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Roster Projections: Rochester Red Wings

23 Mar

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Before we jump into my Twins AAA projection, here are a couple of quick notes:

  • I was on part of Travis Talks Minnesota Sports podcast last night talking about Twins minor leaguers which obviously I always thoroughly enjoy doing that.
  • Tonight, I will be hosting an episode of the Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast. I’ll be joined by Baseball Daily Digest’s Joe Hamrahi who was at the Joe Mauer press conference on Monday night. There may be another guest or two as well, and lots of Twins talk.
  • There will be an episode of The Show on Thursday night at a special time of 8:00 p.m. I already two Twins minor leaguers (one of which some have been clamoring for me to bring on for awhile now).  During that show, we will also announce the regularly scheduled night and time for The Show throughout the season. So be sure to take in that show.
  • And please be sure to go to the Star-Tribune’s TwinsCentric blog today. Parker had a chance to sit down with Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony down in Ft. Myers last week. He transcribed his interview and posted the first half of it here. The rest of it can be found at Over the Baggy.

The Twins open their season on April 5th. The Rochester Red Wings season begins on April 8th in Pawtucket. Their first home game is on April 17th.  They will be managed this year by Tom Nieto, who managed the New Britain Rockcats a year ago.

So here are my thoughts on the 2010 Opening Day roster of the Rochester Red Wings:

The Hitters

C Wilson Ramos
1B Brock Peterson
2B Luke Hughes
3B Danny Valencia
SS Trevor Plouffe
LF Brian Dinkelman
CF Charlton Jimerson
RF Dustin Martin
DH Erik Lis
Bu C Danny Lehmann
Bu IF Toby Gardenhire
Bu OF Jacque Jones
Bench Matt Tolbert
DL… (Brandon Roberts)

Analysis: I discussed my thoughts on the Twins backup catcher situation yesterday, and I will stand behind my feelings that Wilson Ramos needs to play, not sit on the bench. That is why I have him starting in Rochester. When Drew Butera is optioned to AAA (when Jose Morales comes back), he will take over as the Red Wings backup catcher, behind Ramos. Danny Lehmann would then go back to New Britain. Lehmann is very respected among pitchers and coaches. Bringing back Brock Peterson (a six year free agent) is a great thing for the Red Wings, and I am just hoping that the former 49th round draft choice gets a chance to get a cup of coffee with the Twins. He was the Red Wings best hitter during the second half of 2009. Although I expect to see Matt Tolbert play a lot, I really believe that we will see a lot of Luke Hughes at second base. He played there, and played pretty well there, in spring training, and he could be another option for 2010. Think Jeff Kent? Danny Valencia should play most days at 3B, and hopefully he can get off to a fast start and be in Minnesota by mid-June. Trevor Plouffe will likely see time at all three infield positions as well, and if anything happens to JJ Hardy (or he doesn’t come back well), Plouffe could get a big league call too. Brian Dinkelman played mainly 2B until last year when Steve Singleton was promoted to New Britain. Then he started playing in left field where he is still learning, but works hard and can get better. The other two outfield positions could be a rotating carousel. Charlton Jimerson’s defense and speed is terrific. Dustin Martin needs a rebound season. Jacque Jones needs to play well. Really, all three of them need to play well because Rene Tosoni may not be far away from AAA. Erik Lis has hit well in AA New Britain for two years, so he needs to move up. And the DL seemed like an appropriate place to place Brandon Roberts at this time. Yes, I am not including Matt Macri here, although it is possible he could be another utility infield type. That said, defensively, I think Toby Gardenhire is just as good and can play eight positions. And no, this is not at all a choice, by me, that has anything to do with nepotism. He’s got a very strong glove.  

The Pitchers

SP Anthony Swarzak
SP Jeff Manship
SP Matt Fox
SP Ryan Mullins
SP Brian Duensing
CL Rob  Delaney
8L Jose Lugo
8R Chris Province
BP Yoslan Herrera
BP Kyle Waldrop
BP Mark McLemore
BP Mike Maroth
  (Glen Perkins)
  (Brad Hennessey – DL)
  (Tim Lahey)

Analysis: As you can see there several question marks in this pitching rotation. That really starts with Glen Perkins. If he doesn’t make the Twins roster (which he won’t), will they be able to trade him? If not, he will be sent to Rochester. Will he start? Will he pitch out of the bullpen? Will he be put on the Fake DL? Since I included Anthony Slama on the Twins roster, it meant Brian Duensing goes to the Red Wings, and I believe he will start. Should there be an early-season injury, he would be the first promoted. Anthony Swarzak and Jeff Manship both were rushed to the big leagues a year ago, and both showed signs that they can be solid big league performers, but each showed that they could also use more seasoning. Matt Fox spent the entire season in the New Britain starting rotation last year. It was the first time that the 2004 supplemental first round pick had done that. I think he deserves the shot to do it again as he has improved remarkably his arm strength and seen success. Ryan Mullins had a solid season last year in New Britain. It was his third with the Rockcats. He needs to move up. He actually pitched a couple of games for the Red Wings in 2007. So there is my starting five. 

