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Are The Twins The Unluckiest Team In Baseball?

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#21 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 01:19 PM

Yes, the farm system has improved but do you really see that the organization has embraced rebuilding?

 

It's pretty hard to embrace rebuilding when the following has happened:

 

1. Byron Buxton - out for 2/3rd season

2. Miguel Sano - out for season

3. Alex Meyer - on an innings limit due to injury last season

4. Eddie Rosario - 50 game drug suspension

5. Aaron Hicks - mostly clueless

 

How different would this roster look if just one or two of those things didn't happen? Sure, most of the MLB roster has been healthy and the lower minors look fantastic... but that doesn't help a rebuild in the short-term.

 

Rebuilds happen on the backs of your best prospects which - almost to a man - have suffered a significant setback in the past 12-14 months.

 

Sure, Trevor May should be on the roster right now. I think most of us agree with that... But Trevor May isn't a center piece. He's a complementary guy at best.


#22 spycake

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 01:28 PM

They've been fairly healthy on the big-league roster, but that's not really what matters at this point, nor is it what I'm talking about. The key pieces in the rebuild have been repeatedly afflicted by major setbacks -- almost every last one.

 

Hey, you're the one who brought up Mauer and Nolasco, in your first post of this thread.

 

I don't think every "key piece" in the rebuild has had major setbacks.  The only major pitcher setback (for a guy key to the rebuild) was Gibson's surgery, which he's been back from for almost 2 years now.  (Next would be Meyer missing 2 months last summer, pretty tame as far as setbacks go.)

 

On offense, Buxton and Sano have been set back, but only after rocketing through the minor leagues to the tune of age 20-21 projected MLB debuts.  While they both still have to re-establish themselves somewhat after injury, their current age 22 projected debuts are probably more normal than any kind of major setback.

 

Now, if you open up the term "major setback" to including poor MLB performances to date, you could add Hicks and Arcia, but something feels wrong attributing that to luck.  We're still waiting on most of the pitchers and other position players, but not due to setbacks or any kind.


#23 JB_Iowa

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 01:29 PM

It's pretty hard to embrace rebuilding when the following has happened:

 

1. Byron Buxton - out for 2/3rd season

2. Miguel Sano - out for season

3. Alex Meyer - on an innings limit due to injury last season

4. Eddie Rosario - 50 game drug suspension

5. Aaron Hicks - mostly clueless

 

How different would this roster look if just one or two of those things didn't happen? Sure, most of the MLB roster has been healthy and the lower minors look fantastic... but that doesn't help a rebuild in the short-term.

 

Rebuilds happen on the backs of your best prospects which - almost to a man - have suffered a significant setback in the past 12-14 months.

 

Sure, Trevor May should be on the roster right now. I think most of us agree with that... But Trevor May isn't a center piece. He's a complementary guy at best.

 

Brock, I get that.  But I would also argue that this is the first season at the trade deadline, at least, that I've felt like the Twins have "got it" and understand that they are rebuilding.

 

In each of the previous 3 years, I've felt like they were on the fence and couldn't decide whether they were buyers or sellers.  That didn't indicate "rebuilding" to me.

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#24 Kwak

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 01:32 PM

How much different would the roster have looked?Hardly any change at all!Aaron Hicks would have played 3 games out of of 4.We would never have seen Santana or Polanco (because they need endless service time in the minors).The Vets were on the Active Roster for a reason--hence all those young guys would be in the minors waiting for the promotion that isn't coming!

 

It's difficult to watch a losing--but there isn't any need to spin their problems.But, look on the bright side--there will be yet another year where the Twins can boast about having a superior minor league pipeline.Which isn't all that surprising given that they never seem to get promoted to the Twins and stay there!

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#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 01:40 PM

It's difficult to watch a losing--but there isn't any need to spin their problems.But, look on the bright side--there will be yet another year where the Twins can boast about having a superior minor league pipeline.Which isn't all that surprising given that they never seem to get promoted to the Twins and stay there!

 

Berrios, Stewart, and Thorpe are either the youngest player or close to the youngest players in their respective leagues. Buxton and Sano were on a fast-track to the Majors.

 

Aaron Hicks was promoted far too early and struggled for it. Arcia was promoted to Minnesota at a young age. Polanco and Santana, well... I'm still struggling to understand why they spent time in Minnesota at all.

