Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday, June, 12th

Twins Talk
Athletics 4 Twins 3
  • The Twins suffered a tough loss yesterday afternoon as the Twins fell to the Athletics in the last game of the series by a score of 4-3. After building a 3-0 lead the Twins could not add to it and gave up 4 runs in the last 2 innings to get the loss. Nick Blackburn got the start in this game and was phenomenal for 7 innings. He lost in a big way in the 8th and hindsight maybe he should of been taken out after 7, but he was dominant and didn't seem to be slowing down. It was one of those things that happens sometimes. In all Blackburn went 8 innings and gave up 3 runs on 6 hits along with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts to raise his era to 3.31 on the year. Blackburn really has been the rock for the Twins staff this year and been the stopper when the Twins needed a win. Yesterday he had only given up 2 hits and no runs after 7 innings and looked like he was headed to his 6th win, but instead he ended up with his 3rd loss. The ending should not make Twins fans forget how good he was for the first 7 innings and how good he has been all year. The 9th inning was a disaster for the Twins bullpen in this one. Sean Henn came on and faced one batter and walked him on 4 pitches. Matt Guerrier then came on to hit a batter and then give up a single to bring in the winning run. That walk by Henn really set the tone for the inning and was a flare up for a bullpen that had been really pitching well lately. Hopefully, that was just an abberation and not a things to come.

  • The Twins got off to a early 3-0 lead and it seemed like they just quit after that and that happens way too often. They need to keep adding on every inning and not after you get a few runs think that is enough and quit competing with the focus you need. Joe Crede put the Twins ahead early with a 3 run homerun in the 4th inning. It was Crede's 10th homerun of the year and it gave the Twins a false sense of security and that is never good because the Twins are not talented enough to take anything for granted and that seemed like what happened. At the plate Justin Morneau and Delmon Young led the attack with 2 hits each. With the 2 hits Morneau raised his average to .340 which was 4th highest in the American League. Young has really been coming on of late as his 2 hits raised his average to .252. In the last 5 games Delmon has gone 6-18 a .333 batting average. Hopefully, he can keep it up because the Twins need his offense if they are going to keep contending in the Central. Brendan Harris, Joe Mauer, and Jason Kubel each contributed hits also in the losing cause.
  • Today, the Twins begin a 3 game series in Chicago with the Cubs. Kevin Slowey gets the start for the Twins as he tries to win his 9th game of the year.

Rochester Wrap

Rochester 4 Toledo 0

  • The Red Wings took the first game of their series last night with Toledo with a very impressive 4-0 win. Kevin Mulvey was the story of the game as he had his finest start of the year for the Red Wings. Mulvey threw a complete game shutout in this one. He went all 9 to pick up his 3rd win of the year along with his 3 losses. Mulvey went 9 innings and gave up 0 runs and scattered 7 hits along with only 1 walk and 7 strikeouts. Mulvey has been the most consistant pitcher on the staff for the Red Wings really their only consistantly good pitcher. With the 0 runs Mulvey lowered his starter low era down to 3.61. If the Twins need another starter this year it would not bother me at all to go to Mulvey because I believe he is ready to contribute to the big league team. However, I hope he doesn't take being in Rochester as a bad thing because he can continue to improve and become more consistant with his pitching.

  • This game should not even of been close, but once again the Red Wings struggled to get the big hit as they once again left many runners on base. In this one they left 9 on base which is way too many. The positive though is that they pounded out 12 hits in this one, but the negative is they were only able to put across 4 runs. Jason Pridie and Dustin Martin were the stories of the offense as they each had 3 hits in this one. Pridie has been really good in June as he is hitting .306 with 7 rbi's in June to raise his average to .252. Martin has really been coming on after he went through quite a slump. Martin is now hitting a good .268 on the season. Justin Huber also contributed 2 hits in the game to bring his average up to .268. David Winfree hit his 14th double of the year and Trevor Plouffe hit his 8th. Steve Tolleson and Drew Butera also contributed hits in the game.
  • Tonight, the Red Wings continue their series with Toledo as Bobby Keppel gets the start for Rochester

