Thursday, January 5, 2006
"Roger" on the Twins Relief Pitchers
Good Morning everyone!
Let's start with some random baseball ramblings. Well, there really is very little going on in the baseball world these days. Sure, Manny Ramirez and Miguel Tejada rumors swirl, but they have been much of the offseason. Sure, Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas and Sammy Sosa remain unsigned, but who knows when they will sign with new teams. Could happen any time really. Preston Wilson signed a very interesting contract with the Astros. He'll get $4 million in 2006, but after the season, Houston has a $500,000 buyout or a three year, $24 million option. It's strange to me because the team has said that they want to play both Jason Lane and Chris Burke every day, but this signing will cost one of them playing time. Of course, unless the rumors are true that the Astros are considering trading CF Willy Taveras to the White Sox for Jose Contreras. Jeff Weaver is really the only big free agent remaining. He accepted arbitration from the Dodgers but must now decide whether to accept it by Sunday. I mean, his agent Scott Boras must decide that. As insurance, yesterday the Dodgers traded two relievers, including underrated Duaner Sanchez, to the Mets for Jae Seo who would be a solid 5th starter if Weaver leaves. Oh, and short-time Twins 2B Bret Boone signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets.
Finally, Manny Ramirez is saying that, as a means of getting him to waive his no-trade clause, he would like an extension to his already-massive contract. Let me get this straight. He has put the Red Sox in a bad position by demanding a trade. However, he gets to determine which teams he is willing to go to AND he is going to ask the new team to give him even more money than his over his excessive deal. No wonder it is taking so long to work that deal! Why anyone would want Manny Ramirez on their team is beyond me, even with the fact that he is an incredible hitter.
But to me, the big news as a Twins fan continues to be the ongoing saga involving Corey Koskie and the Toronto Blue Jays. Please head down to the Twins Thoughts for my opinions on that topic.
Oh, I also learned that I should really be careful about what and who I write about in my blog. Michael Brodkorb runs the Republican blog "Minnesota Democrats Exposed." He is being sued for defamation by Blois Olson, the president of New School Communications and a well-known Democratic political commentator. The lawsuit asks for $50,000 and a retraction of his posting. This could become a huge 1st Amendment, Freedom of Speech, case for America and specifically for bloggers.
A number of people have asked me if I have watched many of the college football bowls. I was working on the site on Tuesday night and the Penn State/Florida State game was apparently on TV2. I didn't really even realize it. I watched maybe four minutes of that game. Then I switched the channel to TV Land where I saw some episodes of Good Times, Cheers, Night Court and other such shows. That is about how much I care about college football. I know. That's bad, huh? I was at least somewhat intrigued by last night's BCS Championship game last night. I did have it on TV2, muted, with my XM Satellite radio tuned to the Home Plate network. But I do have to say that whle watching, I know that Reggie Bush is absolutely amazing. What incredible speed! Matt Leinart is very cool and calm, but I do wonder if he is worth taking a high draft pick. I also wonder if LenDale White might be a Top 5 type pick. And, know what? Vince Young was the best player on the field. He looked so calm leading Texas down the field. Excellent passing form and touch, and such quick, agile running. He is a Top 3 pick. I would probably draft him ahead of Leinert.
OK, I must sleep! Have yourself a great Thursday! We've got another excellent review of the Twins minor league system by Roger, so let's get right to it!
ROGER'S MINOR LEAGUE REVIEW - Relief Pitchers
In previous weeks, "Roger" has done his positional review of the Twins system. He has reviewed the 2005 seasons of the catchers, the first basemen, the third basemen , the middle infielders, the outfielders and a couple of weeks ago, the starting pitchers. This week, we will review the 2005 seasons of the Twins minor league relief pitchers. The Twins are developing a great number of excellent starting pitching prospects, but they also have a number of high-level relievers in their system. Of course, it is impossible to know for certain what will happen. Remember that the Twins like to have their best pitching prospects start throughout the minors to build up arm strength. So, unless your name is Jesse Crain or Pat Neshek, most Twins pitching prospects went through the system as starters. So, many of the starters will end up in the bullpen at some point. Which ones? Who knows? So, lets see what "Roger" has to say about all of the Twins minor league relief pitchers. If you have any thoughts for me or Roger, e-mail me, or leave some comments below. Have a great day!
