Monday, September 6, 2010

A birthday for the blog. One Year Old!

Today, is this blog has a birthday! September 7, 2009, it entered the world with this humble post. The name Ontheroadwith.... was to represent my status as an out state Twins fan. I go to many games, almost all on the road and my initial idea would be to state where I had arrived "on the road". What started out as a hobby, stayed a hobby for most of the first year. This will only be the 60th post. I have stepped up lately however, this is the 25th post since June 21st.

This blog has been mostly Minnesota Twins based, however, there have been exceptions:

Post #2 was about a Minnesota Gophers game locally. I wrote a post about my late friend. I moved to Texas. I even started looking at Houston Astros prospects, before the combination of a bad system and general boredom had me abandon the project. I do like their stadium. Recently, I wrote something about a new stat, still looking for feedback and I am adding it to the post.

The rest of the posts are about the Minnesota Twins in one way or another. I had a post of my favorite and least favorite Twins memories. At the trade deadline, I compared the Twins to other playoff teams in three posts ending with this one. The others are linked in the post and I plan on follow-up the posts if the Twins make the playoffs.

Last December, I did a top 50 Twins prospect series of posts. Instead of arbitrarily ranking prospects, I used only cold, hard numbers. I used OPS for hitters and WHIP for pitchers. I used 2009 season numbers with a formula factoring in age and level. Prior numbers and other factors were only used to break ties. I will not be ranking prospects in this method in the future, but I may still use it as a guide. The Top 10 post is here, with links to the other 40 players.

Lets see how the top 10 is doing this year:

10. Andrei Lobanov Lefty Reliever 1/25/1990.
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 in 2009. These numbers and his youth placed him as my 10th best prospect. Lobanov has gone 3-2 with a 2.71 ERA mostly in low and high A ball. He's struck out 55 and walked 14 in 63 innings in 2010. His numbers are not as gaudy as they were in rookie ball, but he's only 20, his future is still quite bright. 

9. Danny Valencia Third Base 9/19/1984.
He batted .285/.337/.466 between New Britain and Rochester in 2009. He was considered one of the most MLB ready Twins prospects, however, there was a major divide on how ready he really is. Reports had some in the organization think he was MLB ready at the end of 2009 right now and some saying he wouldn't be ready until 2011. We now know that he has been great this year with the Twins. After starting the season at Rochester, hitting an ordinary .292/.347/.373, he was called up by the Twins in June. He was expected to only spend a few days on the team, but injuries have given him an opportunity to start. He has flourished, hitting .343/.382/.454 plus playing solid defense. His batting average is due for regression but he should also expect to hit for more power. He should be at least a league average third baseman for years to come. Given the Twins problems at the position, they'll take league average. 

8. Tom Stuifbergen Starter 9/26/1988.
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 in 2009. He went 6-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 93.2 innings for Beloit in 2010. He struck out 88 and walked 23. He has always had problems with injuries throughout his career and they cropped up again this year. He is still young and remains a decent starter prospect.

7. Bradley Tippett Starter 2/11/1988.
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 in 2009. He doesn't throw very hard, reports are a fastball in the high 80s, but has great control. He has had a rough year in 2010 due to injury. He went 0-2 with a 6.28 ERA in Fort Myers in 10 appearances, 5 of them starts. He has struck out 23 and walked 9. He hasn't pitched since July 7th. Hopefully he comes back strong in 2011.

6. Alex Burnett Relief Pitcher 7/26/1987.
He went 3-3 with a 1.85 ERA in 58 appearances/78 innings between Fort Myers and New Britain, giving up 58 hits while striking out 78 and walking 26 in 2009. He was on the path to being an ordinary starter, but was switched to relief for the 2009 season. He was a top relief prospect going into the 2010 season. He started the season with the Twins. He's gone 2-2 with a 4.26 ERA in 42.1 innings with a couple stints with the Twins. He has struggled some after a hot start but looks to have a great future as a reliever.

