Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Twins Minor League Reports
May Minor League Update
Good morning to everyone! Happy 06/06/06. Happy Birthday to Missy and Nathan, two very loyal SethSpeaks readers.
Yesterday I took a look at all of the guys who played for the Twins in May and gave them a letter grade. A quick breakdown shows us that Twins players were either good or bad in May. I gave out eleven A's, three B's, three C's, eight D's and two F's. In all ,the Twins were an average team in May.
Now today, I will be discussing the Twins Minor Leaguers. I am not going to give grades for each Twins minor league player. I mean, that would be over 100 grades! Not going to happen. But today what I will do is count down the Top 5 Twins Hitters and Pitchers in the month of May. Each list will lead to the SethSpeaks Hitter and Pitcher of the Month. Following those announcements, I will post several additional thoughts on some of the players throughout the Twins minor league system.
I hope you enjoy this and learning more about the goings on in the Twins system. Should the Twins fall further out of the race over the next month, many of these names may become much more prevalent. I mean, some may be traded for more players. Others may continue to rise up the organizational ladder and maybe get some time with the Twins. So, although most only care about the major league Minnesota Twins, I feel it is very important (and fun) to know what is happening at the lower levels.
So let's get to the Minor League Players and Pitchers of the Month. Please, feel free to leave some comments or send me an e-mail with any thoughts that you may have. Let's get started (Note - Stats are only for May)
#5 - Trent Oeltjen - Outfielder - New Britain Rockcats
I believe that with Denard Span, Doug Deeds and Alex Romero, Oeltjen is technically the fourth outfielder for the Rockcats. However, he does get consistent playing time throughout the outfield as well as DH. For May, the left-hander from Australia hit .317/.406/.390. He was 26-82 and had two doubles, two triples and seven RBI. He also stole five bases. He has been a member of most Australian national teams in international competition including this springs WBC. He has been one of the players that I have been watching for two or three years now, and I hope that he continues to get a shot at more playing time.
#4 - Jason Tyner - Outfielder - Rochester Red Wings
It pains me to include Jason Tyner on this list. Tyner is anything but a prospect at age 29. We all know what he is capable of in the big leagues. He could be a decent leadoff hitter in a 5th outfielder type of role. Solid defense. Good on-base skills and speed. No power. I do call this the minor league player of the month though, not the Minor League Prospect of the Month, so Tyner does fit that category. Also, when a guy hits .380/.427/.460 with six doubles, a triple, nine RBI and score 17 runs, it does deserve to be recognized.
#3 - Alexi Casilla - Infielder - Ft. Myers Miracle
Casilla has been one of the bright spots in that Ft. Myers offense this year. He has just been very consistent and shown solid play all year. I ranked him as my #8 Twins Prospect last week and said that I think that he will be more like Chone Figgins instead of Luis Castillo. By that, I mean that I do think that Casilla will show more pop in his bat than Castillo does and he will steal a lot of bases and make things happen. In May, the middle infielder hit .327/.372/.372. He had just four extra base hits though. He stole 12 bases in the month.
#2 - Erik Lis - 1B/Outfield - Beloit Snappers
The official Minnesota Twins hitter of the month was Lis, and I can not argue against that decision at all. Lis had a wonderful May. He was one of the biggest jumpers in my Top Prospect list and my only comment really about him was that he really, really needs to be promoted to Ft. Myers soon. He is just dominating the Midwest League. On the month, he hit .376/.473/.591. He was 35-93 with 11 doubles, three homers and 17 RBI. The Twins ninth round pick a year ago out of Evansille is ready for the next challenge.
The SethSpeaks May Player of the Month is... (drum roll please)
# 1 - Alex Romero - Outfield - New Britain Rockcats
It was a toss-up for me between Romero and Lis. Almost literally. I thought about just tossing a coin, or maybe even going with Co-Players of the Month. But there were a couple of things that made me decide to select Romero. First to his stats; Romero hit .317/.419/.548. He went 33-104 and had eight doubles, two triples, four homers and 16 RBI. Now, the case for Lis is very strong. However, they are about the same age, and Romero is two levels further advanced. The other thing is that he had eleven more at bats. Romero also stole ten bases in the month, a skill that he has not really shown throughout his minor league career. I admit it. I have no case against Lis, but my choice goes to Alex Romero.
HONORABLE MENTION - Steven Tolleson, Beloit Snappers (.325/.432/.413, 26-80, 15 walks) - Edward Ovalle, Beloit Snappers (.290/.355/.460, 29-100, 6-2B, 3-HR) - Brock Peterson, Ft. Myers Miracle (.307/.360/.520, 23-75, 2-2B, 4-HR) - Jason Bartlett, Rochester Red Wings (.307/.313/.421, 35-114, 11-2B, 1-3B).
