Thursday, June 9, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
Good morning and thank you for stopping by the site today. I apologize for not having much to write yesterday. It was a long day, and my eyes were shut, so there goes the writing. But today, I will only be briefly touching on a few topics. The main one will be the major league baseball draft, and how the Twins did in it. I will also touch on a few other Twins notes, and we'll see what else the day brings.
I hate to do it, but I'm going to bed early tonight. One major problem with writing this site is the hours. I am constantly up until after 1 a.m. Not a big deal, except I have to go to my real job by 8:00 in the morning and try to be cognizant of things! Yes, I am going to bed even before the Twins/Diamondbacks game starts. Yes, even a game that Johan Santana starts. Pathetic, I know and admit! But again, I hope to wake up early tomorrow morning and update some Twins Thoughts. For now, I'll leave you with just this thought on the Twins:
After an 0-3 performance on May 29th, Torii Hunter was hitting just .237 (with an OPS of .708). I wrote something like, "We keep hearing Bert Blyleven talk about how Torii Hunter is a streak hitter who can carry a team. Well, we haven't seen it yet in 2005, and I know we didn't see it in 2004. So, when is this streak going to happen?" Well, it happened that very next day. It started with a 1-4 effort. That was the first game of his now seven game hitting streak. In those seven games, he is 16-30 (.533) at the plate with four doubles, three homers and 10 RBI. He is now hitting .280 on the year, with an OPS of .828, which is very respectable.
9:28 UPDATE - Hunter just hit a double to the right-center field gap in his first at bat, leading off the second inning. (17-31 - .548) It came right after Blyleven made that same "He can carry a time for awhile" comment.
9:35 UPDATE - Jacque Jones just hit a 2-run homer to left field after fouling off a number of pitches to give the Twins a 2-0 lead. By the way, Justin Morneau is now batting sixth in the Twins lineup.
9:55 UPDATE - Joe Mauer just singled in two runs in the third inning to give the Twins a 4-0 lead. Johan Santana singled to lead off the inning. There's no one out. I'm going to end this now and hope the Twins score a bunch more. Good night! Hopefully I'll have an update in the morning, when I wake up! OK, Torii grounded into a fielder's choice to make it 5-0. Now I'm going to bed.
7:33 a.m. UPDATE - OK, I got some high quality sleep, and that is a good thing. It was 5-0 when I went to bed, and the Twins doubled that output. Johan Santana pitched a complete game four-hitter and struck out nine. Twins 10, Diamondbacks 0. Shannon Stewart had three hits including his ninth homer of the year. Luis Rodriguez, Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer and Juan Castro each had two hits.
MUST READ!!!! OK, Stick and Ball Guy writes good stuff every single day, but he did some investigative reporting that you are really going to love. It's unbelievable what he uncovered about a Derek Jeter article written by Tim Kirkjian at ESPN.com. Please stop over there today, you will be happy you did!!!
Tonight, the Twins will finish their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Here is the pitching matchup:
On another AL Central note, the Tigers traded Ugueth Urbina to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Placido Polanco. Probably a good deal for both teams. I would have liked to see Polanco with the Twins as he is a second baseman who has proven to be a .300 hitter the past couple of seasons. But, if you read everything year read in the Strib, the Phillies were asking the Twins for Jesse Crain, Scott Baker or Francisco Liriano in return. Thankfully, the Twins have Terry Ryan as their General Manager and he's smart enough to just say no!
I actually listened to the entire first round of the major league draft Tuesday afternoon and many of the rest of the rounds. It was actually rather interesting. All 30 teams get into a conference call. The first team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, selected Justin Upton (no surprise) with the first pick. Then the Kansas City Royals had just 30 seconds to make their choice. That was the case throughout the first round. For the first time, there was actually a ten minute break between the rounds which had to have been appreciated by the teams. In other words, there were a lot of picks made in a hurry!
Anyway, it was interesting trying to figure out who the Twins would draft. If you look back almost two weeks, I wrote an entry on the Twins needs and made some predictions/guesses as to who the Twins would draft. Well, I wasn't right on even one of them! That isn't surprising at all. By the time you get to 25th in the draft's first round, enough surprises have been made by other teams that it's impossible to even venture a guess.
