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Thread: Article: Prognosticating: 2014 Rock Cats Opening Day Lineup

  1. #1

    Article: Prognosticating: 2014 Rock Cats Opening Day Lineup

    Andrew Walter
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  2. #2
    Agree entirely, especially on Sano. There is no reason to push him to AAA yet, plus, why not let he and Buxton spend some time together.

  3. #3
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    I like your lineup. I think guys like JD Williams and Dalton Hicks will be up in New Britian before July as well - along with several of the 2013 Cedar Rapids guys. Then the question becomes where do the guys on your list go? Do guys in AAA get released or do guys in AA get released to make room for some of these higher ranked lower level prospects?

    What is gained if Sano doesn't tear up AA? Do you now leave him there or do you eventually move him to AAA just because? I say move him to AAA and let him struggle and adjust throughout 2014 or until he needs to move up (MLB). IMO

    How does AAA differ from AA in terms of pitching and hitter expectations?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Triple-A Steve Lein's Avatar
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    I think Sano's spring with the big club will determine which roster he gets sent to. If he's doing well: AAA. If he has struggles: AA.

    But, despite the low-average at New Britain compared to Fort Myers, he still was punishing baseballs. Giancarlo Stanton had pretty much the same type of season in 2009 at A+ and AA, and came back to punish AA the next year, earning his callup and bypassing AAA entirely. I could see this scenario with Sano too, so if he's mashing, his promotion is going to be to the Twins no matter what level he starts at.
    Last edited by Steve Lein; 01-31-2014 at 11:48 AM.
    Scouting Report: Tools - Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)
    Spring Training Regular since 2011.

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    Senior Member Double-A SgtSchmidt11's Avatar
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    I guess I don't really care where Sano is sent since the difference between AAA and AA is not that big. But I would love to go to a game with Sano, Buxton, and Meyer. That would be pretty cool.

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    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    1. Byron Buxton (CF)
    2. Danny Santana (SS)
    3. Miguel Sano (3B)
    4. Kennys Vargas (DH)
    5. C.J. Ziegler (1B)
    6. Daniel Ortiz (LF)
    7. Mike Kvasnicka (RF)
    8. Matt Koch (C)
    9. Levi Michael (2B)

    Pitcher: D.J. Baxendale
    The ones in bold better start at AAA. The ones underlined, could be release candidates, but I don't think that they will give up on Michael quite yet. Danny Santana spent a full season at AA (as did Danny Ortiz) and he has to get promoted. He is on the 40 man roster. Bartlett or not Bartlett.

    As far as Sano goes, the trick is the elbow. If the elbow is fine, he might actually be challenging for a spot in the majors. Cannot toss him all the way to AA again.
    I'd flip Vargas and Ziegler because one of them is a prospect and the other is not. Vargas needs reps at 1B.

    Spot on on Baxendale
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  7. #7
    Just saw that this became an article. Thanks for the comments!
    Thry, I agree that both the underlined guys may be release candidates, but Levi will get a full season to prove whether he can play at this level.

    My thinking on Danny Santana: yes, he can hit for average and has speed. Things to work on include defense and taking a walk every now and then. So there's some work left to be done in the minors. Could be at either AA or AAA. Do I think he deserves a promotion? Probably. But I think James Beresford will get steady playing time at AAA, as he has something to prove this spring, too.

    So I put Santana in the same camp as a Sano/Meyer: if they happen to start in AA, it might just be 4-5 weeks before they're gone. But all could easily start in AAA.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twins Fan From Afar View Post
    Just saw that this became an article. Thanks for the comments!
    Thry, I agree that both the underlined guys may be release candidates, but Levi will get a full season to prove whether he can play at this level.

    My thinking on Danny Santana: yes, he can hit for average and has speed. Things to work on include defense and taking a walk every now and then. So there's some work left to be done in the minors. Could be at either AA or AAA.

    Do I think he deserves a promotion? Probably.

    But I think James Beresford will get steady playing time at AAA, as he has something to prove this spring, too.

    So I put Santana in the same camp as a Sano/Meyer: if they happen to start in AA, it might just be 4-5 weeks before they're gone. But all could easily start in AAA.
    Beresford is going to be a utility player if he makes it all. I can easily envision a greater sense of urgency on getting Santana up to AAA sooner rather than later, and until Rosario is reinstated, the MI would be pretty thin on legit prospects at New Britain. Why not Aderlin Mejia playing 2nd? With Levi Michael given one last shot at SS? I really want the decks clear for Goodrum to move up to Fort Myers to keep him on the upward trajectory.

