Tag Archives: Nick Blackburn

Original Draft Series – Team # 15 – Minnesota Twins


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #15: Minnesota Twins

General Managers(since 1994)

Andy MacPhail (1994): 53-60
Terry Ryan (1995-2007): 1023-1062
Bill Smith (2008-Current): 175-151

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
0 0 5 5 2 2 4 3

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Joe Mauer 2001 – 1st Rd (1) 9 2009 AL MVP, 3 All Star Appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers
766 gm, .325/.406/.478, 75 HR, 431 RBI, 35 SB
Currently with Org.
1B Justin Morneau 1999 – 3rd Rd 11 2006 AL MVP, 3 All Star Appearances, 2 Silver Sluggers
940 gm, .285/.358/.510, 178 HR, 672 RBI, 525 R
Currently with Org.
2B Michael Cuddyer 1997 – 1st Rd (9) 13 915 gm, .269/.342/.453, 114 HR, 462 RBI, 36 SB, 484 R Currently with Org.
3B Matt Tolbert 2004 – 16th Rd 6 133 gm, .247/.308/.337, 3 HR, 33 RBI, 13 SB, 50 R Currently with Org.
SS Trevor Plouffe 2004 – 1st Rd (20) 6 7 gm, .130/.125/.274, 3 RBI, R Currently with Org.
LF Denard Span 2002 – 1st Rd (20) 8 313 gm, .297/.379/.408, 17 HR, 144 RBI, 56 SB, 214 R Currently with Org.
CF Torii Hunter 1993 – 1st Rd (20) 14 2 All Star Appearances, 7 Gold Gloves
1234 gm, .271/.324/.469, 192 HR, 711 RBI, 126 SB, 672 R
Free Agency – 10/29/07
RF Jason Kubel 2000 – 12th Rd 10 579 gm, .276/.341/.470, 81 HR, 321 RBI, 252 R Currently with Org.
DH A.J. Pierzynski 1994 – 3rd Rd 9 1 All Star Appearance
430 gm, .301/.341/.447 26 HR, 193 RBI, 184 R
Traded to SF – 11/14/03
SP Scott Baker 2003 – 2nd Rd 7 49-40, 4.36 ERA, 582 K, 168 BB, 749 IP, 1.274 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Nick Blackburn 2001 – 29th Rd 9 28-29, 4.46 ERA, 228 K, 104 BB, 490.1 IP, 1.424 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Kevin Slowey 2005 – 2nd Rd 5 33-20, 4.47 ERA, 304 K, 67 BB, 400.1 IP, 1.304 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Matt Garza 2005 – 1st Rd (25) 2 8-13, 4.47 ERA, 105 K, 55 BB, 133 IP, 1.602 WHIP Traded to MIN – 11/28/07
SP Brian Duensing 2005 – 3rd Rd 5 7-3, 3.17 ERA, 72 K, 39 BB, 116.1 IP, 1.246 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Alex Burnett 2005 – 12th Rd 5 1-1, 3.15 ERA, 26 K, 14 BB, 1.369 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jesse Crain 2002 – 2nd Rd 8 33-20, 3.57 ERA, 228 K, 126 BB, 345.2 IP Currently with Org.
RP J.C. Romero 1997 – 21st Rd 8 25-20, 4.35 ERA, 336 K, 209 BB, 407.2 IP, 1.482 WHIP Traded to LAA – 12/9/05
RP Jose Mijares Int’l FA – 2002 8 2-3, 2.18 ERA, 70 K, 27 BB, 86.2 IP, 1.108 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Grant Balfour Int’l FA – 1997 8 5-1, 4.63 ERA, 74 K, 38 BB, 68 IP, 1.456 WHIP Free Agency – 12/21/05
CL LaTroy Hawkins 1991 – 7th Rd 12 44-57, 44 SV, 5.05 ERA, 532 K, 290 BB, 818 IP, 1.523 WHIP Free Agency – 10/27/03
BN Wilson Ramos Int’l FA – 2004 6 7 gm, .293/.321/.407, 1 RBI, 2 R Currently with Org.
BN Saul Rivera 1998 – 9th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Selected by NYM – 11/20/01
BN Peter Moylan Int’l FA – 1996 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Released – 4/1/98
BN Mike Lincoln 1996 – 13th Rd 4 3-13, 7.70 ERA, 42 K, 39 BB, 97 IP, 1.825 WHIP Released – 12/20/00
BN Evan Meek 2002 – 11th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Released – 6/22/05

June Amateur Draft

The thing that seems to stand out to me about the Twins and their draft is that they consistently seem to get useful Major Leaguers out of the draft, and don’t seem to miss too often on their high level picks. Clearly the cream of the crop has been Joe Mauer, Torii Hunter, and Justin Morneau, who are all multiple award winners. Looking at their first round picks over the last 15 years, a majority of them have played in the Majors, and quite a few of them have made it to the Majors with the Twins as well.

