Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Overly Optimistic Two Cents on the Twins "Plan"

So I have not posted in almost a year due to a job change that limited the free time I used to have to research and write, but a recent emial exchange with my brother lead to the following which I thought would be fun to post to be mocked and ridiculed by the all C.A.V.E Twins fans that have come out of the woodwork since there back to back awfule seasons. Also for rationale Twins fans please feel free to mock and poke holes in this, as I am fully aware this is over the top optimistic....

I believe their plan is this based on what I have read, heard, etc.:

1.       Rid the books of any dead salary for the 2015 season outside of Mauer
2.       Rebuild the farm system through the draft & international signings.
a.       They are off to a good start in this regards but would benefit from more frontline SP depth and up the middle talent
3.       Spend sparingly in Free Agency for 2013,’14, ’15 &’16
4.       Over the next 3 seasons get our new core into the majors featuring if most go as planned Hicks, Arica, Gibson, Meyer, May, Sano, Rosario, Buxton, & Berrios (in order of debut)
5.       After the ’16 season assess where we are at in a competitive sense
a.       If that core develops to 80% of expectations it is most likely a say an 80-85 win team by end of 2016?
6.       See what pieces are missing based on how that core develops
a.       I think your OF is set at this point with hope Arcia in LF, Buxton in CF, Hicks in RF
b.      Sano proves he can give average to slightly below average D at 3rd  and turns into the monster bat he certainly looks like.
c.       Rosario is the wild card, if he can stay at 2B that is a major win giving you a potential 3-4 win 2B with high avg. and decent pop who is average at the keystone. If not I think you can shift him to LF where his range will be plus and his weaker arm will be hidden better. Then Arcia is your primary DH.
d.      I think Mauer is probably hardly catching by this point either so he is either your main DH or 1B
e.      Say Rosario is the 2B I hope he is then on the offensive side SS,3B, C are question marks as I don’t think Plouffe or Escobar/Florimon are long term answers.
f.        Gibson, Meyer, & May/Berrios/#4 pick this year which is most likely a college SP (most likely Sean Mannea, Ryne Stenek, or Brandon Shipley  (not all) turn into a solid 1-2-3 in the rotation and while they may not be elite they combine for 10-12 War a season.
g.       The Twins enter the ’17 off season as an 85 win team with 3 holes on the O side and 2 in the rotation but only have a payroll in the 75m -85m range.
h.      This is where the Twins are at the crossroads
                                                               i.      Option A: with attendance surging back in ’16 after an exciting season ala the ’01 season the Twins finally foray in FA and grab two solid mid rotation SP’s who are 3 WAR types (Edwin Jackson type of contracts from this offseason) they also spend 10 million on solid role players to fill 3B, SS, & C solidifying themselves for a 3-5 year window of a WS run and finally make everyone forget about the cheap dome days.
                                                             ii.      Option B: Same scenario as above but once again the Twins front office does nothing in free agency instead filling the remaining holes with farm system who are serviceable but do not push them over the into th3 95 win type of team they are capable of being with this core. They miss the world series window and basically we have a repeat of the last 10 years.

Which option is more likely  today? Probably option B but excuse me for hoping….

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Span to Jays?

Following up on the post earlier, I wanted to look at other teams who could benefit from Spans solid OBP, good d in CF. After watching the Jays run out Rasmus and Davis earlier this year, I think the Jays could have some interest as both the Yankees and Red Sox look beatable so far this year. Maybe this is start of a 2-3 year window for them with all their young talent starting to hit the majors. The one thing they lack is a solid lead off hitter and cf both roles Span is capable of filling. So again using the Bourn trade as a model, I looked at the Blue jays system and saw a wealth of catching and pitching prospects both things the Twins sorely need. My opening over would be:

Span for J.P. Arencibia,+ pitching prospects Deck McGuire and Adonys Cardona

The Jays get a true leadoff hitter. The Twins get a solid, young cost controlled catcher to pair with Mauer and a solid mid-rotation pitching prospect who could be ready by 2014, plus a lottery ticket in Cardona.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Span to Nats?

