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Power Potential?

22 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Please recall that I will be making my weekly appearance with Paul Allen on KFAN, its affiliates and KFAN.com at about 9:15 on Thursday morning.

It has been a difficult season in the Twins minor league system. There have been some injuries to key hitters and pitchers. And frankly, the Twins affiliates have played really poorly. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of players still worth watching and mentioning. Today, I am going to provide the organization’s leaders in two categories that I believe indicate future power potential. . Obviously home runs are a strong indicator for future ability to hit home runs. But I also really like to look at doubles. Hitters that are driving the ball and getting doubles could (and that’s a big could) develop home run hitting power over time. As the player gets more comfortable facing pitching, or gets stronger, or better strike zone judgment. These are all skills that have to be developed.

First, the Twins minor league leaders in Home Runs through Wednesday:

  1. Joe Benson            19        (15 – New Britain, 4 – Ft. Myers)
  2. Brock Peterson      14        (Rochester)
  3. Trevor Plouffe       14        (Rochester)
  4. Danny Rams          10        (Beloit)
  5. Michael Gonzales  10        (Beloit)
  6. Erik Lis                    8        (2 – Rochester, 6 – New Britain)
  7. Steve Liddle             8        (Beloit)
  8. Oswaldo Arcia         8        (Elizabethton)
  9. Chris Parmelee         7        (5 – New Britain, 2 – Ft. Myers)

10.  Nathan Hanson        7        (Ft. Myers)

Summary – Joe Benson’s tools are certainly become skills in 2010, at least the power tool as he leads the organization with 19 home runs. Plouffe’s career high in home runs had been 13 in 2005 at Beloit. He had 10 in Rochester in 2009. The burly Peterson still has a ways to go to reach his career high. In 2006 in Ft. Myers, Peterson hit 21 home runs. In 2006, he had 14 homers in New Britain before adding two more with the Red Wings. So his power is legitimate. Yet, despite solid production in Rochester, he has not received an opportunity from the Twins, even with the Justin Morneau injury. Danny Rams is still so young, and he has as much or more power as any player in the farm system. Like Benson, he just has to cut down the strikeouts. Michael Gonzales is a powerful left-handed bat with a long, strong swing. He too is prone to the strikeout. Lis is back in New Britain for the third straight season after starting the season in Rochester. Liddle is the nephew of the Twins bench coach, and as a product of Vanderbilt University, it is no surprise to see him on this list. The most impressive performance after Benson has to be that of Elizabethton’s Oswaldo Arcia who has eight home runs in 124 plate appearances. Chris Parmelee has been solid since his return to New Britain after a brief demotion. Hanson was born in Chanhassen, went to Eden Prairie High School and the University of Minnesota before being drafted by his home town team.

Here are the Twins minor league leaders in Doubles through Wednesday:

  1. Steve Singleton      30        (New Britain)
  2. Joe Benson            25        (14 – New Britain, 11 – Ft. Myers)
  3. Anderson Hidalgo  24        (Beloit)
  4. Brian Dinkelman   22        (Rochester)
  5. Aaron Hicks          21        (Beloit)
  6. Evan Bigley           21        (Ft. Myers)
  7. Dustin Martin         20        (Rochester)
  8. Danny Rams          19        (18 – Beloit, 1 – New Britain)
  9. Jacque Jones          19        (Rochester)

10.  Brock Peterson      18        (Rochester

Summary – Several are asking what should be done with Orlando Hudson in the offseason. Should he be brought back? What Steve Singleton does over the next two months could also factor into that decision. Benson is high on this list as well, which again says that when he puts the ball in play, he hits that ball hard. Anderson Hidalgo has easily been the best and most consistent hitter in the Snappers lineup all season. Dinkelman just continues to produce. An outfielder now, I am convinced that he could be a solid big league contributor if only given an opportunity. Hicks has certainly had an up and down season. It will be fun to watch Hicks and his tools develop. As they were with Benson, the Twins (and us, fans) need to be patient with the ultra-talented Hicks. Evan Bigley got off to a very slow start with the Miracle, but he certainly has shown that he can hit. Martin is having a very good comeback season in Rochester. Again, as much as Rams is ‘known’ for the strikeouts, when he makes contact, he hits the ball really, really hard and has tremendous power to right field as well. Jones has been solid when healthy this year. And Peterson has again been very good all-around with the bat in AAA.

Obviously stats alone are not the lone indicator of future performance, but it never hurts to put up numbers. When you couple some raw numbers with scouting reports on some of these guys’ athleticism, it’s easy to explain why I can be excited about the potential of certain players. Consider a talent like Joe Benson, who is as impressive of an athlete as anyone I’ve met (he could have been a Big 10 running back!). It is easy to see the improvements he has made while continuing to show a very patient approach at the plate, and now you look at the numbers starting to rack up, it’s hard not to be excited about such a player. Remember also that the Twins minor leaguers tend to play in pitcher-friendly leagues and home parks, and in some cases, that can make some of these numbers look even more impressive.

