Thursday, May 4, 2006
Twins Minor League Reports
American Idol Thoughts
April Minor League Update
Good morning to everyone! Yesterday I took a look at all of the guys who played for the Twins in April and gave them a letter grade. A quick breakdown shows us that I gave out eight A's, three B's, five C's, six D's and five F's. And I am generally considered a nice grader! It was a rough month for the big club. Today, I will be discussing the Twins Minor Leaguers. Now, I am not going to give grades for each Twins minor league player. I mean, that would be over 100 grades! Not going to happen. But today what I will do is count down the Top 5 Twins Hitters and Pitchers in the month of April. Each list will lead to the SethSpeaks Hitter and Pitcher of the Month. Following those announcements, I will post several additional thoughts on some of the players throughout the Twins minor league system.
I hope you enjoy this and learning more about the goings on in the Twins system. Should the Twins fall further out of the race over the next month, many of these names may become much more prevalent. I mean, some may be traded for more players. Others may continue to rise up the organizational ladder and maybe get some time with the Twins. So, although most only care about the major league Minnesota Twins, I feel it is very important (and fun) to know what is happening at the lower levels.
So please, feel free to leave some comments or send me an e-mail with any thoughts that you may have. Let's get started (Note - Stats are only for April)
#5 - Caleb Moore - Catcher - Beloit Snappers
In 19 games, the 2005 draftee from Eastern Tennessee State University is hitting .352/.410/.437 with four doubles, a triple and eight RBI.
#4 - Denard Span - Outfielder - New Britain Rockcats
In the season's first 20 games, the 2002 first round pick hit .338/.398/.400 with two doubles, a homer, four RBI and three stolen bases. He showed that his success at AA last year was not a fluke and that he may be on track to be in the Twins outfield in 2007.
#3 - Erik Lis - 1B/Outfield - Beloit Snappers
Another pick from the 2005 draft with the Snappers, Lis hit .284/.361/.554 with eight doubles, four homers and 12 RBI. He has just mashed the ball which is impressive as he learns to play the outfield too.
#2 - Matt Moses - Third Base - New Britain Rockcats
There was some concern about Moses because after he was called up to New Britain last year, he really struggled. However, the Twins top 2003 draft pick has started this season hot with the bat. In 18 games, he hit .318/.370/.515 with four doubles, three homers and nine RBI.
The SethSpeaks April Player of the Month is... (drum roll please)
# 1 - Josh Rabe - Outfield - Rochester Red Wings
Some may think I'm showing some bias in this selection because Josh Rabe was kind enough to do a Q&A for this site last week. Just look at the numbers. In 21 games, he hit .367/.452/.481 with six doubles, a game-winning homer, ten RBI and three stolen bases.
#5 - Danny Powers - Reliever - Beloit Snappers
Certainly the least known name on this list, Powers was another 2005 draft pick of the Twins. He is pitching out of the Snappers bullpen, but pitching a lot. He has thrown 21 innings in nine appearances. He is 1-0 with a 0.43 ERA and two saves. He has struck out 20 and walked just four. His WHIP is 0.95. Great month!
#4 - Pat Neshek - Reliever - Rochester Red Wings
Neshek may have had back-to-back rough outings against Scott Thorman and the Richmond Braves, but his strikeout rate alone puts him on this list. The side-winding righty was the Twins 6th round pick in 2002 out of Butler. He is the closer at Rochester and was 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA and 3 saves in April. In 15 innings, he has a remarkable 30 strikeouts against just six walks. Neshek is ready to help the Twins.
#3 - Adam Harben - Starter - New Britain Rockcats
0.42. That is the "big" number. Harben was added to the Twins 40 man roster in the offseason after a solid 2005 in Ft. Myers. Of all of the big pitching prospects in New Britain, Harben got off to the best start. He has made four starts (and pitched one inning in relief in another game) and thrown 21.1 innings. He is 0-0 with that 0.42 ERA. He has walked ten, something that has been his lone problem in the past, and struck out just 13. He has kept the ball in the ball park and has a WHIP of just 0.98.
