2008-02-28T15:08:02.334-06:00Spring Training is now officially underway after the Twins kicked off their spring schedule with a game in Sarasota against the Cincinnati Reds. They lost by a final of 6-1, but there were some things to take away from the game.
2008-02-25T09:11:40.587-06:00Looking back to last season and the Opening Day infield, the moves that the Twins have made this off-season don’t seem so bad. On March 31, when the Twins open their season against the Angels, three of the four positions will likely have different starters. This is projecting that Brendan Harris be at second, Adam Everett at short and Mike Lamb at third.The question is, which infield is better?Last season on Opening Day, the Twins sent out Justin Morneau at first, Luis Castillo at second, Jason Bartlett at shortstop and Nick Punto at third.Let go position-by-position for a better look.First Base:First off, we’ll skip first base. This is the lone position that will remain the same, and it should provide more productivity assuming that Morneau has gotten even better on defense and will hit homeruns after the break unlike last season.Second Base:Last season at second base, the Twins sent Luis Castillo to the field. Castillo wasn’t bad, he put up a .304 batting average with no homeruns and 18 runs batted in. The main upgrade that Brendan Harris will provide is more run support. He is a much bigger power threat, belting 12 homeruns last season from a low-power position and also collecting 59 runs batting in. His average was lower at .286, but their on-base percentages were comparable as Castillo posted a .356 OBP and Harris a .343 OBP.Its hard to argue that Harris’ defense will be any better than what Castillo did for the Twins, because Castillo was pretty solid. He made about as few errors as you possibly can and even had a shot at the longest streak without an error at one point. The main thing was his health. Harris should be easier to count on with good knees.I’d have to say that Harris is an upgrade. Castillo has good defense, but Harris should be able to hold his own at one of the easier defensive positions. And for a team starving for offense last season, the 12 homeruns and 59 runs batted in will definitely help.Shortstop:Comparing the shortstops for this season and last season is pretty hard since both are basically opposites. Last season, Jason Bartlett hit .265 with 5 homeruns and 43 runs batted in. Adam Everett didn’t play in many games after getting injured early in a collision (66), and returned to hit only .232. Neither player really had a great offensive season, and while Bartlett does have an edge in this spot, the fact that Everett missed so much time does make it hard to compare.On defense, there is no argument for who is the better player. Last season, Bartlett committed 26 errors in 138 games. In his 66 games, Everett committed 8 errors. This may sound like an unfair comparison because of the big differential in games played, but in his seven major league seasons, Everett has never committed more than 17 errors and only twice committed more than 10. Everett has never won a gold glove, but has always been known as one of the best defenders.At this position, I’d say its a toss-up. The Twins are swapping a small amount of offense for a lot better defense that will probably save them the runs that Bartlett will score more than Everett.Third Base:Last season, the Twins had Nick Punto at third after having a stellar 2006 season. Things didn’t go well at all as Punto hit just .210 in 150 games. Basically any change that the Twins made would have been an upgrade, and Lamb is definitely that. Lamb hit .289 for the Astros is just 124 games last season. Plus these numbers are better because 45 of those games were as a pinch hitter. So change his stats to 79 games with a .289 average, 11 homeruns and 40 runs batted in, and you have the best hitting third baseman for the Twins since Corey Koskie. The biggest key for Lamb will be how he adjusts to playing everyday.On the defensive side, the advantage goes to Nick Punto. Defense is really the only thing that went right for Punto last season. In 138 games at third last season, Punto made just seven errors, and made about that many spectacular play[...]
2008-02-23T12:45:08.616-06:00Spring Training is my favorite time of the year. One could argue that October is better, and when I experience more of that in the future with this team, I may change my mind, but there is no denying that Spring is the most exciting time.
I passed the indoor cages, where Carlos Gomez was doing something I had not seen before. He was squaring around to bunt against a pitching machine, then pulling his bat back at the last moment and trying to get a good hack at it. Had the machine totally shocked every time, I’m sure. Bet we see that move a lot this summer.Man, I can't wait to see Gomez play...
2008-02-21T19:26:37.021-06:00This is just a general post to keep up with everything going on right now and to also get everybody up to date on what is going to be going on right here at Twins Territory.
2008-02-20T20:49:05.166-06:00Alexi Casilla got some very good news this afternoon when his appointment originally scheduled for the middle of March to get his visa got moved up to tomorrow. There is now hope that Casilla could be in camp by the weekend, and he definitely won't miss the amount of time that he would have had he not gotten the appointment moved up.
