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Twins Target - A Minnesota Twins blog http://www.twinstarget.com/ Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:49:07 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Rare road success for Twins http://www.twinstarget.com/2015-archives/april/rare-road-success-for-twins.html http://www.twinstarget.com/2015-archives/april/rare-road-success-for-twins.html The Twins don't enjoy being outside of Target Field.

Maybe it's the weather, or the travel. Either way, Minnesota last won a series on the road in early August of last year. Joe Mauer's solo shot on August 13, 2014 helped provide the winning advantage and clinch the series win. Mauer came up big again Sunday, with a two-run triple in the top of the eleventh inning to give the Twins a 4-2 lead.

Glen Perkins continued his late-game dominance, drawing three outs on nine pitches to earn the save and give the Twins the win.

Sunday was one of Mauer's best outings this season. He belted a strong single to centerfield in the first, had a double in the third inning, and slapped the ball against the outfield wall for a bases-clearing triple in the 11th. His two outs -- both to left fielder Dustin Ackley -- were also well-hit.

"I felt good seeing the ball, especially off the lefties today," Mauer said after the win. "And hopefully I’ll keep that going. I saw a couple of his breaking balls (last night). I just missed the first one, but was able to get one hanging there at the end and put a good swing on it."

Molitor received some flak for not pinch hitting for the bottom of his order in the 10th and 11th innings. But he's sticking behind his decisions, and doesn't regret leaving Torii Hunter or Kennys Vargas on the bench.

"They were breathing on me," Molitor said of his bench late during the late innings. "They were making their presence known. I had opportunities when Shane went out there, and Torii was an option (for pinch-hitting). But with how I've seen Shane's at-bats during these first games I wanted to give him the chance. (Torii and Kennys) were ready, but at the end of the day I didn't have to use them."

Gibson was adequate in the win, though he struggled to throw strikes and was kept on the mound longer than some would have liked. He threw 99 pitches, 56 of them for strikes. He's walked more batters than Molitor would care to see.

"I think he has 12 this year," Molitor said of Gibson's walks. "It's a little high, obviously. He's just gotta keep pushing it. If someone hits the ball hard you've just got to come right back in and get back on the horse and pelt it back in there."

Molitor spoke about how Gibson was successful early in the game when he used an aggresive approach. After giving up the homerun to Seth Smith in the fourth, he back off that approach and quit pounding the strike zone. But he recovered in time to limit most of the damage and finished after the seventh frame.

Both teams had no shortage of scoring opportunities Sunday afternoon. The Twins had runners on base in every inning except the fifth and seventh, and stranged nine runners throughout the game. Joe Mauer was advanced to third base three times on Sunday, but that's as far as he got.

"We missed some chances early to increase our lead," Molitor said. "We didn't do it. We kind of ran ourselves out of those situations. But it was one of those games where we stuck with it and came back to score in the end."

And winning a road series for the first time since last summer isn't going unnoticed in the Twins' clubhouse.

"Losing the opener here but salvaging a .500 road trip is a step for us," Molitor said. "That's pretty good."

And finally, a little trivia courtesy of Paul Molitor: All of the Twins' hitters today ended at least one inning, giving every hitter a chance to lead off.

akneeland@twinstarget.com (Andrew Kneeland) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 23:00:04 +0000
All eyes on Nolasco http://www.twinstarget.com/2015-archives/april/all-eyes-on-nolasco.html http://www.twinstarget.com/2015-archives/april/all-eyes-on-nolasco.html UPDATE, 4:08pm -- Good news from Cedar Rapids. Nolasco lasted five innings and gave up three hits and an unearned run. He had good command of the strikezone, too: walking none and striking out five. Most importantly, his curveball seemed to be back to normal.

"Everything was good today, I feel ready to go," Nolasco told the Gazette's Jeff Johnson after the game. He will make the four-hour drive back to MSP tonight and chat with Twins' brass tomorrow. Molitor will need to figure out his rotation soon if Trevor May is unable to pitch on Thursday, but Nolasco will likely not be considered as an option until later in the week.

Check back this evening for Molitor's impressions on Nolasco, and his thoughts on May's timetable.


The Twins take on the Mariners in a couple of hours here at Safeco Field in a deciding game three, but Minnesota's attention will be diverted towards Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where rehabilitating pitcher Ricky Nolasco will be making his first start since April 8.

