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Article: The Top 20 Minnesota Twins Assets of 2019: Part 4 (1-5)

brusdar graterol alex kirilloff byron buxton jose berrios royce lewis
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#21 PDX Twin

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 10:01 AM

 

Yes, Astudillo needs to be on the list. I would have downgraded Buxton to get him closer to Sano (wherever you rank those two they should be side by side). Although, I do hope you are correct that Buxton will have a productive 2019. I am hesitant Buxton will get back on track - mainly as his head is not on straight after not getting called up at the end of 2018. Buxton's struggles on the field have seemed to coincide with mental struggles. Although, I am not sure what came first - the chicken or the egg/Buxton's on-field or mental struggles. They seem intertwined. I think the Twins need to let Buxton play with no pressure, put him the #9 spot and tell him to just play baseball. The mental struggle seems real with Buxton.

 

And this, it seems to me, is the job of the new manager. Whatever happened in the Molitor era is water under the bridge. It's up to the manager and coaching staff to help make sure that players get the right kinds of support, encouragement, or discipline to make the most of their physical skills. Based on what I've read about Mr. Baldelli, I'm cautiously optimistic.

It's great to get out of the cellar ... as long as you bring something with you.


#22 JLease

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 10:17 AM

It's a fun exercise. I could (and have) quibbled with the rankings a little here and there, but overall it's certainly a reasonable set. Part of what i think people need to remmber is how much team control, upside projections, and replaceability factor into something like this. Corner OFs are easier to find than SS, etc.

 

Can't argue with who the top 5 are. not sure it matters all that much what order they're in?

 

The Mitch Garver ranking entirely depends on whether he can continue to catch, I think. If he's a catcher, he's a significant asset, especially for the twins who don't have another prospect above A ball.

 

I might plug in Larnach over someone like Cron; while I like CJ and I thought it was a good move to grab him this off-season, the high draft pick who has performed right in line with expectations is probably more valuable than the guy who's already been a waiver claim.

 

Thorpe might be the bigger miss though. I think I agree with DocBauer on that one. Meija may be all he'll ever be, and Thorpe could be significantly better. the more I think about Thorpe, the more I think he's going to emerge.


#23 mikelink45

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 10:29 AM

I looked at your overall list and other than the top five or ten it really does not matter where they rank.I would probably drop Gordon from the list - he just is not progressing as we had hoped.I would drop Javier from the list because we have not seen him and he is still a long ways away.  

 

The questions about Rooker are valid, but the Cron/Cruz/Austin signings seem to say that the Twins do not see him as that valuable a piece right now and Larnach seems a little further off, but in fact as I read TD reports, he sounds better.  

I would love to see a listing of the top 20 pitchers - in order.It is interesting to see Berrios so high (where he belongs) Gibson on the list but down low and no Odorrizi, or Pineda.What does that say about our pitching staff? 

 

If I were looking into the future I see Kiriloff in the OF and Kepler somewhere else unless this is his big break out year.But if there is one OF that I think is rated way to high it is Buxton.I know what a great prospect he was, but his development has to show me something this year before I put him in the top ten.

 

Here are the top Twins Pitchers by your rating - who else would be here if you removed all the position players?I would love to see us have more than 8 in the top assets rankings and I would like to see more quality because ultimately the pitchers have to lift us in the standings.

 

18. Adalberto Mejia, LHP
15. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP
13. Kyle Gibson, RHP
12. Trevor May, RHP
10. Taylor Rogers, LHP
6. Fernando Romero, RHP
5. Brusdar Graterol, RHP
2. Jose Berrios, RHP
 


#24 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 10:29 AM

Thanks Nick. A fun series with lots of points to ponder. I've been saying "Wait til next year" for almost a decade now...well it is my humble opinion that "next year" has arrived. But I always get this feeling each year when I order my spring training game tickets. February 23, 2019. Opening night..6:05 pm EST...Twins vs. Rays...Service members night ("Stand and be recognized"). Fireworks (which make some vets nervous). Senior night...ticket, hot dog and drink - $28...My beautiful wife by my side... Florida in February. Life is good.

