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ESPN Future Power Rankings: Twins #25 - Insider required

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#1 TwinsArmChairGM_Jon

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 01:52 PM

http://insider.espn....-2012-nos-30-21

ESPN put up some long-term power rankings for all 30 teams that rates organizations in 5 different categories to come up with an objective outlook for the near future. Each team was ranked 30-1, 30 being the best, for each category: Majors, Minors, Finances (how much do they have to spend), Management (includes Ownership, FO, and Manager), and Mobility (level of flexibility with regard to current contracts). The Twins came up #25 which seems fair, even if Jim Bowden's commentary is either really dated or just moronic. Based on previous entries from him, I'm not ruling out the latter.

Twins Rankings:
Overall - 33.5 out of 100
Majors - 8
Minors - 13
Finances - 13
Management - 12
Mobility - 6



What does everyone else think if the analysis and the Twins rating?

Edited by TwinsArmChairGM_Jon, 16 August 2012 - 01:58 PM.


#2 cr9617

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 02:35 PM

That ranking came out before the season started.

#3 Thrylos

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 02:39 PM

yeah... and here is a good one from that article:

Their staff finished last in the AL in strikeouts last year, and Minny can begin the overhaul process by dealing Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker for any kind young arms it can find.

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#4 John Bonnes

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 02:42 PM

Yep, it came out in February, but that makes it valuable in a different way: it reflects the perception at the time. And the perception was...
1. The Twins biggest problem is the health of their stars and
2. The fairly solid rotation is something they can leverage to get better in the future.

I'll say it again: this rotation meltdown was a surprise. We were not talking about it this offseason. I doubt we can find any threads started here in February where we sound worried about it. We shouldn't act like it was a foregone conclusion.

#5 Thrylos

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 03:32 PM

[quote name='John Bonnes']

I'll say it again: this rotation meltdown was a surprise. We were not talking about it this offseason. I doubt we can find any threads started here in February where we sound worried about it. We shouldn't act like it was a foregone conclusion.[/QUOTE]

I had to go back and double check on this, because I know I wrote this thing last October (when Smith was still the GM) titled (go figure ) : A contrarian opinion about the Twins' Starting Pitching, where my premise was (copy and paste) :
[quote]
A lot of people in Twins territory, including fans and the press, and the Twins' management, as was referenced in the season ticket holder press conference a few weeks ago, see starting pitching as one of the weaknesses of the 2011 team, which needs to be fixed this off-season. I examined that hypothesis, by looking at the performance of the Twins' starters in 2011 based on their on-field numbers. And the numbers disagree with that generalized belief
[/quote]

(and that link goes to a Phil Mackey piece describing the Twins needs in 2012 per BS, season ticket holders and his own opinion.)

So I think that I was in the minority there, thinking that the rotation was going to be ok. Problem was that who I thought should have been the anchor was traded (and he was injured all season), the number 2 guy was injured, the number 3 guy was ineffective and in the minors and Liriano and Pavano (before he got hurt) were ok as number 3-4 types.

But the general consensus was pretty bad. Still (if you remember) around spring training there was a fairly large "sign Roy Oswald" contingency in Twins' fandom....

And I am really laughing at this conclusion of part of my analysis (heck, I am hitting .500 ) :
[quote]

  • Blackburn and Diamond do not belong in a major league rotation.
[/quote]

Edited by Thrylos, 16 August 2012 - 03:34 PM.

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#6 TwinsArmChairGM_Jon

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 03:42 PM

Whoops, this popped up as the first story on the ESPN Twins Clubhouse page, and I didn’t catch the dateline. I could go with the joke about information taking a lot longer to get to Alaska too.

Some thoughts on where this would change if it was done today:

  • With the injury concerns lessened for Mauer and Span (and Morneau to an extent) as well as the emergence/higher expectations for Revere, Willingham, Doumit, and Plouffe, is that enough to bring the Majors ranking higher than 8 out of 30? The pitching is so bad, it would be impossible to argue for a big jump. A 15-18 ranked offense and a 1-3 ranked pitching staff unscientifically equals…8-10 without considering defense.


