Archive | Anthony Slama RSS feed for this section

Minnesota Twins Top Prospects (Part 1: 26-50)

13 Jan

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Interview – Did an interview for Bullpen Banter regarding the 2010 Twins and many Twins minor leaguers. Check it out here.

Before we jump into Part 1 of a two-part prospect ranking, I need to point out a terrific article in today’s Ft. Myers News-Press. Remember last week when Bert Blyleven got into the Hall of Fame? (You’re Twins fans… you remember!) He, and many others, gave a lot of credit to BaseballAnalysts.com’s Rich Lederer for pushing Blyleven’s case. It should have been an easy case for baseball’s writers, but obviously it took 14 attempts to get it right. Lederer and Blyleven had spoken several times on the phone in the past with Blyleven frequently crediting Lederer for his help and efforts. On Tuesday night, the two met and embraced. The Twins surprised Blyleven by inviting Lederer to their fantasy camp. Lederer’s answer to their request was easy. Blyleven’s response to Lederer being there was priceless. Just a great story by the News-Press’s David Dorsey; a must read.

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.

#50 (Tie) – Kyle Waldrop – RHP – Rochester

The Rochester relief pitcher has a terrific 2010 season and will head to spring training with the Twins again in 2011. Throws strikes and gets ground balls.

#50 (Tie) – Dan Osterbrock – LHP – Ft. Myers

Based on the season he had in 2010, he should be way up this list. A no-hitter in Beloit and sub-3 ERAs in Beloit and Ft. Myers. The soft-tossing strike thrower is intriguing. It will be interesting to see how he does when he gets to New Britain

#49 – Rory Rhodes – 3B – GCL Twins

                The 6-7 infielder from Australia had a solid season in the GCL. I have mentioned him as a 2011 breakout candidate.

#48 – Cesar Ciurcina – RHP – GCL Twins

                The righty came to the States and held his own in 2010 after putting up very good numbers in the Dominican in 2009. A long way to go, but plenty of potential.

#47 – Daniel Santana – SS – Beloit

                Split time between E-Town and Beloit. Little guy who struggled some in Beloit, but played well in E-Town, including showing some decent power numbers.

#46 – Evan Bigley – OF – New Britain

                The outfielder struggled to start the season back in Ft. Myers, but heated up in June. Played very well following a promotion to New Britain.

#45 – Anderson Hidalgo – 3B – Beloit

                Lone Snappers hitter to hit over .300 in 2010. Has good doubles power already. Missed some time with injury again.

#44 – Lance Ray – OF/1B – Beloit

                Twins 8th round pick in 2010 out of Kentucky, he quickly moved up from Elizabethton and played very well in Beloit. Good power.

#43 – Brian Dozier – SS – Ft. Myers

                Just one of those solid, solid players. Hit about .280 at both Beloit and Ft. Myers. Good defense. OK speed. No power. Surprise non-roster invitee to big league camp.

#42 – Edgar Ibarra – LHP – Beloit

                Experienced ups and downs throughout the season, but the lefty has four good pitches, just needs to be more consistent with them.

#41 – Dakota Watts – RHP – New Britain

                2009 pick pitched at three levels in 2010. Some control issues, but the guy throws consistently in the upper 90s and hit 99 in Ft. Myers.

#40 – Logan Darnell – LHP – Elizabethton

                Twins 6th round pick from Kentucky (yes, he teamed with Lance Ray and non-drafted free agent Gunner Glad there), the lefty had a nice debut with the E-Twins. Three good pitches.

#39 – Kane Holbrooks – RHP – New Britain

                Began the season by dominating in the Beloit bullpen, then made a couple of starts before being promoted to Ft. Myers where he pitched even better. Ended season with a start in AA.

#38 – Nate Roberts – OF – Elizabethton

                Twins 5th round pick in 2010 from High Point University put up some of the best numbers of an Elizabethton Twins player over the last quarter-century.

#37 – Chris Herrmann – OF – Ft. Myers

                The 2009 pick skipped Beloit and held his own (including an All Star appearance) with the bat. Tremendous defensive LF but will also catch, including in big league training camp.

#36 – Michael Tonkin – RHP – Beloit

                It was surprising when he was the first starting pitcher promoted from Extended Spring Training, but he pitched well in Beloit before going back to Elizabethton.

#35 – Luke Hughes – IF/OF/DH/PH – Minnesota

                Homered in first big league at bat. OK at Rochester, but again was injured and didn’t play after June 6. Two surgeries (knee and groin). Potential big league super utility bat and pinch hitter.

#34 – Danny Rams – C/1B – Beloit

                Returned to the Snappers in 2010. Tremendous power. Improving catcher. If he can learn to hit a breaking ball, he could fly up this list. Time will tell.

(NOTE  – I just realized that I neglected to include Anthony Slama in my analysis/rankings. I will put the right-handed reliever with the tremendous K-Rate who should be in the Twins bullpen throughout 2011 right here at #33.5)

#33 – James Beresford – SS – Beloit

                Also returned to Beloit for second straight year, and was the team’s MVP for the second straight year. Amazing defensive middle infielder who just needs to get bigger to be a real big time prospect.

#32 – Rene Tosoni – OF – New Britain

                He’s been a top 10 guy for me in previous years. He was OK last year in New Britain before his season-ending shoulder surgery. Just a solid all-around player. If healthy, he will move up quickly.

#31 – Miguel Munoz – RHP – Beloit

                Hard-throwing right-hander did a nice job as a starter early in the Snappers season. Tired late, and did alright in the Snappers bullpen. Has great stuff.

#30 – Tom Stuifbergen – RHP – Beloit

                Another guy who will move up this list if he is healthy in 2010. He was top pitcher in Beloit after Hendriks and Osterbrock promoted, when healthy. Good stuff, and a very smart pitcher.

#29 – Martire Garcia – LHP – Elizabethton

                Garcia struggled in E-Town in 2009 after strong ’08 in GCL. Returned to E-Town in ’10 and started 6-0 before promotion to Beloit. Throws hard, good movement. Young.

#28 – Scott Diamond – LHP – Gwinnett

                Pitched well in Braves organization since signing as undrafted free agent after 2008 college season. He’ll give up some hits, but he gets a lot of ground balls. Twins Rule 5 pick has legitimate shot to make Twins roster.

#27 – Steve Singleton – 2B – New Britain

                After bad April, Singleton played well for Rock Cats the rest of the season. Led organization with 43 doubles (2 behind Doug Mientkiewicz’s New Britain record). 54 extra base hits. Just 57 strikeouts. Not sure why the Twins don’t seem to like him more.

#26 – Niko Goodrum – IF/OF – GCL

                Don’t worry about the numbers that he put up in the GCL. Goodrum is as good of an athlete as Hicks, Torii Hunter, Joe Benson, any other great athlete in the Twins system. He’s just very raw and has a long way to go, but the sky is the limit.

So there you have it, my choices for Twins Prospects 26-50. What do you think? Any surprises? Remember that the top 25 prospects are yet to come. If I’m able, I will separate them, maybe posting 11-15 later tonight and my top ten around noon on Friday. Check back when you are able to. Feel free to e-mail me or leave your comments here.

