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Twins Minor League Weekly: Midseason Awards Show

14 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Last night, Travis Aune and I hosted Twins Minor League Weekly, our weekly review of the goings on throughout the Twins farm system. Last night was a special show. We spent the first half hour discussing the Twins affiliates and their seasons. The second half of the season, we ‘presented’ our Midseason Awards. For the awards, we enlisted some extra help. Travis and I voted, but so did six others who know something about the Twins minor leaguers. They are: LaVelle E. Neal from the Star Tribune, Josh Johnson from Josh’s Thoughts, Roger Dehring from Twinkie Town, Andrew Kneeland from Twins Target, Dez Tobin of Dez Says, and Steve Lien from Gear up for Twins Baseball.

Each voter voted for their top three in five categories; Best Hitter, Best Relief Pitcher, Best Starting Pitcher, Biggest Surprise, and Biggest Disappointment. They each then sent me their current Top 5 Twins Prospects. The results were very interesting. I’m going to ask that you listen to the podcast for the final results, but below, I will give you the top three finishers in each category, in alphabetical order, for you to consider.

Best Hitter: Joe Benson, Anderson Hidalgo, Ben Revere

Best Relief Pitcher: Kane Holbrooks, Anthony Slama, Kyle Waldrop

Best Starting Pitcher: Kyle Gibson, Liam Hendriks, Dan Osterbrock

Biggest Surprise: Joe Benson, Jonathan Goncalves, Liam Hendriks

Biggest Disappointment: Wilson Ramos, Tyler Robertson, Anthony Swarzak

Top 6 Twins Prospects: Joe Benson, Kyle Gibson, Aaron Hicks, Wilson Ramos, Ben Revere, Miguel Sano

Again, the lists above are in alphabetical order. To hear who the ‘winners’ were in each category, or who ranked first through sixth in the Top Prospect list, click here to listen to last night’s Twins Minor League Weekly.

A couple more notes:

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them here.

SethSpeaks.net Top 50 Minnesota Twins Prospects

4 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

In the past, I have tried to do my Top 50 Twins prospect reports right before the June draft and then shortly following the completion of the minor league seasons which is generally in mid-September. This past year has been so much more busy than ever before on so many fronts, so this year, I am still going to update my Top 50 list and do some of my other pre-draft blogs, they will just have to be a bit condensed. With that, today I will be posting my updated Top 50 Twins prospect list. I would love to hear your thoughts or comments on any of the rankings. You don’t have to agree with me. So ask questions and present your Top 10, 20, 50 list for discussion too.

#1 – Kyle Gibson – RHP – New Britain Rockcats – Prospect lists are a combination of potential with likelihood to reach potential. Gibson can be a top of the order, #2 type of pitcher, and there is a very good chance that it will happen.

#2 – Aaron Hicks – OF – Beloit Snappers – Hicks has all of the tools, including the 6th tool (plate discipline). The Midwest League is not an easy place to play, but 2010 has been a very streaky season. His strong streak told us just how good he can be.

#3 – Miguel Sano – SS – DSL Twins – All of the potential in the world, but still a long way to go. He wants to be up in the big leagues by 19. The Twins will be wise to note let that happen.

#4 – Wilson Ramos – C – Rochester Red Wings – Strong spring training. Horrible start at Rochester. Seven hits in his first two big league games. Reality set in. Ramos is immensely talented, both offensively and potentially defensively when he puts in the effort. Will be interesting to see if he’s still with the organization in August.

#5 – Adrian Salcedo – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – 19 years old. Throws hard. Working on the breaking pitches, but he has been impressive in his short stint at Ft. Myers so far, even though he should probably be waiting for the Elizabethton season. Very high ceiling.

#6 – Angel Morales – OF – Beloit Snappers – It’s been a disappointing 2010 so far for Morales. He hasn’t hit for as much power, but the tools are all there. It would be nice for him to have a strong second half. He is one of the better base stealers in the organization.

#7 – Joe Benson – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle – Speaking of all the tools, Benson’s ability to hit for power and get on base very well have him high on this list. The ability to put the ball in play seems to be the one thing that he needs to improve most, which is likely why he is back in Ft. Myers.

#8 – Davis Bromberg – RHP – New Britain Rockcats – It’s been an up and down season for Bromberg, but he has four or five pitches, and he’s quite young. He also has great confidence and will work through any struggles. I expect that he will have a strong second half.

#9 – Ben Revere – OF – New Britain Rockcats – Comparing Revere to Hicks, Morales and Benson isn’t really fair. The other three are all much better and have much higher potential in terms of power and defense and arm. But Revere is a great singles hitter with tremendous speed and his base stealing has continued to improve. His likelihood to be a solid big league player is higher than the other three OF prospects.

