Wow, what a week! First, the system had an excellent record, 22-14, including winning all 8 games on Thursday with Rochester and the GCL Twins both sweeping double headers. Second, the airlines were full of Twins players on Thursday as Jim Rantz moved players on nearly every team.
Pitcher Jay Sawatski was promoted to New Britain to replace J.T. Thomas, who was released. Ruben Sierra was released by the Twins with pitcher Scott Baker called up as their 5th starter. Pitcher Kyle Aselton was activated from the DL by Ft. Myers. Catcher Jose Morales was placed on the DL by New Britain. To replace him, Kyle Geiger was promoted from Ft. Myers with Caleb Moore promoted to Ft. Myers from Beloit. Matt Betsill and Jilmer Arratia have seen limited duty in rehab assignments with the GCL Twins. It has also been reported that pitcher David Gassner will soon begin a rehab assignment with the GCL Twins.
Player movement accelerated on Thursday, beginning with the move of Matt Garza to Rochester to replace Baker in the starting rotation. That move started a series of moves throughout the system with fellow 2005 draftee Bryan Duensing making his second move of the year to New Britain, followed by Kyle Waldrop moving to Ft. Myers and 2005 Rule 5 pick Armando Gabino moving up to Beloit. Alexi Casilla moved up to New Britain with Duensing, while J.R. Taylor was returned to Ft. Myers. Finally, Lew Ford was placed on the DL by the Twins who replaced him with Jason Tyner.
The Twins also signed several players this week, including former Oakland A's first baseman Erubiel Durazo who was assigned to Rochester. Free agent pitcher Adam Revelette, who is a former Kentucky Wildcat, was signed and assigned to the GCL Twins. Finally, the Twins signed their 19th round pick and U of Miami star in the CWS, Daniel Valencia.
Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (3-2, 53-40, 1st/+3.5)
The Red Wings improved their lead over Scranton this week, winning 3 of 5 during a week shortened by the AAA all-star game won by the International League over the Pacific League all-stars.
With their leading hitter, Jason Tyner, called up by the Twins, Andres Torres will see more action in centerfield. Torres had a good week, going 8 for 16 including a double, 3 runs scored, 1 rbi, 1 walk and 1 stolen base. Alex Romero has begun to warm up to AAA pitching with an excellent week, going 6 for 16 with a triple, 2 runs scored and 1 rbi. Rondell White was 5 for 19 in his rehab assignment with 6 runs scored and 1 rbi.
Boof Bonser has struggled losing both his starts, pitching 12.0 innings with 17 hits, 10 earned runs and 10K/3BB. Mike Smith had an excellent start in the first half of Thursday's double header (7.0ip, 6h, 2runs(1 earned) and 3K/2BB), followed by Pete Munro in the nightcap (6.0ip, 2h, 2runs(0 earned) and 4K/3BB. Bobby Korecky has assumed Pat Neshek's role as the closer, getting into 2 games with 1 save (3.1ip, 2h, 0er and 2K/0BB).
New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (3-3, 38-41, T5th/-14.0)
The Rock Cats were .500 during their all-star week, moving into a 5th place tie 14.0 games behind Portland. Denard Span, Felix Molina, Glen Perkins and Matt Garza all represented the team in the Eastern League all-star game. Span got a hit and 2 walks as the leadoff hitter with Perkins and Garza both pitching shutout innings.
Doug Deeds has struggled during the early months of the season, however, he has come on strong of late and is now the leading hitter on the team with a .295Ave. This week, Deeds was 9 for 19 with 2 doubles, 1 home run, 4 runs scored and 6 rbi. Garrett Guzman has also hit very well since his recent promotion from Ft. Myers, going 7 for 23 this week with a double, 2 runs scored and 2 rbi. Like Deeds, Danny Matienzo was disappointed that he wasn't promoted to Rochester following an excellent 2005 season. He also has struggled with his average, however, he had an excellent week with 4 for 12 including a double, 3 runs scored and 4 rbi for a team leading 53 rbi. Matienzo also leads the team with 11 home runs.
