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Minor League Report...Pitcher of the Year

Last week you selected Eddie Rosario as the Twinkie Town Player of the Year. Rosario collected 33% of the votes, with two other players collecting over 10%, Brian Dozier (20%) and Miguel Sano (16%). Congratulations to Rosario, who someday could be a star in the Twins outfield!

This week we will be voting for Pitcher of the Year, the pitcher we believe had the best season in 2011. This isn't voting for the best prospect, although it could end up being the same player. Several years ago Twins scouts picked three pitchers in the first and second rounds, Scott Baker, Matt Garza and Kevin Slowey. They tore through the organization on their way to big league success. On their way, they were amongst the most successful pitchers in the organization and minor league baseball. Whether it was bad luck or errors in judgement by scouts, three recent first round picks who should be in today's voting aren't. Kyle Gibson's injury is certainly a case of bad luck, however, Shooter Hunt was an error in judgement when drafted and the jury remains out on what Alex Wimmers' future holds!

I will be taking next week off to watch Nebraska play their first ever Big Ten game in Madison. I will be back in two weeks to begin reviewing the minor league teams. A brief review of the pitchers on this year's ballot follows the jump.

One pitcher who was consistently good throughout the year in Rochester was reliever Chuck James. James wasn't great in his brief stay with the Twins, however, was very good with the Wings. He finished his season with a 3-2 record in 38 games (62.2 innings) with a 2.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 67 strikeouts and 27 walks. He was equally tough on both left and right handed hitters, holding lefties to a .207 batting average and right handed hitters to .216.

A second reliever from Rochester worthy of consideration is Cole DeVries who threw his hat in the ring with an incredible start to his season in New Britain. In fifteen appearances (27.2 innings), DeVries picked up nine saves with a 2.28 ERA, 33 strikeouts and only 5 walks. He moved up to Rochester in May where he had a 4-2 record with a 3.90 ERA in 62.1 innings. He is one of four Twins pitchers to get a coveted assignment to the the Arizona Fall League where the Twins and other major league Clubs will be watching.

Liam Hendriks had a special year which included an inning in this summer's Future Stars game. He spent most of his season at New Britain where his 2.70 ERA would have been third best in the Eastern League had he had enough innings to qualify. While with the Cats, he had a 8-2 record with 81 strikeouts and 18 walks in 90.0 innings. He moved up to AAA where he had a 4-4 record with a 4.56 ERA in nine starts (49.1 innings) with 30 striketouts and only three walks. He allowed only twelve earned runs in seven of his starts (42.1 innings) while not allowing a walk in his last four. He probably needs another half season at AAA, but the pitcher I see pitching with the Twins this month reminds me a lot of a young Brad Radke.

The other Rock Cat pitcher who had a Pitcher of the Year caliber season was their closer, Tyler Robertson. In his first season as a reliever, Robertson improved throughout the season finishing with a 10-3 record with sixteen saves and a 3.61 ERA. He struck out 88 batters with 29 walks in 55 appearances (89.2 innings). More important, he had a 5-0 record and seven saves with an excellent 2.29 ERA in 22 appearances following the all-star break.

Ft. Myers' top pitcher was a young man who the Twins signed as a free agent last winter, Andrew Albers. Albers spent most of his season with the Miracle, appearing in 22 games (52.1 innings) with a 4-1 record and excellent 1.55 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 46 strikeouts and 7 walks. Albers moved up to New Britain in July, appearing in thirteen games (43.1 innings) with five starts. While with the Cats, Albers had an identical 4-1 record with a 2.91 ERA, 34 strikeouts and 7 walks. Andrews, who will turn twenty-six next month, should begin with the Rock Cats in 2012 and could eventually find his way to the Twins bullpen.

We finally saw the pitcher many of us have been excited about since he was drafted out of an Iowa high school in 2008. After a few shaky starts early in the season, B. J. Hermsen became one of the organization's top starters. He had a 11-7 record for the Snappers where he made twenty starts (124.2 innings) with a 3.10 ERA, 81 strikeouts and 31 walks. Late in the season, Hermsen allowed only three runs in three starts sandwiched between his first start and the Miracle's last game of the season. In five starts in Ft. Myers (26.2 innings), he had a 2-1 record, 4.39 ERA, 20 strikeouts and six walks.

One young man who had a special season with the Snappers was Adrian Salcedo. Salcedo had a 6-6 record with the league's eighth best ERA (2.93) with 92 strikeouts and 27 walks in 135.0 innings. Because he was approaching his innings limit, the tall twenty year old starter moved to the bullpen where he allowed only one earned run in nine games (13.2 innings).

The Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year was the Twins twenty-third round pick in the June draft, Tim Shibuya. Shibuya, who was selected out of the University of California-San Diego, finished with a league best 8-2 record in thirteen starts (73.2 innings) with a 3.30 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 70 strikeouts and 11 walks.

The Ace of the GCL Twins staff was eighteen year old Angel Mata. After posting a 2.12 ERA in 59.1 innings in the DSL last year, the Twins were careful with his arm limiting him to no more than four innings in any start. He led the staff with a 1.46 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 30 strikeouts and 19 walks in a team high eleven starts (37.0 innings).