Some EARLY 2013 MLB Draft Options for the Minnesota Twins – Part 1

It is way to early to start thinking about the MLB draft, especially with real, meaningful baseball being played.  But it probably does not hurt to start familiarizing ourselves with some of the names that might be floating around the top of the pre-draft rankings.  If the draft was to start today, the Twins would find themselves with the third overall selection.  Here are the first 6 of 11 potential first round draft picks the Twins could take in 2013.

Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Appel is back in the draft for the third time after being selected in the 15th round by the Detroit Tigers in the 2009 draft, and again by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round (8th overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He has a fastball that sits in the mid 90s and a nice looping slider that devastates right handed batters.  Appel will be 22 next July and with the current state of Minnesota’s pitching staff, he would instantly become one of the best pitchers in the organization.

Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
Stanek was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft by the Seattle Marinersbut chose instead to attend college at the University of Arkansas.  From his Arkansas Razorbacks profile, he has a low 90s fastaball and a “tremendous” breaking ball.  He was 8-4 in 2012 as a weekend starter for the Razorbacks and was an All-SEC performer.  Matt Garrioch at MinorLeagueBall.com says of Stanek, “One of the best college pitches I have seen over the last 3 years.”  He’ll need another strong season in the SEC to move onto the Twins’ radar at the top of the 1st round, but with a big time need for starting pitchers, you can’t count him out.

Jeremy Martinez, C, Mater Dei HS (California)
Jeremy Martinez is ESPN’s number 1 rated HS prospect on the ESPN 60 list.  He’s committed to playing for the USC Trojans in 2013, but if the Twins are looking down the road for a guy to replace Joe Mauer, Martinez could be their man.  Power showcase.com lists his pop-time from home to 2nd base at 1.86 seconds, which is pretty quick no matter who you are (MLB average is usually right around 1.8-1.9).  In 2011 he was one of just two juniors on the USA 18 and Under squad so he’s been a front runner for the 2013 draft for some time now.  The Twins seem to like current Minor League catcher Chris Herrmann, but Martinez would have a much higher ceiling than any catcher in the Twins organization.

Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
Austin Wilson was drafted in the 12th round of the 2010 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals but found his way to onto Stanford Cardinal squad instead of going pro.  As a sophomore in 2012 Wilson hit .285 and lead the team with 56 runs scored and 10 home runs.  He also walked 24 times and was hit 15 more, raising his OBP to .389.  Wilson will need to cut down on his strike outs (44) without sacrificing any of his power to move up the draft boards prior to the 2013 draft.

Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (GA)
Meadows is a big kid at 6′ 3″ and 200 lbs as a HS Junior and the number two ranked player on ESPN 60, and like the Twins 2012 first round draft selection, is also a toolsy outfielder from Georgia.  He had a big junior season hitting .390 with 4 HR, 28 RBI and 19 steals, brining his team all the way to the Georgia 5A state semifinals.  Meadows is also a great football player, but has decided his future lies in baseball and will forego his senior season on the gridiron to focus on baseball.  He is, however, committed to Clemson, so any team that drafts him will likely need to offer him a significant signing bonus.  With all of the outfield talent spread throughout the Twins’ farm system, I do not see them going after Austin Meadows, but Minnesota is a team that is not afraid to draft the best available player, regardless of position, so Meadows could end up being their guy with a strong senior season.

Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego
Bryant has been destroying West Coast Conference pitching for two yeasr hitting .366/.483/.671 over 110 games.  Bryant was previously drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 18th round of the 2010 draft.  Bryant does not play great defense, but he has pretty decent speed, hits for a lot of power (9 home runs as a freshman and 14 as a sophomore, to go along with 17 doubles each year), and walked more than he struck out in his sophomore season.  The Twins may have found a long-term slugging solution at 3B in Trevor Plouffe, but Kris Bryant would fit into the Twins MiLB system with as much power as anyone other than Miguel Sano.

Like I said, it is still REALLY early to start thinking about the 2013 draft, but the the Twins season spirally quickly down the drain, it cannot hurt to look toward the future.  Part 2 coming on Saturday.

-ErolfPleiss

 

Snappers Playoff Win – Photos

If Wednesday night’s Beloit Snappers/Clinton LumberKings game does indeed mark the final time I see a baseball game in person this year, it was a heckuva game to end the season on!

