Twins Podcast

16 Dec

also available at

The Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast just finished up. It was a great, fun show with a ton of minor league talk. If you have any interest in the Twins minor league system, you will definitely want to listen to this show.

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus was the first guest of the show. Last time he was on, he stayed on much longer than anticipated. This time… same thing. I had asked him if he would be able to call in and talk for 15-20 minutes. Well, he was on for about 35 minutes. I hope he didn’t mind, because it was a ton of fun for me, and hopefully for everyone that listen. Kevin has been around minor league baseball for a long time and has some tremendous sources around the league, with scouts and coaches and more. Last week, he posted his Future Shock: Top 11 Twins Prospects article. Please be sure to check it out because I think it is a great illustration of how far the Twins minor league talent level has risen over the past year. A year ago, they had a total of one player listed as either a four-star or five-star prospect. This year, Goldstein listed two minor league prospects as five-star prospects and three more as four-star prospects. There were five three-star talents. So basically, Kevin and I talked about several of his Top 11 Twins Twins Prospects and several others and about the Twins farm system in general.

Shawn Berg recently started a blog called On the Road with Shawn. Today, he completed his first Top 50 Twins prospect list by posting his top ten Twins prospects. He came on for the final 15 minutes of the show to discuss his list. Now, in comparing my top ten list to Kevin Goldstein’s, we had eight that were the same, and his #10 was my #11, so although the rankings were, in some cases, fairly different, the players were generally the same. Now, in comparing Shawn’s list to my list, just four of the ten are the same. Shawn developed a formula to perform his ranking, and you will definitely want to listen to his thoughts and then check out his blog and his top ten Twins prospects. I would guess that you may be a little surprised by who is in his top ten, especially by who his choice for #1 is.

For those of you who, for one reason or another, don’t want to listen in to the podcast’s conversation, I may post some quotes from it throughout the day of things I found interesting or noteworthy. But again, I definitely encourage you to listen to the show yourself. It truly was a fun time!


The Twins let PhilipHumber become a free agent after the season. Yesterday, he became a member of the Kansas City Royals organization when he signed a minor league contract.

The Twins sent a couple of scouts down to Houston to watch Cuban-defector Aroldis Chapman work out and throw some pitches off the mound. Reports indicated that he was hitting 96 mph easily. That he displayed a good changeup and slider. He was said to be having meetings with several of the teams after the workout. I don’t know that the Twins being there is really a big story, at least not from the standpoint that they could sign him. I don’t think anyone believes that the Twins are going to give any pitcher a $17-25 million signing bonus. But it is still a great idea to have their own scouting reports on any player whether it is to sign him, to potentially trade for him down the line, or to get a scouting report on him for when the Twins eventually have to face him.

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18 Responses to “ Twins Podcast”

  1. Jack Steal December 16, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    At least the other teams in the A.L. Central are trying to improve their clubs. Twins GM Bill Smith is content with waiting until January for a bargain instead of doing his shopping now. Mark my words all the good players will be gone and he will settle for Joe Crede. He is the worst GM in baseball and cannot make a decision to save his life.

  2. MrHockey December 16, 2009 at 11:07 am #

    Seems pretty harsh. He picked up Hardy and Pavano. Focusing on Mauer seems to be what he should be doing rather than running around trying to sign players that the Angels, Red Sox, Met and Phillies (oh and Yankees) are after.

  3. Seth December 16, 2009 at 11:13 am #

    I agree with MrHockey… he’s made two fairly significant deals. What have the other teams in the division done?

    Chicago added Juan Pierre. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t intimidate me. They also let Jermaine Dye go.

    Detroit let Placido Polanco go and traded Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson. They got some good relievers in return and an upside guy or two, but I’d say they took a step backward.

    Cleveland has traded Kelly Shoppach, which was about all they have left other than Grady. They’re going to be rebuilding.

    KC traded Mark Teahen for two projects. They let Miguel Olivo and John Buck go and signed Jason Kendall for two years and $6 million.

    I would say that Bill Smith is doing just fine. That’s not to say that he is done, but just that there isn’t much to say negatively at this point.

  4. thrylos98 December 16, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    As far as Chapman goes, the money he will get ($15-20M) will not be a signing bonus, but part of a contract; in a way similar to the Japanese players, with the difference that Chapman does not have a club affiliation and the team that signs him does not need to pay a club as well to break that contract.

    I think that $20M for 5 years is a very good deal for Chapman and very doable for the Twins, given that they will pay Pavano more annually. At this point, the Twins need another top of the rotation-type guy and Chapman can be that.

