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  • What To Watch In September

    Let's face it: The Twins are going to have a tough time drawing much attention this month. They're limping their way toward another terrible finish, they just traded their second-biggest star, and of course the Vikings -- with reigning MVP Adrian Peterson -- are set to launch a fresh season on Sunday.

    It's a baseball wasteland.

    For us hopelessly devoted hardcores, though, there are a few developing storylines worth keeping an eye on as the Twins run out the string on another sad season.

    1. Mauer's Return

    The recent reports on Joe Mauer, recovering from a concussion suffered a couple weeks ago, have been encouraging. It sounds as though he's likely to return this weekend. But in what capacity? And will he exhibit any ill effects, as players such as Justin Morneau and Denard Span have when first returning from head injuries?

    A healthy and productive final month from Mauer would be a big relief heading into the offseason.

    2. Presley's First Impression

    As a 28-year-old outfielder who has been unable to establish himself in the majors, Alex Presley is hardly a prized commodity. But as the principal return in Saturday's Justin Morneau trade, Presley figures to get plenty of tread in the final month so the Twins can get a good look at what they have in him. He doesn't profile as an impact player, but he has been productive in the high minors and went 3-for-4 in his Twins debut Sunday. He figures to compete with Darin Mastroianni for a job as fourth outfielder next spring.

    3. Pinto's Audition

    The Twins need depth at catcher, since it's unknown how comfortable they will be with Mauer or Ryan Doumit working behind the plate regularly going forward. We've seen in the past how much this team can be wooed by a strong performance during a September call-up (think Chris Parmelee) so if Pinto hits and holds his own defensively it's not unthinkable that he could be in the mix for an MLB roster spot out of the gates next year.

    4. Diamond's Redemption

    As impressive as his breakout season was last year, Scott Diamond's follow-up in 2013 has been equally unimpressive. Over his first 20 starts in Minnesota, the lefty was plagued by regression across the board, with his once-elite grounder rate dropping into mediocrity while strikeouts and walks both lurched in the wrong direction. Since being demoted to Rochester in early August, Diamond has gotten back on track, going 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in five starts. Hopefully he can translate that success back to the majors and gain some confidence heading into the winter.

    5. Who's On First?

    This would have been a golden opportunity for Parmelee to reinsert himself into the conversation at first base. Morneau has been dealt and seems somewhat unlikely to re-sign in Minnesota during the offseason, so the position appears to be wide open going forward. Unfortunately, Parmelee -- who was bumped to Triple-A in July after hitting .223/.303/.372 over his first 83 games -- has been just as bad in the minors, hitting .226/.316/.363 with three homers in 44 games.

    It sounds as though Parmelee will be recalled after Rochester's season ends, despite his struggles, but it's tough to make any kind of case that he's deserving of extensive playing time at this point. Of course, Chris Colabello is hitting .183 and doing little to separate himself. Will someone emerge and show something before season's end?
    This article was originally published in blog: What To Watch In September started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Collabello will be given every opportunity. Parmelee will come back just because he can and the Twins can use the depth. Whoever shines in their at bats will get first look next season.

      Ramriez has shown what he can do, but probably not enough to remain as a 40-man. Mastro and Thoams and Presley will get the opportunity. None of them are special. Presley is probably the cheaper and most controlled at the moment.

      Pinto just needs to show that he likes baseball (which Herrmann is also running on). Listen, play well, do you job, at least keeps you in the organization.

      I don't think Hicks will be recalled. But it could also establish bad blood if he does shine (a la Liriano). It means money lost, jacking you around and such. Wish baseball was bigger than this, but it isn't.

      Again, September is to really see what you do have....and I would walk way from players like Thomas and Bernier at the moment for sure, just to look at Beresford, Bigley and any other possible bench bat in the system. I would give DeVries and Hermsen innings to see if they deserve any more time with the team. I would bring up Santana. I would have May here for two weeks working out of the bullpen. He's on the 40-man, give him a taste of big league ball.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Mauer will probably be our primary first baseman. The rest will be just depth. Doubt either Parmelle or Collabello are around past June of next year.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      My take on Parmelee: 1) He failed when given a chance to establish himself this year. He will get a shot to make the team next year, in part due to failures by others, but that might mean he will be competing for a bench spot. He could get a lot of time in right field or if Mauer remains a catcher, he could get a shot at first. Chris needs to hit, it is that simple.

