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AScheib50

Building a Winning Culture

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The early success of the Twin's minor league affiliates got me thinking the other day. How important is winning in the minors? Yes, it is important to the individual teams, as it draws more attendance, thus obviously helping that organization. But how important is it for the players as they move up the ladder?

I did some research. I went back and looked at how the core of the successful 2000s teams did in the minors.

Most fans here know it, but a lot of average fans probably don't know that core pretty much all came up together. From A ball in Fort Myers to AAA in Salt Lake. Doug Mientkiewicz, Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones, AJ Pierzynski, Christian Guzman, Luis Rivas and Corey Koskie all played together for long stretches in the minors.

Obviously, they didn't move together as one unit. But they played a lot of games together as minor leaguers ascending to the big leagues. There were a few years that definitely stood out to me.

Starting all the way back in 1996. The Twins were positioned to be a good ball club. But 1996 was a terrible year for the Twins. Most notably due to the sudden, shocking retirement of Kirby Puckett. They would go on to win just 78 games that year.

Meanwhile the Fort Myers Mircale would go 79-58, starting quite the run in the minors. In 1997, the Miracle would go 81-58, led by the likes of Jones, Pierzynski and David Ortiz.

Moving up to New Britain in 1998 the team would go 83-59. Led by Hunter, Mientkiewicz, Guzman, Jones and AJ.

The 1998 Salt Lake Buzz would go 79-64 with a plethora of future big leaguers. In 2000, that same club would go 90-53. Anyone remember when the Twins started getting good?

It appeared this group of guys had a taste for winning. And from the looks of it, it carried directly over to the Twins in the early 2000s and throughout the decade that saw the big club win six Division Championships in 10 years.

Back then people weren't paying nearly the attention to the minors that we do now. But part of me doubts if we had TD back then the excitement would be as high as it is now for the likes of Buxton and Sano.

With that said, is there anything to building a winning culture? I firmly believe that winning is an attitude. If you truly expect to win it can go a long way. If you have won at every stop on the way to the Majors with the same group of guys how could it now carry over once they got to the Twin Cities?

I definitely see the same thing brewing in A-ball at the Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers affiliates. Miguel Sano has that swag. He knows he's the best and I think he will carry the torch, followed by the more subdued, silent killer, Byron Buxton. I don't think the records of the Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers clubs should go unnoticed.

So what do you guys think?

Updated 05-11-2013 at 01:25 PM by AScheib50

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  1. Brodin4Calder's Avatar
    Of course a team cant win without a winning attitude. The Wild were trying to build a winning attitude this year because they havent won in so long, by bringing in guys like Parise and Suter it helped turn the attitude from losers to winniners.

    The Twins are in a whole different boat. The Wild went out and got 3 annual all stars in Parise, Suter and Pominville this year and by doing so they had the highest payroll in the NHL. The Twins cant do that, the owner showed he doesnt want to spend money by cutting 40+ million the last 2 offseasons. Dont forget the Twins had a winning attitude up until 2010 when they won the division. The next season was followed by injuries which led to a horrible season, after that season the Twins cut a bunch of our best players and by doing so it led to another 60 win season. Now in the last off season the Twins cut the payroll another 20+ million which included getting rid of 2 of the Twins best players Span and Revere. I get why they traded them Especialy the Span trade where the Twins got Meyer because hes gonna be a great pitcher, I dont really like the Revere trade because Worley is a joke but May could be good.

    Yes the Twins are winning more this year but I believe thats because Morneau is looking like himself, Corriea has been great and the Bullpen has been awesome. How long will those final 2 keep up? Unless the Twins start spending money they will never be a consistent winning team. The only playoff baseball I see the Twins playing is if Sano, Buxton, Meyer and Gibson can all come up and play like all stars on rookie contracts.
  2. AScheib50's Avatar
    I was less worried about the Twins winning this year necessarily, but more looking for the correlation between winning throughout the minors and whether it can carry over to the big leagues.

    I definitely understand your frustration about the payroll and the losing over the last two years. But I definitely don't think them spending money is the answer to winning in the near future. I also don't think the payroll decreasing is a direct reason for the team's failures.

    I just look at how many wins guys like Hunter, AJ, Jones, Guzman etc. racked up in the minors and think the same scenario is playing out in front of our eyes.

    Obviously the years of winning and higher draft picks and less than great drafts has had its effect on the Twins. Plouffe, Parmalee, Revere, Hicks...all these guys came up through the minors on some pretty bad teams. A few years they produced winning records but there were some pretty bad overall records in there. And I wonder if that plays a role, however small, in the way the big league team turns out.

    The core group of minor leaguers the Twins have in A and low A ball is stacked...beyond Sano and Buxton. And I think they will keep winning on their paths to the Twin Cities.
  3. old nurse's Avatar
    I think winning comes from performance. Over the time of a baseball season talent will win. If you have enough talent you will win.
  4. Joe A. Preusser's Avatar
    I think this article makes an excellent point. When you have had success in the past you expect to win in the present and future. When you expect, or visualize, a result, you are much closer to actualizing it. This is basic human nature 101.


    I believe our minor league success will continue up to the majors just like it did in the late 90s. When those assets start having major league success, the FO will assess any glaring holes and, then we will fill those holes in free agency. That is the correct, ficsally responsibile way to build a championship caliber baseball team. Not throwing money at a dartboard on the wall every offseason and seeing what sticks.
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