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  1. The Twins didn't always have a problem finding an answer at the shortstop position, even if that answer wasn't always the best one. This is the tale of Cristian Guzman. Subject: Cristian Guzman Why You Remember Him: A key part of the Chuck Knoblauch trade along with Eric Milton (no offense to Brian Buchanan and Danny Mota), Guzman held down the shortstop position during Minnesota’s early-‘00s renaissance. Most noteworthy was his All-Star 2001 campaign, which the New York Times’ Aaron Gleeman ranks as the 8th-best season ever by a Twins shortstop. Equally noteworthy, if less pleasant, is that he just couldn’t hit that good outside his 2001 surge. Gleeman notes in the link that Guzman has the lowest OPS+ of any Minnesota Twin with that many plate appearances. As someone who remembers Tim Laudner hitting .203 with seven home runs for what felt like 100 years, this surprised me. That said, any Metrodome attendee from 1999-2004 will remember Bob Casey bellowing “Cristian Guuuuuuuuuuuuuzman” until their dying day. There are worse legacies. Guzman left the Twins in free agency for the Washington Nationals in 2005. After an injury-plagued start in D.C., he managed a second All-Star appearance in 2008. He last played with the Texas Rangers in 2010. What You Don’t Remember: His 1999 salary was $200,000. What You Might Remember: Guzman led the American League in triples in 2000, 2001, and 2003. When he did get on base, Guzman could move. He also led AL shortstops in errors in 2001. What’s He Up To: Per Wikipedia, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and six children. No other sources for that claim, but there's also a Cristian Guzman Carpentry LLC listed in Springfield, NJ, so it's at least possible. View full article
  2. Subject: Cristian Guzman Why You Remember Him: A key part of the Chuck Knoblauch trade along with Eric Milton (no offense to Brian Buchanan and Danny Mota), Guzman held down the shortstop position during Minnesota’s early-‘00s renaissance. Most noteworthy was his All-Star 2001 campaign, which the New York Times’ Aaron Gleeman ranks as the 8th-best season ever by a Twins shortstop. Equally noteworthy, if less pleasant, is that he just couldn’t hit that good outside his 2001 surge. Gleeman notes in the link that Guzman has the lowest OPS+ of any Minnesota Twin with that many plate appearances. As someone who remembers Tim Laudner hitting .203 with seven home runs for what felt like 100 years, this surprised me. That said, any Metrodome attendee from 1999-2004 will remember Bob Casey bellowing “Cristian Guuuuuuuuuuuuuzman” until their dying day. There are worse legacies. Guzman left the Twins in free agency for the Washington Nationals in 2005. After an injury-plagued start in D.C., he managed a second All-Star appearance in 2008. He last played with the Texas Rangers in 2010. What You Don’t Remember: His 1999 salary was $200,000. What You Might Remember: Guzman led the American League in triples in 2000, 2001, and 2003. When he did get on base, Guzman could move. He also led AL shortstops in errors in 2001. What’s He Up To: Per Wikipedia, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and six children. No other sources for that claim, but there's also a Cristian Guzman Carpentry LLC listed in Springfield, NJ, so it's at least possible.
