With the Twins playing during the day yesterday, I thought I'd take an opportunity to really scout out what some of the Twins minor league affiliates were up to last night. Anyways, it seemed like their were some positives from just about every team. For reference I know very little about the GCL and the DSL so they are not included in this little survery.
Elizabethton win 7-4
Aussie Bradley Tippett started for the Twins. He's certainly been the ace of the staff thus far, leading the team in starts and innings. Last night he put up another solid performance going 7 innings, and allowing 1 run on 7 hits and 0 walks. He recorded 6 strikeouts. I'm under the impression he has excellent control and a devastating changeup. However, his fastball is still in the 84-86mph range. Obviously that wont cut it at higher levels so here's to hoping he doesn't become the next Yohan Pino and hit a wall at AA. The other notable for the Twins was Angel Morales, whom we are all becoming more familiar with. The Puerto Rican native was 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and a walk.
Beloit loss 3-5
Unfortunately the Snappers were winning this game 1 to nothing going into the 9th and let it slip away. The key performance came from David Bromberg. The tall, intimidating right-hander (6'5", 240 lbs) went 7 1/3, 5 Hits, 0 Runs, 3 Walks, 11 K's. Overall it's been a frustrating up and down season for Broomberg. He has shown periods of dominance indicated by his 149/46 K/BB ratio over 130 1/3 innings. But last night's performance also dropped his ERA from 5.04 to 4.75. I've read that his control can be an issue and while 46 walks in 130+ innings is not alarming, I guess he tends to get into a lot of hitters counts, hence why he has a 1.39 WHIP overall. It shows a competitive unwillingness to give in to the hitters that he's been able to issue so few walks, but obviously he'll have to continue to work on getting ahead of them to become a truly dominant force. Hopefully he'll continue to mimic and learn from the success of fellow right-hander Mike McCardell who has similar stuff and build at 6'5", 220 lbs. McCardell is really starting to set himself apart with a 2.78 ERA in 116 2/3 innings with 122/21 K/BB ratio. The one offensive standout worth mentioning in this game was Ben Revere. The average has taken a bit of a hit lately as he actually slumped for an entire week. Last night was a good showing as Revere went 2 for 3 with 2 walks and 3 more stolen bases, bringing his season total to 41. Over the past 3 months, Revere as stolen 26 bases while only getting caught twice.
Fort Myers win 3-1
Last nights gave featured two recently promoted left-handers. The starter was Joe Testa. He had a solid Fort Myers debut: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K. The player that peaked my interests was fellow left-hander Andrei Lobanov who took over in the 6th. He pitched well giving up 1 hit and 1 walk in 2 innings while striking out 3. Lobanov hails directly from Moscow, Russia. He's only 18 years old and obviously the Twins thought strongly enough about this young man to promote him to advanced A ball directly from the GCL Twins. Certainly a story worth watching. The other realization I came upon from Labonov's story, is how diversified internationally the Twins have become. We're all well aware of our strong development in Latin American countries. But did you know the Twins system now boast players from the following countries?: Argentina, Canada, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Mexico, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Venezuela.
New Brittain win 8-3
Jay Rainville started this one and continues to battle for respectability. Obviously, he's certainly fallen off the prospect map after putting up a solid injury comeback season last year. Last night, he kept the damage to the minimum giving up 3 runs in 5 1/3, although only 1 was earned. The bigger story for the Twins at the moment, is that Jose Mijares continues his climb through the system after missing most of the year from injury. Mijares threw 1 2/3 scoreless with 1 strikeout. He dominated on stops threw the GCL and Fort Myers. The control issues might be resurfacing now that he's hit AA, but he's only made 3 appearances thus far so no need for major concern as yet. With the Twins likely to say good bye to Dennys Reyes after the season, I'm sure they'd like this young man to put himself in a position to take on one of the lefty roles in the pen next year. The other pitching notable was Robert Delaney. The intimidating right-handed reliever continues to dominate. Last night he put together a 2 inning save and allowed no baserunners while striking out 2. He now has essentially duplicated his numbers from Fort Myers earlier this season. Overall now he holds a minuscule 1.36 ERA and a fantastic 68/9 K/BB ratio in 59 2/3 innings pitched. When rosters expand in September and the Twins call on some relievers from Rochester, Delaney should be on the top of the list to move up. Offensively last night, the Rockcats had a strong showing from their middle infielders. Brian Dinkelman and Steve Tolleson had big games and continue to provide hope that the Twins will have to rely less and less on middling signings like Adam Everrett. Dinkelman was 3 for 5 last night and has been on a tear in August hitting .425/.477/.725. Tolleson upped him one last night going 4 for 4 with a homerun, 2 doubles and a walk. He is now hitting .319/.401/.489 so far in AA this year. Finally, David Winfree has tortured Twins fans with potential and disappointment. While 2008 has been mostly disappointing he's enjoying a .348/.367/.587 August after going 2 for 5 last night. He also continues to lead the organization in RBI's and is still only 23 years old.
Rochester wins 5-3
Kevin Mulvey was the starter for the Wings and put up another solid yet unspectacular outing: 6 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. His ERA is now sitting at 3.73 in 130 1/3 innings pitched. One thing of note since coming over from the Mets has been his increased homerun rate. One of the plus pats of his game besides his control was his ability to suppress the long ball. Giving up 15 homeruns isn't alarming, but it's certainly a little disappointing considering he only gave up 4 in nearly 160 innings last year. Offensively, Matt Macri was the stud last night going 3 for 3 with 2 HR's, 4 RBI's and walk. More important for Twins fans who desire and offensive boost come September, was another strong night from Aussie Luke Hughes. Hughes went 3 for 3 with another double and a walk. In 53 AAA at bats (.321/.379/.547), he's essentially duplicated his dominance in New Brittain (.319/.385/.551).
Stay tuned for more. This afternoon the Rochester Red Wings take on Buffalo. They are hot, winning 9 of the last 10 games. This stretch marks the first time all season that the rotation and the lineup are doing well at the same time. Anthony Swarzak takes the mound and continues to make a statement that his 2008 season is not a total loss. In today's lineup continue to watch Hughes, Pridie and Machado as they try to work themselves into the Twins plans. Also making his first appearance for the Wings is the return of Bobby Kielty. And what do ya know, there's a lefty on the mound... (if you aren't aware, the switch-hitting Kielty has some silly splits as a right-handed hitter throughout his career and more obvious the last couple).