Monday, June 27, 2011

June 2011 Top 50 prospects with stats

Here is my top 50 prospects with their stats so far and I am going to do something a little bit different in order for you to get to know them. I have been player profiles once a week well I am going to comtinue to do them and every week it will be on someone in my top 50. I am not going to follow the list to not make it too predictable, but everyone that made the top 50 will be profiled so check back every Friday for the newest edition of my player profiles to get know more and more about this great Twins prospects.

1Aaron Hicks:.274 2hr 23rbi 10stolen bases 19doub 3triples 43walks 56k.388/.412/.800

2 Kyle Gibson: 3-7 3.87era 15starts 81.1innings 85hits 21bb 83k .264OBA

3 Miguel Sano: .227 0hr 1rbi 1sb 0bb 8k 5-24 .208/.208/.417 5games

4 Ben Revere: .300 1hr 17rbi 14sb 7 doubles 1triple 10 walks 23k combined MLB&AAA

5 Liam Hendriks: 7-2 2.81era 13starts 2CG 77innings 74 hits 16bb 70k .253OBA

6 Joe Benson: .294 5hr 26rbi 7sb 28runs 16doub 2trip 19bb 50k .380/.489/.869 50games

7 Adrian Salcedo: 5-3 3.06era 13starts 1CG 79.1inn 72hits 19bb 58strikeouts .242OBA

8 Oswaldo Arcia:.352 5hr18rbi2sb 18runs 8doub 1tri9walks16k’s.420/.704/1.124 20games

9 Angel Morales: Has not Played

10 Chris Parmelee: .287 5hr 37rbi 42runs 15doubles 2triples 34bb 46k .371/.418/.789

11 David Bromberg: 1-1 3.63era 3starts 22.1innings 24hits 4bb 11k .282OBA

12 Rene Tosoni: .246 7hr 30rbi 4sb 24runs 12doub 11bb 48k

13 Max Keppler: .000 0-13 0hr 0rbi 1run 2bb 6k .133/.000/.133

14 Carlos Gutierrez: 2-2 3.66era 31games 46.2inn 41hits 21bb 35 strikeouts 3.82GB

15 Levi Michael: 2011 draft pick

16 Bobby Lanigan: 5-5 3.52era 14starts 84.1inn 91hits 19bb 52 strikeouts .279OBA

17 BJ Hermsen: 5-6 3.75era 12starts 1CG 72inn 88hits 19bb 47k .304OBA

18 Daniel Ortiz: .268 7hr 45rbi 4sb 33runs 24doub 2trip 15bb 44k .309/.464/.773

19 Trevor Plouffe: .280 13hr 35rbi 4sb 35runs 11doub 2trip 21bb 35k combined MLB&AAA

20 Pat Dean: 1-0 2.84era 7starts 38inn 34hits 8bb 34k .242OBA

21 Tom Stuifbergen: 2-4 3.25era 11starts 1CG 55.1inn 63hits 14bb 35k .288OBA

22 Eddie Rosario: .318 0hr 2rbi 2sb 7-22 5runs 1triple 3bb 8k .400/.409/.809 5games

23 Travis Harrison: 2011 Draft Pick from high school

24 Danny Rams: .249 4hr 23rbi 21runs 12doubles 2triples 21bb 65k .335/.391/.726

25 Michael Gonzalez: .304 9hr 46rbi 2sb 35runs 11doubles 33bb 57k .390/.473/.863

26 AJ Achter: 2-1 3.99era 6starts 29.1inn 25hits 8bb 27k .238OBA

27 Niko Goodrum: .250 1hr 2rbi 2-8 2 strikeouts .333/.625/.958

28 James Beresford: .254 0hr 22rbi 28runs 5 doubles 18bb 31k .298/.272/.570

29 Alex Wimmers: 0-1 Infinityera 1start 4 runs 6bb 0k 1.000OBA

30 Evan Bigley: .263 5hr 34rbi 4sb 31runs 16doub 3trip 18bb 51k .323/.416/.739

31 Jorge Polanco: .105 0hr 2rbi 2-19 1 double 1bb 2k .182/.158/.340

32 Steve Singleton: .272 5hr 24rbi 2sb 36runs 24doub 10bb33k.314/.418/.731comb AA&AAA

33 Scott Diamond: 4-6 4.94era 14starts 71inn 86hits 26bb 55k .301OBA

34 Miguel Munoz: 1-0 1.59era 1start 5.2inn 2hits 4bb 1k .125OBA

35 Hudson Boyd: 2011 draft pick from high school

36 Bruce Pugh: 2-4 5.91era 25games 13saves 35inn 41hits 19bb 37k .299OBA comb h-A&AA

37 Chris Hermann:.267 4hr 36rbi 3sb 36runs 11dou2tri42bb35k.375/.381/.756comb h-A&AA

38 Brett Jacobson: 3-1 2.78era 17games 8starts 1CG 55inn 37hits 38bb 41k .206OBA

39 Corey Williams: 2011 draft pick from Vanderbilt

40 Blayne Weller: 4-3 3.89era 24games 39.1inn 40 hits 24bb 36k .274OBA

41 Steve Hirschfeld: 4-4 2.70era 13starts 76.2inn 61hits 21bb 53k .221OBA

42 Dakota Watts: 2-2 4.91era 23games 8saves 29.1inn 32hits 14bb 23k .286OBA

43 Yangervis Solarte: .322 3hr 25rbi 4sb 37runs 19doub 3trip 11bb 18k .356/.452/.808

44 Madison Boer: 2011 draft pick from Oregon

45 Rory Rhodes: .353 1hr 2rbi 6-17 2runs 3doubles 2bb 6k .421/.706/1.127

46 Matt Hauser: 3-2 1.65era 24games 6saves 32.2inn 28hits 18bb 44k .228OBA comb A&h-A

47 Anderson Hidalgo: .291 2hr 21rbi 27runs 16doubles 15bb 36k .344/.399/.743

48 Logan Darnell: 6-3 3.42era 13starts 73.2inn 63hits 20bb 38k .228OBA comb A&Hi-A

49 Andrew Albers: 4-1 1.52era 19games 2starts 1save 47.1inn 43hits 7bb 40k .246OBA

50 Clint Dempster: 3-2 1.96era 25games 5saves 36.2inn 21hits 9bb 36k .164OBA

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kyle Gibson: On the Verge

Going into the 2009 college season Kyle Gibson was one of the highest rated prospects for the 2009 draft. Most draft experts expected Gibson to be taken in the top 10 in the 2009 MLB draft from the University of Missouri. However, during the season Gibson suffered a stress fracture in his pitching forearm. He claimed that he was completely healed by the time the draft happened, but obviously teams did not believe him. For a guy that was projected to be a top ten guy, Gibson’s stock dropped worse than the stock market. The Twins were lucky to have Gibson drop to them at pick 22. The Twins got to the podium in record time in order to get the 6’6 right hander from Greenfield, Indiana. After the draft the question was could the Twins sign him as he made it known after the draft that he expected to be paid like a top ten pick like he should have been drafted. After much speculation the Twins and Gibson were able to compromise and signed was 1.8 million. Being that Gibson signed so late in the season they had him wait until instructional league to throw. Then in 2010 he came on the scene and just had a dominant season. Gibson started the season in Fort Myers with the Miracle and was just awesome. These are the numbers he put up with the Miracle:

FM: 4-1 1.87 era 7 starts 43.1 innings 33 hits 12 walks 40 strikeouts 1.00 whip

Gibson just showed his dominance with the Miracle, but the stat that just impressed the heck out of me was his 3.83 ground ball rate which is awesome. That just showed that he is a groundball machine as his heavy sinker would show. There are not many major leaguers that can induce that many ground balls and for a guy making his first major league stop it was quite impressive. Gibson then moved up to AA New Britain and it was there where he suffered through his first real ups and downs as a professional. However, what impressed me was after getting killed in two or three starts he made the proper adjustments and came on strong. That is the important thing for a prospect is being able to make adjustments when things are not going well and that is probably Gibson’s strengths as a pitcher is his ability to make the needed adjustments and get better and better. At New Britain he put up the following numbers, but keep in mind that most prospects hit the wall at the AA level, but Gibson hit the wall and then just broke through it.

NB: 7-5 3.68 era 16 starts 93 innings 91 hits 22 walks 77 strikeouts 1.22 whip

As I said it was a tougher level so he took some bumps in the road, but he persevered through it and became a better pitcher for it. Towards the end of the season they put him in the bullpen in order to limit his innings since he did not pitch very much in 2009 due to his injury. His groundout rate stayed strong at 2.21 which is not where it was in Fort Myers, but is still very very good. When you thought he would finish the year in New Britain then came some injuries in Rochester so he went up and made a few starts up with the Red Wings.

Roc: 3 starts 1.72 era 15.2 innings 12 hits 5 walks and 9 strikeouts 1.09 whip

Here is his numbers for 2010 season as a whole to show how good he was
11-6 2.96 era 26 starts 152 innings 136 hits 39 walks 126 strikeouts 1.15 whip

After his great 2010 season most prospect guys had Gibson as either the number one or two prospect in the whole organization for the Twins. That is saying something as the Twins have bulked up their farm system with better drafting and spending more money overseas than they had ever done before. There were some that wondered if Gibson would start the 2011 season with the Twins or more likely go to Rochester for a couple months in order to avoid the Super 2 status that organizations want to avoid at any cost as it will cost them more money as the player gets another year of arbitration which means one less year of having their contract renewed. So Gibson started the year in Rochester and again has had his ups and downs with a higher level. This is what Gibson has done in 2011 so far with the Red Wings.

Roch: 3-7 3.89 era 14 starts 76.1 innings 79 hits 20 walks 80 strikeouts 1.88 ground out rate

Well it has been a mixed bag for Gibson this season in Rochester as he has had his great outings as he almost threw a no hitter earlier this season and then he has also had his rough outings. However, through and through it has been a solid season for Gibson, but it is obvious that Gibson was not ready for the Twins at the beginning of the year and his time in Rochester has done him good. I know what I think, but I wanted to get a different perspective on Gibson so I got the blogger that probably knows Gibson the best and that is Seth Stohs from who has had Gibson on quite a few of his podcasts. Seth was kind enough to answer some questions about Kyle Gibson and really allowed me to see a different perspective of Kyle Gibson the prospect.

The first thing that I asked Seth was what he felt were Kyle’s strengths and weaknesses as a pitcher and he replied, “Strengths - he throws a bunch of pitches, has good control of all of them, gets a lot of ground balls and understand how to pitch and the mental side of the game. As for weaknesses, there really aren't any. Of coure, there are things he can improve, and he will work on those things, but that will just come with more innings and time.” I couldn’t agree more with Seth in that he has a lot of high quality pitches that he can control both sides of the plate to get guys out. I believe the old saying is true that the more bullets that you have in the gun to get guys out the better off your going to be. I do think that Gibson can become a little more consistant, but that will come with time. He just needs to pitch to get better at everything, but the thing I love about Gibson is his strengths way outweigh his weaknesses.

Next, I asked Seth what does Kyle Gibson throw and he is his response, “Gibson sits between 89 and 92, but he can touch 93 with his fastball. He has a very good slider, and a decent changeup. The big thing is that he gets a ton of ground balls because his pitches all sink.” The thing that I would like to add that some guys think if you don’t throw 97 you can’t be a top of the rotation starting pitcher and that is so not true. Gibson can control all of his pitches and get tons of ground balls, but he can also strikeout his share of hitters which makes him all the more dangerous.

Then I asked Seth if Gibson was ready for the Big Leagues, “If he was with another team, or if the Twins were currently in a position to need a starter, he could pitch in the big leagues and be a solid starter. The fact that he doesn't have to be pushed allows him to continue to work and get better.” My feeling on this is I do think that Gibson needs a little more time in AAA in order to become more and more consistant. Could he survive at the Big League Level probably, but another half of a year in AAA is not going to hurt him one bit and will allow him to work on things so he is ready to come out of spring training in 2012 in the Twins rotation.

Next, I asked Seth what he feels that Gibson needs to work on the most. “Sounds like a boring answer, but he really just needs to work on his consistency. Consistency with all of his pitches. Consistency from inning to inning. It is strange to say that because he seemingly gives up 2-3 runs every game. But in many of those games, he has given up those runs in one of the innings. So, consistency with his pitches, all of the basic stuff that can always get better.” I totally agree there is not one thing in particular that he needs to work on, but just to become more and more consistant in everything he does.

Then Seth was asked about what he likes most about Kyle Gibson, “What's not to like? He is a terrific pitcher with all of the attributes that make a potentially very good major league pitcher. But I think his best attributes have little to do with throwing a baseball. Gibson is a well-grounded individual with strong character. He is very smart. He is very competitive and hard working. He is humble and will never take anything for granted. Then we can talk about his pitching!” That is what impressed me the most about Gibson the few times that I have talked to him is how humble he is. A person with his talent you would think he would be all full of himself, but that could not be further from the truth as he is a geniounly good guy along with being a very good pitcher.

The big question I then asked Seth is why most prospect guides have Gibson ranked as the Twins number one prospect, “he's a great combination of everything you look for in a pitching prospect. He's got all of the intangibles. His 6-6, lanky, projectable. But he also is very close, and he is putting up the numbers. Prospect ratings are about upside and about likelihood of reaching that upside. Gibson has the ability to be an All-Star pitcher, and he is close and likely to be a very good big league pitcher.” My opinion is why he is so highly regarded is not only his high ceiling, but he is very likely to reach his ceiling because of his hard work and determination, but most of all because he makes good adjustments.

