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Grading Falvey's Drafts


bean5302

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Grading Derek Falvey's Drafts

With the minor leagues essentially done for the year, it’s a fair time to review the Derek Falvey’s performance through the drafts. Falvey has been in charge of the Twins’ front office for 5 drafts now, though there’s not close to enough data to judge the 2021 draft group’s actual playing performance.

I believe Derek Falvey’s job has 6 major components, in no particular order. 1. MLB on field performance. 2. Free agency signings. 3. Trades. 4. Player conduct. 5. Drafting. 6. Player development.

Drafting should be considered separate from player development as they’re not the same thing. Drafting involves identifying pre-professional talent while players are outside the organization and player development is all about finding the ways to improve players while in the system. For example, getting a 10th rounder to produce at the MLB level has almost nothing to do with the draft; that’s all player development.

I’m concentrated on the first 3 rounds of the draft, which include Competitive Balance A and Competitive Balance B picks and works out to just about 100 players even in most years. Obviously, a 1st round / CBA is much more important than a 2nd round / CBB pick and then a 3rd rounder drops off more. I’ve chosen to grade the overall draft results on that scale. First Round/CBA = a multiplier of 2.00. Second Round/CBB = a multiplier of 1.50. 3rd Round = a multiplier of 1.00. My grades are subjective, based on performance of the pick, whether or not the front office reached to get the pick, how quickly the pick has advanced and my opinion of the projected performance of the pick at this point. I didn’t ding the Twins for any of the lost CBA/CBB picks due to free agency signings or trades except Hughes. The Twins essentially traded their late 2nd rounder, a CBB pick in 2019 for a little cash; that’s an absolute dereliction of duty and it’s worth a grade.

  • Huge Reach = 2+ rounds ahead of MLB.com projection
  • Reach = 1 round ahead of MLB.com projection
  • Aggressive = ½ round ahead of MLB.com projection (i.e. CBA instead of 2nd round)
  • On Par = In the round where projected, within a reasonable distance of expected. (i.e. picked 20th overall when projected at 25th)
  • Deal = 1 round behind MLB.com projection
  • Steal = 2+ rounds behind MLB.com projection

 

2017 Player Grade MLB Draft # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Level Last Perf. Progress Projection
1st Royce Lewis C 5 1 1-30 (Rnd1) On Par High School 22 AA D C B
CBA Brent Rooker C 50 35 31-36 (CBA) Aggressive College 26 MLB B D C
2nd Landon Leach F 101 37 37-67 (Rnd2) Reach High School 21 A- F F F
3rd Blayne Enlow C 29 76 76-105 (Rnd3) Steal High School 22 A+ C D C
2018 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Level Last Perform Progress Projection
1st Trevor Larnach C 26 20 1-30 (Rnd1) On Par College 24 MLB C B D
2nd Ryan Jeffers B >200 59 44-78 (Rnd2) Huge Reach College 24 MLB D A C
3rd Forfeit for Lynn 1yr N/A         N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2019 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Progress Projection
1st Keoni Cavaco F 28 13 1-30 (Rnd1) Aggressive High School 20 A- F C F
CBA Matt Wallner D 60 39 31-41 (CBA) Aggressive College 23 A+ C C F
2nd Matt Canterino B 46 54 42-69 (Rnd2) On Par College 23 A+ A C A
CBB Forefeit (to trade Hughes) F       Total Failure N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
3rd Spencer Steer C >200 90 79-107 (Rnd3) Huge Reach College 23 AA C A C
2020 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Progress Projection
1st Aaron Sabato C 41 27 1-29 (Rnd1) Reach College 22 A+ B B D
2nd Alerick Soularie D 105 59 38-60 (Rnd2) Huge Reach College 22 A- D C C
CBB Forefit in Maeda Trade N/A         N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
3rd Forefit for Donaldson N/A         N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2021 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Progress Projection
1st Chase Petty A 27 26 1-29 (Rnd1) On Par High School 18 Rk Pass C N/A
CBA Noah Miller C 62 36 31-36 (CBA) Aggressive High School 18 Rk Pass C N/A
2nd Steve Hajjar C 100 61 37-63 (Rnd2) Reach College 20 N/A Inc. D N/A
3rd Cade Povich D >250 98 72-101 (Rnd3) Huge Reach College 21 A- Pass B N/A

 

When reviewing the drafts, it seems apparent Derek Falvey believes his front office is a significantly better judge of player talent than MLB.com as he frequently drafts players well ahead of MLB.com’s projections. This doesn’t mean Falvey is wrong. MLB.com is just one source and it would be expected the Twins scouts could be superior to MLB.com’s. Draft picks routinely shift around during the season depending on their performance leading right up to the draft. Regardless, MLB.com’s projections are usually pretty close to other sources which makes for a good baseline as to the scouting world in general. If Falvey’s front office and scouting department is better, it should show up in the advancement and development of players.

