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Helfand: “early June start appears out of picture”

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Get to know each other

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I did this once about 2-3 years ago, but it was during the offseason and well, it's been a long time ago... Let's get to know each other...
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2019 2020 (non-Twins) off season

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VIDEO: Opposing Pitchers Getting Wasted By The Bomba Squad

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:44 AM
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Minnesota’s Previous Front Offices Deserve Credit For Current Core

The Twins won over 100 games last season for only the second time in franchise history. Free agent additions like Nelson Cruz, Jake Odorizzi and Marwin Gonzalez helped to bolster the team, but the majority of the players were developed through the Twins' minor league system. The tenure of former general managers Terry Ryan and Bill Smith isn’t always looked on with fondness, but their impact on the current roster is still being felt.
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Terry Ryan Era(s)
1995-2007 and 2012-2016

Ryan oversaw one of the best drafts in team history, albeit having the second overall pick certainly helps to bolster a draft class. Byron Buxton was considered by many outlets to be the top prospect in the draft. So, when the Astros took Carlos Correa with the first pick, Buxton became the logical pick at number two.

It didn’t take long for the Twins to find another regular player in the 2012 draft. Jose Berrios was selected with the 32nd overall pick as compensation for Michael Cuddyer leaving in free agency. Later in the draft, the Twins selected bullpen regulars Tyler Duffey (fifth round) and Taylor Rogers (11th round). According to Baseball Reference, these four players have accumulated 24.1 WAR since being drafted.

Minnesota didn’t fare nearly as well in the 2013 MLB Draft with their top five picks accumulating a negative WAR total so far in their big-league careers. However, Mitch Garver was taken by the Twins in the ninth round and he has accumulated more total WAR than the other players taken that year in the same round.

Ryan’s biggest international signing during his second stint as GM might turn out to be Luis Arraez. He signed out of Venezuela in 2013 and he looked like the second coming of Tony Gwynn in his rookie campaign. Based on his comments at the Twins Winter Caravan, he has the goal of winning the AL batting title and it might be within his reach.

Bill Smith Era
2008-2011

Even though Terry Ryan’s retirement meant Bill Smith was given the GM role, Ryan was still part of the organization as a senior advisor. This likely means he had a say in some of the decisions being made below. Smith was also in a tough spot as he was hired and had to immediately trade two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana. Smith oversaw one of the best international signing periods in team history and identified a strong outfield bat in the fourth round.

Back in 2009, the Twins signed three teenagers for $4.65 million in total signing bonuses and those three players are certainly key to the current roster. Miguel Sanó, Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler were all signed in the same year and now they have all inked extensions to stay part of Minnesota’s core.
“That’s an all-time great group,” Baseball America’s Ben Badler told the Athletic. “To get one player like a Polanco, or a Kepler or a Sanó from a signing class would be a good year. To get three of those guys in one class is like an all-time type of signing class.”

Another important player from the Smith Era was Eddie Rosario in the fourth round. He and James Paxton are the only players from that round to accumulate more than 10 WAR in their careers. 2020 could be Rosario’s last year in a Twins uniform, but he has certainly provided value to the club through his Twins tenure.

Minnesota’s new front office has certainly made some positive changes throughout the organization, but the success of the current roster couldn’t have happened without the foundation laid by previous front office executives. The Twins underperformed for most of a decade, but a winning culture was being cultivated in the minor leagues and Ryan and Smith were part of that process.

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15 Comments

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howieramone2
Jan 27 2020 09:14 PM
You need to be very careful about saying anything positive about TR. LaVelle personally told me, and others who read the Sunday sports page, TR was in charge of IFA during the Bill Smith era.
    • rdehring likes this
Agreed. And they are still impacting us. Half of the Twins current top 100 prospects, per BA, came from the previous regimes as well.
    • jkcarew likes this

I love this essay.The FO is doing some good things, but at one point the national reporters loved what TR did.He was a model and the "Twins Way" was commended.Times change and in our current atmosphere the old way diminishes, but it is good to remember that It wasn't always a laughable comment. Check out this Reusse column. http://www.startribune.com/the-twins-way-laugh-now-but-it-wasn-t-a-punch-line-until-this-decade/413938713/

    • DocBauer, PDX Twin and MN_ExPat like this

Terry Ryan interviews were always exciting .... cough. I always thought he did a good job with a limited budget, except for the release of David Ortiz.

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JoshDungan1
Jan 28 2020 01:06 PM

 

You need to be very careful about saying anything positive about TR. LaVelle personally told me, and others who read the Sunday sports page, TR was in charge of IFA during the Bill Smith era.

 

Yeah that would explain a lot!

