Who is Hot in the Twins minors? 2012 version 1

This is the first version of the 'who is hot in the Twins' minors' series for 2012. I have been doing this for a few years now and 3 weeks into the 2012 season, there are enough IPs and PAs and is about time I get the first version of 2012 out.  I will be updating those in pretty much monthly basis.

 About a month into the minor league seasons now, it is not surprising to confirm that the Twins have a nice pitching depth in all levels of their minors (including LHP, which has been one of the organizational weaknesses in recent seasons.  It is nice to see a balance between leftie and rightie arms, even though it is early in the season) There are several pitchers in Rochester who can jump in and contribute with the big team, as necessary. In addition, pretty much the whole starting rotation in New Britain is hot, which might result to interesting moves as this month progresses.

The bats are a bit cool this time of the year, but it is nice to see that the Twins' top prospects are pretty hot.  Speaking on top prospects, Angel Morales after a lost 2011, is quickly putting himself back to the top prospect list.  Also nice, as far as the big club goes, is the fact that Brian Dozier and Mike Hollimon are hot in Rochester, in case the Twins need middle infield help (the only position that is not backed up well in the major league club).

Here is the list, going from AAA to A.  The clubs represented are AAA Rochester Red Wings, International League, AA New Britain Rock Cats, Eastern League, A+ Fort Myers Miracle, Florida State League, A Beloit Snappers, Midwest League:




Brian Dozier (RHB, 25 AAA) .310/.375/.466 1 HR, 6 RBI, 64 PA
Michael Hollimon (SHB, 30, AAA) .256/.341/.487 2 HR, 2 RBI, 44 PA
Deibinson Romero (RHB, 25, AA) .293/.359/.552 3 HR, 13 RBI, 64 PA
Miguel Sano (RHB, 19, A) .314/.453/.765 6 HR, 18 RBI, 64 PA
Eddie Rosario (LHB, 20, A) .296/.397/.426 1 HR, 11 RBI, 6 SB, 63 PA


Angel Morales (RHB, 22, A+) .382/.426/.509 1 HR, 7 RBI, 3 SB, 62 PA
Lance Ray (LHB, 22, A+) .256/.333/.512 2 HR, 10 RBI, 51 PA
Aaron Hicks (SHB, 22, AA) .255/.338/.491 3 HR, 10 RBI, 65 PA
Evan Bigley (RHB, 25, AA) .295/.343/.459 1 HR, 10 RBI, 67 PA

1st basemen/DH:

Chris Colabello (RHB, 28, AA) .333/.415/.711 4 HR, 12 RBI, 54 PA

RH Starters:

Cole DeVries (27, AAA) 2.87 ERA, 0.957 WHIP, 8.62 K/9, 3.75 K/BB
Samuel Deduno (28, AAA) 3.94 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 7.31 K/9, 2.17 K/BB
PJ Walters (27, AAA) 3.38 ERA, 1.266 WHIP, 6.33 K/9, 7 K/BB
Steve Hirschfeld (26, AA) 1.06 ERA, 0.941 WHIP, 7.94 K/9, 3.75 K/BB
BJ Hermsen (22, A+) 0.50 ERA, 0.722 WHIP, 5.0 K/9, 2.5 K/BB

LH Starters:

Scott Diamond (25, AAA) 1.47 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 6.87 K/9, 2.80 K/BB
Luke French (26, AA) 1.52 ERA, 0.930 WHIP, 5.32 K/9, 1.17 K/BB
Logan Darnell (23, AA) 2.81 ERA, 1.188 WHIP, 5.63 K/9, 1.67 K/BB
Andrew Albers (26, AA) 5.54 ERA. 1.231 WHIP, 6.23 K/0, inf K/BB
Jason Wheeler (21. A) 2.40 ERA, 1.267 WHIP, 6 K/9, 2 K/BB

RH Relievers:

