Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

TwinsTakes-RD

Verified Member
  • Posts

    129
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About TwinsTakes-RD

  • Birthday 06/10/1972

Profile Information

  • Location:
    Minneapolis
  • Occupation
    Coach at Hockey Training facility

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://www.TwinsTakes.com

Other

  • Interests
    Minnesota Sports Teams, Music, Video Games, Hockey, Business

Social

  • Twitter
    TwinsTakes_com

TwinsTakes-RD's Achievements

  1. Marco Gonzalez just signed a new 4-year deal today with the Mariners so he’s likely off the trade market.
  2. They're actually at 32 because of Odo, who had yet to accept the QO when you wrote the great article. How does having one less roster spot change your decisions? They'll likely add 2 more starters & a catcher through FA but can DFA/Outright Harper and/or Hildy but a trade could also help with the 40-man. That would mean 7 spots. Do they protect the top prospects and anyone they think could be taken? Duran, Raley, Blankenhorn, Celestino, Javier & I'm intrigued by 1B Zander Wiel & LHP Jovani Moran. I also like Jax & Chalmers. It'd be awesome to hear the conversation in the front office about these decisions. There's a Great Article on MiLB about the best Twins prospects this season with quotes from Twins Director of Player Development Alex Hassan that everyone should check out: https://www.milb.com/milb/news/young-arms-muscle-way-onto-minnesota-twins-playoff-roster/c-311878310 Great convo, everyone!
  3. I'd let people know in this article &/or on the order page that it's a digital ebook. I wasn't sure so I didn't order it right away. I had to go to the FAQ link to find out. I assumed it was because I've ordered before (every year?) but I'm sure you'd like everyone to know. I look forward to reading it and planning my Twins Offseason then posting my Blueprint.
  4. Working Together to Win Baseball Games. It’s a Partnership! Ahem! Are the Royals really a Home Highlight? Come on, now! The Minnesota Twins embark on their 59th season and, maybe more importantly, their 3rd season under CBO Derek Falvey & GM Thad Levine, who have now added another “partner” in new Manager Rocco Baldelli. This is the Twins moving on from their past and into the next era of the Minnesota Twins. Will it work? Unfortunately, there is no way to know until we get through this season and, arguably, 2-3 seasons. We will see how this team develops throughout the 2019 season and that will tell us how it’s going and this season will definitely tell us if the Front Offices of Falvey, Levine & Baldelli are on the right track. The Future is Now Ahh...the old “future is now” saying. We’ve heard that before, huh? It has different meanings, though. For the Twins, it means they need to find out what they have in their young core players. They have a pretty good read on SS Jorge Polanco, LF Eddie Rosario, starting RHP Jose Berrios and reliever LHP Taylor Rogers. The rest of that young core is still up in the air on if they can be key parts to this team becoming a perennial playoff & championship-contending team. They aren’t completely sure what they have in CF Byron Buxton, 3B Miguel Sano, RF Max Kepler, OF Jake Cave, C Mitch Garver, RHP Jake Odorizzi and the two Trevors, May & Hildenberger. This is a big season for all of these players. They have a chance to secure their time with this team with good seasons. Impact Players? A good part of this offseason was about getting CF Byron Buxton & 3B Miguel Sano right after both of them had miserable 2018 seasons due to both injuries and bad play. They need to find out if either of them can be the impact players they have the potential to be and until they find that out, it pretty much keeps the front office from going all in on big-time free agents. The good news is both Byron Buxton & Miguel Sano realized that a lot of this is on them. They need to figure out how to be major league baseball players. Not only how to play but everything around the game. How to prepare both in the offseason and during the season for each game. It’s not as easy at the major-league level as it is coming up through the minors when their talent will get it done most of the time. This is a big part of failure being a reason for success. Ironically, weight was a big deal for both of them but Byron was trying to gain weight while Miguel was trying to lose it. Byron wanted some more weight on his body so he could take all the plays he makes in the outfield against the walls and the outfield grass. Miguel needed to lose weight so he could be more flexible and allow his body to handle the rigors of a 162-game major-league baseball season. They both looked great coming into spring training. Sano made some noise in the offseason by helping his Winter League team win a championship and he ended up getting a pretty good gash on his heel that will end up keeping him out until May. That’s a tough setback for Miguel. It was easy to tell that he put a lot of work into getting healthy this offseason. It is also easy to tell how disappointed he is to not be able to be out there with his teammates getting ready for the season. Rocco to the Rescue Just a couple days after the 2018 season ended, the Twins fired manager Paul Molitor. Derek Falvey probably would’ve fired Molitor after the 2017 season but they made the playoffs and he was named American League Manager of the Year. So they gave him a 3-year extension instead because his team did the unthinkable and made the playoffs after going 5-10 after the All-Star Break and being an under .500 baseball team. Then they went 35-24 for the last two months of the regular season and clinched a Wild Card spot. Remember, Falvey was forced to keep Molitor as his manager when he was hired in October of 2016 so it’s not that surprising that he’d want to bring in his own manager as soon as possible. So, a search began for the 14th manager of the Minnesota Twins. About 3 weeks later, they found their man in former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder and coach, Rocco Baldelli. Rocco has never managed a team before so he didn’t go over well with some Twins fans because, of course, they don’t know him, yet. They still don’t know him but from afar he appears to be a very down to earth person who likes to get to know people, how they tick and wants to know their opinions on baseball. That includes his players, too. Rocco is Falvey’s guy, a “partner” he can work with who enjoys all elements of the game of baseball, including the analytics side. He’s also very open to change and trying new things in the game. They’ve worked together along with the rest of the baseball operations staff to change a lot of how this team is run. They changed a lot of Spring Training to keep the players from having to be on their feet more than they need to and to keep them healthy throughout, especially the catchers. That will continue through the season as well and I’m sure we’ll hear some unorthodox ways the Twins are doing things. For me, it’s refreshing because they are trying to find ways to beat other teams on & off the field and the players have liked it, too. They are doing things that other teams might not be doing. For example, they are changing how catchers receive low pitches with different catching positions so the ump can see the pitch better so they can get more low strikes for their pitchers. One question a lot of fans will ask is how will Rocco do as a game manager? How will he manage his pitchers, the starters and the relievers and how will he manage his bench? I imagine this could be different than we’re used to as well. We already heard the Twins are going to begin the season with an 11-man pitching staff and a 5-man bench. A lot of that might be all the days they have off in the first 2-3 weeks of the season. They won’t need a 5th starter until April 16th. Agents of Change The Twins traded away some key players last season. IF Eduardo Escobar, 2B Brian Dozier, RHP Ryan Pressly, RHP Fernando Rodney, LHP Zach Duke and RHP Lance Lynn were all traded at the end of July through the end of August. Then 1B Joe Mauer announced his retirement in November so the Front Office had some work to do to fill those spots. They decided to make a waiver claim when the Tampa Bay Rays decided they didn’t want 1B C.J. Cron even though he just came off a season where he hit 30 home runs in his first season with over 500 at-bats. Did they not want to pay him? Or was it Cron turning 30 soon? They have Ji-Man Choi listed as their 1B. He brings about the same as Cron with better on-base skills and about $4M less in salary so maybe it was the money. A couple weeks later, the Twins filled their vacant 2B spot with Jonathan Schoop on a 1-year for $7.5M. Mr. Schoop had a rough season in 2018 after a breakout 2017 that saw him make the All-Star team and slug 32 home runs. Still only 27-years-old, he is betting on having a comeback season and cashing in on it for 2020. He still hit 21 home runs last season for a bad Orioles team and the playoff Brewers. He had a monster month of July with 7 doubles, 9 home runs & 19 RBIs which made him wanted at the trade deadline but he struggled with the Brewers. At the beginning of January, the Twins signed a player that may have the biggest impact on the 2019 Twins on and off the field as any other player added in the offseason and maybe any player currently on the team. Jonathan Schoop helped recruit him to the Twins, too. DH Nelson Cruz signed with the Twins on January 2nd for 1-year and $14.3 million. He has a big bat. Any player with the nickname Boomstick is probably known for hitting the long ball. He brings that for sure but he also brings some leadership into the clubhouse. He will help fill the void of the Joe Mauer retirement. A clubhouse leader is a big thing in today’s game. Cruz will help mentor the