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

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rock Cats Report

How lineups are posted in
New Britain -- on a large posterboard
when you walk in the stadium.
Gotta love it!

Yesterday morning, the Rock Cats played at 10:35 a.m., eastern time. That's right, as many of you in Minnesota were settling into your workday routine, so were the Rock Cats. These weekday early morning games are interesting. In fact, looking at the season schedule, it looks like the team will play several morning games throughout the season. I'll have to check one of these games out eventually!

Going into tonight's game, the Rock Cats are 4-3, after losing yesterday to the Harrisburg Senators in the finale of their 3-game series. This was the Rock Cats' second loss in a row. They lost 8-4, but Aaron Hicks came through with another extra base hit -- a double -- and was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Although it was great that Hicks had another extra base hit (he had homered in both of the previous two games), yesterday's double was encouraging because Hicks was batting left-handed, the side of the plate where he needs to gain consistency. By my math, Hicks has 5 hits in his last 3 games. After starting out just 1-for-12, Hicks has hit in 5 of his last 11 at-bats, so that's great news. Small sample size, yes, but Hicks is showing that his promotion was deserved. In fact, after batting .083 just a few days ago, Hicks is up to respectable .261. And I can tell you from watching both the first game of the season, where Hicks was hitless and appeared nervous, and from watching Monday night when he had 2 hits, including a massive opposite field home run, that he is more relaxed at the plate.

The second player I wanted to mention this morning is third baseman Deibinson Romero. He doesn't come up on prospect lists much any more. But I've attended two games, and have enjoyed watching Romero hit. He's not a typical prospect -- he'll turn 26 at the end of this season -- so I'm not sure what his future holds. From his career numbers, it's clear that Romero started off as a decent prospect, but saw his hitting stats drop once he hit High A baseball in Ft. Myers. This will be his second season in New Britain. He played 121 games there last year, batting 256/.327/.411. Already, however, he has two errors this season at third base, after having committed twenty at that position last season, so his defense may be an issue. Still, though, he's batting an even .333 with 8 hits early on, 4 of them doubles, and has 3 RBIs in the last two games. I'm not suggesting here that Romero is set to take Danny Valencia's job or anything, just that he has performed well at the plate this season, which for Romero would be a prerequisite to a promotion to Rochester. I like rooting for an underdog. Romero might see consensus #1 prospect Miguel Sano pass him by next season, and he might never play a single inning at Target Field, but perhaps this is his year to put things together?

Tonight, the Rock Cats begin a 7 game road trip in New Hampshire against the Fisher Cats, AA affiliate of the Blue Jays. It's probably about a 3 hour bus ride from New Britain (just so you guys reading this stuff have an idea of the distance these players are traveling). After 4 games there, they will drive just a couple hours to play the Portland Sea Dogs, the AA affiliate of the Red Sox. Then it's back home for 7 games against those same two teams. All in all, the Rock Cats are in a stretch of 17 games in 17 days. Thankfully, their bus trips don't seem too lengthy. I'll probably hit up next Thursday night's game against New Hampshire, so you can expect game coverage from that, too.

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