Minor League Report...June 30, 2007

With all six teams active, the organization had a solid week with a 22-17 record.  

As has been the case the past few weeks, there was a lot of player movement beginning with confirmation that Whit Robbins, Matt Betsill and Eli Tintor were sent back to Beloit from Ft. Myers.  The Twins signed their 24th round pick, Charles Nolte.  Ken Harvey completed his rehab assignment with the GCL Twins and has returned to Rochester.  Harvey was replaced in Ft. Myers by Rondell White who moved up to the Miracle yesterday as he continues his rehab.  Jeff Manship got his promotion to Ft. Myers  with Anthony Swarzak moving back up to New Britain to replace Tristan Crawford who went on the DL.  Matt Williams and recently signed 38th round pick, Chris Cates, moved up to Beloit from Elizabethton.  Finally, the Twins recalled Matt Garza yesterday with Chris Heintz going back to Rochester which caused two catchers to move down...Korey Feiner going to New Britain and Jeff Christy to Ft. Myers.

Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (4-4, 42-37)

The Red Wings remain in second place, losing a game to Buffalo whom they now trail by 2.0 games.

Matt Garza is back up with the Twins following his last game in which he struggled, giving up 10 hits in 5.0 innings with 4 runs and 6K/0BB.  He leaves Rochester with a 4-6 record, 3.62era, 1.35WHIP and 95K/31BB in 16 starts with 92.0 innings pitched.  Nick Blackburn continues to be as good as any pitcher in baseball, stretching his consecutive innings streak without an earned run to 44.  This week Nick made one start, pitching 7.0 innings with 7 hits, 0 runs and 2K/0BB...dropping his era to 1.57 to go with his 0.92WHIP.  Closer Bobby Korecky picked up his 18th save while pitching 3.2 innings in 3 appearances with 2 hits, 1 run and 2K/2BB.  Lefty Brian Duensing also had a very good start, pitching 7.0 innings with 6 hits, 2 runs and 4K/ his era went up to 2.19.  

Jose Morales continues to be the most consistent hitter in the organization, who also happens to have the highest average (.349) of any player on the full season teams.  This week Jose was 9 for 27 with 4 runs, 3 doubles and 2 rbi.  Matt Tolbert has been in a bit of a slump going 8 for 36 this week with 6 runs, a double and 2 rbi and is now hitting .341Ave.  Brian Buscher has made the most of his promotion to Rochester, getting 11 hits in 32 at bats during his first full week with the Wings.  Buscher also was very productive, scoring 7 runs and driving in another 7 runs with a double and 3 home runs.  At 26 Brian is older than several other third base prospects, however, is he now the top third base prospect in the upper levels of the organization?  Alexi Casilla was 8 for 30 with 5 runs scored and 4 stolen bases in 6 attempts and is now hitting .286Ave.  Casilla now has an organization leading 19 stolen bases in 28 attempts.  Denard Span struggled during his first two months of the season causing many fans to write him off for consideration as the Twins future centerfielder.  Entering the last night of the month, Span is hitting .298Ave in June which is a strong indication that maybe he should not be judged until the Rochester season is complete.  This week Denard was 8 for 32 with 3 runs, a double, his first two home runs of the year and 1 stolen base...raising his average to .242.

New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (4-3, 36-40)

The Rock Cats remain in 4th place, picking up 2.0 games on Trenton whom they now trail by 10.0 games.

Several relievers had excellent weeks worthy of mention.  Tim Lahey pitched in 3 games with 5.1 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs and 6K/0BB.  Dan Powers pitched in 2 games with 5.0 innings, 3 hits, 1 run and 2K/1BB.  Jay Sawatski appeared in 2 games with 2.0 innings with 2 hits, 0 runs and 4K/1BB.  Newcomer Frank Mata also appeared in 2 games with 3.0 innings, 5 hits, 1 run and 4K/2BB.  Anthony Swarzak returned from Ft. Myers following his suspension.  Anthony was solid in his first start, pitching 5.1 innings with 6 hits, 3 runs and 8K/1BB.  Kyle Waldrop had an excellent start, pitching 5.0 innings with 3 hits, 0 runs and 3K/1BB.  Ryan Mullins was also solid in his start, pitching 7.2 innings with 5 hits, 2 runs and 10K/2BB.  Mullins now is the team leader with a 2.29era.

