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Moneyball II: Oakland Strikes Back


Brock Beauchamp
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Twins have long needed power arms in the bullpen Look at the Cardinals as an example, most of their relievers throw gas. Command can be another issue as most great closers have great command. You need a lot of relievers to find the special 1 or 2 that will be super.

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They went and signed an expensive Intl FA.

Right, and they did so when they were in a down cycle to boot. We don't HAVE to only be aggressive when the team is looking to contend, rather, we could be aggressive in order TO contend. The Twins don't seem to understand this. I'm down on them for sure, but it's frustrating when the organization you want so badly to win, does such silly, foolish, insular things and rarely change.

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As for international free agents, I do not understand the griping over how the Twins have spent in recent years. It looks like they absolutely stole Lewis Thorpe just two years ago. The guy looks to be a beast of a pitcher - remember that he is over one year younger than Kohl Stewart.

I agree in part. Thorpe so far is awesome and the Twins seem to have bumbled onto a market inefficiency (!) in Australian players. However, the rest of their international spending is frustrating to me. I don't think they spent all of their allotted budget this most previous cycle and they don't seem to go after the big names like Abreu from last year. Which is extremely silly to me since one of their best two prospects was aquired by spending big in the international market. Why not try again? They won't all be Sano, but some could.

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I don't think they spent all of their allotted budget this most previous cycle and they don't seem to go after the big names like Abreu from last year.

 

I believe they came really close to spending to their cap. Anyone have hard numbers on this?

 

A lot of the frustration comes from people jumping the gun on international signings and fretting that the Twins don't "blow their wad" in the first few weeks. But, to my knowledge, by the end of the signing period they've always been close to their cap, if not right at it.

 

The international signing period is long and it takes some time for a lot of teams to reach their cap, particularly if they don't spend huge money on 1-2 guys right away, as the Twins haven't done in recent years.

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Last I heard they were a couple hundred thousand under the 3.9M they had to spend. To me, that's spending your cap. But the final numbers haven't been published and some of the most recent signings never had dollar amounts listed.

 

Yeah, anything over 90% is close enough for me. I consider that going up against your cap, as even relative unknowns (but big talents) like Lewis Thorpe go for $500,000. Once you get down into the sub-$100k range, you're combing through leftovers.

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To me the single biggest difference between the Rays/As and the Twins is smart and effective use of their 25 man roster. I like many of the things the a Twins do to acquire young talent but my god has their MLB roster management been bad for awhile.

 

Using your criteria from earlier, is a pitcher with a 2-6 record and a 5.31 ERA an effective use of a roster spot ?

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So your snide remark tries to use a 24 year old getting his first MLB starting experience as an example?

 

Fail.

 

By the standards you set forth, the 24 year old is a failure and undeserving of being on a big league roster. I point that out to you not to be snide but to make the point that even the best run organizations have players that do not meet some people's standard of good. What difference is it if it is a 24 year old or a 94 year old, the results are not there. I would think that winning teams care more about the results than age.

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Great article. My favorite quote is "Optimism is not a strategy". That is probably the worst problem the Twins have. Outside of Gardy. I think Terry Ryan does a good job of his own version of Moneyball. Clearly the Rays have a different strategy, but have been successful with it. It will be tough for Oakland win a World Series without dominant pitching. Although that is not really an option.

The main thing I took from the article is do not listen to fans. We are to reactive. You just need to have a plan and stick with it. That is why I like Ryan. Gardy has does not seem to have a plan. It's all from the gut with him.

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By the standards you set forth, the 24 year old is a failure and undeserving of being on a big league roster. I point that out to you not to be snide but to make the point that even the best run organizations have players that do not meet some people's standard of good. What difference is it if it is a 24 year old or a 94 year old, the results are not there. I would think that winning teams care more about the results than age.

 

A team like Tampa is always recycling young talent and with many young talents there is a required investment of opportunity that may not always yield great results initially. The Twins, much to their credit (and something I was banging the gavel for quite frequently), let Gibson come up last year and struggle. They're seeing the payoff for that now with Gibson's improvement.

 

The Rays maximize their roster with platoons, defensive flexibility, and a wide range of other assets that Maddon is very good at utilizing. The A's do this as well. The Twins not only populate their roster with players you roll your eyes at (Tony Batista, Juan Castro, Jason Bartlett 2014, Rondell White, Brian Buscher, I could go on) but they also often play them over young players or flat out better players. The Rays and the As get full use out of their 25 spots and design it to maximize their win potential. The Twins are much more ham-handed.

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A team like Tampa is always recycling young talent and with many young talents there is a required investment of opportunity that may not always yield great results initially. The Twins, much to their credit (and something I was banging the gavel for quite frequently), let Gibson come up last year and struggle. They're seeing the payoff for that now with Gibson's improvement.

