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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.

2010 Ft. Myers Preview

12 Apr

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

The 2010 Twins minor league roster previews are brought to you by the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook. Get your copy here!

Jake Mauer will be the Miracle’s manager in 2010 after managing the GCL Twins the last couple of years. Former long-time big leaguer Jim Dwyer will be the hitting coach while Steve Mintz is the pitching coach. Let’s take a look at players on the Miracle roster to start the 2010 season (note – prospect ranking for my choices for Top 30 Twins prospects as updated in the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook):

The Starting Pitchers

Kyle Gibson (5), Michael Tarsi, Bobby Lanigan, Bruce Pugh, Brad Tippett.

Obviously Gibson is the name here, but he isn’t the only pitcher with upside. That said, he clearly has tremendous upside, multiple average or better pitches, and great makeup. Lanigan has a good fastball and is probably best known for having a very strong slider. Pugh throws hard and is still working on secondary pitches. He moved into the Beloit starting rotation late last year and was impressive. The goal would be for him to continue that progression. Brad Tippett doesn’t throw hard, but he absolutely knows how to pitch. Long and lanky, he still has room to grown and add strength. Tarsi is a tall lefty who doesn’t throw hard. He is the one returning to the Miracle rotation for the second year.

The Bullpen Arms

Billy Bullock (20), Henry Arias, Michael Allen, Tony Davis, Shooter Hunt, Blake Martin, Matt Williams.

This group is an interesting mix of hard-throwing talents and guys who have a lot to show. Billy Bullock is arguably the best relief pitching prospect in the system. The hard throwing righty became a reliever one year ago and added velocity to go with a very good slider. Tony Davis was drafted a year ago as well, and he spent time with several of the Twins affiliates, including a AA New Britain. The lefty knows how to pitch. Shooter Hunt had a rough 2009, and his first outing this year was ugly, but Mauer got him back out there the very next day and he was better. His upside is tremendous. Hopefully he can work through his control issues. Matt Williams has been around for a long time yet is still young. The Australian always does a good job and is sometimes overlooked. It is a big year for Arias, Allen and Martin.

The Catchers

Jair Fernandez, Chris Herrmann, Daniel Rohlfing.

This is a solid group of catchers, but the shock (for me) of spring was that Herrmann is skipping Beloit. He has played everywhere. He told me he played a lot of 2B his first year in college. He caught, played OF and played 3B over the next two years. The Twins drafted him as a catcher, but he played LF most days in Elizabethton. He was moved to catcher at Instructs, and in the first couple of games, he has played CF and catcher. Could he be another Craig Biggio type? The big thing is, that he can hit with a smooth lefty-handed swing. Fernandez came to camp this spring and played a little. Rohlfing actually played some in the outfield last year as well.

The Infielders

Nate Hanson, Yangervis Solarte, Drew Thompson, Paul Kelly, Chris Cates, Deibinson Romero, Nick Romero.

In 2005, the Twins drafted high school middle infielders Paul Kelly and Drew Thompson. They both had great starts to their career, but both missed significant time over the next two years. Last year, Thompson made a successful comeback in Beloit. This year, hopefully the same will be said for Kelly. Both are good guys, very talented, and if they can stay healthy through this season, both should jump back into the prospect rankings. Deibinson Romero was taken off of the 40 man roster this winter and returns to Ft. Myers where Twins officials would love to see anything positive. Nate Hanson played all over the Beloit infield a year ago, and will likely spend more time at 1B this year. Likewise, Solarte has the ability to play as many as seven positions. Chris Cates is great defensively and pitchers love when he is playing SS behind them. Nick Romero is another guy fully capable of playing around the infield. He has some real pop in his bat as well.

The Outfielders

Evan Bigley, Michael Harrington, Ramon Santana.

Three games into the season and there are already rumblings that Aaron Hicks or Angel Morales could move up to Ft. Myers in an attempt to give them an actual center fielder. Evan Bigley is a very good player, a very good hitter. Harrington can play all three positions and last year had a lot of extra base hits. Ramon Santana is an infielder that has now moved to the outfield, probably because of how good of an infielder he was. Chris Cates and Chris Herrmann have already played centerfield this year.

SUMMARY

To be completely honest, this is a team that has the ability to lose a lot of games early in the season. However, there are a few guys that are clearly have a chance to advance, but this could be a team built for a second half playoff run when some guys from Beloit are added to the roster.  

If you have any questions or comments on this preview of the roster, please feel free to ask… Leave your questions or comments.

Roster Projection: Ft. Myers Miracle

25 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Before we jump into my Ft. Myers (Twins Hi-A affiliate) roster projection, here are a couple of quick notes on some upcoming podcasts:

  • On Wednesday, I was on This Call to the Bullpen, a Kranepool Society podcast. I talked about Mauer, Nathan, Target Field, and much, much more.  
  • Then later on Wednesday night, the Twins Geek and I will joined Fanatic Jack and Topper Anton on Jack’s Twins Talk show.  We discussed/argued the Twins bullpen, the backup catcher spot and much more.
  • There will be an episode of The Show on Thursday night at a special time of 8:00 p.m. The show is already filled with guests.
  1. I will be joined by Twins prospect Trayvone Johnson. The 2009 draft pick was selected as a catcher, but he has been moved to the mound.
  2. Next, JJ Stankevitz from the White Sox Examiner site will come in to talk about the team most of us believe will be the Twins primary competitor in the AL Central.
  3. Finally, Twins 17-year-old outfield prospect Max Kepler will join us for the last part of the show. Listeners to the show have been asking for me to try to get Kepler on the show and it finally appears to work.
  4. During The Show, we will also announce the regularly scheduled night and time for The Show throughout the 2010 season. So be sure to take in that show.

The Ft. Myers Miracle’s season also begins on April 8th with a road game at Bradenton. The following night, the two teams will play in Ft. Myers. The Miracle will be managed this year by Jake Mauer, who has managed the GCL Twins in Ft. Myers the last couple of years, after spending a couple of seasons in the Twins farm system.

