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The Twins Next Window...

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In really studying the Twins major leage and minor league rosters this off season, and looking back at the past 4 years I came to the painful conclusion that the Twins missed their window to win a World Series. I think 2009-2012 was that window, and they missed that window due to career altering injuries, poor front office management, and the damn Yankees.

Justin Morneau suffering a concussion when he had just reached his absolute peak, was a more crippling blow then most realized. At the time of the injury he was hitting .345/.437/.618, and was looking like a sure fire MVP. Whose to say that Morneau is what would have pushed the Twins past the said Yankee's, but he didnt play against them in '09 or '10. Mauer batteled the knee injury in '10 effecting his performance in the playoffs, and all but wiping out his '11 season as well. His future behind the plate is unclear at best at this point. Injuries to top pitching prospects Kyle Gibson and Alex Wimmers (I am calling Wimmers Rick Ankeil impression an injury) also has our pitching depth depleted.

When Terry Ryan stepped down in'07 he handed over the reigns to longtime assistant Bill Smith, and I felt the Twins would continue to chug along as usual. No one knew how in over his head Smith was, and how big the talent gap he inherited was. Smith didnt help himself by trading our only impact prospect for an alright reliever, getting burned in the Delmon trade, not getting maximum return on the Santana trade, botching the Hardy-Nishioka decision, and being dealt some bad luck in his drafts. What Ryan inherited in his 2nd go round is a farm system with almost no major league ready talent, and its best prospects at least 3-4 years away.


So where does that put the Twins next window? I was searching for that answer when I opened Baseball America's Prospect Pulse column. While the Twins where hardly represented in the pitchers column they had more then their fair share of prospects in the position players portion. After reading it, a small shoot of hope started to sprout and I came to the conclusion that, providing a lot of luck, the Twins could have a great young nucleolus all reaching the majors around 2015 and all hitting their peaks about 2017-20. Lets take a look at three years out and see what the team might be look like then.

C Mauer age 32 / Hermann age 27 (spilting catching duties assuming Hermann continues to develop as a catcher and Mauer is still able to catch 60-80 games a year)
1B Parmelee age 27 / Mauer
2B Rosario age 24
SS Michael age 24
3B Sano age 23/Valencia age 31 (if Sano stops growing otherwise he could be at 1B instead)
LF Arcia age 25
CF Hicks age 26
RF Benson age 28
DH Parmelee/Sano/Mauer/Hermann


UTIL Dozier age 28
4th OF Revere age 26


Rotation:


SP Appel age 26 (hoping he slides to #2 in this years draft)
SP Gibson age 29
SP Baker age 33 or Other vetern free agent pitcher.
SP Wimmers age 28 (assuming he recovers his form)
SP Hendriks age 27
While the chances of all of these guys developing to even 80% of their ceilings is almost nil, and its likely a couple will wash out completely, it doesn't stop me from seeing the Twins next World Series window as being 2017-2020 when all of these guys will be within the peak ages of 27-31 with the exception of Mauer. So if your are upset and bitter about the Twins not looking like contenders this year or the next hopefully this gives a ray of hope, and something else to follow.

Comments

  1. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
    I have to agree with the guys you have here, but I also wouldn't forget about the Twins' compensation round picks in '11, who look like decent players if they recover from their injuries. I also think it a little unlikely that Michael will reach the bigs at 24; that's a good turnaround, even for a first round pick. Also, for the 4th outfielder I would have Span, as his arm is better than Revere's, he might be a tad slower than Revere, and when he is healthy, he is much better at getting on base than Revere.
  2. Thrylos's Avatar
    Interesting stuff...

    I'd probably put Harrison in the 1B/DH mix as well (maybe 3B also). Really hard to tell about the rotation though... Salcedo should probably be included as well and who knows who will come out of nowhere in 3 years...
  3. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
    Good read. It's fun to look that far in the future. Hopefully Sano and the rest advance like we hope they will!
  4. Jeff P's Avatar
    It is fun to project these things even though we all know that a whole lot will change. I feel much better about the future of the position players than the starting rotation, hopefully Gibson and Wimmers can get past their issues and develop into solid starters. If the projections hold up (or at least mostly hold up), the Twins would be set up for a long window because many of the key players would just be entering their prime and would be under club control and at relatively cheap rates for a number of years afterwards. I could see a window of 2016-2020 or longer.

    BTW, Appel, Gibson, and Wimmers will all be two years younger in 2015 than you list here.

    Jeff
  5. twinstalker's Avatar
    Baseball America is seriously downtrending on Appel. They don't like his strikeout rate for a college pitcher...and isn't that what we're really looking for? OTOH, they're really high on Zimmers from USF. Just because someone once used "Verlander" in a sentence with "Appel" and "potential," I'm not convinced he's the guy. It does seem like the Twins are going to take a power pitcher, though. The safer (and also necessary due to one of the worst trades in Twins history) pick might be Mike Zunino, C, Florida.
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