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Minor League Report...June 9, 2012

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 02:  Liam Hendriks #62 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 2, 2012 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 02: Liam Hendriks #62 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 2, 2012 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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The organization finished their week a game under .500 at 14-15. For the first time this year, the Rochester Red Wings led the five teams at 5-2. The Dominican Summer League Twins were 3-2 while Beloit was 3-3. Both Fort Myers (2-3) and the New Britain Rock Cats (1-5) played losing ball.

The Twins placed Carl Pavano on the disabled list, filling his spot with Nick Blackburn who was recalled from a rehab assignment to Rochester. They sent Cole DeVries back to Rochester yesterday and called up Chris Parmelee. Kyle Waldrop, who was in Fort Myers on a rehab assignment, was optioned to Rochester who released both Daryl Thompson and Brad Thompson. The Red Wings also placed Anthony Slama on the disabled list while activating starting pitcher Sam Deduno and utility man Brian Dinkelman. Steve Hirschfeld was promoted to Rochester for one start, then returned to New Britain. Bruce Pugh was promoted to New Britain who also received lefty Aaron Thompson, who had been serving a fifty game suspension. Finally, recently signed St. Paul Saint Dan Sattler was assigned to Fort Myers.

In other news, it was announced by the Florida State League that four Miracle players were selected as All-Stars. They are catcher Josmil Pinto, middle infielder Daniel Santana, starting pitcher Pat Dean and closer Ricky Bowen. What I found interesting is that last week's FSL Player of the Week, Oswaldo Arcia, did not make the All-Star team. Arcia is the league's fourth best hitter at .323 average with the third best OPS, .921. The Midwest League also announced their All-Star selections. Miguel Sano will be the starter at third base with Jonathan Goncalves, Tyler Grimes and Eddie Rosario all selected as reserves. Pitchers A. J. Achter, Michael Tonkin and Jason Wheeler were also selected.

In his final week at Rochester, you selected Chris Parmelee as our Player of the Week with sixty one percent of the votes. Following the jump I will focus on those players at Rochester who could provide some help for the Twins in 2013.

The Rochester Red Wings (27-33) remain in last place, eleven and a half games behind Pawtuckett. The good news is that as they approach the mid-point of the season, they are only six games under .500 after finishing last season thirty-eight games under.

The Red Wings played host to Columbus last weekend, winning 3-0 on Friday before losing a suspended game Sunday, 1-0. They won Sunday's scheduled game on Monday, 2-1, after it was also suspended. They closed out the four game series with their third win Monday, 4-0. Luke French pitched five shutout innings Friday with Lester Oliveros picking up the save with two no-hit innings with three strikeouts. David Bromberg pitched three innings with one run Saturday before the game was suspended. Esmerling Vasquez and Casey Fien each pitched two shutout innings the next afternoon. Nick Blackburn got only 2.1 innings of work before Sunday's game was suspended, allowing two hits and a run. When the game resumed, Deolis Guerra pitched three shutout innings with Lester Oliveros picking up the win with two shutout innings. Liam Hendriks pitched one of his best games as a Red Wing Monday, a seven inning shutout. Chris Parmelee continued to be hot with multi-hit games in the final two wins. Wilkin Ramirez also had two multi-hit games.

Norfolk came to upstate New York Tuesday with the Wings dropping the opener, 6-4, before winning two, 4-1 and 2-1 in thirteen innings. Matt Maloney allowed four runs (two earned) in the opener with Carlos Gutierrez being charged for the loss by allowing a pair of runs in two innings. The Norfolk lineup they faced was loaded, including Brian Roberts, Miguel Tejada, former Brewer Bill Hall and ex-Twin Lew Ford. Steve Hirschfeld was solid in his spot start Wednesday, pitching five shutout innings. Luke French returned with another great start on Thursday, pitching 5.1 innings while allowing only one run. Tyler Robertson picked up the win with a shutout thirteenth inning. Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Pedro Florimon had two multi-hit games in the series.

We are familiar with several players at Rochester who could be solid reserves should the Twins have a need. Those include Sean Burroughs, Matt Carson and Wilkin Ramirez. Burroughs is hitting .289 average with a .700 OPS in ninety at bats. Carson is hitting .283/.776 in 191 at bats and Ramirez is hitting .250/.630 in 88 at bats. Danny Valencia isn't making a strong case to rejoin the Twins, hitting .224/569 in 98 at bats. Perhaps the position player who could provide the most help for the Twins is shortstop Pedro Florimon. Florimon, who the Twins claimed from the Orioles last fall, is hitting .264/.690 in 121 at bats since moving up from New Britain where he hit .283/.718 in 113 at bats. Combined, Florimon has five home runs, seven doubles and eleven stolen bases in sixteen attempts while playing solid defense. Then there is Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who is hitting only .225 average. By watching his play on the field however, you see a player who doesn't look out of place, defensively at second or shortstop or at the plate.

