for us (but it probably bad for most. Pretty weak group). Top picks were Parmelee, Benson, and Tyler Robertson. I don't think Parmelee was considered a reach or anything (and the 06 1st round wasn't great) but Ian Kennedy, Daniel Bard, Joba Chamberlain and Chris Perez all went after him. Benson in the 2nd round was a bust and Cahill and Masterson both went after him. Joe Smith was the best player taken in the 3rd round.

07 wasn't really a bad draft esp since they drafted so late. They used their first round pick on Revere at pick #28. They wouldn't get to pick again until # 92. The only useful player taken within 30 picks that signed was Brewers C LuCroy. Twins missed with 3rd round pick Angel Morales although I still liked that pick. Nothing special went after him. That was Ryan and Radcliff's last draft as GM and Draft coordinator. Smith and Johnson came the next year (and man, you don't want to look at the misses in that draft).

I'm not sure how much of these drafts are the FO's "fault" as opposed to sorta normal drafting. The injuries that decimated the 04 group are really unfortuante but it was considered a good draft at the time. The 05 group was good although Slowey never really came back from his broken wrist and Garza/Young didn't work out for us. 06 was the disaster draft. The one thing that was really missing from the 04-07 group was the late round hit. Danny Valencia, Alex Burnett, Matt Tolbert were about it in those years. From 99-02, they got lucky with Neshek, Kubel and Blackburn. And Morneau was a really nice 3rd round pick. Maybe we'll start to see a few more of those going forward. Rosario was a 4th round pick and has become a top 100 prospect. Dozier was a 9th rounder in 09.

zenser
10-02-2013, 09:48 AM
Good post, clearly a lot of effort was put into it. I have to disagree with some aspects though. You may be able to win a division without an ace, but a team is unlikely to win in the postseason. The other team IS going to throw out an ace game one, and in the playoffs, digging yourself an 0-1 hole in a best of 5 series is pretty dangerous. Then you have to do it two more series to bring home the trophy. Both Twins WS winning teams had aces.


Exactly my thoughts too. See the 2001 Mariners.

TheLeviathan
10-02-2013, 09:52 AM
Great work, Brandon!! I've always wanted to do what you did. It isn't about having the greatest players, though I would add that it's important to have 2-3 that should be considered perennial All-Star types, and then surround them with solid players. Guys with a little pop, some speed, play good defense, and are pretty smart. I especially like what you did with the pitchers. The Twins had an Ace in Johan and that didn't get them to the WS because you need more than just one. You need solid, give-you-a-chance-most-times-out guys in all five spots, and probably a couple of others that can fill in for injury.

Um....so we are saying the Twins didnt make the World Series because of a lack of grind it out pitchers? I would suggest that had little to nothing o do with our playoff failures. Bad offense, bullpen implosions, and baffling player decisions on the field were to blame IMO.

the problem with this analysis is that it is way too generalized. I would argue the Twins notion of solid and unspectacular pitching is in desperate need of change. It doesn't have to be 5 aces, but it damn sure cant be five Blackburn clones either. That mentality, by Ryan as posted above, is THE main reason we are where we are right now. And even the Twins have woke up to that reality if their recent drafts are any indication.

Siehbiscuit
10-02-2013, 09:59 AM
I am all for being a good steward of your financial resources, but too me, TR seems to be living a decade behind most other teams. The Twins could spend more as they have it in their budget to do so. I love the aspect of piecing together a bullpen; a team can be cost smart and get good quality. Finding numerous quality bats that can it .270/.330/.370 with 20 HR's is a great idea in theory. Getting that out of MI or at catcher and it will cost you a pretty penny. The problem is that the Twins have tried to plug this .270/.330/.370 into premium offensive positions like corner OF and 3B and 1B. The guys we have tried to plug in (Plouffe (3B), Parmalee (1B/RF), Hermann (RF), Doumit(RF)) have failed miserably. Positions that require production need to be better than .270/.330/.370.

There is hope for the next couple of years as these type of players look to be on there way.

howieramone
10-02-2013, 10:30 AM
Um....so we are saying the Twins didnt make the World Series because of a lack of grind it out pitchers? I would suggest that had little to nothing o do with our playoff failures. Bad offense, bullpen implosions, and baffling player decisions on the field were to blame IMO.

the problem with this analysis is that it is way too generalized. I would argue the Twins notion of solid and unspectacular pitching is in desperate need of change. It doesn't have to be 5 aces, but it damn sure cant be five Blackburn clones either. That mentality, by Ryan as posted above, is THE main reason we are where we are right now. And even the Twins have woke up to that reality if their recent drafts are any indication.

Obviously a book could be written on this subject, possibly even a movie such as Moneyball. I don't believe it was the author's intent to provide a definitive work at this time.

drivlikejehu
10-02-2013, 10:56 AM
When I clicked on it, I assumed the post would be a joke. Instead it's just a wall of text that nowhere actually says anything about Ryan's strategy for rebuilding.

For instance, even if Ryan's "strategy" was to assemble 5 solid starters, that's sort of like saying his "strategy" is to win all 162 games next year.

TheLeviathan
10-02-2013, 11:17 AM
Obviously a book could be written on this subject, possibly even a movie such as Moneyball. I don't believe it was the author's intent to provide a definitive work at this time.

How about better examples then? For instance, rule one referenced a rotation Ryan didnt preside over. A few of these are true about our approach, but most are too general.

Seth Stohs
10-02-2013, 11:23 AM
Um....so we are saying the Twins didnt make the World Series because of a lack of grind it out pitchers? I would suggest that had little to nothing o do with our playoff failures. Bad offense, bullpen implosions, and baffling player decisions on the field were to blame IMO.

Nope, not at all... He was just highlighting what was the key to success for a decade. And, frankly, I would like to see a team be just good again. I'm not one that says "World Series championship or season is a failure." I want to see the team be competitive again, and the strategy mentioned above can get to that level. And, once you get to that level, then you'll need your aces and top level hitters to take it to the next step.

Note - The Twins had an ace in Santana... it takes more than just that. I agree. In those short series, it was the offense and some unfortunately blown leads. Probably some bad luck too.

But, as I write all the time, what happens in 162 games means more to how good a team is than what happens in a Best of Five series.

CharacterGroove
10-02-2013, 11:27 AM
When I clicked on it, I assumed the post would be a joke. Instead it's just a wall of text that nowhere actually says anything about Ryan's strategy for rebuilding.

For instance, even if Ryan's "strategy" was to assemble 5 solid starters, that's sort of like saying his "strategy" is to win all 162 games next year.

I don't disagree with your general point, but I don't think it's a fair reading of his post.

The "strategy" would be the budgetary focus of acquiring 5 quality starters as opposed to competing with other teams for a perceived ace via free agency, which in turn may affect the ability to fill out the bottem of the order.

Willihammer
10-02-2013, 11:28 AM
But, as I write all the time, what happens in 162 games means more to how good a team is than what happens in a Best of Five series.
What about a best of 1 series?

DJL44
10-02-2013, 11:31 AM
I was befundled how poor those drafts were.

Drafting low is part of it. If you draft in the 20s you're missing out on the top talent every year.

nicksaviking
10-02-2013, 11:32 AM
What about a best of 1 series?

We got Correia.

ThePuck
10-02-2013, 11:39 AM
Drafting low is part of it. If you draft in the 20s you're missing out on the top talent every year.

But there is talent to be had throughout the draft. KC committed an apparent baseball sin by trading big bad Wil Myers and he was a 3rd round pick. Our 2nd round pick that year was Billy Bullock :-) We also took Gibson in the first round that year and Trout was like 4 picks later. Both were low first round picks.