#10 – Danny Valencia – 3B – Minnesota Twins – Valencia is currently with the Twins with Michael Cuddyer out. Everywhere he has played, he has hit for average. He has never hit below .282. He doesn’t like to walk too much, but an IsoD of over .050 is at least adequate. He is yet to homer this year, but his minor league track record indicates that he can hit for some power. And his defense has continued to improve.

 

#11 – Deolis Guerra – RHP – Rochester Red Wings – Is he ready for AAA? Probably not. But he’s holding his own and continues to learn. Best changeup in the organization, and his incredible improved control is very impressive.

#12 – Alex Burnett – RHP – Minnesota Twins – Burnett was a surprise when he made the team out of spring training, but he has proven that he is ready and has pitched very well for the Twins. He always had good control, even as a starter. He throws hard and has three very good pitches. He’s still young, but he is a guy who could be a future closer.

#13 – Trevor Plouffe – SS – Rochester Red Wings – Plouffe has seemingly put things together in 2010, and it’s hard to believe that he is still just 23 years old. He has the ability to be an everyday Major League shortstop, which alone should probably move him even higher up this list.

#14 – Liam Hendriks – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – I don’t know if Hendriks’ terrific start this season is a surprise, but it certainly has been noticed. He was the organization’s pitcher of the month in April which earned him an early promotion to Ft. Myers where he has continued to be very good. His stuff is very good, and he understands how to get hitters out.

#15 – BJ Hermsen – RHP – Beloit Snappers – Hermsen started the year at EST, but when needed, he was promoted to Beloit. He has been good at times, and at other times shown that he might be best served by pitching at E-town. But he has good stuff, good size and very good control, and the Twins love that.

#16 – Carlos Gutierrez – RHP – New Britain Rockcats – I still believe that Gutierrez will be a big league relief pitcher, and a very good one. It’s important to remember that he is working on adding pitches while in AA. He gets a ton of ground balls. He throws 95 with sink. Just has to trust his stuff and he can dominate.

#17 – Rene Tosoni – OF – New Britain Rockcats – How much has the shoulder injury hurt Tosoni in 2010? He is still hitting around .280, but to this point, the power hasn’t shown up the way it did last year. Tosoni is very good, so this ranking doesn’t feel right. I think he should be higher, but right now, today, I just can’t do it.

#18 – Bruce Pugh – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – Although he was called a sleeper this offseason, Pugh was also a very pleasant surprise this year… until an elbow injury which has sidelined him for a few weeks already. Hopefully he will be alright because he throws hard and has a couple of improving secondary pitches that make him potentially dominant.

#19 – Jeff Manship – RHP – Rochester Red Wings – Again, a guy who is the big league club’s sixth start, and gave up two runs in six innings for the Twins shouldn’t be ranked this low. Manship can pitch in the big leagues, although his time in AAA this year will be valuable as well. He can help the Twins already when needed, but he can still continue to get better.

#20 – Chris Parmelee – 1B – Ft. Myers Miracle – Parmelee has a ton of potential as well, but he was overmatched in AA. Getting sent back to Ft. Myers was the best thing that could happen. He can now work on his game without being overwhelmed. The contact rate is always the question with Parmelee, but hopefully with the Miracle, he can regain his ability to take walks and to hit for power.

 

#21 – Max Kepler – OF – Extended Spring Training – All the talent in the world, but it will be very interesting to see how Max Kepler is able to put it together. Very good speed. Solid already defensively. Needs work on the offensive part of the game. But he’s just 17, and the Twins will be very patient with him. I’d expect him to spend two years with the GCL Twins before advancing.

#22 – Tom Stuifbergen – RHP – Beloit Snappers – Hopefully his elbow issues and his upcoming MRI reveal nothing and that Stuifbergen can rest and come back strong soon. He is another guy who just knows how to get hitters out. He has very good stuff, but he knows how to pitch, and that’s important too.

#23 – Blayne Weller – RHP – Extended Spring Training – I’m surprised and curious as to why Weller has not been promoted from EST to a full-season team, and yet, it is in his best interest to pitch for the E-Twins this year. He’s got good stuff and great control. Just a notch behind Hermsen.

#24 – Luke Hughes – 2B – Rochester Red Wings – How cool was it to see Hughes hit a home run in his first at bat with the Twins? Again, this feels like a low ranking, and yet, as good as Hughes has shown he can be, he just keeps getting hurt and isn’t able to sustain the success very long. If he could stay healthy, he can help the Twins, maybe as a pinch hitter. I also think he could compete for the starting 2B job next year.

