Last year, the Twins Daily Short-Season Pitcher of the Year was Huascar Ynoa. He had spent that summer in the GCL, and he began 2017 with Elizabethton. However, at the July trade deadline, he was traded to Atlanta in exchange for lefty Jaime Garcia.As you’ll see below, there were several pitchers on the Twins short-season teams who put together real solid seasons. Of course, we are generally talking about a limited number of innings due to their seasons being just two months long. One poor outing can have an effect on their overall numbers.
Seven Twins Daily Minor League writers were asked to vote for the various awards. For the short-season pitcher of the year, we each voted for five players. The player who was voted as #1 received five points, #2 received four points and so on with the #5 vote receiving one point. Results were tabulated and can be found below.
Short profiles of our top five are to follow, but first, some players worthy of honorable mention. These players also received votes.
Others Receiving Votes:
- Jared Finkel - Elizabethton Twins - 17 G, 2-1, 3 Saves, 2.18 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 33.0 IP, 33 H, 7 BB, 29 K
- Bryan Sammons - Elizabethton Twins - 7 G, 3 GS, 2-0, 1.46 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 24.2 IP, 14 H, 7 BB, 31 K (does not include stats at Cedar Rapids)
- Derek Molina - GCL Twins - 10 G, 2 GS, 1-0, 4 Saves, 1.08 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 16.2 IP, 12 H, 3 BB, 21 K.
- Randy Dobnak - Elizabethton Twins - 5 G, 3 GS, 2-0, 1 Save, 2.39 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 26.1 IP, 19 H, 6 BB, 22 K (does not include stats at Cedar Rapids)
- Pedro Garcia - GCL Twins - 10 G, 3 GS, 6-2, 2.59 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 48.2 IP, 26 H, 17 BB, 41 K
- Nick Brown - Elizabethton Twins - 11 G, 7 GS, 3-1, 1 Save, 3.93 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 50.1 IP, 49 H, 15 BB, 54 K
Here are the top five vote-getters for Twins Short Season Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
#5 – Edwar Colina, Elizabethton Twins: 12 G, 11 GS, 3-5, 3.34 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 59.1 IP, 48 H, 29 BB, 56 K.
Colina signed with the Twins in September 2015. He spent 2016 in the Dominican Summer League and went 1-3 with a 2.30 ERA. He came to the States this spring and made the jump up to Elizabethton. The Caracas native turned 20 in May and pitched well enough to be named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year. At 5-11 and stocky, Colina has proven durable. He’ll certainly need to work on his control, but he’s got good stuff.
#4 – Brusdar Graterol, GCL Twins/Elizabethton Twins: 10 G, 7 GS, 4-1, 2.70 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 40.0 IP, 26 H, 13 H, 45 K.
Another Venezuelan, Graterol signed with the Twins in February of 2015. At 16, he made four appearances in the Dominican Summer League before coming to Minnesota to undergo Tommy John surgery. That cost him the 2016 season. But he returned for Instructs and impressed, touching triple-digits with his fastball. This spring, shortly before coming to spring training, he broke his hand. However, he was ready by the short-season. He made five appearances in the GCL and posted a 1.40 ERA in 19.1 innings. He was promoted to Elizabethton where he made five starts and posted a 3.92 ERA. Graterol did not turn 19 until the end of August. He has the kind of stuff that could see him rise up prospect rankings.
#3 – Carlos Suniaga, GCL Twins: 12 G, 6 GS, 4-0, 1 Save, 1.58 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 51.1 IP, 37 H, 12 BB, 42 K.
Another right-hander from Venezuela, Suniaga came to the States in 2017. He also signed with the Twins in February of 2015. In 2016, he went 7-3 with a 2.03 ERA in his second season in the DSL. That earned him an opportunity in the States. He actually started the season by making one appearance in Elizabethton (3.1 scoreless innings). He was sent back to the GCL where he made 11 appearances (including six starts) and posted a 1.69 ERA.
#2 – Blayne Enlow, GCL Twins: 6 G, 1 GS, 3-0, 1.33 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 20.1 IP, 10 H, 4 BB, 19 K.
The first draft of Sean Johnson as scouting director was certainly interesting. The Twins were able to save a bit on the top overall pick, Royce Lewis, and with the added funds, they were able to offer Enlow for a well-over slot value of $2 million. The Louisiana prepster had a commitment to play at LSU, but he instead signed with the Twins. Enlow was brought along slowly. While he was used primarily out of the bullpen, or at least was used after a rehabbing pitcher, there is no question that the 18-year-old will be developed as a starter. He showed good control and an ability to miss bats. He throws in the low-90s and is said to have a terrific curveball. He’s got good size, and has a real chance to be a special pitcher. Like Graterol, Enlow should find his name among the top Twins prospect this offseason.
Pitcher of the Year – Jovani Moran, Elizabethton Twins:. 11 G, 3-1, 0.36 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 24.2 IP, 12 H, 6 BB, 45 K.
The Twins drafted Jovani Moran in the seventh round of the 2015 draft out of the Carlos Beltran Academy in Puerto Rico. The left-hander pitched as a starter that season in the GCL. Unfortunately, he missed the 2016 season after having bone chips removed from this throwing elbow. This year he jumped up to Elizabethton and worked out of the bullpen where he absolutely dominated. Maybe you noticed, but 45 strikeouts in 24.2 innings equates to a K-rate of 16.4 per nine innings. He gave up just one earned run the entire season.
His manager with the E-Twins was Ray Smith this year. Of Moran, Smith said, “We didn’t want to force anything with Jovani due to his arm issues last year. I’ve never seen him being utilized in a starting role, but with this ‘stuff’ being so good, it might turn out to be his role once it’s decided that his arm will continue to be 100%”
Moran was used in the playoffs too and dominated even more. He pitched twice in the two-game sweep in the Appalachian League championship series. Combining the regular season and playoffs, Moran’s numbers are incredible.
Smith added, “Obviously he was dominant for us out of the ‘pen. Good intangibles. Fields his position. Mature approach.”
It was a fantastic season for Jovani Moran and the Elizabethton Twins. He’s a very intriguing prospect and 2018 ought to be quite interesting. Will he continue to work in the bullpen? Will he get an opportunity to start?
To the questions, well, I’ll agree with Ray Smith when he said, “Glad his uniform says ‘TWINS’ on the front of it!”
There you have it, the top pitchers in the short season leagues for the Minnesota Twins in 2017.
In an attempt to be transparent, here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers:
- Seth Stohs – 1) Jovani Moran, 2) Blayne Enlow, 3) Carlos Suniaga, 4) Brusdar Graterol, 5) Bryan Sammons
- Jeremy Nygaard – 1) Jovani Moran, 2) Blayne Enlow, 3) Brusdar Graterol, 4) Edwar Colina, 5) Nick Brown
- Cody Christie – 1) Carlos Suniaga, 2) Blayne Enlow, 3.) Jovani Moran, 4) Derek Molina, 5) Jared Finkel
- Tom Froemming - 1) Jovani Moran, 2) Carlos Suniaga, 3) Blayne Enlow, 4) Brusdar Graterol, 5) Bryan Sammons
- Steve Lein – 1) Jovani Moran, 2) Carlos Suniaga, 3) Brusdar Graterol, 4) Blayne Enlow, 5) Bryan Sammons
- Eric Pleiss – 1) Jovani Moran, 2) Carlos Suniaga, 3) Blayne Enlow, 4) Edwar Colina, 5) Pedro Garcia
- Ted Schwerzler - 1) Blayne Enlow, 2) Carlos Suniaga, 3) Jovani Moran, 4) Jared Finkel, 5) Randy Dobnak
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