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    by 05-03-2012, 12:47 AM

    Earlier this week, I handed out the “awards” for Twins minor league relief pitcher and starting pitcher of April. In each case, I was able to profile six pitchers and there were good numbers. Today, I am going to profile five Twins minor league hitters who had solid Aprils. Unlike with the pitchers, it was really tough to come up with hitters. If I’m being honest, it was a two-player race for the April Hitter of the Month. And, today, when the Twins have an off day after being shut out two straight games (and no-hit late last night by Jered Weaver), I wish I could tell you that there were several players at AAA Rochester who are hitting so well that they are pushing their way up to the big leagues. There aren’t.

    Here are my selections for the Top 5 Twins Minor League hitters in April:
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    by 05-02-2012, 11:40 PM

    The Twins were hoping to salvage game three of their series in Anaheim against the LA Angels. Instead, the Twins got another poor start and the bats were shut down. In fact, the bats managed to do nothing. Jered Weaver, one of baseball's best starting pitchers, threw a no-hitter against the Twins.

    The Angels won the game 9-0, but Weaver kept Twins fans interested in the game with his efforts. In fact, he kept the national television audience on their toes.

    In the eighth inning, Trevor Plouffe hit a home run ball that landed just foul. In the ninth, Jamey Carroll hit a deep fly ball to left. Denard Span was called out on strikes. Alexi Casilla drove the first pitch he saw from Weaver to deep right field, but Torii Hunter tracked it down, ending Weaver's first career no-hitter.
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    by 05-02-2012, 11:19 PM

    Even prior to tonight’s shellacking, the Twins collective ERA sits at 5.59, last in the major leagues. On the Gleeman and the Geek show last week, I asked “Can a team that ranks towards the bottom of the league in pitching even pretend to be competitive?” It turns out they can.

    Since 2000, there have been five teams that made the playoffs even though they ranked in the bottom third of the league in ERA. One of them was the Twins. In 2009, after a tense game 163 versus the Tigers, the Twins snuck into the playoffs with the 23rd best ERA in the major leagues. That same year, the Angels won their division (and their first round playoff series) with the 21st best ERA.
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    by 05-02-2012, 10:50 PM

    The Twins conclude their 3 game series against the Angels tonight. Here's the link to the TwinsDaily game thread. Hopefully Liam Hendriks can right the ship for Minnesota, without Justin Morneau (who hopefully will be back for Friday's game against Seattle) and Danny Valencia (back stiffness). It would be good not to be swept by the Angels. It would also be good to keep Albert Pujols from doing any damage. It's not looking good so far (6-0 Angels in the 4th, and the Twins have no hits), but perhaps this team can turn it around.

    In any event, I'll be asleep by the time the Twins game concludes, so here's a recap of Wednesday's minor league action:
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    by 05-02-2012, 07:31 AM

    Original post from North Dakota Twins Fan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    On Monday night, Ryan Braun put together an amazing offensive performance by hitting three home runs and adding a triple in another one of his at-bats. It was a historical night at the plate but there have been some even more historical nights in the long history of baseball. ESPN's SweetSpot Blog put up a vote of some of the greatest offensive nights in history. The leader in the clubhouse as of last night was Shawn Green and his 6-for-6 night with four home runs, a double, six runs, and seven RBI. It still stands as the MLB record for most total bases in one contest.

    This got me thinking about some of the best offensive performances in the history of the Minnesota Twins. Much like the SweetSpot post, these will only be regular season performances because the postseason is an entirely different story.
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    by 05-02-2012, 01:22 AM

    I have stated for some time that I believe Francisco Liriano’s greatest impediment to success is his erratic mechanics. One can argue that he may be struggling mentally but that would be a chicken-and-egg argument – is he getting down on himself because his inconsistent delivery or is his delivery out of whack because he is in his own head? Either way, getting him back to a consistent base in his mechanics would likely alleviate the mental side of his game.

    However, Liriano’s second biggest barrier to success – or perhaps issue 1B – is his inability to retire right-handed batters regularly.

    On Tuesday night, he made strides towards improving in both
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    by 05-01-2012, 11:31 PM

    The next time someone says that the Twins (or whichever team) is wasting roster spots by signing minor league free agents and hoping, remind them of Jerome Williams’ performance against the Twins on Tuesday night in LA. Formerly one of baseball’s top prospects (12-13 years ago), Williams has been signed as a minor league free agent several times. He should be proud of his three-hit shutout against the Twins. He had Twins hitters baffled all night (insert joke about how difficult that really is to do, if you choose). Francisco Liriano gave up four runs in 5.1 innings. Torii Hunter again had his number. The Twins lost 4-0, but it was all about Jerome Williams on this night.

