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Grading Falvey and CO


Brandon

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I guess its time to grade Falvey and CO at the 5 year mark of their run.  They came in with a young roster with lots of promise in 2017.  They were on the fringes of contention so they decided to go for it and traded for a pitcher.  They traded Ynoa who is now a starter for the Braves.  It took the Braves 4+ year to develop him so I don't hold that against this regime.  I consider it similar to when we acquired Bartlett who panned out but wasn't a name prospect.  after a week He changed course and sold off some players and netted us a few prospects   In 2017 we went 85-77 and won the Wild Card anyhow and lost in the wild card game.  and this year they drafted Lewis, Rooker, Enlow, Barnes, Ober, and Sammons, Sammons is still on the farm.  I didnt see any other names as prospects.  Overall this was a great draft based on the McPhail philosophy of bringing up 2-3 players a year so a draft that produces more cant be discounted.

in 2018 we went 77-85 They tried several patches in FA and they failed.  Logan Morrison and Lance Lynn were not good  Addison Reed was bad in the pen, They stole Odorizzi from Tampa Bay in a trade and made something of Magill who was a serviceable back of the pen reliever who finally seem to make it with Minnesota at 29.  Ehire Adrianza and Zack Duke were solid signings for depth on the bench and bullpen.  but the big signings were failures.  The draft again looks strong Larnarch, Jeffers, Winder, Sands, and Funderbunk.  I think we also signed Severino to a minor league contract who is still a prospect and considered a 1rst round talent at the time and traded nothing (I mean international salary cap space for 2 prospects a C who is currently at AAA and Pearson an OF that I dont know what happened to him.)

in 2019 we went 101-61.  Great team great results.  Signed Schoop and Cron to 1 year deals and won on both.  though Cron got hurt signed Cruz for the best Free agent signing since 1991.  (lets face it signing Morris and Chili Davis were the 2 best signings since they gave us a World Series Winner).  The Twins signed Martin Perez to a low budget deal and got 10 wins and ok 5th starter.  The 2017 signing of Pineda worked out great.  Ryne Harper, Cody Stashak, Zack Littell, Randy Dobnak, came out of no where to do a great job.  other signings were ok and a few were awful (Sam Dyson) its early to grade the draft.  I still see 7 or 8 players as prospects including Canterino, Wallner, Steer, Sawyer Gipson-Long, Louie Varland and the quetionable #1 draft pick Cavaco.  

In 2020 There was no minor league season this throws a wrench into development big time.  but the Twins drafted 4 players and still have Sabato who has power.  Soulaire sounds familiar and I don't know the others at all.  the Twins went 36-24 which is a 60% winning percentage and pace for over 100 wins again.  The Twins signed Donaldson and he did fine when not hurt.  They Acquired the #2 in the Cy Young race for a prospect who is a solid reliever at this point and not much else.  Brought in Theilbar and Wisler to the pen as a success.  Clippard and Romo were good too but Romo was wearing down towards the end of the season.  

In 2021 The Twins are reeling from a lack of 2020 minor league season.  Their depth starters were hurt almost all season Dobnak, Duran, Smeltzer, and Thorpe, Happ and Shoemaker were not good signings.  At least Happ would pitch well enough to be in games most of the time.  but Shoemaker was bad and the situation was made worse with the depth unavailable to replace him.  Colone also blew a bunch of saves the first month of the season to help derail it.  at least he rebounded and was ok the rest of the way.  Maeda got hurt and that was always a possibility with the contract he signed and everything so again I will not let this count against the grade either cause it was already planned for in terms of a contract which doesnt cripple our plans this offseason.  Buxton, Garver, and Killeroff spent lots of time on the DL.  Simmons was a bust with the bat, Kepler regressed.  the offense is still above average and here next year.  They also rebounded in the bullpen.  After starting out the pen failed miserably The Twins rebuilt with waver claims and ended with a strong pen down the stretch, one of the best in the league.  That was important since the rotation imploded beyond all belief and we traded our rotation rock Berrios to Toronto.  Ober and Ryan look to be future rotation arms moving forward.  Maeda will recover, and Pineda is hoping to return to the Twins so we seem close to a workable rotation.  We lost 2 key prospects to the rule 5 draft last offseason who performed real well this year and in areas of need for Minnesota which hurt.  But to be fair neither player played much the last 2 seasons before being taken.  I wouldn't stash them either on the roster.  Tyler Wells was close for me cause I thought he was near Major League ready when he got injured but I don't blame the Twins for that .  The Twins have developed several pitching prospects that will be up next season so this year there was some good in the minors but the pitchers were all limited due to last year too.  Winder, Duran, Balazovic, Sands, and traded for Woods-Richardson so we do have those prospects who should be in AAA and knocking on the door ....  We started this season 5-2 then went 9-25 to drop 13 games below .500.  If we win tomorrow we finish 16 games below .500 for the season so we at least rebounded being around a .500 team even with an imploding rotation the rest of the season.  Its not the season I wanted but the core which can compete is still together on the position player side.  

