Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
Twins Discussion Question
SETHSPEAKS NL ALL-STARS
Good morning everyone!
Today, I will be posting my NL All-Star selections. But first I have to point out that the Timberwolves took North Carolina guard Rashad McCants with their first round pick (14th overall). They then selected Bracey Wright, another guard, from Indiana. I am sure that The Baseball Savant would be happy to answer any questions on Wright you may have!
The voting for the All-Star game ends on Thursday night, so I figured that I would take this time to announce my selections for the 2005 All-Star game. It seems to me that everyone has a different opinion on what the All-Star game is and should be.
I happen to believe that the All-Star game is an exhibition. A couple of years ago when the game was called in a tie in Milwaukee, it didn't bother me at all. It made complete sense. When the league decided to award home-field advantage in the World Series to the league whose team won the All-Star game, it bugged me to no end. I believe that it is a showcase of the league and its teams and players. For that reason, I enjoy the home run derby and other activities the day before the game. I also like that all of the teams are represented even if it means that a crappy player from the Royals makes it while a deserving player doesn't.
So, people want to know what my criteria is for my selections? Well, first, I will include at least one player from each team. Second, I believe that it is called the 2005 All-Star game because it represents the stars of this season. If you check out Aaron Gleeman's All-Star choices, he believes that a player should play well for a few years before he should be considered an All-Star. He uses the example of Jack Wilson last year. Wilson had never hit, but then last year, he hit over .300 and had 200 hits. I would have had him on my All-Star team. Aaron wouldn't have. I certainly am not saying that I am right and he is wrong. If you go by the definition of "Star", he is probably more right than me. If two player have very similar numbers, I will likely choose the player who has been better longer.
So, lets get to it. Who are my 30 NL selections. Today, I am going to post my National League All-Stars, just because Aaron hasn't posted his yet (OK, just checked his site, and he has his NL choices posted for today). My choice for the starter is listed first and bolded. By the way, I will post my AL choices tomorrow.
Michael Barrett - Chicago Cubs (.269/.306/.462 with 14 doubles, 8 HR and 34 RBI)
Paul Lo Duca - Los Angeles Dodgers (.298/.354/.400 with 16 doubles, 2 HR and 30 RBI)
This is by far the worst position in either league. Lo Duca has made the last couple of All-Star game and is not hitting too poorly. Barrett isn't hitting for much average but has very solid power numbers. I like the Padres' Ramon Hernandez best, but he has been hurt of late.
First Base -
Derrek Lee - Chicago Cubs (.388/.466/.719 with 26 doubles, 22 HR and 69 RBI, 10 SB)
Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals (.337/.421/.605 with 18 doubles, 20 HR and 64 RBI)
Carlos Delgado - Florida Marlins (.313/.407/.558 with 23 doubles, 14 HR and 55 RBI)
Derrick Lee is easily the choice for NL MVP of the first-half of this season. People are (prematurely) talking about him as a triple-crown threat. But he is doing it all for the Cubs so far, and don't forget he steals bases and is a Gold Glove first baseman as well. Pujols is probably the best hitter in baseball, and by the end of the year maybe he will be a triple crown threat too. Delgado has proven to be a great free agent signing for the Marlins. He has altered the middle of that team's lineup and been everything they could have hoped for. Just Missed - Nick Johnson (Washington) and Sean Casey (Cincinnati).
Second Base -
Jeff Kent - Los Angeles Dodgers (.297/.372/.524 with 17 doubles, 15 HR and 58 RBI)
Marcus Giles - Atlanta Braves (.287/.369/.446 with 23 doubles, 6 HR and 22 RBI)
I thought Kent was done. He's old and he was going to a tough hitter's park, but he is proving me wrong. He is hitting for average, power and continues to drive in runs. I was deciding between Giles and the Astros Craig Biggio (.275/.336/.465 with 22 doubles, 9 HR and 33 RBI). To be honest, the only reason I chose Giles was because I felt that I had too many Astros.
Felipe Lopez - Cincinnati Reds (.301/.348/.551 with 18 doubles, 13 HR and 45 RBI)
Pedro Feliz - San Francisco Giants (.279/.318/.446 with 13 doubles, 10 HR and 48 RBI)
Nearly as weak a position as the NL Catchers. There aren't really any names. I chose to go with Felipe Lopez because of his average and hit power numbers. He is really putting together a good season so far, especially considering that Rich Aurilia was playing SS much of the beginning of the season. I went with Pedro Feliz as the second SS even though the Giants starting SS is Omar Vizquel. But Feliz did play a lot of SS last year. And, the Giants need one representative, right?
