Twins liabilities in the Rule 5 draft

Every year at the winter meetings the Rule 5 draft occurs. This draft (the one that brought Johan Santana to the Minnesota Twins) has 3 parts. The major league part, the AAA part and the AA part. I will try to explain the rules of all 3, because, even though there is a decent understanding of the MLB part of the draft (if someone is not on the 40-man roster can be selected and has to be on the 25-roster for the next full season or to return to his original team,) there seems to be confusion on the minor league part about eligibility. Let's start with the rules:

  • Every player not on the 40-man roster, is eligible for all 3 parts of the draft, if a. he was 18 or younger when signed and signed before 2007 or b. 19 or older and signed before 2008.

  • For the MLB part, every player not on the 40-man roster qualifies for the draft.
    It gets a bit tricky in the AAA and AA parts (and here is a link from MiLB.com that explains some things) but the story is something like this: For every minor league level, there is what is called the reserve roster (38 in AAA, 37 in AA, and 35 on each A and Rookie ball teams). Players who satisfy the age and contract length requirements who are not on the AAA reserve roster are subject to the AAA part of the draft. Players who satisfy the age and contract requirements who are on the AA (and AAA) reserve roster are subject to the AA part of the draft. This is regardless whether they are in a lower reserve roster. ie. if a player is on a team's AA reserve roster (and not on a AAA roster) and satisfies the age requirements, he is subject to the AAA part of the rule 5 draft.

  • Players selected on the MLB part of the draft have to be on the 25 man (active roster) for the whole season. Players selected in the AAA part of the draft have to be in the AAA reserve roster for the whole season and players selected in the AAA part of the draft have to be in the AAA reserve roster for the whole season. Unlike in the majors, a player can be in a higher level reserve roster and play in a lower level in the minors. So a Twins' player in the Fort Myers' reserve roster can be selected by another team, added to their AA reserve roster and still play A ball

Here is a list of the Twins' players eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Players in bold are players who can potentially be selected in the MLB portion and players in italics are players who can potentially be selected in the AAA and AA parts, if they are not protected in the corresponding reserve roster. All the minor league free agent signings are also subject to the Rule 5 draft, but I did not include most of them here (age in 2011 season, position, leagues and performance are included) :

Andrew Albers (25, LHS/R) A+/AA 2.16 ERA, 95.2 IP, 1.108 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 5.71 K/BB
James Beresford (22, LH IF) A+ .270/.328/.299, 545 PA
Evan Bigley (24, RH OF) AA .253/.311/.378, 536 PA
David Bromberg (23, RHS) Rk/AA 6.43 ERA, 42 IP, 1.738 WHIP, 6 K/9, 1.56 K/BB (coming back from injury, up to AAA in 2010)
Chris Cates (26, RH IF) AA .205/.258/.245, 220 PA
Ray Chang (27, RH IF) Rk/AA/AAA .271/.323/.368 266 PA
Cole DeVries (26, RHS/R) AA/AAA 3.40 ERA, 90 IP, 1.267 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 3.26 K/BB
Brian Dinkelman (27, RH UT) AAA/MLB MLB: .301/.346/.315, 78 PA; AAA: .243/.316/.324, 526 PA
Mark Dolenc (26, RH OF) AA 266/.323/.347, 418 PA
Phil Dumatrait (29, RHR) MLB/AAA 3.92 ERA, 41.1 IP, 1.694 WHIP, 6.3 K/9, 1.16 K/BB
Nelvin Fuentes (22, LHR) A 3.29 ERA, 38.1 IP, 1.070 WHIP, 10.1 K/9, 3.91 K/BB
Jhon Garcia (24, RHS/R) A+ 3.82 ERA, 77.2 IP, 1.442 WHIP, 7.2 K/9, 2.07 K/BB
Jonathan Goncalves (22 RH OF) A/A_ .231/.340/.298, 346 PA
Pedro Guerra (21 RHS) Rk/A 4.21 ERA, 1.327 WHIP, 10.9 K/9, 4.44 K/BB
Anderson Hidalgo (22, RH, IF) A+ .274/.332/.395, 384 PA
Steve Hirschfeld (25, RHS/R) AA 3.73 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 6.3 K/9, 2.09 K/BB
Michael Hollimon (29, RH UT) AA/AAA .231/.326/.416 521 PA
Shooter Hunt (24, RHR/S) A+ 7.38 ERA, 2.367 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 0.75 K/BB
Edgar Ibarra (22, RHS/R) A+ 5.16 ERA, 1.712 WHIP, 6.5 K/9, 1.57 K/BB
Brett Jacobson (24, RHR/S) AA 4.56 ERA, 1.430 WHIP, 7.2 K/9, 1.38 K/BB
Bobby Lanigan (24, RHS) AA 4.45 ERA, 1.458 WHIP, 5.9 K/9, 2.53 K/BB
Danny Lehmann (25, RH C) AA/AAA .234/.315/.323, 219 PA
Wang-Wei Lin (23, RH OF) A .276/.372/.358, 413 PA
Angel Morales (21 RH OF) A+/Rk .259/.314/.400 135 PA (injuries)
Miguel Munoz (22 RHS/R) A+/Rk 7.50 ERA, 1.833 WHIP, 1.5 K/9, 0.22 K/BB (injuries)
Jairo Perez (23 RH IF) A .337/.413/.580, 276 PA
Josmil Pinto (22, RH C) A/A+ .261/.301/.395, 253 PA
Bruce Pugh (22 RHR/S) A+/AA 5.91 ERA, 1.593 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, 2.34 K/BB
Danny Rams (22 RH C) A+ .239/.310/.388, 309 PA
Jairo Rodriguez (22 RH C) Rk .217/.265/.264, 106 PA
Deibinson Romero (24 RH 3B) AA .256/.327/.411, 414 PA
Anthony Slama (27 RHR) AAA 2.92 ERA, 1.162 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 2.62 K/BB
Yangervis Solarte (23, RH IF) AA .329/.367/.466, 459 PA
Manuel Soliman (21, RHS) A 3.97 ERA, 1.309 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 2.40 K/B
Spencer Steedley (26, RHR/S) AA 4.52 ERA, 1.649 WHIP, 7.1 K/9, 1.67 K/BB
Tom Stuifbergen (22, RHS) A/AAA 4.29 ERA, 1.430 WHIP, 5.9 K/9, 4.21 K/BB
Michael Tarsi (24, RHR) AA/AAA 3.86 ERA, 1.686 WHIP, 6.7 K/9, 1.18 K/BB
Reggie Williams (22 RH UT) A/A+ .256/.317/.359, 273 PA