On top of that, St Louis has been drafting pretty low for quite some time they seem to be getting production out of their draft.

Willihammer
10-02-2013, 11:40 AM
This is a well thought out, well written and stimulating post. Thanks for it.

Couple things. Smart baserunning isn't a secret anymore, if it ever was. We have stats which at least try to give a very specific run value to all the contributions a runner can make, including going first to third on a single, scoring from 1st on a gapper, etc. We can have a healthy debate about whether the run values these stats arrive at fit our real world perceptions but I seriously doubt the Twins or any other team have found some hidden value to baserunning that these metrics aren't already capturing just as well or even better.

Secondly, the player who hits 20 hrs, is a great baserunner, and plays great defense is going to be at best marginally cheaper than a loaf who hits 40 HRs and runs like those guys typically run and plays defense like those guys typically play. Look at the contracts of Carl Crawford, BJ Upton, Dustin Pedroia, etc. These secondary skills don't go unnoticed anymore. Where the savings are had is in making an early and accurate evaluation of a player's "true" talent so that you can lock him into a team friendly contract, eg. Evan Longoria. This is where the sabermetric, predictive approach can be extremely useful, I suspect.

Seth Stohs
10-02-2013, 11:46 AM
When I clicked on it, I assumed the post would be a joke. Instead it's just a wall of text that nowhere actually says anything about Ryan's strategy for rebuilding.

For instance, even if Ryan's "strategy" was to assemble 5 solid starters, that's sort of like saying his "strategy" is to win all 162 games next year.

Sometimes one has to look back before they can look forward. We need to understand the themes of the past, evaluate and then look to the future. This is a good exercise.

Hosken Bombo Disco
10-02-2013, 12:03 PM
Good post. I defer to you on the calculations and like your rule categories. I would have moved Defense up even higher.

I think we underrate how well Terry Ryan has put together bullpens -- you don't really know its value until its gone.

Also I am somewhere in the middle on the starting pitching argument, #1 Ace vs. five solid starters.

I think two quality guys can get you through a season and into the playoffs in these days of 4 or 5 playoff qualifiers. It's a huge regret that the Santana/Radke pair didn't get to the World Series. I like how Brad Radke continued to pitch with a basically a broken arm in 2006. I like how Alex Meyer wants to be a school teacher when he's not pitching. I like how guys like Diamond point the finger at themselves. For a while we have gotten away from that by gambling on the Valencia/Garza types of guys. We need to cycles those guys out, and get back to guys who care about fundamentals and are decent people to have around. Cuddyer, Span, those guys -- that in my opinion is/was part of what made the Twins Way.

JB_Iowa
10-02-2013, 12:19 PM
But, as I write all the time, what happens in 162 games means more to how good a team is than what happens in a Best of Five series.

Maybe for you. And maybe for me in the days when there were only 2 participants in the post-season, the CHAMPION of each league. Yes, then the regular season was meaningful.

But the regular season is devalued when you have an unbalanced schedule, interleague play, 3 division champions plus 2 wild cards.

With all of that in play, the 162 regular season games don't mean much unless you ALSO go in and win enough series to at least be the champion of your league on occasion.

People don't remember who had the best regular season record (not that the Twins usually had that anyway), they remember who won the World Series.

There's nothing wrong with enjoying the journey but I want to enjoy the destination, too.

BabyJesusBuxton
10-02-2013, 12:29 PM
Great post! I think the big difference between the approach you lay out here and the Twins current state is that once the majority of the pieces are in place, an "ace" pitcher is not outside the financial scope of the Twins market.

Personally, I think I would rather go after 2 solid number 2 pitchers (the Matt Moore's, Clay Bucholtz's, etc of the world) than one true ace. I feel this reduces the risk of putting all your eggs in one basket ala Roy Halladay this year. This of course is hypothetical that pitchers of this caliber will become available. More often now teams are locking up these players to long term deals before they end arbitration which is why TR is trading proven players for high upside arms.

drivlikejehu
10-02-2013, 12:37 PM
Sometimes one has to look back before they can look forward. We need to understand the themes of the past, evaluate and then look to the future. This is a good exercise.

Sure, except the inner workings of the front office aren't in the public domain. The OP just made up a bunch of random stuff, none of which included innovation or Terry Ryan's actual strategies (past or present).

I mean, it's not "innovative" to want a good defense. Every team wants a good defense. It doesn't mean anything to attribute this specifically to TR. If anything TR seems to be behind the curve defensively.

And even beyond all that, a distinction has to be made between philosophy and strategy. For instance, we know that Ryan loves finesse, pitch-to-contact guys. That's his philosophy. His strategy would involve the means behind acquiring finesse pitchers that are actually decent (last offseason it was short-term deals with mediocre free agents).

Major Leauge Ready
10-02-2013, 12:49 PM
Nice job putting this together, Brandon. The first thing that came to mind for me like some others is that "ace" SPs are a significant advantage in a short series. I can also appreciate that you first have to get to the playoffs and this formula has worked. I am sure they hoped they had an ace or a couple 2s along the way but that has not happened. Of course, you can always rent a Jack Morris. The plan does not end with "solid starters". There are options once you get to the tipping point.

My biggest complaint is that we have simply not drafted and develop much for pitching, period. For that matter, the entire farm system suffered from a few bad years in a row. Gunnarthor gave me a little different perspective but I would be calling for wholesale change if it we not for the fact the FO sure does seems they changed something because they have turned the farm system around. We are also drafting more high ceiling guys. I don't think we would have seen Stewart and Gonsalves picked a few years ago.

I would still like to see them recruit some guys that have proven to be exceptional evaluators of SP talent.

Winston Smith
10-02-2013, 12:54 PM
"Terry Ryan's Innovative formula..."

Has given us one playoff series win in what 14-15 years. Doesn't seem good enough to me but I guess a lot of people are happy with that record.
Where you set the bar to be a happy fan will likely tell weather you think TR is innovative or not. I'd still like to hear Terry or Jim Pohlad say "we are going to do everything we can to build a world series championship team" and then go out a try.
Failure at trying to be the best I can live with, failure at trying to be mediocre, not so much.

Alex
10-02-2013, 12:58 PM
I don't disagree with your general point, but I don't think it's a fair reading of his post.

The "strategy" would be the budgetary focus of acquiring 5 quality starters as opposed to competing with other teams for a perceived ace via free agency, which in turn may affect the ability to fill out the bottem of the order.

I applaud the author of the post, but this reference to starters exemplifies what I consider to be an incredibly basic flaw in the argument: the opposing ideas in the "blueprint" are not mutually exclusive.

The choice does not have to between one ace and 4 awful pitchers vs. 5 quality pitchers. You can actually build a rotation that includes and ace and four quality pitchers. In fact, good teams do.

The same is true of the lineup. Just because you sign a guy that hits 35 HR or more doesn't mean you have to have 8 holes in the other spots.

This is especially true now with the depth of the farm system AND the available money the Twins have, but it means you have to draft, sign, and develop the right players.

ThePuck
10-02-2013, 01:01 PM
If your goal is to build a team that can advance far into the playoffs, the division championships, or playoff appearances, should come.

gunnarthor
10-02-2013, 01:03 PM
On top of that, St Louis has been drafting pretty low for quite some time they seem to be getting production out of their draft.

I'm not sure how much of that is actually true. I looked at the 04-07 Twins draft earlier in this thread. Here's the Cards:

04 - Chris Lambert was their first pick (before any Twins pick) and he was a bust. Best player drafted in this draft was 6th rounder Jarrett Hoffpauir who played in 21 games and had a .590 OPS. Twins had a better draft.

