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Thread: Article: Scouting with Sean Johnson

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    Twins Contributor All-Star Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
    Thanks for the clarification. So the decisions on who the Twins are drafting are made by Deron Johnson's group of scouts based of what they see without any sort of analytics input or projections. Correct?
    It goes without saying, but ties are broken - at least on the West Coast - by the players WAR in the Area Code Games. Of course, you have to normalize this number based on both the years since the player hit puberty and the humidity level. It's a stat only the Twins use called WTF+.

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    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
    Thanks for the clarification. So the decisions on who the Twins are drafting are made by Deron Johnson's group of scouts based of what they see without any sort of analytics input or projections. Correct?
    What kind of analytics are you looking for in the drafting, Thrylos? Do you really care about the statistics of high school seniors, where every decent player hits over .400? Are you looking for college players with certain stats?

    How did all those Moneyball draft picks do? Nick Swisher and Joe Blanton were guys that everyone was on... Teahen was OK for a few years. What do you want? I mean, aside from any reason to bash anything that this organization you claim to be a fan of does.

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    Twins Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
    They are not making the call on picks, they employ people to do that. They aren't out scouting, so they're not going to step on toes.
    I'm confident that someone like Terry Ryan is very sensitive to the fact that with his scouting background it would be very easy to be seen as running roughshod over the guys actually doing the work now - careful not to start too many comments with "well, back when *I* was scouting...". On the other hand, I still find it difficult to accept that there is no difference ("regardless of who"), in how draft day plays out when a Bill Smith is in the big chair versus when Terry Ryan is - Smith will certainly defer to exactly whatever his chief of scouting recommends, Ryan would by contrast... what? The discussion as the rankings are constructed the day before the draft would have to be colored in some way by his take on how to synthesize all the information into a strong and cohesive draft for that year, and as draft day itself unfolds I could imagine a glance across the room to Ryan, where even a shrug of the shoulders saying "use your judgement" means more than not even looking in Smith's direction to make each call.

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    Twins Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
    It goes without saying, but ties are broken - at least on the West Coast - by the players WAR in the Area Code Games. Of course, you have to normalize this number based on both the years since the player hit puberty and the humidity level. It's a stat only the Twins use called WTF+.
    +1. You win teh Internets.

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    Twins Contributor All-Star Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
    The discussion as the rankings are constructed the day before the draft would have to be colored in some way by his take on how to synthesize all the information into a strong and cohesive draft for that year, and as draft day itself unfolds I could imagine a glance across the room to Ryan, where even a shrug of the shoulders saying "use your judgement" means more than not even looking in Smith's direction to make each call.
    I wouldn't doubt that at all.

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    I always thought that part of the theory behind Moneyball was to draft college players because less scouting was required. Partly because their stats meant a little more than high school stats would, but also because college players would be a little closer to physical maturity so less projection would be needed when evaluating a player. Now I not sure what Thrylos' point in all this is, but I too have hard time seeing how analylic input would be very useful with high school players and even most college players.

    As far as Ryan's part in this. I know he is a skilled scout. I doubt if he sees many or maybe not any of the drafted players. So I doubt if his input is very significant during the draft. He certainly evaluates players after they have joined the organization. There could easily be some pointed questions about why certain players were drafted at that point.

  7. #27
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    What kind of analytics are you looking for in the drafting, Thrylos? Do you really care about the statistics of high school seniors, where every decent player hits over .400? Are you looking for college players with certain stats?

    How did all those Moneyball draft picks do? Nick Swisher and Joe Blanton were guys that everyone was on... Teahen was OK for a few years. What do you want? I mean, aside from any reason to bash anything that this organization you claim to be a fan of does.
    I do not see where you see bashing in the statement you quoted. And because you are fan of an organization, does this mean that you have no right to not like the way this organization is run, especially given the fact that they have not won since 1991? Does being a fan means accepting everything they do? I think that the opposite is true. If you are a fan you want your team to win. And if they do not win you want changes, and are not ok with mediocrity. That's where you and I differ Seth. I want the Twins to win (As much as you do too) but I am not ok with them losing. And being ridiculed the last 2 seasons in baseball. So I want changes and I am not ok with the people who have been running my team (to the ground). Some "fans" are ok with whatever. I am not.

    Back to the subject. One can project using college performance a lot, esp. analyzing performance vs. certain opponents. Major college level ball is probably close to A level competition and JC level is close to Rk level competition for good school. As someone can (and should) analyze MiLB performance beyond "ability to spin the ball", they can analyze College players. High Schoolers are somewhat of a different story because lots of them have not stopped growing yet.
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    Major college level ball is probably close to A level competition and JC level is close to Rk level competition for good school
    .

    I have seen this claim before. I really wonder how true it is. I believe I read recently that the average age in the Midwest League is about 22. That would be considerably older than the average age at any major college. On top of that most of players in A ball are either the best players from college or superior high school players who often have played pro ball for a year or two. What might be true is that the skill level at in major college conference is comparable to A ball. I doubt if the talent level is.

  9. #29
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
    .
    . What might be true is that the skill level at in major college conference is comparable to A ball. I doubt if the talent level is.
    I was talking about the competition level, not exactly the talent. And if you look at the draft, some college teams (the best) have most of their draft-eligible players drafted even if in later rounds and usually start at high Rookie or A ball in most organizations. Fact is that A level ball has older high school draftees and foreign signees who were weeded out in the Rookie clubs, so the talent level is higher.
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    Thyrlos could have a point if there was a large enough sample size of playing against the top talent in high school and college. Did the moneyball book talk of doing data analysis on college players? I would wonder because Beane has had better luck trading for players than drafting.

