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  1. I DID read your article and all the comments, including yours, my friend. Not everything I commented about was addressed in one fashion or another. A few points of distinction between your view and those of some of the experts come to mind. For example, your opinion that the system is pretty empty and that Falvey's living off the previous regime's draft results, and your opinion that the system very well could grade out as bottom 5. We'll know soon, but I really doubt that will be the case. I get that fans tend to over-rate their own prospects, and I can certainly be guilty of that. You changed my thinking, for example, about Canterino's prospects. But I also think that guys like Larnach can be overlooked. There were 19 prospects selected ahead of him, and 15 of those picks appear headed to have less impressive careers that him. I simply suspect that the system is in better shape than you think, and that Falvey, in pretty much every respect, has significantly improved the draft and development capabilities since taking over, not to mention what I think is an appreciable improvement in trading and other areas of player asset management.
  2. Fangraphs didn't share your opinion, prior to the deadline, that Falvey's farm system is pretty empty. And, depending on one's definition of what a "stud" is, I'd argue that Mahle and Lopez qualify as studs, and they're a product of Falvey's farm system, as is Paddack, and who knows, maybe Brayan Medina becomes a stud later. Royce Lewis will be a stud, IMO. The jury's out on Kirilloff and Larnach after fewer than 500 MLB AB's, especially given their injury histories. I think we may be slightly and pleasantly surprised at how the experts view the system in the next round of rankings. And let's put things into context. Falvey's draft order since 2017 has averaged #16. Compare that to Detroit (#6) or KC (#9) or even CWS (#13), and keep in mind how greatly your odds improve when you have a top 5 choice, as Detroit has during Falvey's reign 4 out of 6 years, KC twice plus two other top 10's, and CWS with two top 5's. The Twins? Royce Lewis, and now Brooks Lee at #8. It's my opinion that the Twins have the second best draft and development capability in the division, and they're not far behing the Guardians, particularly when you factor in the IFA signings. And again, I'll mention the value of depth, where the Twins have a decided edge over all but the Guardians. Are you possibly under-valuing this?
  3. The last few comments have been insightful, and seem to share a view that perhaps things are better if we take a harder and more nuanced look at things. My belief is that one cannot make a proper assessment of the quality of the draft and development process without taking a combined look at the MLB and MiLB talent. Three primary reasons: 1) recent graduations making contributions to the big club; 2) Acquisitions to the club using the MilB talent; and 3) paying consideration to the injury situation. I'm a huge believer in maintaining some "talent balance" between one's MLB and MiLB talent pools. Why? Because I believe the ONLY way, these days, to outflank the competiton on a sustainable basis is to trade a lot, to trade surpluses to solve shortfalls, and to "win" those trades fairly consistently. Personally, I like to look at "rankings", for example ESPN's Power Rankings for MLB, or systems rankings from Fangraphs and Keith Law (not MLB please). My conviction is that if either ranking falls below the median on a consistent (3 years?) basis, you're gonna be in deep doo doo. Things need to have some cyclicality, in that sometimes, you're trading surplus capital from MiLB to augment MLB, and sometimes the opposite, and if you have good quality in both, you can do some of each. An example from this trade deadline is that Fangraphs viewed the Twins as having the second best results in terms of "improving their postseason chances, and they did that without losing a singlr prospect with a FV of more than 40+. CWS, by contrast, did nothing. Why? Because they HAVE nothing to trade in their MiLB system. They have a total of seven (7!) prospects with a 40+ FV or better, and none above 45+. Two last points. To make a fair assessment, we need to look at things relative to other organizations (I use the AL Central because , well...) And we have to account for advantages in the draft order over whatever period we're studying. The pundits are biased in favor of future all-star types when they grade farm systems. They greatly underrate depth. So far in 2022, other contending teams in the AL Central have had three or four members of their rotations give them 19 starts or more. The Twins have zero, and the Twins starters with the most starts are Bundy and Archer. So why are they still leading the division? Greater depth. In every day players (Cave, Contreras, Palacios, Beckham), in Injury replacement starters (Smeltzer, Winder, Sands, Sanchez), and even RP's (Megill, Cotton, Cano, Moran)< to name just a few examples. Detroit, Chicago, and even Cleveland cannot match this. Sorry for the length. In summary, I think the system is in better shape than most people think.
  4. Fun fact: Hamilton is the only player from that 2016 23rd round to play a game in the big leagues. And only one other prospect drafted in that round, an unsigned Dodger's pick, has made it after being drafted in a more favorable round later. A guy named Bailey Ober.
  5. Mack and Bechtold, to name a couple of catcher conversions still playing. Others will know for sure, but was Caleb Hamilton a conversion to catcher too. He just debuted with the big club as an injury replacement.
  6. Concur. He has more humanity in his crabby fingers than the rest of the town's sports writing crowd would be able to muster up collectively. He cares about a lot of things, but he doesn't much care what you or I think of him.
