Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
Weekend Wrap-Up &
Good morning everybody! After a long weekend, welcome back to the work week! It's always good to be back, right?
First things first, I have to take a second to thank Danielle! She was kind enough to give me some autographs from TC Bear, Rick Anderson, Corey Koskie and Tony Oliva. That's pretty nice, huh? Thank you very much!
Second things second, I have to give major, major props to the Twins with their most recent AAA Callups. Of course, Luis Rodriguez is back. Unfortunately, Luis Rivas is back. It was obvious that Travis Bowyer would come up, and he is. However, the Twins also called up 'catcher' Chris Heintz to the team for the rest of this season. He wasn't on the 40 man roster, so I assume he will just fill the remaining available spot on that roster. Heintz is not your typical prospect. He is 32 years old, and has been playing minor league ball for a long time. He has spent the past two seasons with the team's AAA affiliate in Rochester and hit well, over .300, both years. Normally a 32 year old, even one who hits that well, is just on the AAA roster to help out the organization and fill a roster spot. Heintz, who is not a great defensive catcher, has been willing to play other positions, primarily 3B, to help the team. He even missed the last few games to be with his wife who had their first child. The Twins recognized just how much he has done the past two years and rewarded him with a call up, and for that, I commend the Twins brass. That is the type of thing that makes me proud to be a Twins fan!
Third things third (And far from last!), did you see The Debut of Francisco Liriano? I was in a car listening to the game in the top of the 8th when John Gordon said, "And Francisco Liriano is in the 'pen. We assume he will be making his much anticipated debut in the top of the 9th." Oh, was I excited. I started calculating, figuring we had about 60 miles to drive to get home, and an inning usually takes about 10-15 minutes. I very quickly realized that I was not going to be able to watch it live. My next thought was to call a friend in my town to see if he would be watching it and would track his pitches. However, my cell phone broke last week, and I have a loner phone in the interim. That means that I didn't have my phone numbers. So, I couldn't call anyone. What to do! What to do?!
Well, I knew I couldn't do anything, so I just listened. It was strange being as excited as I was, only listening to his debut. And when John Gordon mentioned that his fastball had hit 95, I just smiled. And when Gary Matthews, Jr., hit a 3-1 fastball about 450 feet to left field for a home run, all I could do is smile. He had allowed just four home runs in 91 innings at Rochester. And then when he struck out the next batter, Gerald Laird, on three pitches, I smiled more. And then when he struck out David Dellucci, the smile was bigger. Then he fell behind Michael Young 2-0 and still got him out. It was just on the radio, but I was fully impressed.
And then I got home. I turned on the TV, to Fox Sports North, and there was the Twins pregame show on replay. I started wondering. And then the entire Twins/Rangers game yesterday was replayed. I was so happy. I sat through the first eight innings, and then, I got to watch The Debut of Francisco Liriano. It was even better. And, of course, I had to track his pitches! I mean, that's what I do, right? So, here is a quick take at some data from his first inning of major league baseball.
In his lone inning, he threw 17 pitches, and here is how they looked:
10 strikes, 7 balls
9 fastballs, 5 sliders, 3 changeups
Fastballs averaged 95.4 mph with a high of 97.
Sliders averaged 87 mph, two hit 88. Very impressed with this.
Changeups averaged 85.7 mph. I liked the first one, at 84. I almost thought that the other two came in a little bit fast. Much of that could be first-game jitters too.
First pitch strike to just 2 out of 4, although it is obviously a very small sample size.
Of those four first pitches, three were fastballs, one was a slider.
He struck out both batters with sliders. Of the four pitches he threw with two strikes, two were sliders, one was a fastball and one was a changeup.
The home run that Matthews hit was a shot! I honestly don't know that I have seen a ball hit, in a game, that far to left field.
All in all, a very good debut from Liriano. Sure, he gave up the home run, but I thought he looked rather poised on the mound, even with all the sweat that was runner down his face. His fastball just jumps out of his hand. He does throw strikes, unlike a certain left-hander in the Twins bullpen that shall remain nameless. I had read in the STrib earlier in the day that they said that his changeup isn't as good as Johan Santana's yet, but that his slider was far better. From one inning, I would have to agree. And then add in the fact that Liriano throws his fastball about 3-4 mph faster than Santana, is there still anyone, anyone at all who thinks that it would have been worth trading him for a month of Alfonso Soriano? I think not!
