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    bean5302

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Showing content with the highest reputation since 08/25/2021 in Blog Entries

  1. With the 2021 season just about wrapped up for the Minnesota Twins, here’s yet another article to talk about starting pitching and why dumpster diving or even mid-tier free agent starters are actually much riskier than the top free agent starters with those big contracts. Conventional Twins wisdom is that big name, free agent starters are simply too expensive and too risky. Jim Pohlad is very skittish when it comes to long contracts and big dollars. The idea of “crippling” a roster also sends some Twins fans into a panic. It makes sense, after all, the Twins free agent pitchers almost never actually pan out for more than a year. For this year, the Twins’ front office decided not to pursue an arm to replace Odorizzi, leaving a major hole in the middle of the rotation. Instead, Happ and Shoemaker were signed to contracts all too typical of the Twins’ front office. The cost? $10MM utterly wasted. That said, the Twins are absolutely spending ace starter money in free agency and acquisitions every single year and have been spending $30-43MM annually for those arms for 7 consecutive seasons coming into 2021. I even adjusted the salaries for players which were traded away… Read it and weep. Median WAR = middle bWAR season performance with 2020 being multiplied by 2.7 due to the shortened season. Total WAR = Total bWAR over the life of the entire contract, even if the player was traded away. $/WAR = Entire Contract Dollars, Adjusted for 2020 / Total bWAR, Not Adjusted for 2020. The salary figures shown are not adjusted for 2020 so they can be viewed in proper context. Med. Tot $ Player WAR WAR /WAR 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Correia -1.1 -1.1 -5 6 Pelfrey 0.4 0.8 13.8 6 6 Hughes -0.1 5.5 11.9 8 9 9 13 8 7 Nolasco 0.5 2 24 12 12 8 4 Milone 0.8 0.9 8.1 3 5 Santana 0.5 9.8 5.6 14 14 14 14 1 Santiago 0.2 0.3 32.7 2 8 Odorizzi 1.2 4.4 6.1 6 10 18 Pineda 0.8 3.3 8 2 8 10 10 Lynn 0.4 0.4 25 10 Perez 0.1 0.1 40 4 Maeda 2.7 1.8 2.7 3 3 Bailey 0.5 0.2 22 7 Hill 2.1 0.8 2.4 3 Shoemaker -1.9 -1.9 -1.1 2 Happ -1.8 -1.8 -4.4 8 Season Total 31 43 37 38.7 39.8 29.5 40.8 23 In fact, almost none of the Twins signings and acquisitions were worth it, including the starters who were actually “worth the money” because they still weren’t worth starting. For example, Tommy Milone only cost $8.1MM / WAR. That’s an A grade signing. He was worth every bit of the money he was paid, on am average season. But he still wasn’t good enough to actually want him in the rotation. What about Ervin Santana? We all know what a huge asset he was over his first couple seasons and the Twins got one WAR for only $5.6MM which is an A+ kind of deal. The big issue is he was terrible over his last two years, dragging his median performance way down. Ace = 4.0 WAR+ #2 = 3.0-4.0 WAR #3 = 2.5-3.0 WAR #4 = 2.0-2.5 WAR #5 = 1.5-2.0 WAR I’ve also adjusted the median values for 2020’s short season. That’s the problem with dumpster dives and even mid-tier free agents. All it takes is a slight decline and poof, all the money is utterly wasted because you’re paying guaranteed money to a starter who isn’t worth playing. Well, everybody knows big free agent contracts never work out though, right? Wrong. Big name, free agent starters are almost always worth it. This is for two reasons. First, they often perform at ace levels even if they decline a bit, but if they take a major hit or injury, they almost always bounce back as a solid starter in the rotation. The money is virtually never totally wasted like it often is on mediocre or low cost starters. Of the 8 front line free agent starters signed since 2014, every single one of them has been worth a rotation spot in an average year. Most are even good deals. Don’t believe me again? Med. Tot $ Player WAR WAR /WAR Future? 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Grade Lester 2.1 13.2 9.6 - 30 20 20 23 25 28 B Greinke 4.2 17.9 10.3 - 34 34 34 35 35 35 C Scherzer 5.5 41.4 4.1 - 17 22 22 22 37 36 35 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 A+ Price 1.8 11.1 13.9 F 30 30 30 31 32 32 32 F Darvish 5.6 7.6 9.9 A 25 20 22 22 19 18 B Corbin 4.1 5.4 8.6 F 15 19 24 23 24 35 A Cole 5.6 7.6 6.4 A 36 36 36 36 36 36 36 36 36 A Wheeler 6.8 7.6 3.45 A 22 23 26 25 24 A+ Strasburg 0 0 Inf F 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 27 27 F- *The summary is updated to reflect the addition of Strasburg to the chart. I decided against adding Bauer. Bauer doesn't have a long term contract, and part of the reason FA ace caliber pitchers are a low risk is a single lost season is easy to overcome. Among the 9 listed starters, only 3 have lost an entire season (Price x1.5, Darvish, Strasburg x2). Of the 38 seasons on the contracts from the 9 starters, 4.5 seasons have been lost. A risk of a starter losing a season is approximately 10% per contract season. Right now, Corbin and Strasburg both look like a bad deals, but it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if they rebounded. If you look at those contracts, something really stands out to me. Only Strasburg has played poorly enough so the team who signed them wouldn’t have wanted in the rotation and 6 of the 8 are bonefide ace level pitchers on their average season. Even David Price with all his injuries and down performance is worth trotting out there. Also, 7 of 8 of those front line starters have been absolutely C or better signings. Here’s how I’d arbitrarily grade signings based on the dollars spent per WAR. $16MM+ = F- $14-16MM = F $12-14MM = D $10-12MM = C $9-10MM = B $6-9MM = A 0-6MM = A+ To sum it up, the scary big contracts for front line starters almost always work out over the life of the contract, and even when they don’t work out exactly as intended, the pitchers are almost always worth running out there every 5 days as part of the rotation. However, the low end and middle of the rotation arms are almost never worth it based on nearly a decade of track record by the Twins and over a dozen such starting pitchers. Considering the Twins absolutely do not need any #4-5 starters, the front office also needs to stop wasting money with their annual dumpster dive, refocus and acquire top pitching talent. After all, it’d barely cost more on an annual basis to replace the typical free agent signings they’ve been wasting money on to sign two top of the rotation arms as they’re available.
