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State of the Twins Farm System - 6 Years Into Falvey's Reign.


bean5302

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Jim Pohlad made the decision to hire Derek Falvey 6 years ago after a disappointing 2016 season where expectations were raised based on improvements seen in 2015. The primary decision to choose Falvey was modernizing the player development system with analytics so the Twins' farm system could sustain competitive play long term operating like a smaller market team. The biggest issue the Twins had was their utter failure to develop front line starters. Jose Berrios, despite his stellar numbers in the minors, had been eaten alive by MLB hitters and the farm system was looking a bit rough. Naturally, having graduated Sano, Buxton, Kepler, and Berrios in the last two years, that's going to see a farm system take a beating.

Falvey went into 2017's playoffs with a virtually identical team as the Twins fielded in 2016, and again in 2019 and 2020. The winning tradition was restored! Except Falvey did it all with a roster largely created from the drafts and signings of Bill Smith and Terry Ryan. Falvey had major hits... but most of the hits eventually turned into misses. Ervin Santana, Jake Odorizzi and Jason Castro all ended their time with the Twins with a whimper, but this article is really about the sustainability factor. That's why Falvey was hired. Not for free agent signings. For a sustainable, productive draft and development system built from analytics and cutting edge baseball knowledge.

I graded Falvey's top 3 rounds of drafting a couple months ago, and the situation has changed quite a bit, but again, I'm interested in the sustainability of the team. What do the Twins have in the system to fill the enormous holes on the roster coming up? Again, the idea was not that Falvey constructs a roster out of free agents when he was hired. What did the system look like when Falvey started?
#1 - Nick Gordon*
#2 - Tyler Jay
#3 - Fernando Romero*
#4 - Alex Kirilloff*
#5 - Stephen Gonsalves*
#6 - Wander Javier
#7 - Kohl Stewart*
#8 - Adalberto Mejia*
#9 - Ben Rortvedt*
#10 - Zach Granite*
*7 of those players made significant appearances at the MLB level, and in general, they were viewed pretty highly at the time. The Twins' farm system was right in the middle.

