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Falvey: "...We're going to target impact pitching...

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Make it rain up in here, Derek.   http://www.startribu...rket/562665252/
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Front Page: Twins Daily 2019 Awards: Most Improved Player

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Let's Make A Deal, Part III: The Ammunition

Two months ago, I looked at four names and an asset that might get moved to help the Twins make a World Series push. A lot has changed in two months. Some players have increased their values; others haven’t. The asset was a draft pick that the Twins turned into power-hitting prospect Matthew Wallner.

Over the last week, we’ve looked at the Twins team from both a 2020 and payroll perspective. The Twins have plenty of options if they want to buy. But as we sit a little over a week until the deadline, the asking prices have been set very, very high.
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In May, I assumed the Twins would make Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol off-limits. I don’t think answering the phone and responding that anyone is untouchable is acceptable. That simply means you have to at least listen to any potential deal that would make your team better. Sure, you can say Lewis is untouchable. But what if the Padres offered Fernando Tatis Jr. for him straight up? You couldn’t say yes fast enough. (That’s just one of hundreds of examples.)

Let’s start there.

Royce Lewis has dropped a little in the eyes of evaluators. Keith Law dropped him to #34 on his midseason Top 50, citing both concerns offensively (a changed swing) and defensively (can’t stick at shortstop). Neither Law nor Baseball America considers him the best prospect in the organization anymore, though BA ranks him #21 overall. Of course, things can turn on a dime and have started to for Lewis, July has been good to the 20-year-old. He’s hitting over .300 and OPSing near .900 in the month.

Alex Kirilloff has missed time with injuries but has continued to show the ability to hit and play right field adequately. Both Law (#15) and Baseball America (#17) rank him as one of the elite prospects in baseball. Kirilloff is plenty athletic and has defensive flexibility. If he remains in the organization, Kirilloff could see a move to the dirt and play first base. My personal opinion is that he would be passable in center, and if the Twins had interest in moving him, they would have showcased that ability occasionally in 2019. They haven’t.

Brusdar Graterol has moved up 20 spots in Baseball America’s ratings (from #55 to #35) despite missing significant time this year with a shoulder ailment. He wasn’t going to show up in Law’s Top 50, as he wasn’t listed in his preseason Top 100.

Both Jordan Balazovic and Trevor Larnach have improved their prospect stock throughout the first half of the season. Balazovic (#44) moved into Law’s Top 50 and BA’s top 100 (#98) and though Larnach didn’t make either list, it’s fair to assume he is just outside the Top 100.

Fangraphs views them all a little less consistently than Law and Baseball America. They still view Royce Lewis one of the highest ceiling prospects in baseball (#2 overall) and have Kirilloff (#44), Graterol (#54), Larnach (#76) and Jhoan Duran (#99) in the Top 100. Balazovic is not.

All of that is mentioned for two reasons: 1) It’s information that people are interested in. 2) It goes to show how differently people/publications and teams can view prospects.

It also gives us a pretty good idea that the Twins have six prospects (one shortstop, two corner outfielders, and three pitchers) that are a cut above the rest. When it comes to potentially dealing any of these six, there shouldn’t be any consideration if the return is simply a rental.

If the return is more significant - Thor, Stroman, Bauer - then maybe those conversations can last a little longer.

Let’s look at some other pieces the Twins may consider moving and how they might be viewed in other organizations.

The Twins have one of the best shortstops in baseball on a long-term, team-friendly deal in Jorge Polanco. They also have the emerging Luis Arraez, who fits best at second base. If Royce Lewis remains in the organization, everyone else who plays in the middle infield could easily be dealt.

Wander Javier is a well-known name to prospect hounds - he cracked BA’s Top 100 before the 2018 season - but has dealt with injuries and an inability to hit. He’s hitting below .160 and has committed 10 errors in 36 games. He’s less headliner currently and more well-known lottery ticket. Those players have value… just not as much as we’d like Javier to have at this point. A shoo-in to be added to the 40-man in November before the season started, though that now appears to be far from a sure thing.

The other obvious name is Nick Gordon, who is on the 40-man but hasn’t been able to make his MLB debut despite playing at AA or AAA since the beginning of the 2017 season. He’s showing the ability to hit (just shy of .290) and hit for a little power (29 extra base hits), but evaluators around the game appear to be only lukewarm about Gordon. Could a team with a dearth of middle infield prospects be willing to trade a rental for Gordon? Probably. But is Gordon more than just a part of a deal right now? Probably not. Does his value take a ding because he’s already on the 40-man and will be out of options after the 2021 season? Likely.

The Twins also have Jose Miranda (mostly 3B, but some 2B), Yunior Severino (primarily 2B, but hurt) and Travis Blankenhorn (mostly 2B, but also some LF and 3B) in the middle levels of the organization. All provide nice depth, none of which project as anything more than future regulars.

