Monday, July 25, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
and Roger's Minor League Report
Good Monday morning everyone!
I'm trying something a little different today. I have learned that sleep is a beautiful thing. So, I am posting Monday's weekend recap early on Sunday evening. You will notice that a couple of the minor league games were not yet complete. I will get up early on Monday morning and update the results of those games on the site.
I hope that this is alright for the readers. The trade deadline is just a week away. I am working on a couple of bigger postings that I hope you will enjoy. Don't forget to check out the SethSpeaks.net Shop and order a t-shirt or tank top.
But first, it is time for Roger's Weekly (or, in this case bi-weekly) Twins minor league update)! Be sure to check out Roger's blogs over at Twins Territory. He has some great stuff on the Twins minor league system there! He has also told me about a couple of postings that he is working on right now which should be posted soon, and I think that they will be very interesting! Please feel free to e-mail me at any time with your comments, opinions or ideas for future topics. I can forward any thought for Roger to him. Thanks!
System update for weeks ending Saturday July 16 and July 23...
The system had a tremendous two weeks with an overall record of 43-28. Rochester was 5-6, New Britain...9-3, Ft. Myers...5-6, Beloit...5-6, the Gulf Coast Twins...7-6, and the Elizabethton Twins were 12-1. The real story has been the Elizabethton rookie team who had a 14 game winning streak broken last Wednesday and currently have a 11 game lead with a 26-5 record. With the GCL Twins also in first place at 15-11, the rookie teams are off to a tremendous start to their short seasons. This success is a tribute to the Twins last two drafts as a majority of the players on the two teams are from the 2004 and 2005 drafts with several additional players on each team from Venezuela and Australia.
The Rochester Red Wings remain in second place, 5.0 games out. Scott Baker had an excellent start prior to being recalled for yesterday's start in Detroit. Francisco Liriano had two great starts (1-1) with 13.0 ip, 0 er, 2 BB's and 13 K's. He gave up 5 unearned runs in one game resulting in the loss. Since his promotion from New Britain, he is 3-1 with a 2.31 era and 45/10 (k/bb) in 39.0 innings pitched. Travis Bowyer struggled giving up 4 earned runs with 4/4 (k/bb) in 4 games (4 ip), earning 1 save. Jason Miller was recently promoted to Rochester and has a 1.59 era in 3 games (5.2 ip), with 6/3 (k/bb). Only 22 years old, Miller is setting himself up to compete for a lefty bullpen job in 2006. Lefty Ricky Barrett had done well in relief at New Britain and Rochester, however, has struggled since he was inserted into the starting rotation at Rochester. Terry Tiffee was 10 for 40 (.250) for the two weeks with 1 homer and 8 rbi. Jason Bartlett was 13 for 35 (.371) with 3 homers and 9 rbi. Batting .322 since he was sent down should get the Twins attention when making recall decisions this week. Garrett Jones is hitting only .245 with 17 homers, 49 rbi and 83 K's in 343 ab. Veteran minor league catcher Chris Heintz has been on a tear. He was 15 for 35 (.429) for the two weeks with 2 homers and 13 rbi. He is hitting .316 on the season and is often inserted as the DH to get his bat in the lineup.
The New Britain Rock Cats aided by the additions from Ft. Myers have climbed out of sole possession of last place into a tie for 5th in their 6 team division, 6.0 games out of first. Glen Perkins (1-1) and Errol Simonitsch (2-2) have both struggled since moving up from Ft. Myers. Perkins had 3 starts the past two weeks, going 1-0 with 8 er and 13/13 (k/bb) in 15.1 ip. Simonitsch was 1-1 in 2 starts with 5 er and 9/6 (k/bb) in 8.2 ip. Although both have been inconsistent with control problems, each had one excellent game during the period. Recent callup Nick Blackburn has had two excellent starts, with 3 er and 10/1 (k/bb) in 16.0 ip and a 1-1 record. Alex Romero was 22 for 50 (.440) during the period with 2 homers (12) and 14 rbi (57). He is hitting .296 for the season and after a slow start is now playing like a top prospect. Denard Span had gotten off to a hot start at New Britain then cooled. He was 16 of 50 (.320) during the past two weeks with 8 rbi and 3 stolen bases and is hitting .283 since his promotion to New Britain last month. Danny Matienzo had a homer and 6 rbi. His 70 rbi are second most in the system. Former top pick Matt Moses got off to a slow start following his recent promotion and is hitting .231 with 1 homer and 6 rbi in his first 39 ab.