So what about today? There isn't much there. MLB's top prospects set for the Twins are:
#1 Lewis (a23)- Undoubtedly the only elite prospect in the Twins system. He could be a star. He's also younger than Martin or Balazovic... as hard as that is to believe. Lewis torched AAA and proceeded to shine bright in a handful of plate appearances at the MLB level. With a character as brilliant as his athleticism, the sky is the limit... if he can stay on the field and prove his performance wasn't a SSS fluke.
#2 Martin (a23) - Has seen his stock take a real beating this year. He went from a consensus top 50 prospect to falling well out of the top 100 on the failure to develop power and a lower batting average coupled with embarrassing defense. There was improvement in Martin's defense at SS with the error rate trending towards almost acceptable, but Martin's suffered an injured elbow diving for a ball at the beginning of July. It wasn't expected to be a big deal, but here we are a month later and he still hasn't played while (stop me if you've heard this one) the Twins hadn't been able to diagnose the issue at least as of mid July...
#3 Balazovic (a23) - If Martin's stock had a silver lining, it's Balazovic's stock. It's not possible to understate how disastrous his performance has been this year. He wouldn't even be ranked on a good farm system top 15 at this point. While there is the hope Balazovic's struggles are related to injury, the Twins don't seem to feel like the injury is an issue. They keep sending him out, Balazovic continues to get consistently destroyed.
#4 Woods-Richardson (a21) - He had another great start to the season, but he started struggling with control like last year leading to a rocketing WHIP and lots of runs. Then, there was a lengthy IL trip for COVID. Woods-Richardson probably moves to my #2 prospect in the Twins system at this point with overall impressive strike out rates, a great 4 pitch combo and stretches where he dominates. There's still a lot of potential.
#5 Matt Canterino - (a24) - Bordering on non-prospect age, Canterino is putting up impressive K rates with equally depressing BB rates in AA. He's working his way back from yet another elbow strain in the Florida Complex league where he was knocked around in his latest 1 inning appearance. He's certainly not a top 10 prospect in a good farm system and hasn't pitched into the 5 inning this year.
#6 Noah Miller (a19) - The only remaining draft pick from the first 3 rounds of 2021's draft now that Petty, Povich and Hajjar have all been moved, Miller is holding his own at the plate in Ft. Myers while playing very good defense. He's not an elite prospect at this point, but there's a chance Miller can improve his contact skills as he was drafted out of high school. Right now, Miller looks passive at the plate with a 15% walk and 25% strikeout rate more associated with power hitters, but Miller's power tool is scouted as pretty modest and he hasn't shown any of it this year.
#7 Matt Wallner (a24) - Wallner was racing up the prospect lists as a full fledged supernova-style bright spot in the Twins' system. Since his promotion to AAA, Wallner has gone stone cold with a .116/.224/.140 triple slash. That said, it's just 49 plate appearances. Please, please let his swing return to crush the opponent pitchers to end the season.
#8 Misael Urbina (a20) - A speedy center fielder international prospect signed out of Venezuela, Urbina had a really great year in Ft. Myers last season. Unfortunately, he missed half this year due to visa issues. Currently getting his legs under him back in rookie ball, Urbina's hoping to salvage the season.
#9 Brayan Medina (a19) - Came over in the Rogers/Rooker trade for Paddack/Pagan as a toss in. It speaks volumes when the Padres' PTBNL is in your top 10... In rookie ball, Medina has walked a ton of batters while holding the hits to a reasonable number with the help of a .265 BABIP and paltry 5.0% HR/FB rate. He's not in a good farm's top 20, possibly not top 30.
#10 Ronny Henriquez (a22) - The extra player received as part of the Garver trade to the Rangers, Henriquez has struggled to keep batters off the base paths in AAA. Ronny was ranked as the Rangers #15 prospect due to his ability to generate strikeouts and limit the free pass last year in AA. He's probably taken a step back this year as the walk rate has increased by 50% at AAA and batters have been able to generate hits at will leading to his 1.52 WHIP and very rough 5.71 ERA. Also, the Twins have not really been limiting pitches much with Henriquez allowing him to throw up to 92... but he's rarely been able to finish 5 innings. That said, Henriquez has been able to keep a solid K% (though certainly not elite for MiLB), the .352 BABIP is way too high and the walk rate still isn't terrible by any means. So there's still some potential. On a good farm, Henriquez is probably borderline top 20, helped by his age.

I'd argue the farm is currently a big step back from the position it was in back at the start of 2017, where it was middle of the pack. Barring some real turnarounds, I expect the Twins to grade out bottom 5.

So where does that leave Falvey? He was brought in to rebuild the farm system so it would produce high value prospects and especially stock the rotation with high value, inexpensive cost controlled rotation arms the Twins could depend on for several years. While the farm has essentially produced 2 years of Sonny Gray, he's not cheap at $12MM per year and 2 years is hardly a long time. We also used the farm to pick up Tyler Mahle for 1.5 years, but he's also not going to be cheap next year, and certainly not long term. Maybe $12MM? The one glowing example in terms of expense and control is honestly Kenta Maeda. We got 4 years of a cheap, high value rotation arm from moving Brusdar Graterol. That said, I'm not sure the agreed upon strategy was to trade all the talent in the MiLB system for a couple years of productive MLB starters. That's not sustainable and it honestly hasn't been cheap overall. Instead, the Twins have typically felt like a directionless Frankenstein monster to me, pieced together each offseason in the hopes the pieces all gel and what comes out is a lightning strike with the scream "It's ALIVE!!" to begin a playoff season. 

Of course, winning solves everything. If the Twins win the World Series or even win a single playoff series, all will likely be forgotten. Every step short of that, though, has to heat up the seat under Falvey, especially given Falvey stretched the Twins' budget to $138MM (and beyond with recent trades) this year. Hard to believe the Twins turn a profit based on the attendance levels I saw and the Pohlads do not run this team as a hobby.

