Friday, July 22, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
MAILBAG AND MORE
Good morning! Well, last night I spent a few hours at the county fair. Had a corndog. Those are always good. I agree with Ben Stiller's character in Something about Mary when he says, "There should really be more meats on a stick." I agree. Corndogs are the key. But, if you go to the Dome, you can get a pork chop on a stick. I am a big fan of pork chops, so I got one, thinking it was going to be cool. It was a grilled piece of pork chop, and they put a stick through it. That was it. Not my best monetary investment. I was expecting something more. I mean, I got a pork chop, and I got a stick. Should I really have expected more from something called Pork Chop on a Stick, probably not.
By the way, the t-shirts and tank tops are now available. To see the shirts and get some pricing on them, please click here for the SethSpeaks Shop. On it, I have a few pictures, prices and the quantities that I have remaining. I will try to keep it updated. If there is a size there that you want but it is out, I have already ordered more and should have them within a week. So please feel free to e-mail me an "order" for your own SethSpeaks.net t-shirt or tank top!
If you notice Chris Coste's stats to the left, you will notice a jump in his numbers. That is because last night, he went 4-5 with his 16th home run and two RBI.
Normally I would put this type of article in the Other Thoughts/Links section, but I thought it was a very interesting human interest story that many of you may want to read. It is an article written by Jim Mandelaro of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle called Wings Wives Say It isn't so Glamorous. It is an article discussing the Twins AAA affiliate's player's wives. It is really interesting!
Anyway, today I wanted to include a few quality e-mails that I have received over the past week. I do want to encourage you to feel free to e-mail me at any time with ideas or thoughts on the Twins, their minor league system, TV, movies, the Vikings, Wolves or life in general. That is the best part of this site. Getting to interact with the readers. So, let's get to it.
No I wasn't happy to see Kenny Rogers booed. The man made a mistake, he sincerely apologized for it, what else would you like from him?
The mind set that Republican politics has created in this country is disgusting. Forgive and forget is that not the christian way?
I guess I didn't realize that a person's opinion on how to react to someone who played rough-house with a cameraman was directly related to one's political affiliation. I guess that would be a non-partisan choice. Now, I was always brought up to respect your opponent and that booing at any time is wrong and should not be done, so I chose not to boo anyone. That said, I won't say that it is bad. Forgiving is easy. Forgetting... not always so easy.
Ok Seth, time to fix the anemic offense! What does Mr Ryan do? I'll throw some options your way.
Dunn for Jones, Baker, Swartaz & Garret Jones
That is a lot to give up and Dunn will be making some serious $$$ in the next few years, but we need a run producer. The savings from Jacque, Mays & Lecroy could pay for him next year.
Soriano for Baker & Adam Harden
Definite rent a player, but the boy has some pop. Has been a bit of a head case in the past and I'm not sure how that would work with the Twins style.
Matt Stairs for Bonser
I hate trading w/in the division, but Stairs could give us a great LH bat to DH and spell RF.
Jacque Jones for a sack of balls, maybe we could parlay him into one of Atlanta's rookies
Ryan Howard for Baker
2nd coming of Papi
Hanley Ramirez(think thats his name) for Nathon. Boston needs a closer and we need a SS. or Marte from Atlanta for Nathan. Only problem is Atlanta needs offense more than a closer right now. Rietsma has been doing ok and Kolb is starting to come into form.
I have totally soured on Randa, but I hear Mike Lowell might be available for young SP's. FL will unload Leiter & Burnett this year and need some new young blood. (Baker, Perkins, Smits)
Some other names
Preston Wilson (Col. won't eat the contract though)
Kevin Youkilis (solid young player and won't be making big $$ for awhile)
Ruben Sierra - we need vets off the bench
These are some ugly options, but I don't think Booner will be enough to get us to 95 wins(which I think we will need for a WC spot)
I got a number of great e-mails from people asking me for my thoughts on what types of trades the Twins should try to pull off. As I've mentioned, I don't think that guys like Randa, Alfonzo, Mueller or even Hillenbrand or Lowell are big enough bats to make a huge difference over the current options. That said, I would be willing to use some of our prospect depth to acquire a huge bat. Adam Dunn is a huge bat. He could hit 45-50 homers with the Twins and fit nicely into the middle of the lineup. However, as much power as Dunn has, he is incredibly one-dimensional. OK, he walks a bunch, but he strikes out more than anyone else. He is a terrible outfielder and a below average first baseman. He is also left-handed and the Twins have enough of them.