  • The Minors ranking may get bumped up a bit with the addition of this draft class and good years from Sano, Arcia, Hicks and Parmalee, not too much though as there’s still not much on the doorstep. Outside of a potentially healthy Gibson, there aren’t even any starters in the driveway.


  • It’s pretty depressing that even before this year the Finances rating was 13 out of 30. It will be interesting (possibly very frustrating) to see what the payroll does next year with lower gate revenue from this year. This rating might be dropping as we speak.


  • Since the 25 out of 30 overall ranking is still probably about right it’s hard to argue too much.

#7 twinsnorth49

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 03:53 PM

Yep, it came out in February, but that makes it valuable in a different way: it reflects the perception at the time. And the perception was...
1. The Twins biggest problem is the health of their stars and
2. The fairly solid rotation is something they can leverage to get better in the future.

I'll say it again: this rotation meltdown was a surprise. We were not talking about it this offseason. I doubt we can find any threads started here in February where we sound worried about it. We shouldn't act like it was a foregone conclusion.


I don't know John, perhaps there were not any threads created that directly discussed the weakness of the rotation but there were a number of threads in Jan/Feb speculating on the upcoming season where more than a few members pointed to the rotation as a weak spot, particularly after signing Marquis.

There was also a fair amount of talk regarding "if" Liriano and "if" Pavano and "if" Blackie could have better years then things might be alright but relying on that was walking the razor's edge. This rotation was always a question mark and pretty much everything had to going exactly according to plan for it to be successful.

#8 TwinVike61

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 04:03 PM

[h=1]Dangerous Gambles in the Rotation[/h]

by Nick Nelson

Published on 02-01-2012 09:12 AM

http://www.twinsdail...in-the-Rotation

#9 John Bonnes

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 06:11 PM

Dangerous Gambles in the Rotation

by Nick Nelson

Published on 02-01-2012 09:12 AM

http://www.twinsdail...in-the-Rotation


And I'd point to Nick's GM Blueprint in the GM Handbook. In it, his pitching moves were to offer arbitration to Kevin Slowey and pick up Rich Harden in a make good contract. And I'm not picking on Nick. I'm just trying to illustrate that while the rotation wasn't free of concerns, there there were higher priorities this offseason.

And that was appropriate.

#10 PseudoSABR

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:11 PM

Just two years ago or even before the 2010, the Twins were highly ranked in these kinds of rankings from fangraphs to insider. So take it with a grain of salt and one season can shake up the entire predictive future of a franchise...meh.

#11 Nick Nelson

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:16 PM

And I'd point to Nick's GM Blueprint in the GM Handbook. In it, his pitching moves were to offer arbitration to Kevin Slowey and pick up Rich Harden in a make good contract. And I'm not picking on Nick. I'm just trying to illustrate that while the rotation wasn't free of concerns, there there were higher priorities this offseason.

And that was appropriate.

This is a different point than the first one you made. The Twins had a lot of different things to address this offseason after last year's trainwreck, that's for sure. But to say there weren't people vocally worried about the rotation is demonstrably false.

#12 Badsmerf

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 08:31 PM

John, we ran in different wolf packs at the time, but this couldn't have been too far off the radar. The biggest surprise was losing Baker for the entire year. Add this to Pavano's arm falling apart and 40% (the best 40% BTW) of the rotation was toast. Then you had Blackburn and Liriano, both of whom were terrible in 2011. I don't think anyone believe Liriano would be as terrible as he started the season, but most thought Blackburn would be. The rotation will be better next year hands down, and hopefully they will surprise us and sign a pitcher with some talent.

#13 Jim Crikket

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 08:41 PM

The only thing I know for sure is that I personally saw the rotation as the biggest problem in need of fixing in the off season. In my "blueprint" I argued for the Twins to go after two solid rotation pieces out of the group of four suggestions (Buehrle, Jackson, Harden, Maholm). Of course, we did those blueprints when we still thought the Twins would keep payroll level. Even after Ryan announced the payroll would be slashed, I continued to suggest the rotation needed a "major overhaul."