05 - They had 4 first round picks (and 6 in the top 70) but only Colby Rasmus has made it. Twins had a better draft.

06 - They nailed this draft about as well as the Twins blew it. They had 5 picks in the first two rounds. First pick Adam Ottavino has been ok but after him they took Chris Perez and hit on John Jay in the 2nd round. 8th round pick Allen Craig has been a good player. 8th rounder David Carpenter and 28th rounder Luke Gregerson have both become legit relief pitchers.

07 - Nothing really. They had two first round picks - Pete Kozma and Clayton Mortensen - and they've combined for 0.5 WAR. Twins had a better draft.

08 - (I didn't do the Twins 08 draft but that was the Hicks draft). They had two first round picks again. Wallace was a bit of a bomb but Lance Lynn has been solid.

So I think the Twins have drafted about as well as the Cards over that period (if we keep this going, it looks like the 09 draft favors the Cards but they blew 3 first round picks in 2010.) One thing the Cards have done is made some trades that the Twins probably couldn't have done b/c of the salary issues. But both Wallace and Mortensen were part of the Matt Holliday trades.

Brock Beauchamp
10-02-2013, 01:05 PM
There's very little innovation listed in this post.

What is listed is a solid, fundamental way of approaching baseball scouting and management, which is perfectly fine. Innovation can be important but only when it works... and it often doesn't.

There's nothing wrong with not being innovative about everything. But to compete in the market without innovation, you have to be really good at your fundamentals. Scouting, drafting, picking the right pieces at the right time to complement existing pieces.

Ryan was very good at doing this from 1998 to 2005-ish, after which the team fell off a cliff with the biggest aspect of fundamental-based, non-innovative managing: the draft. Some of this was poor decisions, some of it bad luck. In the end, it meant failure.

Ryan doesn't have to re-invent the wheel to win in baseball. He has to trust his baseball acumen, hire the right scouts, and focus on the things he excels at doing. Can he do that? Hard to say... the results in Minnesota thus far have been atrocious but his drafts look good, his trades look pretty good, and he's doing a lot of things right. Only time will tell whether it's enough.

ThePuck
10-02-2013, 01:08 PM
I'm not sure how much of that is actually true. I looked at the 04-07 Twins draft earlier in this thread. Here's the Cards:

04 - Chris Lambert was their first pick (before any Twins pick) and he was a bust. Best player drafted in this draft was 6th rounder Jarrett Hoffpauir who played in 21 games and had a .590 OPS. Twins had a better draft.

05 - They had 4 first round picks (and 6 in the top 70) but only Colby Rasmus has made it. Twins had a better draft.

06 - They nailed this draft about as well as the Twins blew it. They had 5 picks in the first two rounds. First pick Adam Ottavino has been ok but after him they took Chris Perez and hit on John Jay in the 2nd round. 8th round pick Allen Craig has been a good player. 8th rounder David Carpenter and 28th rounder Luke Gregerson have both become legit relief pitchers.

07 - Nothing really. They had two first round picks - Pete Kozma and Clayton Mortensen - and they've combined for 0.5 WAR. Twins had a better draft.

08 - (I didn't do the Twins 08 draft but that was the Hicks draft). They had two first round picks again. Wallace was a bit of a bomb but Lance Lynn has been solid.

So I think the Twins have drafted about as well as the Cards over that period (if we keep this going, it looks like the 09 draft favors the Cards but they blew 3 first round picks in 2010.) One thing the Cards have done is made some trades that the Twins probably couldn't have done b/c of the salary issues. But both Wallace and Mortensen were part of the Matt Holliday trades.

I'm not sure I agree with the breakdown of which team was better looking at that comparison, but to each their own. And yes, Cards did some trades we wouldn't do...but you blame salary issues. They've only broken 100M over the last 3 years...during a time we could have done the same. Maybe some of it also had to do with not being willing to trade prospects for quality players (Holliday) or sign some top end FAs (Beltran, Berkman).

Regardless, the point still stands...there is talent to be had throughout the draft.

TheLeviathan
10-02-2013, 01:15 PM
Nope, not at all... He was just highlighting what was the key to success for a decade. And, frankly, I would like to see a team be just good again. I'm not one that says "World Series championship or season is a failure." I want to see the team be competitive again, and the strategy mentioned above can get to that level. And, once you get to that level, then you'll need your aces and top level hitters to take it to the next step. .

right but you are essentially agreeing with an article that says the exact opposite. It belittles the need for top flight talent and the supposed innovation that calls for that.

I say that as someone that agrees with you. I think the postseason is largely a crapshoot, it's while you will never hear me dog Ryan, Gardy, Mauer, or anyone else for playoff failures. We found unique and maddening ways to get swept every year. But that does not excuse poor roster construction and an unwillingness to be aggressive at least occasionally.

Some of the same people praising his innovation are ones proud to call him old school. Last I checked, those definitions don't mesh. Ryan does many things well (doesnt make any catastrophically bad trades/moves for example) but the arrogance toward new, different, or potentially ahead of the curve trends is staggering and very discomforting. They can, and should in some ways, have confidence in their methods. But like any business or sports or life model - resistance to change and evolution is only oing to lead to negative outcomes overall. Certainly to limited potential.

ThePuck
10-02-2013, 01:19 PM
I don't agree with you, but I don't want to get into an argument on expectations, with a poster whose avatar is a pig with lipstick.:)

What part of his post there is even debatable?

-Under Ryan, we have only one playoff series win in 14-15 years.
-The above doesn't seem good enough to him. He is the best judge of what is good enough for him.
-Certainly where you set the bar to be a happy fan will likely tell whether you think TR is innovative or not. IF everyone had the same bar, there'd be no debate.
-Certainly he knows that he, himself, would like to hear Terry or Jim Pohlad say "we are going to do everything we can to build a world series championship team" and then go out a try.
-Certainly he knows what he can live with. So when he says 'failure at trying to be the best I can live with, failure at trying to be mediocre, not so much', the only person who could dispute that is him.

That's the whole post.

glunn
10-02-2013, 02:31 PM
"Terry Ryan's Innovative formula..."

Has given us one playoff series win in what 14-15 years. Doesn't seem good enough to me but I guess a lot of people are happy with that record.
Where you set the bar to be a happy fan will likely tell weather you think TR is innovative or not. I'd still like to hear Terry or Jim Pohlad say "we are going to do everything we can to build a world series championship team" and then go out a try.
Failure at trying to be the best I can live with, failure at trying to be mediocre, not so much.

Moderator note - please tone down the rhetoric.

Willihammer
10-02-2013, 02:36 PM
Drafting low is part of it. If you draft in the 20s you're missing out on the top talent every year.

That's why, maybe its not so wise to be as reliant on the draft for talent as Ryan is. There is only one way to get those top picks.

ThePuck
10-02-2013, 02:40 PM
That's why, maybe its not so wise to be as reliant on the draft for talent as Ryan is. There is only one way to get those top picks.

Not only that, but there's talent throughout the draft.

Brandon
10-02-2013, 02:46 PM
There's very little innovation listed in this post.

What is listed is a solid, fundamental way of approaching baseball scouting and management, which is perfectly fine. Innovation can be important but only when it works... and it often doesn't.

There's nothing wrong with not being innovative about everything. But to compete in the market without innovation, you have to be really good at your fundamentals. Scouting, drafting, picking the right pieces at the right time to complement existing pieces.

Ryan was very good at doing this from 1998 to 2005-ish, after which the team fell off a cliff with the biggest aspect of fundamental-based, non-innovative managing: the draft. Some of this was poor decisions, some of it bad luck. In the end, it meant failure.