I don’t want to bury the lead, so let’s start by saying the Snappers came out on top in game one of their 3-game playoff series with Clinton, by a score of 8-6. But the score doesn’t begin to tell the story.

Clinton scored twice in the bottom of the first inning, but Beloit got one back in the top of the 2nd. Clinton 2B Dillon Hazlett got that run back for Clinton in the bottom of the 2nd with a solo HR. It wouldn’t be his only dinger.

Beloit scored again in the top of the 3rd to make the score 3-2 Clinton, but the LumberKings tallied another run in the 4th to go back up by 2 runs again. The Snappers closed to within 1 with an Eddie Rosario RBI double. However, when Miguel Sano flied to CF, Rosario tried to advance to third base, but was called out for having left 2nd too soon. Again the LumberKings immediately got that run back in the bottom of the 5th to reclaim a 2-run margin, 5-3.

Rosario struck again with runners on 2nd and 3rd in the 7th with a single to LF. Clinton left fielder Guillermo Pimentel bobbled the ball, allowing the tying run to score, but Rosario was thrown out at 2B by the cut-off man. Still, the game stood tied at 5 runs each.

Kennys Vargas started out the 8th with a double to the LCF wall. JD Williams pinch ran for Vargas and eventually scored on Stephen Wickens RBI single up the middle through a drawn in infield. But in the bottom of the 8th, Hazlett struck again with his second solo HR of the night and the game was tied yet again, 6-6.

In the 9th, the Snappers parlayed an AJ Petterson lead-off single, a Nate Roberts sacrifice bunt, a Clinton error, a couple of wild pitches and an infield grounder in to two more runs. Mason Melotakis gave up a lead-off double in the bottom of the ninth and nearly threw a comeback grounder over the head of Miguel Sano, who had shifted over to play 1B after Vargas’ departure. But Melotakis settled down to get the final out on a fly ball to RF to secure the 8-6 win.

They head home now for game 2 Thursday night and, if necessary, game 3 on Friday.

I was a little disappointed in the size of the crowd at Clinton, but I can’t say enough about how friendly everyone I talked to was. I started the game sitting with a family from Beloit, including a young lady who, it turns out, is one of the Snappers’ batgirls at their home games. Later in the game, I moved out to a picnic area down the left field line and the Clinton fans down there pretty much adopted me for two innings, despite my Twins gear clearly making my allegiances clear.

Clinton’s ballpark is another one of the older stadiums in the Midwest League, but Clinton has at least made obvious attempts to upgrade their facilities. I REALLY enjoyed the old school organ music between and during innings. I didn’t realize how much I missed that kind of thing until I heard it in Clinton!

Let’s wrap with a few pictures and wish the Snappers the best of luck the rest of the playoffs!

- JC

Outside Ashford University Field in Clinton

Pitching coach Gary Lucas looks on as starting pitcher Jason Wheeler warms up with catcher Matt Koch

Teams are introduced before the playoff game starts

Manager Nelson Prada and runner Kennys Vargas at 3B

Runner Drew Leachman, who had 3 hits on the night, held on by Clinton SS Bryan Brito

Jason Wheeler pitching with Miguel Sano at 3B

Kennys Vargas at 1B and AJ Petterson at 2B

View from the left field picnic area of Ashford University Field in Clinton

 

Butterflies With Hiccups – Iowa Style

I’m taking advantage of a bit of extra free time I have this afternoon to do another post of random news items (if you use a very generous definition of the word “news”), most of it with an Iowa connection today.

I played hooky this afternoon and watched the Twins and White Sox. True, I had to deal with the Comcast broadcast out of Chicago due to the MLB blackout rules and that means listening to Hawk Harrelson, but that’s what the mute button is for, right? I hear he left the broadcast booth in the 7th inning of the Twins 18-9 blowout of the Sox on Tuesday night and I have to admit I wish I had witnessed that.

As this MLB season winds down, I’m rooting for two things: First, as many of you know, I’m a bit of an Orioles fan, so I still have a team in contention. I still think the Birds are doing it with smoke and mirrors, but I really don’t care how they get the job done, I just want them to beat the Yankees over in the AL East and get in to the playoffs. (Admit it, you wouldn’t mind seeing JJ Hardy and Lew Ford in the playoffs, either.) Second, I’m hoping that the White Sox end up on the outside of the playoffs looking in AND that they finish just close enough that their losses to the Twins this year account for their failure to qualify.

