Minor League Report...July 28, 2007

After a couple of their best weeks of the season, the organization had one of their worst weeks, finishing with a 16-21 record.

Player movement slowed a bit, however, there were several moves beginning with Ft. Myers catcher Caleb Moore being assigned to Elizabethton where he will be converted to a pitcher.  To replace Moore, Allan de San Miguel was promoted to the Miracle with recent 19th round pick Ben Petsch being promoted to Beloit.  David Hernandez was promoted from the GCL Twins to Elizabethton to replace Petsch.  Pitcher Nick Lobanov left the GCL Twins to join a Russian National Team for the remainder of the summer.  Brian Buscher was called up by the Twins with Darnell McDonald being returned to Rochester after a brief stay with the Twins.  To make room for Buscher on the 40-man roster, outfielder Josh Rabe was transferred to the 60-man disabled list which I believe now stands at four.  New Britain slugger Brian Peterson was put on the DL.  Danny Valencia was the FSL Player of the Week and D.J. Romero was the Appalachian League Player of the Week.

Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (6-3, 57-50)

The Wings had an excellent week and continue their battle for a playoff spot.  They now trail Scranton by only 3.0 games and trail Buffalo by 1.5 games for a Wild Card spot.

Ryan Mullins has struggled in his first two outings for the Wings.  This week he pitched 4.0 innings with 7 hits, 6 runs (5 earned) and 3K/0BB.  Ryan is 0-1 with a 18.0 era in 7.0 innings.  Kevin Slowey had a very good start in a 2-3 ten inning loss when he pitched 6.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 6K/1BB.  Last night he wasn't as sharp as the Wings lost 2-4 behind Kevin's 6.0 innings with 9 hits, 4 runs and 3K/2BB.  Is Kevin thinking about rumors and the pending Trade deadline?  The best start this week was from Brian Bass who pitched 7.0 innings in Thursday's 3-2 win...with 3 hits, 0 runs and 7K/0BB.  Brian now has a 4-2 record with a 4.14era.  Jason Miller appeared in 4 games and now has a 3.48era while Julio DePaula also appeared in 4 games with his era down to 2.79.  Carmen Cali has continued to be excellent in 4 relief appearances this week with 5.1 innings, 6 hits, 1 run and 3K.2BB...his era is now 2.49.

Many of the Wings hitters have seen their averages drop this week.  Jose Morales was 7 for 25 with his average now at .342.  It wasn't that long ago that Matt Tolbert was flirting with .400, however, last night his average dipped to .299.  Garrett Jones continues to lead the team in many categories, including home runs (11), rbi (59) and doubles (31).  Doug Deeds was one Wing who was on a tear, going 10 for 23 with a double, triple, 1 rbi and 4 runs scored...and now has his average up to .240.

New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (0-6, 47-53)

The Cats couldn't get a win this week and remain in 4th place, 14.0 games behind Trenton.  Doesn't this team have more talent than their record indicates?

The pitching staff was lead by Anthony Swarzak who had his best outing of the season in the Cats 0-3 loss on Wednesday.  Swarzak pitched 7.0 shutout innings with 2 hits and 11K/0BB...dropping his era to 3.12 with 41K/14BB in 43.1 innings.  He appears to be focused and intent upon reclaiming his top prospect status following his earlier season problems.  Yohan Pino has struggled in his first exposure to AA with a 17.18era in his first 3.2 innings.  Oswaldo Sosa has been better, but not as successful as he was at Ft. Myers.  In his two starts this week, Sosa pitched 5.0 innings on Sunday, allowing 8 hits, 2 runs and 2K/1BB.  Last night he again pitched 5.0 innings with 6 hits, 4 runs and 3K/2BB.  Jose Mijares made three appearances with 3.1 innings, 1 hit, 1 run and 3K/2BB.  Recently promoted Angel Garcia has been excellent.  In 4 appearances, Garcia has pitched 5.0 innings with 2 hits, 2 runs, 4K/3BB for a 3.60era.

