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Nine Innings with Seth – Part 1

2 Feb

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook is complete. The TwinsCentric/Maple Street Press Twins 2010 Annual is complete. The FoxSports/Scout.com magazine is complete. Twins Fest is complete. A break may be necessary, but instead, I thought it would be good to go another nine innings with Seth (Please stop back around noon for Park 2):

First Inning – What’s Going on with Joe?

OK, so my January 29th prediction proved untrue. I’m OK with that. But on Monday afternoon, WCCO’s Mark Rosen got Twins fans attention by saying that he has a source that says that Twins and Mauer have reached a preliminary agreement on a ten year contract. Since then, Twins fans got incredibly excited, national writers like Buster Olney and Jon Heyman tried to discredit the rumor, Twins fans got frustrated, an d the story kind of went away.

So what do we make of all this? I don’t know.

Oh, you were hoping for something a little more than that? Alright, I’ll venture a guess. And please, remember this, it is just my guess.

  • Mark Rosen has a lot of local sources. He has been apologist and supporter for years. My guess is that he has a source close to Joe Mauer that has been able to give him something. Let’s not forget that the ten year story is not news. Rosen himself mentioned that on a newscast about a month ago. The story is the “agreed in principal” portion. Mark Rosen is pretty credible locally, so I tend to believe he would not comment on this if he didn’t have something pretty solid.
  • Buster Olney is a Yankees guy for ESPN. He’s trying to make a bigger story. SI.com’s Jon Heyman has proven quite a bit of credibility in the last couple of years, but he has been anything but a Twins person going all the way back to some ridiculous articles a couple of years again, including about Johan Santana. These guys have some contacts, no question.
  • The Twins front office won’t say anything until something if finalized.
  • Robert Shapiro, Mauer’s agent, is not going to leak anything.
  • Joe Mauer isn’t exactly going to talk.
  • But again, I believe that Mark Rosen has something credible. He isn’t going to put himself and his reputation on the line. Remember, he was the first to note that the Vikings had signed Brett Favre long before it actually happened. He never said Mauer had signed. He didn’t say that the deal was finalized. Think about the small print and the minute details necessary in a contract that includes incentives, potential opt-outs, no-trade clauses, deferred money and more. That would take a week or four of lawyer time.
  • I believe that the deal will be announced before spring training.
  • In the end, I don’t care if it’s eight years or ten years. If ten years, I am going to stand behind my $185 million projection. If it’s eight years, I would project $160 million.
  • The Twins need to resign Mauer. They need to for reasons beyond the baseball field. However, Twins fans need to understand that this contract (whatever is may become) is incredibly risky. A ten year contract extension would make him 37 years old when it expires. Can Mauer remain this good throughout the next ten years? $18-20 million worth of good for ten more years?

 Second Inning – Will O-Dawg Crush the Nats?

Over the weekend at MLB Trade Rumors, it was reported that Orlando Hudson was still asking for $9 million a year, but the Washington Nationals were only offering him $3 million. Yesterday, it came out that the Rockies were now out of the running for both Hudson and Felipe Lopez. The Twins were mentioned as a team that would have some interest. Well, if the cost for one year of Orlando Hudson comes anywhere near $3 million, they should be. The Twins were apparently willing to offer Jarrod Washburn $5 million. Imagine signing Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson (two players actually able to contribute positively) for about the same price.

In general, the market is so slow, the contracts are so low. It is a good time to have a little extra money available. Twins fans should be happy they haven’t signed anyone yet because over the next two weeks, they should be active and maybe even sign a player at a huge discount. Hudson makes too much sense, and if that means going a million over budget, that works of me.

