Minor League Report...May 12, 2012

ATLANTA - JULY 27: Wilkin Ramirez #30 of the Atlanta Braves is unable to catch a fly ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Turner Field on July 27, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Twins' farm clubs put together a nice winning week at 16-12. Beloit led the way at 5-3, with Rochester and Fort Myers both 4-3. New Britain split their six games, 3-3.

In player movement, Clete Thomas reported to Rochester after clearing waivers. Scott Diamond and Brian Dozier joined the Twins to replace Justin Morneau, who was placed on the disabled list, and Liam Hendriks, who was optioned to Rochester. The Twins also optioned third baseman Danny Valencia to Rochester while designating lefty Matt Maloney for assignment. Joining the Twins as their replacements were starter P. J. Walters and outfielder Darin Mastroianni, who can also play some second base.

Joe Benson and Pedro Florimon switched spots, with Benson moving down to New Britain and Florimon up to Rochester as Dozier's replacement. Beloit activated catcher Kyle Knudson from their disabled list. With New Britain down to two middle infielders, the Twins signed Shawn Roof. Roof, who is 27, is a former Illini who was Detroit's thirty-third round pick in 2007. He is the son of Gene Roof, who is a Tigers roving minor league coach. It was also announced that former first round pick Alex Wimmers has a slight tear in his UCL, which will initially be treated by rest and a rehab plan. I know many of you question why the minor league system is short of top pitching prospects. But former first round picks Kyle Gibson, Matt Bashore and now possibly Wimmers all down with elbow problems...will it ever end?

Jason Wheeler was selected as the Twinkie Town Player of the Week with fifty-two percent of the votes. He was also chosen as the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week.

The Rochester Red Wings (14-19) are tied for fifth place, seven games behind Pawtuckett. Their week began with a Road game at Frontier Field against the Empire State Yankees. They beat the Yankees, 3-0, in Scott Diamond's last start. Diamond, who didn't know he was getting called up Sunday, was reportedly upset when Manager Gene Glynn pulled him out of the game after three shutout innings. Esmerling Vasquez picked up the win by pitching three shutout innings, allowing only one hit and was clocked by the local gun at 99mph. Ben Revere was doing the little things right, getting on base in his first three plate appearances with a walk, bunt single and being hit by a pitch. Another example of the quality of pitchers Rochester often faces, the Red Wings faced off against former Twin Ramon Ortiz.

Rochester played two against Buffalo on Saturday. Sunday's game was moved to Saturday so the Empire State Yankees could use Frontier Field for their game in which Andy Pettitte was making a rehab start, a game that over 13,000 Rochester fans came to see. The Red Wings took both ends, 2-1 and 5-0. In what would be P. J. Walter's last start in Rochester, he picked up his third win in four decisions by pitching a seven inning complete game with four hits, one run, seven strikeouts and one walk. The staff pieced together a shutout in the nightcap with Brendan Wise making a spot start and pitching three innings. Deolis Guerra followed with 2.1 shutout innings with four strikeouts for the win.

The Wings moved on to face league leading Pawtuckett where they dropped three of four, losing Monday, 4-0, Wednesday, 5-2, and Thursday, 7-6, with their sole win Tuesday, 3-1. Daryl Thompson was good in Monday's loss, allowing only one run in five innings. Liam Hendriks had a no hitter going into the sixth inning Tuesday, finishing with three hits, one run and eight strikeouts in 5.2 innings for his first win of the year. Cole DeVries wasn't as sharp as he has been on Wednesday, allowing ten hits and five runs in 4.1 innings. Luke French was hit hard Thursday when he allowed five runs on five hits and three walks in six innings. Yet, the Wings held the lead in the bottom of the eighth when Tyler Robertson came on to face one batter with one on and two outs. Robertson got a solid ground ball to second that went under Joe Thurston's glove for an error. Anthony Slama came on to face the next hitter, giving up a hit that scored two runs. That gave Robertson the loss which just doesn't seem right!

