Aces of Baseball

14 Feb

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Throughout the past few offseasons, the comments I hear most regarding the Twins needs involve the need to acquire an Ace. In fact, I’ve said it a few times myself. Of course, that isn’t completely true and it is never the full story. You see, for the mid-90s, the Twins had not only an Ace, but the best pitcher in baseball, and that didn’t get them to the second round of the playoffs. The 2011 Phillies boasted a starting rotation of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt and didn’t get to the World Series. That rotation has two definite Aces, a borderline ace and a former ace.

I’d also caution that many people, one year ago, felt that Francisco Liriano fell into the borderline ace category. That is just one example of why I believe that to be a true ace, there has to be greatness over several seasons. Another example would be Ubaldo Jimenez who was dominant for half of the 2010 season but hasn’t been great since. Like Liriano, Jimenez has a chance to return to ace-like status, but we shall see. 

With that, I took to Twitter yesterday where I asked my ‘followers’ which current major league pitchers would or should be classified as True Aces. The response was great, and I will break this into the true aces (my opinion), and those on the borderline (my opinion).

True Aces:

  • Justin Verlander (Year 3 of five year, $80 million contract – $20M)
  • Clayton Kershaw (Year 1 of two year, $19 million contract – $7.5M)
  • Tim Lincecum (Year 1 of two year, $40.5 million contract – $18M)
  • CC Sabathia (Year 1 of five year, $122 million contract – $23M)
  • Felix Hernandez (Year 3 of five year, $78 million contract – $18.5M)
  • Cliff Lee (Year 2 of five year, $120 million contract – $21.5M)
  • Roy Halladay (Year 2 of three year, $60 million contract – $20M)
  • Jared Weaver (Year 1 of five year, $85 million contract – $14M)
  • Dan Haren (Year 4 of four year, $44.75 million contract – $12.75M – $15.5M club option for 2013)
  • Yovani Gallardo (Year 3 of five year, $30.1 million contract, $5.5M)
  • Matt Cain (Year 3 of three year, $27.25 million contract, $15M)
  • Chris Carpenter (Year 1 of two year, $21 million contract – $10.5M)

Borderline Aces:

  • Josh Johnson (Year 3 of four year, $39 million contract – $13.75M)
  • Cole Hamels (avoided arbitration, $15M)
  • Adam Wainright (Year 5 of four year, $15 million contract – Cardinals picked up $9M option for 2012 despite Tommy John surgery)
  • Zach Greinke (Year 4 of four year, $38 million contract – $13.5M)
  • Matt Garza (avoided arbitration, $9.5 M)
  • Jon Lester (Year 4 of five year, $30 million contract, $7.625M)
  • Josh Beckett (Year 2 of four year, $68 million contract – $15.75M)
  • David Price (avoided arbitration, $4.25M)
  • Ricky Romero (Year 2 of five year, $30.1 million contract, $5M)
  • Anibal Sanchez (won arbitration, 1 year, $8M)

Could be an Ace quickly: Matt Moore, Stephen Strasburg, Mat Latos, Yu Darvish, Michael Pineda, Jeremy Hellickson, Tommy Hanson, Julio Teheran, Gerrit Cole, Dylan Bundy.

So, when I hear Twins fans say, “We (meaning, the Twins) need an Ace,” I will frequently say, “I agree. How are the Twins going to get one?”

Not one pitcher in that top list is available. Part of the reason they are in that top list is that, so far, they have been able to stay healthy. Johan Santana used to be in that category, but now that he hasn’t pitched for over 18 months, I’m not so sure he should be there any further. In the “Borderline” category, there are some guys who have been really good for a short period of time, or there is some injury concern or some inconsistency.

We can argue what an Ace is, who is or who isn’t. That’s not really the point here. The point is that they are not easy to come by. These guys are not available, and after the Mat Latos trade earlier this offseason, it’s understandable to see why. Latos was traded to the Reds from the Padres in exchange for Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger. Part of that is because Latos is not even arbitration-eligible for another year. However, the Cubs have been trying to trade Matt Garza much of the offseason and either are not getting any interest or the asking price is beyond what anyone is willing to pay. Santana is probably a big reason why. When the Twins traded the two-time Cy Young winner to the Mets, he was baseball’s best pitcher. He was good for another year and a half and then he did what most pitchers do, he got hurt. Of course, he could still come back. We shall see. But will he ever be what he was again? Probably not.

