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Everything posted by birdwatcher

  1. Like you, Mike, I tend to think the takes from MLR and Dman and others reflect what many of us felt at the time. Frankly, any one of the next half-dozen selections would have given me more comfort. MLR described it as possibly the FO getting "cute". I describe my own nagging suspicion this way: I wonder if they're prone to occasional bouts of hubris that encourages them to get cute, like at the trade deadline a couple years back. I'm willing to withhold judgment on their drafts and on a few other questionable things, on the basis of some of the really positive moves they've made. As for Cavaco, I don't have an opinion, just a general observation about what I see as a deficiency in talk about prospects. I think there's a giant chasm between an athlete's theoretical or assumed tools and and a player's skills. To me, the bet with Cavaco, like it was with Buxton for example, is that his inferior skills eventually catch up to his presumably superior tools. But roight now, it's sure hard to see how his tools are superior to Stott or Corbin, or how Priester's or Zack Thompsons vastly superior skills won't compensate for any what they might lack in tools. I always feel a higher comfort level with prospects whose tools and skills aren't miles apart.
  2. Last year, I spent 15 minutes and scanned the 40-man rosters of every team to count the number of former Twins out there on other teams. The number? 36. That's not a typo. And what struck me was that about 20 MLB teams had at least one former Twin. I don't think there were a half dozen of those players that you would have added to the Twin's 26-man at the expense of removing the player we had at the same position, pitchers included. And there probably were not more than 10 guys that you would have jettisoned someone on the 40-man to make room for them. What did I conclude from that? Well, almost nothing, other than that there sure are a lot of Harpers, Magills, and Granites floating around out there.
  3. Position players are a safer bet than pitchers given similar perceived ceilings. This is due to the increased injury risk, of course, but also because the performance volatility, year to year, is higher for pitchers. Don't ignore the reality that frontline starters can be acquired via trade, and they can be developed. I don't know the statistics, but my specualation is we could look at two groups: the first being a random sample of 1st round pitchers, and second, a group of the top current pitchers of the same quantity. I'd bet that the number of failures among the draftees would be about the same as the number of successful pitchers in the second group selected in the 3rd round or later. So, once again, we have a bunch of pitchers among our top ten prospects about which we're excited. (Note that none of them are 1st round draft choices). And once again, we'll probably see a higher failure or "disappointment" rate among the pitchers than the position players. So yeah, Mike, I think there's merit in selecting the position player. You once suggested Gausman might be a better bet than Buxton, and despite the incredibly bad misfortune endured by Buxton, no one would make that trade, right?
  4. No question that Lewis brings uncertainty both at SS and to a much lesser extent, with his hitting skill development (he has the hit tool). But let's not forget that he was regarded by many experts to be in the same category as all four of the stud pitchers, Greene, Gore, McKay, and Wright, with Wright thought to be the surest thing among the pitchers. You wanted Gore, not Greene back then. You may end up having guessed right. Fangraphs gives Gore and Lewis a 60FV, and Hunter will surely get an upgrade from his 50 FV soon. But remember, many draft analysts thought Brendan McKay was a better bet than Greene or Gore-it was that close of a call, I argued at the time that the chances were very very good that at least one, and quite possibly two of those four pitchers would end up better than Lewis. The problem? Guessing which one. The jury hasn't reach a verdict yet. Greene poses injury risk that could derail his career permanently. Gore is struggling with command of both his breaking pitches and is no longer universally regarded as a surefire ace. Kyle Wright and Brendan McKay have negative WAR so far. Wright has been shipped back to the minors after 6 pathetic innings in 2021. So yes, with the luxury of new information, one can argue that Greene has a higher ceiling than Lewis, but the opposite argument has equal merit IMO. Wouldn't it be interesting to hear an honest take from the FO? I think your Enlow take is possibly slightly flawed, because, even though they maybe ended up not needing to, they easily could have been out of room to pull off the Enlow signing had they spent $7M instead of $6M by taking Gore, McKay, or Greene. None of those guys was exactly enamored with the prospect of being a Twin, and maybe their agents would have been encouraged to take a harder line, who knows. Again, it's my guess that at least one of those three will be a better player than Lewis. Your guess was once Gore, and now it's Greene, both excellent guesses, but guesses just the same, which I think was at the heart of the Twin's rationale for drafting Lewis, probably still the surest bet. Again, currently, Fangraphs has Lewis and Gore at 60FV, Greene at 50FV, and McKay down to 40+ with five pitchers in the loaded TBR system ranked higher. Bottom line: it's not all that baffling that Lewis and Martin are viewed as prospect equals and ahead of Balazovich, Duran, SWR, or anyone else.
