Minor league Thoughts after Sunday's game

Just a bunch of thoughts about the minor leagues, after the end of the series with the Royals today. I will probably write more about the state of the big club tomorrow, but I strongly believe that the big club is as strong as its whole organization, so I will start with the minors

  • Juan Morillo after he was outrighted to Rochester, he appeared in two games for the Red Wings pitching one and two-thirds innings of perfect baseball. No walks, no strikeouts. So far he has been used as a middle reliever in both occasions. I strongly believe that his coupling with Bobby Cuellar, Rochester's pitching coach and the man who taught Johan Santana the change up, would be a great think for Morillo. To accommodate Morillo in the roster, the Red Wings released Carmen Pignatiello, a LHP with 14.14 ERA and 2.15 WHIP and one of the never-had-beens that Jim Rantz likes to accumulate in Rochester every season

  • Speaking of Jim Rantz' rejects, Rochester has been horrible this season. If Twins' fans are concerned about the major league team, Red Wings' fans have many more reasons of concern. The team is 9-12, nine games behind Scranton in 5th place, below the lowly Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Is there a reason for Twins' fans who are not really concerned with minor league matters to be concerned about this? Yes. Since the 71 year old Jim Rantz, the Twins minor leagues director discovered Shane Mack as a minor league free agent 28 years ago, he repeats the practice of signing 5-10 aging minor league free agents every season. Nobody the last 28 years of the practice panned out. The closest was Randy Ruiz last season. Singing minor league free agents might be a good practice if: a. the player has some upside and b. the player is young enough to potentially realize that upside. For example, the singing of Justin Huber, a 26 year old OF/1B, former minor league All Star, who has a power right hand bat was great. That of the likes of Carmen Pignatello, Sean Henn, Bobby Keppel, Mike Gosling, Reid Santos, all pitchers at or beyond their primes were not for a pitching-rich organization.

  • There are several problems with this practice:

    1. It keeps talented players from advancing in the organization (e.g. Rob Delaney is setting up Anthony Slama who is closing at New Britain, when either of them could close in Rochester instead of Sean Henn and both of them are more capable pitchers than any of Rantz' 5 never-had-beens in Rochester and they are not spring chicken either: Delaney is 24 and Slama 25 years old

    2. This practice creates a Domino effect throughout the organization, keeping players like the 23 year old Steve Hirshfield (0.69 ERA, 0.538 WHIP), the 22 year old Carlos Gutierrez (0.78 ERA, 0.652 WHIP) and the 24 year olds Henry Arias and Blair Erickson in Ft. Myers instead of New Britain, and someone like Tom Stuifberger, the guy who held the powerful Dominican Republic lineup scoreless in the WBC for the Netherlands, in extended spring training

    3. One of the worse parts of this practice is that when the major league club needs a player in case of injury or bad performance, a suitable replacement has to be found outside of the organization, because the best players are usually in AA, with AAA filed up with lesser quality players

  • The Twins need to re-evaluate the way they are doing things as an organization. Here is an example: Once a player is put in the 40-man roster, he has 3 years of "options" and evaluation before he either has to be part of the major league (25 man) roster practically for the rest of his career, or be released. The Twins have 2 players in that roster who are in Ft. Myers (D. Romeiro) and in New Britain (W. Ramos), while players with iffy future with the organization who are not part of the 40 man roster (Machado, Christy) are in Rochester. It should practically be a rule that if someone is on the 40-man roster he better be either in the majors or in AAA (potentially AA the first year he is added) so that the team properly evaluates him.

  • The Twins' bullpen might need some help at this point. Nobody in Rochester, other than Anthony Swarzak, is ready to answer the call.

Update: The Twins re-activated Crain and send Jose Morales to the minors. Morales has been batting .238 OPS points higher than Redmond and .180 OPS points higher than Brian Buscher, but he is the one to go. This is not the way to win games. You have to put the best 25 man in the majors and at this point neither Redmond nor Buscher are part of the 25 best players in the organization. As I have indicated previously Morales should have stayed ahead of both Redmond and Buscher. And there is something else to consider: Morales is leading the team in batting average. His reward? A $350K pay cut. This in not how a top organization should reward its top performers.


Marv said...

Interesting points, thry.
It is not that long ago (last year) that the Twins needed and got strong players out of Rochester. Difficult to appreciate why they would load up AAA with players who are basically long shots.
I wonder why they take such a long time to move players through their system. I believe that if Albert Pujols had been in the Twins organization he would never have played MLB when he was 21 (.329/.403/.610 37 HR) or 22 years old (.314/.394/.561 34 HR).
Seems with the Twins there are almost NO exceptions. (maybe Mauer)

thrylos98 said...


I think part of that convoluted logic has to do with being able to have the 6 years of club control (pre-arbitration and arbitration) in the bigs coincide with players' primes... Way too many lost opportunities this way because some players might be ready sooner than later.

'R Red Wings said...

Great insights. I hope Morillo does well here. I suspect he will. We need another good pitcher here, but if he does good, he probably won't stay long. After this past weekend, I'm just glad the Twinkies didn't option Dickey to Rochester LOL

thrylos98 said...

Thanks. Great Blog, btw. Not much information about what is happening in Rochester other than the Dem & Chron...

Dickey will probably be there sooner than later :) but I suspect that Delaney and Slama will show up there this season when Keppel and Gossling become history.