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Friday Twins Links

21 Oct

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook became available for pre-order on Wednesday morning. We have been thrilled by the reception so far. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of your own, now is the time. It is available for $5.99 now. The Handbook will be available immediately following the completion of the World Series, and at that point, the price will be $9.99.

I have to extend a huge Thank You to Patrick Reusse for writing the Foreword for the book. I’ve read through it and it was tremendous! As you know, you can read his columns in the Star Tribune and on 1500espn.com. You can also hear him each weekday at 1500espn with Phil Mackey and with Joe Soucheray, and also on Saturday mornings. The “curmudgeon” came through for us big time and we really, really appreciate it.

You can click on the image below to secure yours (and to see a picture of the cover and much more, click here.):

 

We really are thankful for all of the support that so many readers have given us over the years.

LINKS AND THINKS

  • Did you happen to listen to my interview with Kyle Gibson from Tuesday night?
  • Very Well Then Rewrites the Twins “Source Code.”
  • Brian Dozier posted another blog entry from the Arizona Fall League.
  • Seedlings to Stars named Liam Hendriks as their #80 Twins Prospect.
  • Twins on Twins provided its ‘ballot’ for the best players in both leagues.
  • Did you listen to this week’s Gleeman and the Geek?
  • Twinkie Town’s Jesse wrote Part 1 of his offseason blueprint saying that the Twins need some strikeout pitchers.
  • Twin Nation wrote some thoughts about the upcoming Twins contracts.
  • Granny Baseball posted an interesting Player 1/Player 2 analysis of being careful with stats, and making too much out of any one.
  • Nick Nelson wrote about finding some experienced players.
  • The Tenth Inning Stretch asks how much Michael Cuddyer is worth.
  • The Baseball Outsider wrote about a Theo-Logical Debate.
  • For a bunch of links (baseball and other), be sure to check out Aaron’s Baseball Blog.
  • For a ton of Twins-related links, you’ll definitely want to check out North Dakota Twins Fan’s Blog. He has way more links than I do, including links to a couple of video interviews with Aaron Hicks and Brian Dozier. Check them both out!
  • The Twins outrighted two more players to Rochester on Thursday, Brian Dinkelman and Phil Dumatrait. Neither is surprising as I expected them to be. What I don’t yet understand is why they were outrighted this week when Anthony Slama, Matt Tolbert, Jason Repko and Rene Rivera were last week. Why wouldn’t all six of them be put on waivers at the same time? Maybe there is a rule that you can only take four players off the 40 man roster at any time? I can’t imagine that they needed an extra week to evaluate a couple of players. Like Slama, Dinkelman has not been in the minor leagues long enough to be a six-year minor league free agent. However, since this is his second out-right, he can elect to become a free agent.
  • Glen Perkins let the cat out of the proverbial bag yesterday when he tweeted that he had been told that he was voted the Twins Best Pitcher and Most Improved Player. Both honors are quite well deserved, to say the least, and Parker explains why very well at Over The Baggy.
  • Earlier in the week, LaVelle E. Neal blogged about several topics to come out of the Twins Organizational Meetingslast week. I, of course, found the minor league stuff very interesting:
    • The biggest surprise, to me, was that Eddie Rosario is being moved, at least for the time being, to 2B. For several years, I’ve been asked if the Twins should move Ben Revere to 2B because of his arm, and although it made sense, the response was always to leave him in CF because of his speed and range. Nothing wrong with that, he does have a ton of range. Rosario is not as fast as Revere (who is?), but he has very good speed and outfield instincts. Rosario also has a rocket for an arm which is why I am a little bit surprised by the move. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of outfield prospects, and Rosario is right near the top of that list, so I think it’s worth checking out.
    • Tobias Streich and Jhonathan Arias were the two primary catchers at Beloit this year, along with former Gopher Kyle Knudson who spent time on the Disabled List. Neither hit much at all, but both are viewed as terrific defensive catchers with very strong arms. Both are being converted to pitchers. The Twins have done this before. Tim Lahey was moved to pitcher after struggling at Elizabethton and he got all the way to AAA. It will be interesting to see how they develop.
  • I will be at the Gophers football game on Saturday against Nebraska. I’ve been a life-long Cornhuskers fan, traveling to Nebraska a couple of times each year in my younger years to visit relatives. It will be fun to go to TCF Bank Stadium again! The last time I was there, Jerry Kill and Northern Illinois crushed the Gophers.
  • By the way, Tony Larussa is generally considered one of the better managers in baseball, and deservedly so. He’s been around forever, and when he’s had good or great players, his teams have won consistently. But the whole “genius” label is a bit much. Last night, we saw him make some moves that make ya go hmm… Having Gerald Laird pinch-run for Yadier Molina? He gets credit for using his bullpen and making pitching changes pretty much every batter. Last night it backfired. Some nights it may work. But I think the moral of this bullet point is that managers over-manage in the playoffs and do things that they normally wouldn’t. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. In Game 1, it worked. In Game 2, it didn’t. Who knows what will happen the rest of the series?
  • Did you know Tony Larussa was once on a game show called To Tell The Truth? Ha!
  • I admittedly haven’t watched a lot of the playoffs. I’m always flipping to the baseball games from something else. I think a lot of that is due to a frustrating Twins season. Probably more of it is due to the over-managing and making it a different game. Basketball gets a lot of grief for how slow the final minutes of the games are. In playoff baseball, the last few innings drag on because of all of the pitching changes. It’s really the same thing. So, as much as I don’t enjoy the small sample size of the playoffs, the game is still the greatest game. Allen Craig playing hero two straight games. That’s two things. It is awesome and a great story line. It is also funny that some people make so much out of it. That’s the annoying part, but it is also the fun part. You never know who will play hero (or goat) from day to day. Two games are down in the playoffs. I predicted Rangers in 6. The Rangers took home field advantage back from St. Louis by winning Game 2. But it is now a five-game series which means anything can happen. That’s why it is fun to watch.   

