Blog Entry

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 1:38 pm
 


By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no waivers, no minor- or major-league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. 

For years, the Minnesota Twins were the model of how to build a consistent winner in a small market. From 2001-2010, the Twins appeared in the playoffs six times and recorded just one losing season. But the wheels fell off in 2011, with a mixture of bad fortune and bad pitching. The Twins have two former MVPs in their lineup, but it would be tough to find two former MVPs who did less in 2011 than Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Those two homegrown players were supposed to be cornerstones for the franchise, but their performance last season was more fitting a tombstone. The team's fortunes, for better or worse, will be tied to those two for the next few years.

Lineup

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Michael Cuddyer, 3B
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Torii Hunter, RF
6. Jason Kubel, LF
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Danny Valencia, 2B
9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Matt Garza
2. Nick Blackburn
3. Kevin Slowey
4. Brian Duensing
5. Anthony Swarzak

Bullpen

Closer - Jesse Crain
Set up - LaTroy Hawkins, J.C. Romero, Pat Neshek, Glen Perkins, Grant Balfour, Peter Moylan

Notable Bench Players

A.J. Pierzynski, Ben Revere, Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe.

What's Good?

With Ramos and Pierzynski on the roster, there's zero reason for Mauer to get anywhere near catching gear -- unless it's for another commercial. With Mauer freed of pitching duties, he can concentrate on first base and Justin Morneau doesn't have to worry about playing in the field. Even though Morneau is a very good defensive first baseman, keeping him off the field could keep him on the field. Last year he suffered concussion-like symptoms after merely diving for a ball. Limiting his risks for a recurrence of head injuries should be a top priority for the Twins, and the easiest way to do that solves the team's other big problem, getting the most out of their long-term deal with Mauer. While the Twins don't have anyone on this list with a large number of saves on their resume, there are a ton of good relievers.

What's Not?

It's a good thing the team has good relievers, because they're going to need them -- and even more than the seven listed above. The rotation, after Garza, is shaky. That rotation isn't going to get much help from its defense, either. The roster makeup requires several position shuffles, including Cuddyer to third, a position he's played, but is not too keen on playing. The Twins also have to put Nishioka at shortstop. Although he played there some in 2011, the team signed Jamey Carroll to play shortstop every day in 2012 for a reason.

Comparison to real 2011

Well, if you thought it couldn't get much worse in Minnesota than it did in 2011, it may with this lineup and rotation. Minnesota went 63-99 in 2011, and it probably breaks the 100-loss barrier with this squad, but don't expect them to be historically bad, so it'd probably only cost four-to-eight wins in my unscientific research. Either way, it's an ugly summer in Minneapolis.

Up next: Pittsburgh Pirates

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Comments
mzracing76
Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: November 26, 2011 1:10 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: November 26, 2011 1:08 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

Also, by what definition of the word is Nishioka 'homegrown'?

If you don't like the name of the series, that's OK, but all we're doing is putting players on the teams that originally made them professional baseball players in the Major League Baseball umbrella. So Johan is on the Astros because they originally signed him. Nishioka is obvious. Obviously that doesn't take into account "development" if a player is traded while down in Low-A ball, but we never said it did. Again, you seem to disagree with the name itself more than anything. The best thing to remember is that it's just supposed to be for fun. There's little else going on in baseball right now, so we're trying to have fun.

Thanks

- Matt Snyder



Since: Jun 17, 2008
Posted on: November 26, 2011 1:07 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

"I should point out each of those players didn't reach the majors until after they were trading to MN, so in essence their major league career began with the Twins." 
Nathan was in the majors for 4 years before becommin a twin. Santanna was obviously a rule 5 pick so all his development came in houston.


jakemarkdo
Since: Nov 26, 2011
Posted on: November 26, 2011 11:58 am
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Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: November 26, 2011 2:26 am
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

It seems to me Gardy would be much more likely to keep Valencia at 3rd Base and have Cuddyer move over to 2nd, which he has also played, instead. Also, wouldn't either Luke Hughes or Trevor Plouffe be starting over Nishioka after the showing he gave last year?



Since: Nov 25, 2011
Posted on: November 26, 2011 12:44 am
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

Ramos on washington... way to go



Since: Apr 21, 2008
Posted on: November 25, 2011 10:42 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

Also, by what definition of the word is Nishioka 'homegrown'?



Since: Apr 21, 2008
Posted on: November 25, 2011 10:40 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

I should point out each of those players didn't reach the majors until after they were trading to MN, so in essence their major league career began with the Twins.



Since: Apr 21, 2008
Posted on: November 25, 2011 10:39 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

This exposes the validity of this test a little bit.  Why wouldn't we count Fransisco Liriano, Johan Santana or Jason Bartlett (since they clearly need an upgrade at SS above) as home grown?  You're basically analyzing an organization's ability to draft players, not develop them, and the lifeblood of some of these teams isn't necessarily the draft, as much as it's developing players and then trading them away for the next generation. a



Since: Jan 3, 2008
Posted on: November 25, 2011 10:35 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

Bartlett was aquired from SD Padres for Brian Buchanon, I think.


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