Monday, May 22, 2006
Roger's Minor League Players of the Week
Twins Minor League Notes
What a Week!
Good Monday morning everyone! Lots of great information and news to share with you today. It was a great weekend for the Twins on a couple of levels; one for the current team, and one for the Twins organization for years to come. Two things first though:
First, congratulations to Barry Bonds for tying Babe Ruth for second all-time in career home runs with 714. I don't care what he took or anything, I will be incredibly impressed by what he has accomplished. No one will ever prove to me that there is any relationship between performance-enhancing drugs and the ability to hit a baseball as well as Barry does.
Second, Michael Barrett was probably completely in the wrong on Saturday. I've never been a big fan of his, but when he drilled AJ Pierzynski in the face after their collision, I became a Michael Barrett fan.
Alright, it is a new week, and that is a good thing. I am happy for a new week to start.
THE BIG NEWS
However, last week was probably the best week of my life. People have asked me for a week now what was going on in my life that made my blog entries a 'little' bit shorter, and I hesitated to post it here. I know that I have always tried to keep my personal life out of this blog, at least the really personal things (not that there are a lot, my life isn't that exciting). But you know what, it is definitely worth it. So today, I am going to make an announcement.
Last Monday morning at 8:49 a.m., my girlfriend and I welcomed a little girl into the world. She was so tiny, just six pounds, 3 1/2 ounces, and 18 1/4" tall. She came out with strong lungs, 10 fingers, 10 toes and everything else that a parent can hope for. Oh, and she has much more hair than I do! She is so cute, the most beautiful little girl in the world, right? She is a gift. That is a day that I will never forget. There probably isn't a detail of the day that I will forget (I hope not at least!). I think that it is safe to say that Monday, May 15th was the greatest day of my life!
It took us a couple of days to come up with the 'right' name for her. On Sunday night, we did not know what we were having, boy or girl. So, we did some rankings and went to the hospital with a list of two potential boys names and five potential girls names. All along, picking boys names was pretty easy for us. However, we just could not come to any agreement on a girl's name. The funny thing is that when we saw her, none of the five names on our list really fit her. So we waited, and waited, but by Tuesday afternoon, we knew we had her name, and we knew it was the right one.
Jozie Sue-Elaine is her name. We wanted something that was not among the most popular names, but also not something that was just way out there, you know, like Apple or Suri or something. To make it a little different, the Z replaces the S in the more traditional spelling. The middle names also have meaning. Sue is my mom's middle name, and Elaine is my grandma's name. They are two of the best women influences that are in our lives, and we obviously know that, and we thought that Jozie should have both names in her name because they are both such great role models for her.
On Thursday afternoon, we were able to bring her home, and that was another day that will not be forgotten.
I can't imagine anything better than becoming a parent and watching your child grow. I am really, really excited to be starting that process. I hope you don't mind me spending a few paragraphs to express such excitement.
THE OTHER BIG NEWS
Some of you many have seen that Alex Gonzalez retired yesterday from the Philadelphia Phillies. To replace him on the Phillies roster, the team purchased the contract of Chris Coste. As you remember, Coste was the subject of a Q&A in early January., and we followed his incredible spring training performance right up until the 11 1/2 hour when the Phillies acquired David Dellucci from the Rangers and Coste was shipped back to AAA. Those of you who have kept tabs have likely noticed that he did not perform up to his standards once he got to AAA, hitting just over .170. However, on Friday night, he hit his first home of the season off of Twins minor leaguer JD Durbin. He hit another homer on Saturday night.
When Coste was sent down, both GM Pat Gillick and Manager Charlie Manuel said that they took note of Coste and should anything happen, he would get a shot. Well, Mike Lieberthal got injured and Carlos Ruiz was called up. So, I was wondering if it would happen. But fortunately, what he did in the spring was noticed and remembered and Saturday night, he finally got that call that he had spent 13 minor league seasons struggling to to get. Yesterday, he was in uniform and on the bench when the Phillies played the Boston Red Sox. Tomorrow when they play in New York against the Mets, he will be wearing the Phillies road jersey, #27 I hear.