  11. #31
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wise One View Post
    Thyrlos could have a point if there was a large enough sample size of playing against the top talent in high school and college. Did the moneyball book talk of doing data analysis on college players? I would wonder because Beane has had better luck trading for players than drafting.
    There is a large sample size for college if you take the top competition the last 15 years or so.

    Moneyball is a book. I am not claiming that the A's and Beane are a prototype to follow; there are teams that use analytics more effectively (Boston for one). Last I checked, the A's won as many World Series as the Twins recently...
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    I was talking about the competition level, not exactly the talent. And if you look at the draft, some college teams (the best) have most of their draft-eligible players drafted even if in later rounds and usually start at high Rookie or A ball in most organizations. Fact is that A level ball has older high school draftees and foreign signees who were weeded out in the Rookie clubs, so the talent level is higher.
    I don't want to be argumentive, but all baseball is competitive. While major college baseball is certainly competitive, I don't think that will help much in deciding whether a guy can play major league ball. I remember a few years ago, one of Twins minor leaguers(one of Seth's favorites but I can't remember his name) had played with Nick Swisher in college. He was drafted in the middle to late rounds by the Twins. He even had similar college stats to Swisher. I believe he got as far as AA. I don't think college stats are very meaningful. They tell you nothing about where they are in terms of physical maturity, or what developmental stage they are at. Some people are physically mature at 18, most probably aren't. Stats can't tell you any of that. Most major leaguers say that work ethic and makeup are important to major league success. Stats can't tell you about that.

    There is a reason why teams have so many scouts and why more than one scout looks at the top prospects. Even with that, there is more failures than success in a draft. Can the Twins do a better job of drafting. I suppose. But there is a certain amount of luck involved as well. Injuries happen. Some kids won't do the necessary work, no matter how talented they might be. Some probably can't handle the travel or pressure. The Twins organization can certainly be criticized on many levels, but I don't think stat analysis is likely to replace oreven be much help to scouting.

  13. #33
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
    I don't want to be argumentive, but all baseball is competitive. While major college baseball is certainly competitive, I don't think that will help much in deciding whether a guy can play major league ball. I remember a few years ago, one of Twins minor leaguers(one of Seth's favorites but I can't remember his name) had played with Nick Swisher in college. He was drafted in the middle to late rounds by the Twins. He even had similar college stats to Swisher. I believe he got as far as AA. I don't think college stats are very meaningful. They tell you nothing about where they are in terms of physical maturity, or what developmental stage they are at. Some people are physically mature at 18, most probably aren't. Stats can't tell you any of that. Most major leaguers say that work ethic and makeup are important to major league success. Stats can't tell you about that.

    There is a reason why teams have so many scouts and why more than one scout looks at the top prospects. Even with that, there is more failures than success in a draft. Can the Twins do a better job of drafting. I suppose. But there is a certain amount of luck involved as well. Injuries happen. Some kids won't do the necessary work, no matter how talented they might be. Some probably can't handle the travel or pressure. The Twins organization can certainly be criticized on many levels, but I don't think stat analysis is likely to replace oreven be much help to scouting.
    Doug Deeds. Drafted in the 9th round. Made it to Rochester in 2007 then was let go and bounced around. Last season was in the Angels AAA team.

    I get the arguments you are making. And for every argument you are making about why numbers do not matter, I can make the same argument why opinions that were formed by scouts who saw someone pitch 10 innings or have 30 PAs matter even less. So you need to have a combination in order to make more informed decisions. And I am not talking about the kids who everyone knows that they will be a superstar (everyone knows those), I am talking about finding the diamonds in the rough who will have a great career but nobody knows it yet.
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    Thanks for posting this. It's a very interesting read.

    Q&a articles with folks inside the organization is just so Damon interesting.

    By the way - he pretty much cofirmed that they will take a college arm in the 1st round is that right?

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    Twins Contributor All-Star Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
    Thanks for posting this. It's a very interesting read.

    Q&a articles with folks inside the organization is just so Damon interesting.

    By the way - he pretty much confirmed that they will take a college arm in the 1st round is that right?
    I think they top names on the board will be college pitchers. I don't know who the top guy on the board will be when they draft. If they picked 1-1, yeah, I'm pretty sure it would be a pitcher.

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    Senior Member All-Star Badsmerf's Avatar
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    Awesome job Jeremy. I enjoyed every part of every question. Also, what a great interviewee! Very good, thoughtful, in-depth answers. Couldn't have asked for much more.

    This is pretty much how a draft should go IMO. It is impossible to compare statistics of players that don't face the same levels of competition. I don't buy that something was different heading into the draft last year, they are changing for the better.

  17. #37

    link

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
    It's been an ongoing discussion on the message boards since the end of last season.

    You can see my projections here.
    Thanks for the link. I have been watching this page..... pretty good starters at New Britain

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    The questions I would have liked to have seen is: How does a player like Bryce Harper fall so far in the draft and then become a superstar?? How come so many teams, including the Twins, passed on him?

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackjack View Post
    The questions I would have liked to have seen is: How does a player like Bryce Harper fall so far in the draft and then become a superstar?? How come so many teams, including the Twins, passed on him?
    ??? Nobody passed on him. Was the first overall pick and signed for record bonus ($6.25M) for a position player. Boras client.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackjack View Post
    The questions I would have liked to have seen is: How does a player like Bryce Harper fall so far in the draft and then become a superstar?? How come so many teams, including the Twins, passed on him?
    What. The. ****?

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