Twins Tools

6 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

When scouts talk about prospects, high school kids, college kids or minor leaguers, we hear about their tools. There have always been five known tools:

1.)     Hit (for average)

2.)     Hit (for power)

3.)     Run/Speed

4.)     Fielding

5.)     Arm

In the last decade many have added a sixth tool, that being Plate Discipline or Patience.

I always look at the tools of minor leaguers. It helps determine how good a player COULD be. For instance, let’s take a look at Ft. Myers outfielder Aaron Hicks, one of the organization’s top prospect. If I were to rank him on his Tools, here is what I would say (Note – I will use a scale of 1-10. Typically scouts discuss players these on a 20-80 scale:

1.)     Hit (for average) – 8 – if he develops as I think he can, he could hit .280-.300

2.)     Hit (for power) – 6 – if he develops as I think he can, he could hit as many as 18-22 home runs a year.

3.)     Run/Speed – 9 – Hicks is very fast.

4.)     Fielding – 9 – he has the range and his instincts continue to get better.

5.)     Arm – 10 – The guy throws 97 mph. That’s a pretty strong arm.

6.)     Plate Discipline – 9 – he has always had a very good Isolated Discipline.

Hicks is 21 years old, playing in Ft. Myers. He is three promotions (and likely 2-3 years) from being in the big leagues. The goal would be that through player development, those tools would turn into skills. Do I expect that Aaron Hicks will be a 6-tool player in the big leagues? Very few are. But what if he has four of those skills at the big league level? That makes him a very good big leaguer. Very few players in the major leagues would rank as average or better in more than two or three skill sets.

So, I wanted to take a look and subjectively allocate a point total for each player for each tool. Obviously many of these players are new to the big leagues, I’m still looking at their tool set, to some degree. But for the players that have been around for a couple of years, we are really looking at their skills.

The data/numbers are subjective, however I tried to put something to it. In the Hit for Average category, I thought that a .330 or better average would be a 10. I put .300 or better at 8. .270 is a 6. .240 is a 4. .210 is a 2. Obviously there is room in between.

In the Hit for Power, I put 40 or more homers as a 10. 32 home runs at 8. 24 or more home runs scores a 6. 16 or more home runs at 4. 8 or more home runs scores a 2. 0 home run potential, 0 points.

Three through five are really subjective, based on visuals and times and such. Basically, in my mind, a 5 is average. (To see all columns, click here)

   

Hit/Avg

Hit/Pwr

Run

Fldg

Arm

Patience

Total

Catchers Joe Mauer

10

4

4

7

8

8

41

  Drew Butera

1

1

4

8

7

3

24

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infielders Justin Morneau

7

8

3

6

5

5

34

  Tsuyoshi Nishioka

7

2

8

7

5

7

36

  Luke Hughes

5

4

5

3

6

6

29

  Alexi Casilla

4

1

8

4

6

4

27

  Danny Valencia

7

5

6

6

7

4

35

  Matt Tolbert

4

1

8

6

5

6

30

  Trevor Plouffe

4

5

6

5

6

4

30

  Jim Thome

5

7

1

0

0

9

22

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outfielders Delmon Young

8

7

6

5

8

2

36

  Denard Span

8

3

9

7

5

8

40

  Michael Cuddyer

6

6

4

4

8

5

33

  Jason Kubel

7

8

2

4

8

5

34

  Jason Repko

3

2

8

8

8

4

33

  Ben Revere

8

1

10

7

2

4

32

  Rene Tosoni

7

5

6

6

6

7

37

Red is for 9 and 10. Green is for 7 and 8.

I added the Total column. I don’t think that it carries much meaning, but I wanted to add it for you to use if you would like. In other words, just because I score Danny Valencia at 35 and Jason Kubel at 34 doesn’t necessarily mean that Valencia is better than Kubel. Valencia has pretty solid numbers across the  board while the speed of Kubel brings down his overall score.

So, what do you think/ I hope that a chart like this makes you think a little. Your numbers may be different than mine, but hopefully this creates some discussion. Denard Span was drafted as a toolsy high school outfielder. By my count, he has four of the six tools (or 3 of the 5, depending on how you want to think about it). That’s pretty good. Jason Repko can’t hit, but he can run, field and throw, which makes him a terrific off-the-bench option as a pinch runner. Guys like Revere, Nishioka, Plouffe and Tosoni have very little big league time, too little to determine where their final “skill” numbers will be, so they might be a little bit higher than others because their numbers are at least partially still a measure of tools.

Please feel free to comment (and hopefully more than the standard four or five will comment. I want to hear everyone’s opinion!).

