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Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospects: Recap

royce lewis alex kirilloff trevor larnach brusdar graterol jordan balazovic
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#21 jkcarew

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 01:10 PM

 

It's a valid point but one big difference-maker is the advancements this organization has made in terms of development. Even if the talent isn't quite as strong on the surface, I feel much more confident in these guys reaching their potential.

Based on what? IMO, the jury is still very much out on this.

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#22 gunnarthor

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 01:57 PM

 

Huh. This doesn't seem to be evidenced by reality. With the exception of 2012 (Buxton and Berrios) the Twins had 9 straight first-round picks basically fail to amount to anything from 2009 through 2015 (Bashore, Wimmers, Michael, Harrison, Boyd, Bard, Stewart, Gordon, Jay). 

 

I also think you're deeply underselling the impact of prospects acquired via trade from the new front office. Devin Smeltzer was a difference-maker out of nowhere last year and the Twins got him for basically nothing. Luke Raley, added in the same deal, helped them complete the Maeda trade. Zack Littell is now a key bullpen fixture. Jake Cave is a proven big-leaguer and quality OF piece. The team is taking fringe talents (on the surface) and turning them into legitimately useful MLB assets. How often did that happen with the last regime? 

I'm not sure how you can square the Dozier return after the FO held him a year too long and got tiddly for him and rate that as a win. Has the FO made even one trade as good as Liriano for Escobar? Had the old front office ever waived the white flag at the trade deadline?

 

From 2001 until 2017, the Ryan* system had 6 losing seasons (four in a row was the most at any one point but forgetting that the Twins were challenging for the playoffs in 2015 is pretty common malady. The total system failure of 16 is remembered but the total system failure of 18 is not) and won the central 6 times despite being handcuffed with ridiculous payroll constraints. The new FO inherited a extremely loaded and talented team and already had one 'total system failure' season. Last year the Twins had 18 players who managed 1 WAR or more, the new FO brought in 7 of those players. The inherited players were also much better - averaging nearly .5 WAR more per player.

 

Players that the previous regime traded for that became good is legion. The reason the Twins could move from one core to another core and still be competitive was because our development team did a great job. We have yet to see anything from the new FO that they will be able to replicate that. The fact that after three years and the #1 pick in the draft and two deadline sales we only received 3 top 100 prospects should be alarming.

 

* it's really not fair to call 08-11 part of the Ryan years but all the Ryan haters include it even though there were seismic changes made by Smith in the development staff that Ryan changed again in 2012.


#23 birdwatcher

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 02:46 PM

A bunch of randomness:

 

1. Agree with gunnarthor: a good not great pipeline. Importantly, many of the same talent evaluation eyes were on Duffey, Rosario, and Garver AND Littell, Rooker, and Jeffers. I have a fair amount of skepticism, despite the absolutely abysmal optics, when a litany of past failures (Wimmer through Jay, 2009-15) are attributed summarily to EITHER crappy talent evaluation OR bad development expertise. Some things are just plain gonna happen. Meaning yes, and no, to both functions, and to both the question of good or bad. It's complicated. For ALL clubs.

 

2. Kirilloff and Larnach, with picks #15 and #20? Kudos to the scouts. A majority of clubs will want to trade their own first round picks from those drafts retroactively in both cases.

 

3. Was development good or bad in the past? Nick and gunnathor, you're both wrong. ;). What's important, we all know, is how much better it really is today, especially compared to the competition. We know Falvey has convinced ownership to blow open the budget. They've added people, knowledge, processes, technology, and resources of every kind to the development endeavor. Results may be inconclusive so far, but it's almost inarguable that we aren't seeing a myriad of hints, if not proof, that development is happening now in ways it never has and up there with the best practices in the industry.

