Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Top 7 Twins Prospects

The Twins are known for building their team around players from their farm system. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter, and many more were drafted by the Twins. So let's take a look at the top 7 Twins prospects to see who to look forward to in the future. Why 7 and not 10 like most people do? Because it has been 7 years since the Twins have made it to the American League Championship Series in the playoffs. The last time they made it was in 2002 when they lost to the Angels. Hopefully this is a good luck charm.

1. Aaron Hicks, OF, Low A
DOB: October 1989 Bats: S Throws: R
MLB ETA: September 2012

Aaron Hicks was drafted by the Twins in 2008 in the first round of the first-year player draft. He has some phenomenal talent, as he showed this year in the minors. In the 2009 season, he had a .251/.353/.382 line (Batting Average/On Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage) in 251 AB's for the Beloit Snappers. The best part is he had a 40 to 55 BB/SO Ratio. He also has an above average arm in the outfield, which is a plus. He is only 20 years old so he has a lot of time to improve. Expect him to get a September call-up by 2012.

2. Wilson Ramos, C, Double-A
DOB: August 1987 Bats: R Throws: R
MLB ETA: September 2010

Ramos is the best catching prospect the Twins have. The problem is with Joe Mauer blocking his spot, he will probably have to settle for backup role as long as he is here. The good news is, if Mauer moves to a different position later in his career, Ramos will be able to take the starting role. Ramos is an elite catching prospect as he showed in 2009 with his line of .317/.341/.454 in 205 AB's. He is also is very good at throwing out runners. Expect him to get a September call-up next year.

3. Miguel Jean (Sano), SS, (International free agent signing)
DOB: May 1993 Bats: R Throws: R
MLB ETA: September 2014

Miguel Jean (Sano) was the best international free agent on the market this year at the international signing period. He has already gotten comparisons to Hanley Ramirez and A-Rod. It is always a good thing when you are compared to two of the best players in baseball right now. He is third on my list on pure speculation, as he has yet to play in the minors. Though after this year, he could very well be the top Twins prospect. He is a long ways away as he is only 16 years old. Expect him to be in the September call-ups in either 2014 or 2015.

4. Ben Revere, OF, High-A
DOB: May 1988 Bats: S Throws: R
MLB ETA: September 2011

Do you like speed? Do you like OBP? Do you like high batting average outfielders? If so, this guy is for you. Revere is only 5'9" (which is very small). The problem he has is he doesn't have much power, but that is the only bad thing about this guy. Revere had a .311/.372/.369 line last year for the Fort Myers Miracle. But that isn't the best part. Not only did he have a 40 to 34 BB/SO ratio, but he also had 45 stolen bases. Don't expect him to be playing this year for the Twins because of their crowded outfield. He should get a chance though in the majors by the the time call-ups happen in September of 2011.

5. Danny Valencia, 3B, Triple-A
DOB: September 1984 Bats: R Throws: R
MLB ETA: Beginning of 2010

Danny Valencia is by far the best 3rd base prospect the Twins have. He had a .284/.373/.482 line in 218 AB's in double-A before getting promoted to triple-A, where he batted a .286/.305/.454 line in triple-A in 269 AB's. He has shown signs of power, hitting 14 home runs between the two teams. His problem is when he moved up to triple-A, his BB/SO ratio plummeted. His BB/SO ratio was just 8 to 37, which is terrible plate discipline. This is a bad thing as this happened after he moved up from double-A, where he had great plate discipline. If he cannot get his walks up in Spring Training, he might not make it on the major league roster this year. I do expect his BB to go up enough though for him to get the starting third-base job in 2010.

6. Kyle Gibson, RHP, Just Drafted, will probably start in A ball
DOB: October 1987 Bats: R Throws: R
MLB ETA: September 2010

The Twins drafted Gibson with their first round draft pick last year. Gibson was expected to be a top 5 draft pick, but an injury before the draft scared teams away (Hopefully Adrian Peterson all over again). This guy has phenomenal talent, and could very well be one of the top three pitchers in the Twins rotation as early as 2011. He is probably going to start in A-ball next year, though he will move up the chain extremely fast. He should be able to get a September call-up this year.

7. David Bromberg, RHP, High-A
DOB: September 1987 Bats: L Throws: R
MLB ETA: Middle of 2011

Bromberg was the Twins pitcher of the year last year, and he certainly deserved it. He had a 2.70 ERA for the Fort Myers Miracle while going 13-4. His SO/BB ratio was 148 to 63, which is great. He also left batters to just a .224 batting average last year. He probably wont get a chance this year in the majors, as he is only in High-A, but expect him to maybe get promoted to the majors in the middle of 2011.

Prospects 8-14 (A little added bonus):

8. Angel Morales OF
9. Deolis Guerra RHP
10. Carlos Gutierrez RHP
11. Tyler Robertson LHP
12. Chris Parmelee OF/1B
13. Joe Benson OF
14. Jeff Manship RHP

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Twins Projected Starting Rotation for 2010

What are you doing for Christmas? If you are staying in Minnesota, you might be doing something involving snow, like shoveling it. As you have probably heard, the Twin Cities expects to get as much as 12 inches of snow in the next 2 days. This is supposed to be the most snow on Christmas around here in a long time.

I wrote an article a couple weeks ago on the lineup for next year. Now it's time to talk about the starting rotation.

