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  1. Every team makes mistakes, but organizations find long-term success by avoiding poor first-round draft picks. As the Metrodome era ended, Minnesota made some draft mistakes. Drafting baseball players isn’t an exact science as teams employ different strategies. Minnesota missed out on baseball’s best player, and they passed on two players that eventually wore a Twins uniform. 2005 Draft Twins Selection: Matt Garza (25th pick) Left on the Board: Colby Rasmus (28th pick) Seven players from the 2005 Draft have accumulated more than 30 WAR, including four players north of 40 WAR. Garza played in 152 big-league games and helped the Rays to a World Series run. He ended up in Tampa as part of the deal involving Delmon Young. The Cardinals took Rasmus three picks after Garza, and he played in over 1000 big-league games. Other players the Twins passed on include Jed Lowrie and Clay Buchholz, who Boston took in the supplemental first round. Garza wasn’t a terrible pick, but his best playing days came outside the Twins organization. 2006 Draft Twins Selection: Chris Parmelee (20th pick) Left on the Board: Ian Kennedy (21st pick) Parmelee played in over 300 big-league games, ranking in the top-10 out of players in the 2006 first round. During his Twins tenure, Parmelee didn’t provide a lot of value as a corner outfielder with limited defensive skills. Players of his ilk need to mash the ball, and that didn’t happen as he posted a .717 OPS for his career. The Yankees selected Ian Kennedy one pick after Parmelee, and he has the fifth-highest WAR total among 2006 first-round picks. Adam Ottavino and Andrew Miller were still available, so Minnesota had plenty of pitching options with the 20th overall pick. 2007 Draft Twins Selection: Ben Revere (28th pick) Left on the Board: Josh Donaldson (44th pick) It’s certainly intriguing to think the Twins had a chance to add Donaldson at the beginning of his professional career. The Cubs drafted him as a catcher from Auburn, and he has posted the highest WAR total among players in the 2007 first round. That ranks him ahead of players like David Price, Jason Heyward, and Madison Bumgarner. If Minnesota went in a different direction, Todd Frazier was also available with the 28th pick. Revere accumulated nearly 8.0 WAR in over 850 big-league games, but his skill set was limited, and some of the other available players had a higher ceiling. 2008 Draft Twins Selection: Aaron Hicks (14th pick) Left on the Board: Lance Lynn (39th pick) Hicks fit Minnesota’s mold of taking toolsy high school outfielders, and he’s gone on to have a respectable big-league career. Unfortunately, his best seasons have come in a Yankees uniform where his OPS is over 100 points higher than with the Twins. Out of players left on the board, only three players have accumulated more WAR than Hicks, including Lance Lynn, Wade Miley, and Jake Odorizzi. Lynn’s WAR total ranks second to Buster Posey among first-round picks that signed from the 2008 draft. Twins fans likely have a bad taste in their mouth after Lynn was terrible in 20 games for Minnesota. He has finished in the top-6 for the AL Cy Young in the last three seasons, and now he is torturing Twins fans by pitching well for the White Sox. 2009 Draft Twins Selection: Kyle Gibson (22nd pick) Left on the Board: Mike Trout (25h pick) The Twins weren’t the only team to pass over the best player of the current generation, but it doesn’t make it sting any less. Gibson was a solid, safe pick based on his college experience and potential as a starting pitcher. Besides Trout, Minnesota made the correct pick as no other available players have accumulated more WAR. Gibson earned his first All-Star nod last season, and he has pitched over 1300 big-league innings. On some bad Twins teams, he was the lone bright spot in the rotation. Books will be written about Trout’s greatness, and many teams likely wish they had a chance to reevaluate the high school outfielder from New Jersey. Which of these players was the best pick for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — 2010-2015 Drafts MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  2. Drafting baseball players isn’t an exact science as teams employ different strategies. Minnesota missed out on baseball’s best player, and they passed on two players that eventually wore a Twins uniform. 2005 Draft Twins Selection: Matt Garza (25th pick) Left on the Board: Colby Rasmus (28th pick) Seven players from the 2005 Draft have accumulated more than 30 WAR, including four players north of 40 WAR. Garza played in 152 big-league games and helped the Rays to a World Series run. He ended up in Tampa as part of the deal involving Delmon Young. The Cardinals took Rasmus three picks after Garza, and he played in over 1000 big-league games. Other players the Twins passed on include Jed Lowrie and Clay Buchholz, who Boston took in the supplemental first round. Garza wasn’t a terrible pick, but his best playing days came outside the Twins organization. 2006 Draft Twins Selection: Chris Parmelee (20th pick) Left on the Board: Ian Kennedy (21st pick) Parmelee played in over 300 big-league games, ranking in the top-10 out of players in the 2006 first round. During his Twins tenure, Parmelee didn’t provide a lot of value as a corner outfielder with limited defensive skills. Players of his ilk need to mash the ball, and that didn’t happen as he posted a .717 OPS for his career. The Yankees selected Ian Kennedy one pick after Parmelee, and he has the fifth-highest WAR total among 2006 first-round picks. Adam Ottavino and Andrew Miller were still available, so Minnesota had plenty of pitching options with the 20th overall pick. 2007 Draft Twins Selection: Ben Revere (28th pick) Left on the Board: Josh Donaldson (44th pick) It’s certainly intriguing to think the Twins had a chance to add Donaldson at the beginning of his professional career. The Cubs drafted him as a catcher from Auburn, and he has posted the highest WAR total among players in the 2007 first round. That ranks him ahead of players like David Price, Jason Heyward, and Madison Bumgarner. If Minnesota went in a different direction, Todd Frazier was also available with the 28th pick. Revere accumulated nearly 8.0 WAR in over 850 big-league games, but his skill set was limited, and some of the other available players had a higher ceiling. 2008 Draft Twins Selection: Aaron Hicks (14th pick) Left on the Board: Lance Lynn (39th pick) Hicks fit Minnesota’s mold of taking toolsy high school outfielders, and he’s gone on to have a respectable big-league career. Unfortunately, his best seasons have come in a Yankees uniform where his OPS is over 100 points higher than with the Twins. Out of players left on the board, only three players have accumulated more WAR than Hicks, including Lance Lynn, Wade Miley, and Jake Odorizzi. Lynn’s WAR total ranks second to Buster Posey among first-round picks that signed from the 2008 draft. Twins fans likely have a bad taste in their mouth after Lynn was terrible in 20 games for Minnesota. He has finished in the top-6 for the AL Cy Young in the last three seasons, and now he is torturing Twins fans by pitching well for the White Sox. 2009 Draft Twins Selection: Kyle Gibson (22nd pick) Left on the Board: Mike Trout (25h pick) The Twins weren’t the only team to pass over the best player of the current generation, but it doesn’t make it sting any less. Gibson was a solid, safe pick based on his college experience and potential as a starting pitcher. Besides Trout, Minnesota made the correct pick as no other available players have accumulated more WAR. Gibson earned his first All-Star nod last season, and he has pitched over 1300 big-league innings. On some bad Twins teams, he was the lone bright spot in the rotation. Books will be written about Trout’s greatness, and many teams likely wish they had a chance to reevaluate the high school outfielder from New Jersey. Which of these players was the best pick for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — 2010-2015 Drafts MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  3. Sometimes narratives, baseball or other, get into circulation, and once