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

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Now Available: TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook

19 Oct

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

TwinsCentric is pleased to finally announce that this year’s edition of the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook is now available for pre-order. If you lock up your copy now, you’ll get a nice discount at 5.99 — down from the official price of 9.99 — and you won’t have to wait long for your copy, as we’ll be dropping the e-book PDF file in your virtual mailbox as soon as the World Series is finished. You can click on the image below to secure yours (or click here) (and to see a picture of the cover, click here.):

 

As always, the Handbook puts you in the shoes of the Twins GM and provides all the information you’ll need to navigate the offseason and renovate the roster. We’ve got full run-downs of the free agent market, trade targets, arbitration-eligibles, 40-man roster decisions and more, all packed with insight and advice from your TwinsCentric guides.

The Offseason GM Handbook has become our flagship product, and we hope that everyone who’s interested in a comprehensive preview of this hugely important offseason will pick up a copy. Thanks, as always, for the support.

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

Early Observations

22 Sep

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Don’t Forget – The TwinsCentric Viewing Party will be on Saturday at Manitou Station in White Bear Lake during Game 1 of the Twins/Cleveland double header. Get there between 11:30 and 12:00, and stay through the game. 

Another quick posting today. I fell asleep writing early again last night. I’ve got about 20 minutes to write  before I run in to work, so I thought I would jot down some quick, early observations of some of the younger players on the Twins roster. To be fair, small sample means very little, whether the sample is positive or negative. Obviously a positive sample is much more memorable and fun than a negative small sample, but what happens over 50-60 plate appearances this September means little when it comes to long-term success.

It’s been hard to write of late. In fact, I was telling someone last night that I’ve enjoyed just sitting back and watching the young guys play, seeing what they do, seeing what they still need to work on. It doesn’t need to be analytical or statistical at this point, and that’s good. But here are some of the things that I have seen so far.

Chris Parmelee – He has made a terrific first impression on everyone. In my Twins Prospect Handbook, release last January, I ranked Parmelee as my #12 Twins prospect, and many predicted that he would have his breakout season in the Twins minor leagues this year. My reason for optimism was that I believe something clicked with him when he was demoted last May to Ft. Myers from New Britain. He figured out something. He cut down on the strikeouts and became a better all-around hitter. Some of the power he had shown early dropped, but if he could use the whole field more and not strikeout as much, that was a great start. The power is still there. I saw him play in the Arizona Fall League two years ago, and he was a big guy. He has lost more than the 15 pounds that people talk about. What I have seen so far with the Twins is a guy who knows the strike zone. He is willing to be patient at the plate, but when he takes a swing, it is not a singles swing at all. He swings hard. We’ve seen the two home runs, but he has hit a lot of line drives. He uses the whole field. He makes contact. (in other words, even if he was hitting .150, I would be impressed by the approach.) He ended this minor league season as my #10 Twins prospect, but he has made a strong impression. Again, it’s not the high batting average that has been impressive, although that is nice. It’s his impressive approach at the plate that is equal parts patience, contact, and willingness to swing out of his shoes. The defense at 1B has been shaky at times, as expected, but that’s an area he can improve. I think that he will begin the 2011 season in Rochester, and that he definitely should. But when he has done this September is show that if needed next season, he could come up and not just fill in, but be a good contributor.

