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Article: Shoring Up Twins Bullpen Will Be a Mighty Challenge

taylor rogers ryne harper fernando romero
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#41 birdwatcher

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 02:34 PM

 

Yeah, I think it is much more likely that the FO doubted that Pressly would become a top-10 reliever going forward. And that is a problem with the hindsight argument - there is no guarrantee that the Twins would have been able to unlock Pressly's full potential in the same way that the Astros did. 

 

 

I think you're probably right, that it wasn't a "we're not competing" thing, but rather a "guess he was more valuable than we thought" thing.

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#42 Tomj14

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 02:37 PM

 


 

As for Alcala, in light of the current discussion, I wonder if it's time to just move him to the bullpen and be done with the starting thing. Relief has always seemed like his eventual role anyway. He hasn't completed 6 innings in a start at AA this year and his results have been really underwhelming. 

For the most part it seems as if the Twins are prepping all their minor league pitchers for the bullpen since it seems rare any of them go beyond 70 pitches or so.

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#43 bighat

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 02:41 PM

 

Maybe, maybe not. And the more games I watch the more I'm convinced this team needs another solid starter as well.

 

Yeah. And I worry that the few premium arms that are out there (ie: Smith, Iglesias, etc) will be available but only for a king's ransom. The bidding wars for those guys will be high. The real winners at the trade deadline will be the Giants and Reds, no question.

 

Remember when the Twins traded Fernando Abad a couple years ago? He was a so-so middle relief guy who was pitching with an ERA in the mid 2's. Not a flashy name. Twins got Pat Light for him, BTW.

 

I think that's the type of guys we'll see come over here. Names that aren't on the top of the list, maybe just some more average guys without a big price tag. Frankly I'm not sure they'll be any improvement on what the Twins already have.

 

Personally I think at this point with Perez absolutely dragging this team into the ditch, the Twins have to spend those high-level prospects on a starter. I just can't see them paying such a huge price for a BP arm.


#44 Alex Schieferdecker

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 02:49 PM

I've been encouraged by the trend this year of guys like Duffey, Harper, and May earning more prominent roles.

 

I'd like to see Stewart back up with the Twins soon to get another relief appearance. I tend to group he and Littell together out of convenience, since both are similar ages and similarly seem to have little future as starters. But I'm optimistic that both may prove useful in the bullpen.

 

Eades and Poppen also showed some flashes. Out of those four Rochester prospects, there are reasons to be intrigued. The Twins have a lot of lines in the water right now. 

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#45 markos

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 03:16 PM

 

It's not hindsight for many.

 

This sounds to me like an argument that the current Twins coaching staff needs upgrading. Is that your point? The Twins don't have the staff to get the most out of players?

 

Not to mention, there's no guarantee Pressly needed any "unlocking." As Spycake and others have pointed out, Pressly was already really good, and getting better, when dealt.

I'm not trying to be that judgmental of the Twins coaching staff. I think a player's developmental progression is highly path dependent, and that the dynamics of when/how coaches work with a player aren't necessarily recreate-able. I don't blame the Twins for every single played that has found success in other organizations. Sure, I think you can make judgments of the organization's ability based on the broad pattern of players, but certainly not on any one specific player. Using Pressly as an example, it is fairly well known that the Astros came to him after the trade and presented data for how to change his pitch mix. The Twins could have presented the exact same information, but Pressly has a much longer track record with the Twins organization, and there might not be the same buy-in, especially since he was already pitching as well as he ever had in his career. The Astros, by virtue of being a fresh voice and having explicitly sought Pressly out, could approach these changes in a very different way than the Twins could. 

 

And yes, Pressly was pitching well prior to the trade, but you need to put a lot of weight on his last 10 appearances with the Twins if you think you could predict his Astros level of success based on his Twins performance. Now, don't get me wrong, I think he was a solid bet to be above-average going forward; I did not predict "top 5 reliever in baseball". As an interesting juxtaposition, the Pirates acquired Keone Kela at the same deadline. While not a perfect analogy to Pressly, he was also a young, very good reliever with team control remaining. He is currently on the 60-day IL with a shoulder issue. Teams only have so much control over preventing injuries. Are we having this conversation if Pressly was the one that ended up injured? Reliever performance is historically quite volatile, I don't hold it against the Twins FO that they thought it was a sell-high moment for Pressly.

