Minor League Report...July 28, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 13: Jeff Manship #49 of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning on June 13, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Good morning. My wife and I will be heading out west next week to celebrate her 70th birthday with our children and grand kids. Will be a busy couple weeks, so there will not be a report on either August 4th or August 11th.

The organization eked out a winning week at a game over .500 (24-23). Elizabethton was 6-1 with Fort Myers (5-2) and New Britain (4-3) also above .500. The GCL Twins were 4-4 with Beloit (2-4), the DSL Twins (1-4) and Rochester (2-5) all having losing weeks.

There was lots of player movement. Chris Parmelee was called up for three games to replace Justin Morneau, who was on paternity leave. The Twins placed Anthony Swarzak on the disabled list yesterday. Luis Perdomo was called up from Rochester with Carl Pavano moving to the 60-day disabled list to make room on their 40-man roster. Yesterday, the Twins placed Trevor Plouffe on the disabled list with Danny Valencia moving up to fill his spot.

The Twins signed former Texas prospect Eric Hurley, who was assigned to Rochester. The Red Wings also placed Dan Sattler and Brendan Wise on their disabled list with Deolis Guerra being activated before Thursday's game. Dan Turpen also moved up to Rochester from the Rock Cats. Rene Tosoni completed his rehab and moved back to New Britain. Relievers Jose Gonzalez and Matt Hauser both moved up to New Britain. Steve Liddle was promoted to Fort Myers. Recent draft picks D. J. Baxendale and Taylor Rogers both moved up to Beloit with Chris Mazza moving up to Elizabethton. Eddie Rosario began a rehab assignment with the GCL Twins on Wednesday with former first round pick, Alex Wimmers, also beginning his rehab with the GCL Twins. First Baseman Kennys Vargas completed his suspension and was assigned to Beloit. The Twins announced that they had signed Brian Compton, who is a catcher out of Cal State-Los Angeles and the son of one of their scouts. They also announced they had released Steven Evans and the remaining player from the J. J. Hardy trade, Ben Jacobson. Finally, Jeff Manship, who had the lowest ERA of any two game winner, was the International League Pitcher of the Week.

Last week's Player of the Week was Max Kepler, who collected 66% of the votes. There will be a few changes to my report this week. After the jump I will briefly review each team then take a look at the Twins 2012 draft.

The Rochester Red Wings (52-54) slipped back under .500 and are tied for fourth place, seven games behind the Empire State Yankees. After losing the opener at Durham on Friday they dropped two of three on Sunday and Monday. Jeff Manship pitched six innings in their only win (5-1) in the opener of Sunday's doubleheader when he allowed one run on three hits, making him my Red Wings Player of the Week. Liam Hendriks was very good in Monday's 4-0 loss, allowing two runs on four hits in six innings as he was charged with his first AAA loss of the season. The Wings then dropped two of three at home against Syracuse. They won Wednesday (5-3) when Luis Perdomo pitched 3.2 shutout innings of relief for his seventh save. Perdomo joins the Twins after posting a 0.92 ERA in 19.2 innings with the Red Wings.

The Wings had an ugly loss on Thursday, 17-9, when recently signed Eric Hurley gave up seven runs in 2.2 innings. Chris Parmelee had two home runs in the game while Tsuyoshi Nishioka had a bases clearing double. Danny Valencia had two multi-hit games, however, Wednesday committed an error on a ball about a step to his left that went under his glove. On Thursday, he missed the same play, however, it wasn't ruled as an error.

The New Britain Rock Cats (58-46) remain in second place, two and a half games behind Trenton. The Rock Cats took two at Harrisburg on Friday, 13-2 and 5-4. On Saturday they lost 5-0 before winning the four game series behind a quality start by Steve Hirschfeld Sunday, 8-4. Binghamton came to New Britain Monday with the Rock Cats dropping the first two before a 11-2 win on Wednesday. B. J. Hermsen was the winner (7-5), allowing two runs in seven innings.

Although Aaron Hicks was five for six with a double and his tenth home run on Wednesday, my Player of the Week is Deibinson Romero. Romero was 10-19 (.526 average) with four runs scored, six driven in, two doubles and a home run. He also walked four times while striking out twice. Romero, who once was on the Twins 40-man roster, is hitting for a .267 average with a .791 OPS in 344 at bats with a team high fourteen home runs.

