The Twins are playing some terrible baseball, so when work took me to Rockford/Chicago/Milwaukee this week I opted to stop in Beloit along the way and catch some winning baseball. The Snappers are 24-15 after a 1-0 win Tuesday over the Clinton Lumberkings and lead their division by a game. The most talked about players in Beloit are Miguel Sano (#33) and Eddie Rosario (#9). With the "pit of despair" vibe back home, it was nice to see some winning baseball and glimpse a few players that may be part of the Twins future. My non-professional impressions after the jump.
Sano gets top billing here. You can't miss him. He's tall and big and certainly doesn't look like he's only 19. I'm not a pro scout, but he looks more polished at the plate than I expected. I watched two games, Sunday and Monday. He had 2 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts and 1 homerun. His defense at 3rd on the other hand, was about as rough as I expected. If I was a sports writer, I'd say it's definitely his defense that's made the Twins resist sending him to Fort Myers. The Miracle are in last place at 15-23 so maybe keeping him where there's some winning going on isn't such a bad idea either.
I hadn't heard as much about Rosario other than the home run derby that he and Sano had at Elizabethton last year. His defense is pretty rough too, but he's playing second base yet listed as an outfielder. He and Sano have remarkably similar numbers, except for the home runs. He did hit one on Monday night but he's still 8 behind Sano. I think he's faster than Sano. He was called out on a close play at first, but I think he beat it out.
I'm not sure who else in Beloit has a legitimate shot to make the majors. There are a couple former Gophers that I've seen at Twinsfest and they seem like genuine guys so it's easy to root for them. Some of the pitchers looked really promising. 10 of the 14 on the stats page have an ERA under 4. The players are very close to the fans as they come and go and they've either been conditioned to sign for the fans or they're just good kids as I didn't see any of them snub anyone who asked.
Regardless of if any of them make the majors, I got to see two wins in a row by a team on a winning streak. The stadium is nothing to write home about but it's a fun environment. The woman on the PA does a nice job and after reading how rare it is I was happy she was actually good at the job. She has an on field counterpart that helps run the in-between-innings contests, including the rubber chicken toss mentioned in the article. The crowd on Sunday was announced at over 1000, but I'd guess it was about half that number actually in attendance. The weather was perfect and the $25 all you can eat area was pretty full. Monday's attendance was announced at 400-ish, but again probably only half of that was actually there. My "box" seat was $9, but there was no usher enforcing the seating areas and I was able to move around to just about anywhere I wanted to watch the games. Hot dogs are $2.75. The fans were not all in Twins or Snappers gear. There were plenty of Brewers and Cubs shirts and hats. They all cheered for the Snapper so apparently MiLB is where we can have harmony in baseball. If you're in the Beloit area, I recommend catching a game or two.
The full picture sets are posted at Flickr including some videos of Sano and Rosario at bats. My usual disclaimer about blurry and dupe pictures applies. I was also playing around with burst on my camera on Monday so some pictures are not as high resolution as others.