Thursday, May 31, 2012

Minnesota Twins Top 10 Prospects

The MLB Draft takes place next week and the Twins hope to be able to take some difference makers with the five picks they have in the first couple of rounds. With the number two pick, the Twins should be getting a player that will jump straight into the top 5 of the list below.

It's great to see where the organization is sitting before they enter the draft. A team's future is decided by the players they select in the draft and a team can be made or broken because of some tough decisions. The team is always in need of adding more pitching depth especially with the onslaught of injuries that have hit some of the top pitching prospects for the team.

Even since the offseason when I put together my last prospect list, the players have shifted around for a variety of reasons. There is still plenty of talent in the Twins system and the draft should only strengthen the future of the club.

1. Miguel Sano, 3B, Low-A Beloit Snappers
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent (2009)
.245/.351/.527, 13 HR, 10 2B, 2 3B, 40 RBI, 32 R
He is hands down the best prospect in the Twins organization and you will get very few who will argue the fact. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus recently wrote an article that named Sano as the best power-hitting prospect in the entire minor leagues. He is off to a very good start with Low-A Beloit and one of the most positive signs could be his increased rate of walks. Many fans of the Twins pull up the box score of the Snappers on any given night to see what kind of game Sano had at the plate. He is still a work in progress at third base with 19 errors in 165 chances this year. His 19-year old frame continues to fill out and the Twins are excited about what Sano can mean to the future of this organization. 

2. Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Low-A Beloit Snappers
Acquired: 4th round pick (2010)
.284/.356/.458, 16 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 33 RBI, 25 R
The Twins saw Rosario blossom last season with the Elizabethton Twins and he continues to impress during his third season with the club. He put up monster numbers for the E-Twins in 2011 and he was named co-MVP of the Appalachian League. Rosario has shown power to all fields and his defense had been outstanding in the outfield. The word "had" is used in the previous sentence because the team decided to transition Rosario from outfield to second base. He has found a few struggles at his new position but he has multiple levels to make it through before the major leagues. This should give the 20-year old plenty of time to prove he can handle the rigors of second base.

3. Liam Hendriks, RHP, Triple-A Rochester Red Wings
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent (2007)
W-L (3-0), 1.40 ERA, 0.896 WHIP, 23 K, 8 BB, 25.2 IP
Hendriks has made eight starts in the major leagues with very little to no success but his return trip to Rochester seems to be just what the doctor ordered. He has been impressive so far in his four appearances for the Red Wings and he should get another shot in the major leagues before the season is done. The calling card for Hendriks during his time in the minor leagues has been his ability to control the strike zone and avoid walking batters. Last year he lead the Twins organization in strikeouts with 127 and he was second in wins with 12. The Twins will have openings in the starting rotation for next year and Hendriks should solidify a spot in the starting five in the coming months.

4. Aaron Hicks, OF, Double-A New Britain Rock Cats
Acquired: 1st round pick (2008)
.246/.335/.392, 8 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 29 R
At 22-years old, the Twins are still waiting for Hicks to break out and prove he can be the player he was when they selected him in the first half of first round of the draft in 2008. He played in the Arizona Fall League this past offseason and some scouts thought he was a little lost at the beginning of his tenure. Hicks was able to work through some of those issues and end the AFL by making some improvements to his approach at the plate. The switch-hitting outfielder still struggles as a left-handed batter by hitting .205/.313/.344 so far this year but 10 of his 14 extra-base hits have come from this side of the plate. His defense continues to be outstanding in the outfield and Baseball America ranked him as the top defensive outfielder and top defensive arm in the Twins system.

5. Joe Benson, OF, Double-A New Britain Rock Cats
Acquired: 2nd round pick (2006)
.173/.264/.299, 3 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 11 R
It has been a very rough start to the season for Benson in 2012 as he was suppose to be thriving at Rochester and busting down the door to the major leagues. Things haven't gone exactly to plan and he finds himself demoted to New Britain to try and find his swing. He struggled last season during his September call-up with the Twins but this still didn't take away from the promise he has shown in his minor league career. He was the 2010 player of the year for the Twins farm system and the team hopes he can get back to that level in the near future.

6. Oswaldo Arcia, OF, High-A Fort Myers Miracle
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent (2007)
.298/.351/.482, 13 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 13 R
It seems as if Arcia could find himself shooting up this prospect list with his performance in 2012. He is currently outperforming many of the names listed above him and it should only be a matter of time before he finds himself in the outfield of the Rock Cats. He has never played more than 81 games in a season so it will be interesting to see how he fairs towards the end of a long campaign.

7. Kyle Gibson, RHP, Triple-A Rochester Red Wings
Acquired: 1st round pick (2009)
Gibson is in the midst of rehabbing his way back from Tommy John surgery and he should be throwing off of a mound at the beginning of June. The Twins hope to get Gibson into some minor league games by the end of the summer and he could be set to join the Twins starting rotation in 2013. When he was healthy, he moved through the minor league system very quickly so it will be great to see what he can do with his surgically repaired elbow.

8. Travis Harrison, 3B, Extended Spring Training
Acquired: Supplemental 1st round pick (2011)
When the Twins took Harrison in the supplemental round of last June's draft, there were some lofty expectation thrown on the high school power hitter. As a prep player, he showed tremendous power potential and the team was happy to take him with one of their early round picks. His size and body type make it hard to believe that he will stick at third base but his bat projects to be one of the biggest in the system.

9. Brian Dozier, SS, MLB Minnesota Twins
Acquired: 8th round pick (2009)
.228/.247/.337, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 8 R
It is looking like Dozier won't be on this prospect list for long as the team has inserted him into the role of everyday shortstop at the major league level. After getting off to a hot start in his first handful of games, the rest of the league has made some adjustments and Dozier has come back down to earth. The Twins are committed to Dozier at this point and he looks like he will be entrenched at shortstop until he proves he can't handle the job.

10. Adrian Salcedo, RHP, High-A Fort Myers Miracle
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent (2007)
W-L (0-1), 5.64 ERA, 1.881 WHIP, 13 SO, 15 BB, 22.1 IP
So far this year, Salcedo has run into some strange situations on the mound. He was forced to leave one start this year after a one-hopper broke his nose. A blister on his finger in a different outing caused him to leave the game. Now Salcedo is on the disabled list with an elbow injury as he tries to rehab his way back onto the field. Mr. Salcedo has seen success at every level of the minor leagues so hopefully the start of this year is just a small hiccup.

Just missing the list: Chris Parmelee 1B, Alex Wimmers RHP, Hudson Boyd RHP, Chris Herrmann C, Levi Michael IF

Twins 2007 MLB Draft Capsule

In preparation for next week's MLB First Year Player Draft, I have put together some short draft capsules to look at the prospects the Twins have taken with their early round picks in recent memory. In the coming days, I will release these list with some short profiles on what the players have done since joining the organization. Selecting the right players in the draft can separate a winning club from a losing club so it is important to know what the Twins have done in the past.
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1st Round
Pick 28: Ben Revere, OF
Current Level: MLB Minnesota Twins
.300/.344/.417, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 8 R
Fans of the Twins saw a lot of what Ben Revere could offer the club in 2011 when he played in 117 games as a rookie. His speed and defensive skills thrilled fans across baseball and his tremendous catch in a game at Target Field will be replayed for years to come. In 2012, Revere started the year in Minnesota but the team sent him to Rochester to get more playing time and to find success at a level he basically skipped in the minors. He is back with the club and his offense has looked more promising because of the amount of extra-base hits he has managed to accumulate. Last season, he looked like he would only be a singles hitter; but if he can continue to find extra-base hits, he could be very valuable asset for the club.