Realistically I think that Cole DeVries, Andrew Albers and Anthony Slama can all be drafted by an MLB team; as a matter of fact, after DeVries' AFL performance, I will be very surprised if he is not drafted. I do not think that any of the others are MLB-ready, but if not protected in the AAA reserve roster, the ones indicated would have a high probability in changing teams. I do think that Hirschfeld will be on the AAA roster. Angel Morales, Pedro Guerra, Nelvin Fuentes, Jairo Perez, Danny Rams and Yangervis Solarte are all good players and a couple of years away from the majors, so there is a high likelihood of departure if not on the AAA roster.

What do you think?


Meet the newest Twins member, Ryan Doumit

It was announced today that the Twins have signed Ryan Doumit to an one year contract. The total amount of the contract has not been released yet, but it is a base $3 million contract that can escalate with incentives. I suspect that part of the incentives will be based on plate appearances, given the fact that Doumit has not been very durable the past few season, most recently being in the DL for 57 days last season with a broken ankle. I will not be surprised if the contract ends up being in the $4-5 million dollar range if Doumit achieves the incentive milestones.

Ryan Doumit was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2nd round of the 1999 amateur draft out of Moses Lake (WA) High School. He was born on April 3, 1981 and made his first appearance in the majors in mid-season 2005, after tearing up the Independent League (AAA) at a .352/.422/.642 pace and throwing out 47% of the would be base stealers with the Indianapolis Indians. Primarily a catcher, from 2006 on he has been used extensively in first base and outfield due to nagging injuries. There is a perception that he is not a great defensive catcher, but last season in 461 innings caught here allowed 4 passed balls, as many as Joe Mauer in 408 innings and fewer than the 7 Drew Butera allowed in 670 innings. Also, he caught 24% of the would be base stealers, which is close to Mauer (30%) and Butera (31%). So his defense is in par with the other Twins' catchers, which means that Butera will (hopefully) not have a spot on the 25-man roster, allowing for a more powerful bat to replace him. For more information about Ryan Doumit, check out discussions about his profile at sports management colleges

In 2011, Doumit hit .303/.353/.477, which is better than what Michael Cuddyer did (.284/.346/.459.) Doumit, a switch hitter, hit lefties at a .315/.393/.519 pace in 2011, and is in a position to provide a strong right hand bat in the lineup replacing (if not bettering) Michael Cuddyer at close to a quarter of the cost. Indeed in 2011, Doumit has been close to (or even better than) Cuddyer in pretty much all offensive categories (.360 vs .354 wOBA, .174 vs .176 isoP, 1.23 vs 1.44 GB/FB, 1.53 vs. 0.19 WPA, 27.0% vs 33.7% out of strike swinging and 43.6 vs 29.4 AB/GIDP.) Despite primarily replacing Cuddyer in the lineup, Doumit will fill in at C when Mauer is unable to go or needs rest, at 1B to spell Morneau and will probably split the DH duties with Morneau and Plouffe as well as play some in the outfield with Plouffe. All in all, if healthy, I anticipate at least 500 plate appearances for Doumit.