The bullpen is even more perplexing. Again, with Slama on my big league roster, I’ll move Rob Delaney to the closer role. Jose Lugo will certainly be back in the Red Wings bullpen. I have Tim Lahey on the outside looking in, but he would be another option. Chris Province came from the Red Sox in the Boof Bonser deal. Yoslan Herrera was signed as a free agent recently. The lefty was very solid last year in AA, but needs to show he can pitch well in the International League. I really like this signing. He can replace Reid Santos as a lefty who could pitch both out of the bullpen and start as well. Mark McLemore could be that as well. He started his comeback from Tommy John surgery last year, and this will be his second year back. Mike Maroth has done better in spring training than I would have guessed he would do. That’s not to say great, but enough that if he wants to, he could go to AAA. There is really no risk in signing a former big leaguers like Herrera, McLemore and Maroth, letting him get healthy and seeing where he is at. Maybe he comes back fully. Speaking of healthy, Brad Hennessey was a solid bullpen arm a couple for a couple of years in the big leagues. He is likely to miss at least a couple of months, but I like this signing as well as a no risk, potentially decent reward signing.  

If you would like, you can e-mail me, or feel free to leave your comments here. 


Where Are We Now?

21 Jan

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The Twins offseason continues to role on, but let’s be honest, things are starting to get exciting. The Twins Winter Caravan’s first week is nearly complete. Two more groups will head out next week to places far and wide to talk Twins baseball. Next Thursday night will be the annual Diamond Awards, a black tie event honoring the Twins of 2009. Then starting next Friday is Twins Fest. And then, just a couple short weeks later, Pitchers and Catchers will report to Ft. Myers. As you know, I love the offseason as much as anyone, but the idea of the dawn of a new season being that close has to get everyone excited.

On a quick side note before I continue, next Tuesday’s Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast will be expanded to two full hours. Instead of going from 9:00 to 10:00 central time, I’ll be on from 8:00 to 10:00 central time. I’ve already got three confirmed guests, none of which has been on a previous podcast. I’m hoping to have anywhere from 6-10 guests in total, so it should be a very fun show!

Alright, back to our regular scheduled blogging. We know where we are on the calendar, but what does it mean for the 2010 Twins and their fans. With the eight Twins arbitration-eligible players signing earlier this week, the team now has some payroll certainty. We also have heard that the Twins offered Jarrod Washburn $5 million, which the lefty inexplicably rejected. So, that offer would have had to have been made knowing that the Twins would be at about $90 million after these arbitration signings. That tells me that there could be $4-6 million left to spend.

What moves have happened?

  • The Twins acquired a 27 year old former All-Star shortstop (JJ Hardy) who plays solid defense and could hit 15-18 home runs for their fourth outfielder (who was also very good defensively). Neither player is a certainty at this stage, but the general consensus is that the trade makes the Twins better.
  • The Twins offered arbitration to Carl Pavano, and as you know, he took it. The 31 year old pitcher will make $7 million in 2010, a fair amount for a league average pitcher with his service time. Although I probably would have preferred he reject arbitration and the Twins gain a supplemental first round draft pick, Pavano is certainly a better ‘veteran’ starting option than Jarrod Washburn or other pitchers on the market. Retaining Pavano, in all, leans to the positive for the Twins.
  • Finally, the Twins essentially replaced Bobby Keppel on their roster with Clay Condrey, which is a clear improvement. There are three moves that make the Twins better.

The Twins lost Joe Crede, Orlando CabreraMike Redmond and Ron Mahay (although technically Crede could still come back). All had some value to the Twins, but none will be particularly lost.

What’s Left?

The Twins, like every other team in baseball, still have a few holes. Are they holes, or are they perceived holes? Well, that is up to each individual to decide. Here are the general areas in which the Twins have perceived holes:

1.)    Second Base – As of today, Nick Punto would be the leading candidate to be the team’s second baseman. I know I’m not the biggest Nick Punto fan, but if he’s batting ninth and playing second base, he is the least of the Twins worries. He takes a ton of pitches. He has a very solid on base percentage. Yes, I would prefer if he hit .260, but any way you can get on is a good thing, and Nick Punto somehow coaxes a lot of walks. There are still two good options out there at second base in Felipe Lopez and Orlando Hudson. If one of them would be willing to take the one year, $5 million deal that the Twins offered to Washburn, I would be thrilled.  

