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Christopher Fee

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  • Birthday 02/15/1985

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  1. After two weather related cancelations, the Red Wings finished the week by playing a double header against the Syracuse Chiefs. Rochester had been on the road for the past two weeks, sweeping Scranton then being swept by Pawtucket and finishing by taking two of three against Syracuse. Rochester’s biggest struggle so far this season has been their offense, currently ranking in the bottom half in the league in runs (9th), hits (11th), home runs (8th), RBI’s (8th) & 13th in stolen bases in the International League. With Josmil Pinto leading the team in batting average at .325 entering Saturday’s game and second on the team with eight RBI’s, only Reynaldo Rodriguez is hitting above .300 for Rochester. When talking about the Red Wings offense, manager Mike Quade said “Ortiz (Danny), is swinging the bat great, we are getting contributions from Rodriguez, Martinez (Jose) has been good, Bernier (Doug) is starting to hit well, so there’s a lot of things offensively that are going well”. While the numbers are not there, the optimism is there that things will turn around soon. So if the bats are struggling, then the pitching must be doing well, right? Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case for Rochester either. The Wings currently rank 12th in the IL in team ERA, 1st in HR allowed with 15, 4th in walks allowed with 55, and 12th in WHIP. Pat Dean has been the surprise of the season in the Red Wings rotation, currently 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in 12 innings pitched. Originally Dean was not in Rochester’s rotation, but with the promotion of Trevor May to Minnesota, the opportunity was there for Dean and he’s run with it. Probably the biggest surprise & disappointment so far has been Alex Meyer’s start to the 2015 season. Meyer had a very good season with the Wings in 2014, but so far walks have been his Achilles heel with 14 walks in 14 2/3rd innings pitched. Through three starts overall Meyer is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA, he has struck out 20 batters in the 14.2 innings, but control has to drastically improve if he hopes to join the Twins rotation, or bullpen in 2015. Rochester is going to finish the week by starting a 10 game home stand against Syracuse, Columbus and then Norfolk before heading back on the road May 5th.
  2. http://twinsdaily.co...ntid=3832&stc=1 Photo Courtesy of Richard Bobby Photography Coming off a dismal 1-5 road trip, the Rochester Red Wings came home to start an 8-game home stand against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders (Yankees) and Pawtucket Red Sox. Coming into their game Monday against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Wings had lost four in a row and had been outscored 24-8 in those games. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] More of the Same In the four games against the Railriders the Red Wings starters allowed 11 earned runs in 23 innings pitched, which translates to a 4.30 ERA. However, the bullpen continuds to struggle, giving up 13 runs in just nine innings pitched (6.23 ERA). During the series the Red Wings were outscored 22 – 6, which included a 20 inning scoreless drought. When you score six runs in four games, blaming the offense is apt. Exactly how much is the offense struggling? In their four games against the Railriders, Rochester was a combined 2-33 (.061) with runners in scoring position and 31 men were left on base. After the game Wednesday night, manager Gene Glynn talked a bit about the teams' early season struggles. “I was hoping that it wouldn’t get this deep. We had a couple of 8-game losing streaks last year early in season. I just want to put this behind us as soon as we can. You know that there’s a long season ahead, but it’s getting urgent that we turn this around.” After breaking their seven-game losing streak on Thursday, the road was not going to get any easier as the International League North division-leading Pawtucket Red Sox were coming to town. Not only were the Red Sox in first place, but also they were getting better. Boston called DH David Ortiz up from Pawtucket on Friday afternoon, but sent top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. down to the PawSox. Is the team starting to click? Friday night’s game was rained out, which meant the Red Wings would play one game on Saturday and a double header on Sunday, their second twinbill of the young season. Andrew Albers started for Rochester on Saturday; overall he has been one of the more reliable pitchers on the team. However due to cold weather, strong winds and control issues, Albers would last only two innings, giving up three runs on four hits. Over the remaining seven innings, the bullpen allowed just five hits and one run, while striking out five. While it wasn’t a jaw-dropping offensive performance, it was still nice to see the team hit. The Red Wings went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position (RISP), but they capitalized on the Red Sox three errors and Chris Colabello’s game winning HR (his sixth dinger this year) in the 7th inning helped Rochester get their first winning streak of the season. Kyle Gibson took the mound in game one of the double-header on Sunday. Through 5 innings he looked great and the Red Wings were up 1-0. Unfortunately, he was unable to retire anyone in the 6th inning, and Luis Perdomo was also unable to get anyone out in the 6th. Five runs crossed the plate in the inning and the Red Sox added three more runs in the 7th, leading to an 8-1 Red Sox victory, and ending the Red Wings two-game winning streak. Game two was all about P.J. Walters, who pitched a complete game two hitter to give Rochester its first shutout of the season. Despite going 2 for 14 with RISP, it was still enough to pick up their third win in four games. Let’s Look at the Numbers In the Red Wings five wins this year, they have outscored their opponents 28-14. In their 12 losses, opponents have outscored Rochester, 78-23. Also, in 12 of the 17 games played (71%), the Red Wings have scored 2 runs or fewer; they are 2-10 in those games. Chris Colabello and Clete Thomas are the only two Rochester players with batting averages above .300. There are seven players with averages at .200 or below, and three more players with averages below .220 for the season. Rochester has a combined team ERA of 6.43 through 17 games. However the team has an improving ERA of 4.80 over their past four games. What Lies Ahead? Now at 5-12 on the year, Rochester finishes their home stand tomorrow in game four of the series against Pawtucket. The Red Wings then stay local, heading east to Syracuse for a four-game series against the Chiefs (Nationals). Last season Rochester was 5-11 against Syracuse, and 3-5 on the road at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse. The Red Wings then return home for a four-game series against the Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays). The Wings are 1-3 against Buffalo this season, including 1-1 at Frontier Field. Click here to view the article
  3. Download attachment: Frontier Field .jpg Rapidly approaching the midpoint of the season, the Rochester Red Wings sit just two games short of the .500 mark at 34-36 after sweeping four games against the Gwinnett Braves this weekend. Currently in fourth place in the Northern division, seven games back, it seems it was just a month ago that we were wondering how bad a season this was going to be in Rochester, so what has changed? Despite all of the changes to the roster, the Red Wings have somehow found a balance of pitching and hitting that has worked for them. Since being called up from New Britain, Antoan Richardson is hitting .287 with 11 stolen bases, which leads the team despite playing 25 fewer games than Eric Farris who is second on the team with 10. Another unsung hero for Rochester has been Dan Rohlfing, up from New Britain. Since being promoted, Rohlfing is hitting .407 with two home runs and nine RBI’s. Manager Gene Glynn said about Rohlfing, “He’s really sparked our club offensively since he’s arrived. He’s played right field, he’s caught, and he’s played left. He’s been a big plus, and makeup-wise he’s a fired up guy who brings a lot of energy.” Friday night he went 4-4 in the game against Gwinnett, and followed that up with a game winning 2-RBI single in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday night. “It was the first walk off hit of my career”, Rohlfing said after the game Saturday night. “I don’t even think I had one in high school.” Finally there’s Chris Colabello, who has been discussed at great length by myself and many other's who follow the Red Wings and the Twins. Colabello is 1st in the International League in batting average at .369, tied for fourth in home runs with 14 and fourth in RBI’s with 50, all that while missing 14 of the Red Wings 70 games. Despite being ranked 11th in the International League in ERA, there have been a few pitchers, especially in the bullpen, that have