Wednesday, May 3, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
American Idol Thoughts
Good morning everybody! Thank you, as always, for stopping by the site. I hope that you find it informative but also fun. It is a full, busy day today so grab a cup of coffee and sit back.
Today, we're going back to school for another year, and I get to be the teacher. OK, I get to be the guy who gives out grades. The Twins went 9-15 in April, not the start many had probably hoped for, but considering the schedule, probably about where we should have figured they would be. Let's just remember that there are five more months of the season. It will still be fun to see how the rest of the season progresses, which players improve and/or emerge.
Now, I'm not a teacher, but I come from a family of teachers, so I think that I can do this. So, let's take a look at the players and see how they did in the season's first month:
(4 Starts, 23.1 Innings, 1-2 with a 3.47 ERA, 4 walks, 16 strikeouts, 1.24 WHIP, .299 Opponent Average, 6.17 K/9)
Scott Baker replaced Joe Mays in the rotation last August and ran with it. Many want to put Francisco Liriano into the rotation. I am one of those people. However, I do not think that it should be at the expense of Baker. He has done everything well so far. If you were to take a look at his April numbers and take out that W-L record, everything else looks very good. In reality, he has been the Twins best starting pitcher in April. Granted, that is not saying a lot, but it does deserve to be noticed.
April Grade: B
(5 starts, 25.2 Innings Pitched, 1-2 with a 8.87 ERA, 13 walks, 12 strikeouts, 1.91 WHIP, .422 Opponent Average, 4.21 K/9)
I said in the offseason that I thought that Lohse would finally have that breakout season. He had his best overall season in 2005, and I had hoped he would be able to be just a little better than that. Well, if that is going to be the case, he had better turn it around soon! April was not a good month for Lohse. Too many hits. Too many walks. There is not much good to say about it.
April Grade: F
(5 Starts, 26.1 Innings Pitched, 2-3 with a 8.89 ERA, 4 walk, 13 strikeouts, 1.78 WHIP, .397 Opponent Average, 4.44 K/9)
I still have faith in Brad Radke. I charted his first inning pitches last Friday night, and he is every bit the thrower that he always has been. He was hitting 91, he was trying to spot the ball. The Tigers had two hits, but they were on good pitcher's pitches. Now, I didn't chart what happened in the 2nd or 3rd inning, but it was clear that although the stuff is still as good, the location is just not where it needs to be. In the past, we would be frustrated by Radke throwing too many strikes on 0-2 counts. Right now, he is not walking guys, but he is wild within the strike zone. He is getting too much of the plate and he is just too hittable. Again, I expect that Radke will fix his current control issues (hopefully soon), and will be a solid pitcher in 2006. I refuse to believe that at 32 years old, he is just completely done. All that said, anything better than an F would be too kind.
April Grade: F
(5 Starts, 32.1 Innings Pitched, 1-3 with a 4.45 ERA, 10 walks, 28 strikeouts, 1.36 WHIP, .321 Opponent Average, 7.79 K/9)
The Twins Cy Young candidate has been anything my Cy-like in April. That should not surprise anyone as it has been his bad month throughout his career. Did the WBC help take care of that? Not at all. Did it hurt him? I can't really say that either. But, even compared to last April, Santana is not close. Sure, he leads the Twins starters in K/9, but that doesn't mean much. He isn't getting strikeouts and he is walking more than usual. That said, his last two starts have not been bad. It appears that his stuff is getting a little better and I expect that when we grade in May, it will be much better. Right now, Santana is very average across the board.
April Grade: C-
(5 Starts, 29.2 Innings Pitched, 1-4 with a 10.31 ERA. 3 walk, 9 strikeouts, 1.69 WHIP, .380 Opponent Average, 2.73 K/9)
Is it possible to grade worse than an F? If so, feel free to change Silva's grade to that! Sure, he still doesn't walk anyone, but now, he is not getting any groundballs either. He is getting the ball up and the batters are still being aggressive and jumping all over it. Silva still never strikes anyone out. Just way too hittable. Hopefully he can turn it around!
