Thursday, December 7, 2006
Build from Within!
The Twins organization does a wonderful job of building from within. It is a slogan that we hear time and again. Maybe you hear it at your work office? Maybe at your school? It is definitely something that you hear from the Twins in terms of players, but also in terms of the management and front office. Personally, I think it is a very good thing and gives employees (or players) incentive to strive knowing that if you work hard, you could get a chance!
Well, using that slogan, I thought it would be interesting to look at that theory. I know that the Yankees haven't won a World Series for a long time, really, since they began signing so many free agents. But when they did win four in a row, they were led by a group of home-grown players. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte are just some of their own talent that came up together and won. When the Twins team made the playoffs in 2001, it was with a group of players that all came up together in 1998, came up from the Twins system.
There are two ways that a team can acquire their own players. They can draft them, or they can sign them as a free agent out of an International country (or they are from the US, Canada or Puerto Rico and weren't drafted). So, what I did was looked at the 40 man rosters for all 14 American League teams. I wanted to see if the Twins really developed many of their own prospects and how they did compared to the other teams. (Yes, I know it would be best to look at all 30 teams, but I just don't have that much time!) I counted a player if he was drafted by his current team or if that team signed him as a free agent. In other words, the Twins drafted Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. They signed Alex Romero and Juan Rincon as free agents. Johan Santana, of course, is not on this list because he was acquired in a trade after the Rule V draft.
What I found out was that, of the 40 players on the Twins roster, the Twins drafted 16 of them and signed another seven as free agents. 23 of the 40 players on the Twins roster are "home-grown" players.
So, how does that compare to other AL teams? Here is the list:
Team Drafted Signed as FA Total
Mariners 9 17 26
Angels 19 5 24
Twins 16 7 23
Devil Rays 16 5 21
Blue Jays 15 6 21
Indians 13 6 19
Orioles 15 3 18
Yankees 10 7 17
White Sox 13 3 16
Tigers 11 4 15
A's 13 2 15
Red Sox 11 2 13
Rangers 11 2 13
Royals 8 3 11
So, what can we take from this list? Is it truly best to build from within? I like to think that doing so helps gain long-term success. However, after looking at this chart, I honestly don't think that we can make any assumptions. The Twins have done a nice job in the draft, second only to the Angels in most drafted players on their roster. The Mariners have the most home-grown players, but they go about it differently, signing international players like Ichiro, Yunieski Betancourt and Chris Snelling. The Royals are bad and don't grow from within much, but the A's are also low on this list and they are a perennial winner. The Yankees, somewhat surprisingly, are in the middle of the pack.
To be fair, it would probably be a little more meaningful if we were to look at this same information, in the same manner, but use Opening Day rosters. That would show who was actually on the 25 man roster and contributing to the big league roster. However, we saw in 2006 with the Twins that the entire 40 man roster can be important.
So, tell me what you think? Does this information give you any thoughts or ideas on how to develop a team? Let me know. E-mail me, or leave some Comments.
Have a great Thursday!
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