helped the Red Wings compile a 32-25 record since April 18th. Andrew Albers, who started off the season as the Red Wings 5th starter, has become the most consistent starter in the rotation: he has posted a 5-2 record with a 3.01 ERA, while striking out 66 batters in 74.2 innings and walking just 19. Currently ranked in the top ten in wins, ERA, and strikeouts in the International League, Albers’ season has been nothing short of surprising. Besides Kyle Gibson, the Red Wings rotation has been constantly changing this season, and Albers' time in Rochester may be short if he continues to pitch the way he has this year. One of the more surprising stats is the Red Wings ranking 3rd in the IL in saves with 20. The reason that is so surprising is the lack of a specific closer coming out of the bullpen. To start the season, Luis Perdomo and Anthony Slama were splitting the duties. Slama was recently released and Perdomo has an ERA over five and has not closed a game in over a month. While Gene Glynn likely won’t come out and name a closer, if you look at the late inning opportunities, it appears that recently promoted Aaron Thompson will have some opportunities to save games. Since being called up from New Britain, Thompson has appeared in nine games, posting a 1-1 record with a 1.88 ERA and three saves. Besides having a throwback style moustache, he’s been able to control the plate, walking only two batters in 14.1 innings. Another former Rock Cat reliever that’s made an impact since being called up is Michael Tonkin. In seven appearances, including picking up the save on Sunday, Tonkin has pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out eight, and appears to be another player who, like Thompson, will get opportunities to close games. Early on in the year, the Red Wings couldn’t seem to piece everything together. They would score a lot of runs and blow a lead, or the bats would be cold and the pitchers would throw a gem. It seems now that Rochester has a good blend of players, the clubhouse is loose and there could be a lot to get excited about in the second half of the season in upstate New York. Click here to view the article
  4. Download attachment: Albers1_BA.jpg Before the 2013 season, Andrew Albers had never won more than eight games in his professional career, never struck out more than 100 batters, and had only pitched more than 100 innings one time. But 2013 has been a breakout year for the 27-year-old Kentucky grad, In 22 starts with the Rochester Red Wings Albers has won 11 games, struck out 116 batters while walking just 32 and has an ERA of 2.86. Tuesday he will make his major league debut with the Minnesota Twins, so here’s a look at a month-by-month breakdown of Albers season, and how each month he’s been better than the last. April – 0-1 23.2 IP, 28 H, 11 ER, 6 BB, 24 SO. 4.18 ERA Originally pegged as the Red Wings 5th starter, Albers first start was on April 8th against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. While it wasn’t a long outing it was effective. He went 4.2 innings, giving up just three hits, one run, one walk and striking out five. Early in the season there was a pretty low pitch count for the Wings' pitchers. In this game he only threw 76 pitches and did not factor into the decision. Photo Courtesy of the Rochester Red Wings Albers continued to pitch well in his second start as well against the Pawtucket Red Sox. This time he went five innings, gave up four hits, struck out five batters and walked none. He left with a 1-0 lead but Daniel Turpen was unable to hold down the lead and Albers got a no decision. He faced them again in his next outing, and it did not go well, to say the least. He pitched only two innings, gave up four hits, three runs, three walks and one strikeouts. It was his shortest outing of the season. In his first outing against the Syracuse Chiefs, the struggles continued. He pitched six innings, gave up nine hits, five runs, two walks, six strikeouts and worst of all he allowed two home runs in the game. He did not factor in the decision yet the Red Wings went on to win the game 10-5. In his final outing of the month, his second against the Buffalo Bisons, Albers seemed to break out of the slump and pitched arguably his best start of the season until then. In six innings, he gave up eight hits, two runs, no walks and seven strikeouts; he did allow one home run as well. But he wasn't rewarded; after four straight no decisions, Albers picked up his first loss and dropped to 0-1 on the year. May: 2-1, 29 IP, 30 H, 11 R, 8 ER, 10 BB, 25 SO, 2.48 ERA In his first start in the May, Albers had the opportunity to face off against the 9-23 Toledo Mud Hens. In his longest outing of the year to that date, he pitched 6.1 innings, gave up just three hits, two walks and three strikeouts. Once again Albers did not factor into the decision and the Red Wings went on to lose the game 1-0. But for the second straight start, he was not the chief reason for defeat. Pitching in game one of a doubleheader against the Columbus Clippers, Albers remained sharp and regained the strikeout form he had earlier in the year. In six innings, he allowed five hits, two runs, zero earned runs, one walk, seven strikeouts - and picked up his second loss of the year. It took eight starts before he was able to pick up a win, but on May 17th against the Durham Bulls Andrew Albers got the job done. In 6.1 innings, he allowed five hits, no runs, three walks, and six strikeouts. While there were several opportunities for him to win the game, the pieces just didn’t fall into place. Now at 1-2 on the year his ERA stood at 2.34. While his next start against the Charlotte Knights was not his best outing, it was good enough for Albers to pick up his second win of the season. In this start he pitched six innings, gave up 10 hits, three runs, one walk and six strikeouts. While his record improved, the Red Wings as a team were still struggling, standing at 19-28. His final May start against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, was one that he would likely want to forget. In 4.1 IP, he allowed seven hits, six runs, five earned runs, three walks, and three strikeouts. Once again Albers did not factor into the decision, and the Wings went on to win the game 8-7. June: 5-1, 39.1 IP, 34 H, 13 R, 8 BB, 31 SO, 2.97 ERA His first start against the Charlotte Knights was not great. In his second start against the Knights was not much better. In six innings, he gave up seven hits, four runs, two walks, four strikeouts and two home runs allowed. Albers picked up his third win of the year, and the Red Wings record improved to 25-32 on the year. If there was a start that said Andrew Albers was emerging as the ace for Rochester, this next start was it. He pitched a complete game shutout against the Gwinnett Braves, giving up just six hits, no walks and seven strikeouts and improved his season record to 4-2, winning three of the four most recent starts. Then, for the second time in a week Albers faced off against Gwinnett, and the results were no different. While he did not pitch a complete game he did pitch seven innings, gave up just four hits, two runs, walked one batter and struck out six. For the third straight game Albers won his start, and his record stood at 5-2 on the year. The second start against Scranton was much different than the first one. Albers was able to pitch 6.1 innings versus 4.1, he allowed four hits, two runs, but also allowed two home runs, two walks and four strikeouts. Albers continued to win, improving to 6-2 on the season and with every start it appeared he was building confidence and becoming one of the best pitchers in the International league. The wins kept rolling. Next time his victim was the Louisville Bats. Although the outing was brief, he was able to pick up his fifth straight win in a five inning start in which he gave up five hits, one run, two walks and six strikeouts. At this point it was time to wonder exactly how long it would be before he joined the Twins rotation. In both April and May. Albers ended the month on a rough note, and the streak continued in June. Indianapolis scored four runs on eight hits in six innings, and allowed three homers as well. Albers struck out four batters and walked one, picking up his first loss since May 17th. July: 4-2, 40.1 IP, 32 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 8 BB, 36 SO, 2.23 ERA. In his first two starts against the Buffalo Bison, Albers pitched well, but was unable to pick up a win. Third time was the charm, pitching seven innings, allowing five hits, one run, no walks and striking out six. After struggling in his previous start it now seemed like that was just a bump in the road and he was back to being the number one starter in Rochester. When you face a team three times in a season, they tend to pick up on your tendencies, which is exactly what happened against the RailRiders. In five innings, Albers allowed nine hits, five runs, two walks and struck out five. This was the last time that he was hit around like that. His next three starts were nothing short of amazing. Against Pawtucket, Syracuse and Norfolk he pitched a combined 20.1 innings, giving up 13 hits, three runs with two earned runs, walking five and striking out 21. During that stretch he won those three in a row, went two starts without allowing an earned run and had an ERA of 0.90. He improved to 11-4 on the year. In his final start for Rochester against Lehigh Valley, Albers again showed that he’s ready for the challenge at the next level. While he did pick up the loss, he pitched eight innings, allowing just five hits, two runs, one walk and four strikeouts. Unfortunately for him, run support was not sufficient and he finished with a record of 11-5. Summary While I don’t think Andrew Albers is going to win 20 games in a season or be a top of the rotation starter, I do think that he will be an innings eater who can provide some quality starts for the Twins. One of the biggest differences between Albers this year and years past is his ability to strike people out, a skill that until this year was not his strength. If he is able to do in Minnesota what he did this season in Rochester, he’ll be someone to get excited about in 2014. Click here to view the article
