Twins Minor League Weekly

4 Aug

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I appreciate everyone’s patience with me as I transition after my move north. Soon I will be back to normal around here with updates daily and several other projects. For today, I’ll ask that you check out last night’s Twins Minor League Weekly podcast. I was joined by Alex Margulies, the voice of the Ft. Myers Miracle. Alex does a tremendous job and you can listen to all of the Miracle games at the Miracle’s web site. He also does some highlight packages, updates a blog, is on Twitter (and you should follow him!), and does much more. It was a good conversation about several of the Miracle players. The rest of the show involved discussion of each of the Twins six US affiliates. There was an excellent phone call about Miguel Munoz. Lots of talk about the great Oswaldo Arcia, or at least the incredible season that he has had at Elizabethton.

Here a few highlights from last night’s games:

  • David Bromberg gave up five runs but just one of them was earned in his 5.1 innings for Rochester.
  • Brendan Harris went 3-4 with a walk, his 8th double and 3rd home run.
  • D’Angelo Jimenez hit his fourth and fifth home runs and drove in six runs for the Red Wings.
  • Brock Peterson hit his 16th home run.
  • Kyle Waldrop had another rough outing. He gave up five earned runs on five hits (including a grand slam) and a walk.
  • Pat Neshek improved to 4-0 by getting the final two outs of the 7th inning.
  • Rob Delaney threw two scoreless innings for his third save since Anthony Slama’s promotion.
  • At New Britain, things started ominously. Ben Revere led off the game by being hit in the head with a pitch and left the game.
  • Mark Dolenc replaced Revere and went 2-3 with his third home run.
  • Estarlin de Los Santos hit his first AA homer.
  • Joe Benson just missed his 22nd homer of the year, but he turned it into his 7th triple. He also hit his 16th double.
  • Kyle Gibson gave up one run on five hits in seven innings. He walked none and struck out seven.
  • Billy Bullock got the final out to record his 8th save.
  • Angel Morales hit his first home run for the Ft. Myers Miracle. Margulies called it an absolute blast. He has moved into the leadoff spot and he has shown great plate discipline and patience.
  • Evan Bigley went 2-4 with his 23rd double.
  • Jonathan Goncalves was 2-3.
  • Josmil Pinto led the Snappers to a 14-2 win over Burlington. He was 3-4 with his seventh home run.
  • Lance Ray went 2-3 with two walks and his third home run in a short time with the Snappers. He was a 2010 draft pick, 8th round out of Kentucky. He played 1B in college but has been playing in the Beloit OF.
  • Danny Rams hit his 22nd and 23rd doubles.
  • Michael Gonzales was 2-4 with two walks, his 19th double and 11th home run.
  • Edgar Ibarra went seven innings and gave up one run on four hits. He walked one and struck out seven.
  • Oswaldo Arcia drove in three runs, including a game-winning, 8th inning home run that gave the E-Twins a 3-2 win over Kingsport. Arcia went 3-5 with his 13th and 14th home runs on the year.
  • Daniel Santana went 2-5.
  • Martire Garcia improved to 6-0. The lefty gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out nine.
  • David Gutierrez picked up his third save with four strikeouts in two perfect innings.
  • Eddie Rosario went 3-4 with a walk.
  • Max Kepler went 3-4 with his fourth and fifth doubles.
  • Miguel Sano was 1-4. Not noteworthy, but he struck out three. On the short-season, he has three walks to go with 26 strikeouts.

Any thoughts on the Twins or their minor league system, comment here.


19 Responses to “Twins Minor League Weekly”

  1. mike wants wins August 4, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    Gibson has to be the number 1 prospect, doesn’t he? What are your current thoughts on Benson vs Revere?

  2. Seth August 4, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    I think a strong argument could be made for Gibson, Sano and Hicks as the #1. Today, I would rank them, Hicks, Gibson, Sano, but that could easily change by the end of the month.

    As for Revere/Benson. When I last did a Top 40-50 ranking, I had Benson ranked #4 (or #5 with Ramos at #4) and Revere ranked 8th or 9th. When it comes to prospect status, I don’t think it’s really very close anymore between those two.

  3. Jeff P August 4, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    I know every pitcher is up and down but Gibson has been an extreme case of it, at least in New Britain.

    His 5 bad starts: 25 innings, 28 ER, and 40 hits given up.

    His 10 good starts: 62 1/3 innings, 7 ER, and 44 hits.

    That many good starts can’t just be luck, hopefully he will be in AAA next spring and ready to contribute if any of the starters falter.

  4. Bill August 4, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    Oswaldo Arcia is putting up absolutely monster numbers in the Appy League. This young man is doing things that no other prospect of record has done and will likely win the Triple Crown of that league. He has to be considered as the organizations Minor League Player of The Year as well as in te top 5 prospects in the organization.

  5. Dave August 4, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Actually Arcia’s numbers resemble what Angel Morales did a couple of years ago. Appy league stats don’t predict future success – I will be interested see see how he does in Beloit next year.