So how do things look? Well, in a nutshell, I’d give the front office a C- overall with a GPA of 1.76, but it’s a very incomplete picture. I believe 2022 will be critical to evaluating Falvey’s drafts. Lewis, Rooker, Larnach and Cavaco are on their last year of grace period to “prove it.” While Rooker and Larnach get major points for making it to the big show, neither has performed well enough to stick around.

From a pitching standpoint, Falvey has only drafted 1 first round pitcher in 5 years and 8 chances. For the most part, Falvey has chosen guys with good breaking pitch offerings who were down the rankings a bit and focused on hitters with the highest picks. The only 1st rounder choice was 100mph high school flame thrower Chase Petty earlier this year. Petty received mixed rankings, but MLB was about as bullish on him as anybody else and Petty made his 1 start at the FCL Twins this year. Landon Leach, Matt Canterino and Steve Hajjar make up the 2nd round pitching selections. 2 of the 3 are big reaches and Leach is already a total bust. Canterino’s performance is a saving grace here as his injury history has slowed his advancement while Hajjar didn’t make a competitive appearance this year. 3rd rounders include Blayne Enlow and Cade Povich. Enlow was projected high, but velocity drops and concerns over signing him let the Twins save up some slot money and get the chance to make a run at him. Enlow’s situation sort of mirror’s Canterino’s. Injuries have derailed his advancement. Povich is just a head scratcher. He was way, way down almost all prospect lists if he even appeared at all. Prospectslive.com had him at 537, but the Twins apparently liked enough of what they saw to send him to the Low-A Ft. Myers Miracle. 

Falvey has shown a strong affinity for aggressively pursuing bat only players with lots of power and not a lot of anything else. Rooker, Wallner and Sabato are all one tool wonders and all were a bit of a reach. Larnach is now in the same boat after his advanced eye at the plate turned out to be outmatched against more talented pitching. If they don’t rake, they’re busts and finding spots for all of those guys would be impossible on the roster, but it would also mean the drafts were hugely successful. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Rooker and Larnach are not getting the job done with Wallner advancing too slowly for his draft position and experience and Sabato narrowly avoiding a “bust” moniker this year with a hot last couple months. Soularie, another bat heavy big reach, has a little more defensive potential so the Twins are trying to see if he can stick at 2B. The Twins have also gone for the athleticism over everything approach a couple times with Royce Lewis and Keoni Cavaco. Lewis is the one Falvey really can’t afford to miss on. Lewis was a first overall pick who hasn’t played competitively in 2 years and wasn’t nearly good enough when he did play, but he’s such a gifted athlete with such a great character that it’s believed he can still turn the corner. Cavaco… well, the best thing which can honestly be said about him right now is it’s still a little too early to call him a bust. That said, if Cavaco doesn’t pick it up big time, he will wear the title by mid 2022. The Twins reached a bit with him, and if you’re reaching for your first rounder, it’s important to pay off and the Twins doubled down by reaching for Wallner for the same draft. Spencer Steer completed the 3/3 reaches for hitters in 2019 and was an out of the park, 6 run, grand slam style reach for good measure, but at least he’s still showing a glimmer of promise with some fast promotions. I’m not sure who was driving the car in 2019 is what I’m sayin’ here. Thank goodness Canterino pitched well in between his injury woes or the 2019 draft would honestly be looking potentially catastrophic here.

Truthfully, draft results are finicky things to analyze, especially in the first 3-4 years and the loss of 2020's MiLB season really tightens the sample size here. Many quality MLB players have their hiccups in the minors or develop a little slower so the draft grades could really swing wildly next year. It would take quite a few things working out, but I could see the Falvey front office draft grade swinging all the way up into the C+ range next year… or tanking straight into F territory for that matter. I think it’s also important to consider this isn’t graded on a curve and a 2.00 GPA and a C grade for “average” isn’t a call to fire the front office; it means the front office is competent enough and doing their job well enough in a crazy competitive marketplace where many pieces have to fall into place to grade higher.

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Thoughtful analysis - I appreciate all you put into this. Would be fascinating to compare this with our market and division competitors.

