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Minor League Report...June 30, 2012

May 24, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Cole De Vries (38) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field.  Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
May 24, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Cole De Vries (38) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

In late 2010 the Twins sent Jose Morales to Colorado for an A-Ball prospect, Paul Bargas. Bargas was dealing with severe headaches when he reported to spring training in 2011. The Twins assisted his getting into the UCLA Medical Center where he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was doing well this past off-season, so well he was planning on a return to spring training. That wouldn't happen. Bargas lost his battle when he passed away this past week. Although he never threw a single pitch for the Twins organization, he was a special person who made an impact on the organization and players who got to know him.

The organization finished their week a game over .500 at 23-22. New Britain led the way at 6-1 with Elizabethton at 5-2 and both Rochester and Beloit at 4-3. Fort Myers had a losing week at 2-5. The GCL Twins were 1-3 and the DSL Twins lost five of six.

Kyle Waldrop was called up to the Twins to replace Jeff Manship, who will return to Rochester. Cole De Vries will be called up to start one of the games in Saturday's doubleheader. The Twins won't have to make another move as the latest CBA provides for the roster to be expanded to twenty-six for doubleheaders. Tyler Robertson was also called up for the Twins bullpen to replace Matt Capps who went on the disabled list. Robertson tied a record when he became the eighth player in major league history to strike out the first three batters in his major league debut. On Friday, the Twins announced that they had signed Ryan Doumit to a two year extension at $3,500,000 per year.

In other moves, the Red Wings placed Matt Maloney on the disabled list and promoted Luis Perdomo as his replacement. Dakota Watts joined the Rock Cats, who placed both Rene Tosoni and Andrew Albers on their disabled list. A. J. Achter was promoted to Fort Myers with Bart Carter coming off the disabled list to fill his spot at Beloit. New Britain first baseman Matt Rizotti was released. The Twins also completed a trade with Pittsburgh for starting pitcher, Shairon Martis, who was assigned to New Britain.

Evan Bigley was named the Eastern League Player of the Week and Pedro Florimon was selected to represent the International League in their All-Star game versus the Pacific Coast League.

Former Gopher Kyle Knudson was our Player of the Week with forty-six percent of the votes. My weekly report follows the jump.

The Rochester Red Wings (37-43) remain in last place, eight and a half games behind Pawtuckett and Lehigh Valley. Their week began by taking two from Charlotte on Friday and Saturday, 3-0 and 12-1. They would lose, 6-0, on Sunday before winning the series with a 4-2 win on Monday. The Wings went on the road to first place Lehigh Valley where they scored a 4-3 win on Wednesday, sandwiched between 10-3 and 10-1 losses.

Sam Deduno pitched six innings of one hit ball last Friday. He struck out eight while walking only one to pick up his first win of the season. He was so sharp that he didn't allow any opposing runners to reach second base. Deduno returned on Wednesday to pitch 5.1 innings in their win at Lehigh Valley. He allowed two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out nine. Eleven and a third innings with only two runs gives Deduno my nod as Rochester's Player of the Week. In eight starts, Deduno has a 1-1 record with a 2.57 ERA and forty-one strikeouts in thirty-five innings.

Steve Hirschfeld was very good in Saturday's win, allowing four hits and an unearned run in 6.2 innings. He wasn't good in his return Thursday, when he allowed seven runs on nine hits in only 2.2 innings. In his tuneup for Saturday's start at Target Field, Cole De Vries pitched eight strong innings on Monday, allowing six hits and two runs for his third win in eight decisions. De Vries, who leads the staff with seventy innings, has a 4.37 ERA and 1.21 WHIP.

Kyle Waldrop, who spent the first two months of the season on the disabled list, returns to the Twins after posting a 1.26 ERA in nine appearances (14.1 innings) for the Red Wings. Tyler Robertson had a 2-2 record with a 3.77 ERA in thirty-three appearances (28.2 innings) with thirty-three strikeouts and thirteen walks. Robertson had a 1.76 ERA versus left handed batters who hit for only a .167 average against him. After allowing six earned runs in his first two inning appearance for the Red Wings, Bobby Lanigan has allowed only three hits and no runs in his last four appearances (five innings).

Danny Valencia had three multi-hit games with two home runs on Saturday, yet continues to hit for only a .237 average. Tsuyoshi Nishioka has his average up to .234 after three multi-hit games. Sean Burroughs continues to be the Red Wings leading hitter with a .282 average and .688 OPS.

The New Britain Rock Cats (42-35) rebounded from their recent seven game losing streak with a six game winning streak. They currently are in third place, two games behind Trenton. The Rock Cats swept Richmond on the road with scores of 9-8, 6-1, 7-3 and 6-2. They returned home to face first place Trenton, winning 5-4 on both Tuesday and Thursday with a 9-4 loss on Wednesday.