      I am convinced that Colabello is a minor leaguer. He just doesn't make enough contact and his other skills are negligible. I don't have a problem with Chris C. getting lots of at-bats for the balance of 2013, but the results aren't pretty and I don't see any chance that they will change.

      If Presley shows he can play, he could win a spot in center, especially if he shows good leadoff skills. I am hopeful that Pinto shows that he can handle being at least a part-time role and I do believe he will. It makes the transition to first for Mauer a lot easier to accomplish.

      Did I do enough to reverse jinx Colabello? He just hit a grand slam, his second homer in the game.
    1. pierre75275's Avatar
      pierre75275 -
      I dont believe Hicks will be recalled but will battle for is job in SP. Ramirez and thomas will be optioned off the 40 man at the end of the yr.
    1. Danchat's Avatar
      Danchat -
      I want to see Arcia return.

      Also, Collabello... I think he's a bench bat. He has so much potential to hit HRs. I could see him hit .200 with 20HRs. But that's a guy you want on a winning team, not a rebuilding one. And someone please teach Parmelee how to hit. He's done it before but now he doesn't know what to do and the coaches aren't helping (him)....
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
      Did I do enough to reverse jinx Colabello? He just hit a grand slam, his second homer in the game.
      Please tell us your view about Mr. Colabello before tomorrow's game too. In fact I would love to read it, again and again. Until something ever changes.
    1. Jeff A's Avatar
      Jeff A -
      I've heard they might try Plouffe or Herrmann at first. To me, that would be a waste of time. Since we're not going anywhere, let's play Colabello there and see what we see.
    1. Wookiee of the Year's Avatar
      Wookiee of the Year -
      Good list.

      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      [Presley] figures to compete with Darin Mastroianni for a job as fourth outfielder next spring.
      If Presley and Mastroianni are competing for a fourth outfielder spot, who will be the starting center fielder? I can't imagine the Twins handing the job to Hicks again until he at least shows he can hold his own at AAA. I also can't imagine them signing an impact center fielder in the offseason, with Hicks a strong showing at AAA away from the majors--and with Buxton likely starting the season in AA. Shouldn't that mean the starting center field job is open for either Presley, Matroianni, or Clete Thomas to claim, at least to open the season?
    1. mnfireman's Avatar
      mnfireman -
      I think Mauer needs to play 1B and DH the remainder of the season so we can see Herrmann and Pinto showcase their talents behind the plate. Hicks should be recalled as well. Arcia should be back shortly (the team keeps telling u so!) and should get RF. The rest is a crapshoot. Doumit and Willingham should play LF and DH. Presly, Mastro, Thomas & Ramirez are the same guy, 4th & 5th OF's. How they play in September is anybody's guess. The young arms from AAA should get some spot starts and/or long relief appearance to see what they got. But we all know that Gardy will march "his" guys out there.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wookiee of the Year View Post
      If Presley and Mastroianni are competing for a fourth outfielder spot, who will be the starting center fielder? I can't imagine the Twins handing the job to Hicks again until he at least shows he can hold his own at AAA. I also can't imagine them signing an impact center fielder in the offseason, with Hicks a strong showing at AAA away from the majors--and with Buxton likely starting the season in AA. Shouldn't that mean the starting center field job is open for either Presley, Matroianni, or Clete Thomas to claim, at least to open the season?
      I agree... I think Presley, Mastroianni and Hicks will be competing for the starting CF job coming out of spring training. Oh, and Buxton will likely be at big league camp as well. If I had to say, right now, who the favorite is for starting CF on Opening Day, I'd say Presley.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      6. Who will the Pirates' PTBNL be?
    1. Thegrin's Avatar
      Thegrin -
      Presley and Masrtoianni need to play full time for the rest of the season to give them a chance to win a place for 2014. Since Hicks has not shown enough improvement in AAA, don't recall him. Arcia should play full time once he is healthy. Let Willingham sit or DH except when the Twins play against a LH starter.
      Let Colabello, Parmalee and Mauer rotate at 1B. Look towards a L-R platoon for 2014.
      Leave the catching to Hermann and Pinto.

      Here are the ages and birthdays of the players under discussion.