New Britain Business

New Britain 7 Altoona 3

  • The Rockcats completed the sweep against Altoona with a big 7-3 victory over the Curve yesterday afternoon. Cole Devries got the start for the Rockcats and was not terrible, but also not great. In this one he only lasted 4 innings and gave up 3 runs on a way too many 9 hits along with 1 walk and 3 strikeouts to raise his era to 3.27. Devries has been so good this season for New Britain that he is entitled a so so start. He was not terrible as he only gave up the 3 runs in the 9 hits so he made the big pitches when he needed them. Yohan Pino then came on and picked up his first win of the year by going 3 perfect innings in relief. Pino also struck out 2 batters to lower his era to 4.67 on the season. Jose Lugo then came on and pitched the last 2 innings and only gave up a hit and no runs along with a walk and 2 strikeouts to lower his era to 5.12. It was Lugo's 2nd save of the year for the Rockcats.

  • The Rockcats brought their hitting shoes to the park yesterday by jumping on Altoona pitching for 5 runs in the bottom of the 2nd. In all the Rockcats scored 7 runs on 9 hits to take advantage of every opprotunity. Juan Portes and Erik Lis led the charge with 3 hits apiece in this one. Portes went 3-4 with his 11th double of the year and 3 rbi's to bring his season total up to 19. Portes is now hitting a very impressive .322 on the year. Lis went 3-4 with his 9th double of the year and his 28th rbi of the year to bring his average up to .286. Danny Valencia added his 9th double of the year late in teh game. Hopefully, that is the start of Valencia's return to good hitting after a horrible slump that started end of May and has continued into June. The slump has dropped his average from .341 to .282. Wilson Ramos and Yancarlos Ortiz each contributed rbi hits in the game also.
  • Tonight, the Rockcats begin a weekend series with Bowie with Matt Fox on the mound for New Britain.

Fort Myers Minutes

Daytona 6 Fort Myers 4

  • The Miracle suffered a tough loss last night to Daytona by a score of 6-4 in the opener of the weekend series. Tyler Robertson was on the mound for the Miracle and was so so in this one. He had been pitching so good as of late that it surprised me that he had a poor start. Robertson went 5 innings and gave up 6 runs on 10 hits along with a walk and 4 strikeouts to raise his era to 3.88. He also took the loss in the game to drop his record to 3-3 on the year. Even though Tyler was not at his best yesterday it should not take from the outing he has had of late. Those are the outings I am going to look at because they show the true Tyler Robertson and I think this start was just an anamoly and he will be good next time out. Santos Arias came in relief and did a good job like ususal throwing 2 shutout innings on only 2 hits along with 2 strikeouts. With the 0 runs allowed Santos lowered his era to a very good 2.48 on the season. Blair Erickson came on and pitched a clean 8th inning on 1 hit along with a walk and 2 strikeouts to lower his era to 2.95 on the season. I think Erickson is ready for AA and it would not surprise me if him and Spencer Steedley get the call to AA after the All-Star game.

  • The Miracle had the same problems that Rochester had in this one as they had 11 hits, but were only able to score 4 runs. That was caused by 9 guys left on base in this one. At the plate Deibinson Romero and Nick Romero each had 3 hits apiece to pace the Miracle. Deibinson has really rebounded from his big slump. He went 3-5 with 2nd homerun and 2 rbi's to bring his total on the year up to 29. Deibinson is now hitting .227 on the year. Nick Romero went 3-4 to bring his average up to .302 on the year. Chris Parmalee connected on his 2nd homerun in as many days and his 8th homerun of the year and drove in his 32nd run of the year along with his 9th double. Ben Revere, Allan De San Miguel, and Chris Cates also contributed hits in the game.
  • Tonight, the Miracle try to clinch the first half title with a little help from Charlotte. Deolis Guerra will get the start for the Miracle in a possible clincing game as they take on Daytona once again.