********

Miguel Sano

Speaking of playoffs, I’m driving over to Clinton IA this evening to catch game one of the best-of-three playoff series between the Twins’ Midwest League (Class A) affiliate Beloit Snappers and the Clinton LumberKings (Seattle’s affiliate). Clinton finished the MWL regular season on a 10-game winning streak (the last three of which came against my Cedar Rapids Kernels). I saw all three of the Clinton-CR games this past weekend and I think Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario and their Beloit teammates have their work cut out for them. Either way, at least I’ll get to check off another MWL ballpark with my visit to Beloit tonight.

********

There’s nothing really new on the Twins’ affiliation front for 2013. Now that the minor league regular season is over, teams that are interested in exploring new affiliation options (both MLB teams and minor league teams) can notify the MLB Commissioner’s Office or the president of minor league baseball of such. The teams are not allowed to state publicly that they’ve submitted that notification, however.

The powers-that-be will provide a list of potential affiliates to those teams by September 15. Then, and only then, are the various MLB and MiLB clubs able to start negotiating possible new partnerships with one another.

There was a new article posted online at the website of one of the local CR TV stations (KCRG) this week, but it really didn’t tell us much we didn’t already know. KCRG is owned by the same company (SourceMedia) as the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the report was written by the Gazette writer, Jeff Johnson, that covers the Kernels beat. Johnson has written about the affiliation issue a couple of times already this season and I think he has a pretty solid sense of what’s about to happen.

I’m optimistic, at this point, that I’ll be watching future Twins play baseball at Perfect Game Field here in Cedar Rapids for the next few summers, but the Kernels Directors (essentially, the team’s “owners”) still have a few questions they should be asking the Twins (such as, “Are you planning on buying a MWL team and moving it to St. Paul in a couple of years?”) before anyone is going to sign a deal. As soon as I hear more, I’ll post something, but I don’t expect to hear a lot before the end of September.

********

Since this is an Iowa-centered post on a baseball-centered blog, I thought I would mention this little piece of news, as well.

How many of you have seen the movie “Field of Dreams”? Everyone? I thought so.

How many of you have visited the site near Dyersville, in Eastern Iowa, where the movie was filmed? Did you even know the site has been a mini-tourist attraction, complete with cornfield-bordered baseball field, pretty much ever since the movie was released? No? Well now there’s going to be even more of a reason for you to visit, especially if you have kids who play baseball or softball.

Go the Distance Baseball LLC plans to build a $38 million youth baseball/softball complex at the Field of Dreams site. The complex will include 24 ballfields of varying sizes (over and above the original field, which apparently won’t be altered).  The company received approval of a $16.5 million sales tax rebate from the Iowa Legislature & Governor last spring and now have a $5.1 million property tax rebate from the Dyersville City Council, as well.

New Field of Dreams complex (from their Facebook page)

Here’s the artist’s rendering of the site:

Sounds like Ray Kinsella is hearing more voices, doesn’t it? He and his tractor are going to be kept awfully busy plowing under all those other fields. Almost makes me want to get back in to coaching youth baseball. Almost.

********

This is rivalry week down here in Iowa. It’s the week of the annual Iowa – Iowa State football game, which I know is of very little interest to much of anyone outside our state’s borders. But it’s a big deal here. It’s in Iowa City this year, which means that’s where I’ll be spending most of my Saturday.

I’m a Hawkeye season ticket holder, but I’m not “anti-ISU” like a lot of people are. I went to high school over in central Iowa, about 40 miles from Iowa State’s campus in Ames. My parents were even ISU season ticket holders for a few years (back in the days when Johnny Majors coached the Cyclones), so I saw a game or two back then. I enjoy taking jabs at my ISU-fan friends and co-workers, but I really don’t mind them having some success on the football field from time to time.

But not this Saturday.

The trophy case in the Iowa football complex that is built to hold the various traveling trophies that the Hawkeyes play for is empty at the moment, with all three of them currently in the possession of various rivals. It’s time the Cy-Hawk Trophy resumes its rightful place in Iowa City.

It may feel a bit lonely for a while, but come September 29, after the Gophers have been sent packing, Floyd of Rosedale will be there to keep it company.

