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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?

SethSpeaks.net Twins Minor League July Hitters/Pitchers of the Month

2 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

It is hard to believe that we are now into August and four months of the baseball season is already complete. The minor league seasons will be complete right around Labor Day, so we are about three-quarters of the way through the season. Today, it is time for me to again consider the top performers in the Twins minor league system for July.

Real quickly, here are the top players from the season’s first three months:

Hitters: 

  • April: Daniel Ortiz – Beloit Snappers
  • May: Brian Dozier – Ft. Myers Miracle
  • June: Aaron Hicks – Ft. Myers Miracle

Relief Pitchers:

  • April: Cole DeVries – New Britain Rock Cats
  • May: Chuck James – Rochester Red Wings
  • June: Andrew Albers – Ft. Myers Miracle

Starting Pitchers:

  • April: Steve Hirschfeld – New Britain Rock Cats
  • May: Steve Hirschfeld – New Britain Rock Cats
  • June: Tom Stuifbergen – Ft. Myers Miracle

So, who are the choices for July? Below, I will post the stats for my choices for #5, #4, #3, and #2 before announcing the choice for the #1. I will write a little about the winner while giving stats for #2-5. For more on the runners-up, and more honorable mentions, go to SethSpeaks.net over the next couple of days.

HITTER of JULY

  • #5 – Jeff Bailey – Rochester Red Wings (.314/.402/.614 with 6 doubles, 3 triples, 4 home runs and 21 RBI)
  • #4 – Deibinson Romero – New Britain Rock Cats (.308/.360/615 with 7 doubles, 7 home runs and 16 RBI)
  • #3 – Chris Parmelee – New Britain Rock Cats (.305/.397/.559 with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs and 26 RBI)
  • #2 – Lance Ray – Beloit Snappers (.312/389/.602 with 12 doubles, 5 home runs and 22 RBI)

And the July Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is… Jairo Perez, Beloit Snappers.

The Twins signed Perez out of Venezuela in July of 2006. He had a pretty non-descript career coming into this season. In fact, he missed the entire 2010 season after having Tommy John surgery. He did not play in 2011 until mid-June. But since his return, he has done nothing but hit, and hit for power. On the season, he has hit .351/.427/.613 with 11 doubles, 11 home runs and 46 RBI in just 45 games. In July, he hit .320/.393/.610 with eight doubles, seven home runs and 30 RBI. With the Snappers, he is primarily playing 3B but also getting some playing time at 2B. At just 5-10 and 160 pounds, the 23 year old takes a mammoth swing and does hit the ball very hard. It will be interesting to see if he advances to Ft. Myers by the end of the season.

RELIEF PITCHER of JULY

  • #4 – Madison Boer – Elizabethton Twins – 1-1, 5 Saves, 3.75 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 12 IP, 2 BB, 21 K, .239 BAA.
     
  • #3 – Matt Summers – Elizabethton Twins – 1-1, 3 Saves, 1.50 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 12 IP, 3 BB, 21 K, .186 BAA
  • #2 – Matt Hauser – Ft. Myers Miracle – 0-2, 1.72 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 15.2 IP, 6 BB, 16 K, .167 BA

And the July Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is… Kyle Waldrop, Rochester Red Wings.

We keep reading that the Twins don’t have anyone in Rochester who could help out the Twins bullpen. If you look at Waldrop’s season stats (4.20 ERA, 1.32 WHIP), it is hard to believe that he is ready to contribute, but in July, he was terrific! He went 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP. In 13 games, he threw 19.2 innings. He gave up just 12 hits, walked three and struck out 14. What is most impressive is his 11.67 ground balls per fly balls. He has always been a major ground ball pitcher, but those numbers are incredible. One of the Twins first-round picks in 2004, he could have become a 6-year minor league free agent last offseason. Instead, he signed back with the Twins quickly. He did a great job in spring training again, and looks to an opportunity to make his big league debut with the Twins.