Still Building from Within

21 Dec

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net and www.startribune.com/blogs/twinscentric.

Look back a decade: Torii Hunter spent a couple of seasons making people wonder about his skills before becoming a star. Look back a generation: Frank Viola spent two seasons with a five-plus ERA before blossoming. Tell me why Casilla is utterly hopeless?

Howard Sinker in his A Fan’s View blog yesterday made a tremendous point. It is important to remain patient. Of course, in Viola’s third year, he posted a 3.21 ERA over 257.2 innings. I think Alexi Casilla will be fine. I think that Tsuyoshi Nishioka will be just fine. Will either post a .730 OPS? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t fill their roles adequately. I just don’t think that offense will be the biggest issue for the Twins in 2011. Pitching, both starting and bullpen, is where there are question marks, but the cupboard is not empty.

What I would like to see is if 29-year-old Scott Baker, in his seventh season with the Twins, can hit 200 innings (or post a sub-4.20 ERA) for just the second time, and earn his $5 million salary. I’d like to see Kevin Slowey, in his fifth big league season, be 100% healthy, and see what he can do. He threw 199 innings in 2007 between Rochester and Minnesota. I’d like to see Nick Blackburn get back to going 11-11 with an ERA between 4.03 and 4.05 like he did in 2008 and 2009. As bad as portions of their 2010 seasons were, none of this is unrealistic. They have done it before. Along with that, maybe Brian Duensing can prove a lot of us wrong and put together another strong season in 2011, hopefully the full season as a starter. And, Francisco Liriano put himself back in discussion for best pitchers in the league (which is also helped by Cliff Lee moving to the NL). If healthy, he can still continue to improve.

So, if Carl Pavano leaves for greener pastures in places like Washington, D.C., or Pittsburgh, it really is not the end of the world. What are the odds that he could post a 3.75 ERA again or throw another 221 innings in a season? Not terribly good.

The Twins have a history of building from within, or giving opportunities to players who have come up through their system, and to stand behind them through struggles. We have seen it time and again. And for the most part over the last decade, it has paid off. The Twins have used free agents to complement their core of home-grown players. Last year, there wasn’t a solid internal option at second base, so they signed Orlando Hudson.

Last week, the Twins lost Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier to free agency. It is likely that they will not bring back Brian Fuentes, Jon Rauch or Ron Mahay either. Fans, understandably, are up in arms about the lack of certainty in the Twins bullpen. There is no certainty that Joe Nathan will return to form in 2011. Jose Mijares is immensely talented, but he was up and down in 2010. Matt Capps is the given in the Twins bullpen, and he is what he is (a solid reliever). Beyond that, there are a lot of question marks.

Twins fans don’t want to hear about someone like Glen Perkins being a bullpen option in 2011. There are also a lot of guys with little or no big league experience being mentioned as options. I understand that is scary. We want certainty in the bullpen, right? Certainty, in this case, would have been retaining Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier because they are veterans, right? But if I read the comments here at the StarTribune.com blogs or many Twins blogs, most blog commenters were not big fans of Jesse Crain. Most blog commenters were not exactly confident when Matt Guerrier would come into games. But aside from Rafael Soriano, Brian Fuentes and Type A free agent and former Twins pitcher Grant Balfour, few relievers have been more reliable than Crain and Guerrier. And you didn’t want them back. So, who would be out there at this stage that could be counted on more? I am a proponent of signing RHP Jose Veras and LHP Hideki Okajima, but in each case, there are reasons that their 2010 team non-tendered them. Certainly not guarantees.

Simply stated, there are very few reliable relief pitchers from year to year. Most (or at least many) relief pitchers are failed starters. There are a lot of injuries. It is in the bullpen where you can find diamonds in the rough. It’s where guys (like Guerrier) who are out of options to get an opportunity, and a few take advantage of it. Look at the Yankees’ David Robertson. In 2009, he was a question mark. In 2010, he was getting put into some pretty big situations for the pinstripes.

With that said, there are a lot of options for breakout types in the Twins bullpen. Remember that they only need three or four of these guys to produce for the Twins in 2011:

  • Anthony Slama – It amazes me that many Twins fans seem to think he can’t contribute to the team. Are people really willing to say that a poor 4.2 inning debut in the big leagues tells us that he can’t pitch up there? Really? His 1.95 ERA over four minor league seasons mean nothing? His 12.5 K/9 means nothing? His 1.06 WHIP? His 2.44 ERA in one-plus seasons at AAA mean nothing? Bloggers and blog commenters have been clamoring for Slama for a few years, and now they’ll give up on him? Because of 4.2 bad innings? I think Slama can be a solid 7th inning guy.
  • Alex Burnett – he has a chance to be really good. He came up as a starter, a successful starter, but in 2009, he moved to the bullpen. Despite not pitching in AAA, and only a short time in AA, he was on teh Twins Opening Day roster and spent most of the first half with the Twins. He struggled as the season went along, but he has great stuff and will definitely be back with the Twins, eventually pitching late innings.
  • Pat Neshek – It amazes me how quickly some Twins fans turned on the sind-winding reliever. Yes, his velocity was down. I get that. But this year, he will get an actual offseason of working out and preparing, not an offseason of rehabilitation. Will he come back and be as incredible as he was in 2006 and 2007? Maybe, maybe not, but I’m willing to give him that opportunity.
  • James Hoey – Similarly, there was a lot of excitement about Hoey with the Orioles in 2006 and 2007. The righty throws hard and was generally thought to be the closer of the future with Baltimore. And then he had shoulder surgery, and he worked his way back up the ladder. His velocity is back. The strikeouts are back. He will need to cut down walks, but he is a power arm that the Twins bullpen needs.
  • Rob Delaney – Delaney was undrafted in 2006 and dominated the lower levels of the minor leagues, including AA. AAA has been more of a struggle, but consider that in 80 AAA innings, he walked just 23 and struck out 92. Sure, his one inning in the big leagues last September wasn’t pretty. He looked nervous and gave up a homer, a single and a walk before getting the three outs. But again, I’ve heard some say that he can’t handle the big leagues because of that one outing.
  • Kyle Waldrop – It surprised a lot of people that the Twins didn’t protece Waldrop after a terrific 2010 season with the Rochester Red Wings. Since returning from his shoulder surgery, he has been incredible out of the bullpen. After 20 games in Ft. Myers, he posted a 1.46 ERA in 31 New Britain games. He posted a 2.57 ERA in 2010 in Rochester, but his ERA was at ONE halfway through the 2010 season. Yes, he was not good in the Arizona Fall League, but he still has a chance to be a very good, groundball reliever.
  • Glen Perkins – A left-hander who did succeed a few years ago as a starter, he looks to be a lefty reliever in 2010. Of course, he doesn’t get left-handed batters out, so I just don’t know how he can contribute, but stranger things have happened when players get opportunities.
  • Eric Hacker, Yorman Bazardo, Jeff Manship, Anthony Swarzak, Chuck James – These guys could all get an opportunity for a long relief role. Manship filled the role toward the end of 2010 and could do so again, but the others are options.
  • Carlos Gutierrez – In a podcast just last week, Gutierrez informed me that he wants to pitch out of the bullpen, that it is where he is ‘at home.’ However, he acknowledged that spending the last couple of years as a starter has been valuable in helping him develop secondary pitches. I’m frequently asked who could be the 2011 version of Danny Valencia. Kyle Gibson certainly could come up in June and contributed as a starter. Carlos Gutierrez could come up in June and really help out the Twins bullpen.