they do, it seems that they are hard to get rid of. I have probably (unfortunately) started some, and I am sure that I have passed along some without doing any research. Of course, I think we all agree that a little data to either support or disprove any narrative should help. Today I am going to address one of those narratives and let you decide.The Narrative: The former Twins front office leadership was slow to push pitchers up the ladder, especially in their first full professional season. The 2019 Case: In 2019, Twins right-handed pitcher Cole Sands made his professional debut. He had been the Twins fifth-round draft pick in 2018 out of Florida State. After being drafted, he was shut down. He began the 2019 season in Cedar Rapids. He went 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA. After eight starts and just 41 1/3 innings with the Kernels, he was promoted to Ft. Myers. With the Miracle, he made nine starts and went 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 52 innings. He ended the season with one start at Double-A Pensacola in which he gave up two runs in four innings. He threw a total of 97 1/3 innings in his first full season. I have seen it written or spoken about in a few places over the last couple of years that under the previous regime, the Twins would likely not have pushed a college pitcher like Sands quite as quickly. Is that true? Is that a fair critique? Obviously there is no perfect way to analyze this. Pitcher development (like hitter development) is very much dependent upon the individual. However, I wanted to go back several seasons and find out if the previous Twins regime had any (or many, or lots, or no) cases that fit the model that we saw in 2019 with Cole Sands. What are those qualifications to meet? So I went back through all of the Twins drafts from 2001 through 2019. I looked for these two things from each pitcher drafted out of college. If, in his first full professional season, the pitcher did one or both of them, I included him. Did the pitcher reach AA (or AAA)? Sands made one start at AA, orDid the pitcher pitch at three or more levels? Sands pitched at Low-A, High-A and AA.With that, let’s take a look at the Twins history this century. CURRENT REGIME (2017-2019) Cole Sands (5th round, 2019) - Pitched at three levels. Reached AA in 2020.PREVIOUS REGIME Tyler Jay (1st round, 2015) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2016..Nick Burdi (supp 1st, 2014) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2015.Jake Reed (5th round, 2014) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2015.DJ Baxendale (10th round, 2012) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2013.Pat Dean (3rd round, 2010) - Pitched at three levels, Low-A, High-A and AA in 2011.Logan Darnell (6th round, 2010) - Pitched at three levels, Low-A, High-A and AA in 2011.Kyle Gibson (1st round, 2009) - Pitched at three levels, High-A, AA and AAA in 2010.Billy Bullock (2nd round, 2009) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2010.Carlos Gutierrez (supp 1st, 2008) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2009.Matt Garza (1st round, 2005) - Pitched at four levels, High-A, AA, AAA and MLB in 2006.Kevin Slowey (2nd round, 2005) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2006.Brian Duensing (3rd round, 2005) - Pitched at three levels, Low-A, High-A and AA in 2006.Glen Perkins (1st round, 2004) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2005.Scott Baker (2nd round, 2003) - Pitched at three levels, High-A, AA and AAA in 2004.Jesse Crain (2nd round, 2002) - Pitched at three levels, High-A, AA and AAA in 2003.Adam Johnson (1st round, 2000) - Pitched at three levels, AA, AAA and MLB.CONCLUSIONSWhile this doesn’t dispute the studies done five years or so ago stating that the Twins were among the slowest, if not the slowest, to promote pitchers to the big leagues, this does show that the previous Twins regime was not afraid of pushing college pitchers quickly through the lower levels of the minor leagues. In fact, it happened most years. This isn’t a scientific study. I have done nothing more than a quick search of Twins draft picks in Baseball-Reference, so it’s possible that I am missing something. Please feel free to let me know. Click here to view the article
  4. The Narrative: The former Twins front office leadership was slow to push pitchers up the ladder, especially in their first full professional season. The 2019 Case: In 2019, Twins right-handed pitcher Cole Sands made his professional debut. He had been the Twins fifth-round draft pick in 2018 out of Florida State. After being drafted, he was shut down. He began the 2019 season in Cedar Rapids. He went 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA. After eight starts and just 41 1/3 innings with the Kernels, he was promoted to Ft. Myers. With the Miracle, he made nine starts and went 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 52 innings. He ended the season with one start at Double-A Pensacola in which he gave up two runs in four innings. He threw a total of 97 1/3 innings in his first full season. I have seen it written or spoken about in a few places over the last couple of years that under the previous regime, the Twins would likely not have pushed a college pitcher like Sands quite as quickly. Is that true? Is that a fair critique? Obviously there is no perfect way to analyze this. Pitcher development (like hitter development) is very much dependent upon the individual. However, I wanted to go back several seasons and find out if the previous Twins regime had any (or many, or lots, or no) cases that fit the model that we saw in 2019 with Cole Sands. What are those qualifications to meet? So I went back through all of the Twins drafts from 2001 through 2019. I looked for these two things from each pitcher drafted out of college. If, in his first full professional season, the pitcher did one or both of them, I included him. Did the pitcher reach AA (or AAA)? Sands made one start at AA, or Did the pitcher pitch at three or more levels? Sands pitched at Low-A, High-A and AA. With that, let’s take a look at the Twins history this century. CURRENT REGIME (2017-2019) Cole Sands (5th round, 2019) - Pitched at three levels. Reached AA in 2020. PREVIOUS REGIME Tyler Jay (1st round, 2015) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2016.. Nick Burdi (supp 1st, 2014) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2015. Jake Reed (5th round, 2014) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2015. DJ Baxendale (10th round, 2012) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2013. Pat Dean (3rd round, 2010) - Pitched at three levels, Low-A, High-A and AA in 2011. Logan Darnell (6th round, 2010) - Pitched at three levels, Low-A, High-A and AA in 2011. Kyle Gibson (1st round, 2009) - Pitched at three levels, High-A, AA and AAA in 2010. Billy Bullock (2nd round, 2009) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2010. Carlos Gutierrez (supp 1st, 2008) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2009. Matt Garza (1st round, 2005) - Pitched at four levels, High-A, AA, AAA and MLB in 2006. Kevin Slowey (2nd round, 2005) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2006. Brian Duensing (3rd round, 2005) - Pitched at three levels, Low-A, High-A and AA in 2006. Glen Perkins (1st round, 2004) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2005. Scott Baker (2nd round, 2003) - Pitched at three levels, High-A, AA and AAA in 2004. Jesse Crain (2nd round, 2002) - Pitched at three levels, High-A, AA and AAA in 2003. Adam Johnson (1st round, 2000) - Pitched at three levels, AA, AAA and MLB. CONCLUSIONS While this doesn’t dispute the studies done five years or so ago stating that the Twins were among the slowest, if not the slowest, to promote pitchers to the big leagues, this does show that the previous Twins regime was not afraid of pushing college pitchers quickly through the lower levels of the minor leagues. In fact, it happened most years. This isn’t a scientific study. I have done nothing more than a quick search of Twins draft picks in Baseball-Reference, so it’s possible that I am missing something. Please feel free to let me know.
