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Article: Rundown: Mauer Being a Pain, Prospect Lists, Philly Trade Rumors and Other Notes

joe mauer don cooper jhoan duran lewis thorpe carlos santana
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#41 USAFChief

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 08:17 AM

 

I made a different presumption. I presumed that he meant they would build the analytics department on par with the best in MLB. That they would overhaul our inept scouting and drafting practices that have been part of why we have not been competitive. I presumed it meant they would adopt new development programs and practices that would get the most out of the good prospects resulting from better drafting practices. I presumed it meant they would utilize all the above to make better trades (see Cleveland).

 

Apparently, you presumed it meant they would be magically build a team like Houston. I presumed it meant they would build the programs and practices responsible for Houston’s success.

I assumed they meant exactly what they said. They'll be in year three in 2019. "Competitive every year" means every year, including 2019. They've had ample time to do all that other stuff. Go get the actual players that will result in a competitive team, one that can challenge for a division title and get to the postseason. They have money, trade assets, their own managerial staff, and have had time. "Waiting" is just another word for failure.

 

BTW, I did not assume "competitive" means they have to be built like Houston, you're the one doing that. 

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#42 Nine of twelve

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 08:38 AM

 

I assumed they meant exactly what they said. They'll be in year three in 2019. "Competitive every year" means every year, including 2019. They've had ample time to do all that other stuff. 

Maybe, or maybe not. For example, I don't think they ever saw Molitor as fitting their system, but they were forced by JP to accept him when they assumed their roles in 2016. Then the Twins squeaked into the postseason in 2017 and PM got the MOY award so the optics of letting him go then would have been detrimental to morale and public relations. It's only now, at the beginning of their third year, that they have been able to choose someone who more closely matches their vision of the person they want in one of the most important positions in the organization.

And they can't just snap their fingers and have the best possible scouts and player development people in place. It's a large staff, it takes time to identify the people they want, and it takes time to actually hire those people, many of whom are currently employed with other organizations.

And most of all, it takes time for prospects to mature into major league players. The highest levels of success will be attained only if a team correctly identifies which players to draft and trade for when they are very young, developing them well, and establishing a continuous pipeline of major-league-ready homegrown youngsters.

Is 25 months enough time to do all that? My opinion is no.

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#43 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 09:19 AM

Any team in baseball can go 12-8 over 20 games and win a World Series. Any team can do it.

I agree with so much of what you're saying, so pardon me for harping on a couple of things where I think you have it wrong.

 

"Can do it" may be literally true, but it's not how to approach the post-season.

 

The pathetic 2018 Orioles never accomplished this feat, of going 12-8 for any stretch.

 

But yeah, most other teams probably did. I just checked, and the lowly Royals did it, exceeded it even, going 13-6 from August 24 to Sept 15. (Pick a day either side of that where they lost, to get to 20 games. Pick two days, to get back to 12-8. :) )

 

But, you realize, in a 162-game season, they had 142 starting points from which to try to achieve this goal. They achieved it four times because of that one stretch, if I'm counting right. 4-in-142 isn't very good odds.

 

That's for a bad team. But locate the 12-8 sequences for some .500 teams, and I think you'd find that the odds are distressingly below 25% for them too.

 

And that's in the regular season. They are facing all kinds of teams, not just the elite. The task is easier.

 

And even when they face the elite, those teams aren't trying to win every game. If their starting pitcher has nothing in the first inning, they may let him give up 3 runs in the hopes he finds his stuff.

 

The post-season is different. Just watch how the Red Sox operated in that last game. When they had the chance to close out the series, they didn't dilly-dally - Chris Sale pitched the ninth inning. Chris Sale.

 

They don't let you have chances if they can help it. They do their best to leave nothing to chance.

 

Now, upsets happen in the post-season a lot. It's never cut and dried. What a boring sport it would be if that were the case.

