Wednesday, June 3, 2009

May Awards: New Britain Rockcats

I will be continuing my awards for pitcher of the month and hitter of the month for the month of May. Today I will be looking at the New Britain Rockcats who really took off in May. Let me know what you think you can either leave a comment or email me at

  • Pitcher of the Month: Matt Fox- Matt Fox really came onto the scene in May for the Rockcats. I was expecting Matt to kind of hit the proverbial wall this year with the Rockcats, but he has done just the opposite. After going 7-7 with a 3.37 era in 14 starts for Fort Myers last year he got promoted to New Britain. I did not know what to expect out of Fox because of all the injuries he has endured in his career. Fox did alright in April going 1-1 with a 4.15 era in 4 starts with the Rockcats. In May though he turned the corner to go 3-1 with a great 2.41era in 6 May starts. Along with that he pitched 33.2 innings which is 5.5 innings per start. He also walked 13 and struck out 24 in the month which is good because he is a contact type of pitcher as his 32 hits in 33.2 innings would attest too. The most amazing stat for me though was opponents only hit .248 against him even though he is a contact kind of pitcher.

  • Others under consideration: Cole Devries, Anthony Slama

  • Hitter of the Month: Danny Valencia- This was the hardest decision I think I have ever had to make when it comes to hitters of the month. Danny Valencia and Whit Robbins had such close numbers in May it was uncanny. The good part was both guys had monster months. The thing that tipped the scale in Valencia's corner is he plays a more demanding position so to hit that good and play good defense too is amazing. Danny had a decent April hitting .269 with 2 homers and 6 rbi's. However, in May Danny really ratcheted it up a notch by posting a .373 batting average. He had 12 extra base hits with 6 doubles, 2 triples, and 4 homeruns to go along with 18 runs batted in. The stat that impressed me was his walk to strikeout ratio as he only struck out 13 times while taking 11 walks. His obp was very impressive at .443 which is very very good. His slugging was awesome as well at .667 which most hitters would just dream of having. Put his great discipline at the plate with raking it when it comes over the plate and you get an unbelieveable 1.110 ops. Anyone not named Joe Mauer would love to have these kind of numbers. The bottom line is he will hit for more power as he gets older and eventually will be a 20-25 homerun a year hitter. Add in his great defense as he has only committed 6 errors and you have the Twins 3rd baseman of the future and that future could begin next spring.

  • Others under consideration: Whitt Robbins, Brian Dinkelman, Rene Tosoni, Juan Portes

Wednesday, June, 3rd

Twins Talk
Twins 4 Indians 3
  • The Twins got off to a good start on their short 3 game homestand with a very gutty 4-3 win over the Indians last night. Kevin Slowey was once again masterful as he pitched 6.2 innings and only gave up a fluke 2 run double in his 6.2 innings of work. In that he picked up his team high 8th win of the year which is only 1 less than Roy Halladay who is leading the American League with 9. With the 2 runs allowed Slowey lowered his era to a very solid 3.97 on the season. Kevin Slowey has been the pitcher this year that we were all expecting him to be this year. With the struggles of Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano the Twins have needed Slowey along with Nick Blackburn to carry the team and that is exactly what they have done. You know that when Kevin Slowey is on the mound you have a good chance of winning the game and that is all you can ask for from your starter. After Slowey left it got a little dicey for the Twins after Matt Guerrier got a strikeout to end the 7th Jose Mijeras really struggled in the 8th inning. Mijares only was able to get 2 outs and gave up a homerun to Victor Martinez to make it 4-3. With 2 outs in the 8th manager Ron Gardenhire decided to go with closer Joe Nathan in a rare 4 out save over Jesse Crain. That says a lot of what Gardy thinks of Jesse Crain right now because Gardy detests using Nathan for more than an inning. So the fact that they used Nathan in the 8th shows how little confidence they have in Crain. Joe Nathan came on and got the last 4 outs to pick up his 10th save of the year and give the Twins a very big victory and got us within 3.5 games of first place Detroit.

  • The Twins were missing outfielder Michael Cuddyer and infielder Joe Crede from their injuries suffered over the weekend so the Twins had to get by shorthanded. Joe Mauer was once again the catalyst for the Twins as he had another big game for the Twins. In all Mauer went 3-3 with a walk and his 12th homerun of the year in only 102 at bats. He also added 3 rbi's to bring his season total up to 35. With his 3 hits Mauer brought his crazy average up to .431 on the year. Joe Mauer is just crazy good now and there doesn't seem like a way to get him out. Teams are starting to walk him to get to former MVP Justin Morneau which is not a good idea either. Justin Morneau also added 2 hits to bring his average up to .345. Brendan Harris continued his hot streak as of late by also contributed 2 hits to bring his average up to .281. Denard Span continues to show he is a good leadoff hitter to anyone besides Steve Phillips. In the game Span went 2-3 with his 9th rbi of the year. Alexi Casilla also contributed a hit along with a walk to get back in the act. The Twins are a different team when Alexi Casilla gets on base with his speed and you can move Joe Mauer down to 3rd and Justin Morneau down to 4th and makes the whole lineup better so heres to hoping he can keep it up.
  • Tonight, the Twins are in for a real challenge as they take on the Indians in game 2 of the series as they take on defending Cy Young Award Winner Cliff Lee. The Twins will be sending out rookie Anthony Swarzak to try to get the job done.

