Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs is a product planner for Marvin Windows & Doors by day, and a Minnesota Twins blogger by night. His Twins blog, located at SethSpeaks.net, discusses all topics Twins-related, with an emphasis on the Twins minor league system. Read more Seth Stohs.

Organizational Review - Twins Pitchers

Posted by: Seth Stohs Updated: June 14, 2010 - 11:59 PM

 

Yesterday we looked at the hitters in the Twins minor league system. Today, we will review the pitchers that are working their way up the ranks. Impressively, the Twins have used just six starters this season. That is unusual as in most cases a Major League team will get starts from ten or more pitchers. And now the team typically employs seven bullpen arms at any given time. Factor in injuries and that is why the cliché “you can never have enough pitching” became a cliché.
 
Below, you will see the pitchers in the Twins farm system. Be sure to note all of the names in parentheses are currently on the Disabled List. So today, I am going to look at the pitchers, breaking apart the starters and the relievers (Again, this does not include players at Extended Spring Training, although it is important to remember that several pitchers (Blayne Weller? Martire Garcia? Tyler Herr? Hein Robb?) could certainly potentially be good), and discuss the needs. So please be sure to check this out and offer any of your thoughts.
 
STARTING PITCHERS

Twins
Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano,
Rochester
Jeff Manship, Glen Perkins, Ryan Mullins, Matt Fox, Anthony Swarzak, (Charlie Zink, Mike Maroth)
New Britain
Kyle Gibson, Carlos Gutierrez, Deolis Guerra, Mike McCardell, David Bromberg, Tyler Robertson
Ft. Myers
Liam Hendriks, Dan Osterbrock, Shooter Hunt, Michael Tarsi, Adrian Salcedo (Bobby Lanigan, Bruce Pugh, Brad Tippett)
Beloit
Miguel Munoz, Michael Tonkin, BJ Hermsen, Brad Stillings, Edgar Ibarra (Tom Stuifbergen)

 
I realize it’s only mid-June, but it is actually quite remarkable that the Twins have had just six pitchers make starts for them this year. Jeff Manship made a spot start, and that is it. Manship, Anthony Swarzak and the suddenly-good-again Glen Perkins are all options for big league call ups if or when needed. There are some very good pitching prospects (Bromberg, Gutierrez) with New Britain, but the best is Kyle Gibson, the 2009 top pick. But Guerra has been impressive and gained control. Bromberg and Robertson both have high upsides. And Gutierrez will likely eventually move to the bullpen, but has pitched well. Liam Hendriks has moved fast up the prospect lists. Shooter Hunt has been a work-in-progress, but greatly improved. Bobby Lanigan, Bruce Pugh and Tom Stuifbergen all are good pitchers who performed in April, but all three were hurt and missed May. Because of that, some pitchers, including Adrian Salcedo, BJ Hermsen and Michael Tonkin have had to be pushed beyond where they likely should be. The Twins drafted 21 pitchers (12 RHP, 9 LHP) in last week’s draft, and six more from the junior college ranks. Obviously the most notable name is that of Alex Wimmers, a control pitcher with an excellent changeup who could move quickly up the system. Pat Dean, the team’s third round pick could also advance quickly. They drafted just three high school pitchers. Hopefully they can find a way to sign 14th round pick DeAndre Smelter who has a scholarship to Georgia Tech.
 
RELIEF PITCHERS

Twins
Jon Rauch, Jose Mijares, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Brian Duensing, Ron Mahay, Alex Burnett, (Joe Nathan),
Rochester
Anthony Slama, Kyle Waldrop, Jose Lugo, Tim Lahey, Rob Delaney, Pat Neshek, Brad Hennessey,
New Britain
Chris Province, Cole DeVries, Santos Arias, Matt Williams, Loek Van Mil, Michael Allen (Spencer Steedley, Steve Hirschfeld)
Ft. Myers
Billy Bullock, Joe Testa, Steve Blevins, Blake Martin, Tony Davis, Andrei Lobanov, Jose Gonzalez
Beloit
Kane Holbrooks, Dakota Watts, Matt Tone, Jhon Garcia, Eliecer Cardenas, Peter Kennelly, (Ben Tootle, Matt Bashore)

