Thursday, October 20, 2005
Other Thoughts - Twins in Venezuela, and more
Roger's Twins Top
Good Morning everyone!
If you checked out the site last Thursday, you read our first Why Baseball article by Roger. In it, he mentioned the enjoyment he receives from following the Twins minor league system. As he said, we all like to have our Top 10, 20 or 30 Twins Prospects List (click here to see my Top 50), but he thought that there had to be a way to substantiate their rankings. So, Roger set out to develop a formula to come up with his own rankings. You can read more below, but his analysis is quite thorough and obviously took a lot of thought. He has continued to make small alterations to make it better and better. I know when I read this the first time, I absolutely loved it all. His final formula is really incredible. Today, he will discuss his formula and show the rankings for each pitcher that threw in the Twins minor league system in 2005.
So, without any further ado, I present Roger's Rankings of the Twins minor league pitchers. (Note - next Thursday, he will rank the Twins minor league hitters) As always, if you have any questions or comments for me, or for Roger, please e-mail me, and I will be sure to pass along any thoughts to Roger. I know he would love to hear them.
2005 Twins System
When this year’s Top 30 was complete, I was uneasy and decided to develop a formula to rank all players based on performance. Obviously there are many factors other than their statistical performance that will determine how successful each pitcher will be over his career. However without having access to scouting reports or being able to see all the pitchers firsthand, this formula enables me to rank pitchers based on something more than a guess.
The formula begins by allocating points to each pitcher based on age compared with the typical age for their league. Each player began with 10 points, then had points added or subtracted for each year difference between their age and the normal age of their league. The norm for each league was established as 19 (GCL), 20 (Elizabethton), 21 (Beloit), 22 (Ft. Myers), 24 (New Britain), and 25 (Rochester). A one year variance is 1 point, 2 years (3 pts), 3 years (6 pts), and 4 or more years (10 pts). Therefore, the range of points based on age could vary between 0 and 20. For example, Alex Burnett was 17 years old and playing at the GCL. He was 2 years younger than the norm, therefore, he was allocated 13.000 points. For purposes of this calculation, the age of each player was their age on July 1st.
The second factor is ERA. The norm was established as 4.00, with 20 points allocated to this factor. Each player’s era is compared with 4.00 to determine the number of points allocated with a maximum of 40 points (ERA’s of 2.00 or less). For example, Adam Hawes of the Elizabethton Twins led the Appalachian League and Twins system with an era of 1.53, for 40.000 points. Pitchers with the best era’s in the system include Beloit closer JP Martinez (1.83), Steve Duguay (1.91), Matt Williams (1.93), Kyle Edlich (1.97), Jannio Gutierrez (2.10), Kevin Slowey (2.125), Ryan Mullins (2.18), and Pat Neshek (2.19).
The third factor is innings pitched. This is necessary because pitchers pitching only a few innings don’t have an adequate basis on which to justify their performance. The norm was established at 75 innings for pitchers on the two rookie teams (GCL and Elizabethton) who play a short season and 150 innings on all other teams. Each player’s innings pitched were compared with the norm establishing a percentage which was applied to 10 points. The leader in the organization was Francisco Liriano who had 191.1 innings pitched between New Britain, Rochester and the Twins. Scott Baker was a close second with 188.1 innings pitched between Rochester and Minnesota.
The next factor is strikeouts per 9 innings pitched (K/9ip), which is a standard ratio used throughout baseball. For purposes of this formula, the norm was established as 9K/9ip (1 strikeout per inning) with the percentage difference adding to or subtracting from the norm. For example, top prospect Jay Rainville had 7.082K/9ip which equates to 7.869 points. The top strikeout pitchers in the organization were: 1-Alexander Smit (14.686 pts); 2-Jose Mijares (14.322 pts); 3-Jannio Gutierrez (13.189 pts); 4-Angel Garcia (13.028 pts); 5-Travis Bowyer (12.857 pts); and 6-Francisco Liriano (12.387 pts). Boof Bonser led the International League in strikeouts with 168, which equated to 10.478 points.
Another important aspect of a pitcher’s success is control, especially in the Twins' organization. Therefore, the next factor in the formula is the number of strikeouts compared with the number of walks with the norm established as 3 strikeouts for every walk (3K/1BB). Ten points were allocated to this factor with two pitchers earning the maximum 20 points, Danny Vais (Elizabethton) and Kevin Slowey (Beloit). Vais had 30K/5BB in 40.0 innings pitched, whereas, Slowey had 84K/8BB in 72.0 innings pitched. All of the pitchers with a lot of strikeouts faired well in this category. Vais and Slowey were exceptional because they seldom walked anybody, with Slowey’s walk ratio almost Silva like at 1.00 BB/9ip.