#5 - Brian Duensing - Starter - Beloit Snappers
The Twins 2005 third round pick is another guy who is ready for the next challenge. The lefty from Nebraska has done a very nice job in the Beloit rotation. In the month of May, he went 1-1 with a 1.78 ERA. In 35.1 innings, he gave up 35 hits and five walks while striking out 24 hitters. That makes for a WHIP of 1.08 and a 6.1 strikeouts per nine inning rate. Hitters hit just .256/.285/.295 against him. Now, he had a tough inning on Sunday (in June), but a move to Ft. Myers should not be too far from his grasp. (UPDATE - Duensing has been promoted to Ft. Myers)
#4 - Matt Garza - Starter - New Britain Rockcats
Garza was a tough guy to rank. I think a case could have been made for him to be anywhere in the top four. He started the month with three starts in Ft. Myers. He went 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA. In 20 innings, he walked just five and struck out 19. His WHIP was 0.90 and opponents hit just .186 against him. He was promoted to New Britain where he was great in his first two starts. In his three starts there, he went 17.2 innings. He gave up just 10 hits and three walks while striking out 27 hitters. He was 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA. Opponents hit just .164/.203/.197 against him. So, in total for the month of May, Garza made six starts and went 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP. Is a move up to Rochester next on his agenda.
#3 - Errol Simonitsch - Starter - New Britain Rockcats
The tall lefty from Gonzaga is maybe not ranked as the top of the pitching prospects in New Britain because he isn't a flamethrower, but to date, he has really put together a solid year. In May, he made six starts and totaled 40.1 innings. He went 4-2 with a 2.23 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He allowed hitters to hit .227/.276/.312 against him. Although not a strikeout pitcher per se, his seven strikeouts per nine innings is enough to make him a viable future big leaguers. I don't know what his future is in the big leagues, but I do think that he has a big league future. I also think that a promotion to Rochester is likely.
#2 - Pat Neshek - Reliever - Rochester Red Wings
As you know, Pat Neshek has done a couple of Q&As for this site and we have exchanged several e-mails over the last couple of seasons. I try not to show any favoritism in these rankings. However, what Neshek has done so far this season is otherworldly, and in most months, what he has done would rank #1. The Rochester closer threw in 12 games last month. He went 3-0 with six saves. In 22.2 innings, he gave up just 12 hits and three walks while he struck out 31 hitters. Batters hit just .150/.181/.288 against him for the month. He posted a 0.66 WHIP, a 1.61 ERA and his K Rate was 12.3. I continue to advocate his promotion to the Twins, and expect it could happen at any time.
The SethSpeaks May Pitcher of the Month is... (drum roll please)
# 1 - Kevin Slowey - Starter - Ft. Myers Miracle
Slowey is another guy who has been great to this site. Last fall, he did a Q&A and participated in our NFL "Expert" Picks. He had an amazing pro debut last year, and I ranked him 9th in the Twins organization. However, to have even dreamed of how well he has pitched this season is not even fair. His April was spectacular and his May was even better. In five starts for the Miracle, he threw 31.1 innings. He gave up 18 hits and a miniscule three walks (amazingly all in one game). At the same time, he struck out 41 for an 11.8 K/9 rate. Opponents hit just .162/.210/.225 against him. His ERA was 1.44 and his WHIP was just 0.67. Yes, he was just 1-1 for the month, but that is solely because of a lack of run support. Again, a promotion to New Britain is long overdue!
HONORABLE MENTION - Kyle Waldrop, Beloit Snappers (5 starts, 2-0, 2.73 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 4.6 K/9, .225 OBA) - Eduardo Morlan, Beloit Snappers (7 games, 1-3, 3.07 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, .192 OBA) - JP Martinez, Ft. Myers Miracle (11 games, 1-0, 4 Saves, 2.40 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, .176 OBA) - Danny Powers, Ft. Myers Miracle (8 games, 2-0, 1.56 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, .172 OBA), Nick Blackburn, New Britain Rockcats (6 starts, 4-1, 3.41 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 5.2 K/9, .250 OBA), Ricky Barrett, Rochester Red Wings (9 games, 2-1, 3.44 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, .155), JD Durbin, Rochester Red Wings (6 games, 3-0, 1.61 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 12.3 K/9, .150 OBA).
So there you have it. The May SethSpeaks hitter and pitcher of the month along with some other very worthy candidates. Of course, I could have commented on several others too without feeling like I was hurting the list. This month's list was so difficult to rank from 1-5, but that is a positive. The Twins system is solid, and very well represented in the ten names above.