2008-02-20T15:11:01.300-06:00The Twins have three keys players still not in camp including Francisco Liriano, Dennys Reyes and Alexi Casilla. Reyes has now picked up his visa according to reports, and is expected to arrive in Fort Myers on Thursday or shortly after. Liriano is getting closer as well. He went through his counseling session and could be in camp by Thursday as well, and if not, he should be in Fort Myers by Saturday as the latest.
2008-02-18T13:29:18.954-06:00Here are some pictures of the newest Twins. Gomez is reportedly there, but I couldn't get anything of him.
2008-02-18T12:53:31.691-06:00Well, the Twins kicked off Spring Training 2008 yesterday with the official reporting day for pitchers and catchers. According to early reports, it sounds like everybody is there expect for Francisco Liriano who may not arrive until later this week.
So far, the most notable sight for me has been CF Carlos Gomez. It’s hardFrom La Velle:
to describe it right here, but this kid’s got a presence.
“I don’t like to have expectations on paper,” he said. “I don’t like to
say Carlos Gomez, center field Twins. I come in here and try to open the eyes of
Philip Humber - Great guy. It’s Philip and not Phil. The H in Humber is
Deolis Guerra - Very polite. He’s a biggun’ and it’s pronounced
Day-OH-leece (rough phonetics here).
2008-02-14T19:15:02.173-06:00One thing that all Twins fans can't wait to see is how Francisco Liriano is doing after having Tommy John surgery. Now, fans will be forced to wait at least an extra week after Liriano learned today that he won't be able to make camp on time.
2008-02-12T17:21:07.416-06:00The Twins continued to surprise us all today when they announced the one-year, $5 million contract with Livan Hernandez. We all new that there was a pretty good chance the team would make some kind of veteran signing, but the name had been Josh Fogg all along. Instead the Twins went out and spent a little more money for Hernandez.
Boof Bonser has a pretty cool nickname, and an area TV station did a feature on it.
2008-02-10T20:18:59.841-06:00Over the past week or so, more and more prospect lists have made their way across the web. I follow the minor leagues, but am far from being and expert on the players.With that said, I wanted to give my own prospect list a try. I don’t know as much about the minor league players as some of the professionals posting them, but here it goes.1) Deolis Guerra2) Carlos Gomez3) Anthony Swarzak4) Tyler Robertson5) Joe Benson6) Kevin Mulvey7) Glen Perkins8) Jeff Manship9) Trevor Plouffe10) Ben RevereGuerra is number one because he seems to have so much upside. At just 18-years old, they say he could turn into something similar to Johan Santana. He is still young, but looks very promising.I put Gomez at number two, because he is considered one of the fastest guys in all of baseball, and some consider him to be the fastest (faster than Jose Reyes). He’ll compete for the centerfield spot this season, and is close to no longer being eligible for the list.Swarzak and Robertson were toss ups for me. Basically I kept going back and forth between which one was number three and which one was number four. I finally settled with Swarzak higher mainly because he seems closer to me. Both have major upside though.Joe Benson is considered to be one of the better outfield prospects within the organization. He has a lot of upside, but is still very raw.Mulvey and Perkins were both toss ups as well. I put Mulvey ahead of Perkins because I feel he has more upside, and I wasn’t sure that Perkins could be considered a prospect any longer.Jeff Manship climbed up the list this year after having a tremendous 2007 season. He could be placed higher, but I feel that he is still a few years off, and I’d like to see him make another big move this upcoming season.Plouffe was placed at number nine, and depending on who you ask, he could be higher or lower. I placed him here because he still needs work on defense, but he is becoming a very good hitter. I see him as possibly being the starting shortstop in 2009 depending on how the 2008 season goes.The number ten player was Ben Revere. He had a pretty good year with the GCL Twins after being drafted with the team’s first overall pick this past year. He is very highly regarded by the Twins and has a lot of work to do. I thought about placing Duensing, Ramos or Parmalee here, but ultimately he beat them out.Close, but no cigar…Brian Duensing – Wilson Ramos - Nick Blackburn – Phil Humber – Chris Parmalee – Jason Pridie – Alexi Casilla – Denard Span – Oswaldo SosaFrom the people that missed the list, the three that were the hardest for me to leave out of the Top 10 were Duensing, Ramos and Parmalee. I feel that all three of these players have a lot of upside, but I just didn’t see them over Plouffe or Revere at this point.Phil Humber and Alexi Casilla to me aren’t really “Prospects” anymore. I know that technically they are, but both have had shots in the big leagues and might get time right off the bat this season, so I left them off.I’m not going to lie about Ramos, I simply don’t know enough about him. I’ve seen and heard a lot about him being a “person to watch”, and if I knew more about him, he might have made the list. Much of the same went for Sosa. I know about him much more than Ramos, but I don’t know enough.As for Pridie and Blackburn, I’d like to see more of each before I include them in the list. Blackburn snuck up on us this past season and I’d like to see him again. Meanwhile, Pridie had a good year in 2007, and I’d like to see him put up the numbers consistently.This was my first list ever, so go easy. I’ve always liked to follow the minor leagu[...]