Are any of those big name acquisitions? No. They are internal options. Can any of them contribute to the Twins in 2011? Absolutely. Can three of four of them join Nathan, Capps and Mijares to form a solid bullpen? Defintely. Am I just trying to be positive here? Probably. But can the internal choices be equal or better than the external, high-cost free agents? Absolutely.

The Twins historically have relied upon their own players, on building from within. It’s been a philosophy that has worked well for them. Even if their payroll has gone from $65 million to $100 million to $115 million, there is no reason to start spending foolishly on free agents or giving up the farm for players who might help. Can the Twins win the division with their current roster? I think so. It’d be tough, but I would not put it against them.

To be fair (and honest), I have been immensely frustrated with the Twins offseason. I expected them to wisely stay away from high-dollar free agents. I thought we might hear more about trades than we have. The Twins might soon spend a lot of money for two or three years on a guy who is already 35 years old. They could also give two years to a 40 year old one-dimensional player. I’m sure those moves will make a lot of fans happy. Maybe I’m strange. I figure there are six or seven weeks until pitchers and catchers report, so I still hold out that the team will add an impact player, the type of player who can make a difference without breaking the bank. But I don’t know that the team is better. I also don’t know what the Twins plans are, or their contingency plans are (if Pavano and/or Thome were to sign elsewhere). No one does because the Twins front office is great at not letting information leak We can’t all be Jim Breen!

Finally, Twins fans need to remember one important thing… at least the Twins and their stability is a lot better than following the Vikings and their chaos this year!

MORE TO READ TODAY:

Here are a few more articles for you to peruse throughout the day:

·         JJ Stankevitz has been a frequent guest of the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast. He does a great job as the blogger for the White Sox site on Examiner.com. He is also a student at the University of Missouri where he writes for KBIA Sports Extra as well. He recently had the opportunity to meet fellow Missouri student/alumni and current Twins prospect Kyle Gibson. The results were a terrific article on Gibson.

·         Parker from Over the Baggy posted an article on the blueprint for a bullpen.

·         Needless to say, Fanatic Jack is Dazed and Confused about what is going on with the Twins offseason. It is really hard to disagree with him.

·         Twinkie Town has now completed its Top Ten Twins Prospects and you can now vote for Twins Prospect #11. Roger Dehring is going a great job of running the polls, and the discussion is terrific for anyone interested in Twins prospects.

Be sure to tune in to tonight’s SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast, live at 9:00.

Twins Bullpen Blitz

14 Oct

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net and www.StarTribune.com –

It will be another offseason full of difficult decisions for the Minnesota Twins front office. There are double-figure free agents. They have two contracts with 2011 options that they need to determine if they should be picked up. There could be as many as nine arbitration situations. Although the Twins have a fairly solid core of players under contract for 2011, it will be interesting to see how those players are complemented.

One area that could experience the most turnover is in the bullpen. Over the last decade, Twins fans have seen how important a strong bullpen can be as well as how much it can hurt if the bullpen struggles. Even with Joe Nathan out for the entire 2010 season, the Twins went into the playoffs with what was believed to be solid, deep bullpen.

However, that group in the bullpen was comprised of several players who may not be in a Twins uniform in 2011 for various reasons. Here is what we know today:

Joe Nathan – We know that the Twins will be paying the veteran closer $11.25 million for the 2011 season even if we can’t confidently predict how good and how healthy he will be.

Matt Capps – He has a year of arbitration left. Looking historically at closers in their final arbitration year, it is likely that Capps could demand somewhere between $7 and $9 million in 2011. He was solid in 2010, and he would provide insurance should Nathan not be ready. He is prone to allowing plenty of base runners.

Jesse Crain – Despite the hanging slider to Mark Teixeira in Game 1, Crain proved himself to be one of baseball’s better relievers through most of the 2010 season. He is a Type B free agent. If the Twins offer him arbitration and he accepted, he could make $3 to $3.5 million in 2011. If the Twins offer him arbitration and he declines it, the Twins would get a supplemental 1st round draft pick when he signs elsewhere. After his season, it is likely that Crain could command a three or four year contract at an average of $3.5 to 4 million a season.

Jon Rauch – He was solid as the Twins closer through most of the season’s first half. Very hittable, but he racked up good save totals. He was also so bad late in the first half and early in the second half that the Twins had to trade their most big-league ready prospect for Capps. He also would be a Type B free agent. If the Twins offer him arbitration and he accepted, he could earn as much as $4 million in 2011. If the Twins offer him arbitration and he declines, the Twins would get a supplemental 1st round draft pick when he signs elsewhere. He could likely get a two year contract in the neighborhood of $5 million.

Matt Guerrier – Guerrier has racked up the relief appearances over the last four years. He has remained remarkably durable. He has also pitched at a very good level, well enough that he would be a Type A free agent. If the Twins offer him arbitration, and he accepted, he could earn $4 million in 2011. If the Twins offer him arbitration and he declines, the Twins would get the signing team’s first round pick next summer (unless the signing team owns one of the first 15 picks in draft, in which case, the Twins would receive their 2nd round pick) and a supplemental first round pick. Because he isn’t a strikeout pitcher, Guerrier could struggle to find a team willing to give up and early draft pick to sign him. If the Twins do not offer him arbitration, Guerrier could probably sign a two year deal worth between $6 and 7 million total.

Brian Fuentes – The Twins got a good one when they acquired Fuentes from the Angels. The 35 year old southpaw was amazing against left-handed bats. He led the league in Saves in 2009 and recorded 25 saves with the Angels in 2010 before the trade. He made $9 million in 2010. He becomes a Type B free agent because his 2011 option would only vest with 55 games finished (he finished 35 total in 2010). If the Twins offer him arbitration and he accepts, the Twins would likely pay him between $9 and 10 million in 2011. If the Twins offer him arbitration and he declines, the Twins would gain a supplemental 1st round pick next summer. If the Twins do not offer arbitration, he could sign with a team needing a closer and get two years and $14-15 million. Or, if all teams see him as an 8th inning lefty type, he could still get two years and $8-9 million.

Clay Condrey, Randy Flores, Ron Mahay – We have to assume that these free agents will not be back with the Twins in 2011, and if so, it would be like Mahay’s minor league deal signed late in spring training.

Pat Neshek – He made $650,000 in 2010, his first arbitration year. If he is offered arbitration, he likely would be in the $650,000 to $750,000 range. If not, he would become a free agent.

