Tuesday Night, March 18, 2008
The Twins took a well-deserved day off yesterday, and I took just a regular day off from the site (probably not as well deserved). Again, today will just be a note day, but first, I wanted to update people on the Prospect Watch vote that started about two weeks ago. We actually had a tie for 6th place, so somehow I will have to either add a personal choice for the 8th person, or something. Here are the results based on the votes of 64 participants. I think there is one guy that received the most votes that won’t surprise anyone. I was actually a little surprised by just how many votes he got. It was interesting to read people’s lists and reasons for voting for players. It’s just a great discussion.
Votes - Player
54 – Deolis Guerra
41 – Ben Revere
31 – Tyler Robertson
27 – Trevor Plouffe
24 – Jeff Manship
20 – Anthony Swarzak, Joe Benson
18 – Wilson Ramos, Deibinson Romero
17 – Carlos Gomez
16 – Kevin Mulvey
12 – Chris Parmelee
10 – Philip Humber, Danny Valencia
8 – Denard Span
6 – Jason Pridie
4 – Nick Blackburn
3 – Matt Tolbert, Rene Tosoni, Alex Burnett, Erik Lis, Matt Macri
2 – Brian Buscher, Mike McCardell, Steven Tolleson, Oswaldo Sosa, Matt Moses, David Winfree, Brock Peterson, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing
1 – Danny Rams, Henry (or Hank) Sanchez, Danny Lehman, Ozzie Lewis, Robert Delaney, Julio DePaula, Drew Butera, Cole DeVries, Jose Morales, Steve Singleton, Brian Dinkelman, Juan Portes, Kyle Waldrop, Brad Tippett, David Bromberg
A vote like this is always interesting on several counts.
· First, it is a popularity contest where the voters likely have never seen the people that they are voting for, there have only been reports and box scores and stats, but that’s it.
· It is also interesting to see which guys are really flying under the radar screen. Guys like Oswaldo Sosa and Brian Duensing are prospects in that 10-15 range that are frequently overlooked by us.
· A year ago, “we” voted for Glen Perkins, Denard Span, Matt Moses and David Winfree and none of the three were close to making the Prospect Watch this year.
· Guerra is about as intriguing a prospect as there has been in the Twins organization for a few years. He is so young, big and talented. Liriano and Morneau and Garza and Slowey were all a little older as they were coming up. Guerra is so young. Joe Mauer is probably the last guy to be this young and this intriguing.
· Carlos Gomez – Everyone is intrigued by the talent of Gomez. There is no denying that. Several people actually wrote saying that regardless of if he is on the Prospect Watch, we will be getting plenty of updates on him even if he is sent down to Rochester to start the season.
· There really isn’t much surprise at the top of this list. It will be interesting to see how people would react if Ben Revere is kept in Extended Spring Training rather than sent to Beloit to start the season .With the team announcing that both Parmelee and Benson will start the year back at Beloit, that has to have a trickle down affect that certainly could affect Revere. What if we have to wait until the Elizabethton season starts in June to see how Revere can back up his solid start last year with the GCL Twins?
· It is also important to not forget that this is a prospect list. It’s really about ceiling more than anything else. I look at guys like Jason Pridie and Nick Blackburn. Gardy has already pigeon-holed Jason Pridie as a role player, a 4th OF type. That’s about what I see him at as well, just was surprised to see Gardy say that already. I see Blackburn as a fourth or fifth starter or a long reliever out of the bullpen. That certainly is not meant as a negative. Believe me, a team’s 4th and 5th starters are pretty important to a team’s success. A long reliever does a lot to eat up innings. I write this because although we may not see their ceilings as high as others, they are close and more likely to reach their lower (yet very important) ceilings. Also in this category might be Jose Morales, Brian Buscher, Matt Tolbert or Matt Macri.
· Noticeably absent from the list is a guy who I have predicted a big breakout season from in 2008… Jay Rainville. Who else could break out? It’s time for Kyle Waldrop to take that big step. How about someone like Steve Singleton who was hurt most of last season but has reported to camp healthy. And what about Rene Tosoni? Could he skip Beloit all together (minus the two games he played for Beloit before he helped them in their playoff run)?
· Two prospects just outside of the Top 6/7 have very high ceilings, yet Twins fans (and bloggers) still know very little about them. Wilson Ramos and Deiblinson Romero could both have big years in 2008.
· Just a reminder (so you can see where they rank)… the Twins traded Johan Santana to the Mets for Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Carlos Gomez.
· I have heard that Nick Papasan has been very impressive this spring so far, showing a solid glove, strong arm and a powerful bat. With Estarlin de los Santos out at least two months, a middle infield spot is open at Beloit. Could Papasan take that spot, and if he does, could he keep it?
· The Randy Ruiz story has certainly altered things for Brock Peterson. I figured that Peterson would be able to battle Ruiz for the 1B job in Rochester, but the spring that Ruiz has had with the Twins likely means he will start the season in Rochester.
· Anyone else still trying to figure out that Rochester infield situation? 3B, SS and 2B can be played by Alexi Casilla, Matt Macri, Howie Clark, Alejandro Machado, Tommy Watkins and Chris Basak. But don’t forget that there is a good chance that Matt Tolbert and Brian Buscher will start the season with the Red Wings as well. That explains why Trevor Plouffe will be returned to New Britain, but what about Felix Molina? Would the Twins send him back to New Britain for the fourth straight year? Something’s got to give!
· I am told that despite his willingness to learn yet another position (catcher), the Twins were not happy with the shape that Tommy Watkins reported to camp in.
· One thing I don’t understand is why Denard Span has not played a position other than CF. I realize that he is a CF, that is his natural position and that is the position that he has been groomed for since the Twins drafted him. However, the Twins typically make versatility an important thing for their players, so I don’t understand why they wouldn’t throw him out in left field every once in awhile. Carlos Gomez has played all three OF positions, and he is deemed now as the future CF. Jason Pridie is playing all three OF positions and he really is being groomed to be a utility OF. What happens if Span is sent to Rochester? I realize it would mean that Gomez was the Twins starting CF, so CF in Rochester would be open. But why not move him around a little bit?
· Josh’s Thoughts wonders (along with Bleed Cubbies) if Tim Lahey may be the Player To Be Named Later in the Craig Monroe trade. That would allow the Cubs to send Lahey to the minors without losing him. Makes a lot of sense to me.
· I also have to wonder what will happen with Garrett Guzman in the next week. Even with the injuries to Wily Mo Pena and Eljah Dukes, the Nationals have a lot of outfielders. Guzman did hit a two run homer off of Daniel Cabrera on Sunday. Other OF options for the Nationals, to start alongside Austin Kearns are Kory Casto, Willie Harris, Alex Escobar, Jason Maxwell and Ryan Langerhans. Personally, I think Guzman is as good as any of them, but will he get that chance?
So, there are some thoughts on the Prospect Watch vote and a few other thoughts on things to watch this minor league season. Have you heard any reports from minor league camp in Ft. Myers? Have you been there? I would love to hear about what you’re seeing or hearing. So, if you know of anything, please e-mail me and let me know. Have a great day!