Friday, July 24, 2009

Twins Prospect Power Rankings

1. 3B Danny Valencia AAA - Rochester
Age: 24
Total Stats: .307 12 HR 51 RBI
AAA Stats: .352 5 HR 22 RBI
I was in the minority having him as the best Twins prospect but a lot of minds have changed with the production he has had. If Crede ends up on the DL, the Twins might go with Valencia this year.

2. OF Ben Revere High A - Fort Myers
Age: 21
Stats: .312 2 HR 37 RBI 33 SB
With Denard Span already on the team, it is thought that Revere will likely be used more as trade bait. That is if the Twins ever make a trade.

3. OF Aaron Hicks Low A - Beloit
Age: 19
Stats: .216 1 HR 14 RBI 3 SB
The buzz surrounding him has dimmed given his struggles this year. It would not be surprising to see him start 2010 in Beloit again.

4. C Wilson Ramos AA - New Britain
Age: 21
Stats: .308 3 HR 18 RBI
This is officially a lost year for Ramos, which is disappointing but the talent is still there.

5. OF Chris Parmelee High A - Fort Myers
Age: 21
Stats: .258 14 HR 56 RBI
I would like to see him and Revere get some time in New Britain this year but that is not likely to happen.

6. RHP Anthony Slama AA - New Britain
Age: 25
Stats: 54.1 IP 2.98 ERA 77 K
Is stuck in AA this year but he should be in the Twins bullpen next year.

7. OF Rene Tosoni AA - New Britain
Age: 23
Stats: .277 10 HR 53 RBI
Only got a pinch-hit appearance in the Futures Game but he used it to hit the game-winning double and win the MVP award.

8. RHP David Bromberg High A - Fort Myers
Age: 21
Stats: 103.2 IP 2.86 ERA 92 K
Has struggled a little in July with a 3.91 ERA but the fact that that is struggling for him is a good sign.

9. RHP Carlos Gutierrez AA - New Britain
Age: 22
Total Stats: 91 IP 3.96 ERA 50 K
AA Stats: 36.1 IP 7.93 ERA 17 K
He is still on this list for his 1st half and the potential but he has been absolutely brutal in AA. He will definitely be starting 2010 in AA. Hitters are hitting .333 against him in AA. His WHIP in AA is 1.89.

10. 1B/C Danny Rams Low A - Beloit
Age: 20
Total Stats: .327 10 HR 32 RBI
Low A Stats: .286 4 HR 6 RBI
I said if he kept hitting he would make the list and he has not stopped hitting. He stikes out way too much but his numbers are video game numbers. In 110 at-bats he has 10 home runs and 24 extra base hits. On the year he has a slugging percentage of .736 and an OPS of 1.144. If you need to know how good that is Albert Pujols has similar numbers with a slugging percentage of .711 and OPS of 1.161.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mid-Season Awards

NL Rookie of the Year: Tommy Hanson, ATL
He hasn't been up that long but he has lived up to the hype so far. In 7 starts he has gone 4-0 with a 2.85 ERA and 25 K in 41 innings.
Runner-up: Colby Rasmus, STL

NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, SF
Lincecum gets the nod over Haren because he is on a superior team and the number of strikeouts. He has had a great follow-up to last year going 10-2 2.33 ERA 149 K.
Runner-up: Dan Haren, ARI

NL MVP: Albert Pujols, STL
There is no debate regarding this award. He could not play the second half and he would still get votes for the award. He is on pace for the best year of his career with .336 32 HR 85 RBI. Those are full-season numbers if you are lucky. He is a virtual lock for his 3rd MVP Award.
Runner-up: Prince Fielder, MIL

AL Rookie of the Year: Andrew Bailey, OAK
The AL Rookie Award race has been a little disappointing with David Price and Matt Wieters getting off to slow starts. My money is that one of them will have a big second half and win the award but for the first half it goes to the Oakland closer who has a 2.03 ERA and 57 K in 48.7 IP. He is the Oakland representative in the All-Star game.
Runner-up: Rickey Romero, TOR

