Tuesday, October 3, 2006
NFL "Expert" Picks
Q&A with Doug Deeds
New Britain OF Prospect
Good morning to everyone! I know. I know. You want some playoff coverage, and there is some of that below. I have some position-by-position comparisons between the A's and Twins, and I have the pitching matchups. But, if you want my prediction for who will win the series, and in how many games, and why... you will have to go to The Baseball Analysts site!
But although there is technically just one posting today, there really are two. First, I have another exciting Q&A with a Twins minor leaguer who deserves a lot of notice. And hey, there is even a connection to the Oakland A's in it, so please be sure to check it out. Doug Deeds has been one of my favorite Twins prospects since he had a big year at New Britain in 2005. I was surprised to see how well he had done in previous minor league seasons and even more surprised when the Twins sent him back to New Britain this year. But he made the best of it. Today, he answered several of my questions, and he clearly took some time on this, and I really appreciate his efforts.
I have to be honest. At playoff time, I get more hits than at any time during the season or offseason. I think that Doug Deeds and many of the Twins minor leaguers deserve notice. So, I am posting this, hoping that you will all take the time to check out his answers and learn a little more about a Twins minor leaguer who has done nothing but produce since joining the Twins organization in 2002.
And, when you're done reading that, you can check out my thoughts on the Twins/A's series below it.
If you would like to see what other Twins prospects and more I have had Q&As with, please be sure to check out a page I created with all of my Q&As. Today, I need to thank Doug Deeds, an OF and 1B prospect who spent 2006 with the New Britain Rockcats, for taking the time to answer some questions for us! I really hope that you all enjoy the Q&As.
Doug Deeds was drafted by the Twins in the 9th round in 2002 out of Ohio State. He has done very well since then with the Twins organization. You can check out his excellent numbers here, but let's just get the Q&A started. Thanks again to Doug Deeds! If you have any comments for me or Mr. Deeds, please e-mail me, and I will try to answer your questions or forward them on to him and see if we can get you an answer.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Growing up in Ohio, who was your favorite team, and who were some of your favorite players growing up?
Doug Deeds: Growing up I followed the Cleveland Indians. My favorite player was Ted Williams
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about your high school career. Were you drafted out of high school?
Doug Deeds: In high school, I helped lead my team to the State tournament as a pitcher/ center fielder. When my high school career was all said and done, I had many accolades including a high school home run record.
SethSpeaks: You went to THE Ohio State University. The Big 10 doesn't get a lot of respect nationally for baseball, but what was your experience like there? Is it hard to be an athlete that doesn't play football or even basketball there?
Doug Deeds: Playing at The Ohio State University was a great experience. The Big Ten Conference had a talent level that was very under-rated during my two years of competition.
SethSpeaks: Nick Swisher was your college teammate, and he is really having a breakout season with the A's. Do you keep in contact with him and what do you believe his ceiling is?
Doug Deeds: Nick Swisher is a fine baseball talent. In my eyes, he will soon become a 40 plus home run slugger with a few gold gloves at first base. His opportunities are endless.
SethSpeaks: Swisher was taken in the 1st round of the 2002 draft (and was a Moneyball star!) and you were taken in the 9th round by the Twins. Your college numbers were every bit as good as Swisher's, so can you explain how you fell to the 9th round?
Doug Deeds: I'm not sure why I was overlooked that drastically. Swisher was a true number one selection and has more than proved it with his 32 home runs this year. I'm very happy with my opportunity to play professional baseball. However, if I could change anything with my career, it would be gaining more respect for my accomplishments.
SethSpeaks: Had you talked to the Twins scouts much before the draft and were you surprised when they drafted you?
Doug Deeds: The Twins were in contact with me through out the draft and the months leading up to the event.
SethSpeaks: What are your general thoughts on the Twins organization?
Doug Deeds: My general thoughts regarding the Twins are good ones. I believe I still have a tremendous chance in becoming a contribute at the big league level.
SethSpeaks: What was the adjustment to pro baseball like for you?
Doug Deeds: My transition to pro-ball life was a smooth one. Playing everyday was less of a challenge than I thought it would be. Baseball is a great game and I learned how much fun it really can be.
SethSpeaks: Who were some of the coaches or people that have helped you get to this point in your career?
Doug Deeds: My dad had the biggest influence on my career. He was the guy that helped me find a stronger self and the drive to be successful in life and in baseball.
SethSpeaks: How would you describe yourself as a player? What are your strengths, and what areas would you say you most have to improve upon?
Doug Deeds: I am a gap to gap hitter with power. I draw a lot of walks and have the ability to hit for an average. I think I can improve in my speed game and try and steel more bases.
SethSpeaks: You got into a few games for the Twins this spring and hit a double and a homer in four at bats. That had to be exciting! What was the experience with the big club in spring like for you?
Doug Deeds: Watching big league hitters prepare them self to hit a pitcher, and seeing the way they played the game was an exciting learning experience. And to get a chance to contribute to the games' outcome was more than I could ask for. It was a great time all around.
