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Where are we (Twins) now?

9 Dec

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

On last night’s Twins Winter Meetings Podcast, Fanatic Jack and NoDakTwinsFan got things started as I was a bit late. I went to see The Smurfs with the young’n at her school, and wound up late, so thanks to them for taking over. They led with Michael Cuddyer talked. When I joined, I talked about a few topics before we were joined by Twins top pitching prospect Liam Hendriks for awhile. The question I wanted to leave out there at the end of the podcast was “Where are we now? And what more still needs to be done?”

Where are we today?

Let’s start with the first question. I’m going to make one assumption. Either the Twins are going to sign Michael Cuddyer for three years and $27 million or they will sign Josh Willingham for 3 years and $22 million (and get two draft picks as well).  

  • Catcher – Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, Drew Butera (Danny Lehmann, Chris Herrmann)
  • First Base – Justin Morneau, Ryan Doumit, (Chris Parmelee)
  • Second Base – Alexi Casilla, Luke Hughes (Brian Dinkelman)
  • Third Base – Danny Valencia, Luke Hughes (Ray Chang)
  • Shortstop – Jamey Carroll, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, (Pedro Florimon, Brian Dozier)
  • Left Field – Ben Revere, Trevor Plouffe, (Joe Benson)
  • Center Field – Denard Span, Ben Revere
  • Right Field – Michael Cuddyer, Ryan Doumit (Rene Tosoni)
  • DH – Ryan Doumit, Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Trevor Plouffe, Luke Hughes

So, there are 13 players, and at least two players at every position. I also put close or pretty close to the big leagues guys in parentheses. I did that in part to show that the upper levels of the Twins minor leagues are not completely empty, the way some people would tell you. I would also presume that if the Twins lose out on Michael Cuddyer and sign Josh Willingham, he would play LF with Revere in CF and Span in RF, maybe.

Of course, the Twins need some pitching, but let’s take a look:

  • SP – Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Matt Maloney (Liam Hendriks, Scott Diamond, Terry Doyle)
  • CL – Matt Capps
  • LH RP – Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Jose Mijares (Phil Dumatrait, Tyler Robertson)
  • RH RP – Anthony Swarzak, Esmerling Vasquez, Jeff Gray, (Kyle Waldrop, Lester Oliveros, Esmerling Vasquez, Jason Bulger, Jim Hoey, Jeff Manship, Anthony Slama, Carlos Gutierrez, Jared Burton, Brendan Wise, Samuel Deduno, Luis Perdomo, Cole DeVries, Deolis Guerra.)

Maloney and Gray are out of options, which is why I have them in the lead right now. Terry Doyle came from the White Sox in the Rule 5 draft, so he will also have a chance to make the opening day roster.

So, as of right now, the Twins have enough of a roster and depth to put together a roster for the 2012 season. Can they compete? As we’ve said all along, that depends on how many games played they get from Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Denard Span. It also will depend on the Twins finding at least two more pitchers to join Carl Pavano as a guy who can throw over 190 innings in a season. Bake and Liriano have to be healthy and pitch well. Matt Capps has to pitch like he did for a month in 2010 as opposed to how he did in 2009 or 2011. The bullpen would need to have two or three guys step up and pitch like Perkins did a year ago.

So, what’s left?

#1. The Twins have got to get resolution on the Michael Cuddyer situation. It seems pretty obvious to me that the Twins and Cuddyer will come to an agreement of some sort. If not, Josh Willingham is there. That said, Willingham remains available and I think he’s ready to sign with the Twins as soon as Cuddyer says no, if he does.

#2. Once the Twins sign the aforementioned outfielder, it is time to address the pitching. Depending upon how strict the $100 million budget is will determine how active they can be looking for pitching. I’d like to see them add a starter for a couple of reasons. The Twins top three starters could all become free agents at the end of the 2012 season. Secondly, the last two spots are huge question marks. As much as the bullpen is full of question marks, there are some options with some upside. And, what will help the bullpen more than anything? Getting starters to give some innings. That’s why Jeff Francis and his 183 innings a year ago (his first full year back from Tommy John) is at least a little intriguing. Paul Maholm seems like a choice the Twins might be interested in if he can be healthy this year. The Twins drafted him a few years ago out of his school, and the Twins have a history of bringing in guys like that (Lamb, Punto, others). Obviously my dream signing would be Edwin Jackson. Throws really hard and throws a lot of innings. That would mean increasing the payroll closer to $110 million.

#3. The Bullpen needs help. Now that Octavio Dotel and LaTroy Hawkins have signed elsewhere, I don’t think there is a great, exciting bullpen guy out there. I’d subscribe to the Twins typical plan of waiting until late January or even early February and see who is there. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Austin, MN, native Michael Wuertz could be available to the Twins on a minor league deal at that time. He has some upside if healthy. He just hasn’t been for two years.

THE RULE 5

I always spend a bunch of time thinking about the Rule 5 draft. I try to figure out who the Twins will protect on their 40 man roster. Then after that decision, I try to figure out who the team is at risk to lose. Then it gets to the Rule 5 draft day (yesterday), and as usual, nothing happened. Only 12 draft picks were made in the Major League portion of the draft. The Twins used their second overall pick on Terry Doyle. Then in the minor league draft, they took Marty Popham but lost Shooter Hunt, the only player the organization lost.

Terry Doyle – He will likely receive a legitimate opportunity to be the Twins 5th starter out of spring training. He was with the White Sox organization last year and put up a 3.07 ERA and 12 strikeouts and 33 walks in 173 innings. He has good control and a fastball in the low-90s. Sounds like a typical Twins pitcher, huh? The Twins liked his durability. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League where, in a hitter’s league, he went 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA. I guess in my mind, there’s no reason to be disappointed in this pick. I always dream of the Twins taking guys who throw in the upper 90s and have huge upside. The 25-year-old Doyle is not that. But if he was that, he would have been protected by the White Sox. Doyle won’t turn into Johan Santana, but he certainly looks more exciting than Jason Jones was. We’ll see what happens in the spring. It would be interesting to see if the Twins and White Sox would be able to work out a deal should the Twins want to send him to AAA.

Marty Popham – In the AAA portion, the Twins selected this right-hander from the Cleveland organization. He throws a lot of strikes as well. In 112 innings, he struck out 106 and walked just 25 and reached AA. His other numbers are pretty pedestrian, although considering that this guy wasn’t protected on Cleveland’s AAA reserve list is a little surprising to say the least. The Twins will be able to keep him regardless.

Shooter Hunt – The Twins lost Shooter Hunt to the Cardinals organization in the AAA portion of the draft. The Twins weren’t surprised to see Hunt taken. They knew it could happen. Having interacted some with Hunt in recent years, I really hope the change of scenery helps the former supplemental  first round pick. Hunt has electric stuff; a very good fastball and a tremendous curveball. He struck out more than 10 batters per nine innings. Unfortunately, it’s been well documented that he also has walked 11 batters per nine innings. I certainly hope the change of scenery helps him because he’s got such great upside still.  