First of all, take these numbers for what they are. The main thing is that it is meant as recognition for some good numbers by several players who really deserve to be noticed. Who knows? We could see some of these guys in Twins uniforms in 2010, or sometime down the road. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me.

Twins Topics

After losing to Cleveland in one of the ugliest baseball games ever (Monday night) and in a close 4-3 decision (Tuesday), the Twins, behind another impressive performance by Francisco Liriano avoided the sweep with a 6-0 win on Wednesday afternoon. The lefty improved to 8-7 and reduced his ERA to 3.54 with seven shutout innings. He gave up six hits. He walked four and struck out eight. He also got nine outs on ground balls to four on fly outs. Jesse Crain pitched another scoreless inning.

And then came the much-anticipated debut of Anthony Slama. After a leadoff single to Matt Laporta, Slama struck out Shelley Duncan and Trevor Crowe before getting Jason Donald to ground out to 3B. A very impressive debut. Now, with Jon Rauch seemingly unable to pitch in the game, it would have been very interesting to see what would have happened had the Twins held a 3-0 lead going into the 9th inning instead of a 6-0 lead. Would Slama have been brought into a save situation? Is there any chance that Slama was brought up to replace Rauch as the Twins’ closer? I highly doubt it, even with the Rauch’s struggles since the All Star break. That said, I do not believe that it would take long for that change to take place.

The Bunt. Alright, I wrote about it yesterday a little bit. It was the talker around the Twin Cities on Wednesday. For me, my final thought is that it was dumb, but we are making way, way too much out of it. The Baby Jesus does not deserve to be crucified for it. It was a mistake. No need to dwell on it.

That said, it was a microcosm of the Twins season. Expectations for the Twins and for Mauer were incredibly high coming into the season, and although many fans have been disappointed with their performances, both are still very good. The Twins are good. Joe Mauer is good.

Mauer was given the day off on Wednesday afternoon. It was the standard day game after a night game reason, and I fully support it. But I also fully believe that Drew Butera has earned his roster spot to this point. In all honesty, his defense is terrific. His fundamentals are far and away better behind the plate than Mauer’s. He catches the ball well, frames pitches, and he blocks the balls in the dirt perfectly. He has a strong and accurate arm. No, he can’t hit. No question about that. There has been talk of Butera being Carl Pavano’s personal catcher (something the Twins have been hesitant to do). Based on the work he did with Francisco Liriano as well, maybe he should be Liriano’s personal catcher. Who knows? Maybe he should be the personal catcher for Scott Baker… and Kevin Slowey… and Brian Duensing too?  (just in case it didn’t come across, there was a bit of sarcasm in that last sentence or two.)

It’s not terribly often that a player has the line score that Jim Thome had on Wednesday afternoon. He was 0-0 with four walks.

Delmon Young had three more hits and three more RBI on Wednesday. He is now hitting .314 with 67 RBI. In his last eight games, he is 14-34 (.412) with two doubles, a homer and nine RBI.

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

SethSpeaks Wednesday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Brian Dinkelman – Rochester Red Wings

SethSpeaks Wednesday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Miguel Munoz – Beloit Snappers

Red Wings Report   

Wednesday – Rochester 9, Buffalo 2 Glen Perkins won for the third time in July. The lefty went seven innings and gave up two runs (1 earned) on seven hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out just one. Kyle Waldrop threw two scoreless innings in relief, striking out three. The offense provided plenty of support. Brian Dinkelman went 3-3 with two walks. Wilson Ramos was 3-4 with his 13th double. Brendan Harris went 2-5 with a double and his second home run. D’Angelo Jimenez went 2-5 with his sixth double and first triple. Jacque Jones went 2-5 with his 19th double. Trevor Plouffe hit his 14th home run.

  • In July, Glen Perkins went 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA in 24.2 innings.
  • In his last five games, Wilson Ramos has gone 9-18 (.500).

New Britain Notes

Wednesday – New Britain 0, Harrisburg 2 – Mike McCardell fell to 0-11, but he pitched a little better. He gave up two runs on six hits and four walks in 5.2 innings. Carlos Gutierrez went 2.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Jair Fernandez went 2-4. Steve Singleton hit his 30th double. Chris Parmelee hit his 12th with the Rockcats.   

