10-02-2013, 12:20 AM #1
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Terry Ryan's Innovative formula for building a winner past and future
Terry Ryan has a formula for winning baseball on a budget and I am going to do my best to explain most of the concepts so we can have a clear picture of how the Twins won and being reconstructed to win again. Rule number 1. Winning is a team concept. The Twins have always been a team that is better than the sum of all parts. There is a science to this and I am about to show you.
Pitching Rule #2: You don't need an ace to win, you need 5 solid starters. What did I just say. We don't need an ace, but we had Santana all those years... One of the most successful seasons in franchise history was the 2010 Twins team. If you go back and look at the rotation, we had Pavano 220 innings 3.75 ERA, Liriano (almost an ace) with 191.2 innings and 3.62 ERA, Baker 170.1/ 4.49, Blackburn 161 / 5.42 and Slowey 155 / 4.45. Pelfry, Corriea, Dedunno, and 2012 Diamond fit that mold. In 2010 the team used primarily 6 starters as Deunsing did get 13 starts and had 130 innings / 2.62 for season including bullpen time. Now I am not saying we couldn't use an ace if there was an affordable one out there. Corriea costs just 4.5 million this year Pelfry will not be expensive to resign either should we go that route. Here is the True formula for Pitching Rule #3: For winning plus cost control follow formula below.
6 innings from starters with 4.00 ERA = 2.67 earned runs per game + 3 innings of 3.30 ERA from bullpen = 1.1 earned runs per game = 3.77 Team ERA. How good would our team be if we had a 3.77 team era? The bullpen did their part this year on this equation. And we'll get to them in a few. The media and stat heads focus on K's and BB's and that's part of it but ultimately the question is can we have a pitcher with a 4.00 era that pitches between 180 and 200 innings. That type of pitcher keeps us in the ball games so the other aspects of winning can take over and those pitchers don't break the bank. Radke made 9 million per season, Pavano 8 million for 2 seasons, Santana was the ace that got paid 42 over 4 if I remember correctly, but outside there wasn't many expensive contracts....(there was the mistake of Mays and Blackburns extentions).
Now we get to the bullpen where it helps to currently be 9 deep and relatively inexpensive for at least 2 more seasons, (Perkins, Burton, Fien, Deunsing, Swarzak, Pressly, Reonicke, Theilbar, and Tonklin) The Twins have several generations of relievers who were inexpensive and let go when they became expensive. Look at all of the savings by having the ability to find inexpensive arms Rule #4 The bullpen is a great way to gain wins at a minimal cost. Here is a list of pitchers let go after they became too expensive.
1. Hawkins from 1995-2003 cost us 9 million then cost the Cubs 7.5 for the next 2 seasons.
2. Guardado 12 seasons for 9.5 million vs 16 million for 3 in Seattle
3. Guerrier 7 seasons for 6,650,000 vs LA 3 year 9 million
4. Crain 7 seasons for 5,900,000 vs Chi 3 year 13 million
5. Rincon 7 seasons around 6 million but he was done after that
6. Ron Mahay made 8 million in 2 seasons before coming here on a contract for less than 1 million.
7. Nathan made from 2004-2008 17,500,000 before signing the one big deal 4 year 47 million
Capps is under Bill Smith so I am not counting him for this exercise.
so we received 51 seasons for a total of 93 million with almost 65 going to Nathan vs 15 seasons for 67 million (14 for Nathan at Texas, 8 for Mahay before coming to Twins, Plus the contract Guardado, Hawkins, Crain, Guerrier signed after leaving the Twins)
Rule#5 Defense wins games: The Twins have built there teams with an emphasis on playing solid defense or playing the "Twins way" in 2010 they started to get away from that but I think they are headed back in the right direction here. the early 2000 teams had Hunter, Koskie, and Mientkiewicz anchoring the defense while Jones was really good in LF and Guzman and Rivas were solid MI. the Twins also had Cuddyers Cannon in RF, Span took over CF, then Revere, Bartlett, Hardy and Hudson were also solid MI and of course Punto was good enough to win a gold glove if he stayed at one position long enough. Today we are returning back to those roots as we have Mauer (hopefully) at C, Dozier and Florimon in MI, Hicks and soon Buxton in the OF. If Sano can become a plus defender at 3B watchout.