younger players. I’m excited to see how this affects a player like Miguel Sano. He may be the next Boomstick. The Twins filled their biggest needs with their early signings. All of the vacated spots in the field were now filled but they had yet to add anything to the pitching staff and everyone was hoping they’d add a couple pitchers to the bullpen. Pitch to Contract Free Agent relievers were coming off the board and we weren’t really even hearing the Twins were in on any specific pitchers, especially the ones that could really help their bullpen, the higher-tier free agents. The Twins do have RHPs Trevor May, Addison Reed & Trevor Hildenberger and LHP Taylor Rogers for the backend of their bullpen but why not try to improve that if you can with a free agent. Is it because they feel the cost is too high? Are the players available are too old? Or do they feel they have the pieces to build a good bullpen already in house? It’s probably a bit of all 3 of these reasons but here’s a statement from a Dan Hayes article in The Athletic about the bullpen, “The Twins chose not to overspend on relievers because they think there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that buying a bullpen is a crapshoot. They can point to Addison Reed’s struggles in 2018 after he received one of the better free-agent contracts before the season.” That says quite a bit about what they think about high-priced free agent relievers. Does it have any merit? Well, the Oakland Athletics had one of the best bullpens in the league last season, 3rd with a 3.37 ERA & 2nd with a .220 Batting Average Against (BAA.) They were 25th (4.57) & 20th (.250) in those stats in 2017. They added Ryan Buchter (offseason) & Blake Treinen (2017 midseason) in trades and signed RHP Yusmeiro Petit in free agency. They also added Shawn Kelley, Juerys Familia & Fernando Rodney around the deadline for the stretch run. That’s a big jump to make in one season. Twins fans just want their team to have a good bullpen and they obviously don’t believe (yet?) that can happen with the pieces they have in place right now. That’s why they kept clamoring for Craig Kimbrel and likely still are. The Twins did sign veteran right-handed reliever Blake Parker to a 1-year/$1.8 million deal with $1.4 million in bonuses based on how many days he is on the Twins roster. He was the Los Angeles Angels closer in 2017 and 2018 and they released him in the offseason making him a free agent. He will add to the Twins options at the backend of the bullpen with the ability to strike out hitters. At the end of January, the Twins addressed the backend of their starting rotation by signing former Texas Rangers starting pitcher, LHP Martin Perez, to a 1-year, $4.0M (with a $7.5M option & a $500K buyout which could rise to $8.5M based on 2019 innings pitched; $500K in performance bonuses, too). The 27-year-old Perez is coming off a rough 2018 season where he struggled with the Rangers and ended up in the bullpen. He’s never really been a strikeout guy (5.5 career strikeouts per 9 innings (SO9) and his WHIP has risen almost every season to a career-high of 1.781 last season. His career WHIP is 1.479 so a lot of people didn’t understand this move but… This is almost a test for the Twins new analytics staff and coaches. Can they get this pitcher with a pretty good arm back to being a serviceable pitcher or even better? Only time will tell but he’s looked pretty good in Spring Training. His velocity was up along with his strikeouts and his WHIP was 1.286. Yes, Sire! The Twins have one other recent addition to their major-league bullpen and he’s a pitcher who’s been with the organization for just over a year and today is his Birthday as he turns 30. Clarkson, Tennessee native, RHP Ryne Harper was lights out in Spring Training as he pitched 11.0 innings. He allowed just 7 hits, 2 unearned runs, 0 earned runs, 0 walks and he struck out 14. He was drafted out of Austin Peay State University (in Clarkson, Tennessee) in the 37th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves. He’s been a professional baseball player for going on 9 years and that includes playing for 3 organizations and 13 teams over his 8 seasons. He signed with the Minnesota Twins in February of 2018 and started that season with the AA Chattanooga Lookouts and it took all of 4 appearances for him to be promoted to AAA Rochester but it then took all of 4 appearances for him to be demoted back to AA Chattanooga. So he got back to work and for the next 2 ½ months he pitched in 20 games before his results of 29 hits allowed, 16 unearned runs, 9 earned runs, 0 home runs allowed, 5 walks and 44 strikeouts over 34.2 innings pitched (2.34 ERA, .228 Opponents Batting Average, .256 OBP & a WHIP just under 1.00) got him promoted back up to AAA. Then he got on a roll and finished the season in Rochester. Over his 38 games last season, he had 2 games when he didn’t strike out a batter but he also had 30 games where he didn’t walk a batter. All in all, he had a great season and the Twins noticed and gave him an invite to Spring Training and the rest is history. He gets a lot of his strikeouts with his curveball and here’s the thing for me. I think it’s strange that over 8 minor-league seasons, a pitcher who has pitched over 450 innings can have a career ERA of 2.56, a WHIP of 1.140, walk only 135 batters (2.7 BB9), allow only 24 home runs (o.5 HR9) and strike out 553 batters (11.0 SO9) and not get much of a shot at the major leagues until now. Is it the low draft pick thing? Is his fastball not good enough? Is it the lack of analytics in the minors to know what the spin rate is on his curveball? That being said, it’d be great to find out how last season went for him as a member of this new era of Twins baseball where analytics is now a big part of working with and developing these players. Geez! I rambled there, didn’t I? Swiss G Everyone figured the Twins were done signing free agents but with some quality players still out on the market late in Spring Training and knowing what the Twins did last offseason late in Spring Training, it probably shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that they went out and signed super-utility “multi-positional everyday player” Marwin Gonzalez to a 2-year, $21 million contract but it still was a surprise. The Miguel Sano injury may have been a reason to go get Marwin. Knowing they’d be without Sano until at least May may have made them look for an upgrade to their bench, even though Marwin isn’t necessarily considered a bench player to them. Swiss G? If you don’t know what that means, it comes from Marwin Gonzalez’ agent, Scott Boras, who calls him that because he plays everywhere and do a lot of things like a Swiss Army Knife. He has a good bat and was a big reason the Astros won the 2017 World Series. He even received some MVP votes. He wasn’t as good in 2018 and he’s had a rough Spring Training at the plate but he’ll be the starting 3rd baseman for the Twins so we’ll find out if was taking his time getting into the swing of things. Use the 4th? Since Marwin can basically play everywhere, it really makes me wonder if they will keep or need a 4th outfielder. Right now, he’s the starting 3rd baseman but once Miguel Sano gets healthy when May hits, someone will have to go from the bench. Will it be OF Jake Cave who still has options remaining or Tyler Austin who doesn’t have options remaining? This question may be answered by how these players play in the next 4 weeks. The Twins have a roster crunch coming anyway since they are starting the season with 11 pitchers and 14 positional players. Two and a half weeks in, on April 16th, they will need a 5th pitcher for the rotation so Martin Perez will move from the bullpen to the rotation and the Twins will call up a pitcher to relief pitcher to replace him. Also, at some point RPs Addison Reed and Matt Magill will come off the injured list so, are the Twins already letting teams know Tyler Austin is available? Where Will They Finish? So, with all the additions to the 2019 Minnesota Twins, where will it take them? The Cleveland Indians have been the class of the American League Central Division for quite a while but they didn’t really do very much in the offseason. They did very little for their bullpen or their outfield but they still have Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor (hurt?) and that starting rotation. The Twins have narrowed the gap between them and the Indians and I think Rocco will keep this team feeling good and happy throughout the season. Jose Berrios will be even better than last season, showing more consistency on the mound. Kyle Gibson will start slow but be the much of the same pitcher he’s been for the last year and a half. Miguel Sano will surprise us all when we get to see him show off in May. The analytics staff and new pitching coach Wes Johnson will show their merit with Martin Perez and the bullpen arms and come out on top in the end. This lineup is going to hit a lot of home runs and the rotation will get a bounce-back season from Jake Odorizzi and a return to form for Michael Pineda and we will see Byron Buxton running around the outfield and the bases all season long. Wow! That’s a lot of things going right. The Twins will have some ups and downs and some injuries, too, but they’ll deal with them and move on with the next man up with great leadership from Rocco and Nelly Cruz. It’s taken a while for the Twins to get to this point but this will be the season the Twins show promise for the future in the present as they complete a move to the modern era of Major League Baseball and it’s no longer about implementing analytics, It will just become part of what they do. Those are our TwinsTakes on the 2019 Minnesota Twins! What are your TwinsTakes? Let us know in the comments or on social media via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Thanks for reading!