Twins Minor League System Review
The Relief Pitchers
Today we will take a look at another strong Twins position, relief pitching. A reminder about the ranking I show for each player. It is based on their performance in 2005 and if they missed part of the season, their ranking will be lower as a result. I have highlighted all rankings that were lowered because of injury or another reason (#46). Players included on the Twins 40-man roster will have their names in Bold Green.
Rochester Red Wings (AAA)
The Twins had a closer set the Rochester record for saves (23), 23 year old Travis Bowyer (#4/D20, 1999). Bowyer had an excellent year (59g/74.1ip/2.78era/.194OppAve/96K/40BB), finishing it off with a September call up to the Twins (8g/9.2ip/5.59era/.345OppAve/12K/3BB). He went to the AFL following the season where he struggled (15.1ip/9.39era)…it is unknown if this was in part due to his working on his “second pitch.” Following the season, Bowyer was the key part of the Twins trade with Florida for Luis Castillo.
Two veteran relief pitchers had excellent seasons with the Rochester bullpen. Willie Eyre (#18/D23, 1999) was the Red Wings version of Jesse Crain, appearing in 56 games with a record of 10W-3L (56g/82.2ip/2.72era/.252OppAve/74K/28BB). Eyre, 27, is starting in Venezuela this winter and as of the last information available, was 9-0 on Aragua, the top team in their winter league. Eyre was recently added to the 40-man roster and will be a serious contender for the Twins #5 starter or a long relief spot. Beau Kemp (#20/D31, 2000), 25, is a former closer with several teams in the organization who was used primarily in a set-up role for Rochester (62g/80.0ip/3.38era/.239OppAve/68K/32BB). Although a long-shot to make the Twins bullpen out of spring training, he could provide help for the bullpen during the season, if needed.
Several lefties worked out of the bullpen at various times during the season. Past Cardinal phenom Bud Smith (mlfa, 2005), 25, signed with the Twins during the last off season after bouncing around several organizations following a serious injury. He pitched sparingly for Rochester during the first few weeks of the season (3g/5.2ip/4.76era/.217OppAve/4K/3BB). Smith recently signed another minor league contract with the Twins for 2006 and hopes to work his way back to the majors. Two of the top left handed relief prospects began last season at New Britain prior to being promoted to the Red Wings. Ricky Barrett (#45/D7, 2002), 24, began the season (10g/17.2ip/0.51era/.180OppAve/25K/7BB) at New Britain where he was lights out with a 1.017WHIP, 1.415K/ip, and an acceptable 3.566BB/9ip. Barrett moved up to Rochester early in the season where he was inserted into the starting rotation for 5 starts before being returned to the bullpen (40g/63ip/6.71era/.287OppAve/64K/48BB). He is a lefty with a good fastball who is intriguing because of more than 1 strikeout per inning. He had major control problems at Rochester (6.857BB/9ip) which continued in the AFL (11g/12ip/9.00era/6K/13BB). This problem, if not corrected, will keep him from taking that last step to the Twins. Perhaps a better candidate is 22 year old Jason Miller (#26/D4, 2000) who also began the season at New Britain. Miller was solid for the Rock Cats (26g/49.2ip/2.72era/.188OppAve/56K/22BB) with 1.128K/ip. At Rochester, Miller faired better than Barrett (13g/26ip/3.81era/.272OppAve/27K/17BB), however, also issued to many free passes (5.885BB/9ip). With the Twins not having any lefthanded relievers returning, 2006 offers all three an excellent opportunity to make the team…although each will have to show improvement and have a great spring to be serious contenders.
