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    gunnarthor reacted to bean5302 for a blog entry, Grading Falvey's Drafts Mid 2022   
    Towards the end of last year, I decided to evaluate Falvey's draft record at the time. As I noted, it was a work in progress and there has been quite a bit of shifting around this year. I postulated this year would be a critical year for Falvey's future with the Twins as fans, and I'm sure owners, were waiting with bated breath for the pitchers of the future to arrive and the high round draft choices to prove their mettle, advance through the system, and prove the front office's methodology.
    To paraphrase my previous blog:
    Falvey has shown a tendency to draft one tool (power) position players in the high rounds and they weren't particularly successful. eg. Sabato, Wallner, Rooker and he's had very little success in early round pitchers developing and moving up through the system.

    Link to previous blog:
    So how have things graded out this year? There's definitely been a fair bit of movement and some of the players are no longer in the organization. Rooker was traded to San Diego as part of the Rogers deal and Petty was moved to the Reds for Sonny Gray. Landon Leach was released by Ft. Myers and signed by the Braves' organization.
    2017 Player Grade MLB Draft # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Level Last Perf. Promo Spd Projection 1st Royce Lewis B 5 1 1-30 (Rnd1) On Par High School 22 MLB A C B CBA Brent Rooker* D 50 35 31-36 (CBA) Aggressive College 27 AAA A F C 2nd Landon Leach* D 101 37 37-67 (Rnd2) Reach College 22 A- D F D 3rd Blayne Enlow D 29 76 76-105 (Rnd3) Steal High School 23 AA F D D 2018 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Level Last Perform Promo Spd Projection 1st Trevor Larnach B 26 20 1-30 (Rnd1) On Par College 25 MLB B B B 2nd Ryan Jeffers C >200 59 44-78 (Rnd2) Huge Reach College 24 MLB D A D 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 Promo Spd Projection 1st Keoni Cavaco F 28 13 1-30 (Rnd1) Aggressive High School 21 A- C F F CBA Matt Wallner B 60 39 31-41 (CBA) Aggressive College 24 AA B C C 2nd Matt Canterino C 46 54 42-69 (Rnd2) On Par College 24 AA C C D CBB Forefeit (to trade Hughes) F       Total Failure N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 3rd Spencer Steer A >200 90 79-107 (Rnd3) Huge Reach College 24 AAA A C B 2020 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Promo Spd Projection 1st Aaron Sabato D 41 27 1-29 (Rnd1) Reach College 23 A+ D D F 2nd Alerick Soularie D 105 59 38-60 (Rnd2) Huge Reach College 22 A+ D C F 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 Promo Spd Projection 1st Chase Petty* A 27 26 1-29 (Rnd1) On Par High School 19 A- B A B CBA Noah Miller B 62 36 31-36 (CBA) Aggressive High School 19 A- B A C 2nd Steve Hajjar C 100 61 37-63 (Rnd2) Reach College 21 A- B C C 3rd Cade Povich A >250 98 72-101 (Rnd3) Huge Reach College 22 A+ A A B Upward movers:
    Royce Lewis - C to B. While Lewis' performance blew away all expectations and was well worthy of an A grade here, it feels like there's been confirmation he's the next Buxton in regard to injuries. Lewis' injury history is no longer something which can be attributed solely to luck and the expectations on how much value he can add to a team should be significantly tempered as a result.

    Landon Leach - F to D. Atlanta's coaches have clearly done something here. Leach's K rate is about the same, but his walk rate has absolutely plummeted. Leach has turned in mostly solid starts this year for Atlanta's low A team with a couple clunkers disguising how effective Leach has actually been. This is a positive for Falvey's draft, but a potential big negative for the development team. Based on his age and experience in the MiLB system, Leach's results this year 4.04 ERA, 4.29 xFIP are hardly worth praise, but the absolutely massive leap forward is worth not completely writing him off. 

    Trevor Larnach - C to B. Larnach's struggles to hit basically anything other than a 4-seam fastball resulted in his performance, and my expectations, dropping like a stone. This year, Larnach started off fairly hot again and his wRC+ of 114 is sustainable for a bat first corner outfielder now that he's picked up a little extra speed as well. I'm going to ignore his huge slump over the last month, and especially last couple of weeks and hope it's luck related rather than a repeat of last season.