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This is a critical yet fair synopsis of the Twins farm system under the current front office. It seems there are frequent comments that the Twins didn't have any good players or prospects when the change was made that brought in Falvey and Levine. The Twins had prospects then and they do now and it is relatively the same. 

The players on the MLB roster and those on the milb rosters need to step forward or we might have some real doubt emerge from the Pohlad family about the present regime. That said, the Pohlads are mostly hands off, supportive, and somewhat disinterested as long as budgets are met (they are always in line). 

This coming offseason will be interesting and depend heavily on how the remainder of 2022 plays out.

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2 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

...That said, the Pohlads are mostly hands off, supportive, and somewhat disinterested as long as budgets are met (they are always in line). 

This coming offseason will be interesting and depend heavily on how the remainder of 2022 plays out.

This year, the Twins have only drawn an average of 21k per game. That's only 5k per game better than last year when the Twins reported an operating income of $10MM with $44MM of reported gate revenue. If gate revenues remain the same per attendee, and other revenues remain the same, the Twins' operating income will be ($15MM) this year as payroll has risen by $25MM. All that problem goes away with a deep playoff run, though.

Have to agree lots depends on how the season plays out.

 

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I do think there's something missing from this analysis that may change the conclusion. As fans, we have to rely published evaluations of minor league players. The far better evaluation tool is to look at what other teams will give up to get your minor league players. It's kind of like real estate, you can find valuations of your house all over the Internet but the real valuation is what someone will give you for that house.

Here, I think the last trade deadline shows that the FO has done a good job drafting and restocking the farm system. We were able to trade 9 minor league players for a number 2 or 3 starter and a high and closer who both have significant control remaining, and a very good rental set up man. To me, that's the market saying to the Twins that "you have good minor league players". By contrast, there were several other teams looking to upgrade by trading prospects who couldn't do so because other teams did not highly value their prospects. I believe that a majority if not all of the prospects traded were drafted by this Front Office. All of that happened without trading some other guys drafted by this Front Office who potentially could have garnered even higher returns because they were so good as to be untouchable (Miranda), or were injured and/or untouchable (Larnach, Kirilloff, Lewis).,

Farm systems exist for 2 reasons, not just one. The 1st is of course to provide a steady stream of low cost players to the major league club. The 2nd and almost as important reason is to provide resources so that when you are in an open intention window you can make trades for establish major leaguers without giving established major leaguers back in return. 

I think when you look at the totality of circumstances to me the more fair conclusion is that this Front Office has done a solid to very good job drafting the last 3 or 4 years and was able to turn those solid to very good drafts into established major league players. I think that shows a good organizational approach. We reaped the benefits of that approach at this year's deadline. 

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This completely ignores that running a front office requires adjustment and responding to circumstances and only looks at rosters on paper. It ignores contract commitments, roster age, and other significant variables that affect how you build a system.

Of course a winning team will respond (and draft) differently than a losing team. 

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I think this FO has done a really good job of finding prospects that make the majors or look like a for sure thing to make the majors, which is great for using those players to fill needs on the major league roster. What they have lacked it seems is the future all star type talent. This FO inherited all stars and silver sluggers all over the diamond, what they didn't inherit besides Berrios and maybe Gibson was starting pitchers. Again for the most part this FO has used minor league players to supplement that with some good trades and thus have kept this pretty competitive the whole time they have been here. What I hoped was that by now the 17, 18 and 19 draft would have produced more or maybe higher quality by now (yes Jeffers, Larnach, Winder and others have shown some promise, I get the high school kids would be still pretty young, but the college kids are getting old fast),

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44 minutes ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

If you add Brooks Lee and Connor Prielipp, things look better. You also must factor the order in which the Twins drafted. After a good season, the draft order is much lower, which usually means less talent in the overall draft that year. 

Falvey's drafts have come in mixed levels. 2017 (#1 overall), 2022 (#8 overall). 2019 (#13 overall), 2018 (#20 overall), 2021 (#26 overall). Plus the Twins had a couple supplemental first round picks in there. Overall, I feel the Twins have drafted higher than average during Falvey's reign so I don't think that really factors much into this.

