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

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    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    Article: Acquiring Talent The Twins Way: Position Players (Part 1 of 3)


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    This is a neat anlaysis, albeit overwhelming.

    I'm having trouble verifying your data when looking at the detail. I'm having trouble finding individual players to see their value. For instance, I presume that a great deal of the amateur draft value is driven by Mauer. (Which would, I expect, be the case for several teams - that their overall value is driven considerably higher by the standouts.) Can you tell me how I can find specifics like that in your data? The "Find" function doesn't seem to do it. Is there additional detail that we can't see?

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    And, of course, it begs the question of whether the Twins' data can be broken down further between TR's administration and The Bill Smith Era....

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    Great analysis, though I wonder were Nathan, Liriano and Bonser included in the trade section? I only ask because I assumed Nathan's WAR would increase that figure quite a bit. Also, would Santana be include in the trade section? Or would he go in the Rule V?

    Great breakdown though and it does clearly show the Twins are amonst the worst teams in acquiring talent in free agency. They should not have more success in waivers than free agecny, that is simply rediculous.

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    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    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.

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    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    The Bill Smith question is a good one. I decided not to really dive into whatever differences might have occured in the Smith era mainly because it would be difficult to extrapolate how much of the results would be Smith's doing and how much would be holdover effects from Terry Ryan's doing 1995-2007.

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    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
    Great analysis, though I wonder were Nathan, Liriano and Bonser included in the trade section? I only ask because I assumed Nathan's WAR would increase that figure quite a bit. Also, would Santana be include in the trade section? Or would he go in the Rule V?
    Yep, Nathan, Liriano, Gomez, Bonser etc are all included in the trade total. So is Johan. I was unable to find a good explanation for the arrangement of that deal. What I understand is, the Twins had first pick in the Rule 5, but rather than drafting Santana stright up, they took someone the Marlins wanted and then immediately traded him to the Marlins who had the 2nd pick and took Johan ???

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    For the Brewers you have listed 26 player seasons. This includes by your post the cup of coffee players What happened to the totals for the following players with the total number of seasons they played with the Brewers?
    Bill Hall 8
    Corey Hart 9
    JJ Hardy 5
    Prince Fielder 7
    Richie Weeks, 10
    Tony Gwynn jr 3
    Ryan Braun 7
    Jonathan Lucroy 4

    Not to be nitpicky, but that is a gross error

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    Camp had a rocket fastball. Minnesota convinced Miami that other teams would trade for him. They got some cash out of the deal for their efforts. Camp was returned to the Indians and never did make the majors.

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    Very interesting #analysis. I was a bit confused by Johan counting as trade too, but I don't remember all the details around that. I'd tend to think he'd be considered Rule V, since they essentially traded draft picks.

  11. #11
    This is really cool analysis. Perhaps we should think of ranking the means of acquisitions differently. Specifically, I think it would be more informative to rank how the twins did in avg. WAR vs the Grand Total. I.e. we actually performed quite poorly in trades relative to other teams (.54 vs 1.05) while we were actually pretty effective in working the waivers (.42 vs .27).

    The rankings would then change to:
    Waivers (.15 WAR better than avg)
    Draft (Exactly avg)
    Rule 5 (0.2 WAR below avg)
    Free Agency (0.38 below avg)
    Trades (0.52 below avg)
    Amature FA (0.85 below avg)

    This sort of begs the question "where the heck did all of our 2000s talent come from?"....

    For trades, it would also be cool to see the WAR differential... i.e. we trade Delmon for Garza, maybe Delmon was worth 1 WAR/yr we had him, but we gave up 3 WAR/year in Garza. The way the data are presented, a team looks really good if they trade a superstar for another superstar but don't look as good if they swap junk for good players. I would argue the latter is a more savvy move.

    Really interesting nonetheless.

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    This means that the Twins, over this 17 year period, averaged just 18.98 wins more than what a team full of replacement level (and minimum contracts) players would have done.

    Using the MLB minimum salary from 1996-2013, to fill the team with replacement players would have cost $133.075 million while the Twins spend $562.731 million on salaries. The net difference of $429.656 million represents $1.33 million spent per win above replacement.

    Based on this, the Twins should have just stayed in the Metrodome and not wasted the taxpayers money.

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    I think $1.3 million is actually really cheap for a win above replacement. Its hard to tell how 1.3 compares to today with inflation, but these days teams pay about $5 million per win.