The Denard to the Nationals rumors refuse to die, and with the Twins looking like they will not be competing in the next 2-3 years. I think maximizing Spans trade value and dealing him in the next month might be the right thing to do.

Now what type of package could we expect to get from Washington has been of of much debate among fans. I have seen some suggest that anything less the Jordan Zimmerman is a deal breaker and others who have clamored we still look for a package revolving around a closer. I thought a good starting place would be to see what other players of Span's caliber have been moved for in recent years and then try to find the best package based on that estimate.

The most logical starting place to me was the Michael Bourn trade last year between the Astros and Braves. Atlanta sent a young, low ceiling major league player and 3 minor leaguers none of whom where top prospects to acquire the leadoff hitter they needed. Bourn was worth 14.0 WAR from 2008 through 2011 while Span was worth 12.2 but missed half of 2011 with his concussion. They are similar players and feel Span should be able to return similer value.

In terms of a low upside major league ready player, I would ask for Steve Lombardozzi who is basically a younger version of Jamey Carrol and could be a useful 2B for the near future not to mention his ties to Twins history. In terms of prospects coming back in the deal I think it is unreasonable to expect the Nationals top prospects as much as I would love to see Anthony Rendon despite his health risk.

When looking through the rest of the Nats top 20 prospect lists they have some pitchers who intrigue me but unfortunately they are hurt or have major question marks about them. Sammy Solis is a 22 year lefthander who sits 90-94 with a plus curveball and solid change, but he is out with Tommy John for the year. Robbie Ray is another young lefthander with three solid pitches, but lacks the upside of some of the other arms in the system. A wildcard Lefty is Kylin Turnbull who has the size and fastball to be an ace but has yet to develop the secondary pitches or consistency. Matt Purke has shoulder issues, Alex Meyer may never be consistent enough with his mechanics to start and so on...

With that in mind I would start the negotiations with Span for Rendon straight up. Twins get their 3B of the future and the Nats fill a big need with a solid CF and very good leadoff hitter as they make a run this year.  

Assuming the Nats would balk at giving up Rendon, I would counter with an offer of Span for Lombordozzi, Ray, Turnbull, and PTBNL with the expectation that the player would be Solis assuming he medicals come back positive at the end of the year. The Twins get a young, high OBP, solid defender at 2B to pair with Dozier until Michael is ready. They also get Ray and Turnbull as minor league pitching depth while still being a couple of years away. Getting Solis as the PTBNL is the key to the deal in my opinion. Assuming he does not have any setbacks during rehab, he should be ready to pitch by next spring since he had surgery in Feb. He was set to be at AA so he could conceivably be major league ready by 2014 and profiles as a #3 starter who can miss bats. Something the Twins sorely need.

I think this is a realistic idea of what a return on a Span trade could look like and you could see by 2015 a starting 2B a #3 starter, a #4 starter, and a solid bullpen arm (if Turnbull cant develop secondary pitches) for a year and a half of Span. That's a good value in return.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Twins Next Window...

In really studying the Twins major and minor league rosters this offseason, and looking back at the past 4 years, I came to the painful conclusion that the Twins missed their window to win a World Series. I think 2009-2012 was that window, and they missed it due to career altering injuries, poor front office management, and the damn Yankees.

Justin Morneau suffering a concussion when he had just reached his absolute peak, was a more crippling blow then most realized. At the time of the injury he was hitting .345/.437/.618, and was looking like a sure fire MVP. Who's to say that Morneau would have pushed the Twins past the said Yankees, but he didnt play against them in '09 or '10. Mauer battled the knee injury in '10, affecting his performance in the playoffs, and all but wiping out his '11 season as well. His future behind the plate is unclear at best, at this point. Injuries to top pitching prospects Kyle Gibson and Alex Wimmers (I am calling Wimmer's Rick Ankeil impersonation an "injury") also has our pitching depth depleted.