Apparently the patience and hard work that he has put in over all of the years is about to pay off. In the next couple of days, I would suspect that Manuel will motion to Coste and say, "Grab a bat." Moments later, Coste could be standing in the on-deck circle. A minute or two later, his name will be announced over the loud speakers, and he will step into the batter's box. Can you even imagine what you would feel in that situation? I don't know how I would even be able to contain myself.
I have already read that it is possible that his big league stint may only last until Saturday when Aaron Rowand is set to come off the Disabled List. If that is the case, he has already made it. He will always have that. He is now on the team's 40 man roster, meaning that he can be recalled at any point throughout the rest of the season.
Obviously we wish Chris nothing but the best.
Here are other links on the story:
From Balls, Sticks & Stuff, the Philling Station, and the Phillies Phan Phorum.
MORE BIG NEWS
The Twins have been lobbying for a new stadium for the better part of a decade, some would say that they have been for the last twenty years. There was the Donald Beaver/Relocation debacle that probably cost this deal at least three years. There has been bill after bill sent to the House and Senate, but just nothing had ever worked out. Honestly, I just hated even writing about the stadium issues on this site because it was just so frustrating.
Anyway, at about 5:30 on Sunday morning, the Senate passed a new Twins stadium bill by a vote of 34-32. The House had passed it on Saturday evening. In other words, FINALLY!, the Twins will be getting a new stadium. Sure, the stadium will not be ready to be used until the 2010 season, but at least there is a plan in place. A $522 million outdoor stadium will be built in Minneapolis, and the Twins will stay in this market for years and years to come.
Do you have any thoughts on the stadium? If so, leave Comments below, or e-mail me.
DISCUSSION QUESTION - 2010
Since the Twins will have a new stadium to play in for the 2010 season, I thought it would be fun to put a Discussion Question here on the subject. We have had several Discussion Questions on this site in the past, but it has again been awhile. So, what you need to do if you're interested in participating is, read the below question, take a little time to think over your response, and then e-mail me your thoughts on the question.
Who do you think will comprise the Twins roster for the home opener in the new stadium in 2010?
Please do not discuss this in the Comments below. I will post all responses on Friday, so please send me an e-mail if you would like to participate. Obviously none of us will get all 25 correct, and there will be unforeseen trades. I mean, we are four seasons from the new stadium. But, it is fun to project. Which current Twins will still be around? Which minor leaguers will be a part of the team? It will be interesting to see what others think.
The Twins went into Milwaukee this weekend and we got to see a little glimpse of the future. Friday night, it was Francisco Liriano making his first start. Saturday night, Scott Baker struggled his way to the Win. Finally, yesterday Boof Bonser made his major league debut and had an excellent start. They got wins on Friday and Saturday, and only a bullpen malfunction stopped the Twins from sweeping the Brewers. And don't forget, the Brewers are a very good team that should continue to compete in the NL Central Division.
Liriano went five innings and struck out five Brewers hitters. He struggled at times with his control a little bit, but he was still able to complete five innings under his 70 pitch limit. To top it off, Liriano's opposite field bloop single scored the Twins first run of the game.
Baker struggled again, but thanks to some run support and an ability to complete that fifth inning with less than 110 pitches, he got the glorified Win statistic. Although he has struggled in his last four or five starts, Baker has the ability to be a very solid #3 starter behind Santana and Liriano for years to come.
Bonser was excellent. 97 pitches in six innings. Just five hits and only one run. I charted his pitches in the first inning. That was enough to make me pretty excited about Bonser's potential. He has four pitches that all appear to be at least average. His fastball stayed between 91 and 94. His slider was between 87 and 89. His slow curveball came in at 75-78. And, his changeup was between 83 and 84 consistently. Now, the first inning was rough. He threw 23 pitches. I am sure that his nerves were getting the best of him. The first three batters each got on base. Carlos Lee hit a sacrifice fly, and then Bonser got a popup and a strikeout to end that inning. That showed me a lot. His ability to mix his pitches and throw them for strikes gives me a lot of hope in what he can become. All told, the righty went six innings and gave up a run on five hits and three walks. He struck out eight.