 

But for any given team, the chair-and-a-chip belief is overly optimistic. One-and-done is the likelier outcome when the strategy is to just be good enough to squeak into the post-season, and an extended lucky streak to win it all is even more of a longshot.

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#44 Steve Lein

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 10:35 AM

 

Like many others on this board I'm still very high on Thorpe too. But one thing that Tom wrote made me surprised. He wrote:

 

A lot of scouts also believe Thorpe will end up in the bullpen.

 

Are there really a LOT of scouts who think this? I'm certainly not privy to what the scouting community thinks of Thorpe or any other pitcher, but this is the first time that I can recall someone mentioning that Thorpe might end up in the bullpen. What do others think?

 

It's certainly possible as it is with everybody, but he's got much more of a starter type profile than the usual type of guys that thought comes out for, in my opinion. Honestly, I think the RP risk is higher for Fernando Romero than it is Thorpe.

 

Thorpe has a full pitch repertoire, misses a lot of bats as a starter already, and really the only issue I think that would bring that up is he didn't pitch for two years.

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Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)

#45 amjgt

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 10:50 AM

 

 

If they go all in and spend 50M, they should have a contender....

 

I don't see $50M as anywhere close to all in.

 

$50 leaves us short of last years payroll.

"All in" to me is like $10M higher than last year's opening day payroll, which would be like $65-$70M spent

 

Though I do agree that $50M well spent could get us close to having a contender. 

 

 


#46 Ben Noble

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 12:19 PM

 

Absolutely guessing at this point and will admit it.

Even respected media and "experts" will admit they don't see all prospects, and rely on various reports and second hand information to build their prospect lists/rankings. So while we see a lot of parallels, they should always be taken with a grain of salt. (After all, really, how could they ever see everyone, everywhere, and more than once anyway?)

As to my opinion/guess, I read what I can, from where I can, and look at results to this point. You mention Duran evolving in to a "pitcher" rather than just a "thrower" this year. Where does your opinion/information come from? Were you lucky enough to watch him this season? Asking honestly because I'd love to know. What I see is very average numbers until he joined Cedar Rapids. The numbers there sure seem like a big improvement.

I sure hope he's another Graterol in potential and blows people away next year! But for me, even though I get the "ceiling" about talented young guys, I'd just like to see a little more track record before I'd rank them that high.

Love to hear your feedback on him.

 

When we made the series of trades leading up to the deadline this year, I started digging into the prospects those trades brought in, and Duran stood out to me. The more I dug into him, the more I liked.

 

These quotes in particular from his Kane County pitching coach piqued my interest:

  • “He’s learning how to pitch. He hasn’t done it in every start, but I’ve seen him be able to make adjustments on his own. I’ve seen him make quality pitches in locations where I’ve told him he needs to throw them in certain counts.”
  • “Slow down. Gradually work your way up and find command of your pitches. Find the command of pitches at different velocities. Once you find it and you’re comfortable, you can turn it up. I feel like he’s finally understood what I’m talking about.”

Another quote from Duran himself via translator: “I work from 92-95, but when I know the hitter gets comfortable at the plate, that’s when I go 98 and keep him off balance. The experience helps a lot. I’m more mature. I go out there with a purpose and a plan. That helps a lot.”

 

So I dug deep across the internets and found plenty of little bits and pieces to support the notion that Duran was evolving from a thrower to a pitcher. Weird little things like reading through the twitter accounts of other Kane County personnel that might have only mentioned Duran by his uniform number.

 

From there, I dug up as much video as I could find, and there's a lot out there if you have the time and inclination to hunt it down. Could definitely be confirmation bias on my part, but it looked to me that they were playing around a lot from start to start with his pitch sequencing: setting up the breaking ball with the hard heat in one start, using the breaking ball early in the count the next start. I honestly can't tell you if his breaking ball is a slider, curve or some sort of slurve, but it looked to play up a lot this year compared to video I found from pre-2018. For what it's worth, if you want to dig up some video on your own, a quick indicator of when the footage was shot is that I'm pretty sure he grew a goatee this year. Maybe facial hair gave him the super power of maturity?

