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Friday Notes

6 Jan

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Good morning! I just wanted to post a few quick notes on an early Friday morning. I fell asleep early last night (not a bad thing!) and got up early this morning, so here are a few notes.

  • First of all, congratulations to Brian Duensing and his wife on the birth of their first child yesterday, a daughter.
  • I was quite surprised last night to read that the Twins decided to release minor leaguers RHP Cesar Ciurcina, RHP Todd Van Steensel, and RHP Pedro Guerra.
    • Ciurcina was a guy who was terrific in the DSL and GCL and pretty bad last year in Elizabethton.
    • I’m a little surprised by the Van Steensel decision. He didn’t have a great 2011 at Elizabethton, but at times, he pitched well. The strange thing, according to Jeremy Nygaard, is that Baseball America posted the releases at 6 p.m. last night central time. At 8 p.m. central time, Van Steensel, who is in Australia, tweeted that he just learned that the Twins released him. Strange timing. (Be sure to continue following Van Steensel’s Clubhouse Chronicles blog)
    • I am very surprised by the decision to release Pedro Guerra. He began each of the past two seasons at Elizabethton and advanced to Beloit where he pitched well.
  • Read also that the Orioles signed former Twins minor league catcher, Australian Allan de San Miguel.  
  • Happy Birthday to Anthony Slama today! Also, congratulations to Slama and his girlfriend on their recent engagement. Slama’s soon-to-be brother-in-law, Collin Balester was traded earlier this offseason to the Detroit Tigers. (This is Page 6 kind of stuff, huh?)
  • MLB is conducting its Rookie Career Development Program this week. According to Jonathan Mayo, the Twins sent Joe Benson, Chris Parmelee and Rene Tosoni to the conference.
  • Phil Mackey wrote an article on the Twins payroll that I find myself completely agreeing with. Most Twins fans probably don’t.
  • Former Twins Kevin Slowey and R.A. Dickey began their trek to reach the peak of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. The two are doing it for a charity that rescues girls from enslavement in the sex trade and fights human trafficking.
  • Those in the Beloit area will want to consider attending the 8th Annual Snappers Hot Stove Banquet on January 19th. Guests will include Twins GM Terry Ryan, Senior Director of Minor League Operations Jim Rantz, and Twins outfielder Ben Revere. MLB Umpire Marty Foster will also be speaking at the event. For more details on the event and to see how to secure your tickets, click here.
  • The Twinkie Town 2012 Top 50 vote is up to Round 24. Be sure to get your votes in. The voting is somewhat different than mine, and that’s a good thing because no prospect lists that go as deep as 50 should be exactly the same! Great discussion in the comments too!
  • I always have to encourage people to follow me on Twitter, or at least bookmark my Twitter Feed page. Why? Because I tweet quite a bit, and often I don’t wind up blogging all of the information that gets tweeted. I retweet a lot of other people’s blog entries and articles for people to read. One such article was Roger’s Minor League Report from last Saturday. He had a sit-down with Minnesotan, former Gophers and Twins 2011 draft pick AJ Pettersen. AJ is one of the really good people, and Roger wrote about their discussion.
  •  By the way, my plan is to be at Twins Fest on January 27 and 28. I’ve enjoyed attending the event for several year and now enjoy meeting up with other bloggers and fans. It’s also fun to chat with the players and the minor leaguers. If you’re heading down to the Metrodome (and it is great that the Twins are back there for Twins Fest this year after the roof collapse a year ago), let me know!
  • One thing that I would love to eventually attend, and won’t be able to this year, is the 2012 Diamond Awards. This year, it is on Thursday, January 26th, at Target Field. It’s a great even that provides dollars for the University of Minnesota’s innovative research and patient care in ataxia, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS.
  • Check out Parker’s blog on A team building exercise.
  • Quick Update on the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2012 – I also wanted to let people know that I hope to have the book available in the next three weeks. My goal is always to have it available so that people can bring it to Twins Fest and get it signed by players. It is definitely coming together, and I’m nearly to the point of doing the final editing and production. I hope to have more information for you next week, but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
  • There are a ton of great Twins blogs, and instead of me doing a Link blog today, I’ll encourage you to check out the NoDak Twins Fan’s Friday Links-N-Thinks and Aaron Gleeman’s Link-O-Rama.

That’s it for today! Feel free to leave comments or more links/topics in the Comments section.

SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast, and Notes

14 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

I just finished recording the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast, and I have to say it was one of my favorites in awhile. First, I was joined by former Minnetonka high school player, former Excelsior American Legion player (he was on their world series team), former three-year starter for the Minnesota Gophers and now a member of the Minnesota Twins organization, AJ Pettersen. Pettersen was the Twins 25th round pick last week, and he reported to Ft. Myers in the last couple of days. He said he will be reporting to Elizabethton. And, frankly, we asked him a lot of questions over just ten minutes, so be sure to listen to that.