    9 points
  2. bean5302

    Grading Falvey's Drafts

    Grading Derek Falvey's Drafts With the minor leagues essentially done for the year, it’s a fair time to review the Derek Falvey’s performance through the drafts. Falvey has been in charge of the Twins’ front office for 5 drafts now, though there’s not close to enough data to judge the 2021 draft group’s actual playing performance. I believe Derek Falvey’s job has 6 major components, in no particular order. 1. MLB on field performance. 2. Free agency signings. 3. Trades. 4. Player conduct. 5. Drafting. 6. Player development. Drafting should be considered separate from player development as they’re not the same thing. Drafting involves identifying pre-professional talent while players are outside the organization and player development is all about finding the ways to improve players while in the system. For example, getting a 10th rounder to produce at the MLB level has almost nothing to do with the draft; that’s all player development. I’m concentrated on the first 3 rounds of the draft, which include Competitive Balance A and Competitive Balance B picks and works out to just about 100 players even in most years. Obviously, a 1st round / CBA is much more important than a 2nd round / CBB pick and then a 3rd rounder drops off more. I’ve chosen to grade the overall draft results on that scale. First Round/CBA = a multiplier of 2.00. Second Round/CBB = a multiplier of 1.50. 3rd Round = a multiplier of 1.00. My grades are subjective, based on performance of the pick, whether or not the front office reached to get the pick, how quickly the pick has advanced and my opinion of the projected performance of the pick at this point. I didn’t ding the Twins for any of the lost CBA/CBB picks due to free agency signings or trades except Hughes. The Twins essentially traded their late 2nd rounder, a CBB pick in 2019 for a little cash; that’s an absolute dereliction of duty and it’s worth a grade. Huge Reach = 2+ rounds ahead of MLB.com projection Reach = 1 round ahead of MLB.com projection Aggressive = ½ round ahead of MLB.com projection (i.e. CBA instead of 2nd round) On Par = In the round where projected, within a reasonable distance of expected. (i.e. picked 20th overall when projected at 25th) Deal = 1 round behind MLB.com projection Steal = 2+ rounds behind MLB.com projection 2017 Player Grade MLB Draft # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Level Last Perf. Progress Projection 1st Royce Lewis C 5 1 1-30 (Rnd1) On Par High School 22 AA D C B CBA Brent Rooker C 50 35 31-36 (CBA) Aggressive College 26 MLB B D C 2nd Landon Leach F 101 37 37-67 (Rnd2) Reach High School 21 A- F F F 3rd Blayne Enlow C 29 76 76-105 (Rnd3) Steal High School 22 A+ C D C 2018 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Level Last Perform Progress Projection 1st Trevor Larnach C 26 20 1-30 (Rnd1) On Par College 24 MLB C B D 2nd Ryan Jeffers B >200 59 44-78 (Rnd2) Huge Reach College 24 MLB D A C 3rd Forfeit for Lynn 1yr N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 2019 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Progress Projection 1st Keoni Cavaco F 28 13 1-30 (Rnd1) Aggressive High School 20 A- F C F CBA Matt Wallner D 60 39 31-41 (CBA) Aggressive College 23 A+ C C F 2nd Matt Canterino B 46 54 42-69 (Rnd2) On Par College 23 A+ A C A CBB Forefeit (to trade Hughes) F Total Failure N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 3rd Spencer Steer C >200 90 79-107 (Rnd3) Huge Reach College 23 AA C A C 2020 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Progress Projection 1st Aaron Sabato C 41 27 1-29 (Rnd1) Reach College 22 A+ B B D 2nd Alerick Soularie D 105 59 38-60 (Rnd2) Huge Reach College 22 A- D C C CBB Forefit in Maeda Trade N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 3rd Forefit for Donaldson N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 2021 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Progress Projection 1st Chase Petty A 27 26 1-29 (Rnd1) On Par High School 18 Rk Pass C N/A CBA Noah Miller C 62 36 31-36 (CBA) Aggressive High School 18 Rk Pass C N/A 2nd Steve Hajjar C 100 61 37-63 (Rnd2) Reach College 20 N/A Inc. D N/A 3rd Cade Povich D >250 98 72-101 (Rnd3) Huge Reach College 21 A- Pass B N/A When reviewing the drafts, it seems apparent Derek Falvey believes his front office is a significantly better judge of player talent than MLB.com as he frequently drafts players well ahead of MLB.com’s projections. This doesn’t mean Falvey is wrong. MLB.com is just one source and it would be expected the Twins scouts could be superior to MLB.com’s. Draft picks routinely shift around during the season depending on their performance leading right up to the draft. Regardless, MLB.com’s projections are usually pretty close to other sources which makes for a good baseline as to the scouting world in general. If Falvey’s front office and scouting department is better, it should show up in the advancement and development of players. So how do things look? Well, in a nutshell, I’d give the front office a C- overall with a GPA of 1.76, but it’s a very incomplete picture. I believe 2022 will be critical to evaluating Falvey’s drafts. Lewis, Rooker, Larnach and Cavaco are on their last year of grace period to “prove it.” While Rooker and Larnach get major points for making it to the big show, neither has performed well enough to stick around. From a pitching standpoint, Falvey has only drafted 1 first round pitcher in 5 years and 8 chances. For the most part, Falvey has chosen guys with good breaking pitch offerings who were down the rankings a bit and focused on hitters with the highest picks. The only 1st rounder choice was 100mph high school flame thrower Chase Petty earlier this year. Petty received mixed rankings, but MLB was about as bullish on him as anybody else and Petty made his 1 start at the FCL Twins this year. Landon Leach, Matt Canterino and Steve Hajjar make up the 2nd round pitching selections. 