    Matt Wallner - D to B. Wallner didn't impress me last year. As a 23 year old college hitter in an A+ league with only a power tool offset by poor plate discipline, I wasn't confident in his ability to take his game up the ladder. Wallner performed well in the Arizona Fall League, but I give almost zero value to performances in the AFL so coming into this year, I didn't expect a change. That said, Wallner has raked in AA, and now we're getting somewhere. Now age 24 and the mulligan of 2020's lost season fading, Wallner has delivered at the plate and significantly improved his game as well. Wallner's walk rate has jumped from a weak 9.5% (for a high K rate power hitter) to an impressive 17.1%. That's night and day. That's projectable. His OBP has also skyrocketed 54pts to .404 in a much, much harder league this year. Want more good news? He's only gotten better as the season has marched on. Since May 1, Wallner's OPS has been 1.026. His BB rate has increased slightly to 17.5% and even better, his K rate has declined a bit to 31.6% over that span. While the BABIP might have a bit to do with his .304 average, his performance isn't all HRs. Wallner has more 2B's than HR's since the beginning of May as well. Consider me much more interested in this guy's future.

    Spencer Steer - C to A. Scouting reports on Steer's defense were clear he wasn't going to be a shortstop and an unimpressive season at the plate in AA last year after raking in A+ ball led me to drop expectations. Steer's walk rate dropped by over 50% and his strikeout rate nearly doubled from A+ to AA while his OPS dropped from .911 to .774. OOffffda. Lots of players cannot make the transition from low minors to the high minors. A+ to AA is the biggest step in baseball competition level, in my opinion. Steer has reclaimed a bit of walk rate, dropped the strikeouts quite a bit and crushed the baseball, earning a promotion to AAA where he continues to rake. While his BB rate is too low for a power hitter (9%-ish), it does seem like "power hitter" is an apt term for Steer. It's possible Steer can make the transition to being a quality MLB player. As a 3rd rounder, that's an A.
    Noah Miller - C to B. Miller's performance last year was fine. He didn't light the world on fire in rookie ball with little pop .238/.316/.369 wRC+ 85, but as an 18 year old high school draft pick, even holding his own against professional players half way through their season and playing for a couple weeks was good enough. Miller's scouting reports show tough to grade potential with mediocre athleticism for a middle infielder, but he's credited with a high baseball IQ and good instincts which would offset it. That may be best evidenced by Miller stealing 13/15 on the basepaths this year. Miller focused on building core strength this offseason, but no power improvements are to be seen yet. That said, Miller's plate discipline has taken a major step forward with his promotion to A- league ball and that's kept him performing at the plate despite being utterly pop-less this year. Miller's .239/.378/.325 is good for a wRC+ of 114 in the low offense league. This is Miller's first full season of professional baseball and his excellent fielding percentage of .988 at shortstop practically brings a tear to my eye after watching seemingly every Twins SS prospect for the past decade boot baseballs like like they were playing soccer out there... If Miller can develop a little more pop or pick that average up, we could have a legitimate shortstop in the making.

    Cade Povich - D to A. Povich hadn't pitched at all last year at the time of my grading, and considering he was a college signing who I classified as a huge reach, I graded it harshly. Povich has acquitted Falvey's draft strategy greatly this year. With a 12.8 K/9 and an acceptable 3.2 BB/9, Povich has put up a 3.38 ERA in not Low-A, but High-A. Povich saw 2 innings in Rookie ball and then only 8 innings in Ft. Myers last year and the Twins started him off in Cedar Rapids this year. Povich's 3.28 xFIP looks good and seems reasonable based on the 1.13 WHIP. Povich hasn't shown a huge Achilles heel like a lot of pitchers who struggle with walks or give up a ton of hits. At age 22 in A+ ball, it's not like a 3.38 ERA screams "ace" pitcher, but given the experience level and promotion rate, it's a good sign of him being able to hold his own up the ladder and Povich was a 3rd rounder.

