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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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3 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

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.

 

It gives the front office (not Larnach) a C for drafting Larnach because they can't get the same grade as Seattle did for Kyle Lewis as 2020's Rookie of the Year. Larnach was a first round draft pick who is expected to make MLB. He's not better than 93% of first rounders, he's the same as roughly 50% of first rounders drafted in spots 26-30.

A really nice Fangraphs article broke down 1st rounder results. https://community.fangraphs.com/success-rate-of-mlb-first-round-draft-picks-by-slot/ Larnach was a 26th overall pick giving him a 58% chance of making the majors. The 26th overall pick from 2000-2010 had generated an average of 4.5 bWAR at the MLB level by 2016. Overall, not including CBA, 245/330 made MLB (74%). 87/330 (26%) made MLB and produced an average of more than least 1.4 bWAR/season where 158 (48%) made MLB and produced less than 1.5 bWAR per season and 85/330 (26%) never made MLB. Larnach is right in the middle right now. That doesn't get the front office an A grade because that's average. Larnach could turn it on and really play well next year and that would absolutely impact the front offices grade on him, I just don't think he will.

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And of course each pick must be judged based on who they passed on when they made their pick. Monday morning quarterbacking. 
 

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22 hours 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.

Clearly... but I'd still drink a beer with you regardless of how misguided you may be 😉.

However, that wasn't really my point.  I view them as legitimate MLBers in the fact that they can (no matter what happens from here) call themselves MLB ball players.  They made the roster (and for how long doesn't matter) and thus have earned the right to that title regardless of how you judge them.

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20 hours ago, Twinky said:

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.

 

Just remember numbers don't tell the whole story (and no I'm not saying his are good).  The gulf between HS and Low A ball is somewhere along the magnitude of trying to run the Boston Marathon after having never done more than a 5K.  Right now Cavaco is trying to drink from the fire hose.  There's a high chance he never develops fully, but this is true of the overwhelming majority of pro players.  The baseball odds are already stacked against him, we (as fans) don't need to add to that.

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16 hours ago, bean5302 said:

It gives the front office (not Larnach) a C for drafting Larnach because they can't get the same grade as Seattle did for Kyle Lewis as 2020's Rookie of the Year. Larnach was a first round draft pick who is expected to make MLB. He's not better than 93% of first rounders, he's the same as roughly 50% of first rounders drafted in spots 26-30.

A really nice Fangraphs article broke down 1st rounder results. https://community.fangraphs.com/success-rate-of-mlb-first-round-draft-picks-by-slot/ Larnach was a 26th overall pick giving him a 58% chance of making the majors. The 26th overall pick from 2000-2010 had generated an average of 4.5 bWAR at the MLB level by 2016. Overall, not including CBA, 245/330 made MLB (74%). 87/330 (26%) made MLB and produced an average of more than least 1.4 bWAR/season where 158 (48%) made MLB and produced less than 1.5 bWAR per season and 85/330 (26%) never made MLB. Larnach is right in the middle right now. That doesn't get the front office an A grade because that's average. Larnach could turn it on and really play well next year and that would absolutely impact the front offices grade on him, I just don't think he will.

Again, you're ignoring the timeline. Players from 2000 had 16 years(!) to make it to the majors and accumulate WAR in that study. Larnach has had 3, with one of those being a pandemic cancelled minor league season. That article isn't even bold enough to try to grade drafts 4 or fewer years removed. They waited a minimum of 6 to start looking at things. That's the point. I can appreciate you not liking the Twins draft strategy, and agree that they have boxed themselves in with guys like Sabato and Rooker who are bat only (I never liked the Rooker pick), but giving the FO F's on Cavaco and Sabato especially is outlandish to me. Sabato is putting up Sano type lines now. If he has a Sano type career that's a win for the FO. Your post was meant to grade the FO for their drafts, but you just can't do that at this point.

I mean you've written Larnach off after his first taste of the bigs when he was called up before he was ready. I can't even imagine how badly you'd shred the Giants for the Joey Bart pick at #2 in 2018. Or Alec Bohm at #3. The league found a hole in Larnach's swing and beat it to death. That's the game. Now he needs to close it and come back next year having made an adjustment. His college and minor league performances suggest he'll make an adjustment and come back at some point next year and have made an adjustment. We'll see.

To me, there simply isn't enough data to provide the grades you are. It's ignoring the reality of the baseball draft and prospect development. It's really just you saying you don't agree with their "get possible difference making bats early" strategy. And that's totally cool. But it's nothing more than that. And that's totally cool, too. I appreciate the work that went into pulling this all together, and the back and forth on it, but this exercise is super premature. You simply can't judge these things this quickly.

