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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.

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Kevin Slowey or Jason Marquis

23 Dec

Since the salaries are more or less the same, I look at it is a trade.

The Twins received a proven mediocre starter in Jason Marquis, who, up until an injury in 2010 (and a freak comebacker in 2011), had been extremely durable.  Plus they got an upside challenged prospect.  We could call him the infamous PTBNL.

The Twins gave up a younger, mediocre, seemingly injury prone starter in Kevin Slowey.  His career high in innings pitched is just 160 1/3, and that was 4 years ago.  There could still be some projection left in Slowey, but he’ll also be 28 in May.  As his solid 2008 season gets smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror, it is certainly feasible that we may have already seen Slowey’s best.

They are very comparable in innings per start over their careers.  Marquis has averaged 5.95 innings per start while Slowey has averaged 5.66.

Here’s where I see this being a solid move for the Twins.  For 2012, which pitcher would you rather count on for 150-175 roughly league average innings spread over 30 starts?  I’d go with Marquis.

At the end of the day, switching out reasonably interchangeable pieces like Marquis and Slowey is a pretty lateral move.  It’s certainly nothing to get excited about in either direction.  I like the added stability that Marquis hopefully brings to the back of the rotation.

What is most disconcerting is the mediocrity of the rotation behind Liriano and Baker, who each come with their own set of concerns to boot.  This is a very flawed rotation as it stands, and the Twins may simply be out of money to address it.

Slowey sent to Rockies

6 Dec

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Thomas Harding, the Rockies writer for MLB.com, notes this morning that the Twins and Rockies have agreed on a deal that will send Kevin Slowey to Colorado for a Player to be Named Later.

The move opens up a spot on the Twins 40 man roster which may allow them to either make a Rule 5 pick on Thursday or sign another free agent. I’ll let others speculate. My speculation is simply that the PTBNL will come from a list of players who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft and the teams will see who, if anyone from the Rockies, gets selected. Of course I could be wrong, but it does seem reasonable.

The Twins drafted Kevin Slowey in 2005 out of Winthrop University. He flew through the minor leagues, posting an ERA of 1.17 at Elizabethton, 2.24 at Beloit, 1.32 at Ft. Myers, 3.19 in New Britain and 2.29 in Rochester. He debuted with the Twins in Oakland on June 1, 2007, less than two years after being drafted. Coming into the 2011 season, he had a record of 39-21 in the big leagues yet for some reason last year, he was pushed to the bullpen and didn’t respond well. He went on the DL with arm and side injuries, and when he pitched out of the ‘pen, found it hard to get ready. Many criticized Slowey, which is really too bad. Bert Blyleven wasn’t afraid to bash him on FSN which tells me that he got that from somewhere in the management of the organization. It’s too bad. As many in the Twins media continued to bash him, Slowey never turned it the other way on the team. He’s a good pitcher. He should have been starting all along.

Slowey did his first Q&A at SethSpeaks.net following his first professional season and competed for years in the SethSpeaks.net NFL “Expert” Picks. He is incredibly smart and thought-filled. That definitely seems to rub a lot of people wrong in the Twins organization. I could go on and on, I’m sure.

For Kevin Slowey, this is a great thing. He is getting out of an organization who didn’t appreciate who he is and the type of pitcher that he is. The Rockies have been interested in Slowey for a long time. He should jump into their rotation and it would not be at all surprising to see him  become very successful.

I certainly wish him the best of luck!

Feel free to comment!

Twins Notes

28 Sep

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Tonight will mark Game #162 for the Minnesota Twins. I have to admit, it is a bit bittersweet thing for me. As much as this 2011 season needs to end, and we all need a break from the negativity for a while. At the same time, it’s a realization that we won’t see any live Twins baseball games until next February in Florida. That means we’ll go through October, November, December, January and half of February with nothing. As much as the losing has been frustrating, it is always enjoyable to watch your favorite team play, and for me, seeing all of the young players get an opportunity is very fun.

