Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I'd just like to send a quick Merry Christmas to my readers, you 3 know who you are. I appreciate the Twins blog community that has supported me, all of my friends that check out this blog, perhaps out of guilt, and I especially appreciate one of my most dedicated readers in Towanda, PA. This reader can find this blog using many different methods. :)

I am working on some posts for the coming weeks. I will do a Houston Astros top 50 prospects, since I am trying to learn my boss' team. I will use the same method I used on the Twins top 50. I may use this method for a top 50 prospects of the American League Central (thanks Seth Stohs for the idea). I plan a look at the Twins 40 man (probably a re-look at a prior 40 man post). I am doing some research on a story about Dutch baseball as well. I also plan some posts that involve my usual crap, you know 2 sentences and a youtube clip.

2009 was a tough year but 2010 will be great.

Again, Merry Christmas!


For now, I leave you with this! Go Twins! May the beard live on!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

prospects 10-1

Thanks to Seth of for having me on his show at tonight, to speak about this blog post. Check his blog and podcasts out if you have not already!

Finally, the prospect list will finish..... Until I rationalize some that didn't make the list. Before I start the list I will mention some notables that didn't make it. Most of the 2009 draft picks didn't have enough or any stats to qualify under this formula. Kyle Gibson, Billy Bullock, Matt Bashore, and Ben Tootle would make my Top 50, Gibson my top 10. 2009 Free agent signee's: Miguel Sano (Jean) would make my top 10 and Max Kepler would make my top 50. Guys like Carlos Gutierrez, Loek Van Mil, and Steve Tolleson would also make my subjective top 50. A guy like Trevor Plouffe, I'm not so sure. He is still rather young, but his numbers are really very good. I will do a quick subjective list mostly using these numbers in the future.
Today, we finish up with the top 10 prospects. If you are catching up, I did 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, & 20-11 already.

The formula for how I came upon this top 50 is included below:

For hitters I used OPS as my control. This is the formula I used: OPS +.025 per level above GCL +/- .025 for every year above or below age 22 by August 2009 + .025 for CF/SS/C + .025 for base stealers. I also perused the total numbers to look for anomalies and at this point I favored the higher hyped prospects.

For pitchers I used WHIP as my control. This is the formula I used: WHIP -.05 per level above GCL +/- .05 for every year above or below 22 by August 2009 -.2 for starters. I also favored those with high K/9 rates and gave a break to those with higher BABIP (batting average of balls in play), because they may have been unlucky. I perused the total numbers to look for anomalies and at this point I favored the higher hyped prospects.

10. Andrei Lobanov Lefty Reliever 1/25/1990.

He was signed in 2007 out of Moscow, Russia. He went 2-1 with a .82 ERA in 15 appearance/22 innings for the Gulf Coast Twins, giving up 14 hits while striking out 35 and walking 1!!!!!. Such gaudy numbers should come back to the pack as he faces tougher competition. Amid reports that his fastball only hits the mid 80s, it can be expected that his numbers will probably off. He has had no problems so far and as a prospect, he has to be up there until it is proven otherwise.

9. Danny Valencia Third Base 9/19/1984.
He was a Twins 19th round draft pick in 2006 out of the University of Miami. He batted .285/.337/.466 between New Britain and Rochester. He is considered one of the most MLB ready Twins prospects, however, there seems to be a major divide on how ready he really is. I have heard reports that some in the organization think he can play in the MLB right now and some saying he won't be ready until 2011. His numbers fell off in the last month in Rochester and he had some trouble with his defense. I have seen him play 3-4 times in AA and AAA. I saw a guy who, in my mind, was very close to MLB caliber. The team is going to search for a short term fix at third, but they might be better served just handing the job to Valencia.

8. Tom Stuifbergen Starter 9/26/1988.
He was signed in 2006 out of Breda, Netherlands. He went 5-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 13 starts/79.2 innings for Elizabethtown, giving up 79 hits while striking out 69 and walking 6. Seriously 6!!!!! He also started against the Dominican Republic in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He went 4 innings, striking out 3 and giving up no runs in a win. He missed all of the 2008 season but has shown that he has a very high ceiling. You don't just shut the Dominican Republic all stars out without having some stones! I'm looking forward to seeing how his career plays out. As an aside, I sent him this profile and he approved it. :)

7. Bradley Tippett Starter 2/11/1988.
He was signed in 2006 out of Sidney, Australia. He went 9-8 with a 3.21 ERA in 25 appearances/24 starts/146 innings for Beloit, giving up 131 hits while striking out 107 and walking 25. He doesn't throw very hard, reports are a fastball in the high 80s, but has great control. If he can continue to strike out a fair amount of hitters and keep the hits under one per inning he has to be considered one of the better Twins starter prospects.

6. Alex Burnett Relief Pitcher 7/26/1987.
He was a Twins 12th round draft pick in 2005 out of Ocean View High School in Huntington Beach, California. He went 3-3 with a 1.85 ERA in 58 appearances/78 innings between Fort Myers and New Britain, giving up 50 hits while striking out 78 and walking 26. He was on the path to being an ordinary starter, but was switched to relief for the 2009 season. He is now the Twins top relief prospect going into the 2010 season. Smart move by the Twins brass.

5. Angel Morales Center Fielder/OF 11/24/1989.
He was a Twins 3rd round draft pick in 2007 out of Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School. He batted .266/.329/.455 for Beloit with 19 stolen bases in 25 attempts. He started the year really slow, after having a monster year in Elizabethtown in 2008, but came on later in the season. He has a rare combination of speed and power, but has some work left in his game. He needs to continue to reduce his strikeout rate. I look for him to have a big year in 2010. He is the Twins prospect I am most excited to see play.

4. Joe Benson Outfield 3/5/1988.
He was a Twins 2nd round draft pick in 2006 out of Joliet Catholic Academy in Joliet, Illinois. He batted .285/.414/.403 for Fort Myers with 14 stolen bases in 21 attempts. He's got speed and he takes walks. He is developing into a prototypical leadoff or #2 hitter. He's another of many high-end outfield prospects in the Twins organization.

3. Adrian Salcedo Starter 4/24/1991.
He was signed in 2007 out of Moca, Dominican Republic. He went 3-2 with a 1.46 ERA in 11 appearances/10 starts/61.2 innings for the Gulf Coast Twins, giving up 60 hits while striking out 58 and walking just 3. 3!!!!!! He also was a little unlucky, giving up a .334 BABIP and a 64% left on base rate. An 18 year old that only walks one guy per 20 innings is the Twins organization's dream. He also gets more than twice as many groundouts as fly outs. I don't know alot about his stuff or his makeup, but he has great raw numbers so far.

2. Wilson Ramos Catcher 8/10/1987.
He was signed in 2004 out of Valencia, Venezuela. He batted .317/.341/.454 for New Britain. He is also a good defensive catcher, throwing out 41% of would be base stealers last season. I think he is ready to play in the majors right now. Joe Mauer is blocking him and if Joe agrees to an extension, Ramos will most likely be traded. Wilson must sense he is about to make it to the majors, he is batting .352/.418/.598 in winter ball. Those are Mauer-like numbers. He has been slightly injury-prone and he also doesn't walk very much. I have seen him play a couple times in AA and he was impressive. I am looking forward to seeing him play in the majors really soon.

1. Josmil Pinto Designated Hitter/Catcher 3/31/1989.
He was signed in 2006 out of San Joaquin, Venezuela. He batted .332/.387/.610 for Elizabethtown. He threw out 46% of would be stealers, but is not otherwise known as a great defensive catcher. He may be best as a DH. His year in E-town was off the charts offensively and he is still pretty young, but Angel Morales had an even better year in E-town the year before, but struggled in Beloit in 2009. It will be interesting to see how his offense translates at the higher levels and if he stays at catcher. He has alot of power and doesn't strike out that much. The organization will have a home for his bat, position be damned.

I don't know if it is a good thing or not, but only 1 prospect out of this top 50 was traded from another organization.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My prospects 20-11

I'd like to start today by thanking not only my readers, but also the Twins blog community. Many of the blogs I follow are on the left of my postings, check them out if you haven't already. Unless you have come to this blog because you know me personally, you've probably read most of them already. I'd like to thank those that have included me on their blog roll as well. I'd especially like to thank Topper Anton. Check out Topper Anton's blog "Curve for a Strike". He recently did a post on me here. The Twins blog communtiy has alot of great voices, check them all out.

Today, we will do the prospects 20-11. If you are catching up, I did 50-41, 40-31, and 30-21 already.
The formula for how I came upon this top 50 is included below:

For hitters I used OPS as my control. This is the formula I used: OPS +.025 per level above GCL +/- .025 for every year above or below age 22 by August 2009 + .025 for CF/SS/C + .025 for base stealers. I also perused the total numbers to look for anomalies and at this point I favored the higher hyped prospects.

For pitchers I used WHIP as my control. This is the formula I used: WHIP -.05 per level above GCL +/- .05 for every year above or below 22 by August 2009 -.2 for starters. I also favored those with high K/9 rates and gave a break to those with higher BABIP (batting average of balls in play), because they may have been unlucky. I perused the total numbers to look for anomalies and at this point I favored the higher hyped prospects.