A very interesting note is that of the nine largest signing bonuses handed out by the Twins in the 2019 draft, six of them (Keoni Cavaco, Spencer Steer, Eduoard Julien, Seth Gray, Will Holland and Anthony Prato) project as infielders. Five of them were college players.

There might not be a lot of high-end depth, but there is both quality and quantity in the organization.

MIDDLE INFIELD RECAP:
Best prospect: Royce Lewis
Most likely to move: Nick Gordon
Who has helped their stock the most this season: Travis Blankenhorn
Who has hurt their stock the most this season: Wander Javier

Though we haven’t seen them together in quite a while, the Twins offer one of the best outfield cores in baseball in Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler. They have high level prospects in Kirilloff and Larnach. They have nice depth pieces in Jake Cave and LaMonte Wade. Jaylin Davis has really emerged in AAA.

But the real depth in the organization is in the corner outfield and first base. Kepler is locked in long-term. The Twins would like Rosario to be. CJ Cron is under control for one more year. Miguel Sano might eventually have to make the move from third base. Kirilloff will play right field or first base. Larnach is probably a left-fielder. Lewin Diaz has emerged and is a plus-defender at first base. Brent Rooker is the classic corner profile. Gabriel Maciel will get every chance to stay in center field, where he profiles best but is a high-ceiling dude who can rake, though he lacks power. Akil Baddoo is another non-traditional corner outfield option, who is out for the year after having Tommy John surgery. Masiel Urbina is far, far away but has looked like a good signing so far in his very young career.

CORNER OUTFIELD/FIRST BASE RECAP:
Best prospect: Alex Kirilloff
Most likely to move: Trevor Larnach and Brent Rooker
Who has helped their stock the most this season: Lewin Diaz
Who has hurt their stock the most this season: Akil Baddoo

Of course, baseball always coming down to pitching. The best teams have it. The worst teams don’t. And all teams are looking to add more. We’ve talked about the Twins Big Three and how they’d probably hope not to deal from it. But it’s not going to be as easy as just not trading pitching.

The Twins have had eight young guys debut this season - including Lewis Thorpe, Devin Smeltzer and Sean Poppen - but don’t have a lot of other guys just banging on the door.

They have, however, had a number of guys who have forced people to take notice. Randy Dobnak, now at AAA, has been a great story since signing as an undrafted free agent. Jorge Alcala, Griffin Jax and Edwar Colina are all at AA and have all shown either the ability or the potential to be future big leaguers. Blayne Enlow and Cole Sands are doing the same at high-A. But once you get further down than that - like Luis Rijo at Cedar Rapids, Tyler Benninghoff or Prelander Berroa at Elizabethton, or Miguel Rodriguez in the GCL - it’s almost exclusively hoping you hit on a project.

STARTING PITCHERS RECAP:
Best prospect: Brusdar Graterol
Most likely to move: No one is safe
Who has helped their stock the most this season: Jordan Balazovic
Who has hurt their stock the most this season: Fernando Romero

The other positions (catcher, relief pitchers and center field) just don’t have enough depth to comfortably project dealing from it. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The Twins could trade either of catchers Ryan Jeffers or Ben Rortvedt and be ok. They could deal an outfielder that projects to stay in center. They could move any of a number of guys that project solely as relief pitchers.

But it’s all going to come down to finding a team where value aligns. And that’s going to be the extremely difficult part.

We all have our favorites, but who do you think is most likely to be involved in a trade?

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20 Comments

Thank you for breaking this down! I was wondering what we have in terms of CF depth in case we continue to see issues with Buxton staying healthy. How far away is Gabriel Maciel and is there anyone that could be called up this year to provide better defense and maybe be a spark in case Buxton's injury extends?

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BrianBuchanan
Jul 25 2019 08:31 AM

There will have to be some 40-man eligible guys moved, right?

 

For a rebuilding team, what could a package of these guys look like? Something like Javier, Jax, and another lottery ticket seems like it should fetch a decent relief pitcher?

    • Danchat likes this

Thanks for the review, Jeremy.Lots of players to consider, many with good value.

 

Hopefully, there will be one big deal for either a starter, or more preferably a young, dominant reliever who will be around for 2-3 more years.As to who goes, that's what the guys in the front office get the big bucks to decide...certainly not me.

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Jeremy Nygaard
Jul 25 2019 08:55 AM

 

Thank you for breaking this down! I was wondering what we have in terms of CF depth in case we continue to see issues with Buxton staying healthy. How far away is Gabriel Maciel and is there anyone that could be called up this year to provide better defense and maybe be a spark in case Buxton's injury extends?