Nolasco has been on the disabled list ever since his rough start in the season opener. He allowed six runs to the Detroit Tigers in just three innings, and was diagnosed with elbow inflammation following the game. He had a "positive" bullpen session last week, and his very-controlled performance on Sunday will gauge how soon he returns to the club.

His departure has been particularly damaging to the Twins considering the loss of Ervin Santana. The second-highest paid player on the Twins' roster this season, and the team's expected No. 2 starting pitcher, Santana is suspended for the first 80 games of the season. Lacking its top two starting pitchers makes the great performances of Phil Hughes and Trevor May even more appreciated by Twins' fans.

Nolasco, a six-foot-two right hander, signed a big contract in the offseason, and is due $12 million in each of the next three years. At 32 years old, the Twins certainly hope he can return to the rotation quickly so they can make the most of their investment. Minnesota also hopes Nolasco doesn't repeat his disappointing 2014 season, but proves to be an adequate option for the rotation.

The Kernals host the Kane County Cougars today at 2:05 p.m.

Lineup notes

Manager Paul Molitor is taking advantage of the early Sunday start to shake up his lineup a bit. Shane Robinson was moved up to the two-hole, and Oswaldo Arcia is back in right field. Danny Santana has been slumping lately -- but really, who hasn't been? -- and will bat ninth on Sunday.

Kennys Vargas, Torii Hunter, Kurt Suzuki, and Jordan Schafer will all get the afternoon off as the team prepares to continue its brutal spring schedule. The team's next off day will be on Monday, May 11.

First pitch of this afternoon's contest is at 3:10 p.m.

akneeland@twinstarget.com (Andrew Kneeland) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 18:19:45 +0000
Bats come to Twins rescue http://www.twinstarget.com/2015-archives/april/bats-come-to-twins-rescue.html http://www.twinstarget.com/2015-archives/april/bats-come-to-twins-rescue.html Trevor May

It wasn’t the ideal homecoming for Trevor May. But the Twins’ offense made up for the starting pitcher’s early departure by collecting ten hits and taking advantage of three Seattle errors en route to an 8-5 win.

Pitching for the first time in his home state, May allowed two runs in the first inning. But he quickly settled down and was well on his way to a quality start when a Kyle Seager line drive pelted May’s right wrist in the fourth inning. He managed to get the runner out, but was removed from the game for precautionary reasons. X-rays were negative on his right wrist contusion, and he’s officially listed as day-to-day.

He was just getting going,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said of May after the game. “It’s always scary when your pitchers get hit like that. The good news is that the x-rays were negative. But hopefully he can rebound and get himself back in there.”

Molitor was impressed with how May looked, even if his start lasted just a few innings.

He was (just) settling in,” Molitor said. “His changeup was starting to come back and he was starting to use his pitches a little better before he got hit.”

May is optimistic that he’ll make a full and speedy recovery. 

“I didn’t see it until it was about three feet away from me, then I was just trying to get everything valuable out of the way,” May said. “I was lucky that it caught me in one of the few spots near your elbow where it’s okay to be hit by a ball. It just looks like a little bruising. At this point I fully expect to be right back on track.”

If May can make his next start, the Twins might have caught a lucky break. With 17 games scheduled over the next 17 days, Molitor doesn’t have much cushion to tinker with his starting rotation.

Brian Dozier was awarded the lead-off position in Saturday’s contest, and he made the most of his opportunity. Historically, Dozier has led off the batting order more often than not, but this was just his third time this season atop the lineup. He scored two runs and had two hits in Minnesota’s win.

But the offensive rhythm wasn’t limited to Dozier. Six other Twins had hits in Saturday’s win, and Dozier, Torii Hunter, and Eduardo Nuñez each slapped doubles. Nuñez also added a solo homerun in the fourth inning.

Minnesota’s bullpen made things interesting in the mid-late innings by allowing one run in the sixth and a two-run shot to Austin Jackson in the seventh. Tim Stauffer and Aaron Thompson were responsible for the three runs, and the situation remained dicey when Blaine Boyer and Caleb Thielbar took over in the seventh inning. But Casey Fien pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and Glen Perkins picked up his fourth save in the bottom of the ninth.

