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Where does the talent come from

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:11 PM
So I did back of the napkin math only here but looked at three recent WS teams to see how they constructed their teams. I only added up t...
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Article: Twins Trying to Sustain Excellence

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:50 PM
If you’re feeling a bit underwhelmed at the close of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, I’m sure you’re not the only Minnesota Twins fan i...
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Article: Rundown: Cruz, Cahill, Soria and Ramos

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:35 PM
FanCred's Jon Heyman reported Monday that the Twins were in the mix for Nelson Cruz. New Twins beat writer for MLB.com Do-Hyoung Park con...
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Non-Twins Off-season news, tidbits and transactions

Other Baseball Today, 12:24 PM
We had a thread for items around the baseball world that were worth sharing but not worth a thread of their own. Now that the 2018 season...
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Jonathan Schoop or Ian Kinsler?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:12 PM
Did the Twins make a mistake jumping the gun on the Schoop signing?   Ian Kinsler just signed with San Diego for 2 years $8M total....
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The Top 20 Minnesota Twins Assets: Part 1 (16-20)

As we prepare to flip the calendar to a new year, it's a good time to take stock. That's exactly the idea behind this new series, which will rank the top 20 players in the Minnesota Twins organization – not by their talent or production necessarily, but by their value as assets.

That means we'll be factoring in age, contracts, realistic upside, positional scarcity and other details contributing to the player's long-term indispensability to the Twins franchise. We'll kick off this four-part series with selections for Nos. 16 through 20 below the fold.
Image courtesy of Jesse Johnson, USA Today (Tyler Duffey)
20. Alex Kirilloff - OF (20)
The pure hitting talent is unmistakable. It convinced the Twins to select Kirilloff with the 15th overall pick in the 2016 draft, and then to send him straight to advanced level rookie ball as an 18-year-old fresh out of high school. The Pittsburgh native answered the challenge, slashing .306/.341/.454 over 55 games in his first exposure to pro competition. But unfortunately, that's all we've seen from him so far.

Kirilloff missed the entire 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he'll be back at full strength in 2018, still only 20 years old and ready to potentially climb the minor-league ranks in a hurry.

19. Trevor May - RHP (28)
Like Kirilloff, May isn't fresh in our memories after sitting out all of 2017. But his ability and his track record earn him a place on this list. He has shown solid potential as a starter and posted a dominant strikeout rate out of the bullpen in 2016, although his results and health were inconsistent.

Possessing some of the best stuff of anyone on the staff, May was on track to be a valuable rotation contributor last spring before the out-of-nowhere UCL tear in mid-March. There's little reason to think he won't pick up where he left off, even if it's a bit after Opening Day.

The Twins need to determine his role and he needs to finally settle into one, but if/when that happens May will probably shoot up this list. Entering his first turn at arbitration, he's still under team control for three years.

18. Wander Javier - SS (18)
The Twins signed Javier at age 16 with a $4 million bonus in the summer of 2015 and he has justified the investment ever since. In 50 pro games (between the Gulf Coast and Appalachian Leagues), the shortstop has slashed .301/.381/.497 with good patience, and his quickly developing power suggests he may have a significant ceiling in that department.

Everything is looking good so far, but the fact remains that he's only 18 and hasn't played above rookie ball. Much can happen between now and his ETA in the majors, so uncertainty keeps the perceived ceiling of his tantalizing potential in check for now.

17. Jason Castro - C (30)
The first major free agent signing from the Falvine Regime has proven to be a success thus far. At the plate, Castro's .720 OPS in 2017 surpassed his career mark by 20 points and was slightly above average for an American League catcher. Behind the plate, he controlled the running game reasonably well and ranked 20th out of 110 MLB backstops in pitch framing per Baseball Prospectus.

He's under contract for $8 million each of the next two seasons, qualifying as a nice bargain. Though he's not necessarily a critical long-term cog, Castro is quite important to the Twins for the time being, especially since he's the only catcher who will appear on this list.

16. Tyler Duffey - RHP (27)
Duffey has gone through his stumbles and speed bumps since joining the MLB ranks. He excelled during a late-summer debut in 2015 but then struggled mightily as a starter in 2016. This past season he moved over to the bullpen, which always seemed to be his most logical fit, but much like May in 2016 the uneven results belied his quality stuff and impressive whiff rate.