More than half of the players listed above were drafted in the first half of the first round. The Twins have had one pick in the first half of the first round since 2002. The Twins have a big opportunity in the June draft when they have the 2nd overall pick. Mark Appel’s name is frequently mentioned as a possible choice. The Stanford right hander doesn’t really profile as an Ace, more like a 2 or 3 starter (like Kyle Gibson, Alex Wimmers or Liam Hendriks). Not that there is anything wrong with a 2 or 3 starter. Those are very good pitchers who will make a lot of money when they hit free agency. Lucas Giolito is another pitcher, a high school pitcher, who gets mentioned as a possible #2 pick. He profiles much more like a future Ace, but there is much more risk with a high school pitcher than with a college pitcher. Of course, by the time of the draft in June, there may be another name (pitcher or hitter) who is the best available player at that #2 spot and that’s who the Twins should take. The Twins have five picks in the top 100 picks this June.

Along with signing Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Javier Pimentel and other talented Dominican hitters, the Twins have also done a good job signing several top Dominican pitchers in recent years. They have signed two top young pitchers from Taiwan.

I completely agree with people who say that the Twins need an Ace. Frankly, the best way for that to happen is for Francisco Liriano to gain a little self-confidence, trust his stuff and become that pitcher again. He was there in 2010. It’s a contract-year for him, so it would be to his benefit if he did regain that form this year. Scott Baker was pitching as well as anyone last year before his elbow injuries. He really needs to step up too.

And then they just have to find a way to sign the right draft picks and international players and develop them. Frankly, I’m not as worried about getting a True Ace. That doesn’t guarantee anything. But I do think that pitching does win, and if they had more #2s and #3s that were consistent, they would be just fine.

Any thoughts? Please feel free to use the Comments Section!

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44 Responses to “Aces of Baseball”

  1. Michael Kunza February 14, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    The fact of the matter is that the reason the Twins pitching sucks is because they are a “play it safe” organization. We would much rather pick a player who has already hit his ceiling in terms of potential than to stick our necks out and grab someone with a little piss in their veins.

    Until the Twins change, and it won’t happen under Terry Ryan either, they will always have a collection of weak tossing pitchers who will give you 150+ innings, but couldn’t strike out the bat boy.

    I hate to be negative but I already can’t wait until Ron Gardenhire and Terry Ryan’s tenure have come to an end. This organization is lifeless and needs more than a spark, it needs a forest fire to start things completely over. Oh, but I can’t wait for another full year of listening to Gardenhire talk of his players… Cappy, Blacky, Spany, Franky, Perky, YUCK. It is hard to be optimistic with the current leadership.

  2. peterb18 February 14, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    I think Michael hit it on the head! I would add that the Pohlad family can put a winning team on the field anytime they want. It is philosophy with them.

  3. Matt February 14, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    I could’ve sworn the Twins had one of those guys in your “borderline” category at one point, but didn’t like him much and traded him.

    The Twins won’t come out and say it, but the reason they accumulate so many #4 and #5 “pitch to contact and cross your fingers” guys is because they’re cheap and if they get hurt it’s not a disaster. Say the Twins draft a guy like Appel or Giolito, and they pan out and become a true #1 – how long will they be able to keep him while saddled with the Joe Mauer contract?

    • Seth February 14, 2012 at 9:38 am #

      When people call the Twins or the Pohlad’s “Cheap”, it pretty much makes their argument meaningless. No team with a $100M payroll is cheap.

      Anyway, to answer your question regarding Appel or Giolito – How long will they be able to keep him while saddled with the Mauer contract?

      1.) The Mauer contract (as well as Morneau’s) are validation that the Twins/Pohlad’s are not cheap.
      2.) They would keep those guys somewhere between 5 and 8 years… which I would be quite happy with. Once they would hit 31, it’s downhill in most cases, so I’ll take their best years.

      • Matt February 14, 2012 at 11:46 am #

        Bear in mind I didn’t call the Pohlads “cheap”. I said that they like cheap pitchers because they are interchangeable and are low-risk.

      • darin February 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

        The Mauer contract doesn’t prove the Twins are not cheap, it just shows they are idiots who jumped the gun by a year and overpaid for a guy who never wanted to leave the comfort/security of the Twins organization. Ron Shapiro made them pay huge for Mauer. I would have loved to see how Boston or New York would have treated Mauer if he pulled all of his little injuries and reasons why he couldn’t play. He would be locked in a rubber room for life after the media would have torched him in either city.
        On the subject of an ace, I don’t see any pitchers on the list that “pitch to contact” like the Twins approach to pitching.