B. J. Hermsen allowed six runs in 6.1 innings Friday, although only two were earned. He was also the pitcher of record in their loss to Trenton on Wednesday, when he allowed six runs in only two innings. Logan Darnell pitched six innings with only three runs on Sunday to even his record at 6-6 with a 4.39 ERA in a team high eighty-four innings. Blake Martin recently joined the starting rotation. He threw four shutout innings in his first start Saturday while allowing three runs in 4.2 innings Thursday.

Bruce Pugh continues to be perfect out of the Rock Cats bullpen, throwing 3.1 shutout innings in three appearances with three hits, five strikeouts and two walks. In ten games for the Rock Cats, Pugh has a 0.00 ERA and eighteen strikeouts in 12.1 innings. Daniel Turpen made two appearances, throwing five shutout innings as he stretched his string of scoreless appearances to five.

I initially thought Evan Bigley would be this week's Player of the Week as he was 10-28 (.357 average) with two home runs and ten runs driven in. But Chris Colabello may have had a better week at 11-28 (.392 average) with three home runs, two doubles and eight runs driven in. Colabello also scored eight runs as he has his average back up to .247 in 251 at bats with a team best thirteen home runs. With weeks like that, both deserve an opportunity for you to vote for. As he adjusts to AA pitching, Oswaldo Arcia has had hits in eight of the ten games he has played including the last six. Arcia is hitting .244 average (10-41) with two doubles, a home run and nine runs driven in. With the bases loaded and the Cats down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth Thursday, Arcia had a clutch walk-off single for the win against Trenton.

The Fort Myers Miracle (3-5) are in a three way tie for last place as the second half gets under way. They dropped two at St. Lucie last weekend, 8-7 in five innings and 10-3. Tampa came to Hammond Stadium on Monday with the Miracle losing 9-3. They made up Sunday's rain out with a double header Tuesday, winning the afternoon game 7-6 in eight innings and losing the nightcap, 6-5. They split their series with Tampa with a 6-2 win on Wednesday. The Miracle traveled to Charlotte Thursday where they lost the opening game, 7-5.

Cole Nelson had been very good before allowing six runs in each of his last two starts. He lasted only 2.2 innings Saturday and 2.1 innings on Thursday. Tom Stuifbergen also allowed six runs in four innings Monday in his second start since returning from the disabled list. Madison Boer made it four games starters gave up six runs as he allowed six in six innings of the first game on Tuesday. The only quality start this week was by all-star Pat Dean, who allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings on Wednesday. Michael Tonkin allowed one run in three relief appearances (4.1 innings) with seven strikeouts. All-Star closer Ricky Bowen was tagged for three runs on Saturday, however, has allowed runs in only two of his last ten appearances.

The Miracle bats continued to be silent for much of the week with Levi Michael having three multi-hit games and Daniel Santana having two. My Player of the Week, is Daniel Ortiz who was 9-22 (.454 average) with six runs scored, three driven in, a double, home run and stolen base. Ortiz, who is hitting .276 average with a .767 OPS, also had four walks while striking out six times.

The Beloit Snappers (4-3) began their second half in a three way tie for second, a game behind Burlington. The Snappers took two at Cedar Rapids last weekend, 7-0 and 1-0, before losing Sunday, 9-1. They traveled to Kane County where they also took two, 4-2 and 8-0, before losing Wednesday, 3-1. They returned home Thursday, losing 6-5 to Clinton.

In back to back quality starts on Friday and Saturday, David Hurlbut and Tim Shibuya both allowed only one hit in seven and six innings, respectively. Steven Gruver allowed three runs in five innings Sunday before the bullpen gave up six. Jason Wheeler pitched five innings Monday with four hits and two unearned runs. On Tuesday this week's Player of the Week, Matt Summers, pitched a nine inning complete game shutout. Summers won his seventh game (7-4), allowing only three hits and two walks with five strikeouts. Hurlbut returned with another quality start in Wednesday's loss when he allowed two runs in six innings.

Tim Atherton continues as the bullpens stingiest reliever. In eight appearances, 17.2 innings, Atherton has a 0.51 ERA and 0.91 WHIP with twenty-eight strikeouts. Corey Williams leads the Snappers with ten saves with a 2.88 ERA in 34.1 innings with thirty-seven strikeouts.

Drew Leachman had three multi-hit games with Nate Roberts, JaDamion Williams and Steve Liddle each getting two. Williams, who has thirteen stolen bases in seventeen attempts, stole home in Monday's win. Miguel Sano had a double and his sixteenth home run Thursday.

