also available at www.SethSpeaks.net –
The NFL season starts tonight with one game. That means one thing… it is time to start up this year’s version of the NFL “Expert” Picks at SethSpeaks.net. There are a few changes to the panel this year. A few new bloggers and media types join the panel. There are also several other Twins minor leaguers who have joined this panel. That is exciting, especially since all of the players from last year returned. With the promotion of Jeff Manship to the big leagues, we now have two Minnesota Twins players making picks each week. The goal will be for us to get these posted in time for you to review them before you need to turn in your office pool picks. So, with a game tonight, here are our picks for this week. If there are just games on Sunday and Monday, I will attempt to post them by Friday morning.
The format will be a little bit different in an attempt to try to make it a little more concise. We will try it out, but if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. We are now over 30 panelists, so it will be a bit of work. I will try to update the Standings in a timely manner each week.
If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me or leave some Comments here. If you want, post your picks.
Before getting to the picks, I would like to introduce this year’s panel:
Seth Stohs – It’s me… you can find me here, or at TalkinTwinsBB.wordpress.com. I also write a weekly blog for the Star Tribune Your Voices blog. Monday nights, you can hear the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast at 9:00 central time. Last fall, I wrote the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook – 2009 (Which is now on sale!), and in July, I joined the TwinsCentric group and helped write the TwinsCentric July Trade Deadline Primer.
Kevin Slowey – Kevin is back for his fifth year on the panel.The loyal Steelers follower, Slowey will not only make the picks each week, but he will tell us how many points the Steelers will win by! Slowey had a very solid first half with the Twins, but wrist problems cost Slowey the second half of this season. He had wrist surgery and looks to come back in 2010 where he left off.
Jeff Manship – Jeff is in his third year on this panel. He was the Twins 14th round draft pick in 2006 out of Notre Dame. He started the 2009 season back in New Britain. He was promoted to Rochester at the midpoint of the season. He pitched very well with the Red Wings and when there was a need with the Twins, Manship was promoted to the big league club. He was recently moved into the starting rotation and done well.
Kyle Waldrop – Kyle won this league championship three seasons ago. He has also had the best record of Twins players the past two years as well. After missing the 2008 season, Kyle came back with a very strong 2009 season. He pitched in the Ft. Myers bullpen for the first half of the season. He was promoted to New Britain where he was even better. In 31 games (and 55.2 innings), he had a 1.46 ERA.
Joe Benson – Joe is also in his third season on the NFL “Expert” Picks panel. The Twins 2006 2nd round pick spent two years in Beloit. This year, he moved up to Ft. Myers and re-established himself as a top prospect.
Steve Singleton – Steve is now in his second season on the panel. He got off to a slow start in his return to Ft. Myers. He received a promotion to New Britain and he took off from there with the bat. He also got playing time at his preferred position, SS. Recently, he earned a spot in the Arizona Fall League.
Alex Burnett – Alex joins the panel for the first time. The Twins 12th round pick in 2005 out of his California high school, Burnett would be his team’s top starting pitcher at each level. So it was a surprise when he was sent back to Ft. Myers this April and put into the bullpen. That decision proved to be a wise one as he dominated the Florida State League. He earned a promotion to AA New Britain where he was even better (1.79 ERA in AA, 1.99 ERA in FM).
Matt Fox – Matt was a supplemental first round pick of the Twins in 2004 out of Central Florida. He had surgery in 2005, and since then he has gradually regained arm strength as he has moved up one level each year. This year, he was arguably the best pitcher at AA New Britain. He went 9-9 with a 3.58 ERA in over 150 innings pitched. His numbers would be even better without a rough July. He should move up to Rochester in 2010, and we may see him with the Twins next year as well. This is the first year on this panel.
Mike McCardell – Mike was the Twins 6th round pick in 2007 out of Kutztown University. He has been very good ever since. He began this season with Ft. Myers where he made 17 starts. He was promoted to New Britain where, after a rough first start, he has been one of their better pitchers. This is his first year on the panel.
David Bromberg – Coming off of a season in which he was named the Florida State League’s Pitcher of the Year, Bromberg joins this panel for the first time this year. In 2008, he led all Minor League Baseball in strikeouts. He was the Twins 32nd round pick in 2005 but went to Junior College before signing as a Draft and Follow in 2006. Bromberg is arguably the Twins best pitching prospect.
Dan Osterbrock – Osterbrock was the Twins 7th round pick in 2008 out of the University of Cincinnati. He was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year in 2008. He moved up to Beloit this year. He ended this season strong, being named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week after giving up just two runs in 13 innings over two starts. This is his first year on this panel.