  5. Pretty sure Cave & Granite have 2 options remaining but Reed may be out of options.
  6. Yes. He's in consideration but I figured he'll end up starting at AAA again since he struggled there a little.
  7. I still think Granite is a better hitter, better on defense & his on-base skills are better. Hopefully, Cave isn't thinking he deserves the spot and knows it's going to be a battle to make the team. Hard to believe he wouldn't know that after he saw the team claim Reed, add Wade to the 40-man and keep Granite on the 40-man.
  8. It’s going to be a good battle for the fourth outfielder position. The Minnesota Twins still have a lot of questions to answer before the 2019 season, but one thing they probably don’t have to worry about is finding a fourth outfielder. The Twins currently have eight outfielders on their 40-Man Roster. That’s more than enough and by the end of Spring Training, that number will likely be lower as there are three players who will battle it out in the Spring for one position. The two players who fail to win that competition might have to be moved because they look like they are ready to be major league ballplayers.We’re going to assume the starting outfielders for the 2019 Minnesota Twins will be Eddie Rosario in left field, Byron Buxton in center field and Max Kepler in right field. Is that a certainty? No, injuries are always a possibility, but that’s not what we’re discussing today. It appears the fourth spot on the outfield will come down to Jake Cave, Zack Granite and Michael Reed. LIKE BUTTER, ON A ROLE First, we should define the role of a fourth outfielder. Any non-starting position is a completely different role compared to a starting position. You’re not playing every day which makes it difficult to get a feel for your game from an offensive standpoint. Your at-bats are scattered into a pinch-hit here and there and a start once or twice a week. As a fourth outfielder, your defense should be a big and very good part of your game. Fourth outfielders are often late-inning replacements to protect a lead. Role players or bench players are backups, but that doesn’t make them less important. There’s really no way to practice being in a backup role. Players progress through the minors by playing and playing every day. Teams aren’t trying to develop prospects into backups or utility players. Those players end up playing their way into the lineup so they’ll start to focus on playing a or many different positions. Either way, it will take some time for any player to get used to that role. One thing that’s similar to being a starter is you always have to be ready to play. Maybe the better way of describing it for a bench player is you have to figure out how to stay ready while you’re not playing. You have to know how to get your body ready quickly so you can enter the game at any time for any reason. It could be for an injury, as a pinch-hitter or a pinch-runner or as a defensive replacement and it could happen at any point in the game. IN THIS CORNER (OR IN THE CENTER) Jake Cave, Zack Granite and Michael Reed will compete to decide who makes the team out of Spring Training. Jake Cave appears to have the upper hand in this competition because he played every day for the Twins for the last three months of the 2018 season, producing a 1.5 bWAR result. Zack Granite could disagree because if it wasn’t for him injuring his shoulder in Spring Training last season, Twins fans might not even know who Jake Cave is. Michael Reed was claimed off waivers from the Atlanta Braves on Oct. 31. We don’t know a ton about him since we haven’t seen him play, yet. Looking at his past stats reveals that he has some power, on-base skills and he plays okay defense. A fourth outfielder should be able to play every outfield position and play them all well. The Twins are pretty set with good defensive outfielders and both corner outfielders, Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler, can play center field if the need arises so maybe defense won’t play as big of a role in the fourth outfielder decision but not playing good defense would lower their opportunities for playing time. Most people will put Jake Cave in the lead to win this spot, but the truth is it’s probably a lot closer than people think. TO THE JAKE CAVE Jake Cave is coming off a good season where he was able to show some power with the bat and some ability in center field. He hit .269/.316/.481 (AVG/OBP/SLG) going 76-for-283 with 17 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 45 RBIs, two stolen bases (in three attempts) and 54 runs scored while drawing 16 walks and striking out 102 times in 91 games (78 starts.) He was better against right-handed pitching, a lot better at home than away and better in the first half than the second half of the season. The first versus second half is partly due to small sample size (26 vs. 65 games.) He produced very well in high leverage situations, two outs with runners in scoring position (RISP) and when the game was tied. He also did most of this while batting in the bottom third of the lineup. He was given some time hitting third (nine games) by Paul Molitor in the last month of the season and produced well there, too. He does have a leg up in this battle but none of that will matter once spring training begins with the first full workout just 15 days from today on February 18th. REEDING IS FUNDAMENTAL We haven’t seen enough of Michael Reed to have much of an opinion on him, yet. That means we have to Reed the stats. He had a really good year for the Braves AA and AAA teams last season. He hit .341/.450/.515(AVG/OBP/SLG) going 116-for-340 with 26 doubles, 11 home runs, 39 RBIs, 10 stolen bases (in 13 attempts) and 70 runs scored while drawing 62 walks and striking out 101 times in 103 games. He did start the season in AA but was promoted to AAA at the end of May and he didn’t miss a beat. His season did end a little early in September with a back strain. He can play every outfield position with most of his time spent in right field but since 2016, he’s seen more time in center field. He was originally drafted in the sixth round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011 out of a Texas high school. He got a taste of the big leagues in 2015 then struggled in the Arizona Fall League. He got back to the big leagues for another taste in 2016 after playing in AAA all season but didn’t produce much in a small eight-game sample and it looks like he was starting to struggle with the better pitching of the upper levels of the minor leagues. In 2017, he started at AA and only played 54 games dealing with injuries. He eventually elected free agency and signed with the Braves and has now put himself in a position to play for a big league job. If you’ve seen pictures of Mr. Reed, you can tell he likes working out. He looks like he’s a lot more than 215 lbs listed in his bio. DON’T TAKE ZACK FOR GRANITE For Minnesota Twins prospect Zack Granite, it’s what have you done for me lately? A bad season can do serious damage to a prospect’s stock. Zack Granite was up with the Twins late in 2017 and showed his ability with the bat, his on-base skills and on defense. Now, it’s like he’s been completely forgotten because he just hit .211/.282/.245 by going 50-for-237 with eight doubles, four RBI, nine stolen bases (in 13 attempts) and 28 runs scored while drawing 22 walks and striking out 28 times in 68 games at AAA. Obviously, that’s a bad season but it’s largely due to a shoulder injury sustained in Spring Training that never fully healed and actually ended his 2018 season early. He was the Twins Minor League Player of the Year in 2016 (with 56 steals). He took that momentum into 2017, just tearing up the International League by hitting .338/.392/.475 by going 96-for-284 with 16 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 29 RBI, 15 stolen bases (in 21 attempts) and 46 runs scored while drawing 24 walks and striking out 34 times in 71 games. He showed a keen eye in a in only 93 at-bats in that 2017 cup of coffee. That included 22 starts. SO, WHO YOU GOT? Mr. Cave definitely made it look like he