Ft. Myers has been affected by the loss of Span, Moses, Perkins, Simonitsch and Blackburn. They are currently 14-12 and in 3rd place, 2.0 games out of first during the second half of the season. With Scott Tyler on the disabled list, Adam Harben is the remaining starter from the beginning of the season. Harben was 1-1 during this period in 3 starts with 5 er and 18/4 (k/bb) in 19.0 ip. His loss the other night was his first loss since May and his record this season is 7-5 with a 2.57 era. The player we received from the Cubs for Doug Mientkiewicz, Justin Jones, pitched his best game Wednesday since the trade last summer. He pitched 7.1 innings of shutout ball with 5/3 (k/bb). The Twins have been very concerned with his arm and kept him in extended spring training until he joined the Miracle when Simonitsch and Perkins were sent up to New Britain. 19 year old Anthony Swarzak and Jay Rainville were recently promoted from Beloit to Ft. Myers. Swarzak had an excellent first start and was so-so in his second. In 12.0 ip he had 13/0 (k/bb) with 3 er for a 0-1 record and 4.50 era. Rainville won his first start with 5/0 (k/bb) and 1 er in 6.0 ip for a 1.50 era. Relievers Julio DePaula and Jannio Gutierrez each had an excellent two weeks with DePaula appearing in 3 games (6.9 ip) with 1 er and 9/2 (k/bb) for a 0-1 record, and Gutierrez appearing in 3 games (7.2 ip) with 1 er and 11/0 (k/bb) with 1 save. Jay Sawatski continued his struggles allowing 2 er in 4 ip in 3 appearances with 1 save. After his great start, his era has risen to 4.10.
Beloit continues to struggle somewhat as they lost their top two pitchers to Ft. Myers. They are currently in 5th place, however, only 4 games out of first during the second half of their season. Deacon Burns continues to lead the team in hitting at .286, however, was only 10 of 48 (.208) with 7 rbi. David Winfree hit .265 during the period with 1 homer and 8 rbi. His 74 rbi for the season continue to lead the system as does his 28 errors. One player at Beloit that no one hears much about is catcher Javi Sanchez who is hitting .276 for the season. 2004 top draft pick Trevor Plouffe had an excellent two weeks. He was 17 of 40 (.425) with 1 homer and 10 rbi. After hitting under .100 for the first month of the season, his average has risen to .235. He did have another 6 errors and trails Winfree by 1 with 27 errors. The remaining top pitcher at Beloit from last year's draft, Kyle Waldrop, was 0-2 during the past two weeks with 3 starts, 14.2 ip, 9/3 (k/bb) and 11 earned runs. Kyle Aselton started one game and relieved in another. In 9.0 ip he had 7/3 (k/bb) with 2 er which lowered his era to 2.86 for the season. Closer JP Martinez appeared in 4 games for 7.1 innings with 14/1 (k/bb) and 2 er while earning 3 saves. Recent draft picks Kevin Slowey and Matt Garza were promoted from Elizabethton to Beloit. Slowey started 2 games with 7/1 (k/bb) and 4 er in 10.2 ip. He is 0-0 with a 3.06 at Beloit. Garza also started two games with a poor first start and excellent game last time out. He is 1-1 with 12/4 (k/bb) and 5 er in 10.1 ip for a 4.35 era. 2004 3rd round pick Eduardo Morlan also was promoted to Beloit. Like Garza, he had a poor first outing and pitched very well in his second game.
Elizabethton refuses to lose and after 31 games has a 11 game lead for one of the best starts in the history of the Appalachian League. Perhaps the brightest young star of the entire system is 2004 15th round pick Juan Portes. He was 18 for 44 (.409) with 4 homers and 8 rbi. The second baseman/left fielder has raised his average to a team leading .358 in 109 ab. 2003 18th round pick, catcher Eli Tintor was 13 for 33 (.394) with 3 homers for 7 rbi, raising his average to .303. First baseman and 9th round 2005 pick Erik Lis from the University of Evansville was 13 for 30 (.433) with 2 homers and 11 rbi, raising his average to .294. 2004 Gulf Coast League star, Jilmer Arratia, was battling an injury and didn't play much prior to the past week. He was 7 for 21 (.333) raising his average to .273. Yohan Pino was 2-0 and 5-0 for the season. In two starts, he had 11/0 (k/bb) with 3 er in 11.0 ip. Recent draft Ryan Mullins had 3 starts with 26/6 (k/bb) and 3 er in 16.2 ip for a 2-0 record. He is 3-0 on the season with a 1.95 era. Dan Powers appeared in 4 games with 12/1 (k/bb) and 0 er in 9.0 ip for a 2-0 record. On the season he is 3-0 with a 0.78 era. Converted catcher Tim Lahey appeared in 7 games (7 ip) with 8/1 (k/bb) and 0 er and 5 saves. He continues to have a 0.00 era in 12.1 ip this season. Alexander Smit continues to pitch in relief and had another 16 K's in 8.1 innings pitched.