Brooks Lee is a top 100 prospect right now. BR has him at #49 and Fangraphs all the way up at #23, but Fangraphs writeup is admittedly rosy in regard to Lee sticking at SS.

Prielipp doesn't even budge the farm. He was considered a very late 1st rounder to mid 2nd round pick and he's not going to be on anybody's top 100 lists. While he has great potential, he's a nothingburger for a farm system.

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56 minutes ago, Shaitan said:

This completely ignores that running a front office requires adjustment and responding to circumstances and only looks at rosters on paper. It ignores contract commitments, roster age, and other significant variables that affect how you build a system.

Of course a winning team will respond (and draft) differently than a losing team. 

How many playoff victories and World Series appearances do the Twins have under Falvey? If you want to give him a pass for failing to improve the farm system while "adjusting and responding" to the competitive needs of the team, he'd need to show achievements higher than the Twins have seen in the past 20 years. 

I'd be the first to forgive the state of the farm system if the Twins had some playoff victories or a World Series appearance recently. In fact, the Twins might make that happen this year so it's not like the book is closed or something. I applaud Falvey for recognizing the state of the farm system and finding a way to bring in the talent to plug holes the Twins needed to address to become a legitimate playoff caliber team this year. But there need to be results along with the adjustments.

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22 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

How many playoff victories and World Series appearances do the Twins have under Falvey? If you want to give him a pass for failing to improve the farm system while "adjusting and responding" to the competitive needs of the team, he'd need to show achievements higher than the Twins have seen in the past 20 years. 

While I'm well aware that a strong minor league system correlates with a strong major league team, I could care less how the minors "rank" if the major league team is winning.

Prospect ratings are pure speculation. The results that matter at the the MLB level. 

But I also don't totally disagree with you. Of course I want the Twins to continually improve overall, majors and minors. But I don't think a side-by-side 2015-to-2022 list is a valid way to measure anything.

What about the age of the roster in 2022 compared to 2016? What about long-term commitments and budget flexibility? What about the fact that there is a global pandemic that halted a year of development for most prospects? There are million variables that aren't addressed in this comparison.

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The last few comments have been insightful, and seem to share a view that perhaps things are better if we take a harder and more nuanced look at things. My belief is that one cannot make a proper assessment of the quality of the draft and development process without taking a combined look at the MLB and MiLB talent. Three primary reasons: 1) recent graduations making contributions to the big club; 2) Acquisitions to the club using the MilB talent; and 3) paying consideration to the injury situation.

I'm a huge believer in maintaining some "talent balance" between one's MLB and MiLB talent pools. Why? Because I believe the ONLY way, these days, to outflank the competiton on a sustainable basis is to trade a lot, to trade surpluses to solve shortfalls, and to "win" those trades fairly consistently. Personally, I like to look at "rankings", for example ESPN's Power Rankings for MLB, or systems rankings from Fangraphs and Keith Law (not MLB please). My conviction is that if either ranking falls below the median on a consistent (3 years?) basis, you're gonna be in deep doo doo. Things need to have some cyclicality, in that sometimes, you're trading surplus capital from MiLB to augment MLB, and sometimes the opposite, and if you have good quality in both, you can do some of each. An example from this trade deadline  is that Fangraphs viewed the Twins as having the second best results in terms of "improving their postseason chances, and they did that without losing a singlr prospect with a FV of more than 40+. CWS, by contrast, did nothing. Why? Because they HAVE nothing to trade in their MiLB system. They have a total of seven (7!) prospects with a 40+ FV or better, and none above 45+.

Two last points. To make a fair assessment, we need to look at things relative to other organizations (I use the AL Central because , well...) And we have to account for advantages in the draft order over whatever period we're studying. The pundits are biased in favor of future all-star types when they grade farm systems. They greatly underrate depth. So far in 2022, other contending teams in the AL Central have had three or four members of their rotations give them 19 starts or more. The Twins have zero, and the Twins starters with the most starts are Bundy and Archer. So why are they still leading the division? Greater depth. In every day players (Cave, Contreras, Palacios, Beckham), in Injury replacement starters (Smeltzer, Winder, Sands, Sanchez), and even RP's (Megill, Cotton, Cano, Moran)< to name just a few examples. Detroit, Chicago, and even Cleveland cannot match this.