The Cats didn't score alot this week, yet, Garrett Guzman had an excellent week, going 8 for 22 with 3 doubles, 1 run, 5 rbi, is hitting .283 and leads the team with 63 rbi.  Matt Moses saw his average drop .027 points down to .284.  Shortstop Trevor Plouffe is now leading the team in hitting with a .286Ave while also leading with 58 runs scored, 28 doubles and is tied with Roberts for the team lead with 10 stolen bases.  Brandon Roberts is their regular lead off man with his average up to .281.  Prior to going on to the DL, Brock Peterson was tied with Guzman with the second most home runs on the team with 11 to go with his 45 rbi, 17 doubles and a .276Ave.            

Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (3-3, 17-18, 30-40 1st half)

The Miracle remained a game under .500, in 5th place 6.0 games behind Dunedin.

Errol Simonitsch made two appearances on his road back from injury.  Errol pitched 8.0 innings with 11 hits, 4 runs and 6K/1BB.  Jeff Manship had an excellent outing and now has a 5-1 record with a 2.61era following his 7.0 inning performance with 6 hits, 1 run and 12K/3BB.  Jeff now has 41K/14BB in 38.0 innings which confirms that his early season performance at Beloit was no fluke.  Armando Gabino has been solid all season for the Miracle with a 3.16era.  Jay Rainville had another solid start, pitching 5.2 innings with 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned) and 4K/1BB.

Brian Dinkelman continues to lead the team in hitting with a .322Ave following a week when he was was 6 for 21 with his 5th home run.  Danny Valencia followed his award winning week with a 2 for 21 week which saw his average dip nearly .040 to .285Ave, however, he continues to lead the organization with 15 home runs.  Steve Tolleson was again solid with a 6 for 15 week while Juan Portes was the hitting star with 9 hits in 22 at bats (.409Ave) including 2 doubles, 2 runs scored and 4 rbi with his average up to .264.  Erik Lis had 3 doubles during his 7 for 22 week and is now hitting .260Ave.

Beloit Snappers (A) (4-2, 19-13, 44-26 1st half)

The Snappers remain tied for second with Quad Cities 1.5 games behind Peoria.

The Snappers have two 19 year-old pitchers whom are amongst the best in the organization and both are again worthy of Player of the Week recognition.  Alex Burnett made two starts this week with a 1-1 record.  Burnett got the win last Saturday when he pitched a 7.0 inning shutout with only 3 hits and 8K/2BB.  Last night he got the loss as the Snappers were shutout, 0-1.  Burnett however, pitched 6.0 innings with 5 hits, 1 run and 3K/0BB...and now has a 6-6 record with a 2.90era.  Tyler Robertson was a third round pick in the 2006 draft who has performed as well as any pitcher in the organization since his early season promotion from EST.  Tyler had one start this week, pitching 6.2 innings with 4 hits, 2 runs and 5K/1BB.  Tyler has 69 strikeouts in 64.2 innings with a 5-2 record and 1.81era.  Matt Fox had another solid start on his recovery road, pitching 6.0 innings with 9 hits, 3 unearned runs and 3K/2BB.  Anthony Slama has stepped into the closer role with 2 appearances this week, earning 1 save in 3.1 innings with 1 hit, 0 runs and 7K/0BB...and now has a 2.57era with 12 strikeouts in 7.1 innings.  Rochester native Aaron Craig also had a solid week, pitching 4.0 innings with 1 hit and 1 unearned run.

Ben Petsch, who was promoted to replace de San Miguel, was 3 for 9 in his first few games.  Catcher Wilson Ramos continues to be one of this years success he continues to lead the team with a .284Ave following his 6 for 19 week with 2 doubles and 5 rbi.  Centerfielder Joe Benson was 6 for 21 with a triple, 5 runs scored, 3 rbi and his team leading 14th stolen base.  Top prospect Chris Parmalee got 2 more rbi for a team high 52 while raising his average a point to .244.  Eli Tintor who had struggled at Ft. Myers may have found his stroke this week, going 8 for 23 while raising his average to .232 in 99 at bats.

Elizabethton Twins (Rookie) (1-4, 24-10)

The Twins came back to earth this week as second place Kingsport cut 3.0 games off their lead which now stands a 6.5 games.

