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  • Did the Twins Give Up Too Early On Akil Baddoo?


    Cody Christie

    Twins’ fans got an up-close and personal view of one of baseball’s hottest hitters this week. Unfortunately, Akil Baddoo was a member of the Twins organization just last season. So, did the Twins give up too early on Baddoo?

    Image courtesy of © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

    Baddoo was a second-round pick back in the 2016 MLB Draft out of high school in Georgia. He was actually Minnesota’s fourth pick in that draft behind Alex Kirilloff, Ben Rortvedt, and Jose Miranda. All of those players are still in the Twins organization, but Baddoo was left unprotected in this year’s Rule 5 Draft.

     

    Baddoo and the Tigers are showing exactly why the Rule 5 Draft was put in place. When a player is close to big-league ready, an organization can’t stash that player in the minor leagues without putting them on the 40-man roster. Baddoo’s hot start is great, but he will need to prove that he is part of the solution in Detroit, who isn’t expected to win too many games this season.

     

    During his time in the Twins organization, Baddoo played four professional seasons and reached as high as High-A. In the minors, he combined to hit .249/.357/.422 with 86 extra-base hits in 233 games. There were some clear offensive skills including a tremendous ability to draw walks along with some good power potential. This might all sound good, but there are reasons why the Twins left him unprotected this past winter.

     

    He’s been limited to under 115 games in every professional season including only 29 games back in 2019. Also, Baddoo struck out in nearly 24% of his plate appearance in 2018 and that number rose to 29.8% in 2019. So far in his brief big-league career, he has two strikeouts and no walks yet to his credit. He can play defensively in all three outfield positions, so it will be interesting to see what his long-term position will be at the big-league level.

     

    At one point, Baddoo was a borderline top-10 prospect in the Twins organization. In the last published Twins Prospect Handbook following the 2019 season, Tom had Baddoo ranked the highest as the 16th best Twins prospect. Seth had him ranked at 17 and I had him ranked as the 23rd best future Twin. Baddoo was certainly viewed as having potential, but the Twins and the Tigers are in very different places.

     

    Detroit is in rebuild mold and they can afford to take a flyer on a player like Baddoo. They aren’t expected to win for multiple seasons, so the Tigers can take the ups and downs that come with a younger player that has no experience at Double- or Triple-A. Moving forward, Baddoo’s outlook hasn’t changed significantly.

     

    The Twins have a ton of top-tier outfield prospects that were ahead of Baddoo on the team’s organizational depth chart. Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Gilberto Celestino, Brent Rooker, and Matt Wallner are just a few of the outfield prospects that would rank ahead of Baddoo for the Twins. That takes nothing away from what Baddoo might be able to do in his career, but he wasn’t in Minnesota’s long-term plans.

     

    What are your thoughts on Baddoo and the storybook start to his big-league career? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

     

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    If it came down to it, I personally would have preferred Baddoo over Celestino. Had him ranked higher on my prospect list entering last year. And before Baddoo got hurt, I think we all had him higher (on the 2019 TD prospect list Baddoo was No. 10 and Celestino was 16).

     

    I also would have taken Baddoo over LaMonte Wade, who was still on the 40-man roster at the time of the Rule 5 Draft. Oh, and there were four empty spots. Oh, and two of the spots were occupied by Ian Gibaut and Brandon Waddell, who were both later outrighted (with Waddell being re-added this week).

     

    I do think it more came down to the Twins thinking nobody would take Baddoo/even it he was selected he wouldn't last past Spring Training than the Twins giving up on him. I know I was a bit surprised he was taken after missing all that time.

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    When it means he can be drafted by another team in Rule 5 draft.

    I disagree, as that means they've given up on the majority of players in their system.

     

    They weighed the pros/cons vs the odds of a rare transaction and maybe lost. They didn't give up on a player. That would be waiving him. They gave up on David Ortiz.

