Thursday July 3, 2003
Where Have They Gone? (Former Twins)
Once a player plays with the Twins, I am a fan of theirs. Even after they leave the team, I enjoy seeing how they’re doing and where they’re at. There are a number of Twins who have gone elsewhere and are still playing ball. So, let’s take a look at some of them and see how they’re doing. Today I’ll look at the hitters. Next week sometime, I will take a look at the pitchers.
In no particular order:
Chad Allen - Florida Marlins
The 28 year old Allen played in 209 games for the Twins from 1999-2001. Batted .275, with 37 doubles, 14 home runs and 73 RBI in those 3 seasons. Spent the 2002 season in the Cleveland organization, and even got into five games with the Indians. This year, Allen is playing in the Florida Marlins organization. At their AAA affiliate, Albuquerque, Allen is hitting .337/.386/.474, with 16 doubles, 2 HR, and 26 RBI. He has already spent some time with the Marlins, playing 12 games, and hitting .208/.240/.333 with a double in 24 At Bats.
Casey Blake - Cleveland Indians
The 29 year old Blake played in 29 games for the Twins from 2000-2002. In 58 at bats, he had 14 hits, including 4 doubles, 3 homers and 4 RBI. He always crushed AAA pitching, but was behind Corey Koskie and/or Doug Mientkiewicz. He debuted with the Blue Jays in 1999. He also played 6 games for the Orioles in 2001. This year, Casey Blake earned the starting 3B position for the rebuilding Cleveland Indians with a strong spring training. After a slow start, Blake has really come on of late. Thusfar, he is hitting .266/.333/.427, with 16 doubles, 8 home runs, and 28 RBI in 73 games.
Matt Lawton - Cleveland Indians
Speaking of the Cleveland Indians, who will be coming to the Metrodome for a 4 game series this weekend, they also have 31 year old Matt Lawton. Lawton went from the Twins to the Mets in 2001 for Rick Reed. In the following offseason, he was packaged in a deal to Cleveland involving Roberto Alomar. He came up with the Twins in 1995 and played with them until his 2001 trade. In that time, Lawton played in 771 games and accumulated 739 hits in 2,672 at bats for a .277 average. He added 163 doubles and 72 home runs. Lawton even represented the Twins in an All-Star game. He has been struggling to get things going this year, but in 76 games, he has 16 doubles, 12 homers and 47 RBI. He’s hitting just .245, but he still has a good eye and a .341 on-base percentage.
Damian Miller - Arizona Diamondbacks
Miller, a 2002 All-Star catcher, played in 25 games for the Twins in 1997. In 66 at bats, he hit .273 with 2 home runs and 13 RBI. He then spent 1998-2002 with the Arizona Diamondbacks catching the likes of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. This offseason, at 33 years old, he was traded to the Cubs where he has played in 62 games. He is hitting .282/.307/.483. He has hit 9 doubles, 5 homers and 24 RBI.
Chad Moeller - Arizona Diamondbacks
With Miller heading to Chicago, the catching position was up for grabs in Arizona. Moeller, along with Rod Barajas, has taken that job over, and done quite well. This year, Moeller has played in 48 games and in 157 at bats, he is hitting .312/.364/.484, with 12 doubles, 5 homers and 18 RBI. The 28 year old Moeller played in 48 games with the Twins as a backup catcher in 2000. He had 128 at bats with a .211 batting average and had three doubles, and an inside-the-park home run.
Quinton McCracken - Arizona Diamondbacks
Also with the D-Backs is 33 year old Quinton McCracken. “Q” spent part of the 2001 season with the Twins. He played in just 24 games and had just 64 at bats. If you remember, his father passed away on Father’s Day in Chicago, and he missed time taking care of the details with that. But, he did hit .219, with two doubles and two triples. McCracken had played parts of 1995-2000 between Colorado and Tampa Bay. Since leaving the Twins, McCracken has spent 2 years in Arizona. Last year, he got a lot of playing time due to the injury of RF Danny Bautista. This season, McCracken has already played in 57 games and is hitting .200/.252/.248 with 3 doubles and the D-Backs 4th outfielder.