 

4. The trade record is mixed so far. Besides Graterol and Duran, we haven't traded away or acquired Top 100 prospects. Still, the system would be ranked a couple of slots higher with Diaz, Jaylen Davis, Berroa, Teng, Gil, etc. and one could argue that so far, the production of Cave, Littell, Smeltzer, etc. makes the record mediocre. But hey, I say "Falvey, stay active!" Because if you're drafting late, you better be excellent at getting value for your redundant major leaguers and optimizing trade opportunities. Otherwise, you'll go right back to the old pattern where the system goes from #3 to #22 in two years.

 

5. If this club is to sustain its current excellence at both levels, they HAVE to have a very high success rate with those middling first round picks like Kirilloff, Larnach, and Rooker. They HAVE to score with IFA prospects, so they need Emmanuel Rodriguez, Misael Urbina, Edwar Colina and Wander Javier types to ALSO pan out at a high rate. And they have to reel in a Jhoan Duran type frequently when they trade a proven MLB player.

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#24 Nick Nelson

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 03:04 PM

 

I'm not sure how you can square the Dozier return after the FO held him a year too long and got tiddly for him and rate that as a win. Has the FO made even one trade as good as Liriano for Escobar? Had the old front office ever waived the white flag at the trade deadline?

You seem to have abandoned the original point here. We're talking about development, so their timing on a Dozier trade is not pertinent. What is pertinent is that they took the modest talent they got for him and turned it into something. 

 

The total system failure of 16 is remembered but the total system failure of 18 is not) and won the central 6 times despite being handcuffed with ridiculous payroll constraints. The new FO inherited a extremely loaded and talented team and already had one 'total system failure' season. Last year the Twins had 18 players who managed 1 WAR or more, the new FO brought in 7 of those players. The inherited players were also much better - averaging nearly .5 WAR more per player.

 

When you make a comment like "The total system failure of 16 is remembered but the total system failure of 18 is not" it's hard for me to believe you're being honest and objective in your evaluations. The Twins lost 103 games in 2016, the worst season in franchise history (post-relocation). They were 4 games below .500 in 2018. Not remotely comparable. 

 

The fact that the team is now succeeding with many players from the previous regime is exactly the point! We're talking about development here -- helping players realize their potential and reach new levels of performance. 

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#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 04:09 PM

 

The total system failure of 16 is remembered but the total system failure of 18 is not)

One team won 59 games. The other won 78 games.

 

Those aren't similar numbers.

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#26 gunnarthor

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 04:15 PM

 

A bunch of randomness:

 

1. Agree with gunnarthor: a good not great pipeline. Importantly, many of the same talent evaluation eyes were on Duffey, Rosario, and Garver AND Littell, Rooker, and Jeffers. I have a fair amount of skepticism, despite the absolutely abysmal optics, when a litany of past failures (Wimmer through Jay, 2009-15) are attributed summarily to EITHER crappy talent evaluation OR bad development expertise. Some things are just plain gonna happen. Meaning yes, and no, to both functions, and to both the question of good or bad. It's complicated. For ALL clubs.

 

2. Kirilloff and Larnach, with picks #15 and #20? Kudos to the scouts. A majority of clubs will want to trade their own first round picks from those drafts retroactively in both cases.

 

3. Was development good or bad in the past? Nick and gunnathor, you're both wrong. ;). What's important, we all know, is how much better it really is today, especially compared to the competition. We know Falvey has convinced ownership to blow open the budget. They've added people, knowledge, processes, technology, and resources of every kind to the development endeavor. Results may be inconclusive so far, but it's almost inarguable that we aren't seeing a myriad of hints, if not proof, that development is happening now in ways it never has and up there with the best practices in the industry.

 

4. The trade record is mixed so far. Besides Graterol and Duran, we haven't traded away or acquired Top 100 prospects. Still, the system would be ranked a couple of slots higher with Diaz, Jaylen Davis, Berroa, Teng, Gil, etc. and one could argue that so far, the production of Cave, Littell, Smeltzer, etc. makes the record mediocre. But hey, I say "Falvey, stay active!" Because if you're drafting late, you better be excellent at getting value for your redundant major leaguers and optimizing trade opportunities. Otherwise, you'll go right back to the old pattern where the system goes from #3 to #22 in two years.

