February 14, 2007

100 Names to Know

In the issue of “Sports Weekly” for the week of February 7th, they had an article titled “100 Names You Need to Know”. In this article, they have a list of the top 100 young players who could make an "impact" in the major leagues this season. This list includes four Twins players who I will share below along with the short summary provided for each player.

The Lucky Four:
Below is each Twins player on the list, their rank, along with the information provided for each player.

Matt Garza:
Rank: #2
Position: Starting Pitcher

Garza had a meteoric rise through the Twins farm system in 2006, advancing from A-ball to the big leagues and becoming USA Today's Minor League Player of the Year. Yet, he ran out of gas towards the end of the season and was left off the Twins playoff roster. The Twins could use starting pitching help from the farm system, but Garza, 23, has to have a strong spring to avoid Triple-A.

Glen Perkins:
Rank: #34
Position: Starting Pitcher

The last two spots in the Twins rotation are up for grabs, and Perkins can snatch one of them with a stellar spring. Perkins, 23, has only 10 innings of experience above the Double-A level, but has the kind of electric stuff - including a 92-93 MPH fastball, a curve, and changeup - to blow away his competition.

Kevin Slowey:
Rank: #63
Position: Starting Pitcher

As with several other youngsters, the Twins will give Slowey, 22, a shot at cracking the starting rotation this spring. Though he hasn't pitched above Double-A, Slowey has advanced steadily with confidence with his command. He can be likened to Carlos Silva, but with much better strikeout numbers.

Pat Neshek:
Rank: # 92
Position: Releif Pitcher

The side-arming right-hander emerged as a solid middle-inning reliever in 32 games last year, posting a 2.19 ERA and striking out 53 in 37 innings, With Juan Rincon and Jesse Crain ahead of him, Neshek, 26, won't see many crucial eight-inning situations, but if he can repeat his 2006 success, he give manager Ron Gardenhire the luxury if depth.

A Better Understanding:
To get a better understanding of what this article is, I will also include the opening paragraph which gives it history and reasons for including different players.

Here's the 11th annual list of Sports Weekly's 100 Names You Need to Know. These are the next wave of players coming into the majors, who, in our view, could make the biggest impact in the 2007 season.

These aren't necessarily baseball's 100 best prospects. Many top prospects are too far down in the minor leagues to contribute in the majors this season. Others are stuck behind established major leaguers.

Not all of the players on our list have rookie status, but our criteria for inclusion is that players play more innings in the minors leagues than in the majors leagues in 2006.

More Coming:
Tomorrow or Thursday, I will have other key players from other teams that made the list along with previous Twins that have made the list since the 2002 season. I don't agree with all of their comments on each player and will expand on that as well.