The Gulf Coast League Twins are also in first with a 2.0 game lead. Shortstop Andrew Thompson was 12 for 28 (.429) with a homer and 7 rbi. He is currently hitting .394 for the season. Josh Dean cooled off going 7 for 20 (.350) with 8 rbi. Other hitting stars for the period included Richard Sojo (..361), William Luque (.412), and Wesley Connor (.474). The early season hitting sensation, Danny Santiesteban, was 6 for 28 (.214) and hasn't played for several games (may be injured). Jose Castillo and 2003 8th round pick Brandon McConnell were both 2-0 in 3 starts. Castillo was 14/11 (k/bb) with 1 er in 19.0 ip. McConnell was 16/3 (k/bb) with 3 er in 17.0 ip. Castillo is 4-1 with a 1.29 era. McConnell is 3-1 with a 4.62 era. 2005 12th round pick, 17 year-old Alex Burnett was 1-0 in 10.2 ip with 8/1 (k/bb) and 5 er.
The Twins really needed to win the series against the Tigers, and even win four out of five, because things are not going to get easier any time soon. But, in losing two out of three, the Twins still find themselves in of the AL Wild Card race. Up next, the Twins will embark upon a weeklong road trip to Yankees Stadium (likely seeing Randy Johnson and Al Leiter) and Fenway Park for what will be some huge games for the team. Here are a few thoughts
The biggest highlight of the weekend series had to be the performance of Scott Baker on Saturday night. He was called up before the game and immediately optioned back to Rochester after the game. But he provided the Twins with a quality start. He went seven innings and gave up two runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out five. I saw the second run and it scored on a bloop single to center. Baker was hitting spots and corners with a 92-94 mph fastball and just looked polished. Certainly, he is ready for the big leagues (not that I had any doubts). In the game, Tigers top prospect Justin Verlander gave up five runs in his six innings. He hits 99 mph, but clearly needs more seasoning. He was sent back down to AA after his start.
Equally disappointing would have to be the performances of both Joe Mays (Friday) and Kyle Lohse (Sunday). Both pitchers have been mentioned in possible trades, and did nothing to help the Twins argument to potential suitors. Mays gave up eight runs (7 earned) in just four innings. Lohse gave up Lohse gave up 11 hits and five runs (4 earned) in 5.2 innings.
I still expect a trade before next Sunday. I do think that the JC Romero for Bill Mueller trade will happen, even if I don't like it. I don't think that acquiring Mueller will help much, but getting rid of Romero and Romero's contract (for next year too) is a good thing.
By the way, be sure to check out the Dickie Thon Twins Fan Forum for plenty of trade rumors and wishes!!!
Just to review, when Baker was called up to the Twins after Game 1 on Saturday, it was OF Michael Ryan who was sent back to Rochester. It was probably the right move at that time. He now has to be down for 10 days. So, when Baker was sent back down after the game, they recalled Terry Tiffee to the Twins. Tiffee really struggled the last time he was with the Twins. He then really was bad after he came back up to the
Lew Ford appears to be the odd man out with all of the roster changes of late. With Ryan sent down, Ford really becomes the only reserve outfielder (with Nick Punto and Michael Cuddyer able to play some out there if need be). Of course, that means Gardy will likely be less likely to play him at DH for fear of an injury. It probably puts Matthew LeCroy as the DH and Ford will lose at bats. Yesterday, Ford had a pinch hit single. It was his first hit since July 10th and broke an 0-21 slump. (That now means he is in a 1-22 slump, but it is a start!
Joe Mauer continues to hit well. In Saturday's double-header, he caught the first game and DH'd the second. Combined, he went 4-7 with two walks and two doubles. On Sunday, he was just 1-4, but he hit a ninth inning solo home runs, his seventh of the year.
Carlos Silva got the loss in Saturday's first game, but as he has been all year, he was excellent. In seven innings, he gave up two runs on eight hits. Unfortunately, the seventh inning home run to Curtis Granderson meant the loss.
Another positive seems to be Justin Morneau. No, he isn't getting hits all the time, but he is at least putting together some very solid at bats. He just looks again as if he knows what he is doing. In the second game on Saturday, he hit a rocket to left-centerfield for an RBI double. In his next at bat, he turned on a pitch for a home run, his first in 64 at bats. His AB that may have shown the most, however, was a walk against a lefty. He took some tough sliders, pitches he had been flailing at a lot of late.
