The Twins minor league affiliates’ seasons have been over for at least a week now, so it is time to reflect. Specifically, it is time for us, the great people of Twinkie Town, to come together and vote for a Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Here are this year’s nominees:
As far as his 2016 minor league performances go, Berrios was the cream of the crop. Berrios pitched a total of 111.1 innings for the Red Wings this season, with a 2.51 ERA and a team-leading 125 strike outs. He was named to the International League All-Star Team and won one league Pitcher of the Week award. He was an ace—the only think that is disappointing about his season has been his total inability to translate his minor league success against major league hitting in his three stints with the Twins.
J.T. started the year in Chattanooga, and made it all the way to the Twins before it was all said and done. He had a 1.54 ERA in 11 appearances for the Lookouts and an even more impressive 1.29 ERA in 35 innings pitched for the Red Wings. The Twins called him up sometime in June and as far as I heard he was never sent back down to the minors.
Gonsalves had a big year, and people started taking more notice. After posting a 2.33 ERA through 65.2 innings for the Miracle and being named to the Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star Team, he was promoted to the Lookouts—and did even better. Dude kept up a sub-2.00 ERA through 74.1 innings pitched in double-A. The 89 strike-outs and 1.08 WHIP weren’t too shabby either.
Trevor has a 0.96 ERA in 9.1 innings over six appearances for the Miracle before he was promoted the the Lookouts. Lucky for them, he did even better in his time with the Lookouts. Pitching a total of 38.2 innings over 32 appearances, Trevor gave up only three earned runs, earning him a 0.70 ERA. On the year, Trevor had a total of 19 saves in 21 save opportunities, was named a Southern League All-Star, and is regarded as a potential future reliever for the Twins.
Felix had a stellar year for the Miracle, where he pitched 93 innings—the third most on the team—including two complete games. During that time he had a 1.55 ERA and 77 strike outs, with a stellar 0.94 WHIP. He won the Florida State League Pitcher of the Month in June and was named to the Florida State League Mid-Season All Star Team. The Twins brass then moved Jorge up to Chattanooga, where he didn’t do as well, but thus is life. For the Lookouts, Jorge pitched 74.1 innings with a 4.12 ERA and 32 strikeouts.
Fernando had a pretty impressive season, especially considering he was coming back from Tommy John’s surgery. Romero had a 1.93 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 28 innings with the Kernels and won one Midwest League Pitcher of the Week award. He was then promoted to Ft. Myers, where he was perhaps even more impressive, throwing 62.1 innings with a 1.88 ERA and 65 strike outs.
Wheeler led the Red Wings in innings pitched with 145.1, and had the most team strikeouts of any pitcher on the team not named Jose Berrios. He was the starter for the Independent League All-Star Game. Wheeler also pitched 24 innings for the Lookouts, where he had a stellar 1.88 ERA and 22 strike outs.