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Twins Organizational Depth Chart: Third Basemen

25 Jan

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2012 – Now Available as an e-book for $6.99 by clicking here. You can, of course, still get the print version for $13.99 by clicking here

We have looked at the catchers and the first basemen in the Twins organization the past two days. Today, I’ll be looking at the third basemen. Again, the purpose of this series is two-fold (if not more). First, it’s a look at the depth at or near the big leagues. Second, it’s a glance at the depth at the position throughout the system. You can find out who might be coming up to the Twins if there is a need, and you can find out who the prospects to watch might be.

I need to reiterate that these are my thoughts. I have no insider information to know where players will be playing for certain in 2012. Obviously after spring training, some of these players will be let go. There will be Disabled List players, extended spring training and more.

Minnesota Twins  

Danny Valencia (Luke Hughes, Jamey Carroll)

2011 was a difficult year for Valencia. In the first half, his numbers struggled thanks to a lot of at-‘em balls. His high BABIP in his rookie season was evened up by his low BABIP in his sophomore season. He can hit, and hitting in the bottom third of the lineup, he will succeed. His defense wasn’t as good in 2011 as 2010 either. More disturbing, he was the player blamed most by the manager, which makes no sense. I expect a solid season out of Valencia in 2012, maybe somewhere along the lines of .280/.340/.450 with 30+ doubles and 12-15 home runs. As I’ve pointed out before, I won’t be even a little surprised if Ron Gardenhire says that Sean Burroughs is competition for a starting job. Burroughs will get plenty of at bats in spring training though. And Luke Hughes, who is out of options, should again receive plenty of at bats and time in the field at three infield positions including 3B. Jamey Carroll is really a middle infielder, but some seem to think he might be a 3B option as well. I can’t see that.  

Rochester Red Wings

Sean Burroughs. Ray Chang

Burroughs was once one of baseball’s top prospects, then struggled, then got into drugs and alcohol. But he had a nice comeback season last year that saw him reach the big leagues for the first time since 2006. He did a nice job as a pinch hitter for Arizona. He is known as a very good defensive third baseman, which bodes well for him. He has also shown the ability to hit for average. I really believe that although he likely isn’t in direct competition with Valencia for a starting job, he is likely going to be battling Luke Hughes and maybe Tsuyoshi Nishioka for the final bench spots. With Trevor Plouffe also likely on the bench many nights, Gardy may find it important to have a left-handed bench bat.

Ray Chang made a very good impression last year in spring training. He went to New Britain and played well. He was promoted to Rochester where he played even better, hitting 3rd many games for them. Unfortunately, he broke his fibula and missed almost two months. He will likely get time at 3B and at SS for the Red Wings.

New Britain Rock Cats

Deibinson Romero, Michael Hollimon

Romero was once considered a very good, high ceiling prospect. Following a injury-riddled season in Beloit, the Twins added him to the 40-man-roster. He struggled and was removed from the 40-man-roster a year later. Many questioned his work ethic, but he responded in 2011 with a solid year in AA. He could have become a free agent after the 2011 season, but he quickly resigned with the Twins.

Likewise, the Twins and Hollimon quickly agreed that he would return to the Twins rather than enter free agency. Between New Britain (97 games) and Rochester (29 games), he hit 19 doubles and 18 home runs. He primarily played 2B and LF but also go some time at the hot corner. The Twins drafted him in the 49th round in 2003 but he didn’t sign. In 2008, he got 25 plate appearances with the Tigers. He had six hits, including two doubles, a triple and a home run.

Ft. Myers Miracle

Anderson Hidalgo, Jairo Perez

Hidalgo has been in the organization since 2006. He has moved up one level each year and was with the Miracle last year. His .274 batting average was the lowest of his career. In 2010, he was the only Beloit Snappers player to hit over .300 (.316). He has an unorthodox swing at the plate that many wonder if it will adapt as he moves up the ladder. Defensively, he’s a little below average.

Jairo Perez seemingly came out of nowhere last year. He spent the first two months of the year in Extended Spring Training, but after joining the Snappers in mid June, he hit .337/.413/.580 with 20 doubles and 15 home runs. He had missed all of 2010 with Tommy John surgery. He primarily played 3B but also played a few games at 2B. He is a little guy who takes a monstrous swing. He is not fast and his range is limited, so 3B is a better option.

Beloit Snappers

Miguel Sano, Roy Larson, Adam Bryant

I think most Twins fans have heard pretty much everything about Miguel Sano. He is the consensus top prospect in the Twins farm system. He got the big signing bonus. He draws comparisons to Miguel Cabrera and other great power bats in the game. He had a lot of errors last year in Elizabethton at both shortstop and third base, but he can flat-out hit. He hit .292/.352/.627 with 18 doubles, seven triples and 20 home runs in 66 games for the E-Twins. His power potential is off charts. The Twins are typically patient with their young prospects’ development. The same should be true of Sano. As much as his offensive game is advanced, there are more aspects of the game that he needs to work on. He needs to make more contact. He needs to run the bases better. And he needs to play better defense and just mature, in general. I would expect him to spend the whole season at Beloit.

Adam Bryant was the team’s 9th round pick just last year, and as a four-year college senior, he signed quickly and was sent to Beloit where he held his own. He played all three infield positions and was solid with the bat. He’s a solid, all-around player who will likely advance as a utility player. The Twins signed Larson out of the University of St. Thomas. He’s 6-6 and struggled in E-Town, but he has very quick hands and bat speed. He can play both corner infield spots. Due to his age (he’s 24), he’ll likely have to advance through the lower levels quickly.

Extended Spring Training/Short-Season

Travis Harrison, Javier Pimentel

It will be interesting to see where Harrison and Pimentel will play in 2012. The assumption is that both will go to Extended Spring Training. Harrison was the team’s supplemental first-round pick in 2011 out of high school in California. He has a bunch of power potential and some believe that he could also become an all-around hitter. Pimentel was signed in 2010 out of the Dominican Republic for about a $700,000 signing bonus. He split the 2011 season between the Dominican Summer League and the GCL. I think he would likely head to the GCL again, but he has very good potential as well. Signed as a shortstop, he already spent most of his time at third base in 2011.

TOP THREE PROSPECTS

1.)    Miguel Sano, 2.) Travis Harrison, 3.) Jairo Perez

SUMMARY

Third base is Danny Valencia’s for the near-term. Sean Burroughs provides some quality depth. This would be a position where the Twins are quite strong at the lower levels (with Sano, Harrison and Pimentel), but there is not much help above Beloit for 2012, at least not anyone that would have any long-term potential. We’ll need to wait until at least 2014 to see Sano (and that’s only if he advances on the Joe Mauer path), and Harrison and Pimentel are likely 2016 arrivals. Will Sano be able to stick at 3B? How will Valencia fare through his pre-arbitration and arbitration years? 

