Minor League Report...June 20, 2009

Good morning!  The organization put up another winning week with no teams playing under .500, finishing with 17 wins against 14 losses.  Congratulations to the Ft. Myers Miracle who clinched the FSL South division championship on Thursday.  The Miracle will also host today's FSL All-Star game with David Bromberg following in the footsteps of Kevin Slowey and Jeff Manship as the South Division starting pitcher.

Jim Rantz named Rochester pitcher Kevin Mulvey as the Twins organization Player of the Week last Sunday.  Anthony Swarzak won his final start with the Twins and was immediately optioned back to Rochester with Jose Morales being recalled from the Red Wings.  Wilson Ramos returned to the disabled list with an injured hamstring.  The Twins released Henry Sanchez who had been serving a 50-game suspension.  In a surprise move to some, the Twins optioned Jesse Crain to Rochester with Jason Pridie moving up to the Twins to replace Denard Span who was placed on the disabled list.  The Red Wings also activated infielder Alejandro Machado.  Catchers Danny Lehmann and Alan de San Miguel moved up to New Britain with Jeff Christy moving up to Rochester.  Pitcher Carlos Gutierrez also moved up to New Britain with Steven Hirschfield being named to the FSL All-Star game as his replacement.  The Beloit Snappers activated pitcher Tom Wright from the DL and released pitcher Danny Rondon.  Catcher/Third Baseman Juan Richardson was promoted to Ft. Myers to make room on the Snappers roster for last year's top pick, Aaron Hicks.  It has also been reported by several sources, including Seth Stohs, that Rochester has released Ben Hendrickson and New Britain has released Zach Ward.      

As of today, it has been reported that the Twins have signed six of their recent draft picks, Billy Bullock (#2), Derek McCallum (#4), Tobias Streich (#5), Nick Tindall (#17), Kane Holbrooks (#21), and Trayvane Johnson (#30). 

Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (4-3, 33-33, 4th place, -8.0 games)

The Red Wings had a winning week, however, lost another 2.0 games to the division leading Scranton/WB Yankees.

Philip Humber was solid in last Saturday's 4-2 loss at Toledo.  Humber pitched 5.1 innings with 7 hits, 4 runs (3 earned) and 3K/2BB.........Humber returned last night to pitch his best game of the year in the Wings 2-1 win over visiting Toledo.  Humber pitched 7.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 10K/1BB to improve his record to 2-4.  Juan Morillo pitched 2.0 shutout innings of relief with 2 hits and 3K/0BB to pick up his second save.........Brian Duensing gave up 10 hits in Sunday's 6-1 loss, pitching 6.0 innings with 4 runs and 5K/0BB to pick up his fifth loss against three wins.........Jason Jones had his best start of the season in Monday's 4-2 win, pitching 6.1 shutout innings with 7 hits and 1K/1BB to pick up his second win in seven decisions.  Rob Delaney earned his first save as he allowed 2 hits and a run in 1.1 innings with 1K/0BB.........Kevin Mulvey followed up the start that earned him the Player of the Week with one of his toughest starts of the year in Tuesday's 10-3 loss.  Mulvey lasted only 3.2 innings with 10 hits, 8 runs (4 earned) and 3K/2BB.........Bobby Keppel has been starting of late and was Wednesday's winner (3-3) in a 10-2 win, pitching 6.0 innings with 9 hits, 2 runs and 5K/0BB.  Armando Gabino picked up a 3.0 inning save (his first) with no hits, no runs and 3K/0BB.........Anthony Swarzak returned to get the start on Thursday in a 4-2 win over Columbus.  Swarzak pitched 7.0 innings with 8 hits, 2 runs and 2K/2BB.  Rob Delaney pitched 3.0 shutout innings of relief with 1 hit and 2K/2BB to pick up his second win in three decisions.   

Kevin Mulvey has been the Red Wings most consistant starter this year.  Mulvey has a 3-4 record with a 3.91ERA, 1.41WHIP and 62K/30BB in a team high 76.0 innings in 13 starts with one complete game shutout.  Some thought that Armando Gabino was a surprise addition to the Twins 40-man roster last fall.  Gabino has not disappointed as he has been one of the Wings best relievers all season with a 2.81ERA and 1.01WHIP in 21 games (41.2 innings) with a 3-1 record, 1 save and 28K/14BB.  Rob Delaney has a 3.97ERA and 0.88WHIP in 11.1 innings with a 2-1 record and 10K/3BB.  Delaney has allowed only 1 earned run in his last four appearances (8.1 innings) after giving up four runs in his second outing with the Wings.