May lasted three and one-third innings on Saturday, giving up two runs on three hits. He struck out five. He had an impressive start earlier this week against the Indians, so he’s made a case for sticking in the rotation once Ricky Nolasco considers himself ready to come off the disabled list.

It was another disappointing night for Kennys Vargas. Spelling Joe Mauer at first base on Saturday, the switch-hitting power hitter struck out four times.

Kyle Gibson will take the mound for the Twins Sunday afternoon. His mound opponent is officially unknown, but Roenis Elias was seen roaming the clubhouse before Saturday’s game. He’ll probably be officially recalled from Tacoma later tonight.

Gibson has a 5.87 ERA through three starts this season. He’s lasted an average of just five innings per start, and is allowing nearly two base runners per inning. How he fares against Seattle’s potent lineup could have a significant impact on his position in the starting rotation going forward.

akneeland@twinstarget.com (Andrew Kneeland) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 05:26:32 +0000
OOTP '14 | Best Baseball Sim Ever? http://www.twinstarget.com/2013-articles/may/ootp-14-best-baseball-sim-ever.html http://www.twinstarget.com/2013-articles/may/ootp-14-best-baseball-sim-ever.html The following is a sponsored post.


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I've had experience playing around with the Out of the Park Baseball Simulator games in the past, but none have stolen away more of my time than this latest iteration.

If you're in the market for a video game, a baseball simulator, or even a weekend time-killer, this is a fantastic investment. Please, give it a look!

Click below to take a closer look and purchase the game for yourself!

OOTP | Out of the Park Baseball '14

akneeland@twinstarget.com (Andrew Kneeland) frontpage Fri, 10 May 2013 23:23:27 +0000
All Is Not Lost. Probably. http://www.twinstarget.com/2013-articles/april/all-is-not-lost-probably.html http://www.twinstarget.com/2013-articles/april/all-is-not-lost-probably.html There might be a reason to watch Minnesota baseball, after all.

Don't mind the bullpen scrubs, pay no attention to the patchwork starting rotation, and overlook the snow-covered stadium. With another series win clinched Tuesday night -- Minnesota's third of the young season -- it's becoming clear that the Twins aren't the terrible team we thought they'd be.

Sure, they'll still struggle to keep opponents from scoring double-digits and won't be able to hold many late leads. They'll probably finish last in the division and might even lose 100 games this year, but at least there are a few reasons for hope in the midst of an otherwise gloomy season.

It's time to turn in those despondent scowls for an optimistic gaze.

Don't hold your breath, but Kevin Correia is showing signs of his former self. And not the 'former self' that punched a ticket to the All-Star Game despite having an ERA north of four. The 32-year old winter signee has thrown at least seven innings of quality ball each of the three times he's taken the mound this year. He's gotten hit around quite a bit, but the defense has gotten it done.

He pitched in Monday's arctic temperatures against Los Angeles and turned in a gem: seven innings, two runs, one walk, and five strikeouts. For Kevin Correia, that's absolutely better than we excepted.

Joe Mauer is impressing everyone again, too, knocking the ball all around Target Field. And he's not just poking singles into the outfield like he did in 2010; Mauer's slugging percentage rivals any power-hitter in the conference.

Anthony Swarzak turned in over three stellar innings of relief Tuesday night, striking out four and rescuing Mike Pelfrey from a rough night.

Wait a second for more sports betting news, as the season isn't a month old and we've already seen great starting pitching, solid bullpen work, and a powerful offense? Color me impressed.

But, again, the season is young. Pitchers will get hurt, hitters will slump, and the team will go through a painful month or two of loss after loss. But these first few weeks have shown us that there's life on this team. Probably.

The Twins are destined for an awful year. There's no changing that. But maybe, just maybe, we can all have some fun along the way?

akneeland@twinstarget.com (Andrew Kneeland) frontpage Wed, 17 Apr 2013 02:34:15 +0000
2012 Minnesota Twins Prospects 3-1 http://www.twinstarget.com/minor-league-musings/articles/2012-minnesota-twins-prospects-3-1.html http://www.twinstarget.com/minor-league-musings/articles/2012-minnesota-twins-prospects-3-1.html It's been awhile since I posted prospect #4 on April 24th.... and that is even quite late. 

So, we profile the top 3 in one post.