  5. Download attachment: Sano_Miguel_Landscape.jpg Recently I had the opportunity to interview to MLB.com senior writer Jonathan Mayo about the Minnesota Twins farm system. In part 1 of that interview, we talked a lot about Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson’s 2013 seasons, and what it means for their future. In part two of the three part series, I talk to him about Twins top prospect Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, and he identifies two Twins breakout prospects for 2014. CF – Do you think it’s possible for guys like [Miguel] Sano, [Alex] Meyer, and [byron] Buxton to reach the major leagues this season? JM – Is it possible? Sure. I think that Meyer will definitely be in the big leagues, without question. He’s the only one out of the three that I feel confident will see significant big league time in 2014. Sano, I could see a situation where he hits his way there: you send him back to AA to begin the year; if he hits in Double-A like he did in Fort Myers, then you can move him up in the second half. I know that a lot of people want Buxton to get there next year because of how well he hit in the Florida State League, and they can send him to Double-A to start the season. Unless he just continues to exceed already lofty expectations, pull a Mike Trout sort of thing - which he’s done a pretty good impersonation so far - I think that 2015 is more likely, which is far more quickly then people thought when he was first drafted. CF – I’ve read several people comparing Byron Buxton to Mike Trout. I know that’s a little crazy and putting his ceiling ridiculously high, but how good can Buxton really be? JM – Yes, it is putting it ridiculously high, but you can’t help but make the comparison. Just in terms of how good he was right out of the game, and better than people expected. Everyone knew that Buxton was going to be good - he went number two in the draft for a reason - and a lot of people felt that he was the best talent in the draft. Trout went at the end of the first round, so the comparison has some issues, but because Buxton played in a small town, and didn’t face great competition, I think people though that there was going be more of a difficult transition for him, and he’s proving people wrong. I think that’s why the comparison exists, that and the fact that he’s got all of the tools in the toolbox just like Trout does. They both dominated right away. I think the problem you have when you make that kind of comparison is, let’s say Buxton gets pushed to AA and struggles a little bit. Then suddenly he’s not as good as he was, because he didn’t do what Trout did, which was continue to be ridiculous and make it to the big leagues three years before he thought he would. No, he may just need to adjust a little bit. I’d be wary of linking the two of them too much, but I also would not put any ceiling on what Byron Buxton can become. I firmly believe that he has all of the abilities to become an elite level, All-star caliber player at the big league level. CF: The Twins haven’t had a 40 Home Run hitter since Harmon Killebrew in 1970. Is there a chance that Miguel Sano can be a 40 home run hitter in the big leagues and break that streak? JM – Yes, that’s the easiest question you’ve asked me. CF – Even at Target Field? JM – I think that he has the ability to hit the ball out anywhere, whether or not the fact that his home ballpark is not favorable for hitters. He does get to play 80 games in other parks. He has the potential to hit 40 homers a year. Without looking at all the stats, the Kingdome (Seattle) wasn’t a very good place to hit, but Ken Griffey Jr. managed to hit 40 homers. I’m not saying that Miguel Sano is Ken Griffey Jr. but he’s got that kind of power - probably more raw power than a guy like that. He’s got as much raw power as anybody in baseball. CF – Is there a guy in the farm system that you feel like will have a breakout season that may not be on the radar already? JM – Does Berrios count as an under-the-radar guy? CF – He has some hype behind him. JM- Well here’s the thing, he’s not really under the radar but I think he’s going to jump much more firmly on the radar in 2014. I think he’s going to take off and he’s going to be one of the more intriguing pitching prospects in the league by the end of the year. But I’ll give you one more that I’m interested to see, Stephen Gonsalves. Just because he was a guy that came into the spring last year with a ton of hype, was thought of as the best high school lefty in the country and then just backed up. He had a really inconsistent spring, but he’s 6 foot 5 and has shown the ability to do a lot, and I think that him combined with the Twins player development staff, and what they’ve been able to do in the past, I’m curious to see what they can do. I don’t know whether he gets to go straight to the Midwest League, or what. He did throw well during his debut, so I do think he can get pushed. I think he can be one of those guys that the Twins can be the beneficiaries of the fact that he didn’t have a good spring. If they can get him straightened out, that could end up being one of the interesting steals of the 2013 Draft. For Part 1 of this interview, click here. Part 3 or the interview will be published on 1/14. Click here to view the article
  6. Entering his fifth professional season, Rochester Red Wings pitcher Andrew Albers has been one of the biggest reasons for the team’s recent success. Albers is 10-4 with an ERA of 2.97 to go along with 105 strikeouts and just 29 walks. He was one of two Red Wings selected to represent the International League in the All-Star game. This has been a breakout season for Albers. After batting practice on Monday, and doing another interview with play-by-play broadcaster Josh Whetzel, I had the chance to talk to him about his season, the All-Star game, playing in the SEC and the dramatic turn-around in Rochester.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] Download attachment: Albers1_BA.jpg Photo: Bare Antolos/RedWingsBaseball.com Chris Fee: Can you talk a little bit about your success this year? You were voted to the All-Star team and picked up your 10th win last night (Sunday). To what do you credit your success this season? Andrew Albers: It’s been pretty exciting. I think a big credit should go to my teammates. They’ve been outstanding behind me defensively, as a pitcher you don’t get wins unless they put up runs either. I’ve had a lot of starts this year where they’ve been really good. They’ve put up 6…. 7…. 8 runs early, that’s made my job a lot easier to just go out and be aggressive and let them play behind me. They’ve been outstanding this year, and that’s where the credit goes is to all those guys. Fee: Would you say this is your best season so far professionally? AA: It’s certainly up there. I had a pretty good season in independent ball as a reliever, and had a good college season as a senior, but it’s certainly up there. This is obviously the highest level that I’ve ever played at, and to have this kind of success here, I’m excited and just trying to go forward with it. CF: Staying on the team success for a minute, obviously the start to this season was not what you had hoped for. But now you guys are in the hunt for a playoff spot and really turned the season around. What’s different? What’s changed for the Red Wings? AA: We have a great group of guys here, not to say that we didn’t at the start of the year, but it’s one of those things where everyone is going to have a stretch like that. Unfortunately ours started at the beginning of the year and it looks bad. You can take 15 games out of any teams schedule; they’ll have three or four wins. You look at Pawtucket (Red Sox) who is in first place in the division right now; they just lost 10 out of 11 or 10 out of 12. CF: How was the trip to the All-Star game, how did you find out you were selected to the team? AA: I actually found out from a teammate, he had the list there. We were having lunch at Chipotle, he said “Congratulations.” I said, “for what?” He said, “For making