Saturday July 31, 2004
TRADE DEADLINE THOUGHTS
TWINS PROSPECTS 21-30
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Seth's Top 30 Twins Prospects-Part 3
AND TRADE ANALYSIS
I rarely take the time to write up articles over the weekend, but I did figure I owed it to the readers to finish my review of my list of the top 30 Twins prospects that I came up with last December. However, with the trade deadline looming (Saturday, 2:00 central time), there have already been a couple of trades announced that have me scratching my head! So, between Friday night and Saturday, I will be updating this site as trades occur (and I hear about them) and give my thoughts on them. As for the Twins thoughts and highlights from the Twins affiliates, I will get to those as I have time. So check back from time to time and see if there is anything new.
TRADE DEADLINE THOUGHTS
San Diego Padres Receive Brad Fullmer.
Texas Rangers receive minor leaguer player to be named later.
Trade 1a. The Fullmer trade was nullified because Fullmer will be on the Disabled List longer than expected. So...
San Diego Padres receive PH Dave Hansen
Seattle Mariners receive minor league P Jon Huber.
Seth's Thoughts: This is kind of a 'who-cares' trade. Fullmer was just put on the Disabled List. He has primarily been a DH throughout his career. But he can hit when he is healthy. My assumption is that he will pinch hit for the Padres. For the Rangers it is ok because they have enough bats even without him.
Seth's Thoughts (1a.): Dave Hansen has been a good pinch hitter for a LONG time! So, Fullmer or Hansen isn't the issue. The Padres apparently really wanted a pitcher and got a very good veteran to do that for them.
Kansas City Royals receive minor league catcher Justin Huber.
New York Mets receive 3B Jose Bautista
Seth's Thoughts: I realize that this helps make Trade #3 possible, but giving up on a catching prospect like Justin Huber for a guy that will only be used to sweeten the pot to land Kris Benson from the Pirates. In the Carlos Beltran trade, the Royals got catcher John Buck. With Huber, they may have a couple of quality catchers for the future. So, in my mind, the Royals really came out very well in this trade!
New York Mets receive Kris Benson and IF Jeff Keppinger.
Pittsburgh Pirates receive Jose Bautista, Ty Wigginton and P Matt Peterson.
Seth's Thoughts: Peterson is a quality left-handed starter currently at AA. Jose Bautista could be a future big league infielder and Ty Wigginton is a very solid big leaguer. He was the Mets starting third baseman in 2003 and until a couple of weeks ago when top 3B prospect David Wright was recalled. His versatility meant that he moved to 2B at that time and continued to play. His is hitting .285 with 12 homers and 42 RBI. We know that Kris Benson is a decent starting pitcher. He has an injury history. He is the best non-Randy Johnson pitcher available, and he still had an ERA over 4.00. When you consider what the Mets gave up to get him (including Justin Huber), I think it is far too much, especially considering the Mets won't make the playoffs this season anyway! They hope to re-sign Benson following the season. Even if they do, it's still too much!
New York Mets receive RHP Victor Zambrano and a minor league P Bartolome Fortunato.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays receive LHP Scott Kazmir and another minor league P Juan Diaz.
Seth's Thoughts: I thought the Mets gave up way too much to get Benson... this is ridiculous. Arguably one of the top 3 pitching prospects in all of baseball, for Victor Zambrano. Now, I like Zambrano. He is a solid major league pitcher. This year with the Rays, he is 9-7 with a 4.43 ERA. But again, the Mets are making these moves not only for this season but for the future. Mets fans have to be disappointed if their management chooses a future of Victor Zambrano instead of Scott Kazmir! Oh, did I mention that Zambrano has been experiencing elbow pain lately? And he is signed through the 2007 season. Winner - Another great young player for the Devil Rays!
Los Angeles Dodgers receive RHP Brad Penny, 1B Hee Seop Choi and minor league P Bill Murphy
Florida Marlins receive C Paul Lo Duca, OF Juan Encarnacion and RP Guillermo Mota.
Seth's Thoughts: This is actually a trade with some names involved. The Dodgers wanted a 1B so they can move Shawn Green back out to RF where he will now replace Encarnacion who is now headed back for another stint with the Marlins. Brad Penny gives the Dodgers a hard-throwing starter who should be able to give them some innings. Also, he has been in the World Series. But, the Marlins finally got a solid starter, something they have not had this year, and an outfield bat. Juan Encarnacion is very underrated. Guillermo Mota is one of the best setup men in baseball. Note - Peter Gammons reports that this trade could also be just to give the Dodgers some pieces to send to Arizona in an attempt to acquire Randy Johnson and Steve Finley. So, I think this is a good trade for both teams as they are trying to get into the playoffs. However, it has the potential to become even bigger.
