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  1. Twins Minor League Report (7/27): Super Slegers

    Rochester 1, Toledo 2
    Box Score
    Pat Dean pitching a complete game and limited the Mud Hens to two runs but he didn't get enough run support and was handed his ninth loss of the season. He scattered nine hits and walked two while striking out one. It was his third straight start of seven innings or more while allowing two earned runs or fewer. He's taken the loss in two of those three starts.

    The lone Rochester run came courtesy of a Reynaldo Rodriguez solo home run. Eric Farris matched Rodriguez with a 2-for-4 night at the plate. Jorge Polanco and Chris Herrmann both reached base twice with a pair of walks. The team had only three at-bats with runners in scoring position but they were held hitless in those RBI situations.

    With the loss, the Red Wings have lost five straight games and sit three games over .500. The club currently sits three games behind the Scranton/WB RailRiders for first place in the International League North Division.

    Fort Myers 5, Lakeland 1 (7 Innings)
    Box Score

    Aaron Slegers earned his eighth victory after pitching a seven inning complete game. He allowed one earned run on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks. It was his sixth straight start of pitching at least seven innings and allowing two earned runs or fewer. During that stretch, he has gone 4-1 while limiting opponents to one walk.

    Michael Quesada drove in a pair of runs to help add to the Miracle lead. Engelb Vielma and DJ Hicks finished the game with two hits, each having a double. T.J. White went 2-for-3 with a run scored. The team had more than enough offense to back the stellar pitching performance by Slegers.

    Fort Myers 1, Lakeland 6 (7 Innings)
    Box Score
    After the strong pitching performance from Slegers in the first half of the double- header, Chih-Wei Hu had a tough time on the mound. He allowed five earned runs on 10 hits while striking out six in less than five innings of work. Brian Gilbert, Tyler Jay, and Trevor Hildenberger put up zeros for the rest of the night but it was too big of a hole.

    No Miracle batter had more than one hit and none of the team's hits were for extra bases. Michael Quesada scored the lone run for the team. Engelb Vielma reached base twice and finished the doubleheader 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI, a run and a walk.

    E-Twins E-Notes
    E-Twins 0, Johnson City 4 (7 Innings)
    Box Score
    The E-Twins were held to three hits as no one on the team had more than one hit. Chris Paul reached base two times and cracked the team's lone extra-base hit, a double. A.J. Murray, Alex Perez, and Manuel Guzman each reached base two times. The team went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base.

    Alexis Tapia pitched into the sixth inning but took the loss after allowing four runs, three earned, while striking out nine and walking three. Tyler Stirewalt pitched 1.1 innings without allowing a run. He struck out one and didn't walk any. The loss dropped the E-Twins to four games under .500.

    E-Twins 4, Johnson City 1 (7 Innings)
    Box Score
    The E-Twins struggled to get on the board in the first half of the doubleheader but they found a way to scratch out some hits in the second half. LaMonte Wade had a pair of hits including a double to go along with two RBI. Alex Perez scored two runs and hit his fourth double of the season. The E-Twins two through seven hitters each had at least one hit and the team left only four men on base.

    Onesimo Hernandez remained perfect on the season after throwing five innings of one-run ball. He struck out four and walked one and the lone run was scored on a solo home run. C.K. Irby picked up his first save after pitching two scoreless innings to close out the contest.

    GCL Twins Takes
    GCL Twins 2, GCL Rays 1 (Suspended- 2 Innings)
    Box Score
    The GCL Twins were scheduled for a doubleheader but they weren't able to get through two innings of work before rain interrupted play. Lewin Diaz and Jermaine Palacios each drove in a run before the rain came atumblin' down. Look for a full report on both of these games when the rain finally stops falling in Florida.

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Aaron Slegers, Fort Myers Miracle
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Engelb Vielma, Fort Myers Miracle

    Rochester @ Toldeo (6:00 CST) – RHP Jose Berrios
    Chattanooga vs. Pensacola (6:15 CST) – LHP Brett Lee
    Ft. Myers vs. Lakeland (6:05 CST) – RHP Ryan Eades
    Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (6:30 CST) – RHP Keaton Steele
    Elizabethton vs. Johnson City (6:00 CST) – TBA
    GCL Twins vs. GCL Rays (11:00 am CST) – TBA
    GCL Twins vs. GCL Rays (Completion of 7/27 Game)

    • Jul 27 2015 09:47 PM
    • by Cody Christie
  2. Twins Minor League Report (7/21): Sweet Sixteenth

    These topics and much more can be found as you work your way through today’s Minor League Report.

    Rochester 3, Gwinnett 5
    Box Score

    Tyler Duffey started this game perfect. In fact, through five innings, he had not allowed a base runner. The perfect game, no hitter and shutout were all gone in the sixth inning. He went 6.1 innings and gave up four runs (two earned) on four hits. He walked none and struck out five. Alex Meyer came in with two runners on in the seventh. He allowed one to score on a groundout before giving up a two-run homer. Aaron Thompson and A.J. Achter each pitched a scoreless inning.

    Jorge Polanco went 2-4 with his fourth and fifth AAA doubles. Chris Herrmann also went 2-4. Reynaldo Rodriguez was 1-3 with a walk. Oswaldo Arcia went 1-4 with a double and two strikeouts.

    Chattanooga 4, Montgomery 8 (10 innings)
    Box Score

    The Lookouts played a morning game on Monday. They needed an extra inning and that tenth inning did not go well for the team.

    Alex Wimmers made the start. He went just three innings and gave up four runs. He gave up four hits, walked five and struck out three. Tim Shibuya replaced him and threw three scoreless innings. . Brandon Peterson threw two scoreless innings. Jake Reed pitched a scoreless ninth. With the score knotted at four after nine, DJ Johnson was tasked with the tenth inning. He gave up four runs on four hits and a walk in the inning to take the loss.

    The Lookouts managed just four hits in the game but they worked ten walks. Marcus Knecht led the way with three walks. Max Kepler and Kennys Vargas each walked twice in the game.

    Ft. Myers 2, Jupiter 1 (16 innings)
    Box Score

    The Miracle game started about three hours before the Minnesota Twins game started in California. It ended as the Twins and Angels were playing in the sixth inning.

    The game was tied at one heading into the bottom of the 16th inning. T.J. White led off by reaching on an error. Jason Kanzler doubled him to third. Chad Christensen was intentionally walked to load the bases. Following a pitching change, Logan Wade flew out to right field. The right fielder made a diving catch but could not get up and throw to the plate quiclyk enough to get White. The Miracle won.

    In his second game back from an AC joint sprain, Engelb Vielma had two hits and a walk. He also stole his 22nd and 23rd bases. Ryan Walker went 2-6. Jason Kanzler had his seventh double, second triple and a walk. Chad Christensen went 2-5 and walked twice (both intentional). He also stole his 17th base.

    The interesting thing in minor league baseball is how pitching staffs get used in a long, extra innings game. The Miracle have plenty of experience. Before the short season leagues started, the Miracle would grab pitchers from extended spring training and use them. They may have to do the same after this one.

    Chih-Wei Hu had a very good start. He gave up just an unearned run on four hits and three walks in 6.1 innings. Corey Williams got the final two outs in the seventh. Zack Jones then struck out two over two hitless, scoreless innings. Dallas Gallant went the next 2.1 innings without allowing a run. He gave up a hit and walked two. He was replaced by Nick Burdi who struck out two in 1.2 hitless innings. Brian Gilbert came on to start the 14th inning. He went the next 2.2 innings without giving up a run. With two outs in the 16th inning, he was replaced by Todd Van Steensel who got the final out.

    Cedar Rapids 6, Wisconsin 2
    Box Score

    In his second start of the season, Felix Jorge gave up one run and struck out nine in five innings. I mention that because on Tuesday, he made his 16th start of the season and just once has he not pitched at least six innings. In this game, he went seven innings and gave up just two runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out seven. He improved to 5-3 with a 2.10 ERA. Luke Bard hit one batter over two scoreless innings to drop his season ERA to 1.44.

    The Kernels had 12 hits in the game and five players had multi-hit games. Tanner English went 2-4 with his fourth homer. Nick Gordon went 2-4 with his 13th and 14th doubles. Pat Kelly went 2-3 with a walk and two RBI. Recent newcomers Austin Diemer and Sean Miller each went 2-4.

    Elizabethton 6, Princeton 7
    Box Score

    Alexis Tapia made the start for E-Town. The right-hander gave up four runs on seven hits (two home runs) over six innings. He struck out four. Anthony McIver gave up two runs on three hits in just one inning. Kuo Hua Lo gave up one run on one hit and one walk in two innings.

    Dan Kihle went 1-2 with three walks in the game. He was leading off and scored three runs. Manuel Guzman went 2-4. Travis Blankenhorn went 2-4 and knocked his first professional home run.

    GCL Twins 3, GCL Orioles 4
    Box Score

    The Twins fell behind early and were unable to catch up. Lachlan Wells started. He gave up four runs on six hits, a walk and a hit batter in 4.1 innings. He struck out two. Hector Lujan went the next 1.2 innings. He gave up a hit and a walk but no runs. Brandon Poulson got one out, but he gave up one hit and walked a batter. Miguel Gonzalez struck out two over the final 1.2 innings.

    Bryant Hayman led the offense. He went 3-4. Dalton Hicks, in another rehab appearance, went 1-4 with his second double and an RBI.


    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Felix Jorge, Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Tanner English, Cedar Rapids Kernels


    Gwinnett @ Rochester (6:05 CST) – LHP Pat Dean
    Tennessee @ Chattanooga (6:15 CST) – TBD
    Ft. Myers at Tampa (6:00 CST) – RHP Ryan Eades
    Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (12:05 CST) – RHP Ethan Mildren
    Princeton @ Elizabethton (6:00 CST) – RHP Miles Nordgren
    GCL Twins vs GCL Rays (11:00 CST) - TBA

    Feel free to leave any questions or comments below

    • Jul 21 2015 10:38 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  3. Twins Minor League Report (6/26): Early Leads Evaporate

    To find out how it all went down, keep reading!


    First, there were some significant transactions on Friday.

    As reported yesterday, top pitching prospect Alex Meyer was promoted to the Twins to pitch out of their bullpen. The move was made official today and Meyer will be ready to make his major league debut in Milwaukee.

    That exciting news was also met with some bad news, as Byron Buxton is headed to the disabled list with a sprained thumb. The Twins recalled Danny Santana in his place.

    Also on the move to Rochester, is Aaron Hicks to begin a rehab assignment, and the Red Wings also activated Nate Hanson from their disabled list.

    On to the action from Friday night!

    Charlotte 3, Rochester 1
    Box Score

    Lefthander Pat Dean was on the hill for Rochester, and was fantastic. In seven innings, he allowed just two runs while scattering seven hits and two walks. He struck out three. Both runs came in the third inning, as a couple of doubles scored one and a single scored the other.

    Charlotte’s starter was just as good, however. Erik Johnson bettered Dean with a line of: 7 IP, 4 Hits, 1 Run, 1BB, and 8 K’s. Johnson currently leads with International League with eighty-eight strikeouts, and was the league’s pitcher of the week coming into the game after two shutout performances in his prior two starts.

    The Red Wings lone run of the game came in the fifth, when a double from Carlos Paulino brought home Ryan Wheeler who had singled.

    As a team Rochester left just four men on base while going 1-4 with runners in scoring position, so their opportunities were very few and far between. James Beresford and Oswaldo Arcia picked up the other two hits. Aaron Hicks was 0-4 with two strikeouts in his first game of rehab.

    Lester Oliveros pitched a scoreless eighth inning, allowing one hit but striking out three. Michael Tonkin allowed one run on three hits in the ninth in his first appearance back with the Red Wings. He struck out one.

    Chattanooga 6, Montgomery 7
    Box Score

    The Montgomery Biscuits handed the Lookouts the 2-0 lead after one inning as Levi Michael led off the game by getting hit with a pitch and stealing second base. Miguel Sano sent a pitch into center field that resulted in a fielding error that scored Michael and put him on second base. Max Kepler followed with an RBI single.

    Alex Wimmers was on the mound for Chattanooga coming off a 3-0 stretch in which he had allowed zero runs in seven plus innings each game, pitching 21.2 innings. Over that time he had given up just eight hits and six walks, while striking out twenty three.

    He was able to continue this scoreless stretch for four innings, but it was clear he didn’t have the same stuff as Montgomery managed four hits and three walks in those innings. They finally got to him in the fifth.

