Previous 2019 Starting Pitchers of the Month:
April - Devin Smeltzer - Pensacola Blue WahoosBefore we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Starters for May, there were some other strong starting performers that just missed the cut. You can certainly agree or disagree with the rankings. Let’s discuss the top starting pitchers in the organization in May.
Brusdar Graterol - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 4 GS, 20.1 IP, 1.33 ERA, 1.08 WHIP. 15 H, 7 BB, 18 K
Josh Winder - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 GS, 27.0 IP, 3.67 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 19 H, 8 BB, 19 K
Bryan Sammons - Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 4 GS, 20.0 IP, 1.35 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 19 H, 6 BB, 29 K
Randy Dobnak - Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings - 6 GS, 26.0 IP, 3.81 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 23 H, 8 BB, 27 K
THE TOP FIVE STARTING PITCHERS
#5 - RHP Austin Schulfer - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 7 G, 4 GS, 22.0 IP, 3.27 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 13 H, 10 BB, 32 K
Schulfer was the Twins 19th round pick one year ago out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he was a four-year starter. He had an impressive professional debut. For Elizabethton, he went 3-0 with a 1.58 ERA. He began the 2019 season in the Kernels bullpen, but it was in long relief. Likely that was to help with his innings count over the season. In May, opponents hit just .165/.258/.266 (.524) off of him. He now appears to be in the Kernels rotation and pitching well.
#4 - RHP Kohl Stewart - Rochester Red Wings - 4 GS, 1.93 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 18.2 IP, 15 H, 8 BB, 18 K
For the second time this season, Kohl Stewart was called up by the Twins to make a spot start. On May 7th, Stewart made a start against Toledo. He went just two innings because the team knew he would be starting game 2 of the May 11th double header against the parent club of the Mudhens, the Detroit Tigers. Stewart gave up three runs in six innings to pick up the win. Those numbers aren’t included in his monthly total above. Stewart may have walked a few too many, but the former 1st-round pick continued to throw well and show that he is ready to pitch in the big leagues when summoned.
#3 - LHP Devin Smeltzer - Rochester Red Wings - 4 GS, 1.82 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 24.2 IP, 20 H, 7 BB, 15 K
Smeltzer was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month in April when he produced an impressive month in Pensacola. He was quickly promoted to the Red Wings in May and ended the month with six shutout innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in his big-league debut. Those numbers aren’t included in the above, but I’d say that big league time can be a tie-breaker. And, these numbers do tell us that Smeltzer was very deserving of The Call. Even at the highest level of the minor leagues, Smeltzer displayed calm. He doesn’t throw hard, but he knows how to pitch and is able to hit spots. His first start in June will also be with the Twins. Get to know him here.
#2 - RHP Blayne Enlow - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 5 GS, 2.12 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 29.2 IP, 22 H, 8 BB, 30 K
There were a couple of rough starts for Enlow in April, but in May, Blayne Enlow was a terrific. After spending 2018 in Cedar Rapids, Enlow began 2019 as a Kernel again. He was pitching well in May. Well enough, in fact, that he was promoted to Ft. Myers and finished the month with a strong Miracle debut. He started with six shutout innings before giving up a leadoff home run in the 7th inning and coming out. For the month, opponents hit just .191/.244/.348 (.592) against him. The Twins 3rd-round pick in 2017 out of high school in Louisiana had a good fastball and can spin the ball well too.
And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is:
Ft. Myers Miracle - RHP Jordan Balazovic - 5 GS, 2.13 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 24.0 IP, 12 H, 5 BB, 35 K
Balazovic was the Twins 5th-round draft pick in 2016 out of secondary school in Mississauga, Ontario. He had some ups and downs in 2017, but he took off last year after being pushed up to Cedar Rapids. He made 11 starts for the Kernels and showed promise. Sure, he hoped to start 2019 in Ft. Myers, but he did spend the first month of the season back with the Kernels. He pitched well last month. In four starts, he went 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA and opponents hit just .195 off of him.
His first start in May came for the Ft. Myers Miracle, and it was rather memorable. In a game in Palm Beach, Balazovic tossed seven perfect innings. No runs. No hits. No errors. 21 up, 21 down. And ten of those outs came on strikeouts. In his second Miracle start, he struck out 12 batters in five innings. His fourth start was again seven shutout innings.His final start of the month went just over an inning because of a rain delay.
Balazovic has really good stuff. He throws hard. He throws strikes. He has swing and iss stuff. Opponents hit just .140/.211/.163 (.373) off of him in May. He is certainly rising up the charts.
Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of May, Ft. Myers Miracle right-hander Jordan Balazovic.
Feel free to discuss and ask questions.
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