 

Going back to the small sample size, what is everyone's prediction for Duffey going forward? His last ten appearances compared to Pressly's prior to the trade:

Pressly: 10.0 IP, 0.90 ERA, 33.3 K%, 7.1 BB%, 1.10 WHIP

Duffey: 13.0 IP, 0.69 ERA, 32.1 K%, 7.1 BB%, 1.08 WHIP

 

I've been extremely optimistic about Duffey for weeks now, but I'm not ready to anoint him a top-10 relief pitcher going forward. But at least superficially, there are a lot of similarities between Duffey this year and Pressly's 2018.

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#46 notoriousgod71

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 03:58 PM

 

What I take from the list of "a lot of seemingly tantalizing relief options out there" is that there really isn't much likely to be out there.

 

It's going to be difficult to improve the bullpen.

 

It's going to be difficult to improve the bullpen, yet a guy capable of throwing together a 5.00 ERA would do it! That is the riddle, known as the Twins bullpen.


#47 Original Whizzinator

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 04:31 PM

Great article, Nick.
 
Is it possible the biggest help will come from within the organization?Perhaps May or Duffey or Littell take that final step and becomes a shut down reliever the last 60 days of the season.They still have to go out and try to bring in some help, but maybe one of the three will step up.
 
One avenue you haven't mentioned is if a current starter would be converted to the pen.That could happen should their big move being a trade for a young starter who would be protected for a couple years.Not real certain if Pineda or Perez would be any better than what we have seen.But could be a partial fix.

Perez didn't look good at all early this year so there is that.

#48 Original Whizzinator

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 04:40 PM

Pressly was pretty great for the Twins leading up to the trade, and our pitching coaches have done well (the Taylor Rogers turnaround last year, and Johnson's work this year). I mean, obviously it's a hypothetical with no way to test it for certain, but I think it's safe to assume that Pressly would have continued being pretty great in a Twins uniform.

Well we always talk about selling high and maybe the Twins thought they were with Pressly. Well then there you have it. Maybe the Twins need a magic eightball and an ivy league educated magic eightball operator.
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#49 Riverbrian

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 04:53 PM

 

This is just me, but like your adamant view on the flexibility and opportunity issue, I'm a rigid believer that there is not an acceptable prospect return for a MLB stalwart (Pressly) when losing him converts a pothole into a sinkhole. Not anticipating being in contention in 2019? I certainly HOPE this FO doesn't think like that, although they gave us reasons to be suspicious with their clumsy sell/buy antics at the deadline two years ago. So yeah, getting what we hope will be a good return will take some of the sting out of this lousy decision, it's far from consoling me in the present.

 

I have a bigger problem with letting all those relief prospects walk without some semblance of a return than I do with not giving them a chance. They may have simply concluded in some cases that they didn't have great futures, I don't know. And in one or two cases, the timing simply boxed them into a corner because of injury complications in particular.

 

In Hindsight, Bard might be the one who got away, although he sports a 0.1 YTD WAR (not the perfect metric, but good enough for this). None of the others, given opportunities with new teams, are lighting it up. Anderson, -0.1 WAR; Chargois, -0.1 WAR; Burdi, -0.5 WAR; Curtiss, 0.0 WAR and DFA'd; Derek Rodriguez, -0.5 WAR; Randy Rosario, -0.2 WAR.

 

My guess is that if this FO picked any of these guys up today as unfamiliar names to test them as bullpen options, we'd hear a lot of screaming about it.

 

I wasn't for the Pressly deal either because his contract wasn't expiring, but when I personally rank it... I put it below the loss of Anderson because:

 

Because we still don't know what we got in return from Houston... Who knows... we might have got something. We know we got nothing in return for Anderson but yeah... I agree with you. Keep your MLB assets with the control. So both were questionable in my opinion.  

 

One area where you and I might differ is the trust in the evaluation process. I trust the front office to better at player evaluation then the average bear and I have no issues with the current front office.

