also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -
RADIO APPEARANCE TODAY – I will be on The Fan am740 in Fargo, on Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. I will be on during the noon hour with Dan Hammer of The Dan Hammer Show. It should be fun talking about the Twins and any other topics that he would like to talk about. So, if you are within a one-hundred or so mile radius of Fargo, try to tune in. If not, and you’re interested in listening, the station does have an online option to Listen Live. Check it out if you have a chance and let me know what you think.
PODCAST TONIGHT – There will be another SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast tonight. It will air live from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. central time. Of course, you will also be able to hear it as a podcast throughout the next week, if you are not able to listen live. Early this afternoon, I intend to post a schedule of guests. So be sure to check back.
BOOK UPDATE – On Monday, I received two copies of Version Two of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook – 2009. I have to admit that it looks pretty good, much better than version one! I have noticed a few things that I would like to edit and change around a little bit, but it is very exciting to see this project really coming together nicely. I want to thank everyone who has already pre-ordered their copy, or copies in many cases, of the book. A big thank you to all of you who have already paid. So again, I will be taking pre-orders for Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook – 2009 through Thursday (or maybe Friday morning). If you want to know a little more information about the book including pricing, payment and such, please click on this link. I still believe that we are on schedule for it to be available online right before Thanksgiving. But if you would like to pre-order the book, or several copies of the book (for a discounted price), check out the pre-order details and send me an e-mail. Again, if there are any retailers (book stores, sports card shops, convenience stores, etc.), please e-mail me for a pricing plan.
Neshek Surgery Update
LaVelle E Neal informs us that Pat Neshek will be having his Tommy John surgery on Tuesday in the Twin Cities with the team’s doctor, Doctor Buss. Obviously we hope that it goes perfectly, that Pat is able to work through the process to recovery and be back and raring to go for the 2010 season.
Also in LaVelle’s article, he made a couple other nice notes:
· Congratulations to Twins Director of Minor League operations Jim Rantz on being named the very first winner of the Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award for all of his great work in player development. Obviously it is a very well deserved honor.
40 Man Roster Decisions
In the same article, LaVelle also mentions that the Twins have to have their 40 man roster decisions made by Thursday, November 20th. That is this week. This was going to be my main topic for today, and I do think it is a good topic for discussion. So, the Twins are at 31 roster spots taken. The math mind in me tells me that they could add as many as nine more players to the roster by Thursday. It is also likely that they will leave one or two roster spots open for free agent signings or to be able to draft in the Rule V draft. Here is how I would separate those who need to be added to the 40 man roster without being subject to being taken in the Rule V draft.
The Easy Choices
These guys clearly have to be added to the 40 Man Roster:
· Trevor Plouffe – Twins first first round pick in 2004 out of high school. He is still just 22 years old and has a half-season of AAA under his belt. Still could be a big league regular.
· Steve Tolleson – drafted out of college in 2005, Tolleson really showed in 2008 that he has a big league future. Offensively, he may be very close to ready. Defensively, a lot of work could be done. He is already 25.
· Anthony Swarzak – a second round pick in 2004 out of high school, Swarzak went 5-0 with a 1.80 ERA in seven AAA starts. As bad as he was at AA this year, he’s got tremendous potential. Just turned 23.
· Brian Duensing – Duensing was the Twins first 3rd round pick in 2005 out of college. He climbed up the system quickly, but has now spent a year and a half at AAA. Just waiting for the opportunity.
· Luke Hughes – Signed out of Australia in 2002, he has been eligible to be drafted the last two years in the Rule V draft. He would not sneak through after his breakout 2008 season.
· Wilson Ramos – He signed with the Twins in 2004 at the age of 16. He is a tremendous offensive and defensive talent at a premium position. He would be lost if he wasn’t protected.
Not much to add to this section. I mean, as titled, these are the easy choices. I believe any of these six would be drafted if left available.