  4. tenthinningstretch February 14, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    I think what really needs to be mentioned is that the moniker of an “Ace” should be flexible and adjustable and not something that should be worned forever. I do not like the word btw. I do prefer the “Dominant Pitcher” term. Some pitchers have dominating seasons (including some of the ones mentioned here.) Some of those pitcher have more than one, some have 1-2 and some are one hit wonders.

    Here are some interesting historical examples:

    Was Nolan Ryan an Ace? Never won a Cy Young Award, always lost a lot of games, and never had a breakthrough season other than maybe 1981 (strike season). But he was dominating.

    Was our friend Frankie sweet music Viola an Ace? other than 1987 and 88 an maybe 1990 he was league average.

    I think that what the Twins need is some break-through performances and they had those in the past (remeber Allan Anderson in 1988?). Liriano can be dominating so can Baker. Pavano knows what being an “Ace” is (he was traded for one -Pedro, and he was the “Ace” in a team that had just won a World Series).

    Really if Liriano and Baker pitch to their potential. Pavano and Marquis eat innings and keep the ball low and Blackburn somewhat returns to his league average form, if this team gives them run support and does not boot every 4th ball down the middle, the Twins will be alright.

    Everything else is just semantics :)

  5. TT February 14, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    There was a time when the Twins signed hard throwing young pitchers. They had guys like Todd Ritchie, Johnny Ard, Dan Serafini, Paul Abbott, Pat Mahomes, Willie Banks, Dave Stevens and later Adam Johnson and Ryan Mills in the system. If they would just go back to those days they could still be the same team they were in the late 90′s. But Terry Ryan lost his edge and that ain’t going happen again as long as he is still around.

    • Seth February 14, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      This is a great point… It’s really impossible to know who those top pitchers will be when they are signed and drafted. That’s actually why I would never have a problem with them drafted more “sure-thing” pitchers who will likely top out at a #3, and hopefully step up to a #2. It’s not like when Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay they were projected to be “Aces.”

    • Gary February 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

      Twins are perhaps gun shy in drafting hard throwers if they are reviewing your list of FLOPS. Another lesson learned = how many of those FLOPS were HS pitchers rather than college pitchers. Better to wait until the cream rises to the top in college than to be left with high school spoiled milk.

  6. birdwatcher February 14, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Good article, Seth. And this whole notion that the Twins never ever ever ever draft and develop pitchers who can throw hard or strike out batters is just so simplistic.

    Give the Twins a top ten draft slot for five years in a row, and you’ll see a change. That is by far the main reason you don’t see more talent. It has nothing to do with the lame and tired crap some of you throw out there about the Pohlads being cheap or the Twins scouts being allergic to any pitcher who throws the ball “hard”.

    • Michael Kunza February 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

      With all due respect that is absolutely not true. A top ten pick does not make an ace. There are plenty of guys that never make it to the big leagues drafted in the top 10. A top 10 pick means absolutely jack.

      With all due respect, again, you should take 10 minutes and look at where all the studs in the big leagues were drafted. There is not that great of success rates with guys drafted in round 1 or 2 or 3 or 4….

      • Seth February 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

        A top ten pick does not make an ace… that is absolutely true. Obviously they have to actually be good and stay healthy. Willie Banks, Adam Johnson… there are plenty Twins examples of top 10 pitchers that didn’t turn into an ace. I would note that of the list above, most are picks taken in the top half of the first round, but there are others that did turn themselves into aces. There’s no exact science to this.

  7. AW February 14, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    The Yankees just gave up a great prospect, Jesus Montero (and pitcher Hector Noesi), to acquire Miguel Pineda (and pitcher Jose Campos). Pineda may or may not turn out to be an ace. He’s extremely young and under team control for a while, and he looked great in the first half of the season, but wasn’t good down the stretch. Ended up with an ERA over 5. Montero was undoubtedly the Yankees’ top prospect. So that’s apparently the going rate on the open market for a pitcher that has the potential to have “ace” stuff.

    Sounds to me like the better way to go about it is through player development, unless the Twins are willing to give up Miguel Sano and Aaron Hicks for a player that has a decent chance to be that #1 we all want to see.

    Finally, I’ll just add that, for 2012 at least, the Twins seem to be more than 1 good pitcher away from getting past the first round of the playoffs.

    • Keli February 14, 2012 at 10:51 am #

      I really like the ‘Montero for Pineda’ line of reasoning!

