Friday, April 7, 2006
Twins Minor League Notes
Minor League Opening Day
Good morning everyone! Well, some of you early risers may have noticed that I posted my article a little later than normal. Most nights, I post my article before I go to bed. Last night, I fell asleep on the recliner fairly early and went to sleep. So, I woke up early this morning and still wanted to post something new. Why? Because I don't want to be losing readers right away, during the first week of the season!
Before getting to the Twins and the Minor League Notes, here is a quick Chris Coste update. Last night, he started at 1B for Scranton/Wilkes Barre against the Columbus Clippers. He grounded out in his first at bat. Then I happened to turn on the online feed of the game at MiLB.com just in time for his second at bat. On a 2-1 pitch, the announcer said that he hit a drive to deep CF. We were told that the ball hit the top of the fence and came back in, for a double. In his third plate appearance, he walked. He grounded out again in his final at bat. So, he went 1-3 with a walk and a double. You will see that Chris Coste's updated statistics will be on the left side of the screen.
Speaking of the left-side of the screen, I am still taking your 'votes' on which Twins minor league prospects you would like to see appear there with their statistics. I have received a lot of votes so far, and it is quite interesting to see who different people want to see. I am going to take your votes and post at least the top four that you vote for. I am contemplating a few different ways to present the players and other formatting things. Hopefully the players and their numbers will be up by Monday. I will still take your votes through the weekend if you want to e-mail them to me. I will post the results on Monday as well.
Anyway, Thursday was Opening Day for the full-season minor league affiliates. The Twins affiliates should all be very fun again to watch as they each have some very good prospects and great stories. They are fun to watch and well worth following.
Also today, I will have very little on the Twins. Why? Well, primarily because the Twins game was not on TV. That really stinks, however, there was one benefit to not having to watch the Twins yesterday. It was Bert Blyleven's birthday, and I can't even imagine how annoyed I would have been hearing about that the entire night! I am just guessing that we will hear plenty about it tonight when the Twins take on the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland.
Last night, the Twins fell 6-3 to Gustavo Chacin and the Toronto Blue Jays. The Twins got the early lead, but Carlos Silva got hit around a little bit in the sixth inning. He gave up four runs in the inning. He didn't get help from Juan Rincon who came in and allowed a couple of the runs to score on two hits. But as was my main issue with JC Romero the past three years, Rincon was not credited with any runs allowed, they went to Silva.
On a very positive note, Willie Eyre came in and pitched a scoreless seventh inning, allowing just one hit. That is exciting! He is the younger brother of Cubs lefty reliever Scott Eyre (who I think is now the best lefty bullpen guy in baseball) Eyre has been in the Twins system since he was drafted in the 23rd round by the Twins in 1999! He spent the last two full seasons at AAA Rochester. Last year, he went 10-3 with a 2.72 ERA. He was offered big money to play in another country, but the Twins signed him and put him on their 40 man roster. He went down to Venezuela and started and was the Winter League's Pitcher of the Year. He is a guy that may not be known by even a lot of Twins fans, but he is a guy that I am happy that the team has given a shot to!
Shannon Stewart had a great opening series against the Jays. He went 7-13 with a double, 2 homers and two RBI. He had at least two hits in each game. Torii Hunter had the big game on Wednesday, but he went 0-4 in the two other games. Mike Redmond showed why he may be the best backup catcher in baseball today. He had two double in his four at bats. It was a good move to play him last night. The Indians will pitch three righties against the Twins this weekend, so it is possible that Joe Mauer would catch all three games since all three games are basically afternoon games.
On the negative side, Rondell White had just one hit in 11 at bats. Of course, he had two big RBI, but I fully expect that he will turn this around quickly. He is a very good, veteran hitter. Justin Morneau went 1-12 (.083) in the series. In a good move, he was pinch-hit for by Lew Ford in the 9th inning last night against BJ Ryan, a good move. Again, I fully expect that Morneau will be just fine. If I were a betting man, I would say that Morneau will have a home run this weekend in Cleveland. If I was a brave gambler, I would guarantee that he will hit two! There you have it, the fifteen Twins Opening Day games prior to Tuesday's Twins opener. I really enjoyed doing the research and going through the box scores of these games. I was at a couple of the more recent ones.