  3. It’s been a long time since the Twins have had anything close to a franchise shortstop. After years of drafting and signing possible suitors, however, the Twins may have finally hit on a prospect who can one day man one of the weakest positions in their franchise history. The Twins opted to draft Noah Miller 36th overall in the 2021 draft after taking right-handed pitcher Chase Petty with their first pick. Petty got a deserved amount of hype for his triple-digit fastball and future upside as a stud pitcher, but Miller appears to have gotten overshadowed just a bit too much. Noah Miller boasts fantastic contact ability with a great eye at the plate, average speed, and developing power. He pairs his raw skills with highly touted athleticism and baseball IQ, all of which adds up to a fantastic floor even for a player drafted out of high school. His lack of standout offensive ability would give him the ceiling of a decent major league player if he has to move to a position like outfield or second base, but there appears to be more and more optimism in his ability to remain at shortstop. Miller falls into the mid-teens across most Twins prospect ranking lists. Keith Law of the Athletic, however, recently released his ranking of the Twins system and bumped Miller all the way up to 10. For those unfamiliar with Law, he’s recognized for being particularly pessimistic (or perhaps realistic) when it comes to ranking prospects. Law essentially believes in Miller’s safe offensive profile and more importantly his ability to play a sufficient shortstop. While Miller doesn’t have the ceiling to be the next Fernando Tatis Jr. or Wander Franco, Law believes Miller has an achievable ceiling as an everyday contributor at the position. An evaluator as highly regarded as Keith Law making such a statement should be exciting, and Twins fans in particular should have an appreciation for this possibility playing out. It seems to be a yearly tradition where the Twins either draft or internationally sign a significant number of shortstops and fans ask “Why?”. Despite the perception of casting a wide net at this position, the Twins have made little progress in developing any players who are anywhere near a lock to be the long-term answer. Typically we see these “shortstops” Make a pivot elsewhere on the diamond shortly thereafter. In regards to the history of the Minnesota Twins, Jorge Polanco was the starting shortstop in consecutive Opening Days in 2019 and 2020. Before him Pedro Florimon earned that honor in 2013 and 2014. Since 2004 however when Christian Guzman made his 6th consecutive Opening Day start, the position has essentially been a revolving door. Miller may be a long way off from Major League action at just 19 years old, but his offensive skillset that made him a first round pick is also one that gives him a relatively good shot at an MLB career. Twins fans saw with Aaron Sabato in 2021 that even in the first round there’s significant risk with prospects that have a feast or famine slugger profile. While prospects are always risky, Miller’s contact ability alone may give him a slightly better chance of overcoming the minor league gauntlet over the next few years. The bar is admittedly set quite low when it comes to shortstops in Twins territory. That being said, if Noah Miller has a full 2022 of proving he can do it at shortstop, his notoriety is going to go through the roof. For as much flak as the Twins get for their pitching development, taking a first-round shortstop who actually pans out would be an incredible development for the organization. There are a lot of MLB-ready prospects to watch in 2022, but none have an opportunity to raise their stock quite as much as Noah Miller. We won’t see him in Minneapolis this summer, but we just may be talking about him as the future franchise shortstop by this time next year. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  4. The Twins opted to draft Noah Miller 36th overall in the 2021 draft after taking right-handed pitcher Chase Petty with their first pick. Petty got a deserved amount of hype for his triple-digit fastball and future upside as a stud pitcher, but Miller appears to have gotten overshadowed just a bit too much. Noah Miller boasts fantastic contact ability with a great eye at the plate, average speed, and developing power. He pairs his raw skills with highly touted athleticism and baseball IQ, all of which adds up to a fantastic floor even for a player drafted out of high school. His lack of standout offensive ability would give him the ceiling of a decent major league player if he has to move to a position like outfield or second base, but there appears to be more and more optimism in his ability to remain at shortstop. Miller falls into the mid-teens across most Twins prospect ranking lists. Keith Law of the Athletic, however, recently released his ranking of the Twins system and bumped Miller all the way up to 10. For those unfamiliar