3. Joe Benson, Outfield, 24 years old

2011 stats: .285/.388/.495 with 16 HRs for New Britain in 472 PAs.
Last Year's Rank4
Acquired: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft out of Joliet Catholic Academy.

Joe Benson has always been a great athlete with five tool potential, but until 2010, he really hadn't found his power tool. That changed in 2010, when he hit 27 HRs between Fort Myers and New Britain with a .538 slugging percentage. His .881 OPS combined with 19 stolen bases and great defense as a 22 year old vaulted Benson up to the #100 ranked prospect by Baseball America. He followed that up in 2011 with a .285/.388/.495 line in his return to New Britain. This earned Benson a late season call-up. He hit .239/.270/.352 in 74 plate appearances with the Twins.

Fast forward to 2012. Benson was sent down to Rochester early in spring and he struggled in his first exposure to AAA. He hit .179/.269/.316 in 108 plate appearances before being demoted back to AA New Britain. He wasn't any better there, going .156/.250/.250 in 8 games. ....and now he is injured and out until late July. It's been a tough year for Benson!

Ideal Scenario: Benson is just 24 years old and has all of the tools. Hopefully he has a speedy recovery and can resume his climb toward the major leagues. He has to work on his contact rate a little, but coming back strong puts him in the majors by the end of the season.

Path to the majors: He has potential to be a great defensive center fielder in the majors, and with Aaron Hicks not quite ready, Benson should still have the inside track if/when Denard Span gets traded. If Benson brings his bat, he could be similar to what Torii Hunter was.

 I've always been a Joe Benson guy, profiling him in here and here in fall 2010.

2. Oswaldo Arcia, Outfield, 21 years old

2011 stats: .291/.335/.531 with 13 HRs in 308 PAs for Beloit and Fort Myers.
Last Year's Rank7
Acquired: Signed by the Twins in 2007 out of Anaco, Venezuela

Arcia has been a solid power prospect for the Twins since he was a 19 year old in Elizabethtown. He ripped through the competition with a .375/.424/.672 line with 14 HRs, 7 triples and 21 doubles in 279 plate appearances. Last year, he followed up with a .291/.335/.531 line while spending most of his 20 year old season at Fort Myers.

So far this year? More of the same. He is hitting .323/.385/.538 with 7 HRs, 3 triples and 15 doubles in 219 plate appearances. While some of us have referenced calling up other guys (cough, Sano, cough), my fearless leader at Puckett's Pond instead insists that It's time to promote Arcia. The way he is hitting while repeating Fort Myers, it's hard to disagree. He could use tougher competition.

Ideal Scenario: Arcia is just 21 and is looking more and more like a solid major league contributor that could add even more power as he fills out. He does need to improve his K rate and there have been some reports of maturity issues, but Arcia has the look of a solid or better corner OF sooner rather than later. I see a lot of his fellow country-man Bobby Abreu in Arcia's numbers. A look at those numbers really seem to validate the argument.

Path to the majors: Arcia is probably 2 years away, A promotion this season and a continuance of his current production could give him a shot at a September call-up next year.

1. Miguel Sano, Third Base, 19 years old

2011 stats: .292/.352/.637 line with 20 HRs in 66 games with Elizabethtown.
Last Year's Rank3
Acquired: Signed by the Twins in 2009 out of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.

Miguel Sano went into last Monday as the unquestioned Twins #1 prospect. He is hitting .243/.351/.517 with 15 HRs. With the drafting of Byron Buxton, that could come into a little bit of a debate. Keith Law has said he'd rank Buxton ahead of Sano and "that's saying something". To even mention another prospect near Sano's level is a good thing for the future of the Twins. For now, Sano is #1.

We all know about Sano by now. He signed for a Twins ametur free agent record $3.15 million. He started his Twins career with a .344/.463./.547 line in a brief stint with GCL in 2010. He followed this up with a monster .292/.352/.637 line with 20 HRs in 66 games with Elizabethtown as an 18 year old. This season, he started so hot, that I asked if it was too soon to call up Sano to Fort Myers. His .276/.422/.586 in 25 April games while still 18 years old was ridiculous, but he has cooled since. His line of .243/.351/.517 in 63 games is solid, but the reduction since April shows that the league has figured him out some. His high strikeout rate has remained but he has taken less walks. He still leads the league in HRs, is 4th in slugging and 2nd in ISO while ranking near the bottom in BABIP all while being one of the youngest players in the league. He's also second in strikeouts. As good as he's been, he's probably been a little unlucky.