SethSpeaks: After an incredible 2005 season in New Britain, I was shocked that you were sent back there for this season. I'm sure New Britain is a wonderful place to play ball, but you had to be disappointed as well. Now that the season is complete, how do you feel about that decision and how did you coped with it?
Doug Deeds: Starting and ending the season in New Britain was a little unexpected. However, I got a chance to play everyday and learn a new position in first base. So as the season ended, I am a better player now than last year at this time. Learning what you can and cannot control really helped me grow this season.
SethSpeaks: I was pretty sure that Danny Matienzo was Rochester-bound as well as he was terrific last year too, and he too was sent back to New Britain. Tell us a little about him as a player and teammate.
Doug Deeds: Danny is a great friend and a great person to have in the club house. If his next stop is Rochester, Minnesota, or where ever, he will put up some good power numbers.
SethSpeaks: Pat Neshek just got called up to the Twins and made his big league debut. You have spent parts of three seasons with him. How would you describe him as a teammate and as a person?
Doug Deeds: Pat is a well deserving guy of his promotion to Minnesota. He is a confident pitcher with amazing stuff. I've never been around a better teammate and I hope to see him soon.
SethSpeaks: As a OF and 1B, tell us a little about playing behind the likes of Glen Perkins, Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey and the other pitchers on your roster.
Doug Deeds: Our pitching staff was a good one. For the most part they gave us a chance to win and that's all you can ask for from the starting pitcher. Being closer to the action at first base, I got a chance to appreciate the consistency at which our starters pounded the strike zone.
SethSpeaks: Are there any of your teammates that you would say have a bright big league future? Are there any that you think will surprise Twins fans?
Doug Deeds: ALEXI CASILLA
SethSpeaks: What is the best part about a career in baseball?
Doug Deeds: The chance to live a dream.
SethSpeaks: What is the most difficult part of life in baseball?
Doug Deeds: Spending half your life away from your family is a difficult part of being a baseball player.
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball movie?
Doug Deeds: The Natural
SethSpeaks: What do you think it will be like to put on a big league uniform in a regular season game for the first time?
Doug Deeds: Making it to "The Show," would be special. I'm sure I would feel like superman for a moment or two.
SethSpeaks: Is there anything else that you would like to share with Twins fans around the country about yourself?
Doug Deeds: If I were to be lucky enough to break in the big leagues with the Twins, it would be extra special for me. My Sister, Brother in-law, and my two beautiful nieces live in the Minneapolis area. They have never seen me play. To get a chance of a life time and have my sister's family there to see it would be very very special.
Doug, thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions.
Do you have any thoughts or questions for Doug Deeds or me? If so, please feel free to e-mail me.
If you would like to read any previous Q&A's, I have set up a new page that contains the links to all of them. Click here to see who all has done a Q&A with SethSpeaks.
Is anyone skipping work this afternoon to either go to the Dome, or go home to watch the game? I know I am. I can't wait!
Boof Bonser was named the AL Rookie of the Month for September when he went 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA.
Johan Santana was named the AL Pitcher of the Month for September. He went 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA in the month.
Pat Neshek wrote Sunday night of the crazy day that it was for him and his family. Very entertaining read.
Murray Chass of The New York Times wrote a very nice article on Twins GM Terry Ryan and A's GM Billy Beane.
Here is a quick look at the pitching stats of the pitchers in this ALDS.
Game 1 - Tues - 12:05 - Johan Santana (19-6, 2.77, 1.00, .216) vs Barry Zito (16-10, 3.83, 1.40, .257)
Game 2 - Wed - 12:05 - Boof Bonser (7-6, 4.22, 1.28, .267) vs Dan Haren (14-13, 4.12, 1.21, .258)
Game 3 - Fri - 3:05 - Brad Radke (12-9, 4.32, 1.41, .307) vs Rich Harden (4-0, 3.35, 1.12, .187)
Game 4 - Sat - 3:05 - Carlos Silva (0-1, 23.62, 3.75, .500) vs Joe Blanton (16-12, 4.82, 1.54, .309)
What about the bats? Well, here are the positional comparisons for this series:
CATCHERS - Joe Mauer vs Jason Kendall - Mauer became the first catcher in AL history to win a batting title. He also got on base 43% of the time. Kendall hit .295 and got on base about 37% of the time, but he has no power. And, Mauer is much, much better defensively. ADVANTAGE - Twins big!
FIRST BASE - Justin Morneau vs Dan Johnson/Nick Swisher - Justin Morneau put up MVP caliber numbers. 34 homers, 130 RBI, .320 average. Johnson had to be demoted midway through the season. He plays 1B against righties, and Nick Swisher moves in to play against lefties. Combined, they hit 23 homers and drove in 78 runs while playing 1B. ADVANTAGE - Twins!