    Now for the fallers:

    Brent Rooker - C to D. Rooker was moved this offseason in the Rogers' trade and it's hard to give him a dropping grade considering he's OPS'ing .999 in AAA for San Diego, but... he's in AAA. As a 2017 first rounder, that's not acceptable. Rooker's strikeout rate clearly has the Padres looking at him as a AAAA talent or he'd have seen action by now. It's ironic, San Diego had a need for Rooker's services earlier this year... just as he was hurt. Rooker did get the callup on the 13th for a double-header game, but didn't play and was sent right back to AAA. The advanced metrics on Rooker last year painted him as unlucky and worth some time, but it seems neither the Padres or Twins' coaches have been impressed with what they saw in person.

    Blayne Enlow - C to D. Enlow finally returned to pitching after losing the vast majority of 2020-2021 to the COVID shutdown and a UCL tear. The Twins decided to protect Enlow from the Rule 5 draft this year, but Enlow's demonstrated poor control with a 4.9 BB/9 rate and he's been very hittable with an 8.9 H/9. Poor control is typical for younger pitchers when returning from TJ, and to Enlow's credit, he has returned quickly. That said, nothing about Enlow's true performance in the minors up until now has warranted excitement and there's no part of his game which is truly impressive this year. Scouting reports are great, but performance has to be there and Enlow needs to start producing. It's actually pretty concerning that Enlow walked nobody in his first two starts... and 11 batters in his last 12.2 IP.

    Ryan Jeffers - B to C. Jeffers got the thumbs up for a B-grade despite having a rough year at the plate last year. After all, he still had the potential to be a career starting catcher and that's very valuable. Jeffers struggles at the plate have continued this year and the SSS factor is quickly evaporating. Now, it's not like Jeffers has been John Ryan Murphy at the plate as Jeffers continues to hit well enough to justify being a backup catcher, but Jeffers' bat is decidedly below MLB average and his mediocre defense isn't going to offset his weak plate performance enough to be a starter. Projecting Jeffers as more than a career backup doesn't feel likely to me.

    Matt Canterino - B to C. Canterino may have already pitched more innings in AA this year than he was able to pitch all last year in Low/High A, and Canterino may own a sparkly 1.83 ERA, but the performance is an illusion. With an ugly 5.77 BB/9, helpful .225 BABIP and an absurdly low 0.26 HR/9 thanks to the 2.6% HR/FB rate, the 4.78 xFIP tells a very different story. Beyond the expected performance, there's no way an uninjured pitcher with a 5+ BB/9 rate in the minors can be effective in MLB. Canterino is also closer to his 25th birthday than his 24th at this point. Still some time to turn it around, but this year has been deflating for fans. 

    Aaron Sabato - C to D. The leash on Sabato's lack of performance has ended. After an uninspiring performance in Low A last year, Sabato was promoted to Cedar Rapids and he responded with a home run derby performance to put his stock back on track. Repeating A+ ball this year, Sabato has failed to repeat his home run fueled explosion last year. All that remains is the pedestrian 13.7% walk rate for a 23 year old college power hitter repeating a season in the low minors to go along with the 33% K rate. Sabato's power hasn't been on display this season, managing an ISO of just .174, and that won't get it done with a .214 batting average. Sabato still sports a wRC+ of 107 in the A+ league, but for poor defensive 1B/DH, who was drafted in the first round, that's not going to cut it. Sabato really doesn't look like he's MLB caliber.