So here are my thoughts on the 2010 Opening Day roster of the Ft. Myers Miracle:

The Hitters 

  Ft. Myers
C Danny Rams
1B Jonathan Waltenbury
2B Drew Thompson
3B Deibinson Romero
SS James Beresford
LF Evan Bigley
CF Joe Benson
RF Angel Morales
DH Michael Harrington
Bu C Jair Fernandez
Bu IF Ramon Santana
Bu OF Dominic de la Osa
Bench Nick Romero
DL (Paul Kelly?)
  (Nathan Hanson)

Analysis: If Danny Rams begins the 2010 season in Beloit, it would probably be for the best, but with the catching situation and the higher levels and the depth of catchers at Beloit, he may begin at Ft. Myers. Fellow non-roster invite to Spring Training, Jair Fernandez will likely spend the summer with the Miracle. Jonathan Waltenbury had a disappointing offensive season in Beloit in 2009, and I would anticipate seeing Nick Romero and Nate Hanson playing quite a bit of first base, Hanson against lefties. Hanson and Nick Romero can play around the infield and back up any of the other infielders. It will be good to see what Drew Thompson can do with a full, normal offseason. Deibinson Romero came off of the 40 man roster after a disappointing 2009 season, so I expect him to remain with the Miracle. James Beresford is definitely worth watching at shortstop. Joe Benson and Angel Morales are both high-ceiling prospects. Evan Bigley and Michael Harrington are just good hitters, both should hit a lot of doubles. I put Harrington as the DH because I think they’ll get his bat in the lineup and he will play a lot in the outfield too. Dominic de la Osa was shifted to the outfield from second base during the offseason. Yesterday I mentioned that I thought Rene Tosoni would move from New Britain to Rochester and Joe Benson would be promoted to New Britain. I anticipate that happening six to eight weeks into the season, and at that time, I would project Aaron Hicks to move up to Ft. Myers.   

The Pitchers 

  Ft. Myers
SP Kyle Gibson
SP Bobby Lanigan
SP Brad Tippett
SP Dan Osterbrock
SP Michael Tarsi
   
CL Billy Bullock
8L Matt Williams
8R Steve Blevins
BP Bruce Pugh
BP Kyle Carr
BP Dan Berlind
BP Michael Allen
   
  (Blake Martin)
  (Thom Wright)
   

Analysis: Apparently Kyle Gibson has been impressive already this spring, and the team’s top 2009 pick has a chance to move quickly. I expect him to start at Ft. Myers, spend a couple of months there and then move up to New Britain. There’s even an outside chance he gets to Rochester. Lefty Michael Tarsi missed some time at the start of last season but did adequately. I expect him to spend much of the season here. Bobby Lanigan finished 2009 in Ft. Myers’ bullpen, but I assume he will return to the role of a starter. Dan Osterbrock was disappointed with his 2009 season with the Snappers, but I anticipate him pitching better in 2010 with the Miracle. Finally, Brad Tippett is a guy every Twins fan should know out. He has impeccable control, but he knows how to pitch. I think he’s got a chance to be good. 

Billy Bullock became a closer last year at the University of Florida. He did well in his pro debut, and people are very excited about him. This is also a very strong bullpen. Matt Williams is from Australia and has always done well in the bullpen throughout his career. Steve Blevins had a good year in 2009 in the Snappers bullpen with the exception of struggles against one team. I really expect him to do well in 2010. Bruce Pugh is a guy that several of us have called a sleeper. It will be interesting to see whether he is starting or if he’s going to pitch out of the bullpen. I think this will be another case where he’ll start in the Miracle bullpen and by midseason, he’ll be starting. Kyle Carr needs to be healthy, but the lefty has put up terrific strikeout numbers when healthy. Dan Berlind needs to show something in 2009. It’s also possibly the last chance for Michael Allen, or Blake Martin or Thom Wright.

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

Spring Training Q&A: Brad Tippett

9 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

The Twins signed Brad Tippett out of Australia two months before his 18th birthday. He came to the States and immediately dominated the rookie league levels. He began in the bullpen, but he has been starting the past two years and done very well. He was Beloit’s best and most consistent starter in 2009. He has incredible control, and although he does not throw real hard, he knows how to pitch. Of all of the Twins minor leaguers that I have chatted with in the last year or two, Tippett’s baseball IQ is as high as anyone, and he just knows how to pitch. Now, he has the height to be able to get stronger and potentially add more velocity which only would improve his prospect status. Tippett is a good guy, and today, he answers several of his questions as he is preparing for a trip to the States for camp.  (To see all previous SethSpeaks.net Q&As, click here) (and feel free to leave questions or comments here)

…Let the Questions Begin!

SethSpeaks: Now that you’ve had a few months to look back and reflect, what are your thoughts on your 2009 season?

Brad Tippett: Looking back on last year’s season, I was happy with what I had done. I realized that I don’t throw the ball as hard as I’d like, but I figured out what I needed to do to get the job done.

SethSpeaks: What do you do when you’re not playing baseball or working out in preparation for the upcoming season?

Brad Tippett: Luckily its summer over the offseason and we’re able go to the beach. As you know, Australians really only live along the coast! And we don’t have to worry about getting snowed in.

SethSpeaks: When did you start getting ready for the 2010 season, and what was your routine?

Brad Tippett: Just before Christmas I started throwing again, before that though I was working out in the gym trying to gain some weight. Then around mid January I started throwing a few innings for my local baseball club to get prepared for Spring Training.

SethSpeaks: What are your goals for the 2010 season? Where would you like to play, and are there any statistics that you are looking to improve?

Brad Tippett: Goals – I’d like to stay strong (mentally and physically) throughout the whole season. Last year, my last few starts were shaky, work on keeping my walks down again and improve my secondary pitches.

SethSpeaks:  What does spring training mean for you, and what are you looking forward to this year?

Brad Tippett: Repetitive PFP and learning all the signs again, I usually forget them over the offseason! But good to see all your team mates again and talk about the offseason. And finally, Spring Training gets everyone ready for the season.

SethSpeaks: What team did you grow up watching and cheering for?

Brad Tippett: The Braves, because my older sister had a vacation in America and brought home Braves gear because she went to one of their games!

SethSpeaks: What were your thoughts as you were considering signing with the Twins?

Brad Tippett: I knew a lot of other Australians that played for the Twins and knew they would help me throughout my rookie years. And I was grateful to be given a chance to reach my goal.

SethSpeaks: Best thing of career in baseball?

Brad Tippett: Being able to do something you love every day. Living to work rather than working to live!

SethSpeaks: Toughest thing of career in baseball?

Brad Tippett: Being so far away from home, I find it hard to keep in contact with all the people I want to. It’s not easy.

SethSpeaks:  Funniest story in your minor league career?

Brad Tippett: Wouldn’t be a good idea if I told you and you posted it on your website! The immaturity in the clubhouse is the funniest.