Another factor which may be less important is the number of home runs allowed per 9 innings pitched. The norm was established as 0.5HR/9ip with 5 points allocated to this factor (maximum of 10 and minimum of 0). There were numerous players in the system at both extremes.
The final category based on performance is another standard ratio, walks and hits per inning pitched (WHIP). Each player’s WHIP was established compared with the norm of 1.25/WHIP with more than 10 points allocated for being under the norm and less than 10 points for being over the norm. The top point earners were Kevin Slowey (17.308 pts), Ryan Mullins (14.374 pts) and Adam Hawes (13.657 pts). Top prospects Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker earned 11.840 and 11.143 points, respectively.
Bonus points were awarded for special recognition such as being an all-star, rookie of the year, closer of the year, or being chosen to one of Baseball America’s Top 20 which they compile annually for each minor league. A maximum 5 bonus points were awarded if a pitcher earned any of these recognitions. In addition, each pitcher was awarded bonus points for complete games (1 point), shutouts (2 points), and no-hitters (3 points).
The final category is subjective with each pitcher rated based on his most likely potential or ceiling? A maximum 20 points are awarded for this category with a minimum of 4 points. A player such as Francisco Liriano who has the potential of being a future all-star received 20 points. A pitcher with the potential to be a #1 or #2 starter received 16 points. Someone with the potential to be a major league closer or #3-#5 starter received 12 points. A pitcher more likely to be in the bullpen received 8 points, and someone projected as being on the 40-man roster but unlikely to ever make it to the Twins received 4 points. Players who didn’t fit well into any of these categories were awarded points midway between each category (6, 10, and 14). Ryan Mullins, Matt Garza and Scott Baker all received 14 points. Kevin Slowey, Eduardo Morlan, Jay Rainville and Adam Swarzak received 16 points. The only pitcher receiving 20 points as a potential all-star was Francisco Liriano.
Finally, the total points for each player were discounted to account for the fact that success at the lower leagues are less reliable as a predictor of success in the major leagues than success at a higher league. Rochester (AAA) is one step away from the Twins, therefore, all players received 100% of the points earned from this formula. Players at New Britain (AA) received 96%, Ft. Myers (Hi A)…92%, Beloit (Low A)…88%, Elizabethton (Hi Rookie)…80%, and the Gulf Coast League Twins (Low Rookie)…72%. Players playing for more than one team during the season received a modified discount based on the time spent in each league. For example, Jay Rainville pitched 88.1 innings at Beloit and 54.0 innings at Ft. Myers, therefore, he received 90% of his points versus 88% had he spent the entire season at Beloit or 92% at Ft. Myers.
There will be several surprises to many Twins fans, beginning with Kevin Slowey who is ranked as the #2 pitcher in the organization. Shortly after this year’s draft I wrote about Slowey on TwinsTerritory, asking the question whether or not he will follow the path taken by two recent college pitchers also taken in the second round…Jesse Crain (2002) and Scott Baker (2003), who both joined the Twins within two years of being drafted. He was one of the most dominant pitchers in the system, as his gross number (123.421) before being discounted 12% was comparable to only Liriano (126.216). After his tremendous start at Beloit, will Kevin follow the path taken by Crain and Baker and join the Twins rotation sometime during the summer of 2007?
We are all aware of the success of Liriano (#1), Baker (#3) and Bowyer (#4). Other noteworthy performances include Pat Neshek, New Britain’s closer, who had a wonderful season and is ranked #5. Pat is followed by Nick Blackburn at #6. Blackburn began the season as a member of Ft. Myers' strong starting rotation, yet was their only all-star prior to his promotion to New Britain. When Rochester was short starters following Scott Baker’s first call up by the Twins, it was Blackburn that was promoted to Rochester. Blackburn’s fellow starter at Ft. Myers, Adam Harben, was ranked next at #7. As expected, two of the young pitchers taken in the first and second rounds of the 2004 draft are ranked high on this list, Anthony Swarzak (#9) and Jay Rainville (#11). Several not as well known relievers scored high, Jannio Gutierrez (#12), Steven Duguay (#15), JP Martinez (#17), and Julio DePaula (#19). Two starters from Elizabethton had tremendous seasons and were rated high on this list despite having their numbers discounted by 20%…Adam Hawes (#8) had the lowest era in the league and Ryan Mullins (#10) is the tall lefty who struck out 13 in five innings of their opening game playoff win versus the Danville Braves. Lefties Glen Perkins (#13) and Errol Simonitsch (#14) both began the season at Ft. Myers and were promoted to New Britain at mid-season. Perkins is now pitching in the Arizona Fall League. He was the Grand Canyon Rafters opening day starter and has performed very well in his first two outings. Starter Boof Bonser (#16) was part of the AJ Pierzynski trade and is one of the top starters at Rochester who will be in the hunt for a call up if needed next summer. Willie Eyre (#18) is a 26 year old reliever who was recently added to the 40-man roster and will also be available if needed next year. Alexander Smit (#21) and Eduardo Morlan (#24) also merit a mention, as they are two hard throwing 19 year olds with huge potential.
