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Thread: Article: TD Top Prospects: #9 Lewis Thorpe

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    If Thorpe stays in Elizabethton, I suspect it would be for maturation reasons, not talent reasons. Not that the kid is immature or anything, just that I know the Twins like to keep the younger kids at the lower levels where the spotlight is dimmer and the venues smaller.
    I could see him spending time in Elizabethton with a call-up to CR as other pitchers there move up. Aside from the reasons pointed out by Brock, I don't think he'd be ready just yet for the full season workload.

    He could go E-town/CR this year. CR/FM next year. NB in 2016 as a 20-year old. Knocking on MLB door at 21. That feels plenty aggressive to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    He could go E-town/CR this year. CR/FM next year. NB in 2016 as a 20-year old. Knocking on MLB door at 21. That feels plenty aggressive to me.
    I decided to check who else has made it to MLB at 21 (or earlier) in the last 20 years.

    Age 19: 6
    Age 20: 40 (2 per season)
    Age 21: 179 (9 per season)

    Even making an appearance in 2017 as a 21-year old would put him in fairly rare territory.

  3. #23
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    I could see him spending time in Elizabethton with a call-up to CR as other pitchers there move up. Aside from the reasons pointed out by Brock, I don't think he'd be ready just yet for the full season workload.

    He could go E-town/CR this year. CR/FM next year. NB in 2016 as a 20-year old. Knocking on MLB door at 21. That feels plenty aggressive to me.
    That's very aggressive, and realistic...

    I'm the positive Twins blogger, but I hvae to point out that there have been a lot of young pitchers who have pitched and dominated in the GCL and didn't get to AA... Thorpe certainly appears to have incredible upside, but let's just hope he continues to progress and stay healthy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    That's very aggressive, and realistic...

    I'm the positive Twins blogger, but I hvae to point out that there have been a lot of young pitchers who have pitched and dominated in the GCL and didn't get to AA... Thorpe certainly appears to have incredible upside, but let's just hope he continues to progress and stay healthy.
    Who brought Debbie Downer to the party?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AM. View Post
    Who brought Debbie Downer to the party?
    Irony, thy initials are either D.D. or S.S.
    Last edited by jokin; 02-05-2014 at 08:41 PM.

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    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    I am Mr. Negative...

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    I could care less what level he is. I will take an 18 year old 6'2 lefty who already sits in the low 90s any day of the week. Those don't grow on trees.

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    I watched him throw a bullpen today. Pretty impressive for a young kid. His breaking ball has alot of movement. He'll be one to keep an eye on.

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    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    I just hate how the Twins drag their feet with these prospects. Obviously, the best approach is to get the best young prospects up to Class A as soon as possible, leave them their for a couple of years and then, once they've proven they're for real, zip them up through high-A, AA, and AAA quickly and get them up to The Show!

    Yours truly,

    A Cedar Rapids Twins fan
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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    Senior Member Triple-A Paul Pleiss's Avatar
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    On the latest talk to contact podcast we were joined by Jim Callis who offered his thoughts on Lewis Thorpe and most of the other top prospects in the Twins organization.

    www.talktocontact.com

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    "He could go E-town/CR this year. CR/FM next year. NB in 2016 as a 20-year old. Knocking on MLB door at 21. That feels plenty aggressive to me." I've often wondered if you took Sandy Koufax at his prime and disguised him as a 17 year old how long would it take one of the best pitchers in history in his prime to make it through the system to the big leagues? Dwight Gooden went from 18 year old Class A straight to the big leagues and put up the same terrific numbers in the majors as he did in Class A. I'm not saying Thorpe is Koufax or Gooden but given that all the attributes Seth listed is where he sits right now, why is it a fast track to spend 4 more years in the minors before getting a shot at the bigs?

