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Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of July 2014

Today I’ll start announcing my choices for the July Minor League Awards. Each month, I like to post which pitchers and hitters had the best months. Today, I’m going to start the July versions with the relief pitchers.
If you’re looking for a good reason for why the Cedar Rapids Kernels ended July by winning 16 of their final 20 games of the month, look no further than this article. The Kernels' bullpen has been absolutely dominant. Sure, you’ll learn tomorrow when we go through the starting pitchers that they were also a part of that, along with the Kernels' hitters. However, if the Kernels have a lead through five or six innings, they’re most likely going to win.
Here are my choices for the Top 5 Twins Minor League Relief Pitchers in July. However, first I just need to point out several Honorable Mentions. It’s encouraging there are this many who warranty recognition this month!

HONORABLE MENTION
  • RHP Deolis Guerra – Rochester – 7 G, 12.1 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 16 K, 0.73 ERA, 0.81 WHIP
  • RHP Adrian Salcedo – New Britain – 6 G, 2 GS, 11.1 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 7 K, 1.53 ERA, 0.94 WHIP
  • LHP Jim Fuller – New Britain – 7 G, 12.2 IP, 11 H, 8 BB, 15 K, 2.13 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
  • LHP Mason Melotakis – Ft. Myers/New Britain – 10 G, 13.0 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 20 K, 1.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
  • RHP Alex Wimmers – New Britain – 9 G, 16.1 IP, 18 H, 4 BB, 21 K, 2.20 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
  • RHP Tyler Jones – Ft. Myers – 12 G, 13.2 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 15 K, 1.32 ERA, 0.95 WHIP
  • LHP Brandon Bixler – Cedar Rapids – 9 G, 15.1 IP, 7 H, 6 BB, 19 K, 1.76 ERA, 0.85 WHIP
  • RHP Todd Van Steensel – Ft. Myers – 11 G, 14.1 IP, 9 H, 10 BB, 19 K, 1.88 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
  • RHP Dereck Rodriguez – Elizabethton – 7 G, 10.0 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 7 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.90 WHIP
  • RHP Eduardo Del Rosario – GCL Twins – 8 G, 13.0 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 12 K, 2.08 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
  • RHP Trevor Hildenberger – GCL Twins – 11 G, 14.2 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 14 K, 3.07 ERA, 1.02 WHIP
TOP 5 MINNESOTA TWINS RELIEF PITCHER OF JULY 2014

Number 5 – Cedar Rapids – RHP Nick Burdi - 9 G, 1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 10.0 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 21 K

The Twins drafted Nick Burdi in the 24th round out of high school, but they were unable to sign him. He said he wasn’t ready at that time. After three years as a dominant closer at Louisville, the Twins were able to draft him in June with their 2nd round pick, 46th overall. He signed after the College World Series and a couple weeks later he debuted with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. I was at his professional debut. He threw fastballs between 96 and 99 mph and a couple sliders around 88-89. However, he walked all four batters he faced and later all four came around to score. That was in late June. Since the beginning of July he has been terrific. His fastball has reportedly hit 100 mph a few times, and his slider is at 89-91. He has thrown strikes and missed a lot of bats. My sense is still that the 21 year old will be up with the Twins very early in the 2015 season.

Number 4 – Cedar Rapids/Ft. Myers – RHP Alex Muren - 8 G, 0.59 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 15.1 IP, 10 H, 2 BB, 14 K

Muren was the Twins 12th round pick in 2012 out of Cal State – Northridge. He spent the final 2/3 of the 2013 season with the Kernels and went 6-1 with a 2.85 ERA in 60 innings. This year, he was 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 56 innings with the Kernels before being promoted to Ft. Myers where he has made three appearances. Though he doesn’t throw real hard, he gets a lot of sink and induces a lot of ground balls. With the Kernels, he has had more than 2.5 ground outs per fly out. He also did a good job of getting the baseball to run below the bats in July, striking out nearly a batter per inning.