  7. I strongly disagree with an assertion that Gordon is either so invaluable that the FO would entertain a DFA of him, or that his trade value has "bottomed out". I think the opposite is closer to the truth. I mean, think about this: Cave was a slightly below league-average 4th OF last year (yes, I realize he's a favorite whipping boy). This year, we've had THREE 4th OF's emerge who are all at least arguably above league average in Celestino, Gordon, and Garlick. Let's assume for a moment these things: 1) the FO has confidence that Buxton, Kepler, Larnach, and Kiriloff will all be 100+ OPS guys and adequate OF starters; 2) the FO thinks Lewis can become a high-octane version of Whit Merrifield, and become that player immediately. If that's the case, then one, or even two, of Garlick, Gordon, and Celestino is immediately a surplus asset, eligible to be dangled at the deadline, hopefully IMO for low minors talent. If I'm calling the shots, I'm seeking a stupid overpay for one of these players. And if I'm wildly enthusiastic about Austin Martin or Will Holland emerging in a hurry as the next Nick Gordon? I take my chances and fetch a tasty return for two of these guys IF the opportunity arises. Because you'd still have one of them, plus Lewis, and if the injury bug hits, a short period with Cave or Contreras is tolerable. Afterthought: Arraez can fumble around in LF for a game or two as well, and maybe Miranda if a slew of injuries happens.
  8. I get all that, and have no argument about that at all. But I DO challenge the idea that others have made that Lewis is incapable of getting his previous skills up to snuff in a matter of a month or so, and even improving from there, and that therefore he needs more AAA development time. Even though he missed a ton of time, we have to remember that he's been taking his glove out to the SS position almost every day since he was, like, three. Plus, his athleticism is exceptional. Very very exceptional. Add to that what we hear about his considerable brainpower and "character".
  9. Fangraphs describes the Twins as having "loads of catching depth" and lists six prospects among the honorable mentions, meaning not regarded highly enough to be among what they consider to be our top 40 prospects. That feels like good news to me. Three of those six prospects are mentioned in today's report: Alex Isola, Jeferson Morales, and Jair Camargo. Ironically perhaps, AAA C/1B and Hitter of the Day Caleb Hamilton didn't make FG's list. Loads of catching depth indeed.
  10. I've been guilty of being overly optimistic about pitching prospects in the past. I've come to realize that it's so much more a numbers game with pitchers because of the injury risks and the unpredictability regarding development. It's the sheer numbers of real prospects in the system, many on the cusp, that I find encouraging. I tend to look at things relative to other things, in this case, the other teams in the AL Central. Here's what I found: 2022 Fangraphs says the Twins have 7 pitching prospects with a fair value (FV) of at least 45 (plus non-pitchers Miranda, Martin, and Lewis). Three of those are on the big club now (Winder, Ryan, Duran). Additionally, lower value guys Sands and Moran are up. The other four are in AAA or AA (Canterino, SWR, Henriquez, Balazovic). Overall, there are a total of 16 pitching prospects on the list with FV's under 45, so there's impressive depth. That's 23 names. So keep that 7 number in your head. Here are the number of pitching prospects at 45 or better FV in the other systems: CLE 3 DET 4 (all AA and lower) CWS 0 (actually, CWS only has one prospect ranked as high as 45+, a 3B) KCR The 2022 summary isn't published yet, but based on 2021, it will come in at 3-4. Conclusion: Having 7 really promising prospects, three of which are already huge contributors on the big club, is a potentially significant advantage over the division rivals, especially in light of and every day lineup as strong as ours.
  11. This I'm sure sounds like heresy to some, but I for one would say both Rodon and Gausman were solid passes, as was Stroman. From a business standpoint AND even from a baseball standpoint, one who accepts the concept that there is an acceptable value/$ quotient that exempts a front office for passing on a player is likely to agree that passing on Gausman at $110M/$21M each and every year for 5 years, and passing on Rodon at $44M/$22M each of two years may have been prudent, especially Gausman. Why? Mainly because they most likely would have delayed any contributions from Ryan, Ober, Winder, Sands, and perhaps a couple others later in the season (Henriquez, Canterino, Balazovic?) with not as many extra wins as people might think. So, $43M in 2022 for Rodon and Gausman, perhaps resulting in an extra win or two in 2022 over, say, Ryan and Ober, who cost less than $2M, and perhaps most significantly, made making an aggressive play for Correa viable from a business AND baseball baseball standpoint. I expect one of Bundy or Archer to implode, BTW. But, like last year with Ryan and Ober, I also expect one or two starters from the minors to step up like they did.
  12. Yeah, my guess is that Falvey is thinking, hey, this Gordon is an asset that is significantly more valuable now than he was a year ago. Whereas Baldelli is thinking, hey, Gordon may be able to help us eke out a win or two that we otherwise wouldn't get this season.
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