Thursday, July 16, 2009
Where Are We Now?
Alright, it’s late on Wednesday night and I’m just getting home for the first time since Saturday morning. Quite a bit has happened while I was away, and I was able to blog a few times, but I still feel like I’m way behind even though with the All-Star break for the Major Leaguers, AAA and AA have been going on, so I haven’t been missing much. Getting back so late, and with the Twins 2nd half not starting until Friday, I am going to wait a day to post my thoughts on some Twins awards for the first half. Let’s see, what has happens? Where are we?
· You may have heard, on Monday, TwinsCentric 2009 July Trade Deadline Primer released, and of course, John, Nick, Parker and I thank you all for your support of that venture, but also just for coming to our sites every day and either just reading or even participating. One of my favorite things about blogging is the interaction with other fans whether you agree or disagree. With the release of the Trade Deadline Primer, there are over 30,000 words that we can all disagree on. Fun! There are still two weeks before the deadline, and for some reason, I truly believe that the Twins will do something, and something of significance. I am in agreement with those who believe that if the Twins do nothing, they will stay right around .500 and likely finish in 3rd (if not 4th) place in the division.
· If you want to read a little unbiased opinion of the Trade Deadline Primer, fellow Star Tribune Your Voices blogger Doogie Wolfson wrote a review last night. Also yesterday, Aaron Gleeman blogged about the book. Thank you to both of them.
· Let’s see… Alexi Casilla was promoted after the game on Sunday when Matt Tolbert was sent down. Just yesterday, the Twins sent Jose Morales back to Rochester to bring up a pitcher. The choice was Kevin Mulvey, a starter. Although I was initially surprised somewhat, it isn’t hard to understand. Jesse Crain and Juan Morillo are still walking too many. Rob Delaney has experienced some bumps in Rochester, and Anthony Slama still has not seen AAA. I am very curious how this bullpen will play out, or what this move really signals, if anything.
· The bigger question I have is who will be starting for the Red Wings now that their top three pitchers (Mulvey, Anthony Swarzak and Brian Duensing) are all with the Twins. Jeff Manship, who has been in Rochester for less than a month, is probably the team’s ace. If pitchers are promoted from AA (Say… Matt Fox, Ryan Mullins or Cole Devries), then who moves up to AA? If Mike McCardell, Tyler Robertson or David Bromberg get moved up from Ft. Myers to New Britain, then who moves up from Beloit? It could be interesting.
· And with the promotion of Steve Singleton from Ft. Myers to New Britain on Tuesday, there are other questions. One would have to think that there is a chance that Brian Dinkelman could be promoted to Rochester now that the AA All-Star game is complete so that they both can get regular at bats. However, how do you allot playing time in the middle infield in Rochester if you’ve got Dinkelman along with Trevor Plouffe, Steve Tolleson, Matt Macri and now Matt Tolbert? Dinkelman and Tolleson have both played a little bit of LF, so that’s possible. It will certainly be interesting.
· Back to the trade deadline stuff, I’m normally one to trust the Twins minor leagues system and I still very much believe in the farm system’s depth. But again, I truly believe that a move is needed this year if they truly want to compete. That is the opinion that I have generally heard. But Travis Aune takes a little different perspective, one that I normally have had in the past. I encourage you to read his thoughts.
· Is it too early to start thinking about which six Twins minor leaguers the Twins will send to the Arizona Fall League? With the promotion of Singleton to AA, he certainly becomes an option. I spent some car time today thinking about this very topic. Typically the Twins haven’t sent a player there in back to back years. Last year, they sent Jeff Manship, Anthony Slama, Rob Delaney, Tim Lahey, Danny Valencia, Dustin Martin and Steve Tolleson. If that holds true, it becomes quite difficult to select which players would be selected. Another rule is that players from countries with Winter League teams can not participate. If healthy, I am sure the Twins would love to send Wilson Ramos there to get him additional at bats, but he will head back to Venezuela. So here are my guesses, and please feel free to agree or disagree with them. I think the three hitters will be: Rene Tosoni, Steve Singleton and Whit Robbins. If I were to name three pitchers today, I think they might send Michael McCardell (who could yet be promoted to New Britain, or go as a A-ball exception), Cole Devries, and Alex Burnett,
· Speaking of Alex Burnett, check out the Q&A that Josh Johnson conducted with the Rockcats righty reliever.
