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Are The Twins The Unluckiest Team In Baseball?

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#61 spycake

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 12:30 PM

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. 

Major free agents, plural?  I only see Nolasco.

 

The only other one who could remotely be considered "major" was Hughes, and I like him and his deal but it's hard to see 3/24 on the open market qualifying as "major" in the context of modern MLB.  His contract was 18th in total value this offseason, something like 28th in AAV.  Maybe he was major to the Twins but that's primarily due to the sorry state of their SP corps and their other recent FA SP acquisitions.

 

And that's a big reason why I don't view the 2014 season as a product of bad luck for the Twins.  They basically did the bare minimum to patch the MLB rotation, and did absolutely nothing for the offense except hope for prospects who had yet to play at AAA (or even AA in the case of Buxton).  This after they did less than the bare minimum in the FA market for 2013, and probably even 2012 too.

 

(As an aside, Nolasco himself was weak as far as "major" FAs go: an innings eater, the least-regarded of a group seeking 4- to 5-year deals, the earliest to sign, the one with an agent friendly with the Twins front office... I don't know if it rises to the level of gross mismanagement, but the Twins haven't put much effort into -- or gotten much production out of -- free agency.)

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#62 spycake

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 12:38 PM

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

May missing 3 weeks of AAA before the futures game this season, and Meyer 2 months of AA last season, don't even register on this scale.  That's just playing the game.  Heck, May wasn't even supposed to be much of a SP prospect anymore, it could be considered quite lucky that he's back on the map this year.

 

Buxton and Sano are the biggies, of course, but even then they went from fast-tracked elite prospects (age 20 debuts?) to more normal elite prospects (age 21-22 debuts), all while still a level or two away from the big leagues.


#63 Twinsarenotgood

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 12:52 PM

This original post is what drives me crazy about the Twins, their "company" men on TV and the radio, and the homer fans of this team.

 

This team isn't unlucky, THEY JUST HAVE A LOT OF MINOR LEAGUE TALENT THAT HAVE TO PUT ON THE FIELD BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOBODY ELSE.Period.

 

For all we now Buxton and Sano might suck in the majors.Counting on prospects to make you a great team when you have nothing is not the way to go.Wasn't hicks supposed to be great?Wasn't Scott Diamond our next ace?My point is that we have been fed a bunch of BS about our minor league system and our prospects.About the only person that has impressed is Dozier and I think he has already hit his ceiling. Chances are that if Buxton and Sano are truly great players, we are only developing them for one of the major market teams to sign them in the future.

 

Any team that goes out and signs Mike Pelfrey and Ricky Nolasco and expects them to carry a rotation is just plain stupid.Those guys have never been great pitchers and counting on them for anything is a huge mistake, injuries or not.Kevin Correia is awaful too.

 

We have a guy making $23 million per year to hit doubles.All because he's a local kid.We should trade Mauer to the first team that will take him.He isn't worth $23 million.

 

This organization is bad because of bad management from the top down, and lack of MLB talent.There is no luck involved. Bad money management, bad trades, bad signings, and lack of actual talent.

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#64 Twinsarenotgood

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:01 PM

The Twins were NEVER in contention for anything other than last place in their division this year. That is FACT.Good thing the Twins play in the weakest American League division or else they would be even further behind.

 

There were no "major" free agent signings.The guys we got were average players that had no other places to go.You are a fool if you think the Morales signing was for anything other than trade bait for a prospect once the team was clearly finished.That's not a "major" signing of a contender.That's a desperation play by an organization this is clueless.

 

Bring up all the "prospects" you want and see how it works out.There are no guarantees.We have already seen plenty of our "prospects" suck in the majors.Based on current history, I can only assume it will continue and refuse to blame anything on luck with this poorly run organization.


#65 spycake

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:04 PM

They signed major free agents.

 

Nick, our disagreement over the definition of "major" is probably our core (or "major" :) ) disagreement in this thread.

 

This has been a 63-66-66 win club the past 3 years.

Their 3 ranked prospects who debuted in 2013 all more or less performed below replacement level as rookies.

They had zero consensus top 100 prospects with AAA experience entering this season.

They signed an innings eater as the first top 15 outside FA in franchise history.

They brought back ~3/5 of the league's worst starting rotation, and ~7/9 of the league's third-worst run-scoring offense.

They are now on pace for 73 wins this season, in late July.

They are on schedule to debut at least one consensus top 100 prospect this year, next year, and the year after.

 

That screams normal, average, median result to me.  Not bad luck.  I'm as disappointed about Sano and Mauer as anyone (and to a lesser extent, Buxton, as I didn't expect to see him this year anyway), but I try not to let that color my overall perception.  This team has had plenty of good luck (Dozier, Suzuki, Escobar, Santana, May, etc.) and average luck (Plouffe, Pinto, etc.) too.


#66 Nick Nelson

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:16 PM

Pelfrey was predictably bad. Again, imo, not luck.

 

No, he was not. He was unpredictably injured. How many times are you going to repeat this?