I bet that if we had 2020 to develop minor league pitching we would have had the depth to make this a better season.  so from where I stand the Twins did a lot right.  they did a few things wrong and we have an opportunity to right the ship and move forward.  I will reserve giving a full grade until after this offseason when we know how the rotation will shape out for next season and if we sign Buxton to a long term extension.  Without that knowledge They get a B.  With the Buxton extension and with good starting pitching for next season the grade goes up to a B+ maybe A-

Probably should add list of minor league talent list that haunts today.  Nick Anderson, Zack Littel, Ynoa, Luis Gil, LaMonte Wade Jr, Akil Baddoo, Tyler Wells.  Am I missing anyone?  

 

This blog was written in response to Tom Froemming's video about grading Falvey and Levine.

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I also forgot to mention the other extensions with Sano, Polanco and Kepler and that they have all worked out.  Sano's was more ok then great but Polanco is such a great value.  Kepler is a value too.  

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I’m afraid that for the period from the end of the 2020 season until now, Falvey and Levine get an F and Baldelli gets a D. Baldelli has shown slight improvement in the last 3rd of the season, maybe because getting rid of a lot of the bad relievers and bringing in more effective young ones made it easier to manage the bullpen.

I think the Twins can contend next year but Falvey and Levine will have to be much more thorough in their planning and realistic in their talent evaluation. I do not think Max Kepler is a major league starter. He’s way too long in the habit of trying to pull everything usually right into the shift. If he’d use the whole field he could be a good hitter again but he won’t make the adjustment. Justin Morneau has commented on it several times in recent broadcasts, I think one time even using the word stubborn.

For all the drafted pitchers, I agree with Tom. WE have exactly one pitcher that has proven he’s ready and that’s Ober. We really don’t know about Ryan because he didn’t get a long enough test but that last start was alarmingly bad. Cave has to go. 

The big hope would be signing a left fielder and Miranda playing a whole season for the Twins plus Kirilloff staying healthy and putting together a credible season. Lots of work to do.

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This is a tough one for me, because if all I was looking at was talent acquisition and evaluation, the FO would come out fair to partly OK.  Maybe a B- or so.  And, as Greglw3 so eloquently stated, Baldell gets a D (at best) and that is trying to be fair.  The thing that makes it tough is I really have no idea how intertwined the FO and the dugout are.  Does Baldelli manage the way he does because that is how Falvine wants it done?  Or do they let him run the dugout and they just try to give him the best roster they can to be competitive?  If it is the former, the FO grade drops to D and Baldelli might get closer to a C.  If it is the latter, then my original thought process stands.  

The FO would get the B- not just because of the talent evaluation, but the fact that there have been too many moving parts in 5 years.  We either sign players to extensions, use up their options, or jettison them if the options are up and the jury is still out, then bring in FA's as a stop gap.  The players they have brought in have been a mixed bag, but more positive than negative.  Hence the B- all told.  As for the way the team is managed, it is horrific, and if the FO has anything to do with that the grade drops off the table.  Someone is letting Kepler continue to be "stubborn" as JM points out on TV.   And he is hardly the only player refusing to adjust to shifts.  Just as someone has made calculated decisions to eliminate bunts of any kind, the hit and run, stolen bases or aggressive base running in general, and has determined they can live with the strike out rate this team has produced.  Slugging percentage has replaced batting average as a priority, and anything that resembles old school baseball has been discarded.  I genuinely don't believe Cave, Simmons, Kepler, Donaldson (average wise), Austidillo, etc. hit as low as they did due to lack of ability; it appears there is a philosophy this team has taken on that certain hitters can thrive in and others can't.   Now is that the FO, the dugout, or is there no separation between the two?  Hard to give either a grade until that is clarified, and this organization doesn't believe we need to know.  It is easy to point to the 2020 season being lost in terms of player development, and it is certainly true, but it is true for all 30 teams and exactly half the teams will finish over .500 this year, including 12 with between 86 and 106(7?) wins, so that can't be our excuse.  Just as Shoemaker talked about his pitching style/mechanics being molded in their image while here, you have to wonder how it has been on the hitting side as well.  Again, who decides that?  

