Minor League Report...May 10, 2008

The organization was 2 games over .500 this week, 14-12.  Three of the four teams were very good, however, Rochester has a 7 game losing streak.

There were several transactions this week, many involving the Twins.  I also missed Rochester's Tommy Watkins return from DL last week.  The Twins placed Scott Baker on the DL opening a spot for Kevin Slowey, who had been at Rochester on a rehab assignment.  They will callup Glen Perkins for today's start, replacing Pat Neshek who is likely out for the season with a serious elbow injury.  Former National League All-Star, Danny Graves, was promoted to Rochester from New Britain.  Errol Simonitsch was activated by the Miracle from EST where he had been on a rehab assignment.  Dianna is reporting that New Britain centerfielder Brandon Roberts and pitcher David Shinskie were reassigned from the New Britain DL to EST.  Finally, the organization's hottest hitter, Luke Hughes, took a foul ball off his leg/foot on Wednesday.  He was replaced and has not played since, although he had not been placed on the disabled list as of yesterday.   

With the minor league season about a quarter over, several players in the organization are on pace for driving in 100 runs.  When looking at the top five rbi men in the system, there may be a few names which will surprise some fans.  Who are the five most productive hitters in the organization in terms of driving in runs?


Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (0-7, 14-22)

The Red Wings had an awful week, dropping to fifth place and losing 6.0 games to Division leading Scranton/WB who they now trail by 12.0 games.  With a lineup that many thought would battle for a league title, many fans and reporters in Rochester are questioning the chemistry of this team.  Was the addition of several minor league veterans this past winter the correct decision?  Would Rochester be a better team had prospects such as Trevor Plouffe and Brandon Roberts been promoted to the Red Wings?

Kevin Mulvey (2-4) lost twice this week.  On Saturday he pitched 5.0 innings with 8 hits, 4 runs and 5K/1BB in a 4-0 loss.  On Thursday he pitched 5.0 innings with 5 hits, 3 runs and 1K/2BB in a 5-1 loss.  Brian Duensing had a rough start in last Sunday's 8-4 loss, pitching 5.2 innings with 5 hits, 6 runs and 3K/4BB.  He had the Wings best start this week in last night's 4-3 ten inning loss, pitching 6.0 innings with 7 hits, 2 runs (1 earned) and 3K/0BB.  Brian continues to lead the team with 47.2 innings pitched with the best ERA (3.40) for all starters.  Francisco Liriano had his best start of the year in Monday's 7-6 loss, pitching 5.0 innings with 2 hits, 1 run and 4K/4BB.  Philip Humber had a short but good start in Tuesday's 3-1 loss, pitching 4.0 innings with 5 hits, 1 run and 6K/2BB.  Heath Totten made a spot start in Thursday's second game, pitching 3.0 innings with 4 hits, 4 runs and 0K/2BB.  Glen Perkins will return to Minnesota as today's starter following his two best starts of the year.  He pitched a complete game shutout with only 2 hits and 7K/1BB on April 26th.  On May 2nd he pitched 5.1 innings, again allowing only 2 hits with 3 runs (2 earned) and 4K/4BB.  Perkins returns to the Twins after appearing in 7 games for the Wings (6 starts) with a 2-1 record and 2.97ERA in 33.1 innings with 27K/19BB.

Julio DePaula had the best performance of any reliever this week, appearing in 3 games (3.1 innings) with 0 hits, 1 run and 4K/3BB.  His best performance was Tuesday, when he pitched 2.0 no-hit innings with 3K/0BB.  DePaula has appeared in 15 games (20.1 innings) with a 0-0 record, 3.10ERA and 19K/15BB.  Casey Daigle also had a good week, appearing in 2 games (2.0 innings) with 2 hits, 0 runs and 2K/0BB.  He has an excellent 2.20ERA in 12 games (16.1 innings) with 10K/6BB and a 0-2 record.  Danny Graves has moved up from New Britain, where he appeared in 7 games (10.0 innings) with a 2-0 record, 3.60ERA and 7K/4BB.  Someone like Graves, who has a lot of major league experience, could play an important role for the Twins now that Neshek may be out for the season.   