I felt that the team needed more pitchers because you can never have too much pitching. They have been weak in the middle infield for a long time. Beyond Joe Mauer, the organization is weak at catcher. I also felt that they could use some outfielders with Shannon Stewart and Torii Hunter likely only around one more year. So, did they take my advice? Who did the Twins pick?
The Twins Picks
I'm going to list all of the Twins draft picks. I will also include some information on them, if I can find any. Obviously, I haven't seen any of these guys play, so I have to go by the numbers. When I say 'the numbers', I don't just mean their stats. If a team drafts a pitcher, you generally are supposed to look for a tall, lanky guy who throws hard yet will grow and mature to a point where he'll throw harder. Of course, I don't subscribe to that philosophy either as "short" pitchers like Tim Hudson and Roy Oswalt have done rather well for themselves.
1st Round - 25th Overall- Matt Garza - RHP - Fresno State
From Baseball America - Garza had only a four-seam fastball and a slow, lazy curveball when he enrolled at Fresno State, but he now has plus stuff with a four-pitch repertoire. His fastball ranges from 90-94 mph and touches 95, and a hard 82-84 mph slider is an effective second pitch. A 72-78 mph curve has the makings of a solid third pitch, while his changeup has been slower to develop. Heís projected to be a starter in pro ball but could move into relief if his curve and changeup donít progress or he lacks the stamina to be a starter
1st Round Supplemental - 39th overall - Henri Sanchez - 1B - HS
Big, strong right-handed power hitting first baseman. He's 6-3, 235 pounds. BA names him the high school player with the Best Power Potential.
2nd Round - 54th Overall - Paul Kelly, SS - HS
Compared to Michael Young, Kelly sounds like a gamer. And, middle infield is a definite need!
2nd Round - 73rd Overall - Kevin Slowey - RHP - Winthrop
MLB.com calls him a "clever, methodical control pitcher" - Just sounds like a Twins pitcher, doesn't he?
2nd Round Supplemental - 80th Overall - Andrew Thompson - SS - HS
The son of former Giants 2B, Robbie Thompson, he is another middle infielder.
3rd Round - 84th overall - Brian Duensing - RHP - Nebraska
Tough numbers, but excellent stuff
3rd Round - 105th Overall - Ryan Mullin, LHP, Vanderbilt
The Chuck Finley comparisons are obviously good! The DUI arrest (which was later changed to reckless driving) wasn't so good!
4th Round - 135th Overall - Michael Moore - C - HS
Just because of the kids' name, I shouldn't even like him. But I suppose unlike his namesake, I should try to be fair (and balanced?) and give him a chance, huh?
5th Round - Shawn Tolleson - 165th Overall - SS, South Carolina
4 year college player. Small.
6th Round - John Wilson - 195th Overall - RF - HS
MLB.com says similar to Chipper Jones. Again, have to like that!
7th Round - Gregory Yersich - 225th Overall - C - HS
8th Round - David Powers - 255th Overall - RHP - Central Missouri St. U
9th Round - Erik Lis - 285th Overall - 1B - U of Evansville
10th Round - Matthew Furman - 315th Overall- 3B - Furman
11th Round - Brian Kirwan - 345th Overall - RHP - HS
12th Round - Alex Burnett - 375th Overall - RHP - HS
13th Round - Michael Allen - 405th Overall - RHP - HS
14th Round - David Duncan - 435th Overall - LHP - HS
15th Round - Michael Hacker - 465th Overall - LHP - Cosumnes River College
16th Round - Yonder Alonso - 495th Overall - C - HS
17th Round - Robert Lara - 525th Overall - C - HS
18th Round - Matthew Morgal - 555th Overall - RHP - HS
19th Round - Sean Richardson - 585th Overall - C - Kansas
20th Round - Eric Santiago - 615th Overall - SS - HS
21st Round - Christopher Kelley - 645th Overall - RHP - San Jacinto College North
22nd Round - Curtis Leavitt - 675th Overall - RHP - HS
23rd Round - Kenneth Herndon - 705th Overall - RHP - Gulf Coast CC
24th Round - Gustavo Duran - 735th Overall - RHP - HS
25th Round - Aaron Lovett - 765th Overall - RHP - Kaskaskia College
26th Round - Michael Mopas - 795th Overall - LHP - HS
27th Round - Evan Frederickson - 825th Overall - LHP - HS
28th Round - Joshua Brink - 855th Overall - RHP - HS
