Sunday, August 12, 2007
Get to Know 'Em: Ozzie Lewis
Another weekend posting, surprise surprise! The Twins blew a great pitching performance by Carlos Silva. Pat Neshek may take the heat for it, but if the offense had come threw and driven in some runs (they got plenty of base runners), then the end score would not have been close. Be sure to check out some of my thoughts on the Twins loss as well as the loss of Jason Kubel. As always, you will find the Minor League Updates. Kevin Slowey certainly had another great start!
But today, I'm going to talk about something positive. Ozzie Lewis is Saturday's Minor League player of the day. For the Elizabethton Twins, he went 4-5 with two doubles, a homer and three RBI. He has done a great job all summer for his team. He wasn't a big name coming into the season, and his draft status probably doesn't make him real well known, so I thought I would take a few paragraphs and discuss him here.
Ozzie Lewis was drafted by the Twins in the 21st round of the 2007 baseball draft out of Fresno State. He signed very quickly and was sent to Elizabethon, Tennessee to begin his pro career. Here is a little bit of his background.
The 21 year old is a graduate of Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, California. That is the same high school that was attended by the Angels Garrett Anderson and the White Sox Jon Garland. When he signed to play at Fresno State, he was a very raw player. He was 6-4 and 195 pounds. The scouting report at the time was that he had a pro body and some pro tools, but he wasn't a baseball player yet. He had a lot to learn. In his freshman season (as a teammate of Matt Garza), he played in about half of the games, sometimes only as a pinch hitter. He was still a part time player in his second season until about halfway through the season. Then some of his tools turned into skills. When the WAC tournament came along, he was the tournament MVP after hitting .588 with two doubles and two homers in the four games. For the season, he hit .331/361/.543 with eight doubles, three triples and six home runs.
He had performed so well that heading into the 2007 season, he was named the preseason player of the year in the conference. He wasn't able to put up the same kind of numbers and actually missed some time during the middle of the season. He hit .293 with 16 doubles, seven homers and 40 RBI. But it is his baseball tools and his size that kept him on the Twins' draft board. They got him in the 21st round in June and it may have been a steal. Lewis signed quickly and since then he has done nothing but hit.
In his Fresno State bio, when asked for his biggest thrill, he said "every time he hits a home run." Well, then he must be thrilled with his first glimpse of pro ball.
Through Saturday's games, he is now hitting .339/.396/.591 with 14 doubles, a triple, nine homers and 43 RBI in 45 games. At 6-4 and about 210 pounds, Lewis is still a long way from making it to The Show. Although he uses the whole field, including power to the opposite field, he will likely have to continue to improve as he moves up through the system. It is somewhat difficult to get a real strong feel about a hitter's future based on what he does in the short-season rookie leagues. The Elizabethton team is loaded with players from college or 20-22 year olds who have worked their way up the Twins system from the Dominican or Venezuelan Summer League to the Gulf Coast League and to E-Town. But I am glad that the Twins keep these guys at Elizabethton to allow them to understand some of the rigors of pro ball and the bus rides and being on their own and making money... and new teammates and friends and coaches and the wood bat. But what Lewis has done to this point is certainly encouraging.
I anticipate Ozzie Lewis going to Instructional League this fall, and then likely spending the full 2008 season with the Beloit Snappers. In a lineup that includes the likes of Rene Leveret, Rene Tosoni and Deibinson Romero, I don't think that Ozzie Lewis's name should be left out of any conversation. It will be fun to follow him over the next four to six years, hopefully culminating in a big league call up.
Any thoughts on Ozzie Lewis? Please e-mail me or leave Comments below.
Secondly, please let me know what you think of the Minor League: Get to Know 'Em posting and idea. Is it something that you would be interested in reading once a week or so? If so, please feel free to e-mail me the names of people that you would like to learn a little more about. Thank you!
Twins and their Minor League Updates
Here are the game reports of the Twins and their minor league affiliates.
Saturday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Ozzie Lewis, Elizabethton Twins
Saturday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Kevin Slowey, Rochester Red Wings
Saturday - Twins 3, Angels 4
Carlos Silva was excellent through seven innings. He did not allow a run. He gave up just two hits and no walks. He threw just 88 pitches (60 for strikes), but he appeared to tweaked his hamstring in the top of the 7th and came out.