Beloit Beat

Burlington 4 Beloit 1

Beloit 4 Burlington 3

  • The Snappers split a doubleheader with Burlington last night as they try to get out of last place before the end of the first half. In the first game Michael Tarsi made the first start of the season and pitched very well going 5.1 innings and only giving up 3 hits and no runs along with a walk and 7 strikeouts to lower his era to 2.95 on the year. Matt Williams then came on to nail it down but thanks to some errors he could not do that as he went 1.2 innings and gave up 1 run on 2 hits along with 3 walks to lower his era to 1.52. Danny Rondon came on in the 8th and was not very good giving up 3 runs on 6 hits along with a strikeout to raise his era to 5.73. These are the types of games the Snappers have lost all year long. Hopefully, in the second half some of these games will go the other way and the Snappers will win them. In the Second game Curtis Leavitt made his first start of the year and did alright giving up 3 runs on 3 hits in 3 innings of work along with 1 walk and 3 strikeouts. Bruce Pugh then came on and was great pitching 2 scoreless innings with 4 strikeouts to lower his era to 3.35. Steve Blevins then came on and pitched the last 2 innings to pick up his first save as he had 4 strikeouts as well in those 2 innings. Blevins has really pitched well as of late lowering his era to 4.o2 on the year.

  • The Snappers continue to have a hard time scoring runs as they were only able to score 5 runs combined in the 2 games. In the first game they only mustered 7 hits and 1 run. Michael Harrington and Nathan Hanson were the big hitters in the game. Harrington went 3-4 to raise his average up to .253 which is saying something after the dreadful start he got off to. Hanson went 2-4 with his 17th rbi of the year and raised his average to .243. Jon Waltenbury and Angel Morales added hits in the losing cause. In the second game the Snappers did more with the bats as they had 4 runs in this one. Drew Thompson had his 4th double of the year. Ramon Santana added his 12th double of the year along with his 25th and 26th rbi's of the year. Ozzie Lewis hit his 5th homerun of the year and drove in his 22nd and 23rd runs of the game. Nathan Hanson, Jon Waltenbury, and Angel Morales contributed hits in the winning cause as the Snappers salvaged a split in the doubleheader.
  • Tonight, the Snappers continue their series with Burlington with Dan Berlind getting the start for Beloit

Travis Talks top 50: Prospects 40-31

Sorry I haven't been more consistant with my prospect list, but this week has been a nightmare with so much going on in my life. I will be bringing you prospects 40-31 today, 30-21 tommorrow, 20-11 on Sunday, and 10-1 on Monday so enjoy. Just to make it easier I will list the 50-41 prospects and if you want the analysis on them just scroll down on the article about them. Thanks.

50. Steve Hirschfeld

49. James Beresford

48. Erik Lis

47. Jon Waltenbury

46. Esterlin De Los Santos

45. Bobby Lanigan

44. Ramon Santana

43. Juan Portes

42. Alex Burnett

41. Brian Duensing

Now here is Prospects 40-31:

40. Steve Singelton 2b 23 (9/12/1985)

2008 teams: Beloit and then Fort Myers

  • Steve Singelton was taken by the Twins in the 11th round of the 2006 draft out of San Diego University. After signing with the Twins after the draft Singelton was put with E-town and did very well there by hitting .340 with 4 homeruns and 24 rbi's in only 41 games. In 2007 he moved on to Beloit and hit .271 with 2 homeruns and 3o rbi's in 102 games. In 2008 he split the season between Beloit before being promoted to Fort Myers. In 65 games at Beloit Singelton hit .302 with 6 homeruns and 32 rbi's. He was then promoted to Fort Myers where he hit .298 with 5hr and 25rbi's. This season back at Fort Myers Steve has struggled only hitting .235 with 1 hr and 22 rbi. Going into this season there was a lot expected out of Singelton after he made the seamless transition from Beloit to Fort Myers. That coupled with the recovery he seems to be getting in his shoulder. He was drafted as a SS but a shoulder injury took all his arm strength so they moved him to 2nd. I thought if he got the arm strength back he would be fine because he has always had a good bat. Well up until this year that is and he may have a big second half and get his numbers back to where we are accustomed to seeing out him. If that happens I will eat a big piece of crow pie because in my mind he has been the biggest dissapointment in the organization this year because so much was expected out of him this year. I really hope I am wrong because he is too talented of a hitter to be hitting .235. I really thought he was going to be the 2nd baseman of the future and thought he would get a promotion to New Britain this year, but that likely won't happen. Here's hoping that he can find his swing and be the hitter we are so used to seeing out of him.

  • 2009: Spend season playing 2nd at Fort Myers

  • Projection: I still project him to be the Twins starting 2nd baseman in 2013.