San Francisco Giants receive OF Ricky Ledee and P Alfredo Simon.
Philadelphia Phillies receive RP Felix Rodriguez.
Seth's Thoughts: The Phillies need bullpen help. The Giants need an outfielder. Felix Rodriguez is a hard-throwing veteran are that will surely help the Phillies bullpen, especially right now with Billy Wagner on the disabled list. Ricky Ledee has been playing a lot of CF for the Phillies. So, does this mean the Phils have another move in the works for a CF? Or, will they just leave the job in the hands of the disappointing Marlon Byrd and Doug Glanville? Is Steve Finley changing his tune to consider a move East? On the other hand, the Giants have also been in talks for a closer. Could Rodriguez have moved into the closer's role?
Philadelphia Phillies receive RP Todd Jones and minor league OF Brad Correll.
Cincinnati Reds receives minor league P John Hancock and IF Anderson Machado.
The Reds got Jones for very cheap after he was released in spring training. They should be happy to get a couple of second tier prospects for him. The Phillies just want to bolster their bullpen with some veterans and Jones has been a solid reliever for a long time. This is a good deadline trade for both teams.
Chicago Cubs receive SS Nomar Garciaparra.
Boston Red Sox receive Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz.
Montreal Expos receive Alex Gonzalez, Francis Beltran, 3B Brendan Harris.
Minnesota Twins receive LHP Justin Jones.
I was playing in a softball tournament so I really don't know which trades occurred in which order. But to me, this is the biggest trade of the day, 1.) because it involves the Twins, and 2.) there are a lot of names!
Seth's Thoughts: The Cubs now have a lineup that could win the World Series. Garciaparra fits in with Sammy Sosa, Aramis Ramirez, Moises Alou and Derrick Lee, not to mention Corey Patterson and Michael Barrett! If Kerry Wood and Mark Prior get healthy at the right time, they may be the team to beat!
The Red Sox went from a bad defensive shortstop in Garciapparra and from bad defensive first basemen to a couple of solid gold glove defenders. They still have a devastating offense and will score runs. They still have some really good pitchers. Now their team appears to be more balanced. Maybe these deals will get us a Cubs/Red Sox World Series after all. Garciaparra has been a problem with the Sox ever since the A-Rod to Boston rumors started last fall.
The Expos get a stop-gap shortstop who plays solid defense and a couple of decent prospects. And, they lost a guy that they would have lost to free agency anyway.
OK, now from the Twins perspective, this is just a real minor trade. Ever since Mientkiewicz let it slip that the team had told him that he would be traded, Terry Ryan lost a lot of bargaining power. There was really no way that they could expect to get Kris Benson for Mientkiwicz and his $5 million more contract. So, what were the Twins left with? Getting what they could. Well, Justin Jones is a left-handed pitcher who is really well thought of. Would it have been nice to get more for Mientkiewicz? Of course. Was it realistic? Not at all. Terry Ryan has been good at making trades for minor leaguers that will be able to help in the future. The ceiling of Jones is pretty high. Let's see how it plays out. Really, though, I believe that this is addition by subtraction. As much as I like Doug, Morneau was, and will be for years to come, the guy to play. Maybe the best part of this deal though? Losing Mientkiewicz from the 40 man rosters allowed the Twins to purchase the contract of Jesse Crain! It will be fun to see him pitch!
Los Angeles Dodgers receive OF Steve Finley and C Brent Mayne.
Arizona Diamondbacks receive C Koyie Hill, OF Reggie Abercrombie and P Bill Murphy.
Seth's Thoughts: Finley agreed to waive his right to veto any trade to go to the Dodgers. Arizona trades a couple of veterans to the Dodgers, but they did receive some great prospects in exchange. Hill is a top catching prospect. Abercrombie is highly thought of. Murphy came to the Dodgers from the Marlins yesterday. The Dodgers add some offense and a quality centerfielder, and a catcher to start in place of Paul Lo Duca. But what will this do? Milton Bradley will have to move to left field. How will he handle that. Brent Mayne is not a good catcher, so that doesn't add a lot. I guess I don't understand how the Dodgers series of trades really makes them a better team. Fact is, they were already a first place team.
Boston Red Sox acquire OF Dave Roberts.
Los Angeles Dodgers receive OF Henri Stanley.