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To me, I equate Low A ball to D1 college baseball. It’s not like guys in low A are facing major leaguers. They facing guys who are at the same level as they are, some older and more experienced, but they are still playing low A. Pitchers with amazing stuff don’t stay in Low A, they get promoted quickly. He isn’t as good as they thought he was. 

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1 hour ago, Twinky said:

To me, I equate Low A ball to D1 college baseball. It’s not like guys in low A are facing major leaguers. They facing guys who are at the same level as they are, some older and more experienced, but they are still playing low A. Pitchers with amazing stuff don’t stay in Low A, they get promoted quickly. He isn’t as good as they thought he was. 

There's one major flaw with that analogy though.  First off not all D1 baseball is created equal.  Then, only the best of college ball as a whole (regardless of level btw) will get a chance to even show their stuff in professional ball.  So at this point (Low A/Rookie Ball), regardless of the developmental time line, players are already facing the best players in the country.  It's like the NCAA Tournament on uber steroids.

Also, pitchers with "amazing stuff" do stay in A Ball if they have a hard time figuring things out (or they get released), you don't promote guys just to promote them.

I think I understand where you are coming from, but one can simply NOT equate college ball with professional ball.  It isn't even in the same realm.

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1 hour ago, chpettit19 said:

Again, you're ignoring the timeline. Players from 2000 had 16 years(!) to make it to the majors and accumulate WAR in that study. Larnach has had 3, with one of those being a pandemic cancelled minor league season. That article isn't even bold enough to try to grade drafts 4 or fewer years removed. They waited a minimum of 6 to start looking at things. That's the point. I can appreciate you not liking the Twins draft strategy, and agree that they have boxed themselves in with guys like Sabato and Rooker who are bat only (I never liked the Rooker pick), but giving the FO F's on Cavaco and Sabato especially is outlandish to me. Sabato is putting up Sano type lines now. If he has a Sano type career that's a win for the FO. Your post was meant to grade the FO for their drafts, but you just can't do that at this point.

I mean you've written Larnach off after his first taste of the bigs when he was called up before he was ready. I can't even imagine how badly you'd shred the Giants for the Joey Bart pick at #2 in 2018. Or Alec Bohm at #3. The league found a hole in Larnach's swing and beat it to death. That's the game. Now he needs to close it and come back next year having made an adjustment. His college and minor league performances suggest he'll make an adjustment and come back at some point next year and have made an adjustment. We'll see.

To me, there simply isn't enough data to provide the grades you are. It's ignoring the reality of the baseball draft and prospect development. It's really just you saying you don't agree with their "get possible difference making bats early" strategy. And that's totally cool. But it's nothing more than that. And that's totally cool, too. I appreciate the work that went into pulling this all together, and the back and forth on it, but this exercise is super premature. You simply can't judge these things this quickly.

I'm not ignoring the timeline and I actually considered it. The thing is... drafted players don't take 16 years to wash out of baseball. It happens much faster. Teams have to add drafted players to the 40 man after 4-5 years. They have 3 options once added to the 40 man. The number of players who are minor league free agents who become contributors 0.5+ WAR types is virtually nil. If a drafted player hasn't shown significant value by 7-8 years, it's over. So for the analysis, players drafted prior to 2008 were already at the end of their rope. Either they were regular MLB players or they were MiLB free agents/retired/out of the MLB system. The story of whether or not they'd have a career as an MLB player was already written.

This analysis is early. Definitely, with a huge amount on the line for many Twins prospects next year. Which is why I caveated that multiple times, but I find it to be pretty much the very same thing as a top prospects list. It's been 5 years now. 1-2 years for top college players 3-4 for average college players. 2-3 years for top HS players and 4-5 for average high school players. Those are the guidelines for when drafted players make MLB. We're well into that window now and I think this analysis can start being formed.

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3 hours ago, MN_ExPat said:

Clearly... but I'd still drink a beer with you regardless of how misguided you may be 😉.

However, that wasn't really my point.  I view them as legitimate MLBers in the fact that they can (no matter what happens from here) call themselves MLB ball players.  They made the roster (and for how long doesn't matter) and thus have earned the right to that title regardless of how you judge them.

Make it a mocha and I'm in! 

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7 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

I'm not ignoring the timeline and I actually considered it. The thing is... drafted players don't take 16 years to wash out of baseball. It happens much faster. Teams have to add drafted players to the 40 man after 4-5 years. They have 3 options once added to the 40 man. The number of players who are minor league free agents who become contributors 0.5+ WAR types is virtually nil. If a drafted player hasn't shown significant value by 7-8 years, it's over. So for the analysis, players drafted prior to 2008 were already at the end of their rope. Either they were regular MLB players or they were MiLB free agents/retired/out of the MLB system. The story of whether or not they'd have a career as an MLB player was already written.