· Nick Nelson ranted on the Madness of Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire… hard to disagree with the evaluation!
· At Over the Baggy, Parker looks at Three Signings as part of his First Half Review.
· I accidentally watched the last few innings of the AAA All-Star game last night. Did You know that former Twin Michael Ryan is still playing? He plays for the New Orleans Zephyrs, the AAA Affiliate of the Florida Marlins. He apparently recently turned 32 years old. He doubles in the 8th inning.
· Finally, be sure to go to www.CoryHepola.com and check out his blog. But be certain to check out his video story on Danny Valencia. Cory has done some really good stories, but this one is right at the top.
Oh, and again, be sure to check back tomorrow when we may be able to let you in on a little information that has been teased here and a couple of other places over the last few days.
MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Wednesday - SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – James Beresford, Beloit Snappers
Wednesday - SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Steve Hirschfeld, Ft. Myers Miracle – Tom Stuifbergen, Elizabethton Twins
Wednesday – Rochester – The AAA All-Star game was played last night in Portland, Oregon. The Twins/Red Wings representative was Justin Huber. He came in to pinch hit for the DH in the 5th inning and hit a sacrifice fly. He went 0-2 in his next two at bats.
Wednesday – New Britain – The Rockcats sent five players to the Eastern League All-Star game. Rene Tosoni started and played in CF the whole game. He was 0-4 with a walk. Brian Dinkelman entered the game at 2B and went 1-2. Whit Robbins pinch hit for the DH and went 1-2. Matt Fox pitched a perfect second inning, striking out one. It didn’t go as well for Anthony Slama. He started the ninth and got the first two outs. He gave up a run on a hit, a walk and a hit batter before being replaced.
Wednesday – Ft. Myers 13, Sarasota 0 – Steve Hirschfeld got plenty of run support early as the Red Wings scored nine runs in the second inning. He didn’t need that much. The righty went the complete game route. He gave up no runs on three hits. He walked just one and struck out just two. He improved to 3-4 and dropped his ERA to 2.17. Ben Revere went 3-5 with a walk and his third triple. Estarlin de Los Santos went 3-6 with his fourth and fifth doubles. Nick Romero and Chris Parmelee were each 2-4. Mark Dolenc went 2-5. Alexander Soto was promoted to the Miracle about a week ago and hit his first home run.
Wednesday – Beloit 9, Burlington 3 – Liam Hendriks picked up his first Midwest League win. He gave up just one run on nine hits over 6.2 innings. He walked one and struck out four. Blake Martin gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in 1.1 innings. Matt Williams struck out three of the four batters he faced. James Beresford went 3-5 with his fourth and fifth doubles, and his ninth stolen base. Danny Rams went 2-3 with a walk and his first home run. Angel Morales was 2-3 with his 11th double and ninth steal. Dominic de La Osa went 2-4 with his seventh double.
Wednesday – Elizabethton 4, Danville 2 – Danville is the one team in the Appy League that really gives the E-Twins some struggles, so it is good to see this win. Tom Stuifbergen led the way and improved to 3-0. The Dutch righty went all nine innings. He gave up two runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out seven. Of the 20 outs that he got on balls in play, 18 of them were ground balls. Derek McCallum went 2-4. Josmil Pinto was 2-4 with his fifth double and two RBI.
GCL TWINS THOUGHTS
Wednesday –GCL Twins 3, GCL Reds 2 – BJ Hermsen improved to 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA after giving up just one run on three hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out five. Andrei Lobonov struck out two in two scoreless innings, reducing his ERA to 0.96. Dakota Watts picked up his fourth save. He struck out three but gave up an unearned run in the ninth inning. Oswaldo Arcia went 2-4 with his first home run and three RBI.