 

 


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

 

So, your point is what? That they shouldn't have traded for Meyer, who is now their best pitching prospect? That they should avoid tall pitchers altogether? All pitchers are injury risks, it's just a bummer that Meyer happened to miss one-third of a crucial season in his development.


#67 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:19 PM

Pelfrey was predictably bad. Again, imo, not luck.

 

It's bad luck when Pelfrey exited last season throwing 93-94 while being quite effective and entered this season throwing 90-91.


#68 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:24 PM

They had zero consensus top 100 prospects with AAA experience entering this season.

 

This doesn't make much sense... How many teams enter a season with prospects who actually meet this requirement?

 

If a guy is a top 100 prospect and has AAA experience, he's probably headed to the big league club on opening day. Or he has September experience and is no longer a prospect. Or he has July-August experience and is, again, no longer a prospect.

 

Top 100 prospects often skip AAA entirely and if they spend time at that level, it's usually a brief stop on the way to the majors and it usually happens mid-season before a call-up. I can't picture many scenarios where a top 100 guy ends the season in AAA and doesn't spend any time in the majors.


#69 Mike Sixel

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:26 PM

Are you arguing Pelfrey was good last year? We disagree. I expected him to be bad, and he was. That should have opened a spot for May or Meyer, which I would argue was good luck. We are not going to agree on Pelfrey.

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#70 TheLeviathan

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:31 PM

There seems to be a sentiment that I'm trying to absolve the front office.....

 

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).

 

That's not my issue at all.  My problem is that you somehow took the second paragraph and made them the "unluckiest team in baseball".  How are a handful of injuries that unlucky?

 

You and Brock both attacked mike's strawman...but aren't you both propping up the same kind of strawman?  Is there nowhere inbetween incredible luck and the "unluckiest"?

 

This team had SOME bad luck.  The worst luck in all of baseball?  Cmon.  By the very nature of that degree of hyperbole you start to look like you're making excuses.

 

Texas had their Buxton and Meyer IN THEIR LINEUP (dealt an all-star to make room for one) and lost them along with about 57 other guys and we're the unlucky ones?  (And don't shift the argument to 6-7 years ago, you used examples from this year and I'm doing the same.  Just staying on the same ground as the argument you presented)

 

My issue isn't to eliminate some bad luck from the Twins equation, but highlighting it?  It's not even close to the top of the list.  We've been spoiled by our health the last two years if two significant injuries the the major league roster and a couple setbacks in the minor leagues are enough for us to call it an apocalypse of the unluckiest proportions.

Edited by TheLeviathan, 29 July 2014 - 01:34 PM.

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#71 spycake

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:36 PM

This doesn't make much sense... How many teams enter a season with prospects who actually meet this requirement?

 

If a guy is a top 100 prospect and has AAA experience, he's probably headed to the big league club on opening day. Or he has September experience and is no longer a prospect. Or he has July-August experience and is, again, no longer a prospect.

 

Top 100 prospects often skip AAA entirely and if they spend time at that level, it's usually a brief stop on the way to the majors and it usually happens mid-season before a call-up. I can't picture many scenarios where a top 100 guy ends the season in AAA and doesn't spend any time in the majors.

 

Top 100 prospects can have time in the MLB (Bogaerts at #2 this year, for example).  The cut-off is basically rookie status (130 AB, 50 IP or 30 G).

 

I just meant the Twins were unlikely to have any top prospects see first-half action in 2014, much less break camp with the club.


#72 TheLeviathan

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:38 PM

And if you don't like Texas - how about the fact that the Rockies are now dealing with Tulo forcing himself out in the midst of a season crushed by injuries to Cargo, Arenado, Cuddyer and using 13 different starters due to injuries/performance.


#73 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:58 PM

Top 100 prospects can have time in the MLB (Bogaerts at #2 this year, for example). The cut-off is basically rookie status (130 AB, 50 IP or 30 G).

I just meant the Twins were unlikely to have any top prospects see first-half action in 2014, much less break camp with the club.


That's fair. I think Sano had a shot but that's about it.

#74 spycake

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:02 PM

Another way to look at our "major" free agent signings this past offseason:

 

We signed three pitchers who, over the previous two seasons, had collectively pitched to a 90 ERA+ and missed about 20% of their starts (add Correia's 2011-2012 and the collective ERA+ drops to 88).  This season, they've pitched to a collective 81 ERA+ and missed 30% of starts so far (add Correia and the ERA+ holds at 81, or 80.5 to be exact).  That's pretty mild in terms of bad luck, I'd say.

 

Nolasco can change some of that going forward, but expectations based on actual past performance were pretty low for this group to begin with.


#75 Nick Nelson

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:08 PM

That's not my issue at all.  My problem is that you somehow took the second paragraph and made them the "unluckiest team in baseball".  How are a handful of injuries that unlucky?

 

First of all, I didn't make them anything. The premise was presented in the form of a question. I don't know that they are the unluckiest team in baseball but I would bet they are up there.