April Grade: F
(12 Games, 12 Innings Pitched, 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts, 1.83 WHIP, Opponent Average .379, 8.25 K/9)
So... let's see, the discussion all offseason was about how Crain could not be as successful unless he found a way to increase his miniscule strikeout totals. Well, Crain had a rough first month of the season despite the fact that his strikeout total was very solid and he only walked two batters. Too many strikes? Well, that opponent batting average is horrendous causing the high WHIP. I still think that Crain will turn things around, but it was not a good first month for him. But as I've said before, with that fastball and the sharp curve, he should be just fine.
April Grade: D-
(7 Games, 9.1 Innings Pitched, 0-0 with a 4.82 ERA, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts, 1.82 WHIP, .395 Opponent Average, 3.86 K/9)
It was a full and exciting offseason for Eyre, and he earned a spot in the Twins bullpen. He hasn't had many high leverage situations, and that is good. For the most part, he has been decent. No, his numbers aren't great, hence the grade, but he has shown that he can pitch at this level. As with most of the Twins pitchers, he was too hittable in April, and he didn't strike out enough hitters. However, if you take out his 1.2 inning, three run outing against the Tigers last weekend, his ERA was 2.35. He gave up zero runs in four outings and one run in two others. Therefore, I give him a little benefit of the doubt for it being his first month.
April Grade: C+
(7 Games, 10.1 Innings Pitched, 0-0, 6.10 ERA, 6 walks, 3 strikeouts, 2.42 WHIP, .455 Opponent Average, 2.61 K/9)
I don't care what his ERA is, if opponents hit .455 against you, you're not getting the job done. If 2.4 runners are getting on base every inning you pitch, there is a good chance you're going to give up some runs! When you walk twice as many batters as you strike out, that isn't good. Guerrier was excellent most of 2005, but this was not a good month for Guerrier. I keep hearing people talk about how the team needs to send him to the minors. I disagree. He did well a year ago and because he is out of options (And likely would be claimed by another team), it is worth giving him another month to turn it around. If he keeps this up, then there is no reason to worry if he is claimed.
April Grade: F
(8 Games, 14.1 Innings Pitched, 1-0 with a 3.77 ERA, 4 walks, 21 strikeouts, 1.53 WHIP, .344 Opponent Average, 13.19 K/9)
Liriano was successful in seven of his eight outings this month. Take out his five runs in three innings game on Saturday against the Tigers, and his ERA was just 0.79. Still 5.25 strikeouts per walk is great. 13.2 strikeouts per nine inning is remarkable regardless of the fact that he is just 22 years old. He absolutely should be in the rotation and it is unfortunate that something wasn't done in the offseason to allow that to happen.
April Grade: A-
(7 Games, 7 Innings Pitched, 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA, 3 Saves in 3 Chances, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 0.71 WHIP, .222 Opponent Average, 7.71 K/9)
Joe Nathan is as good a closer as there is in baseball. It is unfortunate that he only has three save chances in the whole month. It is also unfortunate that he only pitched in seven games. Gardy needs to find a way to get one of his best pitchers into more games. Outside of the one run he allowed when just trying to get work with the Twins down 16 runs last weekend, he did not allow a run yet. Hitters don't hit him. He doesn't walk people, and he gets strikeouts. If he could get more work, he'd probably be even better.
April Grade: A
(1 Game, 2.1 Innings Pitched, 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 0.43 WHIP, .125 Opponent Average, 3.86 K/9)
OK, so, it's just one game, but it was a nice showing and exactly what the team needed. Reyes got into Detroit late on Saturday night, or early on Sunday morning, and after another bad start by a Twins pitcher, Reyes came in and gave them 2.1 shutout innings. Really, the key to it was his 2.1 innings. The bonus was that he didn't give up any runs. What will he do for the team in the coming month? Hopefully not terribly much. As Terry Ryan said on a radio show Sunday, if he pitches too much, it means that the starters still aren't doing well. Anyway, it was a good month for Reyes. After certain disappointment in being sent to Rochester, he did exactly what he had to do there to get promoted to the Twins.