20. Tyler Robertson Left-handed Starter 12/23/1987.
He was a Twins 3rd round draft pick in 2006 out of Belle Vista High School in Fair Oaks, California. He went 8-8 with a 3.33 ERA in 26 starts/143.1 innings for Fort Myers, giving up 139 hits while striking out 103 and walking 51. He profiles as a backend starter, but he can improve that profile by improving his walk rate.

19. Deolis Guerra Starter 4/17/1989.
He was acquired by the Twins in 2008 as part of the Johann Santana trade. He went 12-11 with a 4.89 ERA in 28 appearances/26 starts/149 innings between Fort Myers and New Britain, giving up 157 hits while striking out 106 and walking 42. He was the key prospect in the Santana trade, but has been very ordinary since he came to the Twins. His delivery was changed in 2008 and he is still very young. I have seen him in person; he has a nice breaking pitch and change up. If he could get his fastball velocity closer to 95 again, he could still be an ace someday. 2010 will be a big year for him.

18. Rob Delaney Reliever 9/8/1984.
He was signed in 2006 out of St. John's University. He went 8-4 with a 3.44 ERA in 62 appearances/83.2 innings between New Britain and Rochester, giving up 75 hits while striking out 78 and walking 21. He is one of the Twins top reliever prospects. He has a similar profile and similar upside to Anthony Slama. What ranks him higher than Slama (#30) on this list is the lower amount of walks. Both have chances of being decent or better major leaguers. Slama has more dominant stuff, but Delaney walks less batters.

17. Steven Hirschfeld Starter/Reliever 9/8/1985.
He was a Twins 9th round draft pick in 2007 out of San Diego St. He went 7-7 with a 2.23 ERA in 32 appearances/17 starts/117 innings for Fort Myers, giving up 93 hits while striking out 86 and walking 31. He starts and relieves. He does well in either role. He doesn't give up a ton of hits or walk many guys. Whether he is used as a starter or reliever, in his probable start AA, will be the key to his future.

16. Blayne Weller Starter 1/30/1990.
He was a Twins 14th round draft pick in 2008 out of Key West High School. He went 5-1 with a 1.58 ERA in 11 appearances/10 starts/57 innings pitched for the Gulf Coast Twins, giving up 46 hits while striking out 49 with 8 walks. He has excellent numbers early in his professional career.

15. Aaron Hicks Centerfield 10/2/1989.
He was a Twins 1st round draft pick in 2008 out of Wilson High School in Long Beach California. He went .251/.535/.382 with 10 stolen bases out of 18 tries for Beloit. He is considered by most as the Twins #1 prospect. I'd rank him in the top 5 for sure if I was just using potential, but he did not have a great year in 2009. He has all of the potential in the world and I expect a better year in 2010.

14. Rene Tosoni Outfield 6/2/1986.
He was a Twins 36th round draft pick in 2005 out of Toronto, Canada. He went .271/.360/.454 for New Britain. He found some HR power in 2009, vaulting him up the prospect rankings. I attended 4 or 5 of his games in 2009; he was usually the best player on the field for New Britain. He has a decent shot of a September call up in 2010. He could also get called up if there is a serious injury or lack of productivity by one of the outfielders. Long term, he doesn't profile as better than the 3 current Twins outfielders. He also doesn't have as much upside as some of the outfielders behind him. Most of his major league career would probably be in another organization.

13. B.J. Hermsen Starter 12/1/1989.
He was a Twins 6th round draft pick in 2008 out of Masonville, Iowa. He went 6-2 with a 1.35 ERA in 10 starts/53.1 innings pitched for the Gulf Coast Twins, giving up 32 hits while striking out 42 with 4 walks. 4!!!!! His WHIP was .68!!!!! If he can continue to pitch anywhere close to this well as he moves up, he will be a star.

12. Chris Parmelee First Base/Outfield 2/24/1988.
He was a Twins 1st round draft pick in 2006 out of Chino Hills high school (CA). He batted .258/.359/.441 for Fort Myers. He has good power and a good walk rate. His prospect has slipped a little due to injury, but is still one of the Twins better power prospects.

11. David Bromberg Starter 9/14/1987.
He was a Twins 32nd round draft pick in 2005. He went 13-4 with a 2.70 ERA in 27 appearances/26 starts/153.1 innings pitched for Fort Myers, giving up 125 hits while striking out 148 with 63 walks. He was the Twins minor league pitcher of the year in 2009. He had a great year and is one of the Twins top starter prospects, but he needs to walk a few less guys to be a top of the rotation starter.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

prospects 30-21

Today, I have another group of prospects, but first I want to say something:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETIE!!!!! Today, December 9th, is my fiancé Allison's birthday. If you know her, make sure you wish her a happy birthday. We will live 1667 miles apart for awhile and it’s going to be difficult.... but, it gives me more blogging time! Serious, I love you and miss you. I will see you soon!

Anyway, I posted my Twins prospects 50-41 and 40-31 the past couple of days. Today, I will tackle the next 10. The formula for how I came upon this top 50 is included below:

For hitters I used OPS as my control. This is the formula I used: OPS +.025 per level above GCL +/- .025 for every year above or below age 22 by August 2009 + .025 for CF/SS/C + .025 for base stealers. I also perused the total numbers to look for anomalies and at this point I favored the higher hyped prospects.

For pitchers I used WHIP as my control. This is the formula I used: WHIP -.05 per level above GCL +/- .05 for every year above or below 22 by August 2009 -.2 for starters. I also favored those with high K/9 rates and gave a break to those with higher BABIP (batting average of balls in play), because they may have been unlucky. I perused the total numbers to look for anomalies and at this point I favored the higher hyped prospects.

.30. Ramon Santana Infield 6/20/1986.
He was signed in 2004 out of La Romana, Venezuela. He batted .296/.384/.453 for Beloit. He had good numbers, but was not very young for the level. He will have to show he can sustain a .800 OPS at the next level to continue to be a prospect. Otherwise he is a utility infielder at best.

29. Matthew Williams Relief Pitcher 2/28/1987.
He was signed in 2004 from Camden, Australia. He went 4-2 with a 2.77 ERA in 48 appearances/68.1 innings in 2 levels of A ball while giving up 62 hits, striking out 70 and walking 19. He could be a solid reliever some day.

28. Liam Hendriks Starting Pitcher 2/10/1989.
He was signed in 2007 from Perth, Australia. He missed all of the 2008 season. He went 5-5 with a 3.55 ERA in 14 starts/83.2 innings between Elizabethtown and Beloit while giving up 92 hits, striking out 75 and walking 19. If he can improve upon his average given up (his BABIP was a little high, suggesting he was a little unlucky) and he keeps his walk rate down, he has a chance to be a middle rotation starter someday.

27. Michael McCardell Starting Pitcher 4/13/1985.
He was a Twins 6th round draft pick in 2007 out of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He went 14-8 with a 3.98 ERA in 26 starts/142.1 innings between Fort Myers and New Britain while giving up 143 hits, striking out 118 and walking 32. Decent starter prospect.

26. Jeff Manship Starting Pitcher 1/16/1985.
He was a Twins 14th round draft pick in 2006 out of Notre Dame. He went 10-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 21 starts/126 innings between New Britain and Rochester while giving up 125 hits, striking out 75 and walking 37. He made his major league debut going 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in some starting and relief work. He was not quite ready for the majors but should be in the next year. He profiles as a backend of the rotation starter or middle reliever.

25. Oswaldo Arcia Outfielder 5/9/1991
He was signed in 2007 from Anaco, Venezuela. He batted .275/.337/.455 for the Gulf Coast Twins with 8 steals and no caught stealing. He has a long way to go but is very young. If he can improve on these numbers going further he will be a legitimate prospect. I look forward to seeing how he will do at a higher level.

24. Brian Dinkelman Second Base 11/10/1983
He was a Twins 8th round draft pick in 2006 out of McKendree College in Illinois. He batted .296/.383/.440 for New Britain. He was a doubles machine in 2009 with 38 in 459 ABs. He isn't that young, but given the lack of depth at the second base position, he should be in the mix to be the Twins second baseman. However, since he was not protected on the 40 man roster, he could be picked up by a team with limited infield options.

23. Brock Peterson First Base 11/20/1983.
He was a Twins 49th round draft pick in 2002 out of W.F. West H.S. in Washington. He batted .304/.376/.458 for Rochester. He has been a solid minor leaguer for the Twins, but is a current minor league free agent. After having a decent year in Rochester, it would have been nice for him to get a September call up. I hope he comes back as backup insurance for Justin Morneau but he will probably sign elsewhere.

22. Anthony Swarzak Starting Pitcher 9/10/1985.
He was a Twins 2nd round draft pick in 2004 out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He went 4-5 with a 3.28 ERA in 13 starts/79.2 innings for Rochester while giving up 79 hits, striking out 45 and walking 21. He made his major league debut going 3-7 with a 6.25 ERA. His best start was June 13th were he went 7 innings and gave up 0 runs in Chicago vs. the Cubs. I was in the bleachers for this game and it was my best experience ever at the ballpark. In fact, I had too much fun, partying with the many Twins/Cubs/misc. fans that I met. Anyway....He was not ready for the majors, but he should be one of many in the mix for the 5th starter spot. He could be trade bait. He could improve his stock by improving his strikeout rate a little bit.