 
The Twins learned how important a strong eighth inning guy can be in 2008 when Pat Neshek was injured. When Joe Nathan was hurt and needed Tommy John surgery this spring, there was a lot of concern. So far, Jon Rauch has been willing to bend, but has done a nice job as the Twins closer. Matt Guerrier has been good again, and Brian Duensing has been shockingly excellent in his role. Many of us thought that Alex Burnett was the best RP prospect in the organization, but I don’t think we realized just how ready he was. Meanwhile, Anthony Slama continues to toil at Rochester. Pat Neshek is back at Rochester looking to work his way back to the Twins. Kyle Waldrop, 1st rounder from 2004, has been the best story of the season, and he is the one reliever most ready for a big league promotion. Billy Bullock and Andrei Lobanov are very good bullpen prospects. Kane Holbrooks has been very impressive as the closer in Beloit. Injuries have really hurt the Twins minor league pitchers this year which made the drafting of several college pitchers make a lot of sense.
  
SUMMARY
After the Twins drafted Alex Wimmers, a common statement was that the Twins drafted another guy that fits the typical Twins mold. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he has good control of multiple pitches. He profiles similarly to Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey and Kyle Gibson. That is not a bad thing at all. Many fans want the Twins to acquire an Ace. Francisco Liriano has again shown signs that he can become an ace again. But are there other such prospects in the system? I would argue that Adrian Salcedo is probably the best example of a prospect with potential to be an ace, but he’s just 19. A sleeper from this past offseason who got off to a terrific start before an injury is Bruce Pugh. Outside of that, there are a lot of good pitching prospects, no doubt. The Twins have several good bullpen arms as well in the system. We hear all the time about Anthony Slama and wonder why he is not yet in the big leagues (see walks), but Kyle Waldrop is the one who is most deserving of a promotion. The biggest question will be if and when Carlos Gutierrez will be moved back to the bullpen.
 
The Twins system has several very good pitching prospects. Which are your favorite? Which do you think will be able to help the Twins the most? Leave your comments below.
 
Here are some more TwinsCentric notes for today:
·         John will be on KFAN’s Power Trip Morning Show starting about 7:20.
·         Seth was a guest on the Travis Talks Minnesota Sports podcast last night. Because there will not be a Twins Minor League Weekly tonight, we had an extended show last night. The podcast went just over 1 hour and 45 minutes. The first half was discussion on many Twins topics. In the second half, they talked about many topics around the Twins minor league system.
·         Another reminder, join the TwinsCentric bloggers at Park Tavern in St. Louis Park on Saturday (June 19th) at 3:00 to watch the Twins and Phillies. Win prizes from Park Tavern and more, including Twins tickets.
·         Following the success of the Thome is my Homey t-shirts, Parker and DiamondCentric now have two new Twins t-shirts available. Be sure to order your Punto plays Dirty shirt, or a Cuddy is my Buddy shirt today!

Twins Minor League Notebook

Posted by: Seth Stohs Updated: April 27, 2010 - 7:29 AM

Today, you get another installment of my Twins minor league notebook. It is a look around the Twins minor league system, a look at who is doing well, who is struggling and some interesting stories. Hopefully you enjoy and please feel free to comment or suggest other stories of note.

Quick Turn Around
 
The beauty of looking at April season statistics is that they essentially mean nothing. It is amazing to me how quickly the outlook on any player can change. Here are two examples:
 
·         Aaron Hicks – His season started off really non-well. The clear choice for the Twins top prospect started the season by going 1-31 (.032). In his 32nd at bat, he hit a home run. In his past seven games (plus final three at bats of the game he homered), he has gone 16-29 (.552) with six walks, two doubles and two home runs. He is now hitting .283 and getting on base about 45% of the time.
·         Danny Valencia – After an 0-3 game on Friday, Valencia was hitting just .152 (7-46). In the three games since then, he has eight hits in just 15 at bats including three doubles. He is now hitting .246. He raised his batting average nearly .100 in three games.
 
