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Article: Twins Minor League Report (8/21): Seasons drawing to a close

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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 10:22 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...wing-to-a-close

#2 tjsyam921

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:01 AM

Still can't believe the Twins got a good pitcher like Sulbaran in return for Butera. Even if he doesnt reach the majors.
It seems like Button has really cut down on his being caught stealing. Didn't Molitor spend some time with him? I remember reading about how he was really just out running the ball more the stealing earlier in the year.

#3 Pitz

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:50 AM

Still can't believe the Twins got a good pitcher like Sulbaran in return for Butera. Even if he doesnt reach the majors.
It seems like Button has really cut down on his being caught stealing. Didn't Molitor spend some time with him? I remember reading about how he was really just out running the ball more the stealing earlier in the year.


Someone made a similar comment about Buxton's caught stealing in yesterday's minor league report, and for the second straight day Buxton was caught stealing in the game. (Maybe those need to be included in the report so as not to mislead anyone.)
However, Buxton has improved his success rate by a couple percentage points while making the jump to FtM, which is nice to see since one would speculate that pitchers/catchers in general would be better at limiting the run game at a more advanced level.
I think it's an area where Buxton is still learning, but he has shown the propensity to learn quickly.

Additionally, when you have over 50 steals in a season other teams know you're likely to be on the move and will pay more attention to trying to prevent it.

All of that to say, Buxton is a terrific prospect who's pretty good at this whole baseball thing, which we all probably know by now.

Edited by Pitz, 22 August 2013 - 04:54 AM.


#4 TRex

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 06:22 AM

Not to make excuses, but...

Buxton's CS yesterday came with 2 outs in the top of the 8th in a 1-1 tie ballgame. I am sure the opposing team was definitely focusing on him!

#5 roger

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:14 AM

Thanks Seth. Saw the Kernels game a week ago yesterday when they had one of their walk off wins. I now understand what you have been talking about all year...what a wonderful ballpark. Was able to sit about eleven rows up right behind home plate. Learned that umpiring is part of the game as that nights umpire had a more than generous strike zone. Certainly helped Atherton with his big night of K's. Only disappointement was I really wanted to see Walker play and he had the night off.

Appears the FSN televised game from New Britain was the night Rosario broke out of his slump. As Dozier continues to improve at the plate, what to do with Eddie becomes an interesting question?

Have a great day Seth!

#6 AROG

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:51 AM

Not to make excuses, but...

Buxton's CS yesterday came with 2 outs in the top of the 8th in a 1-1 tie ballgame. I am sure the opposing team was definitely focusing on him!


It is also impossible to tell by stats if they are pitching out to try and stop him from running. I would imagine the other teams are doing that quite a bit to try and slow him down. Another note, if you steal on first movement of a lefty and he throws to first and they get you at second it is still considered a caught stealing.

If anyone is able to watch some of these games and could let us know if he is being "caught" or if they are "scheming" towards him, that would be great?

#7 mike wants wins

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 08:06 AM

Aren't there good major leaguers with stuff to work on? I struggle with the belief that a player has to be perfectly polished at a level before moving on......that said, I'm confident Sano and Rosario will be up in MN no later than 2015, probably in the 2nd half of 2014.
Lighten up Francis....

#8 Pitz

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 08:31 AM

Aren't there good major leaguers with stuff to work on? I struggle with the belief that a player has to be perfectly polished at a level before moving on.


Can you be more specific about what you are referring to? I just didn't see anyone making a claim that a player needed to be polished before moving on, so I am wondering where this comment is directed.

#9 SD Buhr

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 08:44 AM

If anyone is able to watch some of these games and could let us know if he is being "caught" or if they are "scheming" towards him, that would be great?


From my admittedly amateur observations during his time in CR, I thought he seemed to get relatively small leads off first base and not always the greatest jump. That said, these guys don't exactly have professional 1st base coaches with years of experience reading pick-off moves to help them out. The 1st base coach is almost always a team mate getting the night off who has less knowledge/experience than Buxton himself at reading pitchers.

Covering the Cedar Rapids Kernels for
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#10 jokin

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:13 AM

Can you be more specific about what you are referring to? I just didn't see anyone making a claim that a player needed to be polished before moving on, so I am wondering where this comment is directed.


It is widely reported that the Twins FO looks to promote primarily only after they feel comfortable that a legit prospect has "mastered" a level. Certainly not a "claim" by any means.

#11 SD Buhr

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:37 AM

I do think the FO response to any player who asks, "what do I have to do to get promoted?" is, "dominate your current level."

That said, obviously not EVERY promoted player has done so. Injuries, needs, being in the right place at the right time, status with regard to actual "prospect status," all can lead to promotions.

Honestly, you don't have to look far to see promotions this year of players that not only hadn't dominated lower levels, but hadn't even played well. Some of those guys were even released not long after their promotions.