21. Ben Revere Center Field 5/3/1988.
He was a Twins 1st round draft pick in 2007 out of Lexington (KY) Catholic High School. He batted .311/.372/.369 for Fort Myers with 40 stolen bases in 53 attempts. He really lost his power in the jump to Fort Myers (it is less of a hitter’s league). It could have been an aberration or a real problem. He also does not have a great arm in centerfield and there are some rumors he may eventually move to second base. Many prospect lists have him in the top 3, 5 or certainly 10 Twins prospects. I had him at #7 at the end of September. He remains a good prospect and profiles as a good leadoff hitter some day, but he'll need a little more gap power, especially if he is moved from center.

My prospects 40-31

Recently, I posted my Twins prospects 50-41. Today I will tackle the next 10. The formula for how I came upon this top 50 is included below:

For hitters I used OPS as my control. This is the formula I used: OPS +.025 per level above GCL +/- .025 for every year above or below age 22 by August 2009 + .025 for CF/SS/C + .025 for base stealers. I also perused the total numbers to look for anomalies and at this point I favored the higher hyped prospects.

For pitchers I used WHIP as my control. This is the formula I used: WHIP -.05 per level above GCL +/- .05 for every year above or below 22 by August 2009 -.2 for starters. I also favored those with high K/9 rates and gave a break to those with higher BABIP (batting average of balls in play), because they may have been unlucky. I perused the total numbers to look for anomalies and at this point I favored the higher hyped prospects.

40. Kelvin Mota Reliever 6/23/1988.
He was signed in 2007 out of Bani, Dominican Republic. He went 0-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 12 appearances/20.2 innings for both levels of rookie ball. He gave up 13 hits while striking out 17 and walking just 6. He is a young reliever with good stuff and good numbers, but with a limited track record.

39. Michael Gonzales First Base 6/16/1988.
He was a Twins 9th round draft pick in 2008 out of Diablo Valley College in California. He batted .304/.364/.477 for Elizabethtown. He has some power and walks a little, but he strikes out too much. He will have to improve all these facets of his game to become a major prospect.

38. Anderson Hidalgo Third Base 9/5/1988.
He was signed in 2006 out of Valencia, Venezuela. He batted .291/.379/.469 for Elizabethtown. He has some power and draws walks. He has played 2B in the past and at 5'9" he might have to switch back there. Still relatively young, if he can keep his OPS up, as it has been the last 2 seasons, he may emerge as a legitimate prospect.

37. Jose Gonzalez Lefty Reliever 2/3/1990.
He was signed signed in 2007 out of Tucupita, Venezuela. He went 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 8 appearances/12.2 innings for the Gulf Coast Twins. He gave up 9 hits while striking out 10 and walking just 2. He's young, but the numbers are good. There is not alot to go on yet however. He also had good numbers in the DSL in 2008. He could be one to watch.

36. Christopher Herrman Outfielder 11/24/1987.
He was a Twins 6th round draft pick in 2009 out of the University of Miami. He batted .297/.391/.453 for Elizabethtown. He has a good walk rate and doesn't strike out too much. He could be a great offensive player if he can add a little more power.

35. Brian Dozier Shortstop 5/15/1987.
He was a Twins 8th round draft pick in 2009 out of Southern Mississippi. He batted .353/.417/.431 for Elizabethtown. He had 17 doubles in 218 ABs and only struck out 26 times. You have to love the BA/OBP. If he can keep those numbers up at the higher levels, it will make up for his lack of power. He also had alot of errors at SS, which could speak to his range or maybe he isn't a perfect fit for the position.

34. Daniel Santana Shortstop 11/7/1990.
He was signed in 2007 from Monta Plata, Dominican Republic. He batted .265/.302/.418 for the Gulf Coast Twins with 12 steals and just 1 caught stealing. He has a long way to go, but is quite young. He also had alot of errors at SS, which could speak to his range or maybe he isn't long at the position.

33. Luke Hughes Infield/Outfield 8/2/1984.
He was signed in 2002 out of Perth, Australia. He batted .254/.335/.454 at three levels. He burst onto the prospect scene in 2008, but has battled alot of injuries. He has decent power when healthy, but no real position. If he could stay healthy he could be a bench bat or DH/LF as soon as 2010 in the major leagues, if not he may never get to the MLB. I saw him play many times in 2008 and he was alot of fun to watch offensively. Hopefully he can stay healthy and be a good RH power bat off the Twins bench.

32. Juan Portes Outfield 11/26/1985.
He was a Twins 15th round draft pick in 2004 out of Boston, MA. He had somewhat of a breakout year in 2009, batting .297/.366/.434 at AA New Britain. His OPS improved .86 points over the previous season, while moving up a level in the organization. More improvement like this and he will be a future major leaguer.

31. Anthony Slama Relief Pitcher 1/6/1984.
He was a Twins 39th round draft pick in 2006 out of the University of San Diego. He went 4-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 62 appearances/81 innings in AA and AAA while giving up 57 hits while striking out 112 and walking 40. Generally considered one of the top relief prospects in the Twins system, I'd have ranked him higher if I just used a list of names. He isn't that young anymore and he walks too many, but he should be a viable middle/late reliever soon.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My prospects 50-41

Well, it's been a bit since I posted something of substance. I'd like to thank my readers including my future stepson's father. I have decided to tackle the Twins prospect list. Prospect lists can be found on most any baseball blog this time of year, so I am not breaking new ground here. I have decided to rank the prospects with as little media influence as possible. Prospects are not going to be ranked based on hype but on what they have done since they have entered the Twins organization. This leaves out guys like Miguel Jean and Kyle Gibson although they would rank highly if I ranked based on potential. Most of the numbers considered are from the 2009 season.

For hitters I used OPS as my control. This is the formula I used: OPS +.025 per level above GCL +/- .025 for every year above or below age 22 by August 2009 + .025 for CF/SS/C + .025 for base stealers. I also perused the total numbers to look for anomalies and at this point I favored the higher hyped prospects.

For pitchers I used WHIP as my control. This is the formula I used: WHIP -.05 per level above GCL +/- .05 for every year above or below 22 by August 2009 -.2 for starters. I also favored those with high K/9 rates and gave a break to those with higher BABIP (batting average of balls in play), because they may have been unlucky. I perused the total numbers to look for anomalies and at this point I favored the higher hyped prospects.

Like everything else, this will not be a perfect indicator of success or a perfect ranking(I liked how the hitters turned out better than pitchers), but it helps level the playing field for less hyped players.

50. Tobias Striech Catcher born 4/5/1988
He was a Twins 5th round pick in 2009 from West Virginia University. He showed good power for Elizabethtown in his first season in the organization, but not alot of average. .222/.287/.450. He threw out 43% of would be base stealers.

49. Rene Leveret First Base 11/19/1985
He was a free agent signing in 2003 from South Reward, Saint Maarten. He had a solid season at Fort Myers batting .286/.363/.399. He has a decent walk rate but probably doesn't have enough power at 1b to advance much further, being he is already 24.

48. Evan Bigley Outfield 3/9/1987
He was a Twins 10th round pick in 2008 from Dallas Baptist College. He had a solid season at Fort Myers batting .280/.336/.405. He will have to show the power he showed in 2008, in the Appalachian league, in order to become a big-time prospect.

47. Santos Arias reliever/starter 3/17/1987
He was a free agent signing in 2005 from La Romana, Dominican Republic. He put up really good numbers as mostly a reliever in Fort Myers. He was 6-3 with a 2.15 ERA in 38 appearances/100.2 innings. He gave up 90 hits and struck out 72 while walking 27. Has a chance to be a solid reliever.

46. Matthew Tone lefty Reliever 2/17/1988
He was a Twins 14th round pick in 2009 from SUNY Cortland. He had a really good season his first year in the organization for Elizabethtown. He was 4-1 with a 1.31 ERA in 16 appearances/34.1 innings. He gave up only 13 hits. He also struck out 45 while walking 23. He has a a chance to be a solid reliever as well.

45. Reggie Williams Third Base 11/5/1988
He was a Twins 4th round pick in 2007 from Ballflower California High School. He batted .250/.316/.462 at Beloit. He needs to improve his on base skills to move up in the organization.

44. Edgar Ibarra lefty reliever/starter 5/31/1989
He was a free agent signing in 2006 from Valencia, Venezuela. He had a solid year in Elizabethtown. He was 6-2 with a 2.84 ERA in 14 appearances/50.2 innings. He gave up 37 hits and struck out 57 while walking 19. If he can keep his strikeout rate up, he has a chance to be a great lefty reliever.

43. Nelvin Fuentes lefty reliever 4/7/1989
He was a Twins 16th round pick in 2007 from Loaiza, Puerto Rico. He had great numbers for the Gulf Coast Twins. He was 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in 12 appearances/21 innings. He gave up 16 hits and struck out 24 while walking just 4 guys. He's far away from the majors, but could be a tremendous lefty reliever.