Joe Benson – Benson was my #4 Twins prospect, and to this point, all of the reports about him appear to be true. He is a tremendous athlete, very strong, great arm, good power, tremendous speed. He also is one to strike out a lot, and his aggressiveness on the base paths and in the field have been on display, both positive and negative. He has shown some patience at the plate, but he has also seemingly fallen behind 0-2 many times because of it. The 4-4 night with two doubles and a triple shows the kind of potential that Benson has. 15 strikeouts and two walks in 50 plate appearances tells us that he still has some work to do, although that strikeout rate is only minimally higher than it was in New Britain. Benson will also start the 2012 season in Rochester, and it will be a good challenge for him. He will need to continue to work on contact, something he has worked hard on in the past as well. However, I think that the biggest observation in my mind is that reports of his talent and his potential have not at all been overblown. He has the ability to be an all-star. And, he has the ability to be a fan favorite because of his hustle and aggressiveness.

Brian Dinkelman – Singles Machine! Dinkelman was not in my Top 30 Twins prospects this year, and probably would not have been in the Top 50. That’s why I frequently remind people that just because I don’t rank a guy highly on a prospect list does not mean that he can not be a major league contributor. I love following prospects like this, guys who are not going to be super stars, but they just work their way up the system and get an opportunity. In all reality, Dinkelman came up after Labor Day because the Twins needed a body. He was going to be DFAd following the season, and no one would have claimed him, and he would have spent the 2012 season in Rochester (where he hit about .230 this year, by the way). However, at this point, would anyone really have a problem with Dinkelman maintaining his 40 man roster spot through the offseason (in place of Tolbert and if it doesn’t make a prospect get exposed to the Rule 5 draft)? If the Twins take him off the 40 man roster, I still don’t think anyone would claim him. However, he has the 20 singles, pretty much all through the 3.5 hole. He has been solid at 2B, and played most of the last two years in LF or RF. Not a bad utility type.

Rene Tosoni – In the last two years, I have consistently ranked Tosoni between my #9 and #12 prospect in the Twins system. After he missed more than half of the 2010 season with shoulder surgery while playing at AA, I mistakenly dropped him in my rankings. To my surprise, he began the 2011 season in Rochester, and he played very well. That is why, when the Twins first needed an outfielder this season, it was Tosoni that they turned to, not Ben Revere. He had just 19 games of AA under his belt, but he was in the big leagues. Now, I think it is fair to say that Tosoni has struggled to this point in the big leagues. He is a very patient hitter at the plate, and I think that he has found himself if a lot of bad counts. He has 40 strikeouts in just over 160 plate appearances. That’s actually not a terrible rate. He has shown power with three doubles and three home runs, long home runs. That’s the kind of thing that makes me very excited about Tosoni. I think far too many people have written off Tosoni at this point. I still believe that he can be a very good big leaguer. I always called him Kubel-lite, meaning I think his potential can be about a .280 hitter with 15-18 home runs in a full season. He is a very solid outfielder with a good arm. Like Kubel, Tosoni’s one weakness in the minor leagues was hitting left-handers. I think Tosoni would be a great platoon option in the outfield. I think he needs a little more time. The time he has received with the Twins has been valuable for him, but we have not yet seen what he can do.

Ben Revere – He has played a lot more, and the Twins love him. The Twins media (written and spoken) love him. Most Twins fans love him. And why not? He is exciting. He plays hard. He hustles down the line, and he makes some pretty incredible catches out in center field. I believe that he is going to be a solid big league player, but I think expecting anything more than a Juan Pierre-like career would be way too optimistic. In fact, if Revere posts Pierre-like numbers in his career, I will be impressed and a little surprised. He has been better of late, but his offensive game has been pretty horrible this year. His recent hot streak has elevated his on-base percentage to .310. His slugging percentage is just .297. We kept hearing that at some point, he would show power.  No, that’ won’t happen. Outfielders play in so far against him that he could get some gappers or occasionally hit one over their heads. Then we get to watch him run. He almost had an inside the park home run this year. Defensively, he has made some incredible catches, and his range is remarkable. His terrific speed has helped make up for taking some bad angles on baseballs. People always accuse me of not liking Revere. I ranked him as my #8 Twins prospect before the season, and that’s probably fair. He is what he is as a player. Batting average will be his money-maker. If he can hit .300 (as he did throughout the minors), he could post a .350 on base percentage. If he does that, he could steal 75 bases a year. He has stolen 33 bases (in 42 attempts) in 109 games this year with a .310 OBP. Again, I think that the reports on Revere have proven very accurate. He is very exciting, and he is going to get better. In fact, what he has done over the last 3 weeks shows why getting this playing time and experience in the big leagues is so important for all of these guys.

