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Minor League Report...May 19, 2012

FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Matt Carson #79 of the Minnesota Twins poses for a portrait on February 27, 2012 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 27: Matt Carson #79 of the Minnesota Twins poses for a portrait on February 27, 2012 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Twins farm clubs were two games under .500, finishing their week at 12-14. The first place Beloit Snappers led the way by winning six of seven. New Britain was 3-3 with Rochester (2-5) and Fort Myers (1-5) both under .500.

In player movement, Ben Revere was recalled by the Twins when Nick Blackburn was placed on the disabled list. Matt Maloney cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Rochester. The Red Wings released infielder Joe Thurston and first baseman Aaron Bates. The Red Wings activated Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who was joined by Wilkin Ramirez and Lester Oliveros moving up from New Britain. First baseman Matt Rizzotti moved down to New Britain. Pitcher Brad Thompson completed his rehab and joined the New Britain Rock Cats. As many of us suspected, Adrian Salcedo hasn't been healthy and was placed on the Miracles' disabled list. In other news, Lance Ray was selected as last week's Florida State League Player of the Week. For those interested in how Joe Benson has been doing since his demotion to New Britain, here is an excellent interview by Matt Straub of the New Britain Herald.

For the second time this year, our Player of the Week was Miguel Sano with sixty-five percent of the votes. My report follows the jump.

The Rochester Red Wings (16-24) are in last place, ten games behind the Pawtuckett Red Sox. They opened their week by getting swept by Syracuse, losing 8-2, 11-0, 4-2 and 6-4. It was the first four game sweep of the Red Wings by Syracuse in twelve years. They were leading Sunday behind Liam Hendriks who pitched six innings, allowing only three hits and one run. Unfortunately, Deolis Guerra chose that day to allow his only runs (three) in six appearances since joining the Wings. Cole DeVries was sharp on Monday,, getting through five innings with 45 pitches before giving up five of the six runs he would allow in the sixth and seventh innings. DeVries faced off against Chien-Ming Wang, who allowed four runs in eight innings. Ben Revere and Clete Thomas both had two multi-hit games in the series.

On Tuesday, the Louisville Bats came to upstate New York with the Red Wings taking the first two, 5-4 and 4-1, before losing Thursday in eleven innings, 4-2. Jeff Manship made his second start of the week Wednesday after moving into the starting rotation when Diamond and Walters moved up to the Twins. Manship picked up his third win in four decisions, pitching five shutout innings with only three hits. Daryl Thompson did not get a decision on Thursday after allowing two runs in five innings. Deolis Guerra returned to form, pitching three perfect innings of relief with two strikeouts. Casey Fien got his fourth loss when he allowed two runs in 1.1 innings. Ben Revere had two more multi hit games before flying to Detroit Thursday morning. Wilkin Ramirez also had two multi hit games with Danny Valencia going 2-5 Thursday with his first home run.

My Player of the Week selection is Matt Carson who had his ten game hitting streak broken on Wednesday. In his last ten games, Carson hit .294 average (10-34) with four doubles, six runs scored and two driven in. For the season, he is hitting .285 average with a .766 OPS and eleven doubles.

The New Britain Rock Cats (23-16) are in second place, a half game behind Reading. Their week began with the last three of a four game series with Reading. After winning Friday and Saturday, 4-1 and 8-4, they fell back into second place by losing the final game on Sunday, 6-4, to split the series. Lester Oliveros was the winner in relief of David Bromberg on Friday. Oliveros, who pitched two perfect innings with one strikeout, moved up to Rochester after compiling a 1-1 record with a 1.42 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in thirteen games (19.0 innings) with sixteen strikeouts. B. J. Hermsen put the Rock Cats temporarily into first place Saturday when he pitched seven innings, allowing only two runs for his first AA win. Andrew Albers made a quality start Sunday, allowing three runs in six innings, however, he was tagged with the loss. Wilkin Ramirez hit his third home run Friday and another on Saturday, tying a franchise record (previously held by Michael Cuddyer and Dustin Mohr) with home runs in four consecutive games. Ramirez moved up to Rochester, hitting .388 average with a 1.228 OPS in 49 at bats.

After a rain out versus New Hampshire Tuesday night, they split a double header Wednesday. The Cats dropped the opener, 3-0, before winning the nightcap, 6-3. They also lost on Thursday, 3-1. Steve Hirschfeld made a quality start in the first game Wednesday, allowing three runs in six innings. The Rock Cats bats were silent however, as they managed only two hits. Logan Darnell also made a quality start in the nightcap, allowing three runs in six innings for this fourth win against two losses. The big bat was from Estarlin De Los Santos, who was 2-3 with a home run and three runs driven in. David Brombeg was the loser Thursday after making the Cats sixth quality start of the week. Joe Benson had his first multi-hit game with the Cats Thursday, going 2-3 with a walk.

When asked what the Rock Cats formula for success was, Manager Jeff Smith said "We're starting to get better at bats as a team. You could really see it coming in the last four or five games, and a lot of guys have been having quality at bats for us and its becoming contagious."

With six innings of shutout ball against Reading followed by a quality start Thursday, David Bromberg is my selection as Player of the Week. On Friday he pitched six shutout innings of one hit ball against league leading Reading, striking out seven while walking four. He backed that up on Thursday when he pitched 6.2 innings with nine hits, three runs, four strikeouts and two walks. In ten games (five starts), Bromberg has a 1-2 record with a 3.94 ERA. In 29.2 innings he has struck out twenty-six batters while walking twelve. After allowing nine runs in two of his first three relief appearances (1.0 inning), Bromberg has allowed only four runs in 25.2 innings as a starter for a 1.40 ERA.

