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Twins 2011 Impact Prospects

15 Feb

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

As you have seen, Danny Valencia graces the cover of my Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2011. Under his picture reads, “Danny Valencia arrived in 2010 and held the Twins to the A. L. Central Title.” Under four pictures of Twins minor leaguers, the question is asked, “Which Prospect(s) will help the Twins in 2011?”

Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2011

Now, as you know, there are over 160 profiles of Twins minor leaguers in the book. How many of them could we see in Minnesota, and under what circumstance would we see them? Here are some names (alphabetically) to keep in the back of your mind heading into spring training.

Let’s start with the prospects that we have already seen play for the Twins.

Luke Hughes - We didn’t get to see a lot of Hughes in 2010, but what we saw was positive. I mean, he became the first Twins player since 1984 to hit a home run in his first at bat. Hughes struggles defensively, but at least he can play multiple positions, and most important, he is right-handed and has a lot of power in his bat. His role with the Twins could be a right-handed bench bat and designated hitter who can fill in from time to time around the field.

Trevor Plouffe - Plouffe was back and forth between Rochester and the Twins throughout last summer. He struggled late in the Triple-A season, but he displayed power and improved his defense. I think he’ll compete with Alexi Casilla for the starting shortstop job. As this is his final option season, I would anticipate that he will play at 3B and 2B in 2011 than he did in 2010 as he could potentially be a utility infielder as well.

Ben Revere - We got a glimpse of Revere in September and I think that is the role we will see him fill in 2011 as well. If Denard Span is hurt, Revere could replace him for a couple of weeks in centerfield and in the leadoff spot. Some think he should be a fourth outfielder already, but he is just 22, hasn’t spent a day in AAA, and despite hitting .300 yet again and having game-changing speed, he still has parts of his game that need to improve, specifically defense.

Next, there are two guys that we haven’t seen yet, but we know we will hear a lot about this spring:

Scott Diamond - The Twins Rule 5 pick from the Atlanta Braves organization has to spend the season with the Twins or go through waivers and be offered back to the Braves. It is likely he would be claimed or the Braves would take him back, so the Twins will likely give the left-hander every opportunity to make the team.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka - The Twins made big news last Thanksgiving when they won the bid to negotiate exclusively with Nishioka. The two sides agreed to a three year contract with an option for a fourth year. It’s almost a given that Nishioka will be with the Twins and playing at 2B, although he will also see time at shortstop in spring.

The following are Twins minor leaguers that I think have at least some chance of debuting with the Twins in 2011:

Joe Benson - The Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year hit 31 doubles and 27 home runs in 2010. He is an excellent defender with Revere-like speed, and a Cuddyer-like arm. He has work to do before he’s ready for a full-time big league job. It woudl be great if he could spend the year at Double-A.  He has to work on putting the ball in play more consistently, but if he does, he could get a September call-up.

David Bromberg - After leading three minor league levels in strikeouts from 2007 to 2009, his strikeout rate was down at Double-A last year. However, he ended the season with nine starts and AAA where he struck out just over eight per nine innings. He will start the season in the Rochester rotation, and if the Twins have a need for a starter and Bromberg is pitching well, he very easily could be the one promoted for a spot start, or even possibly a long-relief role.

Billy Bullock - Bullock throws gas. The 2nd round pick from 2009 consistently throws around 95 mph with a very good slider. He began the 2010 season by striking out 45 in 37.1 innings at Ft. Myers. After being promoted to Double-A, he struck out and incredible 60 batters in 36.2 innings. Of course, he also walked 24. If he can display any semblance of control in 2010 in the upper levels of the minor leagues, he becomes very intriguing for the Twins in the second half of the season.

Tony Davis - Bullock’s college teammate is a left-hander who also pitched well in his first full season. He began the season by posting a 2.87 ERA in Ft. Myers and followed it up with a 2.64 ERA in New Britain. Again, control is his issue. He walked 46 batters and struck out 45 batters in 2010. The Twins added some left-handed veterans this offseason, so it would take a lot of control and some breaks for Davis to debut in 2011.

Kyle Gibson - The 2009 top pick is clearly the Twins top pitching prospect. He moved from Ft. Myers to New Britain and ended the season with three starts at Rochester. Gibson is clearly going to be a starter for the Twins at some point. The question is whether it is in June, August, or if they can wait for him to debut until 2012. If he pitches well early in the 2011 season, he should be starting for the Twins by June. If he’s pitching well later in the season, but the Twins starters are doing their part, there is some opportunity for him to debut later in the summer in the bullpen.

Carlos Gutierrez - The Twins second first round pick in 2008 throws hard and induces a lot of ground balls because he gets a lot of sink on his pitches. He has struggled as a starter, and he thrives in the bullpen. He has a chance to contribute to the Twins in the second half of the 2011 season if he is pitching well.

Chris Parmelee - The Twins 2006 first-round pick had always shown an ability to take a walk and hit for some power. In 2010, he made major strides in putting the ball in play and hitting for average. Hopefully in 2011, he can put it all together and become a big-time, all-around hitting prospect. It would be great if he could spend the full season in AA, but if he’s hitting well and (the worst-case scenario occurs and) Justin Morneau needs to miss extended time, Parmelee becomes an option for the big league club.

Chris Province - Province came to the Twins last year in spring training from the Red Sox in exchange for Boof Bonser. He is a reliever, although he made several starts a year ago between Double-A and Triple-A. A lot would need to happen for him to debut with the Twins, but he has a fastball that darts in on a right-hander’s hands. If he’s pitching well at a given time when there is a need, he has an outside shot.

Brandon Roberts - Roberts has generally played well throughout the four years he has been in the Twins organization. The problem is that he has been hurt so much. Last year, he finally remained healthy enough to work up to AAA where the CF hit over .300. He has had some knee problems, but speed is his game. Again, there is a smaller chance, but if he stays healthy and produces like he did last year, you never know.

Steve Singleton - After a slow start in 2010, he came on well late in the season. He led the organization with 43 doubles, and had 54 extra base hits on the year. He puts the ball in play and plays solid defense at 2B and has also played 3B and shortstop. He has a lot of pop for a second baseman, and if he can continue to play well, if there is an injury, he deserves an opportunity.

Rene Tosoni - Tosoni is just a solid all-around player. The only weak part of his game has been an inability to hit left-handed pitching. He tried to play in 2010, but his shoulder was experiencing just too much pain, so his season ended with surgery. He profiles similarly to Jason Kubel in terms of hitter. He is a little better defensively, has a little bit more speed, and has a strong arm. It will be interesting to see how he returns from missing so much time last year.

Kyle Waldrop - He had an absolutely incredible first-half of the season a year ago. It started with a great spring training before being sent to Rochester. Prior to the AAA All-Star game, he had posted both an ERA and a WHIP of under 1.00. He struggled some in the second half. He is not a strikeout pitcher, but he gets a lot of movement and sink on the fastball and could be a groundball reliever option sometime this season.