Despite the all-too-frequent hiccups, Duffey has consistently had one thing going for him: a bona fide big-league out pitch in his curveball. And he's also got his youth – the righty turns 27 on Wednesday, and won't be eligible for free agency until 2022. After putting up a 3.72 FIP and adding two MPH to his fastball velo in his first year as a reliever since 2012, the future looks bright.

Check back later this week when we run down assets 11 through 15 in Part 2.

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12 Comments

Duffey has found his key, the long-relief set-up guy.

 

I have a sneaking suspicion that Trevor May COULD be developed into a closer!

Re: Castro.His defensive last season was disappointing, at least as BP metrics go :) In the same link, you will see that his back up, Chris Gimenez was 3 places above him.Speaking of Gimenez, he was slightly better with the bat (.731 OPS, 97 OPS+ vs .720 OPS, 93 OPS). Gimenez is 4 years older.

 

Gimenez's value is a minor league contract with invite to ST and about $1M if he makes the team.Castro is younger, but there is no way that his value is close to that of Kirrilloff and Javier who if they have another good season, they might shoot to top 50 level prospects.Same with May.

Would you get Kirilloff or Javier or May 1:1 for Castro? Nah.Duffey, sure.

My question, Nick, is what happened to Duffey's curve?I recall watching him pitch when he was first called up.It appeared he had two different curves, the 12-to-6 and another at a different angle.He could throw either for a strike or have it drop off a ledge. 

 

I didn't see that curve last year.If he can get that pitch back together with a better fast ball, he can be a top pitcher...long relief, set-up, closer or starter.

 

Do you agree that he lost the effectiveness of his curve?Or is my memory of 2016 failing me?

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MidwestTwinsFan15
Dec 27 2017 08:22 AM

Twins have a surplus of Middle Infielders in the system:

 

Polanco (Age 24)

Gordon (Age 22)

Palacios (Age 21)

Lewis (Age 18)

Javier (Age 18)

 

One is currently on the ML Club and there is discussion on if he can ultimately stick at the SS position. Unless the FO believes that Gordon is the SS of the future, I believe he needs to be moved in part of a trade for a SP.

 

Assets (Major and Minor) are used to improve either the Big Club or the System. We are flush in the system currently and need to use the assets to now improve the ML club.

 

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Not sure that this is a very exciting start to the top 20 if this includes both major and minor league players.Duffey has not met the promise of his rookie season, Kiriloff and May need to be on a wait and see list - how do we know if they are the same guys.I feel like May has been an old fashioned record with a scratch on it and we keep coming back to the same place each year.  

 

Since there are only 20 players on this list and there are currently 25 on the roster I will be anxious to see which roster players are not on this list - therefore waiting to be replaced and how you handle the excess at SS. I try to read into the reports that are on this site and the Gordon, Polanco, Javier, Lewis SS list is interesting and I have no sense of what the pecking order is for the long run. 

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My question, Nick, is what happened to Duffey's curve?I recall watching him pitch when he was first called up.It appeared he had two different curves, the 12-to-6 and another at a different angle.He could throw either for a strike or have it drop off a ledge. 

 

I didn't see that curve last year.If he can get that pitch back together with a better fast ball, he can be a top pitcher...long relief, set-up, closer or starter.

 

Do you agree that he lost the effectiveness of his curve?Or is my memory of 2016 failing me?

I think your memory is failing a little.Duffey's great debut was in 2015.He had such a great array of speeds, break and plane that I though adding a third pitch was unnecessary. He also had a fastball that he had very good command over.In 2016 he lost command of the fastball (possibly from working on the changeup) and his curve balls did not seem to have the same bite or variety.I didn't see him enough in 2017 to comment much.Seemed like he either had it or didn't.I wouldn't mind seeing him get another shot at the rotation but I don't think that is likely. Great curve balls are as effective as 98mph fast balls and Duffey has shown stretches of having a great one but I agree he has been on a flatter plane since 2015 which isn't good.

 

I think your memory is failing a little.Duffey's great debut was in 2015.He had such a great array of speeds, break and plane that I though adding a third pitch was unnecessary. He also had a fastball that he had very good command over.In 2016 he lost command of the fastball (possibly from working on the changeup) and his curve balls did not seem to have the same bite or variety.I didn't see him enough in 2017 to comment much.Seemed like he either had it or didn't.I wouldn't mind seeing him get another shot at the rotation but I don't think that is likely. Great curve balls are as effective as 98mph fast balls and Duffey has shown stretches of having a great one but I agree he has been on a flatter plane since 2015 which isn't good.

