Monday, June 8, 2009

Travis Talks Top 50 Twins Prospects: Prospects 50-41

I will be starting with prospect number 50 and work my way down until we get to number 1 and do 10 a day so Friday will have prospects 10-1 so I hope everyone enjoys and gives me as much feedback as possible. You can either email me at or leave a comment in the comment box. Thanks!

50. Steve Hirschfeld P 23 (9/8/1985)

2009 team: Fort Myers Miracle

  • Steve was a 9th round pick in 2007 out of San Diego St University and has been very solid in his career. Last season he went 11-7 with a combined 3.76 era in 39 games between E-town and Beloit. This season he has a 1.23 era out of the Fort Myers bullpen which is good in itself, but I think he can be a very good starter and that is why I am so high on him. Now with Carlos Gutierrez in New Britain I hope the Miracle give Hirschfeld a chance to start and see how he does. If nothing else he will make a very solid reliever and someone we should continue to hear from. Steve was a midwest league all star last year with the Snappers and has very good stuff to rocket through the system.

  • 2009 projection: Join starting staff at Fort Myers and start rest of year.

  • Potential: Long reliever for the Twins

49. James Beresford- Shortstop 20 (1/19/1989)

2009 team: Beloit Snappers

  • James was a free agent signing by the Twins in 2005 out of Australia. His entire 2006 season and part of his 2007 injury were in rehab after he had to have shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. In 2007 in 45 games with the GCL Twins he hit .288. In 2008 he moved up to E-town and hit .246 in 55 games with the Twins. However, he hit .328 in home games. This year after spending time on the DL again he has come back and been very good for the Beloit Snappers hitting .295 in 39 games with the Snappers. Beresford is a very slick infielder that is blessed with great speed as his 8 stolen bases so far this season have shown. Even after the surgery James is blessed with a strong arm and is a very good defensive shortstop. He will hit for a high average no matter where he is playing and if he can stay healthy he has a bright future.

  • 2009 Projection: Spend season playing shortstop for Beloit

  • Potential: Starting Shortstop for Twins with high OBP

48. Erik Lis- 1b/Dh 24 (3/8/1985)

2009 : New Britain Rockcats

  • Erik was the Twins 9th round pick of Evansville University in 2005. Erik has progressed through the Twins system, but has kind of stalled at New Britain. The main problem is he does not have a position and he is best used at DH and the Twins don't normally keep progressing players without a position. Another problem is he is not hitting as good as did last year. Last year Lis hit .277 with 36 doubles and 11 homeruns in New Britain. After that there was a clamoring for Lis to get promoted to AAA and for some reason it did not happen. I don't know if he is disappointed or what the problem is, but he is not having as good of a year this year. Although he is hitting .276 he only has 7 doubles and 5 homeruns in 163 at bats. Erik Lis has a big bat and if he can start hitting some more doubles he could be the type of bat that the Twins are looking for.

  • 2009: Spend season at New Britain

  • Projection: Major League Bat but might get stuck in numbers crunch with the Twins so might make it elsewhere.

47. Jon Waltenbury- 1B 21 (4/1/1988)

2009 team: Beloit Snappers

  • Jon Waltenbury was the Twins 7th round pick in 2006 out of Canada. Spent the 2007 season with the GCL Twins and did ok hitting .242 in 41 games at gcl. In 2008 Jon moved to E-town and took off hitting .319 with 10 homeruns and 45 rbi's along with 22 doubles in 263 at bats. The Canadian first baseman has all the makings of another Canadian First Baseman that you might know and that is Justin Morneau. Waltenbury has found the adjustment to full season to be very challenging as he has hit .245 with only 3 homeruns and 2o rbi's in 184 at bats. Jon has all the talent to really take off and the power to be a middle of the order guy for the Twins. He just needs to be a little bit more consistant at the plate to be the kind of hitter the Twins need him to be.