It seems to me that the large number of times we see "Aggressive" or "Reach" here is an indication that this FO thinks they are smarter than the average MLB bear. Though the results so far just don't back this up at all

They don't draft well, and that's a MAJOR part of the talent pipeline for a mid-market team. They also bleed talent in Rule 5, they don't sign FAs well and their trades are a mixed bag at best (sellers: OK, buyers: terrible). Can someone please remind me why so many on TwinsDaily are eager to keep this duo at the helm? 

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I will hope the FO is humbled, and makes some adjustments. Thanks for the chart - lots of Aggressive - Reach - and Huge Reach on this chart. Not much performance thus far to validate the aggressive - reach and huge reach. Leads one to believe Falvey and Levine bought their own hype and came in a little too big for their britches.
The Pohlad family has always had a super long leash. I think so many on TwinsDaily aren't necessarily eager to keep this duo, as they are resigned to the fact that the duo isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Humility is now required to right this ship in my opinion. They know it hasn't gone the way they planned. Let's hope they can fix it. Frustrating to see both Greene and Baz debuting this week. I'd like to have gone starting pitching with both the Lewis and Cavaco picks. 

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20 minutes ago, LastOnePicked said:

Thoughtful analysis - I appreciate all you put into this. Would be fascinating to compare this with our market and division competitors.

It seems to me that the large number of times we see "Aggressive" or "Reach" here is an indication that this FO thinks they are smarter than the average MLB bear. Though the results so far just don't back this up at all

They don't draft well, and that's a MAJOR part of the talent pipeline for a mid-market team. They also bleed talent in Rule 5, they don't sign FAs well and their trades are a mixed bag at best (sellers: OK, buyers: terrible). Can someone please remind me why so many on TwinsDaily are eager to keep this duo at the helm? 

I tend to agree Falvey's draft history suggests a certain confidence bordering on perhaps arrogrance based on MLB.com scouting and draft rankings, and even if Falvey is correct on making the reach, the reach isn't necessary if the same player could be had a round later.

Hajjar is a good example of how draft ranks are subjective, and how other factors might contribute to a pick. The SB Nation Texas Rangers site, Lone Star Ball had a nice writeup on him pre-draft on July 1 including several ranks. Baseball America #61, MLB #100, Kiley McDaniel (ESPN) #142 and Keith Law (Athletic) #95. I also found Hajjar in Prospects1500 at #101, and ProspectsLive at #114. The question on Hajjar is whether or not he still would have been there at pick 98 (probably)? If he was still there, the Twins could have still picked him, but there is some question on whether or not they could have signed him without saving money elsewhere. Hajjar didn't have a great season and he was young for a college pick so he might have decided to return to Michigan in an attempt to increase his stock. The Twins signed him at slot for $1,129,700 vs. slot value for pick #98 at $593,100. Usually, for a reach, a team would be expected to sign a player under slot. Lewis signed for $1MM under slot (he wasn't expected to go 1st overall, even though he was a top tier pick) and that made it possible for the Twins to sign Enlow, for example. In Hajjar's case, the Twins reached and signed him at slot. It honestly makes little sense unless they really wanted him and weren't going to be able to save money elsewhere on slot to sweeten the offer to entice Hajjar away. Honestly, it's a pure gamble and Falvey deserves the egg on his face if it doesn't pan out. 

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You're a tough grader. I don't think most fans are going to consider a C to be acceptable?

I also think you're skipping an analytical component in this: signing status on the pick. We got Enlow because we were able to go above slot on him. Why did we have the resources available? Lewis was a guy we didn't have to go high on to get him to sign, and Rooker was signed below slot.

but the bigger issue is you explicitly say player development is separate from drafting...but your grades seem very much tied to the player development side of things, as you evaluate these players today on their progress in the system and projection in the future. For example: Landon Leach got crushed in this analysis, but he did fine in his initial exposure to rookie ball and then got hurt/lost a season to the pandemic. (btw, he was a HS selection not a collegiate one) 

 

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I understand your point of view and respect the amount of work you clearly put into this (won't say that I remotely even agree with it), but it's entirely subjective.  This reads more along the lines of "I don't like these picks and this is my anecdotal evidence to support it".

Baseball is a game of "failure".  Players and front offices will fail or be wrong more times than they will ever be "right", and even that level of "right" is in itself extremely subjective.  

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I like your focus on the top 100 players.  They generally have the greatest chance to make it and even a good chunk on the top 100 won't ever make it to MLB.  The grading is pretty harsh IMO but to your point they don't have a single drafted player that has been a true difference maker to this point.  You could argue Jeffers but he is more average to below than above.

