Sunday Night, June 15, 2008
Good morning and welcome back to the work week!
I have been trying to figure out what the Twins would do in terms of midseason promotions of minor leaguers. There were some that were incredibly obvious. Rightfully so, the Twins chose to let the Ft. Myers All-stars play in the All-Star game on Saturday before four of them were promoted to New Britain. They could have been called up two or three weeks ago, but think about it... what is the rush? What is two weeks when you're talking about what will hopefully be a 15-20 year career, right? Might as well let them enjoy the All-star festivities. So, I still don't have a complete list of all transactions, but here is a start. I will try to update this as I learn more:
From Ft. Myers to New Britain - Jeff Manship, Danny Valencia, Brian Dinkelman and Robert Delaney
All four of these were easy moves to call and make. In reality, all four probably could have started the year in New Britain, but their success for a half season in Ft. Myers only proves that point and now they are certainly ready for that next challenge. Arguments could be made for Juan Portes and Wilson Ramos to be called up as well, but the best argument would be for Anthony Slama who has pitched almost identically (statistically) to Delaney and is older, but he has less pro experience.
From New Britain to Ft. Myers - Oswaldo Sosa and Jay Rainville
These moves are a little more surprising and yet both have earned it with their performances to this point. Rainville is 5-6 with a 7.00 ERA. Sosa is 2-5 with a 5.81 ERA. He has 43 walks and 47 strikeouts in his 63 innings pitched. I have been told that both will be working out of the Miracle bullpen to work on things.
From Beloit to Ft. Myers - Garrett Olson, Steve Singleton, Danny Lehmann and Matt Williams
Singleton is the easy choice, and really, so is Williams. Lehmann makes sense in that the Miracle lost Rodolfo Palacios late last week to New Britain. Of course, the backup of Wilson Ramos is Allen de San Miguel, so it is probably nice to have a backup catcher that can both catch and hit. Lehmann is ready. Garrett Olson is hitting .247/.297/.368 as a 23 year old in the Midwest League which does not scream promotion, but I do think it is a good promotion because of his age and the fact that he was in Beloit last year. He has to be pushed up. Someone has to replace Valencia. Olson needs this challenge and we will find out a lot about the future of the Twins 2006 fourth round pick the rest of this season. Of course, Ben Revere is one guy who warrants consideration for a promotion to Ft. Myers, but I also have no problem with them leaving him alone. Mike McCardell is a guy who, with two or three more solid starts, could move up soon. Out of the bullpen, arguments could be made for promotions of Steve Hirschfeld, Spencer Steedley, Loek Van Mil and Charles Nolte. Obviously they can't all move up, but that is good for the Snappers, and really with the relievers, it doesn't hurt them. They can move up and down at any time. However, take a look at Steedley's numbers. They do scream promotion!
From Beloit to Elizabethton (Extended Spring Training, but probably E-Town) - Dan Berlind and Brad Tippett
Both of these moves are a little surprising. After a rough start in April, Berlind had an excellent May with a sub-3.00 ERA in five starts. Tippett dominated at Elizabethton. He walked four and struck out 51 hitters in 38.2 innings. He was 7-1 with a 0.93 ERA. However, the Twins were not happy when he chose to play for Team Australia this spring and showed up for spring training late. But in 13 games since moving up from Extended Spring, Tippett has just a 4.24 ERA and a WHIP of 1.41. With the strength of the Snappers bullpen and the fact that he is still just 20, maybe going back to E-Town and establishing himself as a closer will be the best thing for him long term. (UPDATE - I have been told that both will be starters and get to work some innings. Although the press release mentioned on the Beloit web site says that Berlind and Tippett were sent to Extended Spring Training, someone with the Twins told me that there 'were not demoted.') Please also note that Beloit also only has 19 players on their roster, so I would expect that they will add three to five players before Thursday when the season's second half starts. Could be some college draft picks signing. Could be injured players coming back, guys like Paul Kelly and Ramon Santana. Should be interesting to see how this all plays out.
TWINS 2, BREWERS 4
After a really exciting, 12 inning game on Saturday night, nothing overly exciting happened on Sunday afternoon. In one way, I am actually very happy about that. Why? Because I went to lay down 'for a few minutes' and woke up two hours later... oops!
Jason Kubel hit his 10th home run of the year to tie the game at one and Justin Morneau for the team lead. It is interesting how people who put bets on dinners or drinks on Kubel hitting either 15, 18 or 20 home runs, well, those people aren't writing or calling me a lot lately.
