Thursday, October 27, 2005
White Sox Win World Series
Twins in the News
Roger's Twins Top
Good Morning everyone! Well, we have a new World Champion of Major League baseball, and it is a team from the American League Central. Congratulations to the White Sox, but also to the Houston Astros. Secondly, I found a number of articles from around the country regarding some of the Twins players. There are rumors about Torii Hunter, awards for Johan Santana, a couple of surgeries and more. But let's get right to today's primary topic.
If you checked out the site last Thursday, you read Roger's Rankings of the Top Twins Pitching Prospects. I received a lot of great e-mail response to that ranking, both positive and negative. There were some excellent questions too. For instance, what do these rankings mean. I don't want to answer for Roger, but my opinion of any list of prospects is the same in one way. It is all a guess. My rankings combine things I've read on players with how they performed at what level and how old they are, then just some gut feelings. Roger's rankings are based on many of the same things, however, he has put a formula to it to make it a little bit more than just a guess at ranking. Of course, neither claims to be in any way an accurate predictor of the future and which players will come up to the major leagues and become stars. That is impossible. So, this list, in my opinion, does a couple of things. It gives a standard, mathematical way of looking at the Twins minor leaguers. Second, it is fun to project the future. Third, every one of the Twins minor leaguers deserves this kind of recognition. They are all great baseball players, no matter what level they are currently at. At least, they're far better than me! Let's give them their due. Let's take notice of someone who had a breakout year. Let's notice when someone unexpectedly ranks higher than someone with a big name. Again, so that I am not answering for Roger, please feel free to e-mail me any questions or comments you have on these rankings, positive or negative. I know that Roger is very diligent in this analysis, continually trying to make it better. So please feel free to provide any feedback or ideas for him. E-mail me and I will be sure to forward all thoughts to Roger.
So, without any further ado, I present Roger's Rankings of the Twins minor league hitters. As always, if you have any questions or comments for me, or for Roger, please e-mail me, and I will be sure to pass along any thoughts to Roger. I know he would love to hear them.
2005 Twins System
Position Player Rankings
Last week we took a look at the rankings of the minor league pitchers. Today we will review the formula and rankings of the position players. It is important to note that this ranking does not necessarily rank the top prospects, rather, it is intended to rank each player's performance during the 2005 season. It can, however, be a useful tool in ranking prospects for those of us who donít have access to scouting reports and are unable to personally see most players perform.
These formulas can be of use in many ways, for example the comparison of the pitching staffs of all teams in the Appalachian League. Another use is to compare the performance of all players chosen by Baseball America for each league Top 20. I will have more on these type of comparisons in the future.
This formula begins with points allocated based on age, on the same basis as the pitchers. The second factor is batting average. The norm was established as .290, with 10 points allocated to this factor. Each playerís batting average is compared with .290 to determine the number of points allocated with a maximum of 20 points. The ten highest averages in the system were William Luque (.322), Richard Sojo (.318), Buck Buchanan (.316...limited at bats), Erik Lis (.315), Caleb Moore (.309), Denard Span and Danny Santiesteban (.307), Josh Land (.306), Doug Deeds (.304), and Alex Romero (.301). Luque, Sojo, Lis, Moore, Santiesteban and Land all played for one of the two short season rookie teams.
The third factor is at bats. Like number of innings pitched for pitchers, the number of at bats is necessary so that the performance of players with little playing time are discounted compared with those playing most of the season. The norm was established as 125 for the short season rookie leagues and 400 for all full season teams. The number of at bats for each player were compared with the norm and applied to 10 points allocated to this factor. The organization leader was David Winfree of Beloit with 562 at bats. Other leaders were Danny Matienzo and Jason Tyner (531 each), Deacon Burns (527), Alex Romero (509), Doug Deeds (493), Garrett Jones (488), Luis Maza (472), Trevor Plouffe (466), Denard Span (453), and Matt Moses (451).
The next factor is a standard baseball ratio, on base percentage (OBP). The norm was established as .350, with 10 points also allocated for OBP. Josh Dean (.426) and William Luque (.406) of the GCL Twins were the only players with OBP over .400. Other players with OBP close to the .400 mark were Larry Jones (.389), Richard Sojo (.388), Andrew Thompson (.379), and Edward Ovalle (.370), all who played for either the GCL Twins or Elizabethton. The OBP leaders on the full season teams were Doug Deeds (.382), Jeremy Pickrel (.370), Trent Oeltjen (.369), Denard Span (.368), Rob Bowen (.366), Kevin West (.355), Alex Romero and Luis Maza (.354 each).