Miracle Matters

Wednesday – Ft. Myers 13, Lakeland 4 – A day after he drove in the winning run in the 11th inning, Nate Hanson went 3-4 with two doubles in this win. Nick Romero went 3-4 with a walk and two doubles. Chris Herrmann went 2-4 with his third triple. Brian Dozier and Allan de San Miguel each had two hits. Kane Holbrooks made his first start with the Miracle. He gave up four runs on three hits and three walks in five innings. He struck out six. Shooter Hunt walked three and struck out one in 0.2 innings. He was replaced by Steve Blevins who worked 3.1 scoreless innings of work. He gave up just two hits and a walk.   

Snappers Snippets

Wednesday – Beloit 4, South Bend 2 Miguel Munoz gave up just one run on five hits over seven innings. He struck out seven without allowing a walk. Peter Kennelly walked two and got just one out. He was replaced by Matt Hauser who recorded his first MWL Save by getting the final five outs. Aaron Hicks was 3-5 with his fourth triple and 13th stolen base. Tobias Streich and James Beresford each had two hits.  

  • Hauser was the Twins 7th round pick in 2010 out of the University of San Diego. In 2010, he went 4-3 with eight saves and a 3.67 ERA. In 41.2 innings, he walked nine and struck out 37. He seems to be this year’s draft pick who is quickly moving. Last year, it was Billy Bullock who started in E-Town and progressed to Beloit after putting up terrific numbers in the Appalachian League. In nine innings, he gave up seven hits and two walks while striking out 13. The Twins, of course, have another reliever from the University of San Diego in the system who turned out pretty good; Anthony Slama.

E-Twins Talkers

Wednesday – Elizabethton 8, Johnson City 9 – Oswaldo Arcia continued his power barrage on the Appalachian League. He went 2-5 with his eighth home run. Andy Leer went 2-5 with his tenth double. Danny Ortiz hit his third and fourth triples. Daniel Santana went 2-5 with his fifth double. Jhonatan Arias went 1-2 with his second double and two walks. Sam Spangler started and gave up two runs on four hits in three innings. He struck out four. David Gutierrez then went the next three innings. He also gave up two runs on four hits. Ryan O’ Rourke came in and in 1.1 innings gave up five runs (3 earned) on four hits and a walk. Logan Darnell got the final two outs but not before giving up a hit that scored the winning run.

  • It was the professional debut of Logan Darnell, the Twins 6th round pick out of the University of Kentucky. The lefty went 5-3 with a 5.62 ERA in 14 games. In 73.2 innings, he walked 28 and struck out 55. Certainly not the type of numbers that would warrant waiting so long to sign. He made 11 starts (and three bullpen appearances) in 2010. In his first two years at Kentucky, he pitched in 43 games, all out of the bullpen.

GCL Twins Topics

Wednesday – GCL Twins 4, GCL Rays 7 – JaDamion Williams went 2-4 with his first career home run. After three doubles on Tuesday, Kennys Vargas hit his eighth double in this game. Cesar Ciurcina started and gave up six runs on nine hits and a walk in five innings. Brett Carroll threw two shutout innings. Eddie Ahorrio gave up a run on two hits and a walk in two innings.   

Any thoughts of the Twins or the minor league system? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.

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.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Trade Deadline Primer(s)

2 Jul

It has certainly been an interesting year for the TwinsCentric crew. One year ago, we came out with our first publication, the TwinsCentric July Trade Deadline Primer. Since then, there has been the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, our work with Maple Street Press on the Twins 2010 Annual, the TwinsCentric blog at StarTribune.com and several TwinsCentric Viewing parties around the Twin Cities. It’s been an interesting, busy, fun year of learning about this new media and such.

Next week, TwinsCentric will unveil its next project. It will again be a Trade Deadline Primer. However, it will be much improved. This year, the TwinsCentric guys joined forces with a blogger or independent writer to cover each other team around Major League Baseball. We will be providing Trade Deadline Primers for over 20 other Major League teams as well. Think about it. I know a lot about baseball, but when it comes to the Detroit Tigers, I guarantee that John Parent of Motor City Bengals knows more. Or, for White Sox information, you’ll get the thoughts of JJ Stankevitz from the White Sox Examiner site. I am certain that Chad Dotson of Redleg Nation knows a lot more about the 2010 Reds than me. These guys know what their teams might be looking for. They will know their tradeable players or impact prospects are.

Baseball’s trade deadline season is easily the most active online season for baseball fans, especially obsessive passionate baseball fans. You read Twins blogs daily, so you’re likely a huge Twins fan and will be following all of the rumors surrounding the Twins. Why? Well, after what the Twins did this past offseason, and the added payroll, Twins fans are excited that more elite players could be acquired by the team. Even last year, the Twins acquired Orlando Cabrera on July 31 for Tyler Ladendorf. But they weren’t done there. A week later, the Twins brought in Carl Pavano in a deal with Cleveland. And later in August, the team acquired Jon Rauch. In fact, the Twins have generally made at least one trade deadline deal most years in the past decade.