Greg Colbrunn - Seattle Mariners
Staying with the D-Backs theme, Colbrunn played the last 4 seasons with the D-Backs. This year, he’s with the Mariners and despite an injury, he’s hitting .292/.346/.521 with 3 homers and 6 RBI in just 48 at bats. Colbrunn spent half of the 1997 season with the Twins. He played in 70 games and the 33 year old hit .281 and had 14 doubles, 5 homers and 26 RBI, before being traded to the Atlanta Braves. Spent 1992-1996 between the Montreal and Florida organizations. Since leaving the Twins, he’s played for the Braves, the Rockies, the Braves again and the Diamondbacks before going to Seattle this past offseason via free agency.
David Ortiz - Boston Red Sox
The Twins probably made the right decision in not offering Ortiz salary arbitration, but he is clearly missed as not only a prankster, but also a leader in the Twins clubhouse. After spending 1997-2002 with the Twins, he’s now a Boston Red Sox 1B/DH. Looking at his stats with the Twins, Ortiz played in 455 games and hit .266/.348/.461, with 108 doubles and 58 home runs. Injuries were really his only downfall. Well, he’s stayed healthy with the Red Sox so far this season, and although he too started off slow, his numbers (.294/.383/.483) are still good. He’s played in 54 games so far, and has 22 doubles and 4 home runs and 37 RBI.
Todd Walker - Boston Red Sox
Also with those Red Sox is Todd Walker. A former first round pick of the Twins, Walker was brought up in 1996 and had a couple of very good years. He played with the Twins from 1996-2000 and hit .285 with 23 HRs and 138 RBI. But he and Tom Kelly never saw eye to eye. Kelly was hard on young players and Walker was a jerk. It just didn’t work out. So, he was traded to the Rockies. After a couple seasons there, he was traded last year to the Reds. And this past offseason, he was dealt to the Red Sox. This year, Walker has played in 75 games, and his hitting .311/.360/.459, with 19 doubles, 8 homers and 48 RBI.
Warren Morris - Detroit Tigers -
Warren Morris played in 4 games and was 0-7 as a Twin to start the 2002 season. That was his entire Twins career. The Twins signed him before the season started as a free agent who had just been released by Pittsburgh where he was good as a rookie in 2000, but disappointing in 2001. This year, Morris started the season with the Toledo Mudhens, the AAA affilliate of the Detroit Tigers. He hit well down there and now is now the starting 2B for the Tigers. In his 24 games so far with Detroit, he’s hitting .280/.325/.440 with a double and 3 homers and 9 RBI.
Matt Walbeck - Detroit Tigers -
Walbeck was a rookie with the Cubs in 1993, but was traded to the Twins and played with them from 1994-1996. Played in 275 games and had 946 at bats. He hit .230 with 40 doubles, 8 homers and 105 RBI. Since leaving the Twins, Walbeck has spent time with the Detroit Tigers, the Anaheim Angels, the Philadelphia Phillies and this, his second stint with the Tigers. This year, he wishes he were hitting .230. So far, the 33 year old back up catcher has played in 31 games with the Tigers. In 70 at bats, he’s hitting .143/.143/.200, with just 2 doubles and 2 RBI.
Marty Cordova - Baltimore Orioles
The 1995 American League Rookie of the Year (narrowly over Angel OF Garret Anderson), Cordova played 1995-1999 with the Twins. In that time, he played in 643 games and had 2,322 at bats. He hit .277 with 79 home runs with 399 RBI. Since leaving the Twins, he played in 2000 with the Blue Jays, 2001 with the Indians and 2002 with the Orioles. He is still with the Orioles this year, but is again dealing with injuries. He’s played just 9 games and was hitting .233 with a homer, a double and 4 RBI. Seems like he’s been around for a long time, but he’s just 33 years old!
Jeff Reboulet - Pittsburgh Pirates
Speaking of old, 39 year old Jeff Reboulet is back in the big leagues. He signed a minor-league deal with the Pirates early in the year, and after just a few games with the AAA affiliate, he got called up to the Pirates and is playing a lot of 2B. To date, he’s played in 30 games and has 92 at bats. He’s hitting .304/.393/.402 with 3 doubles, a homer and 11 RBI. Followed Al Newman and preceded Denny Hocking as the Twins utility infielder playing for the Twins from 1992-1996. He played 450 games for the Twins and in 1,016 at bats, he hit .248. After leaving the Twins, Reboulet played ‘97-’99 with the Orioles, ’00 with the Royals and ‘01-’02 with the Dodgers.
