Today I will take a look at the season the Twins had in the Dominican Summer League. I will finish my reviews with the Elizabethton Twins next week. Meanwhile, the selection of our Top 50 is off and running.
There was lots of news out of the Twins camp at the Winter meetings. They selected former Boston College Ace and White Sox right hander, Terry Doyle, in the Rule V draft. They also selected Indians right hander Marty Popham in the minor league section of the Rule V draft. They claimed shortstop Pedro Florimon on waivers from the Orioles and received right handed pitcher Daniel Turpen from the Rockies in the Kevin Slowey trade. With those moves, their 40-man roster is full which means someone will have to be moved every time they add another player this winter. It hasn't been widely reported that they recently signed another former Reds pitcher, 26 year old right hander Daryl Thompson. He had a cup of coffee with the Reds last year while also pitching 90.2 innings in AAA with a 4.17 ERA and 82 strikeouts.
The only player the Twins lost in the minor league section of the Rule V draft was Shooter Hunt. Hunt has a ton of talent, however, he has not been able to overcome his extreme control problems. The good news is that the Twins didn't lose any of several quality prospects, players such as Cole DeVries, Angel Morales, Manuel Soliman or Andrew Albers.
My review of the DSL Twins follows the jump.
The DSL Twins finished in second place with a 42-26 record, three games behind the Orioles in their eight team division.
The Twins pitchers were the eighth youngest in the thirty-two team league at 18.4 years old. The league average was 19.0 with ages ranging from 17.9 to 19.7. Much like the GCL Twins, the DSL Twins had the second best ERA at 2.73, compared with a league average of 3.59. The best ERA in the league was the Angels at 2.04, however, they were over a year older than the Twins.
Twins hitters averaged 18.7 years old which was 23rd youngest in a league that averaged 18.5. They produced 4.91 runs per game which was tenth compared with the average team that scored 4.52 runs. They were productive as they had the league's 25th best batting average (.225) compared with a league average of .236. The Twins hit the fewest home runs in the league (6), however, made up for it by stealing 126 bases.
Sterling Bonilla returned for a second season, however, his 2.73 ERA was double the 1.36 ERA he had in 2010. Bonilla, who was 19, led the staff with 52.2 innings in nine starts while posting a 1-3 record. Junior Subero is another 19 year old who also returned for his second season. Subero led the starting staff with a 0.77 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 46.2 innings with 49 strikeouts. Jose Jimenez, 19, had a 1-2 record with a 2.53 ERA in six starts (32.0 innings) with 29 strikeouts in his second season with the DSL Twins.
The rest of the starting staff was led by a group of young rookies, who split their season between the bullpen and starting rotation. Jose Abreu, 18, had a 3-1 record with a 1.30 ERA in six starts (41.2 innings) with 29 strikeouts. Melciades De La Cruz, 18, had a 1-1 record with a 2.29 ERA in eight starts (39.1 innings) with 38 strikeouts and 8 walks. Randy Rosario, 17, is a lefty who had a 2-4 record with a 3.86 ERA in eight starts (35.0 innings) with 26 strikeouts. Yorman Landa is a Venezuelan who began his first professional season as a sixteen year old. He had a 2-2 record in six starts (32.0 innings) with a 3.38 ERA and 31 strikeouts. Felix Jorge, 17, had an excellent season, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.67 ERA in 27.0 innings with 26 strikeouts. These exciting rookies all have the potential of moving up to the GCL, either next year or in 2013.
Francisco Nunez, 19, led the Twins with a 9-1 record and five saves. All but one of his twenty appearances (49.0 innings) were in relief as he posted a 1.47 ERA with 61 strikeouts and only 8 walks. Edgar Martinez, 20, also had five saves in 18 appearances (28.0 innings) with a team best 0.32 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 12 strikeouts. Elias Villasana, 18, appeared in twenty games (40.0 innings) with a 2.48 ERA and 4-1 record. Ezequiel Zarzuela is a twenty year old who saw considerable action out of the bullpen, pitching 34.2 innings with a 3-2 record and 2.60 ERA. I expect we will see both Nunez and Martinez in Florida next spring.
The Twins had an excellent starting staff, including five promising rookies who split their time between the bullpen and starting rotation. With ten pitchers putting up ERA's under 3.00 in a league that averaged 3.59, it is easy to see why the Twins made a push for another division championship. Of eighteen pitchers seeing action, only six had ERA's above the league average with only one pitching over 18 innings.
Unfortunately, the hitters couldn't match the pitcher's success. This year's DSL Twins did not have a single hitter who hit over a .300 average. Erick Gonzalez, 20, was their top hitter with a .286 average and .836 OPS in 189 at bats. He also led the team with 9 doubles and 39 runs scored. Adonis Pacheco, 19, hit .285 average with a .761 OPS and a team high 7 triples in 186 at bats. Ronald Jimenez is a 17 year old shortstop who hit .266 average in 177 at bats. Jose Ramirez (.266 average) and Dubal Baez (.250 average) are the only others who hit better than the league average (.236). Ernesto Ciprian, 20, led the team with 26 runs driven in while tying for the team lead with two home runs. When Wander Guillen (he hit .188 average in 64 at bats) returned to the DSL from the Gulf Coast League, Javier Pimentel was promoted. Pimentel, who is seventeen, hit .220 in 91 at bats with two home runs before moving up to Florida.
The DSL Twins won the way many Twins minor league teams have always won, with great pitching. With an excellent staff in both the DSL and GCL, we should begin to see some excellent pitching in the upper levels of the organization a few years from now.