So, what will these electronic books (in the form of a pdf) consist of? It will be a 100+ page e-book that provides a preview and framework for all of the upcoming trade deadline speculation. It is graphically-sparse, consisting of headshots and simple graphics. But it is content-rich, evaluating the action from a fan’s perspective while providing national coverage. This includes:

  • report cards covering each of the team’s players
  • summaries of all 30 teams including trade deadline needs and a “fantasy focus” for fantasy baseball players
  • profiles of more than 150 of the most likely trade targets and another 100+ potential impact prospects
  • essays focusing on the trade deadline for the Twins and their AL Central rivals
  • national essays providing insight on the forces behind the trade deadline
  • cheat sheets for easy reference
  • a foreword by Rob Neyer of ESPN.com

The goal is to make these available next Tuesday, July 6th electronically. On Thursday, July 7th, TwinsCentric will host another TwinsCentric Viewing Party at Park Tavern in St. Louis Park (Facebook page, follow on Twitter) starting before 5:00. The Twins are on the road in Toronto and Tim Laudner will be there from 5-6 talking to Twins fans and signing autographs.  ESPN1500 will be hosting their pre-game show from there as well. We will also make the TwinsCentric Trade Deadline Primer available. Of course, Park Tavern will kick in some prizes for us to give away, and there will be other prizes available as well. So, if you can be there, that would be great!

The TwinsCentric Trade Deadline Primer will be available for $9.95. We understand that this is money out of your pocket, and we certainly appreciate your support over all of the years that we’ve been blogging. Thank you!

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me.

A few more notes:

  • I’ll be boarding the Twins Train and heading to Detroit to see the Twins and Tigers play two games. I’m really looking forward to the trip. I hear that Sooze and Parker Hageman will also be on the Detroit trip, so it should be a great time. Apparently the Twins Train trips have been successful enough that they have added a couple more trips in August. There is a trip to Cleveland and to Chicago. And the Twins train is also making a trip to Green Bay and Lambeau Field in October. Check out the Twins Train website for details and trip availability.
  • Yesterday I posted a TwinsCentric blog called Picking your moments (and minor league notes).
  •  If you missed my PA appearance yesterday, click here to and check out the 7/1 – Seth Stohs and Love Line! Link.
  • Tonight, I will be at Canterbury Park. I haven’t been there for two years, so I’m looking forward to it. Should be a lot of fun!

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

SethSpeaks Thursday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Brock Peterson – Rochester Red Wings

SethSpeaks Thursday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Deolis Guerra – New Britain Rockcats

Red Wings Report   

Thursday – Rochester 0, Buffalo 2 Ryan Mullins put together another solid start. In 6.2 innings, he gave up two runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out seven. Rob Delaney threw 1.1 scoreless innings. Brock Peterson went 3-4 with his 17th double, but the Red Wings managed just six hits. Brendan Harris went 0-4 and is now hitting .111 (2-18, after going 2-3 in his first game).   

New Britain Notes

Thursday – New Britain 1, New Hampshire 0 – Deolis Guerra was named to the Eastern League All-Star team earlier this week, and he showed he earned it in this game. Guerra threw seven innings of shutout baseball. He gave up four hits, walked three and struck out seven. Tony Davis got one out, and walked two. Chris Province came in and got out of the eighth and three outs in the ninth for his fifth save. Joe Benson went 2-4 with a walk and a triple. Steve Singleton went 2-3 with a walk.

Miracle Matters

Thursday – Ft. Myers, St. Lucie – Postponed by Rain.  

Snappers Snippets

Thursday – Beloit 1, Quad Cities 5 BJ Hermsen gave up five runs on nine hits in 7.2 innings. He walked none and struck out five. Eliecer Cardenas got the final four outs without allowing a run. Former Gopher Derek McCallum went 3-3 with a walk. JJ Hardy went 1-4 with a walk.   

E-Twins Talkers

Thursday – Elizabethton 3, Johnson City 2 – Martire Garcia had another great start for the E-Twins. The lefty gave up two runs on four hits (2 home runs) and two walks in six innings. He struck out eight. Nelvin Fuentes picked up his first save. He threw three perfect innings and struck out five batters. The E-Twins had four hits. Oswaldo Arcia went 2-4. Jhonatan Arias hit his first home run.  

GCL Twins Topics

Wednsday – GCL Twins 4, GCL Rays 3 (10 innings) – Kelvin Silvania doubled in a Yorby Martinez to score the winning run in the 10th. Candido Pimental went 3-5 with his second double. In Kyun Kahn went 2-4. Matej Hejma went 2-4. David Deminsky gave up two runs (1 earned) on four hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out three. Bart Carter pitched a perfect seventh. Hein Robb gave up one run on one hit and a walk. Matt Schuld got the win with two scoreless innings.  

