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Solarte, 11 Others Become Free Agents

4 Nov

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

If you haven’t yet ordered your copy of the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, be sure to do so! We hope that many of you will develop your own blueprint of and e-mail it to twinscentric@gmail.com to be entered into a random drawing where one winner will receive a copy of the TwinsCentric 2012 Twins Annual next spring. 

Yangervis Solarte was one of 12 Twins minor leaguers who were allowed to become Six-Year Minor League Free Agents five days after the World Series. Solarte signed with the Twins from Venezuela in June of 2005. In 2011, he hit .329/.367/.466 with 36 doubles, three triples, seven homers and 49 RBI. Not bad for a 2B. For a team that has struggled with middle infield development, it’s hard to believe that Solarte would not have been added to the 40 man roster before becoming a free agent. He can now sign with any team, and it wouldn’t shock me to see him get a 40 man roster spot with another team. Then again, it wouldn’t surprise me if he re-signed with the Twins still.

Here are the others who became six-year free agents:

  • RHP Andy Baldwin – The Duluth native pitched in Rochester last year.
  • LHP Dusty Hughes – Spent time with the Twins early in the season and pitched alright in Rochester the rest of the season.
  • LHP Chuck James – The #FreeChuckJames campaign, and his tremendous early-season pitching, got him a couple of very brief looks with the Twins.
  • LHP Jake Stevens – The Naples native pitched in New Britain and Rochester. Following the season, he mentioned that he was called in to the Twins minor league offices, was given a ring for his part in throwing a no-hitter in Rochester, and then told his services were no longer needed with the Twins.
  • C Jair Fernandez – The catcher came to the Twins from Seattle for RA Dickey, and played pretty well. He was just too injured in 2011.
  • C Allan de San Miguel – The Aussie catcher signed when he was so young. Great defense. Struggled with the bat. Elbow surgery in 2011.
  • 1B Jeff Bailey – Brought in quickly after becoming a free agent last year to help the Red Wings, he struggled mightily the first couple of months of the season.
  • IF Toby Gardenhire – The manager’s son has been a utility infielder throughout his minor league career. Great teammate and leader, not much of a hitter. Can’t help but assume he’ll be back. Should be.
  • 3B Chase Lambin – 32 year old came to the Twins last offseason as a free agent. Struggled early.
  • SS Paul Kelly – 2nd round pick in 2005 from Texas high school. Solid debut in 2005, and played well for half of 2006 before he was hurt. Since 2007, he has played a combined 24 games in five seasons with various injuries. If healthy, he probably (maybe?) could have been the Twins shortstop the past few years already. After three games this season, they found a blood clot in his neck and he missed the rest of the season. What could have been!? And, hopefully he can continue to play!
  • OF Brandon Roberts – Came to the Twins in the Kyle Lohse trade, the speedy outfielder had too many knee issues and missed a lot of time.

It’s possible some of these guys will be back. It’s possible some of these guys won’t play again.

Here are some other names you may recognize that became free agents for other organizations:

  • Michael Restovich – Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Armando Gabino – Baltimore Orioles
  • Brendan Harris – Baltimore Orioles
  • Matt Fox – Boston Red Sox
  • Jose Morales – Colorado Rockies
  • Matt Macri – Colorado Rockies
  • Alex Romero – Florida Marlins
  • Ryan Rowland-Smith – Houston Astros
  • Gil Velazquez – Los Angeles Angels
  • Anderson Machado – Milwaukee Brewers
  • Boof Bonser – New York Mets
  • Mike Lamb – New York Yankees
  • Steve Singleton – Philadelphia Phillies
  • Jeff Clement, Brandon Wood – Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Steve Tolleson, Bobby Kielty – San Diego Padres
  • Casey Daigle – San Francisco Giants
  • Doug Deeds – Texas Rangers
  • Yohan Pino – Toronto Blue Jays

Any thoughts?

Roster Projections: New Britain Rock Cats

30 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

  • Step 1: Finalize 2011 Minnesota Twins roster – Check.
  • Step 2: Find a way to keep Scott Diamond in the organization – Check.
  • Step 3: Configure the 2011 Triple-A Rochester Red Wings 24-man roster – In progress.
  • Step 4: Configure the 2011 Double-A New Britain Rock Cats 24-man roster – In progress.

