Saturday, May 3, 2008

New Britain Rock Cats

In part 3 of my series on the Twins organization for the month of April i will be looking at the New Britain Rock Cats. New Britain went 12-12 for the month of April and did some good things and some things they need to work on.
  • Starting Pitching: The Starting pitching has been as good as advertised posting a 4.34 starting pitcher ERA. They were led by starters Ryan Mullins and Anthony Swarzak. Ryan Mullins had a 2-2 record with a 3.03 ERA and Swarzak went 2-0 with a miniscule 2.03ERA to lead the team. Another contributer that not many counted on was Yohan Pino who went 1-1 witha 1.80 ERA in 4 april starts. That is the guy they weren't thinking would be good because they didn't even have him in the opening day rotation and he has been filthy this year. Oswaldo Sosa has been ok a little inconsistant going 1-2 with a 5.75 era but overall not bad. The one bad pitcher has been a surprise and thats Jay Rainville. Alot was expected out of Jay and so far he has not fufilled that promise going 1-3 with an outragous 10.29ERA. If you take his ERA out the Rock Cats would have a good starting pitcher ERA. GRADE:B-

  • Relief Pitching: The Relief Pitching for the Rock Cats has been excellent with a relief pitcher ERA of 2.60 on the season. They have been led by Kyle Aselton's 1.13 and Armando Gambino's 1.20. Really, the only disappointment is Jay Sawatski's 5.28 ERA and he seems to be getting better he had a couple bad outings to get the ERA up and now he is slowly but surely getting it down. Really the bullpen for New Britain has been the strength and kept the Rock Cats in some games early on and if the starters hand them a lead more times than not you can put that in the books as a win. Grade:A

  • Hitting: This is an interesting thing to look at it has been up and down with pretty much everybody struggling to start the year and now they are running on all cylinders. Dustin Martin started out the year on fire and led them when they weren't hitting he is currently hitting .341 with a homer and 15 rbi's. When Dustin cooled down Luke Hughes picked it up and hasn't stopped hitting a whopping .367 with 9 homeruns and 20 rbi's and a whopping 40 hits in a month. I would be shocked if he is with the Rock Cats long but while he is there he is fun to watch. Brock Peterson after a slow start has been really good with run production driving in 24 runs on 3 hr's. David Winfree has not hit well for average but he has 5 homeruns and 22 rbi's. Trevor Plouffe after a slow start has gotten his average to .278. Overall the Rock Cats hitters have done a decent job with the bats and right now they are creaming the ball all over the park. GRADE: B-

  • Defense: Defense has not been the RockCats strong point this year with 21 errors in 24 games. They were led in errors by 4 from Luke Hughes but everybody that has played much has contributed to the terrible defense. If they dont get better defense it doesn't matter how good they pitch or hit t hey will lose games and they are too good of players to make dumb errors like that so i look for the team defense to improve alot but right now its not very good. GRADE: F

  • Baserunning: The Rock Cats have been decent running the bases with 20 stolen bases in 24 April games. They have alot of speed and have taken advantage of it led by Dustin Martin's 7 sb and Luke Hughes' 4. I think they should be running more with the speed they have. It hasn't helped having probably their best base stealer Brandon Roberts out with a hamstring injury most of the year. But they are in most games so they have the ability to steal bases so they should steal 2 to 3 bases a game. Grade C

  • Overall: The Rock Cats have done some good things and some things that they need to work on to contend for a division title. They have pitched really good and need to continue that, but if they dont play better defense it won't matter how good they pitch. I think they have some talented players but i would like to see some of their talented players take the next step in their careers and make the Twins move they up. I think they will have personall losses, because there is so much more talent at New Britain than there is at Rochester so i think some of the guys will get moved up and it will be interesting to see how the new players do. Grade C

  • Pitcher of the Month: Anthony Swarzak- Anthony had a filthy month going 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA. In 26 April innings Anthony struck out 29 batters and only walked 4. Anthony Swarzak was the most consistant pitcher on the Rock Cats staff and the problems he had last year are a distant memory and it won't be long until he gets the promotion to AAA to lead to his eventual callup to the Twins.

  • Player of the Month: Luke Hughes- I dont think it is too much of a surprise who i am picking for the Player of the Month. For the month Luke hit .367 with 9 homeruns and 20 rbi's. He hit 6 doubles and 2 triples while stealing 4 bases in addition. Luke has really jumped up on me i was not expecting this at all and because of that i think the Twins are going to want to see a little more before they promote him to Rochester. But i really believe by the end of the year Luke will be up in Rochester and with his versatility he may be up with the Twins by sometime in 2009.

