Previous 2019 Starting Pitchers of the Month:
April - Devin Smeltzer - Pensacola Blue Wahoos
May - Jordan Balazovic - Ft. Myers Miracle
June - Josh Winder - Cedar Rapids KernelsBefore we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Starters for July, 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 June.
- Niklas Rimmel - GCL Twins - 5 GS, 20.0 IP, 2.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 17 H, 6 BB, 19 K (.230/576)
- Jhoan Duran - Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 5 GS, 23.2 IP, 2.66 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 22 H, 9 BB, 23 K (.253/656)
- Bailey Ober - Ft. Myers Miracle/GCL Twins - 5 G, 4 GS, 29.2 IP, 1.46 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 23 H, 4 BB, 32 K, (237/553)
- Cole Sands - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 24.2 IP, 2.55 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 22 H, 2 BB, 23 K (247/586)
- Tyler Watson - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 21.2 IP, 1.66 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 16 H, 4 BB, 13 K (208/574)
- Tyler Palm - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 5 GS, 25.2 IP, 2.45 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 24 H, 9 BB, 24 K (242/628)
- Donny Breek - GCL Twins - 5 G, 4 GS, 15.0 IP, 1.20 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 7 H, 13 BB, 13 K.(137/495)
- Anthony Escobar - GCL Twins - 5 G, 2 GS, 22.2 IP, 2.38 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 17 H, 6 BB, 20 K
#5 - LHP Charlie Barnes - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 6 GS, 35.1 IP, 2.04 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 30 H, 11 BB, 35 K
Barnes was the Twins fourth-round draft pick in 2017 out of Clemson. The southpaw signed quickly and has moved up consistently. He began 2019 with the Ft. Myers Miracle before being promoted to Pensacola. He’s 2-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 12 games. In 65 innings, the 23-year-old has 67 strikeouts and just 19 walks.
#4 - RHP Luis Rijo - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 GS, 26.2 IP, 2.36 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 21 H, 3 BB, 27 K
Rijo signed with the Yankees in 2015 from Venezuela. At the 2018 July trade deadline, he came to the Twins with Tyler Austin in the Lance Lynn trade. He ended the season going 2-0 with a 1.27 ERA in Elizabethton. He was known as an advanced pitcher with a good three-pitch mix, but he didn’t have the velocity. This year, he is often touching 96 with his fastball. Overall with the Kernels, he is 4-6 with a 2.58 ERA. In his first start in July, he struck out ten batters in seven, one-hit, shutout innings. He went at least six innings in each of his starts. For the month, opponents hit just .219 off of him, and that 9:1 K:BB ratio is really good.
#3 - RHP Kai-Wei Teng - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 29.2 IP, 0.91 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 21 H, 7 BB, 26 K
The Twins signed Kai-Wei Teng out of Taiwan in October of 2017. He spent 2018 in Extended Spring Training and the Gulf Coast League. This year, he joined the Kernels from extended spring training in June. His first three starts in July, he gave up just one earned run in 19 innings. He ended the month with seven shutout innings. Well, actually he ended the month as a member of the San Francisco Giants organization as he was traded as part of the deal that sent Sam Dyson to the Twins.
#2 - RHP Randy Dobnak - Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings - 6 GS, 40.0 IP, 1.80 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 23 H, 5 BB, 33 K
If anyone wants to argue that Randy Dobnak should be the pitcher of the month for July, I won’t put up much of an argument. He split the month between AA and AAA. He began the year by going 3-0 with a 0.40 ERA. In Double-A, he has gone 4-2 with a 2.67 ERA. And now in Triple-A, he is 4-1 with a 2.00 ERA, even with the MLB baseball. Dobnak provides innings. His 40 innings was most in the Twins system. He didn’t give up runs. He barely gave up base runners, and he missed enough bats to rack up quite a few strikeouts. In the month, batters hit just .159 with a .397 OPS off of him. In fact, in his most recent blog, Patrick Reusse says that Dobnak could be the next pitcher called up from Triple-A, maybe even as early as this weekend. After signing as a non-drafted free agent in 2017 and spending all of 2018 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels, his 2019 season has already been remarkable.
And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is:
Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - RHP Edwar Colina - 5 G, 4 GS, 31.2 IP, 0.57 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 14 H, 7 BB, 36 K
The Twins signed Colina when he was 18 years old in late September 2015 out of Venezuela. He took major strides in 2018 when he pitched at Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. Unfortunately, he began the 2019 season in the injured list. He missed the first month of the season. He made just ten starts before being promoted.
His first two starts in July came with the Miracle. In the first outing, he gave up just one hit over eight innings. In the next outing, he gave up three hits over seven shutout innings. He was then promoted to Double-A Pensacola. He went just four innings in his first AA start. He followed that up by giving up just an unearned run over seven innings, and he struck out ten batters for the second time this month. And in his final start, he threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings.
For the month, opponents hit just .135 with a .377 OPS off of him in July. He struck out more than a batter an inning.
Colina throws hard. He’s barely 6-0 tall and remarkably sturdy and strong. He has hit 100 mph on multiple occasions, though he sits between 96 and 98 mph. He has a good three-pitch mix and mixes speeds well too. While we have heard names like Brusdar Graterol, Jorge Alcala and even Jhoan Duran as possible hard-throwing options down the stretch for the Twins, Colina is in on par with each of them.
Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of July, Pensacola Blue Wahoos right-hander Edwar Colina.
Feel free to discuss and ask questions.
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