Casey Fien (28, AAA) 1.80 ERA, 1.100 WHIP, 8.10 K/9, 9 K/BB
Jeff Manship (27, AAA) 0.82 ERA, 1.273 WHIP, 8.18 K/9, 2.5 K/BB
Deolis Guerra (23,AA) 0.84 ERA, 0.469 WHIP, 8.44 K/9, 10 K/BB
Dan Turpen (25, AA) 2.89 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, 8.68 K/9, inf K/BB
John Garcia (25, A+) 2.53 ERA, 1.031 WHIP, 6.75 K/9, 2.67 K/BB
AJ Achter (23, A) 0.87 ERA, 0.677 WHIP, 12.19 K/9, 4.67 K/BB
Michael Tonkin (22, A) 0.96 ERA, 0.964 WHIP, 9.64 K/9, 5 K/BB

LH Relievers:

Tyler Robertson (24, AAA) 4.70 ERA, 0.783 WHIP, 11.74 K/9, 5 K/BB
Caleb Thielbar (25, A+) 0.00 ERA, 0.545 WHIP, 11.05 K/9, 9 K/BB
Jose Gonzalez (22, A+) 3.86 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, 9 K/9, 3.5 K/BB
Edgar Ibarra (23, A+) 0.90 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 5.40 K/9, 6 K/BB
Corey Williams (21, A) 3.86 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 9 K/9, 7 K/BB
Ryan O'Rourke (24, A) 1.23 ERA, 0.818 WHIP, 8.59 K/9, 3.5 K/BB
Matthew Tomshaw (23, A) 4.15 ERA, 1.269 WHIP, 10.38 K/9, 10 K/BB


Twins Players of the Week

This is the second installment in this series. You can find the first one here and all of them here in reverse chronological order. I will be doing these approximately weekly or at the end of every 2 series.  

In the last 2 series against the Yankees and Rangers the Twins as a team hit a respectable .279/.328/.434 with 6 HR and scored 28 runs. This was not enough to get them to finish better than 2-5 in these series. Part of the problem was striking out 52 times in 271 plate appearances, grounding into 6 double plays and stranding 54 runners, an average of 7.7 runners a game.  

The Twins Hitter of the Week was: 

Justin Morneau 


.261/.370/.652 3 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R in 27 plate appearances  

Unlike the hitting, the Twins' pitching in the last 2 series was primarily responsible for their 2-7 record against the Rangers and the Yankees. As a team, the Twins pitched to a 5.46 ERA, allowing 79 hits (including 13 home runs, 15 doubles and a triple,) 37 Runs (all earned) in 61 innings, facing 272 batters. They threw 959 total pitches and 612 of them were strikes. The walked 14 and struck out 35. This results in a 1.53 WHIP, 5.2 K/9 and 2.5 K/BB.  

The Twins' Pitcher of the Week was:  

Jared Burton

3 Games, 3.3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 5K

Why was Luke Hughes cut by the Twins? The plot thickens...

Yesterday, I have written why Luke Hughes got a rotten deal but the Twins, but I think I let another reason out: this was a great way for Twins' manager Ron Gardenhire to get his consanguine Drew Butera up to majors, claiming that he could use 3 catchers.

Interestingly enough, Stealing a page from Pontius Pilatus' book, Terry Ryan, the Twins' interim GM, washed his hands from accountability on player personnel decisions in the Twins' organization, especially the Luke Hughes release, attributing those decisions to Ron Gardenhire and proclaimed that his role is "just" that of a facilitator (last paragraph in the linked article.)

So Terry Ryan's role is to "facilitate" Ron Gardenhire's personnel decisions. Yesterday, within half day after I tweeted this, my fears about Gardenhire's true intentions were confirmed by Rhett Bollinger the Twins' MLB.com beat writer... Also in the last paragraph of this writeup by La Velle Neal and in the last paragraph of this one by Rhett Bollinger, albeit a bit subdued by quotes of Gardenhire not being sure of what he wants to do and that he wants "to do the right thing" (unfortunately, the time for the latter has passed...)

Here is the reason why Luke Hughes was released:


When that decision will be announced, expect to hear about how that will provide the club with versatility and about how much better Drew has been hitting this season in Rochester. Meanwhile, hints like the ones I mentioned previously about Butera's ascent to the major leagues will be coming slowly and steadily...