The fun of projecting minor league rosters after major league rosters is that we don’t know what’s happening. We don’t always understand the big picture. For instance, I projected that Chris Province would be in the Triple-A bullpen. Yesterday, I found out that he, in his words on Twitter this morning, “voluntarily retired.” The Twins made 12 cuts over the past couple of days, and as I review the names of all of the players still in Twins minor league camp, it is difficult to place all of them. We don’t know injury situations. I was unaware the Bruce Pugh was set back a few days by back soreness. That will likely keep him back in Ft. Myers and in the bullpen for at least a little while. Some of the decisions on these minor league veterans brought in has kept several minor leaguers down a level. In some cases, that’s good. In other cases, it is a little surprising. For instance, I understand that Tony Davis will be heading back to Ft. Myers to start the season.

With all that in mind, I present to you my thoughts on a projected roster for the Twins Double-A affiliate, the New Britain Rock Cats. (the below roster is my opinion and my guesses, and nothing official.)

Catchers: Danny Lehmann (40 man – No) – Jair Fernandez (40 man – No) 

Lehmann was impressive this spring. He has been named the Twins minor league catcher of the year the past two years. Defensively, he is ready to be a backup catcher for the Twins. Offensively, he’s probably a notch above Drew Butera. Fernandez, like Waldrop and Portes, could have been a six-year minor league free agent after last season. He chose to stay with the Twins. He is a big guy with a little pop in his bat. Not a great catcher at all though despite a strong arm.

Infielders: 1B – Chris Parmelee (40 man – Yes), 2B – Steve Singleton (40 man – No), 3B – Nick Romero/Deibinson Romero (40 man – No/No), SS – Estarlin de Los Santos (40 man – No), Utility – Chris Cates (40 man – No), IF/OF/DH – Yangervis Solarte - (40 man – No)

Chris Parmelee is going to be my choice for preseason Twins minor league hitter of the year. Hopefully he will be able to stick with the Rock Cats all season, as I believe that would be best for his development. Steve Singleton should be in Rochester. I know, I’m shy about expressing that, aren’t I? He should get some time at both 3B and SS as well. Estarlin de Los Santos should get a couple of months here to regain his prospect status or else Brian Dozier will be here and get the playing time. 3B is where I’m not certain. So, I can see a scenario in which Nick Romero and one-time prospect Deibinson Romero split time, or even platoon. Solarte can play anywhere on the field, kind of like Luke Hughes. He has hit when healthy and was up with the Rock Cats last year before getting hurt. The utility infield spot will be interesting. Chris Cates is the incumbent, but could Ray Chang or Matt Brown be sent to AA? Neither can play SS well, so I’m leaning toward Cates.

Outfielders: LF – Evan Bigley (40 man – No), CF – Joe Benson (40 man – Yes), RF – Rene Tosoni (40 man – Yes), 4th outfielder – Mark Dolenc (40 man – No).

At this time last year, Rene Tosoni thought he was packing to go to Rochester, but then the Twins signed Jason Repko right before Opening Day and Tosoni went back to New Britain. His shoulder was bad, and he was DHing until a midseason shoulder surgery ended his season. But he was still added to the 40 man roster, and he could move up quickly if he swing returns. Joe Benson was last year’s Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year. The sky is the limit for Benson. The only thing is his contact rate will need to improve for him to advance where we all hope he will. Again, I think the best thing for his development would be to stay in New Britain for the entire season, get comfortable, make adjustments and see what kind of numbers he can put up in a full season. Evan Bigley is an underappreciated prospect. He’s got some power, and he can hit for average. He can play solid defense. When he moved up to New Britain last year, he played better than he had with the Miracle early in the season. I mention Dolenc as the 4th outfielder, and that’s where he is always put. However, every year, he gets a lot of at bats, and he performs better than expected. He is fast and plays very good defense at all three positions.