Ron Coomer - Los Angeles Dodgers
In 1994, the Twins traded Kevin Tapani to the Dodgers for a package that included Ron Coomer. Coomer spent 1995-2000 with the Twins and even played in an All-Star game (great example of why every team being represented is dumb!). He played 676 games and had 2,397 at bats with the Twins. He hit .277 with 121 doubles and 78 homers. The 36 year old Coomer spent 2001 with the Chicago Cubs, 2002 with the New York Yankees and now is back in LA with the Dodgers.
Orlando Merced - Houston Astros
Merced played half of the 1998 season with the Twins. In 63 games, he had 204 at bats, 12 doubles, 5 home runs and 33 RBI (.289/.345/.422). He was traded to the Red Sox, and later the same year was traded to the Cubs. Since then, he’s played with the Expos and Astros. Previous to his Twins career, he played from 1990-1996 with the Pirates and 1997 with the Blue Jays. So, what’s he doing this year? Merced has played in 69 games for the Astros, and in 141 at bats, he’s hitting (.248/.299/.376) with 11 doubles, a homer and 19 RBI.
Javier Valentin - Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Valentin spent 1997-1999 as a backup to Terry Steinbach with the Twins. After being sent down to start the 2000 season, Valentin stayed in AAA until September of 2002. However, in his 141 career games with the Twins, Valentin hit .230/.288/.350, with 19 doubles and 8 homers. With no options remaining, Valentin was shipped to the Brewers with Matt Kinney for two “prospects”. From there, Valentin was traded to the Devil Rays where he is their backup catcher this year. In 28 games with the D-Rays, Valentin is hitting .250/.264/.369 in 84 at bats, with 5 doubles, 1 homer and 11 RBI.
Greg Myers - Toronto Blue Jays
Another former Twins catcher is putting together arguably an All-Star caliber season this year. The 37 year old Myers spent the 1996 season and half of the 1997 season with the Twins. In that time, he played in 159 games and had 494 at bats in which he hit .279. Before coming to the Twins, Myers spent 1987-1995 between the Blue Jays and Angels (actually the California Angels at that time) organizations. The Twins traded him to the Braves in 1997. Since then, he’s played with San Diego, Atlanta (again), Baltimore and Oakland. This year, he is hitting .347/.433/.557 with 13 doubles, 8 homers and 31 RBI for the Blue Jays. Platooning with Tom Wilson, Myers has played in 65 games this year.
Brian “Buck” Buchanan - San Diego Padres
Brian Buchanan came to the Twins with Eric Milton and Cristian Guzman in the Chuck Knoblauch deal. He played for the Twins from 2000 until midway through the 2002 season when he was traded to the Padres for SS Jason Bartlett (who is having a great year for New Britain). With the Twins, Buck played in 143 games and hit .258 with 16 homers. With the Padres, Buchanan is primarily pinch hitting, but also plays some first base (against left-handed pitchers) and some right field. In 65 games played this season, he’s had 119 at bats. He’s hitting .286/.353/.529 with 8 doubles, 7 homers and 22 RBI.
Marcus Jenson - Columbus Clippers (Yankees AAA) - .202/.315/.312 with 6 2B, 2 HR.
Jay Canizaro - Durham Bulls (D-Rays AAA) - .239/.301/.446 with 4 homers and 13 RBI, before being relearsed.
Jason Maxwell - Louisville Bats (Reds AAA) - .280/.339/.429, with 12 doubles, 8 homers and 37 RBI.
Danny Ardoin - .Oklahoma Redhawks (Rangers AAA) - .228/.304/.414, 7 doubles, 6 homers, 23 RBI.
Roberto Kelly – He’s playing in the Mexican League, but there is a lot of talk about the Montreal Expos (among other teams) having interest in signing him.
Next week sometime, I will do the same type of report on former Twins pitchers still in affiliated baseball.