STARTING PITCHER of JULY

  • #5 – Hung-yi Chen – GCL Twins – 0-2, 2.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 18 IP, 4 BB, 19 K, .246 BAA
  • #4 – Angel Mata – GCL Twins – 0-0, 0.56 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 16 IP, 4 BB, 12 K, .135 BAA
  • #3 – Pedro Guerra – Elizabethton Twins – 2-1, 3.41 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 29 IP, 4 BB, 30 K, .154 BAA
  • #2 – Liam Hendriks – New Britain Rock Cats & Rochester Red Wings, 3-0, 3.38 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 26.2 IP, 2 BB, 17 K. 
    •  BONUS INFO (because Twins fans need to start getting to know Liam Hendriks!) – July was a busy month for Hendriks, the one person who has been in the Top 5 all three months previously this year. He began the month in New Britain where he made just one start. He went seven innings and gave up just two runs on four hits and a walk. He then pitched an inning in the Futures Game, representing the Twins and his home of Australia. He then went and played in the Double A Eastern League All Star game. He was then promoted to Triple-A Rochester, where he has gone 2-0 with a 3.66 ERA in three starts. He has given up eight runs on 22 hits and a walk in 19.2 innings. Hendriks began the 2010 season in Beloit before moving up to Ft. Myers for the remainder of the season. This year, he began in New Britain and now is toiling in Rochester. Don’t be surprised if Hendriks earns a September call-up to the Twins because he has to be added to the 40 man roster following the season anyway.

And the July Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is… BJ Hermsen, Beloit Snappers

After spending some time in Beloit in 2010, Hermsen is having a terrific first full season with the Snappers. He is 11-7 with a 3.08 ERA on the year. In 117 innings, he has given up 124 hits and walked just 30. He isn’t a strikeout pitcher (just 75). At 6-5 and 235 pounds, the 21 year old from Iowa was the team’s 6th round pick in 2008. In July, Hermsen went 5-1 with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In 38 innings, he walked nine and struck out 25. Opponents hit just .227 against him. Hermsen teams with Adrian Salcedo for a very strong 1-2 punch for the Snappers. 

So there you have it. Congratulations to the July players of the month – Hitter: Jairo Perez (Beloit), Reliever: Kyle Waldrop (Rochester) and Starting Pitcher: BJ Hermsen (Beloit). There were a lot of good hitting and pitching performances in July.

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Please feel free to discuss and ask questions.

Roster Projections: Rochester Red Wings

29 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 that 2011 Triple-A Rochester Red Wings 24-man roster – In progress.

Now that the Twins have set their own roster, what does it mean for the Triple-A team? After the Red Wings lost nearly 100 games last year, the Twins went out and acquired a lot of minor league veterans. They did this for a few reasons, but the primary one had to be to win more games and keep the Rochester fan base happy. Secondly, it does allow the Twins to be more patient with actual prospects so that they can play and develop at the proper pace. So, let’s take a look at a projected Red Wings roster. These are the guys who could be called up at any time to play for the Twins if needed. I will include whether or not they are on the Twins 40 man roster because if they are not, they will need to be added before being called up.)

(the below roster is my opinion and my guesses, and nothing official.)

Catchers: Rene Rivera (40 man – No) – Steve Holm (40 man – No) 

With Wilson Ramos with the Nationals and Jose Morales with the Rockies, the Twins went out and acquired two minor league veterans, each with Major League service time and many years of AAA experience. Danny Lehmann impressed in spring training and although I believe he will start at AA New Britain, he is also an option for a call up should Drew Butera be hurt.

Infielders: 1B – Jeff Bailey (40 man – No), 2B – Luke Hughes (40 man – Yes), 3B – Chase Lambin (40 man – No), SS – Trevor Plouffe (40 man – Yes), Utility – Michael Hollimon (40 man – No), 1B/DH – Erik Lis - (40 man – No)

Bailey and Lambin were the first two minor league free agents that they signed. Bailey got some playing time and displayed power with the Red Sox in parts of three season. He and Lambin both have a lot of experience. Lambin was an International League All-Star last year. Luke Hughes showed his power in spring training. He will just need to stay healthy in 2011 (something he hasn’t been able to do in recent years) and he will be with the Twins at some point. So will Trevor Plouffe, despite a tough spring. Bailey can play some right field. The other four infielders listed should move around the infield, including 1B, because their role with the Twins would likely be off the bench. Yes, it is possible that Toby Gardenhire is on the roster, although my guess is that he will be on the “Disabled List.” Steve Singleton and his organization-leading 43 doubles will likely begin the season back in New Britain due to the veterans brought in. Matt Brown and Ray Chang, who each got a Non-Roster Invite to spring training, are also possibilities for the Red Wings roster. Justin Huber, who was another Non-Roster invite, was recently released which likely means that Erik Lis could get a lot of at bats as the Designated Hitter. It is possible Chris Parmelee will end the season with the Red Wings.