Daniel Turpen – Following the Rule 5 draft, the Twins and Rockies completed the Kevin Slowey trade. Turpen, who was picked in last year’s Rule 5 by the Yankees, was not selected this year, so he was the Player to be Named Later. He has a big fastball that allegedly has touched 98 mph and sits between 93 and 95 with good sink. In 60 AA innings, he walked 35 and struck out 33. So, although he has the big fastball, it hasn’t shown in his numbers to this point and since he’s already 25, the odds of that happening aren’t great.

Finally, here are all the shows from this week’s podcast. It was a ton of fun and we had some great guests. Please listen by clicking on the links and feel free to e-mail me any feedback you may have.  

Feel free to comment.

SethSpeaks.net Top 50 Minnesota Twins Prospects

4 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

In the past, I have tried to do my Top 50 Twins prospect reports right before the June draft and then shortly following the completion of the minor league seasons which is generally in mid-September. This past year has been so much more busy than ever before on so many fronts, so this year, I am still going to update my Top 50 list and do some of my other pre-draft blogs, they will just have to be a bit condensed. With that, today I will be posting my updated Top 50 Twins prospect list. I would love to hear your thoughts or comments on any of the rankings. You don’t have to agree with me. So ask questions and present your Top 10, 20, 50 list for discussion too.

#1 – Kyle Gibson – RHP – New Britain Rockcats – Prospect lists are a combination of potential with likelihood to reach potential. Gibson can be a top of the order, #2 type of pitcher, and there is a very good chance that it will happen.

#2 – Aaron Hicks – OF – Beloit Snappers – Hicks has all of the tools, including the 6th tool (plate discipline). The Midwest League is not an easy place to play, but 2010 has been a very streaky season. His strong streak told us just how good he can be.

#3 – Miguel Sano – SS – DSL Twins – All of the potential in the world, but still a long way to go. He wants to be up in the big leagues by 19. The Twins will be wise to note let that happen.

#4 – Wilson Ramos – C – Rochester Red Wings – Strong spring training. Horrible start at Rochester. Seven hits in his first two big league games. Reality set in. Ramos is immensely talented, both offensively and potentially defensively when he puts in the effort. Will be interesting to see if he’s still with the organization in August.

#5 – Adrian Salcedo – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – 19 years old. Throws hard. Working on the breaking pitches, but he has been impressive in his short stint at Ft. Myers so far, even though he should probably be waiting for the Elizabethton season. Very high ceiling.

#6 – Angel Morales – OF – Beloit Snappers – It’s been a disappointing 2010 so far for Morales. He hasn’t hit for as much power, but the tools are all there. It would be nice for him to have a strong second half. He is one of the better base stealers in the organization.

#7 – Joe Benson – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle – Speaking of all the tools, Benson’s ability to hit for power and get on base very well have him high on this list. The ability to put the ball in play seems to be the one thing that he needs to improve most, which is likely why he is back in Ft. Myers.

#8 – Davis Bromberg – RHP – New Britain Rockcats – It’s been an up and down season for Bromberg, but he has four or five pitches, and he’s quite young. He also has great confidence and will work through any struggles. I expect that he will have a strong second half.

#9 – Ben Revere – OF – New Britain Rockcats – Comparing Revere to Hicks, Morales and Benson isn’t really fair. The other three are all much better and have much higher potential in terms of power and defense and arm. But Revere is a great singles hitter with tremendous speed and his base stealing has continued to improve. His likelihood to be a solid big league player is higher than the other three OF prospects.

#10 – Danny Valencia – 3B – Minnesota Twins – Valencia is currently with the Twins with Michael Cuddyer out. Everywhere he has played, he has hit for average. He has never hit below .282. He doesn’t like to walk too much, but an IsoD of over .050 is at least adequate. He is yet to homer this year, but his minor league track record indicates that he can hit for some power. And his defense has continued to improve.

 

#11 – Deolis Guerra – RHP – Rochester Red Wings – Is he ready for AAA? Probably not. But he’s holding his own and continues to learn. Best changeup in the organization, and his incredible improved control is very impressive.

#12 – Alex Burnett – RHP – Minnesota Twins – Burnett was a surprise when he made the team out of spring training, but he has proven that he is ready and has pitched very well for the Twins. He always had good control, even as a starter. He throws hard and has three very good pitches. He’s still young, but he is a guy who could be a future closer.

#13 – Trevor Plouffe – SS – Rochester Red Wings – Plouffe has seemingly put things together in 2010, and it’s hard to believe that he is still just 23 years old. He has the ability to be an everyday Major League shortstop, which alone should probably move him even higher up this list.

#14 – Liam Hendriks – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – I don’t know if Hendriks’ terrific start this season is a surprise, but it certainly has been noticed. He was the organization’s pitcher of the month in April which earned him an early promotion to Ft. Myers where he has continued to be very good. His stuff is very good, and he understands how to get hitters out.

#15 – BJ Hermsen – RHP – Beloit Snappers – Hermsen started the year at EST, but when needed, he was promoted to Beloit. He has been good at times, and at other times shown that he might be best served by pitching at E-town. But he has good stuff, good size and very good control, and the Twins love that.

#16 – Carlos Gutierrez – RHP – New Britain Rockcats – I still believe that Gutierrez will be a big league relief pitcher, and a very good one. It’s important to remember that he is working on adding pitches while in AA. He gets a ton of ground balls. He throws 95 with sink. Just has to trust his stuff and he can dominate.

#17 – Rene Tosoni – OF – New Britain Rockcats – How much has the shoulder injury hurt Tosoni in 2010? He is still hitting around .280, but to this point, the power hasn’t shown up the way it did last year. Tosoni is very good, so this ranking doesn’t feel right. I think he should be higher, but right now, today, I just can’t do it.

#18 – Bruce Pugh – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – Although he was called a sleeper this offseason, Pugh was also a very pleasant surprise this year… until an elbow injury which has sidelined him for a few weeks already. Hopefully he will be alright because he throws hard and has a couple of improving secondary pitches that make him potentially dominant.

#19 – Jeff Manship – RHP – Rochester Red Wings – Again, a guy who is the big league club’s sixth start, and gave up two runs in six innings for the Twins shouldn’t be ranked this low. Manship can pitch in the big leagues, although his time in AAA this year will be valuable as well. He can help the Twins already when needed, but he can still continue to get better.

#20 – Chris Parmelee – 1B – Ft. Myers Miracle – Parmelee has a ton of potential as well, but he was overmatched in AA. Getting sent back to Ft. Myers was the best thing that could happen. He can now work on his game without being overwhelmed. The contact rate is always the question with Parmelee, but hopefully with the Miracle, he can regain his ability to take walks and to hit for power.

 

#21 – Max Kepler – OF – Extended Spring Training – All the talent in the world, but it will be very interesting to see how Max Kepler is able to put it together. Very good speed. Solid already defensively. Needs work on the offensive part of the game. But he’s just 17, and the Twins will be very patient with him. I’d expect him to spend two years with the GCL Twins before advancing.