Any thoughts of the Twins or the minor league system? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.

Monday Morning Notebook

14 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

After winning on Friday night, the Twins lost a 3-2 decision to the Braves on Saturday night in a great game, and then got beat up a bit on Sunday afternoon in a 7-3 loss to Kris Medlen, Troy Glaus and the Braves. The Twins will have a day off on Monday before starting a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Target Field. Thursday’s matchup between Francisco Liriano and Ubaldo Jimenez is one that should be very exciting to watch. Of course, depending upon the Twins getaway day lineup on Thursday, Jimenez could dominate.

On this off day, here are some links for you to peruse:

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

SethSpeaks Saturday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Brock Peterson – Rochester Red Wings

SethSpeaks Saturday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Edgar Ibarra – Beloit Snappers

SethSpeaks Sunday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jair Fernandez – New Britain Rockcats

SethSpeaks Sunday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Jhon Garcia – Beloit Snappers

Red Wings Report   

Saturday – Rochester 10, Toledo 6 Glen Perkins had been pitching much better of late, but this was not a start in the right direction. The lefty gave up six runs on eight hits (3 HR). He walked two, hit one and struck out two before being ejected with one out in the 5th inning. Rob Delaney came in and went the next 2.2 innings, allowing only a hit and striking out six. Anthony Slama pitched a scoreless inning. Brock Peterson went 3-5 with his 12th double and 11th home run. Dustin Martin went 2-4 with a walk and two doubles. Yancarlos Ortiz went 2-4 with four RBI. Toby Gardenhire went 2-4 with three runs scored. Wilson Ramos and Jose Morales each went 2-5.

Sunday – Rochester 3, Toledo 8 It was a rough start for Matt Fox. The righty gave up six runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings. He uncharacteristically walked seven while striking out six. Jose Lugo then gave up two runs on two hits (both homers) in 3.1 innings. He struck out five. Jason Repko and Matt Macri each went 2-4. Brian Dinkelman hit his fourth home run.   

New Britain Notes

Saturday – New Britain 8, Altoona 7David Bromberg pitched a terrific game for the Rockcats. In seven innings, he gave up one run on five hits and two walks. Cole DeVries came in and gave up three runs on four hits in his inning. Matt Williams gave up three runs (1 earned) on three hits. Jair Fernandez went 3-5 with two doubles. Chris Parmelee was 3-5. Mark Dolenc hit his fourth and fifth doubles. Brandon Roberts went 2-5 with his fourth double. Yangervis Solarte went 2-5 with his eighth double. Juan Portes went 2-4. Erik Lis went 2-2 before Ben Revere surprisingly came in to pinch run. Revere went 1-2 in his first game back after being hit in the eye.  

Sunday – New Britain 5, Altoona 6Carlos Gutierrez had a tough start. He gave up six runs on ten hits and two walks, but he was able to go 7.2 innings. Loek Van Mil got the final out. Jair Fernandez went 3-5. Mark Dolenc went 3-4 with his sixth double and seventh stolen base. Yangervis Solarte went 2-5 with his ninth double. Chris Parmelee went 2-5.  

Miracle Matters

Saturday – Ft. Myers – Florida State League All-Star game. Chris Herrmann caught the middle innings and went 0-1. Billy Bullock gave up two runs on three hits in the third inning.   

Snappers Snippets

Saturday – Beloit 14, Bowling Green 1Edgar Ibarra put together his start of the season. He went seven innings and gave up only an unearned run. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out ten. Eliecer Cardenas struck out two in a scoreless inning. Matt Tone struck out one in a perfect inning. James Beresford went 3-5. Aaron Hicks was 2-4 with a walk and his 14th and 15th doubles. Angel Morales went 2-3 with two walks, his 12th double and fifth triple. Steve Liddle and Reggie Williams were each 2-3. Williams hit his third homer. Danny Rams went 2-5.

Saturday – Beloit 1, Bowling Green 3Angel Morales went 2-3 with a walk, a double and a triple. Unfortunately, they were the only two hits of the day for the Snappers. Michael Tonkin started and gave up two runs on five hits and five walks in five innings. Dakota Watts came in and gave up one run on one hit, one walk and one hit batter in one inning. Jhon Garcia threw two shutout innings. Kane Holbrooks pitched a scoreless ninth inning.   

Any thoughts of the Twins or the minor league system? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.

