The Twins' Farm Clubs had a tough week, finishing the week a game under .500 at 14-15. Only the Rock Cats and Snappers were over .500, as the organization slipped to only 4 games over .500 for the season.
Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (3-5, 17-11)
The Red Wings had a tough week, slipping out of first place. They are now in second, a game and a half behind arch rival Buffalo.
The pitching staff continues to do well, led by Kevin Slowey who was 0-2 this week even though he pitched two complete games. Last Saturday Slowey pitched a 7.0 inning complete game, losing 2-1 with 7 hits, 2 runs and 3K/0BB. Thursday Slowey lost another complete game by the identical score of 2-1, pitching 9.0 innings with only 3 hits, 2 runs and 7K/0BB. The result has been that Slowey's era is up to 1.51 while maintaining a Dominance Ratio ("DR") of 1.462 and a system leading 0.62WHIP. Scott Baker had one start, pitching 6.2 innings with 6 hits, 3 runs and 8K/1BB and now has a 2.70era and 1.133DR. Matt Garza had a tough start, pitching only 4.0 innings with 9 hits, 7 runs and 8K/2BB. Garza's era is up to 4.66 with a 0.729DR. Julio DePaula continues to pitch well out of the Wings pen, although he had one tough outing. For the week DePaula pitched in 3 games with 3.0 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs and 4K/0BB as his era rose to 3.38. Jason Miller got into 3 games with 1 start, pitching 8.1 innings with 7 hits, 2 runs and 3K/3BB. Miller has an excellent 1.47 era and last Saturday beat former Red Wing J.D. Durbin who pitched 4.2 innings for Ottawa with 7 hits, 3 runs and 7K/0BB. Ricky Barrett, who returned from a stint in Florida while on the disabled list, got into 3 games with 2.2ip, 2 hits, 0 runs and 4K/1BB.
The Rochester bats were inconsistent this week, as they got Slowey only 2 runs in two games while scoring 22 runs in two games on Wednesday and Friday. It has been awhile coming, however, top prospect Matt Moses broke out of his slump this week. Moses had his best game ever last night when he was 5 for 5 with 3 runs, 2 doubles and 3 rbi. For the week, Moses was 9 for 23 with 2 doubles and 4 rbi raising his average to .258. Matt Tolbert leads the International League in three hitting categories (.388Ave, .469OBP and 1.094OPS) while he is second with 4 triples and tied for the second best slugging percentage (.625SLG). Tolbert also is second on the team with 18 rbi while hitting near the bottom of the order. All indications are that Matt is very serious about winning the Twins' second base position next spring. It should be exciting to watch this battle and how Alexi Casilla reacts to the challenge as they play together switching almost nightly between second and short. Casilla was 9 for 30 this week including a double, triple, 5 rbi and 3 stolen bases in 3 attempts and is now hitting .250Ave. Jose Morales slipped this week when he was 5 for 28 and is now hitting .319Ave. Garrett Jones also had a big night last night, 4 for 6 with a double and home run. This week Jones was 8 for 25 with 2 doubles, a home run and 4 rbi. Jones is hitting .312Ave, .514SLG and leads the team with 4 home runs and 21 rbi even though he continues to strike out more than 20% of the time with 23 strikeouts in 109 at bats. Denard Span continues to raise his average which is now up to .256 following a week when he was 9 for 29 with 2 doubles, 4 rbi and 4 stolen bases. With his tremendous speed, one of Span's strengths had to be stealing bases which he often struggled with in the past. It appears he has improved as he now has 9 stolen bases in 10 attempts.
New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (5-2, 16-12)
The Rock Cats put up their second consecutive 5 win week and continued their hold on third, now only 3.5 games behind Trenton.