Third Inning – Twins Lose Tolleson to Take on Thome

I was thinking that maybe a trade was in the works. When the Twins announced that they had agreed to terms with Jim Thome last week, immediately I started wondering who would be removed from the 40 man roster. Would Glen Perkins be dealt? How about Alexi Casilla? Well, once no one was traded, there was really no choice in who the Twins would remove from the 40 man roster. The question became, would Steve Tolleson be claimed by another team? Well, on Monday, the utility player was claimed by the Oakland A’s. Here is what I wrote about Tolleson in the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook:

Steven Tolleson – IF – (11/1/83)

Acquired: 5th round pick in 2005 from U. of South Carolina

2009 Team(s): New Britain Rockcats, Rochester Red Wings

2009 Stats: .266/.340/.380, 27-2B, 3-3B, 8 HR, 40 RBI

Following the 2008 season, the Twins added Steve Tolleson to their 40-man roster. Despite lingering injuries in the second half of the season, including a bad finger, Tolleson had hit .300/.382/.466 with 28 doubles and nine home runs for New Britain, in just 93 games. He went to Twins spring training in 2009, but he was slowed by injury and didn’t see much time. Because of that, he began 2009 back in New Britain where he got off to a horrible start. In April, he hit just .172/.238/.207 with just two doubles. But by May, he heated up and hit .310/.408/.506 with 11 extra base hits. He was promoted to Rochester and in June he hit .310, but his monthly batting averages after that month were .271/.250/.133, and his OPS fell from .806, to .753, to .647, to .345.

Tolleson stands close to the plate and has a very short, quick swing. That does make it difficult to know how to pitch him. He has a very good eye at the plate. He is a good contact hitter who generally hits the ball on the ground or line drives. Defensively, he is solid, but certainly unspectacular. He has limited range and arm, but he makes almost all of the routine plays. He played shortstop at South Carolina, and played mainly the middle infield spots earlier in his career. He spent some time at third base in 2006. He got a little bit of time in centerfield in 2008. In 2009, he played primarily shortstop at New Britain, but when promoted to Rochester, he played everywhere. He played all three outfield positions. He played three infield positions as well. He mostly played second base and left field, but it appears now that we can officially put Tolleson into the utility player listing. Also worth noting is that his father, Wayne Tolleson, played a utility infielder role for the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees during the 1980s.

Fourth Inning – Why Won’t Washburn’s Name Just Go Away?

Because there is a pretty good chance that he ends up with the Twins, I fear. A couple of front office guys really like him. There is no question that Washburn wants to be with the Twins. The Mets are allegedly out of the running, and the Mariners likely don’t want him back. The Twins are likely competing against nobody. I can totally see him signing a low-base, high-incentive contract. The reality is that you can never have enough pitching. The Twins have nine options for five rotation spots already, and in reality, they have five options for just one rotation spot, so I just question the need for Washburn. But I know a couple of people (that matter) really think he can bring something to the team.

Like I said, I will be back around noon with the final 5 innings, including links to other Twins blogs and the unveiling of the lineup for tonight’s SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast. I think you’ll like the guest list.

If you have any thoughts on the topics we’ve covered in the first four innings, let me know. Leave you comments here.

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What Would You Do? 40 Man Roster Decisions

16 Nov

also avaialble at www.SethSpeaks.net

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.

SethSpeaks.net Top 50 Twins Prospects: Part 2 (21-35)

21 Oct

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

On Monday, I posted my choices for Twins Prospects 36-50. Today, I’m back with my choices for Twins prospects 21-35. I welcome your comments. I hope you enjoy this and again, please feel free to comment.

 (For a reminder of #s 36-50, and for much more detail on 21-35, please go to www.SethSpeaks.net)  

#35 – David Winfree – OF – 24 (8/5/85)

 

#34 – Andrei Lobanov – LHP – 19 (1/25/90)

 

#33 – Michael Tonkin – RHP – 20 (11/19/89) 

#32 – Santos Arias – RHP – 22 (3/17/87)

 

#31 – Steve Tolleson – IF/OF – 26 (11/1/83)

 

#30 – Billy Bullock – RH RP – 21 (2/27/88)

 

#29 – Tom Stuifbergen – RHP – 21 (9/26/88)

#28 – Max Kepler-Rozycki – C/OF – 16 (2/10/93)

 

#27 – Brian Dinkelman – 2B – 26 (11/10/83)