I hope that the Twins' fans and ownership have long enough memories and hold accountable the people who are responsible for losing...


JD Hammer: Can't catch this

In honor of the 12 game hitting streak of Joshua David (Josh) Willingham and his league-leading 5 home runs, with the Minnesota Twins.

a. Click to play the music in the video below:

b. Read the lyrics below while it's playing:

Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this

My, my, my bat just hits so hard
Makes me say "Oh my Lord"
Thank you for blessing me
With an arm to hit and two strong feet
It feels good, when you know it's out
A super dope homeboy from the Oaktown
And I'm known as such
And this is a home run, uh, you can't catch

I told you homeboy ( can't catch this)
Yeah, that's how we hitting and you know (can't catch this)
Look at my eyes, man (You can't catch this)
Yo, let me bust the long home runs (can't catch this)

Fresh new hits, advance
You gotta like that, now you know you wanna run
So move, outta your seat
Let me get a long fly ball and catch up to this heat
While it's rolling, hold on
Pump a little bit and let 'em know it's gone
Like that, like that
Cold on a mission so rake them all
Let 'em know, that you're too much
And this is a ball, uh, you can't catch

Yo, I told you (can't catch this)
Why you standing there, man? (can't catch this)
Yo, smash the ball, runs are in, sucka (can't catch this)
Give me a curve or a fast ball
Make 'em sweat, that's what I'm giving 'em all
Now, they know
You talking about the Hammer you talking about a show
That's high, and tight
Pitchers are sweating so pass them a wipe
Or a tape, to learn
What's it gonna take in the 10's to burn
The charts? Legit
Either work hard or you might as well quit

That's word because you know...

Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Hit it out! Runs, Hammer time!

Go with the pitch, it is said
That if you can't groove to this then you probably are dead
So wave your hands in the air
Bust a few moves, pump your fist through the air
This is it, for a winner
Hit to this and you're gonna get meaner
Move, slide your rump
Just for a minute let's all do the bump, bump, bump

Yeah... (can't catch this)
Look, man (can't catch this)
You better get hype, boy, because you know (can't catch this)
Smash the ball, runs are in (can't catch this)

Hit it out! Runs, Hammer time!
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this

Hit it out! Runs, Hammer time!

Every time you see me
The Hammer's just so brave
I'm dope with a curve and I'm magic with a change
Now why would I ever stop doing this?
With others making records they just don't hit
I've played around the world, from Miami to the Bay
It's "Hammer, go Hammer, JD Hammer, yo Hammer"
And the rest can go and play

Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this
Can't catch this

5 reasons why Luke Hughes got a rotten deal by the Twins

By now the fact that the Twins have designated Luke Hughes for assignment to clear a 25-man roster for Jason Marquis is old news. I have always felt that Luke Hughes was a player with a lot of potential but for some reason the Twins did not see that and unfortunately might be added to a list of players including David Ortiz, Sergio Santos and Garrett Jones who have flourished after the Twins released them.

Why Luke Hughes got a rotten deal by the Twins?

  1. He was not given a chance when he deserved it, but was by-passed for lesser players: In 2008 when he was 23 years old,in a season split between Rochester and New Britain he hit .309/.369/.524 with 18 HR. If Brian Dozier has these numbers in 2012 in Rochester at age 25 and he is not with the Twins in 2013, there will be cries of "bloody murder" all over. Instead of giving Hughes a chance to a starting job in 2009, the Twins signed 34 year old Orlando Cabrera, 31 year old Joe Crede, and acquired 28 year old Brendan Harris. In addition they gave additional bench and starting opportunities to Matt Tolbert (27) and Brian Buscher (28) who never had any talent.

