Readers Write; Bloggers Respond: Has Twins Success Hurt Minor League?

11 Nov

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Last week, I posted a question/comment that I received from a reader and then responded to it. Reader interaction is one of the great things about blogging. I always tell people that I really enjoy when people disagree with me, as long as they tell me why and give me some reasons to counter my point. That kind of educated dialogue is fun for me because I definitely don’t claim to always be right. I barely claim being smart. There have been times where I’ve written something and after a great debate, I change my mind, or at least maybe an aspect of my thinking. And that’s what this is all about, right? You come here to read an opinion from me. I don’t expect you to necessarily agree with me, certainly not all the time. We are all baseball fans, and most of us are Twins fans. In the end, we all want the same thing, for the Twins to win and to put a great product on the field. I may believe in doing it one way. You may believe in doing it another way. When we have discussions about things, we can alter our opinions. And then we can talk to other people and gain their thoughts. You should hear the discussions, er… arguments, when the TwinsCentric guys get together for beverages and baseball!!

So again, I welcome your e-mails, and I enjoy the educated discussion and questions in the comments section. I try to respond in a timely manner when possible. And sometimes, I may even use your e-mails if it really got me thinking (and if it is OK with you!). It would be great if I could post a Reader Question of the Week each week, especially during some of the slow periods of the years.

Today I am posting a question from Jarod Waltner to several Twins bloggers. I responded to the question and it created a good discussion that we wanted to share. Hopefully you enjoy the discussion:

From Jarod Waltner:

My question is: Are the Twins hurting their farm system by being perpetually competitive in a weaker division?

I’ve been wondering about this since 2008 when they made a run at the division but it was strongest in 2009 right before the mad dash to the division title. Being competitive is great, don’t get me wrong, but in 2009 with Michael Cuddyer production at its highest, would the Twins have moved him to a contender looking for a right-handed bat if they were mired in 3rd place thus making his oversized contract a non-issue for 2011 and adding some depth in the farm system? The same could be asked of Joe Nathan’s huge contract and relative market desirability pre-injury. When they were signed they were veteran core players but everyone could see that when Morneau and Mauer became veterans they would be the new core. Instead of having our two core stars signed at about 40% of the proposed payroll we have 4 players signed at about 60% of the proposed payroll and what seems to be a farm system thin on major league ready non-pitchers.

Mid-market teams almost have to go through a youth movement every decade or so in order to keep an attainable salary. Unless the Pohlad kids are planning a Steinbrenner like money glut I think the Twins are better off having a down year every now and then.

Perhaps I’m off base, maybe it’s just happenstance that all of these big contracts are on the books in 2011 and the Twins just let Cuddyer and Nathan walk after the season and the youth movement will come through that sort of attrition. I’m interested in your thoughts.

Response by Seth:

Maybe it’s just me, but 1.) being competitive year in and year out is generally considered a good thing and for a mid-market team means that the farm system has generally done its job, and 2.) winning division titles is always a positive thing, no matter what division you’re in. It’s really all you can do. 
I like having four core players rather than having two core players. I think that is a good thing as well. Maybe if Nathan was healthy and had a typical Joe Nathan year in 2010, we wouldn’t be asking that. But in reality we would. A year ago, we all blogged on whether or not the Twins should trade Nathan, a key cog and yet no one wants to pay a closer that much. So yes, they could have considered trading him. They could have traded Cuddyer last offseason. But who knows, if he plays just one position in 2010, maybe he adds another 20 points of BA, 30 points of OBP and hits for a little more power and we aren’t all worried about it. Is Cuddyer a great player? No. Is he a pretty solid player who defines ‘team’ and ‘Minnesota Twins’? Absolutely. On the open market, he probably would have made somewhere between $8 and $9 million for 3-4 years last offseason. Is $10.5 million next year high? Sure, maybe by a million or two. Not enough to get too worked up about.
The Twins have $60 million committed to those four players… which is a lot. It would have been a huge deal 3 years ago when the team payroll was about $70 million. But when the team payroll will likely be around $110 million, you can still get some pretty good players for the remaining $50 million.
And yes, Rochester and New Britain were horrible in 2010 as teams. Most of the Twins best, highest upside prospects are in the lower levels of the minor leagues. But what did they need in 2010? A 3B? I’d say they developed a pretty solid one in Valencia who came through. Luke Hughes was called up and contributed in the two games he played in. Jeff Manship wasn’t good in Rochester, but he was working on things and during his 5 stints with the Twins, he generally did well.
Looking to 2010, we don’t yet know what the needs will be or what vacancies will need to be filled. Hughes could be a valuable bat off the bench. Plouffe could contribute more in 2011 if necessary. Ben Revere will never be a big OPS guy, but he has game-breaking type of speed. If they need a pitcher in 2011, David Bromberg and Kyle Gibson could get an opportunity. Who knows? Maybe even Alex Wimmers. If Justin Morneau never is able to come back (which would be awful, but certainly not due to any fault on anyone’s part), Chris Parmelee isn’t terribly far off. In the bullpen, Burnett and Slama and Delaney all now have big league experience to draw off of, Pat Neshek will hopefully regain his velocity, and Billy Bullock and Carlos Gutierrez probably aren’t far away either. How many of those guys are All-Star caliber? Maybe one, possibly two. But they could all complement Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, Hardy, Liriano, Baker, Duensing, Slowey, Span, etc. (all of which were developed in the Twins system – exception Hardy). I didn’t even mention the likes of Joe Benson, Rene Tosoni, Liam Hendriks, Angel Morales, Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler and several other guys that have a chance to be really good players in the future too.
In 2011, Mauer jumps from $12 to $23 million. That’s a one-time hit because he stays at $23 million the next eight years. Morneau’s contract is stable for a few more years. And you’re right, Cuddyer and Nathan could come off the books at the end of the year, or brought back at reduced dollars, if it makes sense.
As most of us have said, it’s just really hard to be upset at a team that won 94 games in 2010 despite not having Nathan for the whole year, Mauer for some time early, Morneau for the final 3 months, Hudson and Hardy for significant time, a month-long period where 60% of the starting rotation was terrible, concerns in the bullpen, and other issues.
Your initial question before I rambled: Has the organization been hurt by the Twins always winning and being competitive because they can never purge some payroll and pick up minor leaguers? I mean, I understand what you’re saying… and I don’t completely disagree with the theory. But I think that the perennially competitive thing far outweighs any of the rest…
Just my 2 cents… I mean, my 2000 cents.

Response by Parker from Over the Baggy:

Interesting question.

My opinion is that no, they are not “hurting” their farm system by being competitive. We can look no further than the Royals to tell us trading off valuable commodities does not necessarily ensure a good bounty of prospects in return. Outside of the Central, we find that Orioles and Blue Jays have continually handed over those types of players and often with little in return. 

As Seth indicated, the Twins have compiled quite a system while continuing to win at the major league level. Eventually, the Twins will have to have a season in which the roster is turned over (I do not see the Twins resigning Morneau past his current contract), but they have built a system strong enough to support losing key players, which alleviates rebuilding mode.

Good topic to mull over.

Response from John, the Twins Geek:

“My question is: Are the Twins hurting their farm system by being perpetually competitive in a weaker division?”

Yes. But I would liken the question to “Are you hurting the amount of gas in your tank by driving?”  Of course you are, but the whole purpose of having a tank of gas is to go someplace. You don’t scale back your driving just so you have extra gas. What are you going to do with that gas, other than drive?

The farm system is hurt for multiple reasons. Not only do they value major league players more than minor leaguer (because they value the present position they are in more than a tenuous future position) but because their success hurts their draft position. But that is the whole point of having a strong minor league – to promote them to the majors so the minors are once again depleted. Just like the point of a tank of gas is to burn it up.

I suppose one could argue that a different and better strategy for winning championships would be to really suck for a long time, stock the farm system, and then burn it up fast. The problem is that for every team like the Rays where this might work, there are several teams where it absolutely hasn’t. And even for the Rays, it’s not like it’s done them a ton of good.

Bottom line: I’m not a fan of any philosophy that starts with “We rebuild” because it’s really a code. What it’s really saying is “First, we get worse.” and that’s rarely a good plan.

Follow Up by Jarod:

I would like to add another layer though. It’s not only that the Twins decided to hang onto potential trade pieces (were not sellers) because they have been so competitive but, in fact, they were buyers because they were competitive. My initial question involves a lot of ‘what if’ scenarios that aren’t necessarily productive but what about Loek Van Mil, Tyler Ladendorf, Kevin Mulvey, Mark Hamburger, Yohan Pino, and Wilson Ramos?