29th Round - Steven Hernandez - 885th Overall - RHP - HS
30th Round - Federico Vazquez - 915th Overall - 1B - HS
31st Round - Kyle Carr - 945th Overall - LHP - HS (ND)
32nd Round - David Bromberg - 975th Overall - RHP - HS
33rd Round - Brandon Trodick - 1,005th Overall - CF - HS
34th Round - Daniel Cox - 1,035th Overall - SS - HS
35th Round - Lukas Thomason - 1,065th Overall - RHP - HS
36th Round - Rene Tosoni - 1,095th Overall - OF - Chipola JC
37th Round - James Leigh - 1,125th Overall - LHP - Texarkana CC
38th Round - Carlos Rodriguez - 1,155th Overall - C - HS
39th Round - Charles Duffey - 1,184th Overall - RHP - HS
40th Round - Charles Leesman - 1,213th Overall - LHP - HS
41st Round - Toby Gardenhire - 1,242th Overall - SS - Illinois
42nd Round - Jacob Cox - 1,271st Overall - C - HS
43rd Round - Justin Parker - 1,300th Overall - RHP - HS
44th Round - Jose Cordero - 1,329th Overall - RHP - No School
45th Round - Michael Kinsel - 1,358th Overall - SS - HS (Cretin)
46th Round - Denver Wynn - 1,387th Overall - RHP - HS
47th Round - Michael Ballard - 1,415th Overall - LHP - Virginia
48th Round - Juan Rodriguez - 1,443rd Overall - C - HS
49th Round - Dane Ponciano - 1,470th Overall - C - CC Southern Nevada
50th Round - Justin Otto - 1,497th Overall - RHP - No School
Just a few thoughts on the Twins draft:
The Twins made 54 picks in the last two days. 34 came from high school. 14 were from college. Four came from junior or community colleges. And two came without a school affiliation.
The first thing I want to point out is that we will likely read plenty of analysis on the Twins draft over the next day or so. Some will say they did well. Others will say they did poorly. I will just say, "Who know?" What we think now doesn't really matter. What these players become is really what matters. And that likely can't be measured until these guys advance through the system to the big leagues or end up out of baseball. That could be anywhere from two to seven years from now. So, take the draft as what it is, a hope for the future, but certainly not anything that affects the play of the Minnesota Twins this year.
The Twins are known as being a team that likes to draft high school pitchers and then develop them. But, remember last year, the Twins took five pitchers in the first two rounds. Three were from high school (Waldrop, Rainville, Swarzak). Two were from college (Perkins, Fox). Well, this year, the Twins drafted 31 pitchers in all. 18 of those were from high school while nine were from college. Two were from the JC ranks and the two drafted without a school were pitchers.
Of the 31 pitchers, the Twins took 22 who were right-handed and nine were lefties.
The term "Projectable" is used when discussing pitchers in the draft. It basically says that a pitcher who is tall and lanky has the ability to get bigger and stronger, meaning that eventually they will be able to throw harder. That's the real quick definition. There is also the belief that a shorter pitcher is unable to develop as well. Of course, as I mentioned above there are plenty of examples of pitchers under 6 feet tall who have been very successful. Well, of the 31 pitchers drafted by the Twins, just two of them were under six feet tall. One of those was the 5-9 Michael Hacker, who is, of course, left-handed. Here is the breakdown of the number of pitchers drafted by the Twins, by height:
5-9 -- 1
5-11 -- 1
6-0 -- 2
6-1 -- 3
6-2 -- 4
6-3 -- 6
6-4 -- 4
6-5 -- 7
6-6 -- 2
6-9 -- 1 (David Duncan)
The Twins said that they wanted to address their organizational need for catchers. Well, they drafted nine total catchers in this draft. Of those, seven were from high school. In other words, there will be plenty of catchers in Rookie League this summer. So, does this mean that the Twins are worried about Joe Mauer? I don't think so. First, I do believe that it is important to have plenty of depth at catcher. There are never a lot of great catchers in baseball, very few who, like Mauer, are good both behind the plate and hitting at the plate. Maybe they can develop just one of the seven into either a backup catcher, or someone who can be traded at the trade deadline in a couple of years.