#22 – Tom Stuifbergen – RHP – Beloit Snappers – Hopefully his elbow issues and his upcoming MRI reveal nothing and that Stuifbergen can rest and come back strong soon. He is another guy who just knows how to get hitters out. He has very good stuff, but he knows how to pitch, and that’s important too.

#23 – Blayne Weller – RHP – Extended Spring Training – I’m surprised and curious as to why Weller has not been promoted from EST to a full-season team, and yet, it is in his best interest to pitch for the E-Twins this year. He’s got good stuff and great control. Just a notch behind Hermsen.

#24 – Luke Hughes – 2B – Rochester Red Wings – How cool was it to see Hughes hit a home run in his first at bat with the Twins? Again, this feels like a low ranking, and yet, as good as Hughes has shown he can be, he just keeps getting hurt and isn’t able to sustain the success very long. If he could stay healthy, he can help the Twins, maybe as a pinch hitter. I also think he could compete for the starting 2B job next year.

#25 – Chris Herrmann – C/OF – Ft. Myers Miracle – Herrmann has done a very good job adjusting to the catcher position. He’s quick and has a strong arm. But he is also an excellent defensive left fielder. He is also a solid hitter. The Twins typically do not have players skip levels, but Herrmann was pushed from Elizabethton last year to Ft. Myers this year and hasn’t been completely over his head. He’s got a chance to be a solid all-around player.

#26 – Bobby Lanigan – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – Gibson got all the notice, but Lanigan was even better in April. Unfortunately, he has only pitched once since then. He has a good fastball and a very good slider, so hopefully he can get back soon.

#27 – Steve Singleton – 2B – New Britain Rockcats – Another guy who should be much higher on this list probably.  

#28 – Billy Bullock – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – The 2009 second round pick from Florida can throw hard. He can dominate and gets a lot of strikeouts, but he should continue to get better and better. He is a future closer option.

#29 – Tyler Robertson – LHP – New Britain Rockcats – Robertson has really struggled in 2010 at AA, allowing hitters to bat about .330 against him so far this year. The lefty does have decent stuff and a high baseball IQ, but he’s still so young for the level, even after spending two years at Ft. Myers. Hopefully his arm strength will continue to increase and he can move up this list. Remember, he was my choice for the Twins #1 prospect after the 2007 season.

#30 – Anthony Slama – RHP – Rochester Red Wings – Again, I know most won’t like this ranking, but it’s clear that there must be some reason that Slama has not been promoted, and I think a big part of that is the number of walks, which would likely increase more in the big leagues. But his ability to get strikeouts is pretty impressive, and he needs to get a shot soon. I mean, he’s already 26!

 

#31 – Michael Tonkin – RHP – Beloit Snappers – Tonkin was pitching best at EST when Beloit had a need, so he was the first promoted. He has actually done better than I would have thought. He’s got good control. He has a decent fastball and an improving curveball. He has a long way to go.

#32 – Yangervis Solarte – IF/OF – New Britain Rockcats – Like Hughes, Solarte can play a lot of places. His most natural position is 2B, but he can play basically all of the infield and outfield positions adequately. His biggest asset, however, has been his bat. Not sure how confident I am that he will sustain it, but he certainly could, and I’m comfortable with this ranking.

#33 – Danny Rams – C/1B – Beloit Snappers – Rams hit two home runs last night. I really, really hope that he can find a way to put the ball in play more because when he makes contact, he hits the ball so hard and can hit the ball a long way!

#34 – Shooter Hunt – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – It is good to see the improvements that Hunt has made this year. But he has a long way to go before we can feel confident in his future. But the potential is so high, he has to be on the list. He’ll be making another start today.

#35 – Jorge Polanco – SS – DSL Twins – When Baseball America named Polanco the top defensive infielder in the Twins organization, I wasn’t sure how to take that. It means he is very good, but it could also be an indictment of the rest of the system’s infielders. Polanco will have to show some bat to move his way up the list. I don’t expect him to hit much for a couple of years.

#36 – Edgar Ibarra – LHP – Beloit Snappers – I may be biased because I saw him pitch in Beloit, but I was very impressed with the high-side of his four pitches. Good fastball, worked both sides of the plate. Very good slider. Devastating changeup. Now, he wasn’t consistent with any of those pitches, and hasn’t been all year, but the pitches are there, and his potential is high.

#37 – Kyle Waldrop – RHP – Rochester Red Wings – Waldrop has impressed this entire year. 2009 was about staying healthy. 2010 has been about ground balls, throwing hard, getting a ton of movement on his pitches, and great success. There is a good chance that Waldrop, even with his lack of strikeouts, gets promoted before Anthony Slama.

#38 – Miguel Munoz – RHP – Beloit Snappers – The numbers haven’t been there in Beloit, but the stuff is incredible. Munoz throws quite hard and has good stuff. He just needs to throw more strikes and be more consistent.

#39 – Santos Arias – RHP – New Britain Rockcats – Arias fell a bit on this list, but even with his horrible performance in late innings for the Rockcats, his ERA isn’t bad. He still has good stuff. He has been healthy. He’s got a very good fastball, and a very good changeup. I’m not giving up on him at all.

#40 – James Beresford – SS/2B – Beloit Snappers – he was the player in Beloit that I was most impressed with. He will have to get bigger to make it to the next level. I assume that will happen, so he could move up this list very quickly. He got off to a very tough start in April, and is still hitting just .240, but he could very well be a big leaguer.

 

#41 – Anderson Hidalgo – 3B – Beloit Snappers – Hidalgo has been a doubles machine. He doesn’t play every day and splits some time with Reggie Williams at 3B, but he just hits. He’s the one hitter at Beloit that is actually putting up numbers, and not just singles. He doesn’t like to walk, and he doesn’t have much range, but he can continue to improve, and definitely is worth watching.

#42 – Michael McCardell – RHP – New Britain Rockcats – It’s been a tough season for McCardell in terms of wins and losses, but he hasn’t pitched terribly at all. He is a solid starter, probably a future bottom of the rotation guy, or even a long reliever. He has good stuff and is mentally strong, so he will be fine.

#43 – Brian Dinkelman – OF – Rochester Red Wings – This is probably a case of Age-ism. Dinkelman has done nothing but play well since the Twins drafted him in 2006. He is playing in AAA this year, and continues to walk more than strikeout, get extra base hits, hit for average and “do the little things.” He has also transitioned to the outfield pretty flawlessly.

#44 – Brad Tippett – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – Tippett is back on the DL with forearm issues. He just has not been able to get going. He has never thrown hard, but he’s got good size, so if he can continue to gain strength, he can add a few mph. And again, the Australian knows how to pitch.

#45 – Oswaldo Arcia – OF – Extended Spring Training – Arcia is young and did a nice job last year in the GCL. Has all kinds of tools.

#46 – Andrei Lobanov – LHP – Ft. Myers Miracle – One walk and 35 strikeouts in 22 innings in the GCL last year. He likely will go to E-town, but he has done quite well with the Miracle.

#47 – Steve Liddle – OF – Beloit Snappers – I thought he would do more this year with the Snappers. He has shown good power at times, but you would hope for more from a college hitter.