the All-Star team”, so that was actually how I found out. It was such an honor, there are so many great players in this league, so many future big leaguers, guys who are going to be up there for a long time to come, to be included in that group is such an honor. The trip itself was long, but it was well worthwhile. Reno did a great job hosting that event; it was a first class set up. They did a great job for us players with the derby (Home Run) and the events that they had going on around that. It was a really great time, I really enjoyed it and thankful to have the opportunity. CF: Was that your first All-Star Game? AA: First All-Star game that I was able to attend. I was selected to go to the Double-A one last year, but unfortunately came down with an injury right before hand so I wasn’t able to make that trip, but it was a lot of fun. CF: You have quite a few more strikeouts this year in compared to years past. Why do you think that is? More free swinging hitters in the league? Is there a strikeout pitch that you’ve been working on? AA: You know, to be honest I really don’t know. I’ve been able to finish guys off a little bit more frequently this year, and that’s been nice. Really I’m not a strikeout guy, I’m just trying to have them put it in play early. With two strikes I’m still going to try to pound the zone, they’ve taken a few, and I’ve been able to get some swings and misses, and I guess its added up to that. I couldn’t tell you exactly why, but I’m happy to be where it is, it’s always nice when they don’t put the ball in play at times too. Sometimes those strikeouts are big, and they help you get out of some jams, but at the same time that’s not what I’m looking to do. I’m looking to get the ball in play and let that great defense I have behind me make the play and hopefully that lets me last longer during the game. CF: You were originally drafted out of high school by the Milwaukee Brewers. What made you decide to say no to them and attend the University of Kentucky? AA: For me, it was a decision where I didn’t feel like I was ready for pro baseball; I was a little bit immature, mentally and physically. I came out of high school at a buck-sixty seven soaking wet sort of deal, so I was a pretty skinny guy, never really lifted and was very raw as a pitcher. I had never lived on my own, I felt like it was really important for me to get the support system in college. I was really fortunate to get a good offer from the University of Kentucky, I felt really comfortable there, I thought they had an outstanding coaching staff and even though things didn’t work out how I would have hoped, as far as junior year, and getting drafted. I don’t regret the decision at all, I think it was the right one for me, and I was really happy with the time I spent in Kentucky. CF: I spoke to Antoan Richardson earlier in the year; he said that the SEC is the best baseball conference in America. Would you agree with that? How did your time there prepare you for professional baseball? AA: I would probably agree with him, it’s one of the premiere conferences every year; top to bottom you don’t get any easy games. To be honest, I’d say pitching in that league was tough, because they had the old bats, it was probably tougher than Rookie ball or Low-A, Short season, I certainly had a lot more trouble there than I had in those leagues. There are future major leaguers in that league every year, there are a lot of good players in that league too, and they’re all over the place. It’s tough baseball, it’s a grind, and like I said back when they had the old bats, where you didn’t necessarily have to square it up to get doubles and triples, it was a challenge as a pitcher. It allowed me to grow, but I had some stumbling blocks, I failed at times, and it was a matter of learning from those failures and it’s part of the reason I’ve been able to have success at these higher levels. If something goes wrong, I’ve been there before, it’s happened before, and I’ve been able to learn from it and keep moving forward. CF: In 2010 you played for the Quebec Capitales in the Can-Am league. How would you compare that level of baseball to affiliated ball? AA: Independent ball, it's good baseball, I had a lot of fun there; it was all about winning though, which was nice to go back to. In the minors, you want to win, but it’s tough not to have those selfish motivations at times, you want to do well but your ultimate goal is to get to the big leagues. The baseball itself was pretty good, High A or Double-A level, you get some older guys who’ve been around for a while, you have some guys that have played in the big leagues before. Then you have some guys who haven’t played past rookie ball or whatever, so there’s a little bit of a mix in that league, but it’s not bad baseball. It was challenge for me coming off of Tommy John Surgery, not sure how the arm would react. It was a really good challenge for me trying to make it through that season, and get my first taste, playing professional baseball every day, it was a great experience. CF: Quite a few of your teammates are being called up to Minnesota. Do you look at that and think, “When is my shot going to happen?” Or do you just take care of business here and know that if you do well, you’ll get the shot. AA: For me, it’s all about taking care of things that I can control, and not worry about things that are out of my control. If that happens, I’d obviously love the opportunity and would be very grateful for that, but at the same time I’m worried about what’s going to happen during my next start. If I can continue to get ready for that, continue to get guys out, those things will take care of themselves. I’m all about trying to win here, with this team, trying to get this team to win, we have a great group of guys here and we’re getting close together. If that happens down the road, I’d be ecstatic about it, but if you start worrying about that you’ll get stressed out pretty easily. It’s not something that I’m too concerned, if I keep doing my job here and getting guys out, hopefully I’ll get a shot later on down the road. CF: What are your goals for the rest of this season. Is there anything you’re working on in particular, or just keep doing what you’re doing? AA: My goal is to stay healthy, that’s always the biggest thing. There are so many great players that go down because of injury, and they’re just never the same, that can happen in an instant. I found that out about three years ago when I had Tommy John Surgery, it was tough to come back from and you never know when it could happen, so that’s goal number one. After that it’s just trying to stay consistent, trying to continue what I’m doing, and build off of that and maybe improve a little bit, and maybe I’ll get that shot later this year or next year, whenever it happens to be. It’s all about fine tuning your skills, if your command isn’t where you wanted it to be last time out, that’s what you focus on the next week. It’s all about making adjustments from week to week, and if I can continue to do that and build off my success I have a chance to succeed. Click here to view the article
  7. Download attachment: Caleb Thielbar.JPG Opening week has come and gone, and after playing a four game home and home series against the Buffalo Bisons it’s safe to say that at 1-3, the Rochester Red Wings, the Minnesota Twins AAA affiliate, are not where they had hoped to be. The First Three Games In the two games in Buffalo and the home opener in Rochester, offense was the biggest problem. As previously stated in Red Wings Season Preview, scoring runs was going to be tough for Rochester. Being outscored 24-11 in 3 games, that appears a little deceiving. In the first game the Wings scored 7 runs, and scored just 4 runs in the next two. The most alarming stat was the .125 batting average (3 for 20) with runners in scoring position. It’s unfair to put all the blame on the offense. The starters (PJ Walters, Kyle Gibson, and Shairon Martis) had a 6.35 combined ERA. Even that is misleading, because Gibson pitched five innings, gave up four hits, one run and struck out four. The bullpen was worse, with a staggering 13.25. Even if this team had the greatest offense to ever come through the International League, trying to score 8 runs a game is impossible. Offensively the three players that did not disappoint on offense were Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Colabello and Mark Sobolewski. In three games they combined to hit .364 with 3 home runs and 7 RBI’s. The New Week Begins Sunday’s version of the Rochester Red Wings was something that people have been waiting to see from the start. In the first two innings they scored 10 runs on eight hits, and gave starting pitcher Virgil Vasquez a lot of run support to work with early on. Vasquez went 6 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits; all four of the runs allowed were solo home runs. Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Colabello and Clete Thomas combined to go 10-13 with two home runs and nine RBI’s, Thomas accounted for five of those RBI’s. What’s Ahead? The Red Wings head to Scranton to play three against the Yankees. In 2012, Rochester was 6-10 against the Yankees, losing five of their last six games against SWB (Scranton Wilkes-Barre). After their three game series against the Yankees, they head to Pawtucket to play four games against the Red Sox, in which they went 7-9 last year and 3-5 at McCoy Stadium. Click here to view the article