2 of the 3 are big reaches and Leach is already a total bust. Canterino’s performance is a saving grace here as his injury history has slowed his advancement while Hajjar didn’t make a competitive appearance this year. 3rd rounders include Blayne Enlow and Cade Povich. Enlow was projected high, but velocity drops and concerns over signing him let the Twins save up some slot money and get the chance to make a run at him. Enlow’s situation sort of mirror’s Canterino’s. Injuries have derailed his advancement. Povich is just a head scratcher. He was way, way down almost all prospect lists if he even appeared at all. Prospectslive.com had him at 537, but the Twins apparently liked enough of what they saw to send him to the Low-A Ft. Myers Miracle. Falvey has shown a strong affinity for aggressively pursuing bat only players with lots of power and not a lot of anything else. Rooker, Wallner and Sabato are all one tool wonders and all were a bit of a reach. Larnach is now in the same boat after his advanced eye at the plate turned out to be outmatched against more talented pitching. If they don’t rake, they’re busts and finding spots for all of those guys would be impossible on the roster, but it would also mean the drafts were hugely successful. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Rooker and Larnach are not getting the job done with Wallner advancing too slowly for his draft position and experience and Sabato narrowly avoiding a “bust” moniker this year with a hot last couple months. Soularie, another bat heavy big reach, has a little more defensive potential so the Twins are trying to see if he can stick at 2B. The Twins have also gone for the athleticism over everything approach a couple times with Royce Lewis and Keoni Cavaco. Lewis is the one Falvey really can’t afford to miss on. Lewis was a first overall pick who hasn’t played competitively in 2 years and wasn’t nearly good enough when he did play, but he’s such a gifted athlete with such a great character that it’s believed he can still turn the corner. Cavaco… well, the best thing which can honestly be said about him right now is it’s still a little too early to call him a bust. That said, if Cavaco doesn’t pick it up big time, he will wear the title by mid 2022. The Twins reached a bit with him, and if you’re reaching for your first rounder, it’s important to pay off and the Twins doubled down by reaching for Wallner for the same draft. Spencer Steer completed the 3/3 reaches for hitters in 2019 and was an out of the park, 6 run, grand slam style reach for good measure, but at least he’s still showing a glimmer of promise with some fast promotions. I’m not sure who was driving the car in 2019 is what I’m sayin’ here. Thank goodness Canterino pitched well in between his injury woes or the 2019 draft would honestly be looking potentially catastrophic here. Truthfully, draft results are finicky things to analyze, especially in the first 3-4 years and the loss of 2020's MiLB season really tightens the sample size here. Many quality MLB players have their hiccups in the minors or develop a little slower so the draft grades could really swing wildly next year. It would take quite a few things working out, but I could see the Falvey front office draft grade swinging all the way up into the C+ range next year… or tanking straight into F territory for that matter. I think it’s also important to consider this isn’t graded on a curve and a 2.00 GPA and a C grade for “average” isn’t a call to fire the front office; it means the front office is competent enough and doing their job well enough in a crazy competitive marketplace where many pieces have to fall into place to grade higher.
    5 points
  3. When the Twins brought on Andrelton Simmons, I was not impressed by the Gold Glove awards or the 10 Million dollar contract. Since coming to the team, Gordon has been a utility player that is able to cover portions of the infield, as well as, the outfield. With the season basically over, the Twins have been playing with a lot of the guys from the minors and with the rotation of talent that we keep seeing, Gordon could easily be a permanent fixture in 2022. Gordon certainly is not the savior, but compared to Andrelton Simmons, he has more potential for growth and certainly would not be as huge of a dent in the Pohlad’s wallet. Nick Gordon spent seven years in the minors. Since 2014 he has continued to climb the ranks since being a 5th overall draft pick. He wasn’t expected to go as far as he did, but he continued to work hard, and by 2019 was pulling a .298 average in Rochester. According to Matthew Taylor of Twins Daily, the second baseman suffered from Covid-19 which derailed his entire 2020 season. Prior to his illness, even if he didn’t move through the minors like others expected, he continued to work hard, improve his plate and field performance and his only hope was to make it to the majors, and make it he did. Nick Gordon had a slow start to the beginning of the season, like any minor leaguer would coming up to the Show, but he continues to grow and acclimate along with a few of his comrades. When he is brought up from St. Paul, he is able to cover 2B, 3B, SS, CF and LF. He is not a rock star at all positions, but he can cover them if need be. His performances at CF, 2B and SS show that his speed, agility and focus are an asset to this team. He has had 2 errors this season, one at 2B and one at 3B, but in comparison to Andrelton Simmons, his infield play is more accurate with Simmons garnering a 12-error season, where in a smaller sample, Gordon has had “0”. The more appearances Gordon makes, the more he improves. Gordon’s largest improvement, however, has been at the plate. He continues to impress and work hard and show why he deserves to be a part of the permanent roster. His discipline at the plate has created more confidence and is now hitting a solid .239. This week, on September 5th, the Twins were in a battle with Tampa Bay and the illustrious Nelson Cruz. Early in the game, Gordon doubled into helping himself score on a Jake Cave single in the 2nd inning. In the 7th, he singled in a line drive and stole second - pushing the Twins to tying the Rays. He wasn’t done though! Gordon, who affectionately would be called “Clutch” after hitting a single in the 9th in a two out rally bringing the Twins to a “W” over the Rays. In every situation - Gordon - would come up clutch for the Twins, solidifying why his presence on the squad would be an advantageous move for the Twins front office. The journey from the minors to the Show can be arderougus. Players like Gordon show how hard work and dedication to improvement can make your dreams a reality. With his exit velocity as impressive as his career trajectory, it’s safe to say that Nick Gordon would be a great addition to the roster with the Twins in 2022.