Here is the schedule of games this weekend against the Indians:
Friday afternoon - at 2:05 - Kyle Lohse vs. Paul Byrd
Saturday afternoon - at 4:05 - Scott Baker vs. Jason Johnson
Sunday afternoon - at 12:05 - Johan Santana vs. Jake Westbrook
It should be fun series to watch. It will be interesting to see if there is any rivalry tendencies showing up in the series.
If you have any thoughts on the
Twins season through three games, or on the upcoming series in
Cleveland, or anything Twins related, please
send me an e-mail, or
post some Comments down below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
It was a successful Opening Day for three of the four minor league affiliates in terms of Wins. However, I think it was a Win-Win day for all four teams. Now, as I have done in previous years, I will be checking out the box scores of the Twins Minor League affiliates and trying to keep you updated on what is happening on the farm. The below format is what you can expect five days a week. I will post the score although, to me, that really doesn't matter as much as what the players do. I will discuss briefly what the pitchers do in the game. I will also make mention of any guys with multi-hit games or extra-base hits. I will keep up (almost) daily with the statistics of several of the players at the left of the screen.
Some ask me why I choose to focus on the Twins minor leagues. Some say that they don't really matter, that all that matters is what happens in the big leagues, with the Twins. Frequently, someone will write me and say, "Who cares how well a player does in the minor leagues? All I care about is what they do in the big leagues." I guess that is a fair question, but there are at least two reasons that I choose to do it.
First, I love baseball, at any level. Since I was very young, I have enjoyed the concept of the prospect. Do they all pan out? Of course not. But, I want to be the guy that watched and followed a player from the time that they were drafted. I want to understand the process it took for them to get to the major leagues. Maybe a guy signed as a shortstop and ended up making it to the big leagues as a pitcher. Joe Nathan did that. There are also guys who are drafted as a pitcher, and move to the outfield. Or, maybe there is a top draft pick who just comes though and flies through the system. But there are probably more who make their one-step a year progression though the system. There are also those long-time minor league veterans who have quite the ride, hopefully to the big leagues.
Second, these guys are all living the dream that I had when I was growing up and into high school. I wanted to get drafted and play minor league ball with the hope of someday being a big leaguer. That is what the minor leaguers are doing. They're striving for that big league dream. They are part of the Twins organization and they deserve the recognition. In my summaries, I really don't care if the player is a top pick, or a ten year minor leaguer. They will be recognized.
If a Twins prospect does something worth noting, I think that this is a great place to note it. I know that it is not real easy to find box scores, or some people choose not to even worry about it. So, I go through the box scores and summarize it. I hope that some people appreciate having this information all summarized on one page. It may take about three minutes to read through, and you get a little better idea of what is happening in the Twins system.
To me, the purpose of the farm system is to develop prospects. Those prospects serve two purposes to the major league Twins. The first, and most obvious one, is the develop players that can succeed in Minnesota, for the Twins. The second purpose is to develop depth so that you can supply the Twins with players but also use some guys as trade bait to acquire help for the Twins.
Remember just this offseason when there were rumors about the Twins trading for Hank Blalock or other players. If you hadn't been following the Twins farm system, you would have no idea why I (and many others) would think it crazy to even consider dealing Francisco Liriano for him. And Blalock has been an All-Star. However, if you had followed his progression in 2005, you would completely understand.
So, that is way-too-long an explanation of why I do this, but the main reason is... because I enjoy it! If you have any thoughts on the topic, or have any ideas which would make the coverage better, please e-mail me. Also, if you are from one of the cities that hosts a Twins affiliate, would you please send me an e-mail with a link to a local newspaper that covers the team, or any articles about their players. I would like to link more to those sites. Many times that is where we learn a little more about the person, rather than just the player. If there are any proud parents or siblings or anyone else related to the players (or the players themselves), please feel free to e-mail me any time with stories or article links.
Finally, before getting to the Opening Day summaries, I have to point out a couple of injuries to noted prospects. Chris Dunn informs me that Juan Portes, on of the more exciting hitters in the Twins system, slipped on some ice in spring training and broke his thumb. He will start the season at extended spring training. Roger tells me that Jay Rainville will likely miss the entire 2006 season after surgery for a nerve problem that causes pain when he throws a baseball. Rainville is certainly one of the Twins top pitching prospects (which says a lot!), so we hope that this surgery will take care of any problem and he can come back by the Instructional League and get back to being strong.