 

#26 – Oswaldo Arcia – OF – 18 (5/1/91)

 

#25 – Josmil Pinto – C/DH – 20 (3/31/89)

 

#24 – Michael McCardell – RHP – 24 (4/13/85)

 

#23 – Steve Singleton – 2B – 24 (9/12/85)

#22 – Carlos Gutierrez – RHP – 22 (9/22/86)

#21 – Anthony Slama – RH RP – 25 (1/6/84)

So there you have it, my selections for Twins prospects 21-35. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my choices for #11-20, and later in the week, you will also get my Top 10. If you have any feedback, comments, opinions or suggestions, please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Wednesday Morning Updates

29 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Please note that The Stick & Ball Guy convention has been moved from this Saturday (8/1) to Saturday, August 15th. I don’t know my schedule for certain, but hope to be there and would love to meet any of you there as well.

THE MANDATORY FAVRE/VIKINGS STUFF

As you know, I’m been mainly annoyed by the on-going Brett Favre/Vikings courtship. Basically, I was just certain that Favre would sign with the Vikings. It only made sense. Well, he surprised me and most of Vikings and NFL fans by saying that he was staying retired. Alright, I’m four sentences into a paragraph on Favre, and I’m already bored with it. However, it was my StarTribune.com/YourVoices blog last night was about the Brett Favre situation, but it was mainly about the 2009 Vikings season. Check it out and feel free to comment there.  

COMMENTS ON THE ALL-TIME METRODOME TEAM

Last night, the Twins announced their All Metrodome team before the game against the White Sox. The vote was conducted with fans able to vote online and then media and front office personnel also factoring into the decision. For the most part, the choices were fairly easy to make, but there are still a couple of comments: 

Manager – Tom Kelly  

No Question. That is an easy choice. Two World Series championships and being the manager for 15 of the 28 seasons in the Dome. 

Starting Pitchers – Bert Blyleven, Frank Viola, Brad Radke and Johan Santana

Again, hard to argue with any of these selections. I don’t think anyone else really even should be considered.

Relief Pitchers – Rick Aguilera and Joe Nathan

Again, very easy selections, and no one else to really even consider, at least if they were limited to two. 

Catcher – Joe Mauer  

I mean, who could have even finished 2nd? Brian Harper? 

DH– Paul Molitor  

Another pretty easy selection. He had three amazing seasons with the Twins. Now, if this was done a couple of years from now, Jason Kubel has to be in the conversation. 

Infield – Kent Hrbek, Justin Morneau, Chuck Knoblauch, Greg Gagne and Gary Gaetti

Could you make a decent argument for Corey Koskie? Probably. Other than that though, these selections were easy as well. Hrbek had to make the team, and Morneau is an MVP who finished 2nd once and will likely be in the Top 3 again this year. 

Outfield – Kirby Puckett, Torii Hunter, Tom Brunansky and Dan Gladden

OK, I guess there really would only be one player on the All-Metrodome team that is even questionable. I realize he is now part of the media, but how is Dan Gladden on this list. Yes, he was on both World Series teams. I get that. He was the team’s leadoff hitter in both championship teams, but wow, was he not good. In his five seasons with the Twins, his on-base percentage was just .318. It was never higher than .331. In 1991, his OBP was just .306! That’s horrible. So, the next question you may ask is for me to name a player that should be on the All-Metrodome team in place of Gladden. I’ve got five players (including Gladden) for you to consider:

 

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

2B

3B

HR

Dan Gladden

0.268

0.318

0.382

0.700

117

26

38

Michael Cuddyer

0.269

0.345

0.450

0.795

160

27

92

Jacque Jones

0.279

0.327

0.455

0.782

189

15

132

Matt Lawton

0.277

0.379

0.428

0.808

163

13

72

Shane Mack

0.309

0.375

0.479

0.854

119

24

67

Gladden spent five seasons with the Twins. Shane Mack spent five seasons with the Twins. Matt Lawton spent parts of seven seasons being incredibly underrated with the Twins. Jacque Jones spent seven seasons in a Twins uniform. Michael Cuddyer has been with the Twins since 2001. So, there are three players who are clearly much better options for the All-Metrodome team than Gladden. If you want, I’d be happy to add Randy Bush as another option who could be better. He spent 12 seasons with the Twins.