#48 – Rob Delaney – RHP – Rochester Red Wings – This is way too low, but Delaney has been hittable in Rochester after dominating all the way up to that level. That said, he still is walking very few and striking out about a batter an inning. He is ready.

#49 – Josmil Pinto – C – Beloit Snappers – The guy can hit a bit. Seems adequate behind the plate. No speed whatsoever.

#50 – Reggie Williams – IF – Beloit Snappers – Lots of talent. Getting a chance to play this year. He doesn’t seem to be a 3B, but should be a 2B. He has also played in the OF. Takes decent at bats and has doubles power.

There you have it. There is my Top 50 Twins Prospects list as of June 4, 2010. Let me know what you think, agree or disagree, and feel free to post your comments and questions in the Comments section.

Osterbrock’s No-No, and More

2 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

On Thursday, Kyle Gibson threw a one-hit shutout in the Florida State League. On Saturday, in Game 2 of the Beloit Snappers double-header against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, lefty Dan Osterbrock threw a complete game, seven inning, no hitter in a 4-0 win. Osterbrock was the Twins 7th round pick out of the University of Cincinnati in 2008. He went on to be the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year when he went 7-2 with a 3.00 ERA for Elizabethton. In 75 innings, he walked just eight and struck out 104. He advanced to Beloit last year, and he really struggled. He was 7-10 with a 5.19 ERA. He returned to Beloit in 2010, and got off to a much better start. Through five starts, he is now 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA. He has five walks and 27 strikeouts in 27.1 innings.

It was a seven inning no-hitter because the teams played a double header, and when they play two, they play just seven inning games. Osterbrock had a perfect game going into the 7th inning. However, the leadoff hitter was D’Vontrey Richardson. After fouling off a couple of pitches, he took a slider in the dirt for ball four. However, Osterbrock coaxed a ground ball from the next hitter for a double play. Brian Dozier caught a pop up to end the game and give Osterbrock a no-hitter. Although there have been three no-hitters in the Midwest League just this week, I would think that Osterbrock could be named at least a co-Pitcher of the Week in the league for the 2nd straight week.

Following the game, Tom Stuifbergen said that, “it was really special.” He added, “If somebody deserves it, it is Osterbrock.”

MINOR NOTES

Although I didn’t blog on Friday night and Saturday has been quite full, don’t think I haven’t been writing. In the coming days, I’ll let you know about a couple of the projects that I’ve worked on. But real briefly, I wanted to post a few highlights from the minor league games of Friday and Saturday.

Beloit and Wisconsin played a double header on Saturday because they were rained out on Friday night. Along with Osterbrock’s no-hitter in the second game, you may be interested in knowing that the Snappers won 4-0. Also, Aaron Hicks went 3-4 with three doubles. He is now hitting over .300. Tobias Streich was Osterbrock’s catcher and also went 0-1 with two walks. The Snappers also won the first game 5-1. Josmil Pinto went 2-3. Hicks was 0-1 and had two walks. Anderson Hidalgo hit his first home run and drove in three runs. Liam Hendriks started the game and improved to 2-0. He gave up one run on five hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out six. Matt Tone threw a perfect seventh inning..

Down in the Florida State League, the Ft. Myers Miracle and St. Lucie Mets have played. On Saturday, the Miracle won 8-7. Yangervis Solarte went 3-4 with a walk, two home runs and his second stolen base. Nate Hanson went 3-5 with a steal. Deibinson Romero was 2-3 with two walks, his first homer and three RBI. Evan Bigley, Dan Rohlfing and Jonathan Goncalves each had two hits. Bobby Lanigan improved to 2-1 despite allowing five runs on six hits in six innings. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out five. Matt Williams, Michael Allen and Billy Bullock each struck out two in an inning of relief. Bullock recorded his fourth save. The Miracle also won 5-3 on Friday night. Michael Tarsi gave up three runs (2 earned) on five hits and two walks in six innings. Blake Martin struck out two in his scoreless inning. Shooter Hunt got the win as he struck out three and walked none in two innings of relief. The Miracle had six hits, and Nate Hanson hit his first home run of the year.

TREND? Shooter Hunt has pitched eight times in relief this year for the Miracle. In his first four games, he walked seven and struck out five in 3.1 innings of work. In his past four games, he has 15 strikeouts and NO WALKS in 10 innings of relief. There is no reason to move him right now into the starting rotation, but it is certainly a positive trend right now. Hunt has great stuff, and he is one of the really good guys in the organization, so hopefully he can continue to improve.

New Britain lost twice to Portland in the past two days. David Bromberg started on Friday night and gave up two runs (1 earned) on five hits and two walks in six innings. He left with a 4-2 lead. Joe Testa came in and gave up one hit and walked two. Chris Province came in to face the team he played for a year ago and it didn’t go so well. He faced seven batters and got just one out. He gave up one hit and walked five. Henry Arias got the final five outs and gave up two runs on four hits. Juan Portes went 2-4 with his second homer. Rene Tosoni and Mark Dolenc each went 2-4 in the 13-4 loss. On Saturday, the Rockcats lost just 4-1. Carlos Gutierrez started and gave up one run on three hits and three walks in six innings. Spencer Steedley, who was arguably the best relief pitcher in the Twins system in April, took the loss. He gave up three runs on four hits and two walks in two innings. Rene Tosoni was again 2-4, and Toby Gardenhire added a double.

Ryan Mullins improved to 2-0 with the Rochester Red Wings. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on six hits and a walk in the Red Wings Friday night win over Lehigh Valley. He struck out six. Anthony Slama and Rob Delaney each pitched a scoreless inning. Matt Macri went 3-4 with two doubles. Dustin Martin went 2-4 with his fourth home run and four RBI. Danny Valencia went 2-4 with his seventh double. Brian Dinkelman was also 2-4. On Saturday, Matt Fox got a chance to start in place of Jeff Manship, who made a start for the Twins. Fox threw five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out five. Jose Lugo struck out three in two scoreless innings. Kyle Waldrop gave up two hits but no runs in his inning. Anthony Slama recorded his sixth save with a one-hit inning. Brian Dinkelman was 3-3 with a walk and his fourth double. Trevor Plouffe and Danny Valencia each went 2-4.  

By the way, be sure to check out Roger’s Weekly Twins Minor League Report at Twinkie Town.

MAJOR NOTES

The Twins split the first two games with Cleveland in Cleveland, winning the first game 9-3 and lowing 5-4 in 11 innings on Saturday. On Sunday, the Twins will send Francisco Liriano to the mound against David Huff in what should be a fun pitching matchup. After Friday night’s game, Luke Hughes was optioned back to Rochester and Nick Punto was activated from the Disabled List. Jeff Manship made the start for the Twins on Saturday night in place of Nick Blackburn who left the team on family emergency leave. Again, I hope whatever his family issue is isn’t too serious and can be resolved, and if it’s personal, I hope it can stay personal. Anyway, Manship started and in the first inning, he struck out the side. He went six innings and gave up just two runs, an excellent showing.