Scott Baker had a quality start, but the home run ball to Mike Cameron in the bottom of the 6th left him on the hook for the loss. Baker went six innings and gave up three runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out nine including four in one inning, the first Twins pitcher to do that.
Michael Cuddyer was back in the lineup, and Delmon Young was back on the bench. I heard a reporter say that the Twins are at the point where, if Young isn't going to listen to them, they aren't going to feel obligated to play him. Since his games played streak ended, he has not been in the starting lineup five times. I think that says a lot. Don't get me wrong, I still believe that Delmon Young will be that .300 hitter with 30 homers, but obviously he's not there yet. I also believe that they have to do something to try to get him going. Now, if he is in fact only listening to his dad, that means he is doing the same things he did in 2007, when although he didn't walk, he had plenty of extra base hits. I have to think that he must be listening to the Twins coaching because why else would his extra base pop be nearly completely gone? I just don't know. And, he also had a combined six hits on Friday and Saturday. Again, this isn't a big deal because when the DH is back, as it will be on Tuesday, Young will be in the lineup. And, Delmon Young is not one of the Twins big problems.
Brian Bass got two outs. Craig Breslow got two outs. Then Boof Bonser came in and got just one out and gave up three hits and a run. Bonser made his first relief appearance a couple of weeks ago against the Yankees. He went 2.2 innings and gave up one hit, one walk and struck out four in that outing. I think we all thought that maybe this bullpen thing, once through the lineup. would be what he needed. Well, since that outing, he has pitched in five more games out of the bullpen. Combined, he has thrown five innings and given up nine earned runs on 16 hits. Ouch!
If you're keeping track, Craig Breslow has now gone 7.2 shutout innings with the Twins. In those innings, he has given up just three hits. He walks walked just one and struck out eight. That is looking like a great signing so far. Of course, if he has one of those 0.1 innings, 5 earned runs games, well, then it wouldn't look so great. Such is the life of a reliever.
The Twins actually get another day off on Monday. On Tuesday, the Twins will begin a three game series against Cristian Guzman and the Washington Nationals.
Any other Twins thoughts?
Twins Minor League Updates
Sunday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Dustin Martin, Ft. Myers Miracle
Sunday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Zach Ward, New Britain Rockcats
Be sure to head over to Josh's Thoughts for a great Q&A with Beloit starter Mike McCardell.
Sunday – Rochester 5, Louisville 2 – Francisco Liriano had another very good start, doing the things that he really was sent down to work on. He went 7.1 innings and gave up two runs on five hits. He walked none and struck out five. Bobby Korecky got the final five outs for his 8th save. Jason Pridie went 3-4 with two doubles and his 14th stolen base. Garrett Jones went 2-4 with his 19th double and three RBI. Sergio Santos went 2-4 with his 17th double. Trevor Plouffe picked up his first AAA hit.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Sunday – New Britain 3, Binghamton 7 (game suspended in 2nd inning on Saturday) – I mentioned yesterday that Anthony Swarzak started this one on Saturday. He went just 0.2 innings and gave up six runs (4 earned) on five hits and a walk. Jason Miller threw 1.1 innings of relief on Saturday and then went the next two on Sunday. All together, he gave up one run on four hits and a walk. Zach Ward then went the next four innings and didn't allow a run. He gave up four hits and walked one. Yohan Pino gave up two hits in one inning.
Sunday – New Britain 5, Binghamton 1 (7 Innings) – Dustin Martin played hero in the regularly scheduled game. He went 3-4 with his 13th and 14th doubles, his fourth home run and two RBI. David Winfree went 2-3 with his 15th double. Drew Butera was 2-3 with his 8th and 9th doubles. Rodolfo Palacios got his first two AA hits. In this game, Palacios caught with Butera playing 1B. Brock Peterson was again in left field. Oswaldo Sosa started and threw five shutout innings. He gave up four hits and four walks while striking out five. Frank Mata gave up a run in one inning. It meant a blown save, but he ended up with the win. Ben Julianel struck out two in his inning.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Sunday – Miracle – No Game Scheduled. The Florida State League season will get going again on Monday.
Sunday – Beloit, Quad Cities - This game was cancelled due to the rising Mississippi River waters near Davenport, Iowa. For the safety of the fans and in respect for the power of nature, it was clearly the right decision. The Snappers will have a day off on Monday and the Midwest League All-Star game is on Tuesday. With the promotions of All-Stars Garrett Olson, Dan Lehmann and Matt Williams, the Snappers will be sending Chris Cates, Jair Fernandez and Loek Van Mil in their place.
Have a great week!