Minor League Report...July 6, 2008

As America celebrated its birthday, the Twins celebrated with another tremendous week on the farm with a 29-14 record!  Congrats to all those young men who are working hard to fulfill their dream of someday putting on that major league uniform.

There were numerous moves throughout the system.  Michael Cuddyer went on the DL in Minnesota leading to Denard Span being called up for the second time this year.  His play the last several days certainly has proven to all those doubters over the years that this young man deserves to be in the major leagues, doesn't it?  Howie Clark was activated from the DL to fill Span's spot on the Rochester roster.  I learned that Jay Sawatski was not demoted to Ft. Myers, rather, he was placed on the DL.  Elliott Biddle and Tim Atherton were released by the GCL Twins and Rod Gessman retired.  Jeanfred Brito was promoted to the Beloit Snappers.  It has also been reported that Jose Morales (went on DL several weeks ago after injuring the same ankle he hurt last September while with the Twins) may miss the rest of the season with his most recent injury.  Jay Rainville moved back up to New Britain.  Jose Mijares is with the GCL Twins on a rehab assigment as he comes back from a broken elbow the result of an auto accident last winter.  Finally, Santos Arias was named the MidWest League Pitcher of the Week.

The Twins signed their second round pick (Steven "Shooter" Hunt), their nineteenth round pick (Bruce Pugh) and their twenty sixth round pick (Adan Severino).  With these signings, they have signed a total of 21 players from the recent draft and 15 of their top 19 picks taken in the first seventeen rounds.  They also signed pitcher, Nathan Fritz, from a try-out camp.  Fritz had pitched at Milligan College, Tennessee and was assigned to the Elizabethton Twins.  There also is a new left handed pitcher with the GCL Twins, Joe Testa, who must have been signed as a free agent or from a try-out camp.

Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (5-2, 42-48)

The Wings were playing better baseball this week as they have begun to scratch their way back to .500.  They moved up a spot to fourth place in their division, however, continue to trail Pawtuckett by 15.0 games.

Francisco Liriano is beginning to dominate, pitching 7.0 shutout innings with 4 hits and 9K/1BB in a 2-1 win on Monday...dropping his ERA to 4.07 [Note: The Franchise was equally solid last night, pitching 6.0 shutout innings with 3 hits and 7K/1BB in a 2-0 Red Wing win...improving his record to 6-2].  Kevin Mulvey made two very good starts this week.  He didn't get the win, however, pitched 6.2 innings last Saturday with 6 hits, 3 runs and 3K/1BB.  On Thursday the Red Wings won a 13 inning game that Kevin pitched 7.0 strong innings iwth 5 hits, 2 runs and 5K/2BB.  Philip Humber was not good on Tuesday, giving up 10 hits and 8 runs in 2.2 innings.  Brian Duensing got the loss last Sunday when he pitched 5.0 innings with 3 hits, 4 runs and 3K/3BB.  He was much better Friday night, pitching 6.0 shutout innings with 4 hits and 4K/2BB.  Ricky Barrett appeared in 2 games and now has a 2.39ERA with 58K/26BB in 49.0 innings. 

Randy Ruiz, who was recently named the Player of the Month for June by Seth Stohs, was 10 for 30 with a double and 3 rbi...raising his average to .301.  Matt Macri could have been this week's Player of the Week when he was 12 for 27 with 2 doubles, 3 home runs and 10 rbi (Matt is now hitting .283).  Like Denard Span earlier this spring, Matt took advantage of his callup to the Twins and returned to Rochester determined to continue to improve his game so that he can earn a permanent job with the Twins.  Trevor Plouffe was only 6 for 24 (is now hitting .244 since being promoted from New Britain), however, had a double, 2 home runs and 4 rbi.    

New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (3-4, 36-49)

Doesn't it seem like just a few days ago that the Cats had fought their way back to .500.  They dropped another 2.0 games back this week and remain in fifth place, 15.5 games behind Trenton.

Kyle Aselton made an excellent start last in last Saturday's 1-0 win, pitching 6.0 shutout innings with 5 hits and 3K/0BB.  He was also solid in relief on Thursday, pitching 3.2 shutout innings with 1 hit and 3K/1BB.  Jeff Manship got his first AA win last Sunday, pitching 6.0 innings with 4 hits, 2 runs and 8K/2BB.  On Friday Jeff pitched 7.0 innings with 7 hits, 2 runs and 4K/2BB.  If you didn't see it, Seth Stohs had an excellent Q&A with Jeff earlier this week.  Anthony Swarzak continued his recent string of less than stellar outings on Tuesday when he pitched 5.0 innings with 7 hits, 6 runs and 4K/4BB.  Ben Julianel continues to pitch well as their closer, earning his 16th swave on Friday when he pitched 1.0 perfect inning.  Rob Delaney has also been very good since his recent promotion.  On Wednesday Rob pitched 2.2 innings with 2 hits, 1 run and 6K/0BB.