I guess my long winded point is, it is a hung jury for me, and I suspect it always will be with this organization as long as they are as closed off as they are to questions.  There is one thing they lead the league in; the most meaningless words used to say virtually nothing during interviews.  Always give credit where credit is due, I say.  

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I give FO office a solid B over all. Coming into this season it would have been higher, but this year has exposed some flaws.

Rocco didn't really have control of the clubhouse IMO and really didn't need to with a few of the veterans like Cruz, Donaldson, even Berrios around but now he will have to step up and I question if he will. I do think he improved some over the last month so I'll give credit where its due.

The FO whiffed on Happ and Shoemaker, but all FO's will miss at times, unfortunately, both of these where at the same time to magnify the mistake.

The FO made a couple of nice looking trades (at least at this time) to help for the future.

I see hope for next season. Sign a couple good starters, solidify the pen, sign a ss, and I see a pretty good team. Looking at the past body of work from this FO I see no reason to doubt that they can get the job done!

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So for the dubious distinction of navigating a first place team to last in a weak AL Central Division, Falvine gets rated a B.  Talk about Minnesota Nice!!!  While some apologists on this board can blame the abbreviated 2020 season, injuries, bad luck for this miserable season, what about the accountability factor?   Someone should be held responsible for what is the most disappointing season since 1961.  Pohlad is clearly delusional, or just doesn't care, but I"m surprised so many serious fans on TD  are so generous in their ratings.  Walter's article clearly illustrates the fundamental problem here - ownership is content with mediocrity, resulting in sticking with his FO picks far too long.  Yes, give Falvey one more year to right the ship, but without a clear directive from JP, how many think a quick rebound is in the offing?

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D.   And the only reason this is not an F is because of fairly decent trading deadline moves, particularly the Cruz trade.

For me, the entire Jake Cave deal is a perfect synopsis of the their inability to judge talent.  Trading away a pitcher (yes he was very young at the time) who is now MLB material and then protecting him over Lamonte Wade Jr and Baddoo.   How do MLB talent GM's miss so badly on this one.    Particularly letting Wade go over him.   Cave better be the first one released come 40 man decision time for 2022.  

 

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The signings of the free agents last offseason all looked fine.  They all had track records and they all failed.  Happy was actually a decent 5th starter till his last 3 or 4 when he just imploded.  What made the Shoemaker signing worse is our 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th starters were hurt almost all season.  That's a lot of injuries.  (Dobnak, Smeltzer, Thorpe and Duran)

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1 hour ago, Five minute major said:

D.   And the only reason this is not an F is because of fairly decent trading deadline moves, particularly the Cruz trade.

For me, the entire Jake Cave deal is a perfect synopsis of the their inability to judge talent.  Trading away a pitcher (yes he was very young at the time) who is now MLB material and then protecting him over Lamonte Wade Jr and Baddoo.   How do MLB talent GM's miss so badly on this one.    Particularly letting Wade go over him.   Cave better be the first one released come 40 man decision time for 2022.  

 

I grade them an F, because it does take much talent to sit back in the driver seat with the best pitcher (Berrios) and best offense producer(Cruz)  with teams who want to compete in the post games. Signing Cruz is the best thing that I accredit them. They are terrible at initiating  big trades we need and evaluating talent. Polhad is delusional

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If you're going off just the 2021 season, then yes, I'd give them an F. But for the 2017-21 stretch as a whole? I think it'd average out to about a C, though the lack of a single freaking playoff win does hurt it. 

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12 minutes ago, Danchat said:

If you're going off just the 2021 season, then yes, I'd give them an F. But for the 2017-21 stretch as a whole? I think it'd average out to about a C, though the lack of a single freaking playoff win does hurt it. 

for 2021 the grade is definitely lower but I am not sure It is an F.  as injuries and 3 acquisitions killed the season.  Simmons on offense, Colone closing the first 2 months of the season, Shoemaker, (I don't include Happ as he was a .500 pitcher and was ok till his last few starts for the Twins).  Injuries to Dobnak, and the depth starters Thorpe, Smeltzer and Duran kept Shoemaker failing in the rotation longer.... Injuries to Buxton and Garver hurt the offense.  and that is how we crashed.  I am going to give them a C- for this year for 1 not quitting and 2 rebuilding the pen and most of a rotation on the fly.  We are going into the offseason needing a SS and a front of the line rotation arm and bullpen arm and resign Buxton and Pineda as a result.  maybe a depth arm or two as well.    