Next, we caught up with JJ Stankevitz, our favorite White Sox blogger, and learned a ton about what’s going on with their team. Specifically, we heard a lot about what has made Philip Humber successful and how Jesse Crain has performed out of their bullpen. He did a great job explaining where the White Sox are and then how White Sox fans perceive the Twins right now.

All-in-all, I thought it was a very fun show. I hope to have more guests throughout the summer and hope that you will listen and participate.

Real quickly, here is the night in the Twins minor league system:

Rochester beat Toledo 6-1. Tsuyoshi Nishioka went 0-4 with a walk. Glen Perkins gave up three hits in two scoreless innings. Both are expected to be flying back to Minneapolis tonight. Could one or both of them be activated by the Twins tomorrow? Scott Diamond went six shutout innings, allowing six hits, walking none and striking out four. Anthony Slama came in after Perkins and gave up a solo home run. Dustin Martin went 3-3 with two walks. Michael Hollimon went 2-5 with his second Rochester double.

New Britain beat Altoona 10-4. Steve Hirschfeld got the win. He gave up three runs on six hits and a walk in five innings. Tony Davis threw two scoreless innings. Deolis Guerra threw one scoreless. Bruce Pugh gave up a run in the 9th. Evan Bigley led the offense. He went 3-4 with a walk and his 15th double. Chris Herrmann and Chris Parmelee were both 2-4 with a walk. Yangervis Solarte went 2-5.

Ft. Myers lost to Jupiter 6-0. Kane Holbrooks fell to 2-8. He gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk in four innings. Andrew Albers gave up one run on three hits in two innings. Shooter Hunt gave up an unearned run on two walks in his inning. Dakota Watts threw a scoreless inning. The Miracle had five hits. Steve Liddle went 3-3, and Derek McCallum was 2-3.

The Beloit Snappers split two games with Cedar Rapids. They lost 3-1 in Game 1. Manuel Soliman gave up two runs on three hits and three walks in five innings. Michael Tonkin threw a scoreless inning despite allowing two walks and a hit. Blayne Weller gave up a run on two walks in his inning. The Snappers had just two hits. One was a Lance Ray double, his 15th. Also, Michael Gonzales had the lone RBI.

In the second game, the Snappers won 4-0. Ryan O’Rourke started and threw five shutout innings. He gave up three hits, but he walked none and struck out eight. Clint Dempster got the final six outs while maintaining the shutout. Danny Ortiz led the offense. He was 2-3 with his 22nd and 23rd doubles. Wang-Wei Lin was also 2-3.

The Twins announced that they will put Justin Morneau on the Disabled List and determine who to add to the roster tomorrow. Again, the assumption is that it will be Tsuyoshi Nishioka. If that is the case, the Twins will still need to drop someone from the 40 man roster. I have to assume Dusty Hughes.

I learned yesterday that Jose Mijares and Phil Dumatrait both are out of options. However, Chuck James, Rene Rivera and Jason Repko each have an option remaining. That certainly makes things interesting. It most likely means that James will be sent back to Rochester to make room for Glen Perkins. It also means that options and DFA decisions will not have to factor into whether the Twins send down Drew Butera or Rivera when Joe Mauer returns, whenever that is.

With that, I am going to call it a day! Thanks again for all your thoughts and comments and support! Any other thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment here.

Twins Select Two More in First Round

7 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The Twins drafted Levi Michael, a shortstop from the University of North Carolina believed to be the college position player closest to being ready for the big leagues, with the 30th pick in the first round. But they didn’t stop there. The Twins had two more picks in the supplemental first round, compensation for losing Orlando Hudson and Jesse Crain via free agency.

With the 50th overall selection, the Twins drafted Travis Harrison, a high school third baseman from California. He is committed to USC, but I’m sure a little money could convince him to forgo that opportunity. At 6-2 and 215 pounds, he is a power hitter. He was a preseason high school All-American and during the season, he hit 13 home runs. He was up and down during the season which may have dropped him down the draft to some degree. But when a guy has that kind of power potential, it’s never a bad pick.

Soon after, the Twins used the 55th overall pick to take Hudson Boyd, a stocky, right-handed pitcher from Ft. Myers. He is committed to the University of Florida, but he could see the Twins training facility location as a good reason (along with the near-million dollar signing bonus he would get) to sign with the Twins. He is about 6-3 and 235 pounds, not exactly what you would call projectable at this point. In his analysis, mlb.com’s Jonathan Mayo said that he may end up as a reliever. He already throws into the mid-90s, so that is a positive. The Twins, as any smart team would, will have him work as a starter first.

No, I’m not going to bash any of their picks. The reality, as we have said here for years, is that we won’t be able to judge this draft for six to eight years, maybe longer. What looks like a questionable pick now may prove to be great, and what people think might be a great pick may prove not to be.

