Thursday September 2, 2004
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Be sure to stop by Bronx Banter, where Alex Belth has an incredible interview with ESPN.com baseball writer Buster Olney.
Get To Know 'Em: Terry Tiffee
Good morning! The Twins got another very nice win last night. I have to admit though; when I saw the Twins starting lineup and the fact that Augie Ojeda was starting at 3B again, I was rather disappointed. I figured that Ron Gardenhire would stick Terry Tiffee in there right away. Maybe he should have, but clearly Tiffee got into the game at the right time and became a hero in his big league debut.
My thoughts from yesterday:
With Corey Koskie out for a week or so, and Michael Cuddyer missing last night's game because of an injury, Terry Tiffee may be up today and in the lineup a bit! Hopefully he does well and proves my thoughts that he could handle the Twins 3B job next year!
Wow! If only we could just use one game to be able to call Tiffee a success!! What a debut! Luis Rivas was taken out on a double-play by Gary Matthews, Jr. An inning later, he was removed from the game and Augie Ojeda shifted from 3B to 2B and Tiffee was in the game at 3B. (No need to send Thank You's to Matthews!)
Another inning later, he had his first big league hit, a solid single up the middle. Unfortunately, he was not able to stand at 1B and smile as the ball was thrown in to the dugout. Cristian Guzman tried to go from first to third, but was thrown out to end the inning.
Then in the bottom of the 8th, the Twins had two runners on and two outs and Tiffee came to the plate. He hit a high bounder that was just over the leaping 1B Mark Teixeira and just inside the line (or, maybe even right over the line... or, for Rangers fans, maybe just outside of the line). The double scored two runs and gave the Twins their 4-2 lead, a lead Joe Nathan would come in to preserve in the 9th.
So, who is Terry Tiffee? Where did he come from? The Twins TV ratings have gone up again, and I guarantee there are a LOT of people out there who had never heard of Tiffee until last night. Well, let's take a quick look at the life and times of Terry Tiffee.
25 year old Terry Tiffee was born in North Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated from high school in 1997 and went to Pratt Community College in Kansas. In his sophomore year there, he was the MVP of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference as a First Baseman. He was selected by the Twins in the 26th round of the 1999 draft. In August, he decided to forego a scholarship to Louisiana State University and signed with the Twins.
Tiffee began his professional career in 2000 with the Quad Cities Swing (that is what they were referred to as back then). His introduction to the wood bat was a difficult one as he hit just .254/.292/.347 with 25 doubles, 7 HR and 60 RBI. In 2001, the Twins had him repeat Low-A at Quad Cities and he showed marked improvement. He hit .309/.347/.444 with 32 doubles, 11 homers and 86 RBI. He also was able to put the ball in play more. In 2 more at bats, he struck out 25 times less (73-48).
So, in 2002, at the age of 23, Tiffee jumped up to Low A Ft. Myers. In another pitcher's league, Tiffee still hit .281/.316/.397 with 31 doubles, 8 homers and 64 RBI. If you look at the statistics of this year's Quad Cities and Ft. Myers teams, you will see that Tiffee's numbers are well above the average players at those levels.
However, it was in 2003 that Terry Tiffee put himself on the map. I am sure that the Twins wanted to see what he was capable of so they pushed him up to AA New Britain. Wow, did Tiffee show them that he should be taken seriously as a prospect. In 139 games, he hit .315/.351/.464 with 31 doubles, 14 homers and 93 RBI.
His play earned him a spot on the Twins 40 man roster and in the Arizona Fall League, playing against many of baseball's top prospects. Tiffee held his own! In 105 at bats, he his .305.
This year, the team moved him up to AAA Rochester. It has definitely been a rollercoaster of a season for Tiffee. He has spent two separate times on the disabled list. But just look at his overall numbers of .307/.357/.522 with 26 doubles, 12 homers and 68 RBI. And imagine what type of numbers he could have put up with more games and with 100% health.
And yesterday, Terry Tiffee was a Major League ballplayer. And yesterday, for one night, Terry Tiffee was the hero of the Minnesota Twins.
How much will he play in September? What will the offseason bring? Will Corey Koskie be brought back? All I know is that Terry Tiffee has put himself right in the mix for a major league job next spring.
Terry Tiffee went to a small community college and was a late-round draft pick. He had to spend two full seasons at Low-Class A. But since then, it has been very smooth sailing up the minor league ladder. Terry Tiffee is a switch-hitter. He has continued to produce quietly each year, and with each level he moves up. He will not walk very often, but he won't strikeout much either. He is primarily a 3B, but has also played quite a bit of 1B in his career.
SETH'S CURRENT 2005 TWINS LINEUP THOUGHTS
I wrote around the all-star break that I thought the Twins should just go from an infield of Mientkiewicz, Rivas, Guzman and Koskie (combined salary over $17 million) and replace them with an infield of Morneau, Cuddyer, Bartlett and Tiffee and no only save over $16 million, but also probably perform better.