Liam Hendriks – Hendriks came to the Twins, already well over his innings pitched count from last year. He impressed in his debut, and he had a rough game against the Royals in his second start. His most recent start is probably a good indication of where Hendriks is right now. He gave up two runs in the first inning before recording an out, but he worked out of that and got through five innings having allowed just those two runs. He was one pitch away from completing six innings with two runs, but he threw a bad pitch and Alex Liddi tied up the game at four with a long home run. Again, he began this season at AA and pitched great, and then did well at AAA at times. He is up with the Twins because of all the numbers. If he wasn’t, he would most likely be getting ready to join Allan de San Miguel, James Beresford and Todd Van Steensel on the Australian Team at the World Cup in Panama. Hendriks was my #6 Twins prospect after he was selected (by me) as the Twins minor league pitcher of the year last year. He was the repeat choice for me this year. So, what have I seen? Reports of a fastball with movement that is 89-91 is accurate. He has even touched 93, which is good. His changeup can be very good. I like the break on his curveball. In reality, I have seen him pitch well, but consistency with all of those pitches needs to be a little better. We have seen batters where he throws three straight pitches right on the outside corner. We have seen sharp sliders off the outside corner. We have seen him get called strike threes on pitches on the inside corner. But we have also seen him hurt when he (like any pitcher) misses his spots. Hendriks needs another half-season at Rochester, I think. But I have seen more than enough to tell me that he can fit into the back of the Twins rotation as early as next year, and of all the pitchers that have been compared to Brad Radke in recent years, he might be the one that I think most closely resembles him as a pitcher.

Luke Hughes – He’s out of options, and I have no problem with him being a utility infielder and a right-handed bat off the bench. He can adequately play 3B, 2B and 1B, and he has shown good pop in his bat. I think we’ve seen that he probably isn’t a regular at any position, but he can contribute to the team and should play fairly frequently.

Trevor Plouffe – Like Hughes, Plouffe will be out of options next season, so he will have to make the team. He has certainly had his struggles at SS at times, but he’s also gone through semi-long stretches of adequacy there. I think he can be a well below defensive SS and an average to slightly above average offensive SS. I don’t think he’ll get that opportunity with the Twins. Like Hughes, I think he can adequately play the infield positions, and even some in the corner outfield positions. Like JJ Hardy, he is really non-fast. I think he can hit in the big leagues, despite his struggles in September. Again, probably not a big league regular, at least not with the Twins, but he should have his bat in the lineup quite a bit!     

If you have any questions or comments or observations, please feel free to discuss in the Comments section.

Friday Notes

3 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

I meant to blog last night after I got to my parent’s place, but I kind of fell asleep. So, here is a quick ten-minute blog posting for the morning.

  • First things first, I am on my way to the Twin Cities, in 11 minutes, for tonight’s TwinsCentric/KFAN’s Lindsay Viewing Party. The Twins play the Royals at 7:00 tonight, and we will all be at Smalley’s 87 Club down by Target Field. There will be drink specials throughout the night. There will be some prizes. Basically it is an opportunity for a bunch of Twins fans to get together and watch the Twins play. Sure, it’s been a frustrating year, but we can still have fun talking about the team. It is also an opportunity to contribute to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Donations will be encouraged, but certainly not required. So, if you’re able, join us tonight!
  • I have to admit that I am thrilled that the Twins called up Brian Dinkelman. Drafted by the Twins in 2006 out of a small NAIA school in Illinois. He has gradually worked his way through the Twins entire system. He has been in big league training camp the last year. He has been very consistent, and he is again having a terrific year. It does tell us where the Twins season is going, sure, but you have to feel happy for a guy like that.
  • Of course, it comes, in part because Trevor Plouffe has struggled defensively, and he has made his way into Ron Gardenhire’s doghouse. Has Plouffe struggled? Sure. Is it as bad as Gardy and the team is making it sound? I don’t think so. But, as the Rochester Baseball Observer pointed out very well, the Twins need to trade Plouffe now because as long as Gardy is manager, he will never get a real opportunity. It’s all part of the double-standard that the manager has with some of his players. Plouffe gets called out for everything wrong he does and we rarely hear about the good stuff.. Danny Valencia gets called out every day for something. Matt Tolbert made a play the other day that he threw past Valencia at third that cost at least two runs. Gardenhire’s response? It was the right play, just a bad throw. And frankly, I agree. But Tolbert wasn’t thrown under the bus, was he? In fact, the only thing we heard was that Valencia wasn’t back in the right position. Well yeah, he tried to make the play in the hole. Plouffe is a doghouse guy, even though he is as good of a person as there is. It’s not the first occurrence of this. It happened to Pat Neshek a year ago. Matt Garza. Jason Bartlett. The only one that has escaped it is Glen Perkins, and I have no idea how that happened. Gardy learned from Tom Kelly who was notorious for being tough on your players, preferring sometimes the scrappy veterans. Gardenhire is the same way. And this isn’t a fire-able offense, but it is my one frustration with Ron Gardenhire.
  • Last night, I was on the Twins Minor League Weekly podcast with Travis Aune. We talked about last night’s box scores, some transactions and our players of the month of May, so please check it out. (Note, you’ll have to bear with a short technical difficulty early in the show, but it’s only about a minute)
  • The Twins acquired former top outfield prospect Jeremy Reed from the Brewers AAA team as depth at Rochester.
  • A few injury updates to report on.  It sounds like Aaron Hicks could be back within a few more days from his thumb bruise. I have heard that Brandon Roberts could be back from his oblique injury in the next week. Angel Morales is likely out 2-3 more weeks with his elbow injury. Estarlin de los Santos will be out at least another four weeks with his elbow injury. The Twins have gone the way of rest and rehab with elbow injuries again this year. It’s the way they went with Neshek and Loek Van Mil. This year, they have done so with Miguel Munoz, Angel Morales and Estarlin de Los Santos. Hopefully it is the right decision for them.
  • Brian Dozier, Danny Rams and Bruce Pugh were named to the Florida State League All-Star team yesterday. Congratulations to them.
  • SS/2B Steve Singleton and LHP Michael Tarsi were promoted from New Britain to Rochester yesterday after their game.
  • Final thought, I know people don’t like him and think it is all about the nepotism, but you have to have a ton of respect for Red Wings infielder Toby Gardenhire. Maybe it is just a small sample (ok, no maybe about it), but after a 2-4 day yesterday with two doubles, he is hitting .294 in AAA with six doubles. There’s no way he sustains that, but I do think it shows that he has worked really hard, and he can play at that level. Am I saying he’s great? No. But he should not get beaten up as bad as he does. And if he gets a brief promotion, oh well. I have no problem with that (well, depending on who comes off the 40 man roster to make it happen, of course.)