Obviously this isn’t some life-altering decision, but it makes no sense. But if one name out of 17 is bad, that’s not too bad at all. What do you think? 

TWINS 5, WHITE SOX 3

Alright, I’m right up there with other Twins fans that just do not like Mark Buehrle. However, sometimes you have to just give a little respect, and what Buehrle did over his last two starts is simply incredible. First of all, he had the perfect game which is amazing. It was only the 18th in Major League Baseball’s history. And then last night, he started out by getting the first 17 Twins hitters out. He carried another perfect game into the 6th inning. Like him or not, that is absolutely remarkable.

That said, I felt just fine when he walked Alexi Casilla. I was also glad that Denard Span lined a clean single up the middle for the first hit. I would have hated to see one of the Twins players bunt for a hit to break up the string, and even more, I would have hated to see a questionable hit/error decide it. You know, a play like the next one, when Joe Mauer hit a ‘double’ to left field that really should have been caught by Scott Podsednik. But within three batters, Buehrle lost the perfect game, the no-hitter and then the shutout. Then in the 7th inning, the Twins scored four more runs. Brendan Harris drove in a run to give the Twins the lead. Two batters later, Nick Punto slapped a single to right field to drive in two. Then Octavio Dotel came in and walked three, including Justin Morneau with the bases loaded that gave the Twins the 5-1 lead. 

Scott Baker was good. He gave up one run on just four hits over the first six innings. His performance was unfortunately overshadowed by Buehrle, but he was good. He walked none and struck out six. Jose Mijares then got five outs. Bobby Keppel got out of the 8th inning, and then gave up two runs in the 9th inning, doing just enough to create a save situation for Joe Nathan who only had to get the final out. 

Tonight, I will be in attendance to see Francisco Liriano and the Twins take on Bartolo Colon and the White Sox, hoping to see the Twins complete the sweep! 

Any thoughts?
MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Steve Tolleson, Rochester Red Wings

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Philip Humber, Rochester Red Wings  

ROCHESTER REPORT

Tuesday –Rochester 7, Gwinnett 1  – Philip Humber got some run support and did well with it. He gave up just one run on four hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out four. Armando Gabino threw two shutout innings. Steve Tolleson went 2-3 with a walk. Matt Macri went 2-4 with his 19th double. Justin Huber was 2-5 with his 15th double. Jose Morales was 2-5. Danny Valencia was back in the lineup and had a double.      

ROCKCAT RECAP

Tuesday – New Britain 1, New Hampshire 5 – The Rockcats played two games on this day because of a power outage in New Hampshire. It would be safe to say that the Rockcats had no offensive fire power on this day. In the first game, they managed just five hits. Whit Robbins went 2-3 with his 18th double. Ryan Mullins started and gave up five runs (1 earned) on six hits and two walks in 4.2 innings. He struck out six. Alex Burnett came in and got the final four outs.  

Tuesday – New Britain 0, New Hampshire 5 – In the second game, the bats managed just three hits. Brian Dinkelman hit his 26th double. Deolis Guerra got the start. He did alright through two innings, but then he faced six batters in the third inning and got none of them out. All told, he gave up five runs on six hits and a walk. Kyle Waldrop then threw two more shutout innings. Carlos Gutierrez gave up a hit and a walk in a scoreless inning. He struck out two. Spencer Steedley walked two in a scoreless inning.             

MIRACLE MEMOS

Tuesday – Ft. Myers 1, Brevard County 4 – The Miracle were held to just four hits in this game. Mark Dolenc and Evan Bigley each hit a double. Tyler Robertson started and gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk in seven innings. Henry Arias came in and gave up a run on two hits and a walk in his inning. Loek Van Mil struck out one in his perfect inning.  

