Aug 23, 2011

Somewhat unfounded rumour creation

So, the ABL is right around the corner, just on the horizon, up around the bend, almost here, and I don't know about you, but I am getting excited.

I am super keen to see what sort of imports the ABL bring in this year, as I think that having solid imports should be one of the key pillars of their strategy. For this reason, I have been keeping a keen eye on possible rumours or news about likely appearances from non-Aussie players. There has already been some speculation that Jose Canseco could be appearing in some sort of capacity - I am not quite sure what I think about this plus would be that a bucketload of regular Aussies will know who he is, as he has been on The Simpsons...but at the same time, he is probably not someone you would say is blessed with character and integrity.

However, today I put together a few things that suggested there might be something better brewing. I am going to put it all out there - if I am wrong, I am wrong, and you can legitimately call me a crazy fanboy. But in the interests of making some sort of prediction, I offer the following:

We could see a few more high-level minor leaguers [possibly with Major League experience] from the Minnesota Twins organisation playing in the off season, possibly in Canberra.

What makes me say that?

Well, I have noticed a couple of things in recent days/weeks which I think indicate this could be a possibility, they are:

1. The Twins are having a pretty sucky year. They have been plagued by injuries to key players, and are generally performing poorly (team ERA 4.46, 26th in MLB; team Batting Average Against .274, 29th in MLB; on base percentage .307, 28th in MLB). This has been a good thing for some of the young guns in their organisation, including not just Luke Hughes, but guys like Ben Revere, Trevor Plouffe, Danny Valencia and others on the cusp, who have benefited from the injuries to others and have had significant playing time. It seems like Revere, Hughes and Plouffe, as well as Rene Tosoni, have potential to be regular big leaguers, but as John Shipley at recently remarked, at least Hughes and Plouffe have not really cemented their place in the bigs just yet.

2. Because they have been filling out roster spots with inexperienced players, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been playing teacher. In particular, he has been working through some situational plays with the younger guys over the last week or two. In an article in the Star Tribune referencing special work Gardy has been putting in with Revere, Hughes and Plouffe, Gardenhire said he would be encouraging Trevor Plouffe to play Winter Ball to assist in his development. Perhaps he could join his colleague Luke Hughes on a trip down under?

3. Today, Ben Revere took what has been widely recognised as a rather awesome catch (if you love a good defensive play and haven't already seen it, check it out here). This was re-tweeted in a thousand different places, and put up on stacks of Facebook pages. One such page was the Canberra Cavalry page, which added the comment 'This is an amazing catch, maybe the catch of the year. Will there be plays like this at the Fort this summer'. Now, this could be entirely innocuous or coincidental, but when you also think that there has been some interaction between the Cavalry and the Twins in recent times (Twins international scout Howard Norsetter signed Cavalry pitcher Tim Atherton) becomes tempting to believe this could be a hint at something.

As I said above, I may be totally off track with this one, and I recognise it would be kind of a big deal for AAA/AAAA/MLB players to drop in to the ABL in the Winter, but maybe we could see it happen....My guess is we would be more likely to see a guy like Trevor Plouffe rather than Revere, but time will tell I guess.

Only 72 days til opening night!