The Fort Myers Miracle (17-18) moved into a third place, two back of Bradenton. They took two of three at Lakeland last weekend with Madison Boer getting his ninth loss (4-9) on Sunday. Boer equaled his best start since joining the Miracle as he allowed only two runs (one earned) in six innings with six strikeouts. The Miracle next took two of three against Charlotte with Matt Hauser pitching seven innings of shutout ball in Wednesday's 12-4 win. Matt Summers was very good in his second start for the Miracle on Tuesday. Although the Miracle would lose, 6-5 in eleven innings, Summers allowed only two runs in five innings. Tom Stuifbergen pitched his best game of the year against Brevard County Thursday, allowing two runs in 7.1 innings with seven strikeouts.

Lance Ray, Kyle Knudson, Danny Rams and Anderson Hidalgo all had two multi-hit games. The Player of the Week however, is a young catcher who just may be the best catching prospect in the organization. All-Star Josmil Pinto was 10-21 (.476 average) with seven runs scored, three driven in, a double, triple and two home runs. Hitting .281 average with a .779 OPS in 274 at bats, Pinto has the team's second most home runs (8).

The Beloit Snappers (14-18) had a rough week, dropping into sixth place five back of Clinton. They began their week dropping a 2-0 pitchers duel to Lansing before losing the first two of three to Great Lakes. David Hurlbut pitched eight innings against Lansing, allowing two runs (one earned) with seven strikeouts and no walks. Matt Tomshaw returned from the disabled list to get the start in Monday's 3-0 win. He pitched four shutout innings with six strikeouts and no walks. The Snappers traveled to Burlington Wednesday, winning on opening night (4-1) behind Jason Wheeler who pitched six shutout innings. Wheeler continues to lead the league with twelve wins.

Kennys Vargas certainly put on a display Sunday in his first game off the suspension list, hitting two home runs with three runs driven in and a walk. He hit another home run the next day as he tries to impress the Twins in the few weeks remaining this season. The Player of the Week in Beloit is an exciting outfielder who has struggled to stay healthy since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, Nate Roberts. Roberts was 9-18 (.500 average) with three runs scored, one driven in, a double, triple and home run. In 146 at bats, Roberts is hitting .288/.871.

The Elizabethton Twins (25-11) are comfortably in first place, four and a half games ahead of Greeneville. They beat Johnson City on Friday (8-6) before taking both ends of Saturday's double header, 10-1 and 4-2. They dropped the last game to Johnson City Sunday before moving on to Kingsport where they won two, 3-0 and 12-5. After an off day on Wednesday, they opened a head-to-head series with Greeneville with a 10-2 win Thursday. Hudson Boyd pitched five innings with one run in a suspended game that was completed last Friday. Angel Mata matched his best start of the year with five innings of shutout ball on Monday.

Last week's Player of the Week, Max Kepler, hit three more home runs and is tied with Romy Jimenez and Adam Walker for the team lead with six. Travis Harrison hit safely in every game he played and has his average up to .322 with a .869 OPS. This week's Player of the Week is Milwaukee native and recent third round pick Adam Walker. Walker was 8-24 (.333 average) with six runs scored, eight driven in and three home runs. After a slow start, Walker is hitting .252 average with a .879 OPS in 127 at bats.

The GCL Twins (20-14) remain in first place, a game ahead of the Red Sox. They split two with the Red Sox last weekend, winning 10-4 on Friday before losing 5-1 Saturday. Luke Bard made his professional debut on Friday, pitching one inning with one run allowed on a hit and three walks. They dropped a double header to the Orioles on Monday, 4-1 and 2-0, before taking two from the birds the next day, 6-1 and 5-4. Alex Wimmers was the starter in the first game Monday, pitching 0.2 inning while allowing three runs on four hits and a walk. It was also Byron Buxton's first game since injuring his hamstring. Although they lost the nightcap, 2-0, Yorman Landa pitched five innings of shutout ball. Kyle Gibson was very sharp in his start on Tuesday, facing six batters with three ground outs, one fly out and two strikeouts. Gibson struck out both batters he faced yesterday when he came on in relief with a runner on base and one out. Luke Bard was better in his two inning start of the second game Tuesday, allowing one hit and run. Bard relieved Gibson yesterday, pitching a shutout inning with a hit and walk.

Felix Jorge pitched four shutout innings in a 2-1 loss to the Rays on Wednesday. Wednesday was also the first game for Eddie Rosario who is beginning his rehab assignment. After hitting safely in his first two games, Rosario had two hits yesterday including a three run home run. This week's Player of the Week, Sam Gibbons, pitched five shutout innings with two hits, two strikeouts and no walks in Thursday's 7-2 win over the Rays. Gibbons, who is an eighteen year old Australian, has a 3-0 record with a 1.71 ERA in 21.0 innings with fifteen strikeouts and four walks.

