Minor League Report...July 30, 2011

I am on vacation for the next two weeks so this will be brief. This report was written late last night, but couldn't be published until this morning because of problems I had with the site. The Twins farm clubs had another losing week at 17-28. In a bit of a turnabout from the past several weeks, Rochester led the way (4-3) with New Britain (5-4) also playing winning ball.

The Twins placed Alexi Casilla on the disabled list and optioned Chuck James to Rochester. They recalled Luke Hughes and Matt Tolbert. Rochester placed catcher Danny Lehmann on the disabled list. Kyle Gibson isn't on the disabled list, however, skipped another start with soreness in his flexor muscle area. David Bromberg returned to New Britain, who had two double headers in three days. Angel Morales completed his rehab assignment and returned to the Miracle, who released Ramon Santana. Nate Fawbush was activated by the GCL Twins. Bruce Pugh moved up to New Britain with Andrew Albers going back to Ft. Myers. The Miracle also activated Jonathan Goncalves while putting Miguel Munoz, Steve Liddle and Kane Holbrooks on the disabled list.

The Twins signed their third round pick, Vanderbilt lefty Corey Williams. That signing means they have signed seven of their top twelve, with the top three picks remaining unsigned. They also signed their fifteenth round pick, Dominican lefty Josue Montanez who played at Miami Dade Junior College.

As expected, Miguel Sano was our Player of the Week with 77% of the vote.

The Red Wings (4-3) had one of their first winning weeks in awhile. They remain in last place, however, are within a couple games of Buffalo. The Wings problem much of this season has been their starting pitching. Scott Diamond had a quality start on Sunday, then returned tonight with a 2.2 inning outing in which he allowed eight runs. Kevin Slowey had a quality start in Monday's 7-6 loss when he allowed ten hits in six innings. The top performance for Rochester this week was by Liam Hendriks in Tuesday's 11-3 win at Louisville. Hendriks pitched six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits.

New Britain (5-4) split a double header on Wednesday, when Andrew Albers made a spot start in a 7-6 win over division leading New Hampshire. The Cats won both halves of a double header against Bowie tonight. David Bromberg returned to pitch four innings with two runs in the opening 4-3 win. Steve Hirschfeld pitched six innings in the nightcap, allowing one run of a 3-1 win. Hirschfeld also allowed only two runs in Sunday's thirteen inning 6-5 win over New Hampshire. Three runs in twelve innings gives Hirschfeld my nod as New Britain's best player this week. Joe Benson had a 13-36 week with eight runs driven in as he got his average up to .290.

The Ft. Myers Miracle (0-7) continued what is now a nine game losing streak. The best news out of Ft. Myers is that they now have their outfield of stars, Angel Morales in left, Aaron Hicks in center, and Oswaldo Arcia in right. Morales returned Tuesday, six weeks after elbow surgery and a short rehab assignment with the GCL Twins. In his first game back, the trio of outfielders had four hits in a 2-1 loss in which the Miracle had only six hits. The top performance for the Miracle this week was that game's starting pitcher, Jhon Garcia. He pitched seven innings with six hits, one run and five strikeouts.

The Beloit Snappers (2-4), broke their six game losing streak on Wednesday with a 21-8 win at Burlington. Ryan O'Rourke wasn't great, allowing four runs in five innings, but their bats exploded with four Snappers getting two hits and Michael Gonzalez getting four hits with two doubles. Then there was Jairo Perez, who was four for five with a double, two home runs and eight runs batted in, yes eight! The Snappers best performance this week was by Thursday's starter Manuel Soliman. Soliman pitched six shutout innings with only two hits, three strikeouts and three walks in Beloit's 4-1 win at Burlington.

Elizabethton (2-4) is hanging onto second place, although losing ground to division leading Johnson City. The Twins best starting performance of the week was last Saturday by Pedro Guerra, who pitched 6.1 shutout innings in a 3-1 win at Princeton. Matt Bashore allowed only one run in his longest start of the year (3.0 innings) on Sunday when the bullpen allowed three runs in a 4-3 loss. Tim Shibuya is a name we are becoming familiar with. He won his fifth game in six decisions on Tuesday, 6-4, when he allowed two runs in 6.1 innings. Several players had good weeks, however, Eddie Rosario was again the hitting star. Rosario was 10-25 (.400 average) with three runs scored and driven in and two home runs. Rosario has eleven home runs, which is one behind the league leader. No one in recent memory, including Oswaldo Arcia last year, had this many home runs at the mid-point of the Appy League season. Another Twin, Miguel Sano, has seven home runs which is tied for eighth best in the league.

The Gulf Coast League Twins (2-3) are in second place, two games behind the Orioles. Their top performance this week was by 2010 twenty-fourth round pick, catcher Michael Quesada. Quesada was 7-20 (.350 average) with three doubles, a triple, four runs scored and three runs driven in.

The Twins should have been expected to struggle some this year as they are one of the youngest teams in the league. The Twins position players have an average age of 19.8 years compared with the league average of 20.1 years. Even though their pitchers are 20.0 years old, compared with the league average of 20.4, the Twins pitching staff has the second best ERA in the league (2.45).

Some of the younger players with the Twins are seventeen year old infielders Javier Pimentel and Julio Torres and pitcher Gerardo Ramirez. Shortstops Jorge Polanco and Aussie Jacob Younis will turn eighteen during the season. Staff Ace, Angel Mata, starter Hung Yi Chen and reliever Gonzalo Sanudo are all eighteen. I don't recall any past GCL Twins teams with this many young players.

The DSL Twins (2-3) took their all-star break earlier this week. The American League won, 5-3, with Twins reliever Francisco Nunez picking up the win after pitching one inning when he struck out the side. Erick Gonzalez, who was the American League's first baseman, was one for two with a walk and run scored. Picking up the win in the all-star game gives Nunez my nod as the DSL Twins Player of the Week. Nunez has a 7-1 record in fifteen games (33.1 innings) with a 1.08 ERA and four saves. He also has 43 strikeouts and only 6 walks.

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