Friday July 30, 2004
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Seth's Top 30 Twins Prospects-Part 2
Good morning! Today we will continue a look at my list of the top 30 Twins prospects that I came up with last December. I just think that, with the trade deadline on Saturday, it is possible that some of these guys may be headed elsewhere in order for the Twins to lure some help to not only win the American League Central, but also advance in the playoffs. Just yesterday, the Twins lost out on Pirates pitcher Kris Benson. Why? Because they refused to give up Jason Kubel. Peter Gammons reports last night that the Mets would obtain Benson in exchange for Ty Wigginton, Matt Peterson and a minor leaguer that they will receive from the White Sox. The White Sox? Yeah, the Sox are basically giving the Mets a prospect that they will then trade to the Pirates. Why would the Sox do that? So that the Mets got Benson and the Twins do not. Gotta love the trade deadline!
Yesterday, I looked at my Top 10 choices. Today I will discuss selections 11-20. Over the weekend, I will update the site to show how selections 21-30 are faring. Also, I will discuss any and all trade deadline deals. So, check back over the weekend.
So, without further ado, Seth's 11-20 Twins Prospects:
#11 Lew Ford, OF
I think it is fair to say that I was wrong having Lew Ford this far down on the list for a couple of reasons. First, he should not be on the list in the first place. As it turns out, he is not even a rookie this year because of one too many days on the Twins roster last year. However, as good as I thought he could be, I really didn't think he'd get much of an opportunity this year or even in the future. I thought that his time with the Twins would be as a #4 outfielder. And, since he was 28 years old already, he would slide further down the list. Ford has been a very pleasant surprise for the Twins this year. He very easily could have been an All-Star. He has been consistently their best hitter all season long (since he was called up to the Twins a couple games into the season). He is hitting .307/.382/.489 with 23 doubles, 13 homers, 13 stolen bases and 51 RBI. Defensively, he has great range and a very strong, accurate arm. At this point, there is no reason to believe that he should not be an every day player in the major leagues for a long time.
#12 Michael Restovich, OF
Honestly, I just feel awful for Michael Restovich. The Minnesota native became a top power prospect in all of baseball. However, the Twins incredible depth in the outfield the last couple of years has kept him in AAA. At Rochester, he is hitting .257/.300/.496 with 16 homers and 46 RBI. With the Twins, he got into 16 games, primarily as a pinch runner. He was 5-19 (.263) hitting too. Sure, his numbers have stagnated at AAA, but what more does he need to prove there? No, I fully believe that if Resto gets traded to a team that needs a starting corner outfield, he could be a 30+ homer a season guy. It is just unfortunate that it will not happen with the Twins.
#13 Denard Span, OF
The Twins #1 pick in 2002, Span has struggled so far. But, his speed and athleticism keep him high on this list. Fact is, despite not having a real high batting average at Quad Cities this year, he was beginning to really show improvement in terms of getting on base (.256/359/.288). Once he is on base, he can flat-out run (11/15 SBs). As he better learns the art of stealing bases and base running, he will become a dangerous weapon. However, just 34 games into the season this year, he broke his hammate bone (in his hand). He had surgery and the team is hoping that he will be able to participate in instructional league. His name has appeared in some trade rumors. I think the Twins would like to keep him around and in 3 or 4 years, when he has developed, he could take over CF for the Twins.
#14 Josh Rabe, OF
I don't know if I've really ever seen Josh Rabe appear on a list of Twins prospects, and I'm really not sure why. He has consistently put up decent numbers and, to me more importantly, he has continued to get better with each season and at each level. With the likes of Jason Bartlett, Justin Morneau, Michael Restovich and Jason Kubel in the Rochester lineup, the 25 year old Rabe is frequently overlooked. But he has put up very solid numbers and played all three outfield positions (committing just one error). He is a big, powerful man built similarly to Michael Restovich, which makes me even more impressed that he has played CF. Again, because of the Twins outfield depth, I don't know that Rabe would ever be more than a 4th or 5th outfielder with the team, but given a chance, I think he could be a solid major league contributor. This year, he is hitting .285/.350/.405 with 22 doubles, 6 homers and an impressive 21 SBs.
