This week saw the two short season Rookie League teams (Elizabethton and GCL Twins) begin play. A good Friday night (4-2) again enabled the organization to get back to .500 ball (15-15).
There was lots of movement this week, beginning with Greg Yersich being sent back to Elizabethton from Beloit. Adam Hawes moved up to Ft. Myers to replace Josh Hill who moved up to New Britain following the release of Brian Forystek. The Rock Cats and Red Wings exchanged third basemen with Matt Moses going back to New Britain and Brian Buscher moving up to AAA. Allan de San Miguel was activated from the DL by the Snappers following their All-Star break. Finally, yesterday it was reported that Danny Valencia, Brian Dinkelman and Johnny Woodard were promoted to Ft. Myers which hopefully will give their tremendous pitching staff some run support. There are rumors as to which players are returning to Beloit, however, until it is confirmed by the teams or I see their names in a boxscore I will wait to report who is actually moving.
Matt Garza was the Twins sole selection to this season's Futures Game. It has also been reported that the Twins signed 38th round pick, U of Louisville shortstop Chris Cates and UConn 12th round pitck, Michael Tarsi.
Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (5-3, 38-33)
The Wings have had a tough week with back-to-back doubleheaders on the road to make up a couple home games that were snowed out the first week of the season. They remain in second place, picking up a half game and now trail Buffalo by 1.0 game.
Matt Garza made two starts this week, pitching a disappointing game last Saturday when he went 6.0 innings with 10 hits, 5 runs and 9K/1BB. Thursday Matt pitched his best game of the season, winning a 4-0 shutout when he pitched 7.0 innings with 4 hits and 8K/2BB. Matt's era is now 3.41 with a 1.31WHIP. Dave Gassner also had an excellent start this week, pitching 8.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 4K/1BB. Nick Blackburn followed up his streak of shutouts with a game in which he pitched 6.0 innings with 7 hits, 2 unearned runs and 4K/1BB. Blackburn has a team best 1.79era and 0.91WHIP. Brian Duensing made two starts, pitching 11.0 innings with 13 hits, 6 runs (only 2 earned), 8K/2BB dropping his era to 2.10. Closer Bobby Korecky got into 4 games, earning 3 saves (17) while pitching 3.2 innings with 2 hits, 1 run and 5K/3BB. Due to the double headers Jason Miller made a spot start, pitching 4.0 innings with 3 hits, 1 unearned run and 5K/2BB.
Matt Tolbert dropped to second in the batting title race (.367Ave), following a week when he was 8 for 26 with 3 doubles and 2 runs. Matt also has been playing a lot at third base. Jose Morales continues to hit beyond anyone's expectations with his average up to .352 following a week when he was 9 for 25 with 2 runs, 3 doubles and 7 rbi. Alexi Casilla has his average up to .289 following an 8 for 23 week with 4 runs, 4 doubles and 2 rbi. Unfortunately, Alexi was caught stealing in all 3 of his attempts this week. Denard Span also is getting his average up after a tough first couple months. Span is now hitting .241Ave following an 8 for 20 week with 3 runs, a double and his first home run last night.
New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (1-7, 32-37)
The Cats dropped to fourth place, losing another 3.0 games to Trenton whom they now trail by 14.0 games.
In a week when a team wins only 1 of 8 games with the opposition scoring 45 runs, there isn't a lot one can say about the pitching staff. The best starting performance was by Kyle Waldrop who started Thursday night's game that they lost 2-0. Kyle went 6.0 innings, giving up 10 hits, 1 unearned run and 3K/1BB. Jay Sawatski made his first two starts of the season, pitching 10.1 innings with 7 hits, 3 runs and 4K/3BB.
With Brian Buscher moving up to Rochester (.308Ave with 7 HR and 37 rbi in 247 at bats), Garrett Guzman has taken over the team lead with 43 rbi following a week in which he was 8 for 28 with 4 runs, a double, 2 home runs (7), 9 rbi and is now hitting .286Ave. Trevor Plouffe picked up another double this week and leads both the team and organization with 19. Trevor was 11 for 36 with 4 runs, a home run and 3 rbi raising his average to .279. Outfielder Rashad Eldridge has watched his average continually move up to .277. This week he was 10 for 30 with 8 runs, 2 doubles, a triple, home run and 7 rbi. Slugger Brock Peterson was 10 for 29 with 2 runs, a double, 2 home runs and 5 rbi as his average moved up to .266.
Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (3-2, 2-0)
The Miracle ended the first half of the season with a 30-40 record. Fortunately, they get a new start and will have new blood in the lineup as reinforcements arrive from Beloit. Following the All-Star break, they begin the second half in first place, a half game ahead of Tampa.
Oswaldo Sosa continues to be a shining star in the organization. He made one start this week, pitching 6.0 innings with 2 hits, 1 run and 5K/2BB. Sosa now has an excellent 2.55 era. Jay Rainville had his first tough outing in awhile, lasting only 3.1 innings with 6 runs (5 earned). Eduardo Morlan got into another two games earning his 10th save. Morlan pitched 4.0 innings with 2 hits, 0 runs and 6K/0BB. Eduardo now has 57 strikeouts in 49.2 innings with a 2.04 era and 0.78WHIP. Anthony Swarzak had his second good start as he works to get back into form following his absence! He pitched 6.0 innings with 4 hits, 2 runs (1 earned) and 5K/1BB.