Next is another standard ratio, slugging percentage (SLG). The norm was established as .450, with 10 points allocated for SLG. Although appearing in only 75 at bats for the GCL Twins before being injured, Danny Santiesteban led the system with a .640 SLG. Other players for the GCL Twins and Elizabethton with high SLG were Erik Lis (.577), Sean Richardson (.564), Juan Portes (.496), and Dustin Bensko (.475). The top SLG of any player on a full season team was New Britainís Danny Matienzo (.488). Other leading SLG included Doug Deeds (.479), Kevin West (.478), Luis Jimenez (.462), Alex Romero (.458), Deacon Burns (.457), David Winfree and Chris Brown (.452 each), Jeremy Pickrel (.450), and Garrett Jones (.445). Not included with this group are two players with limited playing time, Brian Buchanan (.482) and Glenn Williams (.465).
Considering the Twins power shortage, home runs per at bat is an important factor worth 5 points. The norm was established as .05 HR/AB. As with slugging percentage, several short season players were high on the home run list. Danny Santiesteban led the system with 6 home runs in 75 at bats (8.000 pts). Other short season players showing some power were Sean Richardson (7.447 pts on 7HR/94AB), Erik Lis (5.952 pts on 10HR/168AB), Juan Portes (4.918 pts on 12HR/244AB) and Dustin Bensko (4.918 pts on 6HR/122AB). Believe it or not Twins fans, the regular season point leader was Corky Miller (6.044 pts on 11HR/182AB) with the Twins minor league home run leader, Garrett Jones, next (4.918 pts/24HR/488AB). Other home run hitters included Kevin West (4.706 pts/20HR/425AB), Danny Matienzo (4.331 pts/23HR/531AB), Terry Tiffee (4.089 pts/11HR/269AB), Scott Whitrock (3.958 pts/15HR/379AB), Josh Rabe (3.860 pts/11HR/285AB), Luis Jimenez (3.712 pts/16HR/431AB), Luis Maza (3.602 pts/17HR/472AB), and Johnny Woodard (3.419 pts/8HR/234AB). A few others deserving mention included New Britainís Doug Deeds (3.245 pts/16HR/493AB), system rbi leader David Winfree (2.847 pts/16HR/562AB), Alex Romero (2.947 pts/15HR/509AB) and 2004 first round pick Trevor Plouffe, who played at Beloit at the age of 19 (2.790 pts/13HR/466AB).
Plate discipline is very important and one of the problems leading to the Twins offensive downfall in 2005. Therefore, the walk/strikeout ratio is an important part of this formula with 10 points allocated to it. Players with 10.000 or more points had as many or more walks than strikeouts. The best player in the system was Josh Dean with 16.667 points (15BB/9SO/106AB). Others with more walks than strikeouts included Odannys Valdez (11.053 pts), Steve Tolleson (10.370), Javi Sanchez (10.303), Korey Feiner (10.278), Landon Burt, Luis Rodriguez and Augie Ojeda (10.000 each). The players with the most strikeouts were Scott Whitrock (158SO/379AB), Jeremy Pickrel (121/393), Doug Deeds (119/493), Matt Moses (110/451), Chris Brown (104/332), Luis Jimenez (104/431) and Brock Peterson (102/424).
Another key statistic, which also is a problem for the major league club, is driving in runs (rbi). This factor is based on the norm of 0.200RBI/AB with 10 points allocated for rbi. The player with the most rbi for the entire system was Beloit third baseman David Winfree (101). New Britain DH/first baseman Danny Matienzo was second with 87. The player with the most points based on number of at bats was GCL outfielder Danny Santiesteban with 16.000 points (24rbi/74ab). Other leaders included Eric Lis (12.202pts/41rbi/168ab), Marion Knowles (11.806/17/72), Sean Richardson (11.170/21/94), Terry Tiffee (10.037/54/269), Josh Dean (9.434/20/106), David Winfree (8.986/101/562), Allan de San Miguel (8.621/15/87), Andrew Thompson (8.607/21/122), Josh Rabe (8.596/49/285), Doug Deeds (8.316/82/493), Jeremy Pickrel (8.270/65/393), and Danny Matienzo (8.192/87/531). Allan de San Miguel is the 17 year old Australian catcher that was promoted to Ft. Myers from the GCL Twins late last summer.