#25 – Chris Herrmann – C/OF – Ft. Myers Miracle – Herrmann has done a very good job adjusting to the catcher position. He’s quick and has a strong arm. But he is also an excellent defensive left fielder. He is also a solid hitter. The Twins typically do not have players skip levels, but Herrmann was pushed from Elizabethton last year to Ft. Myers this year and hasn’t been completely over his head. He’s got a chance to be a solid all-around player.

#26 – Bobby Lanigan – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – Gibson got all the notice, but Lanigan was even better in April. Unfortunately, he has only pitched once since then. He has a good fastball and a very good slider, so hopefully he can get back soon.

#27 – Steve Singleton – 2B – New Britain Rockcats – Another guy who should be much higher on this list probably.  

#28 – Billy Bullock – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – The 2009 second round pick from Florida can throw hard. He can dominate and gets a lot of strikeouts, but he should continue to get better and better. He is a future closer option.

#29 – Tyler Robertson – LHP – New Britain Rockcats – Robertson has really struggled in 2010 at AA, allowing hitters to bat about .330 against him so far this year. The lefty does have decent stuff and a high baseball IQ, but he’s still so young for the level, even after spending two years at Ft. Myers. Hopefully his arm strength will continue to increase and he can move up this list. Remember, he was my choice for the Twins #1 prospect after the 2007 season.

#30 – Anthony Slama – RHP – Rochester Red Wings – Again, I know most won’t like this ranking, but it’s clear that there must be some reason that Slama has not been promoted, and I think a big part of that is the number of walks, which would likely increase more in the big leagues. But his ability to get strikeouts is pretty impressive, and he needs to get a shot soon. I mean, he’s already 26!

 

#31 – Michael Tonkin – RHP – Beloit Snappers – Tonkin was pitching best at EST when Beloit had a need, so he was the first promoted. He has actually done better than I would have thought. He’s got good control. He has a decent fastball and an improving curveball. He has a long way to go.

#32 – Yangervis Solarte – IF/OF – New Britain Rockcats – Like Hughes, Solarte can play a lot of places. His most natural position is 2B, but he can play basically all of the infield and outfield positions adequately. His biggest asset, however, has been his bat. Not sure how confident I am that he will sustain it, but he certainly could, and I’m comfortable with this ranking.

#33 – Danny Rams – C/1B – Beloit Snappers – Rams hit two home runs last night. I really, really hope that he can find a way to put the ball in play more because when he makes contact, he hits the ball so hard and can hit the ball a long way!

#34 – Shooter Hunt – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – It is good to see the improvements that Hunt has made this year. But he has a long way to go before we can feel confident in his future. But the potential is so high, he has to be on the list. He’ll be making another start today.

#35 – Jorge Polanco – SS – DSL Twins – When Baseball America named Polanco the top defensive infielder in the Twins organization, I wasn’t sure how to take that. It means he is very good, but it could also be an indictment of the rest of the system’s infielders. Polanco will have to show some bat to move his way up the list. I don’t expect him to hit much for a couple of years.

#36 – Edgar Ibarra – LHP – Beloit Snappers – I may be biased because I saw him pitch in Beloit, but I was very impressed with the high-side of his four pitches. Good fastball, worked both sides of the plate. Very good slider. Devastating changeup. Now, he wasn’t consistent with any of those pitches, and hasn’t been all year, but the pitches are there, and his potential is high.

#37 – Kyle Waldrop – RHP – Rochester Red Wings – Waldrop has impressed this entire year. 2009 was about staying healthy. 2010 has been about ground balls, throwing hard, getting a ton of movement on his pitches, and great success. There is a good chance that Waldrop, even with his lack of strikeouts, gets promoted before Anthony Slama.

#38 – Miguel Munoz – RHP – Beloit Snappers – The numbers haven’t been there in Beloit, but the stuff is incredible. Munoz throws quite hard and has good stuff. He just needs to throw more strikes and be more consistent.

#39 – Santos Arias – RHP – New Britain Rockcats – Arias fell a bit on this list, but even with his horrible performance in late innings for the Rockcats, his ERA isn’t bad. He still has good stuff. He has been healthy. He’s got a very good fastball, and a very good changeup. I’m not giving up on him at all.

#40 – James Beresford – SS/2B – Beloit Snappers – he was the player in Beloit that I was most impressed with. He will have to get bigger to make it to the next level. I assume that will happen, so he could move up this list very quickly. He got off to a very tough start in April, and is still hitting just .240, but he could very well be a big leaguer.

 

#41 – Anderson Hidalgo – 3B – Beloit Snappers – Hidalgo has been a doubles machine. He doesn’t play every day and splits some time with Reggie Williams at 3B, but he just hits. He’s the one hitter at Beloit that is actually putting up numbers, and not just singles. He doesn’t like to walk, and he doesn’t have much range, but he can continue to improve, and definitely is worth watching.