 

Duffey was good at the close of 2015. As a starter in 2016, he was good for about six weeks. As a reliever in 2017, he was serviceable for about half the year.

Time will tell if this is him wearing down or if it's batters figuring him out.

He could still be a good reliever, but I don't see him slotting as a regular starter again, especially seeing as he is a two-pitch guy. In 2017 he was terrible at changing speeds which is the kiss of death for any pitcher, though he can still touch 95 which doesn't hurt.

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Nick Nelson
Dec 27 2017 12:42 PM

May and Duffey were hard to rank. Their results haven't borne out the underlying ability, I don't think, but they've both had things working against them – namely the team's inability to settle on a role for either.

 

May came into camp in 2016 competing for a rotation job but ended up spending the entire year in the bullpen. Ditto for Duffey in 2017. It sure doesn't help a guy succeed when he's unable to properly prepare and train for a particular role, especially when it's a role he hasn't been in for quite a while. 

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Nick Nelson
Dec 27 2017 12:55 PM

 

Would you get Kirilloff or Javier or May 1:1 for Castro? Nah.Duffey, sure.

This is probably true, but while the list as somewhat intended as a hierarchy of trade value, it's meant to be specific to the Twins. As alluded in the post, the lack of other clearcut MLB-ready catchers in the organization gave Castro a bit of a bump. And I think you're being a little disingenuous by comparing Castro and Gimenez solely on the basis of 2017.

 

 

My question, Nick, is what happened to Duffey's curve?I recall watching him pitch when he was first called up.It appeared he had two different curves, the 12-to-6 and another at a different angle.He could throw either for a strike or have it drop off a ledge. 

 

I didn't see that curve last year.If he can get that pitch back together with a better fast ball, he can be a top pitcher...long relief, set-up, closer or starter.

From my view, Duffey's curve was usually on point in 2017, in large part because it played off a far more effective fastball. It cannot be overstated how wretched Duffey's FB was in 2016.

 

In terms of changes in movement and trajectory and all that -- I'm not the best at that sort of analysis so I'll leave it to others, but I will say that by most measures on PitchFX his curve really rebounded this year

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ClubhouseDanceParty
Dec 27 2017 02:05 PM

 

Twins have a surplus of Middle Infielders in the system:

 

Polanco (Age 24)

Gordon (Age 22)

Palacios (Age 21)

Lewis (Age 18)

Javier (Age 18)

 

One is currently on the ML Club and there is discussion on if he can ultimately stick at the SS position. Unless the FO believes that Gordon is the SS of the future, I believe he needs to be moved in part of a trade for a SP.

 

Assets (Major and Minor) are used to improve either the Big Club or the System. We are flush in the system currently and need to use the assets to now improve the ML

Without knowing what kind of return is possible, which level of the minors would you prefer to sell from?

Nick, my only problem here...and I like the idea overall...is this a tradeable asset list or a list of importance to the Twins? (You stated "somewhat" previously in regard to tradeable asset heiarchy).

As a tradeable asset, I can see Khiroloff this high. Immediate importance to the Twins, he wouldn't be in the top 20 coming off injury and rookie ball.

I feel Duffey will begin to excel in 2018 being allowed to prepare entirely for a bullpen role. (Just keep the ball in the yard better!)

May has been robbed of time, unfortunately. But he is a darkhorse who some forget about or don't give enough credit to. He was pitching well and improving before being moved to the pen in 2015. He was hurt a lot in 2016. He was looking primed in ST last year before blowing out his elbow. He has legitimate #3 potential if he comes back all the way.
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Nick Nelson
Dec 28 2017 07:47 PM

 

Nick, my only problem here...and I like the idea overall...is this a tradeable asset list or a list of importance to the Twins? (You stated "somewhat" previously in regard to tradeable asset heiarchy).

As a tradeable asset, I can see Khiroloff this high. Immediate importance to the Twins, he wouldn't be in the top 20 coming off injury and rookie ball.

In most cases, I think those two angles are interchangeable, but first and foremost this is a ranking of the players' value to the Twins specifically. Not "immediate importance" but in the big picture. Admittedly, that's a tricky exercise – how do you rank 1 more year of Brian Dozier against potentially 6 years of Nick Gordon down the line, or 6 years of Wander Javier further down the line? I tried to weigh established production against very theoretical future production.

 

It's anything but scientific, I'll admit. But I think it opens up some fun discussion.


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