 

Sure, May should be in Minnesota right now. Meyer should probably be in Minnesota right now but his innings limit is a bit of a worry to the front office, I'm sure.

 

Outside of May, the Twins haven't been promoting slowly so much as they haven't had good players in the upper minors worth promoting. Let's not confuse those two things.


#26 Thrylos

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 01:45 PM

There is luck and there is luck you make.

 

If Mauer were catching Suzuki would not be around and Colabello/Parmelee would be manning first base.I think that this is a draw here.

 

Let assume an MVP season for Mauer and a Cy Young season for Nolasco (the other extreme of "luck".) Do you think that this team would have been a contender for the AL Central?For the AL Title?For the WS Title?

 

Remember the choices of Barlett and Kubel to start the season and the decision to have only one single Centerfielder on the 40 man roster.

 

Nothing to do with luck...

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#27 Nick Nelson

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 01:58 PM

Hey, you're the one who brought up Mauer and Nolasco, in your first post of this thread.

 

Yes, because Mauer and Nolasco are both key pieces of the rebuild. They are both under contract for 3-4 more years at a combined $160M. And both are complete messes at age 31. I don't know what to attribute either situation to other than bad luck. You can criticize the contracts (I guess) but that seems like a lot of hindsight judgment.

 

We can recognize it, but don't you think you went beyond that in this blog?  As drjim very astutely put it....unlucky isn't even close to the top of the list.

 

I can't agree. I think it's quite close to the top of the list. It's just not as satisfying for people to say so because you can't rant about how bad luck should be fired and replaced.

 

I made sure to mention multiple times that there has been a fair amount of mismanagement during this lengthy drought (especially early on; Bill Smith's horrendous offseason after 2010 basically set this thing into motion). To be clear, I wouldn't be opposed to replacing either the manager or the GM. But no manager and no GM would be able to navigate around some of the circumstances that have befallen this club in the past couple years, IMO.


#28 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 01:59 PM

 

I thought it went without saying but the article in question is about much more than just this season.

 

You are right. I can support the Twins effort to manage expectations of the Meyer-Buxton-Sano group, since I am less convinced than many fans that these guys are certain to perform to their lofty expectations.

 

Our current MLB ready prospects have been a general disappointment so far. (Gibson has been good, Santana shows promise, etc.) However, keeping the same personnel, programs, philosophy in place for the next group, I'll expect the same general result -- maybe one of those three will actually pan out as an All Star in the next several years.


#29 mike wants wins

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 02:12 PM

And, Nick, the issues are not just about luck, that's what some of us are saying.

 

Heck, the projection systems pretty much pegged Mauer to do what he was doing (and people ripped them for doing that). Dozier has been as good as last year, Floriman was an embarrassing plan, Plouffe has been Plouffe (and most thought Sano might be up now, so they lost a couple of months maybe). Frankly, I think they are luck to get what they are out of Josh, given his health history and age. Hicks, terrible plan, they brought that on themselves. Arcia is what he was predicted. They got super lucky in the first month or so with the players that carried the club.

 

Pelfrey was predictably bad. Him missing time isn't bad luck, if you promote Meyer or May to replace him, it is a gift from the baseball gods that the FO refused to take advantage of so far. IMO, of course.

 

The bullpen has managed to be as good as last year.

 

So, the bad luck is that Buxton and Sano and maybe Rosario are delayed by 6 months or so. Yes, that stinks big time. Yes, it is depressing. But mostly, IMO, the team is bad because it is super thin and has no room for bad things to happen at all. None. (other than starting pitching, which they seem to refuse to fix).

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#30 TheLeviathan

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 02:52 PM

I can't agree. I think it's quite close to the top of the list. It's just not as satisfying for people to say so because you can't rant about how bad luck should be fired and replaced.

 

 

 

I would suggest that maybe the problem is reversed.  You're so frustrated you're starting not to care so you try to blame luck so that it can give you hope of better luck to come.  You seem to want to extend the bad luck back half a decade so it's unclear where exactly this starts and stops.  

 

I think everyone can agree to the crappy luck with our top prospects.  It has set us back.  But none of these guys (other than MAYBE Sano) would even be up right now doing anything.  The bad luck really affects next year, the incompetence this year is more due to mismanagement and organizational issues.  

