Monday, April 25, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
NFL Draft Thoughts
Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Mine was alright. It was almost boring with the Twins being snowed out in Detroit both Saturday and Sunday. But I did watch a few movies (and hope to review them for tomorrow). But, the Twins minor leaguers still had most of their games, so we'll report on them. The NFL Draft went on this weekend, which for some reason, I find entertaining. My initial "Blogger Minute" aired on the Twins Magazine Show on WCCO on Saturday morning. So, for today, it will just be an update on the goings on. But first, just a couple of notes.
If you're at all interested in the new Twins Stadium bills and legislation, there will be an announcement made on the plaza of the Metrodome at 2:00 today. I hate even writing about the stadium on this site because it just frustrates me to no end that this situation was not resolved long ago. The Twins need a new stadium. We have all heard the reasons why so many times. Based on the weather in Detroit this weekend, it becomes more and more obvious that the retractable roof would be necessary too. Hopefully this one works. I really hope it does!
For those of you who keep track of such things, the new list of the Top 100 Sports sites has been updated. I have moved up a couple of spots to the #38 spot. Obviously, I still don't know exactly what this is based on, but it is nice to see. You will also be interested in knowing that Aaron's Baseball Blog moved up to #7. Bat-girl's site makes a big move up (16 spots) to the #66 spot.
So for today, I am just going to touch on the Twins game, and the games of their minor league affiliates, as well as a few thoughts on the NFL Draft.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me.
As I mentioned on Friday, I recorded my "Blogger Minute" for Saturday's Twins Magazine Show with Rita Maloney on WCCO. It took four takes. The first time, I messed up right away. The second time, I read my thoughts really fast, trying to stay under a minute, but I forgot to breathe, so by the end of the time, it actually hurt. It came through in my voice, so we tried it one more time. Well, that time, I don't think I even got into the second sentence before we had to start over. The fourth time, it actually went ok, I think. Probably could have improved it, or maybe broken it into pieces or something, but I'm not a natural at that, so I was very happy to call it good!
What I did was wrote down what I was hoping to say. However, you try to make it sound like you're not just reading it because that just doesn't sound right. So, I ended up just using my written paragraphs as notes and ad-libbed.
Now, I got in my car before 10:30 on Saturday morning, and drove around. I listened to the first half of the show, and didn't hear my segment. I ran into the store for a couple of minutes around the 11:00 hour and came back and listened until the show was done at 11:30. Never heard myself. Well, I didn't know if I had been skipped or what. My mom called me and told me that she didn't hear it either.
Well, fortunately my brother called me (yes, to make fun of me for being a dork!) and told me that he had heard my segment. First, I told him that I had to make some mention of his favorite player, Steve Lombardozzi. But then he said that I should probably remember that I am speaking to common baseball fans too, not just us stat-heads. So, if you do not know what OPS means, it is On-Base Percentage Plus Slugging Percentage. And with that, you can figure out how how it is calculated. The reason for this stat is to come up with a better means of measuring the production of a hitter. Batting average only says one thing. If you look at OPS, you measure how often a hitter gets on base (whether it if from a hit or a walk) as well as his ability to hit for power, or extra-bases. In the last year, Topps baseball cards have finally started including OPS on the back of their cards. I have also seen OPS shown occasionally on telecasts, so it is becoming a more mainstream measurement.
So, I still haven't heard it. I hope to get a recording of it from them so that I can hear it. I look forward to hearing it first to hear how dumb I sound, and second to see if it makes sense. But I also want to see how different what I actually said was from what I had written. Since I likely won't be able to include the audio of the Blogger Minute, I thought that I would let you know what I had written out. Hopefully it is fun, enjoyable, and somewhat interesting to you. If you happened to hear me, or if you have any questions on any of this, please e-mail me. Thanks!
Today I am going to use my 60 seconds to give just a few Random Ramblings on the Twins.
Terry Ryan has made some great trades the last couple of years:
Kielty for Stewart AND Gassner!
Milton for Silva, Punto and Korecky!
Pierzynski for Nathan, Bonser and Liriano!