2nd Round
Pick 92: Danny Rams, C
Current Level: A+ Fort Myers Miracle
.057/.195/.057, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R
Since signing with the Twins out of the draft, Rams has run into some difficulties with hitting the ball. So far in 2012, he only has two hits to his name in 41 plate appearances for the Miracle and neither of those hits are for extra bases. He is a decent defensive catcher but he is going to need to make some strides at the plate for the Twins to keep him around in the organization. As a 23-year old light hitting catcher that is in High-A for the second year in a row, time could be running thin for him to prove to the Twins that he was worth the second round selection.


3rd Round
Pick 122: Angel Morales, OF
Current Level: A+ Fort Myers Miracle
.214/.272/.277, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 16 R
The 22-year old outfield prospect is spending his second summer in Fort Myers after missing a big chunk of last season with an injury. Morales ranks as one of the best prospects in the organization even though he is off to a slow start to the 2012 season. He combines power and speed to be an offensive threat and his defense is also above average in the outfield. Between 2010-2012, he has played 150 games at the High-A level so it would be nice to see him turn things around for the second half of this year. He is still young enough that there will be plenty of hope following him as he moves his way through the system.


4th Round
Pick 152: Reggie Williams, 3B
Highest Level (w/ Twins): A+ Fort Myers Miracle
Williams spent the last four years in the Twins minor league system and he never really put it together. After being drafted as a third baseman, the Twins wanted Williams to develop into a power threat but he failed to hit over seven home runs in any single season. With how uneventful his career was with the Twins, he might be more known for the homophobic Twitter rant he went on earlier this year.

Other notables: Danny Lehmann, C (8th round, pick 272), Steve Hirschfeld, RHP (9th round, pick 302)

(Statistics current as of games played on May 29, 2012)

Twins 2008 MLB Draft Capsule

In preparation for next week's MLB First Year Player Draft, I have put together some short draft capsules to look at the prospects the Twins have taken with their early round picks in recent memory. In the coming days, I will release these list with some short profiles on what the players have done since joining the organization. Selecting the right players in the draft can separate a winning club from a losing club so it is important to know what the Twins have done in the past.
~~~~~~~~~~
1st Round
Pick 14: Aaron Hicks, OF
Current Level: AA New Britain Rock Cats
.246/.335/.727, 5 HR, 8 2B, 1 3B, 29 R, 26 RBI
When the Twins took Hicks with the 14th pick in the first round, he seemed to have all of the tools that would make him a very dangerous player in the field and at the plate. His defense has continued to be outstanding at every level of the minor leagues but his offense has not projected as well as the team would like. The 22-year old switch hitter continues to be one of the highest ranked prospects in the organization because of the potential he has yet to unlock. During last offseason, he competed in the Arizona Fall League with the majority of the other players being older than him. By the end of the AFL, he had improved himself at the plate and the Twins hope he continues to show improvement as he works his way to the major leagues.

Pick 27: Carlos Gutierrez, RHP
Current Level: AAA Rochester Red Wings
W-L (1-1), 6.00 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 8 SO, 3 BB, 6.0 IP
After Torii Hunter signed with the Angels as a free agent, the Twins were compensated by getting the first round pick from LA. Gutierrez was the player the Twins took with this pick and he is only one step away from breaking into the big leagues. He was taken as a starter in the draft and the Twins let him try and make it as a starter through the 2010 season. Now for the last two years, his primary role has been that of a relief pitcher and the transition has not been particularly smooth. Last season with the Red Wings, he posted an ERA of 4.62 with 57 walks in 62.1 innings on the mound. At one point Baseball America pegged Gutierrez as the closer of the future for the Twins but now the club would settle for him showing he can be a consistent relief option.

Supplemental Round
Pick 31: Shooter Hunt, RHP
Highest Level (w/ Twins): A+ Fort Myers Miracle
Hunt dealt with severe control problems during his time in the Twins organization and he was taken by the St. Louis organization in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. In his second season at Ft. Myers last year, he had 61 walks in 42.2 innings with 16 wild pitches. He has yet to pitch in a game since joining the Cardinals organization and it will be interesting to see if he is ever able to put it all together as a professional pitcher.

2nd Round
Pick 60: Tyler Ladendorf, SS
Highest Level (w/ Twins): A Beloit Snappers
The Twins dealt away the rights to Ladendorf in a deadline deal in 2009 to acquire Orlando Cabrera from the Oakland Athletics. Ladendorf was at Low-A at the time and the Twins needed some stability in their middle infield as they pushed for the playoffs. He has gotten a few tastes of Triple-A in the last two seasons but he has struggled with the adjustment to pitchers at that level. In 2012, Ladendorf has played the entire year at the Double-A level and he might have turned the corner by hitting .299/.386/.429 in 37 games. Now he spends more time at second base but it will be interesting to see if he ever succeeds at the next level.

3rd Round
Pick 92: Bobby Lanigan, RHP
Current Level: AA New Britain Rock Cats
W-L (1-3), 4.30 ERA, 1.304 WHIP, 23 SO, 4 BB, 23.0 IP
For the third year in a row, Lanigan is spending time at the Double-A level with the Rock Cats. His college experience allowed the Twins to use him as a starter in his first four years in the organization but now the team has transitioned him to the bullpen. He fits the mold of Twins pitchers by throwing strikes and not walking batters. In his last appearance, he allowed five earned runs on five hits in less than an inning of work. One poor outing can throw off some of his statistics for his first year in the bullpen. His transition to the bullpen could be something to keep an eye on in the next couple years.

Other notables: Daniel Ortiz (4th round, pick 126), Evan Bigley (10th round, pick 306)

(Statistics current as of games played on May 29, 2012)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Twins 2009 MLB Draft Capsule

In preparation for next week's MLB First Year Player Draft, I have put together some short draft capsules to look at the prospects the Twins have taken with their early round picks in recent memory. In the coming days, I will release these list with some short profiles on what the players have done since joining the organization. Selecting the right players in the draft can separate a winning club from a losing club so it is important to know what the Twins have done in the past.
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1st Round
Pick 22: Kyle Gibson, RHP
Highest Level: AAA Rochester Red Wings
With the Twins struggling to find consistency from their starting rotation, it would have been nice to have Kyle Gibson as part of the starting rotation in 2012. Instead, the 24-year old pitcher has spent the greater portion of the last year recovering from Tommy John surgery. He is on pace to pitch off the mound at the beginning of June and he should be able to make some minor league appearances before the season is complete. The 2010 Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year will fight for a rotation spot during next year's spring training and there could be plenty of open spots for his revamped right arm.

Supplemental Round
Pick 46: Matt Bashore, LHP
Highest Level (w/ Twins): RK Elizabethton Twins
The Twins saw plenty of promise when they selected him as the 46th overall pick in the 2009 draft. Since then, the reliever has needed two Tommy John surgeries and he was released by the club. The Yankees have since signed the 24-year old southpaw but he has only appeared in 2 games for their High-A club in the last month. As a proven college arm, the Twins were not expecting Bashore to fail as miserably as he did but injuries can derail a pitching career in a hurry.


2nd Round
Pick 70: Billy Bullock, RHP
Highest Level (w/ Twins): AA New Britain
During last year's Rule 5 Draft, the Twins picked Scott Diamond from the Atlanta Braves organization. At the end of spring training, the team wanted to send Diamond to Triple-A but in order to do that the team had to work out a deal with the Braves. The player sent to the Braves as compensation for keeping Diamond was Mr. Bullock. In recent weeks, the deal is looking better for the Twins with Diamond looking decent in the rotation and Bullock struggling in his third year with time spent at Double-A. 

3rd Round
Pick 101: Ben Tootle, RHP
Highest Level (w/ Twins): A Beloit Snappers
The fourth college arm the Twins took in the first three rounds and much like the names mentioned above, Tootle is no longer in the Twins organization. During his couple of seasons in the system, he struggled mightily with his command by walking 42 batters in 54.1 innings while throwing 14 wild pitches. No minor league affiliate was willing to take a chance with Tootle and he is now pitching for the Sioux Falls Pheasants.

Other notables: Chris Herrmann (6th round, pick 192), Brian Dozier (8th round, pick 252)

(Statistics current as of games played on May 29, 2012)

Twins 2010 MLB Draft Capsule

In preparation for next week's MLB First Year Player Draft, I have put together some short draft capsules to look at the prospects the Twins have taken with their early round picks in recent memory. In the coming days, I will release these list with some short profiles on what the players have done since joining the organization. Selecting the right players in the draft can separate a winning club from a losing clubso it is important to know what the Twins have done in the past.
~~~~~~~~~~
1st Round
Pick 21: Alex Wimmers, RHP
Current Level: AA New Britain Rock Cats
W-L (0-0), 4.15 ERA, 1.846 WHIP, 3 SO, 2 BB, 4.1 IP
For the second consecutive year, the Twins took a college pitcher with their first round pick. Much like Kyle Gibson from 2009, Wimmers has run into some elbow issues during his second full season with the organization. Last season was full of ups and downs for Wimmers as he struggled with control problems early in the year but he was able to bounce back and pitch a seven inning no-hit by season's end. The Twins need some pitching prospects to develop in the higher levels of the system and the team can ill-afford for him to need a serious surgery.