2.)    Third Base – I think if the season started today, Brendan Harris and Matt Tolbert would be your starting third basemen. I’m not Tolbert fan, but I do like Brendan Harris. I especially like it because he can play three positions and has some pop from the right-side of the plate, so that when Danny Valencia is ready (2-3 months?), Harris still can help the team in a utility role. I have pretty much zero interest in bringing in Joe Crede or Melvin Mora. I would be interested in Miguel Tejada for the same one year, $5 million contract, but I would prefer to focus on 2B. If they sign a 2B, Nick Punto can play 3B, and again, bat ninth and play solid defense.

3.)    #2 hitter – Right now, the Twins best #2 hitter option is probably Nick Punto. His ability to take pitches, foul off pitches and get on base make him a viable option. His inability to hit make him a better option in the #9 spot. This is where adding Felipe Lopez or Orlando Hudson both make a lot of sense. Both have the ability to get on base, but both can hit as well. Adam Kennedy is a solid on base guy too (and he could play 2B or 3B), but he’s a left-handed hitter, so if he hit second, the Twins would probably bat five lefties in their first six batters.

4.)    Veteran StarterDoug Davis signed with Milwaukee. Washburn is still out there. My feeling is that the Twins do NOT need to add another starter. The top four are Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Carl Pavano and Kevin Slowey. In spring training, the likes of Brian Duensing, Francisco Liriano, Jeff Manship and Anthony Swarzak can battle for the fifth spot. You have enough depth in case of injury. In my mind, it doesn’t make sense to bring in a starter who will make much more money than these guys and probably wouldn’t do any better.

5.)    5th outfielder – With Delmon Young, Denard Span and Michael Cuddyer set as the primary outfielders, and DH Jason Kubel able to play both corners adequately, I don’t see the 5th outfielder spot being all that crucial. And honestly, I wouldn’t spend any/much money to acquire it. I would be looking for someone who could play CF since the Twins don’t have an option if Span were to need a day off. He’d obviously have to be able to play both corners too. It’d be nice if he could have a little bit of pop in his bat for those 12 inning marathons, but primarily, he needs to play solid defense and be able to run the bases. Jason Pridie does all of that. I’m not saying I’d be comfortable with him if he had to start more than two or three games in a row, but if that were the case, the Twins could find someone. When I saw Brandon Jones was taken off of Atlanta’s 40 man roster; that intrigued me. He was sent to the Pirates. I would prefer guys like that, 26-30 year old minimum salary guys

What Would I (Try To) Do?

Two things. That’s all.

1.)    I would throw one year, $5.5 million contract offers to Felipe Lopez and Orlando Hudson. They would be worth $5 million in 2010 with a team option at $6 million in 2011 (with a $0.5 million buyout). Make sure both know that they will sign the first to agree to it. I’d consider going up by even $1 million in 2010 base salary.

2.)    I’ve said all along that I thought the Twins and Joe Mauer would announce the signing of a new long-term extension that will keep in a Twins uniform for years to come. I think that announcement happens in the second half of the week next week.

If those two things happen, coupled with their previous moves, this will have been a remarkable offseason for the Minnesota Twins and their fans. It has already been a very good offseason. If they sign a second baseman, but don’t sign Mauer, it’s still a very strong offseason. If they don’t sign a second baseman, but they do sign Mauer, it will be a tremendous offseason.    

What would you do? Map it out. If you have any questions or comments, click here.

What Would You Do? 40 Man Roster Decisions

16 Nov

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Over the next week to ten days, the Twins will have to make some final decisions on their 40 man roster. There will be some tough decisions.

But before we get started, I should point out that it appears that Juan Morillo will now come off of the Twins 40 man roster as he has signed with a team in Japan. I wrote about that possibility here last week when I could come up with only one reason for his addition to the Twins 40 man roster. It appears that the Twins should have temporarily kept Justin Huber on the 40 man roster too as he is close to signing in Japan as well and the Twins may have got some money for him as well.

Technically the Twins have 40 players on their 40 man roster. However, the Twins five internal free agents will come off of the roster unless the Twins decide to sign one of them quickly. There are (too many) rumors about the Twins talking to Orlando Cabrera about playing 2B. That would be horrible, so we can assume that won’t happen. Right? There is also talk of conversations with Scott Boras regarding Joe Crede. Again, I understand some think that would be a good thing. Personally, I am just not a fan of that idea. Carl Pavano would be a solid #4 type of pitcher and the Twins should consider the idea of bringing him back, if the price is right. However, the assumption is that there will be several teams interested in his services, and hence, he probably would not sign quickly. Ron Mahay would make sense if the Twins didn’t have several other left-handers who could either start or be a second lefty reliever. Mike Redmond is a good guy and a good teammate, but bringing him back makes no sense.