    A triple, sac fly, single, double, single and another sac fly tied the game at three before Wimmers was lifted for Brandon Peterson. He recorded a strikeout to end the inning.

    The Lookouts took back the lead in the seventh inning, when the Biscuit’s bullpen came into play. Sano came to the plate with runners on the corners, and put himself into scoring position with an RBI double. Kepler was then intentionally walked to load the bases before Travis Harrison picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice ground ball.

    An RBI single from Michael added another insurance run in the eighth to make the score 6-3, and fireballer Zach Jones came on to pitch. The leadoff man singled before consecutive strikeouts got the Biscuits manager ejected, but it may have sparked his team. Consecutive singles loaded the bases, and exactly what you hope doesn’t happen, did. Leadoff man Joey Rickard’s first home run of the year, in fifty-nine games played, was a grand slam to put Montgomery ahead 7-6.

    Sano led off the ninth inning with his third double of the game to put the tying run at second base, but he remained there on a Kepler strikeout, Harrison ground out to the pitcher, and a hit-by-pitch for Heiker Meneses. That brought big moment kingpin Adam Brett Walker to the batters box. In a cruel twist of fate, he drew a walk to load the bases. (They probably weren’t pitching much to him!)

    Stuart Turner wouldn’t get a chance to be a hero, as Walker was caught napping with his bases-loaded lead at first base, leading to snap-throw pickoff from Biscuits catcher Justin O’Connor to end the game.

    Michael (2-3, 2 R’s, RBI, BB), Sano (3-5, R, 3 2B’s, RBI), Kepler (2-4, 2 RBI, BB), and Niko Goodrum (2-4, R) picked up multiple hits for the Lookouts.
    Charlotte 4, Fort Myers 5 (15 innings)
    Box Score

    Fort Myers also jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning by taking advantage of a couple of walks. Zach Granite led off the game with one, Aderlin Mejia followed with a single and after an Alex Swim fielder’s choice, Marcus Knecht drew a walk to load the bases.

    Mitch Garver promptly cleared them with a double to make the score 3-0.

    Chih-Wei Hu made the start for the Miracle, and he began by striking out the side in the opening frame, the side including a rehabbing Grady Sizemore of the Philadelphia Phillies as the game’s first hitter. He’d allow a few singles but no runs going into the fourth inning, when the Stone Crabs struck back.

    A home run from Mike Marjama would make the score 3-1 after the fourth, and in the fifth two doubles around a Sizemore single tied the game at three.

    Hu finished six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, but struck out ten Stone Crabs hitters along the way. Those ten strikeouts matched his season high back on April 17th.

    Brian Gilbert came on for the seventh and started the inning with a walk. That brought up Sizemore who doubled down the right field line to bring in a run, giving Charlotte a 4-3 lead.

    The eighth inning marked the professional debut of the Twins 2015 first-round draft pick, lefthander Tyler Jay from the University of Illinois. I checked in to the Fort Myers broadcast to catch the action, and I liked what I heard. The first batter he faced doubled to left field, but Jay worked around it, getting the next three batters, including a strikeout on an 86 MPH, hard breaking slider. He had a brisk pace and utilized a consistent 94-96 MPH fastball, and another one of his sliders registered at 88. Congrats on a successful debut, Tyler!

    Todd Van Steensel came on for the top of the ninth, and had a one-two-three inning, including another strikeout of Sizemore.

    The Miracle weren’t able to manage much after the first inning. From the second inning through the eighth, they registered just three hits and were unable to string any of them together to add any runs to the scoreboard.

    Then they almost walked it off in the ninth.

    Down by one, Garver was hit by a pitch and replaced on the bases by Jason Kanzler to start the frame. Bryan Haar followed with a single, and a bunt attempt by Chad Christensen was misplayed on the force play at third, loading the bases with the winning run in scoring position.

    The first opportunity went to Logan Wade. His groundball to short with the infield in led to a force out at home for the inning's first out. Engelb Vielma then grounded one to short resulting in the same outcome. Zach Granite was be next.

    His line drive single to center field brought in Christensen and Wade was waved around third, but the throw from center field beat him to the plate to end the inning, sending it to extra-innings.

    Leftfielder Marcus Knecht was a defensive hero in the tenth, as he made a nice running catch on the first hitter of the frame to rob a base hit, and recorded the final out on a leaping, crashing-into-the-wall catch to rob a potential go-ahead home run. Guess who was coming up the next inning?

    Knecht didn’t bring the game-winner home in this at-bat, or his next, but in the fifteenth inning he stepped to the plate again with the bases loaded.

    He literally walked it off this time, drawing a free pass to push the game-winning run across the plate. In a strange statistical anomaly, it was the fourth time this season he has picked up an RBI with a bases-loaded walk.

    In extra innings, Van Steensel combined with Alex Muren and Matt Summers to keep the Stone Crabs off the scoreboard. Muren went three innings, allowing four hits but no runs because of five strikeouts, and Summers got credited with the win with two perfect innings.
    Quad Cities 4, Cedar Rapids 3 (10 innings)
    Box Score

    As is the theme, the Kernels also took a first inning lead against the first half division winning Quad Cities River Bandits in this one. Top draft pick Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros was also making his professional debut for the opposing squad.

    Cedar Rapids begin the game with walks to Edgar Corcino and Nick Gordon, and a single from Zack Larson loaded the bases. Alex Real then brought in the first run of the game with another single, and a T.J. White groundout allowed Gordon to scamper home for a 2-0 lead after one inning.

    Ethan Mildren made the start for Cedar Rapids and kept Quad Cities off balance all night. He scattered five hits and two walks over six innings while striking out three and allowing no damage to the scoreboard. It was still 2-0 Kernels when he was relieved by Luke Westphal to start the seventh.

    A leadoff triple led to a 2-1 game on a groundout to Gordon at shortstop.

    The Kernels got the run back in the bottom half of the inning when White lined a double to left field, and went station to station on groundouts from Jorge Fernandez and Brian Navarreto to make the score 3-1.

    Trevor Hildenberger came in to pitch the eighth, and was not his usual unhittable self. He picked up a strikeout on his first, fourth, and seventh hitters of the inning, but in between four singles pushed two runs across home plate to tie the game at three. Hildenberger was charged with his first blown save of the year. He would come back out for the ninth inning, and although he escaped with no further damage, he was struck with two more base hits.

    Out to pitch in extra innings, was the also recently unhittable Randy LeBlanc, who brought with him a twenty-six inning scoreless streak. He made it 26.1 innings to set the season high for the Kernels, but got no further. A triple to the second batter of the inning put the runner is prime scoring position for a sac fly and 4-3 River Bandits lead.

    In the bottom half, Cedar Rapids got the tying run in scoring position, but a Gordon fly out and Larson strikeout ended the game in ten.

    Alex Real (2-4, RBI) and White (2-4, R, 2B, RBI) picked up multiple hits, and Corcino reached base three times via walk to lead the offense. They were outhit thirteen to five as a team.

    Pulaski 1, Elizabethton 4
    Box Score

    Like their big-brother affiliates, the Elizabethton Twins also struck in the first frame for an early lead. Fortunately for them, they were able to hang onto that lead, and were never really threatened.

    Their three runs in the first came on a three-run home run from Tyler Kuresa, his second in three games.

    It was more than enough as Twins starting pitcher Andro Cutura allowed just three hits to Pulaski in five innings. He walked two and struck out six. Relievers Anthony Mciver, Alex Robinson, and Jose Abreu did not allow any other hits to finish the game.

    Mciver struck out two in two perfect innings. Robinson hit a batter and walked two to load the bases for Abreu, who then hit a batter to bring in Pulaski’s only run. He retired the next three hitters to escape the inning and worked a perfect ninth, striking out the final hitter of the game to pick up the save.

    Elizabethton’s fourth run scored on a Kamron Young single in the seventh to score Nelson Molina. Lamonte Wade was only hitter in the lineup to record multiple hits, going 2-4. A.J. Murray added a double.

    Twins 1, Red Sox 5
    Box Score

    There was little offense for the Twins in this one, as they managed just four hits, leaving six men on base, and were 1-4 with runners in scoring position. Two of those four hits came from fourth-round draft choice Trey Cabbage, who played third base in this contest. He also picked up their only RBI by driving in catcher Brian Olson, who had tripled in front of him in the ninth inning. Leadoff man Luis Martinez added a double.

    Luis Hernandez started the game for the Twins, and was roughed up to the tune of six runs (five earned) on six hits and two walks in just 2.1 innings. He did strike out three. Moises Gomez, Callan Pearce and Brandon Poulson combined to finish the final 5.2 innings, allowing no runs on five hits and one walk. Poulson struck out two in the eighth inning after the first man up reached base on a Cabbage throwing error from third.


    Pitcher of the Day – Chih-Wei Hu, Fort Myers Miracle (6 IP, 8 H’s, 3 ER’s, 0 BB’s, 10 K’s)
    Hitter of the Day – Miguel Sano, Chattanooga Lookouts (3-5, R, 3 2B’s, RBI)


    Charlotte @ Rochester (6:05 PM CST) – LHP Tyler Duffey (2-4, 3.35 ERA)
    Chattanooga @ Montgomery (6:35 PM CST) – LHP Brett Lee (0-1, 5.09 ERA)
    Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30 PM CST) – TBD
    Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) – RHP Keaton Steele (2-2, 3.16 ERA)
    Pulaski @ Elizabethton (5:00 PM CST) – RHP Cody Stashak (0-0, -.-- ERA, 13th Round Pick out of St. Johns)
    GCL Red Sox @ GCL Twins (9:00 AM CST) – TBD

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Friday’s games.

    • Jun 27 2015 07:24 PM
    • by Steve Lein
  4. Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher Of The Month - May 2015

    With that, let's get to know these starting pitchers. Below are the Top 5 Starting Pitchers for May.

    We begin, however, with a few players deserving of mention.

    • Rochester LHP Pat Dean – 6 GS, 3-3, 3.07 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 41.0 IP, 45 H, 7 BB, 11 K
    • Chattanooga/Rochester – RHP Tyler Duffey – 6 GS, 2-2, 2.56 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 38.2 IP, 37 H, 9 BB, 37 K
    • Ft. Myers LHP Brett Lee – 5 GS, 1-2, 2.70 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 33.1 IP, 29 H, 12 BB, 16 K
    • Cedar Rapids/Ft. Myers LHP Mat Batts – 4 GS, 1-1, 1.96 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 21 H, 7 BB, 23 K


    Number 5 – Cedar Rapids – RHP Felix Jorge - 5 GS, 2-1, 2.97 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 30.1 IP, 25 H, 4 BB, 20 K

    21-year-old Jorge really struggled in his early-season showing with the Kernels last year but went on to be the Appy League Pitcher of the Year. He came back to Cedar Rapids this year and has been very good. Overall, the lanky right-hander is 3-2 with a 2.42 ERA. In 48.1 innings over eight starts, he has a 0.93 WHIP due to just 36 hits and nine walks. He has very good mechanics and sits in the low-90s. He has a good feel for pitching.

    Number 4 – Chattanooga – RHP JO Berrios - 6 GS, 4-1, 2.61 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 41.1 IP, 33 H, 9 BB, 42 K

    May is a big month for JO Berrios. On the 27th, he turned 21 years old. On the 15th, his daughter turned one. I believe even his wife’s birthday is on the 13th, and on that day, he threw a nine-inning, complete game, two-hit shutout at Birmingham. He was able to go at least six innings in all but one of this six starts. Through the end of May, Berrios had gone 6-2 with a 2.84 ERA. Opponents had hit just .242/.305/.360 off of him in May. He continues to pitch in the low-to-mid 90s with really good secondary pitches and control. Berrios has solidified himself as the Twins top pitching prospect. Could a move to Rochester be imminent?

    Number 3 – Ft. Myers/Rochester – RHP Chih-Wei Hu - 4 GS, 2-0, 0.78 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 16 H, 7 BB, 18 K

    Hu had a very interesting month. The right-hander from Taiwan made two starts at Ft. Myers before it was announced that he was going to make a spot start for the AAA Rochester Red Wings. Hu pitched better than anyone could have hoped or expected. He gave up just one run on two hits in six innings. He walked four, but he also struck out six. He quickly returned to Ft. Myers where he didn’t make his next start for 11 days. He didn’t miss a beat. He gave up two runs (one earned) in that start. The stocky right-hander tops out about 95 mph though he sits 91-93. He’s got a palm ball, a couple of breaking pitches and everything he throws gets a lot of movement.