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Tuesday – Beloit 5, Great Lakes 8 Brad Tippett has been, by far, the top pitcher for the Snappers this season. He was due for a rough start. In this game, he gave up seven runs (3 earned) on eight hits and a walk in just 4.2 innings. Blake Martin gave up a run in 1.2 innings. He struck out three. Steve Blevins then was perfect threw 1.2 innings. James Beresford went 2-5 with his sixth double. Nate Hanson went 2-4. Michael Harrington hit his 27th double. Aaron Hicks hit his seventh double.   

E-TWINS EXTRAS

Tuesday – Elizabethton, Johnson City – Postponed by Rain.

GCL TWINS GOINGS ON

Tuesday – GCL Twins 2, GCL Rays 2 – This game was called as well in the 10th inning and will be completed next week. I likely won’t think to look back, so I figured I would show some highlights already. Rory Rhodes and Hyun-wook Choi each went 2-4. Rhodes hit his fifth double. Choi stole his second base. Mark Grudzielanek went 1-3 with a double. Adrian Salcedo had another strong start. In six innings, he gave up two runs on eight hits. He walked none and struck out five. Nelvin Fuentes struck out three in two shutout frames. Eliecer Cardenas struck out the six in the 9th inning.  

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Minor League Update

21 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

  • As I mentioned last night, I spent some time chatting with Twins 3B prospect Danny Valencia last night and he agreed to doing an interactive Q&A with SethSpeaks.net readers. So, if you would like to ask the future Twin a question (or two, or up to 3), please e-mail me and I will send him the questions. I will accept questions until Wednesday night (around 10:00 p.m.).
  • And, of course, as the Trade Deadline is fast approaching, please consider picking up a copy of the TwinsCentric 2009 Trade Deadline Primer for just $9.95.

Rain and a scheduled off day limited the Twins minor league action on Tuesday, and with the Twins game just starting in Oakland, I figured a separate posting for the Twins minor league report made sense. Hopefully tonight’s game won’t be quite as exciting… or at least quite as long! I have learned that sleep is good!

But I thought I would throw in a few (OK, five) Twins minor league topics for you to discuss in the comments section while watching the Twins game. 

Untouchable? – In my Star Tribune blog yesterday (Twins Need to Deal), I wrote that the only two Twins minor leaguers that should be untouchable in nearly any trade would be Aaron Hicks and Danny Valencia. Would you add anyone else to that list?

Shut Down? – Since being promoted to AA New Britain, Carlos Gutierrez has thrown 36.1 innings. He has given up 51 hits (including six home runs). He was walked 18 and struck out just 17. He didn’t throw much last season between the University of Miami and Ft. Myers. This year, he did alright at Ft. Myers before struggling with the Rockcats. Since moving to the bullpen, he has given up 15 runs on 19 hits in just 8.1 innings while walking seven and striking out just five. Should he be shut down at this point, maybe given a couple of weeks off, or just keep throwing him out there and working through it? 

Arm Chair Psychologists – This is a tough situation because Shooter Hunt clearly is struggling. I have to think that he hit rock bottom with his last outing in which he faced seven batters, walked six of them and hit the other before leaving the game. Hunt as all the talent in the world. I don’t think anyone questions that, but right now, it just isn’t happening. What do you do? Keep throwing him out there? Shut him down? Is there even a right answer? 

Pecking Order – Alright, the Twins need a 2B. Alexi Casilla, Nick Punto and Matt Tolbert have all had their chances. So, I’d like to ask you how you would rank the potential Major League impact that the following Twins minor league 2B options could have. Alexi Casilla, Matt Tolbert, Steve Tolleson, Matt Macri, Trevor Plouffe, Brian Dinkelman, and Steve Singleton. Singleton’s .600 start since his recent promotion to New Britain certainly makes you think, doesn’t it? I can’t help but think he may be the guy in the long term.