2nd Round
Pick 71: Niko Goodrum, SS
Highest Level: RK Elizabethton Twins
After spending the last two seasons in rookie ball, the Twins have left Goodrum in extended spring training to start the 2012 season. This means the young shortstop could be getting a second taste of the Elizabethton before he gets a chance in a full season league. His first season of professional baseball was a little rough with the GCL Twins but he bounced back nicely in 2011. Last year, he hit .275/.352/.382 with 15 extra-base hits in 204 AB for the E-Twins. His 24 errors at shortstop last season might have been some of the cause for concern so hopefully he is ironing out some of these defense blunders before the season starts.


3rd Round
Pick 102: Pat Dean, LHP
Current Level: Fort Myers Miracle
(4-2), 2.70 ERA, 1.279 WHIP, 30 SO, 14 BB, 63.1 IP
In his third season as part of the Twins organization, Dean might be off to one of his best starts to a campaign. He seems to be the ace of the staff in Fort Myers and he could be playing his way into a promotion to New Britain at some time in the near future. He has found ways to give up more than a hit per inning but still keep runners from causing too much damage. Last season, he pitched at three different levels from Low-A to Double-A with varying levels of success so it is nice to see his good start.

4th Round
Pick 135: Eddie Rosario, OF/2B
Current Level: Beloit Snappers
.284/.356/.458, 5 HR, 16 2B, 1 3B, 33 RBI, 25 R
In what is looking to be one of the best steals of the 2010 draft, the Twins selected one of the top prospects in their organization with the 135th pick. Rosario came into his own last year with a monster year for Elizabethton and now he is competing in his first full season league. The Twins are trying to convert Rosario from a "toolsy" outfielder into a second baseman since the farm system is full of outfield prospects. He is still a work in progress at second base but his quick hands make him one of the top hitting prospects for the entire Twins system.

Other notables: Logan Darnell (6th round, pick 195), Matthew Hauser (7th round, pick 225)

(Statistics current as of games played on May 29, 2012)