Of course, there is no real offseason in baseball, at least not for the teams or for bloggers. The fun begins as soon as the World Series is complete and players become free agents. Things like the 40 man roster decisions, trade discussions, free agents and rumors for all of the above will be prevalent, and we’ll continue to discuss those here. However, TwinsCentric is already working on the 2011/2012 Twins Offseason GM Handbook. That should be available by the end of the World Series, just before all of the Hot Stove League action begins. So, be sure to watch out for that.

Last night, I was joined late in the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast by Brandon Warne of BrandonWarne.com, Upper Deck Report and FanGraphs.com.

It was always funny to me that many fans seemed to be rather negative on Rene Tosoni. Yes, a couple of weeks ago, he was hitting about .160 in his big league time. However, so many seemed to forget that when he was first called up to the Twins, he had played in just 19 games in AAA after missing the final 2/3 of the 2010 season with shoulder surgery. A year ago, I called him Jason Kubel-light. The only weakness in his game has been his inability to hit left-handed pitching. He is a good outfielder. In the minor leagues, he played a vast majority of his games in right field. He occasionally would get a game in center field, but he really is a corner outfielder. He has played a lot of left field with the Twins after hardly ever playing there in the minor leagues. I mentioned last week that I thought he was being almost too patient. I would say that has changed since then. He is currently on an eight-game hitting streak during which time he is 10-22 (.455) with five doubles and two home runs. He now has five home runs on the season after hitting a huge grand slam in last night’s win.

Trevor Plouffe has certainly had his ups and downs with the Twins this season. We have seen the power and power potential. We have seen good defense, and occasionally we see some really bad defense at shortstop. We have seen him get time at 2B, left field, right field, and we know that he got some time at 1B in Rochester. He has also played 3B in the past. After a slump early in September, he now has seven multi-hit games in his last 11 games played. In that time, he also has four doubles and two home runs.

I have been tough on Ben Revere since he has come up. I often get accused of ‘hating’ Ben Revere. I ranked him as the Twins #7 or 8 Twins prospects after last season. I’ve had him as high as #3. I am a big fan of Ben Revere. I would also say that when he was hitting .260/.290/.290, he wasn’t hitting very well. I will stand by that. However, at no point did I say that he has no value looking forward. Everything in his minor league track record says that he will hit for a better average, and if he can get on base at a 35% clip, he can be very valuable. Although not a great outfielder yet, his range is terrific. The arm is what it is. We’ll just have to deal with it. If he gets on base 35% of the time, he could steal 70-80 bases. Those intangibles that Dick and Bert seem to mention all the time, like the energy and excitement he brings and his nice smile. Those things mean a lot more when he’s hitting and getting on base. And hey, in September, he is hitting .320/.353/.361. That’s still just a .714 OPS, but that one month sample is the type of numbers that we can really hope to see from Revere in coming years.

I mentioned Dick and Bert, and I really wish I took my own advice and muted the Twins telecast on FSN. Their negative comments and shots at Kevin Slowey have been far over the line. During Slowey’s start on Monday night, it was unbelievable. He has been terrific for five innings in his past two starts. He has then struggled in the sixth innings. Not surprising completely, and it is something that Slowey will need to work on. But Blyleven went out of his way to be just mean. When discussing why Slowey was having issues in the middle innings, Bert responded by saying that ‘his problems started in April.’ I get it, Bert was frustrated that Slowey didn’t want to move to the bullpen and struggled to transition to that. Fine. But, Bert and Dick don’t make negative comments about current Twins players. So, the fact that they did speak in such tones means that it is coming from the Twins (be it the manager, one of the coaches, someone). Slowey deserves better than that. Here’s hoping that the Twins kept Bert Blyleven around on TV for 2011, his Hall of Fame season, and it will be his last season with the Twins broadcast team.

Since being called up August 28th, Rene Rivera is 2-29.

Twins fans should turn their attention to the Minnesota Lynx, don’t you think? I mean, Minnesota is so used to losing, why not follow the team that is heading to the WNBA championship series to face Atlanta. Game 1 will be on Sunday.