International Free Agency

The Twins don’t visit the international markets a lot, mostly because it costs money to get the top prospects from foreign countries. That said, they still have done reasonably well, with Wilson Ramos being one of the top prospects in their system right now, and a solid reliever in Jose Mijares. The most recent signing of note for the Twins is Dominican SS Miguel Angel Sano, who was scouted by many teams and nearly signed a couple of times. I’d like to see more players come out of the international markets before I think it’s been a complete success, but the Twins have done alright here to this point.

Overall Grade

B-. The Twins have done very well to not only scout and develop a lot of high quality players, but have also managed to keep a lot of them and used their farm system to replenish themselves when they need to as well. The only reason that they aren’t really higher up in my rankings is because the bench is so unusually weak for a team with the amount of success that the Twins have had. Also, I think that their inability to translate these groups of players into a championship is a bit of a knock on them, but overall their performance has still been good.

Team Preview – Minnesota Twins


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Joe Mauer SP 1 Scott Baker
1B Justin Morneau SP 2 Carl Pavano
2B Orlando Hudson SP 3 Nick Blackburn
3B Nick Punto SP 4 Kevin Slowey
SS J.J. Hardy SP 5 Francisco Liriano
LF Delmon Young Bullpen
CF Denard Span CL Joe Nathan
RF Michael Cuddyer RP Matt Guerrier
DH Jason Kubel RP Jose Mijares
Bench RP Jesse Crain
DH Jim Thome RP Jon Rauch
IF Brian Buscher RP Clay Condrey

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SS J.J Hardy Trade (MIL) CF Carlos Gomez Trade (MIL)
2B Orlando Hudson Free Agency SS Orlando Cabrera Free Agency
DH Jim Thome Free Agency C Mike Redmond Free Agency

Top Prospects: Aaron Hicks (OF), Ben Revere (OF), Carlos Gutierrez (P), Wilson Ramos (C), Danny Valencia (3B)

2009 Review

The Twins had a pretty good season in 2009, posting an 87-76 record en route to an AL Central division title. They spent the month of April without their all-star backstop, Joe Mauer. Not that you could necessarily tell, since he posted a career year. Mauer won the AL batting title with a .365 batting average, hit a career high 28 homers, and drove in 96 runs en route to winning the AL most valuable player award as well. The Twins were also led on offense by RF Michael Cuddyer (32 HR, 94 RBI), DH Jason Kubel (28 HR, 103 RBI), and CF Denard Span (.311, 23 SB). 1B Justin Morneau had a solid year as well (30 HR, 100 RBI), although not necessarily quite to the standard of his MVP season.

The starting rotation was a complete mixed bag last season, as they only got 200+ innings from Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn. Late season additions to the rotation of Carl Pavano and Brian Duensing both helped the Twins stay in the race until they finally caught the Tigers during the last weekend of the season. The bullpen pitched extremely well last season, with Joe Nathan (47 sv, 2.10 ERA), Matt Guerrier (5-1, 2.36 ERA), and Jose Mijares (2-2, 2.34 ERA) all posting excellent seasons in relief.

The Twins won the play-in game against the Tigers, but unfortunately were no match for the eventual World Champion New York Yankees. They were swept in 3 games by the Yankees.

Team Outlook for 2010

As has become the standard for the Twins, they didn’t make a lot of flashy moves this offseason, but did make some excellent moves which will help to improve their team for the 2010 season. The trade to acquire SS J.J. Hardy could pay off hugely, as he will likely provide some more power for the Twins, and all it cost them was a player that had essentially been passed on the depth chart. Resigning SP Carl Pavano should also help to bring some stability to a rotation that is sorely in need of it. I particularly like the signing of 2B Orlando Hudson, as it takes a position where the Twins have been weak the past two seasons and brings in a professional hitter who can also provide some solid defense as well.

Unless it gets done during the season, the biggest topic of discussion during the season will be whether or not the Twins can get C Joe Mauer signed to a contract extension. It seems at this point like both sides want to get this done, and that they’re likely to before the season starts. I think it’s really important that they get this done, as Mauer is probably more representative of his organization than practically anyone else in the league right now. Joe Mauer is the face of the franchise for the Twins, and it would be a gigantic hit to the organization if he ends up walking away from the Twins.

The Twins are also moving into a new outdoor stadium at the start of this season. It remains to be seen how it is going to play, but I think that the Twins lose a major home-field advantage that they had with the Metrodome. That roof was the bane of quite a few visiting outfielders’ existence, as the ball would get lost in it on a fairly consistent basis. That said, I think that the Twins still are the class of the AL Central at this point, and should do pretty well in 2010.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

All sorts of good fantasy players here, with C Joe Mauer leading the way. RF Michael Cuddyer, DH Jason Kubel, RP Joe Nathan, and 1B Justin Morneau will all end up owned in nearly every league. And of course, there is everyone’s favorite high-risk, high-reward starting pitcher in Francisco Liriano. Liriano has been reported that he pitched well at winter ball, but he is a definite buyer-beware type of pitcher for fantasy.

Prediction for 2010

I think that this Twins team is actually better than last year’s version, and remains the class of the AL Central division. I think that barring a huge rash of injuries, the Twins should win the division pretty easily.

87-75, 1st in the AL Central