After their best week of the season last week when the Twins minor league clubs went 27-14, they came back to earth this week finishing 3 games over .500 at 22-19. With almost a month left for full season teams and less for the rookie clubs, which prospects will put on a push to finish strong and gain Management's attention before the long winter?
There were several player moves this week beginning with the promotion of Carmen Cali to the Twins pen from Rochester with Lew Ford being sent out to Rochester. Chris Heintz was placed on the DL by the Wings, who called up Kory Feiner as their backup catcher. Luis Ugueto was also called up from Ft. Myers for infield depth for the Wings. Ryan Mullins was sent back to New Britain by the Wings causing New Britain to send J.P. Martinez down to Ft. Myers. Later in the week the Rock Cats activated Brock Peterson from the DL and received reliever Armando Gabino from Ft. Myers. Rochester placed pitcher Brian Bass on the DL and Tommy Watkins was sent up to the Twins to replace Brian Buscher who injured his leg and was placed on the DL.
The Twins signed former San Francisco first round sandwich pick (#39 overall) Jerome Williams as pitching depth for Rochester. The 25 year old Williams was 0-5 for Washington earlier this season in 30.0 innings. The Twins also signed their 43rd round pick from this year's draft, Andres Diaz, a catcher from Palm Beach Junior College. With the recent changes in draft/sign rules, the last date for signing this year's picks is August 15th. Will the Twins get their 4th and 5th round picks signed? If they do, they will have signed all of this year's top 12 selections. Finally, Brian Dinkelman was named the Minor League Player of the Month for July with Tyler Robertson named Pitcher of the Month.
Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (4-2, 66-55)
The second place Wings cut Scranton's lead to 3 games by beating them last night, 7-6. They also now have a 1 game lead over Durham in the Wild Card race. They have two more games against the Yankees this weekend with Kevin Slowey and Brian Duensing going to the hill for the Wings. A sweep would send the Yankees out of town with only a 1 game lead.
Kevin Slowey leads the IL with a 1.83ERA and 0.92WHIP. Kevin made one start this week, pitching 6.0 innings with 8 hits, 1 run and 2K/1BB. Dave Gassner has made several excellent starts of late, including last Saturday when he pitched 8.0 shutout innings with 4 hits and 3K/2BB. He wasn't as sharp last night when he allowed 4 runs on 6 hits in 5.1 innings, however, he leads the team with 120.2 innings with his ERA now down to 5.15. Brian Duensing continues to shine with a 5.0 inning outing with 4 hits, 1 run and 4K/1BB...dropping his ERA to 2.71 with a fantastic 10-2 record. Nick Blackburn, who is back from the DL, had a 5.0 inning start with 3 hits, 2 runs and 4K/1BB. Blackburn has a 6-1 record with a 2.32ERA and 0.94WHIP. Reliever Julio DePaula has also won 10 games with 5 losses to go with a 2.74ERA. Closer Bobby Korecky pitched two huge shutout innings in last night's win and has a 3-3 record with a 3.48ERA and franchise record 31 saves in 67.1 innings with 56K/25BB.
Catcher Jose Morales now has enough at bats to qualify for the league lead with his .330Average. Center field prospect Denard Span has his average up to .251 after hitting .290 in June, .273 in July and .297 in August when he has had an excellent .395OBP. Span also has been more active on the bases this month with 6 steals in 7 attempts and now has 23 stolen bases in 34 attempts. Unfortunately, Span also leads the team with 81 strikeouts. Matt Tolbert appears to have shaken off his recent slump with his average back up to .307. Darnell McConald also raised his average to .307 with a 3 for 5 game last night when Lew Ford was 2 for 4 with a double and 2 rbi.
New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (1-4, 53-60)
The Cats had a terrible week and now find themselves a distance 4th in their division, 13.0 games behind Trenton.
