• Six Minnesota Twins Among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospect

    The Minnesota Twins front office should feel somewhat vindicated by all of the recent draft picks, international signings and savvy trades which have brought the organization closer to sustainable relevancy – at least by MLB.com’s standards. On Tuesday night, MLB.com revealed their Top 100 prospects and six Twins prospects graced the list.

    Joining front-running Miguel Sano (12th), Minnesota sent 2012 draftee Byron Buxton (19th), recently acquired Alex Meyer (40th), Kyle Gibson (49th), Oswaldo Arcia (93rd) and Aaron Hicks (98th), into the top 100. Only Boston, Miami, St Louis and Texas equaled that total.

    The Twins added two additional prospects to that list over the prior year – mainly due to the return of Gibson from Tommy John surgery, the acquisition of Meyer, and the rebound of Arcia, who was added after he missed a substantial part of 2011. Both Sano and Buxton moved up in the rankings while Hicks dropped from 59th to 98th Eddie Rosario, who was ranked 80th in 2012 but was injured for a portion of 2012, was bumped off completely. Overall, based on the prospect points rankings (i.e. 100 equals 1 point, 99 equals 2 points, etc) the Twins’ scored 295, good for fourth behind Seattle, St. Louis and Tampa – three very good organizations when it comes to developing in-house talent.

    Earlier this month, Baseball America’s Jim Callis released their preliminary top ten list for farm systems in baseball. According to Callis, the Twins ranked seventh. Ahead of them included the Cardinals, Mariners, Marlins, Rangers, Red Sox and Rays. Once again, they ranked among the game’s best and – with the exception of the Mariners and Marlins – regular contenders. This was a sizable jump in BA’s standings considering that Baseball America viewed 19 other organizations to be better than the Twins a year ago. The climb was similar at prospect guru John Sickels’s site MinorLeagueBall.com. Last year, he placed them at 17th overall but moved them up to seventh as well this year.

    Of course, it should be noted how quickly teams can swing from top to bottom of Baseball America’s list. For instance, in 2010, the Cardinals were ranked as 29th, after being rated eighth the previous year. Two years later, they are the number one team. Likewise Cleveland who was in the seventh spot in 2011 dropped to 29th heading into last year. Several trades or solid draft picks can do wonders for an organization.

    Outside of the aforementioned big-ticket guys on the list, players like Rosario, newly acquired pitcher Trevor May and outfielder Max Kepler are drawing plenty of attention. Arms like J.O. Barrios and Luke Bard are also leaving strong impressions and could contribute quickly in Minnesota.

    Team president Dave St. Peter’s remarks on the recent Gleeman and the Geek podcast over the TwinsFest weekend revealed the team’s intentions. “We’re trying to do this right,” St. Peter said in regards to the team’s strategy. “We’re trying to do it the only way we know how to do it, which is to build this thing through our farm system and for the long term.”

    While many fans may be disheartened by the moves (or lack of moves) made at the major league level, building a solid foundation is imperative for the long-term success of any team.

    Having a strong minor league system does not necessarily mean waiting until 2021 and Hover Board Giveaway Day at the ballpark to be competitive either. Having a strong system also gives teams the luxury of trading for parts to help immediately. This offseason the Toronto Blue Jays, who were rated fourth in 2012, unleashed a flurry of prospects to land starters Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle and shortstop Jose Reyes. The Royals sent the number three overall prospects Wil Myers to Tampa for starter James Shields (for better or worse). If the 2014 roster – with an aging core of Mauer and Willingham – appear poised to compete, the team could trade from the depth to provide immediate reinforcements if deemed appropriate.

    Even if the rest of the 2013 season doe not quite go as schedule, rest assured that the team is laying the right groundwork to build upon.
    This article was originally published in blog: Six Minnesota Twins Among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospect started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 67 Comments
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
      Wait - does this mean that TR is not the worst GM in the history of the game? All of the "Twins front office is clueless" posters on this website can't all be wrong, can they?

