12-30-2013, 08:43 PM #1
Reviews/Comments on Twins Prospect Handbook 2014
I have intentionally not pushed the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook here on Twins Daily very much because I know that a lot of people don't like that.
However, I do want to set up a place here in the minor league forum to have a place where people can talk about it. I know that I (and Jeremy and Cody) would love to hear your thoughts, positives and negatives. Which articles did you enjoy. What are your thoughts on the profiles, the format... just anything.
(If you do want to order one, or more, or previous years, click here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/sethspeaks)
Thank you for your support and encouragement!
12-31-2013, 10:39 AM #2
Any feedback, positive or negative, is welcome!
12-31-2013, 10:43 AM #3
I'd love to hear if there are other things that people would like included. We pretty much kept it status quo as far as information we included, though we did break up the bios differently.
Is there something we missed?
12-31-2013, 12:03 PM #4
Forward by John Bonnes!?! How'd you get that guy!?
Ill buy the book after my holiday bills are paid next month. I do in enjoy Jeremy interview with scouts and how you guys break up the work load. One thing you could add is a break down of what each team level represents. Avg age of the league, who go where (example most high schoolers drafted go to the gulf coast league) and a side by side comparison of how the Twins set up there system with at least two other Organizations. How does the Twins not having a SS A ball team affect promotions, or is the Twins set up of 6 American minor league teams typical or unusual.
12-31-2013, 12:23 PM #5
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12-31-2013, 12:24 PM #6
Check out the C.J. Nitkowski interview over at MLBtraderumors. If people get the time, interview guys about how it is to move in-season to a new level and town. Or just interview a player at each level so we know what their experience is like in small-town minor league baseball.
12-31-2013, 02:26 PM #7
Great feedback, and we'll definitely jot those down. However, I have always included a page that gives Avg Age and Stats by level. I have the league averages and the Twins affiliates' averages.
Also, Jeremy came through again this year with a terrific interview with Twins' Scout Freddie Thon.
12-31-2013, 02:30 PM #8
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I've read about half of the handbook and I love it so far. I particularly like Seth's players of the year articles and how the prospect profiles are organized (amatuer, stats, scouting report, forecast). Here are a few more things that I think would be great:
- More/Expanded prospect lists at the the back, like top 40 or 50 instead of 20 or 30, and maybe include another list or two from other contributors at Twins Daily
- Include these "rankings" in each propsect profile. For example: Kohl Stewart (4, 3, 4). I'm not super familiar with players outside the top 10, so I find myself constantly flipping back and forth from the writeups to the prospect lists.
- More info on each affiliate, espcially 2013 stats. I like what you've got on page six, with location, twitter, and manager, but I'd love it if it were expanded to 1/2 page to 1 page per affilliate with 2013 results, hitting/pitching stats, and maybe team MVP, pitcher of the year, etc.
- Oraganizational leader lists. I remember Seth doing this once towards the end of last year and it was really interesting. I'm thinking top ten lists for things like IP, K, ERA, H, BB, OPS, HR, etc. players across all Twins affiliates combined.
- Tool Ratings. I imagine this is asking too much, but I'd love to see someone's 20-80 scale rankings of each tool for each player.
- "Day in the life" articles. As other commenters have mentioned, I'd love more articles that focus on what life is like in the minors, and perhaps some player interviews. I know a lot of that kind of thing already gets posted on TwinsDaily, but the prospect handbook seems like a good place to include a couple.
Thanks for a great handbook!
12-31-2013, 03:50 PM #9
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I think that it would be very difficult to translate that into print. B-R does an incredible job with this, with sortable lists of all organization position players (by position and by level) and pitchers (by L or R, starter reliever and level), over more than 20 categories. But it is somewhat hidden. You can find the 2013 Twins organization position player list here, and the pitchers here. Truly great tool and I am sure that it will not translate well into print...
Seth's (and Cody and Jeremy's now) handbook is getting better year after year. I have been getting them since the first year (the pink one - I think) and every year there is a noticeable set of additions and the price has stayed about the same.
Major kudos to all 3 of you and I am sure that next season you will add some more features to it. I really cannot make any specific requests, because I know that you all have day jobs and this is a labor of love and I suspect that you barely break even (or make like 10 cents an hour for the time you put in it.) I think it would be unfair to ask you to write about stuff you don't enjoy writing under these circumstances. Just keep doing what you are doing guys, it has been great.
Only one request: Keep it portable and small. You cannot believe how many of those handbooks I have seen every Spring Training by the bleachers on the side fields...-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
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12-31-2013, 06:02 PM #10
12-31-2013, 06:10 PM #11
I appreciate your feedback and understanding about our time and energies, but that's (admittedly selfishly) one of the reasons I wanted to start this forum. We want to make sure we're providing the most bang for the buck, and hopefully we continue to provide a product that people will want. New ideas are always good!
12-31-2013, 08:33 PM #12
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This is my first year buying the Handbook and I'm loving it! It's perfect for browsing. I don't know what you've done for the layout in the past, but having the pitchers and batters separate and alphabetical is a great format. I can't think of one that would be better.
I had a conversation with my brother over Christmas where he mentioned that in high school, he'd batted against pitcher Tim Shibuya, who is now in the Twins system, though he hadn't heard much about him since. It was worth the price of the book alone to be able to whip it out and read him Shibuya's half-page bio.
I've only skimmed and read a small handful of the articles to date, but here are a few of my "asks" for next year's book (more or less in order of priority):
1) This is a book organization thing more than anything, but I liked the 2013 Draft Review after reading it (it was one of the first articles I read)--then wondered why there wasn't anything on the 2013 international signings. Yesterday, I figured out that's basically what "On the Cusp" is, but it might be useful to group these two articles together in future handbooks.