Although the team struggled, their starting pitching was very good. Both Oswaldo Sosa and Yohan Pino have settled in after a few rough outings following their promotions. Sosa went 6.0 innings with 6 hits, 3 runs and 7K/0BB while Pino went 6.0 innings with 5 hits, 2 runs and 8K/1BB. Sosa dropped his ERA to 3.91 while Pino's ERA dropped to 5.16. They both continued their excellent control with Sosa having 19K/4BB in 23.0 innings and Pino getting 25K/2BB in 22.2 innings. With their success at New Britain, both pitchers should be in line for a spot with the Twins by September, 2008 at the latest. After his return following a rough introduction to AAA, Ryan Mullins had a solid start Wednesday when he pitched 6.0 innings with 8 hits, 2 runs and 5K/0BB. Anthony Swarzak was also solid in his last start, pitching 5.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 5K/1BB...dropping his ERA to 3.27 with 54K/17BB in 55.0 innings. All-Star Tim Lahey is a closer who has had a lot of work, pitching 68.1 innings with a 8-3 record, 3.16ERA, 10 saves and 51K/29BB.
Many reports have indicated that Twins Management considers Trevor Plouffe the top hitter and prospect at New Britain. Plouffe leads the Eastern League with 33 doubles and his 65 runs scored leads the team and is just 1 short of being in the league's top 10. Plouffe is hitting .284Average with 8 home runs and although he has 24 errors, there are indications that his defense is improving. Brandon Roberts is another potential centerfield replacement who was terrible early in the season after hitting .148Average in April. He has however, been great since then with a .313Average in May, .303 in June, and .359 in July before slumping with a .214 Average the first few days of August. For the season, Roberts has a .276 Average with 13 stolen bases in 18 attempts. Top prospect Matt Moses has struggled after his first few games following his return from Rochester and is now hitting .265Average in 166 at bats with 3 home runs and 31 rbi. David Winfree's slump continues and he is now hitting .241Average with only 31 rbi in 361 at bats.
Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (6-1, 26-23)
The Miracle had their best week of the summer at 6-1, and are now 3 games over .500, in 5th place 6.0 games behind Tampa. Perhaps a highlight was when I looked at their boxscore on Tuesday and noticed that every starter was hitting over .200, something that could not be said prior to the promotion of Dinkelman, Valencia and Woodard from Beloit and receiving Martin in the recent trade.
The biggest news this week has to be that Zach Ward actually got a win on Monday (he is now 3-15) when the Miracle gave him 8 run support to go with his 6.0 inning start with 5 hits, 3 runs and 2K/3BB. Kyle Waldrop made two starts with last nights performance his best since being returned from AA, pitching 7.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 3K/1BB. Jay Rainville had his best start of the season on Tuesday, pitching 8.0 innings with 6 hits, 1 run and 2K/0BB...dropping his ERA to 3.33 in his staff leading 119.0 innings. All indications are that this young man is on track to be one of the Twins top prospects again in 2008 following a near career ending injury and missing all of 2006. Errol Simonitsch made another rehab start, pitching 2.1 innings with 9 hits, 6 runs and 1K/1BB. Jeff Manship pitched 7.0 innings in his only start with 6 hits, 3 runs and 5K/0BB...and now has a 2.63ERA in 54.2 innings. Eduardo Morlan now has 15 saves, however, he hasn't been as sharp lately as his ERA has risen to 3.55 but he does have 81 strikeouts in 58.1 innings. Rob Delaney, who has continued his excellence since his promotion, has 3 saves and a 2-0 record and 1.76ERA in 10 games, 15.1 innings, with 19K/7BB. Armando Gabino had a solid 2-2 record, 3.16ERA, 4 saves and 25K/15BB in 37.0 innings before his promotion to New Britain.
