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Twins remove Calvin Griffith statue

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:03 AM
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Cleveland MLB team reportedly considering name change

Other Baseball Today, 01:16 AM
This is an AP article I lifted from the StarTribune web site.   https://www.startrib...sure/571623572/
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Virtual Twins Baseball Megathread

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Moving forward this will house every game-thread in the comments below until real baseball hopefully comes back. I should have done this...
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Neal: Twins Radio Broadcast Team Will Not Travel

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https://www.startrib...ason/571529672/   LaVelle Neal also wrote that the Twins radio broadcast crew (including Cory Provus and Dan...
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Take Landis Name off the MVP Award

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Barry Larkin, former MVP, has been calling for removing the Kenesaw Mountain Landis name from MVP awards.Personally, until I read the art...
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Recent Blogs

A Look Into How the Twins Fared in MLB’s 5 Best Draft Classes

Jim Callis recently ranked the five best drafts of all time at mlb.com. Today we’ll take a look at how the Twins performed in these historically great drafts.
Image courtesy of © Bruce Kluckhohn - USA TODAY Sports
1) 1985

This draft was absolutely loaded and included B.J. Surhoff, Will Clark, Bobby Witt, Barry Larkin, and Barry Bonds as five of the first six picks. Raphael Palmeiro and Randy Johnson also came out of this draft and there are plenty more impressive names. But how’d the Twins fare?

Twins draftees to reach the majors: 2/36 (6%)
Total WAR: 7.9

It’s hard to imagine doing much worse than Minnesota did in this draft. The Twins had the 13th and 41st overall picks and selected RHPs Jeff Bumgarner and Steve Gasser. Neither would ever reach the majors and only two of Minnesota’s 36 picks did reach the show: RHP Paul Abbot and Catcher Lenny Webster. Abbot was worth 4.6 career WAR but in his three years in Minnesota he produced -0.1 WAR. Webster served as a backup catcher for the Twins from 1989-93, producing 1.1 WAR for Minnesota and 3.3 WAR for his career.

2) 1981

Talent could be found all over the ’81 draft including in the 10th round where Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn was selected by the San Diego Padres. Other notable players to be selected outside the first round included David Cone, Fred McGriff, Mark Langston, and Lenny Dykstra to name but a few.

Twins draftees to reach the majors: 5/37 (13%)
Total WAR: 49.4

Minnesota found their own gem outside of the first round, selecting LHP Frank Viola in the second round (37th overall). Viola was responsible for the lion’s share of value the Twins accumulated as he represents 47.0 WAR of the 49.4 career WAR Minnesota drafted (27.0 WAR with the Twins). His best years with the Twins were in 1987 when he helped lead Minnesota to its first World Series title and in 1988 when Viola won his first and only Cy Young Award. In ’89 “Sweet Music” was traded to the New York Mets but the Twins received pitchers Kevin Tapani and Rick Aguilera as part of the return, both of whom would play important roles for the next World Series run in 1991.

Of the five remaining players to reach the big leagues only second baseman Steve Lombardozzi would make any kind of impact with 4.4 career WAR (4.0 as a Twin). Eleventh-overall pick Mike Sodders never got the call, but Viola single-handedly saved Minnesota in this draft.

3) 1989

The ’89 draft produced four Hall-of-Famers in Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Jim Thome, and Trevor Hoffman. 2020’s five-round draft would have excluded Thome and Hoffman who were selected in the 13th and 11th rounds and Bagwell would barely make it as a fourth-round pick. This draft also included John Olerud and Jeff Kent.

Twins draftees to reach the majors: 10/59 (16%)
Total WAR: 104.1

This draft was rated by mlb.com as the best Twins draft ever and it’s easy to see why. With the 25th overall pick Minnesota selected Chuck Knoblauch, who contributed 44.6 WAR in his career (38.0 with the Twins), and quickly showed his value as a key member of the ’91 World Series champs (he also won Rookie of the Year). In his seven seasons with Minnesota Knoblauch slashed .304/.391/.416, hit 51 triples, stole 276 bases and was a four-time All-Star. He was incredible in 1996 as he hit .341/.448/.517 for 8.7 WAR and somehow still only finished 16th in MVP voting. He was traded to the New York Yankees in 1998 and the Twins received Christian Guzman and Eric Milton as part of the return.

The Twins weren’t finished as they picked up a pair of quality starters in the third and fourth rounds in LHP Denny Neagle (U of M) and RHP Scott Erickson. Erickson was of course a big part of the ‘91 team as he went 20-8 with a 3.18 ERA and 12.7 of his 24.8 career WAR came in his six seasons with Minnesota. Neagle would also go on to have a good career (22.4 WAR) but he only pitched part of one season with the Twins as he was traded to Pittsburgh for John Smiley (who was great in his one season with Minnesota) after the ’91 season.