Other relievers at Rochester included Jim Abbott (6g/13ip/9.00era) who was discussed with the New Britain starters last week. Trey Hodges, another ex major leaguer who was signed to a minor league contract, pitched briefly for Rochester (9g/16ip/5.63era) before being released. Veteran minor leaguer Brent Schoening (#66/D5, 1999), 27, was released this fall following his second year as a member of the Rochester bullpen (35g/64ip/6.05era/..304OppAve/50K/29BB).
New Britain Rock Cats (AA)
New Britain’s closer was Brooklyn Park, MN native Pat Neshek (#5/D6, 2002), 24, who was also just added to the 40-man. Pat led the minor league system in saves (24) and was consistent throughout the year, putting up great numbers (55g/82.1ip/2.19era/.225OppAve/95K/21BB) with 1.154K/ip and 2.296BB/9ip. The other reliever with the most exposure this season was 25 year old Kevin Cameron (#32/D13, 2001) who had a solid season in his second year with New Britain. Cameron appeared in 43 games (79.1ip/2.72era/.244OppAve/60K/27BB), earning 6 saves.
Ricky Barrett and Jason Miller each were very effective until their promotions to Rochester. Going into the season, Bobby Korecky (NR/Milton Trade, 2004), 25, was expected to begin the season as their closer until moving up to Rochester following an excellent 2004 when he had 31 saves for New Britain in 55 games with a 3.36era. He was injured after appearing in only 2 games and spent all of the 2006 season on the disabled list. John Thomas (#67/Mohr Trade, 2004), 23, appeared in 39 games (79.1ip/6.92era/.337OppAve/52K/37BB). The Twins signed veteran Daylan Childress (#60/2005) after the season began following his being waived by the Cincinnati organization. Childress appeared in 10 games for the Red Wings (10.38era) and 29 games (67.2ip/5.19era/.242OppAve/59K/39BB) for the Rock Cats. Veteran Brian Wolfe appeared in 5 games for New Britain after beginning the season with 3 games at Rochester. He was released following his brief period with the Rock Cats. Jeffrey Randazzo is another veteran of the organization who was released following his appearance in 2 games. Jan Granado (#49/Minor League Rule 5), 22, was selected in the Minor League segment of the 2004 Rule 5 draft. Granado began the season at New Britain (12g/25.2ip/5.61era/.286OppAve/19K/9BB) before moving down to Ft. Myers where he was very effective (25/49.1ip/2.92era/.272OppAve/31K/13BB). One of the lesser known relievers who is very consistent is 23 year old Jannio Gutierrez (#12/ndfa, 2000) who began the season earning 6 saves at Ft. Myers (15g/25.1ip/1.78era/.232OppAve/39K/10BB). He continued to pitch very well (9g/13.1ip/2.70era/.220OppAve/12K/6BB) after his promotion to New Britain.
Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi A)
Jay Sawatski (#48/D8, 2004), was their very effective closer (13 saves in 15 opportunities) until a mid-season slump that he was never able to get out of (43g/61.2ip/3.94era/.287OppAve/50K/21BB). Will this 23 year old lefty get back on track next spring and move up to New Britain as their closer? Jannio Gutierrez was likely their most effective reliever prior to his promotion to New Britain. Julio DePaula (#19/ndfa, 1999), 22, is another reliever (64.1ip/2.24era/.226OppAve/51K/25BB) who was sterling in 36 games. Former Cornell U star, Chris Schutt (#34/D7, 2003), 23, was another very effective reliever who averaged more than 1 strikeout per inning (38g/66.2ip/3.24era/.240OppAve/70K/30BB).
Although he started 7 games, Tristan Crawford (#38/ndfa, 2001) is another 23 year old reliever who was often very effective (32g/80.1ip/4.15era/.276OppAve/88K/23BB) with 1.095K/ip. Josh Gray (#51/D30, 2003), 24, was also solid (32g/62ip/3.34era/.254OppAve/49K/28BB) prior to finishing the season on the DL. Tim Henekjohann (#69/ndfa, 2002) spent much of the season on the disabled list (7g/10.2ip/5.06era/.256OppAve/9K/9BB). Another reliever was Peter Tautor (#76), 24, who appeared in 16 games (17.2ip/14.77era/.329OppAve/16K/22BB).