#42 – Michael McCardell – RHP – New Britain Rockcats – It’s been a tough season for McCardell in terms of wins and losses, but he hasn’t pitched terribly at all. He is a solid starter, probably a future bottom of the rotation guy, or even a long reliever. He has good stuff and is mentally strong, so he will be fine.

#43 – Brian Dinkelman – OF – Rochester Red Wings – This is probably a case of Age-ism. Dinkelman has done nothing but play well since the Twins drafted him in 2006. He is playing in AAA this year, and continues to walk more than strikeout, get extra base hits, hit for average and “do the little things.” He has also transitioned to the outfield pretty flawlessly.

#44 – Brad Tippett – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – Tippett is back on the DL with forearm issues. He just has not been able to get going. He has never thrown hard, but he’s got good size, so if he can continue to gain strength, he can add a few mph. And again, the Australian knows how to pitch.

#45 – Oswaldo Arcia – OF – Extended Spring Training – Arcia is young and did a nice job last year in the GCL. Has all kinds of tools.

#46 – Andrei Lobanov – LHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – One walk and 35 strikeouts in 22 innings in the GCL last year. He likely will go to E-town, but he has done quite well with the Miracle.

#47 – Steve Liddle – OF – Beloit Snappers – I thought he would do more this year with the Snappers. He has shown good power at times, but you would hope for more from a college hitter.

#48 – Rob Delaney – RHP – Rochester Red Wings – This is way too low, but Delaney has been hittable in Rochester after dominating all the way up to that level. That said, he still is walking very few and striking out about a batter an inning. He is ready.

#49 – Josmil Pinto – C – Beloit Snappers – The guy can hit a bit. Seems adequate behind the plate. No speed whatsoever.

#50 – Reggie Williams – IF – Beloit Snappers – Lots of talent. Getting a chance to play this year. He doesn’t seem to be a 3B, but should be a 2B. He has also played in the OF. Takes decent at bats and has doubles power.

There you have it. There is my Top 50 Twins Prospects list as of June 4, 2010. Let me know what you think, agree or disagree, and feel free to post your comments and questions in the Comments section.

Twins Minor League Weekly

26 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Be sure to listen to last night’s Twins Minor League Weekly. Travis Aune and I were joined by the play-by-play man of the Ft. Myers Miracle, Alex Margulies. We discussed many of the players on the Miracle roster. Later, we were joined by New Britain infielder Steve Singleton who is on a tear. In the Rockcats double header on Tuesday night, he went 3-5 with a home run. Since May 6, he is 27-73 (.370) and has raised his average from .192 to .279. Travis and I then discussed all four Twins full-season affiliates. Travis asked me for mini-scouting reports on what I saw in Beloit over the weekend. Finally, after the show’s live stream ended at 11:00, Travis and I spent about another 20 minutes podcasting, which you can listen to now as well. Each of us discussed the five Twins prospects that would move up our prospect lists the most right now. Listen to ours and then discuss yours. Which Twins minor leaguers have made the strongest impression and moved up your lists so far this season?

 

The Twins and Yankees were tied at zero through five innings last night when the rains came. After a long delay, the game was suspended and will be continued at 4:05 on Wednesday. Here are some more links to Twins blogs:

 

·         Aaron Gleeman posted several Twins notes.

·         Nick Nelson says that Kevin Slowey really needs to step it up.

·         Parker, at Over the Baggy, wrote about the selectivity and connectivity of Justin Morneau this year.

·         Between Phil Mackey and Tom Pelissero, they are doing a tremendous job covering the Minnesota Twins at 1500espn.com.

·         Ed Thoma speculates on the Twins interest in Roy Oswalt.

 

Here is a quick glance at what happened on Tuesday in the Twins minor league system:

 

SethSpeaks Tuesday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Steve Singleton – New Britain Rockcats, Anderson Hidalgo – Beloit Snappers

SethSpeaks Tuesday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Kyle Gibson – New Britain Rockcats

 

Red Wings Report   

Tuesday – Rochester 1, Norfolk 2 Anthony Swarzak returned to the Red Wings rotation. He gave up just one run on three hits and two walks in four innings. Jose Lugo came in and gave up one run on one hit in three innings. Tim Lahey pitched a scoreless inning. Jason Repko went 2-5. Dustin Martin and Brock Peterson were each 1-3 with a walk.   

New Britain Notes

Tuesday – Game 1 – New Britain 5, New Hampshire 7Tyler Robertson returned to the Rockcats after one AAA start. He gave up seven runs on 11 hits and three walks in six innings. Santos Arias struck out two in a scoreless inning. Erik Lis was 2-4 with his first double. Rene Tosoni hit his third homer and drove in two runs. Steve Singleton was 1-2, was hit by a pitch, hit his fourth home run and drove in two runs.