  15. #32
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantes929 View Post
    I've often wondered if you took Sandy Koufax at his prime and disguised him as a 17 year old how long would it take one of the best pitchers in history in his prime to make it through the system to the big leagues? Dwight Gooden went from 18 year old Class A straight to the big leagues and put up the same terrific numbers in the majors as he did in Class A. I'm not saying Thorpe is Koufax or Gooden but given that all the attributes Seth listed is where he sits right now, why is it a fast track to spend 4 more years in the minors before getting a shot at the bigs?
    Ideally teams want to time a player's MLB arrival to coincide with the start of their 6-7 most productive years. Teams simply won't call a 19-20 year old up and let him get knocked around a little bit for 2-3 years at the MLB level. Those become lost years of productive contractual control as the guy gets expensive sooner.

    If the Twins keep Thorpe on the farm, they could control him until he's 30. If they push him up to the Big Leagues at 19, even if he turns out to be another Koufax, they could lose him just when he's hitting his prime.

    As someone who has been watching MLB ball since the Koufax days, I would also offer an explanation that is nothing more than opinion: I think hitters are just that much better today.

    It's not that pitching hasn't evolved and improved over the last 50 years, too, but it seems to me that hitters are better athletes, using more advanced training methods, work full time almost 12 months a year at their craft and apply more advanced analytical information to their craft. There have also been rule changes that have strongly favored the offense.

    Sure, there were hitters in every era that could be successful today, too. But your average (and even below average) hitters today are, I believe, much better than they were in prior eras.

    Pitching has improved, as well, but it doesn't seem to me like that aspect has improved as much as hitting has.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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    Jimcrikket, I understand and have often argued the exact same thing in terms of wanting team control. They should be polished when they get up so we have them at their best for the longest period possible. The flip side to your theory that hitters are better than they used to be is my theory that with conditioning and training methods pitchers throw harder than they used to. I remember when 90 mph used to be considered good. Now even guys like Nick Blackburn can touch mid 90's. The result is what seems to me to be a lot more TJ and elbow surgery. Therefore, if a guy like Thorpe can earn his way to the majors and be successful earlier it makes more sense to promote him while his arm is still healthy. I will take effective and a little on the job learning now over loss of a year or two in prime because it seems so few guys stay healthy. Just look at the guys on the Twins who have lost significant time in the last decade. Joe Mays, Milton, Radke, Liriano, Blackburn, Baker, Slowey, Nathan, Pavano, Gibson. I am probably forgetting quite a few. There is something to a bird in hand. Which gets me back to my original question though honestly it was meant more to be rhetorical. How long especially with the Twins would it take to get Koufax to the majors if he started out in the organization at his peak?

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    There is one aspect to bringing up a budding star a little early that isn't covered by any of this: it's good advertising to the next generation of player. Say you draft a tough-to-sign high-ceiling high school kid in the 6th round. He's just going to say no thanks if he believes that he'll spend the next 7 years in the minors or whatever, and will go to junior college without even listening to your bonus offer and hope for better draft luck the next June. Ditto for signing young talent from off our shores, if they have any other teams also in the hunt.

    This shouldn't overly drive your strategy of course. But you gotta hold a little hope out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AM. View Post
    Between Lewis Thorpe, Stephen Gonsalves, and Felix Jorge, not to mention Kohl Stewart, the Twins added a big group of very high upside arms in the last 12 months. Of course, they also added Alex Meyer and Trevor May in the past 14 months, so that is 6 significant arms added in short order..
    Detail, but they signed Felix Jorge out of the Dominican as an IFE on February of 2011 (Smith signing). So 2014 will be his fourth season in the organization.
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    Mr. Crikket will know more about this, however, I suspect that the Twins may have changed their position on moving young players to low A ball since moving to Cedar Rapids as I understand that the Kernels have 'family hosts' for all of their players. Is that correct Jim? If so, that is different than Beloit where I understand there were only a few. Thus, they may not have problems with sending an 18 year old to the Midwest League.