Ideal Scenario: Sano has shown huge power and whether he sees a promotion in 2012 or not, he still has all of the makings of a future force. The strikeouts and defense could be an issue, but, by the time he is major league, those flaws may not even matter, his power is that special. If Sano can improve his weaknesses, he could be a perennial MVP candidate.

Path to the majors: As much as I'd like Sano to move up, it is pretty likely he will spend all year in Beloit. With some aggressive promoting starting next year, Sano could make the majors in 2014.

Prospects in low-A are by no means guarantees, but Sano is the closest the Twins have had since Joe Mauer in 2002.

berg0165@hotmail.com (Shawn Berg) frontpage Sat, 16 Jun 2012 15:36:47 +0000
Top 15 Prospects - #4 Liam Hendriks http://www.twinstarget.com/minor-league-musings/articles/top-15-prospects-4-liam-hendriks.html http://www.twinstarget.com/minor-league-musings/articles/top-15-prospects-4-liam-hendriks.html  

source: theaustralianbaseballdigest.mlblogs.com

4. Liam Hendriks, RHP, 23 years old

2011 stats: 12-6 with a 3.36 ERA  in 139.1 innings, with 111/21 K/BB for New Britain & Rochester
Last Year's Rank6
Acquired: Signed out of Perth, Australia in February 2007.

Fun fact about Liam Hendriks. He has only walked 60 guys in 375.2 minor league innings. That's 1.4 an inning. That's amazing! He's also struck out 343. That's an incredible 5.72 strikeouts per walk. In a system that preaches throwing strikes, Hendriks fits the Twins mold very well. It seems many Twins prospects fit a similar mold. On #6 Adrian Salcedo I wrote, "His other numbers have remained solid, but it is disturbing how much his K rate has dropped. Has he turned into a typical Twins pitcher". On #16 Tom Stuirbergen I wrote, "Stuifbergen always has a really good walk rate (Twins kind of guy) but his strikeout rate plummeted in 2011". On #32 Pat Dean, "He has four pitches including a low 90s fastball and doesn't walk too many guys. He definitely fits the Twins mold of pitching prospects". It isn't hard writing about Twins pitching prospects, many of them have similar abilities. Having said all of the, Hendriks is the best of the bunch and the most major league ready.

The Australian hurler made his debut in the GCL at 18 years of age, striking out 52 and walking 11 in 44 innings. After back surgery derailed his 2008 season, he came back from injury and made the 2009 Australian roster in the World Baseball Classic. After the WBC, he split the season between Elizabethtown and Beloit. He had a decent year with a 3.55 ERA, 75 strikeouts and 19 walks in 83.2 innings. In 2010, Hendriks returned to Beloit and dominated In 6 starts, (34 innings) striking out 39 and walking 4. He also only gave up 16 hits. This earned him a quick promotion to Fort Myers. In 74.2 innings there, he struck out 66 and walked 8. Hendriks was good again in 2011 going 8-2 with a 2.70 ERA with a 81/18 K/BB ratio in 90 innings for New Britain. The remainder of the year he started 9 games for Rochester, striking out 30 and walking 3 in 49.1 innings and he also made his major league debut.

Hendriks has been good at every level in the minors. He strikes out 8 per 9 innings and walks 1. His WHIP is always around 1.1. He is the Twinsiest of the Twins pitching prospects. Hendriks has 4 pitches, but no single dominating pitch. His fastball touches the low 90s and he also has a decent curve and change-up. He did get roughed up in his major league debut. He went 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA with 16/6 K/BB in 4 starts, but he was only 22 with less than a year above AA. He has looked pretty poised in his 2 starts this year but has had trouble sustaining success throughout the games. Hendriks will be counted on a lot this season. He's only 23 and he is going to have to be fine with his pitches to be successful, but his track record suggests he should be able to do it.

Ideal Scenario: Hendriks will probably spend most of the season in the majors due to injuries and ineffective options. He will take some lumps this year, but if he can maximize his abilities and continue to control his walk rate, he could be a middle rotation starter. He may be the de facto ace going into next season with all of the turnover expected in the off-season. 