Darnell McDonald was 8 for 24 (.333Ave) this week with a home run and 6 rbi.  He now has enough at bats to qualify for the International League batting title and is currently second at .340/.398/.617.  McDonald leads the team with 25 rbi which is third best in the organization.  Denard Span has returned to Rochester with a mission to play well and continue working to become a solid major league player.  This week, Span was 10 for 28 including 2 doubles, 4 runs scored and 3 stolen bases in 3 attempts.  Span is now hitting .317/.419/.349 with 2 doubles, 12 runs scored, 4 rbi, 11 stolen bases (13 attempts) and 15strikeouts/11walks in 63 at bats.

New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (5-2, 19-14)

The Rock Cats had another excellent week with a nine game winning streak that ended with a 9-7 loss on Thursday.  The Cats are in third place, 3.5 games behind Trenton.

Jay Rainville had a solid start in last Saturday's 6-4 win, pitching 5.0 innings with 5 hits, 2 runs and 5K/1BB.  He followed that start with a tough one Thursday, pitching 3.2 innings with 8 hits, 7 runs and 3K/2BB.  Jay has made 7 starts this season (29.2 innings) with a 2-4 record, 10.01ERA and 15K/11BB as he continues to come back from missing all of 2006.  Oswaldo Sosa also had two starts that were less than excellent.  On Sunday, he pitched 5.0 innings with 8 hits, 5 runs and 3K/1BB in a 6-5 win.  Last night he pitched 4.0 innings with 7 hits, 5 runs and 2K/4BB in a 12-11 loss.  Yohan Pino allowed 8 hits and 3 runs in 6.0 innings with 3K/1BB in Monday's 5-4 win.  Pino's 2.32ERA continues to be the best of all Rock Cat starters.  Ryan Mullins pitched 6.0 innings with 5 hits and 3 runs (2 earned) and 6K/3BB in Tuesday's 5-3 win.  Mullins leads the team with 38.1 innings with a 3.05ERA, 2-2 record and 23K/17BB.  Anthony Swarzak also made only one start this week, pitching 4.2 innings with 8 hits, 5 runs and 3K/3BB in Wednesday's 7-6 win.

This winter the Twins signed minor league free agent Ben Julianel, a 28 year old lefty who has been the Rock Cat closer much of this season.  Ben has 6 saves in 14 games (17.1 innings) with 20K/11BB and a 2.60ERA after appearing in 3 games (2.2 innings) this week with 2 saves and 6K/1BB.  Armando Gabino had three scoreless appearances before getting the loss last night when he allowed 4 runs.  For the week, he appeared in 4 games (5.2 innings) with 4 hits, 4 runs and 0K/5BB and now has a 2.61ERA.  Zach Ward had another solid week, appearing in 3 games (4.0 innings) with 2 hits, 0 runs and 3K/1BB.  Ward has a team best 0.44ERA.

Luke Hughes leads the Eastern League in hitting with a .388 Average.  He was 10 for 20 (.500) this week prior to taking a foul ball off his leg and leaving the game Wednesday night and missing the games on Thursday and Friday.  Dustin Martin is the third best hitter in the League with a .343/.410/.495.  This week Martin was 8 for 23 with 8 rbi, giving him a total of 23 rbi which is tied for fifth best in the organization.  Brock Peterson had another excellent week, 10 for 26 (.385Ave) with 2 doubles, 5 runs scored, 7 rbi.  Peterson, who is hitting .298/.365/.450, currently leads the organization with 31 rbi.  Trevor Plouffe had another solid week, 9 for 27 (.333Ave), with a double, home run and 5 rbi and is now hitting .290/.338/.427.  David Winfree may only be hitting .226/.315/.461, however, he is hitting .295/.354/.545 with runners in scoring position which is why he has an organization second best 29 rbi.  Many fans expected Erik Lis to be a huge addition to the Rock Cat lineup.  It has taken awhile for him to adjust to AA pitching, however, he has been one of the Cats better hitters the last few weeks.  This week Erik was 11 for 22 (.500Ave) with 4 doubles, a home run and 2 rbi...and is now hitting .264/.328/.425.