Before the game, it was announced that Joe Mauer would not start for at least a couple of days due to a bruised heel. Wilson Ramos was on his way to Cleveland and will be making his major league debut for the team on Sunday, which should be fun to watch despite his AAA batting average so far this year being just .179 (he does have three home runs). My assumption was that Ramos would take Manship’s roster spot after the game, but after the game, Joe Christensen tweeted that Ramos would replace Pat Neshek on the roster, although it was uncertain whether Neshek would be options to Rochester or placed the Disabled List. Although he was given clearance by the Twins medical staff to pitch nine days ago, he has pitched just twice and is still not quite 100% The most important thing is for Neshek to get innings, but only after he is healthy.

 Any questions? Leave your comments 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 Projections: Beloit Snappers

26 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Before we jump into my Beloit Snappers (Twins Low-A affiliate) roster projection, here are a couple of quick updates:

  • Last night was one of my favorite episodes of The Show.
  1. The first guest was Twins prospect Trayvone Johnson. This was one of my favorite interviews that I’ve done. The 2009 draft pick was selected as a catcher, but he has been moved to the mound. He was drafted out of high school, and explained why he had not played organized baseball for three years before the Twins drafted him last June. He is just a really good guy and I was very happy with the interview.
  2. Next, JJ Stankevitz from the White Sox Examiner came on and we talked about the White Sox. We spent time talking about their starting rotation. I also asked for his thoughts on Gordon Beckham and how his name keeps popping up in rumors about Adrian Gonzalez. I asked for his thoughts on Carlos Quentin, Alex Rios, Paul Konerko, AJ Pierzynski, Bobby Jenks and more.  
  3. Finally, Twins 17-year-old outfield prospect Max Kepler spent about 15 minutes answering questions. He is currently sidelined by some tendonitis in his shoulder, but talked about how his first spring training is going. We talked about his early baseball days in Germany and the reasons he signed with the Twins. He corrected me on some German pronunciations. It was a lot of fun.  So be sure to listen to The Show.
  4. We also noted that the planned time for The Show throughout the season will be 9 p.m. central time on Sunday nights. I think it’s a good time. Generally, the Twins will play Sunday afternoon games (with a couple of exceptions). They will have ended a weekend series and will be about to start a new series. Hopefully that will mean more major league and minor league interviews can be done. Although I am working on adding other guests, Pat Neshek has already confirmed that he will be on The Show

 

The Beloit Snappers’ season also begins on April 8th with a road series at Cedar Rapids. Starting on April 11th, the Snappers begin their home schedule with games against Peoria. The Snappers will be again managed this year by Nelson Prada. Tommy Watkins begins his full-time coaching career as the Snappers hitting coach.

So here are my thoughts on the 2010 Opening Day roster of the Beloit Snappers:

The Hitters

  Beloit
C Tobias Streich
1B Michael Gonzales
2B Derek McCallum
3B Anderson Hidalgo
SS Brian Dozier
LF Chris Herrmann ( C)
CF Aaron Hicks
RF Steve Liddle
DH Josmil Pinto
Bu C Buddy Munroe
Bu IF Matt Gaski
Bu OF Reggie Williams
Bench Jonathan Goncalves
DL (Dan Rohlfing)
  (Adan Severino)

Analysis: The Twins have some quality catching depth in these low levels. In fact, yesterday I pushed Danny Rams up to Ft. Myers, in part, due to the number of catchers that could (or should) be in Beloit. Tobias Streich was the best defensive catcher in the 2009 draft, so he should be here. Buddy Munroe was drafted last year as well and is another defensive catcher. Josmil Pinto has a very strong arm, but he is not known for his defense. However, he has a tremendous bat. Chris Herrmann was drafted as a catcher last year, but he played only outfield in 2009. He moved to catcher in Instructional league, but with his bat, he needs to be in Beloit and needs to be in the lineup. I think that Aaron Hicks will go back to Beloit for at least six weeks. Steve Liddle signed quite late last year, but he’s an advanced hitter, from Vanderbilt, and should play here. The infield has some quality prospects as well. Michael Gonzales is a large man, but he can hit. He had a strong run last year for a few weeks at Elizabethton. Former Gopher standout Derek McCallum will be the primary second baseman. Fellow 2009 draftee Brian Dozier will play a lot at shortstop. Anderson Hidalgo will be at 3B. Reggie Williams is likely to play a lot, but he is a tremendous athlete and should be able to play the infield and outfield positions and be in the lineup most days. Matt Gaski is about the glove. Jonathan Goncalves is another solid athlete who will get plenty of playing time in the outfield. Its’ hard to find a place for Dan Rohlfing even after he was moved to the outfield from behind the plate last year. Also, Adan Severino was hurt most of 2009, so this will be a big year for him.    

The Pitchers

 

  Beloit
SP Liam Hendriks
SP Tom Stuifbergen
SP Edgar Ibarra
SP Miguel Munoz
SP Brad Stillings
   
CL Zach See
8L Nelvin Fuentes
8R Dakota Watts
BP Matt Tone
BP Kane Holbrooks
BP Ben Tootle
BP Tony Davis
   
  (Matt Bashore)
  (Shooter Hunt)
  (Brian Kirwan)

 

 

Analysis: This gets a little bit tricky here. There are still a lot of good pitching prospects, but here are my thoughts. Liam Hendriks missed all of 2008 and last year started with Elizabethton before moving up to Beloit. I think he starts here again, but he could move up quickly. Tom Stuifbergen just knows how to pitch. He’s still very young, but he will do well. He was E-town’s top pitcher last season. However, toward the end of the year, Edgar Ibarra certainly put himself into consideration as well. Miguel Munoz is up and down, but he is probably the hardest thrower and working on other pitches. Brad Stillings was selected in 2009 and started with E-Town. He came up to Beloit but pitched out of the bullpen, so I would suspect that he will be a starter here to start the season at least.

Zach See signed as an undrafted free agent last year and pitched very well, good strikeout numbers. The three lefties that I have on this roster are all capable of dominating. Nelvin Fuentes also missed all of 2008. He pitched well in 2009, especially for Puerto Rico in the World Cup. Matt Tone and Tony Davis were both drafted in 2009. Tone dominated Appy League hitters. At one point, he went over 15 innings without giving up a hit, and over 18 innings without allowing a run. Tony Davis played for a couple of teams, but he ended the season on the New Britain playoff roster. Ben Tootle, when healthy, can approach 100 mph with his fastball. That’s how you get drafted in the third round. Hopefully he is fully healthy and strong in 2010. Dakota Watts was drafted in 2009 as well and played for three affiliates. Kane Holbrooks was a college All-American last year and the Twins got him after the 20th round. He had always started but feels that he is probably better suited for relief work.

If Matt Bashore is healthy, he will definitely be starting somewhere, maybe even in Ft. Myers. It’s hard to tell what the Twins will do with Shooter Hunt. And Brian Kirwan will be back after missing all of 2009 with shoulder surgery.

So, who isn’t here? Who did I not put on a full-season roster?