  5. I'd add Enlow to that list, and it's a relief that we can eventually move on from parading one low-ceiling starter after another out there (Smeltzer, Dobnak, Barnes, Ober, Jax et al). Every one of those guys represents more promise than the likes of those prospects and free agents like Happ and Shoemaker. I actually chose to take this season off and spend it looking at birds with my son instead. And if this off-season is a bust, I might give it another year to return. Frankly, I find guys like Sano and Rooker to be unwatchable. I want them to move those two, plus Donaldson and Cave. I'd be all for having a "tough out" lineup 1 through 9.
  6. Yes, that's the general rule of thumb. The exception might be when a replacement is better than the player being traded, with plenty of backup support. I'm not 100% certain that this is the case, but Kirilloff could in fact be an upgrade over Sano by the deadline. Dealing Polanco carries greater risk. In any case, if I were GM and this criteria was met, I'd STILL only make a trade if there was an overpay in place.
  7. I'd phrase it differently: the Twins made a quality deision, and it remains to be seen if the results match up.
  8. I think you're right about this. Is it too much to dream that Sano and/or Polanco come back strong and are traded for serious prospect capital at the deadline? That's my aspiration were I the GM.
  9. I really think you're on to something here, Nash. We have three teams in the division that have now had the benefit of selecting elite prospects for a number of years. KC, CWS, and DET have zero excuse for NOT being much better. Early draft choices are underrated IMO. Also underrated: financial capacity. So, for example, Luis Robert fits CWS's budget, but not the budget of the other teams in the division. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but my gut is telling me that what I'm watching is not encouraging for Twins fans. I'll spare y'all the dozen or so indicators I think I'm seeing.
  10. Shane Mack comes to mind for me. But I do agree that, as infrequent as it is, losing someone like Baddoo is bound to happen to teams with a ton of depth in the system. Frankly, I'd be happy to see Baddoo have a Shane Mack-like career. It's not probable though. BTW, the Tigers are probably going to be respectable this year. I think the entire ALC may be under-estimated.
  11. Short answer, for me, is yes. Why? Because, despite their shortcomings and inexperience, in tandem, they are possibly an upgrade over Rosario. Secondly, Kirilloff, I believe, is the real deal, and Larnach and Celestino may be too. This sets the club up to convert surplus assets (Rooker? Cave? Garlick? Wade... oops nevermind) into future assets while simultaneously upgrading a position mid-season, and importantly, a position that was NOT compromised when Rosario was allowed to walk. I tend to think the concerns about either/both Buxton/Kepler having a bad season should at least be balanced against an equally reasonable idea of either/both taking another step, or at least holding their own. Regardless of this, I'm thinking the depth of AAA and AA prospects has adequately been calculated in the FO's assessment of it all.
  12. Yeah, I think all of this, plus the reality that he's a liability in the field, not just a little worse than, say, Garlick. My guess is that Cave and Garlick are viewed by the FO as half-season 2021 placeholders for Kirilloff and/or Larnach/Celestino. Rooker is probably mostly regarded as an injury replacement for Cruz in 2021, maybe his permanent replacement beyond this year if he can cut down a little on the K's.