But… what is the worst Twins trade in the past 20 years? In my opinion, it happened on April 22, 1988, when the Twins traded Tom Brunansky to the Cardinals for second baseman Tom Herr. Steve Lombardozzi had been the Twins second baseman, and he had a career OPS of .654. Tom Herr’s career OPS was .696. Did you know that Luis Rivas’s career OPS is .695? So basically, the Twins traded Tom Brunansky who had hit 32 home runs in 1987, for Luis Rivas. Does that put the trade into some perspective?
And yes, in 1987, Bruno, Puckett, Gaetti and Hrbek were the last Twins to hit 30 home runs. That is well documented. But, does anyone else happens to think that Justin Morneau will crack 30 homers this season?
Back to Francisco Liriano… the lanky lefty that was essentially a throw-in in the AJ for Nathan trade… does anyone else get really excited thinking that Liriano has a Santana-like changeup, but throws 96-98 mph? He is currently doing great, striking out a lot of hitters at AA New Britain.
How exciting is a possible 2006 starting rotation of Johan Santana, Brad Radke, Carlos Silva, Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker? With Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan pitching the 8th and 9th innings, the Twins will at least have the pitching half of their “pitching and defense” cliché!
That’s it for me. Check out the site sometime and Go Twins!
Well, it was a pretty quiet weekend for the Twins. That made it a very tough, long weekend for Twins fans! However, as Ron Gardenhire told us, "Mother Nature always wins." Rain, sleet, snow and wind were prevalent in Detroit all weekend. The teams are supposed to play at noon today, making up Saturday's game.
The teams did get a short window to get their game in on Friday night though. It was a good game with a bad ending for the Twins. Why was it good? Well, Carlos Silva came back and pitched a great seven innings for a no decision. It was a very Silva-esque performance. Seven innings. Seven hits. No walks. Five strikeouts. Three runs (Two earned). An excellent start for Silva. Interestingly, if you happened to watch the game, the unearned run allowed by Silva was due to a Torii Hunter error. Was your reaction similar to mine? I just assumed that he'd catch the fly ball, so when it dropped, I was in awe. So was Torii! Did you notice that he saw that he missed it, and he actually had to look at his glove before getting the ball, assuming that he didn't see what had just happened either.
The other bit of good news was that Justin Morneau returned to the team after his stint on the disabled list with the concussion. Not only was he back, but he contributed right away with a double. And then, with the Twins down 4-3 in the top of the 9th, Morneau led off with a long home run off of Troy Percival to tie the game. It is great to have Morneau in the middle of the lineup, hitting behind Joe Mauer.
Now, the bad new is that Ivan Rodriguez led off the bottom of the 10th with a game-winning home run against Terry Mulholland. Of course, the big question is why Terry Mulholland would possibly be put into a tie game in the 8th inning, and then why he would stay out for the 10th inning. First, I have to admit that I was thinking the exact same thing. I asked myself why Jesse Crain wouldn't be brought into the game. I mean, he has pitched just 4 1/3 innings in seven appearances this season. He hasn't allowed an earned run yet. That said, Gardy has shown little to no confidence in him so far this year. My honest opinion is that if you're trying to still win that game, you should pitch Jesse Crain. If you're simply trying to save the bullpen, then Mulholland was the right answer. You don't know how long the game is going to go. Maybe the Twins win it in 9 innings, maybe the Tigers win it in the 24th inning. I completely understand not using JC Romero, Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan in the game. However, I feel hypocritical in writing any of this. And, because I disagree with the pitching decision does not mean that it isn't defensible. The problem is that now the Twins haven't played for two days and people are still complaining about it!
Because of the rainouts, the pitching rotation has been jumbled. To keep them on their regular turns, Brad Radke will pitch today with Johan Santana pitching Tuesday night in Kansas City. Joe Mays, who was supposed to pitch Saturday and then Sunday, will now pitch on Wednesday, with Carlos Silva pitching Thursday.
Any thoughts on the Twins? E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Thursday - REDWINGS 2, Buffalo 3 - Garrett Jones is starting off 2005 right where he ended the 2004 season. On this night, he launched his 5th home run of the season. Jason Tyner went 2-3. Brent Schoening started and went 2 innings. He gave up a run on two hits and three walks. Brian Wolfe falls to 0-2 after he gave up two runs in three innings. He gave up two hits and two walks. Beau Kemp struck out two in his inning of relief.
Friday - REDWINGS, Buffalo - Rained Out.