SethSpeaks: What would it mean to make your big league debut?

Brad Tippett: Years of hard work have started to pay off, and releasing that you still have a long way to go!

With that, “Thank you” to Brad Tippett for his time and responses to all the questions. If you would like, you can e-mail me, or feel free to leave your comments here.

Twins Minor League Draft – Part 1

17 Feb

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Before we start, be sure to listen in to last night’s SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast. Guests were Steve Singleton, Bruce Pugh and John Meyer (TwinsMVB.com).

A little over a week ago, I brought together some of the Twins bloggers/writers who I think are very knowledgeable of the Twins farm system, and we conducted a 22 round Twins minor league draft. I know many of you compete in fantasy baseball, and what we did was very similar. The difference was that our pool of draft-able players was the Twins minor league system. Any players who have not lost their rookie eligibility were able to be drafted. Along with me, there were three other Twins bloggers. Roger Dehring writes a minor league update each week at Twinkie Town and covers the minors very well. Josh Johnson from Josh’s Thoughts is nearing the end of his Top 50 Twins Prospects series and wrote an article on the Twins international signings for the Maple Street Press/ TwinsCentric Twins 2010 Annual. Travis Aune of Travis Twins Talk has a ton of minor league information on his site throughout the summer and has added minor leaguers to his weekly Minnesota Sports podcast. Each team must draft a C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, 4 OF, EX, 5 SP, CL, 4 BP. I asked each of the participants to jot down a sentence or two on each of their picks, as they were making them. Hopefully this is something that you enjoy. We tried this idea almost five years ago, and it was fun to look back at our teams and see how we did and remember some of the drafted names.

Today, I will be postings the results of the first eight rounds (32 picks) of the draft. I’ll be back tomorrow with the eight more rounds. So, here we go:

 THE DRAFT (Rounds 1-8)

Round 1 – 1st Overall – Roger – C – Wilson Ramos

(I chose the player who in my opinion is the top prospect in the organization and the closest of all top prospects to contributing to the Twins, catcher, Wilson Ramos.)

Round 1 – 2nd Overall – Seth – OF – Aaron Hicks

(This was kind of a no-brainer. Hicks is easily the top prospect in the organization.)

Round 1 – 3rd Overall – Josh – OF – Ben Revere

(With both Aaron Hicks and Wilson Ramos gone, and knowing that I wanted to focus on offense early, it was an easy choice picking Ben Revere. The Twins have a lot of depth in pitching and outfield, which made me consider Miguel Sano, but Revere’s track-record of success is too good to pass up. He has hit .337/.396/.430 through 997 minor league at-bats and stolen 110 bases. He is probably the best leadoff hitter in the Twins system.)

Round 1 – 4th Overall – Travis – SS – Miguel Sano

(I am very excited to get him in the draft.  I think that the sky is the limit for this young hitter. I have heard comparisons to a young Alex Rodriguez and that may be premature for a 16 year old, but I think the future is bright for him.)

Round 2 – 5th Overall – Travis – RHP – Kyle Gibson

(The Twins were very lucky to get him in the draft this year. He has the potential to be a number one starter for the Twins. He will likely start in Fort Myers but likely skyrocket through system.)

Round 2 – 6th Overall – Josh – RHP – David Bromberg

(There’s no denying Bromberg’s productivity. Over the last two years, he’s struck out 325 batters while posting a 3.29 ERA. He has some control problems and is more likely a #3 starter than a #1, but I’ll try making that up with later picks. I also considered Danny Valencia, and I will probably regret my decision to not take him. But I’ll try to nab Luke Hughes sometime in the next few rounds.)

Round 2 – 7th Overall – Seth – 3BDanny Valencia

(It was him or Angel Morales. Figured there are more OF and Valencia is close to the big leagues.)

Round 2 – 8th Overall – Roger –  OFAngel Morales

(I selected the player who I feel has as much upside as any player in the organization. Based upon the last half of his season at Beloit and the improvement he made in the Puerto Rico Winter League, Angel Morales could be an early favorite to be the organization’s 2010 Player of the Year!  Had my second selection been second rather than eighth, it is likely I would have also taken Morales with that pick.)

Round 3 – 9th Overall – Roger – RHP – Adrian Salcedo

(With my next choice I selected Adrian Salcedo. Salcedo is one of the few pitchers in the organization with an upside as a Number 1 starter.)

Round 3 – 10th Overall – Seth – OF – Rene Tosoni

(Was really hoping Roger would leave either Morales or Salcedo for me. Lots of pitchers left, so now I’ll grab my 2nd OF, and Tosoni’s pretty strong.)

Round 3 – 11th Overall – Josh – OF – Joe Benson

(I wanted to take someone I felt was going to have a great year, so it was an easy choice to pick Joe Benson. I lucked out that Seth took Rene Tosoni which made my decision easy (it would have come down between the two of them). I also considered drafting Chris Parmelee, but I hope to get Erik Lis as my first baseman later in the draft. I don’t view Parmelee as a viable outfielder when guys like Oswaldo Arcia and Max Kepler-Rozycki won’t be taken until later and are much better defensively.)

Round 3 – 12th Overall – Travis – RHP – Jeff Manship

(He got a feel of the big leagues last year, probably a little before he was ready. He showed the moxie that you are hoping to see out of a pitcher.  His curveball is very good right now and next time he comes up, it is going to be to stay.)

Round 4 – 13th Overall – Travis – 1B – Chris Parmelee

(I was really hoping he would last to me because I am very high on this young guy.  He reminds me of a young Adam Dunn in that he is a high on base percentage guy with unbelievable power. I think going forward he is going to put up massive numbers.)

Round 4 – 14th Overall – Josh – C – Danny Rams

(After Wilson Ramos, Danny Rams is the best catching prospect in the Twins system. He has great power potential which will be great to have in the middle-of the-order. I probably could have tried waiting for Chris Herrmann later in the draft, but I like Rams’ upside. I also considered drafting Carlos Gutierrez.)

Round 4 – 15th Overall – Seth – RHP – Deolis Guerra

(I needed a pitcher at this point. Guerra is only months older than BJ Hermsen, the other consideration here, and four levels higher.)

Round 4 – 16th Overall – Roger – RHP – BJ Hermsen

(I had my eye on Jeff Manship, however, he went a couple picks before my next selection. Plan B was another young starter who could be as good as Salcedo, B. J. Hermsen.)