That being said the grade assumptions are very premature at this point.  There is plenty of time for those picks to work out as you stated so no need to panic just yet.

Like you I have not been enamored with many of their choices in the top few rounds.  They almost seem to have better luck in the later rounds.  The thing with the baseball draft though is that the guys after about the top 20 all start to run pretty close to the same so it seems entirely subjective which player to take as this guy might run .001 faster than the next guy.  This guy looks stiff at the plate or always plays with red sox on.  I think the data shows us that after the first 20 to 30 picks it is pretty much take guys you like before they are gone.  There is some grading but if you watched the draft this year teams were taking guys not even on BA's or MLB.coms draft boards.  It isn't just the Twins it is all teams.

Like I said you have the right idea to focus on the top 100 as those are the most important picks and missing on those hurts the most, but in the end we all know that any one draft of 600 or more players will only likely return 60 that make much of a difference at the MLB level.  The failure level is like 80 to 90 percent so a good chunk of these picks really don't matter too much anyway.

I don't follow your logic in the Drafting being separate from player development.  You are drafting players based on a skill you think you can develop especially when it comes to pitchers.  They are intertwined and that is why they are often spoken of together as drafting and player development.  A 10th round draft pick developed to be better than a 1st round pick is still a good draft pick that player just exceeded expectations.  Still a good pick though in fact that pick could be considered a superior draft pick to the first round as your draft team found the proverbial diamond in the rough.

Still your point remains that to this point this FO has not drafted well.  We do need to give them a few more years though IMO.

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Nice work, Bean.  While it's certainly easy to quibble with some of your grades, I  would guess most of  us would agree their 5 years of drafting have been well below average.  Yes, we can give them the benefit of the doubt on certain circumstances, e.g., one year of development was lost, it takes more than 4 years of minor league ball to establish a player's chops at the big league level, etc., etc.....  But there is no rational argument for this FO's failure to develop at least one bullpen arm in 4+ years. This is a pretty low bar, but Falvey can't even pass this one.

We each have our pet peeves, like you, and frankly they lost me when drafting Lewis #1 overall, in a year with several "can't miss" rotation arms( Gore, McKay, Pearson, Wright)  Lewis might yet develop but his clock is running out and he appears to have whiffed on his chance to fill the all-important SS position, that is still a black hole 4+ years later.  Throw in two other highly questionnable # 1 picks in Cavacao and Sabato, and no wonder there is so much grumblling from the fan base, especially when you add in their massive failures in FA.  As many have said before, give these guys one more year, but its sink or swim time.

One other point not addressed and that is the ability of the scouting director.  Sean Johnson was promoted 2 months after Falvey took over.  The former Head Scout, Deron Johnson, was kicked upstairs after 10 years in charge.  While D. Johnson had some terrible drafts, especially among pitchers, he did well in 2012(Buxton, Berrios, Duffy, Rogers) and 2016 (Kirillof, Rortvedt, Jose Miranda, Akil Baddoo, Jax, Balazovic and Rooker).  Yes, these players have had longer to develop(and some are still prospects), but those two years alone put him ahead of the current Johnson.  My question: with scouting so critical to building a repeatable contender:  should Ryans' scouting system have been more thoroughly overhauled?  I realize hindsight is always 20;20, but the failure to keep the window open, especially for a mid-market team, starts with the draft and the scouting director in charge of the drafts.

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I guess for me it comes down to what your expectations are. You say you're almost ready to label Cavaco and Sabato busts despite them having 1 year of professional ball under their belt. That seems incredibly aggressive to me. Cavaco has 332 total minor league ABs in 88 total games (according to MLB.com). Sabato has 361 in 107. That's less than 1 season of play and you're saying they're already likely busts? That's some tough grading right there.

I haven't been overly impressed with their drafts (I did like the Lewis, Larnach, and Petty picks), but I don't think they've been awful (Cavaco has the athleticism that creates the type of ceiling you want with a 1st round pick and Sabato absolutely crushed some of the best college baseball talent during his 2 years in NC). If Lewis had reached the majors last year or this year as was predicted before a pandemic and freak knee injury ruined both those plans I think things look a lot different.