Jesse Crain gave up four runs in just 1/3 of of an inning. It is hard to criticize him because he had not allowed a run to score since May 1, a period which spanned seven outings.
Willie Eyre struggled again in his weekend outing. That is three rough outings in a row. You have to wonder if he is looking over his shoulder.
Carlos Silva pitched a scoreless inning in yesterday's game. It was his first bullpen appearance since his demotion.
But it was more than just pitching that helped the Twins to their good weekend. The bats were alive for much of the time too.
Maybe it had something to do with Shannon Stewart being out of the lineup. Stewart's heel hurts, and he says it has hurt since the first day of spring training. Maybe that is why his defense and route-running has been so bad.
Rumor has it that there is a good chance that if Stewart is put on the disabled list, the Twins would call up Jason Kubel from Rochester. He would then platoon in left field with Lew Ford. Although I'm more of a prospect guy, I have to say that Jason Tyner has done what it would take of late to have earned a promotion too. Of course, he would need to be added to the 40 man roster first.
Joe Mauer was obviously the story of the weekend. The lanky lefty with the picturesque swing went 9-15 in the series with a double, a homer, four runs scored and five batted in. He raised his batting average from .307 to .338.
Tony Batista had a big series. He went 4-11, but he had two big home runs. His grand slam on Friday night gave the Twins some cushion. This two run shot on Sunday gave the team a two run lead.
Michael Cuddyer was quite productive. He went just 3-11, but he had a three-run triple, a go-ahead homer, three walks and six RBI on the series.
Justin Morneau was 4-12 with three doubles, four runs, three RBI and two walks.
Lew Ford, hitting leadoff in place of Stewart, went 1-10, but he scored five runs. So, he had a single, walked twice and took a big hit-by-pitch, and he stole two bases.
Luis Castillo was just 2-13, but he added three walks so he was able to score three runs too.
By the way, the Brewers Sunday home jerseys might be the coolest uniforms ever. Well, at least their logo is the coolest!
The Twins now have a day off before a quick two game home series against Cleveland.
So, do you have any thoughts on the Twins/White Sox series, or the Twins in general? 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 is 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 - Jason Tyner, Rochester Red Wings
…Tyner, is a Red Wing outfielder who hit .321Ave during a September call up last year. Tyner, who played part of four seasons with Tampa Bay several years ago, stretched his current hitting streak to 12 games with a single Friday night. Tyner had 4 multi-hit games this week (3 games with 3 hits), completing the week with 14 hits in 28 at bats, 2 walks, 5 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple and 0 rbi. Tyner’s average is up to .315 following his recent streak.
Runner-up is Beloit first baseman/outfielder Erik Lis, who continued his torrid start to this season with 13 hits in 28 at bats, 5 walks, 6 runs, 3 doubles, 1 home run and 8 rbi…raising his system high batting average to .353.
