Minor League Report...July 26, 2008

After a 15-21 week last week, things got worse this week with a 17-29 record.  Only Rochester (4-3) and the DSL Twins (4-2) had winning weeks.  


With all the All-Star games now behind us, there again was lots of movement in the organization this week.  It began last weekend when Beloit placed top prospect D.J. Romero on the DL after breaking his leg by falling into a dugout attempting to catch a foul ball.  Loek VanMil will be leaving Beloit to join the Dutch National Team in the Olympics with Brian Duensing leaving the Red Wings to pitch for Team USA.  It was reported by the STrib that Tyler Robertson has been shut down and Rene Tosoni is out for the season.  Dianna corrected their information after conversations with both players....Robertson's MRI showed no damage and he is expected to be out for only a few weeks and Tosoni is taking batting practice and plans to return by mid-August.  Jose Mijares and Brandon Roberts are both now with Ft. Myers on their rehab assignments.  Juan Richardson moved up to Beloit while Yangervis Solarte moved down to Beloit from Ft. Myers.  Beloit's Ozzie Lewis was last year's Appy League Player of the Year.  This year fans have wondered why he hasn't performed well at Beloit.  The answer is that he has battled a wrist injury all season and was finally placed on the DL this week.  Shooter Hunt moved up to Beloit and will likely make his first start tonight.  Alex Curry moved up to Elizabethton to replace Hunt.  I don't know if I missed it earlier, however, Jarred Eacott is also on the DL at ETon.  Adam Everett has now made his way up to Rochester on his rehab assignment with a decision needed by Monday when his 20-day rehab period ends.  Omar Alcala was released a week ago.  Steven Tolleson's broken finger has healed and he was activated  from the DL with Brian Dinkelman going on the DL at New Britain with an elbow strain. 

Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (4-3, 50-58)

The Wings continue to battle their way back to .500, however remain in fourth place, 16.5 games behind Pawtuckett...however, that is a game closer than last week.

This week's top pitching performace was again by Francisco Liriano, who pitched 7.0 shutout innings in Tuesday's 13-0 win, with 2 hits and 10K/2BB.  Although some are reporting that his fastball is at +93mph, the Twins appear to be putting out the work that he is consistantly around 90-91mph with a few touching 93.  Kevin Mulvey made two good starts this week, pitching 6.0 innings in Saturday's loss with 5 runs (4 earned) and 5.0 innings on in Thursday's 6-1 win with 4 hits and 1 run.  Philip Humber was back in the starting rotation on Wednesday (9-6 win) when he made his best start of the year, 5.0 shutout innings with 5 hits and 5K/2BB.  Brian Duensing tuned up for the Olympics with two starts of 5.0 and 6.1 innings.  Brian allowed 10 hits in each game with only 1 run on Sunday and 5 runs last night.  Bobby Korecky made 3 appearances, earning 1 save in 4.2 innings with 6 hits, 2 runs and 5K/1BB.  Mariano Gomez, who has an excellent 1.92ERA, also made 3 appearances this week (3.2 innings) with 3 hits, 1 run and 3K/2BB.  Ricky Barrett has seen his ERA go up to 2.95, after 2 appearances (3.0 innings) with 4 hits, 2 runs and 1K/0BB.  Barrett now has 64K/28BB in 55.0 innings and it would seem that either he or Gomez should receive a call by the Twins in September.  Danny Graves returned to the bullpen, making 2 appearances (1.0 inning) with 2 hits, 4 runs and 0K/2BB with his ERA now at 6.38.

Adam Everett was 3 for 7 in his first two games with the Wings.  He will stay with the Club until Monday's decision day.  Randy Ruiz's average held at .309 with a 8 for 26 week including a double and 3 rbi.  Unfortunately, his 24 game hitting streak came to an end last Saturday and is now in the books as the longest hitting streak ever since the Red Wings began keeping track in 1979.  Garrett Jones also had a good week as his numbers continue to crawl upward to .253/.317/.418 with 13 home runs and 54 rbi.  Matt Macri is at .276/.359/.469 with 21 doubles in only 57 games.  Trevor Plouffe was 6 for 20 this week and now has 10 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs and 18 rbi in 130 at bats with a .231/.254/.415 since his promotion from New Britain.

