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ContinuumGuy

The Ex-Twins in Rochester

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(This is a cross-post with my blog on baseball in general, the Baseball Continuum. The version there has more pictures and links.)

Quick, ignore the logos and team names, what team is this?

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Well, it's the Rochester Red Wings. But it's filled with players who have been a part of the Twins over the rather disastrous past season-and-a-half. Revere is now back up with the Twins (saving Rochestarians from having to hear him sing), but plenty of once-and-possibly-future Twins remain. So when, and who, is most likely to rejoin Revere in Minneapolis? Let's take a look (more below the break):

Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Tsuyoshi Nishioka came to Minnesota from the Chiba Lotte Marines, where he was coming off a .346 season. Alas, the transition to the Majors was tough for Nishioka, as he only hit .226 with a .526 OPS during his first season on this side of the Pacific. Furthermore, he missed much of the season with a leg injury courtesy of a Nick Swisher slide, and what little momentum he had been starting to pick up was completely halted. And so, now Nishioka finds himself in the last place he probably thought he'd be: Rochester, NY. And he probably is going to stay there for awhile, as another injury and his .206 BA aren't exactly going to make the big club call for him.

As an aside, I must mention that he comes up to the plate to Japanese pop music. Back in Japan though, every team have big organized cheering sections that come up with and chant theme songs for their players called Ouenka. Here's Nishioka's:



Maybe he's homesick and Wings/Twins fans should start chanting that.

Sean Burroughs


That Burroughs is playing anywhere is worthy of applause, as he was only two years ago suffering from substance abuse and eating cheeseburgers out of a trash can. He got his act together and had a good year in Arizona last season. Still, it was something of a pleasant surprise that Burroughs was in Minnesota to begin with, but a good spring training and worries about the infield's health led the Twins to bring him up as a insurance policy and bat off the bench. But a month and a half into the season and not only had he only played in ten games with 18 plate appearances, but he was hitting .118. So he was put on waivers, which he cleared. So now he's in Rochester. A veteran like him will always have a chance at going back up next time somebody gets injured or released, and he's hit well in the ten games he's been in Rochester for: .310 BA and a .700 OPS. So maybe, if he keeps hitting well, he'll once again be up in Minnesota if they need a bat off the bench.

Danny Valencia
The biggest surprise, the person who I never thought I'd see in Rochester again: Danny Valencia. He might not have been a big prospect coming up like some other players, and he never really had much pop, but he always hit in the .280s and .290s and often was making good defensive plays (although statistically he was average at best). Then, as sometimes happens with ballplayers, he appeared to break out when he was brought up in 2010: .311 BA, .799 OPs, 7 HRs and third place in Rookie of the Year voting. He's never been able to recapture his 2010 MLB form, though. It's doubtful he'll end up back up unless there are injuries or he really starts knocking the cover off the ball. Interestingly, he hits against lefties very well, so there no doubt is a spot for him somewhere in the majors. The question is whether that place is with the Twins.

Other Notable Ex-Twins (AKA People I didn't take pictures of)

Chris Parmelee will be back up to the bigs after some more AAA experience. Morneau's future health means they are always going to need another 1B (besides occasionally Mauer). Has some occasional pop, too.

Liam Hendriks will also probably be back up after further seasoning and/or somebody getting hurt. The Aussie is still young and should one day develop into a reliable MLB starter.

Clete Thomas statistically appears to be one of those AAAA guys: he's always going to do pretty well in AAA, but is never going to have a permanent starting job in the bigs.

Rene Rivera will always have a chance of going up again, since the Twins can never have enough backups if injuries strike Joe Mauer again.

Anthony Slama has a 0.51 ERA in 17.2 IP. If a reliever goes down, he's probably going up.

So, there you have it, a look at the people who are currently in Rochester as part of the revolving door between MLB and AAA...
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