Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Out of indy ball

Logan Schafer made his Twins debut Monday evening. He became the 48th player used by the team this season, tying the Twins franchise record; considering the likelihood that at least one September callup will be making his major league debut, we probably should expect a new standard for roster churn.

Shuffling four dozen players through the active roster in five months is a sign of a bad team (as is the won-loss record, as is the current 11-game losing streak, as is ...).

Here's another one: Two of the 25 currently on the active roster were in independent ball earlier this season. Schafer and Andrew Albers -- today's starting pitcher -- both performed earlier this year for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League. (And Buddy Boshers, on the disabled list, was in the Atlantic League in 2015.)

Players wind up in the Atlantic League -- or the American Association of the St. Paul Saints -- when the 30 major league organizations see no purpose to having them on their minor league teams. That the Twins pulled two players out of that baseball limbo to help staff their high minors isn't exactly unique, but that they have given those two major league time is pretty much an indictment of the farm system.

I do not criticize players for playing; there is an honor and dignity in squeezing whatever one can out of the game and one's talent. My criticism is of the organization. Delving repeatedly into indy ball for players is the scouting equivalent of reopening an abandoned mine. The odds are very much against finding a fresh vein of high-grade ore.

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