Other notable draft picks include Marty Cordova in the 10th round (7.7 WAR/5.8 with Twins) and RHP Mike Trombley in the 14th (9.1 WAR/7.6 with Twins). Cordova’s career started with a bang as he won Rookie of the Year in 1995 and hit .294/.362/.482 with 40 home runs over his first two seasons. After that he sort of fizzled out and was granted free agency after five seasons in Minnesota. Trombley pitched as both a starter and reliever with the Twins and wasn’t particularly effective but did spend nine years with the team.

4) 1986

The ’86 draft was a great depth draft that hasn’t produced any Hall-of-Famers to date. The class did include a couple of great arms in Curt Schilling and Kevin Brown and an explosive bat in Gary Sheffield, all of whom definitely have a Cooperstown case.

Twins draftees to reach the majors: 5/30 (16%)
Total WAR: 11.7

While the percentage of players to reach the majors matched the ’89 class, the quality did not. Utility player Jeff Reboulet was probably the most accomplished player of the bunch with 10.0 career WAR, 5.8 of which came in his five seasons with Minnesota. However, it’s likely Scott Leuis who is most fondly remembered by Twins fans as he had his best season in ’91 when he hit .286/.378/.417 in 109 games and hit the game-winning home run in game two of the World Series off of Tom Glavine.

5) 2002

We’re finally out of the eighties! This draft was disappointing at the top, but there were plenty of stars to be found though out including: Zach Greinke, Joey Votto, Cole Hamels, John Lester, Russel Martin, Howie Kendrick, Prince Fielder, Brian McCann, and Matt Cain.

Twins draftees to reach the majors: 10/50 (20%)
Total WAR: 63.8

Not picking at the top of the draft turned out well for the Twins as they were able to nab Denard Span with the 20th overall pick. Span put up 17.2 of his 28.1 career WAR in his five years in Minnesota where he played mostly center field. After the 2012 season Span was traded to the Washington Nationals for RHP prospect Alex Meyer who never panned out and has since retired.

With their second- and sixth-round picks the Twins selected a pair of future relievers who were quite successful in Jesse Crain (11.4 WAR/5.4 with Minnesota) and side-winder Pat Neshek (10.7 WAR/3.0). Minnesota also selected first baseman Adam Lind (12.7 career WAR) in the eighth round but he didn’t sign.

That wraps up our look at how the Twins performed in historically great drafts. As you’d expect there’re some hits and misses with three good-to-great drafts and two bad ones. With so many great players available it would’ve been nice to see some more in a Twins uniform but hindsight’s 20/20 and Minnesota did manage to win two World Series in the aftermath of the majority of these drafts.

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This demonstrates either a failure of philosophy or scouting.Or I over estimate how well other teams did. 


This demonstrates either a failure of philosophy or scouting.Or I over estimate how well other teams did. 


It would be interesting for comparison's sake to know what the average WAR per team per draft is, both in those years and in general.

Patrick Wozniak
May 30 2020 07:39 PM


It would be interesting for comparison's sake to know what the average WAR per team per draft is, both in those years and in general.

Yeah, I'm not exactly sure how to find that information (nor did I have time) but I agree it would have been really nice to have for the sake of context. I did just find this. It doesn't cover the time fame of the drafts in my article (with the exception of 2002) but it compares overall draft WAR from 1996 - 2018. The Twins were 12th overall if you include all the players they drafted but only 20th for the players they actually signed. My conclusion is that the Twins are elite in drafting players they are unable to sign :).

May 31 2020 01:22 PM

Gasser and Bumgarner, I remember them well.At the time, the only resource I had (busy life then) was Sid Hartman, and surprise(!) he was very high on them.I told my friends how good they were going to be.I also remember being very high on that 1989 class, and that one panned out quickly.The 2002 class looked bad when Span looked like a bust and just a couple of relievers were producing, but then he had lasik or something, and suddenly he could hit and get on base.


2002 was also the first time it seemed as if the Twins had a good farm system.Kubel and Mauer were having huge years, and Morneau was looking really good.Plus the MLB team was young and taking over the division.

    • Patrick Wozniak likes this

When you read about how deep some of the guys went in some of them it shows how much of a crap shoot MLB draft is really.I mean most of the time many agree on the top few or number 1, but many times they all miss.In recent memory remember Mark Appel who was drafted 8th did not sign, then 1st and did sign.Yet to make the majors at age of 25 and has not performed well in minors.Only reason he still has a job is he was drafted so high.  


I could go off on why I would never have drafted him, but it shows how teams miss so badly, but sometimes all teams agree that the guy is the guy.It is an imperfect science.