- JC

GameChat – Twins @ White Sox #3, 1:10pm

So we have a rubber match.

I always worry about the games following those big hitting games.. like they’ve used up all the hits in the tank for a bit.

So, let’s hope PJ has a fantastic first outing back from the DL?!?!?

Minnesota

@

Chi White Sox
Revere, CF Wise, CF
Escobar, 2B Youkilis, 3B
Mauer, DH Dunn, A, 1B
Morneau, 1B Konerko, DH
Doumit, C Rios, RF
Parmelee, RF Pierzynski, C
Plouffe, 3B Viciedo, LF
Carson, LF Ramirez, Al, SS
Florimon, SS Beckham, 2B
  Walters, P   Peavy, P

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 8 1
Chi White Sox 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 x 6 9 0

That was a pretty ugly get-away day performance by the Twins. PJ Walters started things off by loading up the bases and giving up a grand slam first thing in the opening inning and things never really got better from there. Walters did survive 5+ innings but gave up all six runs. The bullpen of Alex Burnett, Brian Duensing and Jared Burton at least managed to stop the bleeding.

Ryan Doumit had a pair of doubles, but otherwise there was no appreciable offense, unless you want to count a couple of broken-bat singles from Chris Parmelee.

Off day on Thursday and we’ll hope for better on the weekend. – JC

GameChat – Twins @ White Sox #2, 7:10pm

I would be very happy if Scott Diamond could return to the form he possessed earlier this season rather than the struggling performance I saw at Target Field last week….

And we have our first appearance of Eduardo Escobar. I’m intrigued to see what he does since I haven’t ever seen him play – we got him in the Liriano trade if I recall correctly.

Minnesota

@

Chi White Sox
Revere, CF De Aza, CF
Carroll, 2B Youkilis, 3B
Mauer, C Dunn, A, DH
Willingham, DH Konerko, 1B
Morneau, 1B Rios, RF
Doumit, LF Viciedo, LF
Parmelee, RF Ramirez, Al, SS
Plouffe, 3B Flowers, C
Escobar, SS Beckham, 2B
  Diamond, P   Quintana, P

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Minnesota

0

7

0

0

10

0

1

0

0

18

17

1

Chi White Sox

3

0

0

1

0

0

0

4

1

9

13

1

Well THAT was unexpected.

Oh, and don’t let me forget to say FUN! Diamond had a little rust to shake off after his suspension in the first inning but after that, he put together what I would call a solid start and got his 11th win of the season. I won’t quite call it great but it was certainly nothing to sneeze at with this hitting lineup.

But the Twins bats sure did their best to make fools of a few White Sox pitchers tonight and I have to say that only one error for the Sox somehow doesn’t really give the right impression. Think Detroit. Think Circus. That’s what the WS defense resembled tonight. It was … weak.

But the Twins offense wasn’t a slouch – there were several guys you could point to that really lifted the team. Doumit had 3 hits, 3 runs and 3 RBI and Parmelee only had one hit and still managed to get 4 RBI while they both hit the team’s only home runs! For that they receive all the cold beer they can drink (well not all, it’s a school night and they have a day game tomorrow). On second thought, we’re going to make that rootbeer floats just to be safe. I would much rather they can both contribute in equal quantities tomorrow without disability.

But, the room agreed on someone who was perhaps a more unexpected hero – in his very first MLB game with the Twins, against his former team, Eduardo Escobar managed 2 runs, 3 RBI, a walk AND also performed well on the field with no errors (thank you), 5 assists and 2 putouts. Not bad for a kid who was just called up. Also not bad to earn your first BOD of what I hope will be many!

GameChat – Twins @ White Sox, 6:10pm

So it appears that our September call-ups are not extensive this year – of course after how many we’ve called up already this season, we practically have a full team of baby Twins as it is. We are only adding Escobar & Perdomo to list. I’m sure there will be a lot of discussion over the next few days about who didn’t make the list – like Dozier, Slama or Hicks. But even if we don’t see them for the last few days of this rough season, I’m sure we’ll be seeing them come Spring Training.

