Tuesday, May 2, 2006
Twins Minor League Reports
Q&A with Kyle Waldrop
Beloit Snappers Pitcher
Good morning to everyone!
Before we get started today, here is a quick update on Chris Coste. After being cut from the Philadelphia Phillies Opening Day roster in the 11th hour, Coste went down to AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre and has really struggled. Last night, he went 1-3 to increase his average to .167. To the organization's credit, they have stood by him. He has been in the lineup almost every game and hit between third and fifth in the lineup. If you go to the Beerleaguers' site, you will find this:
"Its a sad, sad thing to check the Red Barons Web site and read that Chris Coste, the wannabe 33-year-old rookie, is hitting .160 after nearly making the club as a non-roster invitee. I keep scanning the minor league transactions, waiting for Coste to go on the DL with a broken heart."
But today, I am very happy to have another Q&A with a Twins minor league player. Last week, we learned a little more about Rochester outfielder Josh Rabe and Ft. Myers 3B David Winfree.
Kyle Waldrop was the Twins third 1st round draft pick of the 2004 draft out of Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. Many passed on him because it was believed that he would not sign and accept a scholarship to Vanderbilt. The Twins took him with the 25th overall pick and signed him quickly. He started his pro career with a seven game stint with the GCL Twins. He went 3-2 with a 1.42 ERA. He walked just four and struck out 30 in 38 innings. He then made four starts at Elizabethton where he went 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA. In 25 innings, he walked three and struck out 25. Just to recap... in 63 innings that year (at age 18), he walked just seven hitters while striking out 55. Last year, he was 19 and spent the entire season at Low-A Beloit of the Midwest League. On the season, he was 6-11 with a 4.98 ERA. He made 27 starts and threw 151.2 innings. He walked just 23 and struck out 108. I'm sure he was somewhat disappointed when the Twins had him start this season back at Beloit. However, he is still just 20 years old and still on the young side of the Midwest League. In just five April starts, Waldrop is 1-2 with a 5.21 ERA. However, looking at some of the peripheral numbers, he is not performing too poorly. In 26.1 innings, he has walked just five and struck out 22 hitters.
At 6-4 and 190 pounds, Waldrop is what scouts refer to as 'projectable.' Basically, that means that he is tall and lanky and scouts think that he will be able to fill out and get stronger and eventually throw harder. At the same time, the lanky portion tells us that he likely has a better whip action in his arm motion which is always good. Stat-people love is lack of walks. Although he is back at Beloit to start the season, it is important to note that Waldrop is the second youngest pitcher on the team's staff. Only fellow 2004 draft pick Eduardo Morlan is younger. Beloit is a very young team with several of their 2005 draft picks on the roster including top high school picks Henry Sanchez, Paul Kelly and Drew Thompson. I say that because young fielders make mistakes that are corrected as they move up the system. I'm sure that Kyle would not use this as an excuse, but it is a reality.
The Twins still fully expect Kyle Waldrop to become an impact pitcher at the big league level. However, it may not be until late in the 2008 season.
I'm sure you don't want to read any more background. Check out his minor league numbers and other information here. Let's just get to the Q&A already! Thank you to Kyle Waldrop for taking the time to answer these questions. Again, I think that this is very interesting to read and I hope, and am sure, that you will enjoy it too.
If you have any comments for me or Mr. Waldrop, please e-mail me, and I will try to answer your questions or forward them on to him and see if we can get you an answer.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Growing up in Tennessee, who was your favorite team, and who were some of your favorite players to watch and emulate?
Kyle Waldrop: Probably the Braves because they were the only team that seemed to be on every night. Greg Maddux was always fun to watch and emulate because of how he keeps hitters off balance with his command.
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about your high school career.
Kyle Waldrop: My sophomore year we were state runner-ups and my junior and senior years we were state champions with a record of 94-3 those years and #2 in the nation. (Farragut HS)
SethSpeaks: The Twins took you in the 1st round in 2004. Had you talked to the Twins' scouts much, and where were you expecting to be drafted?