Dakota Watts - Maybe the biggest long-shot on the list, the Twins 16th round pick in 2009 pitched at Beloit, Ft. Myers and New Britain in 2010. He was clocked at 99 mph while in Ft. Myers. That along makes him worth watching. He can get a strikeout, probably walks too many, but is at least worth watching, and maybe he would be a long-shot September call-up.

Finally, there are some more veteran minor leaguers that the Twins brought in for the 2010 season that are worth noting:

Justin Huber is back after a year in Japan. Consider the day that Michael Cuddyer took over at 1B for an injured Justin Morneau in September of 2009, Huber was initially supposed to play 1B, but an oblique injury took him out of the lineup the rest of the season. Jeff Bailey spent parts of three seasons with the Red Sox from 2007 to 2009 and showed some power.  He can play 1B and the corner outfield positions. Chase Lambin was an International League All Star a year ago. He can play 3B, 2B and 1B. Matt Brown has spent a little bit of time in the big leagues and can play the four infield positions and spent time in the OF last year. Ray Chang is an option at 3B and 2B. Rene Rivera and Steve Holm are backup catcher options with big league service time.

Yorman Bazardo has always pitched well in the minor leagues, but still just 26, it hasn’t transferred to success in the big leagues. He pitched well in Venezuela this winter. Chuck James pitched well for the Braves for a couple of years before he was injured. The lefty went 10-1 between AA and AAA with the Nationals organization. Phil Dumatrait is a lefty-reliever option with big league time. Eric Hacker had a decent 2010 with the Giants AAA team and got a 40 man roster spot for it.

In a typical year, the Twins will promote between 12 and 18 players from Rochester throughout a season . Sometimes it is a straight promotion. Sometimes it is an injury-fill. There are various reasons. I mentioned 18 names above before discussing the minor league veterans that the organization added.

How many of these guys will come up and contribute in some way? Who will be surprise candidates? Can any of them have an impact in 2011 the way that Danny Valencia did in 2010? That is the fun part about following prospects. We can guess, but once the season gets started, you never know how it will play out.

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John and the TwinsCentric guys helped put together the Maple Street Press Twins Annual 2011, and it has been quite the project. However, the results are tremendous. The magazine is 128 pages of Twins content, with no advertisements. Just pure Twins talk. The TwinsCentric crew wrote player profiles on the Twins roster, and we each wrote an additional article or two.

I wrote one article on the success that the Twins Advanced-Rookie League team in Elizabethton, Tennessee, has had over the last 25 years and the role that consistency has played in that. Their manager, Ray Smith, signed with the Twins as a non-drafted free agent in 1978 and debuted with the Twins in the strike-shortened 1981 season. He spent parts of three years with the Twins. When his playing career ended, he became the Elizabethton Twins manager, in 1987. 25 years later, he has won a lot of games and a lot of championships, but more important, he has helped a lot of young men and young ball players begin their path up the Twins system. His pitching coach, Jim Shellenbeck, and his hitting coach, Jeff Reed, have ton of playing and coaching experience. It was a really fun article to research and write, and I think it turned out very well.

The other article I wrote was essentially an organizational depth chart. In the article, as I did last year, I broke out the Twins prospects into Infielders, Outfielders, Catchers, Starting Pitchers and Relief Pitchers, and gave my top five prospects in each category along with a Sleeper and One to Watch. There are also charts with 2011 roster projections.

Minnesota Twins Organizational Depth Chart Article

There is a lot of Twins information in the magazine. There is information on the current roster, Target Field, the minor leagues, several historical articles and much, much more.

The magazine is now available for pre-order at the Maple Street Press website. The magazine will be available on news stands around Minnesota starting March 1. However, if you pre-order, the magazines are set to ship out on February 17, so you can get it before it hits the news stands. For those of you outside the Minnesota areas, it will not be available in your market, so ordering online is the way to go if you are interested.

Maple Street Press Twins Annual 2011

Minnesota Twins Top Prospects (Part 2: 11-25)

13 Jan

available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Alright, if you missed prospects 26-50ish, click here or scroll down, but for now, it is time to take a brief look at my choices for Twins prospects 11 through 25. If you missed it earlier, I also did an interview with Bullpen Banter, talking about the 2011 Twins and Twins prospects. Check it out here.

SethSpeaks.net Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospects List 2011

As you know, I have been working on the 2011 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook for months. After of research and writing, a conclusion is finally in sight. In the next week, I will provide more information on the book, and how you can order or pre-order.

One thing that the book includes is my Top 30 prospects and a reminder of my previous Top 30s, going back to 2005. The book will include top 10 lists from many of your favorite bloggers.

I did something a little bit different in compiling my Top 50 list. I took the entire list of Twins minor league prospects from the GCL through Rochester, and in an Excel spreadsheet, I put each name in the first column and each name in the first row. Then I went through and compared every prospect to every other prospect, picking which of the two I thought was the better prospect. My ‘vote’ on each was based on a ton of research, stats, scouting reports and more. I considered which of the two players I would trade if a team said that I could pick which prospect to send in a potential deal. I compared Aaron Hicks to Kyle Gibson and Miguel Sano, and also against Matt Schuld and Matt Trau. I compared Manuel Soliman to Dan Osterbrock, Joe Benson and Dallas Gallant. After doing that for every player (which took WAY too long), I added up the total number of times I selected each player. The player that I chose above all players obviously ended up with the most points at the end of the day. The one with the second most votes would be the #2 prospect. And so on. Of course, there were ties, sometimes three-way ties, which I broke by my head-to-head results, so to speak. The results were interesting, at least in the middle of the list, but really throughout. Today I will post my choices for Twins Prospects #26 through 50 with a brief description. As you would expect, there was a tie at 50, so in fact, here are prospects 26-51. As always, your thoughts and opinions are welcome.

#25 – Bruce Pugh – RHP – New Britain

                Hard-throwing young right-hander pitched very well in Ft. Myers until an injury. Returned and pitched well enough to get in a couple games with the Rock Cats.

#24 – Deolis Guerra – RHP – Rochester

                Guerra may be one of the more polarizing prospects in the Twins system. He is still young, has a tremendous changeup and he’s got great makeup. Unfortunately the numbers tell a different story. 2011 is a big year for him as it is his final option season.

#23 – Billy Bullock – RHP – New Britain

                Bullock throws very hard and has an improving slider. He’s succeeded as a closer and gets plenty of strikeouts. The only concern is how quickly his walk rate has raised at each level the past two years. No rush though. He doesn’t need to be added to the 40 man roster until after the 2012 season.

#22 – Pat Dean – LHP – Elizabethton

                My choice for breakout pitching prospect in 2011, the Twins 3rd round pick in 2011 walked one and struck out 34 in his 25 innings between GCL and E-Twins. The lefty could move up quickly next year.

#21 – Trevor Plouffe – SS – Minnesota

                Plouffe was promoted to the Twins three times in 2010. He struggled making contact in limited time, but he did hit two home runs. He had a career-high in home runs in 2011. His batting average was actually around .300 for Rochester most of the year, until he went on a horrible slump to end the season.

