Down on the farm

Twins prospect named MVP of Futures Game

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

ST. LOUIS — Twins outfield prospect Rene Tosoni was named MVP of the All-Star Futures Game tonight, after delivering a pinch-hit, RBI double today to give the World Team the lead in the seventh inning of the All-Star Futures Game.

Tosoni came around to score, and the World Team held on for a 7-5 victory, shortened to seven innings because of a long rain delay.

Tosoni, 22, is batting .278 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI (.387 OPP, .480 SLG) for Class AA New Britain. Baseball America ranked him as the Twins’ 18th best prospect coming into the season, but his stock is on the rise.

Born in Toronto, Tosoni now lives in Port Coquitlam, B.C. That’s Morneau Country. After waiting through a 4-hour, 9-minute rain delay, I just appreciate Tosoni giving me something to write.

Wednesday’s short hops

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

1. The Twins are back in third place, but Detroit’s 8-5 victory over KC should be kept in perspective. As Michael Rosenberg notes in today’s Detroit Free Press, Justin Verlander needed 50 pitches to get through the first two innings, the Tigers committed two errors, and their eight runs came on eight hits. The Tigers should get a stiffer test tonight against Zack Greinke.

Frankly, the Tigers aren’t the AL Central team that should scare the Twins the most right now. The White Sox are rolling, and if Kenny Williams can orchestrate a trade for Jake Peavy — only to have Peavy shoot it down — it’s plausible he could land Roy Halladay. A trade like that could single-handedly change this division race.

2. With the Yankees’ bullpen on a serious roll — a 1.74 ERA in their past 21 games — they’ve decided to turn Thursday’s series finale against the Twins into a bullpen game. RHP Alfredo Aceves will get the start. He has a 2.02 ERA, but he hasn’t pitched more than four innings since his eight-inning start for Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre on April 29. The Yanks need a starter for Thursday because Chien-Ming Wang is on the DL with a strained right shoulder.

3. The Twins have promoted RHP Deolis Guerra from Class A Fort Myers to Class AA New Britain. (Seth Stohs had this last night, and here’s a story from Ken Lipshez in the New Britain Herald.) Guerra, 20, is one of four players the Twins received from the Mets for Johan Santana and seemed very intriguing at the time, since he had climbed to high-A for two starts by age 17 in 2006 and shown a hard fastball in the All-Star Futures Game the following year.

But the bottom line is the Mets were rushing him. At 6-foot-5, Guerra is a great kid from Venezuela, but he’s a project as a pitcher. The Twins have been trying to refine his mechanics, but he was back in the Florida State League again this year and his numbers at Fort Myers (6-8, 4.69 ERA, 86.1 IP, 95 H, 57 K, 25 BB) hardly screamed for a promotion.

I think the Twins are trying to give him a change of scenery. The Mets compounded this problem by inviting Guerra to big league camp in 2008, so that when the Santana deal went down, the Twins felt obligated to invite Guerra to their own big league camp. I remember talking to Guerra about how he’d like to START the 2008 season at Class AA. But he wasn’t ready. The Twins sent him to Fort Myers, and he went 11-9 with a 5.47 ERA, with 71 strikeouts and 71 walks. I’m guessing he was getting a little tired of Florida summers.

Note: Head to La Velle’s blog later for tonight’s starting lineups.

Update: La Velle just heard Glen Perkins has been scratched from tonight’s start with a high fever. So Anthony Swarzak will make tonight’s start for the Twins.

Wednesday update: Manship, Valencia, Casilla, Swarzak

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

MILWAUKEE — Couple interesting developments on the farm for the Twins:

(*) Jeff Manship has been promoted to Class AAA Rochester from Class AA New Britain. Seth Stohs had the scoop Tuesday night. I’m hearing Manship likely will start Thursday for the Red Wings. As Seth noted, Manship was 6-4 with a 4.28 for New Britain but 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA in his past five starts.

(*) Danny Valencia had an impressive debut for Rochester on Tuesday, going 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. As Wings manager Stan Cliburn told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, he expects Valencia to be a regular at third base and in the No. 5 spot of the lineup. Valencia batted .284 (.373 OBP, .482 SLG) with seven home runs in 218 at-bats for New Britain before his promotion.

(*) Also worth noting that Alexi Casilla hasn’t played for Class AAA Rochester since injuring his groin while chasing a foul ball in Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader. And RHP Anthony Swarzak is 0-0 with a 3.14 ERA (5 ER, 14.33 IP) in two starts since getting sent back to Rochester. 

Note: Check back this afternoon for tonight’s starting lineups.

Twins add eight prospects to 40-man roster

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

The Twins announced today that they have added eight prospects onto their 40-man major league roster:

LHP Brian Duensing, RHP Anthony Swarzak, C Drew Butera, C Wilson Ramos, INF Luke Hughes, INF Trevor Plouffe, INF Deibinson Romero, and INF Steve Tolleson.

The moves leave the Twins with 39 players on the 40-man roster. Eligible players left unprotected can be selected in the Dec. 11 Rule 5 draft.

I’ll have more on this in our first editions.

Twins update: Labor Day special

Monday, September 1st, 2008

A couple notes to pass along, courtesy of our good friend Jim Mandelaro, from the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat & Chronicle:

(*) The Twins granted Bobby Kielty his release today before Class AAA Rochester’s season finale. This allows him to sign with another team immediately, if he so desires.

Kielty batted .218 with two home runs and eight RBI in 55 at-bats for the Red Wings. But he did bat .261 with a .400 OBP against lefthanded pitching. If Randy Ruiz hadn’t come up and done so well for the Twins, they might have given Kielty another shot.

(*) Speaking of Ruiz, he won the International League batting title today with a .320 average. He had enough plate appearances to qualify even after coming to the Twins on Aug. 1. Ruiz also is batting .320 for the Twins.

This is his third minor-league batting title. He won the 2005 Class AA Eastern League title after batting .349 for Reading and the 2000 Class A Pioneer League title after batting .381 for Billings.

(*) The White Sox will put their half-game lead on the line tonight at Cleveland, facing Cliff Lee (19-2, 2.43 ERA). Lee can become Cleveland’s first 20-game winner since Gaylord Perry went 21-13 in 1974. Chicago counters with rookie Clayton Richard (2-2, 6.33 ERA).