Minor League Report...August 16, 2008

First, I want you all to know that I will not have a report next week because my Son is getting married.  I will then begin the year end reviews the following week as the minor league seasons draw to an end.   

The organization again had a great week, with an overall record of 29-17 with only Ft. Myers below .500.  Ft. Myers is in the playoffs due to their being the first half winner.  Elizabethton remains solidly in first place while the GCL Twins and DSL Twins remain in the hunt for post season play.  Beloit has more of a hill to climb, however, with 16 games remaining (includes four against division leading Burlington) and only 4.5 games out they are not out of it.  I will have a bit of a different format this week as I take a look at the last two classes to come up from the Latin summer leagues. 

There was lots of player movement and news this week, beginning with the promotion of Brock Peterson to AAA with Brandon Roberts, who completed his rehab assignment at Ft. Myers, moving up  to AA.  The Twins signed former Twin Bobby Kielty and assigned him to Rochester.  They also completed a trade with Oakland for Joe Gaetti, who is the son of former Twin Gary Gaetti.  It has not been reported what Oakland received in this deal and Gaetti was injured last night and will likely be lost to New Britain for the remainder of the season.  Cole DeVries aggrevated an old injury and missed his start this week.  Joe Testa and Andrei Lobanov were called up from the GCL Twins for the game DeVries was scheduled to start.  It has also been reported that the Twins will shut down Tyler Robertson for the remainder of the year while former first round sandwich pick, Henry Sanchez, has returned home to "regroup" and will miss the remainder of the season.  Dianna is reporting that the Lobanov's (Andrei and Nick) have left to join a Russian National Team.  On Thursday the Twins signed sixth round pick Brett Hermsen and fourteenth round pick Blayne Weller.  The deadline for signing players selected in this year's draft was yesterday and signing Hermsen is exciting as this young Iowa high school pitcher is considered an excellent prospect.  Hermsen had previously indicated that he didn't think he would sign, however, the Twins reportedly paid a bonus of more than $600,000 which was more than the "slotted amount" for a sixth round pick.

Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (5-2, 64-65)

The Red Wings fought their way back to .500 on Thursday, then dropped to a game under with last night's loss.  They moved up a spot to third place, 14.0 games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. 

The Red Wings have played excellent ball the past couple weeks which happens to coincide with a run of excellent starting pitching.  They again had five excellent starts this week with Anthony Swarzak pitching 12.0 innings while allowing only 3 runs.  Their only two losses were the two games started by Danny Graves who continues to start in place of Brian Duensing who is with the Olympic Team.  Whereas pitching has enabled the Wings to turn around their losing season, the story this week was Alejandro Machado and Jason Pridie.  Earlier this season Randy Ruiz established a franchise record with a 24-game hitting streak.  Machado had his 21 game streak end on Wednesday, while Pridie saw his streak end last night...also at 21 games.  Having three players with more than 20-game hitting streaks during the same season has everyone in Rochester and the IL talking.

New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (4-2, 52-72)

The Rock Cats also have been playing better, however, remain in last place 22.0 games behind Trenton. 

Jay Rainville had an excellent start in Wednesday's 8-3 win, pitching 5.1 innings with 4 hits and 3 runs (1 earned).  Jeff Manship had another tough start in Sunday's 6-4 loss, pitching 4.2 innings with 8 hits and 6 runs.  Jose Mijares is back from last winter's elbow injury, appearing in 2 games, pitching 3.2 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 2K/3BB.  David Winfree had another great week, 10 for 26, with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 7 rbi.  Winfree's 77 rbi is second best in the organization (Garrett Jones has 79) and third best in the Eastern League.  Winfree, who is hitting .370/.397/.648 in August, raised his average to .249/.316/.435, with an excellent .286/.349/.490 with runners in scoring position.  Some will debate whether or not a player can actually perform better in critical situations, however, Winfree has been one of the organization's top run producers for several years with an organization high 101 rbi in 2006, 99 in 2007 and is on track to put up similar numbers this year.  Brian Dinkelman has his average up to .292/.351/.431 after a week in which he was 11 for 27 with 7 runs scored, 2 rbi and 4 doubles. 

Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (3-5, 25-28)

As the injuries mount, the Miracle find themselves slipping further under .500.  They slipped another spot to fourth place, 12.5 games behind Dunedin who they will need to beat if they are to win this year's championship in the playoffs.

