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Twins Fan From Afar

Rock Cats: Mid-Season Candidates for Promotion

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
Logan Darnell, New Britain's most consistent pitcher this season.
Image: Kevin Pataky, MiLB.com
[Originally published at Twins Fan From Afar]

It's been a fast 40 percent of the New Britain season. The team has played all right -- about what I expected, given difficulty of replacing guys like Aaron Hicks, Chris Herrmann, Oswaldo Arcia and Chris Colabello, who were the mainstays of the 2012 team, and who have all gone on to varying degrees of success in 2013 -- not only with the AAA Red Wings, but with the Twins. One of the most exciting things about following the Rock Cats is that I have realized how quick the path from central Connecticut to Minneapolis can be.



A comment about minor league baseball: it's not very helpful to focus on a minor league team's win-loss record. Sure, it's great to watch the Ft. Myers Miracle and the Cedar Rapids Kernels win most of their games (and it bodes well for the Twins' future), but those teams are temporarily fortunate to have clusters of great talent on the same roster. Rather, for me, Rock Cats baseball is mostly about following individual performances. With nearly half the season in the books, let's take a look at a few of the players that I think deserve a call-up from AA New Britain to AAA Rochester in the near future.


James Beresford. I'm not sure what else he needs to do. Beresford has played over 150 games for New Britain. His glove is great at both second base and shortstop -- that's never been an issue. He's third in the Eastern League in batting. Yes, there's little power. But so what? A middle infielder with a good glove that can hit .300 and reach base 40% of the time has value. Beresford deserves a long look in AAA to see how he can hit the pitching there. This is his second full season in New Britain, and I've seen enough. Also factoring into my recommendation to promote Beresford is Eddie Rosario. Unlike Miguel Sano, who undoubtedly will be promoted to the Rock Cats after the High-A All-Star Game, there's no immediate rush to promote Rosario, who is still learning second base, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Rosario come up to AA for the last month of 2013. Clearing Beresford's spot makes Rosario's path easier, and ensures that Rosario will get the reps he needs at second base.


Nate Hanson -- Great organizational guy. Plays all positions, but especially third base. Hanson has played over 180 games for the Rock Cats, and is hitting a solid .284 this season at AA.He had an abbreviated look at AAA Rochester last month, but needs a dedicated chance to succeed at that level. 64 at-bats -- what he received at Rochester -- is simply insufficient to judge any player. Reportedly, he hit the ball hard, but hit into some outs. If you only have 60 or so at-bats, a few hard outs, which could easily have been hits, makes a big difference. Additionally, Miguel Sano needs to move to New Britain the day after the High-A All-Star Game and play the remainder of 2013 at third base for the Rock Cats. Hanson to AAA makes sense all around.


Logan Darnell: Like Beresford, this is Darnell's second full season in AA, and he is showing improvement. In fact, he's been New Britain's most consistent starting pitcher. How consistent? 7 of his last 10 starts have met the definition of a quality start (not a great statistic, but worth something). Darnell has posted a 2.76 ERA, a 60/20 K/BB rate, and has allowed only 3 home runs in 75 innings pitched. I'm not sure what Darnell's future will be, but I am certain that the 24 year-old needs to pitch against more experienced hitters to so that the Twins' front office can get a better picture of what his ceiling is.


If you're a fan of the Twins' Top 10 organizational prospects, you might not like what I'm about to write now:


Alex Meyer isn't ready to be promoted. Yes, there are many, many more positives than negatives. One big positive is that he's second in the Eastern League in strikeouts, with 73. That's why we traded a good player, Denard Span, for him. But if I'm a member of the Twins' front office, I need to see more consistency from Meyer. By comparison to Darnell's 7 quality starts in his past 10, Meyer has 4. He also has yet to pitch into the 7th inning in any game he's started for the Rock Cats. Let that sink in for a second. If there's one thing the Twins need -- and expect -- it's that their best starters go deep into games. Meyer, who regularly throws over 100 pitches in a start -- hasn't reached the 7th frame nearly halfway into his 2013 season. Meyer's season is somewhat similar to Kyle Gibson's in AAA -- a couple good starts followed by a clunker. Not that I expect 10 Ks and 1 earned run every single outing (which occurred in Meyer's most recent, and best, start), but in my opinion, there are composure and consistency issues that needs to be resolved -- or at least mitigated -- before I think it makes sense to send Meyer north to Rochester.