Saturday - Game 1 - REDWINGS 3, Ottawa 5 - The Redwings scored three runs on just four hits. Michael Ryan had a two run single. Henry Bonilla started and went seven innings. He allowed three runs (2 earned) on eight hits and a walk (2 strikeouts). Beau Kemp took the loss by giving up two runs (1 earned) on three hits in his inning.
Saturday - Game 2 - REDWINGS 9, Ottawa 0 - Scott Baker was again the story. He pitched the complete game (7 innings in double-headers) shutout. He gave up just five hits and a walk, and struck out five. Brent Abernathy went 3-3 with 3 RBI. Todd Dunwoody was 2-4 with a double and an RBI. Glenn Williams was 2-3 with a double. Chris Heintz was 2-3 with a double and 3 RBI.
Sunday - REDWINGS 6, Ottawa 3 - Boof Bonser continues to pitch well and yesterday recorded his first win of the year. He gave up three runs (2 HRs) on four hits and a walk in seven innings. Travis Bowyer and Willie Eyre each pitched a scoreless inning. Eyre picked up his third save. Terry Tiffee went 2-3 with a homer (his 2nd) and two RBI. Garret Jones was also 2-3. Michael Ryan was 1-2 with a walk, a homer and 3 RBI.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Thursday - ROCKCATS 0, Trenton 3 - The Rockcats had just four hits on the game. The lone bright spot offensively was Alex Romero who was 1-2 with two walks. Levale Speigner took the loss to fall to 0-2, but he went seven innings and gave up the three runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out five. Ricky Barrett pitched the 8th inning and struck out the side.
Friday - ROCKCATS 2, Trenton 9 - Doug Deeds continues to hit well. He went 2-4 to increase his average to .322. Alex Romero was 2-4 with his second homer. He also stole his third base. Matt Yeatman took the loss. He gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings. He gave up three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. JT Thomas allowed a run in an inning. Kevin Cameron was the hard luck pitcher though. He recorded just two outs and gave up six runs. All six runs were unearned. But he still gave up three hits and walked two. Pat Neshek pitched a perfect innings and struck out two.
Saturday - ROCKCATS 1, Trenton 2 - Francisco Liriano took the loss, falling to 1-2, but he pitched well. In 7 innings, he allowed two runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out six. Justin Miller pitched a perfect 8th frame. Bryan Kennedy had two of the team's five hits, including a double. Danny Matienzo also had a double.
Sunday - MIRACLE 0, Trenton 5 - On this day, the Rockcats had just three hits and Doug Deeds had two of them, including a double. Justin Olson started and gave up five runs (2 earned) in 4 2/3 innings. He gave up six hits, walked two and struck out four. Brian Wolfe went 1 1/3 innings without giving up a run (notice that he was sent down from Rochester where he really struggled). Ricky Barrett and Kevin Cameron each pitched a scoreless inning.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Thursday - MIRACLE 2, Lakeland 5 - Nick Blackburn lost for the first time this year. He gave up three runs on five hits in six innings. He struck out five without walking any. Tristan Crawford then came in and gave up two runs in two innings. Chris Tolbert went 2-4 with a double. Matt Moses continued his hot streak going 2-4 with a double and an RBI. Trent Oeltjen had a triple in his first game of the season.
Friday - MIRACLE 1, Lakeland 2 - Glen Perkins got the start. He gave up no runs in three innings. He allowed two hits, but walked none and struck out four. Julio Depaula gave up a run on three hits. He also walked none and struck out three. Josh Gray took the loss by giving up a run on four hits in three innings. He walked none and struck out five batters. Trent Oeltjen went 2-4. Matt Moses had an RBI on his sixth double.
Saturday - MIRACLE, Lakeland - Rained Out.
Sunday - MIRACLE 7, Clearwater 5 - Matt Moses continues to crush the ball. He went 3-4 with a walk, a single, his 7th double and his 3rd home run. He is now hitting .415 with 18 RBI. Trent Oeltjen had a double and a triple in five at bats, driving in three. Brock Peterson was 2-5 with a double. Errol Simonitsch started and gave up three runs (2 earned) in five innings. He allowed six hits and walked three. After Hill struggled in his 1 2/3 innings, Granado came in and improved to 3-0 with an excellent 2 1/3 innings. He allowed just two hits and struck out three.