 

In fact, over this awful four season stretch the Twins have been one of the LEAST injury-bitten teams in baseball.  Sorry, just don't see the bad luck past those three guys this year, certainly not enough to call them the "unluckiest".


#31 spycake

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 02:59 PM

Yes, because Mauer and Nolasco are both key pieces of the rebuild. They are both under contract for 3-4 more years at a combined $160M. And both are complete messes at age 31. I don't know what to attribute either situation to other than bad luck. You can criticize the contracts (I guess) but that seems like a lot of hindsight judgment.

 

 

Just read the full SweetSpot post.

 

I think it's a bit of a stretch to lump in Trevor May missing 3 weeks (which got extended a few days more due to a rainout) and Meyer missing 2 months last summer (but avoiding surgery) as "major setbacks".  And those are basically our only pitching prospect health issues since Gibson's surgery in 2011 (Kohl Stewart pending) -- I'd consider that to be pretty good fortune.  We just haven't had many pitching prospects, or at least not many near-MLB ones.

 

At the MLB pitching level, Nolasco has been the only guy markedly below prior performance levels, which definitely sucks, but it's also magnified since he is the only recipient of a notable FA salary on the staff -- their other FA starters have all had health/performance similar to previous levels and commensurate with their modest salaries.

 

And again, on the offense, Buxton and Sano definitely hurt, but they are both still tentatively on track to debut in MLB not long after their 22nd birthdays.  For now, their "major setbacks" seem more like corrections than anything too unusual.  Pinto, Dozier, Escobar, Plouffe, Hicks, Arcia, Parmelee, Santana have all been pretty healthy, and Hicks seems like the only dramatic underperformer in that group (although I would question whether underperformance should be attributed to luck).

 

I will be the first to say the Twins have been concussion unlucky.  Outside of that, I don't think they've been particularly unlucky, though.


#32 Kwak

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 03:07 PM

The Hicks and Pelfrey "problems".

Hicks

I was a bit surprised when he was drafted, given that Revere was drafted the year before.I smiled when I read the "5 tools" description, but I stayed hopeful.When I read that Hicks was "assigned to EST" for '09 I was "Oh, Oh.Something stinks".Years past. 2013 promotion--"YAH".2013 results "UGH".But to conclude that he was "promoted too fast"?NO! He was 24.Hicks didn't fail because he hadn't spent more years in the minors--he failed because wasn't good enough.Some selections just fail--Hicks is just another one of them.But it's not bad luck.

 

Pelfrey

I contend that this injury is a "blessing in disguise".He wasn't very good last year and re-signing him wasn't bad luck--it was poor judgement.By not pitching a useless Pelfrey the Twins provided opportunities for others to pitch and potentially prove themselves as a future fixture in the rotation--a description that doesn't apply to Pelfrey.


#33 JB_Iowa

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 03:08 PM

If this is about "bad luck", the Twins need to hire some Voodoo priestess to come in and remove the curse of the Black Spruce.

 

Obviously planting junipers wasn't enough.

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#34 drjim

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 03:33 PM

 

I would suggest that maybe the problem is reversed.  You're so frustrated you're starting not to care so you try to blame luck so that it can give you hope of better luck to come.  You seem to want to extend the bad luck back half a decade so it's unclear where exactly this starts and stops.  

 

I think everyone can agree to the crappy luck with our top prospects.  It has set us back.  But none of these guys (other than MAYBE Sano) would even be up right now doing anything.  The bad luck really affects next year, the incompetence this year is more due to mismanagement and organizational issues.  

 

In fact, over this awful four season stretch the Twins have been one of the LEAST injury-bitten teams in baseball.  Sorry, just don't see the bad luck past those three guys this year, certainly not enough to call them the "unluckiest".

 

 

How soon you forget 2011. Beyond that I would say they are about average myself, but that is splitting hairs. Certainly not unlucky.

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#35 TheLeviathan

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 03:42 PM

How soon you forget 2011. Beyond that I would say they are about average myself, but that is splitting hairs. Certainly not unlucky.

 

Well I did say these four years.  2011 was bad, but 2012 and 2013 were wonderfully healthy.  2014 has been as well.

