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Article: First-Round Flops or Unfinished Projects?

kohl stewart tyler jay
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#21 gunnarthor

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 02:39 PM

 

I still believe that teams that rely heavily on their minor league system to develop players SHOULD NOT be drafting high school players in the upper level draft picks. There is a weeding out process that takes place in college, in addition to the additional physical and mental maturity. With the limited amount of time to develop talent due to the restrictions of either losing them through the rule 5 draft or losing them as minor league free agents, let alone the necessity of keeping the pipeline of talent to the majors consistently primed, a draft focus on college players just makes sense.

So if the Twins had drafted the college players, here's what they would've nabbed (based on the best college player after their real pick):

 

2012 - C Zunino or P Appel. (Appel was considered the best college player by far, Zunino went #3)

2013 - 3B Colin Moran

2014 - P Aaron Nola

2015 - P Tyler Jay

2016 - C Matt Thasis (although we picked 16th so maybe we could nab a HS bat at that point?)

2017 - P Brenden McCay (although $ played a big part in the selection here and later in the draft)

2018 - OF Larnich

 

The obvious upgrade is Nola over Gordon although Nola was not favored when discussing the draft at the time. Would still rather have Buxton over Zunino or Appel. McCay wasn't even my favorite college arm (I wanted Wright) so I'd rather have Lewis. Thasis seems decent and close to the majors. Kohl Stewart or Colin Moran? 

 

On a side note, it's interesting looking back at the drafts and remembering some of the names. I really liked Alex Jackson and I remember rooting for some scenario where Kolak falls to us. Shows what I know.

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#22 RatherBeGolfing

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 02:40 PM

 

The Jay pick was really awful. That’s not “unlucky.” That was a stretch, and not a good one.

 

You're being too kind

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#23 Tomj14

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 02:44 PM

Maybe the old FO was just way ahead of the game, drafting all the relief pitchers and trying to make them starters, there problem was they didn't realize they only needed them to pitch the first inning of the game.

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#24 Pitz

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 02:56 PM

They all used their stats and scouts and advanced stats of the time, and evaluated them as not worthy of the many failures that have become litter ahead of them.

But I want the people making the selections that see the missing links, that picks guys like Walker Buehler and Mike Trout way ahead of the consensus group peer think. I guess that is too big of an order.


We don't know what each teams board looks like though, so it's a bit tough to say it's group think. For all we know, the Twins had Jay at number 3 on their board and Buehler at like number 5. Maybe they had Gibson 10th and Trout 11th. Yes they were still wrong but they might have actually had Buehler and Trout rated quite highly. The Twins draft history that's been discussed shows terrible results, so I'm not trying to argue in their favor, but not being able to see the draft board adds some level of nuance to the evaluation and finding those "missing links" is undoubtedly quite difficult as you're projecting guys 5 years into the future.
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#25 yarnivek1972

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 03:08 PM

As I have said for several years now: When a team can’t develop it’s own starting pitchers it is forced to do things like overpay Ricky Nolasco and over-reward Phil Hughes.

Falvine’s model for sustainability needs to start there.
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#26 dgwills

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 03:41 PM

What is Stewarts upside? Nick Blackburn comes to mind. Tyler Jay doesn't even have that. Yep, they are and have been busts for a while. I fear Gordon will join this list as well. Terry Ryan was not the GM you wanted for a rebuilding team. mlhouse's comment pretty much nailed it IMHO.

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#27 DocBauer

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 04:17 PM

What is Stewarts upside? Nick Blackburn comes to mind. Tyler Jay doesn't even have that. Yep, they are and have been busts for a while. I fear Gordon will join this list as well. Terry Ryan was not the GM you wanted for a rebuilding team. mlhouse's comment pretty much nailed it IMHO.


I think it's safe to say we all hope you are wrong about Gordon, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt for a while longer. His strong first halves each of the past two seasons tells me there is talent and potential to be a nice ballplayer. (Though with Lewis as the potential solution at SS and Polanco possibly at 2B, Gordon's best roll may be as utility player or trade bait). The problem is the second half fades. This season, it could be due to his AAA promotion and figuring things out. But his second half fade at AA in 2017? Conditioning? Endurance?
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"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."

