Twins 2016 Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year
The five Twins Daily Minor League Report authors were asked to vote for the various post-season awards. For the relief pitcher of the year, we each voted for five players. The player who was voted as #1 received five points, #2 received four points and so on with the #5 vote receiving one point. Results were tabulated and can be found below.
Below you will see profiles of our Top 5, but first, here are some honorable mentions.
- Williams Ramirez, Cedar Rapids Kernels: 29 G, 3-1, 4 SV, 2.62 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 55.0 IP, 24 H, 34 BB, 66 K.
- Anthony McIver, Cedar Rapids Kernels: 31 G, 0-2, 10 SV, 2.58 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 52.1 IP, 12 BB, 55 K.
- Patrick McGuff, Elizabethton Twins/GCL Twins: 22 G, 2-0, 11 SV, 2.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 31.2 IP, 10 BB, 42 K.
Here are the top five vote-getters for Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year.
#5 –Nick Anderson, Fort Myers Miracle/Cedar Rapids Kernels: 42 G, 4-3, 13 SV, 2.65 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 57.2 IP, 39 H, 16 BB, 75 K.
After pitching three seasons in the independent leagues, the 2016 season was Anderson's first full season in affiliated baseball. Anderson tore up the Midwest League in his first 12 appearance. Across 20 innings, he allowed two earned runs and struck out 28 while holding opponents to a .090 BA and .127 OBP. After being promoted to Fort Myers, he ran into a rough patch as he allowed 10 earned runs through his first 9.2 innings. From there, he went on quite the stretch. Over his last 28 innings, he posted a 1.61 ERA and a 36 to 9 strikeout to walk ratio with nine saves.
#4 –John Curtiss, Fort Myers Miracle/Cedar Rapids Kernels: 44 G, 0-2, 2.66 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 61.0 IP, 44 H, 25 BB, 85 K.
Curtiss started the season with a short stop in Cedar Rapids. Over six game (8.0 IP), he didn't allow a run and posted a 17 to 2 strikeout to walk ratio. The jump up to Fort Myers came with a few bumps in the road. He allowed 10 earned runs (6.28 ERA) in his first nine games as opponents got on base over 32% of the time. Curtiss settled into his role with High-A for the rest of the season. Over the final 29 games (38.2 IP), he posted a 1.86 ERA with a 55 to 14 strikeout to walk ratio. For the season, Curtiss held opponents to a .543 OPS and left-handed batters struck out in 45% of their at-bats.
#3 –Michael Theofanopoulos, Fort Myers Miracle/Cedar Rapids Kernels: 44 G, 5-3, 2.20 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 65.1 IP, 42 H, 34 BB, 84 K.
Theofanopoulos split the year between both High-A and Low-A. He allowed five runs in his first three appearances before settling in for the year. During his next 18 appearances (28.2 IP), he allowed two earned runs and a 40 to 13 strikeout to walk ratio. Opponents were held to three extra-base hits and a .180 SLG during that stretch. After being promoted to Fort Myers, Theofanopoulos continued to pitch well. During his first 16.2 innings, he allowed three earned runs and struck out 18. His roughest patch of the season was over his next six appearances as he allowed seven earned runs and was charged with two losses. He didn't allow a run over his last four games (5.2 IP) and he struck out 10.
#2 –JT Chargois, Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings: 39 G, 2-1, 16 SV, 1.35 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 46.2 IP, 35 H, 13 BB, 55 K.
While his time in the big leagues hasn't been perfect, Chargois was dominant for multiple stretches in the minor leagues. He started the year in Chattanooga where he ended the 2015 campaign. In 11 Double-A appearances (11.2 IP), he held opponents to a slash line of .190/.277/.357 with 14 strikeouts and a 1.54 ERA. He was even more dominant after being promoted to Triple-A. Through his first 11 appearances, he allowed one earned run and posted a 20 to 4 strikeout to walk ratio.
Following his disastrous MLB debut (0.2 IP, 5 ER), Chargois didn't miss a beat at Rochester. He struck out 21 and compiled a 1.59 ERA over his next 17 games. Left-handed batters have been able to get on base 35% of the time but Chargois was able to strike lefties out in 29% of their at-bats. On August 11, he returned to the big leagues and only allowed one earned run through his next eight games. His next three appearances were rough as he only made it through 2.1 innings and allowed five earned runs (19.29 ERA).
Even with his up and down time in the big leagues, Chargois was one of the best relief pitchers in the Twins system this year.
Relief Pitcher of the Year –Trevor Hildenberger, Chattanooga Lookouts/Fort Myers Miracle: 38 G, 3-4, 19 SV, 0.75 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 48.0 IP, 32 H, 6 BB, 53 K.
A year after being a unanimous selection as the 2015 Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year, Hildenberger fell one vote short of being unanimously selected for the second straight season. The Twins sent Hildenberger back to Fort Myers to start the season and he made quick work of his return trip through the FSL. In six appearances (9.1 IP), he allowed one earned run and struck out eight without walking a batter.
Hildenberger didn't allow a home run in all of 2015 but that streak ended after being promoted to Chattanooga. He surrendered two home runs in his first five games but those were the only runs allowed. The second homer must have woken up Hildenberger because he has been on an unbelievable stretch since that game in early May. He's allowed one earned run in his last 32.2 innings (0.28 ERA) with a 39 to 5 strikeout to walk ratio. Opponents have hit .150/.193/.159 against him and he's throwing strikes 71% of the time.
Overall, it was hard to imagine Hildenberger putting up better numbers this year. He cut his ERA from 1.55 in 2015 to 0.75 this season. His SO/9 dropped from 11.2 last year to 9.9 this season but he has posted a 10.5 mark during his Double-A time. Lefties struck out in 31.9% of their at-bats against Hildenberger while righties compiled a measly .430 OPS.
Hildenberger has been outstanding for two straight seasons and one has to wonder if he will be part of the Twins bullpen as soon as 2017.
There you have it, the top relief pitchers in the Twins minor league system for 2016.
In an attempt to be transparent, here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers:
- Seth Stohs – 1) Trevor Hildenberger, 2.) JT Chargois, 3.) Nick Anderson, 4.) Michael Theofanopoulos, 5.) Anthony McIver
- Jeremy Nygaard – 1) Trevor Hildenberger, 2.) John Curtiss, 3.) JT Chargois , 4.) Williams Ramirez, 5.) Nick Anderson
- Cody Christie – 1) Trevor Hildenberger, 2.) JT Chargois, 3.) Michael Theofanopoulos, 4.) John Curtiss, 5.) Williams Ramirez
- Steve Lein – 1) Trevor Hildenberger, 2.) JT Chargois, 3.) Michael Theofanopoulos, 4.) Nick Anderson, 5.) John Curtiss
- Eric Pleiss – 1) JT Chargois, 2.) Trevor Hildenberger, 3.) Mason Melotakis, 4.) Michael Theofanopoulos, 5.) Jake Reed