The final question I asked Seth was about Gibson’s ceiling, “Due to the sinkerball, his absolute ceiling would be Brandon Webb circa 2006-2008... An innings-eater, with very good ERA, low walks and lots of ground balls. As far as strikeouts, he'll likely be in the Scott Baker range where he will strikeout between 7 and 7.5 batters per nine innings. But that's where the Cliff Lee's and Roy Halladay's are as well. So, when people talk about Gibson not being a prototypical #1 because of the lack of strikeouts, don't buy it. I don't know if Gibson will be a #1, but the reason won't be the strikeouts because Halladay, Lee and other accepted #1s don't necessarily strikeout a ton either. That said, Gibson's strikeout totals this year have been encouraging as well!” My feeling is that Gibson absolutely has the potential to be a number one starter at the big leagues and at very worst a very good number two on a good rotation.

Kyle Gibson has taken the negative of dropping in the draft as a positive and made people forget about all the concerns in the draft. He is such a hard worker and so determined to succeed that I would not put anything past him. I think he has some things to work on and feel that he can be better than he is right now so that is exciting as his work effort will not allow him to accept being a pretty good pitcher, but to be the best he can be. I really believe in two to three years Kyle Gibson will be a all-star caliber pitcher for the Twins and the next in a long line of great pitchers that have made their home in Minnesota.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Players of the Week Part II

Rochester Red Wings 28-42 14gb

Pitcher of the Week: Anthony Slama- The month of June has not been a good month pitching wise for the Red Wings. The starting pitching has been atrocious and the bullpen has not been much better. It was hard to pick a pitcher of the last week to ten days, however there was one guy that stood out in my mind and that was Anthony Slama. In his last ten outing Slama went 1-0 with a era of 1.38 in 13 innings of work including a save. In those 13 innings Slama only gave up seven hits with an incredible strikeout to walk rate of two walks and sixteen strikeouts. On the year now Slama is 3-1 with a very solid 3.16 era in 22 games. Slama has worked 31.1 innings on the year and only gave up 24 hits with just twelve walks and 33 strikeouts. Slama had a rough start to the season as he was injured early in spring training otherwise he likely would have made the Twins. So he missed the first 4-5 weeks of the year with arm issues which slowed him down. When he came back he did pretty well and with all the injuries with the Twins he earned a call up from the Twins and did pretty well even though he only appeared in two games where he threw 2.1 shutout innings with two walks and three strikeouts. The thing I don’t understand is all he has done at the minor league level is dominate. He however has not really gotten a fair chance with the Twins to show how good he can be. If he keeps dominating in Rochester it won’t be long until he gets another shot with the Twins.

Hitter of the Week: Trevor Plouffe- After suffering a hand injury in his last game with the Twins before his demotion that required Plouffe to miss some time with the Red Wings he sure came back strong. In the last 10 days Plouffe is hitting .326 with three doubles, a triple, three homeruns, and nine rbi’s along with three walks. He has a stat line of .326/.370/.651/1.021 which is quite impressive no matter how long it lasts. On the year now Plouffe is hitting .298 with seven doubles, two triples, a team high nine homeruns, and 22 rbi’s along with eleven walks. He had a stat line of /298/.353/.612/.965 which would be the best year of his career if he can keep it up. Trevor Plouffe did not get a quality opportunity with the Twins as everytime he made a mistake with the Twins Gardy wouldn’t play him for two to three days and Plouffe has such potential that you need to let him work through his mistakes. I think the best thing for him is probably to be traded by the Twins as he obviously is not going to get that kind of opportunity with the Twins. Maybe I am higher than most, but I am quite high on Trevor Plouffe and given a real opportunity he will be a quality shortstop. He will never be a star, but I think he can be a league average shortstop, it just is too bad that he won’t get that opportunity with the Twins so the best thing for everybody is to move him.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Twins players of the week

Minnesota Twins
Weekly Record 5-0

Pitcher of the Week: Scott Baker- Big Spot Scott has reappeared in 2011 and was totally awesome the last week. After getting off to a good start in April, Baker struggled a bit in May. Now in June he has been unbelievable again and has been even better the last week. In his last three starts Baker has been unhittable as he is 3-0 with an unbelievable 1.50 era. In those three starts he worked 24 innings which equals out to eight innings a start which is totally unbelievable for a guy a year ago that a guy that many thought had no heart. In those 24 innings he gave up just 18 hits, but what impressed me the most was walking only one batter while striking out an incredible 22 batters. Baker has always been very talented just because he got so much ability it is nice to see him coming back. People forget why he received that big contract in the first place and that reason is he is a very good pitcher. On the year Baker is 5-4 with a very good 3.24 era in 91.2 innings in 14 starts which is almost seven innings a start. He has walked 24 while striking out a very good 88 batters in his 91.2 innings so it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that is almost a strikeout an inning which would be a career high. I am surprised he has not gotten more play as a candidate for the All Star game as he is nineteenth in era, 25th in innings pitched, and most impressively tenth in era. He has three starts remaining before the break so it will give him time to make a bigger case inclusion in the 2011 All Star Game.

Hitter of the Week: Michael Cuddyer- It seemed like when Justin Morneau went out of the lineup Michael Cuddyer really stepped up in a big way. He has been absolutely raking in the last week. In the last week he has hit a robust .368 on 7-19 hitting with three doubles, a homerun along with two RBI’s and five runs scored. Cuddyer has been one of the few guys that haven’t missed time due to injury this year and having one of his better years of his career. Cuddy is hitting .280 with a team leading 10 homeruns and 28 RBI’s along with twelve doubles, scored 30 runs and drew 22 walks. He has a stat line of .280/.343/.451/.794 which is ok, but he is defiantly capable of doing much more. With all the injuries to his teammates though the production from Cuddy has been key as the Twins are digging themselves out a monumental hole that they put themselves in early in the season. That is why he is my selection as the Twins representative for the 2011 All Star Game in Arizona. Cuddy epitomizes what it means to be a Twin on and off the field and his numbers that he has put up this year have been key as the Twins attempt to do the unthinkable and win their seventh division title in the last ten years. If they are able to do that than Cuddy will be a catalyst and someone worthy inclusion as an all-star.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Liam Hendriks: A flaming prospect

Liam Hendriks is a name that creates questions, excitement, pessimism, optimism, and flat out intrigue every time his name is called. Not much was known from the Australian born Hendriks when the Twins signed him from Perth, Australia on February, 25th 2007 at the age of eighteen. When he was signed right away you could tell that he was mighty raw, but also mighty talented. At the time the Twins were one of the few teams that scouted in Australia so they had a leg up which would also lead to them to guys such as Brad Tippett and James Beresford. However, it is becoming clear that Hendriks was the crown jewel out of Australia so far and why many other teams are going into Australia with a renewed vigor as they feel the Twins have had success so why can’t we. After signing with the Twins, Hendriks spent the 2007 season in the Gulf Coast League and put up solid numbers.