    Number 2 – Cedar Rapids – LHP Stephen Gonsalves - 5 GS, 3-1, 1.61 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 28.0 IP, 16 H, 9 BB, 36 K

    Gonsalves was our choice for Starting Pitcher of the Month for April. Overall, he is now 6-1 with a 1.15 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP in nine starts this year for Cedar Rapids. He has dominated the Midwest League all year. In fact, his only loss came on May 1. In that start, he gave up two runs over seven innings. However, that was the game that the Kernels were no-hit by Clinton. Batters hit .165/.257/.206 (.463) in the month of May. Gonsalves has an advanced baseball and pitching knowledge. He is tall, strong and has the pitches and good control to be very successful as he continues to advance and grow. He won’t turn 21 for another month, so he’s got a lot of room yet for growth. Following his June 1 start, he announced that he has been promoted to Ft. Myers to continue his season.

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

    Rochester Red Wings – LHP Tommy Milone - 5 GS, 4-0, 0.70 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 38.2 IP, 25 H, 3 BB, 47 K

    At the end of April, when Ricky Nolasco came off of the disabled list, the Twins needed to open up a spot in the starting rotation. The decision was made to have Tommy Milone continue to start, so he was sent back to Rochester because he had an option remaining. Understandably, he was disappointed, but he said all the right things.

    He also performed on the field as you would hope. OK, that’s not true. There’s no way that there could be any hope that he would be as incredible as he has been with the Red Wings.

    In his first start, he threw 6.1 shutout innings. He just got better from there. In start number two, he threw eight shutout innings. Then he threw his first professional complete game shutout. In his next start, he went another 8.1 innings without giving up a run before giving up a solo home run with an out in the ninth. To summarize, he went 37.2 innings without giving up a run in AAA. In those 31.2 scoreless innings, he gave up just 20 hits, walked two and struck out 41.

    He made one more start in May and pitched “just” a regular quality start. He gave up two runs in seven innings.

    Milone was promoted to the Twins and will make the start in Boston this afternoon (Thursday). Before the game, Ricky Nolasco will throw a bullpen and the team will determine whether or not he will go on the disabled list. If they decide that Nolasco is all right, he will start on Saturday. That means that this could be a spot start for Milone with the Twins and he could be returned to the Red Wings after the game.

    If Nolasco does go on the DL, Milone will have at least a couple more opportunities to stake his claim on a rotation spot with the Twins. The 28 year old is a big league pitcher. He’s not a AAA pitcher and he’s not a AAAA pitcher. He should be in a starting rotation. It’s strange for the Twins and their fans to have pitchers throwing so well that a legit big league starter is sitting in AAA waiting for an opportunity.

    However, because he was in the minor leagues for the full month, his incredible numbers simply can’t be ignored. What a tremendous month for the left-hander.

    Please feel free to post your comments on Milone, Gonsalves, Hu, Berrios, Jorge and the rest of the Twins minor league starting pitchers who pitched well in May. Let us know what you think.

    • Jun 04 2015 06:56 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  5. Twins Minor League Leader Board (Through May 29)

    For most statistical categories, we’ll look at the Top 5 players, though some leeway is given in the event of ties (or just common sense). For hitters, I am using 140 plate appearances as the cutoff for BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, IsoD and IsoP. For pitchers, we’ll look at ERA, WHIP, K/9 and BB/9. I am using 32.0 innings as the cutoff for starters and 16.0 innings as the cutoff for relief pitchers.

    Here is the Minnesota Twins Minor League Leader Board through games played on Friday, May 29.


    As you can see, some players have now passed 200 plate appearances for the season. The sample size is starting to get larger. Many of the same names are appearing on these lists. Feel free to comment below on what stands out to you.

    Plate Appearances: Niko Goodrum (213), Byron Buxton (209), Zach Granite (208), Max Murphy (201), Nick Gordon (194)

    Batting Average: Trey Vavra (.346), Alex Swim (.339), James Beresford (.324), Zach Granite (.320), Max Kepler/Jorge Polanco (.315),

    On-Base Percentage: Trey Vavra (.406), Zach Granite (.402), Travis Harrison (.377), Alex Swim (.368), James Beresford (.365),

    Isolated Discipline: Mitch Garver (.131), Tanner English (.125), Niko Goodrum (.106), Miguel Sano (.102), Michael Gonzales (.094), Travis Harrison (.092)

    (I like this statistic because it’s easy to calculate, but it also shows which hitters are not as reliant upon getting hits to get on base. It is simply (OBP-BA). A guy can have a low batting average, but he can still have value if he’s getting on base at a good percentage.)

    Slugging Percentage: Adam Brett Walker (.541), Trey Vavra (.538), Byron Buxton (.511), Danny Ortiz (.506), Max Kepler (.493), Miguel Sano (.490)

    Isolated Power (IsoP): Adam Brett Walker (.288), Byron Buxton (.245), Miguel Sano (.248), Danny Ortiz (.226), Trey Vavra (.192)

    (Like Isolated Discipline, Isolated Power is easy to calculate. It is just (SLG-BA). In other words, how many extra base hits is the player getting? How much power is he showing? Again, it’s showing that a player can be valuable even if he doesn't hit for high average.)

    OPS: Trey Vavra (.944), Max Kepler (.852), Adam Brett Walker (.846), Danny Ortiz (.839), Byron Buxton (.836), Miguel Sano (.835),

    Hits: Alex Swim (59), Zach Granite/Jorge Polanco (57), Trey Vavra (54), Byron Buxton (50), James Beresford (48)

    2B: Max Kepler (16), Travis Harrison (15), Danny Ortiz (12), Adam Brett Walker/Reynaldo Rodriguez (11), 5 Tied with 10.

    3B: Byron Buxton (11), Max Murphy/Tanner English (5), Aaron Hicks (4), Levi Michael/TJ White/Pat Kelly (3)

    HR: Adam Brett Walker (12), Miguel Sano (9), Danny Ortiz (7), Trey Vavra/Byron Buxton (6), Josmil Pinto/Brock Peterson (5)

    Runs: Byron Buxton (37), Zach Granite (34), Max Murphy (32), Adam Brett Walker/Miguel Sano (31), Nick Gordon (30)

    RBI: Adam Brett Walker (39), Byron Buxton (34), Danny Ortiz (32), Miguel Sano/Zack Larson (30), Trey Vavra (28)

    SB: Tanner English (16), Byron Buxton (14), Zach Granite (13), Niko Goodrum/Nick Gordon/Engelb Vielma (11).


    Innings: Tyler Duffey (64.1), Taylor Rogers (62.0), Pat Dean (54.2), JO Berrios (63.1), Pat Dean (61.0), Greg Peavey (53.0)

    ERA: Chih-Wei Hu (1.10), Stephen Gonsalves (1.31), Mat Batts (2.08), Pat Dean (2.36), Felix Jorge (2.42),

    WHIP: Stephen Gonsalves (0.79), Chih-Wei Hu (0.85), Felix Jorge (0.93), Aaron Slegers (0.97), Mat Batts (1.03)

    K/9: Stephen Gonsalves (12.4), JO Berrios (9.9), Alex Meyer (9.7), Chih-Wei Hu (9.2), Mat Batts (8.9), Tyler Duffey/Alex Wimmers/John Curtiss (8.8)

    BB/9: Aaron Slegers (1.5), John Curtiss/Felix Jorge (1.7), Pat Dean (1.8), Tyler Duffey/Greg Peavey (2.0),

    Strikeouts: JO Berrios (70), Stephen Gonsalves (66), Tyler Duffey (63), Mat Batts/Taylor Rogers (47)

    Wins: JO Berrios (6-2), Chih-Wei Hu (5-0), Stephen Gonsalves (5-1), Pat Dean (5-3)

    RELIEF PITCHERS (>16 IP, <2 starts)

    Games: AJ Achter (21), Alex Muren/Brandon Peterson/JT Chargois (17), Madison Boer/Zack Jones/Todd Van Steensel (16).

    Innings: Alex Muren (28.1), Todd Van Steensel (27.1), Randy LeBlanc (27.0), Madison Boer/Trevor Hildenberger (26.2), Brandon Peterson (25.0)

    ERA: Trevor Hildenberger (0.34), Cameron Booser (0.81), Brandon Peterson (1.08), Zack Jones (1.56), Mike Theofanopoulos (1.82), Lester Oliveros (1.99)

    WHIP: Trevor Hildenberger (0.49), AJ Achter (0.60), Zack Jones (0.92), Tim Shibuya (0.97), Madison Boer (0.98), Cameron Booser (0.99)

    K/9: Cameron Booser (14.1), Lester Oliveros/Todd Van Steensel (13.5), Brandon Peterson (12.6), Cole Johnson (11.8), Zack Jones (11.4), JT Chargois (11.2), Trevor Hildenberger (11.1)

    BB/9: Trevor Hildenberger (1.2), Zack Jones (1.3), Tim Shibuya (1.7), Jake Reed (2.1), Cole Johnson (2.2)

    Saves: Zack Jones/AJ Achter (7), Michael Tonkin/Cameron Booser/Trevor Hildenberger (5), JT Chargois/Todd Van Steensel (4).

    There you have it. The Twins Minor League Leader Board through Friday, May 29.

    What are your thoughts? What surprised you?

    • May 30 2015 02:09 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  6. Minnesota Twins Minor League Leader Board (Through 5/22)

    For most statistical categories, we’ll look at the top 5 players, though some leeway is given in the event of ties (or just common sense).

    For hitters, I am using 130 plate appearances as the cut off for BA, OBP, SLG and OPS.

    For pitchers, we’ll look at ERA, WHIP, K/9 and BB/9. I am using 32.0 innings as the cutoff for starters and 14.0 innings as the cutoff for relief pitchers.

    Here is the Minnesota Twins Minor League Leader Board through games played on Friday, May 22.


    Let’s start with the hitters. When we ran these leader boards after two, three or four weeks, there were several surprising names on these lists. There is a lot of randomness to small sample size. However, now we are to the point where most regulars have between 150 and 170 plate appearances. Not a huge sample, but again, about 30% of their season. Some of those early-season names have remained.

    Plate Appearances: Niko Goodrum (190), Byron Buxton (184), Zach Granite (183), Miguel Sano/Max Murphy (170).

    Batting Average: Trey Vavra (.345), James Beresford (.344), Alex Swim (.338), Max Kepler (.336), Zach Granite (.320)

    On-Base Percentage: Zach Granite (.413), Trey Vavra (.401), Max Kepler (.381), James Beresford (.380), Travis Harrison (.373)

    Isolated Discipline: Tanner English (.130), Mitch Garver (.128), Miguel Sano (.108), Niko Goodrum (.103), Travis Harrison (.097)

    (I like this statistic because it’s easy to calculate, but it also shows which hitters are not as reliant on getting hits to get on base. It is simply (OBP-BA). A guy can have a low batting average, but he can still have value if he’s getting on base at a good percentage. Kernels center fielder Tanner English is hitting just .220, but he is on base 35% of the time thanks to a good eye at the plate. Miguel Sano gets on base because a lot of pitchers don’t want to throw him any more strikes than they have to.)

    Slugging Percentage: Trey Vavra (.545), Adam Brett Walker (.533), Max Kepler (.520), Byron Buxton (.497), Miguel Sano (.472)

    Isolated Power (IsoP): Adam Brett Walker (.286), Byron Buxton (.240), Miguel Sano (.233), Trey Vavra/Danny Ortiz (.200)

    (Like Isolated Discipline, Isolate Power is easy to calculate. It is just (SLG-BA). In other words, how many extra base hits is the player getting? How much power is he showing? Again, it’s showing that a player can be valuable even if he doesn't hit for high average. No surprise at all with who is on top of this list, is it? Lots of home runs, doubles and triples on that list.)

    OPS: Trey Vavra (.946), Max Kepler (.901), Adam Brett Walker (.830), Miguel Sano (.819), Byron Buxton (.807)

    Hits: Alex Swim (51), Trey Vavra (.50), Zach Granite (49), Jorge Polanco (47), James Beresford (44)

    2B: Travis Harrison (15), Max Kepler (13), Aaron Hicks/Chad Christensen (10), 4 tied with 9.