Fort Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (4-2, 21-13)

The Miracle had a good week, however, Tampa was better.  The Miracle slipped into second place and are now 0.5 games behind Tampa.

In his last outing, Deolis Guerra struggled allowing 9 hits and 8 runs.  He stepped up a notch this week pitching 6.0 innings with 5 hits, 2 runs and 1K/0BB in Thursday's 7-2 win.  Alex Burnett was excellent last Saturday, pitching 6.0 shutout innings with 5 hits and 3K/1BB in a 5-2 win over the Daytona Cubs and former Twin Adam Harben, who pitched 4.2 innings with 6 hits and 5 runs and now has a 1-4 record and 6.30ERA.  Burnett was also solid last night, pitching 5.2 innings with 6 hits, 3 runs and 3K/2BB in a 7-3 win.  Burnett leads all starters with a 2.70ERA  and a 2-1 record in 8 games (33.1 innings) with 18K/13BB.  Tyler Robertson had his roughest outing of the year on Sunday, pitching 5.0 innings with 14 hits, 6 runs (5 earned) and 2K/1BB...raising his ERA to 3.86.  Cole DeVries had one of his best starts in Monday's 9-1 loss, pitching 7.0 innings with 7 hits, only 2 runs and 0K/1BB.  Jeff Manship was again solid in Tuesday's 4-2 win, pitching 6.0 innings with 7 hits, 2 runs and 8K/2BB.  Manship has an excellent 3.23ERA with a 4-0 record in a team high 39.0 innings with 37K/13BB. 

Matt Fox has had a few rough outings recently, however, he was nearly perfect in a 2.1 inning relief appearance on Thursday, when he allowed only 1 hit and 0 runs with 5K/1BB.  Danny Vais now has a 4-0 record with his ERA down to 0.86 after a week in which he made 2 appearances (4.1 innings) with 2 hits, 0 runs and 3K/1BB.  Robert Delaney made 1 appearance this week and now has a 0-2 record with a 0.54ERA/0.78WHIP in 11 appearances (16.2 innings) with 8 saves and 17K/2BB.  Anthony Slama made 3 appearances this week, allowing his first earned run of the season.  Slama has a 2-0 record with a 0.47ERA/0.79WHIP in 12 appearances (19.0 innings) with 5 saves and 27K/6BB.  Will either Delaney or Slama be moving up to New Britain this week?

Brian Dinkelman was 8 for 22 (.364Ave) with 4 runs scored, 2 doubles, 2 rbi and 3 walks/0 strikeouts and is hitting .328/.420/.462.  He has a team high 23 runs scored which is second best in the organization behind only Luke Hughes and tied for fourth best in the FSL while his .328 Average is sixth best in the league.  Dinkelman also has taken 15 walks compared with only 10 strikeouts in 119 at bats.  Rene Tosoni saw his average dip a bit this week to .324/.422/.426, which is ninth best in the league.  Juan Portes was 7 for 22 (.318Ave) this week, and is now hitting .311/.375/.396.  Portes continues to split time between left field and second base, however, he appears to be developing into the hitter we have been looking for since hitting .327/.380/.530 as an 18 year old in the GCL in 2004.  Danny Valencia is hitting .292/.381/.458 with 15 runs scored, 11 doubles, 3 home runs and 27 rbi which is tied for second best in the league and is third best in the Twins organization.   

Beloit Snappers (A) (5-1, 16-18)

The Snappers are slowly climbing out of the basement and are now in fifth place, 9.0 games behind Clinton.