#20 – Bobby Lanigan – RHP – New Britain

                Lanigan had an incredible, dominant month of April, but then he was hurt and missed about two months. When he came back, he did alright and ended the season by making a few starts in AA.

#19 – Daniel Ortiz – OF – Elizabethton

                My choice for breakout hitter of the 2011 Twins minor league season. Ortiz impressed in the GCL after being drafted in 2008. He missed all of 2009 with a knee injury. After a slow start in 2010, he had a great month of August, hitting over .300 with eight home runs.

#18 – BJ Hermsen – RHP – Beloit

                Hermsen started the season in Extended Spring Training, but he was soon promoted to Beloit where he held his own. The highlight was a one-hit complete game shutout in Cedar Rapids, less than an hour from his hometown, in which he had a no-hitter into the 9th inning. Struggled a lot late and then pitched well in Elizabethton.

#17 – Max Kepler – OF – GCL Twins

                I didn’t know what to expect from “the greatest prospect ever from Europe.” However, the 17-year-old more than held his own in the GCL. He’s a five-tool talent, and most important, he improved over the course of the season. Long ways to go, but huge upside.

#16 – Eddie Rosario – OF – GCL Twins

                The Twins took Rosario in the 2010 4th round out of his high school in Puerto Rico. He came to the GCL and immediately performed well, all-around. Good defense and arm. Hit for average and got on base and extra base hits. Also stole 22 bases.

#15 – Tsuyoshi Nishioka – SS/2B – Chiba Lotte

                You all know about Nishioka. He’d probably be higher if he weren’t 26. Can he be a very good big league player? Average big leaguer? We will certainly find out. But I think he will be solid all-around.

#14 – Carlos Gutierrez – RHP – Rochester

                On a podcast a few weeks ago, Gutierrez said he much prefers to pitch out of the bullpen. He saw great value in his time starting, working on secondary pitches. But anyone with a sinking, 97 mph fastball who thrives in the bullpen can be very effective. I think he will be in the big leagues in June, if not sooner.

#13 – Manuel Soliman – RHP – Elizabethton

                Two years ago, he was a 3B prospect struggling in the DSL. He was moved to pitcher the last two seasons, and he throws hard with adequate second pitches. At Elizabethton, he threw one seven inning no-hitter and carried a second into the 7th. Still improving.

#12 – Chris Parmelee – 1B – New Britain

                April in New Britain was bad for Parmelee. He was sent back to Ft. Myers in May and made some adjustments. He was back in AA in a month and didn’t stop hitting. In fact, he led the Arizona Fall League in hits. Cut down strikeouts and hit for average in 2010, but the power is still there. Will be fun to see what he is capable of in 2011.

#11 – David Bromberg – RHP – Rochester

                Bromberg had moved up one level each year. He began the 2010 season in New Britain, but he made several starts for AAA Rochester. And he held his own. Ceiling is probably mid-to-back-of-the-rotation starter, but he’s got good stuff and knows how to pitch.

So there you have it, my choices for Twins Prospects 11-25. What do you think? Were there any surprises? Still to come is my top ten Twins prospect list, which I will post on Friday morning. Check back when you are able to. Feel free to e-mail me or leave your comments here.

Preliminary Twins Top 30 Prospects

8 Nov

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Happy Monday! Monday marks Day 3 of a three day weekend, so today’s blog will be shorter, and yet, hopefully it will create a ton of discussion. With the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook now available, my attention is turning quickly to my third annual Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. If you’re interested in the 2009 version or the 2010 version, they are still available! In fact, if you would like to buy a copy of the 2009 version, I have about ten of them at home, ready to send out. If you’re interested, e-mail me for details.

Anyway, one of the big parts of SethSpeaks.net has been a Top 50 Prospect List. Last year, I came out with my top 50, and then did a ton of research for the book, and in the book, my top 30 looks a little bit different. When I write the book, I do find it fun to make a projected Top 30 prospect list to see what I think based on following box scores daily, reading some reports on players and general knowledge. Then as you would hope, I learn a ton more about each player while researching and writing the book, so it shouldn’t look identical.

So today, I am going to share with you my current Top 30 Twins Prospect list. Please remember that it is a preliminary list, but what I would love would be for you to post your thoughts in the Comments section. Who is ranked too high? Too low? Why? And of course, I would love for you to post your top 10 list as well.

SethSpeaks.net Twins Preliminary Top 30 Prospects

  1. 1.      Kyle Gibson
  2. 2.      Aaron Hicks
  3. 3.      Miguel Sano
  4. 4.      Joe Benson
  5. 5.      Alex Wimmers
  6. 6.      Angel Morales
  7. 7.      Ben Revere
  8. 8.      David Bromberg
  9. 9.      Oswaldo Arcia

10.  Liam Hendriks

11.  Adrian Salcedo

12.  Chris Parmelee

13.  Eddie Rosario

14.  Max Kepler

15.  Manuel Soliman

16.  Danny Ortiz

17.  BJ Hermsen

18.  Trevor Plouffe

19.  Niko Goodrum

20.  Carlos Gutierrez

21.  Martire Garcia

22.  Pat Dean

23.  Rene Tosoni

24.  Billy Bullock

25.  Tom Stuifbergen

26.  Bruce Pugh

27.  Miguel Munoz

28.  Steve Singleton

29.  Danny Rams

30.  Michael Tonkin

General Thoughts:

  • The #1 spot is still up in the air for me. Do you take the guy who could be a very good #2 starter as early as the middle of next season, or do you want the guy in Low A ball with no fewer than six great tools, several of which have not developed into skills yet. Or, do you take the 17 year old Dominican infielder for whom the sky is the limit?
  • Ben Revere is a tough one for me too. The guy can flat out hit singles. He’s incredibly fast. He is improving defensively in CF, but he has no arm. He has shown know extra base power at all, but his short, compact, strong swing tells me that he should be able to hit a lot of doubles and triples, and how many of his singles can be turned into doubles thanks to a stolen base?
  • And while we’re talking about outfielders, we know that Joe Benson put up serious power numbers in 2010, but how do we evaluate the monster Appy League season of Oswaldo Arcia and try to determine what it means going forward? How about the impressive return to the field for Danny Ortiz after missing all of 2009 with a knee injury? What about the 2010 debut in the GCL for OF Eddie Rosario? And, the guy that gets forgotten way too often is Angel Morales, who despite a lack of home runs, showed steady improvement in areas he needed to.
  • I don’t rank relief pitchers terribly high traditionally, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the importance of a bullpen to a team. I have two relievers here in the top 30 that I believe can be very good for the Twins. But that isn’t to take anything away from Anthony Slama, Rob Delaney, Kyle Waldrop, Dakota Watts or other relief pitchers.
  • Rene Tosoni is one that should probably be ranked higher. He was right around nine or ten last year at this time in my rankings. He returned to AA New Britain and was putting up similar offensive numbers despite playing with a bad shoulder that finally had to be operated on. He’ll be 24 through most of the 2010 season, and he has a chance to be very good.
  • It is also always interesting to see how I end up ranking upside versus likelihood of contributing to the Twins. For instance, if Max Kepler meets his potential, he could be a perennial All-Star. David Bromberg’s big-league upside is likely a #4 starter. But I believe that Bromberg will soon make the big leagues and get that opportunity  after holding his own for a couple of months in Rochester. Meanwhile, Kepler has to be promoted six times to reach the big leagues.