Steve Tolleson continues to impress Rochester fans and Twins management , hitting .338/427/.481 in 77 at bats since his promotion last month.  Tolleson also has 8 doubles, 1 home run and 14 runs scored.  David Winfree continues to make a statement that he deserves a future role with the Twins.  Winfree is hitting .333Average in his last ten games to bring his numbers up to .289/.311/.504 with a team high 19 doubles and 9 home runs.  Winfree, who has 27 runs scored and 35 RBI, has only walked 8 times while striking out 48 times.  The Twins have liked Matt Macri since drafting him in the seventeenth round of the 2001 draft (he went to Notre Dame rather than sign with the Twins).  After hitting .324/.361/.441 in 34 at bats with the Twins and .259/.323/.466 in 313 at bats with the Red Wings last year, the Twins expected Macri to be a key part of this year's Red Wing lineup.  Although he is hitting .294Average in his last ten games, Macri had been off to a dismal start this season, hitting .207/.283/.372 in 188 at bats.

New Britain Rock Cats (3-3, 35-31, 2nd place, -2.5 games)

The Rock Cats continued their battle this week, maintaining their second place standing.

The Cats beat Bowie last Saturday, 6-5, behind Carlos Gutierrez.  Gutierrez pitched 5.0 innngs with 5 hits, 1 run and 0K/3BB.  Anthony Slama pitched a shutout inning with no hits and 2K/0BB to pick up his fourth win in five decisions.........Gutierrez picked up his first AA loss on Thursday, 4-2, pitching only 4.0 innings with 7 hits, 4 runs and 3K/1BB.........Ryan Mullins lost his seventh game in ten decisions on Sunday, 5-2, pitching 4.1 innings with 6 hits, 4 runs (2 earned) and 2K/2BB.........Jay Rainville evened his record at 3-3 in Tuesday's 6-4 loss to Altoona.  Rainville pitched only 4.0 innings with 11 hits, 6 runs and 2K/1BB.........Matt Fox was again excellent in Wednesday's 7-0 win, pitching 5.0 shutout innings with 3 hits and 3K/3BB.........Jeff Manship also made an excellent start in last night's 5-4 win, pitching 6.2 shutout innings with 3 hits and 3K/2BB to pick up his sixth win against four losses.  Anthony Slama earned his fourteenth save by pitching 1.2 innings with 2 hits, 1 run and 3K/0BB.

Matt Fox is pitching better than any other starter on the Rock Cats staff, leading the rotation with a 6-2 record, 2.45ERA, 1.22WHIP and 54K/27BB in 13 games (12 starts) with 69.2 innings.  Anthony Slama leads the organization with 14 saves in 31 games (36.2 innings) with a 4-1 record, 2.70ERA, 1.34WHIP and 53K/18BB.  Alex Burnett has been solid since his recent promotion, with a 3.14ERA, 1.05WHIP and 12K/5BB in 8 games (14.1 innings).

Erik Lis had been in a bit of a slump earlier this month, however, is hitting .412 in his last ten games to get his numbers back to .299/.377/.426 in 197 at bats with 10 doubles and 5 home runs.  Many consider Yancarlos Ortiz to be the top defensive shortstop in the organization.  After a slow start, Ortiz is hitting .355Average in his last ten games to raise his numbers to .225/.308/.272 in 151 at bats with 14 runs scored and 16 RBI.  Danny Valencia was 5 for 8 in his last two games and is now hitting .281/.370/.486 with 14 doubles, 4 triples, 7 home runs, 27 RBI with 30 walks and only 39 strikeouts in 210 at bats. 

Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (3-3, 41-25, First Half Champions, +5.5 games)

The Miracle maintained their 5.5 game lead over Charlotte, clinching a spot in this year's playoffs on Thursday.  With three games remaining in the first half, the Miracle host today's Florida State League All-Star game.