Joe Testa moved up to fill DeVries spot on Wednesday and proceded to make the best start of the week as the Miracle won, 3-1, behind his 5.0 inning, 3 hit, 1 run outing.  The disappointment this week has to be Deolis Guerra who started games the Miracle lost 8-0 on Saturday and 9-0 last night.  Guerra pitched a total of 7.0 innings in the two starts with 11 hits, 13 runs and 5K/9BB.  The most interesting development with the Miracle pitching staff is that it appears the Twins will be converting speedy centerfielder Danny Santiesteban to a short reliever in the Fall Instructional League.  Santiesteban is hitting .227//276/.345 in 255 at bats with 6 home runs and 37 rbi.  In 6 appearances (6.2 innings), Santiesteban has a 2.70ERA, 1.65WHIP and 4K/6BB.  Could what began as a fresh arm in a couple blowouts lead to a future major league reliever?  Wilson Ramos had another home run (leads team with 13) and 6 rbi for an organization third best 72 (fifth best in the league).     

Beloit Snappers (A) (4-3, 28-26)

The Snappers remain in fourth place, 4.5 games behind division leading Burlington.  The next eight games will be critical as they start a 4 game series at second place Cedar Rapids this weekend and then travel to first place Burlington for 4 games.

Steven Hirschfield made two excellent starts getting wins in Saturday's 7-2 win and Thursday's 6-1 win.  Steven pitched 7.0 innings in each game with 2 runs on Saturday and only 1 unearned run on Thursday.  David Bromberg had the week's best start with 7.0 shutout innings with only 3 hits and 10K/2BB in Wednesday's 5-3 loss.  Michael McCardell got the win on Tuesday, 7-2, when he pitched 8.0 innings with 3 hits, 2 runs and 10K/0BB.  Shooter Hunt got his first win Monday, 2-1, when he pitched 6.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run, 2K/3BB, a wild pitch and 2 hit batters.  Is there such a thing as being "effectively wild?"  Ben Revere has been in and out of the lineup this week with back to back multi hit games on Wednesday and Thursday.  Revere is now hitting .383/.437/.500 with 43 stolen bases in 55 attempts, however, he also commited his tenth error.  Estarlin De Los Santos had the Snappers' best hitting performance this week, 7 for 17.    

Elizabethton Twins (Advance Rookie) (6-2, 36-21)

With 10 games remaining (including 6 against Princeton who is 13.0 games out in the East Division), the Twins are closing in on another Division championship.

This year's seventh round pick out of the U of Cincinnati, lefty Daniel Osterbrock, continues putting up one great start after another.  Daniel was the winner last Saturday, 10-2, and again on Thursday, 6-5, to improve his record to 6-2.  Osterbrock pitched 12.1 innings in the two starts with 15 hits, 6 runs (5 earned) and 18K/2BB.  He now has a 3.15ERA, 1.05WHIP and 90K/8BB in 65.2 innings.  Curtis Leavitt also had 18K/2BB in two starts this week, allowing 14 hits and 6 runs (5 earned).  Brad Tippett continues to lead the staff with 69.1 innings and a 2.34ERA.  Tenth round pick Evan Bigley had another big week with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 8 rbi (team high 40) and 11 hits in 30 at bats.  Eleventh round pick Dominic De La Osa remained hot with a 11 for 29 week including 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 6 rbi.  Top prospect Angel Morales was 7 for 22 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs and 4 rbi.  Morales, who is now hitting .323/.428/.646 struck out 8 times this week with 3 walks.      

GCL Twins (Rookie) (5-1, 30-17)

The Twins only lost one game this week, unfortunately, it was to the Division leading Pirates, who they now trail by only 0.5 game.

All of their starters had good outings this week, except Angelo Sanchez who allowed 7 hits and 3 runs in 3.0 innings in their 4-1 loss to the Pirates.  Edgar Ibarra, Miguel Munoz and Martire Garcia all allowed only 1 earned run in three starts with Garcia allowing 2 runs last Saturday.  Anderson Hidalgo has only 75 at bats, however, his .387/.473/.507 would easily lead the league if he had enough at bats to qualify.   