Liam Hendriks remains a top prospect to rejoin the Twins later this summer. Hendriks is 4-0 with a 2.39 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, thirty-two strikeouts and eleven walks in 37.2 innings. Allowing more than two runs in only one of his six starts, Hendriks is gaining the experience he will need when he returns to the Twins. Although the Twins have a much improved bullpen, there are more arms waiting in the Wings in Rochester. Deolis Guerra has a 2.52 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in eleven games (25.0 innings) with twenty strikeouts and ten walks. Tyler Robertson has a 4.15 ERA in twenty-six games (21.2 innings) with twenty-eight strikeouts and nine walks. Although two poor outings damaged his ERA, Robertson is holding left handed batters to a .215 average while striking out nearly half of all left handed batters. Carlos Gutierrez has been very good in two of three appearances since coming off the disabled list. He was struggling with an injury in early April which is why he has a 6.00 ERA in nine innings with twelve strikeouts. Anthony Slama had an miniscule 0.40 ERA and 1.15 WHIP before going on the disabled list. Kyle Waldrop also rejoined the team this week following his rehab. That is five potential arms for next year's bullpen, yet the best may be Lester Oliveros. After posting a 1.42 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in nineteen innings at New Britain, he has a 1.62 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in AAA. In ten games (16.2 innings), Oliveros has twenty strikeouts and only three walks. Last year we saw that his fastball was electric, yet he walked eleven batters in 21.1 innings with the Twins. Cutting that rate to 1.62/9 innings at Rochester appears to be the final step he needed to take to stay the next time the Twins call his name. The Twins 2013 bullpen won't be a concern for Mr. Ryan this winter, not with all of these fine young arms at Rochester.

Our player of the week is Liam Hendriks for his seven inning complete game shutout on Monday. He allowed only four hits, striking out eight with only one walk as he picked up his fourth win.

The New Britain Rock Cats (32-26) had a rough week, falling into a tie for second place two games behind Trenton. They beat Harrisburg last Friday, 10-3, before dropping a pair, 4-3 and 6-1. Steve Hirschfeld had a quality start when he pitched seven innings for the win Friday. Logan Darnell allowed four runs on Saturday with Aaron Thompson making his first start Sunday. Thompson allowed three runs in four innings in a game that Rock Cat hitters would manage only three hits. Five Rock Cats had multi-hit games on Friday, including three hits from Rene Tosoni and a home run from Evan Bigley.

The Rock Cats traveled to Akron Tuesday, where they dropped three straight, 6-2, 6-4 and 2-1, to stretch the season's longest losing streak to five. B. J. Hermsen allowed three runs in five innings Tuesday. Brett Jacobson, who was making a spot start, allowed five runs in four innings Wednesday. Logan Darnell was very good, however, lost a pitchers duel Thursday when he allowed two runs in 6.1 innings. Only three Rock Cat hitters had multi-hit games in the entire series. Evan Bigley did hit another home run and Rene Tosoni hit his first home run since moving down to New Britain.

The Player of the Week for the Rock Cats has to be Steve Hirschfeld who had a quality start in their only win Friday. He pitched seven innings with nine hits while allowing only two runs to even his record at 4-4. He then made the spot start in Rochester Wednesday, where he pitched five shutout innings before moving back down to New Britain. In eleven starts, Hirschfeld has a 3.20 ERA with forty-four strikeouts and sixteen walks in 64.2 innings.

The Fort Myers Miracle (23-35) remained in last place, twenty-two games behind St. Lucie. Their week began with a four game series versus Daytona. They dropped the first two, 16-7 and 10-5, and the final game, 8-3, with their only win Sunday, 4-0. Marty Popham allowed ten hits and ten runs (nine earned) in 4.1 innings Friday. All-Star Pat Dean wasn't sharp Saturday when he allowed six runs in six innings off thirteen hits. Infielder Andy Leer pitched the ninth inning without allowing any walks or hits. Miguel Munoz allowed five runs (three earned) in Monday's loss. Madison Boer pitched his best game as a member of the Miracle in Sunday's win, five innings of shutout ball with only one hit, five strikeouts and two walks as he picked up his first win. Daniel Santana had two multi-hit games in the series as did Josmil Pinto, who is hitting .265/.743 in 162 at bats. Oswaldo Arcia was 4-5 Saturday and hit his seventh home run Sunday.

