Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Roger’s 2009 Minnesota Twins
Minor League All Star Team
Over at Twinkie Town, our friend Roger Dehring does a tremendous job keeping Twins fans updated on the Twins minor league system. Every Saturday, he produces his Weekly Twins Minor League Update. Recently, he provided a top ten list of Twins minor leaguers by position. He has developed a formula that looks at all Twins minor leaguers, and how they perform. The formula is complex but it involves a point system using several statistics and comparing them to an average number. He also factors in several other things including age and level of competition. He has been using and tweaking his formula for a couple of years. It is not a prospect list, it shows actual performance. Anyway, about this time each of the last several years, Roger has posted his annual Twins minor league all-star team here. So, I am happy to welcome today’s guest writer, Roger Dehring.
Here are Roger’s 2009 Minnesota Twins Minor League All Stars (Please leave your questions, comments or opinions here):
This year’s edition of the Twins organization all-star team follows. This year’s team is comprised of those players who had the best seasons at their respective positions, regardless of level of play. This team also includes at least one player from all of the Twins minor league clubs.
The starting nine for 2009:
Ben Revere-CF Ft. Myers Miracle
Brian Dinkelman-2B New Britain Rock Cats
Wilson Ramos-C New Britain Rock Cats
Chris Parmelee-1B Ft. Myers Miracle
Danny Valencia-3B Rochester Red Wings
Rene Tosoni-RF New Britain Rock Cats
Erik Lis-DH New Britain Rock Cats
Angel Morales-LF Beloit Snappers
Trevor Plouffe-SS Rochester Red Wings
The lead-off hitter is also the Organization’s Player of the Year, Ben Revere. After flirting with a .400 Average for much of the 2008 season at Beloit, Revere had an excellent follow up season for the Miracle, missing the FSL Batting Crown by only .002 as he finished his season hitting .311/.372/.369 in 466 at bats with the league’s most hits (145), third most runs scored (75), third most steals (45 in 62 attempts) and fourth best OBP (.372). Revere took more walks (40) than he had strikeouts (34) and reports indicate that he has improved defensively. Look for Ben to move up to New Britain next spring with a trip to Minnesota in his future sometime late in 2011.
Our second baseman, Brian Dinkelman, had a special year for the New Britain Rock Cats. Dinkelman was an Eastern League All-Star who had the league’s eighth best average (.296) with the fifth best on base percentage (.383). Dinkelman led the Rock Cats with 38 doubles, which was also the second most doubles in the league. Dinkelman surprised local fans with his productivity with 8 home runs and 65 RBI. Some have questioned his range, however, seven errors in 129 games is a clear indication that he has a solid glove defensively.
Perhaps the top prospect in the organization is our number three hitter, catcher Wilson Ramos. After being named last winter’s Caribbean League Championship Series MVP, Ramos got off to a tremendous start before going on the disabled list with a broken finger which was followed by a leg injury that would cost him much of his season. Ramos is again tearing up his winter league where he is hitting near a .400 Average with 6 home runs early in the VWL season. Ramos led the Rock Cats in hitting at .317/.341/.454 in 205 at bats with 4 home runs and 29 RBI. Perhaps the best defensive catcher in the organization, other than Joe Mauer, Ramos has everything one would expect to become a future major league star. All that remains is the question of when his major league career will begin?
The cleanup hitter was considered the best high school power hitter in the draft when the Twins made Chris Parmelee their first round pick in 2006. Although Parmelee has played a lot of right field the past few years, he split his time between right field and first base this season at Ft. Myers. He also has played exclusively at first base this fall in the AFL, thus, I have him in the lineup as our first baseman. Parmelee was one of the most productive hitters in this season’s pitcher friendly Florida State League. He finished his season with 16 home runs, which were the third most in the league with a league second best 73 RBI. He is a young man who draws a lot of walks, 63, which enabled him to just miss being in the league’s top ten on base percentages (.359) while his .441 Slugging percentage was seventh best in the league.