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me at sethspeaksnet@hotmail.com or leave your thoughts in the Comments Section!

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Analyzing the Twins Top 20 Prospects

20 Jan

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2012 is now available through LuLu.com. If you order quickly, you could have it in time for Twins Fest! 22 players that are scheduled to be at Twins Fest are profiled in this book. If you are interested in order, you can Order Here.

In my very-recently released Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, I unveiled my 2012 Twins Top 30 Prospects. I thought it would be fun to analyze the Top 20 prospects to see if any interesting notes, or even trends, emerge. I found a few, but maybe you’ll find even more. A reminder, these are my Top 20 Twins prospects. If you make a prospect list of your own, yours will likely look a little different, but most of the players will be the same with some variance.

Here is my Top Top Twins Prospect List:

Ranking Name How Acquired From (Country/State)
1 Miguel Sano Free Agent Dominican Republic
2 Eddie Rosario Drafted – 3rd Round 2010 Puerto Rico
3 Oswaldo Arcia Free Agent Venezuela
4 Aaron Hicks Drafted – 1st Round 2008 US – California
5 Joe Benson Drafted – 2nd Round 2006 US – Illinois
6 Liam Hendriks Free Agent Australia
7 Kyle Gibson Drafted – 1st Round 2009 US – Missouri
8 Adrian Salcedo Free Agent Dominican Republic
9 Alex Wimmers Drafted – 1st Round 2010 US – Ohio
10 Chris Parmelee Drafted – 1st Round 2006 US – California
11 Brian Dozier Drafted – 8th Round 2009 US – Mississippi
12 Travis Harrison Drafted – supp 1st Round 2011 US – California
13 Tom Stuifbergen Free Agent Netherlands
14 Angel Morales Drafted – 3rd Round 2007 Puerto Rico
15 Chris Herrmann Drafted – 6th Round 2009 US – Texas
16 Manuel Soliman Free Agent Dominican Republic
17 Levi Michael Drafted – 1st Round 2011 US – North Carolina
18 Max Kepler Free Agent Germany
19 Niko Goodrum Drafted – 2nd Round 2010 US – Georgia
20 Hudson Boyd Drafted – supp 1st Round 2011 US – Florida

 Some Notes:

  • Nine of my Top 20 Twins prospects were 1st or 2nd round draft picks. There are two 1st round picks and two supplemental 1st round picks since 2006 that are not on this list. 2007 top pick Ben Revere is no longer a “prospect” since he has spent so much time in the big leagues. Matt Bashore was the Twins supplemental first round pick in 2009 from Indiana. He’s had a couple of arm surgeries and returned to limited action in 2011. Reports indicate that by the end of last season, he had regained most of his velocity and he may have the opportunity to move up prospect lists quickly next season.
  • Following the 2007 season, Torii Hunter chose to sign with the Angels instead of the Twins. Because of that, the Twins received the Angels first round pick in 2008 and the first supplemental first round pick of that draft. With the 27th overall pick, the Twins chose Carlos Gutierrez who does not appear on my Top 20 prospect list, but he is a good relief pitching option who throws really hard with a good sinker but needs to throw more strikes. With the 31st overall pick, the Twins chose a hard-throwing right-hander out of Tulane University names Shooter Hunt who fought Steve Blass Disease since the 2008 season. This past December, he was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft.
  • The Twins have a strong scouting presence all around the world, and that is shown in their top prospect list. Three players are from the Dominican Republic, and there is one player from Venezuela, Australia, the Netherlands and Germany. The Twins also have prospects from Cuba, South Africa, Mexico, Panama, Taiwan and the Czech Republic.
  • Of these top 20 prospects, 13 were drafted by the Twins. Of those, seven are high school hitters. The Twins have had great success drafting hitters out of high school (see Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, Joe Mauer, Denard Span, Ben Revere).Aside from Revere and Mauer, most of these players took five or six years to make their big league debuts and more importantly make a big impression in the big leagues. Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee are also examples of this. Drafted in 2006, they made their big league debuts in September of 2011. Each will likely start making a bigger impression on the Twins in 2012. That’s why I always find it funny when people are so disappointed that we haven’t seen Aaron Hicks dominate at the upper levels of the minor leagues yet. Or, although he was drafted a year earlier, Angel Morales is younger than Hicks. Niko Goodrum is one of the best athletes in the organization as well and played very well in Elizabethton last year. Travis Harrison was one of the top power hitting prospects from the high school ranks in the 2011 draft.
  • Although not drafted, Miguel Sano, Oswaldo Arcia and Max Kepler were all signed as 16 year olds and certainly fit into the high-upside young hitter mold!!
  • The other thing that the Twins have done is draft college pitchers in the first rounds of the draft. Just two college-drafted pitchers appear on this list, and each of them has some question marks. Kyle Gibson was the team’s top prospect one year ago, and pitched very well the first two months of 2011. Unfortunately, as we all know, he had to have Tommy John surgery in September and will miss most, if not all, of the 2012 season. Alex Wimmers was the two-time Big 10 Pitcher of the Year at Ohio State. He was a control pitcher that draft experts said was closest to the big leagues. Unfortunately, he had a hamstring injury in spring training last year and it led to some very disturbing control issues. However, he seemed to be a rare example of someone overcoming Steve Blass Disease as he came back late in the season and pitched much better. He ended his season by throwing a 7-inning no-hitter for Ft. Myers. I would expect to see both make starts for the Twins in 2013.
  • The Twins did have three pitchers pitch at three levels in 2011. Reliever Matt Hauser (San Diego State) is my top ranked Twins reliever prospect (#28). Pat Dean (#30) was the Twins 3rd round pick in 2010 from Boston College. Lefty Logan Darnell (#25), the 6th round pick in 2010, was the third. All three pitched briefly with Beloit before spending most of their season in Ft. Myers. Darnell spent the most time in Double-A New Britain. The Twins have a history of being willing to promote college pitchers quickly through the minors. The following players have pitched at three levels in one season with the Twins: Scott Baker, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, and Jesse Crain. Matt Garza actually pitched at four levels, including the Twins, in 2006.
  • The Twins hadn’t drafted a high school pitcher in the first round since 2004 when they drafted Kyle Waldrop with the 25th overall pick (Anthony Swarzak was taken in the 2nd round). The Twins used their second supplemental first round pick in 2011 on Hudson Boyd, who not only has shown good control, but he has touched 97 mph on the radar gun. He could move up quickly.
  • Here is a quick look at where these twenty players ended the season playing: Three Did Not Play (2011 draft picks), Four ended the season in Elizabethton, Two in Beloit, Four in Ft. Myers, Two in New Britain, two in Rochester and three with the Twins. You often hear that the Twins prospects are all at the lower levels of the farm system. However, Benson, Parmelee and Hendriks are all top ten prospects who made their big league debuts on September 6. Each figures into the Twins long-term future. Brian Dozier and Chris Herrmann were the high-risers among prospects and both will likely debut with the Twins in 2012 after strong seasons in New Britain and strong showings in the Arizona Fall League.
  • When Baseball America releases its Top 100 Prospects list, Miguel Sano will likely rank in the Top 25-30. It is possible that Rosario, Arcia, Benson and maybe even Gibson will appear in the Top 100 lists.
  • If you listen to Baseball America’s most recent podcast, they discussed their Top 10 rankings for AL Central teams. They clearly had the Royals as the best farm system in the division. They ranked the Twins with the second-best prospects in the division (and middle of the pack overall). They ranked the White Sox and Indians as having the two worst farm systems in all of baseball, with the Tigers very close to the bottom.  