Have to Consider
There is a second tier of prospects that has to be considered. With the six names above certain to be added to the 40 man roster, we are left with 37 players on the 40 man roster. So the Twins could add one to three more players to their roster. The following players have to at least be considered, but some of them simply will not be on the 40 man roster due to space. So who do you pick?
· Drew Butera – Can’t hit, but all reports indicate he is excellent behind the plate. Could be Twins #3 catcher as early as 2009.
· Tim Lahey – He was the #1 overall pick in the Rule V draft in 2007, but came back to the Twins. Throws hard, but numbers not great. Could be taken again.
· Erik Lis – he is a hitting machine, with no defensive position. However, if a really bad team needs a DH/PH, he could get a shot. Doubles after doubles!
· David Winfree – yes, the low average and some strikeouts, but he is one of few Twins minor leaguers capable of hitting 20 homers. He also is still very young considering he’s spent two years in AA.
· Zach Ward – Had a really good first half in New Britain bullpen, just OK in second half. But he and his slider are worth consideration.
· Deibinson Romero – signed as free agent in 2004, he is a tremendous talent, but two major injuries in 2008 may keep him from being drafted.
· Ryan Mullins – I’m not high on him, but another 3rd round pick in 2005 draft, he is left-handed.
· Jay Rainville – like Plouffe and Swarzak, he was taken in the 2004 draft. Missed all of 2006. Solid in 2007. Struggled early in AA in 2008, but still so young.
· Kyle Waldrop – missed all of 2008 with shoulder surgery. But another 2004 high school pick with a lot of ability. Scouts saw him in Instructs. Could he be taken?
Since I said that the Twins could add anywhere from one to three of these, I will give you my top four picks within this group. If I had to decide, here is how I would rank them:
1.) Jay Rainville, 2.) Erik Lis, 3.) Zach Ward, 4.) David Winfree.
A Couple More…
Here are a few more that would probably surprise me if they were drafted, but there may be some reason.
· Yohan Pino – was eligible last year and not taken. Two injuries in 2008 and didn’t perform as well means I don’t think he would be drafted this year either.
· Juan Portes – hit a lot in real low minors, hasn’t done much in two years in Ft. Myers. He also doesn’t have a real position.
· Danny Berg – another Australian, Berg could be the next Luke Hughes… or just another minor leaguer.
· Matt Fox – Another 2004 draft pick, he was eligible in 2007 as well and not taken. He had another solid season at Ft. Myers, but isn’t a big prospect. That said, he could be ready soon though.
· Rene Leveret – the big man from St. Maarten has been in the system for awhile. Moved up to Beloit at midseason and kept hitting.
· Edward Ovalle – did a lot of good in his second season at Ft. Myers. Does a little of everything. A poor man’s Alex Romero?
· Matt Moses – Ummmm… No thanks!
· Brandon Roberts – speedy centerfielder with leg issues… I think the Twins would be OK if he was taken.
· Jay Sawatski – he is left-handed. I’ll give him that!
· Brock Peterson – went backwards a little in 2008, but still made it to AAA. Not bad for a 49th round pick.
It is likely that the Twins have known since the organizational meetings what choices they will make. They will let the world know by Thursday (or on Thursday). It should certainly be interesting! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Arizona Fall League Monday Update
· The Phoenix Desert Dogs lost 4-3 on Monday to Peoria.
· Steve Tolleson was back in the lineup after missing a few games with some nagging injuries. He went 1-4 with a walk and his sixth double. He also stole his sixth base.
· Danny Valencia was 0-4 with two strikeouts. LaVelle pointed out that he has just one error. I’m not at all worried about Valencia’s bat, so to see him doing so well defensively makes me believe in his ability more.
· Dustin Martin went 1-4.
· Jeff Manship started and gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in three innings. He struck out two. He was also named as the team’s starting pitcher in the league’s championship game this weekend.
Any thoughts, please e-mail me, or leave Comments here.