The third baseman is a player we have all heard a lot about the past year or so, Danny Valencia. After beginning his season back at New Britain this past spring, Valencia was on fire immediately following his promotion to AAA when he hit .360/.372/.573 in his first 19 games. Valencia went on to finish his AAA season by hitting .286/.305/.466 in 269 at bats for the Red Wings. Much has been written the past six months about whether or not Valencia is ready for the big show and whether or not he is the heir apparent for the Twins third base job perhaps as early as next spring. There have been questions about his defense, his hitting at Rochester the last half of the season and why a young man who normally took a reasonable number of walks only walked 7 times in 71 games in AAA. We won’t know what type of major league player Valencia will be until he arrives in Minnesota; however, we do know that he had an excellent season last year at New Britain and Rochester. If he isn’t ready for the Twins third base job this spring, he must be very, very close.
The right fielder is a young man who made the jump to AA last year after playing only 44 games beyond rookie ball. Rene Tosoni first came to our attention in 2007 when he hit .301/.407/.428 for Elizabethton in his first year of professional ball. This past season, Tosoni, was the lone Twins representative in the Future’s All-Star game, was one of the top hitters for Team Canada in the World Cup and is now representing the Twins in the Arizona Fall League. As could be expected for someone with such little experience, Tosoni struggled at New Britain for his first couple of months, however, had an excellent second half to finish with .271/.360/.454 in 425 at bats with 15 home runs (tied for eleventh most in league) and the league’s eighth best 71 RBI. Seth recently reported from personal observations that Tosoni is an excellent defensive outfielder who can play all three positions. He also reported that he needs to work on his at bats against lefties. It is likely however, that someone with such limited experience should be able to continue to improve his game as he works his way up to the Twins.
The designated hitter is a young man the Twins drafted in the ninth round of the 2005 draft out of the University of Evansville. Erik Lis has been one of the organization’s best hitters every year since his rookie season at Elizabethton. This season was no exception as Lis was one of the Eastern League’s better hitters, finishing with a league seventh best 17 home runs, tenth most RBI (69), and twelfth most doubles (29). Lis, who struggled with an injury the last few weeks of the season, had the league’s sixth best slugging percentage (.462) to go with a .283 Average and .353 OBP. With Justin Huber moving on to Japan, the door should be open for Erik to move up to Rochester next spring where he will again be one of the better hitters in the league.
The left fielder is a young man who may have as much upside potential as any player in the organization, Angel Morales. Although Morales can also play center field, he played mostly corner outfield positions with the Snappers after Aaron Hicks joined the team. A very young man who won’t turn 20 until later this month, Morales is another young player who struggled during his first six weeks of the season. He also adjusted and was one of the leagues better players during the second half. Although limited to only 376 at bats by an injury that he battled during much of June, Morales was amongst the top fifteen home run hitters (13) with a team high 62 RBI. Morales finished his season hitting .266/.329/.455 with 19 stolen bases in 25 attempts. What may be most important for a young man who struck out nearly 40% of his at bats in 2008, he lowered his strikeout rate to 27.7%. People who have seen him play have said that the ball explodes off his bat. There is no question that he is a very raw talent, but his future is as bright as any in the organization.
Shortstop Trevor Plouffe has always been very young for his league since the Twins drafted him in the first round of the 2004 draft. This past season was no exception as Plouffe didn’t turn 23 until mid-season even though it was his second season at AAA. None of his numbers stand out, yet, he had a very solid season hitting .260/.313/.407 in 430 at bats with 23 doubles, 5 triples, 10 home runs and 60 RBI. Plouffe finished his year playing for Team USA in the World Cup where he had an excellent tournament playing with many of the best players from throughout America. Although he continues to make what may be considered too many errors, people who watch him defensively say he is above average.
Josmil Pinto-C Elizabethton Twins
Brock Peterson-1B Rochester Red Wings
Steven Singleton-2B New Britain Rock Cats
Brian Dozier-SS Elizabethton Twins
Wander Guillen-3B DSL Twins
Oswaldo Arcia-LF GCL Twins
Aaron Hicks-CF Beloit Snappers
David Winfree-RF Rochester Red Wings
Justin Huber-DH Rochester Red Wings
The reserves are led by two members of the Division Champion Elizabethton Twins, designated hitter, Josmil Pinto and shortstop Brian Dozier. Pinto was the fifth best hitter in the Appy League with a .332 Average and the league’s best slugging percentage, .610. Pinto also led the league with 13 home runs and had the league’s second most RBI, 55. Brian Dozier stepped into the lineup when Tyler Ladendorf was promoted to Beloit. Dozier, a 2009 draft pick, finished with the league’s second best average and on base percentage, .353/.417.