  5. Wilson Ramos Many fans will be upset when mentioning the Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps trade. Ramos was a top-65 prospect by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. He recorded seven hits in his first two professional games, and it seemed like he could team up with Joe Mauer as a tremendous catching duo. Having Mauer still behind the plate made a catching prospect more expendable. Minnesota also needed more relief help during the 2010 campaign. If Capps had helped the Twins to an extended playoff run, his trade might have been forgotten. Instead, Twins fans watched Ramos blossom into an All-Star catcher with the Nationals and Rays. WAR Acquired: 0.9 WAR (Before Capps Resigned) WAR Lost: 10.4 WAR Matt Garza Trading Matt Garza for Delmon Young seemed like a perfect fit for both teams at the time with each player being a highly ranked prospect. Tampa needed more pitching to help them take the next step and Young provided a powerful right-handed bat between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in the Twins line-up. Tampa would ride Garza to a World Series run, while the Twins made playoff appearances but Young was never a difference maker. Young, a former number one overall pick, finished second in the 2007 Rookie of the Year voting. After joining Minnesota, he hit .287/.324/.429 (.753) but his bat never reached the potential he showed as a prospect and his defense was atrocious. Garza was the ALCS MVP and provided WAR totals of 3.4 or above in two of his three seasons in Tampa. WAR Acquired: 1.0 WAR WAR Lost: 8.5 WAR Alex Meyer and Trevor May These two trades seemed to get lumped together since they happened in the same off-season. With both trades above, the Twins were sending away top-100 prospects, but these trades were a little different. Minnesota dealt established outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere in exchange for pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May along with Vance Worley. Meyer struggled as he moved through the upper levels on the minor leagues and he would only pitch in parts of four seasons in the organization. Eventually, he was traded to the Angels before injuries ended his career. He played 22 games at the big-league level and retired after his age-27 season. When trading for May, the Twins likely saw him as a starting pitching prospect, but he has found his niche in the Twins bullpen. Last season, he posted a sub-3.00 ERA while striking out 79 batters in 64 1/3 innings. He can be a free agent at season’s end so he will have plenty to pitch for during the 2020 campaign. WAR Acquired: -0.6 (Meyer), 2.0 (May), and -1.1 (Worley) WAR Lost: 7.0 (Span) and 4.1 (Revere) How did the Twins fare in these trades involving former top-100 prospects? 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
  6. Throughout the history of the Minnesota Twins, there have been few trades of top prospects in the organization. Minnesota has been forced to build from within and this has meant teams have been required to live and die through prospect development. Brusdar Graterol was clearly a top-100 prospect so how have the Twins done when trading away, or for other top prospects?Wilson Ramos Many fans will be upset when mentioning the Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps trade. Ramos was a top-65 prospect by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. He recorded seven hits in his first two professional games, and it seemed like he could team up with Joe Mauer as a tremendous catching duo. Having Mauer still behind the plate made a catching prospect more expendable. Minnesota also needed more relief help during the 2010 campaign. If Capps had helped the Twins to an extended playoff run, his trade might have been forgotten. Instead, Twins fans watched Ramos blossom into an All-Star catcher with the Nationals and Rays. WAR Acquired: 0.9 WAR (Before Capps Resigned) WAR Lost: 10.4 WAR Matt Garza Trading Matt Garza for Delmon Young seemed like a perfect fit for both teams at the time with each player being a highly ranked prospect. Tampa needed more pitching to help them take the next step and Young provided a powerful right-handed bat between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in the Twins line-up. Tampa would ride Garza to a World Series run, while the Twins made playoff appearances but Young was never a difference maker. Young, a former number one overall pick, finished second in the 2007 Rookie of the Year voting. After joining Minnesota, he hit .287/.324/.429 (.753) but his bat never reached the potential he showed as a prospect and his defense was atrocious. Garza was the ALCS MVP and provided WAR totals of 3.4 or above in two of his three seasons in Tampa. WAR Acquired: 1.0 WAR WAR Lost: 8.5 WAR Alex Meyer and Trevor May These two trades seemed to get lumped together since they happened in the same off-season. With both trades above, the Twins were sending away top-100 prospects, but these trades were a little different. Minnesota dealt established outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere in exchange for pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May along with Vance Worley. Meyer struggled as he moved through the upper levels on the minor leagues and he would only pitch in parts of four seasons in the organization. Eventually, he was traded to the Angels before injuries ended his career. He played 22 games at the big-league level and retired after his age-27 season. When trading for May, the Twins likely saw him as a starting pitching prospect, but he has found his niche in the Twins bullpen. Last season, he posted a sub-3.00 ERA while striking out 79 batters in 64 1/3 innings. He can be a free agent at season’s end so he will have plenty to pitch for during the 2020 campaign. WAR Acquired: -0.6 (Meyer), 2.0 (May), and -1.1 (Worley) WAR Lost: 7.0 (Span) and 4.1 (Revere) How did the Twins fare in these trades involving former top-100 prospects? 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 Click here to view the article