Silva certainly did his job, and really, the game was set up about how the team would want it. Pat Neshek for the 8th inning followed by Joe Nathan for the 9th. Unfortunately, Pat Neshek struggled to get ahead of hitters and end up giving up a few hits, including a two-run homer to Twins Killer Maicer Izturis! Neshek gave up four runs (3 earned) on two hits and a walk. He got just one out. Dennys Reyes came in and walked the only guy he faced, which is becoming nearly a pattern as well. Matt Guerrier came in and got the final two outs.
Joe Mauer drove in one of the two runs with a single up the middle. He went 3-4 in the game.
Jason Bartlett had a single and a triple in his first two at bats. He also stole his 21st base in his 22nd attempt.
Mike Redmond also had two hits.
In his first at bat, Jason Kubel pulled his oblique muscle and had to leave the game. Mike Redmond came in and went 2-3. This is not good news. It is unfortunate that he is not playing more left field and possibly losing more at bats. This is an injury that will take quite a bit of time to recover from. It is likely that he will go on the Disabled List (assuming the injury is as bad as it would seem) while would probably mean the return of either Lew Ford or Garrett Jones.
This information (courtesy Stick & Ball Guy) on Nick Punto and an unnamed Twins player (or players) is more than a little interesting. IF Stick & Ball Guy's assumption is true, it is not at all surprising.
John Lackey threw 8 innings for the Angels and improved to 15-6. Although he hasn't updated it for a couple of weeks, you never know if he will discuss this game over at his blog.
Saturday - Red Wings 4, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 1 – Kevin Slowey outdualed Kei Igawa to improve to 9-3 with a 1.77 ERA. He went 8.1 innings and gave up just one run. He allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out five. Of the 115 pitches he threw, 80 were strikes. Jason Miller came in and got an out. Then newcomer Jerome Williams came in and got the final out to record his first save. Lew Ford had a great day on offense. He went 3-3 with a walk and two doubles. Jose Morales went 2-4 with a triple and two RBI.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Saturday - Rockcats 1, Akron 9 – This was a rough one for the Rockcats. Anthony Swarzak started and gave up five runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out one. Frank Mata gave up two runs on five hits in 1.1 innings. Angel Garcia then gave up two runs in one inning. David Winfree went 2-3 with a walk. Garrett Guzman hit his 17th double. Brock Peterson went 1-2 with two walks.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Saturday - Miracle 7, Brevard County 6 – Zach Ward got another win, and this is one that makes up for all of those games when he pitched well and lost. In this game, he gave up five runs in five innings. He gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out eight. Adam Hawes came in and got four outs without a run. David Shinskie got two outs and no runs. Eddie Morlan picked up his 16th save with four strikeouts in two innings. Steve Tolleson went 3-5 with three runs scored and his 25th stolen base. Dustin Martin went 3-4 with two RBI. Erik Lis went 2-5 with his fourth triple. Juan Portes was 2-4. Johnny Woodard went 2-3 with a walk. Brian Dinkelman was 13 with two walks and his sixth home run.
Saturday - Snappers 6, Lansing 4 – Chris Parmelee had a very good game after his poor streak. He was 2-3 with a walk. Danny Santiesteban went 2-4. Garrett Olson, Eli Tintor and Steve Singleton each hit a double. Alex Burnett went the first four innings and gave up three runs, just one was earned. He gave up three hits, walked three and struck out two. Jose Lugo picked up his third win by going three innings of one-run ball. Danny Vais pitched a scoreless inning. Then Anthony Slama picked up his seventh save and struck out the side in the ninth.
Saturday - E-Twins 9, Bluefield 5 – Ozzie Lewis had a very impressive game! He went 4-5 with two doubles (he has 14 now), his ninth homer and three RBI. Rene Tosoni went 2-5 with his 10th double and 11th stolen base. Rene Leveret went 2-4 with a walk. Michael Allen improved to 4-1 with a 2.29 ERA. In six innings, he gave up two runs on eight hits. He walked three and struck out seven. Omar Alcala gave up a walk and two hits without getting an out and was removed from the game. Curt Leavitt came in and in two innings truck out four. Blair Erickson then gave up a run on two hits and a walk in an inning.
GCL TWINS REPORT
Saturday - GCL Twins 2, GCL Red Sox 5 – Thomas Wright started and fell to 2-3. He gave up three runs (1 earned) on six hits in 4.2 innings. He walked two and struck out two. Charles Nolte then gave up two runs in 1.1 innings. Yangervis Solarte went 2-3. Nick Biagini went 2-3 including his fifth double. Kevin Harrington hit his first triple.
That is it for today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!|
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