So again, it’s always great to get off to a fast start. Imagine if Hicks would have started the season by going 16-29. We would have been clamoring for him to be promoted to Ft. Myers. If he had gone on the 1-31 slump at that point, there would not have been much reaction. I think these two players and their numbers illustrate just how careful we have to be with making observations too early in a season.
 
Much Respect for the ‘Stache
 
When Anthony Slama recorded the final out of the Red Wings 9-6 win over Syracuse on Monday afternoon, it was more than just his fifth save. Maybe it was his chance to win a contest. In spring training when Nationals 24 year old pitching prospect Collin Balester showed up to spring training with a mustache, it became a story. In this Big League Stew article from March, we learned that Anthony Slama had lost a bet to Balester on which could keep a mustache the longest. (The two have known each other since long before Balester was the 4th round pick of the Montreal Expos in 2004) Slama shaved his mustache before Twins Fest.
 
The Twins relief pitching prospect told me last night that he didn’t think he should show up to his first big league camp with a mustache. Think about it for a minute, how many mustaches are active in Major League Baseball today? On Monday afternoon, Balester was the starting and losing pitcher for the Syracuse team while Slama recorded the save for the Red Wings. Maybe that’s more important than a silly old bet about a mustache. But have no fear, the mustache is still alive and well. Click here for a great look at it. Slama also told me, “they are making a comeback and we are paving the way.”
 
Injury Updates
 
  • Those of you that read minor league box scores on a daily basis like me know that Minnesotan, former Gopher and Twins 2009 fourth round pick Derek McCallum has not played since April 16th. He has a wrist injury and on Monday, he was finally put on the Disabled List of the Beloit Snappers.
  • Last week, I mentioned that Miracle shortstop Paul Kelly was back and hitting well, but that he had not played in almost a week with an ankle injury. He returned to the lineup on April 19th, played two games and then tweaked the ankle again, so he will be out a few more games.
  • Brandon Roberts came to the Twins organization in June of 2006. The Twins promoted Jason Bartlett and likely in an attempt to force Ron Gardenhire to play Bartlett over veteran glove man, Juan Castro, the Twins sent Castro to the Reds in exchange for the speedy outfielder. Roberts was great in 2006 in Ft. Myers. He moved up to AA New Britain in 2007 and showed some promise hitting .293 in 110 games. In 2008, he was limited to just 28 AA games before injury. His 2009 season also began late, but he ended up hitting .287 in 103 games with the Rockcats. He even added 21 stolen bases. Still just 25, Roberts began the 2010 campaign on the Rochester disabled list. He was sent to Ft. Myers to rehab with the Miracle. In his second game, he re-aggravated a groin injury and will be out a little longer.
  • 7’1” Loek Van Mil is still in Ft. Myers on a rehab program and doing well. He is hoping for a mid-May return to games.
Turned the Corner?
 
When Deolis Guerra was acquired by the Twins, there were a lot of expectations placed upon the 18 year old pitcher. When most 18 year old pitchers in the Twins farm system were preparing themselves in the Gulf Coast League, Guerra had already spent time in the Florida State League. That is where the Twins sent him again in 2008, and it didn’t go well. He went 11-9 but posted a 5.47 ERA. Most discouraging, he walked 71 and struck out 71 in 130 innings. For 2009, his 20 year old season, Guerra split time between Ft. Myers and New Britain. He showed improvement. In 149 innings, he struck out 106 while reducing his walks to just 42. His changeup was touted the best in the organization. Guerra just turned 21 years old ten days ago, and he is back in AA New Britain continuing his development. It is just three starts and 18 innings into his 2010 season, but maybe he has turned a corner. In those 18 innings, he has 12 strikeouts, but more important, he has NO walks. Guerra is in his first option year with the Twins meaning that he does not have to stay with the big league club until the 2013 season. I would expect to see him much sooner than that.
 