Seth's Thoughts: The Dodgers outfield is now full with Bradley, Finley and Shawn Green, so Dave Roberts was expendable. They receive another OF prospect, which basically replaces Abercrombie in their system. How does Roberts fit in with the Red Sox? Well, Ramirez and Damon will be in left and center. But RF is open as Trot Nixon is likely out for the season. Roberts can platoon out there with Kevin Millar.
Chicago White Sox receive Jose Contreras.
New York Yankees receive Esteban Loaiza.
Seth's Thoughts: Obviously the White Sox received cash in this deal to help pay Contreras the next couple of years. He has been quite the enigma in his time with the Yankees. He has been great at times, but many times against poor competition, he has been lit up. Of course, the White Sox play in the AL Central, so maybe Contreras can really help them. Loaiza was named an All Star again this season, but he really has not been good, and has not been consistent. Maybe this is just a good trade for both teams in that, a change of scenery might do them both well. Contreras may be able to perform better outside New York, and Loaiza is veteran enough that he shouldn't struggle there. His ERA may not be the best, but surrounded by that offense will help.
Texas Rangers receive Scott Erickson from Mets for cash.
Seth's Thoughts: The Mets had designated Erickson for release earlier in the week. The Rangers can always use arms. Erickson could be a good pickup for them as their 4th or 5th starter.
Atlanta Braves acquire P Tom Martin.
Los Angeles Dodgers receive P Matt Merricks.
Seth's Thoughts: Yawn!! Braves get a bullpen arm. This is a pretty minor trade.
Florida Marlins receive RP Rudy Seanez.
Kansas City Royals receive OF Abraham Nunez.
Seth's Thoughts: Florida is just continuing to stock pile relievers. Did you remember that Abraham Nunez led the major leagues in home runs in spring training?
Florida Marlins receive P Ismael Valdez.
San Diego Padres receive minor league pitcher Travis Click.
Seth's Thoughts: Marlins get a solid 5th starter down the stretch. He's not great, but he'll keep a team in the game. Better than Darren Oliver, who they traded to the Astros a month ago.
So there you have it. All of the Trade Deadline deals. Of course, there will likely be a lot of players who will be put on waivers and those who are not claimed can still be traded until August 31. There will probably be more activity in that time.
Any thoughts on any of the trades, particularly the Doug Mientkiewicz deal? E-mail me.
TWINS PROSPECTS 21-30
So, without further ado, Seth's 21-30 Twins Prospects:
#21 Colby Miller, RHP
Miller has been good, at least in terms of ERA, since being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2000 draft. But this year, Miller has taken a step back. He started the year with some arm pains and in Extended Spring training. He finally was brought up to AA New Britain where he has struggled. He is 2-4 with a 7.43 ERA. In 36.1 innings, he has struck out just 15 while walking 17.
#22 Luis Rodriguez, 2B
Luis Rodriguez is another player that I do not understand why he is not more highly thought of. He has continued to put up solid numbers at every stop. He had a very solid year at Rochester in 2003, hitting .295/.354/.376 with 35 doubles. He walked 46 times and struckout 46 times. This year, at just 24 years of age, Rodriguez is hitting .283/.350/.403 with 29 doubles, five homers and 41 RBI. He has struck out 38 times while walking 41 times. I think he at least deserves a chance at the Twins 2B job next year.
#23 Scott Tyler, RHP
Tyler was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2001. He was great his first two seasons as a pro, but last year at Quad Cities, he really struggled. He was 6-12 with a 5.50 ERA. That said, he still struck out 110 in 106+ innings. This year, he is repeating the season at Low-A Quad Cities and has shown some improvement. In 14 games, he is 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA. He has struck out 69 batters in 56.2 innings. However, he has also walked 38. Tyler is a big man which has to be a concern to the Twins, but he also has the size to grow into a power pitcher.
#24 Terry Tiffee, 3B
I think Terry Tiffee became a prospect worth watching last year when he hit .315 with 31 doubles, 14 homers and 93 RBI. He went to the Arizona Fall League and held his own. He has suffered a couple of injuries so far this year at AAA Rochester, but has continued to hit. He is currently hitting .280/.343/.495 with 17 doubles, 7 homers and 38 RBI. In 204 plate appearances, he has just 14 walks, but he has also struck out just 14 times. I get a lot of grief for believing that, if the Twins let Corey Koskie walk after the season, Terry Tiffee could handle the everyday 3B job for the Twins. I know he has never been a top prospect, but not all starters have been. I think that Tiffee has continued to improve each year and at each level and assuming his defense is adequate, I think he could handle the job.