Ryan doesn't have to re-invent the wheel to win in baseball. He has to trust his baseball acumen, hire the right scouts, and focus on the things he excels at doing. Can he do that? Hard to say... the results in Minnesota thus far have been atrocious but his drafts look good, his trades look pretty good, and he's doing a lot of things right. Only time will tell whether it's enough.

I titled it innovative more so as a responce to the story about no innovation from the Twins as this is story highlights the framework in which they build there team here.

LaBombo
10-02-2013, 02:49 PM
Sometimes one has to look back before they can look forward. We need to understand the themes of the past, evaluate and then look to the future. This is a good exercise.
Sphinx? Is that you? You were great in Mystery Men!
http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/image_film/MysteryMen_24.jpg

Brandon
10-02-2013, 03:01 PM
A couple of things about this post,

It was a bigger undertaking than i figured it would be. I would have liked to put more into showing examples and i may go back and do that in a series of posts. But you can see the framework of what TR is trying to do to rebuild the team its very similar to what they have done in the past. For Example: This last season Willingham, Doumit underperformed as seasoned vets, Morneau would have likely hit 20 had he stayed here all season, Dozier was close and Parmalee and Plouffe missed the mark as well. Thats 5 plus 1 surprise player meant to be the 20 HR 75-85 RBI crowd I was talking about. THe offense way underperformed expectations this season.

2, The point that we don't need an ace isnt that we don't need one, but the importance of 5 starters who are solid each time out and i explained why that was important. Here is a reason why an ace isn't as important as you think in the long haul.

1 pitcher 180 inning with 2.5 era = 1.667
4 pitchers 180 innings each with 4 era = 2.667

the weighted average of runs allowed is 2.467 which is .21 runs lower per game at a cost close to 15-20 million or even more per season vs our bullpen which has a low era. I know its in the low 3's and the entire bullen costs less then that and we get more innings from the group. I would venture that our current bullpen is worth more than an ace pitcher.


I am at work so i will continue this post later this evening.

Winston Smith
10-02-2013, 03:07 PM
Moderator note - please tone down the rhetoric.

I have no idea what I should tone down.

old nurse
10-02-2013, 03:13 PM
I'm not sure I agree with the breakdown of which team was better looking at that comparison, but to each their own. And yes, Cards did some trades we wouldn't do...but you blame salary issues. They've only broken 100M over the last 3 years...during a time we could have done the same. Maybe some of it also had to do with not being willing to trade prospects for quality players (Holliday) or sign some top end FAs (Beltran, Berkman).

Regardless, the point still stands...there is talent to be had throughout the draft.

Yes there is talent to be had throughout the draft. What objective standard do you use to judge if a team drafts well? IE. number of players that make it to the majors, some benchmark of career war? Team victories?

ThePuck
10-02-2013, 03:17 PM
Yes there is talent to be had throughout the draft. What objective standard do you use to judge if a team drafts well? IE. number of players that make it to the majors, some benchmark of career war? Team victories?

My whole point was to say that using the fact that we've drafted low for so long as a reason for so little talent drafted is an excuse more than anything else because talent can be had throughout the draft. Are you disputing this or not, because that was the whole point of my post.

I never even claimed we had drafted poorly in my original post, did I, besides pointing out ONE draft...the first draft that came to mind because of Myers? So why was automatic defense mode activated?

I pointed to St Louis who has been in a similar boat. I could have used the As I guess...heck, practically any team really...not that it makes much difference when the overall point is....which is there's talent up and down the draft...serious talent is found past the #20 pick of the first round all the time.

drivlikejehu
10-02-2013, 03:38 PM
I would venture that our current bullpen is worth more than an ace pitcher.

I am at work so i will continue this post later this evening.

I'll save you the trouble: this assertion is completely false. The reason is that it is much easier to pitch in relief than to start, and so while teams can put together effective bullpens on the cheap, ace pitchers are extremely difficult to find.

Here's a simple thought experiment: would a team trade the Twins an ace pitcher for the Twins' bullpen? The answer is obviously no. Only Perkins has real value and by himself he wouldn't even bring back a #3 starter.

It's also invalid to argue that TR is blameless because players "underperformed" an expectation that doesn't exist. The front office is responsible for fielding a team that actually will perform, not one that it wrongly thinks will.

Willihammer
10-02-2013, 04:01 PM
Not only that, but there's talent throughout the draft.

But as a rule, teams who draft in the top 10 are getting the choicest cuts and everyone after is fighting over scraps. You only need to get to the 2nd round before the odds of your pick even getting a cup of coffee begin to dip under 50%.

If my math is right, each draft produces players who for their careers produce a total of 380 WAR (on average). About 100 of that will come from the top 10 picks. So there are 10 teams fighting over 100 WAR in the top 10, and 30 teams fighting over 280 WAR in picks 11-1200. That's an average of about 9.3 WAR per team per draft - again, for the players entire career(s), after you toss out the top 10.

Get a top 10 pick however, and you are playing at much, much better odds and you stand to more than double your product

LaBombo
10-02-2013, 04:06 PM
One of the precious few advantages of being regarded as sort of a dink is that it allows you to disagree with one of the most virally popular posts in recent memory without really losing any standing. So here goes.



Pitching Rule #2: You don't need an ace to win, you need 5 solid starters. What did I just say. We don't need an ace, but we had Santana all those years... One of the most successful seasons in franchise history was the 2010 Twins team. If you go back and look at the rotation, we had Pavano 220 innings 3.75 ERA, Liriano (almost an ace) with 191.2 innings and 3.62 ERA, Baker 170.1/ 4.49, Blackburn 161 / 5.42 and Slowey 155 / 4.45. Pelfry, Corriea, Dedunno, and 2012 Diamond fit that mold.
Maybe you don't need an ace to reach the postseason, but it must be an awfully big help. Pretty much every team in the playoffs either has at least one pitcher that fits what most people would loosely define as an ace, or one who pitched like one (Bartolo Colon). Liriano was one of the 10 best starters in all of MLB by virtually any measure other than wins, btw. And I will eat a whole theater-sized box of Black Crows, my least favorite candy in the world, if the Twins make the playoffs with even two of those four names in the rotation.


The media and stat heads focus on K's and BB's and that's part of it but ultimately the question is can we have a pitcher with a 4.00 era that pitches between 180 and 200 innings. (there was the mistake of Mays and Blackburns extentions).
Ignoring strikeouts and worshipping the lack of walks is exactly how the Twins ended up wasting time and money on Mays, Blackburn, Silva, Marquis, Ramon Ortiz, Sidney Ponson, and a bunch of other names that nobody wants to hear any more.


Rule #4 The bullpen is a great way to gain wins at a minimal cost.
Totally agree, and a really good history you put together.


Rule#5 Defense wins games:
It certainly can't hurt, and the Twins could definitely stand to improve theirs, but it really doesn't correlate to winning very strongly. Defensive metrics are certainly not as accurate as the offensive and pitching kind, but they're good enough that they give at least some idea of a team's overall defensive abilty. And at least for this year, they show that a few good defensive teams, a few average ones, and a few bad ones made the playoffs.


Rule#6 Smart baserunning is the hidden secret to the Twins scoring so much without hitting the expensive longball. The Twins were never the team to lead the league in stolen bases but they did execute more bunts, bunt singles to get on base, run from 1B to 3B on a single
We hear that alot, but there's not much evidence to support it. Much, much more important to the Twins is the incredibly expensive non-secret of Joe Mauer getting on base. The Twins' ability to score runs in the future will be mostly based on how successful they are at building an affordable supporting cast around him that can do likewise.