Glen Perkins – Perkins got enough time in 2010 with the Twins to make himself arbitration-eliglble this offseason, a year later than he wanted. He would probably make $750,000 in arbitration, if offered.

Jose Mijares, Alex Burnett, Jeff Manship, Anthony Slama, Rob Delaney, Kyle Waldrop, Anthony Swarzak, Jose Lugo – These pitchers all have less major league service time than required to be arbitration eligible, so they would make about the league minimum, around $420,000. Mijares would likely be closer to $450,000-500,000.

More to Consider:

  • The Twins bullpen generally consists of six and sometimes seven relievers, including the closer.
  • Joe Nathan is pretty much untradable right now. Until he proves he is healthy, the assumption must be that he will be paid by the Twins.
  • There are free agent bullpen options left and right, many of whom will be available and looking for a job as spring training approaches. So your bullpen does not completely need to be filled by the above players.
  • It cost top prospect Wilson Ramos to acquire Matt Capps from the Nationals. There is no way that the Twins would non-tender Capps. But think about this; would you rather have Matt Capps at $8 million, or bring back Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier at a combined $7 million? Would you rather pay Capps $8 million. Could the Twins trade Capps before arbitration to bring back more young talent?
  • How much money should the Twins tie up in the bullpen? Potentially $20 million is locked up between Nathan and Capps. If we assume a $110 or even $120 million payroll, how many dollars should the bullpen cost?
  • With that in mind, would you rather have Capps at $8 million or JJ Hardy $6 million and a veteran, right-handed bench bat who could spell Justin Morneau at 1B for $2 million?
  • If the Twins bring back Carl Pavano and pay him $9 million in 2010, there could be a starter or two who would pitch out of the bullpen. Francisco Liriano and Brian Duensing will be in the rotation. Scott Baker will get a big pay raise in 2011, so he should start. Nick Blackburn’s salary jumps up to $3 million in 2011. Kevin Slowey could get $2 million or so in his first year of arbitration. Without a trade, there are six starters right there, and one would likely get pushed to the bullpen.
  • And that doesn’t even take into account a couple of pretty strong starting pitching prospects in Kyle Gibson and David Bromberg, both of which could be ready by June for the big leagues. It also doesn’t factor in a couple of very hard-throwing bullpen arms who could be ready soon like Carlos Gutierrez or Billy Bullock.

So, if you’re the GM, and you have to worry about a payroll, and you alone have the final call on the Twins roster, what does it look like? Which free agents do you offer arbitration? Which do you want back? Which young pitchers do you want to be on the big league roster? How do you make it all work?

The TwinsCentric Offseason Handbook is now available for pre-order at just $4.95 for the first 500 copies sold THIS WEEK. To learn more about the entire Twins roster, all the questions they have to ask, and the options that they may have, this is a must-have electronic book. We will look at the 40 man roster decisions, outline the entire Organizational Depth chart, review the cases for and against the many Twins players eligible for arbitration, look at the Twins players who can become free agents, look at other players around the league who will be available via free agency as well as potential trade targets. This book is as comprehensive as it gets. If you’re not convinced, you can get last year’s version for FREE as a sample of what you will be getting.

PODCASTS – Last night, the Twins Geek and I were both on Fanatic Jack’s podcast and we talked about all of the Twins free agents and arbitration-eligibles and some possible trade candidates. It was a lot of fun and if you have a chance, please listen to it here. Of course, if you missed my podcast on Tuesday night, you can http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sethspeaks/2010/10/13/sethspeaksnet-weekly-minnesota-twins-podcastlisten to that here.

BLOGS

Arizona Fall League

The AFL is back in swing now and the Twins prospects are playing for the Peoria Saguaros. In their first game, on Tuesday night, Chris Parmelee went 1-4 with a double. Joe Benson was 0-2. Ben Revere was 0-1. Tyler Robertson gave up one run on a hit and three walks in his first inning. Kyle Waldrop gave up two runs in his two innings. Last night, Ben Revere went 1-4 with an RBI. Chris Parmelee was 2-4. Joe Benson went 1-3 with a run scored. Carlos Gutierrez struck out two in a scoreless inning. The one Twins prospect that has not played in their first two games is David Bromberg. The righty will start for the team on Friday.

Lots of things covered above, please Leave your comments here.

SethSpeaks.net Minor League Pitcher of the Year

23 Sep

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The Twins have clinched. The team has played remarkably. Now, they are tied with the Yankees for the best record in all of baseball. I would say that the starters earned their day off on Wednesday afternoon, and the whole team will benefit from another day off today. As a minor league guy, I enjoyed the Wednesday lineup that included only Denard Span and Jason Kubel among regular starters.

Following this team through a pennant race is exhausting and it feels like we have covered just about every possible topic as it relates to the 2010 Twins and the push toward the post season.

So today, I’m going to jump back into one of my favorite topics, Twins minor league baseball. Today, I’m going to give you my top five choices for Twins Pitcher of the Year and select the 2010 SethSpeaks.net Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Despite some disappointing team records through the minor league ranks, there were some very good pitching performances that deserve to be recognized. When it comes to my choice for Pitcher of the Year, that is different than a prospect ranking. Of the eight players that I will mention below, it is likely that three of them will be in my top ten Twins prospects list later this fall. It is possible that a couple of them won’t even be in the top fifty prospect list, but still had terrific seasons. Last year’s pitcher of the year, David Bromberg, quietly had another very strong season as he moves up the Twins organizational ladder. Let’s get to the list:

#5 – Anthony Slama – Rochester Red Wings – 26 years old – RHP

Anthony Slama finally got his opportunity to help the Twins at the big league level. He pitched in five games for the Twins. He again spent most of his season in Triple A Rochester. While there, he went 2-2 with 17 saves and a 2.20 ERA in 54 games. In 65.1 innings, he walked 32 and struck out 74. Opponents hit just .170 against him all year. Slama will turn 27 years old during the offseason and the Twins really need to just give him an opportunity in 2011 and see what he can do.

#4 – Kyle Gibson – Ft. Myers/New Britain/Rochester – 22 years old – RHP

Gibson made his much-anticipated official pro debut in 2010. He signed late after being the Twins top pick in 2009 and pitched some in the Instructional League. But he played his first official games this year, starting with Ft. Myers. There, he was 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA in 43.1 innings. He moved up to Double-A New Britain and went 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA. He was finally summoned to Triple-A Rochester where he was 0-0 with a 1.72 ERA before being shut down for the season. Overall, he went 11-6 with a 2.96 ERA. In 152 innings, he gave up 136 hits, walked 39 and struck out 126. Opponents hit a combined .242 against him. Gibson definitely fits the mold of a Twins pitcher. Throws strikes, mixes pitches, pitches to contact. We could see him at Target Field by the end of June.

#3 – Dan Osterbrock – Beloit/Ft. Myers – 23 years old – LHP

After being named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year in 2008, Osterbrock struggled in Beloit in 2009. He returned to the Midwest League to start the 2010 season. He made five starts, was twice the Pitcher of the Week and threw a no-hitter. And then he was promoted to Ft. Myers. There, he went 7-8, but had just a 2.73 ERA. Overall, he went 9-9 with a 2.65 ERA. In 139.1 innings, he walked just 28 and struck out 106. He does not throw very hard, so his .236 opponent batting average against is even more impressive. Just a tremendous bounce-back season for the lefty from the University of Cincinnati.

