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Twins Minor League Weekly TONIGHT at 9

9 Jan

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Tonight at 9:00 central time, Travis Aune and I will be hosting a special offseason edition of Twins Minor League Weekly. The Twins have been quite active in the minor league free agency department this offseason. You’ve seen information here on each of the moves as they have happened, but Travis and I will discuss them more and what they mean to the Twins organization. We’ll also step back and take a look at the players that the Twins have let go during the offseason, the Rule 5 additions and subtraction, minor leaguers in winter ball, and where we think some of the organization’s top prospects will begin the 2012 season. It should be a lot of fun and a good discussion, so hopefully you’ll join us live and participate in the chat room, and ask us a lot of questions. Listen Live here or download it here later.  

Prospect Handbook – I’m really, really hoping that the Prospect Handbook will be available before Twins Fest. I may soon start taking some pre-release orders, but if you are planning on attending Twins Fest and would like a copy of the handbook to bring with you to be signed by players or just to have there, I’ll see if I can find a way to get them to you quicker. Here is a sneak peak of the awesome cover that Josh Johnson created for the book!

A Nice Honor – On Saturday afternoon, I was at home putting some finishing touches on the first draft of the Prospect Handbook, when I found out that Top Prospects Alert had named me as one of the Top 50 Must Follow Baseball Accounts. It’s kind of cool to be on a list that includes the likes of Bryce Harper, Buster Olney, David Price, Keith Law, Ken Rosenthal, Logan Morrison, Peter Gammons and so many others!   

That’s it for today! Feel free to leave comments or more links/topics in the Comments section.

Twins Add Three Players to 40 Man Roster

18 Nov

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The Twins announced this afternoon that they have added Three players to their 40 man roster. But before I get to that, the Twins decided to remove RHP David Bromberg from their 4r0 man roster, which I have to admit disappoints me to no end. I just don’t understand it. A year ago, he was clearly someone who had to be added to the 40 man roster. Now, he is removed after a season in which he broke a bone in his forearm. It’s not an elbow or shoulder injury. It was a fluke injury. He worked like crazy to get back and is in terrific shape, ready for a second go-‘round. And he was removed from the 40 man roster. This is crazy. Then again, he cleared waivers, so he was outrighted to Rochester. I would hope (and assume) that he would get an invite to big league spring training again.  

But on to those that we can be happy for today, those added to the 40 man roster. They are:

  • RHP Carlos Gutierrez
  • OF Oswaldo Arcia
  • LHP Tyler Robertson

Going by my list yesterday, I ranked Arcia the easiest choice, followed by Gutierrez. I think ranked Tom Stuifbergen #3, Angel Morales #4 and Manuel Soliman #5 before Tyler Robertson at #6. I’ve got to admit, I am definitely surprised by the moves today, although as I pointed out, there were really only two easy choices, and they were both added.

I’m still shocked about the Bromberg news. I can’t say shocked because I had heard rumblings about it being possible awhile back. But I thought the idea was so crazy that it wouldn’t really happen.

I’m curious your thoughts and reaction. Feel free to comment.

Preliminary Top 50 Twins Prospects

14 Oct

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As we are winding down the production of the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook (Coming Soon!), I will now be diving head-first into my fourth annual Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. As I did last year, I thought it would be fun to jot down a very preliminary Top 50 prospect list. Over the next two months, I will be reviewing a ton of stats, raw numbers and some advanced stats. I will also be compiling and studying as many scouting reports as I can on all Twins prospects, including reports from people with first-hand knowledge. When the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2012 comes out (hopefully by Christmas, but probably mid-January!), I will update my Top 50 list with my official prospect ranking.

One of the purposes of today’s blog is to encourage discussion on the Twins minor leaguers. Who did I forget? Who do I have ranked too high, or too low? All of the discussion is very much appreciated. I don’t expect everyone to agree with all of my rankings and comments. So, feel free to comment.