      Let’s have a show of hands of who would be willing to trade Sano for someone like Pineda, who has ‘ace’ potential?

      As for me, no thank you!

      • Michael Kunza February 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

        What? Am I reading this correctly? You wouldn’t trade a position player for the chance at a dominant pitcher? If I did read that correctly, you’re telling me that really good pitching doesn’t increase your chances of winning the World Series?

        Holy smoly.

      • Seth February 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

        I wouldn’t trade Sano for many, but there are maybe a couple of these guys that I would. I would be willing to trade Hicks for any of them that have shown health, I think.

    • shane February 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

      Exactly, look where Aaron Hicks is rated in Seth’s prospect ratings. Time to sell before he is no longer a top 5 guy in the organization. They should trade someone out of their bunch of OF prospects and get somebody who can help this team win.

      One thing I am wondering is Seth either related to or trying to become the new Sid Hartman? I can’t recall anyone else who can find no fault in an upside down organization.

      • SethSpeaks February 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

        This is funny to me… since I’ve been spending all offseason saying that the Twins will likely be competing for 3rd place in the division. Unless they are fully healthy and everything goes right, that’s my opinion. That’s why I actually like the decisions that the Twins have made this offseason. They have added some very solid veteran players including Carroll (On-Base machine, huge defensive improvement) and Willingham (good OBP guy with huge power). Love the Doumit deal because he fills a need and is pretty similar offensively to Kubel. These guys are nice players to compliment Mauer, Morneau and Span who are the kyes. If those guys are healthy and paly like they have in the past (and I believe Mauer and Span will, not optimistic on Morneau), they could be pretty decent. IF not, and they’re out of it in early July, they have a lot of tradeable players (Carroll, Liriano, Pavano, Baker, Capps, Zumaya and more). But to say I find no fault in any decidsions the organization makes is completely false too. I wasn’t at all a fan of any of the Capps transactions… but I crazily have the ability to get over them and move on and be hopeful that he pitches well. I wasn’t a fan of the Marquis signing, but then I looked at his career numbers and realized that despite a lack of Ks, he’s had a really solid MLB career, so I’m willing to see how that plays out. I don’t think being hopefu of optimistic takes away my ability to be realistic.

  8. Jim H February 14, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Ace is one those terms that has different meaning for diffierent people. Recently, on a different site, I was called a homer for suggesting that Radke was an ace or at least one of the top 15 pitchers in baseball during some of his career. Later, he admitted that WAR(something I have no confidence in) rated Radke one of the best 15 pitchers in baseball 5 times during his career. He still felt that Radke was no “Ace”. Which may be true, depending on your definition.

    I don’t think you need an “Ace” to have a good team. You need a collection of good starters, however, and if one of them has an “Ace” like year it helps your chances.

  9. birdwatcher February 14, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Jim H, very well said. Think about this: if a pitcher starts 35 games in a season and converts about half of those starts into wins, loses a third of the time, and gets a no-decision in the rest, he ends up at 17-12. Just give me a couple of bulldogs that want the W, refuse to back down, eat innings, and kick over a cooler once in awhile. You’ll probably get me a guy who goes 17-12 in his better years and is labeled a #2 or #3 starter. Hell, give me three of them. I’ll trade you an ace for them.

  10. Josh February 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    I would love to see the Twins go after Grienke on the free agent market next year. Pavano’s contract will be up, which would get the team quite a bit of the way there towards signing him. He’s only been about a league-average pitcher the past 2 seasons, but I think he’s still got several more excellent season left in him, and shouldn’t command some absurd 6 year deal at $15-20M per. I also doubt he’s going to chase the money into the biggest market he can find and would find pitching at Target Field appealing and the Twins as a franchise appealing. But that’s a dream for 2013.

    But it’s an excellent point: there are not a lot of established “aces” that are on the market. The Twins need one, but so do a lot of teams.

    I think what people talk about with the Twins is a lack of “high-upside” pitchers in the system more generally. outside of Liriano, there’s no one in the rotation or close in the system that make people think, “wow, he’s got the stuff to win a Cy!” and that’s what people associate with an “ace”. You don’t have to even win one, so long as people think you could, if things break right for you.

    I’m ok with the twins having a lot of pitch to contact control artists in the system, but it should be balanced out a little better with some higher upside arms.

