Your place for Minnesota Twins and New Britain Rock Cats coverage, analysis and opinion.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Aaron Hicks and the Rock Cats, Twins Baseball and the Future, & the SethSpeaks Weekly Twins Podcast

Thus far, good things are coming out of New Britain
A few unrelated items this morning. First, if you missed it, yesterday I wrote about Alex Wimmers' first AA Rock Cats start that took place Monday night, and Aaron Hicks' monster game that helped give the Rock Cats a big victory. This morning, the good news coming out of New Britain, despite a 7-2 loss to the Harrisburg Senators last night, was that top prospect Aaron Hicks was 2-for-4 with another home run. That's two home runs in two days, and the latest came batting lefty, which is the weaker side for Hicks. A batting average that was a laughable .077 just a couple days ago is now .250, and Hicks is 4 for his last 8, with 5 RBIs in just two games. Clearly, when he's "on," his bat can lead a team. We're all looking for consistency from Hicks, so hopefully these past couple games are a sign of things to come. Whether the Twins decide to keep him as part of the projected 2014-2015 "new look outfield" that's easy to imagine being fantastic (with Joe Benson, too), or whether the organization eventually tries to package him in a trade for some kind of power starting pitching, it's an incredibly important season for Hicks in terms of development and career trajectory. The final Rock Cats note for this morning concerns middle infield depth. Pedro Florimon is off to a fast start for New Britain, with a .400/.429/.450 slash line in his first 20 at-bats, and has looked solid in the field from what I have seen. I don't expect too much from him in terms of what he could do for the Twins, but it's nice to see him start off hot. The Rock Cats play at 10:35 eastern time this morning. Talk about an early start! If anything newsworthy happens, I'll post this afternoon.

Second, how about those Minnesota Twins? I've barely been discussing them lately. Between the pathetic offense (except Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham) and the fact that Scott Baker is already out indefinitely, I feel like we're in for a long season. Yes, I know that 4 games is nothing, and tonight the Twins could easily start a 4-game winning streak. That's just how baseball works. But the pitching has me worried for the long-term, and that hasn't even been the weak point for this team thus far.

A lot of fans are concerned with the depth of the Twins' minor league system, and rightfully so. Here's a question for you: What if the Twins stink again this season? I don't mean winning 78 or 80 games, but more like winning 65 or 68. What if they can secure a top 3 pick in the 2013 draft? Between this year's #2 overall pick and a top selection next season, the Twins could have a rare opportunity to add top-shelf draft talent, which would complement some of the exciting players, like Miguel Sano, that are coming up through the organization.

In other words, if you agree with me that this is not a playoff team in 2012, even with a healthy Scott Baker and Joe Mauer, would you rather watch an 81-81 season, or would you prefer to see a bad season in which the team unloaded some players before they hit free agency, and was able to secure a top pick next year? It's an interesting discussion, anyway.

Finally, I was thrilled to be a guest on Seth Stohs' SethSpeaks Weekly Twins Podcast. I talked Rock Cats baseball for 10 minutes or so, and was happy for the opportunity to do so. Seth had me on right after Brian Dozier finished up. A tough act to follow! Dozier sounds like a great guy, and I believe he's ready to take over at shortstop right about now. If you didn't listen to the podcast live, you can listen any time by clicking here.


  1. Andy, as a fan I'd rather watch an 81-81 team who at least pretends to contend throughout the season. The Twins will have a horrid record coming out of April. 0-4 to start and another 15 games against what are surely to be the best teams on the AL this season will put our Twins well behind the 8-ball, however this is baseball and I think they' come around in May/June as their schedule improves. If it's mid july and the Twins are still well below .500 then I think trading away some of our aging Veterans and guys getting ready to be FA is the right move. And like in 2011 we bring up our young talent and get them some MLB at bats, take the beatings and hopefully in exchange get a good draft pick. That being said, I can't vote for the second option. I want to see the Twins going all out to win this year, even thought I have no delusions of them contending for the AL Central crown and beyond.

    1. Paul, thanks for the comment.
      I'm honestly torn between between "accepting" an 81-81 season, which most certainly would be an improvement over last year, and thinking, at the same time, that another bad season might, far and away, be the best thing for this franchise 4-5 years from now. I can see both sides of the argument. From the fan standpoint, sort of like you mentioned, it would be nice if they were at least relevant, though.

      In reality, though, this team should be better than it was last season. Even if we have injuries at the major league level, some of the guys waiting in the wings -- like Dozier -- seem ready to contribute in the big leagues, not just fill a roster spot.

  2. The Twins are an embarrassment to Minnesota. I would put money on it that the Twins will lose at least 100 games this season. (2012) Anybody want to bet 20 bucks?