With that, here is my preliminary Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospect ranking:

  1. Miguel Sano – 3B – Elizabethton Twins (He’s so talented. So much power!)
  2. Oswaldo Arcia – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle (Would like more walks, but great power, quick bat, good D)
  3. Eddie Rosario – OF – Elizabethton Twins (5 tools, at least. 21 HR in the short season, Appy League hitter of year)
  4. Joe Benson – OF – Minnesota Twins (incredible talent, got a shot with Twins in September. Huge potential.)
  5. Liam Hendriks – RHP – Minnesota Twins (good stuff, great control, very smart, poised, my choice for minor league pitcher of the year two years in a row)
  6. Kyle Gibson – RHP – Rochester Red Wings (Tommy John surgery will cost him his 2012 season, but doesn’t take away the potential.)
  7. Aaron Hicks – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle (He’ll move back up at some point. Great D and arm and patience, just inconsistent.)
  8. Adrian Salcedo – RHP – Beloit Snappers (Had a solid year, great build for a starter, great athlete, very good control)
  9. Chris Parmelee – 1B – Minnesota Twins (played great in 80+ big league at bats. Was very consistent at New Britain)
  10. Alex Wimmers – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle (could be too high – if control issues return, could be too low – if it doesn’t. He could move up quickly in 2012.)
  11. Travis Harrison – 3B – Did Not Play (supplemental 1st round pick has huge power potential)
  12. Tom Stuifbergen – RHP – Rochester Red Wings (just needs to stay healthy. He has three good pitches.)
  13. Angel Morales – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle (had elbow surgery which meant he only played the final 5 weeks of season. Great talent, speed and power.)
  14. Brian Dozier – SS – New Britain Rock Cats (solid player, leader, my choice (And now Twins choice) as Twins minor league hitter of the year. Could see him in 2012.)
  15. Madison Boer – RHP – Beloit Snappers (dominated in E-town, as he should. Just ok in Beloit bullpen. He’ll get a chance to start, but could dominate in bullpen.)
  16. Manuel Soliman – RHP – Beloit Snappers (throws gas. So much upside. If he can develop 2nd and 3rd pitch, could be a very good starter. If not, could still be a very good reliever.)
  17. Chris Herrmann – C – New Britain Rock Cats (Incredible ability to get on base. As the hitting gets more consistent, he can be good. Future Twins catcher and outfielder!)
  18. Corey Williams – LHP – Elizabethton Twins (Twins 3rd round pick this year, the lefty from Vanderbilt has really nasty stuff. Another probable bullpen guy in the long run.)
  19. BJ Hermsen – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle (had a terrific season in Beloit, and pitched very well in Ft. Myers too.)
  20. Yangervis Solarte – 2B – New Britain Rock Cats (he hit .300 every single month this year! 2B is probably his best position.)
  21. Hudson Boyd – RHP – Did Not Play (Twins second supplemental 1st round pick, the Ft. Myers native is a huge kid who with a huge fastball.)
  22. Max Kepler – OF – Elizabethton Twins (right size, great tools, solid season at E-Town.)
  23. Logan Darnell – LHP – New Britain Rock Cats (pitched well at three levels, another lefty with very good stuff.)
  24. Niko Goodrum – SS – Elizabethton Twins (a tremendous athlete whose very good August was hidden by Sano and Rosario Show! Lots of errors.)
  25. David Bromberg – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats (fluke injury cost him most of 2011 season. He shouldn’t drop this much.)
  26. Levi Michael – SS – Did Not Play (Here’s hoping that the Twins first-round pick of 2011 can become Brian Dozier!)
  27. Carlos Gutierrez – RHP – Rochester Red Wings (great spring with the Twins, but arm issues hurt him in 2011. He is a bullpen guy.)
  28. Jairo Perez – 3B – Beloit Snappers (after missing 2010 with Tommy John surgery, Perez dominated the Midwest League with his bat. Got time in OF in Instructs to make him more versatile.)
  29. Angel Mata – RHP – GCL Twins (was my top DSL prospect a year ago, had a solid US debut with GCL.)
  30. JD Williams – OF – Elizabethton Twins (another terrific E-Town offensive season lost because of the big two. Great on-base skills.)
  31. Matt Summers – RHP – Elizabethton Twins (Big West Pitcher of the year, Twins 4th round pick from UC-Irvine dominated in E-town bullpen.)
  32. Danny Santana – SS – Beloit Snappers (great athlete, tremendous speed, great range and very strong arm, plenty of errors.)
  33. Pat Dean – LHP – New Britain Rock Cats (hurt most of the season, yet made starts for three Twins affiliates. If healthy, could break out in 2012 – yes, that is what I said last year.)
  34. Nate Roberts – OF – Beloit Snappers (on- base machine. Seems to like getting hit by pitches. Missed a lot of time due to knee injury in 2011.)
  35. Lester Oliveros – RHP – Minnesota Twins (the difference between Oliveros and guys like Jim Hoey and Esmerling Vasquez and Juan Morillo? Oliveros is still just 23. He could be very good!)
  36. Danny Ortiz – OF – Beloit Snappers  (had an amazing April, and really struggled much of the rest of the season. Small guy with good pop.)
  37. Scott Diamond – LHP – Minnesota Twins (frustrating season for Diamond. He was really hurt by poor defense, but gave up a lot of hits.)
  38. James Beresford – SS – Ft. Myers Miracle (played well at SS and 2B, and did a nice job with the bat most of the season.)
  39. Bobby Lanigan – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats (figured out a couple of mechanical things late, and hopes to incorporate them in the 2012 season. Great slider!)
  40. Lance Ray – OF/1B – Beloit Snappers (this is probably too low. His numbers don’t seem to show the type of bat he has, and yet, he struck out a ton.)  
  41. Deolis Guerra – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats (moving to the bullpen may not do much for Guerra’s prospect rankings, but it was a great move for him as he was incredible in the Rock Cats pen.)
  42. Michael Gonzales – 1B – Beloit Snappers (Again, he should be higher than this after a terrific repeat season with the Snappers.)
  43. Matt Hauser – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats (hard-throwing righty did a nice job pitching in Beloit, Ft. Myers and in an outing with the Rock Cats.)
  44. Hung-Yi Chen – RHP – GCL Twins (Taiwan youngster knows how to pitch and had a very nice showing with the GCL Twins.)
  45. Ryan O’Rourke – LHP – Beloit Snappers (competitive lefty with a good fastball and a devastating slider that could get most left-handed hitters out now!)
  46. Anderson Hidalgo – 3B – Ft. Myers Miracle (chronically underrated, Hidalgo is just solid in terms of batting average, and shows a little bit of power.)
  47. Tim Shibuya – RHP – Elizabethton Twins (23rd round pick was the Appy League Pitcher of the year and tossed a no-hitter.)
  48. Dakota Watts – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats (throws gas, struggled with control and some minor injuries.)
  49. Pedro Guerra – RHP – Beloit Snappers (a very good strikeout pitcher. I don’t know why he began the season in Extended Spring Training)
  50. Adam Bryant/Tyler Grimes – IF – Beloit Snappers (Grimes was the team’s 5th round pick. Bryant was their 9th round pick. Both signed quickly and held their own around the Snappers infield.)