  7. Last week, the Minnesota Twins announced two promotions in their Scouting Department. Long-time scouting director Deron Johnson was promoted to Senior Advisor of the Scouting Department. Sean Johnson, who had been West Coast Supervisor, is now taking over the reins as Director of Scouting. His job, according to the team’s press release, will be responsibility for “the strategic preparation of the Amateur Draft, and he will be charged with developing the 27-man amateur scouting staff.” The move created some discussion in our forums and even on the radio. I was listening to Phil Mackey and Judd Zulgad on 1500 ESPN early last week following the announcement, and Phil mentioned how few impact players the Twins had drafted between 2003 and 2012. Specifically, he looked at the first five rounds of those drafts to see how many players the Twins drafted that had some impact. He noted that he didn’t know how that compared to other organizations, so immediately, I had the thought that I was going to find out. It’s something I’ve been curious about, so why not find out what the data tells us.I went to old reliable, Baseball-Reference, and used their draft page to do some digging. I looked at the 2003 through 2012 drafts, a ten year period, and broke out the data in several ways. >2 bWAR: It’s hard to get to the big leagues, so to be able to find players who get there and have some positive impact on a team is terrific. This isn’t a high threshold, but it gives a good look at the scouting to be able to find big leaguers. This includes some non-closing relievers who have been good for a couple of years. This includes Byron Buxton, the Twins top pick in 2012, and a guy who certainly should rack up bWAR in the next decade and be on much higher bWAR lists.>6 bWAR: Mackey mentioned Brian Duensing as a guy who sits on the borderline of impact type of player. He’s had a nice, solid, long-lasting MLB career as mostly a middle reliever. He has 6.4 bWAR accumulated to this point, so I thought I’d find out how many have hit that level.>10 bWAR: Now we’re getting to some guys who have had really solid careers. They’ve either been solid for several years or they have had a major impact pretty quickly.>20 bWAR: If you’re past 20 bWAR you’ve had a really good career. Sure, that’s two Mike Trout seasons… or it’s a nice, solid, steady career like Aaron Hill or Chase Headley.>8 bWAR but drafted AFTER the 5th round. The MLB draft is more than five rounds. It is now 40 (and used to be 50). In reality, if scouts find guys after the 5th round that get to AAA, that should give them bonus points. But a lot of diamonds in the rough can be found in these late rounds. To be honest we should probably count any and all post-5th round draft picks who make it to the big leagues as wins.Also, please note that I am including players even if they did not sign with the team at that time. For instance, the Angels drafted Matt Harvey in the third round out of high school. He went to North Carolina instead of signing and then the Mets made him a top pick three years later. In my mind, the Angels and their scouts get credit for that too. GREATER THAN TWO bWAR (First Five Rounds) 15 - Blue Jays, Diamondbacks 14 - Reds 13 - Red Sox, Padres, Nationals 12 - Braves 11 - Twins, Royals, Rockies, Orioles, Rays, Cardinals, A’s, Angels 10 - Pirates 9 - White Sox, Marlins, Mariners, Cleveland, Brewers, Astros 8 - Cubs, Dodgers 7 - Yankees, Tigers, Mets, Giants 4 - Phillies, Rangers So, the Twins are basically tied for 8th in MLB in number of players drafted who have achieved two bWAR. I’ll have some summary comments at the end. GREATER THAN 6 bWAR (First Five Rounds) 9 - Nationals, Red Sox, Reds 8 - A’s, Blue Jays, Braves, Diamondbacks 7 - Angels, Brewers 6 - Twins, Rays, Mariners, Orioles, Pirates, Royals 5 - Astros, Cardinals, Giants, Cleveland, Marlins, Padres, Rockies, Tigers, Yankees. 4 - Cubs, Dodgers 3 - Mets, Phillies, Rangers 2 - White Sox The Twins are tied with five other teams for tenth. As happened with the two bWAR data, that tie pushed right to 15, so they are just above the halfway point among the 30 MLB teams. The Twins that made the list of 6 bWAR: Scott Baker, Trevor Plouffe, Glen Perkins, Matt Garza, Brian Duensing, Ben Revere. GREATER THAN 10 bWAR (First Five Rounds) 6 - Nationals, Red Sox 5 - A’s, Brewers, Braves, Diamondbacks, Giants, Orioles 4 - Cubs, Marlins, Mariners, Padres, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers 3 - Angels, Astros, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Rays, Cleveland, Pirates, Yankees 2 - Twins, Dodgers, Mets, Phillies, Rangers, White Sox This is where the Twins can be faulted. They have not had many big impact draft picks from that decade (yet). The two Twins that made this list were Scott Baker (15.7) and Matt Garza (12.5). GREATER THAN 20 bWAR (First Five Rounds) Another group that I looked at was the players over 20 bWAR. As you can see above, the Twins did not have any. Most teams have just one. The Atlanta Braves have four, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Yunel Escobar and Andrelton Simmons. The Red Sox had three, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury. The Nationals had Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper. The Mets and Cardinals joined the Twins with zero, which may surprise many as the Cardinals are generally looked at as one of the top drafting teams in baseball. Their highest bWAR player for that time frame is Colby Rasmus at 18.7. GREATER THAN 8 bWAR AFTER THE FIFTH ROUND (players over 10 bWAR in parentheses) Angels: 7 (Chris Davis, Buster Posey, Kole Calhoun) Astros: 2 (Dallas Keuchel, JD Martinez) A’s: 1 (Mike Leake) Blue Jays: 2 (Kris Bryant) Braves: 4 (Craig Kimbrel, Anthony Rendon) Brewers: 3 (Lorenzo Cain, Michael Brantley, Jake Arrieta) Cardinals: 5 (Brendan Ryan, Ian Kennedy, Max Scherzer, Matt Carpenter) Cubs: 4 (Tim Lincecum, Josh Harrison) Rays: 5 (John Jaso, Desmond Jennings, Kevin Kiermeier) Diamondbacks: 3 (Paul Goldschmidt, Adam Eaton) Dodgers: 4 (Matt Kemp, David Price, Paul Goldschmidt) Giants: 2 (Doug Fister) Cleveland: 2 (Desmond Jennings, Tim Lincecum) Mariners: 1 (Doug Fister) Marlins: 2 Mets: 3 (Daniel Murphy, Jacob DeGrom) Nationals: 1 (Marco Estrada) Orioles: 3 (Wil Venable) Padres: 3 (Wil Venable, David Friese, Mat Latos) Phillies: 1 (Brad Ziegler) Pirates: 2 Rangers: 6 (Ian Kinsler, Derek Holland, Tanner Roark) Red Sox: 7 (Brandon Belt, Josh Reddick, Anthony Rizzo) Reds: 2 (Jake Arrieta, Justin Turner) Rockies: 3 (Dexter Fowler, Todd Frazier, Chris Sale) Royals: 2 (Jarrod Dyson, Greg Holland) Tigers: 3 (Matt Joyce, Alex Avila, DJ LeMahieu) White Sox: 0 Yankees: 8 (Tyler Clippard, Chris Davis, Doug Fister, Austin Jackson, Justin Turner, David Robertson) Twins: 4 (JD Martinez, George Springer, Brian Dozier) SUMMARY NOTES I won’t sit here and tell you that this is a perfect analysis of the draft or the drafting abilities of the Twins or any other clubs. To get a 40 bWAR player requires a lot of luck and timing and such.The Twins have a lot of very good scouts, guys who have found talent in the lower rounds. Here are some additional notes: Note all first-round picks are made the same. The year the Twins took Levi Michael in the first round, they had the 30th overall pick. Also of note, the Pirates took Gerrit Cole with the first overall pick. The Mariners then took Danny Hultzen with the second overall pick. Also of note, Keith Law ranked Michael in his top 15 players for the draft, so there is no magic formula to this.The Twins highest draft pick (other than Byron Buxton in 2012) was the 14th overall pick in 2008. For the most part, the Twins were in the playoffs during this run and making picks 20 or later in the first round. There is little certainty in top 5 picks many times, much less when you get into the 20s.The first six picks of the 