Williams gives Gophers fans a freshman to cheer for

As a true freshman, it matters not that University of Minnesota men’s basketball player Rodney Williams has opened his career against such patsies as Stephen F. Austin and Tennessee Tech.

Williams has looked good in both games, and now it appears he might be rewarded for it.

Gophers head coach Tubby Smith is considering making Williams a starter after having seen Williams play alongside the starters in the second half of Monday’s win over SFA.

Williams is doing a lot of things right, according to the Star Tribune’s Myron Medcalf. Everyone knew he was a heck of an athlete, as the video at the bottom proves. He had quite the highlight reel of dunks before ever joining the Gophers.

While Royce White remains on the outside looking in, Williams will be leaned on to give this freshman class some legitimacy, or at the very least a face. White is facing theft and fifth-degree assault charges stemming from an incident at the Mall of America.

Twins’ minor leagues getting much-needed attention

The Minnesota Twins’ run to the 2009 AL Central division title was as improbable as it gets when you consider where the team was with three weeks left in the regular season.

Justin Morneau was out for the season. Joe Crede was out for the season. The starting rotation was in shambles. But the Twins caught the Detroit Tigers.

What made the run so remarkable was the Twins once again – like they did in 2008 with Alexi Casilla and Brian Buscher – found guys in the minor leagues to help out. Guys like Jose Morales and Brian Duensing played big roles for the team down the stretch.

When Torii Hunter left the Twins via free agency after the 2007 season, and then Johan Santana was traded to the New York Mets, I said one of my great concerns with this team wasn’t stars leaning. I was much more concerned about a minor league system that, as a small-market team is relied on a lot, had seemingly dried up.

The Twins continue to produce major league ready players in the minors, but it’s not exactly star power talent.

Clearly, the front office has taken notice, and just in the last year we’ve seen the Twins sign the top available prospect in Europe, then the top prospect in Latin America.

Whether or not Max Kepler or Miguel Angel Sano amount to anything is hard to say. It really is gambling, but I’d rather see the Twins spend $3 million on a potential superstar in Sano then see them drop $4 million on the Mike Lambs of the world. God knows there’s plenty of them.

I’ve expressed concerns in the past about the Twins’ lack of prospects from overseas (those signed by the Twins, not acquired in trades like Casilla). The organization is at the very least addressing this.

For more Twins’ minor league reading, check out this link from FanGraphs. The site reviews some of the risers and fallers within the Twins’ minor league system.

If you check out the comments, I saw somebody talk about a guy in the Twins’ farm system named Adrian Salcedo. I had never heard of him before, so I checked out his stats. He’s in the low minors, but his stats are pretty sick. I must emphasize the kid’s 18 years old so much can change, but here’s another overseas guy that’s turning heads in the low minors.