Six out of Seven Ain’t Bad
 
Wang-Wei Lin is from Asia. Max Kepler and Loek Van Mil are from Europe. Jair Fernandez is from South America. The Twins have a bunch of players from Australia including the recently promoted Luke Hughes, and even more from North America (which makes sense).
 
Hein Robb is the team’s representative from the African continent. Hein Robb? Ask even some of the most ardent followers of the Twins minor league system, and many of them have likely not heard of Hein Robb. The left-handed pitcher will most likely be making his United States debut this summer. He is currently working out in Extended Spring Training and will likely pitch for the GCL Twins. Robb has been a representative of South Africa in the most recent international competitions, the World Cup last fall and the World Baseball Classic last spring training. He will turn 18 years old in May, so he is very young and has a ton of development to do if he will ever approach pitching for the Twins, but he is certainly a name to be watching. The Twins are known for being a player around the globe. As noted, they have signed players from six different continents, and unless they plan on signing a polar bear (something I guess I don’t envision happening), they likely won’t be signing anyone from Antarctica in the near future.
 
Please feel free to leave your comments on the Twins farm system below.

Backup plan?

Posted by: Seth Stohs Updated: March 16, 2010 - 7:02 AM

 

When news came out before Twins Fest that Jose Morales would need surgery on his wrist and miss most of spring training, people started to talk about the backup catcher role, and who would fill it. Mike Redmond was let go and signed with Cleveland. With no report of Morales being available any time soon, the question remains: Who will be Joe Mauer’s backup on Opening Day?
Will it be Drew Butera? The 26 year old backstop was acquired from the New York Mets in the 2007 trade of Luis Castillo. He is definitely known for his defense. He is said to have a strong, accurate arm. He has good footwork and mechanics behind the plate. Pitchers enjoy pitching to him and he does a good job of quickly understanding how to work opposing hitters. However, he did lead the International League in 2009 in passed balls. He better be good defensively because he simply is not going to hit at all. In over 1,600 plate appearances in his four-plus minor league seasons, he has hit a combined .214/.295/.317 with 100 extra base hits. Last year in Rochester, he hit just .211/.268/.292 (a solid .560 OPS… Ouch!!). As you know, Butera is the son of former Twins catcher Sal Butera, who caught for the team from 1980 to 1982, and then again for 51 games in 1987 (and hit .171/217/.243). Most believe that Drew Butera’s defense will allow him to spend many years in professional baseball, likely hovering between AAA and the big leagues as a backup.
 Or will it be Wilson Ramos? The 22 year old Venezuelan burst on the scene in 2007. Scheduled to go to short-season Elizabethton, Ramos was needed in Beloit. He came up and hit .291 with 17 doubles and eight homers in 73 games before an injury ended his season. He moved up to Ft. Myers in 2008 where he hit .288/.346/.434 with 23 doubles and 13 home runs in 126 games. Last year, he moved up to AA New Britain where he played in just 54 games due to two injuries. First, he took a foul tip and broke the tip of his right middle finger. When he came back, he pulled his hamstring and missed more time. However, in those 54 games played, he hit .317/.341.454 with 20 extra base hits. He went home to Venezuela for Winter League ball and was recently named by Baseball America as the Winter Player of the Year. Ramos hit .332/.397/.582 with 49 RBI. Simply put, Wilson Ramos can hit. He is a highly touted prospect, a top three prospect for the Twins each of the past four years. But he is more than just a strong hitter. When he wants to, Ramos can be a very good catcher defensively as well. He has a canon for an arm, and improved footwork has helped his accuracy. He can be very good at blocking balls in the dirt. His game-calling has greatly improved with more games played.
Drew Butera or Wilson Ramos?
If the question was – “Which Player will be a better Major League player? “ – then the answer is simple. Ramos.
But in this scenario, the question is, “Which player should be Joe Mauer’s backup to start the 2010 season if Jose Morales is unable to go.
The Case for Wilson Ramos
He is a better hitter. He is solid on Defense. His upside is much higher. In fact, he is probably a much better player than Jose Morales already, as well.
The Case for Drew Butera
He is a much better catcher all-around defensively. At his age, he is what he is, a backup catcher.
The Case Against Drew Butera
He isn’t as good as Ramos offensively. In fact, it isn’t particularly close.
The Case Against Wilson Ramos
This is what it really comes down to, doesn’t it? It’s pretty clear that Ramos is the better overall player, and that on the days that he plays, he gives the Twins a better chance of winning (arguably) than Drew Butera does. So, why shouldn’t Wilson Ramos be the opening day backup catcher? There are a few theories.
#1 – Ramos is too good and too young to be sitting on the bench. He is just 22 years old, and with his upside, you want him playing as much as possible. The more plate appearances he can get, the better. The more innings he can catch, the better.
#2 – Ramos’s arbitration clock starts. This argument isn’t terrible important, in my opinion. If he is up with the Twins for two to four weeks, his service time starts. But when Morales comes back, Ramos can go back to AAA and the service time shuts off again.
The arbitration clock (#2) isn’t a great argument unless you put it in conjunction with his age, talent and potential. As Joe Mauer’s backup, Ramos would likely catch one game a week during his service time and sit on the bench the rest of the time, possibly pinch hitting once as well. If you’re going to use his service time, it doesn’t make sense to waste it with him on the bench.
That is why I am completely on board with Drew Butera being the Twins backup catcher on opening day, until Jose Morales comes back. Wilson Ramos can play most every day in AAA Rochester and keep progressing.
Now, if Joe Mauer were to get hurt (something that happens from time to time with most catchers which is why giving a lot of years and a lot of dollars to a catcher is somewhat silly!) for an extended period of time, I wouldn’t hesitate to call up Ramos and insert him as the team’s starting catcher.
Here are some other blogs that you may want to check out:
·         Nick Nelson analyzes the Twins shortstops.
·         Check out the YouTube video by Rays Outfielder Fernando Perez about making minimum wage. There is a Denard Span reference. Perez is a graduate of Columbia University.
·         Seth was on last night’s episode of the Travis Talks Minnesota Sports podcast. Twins discussion for most of the show.
·         Finally, Topper from Curve for a Strike wrote an awesome letter to Joe Mauer. It’s worth the read!