with Law, he’s recognized for being particularly pessimistic (or perhaps realistic) when it comes to ranking prospects. Law essentially believes in Miller’s safe offensive profile and more importantly his ability to play a sufficient shortstop. While Miller doesn’t have the ceiling to be the next Fernando Tatis Jr. or Wander Franco, Law believes Miller has an achievable ceiling as an everyday contributor at the position. An evaluator as highly regarded as Keith Law making such a statement should be exciting, and Twins fans in particular should have an appreciation for this possibility playing out. It seems to be a yearly tradition where the Twins either draft or internationally sign a significant number of shortstops and fans ask “Why?”. Despite the perception of casting a wide net at this position, the Twins have made little progress in developing any players who are anywhere near a lock to be the long-term answer. Typically we see these “shortstops” Make a pivot elsewhere on the diamond shortly thereafter. In regards to the history of the Minnesota Twins, Jorge Polanco was the starting shortstop in consecutive Opening Days in 2019 and 2020. Before him Pedro Florimon earned that honor in 2013 and 2014. Since 2004 however when Christian Guzman made his 6th consecutive Opening Day start, the position has essentially been a revolving door. Miller may be a long way off from Major League action at just 19 years old, but his offensive skillset that made him a first round pick is also one that gives him a relatively good shot at an MLB career. Twins fans saw with Aaron Sabato in 2021 that even in the first round there’s significant risk with prospects that have a feast or famine slugger profile. While prospects are always risky, Miller’s contact ability alone may give him a slightly better chance of overcoming the minor league gauntlet over the next few years. The bar is admittedly set quite low when it comes to shortstops in Twins territory. That being said, if Noah Miller has a full 2022 of proving he can do it at shortstop, his notoriety is going to go through the roof. For as much flak as the Twins get for their pitching development, taking a first-round shortstop who actually pans out would be an incredible development for the organization. There are a lot of MLB-ready prospects to watch in 2022, but none have an opportunity to raise their stock quite as much as Noah Miller. We won’t see him in Minneapolis this summer, but we just may be talking about him as the future franchise shortstop by this time next year. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  5. Nick Nelson and John Bonnes talk about the best players in the Twins' breakout 2001 season, including one of the most underrated Twins seasons of all-time from third baseman Corey Koskie, a highpoint in the career of Joe Mays, and a career year from shortstop Cristian Guzman. View full video
  6. Nick Nelson and John Bonnes talk about the best players in the Twins' breakout 2001 season, including one of the most underrated Twins seasons of all-time from third baseman Corey Koskie, a highpoint in the career of Joe Mays, and a career year from shortstop Cristian Guzman.
  7. Initial Trade: February 6, 1998 Knoblauch wanted a new home, and the Yankees were looking for a lead-off hitter for teams that won three straight championships. The Twins were able to acquire Brian Buchanan, Cristian Guzman, Eric Milton, and Danny Mota. Mota never panned out as he only appeared in four games with the Twins, but the rest of the players impacted the Twins roster for multiple years. Milton was the first of the three players to join the Twins. He was a member of the Twins rotation for five straight seasons including the club’s 2002 and 2003 AL Central Championships. He was an All-Star in 2001 and he compiled a 4.76 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP throughout his Twins tenure. However, Milton wouldn’t be the first player to be dealt away. That honor goes to Buchanan who didn’t debut until he was 26-years old. He played parts of three seasons in Minnesota by hitting .258/.319/.428. Guzman was a vital contributor to the organization’s resurgence in the early 2000s. He was an All-Star in 2001 and led all of baseball in triples three different times. Buchanan Trade: July 12, 2002 The Buchanan branch of this trade tree is the longest as its impacts were felt into the Target Field era. His initial trade was to the San Diego Padres for High-A shortstop prospect named Jason Bartlett. In his first tenure with the Twins, Bartlett hit .272/.341/.362 while averaging 16 extra-base hits per season. He’d become part of a much more memorable trade in the years to come. Milton Trade: December 3, 2003 Milton’s trade to Philadelphia brought back a trio of players including two impactful players. Minnesota acquired Nick Punto, Carlos Silva, and Bobby Korecky. Korecky spent five years in the Twins organization, but he only made 16 big-league