Also, the run expectancy tables you refer to, along with other stuff, shows that bunting doesn't do much to help runs score. Smart baserunning in general is good, but again, there doesn't seem to be much correlation between good baserunning and winning.


Rule #7 The lineup is better off with 20 HR /75-85RBI or .270/.330/.370 hitters 1-8 than 1 35HR hitter and several holes in the lineup.
This part surprised me. It seemed to me that most postseason teams tend to have at least one 30 HR guy, but at least at a glance, that's not the case. It's pretty routine for a team to make the playoffs without one. With any luck Sano will make it a non-issue anyway.

As for the piranhas, they can soil their uniforms (from the outside, hopefully), dive for grounders hit right at them, slide head first into the dugout after scoring a run, and get into lots of battles where their tails come off, just as long as, like you said, they get on base.

So from my minority perspective, you have some good thoughts there, mixed in with some stuff that not only doesn't seem innovative, it seems kind of like telling Ryan that if he runs harder and keeps his head lower, he'll crash through the brick wall eventually.

old nurse
10-02-2013, 04:06 PM
My whole point was to say that using the fact that we've drafted low for so long as a reason for so little talent drafted is an excuse more than anything else because talent can be had throughout the draft. Are you disputing this or not, because that was the whole point of my post.

I never even claimed we had drafted poorly in my original post, did I, besides pointing out ONE draft...the first draft that came to mind because of Myers? So why was automatic defense mode activated?

I pointed to St Louis who has been in a similar boat. I could have used the As I guess...heck, practically any team really...not that it makes much difference when the overall point is....which is there's talent up and down the draft...serious talent is found past the #20 pick of the first round all the time.

But you claim that St Louis has drafted well and do not refute that the Twins have drafted poorly, hence the question

LaBombo
10-02-2013, 04:11 PM
The reason is that it is much easier to pitch in relief than to start, and so while teams can put together effective bullpens on the cheap, ace pitchers are extremely difficult to find.

Will just add that this has been quantified pretty precisely with the eery 'Rule of 17's'. Starter BABIP is 17 points higher than relief, starter home run rate is 17% higher, and starter K rate is 17% lower.

ThePuck
10-02-2013, 04:12 PM
But as a rule, teams who draft in the top 10 are getting the choicest cuts and everyone after is fighting over scraps. You only need to get to the 2nd round before the odds of your pick even getting a cup of coffee begin to dip under 50%.

If my math is right, each draft produces players who for their careers produce a total of 380 WAR (on average). About 100 of that will come from the top 10 picks. So there are 10 teams fighting over 100 WAR in the top 10, and 30 teams fighting over 280 WAR in picks 11-1200. That's an average of about 9.3 WAR per team per draft - again, for the players entire career(s), after you toss out the top 10.

Get a top 10 pick however, and you are playing at much, much better odds and you stand to more than double your product

I never claimed a team's odds weren't better if drafting higher...not at all...but there are teams who have drafted late and have gotten real talent from the draft....and also got talent in FA and by trading prospects to get talent. St Louis comes to mind.

Blaming our lack of ML talent on drafting in the 2nd half of the draft for so many years doesn't cut it...because the draft isn't the only way to get talent and because talent is there to had had past the 20th pick of round one if it's able to be recognized, drafted and properly developed. Basically, blaming our talent woes on low draft position holds no water.

ThePuck
10-02-2013, 04:16 PM
But you claim that St Louis has drafted well and do not refute that the Twins have drafted poorly, hence the question
I claim St Louis has drafted well because they have. I also claim St Louis has done a good job of getting talent using all avenues, cause they have. They continue to win, even drafting low. As does Oakland. And there's a team that can still actually claim money problems.

As far as refuting the statement the Twins have drafted poorly, who said that and why is it my job to refute it? The problem is, a person says something, and you try to drag that person's comments to another place in order to try to defend this organization. I'd rather stick to defending things I actually say. I'm sure there are plenty of people who will have the 'who has drafted the best over the some preconceived time frame' debate with you, but it's not a debate that really interests me. Start a thread and have at it.

Willihammer
10-02-2013, 04:28 PM
I never claimed a team's odds weren't better if drafting higher...not at all...but there are teams who have drafted late and have gotten real talent from the draft....and also got talent in FA and by trading prospects to get talent. St Louis comes to mind.

Blaming our lack of ML talent on drafting in the 2nd half of the draft for so many years doesn't cut it...because the draft isn't the only way to get talent and because talent is there to had had past the 20th pick of round one if it's able to be recognized, drafted and properly developed. Basically, blaming our talent woes on low draft position holds no water.

I agree. I only wonder if people realize how incredibly fruitful and easy it is to get talent in the top 10, and how incredibly hard and chancy it is to find talent later in the draft. That's why, if your entire rebuilding strategy is draft-centric, it seems to follow that you might intentionally tank the on-field product.

ThePuck
10-02-2013, 04:32 PM
I agree. I only wonder if people realize how incredibly fruitful and easy it is to get talent in the top 10, and how incredibly hard and chancy it is to find talent later in the draft. That's why, if your entire rebuilding strategy is draft-centric, it seems to follow that you might intentionally tank the on-field product.

Well, yeah, but there's many case of top 10 picks busting too...you have to pick the right guys AND develop them properly. I do believe that if you almost exclusively count on drafted talent to be a contender, you better draft and develop better than most other teams. Look how long the Pirates and KC drafted high...and they're only now seeing the benefits...so drafting high is no guarantee for success and drafting low is now guarantee for failure. The odds are just better drafting high. Just like there's no guarantee money gets you to the playoffs, but I THINK if one looks at the time frame when spending started really booming in MLB, the bigger spenders spent more time in the playoffs. Of course there are exceptions...always...to everything.

ashburyjohn
10-02-2013, 04:38 PM
I have no idea what I should tone down.

I'll take a crack at it as a fellow moderator, though I don't want to further derail discussion: your post was a case of "talking past each other" rather than addressing anything in the OP's lengthy thesis, and in particular the turn of phrase "failure at trying to be mediocre" seemed intended to inflame rather than encourage civility.

glunn
10-02-2013, 05:06 PM
I have no idea what I should tone down.

"Failure at trying to be the best I can live with, failure at trying to be mediocre, not so much."

glunn
10-02-2013, 05:07 PM
I'll take a crack at it as a fellow moderator, though I don't want to further derail discussion: your post was a case of "talking past each other" rather than addressing anything in the OP's lengthy thesis, and in particular the turn of phrase "failure at trying to be mediocre" seemed intended to inflame rather than encourage civility.

That is what I was referring to -- thanks, John.

Winston Smith
10-02-2013, 05:14 PM
That is what I was referring to -- thanks, John.

Sorry I wasn't trying to inflame anyone just expressing my opinion. I'll do my best to stay away for a while.

Badsmerf
10-02-2013, 06:50 PM
Apparently I was one of the only ones to hate your post Brandon. I applaud you for your optimism (I'm actually a very optimistic person, kinda hard to see that with my ranting against the direction the Twins are going). Your arguments, and the evidence you provide are maddening. More than ever I feel like I've had to teach people the game lately and why I (and others) are so frustrated. Anyway, thanks for the talker, you put a lot of time into it.




Pitching Rule #2: You don't need an ace to win, you need 5 solid starters.

Define.... win. If winning is having a record above .500 than I agree with you.



