Thursday, March 22, 2012

Twins Best Young Players

Over the last few years, if you read the STRIB, you would think the Twins organization was devoid of prospects in its upper level. The Twins beat writers and columnists have consistently sensationalized this whole discussion. Underestimating many players coming through the system, while periodically hyping prospects with flaws and then criticizing them for not living up to the hype. There are three myths repeated about the Twins:

1) The Twins move prospects slowly.
2) The Twins have no prospects in the top of their system.
3) Gardenhire is reluctant to give prospects a chance.

The facts are different. The Twins have consistently been among the younger teams in baseball even while winning division championships and despite having aging players like Jim Thome and Joe Nathan on the roster. You wouldn't know it to read the STRIB and its resident bloggers and beat writers.

The break between "young" player and a guy in his prime is usually 27 or 28. After that point you don't expect to see much improvement, although that isn't always true. So lets divide the Twins young players who were 27 or younger last year into three categories: established veterans who have played an entire season in the major leagues, developing players with significant major league opportunities and prospects likely to start at AAA and with, at most, limited experience.

Denard Span
Matt Capps
Francisco Liriano
Alex Casilla
Danny Valencia
Drew Butera

Developing Players:
Ben Revere
Trevor Plouffe
Alex Burnett
Anthony Swarzak
Luke Hughes
Jeff Manship
Rene Tosoni
Brian Dinkelman

Chris Parmelee
Brian Dozier
Carlos Guttierez
Deolis Guerra
Lester Oliveros
Liam Hendricks
Joe Benson
Kyle Waldrop
Scott Diamond
Tyler Robertson

That's 24 players. Of course last year provided a lot of opportunities for young players to get major league experience and some players on that list will never contribute much. But you could have made a similar list for the last few seasons. Players like Delmon Young, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing and Joe Mauer would have been on the list last year.

What it demonstrates is that, despite repeated stories to the contrary, the Twins system has continued to churn out players for the major league team. The "Twins model" of developing players from within is alive and well. They continue to move players into big league uniforms once they are ready and, often, before they have developed their full potential. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

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