    4 points
  4. Well... do you, punk? Last July, we started a new community initiative where we offer prizes for the most liked posts and blog entries on the site. We'll post these awards four times a year: first half of the season, second half of the season, offseason, and spring training. Probably. Unless it becomes a miserable experience, at which point we reserve the right to stop at any time. These prizes... aren't great, to put it bluntly. They kinda stemmed me from reading comic books in the 1980s and loving the "No-Prize" award in every letters page written by the editor of Marvel Comics, signed off by Stan Lee and wow... I'm getting old real fast with that sentence so I'm gonna stop. But the prizes, while not great, are incredible. This season has been such a train wreck, such a total collapse of all things at once, such a complete and utter failure across the board that it was difficult to decide which of the many ripe fruits I should pick off the Minnesota Twins 2021 tree to celebrate this season finally coming to a close. But ultimately, I had to go back to the source of our collective misfortune and, at that point, it became clear what most needed celebration: the 2021 Minnesota Twins bullpen. And once that clicked into place, I realized there was only one place I could go with the second half community prize: A Ron Davis commemorative display. This display not only features Ron Davis' epic 1984 campaign with the Minnesota Twins but it also features Ron Davis' epic 1984 campaign with the Minnesota Twins. 2021 Twins fans surely can commiserate with everything I said - and didn't say - in that sentence. But there's more than just a few trinkets included in this display, as the below video will show to you skeptics still standing in the back: Ron Davis Commemorative Display Prize Ron Davis Prize.mp4 Yes, you heard that right. That is Grammy award-winning artist Sarah McLachlin singing her 1997 hit "Angel" from her 8x platinum album, Surfacing. So if you have the nerve, feel the moxy, can be the spoon, will channel your inner Randball's Stu... this perfect piece of Twins history could be yours, all you have to do is write the most popular post in the Twins Daily community. That could be a comment on a news story, a reply to a blog post, or even a blog comment. For the lucky person who can be all those things to all those people all at the same time, you will win the ultimate piece of Minnesota Twins memorabilia. I know, you just want this thing so much but remember, YOU HAVE TO EARN IT. Just like Ron Davis.
    4 points
  5. glunn

    Saddest sports city

    Some posters have suggested that Minnesota is the worst sports "city" in North America. I did some googling and this was my first hit -- https://mikedropsports.com/ranking-12-saddest-sports-cities-in-north-america/ As you can see, there are many sad stories, but Minnesota is ranked as the saddest city. Then I came across a site that rated Detroit #1 and Minnesota # 5 -- https://www.trainwrecksports.com/the-top-10-worst-sports-cities-in-america-1-5/ I think that the difference boils down to how much weight is given to making the playoffs versus winning championships. It's been a long time since a Minnesota team won the championship in a major sport -- the 1991 Twins? And during that time the Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild have been disappointing. All of that said, if there is such a thing as karma -- and I believe that there is -- the negative attitude of fans may be having some effect. I wish that there was some way to change that. Any ideas would be appreciated.