Upcoming 40 Man Roster Decisions – Every year it is interesting to find out who the Twins add to their 40 man roster. Who needs to be added before the December Rule 5 draft? To keep it general and simple, please drafted out of college in the 2006 draft would have to be added or be potentially lost in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. High school players drafted (and many international players signed when they are 16 or 17) in 2005 would also be eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft if not protected. Here is a list of several players that will likely have to be added (or at least they will have to consider adding) after this season:

College Players Drafted in 2006:

  • 4th Round – 1B Whit Robbins
  • 6th Round – C Jeff Christy
  • 8th Round – 2B Brian Dinkelman
  • 11th Round – 2B Steve Singleton
  • 14th Round – RHP Jeff Manship
  • 15th Round – OF Mark Dolenc
  • 19th Round – 3B Danny Valencia
  • 39th Round – RHP Anthony Slama
  • Not Drafted – RHP Rob Delaney (signed as free agent right after the draft)

I would say there are a couple of very easy choices here, and a couple of possible adds, and a couple of probably not’s. Now, when you think of the 2005 draft, the Twins drafted Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, Brian Duensing and Ryan Mullins in the first three rounds out of college. They did not have as much success (or luck, particularly injury luck) with their early high school picks. Hank Sanchez was really bad and then he served a 50 game suspension for being really bad, and then the Twins released him. Drew Thompson is having a nice comeback after missing two full seasons with injury. Paul Kelly’s knees just have not been able to keep him on the field either. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple of 2005 high school draft picks that the Twins will have to strongly consider adding to the 40 man roster:

High School (and a JuCo Guy) Drafted in 2005:

  • 12th Round – RHP Alex Burnett
  • 32nd Round – RHP David Bromberg
  • 36th Round – OF Rene Tosoni (Junior College)

I think that all three of them have put themselves in a position that they will have to be added. Another player who has performed to a level that he should be considered is RHP Loek Van Mil who is doing great in his comeback from rehabbing his arm. Has David Winfree’s play this year in Rochester earned him a spot on the Twins 40 man roster? Before the season, I think we would have all assumed that Dustin Martin (another 2006 college draftee) would be a lock to be added. Do we still believe that? What about Deolis Guerra? He has struggled, but he signed in July of 2005 and still is just 20 years old and very talented and has done well in his short stint in New Britain. You would think a team like the Nationals would love to take a chance on him.

In other words, the Twins have some difficult decisions ahead of them at the end of the year. Maybe potential deadline trades will help clean up some of the questions, but it certainly is worth thinking about already. 

What do you think about any of these topics? What would you do? Leave your comments here. 

With that, I’m going to post this. I will be back later with thoughts on Game 2 of this Twins/A’s series. 

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Daniel Santana, GCL Twins

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Andrei Lobonov, GCL Twins  

ROCHESTER REPORT

Tuesday – Rochester, Pawtucket  – Postponed by Rain. 

ROCKCAT RECAP

Tuesday – New Britain, Portland – Postponed by Rain.    

MIRACLE MEMOS

Tuesday – Ft. Myers 4, Dunedin 6 Chris Parmelee homered yet again, his 14th on the season, but that was about it for the Miracle offense in this game. Evan Bigley and Nick Romero each doubles. Michael Tarsi took his first FSL loss. He went 6.2 innings and gave up three runs on eight hits. He walked four and struck out five. Henry Arias went the final 2.1 innings. He gave up three runs on four hits and a walk.     

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Tuesday – Beloit  – No Games Scheduled in the Midwest League.     

E-TWINS EXTRAS

Tuesday – Elizabethton 2, Princeton 3 Reggie Williams hit another homer, his third, but it wasn’t enough on this night. Brad Stillings started for the E-Twins and went the first six innings. He gave up two runs (1 earned) on four hits and two walks. Edgar Ibarra took the loss by giving up one run on two hits in two innings. Peter Kennelly pitched a scoreless inning. Josmil Pinto went 2-4 with his eighth double.    