Roster Projections: Rochester Red Wings

23 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net – 

Before we jump into my Twins AAA projection, here are a couple of quick notes:

  • I was on part of Travis Talks Minnesota Sports podcast last night talking about Twins minor leaguers which obviously I always thoroughly enjoy doing that.
  • Tonight, I will be hosting an episode of the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast. I’ll be joined by Baseball Daily Digest’s Joe Hamrahi who was at the Joe Mauer press conference on Monday night. There may be another guest or two as well, and lots of Twins talk.
  • There will be an episode of The Show on Thursday night at a special time of 8:00 p.m. I already two Twins minor leaguers (one of which some have been clamoring for me to bring on for awhile now).  During that show, we will also announce the regularly scheduled night and time for The Show throughout the season. So be sure to take in that show.
  • And please be sure to go to the Star-Tribune’s TwinsCentric blog today. Parker had a chance to sit down with Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony down in Ft. Myers last week. He transcribed his interview and posted the first half of it here. The rest of it can be found at Over the Baggy.

The Twins open their season on April 5th. The Rochester Red Wings season begins on April 8th in Pawtucket. Their first home game is on April 17th.  They will be managed this year by Tom Nieto, who managed the New Britain Rockcats a year ago.

So here are my thoughts on the 2010 Opening Day roster of the Rochester Red Wings:

The Hitters

  Rochester
C Wilson Ramos
1B Brock Peterson
2B Luke Hughes
3B Danny Valencia
SS Trevor Plouffe
LF Brian Dinkelman
CF Charlton Jimerson
RF Dustin Martin
DH Erik Lis
Bu C Danny Lehmann
Bu IF Toby Gardenhire
Bu OF Jacque Jones
Bench Matt Tolbert
DL… (Brandon Roberts)

Analysis: I discussed my thoughts on the Twins backup catcher situation yesterday, and I will stand behind my feelings that Wilson Ramos needs to play, not sit on the bench. That is why I have him starting in Rochester. When Drew Butera is optioned to AAA (when Jose Morales comes back), he will take over as the Red Wings backup catcher, behind Ramos. Danny Lehmann would then go back to New Britain. Lehmann is very respected among pitchers and coaches. Bringing back Brock Peterson (a six year free agent) is a great thing for the Red Wings, and I am just hoping that the former 49th round draft choice gets a chance to get a cup of coffee with the Twins. He was the Red Wings best hitter during the second half of 2009. Although I expect to see Matt Tolbert play a lot, I really believe that we will see a lot of Luke Hughes at second base. He played there, and played pretty well there, in spring training, and he could be another option for 2010. Think Jeff Kent? Danny Valencia should play most days at 3B, and hopefully he can get off to a fast start and be in Minnesota by mid-June. Trevor Plouffe will likely see time at all three infield positions as well, and if anything happens to JJ Hardy (or he doesn’t come back well), Plouffe could get a big league call too. Brian Dinkelman played mainly 2B until last year when Steve Singleton was promoted to New Britain. Then he started playing in left field where he is still learning, but works hard and can get better. The other two outfield positions could be a rotating carousel. Charlton Jimerson’s defense and speed is terrific. Dustin Martin needs a rebound season. Jacque Jones needs to play well. Really, all three of them need to play well because Rene Tosoni may not be far away from AAA. Erik Lis has hit well in AA New Britain for two years, so he needs to move up. And the DL seemed like an appropriate place to place Brandon Roberts at this time. Yes, I am not including Matt Macri here, although it is possible he could be another utility infield type. That said, defensively, I think Toby Gardenhire is just as good and can play eight positions. And no, this is not at all a choice, by me, that has anything to do with nepotism. He’s got a very strong glove.  

The Pitchers

  Rochester
SP Anthony Swarzak
SP Jeff Manship
SP Matt Fox
SP Ryan Mullins
SP Brian Duensing
   
CL Rob  Delaney
8L Jose Lugo
8R Chris Province
BP Yoslan Herrera
BP Kyle Waldrop
BP Mark McLemore
BP Mike Maroth
   
  (Glen Perkins)
  (Brad Hennessey – DL)
  (Tim Lahey)

Analysis: As you can see there several question marks in this pitching rotation. That really starts with Glen Perkins. If he doesn’t make the Twins roster (which he won’t), will they be able to trade him? If not, he will be sent to Rochester. Will he start? Will he pitch out of the bullpen? Will he be put on the Fake DL? Since I included Anthony Slama on the Twins roster, it meant Brian Duensing goes to the Red Wings, and I believe he will start. Should there be an early-season injury, he would be the first promoted. Anthony Swarzak and Jeff Manship both were rushed to the big leagues a year ago, and both showed signs that they can be solid big league performers, but each showed that they could also use more seasoning. Matt Fox spent the entire season in the New Britain starting rotation last year. It was the first time that the 2004 supplemental first round pick had done that. I think he deserves the shot to do it again as he has improved remarkably his arm strength and seen success. Ryan Mullins had a solid season last year in New Britain. It was his third with the Rockcats. He needs to move up. He actually pitched a couple of games for the Red Wings in 2007. So there is my starting five. 