In a season ticket holder Q and A Levine spoke a little to their draft strategy. They feel the data shows that getting high end, elite bats later in the draft is much harder than finding impact pitching. They feel that your best chance to get game changing hitters is to get them early and that's what they were attempting to do with the bats they took. Their approach is to go after guys with elite tools (Lewis and Cavaco) or guys who dominated college baseball (Larnach, Sabato, Rooker, Wallner, Soularie) and look like they could have game changing bats. They believe they can turn pitchers with an already elite pitch into more complete pitchers and can get those guys later. That's their approach to pitching in general, actually. Find a guy with a pitch they can already put in their back pocket (Ryan fb, Petty fb, Wisler slider, Maeda split, Pineda slider, Duran fb, etc) and then use their technology based coaching to develop more pitches (Balazovic, really good article on the athletic today about his new splitter), add velo (Ober), or improve control (hopefully improve everyone's). Now you can certainly debate if that's the correct strategy (I know it's pretty universally accepted that you take a bat over an arm if they're closely ranked as bats are more likely to turn out) or if they've executed their vision well. But I think it's important to at least take their strategy and goals into consideration.

I also think expectations on baseball draft prospects need to be tempered to a great degree. As Dman pointed out, the success rate is miniscule. To truly evaluate any FO and their ability to draft and develop you need to compare them to every other drafted and developed player. Like is Larnach really that far behind his 2018 draft class peers? I'd argue no. There aren't a bunch of them taking the league by storm already. He's among the handful that have made it to the bigs, and none of them are world beaters yet. I wouldn't say he's the best of the bunch by any means, but he's not getting drastically outdone by the players taken after him or anything. To me it's too early to judge these drafts, or their draft and development ability at all. It's a total incomplete grade to me.

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Kind of reminds me of "the draft" in 1963-1967, when I was in college and then enlisted in the army in 1967. That "draft" really did chose some of America's best and some not so good.  Some developed into good marching soldiers and some developed into good field soldiers. It was hard to predict who was going to be a good fighting soldier.  A lot of it just came down to doing our jobs, never quitting, looking out for each other and luck.   

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1 hour ago, jmlease1 said:

You're a tough grader. I don't think most fans are going to consider a C to be acceptable?

I also think you're skipping an analytical component in this: signing status on the pick. We got Enlow because we were able to go above slot on him. Why did we have the resources available? Lewis was a guy we didn't have to go high on to get him to sign, and Rooker was signed below slot.

but the bigger issue is you explicitly say player development is separate from drafting...but your grades seem very much tied to the player development side of things, as you evaluate these players today on their progress in the system and projection in the future. For example: Landon Leach got crushed in this analysis, but he did fine in his initial exposure to rookie ball and then got hurt/lost a season to the pandemic. (btw, he was a HS selection not a collegiate one) 

 

We probably got Enlow because we were able to go overslot on him. I mentioned that in my response to LastOnePicked. Enlow fell down the charts pretty hard because of his velocity drop and inconsistency during his draft year, but it's likely he wasn't picked by another team before the Twins made him their 3rd round pick because other teams assumed he wouldn't sign at slot. I did consider that in giving Enlow a C grade instead of a D grade. Enlow hasn't even made it to AA yet and while injuries are a valid excuse for players, they're not an excuse for the front office. A front office is paid to perform, period.

My expectation is top round picks will eventually perform, regardless of whether or not player development is top notch. Certainly player development does have a hand in helping draftee's make adjustments, but the athleticism, eyesight, reaction times, intuition, feel for the ball, confidence and other factors should be part of the make up of an early round pick. Turning a player like Louie Varland into a legitimate starting prospect is a credit to player development. Turning a prospect like Royce Lewis who should have been drafted with 90% of the skill he needed into an MLB contributor is just expected.

Landon Leach is a bust and it's on the front office with a 2nd rounder not even justifying a promotion to A+ ball after 5 years in the system. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Twins released him. Leach's peripherals weren't nearly as kind as his ERA in 2017, and quite frankly, top picks need to excel in rookie ball regardless of whether they were drafted out of high school. I'll update the chart to reflect the high school pick. 

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Just a few thoughts from the analysis (great work and thought put into it)... 

1.) They have been Sean Johnson's drafts. He is the scouting director and responsible for drafting. Falvey provides a framework and some of the thought process. He has encouraged the scouting department to work with the player development and communicate between the departments. 

2.) The Twins don't and shouldn't care what any other rating system puts for their rankings. They should trust their scouts and evaluators (dozens) over 2-4 people at sites like MLB.com, Baseball America or any other site think. 

3.) The two "Huge Reach" guys with some playing time (Jeffers and Steer) sure look like good picks ot this point. 

4.) Injuries are always a factor, unfortunately. 

 

It will be good to look at this analysis in 3-4 more years when we'll know a lot more about all of these players. 

