• Minnesota Twins GM Terry Ryan talks scouting and the draft

    Terry Ryan and Ken Rosenthal discuss strategy at the Winter MeetingsWith the fourth overall pick waiting for them on Thursday night, the Minnesota Twins are poised to choose from one of several high profile picks.

    Rich with talent in the lower levels of the farm system, the organization has another chance at the fourth overall pick to backfill the minors with another highly-skilled player and continue to construct a solid future. Among the experts’ predictions for what could be available for the Twins at number four pick include pitchers Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray and Kohl Stewart as well as infielder/outfielder Kris Bryant.

    Of course, simply having a high pick does not ensure can’t miss talent.

    Equipped with a scouting background which dates back to 1980 with the New York Mets, Twins general manager Terry Ryan knows this time of year well. As a general manager, he is aware of the effects missed opportunities in the draft can have on team-building. After all, the mid-1990s picks provided very little return in later years, one reason for the team’s late decade decline.

    Not long ago, Ryan took the time to answer a few of our questions regarding the scouting process and his role in the identification of the upcoming fourth overall pick in the amateur draft.

    Terry Ryan on understanding the limitations of the capacity of the general manager in scouting draft pick:
    “Over the years I’ve realized that the less you do that, the more dangerous you are. If you are involved in that daily, you can slot guys very easily and put ‘em where they belong. If you just dabble in that thing …it’s not a good thing. I learned that when I became one of those special assignment guys.

    You shouldn’t get too wrapped up in the good days/bad days but you certainly don’t have a good flavor for what’s nationwide. We got plenty of people out there and if they want me to see a guy I probably will. But I don’t see it as a necessity as a General Manager to see them.”


    Ryan on letting his scouting staff do their jobs:
    “If I go see a guy and we got seven guys that are all over this guy and I go in and I don’t like him, what am I going to do? Overrule seven other guys? I don’t see it as a necessity to see the guys but if they want me to, I will.”

    Ryan on the difficulty of projecting Byron Buxton, who played a low-level of competition in Georgia:
    “Not at all. Especially a guy like [Buxton] because there is no doubt he can throw – in fact, I saw him pitch, which wasn’t exactly what I had in mind – but you know he can run and you know he has range, ‘cause he’ll show you that when he goes to get a ball. The other things when you see a guy in a situation like Buxton in southern rural Georgia, I was fortunate enough to see him play against a good ballclub from Atlanta and that was a plus. Regardless of the competition, we’re still looking at skills and tools and body and competitiveness and attention and urgency. All that stuff.”

    Ryan on cross-checkers and seeing guys:
    “Now days players get seen so much more than we use to be able to back in the 1980’s. In Chicago, for instance, or Minnesota you might see a high school guy one game you got to make a decision. If you are a cross-checker – I’m not talking about an area guy – if you are a cross-checker and you get one look at a guy – and you’re probably fortunate – you make a decision, you put a number on him and then you move on to the next guy. That’s what cross-checkers are paid to do and it is a difficult job but it can be done.”
    This article was originally published in blog: Minnesota Twins GM Terry Ryan talks scouting and the draft started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by Terry Ryan View Post
      Now days players get seen so much more than we use to be able to back in the 1980’s.
      Perhaps that helps explains why elite pitchers seem to only becoming out of the first round with a few fringe guys in the second over the last 10 years or so. While I'm sure there are more factors involved this certainly seems like it could be a contributing factor. The more data you collect the more accurate your decisions become.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Regardless of the competition, we’re still looking at skills and tools and body and competitiveness and attention and urgency. All that stuff.
      What was Jason Bartlett's "urgency" score on the 20-to-80 scale again?

      Also, didn't he leave off "consistency"?
    1. Red Bull's Avatar
      Red Bull -
      Terry Ryan is disgusting, I cant stand him. I would do anything to get him fired. I wish the Twins had a GM like the Wilds Chuck Fletcher, he stocked the Wilds system and signed the 2 best FAs last year and made some other good trades for good players.
    1. TwinsFanInPhilly's Avatar
      TwinsFanInPhilly -
      Quote Originally Posted by Red Bull View Post
      Terry Ryan is disgusting, I cant stand him.
      Wow
    1. Roaddog's Avatar
      Roaddog -
      Quote Originally Posted by Red Bull View Post
      Terry Ryan is disgusting, I cant stand him. I would do anything to get him fired. I wish the Twins had a GM like the Wilds Chuck Fletcher, he stocked the Wilds system and signed the 2 best FAs last year and made some other good trades for good players.

