Minor League Report...June 12, 2010

With 38% of the 147 votes cast, Jeff Manship is last week's Twinkie Town Player of the Week.

The organization had their best week of the season with 18 wins against 13 losses.  Rochester led the way at 5-2 with Beloit and the DSL Twins both winning two thirds of their games.  Ft. Myers played .500 ball with only the New Britain Rock Cats having a losing week.

Michael Cuddyer returned to the active roster following the funeral of his father in law.  The Twins placed Orlando Hudson on the disabled list to make room for Cuddyer.  A day later, they called up Trevor Plouffe when J. J. Hardy went on the DL.  Yancarlos Ortiz, who was promoted to Rochester as Plouffe's replacement, hit his first home run of the season on his first pitch in AAA last night.

Paul Kelly and Andrew Thompson now officially appear on the Ft. Myers Miracle disabled list.  Pat Neshek has been optioned to Rochester with Deolis Guerra moving back to New Britain.  Alan de San Miguel and Joe Testa both moved back to the Miracle from New Britain.  Luke Hughes came off the Red Wings disabled list, then returned after four innings and is now out four to six weeks with a groin injury.  Recently signed Chris Armstrong was assigned to Beloit.  Dan Lehmann was activated by the Rock Cats with Cole DeVries moving back to the Rock Cats following a brief stay with the Red Wings.  Rene Tosoni injured his right shoulder in spring training and has been limited to designated hitter most of this season.  Tosoni will have labrum surgery and is out for the season.  Chris Parmelee moved back up to the Rock Cats to fill Tosoni's spot.  The Rock Cats lost Ben Revere for a week following his being hit in the eye with a thrown ball while breaking up a double play. 

Wilson Ramos was last week's Salvatore's/Donuts Delite Player of the Week and the International League's Batter of the Week.  The Midwest League named four Beloit Snappers to their all-star game, Aaron Hicks, Anderson Hidalgo, Tom Stuifbergen and Kane Holbrooks.  It is unlikely that Stuifbergen will appear in the game as he has again been shut down with a forearm injury.    

Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (5-2, 26-26, 5th place, -9.5 games behind Syracuse)

The Rock Cats had their best week of the season as they began their battle to get back into the race for a playoff spot.  Anthony Swarzak was solid in last Saturday's 8-4 win against Toledo.  Swarzak pitched 5.0 innings with 9 hits and 4 runs to pick up his first win.  Swarzak wasn't as good in Thursday's 10-9 win at Columbus.  Swarzak lasted only 4.1 innings with 9 hits and 5 runs.  Jeff Manship came off last week's Player of the Week performance by pitching 5.2 innings with 10 hits and 4 runs in a 7-5 win at Columbus on Tuesday.  Last night the Red Wings won their first series of the season, taking three of four at Columbus behind a spot start by Tim Lahey who allowed 7 hits and 4 runs in 3.2 innings.  Recently activated Brad Hennessey got the win, pitching 2.1 shutout innings with 2 hits.  The loser was former Twin Yohan Pino who pitched 5.0 innings with 7 runs and 11 hits including 3 home runs.  For the season, Pino has a 6-3 record with a 4.74 ERA.  When the Twins traded Pino to Cleveland last August for Carl Pavano, I was less than thrilled.  After helping the Twins make the playoffs and returning as the veteran of this year's staff, this trade has proven to be another excellent move by Bill Smith

Manship leads the staff with 60.0 innings with a 3.90 ERA and 50K/14BB.  Matt Fox has a 4-3 record with an excellent 2.76 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 49.0 innings.  Kyle Waldrop continues to make claim to be the next reliever called up to the Twins.  Waldrop made three appearances this week, pitching 5.2 shutout innings to lower his ERA to 1.22.  Waldrop has 28 strikeouts and only 8 walks in 44.1 innings.  Pat Neshek has made two appearances since being optioned to the Red Wings.  Pat had a solid first outing on Monday, pitching 2.0 shutout innings with 1 hit and strikeout.  Pat struggled last night, allowing 2 hits, 2 runs and a walk in 2.0 innings with 3 strikeouts. 

Slama Watch.....After allowing four walks in 3.1 innings last week, Slama cut that to only two walks in four appearances (4.1 innings) this week.  His 17 walks in 35.1 innings (4.33 per 9 innings) is the only concern the Twins will have when they need another arm for their bullpen.  His two walks this week were his only baserunners as he struck out four without allowing any hits as he dropped his ERA to 1.78.

