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Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month - June 2019

In the last couple of days, we have announced our choices for Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month for June and Twins Relief Pitcher of the Month for June. Today, we will look at an extensive group of starting pitchers who were really good in June. The rankings were not easy at all, so be sure to add your rankings as well. As impressive as the top five were this month, there were another eight starters that received strong consideration and are listed among the honorable mentions.

Previous 2019 Starting Pitchers of the Month:
April - Devin Smeltzer - Pensacola Blue Wahoos
May - Jordan Balazovic - Ft. Myers Miracle
Image courtesy of Steve Buhr (photo of Josh Winder)
Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Starters for June, there were some other strong starting performers that just missed the cut. You can certainly agree or disagree with the rankings. Let’s discuss the top starting pitchers in the organization in June.

  • Edwar Colina - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 G, 4 GS, 24.0 IP, 2.63 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 23 H, 6 BB, 17 K (.253/601)
  • Randy Dobnak - Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 3 GS, 30.2 IP, 2.05 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 31 H, 6 BB, 26 K, (267/657)
  • Kody Funderburk - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 3 G, 3 GS, 13.1 IP, 2.70 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 11 H, 3 BB, 18 K (.220/571)
  • Griffin Jax - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 4 G, 4 GS, 19.1 IP, 1.40 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 13 H, 3 BB, 11 K, (183/399)
  • Sean Poppen - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G, 4 GS, 31.0 IP, 2.90 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 26 H, 12 BB, 36 K (226/686)
  • Luis Rijo - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 3 G, 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 0.61 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 7 H, 4 BB, 12 K (149/.418)
  • Devin Smeltzer - Rochester Red Wings - 4 G, 4 GS, 20.0 IP, 3.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 19 H, 3 BB, 30 K (250/739)
  • Kai-Wei Teng - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 G, 3 GS, 21.0 IP, 2.57 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 19 H, 7 BB, 23 K (.235/.570)


#5 - RHP Blayne Enlow - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 G, 3 GS, 25.1 IP, 2.13 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 18 H, 7 BB, 20 K

Enlow had a couple of tough, short starts for Cedar Rapids during the season’s first month, but he has been really good since then. He was a candidate for Starting Pitcher of the Month in May, and was promoted to Ft. Myers at the end of that month. He has been even better since joining the Miracle. He has produced a quality start in all five of his Miracle starts. Enlow is blessed with a low-90s fastball that occasionally pushes to 94 and even 95. He also is known for his breaking ball and ability to spin the ball. The Twins third-round pick in 2017 continues to grow as a pitcher which is exciting as he won’t turn 21 until next March.

#4 - RHP Cole Sands - Ft. Myers Miracle - 3 GS, 16.1 IP, 2.20 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 8 H, 2 BB, 19 K

Sands was the Twins fifth-round pick last year after three seasons at Florida State. The Twins just shut him down and didn’t have him pitch at all after the draft. He came to spring this year and pitched well in Cedar Rapids. In his first start of the season, he tossed five hitless innings. He was promoted to the Miracle right before June. He had a short IL stint, and when he returned, he threw five no-hit innings. He has given up just two hits in 11 innings over his past two starts. Sands also works in the low 90s with good secondary pitches as you would expect from a 21-year-old coming out of a quality college baseball program. In his three June starts, opponents hit just .145 off of him with a .409 OPS.

#3 - RHP Austin Schulfer - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 G, 4 GS, 21.0 IP, 2.14 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 11 H, 5 BB, 23 K

Schulfer was the Twins 19th-round pick a year ago after four years at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He pitched in Elizabethton last year. This year, he began the season in the Cedar Rapids bullpen, though he usually worked multiple innings. He appeared in the April Relief Pitcher of the Month list, and then Brian Dinkelman moved him into the Kernels rotation where he has continued to pitch well. Schulfer doesn’t throw real hard, but he generally throws strikes and stays away from the middle of the plate with each of his pitches. Opponents hit just .151 with a .498 OPS against him in June.

#2 - RHP Jhoan Duran - 4 G, 3 GS, 24.0 IP, 1.88 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 15 H, 10 BB, 31 K,

Overall this season Jhoan Duran has a record of 1-7. You might think that he must not be pitching well, but that isn’t the case. He has a 3.48 ERA on the season and has 78 strikeouts in 62 innings (26 walks). He has been pretty consistent and his stuff has continued to improve. We often hear about him hitting triple-digits multiple times in his starts. Duran came to the Twins last July in the Eduardo Escobar trade from the Diamondbacks.In June, he went 1-3 with a 1.88 ERA. He gave up one run in three of his starts, and two runs in the other. Duran recently ranked #9 in our midseason Twins top prospect rankings.

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

Cedar Rapids Kernels - RHP Josh Winder - 5 G, 5 GS, 34.0 IP, 1.32 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 22 H, 6 BB, 28 K (190/520)

At the end of May, Steve Buhr wrote an article on Josh Winder that profiled the talented right-hander drafted a year ago out of Virginia Military Academy. He talked about liking to keep his room clean and his head clear, especially on the mound.

Winder was pitching well at the time, but he was tremendous in June. In 13 starts so far this season for the Kernels, Winder is 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. As you can see above, he was tremendous in five June starts. All five starts were quality starts. He had a seven-inning shutout performance early in the month at Peoria. He ended his month with eight innings of shutout baseball against Kane County. In that start, he gave up just three hits, walked none and struck out eight.

Winder works with a low-90s fastball. He has a good curveball and has worked really hard to make his changeup an effective pitch. And it has become a really good pitch for him. One would think that a promotion to Ft. Myers should be in the near future for Winder.

Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of June, Cedar Rapids Kernels right-hander Josh Winder.

Feel free to discuss and ask questions.

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so this means that if the Twins needed to bring up a spot starter for one game, Sean Poppin has looked better than Devin Smeltzer in June..... Interesting .... :)

Jul 05 2019 09:17 AM
I can hardly wait to see Duran on the mound in a Twins uniform.
Free Duran! The big club needs your fastball! He threw 62 innings in 2017. 100 last season. He's got 62 innings this year. He should be in line for 120 innings. He has to be added to the 40 after this season.

I get not wanting to make a 40 man addition until the trade deadline. But he's a likely target of a trade and I'd like to see if he's useable before being traded. I also think it maximizes his value as an asset. He'd certainly generate some buzz. If he doesn't perform, he can be part of the Rochester shuttle.


so this means that if the Twins needed to bring up a spot starter for one game, Sean Poppin has looked better than Devin Smeltzer in June..... Interesting .... :)



so this means that if the Twins needed to bring up a spot starter for one game, Sean Poppin has looked better than Devin Smeltzer in June..... Interesting .... :)


I bet Smeltzer starts on Sunday... 

Smeltzer... 30Ks in 20 innings... He struck out half of the batters he got out!

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