Sorry for the length. In summary, I think the system is in better shape than most people think.

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I don't think the comment in the OP saying "There isn't much there" with this farm system is fair, for one big reason. When 4 out of your top 10 from the year before graduates from prospect status (Duran, Ryan, Miranda, Winder) of course your system "looks" worse.

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6 hours ago, Shaitan said:

...Prospect ratings are pure speculation. The results that matter at the the MLB level...

While a #1 prospect may not pan out and a #20 prospect may turn into a star, that's not usually how it goes. Teams typically value players they're looking to trade based on the types of prospects they want. Top 50, Top 100, 3 of the top 10 in a farm system, etc. Draft position (scouted tools) and actual performance generally combine to determine prospect ranking. 

In the MLB draft, there's a strong correlation between draft position and the likelihood a player makes the big show or becomes a star. It's open to debate how much of the success of top prospects might be helped by the kind of hands on attention and the special opportunities they might receive, the correlation is still there.

Basically, prospect rankings are not infallible, but teams often use prospect rankings as player value currency because there is strong correlation there. It's not a shot in the dark.

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6 hours ago, bird said:

The last few comments have been insightful, and seem to share a view that perhaps things are better if we take a harder and more nuanced look at things. My belief is that one cannot make a proper assessment of the quality of the draft and development process without taking a combined look at the MLB and MiLB talent. Three primary reasons: 1) recent graduations making contributions to the big club; 2) Acquisitions to the club using the MilB talent; and 3) paying consideration to the injury situation.

I'm a huge believer in maintaining some "talent balance" between one's MLB and MiLB talent pools. Why? Because I believe the ONLY way, these days, to outflank the competiton on a sustainable basis is to trade a lot, to trade surpluses to solve shortfalls, and to "win" those trades fairly consistently. Personally, I like to look at "rankings", for example ESPN's Power Rankings for MLB, or systems rankings from Fangraphs and Keith Law (not MLB please). My conviction is that if either ranking falls below the median on a consistent (3 years?) basis, you're gonna be in deep doo doo. Things need to have some cyclicality, in that sometimes, you're trading surplus capital from MiLB to augment MLB, and sometimes the opposite, and if you have good quality in both, you can do some of each. An example from this trade deadline  is that Fangraphs viewed the Twins as having the second best results in terms of "improving their postseason chances, and they did that without losing a singlr prospect with a FV of more than 40+. CWS, by contrast, did nothing. Why? Because they HAVE nothing to trade in their MiLB system. They have a total of seven (7!) prospects with a 40+ FV or better, and none above 45+.

Two last points. To make a fair assessment, we need to look at things relative to other organizations (I use the AL Central because , well...) And we have to account for advantages in the draft order over whatever period we're studying. The pundits are biased in favor of future all-star types when they grade farm systems. They greatly underrate depth. So far in 2022, other contending teams in the AL Central have had three or four members of their rotations give them 19 starts or more. The Twins have zero, and the Twins starters with the most starts are Bundy and Archer. So why are they still leading the division? Greater depth. In every day players (Cave, Contreras, Palacios, Beckham), in Injury replacement starters (Smeltzer, Winder, Sands, Sanchez), and even RP's (Megill, Cotton, Cano, Moran)< to name just a few examples. Detroit, Chicago, and even Cleveland cannot match this.

Sorry for the length. In summary, I think the system is in better shape than most people think.

 

5 hours ago, Jack Griffin said:

I don't think the comment in the OP saying "There isn't much there" with this farm system is fair, for one big reason. When 4 out of your top 10 from the year before graduates from prospect status (Duran, Ryan, Miranda, Winder) of course your system "looks" worse.


The farm system Derek Falvey inherited had graduated Sano, Polanco, Berrios, Rosario, Kepler and Buxton in the previous 2 years.

Compared to what? Gordon (Terry Ryan), Arraez (Terry Ryan), Miranda (Terry Ryan), Larnach, Jeffers, Winder, Ober.