    2 points
  6. The Twins' 2022 rotation has been a hot topic all year and has managed to reach molten lava temps lately with Kenta Maeda confirmed out with a hybrid UCL reconstruction surgery having just been performed. An absolute best case scenario is Maeda returning in June of 2022, but even with no setbacks, normal healing times could extend his absence to September. Just one little setback along the way is likely to end Maeda's 2022 before it even gets started. Maeda was absolutely key to the 2022 rotation. He was expected to be the anchor in the middle of the rotation where pieces could be added around him to build a World Series contender if the Twins so chose or the lone potential top of the order starter in a sea of young arms if the Twins chose to retool. While his struggles in 2021 tempered expectations of his legitimate Ace potential, the loss of Berrios cemented the need for the Twins to find a true number 1 starter to compete. Do the Twins even have a potential mid-rotation anchor anymore? Exploring the options will undoubtly lead to the exciting prospects in the Twins rotation today named Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober. These aren't (waves hand) the mid/upper rotation arms you're looking for. Ryan has 4 pitches, technically, but his curve and changeup are both borderline for the MLB level. One of both of those pitches are likely to be cut from his repertoire and in order to even stay in the rotation, Ryan will need one of them to stick and improve. Ober also has 4 pitches, but he has exactly zero plus offerings. Ober's fastball was not MLB caliber coming into the season, but some diligent work on his part and the pitching coaches has found a couple mph Ober desperately needed to elevate it. A fastball which now actually plays at the MLB level along with some other average offerings does not a mid rotation pitcher make. I'm not trying to take anything away from Ryan or Ober and what they've accomplished this season. I think both of these guys can and will spend time in rotation long term. That's a huge accomplishment if both of them make it. Then there are the Griffin Jax's and Randy Dobnak's. Dobnak is the better of the two, but honestly counting on either one of these guys to give you 20+ starts a year feels like a recipe for disappointment. They've both enjoyed some success at the MLB level, but the scouting reports are going to get better and better on them. What about Jordan Balazovic? As exciting and dominating as some of his starts have been across AA this year, he's been inconsistent with his control and he only has 2 offspeed/breaking ball options. Unless the pitcher has multiple plus-plus offerings (Berrios does, Balazovic doesn't) the absolute ceiling for a 3 pitch pitcher is filling a #3 spot. Expecting Balazovic to waltz into the rotation to start the season and be the best pitcher he can be from day 1 is completely unreasonable. Wes Johnson talked about Balazovic recently in a quick interview. He made it clear Balazovic's ceiling was looking clearer and league average, maybe a bit better is how he's seen. Again, that is a huge accomplishment, not a knock against him. Dominating minor leagues, but without hiccups, is how most top of the rotation starters advance to MLB in 1 to 3 years. Jhoan Duran? Can't throw strikes, hasn't gotten results at AAA, hasn't pitched more than a handful of innings and is out with a UCL strain. If you're holding out hope for Duran making the opening day rotation as an anchor piece, that's grasping at straws. There is one pitcher, though, who could fill a role of mid-rotation starter out of the gate... maybe with a little more upside than that. A pitcher who has taken big steps forward in scouting reports and utterly dominated at a higher level of the minors who I don't hear in the 2022 rotation discussions. In a lot of ways, this prospect is similar to a former Twins prospect from the mid 2010s who's made a nice career for himself. Our current prospect has exploded up the ranking charts and has been ranked as high as #4 in our system this year by major sites in 2021. Keith Law is on record this year as saying this pitcher is legitimate and could be a true #3. Grading system refresher: 70+ "Plus-plus" - 60 "Plus" - 50 "Average MLB" - 40 "Non-MLB" 2014 Twins Prospect - Fastball 60, Slider 45, Curveball 50, Changeup 55, Control 45 2021 Twins Prospect - Fastball 55, Slider 55, Curveball 50, Changeup 50, Control 55 The 2014 Twins prospect is Trevor May. May had mid rotation upside, but in order to reach it, he needed to improve his control and for his curve and slider to play at the MLB level. Ultimately, May always struggled a bit with his control and was never able to get the curve to fool MLB hitters. May chose to focus on a different grip on the slider and a permanent move to the bullpen where he's carved out a role as a late inning power reliever. The 2021 prospect is Josh Winder and those scouting marks do not fully take into account his improvement in velocity yet. Think of Winder as a potential better version of Trevor May with better control and all 4 pitches likely to play at the MLB level. Winder has added 3-5mph to what was a 50 grade fastball from 2019, but the preliminary reports are his slider and curveball have also sped up and the curve, particularly, is getting better bite and action. In addition, the changeup is reported to have stayed about the same velocity making it play up because of the increased differential in speed. Even more than that, Winder hasn't walked more than 2 batters in any appearance this year and in many cases, 0. His control may be better than graded as well... Winder may well have the stuff to be a true mid-rotation anchor for the Twins. Right now, he's sitting on the 7 day IL because of a "shoulder impingment" which the Twins have called dead arm or shoulder fatigue as well. They were expecting Winder to be out for 2-3 weeks meaning he could yet return for a game or two this year, but even if he doesn't, there's every reason to expect him to be ready for opening day. The best shot the Twins have in their system of an opening day 2022 mid rotation starter on the roster is Josh Winder. Make no mistake, Winder does not have the plus-plus offerings to buckle the knees and make MLB batters look like little leaguers which is required of Ace caliber pitchers. He does not project as a top of the rotation arm and the Twins still absolutely need to fill those two rotation spots at the top of the order if they're seriously looking to compete, but Winder could be the potential anchor for the 2022 rotation.
    2 points
  7. Frank Viola had a very interesting tweet this morning. In a recent thread, I intimated that I felt the manager and Falvey and Levine should be dismissed. I’ve vacillated on it but since then, the team and outlook seems even worse. I just found this tweet by Frank Viola, one of the Twins greatest pitchers ever to be a confirmation of what I’ve felt this year. Does what Viola says surprise you? Does it carry weight with you? Do you agree? It rings far too true to me. The last sentence of his Tweet is the most significant one "Wrong leadership equals no chance to succeed." That sounds like a call for change to me. I would argue that the failure of Falvey, Levine and Baldelli has been so spectacular that the Twins would be better off replacing Falvey, Levine and Baldelli with the best GM, Manager and and President of baseball operations that they can find. This is a judgement that is probably analogous to the Twins releasing a player that they really like as a person and had high hopes for. It’s a business and winning is the paramount goal. There are way too many baseball moves that they’ve butchered to mention but the sequence that lead to Cave playing a significant role and still starting as we approach September is perhaps the most egregious of all. Not acquiring a better option for Buxton’s backup and a better replacement for Rosario cost the Twins wins. Happ and Shoemaker didn’t help.