Toby Gardenhire, who is hitting .200/220/.225 in 40 at bats with the Red Wings, had a game winning hit with 2 RBI in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 7-5 win at Columbus.  Brian Dinkelman had two multi-hit games as he raised his average to .291/.355/.410 in 227 at bats.  Jacque Jones leads the Wings at .325/.373/.423 while Jason Repko continues to have been an excellent pick up by hitting .297/.382/.459.  Jose Morales cooled following his first couple games and is now hitting .242/.339/.295 in 95 at bats.  After hitting for a .175 Average in April and May, Wilson Ramos has a .385 Average in his last ten games and is now hitting .228/.256/.358.

Last season Brock Peterson began his season in a terrible slump, then was the Red Wings' best hitter the last three months of the season.  After hitting for a .238 Average in April and May, Peterson has again turned it up a notch once the calendar turned to June.  Peterson was 7-24 this week (.291 average) with 7 runs scored, 4 doubles, 3 home runs and 7 RBI.  Peterson is now hitting .251/.335/.492 with 11 doubles and a team high 10 home runs (tied for eighth in the International League).

New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (2-4, 16-44, 6th place, -20.5 games behind Trenton)

The Rock Cats continue to struggle as their pitching staff goes on vacation when they score four or five runs and when their pitchers have an excellent game, they cannot score.  Other times they may get a great start, then their bullpen self-destructs.  David Bromberg had their only quality start when he was the winner on Sunday, 5-4.  Bromberg pitched 6.0 innings with 6 hits, 3 runs and 4K/1BB to pick up his third win in seven decisions.  Kyle Gibson hit that AA wall this week, allowing 7 hits and 6 runs in Saturday's 13-1 loss.  Gibson returned last night to lose his second game in five decisions as he allowed 8 hits and 5 runs in 5.0 innings. 

Bromberg has the best ERA (3.79) of the starting staff, however, he is not getting the strikeouts he has in previous years, 43 strikeouts in 61.2 innings.  Carlos Gutierrez had a 4.38 ERA in 61.2 innings, however, hasn't appeared in a game since June 2.  Is he headed to the bullpen or the disabled list?  Loek Van Mil made two appearances this week, pitching 2.1 shutout innings with 2 hits, 3 strikeouts and 2 walks.       

Rene Tosoni's season ended as he was hitting .270/.369/.422 in 185 at bats with 8 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs, 24 RBI and 3 stolen bases in 4 attempts.  Tosoni hit .237 in 59 at bats against lefties.  Brandon Roberts had three multi-hit games this week and leads the Rock Cats in hitting at .333/.452/.400 in 75 at bats with 5 stolen bases in 5 attempts.  Ben Revere is hitting .303/.382/.365 in 208 at bats with a league second best 20 stolen bases in 25 attempts. 

Deolis Guerra was 0-3 at Rochester with a 6.84 ERA in 25.0 innings.  In his first start back with the Cats, Guerra had one of their best starts of the season as they lost at Richmond, 2-1.  Guerra allowed two unearned runs (Erik Lis made two errors) in a 8.0 inning complete game with only three hits and four walks.

Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (3-3, 26-34, 5th place, -9.0 games behind Charlotte)

Adrian Salcedo has made a huge jump from the GCL Twins to Ft. Myers soon after his ninteenth birthday a month ago.  The results haven't been all that bad as he has been very good in three (4 earned runs in 14.2 innings) of his five starts.  Tuesday wasn't one of them as he allowed 7 hits and 7 runs in 2.1 innings to pick up his third loss in four decisions.  Shooter Hunt made his third start in Wednesday's 3-2 win over Bradenton, pitching 6.0 innings with 6 hits and 2 runs with 5K/3BB and a wild pitch.  Hunt has gotten his ERA down to 4.89 in 42.1 innings with 47K/28BB.  Daniel Osterbrock, who has allowed only one earned run in his last three starts, pitched 7.0 shutout innings in a 5-1 win at Lakeland on Monday. 

Billy Bullock leads the staff with 11 saves, which is tied for the third most in the FSL.  Bullock has a 2.97 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 30.1 innings.  After his amazing season in the GCL last year, many questioned whether Andrei Lobanov had what it takes to move up the ladder towards a spot in the Twins bullpen.  That spot is still a long ways away, however, Lobanov has also skipped two levels and is doing an excellent job for the Miracle.  Lobanov has appeared in 11 games (16.1 innings) with 18 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 16 strikeouts and only 3 walks for a 2.20 ERA.