Outfielders: LF – Dustin Martin (40 man – No), CF – Ben Revere (40 man – Yes), RF – Brian Dinkelman (40 man – No), 4th outfielder – Brandon Roberts (40 man – No).

Martin will return for his third season with the Red Wings. Dinkelman will be there for his second full season. Both should have better seasons in 2011. Brandon Roberts has missed so much time the last few years with leg injuries. When he was healthy last year, he played really well, and in 153 at bats with the Red Wings at the end of 2010, he hit .333. He has primarily played CF in his career. As mentioned above, Bailey can play right field. Ben Revere will be making his Triple-A debut in 2011, even though he made his major league debut in 2010. Some believe he is ready for the big leagues. I believe he is close, but getting a year at AAA can only help him. He will likely be the one promoted to the Twins if there is a need. Joe Benson and Rene Tosoni impressed in spring training, and Tosoni could be the first promoted to AAA, if needed.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Eric Hacker (40 man – Yes), LHP Scott Diamond (40 man – No), RHP Kyle Gibson (40 man – No), Chuck James (40 man – No), Anthony Swarzak (40 man – Yes)

Obviously Gibson is the guy that everyone is going to be anxiously waiting for, but it will be good for him to get at least another 12-15 starts in Rochester. Triple-A hitters frequently have some big league time, and it is a good transition for pitchers to get to see hitters who are usually much more patient. Swarzak lost a lot of weight and he has regained some of the velocity he showed two years ago. Hopefully he can regain some of the effectiveness. The Twins gave up a lot (Billy Bullock) to retain the services of Scott Diamond. Hopefully it will be a good move. Diamond has put up terrific numbers throughout his minor league career, never posting an ERA above 3.52 at any level and striking out 7.3 per nine innings. Chuck James has 24 big league wins, and went 10-1 between AA and AAA last year with the Nationals organization in his return from surgery. Hacker went 16-8 with a league-average 4.51 ERA last year in the Pacific Coast League. He didn’t have a strong showing in big league camp, but he can provide Rochester with a solid season. The surprise omission here is David Bromberg. He made nine starts with the Red Wings last year and pitched well. He was added to the 40 man roster after the season, and he is a very good prospect, but it could be a positive in the long run for him to get a few more starts in AA and use what he learned in AAA late last year and in spring training this year.

Bullpen: RHP Alex Burnett (40 man – Yes), RHP Kyle Waldrop (40 man – No), RHP Jim Hoey (40 man – Yes), LHP Phil Dumatrait (40 man – No), RHP Chris Province (40 man – No), Yorman Bazardo (40 man – No), Andy Baldwin (40 man – No) RHP Anthony Slama (40 man – Yes)

I assume based on his arm issues during spring training that Anthony Slama could start the season on the Disabled List. Jim Hoey was the last guy with a chance to make the team to be sent down. He and his fastball could be promoted soon if he shows any semblance of control. Kyle Waldrop made another very strong impression this spring, and with the open 40 man roster spots, he could be added if needed. Alex Burnett was on the Twins opening day roster one year ago without any time in Rochester. He was sent back down in July before a September call-up. He will get more opportunities with the Twins. Phil Dumatrait is a former first-round pick who has quite a bit of big league time. He was the #4 lefty on a roster that kept three lefties in the bullpen. Chris Province came to the Twins last year from the Red Sox in exchange for Boof Bonser. He pitched mainly in New Britain last year. He did make a couple of starts for the Red Wings late in 2010, but he is a bullpen arm. Bazardo pitched well for the Tigres de Aragua this winter in Venezuela and got a minor league deal with the Twins. Low strikeout numbers, but he could be a long reliever. Baldwin is a Minnesota native who has spent the last three seasons pitching in AAA for the Mariners organization. You likely noticed that I did not include Carlos Gutierrez on this roster which may be a surprise to you. It was also somewhat of a surprise to me as well because he ended 2010 with two games for the Red Wings. I just think that with the minor league veterans, it would be good for him to begin the season pitching as the closer in New Britain. Remember, he has been doing a lot of starting in his pro career. It will be good for him to get some development time in the late innings for the Rockcats.He will get to AAA quickly. Additionally, Ryan Mullins and Minnesota-native Cole Devries remain options for the Red Wings bullpen.

