Thursday, May 11, 2006
Twins Minor League Reports
American Idol Thoughts
Good morning to everyone! The Twins have an off day today, and I will likely be much more brief than normal too. I will discuss the Twins win against the Rangers yesterday. I will discuss several minor league topics. And, there was a big surprise on American Idol last night too. So, let's get right to it!
But, before you get started with your day (or, whenever you feel like it), you really will want to check this out. The Evolution of Dance. It's 6 minutes, but totally worth it! I must thank my cousin for sending me the link!
The Twins got another win yesterday afternoon to take two out of three games from the AL West leading Texas Rangers. The Twins have now won four of their last five games! These are very good things.
However, the story going into yesterday's game was that Ron Gardenhire had admitted that Kyle Lohse's job in the starting rotation was in jeopardy and that Francisco Liriano was ready to be in the rotation. I had said that Lohse in Texas was a bad combination and that he would get ripped yesterday meaning that Liriano could take his spot as early as next week. Well, Lohse came through yesterday with a very strong performance. He went six innings and gave up just one run. He gave up six hits and a still too many four walks, but he also struck out six. In Texas, and against their lineup, that should mean at least another start for Lohse. For the Twins, I am happy with the win yesterday. For the betterment of the Twins, I do wonder if a poor performance by Lohse would have meant Liriano in the rotation and better future starts. But like I said, this one solid start should not make us completely forget all of the others.
Ron Gardenhire did seem to try to get Liriano into the rotation. By that, I mean that he did not put a very strong lineup out there. I mean, the lineup included Tony Batista at 3B, Juan Castro at SS and Nick Punto at 2B. That is just not good.
But then I read that Scott Baker is being skipped over in his next start. By schedule, Baker should start on Friday night against the White Sox. However, because of the off-day today, Gardy wants to keep Johan Santana on his regular rest. So Santana will start Friday, Brad Radke on Saturday and Carlos Silva on Sunday against the Sox.
Michael Cuddyer dared to end his ten game hitting streak with an 0-3 game... will he be in the lineup on Friday??
By the way, Juan Castro had his fifth error of the year yesterday.
Now, I have been saying that this is just not a year that the Twins can compete for a division title or even a Wild Card shot. I said that because they trail the White Sox, Indians and Tigers in the division and none of those teams is real likely to fall off the face of the earth, certainly not two of them. That said, the Twins are playing a little bit better. Once their pitching comes around, something I think we all believe it will, they should be more competitive and we should have a better idea. Let's see how this four game series with the White Sox goes. That series is followed by three more games against the Tigers. We will know a lot more then. At that point, it would be smart to start looking to deal some veterans IF the right deal is available.
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
Going into the season, what was it about the Twins that made us feel they could be competitive? That's right, their pitching. On the same hand, where was their organizational depth? In their pitching. Sure, in Rochester the pitching staff has Boof Bonser, JD Durbin and several veterans (Pete Munro, Mike Smith and Henry Bonilla). However, below that, the organization is just loaded with pitching prospects. The New Britain rotation includes Glen Perkins, Errol Simonitsch, Nick Blackburn, Adam Harben and Justin Jones. At Ft. Myers, they have a rotation of Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, Anthony Swarzak, Kyle Aselton and Jose Mijares. And in Beloit, the current rotation includes Brian Duensing, Kyle Waldrop, Ryan Mullins, Eduardo Morlan and Oswaldo Sosa.. For the purpose of discussion and future reference, I am going to list out each starter and try to determine what I currently feel their peak level would be. Obviously, being a major league #1 starter is the pinnacle, but I think that a major league #3 starter is very good too. I know I would love to be a #5 starter in the big leagues! So, here is my quick thoughts, and again, I'd love to hear any feedback.
Boof Bonser - #4 or #5 starter.
JD Durbin - if he can get some control, I think that he could be a #3 starter. If not, he can hope for a long-relief spot with another organization.
Pete Munro - emergency 5th starter
Mike Smith - AAA part-time starter
Henry Bonilla - AAA part-time starter, swing-man
Glen Perkins - #2 starter
Errol Simonitsch - #4 starter
Nick Blackburn - #5 starter
Adam Harben - #3 starter
Justin Jones - #2 starter
Matt Garza - #1 starter
Kevin Slowey - #1 or #2 starter. I think that Mike Mussina is a perfect comparison. He was never that dominating #1 type of pitcher, but he's got over 200 career wins.
Anthony Swarzak - #2 starter
Kyle Aselton - #5 starter or lefty reliever.
Jose Mijares - potential to be a #1 starter, but I would currently project him as a lefty reliever.
Brian Duensing - #4 starter
Kyle Waldrop - #3 starter
Ryan Mullins - #3 starter
Eduardo Morlan - #2 starter
Oswaldo Sosa - long relief
Jay Rainville - #2 starter
FUN WITH NUMBERS - ROCHESTER
Here are just a few things I noted while looking at some of the Twins minor leaguer's splits. Today, I will look only at players on the Rochester roster. I will dive further into the other three Twins affiliates as data becomes more updated.
Pat Neshek's numbers so far this spring are absolutely incredible. You can see them on the left of the screen. However, what we continue to hear is that he is excellent against right-handers but just doesn't get lefties out. Well, I finally decided to look that up, and here is what was found. Through May 7th, he had thrown in 18.1 innings. In that time, in 12.1 innings worth of at bats against righties, Neshek had a WHIP of just 0.73. Right-handed opponents had hit .122/.200/.171 against him. He was also averaging 20.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Now, against lefties, he had gone six innings worth of outs. In that time, he was still striking out 12 batters per nine innings. However, his WHIP against lefties was 2.17. Left-handed opponents had hit .370/.433/.593. Of course, much of this can be chalked up to very small sample sizes. But it is worth noting now and should be followed as the season progresses.
