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Minor League Report...April 30, 2011

Rene Tosoni, picking up his first MLB hit.
Rene Tosoni, picking up his first MLB hit.

The organization hovered around .500 all week, splitting four games last night to finish two games over at 13-11. They were led by Beloit at 5-2 with Rochester and Ft. Myers both playing .500 ball at 3-3.

There was an increase in player movement with most moves including the Twins. Delmon Young was placed on the disabled list with Rene Tosoni getting his first callup to the major leagues. Because Eric Hacker was needed in long relief for Francisco Liriano, he wasn't available for a spot start. That caused the Twins to option him to Rochester with Anthony Swarzak being called up to start the night half of Thursday's day-night doubleheader. After his start, Swarzak was immediately optioned back to the Red Wings with Alex Burnett called up for the Twins bullpen. Jim Mandelaro is reporting that Rochester's Media Relations Director has contacted the Baltimore Orioles (Rochester was a long-time Baltimore affiliate) in an attempt to determine if the Red Wings franchise has ever sent seven different players to the parent club in April?

Kevin Slowey began a rehab assignment, pitching an inning as the starter for the Ft. Myers Miracle last Saturday. He was stretched out to nearly 50 pitches in a EST game later in the week. Ft. Myers placed Tom Stuifbergen on their disabled list and activated Ramon Santana. New Britain placed top prospect David Bromberg on the disabled list with a broken right forearm following his being hit by a line drive in the sixth inning Tuesday.

Last week's Player of the Week was starter Kyle Gibson, who collected 42% of the votes following his near no-hitter. Gibson edged Joe Benson, who was attempting to repeat, by three votes. Take a look at this week's review after the jump.

Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (3-3, 9-12, tied for fourth place, -4.5 games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)

The Red Wings began their week with a 9-7 win over the Pawtuckett Red Sox. Yorman Bazardo wasn't good in the start, allowing four runs in 4.2 innings. Kyle Waldrop picked up his first win with two shutout innings while Phil Dumatrait was credited with his third save. Unlike most leagues, the International League plays games on Easter Sunday when the Wings would lose, 9-3, to Pawtuckett. Anthony Swarzak lasted 4.2 innings while allowing eight hits and seven runs.

The Wings opened a four game series with Buffalo on Tuesday, wasting another great start by Kyle Gibson. Gibson pitched 6.0 innings with four hits and only one run along with eight strikeouts. The Wings bats were silent and the relievers couldn't match Gibson's start as they lost 5-0. Scott Diamond pitched a gem on Wednesday as the Wings beat the Bisons 3-2, allowing two runs in 6.0 innings. I was disappointed when the Twins traded Billy Bullock to Atlanta for the right to keep Diamond. So far the trade looks good as Bullock has appeared in nine games in AA, pitching 8.2 innings with a 9.35 ERA, eleven strikeouts and six walks. Andy Baldwin made a quality start in Thursday's 8-6 win, pitching 6.0 innings with three runs. Waldrop and Dumatrait would again combine to pitch two shutout innings. Bazardo returned last night, pitching 3.0 innings with two runs as the Wings dropped a tough one to the Bisons, 3-2. Anthony Slama, who is working his way back from missing much of spring training, was credited with the loss after giving up a solo home run in 2.0 innings.

Kyle Gibson leads the staff with a 3.15 ERA in four starts, 20.0 innings. Andy Baldwin is the lone starter to have two wins (2-2). He also has the staff's highest ERA (7.25) after allowing nine runs in his first start. Scott Diamond has a 3.48 ERA while Anthony Swarzak's ERA is 4.87. Phil Dumatrait has four saves and an excellent 1.74 ERA in nine games (10.1 innings). Kyle Waldrop dropped his ERA to 5.59 with four shutout innings this week.

The Wings lineup is a bit short with Luke Hughes, Steve Holm and Rene Tosoni up with the Twins. Tosoni was the team's leading hitter when he was recalled at .286/.329/.500 with three home runs, six doubles and a team high sixteen RBI in 70 at bats. Brian Dinkelman, who had two multi-hit games this week, is hitting .257 average in 74 at bats. Danny Lehmann, who replaced Steve Holm on the roster, is hitting for a .286 average with a double and home run. Former IL MVP Jeff Bailey broke out of a 0-31 slump with a 4-4 game Thursday. When asked about his big night Bailey was quoted as saying, "I'm off suicide watch."

