Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Conclusions from Roster Decisions

It is difficult for fans to evaluate minor league players. We get to see very few of them play and when we do most of the players on the field are not major league quality. We can look at their statistics and get some idea of their abilities, but adjusting that for their age and the quality of the opponents often make those numbers only vague indicators of their major league potential. For Twins fans its the Appy League syndrome. Every year some player comes out of the Appy league with gaudy statistics that have inexperienced fans excited. Usually they are out of the system in a couple years. That's what happened to Ozzie Lewis this year. He won the MVP in the Appy League a couple years ago was released after this season. Often the age of a player at a certain level tells us more than the results they get. A 21 or 22 year old playing at AAA is usually an indication of a someone with a lot of talent regardless of their numbers. Otherwise the team wouldn't have them playing their at all.

How a team moves a player should be one of the first indicators for fans of how good he is. When Steve Singleton was left off the 40 player roster it was a clear sign that he is not a major league quality defensive shortstop and likely never will be.  If he were, he would have been protected given his success with the bat at AA and in the AFL. Instead the Twins reached down into A ball to protect Estarling de Los Santos, a slick fielding shorstop who has struggled to stay healthy. Singleton may still be a prospect, but if he is limited to second base his bat is not anything special. 

Clearly the Twins are not completely discouraged by Danny Valencia's season at AAA. His high number of errors and poor hitting over the last half of the season seemed to indicate that he had hit a wall once he faced competition his own age. It will be interesting to see how he does next year. But it will also be interesting to see whether the Twins make a move to shore up third base during the off-season. That will probably tell us more than Valencia's spot on the roster. Otherwise they go into spring training with a competition between Tolbert, Harris, Valencia and Hughes for third base. If the Twins add a second baseman, Punto becomes part of that mix. If the Twins think Valencia is close to being ready, then they may be willing to let Tolbert or Harris keep the seat warm. Otherwise third base looks like a place where there is an opportunity to improve, even if that means resigning Joe Crede.


Jim H said...

I agree with your thoughts, mostly. I was a little surprised Singleton was not added to the 40 man roster. I think you maybe right, if he is limited to 2b because of his arm injury from several years ago, or range, he becomes a less attractive prospect. The acquistion of Hardy sort of made me wonder about Ploufe as a prospect. Clearly, if the Twins thought he had a high ceiling or was nearly ready you wouldn't think they would trade for Hardy.

I am not entirely sure what to think about Valencia. I haven't been that impressed with his minor league stats or the rapidity of his promotions through the minors. On the other hand, there was much talk that other organizations were trying to pry him away from the Twins at the trade deadline.

My guess is that the Twins really like Ploufe, Ramos, Valencia, Tosoni and maybe Singleton as prospects and that all could compete for jobs as starters within 2 years. I don't think any are considered ready now and all appear to have flaws or weaknesses that may leave them as major league backups.

Anonymous said...

Clearly a sign from whom? Have you seen him play? Have you seen De Los Santos play?

TT said...

A clear sign from the Twins.

If Singleton was a major league quality shortstop, he would have been protected.

I'm not sure what de los Santos has to do with Singleton. I haven't seen either one of them play and, even if I had, I am not a scout.

MLB Twins Updates