New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (2-5, 43-62)

The hole continues to get deeper as the Cats remained in fifth place, losing another 2.0 games to Trenton who they now trail by 21.5 games.

It has been reported recently that Yohan Pino's fastball tops out around 85 mph.  He got hit a bit on Sunday when he lasted only 4.0 innings with 8 hits and 6 runs.  He was excellent in last night's 2-1 win, pitching 7.0 innings with 2 hits, 1 run and 2K/2BB.  Ryan Mullins returned to the starting rotation in Thursday's 7-3 loss, pitching 3.2 innings with 7 hits, 5 runs and 3K/3BB.  Anthony Swarzak was much better on Wednesday, losing 4-3, with 6.0 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs (3 earned) and 0K/2BB.  Top prospect Jeff Manship got the loss in Monday's 3-1 loss, however, he was excellent with 6.0 innings with 5 hits, 2 runs (1 earned) and 4K/1BB.  Armando Gabino was the winner Tuesday (7-6), pitching 3.1 innings with 3 hits, 1 runs and 4K/1BB in relief of Jay RainvilleBen Julianel made 3 appearances (3.0 innings), picking up 2 saves to for an organization high (22) with 2 hits, 1 run and 3K/3BB.  Julianel now has a 2.50ERA with a 1.39WHIP.  Robert Delaney has an excellent 1.47ERA and 0.76WHIP in 18.1 innings since his promotion.  Will the Twins promote a pitcher to Rochester when Duensing leaves for the Olympics?  If so, who will it be?

Steven Tolleson returned to the lineup from a lengthy stay on the DL, with 1 hit in 8 at bats in his first two games back.  Steven is now hitting .327/.412/.502.  Danny Valencia was the top hitter in the FSL when he was promoted in mid-June.  He didn't adjust quickly hitting .186/.294/.286 in his first 43 at bats in June.  He has made the necessary adjustments and is hitting .337/.367/.489 in 92 at bats in July, including a 9 for 23 week.  Valencia now has 11 doubles and 1 home run in 135 at bats with the Cats with his average up to .289.  Brian Dinkelman also began his career with the Cats in mid-June, and like Valencia he hit only .213/.255/.234 in June.  He was also hitting much better in July prior to going on the DL this week, .289/.357/.421.  David Winfree continues to hit for a low average, .225/.299/.400, however, he also continues to lead the organization with 60 runs batted in.

Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (1-4, 15-17)

The first half champions find themselves one spot lower this week as they dropped to fourth, losing another 2.5 games and now trail Dunedin by 8.0 games.  Their record doesn't include last night's game that was suspended in the fourteenth inning, tied 2-2.  It will be completed prior to tonight's game.  The Miracle also lost a double header to rain on Saturday that will not be made up as the teams do not face each other during the regular season.

Cole DeVries continues to pitch as well as, well, as well as any pitcher in the organization.  On Tuesday he had a no decision in the Miracle's 4-3 loss when he pitched 7.0 innings with 7 hits, 2 runs (1 earned) and 8K/1BB.  Cole now has a 2.69ERA, 1.25WHIP and 84K/8BB in 110.1 innings.  Matt Fox had a solid start in Monday's loss, pitching 5.0 innings with 5 hits, 4 runs and 3K/1BB.  Carlos Guerra has been good or decent much of this year as he has accumulated a 10-5 record which is the most wins of anyone in the organization.  Thursday Carlos got the loss, 4-3, when he pitched 5.0 innings with 4 runs and 5K/1BB.  Alex Burnett had an excellent start in Wednesday's 3-2, 11 inning loss.  Burnett pitched 6.0 innings with 4 hits, 2 runs and 3K/1BB.  The normally lights out Anthony Slama got the loss with 1.0 inning, 1 hit, 1 unearned run and 1K/1BB.  Slama continues to have the best ERA (0.64) of any pitcher with a full-season team.  Spencer Steedley was better this week with 3 hits and 2 runs in 2 appearances (3.0 innings) with 2K/0BB...dropping his ERA about a third to 14.21 in his first 6.1 innings in the FSL.  Jose Mijares made 2 appearances, pitching 4.0 shutout innings with 2 hits and 3K/3BB.  If a move is made to replace Duensing, will DeVries move up to New Britain? 