Overall: This is a very veteran team which should mean a lot more wins in Rochester in 2011. I do believe that it is best for most of the prospects in the system in the long run, but there are not many prospects to watch in Rochester this year. Ben Revere and Kyle Gibson are the two that would be deemed top prospects. Plouffe is still just 24 and a prospect, but he is now in his fourth season with the Red Wings. Hughes and Waldrop made great impressions in spring training again, and we could see both of them this year.. Hoey and Burnett are exciting, but no longer “prospects” due to their time in the big leagues.

Due to the minor league free agents, AA New Britain should be filled with several exciting prospects such as Joe Benson, David Bromberg, Chris Parmelee, Carlos Gutierrez, Dakota Watts, Steve Singleton and more.

The minor league rosters should be announced later this week as their seasons get started next week. It will be very interesting to see where some of the team’s top prospects end up. There were more releases in the last couple of days, a couple that surprised me, and there will likely need to be more in the coming days to bring the rosters down to the appropriate level.

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

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Early Impressions

22 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

There are a lot of clichés surrounding spring training. Some say statistics don’t matter at all. I would fully agree with that as it relates to the players with sure roster spots. The Twins have 21 or 22 spots on their roster that are already determined. The statistics of those players are essentially meaningless. There is little, if any, correlation between spring statistics (good or bad) and regular season success.

Spring stats matter to those who are fighting for a roster spot. As I wrote yesterday, this probably indicates that spring performance matters to Dusty Hughes, Jim Hoey, Kyle Waldrop, Jeff Manship, Matt Tolbert, Luke Hughes and Jeff Bailey.

Another adage that many baseball people say frequently is that spring numbers and performance do not matter until the final two weeks of spring leading up to Opening Day. At that point, many players have been sent to minor league camp. Hitters are getting three or four at bats most games and they are against pitchers who are likely to be on a big league roster at some point in 2011.

If that is true, and we have one more week of spring training, then the stats from the past week matter a little bit, right? The Twins had an off day last Tuesday, so below are the stats for many of the Twins players over the last week, starting with the hitters:

  • Denard Span has a hit in all five games he has played in this past week.
  • Tsuyoshi Nishioka has also played in five games and gone 6-15 (.400).
  • Delmon Young has played in six games and gone 6-18 (.333).
  • Danny Valencia is 1-13 in his last four games.
  • Luke Hughes, the guy everyone seems to think should be given the Twins utility infield spot, has played in six games and is 2-21 (.095), including going 0-13 in his past four games.
  • Matt Tolbert has started twice in the last week and gone 5-8 in those two games, including a home run.
  • Jeff Bailey is 4-11 in his past three games. He is the one player who has played in all seven games.

Here are the numbers over the past week for a few of the Twins pitchers:

  • Jim Hoey, who was hit hard early in camp and walked quite a few, pitched three times in the last week. In three innings, he has not given up a run. He has given up just one hit, walked none and struck out four.
  • Glen Perkins has pitched twice. In his two innings, he has not allowed a run.
  • Carlos Gutierrez has got three innings and not allowed a run despite four hits and three walks.
  • Dusty Hughes, who many (including me) are calling a given at this point, pitched in three games in the past week. He has thrown four scoreless innings, but he has given up four hits and walked five batters. Those are the types of numbers that Scott Diamond put up in his first two outings that got him called “disappointing” by Twins brass.

What does all this mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe it will matter as the final roster spots are chosen. I think looking at stats from the entire spring, Luke Hughes and Dusty Hughes would be favorites for roster spots with the Twins. However, if stats from the past week are to mean more, then maybe we need to take a second look at guys like Jim Hoey, Matt Tolbert and Jeff Bailey.

You all know how I feel about small sample sizes, good or bad. We all acknowledge that we don’t see what happens outside of box scores. We all understand that there are intangibles that go beyond those box scores as well.

If you like, please feel free to comment.

Spring Game 1: Twins 8, Red Sox 4

28 Feb

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Yes, I do know that it is a spring training game. Yes, I know that it really doesn’t mean anything. Yes, I realize everything is small sample sizes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

But I don’t care. It was the first spring training game of the year tonight, and it was awesome. The Twins could have lost 18-4 and I would have enjoyed it just as much. Sure, pitchers and catchers reported about 10 days ago. The hitters showed up earlier in the week and got a few practices in, but now there are actually games to talk about. The specifics of what happens in the game are not the big thing. It’s just that, for fans, there are box scores. And, like John Gordon and Dan Gladden or not, there are games to listen to. By next weekend, we’ll be able to actually watch games on TV. Early October was a long time ago. It is now late February and here we go again, the baseball season is upon us!

