Monday, June 06, 2005

Twins Prospects

At the game Sunday in Beloit, I got to see some of the Minnesota Twins' top prospects in action -- SS Trevor Plouffe, SP Jay Rainville, and 3B David Winfree. And now for some brief analysis and observations from the game which pitted 2004 1st round draft picks on the mound, Jay Rainville against the Clinton Lumber Kings (Texas Rangers affiliate) and Eric Hurley.

First off, Eric Hurley did not impress me as much as his counterpart. Our seats were right behind the scouts near home plate, so I was able to see the guns and noticed that Hurley's velocity was topping out in the high 80's only, a far cry from the high 90's from the previous year during high school. He also appeared to suffer some sort of injury because the trainer and coaches came out to check on him in the second inning, but stayed in the game. Hurley's repertoire included what seemed like a hard-breaking slider and a sinking fastball. He also appeared to throw a few change-ups as well, but it was obvious, to me at least, when the pitch was coming because his delivery would slow down. His delivery is also rather unorthodox because his arm appeared to lag behind the rest of his body. Eric Hurley's final line from Sunday: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 3 HR allowed.

Now for RHP Jay Rainville, who was considered an NHL defenseman prospect prior to being drafted 39th overall in 2004's draft. Rainville is a pretty big guy -- 6'3", 230 lbs. He looked like a younger Clemens or Schilling out there. He was consistently hitting low 90's with his fastball that appeared to have some sink on it. His breaking ball that he threw was a nice spike-curveball. And just like his pitching counterpart on Sunday, he also needs to work more on his change-up to have it considered a solid pitch. Rainville's mechanics also looked very smooth as well -- a nice 3/4 delivery which appeared like there was little stress on his arm. As for his pitching line against Clinton: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO, 1 HR allowed. Overall, you cannot ask for much more out of a starting pitcher, it was truly a great performance.

As for position prospects that were in the game today, the Twins' first, first round selection in last year's amateur draft was a shortstop by the name of Trevor Plouffe, (20th overall) from high school in California. To be as kind as I can be, Plouffe has really struggled in his time in Beloit, and what I saw yesterday didn't do anything to dismay his current numbers for the year. Eerily, he has very similar stats to that of J.J. Hardy right now, but the comparison stops at the plate. He is currently hitting only .174, with an on-base percentage of .256 while hitting for very little power. At the plate, Plouffe has a good eye, as he is averaging a walk every 8.8 AB's, including 2 more yesterday. His defense is a work in progress. He has good range on pop-ups, but each ball that was hit to him on the ground, he had an error (three total). He made a throwing error on a lazy ground ball that he charged in on in the first inning. In the top of the fifth, he booted his next chance. And in the top of the ninth, he made his second throwing error of the game, failing to record an out on any of the three ground balls that were hit to him.

David Winfree was drafted as a catcher in 2003, then moved to first base and now plays third base. He is a young, work in progress who has huge power potential but doesn't walk enough and strikes out too much. He had a nice game at the plate Sunday though, going 2 for 4 with a double, home run, and three rbi's.


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