Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Catching up with the Minors -- Part II

This series of posts is designed to provide my thoughts on who has delivered -- and who hasn't -- in the minor leagues this season for the Twins. Today's trip through the system will be focused on low A Beloit and high A Ft. Myers. Tomorrow, I'll finish the series with my thoughts on the players in AA New Britain and AAA Rochester.

Beloit Snappers

The Good

The biggest surprise on the offensive side of the ball for the Snappers this season has been a player who didn't even start the season with the team. Wilson Ramos, a catcher, began the season in extended spring training but was added to the Snappers roster on June 2. Since that time, he's hit .295 with 7 homers and a .795 OPS in 251 AB's. Ramos skipped over Elizabethton entirely, having spent the 2006 season in the GCL -- and that's a big part of the reason why his development this season has been so surprising. His numbers aren't overwhelming, but they're very solid and bode well for Ramos' future. Unfortunately, that's about where the good news ends for the Snappers offensively -- at least, for the players still with the team. Several players earned promotions, and I'll discuss them as appropriate when I get to the Miracle.

The Snappers have also seen a number of pitchers promoted to Ft. Myers, but there are more success stories still in Beloit. Left-handed starter Tyler Robertson, for instance, has a 2.30 ERA and a 7-3 record in 13 starts and a relief appearance this season. Last season's third round pick was moderately successful in the GCL last season, but as with Ramos he's taken his game to another level since joining the Snappers. Alex Burnett (3.01 ERA in 134.1 innings) and Cole DeVries (3.04 ERA in 127.1 innings) have also had excellent seasons. Finally, Anthony Slama joined the team in July after becoming one of the last players to sign from the 2006 draft. The former 39th rounder has shown that he's a steal so far, with a 2.35 ERA in 15.1 innings of work. Small sample size, yes -- but still a nice way to start off his career.

The Bad

Man, are there candidates for this! The top answer has to be Chris Parmelee, last season's first round pick, however. Parmelee has clubbed 13 homeruns this season, but he's hitting just .233 with a .707 OPS. The Midwest League hasn't exactly been kind to the Snappers this season, but these numbers are pretty bad nonetheless. It seems very unlikely that Parmelee will advance to start the 2008 season, so he'll need to deliver in his second go-round in Beloit next year to get back on the development path. And, while I didn't expect him to be great, I have to include Danny Santiesteban on this list as well for his very poor offensive performance this season. Santiesteban is hitting just .208 with a .600 OPS in 283 AB's for the Snappers. Yet another outfielder, Joe Benson, deserves a mention on this list for hitting just .242.

On the mound, there haven't been any jaw-droppingly bad performances. Brian Kirwan has a 5.25 ERA as a starter, and Jose Lugo has a 1.67 WHIP, but while those aren't good numbers they aren't terrible either. I'll give the pitchers a pass on this one and say that I'm pretty pleased overall.

Ft. Myers Miracle

The Good

The two hitters that I'm listing in this section were both elsewhere when the season began. Second baseman Brian Dinkelman has been very solid this season, both with Beloit (where he started the season), and with Ft. Myers since his promotion. Dinkelman is hitting .291 with an .853 OPS and 6 homers in 172 AB's. The 8th round pick from 2006 is very quickly demonstrating that he's a very solid prospect -- and there's at least a possibility that a solid last three weeks could be enough to get him to New Britain when next season starts. Also deserving a mention is the newly acquired Dustin Martin, who the Twins picked up in the Luis Castillo trade. Martin was hitting .287 with the Mets low-A team before the trade, and has been even better in 51 AB's since coming over to the Miracle, hitting .333 with a .955 OPS. Obviously, he's not going to keep that kind of performance up, but it still looks pretty darned good for now.

On the pitching side of the ledger, there are a number of players who have to be mentioned. First, Jeff Manship started the season in Beloit and dominated, earning himself a promotion to Ft. Myers. He's continued to pitch well in the Florida State League, with a 2.63 ERA in 54.2 innings. Another Beloit to Ft. Myers promotion was handed to Robert Delaney after he blew away the competition as the Snappers closer earlier this year. He, too, has continued his success, posting a 1.65 ERA in 15.1 innings since he moved up. Finally, Jay Rainville has had a strong return from injury this season, with a 3.24 ERA in 125 innings of work. A number of other pitchers deserve mention, but they've since been promoted so I'll save them for later.

The Bad

Look at some of these numbers: Caleb Moore, Catcher, .196 batting average in 163 AB's; Toby Gardenhire, Infield, .197 batting average in 188 AB's; Whit Robbins, Corner Infield, .210 batting average in 205 AB's; Edward Ovalle, Outfield, .220 batting average in 372 AB's. That's not even mentioning a number of guys who were hitting well under .200 and have since been demoted. Yuck.

None of the pitchers deserve to be on this list except for one who is no longer with the team -- Alex Smit, who was on the Twins 40-man roster. Smit had a 5.86 ERA through 50.2 innings with the Miracle before the Twins removed him from their roster and saw him claimed by the Reds. He's actually been pretty good since moving to the Reds organization, but there's no question that he was downright bad while in the Twins organization this season.



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