May 20, 2010

Minor League News and Notes

While I was about to write a Twins news/notes piece, I saw that Aaron Gleeman was working on his. I haven't been writing a lot recently, so I didn't want my "return" to be more meaningless than it already would be, so I figured I would go with a Minor League News and Notes. Hopefully you enjoy!

When the Twins drafted Chris Herrmann (No. 41) they knew he was versatile enough to play in both the outfield and behind the plate. And so far this season, he's played in 30 games: 10 at catcher, 10 games in center field, nine games in left field, and one at DH. He has two errors, one in left field and one behind the plate, as well as a passed ball. All-around, he's been solid defensively.

Here are how his offensive numbers look (based on the position he is playing):
DH: 1-for-4 (.250/.250/.250) with a strikeout (no walks).
C: 7-for-39 (.179/.220/.256) with a home run and 10 strikeouts (no walks).
CF: 11-for-39 (.282/.317/.385) with four doubles, nine strikeouts and two walks.
LF: 11-for-31 (.355/.400/.516) with five doubles, six strikeouts and three walks (with a sac-fly)

I'm not sure exactly where I'm going with this, but I figured it was interesting to note. Another thing that is hard to ignore are his home/road splits.
Home: 20-for-56 (.357/.413/.518) with six doubles, a home run, 12/5 K/BB ratio and two stolen bases.
Away: 10-for-57 (.175/.230/.228) with three doubles, 13/3 K/BB ratio and a caught stealing.

When talking with Herrmann, he makes it clear that he doesn't care where he plays, despite acknowledging that there is a big offensive difference.

Third baseman Danny Valencia (No. 7) recently ended a 20-game hit streak for the Rochester Red Wings. Over the streak he hit (33/85) .388/.409/.518 with 11 doubles. Why was his on-base percentage only .409? Because he walked just two times over that stretch. To put it in perspective, over 500 at-bats, that would be about 12 walks.

Right-handed starter Adrian Salcedo (No. 10) was called up from Extended Spring Training to take Bruce Pugh's place in the Ft. Myers Miracle rotation. He made his first start on Wednesday and gave up five runs on six hits over four innings. However, taking into perspective that he's 19-years-old (the average age for pitchers in the Florida State League is 23) and that he threw 43 of his 57 pitches for strikes (75%), it's very impressive. Salcedo has a mid-90's fastball that he threw a lot. He also has a very good change-up that he has good command of. His curveball and slider still need work, but both have good break.

Speaking of Pugh, he was placed on the seven day disabled list with an elbow injury (sorry, that's as much as I've heard). It's not considered serious and according to Alex Margulies (the Miracle radio announcer), he will likely miss two or three starts before returning. All of this is coming after Pugh was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week from May 10-16. In his lone start over that time, Pugh threw seven innings of one-hit ball against the Bradenton Marauders. He walked one and struck out 10 in the no-decision.

Since returning to the FSL, outfielder Joe Benson (No. 11) has three hits in three game, two of which went for extra-bases. He also has walked twice and stolen two bases. Like so many others, I'm very confused as to why he was demoted.

The Rochester Red Wings have had the unlucky task of facing the two most hyped minor league pitchers of year. Last Friday, Aroldis Chapman and the Louisville Bats came to Rochester to face the Red Wings, who had just lost six of their last seven contests. The Red Wings were ready and a three-run home run by Trevor Plouffe (No. 24) knocked Chapman out of the game in the fourth inning. His final line was 3 1/3 innings, 9 hits, 8 runs, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts.

Then yesterday, Stephen Strasburg brought his 0.00 ERA (through two starts) to Rochester. Unfortunately, things didn't go as well this time and the Syracuse Chiefs beat the Red Wings 5-1. Strasburg went six innings and extended his scoreless inning streak to 21 2/3 innings between Triple-A and Double-A.

Regardless, both of these starts helped put a lot more fans in the seats, which was great for the city of Rochester and the Red Wings.

After a very strong finish to the month of April, outfielder Aaron Hicks (No. 1) has been ice cold in the month of May. Over his last 16 games, Hicks is hitting .196/.282/.213 with one double and a 23/8 K/BB ratio. Overall, Hicks is batting .259/.380/.378 with seven doubles, three home runs and 27 walks in 135 at-bats.

During their most recent Twins Minor League Weekly podcast, Seth Stohs and Travis Aune discussed their Top Five Twins Prospects up to this point of the season. For those of you that have read this site over the last couple of years, it's no secret that I love ranking Minor League prospects. So I figured I'd give mine:

1. Aaron Hicks, OF
2. Kyle Gibson, RHP
3. Wilson Ramos, C
4. Miguel Sano, SS
5. Angel Morales, OF

Make sure to listen to the show to see who Seth and Travis in their top five.

Make sure to check out Seth Stohs latest latest Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast. Topper Anton of Curve For A Strike and Jason Collette of Dock of the Rays are on before me. Make sure to check that out. WARNING: Save yourself some brain cells and turn it off at the 58 minute mark. That is when the wheels fall off and I start blabbing about things that don't make sense. And sorry for mumbling. Part of it is my phone, but I do mumble when I speak.

And speaking of Seth, he and I are hoping to go to Beloit this weekend to check out the Snappers as they face the Cedar Rapids Kernals. The Kernals trail the Snappers by 1.5 games in the Midwest League - Western Division.

And finally, the Twins Centric crew hosted their latest viewing party last Saturday. I was fortunate enough to go and it was a blast. I got to meet a few people and converse with those I've already met. I'd list names, but I'm sure that I'd miss a few so I won't even begin. But all-in-all, it's a great experience and I hope you consider going to the next one. And for a little more persuasion, check out what Eric Johnson had to say.


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