appearances as a 28-year old reliever. Punto and Silva had both already made their debuts with Philadelphia at the time of the trade. Silva had pitched in 130 games as a reliever, but the Twins brought him in to be a starter. In four seasons, he pitched over 770 innings with a 4.42 ERA with a 1.36 WHIP. Punto became a fan favorite for his headfirst slides and his ability to play multiple defensive positions. He’d play seven seasons as a Twin while hitting .248/.323/.324. Guzman Signing: November 16, 2004 Guzman was the last piece of the initial Knoblauch trade to leave Minnesota and when he signed with Washington, the Twins received a compensation draft pick. It ended up being a third-round pick and the Minnesota used the pick to select Brian Duensing. He’d go on to pitch nearly 650 innings as a starter and a reliver. Over seven seasons, he posted a 4.13 ERA with a 99 ERA+ and a 1.38 WHIP. He’d actually become the last leaf on this transaction tree when he departed after the 2015 season. Bartlett Trade: November 28, 2007 Granted this was much more than a Bartlett trade, but he was the connection back to Knoblauch. Minnesota wanted a powerful right-handed bat to break up the lefties in the line-up, so a six-player deal was negotiated with Tampa Bay. The Rays received Matt Garza, Eddie Morlan, and Bartlett while the Twins received Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie. Pridie only appeared in a handful of games for the Twins but Young and Harris continued the transaction tree. Young was the number one overall pick in the 2003 MLB Draft, and he was coming off a season where he finished runner-up to Dustin Pedroia for the AL Rookie of the Year. He never really lived up to the billing as one of the game’s best prospects as he posted a .753 OPS over four seasons in Minnesota. Harris started over 120 games in two different seasons for the Twins and hit .251/.309/.360 with some defensive versatility. Harris Trade: December 9, 2010 Minnesota was riding high after the first season at Target Field and the team was looking for a change in the infield. Shortly after this trade, the Twins signed shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka to a three-year deal. This meant some of their other infielders were expendable, so the Twins packaged JJ Hardy and Harris in a deal that brought back Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey from the Orioles. Jacobson never made it out of Double-A and Hoey allowed 15 earned runs in 24 2/3 innings with the Twins. Young Trade: August 15, 2011 The last trade tied to Knoblauch occurred after the trade deadline back in 2011. Young was sent to Detroit where he’d win the ALCS MVP a season later. Minnesota received Cole Nelson, who never made it past High-A, and Lester Oliveros. Oliveros was an intriguing arm, but he never put it all together as a relief option. In parts of three seasons, he’d pitch less than 30 innings with an ERA north of 5.00. From 1989, when the Twins drafted Knoblauch, through the 2015 season, the Twins had some connection to Knoblauch and his transaction tree. What are your thoughts or memories of some of these deals? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  8. When attempting to compile names for this list I couldn’t help but enjoy the trip down memory lane. I’m not big on re-watching previously completed sporting contests. The idea of the already known result isn’t all that exciting to me. Specific plays or portions can be fun, but much of the programming we’re being delivered doesn’t hit home here. Without needing to relive a full season, these snapshots provide pop up excellence amidst otherwise static careers. There really aren’t any specific parameters other than the season in question truly had to be an outlier. I utilized fWAR to designate that, but a bar to clear wasn’t a hard and fast rule. Before getting into the top five here’s a relatively recent honorable mention: 2014 Phil Hughes 6.3 fWAR (17.7 career) The first season in a Twins uniform was one for the ages when it comes to Hughes. The former Yankees top prospect and World Series winner entered Twins Territory and went on to set the All-Time MLB single-season strikeout-to-walk record. It was the only time he surpassed 200 innings in his career, and he posted a career best 3.52 ERA. With a 2.65 FIP Hughes was every bit as dominant as could be hoped for. The team wasn’t any good, but that didn’t stop him from getting serious steam in terms of Cy Young consideration. 5. 1995 Marty Cordova 3.6 fWAR (6.5 career) It’s not surprising that a Rookie of the Year winner would put up a good season, and it’s also not unfathomable they’d fall off from there. Cordova wasn’t otherworldly in his debut, but he was better than he’d ever be again and that’s why he makes this list. He trumped the 114 wRC+ in 2001 with the Indians, but the 24 longballs always remained a high-water mark. Within two years Cordova had turned into a negative asset for the Twins and he lasted just five with the big-league club. Bouncing around between three organizations in his final four major league seasons, the magic of that debut was never recaptured. 