Twins 2011 MLB Draft Capsule

In preparation for next week's MLB First Year Player Draft, I have put together some short draft capsules to look at the prospects the Twins have taken with their early round picks in recent memory. In the coming days, I will release these list with some short profiles on what the players have done since joining the organization. Selecting the right players in the draft can separate a winning club from a losing club so it is important to know what the Twins have done in the past.
~~~~~~~~~~
 1st Round
Pick 30: Levi Michael, SS
Current Level: A+ Fort Myers Miracle
.204/.305/.278, 2 HR, 2 2B, 2 3B, 18 R, 14 RBI
Some thought Levi Michael would start the year with Low-A Beloit but his college experience was enough for the Twins to give him an opportunity with at the High-A level. He is off to a slow start in his first year of professional baseball and the 21-year old middle infielder is looking to put the ball in play at a most consistent rate. His 34 strikeouts make it seem like he is a little over matched when he steps into the box. On the defensive side of the ball, he has split time between shortstop and second base so it looks like the team has yet to decide where he will stick. He has eight errors with four errors coming during his time at each position.

Supplemental Round
Pick 50: Travis Harrison, 3B
Current Level: Extended Spring Training
One of the biggest power threats the Twins have taken during the early rounds of the draft in recent years. It will be interesting to see what kind of season he will put together in the Gulf Coast League. The hot Florida sun can make balls fly out of the yard and Harrison has the potential to be spraying home runs to all parts of the field.

Pick 55: Hudson Boyd, RHP
Current Level: Extended Spring Training
The second high school prospect taken by the Twins in the supplemental round was a burly right handed pitcher who is very familiar with playing in Florida. He went to high school in Fort Myers and he will most likely play his first season of professional baseball in the GCL. Boyd's big frame should allow him to keep his velocity as he works his way through the system and the only question could be whether he sticks as a starter or a relief arm.

2nd Round
Pick 87: Madison Boer, RHP
Current Level: A+ Fort Myers Miracle
W-L (0-6), 11.22 ERA, 2.221 WHIP, 10 SO, 12 BB, 25.2 IP
Even with an entire college season already in the books for Boer, the Twins let him pitch in 23 games last year between Elizabethton and Beloit. He put up modest numbers as a relief pitcher by posting a 3.91 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 25.1 innings pitched between the two levels. So far this season, Boer has struggled with his command by allowing 19 walks with 29 strikeouts in 48.1 innings on the mound. His ERA with Fort Myers is close to 12.00 and he has yet to make it out of the sixth inning in any of his starts. The Minnesota native has some polishing to do if he intends to pitch at Target Field in the future.

3rd Round
Pick 117: Corey Williams, LHP
Level: A Beloit Snappers
W-L (2-1), 2.91 ERA, 1.338 WHIP, 24 SO, 10 BB, 21.2 IP
Like Boer taken in the round before him, Williams signed with enough time to make some relief appearances at the end of the 2011 season. In 11.2 innings with the E-Twins, Williams put together a 3.86 ERA with 11 strikeouts and 5 walks. He allowed over a hit an inning in this small sample size so that was one area for him to improve on for this season. The Twins have continued to use Williams as a relief option during his time with the Snappers in 2012. He has finished 16 games for the club and has six saves to his credit this year. His high WHIP is still something to keep an eye on but the Twins need some left-handed arms to prove themselves in the system and Williams can be one of those guys.

Other notables: Matthew Summers (4th round, pick 148), Dereck Rodriguez (6th round, pick 208)

(Statistics current as of games played on May 29, 2012)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday's Trip through the Minors

Less than a week ago, the thought of pitching at Target Field had to be far from the mind of Cole DeVries. But on Tuesday evening, DeVries found himself making his home debut in front of a crowd full of family and friends. It can be nerve racking to pitch in front of the home crowd for the first time and it had to be even harder for the Minnesota native to be throwing so close to where he grew up.

Throughout the contest, DeVries worked himself into some jams by walking batters but he always seemed to find a way to wriggle out of these sticky situations. In five innings on the mound, he gave up no runs on two hits with five walks and one strikeout. He wouldn't factor into the decision but it was a decent effort from the 27-year old rookie.

It wasn't that long ago that DeVries was part of the Rochester Red Wings so let's see how some of his former teammates and the rest of the farm system faired on Tuesday night.

ROCHESTER 7, CHARLOTTE 4

A big top of the fourth inning helped to separate the Red Wings from the Knights in Charlotte tonight. Danny Valenica singled to start the frame and this was followed by back-to-back doubles from Chris Parmelee and Matt Carson. After a sacrifice fly from Clete Thomas, Michael Hollimon would smack his fifth home run of the year.

In his first rehab start on his way back from the DL, Nick Blackburn threw 3.2 innings and allowed three earned runs on 68 pitches. Esmerling Vasquez would put up three straight scoreless frames to help the Red Wings stay in the lead. Casey Fien had to pitch almost two full innings to earn his eighth save of the year.

Chris Parmelee and Michael Hollimon seemed to playing a game of "anything you can do, I can do better" with their performances at the plate. Both players had multiple extra-base hits in the contest with each player knocking in a couple runs. Hollimon managed two long balls while Parmelee had to settle for one home run.

NEW BRITAIN - , NEW HAMPSHIRE - 


The Rock Cats were washed out on Tuesday night and their game with New Hampshire will have to be made up at a future date.

FORT MYERS 4, BRADENTON 5

Last year's first overall pick in the MLB Draft Gerrit Cole took the mound for Bradenton on Tuesday night and the Miracle had a tough time scoring on him. Cole pitched six innings and allowed a single earned run to cross the plate on a home run from Daniel Ortiz. Cole was not unhittable in this game but the Miracle failed to get more than two extra-base hit off of the young right-handed hurler.

With the Miracle down by three runs in the ninth inning, the team mounted a mini-comeback to get the game within a run. Levi Michael hit his second home run of the year after Michael Gonzales had doubled to start the inning. The next three batters would be retired in order to end the hope for the Miracle. Jario Perez lead the Miracle with three hits in the game.

When a starter gives up five runs in five innings and lowers his ERA, you know he came in with some rough outings. Madison Boer was the starter for the Miracle and his game might not have been great but it was better than some of his previous appearances. Kyle Waldrop pitched a scoreless inning of relief as he made his third rehab appearance.

BELOIT 5, KANE COUNTY 4 (11 innings)

The Snappers had a three-run lead when AJ Achter came into the game in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Snappers lead was gone by the time he exited the contest at the end of the ninth. Lucky enough for him, the team would come back in extra-innings to retake the lead and get their third straight victory.

Beloit was helped out by home runs in the early innings of the game by Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, and Nate Roberts. For Sano, it was his second home run in the last two games after a recent dry spell from the home run department. Jonathan Goncalves had two doubles in the game and he has gone 7-for-13 in the last three games.

Tyler Jones made the start for the Snappers and pitched four innings while only allowing one run to cross the plate. Tim Atherton was called on for the middle innings and he pitched three innings of hitless baseball with four strikeouts. The win went to David Hurlbut who pitched both extra frames by only allowing two runners to reach base.

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Players of the Day for Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pitcher of the Day- Tim Atherton

Hitter of the Day- Michael Hollimon
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A Look Ahead- Wednesday, May 30th Schedule

Rochester at Charlotte- RHP Liam Hendriks
New Britain at New Hampshire- LHP Andrew Albers
Fort Myers at Bradenton- RHP Miguel Munoz
Beloit at Quad Cities- RHP Tim Shibuya

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If you have any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, leave them in the comments section and Seth or I will try to answer them.

Tuesday Morning Tidbits

I hope everyone had a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. It is great to start the week off on a Tuesday and it will only make the rest of the week go that much faster. Since I work in the local school system, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel that is the school year.

As has become a weekly happening around here, I will post a few tidbits in the morning to hold readers over until I write the minor league wrap-up for Twins Daily later tonight. It's a fun way to get a bunch of stories out there for readers to enjoy as they kick off their work week.

Draft day is quickly approaching
By this time next week, the Twins hope to have made a difference making pick for the future of the franchise. The organization will have the second overall pick in the first round of next Monday's MLB Draft. There are no stand-out prospects like Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper at the top of this draft so it might be a tough selection for the Twins after Houston makes the first pick.