Building the Core

Posted by: Seth Stohs Updated: March 1, 2010 - 12:24 AM

I have been a huge Twins fan as long as I can remember (which is somewhere between 1982 and 1984). I have also always been intrigued by the minor leagues and player development. At SethSpeaks.net, there is a focus on the Twins minor league system.

Minor league baseball players are doing all the same work that the big leaguers do. They are just doing it with far less fanfare, smaller per diems, less luxurious travel and hotel arrangements, and noticeably lighter wallets due to pay checks with far fewer zeroes. These players deserve to be recognized too!
I have included that in the Introduction of my about-to-be-released Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook. Having been trying to follow the Twins minor league system and its trends over the past five or six years, I have found several things that I find interesting. In this space, I will try to promote the Twins minor league system and keep readers updated on the goings on among Twins prospects.
I truly enjoy following the Twins minor leaguers because they build from within. They have promoted several players from AA and AAA that have helped the team each of the last several years. Think about the core of the Twins offense:
  • Leadoff man and center fielder Denard Span was drafted in the 1st round in 2002 out of high school. He progressed slowly through the Twins farm system, and is now one of the best leadoff hitters in the league.
  • Joe Mauer won his third batting title, third silver slugger award, second gold glove award and first AL MVP award in 2009. He is generally considered one of the best all-around players in the game. He was the Twins 1st round pick in 2001 out of Cretin-Derham Hall high school.
  • Clean-up hitter Justin Morneau was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1999 draft out of his Canadian high school. He won the AL MVP award in 2006, is a legitimate power threat and a run producer. He has driven in at least 100 runs each of the past four seasons.
  • Michael Cuddyer was drafted as a shortstop in the 1st round of the 1997 draft out of high school in Virginia. It took a little longer to establish himself, but he had a very strong 2006 season, a good 2007 season, a forgettable 2008 season, and an incredible 2009 season. His performance catapulted the Twins to the playoffs.
  • Jason Kubel was the Twins 12th round pick in 2000 out of his California high school. He moved up the system quickly through the system. In 2004 he dominated in AA before winning the AAA batting title. He then hit .300 in September for the Twins. He was touted as being able to hit for average like Joe Mauer while hitting for power like Justin Morneau. A knee injury at the Arizona Fall League cost him 2005 and more. It all came together in 2009 when he hit .300 with 102 RBI.
That is a core of hitters that most teams in baseball are envious of, and they were all Twins draft picks, selected out of high school.
But what about pitching?
  • Scott Baker was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2003 out of Oklahoma State. He was in the big leagues less than two years later. The last two years, he is a combined 26-13. Despite his 2009 season beginning with an injury, he ended the season with 15 wins and 200 innings pitched.
  • Nick Blackburn was the Twins 29th round pick in 2001 out of Seminole State College. He has been remarkably consistent the last two years as his statistics were nearly identical. What Blackburn has done is shine in big games. He pitched wonderfully in Game 163 against the White Sox in 2008, and he beat Zach Greinke in the final weekend in 2009.