Mike Maroth lost 20 games with the Tigers in their epically bad season almost a decade ago. After losing a couple of years to injury, the Twins signed him to a minor league deal a couple of years ago, sent him to AAA, he made a couple of appearances, but he didn’t make it to the Twins. He was hurt most of that year too. Anyway, he was named the pitching coach of Lakeland yesterday. That is the High Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers in the Florida State League.

On Tuesday, the Twins claimed RHP Esmerling Vasquez from the Arizona Diamondbacks. He will turn 28 years old in November. He throws pretty hard, averaging 93.4 mph on his fastball in 2011 .He also throws a changeup about 15% of the time at about 83.5%, and he throws a 75.1 mph curveball about 15% of the time. In parts of three seasons with the Diamondbacks’ big league club, he has walked 80 and struckout 120 in 137.1 innings. In his minor league career, he has 276 walks and 478 strikeouts in 512.1 innings. Based on that, he appears to be another Jim Hoey or Juan Morillo. He throws hard, but can’t throw strikes. Lester Oliveros’s minor league numbers say the same thing about him. However, he is still just 23, so there is hope for a little improvement with him. Then again, it doesn’t hurt to add another hard thrower to the 40 man roster. A lot of players on the current 40 man roster will be coming off of the 40 man roster after the season. Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer and Matt Capps will be free agents. Joe Nathan may become a free agent. Several players could be non-tendered. Several others with less than 3 years of experience could also be removed from the 40 man roster. Frankly, the two players in the Twins farm system that are obvious adds to the 40 man roster are Carlos Gutierrez and Oswaldo Arcia. There are a few others (Solarte, Morales, Stuifbergen, Perez, Pugh) that have to be strongly considered. But this is a free opportunity to get a hard thrower on the 40 man roster before he becomes a free agent.

To make room for Vasquez on the 40 man roster, the Twins put Alexi Casilla and his hamstring on the 60 Day DL.

Things are definitely starting to get more and more interesting for the Cedar Falls Hoose-Cows!!! Check out the latest installment here.

The Twins will be playing tonight, trying to avoid losing 100 games. Although finishing 63-99 is really not much better than going 62-100, it will be nice to keep the losses to double digits.

A couple of quick Twitter Questions:

RT @brandonwarne52 SethTweets T/F Parmelee can replicate his AA numbers in the bigs in near future (2-3 years)?

 True – I would agree with that. Parmelee has been very impressive in September, even hitting his fourth home run last night. But as I mentioned last week, I’ve been as impressed with his approach at the plate as the actual results. Although I do believe he needs another half-season in the minor leagues (and his first half-season in AAA), I do think that he has shown enough that the team can feel fine if they need to call him up early in the season as a replacement.

RT @sasgendo @SethTweets Is there any prospect in the Twins system you have your eye on that may be a little under the radar?

There are a lot of guys that I think are under the radar. I think there is a perception that the Twins minor league system is weak. And, maybe some of the teams have been, but that does not mean that there are not some very good individual prospects. Brian Dozier seemingly came out of nowhere. I ranked him in the 30s last year, and this year, he’s definitely in the Top 15. To name a maybe underrated player from each affiliate:

  • Rochester – Aaron Bates – although he signed with the Twins in early May as a minor league free agent, he had a terrific AAA season, and he’s still just 26 years old.
  • New Britain – Chris Herrmann – There were a lot of very good prospects in New Britain this year (Dozier, Benson, Parmelee, Solarte, etc.) I think that Chris Herrmann has a chance to contribute to the Twins in several ways starting in 2013. His ability to get on base is incredible.
  • Ft. Myers – Dan Rohlfing – he spent a bit of time in New Britain as a backup catcher, but he moved back down to Ft. Myers and played nearly every day, including some time in the outfield. He took a big step forward in 2011.
  • Beloit – Lance Ray – The lefty hitting 1B/RF has a great swing and a gap power. He hit 16 homers this year too. After a slow start, he put up some good numbers.
  • Elizabethton – JD Williams – Everyone talked about Sano and Rosario, but Williams was incredible. He hit over .320 and got on base 44% of the time.
  • GCL Twins – Josh Hendricks – The Australian 1B is probably the name to watch. He’s a big kid from Australia who has good power.

