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The 5 Rule Draft

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 11:24 PM
This year's Rule 5 draft we lost Akil Baddo and Tyler Wells. So I thought I'd check to see how they were doing. 1st I checked on Baddo, h...
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Why isn't Buxton on MLB OPS leaders list?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:55 PM
Buxton is listed only on the MLB HR leaders list. Not on OPS or AVG or SLG or OBP. He should be the leader in several of these. He has as...
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2021 Regular Season Game Threads

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:40 PM
Welcome to the 2021 edition of Twins' Baseball. Twins Daily plans to have a game thread during the regular season for every game (one thr...
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Morneau

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 06:58 PM
I thought he was was really good last year. Maybe I'm on an opening day high (Not high) but he is so good.Who would have thought he would...
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Fun with Numbers 2021

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 06:27 PM
Nelson Cruz is on pace to hit over 150 home runs if he gets 500 at bats.   Josh Donaldson slash line:1.000/1.000/2.000/3.000
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Recent Blogs


Minnesota’s 5 Best Players Under 25

Last week, Twins Daily wrapped up the countdown of the organization’s 20 best prospects, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. What big-league players would join the prospects in a list of the team’s five best players under 25 years old?
Image courtesy of © Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
MLB.com tried to identify the top players under 25 under an interesting premise. “If you were starting a team today, and you were able to choose only from players under 25 years old -- that’s Major League stars and Minor League prospects, just so long as they aren’t past their age-24 season in 2021 -- who would you pick?” It can be a tough exercise, especially with Minnesota’s deep farm system.

5. Royce Lewis, SS (21-years old)
Lewis might be the team’s second-best prospect, but his recently announced knee surgery puts a hold on his development. There were already questions about his swing and his long-term defensive position. Those questions will remain, especially after not playing a professional game in 2020 or 2021.

The potential is there, the work ethic is there, and he projects to be a building block piece in the future. For now, the Twins are going to be left looking for other shortstop options as they wait for Lewis to return to the field.

4. Jhoan Duran, RHP (23-years old)
Minnesota’s front office was confident Duran would debut in 2020, but then the pandemic shortened the season. He worked at the Twins alternate site last season and reports continue to be positive. Here at Twins Daily, Duran is the organization’s highest ranked pitching prospect.

With a fastball that hits triple-digits and a unique splinker pitch, Duran is one of the most intriguing prospects to come through the Twins organization. He has the making of four above average pitches and the Twins hope he is a pitcher they can build their rotation around for years to come.

3. Ryan Jeffers, C (23-years old)
Jeffers is half of one of baseball’s best catching duos and he’s six and a half years younger than Mitch Garver. Because Garver was a late bloomer, the Twins have team control of both players for multiple seasons. Jeffers was Twins Daily’s number four overall prospect and it’s clear to see why people should be excited about him.

He has some of the best catch framing skills in baseball and it is going to be intriguing to see how his numbers play over the course of 162-games. Jeffers needs to prove his offensive numbers weren’t a fluke from 2020, but he was known as a hitter out of college.

2. Luis Arraez, UTL (24-years old)
Arraez is moving to a utility role for 2021, but there’s no question that Rocco Baldelli will find way to insert him into the line-up on a regular basis. Even though he was hobbled in 2020, he still managed to post a .321 batting average, which means he has a career .331 batting average in 124 big-league games.

On many other teams, Arraez would be in the everyday starting line-up, but he’s only one injury away from finding himself back in a fulltime role. FanGraph’s ZiPS projects him to win the AL batting title and it will be Baldelli’s job to make sure he gets enough plate appearances to qualify.

1. Alex Kirilloff, OF (23-years old)
Kirilloff is the type of player any team would like to build their franchise around. He had tremendous make-up and a sweet swing that is hard to ignore. MLB.com will likely include him on their top-25 list entering next season after baseball gets a longer look at Minnesota’s top prospect.

One of the few questions that remains is whether or not Kirilloff will be on the Opening Day roster. Minnesota’s winning window is open and that’s one of the strongest reasons to have Kirilloff be in the line-up from day one. How good can he be in his age-23 campaign?

