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Friday Twins blog links & video posts

March 25, 2011

Happy Friday everyone.  I will continue my Twins top 10 prospects countdown and hopefully have it finished up next week.  Until then, here are some links to a few articles in the Twins blogging community. 

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Below is a video of the new Joe Mauer ‘Head & Shoulders’ commercial:

And just for the heck of it because it’s Friday….I wanted to post this video of the 1991 team:

New Joe Mauer ‘Head & Shoulders’ commercial

March 25, 2011



Top 10 Twins prospects #6: Liam Hendriks

March 24, 2011

Liam Johnson Hendriks (born 10 February 1989) is an Starting pitcher in the Minnesota Twins organization.  He stands 6’1″ and weighs 190 lbs.  He throws right-handed.

Hendriks debuted for the Twins in 2007 pitching for the Gulf Coast League Twins. He led the team with 52 strikeouts.  Hendriks had back surgery that prevented him from playing in the minors during the 2008 season, but made the 2009 World Baseball Classic roster and was the youngest Australian player in the WBC.

In the 2009 Hendriks pitched for the Class-A Beloit Snappers and the Rookie-Level Elizabethton Twins. He went a combined 5-5 with a 3.55 ERA in 14 games started.  Hendriks was selected for the 2010 All-Star Futures Game, but was unable to participate due to appendectomy surgery and missed six weeks.  After making six starts for Beloit; Hendriks was promoted to the Ft. Myers Miracle.  During his time at Ft. Myers he went 6-3 with a 1.93 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP in 74.2 innings pitched.  He only walked 8 and struck out 66.

As you can tell from looking at his numbers, Hendriks is another “Twins type pitcher”.  He has great control and does a very good job of keeping the ball down in the zone.  His pitching arsenal includes a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball and a change-up.  His four-seam fastball can top out at 93 MPH.

Hendriks has all the tools the Twins look for in a minor league pitcher.  He will not be brought up this year but will definitely be given a shot to help the Twins in 2 or 3 years.  He has the potential to be a very serviceable major league pitcher and have some good success.  It will be interesting to watch his progress in the minor leagues during the 2011 season.  The big thing for him will be his ability to stay healthy.

 

Twins Top 10 Prospects #7: Alex Wimmers

March 18, 2011

Alex Wimmers is a pitcher in the Minnesota Twins Organization.  He stands 6’2″ and weighs 195 lbs.  He bats left and throws right-handed.  Wimmers was drafted with the 21st overall pick in the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Ohio State University.

During his time with Ohio State; Wimmers was a two-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Year.  Wimmers had 18 wins in both his sophomore and junior season with the Buckeyes.  He decided to forgo his senior season to sign with the Twins.  The Twins gave him a $1.332 million signing bonus to help solidify that decision.

Wimmers signed just in time for him to join the organization and make 4 starts for the Ft. Myers Miracle.  Wimmers went 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA, a 0.70 WHIP in 15.2 IP.  He had 23 strikeouts and only 5 walks.  These numbers show why the Twins were so high on Wimmers.  During the draft, many experts said he was the most “Major League ready” of any of the pitchers in the draft.  With that said, the Twins will not need to rush him to the big leagues.

With six quality starters already and one waiting in the minor leagues in Kyle Gibson; the Twins can take their time letting Wimmers ready himself for the Major Leagues.  Wimmers is a prototypical Twins pitching prospect.  His fastball is thrown in the 88-92 MPH range with good movement.  He has an extremely good change-up and has a decent curveball.  With the time he has to develop in the Minor Leagues, I feel the Twins will work on helping him develop one more pitch.  Perhaps a cutter or slider to compliment his other pitches.

Wimmers keeps the ball low and in the strike zone.  This is one of the reasons scouts said he was the most Major League ready of all the prospects in the draft.  As any Twins fans know, this is exactly what the Twins front office is looking for out of their pitchers.  Having such an excellent change-up will help him out greatly.  Wimmers stuff will compare mostly to former Twins pitcher Brad Radke.  He will have the ability to miss bats while still getting plenty of ground ball outs.