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29 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

My expectation is top round picks will eventually perform, regardless of whether or not player development is top notch. Certainly player development does have a hand in helping draftee's make adjustments, but the athleticism, eyesight, reaction times, intuition, feel for the ball, confidence and other factors should be part of the make up of an early round pick. Turning a player like Louie Varland into a legitimate starting prospect is a credit to player development. Turning a prospect like Royce Lewis who should have been drafted with 90% of the skill he needed into an MLB contributor is just expected.

I don't think your expectation is borne out by baseball draft history. Sure, for a top 5 pick like Royce Lewis the expectation is that he's going to be a major league player, and have a good chance at being more than that. And those top five picks almost always get to the majors and with at least some success. But first round picks still bust all the time, and expecting that the twins picks are going to be immune to that doesn't make sense to me. Falvey has had 1 top 5 pick (#1 overall), 1 pick in the top 15, and everything else 20 or lower. If all these guys make the majors it'd be amazing

 

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36 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

I don't think your expectation is borne out by baseball draft history. Sure, for a top 5 pick like Royce Lewis the expectation is that he's going to be a major league player, and have a good chance at being more than that. And those top five picks almost always get to the majors and with at least some success. But first round picks still bust all the time, and expecting that the twins picks are going to be immune to that doesn't make sense to me. Falvey has had 1 top 5 pick (#1 overall), 1 pick in the top 15, and everything else 20 or lower. If all these guys make the majors it'd be amazing

 

2/3rds of first round picks make MLB. 1/2 of second rounders make it and 1/3 of 3-5 rounders make it, though they may not become regulars. It's borne in my grade of C for Rooker and Larnach despite neither one of them looking like a legit MLB player now.

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2 hours ago, bean5302 said:

2/3rds of first round picks make MLB. 1/2 of second rounders make it and 1/3 of 3-5 rounders make it, though they may not become regulars. It's borne in my grade of C for Rooker and Larnach despite neither one of them looking like a legit MLB player now.

Do 2/3, 1/2, 1/3 make it within 3 years of being drafted and with a missed year of minor league baseball? Because that's what you're judging Larnach by right now. My guess would be those numbers refer to their entire careers and simply making an MLB roster at some point. I mean Drew Maggi technically made it to the majors as a 15th round pick now. This just feels like you're missing a lot of context. What number of players from the 2017, 18, 19, 20, 21 drafts have made it to the majors, how many games have they played, and how are they performing? That's what you need to compare these guys to.

According to a baseball america article from 2019 only about 83 guys from each draft ever accumulate even 0.1 WAR. Trevor Larnach is already at 0.5 and Jeffers is at 1.1. So with a completely lost season of development and within 3 years of being drafted those 2 are already within the top 83 players of what that entire draft class will produce on average and have basically filled the Twins quota for the 2018 draft.

According to fangraphs the chances of a top 5 pick never accumulating 1.5 WAR in their career is 60%. 6-10 is 65%, 11-15 71%, 16-20 85%, 21-25 76%, and 26-30 84%. It's more likely than not that anyone drafted, even at the top of the draft will never get even 1.5 WAR. Odds of finding someone who produces over 2.5 WAR for picks 1-5 is 11%, 6-10 is 15%, 11-15 11%, 16-20 5%, 21-25 11%, 26-30 5%. Anyone picked after pick 15 has about a 5% chance of accumulating even 2.5 WAR for their entire career. I think we need to lower the expectations for what Falvey draftees should have produced by now. I mean Jeffers has already out performed his draft position within 3 years and in the middle of a pandemic, and as stated above they've already met their quota for players who reach 0.1 WAR for the 2018 draft. What more do you want?

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This is about the results from the front office based on what has been seen up until now, including how well our prospects have performed in the minors. There are exceptions to the rule, but most eventual MLB players do not struggle or even fail to impress in the low minors multiple years after they were drafted. Still, getting to MLB is absolutely worth something and that's reflected in the front office's grade for Larnach.

The front office got a C grade for Larnach because he made it to MLB in the first place. C grade is acceptable. It's average. It's good enough. It's nothing special. Even if Larnach never makes anything out of himself, and I projected him not to, it still gave Falvey a C grade. This isn't an Uber ride where somebody gets fired if you don't give them 5 stars.

Larnach was drafted as a bat only player which means he absolutely has to rake to be of significant value. The front office was behind the 8-ball from day 1 on the Larnach, Sabato, Wallner and Rooker picks because there was nothing to fall back on. The front office made that call and they need to live with it.