Those top three pitchers at the GCL last year will probably all have a chance to pitch for Beloit at some point this season. On Tuesday night’s podcast, Adam Foster said that Adrian Salcedo was turning eyes. The 18 year old was hitting 93 mph with a sharp curveball and a very good changeup. BJ Hermsen also put up silly numbers last year in the GCL. Blayne Weller often gets overlooked because of those first two, but his numbers are right on par. All three could be with the Snappers by June, and if any of them go to Elizabethton, I would consider them favorites for Appy League Pitcher of the Year. Michael Tonkin is likely going to E-town, and I think that Martire Garcia may repeat at E-Town. Relief Pitcher Andrei Lobanov had an incredible 2009 in the GCL as well (1 BB, 35 K in 22 IP!), but I think he will go to E-Town too.

The young’ns (Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler) will all likely play for the GCL Twins. Sano and Polanco may go to the Dominican Summer League and play during Extended Spring Training.

ELIZABETHTON

It’s impossible to project the Elizabethton or GCL Twins rosters because they will also contain players drafted in the 2010 draft. The college draftees will mainly play in E-Town. But just to try to send a reminder of some of the other players in the Twins system, here are some Elizabethton “projections.”

  Elizabethton
C Jhonatan Arias
1B Kennys Vargas
2B Daniel Santana
3B Rory Rhodes
SS Jairo Perez
LF Matej Hejma
CF Oswaldo Arcia
RF Daniel Ortiz
DH Wang-Wei Lin
Bu C Nick Freitas
Bu IF Hyeon-rok Choi
Bu OF Brian Bistagne
Bench Fred Hanvi
   
  Elizabethton
SP Martire Garcia
SP BJ Hermsen
SP Adrian Salcedo
SP Blayne Weller
SP Michael Tonkin
   
CL Andrei Lobanov
8L Jose Gonzalez
8R Jan Rehacek
BP Peter Kennelly
BP Jhon Garcia
BP Jean Mijares
BP Eliecer Cardenas
BP Trayvone Johnson

I hope everyone has enjoyed this series of Roster Projections. Of course, I don’t have any inside information into these rosters, so they are just what they are, projections. I like to think that they may be fairly close, but we shall see in less than two weeks.            

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

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.

Twins Minor League Draft – Part 2

18 Feb

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

Just a quick update on tonight’s SethSpeaks.net Podcast. I really am excited about the new format and hope that it goes well. I’ll be able to mention more later about the specifics, but I can now say that both Denard Span and Baseball Daily Digest’s Joe Hamrahi have confirmed that they will be guests on the show. Be sure to check back right here for a link to the podcast itself. It will be posted right around 9:00. I will also be setting up a chat room for you to talk Twins and ask questions. There will be time at the end to take your questions and comments. There is even a toll-free phone number which is new, so anyone can call! It should be a fun show. I’ll head to the studio a little early to make sure we’ve got everything set up.

Today, we continue to look at the Twins Minor League draft held last week. Roger Dehring, Josh Johnson, Travis Aune and myself conducted a 22 round mock draft, just to see how it might turn out. The specifics of the draft can be found in yesterday’s blog posting in which I showed our first eight rounds of picks. Today, I will post our selections for rounds 9 through 16 before finishing the draft on Friday. So, here we go:

 THE DRAFT (Rounds 9-16)

Round 9 – 33rd Overall – Roger – 3B – Wander Guillen

(I may have overreached with the selection of my third baseman, Wander Guillen, who was leading the DSL Twins in hitting and OBP at the age of 16!)

Round 9 – 34th Overall – Seth – OF – Oswaldo Arcia

(Had thought of taking him with my previous pick (or Wander Guillen, just to make Roger mad), but Arcia is another guy with five tools..)

Round 9 – 35th Overall – Josh – RHP – Shooter Hunt

(As I’ve said, I knew I needed to take a high-upside guy at some point and Hunt is just that. I originally wanted to take Oswaldo Arcia to fill out my outfield, but Seth took him with the pick before. Hunt may have the best ‘stuff’ out of any Twins farmhand and is thus a potential top-of-the-rotation starter, which is just what this staff needs. If he can regain any of sense of control, Hunt shouldn’t have a problem at becoming this staff’s ace.)

Round 9 – 36th Overall – Travis – RHP – Liam Hendriks

(I am very excited about the potential Liam has as he can be dominant.  He is very similar to Tom Stuifbergen except that I think Hendricks has the potential to be better.  I look for him to get better and better the farther we get away from his arm injury of a couple years ago.) (Seth Note – Hendriks missed the 2008 season, but it was not with an arm injury. He had some surgery on his spine.)

Round 10 – 37th Overall – Travis – 3BDeibinson Romero

(My interest in him is well documented as I used to always have him in my top 10’s and he has struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness.  I am curious how many chances the Twins are going to give to him because the potential is there to be very good.)

Round 10 – 38th Overall – Josh – SSJorge Polanco

(Something that is worth noting about this process is that I’m not necessarily sticking to my Top 50 Prospect list. With the 38th Overall pick, I chose someone who didn’t even make my original Top 50. But since I’m making my team and I have to look at different aspects, Jorge Polanco (and others) have been taken higher than where they’d rank on my Top 50 List, which is kind of interesting to note. I wanted to have a defensively-gifted shortstop and I thought Polanco would be gone by my next pick, so I wanted to strike early. I also considered to wait a round or two and take Estarlin De Los Santos, but I am taking the risk on Polanco. Besides being defensively-gifted at a premium position, I also like that he’s viewed as a #2 hitter and incase I can’t grab someone who can handle the bat later (such as Brian Dinkelman), I want someone to bat near the top that possess good on-base skills and reports suggest that he has that potential. With this pick, I also considered Matt Bashore, who would have filled out my rotation.)

Round 10 – 39th Overall – Seth – RHPRob Delaney

(He just has had such an amazing track record of success in his minor league career. He’s close to the big league club.)

Round 10 –40th Overall – Roger – RHPCesar Ciurcina

(I went back to the DSL with my tenth pick to close out my starting rotation with Cesar Ciurcina.  Although he is a bit older, Ciurcina had numbers similar last summer to those put up by Salcedo the previous year.  Is Ciurcina as good as Salcedo?  We will know more about him after this season when we see him in the GCL.)

Round 11 – 41st Overall – Roger – 2B/OF – Brian Dinkelman

(I went back to the infield and took a young man who has been one of the better hitters every step of his career, Brian Dinkelman.  Dinkelman’s best position appears to be second base.  Is he good enough defensively to earn a spot with the Twins in the next 16 months?)

Round 11 – 42nd Overall – Seth – LHP – Matt Bashore

(I really want to grab a SS (probably Beresford), but Bashore, if healthy, was a top pick, and he’s left-handed.)

Round 11 – 43rd Overall – Josh – RHP – Michael Tonkin

(Out of all of the rounds, this one has stung the most. Both Roger and Seth consecutively stole my picks (Brian Dinkelman and then Matt Bashore), but thankfully there were still high-upside pitchers (like Michael Tonkin) available.  Tonkin has projectable size and should add velocity as he matures. I really feel comfortable with my rotation after adding Tonkin. Hopefully I can get to the same point with my lineup, because I’m concerned about what’s left and what I still need.)