Their starting pitchers had several very good starts, with Henry Reyes allowing only 1 unearned run in 5.0 innings with 2 hits and 7K/4BB; Michael McCardell allowing 7 hits and 3 runs in his second start with 8K/0BB; Michael Tarsi pitched 4.0 innings with 4 hits, 2 runs (1 earned) and 4K/1BB; and Michael Allen pitching 4.0 innings with 7 hits, 2 runs and 3K/0BB.  Caleb Moore made his first appearance as a pitcher, pitching 1.0 inning with 1 hit, 0 runs and 1K/0BB.  Brad Tippett made two relief appearances, pitching 4.0 innings with 0 hits, 0 runs and 5K/0BB.  Tippett now has a 4-0 record, 0.51era, 0.57WHIP and 24K/2BB in 17.2 innings.  Recent 10th round selection Blair Erickson now has made 6 appearances, 5.1 innings, with 3 hits, 1 unearned run and 6K/1BB.

Several of the big E-Ton bats slowed this week, however D.J. Romero remained hot with a 6 for 15 week including 2 doubles, 3 runs and 4 rbi.  Ozzie Lewis continues to lead the team in hitting with his .314Ave following a 3 for 16 week.  Recently signed catcher Dan Lehman is hitting .313Ave while catcher Greg Yersich is hitting .306Ave.  

GCL Twins (Rookie) (3-2, 22-8)

The Twins remain in first, 2.0 games ahead of the surging Orioles.

Dan Berlind leads the team with 31.0 innings following 1 appearance this week when he pitched 6.0 innings with 5 hits, 1 run and 4K/2BB...Dan now has a 4-0 record with a 0.87era and 0.97WHIP.  Aussie Liam Hendriks made one start, pitching 3.1 innings and now has a 1-1 record, 2.40era and 10K/5BB in 15.0 innings.  Fellow Aussie Jarrd Eacott made another 2 appearances, pitching 3.2 innings with 5 hits, 1 unearned run and 3K/1BB.  Eacott now has a 2-0 record with a 0.49era and 0.98WHIP.  Closer Danny Rondon has a 0.64era and 10K/8BB in 14.0 innings with a 1-0 record and 7 saves.

Recently signed second round pick, catcher Dan Rams has been hot with 13 hits in his first 30 at bats, hitting .433Ave with 1 double, 1 triple and 7 rbi.  Second baseman Jeanfred Brito was 5 for 17 and is now hitting .325Ave.  Ben Revere is hitting .324Ave with 16 rbi, 24 runs, 3 doubles and 6 triples in 102 at bats.  He also has 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts.  It is very early, however, the Twins scouts may have been correct in recommending that they take this young man in the first round.  

Player of the Week

It may be surprising that a pitcher with a record of 2-14 could ever be considered for Player of the Week recognition.  However, this young man has pitched so well several times this season that this week is not the first that he has been in the hunt for this recognition.

Yes Zach Ward has a 2-14 record and again lost his only decision this week, yet he is definitely worthy of recognition as this week's Player of the Week.  In his first outing of the week, he pitched 8.0 innings with 6 hits, 2 unearned runs and 9K/1BB.  He followed that up with a start on Thursday when he actually had the lead after 2.0 innings with 0 hits, 0 runs and 3K/1BB...when the rains came and the game was suspended.  The Miracle went on to win that game last night with Errol Simonitsch pitching 4.1 innings and getting the win.  

For the week, Zach appeared in 2 games with 10.0 innings pitched, 6 hits, 2 unearned runs and 12K/2BB.  For the season, Zach has that 2-14 record with a 3.03era, 1.17WHIP and 84K/24BB in 101.0 innings.

We are all aware that Ward is the pitcher the Twins received from the Reds in the Kyle Lohse trade late last summer.  Zach is a North Carolina native who was drafted by the Reds in the 3rd round of the 2005 draft out of Gardner-Webb University.  He was one of the top pitchers in the Midwest League prior to last year's trade.  Pitching for Dayton, Zach had a 7-0 record  and 2.29era in 20 games, 114.0 innings with 95K/37BB while allowing opposing hitters to hit for only a .188 Average.  He did not appear to be the same pitcher following the trade as he compiled a 1-4 record with the Snappers, pitching 30.1 innings with a 5.93era and 23K/11BB while giving opposing hitters a .250 Avereage.

Although his won-loss record is the worst in the system since the man he was traded for lost 20 at New Britain, he appears to be an excellent prospect who certainly has a bright future in the Twins organization.  

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