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Are The Twins The Unluckiest Team In Baseball?

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#41 CRArko

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 07:18 PM

I busted a mirror and got seven years bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me five. - Steven Wright

Clearly the Twins need better lawyers than Meshbesher and Spence. Maybe Jack McCoy.
Take your time, and do it right. - N. Fury

#42 DocBauer

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 08:07 PM

Go ahead and give me flak, but I see the premise of Nick's original point, and agree with it.

With the caveat that I no longer follow ALL TEAMS as I once did, so I can't speak to each team's individual luck status, good or bad.

And by no means does some really bad/tough luck excuse bad personnel decisions. But echoing Nick, and SD, I think you have to examine not only this season, but even the past couple. 2011 was just wiped out due to injury after injury after a 95 win division championship season. Ok, there were some bad decisions, or misguided decisions, in 2012 and 2013. But is there a team in all of baseball who's two best players had career altering/threatening concussions back to back? I'm not saying the Twins are transformed in 2013 or 2014 to winning teams with playoff aspirations, but how much better does the team look with a stud C in Mauer and a stud 1B in Morneau in the lineup?

I don't know that Sano and Buxton are up NOW, but they might be. At worse, they're getting their feet wet in '14 getting ready for '15 with Mauer and Morneau and Dozier and Arcia, even a better Plouffe and Escobar and possibly Santana. Nolasco is no ace, but a really nice piece of the puzzle, along with Meyer, who has been slowed, and May, who might have been up already if not for his calf injury.

The two cornerstone position players of the organization suffer career interrupting/altering injuries and then that same team's top two prospects, each amongst the top 3-5 in all of baseball lose all or most of a season at the same time? Yes...sorry...but I think the Twins have had some really tough luck the past few seasons.

Once again, there have been some decisions/moves made and not made that are poor, along with a few good moves/decisions. But what a difference a healthy, and on development track, the Twins roster might look like without these issues!

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#43 The Wise One

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 08:41 PM

What makes the Twins unlucky is the draft.Since the turn of the century it has been Kubel and Dozier as the only two later round draft picks that have produced multiple seasons for the Twins. Drafted pitchers, they had a run with Garza Baker, Slowey and Blackburn. Maybe Gibson will stick, but one in a long period of time for starting pitchers is not good. All of the supplemental picks, so far Perkins is the only one who made it.


#44 Sconnie

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 08:47 PM

I agree with a lot that spycake said.
 
I think Nolasco was overhyped - he was a tremendously important signing that I applauded - but he was never an ace.  Definitely not in reasonable expectations for coming to the AL.  I'm not sure what's going on with his arm, but people always hoped for a bit too much from him.
 
The bullpen has somehow managed to match last year's success.  That could be counted as luck quite frankly.
 
And the offense?  Well some of us were shouting from the rooftops how bad this group was and how thin.  Not much about luck there.  Hell, they're in the bottom third of the league in OPS and in the top half in runs scored.  I'd call their offense considerably lucky not to have been worse this year.

expectations of Nolasco were confusion of contract comparing to skills. Nolasco got paid going rate for an average starter, and he pitched marginally poorer than average before he came up lame. There is still time for Nolasco to prove his worth as an average #3 starter.

Buxton/Sano = unlucky roll of the dice.

Everything else this year points to how poor and shallow this team is.

#45 whydidnt

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:00 PM

What makes the Twins unlucky is the draft.Since the turn of the century it has been Kubel and Dozier as the only two later round draft picks that have produced multiple seasons for the Twins. Drafted pitchers, they had a run with Garza Baker, Slowey and Blackburn. Maybe Gibson will stick, but one in a long period of time for starting pitchers is not good. All of the supplemental picks, so far Perkins is the only one who made it.


Agree, which is why it's so frustrating that the Twins were/are so protective of their 2nd round pick when it comes to signing Free Agents. Their track record outside of the top of the first round isn't very good. In reality, that's probably true for a lot of teams. Again, is this luck or just bad strategy? These last couple of years when they've had a protected 1st round pick and seemingly available funds would have been the perfect time to splurge on a Type A FA.