  Feel free to comment.

Saturday Minor League Scoreboard

31 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

As Denard Span to the Nationsls’ rumors continued to swirl, he was not in the Red Wings Saturday lineup. Officially, the Twins said it was because of the travel from Louisville to Rochester… I am not certain I believe that. Today if the trade deadline and after a rough loss by the Twins last night, it will be a very interesting day, to be sure. Saturday was very interesting. First, the Tigers acquired starting pitcher Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley from Seattle. Later, Cleveland gave up Alex White and Drew Pomeranz and two other prospects for Ubaldo Jimenez. Cleveland then dealt Orlando Cabrera to the Giants.

So, what will today bring? Will the Twins get Drew Storen, Steve Lombardozzi and Roger Bernadina from the Nationals for Span. Will Jason Kubel remain a Twin? How about Jim Thome, Michael Cuddyer and others? How will Kevin Slowey’s performance for the Red Wings on Saturday affect his trade prospects today, or is it possible he remains with the Twins?

To see how Slowey and the rest of the Twins minor leaguers did on Saturday, see below:  

Rochester Red Wings

Rochester 6, Scranton/Wilkes Barre – Amid all the trade discussions surrounding him, Kevin Slowey put together his best start in his time with the Red Wings. The righty went eight innings and allowed only an unearned run. He gave up just five hits, walked none and struck out eight. Kyle Waldrop gave up only a run on two hits in his inning. Aaron Bates went 3-5. Michael Hollimon, promoted due to the Luke Hughes promotion, went 2-4. Jeff Bailey and Toby Gardenhire were also 2-. Rene Rivera celebrated his 27th birthday just a little early with his fourth home run with the Red Wings.  

New Britain Rock Cats

New Britain 0, Bowie 1 – Joe Benson went 2-2 with two walks and two stolen bases in this game. Those were the only two hits and two of the three walks that the Rock Cats managed in this game. Blake Martin started and gave up one run on five hits. He walked three and struck out three in 5.2 innings. Spencer Steedley threw two scoreless innings, and Dakota Watts got the final four outs.   

Ft. Myers Miracle

Ft. Myers 9, Lakeland 2 – The Miracle ended its losing streak at nine games with a big win on Saturday night. James Beresford went 3-5 with his ninth double. Anderson Hidalgo went 2-4 with a fourth-inning grand slam. It was his fifth home run of the year. Oswaldo Arcia hit his sixth double, and Danny Rams went 1-2 with a walk. Logan Darnell improves to 8-2 with the Miracle. The lefty went the first seven innings and gave up one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out six. Ricky Bowen gave up an unearned run in two innings with three strikeouts.

Beloit Snappers

Beloit 10, Cedar Rapids 5 – BJ Hermsen improved to 11-7 with a Quality Start in front of friends and family in Cedar Rapids. The righty went the first six innings and gave up three runs on eight hits and a walk. Blayne Weller then gave up two hits and a walk in two innings ,but no runs. Ben Tootle came in and gave up two unearned runs in the 9th on two hits and a walk. Reggie Williams went 4-5. Tobias Streich went 3-4. Lance Ray was 2-3 with two walks and his 30th double. He also stole his ninth base. Jairo Perez went 2-5.Michael Gonzales doubled for the 21st time. Danny Ortiz hit his ninth home run.   

Elizabethton Twins

Elizabethton 2, Danville 3 – The E-Twins recorded ten hits, but just two runs, in this loss. Eddie Rosario went 2-4 with his sixth double. Niko Goodrum also had two hits. Rosario also stole his ninth base. David Hurlbut started and gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks in 5.2 innings. Derek Christensen got the next four outs. Steve Evans and Madison Boer each pitched a scoreless inning.  

GCL Twins

GCL Twins 2, GCL Red Sox 4 – The Twins managed just four hits in this game and Jacob Younis had two of them. Josh Hendricks hit his fifth double and drove in both runs. Hung-yi Chen went the first three innings and gave up two hits and a walk and struck out three. Ricardo Arevalo went the next 1.1 innings and gave up two runs (1 earned) on one hit. He walked four and struck out one. JR Krogstad came in and gave up just one hit in 1.2 innings, striking out two. Tyler Herr gave up a run on three hits and a walk in two innings. Luis Nunez pitched a scoreless inning.

