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Verducci: On Nate Roberts in the AFL

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:14 AM

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I don't know what to think of Roberts exactly, but Verducci's writeup of him made me smile. To summarize:
1) He isn't toolsy
2) He's old for his leagues
3) But damn, he's been putting up numbers and
4) Seems to be good at being hit by pitches.

I don't know exactly what to do with all that, but it was interesting.
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#2 Jim Crikket

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:38 AM

I'm not generally one to pile on the Twins for moving their prospects too slowly, but it really is curious that they left Roberts in Beloit all season. I guess you only move up if there are openings above you, but I'd have liked to see what he could have done at a higher level. I certainly liked what I saw of him the few Snappers games that I watched.

I wonder if, after the great AFL he had, the Twins might consider having him skip Ft Myers and start the season at AA. It would be a very un-Twinslike move, but at his age, you'd think they would want to accelerate his path just a bit.
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#3 minn55441

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:56 AM

I'm not generally one to pile on the Twins for moving their prospects too slowly, but it really is curious that they left Roberts in Beloit all season. I guess you only move up if there are openings above you, but I'd have liked to see what he could have done at a higher level. I certainly liked what I saw of him the few Snappers games that I watched.

I wonder if, after the great AFL he had, the Twins might consider having him skip Ft Myers and start the season at AA. It would be a very un-Twinslike move, but at his age, you'd think they would want to accelerate his path just a bit.


Agreed. He has already faced pitching at that level if not above during the last 6 weeks. Let him start out the season at new Britain and if he keeps posting a better than .400 on base percentage move him up again quickly. If we are overly committed to Hicks, Arcia and Benson, at the very least he should generate some trade interest. Personally, I would love to see him make the majors as a Twin. Trade the high profile guys that seem to have all of the potential and keep the guys that produce.

#4 Clyde123

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 10:30 AM

I've tried to keep up with Roberts since he was drafted. A guy that leads the nation in runs and OBP intrigues (not to mention he left Northwestern). He's been hurt each year and Ryan wants to see him stay healthy before adding him in the mix of "top OF prospects" with Arcia, Hicks, Buxton, etc. If Rosario sticks at 2nd base (run producing bat), I believe Roberts' stock rises as a top-of-the-order left fielder. What was the OPS of all the 2-hole batters the Twins ran up there last year? Must be under .700 and my guess is closer .600. How many more runs would the Twins have scored if the 2-hole hitter got on base 40% of the time and didn't strike out much? I hope he tears it up this year and is in the Twins mix or 2014. Billy Beane probably loves this guy. Moneyball.

#5 jorgenswest

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 11:17 AM

It seems obvious that he should be at AA.

Looking at the organizational depth...


AAA - Benson, Arcia, Hicks

A trade could happen to push one of them to the majors, but realistically these three need to play every day in AAA to begin the season.

AA - Ortiz, Morales, Ray

All three play high A at 22 last year. None of them tore it up. Morales struggled. All probably have better upsides than Roberts. Goncalves was also there at 23 and he will likely remain.

Should the Twins step Roberts ahead of one of the Fort Myers trio? By offensive performance, it would be Morales. However, Morales is a center fielder. Ortiz, Ray and Roberts fit better at the corners. Last year, they moved Goncalves up when Morales was out. Roberts would probably have to pass over Ray or Ortiz. I can see why the Twins would be reluctant to make that move.

The Twins could keep all 4 at AA and rotate DH. I think that slows everyone's progress.

What if one of AAA players moves up to the majors? Could Roberts step up to AAA? Maybe.

While it seems obvious that Roberts is prepared to skip a level, there are implications for the other younger corner outfielders in the organization.

#6 Jim H

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 01:16 PM

I suspect that if the Twins feel that Roberts is ready for AA, he will be there. Ray can play 1B or be a DH unless someone less needs to be fitted in there. In any case I don't think he is that highly regarded as a prospect. I am not sure Ortiz is either, and Morales has downgraded his status the last couple of years. So, you put your best prospects where they need to be and you fit everyone else in around them. If Ortiz or Morales needs to start the year at Fort Myers because Roberts needs to be at AA and is considered the better prospect right now, so be it.

#7 jorgenswest

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:05 PM

I don't think they will put Roberts in CF so it is Ray or Ortiz. Both did enough to progress to AA. Ray can play 1B, but if they think he has the ability to play corner OF, they should keep him there.

They do need to put forth who they think has the higher upside. Roberts' age will make that difficult to discern. I do think he would be the choice to go to AAA if there were a need.

#8 Jim H

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:51 PM

One other point about this, sometimes it doesn't matter so much where a prospect plays as much as that he gets to play. I mean you don't want to bury a highly regarded OF as a 4th OF at AA if you can move him back to High-A and let him play everyday. This was implied before in this thread, but I thought I would just say it.

During the summer there was a thread complaining about the Twins not promoting a couple of catchers who were hitting well. The problem would of been, the Twins would of ended up with 2 catchers at the same level who they both wanted to be playing nearly everyday.

I really have no idea how Ortiz, Morales and Roberts compare as prospects. I do know that Ortiz as played a lot in CF. I think there should be some flexibility here to get the better prospects to the level they should be. I also think that the Twins like to reward performance. So they very well may push Roberts to AA, particularily because of his age and his performance in the AFL.

#9 h2oface

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:57 PM

in the AFL, he played at a AAA level. for 6 weeks. start him there and see what he does. at his age, no time to be cute. see what you have now.

#10 mike wants wins

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 05:33 PM

It absolutely matters where they play, since you move up one rung at a time in this organization (and most). It matters if you are 24 and in low A. I am not sure I understand your statement. There is a difference in the ability of the players at different levels (obviously), and you know a lot more about a guy and his ability if he's actually challenged, rather than facing guys that just don't have the stuff.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#11 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 10:20 PM

Any player can get hot for 6 weeks, so there's good reason to be cautious. Given that the bulk of the talent he faced was AA/AAA type talent, starting him in New Brittian cannot be the worst thing. None of the OFers out there (assuming Rochester has Arcia, Hicks, and Benson) really strike me as guys that we are going to be drooling over... may as well give him a shot to actually be a prospect.

#12 Seth Stohs

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 11:04 PM

I think he will be a rare exception of a guy that the Twins have skip a level. It is very unusual for a hitter in the Twins system.I think that Rene Tosoni is the last player to skip Low A.

I'm very curious how the rosters play out there... I wouldn't be at all surprised if Hicks and/or Arcia start 2013 in New Britain and spend a month there. Danny Ortiz could spend another half-season in FT. Myers. Morales needs to be pushed to New Britain where, for some reason, I think he'll become a decent offensive player again, and he is a terrific CF. Ray should move up, but as mentioned, he could play some 1B.

#13 Shane Wahl

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 03:49 PM

It seems obvious that he should be at AA.

Looking at the organizational depth...


AAA - Benson, Arcia, Hicks

A trade could happen to push one of them to the majors, but realistically these three need to play every day in AAA to begin the season.

AA - Ortiz, Morales, Ray

All three play high A at 22 last year. None of them tore it up. Morales struggled. All probably have better upsides than Roberts. Goncalves was also there at 23 and he will likely remain.

Should the Twins step Roberts ahead of one of the Fort Myers trio? By offensive performance, it would be Morales. However, Morales is a center fielder. Ortiz, Ray and Roberts fit better at the corners. Last year, they moved Goncalves up when Morales was out. Roberts would probably have to pass over Ray or Ortiz. I can see why the Twins would be reluctant to make that move.

The Twins could keep all 4 at AA and rotate DH. I think that slows everyone's progress.

What if one of AAA players moves up to the majors? Could Roberts step up to AAA? Maybe.

While it seems obvious that Roberts is prepared to skip a level, there are implications for the other younger corner outfielders in the organization.


I believe that Morales and Ortiz should move up to AA to see if their athleticism comes through there as FTM can be difficult for some players. Morales certainly was a high prospect and needs to not sit around anymore at A+. It is worth pushing him. Ortiz has almost earned it anyway. Roberts and Ray in the corners for FTM to start out is not a bad idea, but Roberts should definitely move up to NBR. I am much more in favor of in-season promotions rather than skipping a level in the offseason. OBVIOUSLY, given the existence of Clete Thomas and co., the Twins could have moved OFs around at the beginning of August and Roberts would have already gotten his time at Fort Myers. But alas. Glad some people are gone who made these inane decisions . . .

#14 Shane Wahl

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:15 PM

This is roughly the MiL depth chart for the Twins: Hicks, Arcia, Benson, Tosoni, Ramirez, Bigley, Morales, Ortiz, Roberts, Goncalves, Kepler, Jimenez, Pimentel, Pineda, Williams, Rhodes, Rodriguez, Buxton, Walker, Larson.

I think that, to survive, players like Tosoni, Bigley, Jimenez, Pimentel, and Pineda will have to establish themselves somewhere outside the OF, at least part time (1B is obvious for some of them, 2B ideal for others). Goncalves and Rhodes are probably going nowhere fast. Morales and Williams really have something to prove this year or else they will join Goncalves and Rhodes.

I do not want the Twins to pack older players at Rochester for "veteran experience" (dude, your only a veteran if you actually are good and play some significant time in the majors . . . ) and whatever else nonsense excuse they will give. I would rather have the top 8-10 level-weighted OF prospects at AAA and AA.

#15 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:59 PM

Tosoni is a FA
Chris Hermann also skipped low A
Stunned by the possibility Arcia & possibly Benson start in New Brit
Dont stunt Roberts in FSL....let him face better competition for sure. Hindred by bein only a corner OF

#16 Seth Stohs

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:11 PM

Tosoni is a minor league free agent.

#17 Jim H

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:28 PM

It absolutely matters where they play, since you move up one rung at a time in this organization (and most). It matters if you are 24 and in low A. I am not sure I understand your statement. There is a difference in the ability of the players at different levels (obviously), and you know a lot more about a guy and his ability if he's actually challenged, rather than facing guys that just don't have the stuff.


Mike, My point is that if Roberts has moved past Ortiz, Morales or Ray as prospect and the Twins believe he needs to at AA, put him there. Even though all 3 of the other guys may be ready for AA, it does no real harm to put one of them back at High A. It might be better to insure that all get enough at bats. None of these guys have dominated at High A, and if one has go down and does dominate, he will be promoted quickly. My basic point is put your best prospects at the level they need to be. Fit everyone else around them.

I remember a few years ago, Pat Neshek got as far as AA, and then was sent back to High-A. He proceeded to dominate that level and was quickly promoted. That is always the answer for any prospect, dominate the level you are at and you will be promoted.

#18 jorgenswest

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:58 PM

You may be correct about Rory Rhodes - going nowhere fast. Have you seen him play? Are there scouting reports classifying him as a non prospect? At 20, it is awful early to classify him.

His power was referenced in the recent Beyond the Box Score podcast prospect discussion.

http://www.beyondthe...d-prospect-talk

#19 mnfireman

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 08:55 PM

If there is such a logjam of OF talents in the minors, maybe the "brains" of the Twins operation should try to turn some of it into SP and MI as there seems to be not such logjam.

#20 Shane Wahl

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 10:34 PM

That is a shame about Tosoni. I don't think Evan Bigley is more worthwhile to have around, certainly. Maybe Clete Thomas is just too important (please tell me he is gone too).

anyway, Jorgenswest, Rhodes is 21.5 years old now and was not good at all at Beloit in limited time.

#21 Shane Wahl

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 10:40 PM

Ranking OF prospects, in my view, and with EDA:

Aaron Hicks, Aug. or Sept 2013
Oswaldo Arcia, Aug. or Sept. 2013
Byron Buxton, Sept. 2015
Max Kepler, Sept. 2015
Joe Benson, April 2014
Nate Roberts, April 2015
Danny Ortiz, Sept. 2015
Angel Morales, Sept. 2015
Adam Walker, April 2016

#22 righty8383

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:42 AM

Ranking OF prospects, in my view, and with EDA:

Aaron Hicks, Aug. or Sept 2013
Oswaldo Arcia, Aug. or Sept. 2013
Byron Buxton, Sept. 2015
Max Kepler, Sept. 2015
Joe Benson, April 2014
Nate Roberts, April 2015
Danny Ortiz, Sept. 2015
Angel Morales, Sept. 2015
Adam Walker, April 2016


2 things I would change. Walker ahead of Morales and Ortiz. Also for me, the EDA on Morales would be "never"

#23 Shane Wahl

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:05 AM

Ranking OF prospects, in my view, and with EDA:

Aaron Hicks, Aug. or Sept 2013
Oswaldo Arcia, Aug. or Sept. 2013
Byron Buxton, Sept. 2015
Max Kepler, Sept. 2015
Joe Benson, April 2014
Nate Roberts, April 2015
Danny Ortiz, Sept. 2015
Angel Morales, Sept. 2015
Adam Walker, April 2016


2 things I would change. Walker ahead of Morales and Ortiz. Also for me, the EDA on Morales would be "never"


Morales, due to injury, is one year behind Hicks. He is a bit younger than Hicks and had similar struggles in A+. Let's see how he does in AA before we give up on him. And I want to see Adam Walker next year in a full season.