GCL TWINS THOUGHTS

Tuesday –GCL Twins 10, GCL Red Sox 6 – There was plenty of offense for the GCL Twins in this game. Daniel Santana went 3-6 with his third triple and two stolen bases. Nick Lockwood went 3-5. Jhonatan Arias went 2-4 with a walk, his fourth double and four RBI. Nick Tindall went 2-4 with his third double. Nick Freitas went 2-3 with two walks. Jhon Garcia went the first five innings and gave up two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out six. Eliecer Cardenas gave up four runs (3 earned) on five hits and two walks in 2.1 innings. He struck out three. Andrei Lobonov had quite the game to record his second save. He pitched to five batters and struck all five of them out.    

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Top 50 Twins Prospects Part 2: 21-35

3 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

In case you missed my posting earlier today, the Twins promoted Carlos Gutierrez and Alex Burnett from Ft. Myers to New Britain where they will join the Rockcats pitching staff. I would think there could be more subsequent moves to follow, so I will try to stay on top of that. Burnett can be used to fill Rob Delaney’s spot. Carlos Gutierrez likely will start. Cole Devries and Matt Fox have both been quite good this season. Jeff Manship has been better of late, and Jay Rainville has been good enough to stick around. Ryan Mullins is the guy who may be out of the starting picture. Or, maybe the Twins decided that the 26 year old Fox is deserving of a AAA opportunity. I would be supportive of that. As I hear any new information, I will keep people updated. Thanks!

After looking at Twins prospects 36-50 yesterday, today we will look at my choices for the Twins Prospects 21-35. Again, let me know what you think. In the next days, I will continue to work my way up the Twins prospect list until finally giving you my selections for the Top 10 Twins prospects. I hope you enjoy this and again, please feel free to comment.

 Here are my choices for #21-#35. For much more information on each, please see the extended version of this at www.SethSpeaks.net.

#35 – Ramon Santana – SS – 22 (6/20/86)

 

#34 – Bobby Lanigan – RHP – 22 (5/5/87)

 

#33 – Martire Garcia – LHP – 19 (3/1/90)

 

#32 – Juan Morillo – RHP – 25 (11/5/83)

 

#31 – BJ Hermsen – RHP – 19 (12/1/89)

 

#30 – Jose Morales – C – 26 (2/20/83)

 

#29 – Deibinson Romero – 3B – 22 (9/24/86) 

#28 – David Winfree – RF – 23 (8/5/85)

 

#27 – Cole DeVries – RHP – 24 (2/12/85)

 

#26 – Deolis Guerra – RHP – 20 (4/17/89)

 

#25 – Whit Robbins – 1B – 24 (9/25/84)

 

#24 – Brian Dinkelman – 2B – 25 (11/10/83)

 

#23 – Shooter Hunt – RHP – 22 (8/16/86)

#22 – Evan Bigley – OF – 22 (3/9/87)

#21 – Steven Tolleson – IF – 25 (11/1/83)

So there you have it, my selections for Twins prospects 21-35. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my choices for #11-20, and again, later in the week, you will also get my Top 10 Twins Prospects. If you have any feedback, comments, opinions or suggestions, please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here

What Would I Do?

21 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

NEW – I posted a new Star Tribune blog last night. I have a paragraph about sports in it!

The losing streak is at six games now. Hopefully the Twins can salvage one win on this road trip this afternoon. But then they return to the Dome to start a three game border battle with the Brewers on Friday night. I will be at the Anthony Swarzak debut on Saturday night. Before that game, the Twins will be honoring Corey Koskie, so that should be good to see too.

Yesterday I talked about how I’m not worried, but within that, I also subtly commented that this is the time to start making some changes as well. Since as bloggers and blog commenters we want to think we have all the answers, I guess I better explain some of my thoughts on what they should do, besides listen to Bobby McFerrin and Bob Marley. Craig Breslow is now gone. He’ll be with Oakland.  

