Nobody I know is a better student of sports in this area than Dave Mona, my partner on Sunday morning’s “Sports Huddle with Sid and Dave’’ on WCCO Radio.
Dave is the son of a great high school coach in Lute Mona, played basketball in high school at Minneapolis Roosevelt and followed sports from his days growing up in a home in which sports was talked about all of the time.
So for the above reasons I have a lot of respect for Mona’s opinion. And after a study by Mona of the Twins’ troubles the past two years, he pins a lot of the blame on poor draft results from players selected between 2002 and ’09.
“There are a lot of reasons for the Twins’ poor performance over the past three years, but it’s hard to ignore their lack of success in the draft,” Mona said. “The strength of their team now should reflect the drafts between 2002 and 2009.”
Mona points out that those combined drafts have produced four current starting position players for the Twins — Aaron Hicks, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee — and none of them have been particularly productive.
Year-by-year, here’s what the Twins have had to show from that drafting period, with several of the players no longer with the club:
• 2002: Denard Span, Jesse Crain, Pat Neshek.
• 2003: Scott Baker.
• 2004: Plouffe, Glen Perkins, Anthony Swarzak.
• 2005: Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, Brian Duensing.
• 2006: Parmelee, Joe Benson, Danny Valencia.
• 2007: Ben Revere.
• 2008: Hicks
• 2009: Dozier, Kyle Gibson, Chris Herrmann.
Of those 18 players, only seven still are in the organization, and of that group only one, Perkins, is a player that an opposing team would give much for in a trade.
Still, Mona noted that to the organization’s credit, much of the Twins’ future talent came from the signing of a number of free-agent Latin players such as Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco and Oswaldo Arcia.
Now with Major League Baseball’s amateur draft beginning Thursday and the Twins owning the fourth overall pick, maybe they can hit the jackpot and draft players on par with their past two drafts, in which they did a much better job.
There was a time when the Twins’ best players came from the organization’s draft picks, but recently that hasn’t been the case.