Other Potential Names (Ages): Jordan Balazovic (22), Trevor Larnach (24), Aaron Sabato (21), Gilberto Celestino (22), Matt Canterino (23), Edwar Colina (23)

Would you put any of these other names on the list? Should Lewis drop off because of his injury? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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16 Comments

Yikes! Pretty thin in terms of accomplishment these days. Under 25 lists are always swayed to potential relative to accomplishment (in MLB terms), but this is fairly extreme. Kinda highlights that the Twins are not really a young team any more. Need the next wave to start impacting soon.

    • flpmagikat and mikelink45 like this

How about a under 21 list?

    • h2oface and jkcarew like this
I’d go with Jeffers over Arraez.

The OBP numbers are comparable (.365 for Arraez, .356 for Jeffers). Jeffers hits for more power, which leads to higher OPS/OPS+, etc.

Jeffers is also much more valuable defensively.

Small sample size for Jeffers, but the defense and extra base power limit Arraez in my eyes.
    • Twins33, mikelink45 and IAMNFan like this
Would be nice if a few of the big international signings take some big steps forward this year.

We do not make it on the national list.Our team is no longer young and we do not bring up the players when they are really young so Acuna, Soto, Tatis, Luis Roberts, Eloy Jiminex, Bichette and others rank over our prospects because they have already shown themselves in the majors.  

 

Using that as the measuring stick Arraez and Jeffers have to be first and second. I wish we did let SP work into the rotation earlier, but that does not seem to be the plan.I was hoping to find more under 25s in the BP but was surprised that Alcala and Stashak are both over the mark so we currently have only two under 25s and hopefully Kiriloff will make number 3.  

 

As I was looking at the stats I was surprised that the Twins are as old as their numbers say - the rotation now has 26 year old Berrios and next youngest is 32 year old Pineda and Happ is 38.In the BP Alcala 25 1/2 is youngest and Thielbar at 34 is oldest.In the IF Jeffers is youngest and Donalson is 34.In the OF if Kiriloff starts he is the youngest at 23, Buxton is 27, Kepler 28.  

 

I’d go with Jeffers over Arraez.

The OBP numbers are comparable (.365 for Arraez, .356 for Jeffers). Jeffers hits for more power, which leads to higher OPS/OPS+, etc.

Jeffers is also much more valuable defensively.

Small sample size for Jeffers, but the defense and extra base power limit Arraez in my eyes.

Arraez has a career OPS of .819 to Jeffers .791. OPS+ goes to Arraez 121 to 118. That's with more than 400 extra PAs to establish a more consistent baseline. No argument that Jeffers will hit more HR, but the narrative that Arraez is a slap singles hitter and brings a low OPS is incorrect. He will likely never be a huge HR threat or anything, but his 162 game pace for doubles is 38 (league leaders are typically low to mid 40s for the season). That is a more than respectable number while hitting .320+ and walking more than he strikes out.

 

I don't know that I'd bet Arraez ends with a better career OPS than Jeffers, but I think it'll be pretty similar and as the robo-umps are introduced to the game Jeffers loses a lot of defensive value as pitch framing is no longer a thing. No problem with anyone preferring Jeffers over Arraez, but I think you undersell Arraez a little by suggesting its a foregone conclusion that Jeffers will beat him in OPS/OPS+.

    • flpmagikat and Trov like this

Interesting, Cody, thanks.

 

And count me among those who appreciate your having Arraez this high on your ranking. Seems so many don't appreciate what he brings to the game. Maybe he is more of a 1960's player than during today's advanced metrics age. Those of us who enjoyed baseball back then do appreciate him.

 

When so many of us here and elsewhere were agitated that the front office didn't do enough this winter to bring in more/better starters, Falvey seemed to indicate he was satisfied with what they had in their system. Could pitchers like Duran be part of the reason he felt that way?

Yeah, I'd take Lewis off this list, simply because there's no chance for him to make the bigs this season. 

