Monday, May 8, 2006
Roger's Minor League Players of the Week
Twins Minor League Notes
Good Monday morning everyone! I hope everyone was able to enjoy their weekend. The Twins played the Tigers again and it was significantly better! The Twins minor league affiliates definitely struggled over the weekend. Today, you can see how they did. You can also check out Roger's choices for the Twins minor league hitter and pitcher of the week! If you head over to Twinkie Town, you can see his Week in Review. On that note, I hope you enjoy today's posting, leave some thoughts for discussion in the Comments, and be sure to stop back tomorrow for another Q&A with an exciting Twins prospect.
As my close, personal friend Meatloaf once said, "Two out of Three Ain't Bad!" Following the previous weekend's 33-1 debacle in Detroit, I think that the Twins and their fans should be absolutely thrilled with the Twins performance this week. Of course, Kyle Lohse started on Friday night, which is like throwing that game away. However, the Twins were able to win the other two games including in dramatic fashion.
OK, here is a quick aside for you. On Saturday night, the Twins fell behind 6-4 in the 7th inning. I saw the Twins cut that lead to 6-5 on Joe Mauer's RBI double in the bottom of the inning. And then for some reason, my cable company's Channel 14, Fox Sports Net went to a blue screen. That's right! Just completely lost the rest of the game. Was I able to watch the Twins come-from-behind, bottom of the 9th win? Nope! Missed the whole thing. The channel started working after the telecast was over. I can't even explain that at all, but it bothers me to no end. Anyway...
Where was I? Oh yeah, Scott Baker pitched well for six innings, and Jesse Crain gave the Twins something to make them very happy. He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning and struck out Carlos Guillen, Chris Shelton and Craig Monroe. On Friday night, he struck out two in his inning. He was throwing 95-97 mph with a great curveball. Hopefully he has turned the corner and can be counted on the rest of the year.
Johan Santana was so impressive through Sunday's game's sixth inning. He was throwing hard. His changeup was just dropping over the plate. And his slider was darting in on righties. And he had pinpoint control of all three pitches. No hits through six innings. At that time, he had 10 strikeouts already. The vintage Johan is back!
It is official! Torii Hunter is currently in his bi-annual hot streak!!! He had an excellent series both in the field and with the bat. Here is how Torii and the rest of the bats performed this weekend:
Shannon Stewart (3-14, 3B, 2 RBI, K)
Luis Castillo (4-14, 2B, HR, 4 R, 2 RBI)
Joe Mauer (4-8, BB, 2B, 2 R, RBI, 2 K)
Torii Hunter (6-10, 3-2B, 2-BB, 3-R, 4 RBI, 2 K)
Michael Cuddyer (6-11, BB, 2-2B, 3B, R, 4 RBI)
Justin Morneau (2-10, 2-BB, 2B, RBI, 3 K)
Rondell White (3-11, BB, RBI, 2-R, K)
Tony Batista (1-8)
Juan Castro (2-9, BB, RBI, K)
Mike Redmond (2-4)
Nick Punto (1-4, 2 R, K)
Lew Ford (0-4, K)
Luis Rodriguez (0-0, BB)
Just look at the 3-4-5 spots in the Twins order. Between the Joe Mauer/Mike Redmond catchers in the 3-hole, Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer, they were 18-33 (.545) with six doubles, a triple, four walks and nine RBI. That is just what was needed.
It does appear that Tony Batista is starting to lose playing time. Obviously I don't think that is a bad thing. If only the same thing would happen with Juan Castro. However, why is it Nick Punto who takes their playing time and not Luis Rodriguez? I just don't get it.