Side note, it is not uncommon to see college players in MLB at 3-4 years, and the best college players get to MLB in 1-2 years. 2020 did throw some wrenches into the mix, but Larnach is not particularly young and he participated in the alternate site in 2020. He'll be 25 years old at the start of next season, and that's generally about the cutoff for a "prospect" being considered a prospect. The effects of a lost season diminish over time.

As far as missing context, I'm not writing a book, I'm writing a blog. To deep dive into every conceivable aspect of the draft would take hundreds of hours of work. You're more than welcome to do the digging yourself. :)

 

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11 hours ago, bean5302 said:

As far as missing context, I'm not writing a book, I'm writing a blog. To deep dive into every conceivable aspect of the draft would take hundreds of hours of work. You're more than welcome to do the digging yourself. :)

 

Well, some of this context has already been done at places like Baseball America and FanGraphs; didn't take hours to track it down, more like 10 minutes. But you're putting forward the analysis of the front office's draft ability, so it's fair game if you've missed something important, and I think you have.

But the biggest problem with this as a blog post for me is that the thesis feels incoherent. Almost everything you're presenting is highly critical of the front office's draft results and strategy...but then you tell us that the final grade is still ok and you're not calling for them to be fired like an Uber driver. If you believe that their strategy is wrong, that they're making a lot of mistakes, and that their drafts are not panning out and should have better results by now, then stick with it. Don't cop out and tell me a "C" grade is ok; tell me why you're right to give them what will be perceived as a pretty crummy grade.

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14 hours ago, bean5302 said:

2/3rds of first round picks make MLB. 1/2 of second rounders make it and 1/3 of 3-5 rounders make it, though they may not become regulars. It's borne in my grade of C for Rooker and Larnach despite neither one of them looking like a legit MLB player now.

Those two have made the MLB roster.... they ARE legit major leaguers.  

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1 hour ago, MN_ExPat said:

Those two have made the MLB roster.... they ARE legit major leaguers.  

You and I have very different viewpoints of legit major league caliber performances it seems. I want my MLB players to be better than AAA replacement level.

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12 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Side note, it is not uncommon to see college players in MLB at 3-4 years, and the best college players get to MLB in 1-2 years. 2020 did throw some wrenches into the mix, but Larnach is not particularly young and he participated in the alternate site in 2020. He'll be 25 years old at the start of next season, and that's generally about the cutoff for a "prospect" being considered a prospect. The effects of a lost season diminish over time.

As far as missing context, I'm not writing a book, I'm writing a blog. To deep dive into every conceivable aspect of the draft would take hundreds of hours of work. You're more than welcome to do the digging yourself. :)

 

So here's my concern. You mention it isn't uncommon for college players to reach MLB in 3-4 years, and I agree. You've used stats in the comments to show the percent of players who make it to MLB at all based on round drafted (and I'll add that it's 17.6% of all drafted players ever make the bigs). I provided data that only 83 out of the usual 1200ish players drafted in any single year (7%) ever reach at least 0.1 WAR. In their entire career, not within 3-4 years. You seem to be mixing "making it to MLB" with "establishing/doing well in MLB." If the mark is simply making it that's one thing, if it's doing well that's another. And I get that it plays into your grade of "C," but the tone of the original post and your comments following is more that the Twins are failing or that "C" isn't actually good enough. The FO has 2 draft classes that are 3-4 years removed from their draft year. Here are the results of their classes as far as who's reached MLB already and their bWAR:

2017: Lewis, Enlow
Rooker (-0.2)
Barnes (-0.4)
Ober (0.9)

2018: Sands, WInder
Larnach (0.9)
Jeffers (1.1)

So they've had 5 college guys reach MLB within 3-4 years (Jeffers 2, Rooker and Larnach 3, Barnes and Ober 4) with a pandemic year sandwiched in the middle of their development. They've had 3 guys already reach more than 0.1 WAR. 2 of those did it within 2 or 3 years of being drafted. Arguments could be made that Lewis, Enlow, Sands, Winder, and Canterino would've debuted this year were it not for injuries which would give them 10 guys to have debuted in MLB between 2 and 4 years (including 2 HS picks) of being drafted with a pandemic ruined season mixed in.

I just think it's far too early to judge their drafting, or drafting and developing, beyond comparisons to things like MLB.com, etc. rankings that teams couldn't care less about as they're based on far less data than their internal rankings. I appreciate the the dialogue, though. Fun to have some back and forth about this stuff. I just disagree with labeling any 20 year old with less than a season's worth of ABs a near bust already, or even a college kid just wrapping up his first season. Bust is too strong of a word for me. Appreciate the effort that went into doing all this, though!

