I got to talk to Tony Oliva once. That was cool. - J. Meric
As long time readers know, since 1996 I have been doing a self-education project called the Shadow Minnesota Twins Farm System, conducting a parallel amateur draft, an alternate universe if you will. For example, I chose Kevin Gausman instead of Byron Buxton as the real Twins did in 2012. It is a fun way to conduct deep draft research, and studying for the Shadow Draft has helped me uncover prospect sleepers before they become household names.
This is how the Shadow Twins farm system looked as of mid-August 2012.
Here are the results for the 2012 Shadow Twins Draft
Up until now, my Shadow Twins have signed whoever the real Twins did on the international market. I have Miguel Sano and Oswaldo Arcia, for example. Up until recently, the lack of public information about Latin American amateurs made it almost impossible to run a Shadow system any other way. However, over the last five years there has been an explosion of interest in the Latin American market and much more information is available now. The new CBA, with a set pool for amateur free agent bonuses, also makes such a Shadow project much more doable than it was before.
It was my turn to watch our youngest child last night. He woke up at 230 AM. I had gotten to sleep about 145 AM after a 14-hour work day. It was impossible to work on the book or prospect lists, but I was bored and wanted to do something baseball-related. So I decided to build a 2012 Shadow Twins International Free Agent class.
In real life, the Twins gave Dominican shortstop Amaurys Minier a $1,400,000 bonus this past July. I decided to have some fun and NOT sign Minier and pick my own class, spreading his bonus money out among other players. There's nothing wrong with Minier, but I want to play around with this.
Ground rules: if I want to buy a player who has been picked by another team, I have to beat his real life bonus by 10%. Also, I cannot sign a player if they have already played a professional game. I can't wait to see what a guy does in the DSL; I have to sign him without any pro data.
So, I'm making it official. The Shadow Twins did NOT sign Amaurys Minier. Instead, I am taking his $1,400,000 and spreading it out over the following players:
Crucito Mieses, RHP: Signed by the Angels in real life for $180,000. This costs me $200,000 (I'll round up). Lanky and projectable a 6-3, 175, age 16. Fastball in upper-80s now but breaking stuff shows some promise. Raw of course.
Henry Alvarado, OF: Signed by the Cardinals in real life for $150,000. I'm picking him up for $170,000. 16-years old, lanky and lean at 6-3, 180. There are good reports about his bat, but other tools don't get as good of reviews.
Add that up, it comes to $1,360,000 for these four players instead of $1,400,000 for Minier. The Real Twins also spent $500,000 on Australian lefty Lewis Thorpe. I'll go along with that one.
This will all look very stupid if Minier turns into Miguel Cabrera. I'm quite willing to look stupid though, if I can have some fun doing it, and if it makes me more knowledgeable about more players early.
UPDATE (March 2nd):
2012 Shadow Twins International Signees
1) Frandi DelaRosa, SS, Dominican Republic (signed in real life by Cubs) $770,000
2) Lewis Thorpe, LHP, Australia (Twins) $500,000
3) Maurico Silva, RHP, Venezuela (Twins) $375,000
4) Starling Ynfante, RHP, Dominican Republic (Padres) $220,000
5) Chih-Wei Hu, RHP, Taiwan (Twins) $220,000
6) Crucito Mieses, RHP, Dominican Republic (Angels) $200,000
7) Rainis Silva, C, Venezuela (Twins) $175,000
8) Henry Alvarado, OF, Dominican Republic (Cardinals) $170,000
9) Johan Quezada, RHP, Dominican Republic (Twins) $150,000
10) Antonio Tovar, OF, Venezuela (Twins) $100,000
11) Jorge Parra, OF, Venezuela (Twins) $45,000
DelaRosa, Ynfante, Mieses, Alvarado (1.36 mil) instead of Amaurys Minier (1.4 mil)