     

    And, from the looks of TD, Baddoo is the new Ortiz :) 

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    If it came down to it, I personally would have preferred Baddoo over Celestino. Had him ranked higher on my prospect list entering last year. And before Baddoo got hurt, I think we all had him higher (on the 2019 TD prospect list Baddoo was No. 10 and Celestino was 16).

     

    I also would have taken Baddoo over LaMonte Wade, who was still on the 40-man roster at the time of the Rule 5 Draft. Oh, and there were four empty spots. Oh, and two of the spots were occupied by Ian Gibaut and Brandon Waddell, who were both later outrighted (with Waddell being re-added this week).

     

    I do think it more came down to the Twins thinking nobody would take Baddoo/even it he was selected he wouldn't last past Spring Training than the Twins giving up on him. I know I was a bit surprised he was taken after missing all that time.

    I am a big fan of Celestino but thank you for the sensible take

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    It was a series of bizarre decision making. You let Rosario go because you don’t want him blocking the young guys. Instead of adding all the young guys to the 40 man roster and let the cream rise to the top, you expose him only to sign a retread outfielder who’s failed at other organizations to block the kids. In the process you lose a guy with real potential. If you are making the decision between Rosario and Young guys... okay I get that. But management chose the worst of both worlds and now LF is a disaster. Hopefully they learn quick from their mistakes and let the young guys learn

    How do you feel about the trade for Delmon Young?

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    I know I shouldn't hide my feelings. It's bad for the lombargo. So here's my real take on Baddoo. First, congrats to the kid. Detroit snatched him out from under our noses, and at the moment it looks like the steal of the year. 

     

    Second, I like to say, Ghaaa. Sounds good, but I'm not actually that upset. The Twins have several good OF prospects in their system. Baddoo was considered promising, but a bit injury prone, and not quite ready to take on pro pitching. Kiriloff, Larnach and Rooker are considered better bats, and Celestino is considered a better CF if Buxton goes down again. 

     

    Frankly, if Baddoo pans out better than Broxton, Detroit's scouts deserve praise. He's still a long shot to be a star in the league, but his first couple weeks sure have looked good. I hope he does well, but I'm not upset with the guys the Twins decided to keep on the 40. A certain amount of talent will escape an organization now and then. Good for the players.

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    It was a series of bizarre decision making. You let Rosario go because you don’t want him blocking the young guys. Instead of adding all the young guys to the 40 man roster and let the cream rise to the top, you expose him only to sign a retread outfielder who’s failed at other organizations to block the kids. In the process you lose a guy with real potential. If you are making the decision between Rosario and Young guys... okay I get that. But management chose the worst of both worlds and now LF is a disaster. Hopefully they learn quick from their mistakes and let the young guys learn
    Far be it from me to second guess the best FO in history....and I so much hate saying i told you so...but...I would like to really know exactly what WAS the plan in left field. We know it wasn't Badoo. Was it Cave? Rooker? Kiriloff? the C.Y.A FO has somehow failed to address that at all. Maybe it was Garlick all along. Eddie would sure look good out there about now wouldn't he?
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    The decision to leave him off the 40 man was perfectly reasonable. He hadn’t played a game in two years, and his minor league track record was a little iffy. So no, I very much disagree this is a case of incompetent management. The front office made an educated guess (which is all roster management is), and so far it has not worked out.

     

    That said, it’s very early. It’s completely possible Baddoo could be back in the Twins system in a month or two. As a baseball fan, I want him to succeed. He’s an easy guy to root for, and I’m always drawn to the underdog. Every FO misses on some guys. I hope Baddoo winds up being one Falvey wishes he had back.

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    I truly think the twins thought no way someone takes him.

     

    Everyone one saying oh you had open spots in your 40 man. Which is true the problem is if you add a guy in the 40 man roster who isn’t close to the majors you end up burning option years before a guy is major league ready.