5. Angel Morales Center Fielder/OF 11/24/1989.
He batted .266/.329/.455 for Beloit with 19 stolen bases in 25 attempts in 2009. He batted .289/.381/.474 in his return to Beloit before his promotion to Ft. Myers mid season. After his promotion he hit .272/.347/.349. He stole 29 bases but was caught 12 times between Beloit and Ft. Myers. He struggled when he was promoted and still has a high strikeout rate but he is still very young. He has a great future and he is the Twins prospect I am most excited to see play.

4. Joe Benson Outfield 3/5/1988.
Last year, he batted .285/.414/.403 for Fort Myers with 14 stolen bases in 21 attempts. Joe Benson has become my favorite prospect this past season. I have written a bit about him this year. The link also has video of an at-bat and a picture he took for me. This year, he has found a lot of power. He had a career high 27 HRs this year, topping his previous high of 5. He has hit .258/.342/.535 with 19 stolen bases in 28 attempts in Fort Myers and New Britain. His on-base percentage has taken a real hit but his power has shot through the roof. He has work to do. He has his new found power and his speed. If he can improve his plate discipline, he will be a major league all-star.

3. Adrian Salcedo Starter 4/24/1991.
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 in 2009. In Elizabethton and Fort Myers this season, he has combined to go 5-6 with a 4.15 ERA, 81 strikeouts and 18 walks in 93.1 innings. Not the eye popping numbers of 2009, but he is still 19. His ERA jumped to 6.27 when he was promoted to Fort Myers. He has a long way to go, but is an exciting prospect.

2. Wilson Ramos Catcher 8/10/1987.
He batted .317/.341/.454 for New Britain. He is also a good defensive catcher, throwing out 41% of would be base stealer's last season in 2009. Wilson started the season slow, hitting .241/.280/.345 in Rochester. He also made his MLB debut. In a 28 plate appearance stint with the Twins, he started fast and ending up with a line of .296/.321/.407. He was traded to Washington for Matt Capps at the trade deadline. Since the trade, he has hit .316/.341/.494 for AAA Syracuse. His trade value took a slight hit this season due to his poor year in Rochester. He also has some injury history. He still profiles as a great defensive catcher with power. He could be a great player for the next 10 years. He has a good chance of being Washington's starting catcher in 2011.

1. Josmil Pinto Designated Hitter/Catcher 3/31/1989.
He batted .332/.387/.610 for Elizabethtown. He threw out 46% of would be stealer's, but is not otherwise known as a great defensive catcher. Pinto is a great example of why I will not use formula alone to rank prospects in the future. The formula gave a particularly positive ranking to those players who had not yet played above rookie ball. He hit only .225/.295/.378 for Beloit in 2010. His pick as a #1 prospect was dubious and his poor 2010 makes it even more so. He will be just 22 in 2011 and could still develop into a power bat. Another factor in Pinto's favor is Elizabethtown is in a hitter friendly league and Beloit in a pitcher friendly league.

This blog has given me the opportunity to talk Twins baseball with many of the great Twins bloggers out there. I have also gotten the chance to appear on podcasts and met some great people at Twins games. All because of the this blog.

I have also started a facebook fan page. It has links to the blog as well as other Twins related stuff and pictures from Twins games and other games I have attended.

As a way to grow this blogs readership, I have decided to pimp it with a give away. If this blog gets 1000 hits by the end of September 7th, I will send a Rod Carew figurine to #1000. I have never had 1000 views in a day so help me break my record. Tell all of your friends. Get the word out about OntheroadwithShawn!
Thanks for reading this year and I look forward to another great year of writing and Twins baseball.


  1. Happy Blogoversary to one of my new favorite writers, tweeters, and emigos. I'm pretty sure I've missed my shot on your contest, but good luck getting to 1000 anyway. I predict good things.

  2. Happy Birthday to your Blog!! Keep posting.. enjoy reading your thoughts on the team and how the season is going!