42. Zach See reliever 11/23/1988
He was a free agent signing from Fort Myers, FL. He had great numbers for the Gulf Coast Twins. He was 2-0 with a .69 ERA in 13 appearances/26 innings. He gave up 16 hits and struck out 34 while walking 10. He'a also far away from the majors, but could be a great reliever if he keeps his strikeout rate up.

41. Erik Lis Designated Hitter/First Base 3/8/1984
He was a 9th round pick in 2005 from Evansville University. He had solid numbers in his second year at New Britain. He batted .283/.353/.482. He has decent power and walks a little, but is pretty limited in the field. He could be a major league lefty bench bat in 2010/11.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

....I've been busy, sorry

Well, I haven't posted in a bit, I've been busy. I moved from New York to Texas and have been without internet since I arrived. I plan on breaking down Twins off-season stuff soon but for now I will leave you this: Thanks for checking out the site and for your Patience.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's take your wife to blog day!

Well, the World Series is almost over and soon the off season madness will begin. Right now, all is quiet in Twins land. The Aki Iwamura trade rumoring made for interesting conversation yesterday but, he ended up being traded to the Pirates for some reason. Here at Ontheroad.... we like to cover some of the hot button Twins Territory stories but, especially like to post some different content. Content that may not be found on the other blogs.

Since there isn't alot going on right now, I decided to play "take your wife to blog day". I asked my fiancé Allison, what baseball related item she would like me to write about. She chose Nick Punto's ten best moments as a Twin.

I am not a big fan of the little guy, but as you can see here, she loves Punto!

In her mind, #1 would be December 11, 2008, the day the Twins committed 8.5 million dollars to the utility infielder. I am trying to limit this to his ten best moments helping the team, not fleecing the team.

10. June 26, 2006: 8-2 win over the Dodgers.
Punto went 2-3 with 2 walks, scoring 2 runs. Win Probability added: .154.

9. July 4, 2008: 12-3 win over Cleveland.
Punto went 2-4 with a walk, 2B, HR, scoring 3 runs and driving in 4. WPA .076.

8. April 27, 2005: 9-4 win over Kansas City.
Punto went 3-4 with a 2B, scoring 2 runs and driving in 1.
WPA .172.

7. July 18-19, 2006: Back-to back wins over the Rays and back-to-back good games for Punto. Combined 4-7 with 2 triples, 2 runs scored and 5 RBI in 8-1 and 7-2 wins. WPA .061 on the 18th and .110 on the 19th.

6. September 15, 2009: 5-4 win over Cleveland.
Punto went 3-4 with a 2B and 2 RBI.
WPA .223.

5. August 8, 2006: 4-2 win over Detroit.
Punto went 3-5 with 2 doubles and an RBI. He also scored the game winning run! WPA .242.

4. September 3, 2005: 3-2 win over Cleveland. Punto went 3-3 with a walk, a stolen base and the game winning RBI. WPA .248.

3. July 22, 2004: 7-5 win over Tampa Bay. Punto went 2-4 with his only career grand slam! He also drew a walk. WPA .285.

2. May 28, 2007: 10-4 win over the Chicago White Sox. Punto went 3-4 with a walk and 2 stolen bases. He scored a run and drove in 2. His WPA of .297 was the highest in his career, in his worst season.

1. June 14, 2006: 8-1 win over the Boston Red Sox. Punto was 1-4 and his -.083 was a team low for the day. However, this was Punto's first start as the regular third baseman. He and Bartlett(SS) were installed as everyday for a Twins team just starting to break from a 2 month slumber. The team started the day 29-34 and went 67-32 the rest of the way.

So there you have it! The Twins fan base's favorite whipping boy does have his moments, even if they are few and far between.

Shawn, still in Binghamton

Friday, October 30, 2009


Main Entry: su·per·sti·tion from Merriam-Webster's online dictionary

Pronunciation: \ˌsü-pər-ˈsti-shən\

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English supersticion, from Anglo-French, from Latin superstition-, superstitio, from superstit-, superstes standing over (as witness or survivor), from super- + stare to stand — more at stand

Date: 13th century

1 a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition

2 : a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary

A couple weeks ago I was driving through central Minnesota. I was listening to the radio and one of the few options I could find to listen to was a Christian AM station. Anyone who has driven through central Minnesota knows there are not alot of radio station options and I did not have my car with its XM radio. Anyway, this station was speaking of superstition vs. belief in god and the hosts pretty much agreed with the definition #1 of superstition given above.

As sports fans I don't think it is that simple or transparent. Most fans are normal thought provoking individuals in their day-to-day lives. When it comes to sports however, people get a little crazy, a little creative, and generally have alot of fun with superstitions. Superstitions are as much a part of sports as the ball itself.

Justin Morneau wore the same Todd Bertuzzi T-shirt under his uniform in 2006 and he won an MVP. He continued to wear it until it fell apart? I often make sure to wear a certain jersey or hat or wear a hat a certain way when one of my teams is playing. I generally beat a dead horse when it works or move on to the next thing if it does not work.

2009 has been a transition year for my life. I found out in May I would be losing my job in August (September). I generally sport a goatee, but shaved it off for an interview with the company buying my then current employer. I didn't get the job. I kept the clean look for a bit until my mind started to wander. The Twins had been playing terrible recently, and obviously, my facial hair was to blame. I decided to grow the goatee again. A few weeks later, I was now unemployed and I had another job interview, I waited until after the Twins game the night before to decide on shaving. They lost that night and decided to shave. I didn't get that job either. On September 12th a beard was starting to fill my face as I had no employment reason to shave. The Twins record was 58-51 when I carried the goatee & 12-21 when I had been clean shaven up to this point. Obviously it was my facial hair? If a goatee is good a beard must be better, no? I decided not to shave at all. The following is some of my beard related twitter posts:

Beard is 5-0

11:58 PM Sep 18th from Echofon

The beard is 6-0 wish I could of watched, probably looked like an idiot fist pumping while riding a bike

7:24 PM Sep 19th from Echofon

Beard is 7-1

10:55 PM Sep 21st from Echofon

The beard is 8-1

10:51 PM Sep 22nd from Echofon

Beard is 9-1!

11:23 PM Sep 23rd from Echofon

The beard is 10-1

11:22 PM Sep 25th from Echofon

The beard is 11-1

10:14 PM Sep 26th from Echofon

The beard was magic!
Other Twins fans got on board as well; here are some of their responses:

kbrobaseball @ShawninBing Keep that beard!

12:51 PM Sep 18th from web in reply to ShawninBing
plunking_gomez @ShawninBing Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, shave.

11:21 AM Sep 19th from web in reply to ShawninBing
fran_the_man @ShawninBing Want to see that beard keep growing for several more weeks ... replace your Rick Nielsen/Cheap Trick look with the ZZ Top boys!

8:57 PM Sep 19th from TweetDeck

thrylos98 @ShawninBing keep that beard!!!

11:26 PM Sep 23rd from web in reply to ShawninBing

plunking_gomez @ShawninBing That's it, you can't shave. Ever.

11:27 PM Sep 25th from web

There were some comments via facebook as well but I will enclose a picture instead:

Here's what I hope you look like at the end of next Twins season.

Clearly, the end of the season was magical for the Twins. I had a blast with the beard thing and I know friends and Twins fans did as well.
So, what say you about superstition in sports?
Do you think it is a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation or an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition?
Do you think it's another enjoyable way to be involved with your team?
As an aside: Recently I had a job interview, I'd gone 0-3 over the last year in job interviews. I'd shaved every time. This interview I decided to keep my goatee..... I start my new position November 16th.
Leave comments please on what you do for superstitions. Binghamton

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Sorry i haven't written lately? You haven't noticed? I guess when you only have 10s of readers a day, a new blogger can exist incognito. I buried a long time friend in Minnesota a couple of weeks ago, then I flew from Minnesota to Texas for a job interview, a job I ultimately received and accepted, and now I'm planning the move and the next steps for my step son, my family and his family. I've been busy!!!!

Where am I going? To Temple, TX! Shawn in Binghamton will have to come up with a new handle shortly. I will be working for a company owned by Drayton McLane. Drayton owns the Houston Astros.  Let me introduce you to my new favorite team!

Ok.... I'm not that shallow. Maybe the Astros will be my favorite National League team. In the coming months I may do a look over of the Astros team from a Twins fan perspective. I will do a kind of get to know them piece on a team Twins fans do not see to much. How the team's are similar and how they differ.

I do have a philosophical if not all together important question. If I move to central Texas, can I become a Dallas Stars fan again? I left MN before the Wild dropped the puck their first season. I have admired the Wild but have not really become a diehard. Anyway.....

The World Series starts tonight. Once the Phillies finish off the Yankees in 6 games, the off season can truly begin. I hope to post a blog about superstition shortly(I know I said I would last post.... which was like 2 weeks ago). I am also collecting information for a story on Dutch baseball(a good post). I will also look at the Twins offseason and their prospects. I did a rough top ten here. Seth Stohs over at has already done a top 50 list. Recently he did a posting that encompassed all of his end of season top 50 lists from 2004 to the present. Be sure to also check out Here you can purchase a 2009-2010 offseason handbook from four great Twins bloggers for only 9.95. Heck, you probably won't even need to come back to this blog for Twins info again.... but do so anyway! :)

Anyway sorry for the ramble. Sorry I have not been around lately.