 

5. If this club is to sustain its current excellence at both levels, they HAVE to have a very high success rate with those middling first round picks like Kirilloff, Larnach, and Rooker. They HAVE to score with IFA prospects, so they need Emmanuel Rodriguez, Misael Urbina, Edwar Colina and Wander Javier types to ALSO pan out at a high rate. And they have to reel in a Jhoan Duran type frequently when they trade a proven MLB player.

Dude, if you're going to be all rational and intelligent and stuff maybe you shouldn't post on TD!

 

:cool:

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#27 Dman

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 07:49 PM

 

 

The Twins development group has always been good and I expect it to remain good but I'm not as convinced that our FO is as capable of identifying talent or at least some talent. Again, I'm way more confident of our hitters abilities than our pitching group. 

 

I can agree with many of the things you said but the development piece just doesn't ring true for me.The Twins of the last ten years had a lot of trouble and I mean a lot of trouble developing pitchers.From FA's to trades to draft pick failures to guys like Liriano and Worely who suddenly got back on track with the Pirates. The Twins never did much to develop a pitching staff.

 

I guess there was some success with Berrios and Gibson but that's about it over the last ten years or so.They never traded for a pitcher as good as Odo and never had a good FA pitcher signing unless you want to include the one good year of Phil Hughes.They didn't really do much better developing bullpen arms.If you look back pitcher development looks like a black hole IMO. (Edit-Oops forgot about Santana as a FA signing that was a good one.)

 

With the new front office suddenly bullpen pitchers that were doing OK are starting to look elite I am looking at Rogers, Duffy, May, Littel, Stashak, even Harper who they got rid of after they helped him ride his best pitch to success.Nobodys like Dobnak, Smeltzer and Poppen are suddenly viable arms and in the minors I have never been more excited bout the pitching prospects we have down on the farm.It seems like they are getting every ounce out of every arm adding velocity and focusing on secondaries that work best for that specific pitcher.I never saw anything like it ever with the old staff, ever.

 

As far as the coaches they have hired to help develop the players I have never seen the Twins coaching staff raided as badly as this year.In fact when has anyone raided our coaching staff in the past?I mean even the Yankees went out and grabbed our catching coordinator.The Yankees.Think about that for a minute.

 

This FO has only been going at this for three years and while I agree they were given a lot of talent to get started they maximized that talent into the second best season in Twins history.I fail to see how that makes them bad at player development or even the same as the old group.The old group never approached a season like last year. Yeah they didn't pick some of the players but IMO these players wouldn't be as successful without the coaching and tools this FO gave them.  

 

I could go on and on about the changes but my main point has been made.This FO is light years ahead when it comes to development.It really isn't even close if you are willing to look at it objectively.

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#28 Riverbrian

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 10:18 PM

 

 Has the FO made even one trade as good as Liriano for Escobar? 

 

 

 

You got to admit that the benefit of time is being granted to only side here. 

 

Escobar was a traditional backup who got playing time because players like Florimon, Danny Santana, Aaron Hicks ETC, died in front of him. We are talking about named starters that were so bad that they had no choice but to turn to the utility backup Escobar. 

 

The Twins never knew what they had in Escobar. If they knew what they had, they wouldn't have placed Florimon, Danny Santana and everybody else consistently in front of him. 

 

Escobar wasn't even the chosen starter during his break out season 5 years later in 2018. 

 

Gardenhire and Molitor both viewed Escobar as utility backup throughout his entire tenure with the club.

 

Escobar took more time to establish value than the Falvey and Lavine have been in office. 

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#29 gunnarthor

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 10:52 PM

 

You got to admit that the benefit of time is being granted to only side here. 

 

Escobar was a traditional backup who got playing time because players like Florimon, Danny Santana, Aaron Hicks ETC, died in front of him. We are talking about named starters that were so bad that they had no choice but to turn to the utility backup Escobar. 