April Grade: A+
(12 Games, 12.1 Innings Pitched, 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA, 6 walks, 12 strikeouts, 1.78 WHIP, .393 Opponent Average, 8.76 K/9)
Of the 12 games Rincon pitched in, he was charged with no earned runs allowed in 11 of them. (he was charged with two unearned runs against Detroit) One game in Chicago, he faced four batters and all four got hits and all four scored. Outside of that, his ERA would be 0.00. Juan appears to be back. He is throwing hard and the slider is just nasty again! Look for the strikeout rate to improve. Hopefully that walk number will drop because it is high, and opponents likely will not hit as well against him either.
April Grade: B-
(21 Games, 20-75, .267/.337/.427, 6-2B, 0-3B, 2-HR, 8-RBI, 0/1 SB, 7 BB, 14 K)
Well, Batista has not been as advertised in the first month. We heard that he does not walk and he will hit for power. Well, he actually took a decent amount of walks in April, but he showed very little power. I am also surprised by the 14 walks because in the past, he just did not see enough pitches to strikeout that much. Is he trying to take more pitches and be more selective, or was that just a one month thing? Either way, he wasn't good in April, and I would expect that he will not get any better.
April Grade: C
(19 Games, 25-69, .362/.436/.420, 2-2B, 1-3B, 0-HR, 10-RBI, 3/4 SB, 9 BB, 4 K)
One of the team's lone bright spots so far, Castillo has been as advertised. No power, few extra base hits, but decent average, excellent on-base skills and an overall ability to put together a quality at bat. He has also missed time with nagging injuries. I am impressed with the 9:4 walk to strikeout ratio as you know that is a meaningful statistic to me in showing a hitter's ability to put good at bats together. The three stolen bases are a nice surprise. Although he won't hit .362, I expect Castillo to continue being a tough out.
April Grade: A-
(15 Games, 10-39, .256/.326/.564, 3-2B, 3-HR, 4-RBI, 1/1 SB, 4 BB, 7 K)
Cuddyer always gets off to a slow start in April... well, that isn't true this year. Despite more limited playing time, Michael Cuddyer had an excellent April. Sure, cynics will point out the .256 batting average and assume he's not doing much. But look at the on-base percentage and then notice that 60% of his hits went for extra bases. Cuddyer is a powerful bat in a lineup. It is unfortunate that it isn't seen by the Twins coaching staff. Hopefully Cuddyer gets more chances to show his stuff, but I don't think it will happen.
April Grade: B+
(21 Games, 15-64, .234/.258/.266, 2-2B, 0-HR, 4-RBI, 1/2 SB, 2 BB, 10 K)
He started out so well, didn't he? I mean, he was hitting over .300 for about three games! And then reality set back in. Castro is one of the worst hitters in baseball over the last decade. Only limited at bats keep him from claiming such a distinction. He is lauded for at least putting together quality at bats, but I don't think that is really even the case. He is a hacker who takes few pitches and yet he still strikes out too much. He's slow and has little range on defense too. Free Bartlett!! Of course I believe that should be the cry. I don't care how many runs Castro saves over Bartlett defensively (I refuse to believe it is much), Bartlett would more than make up for it offensively.
April Grade: D+
(18 Games, 12/56, .214/.290/.286, 1-2B, 1-HR, 3-RBI, 4/4 SB, 6 BB, 8 K)
Ford's got Gardy fooled, huh? I'm a huge Lew Ford fan and enjoy watching him play. But look at those numbers again. Do they cry "Throw me in the 3-spot in the lineup?" I don't think so. An OPS of .576 just doesn't cut it. Ford is excellent on the base paths and takes really good at bats. The results weren't there in April, but keeping that philosophy should mean good things as the season progresses.