DSL Twins (Dominican Summer League) (3-2, 40-24)

The Twins slipped a spot and are now in third place, 2.0 games behind the Yankees-2.  Pedro Guerra had a no decision, pitching 7.0 innings with 9 hits, 3 runs and 4K/1BB.  Adrian Salcedo held his ERA at a team best 1.42 with a 5.2 inning outing with 3 hits, 1 run and 8K/2BB.  Eliecer Cardenas pitched 7.0 innings with 4 hits and 1 unearned run.  Jairo Perez was 5 for 18 with his fourth home run and continues to lead the Twins with a .336/.439/.521.  Wilfy Gil got back on track with a 6 for 17 week and is now hitting .268/.394/.313. 

Who are these young prospects coming out of Latin America?

Last year the Twins brought a dozen players to Ft. Myers from their two Latin teams.  Following is a summary of their performance during their rookie seasons last year as well as where they are this season.

Santos Arias, a 21 year old pitcher who was 3-4 with a 2.96ERA in 54.2 innings with 46K/13BB for the GCL Twins.  This season Arias is 5-6 with a 3.34ERA in 99.2 innings with 80K/24BB in 24 games (15 starts) for Beloit.

Daniel Berlind, a 20 year old pitcher who was 6-2 with a 1.93ERA in 56.0 innings with 52K/20BB for the GCL Twins.  This season Berlind is 2-2 with a 10.85ERA in 34.0 innngs with 50K/24BB in 12 games (8 starts) for Beloit. 

Jeanfred Brito, a 20 year middle infielder hit .290 in 210 at bats with 8 stolen bases in 16 attempts for the GCL Twins.  Brito began this season in Elizabethton where he hit .292/.326/.261 in 46 at bats.  He was promoted to Beloit where he is hitting .220/.278/.273 in 132 at bats. 

Rene Leveret, a 22 year old first baseman was one of Elizabethton's big hitters last year...when he hit .307 in 244 at bats with 8 home runs and 65 rbi.  This year he remained in EST before beginning the season with Elizabethton where he hit .306/.405/.556 in 36 at bats with 2 home runs and 6 rbi.  When Beloit was hit with injuries, Leveret was promoted and continues to hit as he has since joining the organization...hitting .303/.355/.408 with 3 home runs and 31 rbi.   

Winston Marquez, a 20 year old pitcher who was 3-3 with a 3.04ERA in 47.1 innings with 35K/30BB for the GCL Twins before pitching 1.0 inning with the Miracle where he had a 27.00ERA with 0K/1BB.  Marquez has spent this season on the disabled list.

Josmir Pinto, a 19 year old catcher who hit .193 in 171 at bats for the GCL Twins.  Pinto returned to the GCL this year where he is hitting .351/.415/.608 in 74 at bats.

Henry Reyes, a 21 year old pitcher who was 7-2 with a 2.87ERA in 53.1 innings with 68K/17BB for the Elizabethton Twins.  He moved up to Beloit at the end of the season, pitching 4.1 innings with a 0-1 record, a 10.38ERA and 2K/3BB.  This year Reyes began at Ft. Myers where he had a 1-0 record with a 1.93ERA in 4.2 innings with 3K/4BB before moving to Beloit where he has a 2-2 record, 5.08ERA and 38K/20BB in 44.1 innings.

Juan Richardson is a 21 year old third baseman who hit .317 in 202 at bats with 12 stolen bases in 22 attempts for the GCL Twins.  Richardson hit .250/.304/.300 in 60 at bats for Elizabethton before a recent move to Beloit when D.J. Romero broke his leg.  He is hitting .137/.200/.151 in 73 at bats for the Snappers.

Danny Rondon, is a 20 year old closer who was 2-0 with a 1.14ERA, 12 saves and 16K/11BB in 23.2 innings for the GCL Twins. 

Ramon Santana is a 21 year old middle infielder who hit .211 in 57 at bats for the GCL Twins before moving up to Beloit where he hit .225 in 40 at bats.  This season Santana is back at Beloit where he is hitting .272/.347/.441 in 195 at bats with 9 stolen bases in 12 attempts.

Yangervis Solarte is a utility player who hit .303 in 175 at bats for the GCL Twins.  This season he was with Ft. Myers where he hit .259/.310/.395 in 147 at bats before moving to Beloit where he is hitting .184/.250/.207 in 87 at bats.

Alexander Soto is a catcher/first baseman who hit .273 in 66 at bats for the GCL Twins and .250 in 24 at bats for Ft. Myers.  This season Soto is one of Elizabethton's big hitters where he has 9 home runs, 24 rbi and .306/.370/.684 in 98 at bats.

