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Baseball Prospectus Goes Twins Crazy!

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#61 Thrylos

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 08:43 AM

Agreed but the Twins can't sell high on Kepler this offseason. He'll need to put together a strong 2014 before his value rises again... 2013 wasn't horrible but it wasn't very good, either.


Totally agree. Trade deadline or off-season the earliest, but he has to be good at Fort Myers.
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#62 markos

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 09:00 AM

I'm still having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that very soon the major strength of the farm system is going to be pitching. Assuming Buxton, Sano, Rosario, Pinto, May and Meyer all graduate sometime in 2014, the remaining talent will almost certainly lean toward pitching, especially if they pick a pitcher with the #5 pick in June. Stewart, Berrios, Thorpe, Gonsalves, Felix and #5 pick should all be in the top-10 next year. Hopefully a few of them pan out as expected.

#63 gunnarthor

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 09:18 AM

I'm still having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that very soon the major strength of the farm system is going to be pitching. Assuming Buxton, Sano, Rosario, Pinto, May and Meyer all graduate sometime in 2014, the remaining talent will almost certainly lean toward pitching, especially if they pick a pitcher with the #5 pick in June. Stewart, Berrios, Thorpe, Gonsalves, Felix and #5 pick should all be in the top-10 next year. Hopefully a few of them pan out as expected.


True, but they have a few hitting prospects that could blow up too - Polanco will certainly be on the top 10 lists but a guy like Minier could have a lot of helium in a year or two. And Harrison could be a top 8-10 type guy in a year or so. And the most interesting guy could be Walker. I don't think it happens but Parks noted in that podcast that Walker was a toolsy first division type if it all comes together.

#64 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 09:33 AM

True, but they have a few hitting prospects that could blow up too - Polanco will certainly be on the top 10 lists but a guy like Minier could have a lot of helium in a year or two. And Harrison could be a top 8-10 type guy in a year or so. And the most interesting guy could be Walker. I don't think it happens but Parks noted in that podcast that Walker was a toolsy first division type if it all comes together.


With a couple of breaks, the Twins could graduate a stellar class of prospects this season and still be a top five system in 2015/2016.

The mind reels at how many guys there are in this system who could be impact players. And thankfully, many of the "second wave" guys are pitchers.

#65 halfchest

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 09:35 AM

I'm still having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that very soon the major strength of the farm system is going to be pitching. Assuming Buxton, Sano, Rosario, Pinto, May and Meyer all graduate sometime in 2014, the remaining talent will almost certainly lean toward pitching, especially if they pick a pitcher with the #5 pick in June. Stewart, Berrios, Thorpe, Gonsalves, Felix and #5 pick should all be in the top-10 next year. Hopefully a few of them pan out as expected.


That is pretty crazy. Seems like the smart move is to keep the system going that way too. Just seems cheaper/easier to pick up decent free agent position players than pitchers. I mean look at Willingham. Paid him 7 million a year compared to 5.5 million for Correia. Willingham was one of the top 5 outfield free agents that year right? Probably top 2-3 corner guys. Correia was kind of a bargain basement pitcher and he got dang near the same cash. Even though Correia worked out well it still shows that it's easier to get starting pitching from your own system and supplement position players with free agency. I'm pretty sure a little research would back this up too.

#66 markos

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 12:10 PM

That is pretty crazy. Seems like the smart move is to keep the system going that way too. Just seems cheaper/easier to pick up decent free agent position players than pitchers. I mean look at Willingham. Paid him 7 million a year compared to 5.5 million for Correia. Willingham was one of the top 5 outfield free agents that year right? Probably top 2-3 corner guys. Correia was kind of a bargain basement pitcher and he got dang near the same cash. Even though Correia worked out well it still shows that it's easier to get starting pitching from your own system and supplement position players with free agency. I'm pretty sure a little research would back this up too.


I don't have any research to back this up, but I think your logic is pretty sound for a number of reasons:

1) A smart platoon will allow a team to get above-average production from a position using flawed players. Teams cannot platoon a starting pitcher.
2) Sacrificing offensive production at one position can be made up by the 8 other spots in the lineup. Sacrificing starting pitching can be made up by only 4 other starters. On a per game basis it is even worse, as there is only one starting pitcher. The worst offensive player can be hidden in a lineup by batting ninth, while the worst starter still gets the ball every 5 days. Since almost every single team could use an average starter to upgrade at the 4th or 5th spots in the rotation, there is increased demand for free agent starting pitching.
3) From a team building perspective, a position prospect is going to replace your current starter at that same position. There is some flexibility with this, but in general a prospect at position X is going to replace the current player at position X. If the current player is good, then there isn't as much value gained in the upgrade. For pitchers, starting pitching prospect Y is going to replace the worst of the 5 starters, and it is much more likely that the 5th starter on a team is near replacement level.