10 starts 4-2 2.05 era 44innings 41 hits 11bb 52 strikeouts 1.18WHIP

The thought from that season was that they had something in this guy as the low ERA, low walk total and more than a strikeout an inning would attest to. It was almost like they had found a diamond in the rough. Then came the news that Hendriks would have to miss the 2008 campaign due to a spinal cord injury. When that happened those that saw such potential in the 6 foot 1 inch 190lb righty wondered if he would be just another guy that had his career derailed due to injuries. However, Hendriks would not have anything to do with I can’t and came back in 2009 and split the season between rookie league Elizabethton and Class A Beloit. Where he put up the following numbers.

Elizabethton: 3 starts 2-0 3.71 era 17 innings 19 hits 1bb 13k

Beloit: 11 starts 3-5 3.51 era 66.2 innings 73 hits 15 walks 62 strikeouts

Those were solid numbers and something to build upon. However, those were not the type of numbers that he was putting up in the GCL a couple of years earlier. It can be said after his injury it was a miracle that he was even back on the pitcher’s mound. Those that saw him pitch came to the conclusion that he was better than his numbers would indicate. They claimed that the further out he was from his injury the better he would get. Man were they right as he started the season in Beloit before getting up to Fort Myers.

Beloit: 6 starts 2-1 1.32 era 34 innings 16 hits 4 walks 39 strikeouts

Fort Myers: 12 starts 6-3 1.93 era 74.2 innings 63 hits 8 walks 66 strikeouts

With the performance in 2010 Liam Hendriks was back on the map in prospect status as he rose up prospect charts. His numbers in Beloit were off the chart before quickly earning a promotion up to Fort Myers. There he was better yet until the injury bug hit him once again, but this one was not an injury so much as an illness. When it seemed like things could not go any better for Hendriks he came down with Appendicitis and missed over a month before coming back to start a couple games in September. However, you really need to put his 2010 season in perspective as he went 8-4 with a combined 1.74 era. The stat that just makes you go wow though was 12 walks and 105 strikeouts. Stop and think about that and realize just how impressive those numbers were and how much better they would have been if not for the illness. Being back healthy going into 2011 the Twins decided to challenge him and move him up to AA New Britain and he hasn’t disappointed so far.

New Britain: 12 starts 6-2 2.96 era 70 innings 66 hits 15 walks 64 strikeouts

Hendriks has not struggled one iota in the tougher league and has flourished as he has gotten a little bit better every month. In a five start stretch from May 19th to June 9th Hendriks only gave up six earned runs with five walks and 31 strikeouts. He has gotten his fastball into the 93-94 range and has really good off-speed pitches to get guys out. With the performances that he has had this season I started to wonder how high would he be in my prospect list because I had him in the top five and wondered if it was just me or if others saw the same things as I did. So I went to one of the most well respected prospect guys out there and that is Roger Dehring from Twinkie Town who puts a wonderful minor league column every Saturday morning.

I started out asking Roger what he considered Liam Hendriks strengths and weaknesses were and this was his response. “I see Liam's strengths as being a complete pitcher without any glaring weakness. The two weaknesses I see are: 1) a history of injuries, missing all of 2008 (although his injuries may be behind him as you cannot consider last year's appendectomy a baseball injury...just bad luck); and 2) coming from Australia, he doesn't have the experience US and Latin kids have; again not a knock against him just that he needs more work;”

The next thing I asked him was if he was surprised by Hendriks quick rise through the Twins system that is usually slow on promotions. His response surprised me a bit, “No, he was very good in the GCL in 2007 and is performing as well as one could have hoped for.”

Then I asked What does Liam Hendriks need to do from here on out in order to make it to the big leagues and his response, “Stay healthy and continue pitching like he has, ie, he just needs more work at the AA and AAA levels, then should be ready for the Twins.

Next, I asked him something that I knew I would get an informative and intelligent response from being a loyal reader of Roger’s blog. I asked Roger how high he would rank him in the Twins as I had my opinion, but wanted Rogers, “Considering that I am amongst a small group that needs to see Gibson dominate more at AAA as well as pitching deeper in the games, I would put Hendriks right up with Gibson as the top pitching prospects in the upper levels of the organization. Which means I would rank them as co-#1. Just plugged both players into my formula to see what type of seasons they are having. It is a rough look as I need league averages at the end of the year to be 100% accurate (also didn't adjust a couple numbers for roughly half the season). In any case, Hendriks scored 140.114 with Gibson at 124.665. If they continue playing as they have, Hendriks just may grade out as the top pitcher in the organization.” As much as I respect Hendriks opinion I still have Gibson rated a little bit higher. I do believe that Hendriks can be a very good major league pitcher while I think Gibson can be special. Not that I am right or Roger is right just two different opinions.

Next, I asked Roger the question that everybody related to minor league baseball wants to know and that is how high of a ceiling does Hendriks have and this was Rogers response, “Does he have what it takes to be a true Ace, we will see, maybe! I don't see him having Liriano like stuff, but I see him as potentially an Ace, but more likely a #2/#3 starter.” I agree with Roger in that I see Hendriks as a really good 3 and maybe even a two if things go right for him.

The final thing I asked Roger was whether he thought he thinks that Hendriks would keep improving and his response, “ Look at the progress he made this year. Most pitchers hit a wall at AA, and if they finally succeed there it may take longer than a year. With only half a season, twelve starts, at Hi-A, Hendriks moved up to AA and has been dominant. Some pitchers can come straight to the big leagues from AA after pitching like he has...although not likely with the Twins. So yes, I see him continuing to improve and expect he will dominate at AAA next year before being called up...probably as a September, 2012 call up.” I again agree with Roger in that he has the chance to get better and better.

Liam Hendriks should be someone that is a lesson for guys that have dealt with injuries as he was a guy that would not give up on the game he loves. He went from a guy that who knew if he would ever pitch again to a guy that is a top prospect and someone that has to be thought of in the Twins plans. Liam Hendriks is probably the most talked about prospect in all the Twins organization because he went from the lows to the highs in just a couple years. If Liam Hendriks can maintain his health and stay on the pitcher’s mound there is no reason why in a couple years he can’t be a part of the Twins rotation. With guys like Kyle Gibson and Liam Hendriks the Twins future is in good hands.