Round 5 – 17th Overall – Roger – RHP – Alex Burnett

(I then may have selected a pitcher higher than one would normally take a reliever.  I believe that Alex Burnett is the Twins closer of the future (3-4 years from now) and decided to not lose the best closer in the organization.)

Round 5 – 18th Overall – Seth – CL – Carlos Gutierrez

(Will he start or close? We shall see. I’m sure he’ll start 2010 in the New Britain rotation ,but I actually think Gutierrez might be the Twins next closer.)

Round 5 – 19th Overall – Josh – LHP – Tyler Robertson

(Seth stole my pick (Carlos Gutierrez) and after taking two outfielders and a catcher, I wanted to grab another starting pitcher. Robertson is a consistent pitcher and I still love his upside. He has an ugly deliver, but he’s performed well at each stop thus far. He too is viewed more as a #3 starter than a #2, but hopefully I’ll grab a high-upside/high-risk guy like Shooter Hunt later in the draft.)

Round 5 – 20th Overall – Travis – OF – Max Kepler

(He is another young kid with an unbelievable amount of potential, so I was glad he lasted to me. He was called the top prospect ever to come out of Europe.  I am excited to see him develop and see if he can be as good as we hope he can be.)

Round 6 – 21st Overall – Travis – RHP – Billy Bullock

(I really believe that we are looking at a future closer for the Twins.  He has it all in that, he has mid 90’s velocity with other good secondary pitches.  If he continues to develop it won’t be long until we see him coming out in the 9th inning at Target Field.)

Round 6 – 22nd Overall – Josh – RHP – Anthony Slama

 (I knew I wanted to take a closer with this pick and Anthony Slama was a no-brainer. I like Alex Burnett, a lot, but Roger already took him. I also like Bullock but Travis took him with the previous pick. Slama arguably has the best track record out of any Twins minor league reliever and has done most of his damage as a closer. He may not have a 96 mph fastball, but I think Slama is a great choice. If Slama weren’t available, I would have waited on a closer and picked Trevor Plouffe.)

Round 6 – 23rd Overall – Seth – RHP – Blayne Weller

(This is where it’s going to start getting a little more difficult, I think However, compare the numbers of Weller to the highly touted Salcedo and Hermsen sometime and he’s very close.)

Round 6 – 24th Overall – Roger – RHP – Michael McCardell

(My next selection is a young starter, Michael McCardell.  Take away his first outing and he had excellent numbers in his first exposure to AA and he may have been the Rock Cats top starter the last six weeks of the season.  McCardell will be a fine #1 starter for my staff.)

Round 7 – 25th Overall – Roger – SS – Trevor Plouffe

(With my pitching staff taking shape I went with one of the Twins top middle infield prospects, Trevor Plouffe.  Plouffe has been in AAA for nearly two years, yet, will still be only 22 years old when this season begins.)

Round 7 – 26th Overall – Seth – 2B – Steve Singleton

(Geez, I’ve been telling people that I think he’ll be starting 2B in 2011, a 7th round pick is more than fair.)

Round 7 – 27th Overall – Josh – 3B – Luke Hughes

(I chose Luke Hughes out of desperation for a third baseman, as there’s not a lot in the cupboard after Valencia. I’m not sold on either Ramon Santana or Reggie Williams as my starting third baseman, and have no idea of what to make of Wander Guillen (will he/won’t he repeat DSL? And I’m not a fan of his height). I will probably try to grab Williams as my corner infielder later. Although I took Hughes when I maybe could have waited another round or two, I feel comfortable with him in my lineup. I also considered Tom Stuifbergen with this pick.)

Round 7 – 28th Overall – Travis – 2B – Derek McCallum

(I was really hoping that Steve Singleton would make it to me, but Derek McCallum is not a bad consolation prize.  The former Gopher had a solid first year in the system, and I look forward to seeing how he does as the difficulty increases.)

Round 8 – 29th Overall – C – Josmil Pinto

(Many can make a big deal out his not ideal catching skills, however he is a very young guy.  Put that with his massive power and hitting skills and look out we might have found another quality hitter in the organization.  Will be interesting to see how he does in Full season play.)

Round 8 – 30th Overall – RHP – Tom Stuifbergen

(Up to this point, Seth has stolen about four of my picks, so I thought I’d give him one back and take Tom Stuifbergen (who I know he’s very high on). Ha! No, that actually has no effect on this pick. Stuifbergen is another middle-of-the-rotation starter who has impeccable control. He also has experience on a “big stage” which definitely helps since my team is going to the World Series! I also considered Oswaldo Arcia with this pick.)

Round 8 – 31st Overall – RHP – Santos Arias

(It was between Arias and Oswaldo Arcia, who I think has terrific potential. Arias is further along and I compare him to Pedro Martinez in the Prospect Handbook, so I think that’s who I’ll go with here.)

Round 8 – 32nd Overall – RHP – Brad Tippett

(I was looking hard at two pitchers who were available as my next pick was approaching, Santos Arias and Tom Stuifbergen.  Unfortunately, they were both taken with the two picks before me, so I went to the Beloit Snappers and selected their top starter last summer, Brad Tippett.)

  

There you have our first eight rounds of picks. We’ll be back tomorrow with eight more rounds. Feel free to leave your comments here.

SethSpeaks.net Top 50 Twins Prospects: Part 1 (36-50)

19 Oct

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Good morning Twins Fans. Thanks as always for stopping by this site. Normally, I have my Top 50 Twins prospects ready and made in mid-September, shortly following the end of the minor league seasons. So, I apologize for being a little late. But that is alright. I have had more time to give it some thought. Several things have been updated, a player or two signed. So, this is a good time to update my Top 50 Prospect lists. With the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook now available, my attention quickly turns to the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook – 2010. I hope for that book to be available either in late December or early January, certainly before Twins Fest.

There are many purposes for doing a Top 50 prospect list. Will all fifty of these guys make the Twins roster at some point? Of course not. I gave some thought, due to my schedule of late, of just doing a Top 20 list. But I fully believe that all of the minor leaguers deserve to be recognized. They all work incredibly hard to get to where the big leaguers are, so they should be noticed as well.  Also, these types of lists are fun because they can create discussion on these players and others. I encourage your thoughts. The Twins do generally build from within, so more than other organizations, these types of lists can provide a little incite into which players can help the Twins out in coming years.  With that, in the next days, I will continue to work my way up the Twins prospect list until finally giving you my selections for the Top 10 Twins prospects. I hope you enjoy this and again, please feel free to comment.

