Analyzing Minnesota Twins First Round Picks – Part 2

 

How long does it take a Twins first round pick to reach the majors?

I wanted to see how long it takes a Minnesota Twins first round selection to reach the major leagues and there is really no good way to measure that so I decided to use the number of months it took for the player to debut in the major leagues after being drafted. I took nothing else, including injuries into consideration. It also does not mean the player stayed in the big leagues, it simply means he made his major league debut by appearing in a big league game.

Straight to the big leagues – just one, Eddie Bane a LHP out of college.

Second Season

10th month of pro ball – just one, Bryan Oelkers a LHP out of college.

13th month of pro ball – again just one, Adam Johnson a RHP out of college.

14th month of pro ball – again just one, Matt Garza RHP out of college.

Third Season

22nd month of pro ball – two players, Paul Powell an OF out of college and Chuck Knoblauch a SS out of college who went on to win ROY award as a 2B.

23rd month of pro ball – one player, Dave McCarty a collegiate 1B.

26th month of pro ball – two players, Travis Miller a LHP out of college and Todd Walker a collegiate 2B.

27th month of pro ball – three players, Lenny Faedo a SS out of high school, Scott Stahoviak a SS out of college and briefly played 3B in the majors, Glenn Perkins a LHP out of the University of Minnesota.

Fourth Season

34th month of pro ball – two players, Joe Mauer a C from Cretin-Derham Hall a Minnesota high school and Matt LeCroy a C out of college.

36th month of pro ball – one player, Byron Buxton a high school OF.

39th month of pro ball – two players, Steve Brye a 3B/OF out of high school went on to become the first Twins first round draft choice to debut as a Twins player and Ben Revere a high school OF.

Fifth Season

46th month of pro ball – three players, Jose Berrios a high school RHP, Jeff Reed a C out of high school and Rick Sofield who was drafted as a SS out of high school but play in the OF for Minnesota.

48th month of pro ball – two players, Kyle Gibson a collegiate RHP and Dan Serafini a high school LHP.

49th month of pro ball – two players, Mark Redman a collegiate LHP and Willie Banks a high school RHP.

50th month of pro ball – one player, Torii Hunter a high school OF.

51st month of pro ball – one player, Michael Cuddyer was drafted as a high school SS and played primarily in the OF.

Sixth Season

58th month of pro ball – one player, Aaron Hicks a high school OF.

63 month of pro ball – one player, Chris Parmelee a high school OF.

Seventh Season

70th month of pro ball – one player, Denard Span a high school OF.

71st month of pro ball – one player, Trevor Plouffe a high school SS but played 3B

74th month of pro ball – one player, Alex Wimmers a collegiate RHP

75th month of pro ball – two players, Matt Fox a collegiate RHP and Derek Parks drafted as a RHP and C but was a catcher for Minnesota.

Eighth Season

82nd month of pro ball – two players, Todd Ritchie a RHP out of high school and Bob Gorinski drafted as a high school SS but played OF with the Twins.

87th month of pro ball – one player, Kyle Waldrop a high school RHP 

Summary

The June Amateur Draft is fun to follow and you can’t help but get excited as the announcers describe the abilities of the player your team just drafted. They have no fear of stating that your player is a five-tool guy or maybe he is an Ace in the making and that he will be joining the big league team soon assuming of course your team can sign him. Now days most first rounders get signed and start their pro careers. Teams obviously invest a lot of money in their first round selections so they do all they can to ensure the player they are going to draft is willing to sign with them. Over the years the Twins have not been able to sign seven drafted first rounders or 10% of their picks but the last time they did not sign a first round selection was back in 2000.

Eddie Bane (courtesy of the Minnesota Twins)

I know those first round picks get everyone excited but you have to realize that history shows that only 36 (50%) of the 72 players drafted in the first round and signed by the Minnesota Twins went on to debut as Minnesota Twins players. That being said you had best be prepared to wait because that young stud isn’t going to wear a Twins big league uniform in the near future. There has been only one player in Twins history to go from being drafted to being placed on the big league roster and that was collegiate LHP Eddie Bane

Only three players, all collegiate pitchers debuted in the majors as Twins in their second season of pro ball. Eight players made the big league debut as Twins in their third season and seven out of eight were collegiate players, the only high school draftee among them was shortstop Lenny Faedo. In their fourth season of pro ball five players hit the big time and in this group we have Joe Mauer, Byron Buxton and Ben Revere. In season five a total of nine players put on a Twins uni for the first time and this group had players like Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Willie Banks, Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer. Season six had two players including Aaron Hicks. Season seven had five players make their Twins debut and this group had players like Denard Span, Trevor Plouffe and Alex Wimmers. Players in the final group or eighth season of pro ball before getting to call Minnesota home were Todd Ritchie, Bob Gorinski and Kyle Waldrop. Getting to the majors is a long rough road but then you find out that staying there is even harder. 