Falvey's farm system is pretty empty and he's living off the previous regime's draft picks. Larnach has nearly 500 plate appearances with a wRC+ of 93 and iffy defense at the corner outfield position. Jeffers looks to be a solid backup catcher or maybe an adequate starter. Ober was a late round pick because of injuries and those have followed him throughout his career. Winder has been rebuilt with new mechanics which added massive velocity is seems his shoulder can't handle. Both Ober and Winder look destined for bullpen roles due to durability and neither was a highly rated prospect early on.

I'm curious, what stud Twins players are being under-appreciated due to injury right now?

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This front office has found some good to very good hitters. However, they haven't found much for pitchers yet. Instead, they have been smart enough to parley a lot of those hitters into pitchers thru trades. The biggest fault of theirs is in the Free Agent side of things. I do believe if we handled the pitching staff better we could have an acceptable bullpen, and if we handled Free agency better, we could have better minor league success.

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24 minutes ago, Karbo said:

This front office has found some good to very good hitters. However, they haven't found much for pitchers yet. Instead, they have been smart enough to parley a lot of those hitters into pitchers thru trades. The biggest fault of theirs is in the Free Agent side of things. I do believe if we handled the pitching staff better we could have an acceptable bullpen, and if we handled Free agency better, we could have better minor league success.

I'm curious, which Falvey drafted and developed hitters were parlayed into pitchers? Pitcher Steve Hajjar and hitters Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand were part of the Mahle trade just now, but I think that's literally about it.

Kenta Maeda was for pitcher Brusdar Graterol (Terry Ryan)
Chris Paddack was for pitcher Taylor Rogers (Bill Smith)
Sonny Gray was for pitcher Chase Petty (Derek Falvey)
Michael Fulmer was for pitcher Sawyer Gipson-Long (Derek Falvey)
Jorge Lopez was for pitchers Cade Povich (Derek Falvey) Yennier Cano (Terry Ryan), and 2 other pitchers.
Hitter Austin Martin and pitcher SWR were acquired for the best starter the Twins had developed in 15 years, Jose Berrios (Terry Ryan).

Nelson Cruz was flipped for Joe Ryan, but Cruz was a free agent signing and it would have been quite the gamble to predict he would play as well as he did. Big kudos to Falvey for finding that deal, it was great, but it hardly involved his front office doing what they were paid to do.

Free agency is part of the job, but not the big part which Derek Falvey was hired to address in my opinion. He was hired to build a sustainable farm system through drafting and development, especially of pitchers.
 

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You forgot a few big names like Rodriguez and Jullien and they just traded Steer, CES and two good left handed pitchers which would have changed this list considerably.  To your point I don't think they have built a top 10 Farm since they have been here mainly because top picks like Rooker, Sabato and Cavaco didn't work out well and they missed on the international FA like Javier and others. 

I think the larger point to make is that they haven't really produced much for starting pitchers which is what they were brought in to do.  Cleveland has continued to be far more successful than Falvine on the pitching side but then again they have taken risks taking pitchers early and late in several drafts.  While the Twins drafts have been balanced they just haven't found enough viable arms.  Things looked like maybe they were going to turn this year and with Ryan, Ober Winder set to play key roles things were looking better for the FO but Ober doesn't look like he will ever make it a full season as a starter and given Winders shoulder it doesn't look good for him either.  Everyone else has pretty much imploded on the farm.  Things could change next year for Balazovich, Henriquez, Canterino, Sands, Enlow but it doesn't look good at this point.  Losing Povich and Hajjar leaves the only potential fast mover as Prielipp from this years draft and we don't really know how durable he will end up being either.

This team is going to be in a tough spot if they can't draft and develop more guys like Joe Ryan.  Constantly trading away your farm for 1.5 years of a pitcher is not a great strategy moving forward.  Not sure how they are going to get out of this mess but hopefully this years draft is a really good one and they need to replenish the pitching pipeline next year or there won't be much of one.

I still like this FO for the most part but if they want to keep their jobs long term I think they are going to have to do better than they have been.