Matt Moses returned from Rochester where he hit for a .224Ave.  In his first full week back, Matt was 9 for 29 with 3 runs, 1 double, 1 home run and 9 rbi giving him a .303Ave.  Rashad Eldridge was a minor league free agent who was signed this winter on the advice of Rondell White.  Eldridge began the season slowly with a .143Ave in April, followed by .288Ave in May and .346Ave in June...bringing his average up to .291 in 179 at bats for the Cats.  This week he was 8 for 20 with 2 runs and 1 rbi.  Trevor Plouffe continues to play very well for a 20 year old in AA.  This week Trevor was 9 for 23 with 5 runs, a double and 4 rbi...bringing his average up to .288Ave in 288 at bats while his 20 doubles are second in the organization.  Brandon Roberts also continues to improve with his average up to .257 following a 5 for 13 week with 4 runs, a triple and 1 rbi.  Garrett Guzman must have people in the Twins front office taking notice following a week when he got another 4 rbi to give him an organization leading 47 with a .285Ave following an 8 for 29 week with 2 runs, a double and home run.

Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (2-4, 4-4)

The Miracle dropped to a fifth place tie, 3.0 games behind Tampa.

Oswaldo Sosa continues to pitch very well.  This week he made 1 start with 5.1 innings, 5 hits, 1 run and 3K/3BB...and now has a 2-4 record with a 2.50era.  Jay Rainville made another good start, pitching 7.1 innings with 8 hits, 3 runs and 4K/1BB.  Yohan Pino again had the best week of any starter, pitching 7.0 innings with 5 hits, 1 unearned run and 6K/ Pino a 2-3 record with a 1.75era and 0.99WHIP.  Alexander Smit made one excellent relief appearance, pitching 2.1 innings with 0 hits, 0 runs and 1K/3BB.  Eduardo Morlan appeared in 2 games, 3.0 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs and 4K/1BB.  Angel Garcia pitched 1.2 innings in his only appearance with 0 hits, 0 runs and 3K/1BB.  Jeff Manship made his first start for the Miracle, pitching 5.0 innings with 7 hits, 3 runs (2 earned) and 6K/1BB.

Danny Valencia was Beloit's leading hitter with a .302Ave before his promotion to the Miracle.  This week he joined the Miracle and is their leading hitter with a .280Ave, following a 7 for 25 week with a home run.  His 12 home runs at Beloit and Ft. Myers leads the entire organization.  Brian Dinkelman was the second best hitter for the Snappers with a .283Ave and now has the second best average for the Miracle at .269 following a 7 for 26 week with a triple, home run and 4 rbi.  His 3 runs scored this week gives him an organization leading 51.  Erik Lis had been the team leader, however, his average slipped to .256 following a 2 for 22 week.  Juan Portes continued his solid play, going 6 for 24 with 4 runs, a double, 3 home runs and 6 rbi.  Portes had been playing some at second, third and left field before moving to centerfield where he has played for the past week.  Javi Sanchez missed some time with an injury earlier this year and all of last year.  This week Javi was 5 for 9 with 3 runs and 5 rbi...raising his average to .191.

Beloit Snappers (A) (3-4, 4-5)

The Snappers followed their first half championship with a start to the second half in 6th place, 2.0 games behind Burlington.

With Manship gone to Florida, Alex Burnett has taken over as the team ace with another excellent start, pitching 7.0 innings with 4 hits, 0 runs and 6K/2BB.  Burnett, who won't turn 20 until late next month, now has a 3.36era and 1.15WHIP.  Cole DeVries hasn't been the same pitcher he was the first couple months of the season.  He made one start this week, pitching 6.1 innings with 5 hits, 4 runs and 5K/2BB...raising his era to 3.11 (7.25era in June following 1.65era in April and 1.23era in May).  Brian Kirwin made two starts this week, one in which he struggled with 6 hits, 6 runs (4 earned) and 4K/3BB in 3.0 innings; and a second start in which he only gave up 2 hits in 6.0 shutout innings with 4K/ Brian a 2.78era in 35.2 innings with a 1.09WHIP.  Rob Delaney actually had a game this week in which he gave up a run.  For the week he appeared in 4 games with 4.1 innings, 1 hit, 1 run and 6K/1BB while picking up 2 saves.  Rochester's Aaron Craig appeared in 2 games with 2.2 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs and 2K/2BB.

