One Last Thing…

19 May

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The best part, for me, about being a blogger is the interaction with other Twins fans. It’s the e-mail discussions and the comments in the comments section each day that make the writing and the podcasts worthwhile. I don’t claim to have all the right answers, and I would hope that no one takes my opinions as the only way to think. I believe that baseball teams can win (or lose) in many different ways. The Yankees and Red Sox can win year in and year out by outspending other teams and getting the top players. The Twins and Rays go about winning by drafting high-upside talent and developing them and building from within. The Cubs and Mets spend a ton of money, but it hasn’t guaranteed them much. The Pirates have gone the way of player development and it hasn’t done much for them.

I love following the Twins minor league system and have been doing so fairly religiously for the past six or seven years. I love minor league baseball and the process that it takes to become a big league player. It takes a ton of work to be a big leaguer, a star, or a role player. And each of the players in the minor league system is also working very hard and deserve to be recognized as well. I have my opinions on player development and what stats are good to look at, and understanding that minor league stats are what they are and that scouting and potential are as important as the numbers. The Twins have a philosophy. I guarantee that not every member of the Twins front office, or every scout, or every minor league coach believe 100% the same thing, and in the same way, I don’t expect to agree with every decision that the Twins make as it relates to player movement at the big league level or below. We question, and that’s OK. And I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with me on every Twins minor leaguer either. Hey, I thought Danny Matienzo was a future Twins DH. One year, I had Matt Moses ranked as the Twins #5 prospect. One year, I had JD Durbin ranked as the team’s #2 prospect. I thought the Mike Lamb signing was great for the Twins. I thought that giving Type A free agent Juan Cruz a two-year, $4 million contract would have been worth the first round pick that it would have cost the Twins. Horrible pitching by Cruz and the draft selection of Kyle Gibson proved me and others wrong. I would have been willing to give Felipe Lopez three years and $18 million. I thought Jesse Crain should have been given the Twins closer role in 2004, since he did it so well in the minor leagues instead of going with Joe Nathan, who had just one career save going into that season. I could go back in time in my seven years of blogging and come up with a really fun “I was VERY wrong” list of topics and we could all laugh about it.  

This week’s example of me disagreeing, or to be fair, not understanding of a Twins personnel move was the demotion of Joe Benson from AA New Britain to Hi-A Ft. Myers. I laid out some of the reasons for my confusion the other day. I probably won’t mention it again because, as I stated, the goal isn’t for him to be in New Britain, it is for him to be the best big league player that he can be, and in the end, maybe this will be a good move for him. And if so, that’s all that matters. As someone with the Twins once told me, the goal is not to get players to the big leagues as fast as they can, it is for them to be ready when they get there. When you draft a player with the incredible potential and upside of Joe Benson, patience is a very good, very prudent thing. So again, I won’t dwell on it because I understand the end game, the grand scheme.

However, in the comments section of my blog the other day, I had one of the best comments I have received in a comments section. I probably should highlight more comments and e-mails that I get because additional insight into these topics is terrific. I don’t do this often, but I really wanted to highlight one particular comment that I thought was great. This is a comment from “Dave Nelson” that I like because whether or not you or I agree with each part of it, it is well laid out and backed by facts and stats.

I hope the demotion of Benson wasn’t BA motivated but I suspect it was the main factor. .219/.346/.419 is a solid line especially considering his BA is so low.

As for who the better prospect; Revere or Benson, if you think it Revere, you are ignoring performance, tools, upside and defensive ability, and hoping that Revere starts taking more walks, learns how to play CF and develops gap power. Revere has been living off of almost hitting .400 for more than a year now.

2009 FTM
Benson: .285/.414/.403
Revere: .311/.372/.369

2010 NBR
Benson: .219/.346/.419
Revere: .279/.353/.328

Add to that Benson playing better defense and being a more versatile defender. Ben Revere is not even a good base stealer. Benson gets demoted despite playing better this year than revere, and I’m sure Ben is well on his way to a 3rd consecutive player of the year award because he happens to be in an organization that’s allergic to walks and absolutely hypnotized by batting average and speed.

There’s a pretty good chance revere is going to be a huge disappointment. He doesn’t hit near enough to play a corner outfield position so his only role with the Twins would be to take over CF and move Span to a corner. But right now reports are that he doesn’t play CF particularly well, so he might not be a good option to move Span. Either way he’s got Hicks on his tail as CF of the future. And if Hicks does supplant Revere in CF, Revere has few tools to transition to a corner spot.

Please feel free to discuss. Have a great day! Leave any comments here.


5 Responses to “One Last Thing…”

  1. brian May 19, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    Watching the Miracle and understanding moves, lineups etc can be frustrating as you try to understand what the management is thinking.
    Here is my thoughts over the past years.
    1. Why didnt Garret Jones get a chance when he had more power than any player in at least the past 10 years in Fort Myers?
    2. Why a player like Luis Ugueto was brought in to play after suspension for drugs?
    3. Why a manager like Marzan bunted often, Boles didnt manage and Smith could succeed while each are under the same constraints?
    4. Why a team is developing future DH’s( Lis, Matienzo etc) and utility players? Maybe I am old fashioned but shouldnt a player actually have some sort of niche rather than being average at many things and good at none?

    Looking through the organization and you have almost the same type player with 20 different names being developed. Then when you look at the major league roster, the only player that comes close to these future players is Casilla.
    Last but not least, I too was shocked when Durbin didnt make it and Baker blew by him in 2004. Just anlother case of “a little tightness” being much more than anyone knew.


  2. Jeff P May 19, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Interesting to see so many guys skip Elizabethton. I don’t remember that happening before. What is really amazing is seeing Salcedo and Lobanov skip two steps. Hopefully that is a good sign for just how talented they are.

  3. mike wants wins May 19, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    I actually had hoped they’d deal Revere after last year. I wonder about his actual upside, given he can barely hit the ball out of the infield (as evidenced by his slugging percentage). I had hoped they could deal him and another player for a legit 3B or 2B or SS prospect…..Oh well. Hopefully some team will want him at some point, becuase I don’t see a real future for him here (other than 4th OF). I thought Dave’s reply was great.

  4. Badger Jeff May 19, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    In the chat room for your podcast with Travis we had a discussion around Revere. (Nice job last guys.) I like Ben Revere, great guy when I have met him. I just don’t see him in the outfield. I know he has serious wheels that are best used out there. However is you can’t make the throws…well I just don’t see it. It’s like a running QB in the NFL with a weak arm. Those guys get moved to WR. He has Span and Young ahead of him at least, Tosoni with him and Hicks Morales and Benson behind him. The odds of him in the Twins OF are not great. But we’ll see in a few years, like your post alluded Seth we are are sometimes more then right.

  5. JimV May 19, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

    “.219/.346/.419 is a solid line ”

    No it’s not. A .219 average is terrible. I agree that he’s doing a good job of getting on base by other than hitting, and that he’s showing pretty good power numbers. But outfielders that hit .219 in AA don’t make the bigs. You can say that it’s just one stat, and of course that’s true, but batting average is not irrelevant. Being able to get base hits is imperative for an outfielder. If he can’t hit .250 at AA he ‘s unlikely to break the mendoza line in the majors, and nobody’s interested in outfielders like that.

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