Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Monday, May 21, 2007

Down on the Farm: AAA Report

Due to the lengthy absence and the difficulty that would be associated with me trying to stick to the new format this week, I'm modifying the Down on the Farm reports slightly for this week. I'll be focusing more on who's doing well this season rather than just over the past few weeks, and will only be marking where a player has played over the course of the season, rather than splitting it into both "this week" and "this season" segments. The format will return to normal next week.

Rochester Red Wings (22-18)
2nd Place -- International League North Division

Red Wings Season Stats

Starting Pitchers

1.) Kevin Slowey - 8 starts
2.) Matt Garza - 8 starts
3.) Dave Gassner - 7 starts
4.) Jeremy Cummings - 5 starts, 4 RA
5.) Nick Blackburn - 1 start

Who's Hot: Kevin Slowey remains a dominant pitcher this season, with a 5-2 record and remarkable stats: 1.76 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 50-5 K-BB ratio all in 56.1 innings. he's put himself in the lead position for a call-up to the big leagues if the Twins find themselves in need of a starter, with the only real question being whether the Twins think he can still benefit from the time in the minors rather than a quick call-up. Jeremy Cummings has also been solid this season, posting a 2.90 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 31 innings. He should be used mostly as a starter for the foreseeable future.

Who's Not: Dave Gassner may be close to being done in the Twins system. He was removed from the 40-man roster last November after suffering through an injury plagues 2006 season, and this year has been a nightmare for Gassner, with a 7.39 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in 31.2 innings of work. If the Twins had more candidates to take over a starting role at the AAA level, he'd probably already be gone. As it is, if he doesn't turn things around quickly, he won't last past the end of June. It's harsh to put Nick Blackburn in this category after just one start, but his 4.91 ERA justifies it (even if his 1.23 WHIP does indicate a bit of bad luck on the runs allowed side of the ledger). At least he made it through 7.1 innings in his AAA debut, which is solid. And, while it's not really BAD, Matt Garza's 4.07 ERA and 1.45 WHIP get him in this category because so much more was expected of him. To this point, he hasn't turned it on, and he's been passed by Scott Baker, Glen Perkins, and Kevin Slowey in the pecking order since the start of Spring Training. That's definitely moving in the wrong direction -- although I and most Twins fans are still very high on him, for good reason.

Relief Pitchers
1.) Bobby Korecky - 16 RA
2.) Brian Bass - 12 RA
3.) Carmen Cali - 11 RA
4.) Jason Miller - 3 starts, 6 RA
5.) Ricky Barrett - 6 RA
6.) J.P. Martinez - 1 RA

Who's Hot: Ricky Barrett started the season on the disabled list, but has returned with a vengeance, posting a 0.00 ERA in 6 games (9.1 innings) with a 0.43 WHIP and 8-1 K-BB ratio. With the Twins bullpen injury woes right now, his name has to come up as a possibility for a promotion. Jason Miller is another name that might get some consideration if the Twins need to call someone up, having posted a 2.63 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 24 innings this season. On the downside, his 9-8 K-BB ratio isn't very inspiring, and could indicate that he might have trouble getting out big league hitters. Carmen Cali has also been reasonably solid, with a 3.46 ERA/1.31 WHIP in 13 innings.

Who's Not: There are any number of candidates for this position. The low-hanging fruit here is J.P. Martinez, a recent call-up who through one game has an 18.00 ERA and 3.50 WHIP in 2 innings of work. But Brian Bass has to be the most obvious candidate for inclusion in this category amongst pitchers who actually have some time at the AAA level this year, having posted a 5.40 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in 20 innings of work. Incidentally, the recently departed Mike Venafro never really recovered from his rough start, as he had a 5.40 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in 11.2 innings when he was sent packing. Amongst those still on the team, Bobby Korecky also belongs on this list. Although he has 8 saves, he also has a 4.76 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 17 innings of work.

1.) Jose Morales - C(25), DH(9)
2.) Matthew LeCroy - DH(25), C(6), 1B(2)

Who's Hot: Jose Morales has figured out how to hit, apparently, with a .328 batting average and .808 OPS in 122 AB's. He's also popped a homer out of the park, driven in 10 and scored 17, and limited himself to an acceptable 14 K's while making just one error behind the plate this season. If something were to happen to Chris Heintz, he'd almost certainly be the next option for the Twins (especially considering that the alternative would be *gulp* Matthew LeCroy.