    Since there is pretty much zero to be positive about with the Twins game, here is a look at the Twins minor league scores and highlights from Tuesday:
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    by 05-01-2012, 10:06 PM

    Baseball dominates a lot of our time in Beloit, so when we have a day off, we are left without an idea of what to do. An early game yesterday followed by an off day left me with loads of free time, but no clue how to fill it. What could I do to fill a day without baseball?

    I woke up early to help Jhonathan Goncalves make a trip to the dentist. He is one of the happiest and nicest guys I have ever met. I was friend/teammate/translator for the morning. The best way to learn a language is to speak it, even if I am constantly botching sentences.
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    by 05-01-2012, 10:05 PM

    Baseball dominates a lot of our time in Beloit, so when we have a day off, we are left without an idea of what to do. An early game yesterday followed by an off day left me with loads of free time, but no clue how to fill it. What could I do to fill a day without baseball?
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    by 05-01-2012, 07:20 PM

    The Twins announced today that they have designated infielder Sean Burroughs for assignment to make room for Drew Butera on the 25-man roster. This one is a head-scratcher.

    You can certainly make the argument that Joe Mauer's knee tenderness necessitated a call-up for Butera, as he may serve as more of a second catcher than third catcher for the time being. It's just tough to understand why the Twins felt the need to dump Burroughs when there was no good reason to do so.
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    by 05-01-2012, 12:37 PM

    I’m not particularly fond of how Minnesota treats its sports stars. The Puckett-like love affair is rare. More often, we pick nits. Kevin Garnett doesn’t score enough, or isn’t clutch enough. Joe Mauer doesn’t hit for enough power or doesn’t show enough leadership. Fran Tarkenton can’t win the big one, Harmon Killebrew is too quiet, Rod Carew is self-absorbed … the list goes on and on.
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    by 05-01-2012, 08:31 AM

    Last night, I posted my choice for the Twins minor league relief pitcher of the month, Deolis Guerra. I also mentioned five other bullpen guys that deserved recognition for their strong starts. This morning, I’ll post my choice for the Twins minor league start pitcher for April. There were some pretty good options, but in the end, the choice was pretty easy. As always, I welcome feedback in the Comments if you have any thoughts, questions, or want to ‘vote’ for your choice.
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    by 04-30-2012, 09:53 PM

    Each month here at Twins Daily, we will be posting choices for Twins minor league relief pitcher, starting pitcher and hitter of the month. First, I want to share with you some of the top relief pitchers in the Twins minor league system in the month of April. I'll follow up over the next 24 hours with the starting pitcher and hitter of the month.

    What are we looking for to help determine these rankings? Well, as you can see, Win-Loss record means nothing in my mind. ERA is nice but doesn't account for inherited runners scoring. I think WHIP is pretty important because not allowing base runners helps not allow runs. Walks and strikeouts are nice, and even innings pitched factors in because often the sample size is quite small.

    However, let's start with the Top 6 Relief Pitchers in April:
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    by 04-30-2012, 09:43 PM

    The Twins are taking a trip to the west coast to play the hapless Angels. Joe Mauer is getting a day off to rest his knee, which he fouled a ball off of yesterday. Today will be Mauer’s first day off this season. Yes, you read that right.

    One additional note: If you thought “Promotion Weekend” had drawn to a close, you thought wrong. LSP Luke French, who had been nothing short of dominant at New Britain, has been promoted to Rochester.

    Moving on, let’s look at the Twins minor league scores and highlights from the last day of a forgetable April:
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    by 04-29-2012, 11:21 PM

    After missing a couple games due to the birth of his child, Josh Willingham returned to the Twins lineup on Sunday and immediately made his presence felt, delivering a two-run triple in his first at-bat to set the tone in a 7-4 Twins victory.

    Willingham finished the day 3-for-5 with a double and a single in addition to the three-bagger, raising his OPS to an eye-popping 1.163.
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    by 04-29-2012, 09:48 PM

    After spring training I was relieved to know that I made a roster and was heading to Beloit, WI to play for the Snappers. Spring training is always a grind and it was tough to see some guys get cut. That is the part of the game that is the "business" and it is always in the back of your head that today could be your last day. Some friends of mine were released and I wish all of them the best of luck in whatever they choose to do in or out of baseball. I spent the 2011 season in Beloit and during the season I made a connection with a family who attended and volunteered at many of the games last season.

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