AL Cy Young: Zach Greinke, KC
He hasn't pitched as well lately and may not hold on to the award over the full year but he still had an awesome first half going 10-5 2.12 ERA 129 K. He should have more wins but he is a Royal.
Runner-up: Felix Hernandez, SEA

AL MVP: Justin Morneau, MIN
This is the toughest award to call. It depends on what you are looking for in an MVP. There are almost 10 candidates who could legitimately win this award. The factors I used to decide this is a player producing runs with a good average. This lead to Justin Morneau. All the attention is paid to Joe Mauer but Morneau is quietly a Triple Crown threat. He is tied for 2nd in HR, 2nd in RBI and 11th in AVG going .311-21-70. Mauer will likely keep him from winning the Triple Crown and will steal votes from him but he does it all for the Twins.
Runner-up: Jason Bay, BOS

All-Star Break Power Rankings

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 55-31 (1st in NL West)
With Manny back and having not missed a beat this team is rolling in a surprisingly good NL West. This team should add a starter because I have a hard time seeing a team with a 21- year old #2 starter winning the World Series even if it is Clayton Kershaw.

2. Boston Red Sox
Record: 52-34 (1st in AL East)
This team has so much pitching it is ridiculous. Justin Masterson and Clay Bucholz would be starters on any other team but they are in the bullpen and AAA respectively. This team doesn't even care that Dice-K has imploded this year. With David Ortiz having returned to form this is my current pick to win it all.

3. New York Yankees
Record: 51-35 (2nd in AL East)
As a Twins fan it is hard not to rank them #1. They are 7-0 against the Twins and only 44-35 against the rest of the league. They have done this and A-Rod isn't really producing this year hitting only .257. Surprise, when they are winning no one is talking about the number of home runs at Yankee Stadium. The numbers are crazy though. Jeter with 10 and Damon with 16 so far.

4. Texas Rangers
Record: 48-37 (1st in AL West)
This team is an absolute surprise. The weirdest part is that they have done this to date without the help of Josh Hamilton. This team I do think is all smoke and mirrors. They will not make the playoffs this year.

5. Los Angeles Angels
Record: 47-37 (2nd in AL West)
This team has dealt with so many issues this year and it continues with Hunter and Guerrrero headed for the DL. This team is still the favorite to win the AL West but I don't see this team piecing it together to compete against the Sox and Yankees.

6. Tampa Bay Rays
Record: 48-39 (3rd in AL East)
You know you have it tough when you have the 6th best record but are 3rd in your division. This team has so much talent with Upton, Crawford, Longoria, Pena and Zobrist but it takes more than talent to win the AL East. If they are to make the playoffs they need bullpen help and Pat Burell and David Price to contribute like they can.

7. San Francisco Giants
Record: 48-38 (2nd in NL West)
If Boston has the best pitching staff, San Francisco has the 2nd best as evidenced by Jonathan Sanchez's no-hitter yesterday. Lincecum is a legitimate threat to win his 2nd Cy Young. This team could stand to add a bat to help Pablo Sandoval but I like their chances to win the NL Wild Card.

8. Detroit Tigers
Record: 47-38 (1st in AL Central)
This team may regret not putting away the division earlier as both the Twins and White Sox are capable of a run. The biggest reason for the turnaround from last year is Verlander pitching like he should and Edwin Jackson.

9. Philadelphia Phillies
Record: 46-38 (1st in NL East)
It seems as if the Phillies just have to stay afloat and they will win the NL East. How a team can be in 1st place without a starter with an ERA under 4.00 is beyond me. Chase Utley doesn't get enough recognition. He is by far the best second baseman and is proving it again this year with .308-20-61.

10. Saint Louis Cardinals
Record: 48-40 (1st in NL Central)
This team is a three-man team. Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. The rest is just average. The good news is that looks to be all that it will take to win the NL Central. If there is someone who doesn't think Pujols is the best player in the league I would like to meet them. He is simply not human.

11. Colorado Rockies
Record: 46-40 (3rd in NL West)
This team is headed in the right direction. Started the season 20-32 and has gone 26-8 since. I don't think they can catch the Dodgers but it is looking like a 2-team race for the Wild Card with them and the Giants.