Obviously, none of us saw the total implosion of the rotation that came to pass, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only blogger who felt the Twins needed serious help at the top of the rotation.
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#14 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 08:44 PM


And I'd point to Nick's GM Blueprint in the GM Handbook. In it, his pitching moves were to offer arbitration to Kevin Slowey and pick up Rich Harden in a make good contract. And I'm not picking on Nick. I'm just trying to illustrate that while the rotation wasn't free of concerns, there there were higher priorities this offseason.

And that was appropriate.

This is a different point than the first one you made. The Twins had a lot of different things to address this offseason after last year's trainwreck, that's for sure. But to say there weren't people vocally worried about the rotation is demonstrably false.


pretty much this. I remember a number of conversations with my family and the rotation was always my biggest concern. It was Baker, Liriano and pray for rain... and everyone knew Baker and Liriano weren't exactly sure things.

#15 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 09:02 PM

I was concerned about the rotation (and pen, actually) quite a bit. I thought the offense would rebound (not quite to this extent but a rebound). I thought the Willingham signing was fantastic but I really wanted another starter.

Of course, everything ended up hinging on Baker and Pavano, both of which failed miserably. Hell, if those two guys stayed healthy, this team might be on the fringe of contention.

#16 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 09:19 PM

Here's Nick's post and our comments, yes, seriously concerned with the starting rotation and pitching in general.

http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.php?371-Position-Analysis-Starting-Pitcher
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#17 jokin

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 09:38 PM

Here's Nick's post and our comments, yes, seriously concerned with the starting rotation and pitching in general.

http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.php?371-Position-Analysis-Starting-Pitcher


Wow, what a shocker- the usual suspect Pollyanna's were typically pollyanish and the Realists were starkly being...realistic... about the dreary, ugly reality of the chances for success, given the Twins appalling SP situation- but criticized for it.

#18 CDog

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 10:39 PM

Here's Nick's post and our comments, yes, seriously concerned with the starting rotation and pitching in general.

http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.php?371-Position-Analysis-Starting-Pitcher


Wow, what a shocker- the usual suspect Pollyanna's were typically pollyanish and the Realists were starkly being...realistic... about the dreary, ugly reality of the chances for success, given the Twins appalling SP situation- but criticized for it.


Calling heads every time doesn't make you smart because the coin comes up heads half the time.

#19 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 12:48 AM

Calling heads every time doesn't make you smart because the coin comes up heads half the time.


Much more politely than I would have stated it.

#20 StormJH1

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:10 AM


And I'd point to Nick's GM Blueprint in the GM Handbook. In it, his pitching moves were to offer arbitration to Kevin Slowey and pick up Rich Harden in a make good contract. And I'm not picking on Nick. I'm just trying to illustrate that while the rotation wasn't free of concerns, there there were higher priorities this offseason.

And that was appropriate.

This is a different point than the first one you made. The Twins had a lot of different things to address this offseason after last year's trainwreck, that's for sure. But to say there weren't people vocally worried about the rotation is demonstrably false.

Yeah, I'm with Nick on this one. I can give John the benefit of the doubt and assume that he meant we didn't think the rotation would implode in this way (Baker shut down for the year, Liriano terrible in the first half, etc.). But to say that there weren't serious problems in the rotation and that bloggers/fans didn't appreciate those problems is completely false.

Coming off a 99-loss season, where was the expectation that the rotation would suddenly get any better. Two guys that were pretty good in 2010 (Liriano and Pavano), were terrible in 2011. Most people felt that Baker was the "ace", but he hadn't stayed healthy in previous years, nor did they believe that he had real "ace" stuff or could stay healthy long enough to use it. Kyle Gibson was already known to be lost for the year, and there was no other front-line starter coming up through the system that could miss bats.