2003 draft were: Delmon Young (2.5), Rickie Weeks (11.4), Kyle Sleeth (No MLB), Tim Stauffer (3.5), Chris Lubanski (No MLB), Ryan Harvey (no MLB). That year, the Twins picked Matt Moses with the 21st overall pick.The Twins did pretty well for themselves in 2004. Trevor Plouffe (8.1) and Glen Perkins (8.8) were the 20th and 22nd overall picks that year in the draft. The 23rd pick was Phil Hughes.In 2005, the Twins got Matt Garza (12.5) with the 25th overall pick, which was good for 10th (so far) in that draft’s first round.Chris Parmelee was the 20th overall pick in the 2006 draft.In the 2007 draft, Ben Revere’s 6.1 bWAR ranks 7th among the 30 first-round picks. He was taken with the 28th pick.Aaron Hicks was the 14th pick in the 2008 draft. His 1.9 bWAR to date ranks 14th of the 30 picks.Kyle Gibson missed at least one year (and probably closer to two years) of time due to Tommy John surgery. He has posted 5.0 bWAR so far in his career. That ranks ninth of the 30 first-round picks in 2009s draft. He was taken with the 22nd pick.The Twins top pick in 2010 also had Tommy John surgery. Alex Wimmers was the 21st overall pick for the Twins. He is right at 0 bWAR, but he made the big leagues, something eight players selected ahead of him can’t say yet.As we already mentioned, Levi Michael was the 30th pick in the 2011 draft.Byron Buxton was the #2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, following Carlos Correa. Buxton’s injury-plagued 2014 season likely slowed his path to the big leagues. He also has struggled early in his career. He’s accumulated 2.1 bWAR. He had a strong September, but defense is also where he will rack up a lot of WAR. Corey Seager and Addison Russell are the two high school picks from that season, along with Correa, who have more big league success so far than Buxton. I believe the odds of Buxton accumulating 20+ bWAR in his career are quite high. I also think there’s a high likelihood that Jose Berrios will improve dramatically over his -1.6 bWAR performance in 2016. Also, Mason Melotakis, JT Chargois and Taylor Rogers come from the 2012 draft and could all achieve at least 6 bWAR if things go well.I guess the information presented above shows that the Twins did a “Good” job of drafting for that decade of years. I guess I would say they’ve been pretty middle-of-the-pack, not great (for sure), but certainly not terrible either. I think they’ve done a good job of finding some guys that have the potential to be big leaguers. I would say that, for whatever reason, they haven’t had the luck in finding those big impact players that we’d all like to see. Perkins was a three-time All Star which I would say is pretty impactful, even if bWAR says it's "only" worth 8.8. Scott Baker was better than most people thought at the time. Buxton and Berrios certainly give us hope that they can be those types of players. The draft is just one way for teams to accumulate players and talent. The Twins consider themselves a mid-market team, however, and the draft becomes more important in that it is where you can find players at low salary and you can keep under control for six years. The Twins have the #1 overall pick in the 2017 draft. It’s a huge pick for the organization. There are a lot of very talented very young players who are just getting to the big leagues or just about to get to the big leagues. Having an elite talent who will be ready in three or four years will help keep that coming and help Derek Falvey toward that long-term, sustainable, championship-caliber organization that he wants to build. Click here to view the article
  8. I went to old reliable, Baseball-Reference, and used their draft page to do some digging. I looked at the 2003 through 2012 drafts, a ten year period, and broke out the data in several ways. >2 bWAR: It’s hard to get to the big leagues, so to be able to find players who get there and have some positive impact on a team is terrific. This isn’t a high threshold, but it gives a good look at the scouting to be able to find big leaguers. This includes some non-closing relievers who have been good for a couple of years. This includes Byron Buxton, the Twins top pick in 2012, and a guy who certainly should rack up bWAR in the next decade and be on much higher bWAR lists. >6 bWAR: Mackey mentioned Brian Duensing as a guy who sits on the borderline of impact type of player. He’s had a nice, solid, long-lasting MLB career as mostly a middle reliever. He has 6.4 bWAR accumulated to this point, so I thought I’d find out how many have hit that level. >10 bWAR: Now we’re getting to some guys who have had really solid careers. They’ve either been solid for several years or they have had a major impact pretty quickly. >20 bWAR: If you’re past 20 bWAR you’ve had a really good career. Sure, that’s two Mike Trout seasons… or it’s a nice, solid, steady career like Aaron Hill or Chase Headley. >8 bWAR but drafted AFTER the 5th round. The MLB draft is more than five rounds. It is now 40 (and used to be 50). In reality, if scouts find guys after the 5th round that get to AAA, that should give them bonus points. But a lot of diamonds in the rough can be found in these late rounds. To be honest we should probably count any and all post-5th round draft picks who make it to the big leagues as wins. Also, please note that I am including players even if they did not sign with the team at that time. For instance, the Angels drafted Matt Harvey in the third round out of high school. He went to North Carolina instead of signing and then the Mets made him a top pick three years later. In my mind, the Angels and their scouts get credit for that too. GREATER THAN TWO bWAR (First Five Rounds) 15 - Blue Jays, Diamondbacks 14 - Reds 13 - Red Sox, Padres, Nationals 12 - Braves 11 - Twins, Royals, Rockies, Orioles, Rays, Cardinals, A’s, Angels 10 - Pirates 9 - White Sox, Marlins, Mariners, Cleveland, Brewers, Astros 8 - Cubs, Dodgers 7 - Yankees, Tigers, Mets, Giants 4 - Phillies, Rangers So, the Twins are basically tied for 8th in MLB in number of players drafted who have achieved two bWAR. I’ll have some summary comments at the end. GREATER THAN 6 bWAR (First Five Rounds) 9 - Nationals, Red Sox, Reds 8 - A’s, Blue Jays, Braves, Diamondbacks 7 - Angels, Brewers 6 - Twins, Rays, Mariners, Orioles, Pirates, Royals 5 - Astros, Cardinals, Giants, Cleveland, Marlins, Padres, Rockies, Tigers, Yankees. 