Any other comments on these twenty prospects of the Twins farm system in general? I’ll be happy to answer them in the Comments.  

Here are some other thoughts and links:

 

  • On Wednesday, the Minnesota Twins Caravan came to The Shed in Warroad. Ron Gardenhire, Joe Vavra, Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins were in attendance, along with TC Bear. TwinsBaseball.com’s Rhett Bollinger was there as well. It was a nice event, and very informal. The Twins contingency seemed to really appreciate and enjoy it. It was great to be up close with the players, talk to them and, as a couple of people told me, see them as regular people. I think we (many fans) forget that at times. I have been to several Twins Caravan events over the past five years. I definitely recommend going if you’ve got one in your area. It’s just a great opportunity to meet players, get autographs if you want, and start getting excited for a new Twins season.
  • Speaking of great events, Twins Fest is next weekend. I just got my tickets in the mail yesterday. I plan to be there on Friday night and Satuurday throughout the day. I don’t get the autographs, but I enjoy talking to people, players and fans alike. SO, if you’ll be there, be sure to say hi!
  • Baseball America will be posting its Top 20 Twins Prospect list on its website today, so be sure to check there this afternoon.

I want to welcome any questions or comments that you might have. Feel free to e-mail me or leave your thoughts in the Comments Section!

2nd Preliminary Top 50 Minnesota Twins Prospects

20 Dec

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Hopefully in the very near future, the Twins Prospect Handbook will be available. My goal will be to have it available so that people can bring it to Twins Fest and get it signed by Twins prospects. We shall see. The recent struggles have certainly hurt the timeline, but I’m getting some great help and will try my best. Two months ago, I put together a preliminary Top 50 Prospect list. Since then, I’ve been getting more and more scouting reports, looking a little deeper at numbers and trying to learn as much as I can about each of the Twins prospects. With that, I’ll give you a second preliminary prospect list. There is some serious talent at the top of the list, but there are some players throughout this top 50 and a little beyond that, if things go right for them, you could see in a role with the Twins at some point in the future. Who knows, but definitely feel free to comment and discuss these rankings. Definitely let me know who I missed, who should be higher or lower, etc.

With that, here is my 2nd preliminary Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospect ranking:

  1. Miguel Sano – 3B – Elizabethton Twins
  2. Eddie Rosario – OF – Elizabethton Twins
  3. Oswaldo Arcia – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle
  4. Joe Benson – OF – Minnesota Twins
  5. Aaron Hicks – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle
  6. Liam Hendriks – RHP – Minnesota Twins
  7. Kyle Gibson – RHP – Rochester Red Wings
  8. Alex Wimmers – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle
  9. Chris Parmelee – 1B – Minnesota Twins
  10. Adrian Salcedo – RHP – Beloit Snappers
  11. Brian Dozier – SS – New Britain Rock Cats  
  12. Travis Harrison – 3B – Did Not Play
  13. Tom Stuifbergen – RHP – Rochester Red Wings
  14. Angel Morales – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle
  15. Chris Herrmann – C – New Britain Rock Cats
  16. Manuel Soliman – RHP – Beloit Snappers  
  17. Levi Michael – SS – Did Not Play
  18. Max Kepler – OF – Elizabethton Twins
  19. Niko Goodrum – SS – Elizabethton Twins
  20. Hudson Boyd – RHP – Did Not Play
  21. BJ Hermsen – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle
  22. Danny Santana – SS – Beloit Snappers
  23. Madison Boer – RHP – Beloit Snappers
  24. Logan Darnell – LHP – New Britain Rock Cats
  25. David Bromberg – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats
  26. JD Williams – OF – Elizabethton Twins
  27. Terry Doyle – RHP – White Sox organization, Twins Rule 5 pick
  28. Jairo Perez – 3B – Beloit Snappers
  29. Matt Hauser – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats
  30. Pat Dean – LHP – New Britain Rock Cats
  31. Matt Summers – RHP – Elizabethton Twins
  32. Danny Rams – C – Ft. Myers Miracle
  33. Scott Diamond – LHP – Minnesota Twins  
  34. Angel Mata – RHP – GCL Twins
  35. Corey Williams – LHP – Elizabethton Twins  
  36. Danny Ortiz – OF – Beloit Snappers
  37. Carlos Gutierrez – RHP – Rochester Red Wings
  38. Nate Roberts – OF – Beloit Snappers
  39. Lance Ray – OF/1B – Beloit Snappers
  40. Deolis Guerra – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats
  41. Michael Gonzales – 1B – Beloit Snappers
  42. Lester Oliveros – RHP – Minnesota Twins
  43. Ryan O’Rourke – LHP – Beloit Snappers
  44. Hung-Yi Chen – RHP – GCL Twins
  45. James Beresford – SS – Ft. Myers Miracle
  46. Bobby Lanigan – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats
  47. Tyler Grimes – IF – Beloit Snappers
  48. Anderson Hidalgo – 3B – Ft. Myers Miracle
  49. Tim Shibuya – RHP – Elizabethton Twins
  50. Pedro Guerra – RHP – Beloit Snappers

JUST MISSED – Adam Bryant, Nick Lockwood, Rory Rhodes, Matt Bashore, Evan Bigley, Derek Christensen, Steven Gruver, Kuo-hua Lo.

I’m sure I missed others. Let’s discuss. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments. Final stages of the book development, so help me out!!

Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year

6 Sep

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Note – Listen to last night’s final episode of Twins Minor League Weekly where Travis Aune and I talked about everything throughout the Twins minor league season. We discussed our choices as top players for each team and in the organization, how each team did, and much, much more. Check it out here!

As games finished on Labor Day in the Twins minor league system, the Twins minor league season came to an end. New Britain had an opportunity to make the playoffs had Reading lost and the Rock Cats won. Unfortunately, the R-Phillies won their game. The Elizabethton Twins were the lone playoff team in the organization, although they lost in the first round. It was a disappointing season in the Twins farm system. However, there are a lot of guys who had very good seasons. Today, I’ll present for you my choices for the Twins Minor League Hitter, Starting Pitcher and Relief Pitcher of the Year in three separate blog entries. We will start with the Relief Pitchers. Feel free to debate them, or ask any questions you may have in the Comments section:

Starting Pitcher of the Year

There were a lot more good hitters up for Hitter of the Year consideration, or at least mention, than there were pitchers this year. There will be more of a countdown.

