June 26, 2007

Twins Notes: Revere, Garza, and Walk-Off Ass

  • After last night's game-winning blooper in the 12th inning, how many more walk-off hits do you think Jeff Cirillo would need to reconsider his apparent retirement plans?
  • In a three-part series breaking down this year's first-round picks over at The Hardball Times, Carlos Gomez writes the following about Twins first rounder Ben Revere:
    With that swing, I'll set the over/under on his professional home runs at three, and I'll take the under. I'm sure that Revere has enough ability to make changes to his swing in order to produce power. Unfortunately, my guess is that he was taught to "throw the hands at the ball" and put the ball on the ground in order to take advantage of his speed, which is his one plus plus tool.

    I get it. He wasn't drafted to hit bombs, at least I hope not. He'll put the bat on the ball, hit some fungoes and hope to outrun them. ... Don't they already have Jason Tyner and his career .043 isolated slugging? Hard to argue against Twins' drafts, but this pick is a huge reach.

    I know next-to-nothing about Revere, but the pick strikes me as a mistake based solely on what type of player various scouting reports describe him as. The Twins' minor-league cupboard is nearly bare when it comes to potential impact bats, but they have plenty of slap-hitting speedsters, including 2002 first-round pick Denard Span. As you might expect from the man responsible for drafting Revere, scouting director Mike Radcliff sees things quite differently:

    We'll see, I guess. One thing I can say is this wasn't a financial decision. We had no limit placed on us in advance. We just really like this guy as a player. We think he can hit.

    Revere signed immediately for $800,000 and reported to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, where he's 5-for-15 with two extra-base hits and two steals in four games.

  • Much like me, Will Young had questions about Revere's power potential. Unlike me, he went directly to the source and used the power of the internet to get in touch with Revere. The result is an interesting interview that includes Revere discussing his impressive athletic background, thoughts on the draft process, and home-run power.
  • Matt Garza has struggled with consistency at Triple-A and made headlines last month by criticizing the team's handling of him, but minor-league director Jim Rantz recently provided an encouraging update:
    I think that's behind him. Now he's using all four of his pitches, including his changeup. He's going to be back, it's just a matter of when. Hopefully the next time he goes back, he's there to stay.

    Garza tossed seven shutout innings Thursday, but coughed up 10 hits last night, allowing four runs in five innings against the Devil Rays' Triple-A affiliate. Even with the rough outing, Garza has a 3.62 ERA, 95-to-31 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and .260 opponent's batting average in 92 innings at Rochester.

  • After losing Levale Speigner to the Nationals in the Rule 5 draft, the Twins watched the 26-year-old right-hander beat Johan Santana at the Metrodome earlier this month. However, aside from tossing six innings of one-run ball against the team that drafted him in 2003, Speigner posted a hideous 10.06 ERA in 34 innings against non-Twins opponents. Not wanting to keep him in the majors for the entire season, the Nationals worked out a trade with the Twins rather than offer them Speigner back.

    In exchange for a guy who never looked like more than a potential long reliever at any point during his minor-league career, the Twins received 28-year-old outfielder Darnell McDonald. The deal is simply a swap of Triple-A roster filler, but the Twins have more use for filler in the form of a position player. A former first-round pick who had a 17-game stint in the majors with the Orioles back in 2004, McDonald is currently in his sixth straight season at Triple-A.

    His career numbers are sub par, but McDonald has done reasonably well of late. He hit .288/.347/.443 in 235 games between 2005 and 2006, and was hitting .315/.382/.431 in 73 games before the trade. Most teams have multiple minor-league veterans like McDonald to provide organizational depth, but the Twins are so devoid of hitting prospects that he immediately becomes one of their better options for a second-half call-up. Unless you've been clamoring for a poor man's Lew Ford, don't get your hopes up.

  • While in town to play the Mets last week, the New York media predictably asked pending free agent Torii Hunter about potentially playing for the Yankees. Just as predictably, Hunter had plenty to say on the subject, including an odd remark about the difference between New York fans and Minnesota fans:
    I love Yankee Stadium. The atmosphere and energy there is great. And the fans know the game. When they get on you it can be pretty personal, but it's always about your baseball game. When someone screams, "You just can't hit that slider," that's someone who knows what they're talking about. You don't hear that kind of informed [chatter] in Minnesota.

    Hunter can do or say no wrong in the eyes of many Twins fans, but between that comment and publicly questioning Joe Mauer's toughness earlier this month, I'm growing a little tired of his walk-year media briefings.

  • They're only doing their jobs, of course, but it's amazing how many words LaVelle E. Neal III and Joe Christensen have devoted to Rondell White's injury status. He has nine at-bats and will need a minor miracle to reach triple digits, yet the Minneapolis Star Tribune has at least one update per week on White's recovery. After writing earlier this week that "it would be a stretch to expect White back before the All-Star break," LEN3 now reports that White is set to begin a minor-league rehab assignment.
  • Braves manager Bobby Cox will soon hold the all-time record for ejections, but my guess is that he probably can't compete with Ron Gardenhire when it comes to being kicked out of games for arguing calls that an umpire made correctly. There aren't many others job where someone in charge of leading 25 people can regularly make a fool of himself by acting like a child in front of a huge audience and be no worse off while actually receiving praise for doing so in some quarters.
  • Waived by the Twins this spring because he lacked minor-league options, J.D. Durbin went through four organizations in a month and got rocked for seven runs in two-thirds of an inning. Now property of the Phillies, Durbin has a 4.55 ERA, 44-to-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and .288 opponent's batting average in 59.1 innings at Triple-A. Despite the mediocre performance, he's scheduled to start the first game of a doubleheader Friday against the Mets. It won't take much to lower his 14.63 career ERA.
  • Last and least, while Marney Gellner interviewed Juan Rincon in the locker room last night during FSN's post-game show, it looks like someone's ass made an appearance. The video is sort of blurry, but it certainly looks like walk-off ass to me. It's times like this when I wish Batgirl hadn't retired.

  • Once you're done here, check out my latest "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld.

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