      Personally, I'm kinda looking forward to the hover board giveaway.
      Ryan only had a hand in two of those six players on the list, he made a nice trade for Meyer, (though some have argued he should have gotten more for Span) and he got Buxton because the Twins had the #2 overall pick, it would have been hard to pick a player at that point that would not have made the list. Bill Smith is actually behind most of the Twins top prospects, also including Rosario and Kepler.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      Ryan has been GM for just over a year.
      Strange then that you give him credit for the farm system.
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      I think Keith Law will have 7 on his list. The 6 that were on Mayo's list plus Rosario. I don't think there's any chance Berrios makes it. KLAW likes Kepler and has high hopes for him because a good ML career form Max could possibly help the sport grow in Germany. But he won't make the list either just yet. I suppose May has an outside shot.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
      Wait - does this mean that TR is not the worst GM in the history of the game? All of the "Twins front office is clueless" posters on this website can't all be wrong, can they?

      Personally, I'm kinda looking forward to the hover board giveaway.
      People aren’t allowed to criticize his approach to the MLB roster while acknowledging that he and his staff have done a very good job rebuilding the farm system? This is not a black-and-white issue.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      The scouting director for the last 6 years has been Deron Johnson if you want to give credit to someone for finding the talent.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Piranha View Post
      It's encouraging to see the rebound of the farm system, but I still think Rosario got short-changed, and should be on this list. I also think it's absolutely ridiculous that Castellanos is considered to be number 21, while Arcia is 93. Now that they're playing the same position, it astounds me that there would be that big of a gap, considering Arcia is less than a year older, and had more hits, doubles, triples, homers, and walks, with fewer strikeouts, in less at-bats than Castellanos. Just ridiculous.
      Castellanos also hit over .400 in the Florida State League for half the season. I don't find it to be a slight to Arcia at all.
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      The scouting director for the last 6 years has been Deron Johnson if you want to give credit to someone for finding the talent.
      Johnson was a big reason the Twins drafted Adam Johnson In 2000


      But seriously you are right. Too often people are giving too much credit or blame to GMs for the success or failure of drafts. The GM his little or no input on the draft.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Right, the draft is on the scouting director, and how bad the GM is at assembling a good MLB roster. Trades are on the GM. So, between being awful at the ML level, and trading from the ML roster, Ryan has had a role in rebuilding the farm system. My issue is that it is not either or. You can do all that, and still sign free agents......Clearly the farm system is better. Clearly it should go up in the next two years as they ads two more top 5 picks, and Sano and Buxton are still in the minors.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      It's amazing how different Bill Smith's philosophy was from Ryan's. I keep focusing on one quote, which Ryan said to LEN III after Smith was fired "I will be more patient than Bill." Pretty much sums it up. Smith was in perpetual "win now" mode. So, though 2010 was a glorious year, we saw the after affects in 2011, when the Twins had gone from penthouse to outhouse both on the major league and minor league levels.

      That said, the good side of Smith's legacy will be in his signings of Sano, Kepler and Polanco. Though he was a comparative spendthrift and an impatient sort at the major league level (trading Ramos for Capps e.g.), he also spent more money on international prospects than any Twins GM.

      One way or another, you have to spend money to get winning talent. I'm OK with spending for the long haul. What they can't do is what they got themselves into prior to the slotting system: Drafting the likes of Ben Revere in the first round because he agreed ahead of time to third-round money. The Twins lucked out with him, but it's not sustainable to starve signing budgets. Fortunately, they have not backed off of spending on the draft and internationally like they have at the major league level.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      The scouting director for the last 6 years has been Deron Johnson if you want to give credit to someone for finding the talent.
      Good point. Johnson really has changed some of the Twins approach to the draft. He's targeted hard throwers much more than Radcliff had (although there were exceptions to both - Johnson drafted Wimmers, Radcliff grabbed Garza). He drafted guys like Williams, Tootle, Hunt, Bullock, Bashore, Boyd, Bard etc, not caring if they weren't always starters or college arms. He still went after toolsy position players but also used our first #1 pick on a college bat (Levi Michael) for the first time since 96. I had always liked his drafts but there hadn't been a lot of actual results yet. That hopefully changes this year when Hicks/Gibson make the majors.

      If you agree that our top 10 are (in some order) Sano, Buxton, Meyers, Gibson, Hicks, Arcia, Rosario, May, Kepler, Berrios then Johnson is responsible for guys like Buxton, Hicks, Rosario, Gibson and Berrios.

