Seth's Twins On Deck Podcast (Episode 9)
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins DailyIt was a fun-filled episode of Twins On Deck last night. As the season gets going, we're likely to have just three guests each week rather than the five guests we've had throughout the offseason.
Today in Ft. Myers, minor leaguers will be reporting to spring training. It's obviously a big day for over 100 MLB hopefuls as they get a new opportunity to make an impression and move up the ladder.
The last name of our first guest is familiar to Twins fans. Terrin Vavra is the son of former Twins coach (hitting coach, bench coach, etc.) Joe Vavra who joined Ron Gardenhire's staff in Detroit this offseason. He is the younger brother of former Twins minor leaguers Tanner Vavra and Trey Vavra. Terrin is the shortstop for the Minnesota Gophers again this year, and he's off to a fantastic start.Through the team's first 12 games, he is hitting .420/.482/.580 (1.062) with a double, two triples and a home run.
We discussed Tanner's youth and some of his memories from being in the Twins clubhouse at Metrodome, Target Field and Hammond Stadium. But we also talk about his terrific season and career-to-date at the University of Minnesota. Not only is he hitting, but he's got just one error on the season at shortstop.
The second guest may be a more unfamiliar name to many Twins fans, but he certainly is intriguing. Randy Dobnak went to Division II Alderson Broadus University in West Virginia where he was a four-year starting pitcher. He went undrafted and was set to play in the USPBL (United Shores Professional Baseball League) when he got a call from the Twins. He quickly signed and reported to Elizabethton. He then joined the Cedar Rapids Kernels and made a start for them at the end of the season, and another in the playoffs.
I often say that it's a lot of fun to follow the top prospects and the first round picks, but the stories of the four-year college guys and the non-drafted free agents are often just as fun and more interesting. Find out about Dobnak's background and what he's got that made him interesting to the Twins staff.
Finally, we were joined by the Twins Scouting Director, Sean Johnson. Now working hard for his second draft in charge, Johnson noted the he watched 11 baseball games in four days last weekend, came home for part of a day, and then flew out again to watch a lot more baseball. It's amazing what the scouts do for an organization, usually without my fanfare.
Get to know Sean's path from player at Wichita State, to Twins area scout and up to the Scouting Director position. Learn what the Twins look for in scouts and what the schedule really looks like for them. We discussed the collaboration between the scouting department and the front office and even the on-field staff. As he noted, "We want to get everybody’s opinion on a topic."
For instance, later this month, Johnson and some of the scouting supervisors will be at spring training for a few days to meet with people.
"We’re going to have a video meeting with our player development, mainly the coaches. We’re going to (discuss) some guys that we’re considering at pick 20, that we think might be there, and get their insight. What do you think of this delivery? What do you think of this swing? Which we did last year as well and it was super helpful on guys like Royce Lewis and Blayne Enlow, just to name a couple. The insights that they gave us kind of kept us in the race on those guys and gave us confidence to take them. So there’s no boundaries here when we talk about decision-making across the board, whether it’s scouting or whether to move a guy up in player development. There’s a lot of people who get asked their opinion which really connects this group, and I think it’s at a level it’s never been at before and it feels really good to get it to that level."
Speaking of Royce Lewis. He was a guest on Episode 2 and Episode 8 of the Twins On Deck Podcast. He continues to note that he had no idea that the Twins were going to take him at #1 until he heard the selection on TV.
So I asked Sean how long before they made the pick they knew they were going to take Royce Lewis.
"Going back to that day, we tried to keep the decision open until the very end. Some of that is talking to the agents, but like I’ve said, Royce was our guy. This was the guy we wanted, our group wanted. So it was a matter of making sure we could get the agreement done with Scott Boras and his group."
Johnson continued, "He’s telling the truth. He didn’t know because, I’m going to say, seven minutes before the draft we knew were were taking him. He couldn’t have known. His reaction, you could tell if you were watching on TV, he was truly… that was real emotion, which is who he is. He’s a great kid, as you know and as most of the Twins fans will come to know. He’s just as good of a kid as you can come across, and we’re glad to have him."
There's so much more interesting discussion with Sean Johnson and with all three of our guests in this week's podcast, so be sure to check it out. And if you haven't, see below for a listing of the guests from the previous episodes.
To listen to Monday night's show, click here. Either way, you'll want to listen and learn more about some Twins minor leaguers and more.
Also, if you subscribe to "Minnesota Sports Weekly" on iTunes, you'll also be able to listen to these shows.
While you're eagerly anticipating tonight's show, tune in to some of the previous episodes...
Episode 1: Twins (LaMonte Wade, Stephen Gonsalves, Tyler Wells), Gophers (Luke Pettersen), MLB.com's prospect guru Jonathan Mayo.
Episode 2: Twins (Aaron Slegers, Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker, Royce Lewis), Gophers (Toby Hanson)
Episode 3: Twins (Bryan Sammons, Ryley Widell, Zack Littell, Travis Blankenhorn), Gophers (Alex Boxwell)
Episode 4: Twins (Zack Granite, Nelson Molina, Lewis Thorpe, Josh Rabe), and Baseball HQ prospect guru, Chris Blessing.
Episode 5: Twins prospects Charlie Barnes, Alex Robles, Tyler Watson, David Banuelos.
Episode 6: Twins prospects Clark Beeker and Hector Lujan, Gopher senior infielder Micah Coffey, and Twins radio voice Cory Provus.
Episode 7: Twins prospects Jake Reed and Jordan Gore, Gophers senior infielder Luke Pettersen, former Twins pitcher Pat Mahomes, and Twins TV voice Dick Bremer.
Episode 8: Twins prospects Royce Lewis, Trey Cabbage and Sean Miller, former Twins prospect and current Miracle hitting coach Steve Singleton, and former Twins prospect and Gophers shortstop AJ Pettersen.
Finally, take a moment and join this year's Twins Adopt-A-Prospect. Get to know all about a Twins prospect, start a forum thread for them and then brag them up throughout the season. Check it out right here.