#2 – Kane Holbrooks – Beloit/Ft. Myers/New Britain – 23 years old – RHP

Holbrooks was a 2nd team All American in 2009 yet he fell to the Twins in the 21st round of the draft. He pitched solely out of the bullpen at Elizabethton after signing with the Twins. He began 2010 in the Beloit Snappers bullpen where he dominated before getting two starts. In Beloit, he was 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA and nine saves. In 54 inning, he walked 13 and struck out 71! He moved up to Ft. Myers and made seven starts. He was 3-3 with a 2.27 ERA. At the end of the year, he was moved up to New Britain where he made one start and gave up three runs in five innings. Overall, Holbrooks went 8-6 with a 2.10 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. He made 32 appearances out of the bullpen and ten starts. In 102.2 combined innings, he gave up 90 hits, walked 29 and struck out 120. Opponents hit just .231 off of him.

The SethSpeaks.net Twins Minor League  Pitcher of the Year is…

Liam Hendriks – Beloit/Ft. Myers – 21 years old – RHP

Hendriks missed just over a month of the season because of an emergency appendectomy and yet his numbers are so incredible that he is still my choice for Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Week. He began the season at Beloit where he went 2-1 with a 1.32 ERA. In 34 innings, he gave up just 16 hits, walked four and struck out 39 while batters hit just .138 against him. He moved up to Ft. Myers where he went 6-3 with a 1.93 ERA. In 74.2 innings, he gave up 63 hits, walked eight and struck out 66. Overall, he went 8-4 with a 1.74 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP. In 108.2 innings, he gave up just 79 hits, walked just 12 and struck out 105 while limiting batters to a .199 average.

Honorable Mention –

  • David Bromberg – New Britain/Rochester – 23 years old – RHP (6-9. 3.75 ERA, 151.1 innings, 152 H, 48 BB, 112 K)
  • Kyle Waldrop – Rochester Red Wings – 24 years old – RHP (59 G, 5-3, 2.57 ERA, 2 saves, 87.2 innings, 89 H, 20 BB, 60 K)
  • Dakota Watts – Beloit/Ft. Myers/New Britain – 23 years old – RHP (6-3, 3.10 ERA, 8 saves, 81.1 innings, 61 H, 44 BB, 89 K)

What do you think? Who would get your vote? Remember, this is now a vote for the best prospect, but the Pitcher of the Year. I think it’s pretty easy to say that Kyle Gibson is the Twins best prospect, although Bromberg and Hendriks certainly have to be in the discussion. Where would your vote go?

Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.

Monday Morning Notes

23 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

It’s going to be a quick update today. Got back from the lake pretty late last night and decided that sleep would be for the best. So, I woke up really early instead and jotted down a few notes. Today, please feel free to comment with any other thoughts that you have after a weekend series win against the Angels. Seriously, this team is playing so well right now. They won two out of three against the Angels, and two out of three against the White Sox. They had a nice 7-2 home stand and have been one of baseball’s best teams since the All Star break. The team headed to Texas late after last night’s game, and will now start a four game series against a very good Texas Rangers team. These games are important. You see, the Twins and Rangers are the current leaders in their respective divisions. Between those two teams (assuming they are the two division’s representatives in the playoffs), the team with the higher record will have home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs against the Wild Card team. They play seven games before Labor Day, and they are important. Here are some thoughts on the Twins, but please feel free to add storylines if I missed any because I had to listen to the game on Friday night, only watched bits and pieces of the Saturday game and thanks to spending more time at the lake than planned on Sunday (a good thing), I had to listen to most of the Twins game, although I also had to spend most of the drive listening to kids’ songs.

  • Unfortunately, arguably the biggest story of the weekend was more injuries. Before the weekend started, Nick Punto was put back on the Disabled List, and Matt Tolbert was brought back. Saturday’s game was painful in a few ways. Kevin Slowey got hit in the second inning, and he left the game after the third inning with that pain behind his right elbow again. Later in the game, Ron Mahay injured his non-throwing shoulder. The two were put on the Disabled List following the game, and Nick Blackburn and Anthony Slama were called back up. Blackburn makes sense for two reasons. First, there isn’t exactly a better option at Rochester, and he has been solid there. Second, this team made a serious commitment to him this spring and will continue to give him opportunities. He has done it before and should be able to do it again. He was supposed to start for Rochester on Monday night, but instead will start for the Twins. In doing so, the Twins also pushed Francisco Liriano back to Thursday, giving him an extra three days to rest his “tired arm” I know some people don’t like that and may want him to push through it, but this is the smartest thing to do. The team has a five game lead in the division and can afford to do this. No, that doesn’t mean they are giving away anything, but Liriano is so important to this team that you have to make sure he’s right, and he’s strong, especially in September and October. And the other promotion with Anthony Slama who has certainly had some ups and downs since his return to Rochester, but is a good pitcher.
  • With Mahay on the DL, and Glen Perkins unable to get left-handed hitters out, the Twins are essentially without a Left-handed relief specialist. Unfortunately, Jose Lugo is the lone lefty in the Rochester bullpen and he’s been overused and has an ERA over 6, and walks too many. Ryan Mullins is a soft-tossing starter, but he’s out for the year with a back injury. In New Britain, Tyler Robertson (a good prospect, young, left-handed) has been pretty bad in his first AA attempt. Blake Martin was just promoted from Ft. Myers.2009 draft pick from the University of Florida, Tony Davis, is probably the lefty in the minors most ready to help the Twins, but he is walking a ton. I have no doubt that the Twins are claiming any left-handed reliever that is being put through waivers. But I also think that having a lefty specialist is quite as big of a deal as many seem to think.  The Angels won a World Series several years ago with no lefties in their bullpen. Of course, that requires that the right-handers in the bullpen actually get left-handed bats out. Or… 2010 third round pick Pat Dean, a lefty out of Boston College, is dominating at Elizabethton. Maybe he can be the Twins’ version of Chris Sale!!
  • The Twins added another game to their division lead over the White Sox this weekend thanks to some horrific scheduling. When Friday night’s game between the White Sox and the Royals was rained out, they scheduled a double-header for Saturday night. Instead of playing a day-night double header with the first game at noon and the second at the normal time, they played two games at night… In fact, the second game didn’t start until after 11:00 central time because the first game went 11 innings (and the Royals won!). That second game didn’t finish until after 2 a.m. which is terrible, and the teams had to play another 1:00 game on Sunday. Three games started and completed within about a 22 hour period. I don’t care if I’m happy that the White Sox lost two of those three, that kind of scheduling isn’t fair for anyone!
  • There are sayings that ball players use sometimes to talk about a batter taking really good swing. “Good wiggle!” “Swing out of your shoes!”  Well, after watching the swing that Danny Valencia put on his home run ball, I think those could apply as he took one of the biggest swings I have seen in a long time. Fortunately, he connected and gave the Twins a needed first run in last night’s game. With Punto back on the DL, Valencia is going to continue playing 3B. He would have anyway, even with Punto back, but Punto could have given him a day off a week or so. With Matt Tolbert as the backup option, let’s hope that Valencia doesn’t get too many more days off!
  • At 9:30 tonight, I’ll be hosting the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast. Tune in, ask questions. I’ll be taking your questions or comment on the Twins and their minor leaguers throughout the show.