So, I will work under the assumption that all five will be off of the 40 man roster, which would put the Twins at 35.

If you checked out the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook (which is still available as an e-book or a print version), there was an article on the 40 man roster called “Nine to Note.” Information was given on nine players that the Twins should consider adding to the 40 man roster. Of those nine players to consider, two of them (David Winfree and Brock Peterson) were not added to the 40 man roster and can become free agents. The Twins can bring them back if they want, but they will not be added to the 40 man roster. And to this point, the only player added to the Twins 40 man roster was Juan Morillo, who was not even considered among the nine. And now I don’t look quite so dumb!

So, let’s get back to this week. Again, the Twins are likely going to be at 35 players on the 40 man roster. If that is the case, there are four spots available. However, are there others that can be removed from the 40 man roster? Last week, Justin Huber was removed. The Twins tried to take Armando Gabino off of the 40 man roster, but in doing so, he was claimed by the Orioles. So as the Twins make these decisions, they will have to consider a couple of things. If the Twins take the player off of the 40 man roster, would they be lost to another organization? Is the player that would be added better (or a better fit for need) than the one who would be removed? 

With that, let’s take a look at a few guys that the Twins could consider removing from the 40 man roster:

  • Bobby Keppel – in 2009, the Twins saw what Keppel can be. They saw the very good and the saw the very bad, all within his three month stint with the team. Since he is out of options, he would have to make the Twins roster and stay on it, or potentially be lost. With Morillo and Bonser also out of options, and Pat Neshek likely coming back at some point, what are the chances of Keppel making the Twins roster?
  • Boof Bonser, Jesse Crain and Pat Neshek – All three are arbitration eligible this year. All three have had injuries and missed time in the last couple of years. All three have experienced big league success. And, I am pretty sure that if taken off the 40 man roster, all three of them would be gone.
  • Glen Perkins – It’s hard to imagine that he will be back with the Twins, but can he be traded?
  • Drew Butera – Can’t hit. Led International League in Passed Balls, but still known to do a good job of calling games and throwing. Can’t hit. At all. There are a lot of backup catchers around who can throw runners out who will play for $750,000, if the Twins even needed that.
  • Alexi Casilla, Matt Tolbert, Steve Tolleson, Nick Punto, Trevor Plouffe – They’re all the same. Play a little defense. Play a couple of positions. Hit once in a while, but not necessarily well. How many backup infielders are needed? Obviously Punto and his $4 million deal aren’t going anywhere. Casilla is out of options. Plouffe is at least young. He is probably the only player who would be lost if left unprotected. He would certainly be claimed.
  • Deibinson Romero – He’s all about the tools, apparently. He’s a big guy, strong. And, the reality is that he hasn’t actually produced much since he was in the rookie leagues. He’s 23 already. The tools are all there. The effort has been questioned.
  • Luke Hughes – I keep hearing people say that he could be removed. If he is, he would be claimed by the first team who could. He’s not going anywhere.
  • Jason Pridie – very good defense. Left-handed bat who refuses to walk. Has some pop in his bat. With Carlos Gomez now gone, the Twins need a 5th outfielder who can play all three outfielders, including centerfield. Other option would be to let him go and sign a veteran outfielder who could pinch hit. Pridie does have one more option year left.

OK, so we started at 35. Will the Twins sign any of those five internal free agents before the 40 man roster is set? How many from the current 40 man roster would you remove?

Now let’s consider the players who would have to be added to the 40 man roster or left subject to the Rule 5 draft. Note that if they are not selected in the Rule 5 draft, they would stay in the organization unless they are six year minor league free agents. 

The Obvious Additions:

  • Danny Valencia – Whether everyone considers him the 3B of 2010, or the 3B of the Future, or a possible 3B, he has experienced success at each level including AAA. If left unprotected, he would be gone.
  • Deolis Guerra – He’s 20. He showed much improved control in 2009. He’s got three potentially big league pitches. He’s had success in AA. Again, this is an easy choice as his potential alone makes him a target for some Rule 5 team.
  • Alex Burnett – The Rule 5 is about finding players with either high upside and can be hidden on a roster, or about guys who can contribute to any degree with the big league club. Burnett fits into both categories as he could already contribute to a big league team’s bullpen and he has tremendous upside in a bullpen.

