On Sunday night, the paperback version of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2014
became available. On Tuesday night, the electronic pdf version became available for immediate download
. As we have mentioned, Cody Christie
, Jeremy Nygaard
and I put a ton of work into it over the last couple of months. As has been mentioned, there are over 150 player profiles in the book, but I thought today I would share a few nuggets from some of the stories that were written.
As you know, I wrote articles on all four of my postseason minor league award winners. I selected Miguel Sano as the Hitter of the Year. Taylor Rogers was the Starting Pitcher of the Year while Tyler Jones was the Relief Pitcher of the Year. Finally, Jake Mauer was the Manager of the Year. Here are some blurbs of those articles:
Minor League Hitter of the Year
3B Miguel Sano
Jon Paley was the Director of Pelotero (and is working on the sequel, The Miguel Sano Story which you can read more about at http://miguelsanostory.com/
). He talked about the movie and how Sano was selected. “When we started filming we were following 5 characters. We narrowed that down to (Jean Carlos) Batista and Sano who ended up in the movie. The first week we were there, we went to a very high profile showcase with most of the top prospects in the country. We met both Sano and Batista's trainer there.”
He continued, “We were welcomed into Miguel's life by him and his whole family. We would spend most days filming at the field and the Sano house for hours. Whether it was working on the field or on the film Miguel had a dedication and a work ethic that is incredible to watch. Talent is one thing, but he's got the determination to take on any challenge.”
Asked about Sano’s personality, Paley expressed that it did change some through the scandal. “Miguel has always been the kid with a sweet swing and a big smile. He is a goofy kid with a great sense of humor. When the age scandal began to effect his signing options you could start to see that demeanor change and Miguel take things more seriously. It was really the first stage of his transformation from being a kid to a grown up.”
Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year
LHP Taylor Rogers
He caught the attention of Twins scouts. He was the team’s 11th
round pick in 2012.
“During the draft, it was a possibility that the Twins were interested, but I just wanted to be taken at some point. After it all settled in, I was very thankful that it was the Twins because of their reputation with developing minor league players and drafting well-rounded individuals.”
Tim O’Neil is a Twins scouts and a national cross-checker. He saw Rogers pitch several times. Regarding Rogers, O’Neil said, “He was a three year starter, and we saw him pitch a lot. His stuff was light, but he knew how to pitch and compete. His hits per nine were high, but he had pitches, and he threw it over. He threw 87 to 88 with lighter spin at the SEC tourney which may be a reason for the slide. His stuff is all a grade higher now as he’s maturing physically. He’s now proving he’s a legit starter prospect.”
However, O’Neil continued, showing that sometimes scouts can find other intangibles that come into play. “During the winter prior to Taylor’s junior season, I was working out a former UK pitcher and quarterback, Shane Boyd. That day, our usual catcher couldn’t make it, so Taylor volunteered to catch Boyd – in shorts, no cup, with his pitching glove. Boyd threw hard, with a heavy ball and erratic command. Taylor gutted out numerous balls in the dirt and never flinched. It was pretty impressive.”
Minor League Reliever of the Year
RHP Tyler Jones
“My first year, I was in really bad shape. From college, you play fall ball, winter workouts, then spring ball. Then you go play summer ball, so it’s baseball year-round for three years. When I got home, I relished the time off. I did nothing. It hurt me. It cost me a spot on the Beloit roster. I had to start in Extended Spring. I went in there at like 260, and by the time I got to Beloit a month and a half later, I was at 245. I didn’t want to make that mistake again.”
Jones worked hard throughout the offseason and came to spring training in 2013 in much better condition. “I think it helped immensely. It helped in spring training. I felt fresher. I felt better throughout the season. Instead of getting to spring training and having to get in shape, I got to spring training in a lot better shape and continued to get in better shape throughout the year. I think that I’ll improve on that this year, and I plan on it.”
Minor League Manager of the Year:
Unfortunately, 2005 was his final season as a professional baseball player. So, what was his transition from player to coach? For him, it came quite abruptly.
“In 2006, I was in (minor league) camp. I had just had surgery the summer before on my elbow and tried to come back and play and really couldn’t throw. Even to this day, I don’t throw very well. Rob Antony talked to me a little bit about possibly making the switch, and Jim Rantz talked to me as well about what I thought. I wanted to try to play, but as we got to the end of camp, it didn’t look like I was going to be able to play. Literally, I signed my release papers, and then I signed my contract to be the hitting coach within about five seconds of each other. I went back into the clubhouse, grabbed my stuff out of my locker and walked into the coach’s locker room. So, it was kind of a quick transition. That was actually at the end of camp, so GCL and Extended had two days off. Nelson Prada was the manager, talked to him for a while, and then we had two days off and I was back hitting fungoes. So, it was a really quick turnaround.”
Of course, these segments are just the tip of the iceberg. Each of these articles is six to eight pages worth of quotes and stories. I just thought these were really good ones to share.
Again, I hate shameless self-promotion, but the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook is now available online in paperback
at Lulu.com. You can order them or previous versions by clicking here