There were several player moves this week including Seth Stohs reporting from Arizona yesterday that Michael McCardell has left the Mesa Solar Sox to have some bone chips removed from his pitching elbow. The Twins removed Justin Huber and Armando Gabino from their 40-man roster. Huber was outrighted to Rochester and will remain with the organization next year. Gabino was claimed by Baltimore. The Twins then added hard throwing righthander Jose Morillo to their 40-man roster. The Twins have also released catcher Jeff Christy and outfielder Ozzie Lewis. The Twins have signed three of their minor league free agents, Rochester pitcher Jose Lugo, New Britain shortstop Yancarlos Ortiz and Ft. Myers pitcher Henry Santos. Former Minor League Player of the Year David Winfree is a minor league free agent and word is that the Twins are very interested in re-signing him.
The Puerto Rico winter league got started on Thursday. The team to watch is Mayaguez who has four Twins on their roster, Nelvin Fuentes, Ryan Mullins, Kennys Vargas and Jose Morales. Joe Christensen is reporting that Danny Valencia will be playing winter ball somewhere for a month or so. Christensen is also reporting that Pat Neshek's rehab is going very well.
Seth published an excellent report of last night's Mesa Solar Sox game including personal observations of three of the Twins top prospects, Rene Tosoni, Chris Parmalee and Steve Singleton. The Solar Sox saw their six game winning streak come to an end on Thursday and now have a 12-14 record, 3.5 games out of first place with less than two weeks remaining in their short fall season.
Spencer Steedley had a nice game last night to lower his ERA to 3.75 in 10 games (12.0 innings). Steedley's problem this fall has been his control as he has walked 12 batters with 7 strikeouts. Alex Burnett continues to be a rising star for the Twins. He has appeared in 8 games (8.2 innings) with a 3.12ERA and 9K/9BB. Starter Steven Hirschfield has had a couple rough outings but has been better of late as he has gotten his ERA down to 9.95. In 8 games (3 starts) with 12.2 innings, Hirschfield has 14K/6BB. Tosoni is hitting .240/.318/.373 with one home run in 75 at bats. All indications from Seth's report is that Tosoni is an excellent defensive outfielder who has to work on hitting left handed pitchers. Chris Parmalee has 3 home runs in 69 at bats while hitting .217/.296/.478. Steve Singleton has been the best Twins hitter for the Sox, hitting .281/.284/.484 with 3 home runs in 64 at bats.
The lone Twin to appear for Mayaguez in Puerto Rico has been Nelvin Fuentes who pitched 1.1 inning of shutout ball yesterday with a hit and 1K/1BB. Fuentes is a young man who the Twins picked in the 16th round of the 2007 draft. After missing all of 2008, he had a wonderful season this past summer for the GCL Twins where he appeared in 12 games (21.0 innings) with a 1.29ERA and 24K/4BB. He is another young left handed reliever who may have bright future in the Twins organization.
Alexi Casilla is now playing regularly for Gigantes del Cibao in the DWL. Casilla, who has appeared in 5 games with 21 at bats, is hitting .190/.190/.333. Since Casilla's arrival, Estarlin De Los Santos has played sparingly yet is hitting very well at .277/.320/.319 in 47 at bats.
Aragua has been playing better of late and the Tigres are now 9.5 games out of first place with a 12-17 record. The scare a week ago was reports that Wilson Ramos had injured his knee. It does not appear to be serious as Ramos returned to pinch hit on Saturday with several appearances as DH before catching on Thursday. Ramos continues to be this winter's hitting star in the VWL at .382/.451/.697 with 6 home runs and 26 RBI although he was only 3-12 this week as he deals with his injury. Dustin Martin was 3-14 this week with a home run and 2 RBI. Martin is hitting .281/.398/.461 in 89 at bats with 4 home runs and 18 RBI. Justin Huber is hitting .282/.385/.474 in 78 at bats with 3 home runs and 19 RBI. Edgar Ibarra made two appearances this week, pitching 0.1 inning with 0 hits, 1 run and 1K/1BB.
Armando Gabino, who is now an ex-Twin, has appeared in 3 games for Aguilas in the DWL with a 1-1 record and 3.00ERA and 2K/1BB.
Next week should be an exciting week for many top prospects as the Twins will have to finalize their 40-man roster by Friday. With the five free agents (Crede, Pavano, Redmond, Cabrera and Mahay) departing the roster and the three players added who were on the 60-day disabled list (Slowey, Bonser and Neshek), the roster stands at 36. The Twins normally like to have a roster spot available so they can make a Rule V pick, yet, they have 6-8 players who may be at risk of being drafted if exposed to the Rule V draft. Will they make additional moves this week to clear more openings on the roster? It seems a given that Deolis Guerra, Alex Burnett and Danny Valencia will be added. But what about Santos Arias, Rob Delaney, Steve Singleton, Brian Dinkelman, Loek VanMil or Winston Marquez?
There will not be a report next week as I will be out of town at a seminar.