The Twins will make their 2nd through 30th picks today, and then tomorrow they will make their final 20 picks. You can find a little information on each pick they make by going to SethSpeaks.net, so be sure to check there throughout the day for more. Here will be the Twins draft tracker with minimal thoughts:

  • 1 – Levi Michael (30) – SS – U. of North Carolina
  • 1s – Travis Harrison (50) – 3B from Tustin, CA (HS)
  • 1s – Hudson Boyd (55) – RHP from Ft. Myers (HS)
  • 2 – Madison Boer (87) – RHP from U. of Oregon – Eden Prairie native, good athlete.
  • 3 – Corey Williams (117) – LHP from Vanderbilt U.-
    •  From John Manuel of Baseball America (via Twitter) – “Ooh, #Twins take a tough sign in LHP Corey Williams, power reliever this year, redshirt soph., highest ERA on Vandy staff but touched 94-95”
    • From Jordan Schelling: Corey Williams had his knee cap shattered by a line drive last April. Got up, made throw to first.
  • 4 – Matthew Summers (148) – RHP from UC-Irvine (drafted in 43rd round by Yankees… was an OF, so arm may be fresh (via Jonathan Mayo).)
  • 5 – Tyler Grimes (178) – SS – Wichita State –
  • 6 – Ivan Rodriguez (208) – CF – High school in Florida – Yes, the Hall of Fame catcher’s son.  
  • 7 – Steven Gruver (238) – LHP University of Tennessee – It’s one of those names that just isn’t good for a pitcher. Like Balfour. Or Homer.
  • 8 – Jason Wheeler (268) – LHP – Loyola Marymount
  • 9 – Nick Bryant (298) – SS – Troy University
  • 10 – Brett Lee (328) – LHP – St. Petersburg JC    
  • 11 – Tyler Jones (358) – RHP – LSU    
  • 12 – Matthew Koch (388) – C – Loyola Marymount    
  • 13 – Steven Evans (418) – LHP – Liberty University    
  • 14 – Adam McCreery (448) – LHP from California    
  • 15 – Josue Montanez (478) – LHP from Miami-Dade CC   
  • 16 – Austin Malinowski (508) – LHP – from Centennial High School in Lino Lakes, MN.
  • 17 – Josh Burris (538) – RHP – from LSU-Eunice
  • 18 – Corey Kimes (568) – LHP – from U of Illinois    
  • 19 – Tyler Koelling (598) – CF – from U. of Southern Mississippi
  • 20 – Brian Anderson (628) – SS – from Deer Creek (OK) HS
  • 21 – Michael Howard (658) – LHP – from Prescott (AZ) HS
  • 22 – James Ramsey (688) – RF – from Florida State U.
  • 23 – Timothy Shibuya (718) – RHP – from UC-San Diego
  • 24 – Nick Burdi (748) – RHP – from Downers Grove South (HS) in Illinois
  • 25 – AJ Petterson (778) – SS – from the University of Minnesota
  • 26 – Trent Higginbothom (808) – RHP – from Clay Chalkville (AL) HS
  • 27 – Chris Mazza (838) – RHP – from Menlo College   
  • 28 – David Hurlbut (868) – LHP – from Cal State – Fullerton
  • 29 – Derek Thompson (898) – LHP – from Teutopolis (IL) HS
  • 30 – William Clinard (928) – RHP – from Vanderbilt
    • 31 – Garrett Jewell (958) – RHP – from Southern New Hampshire U
    • 32 – Dylan Chavez (988) – LHP – from American River College
    • 33 – Stephen Wickens (1018) – SS – from Florida Gulf Coast U
    • 34 – Ryan Tella (1048) – CF – from Ohlone College
    • 35 – Philip Chapman (1078) – C – from the University of Memphis
    • 36 – Austin Barrois (1108) – OF – from Belle Chasse HS in LA
    • 37 – Andrew Leachman (1138) – LF – from Birmingham Southern
    • 38 – Alexander Keudell (1168) – RHP – from U of Oregon
    • 39 – Edwin McCord (1198) – RHP – from Spanish Fort HS in AL
    • 40 – Kyle Barraclough (1228) – RHP – from St. Marys College (CA)
    • 41 – TJ Oakes (1258) – RHP – from U of Minnesota
    • 42 – Matthew Tomshaw (1288) – LHP – from Jacksonville U.
    • 43 – Robert O’Neill (1318) – RHP – from Biola University
    • 44 – Cole Johnson (1348) – RHP – from Notre Dame
    • 45 – Julio Torres (1378) – 2B – from Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
    • 46 – Jared Dettmann (1408) – LHP – from Somerset HS in Wisconsin
    • 47 – John Hochstatter (1438) – LHP – from San Ramon Valley HS (CA)
    • 48 – Garret Peterson (1468) – RHP – from Du Bois Area HS (PA)
    • 49 – Drake Roberts (1498) – 2B – from Brenham HS (TX)
    • 50 – Bryan Burgher (1527) – RHP – from Emerald Ridge HS (WA)     

Any thoughts on the picks, please feel free to comment