The Cats starting staff has been thin since the suspension of top prospect Anthony Swarzak. Nick Blackburn has stepped up with the veteran making 2 starts this week, pitching 14.1 innings with 9 hits, 4 runs (3 earned) and 10K/2BB with his era dropping to 3.08. The Cats lost their top lefty when Errol Simonitsch went on the DL. 2005 third round pick out of the University of Nebraska, Brian Duensing, has stepped up and put himself on the Twins radar as a potential future Twin. This week Duensing pitched 6.0 innings with 6 hits, 2 runs (1 earned) and 5K/0BB, dropping his era to 2.14. Brad Baker was a minor league free agent signed over the winter. Baker stepped in as a starter when Simonitsch went down, making 2 starts this week with 12.0ip, 10 hits, 3 runs and 4K/2BB giving him an excellent 2.93era for the season. Tim Lahey was drafted as a catcher before being converted to a short reliever last season. Tim has had his tough games this season, however was excellent this week when he appeared in 3 games with 4.2 innings, 3 hits, 1 run and 7K/0BB. J.P. Martinez dropped his era to 1.56 during a week in which he also got into 3 games with 3.2 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs and 4K/0BB. Lefty Jose Mijares has been used as the Cats' closer picking up another 2 saves this week for a season total of 5. Mijares also got into 3 games with 3.1 innings, 0 hits, 0 runs and 4K/0BB and now has a 1.077DR and a team leading 0.87WHIP.
The Cats are the second best hitting club in the Eastern League with a .266 team average. Top prospect David Winfree is getting back into shape after missing some time with a shoulder injury. This week Winfree was 7 for 26 with 2 doubles and a triple and is now hitting .313Ave. Three extra base hits out of 7 hits is what Winfree brings to a team. The Twins need this kid to play every day as he very well could be the answer to their top need in 2008...a powerful right handed bat! Last week's #1 star Felix Molina was also 7 for 26 with a double, triple and 2 rbi. Molina is now hitting .315Ave with a current 16-game hitting streak. Catcher Kyle Geiger was 7 for 15 with 2 doubles, a triple and 4 rbi and now leads the team with a .366Ave although he only has 41 at bats. Luke Hughes was 4 for 8 with a double before instigating a brawl which earned him a 3 game suspension. Trevor Plouffe continued to cool from his hot start with a 3 for 23 week and is now hitting .242Ave.
Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (2-5, 12-23)
At least the Miracle got a couple wins this week following an 8 game losing streak. They are now solidly in last place, 12.0 games behind Sarasota.
The Miracle starting staff continues to pitch well, led by Kyle Waldrop who went 5.2 innings in his only start with 6 hits, 0 runs, 2K/3BB and now has a 2.92 era. The pleasant surprise has been lefty Ryan Mullins who also pitched 5.0 innings in his only start with 5 hits, 1 run and 4K/1BB. Mullins dropped his era to 2.62 to go with his 1.000DR. Oswaldo Sosa is the exciting 21 year old prospect from the same Venezuelan town as Johann Santana. Sosa struggled somewhat in his first few starts, however, was excellent in his only start this week when he pitched 7.0 innings with 3 hits, 0 runs and 4K/1BB...which the Miracle lost 1-0. This start dropped Sosa's era nearly a full run to 3.55. Top prospect Jay Rainville continues his return from missing all of 2006, making 2 starts this week with 8.0 innings, 9 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 6K/3BB and now has a 2.81era. Zach Ward moved into the starting rotation to replace Alexander Smit who was placed on the DL with a foot injury. Ward appeared in 2 games this week, making 1 start, pitching 7.2 innings with 7 hits, 4 runs (2 earned) and 5K/3BB. Three years ago Frank Mata was a rising star when he earned 12 saves as Elizabethton's closer. He missed all of 2005 before returning to Beloit last season. Mata got into 3 games this week, pitching 5.1 innings with 8 hits, 1 run, 4K/0BB with 1 save and now leads the Miracle with a 0.98era. Eduardo Morlan made only 1 appearance this week, pitching 2.0 innings with 1 hit, 0 runs, 4K/0BB with 1 save and now has a team leading 4 saves. Morlan also has a 0.71WHIP with 21 K's in 17.0 innings for a 1.75DR.