belongs in the major leagues. Some of those were home runs were very large and everyone loves power. The problem with power is it usually brings along with it lots of swings and misses and empty plate appearances. Jake doesn’t look as good defensively on paper. Michael Reed is similar to Cave with the power and the strikeouts but he brings better plate discipline in terms of drawing walks and a little better defense. He’s an unknown to Twins fans but the scouts and the front office probably know him pretty well. Zack Granite is a comeback candidate as injuries marred his 2018 season and could just be a speed bump in his baseball career. He also might have the most elite all-around skills. If you look at their baseball tools, Cave has power, defense and arm. Reed has power defense, arm(?) and he draws walks. Granite has hitting, speed, defense and on-base skills (draws walks, doesn’t strike out much.) I’m not sure how Reed’s arm is but considering the size of the man, I suspect it’s pretty good. That would be the same reason for me thinking Granite’s arm isn’t very strong. Also, Jake Cave was given a starting job in the major leagues for two plus months. That’s rare for most prospects. Neither Reed or Granite has had that chance. They’ve been backups when they’ve been in the majors. They all look to have a shot at the spot, though, and that’s why this should be one of the more interesting battles in Minnesota Twins 2019 Spring Training. Research/Notes/Links: https://www.mlbtrade...market-snapshot https://www.mlbtrade...nter-field.html https://www.mlbtrade...r-outfield.html https://www.jsonline...vera/454700001/ https://puckettspond...e-zack-granite/ Click here to view the article
  9. We’re going to assume the starting outfielders for the 2019 Minnesota Twins will be Eddie Rosario in left field, Byron Buxton in center field and Max Kepler in right field. Is that a certainty? No, injuries are always a possibility, but that’s not what we’re discussing today. It appears the fourth spot on the outfield will come down to Jake Cave, Zack Granite and Michael Reed. LIKE BUTTER, ON A ROLE First, we should define the role of a fourth outfielder. Any non-starting position is a completely different role compared to a starting position. You’re not playing every day which makes it difficult to get a feel for your game from an offensive standpoint. Your at-bats are scattered into a pinch-hit here and there and a start once or twice a week. As a fourth outfielder, your defense should be a big and very good part of your game. Fourth outfielders are often late-inning replacements to protect a lead. Role players or bench players are backups, but that doesn’t make them less important. There’s really no way to practice being in a backup role. Players progress through the minors by playing and playing every day. Teams aren’t trying to develop prospects into backups or utility players. Those players end up playing their way into the lineup so they’ll start to focus on playing a or many different positions. Either way, it will take some time for any player to get used to that role. One thing that’s similar to being a starter is you always have to be ready to play. Maybe the better way of describing it for a bench player is you have to figure out how to stay ready while you’re not playing. You have to know how to get your body ready quickly so you can enter the game at any time for any reason. It could be for an injury, as a pinch-hitter or a pinch-runner or as a defensive replacement and it could happen at any point in the game. IN THIS CORNER (OR IN THE CENTER) Jake Cave, Zack Granite and Michael Reed will compete to decide who makes the team out of Spring Training. Jake Cave appears to have the upper hand in this competition because he played every day for the Twins for the last three months of the 2018 season, producing a 1.5 bWAR result. Zack Granite could disagree because if it wasn’t for him injuring his shoulder in Spring Training last season, Twins fans might not even know who Jake Cave is. Michael Reed was claimed off waivers from the Atlanta Braves on Oct. 31. We don’t know a ton about him since we haven’t seen him play, yet. Looking at his past stats reveals that he has some power, on-base skills and he plays okay defense. A fourth outfielder should be able to play every outfield position and play them all well. The Twins are pretty set with good defensive outfielders and both corner outfielders, Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler, can play center field if the need arises so maybe defense won’t play as big of a role in the fourth outfielder decision but not playing good defense would lower their opportunities for playing time. Most people will put Jake Cave in the lead to win this spot, but the truth is it’s probably a lot closer than people think. TO THE JAKE CAVE Jake Cave is coming off a good season where he was able to show some power with the bat and some ability in center field. He hit .269/.316/.481 (AVG/OBP/SLG) going 76-for-283 with 17 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 45 RBIs, two stolen bases (in three attempts) and 54 runs scored while drawing 16 walks and striking out 102 times in 91 games (78 starts.) He was better against right-handed pitching, a lot better at home than away and better in the first half than the second half of the season. The first versus second half is partly due to small sample size (26 vs. 65 games.) He produced very well in high leverage situations, two outs with runners in scoring position (RISP) and when the game was tied. He also did most of this while batting in the bottom third of the lineup. He was given some time hitting third (nine games) by Paul Molitor in the last month of the season and produced well there, too. He does have a leg up in this battle but none of that will matter once spring training begins with the first full workout just 15 days from today on February 18th. REEDING IS FUNDAMENTAL We haven’t seen enough of Michael Reed to have much of an opinion on him, yet. That means we have to Reed the stats. He had a really good year for the Braves AA and AAA teams last season. He hit .341/.450/.515(AVG/OBP/SLG) going 116-for-340 with 26 doubles, 11 home runs, 39 RBIs, 10 stolen bases (in 13 attempts) and 70 runs scored while drawing 62 walks and striking out 101 times in 103 games. He did start the season in AA but was promoted to AAA at the end of May and he didn’t miss a beat. His season did end a little early in September with a back strain. He can play every outfield position with most of his time spent in right field but since 2016, he’s seen more time in center field. He was originally drafted in the sixth round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011 out of a Texas high school. He got a taste of the big leagues in 2015 then struggled in the Arizona Fall League. He got back to the big leagues for another taste in 2016 after playing in AAA all season but didn’t produce much in a small eight-game sample and it looks like he was starting to struggle with the better pitching of the upper levels of the minor leagues. In 2017, he started at AA and only played 54 games dealing with injuries. He eventually elected free agency and signed with the Braves and has now put himself in a position to play for a big league job. If you’ve seen pictures of Mr. Reed, you can tell he likes working out. He looks like he’s a lot more than 215 lbs listed in his bio. DON’T TAKE ZACK FOR GRANITE For Minnesota Twins prospect Zack Granite, it’s what have you done for me lately? A bad season can do serious damage to a prospect’s stock. Zack Granite was up with the Twins late in 2017 and showed his ability with the bat, his on-base skills and on defense. Now, it’s like he’s been completely forgotten because he just hit .211/.282/.245 by going 50-for-237 with eight doubles, four RBI, nine stolen bases (in 13 attempts) and 28 runs scored while drawing 22 walks and striking out 28 times in 68 games at AAA. Obviously, that’s a bad season but it’s largely due to a shoulder injury sustained in Spring Training that never fully healed and actually ended his 