Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Q&A with Travis Aune
Travis' Twins Talk
Today, I am happy to share a Q&A with a new Twins bloggers. I want to thank Travis Aune for taking the time to answer some questions for us! His site is Travis Twins Talk. I have known Travis for a LONG time, as you can see in the first answer. I know that he is a great, passionate baseball fan. He knows baseball. He recently began his Twins blog, and I think he is doing a very nice job of expressing his ideas and opinions on the Twins and their minor leagues. I really think this is another Twins blog that you should bookmark.
We decided to do dueling Q&As. Travis asked me about ten questions for his site. He posted my responses yesterday afternoon, so check those out. And for today, I got a chance to ask him several questions as well.
I'm sure that you all will enjoy the Q&A today. If you have any comments for me or Travis, please e-mail me, and I will try to answer your questions or forward them on to him and see if we can get you an answer. Also, leave Comments below if you would prefer. Maybe Travis will stop by once or twice and answer any other questions you may have.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: What is your baseball history and background? Did you play much baseball growing up?
TravisTalks: I was watching baseball games when I wasn't old enough to even walk. I played baseball as I was growing up. I remember playing for you in 13 year old baseball and talked you into letting me pitch. Finally, you let me pitch in a game and I gave up 9 runs and didn't get a out. Suffice to say I didn't say a word the rest of the season about pitching. I have always enjoyed baseball, playing and watching. I was not the most talented player, but teams kept me around because every team needs a guy to keep the team loose, who is knowledgeable about the game and knows what's going on.
SETH NOTE - Travis is selling himself short here... a little... I mean, I know he got three outs in that inning... that said, I also think he gave up more than nine runs!!!
SethSpeaks: Who were your favorite players growing up? Any surprising names?
TravisTalks: Growing up I was a big Kirby Puckett fan, but I'm sure I wasn't the only one who can say that. A big thrill for me was after he retired I met him at a Timberwolves game and he was so nice he gave me an autograph and let me take a picture of him and me. That is something i will always cherish because I just loved how he played the game going all out with the smile on his face. He is still my favorite all time Twin player and someone I wont forget.
SethSpeaks: How long have you been writing your blog, and what made you decide to start it?
TravisTalks: I am very new at blogging. I have been doing it maybe a month and a half to 2 months. The reason I started it is I was trying to find info on the Santana trade and stumbled upon your blog and was like, "I can do this, I have a lot of opinions when it comes to the Twins."
SethSpeaks: What is your process for deciding what you will write about?
TravisTalks: When I am deciding what to write about, I try to be original, but the most important thing for me is something that I am going to enjoy writing about. If I was writing about something that I didn't really get into it would be no fun and fun is why I started it. I know my grammar and spelling leave something to be desired, but I do this for fun and I really do the best I can. I just want people to bear with me.
SethSpeaks: What is your philosophy on the old school/scouting versus the new school/SABRmetric point of view for team development?
TravisTalks: My view is I believe in the old way of doing things, going out and seeing the kid play and see how he does. I think people make too big a deal out of OPS and Slugging because it doesn't take into account helping your team win ball games and sometimes you have to give yourself up to help your team win the ball game. Also it is getting too computerized and projected; how this guy will do in this situation or that situation instead of just seeing what happens.
SethSpeaks: What are your overall views regarding the 2008 Minnesota Twins? Predict their record and where they could place in the AL Central.
TravisTalks: My view on the Twins this year is I see a bunch of young guys coming together and beating teams that the 'so called' experts say we have no shot to compete with. I think our pitching is going to carry us again this year; new names, same results. I also believe our hitting is going to be a lot better than what people are expecting even though we are struggling to start out with, I think we will be fine. It's funny because in years no one is expecting much out of the Twins, those are the years that we have had great seasons and I expect a good season this year. I really believe in this team and I believe we are going to compete all year long which will help us build for next year and the year after, because almost our whole team is under the age of 27. My prediction for the Twins is a little lofty, but I have a lot of confidence in the team so my prediction is the Twins record of 85-77 and in the playoff picture until the last week with a solid 2nd place finish.
SethSpeaks: Jump ahead to June 15. Who will comprise the Twins starting rotation?
TravisTalks: On June 15th the Twins starting 5, in my opinion, in order of where they will be lined up, is Liriano, Baker, Hernandez, Bonser, Blackburn
SethSpeaks: Name one hitter and one pitcher that you expect to have a breakout season in 2008.
TravisTalks:The pitcher that I expect to have the breakthrough season is someone who is already doing good and that is Nick Blackburn. I really believe he is ready to take the next step.The hitter that I am really high on is Matt Tolbert. I believe by midseason he will be the starting shortstop for the team and will be starting somewhere for years to come
SethSpeaks: Name one hitter and one pitcher that you fear will have a disappointing 2008 season.
TravisTalks:The Pitcher I think people are going to be disappointed is Kevin Slowey. He just is not consistent enough for my taste.The Hitter I think is going to disappoint is Craig Monroe. I was not much into him before the season starts and he hasn't done anything to change my mind.