 

The Rays maximize their roster with platoons, defensive flexibility, and a wide range of other assets that Maddon is very good at utilizing. The A's do this as well. The Twins not only populate their roster with players you roll your eyes at (Tony Batista, Juan Castro, Jason Bartlett 2014, Rondell White, Brian Buscher, I could go on) but they also often play them over young players or flat out better players. The Rays and the As get full use out of their 25 spots and design it to maximize their win potential. The Twins are much more ham-handed.

 

The Rays had a window where a few great pitchers and a couple real great position players came through the system. The 2 great position players they have at this point are Longoria and Zobrist. They had Crawford. They did well by having pitching. Not great pitching this year and what is their record by maximizing the same position players without great pitching?

 

Buscher was well under 30 when he was called up by theTwins.

Please help me recall what promising 3B was held back by Batista. Matt Moses? At least try to be credible

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The Rays had a window where a few great pitchers and a couple real great position players came through the system. The 2 great position players they have at this point are Longoria and Zobrist. They had Crawford. They did well by having pitching. Not great pitching this year and what is their record by maximizing the same position players without great pitching?

 

Buscher was well under 30 when he was called up by theTwins.

Please help me recall what promising 3B was held back by Batista. Matt Moses? At least try to be credible

 

I never said Batista did, you conflated two points. I said they often populate their roster with dreck. Sometimes that dreck blocks better players, not always, but they are still awful ballplayers.

 

Your first paragraph appeared to lack a thesis. It was just a bunch of random statements organized together. If your point is that the Rays didn't achieve much I'm not sure where to begin.

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I never said Batista did, you conflated two points. I said they often populate their roster with dreck. Sometimes that dreck blocks better players, not always, but they are still awful ballplayers.

 

Your first paragraph appeared to lack a thesis. It was just a bunch of random statements organized together. If your point is that the Rays didn't achieve much I'm not sure where to begin.

 

When you make a statement that they sign dreck that often block better players it would be nice if the statement had examples that proved your point. Buscher was a minor leaguer the Twins picked up as a rule 5. He performed a little better than most rule 5 players do. That makes him a different type of pickup, young player, than the rest of your list. Batista blocked what player? Any player on your list signed as a free agent only blocked younger dreck. Except for Castro. A blanket statement made off one example. If your point was the Twins could have saved money by using young dreck, so what.

 

Did I say the Rays didn't achieve much? Tampa Bay's run for the top looks like it will end this year. 4 trips to the playoffs, one appearance in the WS, the rest out in the first round. The run at the top was made through pitching and 2-3 great position players that were mostly high draft picks or obtained in trade. It is not like any of the yield of the recycled young players ever rose up and put them over the top.

Edited by The Wise One
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When you make a statement that they sign dreck that often block better players it would be nice if the statement had examples that proved your point.

 

There were two points: the team has a lot of dreck on it's 25 man roster. (This has been a consistent problem. Hell, Ryan used to dumpster dive for it and really poorly allocate what money he did have) And the other point was that in addition to these guys being bad players they have often been in the way of younger players. I gave examples, you're also welcome to go back through the team's rosters over the last decade.

 

I could've listed Sidney Ponson, Mike Lamb, Brian Bass, and more if you'd like.

 

Did I say the Rays didn't achieve much?

 

It wasn't clear what you said nor is it clear how any of this paragraph has anything to do with what I'm saying.

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There were two points: the team has a lot of dreck on it's 25 man roster. (This has been a consistent problem. Hell, Ryan used to dumpster dive for it and really poorly allocate what money he did have) And the other point was that in addition to these guys being bad players they have often been in the way of younger players. I gave examples, you're also welcome to go back through the team's rosters over the last decade.

 

I could've listed Sidney Ponson, Mike Lamb, Brian Bass, and more if you'd like.

 

 

 

It wasn't clear what you said nor is it clear how any of this paragraph has anything to do with what I'm saying.

 

Make a blanket statement with no proof and tell someone to prove you are wrong. Beautiful.

Yep the current team has a lot of dreck on it. Yep past teams have had a lot of dreck on them. History would say that up to 2010 the dreck did not prevent winning. That dreck pre 2010 was viewed as better dreck than what they had in the minors. You offer nothing in the way of proof that a player superior skill was blocked. Nothing. I gave you Castro and Bartlett. Anything else was dreck versus similar dreck. Brian Bass, minor league free agent pickup that cost the minimum for the bullpen. Mike Lamb signed because what else was available in the system for 3B? Combine his money and Hernandez's money and you could have bought what for 3B that year. Complain, but at least be somewhat cognizant of what the alternative was rather than look under a microscope in a vacuum with an eye patch.

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Yep the current team has a lot of dreck on it. Yep past teams have had a lot of dreck on them. History would say that up to 2010 the dreck did not prevent winning.