Who's Not: Speaking of LeCroy, he belongs firmly on this list. He's knocked a couple balls out of the park and has 12 RBI's on the season, but he's hitting just .197/.546. With numbers like that, I wouldn't expect him to be seeing a big league bench anytime soon. LeCroy is a nice guy, but these numbers are making it look an awful lot like he is simply no longer a Major League caliber ballplayer, as has been suspected for some time.

1.) Tommy Watkins - SS(17), LF(9), 3B(4), 2B(3), DH(1)
2.) Matt Moses - 3B(33), DH(1)
3.) Matt Tolbert - 2B(28), SS(5)
4.) Alexi Casilla - SS(13), 2B(9)
5.) Glenn Williams - 1B(21)
6.) Gil Velazquez - SS(3), 1B(1)
DL - Ken Harvey

Who's Hot: Matt Tolbert continues to hit at a torrid pace, putting up a .356 average and .972 OPS in 101 AB's. On the downside, he's made 6 errors and is still behind Alexi Casilla on the depth chart. Glenn Williams is also putting together a solid season, with .300/.862 numbers and a couple of jacks in 70 AB's. He's probably also happy to be playing just one position this year -- last year he was bounced around a lot and actually played a fair number of games at 2B. Finally, it's a mixed bag this year with Alexi Casilla, but I'm going to throw him on the good side because he's shown a lot of speed (8 steals in 23 games) and a reasonable bat (.263/.685). On the downside, he's struck out 20 times in just 80 AB's, so he's got to fix that problem.

Who's Not: How about Gil Velazquez, who is hitting just .222 (to be fair, that's in just 9 AB's -- he was recently promoted). Matt Moses is the worst of the regular crew, but his batting average of .250 and OPS of .617, while not that good, also aren't terrible. For a third baseman, though, he does need to generate more power -- although a two homer game early this month showed that maybe he's moving in that direction. Moses has also struck out 32 times in 128 AB's and made 6 errors in the field; all-in-all not a great year so far for one of the Twins one-time big name prospects.

1.) Denard Span - CF(37), RF(2)
2.) Garrett Jones - 1B(17), RF(14), LF(4), DH(1)
3.) Trent Oeltjen - LF(20), RF(6), CF(2)
4.) Doug Deeds - RF(18), DH(4), LF(3), 1B(1)

Who's Hot: Garrett Jones (who, you'll notice, just barely avoided moving into the "infielders" category -- 18 outfield games v. 17 infield games) played well enough so far this year to earn himself a short promotion to the Twins before being sent back down. He's hitting .302/.853 with 5 HR's and 25 RBI's, while striking out 26 times in 126 AB's. He should get another chance to play in the big leagues soon. Trent Oeltjen is also quietly putting together a good season for the Red Wings, with a .291/.734 in 79 AB's as a sometimes starter, to go along with 5 SB's.

Who's Not: With all of the hype, the Twins have to be sorely disappointed in the play of Torii Hunter's heir apparent, Denard Span, who is hitting just .237/.606 in 156 AB's and who has a ridiculous 34 K's. For a contact/average hitter, that's way, way, way too high. Span has shown his speed with 10 SB's, but the average simply has to come up before the Twins can even think of replacing Torii Hunter with him. Doug Deeds has also been disappointing, hitting just .203/.581 in 74 AB's -- although he has hit a couple of HR's. Most startling though may be his paltry 3 RBI's and his 28 K's (remember, that's in just 74 AB's).

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  • At Wed Jun 27, 04:57:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It's funny how once you have opened your mouth to blast Jose Morales as a non-hitting catcher, your only way back is to say that Jose finally learned how to hit. A lifetime .290 hitter before last year, the kid started zero for a lot (under .110 BA during first 100 ABs) and then hit aroud .300 to boost his final number to a still low .200dreds, all this after sitting out for a whole year with a torn back. Last winter, the "just learning how to hit" kid led his team hitting .321 during Winter Ball. Wake up and smell the cervezas Taylor baby!!!"


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