Stolen bases were included based on each players net stolen bases (stolen bases less times caught stealing) as a percentage of at bats. Five (5) points were allocated based on a norm of 0.04SB/AB. If a player was caught stealing more than he was successful, he received a negative score for this category. The top base stealers were all on short season teams, Odannys Valdez (14.254pts/13SB/114AB), William Luque (12.500/9/90), Simon Fletcher (10.417/5/60) and Wesley Connor (7.692/4/65). Top base stealers from full season teams were Scott Whitrock (6.596/20/379), Tarrance Patterson (5.700/14/307), and Trent Oeltjen (4.399/12/341).
Defense is important, therefore, a formula for number of errors based on number of at bats was used with a maximum allocation of 5 points. Many players performed well earning 4.000 or more points. This formula has a flaw in that I did not differentiate between outfielders and infielders, who would normally have more fielding chances and more errors. The players with the most errors in the system were Trevor Plouffe (35errors/1.245pts) and David Winfree (34errors/1.975pts).
Bonus points (5) were awarded for players making an all-star team or being selected to Baseball Americaís Top 20 for their respective leagues.
A subjective category based on each players ceiling was included similar to that used for pitchers. 20 points were awarded for a potential perennial all-star, 16 points for a starter considered one of the top players at their position, 12 points for a starter, 8 points for a reserve and the minimum, 4 points for someone expected to make the 40-man roster. The only players on full season teams receiving 14 or more points were New Britainís Alex Romero (14), Denard Span (14) and Matt Moses (14).
Finally, the performance of all players is discounted based on which team they played using the same formula as the pitchers.
Based on his performance this season, Matt Moses was ranked # 1 with 93.597 points. Although not a top player in any individual category, Moses ranked high in most categories. He was also aided by his age, 20, playing in a league where most players were several years older. Because he spent more than half of the season with the Twins, Jason Bartlett was not included with this group. Jason Kubel was on the 2004 playoff roster and spent the entire 2005 season on the disabled list, therefore, he also was not included with this group. Using his statistics from the minor leagues in 2004 for comparison however, he would have been a clear leader with 113.792 points compared to Mosesí 93.597 points.
Many Twins fans have commented on the various blogs during this past summer and fall that the abundance of Twins outfield prospects no longer exist. Although they may not be ready next spring, the Twins in fact are solid with outfield prospects as demonstrated by the entire New Britain outfield (Span, Romero and Deeds) ranked #2 - #4. Denard Span (#2) has tremendous speed however, must learn how to better utilize it as evidenced by his being picked off or caught stealing too often. He is currently playing in the Arizona Fall League where he continues working on his base stealing and bunting. Alex Romero (#3), who is only 21 years old, may be the prospect with the most potential of this group after putting up tremendous offensive numbers this past year at New Britain following an excellent off season in the Venezuelan Winter League. He set the New Britain franchise record for consecutive games getting on base safely and just missed the consecutive games hitting record. Doug Deeds (#4) was always a good hitting prospect, however 2005 was clearly his breakout year.
Power hitting Garrett Jones (1B/DH) is ranked #5 and is also playing in the AFL where he is the Rafterís rbi co-leader with 4 home runs in their first two weeks of play. Another power hitter is New Britainís first baseman/DH, Danny Matienzo, who was ranked #6. David Winfree (#7) is a 19 year old Midwest League all-star who led the system with 101 rbi. Juan Portes (#8) is another top rbi player who was ranked as the 7th best prospect in the Appalachian League by Baseball America. Another Rochester power hitter was outfielder Kevin West (#9). Luis Maza (#10) is a slick fielding second baseman who also played some third and left field this season at Rochester. Maza is different from most Twins middle infielders as he is an excellent hitter who had 17 home runs in 2005 at Rochester and New Britain.
Utility Infielder Luis Rodriguez (#11) saw considerable service with the Twins in 2005 as did outfielder Jason Tyner (#12). A pleasant surprise following his signing with the Twins last winter was New Britain first baseman Luis Jimenez (#13). Jimenez is an excellent hitter with a .278Ave/.349OBP/.462SLG in 2005. Deacon Burns (#14) is a speedy Beloit outfielder who is best described as a line drive hitting machine who had 36 doubles, 12 home runs and set the Beloit franchise record for most triples in their history (13). First baseman Erik Lis (#15) was a 9th round selection in the 2005 draft out of the University of Evansville who led Elizabethton in hitting with a .315 average.