April Grade: D+
(24 Games, 17/90, .189/.240/.378, 2-2B, 5-HR, 13-RBI, 1/1 SB, 6 BB, 21 K)
If I gave Hunter an F, Hunter-backers would be all over me. They may say that his 13 RBI mean something, or five home runs is good. I'll give the benefit of the doubt to those things, and that keeps his grade at D-. I just can't go higher than that. I don't know how he got six walks! He usually sees about six pitches in any four at bat game. His leadership has to be questioned. I think it is fair to start questioning his defensive skills now. And the .189 average is horrible. Now, I didn't expect Hunter to hit .270 or anything like that, but I thought .250 might be possible, and if it is, Hunter will have to make his annual hot weak really hot!
April Grade: D-
(7 Games, 3/16, .188/.278/.188, 0-2B, 0-HR, 1-RBI, 1/1 SB, 2 BB, 1 K)
Probably should get an incomplete. I suppose there are people out there who think that Kubel failed in his 18 plate appearances in the regular season. I said all along that if he wasn't going to get regular playing time, they needed to start him in AAA. Kubel got about two starts in the first week and then it was here and there. That's not fair, and it is nothing that he should be judged on. Thankfully, he was shipped to Rochester and has been playing every day and really hitting well. That is good to see, and hopefully the Twins will make room for him in left field (or wherever) within a month.
April Grade: C-
(20 Games, 22-69, .319/.402/.406, 3-2B, 1-HR, 7-RBI, 1/2 SB, 11 BB, 8 K)
Not much bothers me more than the Mauer bashing. The Twins have horrible hitting and horrible pitching and yet somehow, it is Mauer that gets so much blame. He's only hitting .320 and getting on 40% of the time. No, he hasn't hit for power, but really, who cares? Neither did Tony Gwynn and he is a Hall of Famer. Neither did Wade Boggs, another Hall of Famer. So again, pick on someone who deserves to be bashed and just let Mauer put together great at bats with that fluid swing. Look at the walk to strikeout numbers. Mauer has been excellent, not to mention thrown out over 45% of would-be base stealers.
April Grade: A-
(21 Games, 16-77, .208/.274/.416, 1-2B, 0-3B, 5-HR, 15-RBI, 0/0 SB, 6 BB, 22 K)
So, ok, even I have to admit that Morneau has been awful, and very disappointing. The batting average, the on base percentage and the strikeouts are all numbers that back up what we see with our own eyes when we watch him at the plate. He just does not have a plan up there. He is usually hacking at the first pitch, or trying to pull too much. I don't know what the answer is. I still like those home run numbers, but I would like to see him mix in some good line drives from time to time. I'm not asking for a .300 hitter, but .250 would be nice!
April Grade: D-
(14 Games, 6-26, .231/.310/.346, 1-2B, 1-3B, 0-HR, 1-RBI, 0/0 SB, 3 BB, 4 K)
Is "Who Cares?" a grade? Seriously, why is this guy on the roster? What does he bring to the table for the team? I keep reading he is fast. Well, he was on base a couple of times, how many stolen bases did he have? Is he a pinch runner? Is he better than Luis Rodriguez? Is he horrible? No. Is he the lesser of possibly utility infielders that include Luis Rodriguez, Luis Maza, Jason Bartlett, Juan Castro, Tommy Watkins, Gil Velazquez or any other Twins minor league middle infielder? With the possible exception of Toby Gardenhire, Punto has to be the worst.
April Grade: C-
(7 Games, 9-24, .375/.400/.500, 3-2B, 0-HR, 4-RBI, 0/0 SB, 0 BB, 1 K)
I should just leave it at saying that Redmond has been everything that a team could ask for in a backup catcher! He has hit. He calls a good game, and he understands his role. Is he a #3 hitter? No, but he only bats where the manager puts him in the lineup. What a wonderful signing by Terry Ryan before the 2005 season!