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#25 rdehring

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 10:49 AM

It seemed to me that your criteria kept shifting, Nick.For that reason I would love to see you write up the criteria that you used in this exercise.Then set up a graph and fit each player into it with X, Y, Z values based on that criteria.Got a feeling the results would be different than what we have seen.  


#26 Nick Nelson

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 10:57 AM

 

3] I have read and re-read your listings over and over again. Just to make sure i haven't missed anything. And nowhere is Lewis Thorpe mentioned. I think you are missing something there my friend.

Thorpe was right on the fringe. Might've been #21. But I've just heard/read enough lukewarm reports on him to temper my optimism at this time, despite the undeniably outstanding performance last year. BP has him 8th among Twins prospects and BA doesn't even have him in their top 10. 


#27 jkcarew

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 11:27 AM

Regarding Larnach and Rooker...

the presence of both (and the similar functional profiles) makes each less vital at the moment... if that makes sense. Should Rooker fail to pan out, they have Larnach for essentially the same role, on a similar timeline. And vice versa.

 

This doesn't make sense to me. Wouldn't the same argument knock (for example) Graterol and Romero down in the rankings...or Rosario and Kepler for that matter. Larnach and Rooker don't even hit from the same side of the plate; Rooker more power and Larnach better contact...even their defensive profiles are not an exact match at this point. And they likely enter the season at least two full levels apart in the system (which is how Graterol and Romero finished last season). Seems everyone else was evaluated based on their own individual circumstance...except Larnach and Rooker.

 

Having said that, they're both probably somewhere around the cusp of the top 20...and I'd have Larnach slightly higher than Rooker.

 

Interesting article/concept and I agree with almost all the rankings, Sano being the outstanding exception.

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#28 ahart10

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 11:31 AM

Berrios and Rosario have shown the most consistency and talent at the MLB level so they have to go 1,2 for me.

1)Berrios
2)Rosario
3)Rogers- elite
4)Kiriloff
5)Lewis
6)Romero
7)Polanco
8)Buxton
9)Garver, as a C
10)Sano
11)Cave
12)Kepler
13)Mejia
14)Astudillo, I know
15)Thorpe
16)May
17)Gonzo
18)Arraez
19)Gordon
20)Cruz, only because the option year.

I looked at it almost like future WAR, for Twins, on current contract.

#29 birddog

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 11:49 AM

Thanks, Nick for the very entertaining article/series. We can agree to disagree but I know you put a lot of time into your research and I wouldn't change much. All of Minnesota hopes Buxtonis deserving of the high rankings. This is such a huge year for him and much of the Twins success will depend on him (and Sano). 

 

I totally agree that Garver has to remain a catcher--and improve dramatically as one--to be that high in rank. As a catcher, 11 sounds about right. But if he is moved to 1B or DH he falls out of the top 20 for sure. It is frightening that two guys we got for nothing on waivers, Cron and Cave, are ahead of Gordon and very close to Sano. That either speaks highly of Falvine's shrewd moves or the Twins inability to develop and foster top line talent. Praying Sano doesn't become another Oswaldo Arcia.


#30 sweetmusicviola16

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 12:50 PM

I don't have much argument with the list. Sano imo is just outside the top 5. I would drop both Cron and May out of top 20. Larnach would be in and one of either Rooker, Enlow or Thorpe. I am confident that if Astudillo were given the chance that he would make this list. In the future.....


#31 spycake

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 01:26 PM

 

3)Rogers- elite

...
7)Polanco

...
12)Kepler

...

I looked at it almost like future WAR, for Twins, on current contract.

 

I know Rogers had 2.2 bWAR / 1.9 fWAR last year, and he has 4 years of control, but even if you think he is very good, that level of output is pretty unsustainable for relievers over the long run. Only 3 relievers averaged 2 fWAR per season over the last 4 years: Jansen, Chapman, and Betances -- and they all required peak seasons of nearly 3+ WAR to do it (they also all have career K/9 rates of 13.5 or higher, vs. Rogers peak of 9.9 so far).

 

By comparison, Polanco posted 1.5 bWAR / 1.3 fWAR in just half a season last year, and has the same 4 years of club control. Kepler also has 4 years of control, and posted 2.8 bWAR / 2.6 fWAR last year, and has averaged 2.3 bWAR / 1.7 fWAR the last 3 years too.