Steve Blevins – Blevins is also on the panel for the first time. The Snappers’ reliever was the Twins 21st round pick in 2008 out of Marshall. This year, he went 3-5 with a 3.52 ERA. Opponents hit just .262 off of his this season. He showed improvement from the first half to the second half of the season and hopes to build on that for 2010.
Shooter Hunt – Shooter Hunt was the Twins supplemental first round pick in 2008. He was drafted out of Tulane, and is a huge football fan. This is his first year on the NFL “Expert” Picks panel.
Kyle Gibson – Kyle was the Twins 1st round pick just this June, 22nd overall, out of the University of Missouri. He fell to the Twins due to a fracture in his forearm that has since healed. He signed shortly before the August 17th deadline and has reported to Ft. Myers. He will officially join the Twins in Instructional Leagues and make his debut next spring. Gibson is on the panel for the first time.
Dan Slowey –Dan is the man behind a very interesting website called Blogonoscopy. This is his second year in the panel.
John Bonnes – John has been involved in the world of Twins blogging longer than anyone else. He is The Twins Geek,. He is also one of the TwinsCentric group.
Stick & Ball Guy – SBG is the creator of The World’s Greatest Online Magazine, one of the top blogs you’ll find on the Twins, but he also is active in discussions surrounding the Timberwolves, Vikings and much, much more.
Nick Nelson – Nick is another long-time Twins blogger who has been part of this panel for a few years now. He is the lasting author of the Nick’s Twins blog. He is also a writer in the TwinsCentric bunch.
Josh Johnson – Josh has been writing at Josh’s Thoughts, a very good Twins blog. Josh recently headed back to college, so hopefully that homework stuff doesn’t get in his way too much! He is on the panel for the third year.
Parker Hageman –Parker is the author of the excellent Over the Baggy blog, a very thought-provoking Twins blog. Parker is another member of the TwinsCentric group. This is his second year on this panel.
Travis Aune – Travis writes the Twins blog Travis Talks. He focuses a lot on the minor league system. He has been a frequent guest on the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast. This will be his first year on the panel.
John Meyer – John is another very busy individual. He’s got new businesses in the works to go with the great job he does as the Twins Most Valuable Blogger. This is his first year on the panel.
Brian Pietrzak – Brian is on the panel for the first time this year. He writes the Minnesota Twins page for Examiner.com.
LaVelle E. Neal III – LaVelle has been on this panel for several years now. He is a Twins beat writer for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune which includes the blog Twins Insider. He also frequently appears on KFAN radio. He’s always a strong competitor in this competition.
Howard Sinker – Howard provides Twins fans with A Fan’s View from Section 220. The former Twins beat writer (1982-1987) is still working at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Phil Mackey – P-Mac is a regular contributor to many of the shows on KFAN. He is the voice behind Twins Weekly. His personal blog can be found at www.PhilMackey.com. He is also heavily involved in MNPokerMag.com. He is one of the busiest sports media types in the Twin Cities, and this is his first year on the panel.
Darren “Doogie” Wolfson – Speaking of busy Twin Cities media types, Doogie can be found everywhere. He has a Star Tribune Your Voices blog, writes for gopherhole.com and works for cbssports.com… among other things. His radio background has allowed him to be a guest on several local radio shows. He is joining the panel for the first time too.
Jonathan Mayo – Jonathan has been on the panel three other years. He did take a year off to write a book, Facing Clemens. He is a senior writer for MLB.com and MiLB.com where he blogs on the Minors and the Draft.
Jack Michaels – Jack competes in this panel for the second straight year. He is the host of The Jack Michaels Show on ESPN 710 The Fan in Bismarck, ND, and has been gracious enough to let me be on his show from time to time. He was the original radio play-by-play guy of the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks where he teamed with former Dodgers great Maury Wills.
Cory Hepola – Cory is currently a sports anchor for WROC-TV in Rochester, New York. You can find much more about him on his personal blog that includes postings and videos and much more.
Vic Quick – Vic has been on this panel for a long time. He is currently a sports reporter/anchor for KOTA-TV in Rapid City, South Dakota, and proclaims himself the biggest Texas Rangers fan in South Dakota. The Dallas native is also likely the biggest Cowboys fan in the state too! My former college roommate definitely knows his football, at least anything about Emmitt Smith or Troy Aikman, well, and the Concordia Cobbers!
Blake Meyer – Blake is the originator of an incredible Twins website, Twins Cards. If you go there, you can see Twins baseball cards back to the team’s inception. You can find autographs and memorabilia and much more. Blake provides us an international flavor to the panel!
Michael Brasel – Long time friend (closer to 30 years than either of us want to admit), Mike was listed among the best players I have played ball with. He was one of the original panelists.
WEEK 1 Picks
Alright, here are our picks for the first week of the season:
To see our Week 1 picks, you will need to go to SethSpeaks.net.