What did I just say. We don't need an ace, but we had Santana all those years... One of the most successful seasons in franchise history was the 2010 Twins team. If you go back and look at the rotation, we had Pavano 220 innings 3.75 ERA, Liriano (almost an ace) with 191.2 innings and 3.62 ERA, Baker 170.1/ 4.49, Blackburn 161 / 5.42 and Slowey 155 / 4.45. Pelfry, Corriea, Dedunno, and 2012 Diamond fit that mold. In 2010 the team used primarily 6 starters as Deunsing did get 13 starts and had 130 innings / 2.62 for season including bullpen time. Now I am not saying we couldn't use an ace if there was an affordable one out there. Corriea costs just 4.5 million this year Pelfry will not be expensive to resign either should we go that route.
Your example is terrible. As has already been pointed out, Liriano very much pitched like an Ace and Pavano pitched like a #2. Plus, that team got swept in the playoffs.


The media and stat heads focus on K's and BB's and that's part of it but ultimately the question is can we have a pitcher with a 4.00 era that pitches between 180 and 200 innings. That type of pitcher keeps us in the ball games so the other aspects of winning can take over and those pitchers don't break the bank. Radke made 9 million per season, Pavano 8 million for 2 seasons, Santana was the ace that got paid 42 over 4 if I remember correctly, but outside there wasn't many expensive contracts....(there was the mistake of Mays and Blackburns extentions).

Outside of that they haven't had any good pitchers! I would not complain about Ryan signing a guy for 10 million a year and get what Pavano gave in 2010. Problem is, there is absolutely no evidence he will spend that much on a FA pitcher. Radke and Pavano were both with the Twins and got extended. He doesn't have that luxury now.


Rule #4 The bullpen is a great way to gain wins at a minimal cost.


It can be, when it works out. Sometimes it isn't that easy. It cost the Twins Ramos to try and get someone that had more than just a pulse.



Rule#5 Defense wins games:
Some, but not very many. Every year there are everything from great fielding teams to horrible fielding teams in the playoffs. If defense was so paramount, you would not see that much parity. I can agree that emphasis can be put on it, because it does help.

Like anything else there is a balance.



Rule#6 Smart baserunning is the hidden secret to the Twins scoring so much without hitting the expensive longball. The Twins were never the team to lead the league in stolen bases but they did execute more bunts, bunt singles to get on base, run from 1B to 3B on a single Sometimes the Twins over executed this one. how many times did we write about Ulger blowing a call? I think Hageman wrote an article about going 1b to 3b once and Twinsgeek wrote about the statistical analysis of the likeliness someone scores when on each base with 0,1,or 2 outs. wish I had the links for you on this one.


Wrong again. Sacrifice bunting has been proved to be a complete waste of an out unless we're talking about pitchers or Butera. And hidden secret? When the Twins had a lot of speed on the team obviously they could be effective at base-running. That is why they got the Piranah nickname from Ozzie. The appeal 10 years ago was the small ball little engine that could Twins. The game has changed. That approach proved very ineffective, unless you are considering division tittles and getting swept in the playoffs effective.

Plus, I have a hard time seeing any of those Twins teams outside of 2006 and maybe 2010 getting to the playoffs with this division now.



Rule #7 The lineup is better off with 20 HR /75-85RBI or .270/.330/.370 hitters 1-8 than 1 35HR hitter and several holes in the lineup. The Twins didn't really go for the HR hitters too much. They liked the guy who would hit 20 HR and 75-85 RBI. Those hitters are more than half the cost at 3/4 the production. The Twins had several of these hitters: Shannon Stewart, Jones, Hunter, Koskie, Cuddyer, Kubel, Crede, Mientkiewicz (minus the power) Hardy, Morneau (though he was also one of their allstars with Mauer) Of those only Hunter became really expensive and that was more star power and defense in CF than just his hitting again Morneau's contract was from when he was MVP caliber.
You do realize that player is almost exactly Denard Span for his disappointing 2013 season right? Of course, without those 20 HR. If you add those in, it looks a lot more like Alex Gordon and a .750 OPS. I don't want 8 underachieving Denard Spans.



The other type of hitter listed is effective too. the "piranhas" scored runs because they could get on base and run them aggressively.
The 2008 Twins scored 829 runs, the most by a twins team. They had 4 guys with an OPS over .800. They had speed in Casilla, Span, Gomez, and Punto. They had Morneau and Mauer with great seasons, Delmon had a nice season, Casilla had a nice season, Span, Kubel, Punto... They were just a good team, that didn't even make the playoffs.



we had 6 division titles in 9 seasons .
Which featured the best pitcher in baseball for 4 of them. Coincidence? Guys like you keep telling me so, but I just don't believe it.

Look. The cute little run the Twins had in 2000's was fun. The AL Central was terrible and they caught some breaks with some players. The game has changed dramatically since then. The Twins keep trying to force "the Twins way" on the game and they will continue to lose.

Thrylos
10-02-2013, 07:39 PM
Pitching Rule #2: You don't need an ace to win, you need 5 solid starters.

Depending on how you define "solid", the 1987 Twins had 1.5 solid starters (Viola, Blyleven) and the 1991, 3 (Erickson, Morris, Tapani.) 5 solid starters was a tall order even for the Yankee dynasty teams... So a few good starters are needed, but the Twins did not have any since 2010 with maybe the exception of Baker in 2011

What winning teams (like the 2 Twins' teams) have are:
a. Veteran clubhouse leadership (think Puckett "ride on my shoulders" and Morris' game 7)
b. Pride in winning (those Twins teams rarely lost at home. They just did not let their opponents to beat them at home. Matter of pride.)
c. The ability to perform better as a team. Lots like the #1 the OP mentions.

The last 2, in my book, are reflections on the Manager. The first , a reflection on the GM and the Manager.

Spicoli
10-02-2013, 09:01 PM
Wow I couldn't disagree more. First off when you say win you don't actually mean win. Because the Twins haven't won since 91', unless you consider losing in the first round of the playoffs every time they made it winning? I don't. The reason the Twins never made it far is because of yours and Ryans idea of how to "Win". To win it all you NEED an ace and you NEED one of the games best players, the Twins always had that but they never had depth. How can you even say you don't need an ace lol? I went and looked at the last 8 WS winners and 7 of them had an ace and a superstar but they all had 1 or the other.

SF 12'- Cain/Posey
STL 11'- Carpenter/Pujols
SF 10'- Cain, Lincecum/Solid Lineup all around
NYY 09'- Sabathia/Cano, Jeter, A Rod, Teixara
PHI 08'- Hamels/Utley, Howard
BOS 07'- Beckett/Ortiz, Ramirez, Lowell, Pedroia
STL 06'- Carpenter/Pujols
CHW 05'- Burlhe/Konerko


You need an ace to win a WS as I have just shown they all had one. And you need a superstar and a solid rest of the lineup. Ryan is the reason we lose, he needs to go.

Brandon
10-03-2013, 08:53 AM
[/B]
Define.... win. If winning is having a record above .500 than I agree with you.

Your example is terrible. As has already been pointed out, Liriano very much pitched like an Ace and Pavano pitched like a #2. Plus, that team got swept in the playoffs.

Outside of that they haven't had any good pitchers! I would not complain about Ryan signing a guy for 10 million a year and get what Pavano gave in 2010. Problem is, there is absolutely no evidence he will spend that much on a FA pitcher. Radke and Pavano were both with the Twins and got extended. He doesn't have that luxury now.

It can be, when it works out. Sometimes it isn't that easy. It cost the Twins Ramos to try and get someone that had more than just a pulse.

Some, but not very many. Every year there are everything from great fielding teams to horrible fielding teams in the playoffs. If defense was so paramount, you would not see that much parity. I can agree that emphasis can be put on it, because it does help.

Like anything else there is a balance.

