Previous 2019 Relief Pitchers of the Month:
April: Ryan Mason, Pensacola Blue WahoosBefore we get to our Top 4 relievers in the Twins system in May, here are several Honorable Mentions.
- Adam Bray - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 9 G, 2.53 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 21.1 IP, 17 H, 4 BB, 22 K
- Sam Clay - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 10 G, 1.10 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 11 H, 6 BB, 18 K
- Zach Neff - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 8 G, 1.15 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 15.2 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 22 K
THE TOP FOUR RELIEF PITCHERS
#4 - Derek Molina - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 7 G, 0.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 19 K
Molina was the Twins 14th-round pick in 2017 out of Merced College where he was a two-way player. He was the team’s shortstop and pitched as well. The Twins liked his arm a lot and drafted him as a pitcher only. He throws hard and has a good breaking ball. After a slow start to his season, Molina was fantastic in May. Opponents hit just .167/.255/.190 (.446). When he throws strikes consistently, good things happen.
#3 - Tom Hackimer - Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 13.1 IP, 7 H, 6 BB, 20 K
After four seasons at St. Johns, Hackimer was the Twins fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft. He was promoted fairly quickly and even pitched in the Arizona Fall League. However, he was sidelined by injury through much of 2018 and his season ended early with a biceps surgery. He returned in 2019 and has been great. He began with the Miracle, however, after one May outing, he was promoted to Double-A Pensacola where he remained nearly unhittable. Opponents hit just .156/.296/.156 (.452) off of him in the month. He had 20 strikeouts in just 13 1/3 innings and he could advance another level this season.
#2 - Anthony Vizcaya - Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 7 G, 1.59 ERA, 0.62 WHIP, 11.1 IP, 4 H, 3 BB,14 K
Vizcaya is potentially one of those feel-good stories that we all enjoy so much. He was originally signed in 2011 by Cleveland. He was in their organization through the 2014 season, peaking in the advanced rookie New York-Penn League. And then he was out of affiliated baseball until the Twins signed him this spring. He pitched some in the Venezuelan Winter League, but not a lot. However, he throws hard and has proven it was worth a shot for the Twins. He began the season in Ft. Myers and was promoted to Double-A Pensacola late in May. For the month, opponents hit just .160/.189/.200 (.389) off of the right-hander.
And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is:
Ft. Myers Miracle – RHP Hector Lujan - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 16 K
Lujan was the Twins 35th-round pick in 2015 out of Division III Westmont College in California where he teamed with the Twins 32nd-round pick that year, Andrew Vasquez. Lujan has really improved since signing with the Twins. He now has a fastball that reaches to 95-96 mph and much improved breaking pitches.
He took off late in the 2017 season when he became the Cedar Rapids closer and led the organization in saves. He was also the recipient of the 2017 Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service for Cedar Rapids. He pitched well in 2018 in Ft. Myers. He posted a 2.64 ERA over 71 2/3 innings. Almost inexplicably, he remains with the Miracle. Through another 36 2/3 innings this year, he has a 2.21 ERA. In May, opponents hit just .151/.179/.219 (.398) against him. He walked three batters in the month, and all three were intentional.
There were some really solid relief pitcher performances in May throughout the Twins minor league system.There were several players with 0.00 ERAs. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today. Congratulations to Hector Lujan, the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for May 2019.
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