Kyle Waldrop: I had been in contact with Twins scout Tim O'Neil since the summer of 2003 when he coached me at the East Coast Proffesional showcase. I never really thought I'd be drafted high enough to take me away from college.
SethSpeaks: I know you had signed to play college ball, and it was rumored that you would not sign if you were drafted. How difficult was your decision to sign with the Twins rather than go to college?
Kyle Waldrop: Very difficult. A college degree and a chance to play in the SEC at a school like Vanderbilt was hard to pass up.
SethSpeaks: Who were some of the coaches or people that have helped you get to this point in your career?
Kyle Waldrop: Growing up my parents have helped me more than anyone. Coaching wise, Ital Bibee (summer coach of 8 years) and Tommy Pharr (HS coach) have helped me a ton and I'm very thankful for them.
SethSpeaks: How would you describe yourself as a pitcher. What are your strengths, and what areas would you say you most have to improve upon?
Kyle Waldrop: I'm a control and command pitcher. I don't have an overpowering fastball so I rely on movement on my fastball and changing speeds to get hitters out. I need to become more consistent with off speed pitches and gain some velocity to become more effective.
SethSpeaks: What pitches do you throw, and what would you say is your "out" pitch?
Kyle Waldrop: 2 and 4 seam fastball, curve ball, slider and change up. Out pitch is my slider.
SethSpeaks: What was the adjustment to pro baseball like for you?
Kyle Waldrop: It was tough at first because I played everyday in high school either pitching or in the field so I had to get used to pitching once every five days and staying focused the days in between.
SethSpeaks: How do yo like the weather in Beloit in April?
Kyle Waldrop: It's a little to cold for me. I'd prefer the Florida weather.
(photo from Emily Smith Photography)
SethSpeaks: What is the best part, so far, about a career in baseball?
Kyle Waldrop: To wake up everyday and know that you get to go to the ballpark and play baseball.
SethSpeaks: What is the most difficult part of life in baseball?
Kyle Waldrop: Having a privilege to put a uniform everyday and play the game I love, which there is no better one in the world.
SethSpeaks: What are your goals heading into the 2006 season?
Kyle Waldrop: To be more consistent every outing than I was in 2005. To throw more innings that I did in 2005.
SethSpeaks: What do you think it will be like to put on a big league uniform in a regular season game for the first time?
Kyle Waldrop: Words can't even describe how good a feeling that would be.
Kyle, I thank you again for taking the time to answer all of these questions.
Do you have any thoughts or questions for Kyle Waldrop or me? If so, please feel free to e-mail me.
If you would like to read any previous Q&A's, here is a checklist:
4/28/06 - Q&A with David Winfree (Twins minor league infielder at Ft. Myers)
4/25/06 - Q&A with Josh Rabe (Twins minor league outfielder at Rochester)
2/24/06 - Q&A with Tommy Watkins (Twins minor league infielder at New Britain)
2/20/06 - Spring Training Q&A (Part 2) (Several Twins and former Twins answer questions about spring)
1/3/06 - Q&A with Chris Coste (Phillies AAA player and my former college teammate)
11/29/05 - Q&A with Chris Brown (former Twins 1B prospect, spent 2005 in Beloit)
11/25/05 - Q&A with Seth (your questions for me)
11/23/05 - Q&A with Pat Neshek (Twins Relief Pitching Prospect, added to 40 man roster, 2006 in Rochester)
11/15/05 - Q&A with Jeff Dooley (the voice of the New Britain Rock Cats)
11/8/05 - Q&A with David Dorsey (local writer for The News-Press in Ft. Myers, FL)
10/25/05 - Q&A with Mark Sheldon (former Twins Beat Reporter for MLB.com)
10/18/05 - Q&A with Kevin Slowey (another top pitching prospect, Twins 2nd round pick in 2005, 2006 in Ft. Myers)
10/11/05 - Q&A with Wes Holtsclaw (local writer for the Elizabethton Twins)
10/5/05 - Q&A with Eli Tintor (Minnesota-native, catching prospect who played 2005 in E-Town, 2006 in Beloit)
7/28/05 - Q&A with Jim Mandelaro (local writer for the Rochester Red Wings)
2/28/05 - Q&A with Pat Neshek (Minnesota-native, reliever prospect who played 2005 at New Britain)
12/17/04 - Q&A with Alexander Smit (Holland-native, pitching prospect spent 2005 between Beloit and E-Town)
5/28/04 - Q&A with CJ Nitkowski (big league pitcher, spent Spring Training 2005 with the Twins)
I don't even know what to say about the Twins at this point. They are an absolutely horrible baseball team. As bad as the 33-1 weekend at the hands of the Tigers was, last night's 8-1 loss to the Mariners at home was even worse. At least the Tigers are known as a hitting team. The Mariners are not a good offensive team. But the Twins play of late... just plain offensive! Just horrible. And when will it come to an end? Will it come to an end, or are we in for a season of this?