As I think about this more, the serious concussions to Morneau and Mauer are really bad luck, and something teams can't plan for. However, other teams have had to deal with major injuries to major stars as well, so not sure that puts us in worst luck terriorty.

#46 The Wise One

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:07 PM

Since 2010 I do believe that the Twins are below average in days lost on the dl. There is not anything that I can find regarding the top prospects, though. Some of the internet site geniuses out there should be able to come up with that.

#47 Kwak

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:49 PM

Oh my, the spin about 2011.The crazy fact was even after the poor start, the tean rallied before the AS break. Combined with a Detroit slump, they still had a chance because of a 12 game homestand right aftr the break.They went 6-6 which ended any realistic chance at a playoff spot.The lineup was changed to play the minor leaguers and the bench reserves tht caused the team to collapse.In short, they weren't terrible, even without Morneau and Mauer, they just weren't a playoff team.But, they quit. 

 

The records of the team after he 2012 and 2013 ASB were very close--a losing team, but not a terrible team.But in came the "callups"--and then, disaster.This wasn't bad luck and injuries--it wasteam that quit.The "callups" were basically useless at the MLB level.That wasn't bad luck.   The cupboard was bare and there was a lack of professionalism displayed after it became apparent that there wouldn't be any post-season play for the Twins.That's not bad luck.  

 

At the start of '12. '13, and this season as well there were comments made that implied that the problems were "fixed" and all that was needed for a successful season was "no injuries and for Gardy to work his normal magic".The implication was that the eam was victimized by circumstances beyond its control and the need to patch some holes.I never conluded that the FO believed that a complete rebuild was needed for the team.Things won't get fixed until the real problems are recognized and the excuses stop.Refer to the comments made not long ago by the Rangers.They admitted failures and will start addressing them.That need to happen with the Twins.


#48 The Wise One

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:07 PM

Agree, which is why it's so frustrating that the Twins were/are so protective of their 2nd round pick when it comes to signing Free Agents. Their track record outside of the top of the first round isn't very good. In reality, that's probably true for a lot of teams. Again, is this luck or just bad strategy? These last couple of years when they've had a protected 1st round pick and seemingly available funds would have been the perfect time to splurge on a Type A FA.

As I think about this more, the serious concussions to Morneau and Mauer are really bad luck, and something teams can't plan for. However, other teams have had to deal with major injuries to major stars as well, so not sure that puts us in worst luck terriorty.


Burdi might be very good. I think the team will be happy they kept the pick. Eades I am not so sure about. The question becomes what sort of players gravitate towards non winning teams. Players with a demand problem. Look at how basketball free agency goes. If there is winning, there are players willing to take a cut. If the team loses, there are players that want out. Not all, but enough to shrink the pool significantly. I use basketball as an example because they are a lot more open about their negotiations.

#49 The Wise One

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:11 PM

Oh my, the spin about 2011.The crazy fact was even after the poor start, the tean rallied before the AS break. Combined with a Detroit slump, they still had a chance because of a 12 game homestand right aftr the break.They went 6-6 which ended any realistic chance at a playoff spot.The lineup was changed to play the minor leaguers and the bench reserves tht caused the team to collapse.In short, they weren't terrible, even without Morneau and Mauer, they just weren't a playoff team.But, they quit. 
 
The records of the team after he 2012 and 2013 ASB were very close--a losing team, but not a terrible team.But in came the "callups"--and then, disaster.This wasn't bad luck and injuries--it wasteam that quit.The "callups" were basically useless at the MLB level.That wasn't bad luck.   The cupboard was bare and there was a lack of professionalism displayed after it became apparent that there wouldn't be any post-season play for the Twins.That's not bad luck.  
 
At the start of '12. '13, and this season as well there were comments made that implied that the problems were "fixed" and all that was needed for a successful season was "no injuries and for Gardy to work his normal magic".The implication was that the eam was victimized by circumstances beyond its control and the need to patch some holes.I never conluded that the FO believed that a complete rebuild was needed for the team.Things won't get fixed until the real problems are recognized and the excuses stop.Refer to the comments made not long ago by the Rangers.They admitted failures and will start addressing them.That need to happen with the Twins.