 

They don't really have anyone at AAA. Cave has been Rochester's primary CF. Jimmy Kerrigan would be next, but he's not really considered a prospect. 

 

Aaron Whitefield is a Top 40-type prospect at AA, but is having a pretty brutal year.

 

Maciel is the next in line, and doing well at high-A... 

 

...but there's no one that can help this year.

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Jeremy Nygaard
Jul 25 2019 09:12 AM

 

There will have to be some 40-man eligible guys moved, right?

 

For a rebuilding team, what could a package of these guys look like? Something like Javier, Jax, and another lottery ticket seems like it should fetch a decent relief pitcher?

 

40-man eligible guys don't have to be moved before the deadline, though. They'll have plenty of time to sort through that in November. At this point, I'm not super-concerned... because the guys that should need to be added haven't had great years.

 

Javier is down, Jax is a question mark because of his military commitment.

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MMMordabito
Jul 25 2019 09:16 AM

Diaz and Gordon have to be at the top of the list for movement from the Falvine side of the deal. They still have some prospect shine to go along with good seasons. Both will need 40-man slots.

 

I would move both to get some relief pitching. Even rentals.

 

Davis, Wiel and Blankenhorn are all good options for toss-ins to push a deal through.I don't see them being added or protected.  

 

If any of the higher end pitching prospects get moved, I hope they are part of a deal that brings back pitching that will help at least through 2020.Balazovic should only move for a high end return.He doesn't need to be added to the 40 for another year.

 

It sucks that Graterol only has 200 pro innings and he already needs to be added to the 40.Injuries suck.It's kind of the same with Griffin Jax, but he was serving our country. I kind of hope he sticks around.

    • ashbury and KidBro like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Jul 25 2019 09:28 AM

 

40-man eligible guys don't have to be moved before the deadline, though. They'll have plenty of time to sort through that in November. At this point, I'm not super-concerned... because the guys that should need to be added haven't had great years.

 

Javier is down, Jax is a question mark because of his military commitment.

I would argue that the 40 man guys (or some of the prospects currently on the 40 man) should be top consideration to move. There's a lot of names that need to be added this offseason. Obviously, we won't be able to trade all of them, but moving a couple guys would be beneficial. 

Well, you have to look at the bigger picture, too.

 

Who in the organization, right now, MIGHT replace Rosario and/or Buxton if the Twins can't reach longterm agreements.

 

The Twins will need a third baseman. If they feel the need to stick with Sano, moving him to first seems to be the future.

 

Right now, the Twins COULD entertain offers on Schoop and Castro, both having some worth at the moment and neither guaranteed to be back with the Twins in 2020.

 

I feel the Twins should actually dangle Gibson and Odorizzi out there, especially if they feel the NEED to go after a #1 starting pitcher. I picture that they MIGHT resign Pineda for 2020, which might not be a bad gamble (one year with an option). 

 

The Twins have basically given away a lot of bullpen arms, which makes you wonder WHY they were on the team (40-man roster) in the first place. They can't take all their TOP minor elague starters and make them bullpen arms, although have been impressed with Thorpe, Littell, Smeltzer in the role of bullpen arms. Kohl Stewart could be dangled. I wish Fernando Romero and Stephen Gonsavles had the value they had a year or two ago. Teams would be salivating at getting them. Now the Twins have to ask themselves if they really want to keep these guys, or will they be quickly passed by others (as is the case of Nick Gordon).

 

Royce Lewis is an interesting case. Shortstop...or future centerfield guy. Alex and Rooker/Haley and Larnach are the future outfield, and there is still depth.

 

Y'know, the only way the Twinsa re going to get a TOP NOTCH #1 and EXPENSIVE starter to come to Minnesota is to actually TRADE for the guy. We can talk all we want about potential free agents in the future, but the Twins are still (1) Cheap and (2) not at the top of ANY player's list, unless the Twins do grossly overpay.

 

Of course, i predict that the Front Office will do nothing and wait to see who is offered up on the August waiver wire as a salary dump (watch the Oakland A's play that game, both ways). That will be interesting to see who will be willing to jettison salary!

    • Doctor Wu likes this

Great article, Jeremy. This gives a nice breakdown to those who may not have been paying close attention to the minor league system this year.

 

 

I would argue that the 40 man guys (or some of the prospects currently on the 40 man) should be top consideration to move. There's a lot of names that need to be added this offseason. Obviously, we won't be able to trade all of them, but moving a couple guys would be beneficial. 

Absolutely, we need to move some of them. I'm going to be disappointed if we don't move any of them by the deadline, because we're going to lose several in the rule 5 draft if they aren't careful. 