I think that all in all it is a great signing. As a matter of fact, a couple of weeks ago I indicated that Doumit should be a target for the Twins (bottom of the post.) If indeed the Twins do not carry Butera, with the Doumit signing you a. effectively replacing Cuddyer with a better and younger player at a fraction of the cost and b. allowing another bat to replace Butera on the Twins bench. And another serendipitous fact is that Ryan Doumit has worn uniform number 41 all his MLB career, which is currently Drew Butera's number with the Twins.


The Twins trade dismal middle infielder for power hitting corner outfielder/DH

One of the first moves that Terry Ryan made as the new old Twins' general manager was to announce in an interview with ESPN 1500 that Trevor Plouffe will move from the middle infield to the outfield and the right hand DH position. Ryan astutely said that the defensive side of the game affects him some when he does go to the plate. And Plouffe has been a horrific defender both at second base (-41.8 UZR/150 in 127 innings) and at shortstop (-25.0 UZR/150 in 362.2 innings.) Ryan's comment was extremely astute because Plouffe batted .235/.299/.366 (.665 OPS, .131 isoP) as an infielder and .279/.360/.582 (.942 OPS, .303 isoP) as an outfielder or DH. His numbers, especially in the power category, while playing the OF or DHing were close to elite. On the other hand, they are based on a total of 15 games and his middle infield numbers are based on a total of 60 games, so they need to be taken cautiously. An other, probably unrelated, interesting split in Plouffe's 2011 performance is his performance in day games vs. night games (despite the position he was playing.) In day games, he hit .178/.252/.287 (.539 OPS, .109 isoP) and in night games .270/.333/.449 (.782 OPS, .179 isoP.) His numbers at night games are respectable and his great difference in performance when playing the OF, indicate that with better preparation, an .800-.850 OPS could be achieved in 2012 as a full time OF/DH

Plouffe is making the transition to the OF in his age 26 season. He was a 1st round draft pick (20th overall) by the Twins in the 2004 amateur draft out of Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, CA. Making a transition from a middle infielder to an outfielder relatively early in someone's career is not a rare phenomenon. A good comparable is the player who Plouffe is most likely to replace in 2012, another former Twins' first round pick, Michael Cuddyer. Michael Cuddyer spent 2004, his age 25 season splitting duties between second base and RF. His numbers at 2B were .206/.225/.309 (.534 OPS, .103 isoP) and at RF: .278/.359/.444 (.803 OPS, .166 isoP); very similar splits as Plouffe. In 2005, (his age 26 season) Cuddyer hit at 2B: .190/.370/.190 (.561 OPS) at 3B: .255/.317/.429 (.746 OPS, .174 isoP) at RF: .318/.366/.455 (.821 OPS, .147 isoP). When he moved to RF full time in 2006, (his age 27 season) he hit .274/.353/.470 (.823 OPS, .196 isoP.) Note that Terry Ryan was also the person who moved Cuddyer to the OF. I think that Plouffe can be a valid replacement for Cuddyer in the 2012 season and there is a good possibility that he will provide the team with right hand power that has been lacking.

A few other notable outfielders who made the switch from the infield in early ages (season and age of the switch in parenthesis) :Jose Bautista (2007, age 26), Ryan Braun (2007, age 23), Alex Gordon (2009, age 25), BJ Upton (2007, age 22), Michael Morse (2010, age 28), Emilio Bonifacio (2011, age 26) and Alfonso Soriano (2006, age 30.) So there is precedence, there are positive indications of future performance, thus is a trade well made by Ryan and at a very low cost.


Who is the newest Twins' member Jamey Carroll?

The first order of business for the new old Twins' general manager, Terry Ryan, was to sign 37 year old free agent Jamey Carroll to a 2 year, about $7 million contract with a $3M mutual option for the 2014 season (his age 40 season.) Several reports from the Twin Cities indicate that he is intended to be the Twins' starting shortstop in the 2012 season. However, by looking at Carroll's past, I suspect that there might be another intention in the Twins' organization with this signing. And to make a long story short, I do think that, despite his age, it is a good signing and Carroll can be a valuable player for the 2012 Twins. Who is Jamey Carroll?