4. 2006 Nick Punto 3.6 fWAR (15.1 career) There has never been a team that Nick Punto was on and he didn’t provide value. The light hitting utility man was a swiss army knife that did little at the dish but was exceptional in the field. For a guy that owned a career .646 OPS and .245 average, the .725 and .290 marks in 2006 were amazing. He played five different positions that year and helped to propel Minnesota to a 96-win season capped off with an AL Central division title. More of a complimentary asset throughout his 14 years in the majors, Punto was absolutely a strong contributor on that Ron Gardenhire squad. 3. 2001 Cristian Guzman 3.9 fWAR (8.2 career) Debuting in 1999, things didn’t go well for the Twins new shortstop. He contributed -3.1 fWAR and there wasn’t value on either side of the diamond. Fast forward two years and the script had flipped entirely. Guzman made his first All-Star Game appearance and owned a .302/.337/.477 slash line. He led the league in triples (14) for the second straight season and launched a career best 10 dingers. He wouldn’t again eclipse 2.0 fWAR in his career until 2008 with the Nationals at the age of 30 and had made a career of being slightly above replacement level by then. The 2001 Twins paved the way for a great 2002 club, and Guzman’s performance arrived just a year too soon. 2. 2004 Lew Ford 3.4 fWAR (5.9 career) Owner of arguably the most interesting career in recently memory, Lew Ford just misses out on the top spot for this list. He played in the big leagues for just six years but had a five-year gap between year five and six. On top of that, the now 43-year-old is still playing professional ball with the Long Island Ducks and has 21 years under his belt. 2004 was Ford’s first full major league season and he contributed in a big way. The .299/.381/.446 slash line was easily a career best, and his 15 homers were 43% of his career total. He swiped 20 bases being thrown out just twice, and he posted an impressive 11 DRS. 1. 2002 Jacque Jones 5.0 fWAR (12.5 career) The best season of any hitter on this list, Jones easily had the largest outlier year of recent Twins memory back in 2002. A team that wins 94 games and goes to the ALCS needs stars, and Jones was one of them. His .852 OPS was a career best, and it was one of only two times in his career that he batted .300. The 27 homers were also a career best, and 132 of his 149 games came with him starting in the leadoff spot. His 11 outfield assists were a high career high, and he had completely embodied an offensive and defensive threat. At no point throughout his career did he ever surpass 2.0 fWAR in a single season aside from that magical 2002 run. What other one-year wonders can you think of in Twins history? Who do they come from further back in history? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. Over the past 13 seasons, dating back to 2005, the Minnesota Twins have started 11 different players at shortstop on Opening Day. Through those years, only Pedro Florimon has been given the nod in back-to-back seasons (13-14), and Jason Bartlett is the only other player to appear twice (05 & 07). To put it simply, consistency at the shortstop position isn't something that the Minnesota Twins have had in over a decade. With Jorge Polanco settling in to change that notion, it might be time to give it some real thought. To know where the Twins may be going, we'll first take a look at where they've been. Before the revolving door got started in 2004, the last point of stability was none other than Cristian Guzman. From 1999 through 2004, the Dominican native started every Opening Day for Minnesota, and racked up 841 games played. A fixture in the Minnesota lineup, Guzman was a serviceable option that allowed speed to carry his game. At the dish, you could argue that Guzman was a relatively replaceable asset. Owning just a .685 OPS with Minnesota, and averaging just a .303 OBP over his six-year tenure, there was nothing that jumped off the stat page. Leading the league in triples three times, and stealing double-digit bases in five straight years, quickness was highly valued at a time in the game where advanced analytics had yet to break in. In the field, Guzman was as acceptable as it gets. Defensive data at Fangraphs only goes back to 2002, but over the three seasons accounted for, Guzman provided two at a net zero outcome. Both in 2002 and 2004, a total of 0 DRS was the result in over 1,200 innings. He displayed solid zone ratings, and above average range at the most demanding position in the infield however. In short, Guzman was the option for Minnesota because he did just enough to warrant the job, but also never really pushed the needle. As the game has evolved, shortstops are among the most premier players on