2011 first rounders Travis Harrison and Levi Michael are going into their seventh season of pro ball and have yet to debut with Minnesota, 2012 pick Luke Bard, 2013 pick Kyle Stewart, 2014 pick Nick Gordon, 2015 pick Tyler Jay, and 2016 pick Alex Kirilloff are all in the pipeline living their dream to play at Target Field.

The Twins have found one MVP (Joe Mauer) in the first round, one ROY (Chuck Knoblauch) and six All-Star players in Glen Perkins, Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer, Mark Redman, Torii Hunter and Chuck Knoblauch.

Twins first round picks fun facts

  • First Minnesota Twins first round selection to debut in a Minnesota Twins uniform was OF Steve Brye on September 3, 1970.
  • Average time for a player that was drafted in the first round pick and signed by Minnesota to debut in the big leagues is during his fifth season of pro ball.
  • The quickest collegiate round one position player drafted and signed by the Twins to make his major league debut was OF Paul Powell.
  • The quickest round one high school position player drafted and signed by the Twins to make his major league debut was shortstop Lenny Faedo.
  • Only two players, both pitchers, were drafted in round one by Minnesota, signed to contracts and debuted within 12 months of being drafted, they are LHP Eddie Bane and RHP Adam Johnson.
  • The longest battle to reach the big league Twins was for first rounder selection RHP Kyle Waldrop who was called up in his eighth pro season,
  • The Twins have only selected and signed one left-handed pitchers out of high school and his name was Dan Serafini. They selected eight collegiate lefties.
  • The Twins have selected and signed 14 outfielders in round one over the years, 12 were drafted out of high school.
  • The best high school player drafted and signed by Minnesota in round one is Joe Mauer and the best college draftee and signee is Chuck Knoblauch.
  • The most games played in a Twins uniform by a Twins round one pick and signee is Joe Mauer.

Making a team from Twins first round selections

Here is my attempt at putting together a Minnesota Twins team from the first round selections that debuted with Minnesota. When I got done I couldn’t believe that this was the best I could come up with using just first round selections.

C – Joe Mauer
1B – Dave McCarty
2B – Chuck Knoblauch
SS – Lenny Faedo
3B – Trevor Plouffe
OF – Michael Cuddyer
OF – Torii Hunter
OF – Denard Span
LHP – Glen Perkins
RHP – Matt Garza

The most interesting fact I found out in doing this research on Twins first round draft picks is now going to be divulged. When you talk to baseball old-timers they will tell you that players “back in the day” spent more time in the minors than today’s players do before moving on to the majors. It is hard to get an accurate measurement on that because players don’t stick in the majors on their first attempt very often. In my analysis to keep things consistent and easy I just used the draft month and year and then use their major league debut date as my other parameter. Because there are so few first round selections to work with it is an obviously small sample size and I excluded Eddie Bane who was drafted in 1973 and made his debut just a couple of weeks later because that would have skewed the numbers.

I split the players into two groups at the century mark. The first group of players drafted from 1965 to 1999 took on average of 41.7 months from draft month to major league debut. The players drafted from 2000 to 2012 have taken 50.3 months from draft to major league debut. Players drafted from 2013 to 2016 were excluded because none of them have debuted with Minnesota as yet. It appears that players are taking longer to reach the big leagues now then ever before. Maybe it is the players skills, maybe owners are trying to keep players in the minors longer to keep their “clock from starting” for arbitration. Who knows what the reason is but the bottom line is that players now days are taking longer to make their major league debut then they did in the past. Maybe it is just the Minnesota Twins since that is all I have looked at but it is still interesting.

How many times have you seen a player get called up and suddenly blossom into a much better player than they showed in the minors. It doesn’t happen all that frequently but it happens more often than you would think. Take the Twins Brian Dozier for example, the most home runs he ever hit in a season in the minors was 11 in 2011. So why not call up these young pitching and hitting studs earlier and give them a chance to show what they can do in the big leagues, what do you really have to lose, you might catch lightning in a bottle.

 

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One Response to Analyzing Minnesota Twins First Round Picks – Part 2

  1. Oldgoat_MN says:

    It’s interesting how in basketball or football a player can get drafted out of college and the next season they are in the talk as MVP or at least a ‘cornerstone of the future. Not so in baseball. There is so greater difference to being a major league baseball player than a college player that it almost always takes years to prepare the player.
    They do move people slowly, though. Mauer was only at AA when the minor league coaches convinced the FO that he was ready and the Twins could trade AJ.

    Fun fact: one of the fastest to MLB that actually became an impact player was Kent Hrbek. After being a 17th round selection out of high school in 1978 he signed and played in 11 games in 1979 in the Appalachian League. In 1980 he had a cup of coffee in a Twins uniform and was 2nd in ROY voting in 1982 (to Cal Ripken).
    We need more Kent Hrbeks. That would be helpful.

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