Welcome to the Booth…

Hi Twins fans,

Looking forward to updating you on the progress of the Twins. I plan to offer you some feature material on the Twins, and hopefully you will offer a reponse to the content in my weekly column. Let’s get started.

Here are this week’s topics:

1. "Something you didn’t know." If you read the Twins media guide, and I am sure you have, you pretty much know all the stats and background of each Twins player. But this feature will tell you something about a Twins player that you didn’t know.

2.  "Minor League Update."  I’ll bring you up to date on the top Twins minor leaguers. This week I will offer my "5 to watch," and give you some insight on five of the Twins top minor league pitchers.

3.  "Twins Quiz."  Just a quickie Twins Quiz Question to keep you on your toes. Perhaps you will be the first to come up with the answer.

You know that Rondell White has played with 6 different Major League teams, and that he was a National League All Star with the Chicago Cubs in 2003. But I bet you didn’t know that Rondell once played Michael Jordan in a one on one basketball game. Rondell is from Macon, Georgia and one of his best friends is Al Woods, former North Carolina basketball star. Woods hosted a basketball camp in Macon one year, and Michael Jordan was a guest instructor. Well Rondell’s first love was basketball and he asked buddy Al if he could play Michael one on one to see if could beat him. "The play didn’t last long," stated Rondell. "He gave me one basket, slammed the next shot into the bleachers, and then when I tried to take my next shot he jammed it right back into my face!!"  Then Rondell told me, "That’s enough, basketball is not my game, I better try baseball."

MINOR LEAGUE UPDATE….The Twins have a plethora of outstanding young pitchers in their minor league system. Some of them have been in spring training and there’s no question that they opened eyes. Let’s take a look at "5 to watch" this 2007 season:

RHP Matt Garza:
  Still hanging in there to make the Twins starting rotation, and who knows he might make it.  But if he doesn’t, look for Garza to start the season in the AAA Rochester starting rotation.  Scouts have raved about Garza all sprng.  One scout told me "his stuff is nasty, and I meanall of his stuff, not just his fastball." Garza is on a fast track to be in the Twins starting rotation soon, and not only soon, but for a long time.

LHP Glen Perkins:
  Some scouts like Perkis better than Garza. Wow, that’s saying something! Perkins, too, was impressive in spring training. He will start the season at AAA Rochester, but don’t be surprised if Perkins beats Garza up to the big leagues. Perkins has a very good curveball and he showed surprisingly good poise and confidence in spring training.

RHP Kevin Slowey:
  Invited to spring training, Slowey at times was talked about more than Garza and Perkins. A control pitcher with command of the strike zone like former Twin Brad Radke, Slowey will be in the starting rotation with AAA Rochester at the start of the season. Slowey probably needs a full season at Rochester.  Remember last year he started the season at Fort Myers, and ended up starting a game for Rochester in the play-offs. Slowey has come a long way in a short time.

RHP Kyle Waldrop:
  The Twins 3rd pick in the first round (25th pick overall) in the 2004 draft, Waldrop is ticketed to start the season with AA New Britain. He started the season at A Beloit last year but was promoted to A Fort Myers in the middle of the ’06 season. Waldrop was drafted out of high school and was a little slow in his first couple of years in pro ball. But he’s coming on, and the Twins are very encouraged with his progress lately. He will be in the RockCats starting rotation.

RHP Anthony Swarzak:
  Another young pitching prospects in that 2004 draft.  Swarzak was a second round pick. He won 11 games at A Fort Myers last year, and will start the season in the starting rotation for the AA New Britain club. Swarzak has size (6-3, 205) but he is more of a finese pitcher. Anthony was a high school draft out of Nova HS in Fort Lauderdale.

THIS WEEK’S TWIN QUIZ:  Ok Twins fans, put on your Twins thinking caps and let’s see if you can come up with the answer to this week’s Twins Quiz Question:

Last year the Twins had two players, Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer drive in more than 100 runs. Morneau had 130 and Michael Cuddyer had 109. And the Twins almost had another, remember Torii Hunter finished with 98. Have the Twins ever had three players with 100 or more runs batted in, and if so, when was the last year they had three players with 100 or more?

I’ll have the answer next week.

John Gordon

Twins Radio Network Play-by-Play/Analyst


I think this blog is a great idea.

I was real impressed last year with both Garza and Perkins and was disappointed that neither of them made the team. I think they both have great stuff and we have a lot to look forward to from both pitchers.

I’m in Eau Claire and can’t get the Twins on the radio any more. Please get an affiliate in western WI!

Wow. Intrigued by the trivia question, I began to look over some of the Twins’ RBI totals over the last couple of decades. While I didn’t find the answer to the question (If it happened at all, I suspect it was in the sixties.) I did find one amazing stat…in 1981 Mickey Hatcher led the team with 37 RBI! Punto would be the slugger on a team like that! I think I’ll blog about it today.

The 1981 season was shortened by strike, but 37 RBI is still a small total for 109 games!

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