 

The Twins never knew what they had in Escobar. If they knew what they had, they wouldn't have placed Florimon, Danny Santana and everybody else consistently in front of him. 

 

Escobar wasn't even the chosen starter during his break out season 5 years later in 2018. 

 

Gardenhire and Molitor both viewed Escobar as utility backup throughout his entire tenure with the club.

 

Escobar took more time to establish value than the Falvey and Lavine have been in office. 

Part of that is true - I even mentioned that it was too early to grade trades. But the Twins got Escobar in his age 23 season. He didn't play much during his age 24 season (I believe he had a somewhat serious injury as well) but in 2014 at age 25 he was our primary shortstop, starting more games at short than Nunez, Floriman and Santana combined. He was fifth on the team in PA. And he was already showing a strong bat - posting a 102 OPS+ and amassing 2.5 WAR. He followed that up with another 2 WAR season in 2015 although it is true that Molly in his first season as manager wanted Escobar in the utility role, giving Santana the start of the season to be his primary shortstop. Escobar still ended up starting more games at short. He started 2016 as our primary shortstop but that was his worst season as a Twin (posting a negative WAR) and Nunez pushed him out. He started 2017 behind Polanco as Molly's main utility guy again but took over thirdbase and put in another nearly 2 WAR season and again showed a solid bat. 2018 he was our opening day shortstop again and took over third with another Sano injury, and managed about a 3.5 WAR season split between us and Arizona.

 

So I'm not sure it's fair to say the Twins held him back under Gardy and Molly - He was the opening day starter at short several times and his bat was strong from the get-go. He was certainly established as a quality MLer after one full season with us.

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#30 etwink

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 02:38 AM

I’m not sure if Nick was being ironic or purposely had three pitchers as the picture for the article.  Either way, this team’s long-term success will sink or swim based on its ability to translate starting pitching prospects into solid major leaguers.

 

You can cast your eyes around the roster and see young guys who (for better or worse) will be with us for years.  The OF is so locked in that we will have to trade talent just to open up the roster for Larnach or Kirilloff.  The IF is completely blocked either with long-term contracts and stud players, so there is currently no room for #1 prospect Lewis at the moment.  Catching could be viewed as an organisational weakness, but you really only need two out of Garver, Jeffers and Rortvedt.  Anyone extra can be stashed in the DH spot once “Father Time” retires.  Finally, the bullpen is brimming with current talent and young flame-throwing options.

 

But....then you stop on the starting pitching and you see a bunch of “hopefuls” on 1-year, make-good contracts, a couple mid-level guys on multi-year contracts, our best guy not locked up long-term, and (if I want to be unfairly pessimistic) a bunch of young #5 starter options.  Then you go to the minors.....and you see promise, and all you can do is hope for the best!!  You just can’t assume that minor league pitching results will translate, to the same degree that you can with hitters.  For every “can’t miss” hitting prospect like Billy Beane who fails (just look up his stats...or watch MoneyBall), there are dozens of pitching prospects who never figure it out.  Pitchers are just funny that way.

 

Given the price of starting pitching, the Twins’ talent development organisation will make or break this team’s promise.  We’ll either be shelling out $15M/year on a succession of #3 guys just to keep up with the hitters, a la Gardy’s best teams, or we’ll translate all of this talent into cheap, long-term viability and then we’re talking World Series for years to come.

 

Flip my entire comment on its head and you really, really have to like this team - now and in the future.  It’s going to be fun to be a Twins fan!!