39. Rene Leveret 1b 23 (11/19/1985)

2008 teams: 1st base at E-town

  • Rene Leveret was signed by the Twins as a free agent out of Saint Maartin in 2003 as a 18 year old. After joining the 2004, 2005, and 2006 seasons in the Dominican Summer League, Leveret joined the E-town Twins in 2007. With E-town Leveret hit .307 with 8 homeruns and an Appalacian League leading 65 rbi's. In 2008 Leveret started the season at E-town once again and hit .306 with 2 hr and 7 rbi's in 9 games before moving up to Beloit. With the Snappers Leveret hit .286 with 3hr and 34 rbi's along with 9 doubles in 182 at bats with the Snappers. In 2009 Leveret joined Fort Myers and that is where his career has taken off. In 38 games with the Miracle Leveret is hitting .315 with 2 hr and 21 rbi's along with 8 doubles in only 127 at bats because he missed a couple weeks due to an injury. Rene Leveret plays a decent 1st base, but probably is more suited to DH duties. My sources say the Twins are not real high on him and I really don't get it as he is a .306 career hitter. I know he doesn't hit a lot of homeruns, but he is hitting more doubles as he has moved up. He reminds me a lot of Erik Lis and that he is probably better suited for DH duty and as he keeps maturing he will be a doubles machine. Maybe I am not seeing something other people are seeing, but I think he is a very solid prospect and if given the chance to advance could do very well.

  • 2009: Spend season playing 1b/dh for the Fort Myers Miracle

  • Projection: I could see him as a good pinch hitter off the bench for the Twins by 2013.

38. Alex Soto C 22 (11/8/1986)

2008 teams: Catcher at E-town

  • Alex Soto was signed by the Twins as a free agent in 2005 out of Dominican Republic. Soto spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons in the Dominican Summer League before joining the US teams in 2007. In 2007 Soto spent the season with the gcl Twins where he hit .273 with 2 homeruns and 10 rbi's in 22 games with the gcl Twins. In 2008 he moved up to E-town and that is where he really started getting noticed. In 31 games at E-town he hit .276 with 10 homeruns and 26 rbi's. What stood out was the 10 homeruns in only 116 at bats which is a great percentage of at bats per homerun. This season he moved up to Beloit and it has been a little bit of a struggle for him. In 38 games with the Snappers Soto is hitting only .252 with 5 hr and 22 rbi's in 115 at bats along with 5 doubles. The homerun power is still there, but he is not hitting as many doubles and singles as he has in his career. The good news for Soto is though he is a very good defensive catcher. Most catchers in the system are not hitting a fraction of what he is so he is ahead of the game. That is not to say he is a sure fire prospect, because he needs to work on his hitting because he is only a .264 career hitter and he needs to improve on that. From what I hear his defense is probably the best in the system this side of Joe Mauer so that is a plus. Secondly, his other problem is Joe Mauer and as long as Joe Mauer is with the Twins he will be blocked from getting to the big leagues. However, he is only at Low A so he has plenty of time to develop into a big time prospect. The bottom line is with a lack of quality catchers in the organization Soto really stands out and is someone to keep your eye on.

  • 2009: Spend season catching at Beloit

  • Projection: I think he has the chance to be a Major League Starting catcher if he continues to develop.

37. Steve Blevins RHP 22 (11/17/1986)

2008 teams: Relief pitcher at E-town

  • Steve Blevins was drafted by the Twins in the 21st round of the 2008 draft out of Marshall University. In 2008 Blevins made his debut in the organization with the gcl Twins going 1-1 with a 3.00 era in 8 outings. He then moved on to E-town and went 1-2 with a 5.47 era in 17 games along with a save. That really does not tell the whole story though as Blevins went 0-1 with a 2.31 era along with a save in 8 August outings. Blevins throws a fastball, changeup and a very good slider to go with a low 90's fastball. He was the closer last year at the end of the year at E-town. He moved on to Beloit this year and has had a up and down year going 2-2 with a 4.02 era. He got off to a rough start at Beloit as he had a 6 era in April. However, as the season has gone on he has done much better by having a 2.83 era in 12 games in May and June. I really am high on Blevins as I think his future is as a closer. That is something that there is a shortage in the system and I think Blevins if he can continue to improve on his command will be worth keeping an eye on. I really believe that Blevins may be a future closer for the Twins.
  • 2009: Relief Pitcher for the Snappers maybe get closing responsibilities.
  • Projection: Solid Big League reliever and possibly closer for Twins