4 - Cubs, Dodgers 3 - Mets, Phillies, Rangers 2 - White Sox The Twins are tied with five other teams for tenth. As happened with the two bWAR data, that tie pushed right to 15, so they are just above the halfway point among the 30 MLB teams. The Twins that made the list of 6 bWAR: Scott Baker, Trevor Plouffe, Glen Perkins, Matt Garza, Brian Duensing, Ben Revere. GREATER THAN 10 bWAR (First Five Rounds) 6 - Nationals, Red Sox 5 - A’s, Brewers, Braves, Diamondbacks, Giants, Orioles 4 - Cubs, Marlins, Mariners, Padres, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers 3 - Angels, Astros, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Rays, Cleveland, Pirates, Yankees 2 - Twins, Dodgers, Mets, Phillies, Rangers, White Sox This is where the Twins can be faulted. They have not had many big impact draft picks from that decade (yet). The two Twins that made this list were Scott Baker (15.7) and Matt Garza (12.5). GREATER THAN 20 bWAR (First Five Rounds) Another group that I looked at was the players over 20 bWAR. As you can see above, the Twins did not have any. Most teams have just one. The Atlanta Braves have four, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Yunel Escobar and Andrelton Simmons. The Red Sox had three, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury. The Nationals had Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper. The Mets and Cardinals joined the Twins with zero, which may surprise many as the Cardinals are generally looked at as one of the top drafting teams in baseball. Their highest bWAR player for that time frame is Colby Rasmus at 18.7. GREATER THAN 8 bWAR AFTER THE FIFTH ROUND (players over 10 bWAR in parentheses) Angels: 7 (Chris Davis, Buster Posey, Kole Calhoun) Astros: 2 (Dallas Keuchel, JD Martinez) A’s: 1 (Mike Leake) Blue Jays: 2 (Kris Bryant) Braves: 4 (Craig Kimbrel, Anthony Rendon) Brewers: 3 (Lorenzo Cain, Michael Brantley, Jake Arrieta) Cardinals: 5 (Brendan Ryan, Ian Kennedy, Max Scherzer, Matt Carpenter) Cubs: 4 (Tim Lincecum, Josh Harrison) Rays: 5 (John Jaso, Desmond Jennings, Kevin Kiermeier) Diamondbacks: 3 (Paul Goldschmidt, Adam Eaton) Dodgers: 4 (Matt Kemp, David Price, Paul Goldschmidt) Giants: 2 (Doug Fister) Cleveland: 2 (Desmond Jennings, Tim Lincecum) Mariners: 1 (Doug Fister) Marlins: 2 Mets: 3 (Daniel Murphy, Jacob DeGrom) Nationals: 1 (Marco Estrada) Orioles: 3 (Wil Venable) Padres: 3 (Wil Venable, David Friese, Mat Latos) Phillies: 1 (Brad Ziegler) Pirates: 2 Rangers: 6 (Ian Kinsler, Derek Holland, Tanner Roark) Red Sox: 7 (Brandon Belt, Josh Reddick, Anthony Rizzo) Reds: 2 (Jake Arrieta, Justin Turner) Rockies: 3 (Dexter Fowler, Todd Frazier, Chris Sale) Royals: 2 (Jarrod Dyson, Greg Holland) Tigers: 3 (Matt Joyce, Alex Avila, DJ LeMahieu) White Sox: 0 Yankees: 8 (Tyler Clippard, Chris Davis, Doug Fister, Austin Jackson, Justin Turner, David Robertson) Twins: 4 (JD Martinez, George Springer, Brian Dozier) SUMMARY NOTES I won’t sit here and tell you that this is a perfect analysis of the draft or the drafting abilities of the Twins or any other clubs. To get a 40 bWAR player requires a lot of luck and timing and such.The Twins have a lot of very good scouts, guys who have found talent in the lower rounds. Here are some additional notes: Note all first-round picks are made the same. The year the Twins took Levi Michael in the first round, they had the 30th overall pick. Also of note, the Pirates took Gerrit Cole with the first overall pick. The Mariners then took Danny Hultzen with the second overall pick. Also of note, Keith Law ranked Michael in his top 15 players for the draft, so there is no magic formula to this. The Twins highest draft pick (other than Byron Buxton in 2012) was the 14th overall pick in 2008. For the most part, the Twins were in the playoffs during this run and making picks 20 or later in the first round. There is little certainty in top 5 picks many times, much less when you get into the 20s. The first six picks of the 2003 draft were: Delmon Young (2.5), Rickie Weeks (11.4), Kyle Sleeth (No MLB), Tim Stauffer (3.5), Chris Lubanski (No MLB), Ryan Harvey (no MLB). That year, the Twins picked Matt Moses with the 21st overall pick. The Twins did pretty well for themselves in 2004. Trevor Plouffe (8.1) and Glen Perkins (8.8) were the 20th and 22nd overall picks that year in the draft. The 23rd pick was Phil Hughes. In 2005, the Twins got Matt Garza (12.5) with the 25th overall pick, which was good for 10th (so far) in that draft’s first round. Chris Parmelee was the 20th overall pick in the 2006 draft. In the 2007 draft, Ben Revere’s 6.1 bWAR ranks 7th among the 30 first-round picks. He was taken with the 28th pick. Aaron Hicks was the 14th pick in the 2008 draft. His 1.9 bWAR to date ranks 14th of the 30 picks. Kyle Gibson missed at least one year (and probably closer to two years) of time due to Tommy John surgery. He has posted 5.0 bWAR so far in his career. That ranks ninth of the 30 first-round picks in 2009s draft. He was taken with the 22nd pick. The Twins top pick in 2010 also had Tommy John surgery. Alex Wimmers was the 21st overall pick for the Twins. He is right at 0 bWAR, but he made the big leagues, something eight players selected ahead of him can’t say yet. As we already mentioned, Levi Michael was the 30th pick in the 2011 draft. Byron Buxton was the #2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, following Carlos Correa. Buxton’s injury-plagued 2014 season likely slowed his path to the big leagues. He also has struggled early in his career. He’s accumulated 2.1 bWAR. He had a strong September, but defense is also where he will rack up a lot of WAR. Corey Seager and Addison Russell are the two high school picks from that season, along with Correa, who have more big league success so far than Buxton. I believe the odds of Buxton accumulating 20+ bWAR in his career are quite high. I also think there’s a high likelihood that Jose Berrios will improve dramatically over his -1.6 bWAR performance in 2016. Also, Mason Melotakis, JT Chargois and Taylor Rogers come from the 2012 draft and could all achieve at least 6 bWAR if things go well. I guess the information presented above shows that the Twins did a “Good” job of drafting for that decade of years. I guess I would say they’ve been pretty middle-of-the-pack, not great (for sure), but certainly not terrible either. I think they’ve done a good job of finding some guys that have the potential to be big leaguers. I would say that, for whatever reason, they haven’t had the luck in finding those big impact players that we’d all like to see. Perkins was a three-time All Star which I would say is pretty impactful, even if bWAR says it's "only" worth 8.8. Scott Baker was better than most people thought at the time. Buxton and Berrios certainly give us hope that they can be those types of players. The draft is just one way for teams to accumulate players and talent. The Twins consider themselves a mid-market team, however, and the draft becomes more important in that it is where you can find players at low salary and you can keep under control for six years. The Twins have the #1 overall pick in the 2017 draft. It’s a huge pick for the organization. There are a lot of very talented very young players who are just getting to the big leagues or just about to get to the big leagues. Having an elite talent who will be ready in three or four years will help keep that coming and help Derek Falvey toward that long-term, sustainable, championship-caliber organization that he wants to build.