    With that said, I see them keeping Thorpe in extended spring training for a month, then sending him straight to Cedar Rapids. He hasn't had much time off this winter as he was pitching every weekend for Melbourne until three or four weeks ago. That would give him an extra month before getting into competitive games every fifth or sixth day.

    Based on the type of hitters he successfully faced all winter, there is no reason to send him to ETon. Rather an argument could be made that he is prepared to go straight to Hi-A ball, although I agree that isn't likely.
    Last edited by roger; 02-06-2014 at 06:23 PM.

  21. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
    There is one aspect to bringing up a budding star a little early that isn't covered by any of this: it's good advertising to the next generation of player. Say you draft a tough-to-sign high-ceiling high school kid in the 6th round. He's just going to say no thanks if he believes that he'll spend the next 7 years in the minors or whatever, and will go to junior college without even listening to your bonus offer and hope for better draft luck the next June. Ditto for signing young talent from off our shores, if they have any other teams also in the hunt.

    This shouldn't overly drive your strategy of course. But you gotta hold a little hope out there.
    Understand your point, but I also see how quickly people give up on prospects that come up and struggle... can you imagine Thorpe coming up in 2015 at age 19, posting a 6 ERA and so many thinking he was a bust?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    Understand your point, but I also see how quickly people give up on prospects that come up and struggle... can you imagine Thorpe coming up in 2015 at age 19, posting a 6 ERA and so many thinking he was a bust?
    Guess I'm guilty of a threadjack, if it seemed like I was recommending Thorpe specifically, for a debut quite that soon.

  23. #39
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    roger, yes, the Kernels offer host families to all players, including some bi-lingual host parents I'm aware of who opened their homes to several latino players at once. And, unlike some host-parent programs, there's no "room and board" charge to the players. Thorpe, of course, could be more of a challenge. I'm not sure how many host parents speak Australian (rimshot).

    I don't know how much the Twins have changed their approach about moving players to A ball and, if they have, it could have as much to do with Brad Steil taking over as minor league director as it does the location of the team. Tho I have been told the Twins do like being in a city with an airport 15 minutes away rom the balpark instead of having kids fly in to Chicago or Milwaukee and having to figure out how to get to Beloit.

    As a writer and a fan, I'm ok with spreading out the pitching talent this year, with some of it arriving in April and then a couple guys joining in May or June. I assume the Kernels will use a 6-man rotation again this season and with innings limits, injuries and promotions, they go through a lot of starting pitchers.

    I'd like to get a look at Thorpe right away, but if it's a little later, that's OK. Sometimes getting a look at "the new kid" at mid season gives you something fresh to watch.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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  24. #40
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    A couple of thoughts.

    First in regard to promotions and how soon prospects should get to class A. I would think this should be on an individual basis. There should be no one size fits all. There are all sorts of things that could keep Thorpe from A ball this year. Maturity, innings limits based in part from pitching during the winter, competition(kids slightly older, with somewhat similar ceilings who maybe a bit "ahead" of Thorpe right now), minor injuries, and probably a number of other things. I would like to believe the Twins organization is trying to do what is best for the top prospects while balancing that with what is best for the organization.

    Secondly, about the comments concerning Gooden and Koufax. Both were in the majors at a young age and both had relatively short careers as dominating pitchers, but otherwise they were quite different. Gooden was incredibly effective at a very young age(sort of like Liriano without the TJ). Gooden was even youger than Liriano and was dominant for several years. One has to wonder if the workload at such a young age took a toll on Gooden.

    Koufax was different. When he got to the majors, he was so wild, he just wasn't very effective. Once he harnessed his stuff he was maybe the best pitcher ever, if only for a short period of time. Again workloads in the 60's were a lot different than now.

    How any of that might compare to Thorpe, I don't know. If he is as dominating as Gooden, he won't be in the minors very long. What I think will happen, is that the Twins won't allow his workload to be nearly as high as some other young pitchers received in the past.

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