Good morning Twins fans!
The organization battled to play .500 ball this week, falling one game short with a 12-13 record while New Britain had one of their best weeks in several years.
Last Sunday Jim Rantz agreed with my selection, naming New Britain third baseman Danny Valencia as the organization's Player of the Week. Joe Mauer was assigned to the Miracle last weekend. It was confirmed that Henry Sanchez' suspension was the result of a failed drug test. Sanchez will remain in Ft. Myers where the Twins have programs that deal with these type of problems. James Beresford returned from the DL (shoulder tendanitis) to fill the open spot on Beloit's roster. Tommy Watkins was added to the Red Wing's 7-day disabled list. Brock Peterson was also placed on the DL in Rochester with a sore shoulder. Ramon Santana went on the disabled list in Beloit with an ankle sprain. Beloit activated Drew Thompson to fill Santana's spot. When Thompson played last night, it was his first game since going on the DL on July 26, 2006. This former second round pick is back after missing nearly three years with a major back injury. Finally, the Twins optioned Juan Morillo to Rochester (after clearing waivers) to create a spot for Joe Mauer.
Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (3-2, 8-10, 5th place, -7.5 out)
The Red Wings began the week losing in 13 innings to Scranton/WB, 17-14. The Yankees scored twice in both the eighth and ninth innings to tie the game with each team scoring a run in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth. The Yankees put up three runs in the thirteenth inning for the win. For the week, the Red Wings held serve with Scranton/WB and remain in fifth place, 7.5 games behind the Yankees.
Reid Santos was the starter in last Saturday's marathon, pitching 4.2 innings with 6 hits, 6 runs and 4K/4BB. Carmen Pignatiello couldn't hold the Yankees in the thirteenth, pitching 1.0 inning with 3 hits, 3 runs and1K/2BB to get his first loss of the season (0-1).......Brian Duensing got the start in Sunday's 7-3 win over the Yankees. Duensing pitched 5.0 innings with 5 hits, 3 runs and 6K/3BB to even his record at 1-1. Philip Humber pitched 2.0 perfect innings of relief with 1 strikeout.......Jason Jones got his second loss (0-2) in Monday's 7-3 loss. Jones pitched 6.2 innings with 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned) and 6K/3BB. Ben Julianel pitched 2.1 innings of relief with 7 hits, 4 runs and 3K/0BB.......Kevin Mulvey was the starter in Wednesday's 1-0 gem against Buffalo. Mulvey pitched 5.2 shutout innings with 4 hits and 7K/2BB. Mike Gosling came on to pitch 1.1 shutout inning with 2 hits and 0K/1BB to get his third win (3-0). Sean Henn pitched a shutout ninth inning with 1 hit and 1K/0BB to get his first save.......Last night Anthony Swarzak got his first win of the season (1-3) as the Red Wings won 9-3 at Indianapolis. Swarzak pitched 7.0 innings with 5 hits, 3 runs and 6K/2BB. Armando Gabino pitched 2.0 shutout innings with 0 hits and 1K/0BB.
Swarzak is pitching like a team Ace with a 2.25ERA in 4 starts (24.0 innings) with 17K/4BB. Kevin Mulvey has also been very good with a 3.26ERA in 4 starts (19.1 innings) with 20K/8BB. Sean Henn has been the early season star out of the bullpen, appearing in 8 games (11.1 innings) with a 0.79ERA, 17K/9BB and 1 save.
The Red Wing offense was on fire last Saturday with both Matt Macri and Luke Hughes hitting two home runs (they are currently tied for the team lead with three). Justin Huber added a home run in his first game with the Wings while Brock Peterson also hit his first homer of the season. Although a certain writer has criticized the Twins for not going out and signing a veteran slugger for the Wings, Huber appears to be exactly that having hit home runs in his first two games with the Wings. Dustin Martin had another good week, 8 for 22 with 2 doubles and 5 rbi...raising his average to .290 with 8 rbi in 69 at bats. Jason Pridie also had a good week, 8 for 23, and is now hitting .269 in 78 at bats. Trevor Plouffe was 5 for 18...raising his average to .242 with 4 doubles, a triple and 2 home runs.