Perhaps the most talented reliever was young lefty Jose Mijares (#35/ndfa, 2002), 20, who was recently added to the Twins 40-man roster. Although Mijares could end up in the Twins starting rotation someday, he was used primarily in relief with only 1 start for Ft. Myers and 6 starts at Beloit. His numbers were very good at Beloit (20g/54.1ip/4.31era/.219OppAve/78K/40BB) and got noticeably better in his short stop at Ft. Myers (5g/12ip/1.50era/.116OppAve/17K/5BB). This talented lefty had 1.436K/ip at Beloit and 1.417K/ip at Ft. Myers, which is likely one of the reasons he was put on the roster.
Beloit Snappers (Low A)
Beloit’s closer was one of the top relievers in the system, 23 year old J. P. Martinez (#17/D9, 2004). He earned 20 saves (in 28 attempts) consistently keeping Beloit in the hunt for a playoff spot. His performance (53g/88.1ip/1.83era/.194OppAve/92K/31BB) should earn him a promotion to either Ft. Myers or New Britain in 2006. Steven Duguay (#15/D12, 2003) was very effective prior to being injured (17g/28.1ip/1.91era/.130OppAve/35K/15BB), placed on the DL and released following the end of the season. Kevin Culpepper (#59/D9, 2003) is a 23 year old lefty who had a solid season for the Snappers (49g/85ip/4.45era/.276OppAve/74K/31BB).
Angel Garcia (#53/D4, 2001) was selected as the first Rule 5 pick of the 2004 draft, however, later returned to the Twins when he didn’t make the 25 man roster. Garcia started 3 games however, (28.1ip/4.26era/.161OppAve/33K/20BB) missed part of the season appearing in only 17 games for the Snappers. St. Paul native and Joe’s older brother, Billy Mauer pitched in one game for the Snappers before announcing his retirement from baseball. Evan Meek (D11, 2002) is another former draft pick who was released during the season (13g/18ip/10.00era/.231OppAve/11K/36BB). Former draft pick Bo Pettit, who was signed as a non drafted free agent, (6g/10.2ip/4.22era/.289OppAve/9K/8BB) pitched briefly for the Snappers before also being released. John Williams (#63/D7, 2004), 23, is another lefty who was a solid member of the Snappers bullpen (38g/75.1ip/4.54era/.277OppAve/66K/30BB).
Elizabethton Twins (Rookie)
Two relievers had special seasons as part of the Twins championship season. Tim Lahey (#42), 23, was drafted as a catcher with a big arm out of Princeton University on the 20th round of the 2004 draft. During this past spring training he was converted to a closer and assigned to Elizabethton where he did not allow an earned run until August. Tim finished with excellent numbers, 15 saves in 16 opportunities, in his first year on the mound (26g/25.1ip/3.55era/.212OppAve/30K/8BB) including 1.184K/ip and 2.842BB/9ip.
Dutch national Alexander Smit (#21/ndfa, 2002), who was signed as a 16 year old, remains one of the Twins most exciting young pitchers. As discussed last week, the 19 year old lefty began the season as a starter at Beloit before returning to Elizabethon for a second season where he was used as a reliever. Smit and his big time fast ball dominated the Appalachian League where he was selected by Baseball America as the league’s 17th best prospect (21g/45.2ip/1.97era/.157OppAve/86K/12BB). Smit compiled a remarkable 1.883K/ip and 2.365BB/9ip. It will be interesting to see where Smit emerges in 2006 and whether he returns to a starting rotation or remains in the bullpen.