    3B: Byron Buxton (10), Aaron Hicks (4), Levi Michael/Max Murphy/Tanner English/TJ White (3)

    HR: Adam Brett Walker (11), Miguel Sano (8), Trey Vavra/Danny Ortiz (6), Byron Buxton/Brock Peterson (5)

    Runs: Byron Buxton (31), Miguel Sano/Zach Granite (29), Adam Brett Walker/Travis Harrison (27), Nick Gordon (26)

    RBI: Byron Buxton (33), Adam Brett Walker (32), Trey Vavra/Danny Ortiz (27), Miguel Sano/Zack Larson (24)

    SB: Tanner English/Zach Granite (13), Byron Buxton (12), Jason Kanzler/Engelb Vielma (10).


    Innings: Taylor Rogers (55.0), Pat Dean (54.2), Tyler Duffey (52.2), JO Berrios (50.0), DJ Baxendale/Jason Wheeler (47.0)

    ERA: Chih-Wei Hu (1.10), Stephen Gonsalves (1.50), Felix Jorge (2.13), Brett Lee (2.14), Mat Batts (2.21)

    WHIP: Stephen Gonsalves (0.81), Chih-Wei Hu (0.85), Felix Jorge (0.95), Mat Batts (1.03), Tyler Duffey (1.10)

    K/9: Stephen Gonsalves (11.6), JO Berrios (10.4), Mat Batts (9.7), Alex Meyer (9.4), Chih-Wei Hu/Tyler Duffey (9.2)

    BB/9: Greg Peavey (1.5), Pat Dean (1.6), John Curtiss (1.7), Aaron Slegers (1.8), Felix Jorge (1.9)

    Strikeouts: JO Berrios (58), Tyler Duffey/Stephen Gonsalves (54), Mat Batts/Taylor Rogers (44), Chih-Wei Hu 42)

    RELIEF PITCHERS (>14 IP, <2 starts)

    Innings: Zach Tillery (27.1), Todd Van Steensel (26.0), Alex Muren (25.2), Brandon Peterson/Randy LeBlanc (23.0)

    ERA: Trevor Hildenberger (0.40), Cameron Booser (0.93), Brandon Peterson (1.17), Madison Boer (1.40), Lester Oliveros (1.86)

    WHIP: Trevor Hildenberger (0.49), AJ Achter (0.63), Zach Tillery (0.81), Madison Boer (0.90), Tim Shibuya (0.92), Zack Jones (0.93)

    K/9: Cameron Booser (15.4), Zack Jones (14.1), Lester Oliveros (14.0), Todd Van Steensel (13.8), Brandon Peterson (13.3)

    BB/9: Trevor Hildenberger (1.2), Zack Jones (1.3), Tim Shibuya (1.7), Jake Reed (2.1), Cole Johnson (2.2)

    Saves: Zack Jones (6), AJ Achter/Michael Tonkin (5), Cameron Booser/Trevor Hildenberger/Todd Van Steensel (4)

    There you have it. The Twins Minor League Leader Board through Friday, May 22.

    What do you think? What surprises you?

    • May 23 2015 01:57 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  7. Twins Minor League Report (5/6): Miracle, Kernels Bats Arrive

    Read below for all of the scores and highlights from the Twins minor league system, starting with some transactions.


    • Rochester lost Doug Bernier as he was promoted to the Twins.
    • Levi Michael was put on the 7-day disabled list with his ankle sprain.
    • After the game, the Miracle promoted Madison Boer to Chattanooga
    • Before the Miracle game, Brandon Peterson and Todd Van Steensel were sent to extended spring training while Jose Velez and Alexis Tapia came across the parking lot to play for the Miracle. (As they had done earlier in the year; this is procedural after the Miracle played two more extra innings games prior to Wednesday.)

    Rochester 1, Indianapolis 3
    Box Score

    Minor league teams rarely fly. Those long bus rides are famous, or infamous, in the minors. However, the International League is spread all over the eastern half of the country. The Red Wings had an early-morning flight to Indianapolis.

    Pat Dean made the start and the left-hander went the first 5.2 innings. He gave up three runs on nine hits and three walks. He struck out just one. Mark Hamburger made his return to the bullpen and got five outs. He gave up no runs despite giving up two hits and a walk. Ryan O’Rourke got the final two outs.
    The Red Wings didn’t produce much offense on this day. They had six hits, but were able to cross home plate just once. That happened on a solo home run off the bat of Josmil Pinto.

    The Red Wings saw a couple of old friends in this game. Right-hander Deolis Guerra got the win. He gave up three hits and struck out one in 2.1 innings out of the bullpen. Third baseman Deibinson Romero went 2-4 with two doubles.

    Chattanooga 3, Jackson 4
    Box Score

    The Lookouts got close but weren’t able to catch Jackson on this night, falling by one. Alex Wimmers made the start. He gave up two runs on three hits over six innings. He walked four and struck out seven. Tim Shibuya came on and gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in his two innings. Cole Johnson struck out two in his perfect inning.

    Max Kepler went 2-4 in the game. In the bottom of the ninth, he drove a ball that was caught at the wall in center field. Travis Harrison had a walk and his eighth double. Adam Brett Walker added an RBI double. Byron Buxton’s eight-game hitting streak came to an end after an 0-4 night. He did have an RBI. Miguel Sano went 0-3 and walked once. He also committed his sixth error.

    Ft. Myers 9, Bradenton 0
    Box Score

    The Miracle scored three runs in the first inning. In the third, they put up a five-spot. They received very good pitching and got a needed win, in regulation.
    The top four hitters in the Miracle lineup each had two hits. Zach Granite, Engelb Vielma and Alex Swim went 2-5. Brian Haar was 2-4. Niko Goodrum provided power with his two-run home in the first inning. It was his fourth of the season. Tanner Vavra added his second double.

    Chih-Wei Hu made the start. The right-hander from Taiwan threw five shutout innings. He gave up five hits, walked one and struck out two. He needed just 79 pitches and 51 of them were strikes. Lefty Jose Velez came on and struck out four (and walked none) in three perfect innings. Right-hander Alexis Tapia gave up a hit in a scoreless inning.

    Cedar Rapids 8, Wisconsin 2
    Box Score

    Through five innings, the score of this game was 2-2. John Curtiss worked the first six, got a lead, and then the two most dominant relievers in the Midwest League came on to, well, dominate the final three innings and close out the team’s 16th win.

    Curtiss was charged with two runs on six hits in those six innings. He struck out eight without issuing a walk. Trevor Hildenberger came on and struck out three in two perfect innings. Cam Booser got the final three batters out, two of them on strikeouts. Hildenberger’s season ERA now sits at 0.60 while Booser’s is at 0.69.

    The Kernels scored three runs in the sixth and another three runs in the seventh to take control of this game. Max Murphy led the way. He went 3-5 with his third triple and three RBI. Trey Vavra went 3-5. He also had another outfield assist. Tanner English added a double. Rainis Silva, who was recently promoted when Brian Navarreto went on the DL, went 1-3 with a walk. He doubled in his first MWL at bat. The 19-year-old is the youngest player on the Kernels roster, about five months younger than Nick Gordon.


    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Jose Velez, Ft. Myers Miracle
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Max Murphy, Cedar Rapids Kernels


    Rochester @ Indianapolis (10:05 am CST) – LHP Taylor Rogers
    Jackson @ Chattanooga (6:15 CST) – RHP Tyler Duffey
    Jupiter @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) – RHP Ethan Mildren
    Clinton @ Cedar Rapids (6:30 CST) – LHP Stephen Gonsalves

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Wednesday games.

    • May 06 2015 09:50 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  8. Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher Of The Month - April 2015

    With that, let's get to know these starting pitchers. Below are the Top 4 Starting Pitchers for April.

    We begin with a few players deserving of mention.

    • Rochester LHP Taylor Rogers – 4 GS, 2-0, 2.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 27.1 IP, 20 H, 10 BB, 23 K
    • Ft. Myers RHP Ryan Eades – 3 GS, 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 18.0 IP, 16 H, 4 BB, 9 K
    • Cedar Rapids LHP Mat Batts – 4 GS, 2-1, 2.19 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 24.2 IP, 16 H, 5 BB, 24 K
    • Cedar Rapids RHP Felix Jorge – 3 GS, 1-1, 1.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 18.0 IP, 11 H, 5 BB, 24 K

    Number 4 – Chattanooga – RHP D.J. Baxendale - 4 GS, 2-0, 1.07 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 25.1 IP, 21 H, 6 BB, 24 K

    When he has been healthy, DJ Baxendale has been a very good starting pitcher. The problem is that he hasn’t been healthy for a couple of years, really since the beginning of the 2013 season. He appears to be at 100% again to start the 2015 season, and he is pitching very well for the Lookouts. He’s got a full mix of pitches and has been able to miss bats this year as well.

    Number 3 – Rochester – LHP Pat Dean - 3 GS, 2-0, 0.90 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 12 H, 5 BB, 22 K

    Dean was the Twins third-round pick in the 2010 draft out of Boston College. By the end of the 2011 season, he was pitching in AA. However, aside from six starts in 2013, he has remained in AA the last two years. This year, he has made the move to AAA, but he wasn’t even in the Red Wings starting rotation to start the season. However, Trevor May got promoted before he made a start and Dean took his place. He’s been lights out through April. In his first three starts, he had allowed just two earned runs in 20 innings. In nearly 500 innings between High-A and AA, he averaged 4.9 strikeouts per nine innings. So his 22 strikeouts in 20 innings is noteworthy.

    Number 2 – Ft. Myers – RHP Chih-Wei Hu - 4 GS, 3-0, 1.50 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 24.0 IP, 14 H, 3 BB, 28 K

    Hu gave up two runs in five innings in his first start of the season. In his next three April starts, he gave up two earned runs in 19 innings. He was a bit of a surprise in 2014 when he spent two-and-a-half months in Extended Spring Training. He went 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts with Elizabethton. He moved up to Cedar Rapids where he went 7-2 with a 2.29 ERA. Hu will be 21 years old throughout the 2014 season. He’s got all the pitches, including a palm ball. He throws 91 to 93 mph and touches 94 and 95, and everything he throws moves a lot. Opponents hit just .167 against him in April and he had more than a strikeout each inning. Most months, that would earn him the Pitcher of the Month award.

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

    Cedar Rapids Kernels – LHP Stephen Gonsalves - 3 GS, 2-0, 0.90 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 30 K

    The Twins got, potentially, the steal of the 2013 draft when they selected lefty Stephen Gonsalves in the fourth round of the draft. He dominated in the GCL and at Elizabethton that year. In 2013, he made 14 starts between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids and was very good.

    After making eight starts for the Kernels at the end of 2014, he returned to Iowa to start this season. He gave up a run in six innings in his first start. He has gone seven innings in each of his three starts since. In his 20 April innings, he issued just two walks and struck out 30. Opponents hit just .174 against him during the month.

    He has been impressive on several levels. First, just look at those April numbers again. They’re remarkable. Secondly, the San Diego native says that he had never made a start when the game time temperature is under 60 degrees.

    Gonsalves said, “I was pretty fortunate. My first two starts I pitched with warm weather and was able to sit during the colder days for my body to adjust. Other than that, it was just about being aggressive inside with the fastball because no one wants to get their hands busted in this weather.”

    He’s been quite aggressive in his pitch mix early in the season. “I’ve been able to get away with 75% fastballs here, just being down in the zone, going early in. Then 25% changeups away to follow up.”

    He likes to give credit to his catchers for his success. He worked with a good one last year and continues into 2015.

    “I believe working more with (Mitch) Garver last year was the big difference. Other than the league itself, picking his brain for those final two months was a big help in plan-of-attack. I’ve been able to introduce that to (Brian) Navarreto this year."

    Gonsalves has a lot of confidence. He also has a very high baseball IQ. Teammates talk about his knowledge of how to pitch and he has a plan. He has set some goals for himself for 2015.

    “My goals for the season are to get my K/BB ratio to 4/1, and maybe even drop below one walk per nine (innings).”

    I would be surprised if the 20-year-old spends much more time in Cedar Rapids. As soon as there is a need in Ft. Myers, he should be the first one promoted. Right now, he is posting the types of numbers that say there might not even need to be a need with the Miracle for him to be promoted. That said, Gonsalves is thinking even bigger.

    “Level-wise, I’m always thinking as far as possible, so getting to AA would be truly amazing.”

    Amazing? Yes. Surprising at this point? Not really.

    Please feel free to post your comments on Gonsalves, Hu and the rest of the Twins minor league starting pitchers that pitched well in April. How do you feel about the rankings? We’ll be back tomorrow with the Minor League Hitter of the Month of April.