  9. #9
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    One...

    Santana or not...and well, even if Sano or not (90% sure he's there to start), it's definitely going to be fun to catch some Rock Cat games. Envious there.


    I imagine Santana will likely go to whichever place (NB or Roch) that has a chance for him to play everyday SS. That said, he did plenty well at AA (.297/.333/.386) to warrant a jump to AAA. Terry Ryan seems high on him as well. Though, he and Radcliffe maybe just like Shortshops with the recent news on Engelb Vielma. Not to say TR likes Vielma there.


    Polanco likely starts at A+...what if he's raking it? Will he continue to get time at SS? What aif he's ready for AA by June/July.

    AAA doesn't offer much more than AA, in fact, it's usually lower velocity, more control type of players. Very few 'prospects' spend more than a month or two in AAA. So sure, there's craftier pitchers, but I would say the level of the stuff may even be lower. And definitely by late July when anyone who's done well in AAA is likely called up to the bigs.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by twinsfan34 View Post
    One...

    Santana or not...and well, even if Sano or not (90% sure he's there to start), it's definitely going to be fun to catch some Rock Cat games. Envious there.


    I imagine Santana will likely go to whichever place (NB or Roch) that has a chance for him to play everyday SS. That said, he did plenty well at AA (.297/.333/.386) to warrant a jump to AAA. Terry Ryan seems high on him as well. Though, he and Radcliffe maybe just like Shortshops with the recent news on Engelb Vielma. Not to say TR likes Vielma there.


    Polanco likely starts at A+...what if he's raking it? Will he continue to get time at SS? What aif he's ready for AA by June/July.

    AAA doesn't offer much more than AA, in fact, it's usually lower velocity, more control type of players. Very few 'prospects' spend more than a month or two in AAA. So sure, there's craftier pitchers, but I would say the level of the stuff may even be lower. And definitely by late July when anyone who's done well in AAA is likely called up to the bigs.
    Great comments, especially the last point. I've wondered (here, on twitter, and other places) how much better a decent organization's AAA team is than its AA team, at any given time. It's more of a "food for thought" thing, but is worth thinking about. You're right -- elite players usually spend much more time at AA than at AA. I expect we'll see that with Sano and Buxton. I'd throw Mauer in there, too.
    Andrew Walter
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  11. #11
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    Good stuff. I don't get why Sano should be in AA. Heck, there are MLB players with stuff to work on. I don't get how keeping him farther from MN helps him. And I certainly don't get how it helps MN. I also don't agree with the myth that AA pitchers are better. AAA is filled with 5th -7th starter types. AA is filled with guys that will never make the majors, aren't AAAA quality, and aren't AAA quality.

  12. #12
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    I'm kind of with mike on the pitching thing. Sure, some in AA rotations may have higher ceilings than most AAA pitchers, but from #1-5 in a rotation, I can't imagine too many AA rotations match up with their AAA counterparts in an organization in terms of current ability to get batters out. Seems to me that AA starters are still largely in the development stage, while AAA starters are refining their skills and organizations have them on speed-dial in case there's a need at the MLB level. Hitters seem unlikely to see that kind of pitching day in and day out at AA.

    I'd be OK with Sano starting the season at AA because I don't feel like he totally overmatched the pitching there last year. But I do think he could benefit from spending time at AAA before he gets called up to the Twins.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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  13. #13
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    So who will be in the Rock Cats' starting rotation behind Baxendale?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    Good stuff. I don't get why Sano should be in AA. Heck, there are MLB players with stuff to work on. I don't get how keeping him farther from MN helps him. And I certainly don't get how it helps MN. I also don't agree with the myth that AA pitchers are better. AAA is filled with 5th -7th starter types. AA is filled with guys that will never make the majors, aren't AAAA quality, and aren't AAA quality.
    Yea, I think you guys are right about the pitching. Every AAA team probably has a few guys like Andrew Albers, Cole DeVries, etc. Fringe guys. I think you might be more likely to face a top pitching prospect at AA, because they usually spend more time at that level, but on balance the competition has to be higher at AAA.
    Andrew Walter
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  15. #15
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    mike wants wins

    Good stuff. I don't get why Sano should be in AA. Heck, there are MLB players with stuff to work on. I don't get how keeping him farther from MN helps him. And I certainly don't get how it helps MN. I also don't agree with the myth that AA pitchers are better. AAA is filled with 5th -7th starter types. AA is filled with guys that will never make the majors, aren't AAAA quality, and aren't AAA quality.