  9. Last week, we started a series looking at and ranking 53 Minnesota Twins first-round draft picks. In Part 1: 31-53, we saw a lot of reminders that the draft is not a science, many don't make it or do little when they're there. In Part 2: 21-30, we started seeing some players that had some role in the big leagues for at least a little while. Today, we present Part 3: 11-20. In this grouping, you will see quite a few players who have had some solid, though not spectacular, MLB careers. Several of these players are still active and have a chance to move up this chart, maybe even significantly.#20 – 2009 – Kyle Gibson – RHP Gibson fell to the Twins with the 22nd overall pick in 2009, out of the University of Missouri. He was fast-tracked in 2010, pitching for the Miracle, the Rock Cats and ending with the Red Wings. That’s where he began the 2010 season. He started quickly, but he really started struggling and missed time. He had Tommy John surgery and missed most of the 2012 season. He began 2013 with Rochester and went 7-5 with a 2.92 ERA. Despite the setback, he arrived in the big leagues at age 25. Like most, he struggled in his initial big league visit, posting a 2-4 record and a 6.53 ERA in 10 starts. However, in 2014, he made 31 starts and went 13-12. In 13 starts this season, he is 4-5 but has a 3.33 ERA. As he continues, he will likely rise up this list quite a way. MLB WAR: 3.0 #19 – 1967 – Steve Brye – 3B In 1967, the Twins had the 17th overall pick and selected an outfielder from Oakland named Steve Brye. He moved quickly through the minor leagues and debuted as a 21-year-old with nine games in September. Drafted as a third baseman, he played most of his nine-year career in the corner outfield positions. He played over 100 games just once in his career. In 1974, he played in 135 games for the Twins and hit .283/.319/.365 (.683) with 32 doubles. For his career, he hit .258/.309/.365 (.674) with 97 doubles, 13 triples and 30 homers. MLB WAR: 5.5. #18 – 1990 – Todd Ritchie – RHP Ritchie was the 12th overall pick in the 1990 draft. The big name before the draft was Todd Van Poppel, but Ritchie had actually beaten him in high school matchups in Texas. He very slowly worked up the farm system and made his Twins debut out of the bullpen in April, 1997. He pitched to a 4.58 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP in 42 games. The following year, he pitched in 15 games for the Twins before they released him after the season. In something we’ve seen in recent years, the Pirates signed him and he went 15-9 in 26 starts in 1999. He pitched almost 400 innings for the Pirates in 2000 and 2001. He then pitched for the White Sox, the Brewers and the Rays over the next three years. Overall, he went 43-54 with a 4.71 ERA over 835.2 innings in eight big league seasons. MLB WAR: 6.3. #17 – 1980 – Jeff Reed – C The Twins used the 12th overall pick in the 1980 draft to select Reed, a catcher from high school in Illinois. On Opening Day 1984, he made his major league debut with the Twins. He played in 18 games for the Twins that season. Then seven games in 1985. Then he played in 68 games for the Twins in 1986. Before the 1987 season, he was traded with three other players to Montreal for Tom Nieto and Jeff Reardon. He went on to play for 17 seasons in the big leagues, for the Expos, Reds, Giants, Rockies and Cubs. He hit .250/.334/.361 (.695) with 144 doubles, ten triples and 61 homers. Maybe he should be moved up this list because this will be his 14th season as the Elizabethton Twins hitting coach. MLB WAR: 4.5 #16 – 2007 – Ben Revere – OF The Twins were criticized by many when they drafted speedy Ben Revere with the 28th overall pick in the 2007 draft out of high school in Kentucky. He hit .325 in the GCL that year. He hit .379 in Beloit in 2008. He hit .311 in Ft. Myers in 2009. In 2010, he hit .305 in New Britain and received a September call up. He hit .303 in Rochester in 2011, though he spent most of the season with the Twins. He played in 124 games for the Twins in 2012 and hit .294. He stole 74 bases for the Twins Following the 2012 season, he was traded to Philadelphia for Trevor May and Vance Worley. In the three seasons with the Phillies, he’s hit .300/.327/.359, and in 2014 he hit his only two major league homers. He also led the league with 184 hits. He has been a frequent contributor to Web Gems on SportsCenter and is still just 27 years old. He will continue up this list as well. MLB WAR: 6.0 #15 – 1996 – Travis Lee – 1B The 1996 draft was rather controversial. The Twins selected Lee with the second overall pick out of San Diego State. He was playing for Team USA in the Olympics and the Twins did not tender him a contract within 15 days, so he was deemed a free agent. He then signed a 4 year, $10 million contract with the Diamondbacks. In 1998, he finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. He played nine seasons in the big leagues and hit a combined .256/.337/.408 (.745) with 191 doubles, 16 triples and 115 home runs. He played for Arizona, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees. MLB WAR: 7.2 WAR. #14 – 2004 – Trevor Plouffe – SS Plouffe was the 20th overall pick in the 2004 MLB draft, the first of five Twins first-round picks that year. He signed a day after he turned 18. He advanced step-by-step and was in Triple-A shortly after turning 22 in 2008. He spent all of 2009 in Triple-A. He debuted and played 22 games at shortstop with the Twins in 2010. The team quickly moved him out of shortstop and he played several positions before moving exclusively to third base in 2012. Aside from a couple of rehab stints in Rochester, he has been a full-time big leaguer since 2012. Over the last few seasons, he has continued to improve offensively and defensively at third base. The 29-year-old has plenty of good years ahead of him and will likely move up this list quite a bit. MLB WAR: 7.3 #13 – 1995 – Mark Redman – LHP The Twins drafted Redman out of the University of Oklahoma with the 13th overall pick in 1995. He started in Ft. Myers and pitched well there and in Double-A New Britain. However, he never put up an ERA below 5.05 in Triple-A Salt Lake (does anyone?). He debuted with the Twins late in the 1999 season, and as a rookie in 2000, he went 12-9 with a 4.76 ERA. He made nine starts for the Twins in 2001 before being traded at the deadline to the Tigers for Todd Jones. He made 32 starts for the Tigers. Then he went 14-9 for Florida in 2003, winning a World Series championship. He then spent a year in Oakland and a year in Pittsburgh. He was the Royals All-Star representative in 2006. However, he was a free agent after the season. He played for the Braves and Rockies over the next two years and was done after the 2008 season. In all, he went 68-85 with a 4.85 ERA. MLB WAR: 9.5. #12 – 1994 – Todd Walker – 2B With the eighth overall pick in 1994, the Twins took Todd Walker, a second baseman out of LSU. He was a hitting machine in college. He went straight to Ft. Myers and posted a .938 OPS with ten homers the rest of the way. He hit .290 with 27 doubles and 21 homers in Double-A in 1995. In 135 games in Salt Lake in 1996, he hit 41 doubles, nine triples and 28 homers while posting a .999 OPS. He finished the season with 26 games with the Twins. He split 1997 between Rochester and the big leagues. He then hit .316/.372/.473 (.845) with 41 doubles and 12 homers in 1998. His numbers dropped in 1999. In 2000, he was optioned to Triple-A again. Famously, he did not get along with manager Tom Kelly at all. He wasn’t a good defensive second baseman. Finally, in mid-2000, he was traded to Colorado with Butch Huskey in exchange for Todd Sears. From 2001 to 2007, he hit a combined .289/.349/.439 (.788). Overall, he hit .289/.348/.435 (.783) with 284 doubles, 30 triples and 107 home runs. MLB WAR: 10.5. #11 – 2005 – Matt Garza – RHP The Twins used the 25th overall pick in 2005 on Fresno State righty Matt Garza. He began the 2006 season in Ft. Myers. He made eight starts there, ten starts in Double-A New Britain and then five starts in Triple-A Rochester before ending the season with nine starts for the Twins. He spent the first half of 2007 in Rochester before going 5-7 with a 3.69 ERA. Following the season, he was traded to the Rays with Jason Bartlett for Delmon Young. From 2007 through 2014, he has not posted an ERA over 3.95. He’s struggling with the Brewers this year, but in his career, he is 79-83 with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. MLB WAR: 15.9 There are some very solid MLB players in this grouping. Coming soon, we'll take a look at the top ten Minnesota Twins first-round draft picks. There are some very good names on that list. Click here to view the article