SECOND BASE - Luis Castillo vs Mark Ellis - Castillo hit .295 and got on base 35.6% of the time. Ellis hit .248 and got one 31.8% of the time. So, Ellis may have some more power, but overall, Castillo is probably still a little bit better. Defensively, both are solid, with a slight edge going to Castillo. ADVANTAGE - Twins
THIRD BASE - Nick Punto vs Eric Chavez - You would think this would be a bigger discrepancy. Punto hit .290/.355/.376 with 21 doubles, 7 triples, a homer and 45 RBI. Chavez hit .241/.351/.436 with 24 doubles, 22 homers and 71 RBI. Defensively, Punto is very good. Chavez is great! ADVANTAGE - A's.
SHORTSTOP - Jason Bartlett vs Marco Scutaro - Bartlett played in each of the final 98 Twins games and hit .307/.365/.392. Scutaro replaced the injured-as-always Bobby Crosby at short. On the year, he hit .260/.343/.393. There was talk of Crosby returning for the playoffs. It doesn't really matter. Advantage - Twins.
LEFT FIELD - Rondell White/Jason Tyner vs Nick Swisher/Jay Payton - Rondell White has been very solid in the second half. Tyner provided some spark to the Twins lineup in the second half. Nick Swisher hit 35 homers and drove in 95 runs this year. Jay Payton actually plays most every day somewhere. In this case, big ADVANTAGE A's.
CENTER FIELD - Torii Hunter vs Mark Kotsay - Torii Hunter was a huge part of the Twins success the last 4-6 weeks. On the year, he hit .278/.336/.456 with 21 doubles, 31 homers and 98 RBI. Kotsay hit .272/.328/.382 with 28 doubles and seven homers. Big ADVANTAGE Twins.
RIGHT FIELD - Michael Cuddyer vs Milton Bradley - Cuddyer finally got his chance in May and did he ever take full advantage of it. He hit .282/.360/.584 with 24 homers and 109 RBI. Imagine how many runs he could have driven in if he would have started the season as a starter. Bradley is a very good hitter, he just gets hurt a lot, this year missing 65 games. When he played, he hit .273/.368/.443 with 13 doubles and 14 homers. It's close, but ADVANTAGE Twins.
DESIGNATED HITTER - Jason Tyner/Phil Nevin vs Frank Thomas - The Twins really don't have a prototypical DH, but the combination of Tyner, Nevin and even Joe Mauer has done alright. However, Frank Thomas has had an incredible comeback season with his new team. Thomas has hit .269/.381/.538 with 11 doubles, 38 homers and 110 RBI. HUGE ADVANTAGE A's.
Any thoughts? Am I wrong on any of my comparisons, or did I give advantage to the wrong team? As I have it here, the Twins have the advantage at six positions, and the A's do in three spots. Johan Santana is the best pitcher in baseball. He goes against the A's best pitcher in Barry Zito. After Zito, the A's rotation is full of potential, guys that can dominate, but guys that have not been at all consistent. The Twins can't say much more. Bonser was incredible since mid-August, but is a rookie. Radke's status is in question. Silva, well, he was one of the worst pitchers in baseball this year. To me, the big difference is in the bullpens. The Twins had the #1 ranked bullpen in the AL. The A's bullpen's ERA was 3rd. That doesn't explain much. The Twins' bullpen's ERA was 2.03. The A's? A distant 3.57. That could be where the difference is found. Of course, anything can happen in the short series. Average players can look like stars over 3-5 games. And stars can look pedestrian in a short series. It will be interesting to see who steps up for the Twins in 2006. I happen to think that Michael Cuddyer will thrive in this series. To see my series prediction, be sure to check out The Baseball Analysts.
NFL "Expert" Picks
Well, we are finding out more frequently that I am no longer a football guru. Wow! 7-7 in back-to-back weeks. That's not good! This week, we had four participants go 11-3. They were JD Arney of Reds Reporter, Will Young, Bill Ferris of The Detroit Tigers Weblog, and Mike Brasel. Kyle Waldrop maintained his two game lead over the rest of the panelists. Check back on Friday for our Week 5 picks.
|Kyle Waldrop||Twins Pitching Prospect||10||4||71.4%||44||16||73.3%|
|Stick & Ball Guy||Stick & Ball Guy||10||4||71.4%||42||18||70.0%|
|JD Arney||Reds Reporter||11||3||78.6%||41||19||68.3%|
|Roger Dehring||Several Blogs||9||5||64.3%||40||20||66.7%|
|Bill Ferris||Detroit Tigers Blog||11||3||78.6%||39||21||65.0%|
|Will Young||Will's Twins Blog||11||3||78.6%||39||21||65.0%|
|Al Bethke||Al's Ramblings||9||5||64.3%||38||22||63.3%|
|LaVelle E. Neal III||Mpls Star-Tribune||9||5||64.3%||37||23||61.7%|
|Trevor Born||Twins Junkie||10||4||71.4%||37||23||61.7%|
|Mike Brasel||Fantasy FB Guru||11||3||78.6%||37||23||61.7%|
|Seth's Mom's Class||St. Pauls School||10||4||71.4%||37||23||61.7%|
|Cory Hepola||KTVH-TV Sports||8||6||57.1%||36||24||60.0%|
|Kevin Slowey||Twins Pitching Prospect||8||6||57.1%||35||25||58.3%|
Let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today!|
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