A lot of players “Just Missed” so be sure to let me know who should be in the list. Tell me I’m right. Tell me I’m an idiot. Let’s spend the weekend discussing all of these minor leaguer and tell me why they should be moved up or down the list. Please feel free to comment in the Comments Section. 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.

Twins Minor League Update

25 Jun

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I was driving on Thursday night, so here is a quick minor league update for you of the last couple of days in the Twins minor leagues, starting with an injury update:

  • Jeff Manship is expected to begin a rehab assignment soon in the GCL after missing the last month with a shoulder injury.
  • Ray Chang continues to improve, but is still at least a month out after suffering his broken fibula.
  • There is no time table yet for a return for Jeremy Reed from a lower back injury.
  • Brandon Roberts started his rehab assignment on Thursday in the GCL and played on Friday as well. See how well he did down below.
  • David Bromberg is feeling very well but is likely still about a month from returning from breaking his ulna.
  • Spencer Steedley’s elbow has again kept him out of action and there is no time table yet for his return.
  • Allan de San Miguel also was having elbow issues. He is in Ft. Myers rehabbing and is still a few weeks out.
  • Joe Benson had his knee scoped earlier this month and is probably a week to ten days away from a return.
  • Paul Bargas is at his home undergoing treatments for his cancer. He continues to make progress. This ‘injury’ is obviously much, much different than any of the others.
  • Miguel Munoz continues to rehab his elbow and is at least a month from a return.
  • Dan Osterbrock’s shoulder continues to be an issue with no time table for return at this time.
  • Still no time table on Paul Kelly’s return after surgery in April to remove a blood clot from his shoulder area.
  • Oswaldo Arcia started his rehab and played right field after having arthroscopic surgery on his elbow in early May.
  • Angel Morales had the same elbow procedure done in early June, so he is several weeks away from a return.

