Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wake Me Up When September Ends: Draft Position

This is the third post in a series looking at different story lines in relation to the Twins as the season comes to a close (Part 1: Starting Rotation, Part 2: Prospect Promotions) September has been a rough month over the last three seasons and this year is continuing to follow that trend. The moto of the month might be "Wake Me Up When September Ends" but there seems to be a small glimmer of hope on the horizon. This could give you a reason to still pay attention over the final weeks. 

At the midway point of the season, the Twins posted a 44-50 record to sit at a .469 winning percentage. Flash-forward to the second half of the year and Minnesota is 15 games under .500 with a .347 winning percentage (entering play on Tuesday). The younger players are working out some of their kinks but the losses continue to pile up.

During the 2013 season, the Twins finished the second half with a .386 winning percentage as the club was 16 games under .500 for that stretch. This included posting an 8-20 record for the final month of the year. 2012 and 2011 were also rough second halves with .390 and .301 winning percentages. That's a lot of losses piling up but bad rosters, injuries, and a rough group in the rotation will do that to a team.

If a person wants to look on the bright side of things, the mounting Minnesota losses do mean some positives. The 90-loss seasons of the last three year have resulted in the Twins earning three straight top five draft picks. This has brought a trio of top-notch prospects into the organization. Byron Buxton, Kohl Stewart, and Nick Gordon might be the key to get the organization back on track and those picks wouldn't have happened without some terrible Septembers.

The Twins recent losing ways to start the month of September have the club positioned to slide into a top five pick for the fourth year in a row.
Projected 2015 MLB Draft Order
1. Texas Rangers  54-89  
2. Houston Astros
3. Colorado Rockies  59-85 4.5 GB
4. Arizona D-Backs  59-84 5.0 GB
5. Minnesota Twins  61-82 7.0 GB
6. Houston Astros  63-81  8.5 GB
7. Boston Red Sox  63-81 8.5 GB
The Texas Rangers seem to have a stronghold on the top pick in the draft and Houston is guaranteed to pick second after failing to sign this year's top pick, Brady Aiken, This leaves the Twins hunting down the Diamondbacks and the Rockies for the third worst record in baseball.

When looking at the strength of schedule for these teams, this could be shaping up to be a tight race to the end. The Twins opponents the rest of the way have roughly a .500 winning percentage which is tied with the Rockies. The Diamondbacks have a little bit easier road with opponents winning percentage around .480. The Red Sox and the Astros are behind Minnesota and they have tougher opponents the rest of the way.

How well a team is playing can also impact their draft position. Some teams play a lot better than their overall record down the stretch. Over the last 20 games, the Twins have the 26th worst record in baseball. The only team on the above list with record as bad as Minnesota is Arizona and they have the same record. Texas and Boston are one game better. While some teams have been struggling, the Rockies have been two games over .500 in the last 20.

So what's the prize at the end of the road? It's tough to know how the draft will shape up over the next few months. When dealing with a combination of high school and college players, a lot can impact their draft stock. Last week, Baseball America said "one of the strengths of this draft class is high school bats and prep power." That being said, it sounds like the top of the draft will be pitcher-heavy.

Does losing stink at the end of the year? Well yes but another top notch prospect could only add to their organization's depth.

If you are going to be bad, it pays to be really bad...

especially in September. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll love the Twins forever, but if we're not a playoff team, I'd prefer a record that nets a higher pick over being merely mediocre. Nice post.