Minor League Pitcher of the Year

23 Sep

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The Twins have clinched. The team has played remarkably. Now, they are tied with the Yankees for the best record in all of baseball. I would say that the starters earned their day off on Wednesday afternoon, and the whole team will benefit from another day off today. As a minor league guy, I enjoyed the Wednesday lineup that included only Denard Span and Jason Kubel among regular starters.

Following this team through a pennant race is exhausting and it feels like we have covered just about every possible topic as it relates to the 2010 Twins and the push toward the post season.

So today, I’m going to jump back into one of my favorite topics, Twins minor league baseball. Today, I’m going to give you my top five choices for Twins Pitcher of the Year and select the 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Despite some disappointing team records through the minor league ranks, there were some very good pitching performances that deserve to be recognized. When it comes to my choice for Pitcher of the Year, that is different than a prospect ranking. Of the eight players that I will mention below, it is likely that three of them will be in my top ten Twins prospects list later this fall. It is possible that a couple of them won’t even be in the top fifty prospect list, but still had terrific seasons. Last year’s pitcher of the year, David Bromberg, quietly had another very strong season as he moves up the Twins organizational ladder. Let’s get to the list:

#5 – Anthony Slama – Rochester Red Wings – 26 years old – RHP

Anthony Slama finally got his opportunity to help the Twins at the big league level. He pitched in five games for the Twins. He again spent most of his season in Triple A Rochester. While there, he went 2-2 with 17 saves and a 2.20 ERA in 54 games. In 65.1 innings, he walked 32 and struck out 74. Opponents hit just .170 against him all year. Slama will turn 27 years old during the offseason and the Twins really need to just give him an opportunity in 2011 and see what he can do.

#4 – Kyle Gibson – Ft. Myers/New Britain/Rochester – 22 years old – RHP

Gibson made his much-anticipated official pro debut in 2010. He signed late after being the Twins top pick in 2009 and pitched some in the Instructional League. But he played his first official games this year, starting with Ft. Myers. There, he was 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA in 43.1 innings. He moved up to Double-A New Britain and went 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA. He was finally summoned to Triple-A Rochester where he was 0-0 with a 1.72 ERA before being shut down for the season. Overall, he went 11-6 with a 2.96 ERA. In 152 innings, he gave up 136 hits, walked 39 and struck out 126. Opponents hit a combined .242 against him. Gibson definitely fits the mold of a Twins pitcher. Throws strikes, mixes pitches, pitches to contact. We could see him at Target Field by the end of June.

#3 – Dan Osterbrock – Beloit/Ft. Myers – 23 years old – LHP

After being named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year in 2008, Osterbrock struggled in Beloit in 2009. He returned to the Midwest League to start the 2010 season. He made five starts, was twice the Pitcher of the Week and threw a no-hitter. And then he was promoted to Ft. Myers. There, he went 7-8, but had just a 2.73 ERA. Overall, he went 9-9 with a 2.65 ERA. In 139.1 innings, he walked just 28 and struck out 106. He does not throw very hard, so his .236 opponent batting average against is even more impressive. Just a tremendous bounce-back season for the lefty from the University of Cincinnati.

#2 – Kane Holbrooks – Beloit/Ft. Myers/New Britain – 23 years old – RHP

Holbrooks was a 2nd team All American in 2009 yet he fell to the Twins in the 21st round of the draft. He pitched solely out of the bullpen at Elizabethton after signing with the Twins. He began 2010 in the Beloit Snappers bullpen where he dominated before getting two starts. In Beloit, he was 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA and nine saves. In 54 inning, he walked 13 and struck out 71! He moved up to Ft. Myers and made seven starts. He was 3-3 with a 2.27 ERA. At the end of the year, he was moved up to New Britain where he made one start and gave up three runs in five innings. Overall, Holbrooks went 8-6 with a 2.10 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. He made 32 appearances out of the bullpen and ten starts. In 102.2 combined innings, he gave up 90 hits, walked 29 and struck out 120. Opponents hit just .231 off of him.

The Twins Minor League  Pitcher of the Year is…

Liam Hendriks – Beloit/Ft. Myers – 21 years old – RHP

Hendriks missed just over a month of the season because of an emergency appendectomy and yet his numbers are so incredible that he is still my choice for Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Week. He began the season at Beloit where he went 2-1 with a 1.32 ERA. In 34 innings, he gave up just 16 hits, walked four and struck out 39 while batters hit just .138 against him. He moved up to Ft. Myers where he went 6-3 with a 1.93 ERA. In 74.2 innings, he gave up 63 hits, walked eight and struck out 66. Overall, he went 8-4 with a 1.74 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP. In 108.2 innings, he gave up just 79 hits, walked just 12 and struck out 105 while limiting batters to a .199 average.