 

Full disclosure: my first legit writing job involved, in part, evaluating high school athletes for a well-known publication. That was over 15 years ago and I was at the bottom of the totem pole, and by no means do I think that gives me any sort of expertise whatsoever, not in the slightest. But that job definitely instilled biases in me that I still look for when researching prospects, and Duran checks all of my highly biased (and possibly antiquated) boxes.

 

I expect Duran and, for that matter, Graterol to top out as late-inning relievers, that's just the nature of pitching prospects. Duran very well might be exposed upon moving up a level, never find consistency, never develop his changeup, etc. But I feel like he developed more in 2018 than the raw numbers would indicate upon first look, and that he's put himself in a position to potentially make a big jump in 2019.

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#47 Jim Hahn

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 01:42 PM

I agree with so much of what you're saying, so pardon me for harping on a couple of things where I think you have it wrong.
 
"Can do it" may be literally true, but it's not how to approach the post-season.
 
The pathetic 2018 Orioles never accomplished this feat, of going 12-8 for any stretch.
 
But yeah, most other teams probably did. I just checked, and the lowly Royals did it, exceeded it even, going 13-6 from August 24 to Sept 15. (Pick a day either side of that where they lost, to get to 20 games. Pick two days, to get back to 12-8. :) )
 
But, you realize, in a 162-game season, they had 142 starting points from which to try to achieve this goal. They achieved it four times because of that one stretch, if I'm counting right. 4-in-142 isn't very good odds.
 
That's for a bad team. But locate the 12-8 sequences for some .500 teams, and I think you'd find that the odds are distressingly below 25% for them too.
 
And that's in the regular season. They are facing all kinds of teams, not just the elite. The task is easier.
 
And even when they face the elite, those teams aren't trying to win every game. If their starting pitcher has nothing in the first inning, they may let him give up 3 runs in the hopes he finds his stuff.
 
The post-season is different. Just watch how the Red Sox operated in that last game. When they had the chance to close out the series, they didn't dilly-dally - Chris Sale pitched the ninth inning. Chris Sale.
 
They don't let you have chances if they can help it. They do their best to leave nothing to chance.
 
Now, upsets happen in the post-season a lot. It's never cut and dried. What a boring sport it would be if that were the case.
 
But for any given team, the chair-and-a-chip belief is overly optimistic. One-and-done is the likelier outcome when the strategy is to just be good enough to squeak into the post-season, and an extended lucky streak to win it all is even more of a longshot.


This is an interesting and well reasoned post but I don't know that I quite agree with your main point. While the best regular season team in baseball won the World Series this year, it really doesn't happen all that often that the 2 best teams get to the World Series or that the best team wins the World Series. There are a lot of reasons for this.

Often the teams best constructed to win a lot of regular season games, are not necessarily best constructed to winning a short series against other nearly as good teams. Things such as a deep starting staff, a strong 40 roster to help withstand injuries, even a deep bullpen, is often less valuable in the postseason. Matchups are a big deal in the postseason. When the Twins lost those series to the Yankees in the early 2000's part of the issue was that the Twins left handed hitting lineup was neutralized by the Yankee left handed pitching.

Another factor is that teams change during the year. A team can be a lot better by the end and total wins won't reflect that.

The biggest thing though is that because of the number of games played there often isn't as much difference between a 90 win team and a 100 plus winning team as many people assume. It is a little like the difference between a 12 win team and a 10 win team in the NFL. There can be a difference but strength of schedule and other factors reduce the importance.

#48 Riverbrian

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 02:54 PM

 

I agree with so much of what you're saying, so pardon me for harping on a couple of things where I think you have it wrong.

 

"Can do it" may be literally true, but it's not how to approach the post-season.

 

The pathetic 2018 Orioles never accomplished this feat, of going 12-8 for any stretch.