  8. Download attachment: Frontier Field .jpg After finishing an eight game home stand at 3-5, the Rochester Red Wings took the short trip east on the New York State Thruway to Syracuse to play the Chiefs (Nationals). Last season the Red Wings won just three games in Syracuse, a total they matched in their first trip to NBT Bank Stadium. The Bats Come Alive In their four-game series against the Chiefs, Rochester scored 31 runs on 50 hits. Outcomes can change when you average almost eight runs and over twelve hits per game. Before their series began on Tuesday, the Red Wings had not scored more than seven runs in a game since April 7th and through their first 18 games, they had scored a total of 53 runs (2.9 runs per game). The Wings also continued to improve their average with runners in scoring position (RISP). In the four game road trip, Rochester was 14-53 (.264), which is significantly higher than in previous weeks. The Pitching Woes Continue It seems so far this season, either the pitching or hitting is strong, but never at the same time. This trend continued. In the four games against the Chiefs, starting pitchers combined to give up 11 runs in 23 innings (4.30 ERA). The bullpen had their own problems also: in 18 1/3rd innings they gave up 10 runs (4.91 ERA) and had two blown saves. Coming Back Home After going 3-1 on the road, improving their record to 8-14, Rochester returned to Frontier Field for a four-game series against the Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays). On Friday, Kyle Gibson pitched his best game of the season , going 6.2 innings, giving up two hits and striking out seven. Caleb Thielbar and Tim Wood pitched the remaining 2.1 innings to preserve the shutout. Winners of four straight games entering Sunday, there were high hopes with Liam Hendriks on the mound; maybe the Wings winning streak would continue. Unfortunately for Rochester and Hendriks, he was unable to contain the Buffalo offense, giving up eight hits and five runs in five innings pitched. Tyler Robertson and Daniel Turpen did pitch four shutout innings in relief, but the four-run deficit was too much for Rochester to overcome. If all aspects of this team can produce at the same time, there is still hope that they will have something to play for in September. What’s Ahead Now at 9-15 on the year, Rochester has two more games at home against the first place Bisons. The Red Wings then go on the road, starting a four-game series against the Columbus Clippers (Indians). Last season the Red Wings went 6-2 against the Clippers, going 3-1 at Huntington Park. After four games in Columbus, Rochester continues to Toledo, playing four against the Mud Hens (Tigers). The Wings went 8-0 against Toledo last season, the only team Rochester swept in 2012. Click here to view the article
  9. Download attachment: Gibson.jpg Before the season started manager Gene Glynn named Kyle Gibson the number two starter in the rotation, a mild surprise considering Gibson’s hype, but he did take the mound in game two, against the Buffalo Bisons. In his first start of the year, Gibson pitched 5 innings, giving up four hits, one run, striking out four and walking none. Leaving the game with the lead after five innings, Michael O’Connor (released), and Anthony Slama (released), were unable to hold the lead and the Red Wings went on to lose 3-2, with Gibson getting a no- decision. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] Photo Courtesy of the Rochester Red Wings In his second start, he was unable to get out of the 5th inning against the Pawtucket Red Sox. This time pitching just 4.1 innings, while giving up eight hits, five earned runs, walking one and striking out six. Through two games Gibson had not been able to pitch past the fifth inning; however he was striking out 9.9 batters per nine innings and had a record of 0-1. In his next start, against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Gibson had his first quality start this year. This time pitching six innings, giving up four hits, one earned run, two walks and getting five strikeouts. There’s no way to blame him for this loss; the Red Wings were shut out 1-0 and his record dropped to 0-2, with the team’s record dropping to 2-10. One of the toughest things for a pitcher to do is pitch against the same team twice in a short period of time, but that was the situation in Gibson’s fourth start, his second against the Pawtucket Red Sox. The results weren’t much better in this outing, pitching five innings, giving up three hits, three earned runs, four walks and getting four strikeouts. This was the first outing that Gibson had control troubles, walking more batters in this one start than in his previous three. The Red Wings lost 8-1, and his record dropped to 0-3. Unlike his second start against Pawtucket, Kyle Gibson’s second start against the Bisons was even better than the first. Picking up his first win of the year, he pitched 6.2 innings, giving up just two hits, two walks and getting seven strikeouts in a Red Wings 1-0 victory. Now at 1-3, things seemed to be turning around for him, as well as the team. After pitching his best game of the season, Gibson had one of his worst games of the year next versus the Columbus Clippers. In 4.2 innings, he gave up eleven hits, five runs, no walks and had one strikeout. The Red Wings went on to lose the game 5-1 and his record dropped to 1-4 with an ERA of 4.26. One of teams with a worse record than Rochester was the Toledo Mud Hens, and Gibson was able to capitalize on that. Pitching his first complete game shutout of the season, he gave up four hits with two walks, and struck out eight while lowering his ERA almost a full run to 3.32. This was the Kyle Gibson that fans were hoping to see more of in 2013. Then, in his shortest outing of the year, Gibson went just three innings, giving up seven hits, four runs, one walk and got three strikeouts. He did throw to two batters in the fourth inning but was unable to get anyone out, leaving the game with 69 pitches, only 38 of which were strikes. Once again the Red Wings lost the game 7-4, this time to the Durham Bulls, and his record dropped to 2-5 with an ERA pushing four. But then he threw his second complete game shutout of the season, this time against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Gibson gave up three hits, two walks and had eight strikeouts. One of the most impressive parts of this start was the fact he needed just 93 pitches to pitch nine innings, averaging a bit over ten pitches per inning. His record improved to 3-5, and once again the good start/bad start trend continued. With this start, he became the first Red Wings pitcher to throw two complete game shutouts since Nick Blackburn in 2007. Trying to pitch back-to-back quality starts, the Wings returned home against the Charlotte Knights, who had a 19-31 record. Gibson did not disappoint the Frontier Field crowd, pitching eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits, three walks and striking out seven Knights batters. This was one of the first starts where he went over 100 pitches and was able to pick up his fourth win. His record improved to 4-5, with an impressive 2.82 ERA. Despite having some troubles in his next start, Kyle Gibson was in line for his 5th win of the year. Versus the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, Gibson pitched six innings, giving up eight hits, six runs, and two walks while striking out six. If not for the four runs allowed by Anthony Slama, Gibson would have been 5-5 on the year. Despite a Red Wings victory, he picked up a no-decision but still finished May with a 3-1 record. Results in June are the reason, I believe, that Kyle Gibson finally got the call to the majors. In his first start against the Gwinnett Brave, Gibson pitched six innings, giving up seven hits, two runs and two walks with four strikeouts. He was able to pick up his fifth win of the season, getting back to .500, and lowered his ERA to 3.34. At 24-41, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs saw Gibson for the third time in 2013, and the second time in the past two weeks. Usually when hitters see a pitcher a second time in a short period, the offense has the advantage; in this case, it was the pitcher who came out on top. He pitched seven innings, giving up four hits and one earned run, but walked five and struck out six. Despite the five walks, he still won his sixth game of the year, and his fourth in five starts. The Gwinnett Braves came to Frontier Field in his next start, with a record of 28-42. It seemed like a game where he'd be able to pick up another win. This was not to be; in six innings, Gibson allowed six hits, four runs (three earned), while walking one and striking out four. He left the game with a no-decision but the Red Wings came back to win in the bottom of the ninth. In his final start with the Red Wings, Gibson pitched against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders for the second time. Like the first start, Gibson threw seven solid innings, allowing five hits, one unearned run, one walk, had six strikeouts and improved to 7-5 before getting called up to the Twins. Overall in Rochester, 25-year-old Kyle Gibson was among the league leaders in several International League categories. He was 1st in shutouts with two, third in wins with seven, tied for third with 79 strikeouts, fourth in innings pitched with 92.2 and had a 3.01 ERA which ranked eighth. As for an an innings limit, I’ve read (as well as pretty much everyone else) that he’s rapidly approaching it. But when I talked to Gibson at the end of April, he said, “Terry Ryan told me to go down there and pitch. We aren’t going to baby you this year, we are going to let you go down there and throw and see what happens. I’m sure if I come up sore or tired later on in the season, we might rethink it, but as of right now I don’t have too much information on it.” Which gives me hope that there isn’t a firm cap, that they will assess how he’s doing, and if he feels he can go for more innings they’ll let him go. Click here to view the article
