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Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month - May

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

There were some starters who put together very solid months, and that list includes more than just the following names. Andrew Albers posted a 2.48 ERA for the month and isnít in the Top 5. Kyle Gibson threw a couple of shutouts during May and he falls on the outside of this list. Jason Wheeler went 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA and isnít listed below.

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

Number 5 Ė New Britain Ė 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 in 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 isnít a huge strikeout pitcher, he knows how to pitch.

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

Last yearís 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 continued his ability to throw strikes and miss bats. He has given up some hits, but hasnít hurt himself with free passes. His season started in late April due to his time in the World Baseball Classic, but he has been very good despite being nearly four years younger than the average player in the Midwest League.

Number 3 Ė Cedar Rapids Ė 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 a strong control of the strike zone. He has the stuff to get strikeouts, but generally, he just gets really weak contact. He was the teamís 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. For 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 Ė Ft. Myers Ė Taylor Rogers Ė 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 was piggybacking with 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:

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Ft. Myers/New Britain Ė 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, that canít be ignored. He didnít give up hits. He didnít walk batters. The way he dominated in Ft. Myers was like few have in recent years. He was the Twins tenth round pick last year from Arkansas. As Iíve noted, one year ago, he was preparing for the MLB Draft by playing in the College World Series. Now, heís 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 starting pitchers in April, and more could be written on each. Hopefully this helps show you who has been pitching well. 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 at this point as the season starts to get a little long and their arms start to tire. Thatís the fun part. We shall find out.

Weíll 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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