    All in all, Falvey's grade jumps from a 1.67 (C-) to a 2.00 solid C. There were enough upward movers to more than offset the scufflers. The 2021 draft class still looks like it may be Falvey's best with a lot of solid performers, but it's way too early to tell... also, we traded away the best of the prospects in that class with Chase Petty in the Reds' system now where he's pitching very well in Low-A.
  2. Like
    gunnarthor reacted to mnfireman for a blog entry, Not Baseball, but Morneau and Mauer!!   
  3. Like
    gunnarthor reacted to IndianaTwin for a blog entry, Is this heaven? No, it’s the all-time baseball movie lineup   
    Hey, it’s the Christmas season and there’s no real baseball on TV. Nor is there any real baseball news, and I don’t want to discuss one more time whether the Twins are in rebuild or retool mode.
    But it’s a wonderful life, and there are movies to watch. On a recent road trip with my son, we tried to come up with the starting lineup on the All-Time Baseball Movie team. These are the fictional guys. It would be too easy to insert Lou Gehrig from Pride of the Yankees and Babe Ruth from any number of films.
    Here’s what we’ve got. Add your comments and rebuttals below.
    Leading off and playing center field, we have to go with the speedster Willie Mays Hayes from Major League. The original version, not Major League II, III or whatever they’re up to by now. When you hit like Mays and run like Hayes, you gotta be in the lineup. Hayes is a tough call in center over Kelly Leake from Bad News Bears and Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez from The Sandlot, but you clearly gotta keep the latter on the roster as a pinch runner.
    Batting second and playing left field will be Shoeless Joe. I know that I said this is fictional and Joe Jackson was real, but the movie is clearly a fantasy, and we’re talking about perhaps the best-known character in the genre. With that line drive back through the box off Ray, he’s clearly adept at going with the pitch, a skill we’re looking for in our No. 2 hitter.
    Batting third, where we want one of our best hitters, we have to go with The Natural, Roy Hobbs. He plays rightfield and has the lineup’s best walk-up music. If you don’t believe that, just stay after any minor league game for the fireworks show and you’ll get a listen.
    It’s not intentional to have worked our way around the outfield with top three spots in the order, but it came out that way. We’re kinda going to continue that by finding a way to get Major Leaguer Pedro Cerrano’s bat in the lineup, which we’ll do in the cleanup spot as the DH. Movies don’t tend to have the DH in a starring role, but Jobu hits the fastball very much. Oh, and don’t steal his rum.
    Catcher is tough. Some of the genre’s best characters are behind the plate. I know I’m going to get flack for not choosing Crash Davis from Bull Durham, but the dude’s a career minor league. Stay tuned, I’ve got a spot for him. Similarly, Jake Taylor from Major League is a gamer, a masterful bunter and a great handler of a pitching staff. And then there’s Hamilton Porter from The Sandlot. I don’t think I can go with him, but we need him on the bench – there can’t be a better bench jockey and trash talker in the league.
    But all those pale compare to the one who truly was in a League of her (Their) Own, Dottie Hinson. She’ll woman the backstop and bat fifth.
    Following her in the lineup and batting sixth is her teammate. Playing second base, we have the window breaking slugger, Marla Hooch.
    First base is a hitter’s spot, but it’s actually a little weak in the movies. Granted, Clu Heywood leads the Major League in most offensive categories, including nose hair, but we only want the good guys on our team, so we can’t use him. Similarly, Mr. 3000 is just such a bad movie that I’m not going to use Stan Ross. That leaves us with another aging slugger, back from Japan, Mr. Baseball Jack Eliot, and he’ll bat seventh.
    Third base is another sparse one. The potentially obvious choice here is Roger Dorn, but he pretty much showed himself a clubhouse cancer throughout Major League, so we’ll have to pass. Instead, we’ll go with our third pick from League of Their Own, Doris Murphy. She can rub teammates the wrong way, as witnessed by her taking on Kit Hinson after a rough game, but she’s clearly a gamer, the kind of player who want as a spark batting near the bottom of the lineup at No. 8.
    Finally, we need a shortstop. Amazingly with such a glamour position, I couldn’t come up with a good standout shortstop from a baseball movie. I mean, with his way of coaching up teammates, it seems likely that “The Jet” Rodriguez could pull out his inner Cesar Tovar and play there, but I don’t think he actually does in the movie.
    But I’ve got an unnamed sleeper. Unnamed in that I couldn’t remember his name ever being used in the movie. But you need defense up the middle, and with that final play to come in and bare hand the tipped ball to preserve the perfecto at the end of “For Love of the Game,” this unnamed guy will play short and bat ninth.