Third Base -
Aramis Ramirez - Chicago Cubs (.302/.362/.567 with 20 doubles, 17 HR and 49 RBI)
Morgan Ensberg - Houston Astros (.278/.381/.547 with 12 doubles, 18 HR and 47 RBI)
David Wright - New York Mets (.298/.389/.514 with 20 doubles, 11 HR and 40 RBI)
This may have been the most difficult position to chose players from. I remember when we were hearing about the slow start of Ramirez and look where his numbers are at now? Ensberg was a bust in 2004, but has totally come into his own with a monster half season so far in 2005. Troy Glaus has hit 17 homers this year. Joe Randa is doing well with the Reds meaning he will likely be traded right around the All-Star break so that the Reds can start playing Edwin Encarnacion.
Carlos Lee - Milwaukee Brewers (.277/.340/.555 with 21 doubles, 20 HR, 69 RBI)
Andruw Jones - Atlanta Braves (.280/.356/.596 with 11 doubles, 24 HR and 54 RBI)
Bobby Abreu - Philadelphia Phillies (.325/.442/.567 with 16 doubles, 17 HR, 52 RBI and 18 SBs)
Jason Bay - Pittsburgh Pirates (.305/.384/.567 with 21 doubles, 4 triples, 15 HR and 40 RBI)
Cliff Floyd - New York Mets (.281/.349/.555 with 10 doubles, 20 HR and 51 RBI)
Miguel Cabrera - Florida Marlins (.333/.385/.570 with 19 doubles, 15 HR and 54 RBI)
Carlos Lee leads the NL in RBI and has lots of extra-base hits. Jones is as inconsistent and frustrating as any player in baseball, but he has had a prolonged positive stretch with a LOT of home runs! Bobby Abreu is one of the most well-rounded players in baseball. Jason Bay probably makes the team even if I don't have to pick a Pirate. That just makes it an easy decision. Cliff Floyd has managed to stay healthy and has 20 homers! And Miguel Cabrera is toiling with numbers very similar to Pujols. Just Missed - Adam Dunn (Cincinnati), Pat Burrell (Philadelphia), Ken Griffey (Cincinnati), Brady Clark (Milwaukee), Jose Guillen (Washington), JD Drew (Los Angeles) and Moises Alou (San Francisco).
Starting Pitchers -
Roger Clemens - Houston Astros (6-3, 1.51 ERA, 101 IP, 30 BB/97 K)
Dontrelle Willis - Florida Marlins (12-2, 1.76, 107.2 IP, 21 BB/82 K)
Roy Oswalt - Houston Astros (9-7, 2.70 ERA, 113.1 IP, 24 BB/76 K)
John Smoltz - Atlanta Braves (8-5, 2.74 ERA, 118.1 IP, 32 BB/89 K)
Cris Carpenter - St. Louis Cardinals (11-4, 2.77 ERA, 113.2 IP, 29 BB, 112 K)
Brandon Webb - Arizona Diamondbacks (8-3, 3.20, 104 IP, 30 BB, 79 K)
Livan Hernandez - Washington Nationals (11-2, 3.32 ERA, 119.1 IP, 45 BB/71 K)
Jake Peavy - San Diego Padres (7-2, 2.88 ERA, 100 IP, 20 BB/110 K)
Pedro Martinez - New York Mets (8-2, 2.72 ERA, 109 IP, 20 BB/117 K)
Dontrelle Willis has been remarkable this season, but just go back and check Roger Clemens' ERA again, and he's still striking out almost a batter per inning. I have to admit I was completely wrong about Carpenter and his ability to be this good and stay healthy. Webb is having an excellent comeback season. Peavy and Pedro could present excellent cases for the league's best pitcher. This was a strong category especially when you consider this list who were up for consideration: Chris Capuano (Milwaukee), Matt Morris (St. Louis), Mark Prios (Chicago), Josh Beckett and AJ Burnett (Florida), Adam Eaton (injured - San Diego), and Bret Myers (Philadelphia).