Thursday - SNAPPERS 3, Clinton 1 - Alexander Smit struggled in his first three starts of the season, but he found it on this night. He gained his first win with a nice five inning outing. He gave up one run, and allowed two hits and walked two. He struck out five. Kevin Culpepper struck out two in his two shutout innings. Steven Duguay struck out four in his two innings to record his third save. David Winfree went 2-4 with a double. Landon Burt and Javier Sanchez were both 2-4 as well.
Friday - SNAPPERS 2, Clinton 5 - Angel Garcia is slowly being given more innings. Remember that even though he was taken with the first pick in the Rule V draft, he is still coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2005. On this day, he started and went four innings. He gave up two runs without giving up a hit. He walked three and struck out four. Evan Meek came in and got just one out while allowing a walk and two hits. Kyle Aselton gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits. He struck out four. Jonathon Martinez gave up just one hit in the final 1 2/3 innings. Offensively, the Snappers had just six hits and only Chris Brown, who hit a triple, had an extra-base hit.
Saturday - SNAPPERS 2, Wisconsin 5 - Anthony Swarzak struggled again. He gave up three runs on four hits and a shocking four walks. He struck out three. John Williams gave up two runs over the next three innings. He allowed five hits and a walk. William Pettit pitched two scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Mitchell Zamojc had a double and a homer (his second) in four at bats. Luke Hughes went 2-3 with a walk. Trevor Plouffe was dropped to the 6th spot in the lineup and went 0-4. He is now hitting .078/.127/.157.
Sunday - SNAPPERS 4, Wisconsin 5 - OK, I may need an official ruling on what to call 2004 first round pick "Waldrop." I know that his given first name is Steven. I also know that he is called "Kyle" on his baseball cards and on anything I've ever read about him. However, in listening to Jim Rantz, the Twins Director of Minor Leagues, he referred to him as Steven (and so does the Beloit roster). So, lets just say that they're both the same guy. Anyway, he started and went 5 2/3 innings. He gave up two runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out three. Kevin Culpepper lost the lead. He gave up two runs in his 1 2/3 innings. Steven Duguay took the loss though, giving up a run in an inning and a third. He walked four, so that would have been his problem. Terrance Patterson was 2-5 with a double. Deacon Burns was 2-3 with a triple. David Winfree was 2-3 with two RBI.
Alright, so the Vikings have had a very busy offseason already. Over the weekend, they added seven new players to their system via the draft. Again, I am the first to admit that I don't follow the NFL much in the offseason. I try to keep up with who the Vikings lose or add via free agency, but that is about it. However, I am also one of those guys who can sit around and watch all seven rounds of the NFL Draft on ESPN. I find it interesting. I can't really explain it.
If you go to the BrentNet Forums, you will notice that there has been a lot of talk about the NFL Draft starting pretty much immediately following the end of the season. (be sure to check his site out for his pick-by-pick analysis. OK, it is a very fun/funny read. You'll enjoy it. And there is some talk of football too!) That has basically been my source for knowledge. Basically, the Vikings traded Randy Moss and added Darren Sharper, Fred Smoot, Napolean Harris and Pat Williams to the defense. So what did they still need to address this weekend? Well, first they obviously wanted an impact wide receiver to try to replace Moss. I think that they needed an offensive lineman to replace the retired David Dixon. And then they needed someone to rush the passer. Other than that, any defensive help would be good, regardless of position. So, what did the team do? Here are their draft picks.
1st Round - 7th Overall - Troy Williamson - South Carolina - This is the pick acquired from the Raiders for Moss. The talk in the week leading up to the draft was that the Vikings wanted Michigan's Braylon Edwards and were considering trading up to get him. But, it was also made very clear that if they could get USC's Mike Williams at #7, they would be thrilled. Fact is, Troy Williamson's name was never mentioned as a real option for the Vikings. That is one thing that you learn before the draft. There is a lot of talk, and if something is "let out", then that team is obviously going to do something else. Now, as the analysts said, Williams was good, but was more of a possession receiver. Williamson is very fast and will be able to spread the field and hit on some big plays. He played under Lou Holtz at South Carolina. I believe that Nate Burleson is a well-rounded receiver who should play in some Pro Bowls. Marcus Robinson is a tall, possession-type receiver. Williamson gives them that third option, although he will probably become the team's #2 option soon after.