When Terry Ryan stepped down in'07, he handed over the reigns to longtime assistant Bill Smith, and I felt the Twins would continue to chug along as usual. No one knew how in over-his-head Smith was and how big the talent gap he inherited was. Smith didnt help himself by trading our only impact prospect for an alright reliever, getting burned in the Delmon trade, not getting maximum return on the Santana trade, botching the Hardy-Nishioka decision, and being dealt some bad luck in his drafts. What Ryan inherited in his 2nd go 'round is a farm system with almost no major league ready talent and its best prospects at least 3-4 years away. 

So where does that put the Twins next window? I was searching for that answer when I opened Baseball America's Prospect Pulse column. While the Twins where hardly represented in the pitchers column, they had more then their fair share of prospects in the position players portion. After reading it, a small shoot of hope started to sprout, and I came to the conclusion that, providing a lot of luck, the Twins could have a great young nucleous all reaching the majors around 2015 and hopefully hitting their peaks about 2017-20. Lets take a look three years out and see what the team might be look like then.

C Mauer age 32 / Hermann age 27 (spilting catching duties assuming Hermann continues to develop as a catcher and Mauer is still able to catch 60-80 games a year)
1B Parmelee age 27 / Mauer
2B Rosario age 24
SS Michael age 24
3B Sano age 23/Valencia age 31 (if Sano stops growing otherwise he could be at 1B instead)
LF Arcia age 25
CF Hicks age 26
RF Benson age 28
DH Parmelee/Sano/Mauer/Hermann

UTIL Dozier age 28
4th OF Revere age 26


SP Appel age 26 (hoping he slides to #2 in this years draft)
SP Gibson age 29
SP Baker age 33 or Other vetern free agent pitcher.
SP Wimmers age 28 (assuming he recovers his form)
SP Hendriks age 27
While the chances of all of these guys developing to even 80% of their ceilings is almost nil, and its likely a couple will wash out completely, it doesn't stop me from seeing the Twins next World Series window as being 2017-2020 when all of these guys will be within the peak ages of 27-31 with the exception of Mauer. So, if your are upset and bitter about the Twins not looking like contenders this year or the next, hopefully this gives a ray of hope and something else to follow.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Prep Draft Prospect Week 2 Update...

If you have not heard by now, TACGM favorite prospect Lucas Giolito has a sprained UCL, and will miss the rest of his high school season. While this should effectivly end the Twins interest in him, he still has the potential to become a really good prospect and is not worth writing off completely. I think he ends up going to UCLA, and trying to establish himself as a top 5 pick now in the 2015 draft.

Byron Buxton, who is now my favorite prospect for the Twins at #2, has lea his Appling County HS team to a 6-0 start on the year. His high school team has a site with game recaps (but no stats) that can be found here. I think Buxton has as high if not a higher ceiling than Aaron Hicks, but his bat may be more polished than Hicks was at the same age.

Caroll TX HS OF Courtney Hawkins has started the season on a tear going 9-13 with 3 HR's and 2 BB's in his first four games.

Luke Sims of Brookwood High in Georgia is on my Radar as a RHP, but he is also plays SS and has signed to play baseball at Clemson. He had a hit in his last game and has led them to a 4-0 record so far.

Olympia HS OF Jesse Winker had helped pace his team to a 10-0 start on the year. As an all-bat prep, he is going to have to prove his offense can carry his stock if he wants to stay in the top 50 of the draft.

Zach Eflin of Haggerty HS has helped propel his team to a 7-1 start.

D.J. Davis of Stone, MS was 3-8 on the week with a couple of walks. From the reports I have read on him, he reminds me of Ben Revere but with more possible offensive upside.

Monday, March 5, 2012

College Draft Prospect Week 2 Update

Stanford ace Mark Appel followed up his great start last week with a not so great one this week. While he went 8 innings and struck out 11, he gave 8 hits, two HR's and 7 runs in a 7-4 loss to Fresno State. Conor Glassery at Baseball America had a nice write up on him after the start that can be found here. While the amount of hard contact he gives up now is concerning, Appel can grow into a dominant starter if his command within the strike zone can improve.