Last Saturday's rainout was made up as the first half of a Sunday doubleheader.  Michael McCardell has been very good this year, but not on Sunday when he got only one out, allowing 4 hits, 8 runs (only 1 earned)  and 0K/3BB in a 8-1 loss to pick up his fourth loss against seven wins.........McCardell returned in Thursday's 7-2 clinching win, pitching 5.0 innings with 4 hits, 2 runs and 5K/0BB.  Santos Arias pitched 2.0 shutout innings with 2 hits and 3K/1BB to pick up his fourth win without a loss.........Steven Hirschfield made his third start of the season in a 4-1 win in the second half of Sunday's doubleheader.  Hirschfield pitched 5.0 shutout innings with 2 hits and 4K/3BB to get his second win in three decisions.  Spencer Steedley pitched a shutout relief inning with 1 hit and 1K/1BB, earning his second save.........David Bromberg was the starter against Dunedin in Monday's 2-1 loss, pitching 6.1 shutout innings with 3 hits and 5K/4BB.  Blair Erickson got his second loss, pitching 0.2 inning with no hits, an unearned run and 1K/1BB.........Tyler Robertson was very good in Tuesday's 5-3 win, pitching 6.0 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 5K/2BB to earn his fourth win against three losses.  Kyle Waldrop pitched 2.0 shutout innings of relief to earn his third save.........Deolis Guerra lost his seventh game against four wins in Wednesday's 8-4 loss.  Guerra pitched only 4.0 innings with 10 hits, 8 runs and 2k/2BB.

The Twins have decided that it is best that Kyle Waldrop remain in the bullpen as he works his way back from last season's major shoulder surgery.  Waldrop, who has been used in multi inning outings, has a 3-2 record and excellent 3.09ERA in 20 games (35.0 innings) with 20K/7BB.  Loek VanMil was said to have an injury similar to Pat Neshek when he missed last year's Olympics while with the Dutch National Team.  He went through a rehab period which appears to have worked.  The Miracle 8-4 loss Wednesday overshadowed his excellent outing as he pitched 4.0 shutout innings with 2 hits and 3K/2BB.  VanMil has a perfect 0.00ERA, 0.83WHIP and 8K/4BB in 6 games (12.0 innings).  With an opening on the New Britain staff, will Spencer Steedley get the call following this weekends all-star game?  Steedley has a 4-0 record, 2 saves, 0.84ERA, 1.02WHIP and 31K/9BB in 25 games (32.1 innings). 

Some were surprised when the Twins assigned D.J. Romero to Ft. Myers after missing much of last season to injuries at Beloit.  The Twins told us what they think of this young third baseman (22) when they added him to their 40-man roster last fall.  Romero was certainly challenged by the strong pitching in the FSL hitting only .257/.312/.343 in April and .163/.257/.217 in May.  Romero appears to have continued to work to improve which is paying off with a .328/.385/.466 line this month, raising his numbers to .236/.307/.323 with a team high 13 doubles.  Ben Revere will lead the Miracle representatives in today's all-star game as he is tied for the league's second best average (.325), fourth best OBP (.393), third most stolen bases (27 in 39 attempts), tied for second most at bats (240) and fourth most runs scored (36).  Revere has also struck out only 22 times while taking 23 walks.  

Beloit Snappers (A) (3-3, 26-41, 8th place/last, -13.5 games)

The Snappers have been playing better ball of late while getting solid performances from their starters.  They also appear to be shuffling their roster as they look to the beginning of this season's second half when they will renew their goal of a spot in this year's playoffs.