Twins 33rd round pick Stephen Wickens is signed and ready to play, but visa issues currently have him waiting up in Canada. The shortstop went to school at Florida Gulf Coast University.

And another exciting piece of news for Twins fans is that 2009 supplemental first round pick Matt Bashore is on the Elizabethton roster. He has been working throughout spring training to return from two arm surgeries, including Tommy John surgery over the past 22 months. He has made two appearances for Elizabethton. He is touching 90 mph again, which is certainly a positive. The Twins will definitely be monitoring his every step and his innings throughout the season.

Now that North Carolina and Vanderbilt have been eliminated from the College World Series, the Twins are free to negotiate with 1st round pick Levi Michael and 3rd round pick Corey Williams, just like any other draft picks.

If you have other Twins minor league questions, please feel free to ask, or discuss in the comments section.

Rochester Red Wings

The Red Wings lost a 7-2 decision on Thursday to Charlotte. Eric Hacker started and gave up two runs on eight hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out six. Carlos Gutierrez and Kyle Waldrop each threw a scoreless inning with a strikeout. Anthony Slama then struck out two in his perfect ninth. Dustin Martin led off and went 2-4 with a walk and his sixth homer. Jeff Bailey went 2-4 with his second triple. Aaron Bates and Toby Gardenhire each went 2-4.

On Friday night, the Red Wings and Syracuse played just three innings before the game was suspended. The Red Wings were already down 8-1. Ryan Mullins went just 2.1 innings and gave up seven runs on seven hits and a walk.

Following the Twins 4-3 loss on Friday night to the Brewers, the Twins activated Jim Thome and sent Rene Tosoni back to the Red Wings.

New Britain Rock Cats

The Rock Cats game against Bowie was postponed by rain for the second straight day on Thursday. On Friday, the team played against Trenton. Bobby Lanigan started and gave up just one run on five hits. In eight innings, he walked two and struckout nine. Deibinson Romero was 2-4. Mark Dolenc and Dan Rohlfing each knocked a double. And the Rock Cats won 3-2. 

Ft. Myers Miracle

On Thursday night, the Miracle lost 6-5 to Bradenton in 14 innings to start the second half of their season. Logan Darnell started and gave up two runs on four hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out two. Shooter Hunt came in and faced five batters. He gave up two runs on a home run and four walks without recording an out. Matt Hauser came in and gave up one run on two hits. He walked none and struck out four. Matt Tone walked two and struck out three in two scoreless frames. Edgar Ibarra threw two shutout innings before allowing a run in the 14th. Nick Romero went 2-6 with his 12th double. Six other Miracle hitters had one hit in the long game.

On Friday, the Miracle fell 16-5 to Bradenton. Aaron Hicks went 2-4 with a walk and his 18th and 19th home runs. Anderson Hidalgo went 2-5 with his 16th double. Ricky Bowen started and gave up nine runs on nine hits and a walk before being ejected after hitting his second batter of the third inning. Andrew Albers replaced him and  gave up two unearned runs on four hits in 3.1 innings. Shooter Hunt came in and gave up five earned runs on one hit and seven walks in 0.2 innings. Steve Liddle came to the mound and went the final 1.1 innings. He gave up no runs on one hit and one walk. He even struck one out.

