While browsing minor league numbers for the Twins this afternoon, I came across a pitcher by the name of Joe Testa. Who is he?
This is his page at MiLB.com. No profile picture. Check out those numbers, though. He's currently pitching with the Miracle in Fort Myers, having appeared in half a dozen games and 10.2 innings. Testa's struck out 14, walked three and allowed eight hits. Nobody's scored yet. He's sporting a 1.44 FIP according to FirstInning.com, although they haven't logged two of his appearances, which probably means that FIP is even lower.
For the majority of this spring and summer, Testa was quietly blowing away hitters as a pitcher for the Beloit Snappers, Minnesota's low-A ball affiliate. He started just one game, appeared 24 times in relief, and accumulated a substantial 45.2 innings. Strikeouts: 63. Hits: 26. The walks weren't quite as impressive, with 23 earning a free pass. That's a 1.07 WHIP, 2.56 ERA (FIP 2.70), and a .161 opponent average.
Testa is a 23-year old southpaw, undrafted out of Wagner College in 2008. Wagner College is in Staten Island, New York, and has been part of the NCAA since 2003. Until recently, in the history of the school only Curt Blefary has had a major league career ('65 - '72), although a couple of guys did make it to triple-A. In 2006, the Oakland Athletics drafted Andrew Bailey, a teammate of Testa at Wagner in '05 and '06. Baily is now blowing people away as a rookie relief pitcher with the A's.
|2009 - Andrew Bailey||4-1||39||0||0||0||10||4||51.2||31||11||11||3||19||60||1.92||.97|
Bailey, now 25, was a big strikeout pitcher for Wagner. But it's Testa that holds school records in games started (44), wins (19), innings (299) and strikeouts (308). Naturally this isn't to say that Testa is a better pitcher than Bailey, or to say that Testa is destined for the majors, but both were four-year collegiate players from the ages of 19-22, and it does make for an interesting comparison.
In 2008, Testa was the Northeast Conference's Pitcher of the Year, in addition to being a conference All-Star. This was just last summer, and immediately afterward joined the Twins rookie club in Gulf Coast. In 28.1 innings between the GCL and Fort Myers he struck out 30 in 28.1 innings, allowing just 23 hits and 10 earned runs.
You already know what he's been doing this year.
If there's any caveat in what we've seen from this unknown lefty, it's that to this point he's been pitching to some very young hitters. The good news is that if he keeps pitching like this, he will be promoted again before the end of the year. If he can finish the season in New Britain, and keep pitching well, Joe Testa could be a Twin by next summer.
Be sure to check out this Q & A with Testa from Seth (Sounds like Testa throws a fastball, cutter, changeup, curve and slider; the fastball (low to mid-90's) and the cutter are his "out pitches".)