My Apologys to Roger for not double checking what I put out there it was an honest mistake on my part. I appreciate his help on this article and i hope the readers don't use that against myself or Roger as he is a great minor league guy and a better person so thank you for the help Roger.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Players of the Week Part III

Fort Myers Miracle

Pitcher of the Week: Tom Stuifbergen- After getting off to a awful start to the season due to injuries and ineffectiveness Stuifbergen has been lights out the last 24 innings. In those innings he has only given up two earned runs. In his last three starts he has been awesome by going 2-1 with a unbelievable 1.06 era in 19 innings of work. In those 19 innings the righty only gave up 16 hits which is very good for someone who doesn’t throw extremely hard. He had a good 5/11 walk to strikeout rate in those three starts. After getting off to a awful April with a 10.00 era in two starts in the month of April and then spending quite a bit of time on the disabled list it was a good comeback. However, comebacks are something that the big righty from The Netherlands is used to after coming back from arm surgery. He has all tools to be a unbelievable prospect he just needs to stay healthy and become a little bit more consistant. This bout of dominance is not something that is totally unexpected, but it is something that the Twins brass have been waiting a long time to see. It will be interesting to see if this is a short term thing or if one of the most talented pitchers in the whole system has finally found himself and can be skyrocket up the charts as a prospect and a future Minnesota Twin.

Hitter of the Week: Aaron Hicks- After a terrible April Aaron Hicks has come out a blazing in the month of May and specifically the last week. After hitting just .211 with a .593 OPS in April, he turned it up to hit .286 with a .830 OPS in the month of May, and now in June he has turned it up even more by hitting 324 with an OPS of 889. Quite an improvement every month of the season for the talented center fielder. In the last week he has turned it up even more as he is hitting .324 on 12-37. He also contributed four doubles and two rbi’s along with nine runs scored. The stat that impressed me the most was the fact that he walked as much as he struck out as he walked nine times while also striking out nine times along with also stealing two bases in three attempts. He had a statline of .324/457/432/889. The OBP is out of this world and a number he probably will never attain again. However, it is worth noting that he has cut down on his strikeouts this year without seeing a decrease in his walks. A game that epitomizes Aaron Hicks was against Bradenton on June, 11th he went 3-3 with two doubles, a single, three walks and a stolen base. You can’t have a game better than that and that just shows the potential out of him. It will be interesting to see if he can keep getting better and hit .300 with a .400 OBP because those are the stats we need to pay attention to. It will be an interesting summer for Hicks as he tries to force the Twins hand into possibly getting him in New Britain to start 2012.

Beloit Snappers

Pitcher of the Week: Clint Dempster- For the second consecutive week Dempster won pitcher of week honors for the Beloit Snappers. He just seems to be getting better and better for the Snappers and it is a mystery to me why he is still in Beloit. With that being said I expect him to join the Miracle to start the second half of the season. His numbers on the year are quite impressive as he is 2-2 with a great 2.12 era in 23 games including four saves. In the last week he has gotten even better by giving up only two runs in 14.2 innings which spanned ten games including two saves. In his 14.2 innings he only gave up seven hits and my Perham High School math tells me that is one hit for every two innings. He had an impressive walk to strikeout rate with three walks and 15 strikeouts and held opponents to a .143 batting average. You can’t get much better than what Dempster has done this season and a lesser person would allow the fact that he probably should have been demoted get to him, but if it is bothering him he is not showing it on the field. It will be interesting to see how long it is before Clint Dempster is promoted up to Fort Myers and more importantly how he does when he gets up there.

Hitter of the Week: Lance Ray- After getting off to a horrid start in April, Ray has continued to get better and better. After hitting just .162 in April with a .588 OPS, before rebounding in May to hit .280 with a .806 OPS and improved again so far in June by hitting .317 with a .843 OPS. However, as good as those numbers have been his numbers the last week have been out of this world. In his last ten games Ray is hitting .419 on 13 for 31 along five doubles, three rbi’s and scored six runs. He also walked two batters while striking out eight times and stole two bases on three attempts. He had a stat line of .419/.486/.581/1.066 the last ten games. With that said due to his awful month of April he is hitting just .249 with a .744 OPS. The big thing that Ray does is just keep getting better and if he does by the end of the year he will put up some very solid numbers. He is not a huge prospect, but he is starting quality and it will be interesting to see what kind of numbers he will put up at the end of the year.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Players of the Week Part II

Rochester Red Wings

Pitcher of the Week: Andy Baldwin- After getting off to a terrible start early in the season Baldwin has gotten a little bit better as of late. After having a 7.24 era in April he has slowly, but surely brought his era back down to respectable levels. His ERA in the last six weeks has been in the 3’s just where Rochester was hoping it would be all season. In his last three starts Baldwin has gone 0-2 with a respectable 3.32 era in 19 innings of work. That would equal out to over six innings a start which is very decent. Baldwin at age 28 was a veteran free agent that was supposed to solidify the rotation for the Red Wings and really has not done so. In those 19 innings he gave up just 16 hits along with a impressive two walks and thirteen strikeouts. The only thing that he has struggled with lately and really all year has been giving up the gopher ball. In his last three starts Baldwin has given up six homeruns in those three starts. On the year he has given up fourteen homeruns in 58 innings which is way too many for a starting pitcher. If Baldwin can continue to be more consistent the Twins can their money out of their investment in Andy Baldwin.

Hitter of the Week: Aaron Bates- Aaron Bates has been quite a surprise since signing at the beginning of May. Even though he is not a big time prospect as he is 28 years old and was without a team at the beginning of the year. However, since his signing with the Red Wings he has been totally on fire. In his last ten games he is hitting .333 on 13-39 with a homerun and four rbi’s along with two doubles and scored five runs. He also walked three times while striking out a few to many times by striking out 14 times in 39 at bats. He had a strong .372 on base percentage along with a .462 slugging percentage for an ops of .834. Aaron Bates has put up numbers that normally would be begging for a promotion. However, with his age and his productivity Ifind it hard to believe that he would get a promotion. However, he is a very solid AAA player that will continue to be productive for the Red Wings during the summer.

New Britain Rockcats

Pitcher of the Week: Liam Hendriks- If you want to talk about a prospect coming into his own that is exactly what Liam has done in 2011. He has gone from a good prospect to an elite prospect. Lately, he has been just filthy on the mound especially in his last three outings. In his last three outings Hendriks is 2-0 with a 0.90 era in twenty innings of work he only gave up two earned runs. Everyone let that sink in for a minute two runs in 20 innings. He only gave up 18 hits and anytime you can have less hits than innings pitched you are doing your job. Hendriks is not overpowering as he throws in the low 90’s so he is the quote on quote pitch to contact type of pitcher so he is going to give up some hits. In those twenty innings he walked only three batters while striking out an impressive sixteen batters. Liam Hendriks has really established himself as the ace of the Rockcats rotation and put him in contention as the top pitching prospect in the organization. If I had a vote right now I would name Liam Hendriks as the the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the year. It will be interesting to see if he can keep it up as so far it has been very impressive.

Hitter of the Week: Jair Fernandez- After missing out the first five to six weeks of the season due to a broken hamate bone. He has come back and done decent for the Rockcats. However, the Rockcats have really struggled offensively the last week or so. If it was not for the Rockcats strong pitching they would be struggling in the standings. Fernandez had a solid week as he played a lot due to the shortage of players. Fernandez hit .267 on 8-30 along with two doubles and a homerun with six rbi’s. He also had an impressive eight walks in those 30 at bats with just nine strikeouts. He had a very impressive .421 on base percentage with a .433 slugging percentage for a OPS of .854. Fernandez is an offensive catcher who won’t wow you with his defensive capabilities so he has to hit in order to stay in the lineup. If he can continue to hit at this level he will continue to be in the lineup and contribute to the Rockcats as they try to make a run at a playoff spot.