Erik Lis has been on fire of late, raising his Average to .272 with a league second best 75 rbi and sixth best 28 doubles. Recently acquired Dustin Martin is hitting a league thirteenth best .293Average (.350 since joining Ft. Myers) with a league ninth best 59 runs scored, eleventh best 62 runs scored and 6 triples which are tied for third best. Brian Dinkelman continues to lead the team with a .302Average in 162 at bats since his promotion from Beloit while Danny Valencia, who leads the system with 16 home runs, is hitting .278Average with 21 rbi and 5 home runs in 169 at bats since his promotion. Juan Portes has also put together a solid season, hitting for a .258Average with 7 home runs and 47 rbi.
Beloit Snappers (A) (1-6, 25-21)
Following their toughest week of the season, the Snappers slipped into a tie for third, 3.0 games behind Quad Cities.
Their usually solid trio of starters were all solid but not up to their normal excellence in their latest outings. Cole DeVries had an excellent start on Saturday, pitching 6.0 innings with 6 hits, 2 runs and 4K/1BB before allowing 7 hits and 5 runs in 6.0 innings Thursday with 4K/3BB. Tyler Robertson was also solid in his start on Sunday, pitching 5.2 innings with 8 hits, 3 runs and 6K/1BB before yielding 7 hits and 4 runs in 6.0 innings last night with 7K/4BB...and continues to lead the starting staff with a 2.30ERA in 82.1 innings. Alex Burnett allowed 3 runs with 6 hits and 5K/2BB in 5.1 innings in his only start on Monday, losing 4-2 to Dayton and former Twin Alexander Smit who pitched 5.0 innings with 5 hits, 1 unearned run and 5K/2BB. Rochester, Minnesota's Aaron Craig has been excellent out of the Snapper pen, pitching in 27 games with a 2.54ERA and 3 saves in 39.0 innings with 30K/8BB. Anthony Slama has stepped into the void left when Delaney was promoted to Ft. Myers, picking up 6 saves in 12 appearances with a 2.77ERA and 22K/6BB in 13.0 innings.
Last year's first round pick Chris Parmalee has 13 home runs and 57 rbi and was showing great progress before hitting a terrible slump and is hitting only .185Average this month (.232Average this season). Second round pick Joe Benson has had steady progress throughout the season and is now hitting .249Average with a team high 6 triples and 16 stolen bases in 346 at bats. After hitting .275Average in July, Benson has a .306Average the first 10 days of August. The hitting star for the Snappers however, has been catcher Wilson Ramos who continues to flirt with .300 with his .296Average in 240 at bats. After hitting a stellar .285Average with 12 home runs last year for the Snappers, Eli Tintor struggled earlier this year with a .178Average in 185 at bats at Ft. Myers. His struggles continued his first few games with the Snappers before turning it around and this Hibbing, Minnesota native is now hitting .289Average in 149 at bats with 5 home runs, 23 rbi and 7 stolen bases.
Elizabethton Twins (Rookie) (7-1, 37-13)
After another high scoring week when their lowest run total was 5, the Twins lead second place Kingsport by by 9.5 games with only 17 games remaining.
With last night's win, David Bromberg kept his record perfect at a league leading 7-0 with a stellar 2.54ERA in 46.0 innings. Reliever Brad Tippett has a 1.19ERA with 40K/4BB in 30.1 innings with a 6-1 record. Sixth round pick Michael McCardell has a 3-1 record with a 2.00ERA in 27.0 innings with an amazing 43 strikeouts and only 3 walks. Twelfth round pick Michael Tarsi has a 4-1 record with a 2.68ERA in 37.0 innings with 37K/8BB. Michael Allen has a 3-1 record with a league third best 2.20ERA in 49.0 innings with 51K/7BB. Recently converted catcher Caleb Moore has made 6 appearances, picking up 2 saves in 5.2 innings with a 4.76ERA and 5K/2BB. Recent 25th round pick out of UNC Charlotte, Spencer Steedley, has also been excellent out of the pen, pitching 30.1 innings in 14 appearances with a 2.97ERA and 40K/12BB.