 

But yeah, most other teams probably did. I just checked, and the lowly Royals did it, exceeded it even, going 13-6 from August 24 to Sept 15. (Pick a day either side of that where they lost, to get to 20 games. Pick two days, to get back to 12-8. :) )

 

But, you realize, in a 162-game season, they had 142 starting points from which to try to achieve this goal. They achieved it four times because of that one stretch, if I'm counting right. 4-in-142 isn't very good odds.

 

That's for a bad team. But locate the 12-8 sequences for some .500 teams, and I think you'd find that the odds are distressingly below 25% for them too.

 

And that's in the regular season. They are facing all kinds of teams, not just the elite. The task is easier.

 

And even when they face the elite, those teams aren't trying to win every game. If their starting pitcher has nothing in the first inning, they may let him give up 3 runs in the hopes he finds his stuff.

 

The post-season is different. Just watch how the Red Sox operated in that last game. When they had the chance to close out the series, they didn't dilly-dally - Chris Sale pitched the ninth inning. Chris Sale.

 

They don't let you have chances if they can help it. They do their best to leave nothing to chance.

 

Now, upsets happen in the post-season a lot. It's never cut and dried. What a boring sport it would be if that were the case.

 

But for any given team, the chair-and-a-chip belief is overly optimistic. One-and-done is the likelier outcome when the strategy is to just be good enough to squeak into the post-season, and an extended lucky streak to win it all is even more of a longshot.

 

It's Ok... Harp away. I appreciate the honest discussion. As long as you don't respond with "I suppose you think Edina High School could go 12-8" I'm with ya.:)

 

SneakyHandsomeAssassinbug-size_restricte

 

The Royals may have done it once but it only has to happen once... at the right time. The odds won't matter because we are talking about a small sample size. 

 

Are the teams trying harder in October then they are in June... Absolutely, without question they are and that goes for both sides. Do I place my money on the team with the best paper roster... I do. But... the bottom line is that baseball is a game with small game of inches type margins and there is absolutely no breathing room for anyone come sudden death playoff time... no matter how strong they make their roster. This is because sudden death means that you can't make up for a bad May with a fantastic June. 

 

You improve your roster at the trade deadlines to improve your chances but you can never improve them enough to guarantee yourself a walk through the park even if the Twins and A's managed to sneak in some how.  

 

That's the why the goal every off-season should be to build a roster strong enough to get you through the long grind of the 162 game schedule and into the playoffs and the goal of every trade deadline should be to improve any contending team in preparation for the small sample size dogfight that they earned the right to participate in. 

 

In that small sample size dogfight... teams are going to take on a new shape... such as using Chris Sale or Clayton Kershaw in the ninth... with again... no guarantee that Sale or Kershaw won't give up a 3 run home run to lose 6 to 5. A little inside out bloop to RF can rip the guts out of the powerful team, A bad call by the home plate umpire (See Didi Gregorius 1st Inning - Twins Vs Yankees WC 2017). It's a game of inches on the field and that is why the stat people haven't nailed it down yet. And I am 100% behind analytics. 

 

It's a bad year to make these points because the Red Sox pretty much went wire to wire as the top team but this is a very rare thing. Every year... people look at the Dodgers and go... they got Kershaw who is going to pitch Games 1,4 and 7 and just shut the other team down and often times you check the aftermath stats and find out that Kershaw was average to below average at the wrong time. 

 

If you look at what happened this year... It was Arcia who stepped up for the Brewers while Milwaukee wondered what happened to Yelich. The Brewers completely shut down the Rockies talented offense with Chacin and Miley and a bullpen and they did it when every single expert on the planet was saying that the Brewers didn't have enough pitching to compete in the playoffs. There is no way a GM or Fan or a spreadsheet with an automated algorithm can identify that happening during the small sample size that is the playoffs and this gives the Royals hope that they can perfectly time a 12-8 record at the absolute right time but the Royals will not be given the opportunity unless they get through the 162 game grind to qualify for the playoffs. 