So, what do you think? Help me choose. Give me any stats or notes that you may have to help me make the right choices. Finally, feel free to post your Top 10 Twins Prospects as well. You can e-mail me if you would like,, or you can leave Comments here.

Monday Morning Notebook

21 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

I apologize for some inconsistent blogging of late. Things are crazy and over the weekend, I barely touched the computer, which was nice as well. But I do want to give you something to read on this lovely Monday, the first day of summer. The Twins have an off day today before starting a three game series in Milwaukee against the Brewers. It comes on the heels of a terrific weekend of baseball in Philadelphia.

No, not all was good in the City of Brotherly Love. I mean, the starts of Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey on Friday night and Saturday afternoon left plenty to be desired. Neither was able to get out of the 2nd inning. Fortunately, the Twins got nice, extended performances from Jesse Crain (2.1 shutout innings) on Friday night and Jeff Manship (4.1 innings of 1 run, 2 hit ball) on Saturday. Friday night’s game wasn’t as close as the 9-5 final score would indicate, but the late comeback attempt maybe had some effect. On Saturday, the Twins were behind 9-4 going into the bottom of the 9th inning. Jim Thome came to bat as a pinch hitter and got another standing ovation from the Philly crowd. He proceeded to hit a two-run home run off of Jose Contreras. A Denard Span single cut the lead to two runs. When Joe Mauer came up with a runner on and two outs, the hope was that he could slap another single and give Justin Morneau a chance. Instead, Mauer returned to his 2009 form and drilled a long home run to dead centerfield to tie the game. The game went to the 10th inning and the team was out of pinch hitting options. Drew Butera was on the bench and got to hit for the pitcher to lead off the inning. He proceeded to uncoil for his first home run, a huge shot to left field that gave the Twins a lead. Jon Rauch came in and got the first two outs, but long-time Twins killer Ross Gload came up and drilled a line drive over the fence in right to tie the game. Then in the 11th, after Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau walks, Jon Rauch was asked to bunt. On his third attempt, he was successful. But I have no idea why the Phillies chose to pitch to Delmon Young who hit an infield single to deep shortstop to score Mauer with the go-ahead run. Then Matt Tolbert doubled in two runs to give a 13-10 lead. Rauch was able to finish the job in the bottom of the inning and the Twins had their most improbable win of the year.

We had our monthly TwinsCentric Viewing Party on Saturday and it was well attended. Even when the Twins got behind, it was a fun event and people were talking about baseball and the team. It was a fairly quiet crowd until the top of the 9th inning. When Mauer’s home run ball left his bat, no one responded. It was eerily quiet. Apparently we have all grown accustomed to Target Field’s affect on balls hit to centerfield. When it actually landed, in the outfield seats, the Tavern erupted. Now, I’m not one to react too much while watching games. I generally don’t clap or yell, and just calmly watch. When Butera came to bat in the top of the 10th, Andrew Bryz-Gornia asked the crowd, “Why is he batting?” One pitch later, even I was jumping in the air, yelping and slapping high-fives with the TwinsCentric party crowd. I looked over at Andrew and yelled laughingly, “That’s why!” HA! When Ross Gload came out, it was Dan Wade who said, ‘This guy has been a major Twins killer.” In the 11th, we were all trying to manage along with the game. Do you walk Morneau to bring up Rauch with one out but move Mauer to 2B? Do you have Rauch bunt or just stand there so he doesn’t bunt into a double play. With 1st base open, why pitch to the Twins hottest hitter, Delmon Young?’

And yes, it’s true as Aaron Gleeman tweeted. I missed the final pitch of the game, one that struck out Ryan Howard, because Dan Wade and I were on our phones, looking to find the name of the Amanda Bynes movie that was on one of the other TVs in the room. It was She’s the Man.

As I mentioned in my podcast last night, that may have been the most exciting game since Game 7 of the 1991 World Series!! OK, that may be slight hyperbole and exaggeration, but oh well. It was a lot of fun.

And then the Twins absolutely needed someone to pitch on Sunday, someone who could eat some innings and help rest that bullpen. Carl Pavano definitely did just that. He gave the Twins a nine inning, complete game win against that vaunted Phillies lineup. He mixed and matched and had terrific movement. It was his best start of the season, and maybe of his year in a Twins uniform. It certainly was timely. The Twins were able to knock Phillies starter Roy Halladay around. The right-hander gave up four runs (3 earned) on 11 hits in eight innings. Justin Morneau and Denard Span each homered.

One thing that was obvious was that I now understand how Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and others have such high home run totals over the previous years. That stadium is the anti-Target Field. Popups and not-necessarily-well-hit balls turn into home runs there.

Speaking of the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast, last night’s show was a lot of fun. In fact, I almost wish we had scheduled another hour! Topper Anton of Curve For a Strike helped me out by running the switchboard. He was in Philadelphia for Saturday’s exciting game. Also, Travis Aune of Travis Twins Talk was a guest. The Twins gave us plenty to talk about, so listen to it and enjoy.  

Speaking of Travis, be sure to tune in to his Travis Talks Minnesota Sports Podcast tonight where he will talk plenty of Twins, but also discuss the Minnesota Timberwolves draft options.

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

Miracle Baseball tweets today that Allan de San Miguel is headed back to AAA while Bruce Pugh and Bobby Lanigan come off the DL. Should we assume that means that Jose Morales is on his way to the Twins? It could. I’m sure that Gardy would love an extra bat in these NL games. But it could just be that Wilson Ramos has a mild strain of his oblique and they may need to give him a couple of days. This weekend, Toby Gardenhire had to catch the remainder of that Saturday game, according to Jim Mandelaro. Toby G is now hitting .279 at AAA.

  • With Jeff Manship with the Twins, Jose Lugo had to make a spot start for the Red Wings on Sunday. He gave up three runs in three innings. Tim Lahey threw three shutout innings. Rob Delaney then gave up three runs in two innings. Kyle Waldrop went a scoreless inning.
  • Since he returned from the Twins, Trevor Plouffe has homered in both of his games back with the Red Wings. Yesterday, he hit his 7th home run of the year.
  • For New Britain, Joe Benson went 2-5 including his 8th home run of the year, with the Rockcats. Add the four he hit in Ft. Myers and he is tied for the organizational lead with Brock Peterson with 12 home runs on the season. Chris Parmelee added his fourth AA home run. He had two in his brief stint in Ft. Myers.
  • Deolis Guerra gave up two runs (1 earned) in six innings on Sunday. His battery-mate, Danny Lehmann went 3-4 in the game as well.
  • The Miracle didn’t play on Sunday. On Saturday, Shooter Hunt went just 1.2 innings and gave up three runs on no hits. He walked five before being replaced by Andrei Lobanov. The lefty from Moscow came in and threw 4.1 scoreless innings in relief.
  • I think it’s fair to say that Angel Morales is working through an adjustment phase in his early Florida State League games. So far, he is 2-14 with nine strikeouts.
  • The Midwest League All Star game is on Tuesday night, and their regular season games will begin again on Thursday.
  • The Appalachian League schedule begins on Tuesday night. Elizabethton will be in Bristol.
  • The GCL League starts on Tuesday as well. The GCL Twins will host the GCL Orioles.
  • I will try to get rosters for the two Extended league teams although as more and more draft picks sign, those rosters will continue to change. If Miguel Sano has played in his last DSL Twins game and is on his way to Florida to play for the GCL Twins, he ends with a hitting line of .341/.444/.629 with two doubles, a triple and three home runs. He walked eight times and struck out 14 times in 52 plate appearances. Jorge Polanco is hitting just .213 in the DSL so far.