Brandon Roberts was 1 for 3 in his first rehab start for the Miracle.  The Miracle could certainly use Rene Tosoni's bat back in time for the playoffs.  Prior to going on the DL, Tosoni was hitting a team high .325/.430/.452 in 126 at bats.  Edward Ovalle had another solid week and is now hitting .284/.345/.414 with 13 stolen bases in 20 attempts.  Steve Singleton is hitting .278/.354/.452 in 126 at bats since his promotion.  Wilson Ramos continues to lead the Miracle with 10 home runs and 54 rbi, hitting .262/.326/.403, with a .310/.423/.386 in July and .303/.355/.497 in 155 at bats with runners in scoring position. After hitting only .160/.276/.160 following his promotion in June, catcher Danny Lehmann is hitting .256/.333/.279 in 43 at bats in July. 

Beloit Snappers (A) (1-5, 17-16)

Hopefully tonight's start by Shooter Hunt will be the shot in the arm the Snappers need to get back in the hunt for a playoff spot.  They dropped two spots this week to fourth place, however, actually gained a game on division leading Peoria whom they now trail by only 3.5 games.  Unfortunately, to make a serious run they will need some of their top players to return from the DL...which does not appear likely.

A good example of their plight this week was last night's game that they led 4-0 behind Henry Reyes, a game they would eventually lose 5-4.  Reyes pitched 5.0 innings with 5 hits, 4 runs (3 earned) and 5K/1BB.  Michael Tarsi, who was recently moved to the bullpen, got the loss when he pitched 2.0 innings with 3 hits, 1 unearned run and 2K/0BB.  Earlier in the week the Snappers lost behind Tarsi when he pitced 4.1 innings with 9 hits, 7 runs (6 earned) and 3K/1BB.  Steven Hirschfield had two excellent starts this week.  He was the winner on Saturday, 7-2, when he pitched 7.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 8K/1BB.  On Thursday, he didn't get a decision in a 4-3 loss when he pitched 6.1 innings with 5 hits, 3 runs and 8K/3BB.  Santos Arias got the loss out of the bullpen with 1.0 inning, 2 hits, 1 run and 1K/2BB.  Arias also got the loss in a start on Monday, pitching 4.1 innings with 8 hits, 5 runs and 2K/1BB.  David Bromberg made an excellent start in Wednesday's 3-0 loss, pitching 7.0 innings iwth 4 hits, 2 unearned runs and 6K/2BB.  Michael Allen had 2 excellent relief appearances (4.2 innings) with 2 hits, 1 run and 6K/2BB.  Charles Nolte made 3 relief appearances (2.1 innings) with 3 hits, 1 run and 1K/1BB...and now has a 2.36ERA.

Ben Revere was 0 for 3 last night (11 for 24 this week with 2 doubles, a triple, 3 runs scored and 3 stolen bases in 4 attempts) as his average again dropped to .399/.453/.534.  Ben leads the World in hitting and now has 34 stolen bases in 46 attempts.  He also has been very disciplined while at bat with only 27 strikeouts in 283 at bats with 23 walks.  Rene Leveret saw his average drop t0 .264 following a week in which he was 0 for 8.  Perhaps the most pleasant surprise for Beloit has been Mark Dolenc.  After an excellent season with Elizabethton last year, Mark hit only .197/.297/.255 in 137 at bats prior to the June all-star game.  With all the injuries and post all-star promotions, Mark is now a regular and has responded by hitting .355/.424/.436 in 110 at bats since the break.  D.J. Romero sturggled with an injury and early season trip to the DL.  Prior to the all-star break, D.J. was hitting only .214/.242/.339, however, as his injuries healed he became the hitter Beloit fans were looking for going .293/.343/.424 in 92 post all-star at bats.  He broke a leg last week with his season ending at .264/.304/.392 in 148 at bats.     