The Rochester Red Wings placed three reserves on this year’s team, right fielder David Winfree, first baseman Brock Peterson and designated hitter Justin Huber. Although Peterson’s 316 at bats were a few short of the number needed to qualify for the league titles, his .304 Average and .376 OBP would both have been ninth best. He also was the Rock Cats top hitter if one doesn’t include Jose Morales who spent about half his year in Minnesota. David Winfree also had a special rookie season, hitting .273/.317/.460 with 14 home runs, 61 RBI and a team best 31 doubles. Huber, who recently left the Twins organization for Japan, led the Red Wings with 22 home runs and 76 RBI while hitting .273/.356/.482 in 440 at bats.
The Beloit Snappers are represented by center fielder Aaron Hicks. Hicks began his season in EST before joining the Snappers where he hit a respectable .251/.353/.382 in his first season of A ball. Hicks is considered a “5” tool player also stole 10 bases in 18 attempts with nearly as many walks (40) as strikeouts (55). Hicks was honored recently when Baseball America named him the Midwest League’s Top Prospect.
The second baseman is Steven Singleton, who began his year in Ft. Myers before a mid-season promotion to New Britain. Singleton hit .269/.329/.424 in 297 at bats at Ft. Myers. As is not often the case, Singleton’s numbers soared when he arrived in New Britain where he hit .291/.319/.418 in 158 at bats.
One of this year’s best new players in the six team system was GCL Twins left fielder Oswaldo Arcia. Arcia hit .275/.337/.455 in 167 at bats with a team best 11 doubles. He had a team high 5 home runs which also was ninth best in the league. Arcia, who didn’t turn 18 until this past May, stole 8 bases in 8 attempts.
The last reserve is third baseman Wander Guillen. Guillen joined the DSL Twins in July when he was sixteen years old, then proceeded to lead the team in hitting at .336/.443/.409 in 110 at bats. Although he didn’t have enough at bats to qualify, his .336 Average was the fourth best in the league while his .443 OBP tied teammate Romy Trinidad for fifth best in the league.
The Starting Rotation:
David Bromberg Ft. Myers Miracle
Steven Hirschfield Ft. Myers Miracle
Anthony Swarzak Rochester Red Wings
B.J. Hermsen GCL Twins
Adrian Salcedo GCL Twins
While at Beloit, David Bromberg led all of minor league baseball in strikeouts in 2008 with 177 in 150.0 innings. This season Bromberg moved up to Ft. Myers where he led the Florida State League with 148 strikeouts in 153.1 innings. Bromberg was named the FSL Pitcher of the Year and the Twins organization Pitcher of the Year while winning the second most games in the league, 13-4. Bromberg finished his award winning season with a league fourth best 2.70 ERA and ninth best WHIP of 1.23.
Stephen Hirschfield began his season in the Ft. Myers bullpen before moving to the starting rotation when several starters moved up to New Britain. Hirschfield joined Bromberg as one of the best starters in the FSL, where he had a 7-7 record with the league’s second best ERA (2.23) and best WHIP (1.03). Hirschfield, who struck out 86 while walking only 31 in 117.0 innings, pitched so well that he earned an assignment to the Arizona Fall League.
Twins fans are familiar with the third starter, Rochester’s Anthony Swarzak. Swarzak had a 4-5 record for the Red Wings with a 3.28 ERA and 45 strikeouts with only 21 walks in 79.2 innings. Considering that he allowed 10 earned runs in 8.1 innings in the two starts following his return to Rochester from the Twins and it is easy to see how dominant he was this season for the Wings. Swarzak made 12 starts for the Twins, finishing with a 3-7 record, 6.25 ERA and 34K/20BB in 59.0 innings.
The fourth starting pitcher is one of two all-star starters from the GCL Twins, B. J. Hermsen. Pitching in his first season of professional ball following his signing after the Iowa high school season last summer, Hermsen was as good as any pitcher in the Gulf Coast League. Hermsen finished his season with a 6-2 record, the league’s third best ERA (1.35) and best WHIP (0.68). Hermsen had 42 strikeouts in 52.1 innings while allowing only 4 walks.