      Fletcher is good yes, but you seem to have forgotten about the ill advised Leddy- Barker trade. And he has the complete support of ownership to win. I think the Twins do want to win. The last couple of drafts have been encouraging, but they are never gonna be that team to bring in high priced talent. I'm willing to give Ryan some time to clean up the mess he came into.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Roaddog View Post
      Fletcher is good yes, but you seem to have forgotten about the ill advised Leddy- Barker trade. And he has the complete support of ownership to win. I think the Twins do want to win. The last couple of drafts have been encouraging, but they are never gonna be that team to bring in high priced talent. I'm willing to give Ryan some time to clean up the mess he came into.
      Time will be needed to clean-up the mess and we do need to be somewhat patient. There also needs to be a committment from ownership--at all levels.
      But to be blunt, Ryan did not walk into this situation as an outsider, he helped create the mess.
    1. Roaddog's Avatar
      Roaddog -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Time will be needed to clean-up the mess and we do need to be somewhat patient. There also needs to be a committment from ownership--at all levels.
      But to be blunt, Ryan did not walk into this situation as an outsider, he helped create the mess.

      Oh, i agree. But it seems the last couple of drafts have really added talent. Guys like Travis Harrison, are guys they didnt really draft before. And drafting guys with live arms, rather than mostly pitch to contact guys. Add that to the sudden success in the international market, and im more optimistic than i have been in years.
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Quote Originally Posted by Roaddog View Post
      Oh, i agree. But it seems the last couple of drafts have really added talent. Guys like Travis Harrison, are guys they didnt really draft before. And drafting guys with live arms, rather than mostly pitch to contact guys. Add that to the sudden success in the international market, and im more optimistic than i have been in years.
      The Twins drafted Danny Rams, Chris Parmelee, Henry Sanchez and Matt Moses, who like Harrison were all power hitting high school prospects. All except Rams (2nd round) were also taken in the either the first round or supplemental first round.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Quote Originally Posted by Red Bull View Post
      Terry Ryan is disgusting, I cant stand him. I would do anything to get him fired. I wish the Twins had a GM like the Wilds Chuck Fletcher, he stocked the Wilds system and signed the 2 best FAs last year and made some other good trades for good players.

      Don't like some of his moves? Fine. Which one?
      Want him fired? Fine. Why?

      But to call him "disgusting?" means you crossed the line from complaing to fan, into ranting buffoon.
    1. Kobs's Avatar
      Kobs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Roaddog View Post
      Oh, i agree. But it seems the last couple of drafts have really added talent. Guys like Travis Harrison, are guys they didnt really draft before. And drafting guys with live arms, rather than mostly pitch to contact guys. Add that to the sudden success in the international market, and im more optimistic than i have been in years.
      The last couple of drafts generally look better than those before, the more recent draftees haven't had enough rope to hang themselves yet. It also helps that the Twins had the second overall pick last year.
    1. Pius Jefferson's Avatar
      Pius Jefferson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Roaddog View Post
      Fletcher is good yes, but you seem to have forgotten about the ill advised Leddy- Barker trade. And he has the complete support of ownership to win. I think the Twins do want to win. The last couple of drafts have been encouraging, but they are never gonna be that team to bring in high priced talent. I'm willing to give Ryan some time to clean up the mess he came into.
      Jury is also out on the Pominville trade.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Sid Hartman wrote an article in the Strib today claiming that the Twins' problems were caused by poor drafts from '02-'09. Normally Sid is one of the biggest defenders of the Twins (and other local teams) so I was quite surprised to read this column under his byline. My reading between the lines caused me to conclude that there was a fundamental change after '09 and that it was caused by a new philosophy from the Pohlads, eg Carl's death and his sons taking command--they opened the purse strings for amateur player acquisition.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Sid Hartman wrote an article in the Strib today claiming that the Twins' problems were caused by poor drafts from '02-'09. Normally Sid is one of the biggest defenders of the Twins (and other local teams) so I was quite surprised to read this column under his byline. My reading between the lines caused me to conclude that there was a fundamental change after '09 and that it was caused by a new philosophy from the Pohlads, eg Carl's death and his sons taking command--they opened the purse strings for amateur player acquisition.
      I would still argue that '09 represented the first year the Twins could start spending based upon expected revenues from Target Field, and that is why the difference in international and draft spending started, though the death of Carl is an interesting aspect. No doubt Jim has been more aggressive.
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