So in short, I'm ready to say goodbye to 3 mainstays. Beresford, Hanson and Darnell have put in their AA time. I don't like to think of "sink-or-swim" situations, but I think it's clear that each needs a solid couple months in Rochester to see how their games fare against better competition. But I'm not ready to let Meyer leave yet. There's no reason to rush him to AAA (especially considering how quickly the Twins are willing to pull "ready" players from Rochester after they arrive) before he is ready.


One final note: The Rock Cats host the Eastern League All-Star Game on July 10. I'm not sure how, if at all, personnel decisions may factor into this. On the one hand, it would be a nice reward for a guy like Beresford to be named to the All-Star Game held in his own park, but on the other hand, it would also be a nice reward to get bumped up to AAA before July 10.

Comments

  1. clutterheart's Avatar
    I don't get this Beresford love. I think he is a marginal prospect at best.
    High Average? Yes. The highest ever in his MiLB career. But no power, not good at taking walks, and just slaps singles.
    Supposedly he has good Defense, but...good Defense at 2B is not a ticket to the big leagues.

    I am interested to know why you don't think Pinto and maybe Danny Ortiz do not deserve to be at AAA.
  2. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
    Thanks for the comment.

    I guess I would say that it's not "supposed" that Beresford has good defense. He plays defense very well. Like, it's a fact. SS and 2B have been, and continue to be, positions of weakness for the Twins. So in my (albeit uneducated) opinion, if a guy can play very good defense at either or both of those positions in this organization, and can bat .300 -- even without power or the ability to take walks -- and can do it consistently, it's time to see if he can do it at the next level. I'm not suggesting Beresford is the next Jose Reyes, or will displace Eddie Rosario. I am suggesting that he's played very well in his second AA season. So let's see what he can do at AAA. By the way, great defense at 2B and the ability to bat over .230 in the bigs may in fact be a ticket to the majors for the Twins this season and next.

    Josmil Pinto has been very good. He needs to play every day. Chris Herrmann won't be with the Twins for very long (I expect, anyway), and will go back to AAA, where he also needs to play every day. I think it's a disservice to Pinto's development to have him split time with Herrmann at catcher. But your point is well-taken -- Pinto has been great, and shouldn't hang around longer than he needs to. I'd also add that, although he has a good arm, I'm not sure he's a great catcher yet. I.e., framing pitches and some of the finesse stuff.

    Danny Ortiz. Again, I've been impressed. He's held his own. Struggling a little lately (batting .194 over last 10 games) but he's been good and has shown decent power. He's played 56 games at AA. He hasn't dominated like, for instance, Oswaldo Arcia did (played 69 games in New Britain; .955 OPS). But then again, Brian Dinkelman played left field tonight for Rochester, so it's not like a legitimate prospect is blocking Ortiz in Rochester. Let's see what happens at the trade deadline. If Willingham is traded and Arcia called up permanently, there's a corner spot open at Rochester. I'd give that to Ortiz in August.
  3. stringer bell's Avatar
    IMHO, Herrmann doesn't need to play every day and shouldn't stand in Pinto's way. Isn't his ceiling utility guy/3rd catcher? I submit that Ryan Doumit is trade bait and if he leaves, someone like Pinto can fill his role (probably the role would be altered a bit). It is probably most important that he develop to be a quality receiver so that he can catch more and have Mauer catch less, it is good for the team.
  4. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell
    IMHO, Herrmann doesn't need to play every day and shouldn't stand in Pinto's way. Isn't his ceiling utility guy/3rd catcher? I submit that Ryan Doumit is trade bait and if he leaves, someone like Pinto can fill his role (probably the role would be altered a bit). It is probably most important that he develop to be a quality receiver so that he can catch more and have Mauer catch less, it is good for the team.
    Herrrmann hasn't been great this season, but I'm not ready to relegate him to 3rd catcher yet. He had a nice 2012 season (.276/.350./392). Not the stuff that dreams are made of, but good enough for 2nd catcher on many teams I would think. I guess I'd like them both to play every day if that's at all possible.

    Also I very much agree that Doumit can be traded if the return is decent.
  5. clutterheart's Avatar
    More on Beresford.