Red Wings 5, Syracuse 3 – The Red Wings started their season with an afternoon game yesterday against Syracuse, the Blue Jays affiliate. Boof Bonser was the story for Rochester. The righty who led the International League in strikeouts a year ago threw very well. In all, he allowed no runs on just two hits, and he struck out eight in six innings. The trouble came in the 7th when Ricky Barrett came into the game. He got just one out and gave up three earned runs on three hits and a walk. Kevin Cameron gave up a hit and a walk in the inning too and recorded just one out. He was replaced by Dennys Reyes who got out of that inning and then the first two outs of the 8th. Pat Neshek came in and got the last out of the eight. In the ninth, he gave up two hits, but he was able to finish the game and get the Save. 2B Luis Maza led the offense with a 3-4 day. He had a double and three RBI. Jason Bartlett had a double and a triple in his four at bats. Hopefully he also displayed some good leadership skills! Jason Tyner and Chris Heintz each went 2-4 with an RBI.
Rockcats 2, New Hampshire 5 – What an interesting start to the 2006 New Britain season. Leading off the bottom of the 2nd innings, Denard Span hit a home run. The game remained 1-0 through five innings. That was the case, in large part, because of the pitching of Glen Perkins. The 2004 first-round pick started the game with five no-hit innings. He just walked one in that time. However, he came out for the 6th frame and gave up singles to the first two hitter. He was removed from the game in favor of Levale Speigner. Speigner allowed those two runners to score, plus another one before getting out of that inning. He pitched a scoreless 7th. Chris Schutt came in and gave up two 8th inning runs. Tristan Crawford then struck out two in a perfect 9th. On offense, the team was limited to just five hits. Span had two of them. Matt Moses, Doug Deeds and Felix Molina each had a single. Trent Oeltjen batted second. He walked twice and stole a base.
Miracle 7, Sarasota 3 – In a story that remained constant with all four affiliates last night, the Miracle started a great pitching prospect and got a solid performance. Top 2005 pick Matt Garza got the starting nod for the Miracle in a matchup against another top prospect, the Reds' Homer Bailey. Garza went five innings. Garza went five innings and gave up two runs (1 earned). He allowed just two hits and a walk, and he struck out four. Tim Lahey, the closer at E-Town last year, will be in middle relief this year. He went two innings and gave up a run on two hits. Julio DePaula came in and pitched two shutout innings for the Save. Alexi Casilla started at 2B and led off. He went 2-5 with three RBI. Garrett Guzman is back! He missed all of 2004, and much of 2003, with very serious injury. But he came back, played LF, and batted third. He went 2-4 with an RBI in his return. Luke Hughes played 3B and hit a three run homer. Deacon Burns played CF and had a double.
Snappers 4, Cedar Rapids 0 – The Snappers also got a great start from Kyle Waldrop and plenty of quality relief to record an Opening Day shutout. 2004 first-round pick Kyle Waldrop probably was not too happy about being sent back to Beloit to start this season. However, if he pitches like he did last night for a few more starts, and he will quickly be in Ft. Myers. The righty went 5.1 innings and gave up just three hits and one walk. He struck out six. Danny Powers came in and went 2.2 innings with just one hit. He struck out three. Then another top 2004 pick, Eduardo Morlan, came back in and struck out the side to end the game. I would think that Morlan will get a chance to start again at some point. Offensively, the Snappers did enough to score four runs. The highlight may have come in the second inning when 2005 supplemental first-round pick Henry Sanchez hit a home run in his first full-season at bat. He was 1-3 with a walk and a strikeout in the game. Stephen Tolleson led off and went 2-4 with a double. Batting second was Andrew Thompson who had two triples in his four at bats. Eli Tintor had two doubles in his four at bats. Paul Kelly had a double and two RBI. It will be interesting to see the lineups in Beloit throughout the year. They have a lot of talent in the infield, and some of those guys will alternate positions. Last night, Erik Lis played LF. Former catcher Eli Tintor was playing in RF. I don't know what the plan is, but it should be interesting to follow and worth watching.
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? I would love any input, or ideas to make it better. Thanks! E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
Welp, that is it for today and for this week. If you have any thoughts, opinions, comments, critiques, or ideas on anything, please e-mail me, or let's get a discussion going in the Comments.|
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