Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Q & A column

Today i was able to have a Q & A with Seth over at Seth Speaks and it was very informative and shed some light on some things i was wondering about because i am so new at this. I hope you all like it and i am going to try to get a Q & A column every week so i hope you all enjoy.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions i really appreciate it.
TT: Lets start with how you got involved in your blog and how it has come to be as big as it is.
SS: About five years ago, I was at home trying to find baseball stuff to read, so I did a google (or probably Yahoo back then) search for "Twins Dork." Well, the Twins Geek site popped up, and through there I learned of Aaron Gleeman's blog and the Dickie Thon Twins Fan Forum. I figured I'm not too dumb, have opinions on the Twins, why not start my own blog. It started slowly, but over time, it really picked up. I went from 15-25 hits a day, to a mention by the Twins Geek that got me up to 100 for a day. then Aaron would mention my site. Gradually over time, it went to a couple hundred hits a day. Now, there are generally four to six thousand hits a day which makes it a lot of fun.

TT: What is your view on the Johan Santana trade when it comes to the prospects the Twins brought in?
SS: Like all Twins fans, I followed all of the rumors throughout the offseason. I wondered frequently if we were about the hear about the deal. It took forever and like many, I finally got to the point where I didn't want to discuss it until it was over. So many names were thrown out in the media. that is great for the Twins because it raises the level. I admit mixed feelings with the deal. I believe that the Twins not only needed top prospects in return, but I thought that quantity of prospects were important for the organization as well. Carlos Gomez or Fernando Martinez? I could go either way, but the Twins need was a CF, not a corner guy where the Twins are set for the next 3-5 years. Carlos Gomez or Jacoby Ellsbury. Sure, Ellsbury looks like a sure thing, but he doesn't have nearly the upside as Gomez. He's also a couple years older. Philip Humber fell down on lists as well after Tommy John surgery, but he's now in Year 2 back after a very solid return from the surgery. He's close and could help the Twins right away if needed. Kevin Mulvey could be a #3 and he appears to be the type that will make it and have some success, even if not an ace. He will be solid! And finally, Deolis Guerra's upside is tremendous and I'm glad he was part of the deal. He has an amazing ceiling, but I'm glad that the Twins have decided to go slow with him. I really believe that all four will come up and help the Twins over the next several years. I think the deal had to be made and will prove to be a great deal for the Twins. What other deals were truly on the table? We'll never know, but I don't think we can assume that any were better, and with prospects, that can't really be judged for several years anyway.

TT: Do you view Daniel Valencia as a future starter at the Big League Level?
SS: I certainly do. In a way, I'm glad that they are starting him back at Ft. Myers. I'd like to see him succeed for six to eight weeks and then take over the hot corner for New Britain. With Mike Lamb signed for two years, the Twins should feel no need to rush him. Brian Buscher and Matt Macri would be adequate replacement level types for the next year or until Valencia is ready. So, I would think that Valencia could be the Twins starting 3B by 2010.

TT:How high of a ceiling do you see for Valencia?
SS:He'll need to cut down on the strikeouts and probably find a way to walk a little bit more. But I can see him as a future .280/.350/.480 type of ceiling. Very solid, borderline all star.

TT: Who do you view as the Shortstop of the future?
SS: As of today, I still believe that Trevor Plouffe is the Twins SS of the future. In part, I believe that because I still see Alexi Casilla as the 2B of the future. I can see Casilla being the Twins SS in 2009, with Plouffe likely playing in Rochester, but by 2010, I can see the two teaming for double plays up the middle.

TT:Do you view Anthony Swarzak being as a future Twin if so how effective do you see him being.
SS: Certainly I think that Swarzak is a guy that the Twins will bring up at some point. I had him ranked 2nd in the organization (behind only Tyler Robertson) in my Top 50 Twins prospects at the end of last season. Reports are that he still has just two pitches, so that is limiting, but I think those two pitches are good and he has experienced a lot of success. That said, the Twins have a lot of pitching prospects, Swarzak right there among the top, and he is very close. The Twins will have to add him to the 40 man roster after the season, so they can also be patient with him. Let's not forget that there is always the option of trading some of the pitching prospects.