#10 – Aaron Bates – Rochester Red Wings (.316/.408/.439, with 23 doubles, 7 HR, 37 RBI)

Didn’t even sign with the Red Wings until May, but played well throughout the season.

#9 – Oswaldo Arcia – Beloit Snappers/Ft. Myers Miracle (.291/.335/.531, with 23 doubles, 4 triples, 13 HR, 51 RBI)

Missed a month with elbow surgery, but came back and moved up to Ft. Myers. Great power to all fields. Very quick bat.

#8 – Michael Gonzales – Beloit Snappers (.289/.371/.468, with 27 doubles, 1 triple, 15 HR, 76 RBI)

Consistent performance in his second season with Snappers. Lost 30+ pounds, and his bat speed was much improved.

#7 – Chris Parmelee – New Britain Rock Cats (.287/.366/.436, with 30 doubles, 5 triples, 13 HR, 83 RBI)

2006 top pick finally gets that big league promotion today. He had a very solid, consistent season with the Rock Cats. He also improved his defense at 1B while still occasionally playing in RF.

#6 – Yangervis Solarte – New Britain Rock Cats (.329/.367/.466, with 36 doubles, 3 triples, 7 HR, 49 RBI)

The 24-year-old Venezuelan hit .300 or higher every month of the season. He also led the organization with 36 doubles.  

#5 – Miguel Sano – Elizabethton Twins (.292/.352/.637, with 18 doubles, 7 triples, 20 HR, 59 RBI)

He had just 290 plate appearances, yet I just couldn’t put him any lower on the list. Sano’s 20 home runs is third-most in Elizabethton history. His 45 extra base hits led the team. At just 18 years old, it was a remarkable season for one of the team’s brightest future stars.  

#4 – Jairo Perez – Beloit Snappers (.337/.413/.580, with 20 doubles, 1 triple, 15 HR, 60 RBI)

Perez missed the entire 2010 season because of Tommy John surgery. His 2011 season didn’t start until June, and yet when he was activated by the Snappers, he did nothing but hit the rest of the summer. Not a large man, Perez takes a huge swing and as you can see, he made a lot of contact in 2011.

#3 – Joe Benson – New Britain Rock Cats (.285/.388/.495, with 28 doubles, 4 triples, 16 HR, 67 RBI, 13 SB)

The Twins 2010 Minor League Hitter of the Year is certainly a candidate to repeat again in 2011 despite missing 4-5 weeks because of knee surgery. Benson is a remarkable athlete with tremendous power and speed. He had great range in the outfield and a very strong arm. The weak point in his game is his contact rate, which did improve significantly from 2010 to 2011. He was also promoted to the Twins and will be flying to Minneapolis on Tuesday. It would be great for him to be able to make his big league debut against his home town White Sox. Benson will be a key for the Twins in the next year or so.

#2 – Eddie Rosario – Elizabethton Twins (.337/.397/.670, with 9 doubles, 9 triples, 21 HR, 60 RBI, 17 SB)

It is hard to put a player from one of the short-season teams up this high on the list, but Rosario was the Appalachian League MVP this year and posted incredible numbers. His 21 home runs were just one shy of Paul Russo’s E-Town single-season record. He also hits for average. He has great speed. Plays very good centerfield and has a canon for an arm. The Puerto Rico high school product drafted in the 4th round just one year ago will soon turn 20. After five homers in June and six homers in July, Rosario hit ten home runs in August. It will be interesting to see how his game translates to the full season.  

Hitter of the Year – Brian Dozier – Ft. Myers Miracle (.320/.399/.491, with 33 doubles, 12 triples, 9 HR, 56 RBI, 24 SB)

Dozier was drafted as a senior out of the University of Southern Mississippi after leading his team to the College World Series. After signing, he hit .353/.417/.431 in Elizabethton. Last year, he started the season by hitting .278/.347/.338 in 39 games in Beloit. He was promoted to Ft. Myers where he hit .274/.352/.354 with 11 doubles and his first five pro home runs. It was surprising when he received an invitation to big league spring training but he made a strong showing. He returned to Ft. Myers and hit .322/.423/.472 with 11 doubles, five triples and two home runs in 49 games. He then moved up to New Britain and hit .318/.384/.502 with 22 doubles, seven triples and seven home runs in 78 games. His .885 OPS led the Rock Cats (Benson was at .883). Dozier is not the fastest runner, but he stole 24 bases. He is said to have average range and an average arm, but pitchers I have talked to that have had Dozier playing behind him, love it. Dozier will be representing the Twins in the Arizona Fall League. He will likely receive another invitation to big league camp next year, and depending upon what other moves that Twins make in the offseason, he could make his debut with the Twins any time in 2012!

Feel free to discuss in the Comments section.

E-Twins Clinch Playoff Spot; Rock Cats Getting Closer

28 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The Twins lost yet again. They are bad.  Oh yeah, I started with that yesterday. Well, it remains true… The story was different for a couple of the Twins minor league affiliates

ELIZABETHTON TWINS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH

Ray Smith has led his Elizabethton team back to the playoffs in 2011. The E-Twins clinched a playoff spot on Saturday with a 5-3 win over Bluefield. Derek Christensen started and gave up just one run on three hits in six innings. He walked three, hit one and struck out five. Justin Parker and Cole Johnson pitched a scoreless inning each. Corey Williams came in for the ninth, but he gave up a hit and walked a batter before Matt Summers was brought in and got the final three outs. The save was Summers’ sixth of the year, and Christensen improved to 5-2.

The E-Twins box scores have become must-see internet! Whenever the team is playing, it’s almost necessary to watch the box score to see what Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano can do next. On Saturday, Rosario went 3-5 with his eighth triple and his 16th and 17th stolen bases. Sano went 2-4 with a walk and his 18th home run. Max Kepler went 2-4 with a walk. Rory Rhodes went 0-1 with three walks.

NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS WIN LATE AGAIN

The Rock Cats had won with some late inning heroics the previous two games. Could they do it again? The Rock Cats jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to Joe Benson’s 15th home run, a two-run blast. They added two, but in the bottom of the fourth, Matt Schuld gave up four runs and the game was tied at four. It remained that way until the top of the seventh inning. The Rock Cats loaded the bases for Chris Parmelee who came up with a big two-run single. On the play, there was also an error that allowed Joe Benson to score from first base. The Rock Cats had a 7-4 lead that they were able to hold on to.