Did you remember that Sean Douglass spent much of last spring in the Twins camp? Since then, he has bounced around a number or organizations. But he has now made five starts for the Tigers and is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA. The Twins don't miss him, I'm sure, but good for him!
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the Angels, the Orioles or anything baseball. Feel free to e-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Be sure to check out the blogs of our friend Roger over at Twins Territory. He has some great stuff on the Twins minor league system there!
Friday - REDWINGS 8, Durham 2 - Because of Scott Baker's promotion to the Twins, Henry Bonilla made the start for the Redwings. He did well. In six innings, he gave up two runs on four hits. True to form, he walked none and struck out three. Brent Schoening and Travis Bowyer combined to pitch three shutout innings of relief. Chris Heintz continues to hit AAA pitching well. He went 2-4 with two RBI. Luis Rivas was 2-4 with a double. Terry Tiffee was 1-4 but had three RBI.
Saturday - REDWINGS 4, Durham 11 - In just 4.1 innings, Ricky Barrett was shelled again. He gave up eight runs on eight hits and four walks. Jason Miller came in and gave up a run in 3.2 innings. Willie Eyre then gave up two runs in an inning. Brent Abernathy, Jason Bartlett, Terry Tiffee and Chris Heintz were each 2-5. Garret Jones went 1-2 with two walks.
Sunday - REDWINGS 6, Durham 2 - Francisco Liriano took the mound last night and was again excellent. He went seven innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits. He walked four and struck out five. Beau Kemp pitched the final two innings. Kevin West led the offense on this day and after a slow start, he is quietly putting up another solid season. He went 2-3 with a walk, his 12th home run and 3 RBI. Jason Tyner also had two hits and a walk.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Friday - ROCKCATS 11, Norwich 0 - Nick Blackburn was an All-Star at Ft. Myers, but it was Glen Perkins and Errol Simonitsch who moved up to New Britain before him. Blackburn continued to pitch well and recently got his promotion as well. He was great in his first start, and even better on this night. He threw eight shutout innings and allowed just two hits and a walk. He struck out four. He is now 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA for the Rockcats. He got plenty of offensive support in this one too. Alex Romero went 4-5 with his 22nd 2B and three RBI. Gil Velazquez is back at New Britain and went 2-5 with a double, as was Felix Molina. Doug Deeds, Gabby Torres and James Tomlin each had two singles.
Saturday - ROCKCATS 9, Norwich 8 - Levale Speigner really struggled. In seven innings, he gave up seven runs on eight hits. He walked none and struck out none. Pat Neshek came on with a couple runners on and gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. After that, he got six outs and recorded his 15th save. James Tomlin went 3-3 with a walk and a double. Gil Velazquez was 2-2 with his first homer. Alex Romero had two doubles in five at bats.
Sunday - ROCKCATS 5, Norwich 3 - Errol Simonitsch improved to 3-2 with 7.1 quality innings. He gave up two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out two. Kevin Cameron gave up three hits and a run in 1.1 innings, but recorded his first save. Doug Deeds led the offense going 3-5 with his 11th homer and four RBI. Denard Span, Gabby Torres and James Tomlin each had two hits.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Friday - MIRACLE 2, Sarasota 6 - Anthony Swarzak had a rough outing. In five innings, he gave up four runs on 11 hits. Of course, he didn't walk any and still struck out six. Chris Schutt gave up two runs on five hits and a walk in just 1.1 innings. Jannio Gutierrez came in though and gave up just a hit in 1.2 innings. Trent Oeltjen led the offense going 3-4 with two doubles. Mark Zamojc was 1-3 with his sixth home run.
Saturday - MIRACLE 1, Sarasota 4 - Adam Harben falls to 7-5 with the loss. He went six innings and gave up four runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out five, but the two home run balls he gave up really were costly. Julio Depaula and Peter Tautor combined for three shutout innings. Trent Oeltjen and Brock Peterson went 2-4. Peterson had a double.
Sunday - MIRACLE 3, Vero Beach 5 - Jay Rainville had not lost a game for a long time. He went six innings yesterday and didn't give up a run in four of them. Unfortunately, he gave up four in the third inning and the team was not able to recover. He gave up six hits but did not allow a walk. He struck out three. Jan Granado pitched two scoreless frames before Josh Gray gave up a single run in the ninth. Angelo Fermin had two of the team's five hits.
Friday - SNAPPERS 5, Cedar Rapids 6 - It was a rough one for Kyle Waldrop too on this night. He gave up six runs on 10 hits and a walk over just 4.1 innings. Josh Hill came in and threw 2.2 shutout innings. John Williams then pitched a shutout inning. Deacon Burns went 2-5 with his 11th triple. Terrance Patterson was also 2-5. Trevor Plouffe went 2-4. However, he committed his 26th error, and David Winfree made his 28th.