    By contrast, though it may seem that the lineup is a bit weak at the bottom, we’ve got a loaded rotation. He is, by definition, a Rookie (of the Year), but with the bionic arm, Henry Rowengartner is in the mix. I like to work young guys in slowly, so I’m going to start him at No. 5 in the rotation.
    And speaking of youth, we’ll have another youngster in the No. 4 spot, Amanda Wurlitzer from the Bad News Bears. Despite her youth, she does have championship experience, leading the Bears to the title game. At No. 3, we’ll go with Bingo Long from his Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings. He’s based on Satchel Paige, so that’s impressive.
    Picking between the top two spots were tough, but I had to go with experience. I like Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh’s million dollar arm in Bull Durham, but I don’t want someone with a five-cent head getting the start on opening day, so he’ll have to wait for game two.
    Which means that our opening day starter will be Billy Chapel from For Love of the Game. When you wrap up your Hall of Fame career with a perfect game and demonstrate that “the cathedral that is Yankee Stadium belongs to a Chapel,” you’ve shown you have the moxie to get the Opening Day start.
    There’s several noteworthy candidates to fill out the staff while pitching out of the bullpen, including Kit Hinson from League of the Their and Eddie Harris from Major League, but we know that it will be the Wild Thing, Ricky Vaughn from Major League, marching out of the bullpen to close games after a stellar career in the California Penal League. The team’s top pitching prospect is the newly signed Rigo (“Peanut Boy”) Sanchez from Trouble with the Curve.
    So there’s the roster. But before we get away, we have to recognize that it takes more than players to run a team. You need a coaching staff, for example, and baseball movies have given us a few. Because they formed the best manager/coach duo, our team will be led by Pop Fisher and Red Blow from The Natural. There are other noteworthy coach/managers who can fill out the coaching staff, namely Frank Perry (For Love of the Game), Jimmy Dugan (League of Their Own) and Lou Brown (Major League). I’m big on character, so it’s against my better judgment, but I did save a spot for Morris Buttermaker from the Bad News Bears. Also in the dugout will young Bobby Savoy (The Natural) as our batboy.
    Billy Heywood from Little Big League was a choice for the coaching staff, but I realized that he has to be the team owner, since several other of the team owners portrayed are dirtbags. Think of Rachel Phelps from Major League and The Judge from The Natural. Heywood’s more seasoned ownership partners include Gary Wheeler (For Love of the Game) and candy bar mogul Walter Harvey (League of Their Own).
    Also in the team’s administration is GM Ira Lowenstein (League of Their Own). He oversees a scouting staff that includes by Gus Lobel (Trouble with the Curve) and Ernie Capadino (A League of Their Own). The latter is known for his skill in negotiating contracts, as demonstrated in signing the Hinson sisters. For astutely observing how much better Pete Taylor has been playing since his parents came to visit, Pete Klein (Trouble with the Curve) will head the team’s analytics department. Heading the scouting staff, and likely working her way up to GM on her own, is Mickey Lobel from Trouble with the Curve.
    With such a varied range of experience on our team, there are bound to be injuries, and we’ve got the best possible medical staff in place. Heading the group is Doc Archibald (Moonlight) Graham from Field of Dreams. Assisting him, with specializations in providing CPR and overseeing the pool at the training facility is Wendy Peffercorn from The Sandlot.
    A team like this needs a place to play, and fortunately they have stadium architect extraordinaire Ray Kinsella (Field of Dreams). As noted above, I do have a backup plan for Crash Davis. He’ll assist Ray as groundskeeper, with particular expertise in managing the irrigation system. Also of note in game day management is Frank Drummond (Naked Gun), who will serve as stadium security. He’s also been known to fill in for Enrico Polazzo in singing the National Anthem.
    A team like this certainly deserves media coverage. Again, there’s lots to choose from in the broadcasting department, since using an announcer is often part of what helps the plot flow in sports movies. They’re playing themselves, so our rules keep us from naming John Gordon (Little Big League), Vin Scully (For Love of the Game) and Curt Gowdy, Jim Palmer, Tim McCarver, Mel Allen, Dick Enberg and Dick Vitale, all from Naked Gun. But even if that rule didn’t apply, the broadcasting gig would still have to go to Harry Doyle from Major League.
    And finally, we need someone to wax eloquent and write Roger Angell-like essays. The clear choice for that would be Terrance Mann.
    So, how’d I do? Who’d I miss?
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