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#31 Riverbrian

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 07:29 AM

 

Part of that is true - I even mentioned that it was too early to grade trades. But the Twins got Escobar in his age 23 season. He didn't play much during his age 24 season (I believe he had a somewhat serious injury as well) but in 2014 at age 25 he was our primary shortstop, starting more games at short than Nunez, Floriman and Santana combined. He was fifth on the team in PA. And he was already showing a strong bat - posting a 102 OPS+ and amassing 2.5 WAR. He followed that up with another 2 WAR season in 2015 although it is true that Molly in his first season as manager wanted Escobar in the utility role, giving Santana the start of the season to be his primary shortstop. Escobar still ended up starting more games at short. He started 2016 as our primary shortstop but that was his worst season as a Twin (posting a negative WAR) and Nunez pushed him out. He started 2017 behind Polanco as Molly's main utility guy again but took over thirdbase and put in another nearly 2 WAR season and again showed a solid bat. 2018 he was our opening day shortstop again and took over third with another Sano injury, and managed about a 3.5 WAR season split between us and Arizona.

 

So I'm not sure it's fair to say the Twins held him back under Gardy and Molly - He was the opening day starter at short several times and his bat was strong from the get-go. He was certainly established as a quality MLer after one full season with us.

 

I want to be clear that I absolutely love Escobar. I've always been a fan of his. However, with the exception of 2016 (which you list). Whenever he was an opening day starter, it was only because of injury or suspension that gave him that opening day assignment. 

 

His role on the roster was utility under Gardenhire and Molitor and with those guys, that is getaway day playing time. Now, he ended up the primary in multiple years but, that wasn't planned by the front offices or managers. A (too long) list of (too many) players had to absolutely collapse in front of him. 

 

2016 was the only year that (I believe) the team planned on Eddie being "the" starter. Notice how easily Eddie lost that starting job after 2016, notice how others who played just as terribly or worse in 2016 were starters in 2017 but not Escobar. 

 

We didn't know what we had. If we weren't so consistently awful choosing a starting 9 in front of him, we may have lost him to the pile of baseball souls.:)

 

it turned out over time that Escobar was indeed (perhaps) Terry Ryan's best trade in his 2nd stint.

 

However, the Twins made less trades than any organization during Ryan's 2nd tenure so the Liriano/Escobar trade wasn't really challenged. 

 

Dozier was the crown jewel of our in-house production and you are criticizing the return we got back for him. He is now facing a minor league deal just two years from being our best. Plouffe quickly became a minor league deal after leaving us from everyday duty that Escobar was never given. from forcing Sano to RF to a minor league deal. Hicks was deployed to early, traded for nothing and signed a bigger contract than Brian Dozier did. Buxton was deployed too early. Vargas did not develop, Arcia did not develop. Willingham was traded for something named Adam and on and on. 

 

There are no success stories from Ryan's second stint. It's too soon to tell with the current front office, they have some proving to do but the changes are visible.  

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#32 howieramone2

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 08:26 AM

Every time someone mentions an IFA, it's a TR success story. He's the gift that keeps on giving.

#33 Nick Nelson

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 09:51 AM

 

Every time someone mentions an IFA, it's a TR success story. He's the gift that keeps on giving.

*whispers* Actually Bill Smith was in charge when the Twins made their most impactful IFA moves... 

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#34 gunnarthor

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 12:29 PM

 

*whispers* Actually Bill Smith was in charge when the Twins made their most impactful IFA moves... 

*whispers back* But Ryan still gets blamed for the Smith drafts ...

 

In all honesty, while 09 was an a great year it's also worth remembering Polanco and Kepler were not top international prospects. Both of their signing bonus were in the top 20 that year but not in the top 15. A reminder that the international signings are a real big crap shoot but also that those two worked their asses off to become solid ball players (no point in arguing over which development team should get credit).

 

 

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#35 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 07:25 PM

 

*whispers back* But Ryan still gets blamed for the Smith drafts ...

 

In all honesty, while 09 was an a great year it's also worth remembering Polanco and Kepler were not top international prospects. Both of their signing bonus were in the top 20 that year but not in the top 15. A reminder that the international signings are a real big crap shoot but also that those two worked their asses off to become solid ball players (no point in arguing over which development team should get credit).

Ryan unfairly gets credit and blame for those drafts depending who you talk to that day.

