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Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month - May

Yesterday, we looked at the Top Relief Pitchers in May, and today we’ll be taking a look at the top pitching performances of the month.

There were some starters who put together very solid months, and that includes more than just the Top Five: Andrew Albers posted a 2.48 ERA for the month and isn’t in the Top 5. Kyle Gibson threw a couple shutouts during May and he falls outside of this list. Jason Wheeler went 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA and also isn’t listed.

So hey, who made the final list? Here are the Top 5 Starting Pitchers for May:[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]

Number 5 – New Britain – Logan Darnell - 6 GS, 2-3, 2.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 41.2 IP, 40 H, 7 BB, 33 K

Darnell is a 24-year-old left-hander who was the Twins 6th round draft pick in 2010 from Kentucky. He had a very good month of May. As important as any of the other numbers are his innings pitched. He averaged nearly seven innings per start which is huge for any team. Though he isn’t a high strikeout pitcher, he knows how to pitch.

Number 4 – Cedar Rapids – Jose (JO) Berrios - 5 GS, 2-2, 2.63 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 27.1 IP, 31 H, 6 BB, 31 K

Last year’s supplemental 1st round pick, Berrios has impressed since signing. He has incredible control. Last year in the rookie leagues he walked just four and struck out 49. This year, the young Puerto Rican righty has maintained his ability to throw strikes and miss bats. He has given up some hits, but hasn’t hurt himself with free passes. His season started in late April due to his time in the World Baseball Classic; he has been very good despite the late start and being nearly four years younger than the average player in the Midwest League.

Number 3 – Cedar Rapids – Tyler Duffey - 5 GS, 0-1, 2.93 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 30.2 IP, 31 H, 3 BB, 26 K

Duffey was in the Top 5 a month ago as well. He has been the Kernels most consistent starter. Like Berrios, Duffey has strong control of the strike zone. He has the stuff to get strikeouts, but generally, he just gets really weak contact. Last year he was the team’s 5th round pick out of Rice where he pitched in the bullpen. He has transitioned very smoothly to the role of starter. He is a sturdy young man and has some projection. Because of his performance in the first two months, Duffey will be making the trek from Cedar Rapids to Ft. Myers today where he will join the Miracle staff.

Number 2 – Ft. Myers – Taylor Rogers – 5 G, 4 GS, 2-1, 1.00 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 27.0 IP, 31 H, 4 BB, 21 K

Just look at the numbers that Rogers put up in May. Most months, those would make him an easy choice to win such an award. He made four starts and one relief appearance in the month. In the relief appearance he was piggybacking on Cole De Vries who was making a rehab start. Rogers was the Twins 11th round pick last year. Like fellow lefties Albers and Darnell, he went to the University of Kentucky. He has a fastball in the low-90s and a very good slider that can be devastating to left-handed bats.

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

Attached Image: Baxendale2.jpg

Photo by Greg Wagner/Fort Myers Miracle

Ft. Myers/New Britain – DJ Baxendale
- 5 GS, 3-1, 2.20 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 32.2 IP, 22 H, 7 BB, 25 K

Baxendale had a rough start in his AA debut last week, and that shows in his numbers. However, when a guy starts a month with four starts and gives up just one earned run in 28 innings, he can’t be ignored. He didn’t give up many hits nor did he walk many. Rarely has anyone dominated in Ft. Myers as he did. He was the Twins tenth round pick last year from Arkansas. A year ago he was preparing for the MLB Draft by playing in the College World Series. Now, he’s showing what he can do in AA, two promotions from the big leagues. For the second straight month, DJ Baxendale is our Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month.

There were a lot of very good performances by starters in May and more could be written on each. I hope this shows who has been pitching best. As we know, Kyle Gibson is close. Tyler Duffey has been promoted to High-A. How will these and the rest of the pitchers perform as the season starts to get a little long and their arms start to tire. That’s the fun part. We shall find out.

We’ll be back tomorrow to discuss the top Hitters in the Twins system in May. Please feel free to comment and ask questions.

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