Personally, I’m not hurt by any of those except maybe Ramos but, he was expendable for obvious reasons. I don’t really know what’s happened with Ladendorf, Hamburger, or Pino but that could also be an indication of the lack of significance of those moves.

Response by Seth:

Let’s just take a quick look at those players that the Twins, as buyers, have traded away:

  • Loek Van Mil – The Twins had just removed Van Mil from the 40 man roster when they claimed Randy Flores from the Rockies. As much as we heard reports that he had thrown 97 mph in 2009, he just can’t stay healthy.
  • Tyler Ladendorf – The shortstop prospect and former 2nd round pick of the Twins was sent to Oakland in exchange for SS Orlando Cabrera. “OC” is not very good at baseball, but he was credited with helping the Twins in their unlikely run to the AL Central title in 2009. Ladendorf spent this year in Hi-A ball, playing for Stockton in the California League. The 22 year old hit .274/.326/.385 with 30 doubles, four triples and five home runs. He was 20/24 in stolen base attempts. I think he’ll be a big leaguer.
  • Kevin Mulvey – The Twins acquired Mulvey in the Johan Santana deal. He was used in two games for the Twins before Gardy bashed him and he was sent out of town quickly in exchange for Jon Rauch. With the Diamondbacks AAA team in  Reno, Mulvey went 7-8 with a 4.65 ERA. He also pitched two games and three innings for Arizona. He’ll likely be a AAAA type of pitcher.
  • Mark Hamburger – The Twins signed the hard-throwing Hamburger out of a tryout camp at the Metrodome in 2007. He pitched well, and in 2008, he was the closer for Elizabethton. But in 2008, just as the E-Twins’ playoffs were set to begin, Hamburger was traded to the Rangers for Eddie Guardado. Guardado was terrible for the Twins over the last month, and Hamburger remains a very hard-throwing pitcher in the Rangers system. He had a terrific 2010 season. He pitched 37 games in Hi-A, and 13 games at AA, and combined, he went 4-2 with 21 saves, and a 2.20 ERA. In 65.1 innings, he walked 26 and struck out 69 batters while holding hitters to a .236 batting average. He will be 24 years old during the 2010 season and definitely has a future.
  • Yohan Pino – Ah, I remember when we found out that the Twins had traded Pino to Cleveland as the Player to be Named Later in the Carl Pavano trade. Well, I think it’s fair to say that the deal worked out quite well for the Twins! Pino had been 53-22 in his nearly six full season in the Twins organization, including 2-2 with a 2.82 ERA in AAA Rochester. He went to the Columbus Clippers and went 2-0 in two starts. But in 2010, he went 10-9 with a 5.75 ERA in 26 starts. Pino was a very under-the-radar prospect with the Twins.
  • Wilson Ramos – This one could be hard to get over, and yet, we won’t know for a few years exactly what the negative effect of the Ramos for Matt Capps deal will be. Capps did a solid job for the Twins this year and will make a ton of money next year to be a Rauch-like closer. Ramos could be a terrific big league catcher, but we don’t know for sure. To be Determined.

Would it be nice to still have Hamburger and Ladendorf and especially Ramos in the organization? Sure. That would be great. But competing for division titles for those five seasons, and losing just three players that MAY potentially become quality big leaguers is not exactly an organization depth eliminator.

Again, when I first read Jarod’s question yesterday, I was taken aback. But the more you think about it, and the second phase of it, the more I realize what a great question it is. So, to continue the discussion, please feel free to e-mail me or participate by leaving comments here.


18 Responses to “Readers Write; Bloggers Respond: Has Twins Success Hurt Minor League?”

  1. SteveH November 11, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    If playing meaningful baseball in September means losing three potential prospects, that’s the price the Twins should play. The loss was Ladendorf and Hamburger may hurt, but the Twins probably don’t get to game 163 without OC either. Capps for Ramos is tough to see at this point especially because the Twins probably could’ve won the Central without him. But we didn’t know that on July 30 either. If the Twins let Capps walk with just two months of play, it may sting. But Ramos seems to have a hard time staying healthy too. Overall, it’s great to be in position of being a buyer. How many times in the late 1990s did I just want the Twins to be mentioned among the buyers instead of sellers. There’s a cost, but I’ll take it this way in a heartbeat.