Beloit Snappers

The second half of the Snappers season started on Friday night with a 3-2 win over Cedar Rapids on a walk-off squeeze bunt. Ryan O’Rourke started and was terrific again. The left-hander gave up one run on four hits in five innings. He walked none and struck out nine. Manuel Soliman then struck out three in two one-hit innings. Clinton Dempster worked a scoreless innings. Jose Gonzalez gave up a game-tying solo homer in the top of the ninth. After singles by Lance Ray and Tobias Streich, Ray scored on a bunt by Daniel Santana to win the game. Nate Roberts went 2-3 with his first home run of the season. He was also hit by a pitch for the 22nd time this year.

Again, the Snappers are hosting a Twins-related weekend in Beloit with lots of activities involving the Twins who are just down the road in Milwaukee. If you have a chance, head on over and catch a Snappers game and enjoy some of the festivities.   

Elizabethton Twins

On Thursday night, the E-Twins scored three runs in the bottom of the 9th to capture a 6-5 win over Bluefield. Nick Lockwood hit a game-tying single before Kennys Vargas drove in the game winner. Jhonatan Arias went 2-3 with his first homer. Roy Larson went 2-4. Kennys Vargas and Eddie Rosario each went 2-5. Rosario also recorded outfield assists, throwing out runners at third base and home. Cesar Ciurcina started and gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks in 3.2 innings. He struck out five. Sam Spangler threw 2.1 scoreless innings. Nick Alloway then walked two and gave up one hit but no runs in 0.2 innings. Corey Kimes gave up two walks and a hit in 1.1 innings. Madison Boer made his season-debut with a scoreless, two strikeout ninth.

On Friday night, the E-Twins topped Burlington 8-7. David Hurlbut gave up three runs on three hits in four innings. He walked two and struckout four. Garrett Jewell worked a perfect fifth. Matt Bashore gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in his inning. Bart Carter struckout five in two innings. He gave up one run on three hits. Steven Evans gave up an unearned run on two walks in his two innings. Matej Hejma went 3-4 with a walk. Kennys Vargas was 2-4 with a walk. Miguel Sano and Tyler Koelling each had two hits. AJ Pettersen went 0-2 with three walks and a stolen base.

GCL Twins

The GCL Twins lost 9-2 on Thursday to the Rays. Brandon Roberts made his first rehab appearance and went 2-2. Aderlin Mejia was 2-4. Bobby O’Neill went the first 3.2 innings and gave up three runs (2 earned) on three hits. He walked two and struck out three. Nick Cicio also gave up three runs (2 earned) on three hits, but in just 1.1 innings. Tyler Herr then struck out two in two scoreless innings. Luis Nunez gave up three runs on five hits in two innings.

Hung-Yi Chen, an 18 year old from Taiwan, made his debut and threw four shutout innings. He gave up just two hits, walked none and struckout six. Cole Johnson threw two scoreless innings. Marcus Limon then gave up a solo home run over his two innings. Matthew Tomshaw struck out two in a perfect ninth of the GCL Twins’ 10-1 win over the GCL Red Sox. Along with Chen’s performance, the big news in this game was the first rehab appearance for Oswaldo Arcia. He batted third and played right field. He was 3-4 with a triple. Aderlin Mejia went 2-3 with a walk. Wander Guillen went 2-4. Brandon Roberts was 1-3 with a walk.     

Any other thoughts or questions on the Twins minor leaguers? Feel free to comment here. May Twins Minor League Pitchers of the Month

2 Jun

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Yesterday, we looked at some of the top hitters in the Twins minor league system in May and named Brian Dozier 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 May. I’ll name the top 3 relievers and the top 5 pitchers, but I’ll start with a few honorable mentions:

  • Rochester – Andy Baldwin – 5 GS, 1-3, 3.64 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 29.2 IP, 32 H, 4 BB, 24 K
  • Ft. Myers – Matt Schuld – , 6 GS, 3-1, 4.02 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 31.1 IP, 30 H, 11 BB, 16 K
  • Rochester – Carlos Gutierrez – 13 G, 1-1, 2.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 19.2 IP, 16 H, 7 BB, 11 K
  • New Britain – Brett Jacobson – 8 G, 4 GS, 1-0, 1.54 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 23.1 IP, 14 H, 17 BB, 13 K
  • Ft. Myers – Andrew Albers – 6 G, 2 GS, 2-1, 2.08 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 21.2 IP, 22 H, 3 BB, 15 K
  • Beloit – Matt Hauser – 10 G, 1-0, 3 saves, 1.54 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 8 H, 9 BB, 17 K
  • Beloit – Jose Gonzalez – 11 G, 1-1, 2.65 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 17 IP, 14 H, 8 BB, 16 K
  • Beloit – Ryan O’Rourke – 9 G, 2 GS, 0-1, 1.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 18 IP, 17 H, 7 BB, 11 K