Saturday - SNAPPERS 7, Cedar Rapids 2 - Matt Garza again came back from a rough debut with a new team to put together a solid second start. In this game, he gave up a run on two hits and three walks over six innings. He struck out six. Kevin Culpepper went two shutout innings and then Angel Garcia gave up a run in his inning. Jeremy Pickrel went 3-5 with a double. David Winfree was 2-5 with a triple. Dwayne White was 2-4 with a double. Paul Rutgers went 2-4 with his second home run.
Sunday - SNAPPERS 8, Cedar Rapids 2 - A big six run second innings provided Snappers starter Eduardo Morlan with plenty of cushion. Morlan went five innings and struck out nine. He gave up a run on four hits and four walks. John Williams then allowed a run over the next three innings and struck out five. David Shinskie pitched a scoreless ninth. Jeremy Pickrel went 2-3 with a double and two walks. Korey Feiner went 2-4. David Winfree was 2-5 with his 11th homer.
Friday - E-Twins 6, Princeton 2 - Ryan Mullins is pitching great. In this game, he went six innings and gave up just a hit and two walks. He struck out nine. Danny Powers picked up his second save with three one-hit innings. He struck out six. Matt Betsill went 2-3. Toby Gardenhire went 2-4. Juan Portes hit his seventh homer, and Erik Lis hit his fourth.
Saturday - E-Twins 4, Princeton 2 - Erik Lis has been hitting the ball well. He went 2-3 with his sixth double. Eli Tintor and Matthew Betsill were both 2-4. Juan Portes hit his ninth double. Adam Hawes started and gave up two runs over five innings. He struck out five. Alexander Smit improves to 4-1 with three one-hit innings in which he struck out five. Tim Lahey recorded his ninth save with a three strikeout ninth.
Sunday - E-Twins 4, Burlington 1 - The E-Town train continues to roll with another win. Steven Tolleson led the way with a 4-5 day. He had two doubles and two RBI. Erik Lis was 3-4 with a double. Mark Robinson and Edward Ovalle were each 2-4. Armando Gabino started and gave up just two hits in four innings. Danny Vais came in to record the win giving up just a run over three innings. Joe Gault pitched a scoreless eighth, and Tim Lahey came in and struck out two in the ninth for his 10th save. The former catcher, Lahey has not allowed a run in 13.1 innings on the season. He has one walk and 18 strikeouts.
GULF COAST TWINS
Friday - GCL Twins 0, GCL Reds 1 - Good pitching but not much offense in this game. Brandon McConnell started and went six shutout innings. He struck out eight. Jose Cordero then three two shutout innings. Aaron Craig took the loss by giving up a run in the ninth. Marion Knowles went 2-3. Paul Kelly had a double and a walk.
Saturday - GCL Twins 5, GCL Reds 0 - Jose Castillo jumps to 4-1 with six shutout innings. His ERA is now 1.29 on the season. He gave up three hits, a walk, and struck out four. Matthew Williams and Danny Hernandez pitched the final three innings of the shutout. William Luque and Wesley Connor were each 2-4 with a double.
Sunday - GCL Twins - No Gulf Coast League games scheduled.
It is summer. So, why Timberwolves thoughts? Well, the Wolves have been busy with signings over the past few days. They have been rather action in the free agent market. They signed three players:
They have signed Mark Madsen to a five year contract.
They signed former Nugget Nicholai Tskitishvili to a one year, league minimum contract.
They signed Dwayne Jones, a center, to a four year contract for which two years are guaranteed.
Big stuff, huh? I have to say that I like the Madsen signing. He's not expensive and it never hurts to have a player like him on your roster. Tskitishvili was drafted in the top five picks a few years ago, and rarely got off the bench. He played in one game in the Wolves Summer League and scored 25 points with 18 rebounds in 17 minutes. And then he broke a bone in his hand. But the Wolves found him worth the risk, probably with visions of Andrei Kirilenko dancing in their heads. And Jones was never drafted and went to Europe and played well. Apparently that is worthy signing him to a lengthy contract. But the Wolves do need center help, so it could prove to be a good signing.
They still have a lot of work to do this offseason. It would be ideal if they could work a sign-and-trade with someone for Latrell Sprewell. It would be wonderful if they could get any team to take the headache that is Sam Cassell off their hands. Maybe a couple more trades and they can be respectable again.
On that note, I am going to call it a day! I hope everyone has a great week! 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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