The full season teams were better this week playing .500 ball, winning ten of twenty games.
Jim Rantz, the Director of Minor Leagues, announced last Sunday that Beloit shortstop Ramon Santana was selected as his first Player of the Week. Philip Humber, who had been designated for assignment when the Twins claimed Juan Morillo from Colorado, cleared waivers and was assigned to Rochester. Humber, who will be in the Rock Cats starting rotation, essentially replaces Jose Mijares who was recalled from Rochester when Jesse Crain was added to the disabled list. The Beloit Snappers announced several transactions this week including the release of short reliever Danny Hernandez. Middle infielder James Beresford was placed on the disabled list. Reliever Bruce Pugh was called up from EST while Matt Williams moved from Ft. Myers to Beloit where he will be their closer. The New Britain Rock Cats announced that Brandon Roberts returned from the disabled list replacing Joe Gaetti who is now on the DL. It has been reported that Justin Huber has solved his visa problems and will be joining the Wings this weekend. Henry Sanchez was moved to the restricted list at Beloit yesterday with the move reportedly a 50-game suspension.
Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (0-4, 5-8, 5th place, -7.5 games)
Last night the Wings began another series with the Scranton/WB Yankees, who are running away from the rest of the league with a 13-1 start. The Wings have played the Yankees in four of their last six games as their losing streak extended to seven. With a combined score of 30-6 in their four games with the Yankees, they were fortunate to have last Monday's game rained out.
In Saturday's 6-2 loss to the Yankees, Brian Duensing lasted only 3.0 innings with 5 hits, 4 runs and 0K/2BB to get the loss (0-1).......Sunday Jason Jones got the start in a 7-2 loss (0-1), pitching 5.0 innings with 7 hits, 4 runs and 2K/2BB.......The Wings had Wednesday's game with Pawtuckett won behind a solid start by Kevin Mulvey who pitched 5.0 innings with 4 hits, 2 runs and 5K/3BB. Unfortunately, Ben Julianel and Armando Gabino couldn't hold a 7-2 lead in the ninth inning as they gave up 5 runs. Gabino got the loss (1-1) in the 11th inning after pitching 1.2 innings with 3 hits, 3 runs and 3K/2BB.......Last night Anthony Swarzak was again very good in the Wings 6-2 loss to Scranton/WB. Swarzak pitched 6.0 innings with 5 hits, 2 runs and 2K/1BB. Although Swarzak now has a 0-3 record, he is leading the team with a 1.59ERA in 17.0 innings with 11K/2BB.
Before his callup this week, Jose Mijares was excellent with a 0.00ERA, 1-0 record and 4K/1BB in 5 games (6.1 innings). Sean Henn has also been solid in 6 relief appearances (8.2 innings) with a 1.04ERA and 14K/7BB.
David Winfree continues to lead the Wings in several categories, hitting .333/.340/.578 while he is tied for a team high 2 home runs and 5 doubles. Matt Tolbert continues to struggle and is now hitting .176/.288/.275 as has Luke Hughes, who is hitting .225/.304/.350 although leading the Wings with 10 rbi. Matt Macri cooled this week, yet has a solid start by hitting .302/.392/.535 in 43 at bats with 5 doubles, 1 triple and 5rbi.
New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (2-3, 4-10, 6th/last place, -5.5 games)
The Rock Cats had a better week and now trail New Hampshire, who they have played 8 times (losing 6), by 5.5 games.
