Pivotal Minnesota Twins Questions and Answers

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Q. by Paul M. Banks, A. by Andy Weise 

(PB) 16-5 over the last 21. Pretty impressive, but do you think your boys really have the pitching to last the whole year? The White Sox have tanked in the second halves of the past few seasons, so if that trend holds, it would be beneficial for Minnesota.
 
(AW) Before getting swept by the Red Sox, the Twins were definitely on a roll. I definitely think we have the pitching to close out the year on a good note. I didn’t predict this team to be anything better than .500 but that’s still winning 81 games. Scott Baker is consistently showing why he’s the ace for our team. Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins have all been top pitching prospects for awhile now and have started to calm down after all having rough moments. It’s just a matter of time before the Twins send Livan Hernandez away to clear space for The Franchise (nickname in 2006 pre Tommy John surgery), Francisco Liriano.
(PB) Since you brought him up, what can we expect out of Liriano this season?
 
(AW) I know the staff wants to take things slow with him. He’s still only 24 years old and he’s got way too much talent to just push him hard and only see some kind of setback. At the beginning of the season he looked pretty awful. His agent wanted the Twins to bring him up right away so they did and he got beat up pretty bad. In Triple A he’s really settled down and gotten his control back. I think people have to remember that Tommy John is an 18-24 month rehab assignment, so basically while he is playing this year, I think they should save him until next year at this point. It’s already the middle of July and there’s only two and a half months left. If something happens to anyone in the rotation though, I think he’s the call-up.

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Here’s a Liriano update:
 
Jul 9 Twins.MLB.com’s Kelly Thesier reports Minnesota Twins SP Francisco Liriano was named International League Pitcher of the Week after he threw 13 scoreless innings and struck out 16 batters at Triple-A Rochester.


Recommendation: Liriano is 6-0 with a 3.37 ERA and a 45:9 K:BB ratio over 42.2 innings since June 1. While his velocity may still be a few miles per hour lower than his pre-surgery form, he’s improved his control and strikeout rate enough in recent weeks to warrant a promotion to the majors. However, the Twins don’t have a spot open in the rotation and Minnesota also may also wait to call Liriano up until at least mid-July to avoid him qualifying for arbitration at the end of the year.
 

(PB) Although Twins fans had high hopes for Liriano out of the gate in his young career, sometimes we have to part with things that we hold dear and that can be very difficult. Like David K. and his infamous Twins hat.

(AW) R.I.P. David K.’s Twins hat. One of my favorite things about David K. was that hat and now that he’s retired it, I’m wondering if I can still be friends with him. Mainly because I know he has man-love for Favre, which for a long time I considered his only flaw.  I once told my fiance that I had a man-crush on David K. and I’m pretty sure it was because of that Twins hat.

(PB) Wow this is turning into a regular after-school special here. “Coming up on a very special episode of The Sports Bank, Dave says goodbye to a very special friend.” Back to business: tell us about the young stars on the rise Alexi Casilla, Brian Buscher, and Carlos Gomez, have they met your expectations, what’s the ceiling on these guys?
 
(AW) Casilla and Gomez are two young and very exciting players to watch. They’re great uplifting guys, always smiling and that’s something Twins fans are used to: happy players. It’s like the locker room atmosphere was meant for them. They’re also quickly becoming best friends. They had a feature on Fox Sports North this past week on the two of them and it was great to see that young chemistry in action. Gomez is also a HUGE hit with fans, especially the females (who adored Hunter and before that, Kirby Puckett). Buscher is a solid prospect at third base who has earned his time by having some good pop in the minors. I don’t know if he’s the answer at third base, but the Twins haven’t had anything consistent since Corey Koskie left and that can only help Buscher as he determines his own destiny.
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We are joined here today to mourn the passing of Dave’s Minnesota Twins hat…pictured here
 

(PB) Are you disappointed with Delmon Young?
 
(AW) I wasn’t until I saw Denard Span come up recently. Span is making a great case to stay up in the majors and if Michael Cuddyer comes back, all of a sudden, the OF and DH positions are getting TOO FULL. (Span was Hunter’s chosen replacement until he couldn’t step it up last year and got beat out by Gomez in Spring Training) Young nearly always swings for the first pitch regardless of what it looks like, he’s not a great fielder even though his arm is strong and there’s been numerous reports that he’s not very receptive to coaching advice. In fact, earlier in the season there was something about him refusing to take advice from hitting coach Joe Vavra, instead only listening to his dad. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Twins threw in the towel on Young at some point. It looks like trading Matt Garza was a big mistake.

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(PB) Do you expect your boys to be sellers, buyers, or just stand pat at the trading deadline?
 
(AW) At this point, I would stand pat unless they can bring in someone like Adrian Beltre or Joe Crede. A power hitting third basemen from the right side of the plate is ideal at this point. Like I said, if they can move Delmon Young for one of those guys, DO IT.  If it is possible, they should deal Hernandez to someone for a prospect because they have no more use for him.
 

(PB) I’ll be publishing exclusive interviews I did of Joe Benson and Chris Parmalee, two of the organization’s top prospects. What can you tell me about these guys currently in single A ball?
 
(AW) Both guys were picked in 2006, Parmelee going in the first round and Benson in the second. Parmelee is one of the most well known prospects in the Twins organization. There aren’t a lot of “power hitters” in the Twins farm system. I think from top to bottom this organization loves the speed and “small ball” game. Parmelee hit 15 homeruns last year in class A but he hit just .239. The batting average has to come up if he ever wants to make it to the majors. Currently, he has 14 homers but is batting about the same.
 
Benson’s power hasn’t been as evident as Parmelee’s this season, but he’s hitting a bit higher at .248. Benson is going to have to pick it up because there’s another guy on his team who is dominating right now, Ben Revere, the 2007 first round pick. Revere is batting nearly .400. Both Parmelee and Benson still have good chances to make it to the big leagues because they’re only a couple years out of high school, but they have to get their batting averages way up.

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    When I said that horrible thing about the Twins the other day in the press box…later I thought of Dave Chappelle’s hilarious Samuel L. Jackson impersonation. cuz he always says that line “yes, they deserve to die” what Jackson movie is that from?

  2. It should be noted that that’s how torn up my Twins hat was a year ago… it was ripped beyond belief where I was entering “dirty for wearing it” stage… it found a new home in my garbage… I still have the New Era Twinks cap that will continue to be rocked… a big fan of the TC logo… cheers to the Twins taking control of the Central

  3. That control will not last long

  4. paulmbanks says

    I may have to become a Brewers or Cards fan in honor of you Dave

  5. Peter Christian says

    Go Twins!!!

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