 

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#28 dgwills

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 04:41 PM

 

I think it's safe to say we all hope you are wrong about Gordon, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt for a while longer. His strong first halves each of the past two seasons tells me there is talent and potential to be a nice ballplayer. (Though with Lewis as the potential solution at SS and Polanco possibly at 2B, Gordon's best roll may be as utility player or trade bait). The problem is the second half fades. This season, it could be due to his AAA promotion and figuring things out. But his second half fade at AA in 2017? Conditioning? Endurance?

I don't disagree with anything you are saying at all. What really gets me about Gordon is that outside of 40 game of AA this year he's never really just crushed a level in the minor leagues. That is something you see out of almost all good mlb players. I'm sure their are exceptions, but I can't think of one.  If I was a betting man (actually I am lol) I'd say your right about him being a utility player. Maybe something similar to Eduardo Escobar, which isn't bad. Not exactly what your looking for at pick number 5 though.

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#29 yarnivek1972

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 05:08 PM

Is there such a thing as advanced fielding metrics for minor leaguers? I mean that Joe Public can look at.

I’d be curious to know how Gordon stacks up. Is he a better fielding shortstop than Polanco? Than Lewis?

Inquiring minds want to know.

#30 DocBauer

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 05:31 PM

I don't disagree with anything you are saying at all. What really gets me about Gordon is that outside of 40 game of AA this year he's never really just crushed a level in the minor leagues. That is something you see out of almost all good mlb players. I'm sure their are exceptions, but I can't think of one.  If I was a betting man (actually I am lol) I'd say your right about him being a utility player. Maybe something similar to Eduardo Escobar, which isn't bad. Not exactly what your looking for at pick number 5 though.


Let me return the "agree with everything you say" comment. I was not high on Gordon when drafted. His ratings were pretty much 50 across the board and I simply couldn't understand his ratings and hype and draft positioning considering that, despite the whole "bloodline" argument. I have come around, however, due to his overall skill set, reported work ethic, and the flashes he has shown each of the last two half seasons. I'm just waiting, and holding out hope, to see that full season of production. I'm still wondering, especially when I hear reports he's still only 160lbs or so, that maybe he just needs muscle and to grow in to his body some more. And I'd hate for a top pick to become a utility player, but you need those too. If all he became was another Escobar, or a better hitting version of Newman/Adrianza, he's still be a nice piece on a good club.
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#31 Monkeypaws

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 08:01 PM

Stewart is making a believer out of me. He has great stuff, and looks more relaxed with each start, well, primary appearance. Only 23, control getting better. He has upside.
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#32 FargoFanMan

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 08:03 PM

I have said for a while that Stewart is the real deal. Maybe not the dominant Ace that we thought when drafting him but you still don’t know. He was all upside when drafted. Very raw across the board. Hasn’t been lights out but solid his whole career for the most part. Jay on the other hand was a mystery when drafted and has been since. I think he’s gone this winter.
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#33 MN_ExPat

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 08:11 PM

What do the drafts tell us?? Not much. Every single one of those kids who was drafted highly (and even most of those drafted low) have a TON of ability.  

 

What have we all learned over years of watching baseball? This game is tough, like insanely and unfairly tough. How many players and especially pitchers have we seen come up short on the world's toughest stage? When you think about that, the numbers are pretty staggering.   

 

Not a single player who has ever been drafted by the MLB, has been short on pure physical talent. Not a single one. We can fault the player, we can fault the team because they didn't develop said player. But the biggest thing in my eyes? Fate. Some young men are destined to become great between the foul poles... others are not, and only God knows the answers ahead of time.

 

So in my flawed (and probably not entirely sober right now) understanding of the universe, I think we stress WAY too much about it. The Twins aren't the only team to ever have multiple players not pan out, it's baseball. Even if you won't admit it here, at least in that small quite part of yourself that we don't show to other people, rejoice that these young men have realized at least a portion of their hopes and dreams. For this is a good and righteous thing, and the Lord is pleased at that. 

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#34 gunnarthor

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 10:45 PM

 

What is Stewarts upside? Nick Blackburn comes to mind. Tyler Jay doesn't even have that. Yep, they are and have been busts for a while. I fear Gordon will join this list as well. Terry Ryan was not the GM you wanted for a rebuilding team. mlhouse's comment pretty much nailed it IMHO.