  6. Seth August 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    Jeff P – Gibson is where he should be right now. That’s what that inconsistency tells me. But the ‘good’ side is what makes him such a good prospect.

    Arcia’s 2010 numbers so far are significantly better than Angel Morales’s 2008 season in the Appy League… which made me a huge Morales fan.

    Morales: .301/.413/.623, 183 AB, 26 BB, 72 K, 12-2B, 1-3B, 15-HR, 28-RBI.
    Arcia: .394/.437/.777, 175 AB, 11 BB, 39 K, 17-2B, 4-3B, 14-HR, 40-RBI.

    Arcia is about 6 months older than Morales was at the time. Morales hasn’t hit for quite as much power since, but he has improved his plate discipline and remains a top 6-8 prospect. Arcia has been amazing, but that doesn’t take away the fact that he will have to do it again next year in Beloit. Will he continue to improve? Will the power be maintained? Will he learn to take a walk? How will his lefty-righty splits be over time? Long ways to go for Arcia (and for Morales), but I really like both.

  7. mike wants wins August 4, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    Thanks again for all the interesting info, and hard work. Hope your move is going well.

  8. TT August 4, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    Seth –

    I assume you mean Benson is clearly a better prospect than Revere. But I am not sure how hitting .212 since the allstar break shows the kind of performance or improvement you want in a “top prospect”. He’s struck out 21 times and walked three in that same period. He’s not making contact and, as AA pitchers develop their control, he is getting fewer walks.

    Its no coincidence that it was Revere, not Benson, who was chosen for the Eastern League allstar game and the Futures game. He is a much better prospect than Benson.

    • Dave August 4, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

      Benson vs Revere this year in AA

      PA RC RC/27 wOBA
      Benson: 321 44 5.26 .362
      Revere: 368 41 4.46 .324

      Benson has created more runs than revere in about 13% less plate appearances. Throw in the fact that he is a far superior defender and you can argue that he is the better prospect.

      The all star break stats only take into account 17 games – hardly a significant sample. Lets wait and see how the season plays out – although I agree that Benson needs to work on improving his contact rate. The 543 SLG and 56 extra base hits is impressive.

      • Seth August 4, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

        Yeah, I will take Benson as a better Prospect any day of the week, no question. I just think that Revere is more polished. He’s a little more of a sure thing. And I definitely agree with the smaall sample size (17 games) being noteworthy because I think Benson’s stretch where he went something like 0-13 with 9 strikeouts is in that stretch. The Extra Base Hits are what do it for me. I’ll take the strikeouts, especially when you add the power, similar speed, better defense, stronger arm… and the football mentality can really go either way. Most of the time, I think it’s a good thing. Occasionally, it can get the best of him.

      • TT August 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

        Dave –

        Are you using Bill James RC-Runs Created (ie. R+RBI-HR)?

        Revere 39+22-1= 60 RC
        Benson 49+35-17 = 67 RC

        I don’t really think that difference means much.

        There is no doubt Benson has more power than Revere, but Revere has 31 SB to Benson’s 10 and is hitting .297 despite some setbacks from injuries.

        The problem is that Benson right now has a fatal flaw, he can’t make contact even against AA pitching. If he put up those numbers against major league pitching you might say you could live with it given his power. But he isn’t going to put up anything like those numbers against major league pitching given his current struggles.

        As for Revere being more polished, he has one less professional season than Benson. So why is he more polished? I think this has nothing to do with polish, its a major league player compared to a minor league slugger.

  9. Seth August 4, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    TT – maybe polished isn’t the right word, but they are two very different players… and, for me at least (and everyone thinks differently on it), it’s more about what a guy could be at the big league level, combined with likelihood of getting there.

    Do I think that Ben Revere could be a big league OK, slap-hitting, bad outfielder right now? Sure. Probably. In two years, he could be a .300/.370/.370 hitter which makes him a solid leadoff hitter in the big leagues. Nothing wrong with that. Especially when many of his singles essentially become doubles with his ability to steal bases.

    Yes, Benson needs to continue to do a better job of making contact. No one, Benson included, is questioning that. If he was in the big leagues today, he’d probably hit about .100/150/.200 with a ton of strikeouts. But prospect rankings, again for me, are about potential… and potentially, Benson could hit .265/.370/.530 in the big leagues, with above-average defense and arm.

    But again, that’s just my opinion.

  10. TT August 5, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    “t’s more about what a guy could be at the big league level, combined with likelihood of getting there.”

    I get that and I agree that you can place different weight on each of those. For instance Hicks has a high ceiling, but is a long way from the majors which makes him a big risk.

    What I am saying about Benson is that he is not a long way from the big leagues any more. He is at AA. And his flaws are ones that aren’t likely to go away. Someone once compared his strikeouts to Ryan Howard, but Howard had a .300 minor league career batting average. He was striking out a lot, but he was also hitting a lot. Its tough to find anyone in the big leagues that struck out and hit like Benson in the minors.

    You might as well expect Revere to develop 30 HR power. If he did, he would be a potential HOF. That comparison is a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. Benson’s inability to hit isn’t just a concern that he needs to work on more, its a fatal flaw that he needs to fix.