Minor League Notes

The Twins had Thursday off. The news from the Twins was that they chose to purchase the contract of Rene Rivera from the Rochester Red Wings. That puts the Twins at 40 on their 40 man roster. Tonight, they will start a four-game series in Boston against the Red Sox.

As mentioned yesterday, there were several minor league transactions. Are there any more to come? For that information and more, check out last night’s Twins Minor League Weekly podcast. The show is on every Monday and Thursday night at 10:00 central time. The show can be heard live until 10:30, and then there are 15 minutes that can only be heard by clicking here.

Thursday SethSpeaks.net Minor League Hitter of the DayJames Beresford, Ft. Myers Miracle 

Thursday SethSpeaks.net Minor League Pitcher of the DaySteve Hirschfeld, New Britain Rock Cats

Red Wings Ramblings

Thursday – Red Wings 3, Gwinnett 2 – Anthony Swarzak started out well. He threw five shutout innings before giving up two runs and recording one out in the sixth inning. Kyle Waldrop stranded two runners that inning and pitched a scoreless 7th frame. Chuck James had a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Anthony Slama struck out two in the ninth and recorded the win. Toby Gardenhire hit his second home run of the season. Brian Dinkelman was 2-4 with a walk. Steve Singleton was 1-3 with a walk in his first AAA game. Ray Chang also played in his first AAA game. He went 2-4 with a walk, a double, and a game-winning, walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th.  

Rock Cats Report

Thursday Game 1 – Rock Cats 2, Richmond 1 – Steve Hirschfeld started and won his second game. In six innings, he gave up one run on three hits. Cole DeVries recorded his sixth save with a scoreless ninth inning. Evan Bigley went 2-3 with his fifth double and sixth triple Joe Benson hit his 9th double.

Thursday Game 2 – Rock Cats 4, Richmond 7 (10 innings) – Liam Hendriks posted another good start. He gave up two runs on four hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out eight. Jake Stevens came in to finish the game in the 7th, but he gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in the inning to send it to extra innings. Tyler Robertson threw 2.2 innings. He was charged with the three runs in the 10th inning to take the loss. Santos Arias got the final out. Evan Bigley hit his sixth double and third triple Yangervis Solarte and Deibinson Romero each went 2-4. Romero walked and hit his fourth double, as well.  

Miracle Matters

Thursday – Miracle 6, Palm Beach 5 – Edgar Ibarra got a spot start and gave up five runs on six hits (including 3 home runs) and a walk. Brad Tippett came in for his first appearance of the year, and he threw two scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and struck out two. Jhon Garcia struck out four in two scoreless innings. Dakota Watts picked up the Win with a perfect ninth. Jhonathan Goncalves  went 2-4 with a double. Reggie Williams was also 2-4. Josmil Pinto went 2-3 with a walk in his first Miracle game. He added an RBI double in the bottom of the 8th inning to tie the game. With the score tied at nine going into the bottom of the 9th, Goncalves led off with a single. Aaron Hicks walked. After a double-steal, James Beresford singled in the game-winning run. Beresford was 3-4 in the game and is now hitting .344.  

Snappers Bites

Thursday – Snappers 10, Wisconsin 5 – The Snappers needed an offensive outburst like this. All season, it has been Danny Ortiz, Oswaldo Arcia and Question Mark. In this game, they had seven players with two hits. Andy Leer was 2-4 with a walk, his first homer and three RBI. Tobias Streich was 2-5 with his first home run and two RBI. Jamaal Hawkins went 2-4 with a walk and his second double. He also stole his second base. Nate Roberts went 2-3 with a walk and his second double. Danny Ortiz went 2-4 with his 11th double. Gunner Glad went 2-4 with his third double. Wang-Wei Lin was 2-5.Andrei Lobanov started and gave up two runs on six hits and two walks in 4.1 innings. Blayne Weller came in and gave up his first earned run of the year, on two hits and a walk in 1.2 innings. He recorded the win and improved to 3-0. Martire Garcia gave up two unearned runs on two hits and a walk in his inning. Jose Gonzalex threw two scoreless innings, striking out two.   

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

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20 Responses to “Twins Tools”

  1. mike wants wins May 6, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    Doesn’t run need to take into account stolen base percentage and pickoffs? Span can’t be more than a 7. He’s not a good baserunner. He’s fast, but it doesn’t translate on the base paths.

    Is Kubel really that much slower than Cuddeyer? In the field, frankly, Kubel looks to have more range to me. Is Kubel slower than Butera? That much slower? I think that you are underestimating things there.

    I don’t believe that Young will have as high a BA as Span either. That’s more an acknowledgment of Span than YOung, though.

