Hi Twins fans,
As we wind our way thru their 9 game road trip, I have some Twins thoughts for you. Let’s get started.
I’LL BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THIS ABOUT…….Juan Rincon.
The Twins star reliever for the last 6 years almost quit baseball. At the age of 16, Juan was told by scouts and coaches he was too small to play baseball and that he didn’t have a chance to advance in the game. Those people suggested he quit the game and go to school. As you can well imagine, Juan was quite disappointed and when he went home with the bad news his mother told him, "Juan don’t you quit, you love the game to much, and you go out there and prove to those scouts and coaches that you are worthy of seeking a professional baseball contract!" Juan said, "no Mom, I am going to study in school and go to college and make something out of my life." But his mother wouldn’t let him quit and Juan continued to pursue a baseball career. And there’s one more chapter to the story. One of Juan’s best friends is LHP Gustavo Chacin, now with the Toronto Blue Jays. And the coaches and scouts told Gustavo the same thing as they told Juan. So Juan and Gustavo made a promise to each other and to their Mom’s that they wouldn’t quit the game of baseball and look what happened. Nice going Juan, Twins fans sure are glad you followed your mother’s advice and didn’t quit the game.
For most of the time we will concentrate on updating the progress of some of the Twins top prospects. I will get opinions from the Twins Minor League coordinators and coaches and managers on players like 3B Matt Moses, and RHP Kyle Waldrop just to name a few. But how about those players that are not on the radar screen as top prospects, but are starting to open some eyes of those co-ordinators and others. Let’s look at a few that are having outstanding seasons thus far, and might just be like a Denny Hocking (a 53rd round pick) or a Tommy Watkins (38th rounder) and climb the ladder to make it to the big leagues:
RHP Robert Delaney…..Closer with the Beloit Snappers. Undrafted out of St John’s University, Delaney leads the Midwest League in saves with 13 and just recently was chosen as the Twins Minor League Player of the Week.
2B Matt Tolbert…..Tearing up the International League, and at one time was the League’s leading hitter. Tolbert, a non-roster infielder, got a chance to play some in Grapefruit League games and impressed the coaches and Manager Ron Gardenhire. Alexi Casilla is considered to be the Twins top infield prospect at Rochester, but Tolbert is starting to make a lot of people take notice. Tolbert was a 16th round pick out of the University of Mississippi.
OF Eric Lis…..Yes, I know he is always going to be known for hitting a home run off Roger Clemens, when Clemens pitched againt the Fort Myers Miracle. But Lis can hit. He won the batting title last year at Beloit and is approaching being a .300 hitter with the Miracle. Lis was a 9th round pick in the ’05 draft out of Evansville University.
Keep your eye on these players folks, they might not be number one picks and Minor Leaguers that everyone is interested in, but they have put up some impressive numbers so far this year and are starting to be watched more closely.
TWINS TRIVIA TIME…..
When Garrett Jones was called up last week and stepped to the plate for his first major league at-bat I pulled out my trusty little 3 X 5 card with the Twins players names that hit a home run in their first major league game. All told their have been 8 that have accompolished that feat! But just four that have hit a home in their first at-bat! See if you can name the four. I’ll have the answer for you in the next blog.
Last Week’s Trivia Question:
Over the years the Twins have had some outstanding minor league players who later on have made it to the big leagues and helped the Twins to 4 divsional championships in the last 5 years. Jason Kubel, Joe Mauer, and Lew Ford are all past winners of the Sherry Robertson Minor League Player of the Year. And, now all three are and have been major contributors to the Twins recent successes on the field. In 2002, the Twins separated the Robertson Award and started naming a Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The award is named after Twins Director of Minor Leagues, Jim Rantz. But only once has a minor league player won the award two years in arrow. Let?s see if you can name that player.
Answer to Last Week’s Question:
LaTroy Hawkins. He was selected the Twins Minor League Player of the Year in 1993 and 1994.
That’s all for this time folks. Have a great day, and let’s hope the Twins keep going on the winning trail.
"Touch ’em All,"