The Twins had a much-needed off day on Monday, so today, let’s spend a little time talking about the Twins minor league system. We notice at the big league level which players start off to a hot or a cold start. It is the same thing in the minor leagues. Here are a few notes on the starts of players from the Twins affiliates:
Rochester Red Wings:
· Trevor Plouffe has been able to start off very well. He is hitting .300 with three doubles, a triple and five home runs.
· Kyle Gibson is again on the mound on Tuesday for the Red Wings. In his most recent start, he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He was named the Red Wings most recent player of the week.
· Ben Revere is currently hitting just .203/.239/.234. Of course he will be fine. However, in his past nine games, he has just four hits in 35 at bats.
· Matt Brown has not played in the past four days. His batting average is down to .162 after he went 0-11 in his previous four games.
· Jeff Bailey played well in spring training, and he has a game-winning, walk-off homer for the Red Wings, but he is struggling. His last hit was 11 days ago (April 15). In his past eight games, he is 0-23.
New Britain Rock Cats
· Danny Lehmann made a strong impression on the big league staff in spring training, again. He began the season in Double-A and went 6-13 (.462) with a double. He moved up to Rochester recently where he has gone 5-14 (.357) with a double and a home run.
· After being named the organization’s top minor league hitter in 2010, it’s great to see Joe Benson off to a fast start. He is hitting .379/.446/.638 with seven doubles, one triple and two home runs. One of his issues had been strikeouts. Through last night’s games, he has 13 strikeouts in 65 plate appearances. The one strikeout every five at bat ratio would be a great number for Benson. In fact, with Ben Revere and Brandon Roberts struggling in Rochester, and Rene Tosoni cooling off, is it possible that if Delmon Young needs to go on the DL for four or five days that they could call up Benson now for a week? In his past six games, Benson is 9-23 with three doubles, a triple and a home run.
· Yangervis Solarte is hitting .356 (with a .367 OBP) with six doubles, a triple and a home run. He has six hits in his past ten at bats.
· Steve Singleton had 43 doubles for the Rock Cats in 2010 (along with four triples and seven home runs). With three doubles on Monday night, he now has seven doubles on this season with a home run. How he is still at Double-A is beyond me.
· Cole DeVries amazing start to his 2011season continues. In five games, he has 12.1 innings thrown. He has given up just two hits, one walk, and he has struck out 18 batters.
· After a fast start, Ray Chang has four hits in his last 26 at bats.
· Another veteran that the team signed was Michael Holliman. He played for the Detroit Tigers in 2008. After playing in independent league ball in 2010, the Twins signed him. He played very well in spring. He homered in his first regular season game with the Rock Cats. Since then, it’s been a struggle for him. He has three hits in 42 at bats this season, an .071 average.
Ft. Myers Miracle
· Chris Herrmann’s nine-game hitting streak came to an end in a game that he went 0-1 with two walks. He started a new hitting streak last night. He is now hitting .355/.425/.516.
· Minnesotan Nate Hanson ‘s 12 game hitting streak came to an end over the weekend. Since then he has gone 1-13 and is now hitting .296 with three homers. David Dorsey of the Ft. Myers News Press wrote a nice article on the First Baseman.
· Danny Rams played well in spring camp too. He has started the season by hitting. 357/.419/.536 with three doubles, two triples and a home run. He is 8-17 in his past five games, and 14-33 over his past nine games. Like Benson, strikeouts will be worth watching with Rams. So far, he has 18 strikeouts in 62 plate appearances.
· Through 11.1 innings, Shooter Hunt is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He has 12 strikeouts to go with nine walks. Still a lot of walks, but he has been able to have enough control for those walks not to come back to haunt him.
· Steve Liddle is struggling. He is hitting just .136 on the young season, but he is also 2-21 in his past 7 games. It is surprising because the nephew of the Twins 3B coach had a terrific college career at baseball power Vanderbilt.
· Aaron Hicks had a good first week, but in his last seven games, he has gone 4-27 and is now hitting .232.
· Danny Ortiz was my choice for Breakout Hitter of the Year for the Twins throughout the offseason. Through 15 games, he .360/.411/.680 with five doubles, a triple and three home runs. He has been remarkably consistent. In his first 25 at bats, he had nine hits. In his past 25 at bats, he has nine hits.
· Oswaldo Arcia broke out last year as the Appalachian League MVP. He got off to a fast start, then recently went 1-14 to drop below .300. However, last night he went 2-4 to return to the .300 level.
· Early in the year, Ortiz and Arcia were joined by Gunner Glad as the guys carrying this offense, but Glad has really struggled of late. He has just two hits in his last 19 at bats and is now hitting .222.