One of the Red Wings stars Thursday was Ben Revere, who came to bat with one out in the seventh and the game tied, 5-5. Revere bunted for a base hit, stole second and scored the go ahead run when Pedro Florimon singled to right field. Florimon also hit his second home run in three games since moving up from New Britain. For the week, Revere was 8-24 (.333 average) with two runs scored, two runs driven in, three walks, two strikeouts and five stolen bases without being thrown out. In 68 at bats with the Red Wings, Revere is hitting .309 average with a .351 on base percentage. Revere, who is my repeat Red Wing Player of the Week, is getting the experience he needs and is doing the little things Twins fans want to see when he returns later this year.

The New Britain Rock Cats (20-13) remain in second place, a game and a half behind Reading. Their week began with a a three game home stand against Portland with a 5-0 win Saturday sandwiched between 4-3 and 3-1 losses. David Bromberg, who has been very good since moving back to the starting rotation, pitched five shutout innings with five strikeouts to pick up his first win. Logan Darnell was the loser Friday when he allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings. Lester Oliveros, who has a 1.59 ERA in twelve games, kept the game close with two no hit innings with five strikeouts. B. J. Hermsen was the hard luck loser Sunday, pitching 6.1 innings while allowing three runs.

The Cats were rained out at Binghamton Monday before picking up two wins, 4-3 and 5-1. Andrew Albers allowed three runs in five innings Tuesday with nine hits. Daniel Turpen pitched two shutout innings for his third win in four decisions, dropping his ERA to 3.50. Steve Hirschfeld pitched six innings with only one run Wednesday, however, the decision went to Luis Perdomo who pitched a no hit seventh for his third win. Perdomo has an excellent 2.04 ERA in 17.2 innings with eighteen strikeouts.

The Cats opened a pivotal series against division leading Reading Thursday, dropping the opener 10-3. Logan Darnell wasn't sharp, allowing six runs off seven hits and three walks in five innings. Bobby Lanigan, who has a 3.12 ERA in eleven relief appearances, pitched two shutout innings but the damage was done.

Chris Colabello had two multi-hit games with Chris Herrmann, Aaron Hicks and Deibinson Romero all having thee hit games. But the hitting star this week was outfielder Wilkin Ramirez, who was 9-25 (.360 average) with three runs scored, two driven in, a triple, two stolen bases and a home run on both Wednesday and Thursday. Since joining the Cats from the disabled list, Ramirez is hitting .366 average with a 1.015 OPS in 41 at bats.

The Fort Myers Miracle (14-20) are tied for fifth (last) place, thirteen games behind St. Lucie. Their week began with a four game series against Lakeland, losing Friday 6-1, and again on Saturday, 4-3 in eleven innings. They turned it around and split the series with 13-3 and 12-3 wins on Sunday and Monday. Jhon Garcia picked up the loss Friday when he allowed seven hits and five runs (three earned) in 3.2 innings. Miguel Munoz and Matt Hauser, who has a 2.79 ERA, both followed with two shutout innings. Adrian Salcedo returned to the hill Saturday after being hit in the face and breaking his nose in his previous start. Salcedo allowed four hits, two runs and no walks in five innings. Edgar Ibarra was charged with the loss after allowing a run in four innings of relief. Marty Popham picked up his third win Sunday, pitching six innings with three runs. Cole Nelson earned a save with three shutout innings and six strikeouts. Pat Dean didn't need the dozen runs the Miracle scored Monday when he allowed three runs (only one earned) in 5.2 innings.

The Miracle went on the road to Dunedin Tuesday, losing the opener, 16-4, before winning two close games, 7-5 and 12-11. Madison Boer struggled Tuesday, allowing nine runs on eight hits and a pair of walks in only two innings with three of the hits leaving the park. Garcia pitched 4.1 innings with ten hits and five runs (four earned) Wednesday before Miguel Munoz pitched 3.2 shutout innings of relief for the win. In Thursday's slug fest, Adrian Salcedo allowed two hits, two walks and five runs (only one earned) before leaving after getting only one out. Salcedo left after a visit by the trainer with what has been reported as a blister. Nelson pitched 2.2 innings of relief with three runs for the win with Bruce Pugh pitching two shutout innings for his third save.

