Minnesota sports has been unsuccessful enough in the last quarter century that the usually affable people of this market are turning into sour, impatient and impolite grumps, second guessing every move the local teams make. Each team has developed its own narrative locally. The Vikings are misguided, while the Wild are directionless. The Timberwolves are incompetent. The Twins are perhaps the most at fault for Minnesota’s unlucky streak, because they, and their owners, are cheap.
It’s too bad this narrative exists, because the Twins have broken out of their low spending habits since the patriarch of the Pohlad family passed, and baseball operations were run by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. The secondary narrative surrounding the Twins is that they never have enough pitching, and they never spend enough to get it.
Free agent pitching is always a bad investment, so the Twins have turned their dollars towards position players. They have spent in prospects, however, for Kenta Maeda and Jake Odorizzi, and found a diamond in the rough (when he has been available) in Michael Pineda. Still, the Twins have three solid pieces to their rotation, and two questions that many fans hope will be definitively answered in the next month or so.
If there is a disappointment with the regime since they have been in charge, it is that Falvey, in particular, was touted for his ability to add and develop pitching talent from within. To date, the most successful pitching prospects that Falvey and Levine brought in have been Randy Dobnak, Devin Smeltzer and Jorge Alcala. Only two starters there. Of the team’s top 10 prospects, only Jhoan Duran and Blayne Enlow qualify as pitchers that were brought in by the current Front Office.
While the lack of internally developed pitching prospects is definitely not what I expected 4 years into the Falvey tenure, it’s balanced by a rapid development of the overall prospect core, and the emergence of one of the best offenses in baseball. Still, you have to wonder if those two question marks at the end of the rotation were supposed to have been answered by now, with a fully realized product of the Twins farm system.
If you are one of those eternally depressed Twins fans looking for a legitimate reason to poke at the Front Office, this is it. Why haven’t the Twins developed their own pitching yet?