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Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month - August 2017

Minor league regular season 2017 has come to an end. Every minor league club with the exception of the Rochester Red Wings will be in the playoffs. And the Red Wings became the first team in International League history to win 80 games in a season two years in a row without going to the playoffs either season (per Red Wings PR director Nate Rowan). But before we get to the end of the season, we need to honor those players who ended their season with a strong final month. The next three days, we’ll post our August minor league awards, starting today with the top six relievers.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Nick Anderson)
Before we share our Twins Daily Minor League Top Six Relievers for August, here are some terrific bullpen performances that just missed the cut. It may have been a shorter list to jot down which minor league relievers didn’t have a good month.

HONORABLE MENTION
  • Pedro Garcia - GCL Twins - 5 G, 1 GS, 22.2 IP, 11 H, 11 BB, 20 K, 1.99 ERA, 0.97 WHIP.
  • Moises Gomez - Elizabethton Twins - 5 G, 1 GS, 18.2 IP, 12 H, 8 BB, 20 K, 3.38 ERA, 1.07 WHIP.
  • Michael Kohn - GCL Twins/Ft. Myers Miracle/Rochester Red Wings - 12 G, 4 GS, 12.0 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 17 K, 0.75 ERA, 0.83 WHIP.
  • Logan Lombana - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 19.2 IP, 18 H, 4 BB, 16 K, 1.37 ERA, 1.12 WHIP.
  • Hector Lujan - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 10 G, 10.1 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 9 K, 0.87 ERA, 1.07 WHIP.
  • Kevin Marnon - GCL Twins - 7 G, 16.2 IP, 14 H, 4 BB, 17 K, 0.54 ERA, 1.08 WHIP.
  • Anthony McIver - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 7 G, 15.1 IP, 19 H, 4 BB, 11 K, 1.17 ERA, 1.50 WHIP.
  • Gabriel Moya - Chattanooga Lookouts - 7 G, 10.1 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 12 K, 0.87 ERA, 0.87 WHIP.
  • Jake Reed - Rochester Red Wings - 9 G, 14.2 IP, 11 H, 6 BB, 15 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.16 WHIP.
  • Michael Theofanopoulos - Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 15.0 IP, 9 H, 8 BB, 18 K, 1.13 ERA, 1.13 WHIP.
THE TOP SIX RELIEF PITCHERS


#6 - Derek Molina - GCL Twins - 8 G, 1.23 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 18 K


Molina was the Twins 14th-round pick in 2017 out of Merced College. Obviously that is a small college, but Doug Fister and briefly-a-Twins-pitcher Brian Fuentes were drafted from the school. Molina’s career began a little bit later (late July) as he was getting healthy and ready, but he’s been quite good since signing. You can see from the numbers above that he’s pitched well. Opponents hit just .192/.232/.231 (.463) off of him during August.


#5 - Blayne Enlow - GCL Twins - 4 G, 1.23 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 9 H, 3 BB, 13 K

I know. I know. Enlow isn’t a reliever. He was drafted in the third round and given lots of money over the slotted amount to sign to be a starting pitcher. However, things are a little different in the GCL. It’s in Ft. Myers, where big leaguers and minor leaguers tend to rehab. When they rehab, they typically start and then the regularly-scheduled GCL starter piggybacks him, coming in second in the game.


That’s what the situation was for Enlow. He made four appearances, and all four were out of the bullpen in August. Opponents hit just .170/.228/.283 (.511) off him. He’s shown good control and an ability early to miss bats. Hopefully we’ll see him in the Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Month reports a few times over the next two to three years.

#4 - John Curtiss - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G, 0.87 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 10.1 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 11 K


Curtiss is certainly a candidate for Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year, to be sure. In August, he continued to pitch well in Rochester right up until he was called up to the Twins later in the month. As he has been most of the season, he worked late innings, gave up very few runs, gave up very few hits, and missed a lot of bats. He’s had some struggles now in the big leagues, but even so, you can see his electric stuff. He’s got plenty of fastball, with movement, and his breaking pitches are terrific too. He’s got a chance to be very good. Against minor leaguers in August, he gave up a slash line of just .139/.244/.139 (.383).


