Good morning. Am on vacation this week, so this will be a quick report.
In one of our closest polls of the year, Joe Benson is Twinkie Town's Player of the Week with 29% of 98 votes.
After a couple good weeks the organization was unable to play winning ball, finishing with 19 wins and 24 losses. The Ft. Myers Miracle were the only team with a winnng record, 6-2, while New Britain, Beloit and the Elizabethton Twins all played .500 ball.
In player movement, Matt Tolbert was activated from his rehab assignment and optioned to Rochester earlier this week. Nick Punto was activated by the Twins last weekend, then went back on the disabled list yesterday. Tolbert was recalled by the Twins to fill Punto's spot. Jose Morales was optioned to Rochester when Punto was actvated. With Morales moving back to the Red Wings, catcher Jair Fernandez moved back to New Britain where catcher Alexander Soto was placed on the DL. Former Twin catcher Wilson Ramos was called up by the Washington Nationals after hitting .317/.349/.483 with two home runs in 60 at bats for their AAA farm club in Syracuse.
Matt Schuld moved up to the Ft. Myers Miracle from the GCL Twins. Blake Martin was promoted from the Miracle to New Britain. The Twins signed two catchers, their twenty-sixth round pick Kelly Cross and their twenty-fourth round pick Michael Quesada. They also signed their thirty-sixth round pick, outfielder Kelvin Mention. Although it has been reported elsewhere that they signed thirty-one of their picks, I can only confirm twenty-nine. I suspect reports of thirty-one include the two players signed as free agents following the draft.
New Britain Manager Jeff Smith confirmed that Ben Revere took batting practice on Wednesday and they expected he would be activated within five days or a week so that he would get a a week or more play before their season ends. Fellow Rock Cat outfielder and this week's Player of the Week, Joe Benson, has been out most of this week with a groin injury that is described as day-to-day.
Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (2-4, 47-80, 6th place, -28.5 games behind Scranton/WB)
The Red Wings were eliminated from playoff contention last weekend, now must make up a 3.5 game deficted if they are to overtake Lehigh Valley and not finish in last place.
Kyle Gibson, Matt Fox and Anthony Swarzak all had good starts this week, although they only won on Monday behind Swarzak. Each of the three starters pitched 5.0 innings with two runs. Pat Neshek had two very good outings on Monday and last night, pitching 3.0 shutout innings with three hits, one strikeout and two walks. Alex Burnett had his best outing since joining the Wings in Monday's win, pitching 2.0 shutout innings with one hit, five strikeouts and no walks. Burnett wasn't as good Thursday when he was tagged with the loss, allowing two runs in 1.1 inning.
Matt Macri had a very good week at 8-19. This week's nomination for Player of the Week however, is Matt Tolbert. In his three games with the Red Wings, Tolbert was 8-13 with three runs scored and a RBI.
New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (3-3, 37-88, last place, -38.0 games behind Trenton)
After last weekend, the Rock Cats had 21 games remaining. They needed to finish 9-12 to avoid the franchise's first 100 loss season since 1953. They needed to finish 14-7 to avoid their worst record in the Eastern League since 1991 (47-93). They needed to finish 5-16 to avoid the worst Eastern League record...ever! Richmond came to town and the Cats responded with their first sweep of the year.
Their starting staff didn't have any quality starts. Deolis Guerra continued his second half struggle, allowing nine hits and five runs in a 4.0 inning outing in Thursday's 7-6 win. Bobby Lanigan made two starts, pitching 12.1 innings with 18 hits and 11 earned runs.
Evan Bigley, who recently moved up to AA, has commented on the difference in pitching in the Eastern League versus the FSL. For example, Wednesday the Cats faced thirty year old Felix Romero who was later relieved by former big leaguer Andy Sisco. Bigley had a good week at 8-16 with two doubles. Since joining the Cats earlier this month, Bigley is hitting .302/.302/.419 in 43 at bats.
Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (6-2, 26-28, 4th place, -5.0 games behind Palm Beach)
The Miracle needed a nice winning streak if they were to make the playoffs. Winning six of eight this week kept them in the race, however, time is running out.
Daniel Osterbrock returned to form, pitching 6.0 innings with four hits and a run in Tuesday's 3-1 win. Recently promoted Matt Schuld came on to pitch 3.0 no hit, shutout innings for his first save. Kane Holbrooks has been as hot as any starter in the organization. He pitched another gem on Wednesday, pitching 7.0 shutout innings with seven hits. Bruce Pugh allowed two runs in 5.0 innings on Thursday, a game the Miracle would lose 8-1 after Shooter Hunt came on in relief...getting no one out while allowing three runs on four walks and two wild pitches. That game followed what may have been Hunt's best performance of the year Monday, when he pitched 3.0 no-hit, shutout innings with four strikeouts and two walks. Santos Arias didn't enjoy a lot of success earlier this season in New Britain, however, he was great last night. Arias pitched 8.0 innings with six hits and one run in a 2-1 win versus Charlotte.
Nick Romero is a corner infielder who is having a nice year at .262/.336/.378. Since the all-star break, Romero is hitting .314 average with a 11-31 week with five doubles and a triple.
Beloit Snappers (A) (3-3, 26-24, 5th place, -5.5 games behind Quad Cities)
The Snappers were tied with Clinton for a playoff spot last weekend after Saturday's 7-2 win over Clinton. They proceded to drop two to Clinton and now are 2.0 games out of the last playoff spot.
Their lone quality start was by Tom Stuifbergen on Sunday when he pitched 6.1 innings with ten hits, three runs and eleven strikeouts. Danny Rams has been included amongst the week's best performers a lot recently. Now hitting .256/.320/.472 with a team leading fourteen home runs, Rams gets the nod again this week after going 9-19 with a double and home run.
Elizabethton Twins (Appalachian Rookie League ) (2-2, 36-19, 1st place, +1.0 game ahead of Johnson City)
With a spot in the expanded playoffs certain, the Twins will battle Johnson City for another division crown. Oswaldo Arcia has played through a minor injury and is back on track this week, going 8-16 with a double. The player of the week for the ETon Twins however is the lefty the Twins took in the third round this year out of Boston College, Pat Dean. Dean pitched 6.0 shutout innings last Saturday with four hits in his second start.
GCL Twins (Gulf Coast League ) (2-5, 24-29, 3rd place, -7.0 games behind the Rays)
The Twins best start this week was by Cesar Ciurcina in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Rays. Ciurcina pitched 6.0 innings with three hits, one run, seven strikeouts and a walk. Ciurcina leads the staff with 58.0 innings pitched with a 2.95 ERA. Miguel Sano played mostly third base early in the season, however, has seen a lot of action at shortstop lately.
DSL Twins (Dominican Summer League) (1-5, 29-40, 6th place, -20.0 games behind Cubs-1)
Last year Romy Trinidad was the DSL Twins lone position player all-star. This season Trinidad is back with the Twins, hitting .301/.371/.415. This week he was 4-13.