  2. mike wants wins November 11, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    1. I’d argue they are hurting their farm system by not drafting better. There are 30+ guys taken every year. There have been many years lately where no even mediocre player was ready to move up from AAA. They have not had a realy SS or 2B grown inside this organization in how long? A decade? They went how long between Koskie and Valencia (who we don’t know for sure is good yet)? Really, CF (where Span may be over rated), RF, 1B and C are it in the last decade.

    2. On the trade front, they’ve over valued their own players and refused to weaken the farm system enough as buyers. Had they dealt for a real OF/DH earlier this century, they might have a WS title or two. Instead they kept crappy, bad draft picks around and refused to trade them.

    3. Bizzarely, they’ve overvalued relief pitching (Nathan and Capps are way overpaid, and Ramos for a good relief pitcher is a bad trade).

    4. It also hurts your overall system when you refuse to sign any FA that is not old and past his prime for the most part.

    5. It also hurts your farm system when you finally do trade a great player and you get nothing in return.

    • TT November 11, 2010 at 11:48 am #

      The reality is that very few major league regulars are drafted after the first 100 players taken overall. And less than half of the first 100 amount to much either. If a team gets one major league regular or a starting pitcher out of a draft they are doing pretty well.

      I don’t know who the first baseman and right fielders are the Twins took in the “last decade”. Kubel, Morneau and Cuddyer were all drafted before 2001. I think the “last decade” only includes about 5 years where drafted players would be expected to help at the big league level.

      During that first half of the decade, the Twins focused mostly on pitching in the early rounds. They did draft Mauer, Moses and Plouffe. It looks like 2 of those three are going to be contributors. The negative attitudes about Plouffe by some fans is just a classic example of fan impatience. The also drafted Thompson and Kelly as infielders. Both have basically been washed out by injuries. Jose Morales was drafted as a shortstop but was moved to catcher.

      • mike wants wins November 11, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

        I didn’t say drafted in the last decade, I said developed in the last decade. But that’s a nit and doesn’t actually address my point, it’s just an attempt to discredit the argument, not really engage in the discussion.

        I’m a Plouffe fan, frankly, so hopefully that wasn’t aimed at me. He’s still relatively young, and so I’d say there is still hope there.

        I’m not sure if I’m giving them too much credit with this response…..but middle inflieders are cheaper, even if they are good. MAYBE that’s why they largely ignore them in the draft (of course, they don’t follow that up with acquiring a long term solution outside the org – Hardy being the new exception to the rule), because they think they can go get them from outside, unlike a more expensive SP, 1B, OF.

    • TT November 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

      “I didn’t say drafted in the last decade, I said developed in the last decade. But that’s a nit and doesn’t actually address my point”

      Maybe I missed your point then. You started by saying ” I’d argue they are hurting their farm system by not drafting better”.

      Its not a nit to point out it is unrealistic to expect them to produce an everyday player for every position on the team from the draft over a 5 year period.

      If you want to consider players “developed” in the last decade, then you have to include Luis Rivas, Jason Bartlett and Alexi Casilla as middle infielders who came out of the farm system and made significant contributions at the major league level.

      ” MAYBE that’s why they largely ignore them in the draft”

      The Twins have actually said they focus on their latin programs for middle infielders. I think you can make a reasonable criticism that those have not produced much. I think Rivas is the only guy from Latin America who signed with the Twins and contributed at the major league level.

      BTW I would argue this comment turns reality on its head:

      “It also hurts your overall system when you refuse to sign any FA that is not old and past his prime for the most part.”

      The reason the Twins have been successful is they haven’t invested huge sums in signing FA who are old and in decline. They have signed a lot of one or, at most, two year contracts with FA to fill holes. But they have not committed a lot of money to players where they have to improve elsewhere the following year just to stay in place.

  3. mike wants wins November 11, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    edit: point 1 was about hitters, not pitchers. They’ve done a decent job of drafting and developing pitchers.

    edit 2: is it all about the draft, or is it the organizational philosophies and coaching in the minors also?

  4. mike wants wins November 11, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    Randy Flores is a bad pitcher. Picking him up and losing anything in return is just a horrible decision.

    Only trading players for guys that are old and cheap and washed up (OC and Guardado being a great examples of this and overvaluing relief pitching in general) is an issue also. You’d be better off trading a couple of good to great prospects for a guy that isn’t 30+ and crappy, that might be more expensive, but that will be around, than continuing to trade guys for old, washed up players.

  5. j-sin November 11, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    Another thing to think about is that when we have been buyers, we have actually either won the Central, or made it to game 163. The White Sox this year were major buyers but came up empty. However, two of their biggest acquisitions (Rios and ManRam) didn’t cost them any players. I can’t remember if/who they lost for Peavy. And now the’ve overpaid for ManRam, Edwin Jackson, and possibly for Rios and Peavy, all the while they will have to shell out a lot to keep Konerko. I think we have to look at other organizations to see other examples of how being buyers or sellers has hurt or helped them.

    • Seth November 11, 2010 at 11:41 am #

      Well put, j-sin. Almost all free agents are already past 30, so they may have another good year or three. But Cliff Lee is a great example. You give him 6 years and $150, and we don’t know what the Twins would get from him. Could be Cliff Lee of recent years. Could be Zito-like, or Mike Hampton like, or could be anything. The Twins, even if Twins fans don’t like it, have to operate under a budget, and they are wise not to commit long-term on 30-something free agents. Instead, they brought in OC for 2 months, and he served his purpose beyond what we could have hoped for. Fortunately the Twins were smart enough to say thank you and move on.

  6. TT November 11, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    I think Geek got it right. Of course contending hurts the minor leagues. If the Twins would just leave all their young players at AAA instead of trying to win, Rochester would be a better team and so would New Britain.

    Which is not to suggest that it was callups that made those team’s bad. The real reason New Britain and Rochester struggled is that the Twins relied almost entirely on their own organization to fill the rosters rather than signing minor league veterans. The Twins only had 10 minor league free agents this year, two of whom spent most of the season hurt.

    The lack of players from outside the organization is a result of a strong farm system. The Twins have a lot of marginal prospects who need places to play. There is a long list of players who are still marginal prospects because they are still improving.

    Dustin Martin and Brandon Roberts may play in the big leagues some day. They certainly aren’t big time prospects, but they aren’t failed major league players just trying to stay in the game. AAA, AA teams often have several players like Jacque Jones who are there to fill out the roster. They may be pretty good players, but they are not getting any better.

    One or more of the six prospects listed may Have a significant major league career. But its hard to find young players the Twins have traded as prospects who have had success elsewhere.

    • Seth November 11, 2010 at 11:53 am #

      Great points by TT as well. The Twins had certain positions where they wanted to push prospects at AAA. Valencia, Plouffe, Hughes, Dinkelman, Perkins, Manship, Swarzak, Slama, Delaney. Then guys like Dustin Martin are still just 26 years old, and could get a little better. Brock Peterson was solid the last two years, and it’s not like the Twins could have convinced a top minor leauge free agent 1B/DH like Dan Johnson to sign and be behind Morneau, Kubel, Thome and Mauer (as DH). They brought in Jacque Jones which was a solid risk. Jason Repko certainly was a nice signing. D’Angelo Jimenez contributed. There’s no way they could have expected Yoslan Herrera to be that bad. They brought in knuckleballer Charlie Zink, and he was bad, and proved to be hurt. Mike Maroth and Brad Hennessey are injury risk types that have big league time that are worth a minor league deal. You have to mix and match, but the key is contributions at the big leagues, really.

      I do think that the Twins may grab more veteran minor leaguers this year, but the reason being to keep from hving to push real prospects like they had to last year. Guerra nad Robertson got pushed to AAA for brief time periods because they had to be. Not good for their development. I think part of the Eric Hacker signing was so that they don’t have to push Gibson to the big leagues in April or May if the Twins need a starter. Hacker can come up and Gibson can work… same with Bromberg. The injuries and lack of production at Rochester really trickled through the system. New Britain’s struggles hurt too.

      I know I used to be one who wanted prospects pushed faster, but I’m done nearly a 180 on that. They need to progress as appropriate for them.

      • mike wants wins November 11, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

        Including bringing in worse veterans in place of taking a chance on rookies? Because that is largely what they do in the bullpen. That’s not about speed, that’s about the approach of the coaches/manager.

  7. Otto November 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    Being perennial contenders does hurt the minor league system because it causes the team to sign fan favorite type players to bad deals when they often could have comparable players for cheaper and spend the difference on good players after the 1st rd of the draft and on international guys. I’m talking particularly about the Cuddyer, Nathan, and Punto deals. With Nathan it wasn’t so much that we could find a comparable pitcher, because he was really good, rather that I don’t agree with paying a relief pitcher that much money. Instead of those contracts we could maybe try signing an overslot guy for a change. Although I know the Twins love to follow the pretend rules and put themselves at a disadvantage.

  8. Joel November 11, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    I don’t believe that contending hurts the minor league system at all, especially a system like the Twins, a team built on player development and not free agency. Sure, contending pushes back your draft position, but the beauty or flaw of the MLB draft is signing players overslot. Teams like Boston and Detroit take advantage of this flaw in the drafting system to sign great talent at later positions and has been more common recently. Sure you won’t always get the Harper’s or Strasburgs or Prices of the draft, but you can still build a strong system with good talent evaluation and overslot signings.

    I for one like the Twins model for building a sports team. They are able to fill holes pretty well. They don’t always have the big names, but they have guys that can contribute. You can’t say that about most teams in baseball. For me, the minors is for player development first and winning last. It’s nice to win and see your minor league teams do well, but it means nothing in the end. The White Sox usually have teams that fair well, but they also have one of the worst systems in the game.

    For me, the real problem with the Twins minor league system is the lack of real high ceiling pitchers. I think they need to draft and sign pitchers with higher ceilings. I don’t mind the prototypical pitch to contact guys that the Twins love, but they need to integrate some high potential players. I would have loved to see the Twins sign Smelter this past draft. I would have also loved for the Twins to have drafted Phil Hughes instead of Glen Perkins. A shift in the drafting philosophy would be a welcome change. I have confidence in the Twins system to reach players potentials over most teams.

    So in short, I think the Twins handcuff themselves by sticking to a drafting mold. I don’t think draft position has anything to with system strength these days. Look at Mike Trout and where he was draft. You just have to be able to spend the money on quality guys and develop the crap out of them.

  9. Jon November 12, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    The downside to winning is that you end up drafting in the bottom of the first round. If the Twins didn’t play poorly in the past, they wouldn’t have Joe Mauer. Players like Harper, Strasburg, Posey, etc are not available in the bottom half of the first round. While Ben Revere may end up being a nice player, he won’t be the super star player you build around.

  10. Observer November 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    The Giants showed what you really “must” develop on the farm….pitching. You can get away with “below” prospect level position guys and free agents if you have pitching…and, in particular, if it has been developed on your farm.

    The Twins could use more “high heat” guys rather than high 80s “pitchability” guys. The former are the guys that are tougher to hit. And it’s really always been that way. No one’s really afraid of the 86-91 MPH “thumber”. Sure he’ll get a few guys out, but without the top notch heater, he’s a mistake waiting to happen.

    Twins position players in the upper levels got stretched by injury…both to the big league club and in the AA and AAA ranks. This required moving guys that should not have been moved to higher levels where they were clearly overmatched.

    That said, they still have guys in the upper levels that can help the team if given the opportunity (Tosoni, if healthy, Singleton and Dinkelman immediately come to mind). Then they also have the true “prospects” (by age) in Revere, Parmalee and Benson.

    The pitchers will have to learn to throw competitive strikes at the upper levels…something they did not do in 2010.

    The lower levels? I would reserve judgement on those guys until they show success at the upper levels. It is not uncommon for guys to encounter struggles at the upper levels. Struggles that some never overcome.

  11. Jim H November 13, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    A lot of interesting thoughts and discussions on this thread. I think that the Giants probably got a little lucky on their drafting of starting pitching. Now a days their are a lot of high school kids out there throwing mid to high 80’s. There is even of a few of them in North Dakota. The fact is some of these kids have topped out and will never throw much harder, some will fill out physically and throw a little harder, and a few will with coaching and physical development will come up with a mid 90’s fastball. Even if that happens, they can still get hurt. That’s why while the Twins and other organizations will draft a lot of kids like that in the lower rounds, they don’t sign many of them, letting them go off to college.

    The ones that go to college and develop a mid-90’s fastball suddenly become 1st round picks like Garza or the Giant guys. Otherwise you are looking at B. J. Hermsen in the Twins organization who looked like he could develop that kind of fastball but so far hasn’t. Drafting and developing good pitching is a lot harder than people seem to think.


  1. Seth waltner | Hansincorp - February 29, 2012

    […] Readers Write; Bloggers Respond: Has Twins Success Hurt Minor … […]

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