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It is hard to believe that the third month of the season is now complete and it is already July. It is again time to take a look at June and determine the SethSpeaks.net June Minor League Hitter and Pitchers of the Month. As always, there are some really good options which is why I do a Top 5 for hitters and starting pitchers and the top three relievers.
Today, I’ll be posting my choice for the June Hitter of the Month. In April, the winner was Danny Ortiz of the Beloit Snappers. Last month, the selection was Ft. Myers shortstop Brian Dozier. Soon after the calendar changed from May to June, Dozier was promoted to Double-A New Britain where he got off to a fast start before being hit in the face with a pitch. He returned to action after missing less than two weeks and has been playing even better. He missed too much time to qualify for the June player of the month, but check out these number. He went 16-48, and hit .333/.418/.500 with four doubles and two triples.
Also, the Twins short-season affiliates started late in June. There were some quick starts, but with less than 45 at bats, none of the players had enough playing time to get considered for more than mention.
Before getting to the Top 5, here are some guys who just missed the subjective list:
- New Britain – Chris Parmelee (32-99) .278/.388/.412 with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and 14 RBI.
- Ft. Myers – Anderson Hidalgo (24-81) .296/.345/.457 with nine doubles, two homers and 9 RBI.
- Beloit – Lance Ray (25-81) .309/.398/.407 with eight doubles, and eight RBI
- Elizabethton – Eddie Rosario (.357/.421/.720) with two doubles, a triple, five home runs and 13 RBI.
Number 5 – Beloit – Michael Gonzales – 1B (33-101) .327/.361/.525 with 6 doubles, a triple, four home runs and 19 RBI.
Gonzales gets the #5 spot for the second straight month. He had a nearly identical OPS as he did in May, however, he went about it a different way. In May, he was a walk-machine. In June, he didn’t walk as much, but he had a terrific slugging percentage. Gonzales started in the Midwest League All Star Game. At 6-6, Gonzales had a ton of power potential, but a long, slow swing in 2010. He lost 30 pounds in the offseason and has a much quicker swing and the numbers are showing. I can’t help but wonder if he should be promoted to Ft. Myers, but we forget that the 23-year-old spent just one year in junior college before the Twins drafted him in the 9th round of the 2008 draft. It will be good to see if he can continue to put up numbers throughout the second half.
Number 4 – Rochester – Dustin Martin – OF (34-105) .324/.408/.533 with eight doubles, a triple, four homers and 14 RBI.
In 2009, Martin posted a .670 OPS in his first season in Rochester. Last year, he improved that number to .733. Through half of 2011, the 27-year-old is posting a .780 OPS for the Red Wings. Martin was the 26th round pick of the New York Mets in 2006. A year later, he and Drew Butera came to the Twins in exchange for Luis Castillo. After hitting .195 in May, Martin was a force in the middle of the Red Wings lineup in June.
Number 3 – Beloit – Jairo Perez – IF (27-68) .397/.475/.618 with three doubles, four homers and 16 RBI.
Perez signed with the Twins way back in 2006, but it would not be surprising if most Twins fans had never heard of him until this month. He spent two years in the Dominican Summer League, and then hit .217 in 2009 in the GCL. Then, he missed all of 2010 with Tommy John surgery. His rehab contributed to him missing the first two months of the 2011 season. He was promoted to Beloit and debuted with a 2-4 effort on June 8th. He has continued to rake ever since. He had multi-hit games in eight of his 20 games played. He walked a lot, hit for power and drove in a ton of runs. He has a .414 BABIP to this point, so it may not be maintainable, but he certain started out well for his new team.
Number 2 – Rochester – Trevor Plouffe – IF/OF (22-71) .310/.388/.648 with five doubles, two triples, five home runs and 13 RBI.
Of course, when Trevor Plouffe was Jairo Perez’s age, he was in his second season in Triple-A Rochester. Unfortunately, the 25 year old is still in Rochester. When Plouffe was sent down (And bashed by the organization) early in June, he could have sulked. Especially when he had to miss a week of games with a bad finger. Instead, he just continued to do what he had done all year, and that is destroy the baseball. He leads the organization with 15 total home runs this season. Plouffe is now playing all around the field for the Red Wings in an attempt to make him more of a utility player, a role many in the organization envisioned for him the last few years.
The SethSpeaks Minnesota Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month of June is…
Ft. Myers OF Aaron Hicks (23-83) .337/.466/.530 with eleven doubles, one triple, one home run and eight RBI.
The team’s #1 prospect is also the choice for the team’s #1 minor league hitter of the month in June. Hicks has been playing very well now for the last two months, showing that he is taking his incredible tools, and they are now becoming skills. One of the reasons that he has been so highly touted, by me and others, is his ability at such a young age to take walks. He walked 20 times in June alone. In June, he knocked a lot of doubles. A perfect illustration of the type of player he is and hopefully will become was the extra innings game this month in which he went 3-3 with three walks and three doubles. Will the home run power come? I think so. He is very strong. His defense is already there. He has recorded many outfield assists this month because of his great arm. Now the key for Hicks, and for many top prospects, will be to become more and more consistent. In his first month in Hi-A Ft. Myers, he posted a .593 OPS. In May, he increased that number to .830. In June, his OPS was 996. Like his OPS, Hicks’ prospect stock continues to rise.
June was another difficult month for most hitters in the Twins system, but there were many that do deserve recognition for great play, many beyond the above list. Wait until tomorrow I post my choices for the June Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Month. There are a lot of very strong options and many were considered!
Please feel free to discuss and ask questions.