#15 Evan Meek, RHP
Meek has really struggled this season. The former draft-and-follow player started the season with Quad Cities, but with an ERA over 11 in three starts, he was sent back to Extended Spring Training. He now is pitching with Elizabethton and not doing much better. His ERA is over 9 and in 15.1 innings, he has given up 17 walks, 6 HBPs and 9 wild pitches. I am thinking that I ranked him WAY too high! But, in 2003, he was 7-1 with Elizabethton and averaged a strikeout an inning.
#16 Trent Oeltjen, OF
The 21 year old Aussie outfielder has had a solid, but inconsistent season in the Florida St. League. He started out slow, but worked his batting average back over .300. Shortly after, it was back in the upper .260s. The Florida State League is traditionally a pitcher's league, so the .272/.333/.348 that he is now hitting is not bad at all. He also has seven doubles, five triples, two homers and 26 RBI. One of Oeltjen's biggest assets is his speed. This year, he already has 24 stolen bases in 31 attempts. That percentage may not seem outstanding, but it is a great improvement over his 29/43 a year ago.
#17 Alex Romero, OF
Alex Romero was probably always a prospect, but he really made a great impression last winter in Venezuela, playing for the Aragua Tigres. He has spent this season in the Ft. Myers outfield alongside Trent Oeltjen. He is hitting .293/.398/.365 with 14 doubles. He has driven in 27 runs. One thing about him that impresses me is his K/BB rate or 30/43. That's pretty impressive and bodes well for him as he progresses through the Twins system. Even more impressive when you realize that Romero will not turn 21 until September. If he continues to play well, I think he moves up this list.
#18 Alexander Smit, LHP
The youngest player on this list, Smit is just 17 years old and in his second season in the Twins organization. The Holland native pitched well for the Gulf Coast Twins last year. He started this year at Extended Spring training because putting him into a full season team would not have been good for him. So he waited for the short-season leagues to start and went to Elizabethton, where he has been great. He is 1-1 with a 2.54 ERA. But, in 28.1 innings, he has struck out 43 hitters. Plus, he has his own website too!
#19 Errol Simonitsch, RHP
He was the Twins 6th round pick in 2003 out of Gonzago. He dominated his competition at Elizabethton last year going 5-1 with a 1.76 ERA. He struck out 57 batters in 46 innings. This year, he has pitched at Quad Cities and continued to pitch well. He is 6-1 with a 2.50 ERA. He is still a little old for this age level (he'll be 22 next month), but there is really no need to rush him at this time. He has 95 strikeouts in 97.1 innings. A decent prospect, it will be interesting to see how he would do with the challenge of moving up a level of competition.
#20 James Tomlin, OF
Now Tomlin will turn 22 in two weeks, but he is playing at AA New Britain and really struggling to keep his batting average above .200. He is hitting .206/.235/.244 after hitting .303/.351/.357 last year at Ft. Myers. He must be a pretty solid defender because he has stayed in the lineup most games this season. I would expect that Tomlin will repeat New Britain next season and could regain his status as a prospect.
This weekend, I will finish this series by looking at how Seth's #21-30 Twins prospects are faring this year. To see the list of the Top 30 prospects and more information on them, click here.
If you have any other thoughts, questions, or comments, or ideas for future postings or research, please e-mail me.
The Twins had a nice, well-deserved day off yesterday after their sweep of the Chicago White Sox. The Sox even had the decency to lose to the Detroit Tigers. So, going into this weekend's series against the Boston Red Sox, the Twins have a 4 game lead in the AL Central.
American League Central Standings
Minnesota Twins 57-44 .564 ---
Chicago White Sox 52-47 .525 4.0
Cleveland Indians 52-50 .510 5.5
Detroit Tigers 48-54 . 471 9.5
Kansas City Royals 35-65 .350 21.5
But the White Sox did make a move to keep the Twins from acquiring RHP Kris Benson. They traded a prospect to the New York Mets. That prospect will be sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates along with infielder Ty Wigginton and minor league pitching prospect Matt Peterson. The Twins refused to give up Jason Kubel to Pittsburgh, a move that I certainly agree with. Kris Benson will not be a difference-maker for the Twins, or any other team this year. So, why give up too much for a guy who will not re-sign with the Twins anyway? Very nice restraint by Terry Ryan.
