Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Photo

Front Page: The Twins' Great Advantage (That They Aren't Taking Advantage Of)

  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#1 Matt Braun

Matt Braun

    Cedar Rapids Kernels

  • Twins Daily Contributor
  • 143 posts

Posted 16 January 2020 - 07:15 PM

Fresh off the Josh Donaldson news, it is becoming harder to criticize the Twins front office as they pushed their chips in and took a free agent risk that the franchise has never seen before. For that, they should absolutely be commended. However, there does remain one area where they have been stingy but should look to change their ways.People say that there are many ways to build a baseball team but personally I think the only way to do so is with MLB players.

Terrible dad jokes aside, the roster configuration of the Twins is now a nice mix of homegrown players (some of whom are now locked up long-term) and free agent signings who supplemented the talent that is lacking in some places. The final major avenue remaining for the Twins is to acquire players by trading away prospects for major league talent.

Currently, 10 players on the Twins’ 40 man roster were acquired via trade: Jorge Alcala, Dakota Chalmers, Trevor May, Jhoan Duran, Zack Littell, Devin Smeltzer, Jake Odorizzi, Jake Cave, Gilberto Celestino and Luke Raley. Of those players, Jake Odorizzi is the only player who had any major league playing time at the time of the deal. Compare that to, let’s say, the Yankees who have seven players who had major league experience when they were acquired along with a number of players who they re-signed after trading for them and, well, the Twins number sure seems awfully low.

Of course, it’s somewhat unfair to compare the Twins to the Yankees because the Yankees can more afford to take a hit if they lose a high level prospect or two. Yet at the same time, the Twins’ system of development is good enough right now that they could tap into their factory of player development and replace their lost prospect(s) with other homegrown ones that have already been acquired through drafting (not to self advertise but this was something Tom, Cooper, and I talked about on a podcast that can be found here).

Farm systems can be used for more than just replenishing the major league team, and trading away prospects can be a necessity at times in order to avoid losing them to the Rule 5 draft. Specifically for the Twins, look at their current major league outfield along with the outfielders they have in the system and the math just doesn’t work out. There aren’t enough spots to go around. It’s awesome to have a plethora of prospects like Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Luke Raley, Brent Rooker, Akil Baddoo, Gilberto Celestino, and Gabriel Maciel among others, but all of them simply can’t be a part of the future of the Twins and getting something for them would be much better than losing them for nothing.

This is another area where the Twins can look toward the Yankees as Brian Cashman is notorious for trading away prospects who are soon to be Rule 5 eligible but who are also blocked by current major league players (this was part of how the Twins received Zack Littell and Dietrich Enns). Dealing away players in this fashion can solve a potential 40-man dilemma and get the team a major league quality player.

The other downside to holding onto prospects is that they’ll occasionally bust and leave you with nothing. Just recently the Twins have seen Kohl Stewart and Stephen Gonsalves go down this path, with Fernando Romero seemingly right behind them. Imagine a world where the Twins capitalized on their potential and dealt them for legitimate major league talent instead of watching them walk away for nothing? The Rays just did this when they dealt Matt Liberatore for José Martínez and others. Sure, Liberatore is a fantastic prospect, but he is far from the sure thing that Martínez is. The Rays know that they’re in a win-now mode so they took the risk and cashed in their chips accordingly.

So, with a high quality major league team that still has room for improvement and a stacked farm system, the Twins should look to continue their risk-taking ways and improve for the now instead of the potential future. A quality farm system is nice and all but so is a good No. 2 or 3 starting pitcher who can help the team win as early as March. Let’s tap into the farm system and who knows? Maybe something good will happen.

MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
— Follow Matt Braun on Twitter here

Click here to view the article
  • ashbury, nicksaviking, melshmeister and 1 other like this

#2 tarheeltwinsfan

tarheeltwinsfan

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 1,491 posts

Posted 16 January 2020 - 08:05 PM

Interesting article. Thanks.