That are the players of the week for the Red Wing’s and the Rockcats. Check back tomorrow as I finish my look through the organization as I will look at the players of the week for the Fort Myers Miracle and the Beloit Snappers. Then also check back Thursday night after Twins Minor League Weekly as I will present another player profile similar to the one I did on Aaron Hicks last weekend.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Twins players of the week

I am starting a new thing over here at and that every Monday I will be bringing you pitcher and hitter of the week . With the pitchers I go back to their last three starts for the starting pitchers and last 10 outings for the relievers. I will be going back to the last 10 games for the hitters. I will also talk about promotions and demotions that happened in the current week for the teams. It will be kind of a one stop shop for minor league information. I will also be doing the Twins in the player of the week awards as well. Also check back Thursday night after Twins Minor League Weekly as I will be posting another Twins minor league player profile. I really enjoyed doing the one on Aaron Hicks and hope you come back either late Thursday night or read with your coffee on Friday Morning to learn about Twins prospects.

Minnesota Twins

Pitcher of the Week: Carl Pavano- The mustache has really bounced back from a rough month and a half to show the stuff that made the Twins resign him in the offseason. In his last three starts Pavano is 1-1 with a very good 2.63 era in 24 innings of work he has only given up seven runs. If you go a little bit further back it is even more impressive as in his last six starts he is 1-1 with a 2.51 era. So after getting off to a rough start Pavano has righted himself to be the innings eater we all thought he would be. On the year he has already put in 85.1 innings in thirteen starts so if you multiply that out to making 32 starts like he did in 2010 he would have over 200 innings once again. The only concerning thing is his strikeout rate as he only has 26 strikeouts so far this season in April and May while in 2010 he had 42 in that same time period. He is never going to be a strikeout pitcher, but you would expect more strikeouts than that. He went two straight games without a strikeout and that just can not happen. He has improved with that in his recent string getting three to four strikeouts a game and that is just fine. It will be key for the Twins to get back into the AL Central race for Pavano to keep being an innings eater and a staff leader.

Hitter of the Week: Delmon Young- Delmon Young has been the most disappointed hitter in the Twins lineup all season long. However, he came on the last week in a big way as he hit .407 on 11-27 with three doubles, a homerun, and three runs scored. Granted some of the hits were bleeders that were not hit very good, but .407 is .407. If Delmon can keep it up the Twins lineup could go from good to lethal with a healthy Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau along with good years from Michael Cuddyer and Denard Span. Young can not keep hitting the way he is right now, but if he can hit .300 with more extra base hits that would be huge. In 2010 Young hit .298 with 21 homeruns and 112 rbi’s. So far this year he is hitting .246 with two homeruns and 17 rbi’s. Young has to pick it up for the Twins to have any chance to get back in the AL Central race they need closer to the type of numbers he had in 2010.
Those are the weekly winners for the Twins and tomorrow I will bring the same awards for the Rochester Red Wings and the New Britain Rockcats. Then on Wednesday, I will bring the awards for the Fort Myers Miracle and the Beloit Snappers.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Aaron Hicks on the Rise

From the moment that Aaron Hicks was drafted by the Twins in the first round, 14th overall in the 2008 draft out of high school in Long Beach, California much was expected out of him. Hicks had a full ride to USC so it took 1.7 million to sign him. Hicks was another in the long line of toolsy outfielders that the Twins love to draft. However, what made him different was the fact that some teams saw him as an outfielder and others saw him as a pitcher. What made him so different than most high school outfielders is he also pitched and could throw 95 miles per hour. When someone can throw that hard normally it is a no brainer that they should pitch. Hicks made it clear to teams though that he wanted to play outfield and that is where the Twins saw him as a prospect. That is why the Twins had no problem using their pick on him knowing that they would be able to sign him due to the fact that he wanted to play outfield. Aaron Hicks signed on August 3rd and was assigned to the GCL league to finish off his season and here are the stats he put up.

45 games .318 avg 4hr 27 rbi 10 doubles 4 triples 28 walks32 strikeouts 12SB .409/.491/.900

That was enough for talent scouts to salivate over Hicks and for most prospect guru's to put Hicks at the top of most Twins prospect lists. He really had it all he could hit for average by his .318 batting average. He could hit for power as his eighteen extra base hits would attest to. He could steal bases as his twelve stolen bases would show. He had great range in center field; he had a cannon for an arm. The tool that probably was the most impressive though was his eye at the plate as he had just about as many walks as strikeouts. That is key in a prospect as it keeps you out of slumps if you are able to take walks on a consistent basis and he showed that in the GCL.
In 2009 he skipped Elizabethton totally and went up to Beloit. It is not hard to figure out that he struggled a little bit as a 19 year old in Beloit. He put up decent numbers, but not what many expected out of him and that is when the doubt started to creep into prospect people’s minds how good can this guy really be.

2009: 67 games .251 avg 4 homeruns 29 rbi's 15 doubles 3 triples 40 walks 55 strikeouts 10 stolen bases .353/.382/.735OPS

Aaron Hicks numbers all across the board were a little bit down from the year previous and that should not have come as any big surprise since he skipped a year of development and getting up to Beloit at the age of 19. However, what impressed me so much was his obp was over a hundred points higher than his batting average then an incredible 40 walks in only 251 at bats. Being that he was young for his level and that he did not wow scouts in Beloit caused him to repeat Beloit again in 2010.
He improved immensely after starting out the season 1-31 and then was much better the rest of the year. In 2010 Hicks put up decent numbers for the Snappers;

2010: 115 games .279 avg 8hr 49 rbi's 27 doubles and 6 triples 88 walks 112 strikeouts 21 stolen bases .401/.428/.829OPS

I know that people expected more out of Hicks in 2010, but the key thing is he showed improvement in just about every stat except strikeouts which was disappointing. However, I was really surprised that some dropped him in Twins prospect lists even though he improved from year to year. Aaron Hicks strengths and weaknesses are many so I asked prospect guru Seth Stohs what he felt were Hicks strengths and weaknesses and he had this to say, "His strengths are pure athleticism, patience at the plate, and his speed, while his weaknesses are He's very raw, immense talent, but will take a while to put it all together." I agree with him on those, but what I like most about his game is that he is improving year to year. It may not show up on the boxscore from day to day, but when you look at his numbers at the end of the year the numbers are better than he had the year before. Look at this year in April he hit just .211, then in May he hit .286, and so far in June he is hitting a robust .348. If you go from May 1 the last six weeks Hicks has hit .299 which just shows how he is very good at making adjustments and improving parts of his game. The bottom line is Aaron Hicks is a slow starter so you just got to throw out his April numbers every year and go by what he does from May on.