Any other questions on the Twins minor leagues? E-mail me, or leave some Comments.

Nine Innings with Seth

26 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

It’s been awhile, but I think it is time for a new Nine Innings with Seth. Here are nine topics or subjects that are at least a little different. As with a regular ball game, there are some quick innings, and other innings tend to drag on a little bit! Hopefully there is plenty of information here today that you will enjoy.

1st Inning – Radio Time

As has now become a regular time slot, I will be on The Paul Allen Show on KFAN this morning at 10:20 to talk about the Twins.

2nd Inning – All About Joe

I suppose that the title for this inning is not quite right. No one knows all about Joe Mauer. Maybe not even Joe Mauer. But everyone has an opinion, and everyone wants an update. Finally today, there is an update. On Tuesday, Joe Mauer went 0-1 with a walk in his first game action. He was the designated hitter for the Extended Spring Training team. He took a five-pitch walk. He also reached on an error after a nine-pitch at bat. He had to slide into 2nd and 3rd bases and scored a run. Of course, following the game, Mauer declined comment and would not give any time table.

As fellow TwinsCentric blogger Nick Nelson tweeted on Monday, Mauer has a sore shoulder and will not throw for a week to ten days. Hopefully that is the time that he is able to start catching some innings.

However, it is a positive sign that he is able to play, even just as a designated hitter. It is a start.

3rd  Inning – Signing for North Minneapolis

The Twins announced on Wednesday that several of their players will be signing autographs outside of Gate 29 on Target Plaza. For $10, fans can get one autograph with any of the players participating. Proceeds will go to the Red Cross for its relief efforts for tornado victims in North Minneapolis.

4th  Inning – The Slowey Situation

I am really struggling with this Kevin Slowey situation. Obviously I am not in the clubhouse every day like many, but I have never heard anyone say anything negative about Kevin Slowey. In fact, in my opinion, he is a terrific guy. We first made contact late in 2005 after he signed with the Twins and finished his season in Beloit. He has done several Q&As, and he continues to participate in my NFL “Expert” Picks each year. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about him. In fact, there are many great things to say about him. I remember talking to him at Twins Fest several years ago when a little kid came to him and asked him what his season highlight was. Slowey responded by saying that it was pitching the gold medal game against Cuba in Havana during an international comopetition. Then, he asked the boy what his favorite highlight of his season was. I was impressed. So when I hear reports of the Twins saying negative things about him, I can’t help but wonder aloud. When I hear Bert Blyleven and Dick Bremer bashing and questioning Slowey, it certainly makes me wonder.

Slowey is incredibly smart and speaks several languages “well enough.” I have heard it from a couple of sources that Gardy and the coaches don’t necessarily like smart players. See Craig Breslow and Brendan Harris for a couple more examples. Is Slowey an ace? No. Would it be nice if he was able to just take the role (bullpen) that he is being asked to fill? Of course. But I think the level of disdain and disappointing the is spewing out of the coaching staff and the media is far overboard. Even if everything they say is true, why are they letting it become public? There would be several teams interested in Slowey today if the Twins made him available.

To be fair, if Slowey is healthy and just asking out of the bullpen role, that would be disappointing. At the end of the day, the Twins are paying him well to pitch in whatever role they ask. And if he wants to get back into the starting rotation, the best way to do that is to pitch well in his given role, the bullpen. However, he was put on the disabled list yesterday with an abdominal strain. Even that can’t be an easy situation as Slowey says it is an ‘acute’ abdominal strain, while the Twins trainer says t is ‘mild.”

5th Inning – From Goat to Hero

Kris Humphries is probably the single reason that I don’t really watch Gophers (or any college) basketball anymore. Watching that ‘team’ play during his one season  in the Maroon and Gold was awful. The offense was Throw it to Humphries and see what he can do. That was it. I have never seen more individual, selfish play in my life. And now, news came out yesterday that he proposed to Kim Kardashian and she said yes. So now, Kris Humphries is my hero.