Following is the Twins System Pitcher Ratings:
#1 Francisco Liriano # Rochester 22 126.216
#2 Kevin Slowey Beloit 21 108.611
#3 Scott Baker # Rochester 23 106.042
#4 Travis Bowyer # Rochester 23 97.026
#5 Pat Neshek New Britain 24 96.588
#6 Nick Blackburn New Britain 23 94.658
#7 Adam Harben Ft. Myers 21 94.639
#8 Adam Hawes Elizabethton 22 93.928
#9 Anthony Swarzak Ft. Myers 19 93.439
#10 Ryan Mullins Elizabethton 21 93.135
#11 Jay Rainville Ft. Myers 19 92.610
#12 Jannio Gutierrez New Britain 23 91.593
#13 Glen Perkins New Britain 22 88.812
#14 Errol Simonitsch New Britain 22 88.186
#15 Steve Duguay (DL) Beloit 22 87.904
#16 Boof Bonser # Rochester 23 87.610
#17 JP Martinez Beloit 23 86.108
#18 Willie Eyre # Rochester 26 84.996
#19 Julio DePaula Ft. Myers 22 83.880
#20 Beau Kemp Rochester 24 83.201
#21 Alexander Smit Elizabethton 19 82.876
#22 Matt Garza Beloit 21 82.210
#23 Brian Duensing Elizabethton 22 80.539
#24 Eduardo Morlan Beloit 19 79.601
#25 Kyle Aselton Beloit 22 79.416
#26 Jason Miller Rochester 22 79.247
#27 Justin Jones Ft Myers 20 78.762
#28 Kyle Waldrop Beloit 19 78.034
#29 Kyle Edlich GCL Twins 19 77.899
#30 Levale Speigner New Britain 24 77.258
#31 Yohan Pino Elizabethton 21 76.084
#32 Kevin Cameron New Britain 25 75.891
#33 JD Durbin # Rochester 23 75.340
#34 Chris Schutt Ft. Myers 23 75.139
#35 Jose Mijares Ft. Myers 20 74.210
#36 Dan Powers Elizabethton 22 73.460
#37 Colby Miller New Britain 23 71.566
#38 Tristan Crawford Ft. Myers 22 69.308
#39 Matt Yeatman New Britain 22 68.287
#40 Matt Williams GCL Twins 18 67.250
#41 Scott Tyler # Ft. Myers 22 66.565
#42 Tim Lahey Elizabethton 23 66.539
#43 Dave Gassner # Rochester 26 66.058
#44 Justin Olson New Britain 25 65.984
#45 Ricky Barrett Rochester 24 64.731
#46 Josh Hill Beloit 22 64.629
#47 Danny Vais Elizabethton 20 63.884
#48 Jay Sawatski Ft. Myers 23 61.884
#49 Jan Granado Ft. Myers 22 61.260
#50 Jose Cordero Beloit 21 60.489
#51 Josh Gray Ft. Myers 24 59.961
#52 Jim Abbott New Britain 25 59.625
#53 Angel Garcia (DL) Beloit 21 57.927
#54 Henry Bonilla Rochester 26 57.080
#55 Jose Castillo GCL Twins 20 56.969
#56 Alex Burnett GCL Twins 17 55.669
#57 Jay Schoenbachler GCL Twins 19 55.467
#58 Oswaldo Sosa Elizabethton 19 55.069
#59 Kevin Culpepper Beloit 23 55.060
#60 Daylan Childress New Britain 26 54.754
#61 Aaron Craig GCL Twins 19 54.659
#62 Brandon McConnell GCL Twins 20 54.051
#63 John Williams Beloit 23 53.733
#64 Ryan Gehring Elizabethton 23 53.011
#65 Bobby Korecky (DL) New Britain 25 51.201
#66 Brent Schoening Rochester 27 50.804
#67 JP Thomas New Britain 23 48.758
#68 David Shinskie Beloit 21 46.664
#69 Tim Henkenjohann (DL) Ft. Myers 24 45.331
#70 Danny Hernandez GCL Twins 19 44.419
#71 Nathan Crawford GCL Twins 18 44.268
#72 Patrick Bryant GCL Twins 19 42.843
#73 Joe Gault Elizabethton 20 40.247
#74 Walter Patton GCL Twins 20 39.006
#75 Amando Gabino Elizabethton 21 38.961
#76 Pete Tautor Ft. Myers 24 33.329
#77 Omar Burgos GCL Twins 22 32.154
# - On 40-man roster
DL - On disabled list a substantial part of season
So, there you have it. Thank you Roger for the wonderful work he has done on the Twins minor league systems. Today, you saw the Twins pitching prospects, next Thursday, you'll see their hitters. I am sure that this analysis should get plenty of interest and spark some conversation. I hope it does. Who knows, maybe their are fans of other organizations that would now like to use such a formula to find their team's best players by the numbers. Maybe there is a major league team's minor league leader who sees this formula and really considers it worthwhile as a tool to help in their organization. I see so much potential for this posting and this formula. So, please, if you would like to ask me or Roger and questions, please feel free to e-mail me.