  13. The injury plague continues for this organization. One top prospect after another, delayed or derailed it seems. Snakebit much? Must be horribly frustrating for Lewis, and for others instrumental in his development as well.
  14. I just glanced at FanGraphs and see Lewis ranked at #23, so they clearly still like him a lot. Gore looks like he's going to be terrific too. But I would imagine Falvey's amateur scouts feel pretty good that their collective recommendation that the FO pass on Hunter Greene, Brendan McKay (both though by a majority of experts to be a better choice than Lewis) looks sound. Kyle Wright appears to be a solid major leagur player, but the "right" #5 overall selection. And given the higher injury risk associated with pitchers, I wonder if the Twins would trade Lewis for Gore straight up. Probably, but not without much consideration. BTW, FG has both Greene and McKay ranked just outside of its top 100.
  15. In tepid defense of Mike Sixtel, (coincidentally, I ingested some delicious mushrooms tonight ) I do understand his concern. Given a three year draft and development record, with 2020 being one of them, the amateur scouting people and Falvey passed over pitching in the first round. Mr. Sixtel may eat crow regarding one or more of Enlow, Raya, and Canterino picks, especially if he's open to comparing results team to team. A couple things cross my mind. First, if the goal is to have the equivalence of first round drafts in your rotation? It's possible that Berrios, Pineda, and Maeda will anchor the rotation. These guys WERE first-rounders or the IFA equivalent. And the reality is that those two guys came to us for less cost and after much uncertainty was reduced. Pitching occupies its own special category when it comes to risk and uncertainty, right? I don't know what a 30-team study will reveal, but we have a hint when we look at FanGraph's grades for CWS, CLE, and MIN. That's seven pitching prospects awarded a 45FV grade or better ( 3 of 7 are Twins), and all but one were drafted AFTER the first 20 overall selections, with the "outlier", Crochet, a projected reliever, picked 11th overall in his year. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the idea that it's essential to pick pitching early on in the draft. Very few clubs are going to have a top 10 Power Ranking AND a top 10 prospect pipeline entering the 2021 season. The Twins will be one of them, it appears. This gives me hope that, if they have surplus positional talent, which we can envision certainly, that Falvey's pro scouts will continue to do well on the trade front more often than not. The recent evidence is promising: Maeda, Duran, Alcala, Celestino, Vallimont, Smeltzer, etc.
  16. This lacks context. How many such pitchers does the average team have that FanGraphs projects as a number 2 or better?
  17. They paid overslot money to four others besides Enlow, and Enlow alone got a half mil above slot. But if your point is that Lewis wasn't much of a savings over Wright, McKay, or Gore, you're right. Greene cost a half mil more. If you want to argue about the lack of top end pitchers drafted and developed over time? First, you seem to be violating a rule you chastise others for violation by bringing the former FO into a conversation about the decisions of the current FO. We all know what the roster looks like. It's not a disputed fact. Berrios is the lone frontline starter drafted and developed, and not under Falvey's watch. As for Lewis? Wright, Greene, McKay, and Gore were also in that same tier, right? I believe you were in favor of Greene? So you better be right. . Again, we're looking at today's list and discussing today's FO. I think you're wrong in making a claim that the team is sorely lacking in top end pitching,ESPECIALLY when you look at it relative to other teams. I'm pretty sure you were arguing that this team lacks #1-3 types, although you didn't bother to give comparisons. Maybe you're right. And you clearly argued that not drafting pitchers early is the reason. If they can't put together an elite rotation via another means, maybe your concern is merited.
