Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jason Leblebijian Interview

Today's interview is with Jason Leblebijian.  Leb, as we know him as at Bradley University (or "Lebby" to one special guy), is a shortstop in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.  Currently he is playing on the Advanced-A FSL Dunedin Blue Jays.  He took time to answer some questions about his career.  Here is a link to his MiLB player page:

Monday, April 29, 2013

This week on Pitcher's Duel

Coming up this week on the Duel:

This week is full of fun interviews with players inside professional basebal

Tuesday will feature an interview with Jason Leblebijian who is shortstop in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.  Wednesday will be an interview with Joe Bircher who is a left-handed pitcher with the Houston Astros.

Thursday will feature an interview with Tom Quinlan who spend years with the Blue Jays, Phillies and Twins.  Friday’s interview will finish up with Terry Steinbach who was an All-Star catcher with the Oakland A’s and Minnesota Twins and is the current bench coach for the Minnesota Twins.  

Follow us on Twitter @Pitchers_Duel to keep up with the articles.  Your comments and thoughts are welcomed!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What To Do With Aaron Hicks?

Two hits in thirty-two plate appearances.

That's Aaron Hicks production in his first week as a major leaguer. That's also good for a .067/.125/.067 batting line.

Consequently, a lot of questions have been asked around the Twin Cities if Hicks should still be in the majors, let alone the starting lineup. Many celebrated when the lineup for yesterday's game had Darin Mastroianni penciled in Hicks' place.

But is Hicks really this bad? Does he just need some AAA seasoning?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Twins Minor League Primer

For some organizations, the most interesting games lie in the minor leagues. Minnesota is one of these organizations. The major league team won't offer much hope to hope-starved fans. That's not to say they'll be unwatchable or Joe Mauer won't hit .400 (cross your fingers), but this is not remotely a playoff club.

The minor league system offers hope. Ranked #4 in all of baseball, the organization is stacked with hope, projection, power, speed and velocity. Ergo, Twins fans like myself have something to get excited about even if it won't add any wins to the 2013 ledger.

Here's a Twins primer on what to look for in 2013.


I know I just spent two paragraphs bashing the major league club, but along with Aaron Hicks, these guys should offer a glimpse into the future at some point this season.

Kyle Gibson -- Gibson could be the best pitcher, major or minor league, in the organization today. I'd be surprised if he's not facing major league competition by the end of May.

Alex Meyer -- The highest ceiling of any pitcher in the system, he could see the majors in September.

Michael Tonkin -- I'm not sure I'm sold on Tonkin, but people close to the team love him as a future closer. We'll see his debut in September

Oswaldo Arcia -- Of all the players we will see in 2013, I'm most excited about Arcia. He has absolutely raked at every level and is reminiscent, to me, of a pre-injury Jason Kubel who can hit for average, power and run a little bit.

Chris Herrmann -- Does the term "back-up catcher of the future" get you aroused? Me too. He'll be playing in Rochester with a likely call-up as soon as the Twins are fed up with Doumit behind the plate. This is especially the case since Drew Butera was recently sidelined by a broken hand.

Blue Chips

Byron Buxton -- In my mind, Buxton is the top prospect in the system. He has the potential to not just be a five-tool player, but a player with five top-of-the-line tools. Think Mike Trout. Of course, that's what dreams are made of and there's barely a 1% chance it all works out. He's already 4-10 with a home run and two steals in Low-A. He'll be there all year.

Miguel Sano -- Not many teams have a 1-2 punch like Buxton and Sano. He doesn't have the speed or defensive utility, but the power is present. He'll shoot for 30 bombs and hopefully raise the batting average into the .280-.290 range, which, based on what I've read, is likely. He'll start the season in Fort Meyers, but could follow the Arcia path to AA mid-season if he hits well enough.

Others of Interest

Danny Santana -- Interesting shortstop prospect at a high level. Will play in AA.

Trevor May -- He throws fire but doesn't know where it's going. I'm not overly excited about his future, but if he puts it all together it's going to be massive.

Max Kepler -- The German born outfielder gets his first taste of full season ball. Crazy athletic, he could be a force in left or right field.

J.O Berrios -- Small package but huge talent, he's put up numbers everywhere he's been and will try to keep it going on a stacked Cedar Rapids team.

Kennys Vargas -- Great name and huge power. He could be a future DH in the majors and will be serving that role in Fort Meyers this season. Not to mention, if I left him off the list Andy would not be pleased.

Jorge Polanco and Niko Goodrum -- A couple middle infielders with big potential. I didn't really want to put them on the list, but there's a chance I'd regret their omission. Both are very far away.

2012 Draft Class -- There's a lot of college pitchers (Luke Bard, Mason Melotakis, Zack Jones, DJ Baxendale and J.T. Chartgois) that will be playing full-season ball this year. Adam Walker has HUGE power, we'll see how the rest goes.