Schuld started and gave up those four run on five hits in four innings. He walked none and struck out three. Bret Jacobson threw two scoreless innings, and the Dakota Watts pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 7th inning for his second AA save. Chris Herrmann went 2-3. Benson was 1-2 with two walks and that big home run.

Hurricane Irene did affect things. The teams were supposed to play two games (they had moved Sunday’s game to Saturday), but the second game was postponed. Looking at where Trenton is and where New Britain is, I can definitely understand why! The Reading Phillies played two games on Saturday and split which means that the Rock Cats currently have a ½ game lead for the wild card spot. The Rock Cats are 2.5 games back of Harrisburg for the division title.

THE REST STILL MATTER

The Ft. Myers Miracle traveled to Charlotte and swept a double header. In game 1, they won 3-0. Edgar Ibarra started and went five shutout innings. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out five. Matt Hauser struck out three in the final two innings for his seventh save. Angel Morales went 2-4 with his sixth double. Anderson Hidalgo was 1-1 with two walks and his sixth home run.

In Game 2, the Miracle won 6-1. Caleb Thielbar started and threw two scoreless innings despite giving up a hit and walking three. Clinton Dempster gave up one run on four hits over the next two innings. Shooter Hunt threw four shutout innings. He gave up no hits, walked four and struck out four. Dan Rohlfing went 2-4 with his second home run. Aaron Hicks went 2-3 with a walk. James Beresford and Reggie Williams each went 2-4. Oswaldo Arcia went 1-3 with a walk, his 14th double and two RBI.

The GCL Twins beat the GCL Red Sox 3-2. Angel Mata went four shutout innings. He gave up two hits, walked two and struck out five. Josue Montanez gave up one run on two hits and a walk. In two innings, he struck out three. Kyle Wahl improved to 5-1. He gave up one run on three hits in three innings. He walked one and struck out three. The Twins had just five hits. Drew Leachman was 1-2 with a walk. Stephen Wickens walked two.

The Rochester Red Wings fell 4-3 to Stephen Strasburg and Syracuse. The hard-throwing right-hander rehabbing from his Tommy John surgery went five innings. He gave up one run on two hits. He walked none and struck out seven. Andy Baldwin was on the mound for the Red Wings. He gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out six. Cole DeVries gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in his inning. Kyle Waldrop threw a scoreless inning. Ray Chang went 3-5. Toby Gardenhire went 2-3.

Beloit lost 6-2 to Clinton. Ryan O’Rourke started and gave up four runs on eight hits. In six innings, he walked none and struck out nine. Nelvin Fuentes gave up two unearned runs on two hits and two walks. Michael Tonkin threw a scoreless inning. Jairo Perez went 2-5 with his tenth steal. Lance Ray went 2-3 with a walk and his tenth stolen base. Andy Leer and Tobias Streich each hit a double.

Any thoughts? Comment here.

 

Twins Minors Playoff Push

27 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

 

The Twins lost yet again. They are bad. The Rochester Red Wings will lose over 90 games this year. The Ft. Myers Miracle have had a bad second half after nearly winning their division title in the first half. The GCL Twins are in second place, but will not make the playoffs in the Gulf Coast League. The Beloit Snappers were competing for a Wild Card spot in the Midwest League until their recent losing streak. However, there are two Twins affiliates that do have a chance to make their league’s playoffs.

ELIZABETHTON TWINS

As they do pretty much every year, the E-Twins will most likely make the playoffs again this year. In fact, it is possibly that the team could clinch a spot today. They will finish in second place behind Johnson City, but the E-Twins are playing really well right now. They are being led by Appalachian League co-MVP Eddie Rosario, who has hit eight home runs in the team’s last ten games.

On Thursday, the E-Twins beat Bluefield (the team they could play in the first round of the playoffs) by a score of 17-8. Rosario went 3-5 with a walk and his 18th and 19th home runs. Matt Koch went 3-6 with his fourth and fifth doubles, his second home run and four RBI. AJ Pettersen went 3-4 with two walks. Niko Goodrum was 3-5. Miguel Sano went 2-6. Tyler Koelling went 2-4 with a walk. JD Williams was 2-6 with his third home run. Tyler Jones made his first start and gave up six runs on six hits and two walks in three innings. David Hurlbut came in and gave up just one run on five hits and a walk in five innings. Corey Williams finished the game.

On Friday, the E-Twins picked up an 11-4 win over Bluefield, who decided it wouldn’t let Rosario beat them. He went 0-1 before being walked the next four times he came to the plate, twice intentionally. Miguel Sano made them pay for it. He was 2-5 with his seventh triple, 17th home run and five RBI. Nick Lockwood went 3-5 with a walk and his 11th and 12th doubles. Jairo Rodriguez was 3-5. Niko Goodrum went 2-4 with a walk, his 10th double and eighth stolen base. Max Kepler was 2-4 with a walk. JD Williams was 2-5 with his 11th double. Tim Shibuya, the Appalachian League’s Pitcher of the Year started and gave up just one run on three hits and a walk in six innings. He left with a 4-1 lead, in line for his 9th win. However, Steven Gruver gave up three runs in the seventh inning to create a 4-4 tie. He got two outs in the 8th inning before Steve Evans came in and got the final four outs.

Eddie Rosario is now hitting .317/.384/.635 (1.018 OPS) with nine doubles, seven triples, 19 home runs and 54 RBI. He also has 15 stolen bases, and he plays an incredible centerfield. In his last ten games, he is hitting. 417/.553/1.139 (1.692 OPS) with one triple, eight home runs and 16 RBI. He also has 11 walks with just six strikeouts. Over the same period, Miguel Sano is hitting .318/.388/.659 with four doubles, a triple, three home runs and 16 RBI. In his last ten games, Niko Goodrum is hitting .459/.545/.649 (1.194 OPS) with two doubles, a triple, a home run, and seven walks.  

NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS

Over the last two days the Rock Cats have made up two games in the standing and currently are tied with Reading for a wild card spot in the Eastern League playoffs.

On Thursday night, the Rock Casts grabbed an early 9-2 lead through seven innings when the game was delayed by rain. When they came back, Trenton scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth to cut the lead to 9-8. However, in the top of the 9th, Chris Cates came through with a two-run single to score Yangervis Solarte and Joe Benson and give the Rock Cats some insurance and an 11-8 win. Spencer Steedley started and gave up two runs on five hits and a walk in five innings. Steve Hirschfeld gave up just one hit over two scoreless innings and struck out three. Michael Tarsi came in for the 8th inning and faced five batters. He gave up three hits, and he and Cates each commented an error before Dakota Watts came in. Tarsi was charged with five runs (2 earned). Watts got two outs but gave up another run. Tyler Robertson came in and gave up another hit and walk in the 8th but got out of that inning with the one run lead. He then got all three outs in the 9th for his 16th save. Chris Herrmann went 3-4 with his seventh home run and four RBI. Brian Dozier was 2-5 with his sixth double. Deibinson Romero went 2-4 with his 26th double. Evan Bigley was 2-5.