So as of now, my thoughts on the Twins 2005 lineups are here:
DH Shannon Stewart
LF Lew Ford
C Joe Mauer
CF Torii Hunter
1B Justin Morneau
2B Michael Cuddyer
RF Jason Kubel
3B Terry Tiffee
SS Jason Bartlett
That is a team that could win them a lot of games, and be cheap! Maybe they could then sign Radke and Santana long term!
Anyway, let's get to the Twins Thoughts. Please feel free to e-mail me with questions or comments on anything. Have a great day!
TWINS TOP TEXAS IN GAME 2 (4-2)
Here are just some quick random thoughts on tonight's Twins win over the Rangers. What a game! A great win down the stretch for the Twins.
AN OLD MAN'S GAME - 41 year old Terry Mulholland threw to 41 year old catcher Pat Borders last night. That's a lot of experience, or just age. But Terry Mulholland was again solid. Two runs in 6 innings is quite the accomplishment against the Rangers offense. And after everyone pitched the night before, he gave good innings.
A YOUNG MAN'S GAME - We discussed Terry Tiffee above. 2-2 including the big game-winning double off Francisco Cordero, who had just one blown save the whole season. Justin Morneau had a double and came around to score that same inning. Lew Ford was 2-4. Jesse Crain picked up his first major league Win by pitching two perfect, quick innings.
QUICK HEALER! It was good to see Joe Nathan get back on the mound and be healthy. And, for him to have a solid inning in a save opportunity against the Texas Rangers, who really hit him hard last week.
STARTUP STEW - Shannon Stewart led off the Twins half of the first inning with a homer. It was his 9th of the season and the 21st time in his career he led off with a home run.
LOPSIDED LINEUP - I may not agree with their particular order, but I really do like the Twins first five hitters (Shannon Stewart, Jacque Jones, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau and Lew Ford). But the bottom four of the lineup is pretty weak. Cristian Guzman, Luis Rivas, Pat Borders (or Henry Blanco) and Augie Ojeda. Seriously, has their ever been a weaker bottom of a lineup (including NL lineups that include the pitcher)? Now, replace Guzman with Jason Bartlett; Luis Rivas with Michael Cuddyer; the catchers with Joe Mauer; Augie Ojeda with Terry Tiffee. Oh, and Jacque Jones with Jason Kubel. Now I'm liking that lineup 1-9!
The Yankees came back from their embarrassing 22-0 loss to the Indians with a 5-3 win last night. The White Sox came back on the A's and won 5-4. So the Twins were able to gain a game on the Indians while the White Sox pass them.
Here are the current standings:
AL Central Standings
Minnesota Twins 74-58
Chicago White Sox 65-66 7.5
Cleveland Indians 67-67 8.0
Here is the remaining pitching matchup for the series.
Thursday - 7:10 - Brad Radke (9-7, 3.74, 1.18, .275) vs Kenny Rogers (15-6, 4.69, 1.46, .292)
Any thoughts on last night's game, or anything related to the Twins?? E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
REDWINGS - Had a scheduled off-day.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
ROCKCATS 2, Harrisburg 0 - Francisco Liriano has turned a corner sometime in the second half of this season. He has been great since moving up to AA, and last night was his best game yet. Eight innings of three hit, one walk ball. he even struck out seven. Bobby Korecky came in and struck out two in the 9th for his 30th save. New Britain had just four hits. Luis Maza had a triple. Gabby Torres hit his second homer.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Game 1 - MIRACLE 6, Lakeland 3 - Matt Yeatman pitched well. In 5.1 innings, he allowed three unearned runs on two hits and two walks. Jannio Gutierrez pitched the final 1.2 innings and struck out three. Ron Perodin went 3-3 with a double. Danny Matienzo, Elvis Corporan and Jesus Merchan each had a double. Alex Romero hit his sixth home run of the season.
Game 2 - MIRACLE 4, Lakeland 1 - Manny Tejada continues to pitch well. He gave up a run on three hits and a walk in 6.1 innings. He struck out six. Levale Speigner pitched a perfect inning. Kaulana Kuhaulua went 2-2 with 2 RBI. Alex Romero had a two run double.
SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
SWING 6 Clinton 8 - Matt Moses went 2-5. Scott Whitrock was 2-5 with a double. Mark Zamojc was 2-3 with a walk. Errol Simonitsch started and went just three innings. He gave up four runs on five hits and two walks, and struck out six. Tristan Crawford then came in and gave up just a walk and a hit in three innings. Julio DePaula had a rough one. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on three hits and two walks, in two innings (2 Ks). Peter Tautor then pitched a perfect inning.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
Back to Archives Home