Daniel Powers (#36/D8, 2005), 22, was another effective reliever his first year in professional baseball. Powers appeared in 22 games (42.2ip/2.53era/.197OppAve/47K/20BB) with well over 1 strikeout per inning pitched. Armando Gabino (#75/Rule5) was another player selected in the 2004 minor league Rule 5 draft. Gabino struggled for the Twins (17g/30ip/8.10era/.338OppAve/23K/12BB). Joe Gault (#73/D22, 2003) appeared in 15 games (16.2ip/5.94era/.270OppAve/8K/6BB). Ryan Gehring (#64/ndfa, 2005) is another former draft pick who signed with the Twins this season. He pitched very well in 17 games for the Twins (30ip/3.00era/.213OppAve/31K/16BB). Danny Vais (#47/D17, 2003) was a draft and follow from 2003 (13g/40ip/4.95era/.264OppAve/30K/5BB) appearing in his first season in the Appalachian League.
Gulf Coast Twins (Rookie)
The GCL Twins closer was former Rochester A’s Aaron Craig (#61/D28, 2004), who was a draft and follow from the 2004 draft. The 19 year old was solid averaging over 1 strikeout per inning (21g/22.67ip/3.97era/.225OppAve/23K/7BB) earning 10 saves in 12 opportunities for the short season team. Omar Burgos (#77/ndfa, 2000) is a former third baseman who had the reputation of having the best arm of any infielder in the Twins system. He was converted to a pitcher this past spring, however, struggled in his first year on the mound (15g/20.1ip/6.64era/.333OppAve/5K/7BB). Jose Cordero (#50/D44, 2005) was very effective for the GCL Twins (12g/24ip/2.25era/.270OppAve/20K/10BB), earning a promotion to Beloit during that later part of the season (7g/7.2ip/4.70era/.290OppAve/8K/5BB). Nathan Crawford (#71/ndfa, 2005) is the 18 year old younger brother of Tristan, who played for the Miracle. Nathan had a respectable season (14g/23ip/5.09era/.278OppAve/16K/15BB) in his first year of professional ball. Danny Hernandez (#70/ndfa, 2003), 19, also put up respectable numbers during his first year (13g/21.1ip/5.48era/.231OppAve/19K/17BB) with the GCL Twins. Walter Patton (#74/D13, 2004) was a draft and follow (17g/23ip/7.43era/.294OppAve/20K/24BB), also in his first year in the GCL. Perhaps the top relief prospect on the GCL team is another Aussie, 18 year old Matt Williams (#40/ndfa, 2004). Williams was great for the GCL Twins (20g/37.1ip/1.93era/.241OppAve/42K/13BB), earning a late promotion to the Miracle when several players left to join the Australian Team in the World Cup. Williams did well in his sole appearance for the Miracle (2ip/0.00era/.250OppAve/2K/1BB).
The Twins organization had a solid closer at every level. Travis Bowyer was likely ready to make the Twins bullpen following his September callup, however, was the key player in the Twins trade with Florida for Luis Castillo. After Bowyer, each club had a solid closer led by Pat Neshek (New Britain), Jay Sawatski (Ft. Myers), J.P. Martinez (Beloit), Tim Lahey (Elizabethton) and Aaron Craig (GCL). Only Neshek will likely be ready to provided help for the Twins in late 2006, however, several of this group should continue their development and be solid candidates for the Twins bullpen in the future.
Perhaps the strength of the system is an exciting group of left handed relievers. Ricky Barrett (Rochester) has good stuff and is a strong strikeout pitcher, however, control has been his downfall and if not corrected will keep him from making the Twins or any big league team. Jason Miller (Rochester) is two years younger (23) and another strong candidate to make the Twins, perhaps as soon as summer, 2006. Jay Sawatski (Ft. Myers) is another lefty who was the closer at Ft. Myers. Sawatski was lights out for much of the first half of the season, however, struggled somewhat during the second half.