Matt Fox got the start in Saturday's 6-2 loss against New Hampshire, pitching 3.0 innings with 5 hits, 4 runs and 0K/2BB.......The Rock Cat bats erupted in Sunday's 12-2 win behind Jeff Manship who pitched 5.0 innings with 4 hits, 2 runs and 3K/3BB. Rob Delaney came on to pitch 2.0 shutout innings with 3 hits and 2K/0BB to get the win (1-1).......The Cats beat Portland on Wednesday, 6-4, behind a solid start by Jay Rainville who pitched 5.0 innings with 6 hits, 3 runs and 3K/1BB to get the win (1-1). Anthony Slama pitched 1.2 shutout innings of relief with 2 hits and 3K/0BB to get his second save .......The Cats went to Trenton on Thursday where they lost 4-1 behind Ryan Mullins, who pitched 5.1 innings with 5 hits, 4 runs and 5K/1BB to drop to 0-3 for the season.......Cole DeVries got the start in last night's 6-3 loss, pitching 4.2 innings with 3 hits, 2 runs and 3K/3BB. Jose Lugo pitched 0.2 innings with 3 hits, 3 runs and 0K/0BB to get his first loss of the season.
Anthony Slama has 2 saves without allowing a run in 6 games (6.2 innings) with 12K/2BB. Rob Delaney had 3 very good appearances this week, pitching 5.1 innings with 5 hits and 7K/0BB. Delaney now has a 1.46ERA with 18K/0BB in 12.1 innings. Zach Ward has also been very good in 7 games (9.2 innings) with a 1.86ERA and 6K/6BB. Frank Mata has built upon his excellent winter in Venezuela with a 3.72ERA in 5 games (9.2 innings) with 12K/5BB.
Erik Lis, who has been the Cats regular DH, is hitting a respectable .300/.378/.325 following a 4 for 15 week. Rene Tosoni was 3 for 13 this week and although he is hitting only .158/.267/.368, he has 2 home runs and is tied for the team lead with 6 rbi. Steve Tolleson continues to struggle, hitting .143/.200/.190.
Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (5-1, 10-4, 1st place, +2.0 games)
On Tuesday Palm Beach came to Ft. Myers with a 1 game lead over the Miracle. Following Thursday night's loss to the Miracle, Palm Beach left Hammond Stadium 2 games behind the Miracle following a 3-game sweep.
The Miracle lost, 8-1, to St. Lucie last Saturday behind Michael McCardell who dropped to 0-2 as he pitched 4.0 innings with 6 hits, 6 runs and 3K/2BB.......McCardell was much better in last night's 3-1 win at Jupiter, getting his first win of the season as he pitched 6.0 shutout innings with 1 hit and 6K/1BB. Spencer Steedley got the last out to pick up his first save.......Carlos Gutierrez pitched 4.0 shutout innings with 2 hits and 3K/2BB in Sunday's 4-2 win. Alex Burnett picked up his second save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning with 1 hit and 1K/0BB.......Carlos Guerra was very good in Tuesday's 16-6 win over Palm Beach as he picked up his second win of the season (2-0). Guerra pitched 7.0 innings with 8 hits, 2 runs and 4K/2BB.......The Miracle beat Palm Beach 6-1 on Wednesday behind David Bromberg who got his first win (1-0) while pitching 6.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 3K/2BB.......Tyler Robertson is Back! Robertson beat Palm Beach on Thursday to get his first win (1-0) while pitching 5.0 shutout innings with 5 hits and 5K/1BB. In 11.0 innings, Gutierrez leads the starters with a 0.82ERA with 8K/2BB.
Matt Williams had a 3.86ERA in 4.2 innings with 4K/0BB before being sent down to Beloit where he will work as their closer. We have seen this type of move several times over the past few years where a short reliever gets what appears to be a demotion as the Twins move him into position to develop as a closer. Perhaps the most notable was several years ago when they moved Pat Neshek down to Ft. Myers from New Britain. Alex Burnett leads the team with 2 saves with a 2.57ERA in 5 games (7.0 innings) with 11K/2BB. Spencer Steedley has the only other save with 5K/3BB in 5 games (7.2 innings).
We all know the Twins are stocked with several strong catching prospects. There appears to be another, Joe Mauer, who moved up the Miracle from EST last night. In his first game with the Miracle, Mauer was 2 for 4 with a double and 2 rbi...catching 7 innings. Does anyone know if this young prospect is related to GCL Twins manager Jake Mauer?