  5. TT December 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    “At this point, the Twins need another top of the rotation-type guy and Chapman can be that.”

    In three or four years maybe. But Chapman is really just the equivalent of a first round draft choice who will likely start 2010 in A-ball. My guess is that 100mph fastball will disappear before he reaches the big leagues and everyone will be disappointed that he is “only” throwing 95. Because this is a wide open free market, whoever signs him will likely be over-paying by some measures.

  6. TT December 16, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    “it is a great illustration of how far the Twins minor league talent level has risen over the past year.”

    You mean the blogsphere’s evaluation of that talent. There are only three players on his list, Jean(Sano), Gibson and Bullock, who weren’t in the organization last year. Two of those have never played a game professionally.

    Goldstein does these lists for 30 teams and I doubt that a blogger at Baseball Prospectus gets many calls returned by baseball insiders. I think you have a better idea of the talent in the Twins organization than he does.

  7. Seth December 16, 2009 at 1:22 pm #

    Goldstein is certainly more than that. I know he has a ton of contacts and gets great information, at least on guys that would be deemed Top 20-25 guys in each organization. He’s a very trusted person in the scouting industry.

    I think my comment was first about the three additions (Jean/Gibson/Bullock, and we may be able to add Kepler/Polanco/other ’09 draft picks over time)… but I think there is a to be said that the high-level, high-risk prospects also took a step forward in many cases, or at least did not hurt their prospect status. HIcks, still highly thought of. Ben Revere, continued to hit in Ft. Myers. Angel Morales was probably better than we would have projected. Ramos took a step forward in scout’s and other eyes.

    I guess my point is that it’s the addition of several internationally and through the draft that have perceived high ceilings, as well as an additional year of positive development within the system.

    Hopefully they can all step forward again in 2010, but with prospects, that’s not always the case.

  8. Shawn Berg December 16, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    I think guys like Kevin provide a more global, look from afar perspective on the system. He does a good job. Seth’s list will be more comprehensive and complete because he focuses on one primary team. It’s good to see what the national writers think too, especially a guy who sees players and talks to rival GMs.

  9. TT December 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    “He’s a very trusted person in the scouting industry.”

    Major league baseball is the only “scouting industry”. Everything else is just part of the media hype. Goldstein worked at Baseball America for a while, so he certainly has some contacts. I just don’t think he has either the time or the resources to do much more than rehash the blogsphere’s consensus. His list doesn’t reflect anything else.

    Take Gibson. He dropped because of his injury. But I don’t think teams really had any question about whther it would heal. The problem is whether it portends additional problems down the road. We don’t know any more about that than we did when he was drafted.

    Very few professional scouts have ever even seen Gibson pitch. With Jean, the list of scouts with first hand knowledge is even shorter. And they aren’t likely sharing their professional evaluations with Baseball Prospectus.

  10. Jack Steal December 16, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    It seems everybody in Twins Territory is satisfied with just making the playoffs. The J.J. Hardy trade was a nice start and the same can be said about Carl Pavano returning. We could have had Harden for less money and he is better option when healthy.

    However, we have huge holes to fill at second and third base. There is no doubt in mind Punto will start at second base and Crede will be re-signed to play third. We were throttled by the Yankees last year (0-10)and are putting the same team on the field in 2010 with no improvements. All this is taking place and we havn’t even started contract negotiations with Joe Mauer as the clock continues to tick. How in the world can anybody be satisfied with this off-season. How did we improve?? The bottom line is we have not improved we stayed the same and might lose Mauer because of it.

  11. Seth December 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    Jack – if the Twins bring back Joe Crede and don’t make an improvement at 2B, then I will be disappointed. I just can’t get enraged yet. They have done stuff…

    You used the phrase “when healthy” as related to Harden as if it means nothing. That’s obviously a huge factor, and should be.

    And Mauer isn’t going anywhere. I still think they’ll extend him this year. he doesn’t want to go elsewhere.

  12. mike wants wins December 16, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    Jack, the Yankees beat up everyone last year. It’s no crime to lose to them.

    I am in Twins’ nation, and not satisfied with “just making the playoffs”.

    The offseason has barely started. Let’s see what BS does (or doesn’t do) over a couple of months before we rip him (or not). It is way too early to be upset at this point (but it is ok, imo, to disagree or agree with a particular move he has made at this point) with the team going into next year.

  13. TT December 16, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

    “putting the same team on the field in 2010 with no improvements.”