Round 11 – 44th Overall – Travis – OF – Evan Bigley

(The sky is the limit for Bigley who hit the cover off the ball in E-town and then again in Beloit.  That led to a promotion to Fort Myers where he struggled a bit.  I look for a big year this year from Evan as I look for him to dominate the FSL and will be in New Britain before the end of the year.)

Round 12 – 45th Overall – Travis – LHP – Joe Testa

(This is a guy that just splashed across the scene in 2009 and turned many heads.  He changed the feeling of many that he was just another relief pitcher and convinced many that this is a guy that is worth keeping track of myself included.  I look for his career to continue to skyrocket after his monster 2009 season.)

Round 12 – 46th Overall – Josh – 1B/DH – Erik Lis

(I am lacking a strong bat from the left side and I am at the point where I want to start focusing on the bullpen, so I wanted to make sure I had Erik Lis wrapped up. He’ll fit well in the middle-of-my-order and will play first base (depending on who I could possibly grab later). I also considered Loek Van Mil with this pick).

Round 12 – 47th Overall – Seth – SS – James Beresford

(It is time to address the middle infield. There are three solid SS prospects, and I would like two of them. I guess that means I would rank Beresford the highest of the three.)

Round 12 – 48th Overall – Roger – LF – Juan Portes

(I needed to fill in the balance of my outfield and was elated that spring training invitee Juan Portes was still available. A very raw prospect when drafted in 2004, Portes had a break out year last summer when he led the Rock Cats in hitting.  Does he have enough power to make it to the Twins as a corner outfielder appears to be the biggest question?)

Round 13 – 49th Overall – Roger – 1B – Brock Peterson

(I filled out my infield with the best story in the organization the last several years, former 49th round pick Brock Peterson.)

Round 13 – 50th Overall – Seth – SS – Estarlin de Los Santos

(I guess that means I would rank De Lo second. The third guy to consider was Brian Dozier, but de Los Santos was added to the 40 man roster, and when healthy, he is probably the most pure Twins SS prospect (other than apparently 16 year old Jorge Polanco.))

Round 13 – 51st Overall – Josh – RHP – Loek Van Mil

(I’ve never been very high on Loek Van Mil. Besides his height, he doesn’t really appeal to me. He walks a lot of guys and at 25-years-old he will likely be starting the year in Double-A. But…but… I do believe that his high 90’s fastball would be perfect as a setup man and hopefully I’ll be able to nab Kyle Waldrop in the next round. Plus, I think a Van Mil growth chart would be a good promotion.)

Round 13 – 52nd Overall – Travis – RHP – Matt Fox

(I was hoping that Matt Fox would fall to me because I am very high on him.  He has battled through injuries and setbacks to become an option for the Twins.  I look for him to keep going on that road and, by season’s end, possibly get a call-up by the twins.)

Round 14 – 53rd Overall – Travis – RHP – Steve Hirschfeld

(He is another guy I was hoping to get as he is another overachiever that just knows how to get hitters out.  He was very good for Fort Myers last year and can either start or relieve which I look to help him going forward.)

Round 14 – 54th Overall – Josh – RHP – Kyle Waldrop

 (As I mentioned above, I wanted to get Kyle Waldrop to help solidify my bullpen. So when I saw that he was available, it was an easy choice. I also considered both Spencer Steedley and Andrei Lobanov with this pick but I’ll probably end up waiting a few rounds with them…)

Round 14 – 55th Overall – Seth – RHP – Edgar Ibarra

(Ibarra was a very good pitcher for the E-Twins the second half of their season. Still some very good players left. Considered Reggie Williams.)

Round 14 – 56th Overall – Roger – OF – Brandon Roberts

(Seth again picked the player I was looking at for my next pick when he selected Edgar Ibarra, although he took him as a starter and I was looking at him in long relief.  With Ibarra gone, I went back to the outfield and selected Brandon Roberts who will be my center fielder and leadoff hitter.)

Round 15 – 57th Overall – Roger – RHP – Ben Tootle

(I followed with the selection of a high ceiling, hard throwing short reliever, Ben Tootle. Assuming his arm problems of last summer are behind him, Tootle could be on a fast track towards Minnesota.)

Round 15 – 58th Overall – Seth – C – Chris Herrmann

(Herrmann is moving to catcher. There are lots of catchers in the Beloit picture. I need a catcher, but Reggie Williams can’t last until my next pick, can he?)

Round 15 – 59th Overall – Josh – RHP – Pedro Guerra

(With short relief already under wraps, I felt the need for a long reliever. Guerra has dominated the Dominican Summer League two years in a row and should be making his appearance in the States this season. It was a coin flip between Guerra and Danny Ortiz, but hopefully I’ll be able to get Ortiz in the next round.)

Round 15 – 60th Overall – Travis – RHP – Steve Blevins

(One of my favorite people in the organization, and that has nothing to do with his stuff, as he is a genuinely nice guy.  On the field, he is a pretty good pitcher also, as he put up good numbers at Beloit.  I look forward to seeing what he can do going forward as he has the talent to be a future Twin if he keeps improving.)

Round 16 – 61st Overall – Travis –  SS – Brian Dozier

(He is one of those guys that I was not sure how good he could be and dealt with some injuries down the road.  With the promotion of Tyler Ladendorf, Dozier got to show what he could do and man did he deliver.  I am interested to see how fast he can move through the system as a college guy if he wants to play for the Twins he is going to have to skyrocket, but the talent is there to do it.)

Round 16 – 62nd Overall – Josh – OF – Danny Ortiz

(As I mentioned with Pedro Guerra, it was a coin flip between the two. Luckily, I got both. Danny Ortiz missed all of the 2009 season with injury but was drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 draft. At 5’11’’ and 166 lbs., he still has a lot of power and will fit in nicely with the rest of my lineup.)

Round 16 – 63rd Overall – Seth – CIF – Reggie Williams

(He lasted until my next pick!! Need a 1B and a CI, and Reggie Williams played a lot of 3B, but can also play MI and OF.)

Round 16 – 64th Overall – Roger – 1B – Whit Robbins

(I filled my reserve corner infield spot with the selection of Rochester/New Britain first baseman Whit Robbins.)

There is Part II. Check back tomorrow for the third and final part of the minor league draft, and more.. Feel free to leave your comments here.

Super Bowl Predictions

6 Feb

also available (and updated) at www.SethSpeaks.net -

I had almost forgotten that the Super Bowl was this weekend, until I read that the Twins will unleash their newest commercial (an animated one!) during the Super Bowl.

As I did last year, I am going to post my Super Bowl Prediction, but I have also asked many people for their predictions. I’m going to post them tonight, but I will continue to update this as I receive more responses, right up to the kickoff. I asked people to give their prediction on the score of the game (between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints), and if they wanted to add a small paragraph of other thoughts, they certainly could. We’ll start with my prediction and then I will add the picks as I received them. Of course, in the Comments, be sure to post your predictions too.