  18. You initially had two opinions. Both are controversial. I question whether it's an apt description to say the Twins are sorely lacking in top end pitching. Change my mind. It appears experts like FanGraphs and Gleeman think otherwise. I also question whether top end pitching is as dependent as you seem to suggest on early draft choices. We can cite examples of top end starting rotations that are NOT loaded with that team's early choices, or that perhaps include early choices acquired later via trade, like Odorizzi was. So while I agree with you that it's great to pluck stud pitching prospects in the draft, I'm not yet ready, unlike you, to find fault with the selections our amateur scouting department has evaluated and recommended to the FO. (Again, the FO does not operate in a vacuum). I think others are right in concluding that there's some FO strategy involved with the abundance of position players they've picked. That's reasonable conjecture. Three things I'm going to look for: 1. Are they successful in turning lower round pitching prospects like Balazovic and Enlow into #1-3 starters. 2. Are they regularly successful at trading surplus assets for front line pitching help like they did in the Palacios/Odorizzi trade. Duran will be an early indicator. 3. Are they right more often than wrong when they forego pitching in favor of position players in the draft. You criticized the Lewis selection IIRC, and I said at the time that the FO is probably thinking that, of the four pitching prospects of equal status (Greene, McKay, Gore, and Wright), I'd bet two end up worse than Lewis and two better. We just don't know which two, and that's why Lewis isn't a misguided pick, especially given the Enlow bonus. But on this last point, I'm going to watch with interest what happens with all the pitchers selected within about five slots after these guys. Especially Cavaco, because there were a few highly touted pitchers still on the board when he was selected.
  19. Because there are several holdovers among the dozens of people who weigh in on all of this. As you know, I think it's simplistic to think that the FO is essentially the only consideration.
  20. I'm unclear about what point you're making. I think it's common consensus here that FanGraphs and others are often right on their rankings and grades, and they're wrong pretty often too.
  21. While I see how we might conclude that they're sorely lacking in the pitching category right now, I'm not sold that this is true. As a very flawed reality check on this, I compared the prospect lists FG has for CWS, CLE, and MIN. CWS has two 50FV pitching prospects, Kopech (trade acquisition) and Crochet (#11 overall). Looking a bit deeper, I really doubt the Twins would trade places when it comes to pitching talent, or ANY position, frankly. Top heavy is an undertatement. CLE has an enviable system. Its strength is MI, especially IFA guys. Pitching? Two 50FV guys. McKenzie got a taste of MLB last year. A frail-looking guy with electric stuff. Some worry about his durability. Same goes for Espino, the other guy, who so far is not maintaining his increible velo, his calling card, into the middle innings. Got compared to MadBum in that regard. MIN has three 50 FV guys. Balazovic, Duran ("a trade and development success story", says the author), and Canterino, whose question mark is his unorthodox delivery that makes one question if he ends up as a RP. The Twins, aren't loaded with pitching prospects, but their strength is clearly position players, a diverse mix, mind you, not all corner guys. I've been in this community long enough to have heard criticism about the team's ability to eevaluate and develop players at virtually every position. We were incapable of drafting and developing catchers not that long ago. I recall we couldn't find and develop middle infielders. I've pushed back on these things, but in the past I have seen merit in arguments that our pitching development was suspect. But, like many, I think I'm seeing some signs that this is no longer a weakness, and may be close to becoming a strength. Interestingly, of the seven pitchers in these three systems who earned a 50FV, not one of them was a top 10 draft pick (Crochet was #11, none of the others were even top 20 guys).
  22. Saw earlier where the Cubbies called up the venerable Jason Adam to anchor their pen. For those of you with faulty memories, Jason is the haul we received for Josh Willingham a half dozen years ago.
  23. This is what I think I'm seeing: the CWS has more talented starters than we do. They have an everyday lineup that, talent-wise, is our equal or better, with the exception of perhaps a slight edge to the Twins defensively. The CWS bullpen depth is comparable. But the REAL advantage they have is that they're performing, game in and game out, at a very high level, and with a palpable energy. They're simply the better team, IMO. Exactly what I feared coming into the season.
  24. It should be noted that Dane Dunning is more highly regarded than our best pitching prospects (Duran and Balazovic). So no slouch. Falvey should be so astute as to sell off an average OF in Engel to the Nats and land Giolito, Dunning, and Renaldo Lopez in return. Eddie Rosario, anyone?
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