Now, the Twins get to play three games down in Arlington against the Texas Rangers. I shouldn't say 'Get To' as the Rangers are playing well so far this year. The Twins are now 13-18, and the Rangers are 17-15, one-half game ahead of the Oakland A's atop the AL West. The Rangers boast one of the stronger offenses in the league and the usuals like Michael Young, Hank Blalock and Kevin Mench are off to fast starts. The team has to be thrilled to be getting production from Phil Nevin! Brad Wilkerson has been disappointing so far, but he is coming on and leads the team in runs scored. Mark Teixeira is off to a very slow start, but he is one of the best hitters in the league and is sure to come on soon. The only thing that I don't understand about the Rnagers offense is how Rod Barajas still does the majority of the catching when Gerald Laird is far better! But that is nitpicking a very solid team.
Now, pitching has long been the problem for the Rangers. However, in the offseason, they brought in Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla. Millwood has done well with an impressive 3.52 ERA so far. Padilla's ERA is a full run higher than Millwood's, but he has the same 3-2 record. Adam Eaton was also brought in. Many bashed the Padres for dealing Eaton to the Rangers for Chris Young, Adrian Gonzalez and Termell Sledge. I thought that it was a wonderful deal for the Padres as I thought Young was just as good as Eaton and Gonzalez could be great. Well, Eaton got hurt and Gonzalez is the Padres' primary first baseman now. But, John Koronka has been the other good story for the Rangers. The rookie is 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA on the year for the team and has given them a shot in his games. Add in the fact that they have pitching prospects like Edison Volquez, Thomas Diamond and John Danks in their upper levels and the future would appear to be bright for the Rangers. One negative has been the pitching of their closer Francisco Cordero. He has been among the best the past two seasons, but he fought injuries in the offseason and early this year. He struggled badly and has now been replaced by Akinori Otsuka (who came to the Rangers with Eaton, making that trade bearable) who has done well in his week as the new closer.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series:
Monday - 6:05 - Brad Radke (3-3, 7.29, 1.53, .336) vs John Koronka (3-1, 3.55, 1.16, .238)
Tuesday - 7:05 - Carlos Silva (1-5, 8.59, 1.61, .350) vs Kevin Millwood (3-2, 3.52, 1.28, .276)
Wednesday - 1:05 - Kyle Lohse (1-3, 9.71, 1.99, .346) vs Vicente Padilla (3-2, 4.58, 1.53, .263)
With that group of pitchers, it could be a very long series for Twins fans. All three are very capable of getting rocked. Radke and Silva are both coming off of very strong performances. But those were against the Royals offense, not a juggernaut like the Rangers. The key will be to keep the ball down. Lohse is a loss for certain, and he is especially unlikely to succeed in Texas where he was drilled a year ago. It will be up to the offense to try to match that of the Rangers.
So, do you have any thoughts on the Twins/Tigers series, or the Twins/Rangers series? If so, please feel free to leave Comments below, or send me an e-mail.
ROGER'S MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Throughout the year, our friend "Roger" will be keeping tabs of the Twins minor leaguers again. This year, he will be coming up with a minor league hitter and pitcher each week. Feel free to comment! And don't forget to check out his weekly minor league update at Twinkie Town.
Player of the Week - Andres Torres, Rochester Red Wings
…Torres, 28, is a speedy outfielder who was signed as a minor league free agent on December 20, 2005. Torres had a great week, going 12 for 27 (.444Ave) with 1 walk, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, 6 rbi and 6 runs scored. For the season, Torres is hitting .339Ave/.408OBP/.645SLG in 62 at bats. He was 2 for 4 with a triple, 2 runs scored and 2 rbi in Sunday’s win over Norfolk; 3 for 3 with a walk, double and run scored in Monday’s win over Norfolk; and 3 for 5 with a double, home run, rbi and run scored in Thursday’s loss to Ottawa.
Runner-up will require the mention of two players who had exceptional weeks. Beloit first baseman/outfielder Erik Lis was 7 for 14 (.500Ave) with a walk, double, home run, 3 rbi and 3 runs scored. Lis is now hitting .318Ave/.388BP/.591SLG in 88 at bats. Ft. Myers third baseman Jose Leger also earned recognition with his performance this week…6 for 12 (.500Ave) with a walk, double and rbi. Leger, who was called up from Extended Spring Training the previous week, is hitting .318Ave/.444OBP/.409SLG in 22 at bats.