Covering the Cedar Rapids Kernels for
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#12 Seth Stohs

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:35 AM

The Twins have acknowledged that they like having speed-guys attempt stolen bases a lot in the lower levels. I think Molitor and others have said that the only way to learn how to steal bases is to try to steal bases. Getting caught is part of that, and they're fine with that as long as the player is learning something. We don't know a lot of things; whether there was a pitch out, whether the pitcher was left or right handed (we can see that in the box score, but it's never broken down), etc.

#13 ashburyjohn

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:37 AM

Not to make excuses, but...

Buxton's CS yesterday came with 2 outs in the top of the 8th in a 1-1 tie ballgame. I am sure the opposing team was definitely focusing on him!


That's the kind of experience he needs to have - to take the base when the signal to do it comes, even when the opposing team expects it strategically. I'm not bothered that he failed. He'll likely learn from it.

/ a little posting synchronicity with Seth, so I'm handing him one of my hard-to-earn Likes

Edited by ashburyjohn, 22 August 2013 - 04:18 PM.


#14 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:39 AM

It is widely reported that the Twins FO looks to promote primarily only after they feel comfortable that a legit prospect has "mastered" a level.


Is that necessarily a bad thing? It would seem to me a person should be playing at an above average pace at their current level of competition before being considered for a tougher challenge.

#15 jokin

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:41 AM

I do think the FO response to any player who asks, "what do I have to do to get promoted?" is, "dominate your current level."

That said, obviously not EVERY promoted player has done so. Injuries, needs, being in the right place at the right time, status with regard to actual "prospect status," all can lead to promotions.

Honestly, you don't have to look far to see promotions this year of players that not only hadn't dominated lower levels, but hadn't even played well. Some of those guys were even released not long after their promotions.


The Twins certainly promote guys that don't necessarily deserve it, based on need or longevity. I carefully qualified my statement by saying their slow-go, "dominate and master a level first", promotion philosophy is with the guys they consider "legit prospects".

#16 Seth Stohs

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:48 AM

I do think that there have been more promotions this year than in the Rantz era. I'm not talking about the non-prospects, they get moved up even if they're not necessarily 'ready' just because they need to push those guys and determine if they'll stick around. The "prospects" have moved up quite a bit this year. No surprise with Sano and Rosario moving up to New Britain. The Twins have always done that with guys in Ft. Myers. I'm still a little surprised that Buxton was moved up. Yes, after seeing him, I saw how advanced he was, but generally, the Twins have not promoted high school guys and guys that young beyond the Midwest League in that first year. They didn't with Mauer. They didn't with Sano. so, I think there have been and will be some changes with Brad Steil in charge. Not significantly, but I certainly think he's been a little more aggressive. Even last year, promoting Berrios and Buxton from GCL to ETown was something that was rarely done with the young guys. Same thing this year with Gonsalves and Stewart.

#17 Seth Stohs

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:49 AM

Is that necessarily a bad thing? It would seem to me a person should be playing at an above average pace at their current level of competition before being considered for a tougher challenge.


I agree with you. Maybe "Mastered" isn't the right word, but certainly there has to be a level of proficiency and core competencies. That may or may not show up in statistics.

#18 nicksaviking

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:05 AM

I do think that there have been more promotions this year than in the Rantz era. I'm not talking about the non-prospects, they get moved up even if they're not necessarily 'ready' just because they need to push those guys and determine if they'll stick around. The "prospects" have moved up quite a bit this year. No surprise with Sano and Rosario moving up to New Britain. The Twins have always done that with guys in Ft. Myers.


Yes, many of the promotions have seemed like a welcome change this year, but the last statement is what always puzzles me. Ft. Myers is the Twins home base outside of Target Field. They seem to put the better coaches and instructors are always there. They also have the best facilities. So why does the team almost always insist on keeping the youngsters in the Midwest League for an entire season? I would think if there was one stop they would try to keep players for an extended period of time it would be Ft. Myers.

#19 apollo_tsg

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:18 AM

I went to last nights Cedar Rapids game in the Quad Cities – here are my observations (and I am not a scout, nor have I ever been a scout…):

Sulbaran was actually pretty amazing the first two innings, every pitch had the bandits fooled, they were missing his breaking stuff by a mile. They don’t have a radar gun up so I don’t know how hard he was throwing. The 3rd and 4th inning he was completely different, they made contact with his pitches for the first time and started to hit some line drives. The 5th inning he was back to making them look silly.

Melotakis throws hard – noticeable harder than any other pitcher out there. My wife even said something (she hates baseball and knows next to nothing about the game). He throws 1 pitch and that is it – his fb. All 4 batters he faced were way behind on each of the first few pitches and then they would each start to catch up to it.

Quesada is not a good catcher and I think might actually hurt the pitchers getting calls based on the way he handles some pitches – (purely on my non-scout observations).