Rule#6 Smart baserunning is the hidden secret to the Twins scoring so much without hitting the expensive longball. The Twins were never the team to lead the league in stolen bases but they did execute more bunts, bunt singles to get on base, run from 1B to 3B on a single Sometimes the Twins over executed this one. how many times did we write about Ulger blowing a call? I think Hageman wrote an article about going 1b to 3b once and Twinsgeek wrote about the statistical analysis of the likeliness someone scores when on each base with 0,1,or 2 outs. wish I had the links for you on this one.
the offensive rule is kindof hard to describe. there is basically 2 parts to it. Rule #7 The lineup is better off with 20 HR /75-85RBI or .270/.330/.370 hitters 1-8 than 1 35HR hitter and several holes in the lineup. The Twins didn't really go for the HR hitters too much. They liked the guy who would hit 20 HR and 75-85 RBI. Those hitters are more than half the cost at 3/4 the production. The Twins had several of these hitters: Shannon Stewart, Jones, Hunter, Koskie, Cuddyer, Kubel, Crede, Mientkiewicz (minus the power) Hardy, Morneau (though he was also one of their allstars with Mauer) Of those only Hunter became really expensive and that was more star power and defense in CF than just his hitting again Morneau's contract was from when he was MVP caliber. The other type of hitter listed is effective too. the "piranhas" scored runs because they could get on base and run them aggressively. So where that leaves us is with a lineup with some development still going on Arcia, Rosario, Dozier, Hicks, and more as the next wave of the 20 HR 75-85 rbi guys (Arcia has a chance to be more) Buxton is the superstar Piranha with power. (I can't wait to see him score from first on a single). Sano is the future MVP slugger. Florimon and maybe Hicks, Mastroianni form the piranha club.
The club appears to be just a few development years for a few players and a few starting pitchers away from being the same old winning Twins we all know and love. be patient. we've seen the blueprint before and it is in progress again. with this model it takes all parts contributing to Win. but this formula does work as we had 6 division titles in 9 seasons and with the stadium we should be able to keep some of the players a little longer this go round so the minor league system will have more time to develop the following round of Twins as this is an on gong cycle.
10-02-2013, 07:28 AM #2
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Good analysis!!!! Thanks for taking the time to write it!!! Gives some of us that aren't in the 'Ron Gardenhire and Terry Ryan suck' camp some hope.
10-02-2013, 08:45 AM #3
Someone in Twins Daily alert the rest of the media that the current GM is also the GM that oversaw a number of consecutive drafts of washouts and never-were's.
After the Perkins draft, there are a number of drafts where the depth washed out. And those are some of the drafts that would have given the Twins depth in the past 3 years vs the merit-badge players they keep signing and adding to the 40-man roster.
Look it up. Tons of guys that never made it. College slop-ballers that couldn't even get to AAA.
And Terry Ryan was the GM during those drafts before handing things over to Billy Smith.
So while Bill Smith gets the blame on bad decisions recently,long-term problems started with all the bad drafts while Ryan was the GM.
10-02-2013, 08:59 AM #4
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I was befundled how poor those drafts were. We went for a lot of college prospects who were "tapped out". Pitchers who were control pitchers and position players who were solid defenders. Perhaps this is due to the fact we were a perennial playoff team and so we wanted players that were 1-3 years away to keep the ship running versus taking higher talent yet undeveloped higher ceiling players that would take 3-5 years time in fear of the quality of the major league club not being able to have people fill in the spots as players went for those higher contracts as mentioned above.
1st Round Draft History
10-02-2013, 08:59 AM #5
10-02-2013, 09:04 AM #6
IF the GM is going to draft and develop to build through his Innovative formula, then he'd better have a ton of hits, vs all the blanks the Twins shot during past drafts.
Else he's not going to have the personnel for this formula for the majority of positions.
Like they don't now.
10-02-2013, 09:16 AM #7
Great work, Brandon!! I've always wanted to do what you did. It isn't about having the greatest players, though I would add that it's important to have 2-3 that should be considered perennial All-Star types, and then surround them with solid players. Guys with a little pop, some speed, play good defense, and are pretty smart. I especially like what you did with the pitchers. The Twins had an Ace in Johan and that didn't get them to the WS because you need more than just one. You need solid, give-you-a-chance-most-times-out guys in all five spots, and probably a couple of others that can fill in for injury.
10-02-2013, 09:18 AM #8
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Good post, clearly a lot of effort was put into it. I have to disagree with some aspects though. You may be able to win a division without an ace, but a team is unlikely to win in the postseason. The other team IS going to throw out an ace game one, and in the playoffs, digging yourself an 0-1 hole in a best of 5 series is pretty dangerous. Then you have to do it two more series to bring home the trophy. Both Twins WS winning teams had aces.
A good bullpen can be put together at minimal cost, but a good bullpen doesn't do a lot of good if your team is always behind.
Having 8 players in the lineup hit 20 HR with 75 RBI and a .270/.330/.370 slash is a little unrealistic and I don't think the Twins have ever come close to doing such a thing. They had no one hit 20 HR this year and of the regulars, only Mauer and Willingham had an OBP of over .330.
Most importantly though, this team does not need to rebuild on a budget, even the owner says so. There is no reason to intentionally field a team of average baseball players and hope for the best.
10-02-2013, 09:21 AM #9
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10-02-2013, 09:45 AM #10
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Brandon: Great post. Obviously you put a lot of work in it. I agree that patience is required while we wait for the next generation. Assuming Buxton and Sano come up next summer and live up to the hype--that gives us our slugger and anchor defense in OF. Then we have Hicks and Arcia in the corners. Still not sure if Dozier's second half is a career year or he will continue and be an anchor in the middle IF.