the diamond. To have a guy with an OPS south of .700 and be worth nothing more than league average defensively, you'd be hard-pressed not to insert the Pedro Florimon's of the world as a replacement. Fortunately for Minnesota, looking at stability this time around provides something of a significant advancement in the form of Jorge Polanco. The former top-100 prospect will be entering his second full season as the Twins everyday shortstop. He's coming off a .723 OPS and a -1 DRS across 1,119 innings played. The sample size compiled thus far is incredibly small, but given a brief taste in 2016, we can quantify improvement. In the field across 69 games in 2016, Polanco owned a -8 DRS across 406 innings. With questions regarding his arm at short, the initial showing did nothing to dispel the notion that he wasn't fit to play anything but second base at the highest level. Displaying substantial improvements across the board, and a positive RngR factor last year though, Polanco put forth an effort reflective of lots of extra offseason work. Regarding Polanco, it's always been the bat that was expected to carry him. After bottoming out at a .572 OPS on August 4th last season, a corner was turned. Over his final 53 games, Polanco posted a .942 OPS that saw him launch 10 homers and pick up another 14 doubles. Everything from launch angle to pitch recognition was maximized, and the turnaround was more reflective of the player Minnesota expected to have coming out of their minor league system. Knowing baseball is a mental game, the loss of Polanco's grandfather likely weighed on him at points of the season. Widely reported as a father figure to the 24 year old, it's hardly unfathomable that performance would dip as his mind struggled to stay engaged. On the field, locking back in to a disciplined approach that produced career bests in SwStr% and chase rate no doubt aided the turnaround. Looking ahead, Polanco should be in a position where he can secure the shortstop role to the point that a challenger needs to wrangle it away from him. The revolving door has stopped spinning at this moment, and by the time Royce Lewis or Wander Javier are ready for the next step, Polanco should allow Minnesota an opportunity to make them earn it. It's not far off that an up-the-middle tandem of Polanco and Nick Gordon can be seen as reality, but there should be little question in regards to who's best suited at short among that duo. For any number of organizations across the big leagues, having answers on the mound, at short, and in center remain of the utmost importance. More often than not, the Twins have done well in center, and they've begun to right the ship on the mound. Polanco taking steps forward to own shortstop is a much-needed revelation, and it's one that he's only begun to own into. Obviously the sustainability of a .900+ OPS isn't great, but a full season of Polanco contributing with both the bat and the glove seems to be more expectation than hope at this point. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  10. The signing of Brian Duensing with the Kansas City Royals closes the book on a story that was started in 1989. In the first round of that year's draft, the Twins selected Texas A&M shortstop Chuck Knoblauch who would go on to spawn the trade that would put Twins GM Terry Ryan on the map and the fruits of that trade would be felt until 2015. After seven seasons of what looked to be the beginning of a HOF career, Chuck Knoblauch and his 37.9 WAR wanted out of Minnesota and to a contender. Well that's how the fans knew it anyway, back before internet media was a thing. While largely unpopular at the time, the Twins received Brian Buchanan (0.3 WAR), Christian Guzman (7.5), Eric Milton (14.7) and Danny Mota (-0.1) in what would be the branches of our Knoblauch trade tree.THE BRIAN BUCHANAN BRANCH Brian Buchanan had some nice power potential and looked the part of a middle-of- the-order bat. Unfortunately for him, he found himself in a roster crunch as he was competing for the RF/DH spot with Michael Cuddyer, Dustin Mohr, Bobby Keilty, David Ortiz and Matthew Lecroy. Buchanan found himself shipped off to San Diego and in return the Twins received shortstop prospect Jason Bartlett (8.9). Bartlett would go on to play four seasons (initially) with the Twins before getting traded to Tampa Bay with Matt Garza and Eddie Morlan for Delmon Young (1.0), Brendon Harris (-0.6) and Jason Pridie (-0.2). Pridie teased Twins fans with his potential but never put it all together and was soon DFA'd. Brendon Harris found himself a mostly every day super-utility role for the Twins before being traded for Jim Hoey (-0.6) and Brett Jacobson. Jacobson never made it to the majors, Jim Hoey and his disastrous 24.1 innings unfortunately did. Delmon Young played three and a half mercurial seasons with the Twins, seemingly breaking out in 2010 and being a large reason for the team's division title. Alas, it was not to