Alfonso Soriano? Now I like Soriano's power. He doesn't walk, and he strikes out a lot. But he hits for a lot of power and has plenty of speed. He is a difference make. That said, there is no way at all that I would consider giving up both Baker and Harben for him, not when he will only be a Twin for the next three months.
Matt Stairs - to summarize... No Thanks! Stairs is what he is, a left-handed pinch-hitter with power. But how much of a difference would Stairs make in a lefty pinch-hitter-off-the-bench compared to Michael Ryan? Maybe one more hit? Maybe. If that. I also don't want this trade to be made because Stairs is a veteran and guessing based on Gardy's history, he would probably play Stairs at 1B and bat him cleanup! Uggh! Let's not even give him that chance!
Ryan Howard for Baker - OK, that is what I'm talking about. Howard is the type of player that even I would trade Baker for. Howard is going to be Ortiz-like! Unfortunately, the Phillies are trying desperately to trade Jim Thome and his massive contract to make room for Howard. I can't imagine anyone taking on Thome with his injury problems. Maybe they will have to just part with Howard and the Twins should try to get him, and since he's a left-handed hitting 1B, he will probably become a DH, like Ortiz!
I've been telling friends for a month that I would do a Joe Nathan to the Braves for Joe Nathan deal in a second. Of course, if the Braves really want a closer, they may have to give up more that even a top, top prospect. Rincon or Crain could move into the closer's role. Travis Bowyer could be called up for relief. And the Twins would have their 3B position solved for the next half-decade or longer!
Encarnacion - No thanks.
Sweeney - yeah, but not for much and Kansas City won't want to pay much of his remaining contract to play for a team within the division.
Womack - ICK! No thank you!
Bigbie - He'll be fine, but not a good fit, I don't think.
Corey Patterson - if yo ucan get him for cheap from the Cubs, wouldn't hurt.
Preston Wilson - has since been sent to the Nationals.
Kevin Youklis - I wouldn't mind getting the Greek God of Walks. That said, he really has not shown much ability to put the ball in play in the big leagues yet. I would prefer to acquire Shea Hillenbrand, who we know will swing the bat to knock in runs.
Ruben Sierra - no thanks.
And we just continue to hear rumors involving Romero, Mays, Lohse, and others going to places like Boston or Florida. We will likely hear more and more over the next week and change. It is a fun time of the year!
I am so sick of the Twins stadium issue!!!! Minnesota has the worst State Legislators in history!!!!!! Why don't the people of Inn. kick these fools out????? Why is State government so whacked out???? Uncle Carl has been so patient with all this........I am sick of it!!!!!! We will loose the Twins if action is not taken ASAP!!!!!!!!! I feel sorry for the people who still live in the state...It is one of the laughing stocks across the nation now!!!!!! Minnesota will know how valuable the Twins are after they leave!!!!!! Jesse Ventura, Lousy Legislators, no new cribs for the Twins, Gophers, and Vies!!!!!!!!!
Dewey, I'm right there with you! Carl Pohlad has been very patient. He has also developed plans in which he pays for a good percentage of the stadiums. The state continues to say no to any public financing. First, it's like these people don't realize how much traffic and dollars the Twins bring into Minneapolis on 81 dates a year. Also, remember that when the current collective bargaining deal is up in another year or so, contraction can be done without player approval. Do you think that the Twins aren't still atop the list of teams that could be contracts (along with Tampa Bay, Florida and a few other teams)? Just something to think about.
So what are your thoughts on Morneau these days? I still have high hopes that he'll be a great player but I lose confidence in him with each passing game this year. He looks every bit as clueless as Koskie used to look at the plate. And what about Cuddyer? What will they do with him when he comes back? I've never been a fan of his, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt this year as he's never been an everyday player. I always said that the reason he was never an everyday player was because he obviously didn't prove to the coaching staff that he could get the job done. He's certainly had his chances to impress this year but didn't do it. Could it be time to officially declare the Cuddyer Experiment a failure and look to package him with a prospect or two for a decent infielder?