 

Meanwhile, wouldn't it be great if Duhran, Kirilloff, Balazovic and Larnach all made the team this year? A couple strong young pitchers and a pair of good hitters. 

    • Heistyman likes this
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nicksaviking
Mar 01 2021 12:38 PM

Nice write up.

 

But I want to see the list of the best Twins players over 40.

    • ashbury likes this

Arraez has a career OPS of .819 to Jeffers .791. OPS+ goes to Arraez 121 to 118. That's with more than 400 extra PAs to establish a more consistent baseline. No argument that Jeffers will hit more HR, but the narrative that Arraez is a slap singles hitter and brings a low OPS is incorrect. He will likely never be a huge HR threat or anything, but his 162 game pace for doubles is 38 (league leaders are typically low to mid 40s for the season). That is a more than respectable number while hitting .320+ and walking more than he strikes out.

I don't know that I'd bet Arraez ends with a better career OPS than Jeffers, but I think it'll be pretty similar and as the robo-umps are introduced to the game Jeffers loses a lot of defensive value as pitch framing is no longer a thing. No problem with anyone preferring Jeffers over Arraez, but I think you undersell Arraez a little by suggesting its a foregone conclusion that Jeffers will beat him in OPS/OPS+.

You’re right, I was only comparing last year when both were in the majors. Probably more appropriate to compare career numbers. Also, Jeffers has an extremely small sample size. Though, to be fair, Arraez still hasn’t accumulated a full season of plate appearances either (he’s still under 500).

I don’t think Arraez will consistently hit over .330. I don’t think that’s a particularly hot take. Historically, even throughout his minor league career, he’s never had an OPS over .800 with an average under .330.

How much of his career major league OPS is propped up by the juiced ball? He hit 4 home runs that year, he hit none last year. We’re getting into opinions vs. stats here, but I don’t think we’ll see many years of Arraez OPSing bear what he did in 2019. We’ll never know what Jeffers’ power numbers look like with that ball.

My intention isn’t to undersell Arraez. He’s a very good and useful player (though think many overvalue Arraez significantly because of batting average, which I think most will agree is an antiquated way of analyzing a players value). But, being so one dimensional hurts his value. Hitting for average in the MLB now is like being a great running back in the NFL. The game has shifted to being built around power.

I could also say that assuming robo umps are going to negate Jeffers top-notch defense undersells him. Facts are, right now, Jeffers offers a defensive dimension that will be around for the immediate future that Arraez never will. I think Arraez’s defense pulls down his value, whereas, at worst case scenario, Jeffers’ defense is neutral - currently it significantly increases his value.

You make good points, it’s a good debate, it’s very close. I would concede that I could be wrong very easily. There’s no question that both are good players. But, if I were building a team from scratch and got the choice of either one, I’d take Jeffers.
    • chpettit19 likes this

 

You’re right, I was only comparing last year when both were in the majors. Probably more appropriate to compare career numbers. Also, Jeffers has an extremely small sample size. Though, to be fair, Arraez still hasn’t accumulated a full season of plate appearances either (he’s still under 500).

I don’t think Arraez will consistently hit over .330. I don’t think that’s a particularly hot take. Historically, even throughout his minor league career, he’s never had an OPS over .800 with an average under .330.

How much of his career major league OPS is propped up by the juiced ball? He hit 4 home runs that year, he hit none last year. We’re getting into opinions vs. stats here, but I don’t think we’ll see many years of Arraez OPSing bear what he did in 2019. We’ll never know what Jeffers’ power numbers look like with that ball.

My intention isn’t to undersell Arraez. He’s a very good and useful player (though think many overvalue Arraez significantly because of batting average, which I think most will agree is an antiquated way of analyzing a players value). But, being so one dimensional hurts his value. Hitting for average in the MLB now is like being a great running back in the NFL. The game has shifted to being built around power.

I could also say that assuming robo umps are going to negate Jeffers top-notch defense undersells him. Facts are, right now, Jeffers offers a defensive dimension that will be around for the immediate future that Arraez never will. I think Arraez’s defense pulls down his value, whereas, at worst case scenario, Jeffers’ defense is neutral - currently it significantly increases his value.