#2 - Kevin Slowey - Starter - Ft. Myers Miracle
How impressive must #1 be if Slowey ranks #2 this month. The 2005 second round pick from Winthrop went 1-0 with a 1.53 ERA. In five games started, he has thrown 29.1 innings. He has struck out 34 hitters and walked just two! His WHIP is just 0.68. There is nothing to not like about Slowey and a call up to New Britain should occur by about midseason.
The SethSpeaks April Pitcher of the Month is... (drum roll please)
# 1 - Matt Garza - Starter - Ft. Myers Miracle
There are so many very good pitching prospects in the Florida State League and Matt Garza may be the best. In April, he went 3-0 with a 0.74 EAR in five starts. In 24.1 innings, he gave up just 15 hits and six walks while striking out 34 hitters. His WHIP was just 0.86. Garza is the hard thrower. Slowey is a control artist. Between the two, the Miracle has an incredible 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation. Of course, the question becomes "For how long?"
So there you have it. The April SethSpeaks hitter and pitcher of the month along with some other very worthy candidates. Of course, I could have commented on several others too without feeling like I was hurting the list. The Twins system is solid, and very well represented in the ten names above.
The following is more notes on the Twins minor league prospects:
Of course, many Twins fans may first want to know how Jason Bartlett and Jason Kubel are doing at Rochester. The answer for both is "very well." Bartlett started at SS in 20 games and hit .300/.330/.475 (in 80 at bats) with nine doubles, a triple, a homer and 12 RBI. No word on how his "leadership skills" are coming along though. Jason Kubel started with the Twins and was demoted to Rochester after two weeks. He has batted third in the Red Wings order and in 39 at bats (9 games) he hit .342/.409/.553 with three doubles, a triple, a homer and five RBI.
What about some of the veteran-types the we saw in Minnesota last year? Well, Jason Tyner got off to a slow start. He had 72 at bats and hit .236/.291/.292 for the month. Glenn Williams has been even worse. In just 39 at bats, he is hitting just .154/.283/.333. He had 12 strikeouts. Terry Tiffee is playing every day, mainly at 3B, and in 85 at bats, he hit .294/.315/.376 with four doubles, a homer and 12 RBI. Finally, Chris Heintz is playing about half the time, but in 41 at bats, he hit .366/.409/.415.
The toughest man to leave off of the Top 5 pitchers list for April was Boof Bonser. The righty went 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA in April. He had 26 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. The 12 walks was high, but Bonser does appear to have a big league future.
Kevin Cameron was invited to major league spring training this year because of the WBC and the fact that he came to Ft. Myers early to work out. Terry Ryan came up to him and asked if he would attend camp. Of course, Cameron said yes, and he had a very strong camp. In April, he went 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA.
Alex Romero is in the midst of his annual slow start. He hit just .192 in eight games at Rochester before being sent back to New Britain when Kubel was sent down. There, he is hitting just .250 in his seven games there.
Moses and Span are the only Rockcats hitters who hit over .273 in April.
Danny Matienzo and Doug Deeds were both AA All-Stars last year for the Rockcats. For one reason or another, both found themselves back with New Britain this year. Both got off to very slow starts. Matienzo hit just .217/.270/.319 while Deeds hit .206/.306/.444. Eight of Deeds' 13 hits went for extra bases.
You all know that Trent Oeltjen is one of my favorite Twins prospects to watch, has been the last two years. He is with the Rockcats, and in just 35 at bats, he is hitting .229. However, he is getting on base at a .386 clip, which is very impressive.
Justin Jones is 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA. In 20.2 innings, he has 24 strikeouts.
Glen Perkins went 0-2, but his ERA was just 1.76 and his WHIP was 0.98. He also struck out 19 in 15.1 innings.
There have been a couple of great stories already in the Twins system. The best may be that of Ft. Myers OF Garrett Guzman. He is hitting .300/.337/.389 with two homers and 17 RBI. Great numbers, but when you consider that he missed all of last season after a near-fatal car accident 18 months ago, it is remarkable. Also, after missing all but a couple of innings last year after Tommy John Surgery, Bobby Korecky is back with New Britain. Frank Mata had Tommy John surgery last year too, and he is back and pitching for Beloit. Now, we just need to get 2004 draft pick Matt Fox onto a roster and see what he can do.