Toby Gardenhire continues hitting the best of his professional career.  This week Toby was 4 for 11, raising his average to .301.  Luke Hughes is back with a 8 for 24 week and 2 home runs (leads organization with 15)....holding his average at .333.  For those of you who call for Hughes to be promoted to the Twins, it probably won't happen as Hughes will be leaving the Cats later this month to play for Australia in the Olympics.  Dustin Martin was 9 for 25 and is now hitting .292.  Brock Peterson hasn't hit as well the past few weeks, however, was 3 for 4 on Friday with 3 runs scored, a double, 2 home runs and 2 rbi.

Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (6-0, 9-6)

The Miracle stretched their win streak to 7 (streak was broken on Saturday) as they moved up to second place, 1.5 games behind Dunedin.  The strength of the team is their starting pitching as they allowed a total of 7 runs in the six games played this week, including consecutive shutouts followed by consecutive 1 run outings. 

Cole DeVries continue to pitch much better than projected by most scouts and minor league "experts."  Cole didn't get the decision in Friday's 14 inning 2-1 win, however, pitched 6.0 shutout innings with 3 hits and 6K/1BB.  Cole now has a 2.59ERA in 90.1 innings with 65K/23BB.  Tyler Robertson is pitching with a reduced pitch count as he comes back from the DL, however, got the win Wednesday when the Miracle won 4-0, pitching 5.0 shutout innings with no hits and 5K/2BB.  Robertson now has a 2.75ERA with 72K/28BB in 78.2 innings.  Jay Rainville had a solid start last Saturday prior to moving back up to New Britain...when he pitched 7.0 innings with 3 hits, 2 runs and 5K/3BB.  Anthony Slama appeared in 5 games and now has a 0.40ERA in 44.2 innings with 75K/13BB.  Yes, that is 75 strikeouts in 44.2 innings!      

Although the pitching was phenominal this week, the Miracle didn't score a lot of runs (20) as they continued their streak.  Edward Ovalle continues to be one of the better players on the team, going 7 for 22 with his seventh home run and 3 rbi...and is now hitting .287.  Steven Singleton is beginning to adjust to the pitching of the FSL as he was 8 for 25 this week with 2 doubles and 2 rbi to raise his average to .279.  Eli Tintor had three multi-hit games this week including a 3 for 3 night with his third home run on Thursday.

Beloit Snappers (A) (3-4, 10-6)

The injury ridden Snappers continue to battle and are now tied for second, a game behind Peoria.

Michael McCardell started two games this week including a win, 2-1, on Sunday when he pitched a complete game (9 innings) with 5 hits, 1 run and 6K/0BB.  He followed that outing with a loss, 4-0, on Friday when he went 7.0 innings with 8 hits, 4 runs (3 earned) and 4K/1BB.  Santos Arias followed his award winning performance of the previous week with a 5.2 inning outing on Tuesday with 5 runs (4 earned) and 4K/2BB.  Michael Tarsi started two games the Snappers lost.  Last Saturday he pitched only 4.2 innings with 8 hits, 6 runs (5 earned) and 5K/1BB.  He wasn't the pitcher of record in Thursday's 7-2 loss, however, pitched 7.0 innings with 8 hits, 2 runs and 11K/1BB.  Charles Nolte was solid in two relief appearances (3.2 innings) and now has a 1.98ERA.  Spencer Steedley got the win in relief of Arias on Tuesday when he pitched 3.1 shutout innings with 2 hits and 3K/0BB.

With so many players on the DL, the Snappers haven't been scoring a lot of runs (17 in 7 games).  Ben Revere is battling back from his injury and actually had 2 games this week in which he didn't get a hit.  For the week, Ben was 5 for 18 with a triple, run scored, 2 rbi and a stolen base in his only attempt.  Andrew Schmiesing is 6 for 23 since his recent promotion from ETon.  D.J. Romero had a big night on Tuesday when he was 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored, a double, his second home run and 2 rbi.

Elizabethton Twins (Advanced Rookie) (6-1, 14-4)

Last week I said that the Twins would need to pick it up a notch if they were going to repeat as Appy League Champions.  I don't know if any of them read this report, however, this week the ETon Twins played exactly like the 2007 version. They put together  a nice five game stretch beginning last Saturday in which they had wins of 6-1, 12-0 (7 innings), 11-1 (7 innings), 11-4 and 11-7.  Believe it or not, they were shut out 3-0 on Thursday before rebounding with a 5-4 win on Friday.  The ETon Twins are now alone in first place by 3 full games.

They had several solid starts including two from Brad Tippett...7.0 innings last Saturday with 5 hits, 1 run and 6K/0bb, followed by 7.0 innings in Thursday's loss with 5 hits, 2 runs and 5K/0BB.  Dan Osterbrock pitched 5.0 shutout innings Sunday with 2 hits and 2K/1BB.  Shooter Hunt made is professional debut on Friday, pitching 3.0 perfect innings...No hits, No runs and 6K/0BB. 