Wrong again. Sacrifice bunting has been proved to be a complete waste of an out unless we're talking about pitchers or Butera. And hidden secret? When the Twins had a lot of speed on the team obviously they could be effective at base-running. That is why they got the Piranah nickname from Ozzie. The appeal 10 years ago was the small ball little engine that could Twins. The game has changed. That approach proved very ineffective, unless you are considering division tittles and getting swept in the playoffs effective.

Plus, I have a hard time seeing any of those Twins teams outside of 2006 and maybe 2010 getting to the playoffs with this division now.

You do realize that player is almost exactly Denard Span for his disappointing 2013 season right? Of course, without those 20 HR. If you add those in, it looks a lot more like Alex Gordon and a .750 OPS. I don't want 8 underachieving Denard Spans.

The 2008 Twins scored 829 runs, the most by a twins team. They had 4 guys with an OPS over .800. They had speed in Casilla, Span, Gomez, and Punto. They had Morneau and Mauer with great seasons, Delmon had a nice season, Casilla had a nice season, Span, Kubel, Punto... They were just a good team, that didn't even make the playoffs.

Which featured the best pitcher in baseball for 4 of them. Coincidence? Guys like you keep telling me so, but I just don't believe it.

Look. The cute little run the Twins had in 2000's was fun. The AL Central was terrible and they caught some breaks with some players. The game has changed dramatically since then. The Twins keep trying to force "the Twins way" on the game and they will continue to lose.

My main objective in writing this post was to show how I see the Twins building their teams. they are risk averse and cost conscious. People say the Twins don't use statistics and here is how they obviously use stats to their means to an end. they target aggregate team era. That is why they go for a bullpen on the cheep and a deeper rotation that may not have the best number 1 starter because this way on any given night the Twins have a chance if they score more than the aggregate number of earned runs allowed. Most statistical analysis is done on an individual level. how often do you see analysis done on the aggregate? My points again are not to be right or wrong but to show what TR does and to create discussion.

I will expand on some of the other concepts like defense and the offense a lot more in a later post as I started a series so I can go more in depth on the concepts I see management use.

gunnarthor
10-03-2013, 09:53 AM
I'm not sure I agree with the breakdown of which team was better looking at that comparison, but to each their own. And yes, Cards did some trades we wouldn't do...but you blame salary issues. They've only broken 100M over the last 3 years...during a time we could have done the same. Maybe some of it also had to do with not being willing to trade prospects for quality players (Holliday) or sign some top end FAs (Beltran, Berkman).

Regardless, the point still stands...there is talent to be had throughout the draft.

Two points to make. You are significantly understating the Cards/Twins payroll differences and the advantage it gave St. Louis. You point out that both teams topped 100m 3x. Another way of saying it would be, since 2005, the Cards payroll has always been more than 83m and the Twins have topped that 3x. And if we're looking at history events here - ie where payroll really did factor - you can't brush that off and say it wasn't a factor b/c the Twins had 100m payroll 3x. You can argue that, going forward, payroll isn't as big a deal.

Secondly, yes, there is talent throughout the draft but after the top picks, it's pretty random (and some of the talent that did fall, fell b/c of salary demands, not talent). In another post, you pointed out that there is talent at the #20 pick. Since 1990 (23 drafts) only Mike Mussina, Torii Hunter, Eric Milton, Adam Kennedy, CC Sabathia, Denard Span and Chad Cordero have managed to amass even 7.0 WAR. That's a 30% hit rate and you'll notice that two of those hits were drafted by the Twins and a third we brought into our system. If you go to pick #28, only three guys (Colby Rasmus, Daric Barton and Charles Johnson) meet that cut off. That's a 13% hit rate. 1st pick - 13 so far (57%).

Another way to look at it would be to compare the accumulated WAR totals of the picks - #15 picks since 1990 have amassed 129.4 WAR (Chase Utley making nearly half of it). #5 picks have amassed 200 WAR. #25 picks managed 77.8 (basically just Trout, Garza and Cain).

So while there is talent, it's not realistic to expect that drafting in the 20s for a decade isn't going to severely hurt your team. In a single year, you can make a nice hit and the Twins have done so several times - Hunter, Span, Revere, Garza, Gibson. But they'll have misses too. Yankees have the same problem now - although that payroll thing (and massive PED use) helps them out some.

Badsmerf
10-03-2013, 10:16 AM
Brandon, if this is the way Terry Ryan analyzes baseball, I despise him more than I ever have. Why do you offer this up as if you are an insider that has the ability to tap into these insights?

My biggest problem, is that thinking about baseball the way you have shown, will lead to 90+ losses until high end draft picks bring up the talent level far enough to win some more games. I have higher expectations than that.

Willihammer
10-03-2013, 10:45 AM
So while there is talent, it's not realistic to expect that drafting in the 20s for a decade isn't going to severely hurt your team.

And yet, here we are, 3 seasons of 90+ losses, talking about how to rebuild.

JB_Iowa
10-03-2013, 10:54 AM
The club appears to be just a few development years for a few players and a few starting pitchers away from being the same old winning Twins we all know and love. be patient. we've seen the blueprint before and it is in progress again. with this model it takes all parts contributing to Win. but this formula does work as we had 6 division titles in 9 seasons and with the stadium we should be able to keep some of the players a little longer this go round so the minor league system will have more time to develop the following round of Twins as this is an on gong cycle.

As I re-read your post, I realize that this last paragraph is what is a huge concern to me. I DON'T WANT the "same old winning Twins we all know and love." Those "old winning Twins", at least under Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire, were LOSERS once they got out of the AL Central (except for the 2002 team which did manage to beat the A's in the ALDS).

My dissatisfaction with the direction of this team significantly pre-dates the last 3 losing seasons. I cannot stomach the idea that we could go through the depths of the last 3 years without a good plan for taking this team BEYOND where they were in the 2000's. That's part of what TF was supposed to be about.

I sometimes wonder if the last 3 disastrous years were just a way to get us to forget about the "something more" of actually contending in the playoffs.

Well, I won't forget. And, if you are correct about TR's "plan" as stated in your first post, IT'S JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH for me. I want that elusive "more". I'm willing to take the lows but I want the highs too. I don't want some dull, vanilla world where competing in the Central Division, putting butts in the seat and making a healthy profit, is good enough. I want the full flavor of a team that is competitive in the post-season. I'm willing to take some bitter regular seasons to get that but I need to know that OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT are committed to more than vanilla.

AROG
10-03-2013, 11:06 AM
I didn't have time to read all the comments but, the only problem I have with the original post is the "you don't need an ace" part. Where I agree that you don't need "ace" production from one guy, you do need an "ace". Whether he was a former ace like AJ Burnett for Pittsburg or like we had in Hernandez. You need someone with that mentality. The Twins don't have that now and should look for someone that is older that used to be an "ace" that can help mold the younger pitchers.

spycake
10-03-2013, 11:11 AM
I think I get this post. It's sorta laying out how the 2000s Twins were built (although as others have noted, there are some accuracy issues here).

But remember, that rebuild took ~6 seasons of BAD baseball. And it only succeeded after a Rule 5 pick started pitching at a HoF level, and it only continued into the latter half of the decade because a #1 overall draft pick also started producing at a HoF level.

If that's Terry Ryan's blueprint for rebuilding the franchise again, while avoiding any risk whatsoever in free agency or the international market, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the 2002-2010 renaissance.

gunnarthor
10-03-2013, 01:01 PM
And yet, here we are, 3 seasons of 90+ losses, talking about how to rebuild.