On Friday night, Andrew Albers gave the Rock Cats a chance to win. The lefty started and went the first six innings. He gave up one run on seven hits. Deolis Guerra came in for the 7th inning and gave up a run. So, the Rock Cats were down 2-1, a deficit they faced until the top of the 9th. However, with two runners on, Joe Benson hit a triple that gave the Rock Cats a 3-2 lead. Chris Parmelee came up next and singled in Benson for the 4-2 lead. Deolis Guerra went three innings and gave up just that one run. He gave up just one hit, walked two and struck out six for the Win. Benson was 1-3 with two walks and that big triple. Yangervis Solarte had two hits. Brian Dozier went 3-4.

The Rock Cats were to play two more games in Trenton over the weekend. However, they decided to move Sunday’s game to Saturday and play a double header. Of course, Hurricane Irene may have something to say about that as they have called a state of emergency in New Jersey for today.

THE REST STILL MATTERS

Hey, just because your favorite team or teams may not be in the playoff hunt doesn’t mean that we stop watching them, right? I mean, who wants to be a fair-weather fan!? Even in bad seasons and bad games, good things can happen.

For instance, the Rochester Red Wings played a double header on Friday against Syracuse, and they threw two of the organization’s best pitching prospects. In the first game, Liam Hendriks (who I expect to make a start for the Twins within the next eight to ten days) started and threw six shutout innings. He allowed five hits, walked none and struck out five. Jim Hoey then pitched a perfect seventh for his 8th save. Sure, the Red Wings managed just three hits, but one of them was a big, two-run home run off the bat of Aaron Bates (his fifth).

In the second game, Tom Stuifbergen made his AAA debut. Not wanting to mess with the New Britain playoff hopes, the Red Wings called down to Ft. Myers and Stuifbergen was summoned. He gave up two runs in the first inning, and that was it. The Dutch right-hander gave up two runs (1 earned) on four hits in five innings for his first AAA win. He walked none and struck out five. Chuck James came in and got the final six outs for his first save. He walked three and struck out four. Jair Fernandez went 2-3 with his fifth double and first stolen base. Jeff Bailey was 2-2. Dustin Martin drove in two runs.

The GCL Twins lost 6-1 to the GCL Red Sox. Hung-yi Chen started and gave up five runs (4 earned) on seven hits in 1.2 innings. Ricardo Arevalo came in and gave up only an unearned run on two hits in 3.1 innings. He walked two and struck out four. Nick Cicio threw three one-hit, no-run innings. The Twins managed just five hits. Dereck Rodriguez went 2-3 with a walk.

The Ft. Myers Miracle got a nice start from Pat Dean and the offense for a 6-3 win over Charlotte. Dean gave up two runs on seven hits in seven innings. He walked none and struck out five. Ricky Bowen then gave up one run on three hits and a walk in two innings. He struck out three. Oswaldo Arcia went 2-4. Dan Rohlfing went 1-2 with two walks. Reggie Williams was 1-2 with two walks and his first triple. Angel Morales hit his second home run, and Danny Rams hit his 15th double and drove in three runs.

Beloit got a terrific start and some power in their 6-3 win over Burlington. Pedro Guerra started and gave up only an unearned run on four hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out 11. In his 20 innings with the Snappers, he has nine walks and 34 strikeouts! Bart Carter then struck out two in two scoreless innings. Jose Gonzalez struck out three in his one-hit inning. Madison Boer then gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits in his inning. He struck out two. Lance Ray went 2-4 with his 33rd and 34th doubles. Nate Roberts was 1-3 with his fourth home run. Andy Leer was 1-2 with a walk and his third home run.  

Care to share any thoughts? Comment here.

Twins Top Picks Remain Unsigned

13 Aug

Also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The Twins three first-round picks remain unsigned as the deadline for them to reach an agreement with the team fast approaches. 2011 draft picks (with the exception of college seniors) have until 11:00 p.m. central time on Monday night to sign. The Twins typically really focus on signing their picks from the top ten rounds, and for the most part, have done that very well in recent years. Clearly, it is important to sign your first round pick, although if a team is unable to, it will receive a compensatory pick next year. The draft is such an important way to build an organization, and with three first round picks, it is very important that the Twins sign at least two of those picks.

LEVI MICHAEL

The Twins used the 30th overall pick in the 2011 draft on an infielder from the University of North Carolina named Levi Michael. For years, the Twins have used first round picks on high school bats and college pitchers, but this year, they went with a college bat. Many draft experts called it a great picks. Keith Law, Baseball America and others had Michael ranked in the Top 20 or Top 25 players eligible for the draft, so the Twins got a good prospect at a position of need. Following the draft, Michael and his Tarheel teammates advanced to the College World Series and he really struggled. In fact, he was moved down to 7th in the lineup. Obviously we can’t and shouldn’t make any judgments based on that small sample size, but just watching him play, he certainly did not look impressive. Then you consider that he played shortstop this past season as a junior, but in his two previous years of college, he started at 2B and 3B. Obviously position flexibility will be important, and always is valued by the Twins. I just can’t get the idea that he looks so much like Matt Tolbert, who the Twins drafted in the 14th round in the 2004 draft out of the University of Mississippi. Obviously Tolbert has been a in the big leagues for several years now, which is terrific for a 14th round pick, and it’s probably even good for a late first round pick, but obviously you want Michael to be so much more. And, most likely he will be.

Listen, I understand that it has become cool for first-round picks to hold out and wait until near the deadline to sign. As I write this, with 60 hours before the deadline, just 13 of the 33 first-round picks have signed. Just two of the top 15 picks have signed. Two years ago, the Twins signed Kyle Gibson within the final hour before the deadline. Last year, Alex Wimmers waited until early August to sign. I understand that with the college pitchers who rack up innings like crazy from February through early June. But in my mind, a college hitter has no reason to wait until the deadline to sign if they in fact are going to sign. The Twins drafted Tyler Grimes out of Wichita State in the 5th round and Adam Bryant out of Troy in the 9th round. Both signed very quickly and were immediately sent up to Beloit. That tells me that if Michael would have signed even in early July, he would have probably been sent to Ft. Myers to start his career.

Let’s take a look at those players who were drafted around Michael to see what he should be asking for:

  •  28th pick, Sean Gilmartin (Braves), a college LHP from Florida State, signed for $1,134,000.
  • 29th pick, Joseph Panik (Giants), a high school shortstop from New York, signed for $1,160,000.
  • 30th pick, Levi Michael (Twins), a college middle infielder, has not signed.
  • 31st pick, Miki Mahtook (Rays), a college outfielder from LSU, has not signed.
  • 32nd pick, Jake Hager (Rays), a high school infielder from Nevada, signed for $963,000.
  • 33rd pick, Kevin Matthews (Rangers), a high school LHP from Georgia, signed for $936,000.