You make good points, it’s a good debate, it’s very close. I would concede that I could be wrong very easily. There’s no question that both are good players. But, if I were building a team from scratch and got the choice of either one, I’d take Jeffers.

It's certainly a good debate and wouldn't tell anyone they're crazy for picking Jeffers. I think Arraez has a legitimate chance of hitting .320+ for many years with his incredible ability to barrel balls (8th in baseball in 2019, 5th in 2020, for sweet spot % for hitters with at least 100 ABs) and his eye at the plate. 

 

If he were hitting .320 without the doubles it'd be one thing, but if he hits 35+ doubles a year I think you have to look at him differently. BA is definitely not the stat it used to be, but there's still something to be said for being able to hit .300. Game 7, bottom 9, tying run on 3rd would you rather have a Sano type low BA, high HR, high K guy or an Arraez high BA, low HR, low K guy? I'd trust Arraez there more than I'd trust Sano. 

 

Jeffers definitely has the edge on defense until robo-umps, no doubt. It'll be interesting to see how the league shifts in what they expect out of catchers once we get automated strike zones. I'd expect to see better hitters behind the plate at that point. But that's a different debate for a different day. 

 

No problem with you wanting Jeffers over Arraez. I think it's basically a toss up. I'm an Arraez believer and think he's an underrated part of this lineup. Lack of HR power reduces your margin for error as a player in this org, but if he's hitting doubles all over the park I think he's a very valuable player. Part of me would like to see him in Coors or Detroit with those huge outfields and see how close to .400 he could get. Just wish he could run a little better.

Interesting discussion about Arraez. Many believe he will not continue putting up the numbers he has throughout his career. I ask, why not?

 

Just went back and looked at three guys who in some way were similar. Comparing Luis to the three indicated he put up similar or maybe even a bit better numbers during his first two years. The three were Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn and Pete Rose. 

 

Were people saying similar things about them when they had been in the league a couple years? Granted the world was different then and there wasn't an internet, so probably not. Yet, none of us know what the future holds for Arraez. I ask, why can't he be the next Rose, Carew or Gwynn?

I believe he is the next Gwynn, Carew. I just think so many folks are down on batting average to were if a player hits .320 consistently, they don't understand that metric. Therefore many don't see the advantage of a higher average because it does not involve any advanced metrics.

 

Interesting discussion about Arraez. Many believe he will not continue putting up the numbers he has throughout his career. I ask, why not?

 

Just went back and looked at three guys who in some way were similar. Comparing Luis to the three indicated he put up similar or maybe even a bit better numbers during his first two years. The three were Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn and Pete Rose.

 

Were people saying similar things about them when they had been in the league a couple years? Granted the world was different then and there wasn't an internet, so probably not. Yet, none of us know what the future holds for Arraez. I ask, why can't he be the next Rose, Carew or Gwynn?

I mean, it’s not likely simply because even among those that start strong and show the potential (as Arraez has), only about one in a hundred are going to end up developing near the level Carew/Gwynn achieved. Could happen of course. I think Arraez is more limited with his lack of high end speed. Also, with his swing, it’s hard to see him ever getting to 10-15 HR in a season. Still, I have no problem with where Arraez is on this list. I think his AVE/OBP could be sustainably high enough to be valuable...and it’s arguable that it’s more valuable to this club than is Jeffers’ SLG, just based on scarcity.

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AlwaysinModeration
Mar 01 2021 08:34 PM

Nice write up.

But I want to see the list of the best Twins players over 40.


Well I think I’d go with:

7. Phil Niekro
6. Nelson Cruz
5. Bartolo Colon
4. Dave Winfield
3. Jim Thome
2. Paul Molitor
1. Steve Carlton
    • James Rivah Twins Fan and nicksaviking like this
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AlwaysinModeration
Mar 02 2021 08:44 PM
Ahem. Joe Niekro
    • ashbury likes this

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