 

Second, you have to look at WHO those injuries are striking and the nature of the ailments. Buxton, Sano, Mauer are arguably the three most pivotal pieces to this organization's return to contention. All have had their seasons essentially ruined by freak injuries or inexplicable circumstances.

 

Buxton injuring his wrist on a wrist on a dive in spring training, reinjuring the wrist on a slide as soon as he returned, then injuring the other wrist on a HBP. Sano becoming one of the <1% of position players to require TJ. Mauer seeing his OPS drop almost 200 pts at age 31 despite moving to a less punishing position, maybe because of lingering concussion effects.

 

You can't act like these are normal occurrences for a baseball team to deal with, especially with three of its very most important assets.


#76 S.

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:15 PM

No, he was not. He was unpredictably injured. How many times are you going to repeat this?

What exactly is the bad luck in him being injured? Quite frankly, I'd call Pelfrey being injured good luck, since that was the only way we were going to get his atrocious numbers out of our rotation. And it should've opened up a rotation spot for someone other than career minor league pitchers. Signing Pelfrey was a bad decision, but this team is certainly no worse off without him, so I wouldn't consider that much of bad luck.

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#77 TheLeviathan

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:17 PM

First of all, I didn't make them anything. The premise was presented in the form of a question. I don't know that they are the unluckiest team in baseball but I would bet they are up there.

 

Second, you have to look at WHO those injuries are striking and the nature of the ailments. Buxton, Sano, Mauer are arguably the three most pivotal pieces to this organization's return to contention. All have had their seasons essentially ruined by freak injuries or inexplicable circumstances.

 

Buxton injuring his wrist on a wrist on a dive in spring training, reinjuring the wrist on a slide as soon as he returned, then injuring the other wrist on a HBP. Sano becoming one of the <1% of position players to require TJ. Mauer seeing his OPS drop almost 200 pts at age 31 despite moving to a less punishing position, maybe because of lingering concussion effects.

 

You can't act like these are normal occurrences for a baseball team to deal with, especially with three of its very most important assets.

 

Nick - key pieces go down all the time for teams all over the league.  Teams have setbacks or disappointments all the time.  (Again, Texas.  Or KC and their prospects.  Or Colorado)  

 

The truth is that the Twins have had SOME bad luck and (as you freely admit here) with no context at all you've declared it a calamity without really comparing it to what other teams face.  I doubt anyone would take major issue with your thesis if it was "Bad luck worsens an already bad situation".  

 

"Unluckiest" in baseball?  That's just so demonstrably overblown.  


#78 Twinsarenotgood

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:36 PM

Even when healthy, Pelfrey is not a good pitcher and is on the Twins because we overpaid for a player that nobody else wanted.End of story.

 

His "unpredictable" injury means nothing and I'm not sure he really is injured.


#79 Twinsarenotgood

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 03:13 PM

It's interesting to read the viewpoints on this topic.Some of the excuses above are why I don't watch the Twins or listen to them as much as I have in the past.

 

I'm so sick of the "company" men on TV and on radio making excuses and candy coating everything.I know they are probably told to say the things they say, but it gets old.They take the smallest little positive and act like the Twins are soon to be World Series contenders when they are in fact far far far away from that.

 

I don't believe in luck that much and I really don't believe luck has anything to do with the Twins' current situation.Bad trades, bad contracts, bad management all over the organization, and overhyped/overrated players.It's just too much to take right now because it's been going on for a while and will probably continue for a while too.If any of our hyped prospects actually pan out, it will be a matter of time before we are forced to trade them for nothing or they leave in free agency for a better organization/opportunity.

 

So let's say the Twins had "good" luck right now.What are they?A second or third place team in their own division?Who cares about that?They just don't have the players to be a legitimate contender.There's NOT ONE single starting pitcher that we can trot out there and count on getting a win.We don't have a single hitter that strikes fear into an elite pitcher.We are going to need our top prospects to pan out and then acquire even more players just to be a legitimate team.

 

Until then, let the excuse making continue.The only true way to do anything about it is to stop going to games and giving the Twins your money.Send a message with your wallet.


#80 jharaldson

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 03:26 PM

So, your point is what? That they shouldn't have traded for Meyer, who is now their best pitching prospect? That they should avoid tall pitchers altogether? All pitchers are injury risks, it's just a bummer that Meyer happened to miss one-third of a crucial season in his development.

 

Luck is defined as "success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions".  The front office can't control a 3rd baseman getting Tommy John.  The front office can't control somebody having 2-3 seperate wrist injuries.  That is all luck.  The front office can control acquiring a pitcher with mechanical issues.  I would describe the injury to Meyer as the highly likely outcome to acquiring a tall pitcher with mechanical issues as opposed to bad luck.

 

I am also not opposed to the move because there are examples of tall pitchers with mechanical issues figuring things out and becoming dominant so I am willing to take the time in the minors to fix things and the potential injuries to be endured while waiting for that.