Thursday, July 24, 2008
and Your Comments
Like I said last night, I am on my way out of town and don't know how much computer or internet access I will get throughout the next 3-4 days. I am sure I will check in from time to time though. But again, I want to provide a forum for you to be able to talk about the Twins, their minor leaguers, discuss transactions and game notes, and really just discuss whatever it is you choose. So, keep the comments coming! Have a great weekend!
In this section, please discuss the Twins. Talk about Trade Rumors (or maybe trades?), promotions, if any (Liriano??), and their affects. The Twins have an off day on Thursday, probably much needed. It would sure be nice to get a couple of wins in Cleveland this weekend before starting that home series with the White Sox! However, that won't be easy. On Friday night, they will see Cliff Lee. Saturday will mark the return of Fausto Carmona to the Cleveland rotation. He has been on the Disabled List since May 24th with a hip injury. Sunday they will see soft-tossing lefty Jeremy Sowers, who has been awful for the last two years, but that doesn't mean much. The Twins will send the ever-hittable Livan Hernandez to the mound on Friday night. Ace Scott Baker will get the nod on Saturday. Then on Sunday, it will be Nick Blackburn. Cleveland is still without Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez, and they are involved in several trade rumors themselves. It will be an interesting series. So, talk Twins here...
Twins Minor League Updates
This would be the section to discuss the Twins minor league system. There are plenty of topics to talk about from the bad play seen in Rochester and New Britain, to the injuries in Beloit and the playoff-bound Ft. Myers team. Elizabethton certainly seems to be down, and the GCL Twins certainly have an array of baseball backgrounds. But I think we also have to say that the Twins do have several prospects at each level. There is plenty to talk about, some positive and some negative. Please update the comments with game notes, transactions or any updates you may have. Here are a few things to get the conversation started:
Starting with some positive news, got a note from Kyle Waldrop yesterday. The most exciting news is that he will be back again, participating in the NFL "Expert" Picks this fall. OK, even more exciting than that is that his rehab is going very well. He said that his shoulder feels really good. The range of motion in his arm is the best that it has been since he signed with the Twins. He is starting to add some long toss into his routine. He told me that he is hoping to throw his first bullpen sometime next week. Obviously we wish him the best!
A couple of weeks ago, Omar Alcala was released.
I guess I didn't really know, but I found out that Brad Tippett, for all the success he has experienced, tops out at 85 mph right now. That doesn't mean that he can't be successful. He is still young and can add size and strength and velocity, but it will be an interesting study in seeing how he is able to adapt to each progressive level as he moves up.
On the other end of the spectrum is E-Town's Curtis Leavitt, who although being young, already is consistently hitting 92 mph on the radar gun. As impressive, is that he has a very good curveball already. Control has been his one downfall, if he's had one, in his short tenure in the system, but his strikeout numbers are very encouraging.
Reports on the curveball of Shooter Hunt have been terrific so far. I have been told that his curveball may be the best in the system already, right there with Jeff Manship. One person told me that he is the 'best pitcher' that he has been on the field with.
With the promotion of Hunt to Beloit, they have made a couple of changes in their rotation. Shooter Hunt will obviously now be in the rotation, but Henry Reyes will now be getting his shot at a starting gig. Michael Tarsi and the struggling-of-late Santos Arias will be heading to the bullpen.
Speaking of comparisons, I have also been told that Mike McCardell reminds people of Jeff Manship too. The comparison was in terms of delivery and mechanics. I was told that his stuff isn't quite on par with Manship's, but then again, McCardell has only been a full-time pitcher for a few years. He will only get better.
Count me in with any group that thinks that it would be nice for the Twins to move McCardell up to Ft. Myers and Cole DeVries up to New Britain when the Twins promote a pitcher from New Britain to Rochester to replace the Olympic-bound Brian Duensing. Rumors have it that the Twins are trying to decide whether to promote Ryan Mullins (who has probably been the Rockcats most consistent starter, but who has been pitching out of the bullpen for several weeks now) or Anthony Swarzak (who has been better, though not great, the last couple of starts).
I found a very interesting Minor League Equivalency calculator online. I am able to input a player's minor league numbers and the level and team he currently plays for, and it calculates how that players numbers would look at various other levels. So, here is what it looks like for Ben Revere, whose current numbers at Beloit are .400/.454/.538 (110-275) with 17 doubles, 9 triples a homer and 37 RBI, 22 walks, 26 strikeouts:
At Ft. Myers - .346/.388/.457 (97-280) with 14 doubles, 7 triples, no homers and 28 RBI.18 walks, 28 strikeouts.
At New Britain - .334/.374/.444 (94-281) with 15 doubles, 7 triples, no homers and 27 RBI, 17 walks, 28 strikeouts.
At Rochester - .312/.349/.407 (88-283) with 13 doubles, 6 triples, no homers and 26 RBI, 15 walks, 29 strikeouts.
With the Twins - .271/.303/.349 (78-286) with 11 doubles, 5 triples, no homers and 19 RBI, 12 walks, 31 strikeouts.
You know I would certainly question pretty much all of the numbers other than maybe the Ft. Myers numbers. I do think that he would hit well with the Miracle (although .346 is pretty tough!). I just don't see enough reduction from A to AA or from AA to AAA. And, I just can't imagine that he would have an OPS of 652 if he were playing with the Twins... in other words, he would already be better than Carlos Gomez with the bat? I don't think so. Any thoughts?
One Twins prospect worth taking a second look at is Beloit OF Mark Dolenc. The Twins drafted Dolenc in the 15th round in 2006 out of Minnesota State-Mankato. He began the season getting occasional playing time in the OF, but injuries to Chris Parmelee, Joe Benson and Ozzie Lewis have made him an every day player, and he is taking advantage of it. The 23 year old was hitting about .215 in limited playing time, but he is now up to .265 on the year. He is second on the team with 23 stolen bases and has only been throw out three times. Sometimes opportunity is all a guy needs.
Alexander Soto has been a surprise to many, including myself. The catcher for Elizabethton has hit .351 with six doubles and seven home runs in just 57 at bats. One person close to the E-Twins told me that several of Soto's doubles have hit high off the wall. Another person told me that Soto has a very strong arm and he definitely is considered a good prospect.
It has certainly been an interesting year for Rochester's Jason Pridie. He was solid in April (.801 OPS), horrible in May (16-113, .394 OPS), and adequate in June. But so far in July, he has been terrific. For the month, he has hit .338/.347/.746 with three doubles, four triples and six homers. He has also reportedly made several "Web Gems" of late. Of course, he has just one walk to go with 16 strikeouts. That has probably been his biggest negative. In 407 at bats, he has just 19 walks and 106 strikeouts.
Jose Mijares is already up to Ft. Myers in his rehabilitation from his car crash and broken elbow from this past winter. He is doing very well so far. But don't expect to see him in Minnesota. It is a success that he is where he is. In my mind, I think he could get to New Britain within a couple of weeks. That is where he spent most of last season, with a stint in Ft. Myers. But if he can end 2008 in about the same spot he ended 2007, I think that would be a success.
Joe Benson recently received a cortisone shot in his lower back which has helped with the pain. He is currently down in Ft. Myers where he is rehabbing with many players (injuries certainly have been a big part of the 2008 Twins minor league system, haven't they?). Jair Fernandez has a cast on his throwing hand, but there is hope he could return yet this year. Chris Parmelee is also still currently with the Snappers.
Other Notes -
This section can be for any other discussion. Maybe you actually want to talk about that team in Purple and that QB thing. Up to you. Maybe you want to talk politics and religion... that's always smart to do on a blog, right? This is your area, so discuss what you will.