Twins Spring Training Report From Fort Myers: 3/13/2014
by, 03-13-2014 at 06:40 PM (737 Views)
Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch
I am on site at Fort Myers and this will be the first in a series of reports regarding the Twins' major and minor leaguers from the Lee County sports complex grounds. As a reminder, you can find all Spring Training coverage here.
Miguel Sulbaran came to the Twins from the Dodgers in the Drew Butera trade last season and started four games for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, the Twins single A affiliate. Sulbaran did not make it to my top 40 off-season Twins' prospect list, but he made the cut in plenty lists, so I was intrigued to see him pitch for the first time, throwing live pitching practice to Pedro Florimon (mostly) and Nate Hanson. He is stockier than his listed 5'10", 185 lbs, with strong lower body. He has a good fastball in the low 90s with good pop. He threw a very good changeup, and an excellent curve, which had Florimon guessing. He also has a slider that is a cutter-like pitch. 30-40 live batting practice pitches are not a big sample size, but I think that the Twins have something here. On the other hand 30-40 pitches were plenty enough to see that Florimon is not even close. He made contact with only 2 balls, neither of which left the cage. The biggest issue is timing. I just cannot see how he can make the team with just 2 weeks left in Spring Training.
Today the Twins were hosting the Red Sox at Hammond Stadium and had another Spring Training attendance record with 92xx people. Phil Hughes was the starter for the Twins. He started the first inning throwing primarily his four-seamer that was sitting between 92-94 and touched 95. He also threw a few cutters at 88-91 and his curveball that was pretty much the story of his game. He is working on it this spring to replace his slider and it was the main pitch he threw his last 2 innings of work, along a few two-seamers and cutters and a couple of high 70s low 80s change ups. His curveball hit anywhere from 69-75 mph and he threw one for strikes (one of them caught David Ortiz looking at strike 3) as well as at the dirt. His appearance was much better than the results that were in part on a fielding error by Plouffe or a ground ball and on another on Mauer on a low pick off throw by Hughes (that one actually could have been on Hughes as well.)
Hard to see Mauer at first base, but he was fine (other than that one play)
Matt Hoffman pitched a couple of innings for the Twins and I think that he is in competition for a Lefty Spot in the pen.
He really has 2 pitches now, a fastball that touched 89 and a breaking ball of sorts that was thrown around 80. That is somewhat of a slurve, but with more of a change up type of motion and I can see it raking havoc against left hand batters.
Deduno has pitched for 3 innings and they were strong 3 innings. I could not believe that he would be ready this close to his shoulder surgery, but he threw really well. His fastball was as lively as ever from 88-92 and his control was better than I have seen from him before. I was really impressed today.
Mike Tonkin finished the game for the Twins and he had a solid outing. One thing that might mean something or might not, is that his fastball was clocking from 91-94 (with the Hammond Stadium radar) with is a few ticks lower than his usual fastball. He is a candidate to break camp with the Twins this Spring
I am not sure that any of these gentlemen, on the other hand, will be breaking camp with the Twins:
And the reason I am saying this is that Hicks has been solid both with the bat and on the field, while Presley has been anaemic with the bat and error prone at the field and he has a long way to climb now to even reach the back up level, while Frier is probably fourth in the depth chart, behind Hermann, Pinto and Suzuki (alphabetically.) Chris Herrmann might have been the surprise of this spring, along with Danny Santana, and will be interesting to see these two guys up North. Chris Collabelo is another player who might be knocking at the door and this might mean bad news for Jason Kubel.
There was a replay today on a disputed home run call, and I cannot believe how primitive looking the replay apparatus is:
All in all it was a good game. There was a questionable stop sign by the Twins third base coach, Joe Vavra, with 2 outs and down one at the eighth inning, but I guess coaches have Spring Training as well. Regardless, if the Twins are to climb off the 90 loss hole, they need to be more aggressive at every phase of the game including base running.