Under team president Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine, the Minnesota Twins sit in first place of the American League Central at the team’s 81-game mark. On the other hand, the team is 40-41 (a game below .500), so their playoff position has more to do with the weak division than the team’s strength.
How much of the credit for the fairly upbeat first half do Falvey and Levine deserve? Did they make all the right personnel moves over the winter, or has Minnesota’s turnaround been more a product of natural evolution, possibly with a little luck thrown in?
What follows is a mid-term assessment of the front office personnel decisions since the conclusion of the 2022 World Series with a particular focus on the extent to which those decisions have helped or hindered the Twins’ performance.
Grading the Minnesota Twins at the halfway point of the 2023 season
The standard of measurement in Wins Above Average (WAA), a variant of Wins Above Replacement (WAR). For this purpose, WAA is preferable because unlike WAR, it is zero-based. That means the sum of all the decisions made by the Twins front office impacting the 2023 team gives at least a good estimate of the number of games those moves have improved (or worsened) the team’s status this season.
A team’s front office impacts that team’s standing in five ways. Those five are:
1. By the impact of players it acquires from other teams via trade, purchase or waiver claim.
2. By the impact of players it surrenders to other teams in those same transactions.
3. By the impact of players it signs at free agency or extends.
4. By the impact of players it loses to free agency or releases.
5. By the impact of players it promotes from its own farm system.
Here’s how the team of Falvey and Levine stack up by those five yardsticks.