  10. Download attachment: _DSC38810045.jpg At 14-20, the Rochester Red Wings are substantially better than they were two weeks ago. After a 2-11 start, the Red Wings have gone 12-9 in their last 21 games, and after facing the top tier teams in the International league to start the year, it was finally time for Rochester to play teams they have had success against in years past. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]First Stop Columbus Rochester began the road trip by going to Columbus to play a four game series against the Clippers (Indians). Last season the Red Wings went 6-2 against the Clippers, so it was safe to say that hopes were high, that the winning ways may continue on the road. The bats continued to come to life in the series, as the Wings combined to score 18 runs in the four game series (4.5 per game) and compiled 39 hits in the series as well (9.75 hits per game). In addition to the continued run production and increase in hits, the most important stat, runners in scoring position. In 32 at bats versus Columbus, Rochester compiled eight hits or a .250 batting average over the four game stretch. While the offense is continuing to improve, the pitching continues to get better for the Red Wings as well. In the series in Columbus, Rochester pitching allowed 16 runs in those four games. (Four runs per game). The starters combined for a 4.09 ERA, however that number is a bit deceiving. In 11 innings, Kyle Gibson and P.J. Walters gave up 8 runs which translates to a 6.55 ERA. Liam Hendriks and Samuel Deduno combined to pitch 11 innings, while giving up just 2 earned runs in their starts (1.64 ERA). The bullpen continued to get better as well, after giving up three earned runs in game one of the series, they would allow just one run in their next 9.1 innings pitched, combining for a 3.00 ERA, much improved as well. Holy Toledo After splitting the two game series in Columbus, the Red Wings took the two-hour drive North to Toledo, to begin a four game series against the Mud Hens (Tigers). Last season Rochester went 8-0 against Toledo, so there was hope the Red Wings hot streak would continue. In four games against the Mud Hens, the Wings scored 13 runs (3.25 runs per game), that number is very much inflated by the eight run slugfest that took place Tuesday night. If you take out that one game, Rochester combined to score just five runs in three games (1.66 runs per game), and went 1-2 in those games. Usually when one area of the team is inconsistent, you’re hopeful that the other aspects of the team will be able to pick you up, that was not the case in this series. The numbers are lopsided in this series as well, Rochester allowed 20 runs over the four game series, and however 19 of the 20 runs were scored in two games. Rochester’s starters gave up just eight runs in 26 1/3 innings which is an impressive 2.73 ERA. The bullpen however, was not as overwhelming, giving up 10 runs in 15 2/3rd innings pitched (5.75 ERA). Rochester went on to split the series with Toledo and Columbus, ending the eight game road trip at 4-4. What Lies Ahead? Rochester returns home to Frontier Field on Friday, opening a four game series against the Columbus Clippers (Indians). The Red Wings finish up an eight game home stand, hosting mega prospect Wil Myers and the Durham Bulls (Rays). Last season Rochester was 2-6 against Durham, including losing three out of four games at Frontier Field in 2012. Team Leaders Batting Average Clete Thomas - .346 Chris Colabello - .313 Evan Bigley - .303 Home Runs Chris Colabello – 8 Clete Thomas – 6 Oswaldo Arcia – 3 RBI Chris Colabello – 23 Clete Thomas – 17 Doug Bernier – 11 Wins P.J. Walters – 3 Kyle Gibson – 2 Virgil Vasquez – 2 ERA Tyler Robertson – 2.45 Shairon Martis – 3.04 Andrew Albers – 3.30 Strikeouts P.J. Walters – 36 Kyle Gibson – 35 Andrew Albers - 27 Click here to view the article
  11. Download attachment: Kyle Gibson 2 .jpg After going 5-3 on a recent eight game road trip against the Charlotte Knights (White Sox) and Gwinnett Braves (Braves), the Rochester Red Wings returned home this weekend to play four games against the Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers). After dropping the opener 8-1 last night, the Wings were hoping Kyle Gibson would be able to get them back to their winning ways. Entering today’s game with a record of 5-5 in 12 starts this season, Gibson has won three of his last four games and has pitched six plus innings in all four of those starts. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] Per Terry Ryan, the only thing keeping Gibson in Rochester is a lack of consistency. Since Samuel Deduno, P.J. Walters, Pedro Hernandez and several others have been promoted to the Twins, opportunities to play in Minnesota have been available. However, the biggest name in the Red Wings' rotation remains in Rochester. In today’s start, the overall numbers are mostly good. Gibson pitched seven innings giving up four hits, allowing one run, striking out six but also walking five. Thanks to a Brian Dinkelman home run and a Drew Butera sacrifice fly, Rochester went on to win the game 3-1; this gave Gibson his 6th win of the season, improved his record to 6-5 and lowered his ERA to 3.16. However the number that looms large in this start is the five walks. While the free passes didn't result in runs, they are still something you hate to see. It’s hardly going to be considered a bad start, but if you’re looking for an imminent promotion those walks might be an obstacle. Today, the Twins lead the league in fewest walks allowed with just over 2.6 per game and are tied for fewest in all MLB. Yielding walks is something Minnesota tends not to do. The stats' splits between wins and losses are mind-blowing for Gibson. In his seven starts ending in a no-decision or loss, Gibson has pitched 34 innings, giving up 45 hits, 25 earned runs, 10 walks and 29 strikeouts, compiling a 6.62 ERA. Compare this to the stats in the six wins Gibson has, and the numbers are jaw dropping: In those six winning starts, he’s pitched 45.2 IP with 22 H, 3 ER, 16 BB, and 40 strikeouts, producing a 0.60 ERA. When Gibson is on track he’s proven to be almost unhittable; when he struggles, it’s as though he’s a completely different pitcher. While there is definitely an opportunity for Gibson to make his mark in Minnesota this year, it’s going to take a few more of the good outings and fewer of the mediocre to poor outings if he’s going to get the call to the Twins. Click here to view the article
  12. Download attachment: Vance-Worley-Twins-2013-optioned.jpg When the Minnesota Twins acquired starting pitcher Vance Worley from the Philadelphia Phillies in the off-season trade involving Ben Revere, no one thought that the opening day starter would be spending Memorial Day pitching in Rochester, NY, for the Red Wings. After a dismal 1-5 start with the Twins, an ERA over seven and a WHIP of almost two, something had to be done. The Twins are hoping that he can become, after a brief stint in Rochester, the pitcher they were hoping to have acquired this past off-season.