This year the Twins brought another eleven players north.

Martire Garcia, a 18 year old lefty who had a 7-2 record and 2.32ERA in 77.2 innings with 81K/25BB for the DSL Twins.  This season Garcia has 10 starts for the GCL Twins with a 2-1 record, 3.61ERA and 47K/19BB in a team high 47.1 innings.

Jonathan Goncalves is a 18 year old outfielder who hit .238 in 206 at bats with 16 stolen bases in 25 attempts for the DSL Twins.  Goncalves has been on the disabled list all of 2008.

Wilmer Guanchez is a 21 year old pitcher who did not play for the VSL Twins/Cubs in 2007 where he was on the DL all season.  He has pitched only 1.0 inning this year for the GCL Twins.

Anderson Hidalgo is a 19 year old second baseman who hit .305 in 190 at bats with a .398OBP for the DSL Twins.  This year he is the top hitter for the GCL Twins where he is hitting .387/.473/.507.

Edgar Ibarra is a 18 year old lefty who was 2-4 with a 3.19ERA in 73.1 innings with 53K/21BB for the VSL Twins/Cubs.  Ibarra has a 3-0 record with a 3.15ERA in 40.0 innings (8 starts) with 41K/18BB this year for the GCL Twins.

Herbert Lara is a 19 year old outfielder who hit .300 in 240 at bats with a .411OBP and 16 stolen bases in 20 attempts for the VSL Twins/Cubs.  This season Lara is hitting .291/.345/.346 for the GCL Twins. 

Jean Mijares is a 20 year old lefty who had a 1-4 record with a 5.71ERA and 32K/32BB for the VSL Twins/Cubs.  This season Mijares has a 0-2 record and 4.13ERA in 11 games (28.1 innings) with 22K/19BB for the GCL Twins. 

Miguel Munoz is a 19 year old starter who had a 5-3 record with a 2.04ERA and 43K/34BB in 70.2 innings for the DSL Twins.  This year Munoz is one of the GCL Twins top starters with a 4-2 record and 3.09ERA in 46.2 innings with 42K/8BB.

Juan Sanchez is a third baseman who hit .263 in 224 at bats with 20 stolen bases in 26 attempts for the DSL Twins.  This season he is hitting .289/.362/.412 in 114 at bats for the GCL Twins.

Angelo Sanchez is a 18 year old  starter who had a 2-1 record with a 1.76ERA in 46.0 innings with 40K/11BB for the VSL Twins/ Cubs.  This season Sanchez has an excellent 3.71ERA and 2-3 record in 43.2 innings with 46K/14BB for the GCL Twins.  

Kelvin Mota was 4-0 for the DSL Twins last year with a 1.40ERA and 13K/11BB in 25.2 innings.  Mota is the GCL Twins closer this year where he has 10 saves and a 2-0 record in 22.1 innings with a 1.21ERA and 16K/9BB.     

Player of the Week

People question why some consider Yohan Pino to be a top prospect while others scratch their heads as to why he keeps moving up the minor league ladder each season.  One often mentioned negative is that he reportedly doesn't approach 90 with his fastball.  Yet he has a combined 39-12 record in four seasons in the organization.  He signed late and at 24 years old certainly isn't young for a pitcher in AA. 

At times this season Pino has validated the skeptics with outings that weren't up to the level he demonstrated in past seasons.  Pino was 14-2 in 42 games (7 starts) with a 1.91ERA in 94.0 innings with 99K/20BB.  Pino began last season in Ft. Myers where he had a 4-3 record with a 1.73ERA in 67.2 innings with 64K/17BB and a 7 inning complete game no hitter.  At mid season he was  promoted to New Britain where he had a 2-4 record and 5.13ERA in 47.1 innings with 40K/9BB. 

This season Pino has again shuffled between the New Britain bullpen and starting rotation.  Prior to this week he had a 4-5 record with a 5.04ERA in 21 games (13 starts)  with 80.1 innings and 56K/27BB.  Last Saturday Pino was the winner, 7-2, when he pitched 5.0 innings with 6 hits, 1 unearned run and 4K/2BB.  Last night he won his sixth game, 6-0, when he pitched 8.0 shutout innings with only 1 hit and 2K/3BB...improving his record to 6-5 with a 4.34ERA and 62K/32BB in 93.1 innings. 

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