Jamey was born on February 16, 1974 (he will be 38 in the beginning of the 2012 season) in Evansville, Indiana and was drafted as a shortstop in the 14th round of the 1996 draft by the Montreal Expos out of the University of Evansville. He is listed as 5'10" and 170 lbs. He played in the minors until the 2002 season, all in the Expos' organization, appearing in 384 games at 2B, 198 games at SS and 166 games at 3B. He was a September call-up in 2002, appearing in 13 games at 3B, 3 games at SS and 1 at 2B, and remained as a major leaguer with the Montreal organization up to the 2005 (their first season in Washington, DC) primarily as a utility infielder, filling in primarily at 3B and 2B, and occasionally at SS.

A few days before his 32nd birthday in 2006, he was purchased by the Rockies for $300,000 where he was used as a second baseman (before the Rockies acquired Kaz Matsui) and occasionally filling in at SS and 3B with a handful of appearances at the OF. In the 2007 season he was a utility infielder and traded in the offseason to the Indians for a player to be named later. In his 2 seasons in Cleveland he primarily played at second and third. He also filled in at the outfield, but did not play a single inning at SS for 2 seasons. He was a free agent after the 2009 season and signed a 2-year, $3.75 million contract with the Dodgers to be a utility player. Because of the injuries (and subsequent trade) to Rafael Furcal, Carroll spend a considerable time as a shortstop (69 games in 2011 and 63 games in 2011) a position he really did not play steadily until his early minor years (and that was a century ago.) He also played considerably as a second baseman with occasional appearances at 3B and OF. Jamey won the Roy Campanella Award from the Dodgers after the 2010 season for exhibiting leadership and hustle.

A lot of the things the Jamey brings to the table are not in the numbers. He is been seen as a leader in the clubhouse and on the field. A recent LA Times article summarizes his career with the Dodgers as "Carroll wasn’t much of a hitter with runners on, but he hit .290 in his two seasons with the Dodgers, was a solid glove and he will certainly be missed. He was scrappy, well liked among teammates and truly versatile." I think that the same words could be used to describe a soon-to-depart Twins' free agent right hand bat or could had been Nick Punto's eulogy after the 2010 season.

Let's examine Carroll's numbers: Carroll is very consistent with the bat. His career slash line is .278/.356/.348 (.704 OPS) and his 2011 line .290/.359/.347 (.706 OPS). His career splits are: at home games .285/.362/.353 (including Coors field) and away games .270/.350/.343; before the all star break .278/.358/.347 and after .277/.353/.349; vs RHP .281/.357/.351 and vs LHP .271/.354/.343; in day games .274/.364/.347 and in night games .279/.352/.348. And his career minor league line is .270/.340/.342. Jamey Carroll is the definition of consistency with the bat no matter who is pitching or where the game takes place. You know what you will get pretty much every day, which is refreshing if one looks at the 2011 Twins' season in perspective.

Jamey did not make the cut in my middle infielders with better than average fielding list. Despite the fact that every single report out there describes his fielding as "solid", he is a below average fielder (and especially at SS.) His fielding Value in 2011 was -5.1, and that would place him ahead only of Plouffe, Nishioka and Valencia in the 2011 Twins. Given the fact that he might be replacing at least 2 of these player in 2012, this is a step ahead for the Twins. In the same middle infield analysis I indicated that the Twins needed to upgrade hitting and base running as well and Carroll is an asset there: His 2.2 WAR would have tied him for second in the 2011 Twins with Denard Span; His 3.9 Batting value would place him second among the remaining 2011 Twins trailing only Chris Parmelee, and his 1.1 Base Running value would place him third behind Revere, Hughes and Span among the remaining Twins in the 2011 team. Dissecting his fielding numbers a little more indicates that his fielding percentage (career .823 in SS) is excellent, and probably the reason behind the "solid fielder" accolades. However his range is his weak point. His career range at SS is -8.1 (8 runs below average) and will not get any better beginning with his age 38 season. His range has been better at 2B (career -1.8) and at 3B (career 3.2.) As a comparison, Alexi Casilla's career SS range is 4.2.

I suspect that the Twins may have signed Carroll as a wake up call message to Danny Valencia. I can see him being the starting shortstop and moved to second or third with Casilla taking over at SS. Carroll is a clubhouse leader, plays the game hard, is the definition of consistency with the bat, does not make errors on the field (but does not get the balls most shortstops do) so he will be an asset. I think that overall is a very good acquisition for the Twins.