    • May 04 2015 07:16 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  9. Twins Minor League Report (4/30): The Stars Shine Bright

    Down in the minor leagues it was a little bit of a mixed bag on Thursday evening. Aaron Hicks, Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano all had notable performances, as well as a great pitching performance from Chih-Wei Hu. But Nick Burdi struggled again, and Dalton Hicks and Adam Brett Walker II combined to go 0-9 with seven strikeouts.


    Columbus Clippers @ Rochester
    Box Score

    At home at Frontier Field, in front of just shy of 4,000 fans, Mark Hamburger and the Rochester Red Wings came back from an early deficit to move to 12-8 on the season. The Red Wings chased the Clippers' starter Jordan Cooper after 3.2 innings, sending him to his first defeat of the season, surrendering nine hits and four runs (three earned). Those nine hits were part of a season high outburst of 17 hits for Rochester. Hamburger gave up three early runs (two earned) but hung around to finish the sixth, throwing 110 pitches, but just 65 for strikes. Hamburger walked three and struck out six and gave up just five hits. Lester Oliveros, who many have been clamoring to have join the Twins' bullpen, worked two innings of relief, striking out four, but he walked two and gave up a run. Ryan O'Rourke pitched the ninth to finish the game for the Red Wings.

    It was a pretty balanced attack from the Rochester hitters with eight of nine starters picking up at least one base hit, and seven of nine picking up two or more. Aaron Hicks led off for the Red Wings and extending his hitting streak to 11 games by going 3-5, bringing his average up to .310 on the year. Eddie Rosario had three hits of his own, 3-5 with a pair of RBIs. How nice would those two look in the Twins outfield right now?! Despite the season-high 17 base hits, the Red Wings managed just two extra-base hits, a double apiece from Reynaldo Rodriguez and James Beresford. Rochester was 7-18 with men in scoring position and still managed to strand twelve runners.

    Final Score: Clippers 4, Red Wings 8


    Jacksonville Suns @ Chattanooga
    Box Score

    Former first-round draft pick Alex Wimmers had the start for Chattanooga on Thursday evening and pitched well through the first five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth, giving up three runs and leaving with two outs in the sixth. His line for the night included eight hits, two walks, four strikeouts and four earned runs. Wimmers was replaced by D.J. Johnson who held the Suns scoreless through the seventh. Nick Burdi came on in the eighth, but struggled again, giving up two runs. He struck out one and walked one. Burdi's ERA is now 10.13, fairly disappointing for a guy who many suggested could slot right into the Twins bullpen before the end of 2015. Those two runs gave Burdi the loss on the evening, his third of this young season. Dallas Gallant pitched a perfect ninth to finish the game.

    Byron Buxton continues to heat up, he went 2-4 with a triple and a walk, plus two stolen bases. Miguel Sano was 1-3 with a solo home run and a walk, but he also had a pair of strikeouts. In all, the Lookouts struck out thirteen times, including four for Dalton Hicks as part of an 0-5 night and three from Adam Brett Walk as part of his 0-4 night.

    Final Score: Suns 6, Lookouts 4


    Charlotte Stone Crabs @ Fort Myers
    Box Score

    Chih-Wei Hu continues to impress every time out. On Thursday night in Fort Myers he mowed down the Stone Crabs, struck out eight, walked two, and gave up two runs (just one earned) on four hits. Hu is now 3-0 on the season and his ERA is down to 1.50. Todd Van Steensel pitched two scoreless innings of relief and struck out four to pick up his second hold of 2015. J.T. Chargois gave up a hit, a walk, an unearned run, struck out a batter and earned his second save of the year, throwing 19 pitches in the ninth.

    The Miracle scored five runs, all earned, on just eight hits despite being 0-9 with runners in scoring position and stranding 10 runners. In the first inning the Miracle scored a run without any hits thanks to a couple walks, a groundout and an eventual sac fly from Mitch Garver. Niko Goodrum hit his third home run of the year, a two-run round-tripper off of German Marquez in the third inning. Right fielder Chad Christensen had a perfect night for Fort Myers, going 3-3 with a double.

    Final score: Stone Crabs 3, Miracle 5

    Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities River Bandits
    Box Score

    The Kernels could not figure out how to attack the River Bandits pitching, picking up just four hits on the evening. The trio of Brock Dykxhoom, Jose Montero and Joshua James kept the Kernels guessing all night long. No Kernels hitter had multiple hits and only Max Murphy (1-3 with a double and a walk) reached safely twice. Shortstop of the future, Nick Gordon, was 0-3 with a strike out and a walk. Zach Granite, Cedar Rapids' leadoff hitter, was 1-4 and extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a first inning double.

    Kernels starter John Curtiss only made it through the fourth inning. He gave up six hits, three earned runs, struck out four and served up a pair of home runs. Samuel Clay and Zach Tillery each pitched two innings of relief and both gave up only one hit. Clay, however, also walked three hitters and was charged with an earned run.

    Final Score: Kernels 2, River Bandits 4


    Hitter of the Day - Byron Buxton - Chattanooga Lookouts
    Pitcher of the Day - Chih-Wei Hu - Fort Myers Miracle


    Norfolk @ Rochester - Mike Wright vs. Pat Dean (2-0, 0.90)

    Jacksonville @ Chattanooga- Jake Esch vs. Tyler Duffey (0-2, 3.16)

    Fort Myers @ Charlotte - Ethan Mildren (0-2, 5.28) vs TBD

    Clinton @ Cedar Rapids - Daniel Missaki vs. Stephen Gonsalves (2-0, 0.90)

    • May 01 2015 09:01 AM
    • by Eric R Pleiss
  10. Twins Minor League Report (4/23): Gonsalves Gon' Save Us


    Rochester @ Syracuse Chiefs

    The Red Wings and Chiefs were postponed due to inclement weather.


    Chattanooga @ Mississippi Braves
    Box Score

    Byron Buxton had the night off, which likely ruffled the feathers of a few of the 2,735 packed into Trustman Park in Pearl, Mississippi, but the Braves came away with the victory, so the home crowd went home winners. Max Kepler replaced Buxton in center field and went 0-4 on the evening. The only real bright spot for Chattanooga was Mike Gonzales, we picked up a pair of hits, including a seventh inning solo home run to knot the game at two-two. The Lookouts had just six hits on the evening, none from their second ranked prospect, Miguel Sano, was was 0-3 with a walk and a strike out. Sano is now hitting just .163 but retains an OBP well above .300 thanks to AA pitchers giving him nearly a free pass a game.

    Greg Peavey, a name all but the most die-hard Twins fans might not be familiar with (2014 Rule 5 draftee from the Triple-A portion of the draft), started for the Lookouts but failed to make it through the sixth inning. Over 5.2 innings, Peavey gave up a pair of runs, walked four, struck out four, and surrendered five hits. Peavey left the game with the Lookouts trailing 2-1 but was left out of the decision after that Gonzales homer. Cole Johnson, a former 44th rounder out of Notre Dame, came on in relief to close out the sixth without issue. Johnson came back out for the seventh and ran into trouble, giving up three runs before being bulled for Dallas Gallant with two outs. Gallant quickly retired the side and pitched a perfect eight for good measure.

    Final Score: Lookouts 2, Braves 5


    Fort Myers @ St. Lucie Mets
    Box Score

    In front of 1,259 fans at Tradition Field in St. Lucie, Florida, Chih-Wei Hu moved his record to 2-0 with six innings of five-hit baseball against the Mets. Hu struck out four, walked none, and gave up just a single home run, a first inning home run to the St. Lucie leadoff hitter Champ Stuart Stuart owes Kernel's centerfielder Jason Kanzler a beer after the game for the assist on the home run, bouncing from Kanzler's glove over the wall as Kanzler crashed into the padding. After Hu left the game, Todd Van Steensel pitched two perfect innings that included four strike outs. Madison Boer earned earned his first save of the year, but he had to work for it. He gave up a run and three hits before sending the Mets to the showers.

    Losers of their last three games, the Miracle rallied from the first inning deficit to tie the game in the fourth before taking the lead for good with a pair of runs in the fifth innings. Aderlin Mejia and Engelb Vielma both had a pair of hits and an RBI but Mejia earns hitter of the game honors for me as he reached base a third time with a base on balls. Fort Myers had plenty of opportunities to score more runs, but were just 3-13 with runners in scoring position, stranding eight men on base and striking out ten times.

    Final score: Miracle 4, Mets 2


    Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
    Box Score

    Six hits and three runs was plenty of offense for the Kernels as Stephen Gonsalves shut down the Timber Rattlers for seven innings and Trevor Hildenberger slammed the door shut with two shutout innings to earn his first save of the young season. Gonsalves was absolutely brilliant, giving up just a single hit and a single walk, and he fanned eleven of the twenty-four batters he faced. At one point Gonsalves retired ten consecutive batters. Gonsalves has been nearly unhittable this season, he has fanned 30 in just 20 innings spread over three starts and his ERA is just 0.90. Hildenberger kept Wisconsin guessing as well, adding in another pair of strike outs.

    Cedar Rapids' number nine hitter, Jonatan Hinojosa was the only batter from either team to collect multiple hits, finishing the night two for three with a couple of singles. Brian Navarreto provided the game's only extra base hit, his first double of the year. Without much in the way of a hitting display, this game went quickly, just 2:07 in front of a mid-week day game crowd of 476 at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, WI.

    Final Score: Kernels 3, Timber Rattlers 0


    Hitter of the Day - Mike Gonzales, Chattanooga Lookouts
    Pitcher of the Day - Stephen Gonsalves, Cedar Rapids Kernels


    Syracuse @ Rochester - Scott McGregor vs. Mark Hamburger (0-1, 9.35)
    Chattanooga @ Mississippi - D.J. Baxendale (2-0, 0.00) vs. Ryan Weber
    Fort Myers @ St. Lucie - Ethan Mildren (0-2, 5.79) vs. Logan Taylor
    Kane County @ Cedar Rapids - Brent Jones vs. Michael Caderoth (0-1, 4.50)

    • Apr 24 2015 06:09 AM
    • by Eric R Pleiss
  11. Twins Minor League Report (4/17): Pitchers and Power

    Rochester 4, Pawtucket 6
    Box Score

    It was a matchup of left-handers in Pawtucket on Friday night. The Red Wings sent Jason Wheeler to the mound to face Paw Sox top pitching prospect Henry Owens. The Red Wings’ bats were able to touch up Owens for four runs on three hits and six walks in just 4.2 innings.

    On the other side, Wheeler gave up two runs on five hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out four. Lester Oliveros came on and gave up one run, while striking out two, in his inning. AJ Achter was charged with two runs on two hits and a walk in his inning. Michael Tonkin gave up a solo home run in the eighth inning.

    The big hit off of Owens was a grand slam by Eddie Rosario. It was his first AAA home run. Doug Bernier had two hits. Reynaldo Rodriguez and a single and walked once.

    Chattanooga 4, Birmingham 6
    Box Score

    After being rained out on Thursday, JO Berrios finally made his second start of the season on Friday night. The good news? He struck out nine batters. However, he went just 4.2 innings and gave up three runs on eight hits, three walks and a hit batter. He needed 107 pitches and just 60 of them were strikes.

    Jake Reed came on and was charged with one run on two hits in 1.1 innings. Nick Burdi went the next two innings and was charged with an unearned run on one hit and one walk. He struck out two. DJ Johnson gave up a run on three hits in the ninth inning.

    In the third inning, Miguel Sano came up with the bases loaded and launched his second home run of the year. The grand slam gave the Lookouts a 4-2 lead at the time. However, the Lookouts had only six hits. Levi Michael and Jorge Polanco each had a single and a walk in the game.

    The Lookouts defense did not help the cause either. They totaled four errors, two of them were throws by Miguel Sano.

    The Lookouts are now 5-2.

    Ft. Myers 7, St. Lucie 0
    Box Score

    On Thursday, Jason Kanzler had a bunt single to end his 0-23 start to the season. As you would expect, he busted out in style on Friday night. In his first at-bat, he gave the Miracle a 2-0 lead with a long, two-run homer. He added a double later in the game as well. His game ended a little early though.

    In the 6th inning, the Miracle started with a single, an error and a walk to load the bases. After two strikeouts, Jason Kanzler came to the plate. He went around on a check swing. At least, that’s what the home plate ump said, and called. Kanzler objected vehemently and was immediately ejected. Chad Christensen was called on to replace him, and he singled to right to score two more runs. Another run scored on a balk and the Miracle had a three-run sixth inning. The Miracle added another run in the 7th inning to give them their seventh run.