The first four picks in last year's draft were all top notch pitching prospects that have been making noise in the minor leagues to start the year. This year's draft is not projecting to be that heavy with pitchers at the top because there are a couple of very good position players available for selection. The decision will be tough for the Twins on whether to take a pitcher or look at a position player.

With an injury earlier this year to high school pitcher Lucas Giolito, the top pitcher to be taken in the draft will most likely be Mark Appel from Stanford University. It will be interesting to see who is willing to take a flyer on Giolito in the first round or if team's will be convinced that he is going to college to revamp his draft stock. Kevin Gausman from LSU could also be the Twins choice at number two but it sounds like Appel is the top pitcher on their board.

In the last couple of weeks, the team held a workout for Carlos Correa, a high school senior shortstop in Puerto Rico. Correa isn't the highest ranked position player so there are others that could be taken before he is off the board. High school outfielder Byron Buxton is number one prospect on many draft prospect boards and it would be intriguing if he is still available when it is the Twins turn to pick.

Sano ends home run drought
It has been a rough couple weeks for Twins top prospect Miguel Sano after he started the 2012 season at a feverish pace. In the first month of the year, Sano had six bombs while hitting .276/.422/.586 in 25 games. The month of May has not been as kind to Sano as he is batting .219/.287/.458 but his strike out totals have dropped in the same amount of games. 

It looked liked Monday was going to be more of the same for Sano as he started the day 0-for-6 at the plate. The rest of his team was in the middle of a hit parade so it seemed like it should only be a matter of time before Sano joined in on the action. In the 12th inning after the Snappers had already took over the lead, Sano hit a 3-run shot to solidify the win for Beloit.

Sano was failing to manage a single hit for much of last week so it will be interesting to see how he looks after finally hitting another home run. He now has a four-game hitting streak with a couple of extra-base hits. There was talk of moving Sano to Fort Myers but his recent struggles could push back his advancement to the next level. 

Valencia needs more consistency at Triple-A
When the Twins sent Danny Valencia back to Rochester, there were plenty of things for him to work on. He was struggling at the plate against major league caliber pitching and his defense had been shaky at the hot corner. There need to be more consistency from the 27-year old third baseman and that consistency has yet to show up for Rochester.

In his 15 games since being demoted, Valencia is hitting .267/.279/.417 with two home runs and three doubles. After getting over 1,000 plate appearances in the big leagues, it should have been easier for Valencia to succeed at the Triple-A level. Valencia has always seemed to be a very confident player and it appears that he needs to gain some of that confidence back before he can get another shot with the Twins. 

A recent hot streak has helped to boost his numbers as he has hit .325/.341/.525 in his last 10 games. Terry Ryan is still concerned that Valencia is swinging at pitches that are out of the strike zone. Ryan said, "A guy like Valencia needs to be looking for a strike, jump on it and drive it into the gap." Until the Twins are confident in his ability to recognize pitches, there is a good chance he will stay down. It is still kind of discouraging to think he needs this time in the minors when he is 27-years old and he has plenty of time in at the major leagues.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Links-N-Thinks

The Twins have been playing a little bit better baseball and the team has been able to put together a few wins since the last time we were together for "Friday Links-N-Thinks." The rotation has been overhauled with a youth movement coming into the fold. The likes of Scott Diamond, PJ Walters, and Cole DeVries have been added to the roster to throw the ball over the plate.

After the first game of the White Sox series, things looked to be going in the right direction for the Twins. A lot of fielding errors in the last two game put the team in a hole they would never be able to climb out of and the Sox won the final two games and the series. It was nice to see Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau hit a home run in the same game and hopefully the offense will follow the Twins back to Target Field.

It's a long weekend so enjoy your time at the lake, at the ballpark, or where ever you will be spending the next few days. Before you leave, make sure to check out the links I have provided below.
My Weekly Rundown
Video of the Week: One player the Twins could be targeting in the draft next month is from Rochester. KSTP did a story on the young man as he looks forward to what could be one of the most important days of his life.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Benson and Tosoni moving in the wrong direction

In the last couple of weeks, the Twins have seen a concerning development with two players in the upper levels of the minor leagues. Joe Benson and Rene Tosoni were demoted to New Britain after starting the year with the Rochester Red Wings. The most concerning thing for both of these players might be the fact that both of them got playing time in the major leagues during last year's dismal season. Each of these players is on a different path but the front office for the Twins has to be frustrated with their performance so far this year.

When the Twins drafted Benson in the second round of the 2006 draft, the team liked his athletic ability and the up side he could offer as a strong defensive player to go along with his offensive skill set. Since that time, Benson has gradually moved through the Twins minor league system and he saw himself be rated as one of the top prospects for the club. In my offseason rankings, I had Benson as the number two rated prospect for the Twins with him finishing behind Miguel Sano.

The 2010 season was a break out year for Mr. Benson as he was awarded with the Twins Minor League Player of the Year. He started the year in Fort Myers and dominated pitching in the Florida State League for 21 games. Before being promoted to New Britain, he hit .294/.375/.588 with 11 doubles and four home runs. The power followed him to New Britain even though his batting average dropped a little bit. He ended the year with a very good final stat line of .259/.343/.538 with 27 home runs, 31 doubles, and 8 triples.

Benson continued to play well last season and the argument could have been made for him to win the minor league player of the year for the second consecutive year. He would make his MLB debut as a September call-up but his first taste of the big leagues came with very little success. He would start the 2012 season in Rochester and it seemed like he should be knocking on the door to the big leagues. This dream was far from the reality.

During his time with the Red Wings, Benson struggled at the plate to the tune of hitting .179/.269/.316 with seven extra-base hits in 28 games. The Twins felt a change of pace was in order and he was sent to New Britain to try and find his swing. Since he arrived in New Britain, his swing has continued to falter and he is batting .156/.250/.500 in eight games. As one of the top prospects for the organization, it is tough to watch him struggle in his seventh season as a member of the Twins farm system.

Rene Tosoni has never been considered a top prospect for the Twins but he has shown some versatility since being a 36th round pick back in 2005. In 2009 and 2010, Tosoni had a batting average around .270 and he was able to show a little bit of power. Last season he spent time going up and down between Rochester and Minnesota but he was never able to find success for the Red Wings.

He started the 2012 campaign back in Rochester and much like Benson, he struggled with trying to find his swing with the Red Wings. He missed some time in April with a lacerated left ring finger but this was still no excuse for his slow start. He went 5-for-5 on Monday and this still only raised his batting line to .167/.267/.197 in 21 games. He is on the way back to New Britain after not playing there since the 2010 campaign.

There has been a lot of talk around Triple-A hitting coach Tom Brunsansky for his ability to work with young hitters on their approach at the plate. His message must not have been getting through to Benson and Tosoni and now they will be in the hands of Rudy Hernandez, the hitting coach for New Britain. It will be interesting to see how they handle the transition back to the Eastern League.

With the Twins lacking a ton of prospects in the upper minor leagues, it is discouraging to see to players will major league service time being sent in the opposite direction. The Twins have seen plenty of players make the trip from Rochester this year but it looks like Benson and Tosoni won't be included in that group anytime soon. It will be important to see how they adjust to their demotion and hopefully they will both be able to regain their form in the coming months.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday's Trip through the Minors

As I put this post together, the Twins are up big on the Chicago White Sox in the eighth inning. Gavin Floyd struggled for the White Sox and the Twins pounced on him for nine runs in the first four innings. Only Ben Revere and Brian Dozier have yet to get involved in the hit parade so it will be interesting to see if they can join the club in the final innings.