Mike Gonzales is a really big dude

Walker seems to talk a lot to his teammates

Goodrum has great patients at the plate and really works the pitcher

Tommy Watkins is a really friendly guy – he went out of his way to say hi to every fan in the stands wearing Twins gear before the game.

#20 ashburyjohn

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 12:38 PM

Nice writeup, Apollo. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

#21 Seth Stohs

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 01:13 PM

Yes, many of the promotions have seemed like a welcome change this year, but the last statement is what always puzzles me. Ft. Myers is the Twins home base outside of Target Field. They seem to put the better coaches and instructors are always there. They also have the best facilities. So why does the team almost always insist on keeping the youngsters in the Midwest League for an entire season? I would think if there was one stop they would try to keep players for an extended period of time it would be Ft. Myers.


Obviously I am just guessing, but there is something to be said about players in their first full season. 140 games is a long season. Lots of adjustments. Certainly different than their "rookie ball/EST" seasons. There are developmental things, for sure. It has to be an individual thing for every player. They mature at different times. The jump from MWL to FSL is not simple.

#22 Pitz

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 01:17 PM

It is widely reported that the Twins FO looks to promote primarily only after they feel comfortable that a legit prospect has "mastered" a level. Certainly not a "claim" by any means.


I understand that the Twins have a reputation for being deliberate with promotions and all of that. I wasn't trying to say otherwise. When I said "claim," I was referring to the lack of any statements in the article or comments about promotions. I was simply trying to understand where mike wants wins comment was coming from. I was trying to figure out if he was referring to something or someone specific. i.e. Was he suggesting that Buxton wasn't being promoted to AA because he needed to work on base stealing?

Or was he was just making a general comment about the Twins promotion philosophy?

At any rate, it started a pretty nice discussion about the Twins minor league promotions and some potential small changes that may be occurring.

#23 SD Buhr

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 01:25 PM

Yes, many of the promotions have seemed like a welcome change this year, but the last statement is what always puzzles me. Ft. Myers is the Twins home base outside of Target Field. They seem to put the better coaches and instructors are always there. They also have the best facilities. So why does the team almost always insist on keeping the youngsters in the Midwest League for an entire season? I would think if there was one stop they would try to keep players for an extended period of time it would be Ft. Myers.


In a perfect world, I would bet the Twins (and any other organization that has a Florida spring training facility and a high-A team in the FSL) would prefer if the FSL was a "low-A" league and the Midwest League was for "high A" teams. It's not that easy, of course, since not every MWL affiliation is with teams that train in Florida.

Just one of many things that might be done differently if the baseball powers ever tore up the status quo and started over with the whole minor league system.

Oh, and as for the team keeping players in the MWL an entire season... I think nine players on the current Kernels roster started the season on the original 25 man roster.

Edited by SD Buhr, 22 August 2013 - 01:28 PM.


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#24 Jim H

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:09 PM

I suspect that there are so many things to consider about promotions that it makes the proccess a bit tougher than it appears from the outside. For example Fort Myers is "owned" by the Twins while the other long season afflilates are owned privately. Some consideration to keeping the fans and owners of those affliates happy has to figure in. Putting the "prime" prospects exactly where the organization thinks they need to be at any given time, is or should be very important. You also can't neglect those who might contribute to the big league club either. It is also well to remember that none of this is an exact science. Plenty of lower level prospects contribute greatly to the major league club, and some become stars. For all the talk about "generational talent", when you are talking about guys who haven't played in the majors, that kind of talk is premature.

Hrbek appeared to be that kind of talent, and was pretty darn impressive as a rookie. Puckett looked like Ben Revere with a better arm his first 2 years in the majors. Hrbek went on to be good, but not great. Puckett, of course, turned out to be pretty special.

What I think is that whether a guy is promoted quickly or not is usually not all that important. An extra few weeks in in low A or not promoting a guy to AA exactly when it looks like he might be ready for it, won't really matter much in the long run. Even if a guy spends a little extra time in AAA when every internet expert thinks he should be promoted isn't the end of the world.

It seems most fans would like to see good prospects in the majors as quickly as possible. There is very little evidence that learning in the majors is better than learning in the minors. It clearly depends on the individual, but I would rather see the Twins be a little conservative on promotions, especially with very young guys, than push them up too quickly.

#25 amjgt

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 08:17 AM

I can't be the only one that thinks Jake Mauer looks like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, in this picture.

#26 Sarah

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 01:11 PM

I definitely agree with you on this Seth- the minor leagues are really fun and now Cedar Rapids is tantalizingly close with a nice ballpark! Here's the article I wrote about a recent Ballpark Tours trip earlier this month highlighting three minor league games we attended in Iowa. So many ballparks, so little time!

Ballpark Tours of St. Paul offers major fun touring minor league venues - TwinCities.com