Minor League Report...June 3rd

With two months of the season behind us, will take a look at how many of the top prospects have been doing for the season rather than looking at top performances for the past week.

The system had another good week with an overall record of 15-11 (114-97-.540) this week with two teams currently in first place.


The minor league umpires ratified a new agreement and will be returning to work no later than June 12th.  Rochester first baseman Jason Hart was traded to Texas for a PTBNL.  Kevin West filled his spot as he returned to Rochester from his rehab stint at Ft. Myers.  Scott Baker was sent back to Rochester from the Twins.  His spot was filled by promoting infielder Terry Tiffee.  The Florida State League selected four Miracle players as all-stars: Kevin Slowey, Matt Garza, Alexi Casilla and Kyle Geiger.

Play of the Week

Last Saturday, Beloit was losing to Burlington 1-3 entering the bottom of the 9th inning.  With 1 run scored making it 2-3, Edward Ovalle stepped up to the plate and smashed a 2-run walk off homer for a 4-3 win breaking Beloit's 6 game losing streak.

Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (4-3, 32-22, 1st/+3.0)

The Red Wings had another good week, winning 4 of 7 games and expanding their lead over Scranton to 3.0 games.

Gil Velazquez has been hitting very well (40ab/.400Ave) in limited playing time since his promotion from New Britain.  Jason Tyner continues as one of Rochester's top hitters (.313Ave) while stealing 5 bases in 5 attempts and striking out only 23 times in 179ab.  Josh Rabe slipped from the top spot and is hitting .312Ave, also with 23 strikeouts in 189ab.  The top shortstop in the system, Jason Bartlett, is hitting .307Ave with a league leading 21 doubles.  Jason, who has 7 errors, has struck out only 22 times in 202ab.  Terry Tiffee, who had a team leading 8 errors, was hitting .298Ave prior to his recent promotion to the Twins.  Power hitting first baseman Garrett Jones leads the team with 7 home runs and 35 rbi while hitting .208Ave/.287OBP/.381SLG.

Pete Munro leads the team with 61.2 innings in 11 starts with a record of 4-4 and 4.67era.  Former top prospect J.D. Durbin has turned it around in his last several starts and now has a record of 3-1 in 10 starts.  In 56.2 innings, Durbin has a 2.54era while still walking to many, 49K/32BB, with a 1.24WHIP.  Henry Bonilla has returned to the bullpen where he appears to be more effective.  He was 3-5 in 45.0 innings with a 4.80era.  Closer Pat Neshek has 10 saves with a record of 4-1 while appearing in 22 games with a 1.83era, 0.89WHIP and 65K/10BB (1.65K/ip) in 39.1 innings.  Lefty Ricky Barrett continues to strike out a lot of batters, however, continues to struggle with to many walks, 42K/18BB in 37.2ip with a 3.82era and 1.14WHIP.  Fellow lefty Jason Miller has pitched very well, however, continues to see only limited action.  Miller has a 2.01era and 1.30WHIP in 22.1ip with 26K/5BB.  Kyle Lohse has complete games in 2 of his 3 starts.  Lohse has a 1.42era and 0.68WHIP in 19.0ip with only 8K/3BB.

New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (3-3, 24-26, 4th/-5.0)

The Rock Cats had two rain outs and an off day with a makeup double header on Wednesday.  The Rock Cats dropped another half game and now trail Portland by 5.0 games.

Alex Romero is the Rock Cats top hitter with a .303Ave/.400OBP/.500SLG in 132ab.  Romero, who has stolen 12 bases in 16 attempts, is a very disciplined hitter with 19 walks and only 13 strikeouts.  Trent Oeltjen has the team's second best average (.291) with a .400OBP and only 18 strikeouts in 117 at bats.  Top prospect Denard Span has a .281Ave/.330OBP in 199ab.  Span, who is an excellent defensive player as evidenced by his 0 errors, is also improving his baserunning skills as he now has 10 stolen bases in 14 attempts.  Slugger Matt Moses is hitting .280Ave/.328OBP/.457SLG and leads the team with 8 home runs, however, also leads the team with 12 errors.  Top hitters Doug Deeds and Danny Matienzo both have seen their averages drop from 2005.  Matienzo leads the team with 35 rbi, however, is only hitting .239Ave in 184ab while Deeds is hitting .238Ave in 151ab with a team leading 14 doubles.