Elizabethton Twins (Advanced Rookie) (2-5, 21-14)

The Twins find themselves in a heated battle for the league championship.  Following a second straight losing week, they remain in first place, however, lost 2.5 games of their lead and now lead Kingsport by only 1.0 game.

Prior to his promotion to Beloit, Shooter Hunt made an excellent start but didn't get the decision in a 3-2 loss on Monday.  Hunt pitched 5.0 innings with 2 hits, 1 unearned run and 6K/4BB.  He moves on with a line of 4 starts, 19.0 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs (1 earned), 34K/6BB, 0.47ERA and 0.53WHIP.  Brad Tippett has been very successful at ETon as a long reliever in 2007 and a starter in 2008.  Brad has a team high 6-2 record with a 2.92ERA in 49.1 innings with 44K/5BB.  Brad made two starts this week, getting the loss on Saturday, 15-3, when he pitched 4.2 innings with 8 hits 7 runs (5 earned) and 5K/0BB.  He was better last night in a 10-7 win, pitching 6.2 innings with 7 hits, 4 runs and 5K/1BB.  Daniel Osterbrock was sharp on Thursday, 6-1 win, when he pitched 7.0 shutout innings with only 1 hits and 12K/2BB.  Osterbrock has an excellent 3.12ERA, 0.94WHIP and 3-2 record in 40.1 innings with 52K/5BB.  Bobby Lanigan has a 3.38ERA and 2-3 record in 7 starts (32.0 innings) with 32K/6BB.  Danny Berlind was one of the GCL Twins top young starters last year with a 6-2 record, 1.93ERA and 52K/20BB in 56.0 innings.  He has struggled in nearly every start for the ETon Twins as he now has a 12.46ERA and 1-2 record in 7 starts (26.0 innings) with 37K/17BB.  Mark Hamburger leads the staff with 14 appearances (23.0 innings) with 4 saves, a 3.91ERA and 28K/10BB. 

Nick Papason continues to lead the team with a .389/.405/.556, however, hasn't played in several weeks yet is not listed on the DL.  Alexander Soto is a catcher/DH who is turning eyes in Elizabethton and the Twins organization.  Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2205, Soto had a solid 2007 with the GCL Twins where he hit .273/.338/.439 with 2 home runs in 66 at bats prior to seeing limited duty with the Hi-A Miracle.  Soto leads the ETon Twins with 9 home runs while hitting .377/.441/.934 in 61 at bats.  Angel Morales was in a slump this week (2 for 14), however, continues as one of the leading hitters at .330/.422/.630 with 7 home runs.  Michael Harrington leads the team with 29 rbi with a .287/.380/.481, while Nicholas Romero was 7 for 23 this week and is now hitting .255/.330/.457. 

GCL Twins (Rookie) (3-5, 18-12)

The Twins saw their lead get cut by another 1.5 games this week and now lead the second place Pirates by 1.0 game.

Edgar Ibarra made two excellent starts, pitching 5.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 5K/1BB in Saturday's 2-1 win.  He followed that with a 5.0 inning, 3 hit, 1 run, 3K/2BB performance in Thursday's 11-1 win.  Miguel Munoz leads the starr with 3 wins (2 losses) and 30.0 innings.  Munoz was very good in Sunday's 5-4 loss, pitching 6.0 innings with 4 hits, 2 runs and 4K/0BB.  He got the loss in yesterday's opening game when he pitched 5.0 innings with 8 hits, 2 runs and 8K/0BB.  Munoz now has an excellent 3.30ERA while Angelo Sanchez has a 2.20ERA.  Alex Curry also had an solid, but short, outing in Monday's 5-1 loss before moving up to ETon.  Alex pitched 3.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 3K/1BB.  Curry has a 2-0 record and 1.46ERA in 6 games (24.2 innings) with 23K/3BB.  Kelvin Mota now has 7 daves in 11 appearances with a 1.17ERA.  Jose Mijares finished his rehab assignment with the GSL Twins with a 0.82ERA, 1.00WHIP and 16K/1BB in 7 appearances (11.0 innings).