Here are some notes from Sunday’s minor league games:

  • Rochester 3, Lehigh Valley 1 – Anthony Swarzak won for the fifth time this season. The righty gave up one run on five hits in 6.2 innings. He walked one and struck out four. Rob Delaney got the next four outs, two via the strikeout. Alex Burnett gave up a hit and a walk but pitched a scoreless ninth for the save. Brendan Harris and Brock Peterson each went 2-3 with a walk.
  • New Britain 3, New Hampshire 6Tyler Robertson gave up six runs on seven hits and four walks in 4.1 innings to take the loss. Loek Van Mil gave up a hit, walked three and struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings. Tony Davis threw two shutout innings. The Rockcats managed just three hits.
  • Ft. Myers and Bradenton had their game suspended in the 2nd inning. 2010 draft pick and St. Cloud State alum David Deminsky made the start for the Miracle and struck out two in two scoreless innings before the rains came.
  • Beloit 5, Burlington 8Edgar Ibarra gave up six runs (3 earned) on seven hits and three walks in five innings. Zach See then gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in his two innings. Andrei Lobanov pitched one scoreless inning. Daniel Santana was 2-4 with a walk and his second triple. Wang-Wei Lin went 2-2.
  • Elizabethton 2, Bluefield 0 (10 innings) – The winning run scored on a wild pitch, but the E-Twins are in a close division race, so they’ll take them any way they can get them. Logan Darnell started and gave up just two hits in seven shutout innings. He walked four and struck out ten. Dallas Gallant then threw two scoreless innings before Jose Gonzalez came in and recorded his fifth save. The E-Twins managed just four hits. Derrick Phillips hit his fourth double.
  • The GCL Twins had Sunday off.
  • Cole DeVries is on his way to Rochester. Will he start in place of the scheduled Nick Blackburn tonight?

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

Power Potential?

22 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Please recall that I will be making my weekly appearance with Paul Allen on KFAN, its affiliates and KFAN.com at about 9:15 on Thursday morning.

It has been a difficult season in the Twins minor league system. There have been some injuries to key hitters and pitchers. And frankly, the Twins affiliates have played really poorly. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of players still worth watching and mentioning. Today, I am going to provide the organization’s leaders in two categories that I believe indicate future power potential. . Obviously home runs are a strong indicator for future ability to hit home runs. But I also really like to look at doubles. Hitters that are driving the ball and getting doubles could (and that’s a big could) develop home run hitting power over time. As the player gets more comfortable facing pitching, or gets stronger, or better strike zone judgment. These are all skills that have to be developed.

First, the Twins minor league leaders in Home Runs through Wednesday:

  1. Joe Benson            19        (15 – New Britain, 4 – Ft. Myers)
  2. Brock Peterson      14        (Rochester)
  3. Trevor Plouffe       14        (Rochester)
  4. Danny Rams          10        (Beloit)
  5. Michael Gonzales  10        (Beloit)
  6. Erik Lis                    8        (2 – Rochester, 6 – New Britain)
  7. Steve Liddle             8        (Beloit)
  8. Oswaldo Arcia         8        (Elizabethton)
  9. Chris Parmelee         7        (5 – New Britain, 2 – Ft. Myers)

10.  Nathan Hanson        7        (Ft. Myers)

Summary – Joe Benson’s tools are certainly become skills in 2010, at least the power tool as he leads the organization with 19 home runs. Plouffe’s career high in home runs had been 13 in 2005 at Beloit. He had 10 in Rochester in 2009. The burly Peterson still has a ways to go to reach his career high. In 2006 in Ft. Myers, Peterson hit 21 home runs. In 2006, he had 14 homers in New Britain before adding two more with the Red Wings. So his power is legitimate. Yet, despite solid production in Rochester, he has not received an opportunity from the Twins, even with the Justin Morneau injury. Danny Rams is still so young, and he has as much or more power as any player in the farm system. Like Benson, he just has to cut down the strikeouts. Michael Gonzales is a powerful left-handed bat with a long, strong swing. He too is prone to the strikeout. Lis is back in New Britain for the third straight season after starting the season in Rochester. Liddle is the nephew of the Twins bench coach, and as a product of Vanderbilt University, it is no surprise to see him on this list. The most impressive performance after Benson has to be that of Elizabethton’s Oswaldo Arcia who has eight home runs in 124 plate appearances. Chris Parmelee has been solid since his return to New Britain after a brief demotion. Hanson was born in Chanhassen, went to Eden Prairie High School and the University of Minnesota before being drafted by his home town team.

Here are the Twins minor league leaders in Doubles through Wednesday:

  1. Steve Singleton      30        (New Britain)
  2. Joe Benson            25        (14 – New Britain, 11 – Ft. Myers)
  3. Anderson Hidalgo  24        (Beloit)
  4. Brian Dinkelman   22        (Rochester)
  5. Aaron Hicks          21        (Beloit)
  6. Evan Bigley           21        (Ft. Myers)
  7. Dustin Martin         20        (Rochester)
  8. Danny Rams          19        (18 – Beloit, 1 – New Britain)
  9. Jacque Jones          19        (Rochester)

10.  Brock Peterson      18        (Rochester

Summary – Several are asking what should be done with Orlando Hudson in the offseason. Should he be brought back? What Steve Singleton does over the next two months could also factor into that decision. Benson is high on this list as well, which again says that when he puts the ball in play, he hits that ball hard. Anderson Hidalgo has easily been the best and most consistent hitter in the Snappers lineup all season. Dinkelman just continues to produce. An outfielder now, I am convinced that he could be a solid big league contributor if only given an opportunity. Hicks has certainly had an up and down season. It will be fun to watch Hicks and his tools develop. As they were with Benson, the Twins (and us, fans) need to be patient with the ultra-talented Hicks. Evan Bigley got off to a very slow start with the Miracle, but he certainly has shown that he can hit. Martin is having a very good comeback season in Rochester. Again, as much as Rams is ‘known’ for the strikeouts, when he makes contact, he hits the ball really, really hard and has tremendous power to right field as well. Jones has been solid when healthy this year. And Peterson has again been very good all-around with the bat in AAA.

Obviously stats alone are not the lone indicator of future performance, but it never hurts to put up numbers. When you couple some raw numbers with scouting reports on some of these guys’ athleticism, it’s easy to explain why I can be excited about the potential of certain players. Consider a talent like Joe Benson, who is as impressive of an athlete as anyone I’ve met (he could have been a Big 10 running back!). It is easy to see the improvements he has made while continuing to show a very patient approach at the plate, and now you look at the numbers starting to rack up, it’s hard not to be excited about such a player. Remember also that the Twins minor leaguers tend to play in pitcher-friendly leagues and home parks, and in some cases, that can make some of these numbers look even more impressive.

