Wetmore: 5 thoughts on 5-run rallies, Gibson draft, Twins prospects
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The Twins dug themselves a big hole and ultimately didn't have quite enough rally Tuesday in Anaheim. Minnesota lost to the Angels, 8-6, after the Twins had erased a 5-run deficit.
This column presents 5 thoughts from Tuesday's game.
As always, feel free to ask any questions or make any observations in the comments. If you have a unique baseball observation during a game, feel free to share it with me on Twitter (@DerekWetmore).
1. Kyle Gibson put himself in a tough spot by loading the bases in the first inning. He walked the first two batters and then Albert Pujols reached on fielder's choice that Danny Santana fielded to his right and tried to throw out Mike Trout at second. He slid in safely becaues of where Santana fielded the ball and Trout's speed.
The first big problem came when Gibson fell behind cleanup hitter Josh Hamilton, 2-1. So Gibson had the bases loaded and was trying to avoid walking in a run. That's not a good formula, because Hamilton is a very good fastball hitter, and Gibson, who probably didn't want to fall behind 3-1, got too much of the plate with the heater. Hamilton lined it to the outfield and two runs scored, including the speedy Trout from second base.
Then Gibson hit Erick Aybar with a pitch and surrendered a 2-RBI single to Howie Kendrick before he finally recorded the first out of the half inning. He got a ground ball double play and a groundout, but not before some serious damage was done.
2. That five-run inning ended Gibson's personal scoreless innings streak at 22 innings. One more inning and he would have tied Francisco Liriano. Eleven more and he would have tied Johan Santana for the Twins record for consecutive scoreless innings among starting pitchers. J.C. Romero holds the overall Twins record in 36 scoreless frames in a row.
3. Just as quickly as the Twins appeared out of it, they got right back into the game. The Twins had gone down in order in the first inning and then gave up a five spot. But instead of rolling over on the road, Minnesota scrapped back into the game with five runs of its own in the top of the second inning.
Josh Willingham and Kendrys Morales both hit solo home runs to lead off the inning. Chris Parmelee singled with one out, but was erased when Eduardo Escobar grounded into a fielder's choice. Escobar moved to second on an poorly thrown pickoff attempt. Sam Fuld singled him home and then stole second. Danny Santana doubled home Fuld, and then Brian Dozier singled home Santana to tie it, 5-5. Joe Mauer struck out swinging to end the inning, but the Twins had fought all the way back with an impressive rally against C.J. Wilson.
You won't ordinarily find extendive play-by-play sequences in these columns, but these two were exceptional half innings.
4. Kyle Gibson was drafted three spots ahead of Mike Trout in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Now that Trout is the best player in baseball it's easier to ridicule the pick, but consider that 20 other teams also passed on taking Trout with their first round selection; a couple teams did so twice.
Gibson once was seen as a likely top-10 draft selection, but an injury caused his velocity to dip at the end of his junior season, just before he was drafted. That caused him to "fall" to No. 22, where the Twins drafted him.
A couple notes that may seem laughable in hindsight. Here is a scouting report for Gibson from around the time of the draft. And here's one for Trout. We could list the players taken early in that draft, but let's save the space and just link to it for those who are interested. Some Major Leaguers, some quality players. But obviously there's only one Mike Trout.
4(b). Perhaps not surprisingly, Trout got the better of Gibson on Tuesday. Trout drew a walk as part of a five-run Angels first inning. After the Twins fought all the way back to tie the score at 5-5, Trout's 2-run home run untied it and effectively ended Gibson's night. Gibson got Albert Pujols to ground out and then struck out Josh Hamilton to end the second inning. But then Gibson gave way to Sam Deduno in the third inning having allowed seven earned runs.
5. Two Twins prospects were selected Tuesday to participate in the All-Star Futures Game. Although no U.S. prospect from the organization will go, Puerto Ricans J.O. Berrios and Kennys Vargas will play for the World Team.
If you haven't heard of either, here's a quick story on the announcement, including some minor league stats.
Vargas, 23, is a power-hitting first baseman/DH with good power and on-base numbers at Double-A New Britain. Berrios, 20, is a six-foot righthander with an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio at Class-A Advanced Fort Myers.
Yes, it's a little disappointing for Twins fans that they won't see Byron Buxton or Miguel Sano in this game. But the Twins farm system has both top-end talent and depth of potential impact prospects.
Here's a look at Baseball America's top 10 Twins prospects before the season began:
CF Byron Buxton
3B Miguel Sano
RHP Alex Meyer
RHP Kohl Stewart
RHP J.O. Berrios
2B/OF Eddie Rosario
LHP Lewis Thorpe
RHP Trevor May
SS Danny Santana
SS Jorge Polanco
5(b). Vargas wasn't on the preseason list, but has opened some eyes this season by hitting .318/.395/.531 with 14 home runs and 57 RBIs, and controlling his strikeout-to-walk numbers (45:34). When I saw him in spring training, I was struck by his size (6-foot-5, 275 pounds). Sano is a big kid, and Vargas made him look small by comparison. I saw Vargas hit a couple towering drives on the back field in batting practice but I didn't think too much of it, since I don't typically put much stock in how far the ball travels in batting practice. He's shown this season, as a 23-year-old in Double-A, that he can make the ball fly in games, too.
--Etc. I've received requests to do minor league updates more often. I'm considering it. Feel free to let me know if you'd like to read something like that. I tend to focus on covering the Major League team, but I keep my eyes on the farm, and could write something from time to time if it would benefit readers.
--Other reading: I put together my home run derby teams. Here are the 10 players I'd like to see in the derby at Target Field during All-Star week.
Who would you put in the home run derby?