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Minor League Report...May 26, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 24: Cole De Vries #38 of the Minnesota Twins makes his MLB pitching debut against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning on May 24, 2012 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 24: Cole De Vries #38 of the Minnesota Twins makes his MLB pitching debut against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning on May 24, 2012 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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While I am traveling to one of my favorite cities, Boston, the organization put together another winning week at 14-12. Rochester (4-2) and New Britain (5-2) were both above .500.

In player movement, Joe Benson was placed on the disabled list a day after hitting his first home run back with New Britain. It was later reported that he was scheduled to have hamate bone surgery yesterday and will miss six weeks. Rene Tosoni was demoted to fill Benson's spot in New Britain. The Twins designated Jason Marquis for assignment, filling his spot with Cole DeVries who was called up from Rochester. One reason you saw the Twins select DeVries was that with the help of pitching coach Bobby Cuellar, he has improved his control. In his last start in Rochester, he threw first pitch strikes to twenty-three of twenty-eight batters and left the game having thrown eighty-three strikes in one hundred nine pitches.

In other moves, Rochester's Michael Holliman returned from the disabled list. The Miracle also activated catcher Danny Rams from their disabled list. Beloit placed Bart Carter on the disabled list. They activated outfielder Nate Roberts and last year's eleventh round pick out of LSU, Tyler Jones, joined them from EST. Numerous sources are reporting that Kyle Gibson will pitch off a mound for the first time in about ten days. He is on a rehab schedule that could get him a few appearances in the lower levels of the minors before their seasons end around Labor Day. It will be interesting to see if the Twins send him to the Arizona Fall League or keep him in Florida at their Instructional League. Former Red Wing Aaron Bates has signed with the Cardinals and was assigned to Memphis.

Tim Shibuya was our Player of the Week with forty-five percent of the votes. This week's review follows the jump.

The Rochester Red Wings (20-26) have been playing better ball of late, however, remain in last place nine games behind Pawtuckett. The Wings began this week against Louisville with Liam Hendriks pitching another strong game. Hendriks allowed only two runs in seven innings for his second win as the Wings won 5-3. Tyler Robertson picked up his second save with another perfect inning. Robertson's 5.63 ERA is misleading as one three run outing in sixteen innings really hurts. In his last nine appearances, Robertson has pitched 5.2 shutout innings with only two hits and eight strikeouts. As Jesse Lund pointed out earlier this week, Robertson is on the organization's leader board with twenty-two strikeouts (12.375 per nine innings). Robertson has been death to left handed hitters who are hitting only .143 average while striking out in over half of their at bats.

My Player of the Week is Cole DeVries, who was very strong in Saturday's 6-4 win over visiting Gwinnett. Yes, he allowed four runs on six hits in eight innings, however, three hits and three runs were in the ninth inning as Manager Gene Glynn tried to get DeVries a complete game. Cole finished his year at Rochester with a 1-4 record in eight starts (46.2 innings) with a 4.24 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, thirty-seven strikeouts and only seven walks. DeVries then finished off his week with the call all baseball players dream of. Anthony Slama, who has eight saves while allowing only one run in twenty innings for a 0.45 ERA, came on to close out the win for DeVries.

Luke French allowed two runs Sunday in the Wings 2-1 loss to the South Division first place Braves. With one out and a runner on third in the sixth inning, Lester Oliveros came into the game. Oliveros struck out the first batter before inducing a fly ball to right field, stranding the runner at third. In three appearances in AAA, Oliveros has a 0.00 ERA with nine strikeouts in 5.2 innings after posting a 1.42 ERA in nineteen innings at New Britain. Jeff Manship made a quality start in Monday's 10-1 win, allowing one run in seven innings for his fourth win. The Red Wings hitters were led by Rene Tosoni who was 5-5 against former National League All-Star Jair Jurrjens. Daryl Thompson allowed three runs in 3.1 innings as Gwinnett split the series with a 3-1 win on Tuesday behind the third best pitching prospect in baseball, Julio Teheran. The Red Wings bullpen didn't allow a run in 5.2 innings, led by Deolis Guerra, who pitched 2.2 innings, and Oliveros, who pitched two innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Guerra has a 1.08 ERA in seven appearances (11.2 innings). With Slama, Oliveros, Robertson and Guerra in Rochester, those are four strong arms should the Twins need to restock their bullpen later this year.

In a scheduling quirk, after an off day on Wednesday the Red Wings traveled to Gwinnett for another four game series. Liam Hendriks picked up his third win in three decisions by pitching seven innings with only five hits and one unearned run Thursday, striking out nine with two walks in the Red Wings 3-1 win.

The New Britain Rock Cats (28-18) began their week by moving into first place as they took two of three from first place Reading. They won the first two, 5-2 and 3-2, before getting clobbered in the get-away game, 10-4. B. J. Hermsen made another quality start Friday, allowing two runs in 7.2 innings. Andrew Albers followed with a quality start on Satruday, pitching six innings while scattering nine hits as he allowed only two runs. Brad Thompson came off the disabled list for his first start on Sunday, allowing five runs (four earned) in 2.1 innings.