Other players who merit a mention include 2004 first round pick Trevor Plouffe (#18) who was one of the youngest players in the Midwest League. After getting a bat splinter in his eye during spring training, outfielder Trent Oeltjen (#20) was Ft. Myers' top hitter prior to leaving late in the season to join the Australian team in this fallís World Cup. Power hitting Danny Santiesteban (#23) was off to a remarkable start for the GCL Twins prior to breaking a finger and missing much of the season. Based on his limited performance, he led the Twins in many power hitting categories based on number of at bats (75). Middle infielders Andrew Thompson (#31) and Paul Kelly (#40) are two 18 year olds taken in this yearís draft who both performed very well in the Gulf Coast League and with Beloit or Ft. Myers following the end of the GCL season. Finally, Sean Richardson (#32) was one of three fine catchers (Caleb Moore (#49) and Eli Tintor (#54)) on this yearís Elizabethton roster. Richardson, a 2005 19th round pick out of the University of Kansas, was amongst the leaders in many power categories with 7 home runs and 21 rbi in 94 at bats.
The following is the Twins System Position Player Rankings based on their 2005 performance. It should be noted that a few of the players have been released since the end of this season:
#1 Matt Moses New Britain 20 3B 93.597
#2 Denard Span New Britain 21 CF 90.320
#3 Alex Romero New Britain 21 OF 89.935
#4 Doug Deeds New Britain 24 OF 83.350
#5 Garrett Jones # Rochester 24 1B 82.381
#6 Danny Matienzo New Britain 24 1B/DH 82.138
#7 David Winfree Beloit 19 3B 80.985
#8 Juan Portes Elizabethton 19 2B/LF 80.711
#9 Kevin West Rochester 25 OF 80.052
#10 Luis Maza Rochester 25 OF 79.588
#11 Luis Rodriguez # Rochester 25 IF 78.516
#12 Jason Tyner # Rochester 28 OF 77.364
#13 Luis Jimenez New Britain 23 1B 76.582
#14 Deacon Burns Beloit 22 OF 75.361
#15 Eric Lis Elizabethton 21 1B 74.201
#16 Jeremy Pickrel Beloit 22 OF 74.098
#17 Josh Rabe Rochester 26 OF 73.843
#18 Trevor Plouffe Beloit 19 SS 73.509
#19 James Tomlin New Britain 22 OF 71.784
#20 Trent Oeltjen Ft. Myers 22 OF 71.507
#21 Terry Tiffee Rochester 26 1B/3B 71.206
#22 Josh Dean GCL Twins 18 1B 71.136
#23 Danny Santiesteban (DL) GCL Twins 20 OF 70.983
#24 Edward Ovalle Elizabethton 20 OF 70.699
#25 Rob Bowen # Rochester 24 C 70.292
#26 Kyle Phillips New Britain 21 C 68.905
#27 Brock Peterson Ft. Myers 21 1B 68.594
#28 J.R. Taylor New Britain 22 IF 66.203
#29 Scott Whitrock Ft. Myers 24 OF 66.110
#30 Luke Hughes Ft. Myers 20 IF 65.572
#31 Andrew Thompson GCL Twins 18 IF 64.999
#32 Sean Richardson Elizabethton 21 C 64.633
#33 Chris Brown Beloit 20 1B/DH 64.124
#34 Chris Heintz # Rochester 30 C 63.705
#35 Matt Tolbert Ft. Myers 23 IF 63.566
#36 Tarrence Patterson Beloit 21 OF 63.414
#37 Yancarlos Ortiz Elizabethton 20 IF 63.407
#38 Felix Molina (DL) New Britain 22 IF 63.399
#39 Odannys Valdez GCL Twins 20 IF 61.963
#40 Paul Kelly GCL Twins 18 IF 61.865
#41 Javi Sanchez Beloit 23 C 61.073
#42 William Luque GCL Twins 21 IF 60.358
#43 Mark Zamajc Ft. Myers 23 OF/1B 60.163
#44 Mark Robinson Elizabethton 19 OF 60.087
#45 Steve Tolleson Beloit 21 IF 60.065
#46 Johnny Woodard (DL) Beloit 20 1B 59.771
#47 Angelo Fermin Ft. Myers 21 IF 59.699
#48 Corky Miller Rochester 29 C 59.342
#49 Caleb Moore Elizabethton 22 C 59.307
#50 Brian Buchanon Rochester 31 OF 58.850
#51 Richard Sojo GCL Twins 20 OF 57.302
#52 Landon Burt Beloit 22 OF 56.846
#53 Tommy Watkins New Britain 25 SS 56.608
#54 Kyle Geiger Ft. Myers 23 C 56.311
#55 Matthew Betsill Elizabethton 20 3B 56.002
#56 Dustin Bensko Elizabethton 22 1B 55.979
#57 Dwayne White Beloit 22 OF 55.866
#58 Augie Ojeda Rochester 30 IF 55.856
#59 Paul Rutgers Beloit 21 IF 55.835
#60 Larry Jones Elizabethton 20 OF 55.792
#61 Eli Tintor Elizabethton 20 C 55.556
#62 Allan de San Miguel Ft. Myers 17 C 53.684