36. Tyler Ladendorf SS 21 (3/7/1988)

2008: SS at the GCL Twins

  • Tyler Ladendorf was drafted by the Twins in the 2nd round in the 2008 draft out of Howard College. After signing with the Twins Ladendorf played for the gcl Twins. He really struggled hitting only .204 with 1 hr and 13 rbi's along with 8 doubles and 6 stolen bases. That was not what the Twins were looking for when they took Ladendorf with the 60th overall pick, but we should not look too much into it. He played a lot of baseball last year playing a full season in college and then signing with the Twins and playing 45 games at GCL. With a offseason to rest I really look for a bounceback year from Ladendorf who is too talented of a player to have a year like that again. There was a reason he was taken in the 2nd round and I believe this year we will see what he is all about. At 6ft 180 Ladendorf has good size, good speed and a very good shortstop. I think he will hit for average and steal bases. I think he is a future shortstop for the Twins and be a very good one.
  • 2009: Play Shortstop at E-town
  • Projection: I project Ladendorf to be the eventual everyday shortstop for the Twins.

35. Matire Garcia LHP 19 (3/1/1990)

2008 teams: Starter at GCL Twins

  • Matire Garcia signed with the Twins as a free agent in 2007 out of the Dominican Republic. Garcia spent the 2007 season in the Dominican Summer League before coming over to America for the 2008 season. Last year Garcia pitched for the GCL Twins. In 11 starts for the Twins he went Matire went 2-2 with a very good 2.91 era. In 52.2 innings Garcia only gave up 17 earned runs which is very impressive. Another interesting thing is he struck out 53 batters in his 52.2 innings of work. Which my Minnesota math tells me is 9 strikeouts per 9 innings which is very good. The main reason Matire Garcia made the list is because of his age. He is so young that the fact that he pitched at GCL level at 18 years old says a lot about his pitching. Garcia is tiny in that he is only 5ft 10in and only weighs 150 lbs. If he is going to be able to handle it when he eventually goes to full seasons he is going to have to put on some weight. However, the sky is the limit with his potential. It should be fun to see how he does as he develops.
  • 2009: Start season at GCL and then get promotion to E-town
  • Projection: He is so young it is hard, but I could see him as a middle of the rotation guy.

34. Jay Rainville RHP 23 (10/16/1985)

2008 team: New Britain and Fort Myers

  • Jay Rainville was a 2nd round pick by the Twins in the 2004 draft out of Warwick, Rhode Island. After signing with the Twins Rainville went to the GCL and went 3-2 with a 1.84 era in 7 starts. In 2005 Jay split the season between Beloit and Fort Myers. He started in Beloit and going 8-2 with a very good 3.77 era before being promoted to Fort Myers where he went 4-3 with a even better 2.67 in 9 games at Fort Myers. In 2006 Jay spent the entire season on the Disabled List because of a Right Shoulder nerve problem. He bounced back in 2007 and went 9-11 with a very good 3.29 era at Fort Myers. In 2008 Jay got promoted to AA New Britain where he went 9-9 with a 5.48 era. In 2008 Rainville's career stalled a little bit after overcoming the shoulder injury Jay got the chance to go to New Britain and really was not very good. So this year he is repeating New Britain and the results have been very similiar as he is 3-2 with a 4.87 in 12 starts for the Rockcats. Jay's problem is inconsistancy because he definately has the stuff to be a big time prospect. There are games where he just blows people away. However, just as often Jay will struggle to throw strikes and when he does throw a strike it gets hit. Jay Rainville needs to develop better command of his pitches because he walks to many batters. Last year he walked 44 batters in 138 innings which is way to many. I still have him on the prospect list because he is too talented and he should be way higher than this. I really hope he can find the consistancy the Twins are looking for because he has the talent to be a really good pitcher.
  • 2009: Starting pitcher all year for the New Britain Rockcats
  • Projection: I hope he can be more consistant, but I see him as probably a career minor leaguer.