6th Inning – Minor League Game Notes

Rochester did not have a game scheduled on Wednesday.

New Britain 4, Binghamton 3 – Mark Dolenc led the Rock Cat bats. He went 4-4 with his fourth double. Yangervis Solarte went 2-4 with his third home run. Steve Singleton and Joe Benson each had two hits. Bobby Lanigan started and gave up three runs on five hits. In six innings, he walked two and struck out three. Mike Tarsi struck out two in two scoreless innings.

Ft. Myers 1, Tampa 12 – It was a rough one for starter Kane Holbrooks. In 3.1 innings, he gave up 11 runs on 14 hits and two walks. Shooter Hunt came in and gave up one run on two hits and two walks in 2.2 innings. He struck out two. Jhon Garcia went two scoreless innings and struck out four. Note that Aaron Hicks was not in the lineup. He’s been playing very well of late. On Tuesday night, he was caught between third and home and dove into 3rd base and came away from there holding his hand. The extent of the injury is not known at this time. It could be a short-term thing, or (hopefully not!) it could be longer. I’ll try to get more information.

Beloit 4, Burlington 5 – Pat Dean started on his 22nd birthday. He went 5.2 innings and gave up three runs (2 earned) on four hits and two walks. Blayne Weller went the next two innings and gave up two runs on four hits. He walked none and struck out three. Michael Tonkin, Jason Kubel’s brother, got the final four outs.

7th Inning – Viewing Party

Last year, TwinsCentric hosted several events where Twins fans could get together, watch a ball game and talk about our favorite team. Details are still being finalized, but keep Friday, June 3rd in mind as we will be co-hosting a Twins Viewing Party with KFAN’s Intern-Gal Lindsay that night. As of now, the location is still pending, but we will get any updated information to you as soon as things are finalized. John Bonnes (The Twins Geek), Parker Hageman (Over The Baggy), Nick Nelson (Nick’s Twins Blog) and myself will be there, and I’m certain many of your other favorite Twins bloggers will be as well. So again, keep the date open.

8th Inning – Harmon Killebrew

The governor of Minnesota has designated today Harmon Killebrew Day. The Twins will celebrate the life and times of Killer in a tribute ceremony at Target Field tonight which will be telecast. I wish I could make it there as I’m certain it will be an emotional night. Again, Killebrew played his final big league games the year that I was born, so I never got to watch him play. But I have been overwhelmed by the stories of the type of person that he was. Again, I want to be like Harmon is a theme that hopefully I can carry with me as a blogger and as a person. His work off the field and the stories by so many Twins fans and players has almost overshadowed what an incredible baseball player that he was. If you are able to make it to the event, or want to continue talking about Killebrew, that is always fine!

9th Inning – Twins Links

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading! As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

2011 Twins Predictions

1 Apr

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Thursday was officially Opening Day, and I have to admit, it was a strange day for me. First, it was on a Thursday for the first time. I had enough troubles with ESPN getting a Sunday night season opener, after Opening Day had always just been a Monday thing. MLB decided to start the season three or four days earlier in an attempt to keep the World Series out of November. Second, the Twins didn’t play on Opening Day. Only 12 teams did. So, I guess all I can say is:

Happy Minnesota Twins Opening Day to you!

Predictions are always fun because at the end of the year, I can pick and choose which ones I will remind you that I made. Or, if they’re that far off, I can forget to remind you about my picks and hopefully you won’t remind me too often. Below are some predictions, some more bold than others, for the 2011 Minnesota Twins season with some other predictions randomly thrown in.