Pitcher of the Week - Glen Perkins, New Britain Rockcats
…A 2004 1st round selection, Perkins is this week’s Pitcher of the Week. Glen had two starts including a no decision in Saturday’s 0-1 loss to division leading Connecticut when he pitched 6.0 innings, allowing 3 hits and 0 earned runs with 10K/3BB. He earned the win in his second start this week in a 3-1 victory Friday night when he pitched 7.2 innings, allowing 6 hits and 1 earned run with 11K/2BB. After pitching well for 4 or 5 innings and then hitting a wall earlier this spring, Glen started stretching out this week as he lowered his era to 3.12.This week we have Tri-Runner ups as three pitchers had performances demanding recognition. Top prospect Matt Garza, won his first start at New Britain following his promotion from Ft. Myers, pitching 7.2 innings in which he allowed 1 hit and 0 earned runs with 13K/2BB in the Rock Cats 4-1 victory on Thursday. Fellow 2005 pick Kevin Slowey again was nearly perfect in his only start, pitching 7.0 innings with 3 hits, 0 earned runs and 10K/0BB. Slowey now has 63K/2BB in 48.1 innings pitched with a 1.12era and 0.58WHIP. Eduardo Morlan was recently added to the starting rotation at Beloit. Morlan had his best start of the season Friday night, leading Beloit to their sixth consecutive win with a 7.0 inning performance in which he allowed 5 hits and 0 earned runs with 11K/1BB. These three prospects collectively pitched 21.2 innings in their last starts, allowing 9 hits and 0 earned runs with 34K/3BB!
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
Friday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Steven Tolleson, Beloit Snappers
Saturday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Alexi Casilla, Ft. Myers Miracle
Sunday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Brock Peterson, Rochester Red Wings
Friday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Eduardo Morlan, Beloit Snappers
Saturday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Nick Blackburn, New Britain Rockcats
Sunday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Kevin Slowey, Ft. Myers Miracle
If you're missing out on Jim Mandelaro's Extra Bases, I would encourage you to check it out daily! Great information on the Rochester Red Wings and more.
Here are the weekend updates. If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Friday - Red Wings 0, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 2 – JD Durbin had another solid start. In 6.1 innings, he gave up two runs on six hits and three walks. One of the hits and one of the walks went to Chris Coste. Durbin also struck out five. Ricky Barrett struck out four over the final 2.2 innings. Unfortunately, the Red Wings were unable to do much with the bats. They had just five hits. Jason Bartlett had a double.
Saturday - Game 1 - Red Wings 10, Ottawa 1 – Game 1 marked the first AAA start for Kyle Lohse in almost five years. He did well though. In seven innings, he gave up just a run (on an Andy Tracy homer) on four hits and a walk. He struck out four. Jason Bartlett led the offense by going 3-4. Jason Tyner was 2-4 with a double. Terry Tiffee and Shawn Wooten each went 2-3. Jason Kubel hit his fourth homer and Garrett Jones hit his fifth.
Saturday - Game 2 - Red Wings 4, Ottawa 2 – Matt Ford got the starting nod in Game 2. He went five innings and gave up two runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out one. Pat Neshek went the final two innings for his seventh save. He walked none and struck out three. Gil Velazquez went 2-4 with a walk and two RBI. Jason Tyner was again 2-4.
Sunday - Red Wings 12, Ottawa 10 - It was a great day for the offense, but not so good for the pitching. Garrett Jones went 3-6 with his ninth double, his sixth homers and four RBI. Jason Tyner ended another strong weekend with a 3-5 game, with a walk. Josh Rabe was 2-6 with his 11th double, four runs scored and his fifth stolen base. Jason Kubel was 2-5 with a walk. Jason Bartlett went 2-6 with his third stolen base. Shawn Wooten hit his fourth homer. Mike Smith started for the Red Wings. He gave up seven earned runs on seven hits and five walks in four innings. Henry Bonilla got the win with two scoreless innings. Ricky Barrett gave up three runs on a hit and three walks in 2.1 innings. Beau Kemp got an out and gave up a hit. Pat Neshek came in and gave up a hit, but he got a strikeout to end the game for his eighth save.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Friday - Rockcats 3, Connecticut 1 – Glen Perkins finally picked up that illusive first win of the year. The lefty from Stillwater went 7.2 innings and gave up just a run on six hits and two walks. He struck out 11. Levale Speigner recorded his third save by getting the final four outs. Matt Moses led the offense by going 2-4 with his sixth double and two RBI. Scott Whitrock went 1-2 with two walks and his fourth double.