2018 season early. He was the Twins Minor League Player of the Year in 2016 (with 56 steals). He took that momentum into 2017, just tearing up the International League by hitting .338/.392/.475 by going 96-for-284 with 16 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 29 RBI, 15 stolen bases (in 21 attempts) and 46 runs scored while drawing 24 walks and striking out 34 times in 71 games. He showed a keen eye in a in only 93 at-bats in that 2017 cup of coffee. That included 22 starts. SO, WHO YOU GOT? Mr. Cave definitely made it look like he belongs in the major leagues. Some of those were home runs were very large and everyone loves power. The problem with power is it usually brings along with it lots of swings and misses and empty plate appearances. Jake doesn’t look as good defensively on paper. Michael Reed is similar to Cave with the power and the strikeouts but he brings better plate discipline in terms of drawing walks and a little better defense. He’s an unknown to Twins fans but the scouts and the front office probably know him pretty well. Zack Granite is a comeback candidate as injuries marred his 2018 season and could just be a speed bump in his baseball career. He also might have the most elite all-around skills. If you look at their baseball tools, Cave has power, defense and arm. Reed has power defense, arm(?) and he draws walks. Granite has hitting, speed, defense and on-base skills (draws walks, doesn’t strike out much.) I’m not sure how Reed’s arm is but considering the size of the man, I suspect it’s pretty good. That would be the same reason for me thinking Granite’s arm isn’t very strong. Also, Jake Cave was given a starting job in the major leagues for two plus months. That’s rare for most prospects. Neither Reed or Granite has had that chance. They’ve been backups when they’ve been in the majors. They all look to have a shot at the spot, though, and that’s why this should be one of the more interesting battles in Minnesota Twins 2019 Spring Training. Research/Notes/Links: https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/market-snapshot https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/2018-19-market-snapshot-center-field.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/2018-19-market-snapshot-corner-outfield.html https://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/mlb/brewers/2017/07/06/brewers-place-eric-sogard-dl-recall-yadiel-rivera/454700001/ https://puckettspond.com/2018/04/20/minnesota-twins-future-zack-granite/
  10. Next year's Free Agent List from MLB Trade Rumors Assuming they exercise Ervin Santana's $14M option because they'd probably have to pay more in Free Agency for a pitcher to replace him, If they kept Santana, they'd have: Berrios, Santana, Gibson, Odorizzi, Pineda/May/Mejia/Romero/Gonsalves/Stewart/etc... for the rotation Hildy, Reed, May, Rogers, Moya, Magill, Drake, Busenitz, Curtiss, Duffey, Slegers...for the bullpen And in the field: C-Jason Castro, Mitch Garver 1B-Mauer(?), Grossman, Sano, Austin 2B-Forsythe(?), Adrianza, Gordon SS-Polanco, Adrianza, Gordon 3B-Sano, Adrianza LF-Rosario, Granite CF-Buxton, Cave, Granite RF-Kepler, Granite Who do they go after? 2B (keep Forsythe? Descalso, Dozier, Esco, LeMahieu, Murphy, Iglesias) SS (Galvis, Machado, Esco (KC)) 3B (Moustakas) SP (Corbin, Eovaldi, Cahill, Ryu, Tillman) RP (Familia, Herrera, Rodney, Kelly, Kimbrel, Norris, Ottavino, Britton, Duke, Wilson)
  11. How do you know if a player is durable? Buxton has been out from migraines, a broken toe & a strained wrist this season. Are there players that wouldn't have been injured on those plays? Maybe. Do they track that? Who knows? Maybe they should or even already do. Injuries are part of the game. That being said, the front office might just be doing their due diligence in trying to find a replacement for Buxton if they need to rather than trying to fill that spot as it happens next season. The bottom line for me is this. A lot of people thought this team was ready to compete/contend for the playoffs and they might have been but so many things happened this season that didn't go according to plan (Santana injury, FAs didn't pan out at all, Polanco suspended, Buxton/Sano having rough seasons, Dozier was bad, etc...) They have a plan all offseason and then they're trying to fix things on the fly. (Maybe they should've just kept Anibal Sanchez in the first place.) They weren't ready to have to deal with all of that because they are still building this team. They don't yet have the depth to sustain all of that. Then, they had little choice but to sell at the deadline and build for the future. Is this the right move? I don't know. It'd be nice to see what Buxton could've done a month full of MLB at-bats and they are available if Grossman and Field are getting them instead. He's done well in September before so did that factor into their decision. Will the extra season even mean anything? They'll already know by then what he is and if they'll re-sign, trade or give up on him. I still think this a wait and see what happens in 2019 thing. Until then, we'll continue to speculate about it. THANKS for taking the time to comment.
  12. I posted those stats in the article: Has hit .385/.400/.596 in the 12 games since (19-for-52-12 Rs 19 Hs 7 2Bs 1 3B 1 HR 7 RBI 1 BB & 13 K) Appeared to be on a bit of a tear. Here's a link to his Game Log - https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=buxton000byr&type=bgl&year=2018 In this stretch, the contact appears to be there but, it's also AAA, a stretch of 12 games and that's why there's an argument for getting him Major League ABs.
  13. The Minnesota Twins have had a strange season in 2018. Unfortunately, that doesn’t compare to the nightmare season their center fielder, Byron Buxton, has gone through so far. A myriad of injuries and struggles at the plate have made the Twins front office of CBO Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine decide to not have Byron Buxton be a part of their September call-ups so his season will end tomorrow when the AAA Rochester Red Wings season ends. The GM gave us three reasons why they made this decision: A wrist injury that is “still lingering” On-field performance that goes beyond his raw statistics in the minors A lack of playing time for him in the majors. You can probably add a 4th reason, which is that Byron Buxton is only 13 days away from accruing his 3rd year of Major League service. This means the Twins would gain another year of service and Buxton wouldn’t hit Free Agency until the year 2022. Everyone is up in arms about this because Buxton is supposed to be the Twins center fielder for the next 5-10 years and the reasoning behind it is somewhat questionable. If Byron’s wrist injury is still lingering, why is he playing at AAA and if he’s playing with it at AAA, why couldn’t he play with it with the Twins, too? His on-field performance might have been affected by the injuries he's had through the season. A lack of playing time? So, they’d rather give at-bats to Jake Cave, Robbie Grossman (Jake & the Gross Man?) & Johnny Field? Jake Cave is understandable because I’m sure they’d like to see if he can be a part of their future although Eddie Rosario & Max Kepler are already in the outfield and it’s hard to believe they want to replace either of them. Robbie Grossman & Johnny Field, on the other hand, are two players that you would assume Buxton should easily get at-bats over. Byron Buxton needs at-bats at the major league level to get better with the bat and, hopefully, reach the high potential that has been put on him. It looks like he’s figured out AAA: Byron Buxton Career at AAA(Over 4 Seasons) G/PA/AB/R/H/2B/3B/HR/RBI/SB/CS/BB/SO/(AVG/OBP/SLG) 100 429 393 77 122 25 5 18 49 13 2 28 115.310/.364/.537 2018 G/PA/AB/R/H/2B/3B/HR/RBI/SB/CS/BB/SO/(AVG/OBP/SLG) 35 148 136 22 37 11 1 4 14 4 1 9 42 .272/.331/.456 Those are pretty good stats over his career and this season’s aren’t terrible except for the strikeouts. The strikeouts stick out especially for a guy who can steal 2nd with relative ease if he can reach first base. Now, with only 100 