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Article: Can Minnesota Follow Houston's Blueprint?

jose altuve brian dozier byron buxton miguel sano jose berrios
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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 07:00 PM

There were some dark days for the Houston Astros. From 2009-2014, the Astros didn’t have a season with an over .500 record and this included three straight seasons of losing 106 games or more. In true rebuilding fashion, the club traded away any player that could bring back assets in return. This dropped them even further down the rabbit hole of rebuilding.

Amidst all of the losing, the Astros had a plan. The team was stockpiling draft picks and young talent in the organization with dreams of one day being a contender. Those dreams have become a reality for the Astros and their fans. Can the Twins follow a similar path to the top of the American League?2012 MLB Draft
Things went dark in Minnesota from 2011-2014 with four straight 90-loss seasons. This wasn’t quite the stretch of futility faced by Astros faithful but it certainly wasn’t easy for Twins Territory. Both teams were “rewarded” for their poor play by sitting with the first two picks of the 2012 MLB Draft. Byron Buxton was the name getting the most hype but in the days leading up to the draft another option emerged, Carlos Correa.

The Astros were rumored to be looking at Houston native Mark Appel with the first pick but they decided to cut a deal with Correa. He signed for less than slot value and then the team could use money on other picks later in the draft. In fact, they used some of the savings to draft Lance McCullers Jr., the pitcher who closed out Game 7 of the ALCS.

The Twins took Buxton, the player many thought was the best in the draft. However, Minnesota was also lucky enough to snag Jose Berrios with their supplemental- round pick. Fans saw the impact of both of these young players in 2017 and there is still room for improvement in the coming years.

Houston’s Young Core, Veteran Leadership
Houston’s core is a young group of players who have grown up playing with each other at the big league level. Players like Carlos Correa, George Springer, Alex Bregman and Lance McCullers Jr. all played crucial roles in leading the Astros to the pennant. However, the Astros have other, veteran, players in place to supplement their young core.

Veteran second baseman Jose Altuve is the heart and soul of the Houston line-up. He’s been with the club through the ups and the downs. Other players like Brian McCann, Josh Reddick and Dallas Keuchel have each found their place in Houston. It’s also hard not to overlook what the acquisition of Justin Verlander meant to this squad.

Minnesota’s Young Core, Veteran Leadership
The Twins saw their own young core take some big strides this season. Miguel Sano was selected to his first All-Star Game. Byron Buxton played Gold Glove caliber defense and seemed to figure things out at the plate. Jose Berrios was strong in the rotation while other players like Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario added value to the team. There was a learning curve at the big league level but each player could be part of the team’s road to the pennant.

Minnesota has their own veteran second baseman, Brian Dozier, who has lived through the losing. Joe Mauer has been an important part of the franchise over the last decade. Ervin Santana had an All-Star season while anchoring the pitching staff. However, all three players’ contracts expire at the end of next season so the future is uncertain. Veterans provide value but will Minnesota find the right pieces to help the club to take the next step?

Minnesota surprised the baseball world by making the playoffs on the heels of a 100-loss season. The Astros and the Yankees, the ALCS foes, both look poised to challenge for the pennant in the years to come. The Twins will need their young core, a group of veterans, and a little luck to follow in the Astros’ footsteps.

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#2 drjim

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 07:36 PM

The Twins are basically Dallas Keuchel away from where Houston was in 2015/16, with a little less asset portfolio in the minors.

To really make a leap, the front office needs to unearth a really good starter, then they should have a little better farm to supplement for 2019, and some payroll space to add vets on short FA deals.
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Papers...business papers.

#3 gunnarthor

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 07:47 PM

Eh, sure. The Twins were a playoff team this year, they could be a whole lot more next year. We'll have a better idea in a few months.


#4 tvagle

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 08:38 PM

 

The Twins are basically Dallas Keuchel away from where Houston was in 2015/16, with a little less asset portfolio in the minors.