Alexi Casilla was almost on the Top 5 hitters list. He is the 2B that the Twins acquired from the Angels for JC Romero. He hit .286/.320/.418 for the month, but he led the Miracle in many offensive categories including hits, runs, doubles and stolen bases.
Jeremy Pickrel had an incredible six triples in April. With his speed and power combo, it would be good if he could cut down on his 29 strikeouts in 72 at bat pace.
Trevor Plouffe hit just .265 for the Miracle. However, his OBP was .402 due to his 18 walks.
Beloit's Tarrence Patterson doesn't get talked about much, but he is an outfielder and the Snappers leadoff hitter. He got off to a .304/.337/.342 start to the season. He also leads the team with six stolen bases.
2005 supplemental 1st round pick Henry Sanchez struck out 29 times in 75 plate appearances. He hit two homers in the season's first week, but none since.
Without doing any research, Beloit has to be one of the youngest teams in the Midwest League. Sanchez, Paul Kelly and Drew Thompson were all high draft picks out of high school in the 2005 draft. Allan de San Miguel just recently turned 18. This is a young team full of talent.
Are there any other thoughts that I missed or should have pointed out. Feel free to send me any notes or tidbits on any of the players. Feel free to discuss below in the comments or send me an e-mail.
The Twins got another win last night; 6-1 over the Royals. All of the Brad Radke Bashers are going to have to take a couple of days off as Radke returned to form last night with a solid seven inning performance. He gave up only a 7th inning solo homer to Matt Stairs. Just four hits, no walks and he even struck out seven. Now, the obvious retort is to say that it was against the Royals, and that certainly is true. However, because Radke is not a fire baller, control is still a must for him against bad teams because they can still hit mistakes in the strike zone. SO, I think it was a great start for Radke, and maybe it was just what Brad needed to turn it around.
I suppose if I'm not going to allow any Radke bashing, I will have to withhold comment on Torii Hunter since he hit a home runs last night, right? That's fair, I can do that. I won't say anything about that .196 batting average.
Francisco Liriano is a stud! Last night, two innings, three strikeouts. Dominance!
I feel bad for Joe Mays. He always seemed like a good, intense competitor, but he just never came back from his injury with any 'stuff' in his arsenal. Of course, of the six runs he gave up last night in 3.1 innings, just two of them were earned.
The only Twins player not to have a hit last night was Justin Morneau who did have some good at bats last night.
Another other thoughts on the game? tonight, it is Carlos Silva taking the mound against lefty Jeremy Affeldt. Can Silva put up a strong start? Will the Twins be able to hit Affeldt who they have struggled with in the past (when he is healthy)?
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the Royals, or anything else? If so, send me an e-mail, or post some Comments below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Deacon Burns, Ft. Myers Miracle
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Matt Garza, Ft. Myers Miracle
If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Wednesday - Red Wings 3, Ottawa 5 – Josh Rabe just continues to hit well. Last night, he was 2-4. Andres Torres hit a 3-run homer in the 8th to put the team back in the game, but it was not enough. Henry Bonilla got the start for the Red Wings. He went 5.1 innings and gave up three runs on four hits and a walk. Ricky Barrett went the next 2.2 innings, allowing just one run. Kevin Cameron gave up a run on a hit and two walks in the 9th.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Wednesday - Rockcats , Harrisburg – Game Rained Out.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Wednesday - Miracle 3, Lakeland 1 – Matt Garza was on the mound for the Miracle which pretty much means Game Off for the opponent. The SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Month gave up just a run on three hits over seven innings. He struck out six to improve to 4-0 and drop his ERA to 0.86. Danny Powers, who deserved much consideration for the award, threw two scoreless innings in relief. Alexi Casilla and Jeremy Pickrel were both 2-4. Casilla stole his ninth base. Deacon Burns and Korey Feiner were each 2-3. Burns hit a triple.
Wednesday - Snappers – No Games scheduled in the Midwest League.
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.
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
As I expected, Paris Bennett spent her final night as a contestant on the show. I was somewhat surprised that Elliot Yamin had the second lowest vote total. However, he did a poor job on On Broadway and then as well as he did in his second song, it was boring, and that matters. He could be next to go. I guess we'll find out what type of music they will be singing and on Tuesday, we will find out how the Final Four will do!
Let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today and for the week!
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