games played in AAA over 4 seasons and 49 games being the high mark for most AAA games played in one season, it is kind of difficult to say he’s mastered that level but he also has a very good stretch of production in the majors on his resume from the 2nd half of 2017. All of this being said, maybe we should evaluate this decision like we should evaluate trades, give it some time and see if it’s the right call or not in a few years. We’ve focused on the fans perspective of the front office making a mistake with this decision. Let’s look at it from their point of view, now. Last week, Derek Falvey said the Twins will be "taking the long-term view about our players...Any player we bring up, we're thinking about what's the benefit to the September experience -- whether it's hitting, pitching, defense or an opportunity that's here in terms of at-bats and playing time. … Our focus should exclusively be what we think is the best for Byron long term, and that's where it's going to be." Byron Buxton has had a nightmare season. Look at everything he’s gone through so far this season: Hit .195/.233/.244 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in the season’s first 12 games April 13th - Came down with migraine headaches when the team went to Puerto Rico April 22nd - Sent on a 1-game rehab assignment with the Fort Myers Miracle, fouls a ball off his big toe, breaking it May 10th - Missed 20 games - Activated from the Disabled List (DL) but played through the pain of his broken toe - hits .122/.140/.163 in 17 games (17 strikeouts) May 30th - Placed back on the DL to let the broken big toe heal June 19th - Sent to AAA on a rehab assignment July 2nd - Activated off DL/Optioned to AAA July 12th - Injures wrist on a check swing - Left wrist strainHit .224/.298/.355 in 20 games at AAA [*]July 14th - Placed on AAA DL retroactive to July 13th [*]July 27th - Activated off DL [*]August 1st - Placed back on DL after left wrist soreness comes back [*]Hit .143/.250/.571 in 3 games at AAA (8 PAs 2 Rs 1 H 1 HR 1 RBI 1 BB 5 K) [*]Has hit .385/.400/.596 in the 12 games since (19-for-52-12 Rs 19 Hs 7 2Bs 1 3B 1 HR 7 RBI 1 BB & 13 K) [*]August 14th - Activated off DL WOW! Now, look at all of that and put yourself in the shoes of the person in charge. Do you shut him down and end Byron’s season so nothing else happens to him this season? Do you think, “If we shut him down now, we get another season from him in 2022 and we can consider 2018 almost a throwaway/redshirt type of season?” It’s easy for fans and bloggers to look at the stats since Byron was activated on August 14th and say it looks like he’s finally turning things around with the bat but we’re just looking at the stats. We’re not seeing those at-bats. The front office is getting reports from the AAA Coaching Staff on how those at-bats are going? Is Byron taking good at-bats? Are they worried about how he’s dealing with everything that’s happened this season? Is he trying too hard to be productive? We’ll leave you with this. This decision wasn’t made on a whim. The front office knows what kind of talent Byron Buxton possesses both defensively and offensively. In the end, they think this is what’s best for Byron Buxton. Yes, that might also help the big club because they get another year of control out of it but, if Byron Buxton turns his career around in the next 1-3 seasons, is that extra year of control going to matter? Or, will the front office give him an extension and buy out those free agent years? THANKS for reading Our ‘Takes!!! We’d love to hear Your Takes on social media and/or in the comments. That’s why we say…. Our 'Takes, Your 'Takes, TwinsTakes.com!!!
  14. How have the Minnesota Twins done in the MLB Draft in the past and recently? The Minnesota Twins has to make the most out of every player they acquire through the draft. You can say that about every team in Major League Baseball but, some of those teams have the ability to make up for a bad draft every now and then. They can stretch the payroll to go get top tier free agents or make a big trade to acquire players who have already established themselves as great players. Those teams are the exception, not the rule. That’s really the only way of going to get the sure thing, though. See a great player or an ace pitcher and go get them, either in free agency or in a trade. To be honest, though, none of those teams really want to do that. They would rather draft a player and develop them and have a farm system that consistently brings results then have to overspend. It’s hard to tell what a prospect will turn into as a major league player. His talent may be a lot better in the minor leagues but, as he works his way up the ladder, that gap closes a little at each level. For the teams where free agency isn’t as much of an option, the MLB Draft is priority number 1 when it comes to acquiring players. It happens every year and they have to be prepared. They have to know what kind of players they want and what kind of players & pitchers they need and then go get those players. They can’t relax if the current team or the current prospects are doing very well at any time or any position. They can’t pick for need, either, or, at least, they can’t pick for the need of the Major League team. They can pick for an organizational need to strengthen some of the weaker positions in the organization but that’s something that should probably be done in the later rounds. Players acquired in the draft won’t help the major league team for years. The old adage of pick the best player available is likely the best way to go, especially in the early rounds. That also means the best player available in their minds based on the reports from their scouts and from their own opinions as a group. It has nothing to do with the best-rated player available. They should Trust the Process, trust their philosophies and trust their draft board. There should always be prospects coming who are close to ready for a chance to move into the lineup, rotation or bullpen as soon as possible to see what they can do, how they handle it and if they need more work to get there. They should be forcing the front office to promote them and pushing the veterans for their position and their spot in the lineup. That increases competition for each spot on the roster and makes everyone know they have to earn their spot. Competition brings the best out of everyone because every player knows they have to keep getting better to keep their spot. Deep to Every Part of the Field There’s always a possibility of having too many players for one position. If they are all ready to play at the major league level, then the front office can use the depth to make a trade to strengthen another position. A team can never have too much depth. They dream of having depth at every position. It’s a good problem to have if the organization has a difficult job figuring out who makes the team and who has to be sent down to the minors. When teams are taking players in the draft, there is no way of knowing how long it will take them to develop into major leaguers. That’s if they even make it at all. Very few players go right into the big leagues. They all need a little seasoning in the minors nowadays. There’s no way to predict how any prospect will do no matter how good they were before turning pro. Nobody knew Mike Trout would be Mike Trout or he wouldn’t have fallen to the 25th pick in the 2009 Draft. He would’ve been taken 1st*, yes, even ahead of the first pick by the Washington Nationals, RHP Stephen Strasburg. There are probably aren’t many drafts where the #1 overall pick ends up being the best overall player. The best player usually ends up being a player picked lower than #1. (Hmm….another post, another time.) *The Twins took RHP Kyle Gibson with the 22nd pick in the first round, if you were wondering. The Minnesota Twins Takes "With their 1st pick, the Minnesota Twins take..." You could probably guess the Minnesota Twins haven’t done very well in the draft, recently. If they had, they wouldn’t be where they are right now. They wouldn’t have over 90 losses in 5 out of the last 7 seasons. They wouldn’t have had to fire the GM. They wouldn’t have had to make some of the trades they made, hoping they would work out. They wouldn’t have had to force players into the lineup who may not have been ready. They wouldn’t have had to use 36 pitchers in one season to see what they can do and then risk losing them to waivers. For a long time, the Minnesota Twins were known as a team that would draft well and always had a good farm system. It became known as the Twins Way and was part of the reason they won 6 division championships between 2002 & 2010. They knew how to develop players. In those same years between 2002 & 2010, they may have lost their way when it came to drafting well and developing players and most of all, pitchers. Here’s what they got from the drafts from 2002 to 2010: 2002: OF Denard Span, RP Jesse Crain, RP Pat Neshek 2003: SP Scott Baker 2004: 3B Trevor Plouffe, RP Glen Perkins, SP/RP Anthony Swarzak 2005: SP Matt Garza, SP Kevin Slowey, SP/RP Brian Duensing 2006: 1B/OF Chris Parmelee, 3B Danny Valencia, SP Jeff Manship 2007: OF Ben Revere 2008: OF Aaron Hicks, RP Michael Tonkin 2009: SP Kyle Gibson, C/1B/OF Chris Hermann, SS/2B Brian Dozier 2010: SP/RP Alex Wimmers, SP Pat Dean, SP Logan Darnell, OF Eddie Rosario So, in 9 years, all they produced for the rotation were Scott Baker, Matt Garza* and Kyle Gibson. Three middle of the rotation pitchers in 9 years. You could include Kevin Slowey, Anthony Swarzak, Brian Duensing and even Glen Perkins in there as well. They all began as starters and were then moved to the bullpen. They did alright with relievers Jesse Crain & Pat Neshek and also developed some pretty decent players in OF Denard Span, OF Ben Revere, OF Aaron Hicks, 2B Brian Dozier and OF Eddie Rosario. *They traded possibly the best of them in Matt Garza to TB with SS Jason Bartlett for OF Delmon Young & SS Brendan Harris. Garza became a very good starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. He helped lead them to the 2008 World Series and won the ALCS MVP. Brick by Brick The draft is a foundation for building great teams. It’s not the only part teams need to do right to build a winner but it’s a great place to start building. It’s hard to say what kind of production any team expects to come out of every draft. It’s something like an average of 2 players out of every draft* making it to the major leagues. That’s just making it there, too. Not if they’re starters or All-Stars, it’s any player who makes it to the major leagues. It could be an All-Star player, a #1 pitcher or a utility player or middle reliever. *I couldn’t find anything concrete on this. I’ve heard that before, though. It’s done slowly, building the foundation and adding to that foundation until they’ve built a champion. If you look at most championship teams, they have players who’ve been there for a long time who were acquired through the draft. Then they’ve continually added pieces from year to year to finally build a team that has everything they need to win a championship. They have depth at every position so they can survive any injuries or other challenges that come up during the season. If you look at the 1987 World Champion Minnesota Twins, they slowly built that team. They drafted 1B Kent Hrbek in 1978 and he was one of the first pieces for that team. Then from 1979 to 1984, they kept adding more pieces. 1978: Kent Hrbek 1979: Randy Bush, Gary Gaetti (June-2nd Phase), Tim Laudner 1980: Jeff Reed (Traded for Jeff Reardon) 1981: Frank Viola, Steve Lombardozzi 1982: Alan Anderson, Mark Davidson, Kirby Puckett (January Draft) 1984: Jay Bell (traded for Bert Blyleven), Gene Larkin So the 1987 Twins drafted starters at 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Catcher and Center Field along with #1 starter Frank Viola and bench players Randy Bush, Mark Davidson & Gene Larkin and relief pitcher Alan Anderson. They also used draft picks to acquire a majority of the other pieces from that championship team. Most people probably never think about that when it comes to the draft. In almost every trade a player who was acquired through the draft is involved. There are some trades that are just players signed through free agency or who were acquired through another trade. Also, the majority of those drafted players included in those trades never make it to the big leagues. They end up being throw-ins to get the trade done. The teams obviously believed they’d be more than that or they wouldn’t have asked for those players but, it still points to how important the draft is for building a team into a champion. Are they building another champion with pieces drafted since 2009?: 2009: SP Kyle Gibson, 2B Brian Dozier 2010: OF Eddie Rosario 2012: SP Jose Berrios, RP Tyler Duffey, RP J.T. Chargois?, RP Taylor Rogers, CF Byron Buxton SP Luke Bard? RP Mason Melotakis 2013: SP Stephen Gonsalves, C Mitch Garver, OF Zack Granite 2014: RP John Curtiss, RP Trevor Hildenberger, SS Nick Gordon 2015: RP Tyler Jay? 2016: OF Alex Kiriloff 2017: SS Royce Lewis, OF Brent Rooker There are some pretty nice pieces on this list. They have starters at 2nd base, left field, center field, a few pitchers for the starting rotation & some good arms for the bullpen as well. It’s definitely a good start. The 5th Rule of Drafting The Rule 5 Draft was put into place so teams couldn’t stockpile talent on their minor league rosters. It forces teams to commit to keeping players who have been in their organization for 4 or 5 years depending on the age they were signed, 5 years if they were signed before they turned 19 and 4 years if they were signed after they turned 19. Players not protected by being placed on a team’s 40-man roster are available to be picked by other teams who have spots open on their 40-man roster. The drafted players cost the drafting team $100K and must stay on the active 25-man roster for the entire next season or be offered back to the original team for $50K. Most of these players are not yet ready for the jump to the Major League so it’s a bit of a risk. It’s also another way for teams to find players who’ve already been in the minors for 4-5 years so they have a pretty good track record for teams to judge them on. Rule 5 picks rarely make a big impact but sometimes it can work out quite nicely. Roberto Clemente is probably the biggest example of success but there are others, too. Twins fans surely remember LHP Johan Santana, who wasn’t actually picked by the Twins. They traded their 1st pick, Jared Camp, to the Florida Marlins in the 1999 Rule 5 Draft, who selected Johan from the Houston Astros. Other good examples for the Twins are OF Shane Mack in 1989 and C Mark Salas in 1984 (he was traded straight up for P Joe Niekro (with a nail file) in 1987. LHP Scott Diamond looked like a pretty good pick from 2010. He pitched well for a while but fizzled out and was released in 2014. Recent examples of successful Rule 5 picks from the rest of the league are OF Joey Rickard for the Baltimore Orioles and 1B Justin Bour for the Miami Marlins. We view success as adding a piece to your major league roster that either helps you win or helps you acquire another piece that helps you win. The Last Pick That’s all for the history of who the Minnesota Twins have taken in the MLB Draft. They had a bad run there for awhile but they may have made up for it in more recent drafts. It helped to have higher picks because of the losing seasons. A philosophy change on what kind of pitchers to target from Terry Ryan may help the new regime get to the promised land, too. In the next article, we’ll delve into how the Twins have done with International Signings. The BIG one that stands out is Miguel Sano but that’s because he’s the most recent success. We’ll see how they’ve done and if they’ve improved in this area throughout their history. Thanks for reading our TwinsTakes on the Draft History of the Minnesota Twins! We’d love to hear your ‘Takes on the subject! Please comment below or the posts of this article on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and/or Google+! After all, it is... Our 'Takes, Your 'Takes... TwinsTakes.com!
  15. Team development is the final step to building a winning team. Team Development is similar to player development but from a team aspect. A winning team doesn’t come from simply putting the best players on the field together. Talent, while a huge part of winning, isn’t the only trait needed to field a winning team. It might not even be the best trait of a winning team. A winning team has to have every piece of a winning team and those pieces have to fit together and have great chemistry in order to succeed consistently. Team development is building your team so they have no weaknesses on or off the field but it’s also building them into a team that knows how to win and also has the confidence that they can win. A team will struggle if they don’t believe they can compete against any team they come up against and when they start to believe they can beat any opponent anywhere, that’s when they’ll start becoming a team to beat. This is part 4 of our Trusting the Process series. Please check out part one, simply called Trusting the Process, about how the Twins Front Office and CBO Derek Falvey & GM Thad Levine helped or let the 2017 Minnesota Twins compete this season and why what they did, or didn’t do, at the trade deadline was actually showing how they were trusting the process. Part 2 is Trusting the Process of Acquiring Players, about what tools are available to every team for acquiring players and how they should use them. Part 3 is about Trusting the Process of Player Development so your team always has players coming up to help your team or to help acquire the pieces needed to get to the ultimate goal of winning championships. Philosophy Alignment Every winning organization should have a philosophy of everything that goes into winning and that philosophy should align throughout the organization, from the top to the bottom, from the Major Leagues to the Rookie Leagues. There will be an on the field philosophy (for pitching, offense & defense), an off the field philosophy (for developing individual skills) and a development philosophy for promotion & advancement. On the field, every player will know very well how the organization wants to play the game & win in every possible situation. They will either learn those situations before they get on the field or as a result of what happens on the field. There will be a philosophy for how they want to pitch, how they want to play offense and how they want to play defense. Teams would definitely go into a lot more depth in each of these areas. Off the field, they will learn what it takes to develop & advance to the next level. They will learn about other off the field skills that go into being a professional baseball player, learning from failing, learning from teammates & opponents (how they play, how they prepare, how they work on their games physically and mentally), using all the tools available to them from video to analytics to working out the right way, and doing any off the field team events, promotions and interviews that come along and how to handle all of it together without allowing one area to mess with another. Developing, A Plan A Development Philosophy of how quickly a player will be moved to another level since there is no one way to develop a prospect into a major leaguer should be handled on a player-by-player basis. Each player is different and will have different weaknesses and different strengths. For some of the more gifted players, developing and advancing might be easier while for others, there could be many ups & downs along the way. The key will be knowing how to treat each player’s development. Some players can be pushed harder than others due to their combination of talent and makeup. Knowing when to leave them at a level when they are struggling rather than demoting them right away can go either way. A player doing really well at one level could very easily struggle after being promoted, doing a number on their confidence. Confidence is a game-changer. A player without confidence in their game will continue to struggle and start to question if they are good enough to play at a higher level. It has been shown to destroy some players or, at least, set them back. There’s a really fine line between getting a player right back out there the next day to keep at it, sitting them down for a game or two and demoting them to a level where they’ve already been successful. The knowledge of how to handle players in these situations will go a long ways to getting the best out of every player. Also, they may have to do this, at most, 6 times before having success in the majors with some players starting in the rookie leagues and working there way up through the system. That’s not counting fall or winter leagues, either. It will also take anywhere from 1 to 6 or more years to make it happen. This is why rebuilding a team takes so long and probably why a lot of teams try to tweak their roster by going after some free agents or making some trades to see if they can hang on and still be competitive while their top prospects work their way up. Most of the time it doesn’t work and they would’ve been better off trusting the process but it’s hard to admit your team has to go the way of a rebuild. A Lot Of Patience It takes years for an organization to build and develop a consistent winner. If they are rebuilding for whatever reason, a lot of patience will be needed and they will have to stay the course, resisting the urge to take shortcuts along the way. There are not many, if any, shortcuts to rebuilding a team back into a winner. Every aspect of the organization will have to exercise patience. Trying to take any kind of shortcut no matter how small it may appear to be could set the rebuild back weeks, months or even years. Depending on the reason for a rebuild, an organization will have to take what they already have on their team, figure out where there are weaknesses and strengths and then figure out how to develop the weaknesses into strengths or, at least, to a level where they are no longer a weakness. They will likely have some pieces already in place but, if they’ve been going through hard times, they may have traded their best players for prospects and/or fired the management who may have put them in this situation to begin with. If that’s the case, the rebuilding endeavor may take longer as new management assesses what they currently have to build around and gradually implements a new philosophy. Every team would love to have a rebuild take as little time as possible but it’s just not that easy. Some of the pieces needed will take a long time to mature into the players they are meant to be. It’s not a guarantee they will ever even get there or be as good as management thought when or if they do reach the major leagues. It doesn’t mean they have to start over as teams should have some prospect depth at each position. It just might take longer. Building Your Core Core players are the strength of any organization. They are the team’s leaders and they will show the younger players how to be valuable big league players, making them part of that core group. Having core players is probably the biggest and hardest job of building a championship-caliber team. They aren’t easy to find but might be the biggest key to success as they will be there for the long haul and be a huge part of the team’s success for a long time. MLBTradeRumors.com does a great job reporting MLB news and rumors but they also have articles that explain the rules of transactions, drafts, free agency and pretty much anything that comes to your mind about baseball. Recently, they published a “How They Were Acquired” series for every 2017 MLB playoff team. These articles show how long it has taken some of these teams to reach the playoffs. They also, obviously, show how each player was acquired. It’s pretty cool to look at the more successful teams and see how they’ve built their teams into playoff contenders. As we said in our Acquiring Players article, teams have to use every tool available to them to acquire the players they’ll need to win a championship. Those tools are the MLB Drafts, International Signings, Trades and Free Agency. Waiver Claims can be included but are not really a major tool of player acquisition. So, the “How They Were Acquired” series of posts on each playoff team are broken down into those categories although they have combined the Draft and International Signings into one category called Homegrown Players. We broke down each group by team to show how many players were acquired in each category. If you’d like to check that out, just click here for the spreadsheet of the results: The results were: Homegrown-88, Trades-96, Free Agency-57, Waivers-8; Core Players/Starters - Homegrown-53, Trades-53, FA-30, Waivers-2. For the core pieces, we just went through each team’s list and picked who we believed were the core pieces or the starters for each team. A belief across a majority of baseball is that building through the draft is the best way to build a team. The results did show that for the most part but we were a little surprised how many players were acquired from trades at 96 with 53 of those players being starters/core players. In a lot of ways, though, some of those players could end up being homegrown since they were acquired as prospects and grew up on their current team’s farm...uhh ...system. Joe Mauer, from the 2001 Draft, is the oldest homegrown acquisition, Andre Ethier is the oldest trade with a trade from December of 2005 and C.C. Sabathia (2008) & Jayson Werth (2010) are the oldest free agent signings. All of those players are key parts and big reasons why their teams made it to the postseason. The biggest thing a playoff team has is depth. Every roster spot is taken by a player who will play a big part in that team winning. They will know their role, except it and do it to the best of their ability. There will usually be veterans available at every position or that can at least fill in at every position. If they were rookies at the beginning of the season and they made to the postseason, they are no longer rookies. They were a huge part of their team making it to the dance party and doing some dancing. Eat Your Wheaties! The breakfast of champions! Have a bowl...or two. Winning isn’t easy. There’s no book or class that can show you how to do it. You have to learn how to win from the experience of playing the game. Teams can develop into winners. Mike Zimmer, Head Coach of the Minnesota Vikings, has said multiple times (and we’ve shared this before, too) that there are 4 stages, or learns, to winning. He said: “There are four learns in football. First you Learn How to Compete. Then you Learn How to Win. Then you Learn How to Handle Winning. Then you Learn How To Be A Champion.” Obviously, he’s talking about football but it’s not hard to see those stages, levels or learns of winning being used across all sports and working from an individual and/or a team concept. With the right players together, a team can learn together how to win and gradually grow into being a playoff contender then, hopefully, become a championship contender. This Series is Over! That’s our series on Trusting the Process. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. We’ll now get into how the Minnesota Twins have done in all areas of Trusting the Process. There has to be a reason why they had such a terrible run from 2010 through 2016. We’ll see where they went wrong and if the new regime will or has improved in that area. Thanks for reading our TwinsTakes on Trusting the Process of Team Development! We’d love to hear your ‘Takes on the subject! Please comment below or on the posts of this article on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Google+! After all, it is... Our 'Takes, Your 'Takes, TwinsTakes.com!
×
×
  • Create New...