    Of course, an even more important story for the team occurred on the mound. Chih-Wei Hu started and threw seven shutout innings. He gave up just two hits, walked one and struck out ten for the Win. He had a three-ball count just twice in the game.

    Tim Shibuya and JT Chargois each threw a scoreless inning to complete the shutout.

    Cedar Rapids 5, Peoria 1
    Box Score

    It may not show from the final score, but this was quite the pitcher’s duel through most of the game. The Kernels were able to break their losing streak thanks to a big eighth inning.

    Lefty Stephen Gonsalves got a no-decision, but he pitched very well. He gave up one run on five hits and a walk in his seven innings. He recorded ten strikeouts. Through his first two starts, he has given up two runs on ten hits in 13 innings. He has just one walk allowed and has struck out 19 batters. (I was a guest on the Talk 2 Contact podcast this week and predicted Gonsalves as the Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2015. Hear who the others predicted for their minor league pitcher and hitter of the year.)

    Gonsalves was replaced by Zach Tillery who pitched two scoreless innings in relief to improve to 2-0 on the season.

    Max Murphy led the offense. He went 3-4 in the game. Tyler Kuresa had a 2-4 night. However, the big hit came from a guy who was getting a night off. Trey Vavra came up with two runners on base in the eighth inning of a tie game. He launched his second home run of the season, a three-run blast to give the Kernels a 5-1 lead.


    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Chih-Wei Hu, Ft. Myers Miracle
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Trey Vavra, Cedar Rapids Kernels


    Rochester @ Pawtucket (12:05 CST) – RHP Mark Hamburger
    Birmingham @ Chattanooga (5:15 CST) – RHP Greg Peavey
    St. Lucie @ Ft. Myers (5:05 CST) – RHP Ethan Mildren
    Cedar Rapids @ Burlington (6:30 CST) – RHP Michael Cederoth

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Friday games.

    • Apr 18 2015 09:17 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  12. 2015 Ft. Myers Miracle Roster Preview

    Here is a look at the Opening Day roster of the Miracle in some detail:

    Starting Pitchers: Ryan Eades, Chih-Wei Hu, Brett Lee (LHP), Ethan Mildren, Aaron Slegers, Kohl Stewart

    Brett Lee had a strong first half last year with the Miracle and was named to the Florida State League All-Star team. He didn’t pitch there, and pitched only sporadically in the second half due to shoulder issues. Ryan Eades had a frustrating 2014 season in Cedar Rapids, but the former second-round pick advances to the Miracle and has the stuff to be successful. He just needs to be consistent. Chih-Wei Hu began last season in extended spring training, but after a couple of starts for Elizabethton, he became arguably the Kernels best starter down the stretch. Mildren also began at EST, but he was quickly called up to Cedar Rapids. After a dozen starts, he moved up to the Miracle and was part of the championship rotation. The lanky Slegers was the Kernels top starter early in the season. After some struggles, he figured things out again and made a few starts for the Miracle late. Kohl Stewart is a great athlete and has huge potential. Some were concerned about his lack of strikeouts in Cedar Rapids in 2014. Others said that the contact off of him was very weak. More concerning, he ended his second straight season with shoulder issues. He’s at 100% this spring which could mean big things for the Twins first-round pick from 2013.

    Relief Pitchers: Madison Boer, JT Chargois, Alex Muren, Brandon Peterson, Tim Shibuya, Todd Van Steensel, Luke Westphal (LHP)

    Boer is a former second-round pick who was moved to the bullpen full-time just last year. He returns to the Miracle. JT Chargois was also a second- round pick, but he hasn’t pitched in two years due to an elbow injury that eventually resulted in Tommy John surgery. Twins Daily readers have heard numerous times here that he was clocked at 99 at Instructional League last fall. Alex Muren quietly puts up solid numbers. Particularly, he is a ground ball machine. Brandon Peterson was our choice for Twins minor league relief pitcher of the year in 2014. He spent a month in Cedar Rapids before advancing to the Miracle where he struck out 65 in 45 innings. Tim Shibuya is healthy again after another injury-plagued 2014 season. Australian Van Steensel is back with the Twins and last year climbed from EST to Cedar Rapids and ended up pitching for the Miracle in the playoffs. Luke Westphal, a left-hander from LaCrosse, had to go to Australia this winter to get signed by the Twins.

    Catchers: Mitch Garver, Michael Quesada, Alex Swim

    Mitch Garver was my choice for Twins minor league hitter of the year when he put up strong numbers in Cedar Rapids. He was invited to Twins spring training this year and has moved up prospect rankings quickly. Swim came up to the Kernels last year and hit almost instantly. In fact, he hit so well that Jake Mauer played him in right field just to keep his bat in the lineup. Quesada is a defense-first catcher, though he occasionally will show some good pop in his bat.

    Infielders: Niko Goodrum, Bryan Haar, Aderling Mejia, Tanner Vavra, Engelb Vielma

    Niko Goodrum returns to the Miracle to play third base, though he will likely play multiple positions. I personally think this is the best thing for his development, to repeat the level and put up some good numbers to regain his confidence. Bryan Haar put up big power numbers in Cedar Rapids last year, playing third base. He finished the season with the Miracle. Mejia began 2014 in New Britain but returned to the Miracle. Here, he will play both middle infield positions. Vavra played second base with the Kernels a year ago and does a good job with the glove. Vielma impressed last year in Cedar Rapids with his glove work at shortstop. He was named the Twins minor league defensive infielder of the year last year.

    Outfielders: Chad Christensen, Jason Kanzler, Marcus Knecht, Logan Wade

    Christensen played for his hometown Kernels last year and put up numbers across the board, some power and 35 stolen bases. He will move to the outfield after playing mostly first base for Cedar Rapids. Jason Kanzler quietly put up big numbers last year. He is another great athlete with speed and power. He also plays tremendous center field defense. His 11th inning home run in the final game of 2014 gave the Miracle the Florida State League championship. Marcus Knecht signed with the Twins just last week after the Canadian was released by the Blue Jays. He has spent the last two years playing in the Florida State League for Dunedin. Logan Wade is an Australian infielder who is being moved to the outfield for depth. He will likely also play in the infield.

    Disabled List: Brandon Bixler (LHP), Brian Gilbert, Steven Gruver, Chris
    Mazza, Ryan Walker, Corey Williams (LHP – Tommy John)

    Manager/Coaching Staff: Jeff Smith (MGR), Jim Dwyer (Hitting Coach), Ivan Arteaga (Pitching Coach).

    Jeff Smith returns to the Miracle after spending the past five seasons with the Rock Cats in New Britain. Before that, the Naples native managed the Miracle in 2008 and 2009. He also managed Beloit for two years. Jim Dwyer begins his 10th season as the Miracle’s hitting coach. Ivan Arteaga was the pitching coach in Cedar Rapids last year after being the Miracle pitching coach in 2013.


    Twins Daily Prospects: #4 Kohl Stewart,

    Seth: #5 Kohl Stewart, #17 Chih-Wei Hu, #26 Mitch Garver, #27 Niko Goodrum

    Cody: #3 Kohl Stewart, #21 Chih-Wei Hu, #23 Niko Goodrum, #26 Engelb Vielma, #30 Brett Lee

    Jeremy: #4 Kohl Stewart, #19 Chih-Wei Hu, #22 Mitch Garver, #26 Engelb Vielma

    *** If you didn’t get your copy of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2015, be sure to order yours today. You can order a hardcopy or order an electronic copy for immediate download.

    • Apr 07 2015 02:02 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  13. Minnesota Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of 2014

    It seems that pitching has come to the forefront in baseball, ahead of hitting. We see it at the big league level and with several examples, we have seen it trickle into the minor leagues as well. It’s happening in the Twins minor league system as well. There were several starting pitchers (and relievers as you’ll see tomorrow) who performed well in 2014. Again, I encourage you to read through the top starting pitching candidates for Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year and then discuss and rank them as you see fit. Note also that this is not a prospect ranking.

    Before getting to the top six, here are others who are worthy of recognition for strong performances on the mound in 2014:


    • Logan Darnell – Rochester Red Wings (7-6, 3.60 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 115.0 IP, 108 H, 49 BB, 90 K)
    • Sean Gilmartin – Rochester Red Wings (9-7, 3.71 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 145.2 IP, 145 H, 44 BB, 133 K)
    • Kris Johnson – Rochester Red Wings (10-7, 3.48 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 132.0 IP, 115 H, 55 BB, 102 K)
    • Alex Meyer – Rochester Red Wings (7-7, 3.52 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 130.1 IP, 116 H, 64 BB, 153 K)
    • Brett Lee – Ft. Myers Miracle (10-5, 2.45 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 106.1 IP, 111 H, 33 BB, 54 K)
    • David Hurlbut – Ft. Myers Miracle (3-4, 2.20 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 65.1 IP, 62 H, 13 BB, 35 K)
    • Matt Tomshaw – Ft. Myers Miracle (11-6, 3.50 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 136.1 IP, 152 H, 28 BB, 82 K)
    • Kohl Stewart – Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-5, 2.59 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 87.0 IP, 75 H, 24 BB, 62 K)
    • Lewis Thorpe – Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-2, 3.52 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 71.2 IP, 62 H, 36 BB, 80 K)
    • Mat Batts – GCL/Elizabethton/Cedar Rapids (4-1, 1.78 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 60.2 IP, 40 H, 7 BB, 67 K)
    • Stephen Gonsalves – Elizabethton Twins/Cedar Rapids Kernels (4-3, 3.02 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 65.2 IP, 54 H, 21 BB, 70 K)
    Starting Pitcher of the Year

    #6 – Trevor May – Rochester Red Wings (8-6, 2.84 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 98.1 IP, 75 H, 39 BB, 94 K)

    May came to the Twins, with Vance Worley, in the December 2012 trade from the Phillies with in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere. After spending 2013 in New Britain, he moved up to Rochester this year and took a step forward in his prospect status. May put up best numbers since Low-A ball in terms of WHIP, HR/9 and walks per nine. May looked to be in line for a big league call up in June when, after being named to the Futures Game, he hurt his calf. He missed the Futures Game and nearly a month of innings. However, it wasn’t long after his return to the Red Wings that May made his much-anticipated big league debut. He has certainly taken his lumps with the Twins, but he put together a strong AAA debut and earned a spot on this list.

    #5 – Chih-Wei Hu – Elizabethton Twins/Cedar Rapids Kernels (8-2, 2.15 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 71.0 IP, 47 H, 15 BB, 64 K)

    Hu was signed by the Twins out of Taiwan in August of 2012. The 20-year-old began the 2014 season at extended spring training and then made three starts for Elizabethton before being summoned to Cedar Rapids. Though he’s always been intriguing as a prospect since he dominated on his national team through his amateur years, no one could have expected him to do what he did with the Kernels. He became the best starter on a team with several highly-regarded pitching prospects. Blessed with a good fastball that has reached 95 mph, he has several pitches that can be good. With the Kernels, he wasn’t hit, didn’t walk anyone and got a good number of strikeouts. Definitely one to watch! Will he start 2015 back with the Kernels or could he start in Ft. Myers?

    #4 – Tyler Duffey – Ft. Myers/New Britain/Rochester (13-3, 3.67 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 149.2 IP, 142 H, 30 BB, 113K)

    Duffey was the Twins fifth round pick in in 2012 out of Rice University where he was a part-time closer. Since signing with the Twins, he has primarily worked as a starter. In 2014, all 14 of his appearances were at the start of ballgames. He began by going 3-0 in four starts with the Miracle before being promoted to New Britain. In 18 starts with the Rock Cats, he went 8-3. Late in the year, he was promoted to AAA Rochester. The assumption made by many was that he would just make a spot-start in a doubleheader and return, but instead, he finished the season with three starts for the Red Wings and went 2-0. Though he averaged just 6.8 K/9 overall, his strikeout rate actually increased with each promotion. As a starter, he has a three-pitch mix and throws his fastball 91-93 mph. When he ended 2013 in the Miracle bullpen, he hit 97 at times. Will he be able to continue starting right up to the big leagues? We shall see. But for now, he had a very solid 2014 season as a starting pitcher. He should start 2015 in the Red Wings rotation.