      Colabello - 10/24/1983 30
      Thomas - 11/14/1983 30
      Mastroianni - 8/26/1985 29
      Ramirez - 10/25/1985 28
      Plouffe - 6/15/1986 27
      Hermann - 11/24/1987 26
      Parmalee - 2/24/1988 26
      Presley - 12/15/1988 25
      Pinto - 3/31/1989 24
    1. jm3319's Avatar
      jm3319 -
      Morneau has been dealt and seems somewhat unlikely to re-sign in Minnesota during the offseason.

      For his own sake, I hope it's HIGHLY unlikely he re-signs with the Twins. Listen, I love the guy and will miss him dearly, but he is only 32. He hopefully has 2-3 years in the tank as an average 1B or at least a solid platoon option. He had great years with the Twins and owes them nothing. WHY ON EARTH would he want to rush back to another 90+ loss season with the Twins after he has suffered 3 already??? I assume ( and I may be wrong which destroys my argument completely) that someone would offer him decent money and actually have a shot at playing meaningful baseball games past May 1st, unlike the Twins. As a fan of Justin, I hope he chases the money and joins a contending team for a few years, then maybe rejoins the Twins when he is 35 or 36 for one last hurrah with the twins as a bench bat or platoon option when the Twins are competitive again. No sense in him wasting what baseball he has left in him.
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Quote Originally Posted by mnfireman View Post
      ...
      Presly, Mastro, Thomas & Ramirez are the same guy, 4th & 5th OF's. ...
      Those are 4 names of young guys who are going to play their hearts out to prove you wrong.

      Hope at least one of them succeeds!
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat_MN View Post
      Those are 4 names of young guys who are going to play their hearts out to prove you wrong.

      Hope at least one of them succeeds!
      Young guys?

      This is their age at the end of this year:
      Pressley 28
      Mastro 28
      Thomas 30
      Ramirez 28
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      This is a pretty said state of affairs, and I don't mean the lack of talent. Look at the crappy Astros, they are terrible but at least their oldest regular is only 27 and it's already pretty clear which guys will be asked to contribute next year.

      What a jumbled mess we have in Minnesota. A bunch of older AAAA players fighting for jobs and declining vets still under contract next year. The Twins only have 6 players under 27 on the roster right now, one if them is Arcia who has played one game in two weeks and another is Pinto who has played one game total. This is unacceptable, why are we OK with a management that is bungling something as simple as a gut-the-roster rebuild? Why are these 28-year-old+ career minor leaguers even on the radar? One or two I could see but this many?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Six players under 27 for a rebuilding team. Ugh. Now, Gibson will beon their next year, and maybe Tonkin (though they keep acquiring relief pitchers in trades, so who knows). that is up to 8.....should be more than half the roster though.
    1. Dave T's Avatar
      Dave T -
      Now Nick, I read everything you write and I feel the same pain, but, I don't agree with this:

      "It's a baseball wasteland."

      The Twins just took 2 of 3 from Texas, right after taking 2 of 3 from Detroit. I gave up on the Houston game at 5-1, but came back for a really fun 8th and 9th inning. OK, I admit, it's like watching the Rochester Red Wings, except that the Twins ain't going to the playoffs! So let me look at this again from a different direction.

      What's the Twins' no-doubt-about-it, number one problem? It's NOT who's going to play first base, or which AAAA players are going to win backup jobs in 2014? It's starting pitching. Against Texas, Twins starters gave up one run per game. Pelfrey: 7 innings, 1 run allowed. Correia: 7 innings, 1 run allowed. Hendricks: 6 innings, 1 earned run allowed. Now, I'm not putting that much stock in Hendricks's excellent outing -- one good game a year isn't enough. But Pelfrey and Correia seem to have turned a corner somewhere, and I'm looking forward to seeing if they can do it again. How about you?
    1. rickyriolo's Avatar
      rickyriolo -
      twins need to blow it up & rebuild. Enough with the 28-30 year old "rookies" getting their first taste of the majors. Go young and let the rebuild begin now. We are on our 3rd straight 90+ loss season in a row and it is not going to get any better next year.
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      Don't cry

      Don't raise your eye

      It's only baseball wasteland


      Very good list, although Diamond's AAA FIP of 4.20 probably gives a better idea what to expect than his ERA. What the h@ll, though, 5 good things sounds better than 4
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