12. Seattle Mariners
Record: 44-42 (3rd in NL West)
This team is what an average team looks like. They have talent (Hernandez, Bedard, and Suzuki) but there is not enough there to compete or have a chance to play in October.

13. Milwaukee Brewers
Record: 44-42 (2nd in NL Central)
This team is headed in the wrong direction and the reason is easy to find. They have no starting pitching outside of Yovanni Gallardo. They need to acquire a pitcher if they want to turn this around. It is a shame that they are wasting the efforts of Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun.

14. Minnesota Twins
Record: 44-43 (3rd in AL Central)
This team seems to perpetually on the verge of breaking out but they have yet to. There is also not a single thing you can point to as the problem. People like to say the bullpen but now that they rid themselves of Ayala and Crain they have been fairly good. People talk about the disappointments of Delmon Young, Liriano and Alexi Casilla, but no one talks about how disappointing Scott Baker has been this year.

15. Florida Marlins
Record: 45-43 (2nd in NL East)
This team has Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson but they need more to compete with the Phillies and the Marlins aren't a team to go out and get it. I can't wait for Hanley to get his release from the Marlins so the rest of the league can see how good he is. They don't have the Reyes-Ramirez debate anymore because the answer is clear.

16. Chicago White Sox
Record: 44-42 (2nd in AL Central)
It is surprising that a team that almost acquired Jake Peavy has yet to make a move since. I don't think they have figured out yet whether they are sellers or buyers. This is still a very dangerous team with that lineup especially if Carlos Quentin gets on track.

17. Toronto Blue Jays
Record: 44-44 (4th in AL East)
This team is .500 now but they are a good bet to end up below .500. They are in full-blown sell mode. Whether Roy Halladay gets moved or not is one thing but the fact that he is on the trading block shows you its an anything goes sale. They have teams just lining up to see what they can get from them.

18. Atlanta Braves
Record: 42-44 (3rd in NL East)
This team isn't going to do it this year but the future is bright in Atlanta. Tommy Hanson looks like an ace and they have in Jason Heyward the #1 prospect. If they can get a few more years out of Chipper Jones they can return to winning division titles.

19. Chicago Cubs
Record: 41-42 (4th in NL Central)
They have been nothing but a disappointment so far this year and Soto going on the DL does not help. The talent is still there to win the NL Central but the complete implosion at this point seems more likely.

20. Cincinnati Reds
Record: 42-43 (4th in NL Central)
This team has a lot of young talent but issues have stopped this team from reaching their potential this year. Volquez has had trouble staying healthy and Votto has been dealing with personal issues. Jay Bruce will be a stud and has hit for power but he has had a very disappointing sophomore year.

21. Houston Astros
Record: 43-43 (3rd in NL Central)
With talent like Berkman, Tejada, Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence you can be competitive but the question is where they are headed. They need to decide if they are buyers or sellers because standing pat will just result in mediocrity for the foreseeable future.

22. New York Mets
Record: 40-45 (4th in NL East)
At least they aren't going to have to worry about another September collapse. There lineup has been destroyed by injuries with Beltran, Delgado and Reyes going down. They will probably try to make some moves but unless those guys get healthy and contribute this will be another lost season in Queens.

23. Baltimore Orioles
Record: 38-48 (5th in AL East)
It is hard not to be pessimistic in the AL East if you are not New York or Boston but Baltimore does have some things that give hope. Adam Jones has broken out into a star with his first all-star appearance at age 23. They just need to find some pitching and they could be an up and coming team.

24. Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 37-50 (4th in NL West)
They have some great talents in Justin Upton, Dan Haren, Mark Reynolds and Max Scherzer and some waste of talents in Stephen Drew, Conor Jackson, Eric Byrnes and Chris Young. Not having Brandon Webb all year also hurts.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates
Record: 38-48 (6th in NL Central)
It must be hard to justify being a Pirates fan. In the last year they have traded away Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, Nate McLouth, and Eric Hinske. It must be a good motivation for the players that the second you are any good you will be able to get out of Pittsburgh.