On Friday morning, the temperatures here in Northern Minnesota were at 22 degrees below zero. On Saturday morning, it was about 15 below. So, I officially booked my trip down to Ft. Myers. I will be on a very early morning flight next Tuesday, and I will be in Ft. Myers before noon! I have never been in Ft. Myers for the sole purpose of being at Twins spring training camp, so I am really looking forward to it.

So, let’s get back to last night’s game between the Twins and the Red Sox. Here are a few notes:

  • Twins Starting Lineup was: Denard Span (CF), Tsuyoshi Nishioka (2B), Jason Kubel (RF), Jim Thome (DH), Danny Valencia (3B), Chris Parmelee (1B), Jason Repko (LF), Alexi Casilla (SS), Drew Butera (‘C).
  • Carl Pavano got the start and went two shutout innings. Then there were scoreless innings by Pat Neshek, Dusty Hughes, Alex Burnett, Jeff Manship and Scott Diamond. Anthony Swarzak pitched the 8th inning and despite losing 30 pounds in the offseason, he gave up three runs (2 earned) on four hits in the inning. Chuck James came in for the 9th and gave up a leadoff home run and another hit, but struck out two.
  • Even with Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young out of the lineup, the team put together what would be a decent Sunday afternoon lineup.
  • In a post-game tweet, Phil Mackey noted that Justin Morneau will be seeing a doctor in the next couple of days, and hopefully he will be cleared to play in spring games soon.
  • Each of the starters got two at bats. In fact, the only starter with a third at bat was Tsuyoshi Nishioka. After two left-handed at bats (one against Josh Beckett, and one against Clay Buchholz), he was able to get one right-handed at bat in against fellow Japanese player, Hideki Okajima. Nishioka got his first hit against Okajima and was immediately replaced by Ray Chang.
  • Chris Parmelee and Jason Repko each had two hits. In the 2nd inning, Parmelee doubled down the right field line off of Beckett. Repko followed with a triple high off the fence in left field. In the 5th inning, Parmelee grounded a single up the middle off of lefty Okajima. Repko followed with another single.
  • Alexi Casilla added a bloop single that loaded the bases. One out later, Joe Benson made his first plate appearance of the spring. With two strikes, Benson launched a ball to deep centerfield, out of the reach of Mike Cameron. The triple drove in all three base runners, and Benson showed off his tremendous speed. Equally important, he showed his speed and instincts while playing centerfield. He made several catches in the gaps. Benson isn’t going to make the team out of spring training, but he can make a big impression, and he has already made a big first impression.
  • I’m under the assumption that the utility infielder job is Matt Tolbert’s to lose. I do think that Trevor Plouffe and Luke Hughes should and will also get an opportunity. But a few Twins non-roster options got a chance to play tonight:
    • Chase Lambin – The 31 year old has never stepped field in a big league game during the regular season. He was one of the first veteran minor leaguers that the Twins signed this offseason. Last year at Syracuse (Nationals AAA), he hit .252/.327/.414 with 28 doubles and 15 home runs. He was an International League All-Star. He has primarily played 1B, 2B and 3B throughout his career, and to give himself a real chance to be a utility player for the Twins, he will need to show he can play an adequate shortstop. That is the position he played on Sunday. He had a throwing error, but it was an unusual play. The Red Sox batter singled to the gap. Joe Benson made a nice diving play to keep the ball from getting to the wall. He relayed to Lambin who, seeing the runner had scampered too far past first base, threw errantly to the bag. On another play, a ground ball deep in the hole between third and short, he made the play, but Mike Cameron beat the throw to first base. (Again, one game.)
    • Ray Chang, who is a 27 year old from Kansas City, is another option. He played in 98 games at the Triple-A level between 2006 and 2008. Last year, he hit .298/.384/.436 with Portland, the Double-A affiliate of the Red Sox. In 116 games, he hit 30 doubles and nine home runs. He has played 173 games at shortstop, 108 at second base, and 65 at second base in his pro career. He is a terrific defender who has started hitting a lot better the last two years. He played for Team China in the World Baseball Classic.
    • Matt Brown got to play a couple of innings at first base. In his career, he has played 567 games at 3B, 158 games at first base and 57 games at 2B. He has played 26 games in left field, all of them in 2010. In 2007, he went 0-5 in four games with the Angels. In 2008, he went 1-19 with the Angels. Last year, he played in 79 games in AAA for the Rangers, in Oklahoma City. He hit .249/.311/.442 with 18 doubles, five triples and ten home runs. That one was a strange signing.
  • Jeff Bailey came in to play first base, and in his first Twins at bat, he launched a home run to left field. Bailey was drafted in 1997, but he went to the Red Sox in 2004. In 2007, he got into three games for the Sox and went 1-9 with his first big league homer. In 2008, he hit two more homers in 50 big league at bats. In 2009, he hit three home runs in 77 at bats for Boston. In 2010, he played in 129 games for Reno, the AAA affiliate of the Diamondbacks. He hit .289/.387/.462 with 33 doubles, seven triples and 12 home runs. Like Lambin, he was one of the first guys that the Twins signed. I think that Bailey is someone to watch in Triple A. He posted an .899 OPS against left-handed pitchers in 2010. In 64 Major League at bats against left-handed pitchers, he has hit .316/.391/.649 with five of his six home runs. We talk about the Twins needing a right-handed bench bat. Bailey may just be a perfect option for the role.
  • Steve Liddle made his debut as the Twins third base coach. With Brian Dinkelman at 2B and two outs, Liddle sent him home on a single, and Dinkelman was thrown out at the plate. At least it was a very close play.
  • The Twins and Red Sox will play again on Monday at noon (central time).