(Please note – for the bios/details on each of these players, you will need to go to www.SethSpeaks.net)

#50 – Shooter Hunt – RHP – 23 (8/16/86) 

#49 – Joe Testa – LH RP – 23 (12/18/85)

#48 – Reggie Williams – IF – 21 (11/5/88)

#47 – Brad Tippett – RHP – 21 (2/11/88)

#46 – Winston Marquez – LHP – 22 (8/19/87)

#45 – James Beresford – SS – 20 (1/19/89)

#44 – Deibinson Romero – 3B – 23 (9/24/86)

#43 – Evan Bigley – OF – 21 (3/9/87)

#42 – Derek McCallum – 2B – 21 (3/22/88)

#41 – Liam Hendriks – RHP – 20 (2/10/89)

#40 – Brian Dozier – SS – 22 (5/15/87)

#39 – Chris Herrmann – OF/C – 22 (11/24/87)

#38 – Steve Hirschfeld – RHP – 24 (9/8/85)

#37 – Ramon Santana – 3B/SS – 23 (6/20/86)

#36 – Rob Delaney – RH RP – 25 (9/8/84)

 So there you have it, my selections for Twins prospects 36-50. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my choices for #21-35, and later in the week, you will also get my Top 20. If you have any feedback, comments, opinions or suggestions, please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Talkin’ Twins

23 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

  • I will be taking your questions for Danny Valencia through the work day today. So, if you would like to ask Danny Valencia a question (or two or three), please e-mail them to me.
  • And, of course, as the Trade Deadline is fast approaching, please consider picking up a copy of the TwinsCentric 2009 Trade Deadline Primer for just $9.95.

Rough afternoon for the Twins. They lost 16-1 to the A’s before heading down to Anaheim where they will start a four game series tonight. Glen Perkins got just three outs and gave up eight runs. After the game, he said he’s been experiencing shoulder soreness when he is warming up. So, he is going to join Joe Crede in visiting Dr. Yocum to see what is wrong with their shoulders, if anything. That’s right, Crede missed another game due to injury. It will be interesting to see what both players learn and what the ramifications of that would be. If Crede went on the DL, would the Twins add Danny Valencia to the 40 man roster and call him up, or would the Twins go with the Buscher/Harris 3B platoon and call up either Matt Tolbert or Jose Morales? What if Perkins goes on the DL? Does Mulvey turn around and come back to the team to make some starts? Do they promote a reliever and give Brian Duensing a start or two?

The only real positive was that Justin Morneau hit his 24th home run of the year. I still can not believe that so many people think he is over rated. He ranks in the top 5 (or top one or two) in most offensive categories. I get the Mauer thing, but seriously, Justin Morneau should be the top candidate.

Truly, it’s important to not make too much of this series against the A’s and continue to look forward. I don’t have much more to add, but during the chat last night, there was so much more Twins talk that I think you’ll really enjoy. I encourage you to check out last night’s SethSpeaks.net Live Twins Chat. It started about 7:00 and is still going at about 12:45 am… there is a ton of content, a lot of great questions on the Twins and the minor league system. Please consider that my blog entry for today (except for the below minor league notes, of course). 

What topics would you want to discuss? Leave your comments here

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Josmil Pinto, Elizabethton Twins

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Brad Tippett, Beloit Snappers

ROCHESTER REPORT

Tuesday – Game 1 – Rochester 5, Pawtucket 0  – Jeff Manship improved to 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA with this gem. In six shutout innings, he gave up just one hit. He walked and struck out three. Rob Delaney threw a scoreless seventh inning. Danny Valencia went 2-3 with his 10th double and two RBI. Justin Huber went 1-2 with a walk and his 14th home run. David Winfree hit his 23rd double.

Tuesday – Game 2 – Rochester 6, Pawtucket 1  – In the second game, Armando Gabino started and gave up a run on three hits in four innings. He walked two and struck out four. Juan Morillo then struck out four in two innings. Sean Henn pitched a perfect seventh. Brock Peterson led the offense. He went 2-3 with his fifth home run. Jose Morales went 2-3. Steve Tolleson went 2-4.   

ROCKCAT RECAP

Tuesday – Game 1 – New Britain 0, Portland 3 – Ryan Mullins went the distance in Game 1. He gave up three runs in his seven innings. He allowed eight hits, walked none and struck out six. The team had just four hits in the game. Juan Portes hit his third triple.

Tuesday – Game 2 – New Britain 1, Portland 5 – Frank Mata was given another start in this game. In 3.2 innings, he gave up one run on two hits. He walked one and struck out four. Alex Burnett went two innings and gave up a run on two hits. He walked four and struck out one. Jose Lugo gave up three runs on two hits and two walks in just 1.1 innings.  Rene Tosoni, Brian Dinkelman and Steve Singleton each hit a double.    

MIRACLE MEMOS

Tuesday – Ft. Myers 2, Tampa 1 David Bromberg pitched well again and improved to 8-1 with a 2.76 ERA. In 6.2 innings, he gave up a run on three hits. He walked three and struck out five. Spencer Steedley recorded the final seven outs for his sixth save. Nick Romero went 2-3 with a walk and his second steal. Chris Parmelee hit his 15th double.     

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Tuesday – Beloit 2, Cedar Rapids 1 (10 innings)  – What a great game for Brad Tippett! The Australian righty had a no-hitter into the 6th inning. He had a shutout (and a 1-0) until a two out triple in the bottom of the 9th ended that and tied the game. Billy Bullock came in and got a strikeout to end that threat. He then threw a perfect 10th. Tippett went 8.2 innings and gave up just three hits. He walked one and struck out three. Angel Morales went 2-4 with his 12th double. Danny Rams knocked his third home run.      

E-TWINS EXTRAS

Tuesday – Elizabethton 8, Princeton 11 Josmil Pinto went 3-3 with a walk and his second triple. Brian Dozier went 3-5 with his fifth and sixth doubles. Michael Gonzalez went 2-4 with his third homer and four RBI. Miguel Munoz started and gave up eight runs (5 earned) on ten hits in just 3.1 innings. He walked none and struck out two. Matt Tone gave up just one hit and one walk over the next 2.2 innings. Ramon Acosta then gave up three runs on six hits in his two innings. Ben Tootle pitched a perfect inning.     

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Sweep Complete! Bring on the Yankees!