    That just isn’t true. For one thing, the playoff roster against the Yankees didn’t include Morneau, Crede or Slowey. And the roster in the other Yankee games didn’t include Pavano, Rauch or Cabrera. Neither roster included Hardy.

    For another, the Twins young players SHOULD get better. Is there any guarantee? No. But there is no guarantee any of the veterans signed by Kenny Williams will be better than the guys he had last year either.

    There isn’t a player the Twin can acquire that will win them the World Series next year or in the future. For the Twins to go further in the playoffs their young players, especially their pitching, is going to have to improve. And they are going to have to hang onto Mauer. Frankly when he is signed is irrelevant – just so that he is signs.

    • mini_tb December 17, 2009 at 12:06 pm #

      What young players in specific are on this roster and expected to improve? I don’t see too many young players that will obviously improve on this roster.
      – Delmon Young and Francisco Liriano are the really obvious ones that we hope will improve and become difference makers.
      – Jose Mijares could easily get better.
      – Crain will improve over the course of the full season by default.
      – Mauer? Seems unrealistic to expect more.
      – Kubel? Can’t expect too much more.
      – Span? Can’t expect much more that what he’s shown either.
      – We’re screwed if we are counting on Morales to be an important cog offensively because A) he’s not all that good and B) that would mean Mauer’s out.
      – Tolbert, Casilla, Pridie, and even Harris are all pretty much AAA/AAAA dime a dozen roster filler.
      – Nathan, Rauch, Baker, Gurrier, Morneau, Cuddyer, Hardy (2007 & 2008 version), Punto, etc. all seem to have pretty established track records, so I think we know what we can expect out of them over the course of a full season. I just don’t see the validity of a blanket statement like “Twins young players SHOULD get better”.

      Healthy or consistent seasons from Slowey, Baker, Hardy, Neshek, Crain, and I’m sure some others would be helpful, but you have to expect some injury attrition, rotten luck, or regression along the way, too.

      This comment isn’t meant to come across as negative or pessimistic because I really like this roster with the addition of another good bat.

      • TT December 17, 2009 at 1:26 pm #

        Bill James did a study back in the mid-80’s that showed the median age for a players peak season was somewhere between 27 and 28. So anyone 27 and younger can be “expected” to improve. Of course that doesn’t mean they all will. James study seems to conform to what I understand is the general expectations for human development. People mature physically and mentally around 25 or 26. So you would expect them to hit their peak shortly after that when both talent and experience are optimal.

        In the case of the Twins you can run it by position.

        It’s hard to imagine, but Mauer should get better, based on his age. Whether Morales is better than Redmond, I doubt. At first Morneau is probably not going to get better. But both Mauer and Morneau can be more productive just by staying healthy.

        At second. Punto is not really likely to improve beyond his career, but he is a lot better player than the blogsphere admits. Casilla, at age 24, is a more likely candidate to be better. But then Luis Rivas was too…

        Shortstop is hard since Cabrera was only around for part of the year and Hardy is a huge question mark. Hardy should be better than last year. He also should be better than 2 or 3 years ago, his season last year makes you wonder what direction he is headed.

        Tolbert played very well at the end of the year at third base. Its hard to imagine him doing any better. But he was also playing well at AAA before he was called up. Its possible he has made a breakthrough. At 27 he should be a little better. Harris is more of a break even – I think we have seen what we get although his bat would improve with regular playing time and his defense would probably improve if he was settled in one position.

        Cuddyer probably had a career year and I don’t think we can expect more than that.

        Span was only 25, he certainly should improve. My guess is that he will add some home runs to the mix as he fills out.

        Young is a clear example of where improvement can be expected, but also the uncertainty of that.

        Kubel is probably near his best, but again he is young enough that you could see some improvement next year.

        Take away Nathan, Rauch, Guerrier and Pavano and the rest of the pitching staff was young enough that they should all be better next year. Of course, not all of them will be better, but enough of them to make the Twins a much better team.

  14. Seth December 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    Not sure I’ve said this a whole lot before, but I 100% agree with TT.

  15. TT December 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm #

    “Not sure I’ve said this a whole lot before, but I 100% agree with TT.”

    Even the typos?!

  16. mike wants wins December 17, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    TT: are there studies anyplace that show if young players do get beter? I mean, do most young players get better, do some get better, do most not get better? I’ve not found one yet, but I’ll keep looking. It seems logical, young players should get better. But, I just don’t know if that is true, or if it is something we all think is true.

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