Friday, August 27, 2010

New Britain visits Binghamton, wins rubber match.

New Britain finished up a 3 game series in my local area Wednesday night. I was only able to attend one game of the three game set due to a rain out but it was eventful none the less.

I got there early and some of the players were milling about. I talked to Tyler Robertson before the game and he took this picture for me. 
Tyler Robertson
I'd heard him on podcasts before and he was a cool guy in person as he'd appeared on the podcasts. He got a look at my shirt and said, nice shirt son.
Yes, this shirt!
I spoke to Joe Benson about his year as well. I asked him if he was going to hit a HR and talked to him about his breakout season.

He went 0-5 and some of his swings were really hard. Carlos Gomez hard. He is certainly the best prospect in AA for the Twins currently, but he has some work to do. I love watching him in the field and he has legitamite power. He also might be wound to tight. He got mad a couple times during the game, tossing his helmet hard into the dugout and also on the field after just missing his pitch and flying out. The kind of reaction usually reserved for strikeouts. Benson has a ton of tools and potential that is starting to show. I hope he is able to keep his emotions in check and just enjoy the game a little more. He has enough ability to go a long way someday soon.

Here is video of Benson's first at-bat.

Bobby Lanigan started for New Britain. Here is video of Lanigan.

Lanigan stayed in after getting hit. The trainers came out later, he stayed in then as well, but eventually left after 3 innings. I spoke to him after the game and he said he was pulled because of injury, but he said he was alright. He gave up 4 hits, 1 run, 2 BB while striking out 3 in the 3 innings. The run was scored on a missed double play and there was another hit that should have been an out, but the first-baseman wasn't covering the bag. This was my first time I saw Lanigan pitch. His fastball reached 92 and his change was effective. More video of Lanigan below.

Mike McCardell came in and had a rough first inning, giving up a 2 run HR. Luckily, I had to get food for the boy and I missed the HR. He settled down and threw 2 scoreless innings. He gave up 3 hits, the 2 runs and struck out 3 in 3 innings. He has a nice slow-breaking pitch that registered anywhere from 71 to 77 and was a definite swing and miss pitch.

Carlos Gutierrez came in and was dominating, until he tired in his 3rd inning of work. He ended up going 2.2 innings, giving up 5 hits, 3 runs, 1 BB while striking out 2. He was dominant his first 2 innings and his fastball topped at 96. I have never seen Gutierrez at 96. He'd topped out at 94 the other times I have seen him.

Gutierrez's melt-down meant Billy Bullock needed to come in to finish the game. New Britain led 8-5 with the bases loaded and two outs in the 9th. He gave up a hit and got a strike out to end the game. He threw 6 pitches, all for strikes. His fastball reached 95 and he looked very impressive vs.the two batters he faced. He's struck out 50 in 30.1 innings and could be a future closer. I was glad I got to see him for the first time.

Other Notes:
Juan Portes had a HR, just as I was explaining how he'd been great in spring training, but hadn't done much this season.
Evan Bigley went 4-5 with a 2B. Tobias Streich went 1-3 in his 6th game at AA. The 5th round pick in 2009 has struggled this year, but it was cool to see him for the first time.

New Britain won the game 8-6 and were 2-1 when I attended their games this year. Since they are 39-92 overall, I am glad I was able to see them win a couple games. It was nice to see the bats come alive in the middle innings.

The minor league season is winding down. New Britain has had a long season and the players are probably relieved. It is a lot of fun to watch the Twins of the future play and to put faces, batting stances, and pitching mechanics to the names. 

The minor leagues are important in developing future major leaguers. If there are any other questions on what of who I may have seen in AA or AAA, please let me know. Here is my report on New Britain in June. Here is my report on Kyle Gibson's AAA debut.

I urge Twins fans and fans in general to check out the minor league teams. It is a much more relaxed atmosphere and a good place to see the future of the team.

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