Ben Revere had a 8 for 25 week and is now hitting .304/.400/.393 with 12 runs scored, a team high 11 rbi, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 4 strikeouts, 8 walks and 7 stolen bases in 10 attempts. Rene Leveret continued to hit well this week, 5 for 18, and is now hitting .350/.469/.500 in 40 at bats. Chris Cates is hitting .360/.385/.520 in 25 at bats. Joe Benson is hitting .304/.429/.413 in 46 at bats with 12 strikeouts and 6 walks. Estarlin De Los Santos had an excellent 7 for 18 week to get his average up to .297/.350/.405.
Beloit Snappers (A) (3-2, 5-8, T-6th place, -4.5 games)
The Snappers had their first winning week of the season and now trail the 10-4 Kane County by 4.5 games.
The Snappers won 7-5 last Saturday behind Brad Tippett who pitched 3.0 innings with 4 hits, 2 runs and 0K/1BB.......Shooter Hunt was the starter in Tuesday's 15-2 loss to Quad Cities. Hunt dropped to 0-1 as he pitched only 2.2 innings with 3 hits, 7 runs (5 earned), 3K/6BB, 1 hit batter and 1 error on a pick off attempt.......Dan Osterbrock got his second loss (0-2) in Wednesday's 4-2 loss as he pitched 6.0 innings with 11 hits, 4 runs and 5K/1BB.......Bobby Lanigan got his first win (1-0) in Thursday's 7-4 win, pitching 6.2 innings with 6 hits, 4 runs and 10K/1BB.......Henry Reyes made a spot start for Brad Tippett in last nights 7-5 win, pitching 4.0 innings with 5 hits, 5 runs and 5K/2BB. After allowing 4 runs (2 earned) in 2.1 innings on Tuesday, Danny Rondon pitched 3.0 shutout innings with 3 hits and 2K/0BB to get the win (1-0). Matt Williams got the last out to pick up his first save.
Michael Allen has a 3.38ERA in 3 games (8.0 innings) with 7K/1BB. Joe Testa has a 4.32ERA in 5 games (8.1 innings) with 12K/8BB. After a horrible first few outings, Steven Blevins appeared in 2 games this week (2.2 innings) with 1 hit, 0 runs and 1K/2BB to get his ERA down to 7.71 from 12.46.
Catcher Alexander Soto came very close to hitting for the cycle last night. Soto was 4 for 4 with his second home run, a double and two singles with 3 rbi. Soto is hitting .400/.407/.760 in 25 at bats. Two years ago Ozzie Lewis was the Appalachian League Player of the Year when he hit for a .323 Average with 9 home runs and 50 rbi in 235 at bats. Lewis spent much of last year on Beloit's disabled list and struggled with injuries when active as he hit only .218 in 211 at bats. In 21 at bats this spring, Lewis is hitting .429/.556/.524. Ramon Santana cooled this week, 4 for 17, but is still hitting .326/.446/.565. Eli Tintor, who was 3 for 4 last Saturday, is hitting .273/.360/.318 in 22 at bats. Nathan Hansen had a good 6 for 19 week to raise his average to .242/.306/.303. Angel Morales was 5 for 16 this week raising his aveage .111 points to .154.
Player of the Week
Many believe that the Twins third baseman of the future is Danny Valencia. In his first spring training with the Twins, Valencia made a good impression defensively while hitting an excellent .429/.429/.429 in 14 at bats. As expected, Danny returned to the New Britain Rock Cats for the start of this season and as of last week was hitting only .233/.361/.367 in his first 30 at bats.
After leading the FSL with a .336 Average during the first half last year, Danny struggled his first few weeks in AA before hitting very well the rest of the season to finish with a respectable .289 Average with 10 home runs in 266 at bats.
Much like last year, Danny seems to have turned it up a notch this week which may be a shot in the arm for the Rock Cats. Danny was 7 for 17 this week (.412 Average) including 3 multi hit games, 3 runs scored, 1 double, 1 triple and 2 rbi. Danny is now hitting .298/.431/.447 with 10 walks and 11 strikeouts in 47 at bats.