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500 HRs


Brandon

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Looking back on the 2009 International Signing Period, We signed 3 really good productive players who are all still with the Twins today.  While that may change soon.  Here is some fun with numbers to show what they have done with us.

In 2009 we signed Polanco, Kepler and Sano.  Sano was the star of the entire signing period and there was much debate over his actual age that teams were scared off from signing him and we were able to get him for 3.15 million.  I think Kepler got 800,000 and Polanco I think got 700,000.  feel free to check those numbers.  Polanco was viewed at the time of the signing as a defensive SS with his bat the concern.  Kepler was seen as a 5 tool player with minimal baseball experience.

As we get closer to some of the players moving on I thought it would be fun to see where they are as a group and where they will likely be when they leave.

Sano currently has 161 HRs with the Twins and he is off to the worst start of his career and injured.  He should be back soon and could be released or be given some time at DH to see if he could build some value before the deadline.  If he could come back and hit close to a .750-.800 OPS for a few weeks we might find a team we could trade him to for basically nothing and while we would probably have to throw in some salary, We would still get some salary relief from his contract and not have to pay the 2.75 million buyout.  That would leave Sano's career with the Twins at 161 - 165 HRs  I know I was hoping for more from Sano with something in the neighborhood of a few 40 HR seasons.  I am also surprised he regressed so fast as I expected solid production from him into his age 32-33 seasons anyways with all of our young options at this point I think its time to move on from Sano and I also think that is the consensus here as well. 

Kepler is currently at 127 and should finish the year around 140 +- a few.  Kepler has 1 more year guaranteed and a buyout.  I can see the Twins going either way on the buyout so lets assume they keep him that season.  Kepler tends to hit around 20 HRs a season.  so with both seasons, he would end up around 180-185 HRs

Polanco is at 89 HRs and is all over the board.  He has 3 seasons after this one including 2 option years.  I expect the Twins to pick them up if he is healthy.  To project his level of production is hard so I am going with 20 HRs per season.  with 11 more this one.  That puts him at 160 HRs at the end of his contract.  

In Total there is a fair to good chance that these three players who signed for less than 5 million will produce just over 500 HRs for us during their careers.  I hope to see Kepler and Polanco extended so they can increase that total.  It is definitely fun to follow.  

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Little article from 10 years ago for people who've forgotten about the Miguel Sano age controversy. What if Sano really was 3 years older and now he's 32 instead of 29? In any case, the Twins were comfortable with signing him regardless of what they felt like his real age was.

I'm also on the fence of whether I think the Twins are likely to pick up Kepler's option considering how Kepler is playing now. Kepler is an adequate starting outfielder in terms of value, a 2 WAR kinda guy. That's not a guy you need to replace, but not a guy you build a team around, either. With a swing that looks very pretty but spends too little time in the meat of the contact zone and an extreme pull tendency, he just doesn't forecast as a guy who'll ever make the most of his plate discipline. It's the same gripe many people have had with Kepler over the years. It just FEELS like he could hit .300 with 25 HR instead of .225 with 30 HR if he wanted to. I don't think this front office makes any decisions based on popularity, but even if they did, Kepler doesn't feel like a fan favorite.

Polanco... In a position where the Twins have far too much depth already, I thought Polanco's position was set in stone at the end of last year. Arraez slumped badly down the stretch last year causing his stock to fall quite a bit and he was banged up quite a bit last year as well. This year, he's on pace for 139 games and I could see him playing in even more than that... and he's taken a big step forward at the plate. He's even showing signs of developing more pop lately. I still feel strongly that one of Polanco or Arraez NEEDS to be traded. The Twins are wasting value putting a middle infielder at DH or 1B. Even now, Polanco arguably has more value, but he's also more expensive.

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Polanco and Kepler can both be dangled as trade bait. But for now, they have to play everyday to keep any worth they have active.

The joy is the Twins have otehr infield candidates, as well as outfield possibilities. Younger. 

But in the end, what are the players worth? What can Sano get you? Or Dufey? Or Thielbar? Maybe even offers for Bundy? Urshela is also a candidate to move.

The Twins have to make hard 40-man decisions on Strotman, Balazovic (now a relief candidate?). Henriquez is still very young...should be back in AA ball. 

There seems to be depth. But what is needed to be competitive if they are going for the division. Is winning the division enough or do the Twins NEED to get far in the playoffs? 

At what point does baseball get back fans after a COVID season, a half-season without fans, and coming off a lockout that didn't benefit ownership or players.

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Jorge Polanco - 273/333/446 14.2 WAR 7.7 WPA

Max Kepler - 234/320/436 16.4 WAR 3.1 WPA

Miguel Sano - 234/326/483 8 WAR 2.1 WPA

Max and Miguel are pretty closely matched until fielding enters the WAR calculation. Over their career Jorge has averaged 2 WAR, Max a little more and Miguel has been a replacement player.

I had to look at more that HRs since that is not my favorite stat.

The reality is that we can package all three in a big trade and have someone ready to take their positions while we use a new and good SP. 

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