#63 Gilbert Velazquez New Britain 25 SS 53.388
#64 Jose Leger Ft. Myers 23 3B 53.012
#65 Brian Kennedy (DL) New Britain 26 C 52.637
#66 Gabby Torres New Britain 27 C 52.443
#67 Ron Perodin Ft. Myers 24 OF 52.248
#68 Justin Arneson Ft. Myers 23 OF 52.065
#69 Todd Dunwoody Rochester 30 OF 51.989
#70 Marion Knowles GCL Twins 22 1B 50.599
#71 Travis Kalin Elizabethton 20 3B 50.331
#72 Henry Sanchez GCL Twins 18 1B 50.023
#73 Josh Land Elizabethton 20 OF 49.853
#74 JW Wilson GCL Twins 18 OF 49.633
#75 Korey Feiner Beloit 23 C 49.419
#76 Wesley Connor GCL Twins 20 OF 48.480
#77 Greg Yersich GCL Twins 18 C 47.315
#78 Jilmer Arratia Elizabethton 21 OF 46.968
#79 Michael Lysaught GCL Twins 19 IF 46.374
#80 Jose Morales (DL) New Britain 22 C/3B 46.360
#81 Donald Mauer (DL) Ft. Myers 26 IF 46.082
#82 Simon Fletcher GCL Twins 20 OF 45.747
#83 Miguel Barrientos GCL Twins 18 C 42.640
#84 Ricky Prady GCL Twins 20 OF 41.027
#85 Toby Gardenhire Elizabethton 22 IF 38.796
#86 Daniel Berg GCL Twins 20 IF 33.179
#87 Juan Delgado GCL Twins 18 IF 32.714
#88 Joseph Abellera GCL Twins 19 3B 30.385
#89 Rodolfo Palacios (DL) GCL Twins 20 C 21.876
#90 Kaulana Kuhaulua (DL) GCL Twins 25 IF 17.451
# - On 40-man roster
DL - On disabled list a substantial part of season
So, there you have it. Thank you Roger for the wonderful work that you have done regarding the Twins minor league system. Today, you saw the Twins position player prospects. Last week, it was the minor league pitchers.
I did want to make just a few comments regarding the above rankings. I am sure Roger doesn't mind as he and I talk about these kinds of things regularly, and really, discussion is the purpose of these lists, right?
First, I should point out the Kaulana Kuhaulua was injured much of the year. He got into a few games for the GCL Twins on a rehab assignment and was hurt again. In 2004, he made it up to Ft. Myers and even had a few weeks at New Britain, so his 2005 ranking may not be completely fair.
Donald Mauer is known more as Jake Mauer, of course. He too spent much of the season on the Disabled List. Had he not been injured, he likely would have spent the season at New Britain this year.
Clearly this isn't really a "prospect" list as we normally see. It is a minor league hitters analysis. If it would be, Jason Tyner, Brian Buchanan, Corky Miller and Augie Ojeda would not be included as they lost their "rookie" eligibility long ago. Also, like Jason Bartlett, Terry Tiffee and Luis Rodriguez spent too much time on the active major league roster that they too likely lost their rookie status. Not sure where Rob Bowen is in those terms.
I left Luis Jimenez off of my Top 50 list, and I'm not sure why. He has been a minor league player for a while now, but he is still just 23 years old. He is a large man who put up some decent numbers, especially power numbers. He reported to New Britain late as he was one of the first batch of minor league players to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
I am curious by James Tomlin, and what his status is within the organization. He is still young. He just finished his second year at New Britain. After Denard Span was called up halfway through this season, Tomlin became the #4 OF for the team, but still played four or five times a week. It will be interesting to see what happens with him next year.
I think Kevin West and Luis Maza are about ready to help the Twins if needed. Josh Rabe would be higher on this list if not for fighting injuries through most of the season too.
Finally, again, if this were totally a prospect ranking, we all know that the ceiling of Henry Sanchez is as high as anyone on this list. However, the Twins supplemental first round pick in 2005 signed late and did not play much for the GCL team. He also struggled initially. But if this were a prospect list, he would likely be Top 5.
