When the strike zone looks like a diamond, what does July 2nd mean for a developing country and other early game day thoughts.

Just some sporadic thoughts on an early game day:

  • The Twins won today at Milwaukee to take the series 2-1 from the Brewers. The Twins' record is up to .500 and are still 6 games in the loss column behind the Detroit Tigers in the second place of the AL Central.

    In today's game there were a lot of strike 3 calls and a lot of strike 3 non-calls by Hunter Wendelstedt, the home plate umpire, leaving players from both teams rolling their eyes. Here is Wendelstedt's strike zone today according to Brooksbaseball.net:

    This is a very consistent strike zone for both teams, but there is a little problem. It has the shape of a diamond and not of a square and it is shifted a bit to the left (from a LHB perspective). At least Wendelstedt is true to his name (wendel means "spiral" in German). It almost seems that he was calling balls and strikes with his right ear on his right shoulder... Try it and look at the picture. That's a pretty darn good strike zone with your ear on your shoulder

  • Jerry Springer, has a TV "Show" that involves around (for lack of better descriptors) sad stories with some sort of controversial background, which usually end up in hair pulling and fights among his guests, which are usually targeted to a day time stay at home audience (I think.) Now it looks like is bridging into AAA English Baseball. God save the Queen.

  • July 2nd is the start of the period for international signings in baseball. This day is akin to powerball lottery jackpot in the Dominican Republic. Here is an absolutely great three-part (make sure you read all 3) story with accompanied videos on what baseball means to the Dominicans, what does life and baseball look like to a 16 year old super prospect, like the Twins' target Miguel Angel Sano and what it means to be a Dominican Baseball player. Well worth 15 minutes of your time

  • Bring on the Birds. The Twins are starting a 3 game weekend series tomorrow night at St. Louis against the Cardinals; here are some unstructured thoughts about this series:

    • Detroit has built a seven game winning streak. The Twins better try to sweep this one to stay close

    • I don't want Mauer to sit, but if he sits Morales and not Redmond better be the person who replaces him

    • I was listening to New York's WFAN 660 this afternoon (my default station in my car; sports talk) and Mike Francesa was talking about Albert Pujols being the next big steroid revelation (for what it counts)

    • It's going to be close to 100 degrees and fairly humid, which means that starters (of both teams) need to show extra stamina out there

    • It looks like the team will have a second baseman on the roster; either Punto or someone else, if Punto's MRI looks bad today. Since Casilla is in Gardenhire's dog house, I suspect that Tolleson will be the lucky guy who will make the trip west. I hope he get the opportunity to play and shines and sends down Tolbert and/or Buscher

    • If Gardenhire starts Cuddyer at second base as it has been reported, he needs a straight jacket. On the other hand that might give Young and Gomez some deserved plate appearances, but is suspect that the Twins' pitchers are not in love with the thought of Cuddyer as a second baseman

  • Here is an actual piece of news: Shooter Hunt resurfaced at the GCL league today


Who is hot in the minors V5

This is the fifth version of the list of the best performing players in the Twins' minor league system year to date. The Elizabethton (Appalachian League) and the Gulf Coast League rookie teams have started play so some players might be included in the next version of this. DSL players were included in the last list. The numbers are as of 6/24. Some players have dropped from the list either because their performance dropped or because they were promoted (e.g. Keppel). This version includes players who have been performing highly at their current level and started the season cold in lower levels (e.g. Tolleson):


Allan De San Miguel (RHB, 21, A,A+,AA,AAA) .284/.429/.358 6 RBI, 84 PA
Danny Rams (RHB, 20, Rk/APP,A+) .438/.500/.688 6 RBI, 18 PA


Danny Valencia (RHB, 24, AAA) .291/.377/.489 7 HR, 31 RBI, 257 PA
Steven Tolleson (RHB, 25, AAA) .340/.421/.500 2 HR, 6 RBI, 107 PA
Brian Dinkelman (LHB, 25, AA) .330/.421/.476 3 HR, 32 RBI, 221 PA
Ramon Santana (RHB, 24, A) .326/.420/.503 5 HR, 31 RBI, 208 PA
Yorby Martinez (SH, 20, Rk/DSL) .340/.433/.360 8 RBI, 60 PA


