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Article: Twins Can Use System To Define Summer

trevor hildenberger alan busenitz zack granite mitch garver aaron slegers
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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 08:49 PM

At the end of spring training, major league baseball teams solidify their 25-man rosters. While there is always going to be discussion surrounding the choices in regard to those players, the reality is a team will always need a handful of extra contributors. For teams with strong farm systems, like the Minnesota Twins, looking down the prospect pipeline is fun. The hard part though is that front offices are always tasked with the delicate job of deciding when is exactly the right time to act.Stated hereby Seth Stohs, the Twins will be tested to “trust the system” down the stretch. Way back in November, I looked at a handful of prospects that Minnesota would be inclined to call up during the 2017 season. Of the eight names mentioned, two have been promoted, with three remaining as possible call ups. The two promoted, Trevor Hildenberger and Zack Granite, more than had to convince their way up, however.

When it comes to trusting the system, players like Hildenberger, Granite and Alan Busenitz should serve as cases in point. While not all prospects see the same level of success before rising to the big leagues, each player in that trio saw a significant amount of success prior to promotion, and has continued to show value at the MLB level.

In the bullpen, Hildenberger has pitched 15.1 innings to the tune of a 3.52 ERA. His delivery creates problems for big league hitters, and that’s equated to an 8.2 K/9 with just a 1.8 BB/9. He’s had a rough outing or two, but has already begun to rise in the confidence-shown-in-him department. Busenitz finds himself in a similar situation, having been sent down despite production suggesting he not be demoted. Now 9.2 IP into his 2017 MLB season, he owns a 1.86 ERA backed by a decent 2.8 BB/9. The 3.7 K/9 is a far cry from the 9.9 K/9 he owned at Triple-A, but should continue to trend upward.

Both bullpen arms have shown well and Granite has followed suit in the outfield, a poor decision in Los Angeles notwithstanding. Granite now has 14 MLB games under his belt with a .327 OBP. After starting slow, he’s climbed back to a .255 average and owns an even 5/5 K/BB. He was never going to show power at the highest level, and his game has continued to be one of speed and defense.

If the Twins continue down the path they are on, one of either standing pat or selling, trusting the system is something they should fully get behind. 2018 represents a realistic opportunity for the organization to compete at a playoff level, and finding out a bit more regarding internal options is hardly a bad decision.

Mitch Garver is currently tearing up Triple-A Rochester. He owns a .926 OPS and has a very strong .387 OBP. Given his positional flexibility to help out not just behind the plate, he would seem an immediate upgrade over current backup Chris Gimenez. Triple-A arms like Aaron Slegers (3.35 ERA across 18 starts), Jake Reed (1.84 ERA in 14.2 IP), and Mason Melotakis (1.80 ERA in 10.0 IP) all have legitimate claims to a roster spot. Dipping down a level lower, both top pitching prospects Stephen Gonsalves and Fernando Romero could benefit from big league time this year.

As the summer fades into fall, the Twins shouldn’t be packing it in, but rather competing, and doing so by figuring out who may be able to immediately help in 2018. While spring training is a nice launching pad, it’s hard to learn much against watered down competition. Playing some key players prior to September could yield strong results and help to lay the foundation for the winter acquisition season.

There’s no doubt you don’t want to ruin prospects by exposing them too soon, but at the end of the day, the goal is to have them compete at the highest level. No number of stats accumulated on the farm mean anything in the long run, and there’s a group of prospects who have already shown they were ready well before their call this season. With the final third of the season fast approaching, Minnesota stands to benefit by trusting their system, and letting the development take its next step.

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#2 Monkeypaws

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 09:23 PM

Yes - use the system first, try outside help later. Sign of a vital, healthy organization.

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#3 Rosterman

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 10:15 PM

The Twins are facing a new bullpen again next season. Breslow is gone. Belisle will be gone, too. Kintzer is a free agent. Pressly needs to reimpress again. Tyler Duffey is a two-pitch wonder. Taylor Rogers needs stamina. We have seen glimpses of brightness from Busenitz and Hildenberger. But remember, people start to chart and watch video. Rucinski also has promise.

 

Perkins might come back. But do the Twins really need to contract him out again?

 

There's at least four openings in the wings. Combine that with a rotation that is basically Berrios and maybe Mejia going into 2018.

 

Wow!

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#4 DocBauer

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 11:21 PM

Absolutely! This is a tantalizing and fun new team to watch. There is so much to like here. But the rebuild is not yet complete. Did anyone truly expect a new FO to come in and suddenly turn this team in to a WS contender overnight?