Let’s start with the Top 3 Relief Pitchers:

Number 3 – Rochester – Anthony Slama – 11 G, 2-0, 2.08 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 17.1 IP, 12 H, 5 BB, 19 K

I can’t help but believe that Slama would have been on the Twins big league roster since Opening Day if not for the elbow issues during spring training. April was his spring training, and he really struggled in his five outings. In seven innings, he gave up six runs on seven hits and six walks. However, he turned things around quickly with the start of May. Control has been one of his concerns throughout his minor league career, so it is great to see just five walks in his 17.1 innings. He’s always been a big strikeout guy, and hopefully we see plenty of those with the Twins too. Slama should be with the team the rest of the season.

Number 2 – Beloit – Clinton Dempster – 11 G, 3-1, 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 18 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 19 K

Dempster was the Twins 16th round draft pick in 2010 from Nicholls State U. The 22 year old southpaw made four appearances in Elizabethton before moving up to Beloit where he made ten appearances, including six starts. This season, he has worked exclusively out of the Snappers bullpen. He has pitched in long relief, and he has been the closer at times. In his last ten games in May, Dempster was 1-1 with a 0.56 ERA. He gave up just one run in 16 innings over that time. He is another guy with the possibility to move up to Ft. Myers soon.

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

Rochester Red Wings – Chuck James – 10 G, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 17 K

Free Chuck James! That was the cry from many Twins bloggers throughout the month of May when the 29 year old lefty put up incredible numbers across the board. James signed a minor league deal with the Twins this spring after going 10-1 last year with the AA and AAA affiliates of the Washington Nationals after shoulder surgery the year before. Well, after going the entire month of May without allowing a run while walking very few and striking out well more than one per inning, James finally was added to the 40 man roster and promoted to the Twins over Memorial Day weekend. James was my #2 reliever of the month in April and was better in May. Like Slama, hopefully James proves the bloggers’ confidence accurate and remains with the big league club the rest of the year. And no, not just so that I can write new names in here next month.

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

Number 5 – New Britain – Liam Hendriks – 5 GS, 2-1, 2.90 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 31 IP, 31 H, 10 BB, 31 K

Hendriks was the #3 minor league starter last month, and he was very good again this month. It is exciting since the Australian right-hander is still just 22 years old. He has more than held his own in Double-A and legitimized himself as a top pitching prospect. Overall, he is now 4-2 with a 3.12 ERA. He has 51 strikeouts in 52 innings pitched. He has actually pitching better against left-handed batters (.174)  than right-handed batters (.270).

Number 4 – Beloit – Adrian Salcedo – 6 GS, 3-2, 3.75 ERA, 1.25 WHIP,36 IP, 35 H, 10 BB, 20 K

Salcedo was actually better in April when he was 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA, but he was just honorable mention then. This month, he was able to make the Top 5. Again, Salcedo is a big-time prospect. He has a long, lanky athletic frame with long arms. He throws pretty hard and has good control In 58.2 innings, he has just 16 walks. He has gone six or more innings in six of his ten starts, and he has failed to go five innings just twice (both times going 4.2 innings).   

Number 3 – New Britain – Bobby Lanigan – 6 GS, 3-1, 3.11 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 37.2 IP, 33 H, 7 BB, 19 K

Lanigan, the Twins 3rd round pick in 2008 out of Adelphi University, turned 24 years old in early May, and he celebrated by pitching very well. He had one clunker during the month (gave up five runs on eight hits in four innings), but he went at least six innings in his other 5 starts and gave up three once and two or less each other time. The highlight came on May 13 when he threw eight shutout innings and gave up just four hits and no walks against Portland. Overall this season, he is 4-3 with a 3.41 ERA.  