April Grade: A
(11 Games, 7-23, .304/.429/.522, 2-2B, 1-HR, 3-RBI, 0/0 SB, 5 BB, 4 K)
I just don't understand the lack of respect (or at least lack of playing time) for L-Rod. All through his career, he has put together quality at bats. His 5:4 walk to strikeout rate is very consistent with his numbers throughout his long pro career. In limited time in April, he showed a great eye, but he also had three extra base hits. I understand that he is viewed as a utility guy, but why does he not get a shot at shortstop if they don't call up Bartlett. Why doesn't he play more at 3B? Why did he only start one of the three games that Luis Castillo missed against the White Sox while Nick Punto played the other two? I just don't get it.
April Grade: A
(7 Games, 3/16, .188/.300/.250, 1-2B, 0-HR, 2-RBI, 0/0 SB, 3 BB, 4 K)
Another grade that should probably be incomplete. Sierra missed the first couple weeks of the season rehabbing a quad injury. Then on Saturday, he hurt his bicep and will likely miss an extended period of time. He made a couple of starts as the DH, but he was brought in to pinch hit. I really have no problem with a spot on the roster going to a veteran like Sierra. Used properly, it is a good guy to have on a team. He is a guy who will not carry one at bat to the next if he fails. He's seen it all. That said, it just was not much of a month for Sierra in April, and we don't know when we will next see him.
April Grade: D+
(20 Games, 26/80, .325/.372/.413, 1-2B, 2-HR, 10-RBI, 2/2 SB, 5 BB, 10 K)
Hopefully Stewart is playing well enough to make contending teams interested in acquiring his services for the rest of the year. Stewart is in the final year of his three year deal with the Twins and it is unlikely he would be back in 2007 no matter what. So far, he has hit well for average. His Isolated Discipline is not good, but he is getting on base at a 37% clip which is much better than it was a year ago. He has shown some power and even some speed. Maybe Castillo has revitalized him a little. I don't like the strikeouts, but it was good month for the leadoff hitter.
April Grade: A-
(23 Games, 12-88, .136/.143/.148, 1-2B, 0-3B, 0-HR, 5-RBI, 1/1 SB, 0 BB, 20 K)
It is just shocking to me that White is off to this slow of a start. He is a much better hitter than these numbers indicate. He has done it in the big leagues for a dozen years. He is a physical specimen, so you would assume his skills are all still there. Right now, it is somewhat a matter of just bad luck combined with simply trying to do too much with each at bat. He is very pull-happy, and he also is not showing any patience (as evidenced by zero walks for the season). Many at bats he just gets himself out. Expect the Twins to stick with him, if for no other reason than because of his contract. I also fully expect that he will start bringing these numbers up slowly.
April Grade: F
So, there are my April Grade for the Minnesota Twins players. I would love to hear you thoughts or comments on any of them. Please feel free to agree or disagree and let me know why. Send me an e-mail.
I thought about re-titling today's posting Twins Win! Twins Win! Holy Cow!!! Although it was just a four game losing streak, am I wrong in thinking it seemed forever. Maybe it seemed so long because it was Johan's last start and we had to watch 43 runs be scored against our favorite team? That shouldn't happen for a good 8-10 games! But it happened. Let's not think that the Twins have all of the answers because of one win, but maybe we need to take a step back and realize that it was just four games. You and I are smart enough to realize that it was much more, but let's not tell the team! Let them think that all is fixed! In reality, the Twins had a nice four run inning. In the other eight innings, they scored just one more. Obviously the Twins finally got the exact thing they needed. Seven strong innings from the starter. A nice 8th inning from Juan Rincon and the ninth finished off nicely by Joe Nathan. That was a nice win.
After splitting the quick two game series with the Mariners, the Twins now host the Kansas City Royals for two games. Tonight should be an interesting game. It will match the Twins Brad Radke against former Twins pitcher Joe Mays. Could be a very high scoring affair!