2011 MINNESOTA TWINS PROJECTIONS

  • Matt Capps will record twice as many saves as Joe Nathan.
  • Joe Mauer will hit less than .320, but he will hit more than 40 doubles and more than 16 home runs. He will win his fourth straight, and fifth total, Silver Slugger Award.
  • Justin Morneau will post an OPS of just over .880.
  • Delmon Young will:
    • Hit over .300.
    • Hit more than 28 home runs
    • Drive in more than 120 runs
    • Post an OPS of less than .900.
  • Tsuyoshi Nishioka will post an OPS of over .720 and steal more than 25 bases. He will also deserve to win the AL Gold Glove, but he won’t because Robinson Cano is a really good hitter.
  • Alexi Casilla’s OPS will be within .030 of JJ Hardy’s. He will also be within 2.0 UZR of the former Twins shortstop.
  • The date that I will stop watching the Twins on FSN with the volume on will be April 6th.
  • Denard Span will post an OBP over .370. He will steal more than 30 bases.
  • Michael Cuddyer will lead the Twins with more than 40 doubles. He will also top 20 home runs.
  • Danny Valencia will post an OPS greater than .820 with more than 32 doubles and more than 15 home runs.
  • Jim Thome will NOT post an OPS of over 1.000 again in 2011. In fact, he won’t post a .900 OPS. He will hit less than 15 home runs but more than the 11 home runs he needs to reach career home runs number 600.
    • Let’s go on a limb and say that he will his Home Run #600 on August 24th at Target Field in the 2nd inning off of Jake Arrieta.
  • Carl Pavano will throw 200 innings, but his ERA will be over 4.40.
  • Francisco Liriano will throw less than 190 innings with an ERA over 3.50 and a K-rate less than 8.5 per nine innings.
  • Brian Duensing will throw 175+ innings with an ERA of under 4.25.
  • Nick Blackburn will throw more than 210 innings with an ERA just under 4.00.
  • Scott Baker will throw 190+ innings with an ERA under 4.20.
  • Kevin Slowey will not make a start for the Twins in 2011, and he will average more than a strikeout per inning
  • I will be wrong about one of the five starters pitching well, Kyle Gibson will make his Twins debut on June 18 at Target Field against the Padres.
  • Joe Mauer and Delmon Young will represent the Twins at the All-Star game.
  • The Twins will open their 2011 home schedule with a 3-4 record, including a split against the Yankees at Yankees Stadium.
  • Ron Gardenhire will be ejected eight times in 2011.
  • No Twins hitter will top 30 home runs, however, Justin Morneau and Delmon Young will come close, while Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel will hit over 22 each.

AL CENTRAL STANDINGS (Projected)

Minnesota Twins        93-69

Chicago White Sox      91-71

Detroit Tigers              80-82

Cleveland Indians        72-90

Kansas City Royals     63-99

AMERICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFF TEAMS

AL Central – Minnesota Twins (2)

AL East – Boston Red Sox (1)

AL West – Oakland A’s (3)

Wild Card – Chicago White Sox (4)

ALDS: Boston over Chicago in 4 games, Oakland over Minnesota (in 5 games, the A’s rotation contains lefties Gio Gonzalez, Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden, and the bullpen has Brian Fuentes, Craig Breslow and Bobby Cramer. The Twins have not addressed their need for a right-handed bat. Unless they do, it could be another one and done.)

ALCS – Boston over Oakland in 5 games.

NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFF TEAMS

NL Central – Milwaukee Brewers (3)

NL East – Atlanta Braves (2)

NL West – Los Angeles Dodgers (1)

NL East – Philadelphia Phillies

NLDS: Braves over Brewers in 4 games. Phillies over Dodgers in 4 games.

NLCS: Braves over Phillies in 7 games.

WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS

                Braves over Red Sox in 6 games.

 What are your predictions for the 2011 season, for the Twins or the league. If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to comment or ask.

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  • TWINS MINOR LEAGUE WEEKLY PODCAST LAST NIGHTNIGHT – If you are interested in the Twins minor league system, check out Twins Minor League Weekly podcast from last night. Travis Aune and I will host the 10:00 p.m. podcast each Thursday throughout the season. Last night, we discussed the projected rosters and picks to click for the Rochester Red Wings and New Britain Rockcats. We started talking about the Ft. Myers Miracle when the 45 minute podcast abruptly came to an end. Next Thursday, we’ll discuss minor league opening night and continue to look at the Miracle and Snappers rosters.