Monday, June 15, 2009

OtB Twins Notes (06.15.09)

Scott Baker's month of June has started off well for the righty.  In three starts, Baker is 2-0 with 23-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks in 22 innings of work.  One of the biggest trend differences for the Twins number one starters between this month and last is that Baker's is getting more chases on pitches out-of-zone (35.1 percent in June versus 29.8 percent in May) plus fewer balls being put into play on those swings (53.9 percent in June versus 70.2 percent in May).  In addition, Baker has seen his average fastball velocity increase from 90.6 to 91.7 in the two months, something that may stem from mechanical adjustments pitching coach Rick Anderson tried to implement.
Like everybody else, Patrick Reusse throws in his two cents regarding Delmon Young and how Young's prospect-hype-cum-professional-career-disappointment might mimic that of former Twins prospect David McCarty.  While in theory, the comp is good - two highly touted prospects unable to adapt at the major league level - however, the two players had wildly different developmental paths to the bigs.  As the collegiate-groom McCarty demonstrated progress in the discipline department prior to being advanced, high school draftee Young's plate approach dissipated at each subsequent level (K/BB ratio increased from 2.26 to 3.14 to 4.33 in consecutive years).  The Rays never allowed Young to fully collect himself prior to pushing the next level (a team that has 100-losses doesn't have that luxury).
Minnesota Twins fans certainly traveled well to Chicago to be able to worship at the baseball cathedral that is Wrigley Field this past weekend, however, not all baseball insiders feel the same about the facility.  White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told Joe Cowley at the Chicago Sun-Times that "I puke every time I go there. I'm just being honest. If the Cubs fans don't like the way I talk about Wrigley Field ... I don't say anything about their fans, but Wrigley Field? They have to respect my opinion because that's the way I feel. A lot of great people are working there, the clubhouse people working there - I wish they had a better clubhouse, but besides that, it's exciting when the game starts. Of course it's exciting because that's one of the best, it's always crowded. But besides that, it's terrible.''
Alexi Casilla, who was send down to Rochester prior to the weekend, missed Sunday's game due to back problems reports the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.  This back issue may have to do with a cross-country drive that Casilla went on.  Instead of rendezvousing with the team in Toledo, Casilla flew to the Twin Cities to drive his vehicle back to Rochester (a possible sign that he knew he was not returning to the Twins any time soon).  USA Today's Bob Nightengale noted that these kinds of demotions for players like Casilla are often wake-up calls to players that once thought to have had concrete roles at the Major League level but have a few shortcomings that need additional attention.
Sid Hartman believes that right-handed relief pitcher Rob Delaney might get the next call to Minnesota in search of another bullpen arm.  Since his promotion to Rochester, Delaney has struck out seven and walked just one in seven innings of work.  His 5.14 ERA is the product of a four runs outing.  Juan Morillo's has struck out 31 in 22.1 innings of work but has walked 15 in as many appearances.
Charley Walters would like the Twins to acquire another hometown hero, Robb Quinlan, from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  The statement is base on nothing specific (besides that he is a local yokel) and would provide the Twins with little-to-no value as a back-up first baseman/third baseman right-handed bat that never really hit lefties all that well (.295/.336/.449 in 587 PAs).  Wait.  Maybe the Walters was suggesting Quinlan for the bullpen...hmmm.
Jon Paul Morosi at Fox Sports says that scouts are giving Houston's shortstop Miguel Tejada rave reviews for his work this season.  Undoubtedly, Tejada will inevitably wind up being the hot trade topic this year because of his former MVP pedigree, it should be noted that his rebound power performance in 2009 is buttressed by a favorable home field condition.  His six home runs have all come at Minute Maid (albeit not all in the short left field porch) but the circumstances should dictate that all buyers' beware when acquiring the 35-year-old. 
Jeff Zerbiec of the Baltimore Sun says that the Twins, along with the Baltimore Orioles, are the top two teams interested in Dominican Republic shortstop Miguel Angel Sano.  Sano is just 16-years-old but has already drawn comparisons to Florida's superstar shortstop Hanley Ramirez.  Because of so many doctored birth certificates of prospects in the Dominican, one team actually ordered a bone graph which showed Sano is indeed between the ages of 16-and-17.  While the Twins have not been known as aggressive pursuers when it comes to high-priced International prospects, pursuit of Sano makes sense for an organization that does not have a significant pipeline of shortstop prospects - it wasn't until the 8th round of the 2009 draft when the Twins selected their first shortstop, James Dozier, out of Southern Miss.  The young shortstop is rumored to command at minimum a $3-million-dollar signing bonus (with 30 percent going to his handlers) but a large economic leap from his current tax bracket.       
Joe Gaetti is having a tough go at it this season.  After being traded by the Twins to the Rangers (where he played at Double-A Frisco), Gaetti stint in the Rangers organization lasted just nine games before being released.  Two weeks ago the son of former Twins third baseman Gary, signed with the Tampa Bay Rays and was assigned to the Montgomery Biscuits