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Twins Player Development is Very, Very Bad.


Teflon

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The disappointing performance of the Twins prospects made me curious to see how the Twins compared with other teams in bringing good players to the majors. The quickest way to do this comparison was to look at the number of players receiving votes for Rookie of the Year since 2000 by team and to see, on average, what percentage of the votes they received. I then created a product of the two to power rank the teams.

 

Guess where the Twins finished. For those of you with short attention spans, they are last. They have produced the worst assemblage of rookies in the major leagues since 2000 according to Rookie of the Year voters. (The list of those Twins rookies receiving Rookie of the Year Votes since the year 2000 is at the bottom.)

 

You can't claim market-size bias on this information as the team at the top of the list is the Tampa Bay Rays. It just simply looks like the Twins do not bring players up to the majors who are ready - or all that good - and this has been the case for the entirety of the 21st century.

 

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Not saying I think the Twins Player Development is excellent my any means, but ummmmm, kind of hard to separate out the variable of player acquisition from the above stats, no? I mean, during much of that period (until very recently) the Twins had very few high draft picks.

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Tampa Bay might fit that assessment, but If you look at the offset win totals for teams (1997 -2012, assuming an average of three years between drafting and getting a prospect to the majors) Atlanta is second in total wins but also second on the list in the ROY metric.  Oakland is 6th in wins over that period and 3rd on the list. Boston is third in total wins and 6th . Minnesota ranked 15th in wins over that period. If draft position was a factor, they should be middle of the road, not last.

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I don't disagree that the Twins are currently not doing a good job at all at developing players.  However, there are players they did develop that didn't get to be in consideration for ROY vote due to the way they were brought up or other reasons.  Johan Santanta was a rule 5 pickup that was not very good his first year.  He ended up turning out ok if you consider 2 Cy Young Awards good.  And Joe Mauer exceeding his Rookie status during his 35 games in 2004.  Justin Morneau took a few years of Major League seasoning to develop into an MVP type of player.  So while I agree in general to your assessment the Twins are bad at developing players, I don't think the ROY vote percentage is completely fair.

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I don't disagree that the Twins are currently not doing a good job at all at developing players.  However, there are players they did develop that didn't get to be in consideration for ROY vote due to the way they were brought up or other reasons.  Johan Santanta was a rule 5 pickup that was not very good his first year.  He ended up turning out ok if you consider 2 Cy Young Awards good.  And Joe Mauer exceeding his Rookie status during his 35 games in 2004.  Justin Morneau took a few years of Major League seasoning to develop into an MVP type of player.  So while I agree in general to your assessment the Twins are bad at developing players, I don't think the ROY vote percentage is completely fair.

 

Well, like Hosken said above, at least it's data. It doesn't account for the variable of when a player comes up. However, all teams have injuries, are playing the service time game, etc. Assuming that over a large enough sample size, that timing evens out for all teams, then according to this metric, the Twins are indeed bad. The other scenario is that the Twins do things completely different than the other 29 teams when handling pros[ects. 

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Tampa Bay might fit that assessment, but If you look at the offset win totals for teams (1997 -2012, assuming an average of three years between drafting and getting a prospect to the majors) Atlanta is second in total wins but also second on the list in the ROY metric.  Oakland is 6th in wins over that period and 3rd on the list. Boston is third in total wins and 6th . Minnesota ranked 15th in wins over that period. If draft position was a factor, they should be middle of the road, not last.

So you agree, draft position probably has something to do with it, even if it can't explain all or even most of it. It also could be that they made bad draft picks even when they had decent draft position. I just don't think you can easily separate out the other variables, at least with the data you've provided.

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While I agree with the thought that it at least is some data, I don't know if this is anything definitive. 

 

I mean, voters can only vote for three players for Rookie of the Year, so in order to even get votes you have to have had a really solid rookie season. I mean, the last couple of years, Rosario and Santana have had very solid rookie years but - at least Rosario wasn't going to get a lot of votes over Correa, Lindor and Sano. 

 

I tend to think that the number of players getting votes says as much, if not more, than how many votes they had. If tha'ts the case, my quick count says only 4-5 teams are at 12 or more, so the Twins would rank high.

 

I also don't think Rookie of the Year voting has much to do with player development evaluation. Now next year, if you did this same thing, and Byung Ho Park wins Rookie of the Year unanimously, the Twins would jump up quite a bit, and if the Twins call up Kepler, Buxton and/or Berrios before mid-June or early July, they could garner some 3rd place votes too. I mean, those top three guys from last year? I don't think any of them were even in the big leagues one year ago today.

 

I don't know what the right measure is, an this is an interesting look, but I feel like something is missing. To me, I'm more worried about Year 2 for Arcia, Vargas, Santana and Rosario than I am about them getting votes for Rookie of the Year their first year. (which probably makes the case stronger against the Twins)

 

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