Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
Good morning everyone! After a late Sunday night, I will keep today's posting short (relatively speaking). But if you want to read all about my trip to the cities this weekend, to the state fair, to the WCCO-radio booth and the live on-air program with the likes of Rita Maloney and Ron Coomer, click here. It was such a great time, and a great opportunity. But I will cover last night's minor league games and post a few thoughts on the Twins 3-1 win over the Royals in 10 innings. My intention was to post an Analysis of Scott Baker's start, just to get a more detailed idea of what he is all about on the mound. However, I have a previous commitment. I set my VCR to tape the game so I could go back and report on Baker, but the VCR was set to the wrong speed and didn't record long enough. That's why today's posting is going to be short. Also, I am working on tomorrow's posting, which I think will be very interesting. For those of you interested in my Q&A entries, I have one coming along that I hope will be ready by the end of this week. If not, it will be early next week. So, that gives you a little bit of an idea of what to expect.
First, I want to just link to a few articles or stories that I have found interesting.
I link to the Stick and Ball Guy a lot! There is a reason for that. He's incredible. For instance, check out the following paragraph from his article today:
Juan Castro is under contract for next year, which means he'll be on the roster next year. Do you think that he should play in front of Bartlett? Since Barlett has been called up, he's hitting .310/.365/.379/.774. Not much punch, but that OBP is nice. Let's see. An OPS of .774? What was Hunter's again this year? .788? Now, Bartlett struggled earlier in the season and his OPS for the season is .703. Not great. But, better than Castro's .661. And Punto's .636. Good God. So many players are well below .750 it is just depressing. That's why I want to talk 2006.
I don't know if you would consider this 'sport' or what. But there was quite the competition over in the African nation of Swaziland recently.
Last week on his site, Pat Neshek said that the New Britain Rockcats had an offday yesterday (Monday) and an 11-13 hour bus ride to Akron on their schedule. So, he asked people to send him questions to ask players from the team. Yesterday, he posted a great Q&A with pitcher John Thomas. It is very interesting and fun. Remember, Thomas came to the Twins from the Giants organization after the 2003 season in exchange for Dustan Mohr.
Any thoughts?? E-mail me.
Well, the move was made. Joe Mays is in the bullpen. Luis Rodriguez is in Rochester. Scott Baker is an official member of the Minnesota Twins starting rotation. About time? Definitely. Too late? Probably.
So, how did Baker perform last night? Incredibly! Seven innings. One run. Four hits. One walk. Five strikeouts. That is a great line against anyone, even the weak Kansas City Royals. He dropped his season ERA to 2.25 in twenty innings of work. Should have been enough for a Win, right? When Twins people talk about Baker, the word 'poise' is frequently used. He looks so calm on the mound, which is good. He looks difficult to rattle. But a great example of this might have come in the 6th inning. The Royals had a runner on first and one out. There was a grounder back to Baker that he fielded and turned quickly toward second. Instead of rushing the throw to the shortstop, he took an extra half-second and made a very strong, accurate throw to Bartlett, who completed the double play.
So, was Baker's presence enough to kick start the Twins offense last night against DJ Carrasco? Not even a little bit. The offense let the team down again. Again, however, it is hard to blame any one specific player. It is pretty obvious to me how to get Michael Cuddyer out. Throw him anything that breaks away from a right-handed hitter. He pulls off of the ball every single time. However, he had an RBI single to give the Twins a lead in the fourth inning. Late in the game, Jason Bartlett led off the inning with a double. Michael Ryan bunted him over to 3B. That brought up Nick Punto. Sure, he had a long at bat, but how did it end? Let me just guess... oh yeah, a CALLED third strike. But, since he came up with a big two run double in the 10th inning that essentially won the game, it is easy to forget that he had a chance in the 7th to give the Twins the lead, and maybe Baker a win. Oh, and Justin Morneau is looking completely lost again at the plate... I guess I don't have any redeeming quality to fight that right now. Joe Mauer will continue to be walked in meaningful situations until a big bat finds its way behind him in the lineup.
I have been thinking of something the last few days. The Twins seem to be one of those teams that like moving runners up a base. When there is a runner on 2B, the Twins (and most teams) congratulate a hitter who hits the groundball to 2B to advance the runner to 3B. Of course, that means that the team's, and the player's, batting average with Runners in Scoring Position. So, after thinking about that, is that really a statistic that should be used to really show anything? Personally, I'm not a big fan of the sacrifice bunt, at least not until the 7th or 8th inning of a close game, and only if a weak hitter is at the plate. When Bartlett doubled in the 7th to lead off the inning, Michael Ryan then laid down a sacrifice bunt (with horrible form, mind you) to advance Bartlett to 3B. Now, Ryan is a weak hitter, no question, but he is also left handed. That means that all he has to do to advance the runner is pull the ball to the right side. I would rather see him get to swing away, with the intent of moving the runner up. First, maybe the pitcher, expecting a bunt, grooves a pitch down the middle that Ryan can drive out, or to a gap, or just for a single to drive in the run itself. As long as the hitter doesn't strikeout or pop out, the runner should advance. I just think so many more positives can happen by swinging the bat.
By the way, I think it is time to point out that Jason Bartlett has looked vastly improved defensively at shortstop! Don't you think? Combine that with the way he has hit since his recall, and I think we can see that he has a bright future.
So, how do we feel about Denny Hocking in a Royals uniform? It is a strange look. He has only been up for a few weeks but is playing most every day. Hard to believe that he is already 35 years old.
If you have any thoughts, please e-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
ROCHESTER RED WINGS
Monday - RED WINGS 4, Buffalo 5 - JD Durbin was back on the mound for the Wings last night. He gave up five runs on ten hits in five innings. He walked just one and struck out six. Jason Miller pitched another scoreless frame. Willie Eyre gave up four hits, but no runs, in two innings. Todd Dunwoody went 2-4 with his fourth homer and two RBI. Luis Rodriguez got back to Rochester quickly and went 2-4.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Monday - ROCKCATS - No Game Scheduled. Travel Day.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Monday - MIRACLE 8, Tampa 2 - Anthony Swarzak had another quality start. He allowed one run on six hits and two walks in six innings. Jose Mijares came in and in 1.2 innings, he allowed a run on a hit, and three walks. He struck out three. Jan Granado got one out, a strikeout. Jake Mauer led the offense with a 3-4 day. Justin Arneson went 2-4 with his third double, third homer and two RBI. Mark Zamojc was 2-4 with a double. Kyle Geiger went 2-2 with a walk.
Monday - SNAPPERS 1, Peoria 2 - Kevin Slowey got a loss! Kevin Slowey got a loss! But he pitched incredibly again. He went eight innings and gave up just two runs. He allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out nine. David Shinskie struck out one in a perfect inning of relief. Landon Burt went 2-3 with a walk. David Winfree knocked his fifth triple.
Monday - E-Twins 8, Princeton 0 - E-Town is officially just readying itself for the Appy League playoffs, particularly their pitching staff. Brian Duensing started and gave up two hits and two walks, and struck out three, in three innings. Joe Gault got the Win with two innings of one-hit ball. Oswaldo Sosa struck out five in three perfect innings. Ryan Gehring pitched a scoreless inning.
With that, I am going to call it a day! I hope everyone has a good 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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