Matt Garza did not see any action prior to his promotion to Rochester. Although he was very sharp, Glen Perkins lost his only start (6.0ip, 3h, 1er, 4K/0BB). Errol Simonitsch was at his best last night allowing 0 earned runs in 8.0 innings. For the week, Simonitsch was 1-1 in two starts with 14.0 innings, 13 hits, 7 runs (3 earned) and 8K/5BB. Levale Speigner pitched in 2 games of relief (3.1ip, 0hits, 0runs and 3K/1BB).
Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A)(3-3, 10-10, 4th/-1.5)
The Miracle were .500 this week and are in 4th place, only 1.5 games behind Clearwater.
With Casilla promoted to New Britain, fellow speedster Brandon Roberts (acquired for Juan Castro) must step up as their new leadoff hitter. And step up he did, Roberts was 9 for 19 with a double, 1 run scored and 2 stolen bases in 3 attempts.
With Garza, Slowey and Duensing moving up to New Britain it was time for Anthony Swarzak to take charge as the team ace, and take charge he did. Swarzak was 1-1 this week, losing last Sunday, 0-1, when he pitched 6.0 innings with 7 hits, 1 unearned run and 7K/0BB. Last night Swarzak pitched 7.0 shutout innings in their 3-0 win with 8K/3BB. Dan Powers had 2 good relief appearances with 2 saves (1.1ip, 1hit, 0runs and 0K/0BB). Jose Mijares appeared in 2 games, pitching 5.2 innings with 3 hits, 0 runs and 13K/5BB.
Beloit Snappers (A) (3-3, 12-10, T3rd/-1.0)
The Snappers who were also .500 this week find themselves in a 3-way tie for 3rd, 1.0 game behind co-leaders Cedar Rapids and Kane County.
Although new signee Whit Robbins has cooled from his hot start, he still was 7 for 21 with 2 home runs, 4 runs scored, 4 rbi and 6 walks. Erik Lis continues to hit well, going 6 for 24 with a double, home run and 2 rbi for a team leading 46. Paul Kelly was 10 for 27 with 2 doubles 7 rbi.
Alexander Smith is now in the starting rotation with two starts this week (11.0ip, 6h, 2er and 13K/4BB). Oswaldo Sosa is one of the lesser known pitchers in the system who is doing very well. Sosa had one start this week (8.0ip, 6h, 2runs (1 earned) and 6K/2BB).
Elizabethton Twins (Rookie) (4-2, 14-7, 1st/+4.0)
The Twins lead over Greenville and Kingsport grew to 4.0 games this week.
Catcher Jeff Christy has been hitting very well, 5 for 17 with a double, home run and 2 rbi. Danny Berg was 6 for 18 with a double and triple. Leading hitter William Luque was 4 for 19 as his average slipped to .304.
Staff Ace Alex Burnett had no decision in his only start, pitching 7.0 innings with 6 hits, 2 earned runs and 6K/0BB. 2006 9th round pick, Sean Land had a phenominal week with a record of 1-0 in 2 starts (13.0ip, 8h, 0er and 14K/4BB). Closer Matt Williams got into 3 games, pitching 3.2 innings with 7 hits, 3 earned runs and 7K/0BB. Danny Hernandez pitched in 4 games, with 4.0 innings with 1 hit, 0 runs and 4K/0BB.
Gulf Coast League Twins (Rookie) (5-2, 14-8, 1st/+1.5)
The Twins had an excellent week, maintaining their lead over the Pirates.
Second round pick Joe Benson may be the real deal. This star athlete who was one of the top running backs in the State of Illinois is also a very athletic centerfielder who can hit. This week, Benson was 10 for 23 with 3 home runs, 2 doubles, 7 runs scored and 7 rbi.
Omar Alcala had one start (6.0ip, 3h, 1er and 4K/3BB). Closer Brad Tippett got into 3 games with 2 saves (2.2ip, 1h, 0er and 3K/1BB). Free agent Dan Leatherman was the Twins minor league player of the week last week. Leatherman has appeared in 9.0 innings early this season with 5 hits, 1 run (unearned) and 8K/3BB.
Question of the Week
Now that Matt Garza has been promoted to AAA. Will Garza take the last step and move into the Twins rotation before the end of September?
Watch for my Pitcher and Player of the Week on Seth's site on Monday. I also published my mid season minor league pitcher rankings on Scout.com this past week. I will be publishing my hitter rankings next week. For those of you who aren't subscribers to Scout.com, these reports can be accessed at FoxSports.com.