Number 3 – Ft. Myers – RHP Brandon Peterson - 9 G, 1.29 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 4 H, 8 BB, 21 K

Peterson has become a regular on these monthly lists. The Burnsville native was the Twins 13th round pick a year ago out of Wichita State. He began this season in Cedar Rapids, but he was promoted to the Miracle just nine appearances into the season. His transition to the Miracle has been very impressive. The 22 year old has a 1.82 ERA over 34.2 Florida State League innings. He has 50 strikeouts to go with just 13 walks in that time. He was very good in July, and a little better control would likely allow him to move up another level. In July, opponents hit just .089 off of him, but eight walks pushed their on-base percentage over 22%

Number 2 – Cedar Rapids – Dallas Gallant - 9 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 12.0 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 20 K

I mean, 90% of months, the numbers that Dallas Gallant put up in July would have been easily the top bullpen performance of the month. However, this month, it’s good for only number two. Let’s just say that he, and the Twins, will take more months like this from anyone. He was taken in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft out of Sam Houston State. He has had Tommy John surgery and missed time for other reasons including the first 50 games this season. However, since he has been activated by the Kernels, he has been lights out. Overall, he has 27 strikeouts to just four walks in his 16.2 innings this year. In July, opponents hit just .140/.213/.163 (.376) against him. Frankly, there’s no reason that he shouldn’t be in Ft. Myers right now. He throws mid-90s heat and has good secondary pitches as well.

And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is:
Elizabethton/Cedar Rapids – Jake Reed - 7 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.18 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 16 K

The Twins used their fifth round pick this June on Jake Reed, a closer from Oregon. The hard-throwing right-hander was sent to Elizabethton. However, after just four appearances and six innings, he was promoted to Cedar Rapids where he has continued to pitch great. As the Twins do with current-year draft pick pitchers, they don’t pitch real often, generally getting three days in between appearances. However, when Reed was on the mound in July, he was about as dominant as it gets. Opponents hit just .054/.079/.081 (.160) off him. Reed throws hard, having touched 97 at times. He has an OK breaking ball which will need to improve. He throws a little from the side, giving hitters a different look. He started his first two seasons at Oregon, so he could possibly go back to that role, though he could move much more quickly as a bullpen arm.


So what do you think? I’ve listed five relievers here (along with several other Honorable Mentions) that deserve to be recognized for their terrific performances. Who would your choice be? How would you rank these guys (and feel free to include others)?

Be sure to check back the next couple days for the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher and Hitter of the Month of July.

----
Twins win last night and you do today. Order a large or extra-large pizza from PapaJohns.com using the promo code TWINSWIN and get it for 50% off.

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More From MinnCentric

16 Comments

So, tell me again why Jarod Burton is still employed?

    • Monkeypaws and GoGonzoJournal like this

Burdi: 21 K in 10 innings. Is that a typo?! 

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mike wants wins
Aug 04 2014 07:32 AM

Would be interesting if they actually used their farm system for RP, and didn't keep signing 35 year olds. Why not promote a guy or two from Rochester right now, and see what you have?

 

It is looking like those experts that thought Burdi should be in AA to start may have been correct. 

    • Steve Lein likes this

That Cedar Rapids bullpen is just Ridiculous right now.If Burdi is in any early 2015 plans, I sure hope they move him up a level or two soon!

Give it time the Twins will start moving these guys up and in to their major league bullpen over time.Burdi will probably start the changing of the guard at some point next year. 

 

Its nice to see both Wimmers and Melotakis doing well after making the jump to AA.

Would be nice to see Deolis Guerra come up this year. He's really been pretty good the last few years (minus missing a year with a blood clot in his shoulder). He was tremendous this spring and shows a good FB/CU mix. Could be a good 7th inning type guy for 5-6 years. 

    • GoGonzoJournal likes this
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mike wants wins
Aug 04 2014 09:28 AM

Would be nice to see Deolis Guerra come up this year. He's really been pretty good the last few years (minus missing a year with a blood clot in his shoulder). He was tremendous this spring and shows a good FB/CU mix. Could be a good 7th inning type guy for 5-6 years. 

 

Agreed 100%. he really should be up now in place of one of the current guys. I really don't understand the development or 40 man or 25 man strategy of this rebuild.

Thought I heard that Mason Melotakis came down with a stiff elbow.  Any update on that if true?