It was curious to me that the Twins used their supplemental first round pick to take power-hitting 1B Henri Sanchez. With Justin Morneau around for awhile, and with 1B like Garrett Jones, Danny Matienzo, Brock Peterson, Mark Zamojc and Johnny Woodard, it doesn't seem necessary. But since Sanchez is out of high school, we likely wouldn't see him in a Twins uniform until at least 2008 or 2009. By then, we will know more about the signability of Morneau to a long-term deal and whether the other prospects have made it. Again, depth means an ability to trade as well. More curious to me is the drafting of a college 1B in the ninth round. Again, as a 9th rounder, he would not be rushed and depth is good, however, other positions of need could have been drafted still at this point.
That is the most important thing to remember about the Major League Baseball draft. Because of the large minor league systems, it is all about projecting two to six years down the road. Things with the Twins will be different in 2006 much less 2009 and beyond.
Another position of need in the organization is shortstop. Juan Castro is currently the Twins shortstop. Jason Bartlett is still considered the shortstop of the future. The Twins have other SS throughout the minors including last year's #1 pick Trevor Plouffe at Beloit. Bartlett should feel good right now about who the Twins drafted. College SS Cliff Pennington was already taken when the Twins selected. Also, of the seven SS drafted by the Twins, five of them were in high school, including the first two that they took. Tolleson appears more like a utility type. To me, it mainly means that Plouffe will now be pushed.
The other thing to remember is that most team's best athletes are shortstops. In other words, even if a few of these guys progress up the system well, it is ok because they would probably be able to switch positions to a position of need.
I felt that OF was becoming a position of need for the team. Yet in the 50 rounds, the Twins took just three outfielders, two high school kids and a JuCo player.
From Aaron Gleeman's Hardball Times Draft Notes article yesterday:
"No word yet on which pick the Twins will waste on manager Ron Gardenhire's son, Toby Gardenhire, who hit .248 for the University of Illinois."
Well, the Twins took him in the 42nd round yesterday. It does seem a little bit early for a "favor" pick, especially one that hit that poorly in the Big 10. But, again, SS is a position of need, and I would assume he will sign and spend some time down in Ft. Myer for a couple of years. In reality, the odds of any 42nd round pick making it to the majors isn't very good. So, does a 'favor' pick really matter?
Remember last year when the Twins signed their first fifteen picks? Well, I am sure that they hope to do the same this year, but that is fairly unusual. My guess is that they would hope to sign 35 to 40 of these picks, including most of the early picks.
Oh, and for those among you who are Twins history buffs, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays selected Isaac "Ike" Davis in the 19th round yesterday. Davis 6-5 and listed as a 1B/LHP. His father... none other than former Twins "closer" Ron Davis.
And finally, if any of the above drafted players or their family members happen to read this, be sure to e-mail me and say Hi. I would love to do a Q&A with them!
For another look at the Twins Draft choices, check out Aaron's Baseball Blog today!
If you have any questions or comments on the draft, please feel free to e-mail me. Thanks!
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
I am going to bed early tonight. If you read this before morning... I hope to wake up early in the morning and update the final results of the Rochester game. The other scheduled games were complete by 9:15 pm central time.
Wednesday - REDWINGS 7, Richmond 0 (in the seventh) - Garrett Jones and Kevin West have each homered.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Wednesday - ROCKCATS 2, Norwich 3 - New Britain had just five total hits. Two of them were from Bryan Kennedy, including a double. Doug Deeds hit his fifth homer. Daylan Childress gets the loss. He gave up all three runs on four hits and three walks in 5.1 innings. He struck out six. Kevin Cameron pitched the final 3.2 innings without allowing a run. He gave up a hit and a walk, and he struck out three.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Wednesday - MIRACLE 4, Tampa 1 - The Miracle made the most of their four hits to score four runs. Scott Whitrock hit his 8th homer of the year, a two-run shot. Adam Harben picks up his fifth win with the start. He went 5.1 innings and gave up a run on two hits and three walks. He struck out seven. Julio DePaula and Jannio Gutierrez combined for 3.2 scoreless innings of relief. Gutierrez picked up his first save.
Wednesday - SNAPPERS - No Game Scheduled.
On that note, I am going to call it a day and get some sleep! I hope everyone has a great day! As always, please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on the Twins, the minor leagues, or anything you would like to discuss.
Back to Archives Home