I thought it was supposed to get cold last night. Reports indicated that temperatures in northern Minnesota could approach 40 below with wind chill factors near 50 below. Well, according to weather.com, the coldest it got in Warroad was -33 degrees. That’s nothing!
I needed to drive from Warroad to Greenbush and then back last night. It was fun watching the outdoor temperature reading in my car fluctuate as I drove. At 6:00, it was -22 at my house (just west of Warroad a few miles). It was -24 in Salol. It was only -18 in Roseau. By the time I got to Badger, it showed -25, so when I got to Greenbush and it was only -20, that wasn’t so bad. OK, it was a little chilly.
Of course, the temperatures were only going down from there. On the return trip which began at about 7:00, it was now -26 in Badger, -20 in Roseau… In Salol, it reached -27. And as I rolled into my driveway a about 7:45, the temperature read -28. I noticed at that time that on weather.com, it said the temperature in Warroad was -20. Is it possible that five miles west of town it could be eight degrees colder? Absolutely.
As I drove east, the Man in the Moon, in full display on this clear, cold night, appeared to be almost mocking and taunting as it stared down at me. It was as bright as I’ve ever seen it, signaling how clear and cold it was outside my car.
I went inside and turned up my backup heat source, just making sure that it was working. As I was hearing that some schools west of the Twin Cities metro area were going two hours late on Friday morning due to cold conditions, I wondered why. Until, that is, I read that diesel fuel can turn into a gel-like form at such cold temperatures. I’m no scientist, but if that’s true that can’t be good.
I flipped on the television. Up in Warroad, with cable, we get two Canadian television stations and their temperatures weren’t too much colder than ours, even way up in Flin Flon.
Around midnight last night is when I saw the -33 temperature in Warroad on weather.com. I wonder if that meant that it could be -40 or so at my house? I do know that the dog had to be coaxed to go outside! At the same time, I checked on International Falls which was sitting at -42 degrees, the coldest in the state. Imagine what some of the more remote areas just outside of I-Falls reached?
People frequently ask how life is different in such extreme cold temperatures. For those that live here in the winter, it really isn’t any different. They get up in the morning, go to work, go home and get the things done that they need to. Cold winters are just part of life up here, and it’s not like the hard-working community will just shut down. People go about their business as always.
Granted, when it’s -25 to -30 below zero, people don’t make snowmen or organize bonfires. Generally they won’t go on their nature walks, at least not until the temperature rises to -10. Let’s be honest, when it’s -33 degrees not a whole bunch of people are out and about. (That said, Warroad was playing Thief River Falls at The Gardens in Warroad last night, so there were a lot of people out, driving home, when the temperatures were in that -25 to -27 range after the game.)
I work with Jeff Siverhus, a Senior Product Planner at Marvin Windows and Doors. Every day, he walks to work, a walk that is a little more than a mile. He walks to work, then home for lunch, back to work and then home at the end of the day. There have been several mornings this winter season in which temperatures have been -10 or colder, and he continues to walk every day. Granted, he bundles up quite well.
His comment, “What? As long as it is not windy, it’s not so bad, and if you’re moving, it’s no biggy.”
He added, “People up in Thompson, Manitoba, get temperatures like this all the time. They probably laugh when they hear us complain about a -30 or -40 degree night. “
Thompson, Manitoba, is 600 miles north of Warroad. (Consider that a drive from Warroad to Rochester is just under 450 miles.)
I asked another co-worker, Bill Boyd, who also is a dog-sled racer and owns many huskies, how the dogs react or respond to the cold weather. He said, “They don’t mind it at all. In fact, they each have their own doghouse, and I’ve found that most of the dogs just sleep out in the snow instead of their houses, even in these extreme temperatures.”
The show must go on, and often sled dog races take place in very cold conditions, temperatures cold enough to make your eyes nearly freeze. One of Bill’s racing friends devised a solution for the cold because his goggles kept freezing. Below is a picture that Bill took of his wife, Shirlee, wearing the special goggles made of sheep skin and rabbit fur.