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birdwatcher
Aug 04 2014 11:58 AM

Would be interesting if they actually used their farm system for RP, and didn't keep signing 35 year olds. Why not promote a guy or two from Rochester right now, and see what you have?

 

It is looking like those experts that thought Burdi should be in AA to start may have been correct. 

It's because they already know what they have and aren't going to care that we don't know what they have at this stage. Nothing's terribly broken in the MLB bullpen, although Burton's been more bad than good, but big deal. Perhaps they have concluded that Tonkin, Achter, Oliveres, Ibarra, and Thompson aren't better alternatives. They did bring up Pressly. Not sure what the complaint really is here, mike.

Agreed 100%. he really should be up now in place of one of the current guys. I really don't understand the development or 40 man or 25 man strategy of this rebuild.

 

It is kind of funny how an organization with such a bad major league team can have such high standards for promotions.May, Meyer, Achter, Guerra, and Tonkin have to really be wondering what is going on.

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mike wants wins
Aug 04 2014 12:19 PM

It's because they already know what they have and aren't going to care that we don't know what they have at this stage. Nothing's terribly broken in the MLB bullpen, although Burton's been more bad than good, but big deal. Perhaps they have concluded that Tonkin, Achter, Oliveres, Ibarra, and Thompson aren't better alternatives. They did bring up Pressly. Not sure what the complaint really is here, mike.

 

They thought Hicks was ready, and didn't learn if he was or not until he was here. We will 100% disagree on this forever. You get data by doing things in real life, not in practice.

It's because they already know what they have and aren't going to care that we don't know what they have at this stage. Nothing's terribly broken in the MLB bullpen, although Burton's been more bad than good, but big deal. Perhaps they have concluded that Tonkin, Achter, Oliveres, Ibarra, and Thompson aren't better alternatives. They did bring up Pressly. Not sure what the complaint really is here, mike.

 

It seems incredibly simple to me. In addition to probably being less talented than some of the young guys,Burton, like Guerrier is not going to be with this club when we are good again.So replace him for someone who might.

 

I remember the thread before the year that talked about expectations for the year and what success would look like. If my memory serves me correct, I remember everyone hoping we would be 3-5 games better, but nobody really cared.What seemed unanimous at the time was the franchise moving foward by the development of 8-10 guys (Arcia, Hicks, Gibson, Meyer, May, some ot the pen guys, Buxton, Sano, Rosario, and Kohl).A "successful year" would be those guys getting to the big leagues or taking strides in getting there.

 

Given those conversations, I am surprised that a good chunk of the site is OK with the Twins lack of promotions.Yohan Pino, Darnell, Johnson, etc.3 good young relievers still in AAA. 

I know there have been some eyebrows raised at the Twins habit of drafting college relievers of late. 

 

My eyebrows are raised in that none of them are actually on the team yet. Good powerful bullpen lies in our future.

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diehardtwinsfan
Aug 04 2014 03:37 PM
You don't see a lot of relief pitchers on the top 20 lists, but this system is absolutely stacked right now with back of the bull pen type arms. I suspect that you'll start seeing some transition out of the major league pen in short order. Right now, there are probably 3 AAA arms in Guerrera, Tonkin, and Achter that could come up and replace (and potentially upgrade) arms in the pen. Factor in some of these guys in the lower levels that could be faster risers, it looks like this team is going to do a pretty good job minimizing runs in the latter half of this decade.

When does Derek move up?  I know he just started pitching but seems like he should get moved up given how well he has been doing.

Didn't know where else to put this since there is not an active Adrian Salcedo Adopt a Prospect page, but...

 

Although he didn't warrant any more than honorable mention in July, Salcedo has put up very solid numbers for over three months! However, with an ERA that just now came down under 4.00, he has certainly flown under the radar this year.

 

Since a rough 3-game stretch in May, he has pitched 35 innings over 19 games and only given up only 5 earned runs (1.29 ERA) on 28 hits and 13 W with 32 K. He throws hard and his GO/AO rate is also >2!

 

I know the Twins have thought highly of him in the past, and he received a lot of prospect love earlier in his career. He is still just 23 and, according to Jeremy's big board, will be a 6-year ML free agent at the end of the year. Any chance he will be a September call-up and stay on the 40-man over the winter?


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