June Twins Minor League Pitchers of the Month

4 Jul

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Yesterday, we looked at some of the top hitters in the Twins minor league system in June and named Aaron Hicks of the Ft. Myers Miracle as the hitter of the month. Today, I want to share with you some of the top pitchers in the Twins minor league system in the month of June. We have a new name at the top of the list this month. Steve Hirschfeld was my choice for Twins minor league pitcher of the month in both April and May. He had a very solid June too, but was just honorable mention. There are a couple of the same names in the Top 5 again, but the top three are new names.

I’ll name the top 3 relievers and the top 5 pitchers, but I’ll start with just a few honorable mentions:

  • New Britain – Steve Hirschfeld – 5 GS, 2-2, 3.00 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 30.0 IP, 32 H, 10 BB, 16 K
  • Ft. Myers – Logan Darnell – 5 GS, 2-1, 2.93 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 30.2 IP, 33 H, 7 BB, 8 K
  • Beloit – BJ Hermsen – 4 G, 3 GS, 3-0, 2.42 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 22.1 IP, 26 H, 6 BB, 15 K
  • Ft. Myers – Matt Tone – 9 G, 1-1, 1 save, 1.20 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 15 IP, 9 H, 12 BB, 17 K

Let’s start with the Top 3 Relief Pitchers:

Number 3 – Rochester – Anthony Slama – 10 G, 1-1, 1 save, 1.54 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 17 K

For the second straight month, Slama is the #3 reliever in the organization. He actually spent about a week with the Twins and pitched on the last day of May and June 4. Combined, he threw 2.1 scoreless innings for the Twins. He returned to Rochester and was again very good. Although one of the two runs (and three of the five walks) he gave up came on the final day or June, he has been pitching very well. In his previous four outings, he struckout 13 in 5.2 innings. Anthony Slama deserves to be in the big leagues, for someone.

Number 2 – Beloit – Clinton Dempster – 8 G, 1-0, 2 saves, 0.77 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 14 K

Dempster was the #2 choice for reliever of the month in May too. It was another tremendous month for him. The lefty gave up just one run in the entire month. He was incredibly dominant. The 16th round pick in 2010 continues to beg the question, Why is he still in Beloit? However, pitching has been the story for the 2011 Snappers, and with such strong starting pitching, it has been great to have someone so dominant at the backend of games.  

And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month of June is:

Rochester Red Wings – Andrew Albers – 9 G, 1-0, 1 saves, 1.04 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 17.1 IP, 18 H, 2 BB, 19 K

Albers asked for an received a tryout, and it is fair to say it went well as he signed with the Twins shortly before spring training. Although he began the year at Extended Spring Training, the already-25-year-old lefty first pitched for the Miracle on April 13. Since then, he has really been terrific. On the year, he is 4-1 with a 1.68 ERA and seven walks and 41 strikeouts in 48.1 innings. Albers was the 10th round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2008. He missed all of 2009 with injury, was released, and last year pitched in 40 games for Quebec in the independent Can Am League. The Canadian, who went to college at Kentucky, is definitely taking advantage of this new opportunity.

With that, let’s jump to the starting pitchers. Here are the Top 5 Starting Pitchers for June:

Number 5 – Beloit – Adrian Salcedo – 4 GS, 1-0, 2.30 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 27.1 IP, 20 H, 4 BB, 24 K

Salcedo is just 20 years old, but he has been terrific for the Snappers in 2011. He is 5-3 with a 2.88 ERA. He was even better in June. In fact, his worst outing may have been his 0.2 inning stint in the Midwest League All-Star game in which he gave up two runs. Typically, Salcedo doesn’t walk many, but it was also good to see him get more strikeouts in June. He was #4 on this list last month. Although he falls to #5, he actually pitched much better.

Number 4 – New Britain – Liam Hendriks – 5 GS, 3-0, 2.03 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 31 IP, 36 H, 4 BB, 23 K

Hendriks is in the Top 5 for the third straight month. The 22-year-old Australian continues to get better with each start. With a win on July 3, he is now 8-2 with a 2.70 ERA on the season. Like most on this list, Hendriks does not hurt himself with walks. He will give up some hits, but he is able to work out of situations. He began June with seven shutout innings. He had a hiccup and gave up four runs in five innings in mid-June. He gave up one earned run in his other three starts in the month. He jumped from 5 to 4 on this list since last month. In my Top Twins prospects list, he jumped from #6 to #4 since the beginning of the season.  