    2 points
  8. Teams are often considered to be on the losing end of trades when dealing with the Tampa Bay Rays. The brass in St. Pete does more with less, and players seem to get better when going to Florida. Did the Twins just get them for a second time though? Derek Falvey and Thad Levine made a deal with Tampa prior to the 2018 season. They sent infield prospect Jermaine Palacios out in exchange for starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi. After a solid but mediocre debut season, Odorizzi was an All-Star in 2019 and posted a career best 10.1 K/9 bolstering his 3.51 ERA. Palacios had a .575 OPS as a 21-year-old during his debut season in the Tampa organization, and dropped to a .542 OPS as a 22-year-old repeating Double-A. Now back at Double-A for Minnesota, he’s 24 and owns a .745 mark at the level. Regardless of what happens with Palacios, it’s hard not to see how Odorizzi worked out a win. Could that be happening again in terms of Nelson Cruz and Joe Ryan? The Twins had to deal their designated hitter. Cruz is 41-years-old and it’s more than evident this season was lost for Minnesota. Despite his .907 OPS here, Cruz needed to be flipped for any semblance of a return at the deadline. Getting a pitcher like Ryan, capable of fitting into the top-half of a rotation, seemed like a coup for the front office. It’s far too early to make determinations on what Ryan will be, but Tampa has to be underwhelmed in what they received. Cruz just recently surpassed the .700 OPS mark (thanks in part to facing his former club), and has just a .219 average with a .273 on-base percentage. It plays for a team that needed a big bat, but Nelson hasn’t been close to the Boomstick the Twins knew him as. Minnesota must be pleased with what they’ve seen from Ryan. In 9.0 IP for St. Paul he had a 17/2 K/BB and allowed just two earned runs. After returning from the Olympics as Team USA’s ace, that was enough to earn his first big league promotion. Across five innings he surrendered three runs while punching out five and walking one. The book that was suggested at Triple-A continued to read correctly at the Major League level, and it’s a step away from what has become tradition. Ryan is not a fireballer. His average fastball velocity for the Twins sat at just 90.8 mph. In a league focused on hitting triple-digits, it’s an uphill battle for a ball like that to play. His four-seam generated an average of 2,100 RPM and is used up in the zone. Twins Daily’s Parker Hagemen broke down the success of locating that pitch, and why it should be believed that the lesser velocity can still have a tremendous effect at the highest level. One start is entirely too soon to crown Ryan as Minnesota’s next ace. From my vantage point, I’m not even sure his stuff has that type of ceiling. What I do know is that the Twins getting this much control over Ryan in exchange for two month of an aging Cruz on a bad big league team is a steal in every sense of the word. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine don’t have a good track record on the free agent market, and their trades could even be questioned at times. When they’ve dealt with Tampa though, it’s hard not to consider the front office a resounding two-for-two. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
    1 point
  9. Right now, the Minnesota Twins starting rotation is completely turned over. The group that started the 2021 season is gone, and the anchors intended for 2022 are no longer realistic options. So where does the team go from here? Derek Falvey and Thad Levine already had their work cut out for them going into the winter. The bullpen was nothing short of a disaster this season, and the starting rotation has been lackluster in plenty of different instances. Now faced with the reality that Jose Berrios is gone, and Kenta Maeda is injured, the uphill battle has grown substantially. Of course, dollars have to, and will be, spent. Before considering the options on the open market, and they are relatively plentiful, looking at who can be an option internally on Opening Day is where we should start. Unfortunately, the names are more plentiful than the logical options you’d hope to ink in. Bailey Ober If there’s a guy that’s earned a role among the five openings to kick off 2022 it’s Ober. He’s been lights out of late and now has a sub-4.00 ERA. Ober owns a 2.45 ERA over his last seven starts and he’s posted a 9.3 K/9. The home run bit him hard early, and a 1.8 HR/9 still isn’t great, but that only leaves further opportunity for heightened levels of success. He’s not an ace but pitching himself into the top half of a rotation would hardly be a shock. Joe Ryan It’s still surprising the Twins got this type of return for Nelson Cruz, but Ryan has seemed every bit as exciting as you’d hope. Across 66.0 IP at Triple-A this season Ryan owns a 3.41 ERA and has punched out 12.5 K/9. He needs to make his next turn in Minnesota, but regardless, you could do a lot worse than this type of arm as a 5th starter to open the next campaign. Randy Dobnak Dobnak has put himself in an interesting situation given the lack of effectiveness and injury issues he’s dealt with this season. Still probably a 4th starter at best, the ceiling really isn’t there in comparison to the two aforementioned arms, and the prospects behind him could close the gap quickly. He’s a great depth guy, but Minnesota can’t afford to fill the rotation with options of this caliber. Lewis Thorpe There’s probably a decent chance that Thorpe is dropped from the 40-man roster this offseason. The Twins were granted an additional year of control, but the Aussie hasn’t done anything with it. The velocity has continued to be lackluster, and nothing about the upside that was once there has reappeared. It’s been a disappointing fall through health and personal complications. Either way, this isn’t a viable option. Griffin Jax A really great story this season, and one worth keeping in the organization, Jax is a rotational depth piece in my mind. He’s shown that there’s a capable level of stuff to get big leaguers out but relying on him for 30 turns a season could expose Minnesota in a bad way. Jax doesn’t have the high end velocity or strikeout stuff to dominate, but he is a big league arm that can eat innings when necessary. Charlie Barnes Of the fringe arms to debut this season for Minnesota, Barnes has been the most underwhelming. His strikeout numbers have never really been anything to write home about and that makes the margin for error at the highest level very slight. Barnes is 25 and hasn’t ever had much in the form of prospect status, but that doesn’t negate the fact he could be a nice depth piece. That’s probably still to be determined, but it won’t be realized in an Opening Day rotation. The Prospects (Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran, Matt Canterino, Simeon Woods-Richardson, Drew Strotman, Josh Winder) Outside of the Ober and Ryan pairing at the top, this is the group the Twins are dreaming on developing some high level arms from. Unfortunately, the majority have either been hurt or are not yet in a place where they’re kicking down the door for a big league promotion. Getting each back to health has to be the chief concern, but beyond that, they’ll need to force their way in. Assuming Minnesota wants to compete, or at the very least be respectable next season, they’ll need to sign a starter for the top of the rotation. Hoping one or more of these arms can then challenge that status sooner rather than later would be the goal. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