By morning, cloud-cover had come and the temperatures were already up to -18 below, and we in Warroad have been at that level several times this year already. I moved to Warroad after college in 1997. I move to the Twin Cities in 2007 and lived there for three years until moving back to the northern Minnesota community in August. I remember one year when the temperature did not get above 0 for over a month straight. I remember a time when it didn’t reach -20 for a week straight.
Cold is part of living in northern Minnesota. (But honestly, living in Warroad between April and October is great, weather-wise!)
There’s a little epilogue to this tale of coldness…
This morning, I went out to the garage to start the car (wearing shorts, a sweatshirt, slippers and a stocking cap). I let it run for about 15 minutes while I got dressed and then bundled up my daughter. When we went out to the car, the temperature had warmed up enough to allow it to snow, and blow. Now wind chill becomes a factor, to be sure. We drove to daycare, just across Highway 11, about a half-mile. I dropped my daughter off there. When I came back outside, my car was again full of wet snow. After backing up, I stopped the car and scraped the snow off of the front and back wind shield.
However, once I started driving down the driveway, it didn’t take long before I couldn’t see well. I couldn’t see the right edge of the road, and I hit it. I could not pull the car back onto the driveway, so I was in the ditch, in a steep-incline. There was no way to drive out. Uggh!
I walked back down the long driveway to the daycare’s house. She woke up her husband, who had been out coyote hunting in the full moon until 3:30 this morning. He got up and asked if it had been snowing. He couldn’t believe it was warm enough for snow because, as they were driving around and then setting up outside calling coyotes along the back roads between Warroad and Roseau, they were seeing (and feeling) temperatures below -40. Since it had warmed up to just -15, it was snowing.
Anyway, after several attempts, my car was pulled out of the ditch, and I was able to drive in to work.
By the time I got to the office in town, the temperature read just -13. That’s nothing!
Is there a more inexact science that baseball prospect rankings? Mark Prior was supposed to be as sure of a thing as ever, and injuries derailed his career. Stephen Strasburg has already had Tommy John surgery. Albert Pujols was a mid-round draft pick who flew through the minor leagues like no one could have expected. When the Twins drafted Matt Moses, he was supposed to be a very pure high school hitter. Ryan Mills was such a good college pitcher with perfect mechanics, and he never got above AAA. BJ Garbe? Well, that was probably a bad pick. But for every missed first-round pick, the Twins have had successes later in the draft and with non-draft free agents. Now the efforts internationally are starting to pay dividends as well.
I have been following the Twins minor league system pretty much daily for the last six seasons. I have been trying to figure out patterns and strategies over that time. I made my first real top prospect list following the 2004 minor league season. Early on, the rankings were based mostly on numbers and things I'd read. In recent years, I have been able to gain a lot more contacts, so rankings are based on scouting as much as stats. The funny thing is that no matter how much more information goes into prospect rankings, they remain a completely inexact science.
So why post this blog? It can only make me look dumb! Well, many of you probably agree that I do a decent job of that already, so why not? I think historical prospect lists are fun to look at for a couple of reasons. First, it is fun to see which sleepers you picked. Second, it's fun to see which players you were completely wrong about. And finally, it's just fun to see the names and think back. Do you remember when Deacon Burns was compared to Kirby Puckett? Do you recall when I was excited about "Three Rockcats with Bats." They were Kevin West, Doug Deeds and Luis Maza. The Real Deal? Really?
With that, let's take a look back at the rankings:
2005 Top 20 Twins Prospects:
1.) Jason Kubel, 2a.) JD Durbin, 2b.) Scott Baker, 3.) Jesse Crain, 4.) Francisco Liriano, 5.) Garrett Jones, 6.) Glen Perkins, 7.) Kyle Waldrop, 8.) Adam Harben, 9.) Jason Bartlett, 10.) Matt Moses, 11.) Trevor Plouffe, 12.) Terry Tiffee, 13.) Steven Duguay, 14.) Boof Bonser, 15.) Scott Tyler, 16.) Denard Span, 17.) Alex Romero, 18.) Kevin West, 19.) Luis Maza, 20.) Alexander Smit.