So, those are just a few of my thoughts on this list. I am sure that this analysis should get plenty of interest and spark some conversation. I hope it does. Who knows, maybe their are fans of other organizations that would now like to use such a formula to find their team's best players by the numbers. Maybe there is a major league team's minor league leader who sees this formula and really considers it worthwhile as a tool to help in their organization. I see so much potential for this posting and this formula. So, please, if you would like to ask me or Roger and questions, please feel free to e-mail me.
WHITE SOX WIN WORLD SERIES
Congratulations to the Chicago White Sox! They are officially the Champions of the Baseball World today! With their 1-0 win over the Astros, the Sox celebrated their first title in 88 years. First the Red Sox beat the Curse of the Bambino, and now the White Sox have overcome their long-time wait.
I was wrong! I have to admit that. I was wrong! Wrong! Wrong! I never gave the White Sox the credit due them. When they jumped out to a fast start in the AL Central, I continued to believe that they were just lucky. When they struggled late in the season, I thought that was them showing their true colors. But maybe, just maybe, it was how they overcame that brief struggle in their season that shows us their true colors! But then came the playoffs and I was sure that they would be beaten easily by the Red Sox in the Divisional Series. Wrong! I was sure that the Angels would find a way to overcome their travel schedule to beat the White Sox. Wrong again! And, I was sure that the Astros would beat the Sox in the World Series. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
That is sort of a three strikes and I'm out! And hence, the apology! This White Sox team was good. It was even great! No, they don't have an 'ace' per se on their pitching staff, but they had four very solid starters who were all pitching well at the right time. Their lineup had just All-Star caliber player in it, Paul Konerko, but they scored as many runs as they needed in each game, well, each game but one! That's right, they went 11-1 in the playoffs, which is just incredible! The '99 Yankees team was the only other team to do that. Their bullpen wasn't good enough, then it wasn't used enough, but throughout the World Series, they got the job done.
This is another positive for teams like the Twins or other mid-market teams. It isn't about payroll. It is about putting together the best 25 man roster you can. It's about putting out the best lineup as you can. It is about coming together as a team, regardless of egos, and doing whatever it took to win. Some games, it was a three-run homer. Last night, it was a hit, a bunt and a hit. But again, it is hard to lose a game when your pitching staff throws nothing but zeroes on the board!
This is a team that overcame the fact that AJ Pierzynski and Frank Thomas were on the team (although Thomas didn't play much of the season). This team was able to take the sometimes brutal honesty of their Manager Ozzie Guillen. Bobby Jenks was a castoff with plenty of issues. Jermaine Dye had been a big salary bust the previous two to four years. He signed a low contract in the offseason, a deal I thought was still too high, and he became the series MVP. That's right, I was wrong again!
And, how impressive is their defense. The plays Juan Uribe made in the bottom of the ninth were incredible. I hate to keep saying it, but the simple move of letting Jose Valentin go helped the overall look of their defense.
This was a team, and they got it done! So, again, I was wrong, very wrong! And Congratulations to the Chicago White Sox! And just to think, Brandon McCarthy will be in their rotation next year!
Oh, and Chicago people... get over it! Cubs fans. White Sox fans. Can't we all just get along. And seriously, do you really think that this championship will make Chicago a White Sox town? It won't!
The other question... Ozzie Guillen said that if the Sox won the World Series, he would walk away. I'll believe that when I see it! I do love how Guillen says something to Venezuela with every interview. That is a man proud of where he came from.
Also, I can no longer mock the moves of Kenny Williams! Just can't. I thought that the Podsednik for Carlos Lee trade was horrible. I thought the signing of Dye was bad. I really thought that the AJ Pierzynski signing was bad. (AJ is still just a league-average catcher at best but is now a World Series champ, just like his buddy Doug) Dustin Hermanson signed after a decent season in San Francisco. The El Duque signing was crazy. Signing Freddy Garcia long term? Why? Bringing back Frank Thomas? Ick! I still don't think any of these deals on their own were smart, but in the end, does it matter? They won! That's all that matters.
I do have to comment on Brandon Backe though. I heard people saying that the Astros didn't have a chance with Backe going against Freddy Garcia. I kept telling people that I thought Backe would come up big, and he certainly did. Seven shutout innings. What more could he do? (Oh, but I suppose since he didn't get a Win, it wasn't that impressive, right?) Backe has pitched in big games before, including last year already. I loved his energy and enthusiasm on the field last night. He deserved better.
I also wish that Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell could have played in a World Series five or six years ago, in their primes. It was unfortunate that Bagwell was hurt. I have to think that his career may be over because of his shoulder. Roger Clemens hurt his hamstring in the Championship Series and was not himself in Game 1. Biggio is still good! Lance Berkman is great! Lane and Burke contributed. Clemens, Pettitte and Oswalt were remarkable all year. That Astros organization deserves a huge congratulations as well!