15 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

  • The Twins completed a three game sweep of the Detroit Tigers with a dramatic come-from-behind 6-5 win on Thursday afternoon. Through five innings, both Scott Baker and Justin Verlander were throwing shutouts and cruising. However, in the sixth inning, Baker gave up five runs. Down 5-0, the Twins were able to work Verlander over 120 pitches and he left the game after a walk and a single in the bottom of the 7th. At that point, the Twins bats came alive. Then with the Twins down 5-4 with runners on 2nd and 3rd, Joe Crede blooped a two-run single to centerfield that gave the Twins a 6-5 lead. The bullpen got the job done the rest of the way to hold the lead. Jason Kubel went 3-4 with two doubles. Denard Span went 2-4. Craig Breslow went 1.2 innings of shutout relief, and Matt Guerrier got the final out of the 8th inning. Joe Nathan struck out two in a perfect ninth inning for his sixth save.
  • How good was Justin Verlander on this day. 6+ innings pitched. 13 strikeouts. According to Denard Span, “”I knew he was nasty today when I saw Joe Mauer offering at pitches he normally doesn’t swing at. That’s how you know someone is going good.””
  • Speaking of Joe Crede playing hero. He came to the plate with the bases loaded and the scored tied at ten on Wednesday night. On a 1-2 pitch, he hit a grand slam to help the Twins win that game in the 13th inning. If we go back to an old statistic that has not been used over the last several years, in the series, Joe Crede would have had all three Game-Winning RBI. He was 4-15 in the series. Jason Kubel raised his batting average from .308 to .333 by going 6-10 in the three games. Kubel came in to pinch hit with a runner on, down by two, in the bottom of the 8th, against Joel Zumaya, and on the first pitch hit a home run to tie the game. Joe Mauer went 4-11 with four walks and a home run in the series as well.
  • Next up for the Twins? A four game series in New York against the Yankees. The Twins will face Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins to the mound against Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte
  • If you had May 14th on the Gardy’s First Ejection pool, congratulations!
  • Delmon Young will be away from the team for a little while with Jose Morales being called up to take his place. Young has been placed on the Family Medical Emergency list as a family member of his is very ill, according to LaVelle E. Neal. Jim Mandelaro discusses the Morales promotion, and says that it is Delmon Young’s mother that is very ill. Obviously we wish Young and his family the best.
  • In the same article, Mandelaro also commented that Mike Radcliff, Twins Director of Player Personnel, was in Rochester to watch Sean Henn and Bobby Keppel.
  • Ed Thoma of the Mankato Free Press find the selection of Jose Morales as intriguing, particularly with the Twins going to New York. You see, the Yankees top two catchers are Jorge Posada and Jose Molina. Both of them are injured. So, is it possible that the Twins are trying to showcase Morales? Thoma admits that is a stretch. In reality, Morales becomes a DH option with Jason Kubel likely to see more time in LF in the short-term.  
  • Matt Guerrier has been very good much of this season. Nick Nelson points out that the team’s (meaning the other bullpen arms) need to protect his arm so that he doesn’t tire in the second half of the season.
  • According to Phil Mackey, Jason Kubel thinks he can be a .300 hitter. The Twins could really use that!
  • Travis Talks presents his Top 5 Most Disappointing Players in the Twins organization so far this year. That was after posting his Top 5 Biggest Surprises the other day.
  • On Wednesday, Justin Murphy posted his Upstate Update, a look at the Rochester Red Wings play of late. He e-mailed me something that is certainly worth mentioning, “David Winfree’s batting line, with an OBP under .300 and slugging (almost) .500. I poked around a little bit and found that, on the major league level, only two players EVER have done that over a full season- Dave Kingman in 1976, Mike Jacobs in 2008.”
  • Phil Miller tells us what kind of music bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek is not a fan of!
  • At Over the Baggy, Parker analyzes the Twins starting five, looking at their run support and games scores and more.            

 MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Thursday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Mark Dolenc, Ft. Myers Miracle

Thursday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Tyler Robertson, Ft. Myers Miracle 

ROCHESTER REPORT

Thursday –Rochester 5, Indianapolis 4 – David Winfree has made a career out of coming up with big hits in big situations. Late in this game, Winfree came up with two on and two outs, and drilled a long, three run homer to give the Red Wings the lead. It was his fifth homer of the season. Luke Hughes went 2-3 with a walk and his sixth home run. Justin Huber was 3-4 with his second triple. Jason Jones started and gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks in just 4.1 innings. Bobby Keppel then worked 2.2 scoreless innings in relief. Sean Henn recorded his fifth save. He struck out four in two innings and allowed only an unearned run.    

ROCKCAT RECAP

Thursday – New Britain, Portland – This game was suspended by rain in the top of the 4th inning. Portland was leading the Rockcats 8-1 already. Jay Rainville started and gave up seven runs (6 earned) on five hits and two walks in just 2.2 innings.    

MIRACLE MEMOS

Thursday –Ft. Myers 19, Sarasota 4Mark Dolenc led the potent offensive attack in this game by going 5-6 with three doubles. Evan Bigley is still unfazed by the Florida State League. He went 4-5 with a walk. Ben Revere was 3-5 with a double. Danny Berg was 3-6 with a double. Deibinson Romero went 2-4 with two walks. Jair Fernandez and Chris Cates each had a single and a double. Cates drove in three runs. Tyler Robertson was the beneficiary of the offensive support. The lefty gave up just two runs on five hits in 5.2 innings. He walked two and struck out three. Alex Burnett got the next four outs, three of them on strikeouts. Santos Arias then gave up two runs on four hits in the final two innings. 

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Thursday – Beloit 6, Clinton 7 (13 innings) Danny Rondon had pitched two scoreless innings before coming back out for the 13th inning. It was in that inning that he gave up the winning run. Brad Tippett started and gave up three runs (2 earned) on eight hits and no walks. Henry Reyes gave up two runs (1 earned) on two hits and a walk in two innings. Steve Blevins struck out five in three innings of one run ball. The Snappers managed just five hits in this game. They did walk seven times. James Beresford was 2-6. Jonathan Waltenbury and Angel Morales each hit their three-run homer.