The Elizabethton Twins (7-3) are tied for first with Greeneville. They dropped two at Burlington last weekend, 6-5 on Friday and 5-2 on Sunday, with a 18-2 win on Saturday. Their home opener was Monday against Bristol, who they would sweep, 9-1, 9-0 and 5-0. Pulaski came to Elizabethton on Thursday with the Twins winning 14-1.

Angel Mata allowed two runs in 4.2 innings on Friday before pitching five shutout innings on Wednesday. Taylor Rogers threw five shutout innings with three hits for his first win Saturday. He was the starter against Pulaski Thursday when he allowed one run in four innings. He had seven strikeouts in both games with his only walk against Pulaski. Hudson Boyd allowed three earned runs in 5.1 innings Sunday. Ricardo Arevalo threw 4.1 innings Monday with only one unearned run and Corey Kimes threw six shutout innings Tuesday. Of their five starters, only Hudson Boyd (4.32) has a ERA of greater than 2.00.

Hein Robb has made three appearances (six innings) without allowing any runs. Josh Burris has allowed a single run in his three appearances (8.2 innings) while picking up two wins. Brett Lee and Dallas Gallant both have also made three appearances without allowing any runs. With the scores the Twins have been posting, it isn't surprising that they have yet to record a single save.

With sixty-two runs in seven games, it is safe to say that the Twins bats have been hot. Granted it is early in the season, but they have seven regulars hitting over .333 average with five having an OPS greater than 1.036. Last week's Player of the Week, Rory Rhodes, leads the way with a .526 average. I was leaning towards having last year's supplemental round pick, Travis Harrison, as this week's Player of the Week. Harrison, who began his season with only one hit in his first eleven at bats, was 12-25 (.480 average) with six runs scored, four driven in, three doubles and a home run. For those of us that remember Henry Sanchez, it is great seeing this young power hitter off to such a start. Another young player hitting very well is Jorge Polanco. We remember him as the slick fielding shortstop signed to a large bonus the same year as Sano. After hitting for only .223 and .250 averages in the Gulf Coast League the past two years, it is exciting to see him hitting .333 average in his first twenty-seven at bats.

Then there is Romy Jimenez, who had a week so good he has to join Harrison as co-Players of the Week. He hit over .300 average in the DSL in 2009 and 2010 when he was known as Romy Trinidad. He moved up to the Gulf Coast League last year where he hit .321 average in only twenty-eight at bats before going on the disabled list. This speedy center fielder had multi-hit games in all five games he played, finishing at 11-22 (.500 average) with four home runs, a double, triple, six runs scored and eleven driven in.

The GCL Twins (4-4) are tied for second, a half game behind the Orioles. They managed to get in only four games as south Florida dealt with tropical storm Debbie. The Twins dropped two to the Red Sox last Friday and Saturday, 4-3 and 9-1. After three rain outs, they split a double header with the Rays on Thursday, losing 7-3 and winning 2-1.

Randy Rosario threw four shutout innings in Friday's loss while allowing only one hit with five strikeouts. Chris Mazza was charged with the loss when he allowed two unearned runs. Minnesota's Austin Malinowski made his first professional start Saturday, pitching three no-hit innings before the bullpen gave up nine.

Kuo Hua Lo pitched three shutout innings in Thursday's loss. The highlight of the game however, was appearances by two players on rehab assignments, David Bromberg and Joe Benson. Yorman Landa was charged with the loss when he allowed a run in two innings. Josue Montanez allowed a run in a three inning start in the second game. Sam Gibbons got the win with two shutout innings. Melciades De La Cruz picked up his second save with two shutout innings.

Recent top pick Byron Buxton went hitless in his first three games before getting his first professional hit against the Rays. Recent seventh round pick, Puerto Rican catcher Jorge Fernandez, had a two for three game in the win against the Rays. My Player of the Week is catcher Kelly Cross who was 3-6 in the two games he played. Cross, who is hitting .357 average in his first fourteen at bats, also had two runs scored and one driven in.

The DSL Twins (9-13) won only once in six games. They are tied for last place, four and a half behind the Reds. The Twins beat the Cubs-1 Friday, 4-2, before going on a five game losing streak. They lost two to the White Sox, 6-2 and 9-1, two to the Reds, 7-1 and 17-12, and one to the Rockies, 7-5. Their best start was by my Player of the Week Junior Subero last Friday. He pitched five shutout innings with two hits, no walks and eight strikeouts. In two starts, nine innings, the twenty year old Subero has allowed only four hits and one earned run while striking out eleven. Jose Abreu didn't allow any runs in a three inning start Monday. In another solid start, Javier Vargas allowed only two runs in five innings Thursday.

Shortstop Dubal Baez had two multi-hit games as did second baseman Rafael Valera. Adonis Pacheco leads the Twins with a .333 average and .953 OPS in sixty-nine at bats. Engelb Vielma is hitting .314 average in fifty-one at bats.