I made this comment a few weeks ago but Stewart's stuff is better than Slowey or Blackburn's stuff. But they both knew how to pitch with their stuff and both had much better command/control. Stewart's ceiling is better than both of them although I'm not sure he can reach it but I hope he does.

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#35 Tomj14

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 06:27 AM

 

I made this comment a few weeks ago but Stewart's stuff is better than Slowey or Blackburn's stuff. But they both knew how to pitch with their stuff and both had much better command/control. Stewart's ceiling is better than both of them although I'm not sure he can reach it but I hope he does.

I watched a few innings last night, and a lot of his balls were right out the side the box, so maybe his command isn't that far off?

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#36 snap4birds

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 08:22 AM

 

I watched a few innings last night, and a lot of his balls were right out the side the box, so maybe his command isn't that far off?

Or is it the case that he doesn't have 'lights out' stuff, so he tries to be too fine and catch the corners?I don't watch the games or scout or anything, but I've wondered if that is why Stewart walks so many.  

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#37 Shaitan

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 08:28 AM

 

Or is it the case that he doesn't have 'lights out' stuff, so he tries to be too fine and catch the corners?I don't watch the games or scout or anything, but I've wondered if that is why Stewart walks so many.  

Or he's still inexperienced at this level and nerves influence his control. With Molitor only using the opener strategy for Stewart and Gonsalves, that's seems to be at least part of the logic.

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#38 JLease

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 08:31 AM

 

I still believe that teams that rely heavily on their minor league system to develop players SHOULD NOT be drafting high school players in the upper level draft picks. There is a weeding out process that takes place in college, in addition to the additional physical and mental maturity. With the limited amount of time to develop talent due to the restrictions of either losing them through the rule 5 draft or losing them as minor league free agents, let alone the necessity of keeping the pipeline of talent to the majors consistently primed, a draft focus on college players just makes sense.

 

By that formulation, we wouldn't have either Royce Lewis (who appears to be on a star track) or Alex Kirilloff (who is on track to be an elite hitter). Passing on either of those guys would have been a mistake, I think.

 

Blanket rules like this are how teams get into trouble. If you lock yourself too tightly into a formulation like that you miss guys who might not fit the mold perfectly but could bring elite strengths. That sort of rigidity in thinking is how good players got passed up because they had the wrong body type or other nonsense.

 

The bigger problem here is the Twins thought they were smarter than everyone else and could turn college relievers into starters, and it completely busted out.

 

Kohl Stewart was drafted out of high school and his development has taken a while...but he made the major leagues. 39 players were selected in the "1st round" in 2013, and of those 13 have still never played in the majors...including the #1 overall pick, a college pitcher. Despite this being Stewart's first shot at the majors, he actually ranks 14th in bWAR when compared to his 1st round peers. Looking at the rest of the pitchers drafted below him, the only one that jumps out where you go clearly, "yeah, wish we had that guy" is Sean Manaea...who just had season-ended shoulder surgery. So maybe this pick isn't ending up so awful. 

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#39 markos

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 08:35 AM

Clay Davenport calculates some crude advanced defensive metrics for minor league players. You can find an example here for Nick Gordon.

http://www.claydaven...19951024A.shtml

His data is not the most user friendly, but in the first table you can see

"68-SS-128-2B 2"

That means that he calculated that Gordon was -1 runs at SS and +2 runs at 2B this year at AAA (relative to the average AAA SS). I'm not 100% certain of the details, but I'm pretty sure that it is calculated base on play-by-play data, which is cruder than the methods used for calculating UZR or DRS.

 

The subsequent tables are all translations to attempt to project future ability. 

 

And for reference, Gordon has slightly better defensive numbers than Polanco.

http://www.claydaven...19930705A.shtml

 

 

Is there such a thing as advanced fielding metrics for minor leaguers? I mean that Joe Public can look at.

I’d be curious to know how Gordon stacks up. Is he a better fielding shortstop than Polanco? Than Lewis?

Inquiring minds want to know.

 

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#40 drivlikejehu

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 09:08 AM

Stewart is trendy sharply upward. He began the year as basically a non-prospect, so there was a long way to go, and he's not there yet . . . but at this point, his odds of contributing in some fashion are pretty decent. 

 

My inclination would be to start him in long relief next year. From there, he'd hopefully either establish a bullpen role longer-term or improve his command enough to be a starter.

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