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diehardtwinsfan
Jan 28 2020 04:51 PM

I'll simply say what I said when TR was fired... I don't think their problem was identifying talent. I do think they had a problem developing it, and I'm not sure this core would be THIS CORE had TR remained at the helm. 

 

Hopefully, Falvine did a good job keeping what worked in the TR admin while changing what didn't

    • Steve Lein, Twins33, Riverbrian and 5 others like this

I'll simply say what I said when TR was fired... I don't think their problem was identifying talent. I do think they had a problem developing it, and I'm not sure this core would be THIS CORE had TR remained at the helm.

Hopefully, Falvine did a good job keeping what worked in the TR admin while changing what didn't


Not to pile on anyone, but was fascinating to listen to Plouffe on the podcast talk about how his hitting instruction in his first couple of years of milb were so ridiculously restrictive. No names were mentioned, of course, but WOW.
    • Steve Lein and Melissa like this

 

I'll simply say what I said when TR was fired... I don't think their problem was identifying talent. I do think they had a problem developing it, and I'm not sure this core would be THIS CORE had TR remained at the helm. 

 

Hopefully, Falvine did a good job keeping what worked in the TR admin while changing what didn't

 

I think I can agree with most of this. Development was an issue. Some players thrived under those methods... many are better under the current methods with a ton of data, coordinators, etc. 

 

I mean, a lot of players developed in those years and became terrific players. Maybe they would have regardless, No way to know... But what they're doing now is tremendous, much different,based on what is available now. 

    • diehardtwinsfan and DocBauer like this

 

 

 

I mean, a lot of players developed in those years and became terrific players. 

 

I think you have to change Terrific to OK. 

 

The last superstar produced by the organization was Joe Mauer. It's a long list of OK major league players. 

 

The Twins had no shot of trading for a Giolito or Kopech or Gleyber Torres for well over a decade because we never produced a talent with enough value to acquire one.  

 

The Twins produced talent that was just OK for well over a decade.

 

It was a major development issue.:)

    • Brock Beauchamp, Steve Lein and diehardtwinsfan like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Jan 28 2020 07:24 PM
Some credit should be given to previous front offices for the acquisition of raw talent but given the track record from 2010-2016, it’s hard to envision those front offices turning that group of players into the players they are today.

Max Kepler looks a hell of a lot different at 2 WAR than he does 4 WAR.
    • DocBauer likes this
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drivlikejehu
Jan 28 2020 07:36 PM

The prior regime also struggled mightily to find pitching, and is largely responsible for the Twins' position-player heavy talent distribution.

The other factor in “development” is they all came of age when most players start getting it in the majors if they are going to get it. The credit being bestowed for development may be missplaced

The other thing is that I don’t understand why you can’t support Falvine while appreciating the many great things TR did. Was he perfect? No but no front office is including Falvine.
    • diehardtwinsfan likes this

I was really pleased to see this write-up. The current FO deserves plenty of credit for developing the talent that they inherited, but after 2 seasons and 3 off-seasons to churn the roster, they enter 2019 with starters at C, 1B, 2B, SS, LF, CF, RF all from the previous regime as well as their top SP +some SP "depth" guys, 3 of their best relievers.

 

TR and Bill Smith guys hit 169 home runs for the Twins last year. They left the cupboards well-stocked on the offensive side.

 

I'm impressed by the current FO's talent development. Waiting for more evidence before I draw any conclusions about their ability to identify and obtain new, unproven talent.

 

In any case. I'm thankful they chose to ride Terry Ryan's horse rather than blow it up and start over.

 

 

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Richmond Dude
Jan 29 2020 07:58 PM

 

Not to pile on anyone, but was fascinating to listen to Plouffe on the podcast talk about how his hitting instruction in his first couple of years of milb were so ridiculously restrictive. No names were mentioned, of course, but WOW.

 

I remember how harsh they were on Buxton, including suspending him for celebrating a home run once.I thought at the time that they were going to drive him to resent the team.Sometimes, they almost seemed to penalize good hitters.

 

I also remember one of the pitchers talking about how he was fined for having his glove on the wrong side of the locker while he was in Rochester.

 

Having said that, I really appreciated what TR did for us in his first run.He is a personable guy with a real eye for potential.It became very clear, unfortunately, that he was unable to adapt to the Twins becoming a mid-market team once Target Field opened and that we simply weren't going to get there with him.I hope things are well with him in his current job.

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SenatorsGuy
Jan 30 2020 10:04 AM

Giving credit would infer the Twins did "better than average" with he picks that they made over the time that Ryan/Smith called the shots. Drafting or signing a few guys who worked out should not be confused with what the full impact from the opportunities (players) available to them should have been. Grabbing names off a mock draft list would have netted some success, yet surely would not be deserving of credit.

What evidence is there that they were any better than mediocre, given the draft position they were given? 


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