Monday, July 16, 2012

Seriously, What Is It With Twins Prospects?

I really just don't get it. Why do so many high draft picks struggle so mightily in the minors only to blossom into regular big leaguers? After Torii and Span came up with similar paths, I dismissed it as coincidence. But now it looks like Plouffe has also blossomed over the past 16 months.

I know three does not make this hypothesis a law, but there are even more examples in the next wave of Twins. Aaron Hicks may be in the midst of his breakout after disappointing results in the low-minors a la Chris Parmelee and recent first rounder Levi Michael is being toyed with in Fort Myers. Here's a list of Twins' first round position player picks since Joe Mauer:

  • Denard Span (2002)
  • Matt Moses (2003)
  • Trevor Plouffe (2004)
  • Henry Sanchez (2005)
  • Chris Parmelee (2006)
  • Ben Revere (2007)
  • Aaron Hicks (2008)
  • Levi Michael (2011)
  • Travis Harrison (2011)
  • Byron Buxton (2012)
Moses and Sanchez are no longer with the organization and never amounted to much. However, of the remainder, only Revere hit all the way up the organizational ladder - with the exception of Harrison and Buxton who have barely seen any action. Joe Benson is another example I'd like to throw in even though he was a 2nd round pick (2006); Joe didn't really breakout until 2011.

I may be making too much of a handful of developmental paths, but I have to wonder what's behind this. Do the minor league coaches stress making adjustments that sap production (perhaps)? Are the leagues and ballparks in Beloit, Fort Myers and New Britain prohibitive to hitting (They aren't)? Or is it that the scouts prefer very raw hitters in the draft (possible)?

I can't argue with the results from the past decade; all but two of these picks were from outside the top 20 choices and they have done pretty well. And it gives me optimism for the current crop of prospects struggling in the lower minors like Levi.

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