 

Even pedestrian careers from Polanco and Kepler could easily best the WAR of an elite Rogers.

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#32 ahart10

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 01:57 PM

I know Rogers had 2.2 bWAR / 1.9 fWAR last year, and he has 4 years of control, but even if you think he is very good, that level of output is pretty unsustainable for relievers over the long run. Only 3 relievers averaged 2 fWAR per season over the last 4 years: Jansen, Chapman, and Betances -- and they all required peak seasons of nearly 3+ WAR to do it (they also all have career K/9 rates of 13.5 or higher, vs. Rogers peak of 9.9 so far).

By comparison, Polanco posted 1.5 bWAR / 1.3 fWAR in just half a season last year, and has the same 4 years of club control. Kepler also has 4 years of control, and posted 2.8 bWAR / 2.6 fWAR last year, and has averaged 2.3 bWAR / 1.7 fWAR the last 3 years too.

Even pedestrian careers from Polanco and Kepler could easily best the WAR of an elite Rogers.


I know Rogers is an outlier in the WAR part of the equation. Having an elite player anywhere on the roster holds more value to me than an average player. I know it’s a SSS, but he looks really good and is as good a bet as any to outperform his position more so than a Polanco or Kepler.
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#33 TheLeviathan

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 04:03 PM

 

Fair enough points about Rooker / Larnach.

 

Cron was free though. So you wouldn't really be willing to trade either Rooker or Larnach for him; which in my mind makes them better "assets."

 

Here's the realization that helped me:Nick has baked a lot of his personal projections for the 2019 season into these rankings.I'm not saying that's right or wrong, it's just important not to try and view this as a snapshot of the present. 


#34 Nick Nelson

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 05:42 PM

 

Regarding Larnach and Rooker...

the presence of both (and the similar functional profiles) makes each less vital at the moment... if that makes sense. Should Rooker fail to pan out, they have Larnach for essentially the same role, on a similar timeline. And vice versa.

 

This doesn't make sense to me. Wouldn't the same argument knock (for example) Graterol and Romero down in the rankings...or Rosario and Kepler for that matter. Larnach and Rooker don't even hit from the same side of the plate; Rooker more power and Larnach better contact...even their defensive profiles are not an exact match at this point.

Pitchers who can throw in the high 90s, miss bats, and potentially stick as starters are always going to be in high demand. You can never have too many. Rosario and Kepler are both very good defensive outfielders – also a generally valuable profile.

 

It's not clear to me that Larnach or Rooker are going to have much of any defensive value, which means they basically HAVE to hit to be valuable. Both show a lot of promise in that department but we just need to see more. When you start your career toward the bottom of the defensive spectrum there's a lot less margin for coming up short of offensive expectations/potential.

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#35 Monkeypaws

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 06:05 PM

Larnach vs. Rooker: I think Larnach the much better prospect. 

 

a. he is a better hitter for average

 

b. probably better in the field

 

c. much better bb/k ratio

 

d. power is a wash.

 

Mr. Larnach is getting short-changed here.


#36 ewen21

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 06:34 PM

 

Although, I do hope you are correct that Buxton will have a productive 2019. I am hesitant Buxton will get back on track - mainly as his head is not on straight after not getting called up at the end of 2018. Buxton's struggles on the field have seemed to coincide with mental struggles. Although, I am not sure what came first - the chicken or the egg/Buxton's on-field or mental struggles. They seem intertwined. I think the Twins need to let Buxton play with no pressure, put him the #9 spot and tell him to just play baseball. The mental struggle seems real with Buxton.

I agree.There is a noticeable mental component to it, but I am not sure the Twins can create a zero gravity environment where pressure doesn't exist.Pressure is part of the equation and it is entirely on him to learn how to play major league baseball.  

 

There are different things over the years that have left me more and more concerned about his mindset.When he was sent down in 2016 he acted relieved and said,:

"I struggled with pretty much everything," he said. "It wasn't one thing that stood out and it showed. I just had to come back down here and get the pressure off my shoulder, relax and get my confidence back." and from the same article when discussing his teammates in Rochester:

"It's very fun," he said. "We all know each other and we help each other out. We have great team chemistry. We don't even call us a team, we call us a family because of how close we are. We battle every day and we play for each other. That brings us more and more together."