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

Preliminary Twins Top 30 Prospects

8 Nov

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net –

Happy Monday! Monday marks Day 3 of a three day weekend, so today’s blog will be shorter, and yet, hopefully it will create a ton of discussion. With the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook now available, my attention is turning quickly to my third annual Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. If you’re interested in the 2009 version or the 2010 version, they are still available! In fact, if you would like to buy a copy of the 2009 version, I have about ten of them at home, ready to send out. If you’re interested, e-mail me for details.

Anyway, one of the big parts of SethSpeaks.net has been a Top 50 Prospect List. Last year, I came out with my top 50, and then did a ton of research for the book, and in the book, my top 30 looks a little bit different. When I write the book, I do find it fun to make a projected Top 30 prospect list to see what I think based on following box scores daily, reading some reports on players and general knowledge. Then as you would hope, I learn a ton more about each player while researching and writing the book, so it shouldn’t look identical.

So today, I am going to share with you my current Top 30 Twins Prospect list. Please remember that it is a preliminary list, but what I would love would be for you to post your thoughts in the Comments section. Who is ranked too high? Too low? Why? And of course, I would love for you to post your top 10 list as well.

SethSpeaks.net Twins Preliminary Top 30 Prospects

  1. 1.      Kyle Gibson
  2. 2.      Aaron Hicks
  3. 3.      Miguel Sano
  4. 4.      Joe Benson
  5. 5.      Alex Wimmers
  6. 6.      Angel Morales
  7. 7.      Ben Revere
  8. 8.      David Bromberg
  9. 9.      Oswaldo Arcia

10.  Liam Hendriks

11.  Adrian Salcedo

12.  Chris Parmelee

13.  Eddie Rosario

14.  Max Kepler

15.  Manuel Soliman

16.  Danny Ortiz

17.  BJ Hermsen

18.  Trevor Plouffe

19.  Niko Goodrum

20.  Carlos Gutierrez

21.  Martire Garcia

22.  Pat Dean

23.  Rene Tosoni

24.  Billy Bullock

25.  Tom Stuifbergen

26.  Bruce Pugh

27.  Miguel Munoz

28.  Steve Singleton

29.  Danny Rams

30.  Michael Tonkin

General Thoughts:

  • The #1 spot is still up in the air for me. Do you take the guy who could be a very good #2 starter as early as the middle of next season, or do you want the guy in Low A ball with no fewer than six great tools, several of which have not developed into skills yet. Or, do you take the 17 year old Dominican infielder for whom the sky is the limit?
  • Ben Revere is a tough one for me too. The guy can flat out hit singles. He’s incredibly fast. He is improving defensively in CF, but he has no arm. He has shown know extra base power at all, but his short, compact, strong swing tells me that he should be able to hit a lot of doubles and triples, and how many of his singles can be turned into doubles thanks to a stolen base?
  • And while we’re talking about outfielders, we know that Joe Benson put up serious power numbers in 2010, but how do we evaluate the monster Appy League season of Oswaldo Arcia and try to determine what it means going forward? How about the impressive return to the field for Danny Ortiz after missing all of 2009 with a knee injury? What about the 2010 debut in the GCL for OF Eddie Rosario? And, the guy that gets forgotten way too often is Angel Morales, who despite a lack of home runs, showed steady improvement in areas he needed to.
  • I don’t rank relief pitchers terribly high traditionally, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the importance of a bullpen to a team. I have two relievers here in the top 30 that I believe can be very good for the Twins. But that isn’t to take anything away from Anthony Slama, Rob Delaney, Kyle Waldrop, Dakota Watts or other relief pitchers.
  • Rene Tosoni is one that should probably be ranked higher. He was right around nine or ten last year at this time in my rankings. He returned to AA New Britain and was putting up similar offensive numbers despite playing with a bad shoulder that finally had to be operated on. He’ll be 24 through most of the 2010 season, and he has a chance to be very good.
  • It is also always interesting to see how I end up ranking upside versus likelihood of contributing to the Twins. For instance, if Max Kepler meets his potential, he could be a perennial All-Star. David Bromberg’s big-league upside is likely a #4 starter. But I believe that Bromberg will soon make the big leagues and get that opportunity  after holding his own for a couple of months in Rochester. Meanwhile, Kepler has to be promoted six times to reach the big leagues.