I'll leave you with this tune in honor of my move to TX.

Go Twins!!!!!

Shawn.... still in Binghamton

Monday, October 12, 2009

....When sports aren't important

The Twins lost to the Yankees last night. They had a great year and provided their fans with alot of good moments. This is not a post about the Twins however.

This post is for my friend Paul Allen Hemmingsen. Paul passed away October 10th in a tragic car crash near my hometown.

The Obituary below supplied(copied and pasted) by the Carlin-Hoialmen Funeral Home:
Paul Hemmingsen
(August 13, 1972 - October 10, 2009)

Paul Hemmingsen, age 37, of Fosston, MN, passed away on Saturday (October 10th) as a result of injuries he sustained in an automobile accident near Fosston. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday (October 16th) at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fosston with Father Dave Super presiding. Interment will be in Kingo Lutheran Cemetery, Fosston. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service on Thursday (October 15th) and for one hour prior to the service on Friday, all at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fosston. Arrangements are with the Carlin-Hoialmen Funeral Home of Fosston and messages of condolence may be sent at
Paul Allen Hemmingsen was born on August 13, 1972 in Bagley, Minnesota to parents Allen and Linda (Schofield) Hemmingsen. He was baptized at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fosston. Paul grew up in Fosston and graduated from Fosston High School with the class of 1991. He then attended Moorhead Technical College, graduating with a degree in architectural drafting. Following his graduation, he moved to the Twin Cities and worked for HGA in Plymouth, Minnesota. He returned to Fosston in 1998 and began work with Widseth, Smith & Nolting in their offices located in Crookston, Grand Forks and Bemidji.

Paul was united in marriage to Leah Ann Palubicki on August 16, 2003 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. In 2008, Paul returned to his family’s business, Hemmingsen Masonry, and worked with his uncle and brother.

He was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. A favorite annual event for Paul was the fishing opener, spent with his good friends and he loved spending time training and hunting with dog, Duke. Paul was also an avid reader and was always interested in furthering his knowledge in a variety of areas.

Survivors include his wife, Leah of Fosston; his mother, Linda Hemmingsen of Fosston; sister, Barb (Mark) Hagen and their children, Camille and Shelby, of Fosston; brother, Bradley (Emily) of Fosston; paternal grandmother, Irma Hemmingsen of Fosston; paternal grandfather, Delmont Hemmingsen of Erskine; sisters-in-law, Tara (Andy) Ordonez and their children, Natasha and Ian of Buffalo, MN; Alison (Derek) Broadley and their children, Lochlan and Karsten of Bermuda; Meghan Palubicki and her son, Thatcher of Fosston; father and mother-in-law, Jim and Nina Palubicki of Fosston. Numerous aunts, uncles and cousins also survive.

He was preceded in death by his father, Allen; and maternal grandparents, Donald and Helen Schofield.

Honorary Pallbearers will be the Fosston High School Class of 1991. Active Pallbearers will be Joel Olson, Jimmy Lomen, Jerry Thom, Pat Slough, Craig Hemmingsen and Chad Hemmingsen. 

I have known Paul since I was 5 years old. Most of my memories center around listening to Kiss and Motley Crue tunes in High School and driving around in his 1977 Trans Am. As we grew up we shifted focus to Rolling Stones tunes. I can't listen to a Stones tune without thinking about him or emulating his Keith Richards guitar motion. He enjoyed fishing, sports, and listening to good tunes in his garage.

I regret not seeing him more often the last couple years. The jerk should have come to Chicago this summer to go to those Twins and Cubs games. It's tough to make time with family and holidays and living so far away. I didn't get a last chance to get him in trouble with his wife Leah one last time. :).

This blog will continue with business as usual in a few days. I have a story on dutch baseball I am working on and am also working on a superstition story. For now though, I am going to appreciate my family and friends. I will go home this week and pay my respects to my friend and then have drinks and tell stories with many more friends.

Since this is a Twins blog I will relay one story. In the mid 90s..... 94-95ish, Paul and I went to a Twins game. The atmosphere was so bad and the team was so bad that we got bored and fell asleep, right in the Metrodome(we were probably up late the night before). It's the only time I have ever fell asleep at a ballgame.

So, to honor my friend Paul, I will forever dedicate this blog to him. The blog is still new and as the content gets better, i hope it will indeed be an honor. Here is a great song for a great guy. I tried to post it directly, but had technical difficulties. It was one of his favorites and it fits the moment. Raise a glass for a great guy.

Rest in Peace My Friend,


Saturday, October 10, 2009

....Jason Kubel's bat, Joe Nathan's strike throwing abilities, & Phil Cuzzi's eyes ask you to Shock Me

I know it should go against my best interests to post a second Kiss song in honor of the Twins. Kiss is afterall from NYC. The first time it didn't work and I am very superstitious.... But the team needs a Shock!!!

I hope Ron Gardenhire provided some sort of shock last night behind closed doors, if not I will shock them from here! A blog that reaches ten+ people every day is the perfect spot to shock the hell out of this team.

Enjoy, Go Twins!!!!

....Shawn in Binghamton with a KISS of cherry

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The 2009 Central Division Champions and the moves they made

The Twins have won their 5th division title since 2002!!!!

2009 was a great season. The Twins came back from 7 games out of first in September. There are many reasons why the Twins won the division. Mauer had an MVP year. Morneau had 30 HRs 100 RBIs before going down with injury. Jason Kubel and Micheal Cuddyer had good years. May players stepped up over the course of the season. The Twins also made three trades and a free agent signing in July and August. A quote from JoeC's blog by David St. Peter: “I don’t know what’ll happen [against the Yankees], but we’ve been on a roll. These guys are confident. You’ve gotta give credit to the manager and the coaching staff. I think about Bill Smith, and the moves we made. I know people were critical at times, but we’re not here without Cabrera, Rauch, Mahay and Pavano. So you’ve gotta give credit where credit’s due, and ownership stepped up on that.”

So lets look at the players:

On July 31 the team traded low A SS prospect Tyler Ladendorf for Orlando Cabrera. Ladendorf is only 21, is a SS, and has some upside but, has yet to master low A ball pitching. Cabrera is on the decline but, has been a solid contributor with a good glove in the past. Since the trade he is batting .292/.316/.424 with 2 SB. His fielding has been bad all season with a -9.9 UZR/150. He does however seem to provide leadership to the young players, especially the Latin players.

The team was 52-50 before the trade and 35-26 after the trade.

On August 8th the team traded AAA pitcher Yohan Pino for Carl Pavano. Pino is a decent pitcher that has done well at every level of the minor leagues. He is only 24 next season and has good numbers, but does not have high end stuff. Pino has a chance to be a decent major league pitcher, provided his stuff can get major leaguers out. In a system that has a glut of borderline major league starter prospects and the fact that Pavano will probably be a Type B free agent, which means a Supplemental 1st round pick, means the trade is a success even if Pavano did not perform. In 12 starts since the trade, Pavano is 5-4 4.64 ERA 73.2 IP 85 hits 59 K/16 BB.766 OPS. The team is 8-4 in his starts. He has been a very solid pitcher for the team.

The team was 53-56 before the trade and 34-20 after the trade.

On August 28th the team traded AAA RHP Kevin Mulvey for reliever John Rauch. Mulvey, like Pino, is a decent pitcher however. Mulvey will only be 25 and was a key prospect in the Johan Santana trade, but he projects to be a mediocre at best major league starter and can probably be replaced. With Rauch signed for another year at $3 million, this trade seems reasonable. In 15 innings Rauch is 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA, 13 hits allowed, 14K/6 BB, & .676 OPS. He has been outstanding. I hope the league doesn't catch up with him too much next year.

The team was 63-64 before the trade 24-12 after the trade.

The next day the team signed lefty reliever Ron Mahay. He had been designated for assignment by the Royals. In 8.2 innings, mostly vs lefties, he is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA, 7 hits allowed, 7K/3 BB, & .649 OPS. He has been very good at his role.

The team was 64-64 before the trade 23-12 after the trade.

The team didn't lose much in the way of talent. The team's record has improved since each player was brought on board but really jumped up once all 4 were in the fold.

What do you think about the four players? Were these moves the reason for the strong finish? All four players have better numbers with the Twins than they had with their previous team, so some regression to the mean should be expected next season. I'd rate Pavano and Rauch as the best grabs. Cabrera improved the team slightly with his presence mainly because Ron Gardenhire chooses to play him at SS. Brendan Harris similar numbersto Cabrera both offensively and defensively but Gardy chooses not to play him at the position. Mahay has been good in limited appearances.