TT: What is your view on Jeff Manship?
SS: Manship is one of my favorite Twins prospects. He's easily a top 10. He is several years after his Tommy John surgery now and has been healthy. He's got a good fastball, but his big pitch is his curveball. I was also happy that he began the season at Ft. Myers, but like Valencia, I think 6-8 weeks of success there should have him moving up to New Britain. That is the level in which college pitchers tend to first struggle. It will be interesting to see how he performs with the Rockcats before we really know how good he can be. I expect him to succeed because he doesn't walk a lot of hitters and he just seems to understand how to pitch. Plus, he's a nice guy who has done a couple of Q&As on my site and participated in the NFL "Expert" Picks panel this offseason.

TT: Do you see Brock Peterson ever making it to the major leagues?
SS: I do, and yet 2008 is a very important year for him. As a 49th round draft pick, the odds certainly are not in his favor. However, the odds of him making it to AA weren't good either, and he has done well. Last year, something happened at the midway point of the season. He stopped striking out and started walking more, without losing his power. I think that he can be a solid backup to Justin Morneau as well as a DH option and right-hander off the bench. However, he will have to show again in 2008 that his 2007 success was no fluke. He has to have a solid year. Because of the depth at Rochester, the Twins can afford to not push him more than they neeed to which allows him to further develop. But don't forget that Danny Matienzo had a monster year at AA about three years ago. He was sent back to AA the following year and struggled the whole year. The next year, he was out of the organization. That's why 2008 is very important for Brock Peterson.

TT: What kind of ceiling do you see for Deolis Guerra?
SS: The 18 year old is already 6-4 and strong. He's got a fastball that touches 95 and people say his changeup is already advanced. He will need that curveball to become truly a top level prospect. But again, he's young, and unlike the Mets, the Twins are going to be willing to let him advance fairly slowly. I think that is smart. Let him develop that third pitch. But I think that ceiling for Guerra means a couple of Cy Young awards. But it's impossible to know what an 18 year old phenom in Hi-A ball will do in 3-4 years. Health is the biggest key.

TT: What letter grade would you give the Twins Minor League System and why?
SS: B-... Outside of Carlos Gomez and Deolis Guerra, there aren't a lot of blue-chip prospects. But there are a LOT of 2nd tier pitching prospects, guys that could be #3 and #4 types of pitchers. I think that is very important and a strength for the organization. As we know, there are not a lot of high level bats in the organization and the hitting prospects, for the most part, are in the lower levels, so they can improve or drop in status. But there are a lot of minor leaguers who could provide depth to the Twins even now. So, that is why I will still say that the minor leauge system is above average overall.

thanks for your time i really appreciate it


JT said...


I read your Q & A with Seth over on his site. I was intrigued by a couple of your responses. For one, you claim to be a scouting over stats guy. Wanting to trust what you see that helps win games but doesn't show in a box score. I find this interesting because in reading your post about 2B in the Twins system, you exclusively use stats to back-up your opinions. Perhaps, its not that you are anti-stats...there are just old school stats that you prefer to use. For example, you don't mention OPS but you do use AVG and K/BB percentages. Why are these stats OK when evaluating players, but not other stats offered by stat heads?

Second, what makes you think that Slowey is an inconsistent pitcher? If anything, he has shown he has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the Twins system. His wins, K's, BB's, etc. have been incredible throughout his career. Moreover, Blackburn has been far less consistent, showing some life for the first time late last season and so far this year. What leads you to your opinion on Slowey?

Travis Aune said...

jt you bring up some excellent points i guess im old fashioned when i look at stats to evaluate a player. To each their own though i dont have a problem using ops,slugging and other stats its just i prefer average,hr and rbi's. And for the Slowey comment Slowey has had more starts i want to come back to this argument at midseason and i think you will be pleasantly surprised with Nick Blackburn I dont have anything concrete yet just a gut feeling so we will see. thanks for the comments and come again.

SethSpeaks said...

I agree that Slowey has probably been the most consistent (at least in a positive consistent way) pitcher in the Twins system the last two years. He has been great all the way up. He had a rough first month in the big leagues, but he went back to Rochester with a plan, continued to pitch great, and then when he came back up, he was great again. That's pretty consistently good, and that's why, if he's healthy, I expect him to be excellent.

That's nothing against Blackburn at all, simply positive about Slowey.

As for the advanced stats, I'm more in the middle, I think. I really like OPS, OPS+, WHIP, and those types of stats. You'll rarely read me mention anything more advanced than that though. I do like to keep it simple. Batting average is good, but I like On-Base Percentage a little more and Slugging Percentage says a lot too. Home runs are nice, but I really like looking at Doubles to find out how good a hitter is (Especially in the minor leagues). RBI are based on other people too much for me too get too excited about them. However, if there is a runner on 3B and less than two outs, I want a guy who will get the run in.