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Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher Of The Month - August 2018

Starting pitching wins, right? Elizabethton just won an Appy League championship in large part because of their starting pitching and that is shown below. There are some new names on this list and one guy whose name we’ve seen most months this year. But this month’s winner is a tremendous story. He missed almost exactly two years of playing time due to a major surgery, but he’s come back strong. And don’t misinterpret that comment as saying it’s just a nice story, but this month’s winner also has some good upside which we might see when some of the reins are loosened next year.

Previous Starting Pitchers of the Month for 2018:
April 2018: Aaron Slegers, Rochester Red Wings
May 2018: Brusdar Graterol, Cedar Rapids Kernels
June 2018: Tyler Wells, Fort Myers Miracle
July 2018: Bailey Ober, Cedar Rapids Kernels
August 2018: Keep reading (or look at the graphic for this story)
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Andro Cutura, graphics by Finn Pearson)
Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Starters for August, there are some terrific starting performers that just missed the cut. In fact, I find this month’s rankings really difficult, so I’m going to rank a Top Six instead of Top Five. You can discuss who should rank higher or lower.

  • Edwar Colina - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 26.0 IP, 1.73 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 17 H, 8 BB, 30 K
  • Randy Dobnak - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 6 G, 5 GS, 27.2 IP, 1.63 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 9 H, 8 BB, 19 K
  • Brusdar Graterol - Ft. Myers Miracle - 5 G, 30.0 IP, 1.80 ERA, 1.10 ERA, 26 H, 7 BB, 25 K
  • Carlos Suniaga - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 G, 2 GS, 18.0 IP, 1.00 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 15 H, 2 BB, 16 K
  • Kai-Wei Teng - GCL Twins - 4 G, 18.2 IP, 2.89 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 16 H, 5 BB, 19 K

#6 - RHP Tyler Wells - Chattanooga Lookouts - 6 G, 5 GS, 1.65 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 32.2 IP, 23 H, 14 BB, 39 K

Tyler Wells has had a tremendous season. Interestingly, after pitching well in Ft. Myers and earning his promotion, a case could be made the he was even better upon joining the Lookouts. He really did a nice job of limiting runs and base runners. He also has enough stuff to miss bats and accumulate strikeouts. For the month, opponents hit just .205/.291/.286 (.572) against him. Wells was the Twins 15th-round pick in 2015 out of Cal State-San Bernadino. He worked hard, losing 25+ pounds last offseason and it’s paid off in his results.

#5 - RHP Austin Schulfer - Elizabethton Twins - 5 G, 4 GS, 0.00 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 14 H, 8 BB, 18 K

The E-Twins got some incredible starting pitching in August. Schulfer is the first of three that made this Top 6 list. Schulfer was the Twins 19th-round pick this June out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Please tell me that I should have had him higher on this list. I mean, he did not give up an earned run (three unearned runs) the whole month, in 20 innings. Opponents hit just .206/.325/.250 (.575) off of him for the month.Overall, he went 3-0 with a 1.58 ERA over 40 innings in his pro debut. And he (and the other E-Twins listed below) will get their championship rings in March.

#4 - RHP Luis Rijo - Elizabethton Twins - 5 GS, 1.27 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 21.1 IP, 15 H, 4 BB, 17 K

Luis Rijo came to the Twins with Tyler Austin in a July 31st trade from the Yankees for Lance Lynn. Earlier in the year, he made one start for the High-A club in Tampa (2 runs in 6 IP). He also made one start for the Yankees affiliate in the New York-Penn League (6 IP, 2 R). The Twins didn’t have him go real long in games after joining his new team, but they got some really strong innings. Rijo doesn’t profile as a top of the line starter, but he’s produced so far. Also, he just turned 20 years old this week. For the month, opponents hit .195/.253/.286 off of him.

#3 - RHP Jhoan Duran - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 2.48 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 29.0 IP, 19 H, 9 BB, 36 K

The Twins acquired Duran from the Arizona Diamondback as part of the Eduardo Escobar trade in late July. He began the season in the Midwest League and was 5-4 with a 4.73 ERA in 15 starts for Kane County. As impressive as his August numbers were, I’d remind you that it does not include his July 30th Twins organization debut when he threw seven no-hit innings for the Kernels. Duran’s certainly got intriguing upside. For the month, opponents hit just .186/.257/.265 (.521) off of him. He struck out ten in the Kernels first playoff game as well.

#2- RHP Andrew Cabezas - Elizabethton Twins - 5 G, 2.35 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 12 H, 6 BB, 21 K

Cabezas was Cleveland’s 34th-round pick in 2015 out of high school in southeast Florida. Instead of signing, he stayed close to home and pitched for three seasons at the University of Miami. The Twins picked him this year in the 18th round. The E-Twins starting pitchers have been tremendous, particularly in August, and Cabezas has been a leader for the group. In August, opponents hit just .146/.222/.232 (.454) off of the right-hander.

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

Ft. Myers Miracle - RHP Andro Cutura - 5 G, 4 GS, 0.87 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 31.0 IP, 17 H, 7 BB, 25 K

On May 12, 2016, Andro Cutura walked three and struck out three over two scoreless innings in a game against Wisconsin. He left the game, and on April 20, 2018, he returned to the mound for the Ft. Myers Miracle. Two long years after an elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery and the rehab that followed. But the recently-turned-25-year-old has come back strong and was at his best in August.

For the month, opponents hit just .160/.233/.245 (.478) off of him. He limited hits. He limited walks. He recorded some strikeouts. Despite returning to the mound only in late April, he has accumulated 101 innings this season. Overall, he is 4-6 with a 3.65 ERA, but more important, he’s back at 100% and starting to show what he can do. Cutura was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2014 out of Southeastern Louisiana University.

Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of August, Ft. Myers Miracle right-hander Andro Cutura.

Feel free to discuss and ask questions.

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Interesting list, hope some of them show the same results at higher levels. List does not say much for Twins starters at higher levels, but at least a couple of them are now pitching for the Twins.

All the high level starters are on the 40-man roster now. Still some heat in the backwoods. Be interesting to see where they all end up in 2019. Looks like the Twins DID SCORE at the trade deadline!


    • MN_ExPat likes this

Good choice with Cutura.I was just noticing the other day how good his August was.

Very interesting group, Seth.


Expect most of us follow the Top Prospects closely.But I am less familiar with this entire top 6, except for Duran who came over in the trade.Wouldn't it be exciting if one of these guys actually made it into the Twins regular rotation a few years from now.And looking at these numbers seems to indicate it could happen.


Speaking of trades, what a haul for Lance Lynn.Twins gave up two months of a guy who was doing very little for us.In return got a power guy who just may be a part of their immediate future.The fact they also got a low level prospect like Rijo is almost too good to be true.Congrats to the FO for that deal!


Gotta also do a shout out to Schulfer, after all he is from central Wisconsin.

    • MN_ExPat likes this