First of all, take these numbers for what they are. The main thing is that it is meant as recognition for some good numbers by several players who really deserve to be noticed. Who knows? We could see some of these guys in Twins uniforms in 2010, or sometime down the road. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me.

Twins Topics

After losing to Cleveland in one of the ugliest baseball games ever (Monday night) and in a close 4-3 decision (Tuesday), the Twins, behind another impressive performance by Francisco Liriano avoided the sweep with a 6-0 win on Wednesday afternoon. The lefty improved to 8-7 and reduced his ERA to 3.54 with seven shutout innings. He gave up six hits. He walked four and struck out eight. He also got nine outs on ground balls to four on fly outs. Jesse Crain pitched another scoreless inning.

And then came the much-anticipated debut of Anthony Slama. After a leadoff single to Matt Laporta, Slama struck out Shelley Duncan and Trevor Crowe before getting Jason Donald to ground out to 3B. A very impressive debut. Now, with Jon Rauch seemingly unable to pitch in the game, it would have been very interesting to see what would have happened had the Twins held a 3-0 lead going into the 9th inning instead of a 6-0 lead. Would Slama have been brought into a save situation? Is there any chance that Slama was brought up to replace Rauch as the Twins’ closer? I highly doubt it, even with the Rauch’s struggles since the All Star break. That said, I do not believe that it would take long for that change to take place.

The Bunt. Alright, I wrote about it yesterday a little bit. It was the talker around the Twin Cities on Wednesday. For me, my final thought is that it was dumb, but we are making way, way too much out of it. The Baby Jesus does not deserve to be crucified for it. It was a mistake. No need to dwell on it.

That said, it was a microcosm of the Twins season. Expectations for the Twins and for Mauer were incredibly high coming into the season, and although many fans have been disappointed with their performances, both are still very good. The Twins are good. Joe Mauer is good.

Mauer was given the day off on Wednesday afternoon. It was the standard day game after a night game reason, and I fully support it. But I also fully believe that Drew Butera has earned his roster spot to this point. In all honesty, his defense is terrific. His fundamentals are far and away better behind the plate than Mauer’s. He catches the ball well, frames pitches, and he blocks the balls in the dirt perfectly. He has a strong and accurate arm. No, he can’t hit. No question about that. There has been talk of Butera being Carl Pavano’s personal catcher (something the Twins have been hesitant to do). Based on the work he did with Francisco Liriano as well, maybe he should be Liriano’s personal catcher. Who knows? Maybe he should be the personal catcher for Scott Baker… and Kevin Slowey… and Brian Duensing too?  (just in case it didn’t come across, there was a bit of sarcasm in that last sentence or two.)

It’s not terribly often that a player has the line score that Jim Thome had on Wednesday afternoon. He was 0-0 with four walks.

Delmon Young had three more hits and three more RBI on Wednesday. He is now hitting .314 with 67 RBI. In his last eight games, he is 14-34 (.412) with two doubles, a homer and nine RBI.

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

SethSpeaks Wednesday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Brian Dinkelman – Rochester Red Wings

SethSpeaks Wednesday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Miguel Munoz – Beloit Snappers

Red Wings Report   

Wednesday – Rochester 9, Buffalo 2 Glen Perkins won for the third time in July. The lefty went seven innings and gave up two runs (1 earned) on seven hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out just one. Kyle Waldrop threw two scoreless innings in relief, striking out three. The offense provided plenty of support. Brian Dinkelman went 3-3 with two walks. Wilson Ramos was 3-4 with his 13th double. Brendan Harris went 2-5 with a double and his second home run. D’Angelo Jimenez went 2-5 with his sixth double and first triple. Jacque Jones went 2-5 with his 19th double. Trevor Plouffe hit his 14th home run.

  • In July, Glen Perkins went 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA in 24.2 innings.
  • In his last five games, Wilson Ramos has gone 9-18 (.500).

New Britain Notes

Wednesday – New Britain 0, Harrisburg 2 – Mike McCardell fell to 0-11, but he pitched a little better. He gave up two runs on six hits and four walks in 5.2 innings. Carlos Gutierrez went 2.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Jair Fernandez went 2-4. Steve Singleton hit his 30th double. Chris Parmelee hit his 12th with the Rockcats.   

Miracle Matters

Wednesday – Ft. Myers 13, Lakeland 4 – A day after he drove in the winning run in the 11th inning, Nate Hanson went 3-4 with two doubles in this win. Nick Romero went 3-4 with a walk and two doubles. Chris Herrmann went 2-4 with his third triple. Brian Dozier and Allan de San Miguel each had two hits. Kane Holbrooks made his first start with the Miracle. He gave up four runs on three hits and three walks in five innings. He struck out six. Shooter Hunt walked three and struck out one in 0.2 innings. He was replaced by Steve Blevins who worked 3.1 scoreless innings of work. He gave up just two hits and a walk.   

Snappers Snippets

Wednesday – Beloit 4, South Bend 2 Miguel Munoz gave up just one run on five hits over seven innings. He struck out seven without allowing a walk. Peter Kennelly walked two and got just one out. He was replaced by Matt Hauser who recorded his first MWL Save by getting the final five outs. Aaron Hicks was 3-5 with his fourth triple and 13th stolen base. Tobias Streich and James Beresford each had two hits.  

  • Hauser was the Twins 7th round pick in 2010 out of the University of San Diego. In 2010, he went 4-3 with eight saves and a 3.67 ERA. In 41.2 innings, he walked nine and struck out 37. He seems to be this year’s draft pick who is quickly moving. Last year, it was Billy Bullock who started in E-Town and progressed to Beloit after putting up terrific numbers in the Appalachian League. In nine innings, he gave up seven hits and two walks while striking out 13. The Twins, of course, have another reliever from the University of San Diego in the system who turned out pretty good; Anthony Slama.

E-Twins Talkers

Wednesday – Elizabethton 8, Johnson City 9 – Oswaldo Arcia continued his power barrage on the Appalachian League. He went 2-5 with his eighth home run. Andy Leer went 2-5 with his tenth double. Danny Ortiz hit his third and fourth triples. Daniel Santana went 2-5 with his fifth double. Jhonatan Arias went 1-2 with his second double and two walks. Sam Spangler started and gave up two runs on four hits in three innings. He struck out four. David Gutierrez then went the next three innings. He also gave up two runs on four hits. Ryan O’ Rourke came in and in 1.1 innings gave up five runs (3 earned) on four hits and a walk. Logan Darnell got the final two outs but not before giving up a hit that scored the winning run.

  • It was the professional debut of Logan Darnell, the Twins 6th round pick out of the University of Kentucky. The lefty went 5-3 with a 5.62 ERA in 14 games. In 73.2 innings, he walked 28 and struck out 55. Certainly not the type of numbers that would warrant waiting so long to sign. He made 11 starts (and three bullpen appearances) in 2010. In his first two years at Kentucky, he pitched in 43 games, all out of the bullpen.