Saturday, May 3rd

Twins Talk
Minnesota 11 Detroit 1

Minnesota 14-14 0.5 games back
  • POG: Livan Hernandez- Livan has gotten a lot of bad press and press i don't think he should be getting. Yeah he had a bad start against Texas, but i dont think he is the only one who has struggled against the Texas lineup. Last night he was masterful mixing up fastballs with changeups and his 60mile an hour curveball. I know he is not a great pitcher but he finds a way to get hitters out and whether its with the Twins or someone else he will help someone get to the playoffs this year. Last night he went 7 innings and only gave up 1 run on 8 hits. He walked 2 batters while striking out 4 on the night to lower his ERA to 4.63 on the season. It will be interesting to see how he does his next time out to see if he can keep it up.
  • The Twins bats came alive led by Justin Mourneau and Jason Kubel with 3 hits apiece that led a 16 hit attack. At one time they had 6 consecutive hits as they blew this one open and hopefully they can keep it up.
  • Carlos Gomez was a pest like always getting on base 3 times. In the first he walked, stole second and scored on a wildpitch. In his second at bat he got hit with a pitch and ended up scoring. In his 3rd at bat he got a basehit and was stealing 2nd and got hit on the side of the head by the ball. He had to come out of the game and hopefully he wont have to miss any time because of it. Its pretty obvious how much better the Twins are when Gomez finds a way to get on base.
  • Tonight the Twins battle the Tigers in game 2 of their series at the Metrodome. Gametime is at 6:10pm with Boof Bonser facing off with Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander.

Rochester Wrap

Rochester 6 Toledo 4

Rochester 14-15 6.0 games back

  • Darnell Mcdonald- This is becoming a daily ritual for Darnell being the player of the game. Darnell went 3-5 with his 3rd home run of the season and 5 rbi's along with a stolen base and a run scored. With the 3 hits it raises Darnell's average to a team high .343 on the young season. I have said it over and over but Darnell is a very good minor league player who probably won't ever make an impact at the major league level but has a good career at the minor league level. I really believe Darnell can keep it up and lead the Red Wings attack.
  • Glen Perkins was pretty good last night going 5.1innings and only giving up 2 runs on 2 hits for the game. The only bad thing is he walked 4 batters and needed 101 pitches to get through 5.1 innings. Glen probably has the best stuff on the Red Wings staff and if he could get his control down he would be a good pitcher, but right now he struggles throwing strikes. Just look at his last start he went a complete game shutout when he only walked 1 batter. He has walked 19 batters in only 33 innings on the season so throwing strikes is going to be the big deal going forward.
  • Mariano Gomez pitched 1.2 innings in relief of Perkins to put out the fire and allow the Red Wings to get the win.
  • Tonight, the Red Wings continue their series with the Mud Hens in Toledo. Gametime is at 6pm with Kevin Mulvey getting the start for the Red Wings

New Britain Business

New Britain 12 New Hampshire 6

New Britain 14-12 2.5 games back

  • POG:David Winfree- David had another good run production game going 1-4 with his 5th homerun of the year, a grandslam, that brought his rbi total up to 22 on the season which is 2nd on the team. David has been hit and miss and his average is not very good at .220 but he has found ways to get people in when the Rock Cats has needed it which is the most important thing. I want to see David get that average up and keep the run production where it is .
  • Anthony Swarzak really struggled pitching giving up 5 runs on 7 hits in only 4 innings of work to raise his ERA to 3.3o on the season. Im not too worried about this start the way he pitched early on u knew he would come to earth a little bit. I look for him to come back next time and pitch a good game for the Rock Cats.
  • Luke Hughes went 1-5 with his 22nd rbi of the game and a run scored. With the 1 hit it is an even 40 on the young season. He just amazes me with the way he has swung the bat this season and look for him to keep it going.
  • Tonight, the Rock Cats continue their series with New Hampshire in New Britain. Gametime is at 5:35 with Jay Rainville getting the start as New Britain trys to extend their winning streak to 5 games.

Fort Myers Musings

Fort Myers 11 Clearwater 10

Fort Myers 17-11 First Place

  • POG:Eddie Ovalle- Eddie had a awesome game going 4-5 with his 1st homerun of the season and his 7th and 8th rbi's of the year. With the 4 hits it raises his average to .284 on the season. Eddie has been really solid so far and seems to be getting better and better with the more playing time. I look for Eddie to continue his offensive surge and be a force in the middle of the lineup for the Miracle.
  • Danny Valencia continued his recent trend of good run production driving in 2 runs to bring his total up to a team high 25 on the season.
  • Deolis Guerra had another rough start going only 3.1 innings and giving up 4 runs on 6 hits for the Miracle. I am not worried about Deolis he just needs to find his location a little bit more and he will be back to the dominating pitcher that they saw the first 3 weeks of the season.
  • Tonight, The Miracle begin a series with Daytona in Fort Myers. Gametime is at 6:05 with Tyler Robertson getting the start for the first place Miracle as they try to extend their winning streak to 5 games.

Beloit Beat

Great Lakes 2 Beloit 1

Beloit 11-18 10.0 games back

  • POG: Micheal Tarsi- Micheal had another outstanding start throwing a complete game his 3rd of the season. He went 8 innings and gave up only 2 runs on 5 hits to lower his Era to 6.75 on the season. In his last 3 starts he has came back to being the prospect the Twins thought they had in him. In those 3 starts he had a minischule 1.64 era and could of won every one of those games. Micheal is back to being the prospect they thought they had and being the best pitcher for the Snappers.
  • Chris Parmalee continued his run production driving in another run to bring his total up to 20 on the season. He also had a hit to bring his average up to .253 on the season. Chris had a terrible slump but it appears slowly by slowly he is coming out of it and being the big bopper that the Snappers need.
  • Danny Lehman had a team high 2 hits to bring his average up to .359 on the season in limited playing time. I would really like to see them give Danny more playing time becuase every time he is in the game he produces.
  • Tonight, the Snappers continue their series with the Loons in Great Lakes. Gametime is at 6:05 with Daniel Berlind getting the start for the Snappers.