  11. mike wants wins February 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    Seth’s key point is that it might be better to get 2-3 number 2 types, than 1 ace type. That said, i don’t see the Twins trading for or signing one (or more) of those either, so we are left with draft and develop. I guess we’ll see if Ryan and his team can draft well or not starting again this year. I hope they can, and we see more Garza’s and less of the buys that TT named….but then they need to actually keep the Garza’s around, and not deal them.

    An Ace or three does not guarantee anything, but the implication that you’d not want the Phillies rotation cracked me up. I’d trade the entire Twins team for the entire Phillies team right now. I’d happily trade the Twins pitching staff, and half their minor league pitchers for the Phillies starters right now.

    • Seth February 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

      Wow! I hope I didn’t imply that I wouldn’t want that Phillies rotation. My point was that it was incredible and it still didn’t guarantee even a World Series berth last year. I’d take my chances with it any day.

      My point was more that there aren’t very many True Aces and they aren’t exactly available. I would also say that Legit #2s are really, really good pitchers.

      • mike wants wins February 16, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

        Agreed, on both points, there aren’t many aces, and legit 2s are great pitchers.

        Phew on the Phillies thing….

  12. Jim H February 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Now we are back to definitions. Garza and several others that Seth named aren’t “Aces” and may never be aces. Right now, they are mid rotation guys comparable but probably not as good as say Baker. Just like Edwin Jackson, Liriano, and AJ Burnett a few years ago. Everybody talks about their velocity, stuff and ability to miss bats. But these guys aren’t consistent, aren’t really all that likely to become consistent before they start declining in both velocity and stuff. Give me guys like Lee, Halliday and Carpenter. They know how to pitch, even as their stuff declines they remain effective. Take a little off, throw something the hitter doesn’t expect in a place they weren’t looking for. Dial up a little extra if you need it.

    • Jim H February 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

      Sorry, I wasn’t that lcear in the above post. I was referring to the near “Aces” Seth mentioned.

  13. peterb18 February 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    When your major talent is in the lower minors then you have to sign free agents to fill the holes. Until these youngsters arrive in a few years. The Twins have done this —-Willingham, Caroll,etc. But, these are not high end players. No matter what Seth says, when you cut payroll when the stadium is filled for every game and the revenue is flowing you are setting yourself for a losing season. Yes, you can be considered cheap even with a 100 million dollar payroll. A few years ago Forbes rated this ownership as the richest in baseball. With Carl’s passing the assets are probably more spread out now. Also, this was the ownership that tried to sell the team to a North Carolina interest. And they also were interested in contraction.
    In addition, the Twins philosophy of “Pitch to Contact” has set the organization(minor league pitchers) back quite a few years. However, hope I’m wrong on the outlook of the Twins.

    • Seth February 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

      Hopefully!

  14. Gary February 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    With the revised free agent compensation set-up, any player, including pitchers, in the final year of their contract or next to last year is in a position to be traded.
    If the team falls out of contention for 2012.
    If the team enters rebuilding mode and/or wants to get younger (cheaper).
    If the team needs those payroll dollars for other players that are due raises.
    If the team needs those payroll dollars to sign a free agent to fill another position.
    If the team feels they will not get a hometown discount in contract negociations.
    If the team feels they cannot afford the player AFTER the expiring contract.
    If there is a cheap replacement waiting in the wings.
    If the player has indicated that they are looking to move on.
    Seems that depending on how deep the pockets are,
    Lincecum, Cain, Josh Johnson, Zach Greinke, Matt Garza, and Jon Lester might be available in trade.

  15. shane February 14, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Hey didn’t that Garza guy used to pitch for the Twins? LOL That trade worked out so good. I guess we can blame Bill Smith for that and now we can praise Terry Ryan for coming back and bringing in Jason Marquis to save the day. I would bet Marquis would still be either a free agent or signed to a minor league contract if he didn’t sign with the Twins. For a team with budget concerns they clearly could have saved some money by waiting to sign him.

    • SethSpeaks February 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

      Same with Capps.

      And, believe me, Garza is nowhere near an Ace… he’s lower than Edwin Jackson on an Ace-list due to his inconsistency, but I figured I would be accused of being a Twins Homer if I didn’t include Garza (who the Cubs would love to trade, but no one wants).

      • mike wants wins February 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

        No one wants, or no one wants to pay the price Epstein is asking? Because if Garza is available for Revere, sign me up.

  16. Michael Kunza February 14, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    On a side note, did anyone read this story about Joe Vavra today in the Pioneer Press? And then you wonder why we absolutely suck as a team? Listen to the philosophy of the hitting coach!