#3 jkcarew

jkcarew

    Rochester Red Wings

  • Member
  • 1,892 posts

Posted 16 January 2020 - 08:08 PM

Mrs. Hansen called from 8th grade English in 1974. She says...

"of which they aren't taking advantage".

 

But, yes. :)

  • JoshDungan1, Minny505, bighat and 1 other like this

#4 4twinsJA

4twinsJA

    Cedar Rapids Kernels

  • Member
  • 101 posts

Posted 16 January 2020 - 08:12 PM

I believe OFs Diaz and Davis would have been ruleV eligable this year were traded for pitching last year. I noticed too how many OFs will be rule V eligible next year. And looking at previous prospect top 30 lists, how many have never had significant contributions at MLB level. Many players have more trade value as prospects than MLB players, Rosario. If Twins can parlay multiple prospects to get a 2-3 starter I am all for it.

  • birdwatcher, Danchat, JoshDungan1 and 3 others like this

#5 specialiststeve

specialiststeve

    Junior Member

  • Member
  • 164 posts

Posted 16 January 2020 - 09:38 PM

Gotta disagree...

 

Comparing the Twin's to the Yankees is just silly. They have the resources to just buy there way out of mistakes and their minor leaguers unless top notch are just trade add ins. We don't have that luxury. We are more on pace with the TB's of the world. We need to continue to grow from within... trading a Rosario for quality pitching would be smart right now even if it is a Liberatore type guy who is a bit away. We are NEVER going to sign an ace so we need to develop. 

 

As far as having many quality guys at the same position it is a great problem to have as about 20% of hot minor league prospects ever pan out.... 5 good prospects = 1 good major league player.... as a rule. 

 

We are better of doing what we are doing now in getting guys for 2 year or 1 year deals ... keep developing and as last year the young guys start contributing... and keep the costs down.... 

  • birdwatcher, Dman, Major League Ready and 4 others like this

#6 howieramone2

howieramone2

    Just say no to myths!

  • Banned
  • 2,037 posts
  • LocationMaple Grove/Schaumburg

Posted 16 January 2020 - 10:07 PM

I'm guessing they are waiting for the starting pitching trade market to develop. Potential players like the Cubbies and Red Sox still haven't committed. Best to wait for the final out.
  • birdwatcher likes this

#7 drivlikejehu

drivlikejehu

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 2,214 posts

Posted 16 January 2020 - 10:14 PM

If the Twins' "Great Advantage" is that they have a crystal ball and *know* which of their prospects will bust . . . they absolutely should be using that advantage (while taking great pains to keep it a secret).

 

If the Twins' "Great Advantage" is that they have an above-average farm system, well, no that doesn't mean they should eagerly trade away prospects. They should certainly look for beneficial opportunities. But the article is a mess of nonsensical comparisons. I wonder if the author recalled that one of the Twins' recent 'Cashman-like' 40-man space-clearing trades was to give away Nick Anderson. 

 

It's also a fantasy that the Twins can just magically re-generate their farm system, if they trade away a substantial portion of its value. Their current farm strength owes in large part to two factors that we hope not to see for many years: picking at the top of the draft, and trading away players at the deadline. Without those avenues, it will be difficult or impossible for the Twins to maintain a strong system even *without* major trades.

 

Everyone would love for the Twins to get a top of the rotation starter. But as to the general notion that the Twins are foolishly hoarding prospects for no reason, it's just categorically false, and very poorly argued.

  • IAMNFan likes this

If you ain't got no haters, you ain't poppin'.


#8 Kirbek

Kirbek

    Junior Member

  • Member
  • 53 posts

Posted 16 January 2020 - 10:15 PM

Lots of "good" prospects is redundant.Translate them into some "good" MLB talent. and make a run.The Vikings made me forget about the sweep.Let's go!