That tells me that the Twins should be able to sign Michael for about $1.1 million, or even a little less. Maybe the Twins are trying to lowball him? I really doubt that as the Twins have paid slot for top picks in recent years (the exception being Ben Revere in 2007). In fact, they have shown a willingness to go above slot for some picks, including Gibson. Michael maybe feels he has the upper hand on the Twins, but as the deadline approaches, I believe he loses his stance. If he does not sign by the deadline, he will go back to North Carolina and play next year. He will then be drafted as a college senior next year which means unless he is a very high first-round pick, he will come nowhere near a million dollar pay day. So, why not start his career? I really can’t think of a good reason that he didn’t get signed a month ago, and that’s solely on Michael.

PREDICTION: I think Michael will sign, and I think he will sign for a number right around the slot, probably between $1.05M and $1.1M. I don’t see a ton of upside with him, even as the highest rated college middle infielder in the draft, so I wouldn’t go too much over slot to get him signed. If he is looking for anything over like $1.5 million, I would say just let him go back to school and get another 1st round pick in 2012! Use the extra $1.1-$1.5 million that they didn’t use on Michael to get their two supplemental first-round picks, two players with high ceilings, signed. 

TRAVIS HARRISON

The Twins used the 50th overall pick, a compensatory draft pick for losing Type B free agent Jesse Crain, on a high school hitter from California, Travis Harrison. Reports indicate that he is a tremendous prospect with a very high power potential. He has a strong commitment to a scholarship from USC, and when the Twins drafted him, it was known that it would be a difficult signing. It is no surprise at all that Harrison has not signed yet. Here is a look at the players drafted before and after Harrison: 

  • 44th pick, Michael Fulner (Mets), a high school RHP from Oklahoma, signed for $937,500.
  • 45th pick, Trevor Story (Rockies), a high school shortstop from Texas, signed for $915,000.
  • 46th pick, Joe Musgrove (Blue Jays), high school RHP from California, signed for $500,000.
  • 47th pick, Kennyn Walker (White Sox), a high school outfielder from Utah, signed for $795,000.
  • 48th pick, Michael Kelly (Padres), a high school RHP from Florida, has not signed.
  • 49th pick, Kyle Crick (Giants), a high school RHP from Texas, signed for $900,000.
  • 50th pick, Travis Harrison (Twins), a high school hitter from California, has not signed.
  • 51st pick, Dante Bichette (Yankees), a high school 3B from Florida, signed for $750,000.
  • 52nd pick, Blake Snell (Rays), a high school LHP from Washington, signed for $684,000.

By looking at that list, the Twins should be offering Harrison somewhere between $800,000 and $900,000. And they certainly have. But because a high school player, especially one with a full scholarship to a baseball powerhouse, does have the power because they can go to college, play for three years and still be drafted after their junior season. So high school players do have the power. However, there is also risk in that because how they will perform in college is not a given. Unless a player becomes a very high pick, the value of the signing bonus will only be a little bit higher.

However, let’s take a look at the 2010 draft. With the 44th pick, the Tigers took a high school 3B named Nick Castellanos. The four picks before him signed for bonuses between $800,000 and $845,000. Castellanos signed for a $3.45 million. Castellanos is currently playing for West Michigan, the Tigers Low A affiliate. Is it possible that Harrison is looking at that signing bonus as an indicator of what he should get? If so, Travis, enjoy your time at USC and good luck in the 2014 draft. I do think that the Twins should be willing to go up to $1.5 million to sign him because of his tremendous power potential.

PREDICTION: I figured all along that this would be a difficult signing for the Twins. I sense that it will take right up to the final hours before the deadline. I think the odds of him signing are 50/50 at best, and that is if the Twins are willing to approach that $1.5 to $1.8 million level. If it takes more than that, especially if he wants that Castellanos money, the Twins shouldn’t go there.   

HUDSON BOYD

Then with the 55th overall pick (received for the loss of Type B free agent Orlando Hudson), the Twins selected a right-handed pitcher from Bishop Verot high school in Ft. Myers by the name of Hudson Boyd. In his junior season, he became friends with Twins prospect Max Kepler. Obviously much is made out of Boyd being from Ft. Myers and thinking that it somehow means that he will give the Twins some sort of home town discount because their minor league and spring training facilities are in Ft. Myers. That is not even close to the case. Boyd is a very good pitching prospect. He has a fastball that sits between 93 and 95 mph, and when he came to the Twins facilities days before the draft, he even touched 97 mph. He is a big, strong guy, and there is some question of whether he will be a starter or a reliever long term, but with an 18 year old with a 97 mph fastball, I think you take that risk. Again, here are some of the picks before and after Boyd, starting where I left off above: 

  • 53rd pick, Dwight Smith (Blue Jays), a high school outfielder from Georgia, has not signed.
  • 54th pick, Brett Austin (Padres), a high school catcher from North Carolina, has not signed.
  • 55th pick, Hudson Boyd (Twins), a high school pitcher from Florida, has not signed.
  • 56th pick, Kes Carter (Rays), a high school outfielder from Kentucky, signed for $625,000.
  • 57th pick, Kevin Comer (Blue Jays), a high school RHP from New Jersey, has not signed.
  • 58th pick, Jace Peterson (Padres), a shortstop from high school in Louisiana, signed for $624,600.

So again, the Twins should be offering Boyd a signing bonus just north of $625,000. I have been told that Boyd would sign immediately if the Twins offer up a $1 million bonus. For a player with his upside and that fastball, I can’t imagine that $350,000 would be significant enough. In fact, if I look back at the 2010 supplemental first-round picks, two of them signed for more than $1 million. The Rangers signed the 45th pick, Luke Jackson, a RHP from Miami, for $1.557 million. The Cardinals signed Tyrell Jenkins, a high school pitcher from  Texas for $1.3 million. The Rockies signed the 47th overall pick, Peter Tago, for $982,000.

There definitely is precedent for the Twins to go over-slot, especially for pitchers. Kyle Gibson signed for about $500,000 over slot in 2009. BJ Hermsen signed for 2nd round money even though the Twins drafted him in the 6th round. Jeff Manship got fourth round money even though he was taken in the 14th round in 2006.

PREDICTION: I think that the Twins will come to a deal with Boyd, but I do think that it will be right around $1 million. It is also possible that he will wait a long time to see what the Twins do with Harrison and try to get something close to that number.

TOP TEN PICKS SIGNED

2nd round pick – Eden Prairie native Madison Boer was selected with the 87th overall pick and signed pretty quickly for $405,000, a value very near slot. He began his career in the Elizabethton bullpen before recently being promoted to the Beloit bullpen. The Twins will have him start beginning next year and determine later whether his future is as a starter or a reliever.