Number 2 – Rochester – Kyle Gibson – 6 GS, 3-2, 3.86 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 35 IP, 32 H, 7 BB, 38 K

For the second straight month, Twins top prospect Kyle Gibson finishes second in the monthly pitcher of the month voting (ok, it’s a one-person vote, but that’s ok). In April, the 23 year old from the University of Missouri went 0-1 with a 3.15 ERA in four starts and in 20 innings. He has tremendous control, and he is striking out more batters this year. He has great stuff, and he is very competitive. Gibson “struggled” in the middle of the month for a few starts. However, when Gibson “struggles”, it is giving up four runs in five innings. In many of his starts where he has given up runs, he has one bad inning and makes some adjustment and still gets through five innings. His last two starts have been very good. In 12.2 innings, he has given up two runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out 18 batters. I think there is a possibility that sometime in June, Gibson’s minor league career will come to an end, and he will be in a Twins uniform through the 2017 season, or longer!

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

New Britain – Steve Hirschfeld – 5 GS, 2-2, 2.93 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 30.2 IP, 21 H, 8 BB, 23 K 

For the second straight month, Hirschfeld was the easy choice for Twins minor league pitcher of the month. In April, he was 1-0 with a 2.05 ERA and opponents hit just .190. In May, he was just as good. Besides the numbers you see above, opponents hit just .196 against him. Overall, he is 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA. In 52.2 innings, he has given up just 36 hits, walked only 13. Opponents are hitting just .194 off of him. The 25 year old right hander missed most of the 2010 season, but he is making up for it now and there is no reason he should not be pitching in Rochester very soon. In fact, today, he has thrown six more shutout innings for the Rock Cats.

Congratulations to the three choices for players of the month, Brian Dozier of the Ft. Myers Miracle, Chuck James of the Rochester Red Wings and Steve Hirschfeld of the New Britain Rock Cats. But Congratulations to all of those players mentioned in these two articles on a great month of May. I think that this is a time when there will be several transactions and many of these players you have read about could be promoted (and some already have been.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. May Twins Minor League Hitters of the Month

1 Jun

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It doesn’t seem like long ago that I was handing out the Hitter and Pitchers of the Month for April, and here we are on June 1 and it is time to hand out the awards for May. As always, there have been some good performances and some bad performances, but you know what I am going to choose to look at.

In April, our top two players of the month came from the Beloit Snappers. Number Two, Oswaldo Arcia, went on the Disabled List on May 1 and had elbow surgery and is likely out for a couple of months. Danny Ortiz was the choice for Hitter of the Month in April when he hit .377/.429/.768 with seven doubles, a triple and six home runs in 69 at bats. In May, he hit .236/.267/.364 with eleven doubles and one home run in 110 at bats.

Today, I will post my top 5 choices for Twins minor league hitter of the month. Tomorrow, I will point out the top 5 Twins starting pitchers for May as well as well as the top 3 relievers that deserve recognition.

Before getting to the Top 5, here are some guys who just missed the subjective list:

  • Rochester – Brian Dinkelman (35-103) .340/.400/.476 with nine doubles, a triple, one home run and ten RBI.
  • Rochester – Ray Chang (28-87) .322/.375/.448 with five doubles, two home runs and nine RBI.
  • Rochester – Aaron Bates (20-63) .317/.434/.476 with four doubles, two home runs and five RBI.
  • New Britain – Yangervis Solarte (32-99) .323/.374/.455 with six doubles, two triples, one home run and 10 RBI.
  • Ft. Myers – Aaron Hicks (24-84) .286/.390/.440 with seven doubles, two homers and 12 RBI.
  • Beloit – Wang-Wei Lin (32-101) .317/.439/.512 with eight doubles, and nine RBI.

Number 5 – Beloit – Michael Gonzales – 1B (31-104) .298/.412/.433 with five doubles, three home runs and 24 RBI.

