Thursday, August 18, 2011

Twins Notes and Thoughts... 8/18/11

By Matt Tschida

Delmon Young Trade
I didn’t have a problem with the Twins trading their starting left fielder of the past three seasons, but rather the timing. I understand that Young hasn’t always meshed well with the coaching staff, and doesn’t always put forth maximum effort, but it doesn’t make sense to trade a player who was your MVP of 2010 at this point of the season. Sure, the Twins want to clear room for Ben Revere, who covers much more ground for the Twins' fly ball pitching staff. It's just very disappointing that Young was traded at a point when his value is so low.

If the Twins would have entertained offers last offseason, they could have netted a top prospect or two instead of two pitching projects. It was certainly a lose-lose situation for Twins' GM Bill Smith. If he would have traded Delmon last offseason, fans would have ripped him apart because many felt Young was entering some big seasons (which he still might be). Why would you trade him after waiting through two mediocre seasons? I don’t blame Smith for keeping Young last offseason, as the Twins' lineup was still very left handed and needed some consistency and power from the right side.

The best case scenario for the Twins would have been to keep Young the rest of this season and hope that he'd continue to hit better, as he has during the second half of the season. He's become more disciplined at the plate in the last month—he's drawn more walks (10) than he had in the first 3-1/2 months combined (8). There was no reason (unless the front office really wanted to dump $1M from the payroll of a team that sells out every game) to trade Young at his lowest value in a season and a half. If Young could have finished strong and raised his average into the .280-.290 range, while hitting 6-8 homeruns, his value would have been much higher in the coming offseason.

The Twins have nothing to gain or lose the rest of the season, so the addition by subtraction theory doesn’t make a ton of sense right now. Sure, if the Twins were only a couple games back and needed to play Revere more in left field and didn’t have a spot for Young, then I could see that point. That's simply not the case for a team that's out of the playoff race, specially not knowing when Denard Span will be completely healthy.

Twins Sign Three First Round Picks
In the waining hours of the signing deadline, the Twins were able to ink their top 3 draft picks from the 2011 amateur draft. The timing was not abnormal, as most teams wait to sign top picks until
deadline day to let draft slot dollars work themselves out.

Levi Michael (North Carolina) was the Twins' first round selection. He played 3B, 2B, and SS in his 3 years at UNC and the Twins are hoping he can stick at SS. Some scouts believe he is more of a 2B based on his range and arm strength (ahem, Nishioka). He’s a patient hitter who will hit for a high average, steal a decent amount of bases, and hopefully find the gaps at Target Field. Comparison – Orlando Hudson (without the constant chatter).

Travis Harrison (Tustin High School—Califonia)
was the team's second first round selection—a compensation pick. He is a 3B who will likely move to either 1B or a corner OF spot. The Twins hope he can stay at third, but his defense is part of the reason he wasn’t drafted higher. He has big time power, and while he hit .486 in his senior season, some scouts aren't convinced that he'll hit for a high average at the MLB level. Comparison – Josh Willingham/Mike Napoli (this is more of an offensive comparison, as it’s not known what position he ends up at).

Hudson Boyd (Bishop Verot High School—Florida) was the Twins' third and final first round selection. He’s a power pitcher who's consistently in the 93-94 mph range with a power curve. The only thing holding him back from moving up quickly is the lack of a quality third pitch. The Twins will work to develop a change-up with him.

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