To really make a leap, the front office needs to unearth a really good starter, then they should have a little better farm to supplement for 2019, and some payroll space to add vets on short FA deals.

 

The time is now for the Twins to make the next step and to me it's quite simple:

 

Do anything realistic via incremental salary hikes

 

This may take longer for some to comprehend but I'm sure the astute members of Twins Daily will see through this plan quickly while others may take several posts before it sinks in.

 

Winning in '17 and the corresponding drop in the next draft warrant finding "our Keuchel" by any means without sacrificing the arms, legs and bats that will make extensions for the core possible by continually providing minimum wage replacements for 3-6 years per player

 

If the trade route is pursued the margin of error (misses) becomes much smaller...when all it costs is a few million dollars the misses don't doom the franchise for years...besides, we've carried dead pool dollars for the past few years so there should be a line item in the budget for it now

 

We've all grown tired of the wish and a hope approach to Free Agent pickups it's time to:

 

Do anything realistic via incremental salary hikes!

 

 

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Is it 2020 yet?


#5 Seth Stohs

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 11:07 PM

 

The Twins are basically Dallas Keuchel away from where Houston was in 2015/16, with a little less asset portfolio in the minors.

To really make a leap, the front office needs to unearth a really good starter, then they should have a little better farm to supplement for 2019, and some payroll space to add vets on short FA deals.

 

And Keuchel wasn't even a prospect, so you just never know who is going to turn into an ace-like pitcher. Definitely isn't always an obvious choice, the hard-throwing guys. Maybe the Twins have a Keuchel-type coming. We can hope. 

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#6 drjim

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 05:12 AM

And Keuchel wasn't even a prospect, so you just never know who is going to turn into an ace-like pitcher. Definitely isn't always an obvious choice, the hard-throwing guys. Maybe the Twins have a Keuchel-type coming. We can hope.


That's certainly my thought. A pitcher can emerge from multiple areas.

It is, of course, not especially easy to pull this off, but I look at where the Twins are vs where the Astros were the last two years and that's the significant difference.
Papers...business papers.

#7 Tommygun921

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 05:40 AM

Why does the Twins upswing have to happen at the same time as the Yankees?? 😭
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#8 mikelink45

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 09:42 AM

https://calltothepen...re-this-season/I am always nervous about the FA fix.Think about all the great FA signings - like Price for the Red Sox who come with a big ticket price and seldom do what is expected or wished.By the time the pitchers reach the free agent market and seem to be worth MILLIONS they are also old and arm weary.  

 

Read the 27 worst free agent signings - 13 are pitchers - considering that there are 8 other positions that is a really high number - https://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/27-worst-free-agent-signings-mlb-history.html/?a=viewall

 

Or the 10 worst signings before this year - https://calltothepen...re-this-season/

 

We got one good pitching free agent - Santana after how many busts?No - get the new pitching coach and start developing our own talent both starters and relievers. 

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#9 ashburyjohn

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 10:39 AM

Do anything realistic via incremental salary hikes!

iswydt3.jpg

 

(... after having it, ahem, spelled out for me.)

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#10 Mike Sixel

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 10:41 AM

 

https://calltothepen...re-this-season/I am always nervous about the FA fix.Think about all the great FA signings - like Price for the Red Sox who come with a big ticket price and seldom do what is expected or wished.By the time the pitchers reach the free agent market and seem to be worth MILLIONS they are also old and arm weary.  

 

Read the 27 worst free agent signings - 13 are pitchers - considering that there are 8 other positions that is a really high number - https://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/27-worst-free-agent-signings-mlb-history.html/?a=viewall

 

Or the 10 worst signings before this year - https://calltothepen...re-this-season/

 

We got one good pitching free agent - Santana after how many busts?No - get the new pitching coach and start developing our own talent both starters and relievers. 

 

And drafting and developing delivered how many good pitchers in that time frame? Berrios and?