    1 point
  10. Time for the final update to my prospect rankings: Any thoughts?
    1 point
  11. mike8791

    Just Dreamin'

    Woke up in a sweat last nite. Dreamt that Jim Pohlad called and offered me the Twins GM job the day after the 2021 season ended. While I was overcome with excitement, before accepting the position, I had 3 demands: 1. I would be able to fire Rocco and his staff. Would look for a veteran, old school manager like Buck Showalter or Bruce Boche. Maybe even James Rowson or (gasp!!) Ozzie Guillen?? 2. JP had to agree to resign BB to the 7 year/$80MM contract agreed on plus whatever game-played incentives Bux's agent wanted(within reason of course) 3. JP reiterated to return team to relevancy in 2022 and thus, would expand next year's payroll budget to $150MM. We agreed on all of the above with one caveat : I had to provide him with a specific action plan for the offseason. Here's my outline: 1. Sign a potential #1 starter. First choice - Noah Syndergaard. Backup : Carlos Rodon(this add would not only likely fill our #1 spot, but also weaken our chief competitor) 2. Trade with Miami for a potential #2 starter, e.g., Sandy Alcantara or Pablo Lopez. The Marlins in desperate need for offensive help could pick 2 out of Arraez, Jeffers/Garver, Kepler, Larnach. 3. If Maeda was healthy, he would slot in as #3. If not, resign Pineda or a comparable veteran pitcher with a successful track record. 4. The #4/5 spots in the rotation would be open competition among Ober/Ryan/ Strotman/ Balozavic/ Winder/Dobnak . Two of these should be no worse than Happ/Shoe with the likelihood that one or two would at least be league average. 5. I would sign a real closer. First choice - Craig Kimbrel. He has arguably been one of the three best relievers this year with a nice bonus that his absence would weaken the Sox. 6. A second proven late-inning pen arm would be signed, mainly one of the following: Rosenthal/Hand/ Yates, If not feasible then Taylor Rogers, followed by one of Duffy/Thielbar/ Alcala, would round out the top 3. I think guys like Gant, Albers, Minaya, and Garza might do well in lower pressure situations. 7. Recognizing we have a big hole at SS, I would try to resign Simmons for less money. If he signs elsewhere, then Polanco would be shifted, with one of Arraez/Miranda/ Martin taking his place at 2B. Sorry, no money for one of the top FA SSs. Let's cross our fingers Lewis is ready in 2023. 8. Not sure yet of all my deletions from the 40 man, but I would begin with Rooker, Thorpe, Smeltzer, Cave, Colome, Gordon. My bench would include Turtle(assuming Garver or Jeffers moved) Rorvedt,, Refsnyder, Celestino and Miranda. Assuming we've started with an $85-90MM payroll, we have added #20MM for Thor or Rodon, $10MM for Pineda of #3 veteran, approx. $10MM in extra incentives for Buxton, $15MM for Kimbrel, and $10MM for a second bullpen arm, Tight but doable thanks to the open wallet of Mr. P. So is this plan realistic? Would this revised team be expected to compete as soon as next year? Help me out here, guys!! I'm new to all this.
    1 point
  12. Welcome to Twinternationals! This is a space for Twins fans from different countries to read about their team in their native language. This section is run by Venezuelan Mariana Guzmán (@TwinsLatinos) and Brazilian Thiéres Rabelo (@TwinsBrasil). Por Mariana Guzmán Mi inquietud por el tema de la educación y el béisbol surgió hace unas semanas, después de ver en las redes sociales una publicación en donde un grupo de Twins Latinos celebraban su graduación de la escuela secundaria. Hace unos días tuve el placer de conversar con Pierre Jacotin, quien es el encargado del programa de educación de los Minnesota Twins en la República Dominicana. Pierre es oriundo de Haití, graduado en ingeniería electrónica, vive en República Dominicana desde los 21 años. En Quisqueya, él ha tenido la oportunidad de desarrollar una carrera en el ámbito educativo. Tras su paso por el Departamento de Educación Superior de República Dominicana, donde trabajó por 11 años en el programa de idiomas, se unió a los Twins en el 2018 como asesor educativo. La labor de Pierre y de los Twins comienza tan pronto los jugadores firman con la organización. El primer paso es investigar los antecedentes académicos del jugador, luego viene un proceso de nivelación académica y finalmente el jugador accede al programa para comenzar su proceso de aprendizaje. “Nosotros trabajamos principalmente con tres programas. Para la educación tenemos una plataforma que les da a los chicos un título del estado de la Florida (EE. UU), la plataforma se llama DEWERE. Es un programa que era originalmente de Venezuela, pero ellos se ampliaron a Colombia y el año antepasado fueron aceptados por el estado de Florida”. Otro de los aliados académicos es ENTRENA DR, “ellos usan una metodología que se llama Quantum Learning, que es prácticamente el uso de los movimientos físicos, la música y el entretenimiento en sus capacitaciones”. En DSL, “los chicos ven clases los cinco días de la semana, a partir de las 4 p.m. Tres días se los dedican a materias básicas de secundaria y los otros dos días son destinados para las clases de inglés”. Aunque el programa de educación es obligatorio y en línea, también es bastante flexible, ya que los jugadores deben cumplir con la difícil agenda de la temporada de beisbol. Además, los chicos tienen instructores que los ayudan y asesoran a través de todo el proceso. Los Twins, no escatiman esfuerzos, por lo que también