In my last Down on the Pond post I took a look at how the Twins players were doing down in the Arizona Fall League, and rather than look back in at how they’re doing, or even taking a look at the guys who are playing Winter Ball around the Southern Hemisphere, I thought I’d use my position here on the Pond to share some photos that players throughout the Twins system posted to the Twitter machine and use that as a jumping off point to talk about some of the guys that are toiling down in the Twins system who you may not have heard of.
We’ll start first with a pre-Halloween trick. Hurricane Sandy (Post-tropical cyclone, as the hipsters are calling it) was not kind to Twins AAA reliever Bobby Lanigan (@BOBBYLANIGAN). Sandy flooded his street and took his car for a ride and totaled it in the process. I hope the insurance claim comes quick and that Bobby and his family are safe and dry. Lanigan finished the season 7-5 across AA New Britain and AAA Rochester throwing just over 70 innings on the season out of the bullpen in 44 appearances. He finished the season with an ERA over 4, and struck out only 49 batters to go along with a WHIP (walks+hits per inning pitched) of 1.373. At 25 and in his first season in AAA there still may be some hope for the young righty, but his numbers over his minor league career are not much better. Since being drafted in 2008 Lanigan has a career 4.05 ERA and has given up more than a hit per inning. This was his first season working out of the pen so it will be interesting how he fairs in a full season at AAA in 2013.
I typically have no idea what Manuel Soliman (@SOLIMAN30)is tweeting because everything is in Spanish, and even though I could quickly translate using google or Tweetdeck, I’m generally not that interested. Here’s a photo he tweeted a couple days ago that I thought was pretty awesome. Soliman signed with the Twins as a non-drafted free agent in 2007 and in 2009 converted from third base to pitcher. The move worked well and lead the Elizabethon Twins in strikeouts in 2010 (74). In 2012 Soliman threw only 5.0 innings after having been moved up to Ft Myers after a successful 2011 in Beloit. He had shoulder surgery early in the season and the Twins will be cautious with him as he makes his return, he may lose his “prospect” status if 2013 is not a big year for the young righty.
James Beresford put up this photo on his twitter (@JamesBeresford2) that golfers around the world will recognize as the result of not hitting your tee-shot past the ladies tee. Beresford was promoted to New Britain last off-season and played second base and shortstop for the Rock Cats to the tune of .266/.330/.314 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in 114 games and committed only 10 errors in 491 chances, good enough for a .980 fielding percentage, but 9 of those errors were at SS where he played just over half of his games. While those offensive numbers are nothing to write home about, the Twins would have done well for themselves in 2012 had they had a big league SS who could have put up similar numbers.
Daniel Rohlfing (@DanRohlfing), who replaced fellow AA catcher Chris Herrmann in the Arizona Fall League last week, posted this absolute GEM of a photo featuring all of the Twins AFL prospects sporting mustaches like their fellow Twins prospect Nate Roberts. Rohlfing played 91 games between A+ and AA this season and spent most of his time behind the plate but also saw a handful of games in the outfield. Rohlfing is not a monster at the plate, in fact he’s rather more Drew Buteraish, as his slash line in 2012 across both levels was .235/.295/.311, but he did show skill behind the plate as a defensive catcher, throwing out 37% of would-be base-stealers.
Alex Wimmers (@AlexWimmers21) does not hand out candy, he just puts out a bucket for the tricker-treaters to take what they want; he also carved a pumpkin. Wimmers pitched in only 2 games in 2012 and spent most of the year trying to rehab an elbow injury to avoid surgery. He will likely miss most of, if not all, of 2013 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery performed this past August. Can the former 2-time Big Ten pitcher of the year come back and be successful in a Twins uniform? All we can do at this point is wait and hope.
The Twins 16th round pick in 2011, Austin Malinowski (@A_Mali24) carved a TC pumpkin for his doorstep. Malinowski pitched 31.2 innings for the Twins rookie league Gulf Coast Twins and struck out 32 batters while walking only 11 batters in his first year of professional baseball, but he did give up 35 hits as well. Mali was drafted out of high school and has a long road ahead of him if he ever hopes to make it up to the big leagues.
P.J. Walters (@PJwalters33) who recently signed a minor league contract with the Twins after being removed from the 40-man roster last week is dressed as one of the Avengers and is off to save the world. Walters made 12 starts for the Twins last year posting a 5.69 ERA (gave up 41 runs (39 earned) in just 61.2 innings!); prior to his promotion he was 3-3 in 14 starts for the Rochester Red Wings with an ERA just a tick over four (4.01). Walters will join the Twins in spring training this spring, hopefully Terry Ryan and the front office bring in some better starters via trade of free agency or Twins fans may be getting more Walters in their lives and I don’t foresee that being good for anyone.
That’s all for this week, I hope you all had a Happy Halloween full of treats and welcomed the Great Pumpkin into your hearts once more.
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