Ben Revere began his first AAA season in the worst slump of his career. Going into Wednesday's game, Revere had only three hits in his last twenty-five at bats as his average dropped to .194. Being dropped to the eighth spot in the batting order and seeing Rene Tosoni get the call by the Twins may have caught Revere's attention. He would respond by picking up nine hits in eleven at bats in his last three games. Revere finished with a 10-22 week (.454 average) including three runs scored, two stolen bases in three attempts, a pair of walks and two strikeouts. Revere, who raised his average .088 to .282, is this week's Red Wing Player of the Week.

New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (2-3, 10-9, third place, -3.0 games behind Reading)

The Cats began their week Monday after a Saturday rainout and Easter Sunday off. Liam Hendriks allowed a two run home run in the first inning Monday at New Hampshire. He would settle down to pitch his best game of the season as the Cats won, 9-2. Cole DeVries picked up another 3.0 inning save as he didn't allow any walks, hits or runs while striking out three. The Cats would drop a tough game in ten innings on Tuesday, 6-5. David Bromberg was pitching one of his best games of the season when hit with a line drive with one out in the sixth inning. Bromberg, who had allowed five hits and one run with seven strikeouts, went on the disabled list with a 1-1 record and 3.63 ERA in four games (22.1 innings). Tyler Robertson came on to pitch 2.1 innings of relief with four hits and three runs. The Cats would lose to New Hampshire again Wednesday, 11-5. Deolis Guerra wasn't good, pitching 3.2 innings with nine hits and nine runs as his ERA ballooned to 9.18. Splitting the series didn't look good Thursday when Bobby Lanigan gave up five runs in the first inning. He would settle down to complete five innings without allowing another run, giving the Cats a chance to come back for a 9-7 win. Cole DeVries pitched two innings with one hit, three strikeouts and one unearned run.

The Cats began a weekend series with Harrisburg last night, losing 4-1 in twelve innings. Steve Hirschfeld has been one of the Eastern League's top pitchers this year. He pitched a seven inning gem, allowing only four hits and a run as he struck out seven. It got ugly in the twelfth inning with Tyler Robertson on the mound. The inning began with an error by Ray Chang. The next hitter put down a sacrifice bunt that Tyler Robertson threw away leading to three unearned runs.

Robertson has three saves and a 4.35 ERA in eight games (10.1 innings) with nine strikeouts as he adjusts to the role of a closer. The story of the staff however, has been Cole DeVries. The Eden Prairie, Minnesota native has appeared in six games (14.1 innings) without allowing an earned run (two unearned runs). He has struck out an unbelievable 21 hitters while allowing only one walk giving him the league's best 0.00 ERA and 0.28 WHIP. He credits his amazing start to the return of his curveball. With the Twins bullpen in chaos, could DeVries be the next pitcher to move up to the big club from AA?

After nearly being a repeat Twinkie Town Player of the Week, Joe Benson's bat cooled as he picked up only two hits in ninteen at bats. Yangervis Solarte is the league's fifth best hitter with a .338 average following a week when he was 7-20 with two home runs. Ray Chang is hitting .260 while running away with the team lead with ninteen runs batted in.

Steve Singleton put his name in contention for Twinkie Town Player of the Week as he went 10-25 (.400 average) with five runs scored and five doubles. Singleton's big week got his average up to .299 with a team best and league second best nine doubles.

Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (3-3, 12-10, second place, -6.5 games behind St. Lucie)

The Miracle began their series against Charlotte with a 4-2 win last Saturday. In his first rehab appearance, Kevin Slowey started the game pitching one inning with one hit and one run. Daniel Osterbrock came on to pitch 6.0 innings with five hits and one run to pick up his first win. Bruce Pugh was credited with his fourth save with a shutout inning. They would drop a 11-5 loss on Monday when Ryan Mullins allowed four runs in only 1.0 inning. Shooter Hunt would pitch 1.2 shutout innings with no hits, two walks, two wild pitches and a hit batter. Brad Stillings wasn't good on Tuesday, yet the Miracle won, 12-10. Stillings allowed ten hits and six runs in 5.0 innings. Jhon Garcia was the winner even though he allowed six hits and three runs in 2.0 innings. Dakota Watts picked up his fourth save with a shutout inning.

