There’s no question that successful organizations need to have a strong scouting department. It is the job of this group to find talent at any level and decide if those players are a good fit for an organization. One undervalued scouting skill might be the ability of an organization to evaluate their own talent and decide which pieces are most critical for an organization’s long-term success.
Unfortunately, these three players have all found success with other organizations without getting a long look at the big-league level by the Twins.
Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers
Minnesota drafted Baddoo in the second round back in 2016 and he played his first four professional seasons in the organization. Back in 2019, he topped out at High-A where he hit .214/.290/.393 in 29 games. Entering the 2021 season, he didn’t have an at-bat at the Double-A level and the lost 2020 season certainly took away some development time, so the Twins left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft. Now, it’s looking like the Twins might have given up on him too soon.
Detroit is in rebuild mode so they can afford to take some chances in the Rule 5 Draft, and they were willing to give Baddoo a shot at the big-league level. His hot start to the season was well documented as he had a 1.024 OPS through his first 15 games. He may not be getting the hype he was at season’s start, but he entered play on Monday with a 142 OPS+ while leading the American League in triples. Minnesota had a lot of minor league outfield depth, but Baddoo is looking more like he can be a contributor for years to come.
LaMonte Wade Jr., San Francisco Giants
Wade was a ninth-round pick by the Twins in the 2015 MLB Draft and the Twins had used him throughout parts of the 2019 and 2020 season. In those two years, he compiled an 87 OPS+ in 42 games and he looked to have a shot at making the 2021 Twins. The decision came down to picking Wade or Jake Cave as the team’s fourth outfielder. Minnesota was able to trade Wade to the Giants in exchange for Shaun Anderson, who was recently claimed off waivers by the Rangers. It was a deal that couldn’t have gone more poorly for the Twins.
In his age-27 season, Wade has found a role with the Giants, the first team to 50 wins this season. Through his first 28 games, he has posted a 136 OPS+ while playing all three outfield positions and first base. Cave compiled a 43 OPS+ in 31 games this year before ending up on the 60-day injured list with a stress reaction in his lower back. Wade is finding big-league success on one of baseball’s best teams while the Twins have been forced to shuffle through a variety of outfielders.
Nick Anderson, Tampa Bay Rays
Anderson, a Minnesota native, had to work his way into professional baseball after attending college at Mayville State University in North Dakota. The Twins signed him out of independent baseball and used him as a reliever in four different seasons as he topped out at Triple-A. In November 2018, the Twins traded him to the Miami Marlins for Brian Schales and Anderson has pitched at the big-league level ever since that deal.
Anderson was a critical piece of the Rays bullpen that drove them to the 2020 World Series. Throughout the 2019-20 seasons, he has combined for a 155 ERA+ with a 0.96 WHIP and 15 SO/9. His 2021 season hasn’t started yet as he recovers from a partial torn ligament in his right elbow. The injury didn’t require surgery and he is supposed to return for the season’s second half. This will be a welcome boost to a Rays club that is fighting for an AL East crown. He would also be a welcome addition to a Twins bullpen that has seen it’s fair share of struggles this season.
It’s great to see these players writing their own success story, but it’s too bad those achievements didn’t come in a Twins uniform. Minnesota needs to hang on to players like these that can add to their organizational depth and that process might start with looking in the mirror at their own self-scouting.
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