  • 2009 teams: Spend season with Beloit Snappers

  • Projection: Has chance to be middle of the order power hitter

46. Esterlin De Los Santos- SS 22 (1/20/1987)

2009 team: Fort Myers Miracle

  • Esterlin De Los Santos signed with the Twins as a free agent in 2005 out of the Dominican Republic. Started Twins career with 24 games at the gcg hitting only .195. In 2007 he spent the year at E-town and really thrived there scoring 60 runs, along with 6 triples, and finished 4th in the league in hits with 75 and 3rd in stolen bases with 24. In 2008 De Los Santos spent the season with Beloit and struggled with injuries and only hit .242 with 15 stolen bases for the Snappers. This season he moved on to Fort Myers and was doing awesome before a stress fracture in his leg landed him on the disabled list. In 15 games with the Miracle he was hitting .300 at the plate and playing great defense. Esterlin De Los Santos is tiny as he is only 5'10 165lbs, but for as little as he is he is a very good prospect. He is very smooth playing short and has a great arm. He is probably the best defensive shortstop in the system and if he can hit enough to stay in the game he will be very good because his defense and his speed will take care of itself. I am very high on him and if he stays healthy will shoot up the rankings.

  • 2009: Spend season with the Fort Myers Miracle

  • Projection: Future starting shortstop with Twins who can steal 40-50 bases.

45. Bobby Lanigan- RHP 22 (5/5/1987)

2009: Beloit Snappers

  • Bobby was a 3rd round pick by the Twins out of Aldephi University in 2008. Bobby spent the 2008 season with E-town after signing with the Twins and did very good going 6-5 with a 2.78 era with E-town. This year he moved up to Beloit and has been very uneven in his performances. In 11 starts with the Snappers so far this year he is 5-4 with a 5.49 era. There are starts that Lanigan will look lights out and then there are other starts where he gets shelled. Going into the season I had high hopes for Bobby that he would breeze through Beloit and be a prime canidate for a promotion to Fort Myers. However, after the season he has had he needs to develop more consistancy in his pitching. The good thing is doesn't walk batters much by his 14 walks in 60 innings says. He is a pitch to contact pitcher, but the hitters have been putting a little too much contact on the ball so far this year. I still have high hopes for him and expect a big second half out of him and look for him much higher on the list next spring.

  • 2009: Spend season starting for Beloit

  • Projection: I look at him as a back of a rotation guy who could develop into a middle of the rotation starter.

44. Ramon Santana- SS 22 (6/20/1986)

2009 team: Beloit Snappers

  • Ramon Santana signed with the Twins in 2004 out of Venezuela. Made his American debut in 2007 where he hit .211 in 18 games at gcl and spent rest of the year at Beloit. Spent the entire 2008 season in Beloit compiling a .241 average with 8 homeruns and 26 rbi's in 75 games with the Snappers. This season he has totally taken off for the Snappers. In 34 games Santana has hit .360 with 5 homeruns and 22 rbi's. If it were not for a sprained ankle the numbers would of been better yet. Ramon Santana is tiny only 5ft 9 and weighing 152 lbs so injuries are always going to be a worry with him. He is very good defensively, but you have to wonder is 2009 an anomaly or has he finally gotten it after his 3rd season in Beloit. I really think he could develop into a very good utility player as he moves along in the system. It will depend on two things and they are one can he stay healthy and two is he this good of a hitter or is just having a career year.

  • 2009: Start season in Beloit and move up to Fort Myers midseason

  • Projection: A very good utility player who can play any infield position very well.

43. Juan Portes- OF 23 (11/26/1985)

2009 teams: New Britain Rockcats

  • Juan Portes was a 15th round pick by the Twins in 2004. Spent 2004 season at gcl where he led the league in homeruns and slugging and second in batting. In 2005 spent the season in e-town and was 4th in homeruns with 12. In 2006 he moved on to Beloit and struggled hitting only .231 with 2 homeruns and 33 rbi's in 75 games with the Snappers. Spent 2007 and 2008 in Fort Myers with the Miracle and gradually got better. In 2008 he hit .270 with 12 homeruns and 54 rbi's. This year so far has been Juan's coming out party as he was moved up to New Britain and has done a terrific job there. In 37 games with the Rockcats Portes has hit .309 with 2 homeruns and 15 rbi's along with 10 doubles. Juan Portes came into the season without much fan fest and a bad year might of led to his release. But, Juan has shown all the promise that was expected out of him when the Twins drafted him. He has power and speed and is a very good defensive outfielder. If he can continue to hit like this he will continue to progress through the system.