This analysis is early. Definitely, with a huge amount on the line for many Twins prospects next year. Which is why I caveated that multiple times, but I find it to be pretty much the very same thing as a top prospects list. It's been 5 years now. 1-2 years for top college players 3-4 for average college players. 2-3 years for top HS players and 4-5 for average high school players. Those are the guidelines for when drafted players make MLB. We're well into that window now and I think this analysis can start being formed.

No, it doesn't take them 16 years to wash out, but that isn't the point. If you're going to use WAR accumulation as a variable you have to take the 16 years, or 6 years, into account. You're mixing and matching "reach MLB" and "accumulate MLB WAR." The Twins have seen drafted players reach the majors within those timelines you're providing, with even more who would've if it weren't for a combination of a global pandemic and injuries. My disagreement is in that you then turn around and compare them to the Fangraphs WAR totals which isn't a realistic measure for guys who are 4.5 years removed from being drafted at the most.

At this point you can gather hard data on "reach MLB," but not "accumulate MLB WAR." The breakdown you're doing is much more of a prospect ranking list. You don't believe in their prospects. That's really what you're saying. You're putting their prospect list (of only their drafted players) in the 15-20 range of the league basically. I think that's a far more useful exercise at this point than attempting to grade their drafts. You don't like their strategy and don't believe in their drafted prospects. That's fair. I disagree with a number of your projection grades as I just think it's far too early to be calling some of those guys busts, but that's why we come on TD. But your draft grades right now are really just you giving your personal projections on what you think of these guys. Useful exercise and I've appreciated your takes. But, to me, that's not how a draft should be graded, and this is way too early to grade any of their drafts. Although 2017 and 2018 drafts do need to show some MLB results next year (they've already started to) and Cavaco needs to step up next year.

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When was the last time you physically watched a Low A game in person? You seem to be fantasizing that this level of minor league baseball is somehow incredible. It’s not. To say that a guy who wasn’t even committed to a P5 program but now plays Low A ball is somehow suddenly in a different stratosphere than a typical college player is a stretch…if everyone who is playing minor league ball is so much better than a college player, then why draft any college players? By the same token, every guy drafted should tear it up…I don’t agree with you at all here.

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2 hours ago, Twinky said:

When was the last time you physically watched a Low A game in person? You seem to be fantasizing that this level of minor league baseball is somehow incredible. It’s not. To say that a guy who wasn’t even committed to a P5 program but now plays Low A ball is somehow suddenly in a different stratosphere than a typical college player is a stretch…if everyone who is playing minor league ball is so much better than a college player, then why draft any college players? By the same token, every guy drafted should tear it up…I don’t agree with you at all here.

You're ignoring or glossing over on a few items here I believe. 

The first is that unless a guy comes from a "Power 5" conference or was committed to one (and don't even get me started on what those "commitments" actually even mean) he isn't worth the time or effort, is a complete fallacy.  I also don't believe anyone is outright saying that professional players are so much better than college players. 

At that level, teams/organizations have pooled the best of the best from the country and internationally talent and skill wise.  Professionally speaking, a player isn't going to stand out or advance unless he is able to take the next step development wise.  So in a general sense, yes... professional ball is better/more advanced/harder, etc. than college ball.

This doesn't take anything at all away from the guys in college.  I personally love college and HS ball, almost even more than the pros, but when you condense the talent level (or another way to look at is the playing field has now been leveled much more so than anything these guys have faced thus far in their careers), the game does in fact actually get better (in a manner of speaking).

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Not picking a fight here, so I will just say that the only person who has stated how great Low A baseball is on here is you, claiming that it’s “NCAA tournament on Uber steroids.”I think that is pretty funny. Cavaco 2019 (short season) 40% K rate, 2021 38% K rate. An .864 fielding percentage. This is indicative of a player playing way over their heads. Not his fault, if some idiot wanted to throw $4M at me to sign, I’d do it too…but this kid is a swing and miss expert, not a potential major leaguer.

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8 hours ago, Twinky said:

Not picking a fight here, so I will just say that the only person who has stated how great Low A baseball is on here is you, claiming that it’s “NCAA tournament on Uber steroids.”I think that is pretty funny. Cavaco 2019 (short season) 40% K rate, 2021 38% K rate. An .864 fielding percentage. This is indicative of a player playing way over their heads. Not his fault, if some idiot wanted to throw $4M at me to sign, I’d do it too…but this kid is a swing and miss expert, not a potential major leaguer.

You seem to be completely missing my point.

Not saying guys like Cavaco don't struggle.  Merely saying the level of talent is higher in the minors than college.  You're fooling yourself if you think otherwise.

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