Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Minors stuff

2014 has been a difficult year physically for the Twins' top position prospects. So why would it be any different for Nick Gordon?

Byron Buxton had a stubborn wrist injury that robbed him of most the the season, then sustained a pretty significant concussion that ended his season prematurely.

Miguel Sano missed the whole season with Tommy John surgery.

Eddie Rosario's year wasn't wrecked so much by injury as behavior, but he didn't make any real progress toward the majors either.

And now Gordon. The Twins first-round draft pick in June broke a finger Monday night in the first game of the Appalachian League playoffs. Elizabethton, which dominated the Appy League regular season (as it often does), wound up swept out of the best-two-of-three series by Johnson City, and Gordon will not be able to participate fully (if at all) in instructional league this fall.

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E-Town boasted the Appy League's player of the year in Max Murphy and pitcher of the year in Felix Jorge, but we should restrain our enthusiasm over their status.

Murphy, a Minnesota native and ninth-round draft choice in June, came out of college and was a bit old for the Appy League. He moved up to Cedar Rapids after terrorizing Appy League pitchers for 35 games (slugging percentage .753), and he found the Midwest League a good bit more challenging (.242/.314/.395).

Jorge was repeating the Appy League after having a horrible 12 games (eight starts) with CR: ERA of 9.00 in 39 innings. (Even with the return to Elizabethton, however, Jorse is still slightly young for the league.)

It's better, of course, that these two dominated the Appy League than the alternative. I'm just saying that this success isn't particularly indicative of the future.

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Andrew Walter, the "Twins Fan From Afar" who resides in the vicinity of the New Britain Rock Cats -- the Twins Double A affiliate -- took note Tuesday on Twitter of the uncertain status of the affiliation between the Rock Cats and Twins.

Last month the Twins had public, pre-game ceremonies in Rochester (Triple A) and Cedar Rapids (low A) to sign fresh affiliation agreements with those clubs. The alignment with New Britain was similarly up for renewal, and nothing has happened. A couple of stories in local newspapers suggest that the Rock Cats are eager to re-up with the Twins; the Twins, we might infer, are looking for an alternative. (The Fort Myers affiliation is also up, but there doesn't seem to be any question about that connection.)

According to this "affiliation tracker" on the Baseball America website, 10 Double A affiliations are due to expire this month -- three in the Eastern League, including New Britain; three in the Texas League; and four in the Southern League.

I assume that, geographically, the Twins would prefer to remain in the Eastern League, keeping the Double-A affiliate relatively close to the Triple A affiliate. A Southern League team, on the other hand, would be more convenient to the lower rung on the ladder (high A Fort Myers). The Texas League is largely made of of West Coast affiliations; I will be surprised if the Twins wind up in that league.

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