Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Your Questions (Part 1)
Good morning everybody! As I am getting back into this blogging thing, I also need to get some sleep. So, yesterday afternoon, I asked readers to send me questions regarding the Twins, their minor league prospects and affiliates, baseball in general blogging or whatever. I would like to do the same thing for tomorrow, so please e-mail me some questions. Today, I will answer a few questions.
The Twins had an off day. After their four game sweep, a day off probably wasn't exactly what they needed, but I am sure any day off during the season is a good thing, especially when at home. Tonight begins a big series at home against the Detroit Tigers. Should be enjoyable to watch.
Last week, I mentioned that I had heard that Grant Balfour could be called up at any time. Well, when Ben Sheets went on the Milwaukee Brewers Disabled List yesterday, Balfour was called up. He has dominated the minor leagues so far this year and appears back at 100% I know I am not the only one who wishes him well.
Did you also see that former Twins catcher Rob Bowen was traded from the Cubs to the A's with a minor league pitcher for Jason Kendall. Just a few weeks ago, he was acquired by the Cubs for Michael Barrett.
Thanks to Tim Kolehmainen of The Truth about Cats and Blogs informs us that Ryan Mullins and Jay Sawatski were promoted from New Britain to Rochester. Mullins was only brought up to the Rockcats a little more than a month ago. He has been excellent thus far this year. It will be interesting to see who, if anyone, is promoted from Ft. Myers to New Britain. He mentions Yohan Pino, Oswaldo Sosa and Jeff Manship as possibilities. That is probably the order in which I would promote them although I would guess that Sosa would be the first starter promoted, and maybe Eddie Morlan could join their bullpen in the near future.
Nick Blackburn was put on the 7-Day Disabled List with a sore, tired arm. The teams are saying that this is precautionary, but it will be interesting to see. As of now, he will miss two starts.
Nick N. has two ideas to help out the Twins offense. Check them out and see what you think.
Finally, you will definitely want to check out Taylor's Twins Talk today. He has a great article he calls Twins Trade Primer. In it, he discusses many names of guys that could be dealt by the Twins for various reasons from pending free agency, to guys who are out of options after this year. A very interesting section are the guys who will be eligible for the Rule V draft in the offseason. To give my opinion, I think that the Twins would need to protect Matt Moses, David Winfree and Matt Tolbert and Jose Morales (to replace Chris Heintz). Others who will likely be considered would be Nick Blackburn, Angel Garcia and Matt Fox. How many will be traded? Not many, but this report is very helpful!
Alright, let's get to the first few questions. Thanks again, and e-mail more.
From Aaron Kalina:
Just wondering what your thoughts are on CF next season. I would have to assume that Hunter’s Twins days are fading into the sunset, and barring a trade for a potential CF next year at the deadline or the signing of a washed up vet, who’d be next in line? Obviously, Span probably needs to stay at AAA to see if he’ll ever click, but what about Darnell McDonald? I really haven’t heard much about him, other than the fact that he was immediately inserted into the 3 hole at Rochester upon arrival and has some speed. Could he at least be a stop gap type of guy until another remedy is found?
This is a great question and becomes potentially much more important depending on where the Twins are around the July 31 Trade Deadline. The fact that Ichiro just signed a five year, $90 million contract tells me that Torii Hunter's market value likely went upwards of six years and $96 million. The Twins and Terry Ryan would be foolish to pay him that kind of money (and no, that isn't bashing Hunter, that's just the reality). So what are the options? Here is a quick look:
Lew Ford - Ford's remarkable first half of the 2005 season has bought him a lot of time with the team. He was incredible, but since that time, he hasn't been able to sustain any success. This past offseason, he became arbitration-eligible and the Twins signed him for just under one million dollars. If the Twins were to offer him arbitration this year, it is likely that he would make somewhere between $1.5-2 million. To me, Ford has a lot of value as a fourth outfielder because he is a quality defensive player with a good arm who can put together solid at bats, but with the importance of keeping as many stars as they can, every extra million matters, so we shall see what the Twins do there.
Jason Tyner - a "speed" guy, Tyner doesn't walk much and has zero power. He is not a very good outfielder and has average arm strength at best. It is a stretch to say that he is even a decent fifth outfield option. It is OK for 2007 because he is making nearly the league minimum. However, he becomes arbitration-eligible in the offseason and could get around $750,000. It doesn't seem like a lot in today's market, but when you can get as much or more production from a bench bat for the league minimum, there is no reason to keep him around.
Denard Span - Although I think it's silly to plan for it, I believe that in the minds of the Twins brass, Denard Span remains the CF of the future. They certainly gave him enough money to stay away from college football, so he will be given every chance. He is struggling to hold his own at AAA this year. However, he is just 23 years old and the Twins can and should remain patient with him. Clearly he has a lot of skills that could develop, they just haven't to this point. It is important to remember that Span has a couple of options left. In other words, he doesn't have to stick with the Twins until the 2010 season. It is OK for him to spend another year at Rochester.
A leftover CF free agent - If the Twins aren't able to sign their own free agent CF in Torii Hunter, they also will not have the money for the likes of Andruw Jones. I think that Aaron Rowand, Mike Cameron and Eric Byrnes will also get too many years and dollars for the Twins to go after them. But the Twins could probably retain the services of the likes of a Corey Patterson or even Kenny Lofton for one year deals. Patterson may be able to get a two year, $7-9 million deal. Lofton could probably be had for one year and about $2-3 million. Again, those would be stop gap options.
