This week was the first week of Spring Training games, and we got to take a closer look at some of the Twins more notable minor league players (also, we got to take a look at Florida, where it is sunny and warm and there aren't 3543 feet of snow on the ground...). We'll take a look at each game played this week (the A games) and see how some of the Top 25 prospects performed.
Date: February 28, 2014
Vs: Boston Red Sox
Score: MIN 8, BOS 2
Winning Pitcher: Brian Duensing
In Friday's opening Spring Training game, we actually were able to see glimpses of some of the top prospects - Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, and Kennys Vargas all took at least one swing in the game (Dan Rohlfing even made a PH DH appearance!) and some time on the field. Buxton went 1-for-2 at the plate, while Vargas, Kepler, and Polanco all went 0-fer. As far as pitching went, Samuel Deduno pitched a scoreless two innings. He struck out 3, walked one, and gave up one hit, but allowed no runs to score. Aaron Thompson (LHP) pitched a full inning in the 8th, throwing 7 pitches and striking out two. The last inning was pitched by Sean Gilmartin (LHP) pitched a rough 9th, where he gave up two hits, a walk, and a run.
Date: March 1, 2014
Vs: Boston Red Sox
Score: MIN 6, BOS 2
Winning Pitcher: Scott Diamond
Saturday's game featured quite a few minor league players as well. Aaron Hicks, Byron Buxton, Tyler Beresford, Chris Colabello, Jermaine Mitchell, Kennys Vargas, Josmil Pinto, Stuart Turner, Eduardo Escobar, and Doug Bernier all made field and/or plate appearances -- though quite a few of those plate appearances were 0-fers. In fact, Vargas, Escobar, and Pinto were the only minor leaguers to get a hit in the game at all. We did see Michael Tonkin and Deolis Guerra pitch an inning each. Tonkin walked one, and Guerra struck one out. The Twins ended up dropping this game 6-2.
Date: March 2, 2014
Vs: Tampa Bay Rays
Score: MIN 3, TB 6
Winning Pitcher: Grant Balfour
Sunday's game saw more Buxton, Bernier, Colabello, Kepler, and Polanco. The game also featured Danny Santana at SS, Chris Rahl in LF, Deibinson Romero at 3B, and Eric Fryer at C. The bats continued to struggle in this game, as Kepler, Polanco, Santana, and Beresford were the only minor leaguers to get a hit -- and just one. Everyone else had none, including Buxton, who hasn't been as hot at the plate yet this Spring as he ended last season. Alex Meyer got in a couple innings of pitching, though it wasn't necessarily good news. He gave up 4 hits and 2 runs (1 earned). He did strike out a batter, though, so that's good. Brooks Raley (LHP) threw for a couple innings as well, giving up 3 hits and 1 earned run. He didn't strike anyone out, and gave up a homer. The Twins dropped this game 6-3.
Date: March 3, 2014
Vs: Toronto Blue Jays
Score: MIN 12, TOR 2
Winning Pitcher: Kevin Correia
Monday's Spring Training split-team game against Toronto went very well for some of the minor league players. Aaron Hicks, Jorge Polanco, and Deibinson Romero all had an RBI. The biggest stars at the plate, however, were Eric Fryer at DH with 3 RBI and Jermaine Mitchell in LF with 4 RBI. The pitching erm...pitched in (I'm sorry) as well, though none of the minor league players made a pitching appearance in the game.
Date: March 4, 2014
Vs: Miami Marlins
Score: MIN 1, MIA 3
Winning Pitcher: Steve Cishek (hey, remember him?)
The Tuesday Spring Training game against the Fightin' Redmonds didn't go as well as it could have for Minnesota. Byron Buxton went 0-for-5 in the game, dropping his Spring Training average to .167, while Polanco, Kepler, Vargas, Romero, Escobar, Beresford, and Fryer all went hitless for the day. It definitely was not a great offensive showing. The pitching featured Yohan Pino throwing an inning-plus of scoreless ball, striking out a pair, as well as Kris Johnson (LHP) throwing a hitless and scoreless inning.
What do you think of the minor league appearances so far this spring? It is still very, very early in training and we have a lot to see, but it's been interesting to watch the young kids at the plate against higher level pitching as well as in the field. Any concerns? Surprises?