 

However... I can't stress this enough... the margins are razor thin, so thin that every front office makes big evaluation mistakes frequently enough that you can't give them the benefit of the doubt to have the science down pat. This team was going nowhere in 2018... Belisle on this roster was pointless... You traded, Duke and Pressly out of the pen. It's time to start giving players the opportunity to show what they can do for 2019 and beyond. Not doing that was a waste of roster space and it's how you lose players that you should have kept. 

 

If the people doing the evaluations determined that Anderson wasn't major league capable therefore no reason to give him a look see in 2018.... They were wrong! That is just another example of how thin those margins are and why the professional evaluations can't be trusted... even if they are good at it.  

 

No matter what that small sample size ERA says currently... or his small sample size WAR. He is striking out two batters per inning. This the major leagues and not many pitchers can strike out batters at that pace at this level. We didn't give this type of arm a chance and now we have Morin on the roster who Baldelli will only use if the score is 10-0. 

 

Nick Anderson would be an important part of this current bullpen. They blew it and now we will have to give back our Pressly gains to reacquire a Pressly type when Anderson or Bard or Burdi might have lessened that need.  

 

This is part of the reason why I'm all about opportunity. This is why we can't let Morrison hog all the AB's. Every 660K player that helps you win games is money that can be applied toward more other players that can help you win games. Every 600K player you identify through performance is a rising stock for higher trade value.  

 

I respect the front office but in no way do I trust them and they shouldn't trust themselves either. Let the players prove it. It just makes these razor thin decisions so much easier. 

 

As for the screaming about it. I'm used to it. Hand your players the ball.:)

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#50 jimbo92107

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 05:00 PM

 

If that were the case, Kyle Gibson should also have been dealt. He was at his ultimate peak value and still had 1 1/2 years of control. If the haul for Pressly was pretty good, the return on Gibson should have been much better.

Good point, except that the level of trade excitement for Gibson was not as high as for Pressly. I think teams looked at Gibson's improvements as an anomaly in an otherwise disappointing career. Pressly was easier to read - he looked like a blossoming fireball closer. I think the Twins may have tried to market Gibson, but they were disappointed in the counter offers. In the case of Gibson, the Twins held onto what they had because Gibson's perceived value wasn't that high. 

 

Again, there's a chance that Alcala will blossom into a fireball relief pitcher, too. And there's a chance that Celestino will round out into a good outfielder, tho that seems less likely at the moment. Unfortunately, neither of those things will happen this season, when the Twins need it most. 

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#51 spycake

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 05:04 PM

I'm not trying to be that judgmental of the Twins coaching staff. I think a player's developmental progression is highly path dependent, and that the dynamics of when/how coaches work with a player aren't necessarily recreate-able. I don't blame the Twins for every single played that has found success in other organizations. Sure, I think you can make judgments of the organization's ability based on the broad pattern of players, but certainly not on any one specific player. Using Pressly as an example, it is fairly well known that the Astros came to him after the trade and presented data for how to change his pitch mix. The Twins could have presented the exact same information, but Pressly has a much longer track record with the Twins organization, and there might not be the same buy-in, especially since he was already pitching as well as he ever had in his career. The Astros, by virtue of being a fresh voice and having explicitly sought Pressly out, could approach these changes in a very different way than the Twins could.

And yes, Pressly was pitching well prior to the trade, but you need to put a lot of weight on his last 10 appearances with the Twins if you think you could predict his Astros level of success based on his Twins performance. Now, don't get me wrong, I think he was a solid bet to be above-average going forward; I did not predict "top 5 reliever in baseball". As an interesting juxtaposition, the Pirates acquired Keone Kela at the same deadline. While not a perfect analogy to Pressly, he was also a young, very good reliever with team control remaining. He is currently on the 60-day IL with a shoulder issue. Teams only have so much control over preventing injuries. Are we having this conversation if Pressly was the one that ended up injured? Reliever performance is historically quite volatile, I don't hold it against the Twins FO that they thought it was a sell-high moment for Pressly.

Going back to the small sample size, what is everyone's prediction for Duffey going forward? His last ten appearances compared to Pressly's prior to the trade:
Pressly: 10.0 IP, 0.90 ERA, 33.3 K%, 7.1 BB%, 1.10 WHIP
Duffey: 13.0 IP, 0.69 ERA, 32.1 K%, 7.1 BB%, 1.08 WHIP

I've been extremely optimistic about Duffey for weeks now, but I'm not ready to anoint him a top-10 relief pitcher going forward. But at least superficially, there are a lot of similarities between Duffey this year and Pressly's 2018.