26. Kansas City Royals
Record: 37-49 (4th in AL Central)
At some point in the offseason someone will say the Royals have a bright future and are a dangerous team. They will then finish at the cellar with 100 losses again. This team is a perpetual disappointment.

27. Oakland A's
Record: 35-49 (4th in AL West)
Moneyball is not paying off this year as they rebuild. The question is what do they do with disappointment and pending free agent Matt Holliday.

28. San Diego Padres
Record: 35-51 (5th in NL West)
At least the weather is still nice in San Diego.

29. Cleveland Indians
Record: 34-53 (5th in AL Central)
I always doubted the talk of them being the favorites in the AL Central but I never thought they would fall this far. This team is wasting the talent of Sizemore and Victor Martinez.

30. Washington Nationals
Record: 25-60 (5th in NL East)
This team is a joke that is challenging the 1962 Mets, but they claim to not trading Adam Dunn. That makes no sense because they need all the prospects they can get. It is a shame that this team gets Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Twins Prospect Power Rankings

1. 3B Danny Valencia AAA - Rochester
Age: 24
Total Stats: .304 9 HR 37 RBI
AAA Stats: .405 2 HR 8 RBI
It is basically a forgone conclusion that he will be a September call-up and the starting 3rd basemen in 2010. He has had no problem adjusting to AAA.

2. OF Ben Revere High A - Fort Myers
Age: 21
Stats: .304 2 HR 31 RBI 29 SB
Has struggled a little bit lately hitting .264 in June and .195 in his last 10 games. He is still having a good year striking out only 25 times in 313 plate appearances. Joe Mauer has struck out 29 times in 246 plate appearances.

3. OF Aaron Hicks Low A - Beloit
Age: 19
Stats: .233 0 HR 8 RBI 2 SB
Has struggled so far in Beloit, but 13 games is too small of a sample size to make any judgments.

4. C Wilson Ramos AA - New Britain
Age: 21
Stats: .308 3 HR 18 RBI
Is apparently still far away from returning from a hamstring injury.

5. 1B/OF Chris Parmelee High A - Fort Myers
Age: 21
Stats: .262 10 HR 44 RBI
In the last 10 games he has gone .355-2-11 and went .293-4-15 in June.

6. RHP Carlos Gutierrez AA - New Britain
Age: 22
Total Stats: 82.2 IP 2.72 ERA 45 K
AA Stats: 28 IP 5.46 ERA 12 K
Finally had a good start in AA giving up 1 hit in 5 innings. Problem is that it was probably his last start of the year as they are moving him to the bullpen to limit his innings this year.

7. RHP Anthony Slama AA - New Britain
Age: 25
Stats: 46.2 IP 2.70 ERA 65 K
Should be in Rochester. Should be in Rochester. Should be in Rochester.

8. OF Rene Tosoni AA - New Britain
Age: 23
Stats: .273 10 HR 47 RBI
Watch for him representing the World team on Sunday in the Futures Game.

9. RHP David Bromberg High A - Fort Myers
Age: 21
Stats: 86.1 IP 2.71 ERA 76 K
Has only given up 4 home runs so far on the year and has an impressive 1.29 WHIP.

10. RHP Billy Bullock Rookie - Elizabethton
Age: 21
Stats: 5.1 IP 1.69 ERA 7 K
His professional career has gotten of to a very good start as the closer for Elizabethton.

Honorable Mention 1B/C Danny Rams Rookie - Elizabethton
Age: 20
Total Stats: .382 6 HR 23 RBI
Rookie Stats: .405 6 HR 20 RBI
Is not currently in my top 10 but needed a mention given the damage he is doing in Rookie ball. The second round pick in the 2007 draft is coming on strong. In only 11 rookie games he has 6 home runs, 20 RBI and an OPS of 1.486. The only issue is that he has struck out 17 times in 49 plate appearances. Another week or two of this and he will be in Beloit and on this list.