 

Personally, I give him neither credit nor blame for much of anything under Smith's tenure, though he certainly influenced some decisions.

 

But you're right that Polanco and Kepler get a ton of credit for the work they put into becoming MLB ballplayers.

 

To swing this back around to the current front office, I don't know if I'd give them too much credit for either Polanco or Kepler, as both players were making real inroads to becoming legitimate MLB players before this front office came around.

 

But I don't need to look any further than Mitch Garver to see how this front office has improved the team. There's no way in hell previous front offices would have put the coaching staff on the field and the methodology in place to turn a tweener like Garver into possibly the best overall catcher in Major League Baseball.

 

In my opinion, the conclusive evidence everyone seems to be searching for in this thread begins and ends with Garver's improvement.

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#36 wabene

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 09:31 AM

Six out of seven years of top five picks should lead to some talent. I never understood the moves made under TR and I don't miss those days. This new group's moves make sense to me and I feel especially excited given how many bad, hopeless years I sat through.
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#37 gunnarthor

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 10:46 AM

 

Six out of seven years of top five picks should lead to some talent. I never understood the moves made under TR and I don't miss those days. This new group's moves make sense to me and I feel especially excited given how many bad, hopeless years I sat through.

Actually it would probably be better if we divided up the moves - a lot of the transnational moves - trades, drafts, etc have left me a bit cool and that's probably more about Levine. Some other stuff - institutional matters, promoting Sean Johnson and Brad Steil, some coaching changes etc are probably more Falvey and I'm more confident in.

 

I hated the fact that the FO threw up the flag at the deadline in 17. I hated that we kept Molly around an extra year. I don't like that we got taken in the Pressly trade or the sub-optimal returns on most of the trades we've done.


#38 birdwatcher

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 12:31 PM

 

*whispers* Actually Bill Smith was in charge when the Twins made their most impactful IFA moves... 

 

The club's success in IFA is highly attributable to Billy Smith, Jim Pohlad, and Andy MacPhail. It's that threesome that convinced Obstinate Carl to approve a massive new budget that included both capital expenditures and budget room to greatly expand the international scouting ranks. It wasn't until the Twins established a beachhead in the DR and began nurturing relationships with the buscones that things started to look up, and that took years! Credit Billy Smith for very competently overseeing the physical facility stuff. Credit Ryan for hiring and retaining scouts with the talent to build relationships. Credit scouts like Fred Guerrero for uncovering and negotiating and then recommending the financial offers. Just don't simplistically and wrongly give sole attribution for ANY of these signings strictly on the basis of who held the GM position when. It's truly a distortion of the picture and void of meaningful context. Give credit for the right things, I say.;)

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#39 Nick Nelson

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 02:19 PM

 

Just don't simplistically and wrongly give sole attribution for ANY of these signings strictly on the basis of who held the GM position when. It's truly a distortion of the picture and void of meaningful context. Give credit for the right things, I say.;)

It all filters up to the top. Personally I use the GM's name as a shorthand referencing the operations in place during their tenures, for which they were accountable. I'm not naive enough to think that Ryan or Smith was solely responsible for any draft picks, IFA signings, or developmental successes/failures. But they built and oversaw the groups that made it all happen.

 

Bottom line is that baseball ops was a total and complete mess during TR's second stint. That's how you lead the game in losses over a five-year span. He has to wear that. I don't think it's a controversial statement. The other poster's assertion that there's "hatred" for Ryan being expressed is quite dramatic. Myself, I look back on him very fondly, both for the person he is and what he built in the 2000s. But the 180-degree turnaround we've seen in the past 3 years makes it all the clearer how bad things had gotten by the end. 

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#40 Riverbrian

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 04:17 PM

Sano and Polanco were signed while Smith was the GM, Developed while Ryan was the GM and deployed for maximum benefit while Falvey and Lavine are in charge. They all get credit. 

 

But while we waited for Sano, Polanco, Kepler and everybody to get here. We endured an extended dark age that didn't need to be so extended. 

 

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