I think Pressly showed more in 2018 for the Twins than just his last 10 games. For his whole season with the Twins, 47 innings, he had the highest Twins reliever K% since Joe Nathan. Solid ERA- and even better FIP-/xFIP-. All with above average leverage deployment too. He wasn't top 10 in baseball but he was plenty valuable to the Twins.

If Duffey gets up to 47 innings this year (he's at 22 now), with above average leverage (he's at .68 now), and still has his same rate stats, I will also be upset if the Twins trade him for a couple 40 FV prospects. :)
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#52 Darius

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 05:47 PM

Great relievers are developed....then traded to the Astros for marginal prospects that will never see Target Field.

#53 yarnivek1972

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 05:58 PM

I'm not trying to be that judgmental of the Twins coaching staff. I think a player's developmental progression is highly path dependent, and that the dynamics of when/how coaches work with a player aren't necessarily recreate-able. I don't blame the Twins for every single played that has found success in other organizations. Sure, I think you can make judgments of the organization's ability based on the broad pattern of players, but certainly not on any one specific player. Using Pressly as an example, it is fairly well known that the Astros came to him after the trade and presented data for how to change his pitch mix. The Twins could have presented the exact same information, but Pressly has a much longer track record with the Twins organization, and there might not be the same buy-in, especially since he was already pitching as well as he ever had in his career. The Astros, by virtue of being a fresh voice and having explicitly sought Pressly out, could approach these changes in a very different way than the Twins could.

And yes, Pressly was pitching well prior to the trade, but you need to put a lot of weight on his last 10 appearances with the Twins if you think you could predict his Astros level of success based on his Twins performance. Now, don't get me wrong, I think he was a solid bet to be above-average going forward; I did not predict "top 5 reliever in baseball". As an interesting juxtaposition, the Pirates acquired Keone Kela at the same deadline. While not a perfect analogy to Pressly, he was also a young, very good reliever with team control remaining. He is currently on the 60-day IL with a shoulder issue. Teams only have so much control over preventing injuries. Are we having this conversation if Pressly was the one that ended up injured? Reliever performance is historically quite volatile, I don't hold it against the Twins FO that they thought it was a sell-high moment for Pressly.

Going back to the small sample size, what is everyone's prediction for Duffey going forward? His last ten appearances compared to Pressly's prior to the trade:
Pressly: 10.0 IP, 0.90 ERA, 33.3 K%, 7.1 BB%, 1.10 WHIP
Duffey: 13.0 IP, 0.69 ERA, 32.1 K%, 7.1 BB%, 1.08 WHIP

I've been extremely optimistic about Duffey for weeks now, but I'm not ready to anoint him a top-10 relief pitcher going forward. But at least superficially, there are a lot of similarities between Duffey this year and Pressly's 2018.


I don’t think anyone is saying that the Twins should have known they were giving up one of the best relievers in MLB for a couple lotto tickets. But they damn sure should have known they were giving up the best reliever THEY HAD by a considerable margin for those lotto tickets.
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#54 birdwatcher

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:05 PM

 

I'm not trying to be that judgmental of the Twins coaching staff. I think a player's developmental progression is highly path dependent, and that the dynamics of when/how coaches work with a player aren't necessarily recreate-able. I don't blame the Twins for every single played that has found success in other organizations. Sure, I think you can make judgments of the organization's ability based on the broad pattern of players, but certainly not on any one specific player. Using Pressly as an example, it is fairly well known that the Astros came to him after the trade and presented data for how to change his pitch mix. The Twins could have presented the exact same information, but Pressly has a much longer track record with the Twins organization, and there might not be the same buy-in, especially since he was already pitching as well as he ever had in his career. The Astros, by virtue of being a fresh voice and having explicitly sought Pressly out, could approach these changes in a very different way than the Twins could. 

 

And yes, Pressly was pitching well prior to the trade, but you need to put a lot of weight on his last 10 appearances with the Twins if you think you could predict his Astros level of success based on his Twins performance. Now, don't get me wrong, I think he was a solid bet to be above-average going forward; I did not predict "top 5 reliever in baseball". As an interesting juxtaposition, the Pirates acquired Keone Kela at the same deadline. While not a perfect analogy to Pressly, he was also a young, very good reliever with team control remaining. He is currently on the 60-day IL with a shoulder issue. Teams only have so much control over preventing injuries. Are we having this conversation if Pressly was the one that ended up injured? Reliever performance is historically quite volatile, I don't hold it against the Twins FO that they thought it was a sell-high moment for Pressly.

 

Going back to the small sample size, what is everyone's prediction for Duffey going forward? His last ten appearances compared to Pressly's prior to the trade:

Pressly: 10.0 IP, 0.90 ERA, 33.3 K%, 7.1 BB%, 1.10 WHIP

Duffey: 13.0 IP, 0.69 ERA, 32.1 K%, 7.1 BB%, 1.08 WHIP

 

I've been extremely optimistic about Duffey for weeks now, but I'm not ready to anoint him a top-10 relief pitcher going forward. But at least superficially, there are a lot of similarities between Duffey this year and Pressly's 2018.

 

 

Terrific post.


#55 Darius

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:08 PM

The excuses I’m reading regarding the Pressley trade are starting to get a little rich.

1). Is they can’t develop pitchers like some other organizations, they’re just not that good at developing pitching. Wasn’t that one of the main bullet points when we brought them in?

2). People are saying the front office needed more than the significant amount of time he spent patching well for this club. Really? Then why would the Astros target him for trade? They had nothing more than game tape and scouting reports.

3). The sentiment that Astros got lucky, and he just happened to explode after arriving in Houston is just flat out ludicrous.

4). If they thought this team wouldn’t compete in 2019, they didn’t have a very good handle on what they had here. It’s Rosario, Kepler, Buxton, Polanco, Berrios, Gibson, Odiorizzi, Garvey, Castro, etc that are driving this team’s success. Not Jonathan Schoop or Marwin Gonzalez. They shouldn’t get a pass for their faulty assessment of their own team.

At the end of the day, they got brought and paid to make the right decisions. To this point, it’s primarily been the previous regime’s players that have turned things around. And now, their prized number 1 overall pick is flailing in A ball.

The Astros turned around and laughed all the way to the back, with arguably the best reliever in the game right now, for what amounts to almost nothing. Why is so hard to some to admit that Falvine got taken behind the woodshed by superior baseball minds. Not only that, but could’ve well put the nail in the coffin of this current team’s World Series aspirations before they even knew they existed.

I need to start seeing more out of Falvine in terms of player acquisition. So many have chosen to blindly follow these guys because they’re young, cool, and follow all the trendy analytics. I’ll base my opinion on results. This year has been great....but it’s far from over and we’re seeing the seams start to fray.
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#56 birdwatcher

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:17 PM

 

I wasn't for the Pressly deal either because his contract wasn't expiring, but when I personally rank it... I put it below the loss of Anderson because:

 

Because we still don't know what we got in return from Houston... Who knows... we might have got something. We know we got nothing in return for Anderson but yeah... I agree with you. Keep your MLB assets with the control. So both were questionable in my opinion.  

 

One area where you and I might differ is the trust in the evaluation process. I trust the front office to better at player evaluation then the average bear and I have no issues with the current front office.

 

However... I can't stress this enough... the margins are razor thin, so thin that every front office makes big evaluation mistakes frequently enough that you can't give them the benefit of the doubt to have the science down pat. This team was going nowhere in 2018... Belisle on this roster was pointless... You traded, Duke and Pressly out of the pen. It's time to start giving players the opportunity to show what they can do for 2019 and beyond. Not doing that was a waste of roster space and it's how you lose players that you should have kept. 

 

If the people doing the evaluations determined that Anderson wasn't major league capable therefore no reason to give him a look see in 2018.... They were wrong! That is just another example of how thin those margins are and why the professional evaluations can't be trusted... even if they are good at it.  

 

No matter what that small sample size ERA says currently... or his small sample size WAR. He is striking out two batters per inning. This the major leagues and not many pitchers can strike out batters at that pace at this level. We didn't give this type of arm a chance and now we have Morin on the roster who Baldelli will only use if the score is 10-0. 

 

Nick Anderson would be an important part of this current bullpen. They blew it and now we will have to give back our Pressly gains to reacquire a Pressly type when Anderson or Bard or Burdi might have lessened that need.  

 

This is part of the reason why I'm all about opportunity. This is why we can't let Morrison hog all the AB's. Every 660K player that helps you win games is money that can be applied toward more other players that can help you win games. Every 600K player you identify through performance is a rising stock for higher trade value.  

 

I respect the front office but in no way do I trust them and they shouldn't trust themselves either. Let the players prove it. It just makes these razor thin decisions so much easier. 

 

As for the screaming about it. I'm used to it. Hand your players the ball.:)

 

 

 

Well hells bells, now that you put it that way...you convinced me (although Belisle helped!) and now not giving Nick Anderson a chance was worse than not getting anything in return. (Well, we got Brian Schales)

 

Wouldn't you love it if some access media type corralled our Development Director and quizzed the bejesus out of him on these decisions? Not to call them out so much, because you and I know mistakes are inevitable and forgivable, but because it would be fascinating to know a lot more about their thought process, their philosophy, their strategy, and what goes into decisions to just let a guy like Nick Anderson walk with no real return on your considerable investment in his increased value.

Edited by birdwatcher, 25 June 2019 - 06:33 PM.

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#57 Riverbrian

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:39 PM

 

Well hells bells, now that you put it that way...you convinced me (although Belisle helped!) and now not givinf Nick Anderson a chance was worse than not getting anything in return.

 

Wouldn't yo love it if some access media type corralled that Development Director and quizzed the bejesus out of him on these decisions? I mean, not to call them out so much, because you and I know mistakes are inevitable and forgivable, but because it would be fascinating to know a lot more about their thought process, their philosophy, their strategy, and what goes into decisions to just let a guy like Nick Anderson walk with no return on your considerable investment in his increased value.

 

I would Jeff Goldblum myself to the wall just to hear the inside discussions.:D

 

I'm not sure I'd want to hold their feet to the fire because they won't be the last mistakes they make. I probably made at least two mistakes at work today myself. 

 

I honestly believe that any front office can limit these type of mistakes... not by being better assessors of talent player by player but with an overall shift in the fundamentals of the identification of talent. 600K talents are gifts from the baseball gods. Why wouldn't a team out of contention do everything they can to identify 600K talent with mulitple years of control. 

 

Why Belisle? Why did Forsythe play every day? Maybe it's why Molitor isn't here. I don't know but wasting roster spots on those two blocked and filled two roster spots that could be used to find 600K talent for 2020. 

 

All they had to do was give Anderson the chance that he earned with his performance in Rochester. They chose Belise?

 

This is so logical... that I can't understand how a professional organization can't see it. Whoever decided that Anderson wasn't worth the effort was wrong. Whoever decided that Belisle made more sense for 2020 was wrong.

 

And now I don't trust them. But then again... keep in mind... I probably made a couple of mistakes at work today myself. 

 

 

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#58 Doomtints

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:55 PM

 

Yeah, I think it is much more likely that the FO doubted that Pressly would become a top-10 reliever going forward. And that is a problem with the hindsight argument - there is no guarrantee that the Twins would have been able to unlock Pressly's full potential in the same way that the Astros did. 

 

I dunno ... mass media sure seemed to think he was a top-10 reliever at the time of the trade.

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#59 spycake

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 07:38 PM

FWIW, on the day of the trade, Pressly ranked 10th among MLB relievers in xFIP- (min. 40 IP). :) Also 11th in K%.
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#60 Danchat

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 07:54 PM

 

Great relievers are developed....then traded to the Astros for marginal prospects that will never see Target Field.

Have you returned to the future and you're telling us that Alcala and Celestino flame out, or are you just assuming that? Methinks Alcala is going to be a solid MLB reliever for the Twins at some point. The Astros likely won the trade but it won't be so bad if Alcala ends up as a high-leverage arm in the Twins pen in the future.

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Mock Draft 2019

Running Back Rankings - 2019 Draft Class




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