1st Round - 18th Overall - Erasmus James - Wisconsin - A speed defensive end. He's not huge (at just 266), but he has a way of getting to the quarterback. You now look at the Vikings defensive line with James, Keneche Udeze, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams and that is very solid.
2nd Round - Marcus Johnson - Mississippi - And here is that offensive lineman that could eventually take over for David Dixon. Johnson is 6-6 and 321 pounds. He seems relatively quick and agile. With Mike Rosenthal hopefully back and right tackle, this should help solidify the Vikings offensive line, protecting Daunte Culpepper, allowing him time to pass and opening holes for their plethora of RBs.
3rd Round - Dustin Fox - S - Ohio State - Fox played CB at The Ohio State, but because of his size and speed will likely play Safety in the NFL. That is fine because the Vikings have two top cornerbacks right now in Antoine Winfield and Fred Smoot. He can learn from Darren Sharper and Corey Chavous and possibly eventually take over for Chavous. For now, he'd likely be a special teams guy who could play some in nickel and dime packages.
4th Round - Ciatrick Fason - RB - Florida - Here is where my confusion begins. First, the team gave up their own fourth and fifth round picks to move up about 10 spots in the draft. No problem with that. However, why did they do that to draft a running back. Did the team forget that they have Michael Bennett and Onterrio Smith, not to mention Mewelde Moore? They obviously must like this guy a lot to give up an extra pick and take him. I can't imagine they would do all that for a fourth running back, or a special teams guy. I mean, if that's the case, I'm just fine with Larry Ned! Does this pick signal that the team has an impending trade worked out with some team involving Bennett or Smith? I guess we'll see.
6th Round - C.J. Mosley - DT - Missouri - At just 6-2, 314, he is smallish for a defensive tackle. Odds are that he won't make the active roster, but he could learn a lot playing behind Pat Williams and Kevin Williams and maybe in a year or two he'll matter.
7th Round - Adrian Ward - CB - Texas-El Paso - Late round picks rarely make it, but having defensive back depth is always good. He is small and fast, so you never know. The Vikings got this pick from the Raiders as part of the Moss deal as well. Remember, the team traded its own 7th round pick to acquire Sam Cowart (a pick well spent!).
SUMMARY - I thought that all four of the Vikings Day 1 picks were excellent. Great talents at positions of need. I am baffled by the Fason pick, not because he's not worth, but just because he is a running back. After that, it's all a guess, and at least they guessed with defense, which I think is good.
OTHER DRAFT THOUGHTS
I feel bad for Aaron Rodgers as he had to sit in the Green Room and watch the first 23 picks. But in the big picture, he has to be absolutely thrilled with where he went. First, he gets to back up Brett Favre, knowing that he just needs to learn. Favre likely will play just one more year and then Rodgers will have to be ready. Sitting that first year seems to be a good thing. Just ask Daunte Culpepper.
Cedric Benson was full of tears after the Bears made him the 4th overall pick. And then his interview with ESPN's Suzy Kolber may have been the most interesting, honest look at the NFL Draft process. He was tired of all of the scrutiny that he and other potential picks had to go through (and he seemed to have to go through much more). And even with all that, the went early and now he can just concentrate on football. See, Benson went to Texas and he wore dreadlocks. So, what is the assumption made about him, or who will he naturally be compared to? Ricky Williams.
Gophers star Running Back Marion Barber III had to wait until Day 2 to be selected. That was expected for the 5-9, 221 pound back. He was taken by the Dallas Cowboys with their 4th round pick, 109th overall. He will back up Julius Jones, and I think it will be a very good place for him to fit in. He can return punts and kicks, and be a 3rd down back. He has also shown the durability to do more should Jones suffer a setback.
Those of you in Fargo, or much of North Dakota, were probably excited when Robert Hunt, a center, was draft in the 5th round (165th overall) by the Indianapolis Colts. The North Dakota Statue University and Cavalier (ND) high school grad moved up the charts with his speed for a center as well as his overall athleticism.
Any thoughts? E-mail me.
On that note, I am going to call it a day. Thanks again for stopping by this site. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
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