 

So we agree....yet somehow you made an ordeal out of it that I didn't give enough examples? I gave a handful to indicate the direction I was going with it and the rest of the names that fit that should've been fairly obvious. You don't HAVE to research it, but I don't have to list every single one to make my point either. A contention you apparently think is a fair one.

 

Complaints like this with the roster have been ongoing for about 10-12 years. It certainly MIGHT have cost the Twins some success that they so frequently populated their roster with flotsam.

 

The Rays and A's populate the rosters more intelligently and utilize them more intelligently. That was and has been the point - I clarify because you've really made it difficult to stay on point with your responses. Most of them have been too obscure or muddled to even understand what you're getting at.

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In all seriousness, the Rays do get a lot of credit that isn't earned as far as prospecting is concerned. The Rays have been terrible drafters since 2008. In a story I did last season, they were actually the absolute worst drafters in the last five years in getting value from their picks. Some could argue that the Rays progressive strategy with their players made 5 years too small of a window, but they are also not producing high end players. Last year's midseason top 100 prospect lists (from two of four sources I checked, but I can't get the story to pull up right now) had 0 Tampa Rays draft picks on it. They were the only team without a single draft pick on the top 100s that they were absent from.

 

The Rays have done a lot of things right in trading players to get other teams' prospects, and it's fared well for them with guys like Chris Archer, Ben Zobrist, and Wil Myers, but that doesn't make them excellent drafters. They went away from their recent history in their picks this year, and it could mean very good things for their future if they have seen some of the error of their drafting mistakes. We'll just have to see.

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So we agree....yet somehow you made an ordeal out of it that I didn't give enough examples? I gave a handful to indicate the direction I was going with it and the rest of the names that fit that should've been fairly obvious. You don't HAVE to research it, but I don't have to list every single one to make my point either. A contention you apparently think is a fair one.

 

Complaints like this with the roster have been ongoing for about 10-12 years. It certainly MIGHT have cost the Twins some success that they so frequently populated their roster with flotsam.

 

The Rays and A's populate the rosters more intelligently and utilize them more intelligently. That was and has been the point - I clarify because you've really made it difficult to stay on point with your responses. Most of them have been too obscure or muddled to even understand what you're getting at.

 

And yet you still miss my point. The Rays did not populate more wisely because it was the drafted players that got them there. Every team is going to have players that you want to call garbage. 955 players stepped into a batters box last year . Only 135 had a WAR over 2. Stretching a little more, only 202 had a WAR over 1. There is going to be a lot of players on the roster that you are not thrilled about. Every roster including the Oakland and Tampa has players that you do not like and do not produce much. Sometimes these dreck players are players on their way down.. They have a recent history of producing. You know the holes in your prospect game. You sign the vet and hope. Most of the time you are wrong, but sometimes you can be right. To fault the Twins for signing some of these players is wrong because there was nothing better in the minors at the start of the season except for Castro and Bartlett.

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In all seriousness, the Rays do get a lot of credit that isn't earned as far as prospecting is concerned. The Rays have been terrible drafters since 2008. In a story I did last season, they were actually the absolute worst drafters in the last five years in getting value from their picks. Some could argue that the Rays progressive strategy with their players made 5 years too small of a window, but they are also not producing high end players. Last year's midseason top 100 prospect lists (from two of four sources I checked, but I can't get the story to pull up right now) had 0 Tampa Rays draft picks on it. They were the only team without a single draft pick on the top 100s that they were absent from.

 

I always said that the true test of the Rays would be how they drafted once they weren't getting perennial top five picks.

 

Thus far, it hasn't gone well for them.

 

Lots of teams build a winning franchise when they get to take the best players out of every draft. The true test is when they continue to win in years 6, 7, 8, etc. Those are the years when they have to rely on nailing it with mid-20s picks every draft to continue succeeding in MLB.

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I always said that the true test of the Rays would be how they drafted once they weren't getting perennial top five picks.

 

Thus far, it hasn't gone well for them.

 

Lots of teams build a winning franchise when they get to take the best players out of every draft. The true test is when they continue to win in years 6, 7, 8, etc. Those are the years when they have to rely on nailing it with mid-20s picks every draft to continue succeeding in MLB.

 

This is one thing, all homerism aside, that I admire about the Braves and Cardinals. Both have been in the latter half of the first round for the better part of two decades, yet they continue to churn out homegrown players to continue that success.

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Perhaps rather than speaking in generalities about their rosters you could provide examples. The one so far was poor.

 

And I admit to having no idea what your point is. You arent articulating it clearly.

 

When you complain of poor players being on a roster it is a rather poor thing to complain about as there are always going to be poor players on a roster.

To complain that I speak of generalities and wanting examples, I am still waiting on who you think the young players that were blocked that were superior players.

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