Number 3 – Beloit – Pat Dean – 4 GS, 2-0, 1.46 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 24.2 IP, 17 H, 4 BB, 27 K

Dean was my choice during the offseason as the breakout pitching prospect for 2011 in the Twins minor league system. Unfortunately, his season did not start on time due to some shoulder concerns. He made his 2011 debut with the Snappers on May 15th. He was at full strength for June and to no surprise, he was very good. So good, in fact, that his final start of June was supposed to be with the Ft. Myers Miracle. However, he did make one last start in Beloit knowing he would be promoted following the game. On June 11, Dean threw 6.2 scoreless innings, walking two and striking out nine. He was removed from the game having not allowed a hit. In his start before that, he threw six shutout innings and gave up six hits, a walk and struck out nine. It was a great month for Dean.

Number 2 – Beloit – Ryan O’Rourke – 7 G, 4 GS, 2-0, 1.59 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 22.2 IP, 16 H, 2 BB, 29 K

Last month, O’Rourke was an honorable mention selection as a relief pitcher. He began June with two relief outings, then made two starts. Then he made one more relief appearance before the All Star break. He came back from the break as the second-half opening night starter for the Snappers. As you can see, he has transitioned to the rotation well. The key stat from his June stat line has to be the two walks and 29 strikeouts. The left was the Twins 12th round pick a year ago. By the way, be sure to check out his blog, The Daily ScoreBored.

And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is:

Ft. Myers – Tom Stuifbergen – 5 GS, 3-0, 0.87 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 31.0 IP, 25 H, 7 BB, 16 K 

I mentioned several times that Stuifbergen ended June having allowed just four earned runs over his previous 43+ innings. Obviously that streak began in mid-May when he was back at full strength from a sore shoulder. Stuifbergen has taken large strides forward in 2011. His fastball velocity has increased from the 88-91 range to the 90-93 range and has even touched 95 at times. He has one of the best changeups in the organization. He has a slider and continues to work on a curve ball. Although his first July start did not go as he would hope, Stuifbergen is definitely making a name for himself.

Congratulations to the three choices for players of the month, all from the Ft. Myers Miracle, OF Aaron Hicks, LHP Andrew Albers and RHP Tom Stuifbergen. But Congratulations to all of those players mentioned in these two articles on a great month of June. We saw many transactions in June, and I would anticipate a few more in July.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

5 Responses to “ June Twins Minor League Pitchers of the Month”

  1. Nate July 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    Seth, I love your minor league analysis. I have a question that isn’t about pitchers, but I thought you might know the answer. Do you know what the deal is with Aaron Bates? He’s putting up good numbers at Rochester this year. At 27, he’s too old to be an exciting prospect, but do you think he could be a first base option while Justin Morneau is out? Also, I notice that he had one year of tremendous power with the Red Sox organization (2007), but hasn’t had much power since. Was there an injury? A PED issue? Or was his ’07 season just a fluke?

  2. mike wants wins July 5, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    Some nice months there.

    I remain baffled by their stance on Slama. I hope they release him or trade him, so he gets to be in the majors for a few years.

    All this talk of trading for more relief pitchers is also baffling to me. Give some of these other guys a shot first, before giving up actual prospects or MLB players for relief pitching.

    I asked BA on friday about Guerra, as a reliever. The response was luke warm.

    • gobbledy July 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

      mike i think it’s part the twins mangt in-breeding and lack of an outside perspective. once a player gets pigeon holed it seems not matter what they do it will never get them back in good graces. i really think they need a few coaching changes this winter. let ullger and liddle manage in the minors bring in some fresh faces and we could really use a latin am. coach on the bench, imo. it’s seems they’re doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results approach!

      • Kunza July 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

        Gasp!!!!!!!!!! You mean fire Gardenhire (baby Jesus’s grandfather)?

  3. Jeff July 6, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Trevor Plouffe back up to the big club with Matt Tolbert returning to the minors and Rochester. Gardy remains loyal to guys who hang in there, Tolbert being an example, which leads me to believe Plouffe will get another shot. His bat is too good to stay down on the farm for too long when the big league club needs some pop until Kubel, Span, Young and Morneau reamin on the D.L.

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