  • 2009: Spend Season with the Rockcats

  • Projection: 4th outfielder with the Twins

42. Alex Burnett- P 21 (7/26/1987)

2009 teams: Fort Myers and now New Britain

  • Alex Burnett was selected by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2005 draft. After signing with the Twins went 4-2 with a 4.10 era in 13 games with the gcl Twins. In 2006 spent year at E-town compiling a 4-3 4.04 era in 13 starts for E-town. In 2007 Burnett moved on to Beloit where he had a great year tieing for 3rd in innings with 155 and 5th in era at 3.02. Struck out 117 batters in 155 innings. In 2008 he moved up to Fort Myers and compiled a 8-6 record with a 3.76 era in 143 innings. This year he found a new role and that is as a short reliever and has done a phenomenal year going 2-1 with a 1.99 era in 18 games with the Miracle before he was promoted to AA New Britain. Alex Burnett has really turned the corner and has good strikeout totals and is way above his level to be at AA at age 21 is great. I really have a lot of excitement when it comes to Burnett. I really look for him to take off now that he has found a role as a closer. In a game in New Britain he hit 94 on the gun so I think he could jump through the sytem quickly.

  • 2009: Set Up Man for New Britain

  • Projection: a middle reliever for the Twins

41. Brian Duensing- LHP 26 (2/22/1983)

2009 teams: Minnesota Twins and now Rochester

  • Brian Duensing was taken in the 3rd round by the Twins in 2005 out of Nebraska University. After signing with the Twins Brian went 4-3 with a 2.32 era for E-Town. In 2006 Duensing made stops at Beloit, Fort Myers, and New Britain in the same year. At Beloit he went 2-3 with a 2.94 era in 11 starts. In Fort Myers he went 2-5 with a 4.24 era in 7 starts. For New Britain he went 1-2 with a 3.65 era in 11 games with the Rockcats. In 2007 he started season at AA and went 3-0 with a 2.14 in 6 starts before being promoted to Rochester. With Rochester he was third in era and 3rd in wins. After his 2007 season Duensing was thought of as the next great Twins pitching prospect. In 2008 Brian took a step back going 5-11 with a 4.22 era. This year he got a break and started the season with the Twins as a lefty out of the bullpen but did not get much of a chance only pitching in 1 game. Duensing was sent back to Rochester and has been not very good going 3-4 with a 5.21 era. Duensing is at a crossroads in his career as he seems to have peaked and getting worse every year. He either needs to show something soon or he will probably not be back with the Twins next season.

  • 2009: Spend season starting for Rochester

  • Projection: A AAAA pitcher who probably will pitch his entire career in the minors.

That is it for today and will bring you prospects 31-40 tommorrow so come back.

top 50

I am working on my top 50 prospects and will be releasing players 50-41 sometime this afternoon so check back as many times as possible.

Monday, June, 8th

Twins Talk
Mariners 4 Twins 2
  • The Twins fell again to the Mariners in another close hard fought game to lose the series to the Mariners by a score of 4-2 yesterday afternoon. The Twins road woes continued as they dropped to an unbelievable 7-18 away from the friendly confines of the Metrodome. Really this was the same as the other 2 games in this series as the Twins wasted opprotunity after opprotunity. In this one the Twins left an astounding 12 men on base in this one. For the series the Twins left a crazy 31 men on base in the 3 games. That is the biggest difference between last year and this year is they are not getting runners in when they have opprotunities. Last year they hit an unbelievable .313 with runners in scoring position and this year they are not doing nearly as well. In this one Denard Span was the only one with more than 1 hit as he went 2-4 to bring his average back up to .300 on the year. Joe Mauer hit his 9th double of the year and Brendan Harris hit his 9th double of the year and extended his career long hitting streak to 12 games. Mauer is now hitting .410 and Harris is hitting .284. Justin Morneau and Joe Crede each drove in runs in the game. For Morneau it was his 52nd of the year which is 3rd best in the American League and for Crede it was his 24th runs batted in. Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gomez also contributed hits for the Twins in the losing cause.