  10. #20 – 2009 – Kyle Gibson – RHP Gibson fell to the Twins with the 22nd overall pick in 2009, out of the University of Missouri. He was fast-tracked in 2010, pitching for the Miracle, the Rock Cats and ending with the Red Wings. That’s where he began the 2010 season. He started quickly, but he really started struggling and missed time. He had Tommy John surgery and missed most of the 2012 season. He began 2013 with Rochester and went 7-5 with a 2.92 ERA. Despite the setback, he arrived in the big leagues at age 25. Like most, he struggled in his initial big league visit, posting a 2-4 record and a 6.53 ERA in 10 starts. However, in 2014, he made 31 starts and went 13-12. In 13 starts this season, he is 4-5 but has a 3.33 ERA. As he continues, he will likely rise up this list quite a way. MLB WAR: 3.0 #19 – 1967 – Steve Brye – 3B In 1967, the Twins had the 17th overall pick and selected an outfielder from Oakland named Steve Brye. He moved quickly through the minor leagues and debuted as a 21-year-old with nine games in September. Drafted as a third baseman, he played most of his nine-year career in the corner outfield positions. He played over 100 games just once in his career. In 1974, he played in 135 games for the Twins and hit .283/.319/.365 (.683) with 32 doubles. For his career, he hit .258/.309/.365 (.674) with 97 doubles, 13 triples and 30 homers. MLB WAR: 5.5. #18 – 1990 – Todd Ritchie – RHP Ritchie was the 12th overall pick in the 1990 draft. The big name before the draft was Todd Van Poppel, but Ritchie had actually beaten him in high school matchups in Texas. He very slowly worked up the farm system and made his Twins debut out of the bullpen in April, 1997. He pitched to a 4.58 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP in 42 games. The following year, he pitched in 15 games for the Twins before they released him after the season. In something we’ve seen in recent years, the Pirates signed him and he went 15-9 in 26 starts in 1999. He pitched almost 400 innings for the Pirates in 2000 and 2001. He then pitched for the White Sox, the Brewers and the Rays over the next three years. Overall, he went 43-54 with a 4.71 ERA over 835.2 innings in eight big league seasons. MLB WAR: 6.3. #17 – 1980 – Jeff Reed – C The Twins used the 12th overall pick in the 1980 draft to select Reed, a catcher from high school in Illinois. On Opening Day 1984, he made his major league debut with the Twins. He played in 18 games for the Twins that season. Then seven games in 1985. Then he played in 68 games for the Twins in 1986. Before the 1987 season, he was traded with three other players to Montreal for Tom Nieto and Jeff Reardon. He went on to play for 17 seasons in the big leagues, for the Expos, Reds, Giants, Rockies and Cubs. He hit .250/.334/.361 (.695) with 144 doubles, ten triples and 61 homers. Maybe he should be moved up this list because this will be his 14th season as the Elizabethton Twins hitting coach. MLB WAR: 4.5 #16 – 2007 – Ben Revere – OF The Twins were criticized by many when they drafted speedy Ben Revere with the 28th overall pick in the 2007 draft out of high school in Kentucky. He hit .325 in the GCL that year. He hit .379 in Beloit in 2008. He hit .311 in Ft. Myers in 2009. In 2010, he hit .305 in New Britain and received a September call up. He hit .303 in Rochester in 2011, though he spent most of the season with the Twins. He played in 124 games for the Twins in 2012 and hit .294. He stole 74 bases for the Twins Following the 2012 season, he was traded to Philadelphia for Trevor May and Vance Worley. In the three seasons with the Phillies, he’s hit .300/.327/.359, and in 2014 he hit his only two major league homers. He also led the league with 184 hits. He has been a frequent contributor to Web Gems on SportsCenter and is still just 27 years old. He will continue up this list as well. MLB WAR: 6.0 #15 – 1996 – Travis Lee – 1B The 1996 draft was rather controversial. The Twins selected Lee with the second overall pick out of San Diego State. He was playing for Team USA in the Olympics and the Twins did not tender him a contract within 15 days, so he was deemed a free agent. He then signed a 4 year, $10 million contract with the Diamondbacks. In 1998, he finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. He played nine seasons in the big leagues and hit a combined .256/.337/.408 (.745) with 191 doubles, 16 triples and 115 home runs. He played for Arizona, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees. MLB WAR: 7.2 WAR. #14 – 2004 – Trevor Plouffe – SS Plouffe was the 20th overall pick in the 2004 MLB draft, the first of five Twins first-round picks that year. He signed a day after he turned 18. He advanced step-by-step and was in Triple-A shortly after turning 22 in 2008. He spent all of 2009 in Triple-A. He debuted and played 22 games at shortstop with the Twins in 2010. The team quickly moved him out of shortstop and he played several positions before moving exclusively to third base in 2012. Aside from a couple of rehab stints in Rochester, he has been a full-time big leaguer since 2012. Over the last few seasons, he has continued to improve offensively and defensively at third base. The 29-year-old has plenty of good years ahead of him and will likely move up this list quite a bit. MLB WAR: 7.3 #13 – 1995 – Mark Redman – LHP The Twins drafted Redman out of the University of Oklahoma with the 13th overall pick in 1995. He started in Ft. Myers and pitched well there and in Double-A New Britain. However, he never put up an ERA below 5.05 in Triple-A Salt Lake (does anyone?). He debuted with the Twins late in the 1999 season, and as a rookie in 2000, he went 12-9 with a 4.76 ERA. He made nine starts for the Twins in 2001 before being traded at the deadline to the Tigers for Todd Jones. He made 32 starts for the Tigers. Then he went 14-9 for Florida in 2003, winning a World Series championship. He then spent a year in Oakland and a year in Pittsburgh. He was the Royals All-Star representative in 2006. However, he was a free agent after the season. He played for the Braves and Rockies over the next two years and was done after the 2008 season. In all, he went 68-85 with a 4.85 ERA. MLB WAR: 9.5. #12 – 1994 – Todd Walker – 2B With the eighth overall pick in 1994, the Twins took Todd Walker, a second baseman out of LSU. He was a hitting machine in college. He went straight to Ft. Myers and posted a .938 OPS with ten homers the rest of the way. He hit .290 with 27 doubles and 21 homers in Double-A in 1995. In 135 games in Salt Lake in 1996, he hit 41 doubles, nine triples and 28 homers while posting a .999 OPS. He finished the season with 26 games with the Twins. He split 1997 between Rochester and the big leagues. He then hit .316/.372/.473 (.845) with 41 doubles and 12 homers in 1998. His numbers dropped in 1999. In 2000, he was optioned to Triple-A again. Famously, he did not get along with manager Tom Kelly at all. He wasn’t a good defensive second baseman. Finally, in mid-2000, he was traded to Colorado with Butch Huskey in exchange for Todd Sears. From 2001 to 2007, he hit a combined .289/.349/.439 (.788). Overall, he hit .289/.348/.435 (.783) with 284 doubles, 30 triples and 107 home runs. MLB WAR: 10.5. #11 – 2005 – Matt Garza – RHP The Twins used the 25th overall pick in 2005 on Fresno State righty Matt Garza. He began the 2006 season in Ft. Myers. He made eight starts there, ten starts in Double-A New Britain and then five starts in Triple-A Rochester before ending the season with nine starts for the Twins. He spent the first half of 2007 in Rochester before going 5-7 with a 3.69 ERA. Following the season, he was traded to the Rays with Jason Bartlett for Delmon Young. From 2007 through 2014, he has not posted an ERA over 3.95. He’s struggling with the Brewers this year, but in his career, he is 79-83 with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. MLB WAR: 15.9 There are some very solid MLB players in this grouping. Coming soon, we'll take a look at the top ten Minnesota Twins first-round draft picks. There are some very good names on that list.
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