The bullpen is even more perplexing. Again, with Slama on my big league roster, I’ll move Rob Delaney to the closer role. Jose Lugo will certainly be back in the Red Wings bullpen. I have Tim Lahey on the outside looking in, but he would be another option. Chris Province came from the Red Sox in the Boof Bonser deal. Yoslan Herrera was signed as a free agent recently. The lefty was very solid last year in AA, but needs to show he can pitch well in the International League. I really like this signing. He can replace Reid Santos as a lefty who could pitch both out of the bullpen and start as well. Mark McLemore could be that as well. He started his comeback from Tommy John surgery last year, and this will be his second year back. Mike Maroth has done better in spring training than I would have guessed he would do. That’s not to say great, but enough that if he wants to, he could go to AAA. There is really no risk in signing a former big leaguers like Herrera, McLemore and Maroth, letting him get healthy and seeing where he is at. Maybe he comes back fully. Speaking of healthy, Brad Hennessey was a solid bullpen arm a couple for a couple of years in the big leagues. He is likely to miss at least a couple of months, but I like this signing as well as a no risk, potentially decent reward signing.  

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

14 Invited to Spring Training

8 Jan

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Each spring, all players from the 40 man roster are required to report to big league training camp. Teams are also able to invite players not on their 40 man roster to camp. This afternoon, the Twins announced that they have invited 14 players to Major League training camp, four pitchers and ten hitters. Here are my thoughts. Feel free to add yours.

The Pitchers

  • Jose Lugo – Lefty reliever throws 94 mph with a very good slider. Too many walks, but I think we will see him in 2009.
  • Mike Maroth – Lefty who throws about 64 mph with speeds that are even slower than that. 32 year old hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2007. He has zero chance of pitching with Twins, but wants just one more chance, and if he can contribute at Rochester, that would be great… and surprising.
  • Anthony Slama – No question here. Obviously he’ll start in the Rochester bullpen, but he could be ready soon.
  • Kyle Waldrop – Waldrop was the third first round pick of the Twins in 2004 out of his school in Tennessee. After missing all of 2008 with a shoulder injury, he came back in 2009 and pitched well in Ft. Myers and better in New Britain.

The Catchers

  • Jair Fernandez – Teams have a lot of pitchers in spring training. They need a bunch of catchers.
  • Danny Lehmann – Defense on par with Drew Butera. Offense on par with 2009 Mike Redmond.
  • Danny Rams – Tremendous power, when he makes contact. Struck out a ton at E-Town in 2008. Dominated E-Town in 2009. Moved up to Beloit. Struck out a ton. He’s got a long way to go, but huge power potential. And a strong arm.

The Infielders -

  • Chris Parmelee – Another solid year for Parmelee in terms of power and walks, but he also struck out a little less and hit for more average than previously. He showed good improvement.
  • Brock Peterson – played very little in Rochester’s first two months. Didn’t hit. Played nearly every day the rest of the way and was the Red Wings best hitter. He became 6-year minor league free agent, but the former 49th round pick signed back with the Twins.
  • Steve Singleton – After promotion to New Britain, he really hit well. Singleton plays a very solid 2B, but he also has good pop in his bat. A year from now, I think he’ll be the frontrunner for Twins 2B for 2011.

The Outfielders

  • Brian Dinkelman – Doubles hitting machine, it’s no surprise he’s on this list. It is surprising that in the Twins press release, he was listed, by the Twins, as an OF. He has played mainly 2B in his minor league career. Only after Singleton was promoted to New Britain did Dinkelman start playing primarily LF.
  • Juan Portes – A nice, surprising add, Portes had struggled in two seasons in Ft. Myers. 2009 was a big year for him. He moved up to New Britain and played very well, hitting .300 much of the season. He can also play 3B and 2B.
  • Ben Revere – 2007 top pick has made the Twins scouting group look great so far. If he hits .300 in 2010, he could be in the 2011 plans too!
  • Rene Tosoni – Twins high on this talented, left-handed hitting Canadian. He does pretty much everything well, except hit lefties. That said, he could be ready in a platoon role later in 2010.

My general thoughts – This list makes sense to me. I’m sure there are some guys that could also be added. I would be very surprised if even one of these 14 started the season with the Twins without some strange scenario happening. Guys like Jose Lugo, Anthony Slama, Brock Peterson and Rene Tosoni could see time with the Twins in 2010. The team has more ‘prospects’ on this list than normal. It gives the coaching staff three or four extra weeks to see guys that could compete for big league roster spots in 2011. In fact, a few of them could be September call-ups.