​I remember reading that quote and scratching my head.  

 

 

 

IT's been a whole lot of overthinking and tinkering for four years now.Not sure how the Twins are supposed shield him from the world.Especially now since he spoke out against management and said he 'won't sugarcoat" 

 

:Precisely.The Twins should no longer sugarcoat things for him.Play poorly and you lose your job.This is the business you chose.Be a man and own it

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#37 Aerodeliria

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 01:25 AM

It's an interesting venture and one which naturally generates much discussion. I won't argue with most of the selections but do think that Buxton is too high. As was previously mentioned, I'd have him placed somewhere near Sano. If we think about the physical attributes and the talent potential of both players, we could arguably place them both in the top three or four; however, their problems seem to be related to their mental strength and confidence. Suggestions on how to improve at the plate, on various approaches to hitting and on various tweaks can be useful but only to a point. Once the hitter is standing in the box, their mental approach becomes the deciding factor as to how they will perform. I am hoping against hope that Rocco can cut through the fog and get these two 'stars' to start performing at a level nearer to their potential. Nevertheless, with that said, I feel that this is a much bigger task than just saying, "Let's go back to 2017."

#38 Aerodeliria

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 01:45 AM

PS-I believe the addition of Cruz can be a significant factor towards helping these two young hitters progress. Three cheers to the Twins for going after Cruz.
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#39 ewen21

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 08:39 AM

 

It's an interesting venture and one which naturally generates much discussion. I won't argue with most of the selections but do think that Buxton is too high. As was previously mentioned, I'd have him placed somewhere near Sano. If we think about the physical attributes and the talent potential of both players, we could arguably place them both in the top three or four; however, their problems seem to be related to their mental strength and confidence. Suggestions on how to improve at the plate, on various approaches to hitting and on various tweaks can be useful but only to a point. Once the hitter is standing in the box, their mental approach becomes the deciding factor as to how they will perform. I am hoping against hope that Rocco can cut through the fog and get these two 'stars' to start performing at a level nearer to their potential. Nevertheless, with that said, I feel that this is a much bigger task than just saying, "Let's go back to 2017."

There is a definite lack of maturity on the part of both.I was actually stunned by Buxton's mini tantrum in the children's hospital.He is supposed to be Mr. Humble, but I fail to see where he is any longer.I am also beginning to question his work ethic--as in, is he actually doing what he needs to do to improve?Not sure how much he addresses that both physically and mentally. I would not be shocked if he were doing wind sprints down in Georgia as I type this.Seems as though he really likes doing that stuff.Not so sure he likes hitting so much and that is about 75% of what a position player brings to the table.I have heard people speak rather confidently about his work ethic and athletic ability.If those two things are firmly in place then why doesn't he learn?

 

Buxton is starting to look more like Herb Washington and Renaldo Neiamiah these days.Both guys had speed and other "athletic gifts" (whatever that is) but could not play the sport they suited up to play.Buxton can run down fly balls.There is not a question about it.The problem is he doesn't get to make spectacular plays all that often.The opportunities just are not there.If he is in the lineup daily he gets four opportunities in the batter's box and that overshadows his defense.I don't want to hear about his glove anymore.

 

Sano is even more frustrating because he came up as a 22 year old and made quite an impact in a short period of time.Since then, he has had all sorts of problems finding himself, staying in shape and staying out of troubleHe doesn't seem capable of learning (even moreso than Buxton).I honestly think they are now what Justin and Joe were in 2011 where we just pretended neither of them were going to do anything (or even play) and anything they give us is gravy.We CANNOT operate like this.What the heck went wrong with these two?

 

And, no.....it isn't too early to say that.By now, both were expected to major forces in the lineup.It is most certainly time to start questioning WHY they aren't better and they must inherit a large portion of the blame for where they are now.If it means questioning things about them then so be it.


#40 Twodogs

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 09:46 AM

Great job! Nice work.
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