Of course they will play better. I don't think it is possible to play any worse. In previous years, when the Twins struggled they generally had one phase of the game going bad on them. For instance, most of last year the pitching was remarkable and the offense for weeks at a time would do just little enough to lose. Then there would be the games here and there when the offense would show some life, but then the pitching would struggle. This year, it has been everything. The offense has been as bad as it was last year. The pitching? Well, there is no way that anyone could have predicted that it would be this bad! All of them! And for as much as people want to tell you that the defense is solid... it is horrible too. Yes, they make the plays on the left side of the infield, but they have zero range and effort. (the right side of the infield is actually very good)
I don't remember ever seeing the Twins play this poorly, not even in the late-'90s. But anyway, here are a few more thoughts.
Adrian Beltre comes into the game hitting .189, and the Mariners have had him hitting in the 7th hole of the lineup for some time now. Torii Hunter comes into the game hitting .186, and where does he hit? That's right, in the cleanup spot. Sadly, because of Hunter's constrictive contract, he has to stay on the field most of the time. However, he does not have to hit in the middle of the lineup.
Did you listen at all to the pregame show last night? They showed a stat about how the Twins were horrible on the road yet were 6-3 at home. I believe that Dick Bremer said that they were playing "Championship Ball" at home! Sure, if they won 2/3 of their games throughout the season, they would win 108 games and that should win a division championship. However, how could they say that when the team ERA was still approaching 6.00! I don't care if they're hitting .305 at home, they aren't going to win any championships giving up that many runs.
Scott Baker did well through five innings, allowing three runs but working out of some difficult situations and throwing a lot of pitches. After he had a nice, 1-2-3 fifth inning, he should have been taken out of the game. They could have had him go out on a high note, with some confidence. But instead, Gardy keeps him in there, maybe in an attempt to give him a shot at a Win, and he gives up a homer and a double before Gardy brings in Jesse Crain (aka this year's JC Romero when it comes to allowing inherited runners to score).
Willie Eyre does get a lot of movement on his pitches, so I can see him being successful.
It has been a month, and it has been 13 appearances and things just are not getting better for Jesse Crain. It just might be time to send him down to Rochester. A player gets three 'options' and I don't think that any have been used on Crain. Send him to Rochester to become their closer, and call up Pat Neshek, who is already on the Twins 40 man roster and pitching great.
Oh, and the Minnesota Senate Tax Committee voted 12-0 that the stadium vote needed a referendum. Not good news for the Twins, the Twins fans or the state of Minnesota. Doesn't mean that the stadium chances are over, it just doesn't help at all.
Justin Morneau has become nearly home run or nothing... that is very reminiscent of the Tony Batista that we mock so frequently! Because Morneau is still just 25, I would give him the benefit of the doubt for awhile longer. Of course, some may be surprised to know that at his current pace, if he can play in 150 games, he will hit 41 homers and drive in 109 runs. And that is while hitting just over .200. For how poorly he has hit, he has done a great job defensively.