Any thoughts on this, e-mail me.
Did I mention yet that Francisco Liriano made his big league debut yesterday?
Scott Baker was great on Sunday against the Indians. Hopefully his 5.1 inning, two earned run performance proved to the manager and general manager that he deserves to stay up (and probably should have been up earlier).
Looking at the box score following Sunday's win, it was fun to notice the ERA's of the four Twins pitchers who got in the game. Scott Baker's ERA was now 2.49. After 1.2 scoreless, Jesse Crain's ERA was down to 2.44. Juan Rincon gave up a run in an inning, but his ERA fell to 2.52. Joe Nathan gave up another run to get his 35th save, and his ERA fell to 2.54. It is fun to see four pitchers win a game, and all four pitchers having ERA well below 3.00. Also, it was Crain's 10th win of the season.
In the final two games of the Cleveland series, Nick Punto and Juan Castro each went 5-8. What are the odds of that?
Castro was playing 3B because Michael Cuddyer hurt some of his ribs making one of the most impressive diving catches I have seen in a long time! Playing 3B, he went back on a little bleeder. While sprinting back, he dove all out and made the catch. It was incredible!
Some may want to bash Terry Ryan occasionally, but how great of a signing was Mike Redmond?!
Saturday, Johan Santana again showed that he is the best pitcher in baseball. He gave up just a run on two hits in eight innings. He walked none and struck out ten batters. It is unfortunate that Joe Nathan came in and gave up a run for the first time since the All-Star break to blow the save for Santana.
Just one of Carlos Silva's six runs allowed against Texas yesterday was earned. Because Nick Punto made an error with two outs in the inning, every run thereafter was unearned. Silva let the floodgates open though as he got shelled the rest of the inning. I'm not trying to detract from Silva's performance; he was excellent through six innings. But sometimes the pitcher does need to pick up his fielders after an error, and in this one case, Silva didn't.
Tonight, Kenny Rogers will face off against the Twins Kyle Lohse at 7:10. Rogers is 12-7 with a 3.18 ERA. His WHIP is 1.27 and opponent's have hit .264 off of him. Lohse is now 8-12 with a 4.13 ERA. His WHIP is 1.41 while opponent's have hit a robust .298 off of him.
Any thoughts on the Twins, please e-mail me.
Well, the minor league season's have come to an end for the full-season Twins affiliates. I have to be honest, I don't think that (although I'm not certain) any of them made their league playoffs. Correct me if I'm wrong. They all had very good seasons, and some players really put themselves on the Twins prospect map while others may have fallen. In the coming weeks, I will again update my Top 30 Twins minor league prospects lists, and I'm sure that will cause much debate. But congratulations to all of these teams, their coaches and players on very strong 2005 seasons. It has been really fun keeping tabs on them almost every day for the last five months. I believe that the instructional league will get going in a couple of weeks. We know which players will be participating in the Arizona Fall League (Denard Span, Matt Moses, Garrett Jones, Glen Perkins, Travis Bowyer and Ricky Barrett). I am sure a number of players will continue to play in Mexico, South America or the Caribbean. Good luck to all!
Saturday - REDWINGS 5, Syracuse 1 - Like him or not, you have to be happy for JD Durbin. He ended his season well to earn his fifth win. He went seven innings and gave up just one run on two hits and one walk. He struck out seven. Travis Bowyer struck out two in the final two innings. Brian Buchanan went 2-4 with his 14th homer and two RBI. Josh Rabe went 1-3 with a three run homer, his 11th on the season.
Sunday - REDWINGS 7, Ottawa 4 - Luis Rodriguez went 2-4 with a double. Corky Miller went 2-4 with his 11th homer. Garrett Jones knocked his 23rd homer. Henry Bonilla started and gave up three runs over six innings. Jason Miller grabbed the Win. He gave up a run over two innings. Willie Eyre picked up his 7th save with a perfect ninth.