Trading Span and Revere for the future I think spoke volumes about the FO thinking they needed a rebuild. They did not have to say it. They thought they could be competative, but that is different than what happened and winning divisions.

#50 ericchri

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 06:56 AM

 

 But none of these guys (other than MAYBE Sano) would even be up right now doing anything. 

 

 

I honestly think it's very possible Buxton would be up right now if not for his injury, with the crazy adventures we've had filling the CF spot this year.If he'd hit well to start at AA this year I suspect they'd have just thrown up their hands with the various failings and injuries to the other CF this year and just given Buxton a chance to show he belongs in the majors.

 

That being said, I think there's a good case to be made for both bad luck and bad decision-making leading to many of the problems this year.I don't even remotely follow any other team to even guess whether things are going good or bad for them, let alone whether that might be due to luck (of either variety).Thus I couldn't even begin to guess whether the Twins would be the unluckiest team in the league.I do think there is a definite element of being unlucky for the Twins' travails, however.Failure to admit to a rebuild in the past couple years when it was obvious the team was horrible is also a big contributor.


#51 spycake

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 07:24 AM

I honestly think it's very possible Buxton would be up right now if not for his injury, with the crazy adventures we've had filling the CF spot this year.

 

I am trying to imagine the Twins promoting 20.5 year old Byron Buxton from AA while simultaneously holding Meyer and May promotions back to virtually their 25th birthdays...

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#52 chuchadoro

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 07:53 AM

I am trying to imagine the Twins promoting 20.5 year old Byron Buxton from AA while simultaneously holding Meyer and May promotions back to virtually their 25th birthdays...


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#53 ericchri

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:57 AM

I am trying to imagine the Twins promoting 20.5 year old Byron Buxton from AA while simultaneously holding Meyer and May promotions back to virtually their 25th birthdays...

They seem to have different parameters for pitchers and position players, and I have no explanation for that.Along with "decent" AAA starters for fill-in starts vs. minor league shortstops to fill in at CF.I've stated elsewhere that they both have to get innings in the majors this year, so I don't understand the Meyer/May thing any more than anyone else, just observing that I don't find it far-fetched to believe Buxton might have managed to get to the majors at this point if not for the injury.


#54 Nick Nelson

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 11:43 AM

There seems to be a sentiment that I'm trying to absolve the front office and coaching staff of blame. I'm not. They've made bad decisions, they've mishandled situations, and I've hammered them plenty.

 

When things went south, the Twins decided to spend lightly and make little effort at fielding respectable rosters in the interim while waiting for their next wave of prospects. Many people (including myself) did not like this approach. But at the end of the day, a few good moves and a little more free agent spending weren't going to turn 95-loss teams into contenders. This thing was rotten from the core and Ryan has been working to rebuild the foundation, focusing on an internal infusion that was always going to be the lifeblood of a revival.

 

Although they were worse than they needed to be over the last three years, all that really led to was high draft picks (Buxton, Stewart, Gordon), and aside from putting those picks to good use, they made smart moves that put them in position to start a turnaround this year. People don't seem to want to acknowledge it, but they WERE in position. They signed major free agents. They had several top prospects ready to open in Double-A and perhaps make an impact during the season, including Meyer and May who Ryan acquired as part of this rebuilding strategy (I have seen no one giving him any credit for this).

 

And now they're basically stuck in limbo, with their timeline being pushed back indefinitely by these troubling developments with Mauer, Nolasco, Buxton, Sano, Rosario and to a lesser extent May & Meyer (I really believe that one or both would be up by now if not for their ill-timed injuries).

 

I haven't seen a compelling argument that any of these things are the result of gross mismanagement. It's bad luck. If even a few of these unfortunate events hadn't stuck, I think we'd be talking about this club a lot differently than we are now. That's really what I'm driving at.

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#55 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 11:49 AM

Agreed 100%, Nick.