The DSL Twins (20-25) are in seventh place in their eight team division, seven and a half back of the Rockies. They wasted a nice start by Jose Abreu, who pitched four shutout innings, in a 11-10 twelve inning loss to the Padres on Saturday. Junior Subero was charged with his first loss on Monday, even though he allowed only one unearned run in six innings of a game they lost 4-1. They beat the Cubs-1 on Wednesday, 6-1, before losing a really ugly game to the Cubs-1 on Thursday. Trailing 12-6, the Twins gave up a dozen runs in the bottom of the eighth making the final score 24-6.

Their Player of the Week is reliever Jadison Jimenez, who was the winner on Wednesday when he pitched three shutout innings with one hit, no walks and two strikeouts. Jimenez, who turned eighteen this spring, has a 7-0 record with a 1.50 ERA in twelve appearances (24.0 innings). He has fifteen strikeouts and his only negative is that he also has fifteen walks.

Per the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Twins had the most money ($12,368,200) to spend in the first ten rounds of this years draft. In a draft without a lot of top college starting pitching talent, the Twins surprised some by taking a raw high school outfielder with the second overall pick before concentrating on college relief pitchers.

Although my numbers differ slightly from other reports I have seen, I show the Twins spending $11,956,400 of their allotted $12,237,400, or 97.7% of their allotted budget per the CBA. That amount includes an additional $90,000 spent to sign twentieth round pick Zach Larson, a high school outfielder who signed for $190,000 (any amount greater than $100,000 paid to anyone drafted after the tenth round is included in the allotted budget for the first ten rounds).

With the recent announcement that they had signed Harvard lefty Andrew Ferreira, the Twins signed twenty seven of the forty three players drafted. They also signed fifteenth round pick Jarret Leverett, the Georgia Southern pitcher who had his contract voided when he learned when taking his physical that he would need Tommy John surgery. They signed all of the players drafted in the first twelve rounds (fifteen players), with the exception of U of Connecticut second baseman L. J. Mazzilli. I expect they offered more than his allotted $130,800, however, reports indicated he wasn't happy with being selected in the ninth round and would return to UCONN for his senior year. They also didn't have $120,000 of their unspent dollars available until late on signing day when sixth round pick Andre Martinez agreed to his contract. Martinez, who is a left handed pitcher from a Florida high school, had originally agreed to a contract for $260,000, which was $60,000 over his allotted amount. A shoulder concern resulted in his contract not being finalized. The two sides continued to negotiate with Martinez agreeing to a $80,000 bonus on signing day.

With the second overall pick, the Twins selected Georgia center fielder Byron Buxton. Buxton quickly signed for a $6,000,000 bonus, reporting to the GCL Twins. He returned to action Monday after missing two weeks with a hamstring injury. After going 1-27 in his first eight games, Buxton has hit for a .333 average with a 1.195 OPS in his last ten games, including three home runs with two in his last two games.

In the supplemental round, the Twins had two picks as compensation for Michael Cuddyer (#32) and Jason Kubel (#42). With the first pick, they selected a young right handed pitcher from Puerto Rico, Jose Berrios. They selected Georgia Tech pitcher Luke Bard with the second selection. Berrios reported to the GCL Twins where he is being used out of the bullpen. In six appearances (10.0 innings), Berrios has a 0.90 ERA, 0.40 WHIP, fifteen strikeouts, and two walks while holding opposing hitters to a .061 batting average. Bard signed late and has been working to rehab his shoulder. He made his first two appearances this week, allowing three runs in three innings.

The Twins also had two selections in the second round, the second because Cuddyer signed with the Rockies. They selected lefty Mason Melotakis out of Northwestern State (Louisiana) with the first pick. Melotakis made seven appearances (6.2 innings) with Elizabethton before moving up to Beloit last week. He had a 1.35 ERA at Elizabethton with ten strikeouts and two walks. In three games (6.1 innings) with the Snappers, he has yet to allow an earned run while striking out six and walking one. Their second selection was Rice University reliever J. T. Chargois. He was also assigned to Elizabethton where he has made five appearances (5.1 innings). Chargois, who has a 0.56 WHIP, has yet to allow a run while striking out five and walking two.

Their third round pick was Jacksonville U outfielder Adam Walker, this week's Elizabethton Player of the Week. In the fourth round they selected San Jose State reliever, Zach Jones. Jones, who was reported to have touched 99mph in a game at Beloit this week, began his career at Elizabethton. He moved up after pitching six shutout innings in six games with two hits, four walks and nine strikeouts. In two appearances for Beloit (3.0 shutout innings), he has allowed two hits without any walks while striking out seven. In the fifth round, the Twins selected Rice pitcher Tyler Duffy. Duffy, who began his career on the disabled list, recently joined Elizabethton where he has appeared in four games (5.0 innings) with a 1.80 ERA, nine strikeouts and one walk.