PJ Walters is in the middle of his third start since being called up by the Twins. There were some bad starts to innings with Walters letting lead off men reach base but he seemed to be able to coax a double play to erase any of those runners.

With the announcement that Cole DeVries will be making his MLB debut on Thursday, the Twins will start three pitchers in the White Sox series that were in the rotation at Rochester earlier in the year. There are a lot of players from the minor leagues who have been called on during the early portion of the season so let's see who else is making their mark in the minor leagues.

ROCHESTER 1, GWINNETT 3

A couple of runs in the first inning were enough to put the Braves Triple-A affiliate on top for this game with the Red Wings. The Braves put together 12 hits in the contest but left nine men on base during the course of the game. On the other hand, the Red Wings put together five hits and one of those hits was for extra bases.

Chris Parmelee hit his first career home run at Triple-A and his first home run of the year in the second inning. Pedro Florimon had two hits for the second consecutive game. The rest of the Red Wings offense struggled at the plate as the team tried to figure out opposing pitcher Julio Teheran, one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball.

All of the runs for the Braves came during Daryl Thompson's time on the mound. In his 3.1 innings of work, Thompson allowed eight hits and three earned runs with a single strike out. Deolis Guerra, Lester Oliveros, and Casey Fien covered the rest of the game for the Red Wings and they didn't allow another run to score. Oliveros was making his third appearance since being called up from New Britain and he pitched two innings while racking up four strikeouts.

NEW BRITAIN 3, BINGHAMTON 0

There were a lot of zeros on the board for both teams on Tuesday night but the Rock Cats were finally able to break through in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the first lead of the game. They chased the starter from the mound and were able to add to their lead with three runs on the board.

In one of his best starts of the season, Logan Darnell scattered seven hits over the course of seven innings but he was able to escape trouble. He didn't allow a run to cross the plate and he struck out four while not giving up a walk. After allowing nine combined earned runs in his last two starts, it was nice to see Darnell bounce back with a positive outing that put his team in position to win.

Chris Herrmann provided the majority of the offense for the Rock Cats in this game. He put together a 4-for-4 night and he drove in two of New Britain's three runs. Estarlin De Los Santos and James Beresford each had two hits and Evan Bigley started the scoring by hitting his second home run of the year in the seventh inning.

FORT MYERS 2, CLEARWATER 1

It was a big day for catchers in the Twins system as Dan Rohlfing joined Herrmann as the offensive hero for his team. The Miracle struggled to score runs for most of this game but Rohlfing was about to put together a 3-for-4 night while driving in both runs for the Miracle. With two doubles in this game, he has five doubles in his last six games.

Marty Popham pitched a good game for Fort Myers but he was unable to factor into the final decision. In his six innings on the mound, he saw one run cross the plate and he struck out two. Nelvin Fuentes picked up his first win of the year by tossing two scoreless innings to back-up the strong start from Popham.

Daniel Santana and Oswaldo Arcia added two hits apiece to help pace the offense for the Miracle. Last year's first round pick Levi Michael had his first hit in his last four games. Ricky Bowen picked up his fourth save of the year by striking out the side in the ninth inning.

BELOIT (Off Day)

The Snappers enjoyed an off day on Tuesday before starting a home series against Cedar Rapids. Miguel Sano has only one home run in his last ten games and he is batting .094/.216/.188 during that stretch. It would be nice to see him go on another run as the weather starts to warm up in the Midwest.
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Players of the Day for Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hitter of the Day- Chris Herrmann

Pitcher of the Day- Logan Darnell
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A Look Ahead- Wednesday, May 23th Schedule

Rochester (Off Day)
New Britain vs. Binghamton- RHP David Bromberg
Fort Myers vs. Clearwater- LHP Pat Dean
Beloit vs. Cedar Rapids- RHP Matt Summers

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If you have any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, leave them in the comments section and Seth or I will try to answer them.

Tuesday Morning Tidbits

As with all Tuesday's for the rest of the minor league baseball season, I will be writing the minor league update for the TwinsDaily website later tonight. So make sure to check back for my post on all of the happenings across the Twins farm system. Until then, here are a few "Tuesday Morning Tidbits" to keep you satisfied until this evening.
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Gibson set to pitch off of the mound
Kyle Gibson, the Twins 2009 first round pick, has been slowly working his way back from Tommy John surgery and it is getting closer to him being able to pitch off of the mound. According to his Facebook account, he will be throwing from 135 feet this week and 150 feet next week before stepping on the mound for the first time on June 4. He will get to throw 15 pitches in his first bullpen session.

During the beginning of the year, Terry Ryan said that Gibson was on pace to pitch in minor league games by the end of the summer so his progression is nice to see. With many current members of the Twins starting rotation slated to be free agents, the Twins might need Gibson to be ready for the big leagues in 2013.

It will be interesting to see if the Twins follow a similar plan to Stephen Strasburg for Gibson's first year back following the procedure. The Nationals are limiting the amount of innings Strasburg will pitch and they followed a similar plan with starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman. It seems like the Twins will take any starting pitcher that can keep them in a game at this point so Gibson's recovery could be key for next year.

Ford continues on comeback trail
Former fan favorite Lew Ford (see photo above) has been bouncing around baseball leagues in recent years. This has seen him play all over the country in independant leagues and even in other countries like Japan and Mexico as he tried to make it back for one more shot at the big leagues. For a 35-year old scrappy outfielder, this can be a challenge and making it through to a 25-man roster would be even harder for him to do. 

Over the weekend, the news came out that Ford signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles and he was assigned to their Triple-A club in Norfolk. In his first four games with the Tides, he has batted .375/.444/.500 with two doubles and two RBI in 16 at-bats. He also has muliple hit games in two of his first four games

With the Orioles being in first place, it would be great to see Ford get a call-up to help the club push for a division crown. Ford will always have a special place in the hearts of Twins fans so watch this video of him hitting a double with his new team and get ready to yell "LLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWW."

Butera throwing heat
For the second year in a row, the Twins were forced to use a position player on the mound to cover the last inning of a blowout loss. In 2011, Michael Cuddyer took the field against the Rangers and pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Cuddyer left the team in free agency so the Twins had to look for a different arm on Sunday afternoon. Drew Butera stepped up and pitched a pretty decent frame for the Twins. 

In Cuddyer's outing, Texas was able to mount a threat against him on the strength of a couple hits and a walk. During his inning of work, Cuddyer showed a variety of pitches with his fastball averaging around 87 mph. He mixed in a cutter, a slider, and a change up but for the most part he tried to just throw the ball over the plate to get the Twins out of a terrible 20-6 loss.

Compared to Cuddyer, Butera looked like Nolan Ryan when he stepped on the mound. The radar gun had Butera throwing as high as 94 mph with his fastball and he worked a decent change-up into the mix. With the good arm Butera has shown behind the plate, it could be assumed that he would have a little something behind his pitches. His fastball averaged close to 90 mph and his change-up sat around 79 mph. He even got former Twins outfielder Carlos Gomez to strike out swinging in very Gomez like fashion.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Twins should go all in on Greinke

The Twins didn't put up much of a fight on Sunday afternoon and their four game winning streak came to an abrupt end at the hands of the Brewers. When the starting pitcher doesn't make it out of the second inning in a game following an extra-inning affair, it is going to be tough for a team to find success. The Twins offense did score the first run of the game and they were able to put some runs on the board in their last at-bat but the innings in between were ugly.

While the front office of the Twins might have been cringing when Twins pitchers were on the mound, their eyes should have been clearly fixed on the starting pitcher for the Brewers in this game. Zack Greinke had been a standout pitcher in the AL Central for multiple seasons with the Royals so the Twins are well aware of his outstanding ability on the mound. On Sunday, Greinke was given a big lead and he knew what to do with it by pitching into the seventh inning and allowing a single earned run to cross the plate.