The two most exciting lefties however, are Jose Mijares (Ft. Myers) and Alexander Smit (Elizabethton). Mijares was a surprise addition to the 40-man roster last month, in part due to his striking out more than 1.4 batters per inning last season at Beloit and Ft. Myers. He did make a few starts and it is unknown whether he will remain a reliever or become a starter in 2006. Smit also stuck out an obscene number of batters in relief at Elizabethton (1.883K/ip). Smit, who finished his season pitching well for the Dutch team in the World Cup, is a very talented prospect whose future has no limit if he can master a second pitch.
Other righthanded prospects that could provide help for the Twins in the near future include, Willie Eyre (Rochester), Beau Kemp (Rochester), and Kevin Cameron (New Britain). A few of the top righthanded prospects further away include Jannio Gutierrez (New Britain), Julio DePaula (Ft. Myers), Dan Powers (Elizabethton), and Matt Williams (GCL Twins).
Another excellent job by Roger. Thank you for this and for all of the minor league reviews that you have done for this site. We look forward to reading your thoughts either here or at Twinkie Town throughout the year. Believe me, I know how much work and time you have given to write these up. It is quite the commitment. So, I thank you.
Now to the relievers. As I mentioned earlier, I think that it is most difficult to predict future success for minor league relievers. Travis Bowyer was a starter for much of his career, until 2004. Jesse Crain and Pat Neshek are a couple of the very few Twins prospects who have been relievers throughout their career. Lets even look at the Twins bullpen. Joe Nathan came up with the Giants as a starter. Juan Rincon came up to the Twins initially as a starter. JC Romero came up to the Twins as a starter. Grant Balfour came up with the Twins initially as a starter. Matt Guerrier came up to the Twins in 2004 as a starter. The Twins signed LOOGY Dennys Reyes to a minor league deal and there is a good chance that he will make the Opening Day roster. He came up early in his career, you guessed it, as a starter.
Think about the Twins minor league prospects. There is already, disappointing, talk about Francisco Liriano coming up to the Twins as a reliever, despite the fact that he has been an incredible starter. JD Durbin came up to the Twins as a starter, and if he makes the team in the next year or so, it will likely be as a reliever. Dave Gassner has been a starter in his minor league career. His best chance to make the Twins roster is likely as another lefty out of the bullpen.
So, what does that mean? I really don't know. In coming years, when all of the Twins minor league starting depth moves up the organizational ladder, only five pitchers will remain as starters. That is probably very important to remember for both fans and the GM, etc. What does it mean for the quality relievers in the Twins system. Willie Eyre and Beau Kemp are excellent AAA relievers who are probably ready to contribute now. Pat Neshek is very close, but I also think that both Justin Olson and Kevin Cameron have the kind of stuff and results to contribute to the Twins bullpen very soon. Jannio Gutierrez and JP Martinez are also very impressive.
I think Roger is right though. The highlights of the bullpen appear to be Alexander Smit and Jose Mijares. Both are very young and have electric arms. I would have to think that the big picture plan for both pitchers would be for them to develop into starters. Smit had a problem with control and giving up the long-ball at Beloit, but he had excellent control and dominated Elizabethton. It just appears to me that the team is being overly cautious with Mijares. According to his teammate Chris Brown, his stuff is incredible. He pitched mainly out of the bullpen, but made a few starts. He also moved up a few levels. He was the starting pitcher for Ft. Myers' final game of the year. He threw five no-hit innings. It will be interesting to see where both of these pitchers wind up in 2006, and in what role.
And finally, one more interesting case is Tim Lahey. He was dominant at Elizabethton. My first thought throughout the year was that he is a 23 year old guy pitching against guys who are 18-21 years old. He should dominate. However, that has to be coupled with the fact that this was his first year of pitching. Because of that, I believe that his role in the organization has to be a one, maybe two, inning guy. I believe that 2006 is a big year for Lahey. Because of his age, I would like to see him advance to at least Ft. Myers by the end of the year.
So, overall, I would say, and I think Roger would agree on many of the Twins relief pitching prospects. It is exciting to know that the Twins should remain a competitive team for years to come just because of the whole development of their pitching staff, including these relievers. Do you have any thoughts on the Twins minor league relief pitchers? If so, e-mail me, or post some comments below.