  • Kevin Slowey had his roughest start in quite a while yesterday as he was only able to last 4.2 innings and gave up 4 runs on 10 hits along with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts to raise his era to 4.21 on the year. You have to give him a break because going into this start Slowey had 5 consecutive quality starts and even though he was off in this one he still only gave up 4 runs which is not great, but also not terrible. He has been so good for the Twins this year that he deserves a free pass from Twins fans. If he has another one like this then it is ok to question what is going on with him, but it is way too early to worry about Slowey he will be just fine. RA Dickey continues to do the job in long relief as he went 2.1 innings of shutout relief of Slowey to bring his era down to 2.86 on the year. It took 3 relievers to get through the 8th inning as Jesse Crain got the first 2 outs, but gave up a hit and a walk, then Jose Mijeras came in for one batter which he walked, and Luis Ayala came on and got the last out to give the Twins to win it in the ninth inning.
  • Tonight, the Twins begin a 4 game series down the coast in Oakland with rookie Anthony Swarzak getting the start for the Twins.

Rochester Wrap

Syracuse 11 Rochester 4

  • The Red Wings continued their bad play as of late as the Red Wings dropped their 5th game this one to Syracuse 11-4. Philip Humber got the start in this one and was once again awful only lasting 5 innings and giving up 6 runs on 6 hits along with 5 walks and 5 strikeouts to raise his era to 6.37 and lower his record to 1-3. Ben Hendrickson came in relief and was no better than Humber in this one giving up 2 runs on 4 hits in only 2 innings of work along with 2 strikouts to raise his era to 6.48 on the season. I was expecting more out of Hendrickson when he was activated from the disabled list because he has big league experience and has thrown some quality innings. Hopefully, he get rebound and get it going because the Red Wings need some better pitching. Reid Santos then came on and got pummelled for 2 runs on 4 hits in his 1 inning of work. Santos era is now a very bad 5.91 on the season. Tim Lahey finished the game by doing what he always does and that is give up runs as he gave up a solo homerun to end the scoring.

  • The Red Wings offense put some hits up, but far from enough to match the hitting Syracuse had against the Wings pitching. David Winfree and Jason Pridie led the Wings attack with 3 hits apiece. Pridie added his 9th double of the year and his 16th rbi. Winfree went 3-3 at the plate to bring his average up to .277 and added his 28th rbi of the year. Steve Tolleson contributed once again going 2-5 with his 4th double and his 3rd rbi to bring his season average up to .400. Tolleson has been a pleasant surprise since his callup as he has much better since his callup than he did at New Britain. Jose Morales, Justin Huber, Tommy Watkins, and Drew Butera each contributed hits for the Red Wings in the losing cause.
  • Tonight, the Red Wings continue their series with Syracuse as Brian Duensing gets the start for Rochester.

New Britain Business

New Britain 11 Harrisburg 7

  • The Rockcats broke out of a 2 game losing streak in a big way as they defeated Harrisburg yesterday 11-7 to salvage a game out of the three game series. The Rockcats were led by Wilson Ramos and Whit Robbins in this one as they had 3 hits apiece. Ramos went 3-5 with his 7th and 8th doubles of the year and 2 rbi's to bring his season total up to 14. With the 3 hits Ramos' average is up to a very good .292 on the year. Whit Robbins went 3-4 with his 14th double of the year and 2 rbi's to bring his total up to 29 on the year. With the 3 hits Robbins is now hitting a very good .337 which is the highest on the team. I was so not expecting this out of Robbins this year as he did ok last year at Fort Myers by hitting .268 with 6 homeruns and 42 rbi's. He has already surpassed his homerun total of all of last year and is closing in on the rbi's all the while hitting much better. I really can't explain the change, but it is a good thing. Juan Portes also had a big game going 2-5 to bring his average up to .309 on the year. Danny Valencia finally broke out of a 0-19 streak by getting his 11th double and driving in his 26th rbi of the year. Valencia is still only hitting .139 in his last 10 games, but hopefully that late double is the start of Valencia breaking out of this slump because he is too good of a hitter to continue to hit like this.