Starting Pitchers: RHP David Bromberg (40 man – Yes), RHP Deolis Guerra (40 man – Yes), RHP Bobby Lanigan (40 man – No), Liam Hendriks (40 man – No), Dan Osterbrock (40 man – No)

I was very much surprised to learn that David Bromberg would start this season in Double-A after he made nine starts in Rochester last year. That said, I think that it can be a good thing for him to spend a couple of months. He’s seen Triple-A. He’s now been to big league spring training and likely learned a lot. It will be great for him to implement some of the things he’s learned at Double-A, perfect them and get back to Rochester. Deolis Guerra pitched well in New Britain last year before being promoted to Rochester, and from that point on he was never able to find it again. Guerra is the best example of why bringing in some minor league veterans at the upper levels can be good. Guerra should not have been rushed, but the team was forced to. Bobby Lanigan’s fastball/slider combination is tough. I think long-term he can be a terrific reliever, but might as well keep him starting as long as he keeps putting up the numbers and stays healthy. I would be surprised if both Hendriks and Osterbrock start the season with the Rock Cats, but both pitched so well at Ft. Myers last year that they could be ready for this next challenge. Pitchers often say that they experience their first struggles at AA. Osterbrock experienced some struggles with Beloit in 2009, but figured things out last year. Hendriks is a tremendous prospect, very driven and competitive, and worth watching closely.

Bullpen: RHP Carlos Gutierrez (40 man – No), RHP Brett Jacobson (40 man – No), RHP Steve Hirschfeld (40 man – No), LHP Tyler Robertson (40 man – No), RHP Dakota Watts (40 man – No), RHP Santos Arias (40 man – No), LHP Spencer Steedley (40 man – No), LHP Jake Stevens (40 man – No), LHP Paul Bargas (40 man – Yes)

I think that Gutierrez is ready for Triple-A. Some could argue he’s ready for the big leagues. But this is the first time he has gone into a season as a reliever, and I think it would be good to start him back with New Britain for a month or two, let him close and pitch in more tough situations and get comfortable. It also gives some of those AAA guys a couple of months to prove what they have. There is no rush with Gutierrez. He doesn’t need to be added to the 40 man roster until after the season, and they aren’t going to want to use an option, so patience is a good thing. Jacobson was the second piece that came over from the Orioles in the Hardy trade. He has an interesting delivery, but he does throw hard and has a good curveball. Hirschfeld is definitely an option to start. He was terrific in 2009 but missed more of 2010 with injury. Robertson struggled as a starter with the Rock Cats last year, and when he went to the Arizona Fall League, it was announced that he would be moved to the bullpen. I think he has the makeup and the stuff to be successful in the role. Dakota Watts started the 2010 season (his first full season) with Beloit and ended in New Britain, and in the middle, he was touching 98 and 99 on the radar gun in Ft. Myers. Arias really struggled with the Rock Cats last year, but he should be given another shot. Steedley had a terrific April for the Rock Cats last year, but by the end of May, he had his elbow worked on. He could start this season on the Disabled List, but if he can come back, he is a good LOOGY possibility down the road. Jake Stevens is also left-handed. He was out of baseball last year, but the Twins gave the Naples, FL, native a chance to make the team. Paul Bargas was acquired by the Twins in the trade of Jose Morales. He’s got decent numbers in his minor league career, especially against left-handers. Bargas also has meningitis, and on one of the first days of minor league camp, he collapsed on the field and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. He has not yet returned to the team, but he should at some point.

Overall: This is where some really exciting Twins prospects will be. A couple of these guys would be ready to play at Rochester, but in terms of development, I think that Parmelee, Benson, Bromberg, Tosoni and Gutierrez may be best served by spending more time in AA. The first four were only added to the 40 man roster this offseason, and Gutierrez isn’t even on the 40 man yet, so time is on their side. This should be a solid team. Don’t be surprised if the likes of Ray Chang and Matt Brown end up here as well, which would make them a more veteran team. This should be a fun team to watch and several of them could be called up to the Twins at some point this season, if needed.

The minor league rosters should be announced later this week as their seasons get started next week. In fact, most of the roster spots have been determined and players are finding out. I have been quite surprised by some of the reports I have heard, but without knowing background, injuries, etc., it’s hard to determine from afar what some of the reasoning might be. Either way, it will be fun to find out and more importantly, to get this season started!

If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to comment or ask.

——————————————————–

  • Cody Christie, the North Dakota Twins Fan, joined me on the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast last night. Lots more Twins topics covered such as the Jim Thome/Jason Kubel playing time question, Joe Nathan and Matt Capps, food options at Target Field, and many, many more topics.
  • If you are interested in the Twins minor league system, Twins Minor League Weekly podcast will begin on Thursday night at 10:00. Travis Aune and Seth will host the 10:00 p.m. podcast each Thursday throughout the season. We will talk about what’s going on with each Twins affiliate, how the teams are doing, who is hot, who is not, transactions, and much more.