Danny Berlind was excellent this week.  Last Saturday, he pitched 6.0 innings with 4 hits, 2 runs and 5K/1BB in a 8-2 win.  Last night he pitched 7.0 shutout innings with 2 hits and 5K/2BB.  Berlind now has a 3.54ERA with a 3-2 record in 6 games (28.0 innings) with 22K/14BB.  Brian Kirwin followed Berlind with an excellent start on Sunday, pitching 6.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 2K/0BB in a 4-1 loss.  Santos Arias was solid on Monday with a 5.0 inning start with 4 hits, 2 runs and 5K/0BB in a 4-2 win.  Arias now has a 1.64ERA and 1-0 record in 2 starts (11.0 innings) with 10K/0BB.  David Bromberg was excellent in Tuesday's 6-2 win with 6.0 innings, 3 hits, 1 run and 9K/3BB...and now had 43K/20BB in 36.0 innings with a 5.00ERA.  Michael Tarsi had the one rough start this week in Thursday's 8-6 win, pitching 4.0 innings with 8 hits, 6 runs (5 earned) and 3K/1BB. 

Loek VanMil had an excellent week out of the Snapper bullpen...making 2 appearances (5.0 innings) with 3 hits, 0 runs and 5K/3BB.  VanMil has appeared in 9 games (14.2 innings) with a 1-0 record, 2.45ERA and 19K/6BB.  Spencer Steedley appeared in 3 games (3.2 innings) this week with 1 save, 2 hits, 0 runs and 8K/1BB.  Steedley now has a 1.66ERA with 31K/8BB in 21.2 innings.  Steven Hirschfield continues to have the best ERA (0.95) on the team while Charles Nolte made 1 appearance this week (2.0 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs and 3K/0BB).

The Twins acquired catcher Jair Fernandez from Seattle in the R. A. Dickey Rule V transaction.  Fernandez was 5 for 15 (.333Ave) this week and is now hitting .327/.357/.423 in 52 at bats.  Steven Singleton continues to hit well at .325/.361/.412 with 16 runs scored after a week in which he was 7 for 23.  Joe Benson is hitting only .225/.314/.350, however, leads the Snappers with 20 runs scored and 7 doubles.  Ozzie Lewis hasn't done well for the Snappers, .091/.206/.200, however, he has battled injuries all season and hasn't played in over a week.  Chris Parmalee is hitting .232/.376/.495, with a team high 6 home runs (tied for fourth best in the league) and 23 rbi which is tied with Dustin Martin for the fifth best in the organization and sixth best in the league.

The answer to the top rbi producers in the organization, are: 1) Brock Peterson (31); 2) David Winfree (29); 3) Danny Valencia (27); 4) Darnell McDonald (25); and 5) Dustin Martin and Chris Parmalee (23 each). 

Player of the Week

When the Twins drafted Ben Revere in the first round last year, many fans and draft experts claimed they were being cheap for drafting a player with second or third round talent to save money.  It will be several years before we really know what kind of player Ben will become, however, initial indications are that the Twins scouts (and accountants) knew a lot more about this young man than all the media and scouting experts.  Ben went on to hit .325/.388/.461 in 191 at bats for the GCL Twins where he led the GCL with 46 runs and 10 triples while stealing a second best 21 stolen bases in 30 attempts. 

Many also questioned why Revere began this season in EST rather than at Beloit which would be the normal progression for a 19 year old first round pick.  With several players struggling at Beloit, Ben was promoted to the Snappers a couple weeks ago and has proceded to ignite the Snappers who immediately began playing better, winning ten of their last fourteen.  This week, Ben had multiple hit games (two 3 hit games) every day except last night when he was 1 for 5.  For the week, he was 13 for 27 (.481Ave) with 6 runs scored, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 rbi and 5 stolen bases in 8 attempts. 

In his first 46 at bats in A ball, Ben is hitting .413/.460/.522 with 7 runs scored, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 4 rbi and 6 stolen bases in 11 attempts.  Ben has alternated with Joe Benson in center field, playing left field when not in center.  It remains to be seen how Ben's season will play out, however, no one in baseball has been playing better than he the past few weeks.  As the 2008 draft approaches and the Twins make their first few selections, we should all remember the comments made last year when the Twins made a surprise pick!  

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