Relief Pitchers -
Chad Cordero - Washington Nationals (2-1, 0.94 ERA, 25/27 Save Opportunities, 38.1 IP, 9 BB/36 K)
Brad Lidge - Houston Astros (2-2, 2.73 ERA, 18/21 in Save Opportunities, 33 IP, 12 BB/52 K)
Brian Fuentes - Colorado Rockies (1-3, 2.83 ERA, 8/10 in Save Opportunities, 35 IP, 16 BB/36 K)
Cordero has been incredible and a very stable figure at the end of Nationals' games. Last night, he converted his 23rd straight save opportunity to add another to his league leading Saves total. LIdge is just filthy. He has a K-rate of 14.2 per nine innings. Fuentes is on this team because the Rockies need someone. Doesn't hurt the NL squad to have a hard-throwing lefty of his caliber though. I also considered Trevor Hoffman (San Diego), and Billy Wagner (Philadelphia).
Well, there you have it, the SethSpeaks 2005 NL All-Star team. It will be interesting to see who makes it and who is left home, and why. If you have any opinion on any of these selections, I would love to hear them, please e-mail me.
There are a number of ways to win a ball game. Sometimes you win a crisp, clean 2-1 ball game where things just happen. And then there are games like last night. The Twins got ahead early, then lost the lead. Then had a six run lead, that was cut to one. Then the lead was lost, but the Twins made the big comeback and in the end got a much needed 11-8 win. Shannon Stewart went 3-4 with a double and three RBI. Mike Redmond went 3-3 with a double and two RBI. Glenn Williams had a single in his second at bat of the game to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. However, he separated his shoulder diving back in to first base on a pick off play and left the game. He was replaced in the lineup by Luis Rivas who went 2-2. Michael Ryan had a big pinch to drive in the tying run. Justin Morneau came in for defensive purposes in the 8th inning and made two very nice plays, one diving. He then took the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the inning and deposited it into the Dome's upper deck for his 10th of the season.
This afternoon, the Twins will play the final game of their three game set against the Royals. They will sent Brad Radke to the mound. Brad is 5-7 with a solid 4.08 ERA. He will be opposed by DJ Carrasco.
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins or Royals or anything baseball. Feel free to e-mail me. And don't forget to answer the Discussion Question on the State of the Minnesota Twins.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
The Redwings fell last night to Louisville by a score of 5-3. Boof Bonser took the loss. He went six innings and gave up four earned runs on eight hits and three walks. He struck out six. Brent Schoening gave up an unearned run in his two innings, and Beau Kemp pitched a shutout inning. For the offense, Chris Heintz and Todd Dunwoody were each 2-4. By the way, Garrett Jones played the game in LF.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
The New Britain bats stayed alive with a 12-6 win over Binghamton. Felix Molina went 3-6 with a double and two RBI. Tommy Watkins went 3-5. Denard Span was 2-5 with a walk. Alex Romero was 2-5 with his 10th home run and three RBI. Jim Abbott recorded the win. He gave up five earned runs on seven hits in five innings. Kevin Cameron gave up a run in two innings. Pat Neshek pitched two shutout innings, with two strikeouts.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Ft Myers got rained out.
Trevor Plouffe is finding his power stroke. Last night, he was 2-4 with his seventh home run. Jose Mijares saw his first struggles of the year. He gave up just two runs on four hits over 3 2/3 innings. However, he walked six batters, which isn't good. He made up for it though with seven strikeouts. Josh Hill gave up two more runs over the next 2.1 innings. Kevin Culpepper and Kyle Aselton combined for three shutout innings.
E-Town got another easy win wit ha 10-1 win over Johnson City. Catcher Sean Richardson went 3-4 with a double and four RBI. Mark Robinson went 2-5 with a double. Yohan Pino improved to 2-0. In six innings, he gave up a run on four hits and a walk. Dan Powers threw two shutout innings before Tim Lahey pitched a perfect ninth.
Finally, the Gulf Coast League Twins lost to the GCL Red Sox by a score of 11-4. A bright spot was the two home runs that Danny Santiesteban hit, his second and third of the season already. Paul Kelly played SS and went 1-3.
TWINS DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
So, today, I am going to ask a bunch of questions and ask for your thoughts on them. It will be a discussion question with the answers posted on Friday. Sure, it is possible that the Twins could win their next four games before this, but they are against the Royals and the Devil Rays, so those wins won't necessarily tell us where the Twins are. However, it is also possible that they lose a few of those games, and maybe that tells us exactly what we need to know. So, here are a number of questions on the Twins for you to think about:
Right now, the Twins are 40-33, 9.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central. They have basically the same record as they did last year, however, the White Sox are playing incredible baseball.