Pitcher of the Week - Kevin Slowey, Ft. Myers Miracle
…2005 2nd round selection Kevin Slowey, who was the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week last week, would be the top young prospect in the system if not for teammate Matt Garza who has been his equal this spring. Kevin was 1-1 in two starts this week (12.0ip, 5 hits, 2 runs (1 earned) and 15K/0BB). For the season, Kevin has a 1.53era, 0.65WHIP and 44K/2BB in 35.1 innings pitched (0.509BB/9ip). Slowey earned a win in last Sunday’s 6-2 victory over Dunedin (6.0ip, 2hits, 1 run (0 earned) and 5K/0BB) and received the loss in Friday’s 3-1 loss to Lakeland (6.0ip, 3hits, 1 earned run and 10K/0BB).
Runner up is Minnesota native and Rochester closer, Pat Neshek, who appeared in three games this week (6.0ip, 3 hits, 0 earned runs and 12K/3BB). For the season, Pat is averaging two strikeouts per inning pitched (18.0ip, 15 hits, 4 earned runs and 36K/7BB) for a 2.00era, 1.22WHIP and 3 saves.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
Friday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Matt Moses, New Britain Rockcats
Saturday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Steven Tolleson, Beloit Snappers
Sunday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Erik Lis, Beloit Snappers
Friday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Kevin Slowey, Ft. Myers Miracle
Saturday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Beau Kemp, Rochester Red Wings
Sunday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Eduardo Morlan, Beloit Snappers
Here are the weekend updates. If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Friday - Red Wings 1, Ottawa 9 – Mike Smith earned another start with his previous performance, but things didn't go quite as well this time out. In 6.1 innings, he gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out four. Jason Miller came in and in 1.2 innings gave up a run. Matt Ford gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits in the 9th. There also wasn't much offense to speak of as the Red Wings recorded just five hits. Jason Bartlett had an RBI double, and Andres Torres had a triple.
Saturday - Red Wings 0, Pawtucket 2 – Pete Munro gave up two runs on six hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out eight. Then Beau Kemp came in and threw three shutout innings. However, Red Sox pitching prospects Jon Lester got his first win by throwing five shutout innings. On the game, the Red Wings only had five hits. Shawn Wooten had two of them.
Sunday - Red Wings 2, Pawtucket 5 - Boof Bonser made another start for the Red Wings and took his second loss. In 6.2 innings, he gave up four runs (3 earned) on eight hits and three walks. He struck out six. Kevin Cameron gave up one run in the final 2.1 innings. Shawn Wooten went 2-4 with his second homer. Jason Bartlett and Terry Tiffee each had two hits, including a double.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Friday - Rockcats 2, Portland 7 – Matt Moses has had a couple of great games of late. In this game, he went 3-4. Danny Matienzo went 2-4 with a double and an RBI. Errol Simonitsch started the game and in six innings, he gave up four runs on eight hits and four walks. He struck out five. Levale Speigner came in and gave up three runs in three innings.
Saturday - Rockcats 5, Portland 9 – Adam Harben was due for one, but it was quite a run. On this night, he went just two innings and gave up five runs (3 earned) on seven hits and four walks. Now he just needs to return with another strong outing in his next start. Tristan Crawford came in and struck out six in four shutout innings. Julio DePaula took the loss as he gave up three runs (2 earned) on four hits and two walks. Bobby Korecky gave up a run on two hits and a walk in his innings, but he did strike out two. Trent Oeltjen led the offense going 3-5 with a triple and two RBI. Alex Romero went 3-3 with a walk and an RBI. Felix Molina went 2-3.