Have I mentioned that I am on Facebook, and you can follow me on Twitter at SethTweets.

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

Site Update

11 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

TRAVEL UPDATEDue to a couple of unforeseen circumstances, I will not be heading to Beloit this weekend. Hopefully I will be able to plan another trip out there to see the Snappers later this summer.

Podcast UpdateFanatic Jack sent me a text message last night asking if I could be on his podcast, and since I haven’t done one for awhile, I thought it would be good. So, we talked last night from 10-11 about our favorite team. I think you can even hear me getting a bit edgy, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy that. Listen here.

However, I fell asleep on the couch soon after the show, so I apologize for not getting a full blog update tonight. On Monday, the Organizational Review will be updated, and throughout the weekend, I will post some thoughts on the Twins games and their minor league affiliates, so be sure to continue to check back.

By the way, I’m sure you have heard it by now, but the Twins put JJ Hardy on the Disabled List and recalled Trevor Plouffe. Gardy said that for the most part, that means Danny Valencia at 3B, Plouffe at SS and Nick Punto at 2B. I’m almost surprised that Gardy is willing to go with two rookies on the left side of the infield, even in this time when it really is almost necessary. Someone like me, who has followed the Twins minor league system since before Plouffe was the team’s first 1st round pick in 2004, absolutely loves this. And again, it continues to show the organization’s ability to develop players and continue to compete.

Ugly game for the Twins last night. Scott Baker wasn’t strong at all. The infield defense, one of the team’s constants, actually was not good at least up the middle. But the team made a very strong late inning comeback which didn’t result in a win, but obviously is better than just rolling over. Joe Mauer hit some balls very hard to centerfield again. Jason Kubel figured out a way to hit home runs in Target Field. But the team won two out of three in the series, something they always hope to do heading in.

It will be Francisco Liriano tonight for the Twins against Tim Hudson of the Atlanta Braves.

Quick Minor League Updates:

  • Rochester 10, Columbus 9Dustin Martin went 2-3 with a walk, his ninth double, sixth home run and sixth stolen base. Brian Dinkelman went 2-5 with three home runs. Jason Repko went 2-5 with his eighth double and second triple. Wilson Ramos went 2-4. Matt Macri hit his third home run. Anthony Swarzak started and went 4.1 innings and gave up five runs on nine hits and two walks without recording a strikeout.
  • New Britain 6, Richmond 5Brandon Roberts went 3-4 with his fourth stolen base. Steve Singleton went 2-4 with his fifth home run and four RBI. Jair Fernandez and Chris Cates were both 2-4. Tyler Robertson gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks in 5.2 innings. Santos Arias gave up another run and got one out. Loek Van Mil pitched a scoreless inning despite giving up two hits and a walk. He struck out two. Matt Williams threw two shutout innings.
  • Ft. Myers 4, Bradenton 9Michael Tarsi started and gave up seven runs on nine hits and two walks in just four innings. Andrei Lobanov went two perfect innings. Steve Blevins gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits in his inning. Tony Davis pitched a scoreless inning. Joe Testa walked two and struck out one in an inning.
  • Beloit 4, Dayton 3Brad Stillings gave up an unearned run on four hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out seven. Jhon Garcia went 1.2 innings and gave up one run on five hits. Kane Holbrooks got the final four outs to record his eighth save. He gave up a run on two hits.

Feel free to discuss here.

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.

Live from Beloit, it’s…

22 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Before we get started, a huge Congratulations to Trevor Plouffe who made his big league debut last night for the Twins against the Brewers in interleague play. Plouffe batted eighth and started at shortstop in the Twins 15-3 victory. Plouffe batted in the first inning and singled in a run in his first big league at bat. Later in the game, he drove in a second run on a double.

Josh Johnson (of Josh’s Thoughts) and I left the Twin Cities at about 11:00 on Friday morning. We arrived in Beloit at about 4:30. Game time was 6:30, and the gates don’t open until 5:30. For the price of just $8.50, we were able to get box seats, in the 3rd row, right behind home plate. The attendance was state at 493, but if there were more than 250, I have no idea where they were. The game was good. It was actually a 2-1 game heading into the sixth inning, but things just went wrong for the Snappers that inning. Here are a few quick notes from watching just one Snappers game in person (so take it for what it is worth, a very small sample size):

  • Aaron Hicks played right field and led off for the Snappers. In the first inning, batting left-handed and standing almost right on top of the plate, he showed good patience, took some tough pitches, took a strong, quick swing and later hit a solid line drive right up the middle. In his final two at bats, one left-handed and one right-handed, he flew out on the first pitch. In right field, he looked very natural, although he also mis-read a short fly ball and had to play it on a hop. However, with runners on first and second, there was a fly ball to medium right field. Hicks played the ball perfectly, caught it and made a very strong throw that probably would have one-hopped third base, but shortstop Brian Dozier cut it off and threw to second base to get that runner trying to advance. You may have to trust me on this ,but everything we have heard about his arm strength, is definitely true.
  • Angel Morales batted ninth and was the DH. He has been struggling of late. He has a very strong right-handed swing, and I thought he took some very good at bats. He took pitches, and he has such a quick, strong swing. He had a line drive single up the middle. He also got on via an error by the shortstop, but he got down the line so fast that I don’t think he would have been out anyway.
  • If you look at Edgar Ibarra’s line, it doesn’t look very good, but what we saw told a very different story. Ibarra has a very smooth delivery. He has a good fastball and works both inside and outside corners. He had a very, very good changeup that he only threw a few times, and he had a pretty sharp slider too.
  • Eliecer Cardenas came in and he throws pretty hard. He has a good fastball and a good slider, but control of both pitches was not there on this night. Matt Tone throws pretty hard, and almost short-arms the ball, so it’s deceptively fast. I think it could be hard to pick up the ball out of his hand. But his release point is all over the place, so often, so were the pitches.
  • Wang-Wei Lin played centerfield and really does a very good job out there. He made a couple of good catches and showed some good range. He also made an inning-ending diving catch early in the game. The only blemish is that he caught a semi-deep fly ball with the bases loaded. He made a good, strong throw toward third, but had no chance at getting that runner. The runner from 1B also advanced.
  • Danny Rams is a strong man with good power. He lined out to RF late in the game and hit that ball quite well. But what I noticed was that he is much better defensively than I would have thought based on what I had heard. He seemed in control of the game behind the plate. He did a nice job receiving pitches, and blocked a couple of balls in the dirt. He had a passed ball, but it was actually on a pitch up that there appeared to be a mix up in what pitch was to be thrown. Although he didn’t have to throw any runners out, he has a rocket for an arm.
  • We will also be going to the Saturday night game between the Beloit Snappers (who are still leading their division and the Cedar Rapids Kernals, who are not far behind.

