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Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of August 2014

Yesterday, we looked at the top hitters in the Minnesota Twins farm system in August. There were a lot of solid candidates. Today we look at the top starting pitchers in the final month of the minor league season.

There is definitely a theme with the top of this group, a theme that we have seen throughout the year. The Twins have found quite a few southpaws that have had terrific seasons in 2014.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs (photo of Lewis Thorpe)
Honorable Mention
  • RHP – Tyler Duffey – Rochester – 4 GS, 2-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 23.1 IP, 20 H, 7 BB, 21 K
  • LHP – Matt Tomshaw – Ft. Myers – 5 GS, 2-3, 2.61 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 31.0 IP, 35 H, 8 BB, 19 K
  • LHP – Steven Gruver – Ft. Myers – 6 GS, 2-1, 2.00 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 27.0 IP, 25 H, 7 BB, 15 K
  • RHP – Ryan Eades – Cedar Rapids – 5 GS, 3-0, 2.86 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 28.1 IP, 27 H, 9 BB, 18 K
  • RHP – Michael Cederoth – Elizabethton – 5 GS, 2-0, 2.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 19.2 IP, 14 H, 9 BB, 22 K
---

Number 5 – Elizabethton Twins – RHP John Curtiss – 5 G, 2-1, 2.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 25.0 IP, 17 H, 4 BB, 20 K


The Twins used their 6th round pick his June on the right-hander from Texas. He signed shortly after pitching in the College World Series. He pitched in the bullpen for the Longhorns after having Tommy John surgery in 2012. However, after signing, he was moved to the starting rotation. He has been very good. He will likely get another year to start, though many believe his long-term future may be in the bullpen.


Number 4 – Cedar Rapids – LHP Lewis Thorpe – 6 G, 1-0, 1.61 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 28.0 IP, 20 H, 16 BB, 35 K


The 18-year-old Thorpe has definitely kept his head above water despite his youth. Walks have been his only real downfall with the Kernels. In his 16 overall starts, he walked 36 batters in 71.2 innings. However, he also had 80 strikeouts. In August, he did a good job of minimizing damage despite the walks, but he also racked up strikeouts. Will he be pushed to Ft. Myers to start 2015, or could he use another half-season in the Midwest League to work on his command?


Number 3 – New Britain – LHP Taylor Rogers - 5 GS, 3-0, 0.64 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 28.0 IP, 20 H, 10 BB, 27 K


Rogers spent a couple of weeks in July on the disabled list with a biceps injury, but he came back in August with some very good numbers. He was limited somewhat in innings due to his return, but he was on his game. He ended strong with an eight-inning, one-run performance. Last week, it was announced that he will be heading to Arizona to pitch in the Fall League.


Number 2 – New Britain – LHP Mat Batts - 6 GS, 2-0, 2.20 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 28.2 IP, 21 H, 3 BB, 34 K


Batts has only been in the Twins organization for a little over two months. He has been a top five starting pitcher both of the last two months. He was the Twins 17th round pick this year out of UNC-Wilmington. Though the college only has a handful of big league alumni, Twins fans are familiar with reliever Carl Willis (from the 1991 championship team). It’s impressive that he’s been so strong through the season. He has already accumulated 164.2 innings on the mound this year, with 61 in pro ball). Though he is not a flame-thrower, the lefty mixes his pitches and his speeds and comes from an unusually low angle.

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

Ft. Myers – LHP Jason Wheeler - 5 GS, 3-1, 1.44 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 31.1 IP, 23 H, 5 BB, 30 K


Jason Wheeler was the Twins 8th round pick in 2011 out of Loyola Marymount University. After going 9-4 with a 3.70 ERA in 2013 in Ft. Myers, he began the 2014 season with the Miracle. In 13 starts, he went 6-5 with a 2.51 ERA before a promotion to New Britain where he has been every bit as good. In fact, when the Rochester Red Wings needed a spot starter, Wheeler was promoted to AAA and gave up just two runs in 5 innings of a no-decision. He returned to the Rock Cats right before the calendar turned to August. He had a terrific month. Aside from the impressive numbers you see above, batters hit just .202 with a .546 OPS off him.


Wheeler has improved his status within the organization a great deal in 2014. In an interview in May, Wheeler talked about trusting his fastball more to go with even improved command. When I talked to Miracle pitching coach Gary Lucas, he talked about Wheeler being more confident with his fastball while at the same time improving all of his secondary pitches.



So there you have it. The top pitchers in the Minnesota Twins farm system in August. What do you think? How would you rank these starting pitchers?


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9 Comments

Nice to see some high draft picks scattered throughout this article.

Lot of talk about Berrios, Meyer and May; and with good reason... but I'll bet we are also talking about guys like Rogers, Duffey and Wheeler sometime during the '15 season.  Not to mention relievers like Burdi, Melotakis and Reed.

Are you going to do relievers too?

 

I'm actually very impressed with our relievers, both in this 2014 draft class and previous.

 

Especially of note:

Brandon Peterson

Todd Van Steensel

Dallas Gallant

Nick Burdi

Jake Reed

Are you going to do relievers too?

 

 

 

I think Seth does those tomorrow. I have a feeling I know who it's going to be...

Yup, Relievers are already determined, there are so many good ones that it's hard to cut to five, or even just rank them. But, that's a good thing.

Lot of talk about Berrios, Meyer and May; and with good reason... but I'll bet we are also talking about guys like Rogers, Duffey and Wheeler sometime during the '15 season.  Not to mention relievers like Burdi, Melotakis and Reed.

 

Correct. Lots of quality arms...

Photo
diehardtwinsfan
Sep 03 2014 01:47 PM
I wonder what the going rate is for major league ready pitching that slots more into the 3-5 range. The Twins are going to have a few guys to trade if guys like Duffey, Wheeler, and Rodgers continue to perform. There wont' be room for all of them, and they all will (hopefully) be eclipsed by far better options in Meyer, May, Berrios in the short term and Stewart, Thorpe, Hu, and Gonsalves coming up behind them.

Are you going to do relievers too?

 

I'm actually very impressed with our relievers, both in this 2014 draft class and previous.

 

Especially of note:

Brandon Peterson

Todd Van Steensel

Dallas Gallant

Nick Burdi

Jake Reed

These five plus Zack Jones since his return have been the ones that have really stood out to me. There are some really nasty relievers in A ball. 

Photo
DarrenVahtra
Sep 03 2014 09:50 PM

I hope they keep pushing thorpe through the minors.  He seems to thrive on challenge.  If you look at the history of baseball the truly special players constantly push the envelope and reach new levels of competition before they are "supposed' to.  If lewis is special he will continue to rise to whatever competition he is facing.  I hope to see him in '16.


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