The Miracle went on the road to Palm Beach on Wednesday, losing 4-3. Matt Schuld pitched 5.0 innings, allowing three runs. Bruce Pugh picked up his first loss as he allowed a run in 1.2 innings. Kane Holbrooks made a quality start on Thursday, allowing three runs in 6.0 innings of a game the Miracle would lose 5-2. Shooter Hunt pitched 2.0 innings of relief with three hits and two runs as he walked two but didn't hit anyone or throw any wild pitches. The Miracle would beat Palm Beach last night behind another great start by Osterbrock, who pitched 5.0 innings with five hits and only one run to pick up his second win.

Kane Holbrooks has been one of the organization's most effective starters this year. He has an excellent 2.43 ERA in five starts (29.2 innings), yet has lost all four of his decisions. As the Twins search for bullpen help, the organization may have a future closer in Ft. Myers where the hard throwing Dakota Watts has five saves in eight appearances. Watts has a 3.12 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, six strikeouts and two walks.

For most of this week I thought that Danny Rams would be the Miracle player nominated for Player of the Week. After getting seven hits in his first three games, Rams bat cooled as he finished with eight hits in 20 at bats (.400 average). Rams, who is hitting .338/.392/.500, is the best hitting catcher in the organization. Chris Herrmann continues his hot start, hitting .333/.407/.462. Anderson Hidalgo has been one of his team's top hitters every year. After a slow start, Hidalgo is hitting .361/.400/.472 in his last ten games to get his average up to .327.

Although both Rams and Hidalgo hit for a .400 average this week, James Beresford had the best week of any Miracle hitter at 10-22 (.454 average). Beresford had no extra base hits, however, scored four runs while driving in one run in each of the Miracle's six games this week. Top scout Howie Norsetter has often stated that he believed Beresford was a future major league player, all that was needed was experience and gaining physical maturity. He may be putting it all together this year as he is now hitting .342/.370/.368.

Beloit Snappers (A) (5-2, 12-7, third place, -1.5 games behind Burlington)

The Snappers closed out their series at Peoria on Saturday with a make-up double header. Logan Darnell was excellent in the opener, pitching 5.1 innings with three hits and a run as the Snappers won 5-2. Adrian Salcedo was equally good in the nightcap, allowing a single run in 5.1 innings with six hits, three strikeouts and no walks. Unfortunately, the Snappers would only score two runs in a 3-2 loss.

The Snappers began a three game series with the league leading Burlington Bees on Monday. Andrei Lobanov gave up six runs (five earned) in 4.2 innings as the Bees won 7-3. Manuael Soliman would pitch 4.2 innings with four hits and three runs in a 6-4 win on Tuesday. Blayne Weller came on to pitch 2.1 shutout innings to pick up his second win. B. J. Hermsen would get the Snappers a series win (10-2) on Wednesday in his best start of the season. In this pivotal early season game, Hermsen pitched 7.0 innings with four hits, one run and seven strikeouts.

Peoria came to Beloit on Thursday with Logan Darnell pitching another great game that the Snappers won, 4-3. Darnell allowed only two hits and two unearned runs in 6.1 innings before Jose Gonzalez came on to pick up the win with 1.1 inning of shutout relief. The Snappers would win game two of this series last night, 7-2, behind Adrian Salcedo. Salcedo was better than last Saturday when he was very good, pitching 6.2 innings with seven hits and two runs (one earned) and four strikeouts.

Three of the Snappers starters have ERA's of less than 3.00, B. J. Hermsen (2.74), Logan Darnell (2.78) and Adrian Salcedo (2.78), while Manuel Soliman has an ERA of 3.07. Logan Darnell has a miniscule 0.66 WHIP while Soliman has struck out 22 hitters in 14.2 innings.

Daniel Santana's bat came alive this week, 7-21, raising his average to .258. Wang-Wei Lin is hitting only .184 average, yet, he had two multi-hit games this week with a big game Wednesday when he had a double, home run and three runs batted in. Daniel Ortiz had an incredible week, 7-22 (.318 average), with four doubles, a home run, six runs scored and five runs batted in. Ortiz leads the league with a .677 slugging percentage, is tied for the third best average (.354), the sixth most home runs (4) and seventh most doubles (7). Together with teammate Oswaldo Arcia, the Snappers have the league's best pair of hitters.

As good as Ortiz' week was, Oswaldo Arcia was better at 10-25 (.400 average). Arcia scored eight runs while driving in five with two doubles and three home runs. Arcia trails Ortiz with the league's second best slugging percentage of .667, while having the league's fifth best average (.348), tied for eighth best on base percentage (.421), sixth most home runs (4), seventh most doubles (7), ninth most runs batted in (15), and third most runs scored (17). I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see this duo playing for the Twins a few years from now.