    • Jerr and diehardtwinsfan like this
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Jeremy Nygaard
Jul 25 2019 09:51 AM

I'm not disagreeing on the *potential* need to move guys that Rule 5 eligible, but the forecast isn't the same as it was a year ago. I'm at two for sure and five that are pretty borderline. That much lower than at the beginning of the season. A bunch of pending free agents, plus existing 40-man spots...

 

Jhoan Duran (has been ok, but oozes upside; definite add)

Brusdar Graterol (hasn't pitched for two months; definite add)

Wander Javier (has struggled, never stick on a big-league roster; probable add)

Lewin Diaz (has had a great year; probable add)

Gabriel Maciel (highest upside CF prospect; probable add)

Griffin Jax (Military commitment clouds things; possible add)

Jorge Alcala (prospect status has fallen a bit; possible add)

Travis Blankenhorn (doubtful add)

Luke Raley (out for the year; doubtful add)

Jake Reed (we've always thought he should be added, has been bad; doubtful add)

I'm good with trading anyone but Lewis and Graterol.

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jorgenswest
Jul 25 2019 11:18 AM
Duran, Balazovic and Larnach might all be at a relative high in value.

I would think any one of them in combination with lesser prospects should return a helpful bullpen piece. They need to make at least two of those trade.
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whosafraidofluigirussolo
Jul 25 2019 12:08 PM

The principle of "no one is untouchable if the right offer comes along" makes lots of sense and I'd think it's how front offices really operate - being willing at least to listen on any player, even if the official line to reporters is that certain guys are unavailable. Beyond that, I like how this article puts the top Twins prospects in a tier (or two), especially the pitching prospects.

 

Despite the FO suggesting through the media that Graterol is untouchable, I wonder how the internal evaluations of him, Duran and Balazovic compare - whether they're close enough to give the organization some confidence it can trade any one of them without depleting depth too much.

 

 I wish Fernando Romero and Stephen Gonsavles had the value they had a year or two ago. Teams would be salivating at getting them. 

 

 

This right here is why the Twins should not shy away from sending Graterol or Balozovic away in a trade if they get the right pieces back.You could be writing the same thing in two years but replacing Romero and Gonsalves with Graterol and Balozovic.

    • Tomj14 and Doctor Wu like this

 

I'm not disagreeing on the *potential* need to move guys that Rule 5 eligible, but the forecast isn't the same as it was a year ago. I'm at two for sure and five that are pretty borderline. That much lower than at the beginning of the season. A bunch of pending free agents, plus existing 40-man spots...

 

Jhoan Duran (has been ok, but oozes upside; definite add)

Brusdar Graterol (hasn't pitched for two months; definite add)

Wander Javier (has struggled, never stick on a big-league roster; probable add)

Lewin Diaz (has had a great year; probable add)

Gabriel Maciel (highest upside CF prospect; probable add)

Griffin Jax (Military commitment clouds things; possible add)

Jorge Alcala (prospect status has fallen a bit; possible add)

Travis Blankenhorn (doubtful add)

Luke Raley (out for the year; doubtful add)

Jake Reed (we've always thought he should be added, has been bad; doubtful add)

Not sure Blankenhorn is a 'doubtful add', I think we'd lose him in the rule 5 draft. The rest of the list looks about right (on my list, I also have Rijo and Hackimer as doubtful adds).

 

I would maybe throw Jaylin Davis on that list, but he should be added by the end of this season.

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Jeremy Nygaard
Jul 25 2019 01:54 PM

 

This right here is why the Twins should not shy away from sending Graterol or Balozovic away in a trade if they get the right pieces back.You could be writing the same thing in two years but replacing Romero and Gonsalves with Graterol and Balozovic.

 

But rewind two years prior to that and replace either name with Berrios.

 

Either way, though, prospects are a crap-shoot. There's a chance they turn into a Hall of Famer. There's also a chance they never make the league.

    • ashbury and Rigby like this
I’m ok with trading Lewis for someone like Thor. Kirilloff is the guy that would be untouchable. Hopefully, they will look at relievers who are signed through 2020.
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Patrick Wozniak
Jul 25 2019 07:20 PM

Great article.Gilberto Celestino could be another outfielder of interest.He started the season slow but has been heating up in July and can handle center.

    • jkcarew likes this
None of our farm should be untouchable for the right trade. If Lewis isn’t going to stay at SS then I would trade him now. Graterol and Balazovic are the only two I would struggle to part with
    • USAFChief likes this

 

None of our farm should be untouchable for the right trade. If Lewis isn’t going to stay at SS then I would trade him now. Graterol and Balazovic are the only two I would struggle to part with

Concur, except the two I'd hate most to part with are Kirilloff and Larnach. But I'd do it in a heartbeat in the right deal.

 

 

    • nokomismod likes this

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