Another question that I asked Seth was his struggles hitting left handed and if he thought that Hicks needs to stop switch-hitting. So far this year he is hitting .325 with a .857 OPS hitting right handed, while hitting .217 with a .650 OPS hitting left handed. This is Seth's perspective, "I don't think switch hitting is holding him back at this point. To maximize the type of player that he can be, it would be great if he would be able to switch-hit. Because he is so raw, and the organization can and will be patient with him, we need to be patient with his overall development. He is very good defensively, running things down and obviously throwing. But he has other things to work on, like instincts, base running, etc. It’s all part of the plan and the process. They need to play it out for at least the remainder of the season, if not another year." I would agree with Seth on this as his numbers hitting left handed has improved even since I started researching this piece. He will be much more valuable if he is able to switch-hit so I think we need to just give it some time.

The next thing I discussed with Seth is what does he need to do to keep advancing and his response was, "The main thing Hicks has to do to advance is just be more consistent, obviously that means the offense, but also the defense and the base running. That is not unusual and the only way to improve is through playing." I agree that Hicks has to become more consistent as thus far in his career he is a very streaky hitter as when he is hot he is really hot and when he is cold he is freezing.

The next thing I asked Seth was when can we expect to see Aaron Hicks in a Twins uniform, "Best case would be for Hicks to spend the entire 2011 season in Fort Myers and advance to New Britain next season. If he succeeds there you could see him early in 2013." I really agree with Seth on that assessment as he is only 21 years old which is quite young for the Florida State League. Even if you have him spend a year in FM, a year in New Britain, and a year in Rochester he would make his debut with the Twins at the young age of 24 which is still young for the big leagues.
The last thing I asked Seth was what position would he be best served playing and he said, "Although I think he can certainly play centerfield, right field may be his best position. He has got great speed, but he is not Ben Revere. His arm defiantly profiles to right field." I totally agree and being that he can play center field he will give Gardy the flexibility to play any of the three outfield positions if need be. I really view Hicks as a young version of Carlos Beltran who I totally feel will be special. His eye at the plate really excites me and I really believe his power at the plate will come to someday be a 20-25 homerun a year guy. I see him being the perfect number two hitter in the Twins lineup hitting in front of Joe Mauer for years to come. For those that have given up on him or felt that he has not lived up to what you thought he was going to be well I think you’re really wrong. I think in a year or two Aaron Hicks is going to be a top five prospect in all of baseball. I think he has as much upside as anyone out there and the key for him is just getting out there and playing every day and getting better. He has gotten better every season and he just needs to keep doing that and if he does that than the sky is the limit for my number one choice for Twins prospects. Maybe I am in the minority now who still believe he is going to be special, but I truly that if Harmon Killebrew was the past, Joe Mauer is the present, and then Aaron Hicks will be the future as in franchise players

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Final May Awards

Fort Myers Miracle 29-29 1.0 games back

  • Pitcher of the Month: Andrew Albers- It really came down to two guys for this award in Andrew Albers and Tom Stuifbergen. Albers was just a little bit better than Stuifbergen in the month of May. That is not to take anything away from Stuifbergen who put togeter a very a good month of May. Albers was just dominant in the month so that is way he earned the award. Albers went 2-1 with an awesome 1.80 era in six outings including a couple spot starts and a save for the Miracle. Albers pitched 21.2 innings and gave up 22 hits so about a hit an inning which is normal for a pitch to contact pitcher like Albers is. The key though is if you are going to give up hits you can not give up walks and he was excellent in that part of his game as he only walked three batters in those 21.2 innings which is like 1.5 walks per 9 innings. He also struck out fifteen batters so that was impressive as well. The stat that won me over was his ground ball rate of 4.38 which means he is a ground ball machine and why you can give up some hits if you throw ground balls you will get a lot of double plays. The only thing about him that concerns me is he is 25 years old and still in Fort Myers. I would love to see him get a chance in New Britain to see if he can continue to pitch like this because if he spends the whole year in Fort Myers guys will start to pass him by and he is way too talented for that to happen.

  • Hitter of the Month: Aaron Hicks- After getting off to another rough start in April he came on strong in May and is doing even better in June. Every year since he was drafted Hicks has struggled in May, remember last year when he started 1-31 at the plate. It was not that bad in April this year, but he definately is a streaky hitter who was the class of the lineup for the Miracle in May to keep them in the pennant race. In May Hicks hit .286 up from .211 in April with two homeruns and twelve rbi's along with seven doubles and fourteen runs scored. He also had an impressive 14 walks along with 22 strikeouts. Hicks also stole six bases in seven attempts. He had a stat line of .286/.390/.440/.830 which is quite good. The reason that Aaron Hicks doesn't go into prolonged slumps is his good eye at the plate and will take walks. As he moves forward that will be a big thing for him. The Twins like to go a year at a time for promotions with him so you are still looking late 2013 or early 2014 before you see Aaron Hicks patrolling the outfield for the Twins.

Beloit Snappers 28-30 11.5 games back

  • Pitcher of the Month: Clint Dempster- The left handed reliever for the Snappers has been excellent all year for Beloit, but was even better in May. Dempster has a 2.40 era on the year so its not like it was just one good month that did it for him. However, in May he took it to the next level for the Snappers as he went 2-1 with an awesome 1.50era in eleven games including picking up two saves. Dempster worked eighteen innings for the month and only gave up eleven hits. He had a impressive walk to strikeout rate as he only walked four batters in those eighteen innings while striking out a batter an inning with ninteen strikeouts. At only 21 years old Dempster is still young for his level and I look for him to get a callup to Fort Myers at the All-Star break as he has definately earned it. He has put behind him the disappointment of struggling as a starter in 2010 and has become the best pitcher out of that bullpen for the Snappers and a key to them trying to make it to the playoffs.

  • Hitter of the Month: Nate Roberts- Nate Roberts had quite a month of May after coming up to Beloit after the injury to Oswaldo Arcia. Roberts hit .302 with seven doubles and a triple along with twelve rbi's and an incredible 25 runs scored. He showed great patience at the plate with sixteen walks while only striking out only 13 times. Roberts also stole four bases in five attempts. He had a stat line of .302/.456/.396/.852 and the thing that impresses me the most is the .456 on base percentage. Roberts has struggled in June, but in May he showed he can be a good table setter and get on base and score a lot of runs. At age 22 Roberts is about right for Beloit, but you would think he needs to get up to Fort Myers by the end of the year in order to stay on the proper age track. But you can't take his month of May away and see if he can build on it going forward.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

May Awards

Rochester Red Wings 23-32 12.0games back

  • Pitcher of the Month: Carlos Gutierrez- Carlos had a very solid month for the Red Wings in May as he has gotten on the cusp of a call-up with the Twins. After getting off to a slow start in April Gutierrez was much better in May. Carlos went 1-1 with a very good 2.75 era in the month. He pitched in 12 games while working 19.2 innings and only gave up 16 hits so he was very strong. There are times the era can be a mirage if someone is giving up a lot of hits, but in May Carlos gave up less than a hit an inning which is very good for a pitch to contact pitcher who relies on guys pounding the ball into the ground. He cut the walk total down as he only walked seven guys in 19.2 innings. The walk total is the thing that he needs to work on and the thing that has kept him from the Twins so this is a positive step. The stat that impressed me most was his 4.22 ground out rate which is unbelievable and just shows you how many ground balls he gets. Gutierrez has the chance to be very special for the Twins and if he can keep his walk total in managable levels then he can be a big part of the Twins future out of that bullpen.