Binghamton came to Connecticut on Monday with the Cats winning the first two, 10-7 and 3-0, as they stretched their lead over Reading to a game and a half. Steve Hirschfeld allowed only one run in five innings for his third win. Daniel Turpen has been very good most of the time, however, Monday was an off day as he gave up six runs in two innings. He has given up ten earned runs in two of his fifteen appearances while allowing only four runs in 18.1 innings in thirteen appearances. The Cats won on Tuesday behind Logan Darnell, who pitched seven shutout innings with four strikeouts and no walks earning him a spot as my co-Player of the Week. In nine starts, Darnell has a 5-2 record with a 4.53 ERA in 49.2 innings. David Bromberg made another strong start Wednesday, pitching six innings while striking out eight and giving up only one run. Blake Martin picked up the loss as he allowed a run in one inning of work. The Rock Cats got only two hits off top prospect Zach Wheeler who was the sixth overall pick by the Giants in the 2009 draft. Brett Jacobson gave up five runs (two earned) in the ninth inning as the Rock Cats lost, 8-1. The Rock Cats won the four game series with a 6-4 win Thursday. Hermsen was effective, allowing ten hits while holding Binghamton to four runs (three earned) in seven innings. He struck out only three batters while giving up no walks.

Darnell shares the spot on this week's ballot with Chris Herrmann, who was 4-5 with a double on Monday and 4-4 with another double on Tuesday. Herrmann was 12-27 (.444 average) with five runs scored, four driven in and three doubles. Manager Jeff Smith spoke about Herrmann, "He's pretty hot right now. He's had more balls hit hard that have been robbed and caught than anybody this year, so he deserves some bloops. They all even out at the end of the season. He's a good hitter who's putting good swings on the ball." Herrmann now has fourteen doubles which are the second most in the league, with four home runs, a .271 average and .746 OPS.

The Fort Myers Miracle (18-29) are having a better week, winning three of seven. They began with a win at Brevard County, 2-1, before dropping two, 7-2 and 13-2. Pat Dean threw his hat into the ring for Player of the Week as he won a pitcher's duel, pitching eight innings while allowing only one run with eight strikeouts. Ricky Bowen pitched a shutout inning for his third save. Madison Boer, who has struggled since his promotion to Fort Myers, gave up seven runs on nine hits in 3.2 innings Saturday. Fortunately, Jose Gonzalez (2.1 shutout innings) and Matt Hauser (two shutout innings) were solid or the game would have gotten ugly. Sunday's game did get ugly when starter Miguel Munoz allowed four runs in three innings and the normally reliable Cole Nelson allowed seven runs (five earned) in 2.2 innings.

Clearwater came to Hammond Stadium on Monday with the Miracle taking the first two, 7-1 and 2-1, before dropping a pair of one run games, 4-3 and 2-1. Jhon Garcia made a quality start Monday, pitching six innings with only four hits and one run. Edgar Ibarra earned a three innings save when he allowed only one hit. Marty Popham also had a quality start Tuesday, pitching six innings with one run. Nelven Fuentes pitched two shutout innings for the win with Bowen pitching another shutout inning for his fourth save. In sixteen appearances, Bowen has a 1.98 ERA with twenty-six strikeouts in 27.1 innings. Levi Michael was at second base again Tuesday as Manager Jake Mauer continues to have him playing nearly as many games at second than he is at shortstop. Pat Dean got the start Wednesday, pitching three shutout innings before being removed from the game after a long rain delay. Ricky Bowen gave up three runs in the ninth inning for a blown save and the loss. Madison Boer had his best outing for the Miracle Thursday, pitching five innings with two runs (one earned), yet, picked up his fifth loss in five decisions. Matt Hauser and Bruce Pugh each pitched two shutout innings.

The Beloit Snappers (28-19) lost four of six this week as they slipped back into second place, two games behind Wisconsin. They dropped the last game of their series in eleven innings with Quad Cities on Friday, 7-6. Matt Tomshaw allowed four runs (three earned) in 5.2 innings. Clint Dempster, who has a 2.08 ERA and three saves, pitched three shutout innings before Bart Carter gave up two runs in the eleventh inning. Drew Leachman was the hitting star, going 4-5 with his second home run and five runs driven in.

Steve Gruver lasted only one inning at Burlington on Saturday, allowing three hits and a run. A. J. Achter gave up two runs in four innings before Ryan O'Rourke was tagged with the loss, 9-6, when he allowed five runs (four earned) in 1.2 inning. As often is the case, Tim Shibuya wasn't sharp in his first start following his complete game shutout. Shibuya allowed nine hits and eight runs (seven earned) in 4.1 innings of Sunday's 12-0 loss. Former Player of the Week Jason Wheeler got the Snappers back on track Monday when he made his sixth quality start in his last seven starts. Wheeler allowed two runs in seven innings winning his fifth game in six decisions, 5-1. Wheeler appears to be a typical Twins pitcher as he got twelve outs on ground balls with only one fly ball out. Michael Tonkin picked up his third save by pitching two no-hit innings with five strkeouts.

Cedar Rapids came to Beloit Wednesday with the Snappers splitting the first two games, dropping a 5-3 loss Wednesday backed up by a 9-2 win Thursday. Matt Summers allowed five runs (four earned) in five innings Wednesday. A. J. Achter made his first start of the season Thursday, allowing two hits and two unearned runs in five innings. In thirteeen appearances (31.0 innings), Achter has a team best 1.16 ERA and 0.90 WHIP with thirty-three strikeouts. Tyler Jones made his first appearance with the Snappers, pitching three shutout innings of relief.

Miguel Sano, who is going through his first slump as a professional, is hitting .061 in his last ten games with no home runs. His average is down to .245 with a .892 OPS. Eddie Rosario is doing better, hitting .250 in his last ten games as he has seen his average dip under .300 to .281. My Player of the Week is Drew Leachman, who was 8-22 (.363 average) with two home runs, two doubles, four runs scored and eight runs driven in. Since being promoted to Beloit, Leachman is hitting .282 average with a .818 OPS, ten strikeouts and twelve walks in 71 at bats.