If you missed any of the previous July awards, click the following links:
- Hitter of the Month - Jonathan Rodriguez, Chattanooga Lookouts
- Starting Pitcher of the Month - Aaron Slegers, Rochester Red Wings
- Luke Bard - Chattanooga Lookouts - 10 G, 14.1 IP, 14 H, 5 BB, 16 K, 1.26 ERA, 1.33 WHIP.
- John Curtiss - Rochester Red Wings - 9 G, 9.2 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 17 K, 3.72 ERA, 1.03 WHIP.
- Colton Davis - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 8 G, 9.1 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 10 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.1 WHIP.
- Raul Fernandez - Chattanooga Lookouts - 7 G, 15.1 IP, 12 H, 5 BB, 20 K, 0.59 ERA, 1.11 WHIP.
- Logan Lombana - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 7 G, 12.2 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 10 K, 1.42 ERA, 0.79 WHIP.
- Hector Lujan - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 11.2 IP, 10 H, 2 BB, 14 K, 0.77 ERA, 1.03 WHIP.
- Jose Martinez - Elizabethton Twins - 5 G, 9.1 IP, 8 H, 0 BB, 6 K, 0.96 ERA, 0.86 WHIP.
- Mason Melotakis - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 9.2 IP, 9 H, 2 BB, 9 K, 1.86 ERA, 1.14 WHIP.
- Alex Muren - Ft. Myers Miracle - 9 G, 14.2 IP, 14 H, 3 BB, 15 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.16 WHIP.
- Alex Robinson - Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 11.1 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 22 K, 1.59 ERA, 0.97 WHIP.
- Randy Rosario - Chattanooga Lookouts - 9 G, 16.0 IP, 14 H, 4 BB, 8 K, 1.13 ERA, 1.13 WHIP.
- Drew Rucinski - Rochester Red Wings - 7 G, 11.1 IP, 10 H, 2 BB, 11 K, 3.18 ERA, 1.06 WHIP.
- Michael Tonkin - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 10.0 IP, 9 H, 2 BB, 13 K, 0.90 ERA, 1.10 WHIP.
- Alex Wimmers - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 10.0 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 12 K, 1.80 ERA, 0.80 WHIP.
#6 - Todd Van Steensel - Chattanooga Lookouts - 9 G, 1.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 18.0 IP, 12 H, 4 BB, 21 K
It seems like Todd Van Steensel has been around the Twins organization for a long time. He has, even if not all of the time has been continuous . Originally signed by the Phillies, he pitched for them in 2009. The Twins signed him in 2011 and he pitched (primarily as a starter) for Elizabethton. The Twins let him go at that time, and he pitched in Europe and in his native Australia. But before the 2014 season, the Twins signed him again, and he’s been really good ever since. He pitched in Cedar rapids that season. He pitched in 101 games out of the Miracle bullpen over three years. Last year, he made his AA debut late in the season. He was set to stay in Ft. Myers to start this season, but last minute, he had to drive himself to Chattanooga because of some plane scheduling issues. And as always, he’s been very good.
In July, opponents hit just .190/.246/.254 (.500) which is really impressive when you realize that he threw 18 innings, most among Twins relievers in the month by two innings.He’s always been able to miss bats, but he threw a lot of strikes in July, the one thing that he has struggled with to some degree in the past. Overall this season, he is 4-2 with a 1.52 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. In 47.1 innings, he has 19 walks and 51 strikeouts. Van Steensel continues to fly under the radar.
#5 - Andrew Vasquez - Ft. Myers Miracle - 9 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 20 K
Andrew Vasquez is another relatively unknown Twins minor league relief prospect. That’s easy to happen because relievers don’t get talked about as much as starters and position players. But that’s reason #194 why we want to highlight relievers each month here at Twins Daily. Vasquez is becoming more known because he’s been showing up on these reports consistently. Recently, he ended a streak of 30.1 scoreless innings. He did not give up a run from May 16th until August 3rd.