Ron Gardenhire got ejected from the game in the Top of the 8th, arguing a fair/foul ball. The call was horrible. However, I also think that he was ready to argue on any close play last night. I would have been. Maybe that's the problem. Yesterday I said that the Twins needed to hit some batters. Maybe they needed Gardy to get tossed from a game.
Stick & Ball Guy posted his other series 360 Degrees last night after Baker was removed from the game. In this series, he shows how well the starting pitchers did through the rotation. In other words, each of the Twins starters made one more start. As you can imagine, it is not a pretty picture!
On a positive Twins Note, Aaron Gleeman posted his choice for the Twins #27 player of all-time today!
As frustrating as it is to listen to the KFAN personalities talk about the Vikings throughout the Twins season, they do have a quality Twins chat room full of passionate Twins fans. Some of them say things that make me think that they should only talk about football, but it does create some fun reading.
John Sickels did a Prospect Retro on the late Steve Howe who passed away this weekend. He spent part of the 1985 season with the Twins.
He also did a Prospect Retro on former Twin Todd Walker.
One more thing... Rondell White did hit three bullets last night. Maybe he just needs a few bloopers to fall in.
The 9-16 Twins will send Johan Santana to the mound to face lefty Jarrod Washburn tonight in the final game of the two-game series. Santana won his first game of the year in his last outing.
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the Mariners, or anything else? I'm sure we've all got the answers as to how we would fix it. What are those things? If so, send me an e-mail, or post some Comments below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Terry Tiffee, Rochester Red Wings
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Beau Kemp, Rochester Red Wings
One quick note, and I will likely bring it up from time to time in the next week... Next Tuesday, at 12:50 p.m. Eastern time (11:50 central), I will be on Around the Minors with Jonathan Mayo and Lisa Winston. You can find it on mlb.com radio. Each Tuesday, they are planning on talking with a minor league blogger. Because of my Twins affiliate updates and Q&As, and the fact that Jonathan was the subject of a Q&A here last month, they asked if I would be willing to come on the show and talk about my website and Twins prospects for five or six minutes. Of course, I jumped all over that opportunity. Again, I will be sure to remind you, but also, if you haven't listened to or read Around the Minors, you should.
Also, here is a line from Jim Mandelaro's Extra Bases Blog regarding Johnny Damon's move from the Red Sox to the Yankees: "Best line I've heard this week on Damon: Looks like Jesus, acts like Judas, throws like Mary."
If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Monday - Red Wings 8, Norfolk 1 Pete Munro would probably like nothing went six quality innings and improved to 3-0. He gave up a run on five hits and three walks. He struck out three. Beau Kemp came in and threw three shutout innings for his first save of the year. Andres Torres led the offense going 3-3 with his fifth double and a walk. Jason Bartlett went 2-5 with an RBI. Terry Tiffee was 2-3 with two walks, his fifth double and two RBI. Garrett Jones was 0-2, but he did walk three times.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Monday - Rockcats 7, Harrisburg 6 (11 innings) Danny Matienzo has been coming alive again. Last night, he went 3-6 with two RBI. Trent Oeltjen was 1-2 with a walk, a sac fly and his fifth stolen base. Matt Moses and Denard Span were both 2-5 with a walk. Moses hit his fifth double. Glen Perkins had a bit of a rough outing. He did go six innings, but he gave up five runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out eight. Justin Olson struck out four over the next 2.2 innings, allowing only one hit. Jay Sawatski gave up a run in the next 1.2 innings. Bobby Korecky got two outs and was the winning pitcher.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Monday - Miracle 4, Dunedin 3 Kyle Aselton has done a very nice job in the Miracle rotation this year. Last night was not his finest moment. He went just 4.1 innings and gave up nine hits and four walks and yet somehow, he gave up just two runs. Josh Hill got the win as he went the next 3.2 innings, only allowing an unearned run. Tim Lahey went the final inning to record his first save of the year.
Monday - Snappers Yes, another rain out.
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? I would love any input, or ideas to make it better. Thanks! E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
Let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today and for the week!
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