If you have any questions or comments on this list, or if I’ve left someone off, please e-mail me and let me know!
Twins Thoughts -
Well, the Twins were swept by the White Sox in Chicago. Another not-good starting pitching performance by Kyle Lohse, giving up 5 runs and 5 innings. Santana, Hawkins and Romero pitched great out of the pen, then Eddie gave up a homer (to Paul Konerko of all people) in the 11th to blow the save, and another to Frank Thomas in the 12th to lose the game.
Could the White Sox hit any more home runs?
I just noted a few things while watching the game.
Bobby Kielty was very impressive in the leadoff spot! His plate discipline was again apparent with 4 hits (2 doubles) and a walk. Maybe that performance will give him the RF and leadoff jobs! How about this lineup:
OK, very left hand dominant. My point is just that Kielty is their best leadoff option. Mientkiewicz plate discipline and bat control make him a great second hitter. The “power” is in the middle of the order with Koskie, Hunter and Morneau. Guzman can act as the 2nd leadoff hitter, without actually leading off, as he hates to do. Jones can get more RBI in the 7 slot. And AJ and Luis stay in their same spots.
Torii Hunter crushed the ball all game long, all six at bats. The homer in the first, and even the times he got out, the ball was hit really hard!
On Hunter’s game-tying single to center field in the 8th inning, would have each of the Sox other center field options caught that ball that Everett couldn’t get to? Also, Rivas’ 11th inning triple, Everett played that ball very poorly. As solid an offensive player as Everett is, and will continue to be for the Sox, he is a definite liability in CF. But, again to refer to Moneyball, their theory is that defense isn’t as vital to ball as offense. That, in this example, Everett more than makes up for his defense with his bat.
That 6-4-3 double play that Guzman and Rivas completed in the bottom of the 10th inning with the bases loaded and 1 out was amazing! No, not just because Guzzy actually dove for a ball, especially considering the timing of it.
The Twins finally recalled Grant Balfour from AAA Rochester after the game last night. Although it wasn’t announced, the assumption is that they would send down Michael Nakamura. After being a relief pitcher most of his minor league career, Balfour was moved into the starting rotation for the Redwings. But, I think the primary purpose of that was to get him more innings and strengthening his arm before being called up to the Twins.
There is talk of Johan Santana re-entering the starting rotation soon. I wouldn’t even mind if they sent Juan Rincon down to AAA in this move. I would like to see him get a bunch of innings in maybe 3 starts in AAA, and then be moved back up and into the Twins rotation.
The Kansas City Royals are Making Moves too. Yesterday, they traded 2 minor leaguers (RHP Wes Obermueller who is 10-5 so far at AAA and AA infielder Alejandro Machado) to the Milwaukee Brewers for reliever Curtis Leskanic. Great trade for the Royals! A second reliever to compliment Jason Grimsley setting up Mike MacDougal.
Will the Twins make a deal? You may want to read the article I wrote yesterday again, these quotes sound like what I wrote, except they’re coming from the Twins players. Read the below comments (from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune) by some of the Twins to see what they think:
From Torii Hunter:
“I broke out in a rash. When I heard he (Alomar) was coming to Chicago, I started breaking out all over. He's a Twins killer, and now he's back in the [AL] Central."
"Alomar and Everett -- can you ask for anything more? I think I'm going to have a heart attack, or go bald."
"We need a power hitter. That's a dream, though. We don't make those kinds of deals. But I can dream."
“Usually, we stand pat. We won't do anything. If we do, it won't be too much. What can you do? I just work here. But I want to be wrong." (This sounds almost exactly like what I wrote yesterday!!)
From LaTroy Hawkins:
“We need a home-run hitter in our lineup. We've been saying that for years around here. I hope our general manager is as busy as theirs."
"I know we don't make those kinds of deals, but it's tough when all of your prospects play the same position."
From Doug Mientkiewicz:
"Alomar should definitely be an upgrade for them. He's one of the best second basemen ever to put on a uniform, and we know how well he plays against us. I'd be surprised if we didn't do something. I just hope they don't trade me."
As always, let me know what you’re thinking about what you’re reading. Send me an e-mail on anything! Have a happy and safe 4th of July holiday!!
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