Any thoughts on any of the selections? If you have any questions or comments, please comment here.

Twins Notes

18 Nov

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Hopefully you have all had a chance to listen to last night’s SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast. Danny Valencia led off the show, and we talked about everything from his time in New Britain, his promotion to Rochester, playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, his thoughts on what it would mean to be added to the 40 man roster on Friday, his offseason and much more, including his thoughts on trying to make blogger TT happy! J Next on the agenda was a very good interview with Steve Singleton. We discussed his time down in Arizona, the level of play, what he’s learned about himself through playing there, his thoughts on what it would mean to be added to the 40 man roster, fantasy football, and much more. After that, I was able to discuss some other Twins related topics and answer a few questions. So again, if you haven’t yet listened to the show, you can listen to it by going here. It’s pretty cool to have two guests on last night who could conceivably both be with the Minnesota Twins sometime in 2010.

Speaking of podcasts, I will be a guest on Twins Talk podcast tonight at 9:00 p.m. central time which is hosted by Jack Steal of Fanatic Jack Talks Twins and also Topper Anton of Curve for a Strike. Also on tonight’s show will be Andrew Bryz-Gornia of Off the Mark.

The Twins have eight minor league free agents. According to Baseball America, they are: David Winfree, Brock Peterson, Alejandro Machado, Brian Buscher, Matt Moses, Oswaldo Sosa, Frank Mata and Reid Santos. It is likely that the Twins will try to retain a couple of them, but others they will just let go elsewhere. In my opinion, there are only three that they should try to retain.

  • The first choice would be David Winfree. He is just 24 years old and had a very solid year in his first AAA season. He is a right-handed bat with some power. He may never hit for average and doesn’t get on base at a great clip, but I would think they would be happy to have him stay.
  • Brock Peterson had a very strong second half in Rochester last year, arguably the team’s top hitter the last few months. He is another right handed bat with a little power. He plays 1B, and the Twins have a guy who plays there. They also have a backup in Michael Cuddyer and may end up signing a bench bat there as well. Also, Erik Lis has spent the last two years hitting well at AA New Britain. He likely will move up to Rochester. Also, Whit Robbins plays an excellent 1B and was an All-Star in AA Eastern League last year. He may have an opportunity to move up to AAA. If not, Peterson could be brought back, especially since Justin Huber is not coming back.
  • Frank Mata is the third that I would try to bring back. He is a Tommy John survivor from a few year ago, and he throws very hard. He may or may not have a big league future, but I think he’s got the kind of stuff that is worth giving another year to.

There are several other former Twins minor leaguers who now find themselves as free agents. Since I follow the Twins minor league system so closely, I still am interested in following the careers of former players. Here are those players and the team that they played with in 2009:

  • Bobby Korecky (Arizona), Trent Oeltjen (Arizona), Mariano Gomez (Atlanta), Luis Rivas (Cubs), Doug Deeds (Cubs), Michael Restovich (White Sox), Alexander Smit (Reds), Korey Feiner (Reds), Lew Ford (Reds), Levale Speigner (Marlins), Michael Ryan (Marlins), Casey Daigle (Astros), Tim Raines, Jr. (Royals), Henry Bonilla (Dodgers), JD Durbin (Dodgers), Danny Ardoin (Dodgers), Luis Maza (Dodgers), James Tomlin (Dodgers), Mike Lamb (Mets), Tristan Crawford (Phillies), Terry Tiffee (Phillies), Matt Kinney (Giants), Ramon Ortiz (Giants), Julio DePaula (Rays), Rashad Eldridge (Rays), Justin Jones (Nationals).

I apologize for not posting my thoughts on the Twins 2010 uniforms. Maybe I’m weird, but I just don’t find that to  be an exciting piece of news. I like them. They’re cool. I like the gray ones because they’re at least a little bit different. I know it’s all important, but I’d much prefer to talk about free agents, trade targets and 40 man roster decisions.

Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times wrote a book called Evaluating Baseball Managers which will be released soon.  He provided a fun excerpt of the book. It was a section on Billy Martin when he was with the Twins in 1969.

As Joe Christensen mentioned in his blog today, the AL Manager of the Year will be announced this afternoon and Ron Gardenhire should receive strong consideration. I know that many blog readers disagree many times with Gardy, but he has to be considered for the award. My personal vote would go to Ron Washington of the Rangers, but then I could make a case for either Mike Scioscia or Gardy for 2nd place. If Gardy finishes second yet again, he could officially be named the Susan Lucci of baseball!

Alright, that is it for today. Are there any other Twins topics of note? If so, Send me an e-mail, or leave your Comments here.

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