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

SethSpeaks Friday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Allan de San Miguel – New Britain Rockcats, Joe Benson – Ft. Myers Miracle

SethSpeaks Friday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Michael Tarsi – Ft. Myers Miracle

  • I’m a day late with this one, but according to MiLB.com, Ft. Myers OF Michael Harrington was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a muscle-building substance.
  • Brian Dozier was promoted to Ft. Myers, and Danny Santana will be joining the Beloit Snappers.

Red Wings Report   

Friday – Rochester 1, Syracuse 6 Glen Perkins falls to 0-6, but reduced his ERA to 9.09, with six innings of work. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on eight hits. He walked two and struck out six. Kyle Waldrop came in and struck out two in two perfect innings. Rob Delaney gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in his inning. Matt Tolbert went 2-2 with two walks. Jose Morales went 1-3 with a walk and a double.  

New Britain Notes

Friday – New Britain 14, Binghamton 2Allan de San Miguel is an excellent defensive catcher, but on this night, he was the hitting hero too. He went 4-5 with two doubles and four RBI. Brandon Roberts was 2-3 with a walk. Steve Singleton and Yangervis Solarte each had two hits. David Bromberg gave up two runs on six hits in 6.2 innings. He walked four and struck out nine. Chris Province was perfect over the final 2.1 innings.  

Miracle Matters

Friday – Ft. Myers 7, Daytona 0 – Joe Benson is doing a great job of showing he wants to be back in New Britain. In this game, he went 4-5 with two doubles, and his second home run. In his five games with the Miracle, his is hitting .450/.522/.900 with four singles, three doubles and two home runs. Michael Tarsi started and went six shutout innings. He gave up two hits, walked four and struck out six. Brad Tippett threw two scoreless frames before Andrey Lobanov kept the shutout with a scoreless ninth.  

Snappers Snippets

Friday – Beloit 2, Cedar Rapids 8 – If you look at Edgar Ibarra’s pitching line, it isn’t exactly impressive. The lefty gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and four walks. He struck out three. Eliecer Cardenas came in with the bases loaded and gave up a single and a bases-clearing triple before getting out of that inning. He got out of that inning and threw two more. Matt Tone struck out two in a scoreless ninth. James Beresford went 2-4. Reggie Williams had a long RBI double to left centerfield. And yes, Aaron Hicks and Angel Morales both played, and each had a single.

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

Plouffe Promoted

20 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

REMINDER – The SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast will be at 9:00 on Sunday night. Guests are still a work in progress, but there will be a show with lots of Twins talk, minor league talk and much more.

Well, it was only about ten days too late, but Trevor Plouffe was finally promoted to the Twins following Thursday night’s Twins and Red Wings game. He had been held of out the Red Wings lineup on Thursday. Unfortunately, his promotion comes at the expense of Jeff Manship who was sent back to Rochester. From the Red Wings site:

The Minnesota Twins announced after tonight’s game that they will recall infielder Trevor Plouffe from Triple-A Rochester in time for Friday night’s game vs. the Milwaukee Brewers at Target Field. In 38 games with the Red Wings this season, Plouffe batted .303 (46-for-152) with 11 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 21 rbi. He was drafted by the Twins in the first round (20th overall) of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. Plouffe’s first game action will be his Major League debut and he will wear uniform number 24. To make room for Plouffe on the 25-man roster, the Twins have optioned right-handed pitcher Jeff Manship to Triple-A Rochester…

I told Plouffe at Twins Fest that next year, I will pay for his autograph, and now, I will have to do just that. Trevor is a terrific guy with great charisma and he has put it all together this year. He will turn 24 years old in June. One of the Twins first-round picks in 2004, Plouffe has slowly worked his way up the Twins farm system. He was promoted to the Red Wings in the second half of 2008 and spent all of 2009 there as well. When the Twins signed JJ Hardy this offseason, Plouffe used it as motivation and is putting together a great year.

Following the 2009 season, Plouffe participated in the World Cup for Team USA. He was their shortstop and second hitter and a team leader. He helped the team, along with guys like Ike Davis, Justin Smoak and Terry Tiffee, win the gold medal.

So, although it is unfortunate that Jeff Manship is returning to Rochester (instead of say, Jose Mijares, or… maybe a DFA of Jesse Crain?), I am thrilled for Trevor Plouffe.

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

SethSpeaks Thursday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jason Repko – Rochester Red Wings

SethSpeaks Thursday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – BJ Hermsen – Beloit Snappers 

  • Be sure to check out Josh’s Thoughts for his Minor League News and Notes.
  • Speaking of Josh Johnson, he and I are heading to Beloit, Wisconsin, on Friday to watch the Snappers play Cedar Rapids on Friday and Saturday. We should see Edgar Ibarra and Michael Tonkin in the mound. Hopefully we will see Aaron Hicks and Angel Morales both games. I am not certain if I will be posting blog entries over the weekend, but I am sure that I will be tweeting away. Follow me at www.twitter.com/sethtweets.

Red Wings Report   

Thursday – Rochester 3, Syracuse 4 Tyler Robertson was promoted to Rochester, likely just for this one start in place of Manship. The young lefty did alright. In five innings, he gave up three runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out six. Tim Lahey came in and threw two shutout innings. Cole DeVries then gave up an unearned run on three hits in two innings. He struck out three. Jason Repko was most of the offense. He went 4-5 with his fourth homer and three RBI. Jacque Jones went 2-4. Matt Tolbert and Brock Peterson each had doubles.  

New Britain Notes

Thursday – New Britain 6, Portland 2Kyle Gibson appears to be fairly good at pitching. . I think that is fairly safe to say. On this night, the 2009 top pick gave up two runs on four hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out six. He had 13 ground balls with two fly outs, continuing his ground ball inducing ways. Michael Allen reduced his AA ERA to just 1.23 with another scoreless inning. Loek Van Mil gave up two hits in a scoreless inning. Erik Lis went 3-5 with his first New Britain homer. Ben Revere went 2-3 with two walks. He stole his 12th and 13th bases. Rene Tosoni went 2-5 with his seventh double. Juan Portes went 2-5 with a triple.   

Miracle Matters

Thursday – Ft. Myers 5, Daytona 7 – Blake Martin made another start, and it didn’t go well. In 3.2 innings, he gave up seven runs on seven hits (two home runs). He walked two and struck out three. Tony Davis went 2.1 scoreless. Billy Bullock struck out two in his inning. Steve Blevins struck out three in two shutout innings. Estarlin de Los Santos went 3-5. Joe Benson went 2-5 with his first Miracle home run (6th of the year). Ramon Santana hit his eighth double and first triple. Chris Parmelee went 0-2, but he walked three times.

