Twins Minor League Notebook
by, 05-07-2012 at 01:07 PM (1004 Views)
I was asked to be a guest on KFAN’s Baseball Weekly with Gleeman & The Geek on Sunday. I was on the second segment of the show and shared a Good, a Bad and an “Other” story. It was a fun segment and I encourage you to listen to the podcast, if you haven’t already.
It was fun to do some research on each of those topics, and I thought that I would share some of that with you today. Obviously we could talk about Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario, and that’s good, but we want to make sure that other guys get discussed too. Would we mention that Sano is hitting .308/.438/654 (1.091) with 18 extra base hits and 28 RBI. We could mention that he is 10-20 (.500) with three doubles and two home runs in his last five games. Or, we could mention that he had three errors in a game this weekend and ten on the season. Rosario is hitting .308/.438/.455 with ten doubles, a triple and a home run. He has also walked more than he has struck out (17-15). He also has seven stolen bases… and nine errors, although it is at his new position of 2B.
You take the good, you take the bad… you take them both, and there you have… Life in the Minor Leagues!
On the show, I mentioned Deolis Guerra and Anthony Slama from the Rochester bullpen. I should have also mentioned Jeff Manship currently is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA.
Guerra has given up one run in 19.1 innings between AA and AAA. He has two walks and 24 strikeouts. Impressive, to say the least, and yet I am hearing reports that he is only hitting 88-89 mph with his fastball. His changeup is sometimes described as Santana-like, and that’s great, but it will be interesting to see how AAA hitters adjust to him before the Twins call him up.
Slama is the guy that most of us Twins fans have wondered about for years. He has a 0.63 ERA this season and seven saves. In 14.1 innings, he has 10 walks and 24 strikeouts. If it is the walks that concern people with the Twins, that is understandable. The walk total is high. Yet, in the last couple of years, the Twins have added lots of pitchers that throw harder than Slama, yet walk just as many. Names like Jim Hoey, Juan Morillo, Esmerling Vasquez and now Jeff Gray come to mind. If the argument is about his “stuff,” which generally sits between 88-91 mph, then how do they explain his incredible strikeout rates? I know I can’t explain it. However, with the Twins 2012 (and 2013?) seasons in serious doubt, it would seem like a good time to give him an extended look!
Slama was removed from the Twins 40 man roster following the 2011 season. Soon after, David Bromberg was also removed from the 40 man roster. Bromberg missed most of the 2011 season after taking a line drive off the forearm that cost him 3 months and then he came back and struggled. He began the 2012 season in the New Britain bullpen, and he struggled. In his first three games (2 IP), he gave up nine earned runs. Since then, he has thrown 15 inning and given up just one run. In his last two starts, he has thrown ten shutout innings.
When the Twins traded Kevin Slowey to the Rockies last December, they acquired right-handed Daniel Turpen. Turpen was a hard-throwing, side-winding, ground ball-throwing reliever. However, in 59.2 innings at AA last year, he walked 35 and struck out 33. He is pitching out of the New Britain bullpen this season. So far, in 16 innings pitched, he has 18 walks and ZERO strikeouts.
Getting back to Rochester, it isn’t just the bullpen guys who are pitching well. Scott Diamond was called up to the Twins, but he had a 4-1 record with a 2.60 ERA. PJ Walters is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA. Eden Prairie’s Cole DeVries is 0-2 but has a 2.89 ERA. Daryl Thompson is 1-2 with a solid 3.60 ERA. Walters and DeVries are 27 while Thompson is 26. DeVries is the only one of that group without big league service time… yet.
The guy I probably should have talked about was Joe Benson. The talented outfielder hit .179/.269/.316 with three doubles, two triples and two home runs in 28 games with the Red Wings. He had 27 strikeouts in 106 plate appearances. It would have been timely because Benson was demoted back to New Britain this morning where he will hopefully be able to turn things around.
We did talk about Alex Wimmers and the news from the weekend that he has a partially torn UCL. Of course, talk of UCL tears has to lead to talk of Tommy John surgery. The Twins are choosing to rest and rehab, but we have to believe that the team also has a deadline for when they will want to have surgery in order to minimize his time missed. If Wimmers were to have the surgery, he would join 2009 first round pick Kyle Gibson and 2009 supplemental first-round pick Matt Bashore as guys who have had the Tommy John surgery. Add that 2011 first-round pick Levi Michaels entered Monday morning’s game with a .227 batting average and that can’t be termed “good.”
Oswaldo Arcia is a top 5 prospect in most Twins prospect lists. He is hitting a respectable .275 in Ft. Myers this spring despite missing a little over a week with a leg injury. However, he is hitting 4-30 with 14 strikeouts against left-handed pitchers so far this year. Very small sample size, but his prospect ranking could be affected if his future would be as a platoon player. Of course, he is hitting .351 with a .959 OPS against right-handed pitchers.
Angel Morales, another Miracle outfielder, started the season by hitting .418 (23-55). Since then (19 games), he is 4-46 (.087) and hitting .267 on the season.
Brian Dozier started the season by going 15-34 (.441) through the first nine games. In 19 games since, he is 14-71 (.197). I mention this, not to discount him as a prospect at all. But, people do need to temper expectations a little bit.
We spent some time talking about Minnesota native Caleb Thielbar. The lefty has thrown 16.2 innings without giving up a run. He was promoted to New Britain last week, and the day he arrived, he got the final out and a save. The next night, he threw two scoreless innings and got the Win in an 11 inning game. Thielbar was signed by the Twins last year and became the first player the team signed from the St. Paul Saints.
Adrian Salcedo left his last start when the second batter hit a one-hopper at the mound which bounced up and broke his nose. He had been struggling to start the season. In his previous start, he had walked five batters, something he just doesn’t do. On Saturday, Salcedo was back on the mound and had his best start. He gave up two runs in five innings. Most important, he walked none.
What else is going on in the Twins minor league system? What is standing out to you?