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There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#11 tvagle

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 11:05 AM

 

And drafting and developing delivered how many good pitchers in that time frame? Berrios and?

 

Spot on Mike...we've gone that route...I know, this is Falvey's specialty...it will be different with him at the helm and all that other mumbo jumbo

 

Even as the Messiah of Moundsmen this will take a years the Twins don't have to wait

 

Let's break free from being 12 Years a Slave to pitching development and make next years Pohlad Production a hit just like brother Bill would...

 

Do Anything Realistic Via Incremental Salary Hikes (D.A.R.V.I.S.H if you're in to acronyms or an astute, unnamed moderator)

 

 

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Is it 2020 yet?


#12 Mike Sixel

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 11:17 AM

I am all in on drafting and developing better being the key, don't get me wrong. But, that doesn't help in the window that ESan, Dozier, Buxton, Rosario, Sano, Mauer are all here.

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There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#13 tvagle

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 11:32 AM

 

I am all in on drafting and developing better being the key, don't get me wrong. But, that doesn't help in the window that ESan, Dozier, Buxton, Rosario, Sano, Mauer are all here.

Exactly! It's time to...

 

Do Anything Realistic Via Incremental Salary Hikes!

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Is it 2020 yet?


#14 mikelink45

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 12:55 PM

 

And drafting and developing delivered how many good pitchers in that time frame? Berrios and?

I can only go by the reports that Seth and others write.According to this site - https://www.twinkietown.com/2017/10/19/16301700/minnesota-twins-mlb-2017-year-end-prospect-review-minor-leagues Gonsalves and Romero are tied for third best prospects in the Twins minor leagues.That is pretty high praise.I can only rely on those who know more than I do for prospects, but this is good enough for me if we expect Berrios and Mejia to improve on 2017.  

 

MLB is now a bullpen game and that is where I would build.KC won the pennant and a WS without quality starting pitching and they changed the prospects for the league.The Yankees went BP heavy and it worked for them.The Cubs went heavier on SP rather than RF and it did not work.  

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#15 Taildragger8791

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 01:27 PM

 

I can only go by the reports that Seth and others write.According to this site - https://www.twinkietown.com/2017/10/19/16301700/minnesota-twins-mlb-2017-year-end-prospect-review-minor-leagues Gonsalves and Romero are tied for third best prospects in the Twins minor leagues.That is pretty high praise.I can only rely on those who know more than I do for prospects, but this is good enough for me if we expect Berrios and Mejia to improve on 2017.  

 

MLB is now a bullpen game and that is where I would build.KC won the pennant and a WS without quality starting pitching and they changed the prospects for the league.The Yankees went BP heavy and it worked for them.The Cubs went heavier on SP rather than RF and it did not work.  

 

None of our pitching prospects, despite being well-regarded as prospects, are even close to being sure things to succeed in MLB. There are some talented guys to be hopeful about but pretty much all of them have at least one serious question mark attached to them (health, control issues, quality of stuff). I wouldn't plan 2018 around any of them being impactful.

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#16 GP830

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 03:58 PM

I'm on board for Anything Regarding Reasonably Improved Elite Talent, Also.

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#17 Mike Sixel

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 04:09 PM

 

I'm on board for Anything Regarding Reasonably Improved Elite Talent, Also.

 

I have my doubts about that approach, but well played.

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There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#18 tvagle

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 04:16 PM

 

I have my doubts about that approach, but well played.

10934522.jpg

Is it 2020 yet?


#19 tvagle

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 04:22 PM

Anything Regarding Reasonably Improved Elite Talent is to much of the old way of thinking

 

Opportunities That Are New Intrigue me much more!

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Is it 2020 yet?


#20 adorduan

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 04:24 PM

 

That's certainly my thought. A pitcher can emerge from multiple areas.

It is, of course, not especially easy to pull this off, but I look at where the Twins are vs where the Astros were the last two years and that's the significant difference.

This is where the miss on Kohl Stewart really hurts.

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