With the Miracle scoring thirteen once and twelve twice, there were lots of hitters with big weeks. Daniel Santana had four multi-hit games, including a 5-5 game Sunday. For the week, Santana was 14-33 (.424 average) with eight runs scored, five driven in, a double, his third home run and two stolen bases. Danny Ortiz had two multi hit games, as did Levi Michael, Michael Gonzales and Lance Ray. Jairo Perez and Anderson Hidalgo both had three multi-hit games with both Hidalgo and Ray hitting grand slam home runs. Then there is Oswaldo Arcia, who also had three multi-hit games including a home run and two doubles Thursday evening. Arcia was 10-26 (.384 average) with two runs scored, seven driven in, four doubles and a home run. He walked only once while striking out only two times. Santana is the tenth best hitter in the league with a .314 average while Arcia is tied for seventeenth best at .295 after hitting only .239 in April. Arcia is also tied for the sixth most triples (3) with the leagues twelfth best OPS (.832). With so many players hot this week, I will put both Daniel Santana and Oswaldo Arcia on the ballot as the Miracle co-Players of the Week.

The Beloit Snappers (20-14) remained in second place, a game behind Wisconsin. The Snappers closed out a series at Cedar Rapids on Friday by splitting a double header, dropping the first game, 9-6, before winning the nightcap, 5-3. A. J. Achter was charged with the loss of the first game, which was the continuation of a suspended game. Achter pitched three innings with five runs (only one earned). Miguel Sano hit his seventh home run with three driven in with recent addition Drew Leachman also hitting his first home run. In the nightcap, Steven Gruver pitched five innings with only three hits and two runs. Clint Dempster pitched 2.2 no hit innings of relief to pick up the win. Miguel Sano hit his second home run of the day, a two run blast in the top of the ninth that was the margin of victory. The Kernels thought he 'pimped that home run' by the manner he ran the bases and both benches cleared. After calm was restored and no punches were thrown, the local newspaper asked Cedar Rapids manager Jamie Burke for a comment. His response was, "He's young, but he's one heck of a player, man. He's unbelievable. That's the best player I've seen here------by far."

Kane County came to Beloit Saturday with the Snappers splitting their four game series. They lost the first and last games, 7-4 and 4-3, with 5-3 and 5-1 wins between. Tim Shibuya pitched six strong innings Saturday with only three hits and three runs (two earned) along with six strikeouts. Ryan O'Rourke picked up his second loss when he allowed a pair to score in two innings. Jason Wheeler, who was making his first start since receiving his award, pitched six shutout innings with five hits for his fourth win (4-0) Sunday. Matt Summers pitched his best game as a starter Monday, allowing four hits and one run in eight innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Matt Tomshaw allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings Tuesday for his first loss. David Hurlbut pitched three shutout innings in his third appearance since joining the Snappers.

Steven Gruver won a pitchers duel (2-1) at Peoria Wednesday, allowing only one run on eight hits in 7.2 innings. Corey Williams struck out the only batter he faced for his team best fifth save. Tim Shibuya started on Thursday, pitching five innings with two runs (one earned). Michael Tonkin pitched 2.1 innings of relief to pick up his third win without a loss as the Snappers won another one run game, 6-5. Tonkin has a staff best 1.89 ERA in eleven games (19.0 innings) with twenty-one strikeouts and only three walks.

Drew Leachman had two multi-hit games as did A. J. Pettersen. Rory Rhodes also had two multi-hit games including his second home run on Sunday. Eddie Rosario has his average back up to .293 with three two hit games, including his second home run Thursday. But the hitting star was again Miguel Sano. With three multi-hit games, Sano was 8-28 (.285 average) with five runs scored, six driven in, three doubles, and four home runs. In 124 at bats, Sano leads the league in slugging (.645), OPS (1.055), and runs driven in (32). He is tied for the third most runs scored (26) while posting the second best on base percentage (.409) with the leagues fourteenth best batting average (.298). And yes, just a few days over a month into the season he also leads the league with ten home runs. Sano had a much needed day off yesterday as he celebrated his nineteenth birthday.

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