I predict Wimmers will move through the Twins minor league system quickly, much like Matt Garza and Scott Baker did.  Even though he was just drafted, he is has three years of College Baseball under his belt.  Expect Wimmers to be up in AAA possibly by the end of this year if not by the beginning of next year.

He could be called on to come out of the bullpen when he reaches the Major Leagues and may have to work his way into the rotation the way Brian Duensing did.  All signs point to Wimmers being a very serviceable and “Twins type” of pitcher.  I know most keep saying the Twins need to worry about getting an “ace who can miss bats”.  Wimmers will miss bats and provide the Twins with a lot of solid innings in the future.  It is only a matter of time before we get the chance to see what last year’s first round draft pick can do against Major League hitting.

 

 

 

Twins Top 10 Prospects #8: Angel Morales

March 17, 2011

Angel Morales (born November 24th, 1989) is an outfielder in the Minnesota Twins organization.  Standing 6’1″ tall and weighing 180 lbs.  Morales was drafted in the third round of the 2007 draft out of the Puerto Rican Baseball Academy in Gurabo, Puerto Rico.

When he was drafted, it was thought Morales would be a good prospect with excellent speed, great range and the ability to get on base.  He quickly started to evolve into one of the Twins best power prospects.  In 2008 he hit 15 home runs in 218 at bats at Elizabethton.  In 2009 he hit 13 home runs in 418 at bats in Beloit.  The lesser home run totals were to be expected as he moved up but in 2010 he only hit 5 home runs while splitting time between Beloit and Ft. Myers.

Morales has always had a very patient approach which is usually something that has to be learned as a prospect moves through the minor leagues.  He is said to make very good contact on pitches and can hit to all fields.  Morales is only 21 years old so he still has plenty of time to grow into his body.  It is a very good sign that he has such a patient approach at such a young age, the power will come in time.

Morales also has great speed and can play any of the outfield positions.  He has more than enough range to play centerfield which helps him out quite a bit.  His arm is also incredibly strong and accurate.  At his current age: Morales has all the necessary tools to develop into a very solid Major League player.  As I said earlier, fans should not worry about the power number but focus on his on base percentage.  As long as that stays high, I don’t see why he can’t continue to work his way up in the Twins system.

With a glut of outfielders in the minor leagues, it helps a lot that Morales has the ability to play all outfield positions.  His ability to make contact and run around on the bases makes him a great fit with the Twins. Morales will not be making an appearance in the big leagues this year and most likely not even next year.  Expect Morales to be ready sometime in the next three years.  The Twins have plenty of time to wait with the 21-year-old.

They will have to make the decision after this season if they want to add him to the 40 man roster or risk losing him in the next Rule 5 draft.  It is still so early in his career that no one can truly say how Morales will turn out, he has all the tools and just needs to keep improving.  There is no reason to think he will not be given a opportunity to succeed at the major league level in the future, whether it’s with the Twins or another ball club.

Top 10 Twins prospects #9: Carlos Gutierrez

March 14, 2011

Carlos Rafael Gutierrez (born September 22, 1986) is a Puerto Rican-American minor league pitcher for the Minnesota Twins organization. Standing 6’3″ and weighing 205 lbs, the right-hander was selected by the Twins in the first round (27th overall) of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft.  He was the Twins’ second first round pick that year, a pick that was received from the Angels when Torii Hunter signed with them.

He was a starter at the University of Miami as a freshman and then underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2007.  He came back as the team’s closer and guided the Hurricanes to the 2008 College World Series.

He spent the first half of the 2009 season in high A ball where he went 2-3 with a 1.32 ERA in 10 starts (one relief appearance) and earned a Florida State League All star selection.  He did not participate due to his promotion to AA.  He appeared in 32 games with New Britain with 122 innings pitched and went 5-8 with a 4.57 ERA before he was promoted to AAA in 2010.  He went 5-8 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP in 126 innings pitched.