The Miracle moved on to Tampa where they dealt with wet grounds at George Steinbrenner Field, managing to play only one of three scheduled games. Cole Nelson made his second start in that game on Wednesday, pitching five shutout innings for his second win. Anderson Hidalgo had the big bat, going 3-3.

The Player of the Week is Edina's Cole Nelson. He pitched five shutout innings with only two hits, nine strikeouts and three walks. In eight games (25.1 innings), Nelson has a 2-0 record with a 3.20 ERA and thirty-four strikeouts with ten walks.

The Beloit Snappers (35-25) also slipped two games back of league leading Wisconsin. They began their week by beating Quad Cities, 11-5. Jason Wheeler picked up his seventh win, giving up five runs in five innings. David Hurlbut was excellent in relief, pitching four shutout innings with five strikeouts and no walks. In ten games (20.0 innings), Hurlbut has a 1.35 ERA and 0.95 WHIP with twenty strikeouts and only two walks. JaDamion Williams and Drew Leachman each had three hits with Williams hitting his first home run.

First place Wisconsin came to Beloit Saturday, with the Snappers winning the opener, 9-5, to move into a first place tie. Matt Summers allowed four runs (two earned) in five innings and Tim Atherton pitched two innings with one run and five strikeouts. Atherton has a 0.82 ERA in four games (11.0 innings) with nineteen strikeouts. Tyler Jones made a quality start Sunday, yet Wisconsin won 3-1 to move back into first place. Jones allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings. Wisconsin took the rubber game Monday, 9-8, to move two games ahead of the Snappers. Tim Shibuya allowed seven runs in 3.2 innings to pick up his fourth loss. Eddie Rosario had multi-hit games in all three games of the series, including his seventh home run Saturday. Miguel Sano, who was in a terrible slump for much of May, had two multi-hit games including his league leading fourteenth home run on Monday. Drew Leachman also had two multi-hit games, bringing his average up to .303.

The Snappers traveled to Burlington Wednesday where they dropped the first game, 5-0, before winning Thursday, 4-3. Jason Wheeler lost his second game Wednesday, allowing five runs (three earned) on nine hits in five innings. Matt Summers made a quality start Thursday, pitching six innings while allowing three runs. A. J. Achter got the win by pitching a no-hit inning. Nate Roberts had his second multi-hit game of the week in the series while Rosario had his fourth multi-hit game Thursday.

Eddie Rosario is again the Player of the Week. He was 11-25 (.440 average) with five runs scored, four driven in, three doubles and a home run. He is just .003 out of the tenth spot in the league batting race with an average of .304. He has a .365 OBP and .856 OPS. In 224 at bats, Rosario has nineteen doubles, one triple, seven home runs, thirty-three strikeouts and twenty-four walks.

The Dominican Summer League Twins (3-2) began play Saturday. In what had to be exciting, seventeen year old rookie Fernando Romero made the opening day start, pitching four shutout innings in the Twins 5-0 win. Fellow rookie Jadison Jimenez pitched two shutout innings for his first win. The Twins completed their home and home series with the Orioles Monday, losing 11-6. Elias Villasana allowed two runs in one inning of work before another rookie, Reudis Reyes, came on to allow five runs in three innings for the loss. The Twins hottest hitter early this season, Adonis Pacheco, had his second multi-hit game.

The Twins next played another home and home series with the Cubs on Tuesday and Wednesday, winning the first game, 2-1, and losing the second, 5-2. Another seventeen year old rookie, Damian Defrank, pitched five shutout innings Tuesday with Edgar Martinez picking up the win with three shutout innings. Defrank allowed only one hit while striking out four with no walks. Outfielder Ernesto Ciprian had two multi-hit games.

The Twins closed out their opening week with a 3-2 win versus the White Sox. Miguel Gonzalez, who is another seventeen year old rookie, pitched three no-hit innings in his first professional start. He did walk four with four strikeouts. Pacheco had his third multi-hit game of the week.

With three multi-hit games, Adonis Pacheco is the Twins leading hitter and our Player of the Week. In his first five games, he is hitting .412 average with a 1.180 OPS, including a double and two triples. That is an exciting start, yet this is his third year with the DSL Twins and he is twenty-one years old.