#67 birdwatcher

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 12:41 PM

On the question of depth. The system is deep in high-impact prospects. It's deep in the way Seth describes, with non-stars and role players. It's deep in terms of variety: middle infielders, starters, catchers, etc, with really no big gaps anywhere. And it's very deep relative to the competition.

Take Cleveland, which will probably be described as a middle of the road system. Fewer impact prospects for sure but study their pitching prospects for a moment. The Twins have perhaps 5 pitching prospects (more?) better than their #5 overall prospect, Mitch Brown. Their #10 overall prospect is describes in very iffy terms as at best a back of the rotation guy. Our #8 and #9 prospects certainly are in a class above this guy, and we might be able to find quite a few prospects further down our rankings that most evaluators would like better. Oh, and Cleveland's system is better than that of both Chicago and Detroit.

#68 spycake

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 12:46 PM

Twins have moderate success from non-traditional areas – Germany, Australia.


Outside of ~1 season of Balfour, what have the Twins really gotten from Germany, Australia, or the Netherlands? Granted, Kepler is still young, but I love the Thorpe hype so far, but it seems like the Twins worked in these markets because the stakes were low, possibly at the expense of competing in the more fertile baseball hotbeds in the Caribbean and Central America -- note that the Twins haven't really gotten much value from those countries either, at least before Sano and the more recent signings with the international spending cap. Arcia and Pinto came right before the end of TR's first tenure, I think, but other than that -- Luis Rivas? Juan Rincon?

#69 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 01:09 PM

Outside of ~1 season of Balfour, what have the Twins really gotten from Germany, Australia, or the Netherlands? Granted, Kepler is still young, but I love the Thorpe hype so far, but it seems like the Twins worked in these markets because the stakes were low, possibly at the expense of competing in the more fertile baseball hotbeds in the Caribbean and Central America -- note that the Twins haven't really gotten much value from those countries either, at least before Sano and the more recent signings with the international spending cap. Arcia and Pinto came right before the end of TR's first tenure, I think, but other than that -- Luis Rivas? Juan Rincon?


Five on the list are International signings. Does it really matter to you what country they come from or who the GM was?

#70 gunnarthor

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 01:17 PM

Outside of ~1 season of Balfour, what have the Twins really gotten from Germany, Australia, or the Netherlands? Granted, Kepler is still young, but I love the Thorpe hype so far, but it seems like the Twins worked in these markets because the stakes were low, possibly at the expense of competing in the more fertile baseball hotbeds in the Caribbean and Central America -- note that the Twins haven't really gotten much value from those countries either, at least before Sano and the more recent signings with the international spending cap. Arcia and Pinto came right before the end of TR's first tenure, I think, but other than that -- Luis Rivas? Juan Rincon?


I was doing a quick write up of Parks' podcast. Those comments were his, not mine.

I believe the Twins have had 3 Aussies make the majors so far - Hughes, Balfour and Hendriks and besides Thorpe, I think we have one more Aussie in our top 50.

#71 nicksaviking

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 01:33 PM

I was doing a quick write up of Parks' podcast. Those comments were his, not mine.

I believe the Twins have had 3 Aussies make the majors so far - Hughes, Balfour and Hendriks and besides Thorpe, I think we have one more Aussie in our top 50.


Also Michael Nakamura, Brad Thomas and Glenn Williams. They've also had Justin Huber and Josh Spence in the system. 33 Aussies have played in the MLB and eight have played for the Twins. They certainly have their fingerprints on Australian baseball.

#72 spycake

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 01:59 PM

Five on the list are International signings. Does it really matter to you what country they come from or who the GM was?


It matters that the Twins get a lot of credit for unearthing players in Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands, but as of 2013, they've received about a cumulative ~1 WAR for these efforts.

And I think the fact that we didn't sign ANY notable international players, even from the hotbeds of the Caribbean and Central America, until 2007, and didn't really try to do so consistently until the international spending cap in 2012, is further evidence the Twins front office shies away from competitive bidding, even when the costs are relatively low. That has some ramifications on other area of the franchise too.

#73 spycake

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 02:00 PM

Also Michael Nakamura, Brad Thomas and Glenn Williams. They've also had Justin Huber and Josh Spence in the system. 33 Aussies have played in the MLB and eight have played for the Twins. They certainly have their fingerprints on Australian baseball.


No doubt the Twins were/are a leader in Australia. What effects has it had on the MLB club? Why weren't the Twins more effective in Latin America?

#74 John Bonnes

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 02:16 PM

No doubt the Twins were/are a leader in Australia. What effects has it had on the MLB club? Why weren't the Twins more effective in Latin America?


I think the way Parks was talking about Australia, he was implying that the Twins have been doing relatively well there and it bodes well for them in the future if those areas continue to produce, as opposed to teams that will need to start from scratch there. Or maybe as a "these guys scout everywhere" anecdote. Overall, I don't think much WAR has come from any of those sources yet.

As for Latin America, the Twins readily admitted early last decade they were late to the party in the DR. That's why they went hard into Venezuela, building that academy, before the country destabilized.

I also know for a fact that they conducted an study by an internal group that became the basis for Jack Goin's group regarding where value can be found and concluded that it was in international signings. That's what paved the way for the Sano signing. That might be part of why things heated up. Unfortunately, it also happened just before the signing limits.

#75 gunnarthor

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 02:30 PM

It matters that the Twins get a lot of credit for unearthing players in Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands, but as of 2013, they've received about a cumulative ~1 WAR for these efforts.

And I think the fact that we didn't sign ANY notable international players, even from the hotbeds of the Caribbean and Central America, until 2007, and didn't really try to do so consistently until the international spending cap in 2012, is further evidence the Twins front office shies away from competitive bidding, even when the costs are relatively low. That has some ramifications on other area of the franchise too.


Our financial system is a lot different now than it was in 2007. The Twins drafted under slot in many of those years so I'm not sure we should be ripping Parks' conclusion based on things that happened 6 years ago (and we did sign some pretty good guys before that, including Wilson Ramos in 2004).

Additionally, what is the pay off you're looking for? The team scouted in Europe heavily enough to sign Van Mil who they traded for Fuentes to help the 2010 team down the stretch (not that Fuentes did much as he got hurt). If the Twins sign 20 kids from Australia how many have to make the majors? Would one - Thorpe - turing into a top 30 prospect make it worth it even if the other 19 never make it out of A+?

Do we ignore the impact of the international players that have had significant impact in the majors (and/or minors) that our front office traded for? Do we ignore the strong presence in Puerto Rico since that's part of the draft now? And lastly, our we really arguing (as you seem to be) that the Twins only signed ONE Miguel Sano and they should have signed more?

Your post reads like you're worried that Terry Ryan is getting some undeserved credit. Not sure if that's how you want it to read.

#76 biggentleben

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 03:26 PM

So after a team graduates seven top 100 prospects in two seasons, they'll be middle of the pack?

I'll take that all day.


As someone who has taken that, I agree. I love listening to guys like Keith Law rip on the Braves' minor league system and then turn around and praise their "under-25" talent at the major league level. Heck, most of the big hitters that have come up from the minors for the Cardinals were not considered prospects at all, but they have produced in the majors. Just because the player isn't part of the Shiny New Toy Syndrome doesn't mean he won't be a productive major leaguer, and even and All-Star caliber one.
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#77 DaveW

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 04:48 PM

I really could care less where the Twins farm system is ranked year in and year out, I am 100x more concerend on where the Twins major league team will rank in 2014, 2015,2016, etc.

Also a guy like Stewart should be a mainstay in the top 25-30 for the next couple years anyways, and guys like Kepler, Polanco, Berrios, etc will start getting on more radars as well.

#78 lightfoot789

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 05:44 PM

Don’t say Walker because he has HUGE contact/SO issues that he hast to fix and he hasn’t been able to fix even though he played college, he needs to prove it against pitchers who can throw with movement.


According to Fangraphs Statistics for Adam Brett Walker - He improved his K% rate from 30.2% (2012) to 20.8% (2013). Are you telling me that 20.8% is high for a slugger - even at Low A? I don't think so. That does not reflect huge contact issues. Work to be done - YES - "Huge" contact issues - No. Who in the world are you comparing him to?

AdamBrettWalkerFangraphStats

#79 gunnarthor

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 06:20 PM

According to Fangraphs Statistics for Adam Brett Walker - He improved his K% rate from 30.2% (2012) to 20.8% (2013). Are you telling me that 20.8% is high for a slugger - even at Low A? I don't think so. That does not reflect huge contact issues. Work to be done - YES - "Huge" contact issues - No. Who in the world are you comparing him to?

AdamBrettWalkerFangraphStats


I think clutterheart is right. Walker is a 22 year old college guy in low A ball. That's a scary krate. And, more frighteningly, his walk rate fell to about 5%.

#80 kab21

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 06:51 PM

According to Fangraphs Statistics for Adam Brett Walker - He improved his K% rate from 30.2% (2012) to 20.8% (2013). Are you telling me that 20.8% is high for a slugger - even at Low A? I don't think so. That does not reflect huge contact issues. Work to be done - YES - "Huge" contact issues - No. Who in the world are you comparing him to?

AdamBrettWalkerFangraphStats


115 K's and 31 BB's is a pretty big reason for a concern.