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  • ZiPS Predicts the Best Team From the Twins Daily Minor League Draft

    Cody Christie

    For those that might have missed it, the Twins Daily minor league writers recently held a draft of players in Minnesota’s farm system. When all was said and done, six teams of 16-players were selected, and we reached out to FanGraph’s Dan Szymborski to run the ZiPS projections for each roster. The results may surprise you…

    Image courtesy of © Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    A few notes on the numbers below, these are career numbers and not a single season total because many of the prospects are very early in their professional careers. It was intriguing to see each writer’s strategy play out over the course of the draft as team’s had to balance prospect status and future value. Szymborski doesn’t typically like to do individual player profiles when things are this uncertain because it’s hard to look past just the numbers.


    Below you will see the team total for fWAR from ZiPS projected over the course of their careers. It also showcases one standout performer on each team. ZiPS loves pitchers as evident by the top-four team’s best player being a pitcher and this didn’t even include the top two pitching prospects in the Twins system.


    6. Seth Stohs

    Top Player: Royce Lewis- 9.8 WAR

    Overall WAR: 20.7

    Top Picks: Brent Rooker, Matt Wallner, Dakota Chalmers

    Other Players: Taylor Grzelakowski, Parker Phillips, Michael Helman, Wander Valdez, DaShawn Keirsey, Carlos Aguiar, Luis Rijo, Bailey Ober, Sean Poppen, Derek Molina, Javani Moran, Charlie Barnes


    Seth’s Thoughts: Drafting first is tough because, yes, you get the top player, but then you have to sit and watch as ten more players get taken before you can pick again. That said, I feel quite comfortable taking my chances with Royce. As you know, I am a bit of a prospect guy, so while the 2020 ranking may not look great for me, I will certainly take my chances with the prospects that I picked throughout the draft, and by about 2025, we are going to be really good!


    5. Cody Christie

    Top Player: Trevor Larnach- 6.2 WAR

    Overall WAR: 33.2

    Top Picks: Blayne Enlow, Ben Rortvedt, Misael Urbina

    Other Players: Victor Heredia, Charles Mack, Spencer, Steer, Wander Javier, Jacob Pearson, Ricky De La Torre, Jorge Alcala, Tyler Wells, Anthony Escobar, Steven Cruz, Evan Gillespie, Tyler Watson


    Cody’s Thoughts: I had the lowest overall top player but looking at the other top players and it’s easy to see why. If Trevor Larnach finishes his career with a lower overall WAR than Griffin Jax, the Twins have a long-term position player problem on their hands. Enlow has a chance to be one of the best pitchers in the organization and Rortvedt is the best catcher outside of Jeffers. If Larnach and Urbina hit their potential, watch out for my squad.


    4. Ted Schwerzler

    Top Player: Griffin Jax- 9.9 WAR

    Overall WAR: 41.9

    Top Picks: Jordan Balazovic, Matt Canterino, Keoni Cavaco

    Other Players: Chris Williams, Trey Cabbage, Travis Blankenhorn, Edouard Juilien, Max Smith, Ernie De La Trinidad, Jimmy Kerrigan, Trevor Casanova, Cody Stashak, Ryan Mason, Ben Gross, Jake Reed


    Ted’s Thoughts: I actually love that Jax projects as the highest contributor among my team. I was somewhat surprised he wasn't selected in the Rule 5 draft this winter as I think he can hold down a rotation spot for a big-league club right now. Balazovic is the flashy arm with upside, but Jax is probably among the safest picks I made. At just shy of 42 total WAR, I feel good about my squad having solid long-term development opportunities and a bit less volatility than Seth could experience.


    3. Jeremy Nygaard

    Top Player: Devin Smeltzer- 15.4 WAR

    Overall WAR: 48.4

    Top Picks: Jhoan Duran, Gilberto Celestino, LaMonte Wade Jr.

    Other Players: Kidany Salva, Zander Wiel, Anthony Prato, Drew Maggi, Will Holland, Emmanuel Rodriguez, Jared Akins, Chris Vallimont, Yennier Cano, Zach Neff, Benjamin Dum, Austin Schulfer


    Jeremy’s Thoughts: No surprise that Smeltzer is my top-projected player as he already has had some MLB success. Also, no surprise that I'm higher than Ted, Cody and Seth because, well...


    2. Matt Braun

    Top Player: Lewis Thorpe- 14.9 WAR

    Overall WAR: 52.1 WAR

    Top Picks: Ryan Jeffers, Jose Miranda, Cole Sands

    Other Players: Gabe Snyder, Yunior Severino, Yeltsin Encarnacion, Gabriel Maciel, Willie Joe Garry Jr., Tyler Webb, Luis Baez, Bryan Sammons, Hector Lujan, Ryan Shreve, Adam Bray, Cody Laweryson


    Matt’s Thoughts: I’m quite happy with my placement. I can now say that I fully support Dan and his projection system because it must be well done if it liked me so much! I’m a big Thorpe fan especially so it’s nice to know that more advanced systems than my own feelings agree in his potential in MLB.


    1. Steve Lein

    Top Player: Randy Dobnak-18.2 WAR

    Overall WAR: 53.7

    Top Picks: Alex Kirilloff, Edwar Colina, Nick Gordon

    Other Players: Caleb Hamilton, Albee Weiss, Seth Gray, Jordan Gore, Akil Baddoo, Mark Contreras, Andrew Bechtold, Josh Winder, Moises Gomez, Tom Hackimer, Andrew Vasquez, Alex Phillips


    Steve’s Thoughts: When's my championship belt arrive? Hah. In all seriousness though, I tried to place a bit of a premium on proximity to the majors when making my picks, even taking a few guys who have already made their debut, and that may have helped me with ZIPS projections. Also rewarding for me to see the top overall player was Randy Dobnak, who I said when I picked him in the second round that it may have been a surprise to some. It was not for me, because I know just how good he's been rising to the majors.


    What do you think of the ZiPS results? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.



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    All for giggles, but my knee jerk ranking when the draft was done as as follows:


    1] Matt

    2] Seth

    3] Steve

    4] Ted

    5] Cody

    6] Jeremy


    According to Zips I was way off on Seth and Jeremy, but really close everywhere else. (A couple of my rankings were only a point apart).


    But I am curious about Zips and their career projections. Are these milb career projections or a deeper crystal ball projection to ML careers?

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    I would rather have the players on Cody's team, followed closely by Seth's team.  I am looking for players I think will be solid MLB players for the longest time.  I guess my selections show that I do not understand Zips or maybe Zips doesn't understand tarheeltwinsfan's mathematical authentic dynamic (MAD for short) method of selections. .. 

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