With their top hitter off to Florida, the Snapper hitters struggled to score runs.  Steven Singleton was 8 for 26 with 3 runs, a double and 2 rbi...and now leads the team with a .280Ave.  Chris Parmalee is tied with Erik Lis for third in the organization with 40 rbi.  He is also third with 10 home runs.  This week Chris was 6 for 30 with 3 runs, a double and 2 rbi.  Allan de San Miguel returned from the DL with a 3 for 14 week with 1 run, 1 double and 5 rbi.

Elizabethton Twins (Rookie) (5-1, 7-1)

The Twins began their short season in first place, with their hitters providing double digit runs in most of their wins.  They currently lead Kingsport by 2.0 games.

Michael Allen made his second start of the week in last night's suspended game...that the Twins were leading 2-0 when stopped in the third inning.  In his previous start, Allen pitched 5.0 innings with 3 hits, 1 unearned run adn 7K/0BB.  David Bromberg also pitched 5.0 innings with 2 hits, 0 runs and 10K/2BB.  The tallest player in baseball, Loek VanMil appeared in two games, pitching 5.0 innings with 2 hits, 2 runs (1 earned) and 3K/4BB.  It has been reported that the biggest change for Loek this year is that his fastball is up to the low to mid-90's compared with last year when it topped out at 87-88.  At 7'1" tall, a 93-94 mph fastball has to be very intimidating.  The Twins may have found another top short reliever in Anthony Slama (a 2006, 39th round pick signed this spring as a draft & follow), who appeared in 2 games this week with 2.0 innings, 0 hits, 0 runs and 4K/0BB...yes, CMathewson may be correct when he named Anthony "Slama the door shut" Slama.  Matt Williams moved up to Beloit following 2 outings with 3.0 innings, 3 hits, 1 run and 1K/2BB.

Greg Yersich had been a solid hitter last season for Elizabethton, yet struggled when promoted to Beloit where he hit only .168Ave in 119 at bats.  He returned to Elizabethton where he was 8 for 18 this week with 4 runs, 2 doubles and him a .478Ave.  MSU-Makato's Mark Dolenc was 8 for 24 this week with 7 runs, 2 doubles, a home run and 6 rbi giving him a .394Ave.  Infielder Starling De Los Santos was 7 for 22 and is hitting .303Ave.  

GCL Twins (Rookie) (4-1, 6-2)

Dan Berlind began the short season pitching in 2 games with 9.0 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs and 11K/5BB.  Liam Hendriks also appeared in 2 games, 8.1 innings with 7 hits, 2 runs (1 earned) and 3K/2BB.  Michael McCardell, Santos Arias and Jarrad Eacott all appeared in 2 games, pitching 8.0, 7.0 and 6.2 shutout innings respectively with McCardell the toughest with 10K/1BB in his 8.0 innings.  

St. Olaf's Andrew Schmiesing began his professional career with a .364Ave, 2 doubles, 4 runs scored, 2 rbi and 1 stolen base.  Ben Revere is hitting .360Ave with a double, 1 triple and 2 stolen bases in 3 attempts.  Infielder Jeanfried Brito is hitting .323Ave while Canadian first baseman Jon Waltenbury is hitting .304Ave.  Ken Harvey completed his rehab assignment with a .222Ave with 3 doubles and a home run in 18 at bats.

Featured Player of the Week

I have traveled a fair amount in my lifetime, yet needed to do some research this morning before writing about this week's Player of the Week, Rene Leveret.  

Leveret is a native of South Reward, St. Maarten.  St. Maarten is the southern half of an island east of Puerto Rico that is split between the Dutch (St. Maarten) and French (St. Martin).  

He is a 21 year old prospect who was signed by Twins scout Gene Grimaldi in August, 2003.  Rene is a 6'1, 238 pound first baseman who began his Twins career in 2004 playing for the Twins Dominican Summer League (DSL) team, where he remained for three years.  He hit .258Ave in 2004, and .272Ave in 2005.  In 2006 he was named the DSL's Most Valuable Player after he led the league in doubles (22), ranked second in extra base hits (29), rbi (55) and hits (84), was third in hitting (.331Ave) and slugging (.500), and fourth with his .436OBP.  

After an excellent spring in EST, Leveret was assigned to Elizabethton for the 2007 season.  He began this short season last week and in the Twins first 8 games, he had 14 hits in 34 at bats (.412Ave), 11 runs scored, 2 doubles, 3 home runs and 16 rbi.

Without doing a lot of research, I cannot say how many major league players have hailed from St. Maarten.  If Leveret continues hitting like he has this past year or so, the Twins may have found one who is going to be very good.

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