Erik Lis continues to lead the team with a .272Ave. This week Erik was 4 for 15 with a double, triple and 3 rbi.
Beloit Snappers (A) (2-2, 1-1)
The Snappers finished their first half as the winners (44-26) of their division, thus qualifying for the playoffs. They begin the second half in 4th place a game behing Clinton and the Quad Cities.
Jeff Manship didn't pitch in any games for the Snappers, however, was the starter of the All-Star game on Tuesday, pitching 1.0 inning with 2 hits, 1 run and 2K/0BB. Rob Delaney got into 2 games picking up 2 saves to increase his system lead to 23. He pitched 3.0 innings with 1 hits, 0 runs and 4K/0BB. Tyler Robertson has been excellent since joining the Snappers from EST. He made one start this week, pitching 6.0 innings with 5 hits, 1 run and 6K/4BB dropping his era to 1.80 in 25.0 innings. Alex Burnett leads the team with 84.0 innings following a week that he made two starts, pitching 12.1 innings with 13 hits, 6 runs and 7K/2BB.
Danny Valencia was the organization leader with 11 home runs and team leader with a .302Ave. Johnny Woodard was tied for second in the organization with 10 home runs and had a team second best .288Ave. Brian Dinkelman was third on the team with a .283Ave and led the team and organization with 48 runs scored. That is a lot of offense moving to Florida.
With this trio gone, Chris Parmalee is now the team leader in rbi (38), home runs (10) and runs scored (26). Chris was 4 for 9 this week with a run, home run, 3 rbi and is now hitting .243Ave.
Elizabethton Twins (Rookie) (2-0, 2-0)
The Twins began the season much as they ended last year, by winning and are in first place a game ahead of Johnson City and Kingsport. Considering that the Toronto Blue Jays pulled out of the Appalachian League this year, their are only 9 teams which created lots of scheduling headaches. The Twins began their season with a rainout on Tuesday, which was made up by a double header on Wednesday and two days off before resuming play today.
Michael Allen and David Bromberg got the first two starts. Allen was excellent, pitching 5.0 innings with 6 hits, 1 run and 3K/2BB. Bromberg struggled, pitching 2.2 innings with 3 hits, 4 runs and 4K/6BB. He got excellent relief from 7'1" Loek VanMil who pitched 2.1 shutout innings with 0 hits and 1K/2BB. Recent draft picks Spencer Steedley pitched a shutout inning and closer Anthony Slama (now that is a good name for a closer!) got his first save by pitching a no hit inning with 2K/0BB.
The hitting stars were many, including Matt Lawman who was 2 for 3 with a double, Greg Yersich who was 3 for 5, and Marc Dolenc who was 5 for 9. Eric Santiago and Ozzie Lewis were both 2 for 4 while last year's Dominican Summer League MVP, Rene Leveret was 4 for 7 with a home run and 7 rbi. Leveret is a 21 year old veteran of three seasons in the DSL where last season he hit .331Ave/.436OBP with 7 home runs and 55 rbi in 254 at bats.
GCL Twins (Rookie) (2-1, 2-1)
The Twins begin the season in a first place tie with the Reds, a half game ahead of the Red Sox.
Liam Hendriks and Thomas Wright made the first two starts. Hendriks pitched 3.1 innings with 3 hits, 2 runs (1 earned) and 2K/2BB. Wright gave up 4 hits and 3 runs (2 earned) in 3.0 innings. Jarrad Eacott, an 18 year old leftie from Australia, pitched 3.2 ho hit innings with 4K/0BB in which he gave up an unearned run.
James Beresford is another Aussie who was 3 for 7 with 2 rbi. Paul Kelly, who is on a rehab assignment, was 1 for 3 in one game as was catcher David Hernandez.
Featured Player of the Week
One would think that one of the star pitchers at Rochester would be this week's selection, yet, the best performance this week was by Miracle reliever turned starter, Yohan Pino, who is a 23 year old native of Turmero, Venezuela.
Entering this season, Pino had a 33-5 record in his three years with the Twins organization with the DSL Twins, Elizabethton and Beloit. Three years ago, Pino was 10-1 in the DSL with a 0.53 era and 81K/5BB in 85.2 innings. The following year he was a starter for the championship Elizabethton Twins where he had a 9-2 record with a 3.72 era and 64K/13BB in 67.2 innings. Last season at Beloit, Yohan pitched in 42 games (7 starts) with a 14-2 record and 1.91 era with 99K/20BB in 94.0 innings.
Pino began this season as a reliever before joining the starting rotation. He has appeared in 16 games (7 starts), pitching 49.2 innings with a 2-3 record, 38 hits, 11 runs and 46K/13BB. Although he is just a few innings short of qualifying for league leadership, his 1.99 era would currently be third best and his 1.03 WHIP would be sixth best, however, only 0.06 behind the league leader.
On Tuesday the Miracle won 2-0 behind an excellent start by Pino who pitched 8.0 shutout innings while allowing only 5 hits with 7K/0BB. Pino is certainly another top prospect who could be a member of the Twins staff when they open their new stadium in 2010.