2008-02-06T21:52:47.100-06:00With the trade of Jason Bartlett this off-season, the shortstop position opened up. The Twins later signed defensive guru Adam Everett to fill the void, but the deal was for just one season and the Twins will be looking for help at the position as early as next season.One good option, a person within the organization that can hit, is Trevor Plouffe. Plouffe has been working hard this off-season to get ready for the 2008 season, and he feels that he’s getting closer.“A group of local pro guys and I have been working out and having our baseballpractice at Pepperdine. Woody Cliffords, a former player for the Orioles, andhis company Sportswest Training have done a great job getting me and other guyslike Ryan Braun and Delmon Young in shape for this season. It's a greatatmosphere to be a part of. We get a lot of work done, but have fun doing it forsure.” Plouffe doesn’t feel like the Bartlett trade really affects him this season, and would like to become the everyday guy at short for the Red Wings.“I don't think it (the trade) affects me as much as people think for this year.In either situation, I knew going into spring this year I would be trying toearn a job at Rochester. As for next year, because of Everett's one year deal, Ihope to be competing for the starting job. He is an excellent shortstop, just asBartlett was, and I feel fortunate to be able to learn from both of them. Myhope is that we all go out and have great years this year, and next season we'llsee what happens.”Trevor has been known mainly for his offense so far during his tenure with the organization, and he feels that it's one of his strengths while his defense still needs more work.“I've had some outstanding coaching coming through the minor leagues and my game has improved greatly. I think that physically the tools have always been there,it was mostly the mental part that needed some tweaking. Our hitting coordinatorBill Springman really emphasizes a strong mental approach, and it's somethingI've definitely bought into. There's no doubt that I still have a lot to workon, whether it be staying through the ball on defense, or back on the ball atthe plate, but I'm pretty confident heading into this season.” Plouffe can’t wait for spring training to roll around so he can get back on the field and get going for the new season.“Just getting to hang with all the guys, you really don't realize how much youmiss the camaraderie until you're back. It's good to catch up with everyone andtalk about the off-season and what not.” And going into spring, Plouffe is pretty confident about the season and his chances of progressing and taking that one big step.“I'm pretty confident heading in. I've had a very productive off-season, and Ireally feel that I know now what it takes to have success in such a long season.Even though I'll still be younger than some of the guys who get drafted thisyear, I feel like a seasoned vet. This will be my fourth spring, so I understandhow it works now.” While Plouffe may feel comfortable starting the season at Rochester and getting ready for the big leagues, he feels he’s ready whenever they do come calling.“I feel that I'll be ready whenever the Twins need me.” [All of the quotes are from an interview between Twins Territory and Trevor Plouffe. No quotes are from other sources.]On a side note, Plouffe seems like a very good kid. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here, but he is one of my favorite minor leaguers and a player I’ve followed closely the past two seasons. I really can’t wait for him to take over the shortstop position in the very near future.[...]
2008-02-05T07:56:30.158-06:00Denard Span felt he was ready to step up and play centerfield last season for the Twins. That viewpoint has not changed with the New Year, and Span says he is still ready to step in and fill the hole.
"I'm definitely ready; I thought I was ready after spring training last year. IHe never got the chance to show his talent at the major league level last season, but the Twins will allow him to go after the job this spring in a competition with other young prospects Carlos Gomez and Jason Pridie. Span feels like he has a chip on his shoulder and is eager to get started.
felt like I had proven to others and especially to the Twins organization that I
was ready for the next level and now one year later everyone is writing me off
because of one bad half of baseball in Rochester."
"I'm ready to compete with whomever, whether it be Pridie or Gomez. I expect itSpan hasn’t been doing anything out of the ordinary to gear up for the competition. He says he’s always worked hard and that has remained the same.
to be a war in spring training because I gotta believe that they are just as
hungry as I am. I know for a fact that I have a bigger chip on my shoulder
because neither of those guys have been disrespected or slapped in the face
like I've been by others and the Twins this off season."