Rene Tosoni (LHB, 22, AA) .262/.371/.471 9 HR, 42 RBI, 210 PA
Juan Portes (RHB, 23, AA) .333/.395/.484 2 HR, 22 RBI, 174 PA
Ben Revere (RHB, 21, A+) .322/.391/.384 2 HR, 28 RBI, 27 SB, 276 PA
Joe Benson (RHB, 21, A+) .293/.413/.444 3 HR, 14 RBI, 121 PA

1st basemen/DH:

Whit Robbins (LHB, 24, AA) .315/.390/.483, 7 HR, 29 RBI, 264 PA
Kevin Sylvania (LHB, 18, Rk/DSL) .283/.371/.483 2 HR, 12 RBI, 70 PA

RH Starters:

Anthony Swarzak (23, AAA) 2.48 ERA, 1.172 WHIP, 5.90 K/9, 2.71 K/BB
Carlos Gutierrez (22, A+, AA) 2.37 ERA, 1.239 WHIP, 5.50 K/9, 1.91 K/BB
Matt Fox (26, AA) 2.80 ERA, 1.297 WHIP, 6.81 K/9, 2.07 K/BB
Jeff Manship (24, AA) 4.30 ERA, 1.221 WHIP, 5.38 K/9, 2.25 K/BB
Mike McCardell (24, A+) 3.84 ERA, 1.132 WHIP, 7.28 K/9, 3.93 K/BB
Dave Bromberg (21, A+) 2.22 ERA, 1.246 WHIP, 8.09 K/9, 1.88 K/BB
Brad Tippett (21, A) 3.17 ERA, 1.071 WHIP, 7.71 K/9, 5.09 K/BB
Danny Berlind (21, A) 4.01 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 8.83 K/9, 2.70 K/BB
Pedro Guerra(19, Rk/DSL) 0.00 ERA, 0.632 WHIP, 11.37 K/9, 6.00 K/BB
Cesar Ciurcina (18, Rk/DSL) 1.38 ERA, 0.615 WHIP, 6.28 K/9, 18.00 K/BB
Renzo Reverol (18, Rk/DSL) 2.11 ERA, 0.703 WHIP, 7.59 K/9, 9.00 K/BB

RH Relievers:

Juan Morillo (25, AAA) 3.14 ERA, 1.221 WHIP, 12.60 K/9, 2.22 K/BB
Armado Gabino (25, AAA) 3.05 ERA, 1.015 WHIP, 6.70 K/9, 2.36 K/BB
Rob Delaney (24, AA,AAA) 3.12 ERA, 1.082 WHIP, 9.18 K/9, 5.00 K/BB
Yohan Pino (25, AA) 3.92 ERA, 1.234 WHIP, 9.36 K/9, 3.91 K/BB
Alex Burnett (21, A+, AA) 1.64 ERA, 0.939 WHIP, 8.92 K/9, 3.17 K/BB
Steve Hirschfield (23, A+) 1.50 ERA, 0.976 WHIP, 6.21 K/9, 2.23 K/BB
Blair Erickson (24, A+) 2.82 ERA, 1.299 WHIP, 12.09 K/9, 3.00 K/BB
Loek Van Mil (24, A+) 0.69 ERA, 1.077 WHIP, 6.92 K/9, 1.43 K/BB
Fransisco Nunez (17, Rk/DSL) 1.96 ERA, 0.982 WHIP, 11.29 K/9, 7.67 K/BB
Carlos Carillo (19, Rk/DSL) 1.08 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 6.50 K/9, 1.78 K/BB

LH Relievers:

Spencer Steedley (24, A+) 1.06 ERA, 1.059 WHIP, 8.74 K/9, 3.30 K/BB
Joe Testa (23, A) 2.58 ERA, 1.051 WHIP, 12.51 K/9, 2.74 K/BB
Mike Tarsi (22, A) 1.69 ERA, 1.063 WHIP, 9.00 K/9, 2.91 K/BB

One name that is not mentioned is Anthony Slama. The reason I am not including him here is because his WHIP is still high (1.330; my cutoff is <1.300). His ERA is 2.58, he has 12.91 K/9 and 2.89 K/BB)