Now that the Twins have resigned Carl Pavano, the starting rotation is starting to look a little better. The Twins are also going to be getting back Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins who both sustained injuries in 2009. At the moment, here is my projected starting rotation for opening day next April:

Nick Blackburn RHP

Scott Baker RHP

Kevin Slowey RHP

Carl Pavano RHP

Competing for 5th spot in the rotation:

Glen Perkins LHP

Brian Duensing LHP

Fransisco Liriano LHP

The first four pitchers seem to be locks in the starting rotation. The problem lies in the 5th spot. Glen Perkins had Left Shoulder Tendinitis last August. Hopefully he recovers though and can be at his full potential next year. The problem is there are two other pitchers who are fighting for that 5th spot: Brian Duensing and Fransisco Liriano. Duensing pitched great at the end of last year, which is why he might end up getting the spot next year. Liriano on the other hand went to the bullpen at the end of last year due to his terrible starts. Liriano might come back and be a dominant pitcher though, which is why he is always an option for the rotation. Anthony Swarzak would be an option for the fifth spot, but he is right-handed. The first four pitchers are all right-handed, which is why the 5th pitcher pretty much needs to be left-handed. It isn't a good thing to have an all right-handed rotation. The other three pitchers for that 5th spot are all left-handed.

One thing the Twins could do is sign a veteran left-hander. An article I wrote a few weeks ago suggested that Erik Bedard could be a left-handed option. He is someone who is a top starting pitcher when healthy, though he has been prone to injuries. He is probably the best option though if the Twins don't want to go internally.

If the Twins look internally, they will probably pick between the three left-handed pitchers: Perkins, Duensing, and Liriano. I am going to compare the three pitchers and see which might be the best option.

These stats are from the 2009 season.








































Looking at the three pitchers, Duensing by far looks to be the best of the three. Not only is his ERA over 2 points less than Perkins and Liriano, but his WHIP is also less. WHIP mean walks and hits per innings pitched. That stat is a great way of looking to see how many batters are getting on base per inning. Why do you want to know how many batters are getting on base? Because it shows how often the pitcher is getting into trouble in an inning. The last thing you want is batters to always be on base, which not only raises the amount of runs coming in, but also starts to tire out the defense.

So for now, I have to put Duensing as the 5th starting pitcher. That may of course change though. Like if the Twins sign Bedard, or if one of the other two have an amazing Spring Training.

In conclusion, my projected starting rotation is:

Nick Blackburn RHP

Scott Baker RHP

Kevin Slowey RHP

Carl Pavano RHP

Brian Duensing LHP

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Twins Projected Starting Lineup for 2010

The Twins are known for filling holes in their lineup internally. Hopefully though they go out of their own farm system this year to fill a couple glaring holes .

At the moment, here is my projected starting lineup for 2010:

1. Denard Span: CF
2. J.J. Hardy: SS
3. Joe Mauer: C
4. Justin Morneau: 1st
5. Michael Cuddyer: RF
6. Jason Kubel: DH
7. Delmon Young: LF
8. Brendon Harris: 3rd
9. Nick Punto: 2nd

This lineup looks pretty good. The only question marks are the 8 and 9 spots in the lineup. Let's first take a look at Brendon Harris's stats in 2009:

123 Games
414 At Bats
44 Runs
22 Doubles
6 Home Runs
37 RBI's
29 BB
.261 BA
.310 OBP
.362 SLG
.672 OBS

I honestly don't think that is very good. Harris had over 414 AB's. He had only 6 Home Runs and 37 RBI's. That is way too low for a third baseman. The Twins really need to be looking at more production from a third baseman. In a previous article, I stated the Twins should get a free agent bat at third, and I am holding by that. I still think the Twins should get either Adrian Beltre or Troy Glaus, both of which are great players. Not only do both of those players have power, but they also have great defense.

Now for second base. Nick Punto is an interesting player. A lot of fans hate his lack of production. Let's take a look at his stats in 2009 though and see if the fans are correct:

125 Games
359 At Bats
56 Runs
15 Doubles
1 Home Runs
38 RBI's
61 BB
.228 BA
.337 OBP
.284 SLG
.621 OBS

+2.7 UZR (at 2nd base)

Looking at the stats I can't blame the fans. His power is terrible, and his .228 Batting Average doesn't help the cause. Finally, his defense, which is hyped up as being amazing, is actually below average according to his UZR. (UZR is how many runs he gave up compared to the average second baseman. +2.7 means that Punto gave up 2.7 more runs than the average 2nd baseman.)

I can't see why Punto is getting paid $4 mil a year for what he does.

The verdict: Punto probably shouldn't be the starting second baseman. He is a perfect super utility infielder though. Gardenhire loves Punto's chemistry on the team, so he definitely shouldn't leave. His stats don't warrant him to be the starting second baseman.

What are the options though other than Punto? Let's take a look at a few options:

Dan Uggla:
Uggla is an option for the Twins if they wish to trade for a second baseman. He would probably cost the Twins a lot of top prospects though. It is probably worth it though, as a power hitting second baseman isn't something you can find very often.

Orlando Hudson:
Hudson had a decent year last year for the Dodgers. He is definitely an upgrade over Nick Punto. He could also probably get signed in Free Agency for a reasonable amount. Finally, Hudson wouldn't cost the Twins a draft pick as he wasn't offered arbitration.

Mark DeRosa:
He is probably the player the Twins would want the most. They have shown a lot of interest in him. He has had two consecutive 20+ home run seasons. His other stats were also decent.

Of the three players, I think the Twins would most likely go after Mark DeRosa. That is probably the best option too considering that Dan Uggla would require the Twins to trade most of their farm system.

This is my projected starting lineup if the two players I want end up coming to the Twins:

1. Denard Span: CF
2. J.J. Hardy: SS
3. Joe Mauer: C
4. Justin Morneau: 1st
5. Michael Cuddyer: RF
6. Jason Kubel: DH
7. Adrian Beltre/Troy Glaus: 3rd
8. Mark DeRosa: 2nd
9. Delmon Young: LF

If the Twins have that lineup going into 2010, they will be a force to be reckoned with.