La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Another attempt to rank farm systems

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Twins Farm System, Twins prospects, Vikings draft Updated: February 4, 2012 - 12:10 PM

We began the week debating the Twins farm system. We might as well end the week doing the same thing.

ESPN has taken a look at farm systems across the league and has ranked them based on the WAR of every player teams have selected over the last ten drafts. The results aren't cut and dry. There are teams that have drafted rather well but haven't won recently. But if you look at the bottom of the list, it's full of scuffling teams - like the Mariners, Mets, Astros and White Sox.

(We must acknowledge that the White Sox did win a title in 2005, but Chicago has since drafted poorly and traded away some of the decent prospects they've had).

The Yankees are in the bottom third of the list, but they can make up for farm system failures with $$$$$$$.

And the rise of the Rays makes sense when you see them near the top of the list.

The Twins are ranked 14th, kind of odd for a team that has won six division titles since 2002. But keep in mind that the rankings are over the last 10 drafts. That's 2002-11.  Joe Mauer was drafted in 2001 and Justin Morneau was drafted in 1999. Actually, I wonder if ESPN should have focused on 2000-2009, because how many draftees from 2010-11 have reached the bigs?

Oh, here's the answer: Four - pitchers Drew Pomeranz, Chris Sale, Addison Reed and Chance Ruffin. All were drafted in 2010.

Now let's look at how the Twins have drafted during that time.

The Twins selected Denard Span in the first round in 2002. Jesse Crain and Pat Neshek were selected in later rounds that year. Since then:

2003: Matt Moses -  48 games at Class AAA Rochester was as high as he got.

Other pick: Scott Baker (second round)

2004: Trevor Plouffe, Glen Perkins, Kyle Waldrop, This was the draft the Twins needed to cash in on. While Perkins has found his niche, Plouffe and Waldrop are trying to establish themselves. Twins drafted Jay Rainville and Matt Fox in the supplemental round, but both suffered injuries. Rainville had nerve damage in his shoulder and had to quit. Fox had shoulder problems in 2005 and was never the same. At the time, the Twins were praised throughout the league for this draft. Look what happened.

Other picks: Anthony Swarzak (second). Matt Tolbert (16th). Rene Tosoni (34th)

2005: Matt Garza. Has developed into a solid pitcher and is missed by Twins fans. The Twins had a sandwich pick that year and used it on prep power hitting prospect Henry Sanchez. Ugh. What's worse is that Clay Buchholz and Jed Lowrie went a few picks later. Ugh.;

Other picks: Kevin Slowey (second). Brian Duensing (third), Steven Tolleson (fifth). Alex Burnett (12th). Rene Tosoni (36th).

2006: Chris Parmelee. The first baseman showed promise during a September call up.

Other picks: Joe Benson (second). Brian Dinkelman (eighth). Jeff Manship (14th). Danny Valencia (19th). Anthony Slama (39th).

2007: Ben Revere. No pop, Little arm. But look at what he CAN do. He has blazing speed and projects to be a good contact hitter. Once he learns how to bunt for hits and learns the pitchers, he'll take off.

2008: Aaron Hicks. Still has upside, but the switch-hitting outfielder needs to start putting it all together. The Twins had a second first round pick in this draft and selected - - - - - righthander Shooter Hunt. Ugh.

2009: Kyle Gibson, Matt Bashore: Both pitchers have had Tommy John surgeries. For Bashore, it was his SECOND. Ugh.

2010: Alex Wimmers: Looks to have recovered from extreme wildness early last season. The righthander should start the season at Fort Myers..

2011: Levi Michael, Travis Harrison, Hudson Boyd. Michael, a shortstop, was so banged up after the college season he was shut down for the rest of the summer and limited during fall instructional league. He let ankle, groin and hip injuries heal up and spent the offseason working out in Tampa at a facility owned by his agency, CAA. Harrison's YouTube workouts and batting practices are very impressive. Twins hope he can stick at third base. Boyd, a righthander, was throwing in the low 90's out of high school but showed up to instructional league a little heavy and was given a workout plan. It will be a while before we can determine if this draft sailed or failed.

Things that strike me:

1. Where are the bats? The jury is still out from 2006 on but, man, that's quite a gap between Span and Valencia when it comes to drafting and developing position players. And I don't know how to categorize Plouffe, who's being moved to the outfield and will report to camp out of options but not a lock to start.

2. The 2004 and 2005 drafts have really set this franchise back. Those drafts should have added to the core of this team. Instead, there have been injuries, underachievement and trades of Garza and Slowey.

3. They have to cross their fingers.  Can Gibson become the Twins' ace that some feel he can be? Can Bashore get his career going after two Tommy John surgeries. Is Wimmers ready to fly through the system like some thought he would?.

4. The 2009 draft: In addition to Gibson and Bashore, reliever Ben Tootle (third round) was throwing in the upper 90's but has been slowed by shoulder surgery. Sixth-round pick Chris Hermann, an outfielder drafted as a catcher,  is starting to come on. Shortstop Brian Dozier (eighth) could debut this year. Left-handed reliever Dakota Watts (16th) throws 95-97 mph. This could turn out to be a productive class for the Twins.