IF you have any thoughts on any of this, or your disdain for the White Sox, be sure to let me know. Send me an e-mail.
Twins in the News
Recent articles on members of the Minnesota Twins, past and present:
As we know, Hunter is the CF that the Yankees want. Can the Twins get what they want in return?
Milton Bradley and Mike Cameron are also options, along with Hunter.
The LA Times acknowledges that the Angels are another possibility. This is what I would prefer!
For Bubba Crosby and Sean Henn? I don't think so! However, Bob Matthews also says that the Twins would be looking for power so they would be more likely to deal Hunter for Alfonso Soriano.
As we've noted, St. Louis is a place that Jacque Jones, among others, could end up to replace Larry Walker.
Bigger story in Venezuela? Johan Santana's Cy Young last year, or Ozzie Guillen about to lead the White Sox to a World Series championship?
Speaking of Venezuela, like the Twins, the Houston Astros have signed a lot of players from the country including Johan, Melvin Mora, Freddy Garcia and Bobby Abreu.
According to The Miami Herald, Johan Santana finished second in the voting for the Luis Aparicio Award given annually to the top Venezuelan in the Major Leagues. Santana finished just behind the Marlins' Miguel Cabrera and just ahead of the Angels' Francisco Rodriguez. It is voted on by 100 Venezuelan writers. Santana won the award in 2004.
Last night, before the World Series game, Major League Baseball honored its Latino Legends team. Twins Hall of Famer Rod Carew was honored as the second baseman. Other current or former Twins to receive votes included Tony Oliva, who finished in 6th place among outfielders; Johan Santana, who ranked fifth among starting pitchers; and Camillo Pascual finished 13th among starting pitchers.
Did you know that former Twins 1B Vic Power's real name is Victor Pellot? It was "Americanized" to Power. Interestingly, the Yankees thought his charisma made him too "colorful" off the field, so they left him with the Kansas City A's!
This article says that the whole Latino Legends Team idea was certainly questionable. Did you know that Ted Williams' mother was Mexican?
Johan Santana also finished second this year to Dontrelle Willis for the Warren Spahn Award, given annually to the best left-handed pitcher in baseball. It is based on a formula that includes a number of statistics, including Wins. Santana edged out Randy Johnson in 2004.
Carlos Silva led the league in pitching in the fastest games this year, at 2 hours and 35 minutes. No surprise!
According to Don McKee of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Phillies main problem of late has been "and inability to make the right decision on pitchers" including Kevin Millwood, Bruce Chen and Carlos Silva.
Tom Elliot of The St. Cloud Times discusses his choices for the Twins awards including MVP, Pitcher of the Year, Rookie of the Year, the Bob Allison Leadership Award and the Upper Midwest Player of the Year. I agree with most of his thoughts, just not anything that he says about Torii Hunter, of course. I also think that Mauer did just fine!
Francisco Liriano was mentioned as a guy who should be in 2006 Top 25 Prospect Lists, according to About.com's Top 25 Prospects.
Think Mariano Rivera had a great season? Well, he did, but in The Sporting News awards, Joe Nathan tied for the Top Reliever with Rivera.
Juan Rincon had successful surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow. Looking for hope for 2006? Remember that Johan Santana had the same surgery on his left elbow following the 2003 season, and he came back with a Cy Young season!
Did you know that Terry Mulholland is a member of the Marietta College Sports Hall of Fame? So are Jim Tracy and Kent Tekulve.
According to the Rocky Mountain News, the Rockies might be interested in Mulholland if he does not come back to the Twins! As a die-hard Twins fan, I hope that the Rockies have him under contract in 2006!
According to Tim Marchman of the New York Sun, the Yankees should trade for Justin Morneau.
OUCH! "Doug Mientkiewicz and his wife had a new baby boy this week and named him Steel. The former Twins first baseman said he named the child after Michael Cuddyer's glove."
Cuddyer had successful surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his right knee.
The trade for Bret Boone must be finalized by December. The Twins could give a player to be named later or some sort of cash considerations.
If people think that I am too positive regarding the Twins season, read this article by Andrea Johnson, the assistant editor of the Farm & Ranch Guide.
A great article by Mark Sheldon on Jason Kubel playing and healing in the Instructional League.
I was looking at a few NBA box scores, which are always fun at this time of year, much like Spring Training in baseball, and saw a few Minnesota names that I thought would be interesting to look into a little more. Let's take a look at them:
Voshon Lenard - Denver Nuggets
Remember that the former Gopher missed most of last season with an Achille's injury (he played in just three games). He is back this year. So far in training camp, he has played in six of the Nuggets' seven games. He has played between 23 and 28 minutes. He is averaging about nine points a game and a couple rebounds. He seems to be back to normal though as in back to back games, he scored 17 and 16 points, and last night, he scored 12 points in 24 minutes. The 32 year old shooting guard was the 2nd round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1994. He went back to Minnesota for his senior season, and ended up with the Miami Heat where he spent his first five season. He has now been with the Nuggets four of the last five years, with one season in Toronto.
Bobby Jackson - Memphis Grizzlies
32 year old Jackson is another former Gopher. He was the team's best player in the year that the Gophers went (or didn't go?) to the Final Four. He became the 23rd overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft by the Seattle Supersonics. He never played for that team and was traded to Denver where he spent his rookie season. He then spent two full seasons with the Timberwolves. However, the Wolves were not willing to pay him, and he went to the Sacramento Kings where he was one of the most productive 6th men in the NBA for the last five years. He was then traded to the Grizzlies after last season. In camp, Jackson has averaged about nine points, four assists and a couple rebounds in about 17 minutes. However, he has not played the last three games for the Grizzlies because of a pulled hamstring.
Devean George - Los Angeles Lakes
Another guy who was injured in 2004-05, George played in just 15 games last year. The six year vet will be back with Phil Jackson this year after the Zen Master's one year sabbatical. The 28 year old Augsburg grad was the Lakers first round pick, 23rd overall, in 1999. This season, he will likely come off the bench as the team's sixth man. In six preseason games, he has averaged 18 minutes, playing under 20 minutes just once. He is averaging 9.5 points, mostly due to a 22 point game earlier in the month on a 10-12 day from the field.
Joel Przybilla - Portland Trailblazers
Przybilla finally stayed healthy for an extended period and showed what other teams had wanted to see from the seven-footer. Although he doesn't score much, he isn't asked to. He grabs rebounds and blocks shots, both valuable in the league. It is hard to believe that Przybilla just turned 26 years old. He was the 7th overall pick by the Houston Rockets in the 2000 draft after quitting on the Gophers basketball team during his sophomore season. He was sent to the Milwaukee Bucks on draft day where he spent about 3 1/2 injury-plagued season. He spent the end of that fourth season with Atlanta. Last year, he was able to play in 76 games for the Blazers. He scored 6.5 points, grabbed 7.7 rebounds and blocked more than 2 shots a game. He has started all six games for the team this preseason. He is averaging just 3+ points, 8+ rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. Last night, he was 3-3 from the field with six points, seven boards and three blocks. If he can stay healthy and stay out of foul trouble, he will be ok.
Kris Humphries - Utah Jazz
Kris Humphries was supposed to go to Duke, but he got out of that and spent one season with the Gophers. He was the entire focus of the offense leading the Big 10 in both scoring and rebounding. He was good, but had no idea of team concept. So, when he was drafted by the team oriented Jazz, it was an interesting fit. Of course, he plays behind one of the best all-around players in the league, Andrei Kirilenko, and as a rookie he averaged just 13 minutes a game. He did average four points and three rebounds in that time. This preseason, he is averaging just under 20 minutes a game so far. He is averaging about nine points and four rebounds in that time. Tuesday night against the Lakers, the 20 year old Humphries went 7-11 from the field to score 14 points in 26 minutes. He is shooting a good percentage from the field, however, he is just 2-9 from the free throw line.
Kevin Burleson - Charlotte Bobcats
Ah, the beauty of an expansion team. The Bobcats are in just their second year, and it looks as though the former Gopher has a chance to make their roster. Before getting the old DNP-CD last night, Burleson had played in the team's first seven preseason games. He had scored two points and given out an assist in about 9.4 minutes of playing time. He was just 4-20 from the field, and 4-18 from the three-point arc. The 26 year old Burleson, whose brother Nate is a WR for the Vikings, has an in with the Bobcats. The head coach is Bernie Bickerstaff, and one of his top assistants is his son, John-Blair Bickerstaff, who played with Burleson at Minnesota. Another reason that Burleson has a chance is because another rookie, Alan Anderson, a Minnesota native who spent four years at Michigan State, had knee surgery.
And on those notes, I will call it a day. I certainly hope that you have found Roger's Twins hitting prospects article worth reading, and I hope that many of you will have comments for him. I will be back tomorrow for more of my own thoughts, as well as the NFL "Expert" Picks. If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.
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