2006 Top 20 Twins Prospects:
1.) Francisco Liriano, 2.) Scott Baker, 3.) Jason Kubel, 4.) Anthony Swarzak, 5.) Matt Moses, 6.) Jay Rainville, 7.) Alex Romero, 8.) Denard Span, 9.) Kevin Slowey, 10.) Adam Harben, 11.) Travis Bower, 12.) Nick Blackburn, 13.) Trevor Plouffe, 14.) Glen Perkins, 15.) Justin Jones, 16.) Kyle Waldrop, 17.) Boof Bonser, 18.) Matt Garza, 19.) Juan Portes, 20.) David Winfree.
2007 Top 20 Twins Prospects:
1.) Matt Garza, 2.) Kevin Slowey, 3.) Alexi Casilla, 4.) Anthony Swarzak, 5.) Glen Perkins, 6.) Eduardo Morlan, 7.) David Winfree, 8.) Alexander Smit, 9.) Trent Oeltjen, 10.) Alex Romero, 11.) Chris Parmelee, 12.) Denard Span, 13.) Brian Duensing, 14.) Brandon Roberts, 15.) Matt Moses, 16.) Kyle Waldrop, 17.) Brock Peterson, 18.) Jay Rainville, 19.) Trevor Plouffe, 20.) Joe Benson.
2008 Top 20 Twins Prospects:
1.) Deolis Guerra, 2.) Tyler Robertson, 3.) Anthony Swarzak, 4.) Kevin Mulvey, 5.) Trevor Plouffe, 6.) Ben Revere, 7.) Philip Humber, 8.) Jeff Manship, 9.) Joe Benson, 10.) Brian Duensing, 11.) Danny Valencia, 12.) Alex Burnett, 13.) Oswaldo Sosa, 14.) Wilson Ramos, 15.) Chris Parmelee, 16.) Jason Pridie, 17.) Erik Lis, 18.) Deibinson Romero, 19.) Nick Blackburn, 20.) Jay Rainville.
2009 Top 20 Twins Prospects:
1.) Aaron Hicks, 2.) Ben Revere, 3.) Angel Morales, 4.) Danny Valencia, 5.) Wilson Ramos, 6.) Anthony Swarzak, 7.) Tyler Robertson, 8.) Kevin Mulvey, 9.) Luke Hughes, 10.) Carlos Gutierrez, 11.) Trevor Plouffe, 12.) Deolis Guerra, 13.) Chris Parmelee, 14.) Jeff Manship, 15.) Rene Tosoni, 16.) Shooter Hunt, 17.) Joe Benson, 18.) Mike McCardell, 19.) Steve Tolleson, 20.) Brian Duensing.
2010 Top 20 Twins Prospects:
1.) Aaron Hicks, 2.) Wilson Ramos, 3.) Miguel Sano, 4.) Angel Morales, 5.) Kyle Gibson, 6.) Ben Revere, 7.) Danny Valencia, 8.) David Bromberg, 9.) Rene Tosoni, 10.) Adrian Salcedo, 11.) Deolis Guerra, 12.) Joe Benson, 13.) BJ Hermsen, 14.) Chris Parmelee, 15.) Carlos Gutierrez, 16.) Jeff Manship, 17.) Tyler Robertson, 18.) Alex Burnett, 19.) Blayne Weller, 20.) Billy Bullock.
Preliminary 2011 Top 20 Twins Prospects:
1.) Kyle Gibson, 2.) Aaron Hicks, 3.) Miguel Sano, 4.) Joe Benson, 5.) Alex Wimmers, 6.) Ben Revere, 7.) Liam Hendriks, 8.) Angel Morales, 9.) Oswaldo Arcia, 10.) David Bromberg, 11.) Adrian Salcedo, 12.) Chris Parmelee, 13.) Eddie Rosario, 14.) Max Kepler, 15.) Manuel Soliman, 16.) Danny Ortiz, 17.) BJ Hermsen, 18.) Trevor Plouffe, 19.) Carlos Gutierrez, 20.) Martire Garcia/Niko Goodrum.
Playing Monday Morning Quarterback is fun in football (literally usually on Mondays) and baseball (any time a manager or GM makes a decisions). We all have thoughts on what could have or should have been done from play calls, to personnel decisions. Everyone has an opinion on what Vikings owner Zygi Wilf should do about the employment status of Brad Childress. Some question decision making of coordinators, quarterbacks and other players. Tom Brady is made out to be a great leader because he took his offense to task last night, yelling and carrying on at the team excessively. If Randy Moss or Terrell Owens or Chad Henne or Adrian Peterson were to do that, they would not get the same level of respect.