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] Pete Orr led off the game with a single up the middle. Getting out of the first inning is something Vance has struggled with all year. Worley said, “It was definitely in my head for sure, that’s what I’ve been struggling with too, giving up first inning runs. I knew that I needed to not let that guy score.” After getting the number two hitter to fly out to center, Eric Fryer threw a strike to shortstop Doug Bernier to get Orr stealing, and Worley then was able to induce another fly to center, getting out of the first inning unscathed. In each of the second, third and fourth innings, Worley allowed one runner to reach, but it wasn’t until the 8th that he allowed a runner to reach second base. “He used all of his pitches and was aggressive with them, he got some quick outs at times. Everything that you look for in a big league pitcher right there, he is a good pitcher that belongs in the Major Leagues.” manager Gene Glynn said regarding Vance Worley’s start this afternoon. Worley pitched a complete game shutout, throwing 119 pitches with 74 strikes. While he did walk four batters they were spread throughout the game, limiting the damage that could have been done. The eighth and ninth innings were really the only ones where Lehigh Valley had the potential to put together a rally. “It was pretty good, I haven’t had a whole lot of strikeouts. There were a couple that were looking. That’s normally how I strike guys out. I’m not a guy that’s going to try to go out there and punch everybody out. I’m the guy that’s going to put the ball in play and that’s what is going to allow me to go deeper into the games”, Worley said regarding his four strikeouts in the game. Getting strikeouts has been something that he was struggling with in Minnesota (25 in 48.2 innings pitched); it was a hopeful sign seeing him controlling the strike zone. “I was trying to keep my pitch count down, go deeper into games and to keep the ball down. That’s what I’ve been struggling with up there (in Minnesota). I needed to get back to being myself.” Outside of striking out the Taco Bell K-Man, Vance Worley gave the Frontier Field crowd of 5,226 something they’ve seen a few times this year: a complete game shutout victory. While I do not expect Worley to be called up immediately, it was encouraging to see him getting through innings without major damage. “It’s very important to get one of these types of games in”, Worley, said. “I’ve been struggling all year, starting in the spring. I haven’t been myself. The velocity has been there, the break on everything is there, and it’s just a matter of getting it down. I needed this, I need to find myself down here so that I can go back up and help those guys.” Rochester scored one run in the 2nd inning on an Eric Fryer RBI single, then added four more in the 6th inning to secure a 5-0 victory over the Iron Pigs. For the Red Wings it was their fourth complete game shutout of the season. Kyle Gibson has two of them. P.J. Walters and now Vance Worley each have one. For Worley, this was not his first career complete game shutout; on July 9th, 2010 he pitched a complete game shutout while he was with Reading (AA Phillies). Rochester broke Lehigh Valley’s six game winning streak, which began after Kyle Gibson nearly threw a shutout against them eight days ago. Click here to view the article
  13. Download attachment: Kyle Gibson 2 .jpg Entering his fourth professional season, Rochester Red Wings pitcher Kyle Gibson is hopeful that this is the year he gets his chance to pitch in Minnesota. Currently listed as Baseball America’s #68 ranked prospect in their 2013 Top 100 Prospect list, and #5 on their organizational list, it’s safe to say that there are high hopes this year for the future Twins right-hander. After batting practice on Monday, I had the chance to talk about his rehab, his expectations, and what exactly is happening with the Wings so far this year.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] CF - Can you talk a little bit about how the team is doing this year? Not the start you guys had hoped for coming out of the spring. Kyle Gibson – I think the last four or five games is a better indicator of how the team is. We lost two to these guys (Pawtucket) at their place, I think it was a 1 to 1 ball game going into the sixth. Even yesterday (Sunday’s doubleheader) the one that we lost, it was a 1-0 game going into the sixth. If you look at the last four or five games we’ve played, we are a lot different team then when we started. We are starting to click a little bit, we are a little bit more comfortable up here. I think the offense is starting to hit their stride, and the bullpen has been really good, so that always helps. CF -Obviously it’s not just one thing, but you guys had a pretty good spring training, do you take that with a grain of salt? Or do you think that’s what we could be? KG – I think spring training was the indicator of how good the team can be. Our offense was really good. Our pitching threw pretty good, I think all of us coming up here thought we were going to keep it rolling. I think for whatever reason we had those games where our offense would struggle, and so would our pitching. We would have games where our pitching would do well and our offense would struggle or vice versa. Spring training is a whole lot different, you have the lineups shuffling a little bit more, there’s a lot less pressure on the situation. Right now we’re starting to find that lineup that’s working for us. One of the things that always hurts Triple-A is the movement up and down from the big leagues. You always have new guys coming in so that shuffles it up a little bit, which makes AAA a little bit different than every other level. CF - What was 2012 like for you as a player? You moved around a lot, still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, what was it like to basically have to rebuild? KG - I think it was a good process for me. You never want to have to go through an arm rehab program, but I think at the end of the day I’m mentally and physically stronger for it. I think at the end of the year being able to come back up to Rochester for a few start was pretty big, to get back up against this level of competition. Even though I didn’t have that much success, to be able to come back up here, I felt strong being back up here. The Arizona Fall League was a good experience as well, kind of the same as here. I was facing good prospects, faced a lot of guys on this team (Pawtucket), and all throughout the International League. I got a lot of good experience against a lot of good players. CF - How much of rehab is mental as well as physical? KG - Good question, if I could say 100 percent and 100 percent I would. I would say getting over the injury is more mental than physical. You do a lot of physical work, but at the end of the rehab, you get to the point when it’s time to let it go, and it’s time to move on from the rehab, and that’s where the mental part comes in. For me, I was able to do that okay because I had an elbow surgery before. My first outing in extended, I was like, here’s a four-seamer, throw it as hard as you can, you get past that and that’s what helped me. CF - Are you on any sort of innings cap that you know of? Or are you and the team just kind of taking it as it goes? KG - When they sent me down in Spring Training, Terry Ryan told me to go down there and pitch. We aren’t going to baby you this year, we are going to let you go down there and throw and see what happens. I’m sure if I come up sore or tired later on in the season, we might rethink it, but as of right now I don’t have too much information on it. CF - So far you’ve had a couple of strong starts, but in the later innings you seem to struggle a little bit, what do you credit the good start to? KG - I’m getting closer to where I want to be. Pitch-wise, I think I still have some work to do mentally. Just like yesterday (Sunday), I have the stuff that I want to have and for whatever reason I lose it in the 6th inning, and I start to lose it for them. I think there are some positives and negatives to it, my last two starts I’ve felt really good, but I’ve let the other team sneak into some situations where I shouldn’t have. I walked away from a start yesterday thinking, wow I gave up four walks and gave up three hits, I kind of beat myself up there. That’s one thing to make it to the next level I can’t do. CF - Would you consider yourself a strikeout pitcher, or more of a groundball pitcher? KG - I would consider myself a ground ball pitcher that can get strikeouts when I need to, how bout that? (laughs) One thing with the surgery, and the velocity that I have, I think it’s allowed me to use strikeouts a little more, even strikeouts with my fastball. That’s something that I’ve never done too well, I think the added sharpness to my pitches due to the rehab from the surgery has really helped me out with that. CF - Is your fastball your “out pitch”? KG - Yeah, I think it can be now. Before it was a little bit slower, 88-92 MPH, and I don’t think it was as much of an out pitch. I think if I need a ground ball double play or I need an out, that’s a pitch that I can go to now. CF - Can you compare where you are now to where you were two or three years ago? As a pitcher, and a clubhouse guy? KG - I think age, and the process that I went through, has definitely matured me baseball-wise. I think as a pitcher, in certain aspects I’m better, and in certain aspects I’m not as good. The aspects that I’m working on are making sure that I’m mentally focused, and not beating myself. Before surgery I didn’t walk anybody, walks are just something that I hated to do, I still hate to do it I just haven’t been able to control it as much. I know how to use my stuff now, once I can consistently learn to use it the right way, that’s where I want to be as a pitcher. As a clubhouse guy, it’s different. We have a pretty veteran team here, where a couple of years ago I may