Twins Non-Roster Invitees

11 Jan

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Via Twitter, the Twins announced that they are inviting 19 non-roster players to big league spring training. According to the Tweet, the list will include “6 pitchers, 6 catchers, 5 infielders and 2 outfielders.”

According to the press release sent later, here are the players who will come to Major League spring training camp along with the players on the team’s 40 man roster.

Pitchers: Kyle Gibson, Carlos Gutierrez, Yorman Bazardo, Phil Dumatrait, Chuck James, Kyle Waldrop.

Catchers: Steve Holm, Rene Rivera, Jair Fernandez, Danny Rams, Chris Herrmann, Danny Lehmann.

Infielders: Chase Lambin, Brian Dozier, Justin Huber, Matt Brown, Ray Chang.

Outfielders: Jeff Bailey, Brian Dinkelman.

Shocked that wasn’t invited to spring training: Steve Singleton. It makes no sense at all. Twins need to release him and let him catch on with a team that will give a second baseman with a good glove and pop in his bat a chance. When guys like Chase Lambin and Matt Brown and Ray Chang are getting an opportunity ahead of him, it’s really disappointing. Not sure what’s going on there.

I have written about each of the players added throughout the offseason as the Twins added so many minor league free agents. Chris Herrmann is an interesting add. They really like him and keep calling him a catcher, but he’s actually a tremendous defensive outfielder. Obviously he’s 2-3 years away from big league ready, but it’s a nice honor for him. With all of the pitchers in camp, they need a lot of catchers as well.

The big picture is that Waldrop and maybe Dumatrait are the only players above that have a chance to make the team out of spring training. Gibson and Gutierrez, their 2009 and 2008 first round picks respectively, won’t make the team out of camp. They are actually prospects, so expect to see them promoted in June, when they pass that Super-2 date.

Any thoughts? Feel free to e-mail me or leave your 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.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

26 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

This morning, I will join Paul Allen on KFAN and KFAN.com at about 9:20 a.m. If you’re able to listen, that would be great. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday was a difficult day for Twins fans. After Scott Baker and AJ Burnett exchanged zeroes for five innings on Tuesday night, their game was suspended. The teams played the final four innings of that game on Thursday afternoon. In those four innings, only one run was scored, a solo home run off the bat of Derek Jeter. Game 1 – Yankees 1, Twins 0. In the second game, Francisco Liriano was very good. Through seven innings, he gave up just two runs. Unfortunately, through eight innings, the two teams each had just two runs. Jon Rauch came in for the 9th inning and gave up a solo home run to Nick Swisher. That was it. Game 2 – Yankees 3, Twins 2.  

There was some Good, Some Bad, and some Ugly in the games on Wednesday:

The Good

  • Starting Pitching. Scott Baker was great on Tuesday night, and Francisco Liriano was very good on Wednesday night. Unfortunately for the Twins and their fans, the Yankees starters were just as well. AJ Burnett matched Baker’s five shutout innings on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Andy Pettitte was impressive, giving up just two runs in eight innings.
  • The bullpens – Brian Duensing gave up the solo home run to Jeter, but that was all in three innings. Jesse Crain pitched a very good ninth inning. Matt Guerrier pitched a scoreless 8th inning in the night game.
  • Drew Butera – Butera did a really good job of working with Liriano. He also picked up his first double of his career late in the game to set up a Twins rally. Speaking of doubles, Delmon Young hit a long double to CF that scored Michael Cuddyer.

The Bad

  • Runners on 1st and 3rd, nobody out, Orlando Hudson up. He gets jammed by Pettitte and lines back to the pitcher very softly for the first out of the inning.
  • Runners on 1st and 3rd, now one out, Joe Mauer up. On a 3-1 pitch, Pettitte throw another slider on the outer part of the plate. Mauer reached and lined a tailor-made double play ground ball to Derek Jeter.
  • Remember when the Twins used to actually do all the little things right? I miss those annoying days of getting bunts down and moving runners over and coming up with so much as a sacrifice fly when there is a runner on third and less than two outs. I know that nationally, the Twins are perceived as doing the little things. This team does not do the little things and that is what loses one run games to teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays. You can usually get away with it against all of the other teams in the league, but not the good teams.