Must Strongly Consider:

  • Loek Van Mil – He’s 7-1, and he throws 95-97. He should probably be in the obvious category too. His strikeout numbers don’t shout out at you, but the stuff does. Tall pitchers take a little longer to develop because they need to find their release point. As an international player, you can assume a longer learning curve too. Adding him to the 40 man roster gives three more years to develop. But again, his pitching angle and the velocity make Van Mil a likely choice.
  • Rob Delaney – since being signed as a non-drafted free agent out of college in 2006, Delaney has dominated the minor leagues. He gets strikeouts and he walks very few. He struggled some in Rochester, but I think his track record makes him an easy choice. The fact that he could help a big league bullpen today makes him an easy choice. How many bullpen guys will they put on the roster? That’s the only question.
  • Steve Singleton – Good glove. Can play 2B, 3B and SS. Can hit 2nd in a batting order, or at the bottom of the order. Can hit for average. Is best when he is patient. Has good power for a middle infielder. Lots of doubles and triples. Can play very good defense.
  • Brian Dinkelman – Put up terrific numbers in New Britain. Doubles machine. He is two years older than Singleton. Played a lot of LF once Singleton promoted to AA. That gives him a better chance of being added. Defense is not spectacular either place, but he does make almost all the plays.

Should at least think about:

  • Santos Arias – The Dominican righty had a very good year in 2009 in Ft. Myers. Good fastball. Durable. Very good changeup. Has a lot of room to grow.
  • Winston Marquez – Left-handed. Young. Throws hard. Good slider. Missed 2008 with injury and Twins were patient with him in 2009.
  • Matt Fox – Again, he could pitch in the big leagues, in the back of a bullpen. He could handle it well mentally. And the former #1 pick has been able to get stronger and better each year since coming back from Tommy John surgery. Also, his cutter is very tough on lefties.

Others that are eligible include Juan Portes, Kyle Waldrop, Estarlin de Los Santos, Dustin Martin, Whit Robbins, Ramon Santana, Matt Williams, Brandon Roberts, Ryan Mullins, Frank Mata, Mark Dolenc, Rene Leveret, Jair Fernandez, and Alexander Soto.

Also, Rene Tosoni, David Bromberg and Anthony Slama do not need to be added to the 40 man roster at this time, so they will not be added.

Again, you’re starting at 35 players. You can take a few more off of the 40 man roster. You could quickly sign some of your internal free agents. You will want to add a bunch. Do you want to fill all 40 roster spots, or do you keep one or two open so that you can take a pick or two in the Rule 5 draft. What do you think? What would you do? Send me an e-mail, or leave your Comments here.

Wednesday Morning Notes

23 Sep

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Good morning! After another fun podcast last night, some other projects, an oil change, a meeting, and some other stuff, I passed out. So, I got up early this morning and put together a few thoughts for you to discuss. But if there are other topics, please feel free to bring them up in the Comments. And please be sure to check out several of the other Twins blogs that I have linked to on the left side of this page for more. Have a great day! NIGHTLY Minnesota Twins podcast

  • No guests on the show last night, but had two people (including Fanatic Jack!) call in and talked about last night’s Twins win. The conversation went all over the place, but was all related to the Twins, so hopefully it makes for some good listening!! Check it out and let me know what you think. Tonight at 10, there will be another show. I already have one guest confirmed, and hoping for a second.

