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Article: Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher Of The Month: June 2016

trevor hildenberger yorman landa michael theofanopoulos kuo hua lo jt chargois
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 08:48 PM

After posting out Twins Daily Minor League Hitter and Starting Pitcher of the Month of June over the past few days, today we will look at the relief pitchers who got their jobs done during the month. There were a bunch and like the starters, you could make arguments for several of these guys to claim the title. But who won?

In case you missed them here are the previous June winners:

Hitter of the Month: Daniel Palka, Chattanooga Lookouts.
Starting Pitcher of the Month: Felix Jorge, Ft. Myers Miracle.

So, who will join them in the June Twins Minor League Awards? Continue reading to find out.First, a couple of relievers worthy of mention:
  • RHP Todd Van Steensel (Ft. Myers Miracle) – 6 G, 1-1, 2 saves, 0.00 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 8.1 IP, 2 H, 7 BB, 11 K
  • RHP Marcus Walden (Rochester) - 12 G, 0-0, 1 save, 2.57 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 12 K
THE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS

Number 5 - Cedar Rapids/Ft. Myers – LHP Michael Theofanopoulos - 10 G, 0.84 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 10.2 IP, 6 H, 5 BB, 11 K


Theofanopoulos was the recipient of this award last month when he put together a really strong May. He was very good again in June despite the fact that he was promoted around the middle of the month. In fact, he went five outings in the FSL before allowing a run to score. The 23-year-old lefty was the Twins 30th round pick in the 2014 draft out of Cal-Berkeley. Overall this season, he is 3-1 with three saves, a 1.91 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. He has struck out 11.5 per nine overall on the season.

Number 4 – Cedar Rapids – RHP Kuo Hua Lo - 7 G, 0.82 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 8 K

Lo has been a bit under the radar as a prospect signing signing with the Twins in 2011 from Taiwan. After a year in the GCL, he spent three seasons in Elizabethton. Last year, he finished with a 1.44 ERA and was the top relief pitcher in the league. Overall this year, he is 0-0 with a 1.10 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP for the Kernels in 32.2 innings. He has 30 strikeouts, but he also has 22 walks. He can be tough to hit. His fastball will touch 92-93 mph, but he throws a variety of pitches, some barely registering 70 on the radar gun.

Number 3 – Chattanooga – RHP JT Chargois - 10 G, 1.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 12 K

Yes, I admit, I took out his disastrous MLB debut in which he struggled to throw strikes and when he did, it got hit hard. I included only his Rochester numbers since this is a minor league award. Chargois continued to be very good. He hasn’t allowed runs. He hasn’t hurt himself with a lot of walks. The 25-year-old has generally been dominant all season. In 30 total minor league game this year, he has a 1.57 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, just 2.6 BB/9 and 11.5 K/9. The 2012 second round pick is finally healthy and really there is no reason that he shouldn’t spend the entire second half of the season in the Twins bullpen.

Number 2 – Ft. Myers – RHP Yorman Landa - 7 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 12 K

The Twins signed Landa from Venezuela in 2010. Following a successful return to action in Cedar Rapids last year, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster. Though he didn’t pitch much in June, he was tremendous when he was on the hill. In fact, he was a late add to the FSL All-Star Game roster and pitched in the game at Hammond Stadium. He pitched a scoreless inning, but as notable, he hit 100 mph on the radar gun on four pitches. The last time he gave up a run was May 26th, ten outings ago. He has given up just one hit over his past nine innings (six outings). Overall this season, Landa is 2-1 with seven saves. He has a 2.39 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP, 4.8 BB/9 and 9.0 K/9.

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

Chattanooga Lookouts – RHP Trevor Hildenberger - 9 G, 0.87 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, 12.2 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 14 K

For the second straight month, a Cal-Berkeley alum is our choice for Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month. It’s an award that Trevor Hildenberger has won several times.

Hildenberger was the Twins Daily Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2015. Some may have thought that he was just successful in the low minor leagues due to his age. However, he pitched well in the Arizona Fall League last year against (and with) guys his own age. This year, he quickly moved from Ft. Myers up to AA Chattanooga and his success has just continued.

He made just six appearances and needed 9.1 innings of 0.96 ERA to convince the powers-that-be to move him up to Chattanooga. He has now pitched 28.1 innings over 23 games with the Lookouts. He has a 0.95 ERA and an incredible 0.67 WHIP in the Southern League. He has walked just four batters and struck out 31. He has to have the Twins brass thinking about him as a possible option for Rochester at this point. Who knows? We may see him at Target Field yet this year.

As you can see from his June stats, he was tremendous. He worked a lot of innings and allowed very few base runners. He walked just one and struck out 14 in 12.2 innings. He also represented the Twins and the Lookouts at the Southern League All-Star Game and, as you’d expect, didn’t give up a run.

The former 22nd round pick from Cal-Berkeley had a win or a save in all nine of his outings during the month. He may fit into that mold of Pat Neshek or Darren O’Day in that he throws from the side, and from multiple angles. He gets good movement on his breaking pitches, but also a lot of run on his fastball. He is the rare side arm pitcher who often can touch 93 on the radar gun.

While he may not show up on Top 10 prospect lists, Trevor Hildenberger is a guy who has a chance to be a big-time contributor to the Minnesota Twins in the not-too-distant future.

There were several very strong relief pitcher performances in June. Feel free to agree or disagree with the order, if you like, but congratulations to each of these individuals on an excellent month of may.
Congratulations to the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for June 2016, Trevor Hildenberger.

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#2 goulik

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 09:09 PM

I think you nailed it with the top two guys in their rightful places but it takes a great WHIP like Trevor's to beat Landas 12ks in 9 innings and 0.00 ERA. Apparently when Landa gives up a hit or walk, he just strikes the next guy or two out. Even better though, Trevor just doesn't put them on base in the first place.

#3 Mike Sixel

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 08:13 AM

Would love to see them move the RPs faster......these guys tend to burn out. Great list, now they just have promote them and trust them.

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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#4 DocBauer

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 12:53 PM

You have to believe that Chargois is going to spend the majority of the second half of the season with the Twins. Don't you then HAVE to move Hildenberger to Rochester for the second half as well?
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#5 twinssouth

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 06:52 AM

Would love to see them move the RPs faster......these guys tend to burn out. Great list, now they just have promote them and trust them.






Couldn't agree more. I saw where the White Sox had already promoted Zach Burdi who was drafted this year, to AA. Now, he was greeted to a "Welcome to AA" debut by the Lookouts but the Sox seem to have an aggressive philosophy on promoting their pitchers.

Also, agree with your list Seth. I hope to see Reed and Melotakis on the July list.

#6 SD Buhr

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 08:53 AM

Hard to argue with any of these choices, but shouldn't Mason Melotakis be at least mentioned in here somewhere?

 

7 games, 0.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 9 K

 

He hasn't given up a run (or even allowed a baserunner) in either of his two July appearances yet, either, so maybe he gets some respect in next month's post!

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