Snappers Snippets

Thursday – Beloit 3, Kane County 2 – The Snappers didn’t get much offense generated, but it was still enough for BJ Hermsen. The Twins young pitcher was tremendous in his second Midwest League start. In seven shutout innings, he gave up three hits and no walks. He struck out three for the Win. He is now 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA and 0.75 WHIP. Jhon Garcia gave up two runs (1 earned) in 1.1 innings, his first since joining the Snappers. Kane Holbrooks recorded his fifth save by getting the final two outs via strikeout. The Snappers managed just four hits. Angel Morales had a two run single. He also stole his 12th and 13th bases of the year.

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

Happy Delmon (Young) Day!

12 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Happy Delmon (Young) Day! Andrew Kneeland, who was the master mind behind Nick Punto Day a couple of months ago decided that May 12 would be Delmon Young Day.

But before diving into today’s blog (or re-blog), be sure to listen to last night’s Twins Minor League Weekly. Travis Aune and I talked for 80 minutes about the goings on throughout the Twins farm system. We were joined by BJ Hermsen, who was promoted to Beloit yesterday, for a ten minute interview. We answered some phone call questions, and then discussed the Twins minor league affiliates. We spent time talkinga bout all of the transactions, and I kind of got a little revved up when discussing my disappointment that Matt Tolbert was promoted instead of Trevor Plouffe. The more I think about it, the more annoyed I get. But I will be OK. Anyway, it was a fun, informative show. For information on last night’s minor league games, be sure to listen. If you haven’t listened previously, try it out. And as always, if you have any feedback, please let me know.   

SethSpeaks Tuesday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Trevor Plouffe – Rochester Red Wings

SethSpeaks Tuesday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Carlos Gutierrez – New Britain Rock Cats

Alright, I am going to semi-mail it in tonight after the lengthy podcast last night. I am going to post what I blogged on November 28, 2007, the day that the Twins made the trade with Tampa that sent Delmon Young to the Twins. Before that, I will just share some thoughts.

When the Twins acquired Delmon Young, I was very excited. I knew that giving up Matt Garza was a risk, but I also knew that the Twins were very happy to be rid of him. I was higher than most on Jason Bartlett, so I really hated to see him gone, but replacing him with Brendan Harris (who was coming off of a 12 HR season) would be a decent replacement. The part of the deal that I was most disturbed by was the loss of Eduardo Morlan!

One thing that has always bothered me is the continual comparison to Garza. Garza, of course, had decent seasons for the Rays the last two years, but nothing spectacular. For the Twins, he would have been a #3 or #4 starter. However, when the Rays played the Red Sox in the ALCS in 2008, Garza pitched two great games and was named series MVP. The other side of Garza showed up in World Series when he was lit up by the Phillies. He has been up and down the last two years. He, along with winner Francisco Liriano, were considered the top choices for April Pitcher of the Month. Likewise, the Rays success in 2008 made them a huge story. When Jason Bartlett was named the team’s MVP, it was a joke. Why? He missed a ton of time that season with injury, and truth be told, he was outplayed by Nick Punto. That said, I was not at all surprised by how well Bartlett played in 2009. That said, I don’t think he can sustain it. In all, I think that Garza and Bartlett are both very good players, but the value of each was greatly enhanced by their team’s success in 2008. Secondly, I never understood the level of disdain for Delmon by many fans and bloggers. He played with the Twins for the first two years as he had for the Rays. The numbers are incredibly similar. It was never Delmon’s fault that many fans (myself included) had some expectations for so much more… and I still expect that Young will get to those levels in time.

Young was just that, he was so young. He was still just 22 years old when he debuted with the Twins. He could hit .290, but he simply refused to walk, even in Tampa Bay. His first-pitch swinging was really frustrating. Young was second in the AL in Assists during his final year with Tampa Bay… to the Twins Michael Cuddyer. The Twins decided that it would be best to move Young to LF and keep Cuddyer in RF. It’s always interesting to see a player play every day. I don’t think Twins fans realized that Young was so shaky defensively. Now I would argue that he isn’t as bad as some would say. He is not smooth out in left field, but he doesn’t make a lot of errors. There is no questioning his arm strength.

2009 may have been a turning point for Young. He was hitting .300 when he left the team to be with his mother. He went on the bereavement list. His mother passed away, and when he came back, Young clearly wasn’t himself. He struck out more than every other at bat for a couple of weeks. He then lost a lot of playing time. But when Justin Morneau’s season came to an end, Young played every day in LF and played very well. He was a huge part of the Twins playoff push.

This past offseason is why I think that Delmon Young has now turned the corner. I know people like to see that Delmon Young has lost weight. In the outfield, he has been able to make a lot more plays and cover more ground. But for me, it is about the effort and the resolve. To lose 30 pounds requires a commitment, and Young showed that throughout the offseason. He came to camp in shape, and he showed up with a smile. It was really the first time that we have seen smiling Delmon, and it’s been great. Along with the improved range, it is great to see the extra hustle that Young has shown on the base paths. Ground balls to the left side of the infield are no longer easy outs. Force outs at 2B have become tough plays. As important, it appears that Young is being more patient at the plate. No, he’ll never be Joe Mauer. He won’t ever walk a ton, but there seems to be an effort, and honestly, it’s great to see. It’s all we can ask for as fans.

Young came to the big leagues with a bad reputation. There was the 50 game suspension while he was in the minor leagues for throwing a bat at an umpire after a called third strike. There was his very vocal disappointment when he was not called up as a 19 year old. But he was also touted as one of the top prospects in baseball from the time he was the first overall draft pick in 2003 until he debuted with the Rays in 2006. The talent is clearly there. Likely, baseball came easy to him, and it became questionable as to whether he was willing to work to get better and make adjustments. 2009 had to be a hard year for Young. His mom suffered from cancer for awhile, and that was weighing on his mind. When he came back, it had to take awhile to be himself again.

That’s why seeing the smile this spring is a very good thing. That’s why hearing reports that he is a different person, more relaxed and a better teammate is a good thing. I had the opportunity to chat with Delmon Young a few times throughout the offseason. He was very personable and friendly, nothing like the persona so many would seem to expect.

Let’s see where the numbers end up .Who knows what he’ll do. But if nothing else, Young has clearly put in the time and the effort that he deserves the chance to play and see what he can become. 2010 is a huge year for him as well. It is his first arbitration season and he got a nice raise from last year. If he puts up another year similar to the last two, he will get another raise. If he has the type of season that I think he is still capable of (since he is still just 24 years old until September), then he could make a lot of money. Either way, the Twins will need to decide how those numbers affect what they want and need to do this offseason. With Ben Revere and Rene Tosoni likely ready sometime in 2011, what will they do? Michael Cuddyer is signed through 2011, and the Twins will most likely pick up the 2011 option of Jason Kubel. It will be very interesting to see how 2010 plays out for Delmon Young, and what it means for the upcoming off season.  

