Monday, June 6, 2011

Twins Should Spend Big in Draft


Despite the team's recent mini-surge after sweeping the Kansas City Royals this past weekend, the chances that the Twins actually come back to win the division are still long. Long enough, in fact, that the team is likely going to be a clear seller at the deadline, looking to move several veterans if the right deals present themselves. It's certainly possible that the team has turned things around and will reel off enough wins over the next few weeks to climb back into contention, but the odds are against that happening.


If the team is willing (or in some cases able) to move Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, Carl Pavano or even Matt Capps, not only would they be getting back someone who could help in the future, but they also would save money by trading a high salaried player for a prospect. In a lost season it would make a lot of sense for the team to start shipping off the veterans they feel aren't a major part of the future, and while it would be difficult to watch the Twins continue to struggle like this all season, it's likely in the best interests of the franchise long-term if they simply start trying to reload for next season by trading impending free agents and possibly other veterans.

Now that the team is willing to spend upwards of $100MM on the payroll, there's little doubt that the revenue from Target Field is far greater than expected. Any team that is trying to maximize their assets would allocate a large chunk of the team's budget towards signing draft picks. With talented players often falling due to bonus demands, it's possible a team could add multiple top prospects if they were willing to spend the money.

Of course, baseball draft picks are much riskier than any other sport, because the chance that the team just spent millions of dollars on a bust is much higher in baseball. Despite the risks involved, though, I'd say the team for this season would be much better off spending an extra $5MM (That's about what's left on Capps contract) on signing players over slot rather than having a closer for a team that is currently 12.5 games out of first place.

The team should have plenty of options at #30 this year, and with picks #50 and #55 thanks to the departures of Jesse Crain and Orlando Hudson, there's a chance for the Twins to bring in some elite prospects. Matt Purke from TCU, for example, was once considered a top-5 pick but he's slipped a ton due to arm issues, including lost velocity following an injury. He currently ranks #100 on Keith Law's big board, so the Twins may have the opportunity to draft Purke with #55 overall or even a later pick. Signing a potential top 5 pick that you drafted 55th overall could really boost a system, and it's why you consistently now see teams like the Tigers (Rick Porcello) and Yankees (Tried with Gerrit Cole) drafting players who are expected to be difficult signs. It's a great opportunity to get value, if you're willing to risk some of the budget on far from sure thing prospects. If done correctly, a team can be built to last for a while, especially one that operates with a $115MM payroll.

For this season at least, the team needs to start spending more money on the players they're drafting, because that will result in much higher reward draft picks in the coming years. Despite having a top 10 payroll the team has proven this season they are not at that much of an advantage over less fortunate teams; but if they were to use that money towards the development of young players, the advantage would likely be much greater.

I'm hoping for someone like Tyler Beede at #30, with Matt Purke's name getting called at some point as well. Which means neither player will end up a Twin. Oh well.