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Article: Should Twins Draft for Need or Best Available at Pick Number Four?

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#1 bwille

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 06:35 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...ick-Number-Four

#2 Twins Daily Admin

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 06:38 AM

To me, this comes down to three questions....

1) If Kris Bryant is on the board and Appel and Gray are not, is he the automatic pick or do they go with a college pitcher?

2) If Kohl Stewart is on the board (and Appel, Gray and Byant are gone) is he the automatic pick or do this go with a college pitcher?

3) Can they come out of this fourth pick with ANY position player other than Bryant and we'll still think it was a good move?

#3 mike wants wins

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:13 AM

Why inch? Why are they multiple years away? I don't agree with your premise there at all. They could choose to be competitive a lot sooner.

Look, if there was an OBVIOUS BPA, that is who they should take. But, not everyone agreed Buxton was the top prospect last year. Now, they have zero legit MLB pitchers, and 1 in the minors that looks like he could help this year or next for sure. You need 3-6 of them, not 1.

If the position player and pitcher are close, take the pitcher. Or, not. And continue to have one of the 5 worst starting staffs in the AL.

#4 nicksaviking

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:25 AM

As I think four of the top five players are pitchers, unless Bryant is on the board, the BPA will be a pitcher. Lately the debate has been should the Twins take the BPA or go underslot. If they go underslot I will be very upset.

#5 zenser

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:43 AM

I think by the time the Twins draft at four that the best player available will also fill a need. I am assuming Appel, Grey, and Bryant are gone. I think they have to take Stewart. I understand the signability issues. I also think that the Shipley, Stanek, and Manaea are good but I am not sold on them being an ace or 2. I think they can have nice MLB careers but I think you have to take the risk and grab the ace and that would be Stewart. If he doesn't sign, we would likely be looking at 2 top 10 picks next year in a draft class that is considered to be deeper.

To answer the question in general without regards to this years draft, in my opinion, you need to take the best player available. A smart FO could then turn any depth into trade chips. Obviously, a lot of factors come into play such as age, readiness, and overall ability. That is just my opinion.

#6 birdwatcher

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:59 AM

Both. They need to draft a prospect with a chance to be an impact player in the major leagues. Like Buxton, who was an obvious and great pick. A pitcher who projects to be a mid-rotation starter? No way you go that route, because they're available via trade. None of us is qualified to make assessments, but when we read the reports, it seems like most scouts don't place any prospect other than the top three and possibly Stewart. So, if the Twins really don't agree with scouts who think Stewart has a #1-2 starter ceiling, and therefore represents a fourth "impact" prospect, then anything they decide will probably be dissappointing to fans.

Here's what we CAN predict: one of the pitchers selected later in the first round will become an ace. And years from now, some of you will rip the Twins for passing on an obvious, sure-fire ace once again. Trey Ball, anyone?

#7 lightfoot789

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 08:29 AM

I saw Chris Anderson going to St. Louis in a few Mock Drafts. St. Louis always drafts well and especially with pitchers. He should go in the mid teens of draft anyways. That being said - With no clear cut #4 out there - Draft Chris Anderson at #4 and use that saved money to over pay every remaining draft pick in the top 10 rounds. A local kid who bleeds MN and would not look to bolt from MN in later years. As well as a Big kid who has quality stuff. That is my reach for the day. Who can tell me that there is not another player in draft at our spot (#4) who doesn't have significant flaws. Stewart even has health concerns now. After #3 - everybody is a reach / stretch.

#8 beckmt

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 09:19 AM

I think we take Stewart if the first 3 are gone(that is not certain as the Astro's have now been linked with Morin). We have to see. Bryant may be redundant as he plays 3B/OF, positions of strength in the Twins organization.

#9 SgtSchmidt11

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 09:45 AM

I'm not even sure that the Twinkies should draft Bryant if he's even on the board. If he was solid defensively I'd feel better about it but I'd rather see the Twinkies pull the trigger on Stewart or Shipley. Or better yet, pray to the gods that the Stro's go underslot and the Rockies take Bryant.

#10 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 09:47 AM

I saw Chris Anderson going to St. Louis in a few Mock Drafts. St. Louis always drafts well and especially with pitchers. He should go in the mid teens of draft anyways. That being said - With no clear cut #4 out there - Draft Chris Anderson at #4 and use that saved money to over pay every remaining draft pick in the top 10 rounds. A local kid who bleeds MN and would not look to bolt from MN in later years. As well as a Big kid who has quality stuff. That is my reach for the day. Who can tell me that there is not another player in draft at our spot (#4) who doesn't have significant flaws. Stewart even has health concerns now. After #3 - everybody is a reach / stretch.

You're not going to bet the draft just because he's a local kid are you? How about Boldt at 43 instead?

#11 Kwak

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 09:55 AM

Simple question--what do the Twins need to become a consistent winner? Quality starting pitching and a dominant hitter for the middle of the lineup. The Twins can't continue to complain about their SP--and then not draft who they think is the best available SP--unless they sign the next Miquel Cabrera.

#12 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 10:06 AM

I get so sick of these discussions because BPA is incredibly subjective. Buxton was not universally considered BPA. Some looked at Appel, some Gausman, and apparently some thought it was Correa. It's one thing if everyone says "that guy is BPA" like Strasburg was a few years back, but beyond that, this argument gets really silly, as no one can even agree on what they value (such as pitchers being more valuable than hitters, etc) much less who is the best overall player.

This is where need comes in. In this draft, there are 3 BPAs, that from what I can tell could fall in any order (I should note that I tend to think that Stewart is clearly alone as the #4 guy as well, so picking him at 4 satisfies both need and BPA). As much as I wouldn't be a fan of it, if Bryant fell, I think the Twins have to take him if Appel/Gray are off the board. But once clear BPAs are gone, need should become a major factor in the decision making process.

This is what disappointed me in last year's draft. Buxton was not clearly the BPA. There was no clear BPA. Had the Twins taken Appel, we'd be looking at a top 10 overall pitching prospect likely destroying AA/AAA right now, and we need that far more than we need Buxton.

#13 Cap'n Piranha

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 10:40 AM

I get so sick of these discussions because BPA is incredibly subjective. Buxton was not universally considered BPA. Some looked at Appel, some Gausman, and apparently some thought it was Correa. It's one thing if everyone says "that guy is BPA" like Strasburg was a few years back, but beyond that, this argument gets really silly, as no one can even agree on what they value (such as pitchers being more valuable than hitters, etc) much less who is the best overall player.

This is where need comes in. In this draft, there are 3 BPAs, that from what I can tell could fall in any order (I should note that I tend to think that Stewart is clearly alone as the #4 guy as well, so picking him at 4 satisfies both need and BPA). As much as I wouldn't be a fan of it, if Bryant fell, I think the Twins have to take him if Appel/Gray are off the board. But once clear BPAs are gone, need should become a major factor in the decision making process.

This is what disappointed me in last year's draft. Buxton was not clearly the BPA. There was no clear BPA. Had the Twins taken Appel, we'd be looking at a top 10 overall pitching prospect likely destroying AA/AAA right now, and we need that far more than we need Buxton.


Buxton, at 19 and in low A, is already being considered the number 2 prospect in all of baseball by some. He is a multi-year All-Star, with potential to have MVP type years, and make the HOF (not saying he will, but the talent and work ethic is there). Those types of players don't come along every year, so I think every Twins fan should be ecstatic with having Buck in the system.

#14 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 10:49 AM

I get so sick of these discussions because BPA is incredibly subjective. Buxton was not universally considered BPA. Some looked at Appel, some Gausman, and apparently some thought it was Correa. It's one thing if everyone says "that guy is BPA" like Strasburg was a few years back, but beyond that, this argument gets really silly, as no one can even agree on what they value (such as pitchers being more valuable than hitters, etc) much less who is the best overall player.

This is where need comes in. In this draft, there are 3 BPAs, that from what I can tell could fall in any order (I should note that I tend to think that Stewart is clearly alone as the #4 guy as well, so picking him at 4 satisfies both need and BPA). As much as I wouldn't be a fan of it, if Bryant fell, I think the Twins have to take him if Appel/Gray are off the board. But once clear BPAs are gone, need should become a major factor in the decision making process.

This is what disappointed me in last year's draft. Buxton was not clearly the BPA. There was no clear BPA. Had the Twins taken Appel, we'd be looking at a top 10 overall pitching prospect likely destroying AA/AAA right now, and we need that far more than we need Buxton.

To posters yes. To the Twins no.

#15 ashburyjohn

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 11:35 AM

If the position player and pitcher are close, take the pitcher.


This, to me, is the heart of it. As other responses have pointed out, BPA is not a clearly defined thing; I don't think it's "subjective" as one person put it, but it's definitely subject to great "uncertainty". In particular, you have only an estimate of a guy's floor, and an even less clear estimate of his ceiling. If your scouting is weak, you give everyone a high ceiling (could be a star) and a low floor (could be a bust). If you have good scouting, the estimates have more shape, but they still involve a lot of room, particularly for the HS players. You could end up graphing the results, looking something like this (quickest decent example I could locate, from a totally different context):
help_what_youre_worth.png

and if you are drafting high in the first round then maybe one bar like the one in the middle appeals to you, or maybe the one on the left with the higher floor seems like the wiser pick. You might resort to some further analysis regarding risk, to compute some kind of Expectation Value, and that might be the dots on that graph. If any player stands out like this, according to whatever your taste for risk, IMO you take him, regardless of position.

However, once past the top 5, at most 10, the bars on the chart for the best players remaining will start to look awfully similar to each other. Then, you pick among those best, according to positional need. Again, IMO.

This is why the debate of BPA vs Need always strike me as futile. You normally just don't know enough to really know who the BPA is, until about 10 seasons later. Buxton is turning out to be a great pick at #2 last year, kudos to the scouting team; locating a similar clearcut BPA at #4 will be tougher.

#16 nicksaviking

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 11:59 AM

To posters yes. To the Twins no.


How do you actually go about comparing a pitcher to an offensive player? They have zero relevant skill sets in common.

#17 ashburyjohn

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 02:23 PM

How do you actually go about comparing a pitcher to an offensive player? They have zero relevant skill sets in common.


I don't know how deep of a question you mean by this, and you're not a newbie on this site so I don't mean condescension if I choose to go to basics.

Even at the major league level, to compare established veterans runs into this same argument. And yet, front offices have to make these comparisons all the time, for instance in deciding whether to trade a center fielder for a stud starting pitching prospect. You have to have some analytic approach, even if only by long experience and seat-of-the-pants feeling, or you'll get fleeced. So it starts with trying to win the World Series every few years, which comes from winning lots of games over the course of many seasons, which comes from scoring runs and preventing the runs of your opponents, which comes from base hits and walks and homers and so forth... - each level you go down, you get further removed from actually winning championships, but closer to having things you can measure and expect to be repeatable. Hitters get hits and walks and homers, pitchers (and defenders) prevent them, and this forms some basis for comparison. WAR is one approach to this - you can construct others.

And now if we're not talking about established major leaguers but college players and high-schoolers, in addition to the abstraction of WAR and/or raw stats versus actually winning championships, you have uncertainty. Not subjectiveness, IMO, but the uncertainty of there being a range of outcomes from drafting a guy. It just means your analytic approach needs to take this into account, rather than just throw up your hands and say anyone could turn into an All-Star if you coach him well enough. Your scouts take their best guess about projections (5 tools or whatever), your front office tries to turn these into guesstimates that turn into possible ranges of output, using WAR or just your best guess, from the guy over his career. And then you compare and decide which player gives you the most value.

Did I completely misunderstand your question and waste typing this wall of words? :)

#18 cmb0252

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 02:37 PM

While experts might not agree who the exact BPA was last year obviously the Twins front office did. After spending a butt load of time and money they ended up taking a HS CFer over the three college arms. What does that tell you about their board? In the end who cares who Law or Callis or Sickels thinks is the best player? Not their jobs on the line.

#19 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:11 PM

Buxton, at 19 and in low A, is already being considered the number 2 prospect in all of baseball by some. He is a multi-year All-Star, with potential to have MVP type years, and make the HOF (not saying he will, but the talent and work ethic is there). Those types of players don't come along every year, so I think every Twins fan should be ecstatic with having Buck in the system.


I'm not upset about Buck... You, however, are getting ahead of yourself. You can make that same statement about Gausman or Appel at this point.

#20 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:12 PM

To posters yes. To the Twins no.


It's likely less subjective to the Twins, but it's still very much a subjective measure. If it wasn't, there would be a lot less busts.

#21 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:16 PM

How do you actually go about comparing a pitcher to an offensive player? They have zero relevant skill sets in common.


True, but which on it's face is of more value. I'd argue that a pitcher, while pitching once every 5 games, has far more control on the outcome of the game than a hitter does over a 5 game period. While you cannot necessarily compare them apples to apples, it has more to do with what type of player they can be.

#22 gil4

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:31 AM

Buxton was not universally considered BPA. Some looked at Appel, some Gausman, and apparently some thought it was Correa.


I was in the Correa camp, but I try to keep quiet about it now. I am very glad the Twins chose Buxton.


Had the Twins taken Appel, we'd be looking at a top 10 overall pitching prospect likely destroying AA/AAA right now, and we need that far more than we need Buxton.



That's not what the team that actually drafted him is looking at. Had the Twins taken Appel, we might be trying to figure out who the Twins should take with two high draft picks this year. I'll grant that at #2 he would have been a lot more likely to sign, but he might have held out for #1-slot money and that might have sent him back to school.

Also, pitching is always a higher-risk proposition. We might be reading about him dominating AA, or we might be reading about medical reports and TJ surgery. Yes, position players have injuries too, but nowhere near the rate of pitchers.

Meanwhile, Buxton is looking like he could possibly turn into a once-in-a-generation kind of talent, and Appel could still possibly fall to #4 this year. I am very glad the Twins chose Buxton.

#23 ThePuck

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:38 AM

I think we are lucky enough to be in the situation where BPA will very likely be an area of need...pitching and 3B/1B.

#24 kab21

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:29 AM

To me, this comes down to three questions....

1) If Kris Bryant is on the board and Appel and Gray are not, is he the automatic pick or do they go with a college pitcher?
The only way they don't go Bryant in this scenario is if they really think Stewart is something special.

2) If Kohl Stewart is on the board (and Appel, Gray and Byant are gone) is he the automatic pick or do this go with a college pitcher?
The opposite of the above answer.


3) Can they come out of this fourth pick with ANY position player other than Bryant and we'll still think it was a good move?
This place will explode.

It's worth remembering that the Twins are working with a lot more data than we have. Gray/Appel, Bryant and Stewart really seem like the top 4 but not even BA, PG, Sickels or anyone else have perfect data on these guys. Not even the Twins...

#25 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 01:06 PM

That's not what the team that actually drafted him is looking at. Had the Twins taken Appel, we might be trying to figure out who the Twins should take with two high draft picks this year. I'll grant that at #2 he would have been a lot more likely to sign, but he might have held out for #1-slot money and that might have sent him back to school.

Also, pitching is always a higher-risk proposition. We might be reading about him dominating AA, or we might be reading about medical reports and TJ surgery. Yes, position players have injuries too, but nowhere near the rate of pitchers.

Meanwhile, Buxton is looking like he could possibly turn into a once-in-a-generation kind of talent, and Appel could still possibly fall to #4 this year. I am very glad the Twins chose Buxton.


I doubt Appel holds out at number 2, truth be told. He'd have cost us the full 5% more, no question. Even if he did, we'd be looking at 3 and 5 this year.

The big issue I take with your post is the risk aversion to pitching. The problem is that to be successful, you have to have good pitching. This system is pretty void in that right now, and it's going to be a big issue for the next wave if they don't bring in more high upside talent. The problem with developed high upside talent is that it's impossible to get past AA and very expensive to get prior to that. They have a shot to add a Bundy, Tallison, etc. to their farm for the cost of the signing bonus, and they'd be silly not to do that. I get that there's risk, but this is where too much risk aversion can cripple a franchize, because the reward is higher too. They have to get some pitching.

My personal strategy for this draft would be to draft one of Gray/Appel/Stewart and stock up on the strenghts of this draft, which is highschool pitching and catching. This draft seems fairly deep in those areas and they happen to be needs as well. We have enough cash that I think we would be able to sign some of those guys, regardless of who we take at 1-4.

#26 gil4

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 05:56 PM

The big issue I take with your post is the risk aversion to pitching.
My personal strategy for this draft would be to draft one of Gray/Appel/Stewart and stock up on the strenghts of this draft, which is highschool pitching and catching.


The difference in reward has to justify the difference in risk. The odds of ending up with nothing are high with a HS pitcher. He needs to have a much higher upside to justify drafting him at #4. I would much rather take the high risk picks a bit later in the draft.

#27 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:22 PM

The difference in reward has to justify the difference in risk. The odds of ending up with nothing are high with a HS pitcher. He needs to have a much higher upside to justify drafting him at #4. I would much rather take the high risk picks a bit later in the draft.


The stats say otherwise. 1st round HS pitchers flame out at the same rate as 1st round college pitchers, with lefties being some of the highest flame outs... The HS pitchers that succeed tend to be better overall.

#28 birdwatcher

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:49 PM

While experts might not agree who the exact BPA was last year obviously the Twins front office did. After spending a butt load of time and money they ended up taking a HS CFer over the three college arms. What does that tell you about their board? In the end who cares who Law or Callis or Sickels thinks is the best player? Not their jobs on the line.


This is spot on. The Twins believe they got the best player available in last year's draft. It's early, but now we're starting to hear some incredible reports and comments, such as the ones quoted by Heyman today. For those of you who still disagree, and think we should have taken Gausman, I have a couple of questions for you. First, can you find me a comment or a report like "best player I ever saw", or "only comes around every ten years" attributed to Gausman? Second, since you're clearly basing your opinion on KLaw or someone who might've seen the player twice, why would you place more credibility on that opinion than on the collective opinion of a number of Twins scouts that have seen the player a number of times over the player's entire timeline? Or are you arguing that it's rational to take a lesser talent based on need? And if you are positing that, for example, Gausman is not a sufficiently lesser talent than Buxton, what's your basis for that?

#29 Kwak

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 09:51 PM

This is spot on. The Twins believe they got the best player available in last year's draft. It's early, but now we're starting to hear some incredible reports and comments, such as the ones quoted by Heyman today. For those of you who still disagree, and think we should have taken Gausman, I have a couple of questions for you. First, can you find me a comment or a report like "best player I ever saw", or "only comes around every ten years" attributed to Gausman? Second, since you're clearly basing your opinion on KLaw or someone who might've seen the player twice, why would you place more credibility on that opinion than on the collective opinion of a number of Twins scouts that have seen the player a number of times over the player's entire timeline? Or are you arguing that it's rational to take a lesser talent based on need? And if you are positing that, for example, Gausman is not a sufficiently lesser talent than Buxton, what's your basis for that?

Appel would have been both "need" and BPA in 2012. The selection of Buxton had to include other factors in the decision--but the Twins provided no comment to justify their choice.

As far as this thread "need" vs BPA--the Twins "need" impact players at all positions. Consider the lack of power on the active roster (for years) as well as in starting pitching. There really is no "wrong" position to draft, only "wrong" or "right" players.

#30 cmb0252

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 12:35 AM

Appel would have been both "need" and BPA in 2012. The selection of Buxton had to include other factors in the decision--but the Twins provided no comment to justify their choice.

As far as this thread "need" vs BPA--the Twins "need" impact players at all positions. Consider the lack of power on the active roster (for years) as well as in starting pitching. There really is no "wrong" position to draft, only "wrong" or "right" players.


I understand Appel being need but how is he BPA? Most experts saw Buxton as BPA then and most think he is now. It has actually been well documented that most experts still rather have Buxton to Appel. Bixton was picked because he was the best player in the draft. Plain and simple.