This season has ALWAYS been about evaluation from the top down, behind the scenes and out in front. The fact that we've contended this long, and could still I suppose, is not the point. We are talking about the future. And this season does nothing but speak about the future and what it could bring. IMHO. This team is spoo close to being really good. But despite some very hopeful FA additions in the off season, what this team really needs right now is not a buy or sell mentality, but the ejection of what doesn't fit long term, and some legitimate look sees and auditions of what they have to build for in 2018.

Get the guys performing in the mound at AA up to Rochester. Rid yourself of Chaffee and build the new 40 man. Get Garver up. Look long and hard at the young BP arms. Then you will have a more clear picture for 2018.
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#5 HitInAPinch

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 02:26 AM

 

Absolutely! This is a tantalizing and fun new team to watch. There is so much to like here. But the rebuild is not yet complete. Did anyone truly expect a new FO to come in and suddenly turn this team in to a WS contender overnight?

This season has ALWAYS been about evaluation from the top down, behind the scenes and out in front. The fact that we've contended this long, and could still I suppose, is not the point. We are talking about the future. And this season does nothing but speak about the future and what it could bring. IMHO. This team is spoo close to being really good. But despite some very hopeful FA additions in the off season, what this team really needs right now is not a buy or sell mentality, but the ejection of what doesn't fit long term, and some legitimate look sees and auditions of what they have to build for in 2018.

Get the guys performing in the mound at AA up to Rochester. Rid yourself of Chaffee and build the new 40 man. Get Garver up. Look long and hard at the young BP arms. Then you will have a more clear picture for 2018.

Falvey just cleared out JR Murphy.  I'm expecting more, like Park and Vargas and some of the MiLB pitchers that are getting hurt repeatedly.  No abject loyalty in the new FO.

It's not my fault !


#6 MN_ExPat

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 07:44 AM

I had have to agree. The new FO has had to make a very large, very calculated review of the whole system from the MLB roster to rookie ball to truly see what they have from an inside vantage point.  

 

This is not something that can be done overnight and henceforth I feel that this may be why we are seeing SO many plug and play waiver pickups, and reclamation projects. Yes, it drives me batty most of the time (why isn't Falvine calling up my favorite prospects?), but baseball is a difficult, oftentimes cruel, and demanding mistress.  

 

We can bandy about all the fancy, new age moneyball, I'm smarting than you statistics all we want, but... at the end of the day we as fans aren't the ones making the "Is this decision going to cause the organization to implode, get me fired and have my wife run off with the pool boy" type of choices. Those types of soul shaking, bowel shaking bouts of remorse are often better left to those who live and breath this stuff on a daily basis. 

 

The FO isn't stupid, and I'm pretty sure they know what they are doing or at least what they want to do. Just because we don't what Falvey or Levine are thinking right now doesn't they don't have the team's, the players or the fans best interest at heart.

 

While I may not always agree with or understand some of the FOs decisions, at the end of the day I am just grateful that or Twins are at least competitive and entertaining. What else can we truly ask for?

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#7 mikelink45

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 11:27 AM

I am so glad to read this article.  The farm system has to deliver and the coaches need to help them deliver.  A great team is part of a great system.  We once had one, but then baseball evolved and we did not.

 

So what does our system record look like at this time and what can we do to resolve it. 

 

So far the FO gets an incomplete for the year.  I have seen too many Wilks, Colons, Breslows for my fandom rating and it will be good to see us starting down another road.

Coaching - C-  We over performed so we need to give some credit.  Molitor takes a lot of heat, but many things are at the direction of the FO.  But what about the pitching and hitting coaches?  Are we getting players to reach their potential, are we getting them to adjust to higher levels of performance when they get to MLB?

 

The Farm System.  C Considering the players we have called up - Jorge and the ones we have not called up - Gonsalves, the reluctance for using our supposed bullpen depth the Twins system has not provided us with the depth and support we need, although it might be the FO and Coaches who are responsible for this.

 

Pitching Staff.  D  Right now, how many are performing at a high level or even the level you anticipated?

 

Fielding.  B+ OF, C, 1B, 3B are A and Dozier does well at 2B, but SS is too much of a question mark.

 

Batting. C-  Sano is in a poor place right now and needs to right the ship again, too many Ks, Buxton may be ready to have another September surge but a full season would be nice.  Rosario has been at his best and Kepler seems to be stuck while Dozier is down and Polanco has disappeared. The catchers can't hit, Mauer is a walking machine but can't get to second base without help and when Escobar spends a series as the clean up hitter it is not good.




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