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Article: Twins Minor League Relief PItcher of the Month - June 2019

derek molina moises gomez zach neff adam phillips hector lujan
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 03 July 2019 - 10:21 PM

Over the weekend, we handed out our choices for the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Month (Lewin Diaz) and Starting Pitcher of the Month (Jordan Balazovic). Today, we will discuss the relief pitchers. Which bullpen arms had a strong June?

Previous 2019 Relief Pitchers of the Month:

April: Ryan Mason, Pensacola Blue Wahoos
May: Hector Lujan, Ft. Myers MiracleBefore we get to our Top 4 relievers in the Twins system in June, here are several Honorable Mentions.
  • Adam Bray - Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings - 7 G, 2.95 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 21.1 IP, 21 H, 4 BB, 18 K (.266/706)
  • Melvi Acosta - Ft. Myers Miracle - 5 G, 2 GS, 2.20 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 12 H, 5 BB, 16 K (.203/550)
  • Ryan Eades - Rochester Red Wings -8 G, 2.35 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 15.1 IP, 16 H, 6 BB, 21 K (.276/723)
  • Anthony Vizcaya - Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 8 G, 1 GS, 0.53 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 17.0 IP, 9 H, 10 BB, 18 K (.158/.529)

#4 - Alex Phillips - Ft. Myers Miracle - 7 G, 1.46 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 9 H, 2 BB, 13 K

Phillips finished up a long and windy college career at Baylor last June. It started at Arkansas but Tommy John surgery cost him about two seasons. He went to Baylor and pitched well yet still went undrafted. The Twins signed him very late last year and he helped the Miracle to an FSL title. The 24-year-old has spent most of this season dominating the Florida State League again. In fact, his June numbers are a little higher than his Miracle season numbers. He spent a couple of weeks pitching well in Pensacola in May. Opponents hit just .205 off of him this month with a .528 OPS. He pitched in the Florida State League All-Star game in June as well.

#3 - Zach Neff - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 1 GS, 1.40 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 19.1 IP, 12 H, 5 BB, 24 K

After three years at Austin Peay, Neff transferred to Mississippi State in 2018. The Twins made him their 31st-round pick in 2018. He spent time in Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids last year. He began 2019 with the Kernels and pitched very well. He was even better in June which earned him a promotion to Ft. Myers. Neff doesn’t throw real hard, but the lefty finds a way to avoid hard contact.

#2 - Moises Gomez - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 8 G, 2.30 ERA, 0.51 WHIP, 7 H, 1 BB, 22 K

Gomez is in his sixth season in the organization. Seems like he has been around forever and yet he is still just 22. He has been a work-in-progress all along, but in June, he put together a month to get noticed. Look again. One walk. 22 strikeouts. That is a pretty good ratio. Along with not walking anyone, he didn’t give up many hits either. Opponents hit just .132 with a .412 OPS off of him in the month. Overall this season, Gomez has 12 walks and 43 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings.

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

Ft. Myers Miracle – RHP Derek Molina - 9 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 23 K

Derek Molina began his college career at Cal-St. Nortridge, and he got some at-bats and did some pitching as a freshman. Wanting to play more, he transferred to Merced College where he was the team’s primary shortstop but also was a late-inning reliever. It was on the mound where he impressed Twins scouts (and scouts from other teams).They saw a strong, live arm with potential for good secondary pitches.

The Twins drafted him in the 14th round of the 2017 draft. Now a pro ballplayer, Molina was ready for a career solely on the mound. He has been moved fairly patiently. He has had some moments where his control eludes him, but his progress has been steady. And so far in 2019, and especially in June, he’s been lights out. Mid-month, he had earned his promotion and continued to pitch very well. He has worked one inning, two innings or most recently three innings out of the bullpen.

Overall in 2019, Molina had 57 strikeouts, and just ten walks, over 37 2/3 innings. Molina is a very good athlete, and as you would expect, he fields his position very well. While he may not be a household name, he is definitely an intriguing arm to watch over the next couple of seasons.

As you can see, there were a few really strong relief pitcher performances in June. There guys are all worthy of some recognition. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today.

Congratulations to Derek Molina, the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for June 2019.

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#2 nclahammer


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Posted 04 July 2019 - 01:16 AM

Congratulations Derek Molina, keep up the good work.


#3 Thegrin


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Posted 04 July 2019 - 06:00 AM

We get good news and bad news.The good news is that we have a whole group of new names to look forward to watching.The bad news is that most of the names that we're used to seeing have failed us and are gone.:)

  • mikelink45 and PDX Twin like this

#4 gbg


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Posted 04 July 2019 - 06:46 AM

The link in the opening paragraph for Starting Pitcher of the Month links back to the May article...

#5 mikelink45


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Posted 04 July 2019 - 06:47 AM

we have seen one of these arms so far.Will we see more this year?  

#6 rdehring


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Posted 04 July 2019 - 07:29 AM

Isn't that Fort Myers pitching staff loaded, Seth?


Dominating shutouts by starters two of the last three games.And four of the above eight are all in their pen.Could there be another ring in their future?

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