Honorable Mention –

  • David Bromberg – New Britain/Rochester – 23 years old – RHP (6-9. 3.75 ERA, 151.1 innings, 152 H, 48 BB, 112 K)
  • Kyle Waldrop – Rochester Red Wings – 24 years old – RHP (59 G, 5-3, 2.57 ERA, 2 saves, 87.2 innings, 89 H, 20 BB, 60 K)
  • Dakota Watts – Beloit/Ft. Myers/New Britain – 23 years old – RHP (6-3, 3.10 ERA, 8 saves, 81.1 innings, 61 H, 44 BB, 89 K)

What do you think? Who would get your vote? Remember, this is now a vote for the best prospect, but the Pitcher of the Year. I think it’s pretty easy to say that Kyle Gibson is the Twins best prospect, although Bromberg and Hendriks certainly have to be in the discussion. Where would your vote go?

Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.


11 Responses to “ Minor League Pitcher of the Year”

  1. Mark September 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    To me the clear cut Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year is Kyle Gibson. Gibson started his career at a much higher level than the typical pitcher at High A, blew away the competition and moved up to AA and then AAA. At each level Gibson performed very well.

    I understand Seth’s picks. As a blogger who follows the Twins Minor League system he is looking at it from a different persective. But I think he is being a little bit too “nuanced” in this case.

    Picking Dan Osterbrock, Kane Holbrooks and Liam Hendricks ahead of Gibson simply does not make sense. All four of these pitchers pitched for the Twins High A club in Ft Myers. Of the four, Gibson was the most dominant with the Miracle and had the best statistics. Clearly, if Gibson would have made his debut at a lower level, such as Low A Beloit, he would have been almost unhittable.

    So, not only is it easy to say that Kyle Gibson is the best Twins pitching prospect, it is also easy to say that he had the best minor league performance for the 2010 season.

  2. Shawn September 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm #


    Your argument is valid on Gibson for the most part, but he wasn’t better than Hendriks at Fort Myers.

    Gibson 4-1 1.87 ERA 1.038 WHIP 8.3 k/9 3.33 k/bb
    Hendriks 6-3 1.93 ERA .951 WHIP 8 k/9 8.25 k/bb

    Hendriks is also over a year younger than Gibson.

    Gibson is the #1 pitching prospect, but similar level, Hendriks was better.

    Hendriks deserves #1 on this list.

  3. mike wants wins September 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    I agree, Gibson should be the pitcher of the year. But, the list looks pretty good, I think. Excellent write up, even if I don’t completely agree with your conclusions.

  4. mike wants wins September 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Oh, I’d like to see more strikeouts/9, but it isn’t their style.

  5. Shawn September 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    Wrote this last night on Holbrooks/Watts, they both have pretty good K rates:

  6. Mark September 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    Gibson was the better performer at Ft Myers although Hendricks did pitch very well there too. AS a resident of Ft Myers and having seen both pitch I can assure you of this. Gibson is a much more commanding pitcher.

    I was fortunate to watch Gibson’s debut. I was very disappointed to miss Alex Wimmer’s. Was going to go, but a huge storm moved in as is customary in SW Florida in late summer.

  7. Geoff September 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    What do you decribe as commanding – more walks and similar strikeouts!!! And why can’t people spell Hendriks correctly??

  8. clutterheart September 23, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    It seems jusy plain silly to say that Gibson had the Fourth best year out of all the pitchers in the minors.

  9. Mark September 23, 2010 at 11:27 pm #

    Commanding? Let me ask you a question, have you seen either of them pitch? I have. Commanding is NOT limited to strikeouts. It is HOW the ball is hit against them, and at high Single-A, Kyle Gibson was beyond commanding. Most of the hitters made very weak contact against him and hit little rollers to the infielders.

    Gibson’s 6.0 ground balls to fly out ratio is incredible. Only two other pitchers with at least 40 IP had G/F ratios above 3 and they were not even close to Gibson at 4.65 and 3.55.

    Hendriks, on the other hand, had a G/F ratio of 1.70. He had a very good season but not as good as Kyle Gibson.

    • Geoff September 24, 2010 at 1:56 am #

      Have seen a lot of Hendriks pitch only in Australia(and for Australia) but have only seen Gibson on video and not the privilege to see him in live action. Gibsons go/fo is incredible as you rightly point out and he has had a great introduction to professional baseball across 3 levels. Maybe I am confusing commanding and command. According to the latest scouting reports current velocities are similar (although I would argue that Gibson has more potential for speed), Gibson has a higher WHIP, has a higher extra base hits percentage (only comparing A+ stats)and he has a higher average with both only giving up 2 home runs each albeit Gibson over 43 innings and Hendriks over 74 innings. However, I assume pitcher of the year is not about potential but about results. Pitchers can only perform with the opportunities provided to them by the organisation and maybe we would have more comparison if Hendriks was not injured as it may have given him the opportunity to experience AA and provide a more equitable comparison.

  10. roger September 24, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    Curious who you think may fall out of your top 50? I had Gibson grade out #1 with Hendriks a close second. Clearly better than the rest.

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