DISCUSSION/COMMENTS QUESTION - Let's get a discussion going on who you think will be on the Twins roster on August 1st of 2006. Or, feel free to distinguish between who you think will be and who you would like to be (realizing that the Twins likely will not be able to acquire Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez). My very quick take on who I would like to see:
C - Joe Mauer, 1B - Justin Morneau, 2B - Luis Castillo, SS - Jason Bartlett, 3B - Michael Cuddyer, LF - Lew Ford, CF - Denard Span, RF - Jason Kubel, DH - Rondell White, Other bench - Mike Redmond, Luis Maza, Luis Rodriguez, Josh Rabe, Garrett Jones.
SP - Johan Santana, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Boof Bonser, Brad Radke,
RP - Joe Nathan, Juan Rincon, Jesse Crain, Jason Miller, Pat Neshek, Willie Eyre
That means trades or releases of Shannon Stewart, Torii Hunter, Tony Batista, Juan Castro, Nick Punto, Kyle Lohse, Carlos Silva, Matt Guerrier. I also can not fathom them letting Radke go if they know he will be retiring.
Feel free to e-mail me, or else just post your thoughts in the Comments below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Tuesday - REDWINGS 2, Norfolk 1 - Boof Bonser had another excellent start, but he got not decision. The burly righty gave up just a run over seven innings. He allowed two hits and a walk, and struck out seven hitters. Pat Neshek came in and threw the final two innings for his second win. He gave up just one hit, and he struck out four. Garrett Jones knocked his third homer of the year. Jason Bartlett went 2-4 with his 10th double. Josh Rabe was 2-4 with the other RBI.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Tuesday - ROCKCATS 7, Harrisburg 5 - Gil Velazquez is a rarely talked about Twins middle infielder. He led the Rockcats last night with a nice 3-3 day. He had a double and two RBI. Trent Oeltjen was 2-3 with a triple and was also hit by a pitch. Danny Matienzo went 2-5 with two RBI. Nick Blackburn was finally able to record his first win of the year. The righty went five innings and gave up a run on four hits and three walks. He struck out five. Tristan Crawford went the next two innings and allowed two unearned runs on three hits and a walk. Julio DePaula made his AA debut with a two strikeout inning. Levale Speigner gave up two in the final inning.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Tuesday - MIRACLE 0, Dunedin 3 - John Thomas gave up three runs on nine hits and a walk in six innings to take the loss. Jose Mijares gave up three hits but no runs over the next two innings. JP Martinez pitched a perfect ninth. Alexi Casilla led the offense with a 2-4 game. He stole his 7th and 8th bases as well. Deacon Burns was 0-2, but he walked twice.
Tuesday - Game 1 - SNAPPERS 2, Fort Wayne 0 (7 innings) - The Snappers have a lot of games to make up. They made up two last night. In the first game, Erik Lis hit a two run homer in the 5th inning for all of the scoring. It was his fifth homer of the year. He was 2-3 on the game. Edward Ovalle went 2-2 with a stolen base. Paul Kelly was 1-2 with a walk. Oswaldo Sosa picked up his second win. He went 6.1 shutout innings and gave up just four hits and a walk. He struck out six. Jose Lugo struck out the one batter he faced before David Shinskie got the final out of the game for his second save.
Tuesday - Game 2 - SNAPPERS 0, Fort Wayne 7 - The Snappers were only able to muster four hits in game two. Henry Sanchez had two of them, and Paul Kelly had a double. Eduardo Morlan started and went just 1.2 innings. He only gave up two runs, but I'm sure his pitch count was already up there since he had five walks. Danny Vais came in and gave up one run in 2.1 inning. Alexander Smit gave up three unearned runs in one inning. However, he also walked three. Finally, Frank Mata threw two innings, allowing just an unearned run.
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Down to the final five contestants, American Idol had them each sing two songs last night. The first was a song from the year in which they were born. That ranged from 1976 for Taylor Hicks to 1988 for Paris Bennett. Their second song had to be a song from the current top 10 of any Billboard ranking. Song choice was big last night. In some cases, they made good choices. In other cases, not so much. For the most part, the performances were all good, but once you get to this point, you had better be better than good.
