Let’s face it: most of the good news for the Twins this year has come from the minors, as Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano have emerged as two of the game’s top five prospects. What’s happened with the major league club has been mostly bad.
That’s especially the case with Scott Diamond, the team’s best starter while going 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA as a rookie last year, and Aaron Hicks, the team’s former No. 1 prospect who won the center field job this spring. Both were demoted back to the minors on Thursday.
Diamond, whose season didn’t start until mid-April following December surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow, was 5-10 with a 5.52 ERA and just 45 strikeouts in 107 2/3 innings. He had turned in just three quality starts in 2 1/2 months, and he gave up six earned runs in a loss to the Royals on Thursday. The Twins felt it was time to take a look at someone else, probably Andrew Albers, and now that the trade deadline passed without a Mike Pelfrey trade, that opportunity is coming at Diamond’s expense.
The 23-year-old Hicks showed improvement in June and the first half of July, but he had slumped again of late, leaving him at .192/.259/.338 in 281 at-bats for the season. The Twins took quite a risk this spring when they opted to have him skip Triple-A and go right to the majors, and it’s clear now that it didn’t pay off. Still, Hicks is young enough that no one is giving up on him yet. He’ll be back in September, and he’ll probably get another chance to play regularly then. In the meantime, the Twins will go with Clete Thomas in center and give Oswaldo Arcia another chance in a corner. The 21-year-old Arcia was recalled today after hitting .375/.490/.725 with four homers in 13 games for Triple-A Rochester last month.
Carlos Gonzalez is expected to avoid the disabled list, but he will give his sprained finger some time off after exiting Wednesday’s game with the injury, the Denver Post’s Troy Renck reports.
Gonzalez has been dealing with a sprained left middle finger for weeks and opted out of the Home Run Derby because of it. He tried resting it for four days last week, and he went 5-for-5 after returning to Colorado’s lineup on Monday. However, it wasn’t enough to take care of the injury once and for all.
Gonzalez leads the NL with a .965 OPS this year, and he was on top in homers, too, before the finger injury became a bigger factor. He has just one since the All-Star break, and Domonic Brown has overtaken him for the NL lead, 27-26.
When Gonzalez stole two bases on Monday, it gave him his fourth straight 20 HR-20 SB season. The only active players with more career 20-20 seasons are Carlos Beltran (seven), Alex Rodriguez (six) and Hanley Ramirez (five). Jimmy Rollins and Alfonso Soriano also have four apiece.
The White Sox still don’t know exactly what they have in Marcus Semien, but they’re moving a little closer to finding out with the decision to promote him from Double-A to Triple-A on Thursday.
Semien, a 2011 sixth-round pick, busted out in the second half of last season after an uninspiring first year as a pro. This season, he had hit .290/.420/.483 with 15 homers, 20 steals in 393 at-bats at-bats in Double-A.
What’s most impressive is the evolution of his strikeout to walk ratio:
2011: 53/22 K/BB in 229 AB
2012: 97/55 K/BB in 418 AB
2013: 66/84 K/BB in 393 AB
Semien, who was projected as a utilityman at the beginning of the season, has appeared in 47 games at short, 41 games at second and 17 at third this year. The White Sox have to decide whether they want to keep rotating him or to hand him a full-time position now that he looks more like a future regular. Gordon Beckham’s impressive rebound could leave the White Sox set at second base for a while longer, and Alexei Ramirez, though a trade candidate just 24 hours ago, is signed to play shortstop through 2015.