February 24, 2009
Twins Notes: Canada, College, Korecky, and Quotes
Random trivia: Koskie went 27-of-33 stealing bases in 2001 and is just one of five third basemen this decade to steal 25-plus bases in a season. Chone Figgins, David Wright, Alex Rodriguez, and Aaron Boone are the other four. Aside from that 2001 season Koskie has only 44 career steals, including no more than 11 in one year. He stole double-digit bases three times, which ranks second in team history behind four from Gary Gaetti, whose 14 steals in 1986 are second among Twins third basemen.
LSU outfielder Jared Mitchell and Missouri outfielder Aaron Senne were other unsigned Twins picks from that same 2006 draft class and Mississippi right-hander Aaron Barrett ranks No. 66 on BA's list after going unsigned as last year's 20th rounder. Of course, the Twins are far from alone, as nine of the top 13 players were drafted previously. Among them is USC shortstop Grant Green, who was unsigned as a Padres pick in 2006 and is now the consensus top college position player available.
He's spent the past three seasons stuck at Triple-A despite posting a 3.34 ERA in 210.1 innings there, including a 2.91 ERA, 71-to-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio, .237 opponent's batting average, and 26 saves in 74.1 innings last season. Despite consistently strong numbers at Triple-A and a 3.09 ERA over 425.2 innings as a minor leaguer Korecky got a grand total of 16 appearances with the Twins before they let him go for nothing.
Korecky is already 29 years old, so he's unlikely to haunt the Twins, but cutting him while keeping Matt Macri, Drew Butera, Jason Jones, and Armando Gabino on the roster is odd. Macri was superfluous with Brendan Harris around and overkill after inking Crede. Butera has hit .215/.303/.324 in the minors, so his upside is good-glove, no-hit backup catcher. Jones is a Rule 5 pick who'll be offered back when he doesn't make the team. And Gabino is a 25-year-old reliever with worse numbers than Korecky.
UPDATE: Boof Bonser announced this morning that he's slated for shoulder surgery, which makes the decision to let Korecky go for nothing even more regrettable and increases Philip Humber's chances of making the team (and perhaps intensifies the Twins' pursuit of Juan Cruz).
That excerpt contains two of the many reasons why I'd be a horrible newspaper reporter. First, I'd never be able to write about "scouts noticing a significant drop in his velocity" to make it appear like passing along insider information because I'd just go to Fan Graphs and see that his average fastball velocity has actually remained remarkably consistent over the past three seasons at 83.9, 83.6, and 83.7 miles per hour. Not only aren't "scouts" needed for that information, they're apparently not even right.
Hernandez slipped badly last season, with scouts noticing a significant drop in his velocity to the low 80 mph range, and he bounced between Minnesota and Colorado. He finished 13-11 overall, but was just 3-3 with an 8.03 ERA in the thin Denver air with the Rockies.
Hernandez attributes his swoon at the end of last season to pitching at Coors Field, which he said is a struggle, humidor or not. "Anybody in the league going to Colorado has to make an adjustment," said Hernandez, who also had knee problems in recent years. "I mean, you throw a curveball and the curveball doesn't work."
Beyond that, I'd never be able to write something like "Hernandez attributes his swoon at the end of last season to pitching at Coors Field" without mentioning the fact that Hernandez had a 5.71 ERA in his 26 starts that didn't take place at Coors Field. Apparently my alarm didn't go off on the mornings when they taught "quoting experts with incorrect versions of freely available information" and "making excuses for your subject that ignores evidence" in journalism school. Or maybe they tell you that stuff at graduation.
Despite being a highly touted former second-round pick who hit .274/.364/.442 in assorted brief stints with the Twins through the age of 25, Restovich received a grand total of just 113 at-bats before being waived at the end of spring training in 2005. He's done little since then, but given Restovich's pedigree and .284/.359/.501 career line in 4,424 plate appearances as a minor leaguer it's always surprised me that he was only able to accumulate 297 plate appearances in the majors.