Nick Blackburn threw 56 pitches before leaving in the 5th inning, but he wasn’t struck by another linedrive. No, by that point he’d given up 8 hits, and even though he entered the 5th inning with a 3-2 lead, 3 runs had scored in the 7 pitches he threw in the 5th. Juan Rincon came in and gave up a 3-run homer on his first pitch, with two of those runs being credited to Blackburn. Rincon would end up giving up another run of his own for a line of 1 1/3 innings pitched, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk and no strikeouts. Brian Bass managed to pitch 2 innings for the second game in a row, giving up 5 hits and 1 run in this outing, while Matt Guerrier sits in the bullpen and hasn’t pitched since June 2nd. By the way, Blackburn gave up a homer, Rincon gave up two, and Bass’ run came on a solo homer too. Craig Breslow needed just 4 pitches to record two outs as the last pitcher for the team.

It actually could’ve been much worse, but the defense turned 3 very timely double plays behind their pitchers.

 

Speaking of homers, the Twins had three of their own; Carlos Gomez‘s 5th, Michael Cuddyer‘s 3rd, and Alexi Casilla‘s 3rd were all hit. Casilla’s was the only non-solo homer, being a two-run shot. Also, Gomez has now struck out at least once in 8 consecutive games. To be fair though, he’s currently on a 7-game hitting streak.

 

Joe Mauer got two doubles, Justin Morneau had a double and a single, and Delmon Young had two singles, raising his average to .270.

 

The rest of this post will be notes from the Twins’ draft.

Round 1, pick 14: OF/P Aaron Hicks, Wilson High School (CA)

2008 senior season stats:

GP AVG AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB K SB CS OPS
34 .473 93 50 44 23 12 5 4 37 13 37 4 1.463

 

That includes getting hits in 26 of the 34 games while reaching base in every game except one.

From an mlb.com interview:

“I’m a rare player, I can be a very speedy guy, I will steal bags and stuff…That’s kinda been taken away from the game with all the power hitters now in the game, so I feel that I bring more excitement to the game.”

He pitched very well in high school, but has said that he would rather play outfield and the Twins have also said they’ll use him as an outfielder. It’s likely he’ll play center with his great range and above average arm, but realistically could play in any 3 of the OF spots. This pick creates an apparent logjam at the CF position in the minors with Ben Revere, Joe Benson, Denard Span, Jason Pridie, and obviously Gomez starting with the Twins.

 

Round 1, pick 27: P Carlos Gutierrez, University of Miami

Had Tommy John Surgery, missing all of 2007, but was a starter before that. Is now the team’s closer and only started playing baseball a little before his senior year in high school.

2008 stats:

IP H ER BB K HR WP-HBP ERA
43 1/3 34 13 17 64 2 11-3 2.70

 

The 11 wild pitches and 3 hit batters are a little alarming, but remember this is his first year pitching after the surgery. He in fact is still pitching as the Hurricanes are in the playoffs for college baseball. Most “experts” are saying this is the most surprising pick of the first round as he was generally projected to go in the 2nd or 3rd round. The Twins have reached before, usually due to money/signability issues, and frankly I’m not in the position to say whether or not they reached. I don’t “scout” potential draft picks, but the organization’s scouts do, and I trust their judgement a lot more than mine. Ben Revere was a questionable pick but he’s hitting .413 through 36 games at Class A Beloit. Gutierrez has an above-average sinking pitch, but it’s been disputed as to whether or not it’s actually a sinker or just a sinking fastball. There are also disagreements over secondary pitches, with some sources saying he has an average changeup and a feel for a curve while some others are saying he has just one pitch. The Twins have hinted that they want him to start for them in the minor leagues.

 

Round 1A, pick 31: P Steven “Shooter” Hunt, Tulane University

W-L ERA IP H ER BB K HR WP-HBP
9-4 2.68 100 2/3 62 30 56 126 8 10-13

 

Can throw his fastball up to 95 MPH but his strong point is his curveball, which scouts are saying is already better than the average Major League hook. It’s supposed to be a true power curveball and is definitely his strikeout pitch. Apparently he’s shown a feel for the changeup but doesn’t throw it that much in game situations. Knowing how the Twins teach their pitchers, I’d expect him to at least get it to be an average change. The biggest concern with Shooter is his command, as you can see by his 56 walks and a combined 23 wild pitches and hit batters. He was projected to go somewhere in the middle of round 1 and everybody seems to think his stuff is “electric”, so, on the surface at least, this looks like a great pick.

 

I’ll just list the short info on some of the remaining picks:

60th overall, Tyler Ladendorf, SS from Howard College. Will probably end up growing too big for shortstop, has shown ability to run and hit for power.

336th overall, Dominic De La Osa, 2B from Vanderbilt University. Has a short swing with power to all fields, could also play either corner spot in the outfield.

546th overall, Matthew Nohelty, CF from University of Minnesota.

696th overall, Christopher Odegaard, RHP from Minnesota State Mankato (currently unsigned).

864th overall, Nathan Hanson, 3B from University of Minnesota.

876th overall, Joseph Loftus, 3B from Academy of Holy Angels (MN).

1056th overall, Samuel Ryan, C from Tartan High School (MN).

And the most notable Minnesotan in the draft, lefty pitcher Brad Hand from Chaska High School was picked 52nd overall by the Florida Marlins and has already signed.

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