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6 hours ago, Dman said:

You forgot a few big names like Rodriguez and Jullien and they just traded Steer, CES and two good left handed pitchers which would have changed this list considerably...

You mean in the MLB.com top 10 list I posted? The MLB.com list hasn't been updated yet I don't think. It's just one source, but many others have only been partially updated as well.

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34 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

You mean in the MLB.com top 10 list I posted? The MLB.com list hasn't been updated yet I don't think. It's just one source, but many others have only been partially updated as well.

Yeah sorry, I don't always love the MLB.com one as they seem slow to update or see how players have improved.  

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1 hour ago, Dman said:

Yeah sorry, I don't always love the MLB.com one as they seem slow to update or see how players have improved.  

MLB has their issues, but so does everybody. I'm not a huge fan of Fangraphs since their updates seem a bit random. Some prospects have moved around, but all the notes are from last year. It's like rankings get updated, but there's seemingly little thought behind it. 

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21 hours ago, bean5302 said:

I'm curious, which Falvey drafted and developed hitters were parlayed into pitchers? Pitcher Steve Hajjar and hitters Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand were part of the Mahle trade just now, but I think that's literally about it.

Kenta Maeda was for pitcher Brusdar Graterol (Terry Ryan)
Chris Paddack was for pitcher Taylor Rogers (Bill Smith)
Sonny Gray was for pitcher Chase Petty (Derek Falvey)
Michael Fulmer was for pitcher Sawyer Gipson-Long (Derek Falvey)
Jorge Lopez was for pitchers Cade Povich (Derek Falvey) Yennier Cano (Terry Ryan), and 2 other pitchers.
Hitter Austin Martin and pitcher SWR were acquired for the best starter the Twins had developed in 15 years, Jose Berrios (Terry Ryan).

Nelson Cruz was flipped for Joe Ryan, but Cruz was a free agent signing and it would have been quite the gamble to predict he would play as well as he did. Big kudos to Falvey for finding that deal, it was great, but it hardly involved his front office doing what they were paid to do.

Free agency is part of the job, but not the big part which Derek Falvey was hired to address in my opinion. He was hired to build a sustainable farm system through drafting and development, especially of pitchers.
 

As I remember, most of Cleveland's pitching staff was actually acquired via trades when they were in the lower minors. I could be wrong but that's how I remember. It's still up to the FO to recognize the talent in those trades, and develop it up the line to the majors. That ,as of yet, hasn't been successful under the current FO for the Twins. They so far have been fairly successful drafting hitters IMO.

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On 8/4/2022 at 9:48 PM, bean5302 said:

 


The farm system Derek Falvey inherited had graduated Sano, Polanco, Berrios, Rosario, Kepler and Buxton in the previous 2 years.

Compared to what? Gordon (Terry Ryan), Arraez (Terry Ryan), Miranda (Terry Ryan), Larnach, Jeffers, Winder, Ober.

Falvey's farm system is pretty empty and he's living off the previous regime's draft picks. Larnach has nearly 500 plate appearances with a wRC+ of 93 and iffy defense at the corner outfield position. Jeffers looks to be a solid backup catcher or maybe an adequate starter. Ober was a late round pick because of injuries and those have followed him throughout his career. Winder has been rebuilt with new mechanics which added massive velocity is seems his shoulder can't handle. Both Ober and Winder look destined for bullpen roles due to durability and neither was a highly rated prospect early on.

I'm curious, what stud Twins players are being under-appreciated due to injury right now?

Fangraphs didn't share your opinion, prior to the deadline, that Falvey's farm system is pretty empty. And, depending on one's definition of what a "stud" is, I'd argue that Mahle and Lopez qualify as studs, and they're a product of Falvey's farm system, as is Paddack, and who knows, maybe Brayan Medina becomes a stud later.

Royce Lewis will be a stud, IMO. The jury's out on Kirilloff and Larnach after fewer than 500 MLB AB's, especially given their injury histories. I think we may be slightly and pleasantly surprised at how the experts view the system in the next round of rankings.