Tuesday – Game 2 – New Britain 2, New Hampshire 1Kyle Gibson was again this story in this game. Gibson gave up only an unearned run (thanks to his own error) in seven innings. He gave up seven hits, but he walked none and struck out four. He recorded 11 groundball outs to five fly outs. In the bottom of the seventh, Steve Singleton singled, advanced to 2B on a sacrifice bunt and to 3B on an error. Ben Revere reached on an error that allowed Singleton to score the winning run. Rene Tosoni was 1-2 with a walk.   

Miracle Matters

Tuesday – Ft. Myers 2, Bradenton 6 – Blake Martin made another start for the Miracle. In 5.2 innings, he gave up four runs on ten hits. He walked one and struck out four. Andrei Lobanov gave up two runs on two hits in 1.1 innings. Jose Gonzalez made his first appearance with the Miracle and pitched a scoreless inning, despite two hits. Dan Rohlfing went 2-4 with his eighth double. Nick Romero was 2-4 with his fifth double.   

Snappers Snippets

Tuesday – Beloit 7, Cedar Rapids 13BJ Hermsen was in line for a win when this game was delayed after the top of the 6th inning. He had allowed three runs (2 earned) on five hits and a walk through five innings. He went back out to start the sixth inning, after the delay, and gave up two hits and two walks and all four came around to score. Matt Tone relieved him and got two outs, but not before he gave up five runs (2 earned) on three hits and two walks). Dakota Watts gave up an unearned run in 1.1 innings. Kane Holbrooks pitched a scoreless inning. Anderson Hidalgo went 3-4 with three more doubles and now has 14 on the year. Josmil Pinto went 2-4 with his seventh double. Angel Morales was 2-3 with a walk and his 14th stolen base. Reggie Williams hit his seven home run and drove in four runs. Steve Liddle hit his fifth homer. 

 

If you have any thoughts, please feel free to comment here.

Decisions, Decisions

10 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

The Twins will enjoy a day off on Monday after winning the final two games of their series against Baltimore to split the series. One of the great things about baseball is that you just never know what will happen. We saw enough of that. On Saturday night, with the bases loaded and one out, the Twins pinch hit Joe Mauer for Alexi Casilla. Mauer proceeded to strike out. Light-hitting Drew Butera came up and lined a single to left field to give the Twins two insurance runs. Who can predict that happening? No one. But things like that happen on the time in baseball. When Twins fans saw the team’s lineup on Sunday morning, some may have thought it was a “B” lineup. And out of necessity, it really was. Joe Mauer was back in the lineup, but only as a DH which meant that Jim Thome and Jason Kubel were out of the lineup. JJ Hardy needed another day off, and Orlando Hudson requested a day off (according to the manager) and got it. So Sunday’s lineup consisted of Nick Punto batting second, Brendan Harris and Alexi Casilla against one of the game’s best young, left-handed pitchers, Brian Matusz. So of course, Punto went 2-3 with a sacrifice fly and two RBI. Harris went 3-4 with a double. Alexi Casilla went 2-4 with his first double. Denard Span stole the show going 3-4 with a triple, three RBI and his eighth stolen base. Baseball, it’s a funny game, and it’s a great game.

But that said, the Twins have some fairly big decisions to make in the coming days:

1.)    WITH JOE MAUER HEALTHY AND PROBABLY ABLE TO CATCH A GAME AGAINST THE WHITE SOX, WILL THE TWINS SEND WILSON RAMOS OR DREW BUTERA TO ROCHESTER?

  1. ANSWER 1.) This is a really easy question to answer. Wilson Ramos is a starter and a future star. This is the same story and explanation given at the end of spring training. It’s the same story and explanation given after Ramos had seven hits in his first two games. And it’s the same simple explanation and story now that he has gone 1-17 since his fast start. He is young. He has things to work on. He can get better and he will. But it is an easy decision; Wilson Ramos should go to Rochester.

 2.)    WHEN THE TWINS OPTION WILSON RAMOS TO ROCHESTER, WHO SHOULD THEY PROMOTE TO THE TWINS?

  1. ANSWER 2.) This one is a little more difficult to answer. Since the Twins have three catchers and are short a relief pitcher, I think that is the direction to go, especially heading into a weekend series against the Yankees. Here are some options:

                                                              i.      Anthony Slama  The 26 year old right-hander is certainly the name that most Twins fans want to see promoted. He has been strikeout machine throughout his minor league career.  This year, he has 25 strikeouts and a 1.77 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP in 20.1 innings in Rochester. The only negative number on his resume is his nine walks. He’s as ready as he will ever be. The only thing against Slama right now is that he is not on the Twins 40 man roster, but that is easily remedied. Clay Condrey or Jose Morales could be put on the 60 Day Disabled List.