The deceptiveness of "what the focus was in the offseason" was that the departure of two position player regulars (Cuddy and Kubel), plus a third if you count Nishioka, and the need for a part-time catcher, meant that we had vacancies at those positions that needed to be filled. That became the "focus" because those were "needs", but that issue was completely independent of the pitching needs. In other words, the fact that we had new needs in the field didn't exclude the fact that there was no reason for optimism with the SP, and no help on the way. Injuries happen to every staff. I don't see the loss of Baker and Pavano as particularly surprising, and Pavano wouldn't have been any good anyway. There might have been some bad luck with Hendriks (food poisoning) and Marquis (his daughter's accident) screwing up their seasons early on, but neither of those were guarantees either.

#21 TheLeviathan

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:40 AM

Much more politely than I would have stated it.


Sure if you want to use Statfreak and Dave as your ying and yang that's a fair criticism. The fact is, most of the time when you are a realist and slightly pessimistic you take a beating for it. I've mistakenly done that after 2010 (Nick) to others too, so I'm not trying to play any games with this. The fact is there are many that always want to see the glass half full. They have noble reasons for doing so, but that doesn't make every pessimistic take wrong.

Take this year, we're one of the worst teams in baseball and people are talking about how we can use FA as a silver bullet for contention next year. I want to hope for the best too, but at some point reality should enter the equation. And the reality about this rotation coming into things was that it was likely to be a major problem. Lo and behold, it was.

#22 PseudoSABR

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 10:28 AM

Much more politely than I would have stated it.


Sure if you want to use Statfreak and Dave as your ying and yang that's a fair criticism. The fact is, most of the time when you are a realist and slightly pessimistic you take a beating for it. I've mistakenly done that after 2010 (Nick) to others too, so I'm not trying to play any games with this. The fact is there are many that always want to see the glass half full. They have noble reasons for doing so, but that doesn't make every pessimistic take wrong.

Take this year, we're one of the worst teams in baseball and people are talking about how we can use FA as a silver bullet for contention next year. I want to hope for the best too, but at some point reality should enter the equation. And the reality about this rotation coming into things was that it was likely to be a major problem. Lo and behold, it was.

The point is, it didn't take a genius to anticipate problems with the rotation or to know that the Twins would struggle to compete this year. When the team is this crappy, optimism is still pretty bleak.

And no one believes a silver bullet FA will help the Twins compete, but if a lot of things break right it's not unimaginable.

#23 TheLeviathan

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 10:55 AM

The point is, it didn't take a genius to anticipate problems with the rotation or to know that the Twins would struggle to compete this year. When the team is this crappy, optimism is still pretty bleak.

And no one believes a silver bullet FA will help the Twins compete, but if a lot of things break right it's not unimaginable.


Pseudo....the discussion is happening because in this very thread someone is suggesting that the rotation wasn't even viewed as a problem preseason! Please look at the context of the discussion.

And all over this forum people are talking about one or two FA pitchers putting this team into contention next year. I would call that using FA as a silver bullet. Especially when I could list a dozen things that have broken right for this 2012 team and they're still awful.

#24 CDog

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 12:44 PM

Especially when I could list a dozen things that have broken right for this 2012 team and they're still awful.


And someone else could list a whole bunch of things that have broken wrong. And a bunch of things that have broken just about the way one would expect. That's how things happen in pretty much every facet of the world since...well, always.

#25 TheLeviathan

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 12:50 PM

And someone else could list a whole bunch of things that have broken wrong. And a bunch of things that have broken just about the way one would expect. That's how things happen in pretty much every facet of the world since...well, always.


Except that's not the context of the point. People are often ignoring the things that broke right because they see one of the worst teams in baseball and figure much more has gone wrong than right.

Yes, many things have gone unexpectedly wrong. And some of the unexpectedly right things will continue. But it isn't as lopsided towards "gone wrong" this year as many around here try to portray. In fact, I'd argue we've had more unexpected pleasant suprises than we've had unexpected unpleasant surprises. That doesn't bode well for the immediate future.