3rd round pick – The Twins drafted Corey Williams, a hard-throwing left-hander from Vanderbilt with the 117th overall pick. He signed late in July for $575,000, approximately double the slot value. When he was drafted, it was known that he would require more than slot, but he and the Twins got it done, and he has begun his career in the Elizabethton bullpen.

4th round pick – The Twins selected UC-Irvine ace (and Big West Pitcher of the Year) Matt Summers with the 147th overall pick. He signed pretty quickly as well for $171,900, very near (if not exactly) the slot value. He too began his career in the Elizabethton bullpen, but he will also be a starting pitcher.  

5th round pick – Tyler Grimes signed quickly out of Wichita State for $132,900  and began his career in the Beloit infield.

6th round pick – The Twins used this selection on the son of future Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez. Dereck Rodriguez signed in late June for $130,000.

7th round pick – The Twins drafted Steven Gruver, a LHP from the University of Tennessee and signed him for $125,000.

9th round pick – Adam Bryant, a shortstop, was drafted out of Troy University. As a four-year college senior, he had absolutely no leverage and signed very quickly for $25,000, well under slot.

STILL UNSIGNED

8th round pick Jason Wheeler, a 6-8, 265 pound left-hander from Loyola Marymount still has not signed. He pitched last summer for the St. Cloud River Bats of the Northwoods League where he was named Pitcher of the Year after going 8-1 with a 1.35 ERA. He was 6-4 with a 3.84 ERA in his junior year at Loyola Marymount. Here’s a look at the picks around him: 

  • 266th pick, Thomas LaStella (Braves), 2B, signed for $105,000.
  • 267th pick, Jean Delgado (Giants), IF, has not signed.
  • 268th pick, Jason Wheeler (Twins), LHP, has not signed.
  • 269th pick, Phil Wetherell (Yankees), RHP, signed for $122,500.
  • 270th pick, John Alexander (Rays), 1B, signed for $323,500

So as you can see, the pattern here is actually a little backwards. I would guess the Twins would like to sign him for somewhere between $100,000 and $120,000. I can’t imagine that Wheeler would expect the Twins to go much higher than that and yet, he hasn’t signed yet. He does still have college as leverage, but at the same time, unless he is a first-round pick in 2012, he won’t make more than what the Twins are likely offering.

10th round pick Brett Lee, a left-handed pitcher from St. Petersburg JC, is yet to sign. He posted a 5.06 ERA in 80 innings this past season. He struck out 75 and walked 25. Here is a look at those drafted around him: 

  • 325th pick, Ronald Brooks Pinckard (Reds), SS, signed for $125,000.
  • 326th pick, Logan Robbins (Braves), IF, signed for $100,000.
  • 327th pick, Kentrell Hill (Giants), OF, signed for $100,000.
  • 328th pick, Brett Lee (Twins), LHP, has not signed.
  • 329th pick, John Gray (Yankees), RHP, has not signed

Again, the Twins are probably offering about $100,000 and leaving it up to Lee. I can’t imagine the Twins quibbling over $20,000 or $25,000, but there is little reason to go much beyond that. Again, if the Twins don’t sign Lee, there is another $100,000 that can go to Harrison or Boyd.

16th round pick Austin Malinowski was the Mr. Baseball winner in Minnesota this year. The Twins like the left-handed pitcher, but he has a scholarship to the University of Arizona. Last week, I asked him if he was signing. He told me he thought he was going to college. That is understandable because with his potential, in three years, he could be drafted significantly higher than this. My guess is that the  Twins will have another discussion with him and his advisor before the deadline, but he will likely pitch in college for three years.

Obviously there are a lot more draft picks that the Twins have not signed. As of this writing, the Twins have signed 23 of their 52 draft picks. That is a good number, a pretty standard number for the Twins or any team. However, the value of the draft is in those three first round picks. If they can sign the top three picks, it will be a very successful draft. If they can sign two of them, it will be a good draft. If they sign one, it will be frustrating. If then sign none, it will really, really hurt.

I have no doubt that a lot will happen over the next two days. I do think that the Twins will sign at least two of those first round picks, and probably another pick or two from later in the draft.

We shall see! It will be very interesting!

 MINOR LEAGUE NOTES

  • Rochester 3, Columbus 4 – The Red Wings and Columbus completed a game started in June, with the Clippers winning that game 6-3. Then they played a seven innings game. The Wings scored three in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough. Dennis Suarez made his first start and gave up three runs on six hits in 5.1 innings. He did not walk or strike out a batter. Dusty Hughes gave up one run on one hit. In 1.2 innings, he walked one and struck out three. Brandon Roberts was 2-4 with his seventh double. Luke Hughes was 2-4 and drove in two runs.   
  • New Britain 4, Bowie 3 – Logan Darnell made his first AA start. The lefty went 7.2 innings and gave up three unearned runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out six to record the Win. Steve Hirschfeld got the final four outs for his first save. Chris Parmelee went 3-4 with his 26th double. Chris Herrmann was 1-2 with two walks.
  • Ft. Myers 2, Palm Beach 10 – Edgar Ibarra started and gave up just one run on four hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out four. Alex Wimmers gave up three runs (1 earned) on two hits and a walk. He walked one and struck out one. Clinton Dempster gave up five runs (4 earned) on four hits in 1.1 innings. Matt Tone gave up one run on one hit and before getting the final two outs. The Miracle managed just three hits.
  • Beloit 4, Wisconsin 1 – Weather affected this game. They were delayed to start and got through just seven innings before it was called. Manuel Soliman pitched all seven innings for the Win. He gave up one run on three hits and a walk. He struck out three. Adam Bryant went 2-3. Nate Roberts was 1-1 with a walk and his 11th double before leaving the game.  
  • Elizabethton 7, Johnson City 6 – It was a big day for Miguel Sano. After striking out nine times and going 0-11 in his past three games, Sano went 3-4 with his 12th double and his 11th and 12th home runs in this game. AJ Pettersen went 2-3 with a walk and his first professional home run. Rory Rhodes was 2-3 with a walk and his eighth double. Tim Atherton got the start and gave up two runs on three hits in four innings. He walked none and struck out six. Todd Van Steensel gave up three runs (1 earned) on three hits in 3.1 innings. He walked none and struck out seven. Corey Williams recorded his first save. He gave up one run on two hits in 1.2 innings.  
  • GCL Twins 4, GCL Red Sox 1 – Bobby O’Neill started and gave up just two hits in five scoreless innings. He walked two and struck out five. Kyle Wahl then struck out three in two shutout frames. Luis Nunez then gave up one run on one hit in two innings. He struck out three. The Twins had just three hits. Jacob Younis went 1-2 with two walks.
  • Twins Minor League Weekly from Thursday night is chock full with information from the Twins minor league system from score updates, to transactions and much more.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Any thoughts?? E-mail me, or leave some Comments.