      Sano, Arcia, Kepler were signed by our international department. And Ryan added Meyer and May.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by righty8383 View Post
      Johnson was a big reason the Twins drafted Adam Johnson In 2000


      But seriously you are right. Too often people are giving too much credit or blame to GMs for the success or failure of drafts. The GM his little or no input on the draft.
      In the 2000 mlb draft first round there were only 3 players in the 40 pick first round that ended up very good players(Adrian Gonzales #1. Utley and Wainwright), 5 if you want to call Rocky Baldellli and Kelly Johnson very good players. Shows you how hard the job is
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Right, the draft is on the scouting director, and how bad the GM is at assembling a good MLB roster. Trades are on the GM. So, between being awful at the ML level, and trading from the ML roster, Ryan has had a role in rebuilding the farm system. My issue is that it is not either or. You can do all that, and still sign free agents......Clearly the farm system is better. Clearly it should go up in the next two years as they ads two more top 5 picks, and Sano and Buxton are still in the minors.
      A GM is as only as good as the material he is given to work with. It is hard to trade when you have so few tradable assets. The trades made this year are not going to be determinable if they are good or bad for a few years. The free agent argument is something I am not going to rehash. As Nick said, not everything is black or white.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      People aren’t allowed to criticize his approach to the MLB roster while acknowledging that he and his staff have done a very good job rebuilding the farm system? This is not a black-and-white issue.
      Right, but we really haven't that kind of nuance from the pessimist, and even I think you've been cringing at the negative-nancy-ism lately.
    1. CK's Avatar
      CK -
      Eddie was robbed, but experts are using his injury as an excuse to leave him off the list. Which is understandable. Either way, I am hoping he gets comfortable at 2B while getting on base. Fort Myers should be a fun team to pay attention to.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Right, the draft is on the scouting director, and how bad the GM is at assembling a good MLB roster. Trades are on the GM.
      The GM has more than a little say in setting the tone for the draft, and the scouts have a lot of input on any trade. Internal "scouting" of our own players has a role too. It's all about talent evaluation, and everyone involved needs to contribute no matter what their official title says. While this speaks to accountability, I'm not inclined to draw lines quite like that.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Within the first two minutes of last night's show, it was obvious that this list isn't Mayo's, but a compilation of '30 scouts and front-office types'. Apparently the list is compiled in a poll-type way, like the basketball polls, and Mayo 'breaks the ties'. Without knowing who exactly has a vote, it would be tough to represent all levels and geographical areas fairly with only 30 'voters'. Name recognition is just as likely to help (see D'arnaud) as a great season. MLB.com would be better off letting Mayo make his own list.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Ryan credit for being GM? He began as GM in the late 90's. The GM is responsible for selecting the rest of the staff of the FO as opposed to every player. The GM also defines the operating philosophy within the restrictions imposed by the owner. The staff is tasked with doing "the leg-work" on personnel and making their case to the GM for his approval. Summing up, those in the FO were Ryan's appointees because the Twins move haven't made wholesale personnel changes recently. If there were "faults" in the personnel area from the late 90's on--those are actually on Ryan. To claim that "he" fixed the minor league system is premature and ignores that Ryan bears much of the blame for the state of said system when he resumed his role as GM. Smith did spend money on internationals. Ryan--I don't remember anything except he quit bidding against the Angels for F. Rodrigez.

      Revere signed for about $1MM--not 3rd round money. M. (Giancarlo) Stanton (Marlins) signed for several hundred thousand less than Revere when selected a few selections later. Basically, the Twins preferred a little, really fast guy, with a throwing disability who will steal many bases over a big, fast guy, with a great arm that will hit HRs, but rarely steal a base. Revere did state that if he was a lower draft selection that he would go to college instead.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      By "about $1MM" you really meant 750k, or about 65% of the recommended bonus for that slot? And by "a few selections later" for Stanton you really meant 48 selections later, right?


      Just double checking, facts can get a little fuzzy sometimes.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      The Twins drafted in the bottom third of the draft order almost every year for a decade until last year. The Royals had the opposite situation. Does this not have a lot to do with the strength of the farm systems? Does a superior talent evaluation organization also play a role? One year in ten, a top 10 selection.

      I keep hearing about how bad the Twins are at drafting and development. If that's the case, then why is their ranking so high? Could it be that, like perhaps Boston and St. Louis, the Twins are better at it than, say, KC, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and a bunch of other organizations?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      If they were so good at it, where are all the regular starters that have come up since Mauer? Why do they have almost no good, young players on the roster or at AAA?
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