1.) The Twins have problems everywhere right now.
Brad Radke is giving up a lot of homers and has returned to a big league average pitcher. He has not been as good this year as last, not that any of us would have expected that. What is the difference?
Let's be honest, Johan Santana has not been pitching like Johan Santana is capable of yet this year. Sure, we have seen a few glimpses of greatness and plenty of strikeouts, but the consistency has not been there as much as the long-ball. What is wrong?
Joe Mays is in the final year of his Twins contracts. Mays will become a free agent at the end of the season, for no compensation. The Twins couldn't possibly be interested in bringing him back next year, could they? If not, can they trade him for anything? Maybe a minor league bat?
I just can't imagine the Twins offering Kyle Lohse arbitration. Scott Boras is his agent and you would have to assume that he would accept it and the Twins would have to pay him about $4 million to be poor next year again. So, instead of losing him for nothing, can he be traded? I envision him going to the Braves and working with Leo Mazzone and becoming the star pitcher that we all think he is capable of becoming. I hope for him that that can happen, however, it will never happen with the Twins
Joe Nathan is off, and he has been for the last four to six weeks. Is it just inconsistent save chances or is something different with what he is doing?If the Twins fall out of contention, is he worth trading now before he starts getting expensive? The team could give the closer's job to Jesse Crain, or even call up Travis Bowyer to replace him for the league minimum.
Juan Rincon has been better of late, which is good to see again. He joins Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier as the consistent bullpen options right now. Do you think that his suspension affected his pitching? Physically, or mentally?
JC Romero continues to be awful. Pennant contending teams usually like having another lefty out of the bullpen. Maybe the Twins can get something, anything for him!?
Same thing with Terry Mulholland. He has not been bad and has really done a lot in his roles for the Twins, but he can't be in the Twins plans and trading him would allow someone new to get some pitching time with the Twins.
Right now, it is impossible to say much bad about the offensive performances of a few Twins (Hunter, Stewart, you guys), but others are really struggling.
Which of the Twins outfielders is most expendable and should be traded now? The easy answer is Jacque Jones because 1.) he's struggling and 2.)the Twins will get nothing in return for him this offseason. However, Torii Hunter is going to get expensive starting next year, so should the team look to trade their clear leader? Maybe his value is as high as it'll get right now?
Here is an interesting thought. The Twins have done well the last couple of seasons bringing up players from their minor league system who have found a way to contribute right away. Michael Ryan two years ago. Justin Morneau, Terry Tiffee last year. This year, it has been the likes of Luis Rodriguez and Glenn Williams. However, it seems that eventually the league catches up to them and finds ways to get them out. So, who is to blame for that? Is it the player for not making adjustments? Is it the hitting coach for not finding the means to help the player know what the pitchers are trying to do to each hitter so that they can work on those weaknesses? I don't know what the answer is to that question. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Michael Cuddyer is a big question mark to me. I personally still think that he will hit, and I also think that he will hit for power. However, he has not found a consistency this year, even with consistent playing time. He will show some power at least for doubles, but then he'll go in prolonged slumps. He takes a lot of pitches and some walks, but seems to find himself in 0-2 and 1-2 counts frequently. Do you still see a future for him with the Twins? Also, is it just me, or is Michael Cuddyer far better defensively at 2B? Suddenly his offensive output doesn't look quite as bad if he plays that position.
Juan Castro or Jason Bartlett?
What can they do with Luis Rivas? Keep marketing him as a utility infielder and try to get a low Class A outfielder for him? Release him?
With Glenn Williams and Luis Rodriguez playing well, what are their roles, particularly when Nick Punto comes back? Let's not forget that the Twins slump very directly corresponded with the Punto injury.
What should be done with Matthew LeCroy?
Will Justin Morneau make the necessary adjustments. I think he'll stay in that .280 range, but when will his power stroke come back?
There are probably more thoughts or questions that you ahve about the Twins right now. I guess the overall summary Discussion Question is:
What is the state of the Twins now and what should be done about it?
PROCESS - OK, the process remains the same for the Discussion Questions. This question is posted today and will be kept up all weekend. I will also post it on Monday. I will then take all of the responses to these questions that I receive and post them on this website on Thursday night at 11:30 p.m. So, read and re-read the questions, consider your response, and then be sure to e-mail me before Thursday night.
On that note, I am going to call it a day! I hope everyone has a great week! As always, please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on the Twins, the minor leagues, or anything you would like to discuss.
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