Jul 26, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Minnesota Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks (left) and right fielder Chris Colabello (55) high five after Colabello hit a 2-run home run against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Getting too caught up in prospects can lead a fan down the wrong path. Sometimes, players who aren’t really considered prospects can become important pieces within an organization. Taylor, the Prospect Octopus, and I would like to draw your attention to a few of these players today. None of the players discussed today are considered prospects, for a differing of reasons. There is a notable exception, and we’ll cover him at the end. However, each of these players either were prospects or will be Twins at some point, possibly this season. Enough foreshadowing, let’s dish!!!
Albers is inching closer to his MLB debut. He almost can’t be denied at this point. It really is just a matter of opening up a spot for him. Scott Diamond bought himself at least one more start with a great outing on Friday. However, over the past weeks, Diamond has hardly looked like a deserving member of the Twins rotation. Enter Albers. In 124.1 innings, Albers has a 2.90 ERA, a strikeout rate of 8.1 per nine and a walk rate of 2.2 per nine. He’s been great all season long and has earned the right to show what he can do in Minnesota. He would be the second Independent League veteran to do so this season. The other guy will be discussed below, not to worry.
Hendriks is still just 24 you know. My hopes for Hendriks as a number 3/4 starter are waning. He doesn’t seem to have enough command to offset the lack of strikeout stuff. Therefore, he may be a number 5 starter or spot starter. However, he still might be better than Scott Diamond right now. If the Twins don’t want to add Albers to the 40-man, I’d be interested in seeing what Hendriks can do with another shot. He’s been mostly good since returning from a May injury. He got rocked two starts ago, but carried a perfect game into the seventh of his next start. Inconsistency is not uncommon in 5th starters. Hendriks could still be a part of the future, but maybe not as big of a part as I had initially hoped.
Luckily for my own sanity, the Nick Blackburn train has slowed down a bit. Blackburn looked to be on the verge of making it back to the Twins without deserving a lick of time on the MLB club. However, he went on the Rochester DL this weekend and his momentum has stalled a bit as a result. If Blackburn was added to the MLB roster before Albers or Hendriks, it would be a travesty. Blackburn received more opportunities than he should have in the past few seasons and hasn’t done anything in the Minors this year to earn time with the Twins. He should finish out the season with Rochester and then leave the organization after the season.
As part of the Twins’ All-Star Break celebration, they made some significant roster moves. One of the more puzzling moves was sending Chris Parmelee back to Rochester. Since his arrival, he hasn’t done anything to justify a return to the Big Club. In 10 games through Saturday, he had posted just a .257/.325/.371 triple slash and only has produced two extra-base hits. I imagine that he’ll have to dominate AAA to be back before September. The Twins seem content to play Clete Thomas every day, ignoring that Thomas is brutal. If Parmelee can’t overcome Clete Thomas, he has little chance of being a part of the Twins’ future. The Twins are loaded with outfielders better than Thomas and probably Parmelee.
Arcia was also a part of the MLB All-Star purge, but the logic was a bit more solid. I still thought it was a terrible idea, even if it made sense. Arcia can hit at AAA. Cool, congrats Oswaldo. Can he consistently hit in the Majors? I think so, but no one can really say for sure. The fact is that he isn’t being given a chance to make adjustments. Each time he fell into a tailspin, the Twins sent him back down. Each time he’s returned to Rochester, he’s raked. The only place where Arcia can learn to adjust to MLB pitchers is in the Majors. Until then, all the Twins can learn is that Arcia is great at AAA. What does that really tell us?
Speaking of great at AAA, Colabello was a deserving beneficiary of the All-Star shakeups. He was crushing AAA to the tune of a nearly 1.100 OPS. He was leading AAA in home runs. It was time to give him a chance to consistently hit MLB pitching. At first, it looked bad. He stands really far from the plate (which is fine if it works for him), but his bat looked slow as well. Then, the Seattle series happened and it looks like Colabello might be able to translate his power to the next level. He hit a home run on Friday, another on Sunday and was also robbed of one on Sunday. Colabello could be a nice stop-gap, cheap first baseman if the Twins do the smart thing and trade Justin Morneau.
Herrmann probably didn’t deserve a promotion. However, with Eduardo Escobar sent to AAA, the Twins needed a third catcher for emergencies. As such, Herrmann seemed to be a bench player. However, with Joe Mauer at home with his new babies, Herrmann has received more consistent playing time and the Twins seem to trust him enough to hit him in the top half of the lineup. He’s had a couple good games and then mostly 0fers. He could be a nice bench player, but I’m not so sure he’s the Ryan Doumit replacement that I had originally hoped. He doesn’t have much power and he strikes out like a Thomas/Hicks hybrid.
Here’s your notable exception. Sano made some waves this week with a giant homer that was followed by a dope bat flip and pimp walk around the bases. The important thing will be if the player and team can simply move past this issue and learn from it. Sano needs to keep his #rig, but needs to dial back the attitude. The Twins need to be open to a player with some personality. Hopefully, this will be the last we hear of Sano’s “attitude problem.”
That’s all we have today. I wouldn’t be surprised if all eight of these players are on the MLB roster by the end of this season. Well, maybe not Sano, but we can dream. Next week, Taylor and I will have another eight-pack of prospects for your reading pleasure. Have a nice week!