#25 Henry Bonilla, RHP
Henry Bonilla also pitched in the Arizona Fall League. He started the season at AA New Britain. He did get called up to Rochester and started two games for them and came in in relief once. He was 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA there. He is now back at New Britain. All told, he has pitched in 18 games (15 starts). He is 8-7 with a 4.44 ERA. Bonilla is not a strikeout pitcher (54 Ks in 101.1 innings), but he doesn't walk many either (22). He will turn 26 in a couple of weeks, which makes him fall down this list.
#26 Christopher Schutt, RHP
Schutt was taken last year in the 7th round of the draft out of Cornell. Like Errol Simonitsch, Schutt dominated the younger players at Elizabethton going 5-2 with a 1.98 ERA. In 54.2 innings, he struck out 74 batters. Also like Simonitsch, Schutt struggled at the beginning of this season. He has been better of late, but he is now 5-7 with a 4.29 ERA. In 107 innings, the 22 year old has struck out 88 and walked 44.
#27 Dusty Gomon, 1B
Gomon is on this list simply because of his power numbers. He has not hit for average at all and struck out way too much. But, his power potential is great. After being unable to hit at Quad Cities last season, he returned to Elizabethton where he hit 15 homers. This year, he has spent the season at Quad Cities. He is hitting .189/.227/.321 with 14 doubles, 6 homer and 27 RBI. He is getting extra-base hits, but not much else. In 255 plate appearances, he has struck out 61 times and walked just 8.
#28 Rob Bowen, C
Early in the season, Rob Bowen came up to the Twins, and in his first at bat, he hit a pinch hit homer. He was sent back down to AA when Matthew LeCroy came off the disabled list. He has not hit at all at New Britain. He is hitting .190/.298/.352 with 10 doubles, 8 homers and 19 RBI. If not for the power, it would be just a terrible season.
#29 Nick Punto, IF
Nick Punto came to the Twins along with Carlos Silva (and Bobby Korecky) for Eric Milton. I don't think that Punto, like Lew Ford, is officially eligible for the Rookie of the Year award either. Last year in Philadelphia, he got 92 at bats in 64 games. This year, with the Twins, he has shown an ability to be a quality role player for the team. He played mainly at SS and 2B, but also got some games in at 3B and CF. Unfortunately, injuries cost him this season. He missed almost two months of the season with an oblique injury. Then he came back and was playing great when he broke his collarbone and likely will be out for the season. Although he got just 91 at bats, I think Punto showed a lot. His batting average was just .253, but he had an on-base percentage of .340. He just has a great approach at the plate. And, no one can question his heart, work ethic or effort.
#30 Jim Abbott, RHP
I said when Rob Bowen was sent to AA out of training camp that they would want him to spend time catching the Twins best pitching prospects, and they were at New Britain. JD Durbin, Colby Miller, Henry Bonill and Jim Abbott. Abbott had a strong year throwing to Joe Mauer in 2003 at Ft. Myers and New Britain. But this year, he is not doing well. In 14 starts, Abbott is 2-6 with a 5.70 ERA. In 72.1 innings, he has struck out just 32 and walked just 20. The 24 year old will probably need to spend another season at New Britain, if he sticks around that long.
WHO DID I MISS???
As I have mentioned, there are a few prospects who I did not mention in my Top 30 that absolutely would be near the top of the list if I made it now. Here is a quick look at three of the other Twins top prospects that hopefully we will hear more about in the near future:
Scott Baker, RHP - With JD Durbin, the Twins could have two members of their starting rotation. #2 pick by the Twins in 2003 out of Oklahoma State.
Class A - Ft. Myers - 6 starts, 4-2, 2.40 ERA, 45 innings, 6 walks, 37 strikeouts.
Class AA - New Britain - 10 starts, 5-4, 2.43 ERA, 70.1 innings, 13 walks, 72 strikeouts.
Class AAA - Rochester - 2 starts, 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 10.2 innings, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts.
Luis Maza, 2B - The 24 year old 2B has really made a name for himself this year. He was signed in 1997 by the Twins out of Venezuela.
Class AA - New Britain - 91 games, .309/.365/.476 with 21 doubles, 6 triples, 9 homers and 46 RBI.
Class AAA - Rochester - 9 games, .229/.289/.343 with 2 doubles, 1 triple and 1 RBI.
Kevin West, OF - Last year, the 24 year old West had a solid season in New Britain last year hitting .279/.318/.451 with 41 doubles, 14 homers and 79 RBI. As another Twins OF prospect, he seems to be almost a forgotten man.
Class AA - New Britain - 103 games, .296/.357/.545 with 33 doubles, 20 homers and 79 RBI.
If you have any other thoughts, questions, or comments about the Twins or their minor league prospects, please e-mail me.
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