    #3 – Taylor Rogers – New Britain Rock Cats (11-6, 3.29 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 145.0 IP, 150 H, 37 BB, 113 K)

    Rogers was my choice for Twins minor league starting pitcher of the year in 2013 when he went 11-6 with a 2.55 ERA in Ft. Myers after opening last year with three starts in Cedar Rapids. This spring, he jumped right to New Britain and got off to a slow start. Through his first five Rock Cats starts he was 1-3 with an 8.14 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP. His strikeout and walk rates were very good (9.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9), but he was very hittable. And then a switch flipped. In his final 19 starts, he went 10-3 with a 2.31 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. His strikeout rate dropped to 7.2 per nine and his walk rate increased 2.4 per nine, but he was pitching so much better. The left-hander is able to maintain 92-94 mph throughout a game. He also has a very good slider. He was the Twins 11th round pick in 2002 out of the University of Kentucky. The 23-year-old will head to the Arizona Fall League next month. He will likely begin 2015 in Rochester and we could see him sometime in 2015.

    #2 – Jason Wheeler – Ft. Myers/New Britain/Rochester (11-9, 2.67 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 158.1 IP, 151 H, 37 BB, 115 K)

    Wheeler will likely become a lawyer at some point after his playing career is over. After his 2014 season, those days may have to wait a while. The 6-8 left-hander was the Twins eighth round pick in 2011 out of Loyola Marymount. In 2013, he went 9-4 with a 3.70 ERA at Ft. Myers but returned to the Miracle to start 2014. It proved to be quite beneficial. Encouraged to be more aggressive with his fastball, his performance was much better. In 13 starts, he was 6-5 with a 2.51 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. He was promoted to AA New Britain where he made 12 starts. There, he went 5-4 with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.14 ERA. He even made a spot start for Rochester and gave up two runs in five innings. Not a strikeout pitcher, Wheeler averaged 6.5 K/9 through the season. His fastball sits 89-91, though at times he has hit 94. He also has a good changeup and curveball as well. The 23-year-old will likely start 2015 with the Rock Cats depending upon who remains in the Rochester rotation.

    Starting Pitcher of the Year – Jose (JO) Berrios – Ft. Myers/New Britain/Rochester (12-8, 2.76 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 140.0 IP, 118 H, 38 BB, 140 K)

    2013 was a long year for Berrios. He went to big league camp in preparation for representing Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. Then, after pitching in the bullpen for Puerto Rico, he was stretched out for a month before joining the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He went 7-7 with a 3.99 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP as a 19-year-old, but he clearly tired late in the year.

    Fast-forward to 2014 and Berrios was pushed to Ft. Myers. In 16 starts for the Miracle, he went 9-3 with a 1.96 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. In 96.1 innings, he gave up 78 hits, walked just 23 and struck out 109. Pitching Coach Gary Lucas informed me that in June, he sat down with Berrios, as he did with all pitchers, and discussed his goals. Berrios quickly responded with three goals. First, he wanted to start in the Florida State League All-Star game. Second, he wanted to be named to the Futures Game. Third, he wanted to get promoted to AA New Britain.

    Check-Check-Check. Berrios was the starter for the World Team in the Futures Game at Target Field and threw a 1-2-3 inning. Three weeks earlier he had been the starting pitcher in the Florida State League All-Star Game, and one week before the World Game he had made his AA debut.
    With the Rock Cats, he made eight starts and went 3-4 with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in 40.2 innings. There was a scare involved though. In one start, he wasn’t hitting the same velocities he had been all season, and he left the game with a shoulder problem. It turned out to be some shoulder stiffness. He skipped one start and came back without missing a beat.

    On the final weekend of the season Rochester was still in playoff contention. Berrios was called up to make a start. It didn’t go so well. He gave up six runs in three innings, but what a learning experience for the guy who is, with little doubt, the top pitching prospect in the organization.
    He was the Twins supplemental first-round draft pick in 2012 out of Puerto Rico. He won’t even turn 21 years old until next May. Though unlikely, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Berrios could debut with the Twins around that time.

    In January, JO Berrios was kind enough to do an interview with Twins Daily. Thanks to his aunt, that interview is available in both English and Spanish.


    There you have it, my Top 6 Twins minor league starting pitchers in 2014. Feel free to discuss.

    • Sep 09 2014 06:27 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  14. Kernels with Pitching Issues? Oddly, yes.

    The Twins have generally been using 6-man rotations at their Class A levels to hold their young starters' innings down, theoretically allowing them to get through entire full-season schedules without having to be shut down early. However, for various reasons, the Kernels have not had the luxury of utilizing a 6-man rotation through most of the second half of their season.

    That appears to be catching up to the team and its manager now, as three young rotation lefties are nearing their organizationally determined innings limits for 2014.

    Lewis Thorpe, Stephen Gonsalves and Mat Batts have all been major contributors to the Kernels success in the second half of the season. With Kohl Stewart sidelined by two trips to the DL, those three pitchers have been crucial cogs in the machinery that is the Kernels' rotation.

    Earlier this week, Chih-Wei Hu was tabbed as the likely starting pitcher for Wedneday's game 1 of the 3-game first round series against Burlington.

    "We're still staying with Hu," Mauer said after Thursday's game. "The other guys we don't know yet. We haven't gotten word from on top (from the Twins).

    "We're running into some innings issues with the three lefties. We're going to need clearance to figure out who can go and who can't."

    Thorpe has thrown 67.2 innings this season, all with the Kernels since joining the team during the first week of June.

    Gonsalves has notched 62 innings, split relatively evenly between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids.

    Batts has 58.2 innings under his belt after spending time with the GCL Twins and E'town before joining the Kernels.

    Of course, all three pitchers did some pitching in extended spring training before starting their official seasons in June.

    Batts is the scheduled starter against Kane County in Friday night's regular season home finale in Cedar Rapids. Gonsalves and Thorpe are scheduled to start games Saturday and Sunday in Clinton.

    If the three left-handers are not available to start postseason games, it leaves just Hu and Ryan Eades available among the current rotation members.

    Stewart is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today (Friday) and could be reactivated over the weekend if that session goes well.

    Beyond that, it's guesswork.

    Josue Montanez has filled a swingman role in his career with the Twins organization. Hudson Boyd was stretched out to three innings of work Thursday night.

    Obviously, priority 1 for the Twins is making sure this stable of promising young arms remain healthy on what is, at best, a precarious route to Target Field.

    The situation in Cedar Rapids, if nothing else, serves as an answer to the questions that come up during the season from fans wondering why some of the lower level minor league teams use 6-man rotations or why certain pitchers are only throwing 4-5 innings per start.

    In the meantime, you get the feeling maybe Jake Mauer wouldn't mind seeing Clinton, Iowa, get about three days of torrential rain over the Labor Day weekend.

    • Aug 30 2014 04:44 AM
    • by SD Buhr
  15. Twins Minor League Report (8/23): Hu Does It Again

    Game 1 – Rochester 3, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 2
    Box Score

    Chris Herrmann led the offense, and the Wings got just enough pitching to pull out Game 1 on Saturday. Herrmann went 3-3 with his 16th and 17th doubles. Chris Colabello hit his 10th double. Pedro Florimon hit his fourth home run of his Red Wings season.

    Sean Gilmartin started and went 4.1 innings. He gave up two runs on three hits. He walked four and struck out four. Mark Hamburger walked two in 1.2 scoreless relief innings. Michael Tonkin gave up a hit and a walk but recorded his ninth save of the year. He struck out two.

    Game 2 – Rochester 1, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 2
    Box Score

    The offense struggled in the second game, managing just four hits. Pedro Florimon drove in the team’s lone run with his 16th double.

    Virgil Vasquez, fresh off of his New Britain no-no, was promoted to start the second game. He was needed because Yohan Pino made the Game 1 start in the Twins doubleheader. He pitched well, giving up just two runs on six hits and a walk over seven innings. He struck out 11. He gave the Red Wings innings, using 119 pitches to complete the game and save the bullpen.

    New Britain 6, Altoona 1
    Box Score

    Jason Wheeler posted yet another strong start for the Rock Cats. He gave up one run on three hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out eight. Alex Wimmers gave up a hit and walked two over two scoreless innings. He struck out three. Jim Fuller struck out two in a scoreless ninth.

    Jorge Polanco went 2-3 with two walks. Levi Michael was 2-3 with one walk. Brandon Waring went 2-4 with his 27th double. Kyle Knudson went 2-3 with a walk and his 11th double. Reynaldo Rodriguez knocked his 36th double.

    Ft. Myers 3, Charlotte 7
    Box Score

    Ethan Mildren had a rough start on this day. The right-hander was charged with six earned runs on nine hits and two walks over the first 4.1 innings. He struck out one. BJ Hermsen went the next 2.2 innings and gave up a run on four hits and a walk. Alex Muren pitched a perfect frame.

    Adam Walker went 3-4 with his first triple of the season. Max Kepler was 3-4 as well with his 16th and 17th doubles. Jairo Rodriguez went 2-3.

    Cedar Rapids 3, Burlington 0
    Box Score

    Chih-Wei Hu was very good. He gave up four hits and a walk over six shutout innings. Brian Gilbert struck out two over two scoreless frames. Jake Reed struck out one in the ninth to record his fourth save with the Kernels. Reed's scoreless streak is now at 19.2 innings and his ERA with the Kernels is just 0.41. The only earned run he has given up with the Kernels came in his June 30 debut with the team. He gave up an unearned run in his second game and that was the last run he's allowed.

    The Kernels won despite just five hits. Alex Swim went 2-4 with one of the RBIs. The other two Kernels’ runs scored on ground ball double plays.
    Jonatan Hinojosa had a hit. He has at least one hit in all 11 games since his return to the Kernels. He is 18-49 (.367) over that stretch with two doubles and four triples.

    The Kernels can clinch a playoff berth on Sunday with a win in Quad Cities or with a loss by Peoria in Clinton. Magic number is one.

    Elizabethton 9, Pulaski 2
    Box Score

    The E-Twins had a good mix of offense and pitching in this game. Lefty Derrick Penilla was the pitching half of that equation. He went six innings and gave up two runs on four hits, a walk and five strikeouts. Sam Clay then struck out five over two scoreless innings. Josh Burris struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning.

    Jeremias Pineda went 2-5 and scored three runs in this game. He also stole his 21st base. Tyler Kuresa went 2-5 with his 12th double and four RBI. He has an impressive 40 RBI on the short-season. Will Hurt went 2-3 with a walk.

    Game 1 – GCL Twins 5, GCL Red Sox 2
    Box Score

    It’s been a tough season for the GCL Twins, so Saturday’s double-header sweep had to feel good them. In the first game, Alexis Tapia went the first 5.1 innings and gave up one run on five hits. He walked none and struck out five. Leonel Zazueta gave up an unearned run on one hit and two walks in the final 1.2 innings.

    Manuel Guzman went 2-4 with his fourth double. He also stole his 17th base. Rainis Silva was 1-3 with a walk and drove in two runs. Tyree Davis hit his second double.

    Game 2 – GCL Twins 3, GCL Red Sox 0
    Box Score

    Zach Tillery started the second game and threw 5.1 shutout innings. He gave up five hits, walked none and struck out two. Trevor Hildenberger struck out three in the final 1.2 innings to record his ninth save.

    Amaurys Minier went 2-3 with a walk and his 10th double. Rafael Valera hit his second triple. Manuel Guzman was 1-3 with a walk and his 18th stolen base.

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Chih-Wei Hu, Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Adam Walker/Max Kepler, Ft. Myers Miracle

    Scranton/Wilkes Barre @ Rochester (12:05 CST) – Tyler Duffey
    New Britain @ Altoona (5:00 CST) – Pat Dean
    Ft. Myers @ Charlotte (4:00 CST) – DJ Baxendale
    Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (1:15 CST) – Mat Batts
    Elizabethton @ Pulaski (DH @ 4:00 CST) – TBD, TBD
    GCL Orioles @ GCL Twins (11:00am CST) – No Game Scheduled

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Saturday games.

    A quick reminder:

    Thanks to the Twins win in Game 1 on Saturday against the Tigers, it means that on Sunday you can get 50% off a Large of Extra Large pizza when you use the “TWINSWIN” promotion code at PapaJohns.com.

    • Aug 24 2014 10:47 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  16. Kernels Second Half Turnaround Almost Complete

    On the other hand, Kohl Stewart, the Twins' first round draft pick in 2013 and a key member of the Kernels' rotation all season long, left the game during the second inning with an as-yet-undetermined ailment. Regardless of the ultimate cause, it's a pretty safe bet Stewart has thrown his last pitch for this Cedar Rapids club in 2014.