last and the following year he was traded to Detroit for Cole Nelson who never appeared in a MLB game and Lester Oliveros (0.0). Oliveros would tease with his potential, but he never got much of an opportunity to make it at the MLB level and was recently picked up the Royals. THE ERIC MILTON BRANCH That wraps up the Buchanan wing of the Knoblauch trade tree, so let's head back to the top and check in on Eric Milton. Milton pitched six seasons for the Twins, six seasons that saw an All Star appearance, a no-hitter, and a questionable contract extension. Despite that contract extension, the Twins were able to move him to Philadelphia for a package that included Carlos Silva (9.0), Nick Punto (10.3) and Bobby Korecky (0.2). Silva pitched four solid seasons for the Twins before signing a nice free agent contract with Seattle, but most interesting for Silva was his 2005 season when he set a modern day record of 0.4 BB/9. Seriously, that is bizarre. Check out the single-season leader board and the next closest modern day player was Brett Saberhagen with a 0.65 BB/9 which is almost a 40% increase: http://www.baseball-...ne_season.shtml Nick Punto just announced his retirement but played seven super-utility seasons with the Twins before leaving and winning a World Series with St. Louis in 2011. Bobby Korecky, we hardly knew you, except for that time in 2008 when the Twins lost their DH and you had to come to bat in the 11th inning. Of course in that 11th inning you not only got a hit in your only career AB but also the win. That has to be worth more than 0.2 WAR, which surely proves WAR is worthless. THE DANNY MOTA BRANCH Back to the top and we get to Danny Mota, who would do next to nothing for the Twins, appearing in all of 5.1 innings at the MLB level. THE CRISTIAN GUZMAN BRANCH The last branch on the Knoblauch trade tree begins with Cristian Guzman. The speedy shortstop made one All-Star Game and led the league in triples three times. He left as a free agent to Washington, but in doing so, the Twins were rewarded with a compensation draft pick. Not a first-round pick because that was protected. Not a second-round pick because that was already lost, but a third-round pick in the 2005 draft which the Twins used to select Brian Duensing (6. 2WAR). Duensing was an unheralded prospect who made an immediate impact in 2009 and found himself pitching Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees. It did not go well. Duensing had another nice season in 2010 as a swing man before settling in as regular out of the pen. His seven years with the Twins matches Punto and Knoblauch himself in terms of number of seasons played for the Twins. SUMMARY In total, 19 players were acquired due to the first-round selection in the 1989 draft and a total of 94.6 WAR was gained. These trees can be found throughout baseball, and surely there are others as fruitful, but this one has interested me for a long time. All of the comical propositions of tossing Duensing into trade proposals the last couple of years were serious by me because I wanted this tree to keep growing. It, however, will not. EPILOGUE The Twins 1989 draft was fantastic. They drafted three players with career WARs over 20 in Knoblauch, Denny Neagle and Scott Erickson. They also drafted Marty Cordova, Mike Trombley and Denny Hocking. Some of these players produced unexpected fruit. The trade of Erickson for Scott Klingenbeck and Kimera Bartee is one of Ryan's best known failures. In 1992, Andy McPhail made a trade of Denny Neagle that would live on for years. In trading a top prospect in Neagle (something unbelievable for the Twins today), the Twins received John Smiley, a very good, but not great pitcher whom the Twins wanted/needed to replace the departed Jack Morris. Smiley pitched one fine year for the Twins before leaving, and in his place the Twins got a compensation pick in 1993 which they used to select Torii Hunter. When Hunter left, the Twins used his comp picks to select busts Carlos Gutierrez and Shooter Hunt. Also, while the Twins didn't get a comp pick for losing Marty Cordova (even though he had an .828 OPS the prior year), they did get one for losing Mike Trombley in 2000. They used that pick to select Aaron Heilman, who had a really nice MLB career, just not with the Twins because he refused to sign with them. Click here to view the article
  11. nicksaviking

    The Last Leaf