How long does a normal rebuild take? Cleveland had 4 straight 90 loss seasons. Rays had 10. Pirates had 20 years below .500. Rangers had one winning season in 9 years before they figured it out. Tigers had 12 years of being lost in the desert. Orioles had 14. Oakland had 5 losing seasons before last year. Mets are working on 5 straight losing seasons. Nats had 6 straight losing seasons in their rebuild. Seattle's been a mess since 04. Houston has lost 106 games or more for 3 straight seasons and hasn't had a winning season since 08. Reds had 9 sub .500 seasons before they got back to respectability. Giants had 4 bad years followed by 4 good years before this year. Brewers had 12 years of rebuilding.

Alex
10-03-2013, 01:30 PM
How long does a normal rebuild take? Cleveland had 4 straight 90 loss seasons. Rays had 10. Pirates had 20 years below .500. Rangers had one winning season in 9 years before they figured it out. Tigers had 12 years of being lost in the desert. Orioles had 14. Oakland had 5 losing seasons before last year. Mets are working on 5 straight losing seasons. Nats had 6 straight losing seasons in their rebuild. Seattle's been a mess since 04. Houston has lost 106 games or more for 3 straight seasons and hasn't had a winning season since 08. Reds had 9 sub .500 seasons before they got back to respectability. Giants had 4 bad years followed by 4 good years before this year. Brewers had 12 years of rebuilding.

There is some variation between "losing season" and 90+ loss season. Well-run organizations don't bottom out, imo.

The Giants, for example, had two 90 loss seasons in a row in that time but weren't ever as bad as the Twins have been (and look to be next year). The A's had 3 losing seasons, hit .500 and then lost, but they never lost 90 games in the span you are talking about. The Mets have been bad but not as bad as the Twins.

I'd argue that any team with a decade of losing isn't worth considering in any rebuild discussion. They were just poorly run. Comparing us to the Brewers, Tigers, Orioles, Seattle, Wash/Mon during those long spells of futility is an incredibly frightening proposition. But, I think they're fair in that, IMO, the Twins have not been well run in recent years.

Willihammer
10-03-2013, 03:02 PM
How long does a normal rebuild take? Cleveland had 4 straight 90 loss seasons. Rays had 10. Pirates had 20 years below .500. Rangers had one winning season in 9 years before they figured it out. Tigers had 12 years of being lost in the desert. Orioles had 14. Oakland had 5 losing seasons before last year. Mets are working on 5 straight losing seasons. Nats had 6 straight losing seasons in their rebuild. Seattle's been a mess since 04. Houston has lost 106 games or more for 3 straight seasons and hasn't had a winning season since 08. Reds had 9 sub .500 seasons before they got back to respectability. Giants had 4 bad years followed by 4 good years before this year. Brewers had 12 years of rebuilding.

If the Twins thought they could continue to draft Mike Cuddyers and Joe Mauers in the 20s than they weren't being realistic. As the facts earlier in this thread show, there are only a few of these sort of impact guys that slip through the top ten, the rest of the talent is very thinly spread out. It should have surprised no one that the Matt Moses's, Denard Spans, Trevor Plouffes, Glen Perkins,' Matt Garzas, Steven Waldrops, Matt Fox's, Jay Rainvilles, Chris Parmelees, etc. weren't going to sustain the momentum that Joe Mauer, Mike Cuddyer and Torii Hunter had built - despite the fact that a couple of them did hit pretty good.

So the well dried up. Who was held accountable? Bill Smith, the first Twins GM to bring an impact international player into the Twins system, sign a Japanese superstar, and try to diversify the sources of the Twins talent.

Stranger yet, the guy who started us down this cycle was brought back to start us down the same cycle again.

It doesn't have to be this way.

gunnarthor
10-03-2013, 03:23 PM
If the Twins thought they could continue to draft Mike Cuddyers and Joe Mauers in the 20s than they weren't being realistic. As the facts earlier in this thread show, there are only a few of these sort of impact guys that slip through the top ten, the rest of the talent is very thinly spread out. It should have surprised no one that the Matt Moses's, Denard Spans, Trevor Plouffes, Glen Perkins,' Matt Garzas, Steven Waldrops, Matt Fox's, Jay Rainvilles, Chris Parmelees, etc. weren't going to sustain the momentum that Joe Mauer, Mike Cuddyer and Torii Hunter had built - despite the fact that a couple of them did hit pretty good.

So the well dried up. Who was held accountable? Bill Smith, the first Twins GM to bring an impact international player into the Twins system, sign a Japanese superstar, and try to diversify the sources of the Twins talent.

Stranger yet, the guy who started us down this cycle was brought back to start us down the same cycle again.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Smith wasn't fired for his international work (although Nishi was certainly used against him). Ryan did a remarkable job in his first go around of bringing in talent outside of the draft - Santana, Lohse, Silva, Milton, Bartlett, Liriano, Boof, Nathan, Punto, etc. He's already shown that ability in his 2 years back.

It is unrealistic to expect the Twins to stay at the top. Sports are made to be cyclical. The fact that they were able to stay atop so long speaks to the ability of Ryan, not his inability.

Willihammer
10-03-2013, 03:41 PM
I don't expect the Twins to stay at the top all the time, but I don't accept that we have to dive into the cellar for years at a time. The Twins have the new park, and the money to make a better effort than they've made. The GM is just unwilling to make that effot because, I can only assume, he wants the top 10 picks.

BabyJesusBuxton
10-03-2013, 03:52 PM
I haven't looked up any specific examples but I would expect some of the stud players drafted either late in the 1st round or later rounds may have dropped because of signability reasons and then the team went way over slot to secure them. This is obviously no longer a possibility with the new CBA. I'd be interested to see how many of the guys signed outside the top 20 picks who have produced at a high level in the majors were signed at or below slot value. Wasn't it a organizational policy not to go over slot during the dome years?

Ultimately, with the new rules, the Twins currently have an advantage in the draft and with signing international kids. However, to sustain a quality product and avoid the cyclic pattern people are bringing up they will have to start spending money in free agency and international free agency to offset a poor draft that is bound to happen occasionally when drafting low in the draft. Making smart trades is also a possibility but I'd prefer we keep our young studs and pay them. I'd like to see more than just Mauer start and finish his career as a Twin.

howieramone
10-03-2013, 04:19 PM
I don't expect the Twins to stay at the top all the time, but I don't accept that we have to dive into the cellar for years at a time. The Twins have the new park, and the money to make a better effort than they've made. The GM is just unwilling to make that effot because, I can only assume, he wants the top 10 picks.Sounds like a sound strategy to me. I think the loveable losers and lastros are copying us.

TheLeviathan
10-03-2013, 06:01 PM
Sounds like a sound strategy to me. I think the loveable losers and lastros are copying us.

Intentionally losing is never a sound strategy. it has some benefits but its awful strategy.

Alex
10-03-2013, 07:09 PM
Intentionally losing is never a sound strategy. it has some benefits but its awful strategy.

It's also the least innovative strategy there is and and many teams have proven they don't need it for long term success. Good organizations limit their losing seasons and maximize their winning ones.

gunnarthor
10-03-2013, 07:22 PM
I don't expect the Twins to stay at the top all the time, but I don't accept that we have to dive into the cellar for years at a time. The Twins have the new park, and the money to make a better effort than they've made. The GM is just unwilling to make that effot because, I can only assume, he wants the top 10 picks.

Ryan wasn't our GM from 08-10. If he had been, I suspect things would have been quite different. I assume the GM is following his own plan, which he ran past ownership. I have yet to read anyone's plan, even with the benefit of hindsight, that realistically improved the Twins this last season. It's all generic "spend money" but it ignores that guys like Marcum, Dempster, Jackson, Haren all sucked pretty hard this year. Or it's unrealistic cries to outbid for Grieinke and Sanchez.