Gonzales stands out on the Beloit Snappers roster. Part of that is because he stands at 6-6 and 270 pounds. He was the Twins 9th round pick in the 2008 draft out of Diablo Valley College. Last year at Beloit, he hit .236/.322/.439 with 27 doubles and 13 home runs. He walked 36 times and struck out 107 times, about one in three at bats. He had 52 RBI, so the fact that he drove in 24 runs in 32 May games certainly stands out. On the season, Gonzales is hitting .288/.400/.466 with five doubles and seven home runs. When I saw him play in Beloit last year about this time, he had a very slow bat, a very long swing, so the strikeouts are understandable. He also has a ton of power. He had little range at 1B a year ago, but I am told that he has greatly improved his defense over the past year. Gonzales will turn 23 on June 16 and is a candidate for a call up to Ft. Myers later in the season. To this point, he has 38 strikeouts in 175 plate appearances.  

Number 4 – New Britain – Joe Benson – OF (30-101) .297/.398/.485 with eight doubles, a triple, three home runs and 14 RBI.

Benson was honorable mention in April, and only because he really struggled the final week of April. Those struggles continued the first couple of weeks of May, but he has been terrific of late. In his last 10 games, he has hit .484/.579/.774 (15-31) with four doubles, a triple and a home run. In other words, he went 15 for his first 70 in May (.214) and ended the season strong. During his struggles, Benson’s strikeout rate was very poor. On the season, he has 49 strikeouts in 198 plate appearances. Again, this is the key number for Benson as we look at him each month. He isn’t hitting for quite the same power as he did a year ago when he hit a combined 31 doubles, eight triples and 27 home runs in 459 at bats. This year, in 179 at bats, he has 16 doubles, two triples and five home runs. The team’s 2006 second round pick is playing well overall. The reason I think he should remain in Double-A is to try to help him become more consistent.

Number 3 – Beloit – Nate Roberts – OF (29-96) .302/.456/.396 with seven doubles, a triple, and 12 RBI.

The day that Oswaldo Arcia was put on the Disabled List (May 1), Roberts was summoned from Beloit where he had been rehabbing. The 22 year old was the Twins fifth round pick a year ago out of High Point University. After hitting .336/.444/.547 in 128 at bats at Elizabethton last year after signing, he has shown that it was not a fluke. The reason he is this high on the list is because he got on base 45.6% of the time for the month. That is hard to do! He struck out 13 times while walking 16 times. The highlight of his month likely came on May 27 when he went 3-3 with a walk and three doubles. He

Number 2 – Ft. Myers – Evan Bigley – OF (31-103) .301/.363/.544 with ten doubles, three triples, three home runs and 18 RBI.

The Twins drafted Bigley with their 10th round pick in the 2008 draft out of Lew Ford’s alma mater, Dallas Baptist University. Bigley was tremendous for the Rock Cats, especially in the first half of the month. In five games from May 3 to May 7, Bigley had five multi-hit games. Of his 11 hits, he had four doubles, two triples and a home run. He had an 0-2, and then came back with a 2-4 game with another double. Since May 12, he has gone 3-31 (.097) with ten strikeouts. The overall numbers are still good enough for the #2 spot.

The SethSpeaks Minnesota Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month of May is…

Ft. Myers SS Brian Dozier (33-98) .337/.426/.469 with seven doubles, three triple, and 11 RBI.

Brian Dozier celebrated his 24th birthday on May 15th and really hit great after that point. Although, it’s hard to notice because one of the great attributes of Dozier since the Twins used their 8th round pick on the Southern Mississippi shortstop has been his consistency. In April he hit .299 with and OPS of .863. In May, he hit .337 with an OPS of .895. Both months, he walked more than he struck out. On the season, he has 27 walks to go with 20 strikeouts. He is now hitting .320/.430/.464 with 11 doubles, five triples and one home run. He has 13 steals in 17 attempts. And, he plays very good defense. All that said, I expect that his tenure with the Miracle will last until the FSL Western Division first-half title is determined.

For the most part, May was a rough month for hitters throughout the Twins minor league system, but that is not to say there weren’t some really solid performances. Congratulations to Brian Dozier on being the top hitter of the month of May, but also to the others discussed and even those receiving honorable mention.  

Please feel free to discuss and ask questions.