When the 2012 season comes to an end, Greinke will hit the open market as one of the most sought after free agent pitchers. He will turn 29-years old during the offseason and many teams will be lining up at his door to inquire about what it will take for him to sign with their club. According to sources, there have been no recent talks between the Brewers and Greinke. It sounds like the Brewers would like to resign their ace but money could be a big factor for a team playing in one of the smallest markets in baseball.

Most projections of Greinke's value as a free agent have him getting upwards of $100 million when he signs on the dotted line this offseason. The San Francisco Giants recently signed Matt Cain to the largest contract in history for a right-handed pitcher. The six-year deal was for $127.5 million with $112.5 million being guaranteed and it will keep Cain in San Francisco through the prime of his career. Since Greinke is only a year older than Cain, Greinke's deal could be structured very similar to the Cain deal and that would put the Brewers out of the running to keep Greinke around.

If the Brewers are out of the running, this leaves other teams with the opportunity to swoop in and add Greinke to their starting rotation. The Twins should be one of the team's taking a hard look at bringing Greinke into the fold for the 2013 season. Coaches, fans, and the front office have been frustrated with the performance of many of the pitchers that have been in the starting rotation for the Twins this year. Jason Marquis and Francisco Liriano have been disasters, Carl Pavano has been forced to pitch through some pain in his shoulder, and Nick Blackburn has been very underwhelming when he has been able to pitch.

Lucky enough for the Twins most of the starting staff will be free agents at season's end. This means the team can do a complete overhaul of their rotation for the start of next year. The extra money freed up by letting these players go could also allow the Twins to go after a free agent starting pitcher like Zack Greinke. Liriano makes $5.5 million, Pavano earns $9.0 million, and Marquis signed this past offseason for $3.0 million. If you add all of those up with the $6.5 million lost on Scott Baker this year, the Twins will have quite the chunk of change to spend on pitching for 2013.

In the past, Greinke has battled with some issues surrounding anxiety and he was even forced to leave the Royals for a short time to try and figure out a solution to these problems. This battle with stressed related issues has allowed writers to predict that Greinke might like to stay away from some of the major markets in baseball. His issues with anxiety might only be compounded if he were to sign and play in New York or Los Angeles. This could give the Twins a better opportunity to sign Greinke because he has pitched his entire career in the Midwest and he is already familiar with the AL Central.

Since Johan Santana was traded away before the 2008 season, the Twins have been searching for an ace of their staff. Greinke could be that player but a big time contract for a starting pitcher always comes with some risk. In this case, I think the risk is worth taking and the Twins should go all in to sign Greinke for the foreseeable future.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Links-N-Thinks

Wait for it...

Are you ready, yet?

Don't adjust your monitor but the Twins just swept a two game series in Detroit. That's not a typo either.

Over the course of the two games, the Tigers were a little error prone with six mistakes and the Twins were able to capitalize for five unearned runs. It has been great to see Trevor Plouffe find some semblance of power with two home runs in recent games. Maybe his new bald head is doing him some good. Justin Morneau and Ben Revere are back with the Twins and each of them has returned to their old ways with Morneau hitting a home run and Revere stealing a base.

The Twins head to Milwaukee for the weekend and their first interleague series of the year. I am on the fence about whether or not interleague play should still be part of baseball but it seems like it is here to stay for the time being. It is always intertaining to watch the American League pitchers attempt to bat. From the sound of it, Jason Marquis could be the Twins diamond in the rough when it comes to pitchers at the plate.

Enjoy this collection of links from the week and have a super weekend!
My Weekly Rundown
Video of the Week: This Little League umpire in Illinois needs to tone down his strikeout call a little bit. Very extreme but at least the kids should know if they are out or not.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Soon one year has passed...

One year ago today, the Twins lost one of the most important people in the history of the franchise. It is hard to believe that one year has already come and gone. I put together the following poem to honor Harmon Killebrew and his lasting legacy. 


It's been one year since you have come and gone,
But your impact is still felt like the morning dawn.

Even though your mighty swing was something to behold,
Your gentle nature was something that never got old.

The first hero of a generation to call Minnesota home,
You were a star outside before the team moved to the Dome.

Your number three will only be worn by one Twin,
And hearing your home run calls brings chills to my skin.

You were a gentle giant; a man among boys,
Chants of your name were much more than noise.

I hope that big game in the sky is still going fine,
Because your mark on the Twins continues to shine.

It's hard to think you will never be return,
And players on this team have plenty to learn.

When I sit outside at a ballgame under the open sky,
Your presence still brings a tear to my eye.

Thanks for your time and the mark that you made,
Your memory with fans will never fade.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Should the Twins have started with this roster?

When the Twins broke camp for spring training, there were a few surprises as to who was going to head north with the team for Opening Day. Chris Parmelee and Sean Burroughs had made the team after decent springs. Alexi Casilla and Danny Valencia were starting infielders and Liam Hendriks occupied the final rotation spot. Brian Dozier also had a good spring but he had never spent a full season at Double-A so some more seasoning might have been required. It was assumed the team would start with three catchers but Drew Butera found himself in Rochester to begin the year.

Six weeks into the 2012 campaign and the Twins have made a lot of adjustments to try and find a way to win with a club struggling in multiple areas. Parmelee was optioned to Rochester on Tuesday and he will join other Opening Day roster players like Burroughs, Valencia, and Hendriks. Out of options and with nowhere to put him, Casilla has played his way into a utility role with the club. Thinking he should have made the team out of spring training, Dozier has come up and made an impact in the middle infield for the Twins.

With all of the moving parts so far for the Twins in 2012, there is a question that comes to mind. Should the Twins have started the season with the current roster?

With health concerns surrounding Justin Morneau, it made sense for the Twins to have Chris Parmelee on the roster. He started at first on Opening Day and he was a consistent starter for the first couple of weeks. His bat never got going and he struggled by hitting .179/.250/.262 with zero home runs. This lead to him losing playing time and Joe Mauer seeing more time at first base. At the beginning of the year, it looked like Morneau would be the full-time DH but now he will try to stay healthy as the starting first baseman.

Sean Burroughs was a feel good story for the Twins when the team broke camp because he had not been on an Opening Day roster since all of his off field baseball issues. Some bad at-bats made it hard to keep him on the roster but he is helping the Red Wings to win games in the International League. His veteran presence might have been a good thing to have with the Twins but the team needed other options on the bench. Burroughs became the odd-man out when the Twins needed his roster spot.

This story has played out before with Alexi Casilla. He was almost guaranteed a starting job with the Twins coming out of spring training and now that role has been taken away from the middle infielder. Casilla has seen Dozier and Jamie Carroll take over the middle infield positions while he is relegated to back-up duty. It seems more fitting to have Casilla in the utility role for the Twins because he can play multiple positions and it is nice to have a true back-up shortstop. Plus, he doesn't seem to thrive when he is an everyday starter for a full year.

Following a rough 2011 season for Valencia, his slow start in 2012 did not help his cause. His defense continues to be shaky at third base but the real truth is the Twins need more production out of his position. The team could handle having a solid bat at third with some questionable defense. They could also be ok with a good defensive player with not a lot of offensive upside. But without a glove or a bat at third, it makes it tough for the team to continue to pencil Valencia's name into the line-up.

At the end of last year, Hendriks got a taste of the big leagues but he was not outstanding in his limited amount of starts. The Twins were forced to put Hendriks in the rotation out of spring training because of other problems in the rotation. Since Hendriks only had a brief taste of Triple-A last season, there could be some bumps and bruises along the way. It will be good for him to find some success in Rochester and then make a return trip to Minnesota at some point later this year.