Sixth round pick Andre Martinez made his professional debut this week for the GCL Twins. He allowed two runs (one earned) in 1.1 inning of work. Perhaps one of the more pleasant initial surprises from this year's draft is their seventh round pick, Puerto Rican catcher Jorge Fernandez. Fernandez is one of the GCL Twins top hitters at .347 average in 49 at bats. Eighth round pick Christian Powell, who is out of the College of Charleston, recently joined Elizabethton. In four relief appearances (7.0 innings), Powell has yet to allow a run while striking out twelve with two walks. The Twins didn't sign their ninth round pick, L. J. Mazzilli, however, their tenth round pick could be the prize of this year's draft. D.J. Baxendale had to wait to sign until after the College World Series where he was a two game winner for Arkansas. Baxendale reported to Elizabethton where he made six appearances (7.2 shutout innings), allowing only one hit and one walk while striking out sixteen. Yes, sixteen of his twenty three outs were strikeouts. He moved up to Beloit where he struck out two of the three batters he faced in his first appearance on Thursday.

Taylor Rogers, who was selected in the eleventh round, is the third U of Kentucky lefty in the organization. He is one of the starters in Elizabethton's rotation, making six starts (30.0 innings) with a 1.80 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 39 strikeouts and five walks. Twelfth round pick Alexander Muren is a pitcher out of Cal State-Northridge. Muren has made six relief appearances for the GCL Twins, posting a 3.00 ERA in nine innings. In the fourteenth round, the Twins selected outfielder Jake Proctor from the University of Cincinnati. Proctor was recently moved to the GCL Twins sixty day disabled list. Lexington, Kentucky native Will Hurt was taken in the sixteenth round out of the same high school as Ben Revere. A slick shortstop prospect, Hurt is hitting .089 average in 45 at bats. Their seventeenth round pick was a Central Florida University power hitting first baseman, D. J. Hicks. Hicks was assigned to Elizabethton where he is hitting .264 average in 87 at bats with two home runs. Jonathan Murphy is another outfielder taken out of Jacksonville U. Murphy began his career with the GCL Twins where he is hitting .235 average in 102 at bats. Their twentieth round selection is the one player drafted after the tenth round who they went over budget to sign, Zach Larson. Larson is a center fielder out of a Lakewood Ranch, Florida high school. In nine at bats with the GCL Twins, Larson is hitting .333 average with a 1.010 OPS.

Catcher Bo Altobelli was their twenty first round pick out of Texas Tech University. He has appeared in ten games at Elizabethton where he is hitting .162 average. Travis Huber is a right handed pitcher taken in the twenty third round out of the University of Nebraska. Huber has allowed four runs in 1.2 innings at Elizabethton. Joel Licon, who is a second baseman drafted in the twenty fifth round out of Orange Coast California Junior College, is hitting .259 average in 85 at bats for the GCL Twins. Carson Goldsmith, drafted in the twenty eighth round, is another pitcher out of Northwestern State. He appeared in his first GCL game this week. Bryan Santy was selected in the thirtieth round. Santy, who is a catcher out of the University of Washington, is hitting .237 average in 17 at bats for the GCL Twins. Andrew Ferreira is the lefty selected in the thirty second round out of Harvard. Ferreira appeared in his first two professional games this week, pitching two shutout innings. Kaleb Merck was their pick in the thirty third round. Merck, who was a senior at TCU, is on Elizabethton's disabled list. Finally, Brian Haar was their pick in the thirty fourth round. A senior out of the University of San Diego, Haar is with the GCL Twins where he is hitting .266 average in 94 at bats.

Many of you will question why some pitchers, such as Berrios or Baxendale, are being used out of the bullpen. The Twins have a formula which they use to determine how many innings a recently drafted pitcher can pitch based on how much he was used in college or high school. Thus, each pitcher has a maximum number of innings they will allow him to pitch this summer. Once that has been determined, they decide how he will be used. Thus, someone thought of as a starter being used out of the bullpen means nothing about their role in future seasons.

Several of the changes in the recently signed CBA have had a positive effect on the draft. All indications are that the slotting bonuses smoothed out the signing process for most top prospects. Moving the signing date up to mid-July also got everyone signed and playing rather than signing after the short season leagues were over. Although it will be a few years before we know if any these twenty seven young men will someday play with the Twins, a first look indicates they have added several exciting high school prospects to the organization along with a number of strong college arms.

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