#3 - Jared Finkel - Elizabethton Twins - 8 G, 0.55 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 16 K

Finkel was the Twins 23rd-round draft choice in 2017 out of Iona College in New York. The last player drafted out of Iona was Mariano Rivera’s son, Mariano. It’s not a baseball hotbed, though Jason Motte and Dennis Leonard went there. Finkel was rather Rivera-like, admittedly in rookie ball, in August. Opponents hit just .192/.232/.231 (.463) against the right-hander.


#2 - Jovani Moran - Elizabethton Twins - 9 G, 0.87 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 10.1 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 23 K


Moran was the Twins seventh-round draft pick in 2015 out of high school in Puerto Rico. The left-hander has a good pitch mix. Unfortunately, he had to miss the 2016 season after getting bone chips removed from his elbow. He’s returned to form this year and been fantastic. For Elizabethton, he started this season without giving up a run until his penultimate regular season outing of the year, a stretch of 20.1 innings. He gave up just one run the full season. He’s been hard to hit, hasn’t issued an excessive amount of walks, and certainly has the stuff to miss a lot of bats. For August, opponents hit just .086/.179/.171 (.351) off of him.


And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is:

Chattanooga Lookouts – RHP Nick Anderson - 11 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.53 WHIP, 11.1 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 10 K

For the second straight month, a Minnesotan will win the Twins Daily Relief Pitcher of the Month award. For the second straight month, that Minnesotan is RHP Nick Anderson. So, right or wrong, a bit of what you see below will be similar to what you read a month ago.


Even his numbers are very similar to the previous month. He didn’t give up an earned run. He gave up about one base runner every other inning. He picked up four saves. He was named the Southern League Relief Pitcher of the Month for August. Opponents hit just .139/.162/.139 (.301) off of him.


As a reminder, Anderson is a graduate of Brainerd High School. He went to St. Cloud state for three years before heading to Mayville State for a season. The Brewers drafted him, but they didn’t even offer him a contract. After working in the indy leagues for a few seasons, the Twins signed him late in 2015, and he’s been a dominant late inning reliever wherever he’s played. He’s spent most of this season with the Lookouts.


There were a lot of very strong relief pitcher performances in August throughout the Twins minor league system. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today, but again, congratulations to the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for August 2017, Nick Anderson.

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9 Comments

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clutterheart
Sep 05 2017 06:30 AM

Its hard to vote against a guy with 0 runs.  But I would've voted for Jovani Moran

 

23 Strike outs in 10 innings?!?  For the year he is at 45 SO in just 24 innings, with only 6 walks?!?!? And only 12 hits?!?!

 

What a season!  

 

Poking around the internet, looks like he was a HS'er drafted with low 90's FB, good movement and a halfway decent breaking pitch.  i am looking forward to what he can do in full season ball next year

 

 

    • Mike Sixel, Dman, rghrbek and 1 other like this

I agree. The 0.00 ERA is a nice thing to hang a hat on, but I can't ignore those K #'s for Moran!

 

Congrats to all on their great months though, a lot of guys could have won it!

    • Mike Sixel and rghrbek like this

Yup Moran's strikeouts are impressive... but Anderson gave up less runs, had a lower WHIP and opponents hit less against him.

I love seeing this many relievers putting up ridiculous numbers each month. I know they aren't all prospects, but this makes me feel pretty good about the future of our bullpen.

    • Mike Sixel likes this

Health, we need to hope for health....

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diehardtwinsfan
Sep 05 2017 03:17 PM

Speaking of Moran, he missed all of last season. TJS?

 

Speaking of Moran, he missed all of last season. TJS?

 

Bone spurs in his elbow... got it cleaned up.

 

Yup Moran's strikeouts are impressive... but Anderson gave up less runs, had a lower WHIP and opponents hit less against him.

 

And he did it in Chattanooga instead of Elizabethtown

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ashburyjohn
Sep 07 2017 11:05 AM

And he did it in Chattanooga instead of Elizabethtown

I wouldn't want to give too much tiebreaker weight to this, or the AAA guy would win every day, even giving up 7 runs in 2+ innings. :)


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