Now, it will be interesting to see what the Twins will be doing. Can they trade Doug Mientkiewicz to Boston, or Atlanta, or even to the Yankees as a replacement for Jason Giambi? That saga continues. Can the Twins pick up a pitcher? I don't think there are any starters that will make the team better. I would really like to see the Twins go after lefty reliever BJ Ryan of the Baltimore Orioles. I think he could replace Aaron Fultz in the bullpen, actually sliding JC Romero to the #2 lefty in the 'pen. Ryan is tough! Can they get another bat? Do they stand pat? It is going to be fun, and the trade deadline is at 2:00 on Saturday afternoon. (Again, over the weekend, I will try to make some updates on the site and give my opinions on any trades.)
Here are the pitching matchups for this weekend's Twins/Red Sox series. Sunday's matchup should be great!
Friday - 7:10 - Kyle Lohse (4-7, 4.87, 1.59, .305) vs Bronson Arroyo (3-7, 4.20, 1.26, .249)
Saturday - 6:10 - Brad Radke (7-6, 3.69, 1.16, .275) vs Derek Lowe (9-9, 5.56, 1.71, .306)
Sunday - 1:10 - Johan Santana (9-6, 3.36, 1.02, .205) vs Pedro Martinez (11-4, 4.15, 1.18, .241)
Speaking of Johan Santana, I need everyone to check out the Baseball Savant's article on why Johan Santana should be the AL Cy Young winner, if the season were to end today. He looks at the top 10 pitchers in the league and compares a number of metrics to see who has been the best. Johan Santana ranks very high in all of them. What I am pleasantly surprised to see is that Brad Radke also ranks very high among AL pitchers.
Again, the next couple of days should be very interesting for Twins fans. Do you have any thoughts on how the Twins are playing, about all the trade rumors, or anything to do with the Twins? E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Redwings 3, Ottawa 5 - David Gassner started and took the loss. He went 6.1 innings and gave up five runs (3 earned) on 9 hits. He walked none and struck out two. Jesse Crain pitched a scoreless inning. The offense had just four hits, all singles, for the game. Jason Kubel went 1-2 with two walks. Michael Ryan went 1-4 with a home run. He is now hitting .200 for Rochester. John Maine, who had a short major league debut for the Orioles against the Twins last Friday night, started for Ottawa. He walked five and gave up three his and three runs in 4.2 innings against the Redwings. The win went to former Twin Tony Fiore who pitched 3.1 shutout innings. He is now 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Rockcats 4, New Hampshire 3 - JD Durbin had another strong start, maybe making himself a candidate for a late-season Twins call up. He went six innings and gave up three runs (2 earned) on six hits and three walks. He struck out six. Kevin Cameron pitched the final three innings to record his second save. He gave up just one hit and struck out four. Eight Rockcats players each had one hit. Kevin West had a double. Garrett Jones hit his 18th homer, and Rob Bowen hit his 8th.
FT. MYERS MIRACLE
Miracle 2 Clearwater 5 - Trent Oeltjen led the Miracle with a 2-4 game. Alex Romero and Doug Deeds each hit doubles. John Thomas got the tart and gave up two unearned runs in four innings. He gave up two hits and walked two. He struck out seven. Jeff Randazzo, pitching out of the 'pen, gave up two runs (1 earned) on a hit and a walk in an inning. Manny Tejada gave up one run in the final three innings.
SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Swing 1, Burlington 2 - Glen Perkins got another start for the Swing and picked up his first professional loss. That said, he actually pitched quite well. In 6 innings, he gave up two unearned runs on seven hits and no walks. He also struck out seven. Jay Sawatski and Eric Brandon pitched the final two innings without giving up a run. Kyle Phillips went 3-4 with two doubles. Scott Whitrock went 2-4 with a double.
E-Twins , Burlingon-R - The game was postponed.
Thank you very much for stopping by this website and please continue to do so. The hit counts are continuing to go up and I appreciate that!! If you ever have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me. Have a great day!
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