The fifth starter is another young pitcher from the GCL Twins, Adrian Salcedo. Salcedo also was one of the top pitchers in the league, finishing with a 3-2 record and the league’s seventh best ERA (1.46), fifth most innings (61.2), third most strikeouts (58) and eighth best WHIP (1.02). What is most remarkable, however, is that Salcedo allowed only THREE walks or one walk every 20.4 innings or 0.44 walks per 9 innings pitched.
Closer - Alex Burnett
Short Relief - Andrei Lobanov
Short Relief - Anthony Slama
Relief - Joe Testa
Relief - Matt Tone
Relief - Kyle Waldrop
The Closer is this year’s top rated pitcher, Alex Burnett. Burnett had been a starter prior to this year including 2008 when he had an 8-6 record with a 3.76 ERA for the Ft. Myers Miracle. In last fall’s Instructional League, the Twins began the process of converting Burnett to a short reliever. He began this year back at Ft. Myers where he appeared in 18 games (22.2 innings) with a 2-1 record, 4 saves, 1.99 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 26K/7BB. That performance earned Burnett a mid-season promotion to New Britain. Whereas many pitchers hit a wall when promoted to AA, Burnett flourished. His numbers were as good if not better than at Ft. Myers, appearing in 40 games (55.1 innings) with a 1-2 record, 9 saves, 1.79 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 52K/19BB. I ranked Burnett as the top pitcher in the organization this year and indications are that he is now on the fast track to Minnesota.
The left handed short reliever is a young man from Moscow, Russia who pitched for the GCL Twins this season. Andrey Lobanov, 19, appeared in 15 games (22.0 innings) for the Twins with a 2-1 record, 7 saves, 0.82 ERA, 0.68 WHIP and 35 strikeouts (1.59 strikeouts per inning) with a Dominance Ratio of 2.333. Perhaps more astonishing however, is the fact that Lobanov walked only 1 batter this season…or 0.41 walks per nine innings pitched. Can Lobanov continue to dominate hitters as he moves up through the organization, only time will tell. If he can, this young lefty may be special!
The right handed short reliever is a young man we should see in Minnesota sometime next year, Anthony Slama. Following a 2008 season when he was the Twins Relief Pitcher of the Year, Slama repeated that performance this year. He began his season in New Britain where he appeared in 51 games (65.1 innings) with a 4-2 record, 2.48 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 93K/32BB. Slama moved up to Rochester late in the year where he appeared in 11 games (15.2 innings) with a 0-2 record, 3.45 ERA and 19K/8BB. Slama again led the organization this year with 29 saves while his 25 saves at New Britain led the Eastern league.
Joe Testa is a long reliever who had about as good of a season as any pitcher in the organization. Testa began this year at Beloit where he was the Snappers lone all-star, appearing in 25 games (45.2 innings) with a 0-2 record, 2.56 ERA and 63K/23BB. Testa moved up to Ft. Myers following the all-star break, where he appeared in 21 games (37.0 innings) with a 5-0 record, 1 save, 1.22 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 53K/18BB. Testa finished his season with an excellent 1.208 Dominance Ratio which was higher than any pitcher in the organization not playing rookie ball.
Matt Tone was a fourteenth round pick in this year’s draft. The left handed Tone was assigned to the Elizabethton Twins where he was as good as any reliever in the Appy League. Tone compiled a 4-1 record in 16 appearances with 1 save, a 1.31 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 45K/23BB in 34.1 innings.
Kyle Waldrop, who was one of the twins first round picks in 2004, had been one of the organization’s top starting prospects as he rapidly moved through the organization. That all ended last year when he spent the entire season on the disabled list following shoulder surgery. Waldrop returned this season working out of the bullpen at Ft. Myers and later in New Britain. While in New Britain, Waldrop was one of the best relievers in the league. He finished this season with the Rock Cats with a 2-3 record in 31 games (55.2 innings) with a 1.46 ERA and 30K/18BB. Earlier, he appeared in 20 games for the Miracle with a 3-2 record, 3.09 ERA and 20K/7BB in 35.0 innings. Perhaps his biggest achievement this season however, was staying healthy and pitching better throughout the year.
The last reliever is Zach See who was signed as a non drafted free-agent this past winter. See was another young reliever who had an incredible year with the GCL Twins this year. He appeared in 13 games with a 2-0 record, 2 saves, a 0.69 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 34K/10BB in 26.0 innings.