 

If the Indians dismantle at all this season. The Central is wide open and avoiding the sudden death wild card gives a chip and a chair and a chance and just maybe Max Kepler decides to go 15 for 20 at the right as we stun the Yankees.

 

 

 

 

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#49 Riverbrian

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 03:55 PM

No GM should look at the Red Sox and say we can't compete. GM's have to compete against all 30 teams. 

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#50 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 04:02 PM

 

SneakyHandsomeAssassinbug-size_restricte

Good choice of meme, it pretty much sums up my position. :)

 

I could have gone on to say that the Royals' 13-6 run this year included a sequence involving 4 losses in 5 games in early September that could have put the kibosh on a deep playoff run. I mean 12-8 is just an amusing lowest bar to have to attain; most teams that win it all run up a much better playoff record than this minimum.

 

I really have no quarrel with your plan to acquire talent this off-season. Hoping for the exact 12-8 combination just isn't my rationale for it, is all. A team whose main hope is to thread that particular needle isn't going to win many hearts, most years. And making such an observation is a far cry from me expecting a team that "guarantees" walks in the park or any such thing come playoff time.

 

 

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#51 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 04:08 PM

This is an interesting and well reasoned post but I don't know that I quite agree with your main point. While the best regular season team in baseball won the World Series this year, it really doesn't happen all that often that the 2 best teams get to the World Series or that the best team wins the World Series. There are a lot of reasons for this.

Often the teams best constructed to win a lot of regular season games, are not necessarily best constructed to winning a short series against other nearly as good teams. Things such as a deep starting staff, a strong 40 roster to help withstand injuries, even a deep bullpen, is often less valuable in the postseason. Matchups are a big deal in the postseason. When the Twins lost those series to the Yankees in the early 2000's part of the issue was that the Twins left handed hitting lineup was neutralized by the Yankee left handed pitching.

Another factor is that teams change during the year. A team can be a lot better by the end and total wins won't reflect that.

The biggest thing though is that because of the number of games played there often isn't as much difference between a 90 win team and a 100 plus winning team as many people assume. It is a little like the difference between a 12 win team and a 10 win team in the NFL. There can be a difference but strength of schedule and other factors reduce the importance.

I don't have much disagreement with your points, since they seem in response to something I wasn't trying to say. Both you and Brian seem to have inferred that I require being the best team in the playoffs before I get interested. Maybe that means I worded it vaguely. All I was arguing against was the notion that being worse ("any team") than the worst team in the playoffs gives you even a puncher's chance at a WS ring.

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#52 Jim Hahn

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 05:28 PM

I thought Brian was arguing that the primary goal should be getting to the playoffs, I tend to agree with that, since you can't win the World Series unless you do. While being being as good as the best teams is a great goal, it doesn't guarantee you anything. Several years ago Kansas City barely dragged itself itself into the playoffs and nearly won the World Series. They weren't the best team in baseball that year. So it happens. The primary job is to get to the playoffs. Several posters seem to arguing that if can't make yourself as good as Boston or Houston you have no chance and you might as well tear things down and start over.

What I want is a team that can be a contender for the playoffs every year. If you do that you will likely get your chances at the World Series.
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#53 70charger

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 05:36 AM

It's certainly possible as it is with everybody, but he's got much more of a starter type profile than the usual type of guys that thought comes out for, in my opinion. Honestly, I think the RP risk is higher for Fernando Romero than it is Thorpe.
 
Thorpe has a full pitch repertoire, misses a lot of bats as a starter already, and really the only issue I think that would bring that up is he didn't pitch for two years.


I was pretty shocked to hear the bullpen mentioned for Thorpe. For me, that’s a failure of development.