    A lot of guys don’t have the strength to pull a pitch on the outside corner. They have to go with it. We have a lot of singles hitters. If they can push the ball into the gaps, that’s what they’ve got to do – not more than that.”

    Now I am definitely not a rocket scientist but I have never heard of a guy trying to purposely PULL A PITCH on the outside corner. Jeepers!

    Did anyone else see the comments that JJ Hardy made this summer in a Baltimore newspaper about why his hitting turned around so quickly? He basically said that when he was with the Twins, Vavra kept wanting him to flare the ball into right center field. He commented a few times that Vavra kept saying “yes” when he would accomplish this in batting practice. Enough said.

    • SethSpeaks February 14, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

      Here’s a link to the article (by the great Tom Powers… note sarcasm): http://www.twincities.com/twins/ci_19963836

    • SethSpeaks February 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

      That’s not how that paragraph came across at all. How I read it is that too many people were trying to pull outside pitches (And likely grounding out weakly to 3B/SS)… he’s saying you should take the pitch to right field, whcich they should. The sentence before what you wrote talked about how hitters need to take care of their at bats. They need quality at bats and to be aggressive in appropriate counts. I 100% agree with that philosophy.

      Having talked to Vavra, that guy knows hitting. He is the right mix of using video and scouting methods to find little flaws and using the advanced metrics to give the players good reports. Wehtehr they use them, that’s aanother story.

      • Michael Kunza February 15, 2012 at 7:55 am #

        He might be smart about hitting but there are a lot of guys that are smart about hitting, it still doesn’t make them a good coach. There is absolutely ZERO chance that Vavra gets hired by any other MLB team to be their big club hitting coach. That is a fact.

      • SethSpeaks February 15, 2012 at 11:53 am #

        Vavra was the same “smart about hitting” a couple of years ago when the Twins had everyone healthy and one of baseball’s better lineups.

    • shane February 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

      Please remember he is a Gardy pet, until Gardy is gone we will be stuck with the same pitching and hitting coaches and they will keep the same approach. With that you have to hope and shoot for the chance to be an average team and nothing more than that.

  17. birdwatcher February 15, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    No, Michael Kunza, that is not a fact. The only fact evident here is your conviction in your own opinion, facts be damned.

    Earlier, you urged all of us less informed people to take ten minutes and take a look at where all the studs in the big leagues were drafted. I think what you’re trying to convince us of is that most of the studs were not drafted in rounds #1,2,3, and 4?

    With all due respect, Michael, perhaps you can illustrate this “fact” for us. Since we’re talking in this thread about stud pitchers, why don’t you show us this list of all these #1 and #2 starters and the round in which they were drafted.

    Don’t spend a lot of time, though, because most of the readers on this blog have already spent the ten minutes and know what that list is going to look like.

    • Michael Kunza February 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

      Wait a second, it is about as close to a fact as you can get. You stated that if you give the Twins FIVE years of drafting in the top 10 that they will turn their pitching situation around.

      That is the biggest line of nonsense I have ever read, and it’s not even close. Drafting early DOES NOT GUARANTEE that you are going to develop an ACE. I thought I was saying that it doesn’t matter where you draft because there is no guarantee that you are getting an ace. It’s a lot of luck, my friend. Do you want me to list the 18-20 pitchers in each round that are busts each year in the first round?

  18. birdwatcher February 16, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Yes, Michael, it IS nonsense to think that a team that picks in the top ten slots for five straight years is very very likely to turn its pitching situation around, but only if you regard both logic and historical draft results as nonsense.

    You said that picking in the top 10 slots doesn’t mean jack, right?

    I mean, who could argue with YOU?

  19. Brad Beneke February 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    I think Beckett belongs on the ace list as well as ubaldo Jimenez. Where do you rank CJ Wilson and Ian Kennedy after the last 2 seasons? I don’t see either as long term aces, but…

    I’ve always looked at an ACE as the guy you want for a big game. I use the term de facto ace for guys like Pavano over Liriano in 2010 or Ian Kennedy in 2011. Just the best guy on the team.

    As for the Twins… I have a shout out to you in my blog due out next week on the AL preview. If Liriano and Baker are 100% and you get 32 starts from each this team has a chance to do some damage, but Span, Mauer and Morneau need to all be 100% as well. So as always I applaud your optimistic approach. I tend to come from a little less sunny side. I think I predicted 74 wins.

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