  • Luis Ayala may have bought himself a little bit of time with last night’s performance. He will need to prove that was not a fluke over the next two weeks. If it was lightning in a bottle, there are some moves that could be made that would cause a trickle effect through the system. If the Twins were to release Ayala, they could promote Rob Delaney to the big leagues from New Britain. I’m not convinced he is ready yet, but he does have potential and seems smart enough and strong enough to learn and adjust. At that same time, I would move Anthony Slama up to AAA. Spencer Steedley and Blair Erickson would then move up to New Britain. Joe Testa is more than ready to move up to Ft. Myers, and Danny Rondon or Matt Williams could join him. Shooter Hunt could come off of the DL in Beloit, or someone like Tom Stuifbergen or Liam Hendiks could move up to Beloit.
  • As we have discussed for a couple months, if not longer, I would send Carlos Gomez back to Rochester and promote Dustin Martin. I would have Denard Span play daily in CF with Delmon Young and Martin platooning in LF.
  • The Twins decided in the offseason, and we all agreed, that they did not need a veteran starting pitcher this year, as they have added in the past. The five young starters would be a strength of the team and the least of their worries. Right now, even more so than the bullpen, the starters are the weakest link. Let’s see how Anthony Swarzak does over his 2-3 starts. If he does well enough, could the Twins bring Glen Perkins back in the bullpen?

I guess my main point would be that there aren’t a lot of things that the Twins can do. I know people don’t like hearing it, but this truly is a young team. The players that are playing need to play. The pitchers that are struggling and inconsistent need to pitch innings. Obviously the core of the lineup is still young and needs to play. Could the Twins look to trade a veteran, such as Nick Punto? Sure, but I don’t think they would do that. Could Mike Redmond bring back a Hi-A middle infielder? First, this is no time to wave the white flag, and second, there is just too much talent on this roster to not eventually work through it.

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Wednesday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Steve Tolleson, New Britain Rockcats, Alexander Soto/Ramon Santana, Beloit Snappers

Wednesday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – David Bromberg, Ft. Myers Miracle

TRANSACTIONS – Infielder Nick Romero was promoted from Beloit to Ft. Myers. The Miracle put Estarlin de Los Santos on the Disabled List.

ROCHESTER REPORT

Wednesday –Rochester– After playing for 18 straight days, the Red Wings finally got a much-needed day off. 

ROCKCAT RECAP

Wednesday – New Britain 6, Reading 4 Steve Tolleson was hitting .180 a week ago. In his last six games, he has gone 12-23 and is now hitting .244. In this game, he was 2-3 with two walks and his second homer. Danny Valencia was 3-5 and is hitting .327. Brian Dinkelman and Yancarlos Ortiz each had two hits. Following two rough starts, Jay Rainville had a very good start in this game. He gave up two runs on five hits over six innings. He walked none and struck out five. Jose Lugo came in for the 7th and hit the batter he faced. Rob Delaney came in and gave up an unearned run on three hits in 1.1 innings. Zach Ward got the final two outs of the 8th. Anthony Slama picked up his eighth save with two strikeouts in an inning.   

MIRACLE MEMOS

Wednesday – Ft. Myers 2, St. Lucie 5Tyler Robertson pitched well but fell to 2-1 on the season. The young lefty worked the first six innings. Have gave up three runs (2 earned) on six hits and three walks. Kyle Waldrop threw two scoreless innings. Santos Arias gave up two runs on four hits over his inning. Ben Revere went 2-4. Chris Parmelee went 1-3 with a walk.

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Wednesday – Beloit 14, Peoria 9 – The bats were certainly out for the Snappers in this game. Ramon Santana is back, and didn’t miss a beat. In this game, he was 3-4 with a walk, his fourth home run and four RBI. Alexander Soto is really playing well too. He went 3-5 with two homers. He has four on the season. Michael Harrington went 3-5 with a double. Jonathan Waltenbury, Angel Morales and James Beresford each went 2-5. Michael Allen made the start. He gave up five runs on five hits in 5.2 innings. He walked three and struck out seven. Blake Martin gave up a run on two hits and a walk in 0.1 innings in his season debut. Danny Rondon came in and gave up two runs in two innings. He struck out four. Joe Testa worked a scoreless inning as well.  

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.