Albert Pujols' heroics were all for naught on Monday night. He extended the series and sent it back to St. Louis, but it ended there last night. The Astros got some timely hitting, a little power, and some terrific starting pitching from Roy Oswalt to go to their first World Series. As much as I was hoping that the Cardinals would go to the series, I really don't mind this result. I have been a big fan of Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell since they came up. I have been a big fan of Lance Berkman, and I really like Willy Taveras now. I enjoy seeing guys like Chris Burke and Jason Lane taking advantage of finally getting their chances. I enjoy seeing great pitchers like Oswalt, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Brad Lidge. And, part of it is that I enjoy the underdog, and I like seeing new teams get to the World Series. The White Sox haven't been there in how long? The Astros had never been there. I know I, for one, am sick of seeing the same teams go there every year. I was thrilled that the Yankees and Red Sox get eliminated.
So, although I am disappointed for the likes of Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter, Larry Walker and David Eckstein, I have just really enjoyed this great series that gave us everything but a Game 7. And who knows... maybe, just maybe, the Twins can talk Walker into coming to Minnesota for one season to tutor Justin Morneau.
Tomorrow, I will be back with my quick thoughts and predictions on the World Series which will begin in Chicago on Saturday.
IF you have any thoughts on any of this, or your own predictions for the series, be sure to let me know. Send me an e-mail.
Just a couple more thoughts, and a couple of things I missed on my day off:
John Sickels posted some thoughts on Michael Cuddyer on his site yesterday. It is quite interesting as he discusses possible reasons that Cuddyer has not become the star that was expected of him. My opinion, poor usage and frequent bashing by the manager! But you're free to have your own opinion too.
I want to again encourage you to go to the Dickie Thon Twins Fans Forum. There are so many great postings on the Twins. I enjoy the Minor League board on there as well. Here, you can see who the Twins announced as their minor league managers and coaches. There are some former player's names there.
There was a good article in the Strib yesterday about former Gophers and NFL kicker Chip Lohmiller who is now a high school football coach in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota.
If you happen to be near Sioux Falls, SD, on Friday, be sure to check out the USHL's Sioux Falls Stampede hockey team and game. It will be Juan Berenguer Night there. John Gordon will provide play-by-play as four fans will get to try to hit, on the ice, against Senor Smoke! His son Chris is a defenseman for the Stampede.
Rochester OF Kevin West is playing for the Caracas Leones in Venezuela this winter. They just got under way and he is just 4-15 so far, but he does have a home run. Former Twins catcher Henry Blanco and former Twins minor league Michael Sandoval also play for the team.
Luis Maza, jugador que llegó a los Tigres para esta temporada, se convirtió en el felino más destacado de la primera semana del torneo 2005-2006 de la LVBP. El versátil jugador, terminó con .364 puntos de average, producto de 4 inatrapables en 11 turnos, incluyendo 2 carreras impulsadas, 3 carreras anotadas y un par de boletos.
I don't know exactly what that means, but Luis Maza plays for the Tigres de Aragua, and apparently is off to a very good start... I think!? He may have been the player of the week if my Spanish translating abilities are correct! But he is far from the only Twins farmhand to play for the team. Jannio Gutierrez, JD Durbin, Oswaldo Sosa, Willie Eyre, Beau Kemp, Jose Mijares, Gabby Torres, Luis Rodriguez, Danny Matienzo, Alex Romero, Josh Rabe, and former Twins prospect and current FM Redhawk Ruben Salazar all play for the team! Last night, their lineup against Magallanes was Rabe (CF), Maza (LF/SS), Romero (RF/LF), Mike Coolbaugh, Salazar, Nunez, Matienzo (1B),
In that game, Matt Guerrier pitched five shutout innings for Magallanes. Former Twin Michael Restovich played LF for that team.
Those are the Twins and their minor leaguers who are playing in Venezuela. I would like to follow these players from time to time. Are there any that I am missing? Are there players in the Twins system playing in Mexico or the Dominican Republic this winter? If so, please e-mail me.
And on that note, I will call it a day. I certainly hope that you have found Rogers Twins pitching prospects article worth reading, and I hope that many of you will have comments for him. I will be back tomorrow for more of my own thoughts, and World Series predictions, as well as the NFL "Expert" Picks. If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.
Back to Archives Home