New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (5-1, 9-11, 6th place, -2.5 games out)
The Cats picked up 3 full games this week, however, remain in last place only 2.5 games behind Binghamton and New Hampshire.
The Cats began their week with a 5-1 win over Trenton behind Matt Fox. Fox got his first win (1-1) while pitching 7.0 shutout innings with 5 hits and 5K/2BB.......Last night Fox wasn't as sharp as the Cats again beat Trenton, 9-7. Fox pitched 5.1 innings with 7 hits, 3 runs (2 earned) and 3K/3BB. Jose Lugo pitched 2.0 innings of relief with 2 hits, 2 runs and 1K/1BB to get his first win (1-1).......Jeff Manship got the win (1-2) in Sunday's 11-3 win, pitching 6.0 innings with 7 hits, 3 runs and 2K/2BB.......Jay Rainville started Tuesday's 6-4 win over New Hampshire, pitching 6.0 innings with 6 hits, 3 runs and 3K/2BB. Anthony Slama pitched 2.0 shutout innings of relief with 2 hits and 2K/2BB to get his first win (1-0).......Ryan Mullins was the starter in the Cats only loss this week on Wednesday, 5-0. Mullins, who lost his fourth game (0-4), pitched 4.2 innings with 8 hits, 4 runs and 6K/1BB.......Cole DeVries pitched 6.0 shutout innings with 2 hits and 7K/1BB in Thursday's 3-2 ten inning win. With the Cats leading 1-0 going into the eighth inning, one could assume the game was over. Rob Delaney did his job pitching a perfect eighth inning with 1 strikeout. After not allowing a run during the entire month of April, Slama came on in the ninth to allow his first run on 2 hits and 2K/2BB. With the Cats scoring in the top of the tenth, Slama earned his second win (2-0) following his first blown save.
Following four starts each, Matt Fox (3.97ERA), Cole DeVries (3.54ERA) and Jay Rainville (3.00ERA) have all pitched very well for the Rock Cats. If I selected a Player of the Month, it would have been Anthony Slama. Although allowing his first run and blown save Thursday, Slama finished his first month in AA with a line of 9 appearances (10.2 innings) with a 2-0 record, 0.84ERA, 19K/6BB and 2 saves. Rob Delaney has also been very good, appearing in 12 games, 16.1 innings, 3.31ERA and 22K/1BB. Zach Ward has appeared in 8 games (12.0 innings) with a 2.25ERA and 9K/7BB.
Although he has only 19 at bats, Toby Gardenhire is hitting .368/.478/.421. Wilson Ramos had two multi hit games while going 8 for 23 this week with 3 doubles and 2 rbi...raising his average to .280/.304/.373. Danny Valencia was only 6 for 25, however, he had 2 home runs. Rene Tosoni continued to move his average up with a 6 for 28 week and is now hitting .182/.257/.348. He is also tied for the team lead with 3 home runs. Juan Portes was 5 for 15 and is hitting .278/.371/.426. Designated hitter Erik Lis is hitting .327/.397/.346 following a 5 for 12 week. One of their hottest hitters this week was Whit Robbins who was 9 for 24 with 2 doubles, 1 home run and 4 rbi...raising his average to .274/.338/.403.
Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (2-5, 12-9, 2nd place, -1.0 game out)
The Miracle dropped two games to Charlotte Thursday and Friday to fall a game behind them in their race to repeat as FSL Division champions.