The Ugly

  • The Twins have an early 1-0 lead. Runner on 1st and one out. Francisco Cervelli grounds to Brendan Harris, who throws to 2B Orlando Hudson for the force out at 2B. Hudson takes a step back, cleans off the ball on his pants leg, grabs a sandwich out of his back pocket, eats it (please note, this is a slight exaggeration), then throws the ball to 1B, missing a double play by inches. The inning continued and Kevin Russo drove in Cervelli with a double. Hudson’s occasional lapses are allegedly the reason that he lost playing time to Ronnie Belliard down the stretch with the Dodgers last year. Earlier in the year, I was told to expect many such instances. They have actually been few and far between, but this one hurt.
  • The fact that Brendan Harris playing every day is making Twins fans clamor for Nick Punto’s return to the lineup. Or Danny Valencia’s promotion to the big leagues. Harris has gone 6-39 in May, and that includes a 3-4 game earlier in the month.
  • The Twins media seems to perpetuate this sense that the Yankees are a far better team and organization than the Twins. I have the utmost respect for the Yankees organization and most of their players, but I also believe that the Twins starting nine is just as good. I’m tired of hearing that the team “has to play perfect ball” to beat the Yankees.
  • Even worse, the Twins play against the Yankees proves that media right!
  • Speaking of the media – stop talking about the Twins inability to hit home runs. Please stop saying that ball would have been a homer in the Metrodome. Yes, home runs are great, but both teams play on the same field, and while the Twins players have allowed the frustration of lack of home runs affect them, other teams haven’t. Opponents have twice as many home runs as the Twins at Target Field. And on this day, Joe Mauer just missed a homer in the second game. JJ Hardy just missed what would have been a game-tying homer off of Mariano Rivera in the 9th inning. But you know what… Derek Jeter was able to get one out of there. Nick Swisher was able to get one out of there. So no, it’s not impossible to homer in Target Field. And, I hate to agree with Bert Blyleven, but even if there aren’t homers, the field plays the same for both teams, so you have to still find ways to win games.
  • The ugliest – my attitude while watching the offensive ineptitude. And I’m the positive Twins blogger, right? Even I’m more than a little frustrated. No, I’m not ‘the sky is falling down’ like Fanatic Jack, and I still believe that what happens in these May games won’t necessarily affect what happens in October. It’s just frustrating to keep losing close games, especially against a Yankees team that frankly, isn’t that terribly great.

The Twins and Yankees play again tonight, with Nick Blackburn going against Sergio Mitre.

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

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

SethSpeaks Wednesday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Not Applicable Tonight

Red Wings Report   

Wednesday – Rochester No Games Scheduled in International League.  

New Britain Notes

Wednesday – New Britain 6, New Hampshire 11David Bromberg started and gave up four runs on nine hits in the first six innings. He walked two and struck out two. Joe Testa came in and gave up four runs on three hits and two walks (and two hit batters) in just one inning. Chris Province gave up three runs on five hits in two innings. Jair Fernandez went 2-4 with a triple. Steve Singleton was 2-4. Erik Lis hit his third home run and drove in three runs.  

Singleton Update – On May 5th, Steve Singleton was hitting .192. Since then, he has gone 29-77 (.377) and is now hitting .281.

Miracle Matters

Wednesday – Ft. Myers 4, Bradenton 10 – Michael Tarsi got lit up but at least was able to go five innings. He gave up eight runs (7 earned) on 11 hits, including two home runs. He walked none and struck out five. Shooter Hunt gave up two runs on three hits in three innings. He walked one, hit one and struck out three in three innings. Chris Parmelee went 2-4 while five other hitters each hit a double.    

Snappers Snippets

Wednesday – Beloit 1, Quad Cities 6Edgar Ibarra started and gave up four runs on six hits and four walks in four innings. He struck out five. Jhon Garcia gave up one run on three hits in two innings. He struck out three. Eliecer Cardenas gave up an unearned run on two hits in two innings. The Snappers managed just four hits. Angel Morales hit a triple.  

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

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.

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.

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