FORMER TWINS UPDATES

  • Saturday Games
    • Garrett Jones – RF – Pittsburgh – BB, Run
    • Luis Ayala – RP – NY Yankees – 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K
    • Brad Thomas – RP – Detroit – 1 IP, 0 R, 1 K
    • Jason Pridie – CF – NY Mets – 0-1
    • David Winfree – RF – Arizona – 1-3
    • Former Twins Player of the DayRob Delaney – RP – Tampa Bay Rays
      • 2 Innings pitched, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K – Win
  • Sunday Games
    • Boof Bonser – RP – NY Mets – 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
    • Sean Henn – RP – Toronto – 1 IP, 0 R
    • Doug Deeds – RF – Texas – 1-2, HR, 2 RBI
    • Gil Velazquez – 3B – LA Angels – 0-1
    • Casey Blake – 3B – LA Dodgers – 1-2, 2B
    • Juan Rincon – RP – LA Dodgers – 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K
    • Steve Tolleson – 2B – Oakland – 0-2, BB, R
    • Matt Garza – SP – Chicago Cubs – 2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1-1
    • Corky Miller – C – Cincinnati Reds – 1-1, 2B, 2 RBI
    • Orlando Cabrera – 2B – Cleveland – 0-2
    • Kevin Mulvey – RP – Arizona – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save
    • Former Twins Player of the DayGarrett Jones – RF – Pittsburgh Pirates
      • 3-3, 2-2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, SB

BLOG SPOTTING

Please feel free to comment in the comments section.

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.

Twins Sign Jeff Bailey

17 Nov

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

The Twins continued to support their AAA Rochester roster today by announcing they have signed 31 year old 1B/OF Jeff Bailey to a minor league contract. He played in Reno last year, the AAA Affiliate of the Diamondbacks, and hit .289/.387/.462 with 33 doubles, seven triples and 12 home runs. He played 51 games at 1B, 37 games in left field and 26 games in right field. Bailey was originally a 2nd round draft pick of the Marlins in 1997. He spent a few seasons with the Expos. Then the Red Sox signed him, and after three years in AAA, and much of the 2007 season as well, he got into three games for the Red Sox and went 1-9. The hit was a home run. In 2008, he got 50 at bats in 27 games for the Red Sox, and hit .280/.390/.460 with two homers. In 2009, he got 77 at bats in 26 games for the Red Sox and hit .208/.330/.416 with three more home runs. Throughout his career, he has shown some decent power, but he really knows how to work counts and draft walks. This is consistent with Chase Lambin who the Twins signed last weekend to a minor league contract.

The Twins have definitely made a strong push in the minor league free agent market and that is a good thing. First, the Rochester fans will have a team that they can hopefully get some wins from this year. But more importantly, it allows the Twins to be more patient with promotions of their prospects, and that is very important.

Any thoughts? Feel free to e-mail me or Comment here.

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