  2. Luke Hughes has a rare talent: He is a power hitting middle infielder who can be a late bloomer. Luke's career major league isoP is .118 in 335 plate appearances. His career minor league slash line is .268/.330/.419 (.155 isoP) up to his age 26 season. This compares pretty nicely to Dan Uggla's career MiLB numbers (.276/.347/.442, .166 isoP) who had to be a rule 5 pick up after his age 26 season to flourish. Luke Hughes has Dan Uggla potential which was either not seen or not appreciated by the Twins

  3. Luke Hughes is a versatile player: There have been rumors recently around Luke Hughes. By now Twins' fans with an open mind know how those originate: usually when the team (read Ron Gardenhire) does not like someone, certain writers are given tidbits to spread around. Slowey and Perkins (during his grievance season) are a couple of recent examples; even more recently the manager and the interim general manager were publicly saying that they were frustrated by Scott Baker's unwillingness to "let it rip", while the guy had a torn UCL.) The rumors that you will hear about Luke Hughes is that a. he is not a versatile player and b. his defense was suspect. To kill this right away, Luke played all positions in the field, including pitching a scoreless inning (one hit allowed) in a game with the New Britain Rock Cats in 2007, other than Catcher; this season Gardenhire himself named him the Twins' emergency catcher. So if that is not being versatile, I am not sure what versatility is. As a matter of fact, Luke has played more positions than Michael Cuddyer (who cannot play LF) who has been a darling of his manager and thus the Twin Cities media.

  4. Luke Hughes is an above average fielder. The second part of the rumor mill you will hear is that Luke Hughes is not a "good enough fielder" (and ironically this will start from the same people who were starting Mike Cuddyer at 2B and CF last season.) The fact is that in limited opportunities on the field in 3 seasons in MLB, his fielding has been 4.1 runs above average based on Fangraphs' fielding WAR. He saved 5 runs above average based on Baseball Info Solutions defensive runs saved above average. In 319.3 innings his UZR/150 at 2B has been +6.8, and in 282 innings, his UZR/150 at 1B has been +11.0.

  5. They are lesser players still with the Twins. There is absolutely no reason the Luke Hughes should be designated for assignment and Sean Burroughs and Jeff Gray remain with the Club. Do the Twins really need 13 pitchers? Terry Ryan spoke about accountability when he was named the interim manager. I hope that he holds himself and his field manager accountable for their decisions.

I wish the best luck to Luke Hughes who has been in the Minnesota Twins' family for 10 years. Hopefully he will pass waivers and be in Rochester and come back with the Twins under better front office and field management circumstances


Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits

Here is this week's installment, tax deadline edition:

  • Public service announcement: If you have not filed your taxes yet, uncle Sam gives you till midnight tonight to do so

  • Twins' OF Josh Willingham, after he was named Twins' position player of the week here, was officially named AL player of the week.

  • The Twins finally win the opening game of a series in Yankee Stadium. Last time they accomplished that feat it was early May of 2001.

  • Good luck to Scott Baker who is going under the knife of Dr David Atcheck today in New York City to repair his flexor pronator tendon. Wonder if his teammates will drop by to say hi before their game tonight at Yankee Stadium.

  • Speaking of Twins' games at Yankee Stadium Version 2.0, Jason Marquis is coming back to the Twins and starting the game tomorrow. A roster move needs to be made to accommodate him in the 25-man roster.

  • Add the newly acquired Clete Thomas to the list of players who have homered in their first game with the Twins

  • Another one from the Twins' witch doctors' archives. Apparently the diagnosis of Kyle Waldrop's injury is a "strained UCL" (towards the bottom of the article). Such a thing does not exist. It is up there with a "Shoulder Cramp" (Nick Blackburn) and "Inflamed Forearm" (Glen Perkins). Terry Ryan said something about "accountability" when was appointed interim GM last November. More and more this sounds like hot air now, unfortunately, since he not only approbates these announcements, but is the one who feeds them to the press.

  • The Twins' product of the week, is the Minnesota Twins Grant Cleanup Adjustable Cap I really love the way these look.

The parting shot today is of Scott Baker who is under the knife. I hope everything turns out OK and he rehabs fine and signs an-incentive-laden 1yr deal with the Twins for 2013 after they decline to pick his option.