  • USAFChief and birdwatcher like this

I once knew a man from Nantucket.  He too was a fan of Kirby Puckett.


#9 Matt Braun

Matt Braun

    Cedar Rapids Kernels

  • Twins Daily Contributor
  • 143 posts

Posted 16 January 2020 - 10:46 PM

 

If the Twins' "Great Advantage" is that they have a crystal ball and *know* which of their prospects will bust . . . they absolutely should be using that advantage (while taking great pains to keep it a secret).

 

If the Twins' "Great Advantage" is that they have an above-average farm system, well, no that doesn't mean they should eagerly trade away prospects. They should certainly look for beneficial opportunities. But the article is a mess of nonsensical comparisons. I wonder if the author recalled that one of the Twins' recent 'Cashman-like' 40-man space-clearing trades was to give away Nick Anderson. 

 

It's also a fantasy that the Twins can just magically re-generate their farm system, if they trade away a substantial portion of its value. Their current farm strength owes in large part to two factors that we hope not to see for many years: picking at the top of the draft, and trading away players at the deadline. Without those avenues, it will be difficult or impossible for the Twins to maintain a strong system even *without* major trades.

 

Everyone would love for the Twins to get a top of the rotation starter. But as to the general notion that the Twins are foolishly hoarding prospects for no reason, it's just categorically false, and very poorly argued.

Their "great advantage" is that they have a great farm system and can afford to take a hit to it if they so choose, it ain't that deep.

  • birdwatcher, Major League Ready, Hosken Bombo Disco and 3 others like this

#10 bobs

bobs

    Ft Myers Miracle

  • Member
  • 361 posts

Posted 16 January 2020 - 10:46 PM

"Deal from depth".The list of OF on 40 man doesnt even take into account guys like Urbina, Wallner, Emmanuel Rodriguez. etc, who will be "next wave" behind the current "next wave" of guys like Kirilloff, Larnach....

NOT dealing from that depth would just be irresponsible. 

  • birdwatcher, TopGunn#22, goulik and 8 others like this

#11 Doctor Gast

Doctor Gast

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Member
  • 547 posts
  • LocationBelo Horizonte, Brazil

Posted 17 January 2020 - 06:19 AM

Thank you for expressing this matter which I`ve been preaching on since I`ve started TD. So many people harp on " we need to hoard our prospects" I haven`t heard any of them speak up in this article. Hopefully they will wake up. On the other hand we can`t totally deplete our farm system. We need to exercise wisdom. I know we often get attached to our prospect which is a great thing.

I`d like to address another point. The Twins are in a wonderful opportunity. w/ our powerful offense that can give the young pitcher this year & years to come the chance to pitch & not worry about making mistakes. Together w/ our wonderful pitching coaches (which I believe will continue to strive for excellence) we can take on projects, (from other teams that don`t have our opportunity can take) & develop them.We can be creative in providing opportunities for them w/ openers, give rest when needed, Use the revolving door from AAA to ML plus covering injuries etc. We can develop a fantastic source of pitchers for many years to come. We will have excess of good pitchers (I believe we can develop pitchers greater than we`ve ever experience)that we can trade for any weakness we might have. I`m hoping for a great team for years to come, the out come of this we won`t get high lottery drafts so we have to develop a means to continue to get great prospect & that is by trading 

  • birdwatcher, gagu and bighat like this

#12 Doctor Wu

Doctor Wu

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Member
  • 860 posts

Posted 17 January 2020 - 06:48 AM

 


We are NEVER going to sign an ace so we need to develop.

 

Very, very, very true!

  • Oldgoat_MN and Platoon like this

#13 rv78

rv78

    Ft Myers Miracle

  • Member
  • 261 posts

Posted 17 January 2020 - 06:57 AM

I've never been tied to the belief that any prospect is a sure thing. Wasn't long ago we were told how great Royce Lewis was going to be and since then we've been told he probably isn't going to stick as a Major league SS and just recently how he has a hitch in his swing that coaches are hoping they can correct. Every player has value, the Crystal Ball is the key. When do you move that player before his value goes down or disappears completely? Acquiring proven major league talent comes with it own risks but dealing with prospects takes that to a completely different level.


#14 HrbieFan

HrbieFan

    Cedar Rapids Kernels

  • Member
  • 140 posts

Posted 17 January 2020 - 07:26 AM

We have seen plenty top prospects flame out before they got to the majors. Gordon could have brought a solid return 2 years ago and now Seth projects he gets DFA'd for Donaldson. Now is the time to strike!

#15 Doctor Gast

Doctor Gast

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Member
  • 547 posts
  • LocationBelo Horizonte, Brazil

Posted 17 January 2020 - 07:52 AM

 

We have seen plenty top prospects flame out before they got to the majors. Gordon could have brought a solid return 2 years ago and now Seth projects he gets DFA'd for Donaldson. Now is the time to strike!

Yes pull the trigger


#16 TopGunn#22

TopGunn#22

    Member

  • Member
  • 195 posts

Posted 17 January 2020 - 08:05 AM

Good article.If every major league team had that "crystal ball" nobody would make a mistake.Remember 1987 ?The Tigers probably had the best team in baseball that year and they traded for Doyle Alexander who went 10-1 for them down the stretch and was excellent.The Tigers gave up a young pitcher who was close, but not close enough named John Smoltz.Hindsight says the Braves killed it in that trade.But what if the Twins don't upset the Tigers and Detroit goes on to beat the cardinals in the World Series and Alexander is a big reason for that ?Atlanta still wins that trade, but every fan in Detroit would say "it was worth it."You can never have enough pitching or pitching prospects.That said, when a team has an abundance of talent at a specific position in the minors like the Twins have with outfielders, they simply have to leverage some of that.I'm a huge fan of what Kiriloff and Larnach COULD be for the Twins.One starting in LF and the other at 1B.But the truth is, one of them will probably get dealt (and should be dealt) to acquire a Syndergaard type pitcher.Matt listed 7 outfielders who are all close...within 1-2 years of possibly being able to contribute.The Twins can't keep them all.Make it 8 if Lewis ends up a CF'er.Whoever pointed out Nick Anderson...GREAT point !Teams should never let a pitcher with THAT kind of potential get away.I thought the Twins should have been pushing the Nick Burdi types much faster.Instead, it was one arm injury after another and a whole list of guys like Burdi never panned out.MOST of the time, if you can deal "prospects" for someone who has a proven record of high success in the majors, especially if it's at a position of need (like pitching) you should do it.Especially if you have depth at the position/positions you're dealing from.

  • 70charger likes this

#17 Hosken Bombo Disco

Hosken Bombo Disco

    Minnesota Twins

  • Moderator
  • 12,557 posts

Posted 17 January 2020 - 08:08 AM

Yep, I will now expect that if the Twins fall out of contention in any given year (or mistakenly think they are out of contention like in 2017 or 2018), there will be a sell-off of major league players.
  • goulik likes this
He measured the achievements of others by what they had accomplished, asking of them that they measure him by what he envisaged or planned.
- J. L. Borges

#18 Dman

Dman

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 1,933 posts

Posted 17 January 2020 - 08:13 AM

There is no question the Twins likely have more outfielders than they can protect.With Celestino on the 40 man the 40 man has 1 too many outfielders on it already and at the end of this year we will need to protect Kirilloff, Rooker and possibly Baddoo.Not to mention we still have Larnach in the wings who will likely be ready in the next year or two tops with Wallner likely not far behind.There is no urgency to do anything about that situation just yet but if the above mentioned all perform well we won't be able to keep them all.

 

We also will likely have to protect Balazovic, Sammons, and Ober next year.If Barnes, Jax and Wells perform well this year then would likely have to find room for them too.