Last Saturday the Snappers beat Burlington, 4-1, behind Daniel Osterbrock.  Osterbrock pitched 6.1 innings with 6 hits, 1 run and 2K/1BB to pick up his fourth win against five losses.  Joe Testa picked up his sixth save by pitching 2.2 shutout innings with 1 hit and 4K/1BB.........Osterbrock was very good in Thurdsday's 3-2 win over Quad Cities, pitching 7.0 innings with 6 hits, 2 runs and 7K/0BB.  Matt Williams pitched 2.0 shutout, no-hit innings with 3K/0BB to pick up his first win in two decisons.........Bobby Lanigan had a short start in Sunday's 9-2 loss to Clinton, pitching 3.1 innings with 4 hits, 1 run and 6K/0BB.  Stevin Blevins got his third loss against two wins, pitching 2.0 innings with 2 hits, 1 run and 1K/1BB.........Brad Tippett, who has been the Snapper Ace, was solid in Monday's 10-5 loss, pitching 6.0 innings with 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned) and 6K/0BB.  Curtis Leavitt picked up his first loss as he didn't get an out, allowing 3 hits, 4 runs and 0K/1BB.........Michael Tarsi made his second start in Tuesday's 2-1 win, pitching 7.0 shutout innings, 2 hits and 5K/0BB to pick up his second win in three decisions.  All-Star Joe Testa pitched 1.2 shutout innings with no hits and 3K/2BB to pick up his team high seventh save.........Danny Berlind was the loser (2-7) in Wednesday's 4-1 loss.  Berlind pitched 6.0 innings with 3 hits, 3 runs and 7K/2BB.

Michael Tarsi recently returned from EST to become one of the better pitchers on the Snappers staff.  Tarsi, who led the MidWest League with three complete games last year, has a 2-1 record with a 2.13ERA, 0.99WHIP and 27K/9BB in 8 games (25.1 innings) with 2 starts.  Joe Testa continues to make a statement for a promotion with a 0-1 record, 1.65ERA, 0.98WHIP and 58K/21BB in 24 games (43.2 innings).  Danny Berlind's 2-7 record isn't reflective of his season which has actually been very good.  Berlind has appeared in 15 games (8 starts) with a 3.99ERA, 1.19WHIP and 54K/20BB.

Juan Richardson was hitting .271/.317/.288 in 59 at bats prior to his promotion this week to Ft. Myers.  Jon Waltenbury has had a solid first half, hitting .256/.316/.345 in 223 at bats with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 23 RBI and is tied with Angel Morales with a team high 29 runs scored.  Two years ago Ozzie Lewis was one of the top players on the Appy League championship Elizabethton Twins.  He was injured much of last year, however, has rebounded with an excellent first half, hitting .301/.364/.444 with 11 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs adn 28 RBI.

DSL Twins (Dominican Summer League) (4-2, 11-7, 3rd place, -3.0 games)

The DSL Twins moved up a spot in the standings, picking up a game on the division leading White Sox.

Cesar Ciurcina started Tuesday's 6-3 win, however, allowed 3 runs (2 earned) in a 6.0 inning outing with 4K/1BB.  Ciurcina now has a 0.90ERA, 0.50WHIP and 16K/1BB in 20.0 innings.  Pedro Guerra has a perfect 0.00ERA in 19.0 innings including this week's 6.0 inning start when he allowed 3 hits and no runs with 4K/1BB to pick up his first win.  Orlando Villaroel is a 19 year old reliever from Venezuela who has a 1-1 record, 0.84ERA, 1.50WHIP and 8K/2BB in 4 games (10.2 innings).

First Baseman Kelvin Silvania continues to swing a big bat, hitting .283/.371/.483 with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs and 12RBI in 60 at bats.  Yorby Martinez leads the team, hitting .340/.433/.360 in 50 at bats.  Outfielder Romy Trinidad (18 yrs old) has 11 walks and 10 strikeouts in his first 52 at bats with 5 steals in 5 attempts, hitting .269/.415/.346.

Player of the Week

In the fifteenth round of the 2004 draft, the Twins drafted an athletic middle infielder from Boston who had limited amateur experience.  Juan Portes went on to hit for a .327Average in 168 at bats for the GCL Twins.  A talented athlete who has been searching for a position, Portes hit for averages of .287, .231 and .269 as he moved up a level each year.  Portes repeated 2008 at Ft. Myers, hitting .270/.319/.395 in 456 at bats while being converted to an outfielder.

In what may have been a surprise move to some, the Twins rewarded Portes for his continued hard work with a promotion to New Britain this year.  Portes has responded as the leading hitter on the Rock Cats roster, hitting .336/.401/.497 in 143 at bats with 13 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, 21 RBI, 24 runs scored, 5 stolen bases in 7 attempts and 15 walks with only 18 strikeouts.

Portes was 8-19 (.421 Average) this week with 5 runs scored, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 RBI, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.  Hitting .424Average in his last ten games, Portes is playing at a level that matches his potential, a level which should merit future promotions.  

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