Path to the majors: Hendriks passed Gibson, Wimmers and Bromberg in the pecking order of Twins pitching due to injury and ineffectiveness. He's a major leaguer. 

Hendriks seems like a pretty good dude and always has that "what me worry" look on his face, so I will root for him even more. Check out Hendriks prospect adoption on TwinsDaily and check out his "singing" with James Beresford

Check out the rest of the prospects here.

berg0165@hotmail.com (Shawn Berg) frontpage Wed, 25 Apr 2012 01:44:28 +0000
Top 15 Prospects - #5 Eddie Rosario http://www.twinstarget.com/minor-league-musings/articles/top-15-prospects-5-eddie-rosario.html http://www.twinstarget.com/minor-league-musings/articles/top-15-prospects-5-eddie-rosario.html source: milb.com

5. Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, 20 years old

2011 stats: .337/.397/.670 with 21 HRs and 17 stolen bases in 23 attempts for Elizabethtown.
Last Year's Rank17
Acquired: Drafted by the Twins in the 4th round pick in 2010 June Major League Draft out of Rafael Lopez Landron High School in Guayama, Puerto Rico.

I really liked Rosario coming into the 2011 season. As an 18 year old in GCL, his .294/.343/.438 and 22 stolen bases made him a very decent looking prospect. He was drawing comparisions to Bobby Abreu when he was drafted.What I didn't expect is that Rosario's power would go as crazy as it did in 2011. In 298 plate appearances, Rosario belted 21 HRs as a 19 year old for Elizabethtown. His play upstaged his more heralded team-mate Miguel Sano. Both hit 20 HRs after only one other player had done so in the last 20 years of the Appalachian League. 

Coming into 2012, Rosario is also looking at a position change. With all of the outfield prospects and lack of infield prospects, he is being tried out at second base. If Rosario can play second base, he would definitely have a chance to move quickly through the system. Will Rosario be able to play second base? It will be interesting to see how he does there defensively and how his offense does in A-ball. Some good analysis on Rosario here a lot of it focused on his swing. There also seems to be a pattern of E-town inflating statistics. Rosario has a long way to go, but at 20 years old, I wouldn't dismiss how he did last year or his ability to refine his swing. He struck out in 20% of his plate appearances in rookie ball, so that is a little bit of a concern. A second baseman with power and speed anywhere near what Rosario has shown so far is very hot commodity.

Ideal scenario: Rosario can play second base. If he can stay at second defensively while hitting for good power, he will be on the fast track to Minnesota. He isn't going to be the 1.067 OPS guy we saw last year, but just continuing to show some power will move him quickly.

Path to the majors: If Rosario stays at second and keeps hitting, he could be with the Twins by 2014. If he is destined to be an outfielder, it will take longer. Look for him in 2015.

Find the rest of my top 50 here.

berg0165@hotmail.com (Shawn Berg) frontpage Mon, 16 Apr 2012 00:01:19 +0000
Top 15 Prospects - #6 Adrian Salcedo http://www.twinstarget.com/minor-league-musings/articles/top-15-prospects-6-adrian-salcedo.html http://www.twinstarget.com/minor-league-musings/articles/top-15-prospects-6-adrian-salcedo.html
(courtesy of minorleaguebaseball.com)
(courtesy of minorleaguebaseball.com)

6. Adrian Salcedo, Right-Handed Starter, 21 years old.

2011 Stats: 6-6 with a 2.93 ERA in 135 innings, with 92/27 K/BB for Class A Beloit.
Last year's rank8
Acquired: Signed out of Mocha, Dominican Republic in December 2007.

What would you say if I told you the Twins had a prospect that has a 2.76 ERA, strikes out 7.1/9 and only walks 1.5/9? He's a pitcher that gives up less than a hit per 9 and has only allowed 12 HRs in 359 minor league innings. This pitcher is only 21 years old and is 6'4". What if I also told you that he has a really good, mid 90s fastball, decent breaking pitch and change up? You'd probably say he is the Twins #1 prospect! He is Adrian Salcedo and his numbers jump off the screen....except that 7.1 K rate.

About that K rate. Salcedo struck out more 8 batters per 9 in rookie ball. In the 162.1 innings above rookie ball, Salcedo only struck out 108 entering this season. His other numbers have remained solid, but it is disturbing how much his K rate has dropped. Has he turned into a typical Twins pitcher?