And let's put things into context. Falvey's draft order since 2017 has averaged #16. Compare that to Detroit (#6) or KC (#9) or even CWS (#13), and keep in mind how greatly your odds improve when you have a top 5 choice, as Detroit has during Falvey's reign 4 out of 6 years, KC twice plus two other top 10's, and CWS with two top 5's. The Twins? Royce Lewis, and now Brooks Lee at #8. It's my opinion that the Twins have the second best draft and development capability in the division, and they're not far behing the Guardians, particularly when you factor in the IFA signings.

And again, I'll mention the value of depth, where the Twins have a decided edge over all but the Guardians. Are you possibly under-valuing this?

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I agree with most other posters on this thread.  It just does not have the feel like Cleveland.  We are not seeing a new talented impact pitcher inject into the rotation every year or every other year from the farm like Cleveland.  Part may be a lack of talent, part may be all the injuries, but the FO is responsible for finding that talent and hiring staff to keep their pitchers off the IL.

I do believe that they are good at finding talent in the lineup, but must improve on that pitching pipeline as we need some good younger pitchers who we can leverage through all of their controlling years so as to not have to use FA which always ties us to a long-term high AAV contract.

The FO has had time to get this up and running but we are clearly not there yet.  I believe that they will get at minimum 2 more years and if that pipeline is not improved, it may be time to move on.

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2 hours ago, bird said:

Fangraphs didn't share your opinion, prior to the deadline, that Falvey's farm system is pretty empty. And, depending on one's definition of what a "stud" is, I'd argue that Mahle and Lopez qualify as studs, and they're a product of Falvey's farm system, as is Paddack, and who knows, maybe Brayan Medina becomes a stud later.

Royce Lewis will be a stud, IMO. The jury's out on Kirilloff and Larnach after fewer than 500 MLB AB's, especially given their injury histories. I think we may be slightly and pleasantly surprised at how the experts view the system in the next round of rankings.

And let's put things into context. Falvey's draft order since 2017 has averaged #16. Compare that to Detroit (#6) or KC (#9) or even CWS (#13), and keep in mind how greatly your odds improve when you have a top 5 choice, as Detroit has during Falvey's reign 4 out of 6 years, KC twice plus two other top 10's, and CWS with two top 5's. The Twins? Royce Lewis, and now Brooks Lee at #8. It's my opinion that the Twins have the second best draft and development capability in the division, and they're not far behing the Guardians, particularly when you factor in the IFA signings.

And again, I'll mention the value of depth, where the Twins have a decided edge over all but the Guardians. Are you possibly under-valuing this?

Basically... Read the article, the comments... then comment. Pretty much everything you're commenting about has been addressed in one fashion or another.
 

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1 hour ago, bean5302 said:

Basically... Read the article, the comments... then comment. Pretty much everything you're commenting about has been addressed in one fashion or another.
 

I DID read your article and all the comments, including yours, my friend.

Not everything I commented about was addressed in one fashion or another. A few points of distinction between your view and those of some of the experts come to mind. For example, your opinion that the system is pretty empty and that Falvey's living off the previous regime's draft results, and your opinion that the system very well could grade out as bottom 5. We'll know soon, but I really doubt that will be the case.

I get that fans tend to over-rate their own prospects, and I can certainly be guilty of that. You changed my thinking, for example, about Canterino's prospects. But I also think that guys like Larnach can be overlooked. There were 19 prospects selected ahead of him, and 15 of those picks appear headed to have less impressive careers that him.

I simply suspect that the system is in better shape than you think, and that Falvey, in pretty much every respect, has significantly improved the draft and development capabilities since taking over, not to mention what I think is an appreciable improvement in trading and other areas of player asset management.

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Actually I'd say the prospect pool is fairly similar now to what it was then.  The difference has been the performance of the major league team--at least until the playoffs.  Of course I would be remiss to fail to mention that a good portion of the on field performance of the big league club can be attributed to folks brought on board by the previous regime.  Just sayin.  What will truly be interesting going forward is what impact changes to the draft and minor league systems will have on prospect pools of the various teams.

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