  • Kevin Slowey was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2005 out of Winthrop University. He flew through the minor leagues and debuted with the Twins less than two years later. Based on his impeccable control and intelligence, he is often compared to Brad Radke. When he went down with his wrist injury in 2009, he was leading the American League in Wins and was a possible All-Star.
  • Brian Duensing was the Twins 3rd round pick in 2005 out of the University of Nebraska. He stepped up tremendously in the final six weeks of the 2009 season and helped the Twins to the playoffs.
  • Jeff Manship was the Twins 14th round pick in 2006 out of Notre Dame. He was pushed to the big leagues out of necessity in 2009 and had his ups and downs, but he came up biggest when the team needed him most. He pitched his best game and was credited with his first win on the final weekend of the season.
  • Jesse Crain was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2002 out of the University of Houston, where he was a shortstop and closer. Until his 2007 shoulder surgeries, he was terrific for the Twins, and he did not allow an earned run in September last year.
  • Pat Neshek was the Twins 6th round pick in 2002 out of Butler University. He has missed most of the last two years, but we all saw just how dominating he can be in 2006 and 2007.
Again, many of the core pitchers are Twins draft picks, pitchers that were scouted, drafted and signed out of college, and developed in the Twins farm system.
Now the Twins have greater revenues by moving into Target Field. The Twins have increased their Opening Day roster from less than $70 million in 2009 to almost $95 million in 2010. The Twins have been able to pay their own players and supplement the core players with additions. Additions this year include JJ Hardy, Clay Condrey, Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson in an attempt to win in 2010.
However, the increased revenues should not affect the Twins primary philosophy, and that is clearly to build their core from within. The value of the increased revenues should primarily be in retaining their own players. Joe Mauer will be resigned (come on, we all know that). Arbitration-eligible players will make more next year. Denard Span, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey will all reach arbitration after the 2010 season and will all get huge raises.
The Twins draft high-ceiling high school bats. (see Ben Revere, Aaron Hicks, Angel Morales, Chris Parmelee, Joe Benson) The Twins draft sure-thing, strike-throwing college pitchers. (see Kyle Gibson, Carlos Gutierrez, Billy Bullock) They are also able to be a bigger player in the international market (see Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco). They now have increased revenues which will allow them to do two things. First, they will be able to retain more of their own players. Second, they will be able to supplement their team’s other needs on a year-to-year basis.
Twins fans, this is something you should be excited about as it likely ensures the team will be competing for AL Central (and World Series) titles for the foreseeable future.
Here are some other TwinsCentric articles today:
·         The Twins Geek asks, “How big is your baseball addiction?”
·         Over the Baggy posts several Twins Notes including bits on Justin Morneau, Jacque Jones, Jason Kubel and more.
·         At SethSpeaks.net, Seth will be posting a series of Spring Training Question & Answers with several Twins prospects. The first was posted on Sunday afternoon and was an interview with relief pitching prospect Alex Burnett who had an incredible 2009 season in his first year in the bullpen.
·         Seth will be a guest on Sports on Demand on MyFox9.com at 3:00 this afternoon. He will be on air with Jim Rich, Seth Kaplan and Phil Mackey.
·         Be sure to save the date for the March 13th TwinsCentric Viewing Party at Majors in Apple Valley from noon until the end of the Twins/Phillies spring training tilt.