After a rough first few starts, Errol Simonitsch has pitched very well and currently leads the team with 61.0ip.  Simonitsch has a record of 5-3 with a 2.66era/1.26WHIP and 42K/15BB.  Top prospect Glen Perkins continues to be pitch well until the 5th or 6th inning, then gets in trouble.  Perkins has a 1-5 record with a 3.33era/1.21WHIP in 51.1ip with 58K/19BB.  Nick Blackburn has pitched well in his last few outings and is 4-5 with a 4.85era/1.40WHIP in 55.2ip with 29K/16BB.  Adam Harben began the season with a 0.42era in April.  He struggled with his control in May and now has a 1-2 record with a 3.32era/1.67WHIP in 40.2ip with 19K/29BB.  Matt Garza was promoted a few weeks ago and gave up no runs in his first two starts.  Garza, who may now be the hottest pitching prospect in the system, has a record of 2-0 with a 2.04era/0.74WHIP in 17.2ip with 27K/3BB.  The most effective relievers have been Tristan Crawford and Lavale Speigner.  Crawford has a 3.11era/1.25WHIP in 37.2ip with 38K/9BB.  Speigner has a 2.40era/1.23WHIP in 30.0ip with 4 saves and 20K/6BB.  Closer Bobby Korecky had 5 saves with a 3.24era/1.72WHIP in 25.0ip with 14K/13BB prior to his promotion to Rochester where he has a 2.25era in 4.0ip.

Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (4-2, 32-22, 1st/+1.0)

The Miracle won 4 of 6 games maintaining their 1.0 game lead over Dunedin.  

Alexi Casilla is the team's top hitter with a .305Ave/.343OBP.  He also leads the system with 17 stolen bases in 22 attempts and has struck out only 28 times in 220ab.  Matt Tolbert began the season at New Britain where he hit .217Ave early in the season.  He returned to Ft. Myers and is one of their top hitters with a .296Ave/.352OBP/.500SLG in 98ab.  Garrett Guzman returned after missing all of 2005 from a serious auto accident and leads the system with 40 rbi.  Guzman has a team leading 6 home runs and a .287Ave with only 23 strikeouts in 195ab.  Jeremy Pickrel has a system leading 8 triples and has been successful stealing bases with 9 steals in 11 attempts.  Pickrel is hitting .270Ave/.354OBP in 159ab.  Kyle Geiger is the top hitting catcher in their division with his .248Ave in 141ab.  Former top pick, Trevor Plouffe, is hitting only .200Ave but has a .324OBP due to his 30 walks in 170ab.  Plouffe, a shortstop who has been playing some third base, leads the team with 13 errors.

Matt Garza and Kevin Slowey were arguably the top pitchers in the league prior to Garza's promotion to New Britain.  Garza was 5-1 with a 1.42era/0.86WHIP in 44.1ip with 53K/11BB.  Slowey almost always pitches on days when the hitters take off and is only 2-1 with a 1.33era/0.68WHIP in 67.2ip with 82K/5BB (0.665BB/9ip).  Anthony Swarzak has been improving throughout the season and now has a record of 3-3 with a 4.25era/1.53WHIP in 55.9ip with 57K/26BB.  Closer J.P. Martinez has 8 saves in 30.2ip with a 2.93era/1.30WHIP and 34K/13BB.  Jose Mijares, who is on the 40-man roster, has been used as a starter and reliever with little success as evidenced by his 0-5 record and 6.75era/1.94WHIP in 22.2ip.  Danny Powers was promoted from Beloit where he was Beloit's top reliever with a 0.43era/0.95WHIP in 21.0ip.  Powers has a 2-0 record with a 1.33era/0.74WHIP in 20.1ip with 20K/3BB.  Justin Jones was demoted to Ft. Myers when Garza moved up to New Britain.  Jones had good numbers at New Britain, however, failed to pitch more than 3 or 4 innings in most starts.  Jones has a 0.68era/1.28WHIP in 13.1ip for the Miracle.        

