Saturday, August 28, 2010

Prospect Round Up

I am going to break this down into 4 parts and go over my top 21 Twins prospects from 2010. Just a quick briefing this season was a little of a disappointment on some levels for some players. A lot of guys who we expected big things from this year regressed and the pitching as a whole went through a world of injuries. I still think the Twins have a solid system but not as high as I thought at beginning of season.

21.) BJ Hersmen, 20, Rookie Appalachian League, A Midwest League: I was not as high as other Twins bloggers on Hermsen, mainly because of his lack of stuff. Hermsen as reported features a high 80's fastball and not much for a plus breaking ball. I beleive there is a guy similar to this in the system and his name is Nick Blackburn. ERA hovering over 6 as we speak. After racking up over 100 innings after extended spring training this year, expect Hermsen to be ready for full season ball next year with the Beloit Snappers as a 21 year old.

20.) Matt Bashore, 22, did not play: Twins supplemental first round pick of 2009 had his season cut short before it even got a chance to start. It is unfortunate because I was pretty high on Bashore. He should be ready to pitch next year after Tommy John surgery. Expect Minnesota to take it slowly with him (see Matt Fox).

19.)Deolis Guerra, 21, AAA International League, AA Eastern League: The final piece remaining for the Johan Santana deal played with us this year. He got off to a terrific start for New Britain that earned him a promotion to Rochester during this first half. Seemed to be too much too soon for Guerra and he was sent back down to New Britain where he has been rocked ever since. His ERA has now climbed to over 6 in both leagues. Guerra simply just is not what the Twins thought he was. His velocity comes and goes and when I say goes it sometimes dips down into the 70's and his only real pitch is his change up. Guerra will return to New Britain next year but expect the Twins to have little patience with him.

18.) Chris Parmelee, 22, AA Eastern League, A+ Florida State League: Parmelee has had what I call an interesting year. I projected him to be the best power hitter in the system and to at least hit 20 home runs. Right now he is on 8 and slugging .407 between 2 leagues. However after a early season demotion his contact rate has shot up to where he is now hitting .287 on the year (career high). Parmelee was regarded as one of the best prep bats in his draft class but has come along extremely slowly. The power was there last year with out the contact rate. This year its the opposite. If he can piece them together next year in Rochester we might have a guy who can succeed Jason Kubel for the DH spot and who can play some occasional outfield and first base.

17.) Anthony Slama, 26, AAA International League, MLB: The 26 year old continued to do what he always does and that is rack up saves and strike guys who in the minors. He has made a couple stints with the big club but has showed iffy control thus far. Listen I know everybody loves Slama but people also need to understand what he really is. He tops out at 92 on the gun, and strikes guys out with deception not stuff. Long term Slama may be a nice middle end bullpen guy but not a big league closer. The Twins have as many as 5 guys on this current roster headed to free agency next year (Gurrier, Crain, Rauch, Fuentes, Mahay). I expect the majority to leave which will give Slama a chance to lock down a full time Major League job in spring training.

16.) Alex Burnett, 23, MLB, AAA International League: Only 3 guys since the Terry Ryan ERA have jumped from AA to the Majors and those guys were Brad Radke, Joe Mauer and Jose Mijares. Alex Burnett was able to add his name to that list and performed admirably, after a case of what I thought dead arm set in, Burnett's ERA dropped to 4.11 and has not been much better in Rochester. Long term though I really like this kid. He got more and more comfortable as the season went on and I think he can be a very valuable commodity. If I had a choice to move forward with Burnett or Matt Guerrier, I would take Alex in a second.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Twins In 1st But Can Still Do More

Today is August 17th and the Minnesota Twins are a first place baseball team. I am not surprised at all, mainly because this is what happens when a bunch of teams play a bunch of games. Usually the one with the most talent ends up on the high side of things. Minnesota has a 3 game lead on Chicago going into a huge 3 game series with the White Sox. Both teams have their top 3 pitchers going so we are going to get a good idea of who is the better team. At this pace (68-50), the Twins are projected to finish with 93 wins. Right around the number I put them at for the beginning of the season.

What is also a key note is what Minnesota is trying to do here. All I have heard as of recent is now that the Twins have taken over first place, can they hold off the White Sox. That is not the right question. For the Twins to remain hungry the need to set a goal and put a target on another team's back. That team is the Texas Rangers. As of right now it is pretty obvious that the Wild Card will be coming out of the Al East and whether that team is New York or Tampa Bay should concern you. Minnesota and Texas are currently battling out for the number 2 seed on the playoffs, winner will get home field advantage against the Wild Card team in the ALDS. Just imagine games 1 and 2 in rocking Target Field rather then game 3 of what could be a game clincher.

As of right now the Twins hold a half game lead for that spot over Texas and the teams play a huge 4 game series in Arlington next week and another series first weekend of September that will take place in Target Field.

But, back to now Minnesota is trying to do big things now and that is bury the hatchet for the White Sox. If the Twins can take 1 game in this series they are still in pretty good shape with a 2 game lead. If they can take 2 games this week from Chicago they will be up 4 games and if they can really lay down the hammer with a sweep they will be up 6 games with 40 to go. Scott Baker will take the hill tonight against Chicago's ace Jon Danks. Fransisco Liriano will face off against Gavin Floyd on Wendesday and Carl Pavano will look for win number 16 against Mark Buehrle.