                                                            ii.      Rob Delaney – The 25 year old is 4-1 with a 3.32 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP in 19.1 innings, he has 21 strikeouts with just five walks. Delaney was added to the Twins 40 man roster this past November so he could easily come up.

                                                          iii.      Jose Mijares – The lefty has made his two scheduled rehab appearances in Rochester. If those went well, he could be taken off of the Disabled List. But he did poorly in both outings, so I don’t think it makes sense to push him back. Brian Duensing and Ron Mahay have both done very well in their left-handed reliever roles through the Twins first six weeks of games. When he is on, Mijares is better than either, and Duensing could be used as a long reliever, something the Twins don’t currently have.

                                                          iv.      Jeff Manship – As I just said, the Twins currently don’t have a long reliever. Duensing has not been stretched out at all yet. Manship is the best option for the role at Rochester. To me, this is an important role, and I think that Manship is the right decision, although I have no problem with either Anthony Slama or Rob Delaney being promoted.

 3.)    THERE ARE RUMORS THAT JJ HARDY COULD BE HEADED FOR THE DISABLED LIST. HE WILL BE EVALUATED ON TUESDAY. IF HARDY WERE TO REQUIRE A TWO-WEEK STINT ON THE DISABLED LIST, WHO SHOULD THE TWINS PROMOTE?

  1. ANSWER 3.) Again, this is another questions with several answers, including:

                                                              i.      Trevor Plouffe – The 23 year old has now been in AAA Rochester for two full years. He is off to a solid start in 2010, hitting .288/.355/.468 with eight doubles, three triples and two home runs. A terrific guy, he has also shown improvement with the glove. Personally, I would like to see him get a two week opportunity to be the team’s starting shortstop.

                                                            ii.      Danny Valencia – The 25 year old got off to a very slow start. At one point, he was hitting .152, but an eight-hit weekend increased his average to .246. He has been much more consistent of late and is hitting .276/.319/.362 with nine doubles. He is currently on a 14 game hitting streak during which he is 22-59 (.373) with eight of his doubles. Defensively, he has just three errors on the season and has continued to show improvement. Valencia could take over at 3B with Nick Punto taking over at shortstop until Hardy is ready.

                                                          iii.      Luke Hughes – Hughes was the one promoted when Punto went on the Disabled List a couple of weeks ago because he was the hot hitter at the time. He is 3-16 in four games since his return to Rochester. He does have the ability to play 2B and 3B.

                                                          iv.      Matt Tolbert – We know how much Gardy loves Tolbert, and his ability to play three infield positions. He is currently hitting .231/.284/.333 with six doubles, a triple and a home run. He is 3-19 in his last five games.

  1. Personally, I would be happy if the Twins promoted Trevor Plouffe or Danny Valencia. I would not be surprised at all if the Twins decided to promote Tolbert again.

SethSpeaks Sunday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Anderson Hidalgo – Beloit Snappers

SethSpeaks Sunday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Mike McCardell – New Britain Rockcats

  • As you know, Dan Osterbrock was promoted from Beloit to Ft. Myers and made his first start over the weekend. Danny Rams was promoted temporarily to New Britain due to the catcher situation at the Twins highest levels. Likewise, Jair Fernandez went to Rochester to back up Allan de San Miguel. When Ramos is sent down, these catchers will likely move back.
  • Steve Hirschfeld was put back on the Disabled List for New Britain. Matt Williams moved up from Ft. Myers to New Britain.
  • Liam Hendriks was promoted to Ft. Myers. His strong start at Beloit earned him the promotion.
  • Beloit added swing-men Jhon Garcia and Eliecer Cardenas. Michael Tonkin was also promoted, and I would think that he would start. I must admit, that when I heard that the Snappers were adding a starter, I would have guessed Martire Garcia, Adrian Salcedo, BJ Hermsen or Blayne Weller would get the call ahead of Tonkin, but let’s just see how he is used and what happens.

Red Wings Report   

Sunday – Rochester 2, Louisville 5 Ryan Mullins gave the Red Wings their best start in awhile. The lanky lefty gave up three runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings. He walked three and struck out six. Rob Delaney came in and got the final out of the 6th frame. Jose Mijares came in and got two outs. He gave up two runs on two hits and a walk, but he did strike out two. Matt Fox got the final four outs, allowing just one hit. Brock Peterson went 2-3 with a triple. Luke Hughes hit a solo home run. The Louisville starter was Aroldis Chapman who gave up just the one run on four hits and five walks in 5.2 innings. He struck out six.  

