June 1, 2010

Twins Minor League Month in Review: Rochester Red Wings - May

Rochester Red Wings (19-32, 5th in the International League - North)

             Team Leaders - Hitters                  Team Leaders - Pitchers    
             Hits: Danny Valencia - 54               Wins: Rob Delaney - 5
Avg: Jason Repko - .310 ERA: Kyle Waldrop - 1.47
OPS: Dustin Martin - .828 IP: Ryan Mullins - 46.33
HR: Brock Peterson - 6 K: Jeff Manship - 19
RBI: Dustin Martin - 33 Saves: Anthony Slama - 10
SB: Jason Repko - 8 WHIP: Anthony Slama - 0.79

After a 10-19 May, the Red Wings continue to slide down the standings. Despite having a very talented group of hitters and pitchers, the team hasn't been able to find its rhythm yet. The offense didn't score a lot of runs and the starting pitchers have struggled keeping the team in the game.

The Red Wings starters had a 6.26 ERA in May. There were six quality starts in May, but only one before May 21st. The unit got better as the month went on, which could be a sign of things to come. Anthony Swarzak returned to the rotation after missing a-month-and-a-half with a broken foot. In just his second start, he went seven innings and gave up only one run. His return and Glen Perkins suddenly piecing together a couple respectable starts could help fuel the Red Wings in June.

Deolis Guerra (#16) was called up following the release of Yoslan Herrera, and at just 21-years-old, he's shown his inexperience. Through four starts, Guerra is 0-3 with a 6.26 ERA. He has walked just six and has struck out 16 while inducing 30 ground-ball outs. He probably belongs in Double-A, but there isn't anyone from New Britain that has earned a promotion to Rochester.

Short Hops: Matt Fox has done a good job filling in as a starter, going 2-2 with a 2.84 ERA in five May starts. He hasn't walked a runner in 15 2/3 innings but has struck out seven in that same span.

The bullpen has a group of very talented relievers, headlined by Anthony Slama (#17), Kyle Waldrop and Rob Delaney (#26). The three combined to go 3-2 with a 2.34 ERA in 36 May appearances. Waldrop was unbelievable, allowing just two earned runs in 21 1/3 innings while walking five and striking out 16. Slama remains solid, but he continues to walk to many batters. He converted five saves in May and had a 1.98 ERA. Delaney, however didn't have such a great month. While it's easy to look past the fact that he had a 4.80 ERA on the month, you can't ignore that he allowed four of his seven inherited runners to score.

Although everyone is clamoring for Slama to be the first reliever to be called up, Waldrop might be the most likely. He's pitching the best and is already on the 40-man roster.

The offense wasn't great, in fact the only players that didn't see their numbers regress are Jose Morales, Matt Tolbert and Danny Valencia (#7). Tolbert hit .269/.318/.410 with seven extra-base hits in 78 at-bats. Valencia had a 20-game hit streak in which he hit .388/.409/.518 with 11 doubles. He finished May hitting .330/.384/.408 including .353/.463/.382 over his last 10 games. He still hasn't hit a home run, but that shouldn't be a big cause for concern to anyone. He's still hit 15 doubles on the season, which is tied for seventh most in the International League. Morales didn't play in April, but he hit .309/.397/.382 with four doubles and eight walks in 55 at-bats.

Trevor Plouffe (#24), Dustin Martin and Jason Repko all lead the offense in April, but each took a step back in May. