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A Tale of Two Organizations

Posted by mike8791 , 14 September 2019 · 2,716 views

Well, we're down to nail-biting time. This weekend's series can likely determine both Cleveland's and the Twins' fate for the season. A sweep by either team likely spells the end for the losing team. Pretty obvious for Cleveland if they're on the losing end, but almost as obvious for a reeling Twins team headed in the wrong direction. That's just reality. Even if the Twins manage to sneak in to a WC game, their chances against the A's or Rays, both of whom are headed in the right direction lately, would appear dim indeed.

But this article in today's NYT : https://www.nytimes....s-pitchers.html really gets to the difference in the two organizations' prospects. Despite trading Bauer, losing Kluber, Carrasco, and Salazar to injuries/illness, Cleveland has been able to maintain one of the best rotations in the league, certainly far stronger at present than the Twins. Bauer has emerged as an ace, far better than Berrios now, Clevinger is close behind, and Plesac and Civale have performed far better than any of our #3,4 or 5 starters(now that Pineda has taken himself out of the equation. Even Plutko has provided stability as a #5 starter. And now even though Hand is down, their newest arrival, James Karinchak, has been looked at as his replacement as soon as next year.

And what have the Twins come up with for reinforcements? One can say, a big fat zero, at least compared to the Indians' newcomers. The failed list is distressingly long: Romero, Gonzales, Stewart, et. al. - none of whom can be relied on to pitch even one inning down the stretch. As we enter today's doubleheader, perhaps the best we could hope for are Thorpe and Smeltzer, neither of whom having given much indication of success in big games like today. Part of the problem is that Rocco and company have not given them much opportunity to start, but the far bigger problem is this organizations' utter failure to draft/develop major league starters, especially when compared to Cleveland. And today we hear that Alcala may be called up. Belatedly, the org. switched him to the bullpen after failing miserably as a starter. So now with 7 relief innings under his belt at AAA, he is being brought up in the biggest series of the year. Haven't we seen what happens when someone(read Graterol) is thrust into a critical game without any prior major league experience: a crushing extra inning loss to the Indians at home to start a critical three game series.

I'm not going to predict the standings come Monday morning, but must confess to be a doubter as of now. The FO cannot be blamed for the long-standing weakness in Minnesota's pitching development and the loss of Pineda, but they passed on an opportunity at the trade deadline to be agressive in acquiring much needed help. Wouldn't Stroman or Minor have made all the difference? And after three drafts under Falvine, do any pitching prospects look ready to emerge next year to supplement our offensive prowess? Yes, the bullpen looks a bit stronger (no thanks to damaged goods Dyson) but that's because the re-emergence of May and Duffy has counterbalanced Rocco's shockingly poor bullpen (mis)managment.

We should all be distraught if this record-setting offensive team fails to make the playoffs. It would be a crushing blow to the fan base and even more so, because all the stars aligned this year for surprising success. Can we expect a repeat next year?

  • Huskertwin likes this

Yes, we will look back at inaction at the trding deadline as a minus. Those precious prospects and how they MIGHT pan otu in the long run.


Two factors. The Twins DO have a crop of starters, changed from the beginning of the season (when names like DeJong, Mejia, Littell, Gonsalves, Romero, Slegers, Stewart where the common ones mentioned).


September, with basically one FREE spot and pitches struggling to pitch five innings, has opened an opportunity for many to strut and shine. It is the call of the player. You can sink or swim in September, get a jump start on consideration for the future or just a fodder spot until replaced by someone more promising.


The trick of Wes and Staff os who needs to pitch to start and throw multiple innings vs. those we just need to get a couple of innings from the arm.


But back to the above article. Difference between organizations...well, the Twins DO have a few top flight prospects sitting there in the system. Maybe not for 2020, but for 2021 we see a decidedly different mix of arms developing and showing up in the major leagues, arms that may rival if not outdo the current crop in Cleveland,


No one thought the Twins would truly be where theyare today (first palce in September, with two weeks left in the season). We should be happy with that development.


And because of the inaction at the tradde deadline, maybe the front office does know something we don't know about all those precious prospects that they wouldn't part with for a Grienke or Stroman or Minor or Lynn.

    • Kevin, brvama and Huskertwin like this

What a difference a day makes!Great start by Smeltzer, followed by outstanding relief help/bullpen managment by Rocco.And finally, the bats came alive in Game 2 just in time.Hard to say who is Twins' MVP?Kepler, Polanco, Cruz, Sano, Garver, Rogers?Any one of these guys merit consideration.


Best thing from DH sweep: standout bullpen.Smeltzer, Littell, Duffy, Romo, Graterol, May and Rogers.Boy was I wrong on Graterol(at least for one day).He could be key to a dominant bullpen, if not this year, then next.


Coming down a bit from the high, the only negative was Thorpe.Can we add him to list of failed prospects:Romero, Gonzales, Stewart?Looks like mgt. sees Graterol in the bullpen, so what rising starters are left in the organization?Maybe Balazovic, but some analysts see him in the bullpen, too.So still on my wish list : this organizatiopn still has a lot to prove before they can compare to Cleveland in developing major league starters.We seem to have overcome that weakness this year, but if the Twins are going to move into the elite circle, they must develop some all-star-type MLB starters to augment their stellar offense if we are going to break this 28 year drought.But, hats off for now - this has been an exciting ride!!

    • Huskertwin likes this

Graterol could be a starter. If you can get the innings from the arm, the Twins could go for it. Romero actually looked good. Don't count him out. And Gonsalves might still be in the mix. And give Thorpe another season. Some of these guys are still coming back from inaction dur to surgeries, remember.



    • brvama likes this

You're right, gotta give these younguns some time to develop.But I have to admit I have very little faith they will turn into positive replacements next year or in the future.They just haven't shown much to warrant optimism.


Graterol is intriguing, but unless he develops a third out pitch, looks like he's destined to land in the bullpen.So let's call him a promising, but largely, big question mark.


As exciting as the DH sweep was, it doesn't really change the odds against us in Round 1 of the playoffs, probably against Houston.We have no one of the caliber of Verlander, Coles, or Greinke.That is going to be a major, but not insurmountable obstacle to advancing, even if we are completely healthy.There is just no overlooking the crushing loss of Pineda in a playoff.I actually like our chances better against the Yanks with their inferior rotation, but that might be getting a little ahead of myself.


Looking to next year's rotation, they must sign both Odo and Pineda.We have no one else of that quality in our system. Hoping for a major FA signing is purely wishful thinking.This organization has never shown the desire to outbid other teams in FA.So, will this FO risk trading one or two top prospects plus a regular to add quality to the staff? That will be the big question of the offseason. Based on their three year track record, one has to be very sceptical,I'm afraid.

    • Huskertwin likes this