Players to Watch – 7/11 Results

Ok, so its been more than a week, but last time I tried posting this I got called away for an important phone call. Therefore…let’s take a look first of all at the players to watch from 11 days ago.

Garrett Jones, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates: So let’s see what Garrett has done since the 11th. Well, he had a 10 game hitting streak, has already hit 6 home runs since the 11th, and 8 total in just 70 at bats. He’s currently hitting at .286. Way to let him go Twins.

Justin Huber, OF/1B, Rochester Red Wings (Twins): He has two home runs since the 11th. He is 6 for 23, with 6 RBIs. He was also in his league’s HR Derby. So far he is batting .281, with 13 home runs, and 51 RBI.

Twins sign 2B Mark Grudzielanek

If only they had had him when they still had Pierzynski and Mientkiewicz…

But seriously, I like this signing. Grudzielanek has been in the majors since 1995 and has played for the Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and most recently, the Kansas City Royals, for whom he hit .299 last season. His career batting average is .290. He was an All Star in 1996 with the Expos, and won a Gold Glove in 2006 with the Royals.

He has little power (only 90 career home runs) but that’s not really an issue considering that what we really need is a solid, every day second baseman, which doesn’t demand a lot of power, and considering we have Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, Cuddyer and Crede who are all home run threats, Mark should fit well.

It was only a minor league deal, and since he hasn’t played at all this year, he’s gonna need a little time. But Bill Smith said he’s in shape. Something tells me if Casilla doesn’t improve before Mark is ready, we’re gonna have a new second baseman soon.

Starting the Second Half

Twins kick off the second half of the season tonight in Arlington. It’s Glen Perkins vs. Vincente Padilla. And here what would be a great starting line-up.

Denard Span – CF
Brendan Harris – SS
Joe Mauer – C
Justin Morneau – 1B
Jason Kubel – DH
Michael Cuddyer – RF
Joe Crede – 3B
Delmon Young – LF
Alexi Casilla – 2B

Let’s all cheer for Glen and the rest of the guys and pummel those Rangers.

Swapping Tolbert for Casilla and getting another hurler

Item: The Twins call up Alexi Casilla (2B) and send down Matt Tolbert (U)

Good move and finally the Twins start to shake things up. Of course this may present a problem, which is that since Punto looks like the odd man out here, he will now be taking playing time from Casilla, Brendan Harris, and Joe Crede. This is unless Punto remains the utility player that he actually is. Hopefully Casilla can be ready this time.

Item: They also want to call up another pitcher after the All Star Break.

This is also a good move. The article mentions three pitchers: Jesse Crain, Rob Delaney, and Juan Morillo, plus a possible trade. However, a new pitcher also would probably indicate that Slowey is not ready to return yet. If Slowey is healthy, then it could be a good idea to just slide Anthony Swarzak into the bullpen, or Francisco Liriano for that matter. But here’s a look at some candidates for the Twins pen that would come from somewhere other than the current 25 man roster or disabled list.

From AAA:

Jesse Crain: In 14.1 IP he has a win, a save, and an ERA of 3.14.
    -He hasn’t spent enough time at AAA yet. Right now the Twins need new blood, new hunger. Before Crain gets another chance, other options need to be exhausted.

Rob Delaney: Started the season in AA, and since called up to Rochester has three saves, he has an ERA of 4.03 and AAA opponents are batting .213 against him.
    – Rob has only thrown 22 1/3 innings at Rochester, even with a great BAA, he could still use some more time, and his ERA is a little high.

Juan Morillo:  In 38 innings in AAA he has 49 strikeouts, 3 saves, 3 wins, 3 losses,  and an opposing batting average of .193. He pitched with the Twins earlier this year (3 games, 2 IP), and had an ERA of 22.50, pretty bad.
    -Morillo only pitched 2 innings with the Twins earlier, at the time our bullpen was in complete disarray, so there wasn’t a lot of patience then. Right now though would be a good time to give him another chance.

Armando Gabino: In 52 2/3 IP for Gabino, he has an ERA of 3.25, a BAA of .228, 33 punch outs, and a WHIP of 1.08
    -Not bad, but because there are others with stats a little better I would think they would get the call first. I wouldn’t rule Gabino out though.