"I've been doing the same thing I've done every off season since the TwinsWith spring training now just weeks away, you can be sure that Span is ready to go.
drafted me in 2002. I've always worked hard and never needed anyone or anything
to motivate me except for this year."
"My favorite part is just getting back down to Fort Myers and gearing up forAnd this season will have much more attached to it than any other that Span has encountered.
2008-02-04T19:51:58.944-06:00Something that I'm going to be doing leading up to February 17 and the start of spring training is giving you some thoughts from players within the Twins organization. I have asked several players to share their feelings towards spring training and their thoughts on a few different things. I currently don't have a lot of responses yet, but I do have a few and if everything goes well, I hope to have a good amount to get everybody ready for some baseball.
2008-02-03T18:54:49.014-06:00With the team's new look, and the new season on the way, what better way to adjust than to give the site a completely different feel?
2008-02-03T09:26:05.216-06:00Whether or not Carlos Gomez is the starting centerfielder on March 31 will all be up to one person -- Carlos Gomez.
2008-02-02T14:50:27.060-06:00Johan Santana has offically pitched his last game in a Twins uniform after agreeing to a longterm deal with the Mets yesterday. The details of the deal have not yet been made official, but some things that we do know are that it will be for six-years, and seven if you count the contract for the 2008 season. In addition, the Mets are expected to pay Santana an additional $7 million on top of the $13 million that he was supposed to make in 2008. On top of all of this, there are reports that there will also be an option when the whole thing is done.
2008-01-29T19:48:31.121-06:00Assuming that the Mets and Santana work out a contract within the next two or three days, Santana's days with the Twins are now over, and Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Deolis Gurerra and Kevin Mulvey will all be heading to Fort Myers come mid-February.I can't say that I'm all that disappointed in the outcome, and the following reasons pretty much tell you why:* First off, I'll take four prospects with high ceilings over two draft picks any day. Sure, they may not all be top level, but keeping Santana and trying to make a run in a tough AL Central, only to lose him for a pick at the end of the season would have been silly.* Bill Smith had no choice, and it wasn't his fault that the whole situation came to this. Terry Ryan made the choice not to lock up Santana long term, and it came back to bite them. But in no way is Smith to blame. He made the best deal he could have possibly made.* You might say that the Yankees and Red Sox were out there too, but what were they offering? We might never know. One thing that always happens when big players are involved are wild rumors. And, in this case there is probably no exception. Hughes didn't seem to be on the table any longer and the Red Sox didn't seem like serious contenders.* Finally, I place a small amount of blame on the man himself, Johan Santana. Had he really wanted to be a Twin, he would have accepted the offer that the Twins reportedly made to him shortly before they traded him -- 5-years and $100 million. He is said to be seeking a 7-year, $140 million deal, and other than the years, it offers the same cash per season.Now, lets move on and take a look at the four players coming over to Minnesota. Below you'll find strengths, weaknesses and a little added analysis.Carlos Gomez:Whether or not Gomez will be the starting centerfielder on March 31 is still unknown, but one thing that we do know is that Gomez immediately becomes the team's future guy at the position.Gomez's strengths are his speed and his defense. On the scouting scale (20-80), Gomez was given a 70 for both sections. He has an above-average arm, and his speed helps as well. Some scouts question whether or not Gomez is faster than Mets shortstop Jose Reyes. Last season, he stole 41 bases on 50 attempts.His major weaknesses are that he is a very raw player and that he is over aggressive at the plate. He has a lot of potential at the plate, and has shown that. But he is still very young and needs time to work out some kinks in his game. He has also shown poor plate discipline at times especially against left-handed pitchers.Kevin Mulvey:With the subtraction of ace Johan Santana, the Twins now have a very young rotation. They also have another spot open for competition, and newcomer Mulvey could very well be involved when Spring Training rolls around.Mulvey has a total of four pitches, a fastball, a curveball, a changeup and a slider. His fastball ranges from 87-91 MPH, and can get up to 94. The fastball dives in on right-handed hitters which explains their .224 average against him. His curveball reaches mid-70's, and has 11-to-5 break. His slider is his put-away pitch reaching the mid-80's. His changeup is his worst of the four, but is overall and average pitch.Kevin's major weakness thus far his been his production against left-handed hitters. He pitches poorly to them because he can't jam them with his fastball, one of the things that makes him so affective against right-handers. His changeup also needs work, something pit[...]
2008-01-29T15:29:16.098-06:00According to the USA Today, the Twins and Mets have agreed to a deal that will send four players to the Twins for two-time Cy-Young winner Johan Santana. According to the sources, the Twins will be getting Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra.