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Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher Of The Month - August 2019

Earlier this week, Twins Daily named Zander Wiel the Hitter of the Month for August. Today, we announce our choice for the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month. While the choice was ultimately pretty easy, I was in awe of how much strong pitching there was in the season’s final month. It’s really exciting to see.

Next week, we will start handing out our 2019 season awards, but let’s take a quick look back at the Twins Minor League Starting Pitchers of the Month from earlier this season.

Previous 2019 Starting Pitchers of the Month:
April - Devin Smeltzer - Pensacola Blue Wahoos
May - Jordan Balazovic - Ft. Myers Miracle
June - Josh Winder - Cedar Rapids Kernels
July - Edwar Colina - Pensacola Blue Wahoos
August -
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (graphics by Finn Pearson)
Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Six Starters for August, there were some other strong starting performers that just missed the cut. There are two pitchers in the Honorable Mention category who had K:BB ratios of 30:2 and 23:3! You can certainly agree or disagree with the rankings. Let’s discuss the top starting pitchers in the organization in August.

HONORABLE MENTION
  • Kohl Stewart - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G, 5 GS, 27.2 IP, 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 18 H, 11 BB, 21 K
  • Dakota Chalmers - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 20.1 IP, 1.77 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 10 H, 13 BB, 29 K
  • Blayne Enlow - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 22.0 IP, 2.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 16 H, 10 BB, 17 K
  • Cole Sands - Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 3 GS, 15.0 IP, 2.55 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 22 H, 2 BB, 23 K
  • Andrew Cabezas - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 27.1 IP, 2.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 21 H, 12 BB, 15 K
  • Luis Rijo - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 29.1 IP, 3.68 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 12 H, 2 BB, 30 K
  • Donny Breek - GCL Twins - 4 G, 2 GS, 17.1 IP, 0.52 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 10 H, 5 BB, 21 K
  • Niklas Rimmel - GCL Twins - 3 G, 2 GS, 13.0 IP, 0.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 8 H, 1 BB, 13 K
THE TOP SIX STARTING PITCHERS


#6 - RHP Chris Vallimont - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 22.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 15 H, 4 BB, 28 K


Chris Vallimont came to the Twins in the trade deadline deal with the Marlins in which the Twins also received Sergio Romo and Cash in exchange for Lewin Diaz. Vallimont had a strong first month in the Twins organization despite a rough first start in which he gave up six earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings. However, in three starts since, he has been remarkable. His next two starts came against his former teammates, the Jupiter Hammerheads. In both games, he had a no-hitter into the late innings and completed seven in both games. So, while his ERA is a bit high because of the first start, his ability to limit base runners and that strikeout-to-walk ratio are both quite impressive. We caught up with Vallimont for this story shortly after his trade to the Twins.


#5 - RHP Josh Winder- Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 25.2 IP, 1.40 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 20 H, 6 BB, 28 K


Winder was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month in June, and he’s been really consistent all season with the Kernels. He was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2018 out of Virginia Military Institute. In August, he worked innings, limited runs and base runners. He also missed bats. Opponents hit just .206 with a .528 OPS against him. Overall this season, Winder went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP over 21 starts and 125 2/3 innings. Steve Buhr wrote about Winder earlier this season.


#4 - RHP Jordan Balazovic - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 19.1 IP, 2.33 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 12 H, 5 BB, 28 K


Balazovic began the month in Lima, Peru, where he helped Team Canada to a silver medal at the Pan Am Games. He returned to the MIracle and was very good. In his first start back, he struck out nine batters in five shutout, two-hit innings. In his final start of the month, he struck out nine batters in five shutout, two-hit innings. Along with the above numbers (which are very impressive), opponents hit just .169 off of him (with a .460 OPS). The lanky right-hander was the Twins fifth-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Ontario.


#3 - RHP Cody Laweryson - Elizabethton Twins - 5 GS, 24.0 IP, 1.13 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 12 H, 4 BB, 34 K


We all remember that 15 strikeout game that Laweryson tossed last week for the E-Twins, but the Twins 14th-round pick from the University of Maine in June was good all month. He began with a spot start in Cedar Rapids where he tossed five shutout innings. In his four E-Twins starts, he gave up earned runs in just one of them. Opponents hit just .143 with a .414 OPS against him in the month. Pretty good first impression for the right-hander.


#2 - RHP Matt Canterino - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 20.0 IP, 1.35 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 6 H, 7 BB, 25 K


Canterino was the Twins’ second-round pick in 2019 out of Rice University. After tossing 99 1/3 innings this spring for the Owls, the Twins have wisely eased him into pro ball. After some time away from the mound, he went to the GCL where he worked five innings over two games. He moved up to Cedar Rapids at the beginning of the month and they continued to monitor his innings. He averaged just four innings per start and hasn’t thrown more than 72 pitches in any outing. Nevertheless, he has been really impressive. He gave up just three runs, recorded strikeouts and opponents hit just .091 off of him in the month. Learn more about Canterino in this week’s articlefrom Steve Buhr.


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

Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - RHP Bailey Ober - 4 GS, 27.0 IP, 0.67 ERA, 0.56 HIP, 13 H, 2 BB, 39 K

Bailey Ober has put up eye-popping numbers in 2019. Overall, he is 8-0 with a 0.69 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. In April, he was a very close runner up in our monthly Starting Pitcher of the Month voting. Unfortunately, he ended the month on the Injured List and didn’t return until early July when he made a couple of rehab appearances before rejoining the Ft. Myers Miracle.

However, after just four starts there, he earned his promotion to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in early August. He continued to dominate. In his first start, he gave up two hits and one run over seven innings. In his second Blue Wahoos start, he struck out 12 batters over seven shutout innings. His third start? 11 strikeouts and only an unearned run in seven innings. In his final start of the month, and of the regular season, he gave up one hit over three innings in preparations for the playoffs. For the month, opponents hit just .141 with a .351 OPS against him.

Ober was the Twins 13th-round pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston. In college and as a pro, he has been very good on the mound when healthy. The 6-9 right-hander has a strong four-pitch mix and is certainly one to watch in 2020!

Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of August, Pensacola Blue Wahoos right-hander Bailey Ober.

Feel free to discuss and ask questions.

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13 Comments

Thanks for bringing us these monthly awards, Seth.

 

There isn't much left to say about Ober.Only question, can he continue pitching like this at AAA and then with the Twins.Don't know, but sure would be nice.

 

We don't have much to base it on, but Canterino looks like he might be another real nice second round pick.Long way from Cedar Rapids to Target Field, will he make the entire journey?Where do you see Balazovic at the end of the 2020 season, Seth?

 

When looking at this group I have to believe that there are several pitchers in the pipeline who will make an impact for the Twins.Question remains who and when?And this group didn't include Graterol, Alcala, Jax, Colina and a few others who are awfully nice prospects.

    • glunn, DocBauer, howieramone2 and 2 others like this

What is Ober's mix of pitches? He obviously can't have much that screams "stuff" or he would be somewhere higher in the list of prospects. How does he get the results he gets?

 

Whatever it is, I hope it continues to play as he ascends.

    • glunn and DocBauer like this

Really happy to see the low WHIP for Chalmers.I was starting to think his WHIP was going to always be closer to 2 than 1.Nice improvement for him this year hoping for even better things next year.

 

I am typically disappointed with Stewart and his numbers but he had a real nice month.K's still a bit low but everything else looks good.I can see now why they brought him up to the big club.

 

Donny Breek with another nice month and a great year.Young with good K numbers bodes well for his future.He really should have been in Elizabeton this year but hopefully he ends up in A ball next year.

 

Hoping Chris Vallimont is the real deal.That would take the sting out of losing Diaz.

 

This is the best group of starting pitching numbers I think I have seen and I sure hope some of these guys turn into top of the rotation starters or we are sunk.Chicago looks to have some young studs.Cleveland is reloading and Detroit has some good pitching prospects waiting in the wings as well.If we don't find good arms and quick we won't be able to compete. 

 

This list has good depth.Good K rates and WHIP are encouraging signs.Hopefully we have a couple of elite arms in there somewhere.

    • brvama, rdehring, Breekie18 and 1 other like this
Photo
Cooper Carlson
Sep 05 2019 09:35 AM

 

What is Ober's mix of pitches? He obviously can't have much that screams "stuff" or he would be somewhere higher in the list of prospects. How does he get the results he gets?

 

Whatever it is, I hope it continues to play as he ascends.

Changeup 92-94. Really good changeup and he mixes in a couple of breaking balls. Relies a ton on control.

    • glunn, MN_ExPat and Patrick Wozniak like this
Photo
Cooper Carlson
Sep 05 2019 09:36 AM

What an amazing month for the starting pitchers. All of the honorable mentions were good enough to win and they couldn't even crack the top six. Bright future.

    • glunn and DocBauer like this

 

What is Ober's mix of pitches? He obviously can't have much that screams "stuff" or he would be somewhere higher in the list of prospects. How does he get the results he gets?

 

Whatever it is, I hope it continues to play as he ascends.

I think the rankings are influenced by the draft position...at least until the player does something that draws attention. Ober was a 12th-round pick out of a small college...but, he's now drawn attention. I speculate he'll start showing up in some top 20 lists this off-season.

 

At age 23 (now 24), Pensacola was the first stop were Ober was younger than the competition. You like to see "top-ish" prospects succeed against the older guys at some point. Very encouraging.

    • glunn, DocBauer and MN_ExPat like this

 

What is Ober's mix of pitches? He obviously can't have much that screams "stuff" or he would be somewhere higher in the list of prospects. How does he get the results he gets?

 

Whatever it is, I hope it continues to play as he ascends.

 

More coming on Ober in the very near future, and we'll get into much more detail on him. 

    • glunn, scottz, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this

 

More coming on Ober in the very near future, and we'll get into much more detail on him. 

Is that a hint, Seth, that Ober will be your Pitcher of the Year?

    • glunn and MN_ExPat like this

 

Is that a hint, Seth, that Ober will be your Pitcher of the Year?

 

The votes are in... I can only confirm that Ober is probably in the Top 5, for sure... most likely... 

    • glunn, Oldgoat_MN, DocBauer and 3 others like this

Changeup 92-94. Really good changeup and he mixes in a couple of breaking balls. Relies a ton on control.


I assume you mean FB 92-94? If so, that bodes well for his chances going forward. I remember someone (Klaw? Fangraphs writer?) Saying when they last saw him (several months ago) he was throwing mid 80s FB and that is why he was written off at the time.

If his velocity jumped that much and you combine that with good downward plane at 6'9 and some good secondaries/feel for pitching you might have something really interesting there...

    • glunn likes this
Interesting to me, and I could be wrong, but when I look at thjs list, including past winners, I believe I count 10 pitchers either drafted by this FO or traded for. Impressive if I'm even close in memory and math, lol.

Just a few comments:

1] Didn't Chalmers come from the A's organization? Regardless, I know he's coming off a lost surgery season. But he is looking like a potential steal.

2] Did we fleece Miami with Romo...who I am betting will be re-signed on a 1yr deal...and then getting Vallimont? He sure has looked good so far.

3] As I stated in another OP about him, I want to be excited about Canterino because his is a college pitcher with a big arm and potential, if he can find a change of pace pitch. But I keep hearing about a high effort delivery and wonder if that is actual. I mean, if it's comfortable for him, is it really high effort?

4] Surprised to see Stewart on this list, even if honorable mention and good numbers. I am not blasting the kid, but what is it the FO keeps seeing? Overall, he just hasn t shown anything really worthy of sticking around. Especially with arms on the rise.

5] Ober absolutely deserves this award. What he has done all season is pretty spectacular! I ABSOLUTELY agree with you, Seth, that age shouldn't be a mitigating factor in regard to prospect status. However, Ober is 24, despite being a fast riser, and only in his 2nd year of full season ball. But IL time is a factor. And despite that, he has performed tremendously well! Are we looking at a steal who will continue to blossom and deal and be considered a high end prospect? Or are we looking at a mature, injury plagued arm who has simply dominated by age and experience?

I am making no judgements, only asking just how good of a prospect this kid could be. Right now, healthy, what he has done in 2019, he would seem a candidate to vault in top 20 prospect status.

what is impressive was the ability of the Twins to keep al but one of those pitchers to an average of5 1/3 innings a start.

A 6'9" guy whose FB is in the low 90s (up from the 80s), has a really good change-up, and relies on control (and gives up only 2 BB in 27 IP in August)...this sounds really promising.


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