Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Relievers for August, here are some terrific bullpen performances that just missed the cut.
- Colton Davis, Ft. Myers Miracle, 8 G, 2.19 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 6 H, 8 BB, 17 K.
- Ryan Eades, Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings, 9 G, 3 GS, 1.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 18.0 IP, 15 H, 5 BB, 22 K.
- Moises Gomez, Cedar Rapids Kernels, 6 G, 2.19 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 10 H, 0 BB, 11 K
- Ryne Harper, Rochester Red Wings, 9 G, 3.06 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 17.2 IP, 13 H, 3 BB, 21 K.
- Jose Martinez, Cedar Rapids Kernels, 5 G, 2.77 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 15 K
- Michael Montero, GCL Twins, 5 G, 0.71 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 12.2 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 8 K
- Jovani Moran, Ft. Myers Miracle, 8 G, 3.12 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 17.1 IP, 11 H, 8 BB, 23 K.
- Cody Stashak, Chattanooga Lookouts, 7 G, 0.84 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 10.2 IP, 10 H, 0 BB, 8 K
THE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS
- Elizabethton/Cedar Rapids Kernels - 6 G, 0.75 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 12.0 IP, 9 H, 3 BB, 15 K
Quezada signed with the Twins way back in 2012. He was a skinny kid. Since then, he has grown to 6-8 and over 240 pounds. He was posting upper-90s velocities until shoulder problems cost him the 2017 season. He returned this year and got into some games in Elizabethton. However, he has done a nice job since joining the Kernels in the middle of August. Recent reports had him hitting 99 mph again. He is already 24. He signed a little later and the shoulder issues have cost him time, but he is certainly one to watch over the next year as he could move fast if he can stay healthy. In August, opponents hit just .209/.261/.233 (.493) off of him.
- Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 0.71 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 12.2 IP, 6 H, 5 BB,18 K
Lots of talk about Byron Buxton, and deservingly so. Because he’s one of us and struck out a ton of batters in Rochester this year, we also hear a lot, wondering why Nick Anderson wasn’t promoted. However, it is inexplicable to me that Jake Reed didn’t get called up for September. They were fortunate that he wasn’t selected in the Rule 5 draft a year ago. After this season, it’s much more unlikely that he would again. His season started out slow, but since June 1st, he has a 1.43 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings. August was his best month as he didn’t give up runs, didn’t allow base runners and even walked less than he did over the course of the season. Opponents hit just .143/.234/.167 (.401) off of him in the month, and he missed a lot of bats.
- Cedar Rapids Kernels - 6 G, 1.35 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 13.1 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 22 K
While he can occasional struggle with his control, Derek Molina is very intriguing because he misses a lot of bats. And, he’s only been pitching full time since the Twins made him their 14th-round pick in the 2017 draft out of Merced College in California. In August, things came together nicely for him. Opponents hit just ..146/.196/.188 (.384) against him. Molina throws a good fastball, a solid curveball and an improving changeup. Check out this
Q&A with Molina
from earlier this season.
- Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 1.42 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 12.2 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 16 K
Three rounds after taking this month’s top reliever, the Twins selected his Westmont College teammate Hector Lujan. Lujan had a terrific 2017 season in which he led the Twins minor leagues in saves for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. After a slow start with the Miracle this year, he really came on strong. August was easily his best month. His control improved and his stuff definitely helped him miss bats. For the month, opponents hit just .133/.170/.200 (.370) against him. He will participate in the Arizona Fall League this year.
And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is:
Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings – LHP Andrew Vasquez - 9 G, 0.61 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 30 K
Andrew Vasquez pitched in the Florida State League All-Star Game in mid-June. Following the game, he was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga. He spent almost exactly one month with the Lookouts before being promoted to Triple-A Rochester. He spent about eight days with the Red Wings, and following the August 31st game, he was told that he was heading to the big leagues.
As we have seen in his two short appearances with the Twins, Vasquez is primarily a slider pitcher. His fastball sits 89-90 mph, but it is his breaking ball that can be absolutely devastating to opposing hitter. A quick look at his above-mentioned stat line for August, he averaged over two strikeouts per inning. In August, opponents hit just .157/.259/.176 (.435) off of him.
Vasquez was the Twins 32nd-round pick in 2015 out of Westmont College (after three years at UC-Santa Barbara). He went to the GCL that year where he walked 15 batters (and struck out 22) in 12 1/3 innings. He was moved along slowly as he worked through his control issues. But once he had command of his control, he flew up the system. This year, he has 108 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings. He was an easy pick to be added to the 40-man roster in the offseason, so the Twins brought him up for September.
There were several strong relief pitcher performances in August throughout the Twins minor league system, and at least another handful probably could have been mentioned. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today, but it was a great month, which culminated in his first big league call-up. Congratulations to Andrew Vasquez, the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for August 2018.