The best hitter for the Miracle this week was Jonathan Goncalves at 7-19 (.368 Average).  Skipping Beloit, Goncalves is hitting a team best .293/.355/.366 in 82 at bats since rejoining the Miracle from EST for a second time this spring.  Joe Benson, who is struggling with an injury that has kept him out of the last four games, is hitting .259/.348/.531 since moving down from New Britain.

The top performance for the Miracle this week was by Liam Hendriks who pitched 8.0 innings of shutout ball in Sunday's 2-0 win at Lakeland.  Hendriks struck out 5 while allowing 7 hits and 1 walk.  Hendriks has a 4-1 record and 1.83 ERA since his promotion from Beloit with 33 strikeouts and only 5 walks in 39.1 innings.  Hendriks appears to have put his name very high on the Twins list of pitchers they project as future starters at Target Field.

Beloit Snappers (4-2, 31-30, 5th place, -9.0 games behind Cedar Rapids)

The Snappers worked themselves back over .500 this week as they split two at Ft. Wayne before taking two of three against Dayton.  B. J. Hermsen continues as a very effective starter since moving up from EST following the injury to Stuifbergen and promotion of Hendriks and Osterbrock.  Hermsen won his second game, 10-1, Saturday when he allowed only one run and seven hits in 7.0 innings.  Hermsen won his third game in four decisions last night when the Snappers beat Bowling Green, 14-6, allowing 4 runs on 8 hits in 6.0 innings.  Michael Tonkin also had a quality start in Tuesday's 5-2 loss, pitching 7.0 innings with 9 hits, 4 runs (2 earned) and 5K/0BB.  Brad Stillings continued his stretch of guality starts, pitching 6.0 innings of 4 hits ball with only one unearned run and 7K/2BB in Thursday's 4-3 win. 

Stillings has a 4.37 ERA while leading the staff with 59.2 innings.  Tonkin has the best ERA (2.65) of all starters while Hermsen has a 4.29 ERA.  Dakota Watts has an excellent 2.37 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 38.0 innings.  Kane Holbrooks picked up his eighth save this week, however, allowed two runs in 2.1 innings as his ERA moved up to 1.80.

Danny Rams continued to hit the ball hard this week with 2 doubles and 2 home runs in 5 hits.  Rams is hitting only .222 Average, however, has 15 doubles, 1 triple and is tied for the team lead with 5 home runs in 36 hits.  Yes, 21 of his 36 hits went for extra bases.  Anderson Hidalgo leads the team in hitting at .292/.320/.404 while James Beresford has been hitting .317/.378/.415 in his last ten games to get his average up to .259.       

It appears that Angel Morales is a slow starter regardless of what league he is in.  Morales hit for a .253 Average in April and May before taking off in his last nine games (14-35 for a .400 Average) since the first of June.  This week Morales was 11-23 (.478 Average) with 3 runs scored, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 7 RBI and 2 stolen bases in 4 attempts.  Morales has 18 stolen bases in 25 attempts with 11 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs and 31 RBI with his average up to .279/.368/.433 in 201 at bats.

DSL Twins (4-2, 7-5, 3rd place, -1.5 games behind the Cubs1)

Sterling Bonilla made two starts this week, pitching 10.0 innings with 3 hits and one unearned run.  Bonilla is an eighteen year old prospect playing his first season of professional ball.  Elias Villasana is another first year professional who is making an impression as a seventeen year old.  Villasana made two starts, pitching 8.0 innings with 7 hits and 4 runs (only 1 earned).  Ezequiel Zarzuela is the third DSL Twins starter who is in his first year of professional ball.  Zarzuela, who is 19, has two starts in three appearances (11.0 innings) with 7 hits, 2 runs and 10K/3BB.  Yeison Florentino is also a first year pro who is 18 years old.  Florentino has made three appearances (6.2 innings) with 3 hits, 3 runs (1 earned), 4K/10BB for a 1.35 ERA.  There were a lot of familiar names on last year's championship DSL Twins.  This year's pitching staff is led by a group of young rookies.

Second Baseman Juan Blanco is a 21 year old DSL league veteran who is leading the Twins by  hitting .393/.414/.536.  Eighteen year old second year pro Kelvin Ortiz is hitting .346/.433/.577.  The DSL Twins lone position all-star last year, Romy Trinidad, is off to a slow start at .206/.289/.353 in 34 at bats.  Miguel Sano is 8-28 (.286/.382/.643) with 2 doubles, 1 triple and 2 home runs.  Jorge Polanco is hitting .229/.256/.257 in his first 35 professional at bats.  Another 17 year old shortstop playing his first professional ball is Jonatan Ynojoso, who is 2-12 in his first five games.   

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