· Glad’s University of Kentucky teammate Lance Ray, the Twins 8th round pick a year ago, has just three hits in his last 25 at bats. He is hitting .184. It is surprising because after signing last year, he played very well at Elizabethton and was promoted to Beloit. In 47 games with the Snappers, he hit .279/.377/.418 with 14 doubles and three home runs. In other words, he will get it turned around at some point.
· Derek McCallum was the Twins 4th round choice in 2009 out of the University of Minnesota. He was in Beloit last year but was limited to just 47 games by two separate injuries. He hit just .228 last year, and due to the limited playing time, he returned to the Snappers this year. He’s been healthy, but he is hitting just .135 (5-37) He has three hits in his last 21 at bats which is a .143 average. That means he was 2-16 (.125) to start the season. It has been a struggle, and the 2B also is now playing a lot of left field.
Draft Notes – The draft experts at Baseball America put together their first mock draft, and with the 30th pick, their choice for the Twins was RHP John Stilson from Texas A&M University. The Twins drafted Stilson out of Texarcana Junior College two years ago, but did not reach an agreement with him at the time. In fact, on the deadline day in August of 2009, he and his American Legion team were in Fargo, playing in the American Legion World Series. Had he signed with the Twins, he would have been unable to play in the championship game. As you recall, the Twins went right up to the deadline that year to sign their first-round pick, Kyle Gibson.
Kolten Wong is a 2B from the University of Hawaii who has risen up draft boards. In the same mock draft, they have him going 27th to the Cincinnati Reds. Wong was the Twins 16th round pick in 2008 out of high school as a catcher.
There is a quick glance at who is hot and who is not with the Twins four full-season affiliates. It is important to remember that the season is still very young, that most of the players have played less than 15 games and have less than 50 plate appearances. The weather has made conditions difficult and rain/snow outs make it hard to get into a routine. As the weather improves, they will play every day and it will be interesting to see where some of these players are in another 300 or 400 plate appearances. But it is fun to follow.
Minor League Report
Be sure to check out last night’s Twins Minor League Weekly podcast here.
SethSpeaks.net Minor League Hitter of the Day– Steve Singleton, New Britain Rock Cats
SethSpeaks.net Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cole DeVries, New Britain Rock Cats
Red Wings Ramblings
Monday – Red Wings, Pawtucket – Another day, another rain delay. Kyle Gibson will pitch on Tuesday night against Buffalo. The Red Wings are currently 7-10.
Rock Cats Report
Monday – Rock Cats 9, New Hampshire 2 – Each of Liam Hendriks’ scheduled starts had been affected by rain. In fact, he was supposed to start on Saturday for the Rock Cats, but with the rainout, he was pushed back to Monday. With this start, he recorded his first win of the year. In six innings, he gave up two runs on four hits. He walked one, hit one and struck out three. He got eight groundballs to just two fly outs. Cole DeVries incredible start to his season continued. He recorded his second three-inning save pitching three more perfect innings and striking out six. Yangervis Solarte got the Rock Cats on the board with a home run. He was 3-5 in the game. Steve Singleton went 3-5 with three doubles. Joe Benson went 1-3 with two walks and his second home run. The Rock Cats are now 9-6 and just 1.5 games out of first place.
Monday – Miracle 5, Charlotte 11 – The Miracle had been the Twins’ affiliate that you could count on for a game. On this night, their game was delayed by the rains, but they did get it in. Ryan Mullins started and gave up four runs on three hits and two walks in just one inning. Matt Tone gave up four runs on four hits and two walks in two innings. Edgar Ibarra threw four shutout innings before giving up three runs in the 8th inning. Shooter Hunt got the final five outs. He walked two and hit one but did not allow a run. Danny Rams went 2-4. Chris Herrmann went 1-3 with a walk. The Miracle are now 10-8, a very solid start. They are in second place, but they are already 6.5 games behind the St. Lucie Mets, who are 17-2.
Monday – Snappers 3, Burlington 7 – Andrei Lobanov started and the Moscow-native gave up six runs (5 earned) on three hits and three walks in 4.2 innings. Clinton Dempster got all four batters he faced out. Ryan O’Rourke gave up one run on three hits in two innings. Martire Garcia struck out two in his scoreless frame. Danny Ortiz remains on fire. He hit his fourth and fifth doubles in four at bats. Oswaldo Arcia went 2-4 with his second stolen base. Wang-Wei Lin was 2-4 with his first double. The Snappers are 8-7 and 4.5 games back in the division.
Feel free to leave your thoughts, questions or comments.