Twins 8, White Sox 6

  • The Twins went into US Cellular last night and outslugged the Chicago White Sox on their way to an 8-6 win. The Twins hit four home runs. Orlando Cabrera hit a two run homer in the first inning to give the Twins a 2-0 lead. With the game tied at five, Michael Cuddyer led off the sixth inning with a long home run, his 29th of the season. A couple batters later, Matt Tolbert hit his second homer of the year. It hit the top of the wall in left field, just avoiding the glove of Carlos Quentin. Then in the 8th inning, Jason Kubel hit his 24th home run to give the Twins a 8-5 lead.
  • Jeff Manship walked the first batter he faced in the first inning. Scott Podsednik stole second. Manship then got the next three outs, but Podsednik did score to cut the lead to 3-1. Manship had a 1-2-3 second inning and really looked good. Then came the third inning. Alex Rios hit a home run. Then a single. Then Gordon Beckham hit an 0-2 hanging curve for his 13th homer. It gave the White Sox a 4-3 lead. Two hard hit balls later, Manship was replaced by Francisco Liriano. The lefty went the next 2.1 innings. He gave up a run on a hit and two walks. Jesse Crain came in to the game with runners on 1st and 3rd and got out of the inning. He then threw another perfect inning. Jose Mijares pitched a scoreless seventh. Matt Guerrier’s first pitch of the 8th inning was deposited well into the left field bleachers by Paul Konerko. It cut the lead to 8-6. Guerrier had to work hard, but got out of the 8th inning with that same lead. Joe Nathan came in and threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his 43rd save of the year.
  • Jesse Crain improved to 7-4 and is as good as we have ever seen him.
  • Michael Cuddyer, in addition to his 29th homer, had a single and his 34th double. Jason Kubel added his 33rd double. Delmon Young was 2-3 with a sacrifice fly. Joe Mauer had an RBI double in the fifth that gave the Twins a 5-4 lead.
  • Tonight, Brian Duensing will make the start for the Twins opposite Mark Buehrle. Duensing has made two starts and two relief appearances against the White Sox this year. He is 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 17.1 innings. This will be Buehrle’s 41st career start against the Twins. He is 23-15 with a 4.00 Era. He has already made five starts against the Twins this year. He has gone 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA.
  • The Tigers beat Cleveland 3-1 last night behind a strong pitching performance from Edwin Jackson. Aaron Laffey was nearly as good, but a 3rd inning solo home run to Ryan Raburn meant he got the loss. Tonight, it will be Rick Porcello for the Tigers and Justin Masterson for Cleveland.       

Who Starts Sunday?

The Twins talker for today probably has to be who makes the start for the Twins on Sunday against the Royals in Kansas City. Jeff Manship’s name was written in, in pencil, for that start, but with his performance last night, we do need to ask if there is a better option for the Twins. It would be easy to say Francisco Liriano, but I’m not certain that’s necessary true. Are there even any other options? Armando Gabino, maybe? Where have you gone, Yohan Pino? I think the right thing is probably to start Liriano, but to have both Manship and Gabino, and Keppel and everyone ready to go. What do you think? Who provides the Twins with the best chance to win?

World Cup Update

  • Cuba beat Australia 2-1. Both James Beresford and Luke Hughes were 0-4. Beresford did have the lone RBI.
  • Canada beat Puerto Rico 3-0. Rene Tosoni was 1-4 with a walk, his fourth double and two RBI. Nelvin Fuentes went 1.2 scoreless innings for Puerto Rico. He gave up one hit, walked one and struck out two.
  • The Netherlands beat Chinese Taipei 11-2. Former Twins pitching prospect Alexander Smit gave up one run on four hits and two walks in six innings for the win. He struck out six.
  • Team USA beat Venezuela 6-3. Trevor Plouffe was 1-4 with an RBI. Terry Tiffee was 2-4 with two RBI.  

If you have any opinions, comments or updates, please leave them in the Comments section.

Twins Win Again

16 Sep

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On Wednesday afternoon, the Twins completed a three game sweep of the Cleveland Indians with a 7-3 win. Michael Cuddyer drove in a run in the 1st inning, 5th inning and 7th inning on a single, a home run and a double to lead the way. Joe Mauer went 2-3 with a walk and drove in two runs. Nick Blackburn got the start and the win. He gave up two runs in the 7th inning after six shutout innings. Joe Nathan recorded his 41st save by getting the final two outs. The win temporarily cut the Twins deficit in the AL Central. 

  • Joe Mauer, in his last four games, has gone 10-13 with three walks. It has raised his batting average from .363 to .374.
  • In his last four games, Michael Cuddyer has gone 8-16 with two doubles and two home runs.
  • Are we able to say, yet, that Jose Morales is the team’s backup catcher? In this game, he went 2-3 with two doubles.
  • Matt Tolbert is apparently now the team’s 3B. But he went 2-4 in the game and plays a solid defense. In his last four games, he is 6-12.
  • The Tigers beat the Royals 4-3 on Wednesday night to put their lead back to 4.5 games over the Twins.

World Cup Update:

  • Wednesday
    • Nelvin Fuentes walked one and struck out one batter in his appearance for Puerto Rico.
    • Rene Tosoni went 2-4 with a double for Canada.

If you have any opinions, comments or updates, please leave them in the Comments section.

Are You Positive?

16 Sep

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I was watching the Twins game last night, happy with another win. Much credit for the win has to go to the bottom of the lineup for coming up with some big hits. Nick Punto had three hits. Brian Buscher had a big run-scoring hit. Orlando Cabrera hit a game-tying home run. Getting production from guys like that will be key down the stretch. The Twins have won three games in a row, all without Justin Morneau. They got good starting pitching, and the bullpen has been very good of late. Sure, Joe Nathan is fighting through struggles (on his way to another 40 save season, mind you!), but the rest of the bullpen has been much improved. Meanwhile, Detroit has been playing quite poorly of late. They have certainly left the door open, at least a little bit. Why am I not getting excited? I mean, the Twins are 4.5 games back of the Tigers with 17 games to go. The odds of the Twins making the playoffs are not good, something like 11%, but they are technically still alive.