Celebrating Nick Punto Day!

Posted by: Seth Stohs Updated: February 12, 2010 - 12:43 AM

Andrew Kneeland, who writes a Twins blog called Twins Target, came up with an idea a couple of weeks ago. He decided that February 12th would be Nick Punto Day, and Twins bloggers that want to contribute their thoughts on the controversial Twins infielder. Twins fans seem to either love Nick Punto, or they despise his every move, so it should be a fun exercise. Here are some of the submissions for your consideration. After reading the blogs, be sure to leave your comments below.

·         Let’s start with Andrew Kneeland’s Twins Target Punto post entitled, Nick Punto: Undervalued and Underappreciated.
·         My Punto post can be found over at SethSpeaks.net.
·         K-Bro’s Baseball Blog compares Nick Punto to a good ‘ol pair of shoes.
·         Andrew Bryz-Gornia of Off the Mark needed two postings to present all of his Nick Punto thoughts.
·         Twins Territory bloggedon Punto, including some video.
·         Shawn from On the Road With… posted thoughts on Nick Punto and Iron Maiden?
·         Here are the thoughts of Nam Huyhn of the Minnesota Sports Zone.
·         Marty Andrade starts his Nick Punto Day blog by writing, “I have an instantaneous visceral dsypeptic reaction to the mere mention of Nick Punto.” That means it must be worth reading!
·         Topper Anton of Curve for a Strike celebrated Nick Punto Day by writing a Long-From Epic poem.
·         The Twins Geek went to the Way-Back Machine and found an article he wrote on Punto in March of 2004, during Punto’s first spring training with the Twins.
·         TT from Granny Baseball discusses the contributions of Nick Punto since he came to the organization in 2004.
        Nick's Twins Blog posts Distinctly Punto with some excellent analysis.
        Parker from Over the Baggy describes what it means to be Punto-esque.
·         Please note that several more Twins bloggers will be writing about Nick Punto throughout Friday, February 12th, so be sure to check out as many of them as you are able, and if you find one that has not been mentioned here, include it in the Comments below.
There are many aspects to the game of baseball that make it so great. Second guessing is second nature in baseball. Nick Punto is one player that has created a ton of discussion in the past six seasons. He is a utility infielder and very good in that role. With the Twins, he has had to be an everyday player. There are often his struggles at the plate while manager Ron Gardenhire continues to play him. There used to be a lot of Web Gems with his glove, but in 2009, his arm strength seemed to be lacking. He has little power, which you would expect, but he has a great ability to take a lot of pitches, foul many off, and get on base. He is a team player, although he often struggles doing the ‘little things’ that he is often credited for doing. His insistence upon diving into first base infuriates many Twins fans. However, others appreciate his energy, hustle and effort. Going into the 2010 season, what will his role be? Will he be starting most of the time at third base, or will he return to a utility role? Will that include time in centerfield?
Yes, Andrew Kneeland had a great idea. Nick Punto has been an interesting topic for Twins fans for a half-dozen years. So, what are your thoughts on the Twins infielder on Nick Punto Day?

 

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