  • Hitter of the Month: Aaron Bates- Aaron Bates signed with the Red Wings and just started hitting and hasn't stopped since. He was out of baseball to start the season and has been the best hitter for the Wings. In May he was awesome as the backbone of the Wings offense. In 19 games with the Wings he hit .317 with four doubles along with two homeruns and 11 runs scored. He also drove in five runs for the Wings. However, the stat that impressed me was the fact that he had more walks then strikeouts and that is a big stat in my mind. He walked twelve times while only striking out ten times. His OBP was a healthy .434 thanks to the twelve walks he accumulated. His stat line was .317/.434/.476/.910 OPS which is very good for a month. Bates is 27 years old and was out of baseball to start the year so he is not a prospect by any means, but he is putting together some very good numbers especially at the plate. He is a very good AAA player and it will be interesting to see if he can keep it up as the spring turns into summer.

New Britain Rockcats 30-25 4.5 games back

  • Pitcher of the Month: Brett Jacobson- I know some will argue that guys like Liam Hendriks, Steve Hirschfeld, and Bobby Lanigan deserved it over Jacobson. They will say look at the walk rate out of Jacobson and I can't disagree with that statement. However, the name of the game in pitching is to not give up runs and he did that awesomely in May. Jacobson split the month between the bullpen and the rotation after the injury to David Bromberg. Jacobson appeared in eight games while getting four starts and was just awesome. Jacobson went 1-0 with a miniscule 1.54 era in 23.1 innings while only giving up 14 hits that says how hard he is to hit. The problem with Jacobson and the reason that could derail his prospect status is the walks as he has walked 26 batters in 37.2 innings which is way too many. In May he walked 17 in only 23.1 innings which is about 7 walks per 9 innings. There is no sugarcoating it that needs to change or he won't be anything. The flipside is he strikes out 7 per 9 innings as well which is very good. The thing about Brett Jacobson is if he can get his control improved he can be dominant and one of the top relief prospects in the Twins organization, but if he can't he will end up playing overseas so it really is all up to him.

  • Hitter of the Month: Evan Bigley- Evan Bigley was quite streaky in May, but when he was on he hit the cover off the ball. Bigley got off to a slow start in April, but really turned it on in May and led the Rockcats offensive attack. In May Bigley hit .301 with three homeruns and 18 rbi's along with an incredible ten doubles and three triples and an impressive 17 runs scored. He put up a very good .301/.363/.544/.907 line. The slugging percentage was the most impressive thing as he put up sixteen extra base hits for the month. That is a great month for just about anybody. For those of you who had given up on Bigley as a prospect you were wrong and he will continue to improve and improve. I think another good month out of Bigley could fine himself being promoted up to Rochester as he has developed into a legit prospect for the Twins and someone I am excited to see developed and see if he can make it up to the Twins before the end of 2012.

  • Tommorrow I will conclude my look at the month of May with looking at the Fort Myers Miracle and the Beloit Snappers so come back to look at it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

May Awards

I know this is a little bit late, but my nephew graduated from high school and I had to help get ready for the party. That doesn't mean that I have not been paying attention to the minor leagues because I totally have. You can listen to Twins Minor League Weekly with myself and my co-host Seth Stohs of every Monday and Thursday night from 10-10:45pm at blog talk radio. We go over the box scores of that nights games, on the Monday show we go over who has been hot the last week, and then on the Thursday show we highlight some guys that don't get a lot of attention, but who work just as hard so be sure to tune in. Now back to the reason of this blog I will be doing a hitter and pitcher of the month at all the teams including the Twins. The one prerequisite is the player has to be on the team when I do the awards to be eligible for player of the month. That means if they got a promotion or a demotion they are ineligible for the awards. Meaning the player has to be on that roster today to be eligible to win player of the month. I enjoy your comments or questions and you can either leave them in the comment box or shoot me an email to Thanks and enjoy.

Minnesota Twins 21-37 12.5 games back

  • Pitcher of the Month: Nick Blackburn- I am not going to pretend to understand how he does it, but the month of May the last two years have been unbelievable. In the last two May's Blackburn has gone 8-0 with a average era of 2.59 in 11 starts. Hopefully he has a better June in 2011 than he did in 2010 where he imploded and ended up in AAA. I think he will though as long as he can remain healthy. In May though in six starts Blackie went 3-0 with a very good 2.53 era. Nick pitched 42.2 innings including a complete game which is over seven innings a start. He only gave up 35 hits which is way down from his career averages as Blackie has always given up more than a hit an inning so it is excellent for him. The only thing I can knitpick a little is he is walking more guys this year than in years past, but he is not walking a ton as he walked 12 guys in 42.2 innings so it is less than three walks per 9 innings. The stat that really impressed me more than any from Blackie was that he held opponents to a .227 batting average in May way down from the .316 he gave up in April. Nick Blackburn was one of the top pitchers in baseball in the month of May and here is hoping that he can build on this because if the Twins want to make a historic comeback they need Nick Blackburn to be a middle of the rotation starter much like he was in May.

  • Hitter of the Month: Alexi Casilla- I never ever thought that I would be writing this as I have been as hard on Alexi Casilla as anybody. However, especially starting the second part of May until now Casilla has been the best hitter in the Twins lineup. Take a moment and reread what I just wrote because writing that myself I am having a hard time believing it. Before we go ahead to just May look at the last six weeks from Casilla. In those games Casilla is hitting .329 with five doubles and three triples. Those are what the Twins were hoping they would get out of Casilla when they allowed JJ Hardy and Orlando Hudson to leave after the season. He struggled so mightily the first six weeks that most of us had given up on him. In May he put it all together as he hit .288 with three doubles, three triples along with five rbi's and five walks with three stolen bases in five attempts. He had a stat line of .288/.351//.424/.775 which is way better than April where he only had a OPS of .427. Can Casilla keep it up probably not, but I do think he needs to have an OPS in the .600 range going forward. I really think that Casilla has a chance to be a catalyst for the Twins going forward and it will be interesting to see how he does.

I will be back with the Rochester Red Wings and New Britain Rockcats tommorrow so make sure to come back for those.