Which brings us to his July performance. He did not give up a run, obviously. He allowed very few base runners. He can get a lot of strikeouts, and he’s got good control. Opponents hit just .212/.281/.231 (.511). Between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers, Vasquez has a 1.15 ERA and a 1.00 ERA. In 47 innings, he’s walked 15 batters and struck out 72 (13.8 K/9!). At this rate, lots more Twins fans will know about the former 32nd-round pick from 2015 from Westmont College.
#4 - Sam Clay - Ft. Myers Miracle - 9 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 5 H, 9 BB, 13 K
Sam Clay has had a real good year in his transition from starter to reliever (which he had been at Georgia Tech too). Overall this year for the Miracle, he is 8-0 with nine saves. He’s got a 1.29 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP. Those numbers are even more impressive when you remember that his first appearance of the year did not go well. He gave up six earned runs in 0.2 innings. Since that game, he has given up two earned runs in 55.1 innings (0.33 ERA). His current streak is 29 straight scoreless innings. How he’s stayed in Ft. Myers all year is beyond my knowledge.
In July, batters hit just .119/.275/.119 (.394) off him. If there is one area that he’s struggled, it is with his control. He has 28 walks in 56 innings this year, with 56 strikeouts. I guess we can say that he is effectively wild.
#3 - Tom Hackimer - Ft. Myers Miracle - 10 G, 0.68 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 13.1 IP, 4 H, 5 BB, 17 K
Hackimer was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2016 as a senior out of St. John’s University. At 5-11 and stocky, Hackimer doesn’t look like a typical Twins pitcher. And he doesn’t throw like one either. Well, literally he throws like one Twins pitcher… Trevor Hildenberger. Hackimer throws from the side which can be real tough on opposing hitters.
He ended last year in Cedar Rapids, and that’s where he began this season. With the Kernels, he posted a 1.50 ERA and a 0.58 WHIP in 24 innings before a late-May promotion to the Miracle. In 25.1 innings with Ft. Myers, he’s got a 1.07 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. In July, opponents hit just .095/.220/.095 (.315).
#2 - Patrick McGuff - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 0.56 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 16.0 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 25 K
A year ago, Patrick McGuff was the Twins 36th-round pick out of Morehead State. He began in the GCL where he threw 5.2 scoreless innings before moving up to Elizabethton. He continued to pitch well there as he picked up nine saves and struck out 33 in 26 innings. He was called up to the Kernels and helped them in the postseason.
It was a surprise when he began this season in extended spring training. He was brought up to the Kernels at the end of May. He struggled for a couple of weeks, but the last six weeks, he’s been really good (as indicated by his July numbers). Opponents hit just .148/.220/.222 (.443) off him in the month.
And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is:
Chattanooga Lookouts – RHP Nick Anderson - 10 G, 0.87 ERA, 0.39 WHIP, 10.1 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 14 K
It’s been a wild and interesting ride for Nick Anderson in his career since graduating from Brainerd High School. He went to St. Cloud State for three years before going to Mayville State. He was drafted by the Brewers, but they didn’t even offer him a contract. So, he had to go the independent ball route. Late in the 2015 season, he was signed by the Twins, and he’s been terrific since. He ended that season closing games for the Kernels. He split the 2016 season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers.
He began this season with the Miracle as well. In 15 games, he posted a 0.89 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP. He has pitched in 18 games with the Lookouts and posted a 1.19 ERA with a 0.79 WHIP. And July was a big part of that.
Anderson dominated hitters in July. They hit just .088/.139/.147 (.286) off him. He has a good, mid-90s fastball, and he throws a lot of strikes. But he also is able to miss bats. Already 26, he’s one of several Lookouts relievers who are ready for Triple-A, and they all become intriguing options for an organization whose big league club is in need of bullpen options.
There were a lot of very strong relief pitcher performances in July throughout the Twins minor league system. There aren’t a lot of months with this many Honorable Mentions. Feel free to agree or disagree with the order, if you like, but congratulations to each of these individuals on an excellent month of relief work.
Congratulations to the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for July 2017, Nick Anderson.
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