The hitters that are amongst league leaders is extensive. Catcher Greg Yersich is second in the league with a .341Average. Ozzie Lewis is fifth at .325Average and four others are in the top 15, Rene Tosoni at .311, D.J. Romero at .308, Mankato University's Mark Dolenc at .306 and Rene Leveret at .302. Estarlin De Los Santos leads the league with 47 runs scored while Tosoni is second with 44. Leveret has a huge lead in the rbi race with 53, in 48 games, over teammates Lewis and Romero who are second and third with 40 and 38 rbi, respectively.
GCL Twins (Rookie) (2-5, 28-13)
The Twins saw their lead over the second place Orioles dwindle to 0.5 games following their worst week of the season.
Glen Perkins had his first rehab start last night in his second effort to return to the Twins. He pitched a near perfect 2.0 innings with 2K/1BB. Daniel Berlind followed with 4.2 innings in which he allowed 7 hits, 5 runs and 4K/1BB. Berlind had been the team's best starter with a 5-1 record and 1.54ERA in 41.0 innings with 43K/17BB. Lefty Winston Marquez has a 2-3 record with a 2.62ERA in 34.1 innings. Aussie Liam Hendriks has a 2-1 record with a 1.55ERA in 29.0 innings with 33K/8BB. Reliever Jarrad Eacott has a 2-0 record with a system low 0.40ERA in 10 games (22.1ip) with 15K/7BB. Recent 24th round pick Charles Nolte has a 3-0 record with a 0.89ERA in 20.1 innings with 18K/8BB. Closer Danny Rondon has 9 saves in 15 appearances with a 0.50ERA and 11K/10BB in 18.0 innings.
Several hitters are having wonderful seasons. First round pick Ben Revere is one of the league's top players...hitting a league sixth best .324Average with a league best 34 runs scored and 9 triples compared with a second best 5 triples. Revere also leads the league with 18 stolen bases in only 22 attempts after picking up 3 more steal yesterday. Jeanfred Brito is third in the league with 31 runs scored (hitting .312Average) while Juan Richardson has the league's fourth best Average at .333 with St. Olaf's Andrew Schmiesing having the league's seventh best average of .321. This year's second round pick, catcher Danny Rams, is hitting .276Average and infielder Yangervis Solarte is hitting .293Average.
Featured Player of the Week
Garrett Guzman has been one of the better stories in this organizatin for the past several years. After being selected in the 10th round of the 2001 draft, Guzman had several solid seasons in which he was consistantly one of his teams most productive players.
In his rookie season in the GCL, Guzman hit for a .355Average with 14 doubles, 5 triples, 2 home runs and 22 rbi in 138 at bats. The following season he hit .279Average in Elizabethton with 21 doubles, 4 triples, 6 home runs and 48 rbi in 247 at bats. His progression through the system continued in 2003 when he hit for a .282Average in the Quad Cities with 18 doubles, 4 triples, 3 home runs and 33 rbi in 298 at bats. In 2004 he was in Ft. Myers where he hit for a .269Average with 10 doubles, 5 triples, 4 home runs and 31 rbi in 275 at bats.
In 2005 he was returning to his home a few days before spring training when he was in an auto accident in which he broke his neck. He missed the entire 2005 season, returning to Ft. Myers in 2006 where he hit .274Average with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 8 home runs and 51 rbi in 259 at bats before being promoted to New Britain. In New Britain, Guzman hit for a .275Average with 15 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs and 26 rbi in 222 at bats.
This season Guzman has put his name near the top of Twins outfielder prospect lists. He is currently hitting .300Average with 16 doubles, 1 triple, 13 home runs and 69 rbi in 387 at bats. This past week Garrett was 10 for 20 (.500Average) with 4 runs scored, 2 home runs, 4 rbi and 2 walks.
Guzman is a disciplined hitter who doesn't strike out a lot, 42 strikeouts in 387 at bats, with nearly as many walks (32) as strikeouts. With a .350OBP and .447SLG, Guzman has continued to improve throughout his career which should enable him to be a member of the Twins outfield sometime next year.