     

    Take Celestino for example he used an option year in 2020 now an option in 2021 if he isn’t in opening day roster in 2022 he uses up 3rd option. If he isn’t an established starter in 2024 you can’t send him down if he slumps or is the 4th or 5th outfielder and injuries occur.

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    If it came down to it, I personally would have preferred Baddoo over Celestino. Had him ranked higher on my prospect list entering last year. And before Baddoo got hurt, I think we all had him higher (on the 2019 TD prospect list Baddoo was No. 10 and Celestino was 16).

     

    I also would have taken Baddoo over LaMonte Wade, who was still on the 40-man roster at the time of the Rule 5 Draft. Oh, and there were four empty spots. Oh, and two of the spots were occupied by Ian Gibaut and Brandon Waddell, who were both later outrighted (with Waddell being re-added this week).

     

    I do think it more came down to the Twins thinking nobody would take Baddoo/even it he was selected he wouldn't last past Spring Training than the Twins giving up on him. I know I was a bit surprised he was taken after missing all that time.

    Celestino was protected last year, correct? I wonder if the timing had anything to do with it. I think it was a gamble by the Twins to not protect Baddoo and it does look like they will lose this specific gamble. Detroit isn't going to contend and it looks like there will be sufficient opportunities for the youngster to play and perhaps smooth the rough edges of his game. 

     

    It seems to me that position players who aren't likely to perform with the major league club are very seldom protected, while the Twins (and most other MLB lteams) protect pitchers who might be a year or even two away from contributing. Detroit is one of maybe five teams that can get away with carrying a Rule 5 guy because their probability of contending is so low. Bonus--the kid has come out hot with noteworthy hits, mostly against his former organization!

     

    Last thought. It looks like Akil Baddoo is a guy who might have all the tools. He seems to have good speed and a decent arm to go with developing hit tools. With the exception of top of the top choices Lewis and Buxton, the Twins seem to have gravitated toward hit-first players and it kind of shows on the major league team. there is a real lack of team speed outside of Buxton.

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    If Detroit were to get competitive this season I would guess Baddoo would be offered back to the Twins at some point.  Unfortunately, once he falls below a .250 batting average (which will happen,) Detroit will be out of the hunt so Detroit will switch to: "well, we might as well keep him on our roster."  That being said, there are several guys currently on our 40-man roster who could have been easily swapped out for Baddoo.  This was a whiff by our front office for now....but they have hit more triples than whiffs so far......so I am giving them the benefit of the doubt.

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    There's already a thread on this in another forum. I think with only 11 AB, we're still in the "way too soon to tell" stage. I hope the kid does well, but the Twins are in win now and Baddoo was pretty far down on the pecking order. He hasn't spent time in the high minors and had mixed results in the low minors. It was a calculation on the part of the FO in thinking he woudln't be taken. They were wrong. But it is what it is. He was also blocked by several OFs with much higher ceilings and success in the high minors. 

     

    All we can really do is wish him well. 

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    Accidentally deleted this when I meant to click “edit”. Looks like edit button disappeared

     

    It was a series of bizarre decision making. You let Rosario go because you don’t want him blocking the young guys. Instead of adding all the young guys to the 40 man roster and let the cream rise to the top, you expose Baddoo only to sign a retread outfielder who’s failed at other organizations to block the kids. In the process you lose a guy with real potential. If you are making the decision between Rosario and Young guys... okay I get that. But management chose the worst of both worlds and now LF is a disaster. Hopefully they learn quick from their mistakes and let the young guys learn

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    I suspect Kirilloff will be coming up soon after the date that gives the Twins an extra year on him, so let’s not assume LF will stay a “disaster” for the rest of the year. Plus, Larnach could ready to come up in the summer.

     

    To add on to what Tom said, I think Baddoo gets protected if we didn’t already have Celestino. Already have a bunch of OFs on the 40 man. If we applied this logic to other similar prospects, Wander Javier and Lewin Diaz would be taking up 40 man spots right now.

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