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Weekend Update

11 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

I watched the Friday night Twins game and blogged on it. I didn’t watch more than about half of the Saturday and Sunday games. I would love to hear your thoughts on the weekend or any of the Twins’ storylines. Here are a couple of comments and links:

  • First, be sure to listen to the Twins Geek and I talk Twins at the MNGameNight.com podcast. We talked about the Mariners series, the upcoming Tigers series, the bullpen, Carlos Gomez and Tollhouse Bars from The Voice of Reason!
  • Speaking of Carlos Gomez, the Twins Geek mentioned that Dick and Bert were openly discussing if Gomez should be sent to AAA. Blyleven actually said that he needs to play every day. Nick Nelson and Aaron Gleeman share their opinions. I’m on the other side of the story. I understand that he is great defensively, but what good is that if he’s only out there for one or two innings a game?
  • The Michael Cuddyer tear continued over the weekend. Tim Kurkjian of ESPN.com wrote a nice article on how the Twins are built on players with high character. Cuddyer is kind of the poster boy for that.
  • For those of you who still aren’t checking out the Twins Page at BaseballDigest.com yet, be sure to go there, bookmark it, sign up for the RSS Feed, it’s worth it. On Saturday, Alex Halstad of Twins Territory wrote a nice article on Delmon Young called An Average Hitter. It comes complete with charts and everything. On Sunday night, Justin Murphy of Seamheads.com wrote his weekly article; This Week in Twins History.
  • I was on Twins Weekly on KFAN with Phil Mackey and Joe Nelson for a segment on Sunday afternoon. (Click here to listen) It was fun, and PMac asked me several questions about the Twins minor leagues. Specifically, we talked about Anthony Slama, Rob Delaney, Sean Henn, Anthony Swarzak, Danny Valencia, Luke Hughes, Dustin Martin, Chris Parmelee, Carlos Gutierrez, Deolis Guerra, and more. You should really listen to the entire show, but if you just want to hear my part, it is about half way through the show.
  • There have been several more former Twins players listed on the Forgettable Twins blog.
  • Travis Talks gives his choices for the Top Hitters and Top Pitchers at each level of the Twins system in April (Part I and Part II). Check it out and let him know what you think.
  • Roger Dehring posted his weekly Minor League Report.

SethSpeaks.net Weekly Twins Podcast Tonight!

At 9:00 (central time) tonight, the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast will be live online. Hopefully we can get a ton of people listening and participating in the chat room. Here is the schedule for the show:

  • 9:00-9:05 – Introduction
  • 9:05-9:20 – Liam Hendiks, Twins pitching prospect, missed entire 2008 season after surgery
  • 9:20-9:35 – Drew Thompson, Twins infield prospect, missed half of the 2006 season and all of the 2007 and 2008 seasons with back injury. Last week, he returned to Beloit and played 2B. Really, it is a terrific story and it should be fun to talk to him.
  • 9:35-9:55 – Travis Aune, the author of Travis Talks. I have known Travis forever as we are from the same hometown. He is one of the more passionate baseball fans I know, and he really is learning the Twins minor league system too. Anyway, we will talk about several Twins topics.
  • 9:55-10:00 – Conclusion

There is also a possibility of another guest in there somewhere, so be sure to tune in and send your questions in to the chat room. If you are unable to listen live, be sure to download the show afterward and listen in. I would love to hear your feedback.

GAME RECAPS

The Twins won two out of three against the Mariners in the weekend series. They will have another home off day on Monday before starting a three game series against the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers. The Twins will send Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins and Scott Baker to the mound against Armando Galarraga, Dontrelle Willis and Justin Verlander.

Saturday – TWINS 9, MARINERS 6

It was supposed to be a matchup of young aces. So, of course, there was little pitching in this game. Francisco Liriano pitched long enough for the win. In five innings he gave up five runs on six hits and two walks. King Felix Hernandez gave up six runs (5 earned) on six hits and three walks. The highlight, for Twins fans, has to be the back-to-back home runs by Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, a feat they accomplished in back-to-back games. Mauer went 2-3 with two walks, his third double, his third homer and three RBI. Morneau was 2-2 with two walks. The homer was his eighth. Michael Cuddyer went 2-4 with his third homer, a three-run blast.    

Sunday – TWINS 3, MARINERS 5

Nick Blackburn was excellent. Seven shutout innings with just five hits and one walk. He struck out six. Unfortunately, the bullpen imploded again. Jose Mijares came in and after walking Jose Lopez, he gave up a game-tying home run to Ken Griffey. Jesse Crain came in and all three batters he faced got on base. Matt Guerrier got them out of the inning, but the Twins were now down 5-2. The Twins attempted another walk-filled comeback against Brandon Morrow. Joe Mauer singled in a run, but Morrow was able to finish the job at get the save. Mauer went 2-4. After two games off, Nick Punto returned to the lineup and went 2-3.  

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Saturday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Chris Parmelee, Ft. Myers Miracle

Saturday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Brad Tippett, Beloit Snappers

Sunday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Luke Hughes, Rochester Red Wings

Sunday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Kevin Mulvey, Rochester Red Wings 

INJURY UPDATE –

You may have heard already that Wilson Ramos hurt a finger on his glove hand while catching. Seems like a very strange injury, but he was put on the Disabled List, and it has affected the catchers throughout the system. Danny Lehmann has been promoted from Ft. Myers to New Britain. Allen de San Miguel, who went from New Britain to Beloit just over a week ago, will now be heading to Ft. Myers to join the Miracle. Also, Jeff Lanning is being promoted from Extended Spring Training to Beloit. 

Danny Valencia was scheduled to be back in the starting lineup on Sunday for the Rockcats after missing several games with a wrist injury.   

ROCHESTER REPORT

Saturday –Rochester 7, Charlotte 6 – David Winfree went 2-4 and connected on his fourth home run. Justin Huber went 2-5 with his second double and first triple. Jason Pridie went 2-5 with his fifth double and two RBI. Alexi Casilla went 2-5 with his first stolen base. Jose Morales went 1-1 with three walks. Jason Jones started and gave up five runs on seven hits (including two HR) in three innings. Bobby Keppel gave up two hits and two walks in three shutout innings. Juan Morillo got the win by going two shutout innings. He walked three and struck out two. Sean Henn recorded the save despite giving up a solo home run.  

Sunday –Rochester 8, Charlotte 4 – Kevin Mulvey improved to 2-1 with six strong innings. He gave up a run on five hits and two walks, and he struck out four. Mike Gosling gave up two hits, walked one and struck out two in a scoreless inning. Tim Lahey gave up three runs on three hits and got just one out. Juan Morillo came in and got the final five outs, three via the strikeout. Alexi Casilla went 3-5 with two stolen bases. Luke Hughes was 2-3 with two walks. Jose Morales went 2-4 with his second double.  