GCL Twins Topics

Wednesday – GCL Twins 4, GCL Rays 7 – JaDamion Williams went 2-4 with his first career home run. After three doubles on Tuesday, Kennys Vargas hit his eighth double in this game. Cesar Ciurcina started and gave up six runs on nine hits and a walk in five innings. Brett Carroll threw two shutout innings. Eddie Ahorrio gave up a run on two hits and a walk in two innings.   

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

Twins Notes

20 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

First things first, I wrote my weekly StarTribune.com TwinsCentric blog last night. It is titled “Who’s to blame?” In it, I discuss who I think the blame for the Twins disappointing season should go to, but I have a feeling that many will disagree. What do you think?

Following last night’s debacle against Cleveland, the Twins announced that they finally made the decision to put Clay Condrey on the 60 Day Disabled List. They also demoted Alex Burnett to AAA Rochester which means, that it is now officially Slama Time. Yes, the Twins called up 26 year old reliever Anthony Slama. As I mentioned during last night’s SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast, Slama and the rest of that Rochester bullpen have been beaten up and way overused thanks to horrible starting pitching. Here is a look at how much the Red Wings bullpen has been used this year:

  • Jose Lugo (0-4, 6.17 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 39 G, 65.2 IP)
  • Tim Lahey (5-1, 5.00 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 35 G, 63.0 IP)
  • Kyle Waldrop (4-3, 2.09 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 41 G, 60.1 IP)
  • Rob Delaney (7-5, 5.49 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 43 G, 57.1 IP)
  • Anthony Slama (0-1, 1.71 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 43 G, 52.2 IP)
  • Brad Hennessey (1-2, 7.89 ERA, 2.03 WHIP, 11 G, 21.2 IP)
  • Pat Neshek (2-0, 4.64 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 16 G, 21.1 IP)

To put that into some perspective, here are the same numbers for Twins relievers:

  • Brian Duensing (3-1, 1.67 ERA, 39 G, 43.0 IP)
  • Alex Burnett (1-2, 4.39 ERA, 35 G, 41.0 IP)
  • Matt Guerrier (1-5, 2.88 ERA, 43 G, 40.2 IP)
  • Jesse Crain (1-0, 3.65 ERA, 38 G, 37.0 IP)
  • Jon Rauch (0-1, 3.31 ERA, 34 G, 35.1 IP)
  • Ron Mahay (0-1, 3.49 ERA, 31 G, 28.1 IP)
  • Jose Mijares (1-0, 2.75 ERA, 26 G, 19.2 IP)

So, if you think tha the Twins bullpen has been overused, what do you think about the Red Wings bullpens. I am shocked that more of their arms have not fallen off. When I see some of those high ERAs, I don’t worry about it because they have got to be dead tired.

But it is a good day when Anthony Slama finally gets that much-deserved big league promotion. He has had another good, dominant season and hopefully can show scouts around the league that his delivery can get big league hitters out. Slama had not given up an earned run in over a month when he left to pitch in the Futures Game in Anaheim. He gave up three hits in an inning in that game, but no runs. He was the winning pitcher in the AAA All-Star Game. Since coming back to the Red Wings, he has given up one run in all three of his outings. Right-handed batters hit just .103 against him while left-handed batters hit .250 against him. Can he help the Twins bullpen? Certainly. But be patient with him as well since he has thrown so many innings. This is a good move because Gardy and Rick Anderson will take care of him better than he has been in Rochester… I hope!

Here are some quick notes on what happened in the Twins minor league system on Monday:

  • There were several transactions:
  1. Bobby Lanigan moved up to New Britain and started in place of David Bromberg who was promoted to Rochester to start last night.
  2. BJ Hermsen and Michael Tonkin were both sent to Elizabethton, which is probably where they should have been through this season. It will be fun to see what they are capable of doing at a level that they should be playing at.
  • Rochester lost 6-2 to Buffalo. Bromberg had a Quality Start in his AAA debut. He gave up three runs on five hits in six innings. He walked just one and struck out seven. Rob Delaney pitched a scoreless inning. Pat Neshek gave up two unearned runs 0.2 innings. Anthony Slama then gave up a run on four hits in the last 1.1 innings. The Red Wings had just four hits. Matt Macri hit his fifth home run.
  • New Britain lost to Harrisburg by a score of 6-3. Lanigan went six innings and gave up just one run on seven hits and two walks. Loek Van Mil went just 0.2 innings and gave up five earned runs on two hits and three walks. Billy Bullock got the final four outs. Jair Fernandez went 3-4 with his third home run. Alexi Casilla went 2-4. Joe Benson hit his 13th doubles and drove in two runs.
  • The Ft. Myers Miracle lost 1-0 to Lakeland. They managed just three hits in the game. Nate Hanson hit his eighth double. Michael Harrington went 1-3 in his return from suspension. Matt Williams started in place of Lanigan and threw five no-hit innings. He walked two and struck out four. Shooter Hunt walked four and allowed one run in 0.1 innings. Dakota Watts came in and got out of the sixth and pitched two more scoreless innings. Michael Allen pitched a scoreless inning despite allowing two hits.
  • Down in Beloit, the Snappers beat Lansing 3-1. Eight hitters had one hit each. The lone starter without a hit was Josmil Pinto. Danny Rams hit his third triple, and Lance Ray hit his first home run. Tom Stuifbergen started and went three innings. He gave up one run on three hits. He walked two and struck out three. Clinton Dempster threw three shutout innings. Jhon Garcia threw two shutout frames. Andrei Lobanov recorded his first save with the Snappers with a scoreless ninth.
  • Adrian Salcedo led the E-Twins to a 6-0 win over Bristol. Salcedo went eight shutout innings. He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out 11. He improved to 3-2 with a 2.41 ERA. Jose Gonzalez pitched a scoreless inning. Daniel Santana went 2-5. Danny Ortiz hit his eighth double.
  • Down in the Gulf Coast League, the Twins lost to the Orioles 5-1. Eddie Rosario went 2-4 with his seventh double and 11 stolen base. Candido Pimental hit his sixth double. David Deminsky gave up three runs on nine hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out eight. Luis Nunez gave up two runs on four hits in two innings.
  • Finally, Jordan Tuwiner, a follower of the Baltimore Orioles minor league system, was at a couple of GCL Twins/GCL Orioles games last week. He wrote scouting reports and shows videos of Miguel Sano, Candido Pimentel, Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler. Check them out.

Kevin Slowey will take the mound tonight against Justin Masterson and Cleveland. Hopefully things can turn around!

Daily Summary:

  1. Star Tribune TwinsCentric Blog – Who’s to Blame?
  2. Last night’s emotional SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast
  3. Anthony Slama, like other Rochester relief pitchers, has been overused, but he is now heading to Minnesota to join the Twins bullpen. Alex Burnett optioned to Rochester and Clay Condrey put on the 60 Day Disabled List.

If you have any comments, please feel free to leave them here.