Feel free to discuss Delmon today and share your thoughts as well. I am going to re-post the blog I wrote the day of the trade, two-and-a-half years ago, just for fun. Leave your comments here.

Wednesday Afternoon, November 28, 2007

Twins Get Young (and More)

UPDATE – The deal is complete. Unfortunately, Juan Rincon’s elbow made the Rays shy on him, so he was replaced in the trade by Eduardo Morlan. Instead of feeling really pretty good about the deal, I am now a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong. I think getting Young is great, and Harris may be a little underrated. But I also believe that Garza may be a little underrated, and so is Bartlett. So, unless Jason Pridie becomes the Twins starting CF, it’s a little more difficult to be overly excited about the deal anymore. To me, Morlan would have been the Twins next great closer. 21 years old, a strikeout machine, a guy who wanted to close. Disappointing! Not a bad trade, just a little less excitement right now.

La Velle is reporting that the Twins are close to acquiring Delmon Young from the Tampa Bay Rays for Matt Garza. The deal is believed to include more, but those are the principles. The Twins would also acquire SS Brendan Harris and CF Jason Pridie. The Twins would also send Jason Bartlett and Juan Rincon to the Rays. So, without diving into numbers and stats and really, just hearing this now, here are some thoughts:

This trade can be broken down three ways:

1.)     Matt Garza for Delmon Young – Matt Garza has “ace” potential. Once every five days, he could give the Twins a chance to win. He is still quite young and although he hasn’t dominated yet, but he will. Delmon Young has the type of bat that could develop into a .300 hitter with potentially 35 homers or so. (and he refuses to walk, so maybe a .310 OBP?) Of course, he comes with some concerns, or baggage. High potential young pitcher for high potential young hitter. It’s a challenge trade and the winner probably won’t be known for a couple of years. However, as of right now, the advantage goes to the Twins. This also officially ends the Terry Ryan era!

2.)     Jason Bartlett for Brendan Harris – I am a big Bartlett guy. I’ve always liked him. But look at the numbers, Harris is not really a step down. In fact, he provides a little more home run potential than Bartlett. However, he is not the defender that Bartlett is. That is why one of the Rays’ goals this offseason was to find a defensive shortstop and why Bartlett is an asset to them. In reality, this is a pretty even portion of the trade. If there has to be an advantage given, I would give it to the Rays, but not by a lot.

3.)     Jason Pridie for Juan Rincon – This isn’t really a comparison at all. The Twins took Pridie, whose brother pitched in the Twins system for several seasons, in the Rule V draft two years ago. He went to spring training, but did not stick with the team. He spent 2006 at AA, and 2007 at AAA. Suddenly this season, he became a bigger prospect. So, is he the Twins CF of the future or is he Jason Tyner II? The Rays need bullpen help, so maybe Rincon makes sense to them. From a Twins fan’s perspective, this part of the trade is very pro-Twins just by ridding themselves of Rincon, who has a year of arbitration left.

So, by itself, this is a good trade for the Twins in my opinion. It doesn’t answer all of the Twins questions. It creates new and different questions. But it is the start and there is more to come, I’m sure.

So, what does this all mean? Is Harris their SS or is he a 3B option too? Does Alexi Casilla move to SS? Is Trevor Plouffe ready? Does Delmon Young play CF or LF? Can Jason Pridie play CF for the Twins in 2008, and what does this mean for Denard Span? If Garza is gone and Silva will sign elsewhere and Johan Santana is traded, what will that Twins rotation look like in 2008?

Observations from Opening Day

13 Apr

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

 

My StarTribune.com TwinsCentric blog for this week is called Observations from Opening Day. I wasn’t sure how many observations I had as the game was going on, but I know there are about 25 bullet points. Some are serious. Some are fun (and maybe even funny?). So, be sure to go there and leave your comments and observations from the first regular season game at Target Field whether you were there in person or watched on TV.

PROGRAMMING NOTE – I will be on KFAN and KFAN.com with Paul Allen again today (Tuesday) at about 9:20 a.m. Check it out if you’re able to.

SethSpeaks Monday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Trevor Plouffe – Rochester Red Wings

SethSpeaks Monday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Tom Stuifbergen – Beloit Snappers

The Players of the Day are Plouffe and Stuif. Keep reading below, if you want more proof!

Red Wings Report

Monday – Rochester 5, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 6 (11 innings)Anthony Slama entered the ninth inning, trying to protect a two run lead. However, after a walk, he gave up a home run to Juan Miranda that tied the game. Rob Delaney came in for the 11th inning and after getting one out, he gave up the game-winning run to the Barons. Mike Maroth made his first start. The veteran lefty gave up only an unearned run on two hits in 3.1 innings. He walked three and struck out three. Jose Lugo gave up four hits, but no runs, in 1.2 innings. Matt Fox pitched an inning and gave up two runs. Kyle Waldrop pitched two scoreless innings before giving way to Slama. The offense produced plenty of hits, but not enough runs in this game. Trevor Plouffe went 3-5 with a walk and two doubles. Brian Dinkelman was 3-6 with a double. Erik Lis, Danny Valencia and Jason Repko (who was making his first Rochester appearance) were each 2-5. Wilson Ramos was also 2-5, but he added a double. David Winfree went 1-4 with a walk and his fourth double of the short season for S/WB.

New Britain Notes

Monday – New Britain 2, Portland 8Deolis Guerra got the start in this game. He gave up four runs in the first inning, but he then settled down. In five innings, he gave up five runs (4 earned) on six hits. He walked none and struck out two. Chris Province came in and gave up three runs on two hits and three walks in 1.2 innings. He struck out three. Spencer Steedley came in and threw 1.1 innings. He struck out two. Steve Hirschfeld pitched a perfect ninth innings. Joe Benson busted out with a good game. He went 2-3 with a walk and a double. Steve Singleton also had two hits. Chris Parmelee hit his second home run.  

Miracle Matters

Monday – Ft. Myers 2, Bradenton 6Bruce Pugh made his first start. In three innings, he gave up two runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out three. Blake Martin went the next two innings and gave up one run. Ron Mahay pitched a perfect sixth inning. Henry Arias gave up three unearned runs on two hits and a walk in two innings. Michael Harrington and Yangervis Solarte each went 2-4.  

Snappers Snippets

Monday – Beloit 3, Peoria 0Tom Stuifbergen came in for an inning last week, but on this day, he made his first start. The Dutch right-hander went six shutout innings. He gave up just four hits. He walked none and struck out five for the Win. Peter Kennelly got the next five outs, three of them on strikeouts. Edgar Ibarra got one out. Steve Blevins recorded the save with a scoreless innings. Anderson Hidalgo had two doubles in three at bats. Steve Liddle was 2-4 with his second home run. Josmil Pinto was 2-4. So was Brian Dozier, who added a stolen base as well.

If you have any questions or comments on this preview of the roster, please feel free to ask… Leave your questions or comments.

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