On Wednesday night, the Twins picked up a big, much needed win against the best team in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays. After two two-run losses to the Rays, the Twins played a tight, 13 inning matchup. The game was full of second-guessing opportunities, clutch moments generally won by pitchers, good and bad defense and a lot of excitement. A stroll through the Star Tribune's articles and blogs and other Twins blogs will give you a lot of thoughts on the good and the bad from the game.
So, I thought that this would be a good place to write about something completely different. This is a part of the game that not everyone really understands and yet, every offseason, it is one of the big events. The Rule 5 draft takes place during baseball's Winter Meetings in December. We know that the Twins have used the Rule 5 draft to acquire Johan Santana and Shane Mack in the future, so it can be very important. But during the season, the 40 man roster is important because a player can't be added to the 25 man roster without being added ot the 40 man roster. That means someone must be put on the 60 Day Disabled List or another player has to be removed from the 40 man roster and potentially lost).
Who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft? Players who are not on the 40 man roster who were either signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years, or were signed at the age of 18 or younger and been in the organization for five years. To try to make that manageable, here are the rules for who would need to be added after this season or could be selected. Players drafted out of high school in 2006 are eligible if they signed to play in 2006. College players drafted in 2007 who signed to play in 2007. It can be a little more complex with international signings, but it still goes back to the age at which they signed and played for their first contract.
So who are the players in the minor league system who would have to be added to the 40 man roster or potentially be lost to another team in the Rule 5 draft?
Here are the names of the players who would be eligible for the first time (As you read this list, there are a lot of names that you'll read and know they will not be added):
Joe Benson, James Beresford, David Bromberg, Eliecer Cardenas, Chris Cates, Jair Fernandez, Jonathan Goncalves, Anderson Hidalgo, Steve Hirschfeld, Edgar Ibarra, Danny Lehmann, Michael McCardell, Jean Mijares, Miguel Munoz, Jair Perez, Josmil Pinto, Chris Province, Tyler Robertson, Yangervis Solarte, Spencer Steedley, Alexander Soto, Michael Tarsi, Brad Tippett, Rene Tosoni.
There were also several names of players who were exposed to the Rule 5 draft at least one previous year. Those include:
Brian Dinkelman, Juan Portes, Steve Singleton, and several others including guys like Brock Peterson, Jose Lugo, Matt Fox and Matt Macri who will be six year minor league free agents after the World Series, if not added right away.
So, who will the Twins add to the 40 man roster after the season?
Let's start with the easy choices. In my opinion, these guys will absolutely be added to the 40 man roster following the season: Joe Benson, David Bromberg, Chris Parmelee, Rene Tosoni and Kyle Waldrop. That is five easy choices.
These guys have to be at least considered: James Beresford, Jair Fernandez, Anderson Hidalgo, Edgar Ibarra, Miguel Munoz, Tyler Robertson, and Steve Singleton. The biggest question that has to be asked is "Would this player be lost, and would he be able to stay on a big league roster for all of 2011?"
So, how many can be added? Well, currently the Twins have 42 players on their 40 man roster because Joe Nathan and Clay Condrey are on the 60 Day Disabled List. Condrey will not be back. The Twins have seven guys who will be free agents at the end of the year so they will likely not be on the 40 man roster at the time of the Rule 5 draft (Jim Thome, Carl Pavano, Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, Ron Mahay and Orlando Hudson). Of course, the Twins will also have to decide if they want to offer arbitration to JJ Hardy. They will need to determine if they want to pick up Nick Punto's 2011 option. And if they feel they need to, guys like Matt Tolbert, Loek Van MIl and Estarlin de Los Santos can be removed from the 40 man roster.
So there could easily be seven to ten open roster spots for additions, free agent signings and trades.
No, these decisions don't need to be made today. In fact, they don't have to be made until after the World Series. But now you know the background and can start thinking about what you would do if you were the Twins GM.
What would you do? Who would you protect?