Darnell McDonald - First a little background. McDonald was the first round pick (26th overall) of the Baltimore Orioles. He had been the Baseball America High School Player of the Year. He spect parts of the 2001 and 2002 seasons playing in Rochester which was at the time the AAA affiliate of the Orioles. In 2004, he was called up to Baltimore and played in 17 games. He went 5-32 (.156/.206/.188). Of course, that is way too small a sample size to make any real generalizations. Looking at what he did last year for Durham (Devil Rays AAA) gives us an indication of what is possible. He went 157-538 (.292/.351/.435) with 33 doubles, 14 homers and 57 RBI. He was 30-42 in stolen base attempts. However, he also struck out 115 times. I think that very statistic is the one that has kept him in AAA for so long. My gut feeling is that if McDonald were given the full time CF job for the Twins next year, he could put up a line of approximately .280/.335/.400 with a bunch of doubles, a few homers and 20-30 stolen bases. For $400,000, that is not bad at all, especially if he is hitting 8th or 9th in the lineup. Yes, he would likely strike out upwards of 140 times, but I think that they could deal with that. A best case comparable for McDonald would be Curtis Granderson. A more likely comparable would be Corey Patterson, and again, the price tag fits much better.
I think McDonald goes into spring training next spring with two or three of the above names and is given a legitimate shot at earning the job. Although I assume that he could become a free agent and sign anywhere again in the offseason, I would think that the Twins would be a very good fit for him to stick around. And to think, the Twins were able to acquire him from the Washington Nationals for Levale Speigner.
From Josh Johnson of Josh's Thoughts (an excellent new Twins blog that will likely steal away many of my readers once you've been there a few times!)
Who do you feel is the next "top prospect" that nobody is talking about right now?
This is such a tough question. The Twins have a lot of high level pitching prospects, so by saying that 'nobody is talking about them right now, I will not include the likes of Kevin Slowey, Brian Duensing and Ryan Mullins. Clearly 3B Brian Buscher and RHP Nick Blackburn are two guys who went from non-prospects to possible Twins options this year. Some prospect's statuses have fallen. Several, such as Matt Tolbert, Trevor Plouffe, Yohan Pino or even Rene Leveret, are being talked about. So, this is a far tougher question is you over-think it... as I do.
So, my choice for the 'top prospect that no one is talking about right now' is: Brian Dinkelman of the Ft. Myers Miracle. I don't hear a lot of people talking about him, but he has been excellent. So, let's spend a paragraph talking about him here. The Twins took Dinkelman in the 8th round last year after four years at McKendree College, an NAIA school in Illinois. Many believe that he is one of the best, if not the best, NAIA player ever. He spent last season at Elizabethton. He started this season at Beloit where he played in 67 games and hit .283/.373/.488 with 29 extra base hits. He was also 10-10 in stolen base attempts. He earned his midseason promotion to Ft. Myers where they needed any offense they could get. In 21 games now for the Miracle, he is hitting .321/.387/.500 with two doubles, two triples and three home runs. The 23 year old hits left handed. He is probably a second baseman of the future if he continues to improve
So there you have it. My answers to a couple of your questions. I will be answering more questions tomorrow. So please e-mail me questions you have regarding the Twins, their minor league teams, their prospects, blogging or anything. Again, please let me know if it is OK for me to use your name on the site.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Steven Tolleson, Ft. Myers Miracle
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Tim Lahey, New Britain Rockcats
If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Monday - Red Wings 3, Syracuse 5 – Jason Miller started the game and falls to 1-4. He gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings, without recording a strikeout. Carmen Cali then gave up a run and struck out four in two innings. Bobby Korecky struck out two in one inning. Darnell McDonald went 2-4 with a walk and his 20th stolen base. Gil Velazquez went 2-4 with an RBI. Alexi Casilla went 2-5.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Monday - Rockcats 3, Connecticut 2 (13) – Garrett Guzman hit a bases loaded sacrifice fly in the 13th to score Luke Hughes with the winning run. Brandon Roberts went 3-5 with a walk and his eighth double. Felix Molina hit his 13th double. Jesse Floyd started and gave up two unearned runs on six hits and two walks in six innings. Angel Garcia walked two and struck out one in 2/3 of an inning. Jose Mijares got out the next four hitters, three on strikeouts. JP Martinez struck out three in two shutout innings. Then Tim Lahey pitched three perfect innings to improve to 7-2.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Monday - Miracle 4, Vero Beach 7 - Zach Ward got some run support and still fell to 2-13. He gave up five runs (4 earned) on four hits and a walk. He struck out four. Robert Delaney gave up two runs on three hits in two innings. He struck out three. David Shinskie threw a shutout inning. Steven Tolleson went 3-5 with his 3rd homer. Brian Dinkelman went 2-4 with a walk and his third Miracle homer. Erik Lis added his eighth homer. Juan Portes went 2-4 with his third stolen base. Johnny Woodard went 2-4 with his second double. Danny Valencia went 2-5 with his third double.
Monday - Snappers – No Game Scheduled
Monday - E-Twins 0, Danville 2 – The E-Twins lost their fourth straight game, and they were shut out in this game. They managed just four hits. Deibinson Romero went 1-3 with a walk and his third double. Henry Reyes started and did rather well. He gave up one run on three hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out four. Loek Van Mil went the final three innings, striking out six batters. He gave up a run.
GCL TWINS UPDATE
Monday - GCL Twins 11, GCL Reds 5 – Yangervis Solarte went 3-4 with his first home run, four RBI and his second stolen base. Danny Rams went 3-4 with a walk. Jeanfred Brito was 2-4 with a walk and his fifth double. Ben Revere went 2-5 with his second double. James Beresford went 2-5. Thomas Wright started and went five innings. He gave up two runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out four. Jakub Toufar gave up a run over the next two innings. Michael Mopas gave up two runs in the final two innings.
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.
Let me know what you think. Any other topics you would like to see discussed? Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today!|
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