 

Bad luck and mismanagement can coexist. No one is arguing that the Twins have only made good decisions. They haven't.

 

But 2014 has turned into a lost season both from an MLB wins standpoint and a development standpoint of their top prospects in the upper minors. Some of that was because of mismanagement (but mostly, we're quibbling over incredibly minor infractions like "25th man on the roster") but most of it was due to bad luck (Nolasco, Mauer, Buxton, Sano, Meyer, May).

 

And yes, even Meyer and May have been hampered by bad luck during this stretch. I think May is on the roster if not for that untimely (albeit minor) injury. Meyer is almost certainly on the roster if he didn't lose two months last season.

 

A bad combination all around. No one is defending the front office by saying that the Twins have been unlucky.


#56 mike wants wins

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 11:49 AM

So, if every prospect worked out, and every FA signing worked out, they'd be better? Sure, I agree with that, but that would be incredible luck, right? If everything broke your way?

 

I am arguing that they left no room for error, and failure, and they are paying the price for that. That and they refuse to promote May or Meyer for some reason, and I don't buy the injury stuff. May could have been up here before being hurt. Meyer could be up here right now.

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. :)


#57 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 11:58 AM

So, if every prospect worked out, and every FA signing worked out, they'd be better? Sure, I agree with that, but that would be incredible luck, right? If everything broke your way?

 

This is a bit of a strawman, Mike. No one is saying every prospect was going to work out but going into this season, here were the five best prospects slated to be in the upper minors (and therefore, potential for promotion this season):

 

Byron Buxton - expected to start in AA, ended up losing 2/3 of a season

Miguel Sano - potentially an Opening Day starter, lost for season

Trevor May - Lost 2-3 weeks right as many of us expected a promotion

Eddie Rosario - Lost 50 games to a drug suspension

Alex Meyer - I believe he should be up but he did lose two months last season, which surely hindered his progress this season

 

That's some pretty awful luck. You can't promote your best prospects if they're injured or suspended and it's impossible to start the MLB rebuild when you have 4-5 top 100 prospects with setbacks.

 

4-5 top 100 prospects is more than most MLB teams have in their entire system. That's just what the Twins expected to have in the upper minors to start the season.


#58 Nick Nelson

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 12:18 PM

If even a few of these unfortunate events hadn't struck, I think we'd be talking about this club a lot differently than we are now.

 

 

So, if every prospect worked out, and every FA signing worked out, they'd be better? Sure, I agree with that, but that would be incredible luck, right? If everything broke your way?

 

I mean, are we trying to have an honest discussion here, or not?


#59 mike wants wins

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 12:28 PM

I would argue that May and Meyer could be up right now. They have chosen not to do that. I do not think that is bad luck they have not been up yet, it is their choice. Pelfrey was predictably bad. Again, imo, not luck.

That leaves the big three prospects. That part has been unlucky. It has delayed their call up by however long they decide to delay the inevitable next year. If they were indeed willing to call up Sano this year, then service time should not be an issue next year, and when he comes up will be up to them. Buxton will be up next year, which was the most likely timeline anyway.

So, sure, they have had bad luck. But mostly, they have just been bad.

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. :)


#60 jharaldson

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 12:28 PM

 

Trevor May - Lost 2-3 weeks right as many of us expected a promotion

Alex Meyer - I believe he should be up but he did lose two months last season, which surely hindered his progress this season

 

I think the Alex Meyer issue comes from a front office decision and not bad luck.  Prior to the trade fangraphs wrote a big article on Meyer stating:

 

 

 

It’s no secret taller pitchers have a more difficult time repeating mechanics and Meyer is no exception. ... On the flip side, Meyer’s mechanics were inconsistent at best, as he had a tendency to both throw across his body

 

http://www.fangraphs...g-report-video/

 

We traded for a guy with mechanical issues and call it bad luck when the mechanical issues predictably turn into an injury.  

 

On Trevor May I think we had good luck this year with him because until now I assumed he was not going to be a factor after 2 mediocre/bad AA seasons.  The luck of him looking like he has upside far outweighs the bad luck of a minor 3 week injury.