This is a great paragraph of questions right now. What do I think of Morneau? Yes, he has certainly been a disappointment after getting off to a good start this season. His batting average and his plate discipline have both deteriorated as the season has progressed. But that said, I still think that the future of the large, 24 year old first baseman is bright. He has continued to make adjustments in the minor leagues and hit. Now he simply needs to make adjustments to what big league pitchers are doing to him. OK, the word "simply" is not at all appropriate. It is hard, and will take time and work. But Morneau seems to be a hard worker. He doesn't need to prove again that he can mash AAA pitching. He needs to stay and work through this struggle. Last night's performance was a positive. He was 1-2 with three walks. That means he's sitting back and taking some pitches. Hopefully that trend will continue. Long-term, I still see Morneau as a .300 hitter with 40 homer power.
As for Cuddyer, as I have mentioned a few times, he has been made a scapegoat over and over in his Twins career. Remember when he was given the RF job out of camp in 2003? He was given about 15 games before they made a change. This year, he got most of the first half of the season at 3B. He got off to a slow start, but he has been solid at worst since the beginning of May. His defense at 3B is questionably, no doubt. But hitting is not his problem. And now, he is splitting time at 3B with Luis Rodriguez and Nick Punto and backing up 1B as Morneau struggles. His June OPS was .777. Jacque Jones was .714. Joe Mauer was .706. Justin Morneau was .737. Shannon Stewart and Lew Ford were both at .784. Judging by that, is Cuddyer really the clear-cut problem in the lineup? I certainly don't think so. The guys that are being rumored as possible 3B replacements are not much better. I still think that Cuddyer is just fine. I fully believe that 2B is his best position now and in the future. I hope that the Twins don't lose him!
I enjoyed your bit. Consider this as the hindsight worst trade of all-time.
How about the Twins' trade of David Ortiz for no one (i.e., his lapsing via free agency)? The guy has 85 RBI just after the break this year, single handedly saved the Red Sox from certain defeat at the hands of the Yankees last year by winning games 4 and 5 of the ALCS after the team was down 3-0, and received more All-Star votes this year than any player in baseball. This guy was a Twin on a team with little power in 2002 (but admittedly more power than the team has now), hit 20 home runs in just over 400 at bats with a slg % of .500 that year, and we refused to find a place for him?!
Terry Ryan's legacy in my view will always be as a GM with too many mediocre guys logjammed in right field, first base and DH. This deadly combination made him pass on Ortiz because he perceived there was no more room due to the upcoming Cuddyers, LeCroys, Ryans, Fords, Restoviches, Kieltys, Mohrs, and Morneaus of the world. What a travesty. LeCroy has become a bit player, Ford cannot hit for power, Restovich, Kielty and Mohr are gone and Morneau is promising but still only 24 and now struggling. Maybe no one could've foreseen Ortiz's breakout in 2003, but certainly, the Twins could've and should've avoided trading the guy who has arguably become the best hitter in baseball for no one.
Hindsight is the key word. However, as I have mentioned before, if I was Terry Ryan at that time, there is no way I even consider offering arbitration to Ortiz that offseason. He was always injured and it didn't take much. How many times did he round first base and while planting to return to the bag, he would twist his knee. He broke his hammate bone. Any number of injuries. There was no reason to let him go to arbitration where it likely would have cost $4-5 million for one year.
Also, we all knew that David Ortiz could hit, but the year before the Twins let him go, he couldn't hit lefties at all. He had become a solid opposite field, slap hitter like the Twins seem to love to develop. In other words, had he stayed with the Twins, even if he stayed healthy, he would never have put up numbers this good in a Twins uniform. I just really don't see it.
And don't forget, Ortiz signed with the Sox right before spring training. In other words, it isn't as though lots of other teams were even considering him either.
If you ever would like to e-mail me with your thoughts, comments or ideas, please do so. I enjoy reading all of the intelligent thoughts I do get. Makes for some fun conversation. And you never know, they may get posted.
I believe that the Twins have now won three games in a row. I think that is officially called a streak. Yesterday, they actually did something that Twins fans have been hoping for since the All-Star break, a laugher. The Twins really had this one in control from the start and finished with a 10-5 win. They had a bunch of players contribute, which is good to see. Here are a few notes and thoughts:
Johan Santana picked up his ninth win on the year, but he lasted just five innings. He gave up three runs on nine hits. He walked none, but he also struck out just three. He's still not there. Wouldn't it be nice if Radke could start getting a couple of these "Cheap wins?"
Joe Mauer is amazing. Yesterday, he was again 2-3 with two walks and a double. Name a better catcher in the American League this year? In the major leagues? I can put up a comparison to any catcher saying Mauer is better.