Salcedo has been in the Twins system for a little while, but he is still only 21 years old. Scouts seem to like his stuff, but his pitches are a little bit inconsistent. Salcedo is still young, has generally been young for his level and he has never really struggled. Salcedo had all of the looks of a potential ace early in his career. He's a tall kid that still has room for a couple pounds and a couple miles on his fastball. It's a little early to dump dirt on his potential ace status, but if his 2011 numbers are more indicative of how his career will play out, he will still be a good pitcher.

Ideal scenario: Salcedo continues to throw strikes, but gets more swings and misses. He is only 21 and if he needs development time, spending all season in Fort Myers will be just fine. If he can get that strikeout rate around 8 per 9 innings in Fort Myers, he could be in-line for a late season promotion to New Britain.

Path to the majors: Salcedo is still a couple of years away and I hope the Twins take their time with him. Given the state of the major league pitching staff, he could be just a year and a half away of making his major league debut if he pitches well.

Check out prospect #7 here and check me out at puckettspond, which will become my primary home soon.

berg0165@hotmail.com (Shawn Berg) frontpage Fri, 13 Apr 2012 01:53:58 +0000
Top 15 Prospects - #7 Aaron Hicks http://www.twinstarget.com/minor-league-musings/articles/top-15-prospects-7-aaron-hicks.html http://www.twinstarget.com/minor-league-musings/articles/top-15-prospects-7-aaron-hicks.html hicks (courtesy thesportsbank.net)

7. Aaron Hicks, Center field, 22 years old

2011 Stats: .242/.354/.368 with 5 HRs and 17 SB in 26 attempts for Fort Myers.
Last Year's Rank2
Acquired: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins 14th overall in the 2008 June Major League Draft out of Woodrow Wilson HS in Los Angeles.

Twins fans are historically a patient lot. Sure, there are fringe characters out there, but for the most part, the fan base is patient with its team and prospects. Will 2012 be the season that Twins fans run out of patience with Aaron Hicks? Hicks was considered the crown jewel of the system with his 5 tools and projectable frame, but as he begins his 5th year in the system, he isn't progressing the way many thought he would.

Hicks spent 2011 in Fort Myers after spending two years in Beloit. He has established very nice on-base skills and has gap power, but hasn't been able to generate home run power yet. He also gets caught stealing too much and strikes out too much. Hicks is still young. At 22 in AA, he will still be pretty young for the level, but is he slow to develop or are his flaws holding him back?

A great defensive CF with a .265/.375/.407 line and a 67% stolen base rate looks less like a 5 tool star and more like a 4th OF. What happens if Hicks has another year with a low .700s OPS? One argument has been to scrap switch hitting and have Hicks just hit right handed. In 2010 he hit .248/.383/.339 from the left side and .362/.449/.663 from the right side and in 2011 he had a .219/.349/.337 line from the left side and  .259/.342/.391 from the right. His splits were much more pronounced in 2010 but he has a better batting average and more power from the right side. While becoming a strict right handed hitter could improve his numbers, he'd also lose the righty/lefty advantage batting right-handed vs. a right-handed pitcher. He also is not used to hitting right-handed versus right-handed pitchers. He could also be returned to the mound. He was highly thought of as a high school pitcher with a 97 MPH fastball and if he looks to be a mediocre player, a switch to the mound might be in order.

Ideal scenario: Hope Hicks is a late bloomer. Hicks starts to put everything together (he is .250/.273/.550 through 6 games) and starts to develop those potential 20-20 tools in New Britain. Hopefully he can build on his Arizona Fall league .294/.400/.559. Torii Hunter had a .270/.334./417 line and Denard Span had a .286/.355/.356 line in the minors so there is still plenty of hope for Hicks. He's actually been better than both Hunter and Span were at age 22.

Path to the majors: The Twins have a good group of OFs ahead of Hicks right now, so the Twins can take their time with him. Span, Josh Willingham and Ben Revere in the majors and Joe Benson in AAA are all ahead of Hicks. If  Hicks starts to come around this year, it will give the Twins options to trade Denard Span or perhaps Hicks himself. Don't expect to see Hicks until late 2013.


Prospect #8 and the rest start here.

berg0165@hotmail.com (Shawn Berg) frontpage Wed, 11 Apr 2012 11:15:26 +0000