2) Along those lines, I'd love a page or two that simply list (a) the draft order of the Twins' draft picks in the amateur draft (with just name, position, and school of origin with location) and (b) the Twins' international signings listed by signing bonus (with just name, position, and country of origin). It's probably somewhat duplicative of the general player sections, but I'd still find it useful as a supplement to Jeremy's summaries of what happened in the draft and international signings, and I could see it being a useful reference page five years down the line, to see where the names making noise came from.
3) I like Sssuperdave's idea of somehow highlighting or spotlighting the top prospects when they're listed in the general player listings. Maybe just take your listings and denote players as "Consensus Top 10", "Consensus Top 25", and "Consensus Top 40" or something.
4) I have yet to read it, but I'm looking forward to reading Cody's "Anatomy of a Five Tool Player." However, I sometimes listen to Baseball Prospectus's Effectively Wild podcast and I remember hearing one episode right after Ben Lindbergh went to scout school on how the 20-80 scale is applied to pitchers, and how their tools are examined. It could be nice to incorporate that into such an article in the future.
5) I like maxisagod's suggestion of outlining how the Twins' organizational structure compares to others. I have no idea what "the Twins not having a SS A ball team" means, and I've just assumed every organization has R-/R+/A-/A+/AA/AAA as their structure. Is that not typical? Or is it typical, but are their divergences? I'd be interested in hearing about that.
6) I also agree with Rosterman that a little something on the life of a Rookie baller would be worthwhile. Just slot it in after the affiliate year summaries (which I admit I've yet to read), but mainly emphasize how Rookie ball is different from all the other levels. It doesn't need to be a specific "team year in review" so much as an explanation of rookie ball. Personally, I get what most minor league teams are by thinking of them in relation to MLB teams, but Rookie ball seems to be a whole different animal that I just don't know much about.
It's a great product that I'm sure I'll be picking up annually from here on out! Thanks for all your hard work!
Last edited by Wookiee of the Year; 12-31-2013 at 08:48 PM.
12-31-2013, 10:31 PM #13
Wonderful feedback Wookie! I really do appreciate it, and as you read more of it, feel free to add further comments. I'm really glad I put this here because we are getting some great ideas for improvement.
As an FYI, I agree with you on the format, separating the hitters and pitchers and then going in alphabetical order. The first few years, I just had all of the names in alphabetical order. I just think the new way makes sense.
If anyone has any good marketing ideas, let me know. I'm willing. Any publicity is good publicity, right?
01-01-2014, 10:49 AM #14
I like the ideas. I know in one of the first editions (or maybe the first edition?), Seth had the prospect ranking right with the player capsule. Maybe the three of us will have to put together a Top 50 together (in addition to our own lists). I think that would be fun.
Rating tools would be hard, but if you're familiar with BA's prospect handbook, they give an overall 20-80 score with the risk factor. For example, Thorpe would probably be 65 extreme, Stewart would be 70 high and Meyer would be 65 medium. Basically ceilings and floors. When they added that, I enjoyed their book even more.
01-01-2014, 01:05 PM #15
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Did some more reading in the Handbook this morning--lots of great stuff. I didn't realize "Anatomy of a Five Tool Player" included the top three Twins prospects for each tool--that was awesome and I had fun making my own top three lists beforehand to try to predict who'd be named.
I also really enjoyed the 2014 draft preview and the comprehensive look at the draft class generally with the breakdown of some of the top names.
Also, I had a thought on labeling prospect quality: in terms of maximizing their utility to readers while minimizing your difficulty in generating them, maybe simply giving each prospect a letter grade like with John Sickels' A/B/C scale would work well? Obviously, 20-80 scores with risk factors would be great, but that sounds extremely time-consuming for you guys, where I'd think with letter grades you could take your top prospect lists, figure out where to draw the lines between grades, and then label every prospect accordingly.
01-01-2014, 07:00 PM #16
We'll have to come up with a means of ranking, I can see.
01-01-2014, 09:37 PM #17
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I am on page 145 reading it cover to cover. You guys have done an amazing job and I am enjoying your work thoroughly. You have far exceeded my expectations and hopes. Does any other teams have people doing this type of great work? In short, Thank You!
I Definitely love having hitters and pitchers separated.
I would not make many changes as the concise manner this is produced has a value of it's own. Having said this, here are my two suggestions:
1) I agree with the concept of expanding the forecast to include scouting projections or Something that would give us some idea of the odds we could see this guy in Minni. When it is all boiled down what we really care about most is how these guys will impact the big club.
2) Get an improved editor system. There are a lot of really silly mistakes that as you guys read your own work, I am sure you shake your heads at. My suggestion, offer someone you'd trust a free book to read it cover to cover and point out the little mistakes before you send it out. Not trying to be picky but you guys really are way too professional for the number of minor editing errors I found. (examples, pg 136, "amateur days:" is substituted with "amateur: amateur:" pg 146 "Scouting Report: Roberts in a talented player...")
01-01-2014, 10:44 PM #18
I hear you with the mistakes. We'll get better. Unlike last year, we really wanted to have the book available by Christmas, which sped up the process.
01-02-2014, 10:26 AM #19
Yeah, I like the idea of adding a final editor to catch some of those things. Jeremy, Cody and I looked at it so much, and I know we missed some things... We'll get better.
01-02-2014, 05:09 PM #20
I started to keep a minor-league transaction log on January 1st of 2013, but it got to be so long that I stopped doing because I figured it would tie up a dozen (at a minimum) pages in the book. Is that something that people would be interested in?
Or maybe simply lists of All-Stars and/or League Players of the Week?