His pitch mix, durability, and makeup scream starter. He’s not leaning on a wild 99 mph heater with a marginal secondary. He’s got four pitches, none of which blow you away, but great pitchability. His upside seems like innings eater at worst. If he puts it together he’s he real deal.
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#54 Riverbrian

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 10:08 AM

 

I don't have much disagreement with your points, since they seem in response to something I wasn't trying to say. Both you and Brian seem to have inferred that I require being the best team in the playoffs before I get interested. Maybe that means I worded it vaguely. All I was arguing against was the notion that being worse ("any team") than the worst team in the playoffs gives you even a puncher's chance at a WS ring.

 

Just for clarification. I've known you long enough to make the assumption that you grasp nuance, blind squirrels and the such so I hope I'm not making any such inferences. 

 

The debate I'm participating in is:

1. Does the Roster have to resemble Boston's or Houston's on paper before the go-button is pressed?

2. Does it matter if you make the playoffs with a roster that doesn't look like Boston's or Houston's on paper. 

 

My answer to both of those questions is:

1. The Roster doesn't have to resemble Boston's or Houston's before the go-button is pressed? Hitting the go button is how you get there. 

2. Putting a team together that makes the playoffs should be the exclusive immediate goal every off-season unless the team is tearing it down. If you succeed and find the team in contention, regardless if the roster resembles Boston's or Houston's, you should supplement the team at the trade deadline and support whatever is happening on the field. (Nuance Alert: This doesn't mean trading Royce Lewis for a support piece).:)  

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#55 Major League Ready

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 07:48 AM

 

I assumed they meant exactly what they said. They'll be in year three in 2019. "Competitive every year" means every year, including 2019. They've had ample time to do all that other stuff. Go get the actual players that will result in a competitive team, one that can challenge for a division title and get to the postseason. They have money, trade assets, their own managerial staff, and have had time. "Waiting" is just another word for failure.

 

BTW, I did not assume "competitive" means they have to be built like Houston, you're the one doing that. 

 

Actually, you and I consistently talk about two different things. In this case, I was talking about the need to build analytics and other management personnel as well as the programs and practices that improve drafting and development. Your focus is always right now as in the case of selling at the deadline last year or now putting the best team possible on the field next year regardless of if that team is actually a contender or if it will likely cost us in the future.

 

The other way in which I have consistently defined contender of late is in the context of a roster that can compete with not just Houston but NY, and Boston. Are you saying we don't have comparable players to compete because that is inconsistent with the whole Lamborghini kick you were on.

 

Everyone does a great job of providing statistics and fact based comparisons of players. Not one person has provided any measure or projection of how many wins should be expected from any given blueprint. Is that how businesses operate? Here is a plan, not sure if it gets us to our goal but let's drop $75M and hope for the best. Of course not which brings us to the real issue. Many here just can't except the MN Twins baseball team is a business. Most everyone understands it's a business for the players and they will act accordingly. Somehow that concept is absolutely lost on many where the team is concerned.

 

 

Edited by Major Leauge Ready, 17 November 2018 - 07:49 AM.


#56 jorgenswest

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 08:31 AM

Carson Cistulli compared Thorpe to Jalen Beeks. Both left handed with similar polish and command. Both with questionable fastball.

The good news to me is Beeks returned Eovaldi in trade so there is solid value there. For the most part, the Rays used Beeks as the guy who pitches after the opener. The Twins need left handed pitching whether he lands at the back of the rotation or the bullpen. They need guys that they can flip for pitching help when they are contending for the playoffs next July. It is encouraging to know that the Twins have prospects of this value outside their top 10.

#57 caninatl04

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Posted 25 November 2018 - 04:32 PM

Over at FanGraphs, Craig Edwards both ranked and put a dollar value on all the farm systems across baseball. The Twins slotted in at seventh behind only the Padres, Braves, White Sox, Rays, Blue Jays and Reds.

I took a close look at this. It is interesting that this site values 50-level players by quite a bit. I guess I would have placed higher weights on 60-level players.



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