So why am I not excited? Is it because they haven’t had that extended run that we all thought they were capable of? Well, in reality, they did. They won 12 out of 15 games. And, let’s be honest, if they can win twelve or thirteen out of their remaining games, there is a realistic chance that those games in the Dome on the final weekend will be bigger than just a farewell to a stadium.

It’s mid-September. The Twins are technically still in this thing. Help me out! Is there reason to be positive and excited? I think there are.

1.)    Those infamous seven games remaining with the Tigers provide an opportunity.

2.)    The Tigers have been bad. Their pitching situation is arguably worse than the Twins. Yes, they have Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and Rick Porcello, but their bullpen has been a mess.

3.)    Maybe the Twins front office did know what they were doing in NOT acquiring Jarrod Washburn. We are so quick to be negative on the guys that got away that we often forget to say thank you for all the cases in which that is a good thing (See also, Joe Nelson, Juan Cruz, Eric Gagne and too many more to mention in this).

4.)    The Twins have Joe Mauer.

5.)    The Twins have Denard Span.

6.)    The Twins have Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel.

7.)    Scott Baker has been very good of late.

8.)    Carl Pavano has been as good as expected.

9.)    Nick Blackburn had his struggles, but he has also shown a propensity for pitching really well in really big games.

10.)                        Brian Duensing is still doing something to keep hitters off balance.

11.)                        The Bullpen is much improved, now making the 7th through 9th innings a little easier to breathe in.

So what else do you have? Let’s start being a little more positive! Why not? Worst case, we’re wrong, but we still get to enjoy only three more weeks of baseball before the long winter offseason. Are there other reasons to be positive about?

I have to be honest and ask, aren’t you (like me) tired of being negative? This is a .500 team, why can’t the positive at least equal the negative? I mean, I too can look at the bottom of the batting order and see Nick Punto in the lineup. Last night’s lineup had Buscher, Matt Tolbert and Punto at the bottom. That doesn’t create much excitement. But it is what it is. We can complain as much as we want about Danny Valencia (or Brock Peterson) not being up here right now, but that isn’t our decision, so no need for us to dwell on it. (No, I don’t get it either!) We can complain when Mike Redmond catches, as he likely will today, but we need to get over it. It’s easy to look at Michael Cuddyer’s WPA, but I prefer to look at the .270 with 25 homers.

Seriously, sometimes it’s much more fun to just step back and enjoy the baseball. I know I need to do that. Let’s just enjoy these final three weeks or before we know it, it’ll be gone. And then the offseason starts and we can all analyze away!!  

World Cup Update:

  • Monday
    • Nelvin Fuentes pitched a scoreless inning for Mexico.
    • Luke Hughes hit a home run.
    • Matt Willams got a win for Australia. He went 1.2 innings and gave up an unearned run.
    • Rene Tosoni went 3-4 with his second homer and second steal of the tournament.
    • Trevor Plouffe went 2-3 with a walk, a double and a stolen base.
  • Tuesday
    • Trevor Plouffe was 1-3 with a walk and another double.

NFL “Expert” Picks Update

            Although the page is still a work in progress, I have set up the 2009 FB Picks web page. It will include the bios, updated standings and the weekly picks. Our panel did well in week one. As a group, our selections went 13-3. Six participants went 14-2 (Jeff Manship, Phil Mackey, Nick Nelson, Parker Hageman, Josh Johnson, Brian Pietrzak and Andrew Kneeland). With no Thursday games this week, the Week 2 picks will be posted on Friday.

If you have any opinions, comments or updates, please leave them in the Comments section.


11 Aug

also available at

UPDATEGlen Perkins is going on the Disabled List with the shoulder strain. Gardy says that they will be promoting someone tomorrow as that player has not yet been notified and that they will notice the “AAA” team. SO, maybe not Slama, but I think we could be happy with Juan Morillo or Rob Delaney. Armando Gabino could be but since he threw 6.2 innings on Monday night, I don’t think he could help on Wednesday. Delaney threw 2.2 innings on Monday. Morillo threw tonight. If it would be Morillo, Delaney or Slama, they would have to make a 40 man roster move. Maybe that’s why the mention of AAA, someone would maybe have to be DFAd. Maybe that is the notification. That would make Slama still an option. We shall see.