Beloit Snappers (A) (4-3, 26-27, 4th/-6.5)

The Snappers recovered from their 0-6 week with a record of 4-3, holding at 6.5 games behind Kane County.

Erik Lis saw his average drop, however, continues to lead the team with a .335Ave/.422OBP in 179ab.  Lis also has 20 doubles, 31 rbi and is tied for the system lead with 8 home runs giving him the top slugging percentage in the system at .581SLG.  Lis also has nearly as many walks (27) as strikeouts (28).  Steve Tolleson has a .283Ave/.383OBP in 166ab, however, leads the system with 14 errors.  Catcher Caleb Moore has cooled off as his average has dropped to .269.  Outfielder Edward Ovalle has been hot of late and is now hitting .257Ave/.321OBP.  Perhaps the top young shortstop in the system is Paul Kelly who has played in more games (52) than any other player in the system while committing only 4 errors.  Kelly is hitting a respectable .256Ave/.339OBP for a 2005 high school pick who is only 19 years old.  Outfielder Tarrence Patterson has 16 stolen bases in 23 attempts but is hitting only .247Ave in his second year with the Snappers.  2005 1st round sandwich pick, slugger Henry Sanchez hasn't hit another home run since hitting 2 in the first two games of the season.  Sanchez is struggling at the plate with a .200Ave/.270OBP/.304SLG in 135ab and at first base with 6 errors.

Kyle Waldrop has been one of the system's top pitchers this past month and now has a 4-2 record with a 3.66era/1.13WHIP in 66.1ip with 42K/11BB.  Lefty Brian Duensing is Beloit's top starter with a 2-2 record and 2.19era/1.10WHIP in 65.2ip with 53K/14BB.  Ryan Mullins has been inconsistent with a 1-2 record and 4.39era/1.25WHIP in 55.1ip with 46K/12BB.  Hard throwing Eduardo Morlan is now starting and has a 2-3 record and 1.91era/1.11WHIP in 42.1ip with 53K/20BB.  Yohan Pino is their top reliever now that Danny Powers has moved on to Ft. Myers.  Pino has a 3-1 record and 1.67era/0.99WHIP in 32.1ip with 40K/10BB.  Top prospect Alexander Smit has again struggled working out of the bullpen at Beloit.  Smit has a record of 1-1 and 6.08era/1.77WHIP in 23.2ip with 22K/17BB.  Frank Mata, who is recovering from missing all of 2005 with surgery, has a 2-1 record and 2.76era/1.16WHIP in 16.1ip with 8K/2BB.  One of Elizabethton's top starters last year, Adam Hawes, missed some time with an injury and has a 1-2 record in 8 games (5 starts) with a 4.76era/1.52WHIP in 28.1ip with 25K/10BB.  Danny Vais has seen success out of the bullpen with a 2.51era/1.33WHIP in 28.2ip with 26K/8BB.

Question of the Week

2005 Player of the Year David Winfree was hitting .320Ave in 25 at bats early in the season when he was hit with a pitch and injured a finger.  He reportedly hasn't done what is necessary to rehab his shoulder following offseason surgery.  He asked for and received permission to go home recently.  Will he return to Ft. Myers, and if so, when?  The Twins need to get this kid back on track as he has the potential to become the type of hitter the Twins need.

Check out Seth's site Monday for my Player and Pitcher of the Week.        

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