Seth Stohs (SethSpeaks.net – Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook)

Colts 37, Saints 27Peyton Manning is just so good. So is Drew Brees, but it’s like comparing Vlad Guerrero to Hank Aaron or Willie Mays. Both teams have a ton of weapons, and both QBs use them all. I don’t know enough about either team to feel strongly, but this is definitely the matchup of the two best teams in 2009! It should be fun to watch!

Howard Sinker (StarTribune.com – Section 219)

Colts 35, Vikings 3 — Magic runs out for the Vikings as Peyton Manning chews up the defense. The Williams Wall comes crumbling down and Jared Allen ties himself into knots instead of doing his calf-roping routine. Favre throws 5 INTs and after the game people start wondering if Jay Cutler is available.

Anthony Slama (Twins Relief Pitcher Prospect)

The saints will win it 38-35. Brees will have 4 TD’s, Manning 3 and Colston will have over 120 rec. yards.

Marty Andrade (MartyAndrade.com)

53-42 Saints – Peyton Manning throws three interceptions in a football disaster. The game will feature 8 turnovers and 200 yards in penalties. Every field goal attempt by either team will be missed.

Darren “Doogie” Wolfson (KSTP-5 Sports)

Saints 31-27. While not feeling real strong about that selection, New Orleans plus-five I do (only if I were in Vegas of course).

Jonathan Mayo (mlb.com, B3: Big, Bald and Beautiful, jonathanmayo.net)

Such a hard decision to make, go with the heart or the head. I probably should go with the head, but where’s the fun in that? I’ll take the Saints, 42-35.

Roger Dehring (Twinkie Town minor league contributor)

I predict a win by New Orleans, in a lower scoring game than everyone expects.  Final score, NO-24, Indy-20.Look for both defenses to show up and Drew Brees to have a very good game.  Predict that Peyton’s bubble will burst with 2 picks.

Topper Anton (Curve for a Strike)

31 – 21 Saints over Colts. This game is going to feel like a letdown, not just for Vikings fans, but for everyone, after watching the thriller two weeks ago in New Orleans. The NFL should just retroactively go back and anoint that game the Superbowl because nothing can top it (except if the Vikings had won). And although every media outlet is doing their best to make it seem like the Saints are actually underdogs here, I think anyone who’s watched a game this season knows that either the Saints or the Vikings would have torn apart any AFC team they encountered this Sunday… at least the commercials could be entertaining?

Kirsten Brown (K-Bro’s Baseball Blog)

Before the conference championship games, I was convinced that whoever won the NFC would be the superior team. The Saints had a spectacular season and Brees was a ton of fun to watch. But then I saw how vulnerable they really were when they beat the Vikings (they only won due to luck and Vikings collapse). Plus, I can’t forget Payton Manning and how he artfully dissects opponents. I predict a good game. Colts 24 – Saints 21

Andrew Kneeland (Twins Target)

The Colts managed to out-rush the New York Jets — a team whose offense revolves around their running game — two weeks ago. If Joseph Addai and the Colts’ offensive line get their running game going Sunday night, their offense will be firing on all cylinders. With the best passing game in the league and a potentially dangerous running game, there will be little hope of stopping the Colts.  Prediction: Colts 35, Saints 28

Shooter Hunt (Twins RHP Prospect from Tulane – which, of course, is in New Orleans)

Saints 37 Colts 34. The “Who Dat” Nation rejoices for the first time ever. Drew Brees completes a 2-minute drive at the end of the game for the go ahead touchdown to Colston. Reggie Bush returns a punt for a touchdown. Peyton throws for 400 yards, but with one costly pick in the second quarter.

Dan Osterbrock (Twins LHP Prospect)

“Colts lead the entire game. Peyton Manning named MVP after throwing 3 TD passes. Drew Brees chokes and throws 2 interceptions… Colts win 24-10.”

Whit Robbins (Twins 1B Prospect)

Colts – 35 Saints -24. Even though I am a product of the ACC, I believe the best football is played in the southeast. I’ll take the SEC QB over the Big 10 QB any day. Peyton outplays Brees in a shootout.

Nathan Schlepp (Schlepping Minnesota Sports)

Colts 38 – Saints 27.  The Super Bowl should give way to a shootout due to the top flight passing games of each offense.  I like the Colts because they have a better defense, even without Dwight Freeney, than the Saints.  My one worry for the Colts would be the running game of the Saints.  The Colts do not have a Rush D like the Minnesota Vikings, and if the Colts struggle against Pierre Thomas, the threat of the rush could open up more opportunities for Drew Brees.  Overall the Colts are simply a better team and I am still sour from the Vikings loss.

Al Bethke (Al’s Ramblings)

I’m taking Indy easily, 34-13, Peyton as the MVP, and by far the most entertaining aspect of the game will be the Go Daddy ads.

Brian Pietrzak (BP’s Baseball Blog)

I think the game will be 30-21 for Indy. The big wild card is whether or not Dwight Freeney will play for the Colts. If he doesn’t play, that changes the entire complexion of the game for New Orleans who can take more chances offensively. However, Indy’s firepower will be too much.

Josh Johnson (Josh’s Thoughts)

I will be cheering for the Saints, which means that Colts will end up winning. The Colts have a bend-but-won-break defense (which I believe is much better than what the Saints have) and the best player in football. Period. The Saints got to Brett Favre in the NFC Championship, but they never recorded a sack. The Colts have the best offensive line in football and Manning always seems to find an open receiver. I don’t see the Saints hitting Manning like they hit Favre, and if they do, the Colts will gain yardage off of penalties. I am cheering for the Saints because I’m a big fan of both Drew Brees and Reggie Bush and because my roommate is a huge Colts fan and I love trash talking.

Tyler Robertson (Twins LHP Prospect)

I got the colts winning 38-31. Would love to see Peyton win another ring. Not a big fan of the whole ‘who dat’ thing. or Reggie Bush. Go Colts.

La Velle E. Neal (Twins beat writer for Star-Tribune, Twins Insider)

Saints 31, Colts 28. The Saints pass rush was no joke against the Vikings. While Payton Manning won’t need to get peeled off the turf like Brett Favre, he’ll get hit enough for it to matter. Plus, I’m still mad at Jim Caldwell for pulling his starters against the Jets!

Make your prediction here, and check back to see if more people make their predictions too. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me or leave them in the Comments section.

NFL “Expert” Picks – Week 16 (and links)

24 Dec

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Here are our expert panels’ picks for Week 16. I would like to thank all of them for participating throughout the year. I am off to church now, but I hope you’ll check out the below sites. When I get back, I may have time to post the links, but they should all be on the left side of this screen. Many of the bloggers and writers are on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to follow them there as well. Here are our NFL “Expert” Picks Panel:

That’s all for now. Enjoy your Christmas Eve. Please feel free to discuss here.

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

19 Oct

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#43 – Evan Bigley – OF – 21 (3/9/87)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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