also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -
The first four innings were played earlier, here are the final five innings of Nine Innings with Seth:
Fifth Inning – We’re #5! We’re #5! We’re #5!
So, one of the big topics over the weekend was what the Twins would do with their fifth starter spot. The first four spots in the rotation are expected to be filled by Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey and Carl Pavano. Why is it even a topic? After the conclusion of the 2009 season, in my mind at least, the answer was easy. Brian Duensing’s performance over the season’s final six to eight weeks earned him the right to have the first shot at the fifth starter job. However, Francisco Liriano’s performance in the Dominican Winter League playoffs certainly has people excited. It’s not just the completely dominant numbers. It’s not even the reports of the 95 mph fastball and a 88 mph slider. The excitement seems to be from a focused, and in shape, Francisco Liriano. The excitement comes from the sharpness of that slider. The excitement comes from Liriano’s lack of walks and control inside the strike zone.
Obviously the big question will be answered through spring training. Brian Duensing deserves the shot. I think we all agree with that. Nothing in his AAA numbers indicates that he will be able to sustain that kind of success, but I think most of us think that he can be a serviceable fifth starter. With Liriano, there is no question about the stuff anymore. The concerns with him are all between the ears. How confident will he be? How much does he even want it? How frustrating have the last two years been for him, not able to do what he did in 2006 before surgery? If he can bring that aspect of the game together, Francisco Liriano can still be an All-Star caliber starting pitcher. Will he ever get back to his 2006 level of dominance? Unlikely, but you never know. But again, with his stuff, he can still be an ace. In my mind, Liriano is the wild card, the X-factor in how far the Twins are able to go in 2010.
But don’t forget that the Twins have other options, even before reaching to someone like Jarrod Washburn. Glen Perkins is still around. Most can’t imagine a scenario in which he comes back, but he is a lefty who throws fairly hard and has three big league pitches, so he shouldn’t be 1.) forgotten, or 2.) given away. Anthony Swarzak came up in the middle of the season and pitched well for a few weeks. Jeff Manship came up to help an over-worked bullpen in August and got the opportunity to make a few starts. He picked up his first big league win in that final weekend series against the Royals. Both of them will likely begin at Rochester, but both could be ready if called upon to either start or pitch some long relief for the Twins.
Sixth Inning – Podcast Updates
SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast – (Tonight at 9:00 central time) – I’m really excited for tonight’s show. Last week’s show was really fun, with five guests, including four players. This week, we go back to one hour, but the guests continue. Last Tuesday night, Denard Span and Jeff Manship were involved in the Twins Caravan and signing autographs through our show, but both of them were kind enough to re-schedule for this week. Also, there is a chance that Max Kepler will be joining the show tonight as well, which is pretty exciting. If he is unable to join, we’ll open up the phone lines and take your questions or comments for the remainder of the show. Remember the chat room will be open throughout the entire show, and I will ask Denard, Jeff or Max any questions that you would like while we have time. I’m excited. It should be a fun show, so hopefully you will be at to listen live. And if you can’t, please remember that you can listen to the podcast later, or you can download it to iTunes.
Quick reminder, you can still pre-order the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook for $12.95 through the conclusion of the podcast. At that point, it will be available for $13.95.
Also, be sure to listen in to last night’s Travis Talks Minnesota Sports podcast. It was a good show. His first guest was Larry from SouthSideSox.com, a White Sox blog, and they had a good discussion on the White Sox in 2010. Then Nick Nelson of Nick’s Twins Blog joined the podcast to talk about all of the Twins topics of the day.
Of course, on Wednesday night at 9, you’ll want to tune in to Fanatic Jack’s Twins Talk podcast!
Seventh Inning – Twins Fest Updates
Here are some other Twins blogs related to Twins Fest experiences that you may enjoy:
- Those Girls handed out their 2010 Twins Fest Awards. You’ll want to check out all the winners!
- Andrew from Off the Mark posted his Twins Fest Experience.
- Be sure to check out the Twins Geek account of Day 2 of Twins Fest. Particularly note his awkward conversation with Topper Anton of Curve for a Strike. It makes me laugh. Here are his Day 1 thoughts.
- K-Bro, of K-Bro’s Baseball Blog, posted her Twins Fest experiences.
- A Voice from Twins Territory – Twins Fest Part 1. Twins Fest Part 2.
- For the Love of the Game posted her stories from Twins Fest.
- Katie from KC’s Baseball Blog chimes in with her Twins Fest Edition.
If there are any that I am missing, please let me know.
Eighth Inning – Twins Links
Here are some other Twins blog links:
- Aaron Gleeman started his Top 40 Twins prospect list yesterday with his selections for 36-40, only to see his choice for #37 (Tolleson) get claimed by another team. Today, he’s got his choices for 31-35. (They’ll all still be with the organization tomorrow!)
- Here are Granny Baseball’s thoughts on Joe Crede.
- Howard Sinker posted on several topics from Nick Punto, to Joe Mauer and more at Section 219.
- Alright Hamilton has an Essay Contest: Orlando Hudson or Joe Mauer. Check it out and participate.
- February 12th is officially Nick Punto Day. This is the brain child of Andrew Kneeland of Twins Target who rightfully says that Punto is a very polarizing character among Twins fans. So on February 12th, participating bloggers will all write their thoughts on the Twins infielder.
- And I’ll just say, be sure to check out the Twins MVB. He’s got a ton of stuff going on at his site that you’ll want to check out. He was also the feature of Curve for a Strike’s Twins Blogger: Get to Know ‘Em last week.
- Josh Johnson is up to Twins Prospect #21 in his countdown of the Top 50 Twins Prospects.
- The Twinkie Town Top 50 Prospect rankings are complete. Check it out and weigh in on who you think is missing, who is ranked too high or too low.
- And while you’re there, be sure to check out Roger’s Weekly Twins Minor League Update.
- Nick Nelson talks about the False Alarm, but Very Real Hope regarding the events from yesterday.
- Twinkie Talk mentions the Biggest News You Heard yesterday.
- Undomed takes a retrospective look at 2006.
- Check out the Over The Baggy Twins Notes.
Ninth Inning – TwinsCentric Gathering
I can’t really think of a ninth inning topic right now, so I thought I would just mention that the TwinsCentric group – John Bonnes (Twins Geek), Nick Nelson (Nick’s Twins Blog) and Parker Hageman (Over The Baggy) and I – are going to be hosting some get-togethers for bloggers and Twins fans. The first will likely be on a Saturday afternoon in March, sometime when the Twins have a spring training game that we can all watch together while talking about our favorite team. So, be sure to pre-order your copy of the TwinsCentric/Maple Street Press Twins 2010 Annual, and meet us all there. Obviously as we obtain more specific details, they will be posted at our sites.
Alright, nine innings with Seth is complete. Please check out the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast tonight at 9, and have a great day! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me or leave them in the Comments section.