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F. The gaps in this team were clear after the terrible finish to 2020 and the FO made those gaps considerably worse.

Instead of bolstering the starting staff, the bullpen and SS, they waited out the offseason for cheap free agents. And those they selected were historically bad - and then they stuck with them for far too long.

They completely misevaluated young internal talent, and through trades and Rule 5 losses have now put the organization in a bullpen, starting rotation and OF talent deficit relative to what they lost.

They bungled contract extension talks with Buxton, using a trade deadline ultimatum that seems to have backfired.

The bottom line is this: they inherited a team on the cusp of postseason success. They now oversee a team with no established starting rotation, a team that will draft 8th overall in 2022, and with a farm system that is nothing to write home about (ranked 15th by MLB.com, even with the trade deadline additions). And we may have just seen Buxton's last game in a Twins uniform.

It's a big offseason for them, and I'm always hoping for redemption, but I can't even understand any grade for this FO over a D-.

 

 

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21 hours ago, mike8791 said:

So for the dubious distinction of navigating a first place team to last in a weak AL Central Division, Falvine gets rated a B.  Talk about Minnesota Nice!!!  While some apologists on this board can blame the abbreviated 2020 season, injuries, bad luck for this miserable season, what about the accountability factor?   Someone should be held responsible for what is the most disappointing season since 1961.  Pohlad is clearly delusional, or just doesn't care, but I"m surprised so many serious fans on TD  are so generous in their ratings.  Walter's article clearly illustrates the fundamental problem here - ownership is content with mediocrity, resulting in sticking with his FO picks far too long.  Yes, give Falvey one more year to right the ship, but without a clear directive from JP, how many think a quick rebound is in the offing?

 

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I'd give them a solid B/B+. They inherited a terrible manager and a bit of hope (but very little depth) from a FO whose contemporaries died from the fallout of a large meteor strike in southern Mexico. While they've not gotten everything right, they have done well to develop the young players they inherited, greatly improve organizational depth, and radically modernize the organization. They've also done really well to make the most out of their expiring (or soon to be expiring) contracts, which is something their Precambrian predecessor never got right.

If they're able to re-sign Buxton and find a Maeda replacement this winter, develop a couple more of their top young prospects into major league contributors, and return to a ~55% win rate next year, then I think they're firmly in the B+/A- range. If they can further find a way to win a couple of playoff series in the next couple of years, then I think they're strong A candidates.

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On 10/4/2021 at 12:31 PM, RonCoomersOPS said:

I'd give them a solid B/B+. They inherited a terrible manager and a bit of hope (but very little depth) from a FO whose contemporaries died from the fallout of a large meteor strike in southern Mexico. While they've not gotten everything right, they have done well to develop the young players they inherited, greatly improve organizational depth, and radically modernize the organization. They've also done really well to make the most out of their expiring (or soon to be expiring) contracts, which is something their Precambrian predecessor never got right.

If they're able to re-sign Buxton and find a Maeda replacement this winter, develop a couple more of their top young prospects into major league contributors, and return to a ~55% win rate next year, then I think they're firmly in the B+/A- range. If they can further find a way to win a couple of playoff series in the next couple of years, then I think they're strong A candidates.

 

On 10/4/2021 at 12:31 PM, RonCoomersOPS said:

I'd give them a solid B/B+. They inherited a terrible manager and a bit of hope (but very little depth) from a FO whose contemporaries died from the fallout of a large meteor strike in southern Mexico. While they've not gotten everything right, they have done well to develop the young players they inherited, greatly improve organizational depth, and radically modernize the organization. They've also done really well to make the most out of their expiring (or soon to be expiring) contracts, which is something their Precambrian predecessor never got right.

If they're able to re-sign Buxton and find a Maeda replacement this winter, develop a couple more of their top young prospects into major league contributors, and return to a ~55% win rate next year, then I think they're firmly in the B+/A- range. If they can further find a way to win a couple of playoff series in the next couple of years, then I think they're strong A candidates.

I say this with all due respect and I strive to be polite, but i don't know how your first paragraph could be more wrong.  Molitor a terrible manager?  Baldelli couldn't carry his lineup card onto the field, much less know as much about the game.  And the only modernization this FO has brought has been their analytics, which is primarily responsible for the situation we are currently in.  The cupboards couldn't have been too bare when they came in, as we were a wild card team in their first year, and a few free agents coming in and having good years gave us 2 division titles.  If they get credit for those years, they take full responsibility for this year as well; can't go back 5 years and blame Ryan for 2021.  As for organizational depth, it improved by trading away key pieces from the team their first 2 years, and leaving Molitor to take the blame.  Really not cool.  And where is all of that organizational depth?  A lot of it is on the IL, which seems to be the norm for this organization at all levels.  