Many followers of the Twins thought the team would leave spring training with three catchers on the roster. Ryan Doumit had been brought in to be a back-up catcher and to play some other roles on the team. Mauer would be the starter but he would also need to spend time at other positions. This meant it would make sense to have another catcher on the roster to be available in emergency situations. Butera is back with the club and it looks like he will continue to see playing time when specific pitchers are on the mound.

There have been other players to make the trip from Rochester to Minnesota. Scott Diamond and PJ Walters have entered the rotation to take the spots of Hendriks and Francisco Liriano. As mentioned earlier, Dozier has slid nicely into the role of shortstop and the Twins hope he can stay there for the foreseeable future. Ben Revere started the year with the team but was sent down to get more playing time. But overall, the shake-ups with the roster have been plentiful to start the 2012 year.
The additions of players like Erik Komatsu and Darin Mastroianni could never be predicted when the team left Fort Myers. The front office has not been shy about moving players around and with the way the Twins are playing, there is no reason they should be shy about it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday's Trip through the Minors

The Twins put up a lackluster effort at home in getting swept during a short two-game series with the first place Cleveland Indians. Derek Lowe looked like Cy Young on the mound and the Twins continued to hit ground ball after ground ball to fall further behind the Tribe. Jason Marquis gave up three home runs in the fifth inning and five runs over five innings to put the Twins in a hole they would never be able to get out of in the game.

Ron Gardenhire shifted up the line-up for this contest and moved Joe Mauer to the second spot in the order. This meant Brian Dozier had to move and he was placed in the fifth spot for the Twins. The move down in the line-up didn't seem to impact Dozier because he ended the contest with half of the team's six hits. Dozier showed some power again by hitting his second double of the year and his batting average continues to climb.

Besides Dozier, there has to be some good news in other parts of the Twins organization. So let's peruse the minor leagues as we take Tuesday's trip through the Twins farm system. 

ROCHESTER 5, LOUISVILLE 4


The Red Wings trailed for most of the game on Tuesday night but a late rally helped Rochester to come out on top versus Louisville. With the Red Wings down by one run in the bottom of the eighth, the team mounted a two run rally to come out victorious. Wilkin Ramirez and Clete Thomas started the inning with singles and Danny Valencia grounded out to tie the game. Later in the inning Sean Burroughs had his second hit of the night, a double, to score the go-ahead run.

Ben Revere continued his hot hitting for the Red Wings with a three hit night. He has six multi-hit games out of the last eight times he has been in the line-up for Rochester. Matt Carson had two hits in the contest and one of those knocks was his team leading 11th double of the year. Carson is in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak that he will look to continue tomorrow against the Bats.

Luke French started the contest for the Red Wings and he allowed four runs over the course of five innings. The bullpen took care of the rest of the innings and helped to put zeros on the board so the offense could mount their comeback. Esmerling Vasquez pitched three shutout innings while allowing one hit. Tyler Robertson and Casey Fien were asked to cover the ninth and they managed to shut the door on the Bats.

NEW BRITAIN -, NEW HAMPSHIRE - (PPD)

The Rock Cats had a double-header scheduled for Tuesday but both contests were postponed. New Britain and New Hampshire will attempt to play two games tomorrow to make up for the action they missed today.

FORT MYERS 2, CHARLOTTE 3

Unlike the Red Wings, the Miracle saw their opponent score late in the game to take the lead and steal a win in Fort Myers. The Stone Crabs took an early lead in the top of the first inning but the Miracle answered with their own run in the bottom half of the frame. Three consecutive singles from Jairo Perez, Oswaldo Arcia, and Daniel Rohlfing plated allowed the Miracle to tie the contest.

The only other run of the game for the Miracle came in the bottom of the fifth when Daniel Santana tripled to lead-off the inning. Levi Michael was the next batter and he drove in Santana with a sacrifice fly to center field. Anderson Hidalgo along with Perez and Arcia would be the only players with more than one hit.

It was almost like the Miracle had two different starters on Monday night with Miguel Munoz throwing four innings and being followed by Cole Nelson tossing four innings of his own. Munoz did okay by allowing two earned runs on six hits with a couple of strikeouts. Nelson was excellent by striking out five and only allowing one runner to reach base. Ricky Bowen took the loss for the Miracle after giving up a double to start the ninth inning.

BELOIT 1, CLINTON 0

There was a pitching duel in Beloit on Tuesday night and the Snappers were lucky enough to come away with the one run they would need in the late innings of the game. The LumberKings had one base runner make it as far as second base and that happened all the way back in the fourth inning so the pitching for Beloit was the story of the game.

The only player you needed to know on this night was Tim Shibuya because he pitched a complete game shutout for the Snappers. Shibuya was masterful by striking out nine in the contest and giving up three hits in the game. One of the other impressive things might have been his control of the plate by not giving up a walk in the entire contest.

The Snappers put together seven hits but only one run was able to be pushed across the plate. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Beloit began the inning with Rory Rhodes and Jairo Rodriguez getting walked to start the threat. JaDamion Williams singled later in the frame to score the lone run the Snappers would need to back the impressive outing from Shibuya.

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Players of the Day for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hitter of the Day- Sean Burroughs
Pitcher of the Day- Tim Shibuya
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A Look Ahead- Wednesday, May 16th Schedule

Rochester vs. Louisville- RHP Jeff Manship
New Britain vs. New Hampshire (1)- LHP Logan Darnell
New Britain vs. New Hampshire (2)- RHP Steve Hirschfeld
Fort Myers vs. Charlotte- RHP Jhon Garcia
Beloit vs. Quad City- LHP Jason Wheeler

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If you have any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, leave them in the comments section and Seth or I will try to answer them.

Tuesday Morning Tidbits

As with most Tuesday's for the rest of the season, I am in charge of writing the minor league update for the Twins Daily website. This means I won't have a very big post here this morning but here are some of the news and notes that have been discussed with the Twins.
Casilla gets new role as utility player
Anyone who has watched the Twins since Brian Dozier got called up could tell what the plan was for the team in the middle infield. Apparently the message never got sent to Alexi Casilla and he had a meeting with Ron Gardenhire to discuss his role with the club. Gardenhire basically told him that his role is the utility player at this point and he will fit into the line-up when the team needs to give some of the other players a break.

The infield situation seems set with Dozier at shortstop, Jamey Carroll at second base, and Trevor Plouffe at third base. Since Plouffe took over for Danny Valencia at third, he hasn't been ripping the cover off of the ball so it will be interesting to see if Casilla can find some more playing time at the hot corner.

Former Twins player Ramos out for the year
Wilson Ramos, the center piece of the Matt Capps trade, tore his ACL and will need knee surgery to repair his injury. The young catcher made headlines this offseason after he was kidnapped in his native Venezuela. Now one of the best young catchers in the game will miss the rest of the 2012 season as he tries to rehab a tough injury for a catcher. 

The trade of Ramos for Capps has been widely criticized by Twins fans especially after the 2011 performance of Capps. Ramos finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting last season and now his club was fighting for first place in the NL East to start the 2012 campaign. The loss of Ramos combined with other injuries to the Nationals power bats could make it tough for the team to keep up the pace they are on.

Morneau takes batting practice
Over the weekend, Justin Morneau had tested his injured wrist by taking some swings off of a tee. That step in his recovery process seemed to go fine and the next step was to take some swings during batting practice. This took place on Monday evening and it was the first time in two weeks that he had stepped into the cage

From all reports, it seemed like the session went well and Morneau is one step closer to being back in the middle of the line-up for the Twins. There is still some soreness in his wrist but he thinks he can play through it at this point. Personally, I don't like the way that sounds and it seems like he might be trying to rush himself back. He is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday but the Twins aren't sure of when he will be put back on the roster.