So, what do you think? Help me choose. Give me any stats or notes that you may have to help me make the right choices. Finally, feel free to post your Top 10 Twins Prospects as well. You can e-mail me if you would like,, or you can leave Comments here.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Trade Deadline Primer(s)

2 Jul

It has certainly been an interesting year for the TwinsCentric crew. One year ago, we came out with our first publication, the TwinsCentric July Trade Deadline Primer. Since then, there has been the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, our work with Maple Street Press on the Twins 2010 Annual, the TwinsCentric blog at StarTribune.com and several TwinsCentric Viewing parties around the Twin Cities. It’s been an interesting, busy, fun year of learning about this new media and such.

Next week, TwinsCentric will unveil its next project. It will again be a Trade Deadline Primer. However, it will be much improved. This year, the TwinsCentric guys joined forces with a blogger or independent writer to cover each other team around Major League Baseball. We will be providing Trade Deadline Primers for over 20 other Major League teams as well. Think about it. I know a lot about baseball, but when it comes to the Detroit Tigers, I guarantee that John Parent of Motor City Bengals knows more. Or, for White Sox information, you’ll get the thoughts of JJ Stankevitz from the White Sox Examiner site. I am certain that Chad Dotson of Redleg Nation knows a lot more about the 2010 Reds than me. These guys know what their teams might be looking for. They will know their tradeable players or impact prospects are.

Baseball’s trade deadline season is easily the most active online season for baseball fans, especially obsessive passionate baseball fans. You read Twins blogs daily, so you’re likely a huge Twins fan and will be following all of the rumors surrounding the Twins. Why? Well, after what the Twins did this past offseason, and the added payroll, Twins fans are excited that more elite players could be acquired by the team. Even last year, the Twins acquired Orlando Cabrera on July 31 for Tyler Ladendorf. But they weren’t done there. A week later, the Twins brought in Carl Pavano in a deal with Cleveland. And later in August, the team acquired Jon Rauch. In fact, the Twins have generally made at least one trade deadline deal most years in the past decade.

So, what will these electronic books (in the form of a pdf) consist of? It will be a 100+ page e-book that provides a preview and framework for all of the upcoming trade deadline speculation. It is graphically-sparse, consisting of headshots and simple graphics. But it is content-rich, evaluating the action from a fan’s perspective while providing national coverage. This includes:

  • report cards covering each of the team’s players
  • summaries of all 30 teams including trade deadline needs and a “fantasy focus” for fantasy baseball players
  • profiles of more than 150 of the most likely trade targets and another 100+ potential impact prospects
  • essays focusing on the trade deadline for the Twins and their AL Central rivals
  • national essays providing insight on the forces behind the trade deadline
  • cheat sheets for easy reference
  • a foreword by Rob Neyer of ESPN.com

The goal is to make these available next Tuesday, July 6th electronically. On Thursday, July 7th, TwinsCentric will host another TwinsCentric Viewing Party at Park Tavern in St. Louis Park (Facebook page, follow on Twitter) starting before 5:00. The Twins are on the road in Toronto and Tim Laudner will be there from 5-6 talking to Twins fans and signing autographs.  ESPN1500 will be hosting their pre-game show from there as well. We will also make the TwinsCentric Trade Deadline Primer available. Of course, Park Tavern will kick in some prizes for us to give away, and there will be other prizes available as well. So, if you can be there, that would be great!

The TwinsCentric Trade Deadline Primer will be available for $9.95. We understand that this is money out of your pocket, and we certainly appreciate your support over all of the years that we’ve been blogging. Thank you!

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me.