I think the state of the Twins farm system will be constant topic of conversation as we close in on the June draft, where the Twins have the second overall pick. This is meant to give you an idea of where the Twins stand before they begin focusing in on top prospects to draft. The Twins have had their swings and misses in the draft (all teams do) and I don't think their system is barren (see White Sox and Astros). But it's definitely a system that could use some top-end talent. And top-end talent should be coming in June.

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NY Jets 0 1st Qtr 13:10
Buffalo 0
Baltimore 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
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New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
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Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
LA Clippers 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Portland 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Orlando 6:00 PM
Cleveland
Phoenix 6:30 PM
Toronto
New York 7:00 PM
Houston
Indiana 7:30 PM
Dallas
Chicago 8:00 PM
Utah
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Boston
Philadelphia 0 1st Prd 19:38
NY Islanders 0
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Detroit
Minnesota 6:30 PM
Florida
East Carolina 49 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Nevada 56 FINAL
Weber State 59
Evansville 58 FINAL
Fresno State 52
Purdue 79 FINAL
Kansas State 88
Dillard 73 FINAL
Alcorn State 95
Clemson 64 FINAL
LSU 61
Georgia State 69 FINAL
Chicago State 46
MD-Eastern Shore 55 FINAL
Detroit 69
Missouri 48 2nd Half 3:54
Arizona 63
Austin Peay 48 2nd Half 5:56
Indiana State 43
Milwaukee 24 2nd Half 20:00
Louisiana 14
Marist 21 2nd Half 20:00
Fla Gulf Coast 21
Gardner-Webb 19 1st Half 5:20
Old Dominion 23
Hampton 6:00 PM
Appalachian St
Grambling St 0 1st Half 19:00
Ball State 0
FIU 6:00 PM
Ga Southern
Jacksonville 2 1st Half 18:56
IUPU-Ft Wayne 0
Colgate 6:00 PM
James Madison
Savannah State 0 1st Half 16:39
Louisville 6
Arizona State 7 1st Half 16:31
Maryland 0
Santa Clara 2 1st Half 18:39
Michigan State 3
Western Carolina 2 1st Half 16:00
Oakland 5
SE Louisiana 6 1st Half 16:47
Tenn Tech 3
Bucknell 6:00 PM
Toledo
Villanova 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Nicholls 0 1st Half 17:35
Wake Forest 3
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
Winthrop
Murray State 2 1st Half 17:00
Xavier 11
Eastern Wash 6:30 PM
Indiana
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Baylor
Lipscomb 7:00 PM
Belmont
Brown 7:00 PM
Illinois
Pepperdine 7:00 PM
Iowa
Rider 7:00 PM
Kansas
Prairie View 7:00 PM
Memphis
Clayton State 7:00 PM
Miss State
Miss Valley St 7:00 PM
TCU
TX A&M-Int 7:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Oregon State 7:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Hawaii 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Seton Hall 8:00 PM
Illinois State
NJIT 8:00 PM
Marquette
Stetson 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Florida A&M 8:00 PM
Wyoming
Pittsburgh 8:00 PM
Chaminade
Alabama 8:30 PM
Iowa State
Michigan 8:30 PM
Oregon
Colorado Christian 8:30 PM
Northern Colorado
Chadron State 8:30 PM
South Dakota St
Western Mich 9:00 PM
San Diego
SIU Edwardsville 9:05 PM
Portland State
Tulsa 10:00 PM
Auburn
BYU 10:30 PM
San Diego St
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
Montreal 24 FINAL
Hamilton 40
Edmonton 18 FINAL
Calgary 43
Grambling 51 FINAL
George Washington 89
Saint Louis 57 FINAL
Vanderbilt 75
NW Nazarene 69 FINAL
Idaho State 88
Millersville 46 2nd Half 8:42
Delaware State 60
NC State 20 2nd Half
Tulane 24
Harvard 24 2nd Half 14:44
(2) Notre Dame 66
Austin Peay 43 2nd Half 14:45
Chattanooga 35
Brescia 26 2nd Half 20:00
Morehead St 47
UNC Greensboro 6:00 PM
Longwood
Loyola-Maryland 6:00 PM
(10) Maryland
Barton 6:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
Tennessee St 2 1st Half 18:18
(4) Tennessee 0
Troy 0 1st Half 20:00
Florida A&M 0
Sam Houston St 2 1st Half 18:58
South Dakota St 2
Rhode Island 5 1st Half 18:32
Columbia 0
Western State 0 1st Half 20:00
Northern Colorado 0
TX A&M-CC 3 1st Half 19:42
Rice 0
Cornell 0 1st Half 20:00
Fairfield 0
St Johns 4 1st Half 16:49
Marist 2
Bradley 5 1st Half 18:38
Stony Brook 5
Mount Ida 5 1st Half 17:11
UMass Lowell 7
Thomas (GA) 2 1st Half 18:42
Georgia State 2
Campbell 2 1st Half 18:16
Western Carolina 0
North Florida 0 1st Half 20:00
Samford 0
Prairie View 7:00 PM
(7) Texas A&M
Eastern Washington 7:00 PM
Abilene Christian
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Cal-Irvine 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Quinnipiac 7:00 PM
Holy Cross
East Tenn St 7:05 PM
Indiana State
(5) Stanford 8:00 PM
New Mexico
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Cal State Fullerton 8:00 PM
Weber State
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