New Britain Notes

Sunday – New Britain 1, Portland 2Juan Portes hit a single to drive in Ben Revere, who had been hit by a pitch and stole his tenth base. It was the only hit of the game for the Rockcats. Steve Singleton walked twice. Mike McCardell started and gave up one run on four hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out four. Henry Arias gave up a run on two hits and a walk in his inning. Chris Province threw two scoreless innings.   

Miracle Matters

Sunday – Ft. Myers – No Game Scheduled.

Snappers Snippets

Sunday – Beloit 1, Burlington 5Peter Kennelly made his first start of the season. He gave up three runs on six hits and a walk in four innings. Jhon Garcia threw two scoreless innings. Ben Tootle came in and gave up two unearned runs in two innings. Eliecer Cardenas then pitched a scoreless ninth inning. The Snappers managed just five hits. Anderson Hidalgo had three of them, all doubles. He already has eight doubles on the season.  

Any questions? Leave your comments here.

Roster Projections: Beloit Snappers

26 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Before we jump into my Beloit Snappers (Twins Low-A affiliate) roster projection, here are a couple of quick updates:

  • Last night was one of my favorite episodes of The Show.
  1. The first guest was Twins prospect Trayvone Johnson. This was one of my favorite interviews that I’ve done. The 2009 draft pick was selected as a catcher, but he has been moved to the mound. He was drafted out of high school, and explained why he had not played organized baseball for three years before the Twins drafted him last June. He is just a really good guy and I was very happy with the interview.
  2. Next, JJ Stankevitz from the White Sox Examiner came on and we talked about the White Sox. We spent time talking about their starting rotation. I also asked for his thoughts on Gordon Beckham and how his name keeps popping up in rumors about Adrian Gonzalez. I asked for his thoughts on Carlos Quentin, Alex Rios, Paul Konerko, AJ Pierzynski, Bobby Jenks and more.  
  3. Finally, Twins 17-year-old outfield prospect Max Kepler spent about 15 minutes answering questions. He is currently sidelined by some tendonitis in his shoulder, but talked about how his first spring training is going. We talked about his early baseball days in Germany and the reasons he signed with the Twins. He corrected me on some German pronunciations. It was a lot of fun.  So be sure to listen to The Show.
  4. We also noted that the planned time for The Show throughout the season will be 9 p.m. central time on Sunday nights. I think it’s a good time. Generally, the Twins will play Sunday afternoon games (with a couple of exceptions). They will have ended a weekend series and will be about to start a new series. Hopefully that will mean more major league and minor league interviews can be done. Although I am working on adding other guests, Pat Neshek has already confirmed that he will be on The Show

 

The Beloit Snappers’ season also begins on April 8th with a road series at Cedar Rapids. Starting on April 11th, the Snappers begin their home schedule with games against Peoria. The Snappers will be again managed this year by Nelson Prada. Tommy Watkins begins his full-time coaching career as the Snappers hitting coach.

So here are my thoughts on the 2010 Opening Day roster of the Beloit Snappers:

The Hitters

  Beloit
C Tobias Streich
1B Michael Gonzales
2B Derek McCallum
3B Anderson Hidalgo
SS Brian Dozier
LF Chris Herrmann ( C)
CF Aaron Hicks
RF Steve Liddle
DH Josmil Pinto
Bu C Buddy Munroe
Bu IF Matt Gaski
Bu OF Reggie Williams
Bench Jonathan Goncalves
DL (Dan Rohlfing)
  (Adan Severino)

Analysis: The Twins have some quality catching depth in these low levels. In fact, yesterday I pushed Danny Rams up to Ft. Myers, in part, due to the number of catchers that could (or should) be in Beloit. Tobias Streich was the best defensive catcher in the 2009 draft, so he should be here. Buddy Munroe was drafted last year as well and is another defensive catcher. Josmil Pinto has a very strong arm, but he is not known for his defense. However, he has a tremendous bat. Chris Herrmann was drafted as a catcher last year, but he played only outfield in 2009. He moved to catcher in Instructional league, but with his bat, he needs to be in Beloit and needs to be in the lineup. I think that Aaron Hicks will go back to Beloit for at least six weeks. Steve Liddle signed quite late last year, but he’s an advanced hitter, from Vanderbilt, and should play here. The infield has some quality prospects as well. Michael Gonzales is a large man, but he can hit. He had a strong run last year for a few weeks at Elizabethton. Former Gopher standout Derek McCallum will be the primary second baseman. Fellow 2009 draftee Brian Dozier will play a lot at shortstop. Anderson Hidalgo will be at 3B. Reggie Williams is likely to play a lot, but he is a tremendous athlete and should be able to play the infield and outfield positions and be in the lineup most days. Matt Gaski is about the glove. Jonathan Goncalves is another solid athlete who will get plenty of playing time in the outfield. Its’ hard to find a place for Dan Rohlfing even after he was moved to the outfield from behind the plate last year. Also, Adan Severino was hurt most of 2009, so this will be a big year for him.    

