Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday Morning Tidbits

Glen Perkins came into the ninth inning in Detroit with a two-run lead to work with and he sure made things interesting by allowing Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to reach on singles. In the end, Perkins was able to get out of the jam and the Twins were victorious for the fourth straight game. It was interesting to see the Twins put together six runs without managing an extra-base hit. This was especially intriguing after a weekend where the team went homer happy against the Royals pitching staff.

After Liam Hendriks looked to be in line for his first win at the MLB level, he ran into trouble in the fifth inning with too many walks. The bullpen was left to finish off the final five innings and the pitchers put together shut out frame after shut out frame to preserve the win. Anthony Swarzak ended up with the victory but Alex Burnett was also very good during his time on the mound.

Since it is Tuesday, make sure to check back later tonight as I will recap all of the action from across the minor league system for the Twins. For now, enjoy this week's edition of "Tuesday Morning Tidbits."

Sano documentary under heat from MLB
A documentary about the signing and development of players in the Dominican Republic is being released and MLB is not happy about the content covered in the film. The movie is called "Ballplayer: Pelotero" and it  follows closely the lives of two players as they strive to make their way from the fields in the Dominican Republic to huge signing bonuses with MLB clubs. One of the young players followed in this film is Miguel Sano, the top prospect in the Twins organization.

One of the most intriguing scenes in the movie is some hidden camera footage from the family of Miguel Sano when Rene Gayo, the Pittsburgh Pirates' director of Latin American scouting operations, tries to convince his family to admit that he lied about his age. Later in the film, the family attorney for the Sano's accuses MLB of trying to coax him into signing with the lowly Pirates. These were just some of the scenes that MLB was not happy about from the early screenings of the film.

Overall, it seems like it would be a very interesting film for fans of baseball. There have been questions about the ages of players coming out of the Dominican Republic for years but it seems like baseball is trying to do a better job of cleaning up this mess. For fans of the Twins, it would be interesting to see behind the scenes of the player that might be the future of the franchise.

Liriano's audition continues
If the Twins want to get pass Liriano on to another team before the trade deadline, there seems to be more than one team that is interested in his services. During his last start on Sunday afternoon, there were scouts in attendance from the Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees. It seems like the Braves might have the most interest since they have sent one of their top scouts to attend the last two starts by Mr. Liriano. This would make sense with some of the problems that the Braves have gone through with their starting pitching this season.

Since Liriano returned to the rotation at the end of May, he has done much better by posting a 2.95 ERA in 42.2 innings pitched. This has only translated to one win but his strike out to walk ratio has improved greatly as he has struck out 46 batters and walked 18. In his six starts before being banished to the bullpen, Liriano walked 19 and struck out 21 in 26.2 innings. This fast turn around in performance might have helped the Twins to squeeze some value out of Liriano.

The Atlanta Braves have a lot of pitching prospects in their top propsects and it would be nice for the Twins to add some depth to their minor league system in this area of weakness for the club. Another intriguing prospect could be Christian Bethancourt, a 20-year old catcher that has already made his way to the Double-A level. Baseball America had Bethancourt ranked as the ninth best prospect in the Braves organization so that might be a high cost for Liriano.

Sano rediscovers his HR stroke, errors mounting
After seeing a steady stream of offspeed pitches for most of the month of June, Miguel Sano rediscovered his home run swing during the last few games. He has hit three home runs in his last five times in the line-up and he is now leading the Midwest League with 18 home runs on the year. His recent hot streak has raised his average back above .240 after a rough couple of months where he hit under .220 in 191 at-bats. This is a welcome sign for fans looking for Sano to be the next big thing for the Twins organization.

In a less positive note, Sano continues to struggle mightily in the field as he uses his big frame at third base. He went into last night's game with 28 errors for the season and he had to be pulled from the game after having adding another three errors to that total. Until he shows that he can improve at third base, there will continue to be questions about whether he can stick at the hot corner. His high prospect status means that he will move through the organization but he might need to shift to a less vital position on the field.

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