Gutierrez is a rarity in the Twins farm system.  He has a fastball that tops out at 97 MPH and is said to get excellent sinking action when his fastball is thrown in the mid 90s.  With that sinking action, he is also a ground ball machine.  During his time in the minors, he has been working on a change-up to compliment his great fastball and above average slider.

He will no doubt be a reliever in the major leagues.  He has spent a lot of time starting in the minor leagues as most reliever do to work on his pitches.  Gutierrez will most likely start out in the bullpen at AAA in 2011.  He very well could be expected to come up to the big leagues and help the Twins out this season.  With his incredible stuff, all he needs to do his work on his mound presence and he could be an extremely effective reliever.

He is one reason I feel the Twins did not mind letting relievers walk this season as he is so close to being major league ready.  If he comes up and impresses this year, with Joe Nathan’s contract expiring at the end of the season….there is a very high chance that Gutierrez could be in the Twins long-term plans as the team’s next closer.

 

Top 10 Twins prospects: #10 Chris Parmelee

March 13, 2011

Christopher Matthew Parmelee (born February 24, 1988 in Long Beach, California) is a minor league baseball first baseman/outfielder in the Minnesota Twins.  He stands 6’1″ and weighs 223 pounds, he bats and throws left-handed.  The Twins selected Parmelee with their first round (20th overall) pick in the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft after he hit .407 with 11 home runs and 26 runs batted in as a senior at Chino Hills High School in California. Once the Twins signed Parmelee, he right away became one of the organizations top power hitting prospects.

Parmelee has put up decent power numbers throughout his five years in the Twins organization.  Going into the 2010 season, he had hit 53 him runs in 376 minor league at bats.  Parmelee also has been known as a strikeout machine as most power hitters are.  The thought on Parmelee was that he was going to become more of an Adam Dunn type player in the major leagues.  If he is able to put up Dunn like power numbers, I wouldn’t necessarily classify that as a terrible thing.

Even with the power numbers and high strike out totals, Parmelee’s does have pretty decent on base skills.  His career on base percentage is .352, helped out a lot by his 247 career walks.  Parmelee’s power numbers did drop off in 2010 as he only hit 8 home runs.  This seemed to worry some as he was drafted a lot for his raw power coming out of high school.  Most who know minor league players and their natural progression, are not so worried.  Focusing more on purely hitting the ball and not launching it, Parmelee posted his highest career single season batting at .285 (high A and AA ball).

I expect Parmelee’s power numbers to begin to creep back up this season.  He set a career high of 15 home runs in 2007 and it is reasonable to think he can do that again this year.  Combining it with a decent average and on base percentage is what you will want to watch for.  Parmelee should also continue to get better defensively.  Parmelee is listed as a OF/1B but is somewhat limited to what outfield positions he can play.  I definitely do not see him ever being a CF, possibly not even a LF.

If Parmelee does have a very strong offensive year this year and at some point is promoted to AAA, he could get a shot next year in RF.  This is an extremely low chance this happens though.  Michael Cuddyer’s contract is set to expire at the end of 2011.  Anyone who knows the Twins front office knows that they will do anything in their power to bring him back.  If for some reason Cuddyer is not in a Twins uniform, that leaves an opening in RF.  The Twins always have the option of moving Delmon Young back to RF, but it is also unlikely that happens.  The Twins have a massive glut of talented outfielders in their farm system.  Parmelee would have to put up quite a year to even be considered for a spot out there.

Another possibility to think of is him having to fill in for Justin Morneau at some point in the next year or two.  Morneau has not played a full season in 2 years.  If Morneau goes down at some point, Parmelee could be called on to fill in for him.  Most likely not this year as the Twins probably wouldn’t entertain the option if he has not had some time at AAA under his belt.  If Parmelee has a strong 2011 and shows the return of his power and the ability to get on base that he did last year, we could be hearing his name within the next year as someone who can come up and help the big league club.

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