    THE BRIAN BUCHANAN BRANCH Brian Buchanan had some nice power potential and looked the part of a middle-of- the-order bat. Unfortunately for him, he found himself in a roster crunch as he was competing for the RF/DH spot with Michael Cuddyer, Dustin Mohr, Bobby Keilty, David Ortiz and Matthew Lecroy. Buchanan found himself shipped off to San Diego and in return the Twins received shortstop prospect Jason Bartlett (8.9). Bartlett would go on to play four seasons (initially) with the Twins before getting traded to Tampa Bay with Matt Garza and Eddie Morlan for Delmon Young (1.0), Brendon Harris (-0.6) and Jason Pridie (-0.2). Pridie teased Twins fans with his potential but never put it all together and was soon DFA'd. Brendon Harris found himself a mostly every day super-utility role for the Twins before being traded for Jim Hoey (-0.6) and Brett Jacobson. Jacobson never made it to the majors, Jim Hoey and his disastrous 24.1 innings unfortunately did. Delmon Young played three and a half mercurial seasons with the Twins, seemingly breaking out in 2010 and being a large reason for the team's division title. Alas, it was not to last and the following year he was traded to Detroit for Cole Nelson who never appeared in a MLB game and Lester Oliveros (0.0). Oliveros would tease with his potential, but he never got much of an opportunity to make it at the MLB level and was recently picked up the Royals. THE ERIC MILTON BRANCH That wraps up the Buchanan wing of the Knoblauch trade tree, so let's head back to the top and check in on Eric Milton. Milton pitched six seasons for the Twins, six seasons that saw an All Star appearance, a no-hitter, and a questionable contract extension. Despite that contract extension, the Twins were able to move him to Philadelphia for a package that included Carlos Silva (9.0), Nick Punto (10.3) and Bobby Korecky (0.2). Silva pitched four solid seasons for the Twins before signing a nice free agent contract with Seattle, but most interesting for Silva was his 2005 season when he set a modern day record of 0.4 BB/9. Seriously, that is bizarre. Check out the single-season leader board and the next closest modern day player was Brett Saberhagen with a 0.65 BB/9 which is almost a 40% increase: http://www.baseball-...ne_season.shtml Nick Punto just announced his retirement but played seven super-utility seasons with the Twins before leaving and winning a World Series with St. Louis in 2011. Bobby Korecky, we hardly knew you, except for that time in 2008 when the Twins lost their DH and you had to come to bat in the 11th inning. Of course in that 11th inning you not only got a hit in your only career AB but also the win. That has to be worth more than 0.2 WAR, which surely proves WAR is worthless. THE DANNY MOTA BRANCH Back to the top and we get to Danny Mota, who would do next to nothing for the Twins, appearing in all of 5.1 innings at the MLB level. THE CRISTIAN GUZMAN BRANCH The last branch on the Knoblauch trade tree begins with Cristian Guzman. The speedy shortstop made one All-Star Game and led the league in triples three times. He left as a free agent to Washington, but in doing so, the Twins were rewarded with a compensation draft pick. Not a first-round pick because that was protected. Not a second-round pick because that was already lost, but a third-round pick in the 2005 draft which the Twins used to select Brian Duensing (6. 2WAR). Duensing was an unheralded prospect who made an immediate impact in 2009 and found himself pitching Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees. It did not go well. Duensing had another nice season in 2010 as a swing man before settling in as regular out of the pen. His seven years with the Twins matches Punto and Knoblauch himself in terms of number of seasons played for the Twins. SUMMARY In total, 19 players were acquired due to the first-round selection in the 1989 draft and a total of 94.6 WAR was gained. These trees can be found throughout baseball, and surely there are others as fruitful, but this one has interested me for a long time. All of the comical propositions of tossing Duensing into trade proposals the last couple of years were serious by me because I wanted this tree to keep growing. It, however, will not. EPILOGUE The Twins 1989 draft was fantastic. They drafted three players with career WARs over 20 in Knoblauch, Denny Neagle and Scott Erickson. They also drafted Marty Cordova, Mike Trombley and Denny Hocking. Some of these players produced unexpected fruit. The trade of Erickson for Scott Klingenbeck and Kimera Bartee is one of Ryan's best known failures. In 1992, Andy McPhail made a trade of Denny Neagle that would live on for years. In trading a top prospect in Neagle (something unbelievable for the Twins today), the Twins received John Smiley, a very good, but not great pitcher whom the Twins wanted/needed to replace the departed Jack Morris. Smiley pitched one fine year for the Twins before leaving, and in his place the Twins got a compensation pick in 1993 which they used to select Torii Hunter. When Hunter left, the Twins used his comp picks to select busts Carlos Gutierrez and Shooter Hunt. Also, while the Twins didn't get a comp pick for losing Marty Cordova (even though he had an .828 OPS the prior year), they did get one for losing Mike Trombley in 2000. They used that pick to select Aaron Heilman, who had a really nice MLB career, just not with the Twins because he refused to sign with them.
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