I agree completely with the 2nd paragraph, and if they go down that path we can salvage the group that would have to be considered our base.  I am rooting for them to succeed.   And while I may disagree with a particular assessment, I love the fact we can debate politely.  

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I'm a Twins fan and have supported the team since they came to Minnesota. I do not have many criticisms of the current management team. They all have baseball backgrounds and knowledge. It is not understandable to me that anyone who believes themselves a baseball fan could take such a misplaced view of baseball acumen in criticism of Molitor. He is generally regarded by baseball players and insiders as among the most knowledgable persons in the sport in the last half century. Terry Ryan is still regarded as a top baseball man. I'm not suggesting that Ryan and Molitor should still be in their former positions but they had way more experience and knowledge than our current management folk. Change happens and it is fine, but the denigration of the former guys isn't just unnecessary, it is not accurate. It comes off as angry ill-informed opinion. Baldelli does a decent job and the Falvine duo get another opportunity this offseason to build a better baseball team. I think they will try hard to accomplish this feat and will listen and watch as next season plays out. I too am rooting for our current decision-makers to succeed.

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This same article (and comments) written after the 2022 season will not look the same.  After their second year in a row of non-competitive baseball, people will start to finally see the dismal situation that this front office has created.

I'd give them an F just for hiring Rocco, not to mention their other misfires. 

Just wait until the end of next year.  You'll see. 

 

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I like that you went over the 5 year period and not just recent as some want to.  For some reason in sports people always do the, what have you done for me lately thing.  When it comes to FO in baseball looking at single trades or FA signings you will find flops always, and you hope you will find steals.  Now, if it is a long run of flops and no steals then you have issues.  I mean we signed Lance Lynn, who was out of shape and not ready to pitch and really was upset to not getting paid.  We let him go after he did terrible, then he goes to a hitters ballpark tears it up and now getting paid.  Were the FO wrong on that signing because he did bad for us, or were they right to see the talent?  Was the coaching staff wrong in how they used him and coached him?  

People will point to 40 man roster decisions that went wrong, at least so far, but give little credit when they snatch up someone that panned out too. The fact that the FO did a full tear down of things I am not upset at the overall product, this year was not good, but I still feel good for the future.  

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On 10/5/2021 at 11:24 PM, Mark G said:

 

I say this with all due respect and I strive to be polite, but i don't know how your first paragraph could be more wrong.  Molitor a terrible manager?  Baldelli couldn't carry his lineup card onto the field, much less know as much about the game.  And the only modernization this FO has brought has been their analytics, which is primarily responsible for the situation we are currently in.  The cupboards couldn't have been too bare when they came in, as we were a wild card team in their first year, and a few free agents coming in and having good years gave us 2 division titles.  If they get credit for those years, they take full responsibility for this year as well; can't go back 5 years and blame Ryan for 2021.  As for organizational depth, it improved by trading away key pieces from the team their first 2 years, and leaving Molitor to take the blame.  Really not cool.  And where is all of that organizational depth?  A lot of it is on the IL, which seems to be the norm for this organization at all levels.  

I agree completely with the 2nd paragraph, and if they go down that path we can salvage the group that would have to be considered our base.  I am rooting for them to succeed.   And while I may disagree with a particular assessment, I love the fact we can debate politely.  

I don't blame Terry Ryan for this year's failings, but you're darn right I blame him for all the missed draft picks and the mediocrity of those that weren't complete misses, all the predictably bad free agent signings and contract extensions, the near total lack of player development, and all the 90 loss seasons that ultimately led up to his departure. The team was just awful during Terry Ryan's second stint with the team. 2021 notwithstanding, the team has been much improved under the new FO.

And yes, Molitor was a really bad manager (maybe not as bad as his predecessor, but still objectively really bad). Most of the little bit of young talent he had to work with was underwhelming at best and looked totally lost at worst, and there was really no progression on his watch from any of what would become the Bomba Squad immediately after he left. Some of the guys (like Jake Odorizzi) that came in during his tenure were very mediocre while he managed them and immediately became all-star level guys when he left. It's no wonder that nobody has come calling for him since Baldelli took over.

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