ROCKCAT RECAP

Saturday – New Britain 7, Portland 8 Ryan Mullins had his best game in a long time. The lefty gave up one run on five hits and three walks in five innings. Frank Mata then gave up five runs on six hits and a walk in just 1.2 innings. Jose Lugo came in and struck out the one batter that he faced. Zach Ward gave up two unearned runs on two walks in one inning. The bats were pretty quiet until they scored four in the top of the 9th, but it wasn’t quite enough. Jeff Christy went 3-5. Erik Lis went 2-3 with two walks and a double. Brandon Roberts and Rene Tosoni each went 2-4 with a walk. Brian Dinkelman was 2-5.

Sunday – New Britain, Portland – Rained out.

MIRACLE MEMOS

Saturday –Ft. Myers 7, St. Lucie 5Chris Parmelee had a big game. He was 3-4 with his fourth double, three RBI and a stolen base. Danny Lehmann went 2-4 with his third double. Danny Berg went 2-4 with his fourth double. Joe Benson was 2-4 with a walk. Michael McCardell improved to 4-2, but he was a little shaky. He gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk. He struck out five. Kyle Waldrop gave up a run on three hits in two innings. Henry Arias pitched a scoreless eighth. Alex Burnett got his third save with a perfect ninth inning. 

Sunday –Ft. Myers – No Game Scheduled.

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Saturday – Beloit 8, Lansing 3Brad Tippett continues to impress on the mound. He improved to 3-0 while dropping his ERA to 2.73. He gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits and a walk in six innings. Bruce Pugh gave up a hit in a scoreless inning. Shooter Hunt made his bullpen debut. He gave up a run on two hits and a walk in his inning. Steve Blevins pitched a perfect ninth inning. Dominic de La Osa went 4-5. Nathan Hanson went 3-4 with two doubles and a stolen base. Evan Bigley went 3-5. Nick Romero went 2-5 with a triple.

Sunday – Beloit 3, Lansing 6Michael Allen fell to 0-4 after giving up six run in 6.1 innings, but just three of the runs were earned. He walked one and struck out seven. Danny Rondon got the final two outs of the seventh inning after giving up two hits. Joe Testa struck out two in a scoreless inning. Adan Severino went 2-4. Ozzie Lewis went 1-3 with two walks. Allan de San Miguel went 0-1, but he walked three times.  

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Very Quick Posting

5 May

also available at http://www.SethSpeaks.net -

I’m going to have to issue an apology to everyone because there may not be a ton of written words in today’s posting. I am exhausted.

So, be sure to check out Aaron’s Baseball Blog and Nick’s Twins Blog from yesterday to read their minor league updates on some top prospects. They are very good reads. And of course, I encourage everyone to listen to last night’s SethSpeaks.net Weekly Twins Podcast. The hour-long show included an interview with Twins reliever Pat Neshek who is in Ft. Myers rehabbing after his November Tommy John surgery. He certainly sounds much more positive than he did the last time he was on the podcast, which was the night after he found out that he needed the surgery. The 20+ minutes with Pat were excellent. Then we were joined by Jim Mandelaro of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. He covers the Rochester Red Wings and blogs at a site called Extra Bases. It was fun to get a different perspective on several Twins minor leaguers who are at the level closest to the big leagues. Finally, Nick Nelson joined us for the final ten minutes and talked about the Twins 7-2 win in Detroit and several other key Twins topics. So, please listen to the podcast and let me know what you think. Your feedback is always welcome.  

TWINS 7, TIGERS 2

The Franchise, Francisco Liriano had another very solid start, and this time, with five Twins runs in the top of the 7th, he got the run support necessary to get his first win of the year. In 7.1 innings, he gave up two runs on struck out nine. Matt Guerrier came in and got all five batters out that he faced. Denard Span went 4-5 in the game with an RBI. Michael Cuddyer remains on fire. He went 2-3 with yet another walk and drilled a two-run triple over the head of Curtis Granderson. He is now 9-20 with nine walks. That’s a .450 batting average and an on-base percentage over .650 over his last seven games. Today the Twins will send Nick Blackburn to the mound against young Rick Porcello.

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

ROCHESTER REPORT

Sunday –Rochester 4, Louisville 2 – Kevin Mulvey picked up his first win of the season with five innings of one-run ball. He gave up four hits and walked four as well. Mike Gosling gave up a run on a hit and a walk in an inning. He struck out three. Sean Henn then recorded his second save with two scoreless innings. Matt Tolbert went 4-6 to raise his average to .244. Luke Hughes was 3-4 with two walks. Dustin Martin was 2-4 with a walk. Drew Butera went 2-4. Jim Mandelaro mentioned too that Jason Pridie was 0-5 until a ninth inning single extended his hitting streak to 15 games. I also learned that Carmen Pignatiello was released to make room for Juan Morillo.  

 ROCKCAT RECAP

Sunday – New Britain 2, New Hampshire 8 Ryan Mullins continues to really struggle. He gave up five runs on 11 hits in just 3.2 innings. He struck out four. Frank Mata came in and gave up a run in 2.2 innings. Yohan Pino then gave up two runs in 2.1 innings. Zach Ward got the final out. Wilson Ramos and Whit Robbins each went 2-4.  

MIRACLE MEMOS

Sunday –Ft. Myers 8, Sarasota 6Mike McCardell won for the third straight start to improve to 3-2. In this game, he went six innings and gave up three earned runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out seven. Kyle Waldrop pitched a scoreless seventh inning before giving up three runs in the 8th. Spencer Steedley came in and gave up a hit, but Blair Erickson got the save with two strikeouts in an inning. Danny Berg went 2-4 with his first home run. Deibinson Romero went 2-5 with his eighth double and a stolen base. Danny Lehmann went 2-3 with a walk and two stolen bases. Ben Revere went 2-5.Rene Leveret got a hit in his first at bat to raise his average to .368, but he left the game with some injury. Estarlin de los Santos has missed the last few games. Yangervis Solarte also is likely to miss the remainder of the season.   

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Sunday – Beloit 5, Great Lakes 1Brad Tippett had another very good start. He gave up one run on five hits in seven innings to improve to 2-0. He walked none and struck out eight. Danny Rondon gave up just one hit over the final two innings. Evan Bigley went 2-4 with his fifth double.

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

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