So, how did they do? Well, let's get to some American Idol Analysis.
Elliott Yamin - On Broadway, Home
Vocally, Elliot is truly incredible. He has a strong, solid voice. He rarely misses a note or is off-key. That said, there are times when I think that he is not real smooth in his delivery and seems a little awkward. But again, this is a singing competition first. On Broadway is obviously a great song and easy to sing well. He did enough to make it his own. The Michael Buble song was a bit boring, as Simon pointed out. However, that may be his best brand of music for his voice, and he was excellent. It was a very strong night for Elliot. Nothing spectacular or exciting, but just very solid.
Paris Bennett - Kiss, Be Without You
I think Paris is great. I think that she is able to work within a couple of genres. However, there are also some that she is not as strong in delivering. She has that deep soulful voice, so the fact that she tried to sing Prince made little sense. As a Minnesota guy myself, I appreciate her showing the respect for Prince. However, Prince tends to sing a great falsetto, and Paris simply does not sing high well at all. Kiss is a fun song for a guy to try to sing in karaoke, but it was just an odd song choice to me. Now, I thought that the Mary J. Blige song was a great choice for her. However, the judges often talk about how singing Whitney, Mariah or Christina songs are dangerous. Well, Mary J. is the same thing, and Paris did not come close to her. She was decent, but just not special, and at this point, they need to be special.
Chris Daughtry - Renegade, I Dare You
As you all know, rock is not my music format. I just feel that in many cases, the performers really can't sing all that well, just do it loud enough to make it sound, well, loud. In his first song, a song I really like and thought he had the potential to really do well, he was good in the slow, musical start of the song. However, I thought his vocals suffered when he started to rock. However, in his second song, I thought he was very strong vocally almost the whole song. He remained controlled the whole time and was very good.
Katharine McPhee - Against All Odds, Black Horse and Cherry Tree
Everyone knows that I have the McPheever, wardrobe malfunction or not. I think she has the best voice in the competition (argument can be made for Elliot). Against All Odds is a wonderful song that I really enjoy. You would think the combination would really work for me... It didn't. I thought her arrangement was really bad. I thought she was flat the whole time. I like when a singer makes some changes to the song, but not the whole song. Then she sang her second song and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I admit, it isn't a song that I have heard before, but she was wonderful. It was gimmicky with the whole song really being done and choreographed on her knees, however, it also had substance. Vocally it was spot on. It was different from what is normally heard on the show, and I think that is good. Very good performance.
Taylor Hicks - Play that Funky Music, Something
As you know, I have ranked Taylor at or near the bottom most of the past month. I just don't think that vocally he was up with the rest and the spark we saw in him early was not showing up. Last night was a different story as I thought he showed all of his positive traits between the two songs. His first song was sung quite well, it was a known song and he clearly had a lot of fun with it. There was little variation from the original, but I don't think it needed it. And then he came back with a song that really showed that he does have good vocals. Because the Beatles Anthology is on Billboards' top 10 albums, he was able to sing the song, and he really did well with it. It was mellow and just a very clean performance.
SethSpeaks Ranking of the Top 5 Performances (from last night)
1.) Taylor Hicks
2.) Katharine McPhee
3.) Elliot Yamin
4.) Chris Daughtry
5.) Paris Bennett
Who do I think will be eliminated tonight?
Paris Bennett -I don't think that she is the worst. I have had Taylor ranked near the bottom much more in the last month, but America just has not found support for Paris which is unfortunate although I think she will be just fine. Also, based on last night's performances, I thought she was the worst and probably just ensures that she will be done.
Again, for further American Idol thoughts, be sure to check out the fine folks of curlio.com because I know we don't always see or hear things the same way. Any thoughts on my American Idol Thoughts? This is where it gets fun, so if you would like, be sure to debate the merits of your favorite contestants below. Or, if you're shy, send me an e-mail.
Thanks again for stopping by this site. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
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