les ofrecen a los jugadores el programa Berlitz, para el aprendizaje del inglés. En la actualidad solo los chicos en DSL reciben clases a través de dicha plataforma. Es importante destacar que, aunque muchos comienzan su camino educativo en DSL, el proceso es continuo y si un jugador es enviado a los Estados Unidos, tiene la oportunidad de seguir con sus estudios. Una vez en suelo estadounidense, Linda Merlo, es la encargada de ayudar a los muchachos, ella es la supervisora del Departamento de Lenguaje y Cultura de los Twins en Fort Myers. El enfoque en la educación va más allá de un currículo educativo, “hay un sin número de necesidades que los chicos tienen, ya que muchos de ellos dedicaron su infancia a perseguir el sueño (del béisbol). Muchas veces los ayudamos en cosas básicas como la educación de casa y la convivencia”. Así mismo, Major League Baseball y los Twins imparten clases y orientaciones de manera conjunta, sobre temas como el abuso y acoso sexual, seguridad vial, y normas de tránsito, entre otros. Con un calendario tan apretado, la organización sabe que es importante mantener a los jugadores motivados, por eso mensualmente tratan de recompensar el esfuerzo y la dedicación de los estudiantes-jugadores, con incentivos como visitas al centro comercial, a la playa o a algún centro de entretenimiento. Este proyecto de educación ha traído grandes beneficios para los Twins Latinos, ya que desde el 2018, todos los jugadores inscritos en este plan educativo han finalizado de manera exitosa sus estudios. Queremos agradecerle a Pierre Jacotin por regalarnos un poquito de su valioso tiempo. Fue increíblemente satisfactorio poder indagar un poco sobre este tema y ver como el talento de los jugadores va mucho más allá del terreno de juego. Curiosidades: Jhoan Durán aprobó su examen de bachiller, el mismo día que fue incluido en el Roster de 40 de los Twins. Osiris Germán completó su bachillerato este año y lo celebró cantando y regalándoles a sus compañeros un poco de su talento en el “free-style”, con una improvisación de lujo. Los graduados del 2021: Carlos Suniaga, Carlos Aguiar, Luis Blanco, Miguelangel Boadas, Rubel Céspedes, Rhodery Díaz, Gregory Durán, Osiris Germán, Alexander Peña, Enmanuel Rodríguez, José Rosario, Malfrin Sosa, Carlos Velásquez y Oscar Paredes. ¡Felicidades, muchachos! Fotos cortesía de Carlos Aguiar
    1 point
  13. Ted Schwerzler

    Believing in Ober

    The Minnesota Twins have slogged through a dismal 2021 in large part due to an inability to find consistent pitching. With a starting rotation now entirely flipped on its head, finding a silver lining may seem difficult, but I encourage you to dream on Bailey Ober. During his first Major League Baseball draft as the Twins President of Baseball Operations, Derek Falvey’s club selected Ober in the 12th round. Ober was a 21-year-old pitching for the College of Charleston and threw 28 innings for Elizabethton during the summer of 2017. In 2018-19, Ober rose the ranks from Single-A to Double-A and finished with a 0.38 ERA across 24.0 IP for Pensacola. The strikeout numbers were gaudy, and the walk rate was stingy. At 6’9” Ober has the uncanny ability to get on an opposing batter with quickness. His average fastball velocity this season has been just 92 mph, but with such a long stride the pitch is being delivered much closer to 50 feet from home plate. The year with no minor league action certainly didn’t help a guy needing innings due to injury, but it’s clear that he’s put in work. Despite the Twins needing to call on Ober sooner than they may have liked; he also forced their hand by owning a 2.81 ERA across his first 16 innings of work for Triple-A St. Paul. What we can easily see in the track record is that there’s never been a point at which Ober wasn’t a dominant force on the farm. The only knock on him thus far has been his availability, or more succinctly, his injury history. Now over 63 innings into his Major League career, we’re seeing the same type of results that have become the expectation thus far. A 4.38 ERA through 14 starts is hardly anything to scoff at, but it’s an even more impressive 3.46 through his last eight turns (39.0 IP). Ober’s bugaboo thus far has been the longball, giving up 14 in his time with the Twins, and a 2.0 HR/9 that seems certain to normalize. He has maintained the strong strikeout rate (9.2 K/9) and continued to limit free passes (2.3 BB/9). Understanding that this is Ober’s initial run through a big league gambit, it’s fair to assume we haven’t seen the best of him yet. He’s still learning the opposition, and of course the league will be given a chance to adjust to him as well. Although the Twins have been dealt multiple blows in the rotation this year, allowing Ober to showcase his stuff is something that should provide plenty of excitement for Minnesota fans. As has been the case over the course of his career to this point, keeping Ober healthy and on the mound is the next must for the organization. Maybe he gets shut down soon having now reached a career high in professional innings pitched during a single season. That isn’t a bad idea given where the season currently stands, and it still allows the heightened hurler plenty to build off of for 2022. It’d be hard to see a scenario where Ober isn’t in the rotation on Opening Day next year, and that should be cause for more excitement than concern. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
    1 point
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