    • Dave August 5, 2010 at 10:53 am #

      Take out Benson’s bad April and he has a line of around .270 BA – .600 SLG with a mid .900 OPS. I can’t quite figure out why you say Benson has an inability to hit. He’s third in the league in SLG and 6Th in OPS.

      You obviously don’t agree that an out is an out whether its a weak grounder or fly ball versus a strike out. The numbers prove that Benson is a more productive hitter this year in AA compared to Revere even with the high k rate.

  11. TT August 5, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    “Take out Benson’s bad April and he has a line of around .270 BA”

    If you also take out his best month he is hitting .253. That exercise tells you nothing. Although, since April was the start of the year you can argue he has improved. Unfortunately, I don’t think recent performance supports that.

    “You obviously don’t agree that an out is an out whether its a weak grounder or fly ball versus a strike out.”

    Actually – the problem is Benson makes a lot of outs period. But no, I don’t think strike outs are the same when evaluating a hitter’s potential.

  12. Dave August 6, 2010 at 10:21 am #

    TT – not to let the facts get in the way of your biased opinion and not selecting any smaller sample size here are Benson’s stats for this season from minor league reference and his relative rank in the Twins organization:

    Line 259/340/544
    Games – 101
    Plate Appearances – 423
    Runs scored – 67 1st
    Hits – 97 tied for 8th
    Doubles – 28 2nd
    Triples – 8 2nd
    Home Runs – 21 1st
    RBI’s – 48 tied for 8th
    Total Bases – 204 1st by a wide margin
    Strike Outs – 113 2nd

    So for making all those outs you claim is his downfall – he somehow ranks near the top of every statistically significant offensive category and could arguably be said to be the best hitter in the Twins system this year even with the elevated strike outs. Hopefully he will learn to cut down on the strike outs which correspond to an increase in batting average.

    Revere is more major league ready at this point, but Benson has a much higher ceiling.

  13. TT August 6, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    Dave –

    You are including A-ball stats and Benson is in his 5th minor league season. As I said, while Hicks is a long way from the major leagues, Benson no longer is. Hitting .248 against AA pitchers is not being successful, no matter how far you hit the ball.

    Again – show me the major league hitters who have been successful after putting up those kinds of numbers at AA. There probably are some, but the list is going to be very short. The problem isn’t the numbers, we just disagree about their meaning. If you think RBI’s and Runs scored have meaning in terms of how good a prospect a player is, you are way off.

    A good comparison for Benson is Chris Parmelee. Parmelee has 7 more PA’s at AA, 9 more hits and 3 fewer walks. He has 37 fewer strike outs. He has hit for less power than Benson – but he is making a lot more contact. That means he has room to improve. Benson, by contrast, has more extra base hits than he has singles. When he hits it he its it a long way. And the numbers that impress you reflect that. But that isn’t necessarily repeatable at the big league level. In fact, it is highly unlikely that you are going to make it in the big leagues with a .250 average and more extra base hits than singles.

    The problem with Benson’s strike outs is that it is AA pitching that is striking him out. The chances are pretty good that he is getting struck out more often by the guys he would have to face in the big leagues and connecting more often on the guys who will never get past AAA. You aren’t going to make it in the big leagues by hitting 88 mph fastballs that are out over the meat of the plate. There just aren’t going to be enough of those. It doesn’t matter how far you hit it when you happen to catch one.

  14. Dave August 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    Mike Cameron – Mark Reynolds – BJ Upton to name a few.

    I find it amazing that you can deduce that he’s striking out against the “good” AA pitchers but hitting those 88 straight fastballs that the bad pitchers throw. It’s just as likely that he hits the better pitchers and has trouble with the slower pitchers who throw lots of sliders. You been to many Eastern League games?

    And yes anybody who has more extra base hits than singles impresses me no matter what level its being done at. Funny you don’t feel the same as that’s what wins baseball games.

  15. TT August 6, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

    “Funny you don’t feel the same as that’s what wins baseball games.”

    The minor leagues isn’t about winning baseball games.

    “Mike Cameron ”
    1995 AA 104K 419PA

    “Joe Benson”
    2010 AA 92K 327PA

    They aren’t really similar at all.

    BJ Upton
    2003 AA (Age 18 – his first year as a pro) 25K 127 PA
    AA career 53K 247PA

    Not even close.

    Mark Reynolds
    AA Career 69K 282PA

    Not close.

    Every single one of your examples struck out less than once in 4 plate appearances. Again – where is the player like Benson?

    “I find it amazing that you can deduce that he’s striking out against the “good” AA pitchers but hitting those 88 straight fastballs that the bad pitchers throw. ”

    Well, no, I can’t deduce that. What I can see is that he is feast or famine against AA pitching. And we know he is seeing a lot more 88 mph fastballs than he will in the big leagues. He is also seeing a lot more pitchers who can’t get their breaking ball over the plate. How do we know that? Because he is playing in AA.

    Its possible he can’t hit breaking balls, but his batting average would suggest there is more than that going on. As would the high number of strikeouts.

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