Sunday - Rockcats 5, Portland 7 – Glen Perkins had a fairly rough start to fall to 0-3. His ERA dropped to 4.39. In 5.1 innings, Perkins gave up six runs (5 earned) on eight hits and a walk. He gave up two home runs. John Thomas moved up from Ft. Myers and he went 2.2 perfect innings with three strikeouts. Jay Sawatski allowed an unearned run in his inning. The Rockcats managed five runs despite just seven hits. Matt Moses hit his fifth homer and drove in two. Denard Span also drove in two runs.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Friday - Miracle 1, Lakeland 3 – Kevin Slowey continued his masterful start in Ft. Myers, however, for his efforts last night, he took the loss. He went six innings and gave up a run on three hits. He walked none and struck out 10 hitters. As you can see, I added his picture and stats to the left of the screen, right next to Matt Garza, because what these two are doing is really remarkable. JP Martinez came in next and gave up two runs on two walks, a hit and a home run in two innings. Ryan Callahan pitched the final inning, without allowing a run. Alexi Casilla was 2-4 with the team's lone RBI. Brock Peterson was also 2-4.
Saturday - Miracle 8, St. Lucie 5 – Kyle Aselton improves to 2-1 with a decent outing. In five innings, he gave up two runs on five hits and two walks. Josh Hill went the next two innings and gave up a run. Danny Powers gave up two runs in hit two innings. Matt Tolbert went 3-5 with a triple, an RBI and a stolen base. Alexi Casilla went 2-4 with this 10th stolen base. Garrett Guzman was 2-4 with an RBI. Kyle Geiger was also 2-4. Brock Peterson was 2-4 with a triple, a homer and three RBI.
Sunday - Miracle 6, St. Lucie 9 – Jose Mijares took John Thomas's spot in the rotation. It didn't go so well. In 2.1 innings, he gave up four runs on four hits and two walks. He gave up two homers. Ryan Callahan came in and gave up two runs (1 earned) on four hits and a walk. He struck out four. Tim Lahey gave up three runs on five hits in two innings. Chris Schutt pitched a scoreless inning. Alexi Casilla went 2-5 with his fourth RBI. Trevor Plouffe, playing 3B, went 2-4 with a walk and a triple. Kyle Geiger went 2-3 with a walk and two RBI.
SIDE NOTE - Since Matt Tolbert returned from New Britain, he has started both games at 2B. Alexi Casilla has moved back to SS. Plouffe played 3B on Sunday after entering the game there on Saturday night. So, is this a more permanent move, or just something for the time being? Is Plouffe now a 3B? Or, what happens when David Winfree comes back?
Friday - Snappers 1, SW Michigan 3 – Brian Duensing started for the Snappers and did very well. He gave up just a run (despite nine hits and two walks) in seven innings of work. He struck out eight. David Shinskie gave up two runs in his two innings, both in the 9th. The Snappers had just three hits, although they also took six walks. Edward Ovalle had the lone extra base hit, a double.
Saturday - Snappers 5, SW Michigan 6 – Eli Tintor went 3-5 with his first homer and two RBI, but it wasn't enough for the Snappers to get a win. Caleb Moore went 2-4. It was a full day for Steven Tolleson who went 2-3 with two doubles, two walks, two RBI and a stolen base. Ryan Mullins got the start and in five innings, he gave up two runs on five hits and three walks. Alexander Smit and Frank Mata each went 1.1 innings and gave up two runs. Yohan Pino went 1.1 innings and gave up two hits but no runs.
Sunday - Snappers 1, SW Michigan 3 – The Snappers held a 1-0 lead until giving up three runs in the top of the 9th. Eduardo Morlan put together a wonderful start. In seven innings, he gave up no runs on just one hit and two walks. He struck out nine. Danny Vais pitched a scoreless 8th inning but both batters he faced in the 9th got on base. Jose Lugo came in and walked one and gave up a run. He allowed the inherited runners to score and an unearned run of his own. There was also little offense to speak of. Erik Lis went 2-2 with two doubles and two walks. The Snappers team had just five hits and six walks.
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.
Welp, that is it for today. If you have any thoughts, opinions, comments, critiques, or ideas on anything, please e-mail me, or let's get a discussion going in the Comments.|
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