    Stewart was one of the few bright spots for the Kernels during a challenging first half of the season. He notched a 2.44 ERA over the course of a dozen starts prior to the Midwest League's All-Star break in mid June.

    The Kernels finished sixth among the MWL Western Division's eight teams in the first half race with a 31-39 record, 14 games behind the first half West champion Kane County Cougars and 7.6 games behind second-place Burlington.

    The Midwest League breaks their schedule in to two halves, with the top two teams in each division, in each half of the season, qualifying for the postseason.

    The Kernels have certainly taken advantage of the split season arrangement by turning their season around 180 degrees in the second half.

    With 13 games to play following Tuesday night's win, the Kernels sit one game behind Kane County in the MWL West's second-half standings.

    Since the Cougars clinched their playoff spot in the first half, however, it doesn't matter how the Kernels fare with them. What matters is that they finish among the top two teams in their Division who have not already qualified in the first half.

    Going in to Wednesday's series finale with Quad Cities, Cedar Rapids holds a six game lead over third place Wisconsin and a nine game lead over fourth place Peoria. That means their "magic number" for qualifying for the playoffs sits at 5.

    How did this happen? How did a team go from a 31-39 first-half record to a 36-21 record, so far, in the second half? Certainly, not many fans gave the Kernels much chance of making the playoffs two months ago.

    Their manager, Jake Mauer, and coaches Tommy Watkins and Ivan Arteaga, gave their thoughts on the subject on Sunday, which was three Kernels wins (and three Peoria losses) ago.

    "Pitching is probably number 1," said Mauer. "We’ve shaved a whole run off our (team) ERA. Obviously we’re a little different at the back end of the bullpen than we were early on."

    It hasn't all been improved pitching, however. Mauer also was quick to mention some newcomers to the offense that have contributed.

    "Some of the additions, obviously Logan Wade and (Alex) Swim have been huge. Max Murphy’s been a good addition," added the manager.

    Posted Image
    Max Murphy

    The Kernels have lost some very good players, as well, of course. Several pitchers and position players have earned promotions to high-A Fort Myers, which is what led to the new players arriving in Cedar Rapids.
    Players coming and going is just part of minor league life.

    Mauer pointed out another pretty major difference between his club's first and second half fortunes.
    "We’re keeping guys healthy, like (Mitch) Garver and (Engelb) Vielma and guys like that," observed Mauer. "I think that really is the reason why we’re where we’re at.

    Posted Image
    Engelb Vielma

    "We went through a tough stretch there early. It seemed like somebody was going down every week. We’re still missing three of our top arms in our organization who are still down with surgery. Obviously, it gave a good opportunity to get up here to (Mat) Batts and (Chih-Wei) Hu and (Stephen) Gonsalves and (Lewis) Thorpe. They’ve really been holding down the majority of the big innings for us."

    Watkins, the Kernels hitting coach, echoes many of Mauer's thoughts.

    "I think we’ve stayed healthy, for the most part. It seemed like every other day we were losing somebody in the first half. But for the most part, outside of some minor bumps and bruises, we’ve been pretty healthy the second half."
    Watkins also sensed a change in the consistency of the team's performance.

    "In the beginning, we didn’t click on both sides. One day we would hit, we didn’t pitch. One day we would pitch, we didn’t hit," Watkins added. "Now it seems like we’re getting timely hitting, pitching. The defense is making some plays.

    "All the pitchers are doing well but we’ve got a few guys at the back end of that bullpen that have been pretty lights-out for us. We give those guys some leads and they’ve been pretty good lately."

    Watkins has seen a change in the clubhouse, as well as on the field.

    "I just think the overall confidence right now, the guys are a lot better. The guys are loose, they’re having fun with each other. We came in here the other day, they were doing Kangaroo Court with each other. They’re just having fun right now. They’re winning baseball games, so it’s been a lot of fun."

    There's little doubt that the biggest change in the Kernels' fortunes in the second half has come on the pitcher's mound. That being the case, it stands to reason that Arteaga, the Kernels pitching coach, would have a great deal of insight in to how those fortunes changed for the better in the season's second half.

    He summed up the reasons for the improvement in the club's pitching in two words, "Experience and chemistry."

    "They go hand in hand," he explained. "Early, we went through some growing pains, pitching wise."

    Arteaga noted that the team lost three highly rated young pitchers in the first half that the organization had been counting on to play big roles for the Kernels. Felix Jorge struggled and was sent back to extended spring training and, ultimately, to Elizabethton. Randy Rosario and Yorman Landa got hurt, ending their seasons.

    Pitchers that remained in Cedar Rapids also went through some rough patches early.

    "(Aaron) Slegers had a rough go for about a month," added the coach. "He was working on some stuff. (Ryan) Eades was learning a lot of things about the league and about himself. Our relievers went through some growing pains. We had Hudson Boyd - early, he was very good. He had a rough go for about three or four outings.

    Posted Image
    Ryan Eades

    "So everybody’s learning. Like I said when I first got here, it is a process. They get to learn the league. They get to learn the hitters. They get to learn themselves. Work on a different pitch, work on the delivery. Work on some stuff.

    "It’s growing pains. Kids like Eades, you know, second round pick, he learned a lot this year. And you get a guy like Stewart - first round pick. He learned a lot this year. In the first half, you have a lot of learning to do. A lot of growing pains.

    "And we didn’t do that bad. Not what we wanted to, but we weren’t that bad."

    In the second half, though, the pitching went from, "not bad," to very, very good.

    "Then we got the new boys. We got Thorpe, we got Hu, we had Gonsalves, Batts, Burdi, Reed, Gallant. They brought a different mindset and obviously we’ve been doing very well."

    Arteaga also agrees with Watkins' observation that the success is reflected off the field as much as on.

    "I think that the learning, gaining some experience and at the same time, we’re winning. You see a different atmosphere in there ( the clubhouse). It’s a different environment. It’s chemistry. They like each other. They talk to each other. When you get that, which is chemistry, it shows on the field.

    "They come here every day with effort, with a purpose they have in mind. They know, they can feel the possibility of being in the playoffs - how great that’s going to be for the players to experience that. Some of them in their first year of full season. I hope that they actually embrace the possibility."

    If the players are excited about postseason possibilities, they aren't alone. Arteaga is right there with them.
    "Personally, I’m very excited by it because I went through a lot of things this year with these guys. To try to teach the pitchers the fundamentals of baseball, the fundamentals of pitching, pitch sequence, just the growing pains. And just the things you see, to me, it’s very rewarding.

    Posted Image
    Stephen Gonsalves

    "I guarantee you that there’s not a better feeling than seeing these guys playing every day and understanding the moment. And going out and playing the way they played Peoria and the way they played on the road (in Beloit)."

    Of course, winning championships is great. But is winning really important for minor league affiliates?
    It's important, of course, to the local fans who want to see a winner. But some fans of the Major League affiliate see minor league games as little more than exhibition games, attaching little, if any, value to won-loss record.

    Arteaga clearly feels winning is important, but not necessarily the most important thing.

    "We (the Twins organization) have a philosophy. Basically, we want to develop winners. And the only way you can develop winners is by teaching the process, by teaching the fundamentals of baseball.

    "Now, we are very careful with the amount of innings, the activities that we do. Teaching the game the right way, the Twins way.

    "But one thing that we don’t do, is to go the extra mile to try to win. We want these guys to win, but I won’t pitch my guys two days in a row. I won’t pitch my guy 125 pitches because I want to win one game. We won’t do that. We have a program. That program works. It’s good. We stick to it. It is our job as coaches to teach these guys how to win. To motivate these guys every day."

    Make no mistake, though, talking about a playoff run brings a smile to the coach's face.

    "When you go to the postseason, there’s a difference," Arteaga concluded. "That’s what we want these guys to experience. When it’s only you. There’s nobody else playing, just you playing. (Others) going home. They’re going on American Airlines somewhere. You’re not. You’re still playing. That’s the beauty of postseason. You’re sending somebody else home and you’re playing. So that’s good."

    • Aug 21 2014 08:38 AM
    • by SD Buhr
  17. Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of July 2014

    Honorable Mention

    • RHP – JO Berrios – Ft. Myers/New Britain – 5 GS, 2-3, 3.51 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 25.2 IP, 20 H, 7 BB, 17 K (.220/.290/.319)
    • RHP – Alex Meyer – Rochester – 5 GS, 2-0, 1.55 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 29.0 IP, 17 H, 17 BB, 34 K (.175/.298/.227)
    • LHP – Sean Gilmartin – Rochester – 6 GS, 1-2, 3.89 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 37.0 IP, 33 H, 12 BB, 31 K (.244/.311/.356)
    • RHP – Felix Jorge – Elizabethton – 5 GS, 2-1, 2.63 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 27.1 IP, 27 H, 8 BB, 27 K (.255/.319/.321)
    • LHP – Brandon Easton – GCL Twins – 5 GS, 1-1, 2.45 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 22.0 IP, 19 H, 6 BB, 15 K (.235/.292/.370)


    Number 5 – GCL Twins – RHP Alexis Tapia – 6 G, 4 GS, 3-0, 1.80 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 25.0 IP, 17 H, 4 BB, 20 K

    The Twins signed Tapia out of Venezuela in September of 2012. Less than two years later, he made his debut in the States and doing a very good job in the GCL. Last year in the DSL, he went 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA in 11 games (seven starts). In 42.1 innings, he gave up 32 hits, walked five and struck out 31. He has continued that with the GCL Twins, giving up less than a hit per inning, minimizing walks and getting decent strikeout numbers. In July, opponents hit .193/.240/.284 (.524) against him.

    Number 4 – GCL/Elizabethton – LHP Mat Batts – 5 G, 4 GS, 2-0, 1.80 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 25.0 IP, 15 H, 4 BB, 27 K

    The Twins used their 17th round pick this year on this four-year college senior out of UNC-Wilmington. He is also a former intern at Baseball America. However, it is what he has done on the mound since being drafted that has the 23-year-old on this list. He made just three appearances in the GCL before there was a need at Elizabethton. He then made four starts at Elizabethton. At the end of July, he was promoted to Cedar Rapids where he had a very good first start. In July, opponents hit just .179/.225/.286 (.510). He is not a hard-thrower, but he is a pitcher. He’s got the “Twins Pitcher” profile: throws strikes, mixes pitches, knows how to pitch.

    Number 3 - Cedar Rapids – RHP Aaron Slegers - 6 GS, 2-2, 1.96 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 36.2 IP, 28 H, 5 BB, 31 K

    At 6-10, Aaron Slegers has the ability to stand out in a crowd. After a strong start in Cedar Rapids this year, he struggled for a couple months. However, he figured some things out in July and posted his best month. Opponents hit just .224/.267/.328 (.595) off him. He gained control and command of his pitches. In fact, the 21-year-old was promoted to Ft. Myers and made his first start on Monday night. Slegers has a low-90s fastball, and as you would expect, a good, downward angle on his pitches. The Twins 5th round pick in 2013 out of Indiana, he will require some patience, but there is reason to be excited about his potential.

    Number 2 – New Britain – Tyler Duffey - 6 GS, 5-0, 3.10 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 40.2 IP, 34 H, 5 BB, 34 K

    Posted Image

    Duffey was the Twins 2012 fifth-round draft pick out of Rice University where he shared closer duties with Twins 2nd round pick JT Chargois. In 2013, he was moved into the starting rotation, and he has been very solid. He certainly has had some ups and downs as a starter, but when he’s on, he gives the feeling that he could pitch in the big leagues. His fastballs come in anywhere from 90 to 95 mph. He has a very good curveball, and his changeup remains his biggest question mark. Things were working well in July when opponents hit just .228/.259/.396 (.655) against him.

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

    Cedar Rapids – RHP Chih-Wei Hu - 6 GS, 5-0, 1.25 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 36.0 IP, 20 H, 6 BB, 38 K

    The Twins outbid several teams for Hu’s services after he had a very impressive amateur career. He was a star in high school as well as in international competitions. The Twins signed him for $220,000 in August of 2012. He spent 2013 in the GCL, and he began 2014 in Elizabethton. In July, he made one start in Elizabethton before a promotion to the Kernels. In each of his six starts, he went six innings. Opponents hit just .156/.206/.195 against him. He has a fastball that can touch 95. He has a good curveball and a solid changeup. He even throws a palm ball. At 6-1 and 215 pounds, the 20-year-old has a sturdy frame. He has an advanced knowledge of pitching and has a chance to be very good.

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

    • Aug 05 2014 06:11 AM
    • by Seth Stohs