    Can he play SS? According to his numbers, he has only played it 4 times this year. Looking at his historical stats, he seems to put up a fair amount of errors at SS. - I know, errors are not the best fielding stat but thats all I got. - Furthermore if he hit .230 as a great defensive 2B that might be acceptable if he had some pop to his bat.
    But he doesn't.
    He is a really bad hitter when it comes to x Bases.
    He has 2311 Minor league ABs
    And 1 HR.
    Read that again 1 HR in his whole career, that is 4 less than Ben Revere.
    He doesn't seem great at getting Walks.
    He doesn't seem like a speedy guy as he only has 49 career stolen bases.
    He is good at hitting singles but this is the first time in his career that he is hitting over .300

    I really think he needs to prove that for the whole season that he can sustain his unsustainable BABIP (.383) before he gets any kind of a callup.
  6. Waverley Wildcat's Avatar
    Beresford has been selected at SS 4 times......why such a limited selection by team management? What error stats are you looking at? total number of errors or errors when playing SS, I have no figures but his error count over the past years would be very minimal, to say "a fair amount of errors" is a bit unfounded. This season he has 4 errors, two are wild throws, one an attempted DP the other a cut off attempt at a runner so therefore he has had 2 "fielding" errors............the SS who has played the remainder of the games has 18 errors.............go figure. Walks are thrown by pitchers so how can you blame the batter as not "great at getting walks"
  7. Cap'n Piranha's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Waverley Wildcat
    Beresford has been selected at SS 4 times......why such a limited selection by team management? What error stats are you looking at? total number of errors or errors when playing SS, I have no figures but his error count over the past years would be very minimal, to say "a fair amount of errors" is a bit unfounded. This season he has 4 errors, two are wild throws, one an attempted DP the other a cut off attempt at a runner so therefore he has had 2 "fielding" errors............the SS who has played the remainder of the games has 18 errors.............go figure. Walks are thrown by pitchers so how can you blame the batter as not "great at getting walks"
    Because the hitter can do a good job of taking pitches that will be balls, and fouling off pitches that he can't square up, rather than putting them into play. To suggest that all walks are completely the result of pitching is utter nonsense.
  8. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart
    More on Beresford.

    Can he play SS? According to his numbers, he has only played it 4 times this year. Looking at his historical stats, he seems to put up a fair amount of errors at SS. - I know, errors are not the best fielding stat but thats all I got. - Furthermore if he hit .230 as a great defensive 2B that might be acceptable if he had some pop to his bat.
    But he doesn't.
    He is a really bad hitter when it comes to x Bases.
    He has 2311 Minor league ABs
    And 1 HR.
    Read that again 1 HR in his whole career, that is 4 less than Ben Revere.
    He doesn't seem great at getting Walks.
    He doesn't seem like a speedy guy as he only has 49 career stolen bases.
    He is good at hitting singles but this is the first time in his career that he is hitting over .300

    I really think he needs to prove that for the whole season that he can sustain his unsustainable BABIP (.383) before he gets any kind of a callup.
    So you think he should play 2 full seasons in New Britain?
    Here is who the Red Wings are trotting out in the middle infield: Doug Bernier, who will turn 33 later this month and has a .672 OPS. He's playing short. And Eric Farris, 27 years old with a .608 OPS. He's playing second.

    You are right that Beresford doesn't walk much, and that he doesn't hit for power. Yet his OPS, .737, is higher than either of the non-prospects at AAA.

    Regarding his positioning, Danny Santana is considered a SS prospect, so he has been getting the starts there. His bat is getting better, but the defense is cringeworthy. So Beresford has been mostly playing second, except for when manager Jeff Smith needs a break from watching Santana boot plays. I'd certainly defer to guys like Seth that know more than I do, but I would comfortably call Beresford's middle infield defense the best in the upper levels of the Twins' system
    Updated 06-06-2013 at 08:26 AM by Twins Fan From Afar (Spelling!)
  9. clutterheart's Avatar
    You make an excellent point when you mention the lousy MI at AAA. You are right. Beseford is preferable to anyone at Rochester.
  10. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart
    You make an excellent point when you mention the lousy MI at AAA. You are right. Beseford is preferable to anyone at Rochester.
    I should have lead off with that! Just dawned on me this morning too see who Rochester had. Ugly!
  11. stringer bell's Avatar
    Perhaps a bit off topic, I have thought for a while that Gibson would be helped by having adequate or better defenders behind him, since he is an extreme ground ball pitcher.
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