Rochester's Lefty reliever Jason Miller is a guy that I had touted as a potential LOOGY for the Twins. However, thus far this season, left-handed batters are 9-18 against him with two doubles and a homer. Right handed batters are hitting just .195/.250/.244 against him.
Meanwhile, another lefty reliever in Rochester, Ricky Barrett has done well against lefties. Although it is just 16 outs worth of data, lefties are hitting just .125/.222/.125 against him. He strikes out just over 10 batters per nine innings against lefties and righties.
Obviously we know that control is a major issue for JD Durbin. Left-handed bats this year are hitting just .118 (4-28) against him. However, because of ten walks, they are getting on base at a .318 clip. He is walking 9.3 per nine innings against lefties and a, still not good, 4.7 per nine against righties.
With runners in scoring position against Boof Bonser, opponents are hitting just 3-31 (.088/.200/.177) against him.
In 20 at bats with Runners in Scoring Position, Josh Rabe is hitting .450/.519/.550.
Lefty Garrett Jones is hitting .290/.353/.519 with four doubles and a homer in 31 at bats against left-handers. In 76 at bats against righties, he is hitting .171/.289/.303 with four doubles and 2 homers.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE GAME NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Glenn Williams, Rochester Red Wings
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - All four starters deserve this honor. I can't pick, so check out all four of these guys:
Errol Simonitsch, New Britain Rockcats
Brian Duensing, Beloit Snappers
Kevin Slowey, Ft. Myers Miracle
Mike Smith, Rochester Red Wings
If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Wednesday - Red Wings 6, Buffalo 3 – The Red Wings scored four runs in the fourth inning and that was enough for the win. Glenn Williams really had a good afternoon. He went 3-4 with two doubles, a triple and two RBI. Gil Velazquez was also 3-4. Jason Kubel was 2-3 with a double, and Josh Rabe was 2-4. Mike Smith got the win by throwing seven very strong innings. In seven innings, he gave up just a run on five hits and a walk, and he struck out ten. Beau Kemp came in and somehow only gave up two runs despite giving up seven hits and a walk in just 1.1 innings. Kevin Cameron got the final two outs to preserve the win.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Wednesday - Rockcats 3, Bowie 0 – Errol Simonitsch has been alright this year, but he has not had a 'great' start yet... until yesterday. The tall, lanky lefty went eight innings without allowing a run. He gave up four hits and a walk, and he struck out six to record his second win. Levale Speigner got his first save with a shutout ninth inning. The Red Wings pitchers kept Javy Lopez at bay as he went 0-4. Felix Molina led the offense with a 2-4 day. He hit his fourth homer and stole his sixth base. Alex Romero went 2-3 with his fourth double and third stolen base. Doug Deeds went 2-2 with two walks.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Wednesday - Miracle , Daytona – Kevin Slowey was on the mound which obviously means good things for the Miracle. In six innings, the Winthrop product gave up no runs on two hits and no walks. He struck out nine. (Check the left side of this screen to see his amazing K:BB numbers!) Dan Powers came in and gave up a run in his two innings. JP Martinez gave up two hits, but no runs as he struck out three in the ninth for his sixth save. Matt Tolbert had two of the Miracle's three hits. His triple drove in a run in the third inning, and after his sixth inning single, he scored the second run on a sacrifice fly by Brock Peterson (who had the other hit for the team).
Wednesday - Snappers , W. Michigan – Great pitching, or just really bad hitting. Well, I'm not going to answer that. OK, I will. Let's be positive and just say really great pitching! Through 15 innings the score remained 0-0! But in the Top of the 16th inning, with two outs, Steven Tolleson and Caleb Moore walked before Erik Lis drilled a two run double to give the Snappers a 2-0 lead. Yohan Pino pitched a scoreless bottom of the 16th and the Snappers had a win! The story of this game, however, has to start with the pitching. Tuesday's Q&A man, Brian Duensing, was on the mound to start the game, and he was spectacular. He pitched nine scoreless innings which should be a Win no matter what! He gave up just five hits and no walks while striking out six hitters. Adam Hawes came off the Disabled List and threw three scoreless innings. David Shinskie got the win as he threw three scoreless innings. Lis led the offense with a 3-7 day that included the two-run double. Juan Portes went 2-6. Tough Day Awards goes to Steven Tolleson who was 0-6, but his two out walk in the 16th led to the eventual game-winning run.
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
What an interesting night on American Idol! I had predicted that Katharine would be the contestant sent home. It was just not a good night for her. Elliot had been in the final two the previous week and may have been at risk. However, it was Katharine and Chris in the bottom two, and to probably a lot of people's surprise, it was Chris Daughtry that was sent home. I was happy that Katharine gets another week. However, I was shocked that Chris was eliminated. If you watched the show, it really looked like Chris was shocked that Chris was eliminated! I have been unimpressed with Chris for quite some time now, but I fully acknowledge that he has a very good chance of selling a lot of rock albums. What are your thoughts on the elimination show? Now we are down to just three Idol contestants; Katharine McPhee, Taylor Hicks and Elliot Yamin. Who do you want to win and why? I will be happy with any of them winning, except Taylor!
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!
Back to Archives Home