    Your point about total scores is important. It shows the weaknesses of “averages”. Is it better to have three great scores and three meh scores, or better to have 6 mediocre scores? I’s say it is more likely that you get better overall results from the extremes, than a guy with a bunch of 4-6 scores, but I don’t know that.

    Interesting post, that I’ll give more thought to when I’m not at work.

    • Seth May 6, 2011 at 8:25 am #

      Obviously everyone can and will have varying opinions on each column in the entire chart. I wouldn’t think anyone would agree with everything. I’m just putting my thoughts based on watching pretty much every game.

      As for the Young/Span BA thing… Young is pretty consistent between .290 and .300. Span hasn’t been as consistent. I think he hit .311 once, but he hit.264 once. Career average .289. Young’s .291. Pretty similar to me.

      I take everything into account in the “Run” category. Flat-out speed, outfield range, base stealing, base running (1st to 3rd, or home to third, etc.). It’s more than just base stealing.

      • mike wants wins May 6, 2011 at 8:45 am #

        You know, I think I was mixing BA/Patience with Span. Now that I expanded the graph (d’oh), I see the difference.

        I agree, run needs to take it all into account, that’s why I think it is lower than you do for Span, but you are right, we won’t agree on every score.

  2. gobbledy May 6, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    seth when is young coming back?

    • Seth May 6, 2011 at 9:58 am #

      Hopefully this weekend. My assumption would be that when he comes back, tosoni would go back to Rochester.

  3. gobbledy May 6, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    another ? seth would the twins have any interest in ryan doumit. rumors are that he could be had cheap as a salary dump. fairly decent righthanded bat that could fill a black hole for a while.

    • Seth May 6, 2011 at 9:59 am #

      There was talk of that this spring. I don’t know what the Pirates would ask for, but he’d be a decent hitting backup.

  4. clutterheart May 6, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Points need to be weighted. If you can hit a team will find a place for you.But if you only can run fast, probally not.

  5. roger May 6, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Add me to the group that believes you underrated Kubel. He isn’t fast, but he is faster than a ‘2’. He also is a solid outfielder. I think Gardy is beginning to realize that Kubel is better defensively than Cuddyer and Delmon.

    You said something intersting Seth, that is that Aaron Hicks could be a good major leaguer if he had four great skills. I expect that he has those four right now, running, fielding, arm and patience. OK, but what if he has four great skills and hits .220 average? Is he still a better than average big leaguer?

    • DB May 6, 2011 at 11:11 am #

      I think he’s also starting to realize that Kubel hits better when he gets to play the field on a regular basis.

      • mike wants wins May 6, 2011 at 11:47 am #

        I think there was a study done showing around a 5% drop in hitting production when moving to DH, but that may be something I imagined.

    • mike wants wins May 6, 2011 at 11:48 am #

      Great question Roger.

    • Brady May 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

      A better-than-average big leaguer MUST be able to hit at least a little, otherwise Carlos Gomez would be considered “b-t-a”. Gomez is “decent”, not above average. He has mad fielding and speed skills and has a plus arm, with very raw power; however, he cannot hit a beach ball with a baseball bat.

  6. TT May 6, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    There is some confusion here between tools and skills. The five tools are speed, power, hitting, arm and fielding.

    Obviously there are skills involved in things like fielding, but that isn’t what is being evaluated when scouts look at tools. They are looking at a players hands, quickness and range. Tools are things you can’t really teach.

    Baserunning is a skill, not a tool. “Patience” is an approach to hitting that is a favorite of the cult of OBP. But as far as I can tell, no one has ever demonstrated that taking more pitches leads to more walks.

    • adyacent May 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      Oh! I always thought that you have to have the patience to take 4 pitches to earn a walk

      • TT May 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

        You also have to have patience to take three pitches and strike out.

  7. David May 6, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    It would be interesting to pull in the players we had last year and compare them to the team currently.

  8. DH in Philly May 6, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    I always thought “five tools” referred to the most frequest posters on the StarTrib blogs.

  9. Brady May 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Seth, in your opinion what position do you feel Mauer’s skills translate best to? Realistically we all know he will not be able to catch forever. I give it 2 years max before the Twins say enough is enough. I think either 3B or RF would be ideal positions for him (i.e. if Morneau is still on the team at that time).

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Sports Pages: Jake Peavy, Eric Hosmer, and Anthony Young? | Motor City Bengals - May 6, 2011

    [...] by others to have them. That said, Seth Stohs of SethSpeaks has taken things a step further, or a tool further anyway, and breaks down the Twins roster to see which players are the biggest tool sheds. As always with [...]

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