 

2011 was certainly an unlucky trainwreck, but doesn't three years of relative good luck make up for that overall?


#36 Jerr

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 04:45 PM

There is luck and there is luck you make.

 

If Mauer were catching Suzuki would not be around and Colabello/Parmelee would be manning first base.I think that this is a draw here.

 

Let assume an MVP season for Mauer and a Cy Young season for Nolasco (the other extreme of "luck".) Do you think that this team would have been a contender for the AL Central?For the AL Title?For the WS Title?

 

Remember the choices of Barlett and Kubel to start the season and the decision to have only one single Centerfielder on the 40 man roster.

 

Nothing to do with luck...

This and Twins made their own luck by not having the players. I'm still mad at the management for bringing in those used to be good Twins players (Bartlett and Kubel).

Of more concern in the article is the fans not being angry and just not caring. I am one of them. After the last three years of the same old same old, I find myself not even checking on their games. Stunning, when I think i have been a fan since they arrived.

Should be some good ticket bargains next year, but I doubt if I will even bother :whacky028:


#37 dgwills

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 05:45 PM

This year was all about seeing the prospects start to play. Once I found out about Sano's injury I lost all hope for the year. Looking back on it, I should of been counting my blessings. Every major prospect has been injured or underperformed.  Trevor May did do better than I expected until he got injured. I guess the lost year gives the pitching a chance to catch up with the position players. Although it might be the reverse situation once we can actually contend. Really my hope was that guys would start to figure it out in the majors this year and get close to contending next year. We can push that back a year. Hopefully we don't turn into the Royals.  I have to give Ryan some credit in loading the farm system. Just got unlucky. Hard for me to give Gardy any credit for anything though. I am a little tired about the complaining about Kubel and Bartlett. They were place holders for Sano, Buxton, and Rosario. It just didn't work out.


#38 drivlikejehu

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 06:23 PM

The Twins have made bad decisions over and over and over again. So the fact that they are losing season after season is not "bad luck," it is exactly what we should expect to happen.

 

There are organizations out there that know what they are doing. St. Louis doesn't win because of luck. They let someone else have Pujols as an older, ordinary player, while the Twins pay Mauer based on the player he used to be. Oakland isn't good because of any one move or strategy... Beane is just relentless in making every last incremental improvement he possibly can.

 

The Twins make too many mistakes to succeed, large and small. It's a simple, empirical reality. Baseball is too competitive to sweep all that under the rug and pretend like something else is afoot. Draft better, trade better, sign better contracts, and the team gets better. Don't, and it doesn't. The Twins aren't.


#39 whydidnt

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 06:33 PM

The Twins have been pretty unlucky when it comes to prospects in the last few years. This is the problem I have with putting all your eggs in the build from within basket, as they have elected to do. Prospects are unreliable, and even the most highly rated frequently don't pan out. They have generally refused to bring in legitimate major league free agents, until this year, and even then it was only to replace salary that was coming off the books. Much of what we attribute to bad luck at the major league level really is bad planning. And that includes planning on counting entirely on home grown talent.
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#40 Kwak

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 07:03 PM

The Twins have been pretty unlucky when it comes to prospects in the last few years. This is the problem I have with putting all your eggs in the build from within basket, as they have elected to do. Prospects are unreliable, and even the most highly rated frequently don't pan out. They have generally refused to bring in legitimate major league free agents, until this year, and even then it was only to replace salary that was coming off the books. Much of what we attribute to bad luck at the major league level really is bad planning. And that includes planning on counting entirely on home grown talent.

There have four signings of big impact players recently:Tanaka (NYY), Abreu (CWS), Puig (LAD), and Cespedes (OAK).Perhaps these guys were "steered" to certain teams(Tanaka, Puig).But I don't think Cespedes and Abreu were "directed".It is clear the Twins need hitting:power, average, and timeliness.Especially someone who is a true "cleanup" hitter.They got one good year out of Willingham.But, they stopped. 

Morales?I believe he was intended to be a one-year rental all along.He was to put some lipstick on this pig and then be traded to receive a generous return.Well, everything above a happened except the "generous" part. I still think they are "on a budget"/"holding pattern" until the FO is ready to promote "the pipeline" to the Twins.I don't believe that will be next season either.