Florida State OF James Ramsey was 5-10 with a 2B, a 3B and his 4th homer of the season in a weekend sweep of Maine. Ramsey has gotten off to a solid start this year, but with teams most likely viewing him as a 4th outfielder I wonder if someone might try to move him to 2B his high school position.

Brandon Kline of Virginia continues his transition to starter with an alright start this weekend against Seton Hall. He went 6 innings again with 6 k's and 3 bb's, he gave up 4 runs, but only 1 was earned, on 5 hits. Kline continues to intrigue me due to his fastball/slider combo and his ability to generate ground balls. He could end up in the bullpen in the majors, but has the stuff to be a legitimate weapon in the late innings.

Oklahoma State's Andrew Heaney continued his good start with another very good outing against TCU on Friday night. He gave up only 2 runs on 6 hits over 6.2  innings with 9 k's and 3 bb's in a 4-2 win. Heaney, who was demoted to the bullpen in the middle of last year, has really built upon his success he had on the Cape, and is looking like a sure bet to be taken in the supplemental round at this point.

Arkansas closer Nolan Sanburn threw 6 innings with 11 k's this week, but gave up 7 hits and 2 runs in his three appearances.

Razorback starter D.J. Baxendale went just 5 innings in his start against Texas, but he gave up only 2 runs on 3 hits. On the year, he has given up only 4 earned runs in 17 innings with a 3:1 K:B ratio.

Arizona State's Brady Rogers continued his sterling start to the season with a complete game against University of Saint Louis. He gave up just 4 hits and 1 unearned run while striking out 7 and walking just 2. He has yet to give up an earned run on the year and has a 12:1 K:BB ratio while giving up only 13 hits in 22 innings.

Alex Wood of Georgia dominated Western Illinois on Friday night as he continues to prove he has recovered from Tommy John surgery. He went 8 innings giving up no runs and only 2 hits, he walked no one and struck out 14. If he continues to pitch well he could move into the top 50 picks in the draft.

Another name to watch:
Former Twins draftee Pat Light of Monmouth features a 90-94 fastball and heavy two seamer around 90, but struggles with both of his off speed pitches. The Twins tend to love guys like this and there is a chance they could take him if he falls to them in the beginning of the 2nd round. So far this year he has given up 11 runs in 20 innings with just 11 k’s and 5 BB’s.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

High School Draft Prospect Roundup...

High school game recaps are proving more difficult to come by, but I was able to find some information on each of the guys I have been intrigued by.

Harvard-Westlake's Lucas Giolito has shown why he may be the first high school RHP ever taken first in the draft hitting 100 mph and striking out 8 in 6.1 in his last start. He only gave up one hit and walked no one, the Twins could be in a good position in that they can just take whichever pitcher Houston doesn't take at 1-1.

Byron Buxton of Appling County HS in GA. starts his season tomorrow 3/1 and will begin to make his case to be the first prep position player to be taken in this years draft.

Carroll HS, TX OF Courtney Hawkins and his team started out 1-0 this week and Hawkins even pitched an inning in the opening win.

RHP Luke Sims of Brookwood HS, GA gets started later today and we'll hopefully have his results next week.

Olympia HS, FL 1B/OF Jesse Winker led his team to a walk off win over Lake Howell to improve to 7-0. He followed that game up with a couple of hits against Edgewater.

Staying in the same region, Hagerty HS, FL RHP Zach Eflin started his season off with a short start, but had 6 k's in 3 innings. I think Eflin is a pitcher to keep an eye on as we head up to the draft. He could be a nice high reward pick in 2nd round if he doesn't improve his stock over the course of the spring.

Massive RHP Taylore Cherry of Butler HS, OH doesnt start his season until march 24th.

D.J. Davis of Stone HS, MS has shown his trademark plate discipline with a 3/1 BB/K ratio despite only going 2-7 in his first week. His full stats can be found here.