Rochester Wrap

Rochester 5 Gwinnett 4

  • The Redwings had an old fashioned walk off victory that not many saw coming last night. With 2 outs in the 9th inning with the Redwings trailing 4-3 Trevor Plouffe came to the plate and belted his 5th homerun of the year to erase a 4-1 Gwinnett lead going into the bottom of the 8th. I know I have said this before but thes guys refuse to quit. They may not be the most talented Rochester team, but they just might the most head strong bunch of guys that won't give up no matter how bad it looks and I would take those type of guys on my team any day of the week. They might not make the IL playoffs, but the fans of Rochester are having a very entertaining season, because they know they better not leave the game early because you don't want to miss one of the Redwings pattened comebacks. Plouffe was the hero of this game going 2-4 with his 5th homerun and his 28th and 29th rbi's of the year. With the 2 hits his average rose to .227 on the season. Jason Pridie continued his hot streak as he went 3-3 with his 2nd triple in as many days along with a walk. Pridie raised his average to .257 on the season. In addition to that in his last 10 games Pridie is hitting .349 with 3 doubles and 2 triples with 4 stolen bases. We all knew that it was just a matter of time before Pridie got it going because he is too good of a hitter to be hitting .220 so hopefully he can keep it up.

  • Philip Humber had his best start in quite a while last night for the Redwings. Humber went 7 innings and only gave up only 2 runs on 5 hits along with 3 strikeouts. With the good outing Humber's era went down to a still very bad 5.75 on the year. Tim Lahey then came in and was awful once again giving up 2 runs in 1 innings of work. His era on the season is now a terrible 12.00 on the year. Armando Gabino came in and pitched the last inning to pick up his 3rd win of the year and lower his era to a very good 3.30 on the year.
  • The Redwings continue their series with Gwinnett as Brian Duensing gets the start for Rochester.

New Britain Business

New Britain 2 Connecticut 1

  • The Rockcats took their 2nd consecutive game against first place Connecticut with a very hard fought 2-1 victory over the Defenders. Matt Fox was once again dominant for the Rockcats. In 6.2 innings Fox only gave up a run on only 4 hits along with a walk and 3 strikeouts. With the 1 run allowed Matt Fox lowered his era to a very good 2.81. Matt Fox has been one of the most reliable pitchers on the Rockcat starting staff along with Cole Devries. Jose Lugo got Fox out of the 7th with no more damage done. Anthony Slama finished the game going the last 1.2 innings and giving up 3 hits but no runs along with 2 strikeouts to pick up his 11th save of the year. Slama has not been real great lately and that may have had something to do with Rob Delaney getting the promotion to AAA instead of Slama. He still has a very good 2.83 era and I think he will be fine and will join Delaney in AAA very soon because he is too good of a pitcher to continue to struggle.

  • In a game without a lot of hitting Erik Lis got what turned out to be the winning hit in the top of the 7th inning when he bombed a homerun to right field that put the Rockcats up 2-0. It was Lis' 4th homerun of the year and his 25th rbi of the year. Danny Valencia also contributed his 10th double of the year along wtih his 25th rbi. Valencia is now hitting a very good .315 at the plate for the Rockcats after the night. I am really high on Danny Valencia and expect him to make it to AAA very soon and possibly with the Twins come September. Brandon Roberts also contributed 2 hits to the Rockcats victory to bring his average up to a very solid .277 on the year.
  • Tonight, the Rockcats finish their series with first place Connecticut and send staff ace Jeff Manship to the mound to finish the sweep.

Fort Myers Minutes

Brevard County 5 Fort Myers 0

  • The Miracle suffered their 2nd consecutive loss to First Place Brevard County last night by a score of 5-0. Carlos Gutierrez got the start for the Miracle in what would be his last start for the Miracle. He was ok not as good as recent starts, but still good enough to get the win if the Miracle could of done anything with the bats. Gutierrez went the first 5 and gave up 2 runs on 7 hits along with a walk and a strikeout. His final era at Fort Myers was an awesome 1.32. Steve Hirschfeld then came on and was not real sharp giving up a run on a hit in his 2 innings of work. Spencer Steedley then came on and struggled with his control something we have not been seeing out of Steedley. In 2/3 he walked 3 batters and only 1 strikeout allowing 2 unearned runs to score thanks to an error. Fellow callup Alex Burnett finished the game by getting the last out.

  • The Miracle were once again hogtied by a good Brevard County pitcher as they were only able to muster 3 hits against 3 Brevard pitchers. The only hits for the Miracle were harmless singles by Rene Leveret, Deibinson Romero, and Nick Romero. That is consecutive games that Deibinson Romero has gotten a hit in so hopefully this is the beginning of a rebirth for Romero as he tries to regain his top prospect form for the Miracle because he is too good of a hitter to be only hitting .206.
  • Tonight, the Miracle begin a series with Clearwater with Deolis Guerra pitching for the Miracle.

Beloit Beat

  • The Beloit Snappers had their game suspended last night in the 2nd inning of a 1-1 tie with Peoria. They will continue today with the Suspended game and following that will be the regularly scheduled game with Bobby Lanigan scheduled to pitch the night cap.

Gutierrez and Burnett Promoted to New Britain

I want to thank Seth from Seth Speaks for breaking the story about Carlos Gutierrez and Alex Burnett being promoted from Fort Myers to New Britain. I think they are both well deserved promotions. It caught me a little off guard because I was expecting the Twins to wait until after the Florida State League all-star game to make these promotions, but Congrats to Carlos and Alex and best of luck with the Rockcats.