Top pick Aaron Hicks was 8 for 20 this week and is now hitting .326/.417/.395 with 7 stolen basis without being caught.  Hicks has 3 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs and 17 rbi in 92 at bats.  Hicks has struck out 19 times while drawing 15 walks.  Second baseman Anderson Hidalgo in another of the young prospect (19 years old) from Venezuela who was 4 for 9 this week, raising his line to .326/.444/.395.  Second round pick Tyler Ladenhorf was 6 for 18 this week and is now hitting .233/.343/.333.  First baseman Hyeong-rok Choi was 4 for 14 this week and is now hitting .280/.357/.400. 

DSL Twins (Dominican Summer League) (4-2, 29-19)

The DSL Twins remain in a 3-way tie for third place with the Cubs-1 and Indians., They did gain 4.0 games and  now trail the WhiteSox-1 by 2.5 games.

Dianna reported recently that Ramon Acosta is a late bloomer (21 years old) and will likely move up to the GCL Twins next spring.  Acosta made another start this week, 4.0 shutout innings with 3 hits and 4K/1BB.  Acosta maintained his perfect 5-0 record and 0.00ERA with a 0.61WHIP in 50.2 innings.  Pedro Guerra is an 18-year old who made two starts this week...pitching 14.0 innings with 10 hits, 4 runs (2 earned) and 17K/0BB.  Pedro has a 5-2 record with a 2.20ERA, 0.91WHIP and 52K/9BB in a team high 57.1 innings.  I expect we will also see Guerra with the GCL Twins in 2009.  Adrian Salcedo (17-year old) also had an excellent start that he lost (1-4 record), pitching 6.0 innings with 2 hits, 2 unearned runs and 5K/0BB...dropping his ERA to 1.72 in 36.2 innings.  Closer Edison Alvarez picked up his 10th save in 4 appearances (5.2 innings) with 7 hits, 2 runs and 6K/0BB. 

Jairo Perez continues as their top hitter at .311/.440/.500.  Wilfy Gil is a young 18 year old who has seen his average slide after a 0 for 9 week...down to .267/.417/.293.  Jhonatan Arias (19 year old catcher) was 3 for 10 and is hitting .245/.330/.286.  Oswaldo Arcia, who recently turned 17, had a 7 for 23 week raising his average to .285/.337/.397 in a team high 151 at bats. 

Player of the Week

A few years ago the Twins selected Jason Pridie in the Rule V draft, however, he didn't make the team and was returned to Tampa.  They acquired Pridie a second time this past winter as part of the Tampa trade with Brendon Harris and Delmon Young.  After hitting a combined .303/.352/.487 for Montgomery (AA) and Durham (AAA) in 2007, the Twins believed that Pridie would be one of three candidates for their open center field position this spring.

When Carlos Gomez won the major league spot, Pridie joined Denard Span in Rochester.  Whereas Span took being sent down as a challenge, Pridie also began his season hitting very well in 103 at bats in April, .311/.354/.447.  May however was another story, as Pridie hit .142/.182/.212 in 113 at bats.  Many have commented that Pridie has not had the year fans expected.  However, after a dismal May, he hit a respectable .267/.296/.442 in 120 at bats in June and is hitting .316/.325/.684 in 79 at bats in July.  His line for the season is .253/.285/.427 in 415 at bats with 13 doubles, an organization and league high 13 triples, 11 home runs and team high 58 runs scored (tied with Garrett Jones).  Pridie also has a team high 19 stolen bases (tied with Darnell McDonald) in 24 attempts.  The only negative to what is shaping up to be a very solid season is his 111 strikeouts compared with only 19 walks.  Unfortunately, the number of strikeouts has not improved...31 (April), 26 (May), 33 (June), and 21 (79 at bats in July). 

This week Jason continued his sizzling month with 12 hits in 31 at bats, 1 double, 2 triples, 3 home runs, 5 runs scored, 5 rbi, 9 strikeouts, 1 walk and 1 stolen base in 2 attempts.  Jason has only made 3 errors defensively as he has played all over the outfield, including center now that Span is up with the Twins.  As the AAA season begins to wind down, Jason Pridie appears to be determined to not let one horrible month destroy the momentum he began as a member of the Rays organization in 2007.

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