A few more notes:

  • I’ll be boarding the Twins Train and heading to Detroit to see the Twins and Tigers play two games. I’m really looking forward to the trip. I hear that Sooze and Parker Hageman will also be on the Detroit trip, so it should be a great time. Apparently the Twins Train trips have been successful enough that they have added a couple more trips in August. There is a trip to Cleveland and to Chicago. And the Twins train is also making a trip to Green Bay and Lambeau Field in October. Check out the Twins Train website for details and trip availability.
  • Yesterday I posted a TwinsCentric blog called Picking your moments (and minor league notes).
  •  If you missed my PA appearance yesterday, click here to and check out the 7/1 – Seth Stohs and Love Line! Link.
  • Tonight, I will be at Canterbury Park. I haven’t been there for two years, so I’m looking forward to it. Should be a lot of fun!

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

SethSpeaks Thursday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Brock Peterson – Rochester Red Wings

SethSpeaks Thursday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Deolis Guerra – New Britain Rockcats

Red Wings Report   

Thursday – Rochester 0, Buffalo 2 Ryan Mullins put together another solid start. In 6.2 innings, he gave up two runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out seven. Rob Delaney threw 1.1 scoreless innings. Brock Peterson went 3-4 with his 17th double, but the Red Wings managed just six hits. Brendan Harris went 0-4 and is now hitting .111 (2-18, after going 2-3 in his first game).   

New Britain Notes

Thursday – New Britain 1, New Hampshire 0 – Deolis Guerra was named to the Eastern League All-Star team earlier this week, and he showed he earned it in this game. Guerra threw seven innings of shutout baseball. He gave up four hits, walked three and struck out seven. Tony Davis got one out, and walked two. Chris Province came in and got out of the eighth and three outs in the ninth for his fifth save. Joe Benson went 2-4 with a walk and a triple. Steve Singleton went 2-3 with a walk.

Miracle Matters

Thursday – Ft. Myers, St. Lucie – Postponed by Rain.  

Snappers Snippets

Thursday – Beloit 1, Quad Cities 5 BJ Hermsen gave up five runs on nine hits in 7.2 innings. He walked none and struck out five. Eliecer Cardenas got the final four outs without allowing a run. Former Gopher Derek McCallum went 3-3 with a walk. JJ Hardy went 1-4 with a walk.   

E-Twins Talkers

Thursday – Elizabethton 3, Johnson City 2 – Martire Garcia had another great start for the E-Twins. The lefty gave up two runs on four hits (2 home runs) and two walks in six innings. He struck out eight. Nelvin Fuentes picked up his first save. He threw three perfect innings and struck out five batters. The E-Twins had four hits. Oswaldo Arcia went 2-4. Jhonatan Arias hit his first home run.  

GCL Twins Topics

Wednsday – GCL Twins 4, GCL Rays 3 (10 innings) – Kelvin Silvania doubled in a Yorby Martinez to score the winning run in the 10th. Candido Pimental went 3-5 with his second double. In Kyun Kahn went 2-4. Matej Hejma went 2-4. David Deminsky gave up two runs (1 earned) on four hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out three. Bart Carter pitched a perfect seventh. Hein Robb gave up one run on one hit and a walk. Matt Schuld got the win with two scoreless innings.  

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

2010 New Britain Rockcats Preview

9 Apr

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The 2010 Twins minor league roster previews are brought to you by the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook. Get your copy here!

And, by the way, if you’re able to, be sure to join me and the rest of TwinsCentric at Majors Sports Café in Blaine on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until the end of the Twins/White Sox game. Drink and appetizer specials. Lots of prizes to give away. Lots of talk with Twins fans. It’d be fun to meet you!

Jeff Smith will be the Rock Cats’ manager in 2010 after managing the Ft. Myers Miracle last year. Rudy Hernandez will be the hitting coach while Stu Cliburn is the pitching coach. Let’s take a look at players on the Rock Cats roster to start the 2010 season (note – prospect ranking for my choices for Top 30 Twins prospects as updated in the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook):

The Starting Pitchers

Carlos Gutierrez (15), David Bromberg (8), Mike McCardell (25), Deolis Guerra (11), Tyler Robertson (17).

This is the group that I predicted would be the starting five for New Britain. That said, it’s actually strange being right. Gutierrez is going to get another shot as a starter, and I like the decision. He could be a very good relief pitcher today, but if he can develop a second and third pitch, through more innings pitched, it will be best long-term. Bromberg, as you all know, has led his league in strikeouts each of the last three seasons. He has terrific stuff, throws hard, gets good movement and has a good idea of what he is doing on the mound. He should continue to be solid. McCardell ended last season with the Rockcats. In the offseason, he had some bone chips removed from his elbow, and he said that he is back to 100% Deolis Guerra is the one remaining direct piece from the Johan Santana trade. All along, he was the one with the biggest upside. He struggled in 2008, but made great improvement, specifically with his control, in 2009. He has the best changeup in the organization and should be even better this year. Finally, Tyler Robertson was my #1 Twins prospect in 2007. But injury hurt him in 2008, and in 2009, he returned, stayed healthy and pitched well. He moves up a level where his high baseball IQ should really help him adjust.