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    Ah sorry, its actually very easy to compare how much we paid for a win vs the average since we have the Grand Total averages in the tables. The Twins only overpaid relative to the mean in 3 of the 6 categories.

    Also we won a bunch of division titles over these years, which is more fun than watching a team of replacement level players for 15+ years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kavan View Post
    I think $1.3 million is actually really cheap for a win above replacement. Its hard to tell how 1.3 compares to today with inflation, but these days teams pay about $5 million per win.

    Obviously, the costs of a win over replacement is not on a linear scale and 18 wins above replacement is not much of a success. Remember, REPLACEMENT is not "average", and in fact is far, far below average. The Twins have spent $400 million or so to field a team far below average, much of that subsidized by their move to a new stadium that was financed by the tax payers. The truth of the matter is clear: the fans have not received much back from the Twins ownership who have only fielded a team that is good enough to line their pockets with taxpayer dollars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
    Yep, Nathan, Liriano, Gomez, Bonser etc are all included in the trade total. So is Johan.
    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wise One View Post
    For the Brewers you have listed 26 player seasons. This includes by your post the cup of coffee players What happened to the totals for the following players with the total number of seasons they played with the Brewers?
    Bill Hall 8
    Corey Hart 9
    JJ Hardy 5
    Prince Fielder 7
    Richie Weeks, 10
    Tony Gwynn jr 3
    Ryan Braun 7
    Jonathan Lucroy 4

    Not to be nitpicky, but that is a gross error
    He's doing AL only, so his data pull only got the Brewers for a couple seasons in the 1990s before they switched to the NL. Likewise, it only included the Astros for 2013.

    I would have included the NL too. The Twins compete with all of MLB in player acquisition, even if they only compete with AL teams in the standings.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    Obviously, the costs of a win over replacement is not on a linear scale and 18 wins above replacement is not much of a success. Remember, REPLACEMENT is not "average", and in fact is far, far below average. The Twins have spent $400 million or so to field a team far below average, much of that subsidized by their move to a new stadium that was financed by the tax payers. The truth of the matter is clear: the fans have not received much back from the Twins ownership who have only fielded a team that is good enough to line their pockets with taxpayer dollars.
    Right, a replacement level team wins ~48 games a year, add to that 18 from positional players and you're at 66 wins with the twins teams and replacement level pitching. Add to that another 18 which is what we got out of our pitchers over the same period (according to fangraphs) and you're at 84 wins... which is above the average, for less than average payout. I don't see how that translates to "fans have not received much back from the ownership"

    Also, they were good enough to make the playoff multiple times through the 2000s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kavan View Post
    Ah sorry, its actually very easy to compare how much we paid for a win vs the average since we have the Grand Total averages in the tables. The Twins only overpaid relative to the mean in 3 of the 6 categories.

    Also we won a bunch of division titles over these years, which is more fun than watching a team of replacement level players for 15+ years.

    1. Not really. "Overpaying" relative to the mean does not mean much. In almost every type of economic events there is a diminishing marginal return. Because the Twins have been so cheap in most of these "categories" we would expect that their sparse utllization of free agent dollars to do much better. If we were "mean" spenders in these categories liek "trades" and "free agency", your statement would have been more impressive.

    2. I don't disgree with you about the division titles, but most of that was an illusion. First, several of those titles were based on the geography of the league, not having a top record. Here is the data:

    2002 Place in AL: 4th Games behind Wild Card: 5
    2003 5th 5
    2004 4th 6
    2006 2nd -1
    2009 5th 8
    2010 3rd 1

    Only in 2006 and 2010 did we have a team that had a top 3 record in the AL, and only once did we finish with a record better than the AL wild card team.

    Second, our playoff record exposes the fact. In the total of 6 playoff series, this team has won a total of 6 games and just one series back in 2002. They were swept the last the consecutive series, and outside of a 3-2 series win in 2002, they won only one game in the other three.

    The point is, the ownership of this team has let the fans down by not doing what it takes to create a winning team.

  20. #20
    But we were pretty close to mean spenders overall, 3 of 6 categories we overpaid, 3 of six we underpaid. We were only "cheap" in half of them.... which doesn't really translate to cheap overall.

    Also in every year you posted, we had a top 5 record, out of 14-ish teams... I think thats pretty good. Anything can happen in the playoffs with so few games, including repeatedly getting swept by the Yankees. I think your evaluation of Twins on-field performance is a bit short-sighted.

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