    Yea, I think you guys are right about the pitching. Every AAA team probably has a few guys like Andrew Albers, Cole DeVries, etc. Fringe guys. I think you might be more likely to face a top pitching prospect at AA, because they usually spend more time at that level, but on balance the competition has to be higher at AAA.


    Hmmm...it's probably pretty close, but I would guess that AA pitching is tougher than AAA pitching. I think you'll find a lot of pitch to contact, better control guys throwing 85-91 mph guys at AAA. You probably won't find many guys throwing 98 MPH or have a knee buckling curve at AAA for very long. As if they were to be there for any given period of time, they'll likely become a RP (less likely to see - maybe 1 AB a game) and then they'll be up in MLB before long.

    One thing though, if you ask MLB players you will find is that MLB players will say AA is better competition than AAA. Here's David Ortiz's thoughts on AA vs AAA. And Ortiz is a guy who played AAA..he isn't a guy who was like Manny Machado, Giancarlos Stanton, Jose Fernandez, etc who didn't even stop at AAA.

    As also, you need to factor in the many 'missed starts' against the better AAA pitching that team has to offer as they're periodically called up throughout the season to the parent (MLB) club for emergency or trial starts..

    So can a browse at the stats show us much?

    Here's 2013 stats for the Qualified AAA pitchers:
    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats...d=117&sid=l117
    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats...d=112&sid=l112
    Fangraphs has the more advanced stats (BB%, SO%, BABIP)
    http://www.fangraphs.com/minorleader...am=0&players=0

    He's 2013 stats for Qualified AA pitchers:
    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats...d=113&sid=l113
    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats...d=111&sid=l111
    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats...d=109&sid=l109

    But just factoring in who you would have faced in the Twins system in 2013.

    In AAA - who would you have had a tough time playing against?
    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats...=true&sid=t534

    If Kyle Gibson is around...Diamond had 6 starts...maybe Andrew Albers...

    In AA
    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats...=true&sid=t538
    Trevor May...Alex Meyer had 13 starts...

    Michael Tonkin and AJ Achter were in AA as much as they were in AAA. Edgar Ibarra was in AA longer than in AAA.

    How about across the rest of the minor league systems...

    Looking across leagues for "noteworthy prospects" of pitchers w/ at least 70 IP at AAA or AA:

    All qualified pitchers, unless IP noted.

    AAA:
    Sonny Gray (OAK)
    Jake Odorizzi (TB)
    Kyle Gibson (MIN)
    Michael Wacha (STL) - 85 IP
    Yordano Ventura (KC) - 77 IP

    AA:
    Archie Bradley (ARZ)
    Kyle Hendricks (Cubs)
    Zach Lee (LAD)
    Jesse Biddle (PHI)
    Trevor May (MIN)
    Alex Meyer (MIN) - 70 IP
    Marcus Stroman (TOR) - 111.1 IP
    Jameson Taillon (PIT) - 110 IP
    Anthony Ranaudo (BOS) - 109.2 IP
    Taijuan Walker (SEA) - 84 IP
    Erik Johnson - (CHI-AL) - 84.2 IP
    Mike Foltynewicz - (HOU) - 103.1 IP

    Maybe I should do an article on this - would take quite a bit of calculating and the perhaps some assessing "Top Prospects" by something such as pitch quality - from BB's and SO's thrown to pitchers throwing '70 grade' fastballs, curveballs and the like. Would be a LOT of work, but it's doable. But how subjective will that be?


    Of the top prospects who are pitchers to make the MLB opening day rosters this year:

    Yordano Ventura - AA - 57 IP, AAA - 77 IP
    Taijuan Walker - AA - 84 IP, AAA - 57 IP
    Erik Johnson - AA - 84 IP, AAA - 57 IP
    Jake Odorizzi - AAA - 124 IP

    Only Odorizzi started at AAA...

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