Just a couple of notes regarding the Twins:
As of late Tuesday night, the Strib's Joe Christenson wrote an article on the situation saying that it was unlikely that the Twins would have interest in bringing Koskie back. However, by Wednesday morning, he wrote another article saying that it was the Blue Jays that were pushing the situation. They are the ones trying to send Koskie back to the Twins, not the other way around. He wrote that the Jays are willing to pay at least $3 million of the $11.5 million remaining on his deal. Of course, another big question the third year option remaining on his deal in which he would make $6.5 million if he has 600 plate appearances in either 2006 or 2007, or 1,200 between the two years. Here are my thoughts since numerous people have asked me. I did post something similar in yesterday's Comments:
IF the Blue Jays:
1.) will send the Twins at least $6.5 million, and
2.) they will not ask for Kyle Lohse, Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Boof Bonser or Glen Perkins,
then I would make that deal in a minute.
See, I would not be worried about that third year. First, can any of us really imagine the injury-prone Koskie getting 600 plate appearances in a season? Second, assuming that Tony Batista would still be kept around, they could work a nice platoon and provide some good bench depth. That could help Koskie stay healthy as well as keep his plate appearances down. Also, Koskie and Batista could spell Rondell White at DH some days.
Koskie obviously provides the Twins some intangibles that are maybe not seen in statistics. A big one would be his status in the community and all the charity work he does. This has nothing to do with baseball, but goodwill in the community is not a bad thing. Second, he could be the team's real team leader. That would hopefully keep Torii Hunter from doing whatever it was that he seemed to want to call leadership! A side note of that is that Koskie could be a great, calming influence on fellow-Canadian Justin Morneau. He also can be a quality player. No, he is not really a great hitter. He hasn't hit for average in a long time. He does not have a lot of power. He does provide a lot of quality at bats though. By that, I mean that he takes a number of pitches and fouls some off. However, if you have watched Koskie, you see a very slow bat with a looping swing. He also swings through a lot of pitches. So, he is not a great hitter, but certainly a better option than Tony Batista, and if nothing else a quality veteran off the bench.
And now, even as I'm typing this, I just read that Joe Christenson wrote an article saying that the talks between the Twins and Blue Jays are basically dead. So, does that mean that the deal is dead, or is it possible that this is just more posturing?
Mr. Christenson told me that this story has gone back and forth, meaning it is a story worthy of being followed. That is his job, and when the story constantly changes, it is his job to let us know that.
Any thoughts? E-mail me, or leave some comments. This seems to be a pretty hot topic.
I was reading my new issue of Baseball America last night and checked out the Transactions page. In there, they show the team's minor league transactions too. In it, I read that the Twins signed Jason Tyner and Glenn Williams to minor league contracts. We all knew that already. However, I also read that pitchers Omar Burgos, Joe Gault, Tim Henkenjohann and Peter Tautor, along with OF Ron Perodin and IF Odannys Valdez were released by the organization. Also, pitcher Steven Duguay signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Along with Corky Miller, the Mariners signed SS Jose Morban to a minor league deal.
Be sure to stop by The Baseball Analysts site. Bryan Smith wrote an article a couple of days ago called Breaking Out 101. In it, he discussed 15 prospects that he predicted would have big 2005 seasons. He thought that Francisco Liriano and Alex Romero were both breakout candidates. See how he feels about those two players after their seasons.
On the same site, Bryan and co-writer Rich Lederer revisited their Top 30 free agents (and more) that they came up with after the season. See how accurate they were in their predictions.
There is an interesting discussion on JD Durbin at John Sickels' site. Well worth reading people's opinions on what type of prospect he is now.
That's all, folks! I will call it a day. I certainly hope that you have found Roger's article on the Twins relievers worth reading, and I hope that many of you will have comments for him. I will be back tomorrow for more of my own thoughts on some of your questions, as well as the NFL "Expert" Picks. If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.
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