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3 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

You and I have very different viewpoints of legit major league caliber performances it seems. I want my MLB players to be better than AAA replacement level.

I think the disconnect here is that you provided data on how many players make MLB, not "succeed" (however you define that). So in the context of the data you provided those guys are "legit" in that they've made MLB and have fulfilled the criteria you provided.

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Larnach is not a 0.9 WAR player. Baseball Reference, especially on its own, is a poor source for WAR for Twins position players because it can dramatically inflate defensive value since the underlying metrics don't take the shift into consideration and the Twins shift heavily. Fangraphs has Larnach at 0.2 WAR which is much more reasonable given his well below average bat and lack of defensive value. He's been replacement level. I gave Larnach a D grade for projection considering he hadn't shown home run power in college until his draft year and he hasn't shown HR power since. His swing is more Joe Mauer than Justin Morneau. This leaves Larnach with a hit/plate discipline tool only, but he's proved much more likely to strike out than initially expected. Rooker got a C projection because there's a lot to suggest he's just been unlucky this year.

There has to be room for success. If Rooker was OPS'ing 1.200, there has to be room above "C" grade. Make it to MLB? C or higher. Contributor at MLB for B or higher. Excel at MLB A.

Based on the model I've used, I expect the average MLB team would receive a C grade. Falvey has a C- but things are very much in flux, and as I noted several times, things can change. I think it's fair to point out how Falvey has backed himself into a corner with his draft picks by drafting players well ahead of their projected position and drafting players who are very one sided and have very little to fall back on. Starter or nothing players. I also think it's more than fair to heavily criticize Falvey for trading away a late 2nd rounder for cash.

 

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biggest disappointment's for me is always the K rate of our draft picks...if you are K'ing over 30% of the time in the minors A, AA, AAA .....you will not be even be a .220 hitter in the bigs .. and the obvious lack of developing a true #1..or even a # 2 pitcher..or a shut down closer..must give props to developing Arraez, Polanco, Buxton, Garver, Jeffers and hopefully Kiriloff next year...and Miranda???

 

 

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K rate is a big problem for Cavaco. I know people will say the sample size is small, but it is what it is. He hasn’t been able to make the adjustment from high school ball to the low A level. If his fielding was dynamite you might give him a little bit of a pass, but the kid is a sub par fielder (.895) for a guy who was lauded as having elite tools. He was supposed to be a power bat, where the heck do they see this, the guy does not hit for power per his numbers. Athletic, yes. But if a player cannot catch, throw, or hit the ball that speed and athleticism doesn’t mean much.

 

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3 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Larnach is not a 0.9 WAR player. Baseball Reference, especially on its own, is a poor source for WAR for Twins position players because it can dramatically inflate defensive value since the underlying metrics don't take the shift into consideration and the Twins shift heavily. Fangraphs has Larnach at 0.2 WAR which is much more reasonable given his well below average bat and lack of defensive value. He's been replacement level. I gave Larnach a D grade for projection considering he hadn't shown home run power in college until his draft year and he hasn't shown HR power since. His swing is more Joe Mauer than Justin Morneau. This leaves Larnach with a hit/plate discipline tool only, but he's proved much more likely to strike out than initially expected. Rooker got a C projection because there's a lot to suggest he's just been unlucky this year.

There has to be room for success. If Rooker was OPS'ing 1.200, there has to be room above "C" grade. Make it to MLB? C or higher. Contributor at MLB for B or higher. Excel at MLB A.

Based on the model I've used, I expect the average MLB team would receive a C grade. Falvey has a C- but things are very much in flux, and as I noted several times, things can change. I think it's fair to point out how Falvey has backed himself into a corner with his draft picks by drafting players well ahead of their projected position and drafting players who are very one sided and have very little to fall back on. Starter or nothing players. I also think it's more than fair to heavily criticize Falvey for trading away a late 2nd rounder for cash.

 

Ok, give Larnach 0.2 WAR. He's still outdone what 93% of that entire class will do for their entire careers. How does that earn him a C? In the schools I went to being in the top 93% was an A. That's my problem. You're not using historical data and are crushing, or at least downgrading, picks that have either done better than you're giving them credit for or haven't had nearly enough time to make any kind of reasonable assessment of. Your expectations just aren't in line with MLB draft reality. Moral of this story is 4 years isn't enough time to grade a draft pick, let alone less than a season.

 

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