Carlos Gutierrez began his quest to be Player of the Week in last Saturday's 2-1, ten inning loss to Jupiter. Gutierrez pitched 7.0 innings with 2 hits, 1 unearned run and 1K/0BB. Alex Burnett pitched 1.2 innings with 1 hit, 1 unearned run and 1K/1BB to get his first loss (0-1).......Gutierrez pitched another excellent game in another 2-1 loss on Thursday, pitching 5.0 innings with 2 hits, 1 run and 4K/3BB as he picked up his first loss (0-1).......Deolis Guerra got his first loss (2-1) on Sunday, 5-1. Guerra pitched 6.0 innings with 6 hits, 5 runs and 3K/2BB.......Last night Guerra pitched another good game as the Miracle lost, 5-2. Guerra pitched 5.1 innings with 3 hits, 2 runs and 6K/3BB. Although Blair Erickson was very good, pitching 2.1 innings with 1 hit, 1 run and 4K/0BB, he got his first loss of the season (0-1).......David Bromberg didn't get the win in Monday's 4-3 ten inning win, pitching 4.2 innings with 3 hits, 2 runs (1 earned) and 5K/2BB. Kyle Waldrop pitched 2.0 shutout innings with 3 hits and 0K/1BB to get his first win (1-2).......Tyler Robertson couldn't repeat last weeks gem in Tuesday's 4-3 loss at Palm Beach. Robertson pitched 4.0 innings with 2 hits, 2 runs and 5K/4BB. Henry Arias got the loss (0-1), pitching 1.0 inning with 4 hits, 1 run and 0K/0BB.......Michael McCardell was on top of his game Wednesday, pitching the Miracle to a 5-1 win. McCardell got his second win of the season (2-2), pitching 7.0 innings with 5 hits, 1 run and 4K/1BB.
Gutierrez leads the staff with a 0.78ERA in 5 games (4 starts), pitching 23.0 innings with 13K/5BB. Santos Arias has appeared in 6 games (9.0 innings) with a 2.00ERA and 6K/3BB. Alex Burnett has 2 saves to go with his 4.22ERA and 14K/5BB in 8 games (10.2 innings). Kyle Waldrop has been excellent working out of the Miracle pen as he returns form missing all of last season. Waldrop has a 1-2 record in 8 games (13.1 inning) with a 1.35ERA and 6K/2BB. Steve Hirschfield has appeared in 7 games (11.0 innings) without allowing a run. Hirschfield has given up only 2 hits with 7K/3BB.
Joe Mauer mentioned several Miracle players in a recent interview with LaVelle E. Neal III. One was Chris Cates who is hitting .333/.396/.438 in 48 at bats. Rene Leveret leads the Miracle, hitting .350/.473/.467 in 60 at bats with 4 doubles, 1 home run and 10 rbi. Leveret has also walked 11 times with 13 strikeouts. Chris Parmalee leads the Miracle with 3 home runs while hitting .219/.278/.422 in 64 at bats with 5 walks and 15 strikeouts. Ben Revere was only 7 for 30 this week with 4 stolen bases in 6 attempts. Revere is now hitting .279/.367/.337. Mankato University alum Mark Dolenc has quietly been having an excellent spring in Hi-A ball...hitting .262/.273/.310 in 42 at bats.
Beloit Snappers (A) (2-5, 7-13, 7th place, -7.5 games out)
The Snappers had another tough week, dropping another 3.0 games behind Kane County.