The Bullpen Arms

Santos Arias (28), Cole Devries, Steve Hirschfeld, Chris Province, Joe Testa, Spencer Steedley, (Loek Van Mil).

This is certainly an interesting bullpen. Province was in the same league in 2009 when he was with the Red Sox organization. He came to the Twins in the Boof Bonser trade. He should be solid. Spencer Steedley impressed me when I saw him in the Arizona Fall League. He mixed some slow curves and change ups, and then suddenly would throw fastballs at 92 mph right by hitters. Joe Testa dominated in Beloit and Ft. Myers last year and gets to start with the Rockcats this year. The undrafted lefty has a chance to move up another level this year. Cole Devries signed in 2006 as an undrafted free agent from the University of Minnesota. He began 2009 in the Rockcats rotation and pitched well in the first half, but he really struggled in the second half. He’s back, but this time he begins in the bullpen. Santos Arias and Steve Hirschfeld both started 2009 in the Ft. Myers bullpen, and by the second half, they were arguably the Miracle’s top two starters. Arias is a big-time sleeper, a little guy who is wiry and throws 95! Hirschfeld is a solid prospect who also pitched in the AFL last spring. Loek Van Mil begins the season on the Disabled List again. At this stage, health is his only concern. He became a legit big league prospect last year when he hit 97 on the radar gun, so it’ll be interesting to see how healthy he is.  

The Catchers

Danny Lehmann, Alexander Soto.

I was a little surprised that Lehmann didn’t start the season in Rochester, but the more I think about it, the more it says about what the Twins think of him. First, they must want him to play. If he was backing up Wilson Ramos in Rochester, he wouldn’t play a lot. By sending him back to AA, he can play more. Secondly, all five of the pitchers in the Rockcats starting rotation, and at least half of the bullpen, are realistically future big leaguers. The Twins are wise to set them up with a great defensive catcher, and a smart catcher who can work with them and help make them better. Soto is a solid defensive catcher. Several pitchers like throwing to him. He doesn’t hit for average, but he has shown glimpses of power in his career.  

The Infielders

Chris Parmelee (14), Whit Robbins, Steve Singleton (26), Estarlin de Los Santos, Yancarlos Ortiz, Juan Portes, Toby Gardenhire.

Chris Parmelee had a very strong year in 2009 in Ft. Myers. He continued to take walks and display some good power, but he also cut down on the strikeouts a little bit. He had a solid performance in the AFL last year too. Whit Robbins was an All-Star in the Eastern League a year ago, and displays a tremendous glove. He will likely play a lot of 1B with Parmelee at DH or in the OF. Singleton is a strong prospect who can play three positions. Now a switch-hitter, he has certainly put himself on the map. Juan Portes surprisingly spent the entire spring camp with the Twins as a non-roster invite. He primarily played in the corner outfield spots, but he is expected to play a lot of 3B for the Rockcats this year. Estarlin de Los Santos was the surprise name added to the 40 man roster, but there is no question that he has a ton of talent and speed. Ortiz was the shortstop quite a bit last year in AA and will likely play significantly up the middle. And Gardenhire is a solid defensive player at all four infield positions, can play the outfield and is even willing to don the tools of ignorance. Having a glove like his on a roster is a good thing for the pitchers.

The Outfielders

Joe Benson (12), Ben Revere (6), Rene Tosoni (9), Mark Dolenc.

This outfield is incredibly talented and incredibly athletic. I’m sure Tosoni was disappointed in the Twins signing of Jason Repko as it means he heads back to the Rockcats where he hit 15 homers a year ago. I actually think that it makes the most sense to send him back to New Britain. Tosoni’s game is pretty well-rounded, but he still needs to figure out how to hit left-handed pitchers. Since he isn’t on the 40 man roster, and there isn’t a need in the Twins outfield, there is zero need to push him when he still has much to improve. Ben Revere had a very good showing in big league camp. He is a very good batting average hitter. He still needs to work on his patience at the plate and has room to improve tremendously. I am still waiting for some power to show, as his power numbers dropped in 2009. Joe Benson is arguably the best athlete in the Twins system (all due respect to Aaron Hicks). He had a very good season in 2009 at Ft. Myers. He is one of the fastest players in the system, but he is also very strong and capable of power. His eye at the plate vastly improved, and he plays a very strong outfield with a strong arm. Dolenc is a guy who is a great athlete. The Minnesota State-Mankato alum has all the tools, but he isn’t young. He is a potential fourth outfielder who should still get some good playing time this year.

SUMMARY

This is an incredibly talented team, probably the most talented in the system. Many of the Twins top prospects are here. The starting five all has high potential. There are two other guys that could be starting that are currently in the bullpen. The lineup should be quite strong as well and improve over the course of the year.

If you have any questions or comments on this preview of the roster, please feel free to ask… Leave your questions or comments.