I considered naming all the position players as this week's co-players of the week as the 2008 ETon Twins pound their opponents much like the 2007 team did.  Jon Waltenbury was 10 for 29 with 3 doubles, a triple and 4 rbi and is now hitting .362/.436/.623.  Angel Morales was 7 for 19 with 2 doubles, his fourth home run and 3 rbi.  Morales is now hitting .364/.407/.691, yet this team is so strong in the outfield that he actually sits a couple games every week.  We have waited a long time to see Nick Papason playing for the Twins.  This week Nick was 7 for 15 with a double, home run  and 3 rbi...and is now hitting .389/.405/.556.  Alexander Soto is a catcher/first baseman/DH who was 5 for 9 this week including a double, his team leading fifth home run and 5 rbi.  Soto is now hitting .385/.407/1.038.  Recently drafted Evan Bigley had three multi hit games as did recent eleventh round pick Dominic De La Osa.       

GCL Twins (Rookie) (4-1, 9-4)

The Twins moved into sole possession of first place, 1.5 games ahead of the Red Sox and Reds.

The big news for the organization is that Jose Mijares made 3 relief appearances the last few days, pitching 5.0 innings with 4 hits, 0 runs and 7K/1BB.  Jose is listed as on a rehab assignment and it can be expected that he will be moving up a couple levels in the near future.  Alex Curry got the win, 4-0, on Tuesday when he pitched 5.0 shutout innings with 4 hits and 7K/0BB.  Martire Garcia pitched 5.0 innings with 5 hits, 3 runs and 5k/1BB in Monday's 6-3 win.  Kelvin Mota appeared in 2 games (3.0 innings) and now has a 0.00ERA with 3 saves.  Angelo Sanchez got the win Friday, 17-3, going 5.0 shutout innings with 5 hits and 7K/0BB.

Michael Gonzalez is a first baseman who was taken in the ninth round of this year's draft.  Gonzalez, who was 5 for 11 with a double and rbi this week, is now hitting .429/.480/.571.  Infielder Anderson Hidalgo was 4 for 8 with an rbi and is now hitting .286/.400/.286.  Top pick Aaron Hicks was 8 for 23 with 2 doubles, a triple, 1 home run and 6 rbi...hitting .328/.420/.488.  In his first 43 professional at bats, Hicks has 12 strikeouts and 7 walks.  Brandon Roberts also appeared in a couple games on a rehab assignment, going 2 for 4 with 3 stolen bases.  

DSL Twins (Dominican Summer League) (3-2, 19-10)

The DSL Twins slipped out of a first place tie with the Cubs-1 and are now in second, 1.0 games behind the White Sox.

Ramon Acosta continues his string of excellence, pitching a complete game (9 inning) shutout with 3 hits.  Acosta is now 5-0 in 43.2 innings with 23K/3BB and a 0.00ERA.  The only negative is that Acosta is 21 years old and a quick look at the Latin pitchers that joined the GCL Twins this year indicates that they are all between 18 and 20 years old.  Eliecer Cardenas is a 20 year old starter who also pitched 6.0 shutout innings with 5 hits...dropping his ERA to 1.29 with 39K/5BB in 35.0 innings pitched.  Jose Gonzalez is a 18 year old reliever who appeared in 3 games (5.0 innings) with 1 hit and no runs.  Adrian Salcedo is a 17 year old who started one game this week, pitching 5.0 shutout innings with 3 hits.  Adrian has a 1-2 record in 18.2 innings with 13K/3BB and a 1.93ERA. 

Wilfy Gil is a 18 year old outfielder who is leading the team in hitting at .359/.519/.410.  Juan Blanco is a 19 year old middle infielder who was only 2 for 18 this week, but is now hitting .288/.321/.327.  Oswaldo Arcia is a 17 year old outfielder who was 6 for 21 this week and is hitting .244/.303/.305.  Feliz Caro is a 18 year old first baseman who is hitting .202/.280/.321.

Player of the Week

Most of this past winter Twins fans heard little other than who the Twins were rumored to get in return for Johann Santana.  When the deal actually was concluded with the Mets, they received an exciting young center fielder and three minor league pitchers.  Many thought that the top prospect of the trio of pitchers was a young man who would return for a second season in the FSL at the age of 18 (he turned 19 shortly after the FSL season began)...Deolis Guerra

It has been reported that the Twins had Guerra working on some new things and although he had a very good record, 7-4, he hadn't dominated.  The most noticeable problem appeared to be a lack of strikeouts (42) and high number of walks (36) in 74.3 innings prior to his start on Tuesday.  Coming into this week Guerra had a 4.84ERA and 1.52WHIP which is certainly good for a 19 year old pitching in the Florida State League, however, not the numbers some would expect from a future front of the staff pitcher. 

On Tuesday Guerra stepped onto the mound and pitched as well as any Miracle starter had all season, pitching a complete game (9 innings) shutout in which he allowed only 3 hits with 4K/3BB.  Deolis now leads the Miracle staff with a 8-4 record. 

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