Should the team keep these guys? Rauch is signed for next year. Pavano can bring a high draft pick if offered arbitration. I say offer arbitration. If he wants to take $5-7 million on a one year deal that is great, if not, the team can take the draft pick. I'd resign Mahay for 1 year at $750,000, if he wants more, let him go. The team may choose to put Liriano or Perkins in the bullpen as a 2nd lefty as well. Cabrera is the toughest decision. He will be 35 years old next season. His defense is poor at this point in his career. His offense is not great either even thought it went up slightly with MN. Can he be expected to have a plus .700 OPS next season? If the team does not sign him, who plays shortstop? Does the team make a trade? Do they move Nick Punto back to SS? Do they give Trevor Plouffe or Steven Tolleson a shot? I would try to pry JJ Hardy away from Milwaukee(Perhaps with Liriano) or sign Orlando Hudson to play 2b and move Nick Punto back to SS. As a 3rd option I'd offer Cabrera a 1 year deal at 4 million. If he doesn't take it, I'd let him walk and at the other options, as thin as they are.

What do you think the team should do?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Twins are Back! Back in the New York Groove......

It's been awhile.... but you better believe....

Just because they haven't won here lately, doesn't mean they won't.

....Shawn..... 3 hours from Yankees Stadium

Sunday, October 4, 2009

....And We'll See Ya.... Tuesday Afternoon

5 pm Tuesday Afternoon to be exact! Well, 162 games wasn't enough to complete the Twins season. Many have given up on the Twins this season, but not me :). The Metrodome also wasn't able to go forth with a true last game. And that's ok. The ceremony was great and brought back some great memories. Maybe the Twins will be able to change my top 10 over the next few weeks.

Anyway, the season continues. It's the 86-76 Twins vs. 86-76 Tigers. It's Baker vs. Porcello? It's Tuesday Afternoon. Winner gets to face the 103 win Yankees. Let's continue to enjoy the ride and maybe the Metrodome will have to host the Yankees in a few days. I'd love to see several more games in the Dome before they close the place.

Shawn..... From Binghamton wishing I was in Minnesota.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

....Miguel Angel Sano

Yesterday the Twins made a monumental signing. They signed Miguel Angel Sano from the Dominican Republic for a $3.15 million signing bonus. The 2nd largest bonus ever given to a Dominican amateur. He was considered one of the best 2 Dominican free agents this year. He is projected to have all five tools. He is currently a shortstop but as he grows he is expected to be moved to 3b or OF. THIS is a BIG deal! The Twins spending money on premium talent is a big deal. They don't normally spend the money. Sano's bonus was the 2nd highest the club has given, next to Joe Mauer's $5.15 million as a #1 pick in 2001 amateur draft. The bonus blows away the Twins previous high for an international free agent of $775,000 bonus. This was given to Max Kepler, Europe's #1 free agent, just this year. There is still a little bit of legal concern over his age but, if Sano is not 16 as he suggests he is, he will not get a Visa to come to work in America. The deal will be null.

What does it mean for the the Twins future?

Sano won't be with the Twins until at least 2013 and probably not until a year or two later, but should be considered one of their top 5 prospects right now.

Sano's signing makes for 3 great signings by the Twins this year. The top Latin player, the top European player, and Kyle Gibson, a top 10 projected player in the June draft that fell to 22 due to injury. Gibson also should be considered a top 10 and probably 5 prospect right now.

The spending spree could be due to a change of corporate philosophy by the Twins. Maybe the younger Pohlad's want to win more than their father. Maybe the team is merely following through with promises of more spending with the new stadium.

If you are a Twins fan, the amateur signings the Twins have made this year should excite you. The money the team spent should ease your mind when you think about Joe Mauer's looming free agency.

The Twins prospects were generally ranked in the 22-24 range this past year out of 30 major league teams. How do you think the signings affect their overall status next year?

Here is my first top ten prospect list with their age, position, and expected level in 2010 as well as when they project to reach Minnesota.

1. Angel Morales OF 20 years A Fort Myers MLB debut 2012
2.Wilson Ramos C 22 years AAA Rochester MLB debut 2011(2010 if he were traded post Mauer extension)
3. Aaron Hicks CF 20 years A Beloit MLB debut 2013
4. Miguel Angel Sano SS/3B/OF 17 years Rookie Gulf  Coast League Twins debut 2014
5. Kyle Gibson RHP 22 years A Beloit MLB debut 2012
6. Danny Valencia 3B 25 years old AAA Rochester MLB debut 2010
7. Ben Revere OF 22 years old AA New Britain MLB debut 2012
8. Jeff Manship RHP 24 years old AAA Rochester MLB 2009
9. Rene Tosoni OF 23 years old AAA Rochester MLB debut 2010
10. David Bromberg RHP 22 years old AA New Britain MLB debut 2011

let me know what you think! Rip me to shreds, whatever, feedback is good.

Shawn from..... Binghamton

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Twins memories.... the good ones Oct 6th edition!

Instead of a new blog I will just re-post this one! Place tonight's game immediately in my favorite 9.

The Twins are 2 out with 7 games to go. A pivotal 4 game series against 1st place Detroit starts tomorrow. There is great potential to improve on some of my Twins memories, but for now I will just post some of my current favorite Twins memories. Many posts lamenting the Metrodome's demise have appeared all over the map. I was going to do a Metrodome memories post but instead will just do a couple of Twins memories posts. My earliest memories of the Twins are from their first couple years in the dome anyway. Why focus on just dome memories I say?  Lets focus on my 10 favorite Twins memories instead.

I went negative a couple days ago and I am happy to go positive today:

10.) Twins vs. Angels 1984:
OK, a July 28, 1984 victory over the California Angels may not resonate with most folks. The details of the game resonate little with me. The Twins won 6-1. Frank Viola went all 9, giving up 1 run on 3 hits and 5 walks. The Twins improved 51-49. I don't remember any of these details. What I do remember is that this was my first ever major league game. No sitting next to my dad, mickey hit one out stories, but.... a good time. This was my first trip to a city, and I was in awe of the size of the buildings. One problem with my first game was I had a broken ankle and was hobbling around. I was also 11 years old and I drank alot of soda. We sat in the left field stands of the dome near the field and I remember hobbling up and down the steps to pee alot. I also remember how cool it was to be there and how much fun it was to play in the stands, I missed getting a home run ball because I could not move fast enough. I remember the Twins won and were in the pennant race. They only missed the playoffs by 3 games in a weak division. I had been an Atlanta Braves fan(due to the super-station access and Dale Murphy) and this game moved me towards the Twins.

9.) The Twins sweep the Sox:
September 25, 2008. The Twins came into the series down 2 games to the White Sox with 6 games to go. After winning the first 2 games the teams were even with 4 to go. The game did not start well and after the top of the 4th inning the Twins were down 6-1. The Twins got 2 runs in the bottom of the 4th, another in the 6th and 2 more runs in the 8th to tie the game. In the bottom of the 10th, with Nick Punto on 3rd and Denard Span on 1st and 2 outs,Alexi Casilla stepped to the plate. With a little flair hit into right/center the game was over, the Twins were in first, the team went crazy. In the end the Twins would lose game 163 but as of 159 the team was on top of the division.

Tonights game!!!!!!!!!! October 6, 2009!!!!

8.) ALCS 1987 clincher:
October 12, 1987. The Twins beat Detroit 9-5 in Detroit. The Twins won the ALCS 4 games to 1 over heavily favored Detroit  to go to the World Series. The coolest thing was the reception the team got. The airport was flooded with people waiting for the team. The team decided to go to the Metrodome to greet the fans. The team expected 3000-10000 fans but the place was packed. 50000+! You ask players on the 87 Twins their  greatest memory of that season and most of them mention the reception the team received after the Detroit series.

7.) Torii Hunter Crushes Jamie Burke:

July 26, 2004. The Twins went to Chicago with a .5 game lead over the White Sox. Torii Hunter wanted to send a message. "My instincts took over. I had to do what I had to do to touch home plate," Hunter said after crushing Burke on a home plate collision in the 8th, giving the Twins a 5-1 lead. Hunter may have been able to slide around him but the hit pretty much served notice to the Sox that the Twins were ready to fight and the Sox essentially folded the tent in the game, losing 6-2. The Twins swept the series. The Twins went into the game with a .5 lead and won the division by 8.5 games over the White Sox. The hit of Jamie Burke may have been the play that spring boarded the Twins to the title and knocked the Sox out.

6.) Hrbek's GS:
October 24, 1987. Game 6 of the World Series. The Twins returned home from St. Louis down 3 games to 2 and facing elimination. The Twins were leading 6-5 going to the bottom of the 6th inning. With the bases loaded and 2 outs lefty Ken Dayley was brought in to face Bloomington's own Kent Hrbek. Hrbek had been slumping in the World Series and wasn't strong against lefties. Hrbek broke out of the slump big time, hitting a Grand Slam to break open the game 10-5. This would become the signature moment of an otherwise nondescript World Series.(except for the fact it was Minnesota's first Championship since the Lakers left)

5.)last day 2006:

October 1, 2006. The Twins started the 2006 season slow following Kirby Puckett's death and on June 8 at 25-33 and they looked dead. Then the season turned around. Justin Morneau got hot and his play jump started the rest of the team. The Twins had a great summer. Johan Santana and rookie Francisco Liriano pitched lights out. Joe Mauer kept hitting. The "little piranha's" kept biting away and the team smelled RBIs. It was an amazing run. The team won a 10th inning game 159 to tie for first place for the first time all season. After losing 2 to the White Sox the Twins won their last game 5-1 to end the season on a 71-33 run. They ended the season 96-66 and were going to the playoffs. It was a sweet comeback and my favorite regular season. With Detroit still playing their game, at 95-66 and with a tie-breaker over the Twins, there was uncertainty whether the Twins would be a wild card and going to New York or staying at home to play Oakland. Watching on TV, you could see the whole crowd was still in the dome. They were showing the Detroit/Kansas City game on the big screen and the players were watching in the dugout and on TV in the clubhouse. The Royals finished off the Tigers in extra innings 10-8 and the dome erupted. It was one of the coolest scenes I have ever seen in baseball. The players came back to the field and celebrated with the fans. The first time the Twins were in first place all season was an hour after they'd finished playing their last game. Perfect cap to my favorite regular season

4.) AJ's HR:
October 6, 2002. The Twins had just capped off a magical season following a threat of being contracted. They went 94-67 to win the A.L. Central. Their first playoff birth since winning the 1991 World Series. Facing an Oakland A's team that went 103-59 and was in the playoffs for the third straight year. The Twins were big underdogs. The Twins won game 4 11-2 to pull even in the series and set up a winner take all Game 5. The game was a great pitchers duel. In the top of the 9th clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Twins put 2 men on for A.J. Pierzynski. A.J. Hit a 3 run HR. I watched in a TV room at a sports bar in Richmond, VA. I was all alone in the room(the other room was full of people watching Sunday football) running around in circles, screaming, wishing i had someone to drink with. Of course with a 5-1 lead, Minnesota's closer Everyday Eddie Guardado had room for error but he wouldn't let the team off the hook without a little drama. Eddie had 44 saves during the season but turned every save situation into an adventure. Eddie gave up a 3 run HR to Mark Ellis. After letting another man on with 2 outs, he finally coaxed a foul out in Oakland's spansive foul territory(Where have i heard about Oakland's foul territory?) FINALLY ending the game. I don't recall a more important 3 run HR or 4 run lead in Twins history. The Twins won. They lost to the Angels in the next round but, the 2002 Twins provided their fans the first and only playoff series victory since 1991.

3.) Johan Santana wins the 2004 Cy Young:
Johan Santana was picked up by trade from the Florida Marlins after Florida had selected him up in the Rule 5 Draft from the Houston Astros. Johan was kept on the 2000 Twins roster the entire season. He would have had to have been offered back to the Astros if he had been sent to the minors. As a long reliever, Johan had a terrible year but the Twins were a bad team in 2000. They could afford to keep a young man with a promising future on the roster. In 2001 the Twins were able to send Johan to the minor leagues and he spent most of 2001 and some of 2002 in AA and AAA learning the change-up from Bobby Cueller. By 2003 he was moved into the starting rotation for good. He won his last 8 decisions and started Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees. He finished the year 12-3 with a 3.07 ERA. In 2004, Johan was anointed the #2 starter behind Brad Radke. He started slowly going 6-6 then turned it on in June. His numbers the rest of the season where out of this world. He became the first pitcher since 1961 to give up four or fewer hits in ten straight starts, and his 13-0 record broke the old Major League second-half mark. Some more numbers: 11.13 K/9 innings, 1.21 ERA, 4.74 hits/9. In addition, Santana set a team season record with 265 strikeouts, surpassing the old 258 mark registered by Bert Blyleven in 1973.Santana finished 20-6, led the American League in strikeouts (265), ERA (2.61), strikeouts per nine innings pitched (10.46), WHIP (0.92), batting average allowed (.192), and OPS (.564). Opponents stole just six bases in seven attempts against him. He easily won the AL Cy Young Award over Curt Schilling. Johan was now the best pitcher in baseball. The Twins home attendance increased by 5000 the days he pitched. He was a star. The Twins hadn't had a star since Kirby Puckett. He would go on to win the Cy Young in 2006 as well and should have won in 2005. It was great watching him develop, too bad he did not stay.

1b.)....And We'll See Ya..Tomorrow Night
October 26, 1991. These two are well known and easy so I won't bore with alot of details. The Twins down 3 games to 2 needed to win two games at home. Kirby Puckett made a great catch on the Plexiglas wall in left-center early in the game. The game went into the 11th inning tied 3-3. Kirby Puckett had said before the game that he was putting the team on his back. He told Chili Davis he was going to take a couple pitches and when Leibrandt threw his change-up, he'd hit it out. Kirby saying he'd take pitches was worth a chuckle. On the 4th pitch, a change-up, Kirby hit it over the left center field wall and in one of the great HR calls of all time Jack Buck merely said.... Into left center for Mitchell....And We'll See Ya, Tomorrow Night.

1a.) The Twins are going to win the World Series:
Tomorrow Night.... October 27, 1991. Jack Morris vs. John  Smoltz. The pitcher of the 80s vs. the budding superstar. Winner takes all. One of the coolest moments I have ever seen in sports was catcher Brian Harper shaking hands with lead-off hitter Lonnie Smith. That's how great the series was. Both pitchers were great. Morris got in and out of trouble all night. He pitched 10 shutout innings, successfully convincing manager Tom Kelly to let him stay in the game more than once. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th and 1 out, Kelly had Gene Larkin, bad knee and all, pinch hit. With the outfield playing in, Larkin needed to hit the ball far enough to get passed the drawn in outfield. Larkin hit the ball to the warning track and... "The Twins are going to win the World Series! The Twins have won it! It's a base hit, it's a one-nothing, tenth inning victory!" -Jack Buck. Afterwards, a few of us ran the mile from our dorm to downtown Minneapolis to join the party. I was 18 and it is still probably the coolest experience of my life. We partied with over 100,000 people.

Shawn.....from my home, on the road in Binghamton, NY

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Twins memories.... the bad ones.

Well, I haven't posted much since starting out..... focusing on other things, but I digress.

With it being an off day. I figured I'd focus on something other than the 2009 Twins coming down the stretch.

Many posts lamenting the Metrodome's demise have appeared all over the map. I was going to do a Metrodome memories post but instead will just do a  couple of Twins memories posts. My earliest memories of the Twins are from their first couple years in the dome any. Why focus on just dome memories I say? Many good and bad things have happened in the dome as well as away. Since it is my blog I will focus on my 10 least favorite and my 10 favorite Twins memories.

Lets go negative today and positive tomorrow:

A couple honorable mention games I attended:
7-7-2008: Brian Bass brought into a 0-0 game in Boston and then Gardenhire not INT walking Manny Ramirez. I predicted Gardy's questionable moves and then watched them fail in person.
5-16-2009: A-rod walk-off in the bottom of the 11th.

10.)Knoblauch to the Yankees:
After campaigning to be traded near the 1996 and 1997 trade deadline, Knoblauch finally got his wish after the 1997 season. While the trade worked out well for the Twins, netting the team Eric Milton and Christian Guzman it represented the last  player of the 1991 World Series team was gone.

9.)Punto extension
As a light hitting all defense middle infielder, Nick had been a valuable contributor in 2006. He was given a 2 year 4.2 million dollar extension. In 2007 he posted the lowest slugging percentage (.271) of any major league player with at least 200 at-bats in a single season. This was the lowest slugging percentage by a player with over 400 at-bats since José Lind recorded a .269 slugging percentage for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992. Punto also posted a -27.1 VORP in 2007, 8.5 runs worse than the second-worst position player in baseball. 2008 he posted a .284 batting average. This garnered a 2 year 8.5 million dollar extension? A couple versatile utility infielders are necessary for a team. However, locking a man up for 2 years who only produces near replacement level in a contract season shows a deficiency in the franchise's player evaluation. If the manager/management likes a player, they will be signed whether useful or not. Earmarking 8.5 million that could have been spent on a reliever or saved for a Mauer extension has held the team back and may cost it a division championship in 2009.

The Twins slogged through alot of bad seasons from 1993-2000. In 2001 the Twins finished 85-77, their first winning season since 1992, and they looked to be on their way to future success. MLB was having money problems and planned to contract the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos and disperse the players around the league. Fortunately, a court order ended the threat for the time being and the Twins made the playoffs in 2002. Contraction was shelved after the season and baseball has since been more profitable. The Twins made the playoffs 4 times between 2002-2006 but my favorite team came too close to being wiped from the league.

7.) Bruno for Tommy Herr?
After winning the World Series in 1987 the Twins made a trade with, their counterparts from the World Series, St Louis early in the 1988 season. Apparently Tom Kelly wanted more defense, battles his tail off like players and less mashers. This philosophy led the team to not have a single 30 HR guy again until 2006. Bruno was not a star but a decent player with power. He was an all star in 1985. Bruno had a .773 OPS with St Louis in 1988 and was reasonably productive until retiring in 1994. Herr on the other hand had a .665 OPS in 86 games in1988, his only season with the Twins. The 1988 Twins actually had 6 more wins than the World Series champion 87 team. While this one trade probably didn't make the difference between making the playoffs and not(Oakland won the division with 104 wins), it was a bad trade overall and represented a change of philosophy that may have help contribute to the drought from 1993-2000. Mostly though, the team traded a player I liked for a guy who cried on the plane coming to Minnesota.

6.) Adam Kennedy?
ALCS Game 5 October 13, 2002. The Twins gutted through the ALDS 3 games to 2 but the ALCS was not going well. After winning game 1, they lost 3 straight and were on the brink of elimination. The Twins were leading 2-0 in the bottom of the 3rd inning when Adam Kennedy, the #9 hitter, come up and hits a HR. He'd only hit 7 during the season. In the 5th inning, with the game tied 2-2, Kennedy hits another HR giving the Angels a 3-2 lead. The Twins managed to scrape together some runs and had a 5-3 lead in the 7th. With 2 men on base Kennedy does it again! ugh. The Angels led 6-5 on the way to 13-5 win. The Angels took the series and would win the world series in 7 games. With his three home runs, Kennedy joined only four other players who hit three homers in a post-season game: Babe Ruth, Bob Robertson, Reggie Jackson and George Brett. Kennedy's performance helped the Angels clinch the American League pennant, and Kennedy was named the series' Most Valuable Player. I still hate that jackass.

5.) Torii Hunter's gamble:
October 4, 2006. The Twins started 2006 25-33 and looked dead. Then went on an amazing run. going 71-33 afterwards. They went into the first round matchup against Oakland as heavy favorites. They had an MVP in Justin Morneau, a Cy Young winner in Johan Santana, and a batting champ in Joe Mauer. After losing a tough Game 1 3-2, the team was hoping to even the series. The Twins were down 2-0 in the 6th when they got back to back HR from Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau. In the top of 7th inning with 2 outs and a man on first, Mark Kotsay hits a looping line drive in front of Torii Hunter. The same Torii Hunter who punched team-mates, screamed at AAA beat writers and has generally been highly regarded around the game as a leader, but really is kind of an ass hole. The smart move would have been to let the ball land in front of him which would put a man on 1st and probably 3rd with 2 outs. Instead Hunter dives for the ball and does not catch it. The ball skips behind him all the way to the wall. Inside the park HR. Twins down 4-2. This play took the life out of the team. They'd lose 5-2 and they'd lose game 3 8-3. Season done.

4.) Santana traded:
On February 1, 2008 Johan Santana was traded to the Mets for Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey, Phillip Humber, Deolis Guerra. He then signed a 6 year 137.5 million dollar contract. Not only was Santana in his prime, and had just won a Cy Young in 2004 and 2006, he was and is still my favorite current player. While the jury is still out on what the Twins received, the trade doesn't look good so far. Humber is a AAAA pitcher who will probably be in a new organization next year, Mulvey has been traded, Gomez is still learning to hit, and Guerra is still 2+ years away and his prospect has dimmed a bit. The worst thing about this trade was the team's inability to bring back their best player. The Twins have lost many good players over the years but had almost always managed to keep their corner stones.

3.) Game 2 ALDS 2004:
October 6, 2004. Johan Santana took game 1 2-0. If the Twins could win game 2 they could put a 2-0 series stranglehold on the Yankees heading home. This is a game I attended at Yankees Stadium. It was a great game. The Yankees were leading 5-3 in the top of the 8th inning. There was 1 out and the Twins had a man on 1st and 2nd. The Yankees decided bring in the great Mariano Rivera. Justin Morneau  hit a single and Corey Koskie a double leading to a rare blown save for Rivera and a 5-5 game. Off to the 12th. With 2 outs Torii Hunter hit a go ahead HR, Twins lead 6-5. My Yankees fan buddy wanted to leave. He was pissed. He had the car, we left. The Twins got 2 more men on as we walked out of the Stadium but they did not score. I was happy with the lead but realistic. Joe Nathan had gone 2 innings already. He wasn't used to that workload. The only other reliable reliever late in 2004 was Juan Rincon and he had been used. I knew Gardy no longer trusted JC Romero and would try Nathan for a 3rd inning. I was hopeful but not realistic. Nathan got the first out, then walk, walk, double, run scored, intentional walk and he was more than done at 56 pitches. Romero comes in and gives up a sac fly. 7-6 Ball game over!! Yankees Win, Thu u u u u Yankeeees WIN!!!! The Twins blew their chance. They lost game 3 and game 4(another great game). We know what happens next. Yankees go up 3-0 on the Red Sox, then the Sox stage the greatest comeback in baseball history beating the Yankees 4 games to 3. Then they swept the World Series. The first time in 86 years. Bla Bla Bla, we're happy for them. I always wonder how the story would have gone if the Twins had one more dependable reliever.

2.) Eric Fox
Eric Fox made his major league debut for the Oakland A's July 7, 1992 as a 28 year old. He had 5 total HR's in 258 total MLB at bats. His biggest? straight from Wikipedia: "Fox's career highlight may have come on July 29, 1992, when Fox hit a game winning 3 run home run against the Minnesota Twins. That win put the A's into a first place tie with the Twins and catapulted them towards the division title that season while the Twins finished in 2nd place, 6 games back of the A's. Many Twins fan blame that game and his home run towards the downfall of the franchise through the rest of the 1990s, only one year removed from winning the World Series in 1991." Nothing I can write does more justice.

1.) Glaucoma
On March 28, 1996, Kirby Puckett woke up without vision in his right eye. He was diagnosed with glaucoma, and was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his professional career. Several surgeries over the next few months could not restore vision in the eye; Puckett never played professional baseball again. He'd been hit by a pitch at the end of 1995 but was having a great spring training.

What did I miss? Especially 1984 to the present?

Shawn.... from.... the past

Friday, September 11, 2009 home, let's discuss the Twins 40 man

The Twins are 5 1/2 games out with 19 games to go. While larger leads have been made up this late such as the Phillies making up 7 games with 17 to go in 2007, The Twins aren't going to the playoffs. The Twins have a big off season ahead. They have a mess waiting for them on the 40 man roster. Trading Pino and Mulvey has helped but there are a lot of decisions to make.

The locks:

Scott Baker
Brian Duensing
Nick Blackburn
Matt Guerrier
Francisco Liriano
Jeff Manship
Jose Mijares
Joe Nathan
Pat Neshek
Jon Rauch
Kevin Slowey
Anthony Swarzak
Alex Burnett
Deolis Guerra
Rob Delaney
Jesse Crain
Armando Gabino

Joe Mauer
Wilson Ramos
Jose Morales

Justin Morneau
Brendan Harris
Steven Tolleson
Trevor Plouffe
Danny Valencia
Alexi Casilla

Michael Cuddyer
Carlos Gomez

Denard Span

Designated Hitters:
Jason Kubel

This leaves the team with 30 of 40 and a lot of decisions to make.

Moves I would make:

I'd re-sign Carl Pavano to a 1 or 2 year deal at decent money and some incentives, say 1 year 4 million plus incentives.(if he becomes a type 2 free agent I'd offer arbitration, he either takes that or the team gets a sandwich pick)
I'd dangle Boof Bonser if anyone would offer anything decent for him I'd pull the trigger, otherwise I'd keep him, at least through spring training.
I'd trade Glen Perkins.... the team has soured on him as he has with them. Might be looked better upon by other teams.
I'd trade Delmon Young and make Carlos Gomez the every day CF. If blown away by an offer for Micheal Cuddyer or Gomez and change the thoughts.

Assuming Pavano and Bonser stay makes 32.

Players to remove from the roster:

Drop Bobby Keppel.
Drop Drew Butera from 40 man, good Defense doesn't offset no bat.
Drop Brian Buscher from 40 man, no bat no defense.
Drop Matt Tolbert from 40 man.
Drop Jason Pridie from 40 man.
Drop Deibinson Romero from 40 man.
Let Orlando Cabrera go.
Offer Mike Redmond a job with the organization or shake his hand and let him go.
Cut or trade Nick Punto for whatever you can get, even eating salary.
I'd love to resign Joe Crede in case Valencia is not ready, but given injuries, Boras, and all the players the Twins need to try to get on the 40 man, he has to be let go.

Other Players to consider for 8 spots:
I'd add Rene Tosoni for outfield depth
I'd consider Ron Mahay for another year?
I'd Resign 1 of Justin Huber, Brock Peterson, and Eric Lis put on 40 man
Keep or Drop Luke Hughes from the 40 man?
Add Brian Dinkleman?
Add Loek Van Mil?
Add Juan Morillo or lose him?

Do the Twins need room for any other free agent signings?
There are many more that the Twins need to add or risk losing to Rule 5 or Rule 5 Minor League draft including the following:

Rene Leveret
Alexander Soto
Allan De San Miguel
Santos Arias
Ramon Acosta
Matt Fox
Kyle Waldrop
Whit Robbins
Ramon Santana
Steve Singleton
Juan Portes
Brandon Roberts

As you can see there is a mess waiting for the Twins. Do they not move their players through the system quick enough? Are many of these players average at best? Packaging some of these players in 2 for 1 trades would help as well.

Let me know what you think? Did I miss anyone? Did I miss something regarding the eligible players.

On the road...... OK, at home