Saturday - Rockcats 7, Connecticut 5 – Nick Blackburn won his fourth straight decision. In this game, he went eight innings and gave up two runs on seven hits. He walked none and struck out six. Tristan Crawford came in to start the ninth, but he gave up three runs on three hits and a walk, and only got two outs. Bobby Korecky recorded his fifth save by getting the final out. Alex Romero, Doug Deeds and Felix Molina each had a single and a double. Denard Span had a triple. He also stole his eighth base.
Sunday - Rockcats 1, Connecticut 13 – Matt Moses went 2-4 with his seventh home run, but it was about all the offense the Rockcats could muster. Errol Simonitsch has been excellent of late. However, in this game, he gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk in just four innings. Julio DePaula came in and gave up four runs (3 earned) on four hits and a walk. Jay Sawatski gave up two runs in his inning, and then John Thomas gave up a run in his two innings.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Friday - Miracle 0, St. Lucie 7 – Colby Miller made his first start of the season. Remember last year when he started the season at AA with 20 shutout innings before his season came to an end because of more arm injuries. On this night, he lasted 4.1 innings and gave up three runs on seven hits. He walked none and struck out two. The recently demoted Justin Jones worked 2.2 innings in relief. He gave up a run on four hits. Josh Hill came in and threw the final two innings. He gave up three runs on four hits. Garrett Guzman was the lone offensive highlight as he went 3-4.
Saturday - Miracle 7, St. Lucie 5 – Alexi Casilla had another strong game. He went 3-5 with his ninth double, an RBI and his 15th stolen base. Garrett Guzman went 2-5 with his fifth homer and three RBI. Korey Feiner and Deacon Burns each went 2-4. Anthony Swarzak started and went the first five innings. He gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk. Chris Schutt gets the win with two shutout innings. JP Martinez got the save with two perfect innings.
Sunday - Miracle 7, St. Lucie 4 – Kevin Slowey was on the mound again which generally means very good things. He had another quality start although not near what we have come to expect from him. He went six innings and gave up three runs (2 earned) on seven hits. Of course, he walked none and struck out seven. That brings his season strikeout to walk ratio to 70-2. Danny Powers came in and pitched two shutout innings. Tim Lahey gave up a run on three hits in his inning. Brock Peterson went 3-4 with an RBI. Justin Arneson went 1-2 with two walks. Trevor Plouffe had a two-run double.
Friday - Snappers 9, Clinton 0 – Eduardo Morlan appears to be comfortable as a starter now and strong. He went seven shutout innings allowing five hits and a walk. He struck out 11 hitters. Jose Lugo gave up only one hit over the final two innings. It was a big night for Steven Tolleson. He went 4-5 with his second homer, three runs and three RBI. Josh Land went 2-4 with a double. All nine Snapper starters had at least one hit.
Saturday - Snappers 1, Peoria 2 – Oswaldo Sosa deserved better. He threw a complete game and lost. He went all eight innings and gave up two runs on four hits and a walk. Toby Gardenhire went 2-3. Paul Kelly went 1-4 with three strikeouts, and his second home run.
Sunday - Snappers 4, Peoria 8 – Erik Lis and Paul Kelly both had strong games, but it wasn't enough for a Snappers win. Kelly was 2-4 with two doubles (he has 12 on the year), and Lis went 2-3 with his 17th double and his seventh home run. He did have two errors at 1B though. Caleb Moore and Edward Ovalle both went 2-4. Tarrence Patterson stole his 16th base. Kyle Waldrop pitched better than his numbers would indication. He gave up three runs on eight hits in five innings. He walked none, but he hit three batters. He left the game having only allowed one run, but with the bases loaded and no outs. Two of those runners scored after David Shinskie entered the game. Shinskie gave up four runs (1 earned) on four hits in two innings. Alexander Smit gave up a run on three hits in an inning.
Be sure to continue to check out the site as I have completed my pre-draft Top 50 Twins Prospects rankings and those will be coming out in the next week or two. 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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