UPDATE 2 – OK, I want to throw one more long shot name into the picture. Because I believe that the Twins need someone available tomorrow, and I think that pitcher should be able to go at least five innings, if necessary (since we don’t know what to expect from Liriano). Kevin Mulvey pitched on Tuesday night. R.A. Dickey got beat up on the mound on Monday night. Jeff Manship is due to make his next start on Wednesday. So, my long shot is Manship. The other way outside chance could be lefty Reid Santos who has been starting, and not that well, off and on for the Red Wings this season. He is not on the 40 man roster, and he could be easily replaced on the 40 man roster by Delaney, Slama or Morillo on the 25 and 40 man rosters on Thursday or Friday.

Going into the home stand, many said that the Twins needed to go 6-0 in it to have any chance to compete for the division title. 5-1 was almost mandatory. It is hard to disagree. With tonight’s rough, painful 14-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals, the Twins probably now need to go 5-0 the rest of the way. Of course, they need to go 5-0 by taking it one game at a time.

Nick Blackburn got crushed again. Joe Mauer had a nice three hit game. Delmon Young and Brendan Harris both had long home runs. This game is not worth dwelling on too much. Thankfully the Tigers lost.

One thought that I had as things were getting ugly was a needed change, so I took an educated guess and posted the following on LaVelle’s very entertaining blog (by the way, be sure to read this blog entry. Thanks to LaVelle for the mention!)

Here’s the Out On A Limb Prediction of the Night –

1.) because of how tonight has gone
2.) because of lack of bullpen ready for tomorrow
3.) because of Glen Perkins not being able to be used.
4.) because who knows what to expect from Francisco Liriano tomorrow night.
5.) because the Twins top decision makers are in New Britain…

Prediction – after the game, the Twins will announce that Perkins is going on the DL and Anthony Slama is coming up.

(Disclaimer – just a prediction. I know nothing)

Now I am posting this before hearing Gardy’s post game comments, so if there is a roster announcement, be sure to check back here for updates.


Tuesday – Hitter of the Day – Matt Tolbert, Rochester Red Wings

Tuesday – Pitcher of the Day – Steve Hirschfeld, Ft. Myers Miracle


Tuesday – Rochester 8, Buffalo 6 – Kevin Mulvey gave up six runs on 11 hits and a walk in 5.2 innings, and got a win. Tim Lahey gave up two hits in an inning. Juan Morillo came in and gave up just one hit and one walk over the final 2.1 innings for his fifth save. Matt Tolbert went 3-5 with his second home run and fifth stolen base. Steve Tolleson was 2-4. Brock Peterson was 1-2 with two walks and his sixth homer.  


Tuesday – New Britain 3, Erie 5 – Erik Lis’s hot streak continues. In this game, he hit his 20th double and 15th home run. Rene Tosoni and Steve Singleton were each 2-4 while Yancarlos Ortiz was 2-3. Cole DeVries started and went the first 5.2 innings. He gave up five runs on eight hits and a walk. Alex Burnett either wasn’t as hurt as we thought or was pitching with a broken hand. He got four outs and struck out two. Kyle Waldrop gave up no runs on three hits and two walks in 1.2 innings. Frank Mata got the final out.     


Tuesday – Ft. Myers 5, Palm Beach 2 Steve Hirschfeld continues to pitch great and should not be under the radar at this point. In this game, he threw six shutout innings. He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out five. Matt Williams pitched a perfect seventh inning. Michael Allen got two outs in the 8th but gave up two runs on two hits and two walks. Blair Erickson got the final four outs for his 10th save.    


Tuesday – Beloit 7, Clinton 5 Danny Rams had another good day with the bat. He went 2-3 with a walk, his seventh home run and three runs scored. Drew Thompson was 2-3. Ramon Santana had a big two-run, pinch hit double. Liam Hendriks started and gave up three runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings. He walked two and struck out four. Winston Marquez then gave up a run on three hits and a walk in 1.1 innings. He struck out two. Steve Blevins got the win. He struck out two in 1.1 perfect innings.  


Tuesday – Elizabethton 12, Greeneville 3 – There was plenty of offense in this game, and Edgar Ibarra was the beneficiary. He threw five shutout innings, allowing just four hits. He walked four though, and struck out eight. Peter Kennelly struck out five over the next two innings. Ramon Acosta gave up three runs (2 earned) on three hits in the final two innings. He struck out two. Anderson Hidalgo hit his 7th and 8th doubles. Jonathan Goncalves hit his fourth and fifth doubles. Josmil Pinto was 2-5 with his eighth home run. Chris Herrmann was 2-4 with a walk and his seventh home run. Dan Rohlfing was 2-4 with his sixth double. Brian Dozier was 2-5.  

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