From outside the organization:

Michael Wuertz, Oakland Athletics:  Wuertz was born in Minnesota and though he has had a rough June, the A’s aren’t going anywhere, they have had good fortune with All Star Andrew Bailey in the closer’s role and Wuertz may be expendable. He’s making $1.1 million a year, but in a trade that could be worked out. Wuertz has an ERA of 2.95, with 5 wins, a loss and 2 saves in 3 chances. Opponents are batting .203 against him.

Hector Navarro, Veracruz Red Eagle (Mexican League): Hey I can dream can’t I? Navarro has been lights out so far. He’s 29 years old and in 38 1/2 IPs, he has an ERA of 2.11, 24 saves, 37 Ks, and a BAA of .185. Last year in 50.1 IPs, he had 16 saves and a batting average against .221. Why not?

There are some other guys, but I think that the need could be easily filled in the organization, but I would really like to see Navarro in a Twins uniform.

Say it ain’t so Joe (Maddon)

This takes the cake. Joe Maddon should be banned from ever managing an All Star team again.

Dustin Pedroia is missing the All Star Game to be with his wife, who is seven months pregnant. (So first of all kudos to Dustin, good choice). But Joe Maddon decides to take not another second baseman, but his own first baseman, Carlos Pena. Pena is the 4th 1st Baseman on the roster. Pena is currently batting .229 with 111 strikeouts in 309 ABs. Those are not all star numbers.

The choice could have been Ian Kinsler, who fas 20 home runs. But we should remember that Ben Zobrist can play, and probably will play there in St. Louis. But even so, Maddon should have picked Miguel Cabrera or Russell Branyan before Pena. What a shame. 

Players to Watch – 7/11/2009

Today, “Jesse for GM!” is kicking off a weekly player to watch article. These will include a MLB and Minor League player. Enjoy…

MLB
Garrett Jones, OF/1B, Pittsburgh Pirates
Bio/Stats

In his first 34 at bats for the Pirates this year, Jones is hitting .294 with 3 home runs and 4 runs batted in. He also has 2 doubles, a triple and 2 steals. His slugging percentage is currently .676.

I was a Garrett Jones fan when he was in the Twins organization. He was one of those guys that was not given a chance to stick with the big league club. I hope he does well with Pittsburgh. If you have a fantasy team, give him a shot.

Minor Leagues

Justin Huber, OF/1B, Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins, AAA)
Stats   MLB.com bio

Justin is currently hitting .283 at AAA Rochester with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs. In his last 10 games, he is hitting .333 with 2 of those round trippers, 4 doubles and 6 RBI. He is third on the team in hitting behind Steven Tolleson and Alexi Casilla.

Huber was the Futures Game MVP back in 2005, and he was once regarded as a top prospect in the Royals farm system. But injury struck and he hasn’t stuck in the big leagues. He’s never had more than 78 at bats in a season, but last year for the Padres, he batted .246 with 2 home runs in 61 at bats, one of which came off Randy Johnson. And believe me was this one tagged!

With a little extra power, and with Carlos Gomez batting a paltry .222 with an on-base percentage of .281. I think a call needs to be made, we need more RBIs on this team, and although Gomez is a great fielder, Span would not be that big of a drop off in center, and Huber would be much more effective off the bench, and don’t rule out a Kubel, Span, Cuddyer outfield either, with Huber at DH. And even though Huber has only 3 steals at AAA, Gomez only has 7 in the bigs, and while Huber has only 2 triples, Gomez has only 3 with the Twins. That’s not a lot for a guy who is insanely fast. Come on Twins, give him a shot, we can only have so many players hitting under .230. (Oh yeah, that would be 6 of those).

Last hurrah for the All Star Rosters

Ok, so Shane Victorino in no way deserved to get voted in ahead of Guzman, Reynolds or Kemp.

And here’s the dumber thing. Instead of letting one of these guys take Beltran’s spot, they are giving it to Jayson Werth, who is batting .267- not good enough to be an All Star, once again look at Kemp, pick him.

And as far as Nelson Cruz getting to replace Hunter, that’s not horrible, but Adam Lind is much better.

Lind: .309-19-59
Cruz: .262-20-50

And Lind doesn’t have the line-up Cruz does.