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Developing players

Posted by mikelink45 , 18 September 2018 · 581 views

buxton prospects minnesota twins rookies
Developing players A lot of us were shocked by the Buxton treatment this year, from playing him with an injury to denying him his September call up. We were almost equally shocked to see Sano sent to A ball and when he returned people talked about him looking a little thinner, but then the season played on and before ending with another injury he resorted to the same 200 hitting occasional Home Run hitter.

September call ups included Matt Belisle and a trade for Gimenez, more time for Johnny Field and not much excitement outside the young pitchers and that wonderful Opener experiment. Gonsalves, our top pitching prospect has stunk, Littell who has been called up a couple of times continues to stink (I know that they want to make that trade look good for the FO). Stewart has improved as we continue to pitch him against the mighty Tigers and Busenitz has demonstrated that AAAA is his best hope (when will they open that league?).

Of course there is one rookie who looked really good early in the Season, but he could not even be called up to toss a couple BP sessions - Romero.

Among hitters only Astudillo has appeared and that is because we have our original starter out for the season, our next starter out with a concussion, our first reserve traded for last years reserve and only Astudillo available for actually crouching behind the plate.

No look at Rooker or Gordon or any other potential hitters. So how good is our player development? I just read the Athletics Matthew Kory in the season ending power ranking and his comments really jumped out at me.

"One of the things that good teams do is draft talented players, develop them in the minors, and turn them into stars when they get to the big leagues. The Red Sox have done that with Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts. The Indians have done that with José Ramírez and Francisco Lindor. The Astros have done that with Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman (and George Springer) (and José Altuve). The Twins should have done that with Miguel Sanó and Byron Buxton… but they haven’t. Despite loads of talent, Sanó is barely playable and Buxton supposedly isn’t even ready for a September call-up. If you’re looking for the difference between Minnesota and every playoff team in baseball, that’s it in a nutshell."

  • Teflon, Hosken Bombo Disco, tarheeltwinsfan and 1 other like this

Sep 18 2018 11:41 AM

Mathew Kory is correct. Whatever it was the Twins have tried with Sano and Buxton, has not worked. I'm not pointing fingers, I'm just saying: try something different with Sano and Buxton. These two prospects were either over rated, injured, not trained properly, at fault themselves, or late bloomers. .Or maybe a combination ofsome or all of these. We can't blame it on ourselves, as Twins' fans, for having expectations which were too lofty, because unbiased national talent guru's also expected much more from both Sano and Buxton. It is sad for the Twins...but even sadderfor two players named Sano and Buxton. "For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, "It might have been"".

    • mikelink45 and MN_ExPat like this

While I am certainly not going to go all in supporting the front office, I must say that an important part of player development is PLAYER. if the player can't perform and refuses to follow instruction to get better, development lags. That seems like it may be a possibility in both cases here. And the success rate of players being promoted to the major leagues is very, very small anyway. And they don't all mature at the same rate. Look at Aaron Hicks.

Thanks for mentioning Hicks. A guy with all the talent in the world. He may still develop and have a really Big breakout year, or a moment. You never know. Just looking at Twins centerfielders of yore. Who we have played since Torii Hunter. Carlos Gomez was rushed, it seems (and shows what happens when you use up a lot of their service time in development) but did have a couple of monster years. Ben Revere actually showed consistency, but not the powerhouse play to be the top draft pick he was, and was recently released from play. Hicks? Buxton? 


But look, overall...you hope TOP draft picks make it big. So many don't that you question why millions are thrown their way in the first place. Also, the reality, how many of the 150 guys in a minor league system make it past year two in a system (remember, 30-40 totally new names are added every season and another dozen play musical chairs to fill out rosters). 


How many guys MAKE a major league roster each season - 3 or 5 (many get tryouts) that stick around for a second season. Then how many stay longer than that? Look at overall roster construction. How many players were developed by the team. How many signed out of other organizations. How many acquired in free agency or via trade. 


Yes, we may argue about players being pushed too fast (Carlos Gomez was one, perhaps Buxton is another) and those not fast enough (do we want to see Royce Lewis NOW...if a team IS rebuilding, shouldn't they be looking at internal pieces sooner rather than later, spending money on placeholders). I want to see Nick Gordon, Luke Raley, Brent Rooker all getting a shot NOW or sooner rather than later. i would rather see them striking out and missing balls that players who aren't in longterm plans.


I am glad the Twins are finding innings for Kohl Stewart, Gonsalves, Littell, De Jong. And considering so many of us were down on Stewart and still question his durability as a starter, he has shown more than the other "prospects." But NOT everyone enters a major league team ready t play extremely well and shine. Sometimes it takes a few months, maybe a season, maybe 1000 at bats, which is why rookies are threaded into rosters rather than starting a whole field of 20-23 year olds.


And then you have the players themselves. Look at Delmon Young. Lots and lots of natural talent. He can play decent ball by just showing up, and just think what he would've done if he had kept working and developing.


Hopefully with changes that happened this season in the Twins minors they have development totally under control. The success of the A+ and below teams shows that the regime is going in the right direction. Or so we hope.

    • mikelink45 and MN_ExPat like this

Even if the Twins were to suddenly reach an Astros-like competence in player development by Tuesday, the front office's derailed build-from-the-draft strategy will take how many more seasons now? 


For at least two good reasons, the Twins should be doing everything possible to win in 2019 - not 2022. 1 - The AL Central is pure crap at the moment and the Twins get 76 games against it. 2-If ticket sales drop any more, the Twins will start ripping out seats from the upper deck like Cleveland.

    • mikelink45 likes this