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Note – Be sure to listen at 10:00 tonight to the final episode of Twins Minor League Weekly where Travis Aune and I will be talking about everything throughout the Twins minor league season. We’ll discuss our choices as top players for each team and in the organization, how each team did, and many of the players that will be back next year. Check it out here at 10!
As games finished on Labor Day in the Twins minor league system, the Twins minor league season came to an end. New Britain had an opportunity to make the playoffs had Reading lost and the Rock Cats won. Unfortunately, the R-Phillies won their game. The Elizabethton Twins were the lone playoff team in the organization, although they lost in the first round. It was a disappointing season in the Twins farm system. However, there are a lot of guys who had very good seasons. Today, I’ll present for you my choices for the Twins Minor League Hitter, Starting Pitcher and Relief Pitcher of the Year in three separate blog entries. We will start with the Relief Pitchers. Feel free to debate them, or ask any questions you may have in the Comments section:
Starting Pitcher of the Year
#3 – Adrian Salcedo – Beloit Snappers (6-6, 2.93 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 135 IP, 131 H, 27 BB, 92 K)
The 20 year old Top 10 Twins prospect had a very good 2011 season. He made 20 starts and pitched well, although his final start pushed his ERA above three. He had reached his innings limit and moved to the bullpen where he gave up just one earned run in 13.2 innings. Salcedo is young and very talented. Like that kicker from The Replacements, he “wiry.” He will be a good one!
#2 – BJ Hermsen – Beloit Snappers/Ft. Myers Miracle (13-8, 3.33 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 151.1 IP, 165 H, 37 BB, 101 K)
Hermsen was the Twins 6th round pick in 2008 out of Masonville, Iowa, where he was a four-sport star in high school. At 6-5, Hermsen certainly has room to grow, but he works hard and that work really paid off this year. As Salcedo reached his innings limit, Hermsen was at his finest and earned his promotion to the Ft. Myers Miracle (11-7, 3.10 ERA with Snappers). He made five starts for the Miracle and in the middle three, he gave up a total of three earned runs in 18 innings. His first and last starts of the season were rough, but doesn’t take away from a tremendous 2011 season for Hermsen.
Starting Pitcher of the Year – Liam Hendriks – New Britain Rock Cats/Rochester Red Wings (12-6, 3.36 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 139.1 IP, 137 H, 21 BB, 111 K)
For the second straight year, Liam Hendriks is my choice for the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year (Note – if you read the comments, I was told I was an idiot. I’m used to that.). I talk a lot about having seen Angels’ OF Mike Trout in Beloit last year (playing for Cedar Rapids). Hendriks began his 2010 season with the Snappers (Low A). After six starts (1.32 ERA), he moved up to Ft. Myers where he was their top pitcher 1.93 ERA). In 2010, he was 8-4 with a 1.74 ERA. In 108.2 innings, he gave up just 79 hits, walked just 12 and struck out 105! He began the 2011 season with New Britain. He went 8-2 with a 2.70 ERA before pitching in both the Futures Game and the Eastern League All Star game. He then moved up to AAA Rochester where he has gone 4-4 with a 4.56 ERA in nine starts. In AAA, he has three walks and 30 strikeouts. A tremendous control pitcher, Hendriks is also very competitive. The 22 year old Australia native missed the entire 2008 season with a spinal cord injury, but he has been terrific since then. He has a tough delivery that has been described to me as “It’s just Liam, there is no comparison.” That is why I am excited to see him make his Major League Debut on Tuesday night at Target Field against the White Sox.
Feel free to discuss in the Comments section.