The Pitchers

 

  Beloit
SP Liam Hendriks
SP Tom Stuifbergen
SP Edgar Ibarra
SP Miguel Munoz
SP Brad Stillings
   
CL Zach See
8L Nelvin Fuentes
8R Dakota Watts
BP Matt Tone
BP Kane Holbrooks
BP Ben Tootle
BP Tony Davis
   
  (Matt Bashore)
  (Shooter Hunt)
  (Brian Kirwan)

 

 

Analysis: This gets a little bit tricky here. There are still a lot of good pitching prospects, but here are my thoughts. Liam Hendriks missed all of 2008 and last year started with Elizabethton before moving up to Beloit. I think he starts here again, but he could move up quickly. Tom Stuifbergen just knows how to pitch. He’s still very young, but he will do well. He was E-town’s top pitcher last season. However, toward the end of the year, Edgar Ibarra certainly put himself into consideration as well. Miguel Munoz is up and down, but he is probably the hardest thrower and working on other pitches. Brad Stillings was selected in 2009 and started with E-Town. He came up to Beloit but pitched out of the bullpen, so I would suspect that he will be a starter here to start the season at least.

Zach See signed as an undrafted free agent last year and pitched very well, good strikeout numbers. The three lefties that I have on this roster are all capable of dominating. Nelvin Fuentes also missed all of 2008. He pitched well in 2009, especially for Puerto Rico in the World Cup. Matt Tone and Tony Davis were both drafted in 2009. Tone dominated Appy League hitters. At one point, he went over 15 innings without giving up a hit, and over 18 innings without allowing a run. Tony Davis played for a couple of teams, but he ended the season on the New Britain playoff roster. Ben Tootle, when healthy, can approach 100 mph with his fastball. That’s how you get drafted in the third round. Hopefully he is fully healthy and strong in 2010. Dakota Watts was drafted in 2009 as well and played for three affiliates. Kane Holbrooks was a college All-American last year and the Twins got him after the 20th round. He had always started but feels that he is probably better suited for relief work.

If Matt Bashore is healthy, he will definitely be starting somewhere, maybe even in Ft. Myers. It’s hard to tell what the Twins will do with Shooter Hunt. And Brian Kirwan will be back after missing all of 2009 with shoulder surgery.

So, who isn’t here? Who did I not put on a full-season roster?

Those top three pitchers at the GCL last year will probably all have a chance to pitch for Beloit at some point this season. On Tuesday night’s podcast, Adam Foster said that Adrian Salcedo was turning eyes. The 18 year old was hitting 93 mph with a sharp curveball and a very good changeup. BJ Hermsen also put up silly numbers last year in the GCL. Blayne Weller often gets overlooked because of those first two, but his numbers are right on par. All three could be with the Snappers by June, and if any of them go to Elizabethton, I would consider them favorites for Appy League Pitcher of the Year. Michael Tonkin is likely going to E-town, and I think that Martire Garcia may repeat at E-Town. Relief Pitcher Andrei Lobanov had an incredible 2009 in the GCL as well (1 BB, 35 K in 22 IP!), but I think he will go to E-Town too.

The young’ns (Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler) will all likely play for the GCL Twins. Sano and Polanco may go to the Dominican Summer League and play during Extended Spring Training.

ELIZABETHTON

It’s impossible to project the Elizabethton or GCL Twins rosters because they will also contain players drafted in the 2010 draft. The college draftees will mainly play in E-Town. But just to try to send a reminder of some of the other players in the Twins system, here are some Elizabethton “projections.”

  Elizabethton
C Jhonatan Arias
1B Kennys Vargas
2B Daniel Santana
3B Rory Rhodes
SS Jairo Perez
LF Matej Hejma
CF Oswaldo Arcia
RF Daniel Ortiz
DH Wang-Wei Lin
Bu C Nick Freitas
Bu IF Hyeon-rok Choi
Bu OF Brian Bistagne
Bench Fred Hanvi
   
  Elizabethton
SP Martire Garcia
SP BJ Hermsen
SP Adrian Salcedo
SP Blayne Weller
SP Michael Tonkin
   
CL Andrei Lobanov
8L Jose Gonzalez
8R Jan Rehacek
BP Peter Kennelly
BP Jhon Garcia
BP Jean Mijares
BP Eliecer Cardenas
BP Trayvone Johnson

I hope everyone has enjoyed this series of Roster Projections. Of course, I don’t have any inside information into these rosters, so they are just what they are, projections. I like to think that they may be fairly close, but we shall see in less than two weeks.            

If you would like, you can e-mail me, or feel free to leave your comments here.

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