Torii Hunter had a nice 3-4 with a walk day. If only he could be consistently good part of the time!!!
Justin Morneau went 1-2, breaking an 0-21 slump since the All-Star break. More importantly, he walked three times meaning he is getting back some strike zone judgment.Of course, some may say that his single breaks him from his 0-21 slump. Well, fact is, he is now 1-23, so he's not really out of a slump yet. Lets be patient.
Nick Punto, Jacque Jones and Bret Boone each had two hits in the game.
Matt Guerrier with another great three innings.
Here are the pitching matchups for the five game series against the Tigers at Comerica Park:
Have a great day, and please feel free to e-mail me. I'd love to hear your thought!
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Thursday - REDWINGS 10, Charlotte 7 – The bats came alive last night. Four players had three hits a piece. Jason Tyner was 3-5 with a walk and a double. Terry Tiffee was 3-5. Luis Rivas was 3-4 with a walk and a double. Chris Heintz went 3-5 with his seventh homer. Augie Ojeda and Todd Dunwoody each had two hits. David Gassner gave up four runs on nine hits and two walks over six innings. He improved to 7-6 with a 4.51 ERA. Beau Kemp gave up a run in an inning. Willie Eyre pitched a scoreless inning. Travis Bowyer struggled again. In his inning, he gave up three hits and a walk for two runs. He still struck out two.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Thursday - ROCKCATS - No Game Scheduled.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Thursday – MIRACLE 2, Sarasota 6 – Tristan Crawford started and things did not go well for him. In four innings, he gave up four runs (3 earned) on seven hits and two walks. Jay Sawatski gave up a run in two innings. Josh Gray, Peter Tautor and Jan Granado combined for four shutout innings in relief. Matt Tolbert went 2-5 with a double. Brock Peterson and Jose Leger each had a double as well.
Thursday – SNAPPERS 6, Cedar Rapids 4 – Kevin Slowey finally gave up some runs. The starter went 5.2 innings and gave up four runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out three. Jose Mijares got one out. Angel Garcia then pitched an inning in which he walked one and struck out two. JP Martinez came in and gave up a hit but struck out five in two shutout innings for his 12th save. Chris Brown went 3-5. Deacon Burns went 3-4 with a walk. David Winfree was 2-5. Javi Sanchez went 2-4 with a walk. Johnny Woodard hit his second homer.
Thursday - E-Twins 8, Princeton 10 – Steven Tolleson went 2-4 with his third double, his first home run and 3 RBI. Erik Lis went 2-5 with his fifth double. Travis Kalin went 2-4 with a triple. Oswaldo Sosa went six innings in the start. He gave up three runs on five hits and two walks. Alexander Smit had a rough outing. He got just one out and gave up a hit and two walks for four runs. Joe Gault gave up another run in his 2/3 of an inning.
GULF COAST TWINS
Thursday - GCL Twins 20, GCL Pirates 4 – I would say that the bats came alive in this game. Nineteen hits and eight walks later, the Twins had a 20 spot on the board. William Luque went 3-4 with two stolen bases. He has 11 on the short season. John Wilson went 3-4 with a double and three RBI. Simon Fletcher was 2-5 with his first homer. Drew Thompson went 2-3 with three walks, five runs and five RBI. He hit his second homer as well. Richard Sojo was 2-4 with his fifth triple. Ricky Prady came off the DL and went 2-5 with his first homer and four RBI. Alex Burnett went the first 5.2 innings and gave up four runs (3 earned) on eight hits. He walked none and struck out four. Nathan Crawford pitched three scoreless innings.
I just have a couple of sites for you to check out today. Feel free to peruse some of the sites on the left of this screen. If I find anything incredible over the weekend, check back for more thoughts.
Stick and Ball Guy has really been on top of his game of late. He's always been one of the best, but the last couple of weeks, he has been terrific. Yesterday, he read a Patrick Reusse article, got upset by it and ripped it apart on his site. Fun (and truthful) read!
I'm in agreement with Gleeman in that, if we're going to only get Bill Mueller, Mike Lowell, Shea Hillenbrand or Kevin Millar, I am fine with the Twins standing pat because they probably aren't guys who will be the final piece to the puzzle. They are all complimentary players.
On that note, I am going to call it a day and another week! I hope everyone had a great one! As always, please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on the Twins, the minor leagues, or anything you would like to discuss.
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