The week began with a 11-6 loss at Kane County behind Michael Allen in a make-up game on Sunday. Allen lasted only 1.1 inning with 7 hits, 8 runs (7 earned) and 0K/1BB to pick up his third loss (0-3).......Allen made his second start of the week on Thursday as the Snappers won 6-4 against Dayton. Allen pitched 3.0 innings with 5 hits, 3 runs and 1K/4BB. Steve Blevins got the win (2-2), pitching 3.0 shutout innings with 1 hit and 0K/0BB. Matt Williams earned his second save, pitching 1.0 shutout inning with 0 hits and 2K/0BB.......Shooter Hunt started the second half of Sunday's double header pitching much as he has all season. Hunt lasted only 2.0 innings with 1 hit, 4 runs, 1K/6BB, 1 hit batter and 2 wild pitches. The Snappers lost 8-7 with Danny Rondon getting his first loss (1-1), pitching 2.0 innings with 2 hits, 2 runs and 3K/1BB.......Hunt got his second start this week in last night's 4-3 twelve inning loss. Hunt pitched 3.0 innings with 1 hit, 3 runs (2 earned) and 4K/6BB and 3 wild pitches. Danny Berlind pitched 4.0 shutout innings with 0 hits and 4K/0BB. Danny Rondon followed with 3.0 shutout innings with 0 hits and 1K/0BB. Unfortunately, closer Matt Williams got his first loss by allowing 1 unearned run in 2.0 innings with 2 hits and 3K/0BB.......Daniel Osterbrock was the starter in Monday's 10-6 loss, pitching 5.0 innings with 5 hits, 5 runs (3 earned) and 4K/1BB. Bruce Pugh got his first loss (0-1), pitching 1.2 inning with 1 hit, 3 runs and 1K/3BB.......Bobby Lanigan made the Snappers best start of the season in Tuesday's 4-0 win. Lanigan pitched 5.0 shutout innings with 7 hits and 4K/0BB to pick up his second win (2-0). Joe Testa was excellent, pitching 4.0 shutout innings of relief with only 1 hit and 6K/1BB to earn his first save.......Brad Tippett got the start in Wednesday's 2-1 loss, pitching 5.1 innings with 3 hits, 1 run and 2K/1BB. Henry Reyes pitched 2.2 innings with 5 hits, 1 run and 0K/0BB to get his first loss (0-1).
Matt Williams has earned 2 saves since joining the Snappers. Williams has a 3.18ERA in 5 games (5.2 innings) with 7K/2BB. Joe Testa has a 2.70ERA in 7 games (13.1 innings) with 20K/10BB. After a brutal first few games, Steven Blevins has his ERA down to 6.00 with 8K/5BB in 8 games (12.0 innings). Bobby Lanigan is the only starter with a ERA under 4 (3.66) with 21K/5BB in 4 starts (22.0 innings).
Ramon Santana was named the first Twins Player of the Week earlier last month. He was the early leader for my award this week with three multi hit games before spraining an ankle and going on the DL. Santana, who was 7 for 10 with 3 doubles, is hitting .393/.493/.643 in 56 at bats with a team high 3 home runs. Santana, who is a 22 year old middle infielder from Venezuela, returned to Beloit where he hit .241 with 8 home runs in 245 at bats last year. Ozzie Lewis was 5 for 21 this week as his average dropped to .333/.429/.429. Nicholas Romero has his average up to .286/.370/.397 in 63 at bats. Angel Morales hit his first two home runs in his last two games, raising his average to .175/.212/.365 with a 5 for 24 week.
Player of the Week
Although Ramon Santana and Carlos Gutierrez both had weeks worthy of recognition, no one had a better week than New Britain Rock Cat infielder Brian Dinkelman.
Dinkelman was the Twins eighth round pick in 2006 out of McKendree College where he was selected as the NAIA Player of the Year. Dinkelman led the organization with 104 runs scored at Beloit and Ft. Myers in 2007. Last year Dinkelman returned to Ft. Myers where he hit .293/.399/.414 with 33 walks and only 28 strikeouts in 232 at bats. Brian was promoted to New Britain following the FSL all-star game, where he hit .247/.299/.369 in 198 at bats.
Dinkelman began this season back at New Britain. He was hitting .250/.367/.350 prior to this week when he was 10 for 22 (.455 Average) with 3 walks, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 3 runs scored and 8 rbi. A player who always takes good at bats, Brian has 9 walks and only 8 strikeouts in 62 at bats and is now hitting .323/.419/.468 with 8 runs scored and a team high 14 rbi.