With another 2 shutouts this week, the Miracle hitters just haven't had much to talk about. Erik Lis leads the team with a .280Ave following a week when he was 6 for 28 with a double and rbi. Juan Portes was the top hitter this week going 8 for 23 with a triple and 4 rbi. Portes is now hitting a team second best .270Ave and appears destined to regain his prospect status that was interrupted last season by many injuries. Perhaps the best explanation for the Miracle problems is that they have as many players (6) hitting under .200 than over .200...with another, Eli Tintor, hitting an even .200. The under .200 group is led by catcher Jeff Christy at .196Ave, who is followed by Edward Ovalle, Luis Ugueto, Toby Gardenhire, Matt Betsill, and Javier Sanchez. Ugueto is a veteran minor league player who has had some major league experience. Ugueto was signed by the Twins over the winter and recently joined the Miracle from EST as a player/coach.
Beloit Snappers (A) (4-3, 18-13)
The Snappers had a winning record this week maintaining their second place spot, a game behind Clinton.
Perhaps the most astonishing event this week was that Jeff Manship had a poor start, pitching only 4.0 innings on Thursday with 8 hits, 5 runs and 1K/2BB. For the week, Jeff made 2 starts with last Saturday's start more typical when he went 7.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 9K/0BB. Manship now has a 1.88era, 0.77WHIP and 1.394DR. Although the Twins have often promoted a top prospect following a poor start, the Miracle do not need any starters so Manship will likely remain in Beloit for at least a few more weeks. Youngster Alex Burnett also started 2 games, pitching 11.2 innings with 13 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 6K/3BB and now has an excellent 3.32era and 1.13WHIP. Reliever Armando Gabino got into 3 games with 4.1ip, 4 hits, 1 run and 3K/1BB, raising his era to 0.95. Rob Delaney was a college pitcher who was signed to a free-agent contract after not being drafted in 2006. Delaney got into 2 games this week with 2.1ip, 1 hit, 0 runs and 1K/1BB. Delaney leads the team with a 0.50era, 0.67WHIP and 1.75DR (21 K's compared with only 8 hits and 4 walks in 18.0 innings). Jesus Carnevale is a 22 year old out of Puerto Rico who is in his first year of professional ball after being signed this winter. Carnevale joined the Snappers last week from EST, giving up 4 runs in 0.2 inning in his first appearance. This week Jesus was excellent, pitching 4.1 innings in 3 games with 0 hits, 0 runs and 3K/1BB.
Steve Singleton joined the Snappers recently from EST where he was rehabing from an injury. He was the top hitter at Elizabethton last year and stepped right in as the top hitter for Beloit. His .350Ave leads the team following a week when he was 8 for 26 with 3 doubles and 1 rbi. In 40 at bats Singleton has struck out only 3 times, however, he has yet to take his first walk. Brian Dinkelman is another 2006 draft pick doing well for the Snappers following a week when he was 8 for 27 with a double...and is now hitting .283Ave. Danny Valencia isn't as hot as early in the season, however, continues to put together solid weeks. This week he was 8 for 29 with a home run and 6 rbi. Danny continues to lead the team with 19 rbi and his 6 home runs leads the entire system. Danny Santiesteban has struggled with a .186Ave, however, he was 4 for 19 this week with a double, 2 home runs and 5 rbi. Joe Benson is a 19 year old who has struggled with the step up to A ball. He did much better this week when he was 5 for 21 with a double, triple, home run and 6 rbi.
Featured Player of the Week
This winter the Twins signed minor league free agent Matt Allegra out of the Oakland A's organization. The A's drafted Matt as a high school outfielder in the 16th round of the 1999 draft. At one time Matt was near the top of the A's list of outfield prospects and has been a top run producer, although prone to strikeouts, with his health the biggest roadblock to his progress to the major leagues. In 2002 Matt moved on to the A's top prospect list following a season at class A Visalia when he had a league third best 93 rbi with 35 doubles, .281Ave and 20 home runs in 494 at bats.
This week Matt had a big week for the Rock Cats when he was 13 for 28 with 8 runs scored, 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 7 rbi. Matt, who leads the Cats with 4 home runs, also has 13 rbi to go with a .279Ave. Should Matt's numbers continue to improve AND if he can stay healthy, Matt just might be a player with a big bat who could play a role for the Twins a year or two in the future.