Monday - REDWINGS 4, Ottawa 7 - John Thomas was moved up to Rochester to make a start. It didn't go so well. In just three innings, he allowed five runs on 11 hits and a walk. Ricky Barrett came in and gave up two runs in 2.2 innings, but he struck out six. Beau Kemp ended the game giving up just a hit in 2.1 innings.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Saturday - ROCKCATS 7, Binghamton 4 - Nick Blackburn got some offensive support and improved to 2-4 with the Rockcats. His ERA fell to 1.84. He went five innings and gave up three unearned runs. Kevin Cameron allowed a run in 1.2 innings before Pat Neshek threw the final 2.1 innings to record his 24th save. Denard Span led the offense with a 4-5 day. Doug Deeds went 3-4 with a walk and three RBI. Matt Moses went 2-5 with a double. Luis Jimenez was 2-4 with his 29th double. JR Taylor went 2-5, and Alex Romero knocked his 15th homer.
Sunday - ROCKCATS 1, Binghamton 4 - Levale Speigner gave up three runs on six hits and a walk in seven innings. Kevin Cameron then came in and gave up a run in his inning. The Rockcats could only muster a few hits, but Alex Romero was 3-4 to end his season with a .301 average. Tommy Watkins was 1-2 with a double and two walks.
Monday - ROCKCATS 0, Binghamton 5 - In this game, all they got were three hits. James Tomlin had a double. Errol Simonitsch took the loss to fall to 6-5 with a 4.12 ERA. In 6.1 innings, he gave up four runs (3 earned) on eight hits and three walks. Jannio Gutierrez gave up a run in the final 1.2 innings.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Saturday - MIRACLE 1, Sarasota 2 - Just four hits from the offense weren't enough, even with an impressive outing from Anthony Swarzak. Swarzak gave up two runs on just four hits in seven innings, and he struck out 11. Chris Schutt threw the final two innings and was perfect, with two strikeouts.
Sunday - MIRACLE 0, Sarasota 1 - They got six hits in this game, including a double from Angelo Fermin. The winning pitcher was Erik Lohse who threw two shutout innings for Sarasota. Lohse finishes the year 10-5 with a 4.69 ERA. But the Miracle got an incredible start from lefty Jose Mijares. He faced 15 batters and got each of them out, including seven by strikeout. Kyle Edlich came in and gave up one run on two hits, and he struck out three in two innings. But he gets the loss. Jay Sawatski went the final two frames without allowing a run.
Saturday - SNAPPERS 0, Wisconsin 1 - Kevin Slowey was solid again in this game. In 6.2 innings, he gave up just a run on five hits and two walks, and one of those was intentional. He struck out seven. However, when your offense only gets four hits, one run allowed still gets you a loss. Slowey went 3-2 with a 2.24 ERA at Beloit. JP Martinez struck out three over the final 2.1 innings. Deacon Burns notched his 36th double, and Johnny Woodard was 1-2 with a walk.
Sunday - SNAPPERS 2, Wisconsin 3 - Just three hits for the Snappers in this one. Korey Feiner had a single and a walk. Paul Kelly was 0-2 with two walks. Matt Garza started and pitched well. He gave up two runs on six hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out seven. David Shinskie fell to 2-8 as he gave up a run on two hits in two innings. JP Martinez pitched a scoreless ninth.
Monday - SNAPPERS 8, Wisconsin 1 - Eduardo Morlan evened his record at 4-4 with a strong start. In 5.1 innings, he gave up a run on four hits and a walk. He also struck out seven. Josh Hill came in and was perfect for 2.2 innings. JP Martinez struck out two in the final inning. Johnny Woodard went 2-4 with two home runs. Trevor Plouffe went 2-4 with his 18th double. Tarrence Patterson went 2-4. David Winfree went 2-5 with his 16th homer and four RBI. Paul Kelly had a double.
That is it for me for today and for this week. I will be back tomorrow with, hopefully, a quality entry and the results of another fantasy football draft. If you have any questions or comments, or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
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