33. Brad Tippett RHP 21 (2/11/1988)

2008 teams: E-town and Beloit

  • Brad Tippett signed with the Twins as a free agent in 2006 out of Australia. Brad started his career in 2006 at GCL where he 3-5 with a very good 2.53 era in 19 games. In 2007 Brad moved to E-town where his career really took off and got him noticed. Tippett went 7-1 with a awesome 0.93 era in 21 games. Because of the good games the Twins decided to switch Brad into a starter to maximize his potential. In 2008 Brad started season at Beloit where he went 2-1 witha 4.24 era in 13 games before they sent him back to E-town to transition him into a starter. At E-town he went 8-3 with a very good 2.55 era in 14 starts. This year he moved up to Beloit as a starter and is having a phenomenal half. He is 5-3 with a very good 3.17 era in 10 starts so far. Brad Tippett is one of those guys that could succeed as a Starter or a Reliever he has that good of stuff. He has done both so that will help in the future because I believe he has a future as a Tweener that could be in the bullpen, but also make spot starts. Brad has very good control as his 11 walks in 60 innings says and also can overpower some hitters even though he doesn't throw real hard. The only thing with Brad is he going to keep getting better because he will be 22 in Febuary so he probably is a little behind for his age. If he works hard I think he really has a big league future.
  • 2009: Spend season in Rotation for the Beloit Snappers
  • Projection: I project him to be a long reliever in the big leagues who can make some spot starts.

32. Jose Morales C 26 (2/20/1983)

2008 teams: Rochester Red Wings

  • Jose Morales was drafted by the Twins in the 3rd round of the 2001 draft out of Puerto Rico. Jose began his pro career at GCL in 2001 by hitting .248 along with 18 rbi's. In 2002 Jose spent his second season at GCL hitting .309 in 53 games. After the 2002 season the Twins moved Morales from 2b to Catcher to maximize his potential. In 2003 he moved up to A ball where he hit .271 with 2 hr and 25 rbi in 48 games. In 2004 he moved up to Fort Myers where he hit .286 with 4 homeruns and 46 rbi's in 91 games. In 2005 Morales moved on to New Britain where he missed most of the year due to an injury. In 2006 Jose bounced back and played in 80 games and hit 3 homeruns and 26 rbi's. In 2007 Morales moved up to AAA Rochester where he hit .311 with 2 homeruns and 37 rbi's in 108 games before getting promoted to the Twins in September. In 2008 Morales returned to Rochester and suffered through a injury plagued season where he hit .315 in only 54 games for the Red Wings. This season He started the season with the Twins and hit .358 in 22 games. He was then sent down to Rochester where he is hitting .274 in 28 games. That is a lot of baseball in a long time and at age 26 Morales probably needs to get to the bigs soon and stay there. Thats the negative the positive is he is a phenomenal hitter that is just waiting for the opprotunity with the Twins. That chance is probably coming after this season when the Twins are not expected to bring back Mike Redmond so there will be a spot open with the Twins. Morales is more known for his offense then defense, but he has worked very hard to improve his defense. I really look at him as the backup catcher for many years who can fill in if a catcher gets hurt. I really like Jose Morales as a prospect and he is probably the best catching prospect in the system right now.
  • 2009: Spend season Catching with Rochester
  • Projection: I see him as a backup catcher in the Majors

31. BJ Hermson RHP 19 (12/1/1989)

2008 teams: none

  • BJ Hermson was a 6th round pick for the Twins in the 2008 draft out of high school in Iowa. You may be surprised that I would pick someone this high that has not thrown a professional pitch, but this guy's potential is phenomenal. Noone expect him to sign because he had a scholorship to Oregon St all lined up and was expected to go there. He was a 2nd round talent that dropped to the 6th round because noone thought the Twins could sign him. 500,000 seemed to change his mind. That is not taking away from the potential as he had filthy stuff last year. He has a mid 90's fastball and great breaking pitches. After the year I really think he will fly up the prospect chart after this season so get ready because BJ Hermson is going to be the next big Twins pitching prospect.
  • 2009: Starting pitcher at GCL
  • Projection: I think potentially he could be an ace of a staff