The following is more notes on the Twins minor league prospects:
Gil Velazquez is hitting .378 for Rochester, in just 45 at bats. However, his success is taking at bats away from Luis Maza at 2B, and he also occasionally plays SS to give Jason Bartlett a day off. However, in the eyes of the organization, he is seen as no more than a utility player.
Garrett Jones, the power hitting lefty first baseman, is another player people ask me about. To this point, he is hitting .212/.288/.384. He does have 12 doubles, seven home runs and 36 RBI. In 226 plate appearances, he has struck out 51 batters.
Kevin West made his return to the Red Wings following his major knee injury in Venezuela this winter. Another good story was the promotion of Bobby Korecky to the Red Wings during the month. The reliever led the Eastern League in Saves in 2004, but he had Tommy John surgery last year. You may remember, Korecky came to the Twins organization with Carlos Silva and Nick Punto in the Eric Milton deal.
Kyle Lohse has now made four starts for the Red Wings and completed two of them, both of the seven inning variety. He has gone 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA. However, in 24 innings, he has just 12 strikeouts.
Top picks Denard Span and Matt Moses were both in the April Top 5 players of the month. In May, Span hit .244 and Moses hit .257.
Danny Matienzo, in 201 plate appearances, has 51 strikeouts.
In Ft. Myers, Brock Peterson had a very strong month. However, his 1B platoon partner, Johnny Woodard is just not hitting at all. And, they both are losing ABs to Kyle Geiger.
Are there any other thoughts that I missed or should have pointed out. Feel free to send me any notes or tidbits on any of the players. Feel free to discuss below in the comments or send me an e-mail.
The Twins had an off-day yesterday and tonight they will start a three game set against the Seattle Mariners.
In Game 1 tonight, it will pit two of the best pitching prospects in baseball in Francisco Liriano and Felix Hernandez. I think it is fair to say that King Felix has been a bit of a disappointment this season, and yet, he is still just 21 years old. Liriano has been everything he was touted to be, and more.
In Game 2, Boof Bonser will go up against 43 year old Jamie Moyer. A couple of notes. First, did you know that Moyer's father-in-law is Digger Phelps? Also, in his last outing, Moyer threw a two hit shutout. The last time he did that was in 1987 when he was with the Cubs.
Game three will match Johan Santana who is pitching like a Cy Young candidate again against Joel Pineiro.
This is a series where Jason Kubel should play at least two out of three games, and since Moyer is a soft-tosser, I think he should play in all three.
Michael Cuddyer has been struggling of late. Will Ron Gardenhire pull a Gardy and take him out of the lineup again, or will he show some foresight and let him work through it?
Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre are both making about $60 million over the course of their five year deals. So far this year, neither is hitting over .250 much less for much power.
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the Royals, or anything else? If so, send me an e-mail, or post some Comments below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Jason Bartlett, Rochester Red Wings
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Ricky Barrett, Rochester Red Wings
With Kyle Aselton going on the DL for Ft. Myers, Brian Duensing was called up to Ft. Myers. Colby Miller will be moved into the bullpen. Jose Cordero, who did well last year for the GCL Twins, moves up to Beloit.
If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Monday - Red Wings 5, Durham 4 (10) – Jason Bartlett needs to be in the majors. Have you heard that anywhere before? Last night, he went 3-4 with a walk and his 23rd double. He also stole his 5th base. Josh Rabe went 3-3 with two walks, his 14th double and three RBI. Kevin West went 2-5 with the game winning single in the bottom of the 10th. Scott Baker made his first Rochester start of the season. He went eight inning and gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out six. Ricky Barrett came in and improved to 3-1 with two shutout innings.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Monday - Rockcats – No Games Scheduled in Eastern League.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Monday - Miracle 3, Tampa 4 – Anthony Swarzak had another excellent start. In six innings, he gave up a run on five hits and a walk. He struck out eight. Chris Schutt went 1.1 innings without allowing a run. JP Martinez went 1.1 innings and gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits and a walk. Ryan Callahan went the final 1.1 innings and took the loss. He gave up a run on three hits and a walk. Jeremy Pickrel went 3-4 with his fifth double. Alexi Casilla went 2-5.
Monday - Snappers 8, Dayton 7 (10) – The Snappers jumped out to a 7-0 after three innings, lost the lead, but then won it in the 10th inning. Caleb Moore went 2-4 with his sixth double, second homer and a walk. Erik Lis was 2-4 with his 22nd double and a walk. Eli Tintor went 2-5 with his second triple and two RBI. Henry Sanchez hit his fourth homer. Eduardo Morlan started and went six innings. However, he also gave up hits to the first three hitters in the seventh. All told, he gave up five runs on eight hits and four walks. He struck out four. Danny Vais came in and in 1.2 innings, he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk. Frank Mata got the blown save, but he then went two more innings to pick up the win.
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.
That is it for today! Have a great day!|
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