be in the middle of the pack age wise. I think the veterans here are definitely doing a good job, especially pitchers like P.J. Walters and guys that have been around and have been in the big leagues are doing a good job pointing me in the right direction to help me grow as a player. CF - What is it like knowing that you’re just one phone call away from being called up to the Twins? KG – I mean there’s a lot of pressure in this situation, but at the same time we all know that we’re in a pretty good spot. I think the hardest part is not to think about that, and to go out and just try to win the game today. The more I’m able to focus on going out and winning that day the better I am, because I’m not thinking about, when that call might come? How it’s going to be? And the excitement that I’m going to have. CF - What are your goals for the rest of the season, for your team and yourself? KG – I think one thing we’ve struggled with in Rochester is having a full season of being really successful. We were .500 last year, but I think we want to be a lot better than that. The fans deserve a team that goes out there and wins 85-90 games, and go to the playoffs. I’d like to make it to the big leagues as fast as possible as well. Ever since I was a kid I’ve always had a goal of making it to the highest level possible, for as long as possible. I’m going to try to get better and keep developing and hopefully make it up there at some point this year. Click here to view the article
  14. Download attachment: IMAG0248-1.jpg The Rochester Red Wings finished the 2012 season with a 72-72 record. That might not seem impressive, but the team hadn't reached that mark since 2008 and suffered back to back 90-loss seasons in 2010 and ’11. It’s a step in the right direction. There was a buzz around Frontier Field on Friday. General Manager Dan Mason said that he was “very excited” about the 2013 season, and why shouldn't he be? The team is heading in the right direction, and manager Gene Glynn made the team relevant again. There were many challenges last season, including 56 different players on the roster, 23 of whom played for the Minnesota Twins at some point. Along with the changes in position players, there was a constant turnstile of starting pitching as well. Last year Rochester had a mind-blowing 19 different starters take the mound. The Wings manager was asked about guys like Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson, who may end up in Rochester or with the Twins to start the year, Glynn responded by saying “You hope they make the big league club, but if not they’ll probably be here to start with. Right now they’re really planning on Hicks being in the big leagues. With Joe Benson, [Clete] Thomas, Wilkin Ramirez, [Josh] Willingham, [Darin] Mastroianni, [Ryan] Doumit, there’s a bunch of veterans and young guys that want to get one of those two spots that might be open.” Glynn also touched on the importance of not only winning at the Triple-A level, but also continuing to develop talent for the big league team. “One great thing about Minnesota is, if you’re the best player at the time they need somebody they’re going to take you. It helps motivate the players they bring in, give them an opportunity to not only play here but at the big leagues.” As some may know, last season was an interesting season when it came to the organization for another reason. The Red Wings played their home games at Frontier Field; but hosted 40 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees home games as well. Dan Mason spoke of how he thinks fan support will change with only one team versus two in Rochester this year. “I think it’ll be more like a normal season, with only 72 games as oppose to 112 that we had last year. The fans will know there will only be one team. For the Yankee fans that come here, they’ll have to circle the dates for the eight games the Yankees come to town.” Mason also discussed the current minor leaguers in the system, and potential players coming to Rochester this summer. “All the guys the Twins have signed and brought to minor league camp are very encouraging, because there is going to be great competition. There’s only a few spots open between the rotation and the bullpen up in Minnesota. Whoever doesn’t make it has a great chance of being here. We could have five guys with Major League experience pitching here on Opening Day, that’s always a great thing to have at the Triple-A level.” Spring training begins in 16 days, when pitchers and catchers report to the Twins complex in Fort Myers, Florida. The Red Wings season begins April 4th in Buffalo against the Bisons. Click here to view the article
  15. Calling the 2013 Rochester Red Wings season a roller coaster ride would be considered a drastic understatement. Rochester started off the year at 2-11, finished the season 77-67, clinched a wild card birth and made their first playoff appearance in seven years. This year's team is completely different; none of the current pitchers were on last years opening day roster and just three position players from opening day are returning. After the momentum that was built from the 2013 team, manager Gene Glynn has a lot of talent on this team and expectations are higher than ever. Download attachment: Frontier Field.jpg Starting Rotation (With 2013 Teams & Stats) Scott Diamond: Fort Meyers: 0-0 7.20 ERA 5 IP 0 BB 3 SO Rochester: 4-0 2.41 ERA 41.0 IP 9 BB 19 SO Minnesota: 6-13 5.43 ERA 131 IP 36 BB 52 SO Alex Meyer: 2013 Season GCL Twins: 0-0 1.08 ERA 8.1 IP 3 BB 16 SO New Britain: 4-3 3.21 ERA 70 IP 29 BB 84 SO Glendale (AFL): 2-1 3.12 ERA 26 IP 7 BB 28 SO Kris Johnson: 2013 Season Indianapolis: 10-4 2.39 ERA 135.2 IP 43 BB, 94 SO Pittsburgh: 0-2 6.10 ERA 10.1 IP 4 BB 9 SO Trevor May: 2013 Season New Britain: 9-9 4.51 ERA 151.2 IP 67 BB 159 SO Logan Darnell: 2013 Season New Britain: 6-6 2.61 ERA 96.2 IP 23 BB 77 SO Rochester: 4-4 4.26 ERA 57 IP 22 BB 43 SO Some familiar names are locked into the rotation for Rochester. Logan Darnell and Scott Diamond spent time with the Red Wings last season and for Diamond it is his fourth straight year with Rochester. Alex Meyer, the 28th overall prospect according to MLB.com Top 100 Prospect List is the biggest name in the rotation and also the one with the highest expectations. 2014 is an important year for every player, but I would argue it’s even more important for Trevor May. With the Twins' off-season free agent signings and the expectation that Meyer will join the rotation by 2015, the window for May to be a starting pitcher in Minnesota is a small one. Standout Pitcher The obvious choice is to go with Alex Meyer or Scott Diamond, but as previously noted I believe Trevor May has the most to prove this season. For the past two seasons May has had an ERA well above four, and his strikeout to walk ratio was around two to one. In order for this season to be a successful, this ratio will need to improve to at least three to one, which would bring his ERA down as well. Starting Lineup (With 2013 Team & Stats) CF: Darin Mastroianni: GCL Twins - .143, 0 HR 2 RBI, 2 SB Fort Myers - .400, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 SB Rochester - .240, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 4 SB Minnesota - .185, 0 HR, 5 RBi, 2 SB 2B: James Beresford: New Britain - .316, 0 HR, 19 RBI, 5 SB Rochester - .298 0 HR, 21 RBI, 5 SB RF: Chris Parmelee: Rochester - .231, 3 HR, 22 RBI Minnesota - .228, 8 HR, 24 RBI 1B: Brad Nelson: Iowa - .271, 20 2B, 20 HR, 71 RBI. 3B: Deibinson Romero: New Britain - .355 3 HR, 6 RBI Rochester - .266, 10 HR, 50 RBI 4 SB LF: Chris Rahl: Syracuse - .293, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 14 SB DH: Eric Farris: New Britain - .500 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB Rochester - .248, 3 HR, 31 RBI, 23 SB SS: Danny Santana: New Britain - .297, 2 HR, 45 RBI, 22 2B, 30 SB. C: Eric Fryer:Rochester- .215, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 8 SB Minnesota - .385 1 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB Similar to the start of the 2013 season, the Red Wings have three catchers on their 25-man roster again. Eric Fryer is expected to be the everyday catcher, however Dan Rohlfing & Chris Herrmann have experience playing other positions besides catcher. Breakout Pick Danny Santana is known for two things, his speed and his “shaky” defense. One of the things the Red Wings prided themselves on last season was good defense and drawing walks, things Santana has not done very well. Hitting coach Tim Doherty stresses plate discipline and that is something Santana could benefit from. Don’t be surprised to see Santana steal 40 bases in 2014 and also to draw 40+ walks, which would both be career highs. Season Prediction While Rochester has a very good team, Pawtucket and Buffalo have good rotations and perhaps better overall offenses than Rochester. Last season I drank the Kool-Aid and predicted a playoff birth. This season I expect the same, Rochester going 80-64, and for the first time since 1997, winning the International League North division title. Click here to view the article
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