 

Infield is just Miranda and possibly Javier if he ever finds his swing but add that up and there is a possible 11 adds if everyone performs.Granted they won't all do well next year.Someone is going to get hurt or slump or be deemed not worthy of being added. 

 

The thing is there are 7 guys that are likely going to need to be added two of them are outfielders and one is outfielder\1st baseman not mention one guy who might force his way on early in Larnach.  

 

So I agree the system is getting to a point where trades need to be considered.Who should be traded there is less clarity on.Until we see how those 11 perform we don't know if we really have excess prospect capital or not.Also just because a prospect is good through AA an=d AAA doesn't mean the skillset will translate to MLB so it is a bit of a guessing game in the end.

 

I love how this FO has stacked waves of prospects but in doing a good job there they need to protect that investment by trading some of the excess for things they need right now.Hopefully they make the right decisions when they do it.

  • birdwatcher, 70charger, Hosken Bombo Disco and 1 other like this

#19 Major League Ready

Major League Ready

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 2,256 posts

Posted 17 January 2020 - 10:57 AM

The old front office was justifiably ridiculed for not recognizing and applying modern metrics. As teams hired leadership with a more sophisticated skill set, prospect valuation and practices changed. Most teams are more inclined to hold onto prospects as compared to a decade or two ago. They have assessed the relative merit / success of pushing the chips in and have adopted new practices.

 

The two men at the top of the Dodgers organization (Stan Kasten / Andrew Friedman) are among the most highly respected executives in sports. Their actions have made their strategy where prospects are concerned it quite clear. Their top 10producers in terms of WAR from last year’s 106 win consisted of 6 drafted players, 3 Intl draft and one that was traded for as a prospect. Not a single FA or player that was traded for after becoming established. They have done a 180 from their practices of a decade ago. The Braves have a more depth than the Twins at least in terms of elite prospects. Yet, they have made no such trades. Arizona has 20 40+ prospects (Twins have 15). They had the 6th most wins in the NL last year. Obviously, they are close and have chosen to retain their prospects.

 

Teams are much less inclined to trade prospects than many fans. I would suggest this is a product teams wanting sustained success and many fans wanting to go all-in for the present. Looking at last year’s playoff rosters it might also have to do with recent outcomes of these trades. Looking at the top 88 players from 2019 playoff teams in terms of WAR.

 

28 were Drafted (32%)
8 were Intl players (9%)
21 were traded for as prospects. (24%)
21 were free agents (24%)
10 were traded for as established players (11%)

 

This would indicate trading prospects for established players has favored the team getting prospects. It’s not exactly rock solid proof but the indication is clear.

  • birdwatcher, Riverbrian, 70charger and 1 other like this

#20 Battle ur tail off

Battle ur tail off

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Member
  • 671 posts

Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:12 PM

 

Gotta disagree...

 

Comparing the Twin's to the Yankees is just silly. They have the resources to just buy there way out of mistakes and their minor leaguers unless top notch are just trade add ins. We don't have that luxury. We are more on pace with the TB's of the world. We need to continue to grow from within... trading a Rosario for quality pitching would be smart right now even if it is a Liberatore type guy who is a bit away. We are NEVER going to sign an ace so we need to develop. 

 

As far as having many quality guys at the same position it is a great problem to have as about 20% of hot minor league prospects ever pan out.... 5 good prospects = 1 good major league player.... as a rule. 

 

We are better of doing what we are doing now in getting guys for 2 year or 1 year deals ... keep developing and as last year the young guys start contributing... and keep the costs down.... 

 

What happens when your system is out of balance? Meaning, too many position players and not enough pitchers? What about when your ML lineup is all young, controllable and producing? Do we hang onto those prospects and just let them sit in the minors? Do we trade the guys on the MLB roster?

 

When you are in dire need of pitching like this team is, I think it is imperative to trade from your position of strength to shore up a weakness. 

  • Minny505 and Doctor Gast like this