The Fort Myers Miracle (15-25) are ten games under .500 and in last place, seventeen games behind St. Lucie. The Miracle closed out a series at Dunedin Friday, losing 8-5. Marty Popham allowed six runs in 5.2 innings for his first loss in four decisions. Josmil Pinto had the hot bat with three hits, including his third home run.

They went on to split two at Charlotte, winning Saturday, 3-1, before losing Monday, 13-1. Pat Dean evened his record at 2-2 while allowing only one run on eight hits in 5.2 innings Saturday. Kyle Waldrop made his first rehab appearance, pitching one shutout inning with one hit and a strikeout. Madison Boer was the loser on Monday, allowing seven runs in 4.1 innings on ten hits and two walks. Waldrop pitched another scoreless inning. Charlotte came to Fort Myers Tuesday, taking two from the Miracle by scores of 3-2 and 3-1. MIguel Munoz pitched four innings with two runs in the opener. Cole Nelson made his longest relief appearance since returning from the disabled list, pitching four shutout innings with only one hit and five strikeouts. Jhon Garcia allowed three runs in five innings Wednesday for his fifth loss. Edgar Ibarra kept the game close, pitching three shutout innings. Angel Morales had his first multi-hit game this month as he attempts to break out of a slump that has seen him hit for only a .128 average in May after hitting .302 in April.

Brevard County came to Hammond Stadium Thursday, beating the Miracle 5-4. Marty Popham pitched 5.1 innings, allowing eight hits and four runs. Nelvin Fuentes pitched two perfect innings of relief with a strikeout. Oswaldo Arcia did everything he could to keep the Miracle in the game, going 3-4 with a double and two runs driven in. This is a critical season for Arcia, who turned twenty-one last week. He is tied with Daniel Santana with a team best .304 average in 125 at bats. After battling an injury in April when he hit for only a .239 average, Arcia has his OPS up to a team best .832 with nine doubles, three triples and two home runs.

Although my week doesn't coincide with the official week of the Florida State League, I need to recognize Lance Ray for his wonderful week of May 7-13 when he was 8-19 for a .421 batting average. He had nine runs driven in and scored six runs. He also hit a grand slam home run in the Miracle's 7-5 win on Wednesday, May 9th.

The first place Beloit Snappers (26-15) are the pride of the organization. By winning six of seven, they stretched their lead over Wisconsin to two games. Their only loss was their final game at Peoria last Friday where they lost 6-2. Last week's Midwest League Pitcher of the Week Jason Wheeler made his shortest start since the first week of the season, lasting only five innings while allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits for his first loss (4-1). Ryan O'Rourke pitched two no-hit innings of relief with three strikeouts.

The Snappers returned home Saturday where they began their current six game winning streak by taking four against Clinton, 3-1, 3-1, 5-2 and 1-0. Matt Summers pitched seven innings with only one run on Saturday with Matt Tomshaw following with six innings of shutout ball the next day. The Snappers had three players (Adam Bryant, Jhonathan Goncalves and Drew Leachman) with multi-hit games on Saturday with Tyler Grimes hitting his second home run. They got only four hits Sunday, however, one was Miguel Sano's eleventh home run with two men on. Steve Gruver followed with a third straight quality start Monday, pitching 6.1 innings with two runs for his third win in six decisions. Wang-Wei Lin joined Bryant and Goncalves with multi-hit games as Eddie Rosario joined the fun by hitting his third home run. On Tuesday, the Snappers faced the LumberKings Ace, Jordan Shipers, who had pitched the league's only nine inning shutout. The Snappers countered with last year's Appy League Pitcher of the Year, Tim Shibuya. Shipers pitched seven innings of shutout ball, lowering his ERA to 1.38. Shibuya was better as he pitched the league's second nine inning shutout as the Snappers won a pitchers duel, 1-0.

Quad Cities came to Beloit Wednesday, dropping the first two games to the Snappers by scores of 4-2 and 7-3. Jason Wheeler pitched six innings with two runs in the first game and Matt Summers matched that with the Snappers' sixth straight quality start Thursday, allowing two runs in six innings. David Hurlbut was the winner Wednesday when he pitched two no-hit innings of relief with two strikeouts. Ryan O'Rourke picked up his second save with a shutout inning, dropping his ERA to 3.86. O'Rourke has allowed eight earned runs in twelve appearances, however, seven were in three games in late April and early May. A. J. Achter made his second apperance of the week, pitching another no-hit inning as he lowered his ERA to 0.82 and his WHIP to 0.91. Matt Koch hit home runs in both wins with A. J. Pettersen hitting his first on Wednesday.

Jhonathan Goncalves had four multi-hit games as he went 11-22 (.500 average). He scored four runs, drove in two while also hitting a double, triple and home run. For the season he is hitting .294 average with a .760 OPS in 143 at bats. Normally that would be good enough to be Player of the Week, however, it has to be Co-Player of the Week as we also recognize Tim Shibuya for his complete game shutout Tuesday when he allowed only three hits with nine strikeouts and NO walks. Shibuya leads the starting staff with a 2.25 ERA in eight starts (44.0 innings) with a 1.07 WHIP, thirty-nine strikeouts and seven walks (a stingy 1.43 walks per nine innings).

The Snappers had six straight quality starts while New Britain had quality starts in all six of their games. It isn't surprising that New Britain is a half game out of first and Beloit is in first place. This is a good lesson for the Twins, quality starting pitching leads to winning seasons!