  • Twins super prospect Carlos Gutierrez made his debut with the Rockcats and it could of been better, but it also could of been much worse. He really made one bad pitch that made his start look worse than it was. The good news is he picked up his first win with the Rockcats in this one. Gutierrez went 5 innings and gave up 5 runs on 7 hits, including a tough 3 run homerun with 2 outs in the 5th, along with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. It was not a perfect first start, but sometimes it takes time to make the adjustment to a new set of hitters who you have not seen before and a new set of teammates that you have not played with before. In the end he is too talented and I really believe he will be just fine and will do good things for the Rockcats. Jose Lugo then came on and gave a run on 2 hits in 1.2 innings to raise his era to 5.46. Alex Burnett then came on and did a great job like usual going 2 innings and giving up a run on 2 hits to raise his era to a great 1.80 since the callup. Frank Mata then came on and finished it by getting an out to pick up his 2nd save of the year.
  • The Rockcats are off today before they begin a series tommorrow at home against Altoona.

Fort Myers Minutes

Fort Myers 2 Lakeland 1

  • The Miracle continued their climb to a first half division championship with a big 2-1 victory over Lakeland yesterday. With the win the Miracle's magic number to clinch the first half title is down to 5. Mike Mccardell was the story in this one as he continued the Miracles recent run of great pitching as he went 6 innings and only gave a run on only 4 hits along with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts to lower his very good era to 3.73 on the year. Mccardell has really come on after a slow start to be one of the most reliable starters for the Miracle all year. Just as impressive was the outing of Loek Van Mil who came in for Mccardell and pitched 2 perfect innings along with 2 strikeouts. Van Mil has not given up a run in 3 outings since his activation from the disabled list. Kyle Waldrop came in the 9th and picked up his 2nd save of the year by pitching a clean 9th inning for the Miracle.

  • The Miracle continue their struggles as of late as they scored 2 runs in the first and were not able to add that after. Deibinson Romero hit a 2 run homerun in the bottom of the first to give the Miracle all the offense that they would need in this one. It was Romero's 1st homerun as a Miracle and drove in his 26th and 27th rbi's of the year. Romero is now hitting .219 on the year for the Miracle after a 1-35 stretch got his average down to .201. Deibinson Romero is too talented of a hitter to hit so badly so I am looking for a good 2nd half out of Romero to have a big year. Chris Parmalee added his 8th double of the year and Chris Cates added a single in the limited Miracle attack in this one.
  • Tonight, the Miracle continue their series with Lakeland as Steve Hirschfeld is expected to get the start to replace Carlos Gutierrez who was promoted to New Britain.

Beloit Beat

Wisconsin 2 Beloit 1

Beloit 4 Wisconsin 1

  • The Snappers finally got off the schnide as they broke a very tough 8 game losing streak as they were able to get a win in the night cap against Wisconsin. In the First game Dan Berlind pitched a very good game going the 7 inning complete game and only giving up 2 runs on 4 hits along with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts to be the tough luck loser. With the 2 runs allowed Berlind lowered his era to 3.94 on the year. In the 2nd game Dan Osterbrock continued his up and down season with a phenomenal start going all 7 innings for the complete game and giving up only a run on 4 hits with no walks and 6 strikeouts to pick up his 3rd win of the year. With the 1 run allowed Osterbrock's era is down to 5.55 on the year.

  • In the 2 game series the Snappers continue to struggle with the bats as they were only able to muster 14 hits combined in the 2 games. In the first game the Snappers were led by Drew Thompson who had 2 hits along with 8th rbi on the year. Michael Harrington and Jeff Lanning added hits in the tough loss. In the 2nd game the Miracle did much better with the bats and were led by Ozzie Lewis who went 3-3 with his 9th double to bring his average up to .284. James Beresford and Ramon Santana also added 2 hits apiece. Santana also added his 10th double in the game. The Snappers had 5 doubles in the game by Santana his 10th, Lewis his 9th, Alex Soto his 5th, Jon Waltenbury his 9th, and doubles machine Michael Harrington with his organization high 19th double of the year. Harrington has really turned it on after a horrible April to bring his average up to .242 on the year. I really look for Harrington to have a big second half after struggling so much early on as he is showing now how good of a hitter he is. Angel Morales added his team high 23rd rbi to lead the Snappers to a big victory.
  • Today, the Snappers finish off their series with Wisconsin as Bobby Lanigan is scheduled to pitch for Beloit.