Twins Mid-Season Projections

With the mid-way point of the season upon us it is a good time to project the Twins final stats if they have a second half like the first half. In some cases that would be a good thing and in other a disaster. Here are the current projections for your Minnesota Twins:

Joe Mauer: .390 28 HR 90 RBI
If anyone expects these to be his final numbers they are stupid. He had a once in a lifetime May and came back to reality in June going .353-3-11. While he may not put up those numbers he is well on his way to his 3rd batting title and has been healthy since coming back in May.
Second Half: May reach 20 home runs and may bat .350 but will not be able to repeat first half stats.

Justin Morneau: .320 40 HR 134 RBI
A lot of attention has been paid to Mauer and his prowess, but what is getting lost in the shuffle is Morneau is having one of his best years and another MVP-caliber year. He has typically lost a little power in the second half so I don't see 40 home runs happening but I do see .320 average and 130 RBIs.
Second Half: May see a dip in power with around 30-35 home runs but the production should still be there.

Jason Kubel: .300 26 HR 84 RBI
Now that he is four years removed from his knee injury he has finally reached the potential the Twins saw in him when went .300-2-7 as a September call-up in 2004. It could be argued that he is the most productive DH the Twins have had.
Second Half: As long as he doesn't face too many lefties he is right on target.

Michael Cuddyer: .280 26 HR 90 RBI
After an injury filled and disappointing 2008, there were many fans (including me) who thought he should be the odd man out in the outfield. He has proved them wrong by returning to 2006 Michael Cuddyer.
Second Half: If healthy he can reach projections.

Joe Crede: .230 24 HR 72 RBI
He was brought in to be the power source and be 2nd on the team in home runs. He is currently 5th on the team but has not been a disappointment at all. There isn't anyone who would argue that he is a significant upgrade from Brian Buscher. He has provided just what the Twins hoped he would provide.
Second Half: He could get really hot and hit near 30 home runs or go and the DL and not do anything. I think he will end up .240-26-80.

Denard Span: .288 8 HR 52 RBI 26 SB
He has had some issues with dizzy spells but he has shown that last year was not a fluke. He is the ideal leadoff hitter. He is patient, doesn't strike out and has speed.
Second Half: If the dizzy spells don't come back I could see a big second half for him with him batting around .300.

Brendan Harris: .274 8 HR 44 RBI
Everyone seems to be praising him for his contribution this year, but in his last year with Tampa he went .286-12-59 and he wasn't batting in front of Mauer and Morneau. Yes, he is our best offensive option in the middle infield but that isn't much of a claim on this team.
Second Half: He should get plenty of at-bats and he should be able to duplicate 1st half and hopefully better.

Delmon Young: .264 6 HR 48 RBI
Those who were disappointed with last years (.290-10-69) have been truly disappointed this year so far. Yes, he dealt with the loss of his mother but the production has been brutal. Has actually shown some signs of improvement recently with 6 extra base hits in his last 8 games compared to 3 extra base hits in his previous 44 games.
Second Half: It is almost impossible for him to not do better than his first half. The Twins aren't asking much from their #7 hitter, just hoping that he will provide some power and run production.

Carlos Gomez: .224 2 HR 24 RBI 14 SB
This has been a lost season for the 23 year old so far. He has become the 4th outfielder. He is on pace for only 348 at-bats compared to 577 last year. They need to figure out how to use him better because he is never going to realize his potential on the bench. It only makes him try to do more in his at-bats.
Second Half: Barring an injury, I don't see a lot of at-bats coming his way especially if Delmon starts to produce. His talent is being wasted.

Nick Punto: .217 0 HR 32 RBI 14 SB
Yes, he is good defensively but he is absolutely worthless at the plate. He has 4 extra base hits. Only the Twins would have a career .250 hitter with 11 career home runs in 2,018 at bats as an everyday infielder.
Second Half: More of the same.

Matt Tolbert: .184 2 HR 22 RBI
It is bad enough to have one Nick Punto, but this team has two of them with Matt Tolbert. He is simply not a major league infielder.
Second Half: Twins having to be hoping that Casilla turns it around so they can send Tolbert back to Rochester.

Other projections not worth commenting on:
Alexi Casilla: .180-0-10
Brian Buscher: .198-4-18
Mike Redmond: .229-0-8
Jose Morales: .350-0-4