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  • Acquiring Talent The Twins Way: Position Players (Part 1 of 3)

    Last Friday Terry Ryan spoke to Paul Allen about Free Agency:

    If we're going to do anything here and succeed in the near and long long-term Paul, it's probably no going to be via free agency. It's going to be drafting and international acquisitions and trades and so forth. Very rarely do you end up succeeding because of free agency.
    Free Agency is only one of the 6 most common methods of acquiring talent. The others are the Amateur Draft, Amateur Free Agency, Rule 5 Draft, Trades, and Waivers. Using Baseball-references Player registry data, I will examine the Twins' successes at acquiring positional talent via these 6 methods during the period 1996-2013 - the Terry Ryan era. (data here)


    1. The Amateur Draft

    Since 1996, the Twins have 194 player-seasons from players acquired via the Draft, most of any AL team. They have paid these players a combined $389,248,998, 2nd only to the Yankees. These players have put up an average of 1.26 WAR, good for 6th in the AL.

    2. Amateur Free Agency

    This includes signing international prospects. Sixteen player-seasons have been worth an average of just .26 WAR. Bobby Kielty, Luis Rodriguez, and Luis Rivas own most of those seasons. Josmil Pinto and Oswaldo Arcia own one apiece.

    3. Rule 5 Draft

    Brian Buscher and Jason Pridie are the two Rule 5 position players to stick on the 40 man roster during Ryan's and Smith's tenures. Combined, they provided 0.3 WAR over 5 player-seasons at a cost of just under 2 million. The most active Rule 5 team during this time was the Baltimore Orioles, who kept Jay Gibbons on as DH/outfielder for the 2001-2007 seasons.

    4. Trades
    The Twins have given 70 player-seasons to players acquired by trade since 1996. Jason Bartlett, Lew Ford, and Christian Guzman accumulated 9.1, 8.4, and 7.4 WARs over 15 player seasons. On the other end, Ron Coomer, David Ortiz, and Alexi Casilla accumulated between 2 and 4 WARs over 6+ seasons each. Overall, the average player-season was worth .54 WAR, last among AL teams (excluding Houston and Milwaukee.)

    5. Waivers
    The Twins have played 7 Waiver claims in positions 2-9 since 1996. They are (WAR in Parenthesis): Augie Ojeda (1.2), Casey Blake (-0.2), Clete Thomas (0.2), Corky Miller (-0.2), Darin Mastroianni (0.3), Erik Komatsu (-0.2), and Pedro Florimon (3.8). The average waiver claim-season has been worth 0.42 WAR, boosted largely by Florimon's 2013 season which has so far been worth 2.2 WAR.

    6. Free Agency
    Since 1996, the Twins have 84 Free Agent position player-seasons. WAR likes Paul Molitor (5.2), Josh Willingham (3.9) and Jamey Carroll the most (3.5). On the other end are Rondell White (-1.5), Butch Huskey (-1.0), and Kevin Maas (-0.8). Overall, the Twins average a 0.38 WAR season from Free Agent position players. This is the worst average in the AL (excluding Houston and Milwaukee). Interestingly, they also pay their Free Agents the least of any AL team.

    So, in order of average WAR, the Twins' most successful means of positional talent acquisition under Terry Ryan (and 4 seasons of Bill Smith):

    1. Amateur Draft (1.26 WAR)
    2. Trades (0.54)
    3. Waivers (0.42)
    4. Free Agency (0.37)
    5. Amateur Free Agency (0.26)
    6. Rule 5 Draft (0.06)

    *Note about the Salary figures - rather than look up days spent on the active roster for all the minimum wagers, I assumed they were paid a full season's worth. Therefore salary figures are a little inflated, specially for waivers, rule 5, and amateur draft guys.
    This article was originally published in blog: Acquiring talent the Twins Way: position players (part 1 of 3) started by Willihammer
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      The numbers in the article are just position players, correct? So Nathan, Liriano, and Santana shouldn't be in there?

      Also, when you do pitchers, I would put Santana in the Rule 5 category. The Twins were going to pick him first, but the Marlins called and wanted to make sure they could get their guy, so they gave the Twins a little cash to essentially swap picks.

      You wouldn't credit the Timberwolves with Ray Allen or O.J. Mayo, right?
      Evidently the pick-and-trade is a fairly common maneuver with the Rule 5. For example, the 3rd pick in the 1999 rule five draft, Damian Rolls, was also part of a pre-arranged trade. I wasn't going to go through everyone to determine who was immediately traded after being drafted, so for the purposes of this post, Santana sticks as a trade.

      I forgot that we are looking at post 1 here. The 3rd post (probably could have condensed the whole thing into that post really) is already up in the Blog section. It uses combined pitcher-position player figures and compares them to the league average as suggested by Kavan.

      Acquiring Talent the Twins Way: Terry Ryan vs. the AL (part 3 of 3) - Blogs - Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
    1. Jack Torse's Avatar
      Jack Torse -
      Interesting, Wonder what the war of Twins players departing via free agency would be compared to those they acquired.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Really cool stuff. Thanks for the putting up the effort.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      This is really cool, thanks.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Echo: thanks for this.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kavan View Post
      Its hard to tell how 1.3 compares to today with inflation, but these days teams pay about $5 million per win.
      That figures only applies to free agents. You to take into account that arb and pre-arb players are only making a fraction of that money per WAR.
    1. josh.bendickson's Avatar
      josh.bendickson -
      Hi Willihammer,

      Some interesting research you're doing here!

      I'm conducting some similar analysis comparing strategies for developing versus acquiring players. John B. and I exchanged a few emails and he suggested I reach out to you since you're doing some similar work. Would you be willing to email me, I could share the data I've collected and see if you might be able to make a couple suggestions as to getting a few of the missing variables. [email protected] Thanks for considering!

      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      If anyone wants to sift through the tables you can download the data here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5pI...it?usp=sharing

      There are a few extraneous tabs that I forgot to cleanup before uploading.

      If you go to the tab "combined salarywar pivot" you can filter by year, acquisition method, etc. Then double click any of the cells in the results to pull a new sheet showing the detail of that column-row, if that makes sense.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      You're doing some bang-up work here, Willihammer.

      But your avatars still freak me the **** out.
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