As for tonight, we’ll just have to see what Deduno can do with the White Sox – could be entertaining… I almost never say this but… I wonder how many guys he can get away with plunking…

Minnesota

@

Chi White Sox
Revere, CF De Aza, CF
Mastroianni, LF Youkilis, 3B
Mauer, C Dunn, A, DH
Willingham, DH Konerko, 1B
Morneau, 1B Rios, RF
Plouffe, 3B Pierzynski, C
Parmelee, RF Viciedo, LF
Carroll, 2B Ramirez, Al, SS
Florimon, SS Beckham, 2B
  Deduno, P   Santiago, H, P

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 7 1
Chi White Sox 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 x 4 10 0

I really hate losing to the White Sox, under any circumstances.

Sam Deduno only gave up 2 runs in his six innings of work, but he worked from behind most of his later innings and racked up a lot of pitches. The bullpen was spotty, at best, and the offense was about as absent as being held to 7 hits (with only one of them coming with a runner in scoring position) would indicate. I guess if there’s one positive, it might be that we got to witness a Jamey Carroll home run. That’s something you don’t see every day (or every season, for that matter).

They’ll get another shot at the Sox Tuesday night. – JC

Minnesota Twins Podcast – Talk to Contact

My brother Paul Pleiss (@baseballpiratewww.puckettspond.com) and I have been busy working on a Minnesota Twins podcast.  Give it a listen and let us know what you think.a

Episode 2 of the Talk To Contact podcast is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.

In Episode 2, Paul and I discuss the Twins September call-ups that have already joined the Twins and make some guesses as to who else will get the call.  We talk about Oswaldo Arcia, Brian Duensing, Ryan Doumit and lots of other Twins talk.  Check us out, tell your friends and let me know what you think.

-ERolfPleiss

 

GameChat – Twins @ Royals #3, 1:10 pm

I’m headed back to the local ballpark to catch the Kernels and Clinton LumberKings again this afternoon, but the Twins are going for a series sweep in Kansas City today, before heading off to Chicago.

Josh Willingham is today’s “day to day” injury victim with a slight hamstring pull.

I still haven’t seen who the September call-ups will be, but Rochester finishes up its AAA season Monday, so we should know a bit more soon. New Britain, however, is just one game behind Reading in the race for the final Eastern League playoff spot, with two games to play, so we may have to wait a little bit longer to see the likes of Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia or any other Rock Cats the Twins may call up for a September look.

In the mean time, enjoy today’s game!

TWINS

@

ROYALS
Revere, CF Lough, RF
Carroll, 3B Escobar, A, SS
Mauer, 1B Gordon, LF
Morneau, DH Butler, DH
Doumit, DH Perez, S, C
Parmelee, RF Moustakas, 3B
Carson, LF Cain, CF
Casilla, A, 2B Hosmer, 1B
Florimon, SS Abreu, T, 2B
  _Vasquez, P   _Mendoza, L, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 4 11 0
Kansas City 0 3 0 0 1 1 0 1 x 6 11 0

Oh well, no sweep. But for the first time in about four weeks, the Twins have won a series, so we’ll take what we can get. Joe Mauer went 3 for 4, with a double, moving his average up to .316 on the year. Chris Parmelee added a couple of hits, including his 4th Big League home run of the year.

On to Chicago, where we can hope the Twins will be able to do something to derail the White Sox’ title plans.

GameChat – Twins @ Royals

It looks like most of the Knuckleballs crew have holiday weekend plans that will make it difficult, if not impossible for us to get line ups posted for the games today and possibly all weekend.

But I’m putting up the Chat window in case anyone decides they’d like a place to hang out during the Twins games!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 10 0
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 7 0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 9 1
Kansas City 2 0 1 2 0 0 2 0 0 7 14 0

I saw neither of  these games. I can tell you all about Iowa’s narrow escape against Northern Illinois and a lot about the scare that Northern Iowa put in to the Badgers. I could even converse somewhat intelligently about Iowa State’s win over Tulsa. And of course, I could tell you all about how the Kernels came up just short against the Lumber Kings. But as for the Twins, I got nothing.

Glancing at the boxscores, I’d say Cole DeVries must have done well in the first game and it’s nice to see Chris Parmelee go deep in the second game. Joe Mauer hit a grand salami in the second game as well, it seems.

But it’s pretty rare that a relief pitcher saves two games in a single day and that’s exactly what Glen Perkins did today. (In fact, according to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, Rick Lysander was the last Twin to record two saves in a single day, in 1984.) So, to honor the occasion, let’s award Perk the BOD award for today! – JC

Glen Perkins