SethSpeaks: You write about the Twins minor league system as well. Who would you name your Top 5 Twins prospects, with a sentence about why?
TravisTalks:1. Deolis Guerra- He has electric stuff and given Time will develop into the ace that we need.2. Tyler Robertson- He has very good command and control that knows how to get people out.3. Anthony Swarzak- He has good stuff and if he can add a 3rd pitch could be dominant4. Ben Revere- Very exciting player with given the proper time and patience will be great.5. Kevin Mulvey- Very good command and can place his pitches with the best of them.
SethSpeaks: Who are three or four Twins minor leaguers that you are most intrigued by in 2008, and why?
TravisTalks:1. Daniel Valencia- There is going to be an opening at 3rd in a couple years and I want to see if he can fill it2. Jeff Manship- I have heard a lot of good things about him and I want to see if he can keep it up.3. Matt Moses- He really struggled last year and now a move to the outfield. This is his last chance can he make the most of it.4. Deolis Guerra- I want to see if all the hype is worth it because all we hear is good things about the guy and he's only 19
SethSpeaks: Finally, what are your plans for the website?
TravisTalks: I don't have major plans for the website. I just really enjoy writing about the Twins and as long as it's fun will continue doing it. I will listen to my readers and if they want changes I will follow suit because I care what people want on the website.
A special thank you to Travis for taking time to answer some questions. Again, please check out Travis Talks for information on the Twins.
Twins Thoughts (Day Off)
Livan Hernandez will start today against White Sox lefty John Danks in game two of this series. It will be interesting to see if Denard Span gets another start, against a lefty. Will Jason Kubel DH with Craig Monroe in RF, or vice versa?
Red Wings Report (Rochester 5, Norfolk 6)
Francisco Liriano was again the story. With talk that he could come up and start for the Twins on Sunday, this was an important start for the lefty. Unfortunately, it didn't go well in terms of results. Liriano went just four innings and gave up three runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out three. The most important thing he did was throw 88 pitches, but that isn't good in four innings. Just 53 of them were strikes. That isn't surprising, but it is something he will have to continue working on. Now, Alexi Casilla had two errors while Liriano was in there, which of course means extra pitches, but even so, not a great showing. I'm not saying that Liriano has to be perfect before he is called up. However, I think that whenever he is called up, there will be plenty of pressure, extra weight on his shoulders, so I have no problem with letting him get some minor league innings in to build up the strength in those shoulders.
I think it warrants another AAA start. I really do. I think that I would call up Philip Humber to make the Sunday start if Kevin Slowey is unable to start on Sunday. Kevin Mulvey is another option based on his one good start so far. However, he is not on the 40 man roster, so that is very unlikely at this point.
Casey Daigle threw the fifth inning. He gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits and a walk. Ricky Barrett then went 1.1 innings and gave up a run on two hits and a walk. Julio DePaula went an inning and gave up a hit and two walks, but no runs. Mariano Gomez struck out the lone batter he faced. Heath Totten got the only batter he faced out.
Matt Macri went 3-3 with a walk and two RBI. Jon Knott was 3-4 with a double and two RBI. Garrett Jones knocked his second home run.
Rough day for Casilla as he had the two errors and went 0-5.
Oswaldo Sosa had an impressive first start. He threw five shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks. He struck out five.
David Shinskie then struck out three in two perfect innings. Jay Sawatski got two outs and gave up two runs on a hit and two walks. Zach Ward got the final out of that inning and the next three outs to record the win.
Matt Moses went 2-4 and is hitting .333 so far this spring! I know, it's early.
Brandon Roberts went 2-4.
Miracle Matters (Ft. Myers 2, Clearwater 1)
Cole DeVries made his first start and was excellent. The Eden Prairie righty went the first six innings. He gave up one run on four hits. He walked none and struck out three.
Danny Vais threw a scoreless seventh inning. Then Robert Delaney went the final two innings for the save, his second of the year.
Danny Valencia went 2-3 with a walk.
Danny Berg hit a home run.
Toby Gardenhire is now hitting .625 on the year after his 2-3 day. OK, he's just 5-8, but still, better than 0-8!
Juan Portes, Edward Ovalle, Allan de San Miguel each hit a double.
Snappers Snapshot (Postponed by rain)
LaVelle takes a look at the Twins 2004 draft and I would agree that the results have been mixed to this point.
I have been asked to participate in a weekly vote on the MVP, Cy Young Award and Rookie of the Year at Baseball Happenings. This first week, we voted on the American League winners to this point. Next week, we will vote on the National League, and then continue to alternate throughout the season. Should be interesting to follow the changes. Nick Blackburn with a nice showing!
Josh Taylor has posted his Down on the Farm: AA Report.
I am a couple of days late, but Roger posted his first weekly minor league update over at Twinkie Town. Each Sunday, he will post an update on how Twins minor leaguers did in the previous week. It's an excellent source!
Keep the comments coming and have a good day!