So we need to find a couple of quality starters and hope that Stewart, Gonsalves and the rest of the young pitchers develop in the minors.
10-02-2013, 09:48 AM #11
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05 they did ok for a bit - Garza's been a pretty good ML player, Slowey (2nd) and Duensing (3rd) both had decent seasons as starters. The Twins had another first round pick and used it on a washout Hank Sanchez, Clay Bucholz went a few picks later (he dropped for criminal reasons, IIRC). Slowey was an ok pick for a 2nd rounder so I guess we can't complain but Yunel Escobar went two picks later and he's easily been the best player from that round. They also missed with the last pick of the second round. Only Bret Gardener of the Yankees has amassed more WAR than Duensing, of the 3rd round picks. I think this ended up being a pretty solid draft for us actually. Garza has been a quality ML pitcher for years (and still is), Slowey was close to solid for a while and Duensing had several good seasons and has become a decent reliever. Obviously, the Garza trade hangs over this one.
06 was a bad draft for us (but it probably bad for most. Pretty weak group). Top picks were Parmelee, Benson, and Tyler Robertson. I don't think Parmelee was considered a reach or anything (and the 06 1st round wasn't great) but Ian Kennedy, Daniel Bard, Joba Chamberlain and Chris Perez all went after him. Benson in the 2nd round was a bust and Cahill and Masterson both went after him. Joe Smith was the best player taken in the 3rd round.
07 wasn't really a bad draft esp since they drafted so late. They used their first round pick on Revere at pick #28. They wouldn't get to pick again until # 92. The only useful player taken within 30 picks that signed was Brewers C LuCroy. Twins missed with 3rd round pick Angel Morales although I still liked that pick. Nothing special went after him. That was Ryan and Radcliff's last draft as GM and Draft coordinator. Smith and Johnson came the next year (and man, you don't want to look at the misses in that draft).
I'm not sure how much of these drafts are the FO's "fault" as opposed to sorta normal drafting. The injuries that decimated the 04 group are really unfortuante but it was considered a good draft at the time. The 05 group was good although Slowey never really came back from his broken wrist and Garza/Young didn't work out for us. 06 was the disaster draft. The one thing that was really missing from the 04-07 group was the late round hit. Danny Valencia, Alex Burnett, Matt Tolbert were about it in those years. From 99-02, they got lucky with Neshek, Kubel and Blackburn. And Morneau was a really nice 3rd round pick. Maybe we'll start to see a few more of those going forward. Rosario was a 4th round pick and has become a top 100 prospect. Dozier was a 9th rounder in 09.
10-02-2013, 09:48 AM #12
10-02-2013, 09:52 AM #13
the problem with this analysis is that it is way too generalized. I would argue the Twins notion of solid and unspectacular pitching is in desperate need of change. It doesn't have to be 5 aces, but it damn sure cant be five Blackburn clones either. That mentality, by Ryan as posted above, is THE main reason we are where we are right now. And even the Twins have woke up to that reality if their recent drafts are any indication.
10-02-2013, 09:59 AM #14
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I am all for being a good steward of your financial resources, but too me, TR seems to be living a decade behind most other teams. The Twins could spend more as they have it in their budget to do so. I love the aspect of piecing together a bullpen; a team can be cost smart and get good quality. Finding numerous quality bats that can it .270/.330/.370 with 20 HR's is a great idea in theory. Getting that out of MI or at catcher and it will cost you a pretty penny. The problem is that the Twins have tried to plug this .270/.330/.370 into premium offensive positions like corner OF and 3B and 1B. The guys we have tried to plug in (Plouffe (3B), Parmalee (1B/RF), Hermann (RF), Doumit(RF)) have failed miserably. Positions that require production need to be better than .270/.330/.370.
There is hope for the next couple of years as these type of players look to be on there way.
10-02-2013, 10:30 AM #15
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10-02-2013, 10:56 AM #16
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When I clicked on it, I assumed the post would be a joke. Instead it's just a wall of text that nowhere actually says anything about Ryan's strategy for rebuilding.
For instance, even if Ryan's "strategy" was to assemble 5 solid starters, that's sort of like saying his "strategy" is to win all 162 games next year.
10-02-2013, 11:17 AM #17
10-02-2013, 11:23 AM #18
Note - The Twins had an ace in Santana... it takes more than just that. I agree. In those short series, it was the offense and some unfortunately blown leads. Probably some bad luck too.
But, as I write all the time, what happens in 162 games means more to how good a team is than what happens in a Best of Five series.
10-02-2013, 11:27 AM #19
The "strategy" would be the budgetary focus of acquiring 5 quality starters as opposed to competing with other teams for a perceived ace via free agency, which in turn may affect the ability to fill out the bottem of the order.
10-02-2013, 11:28 AM #20
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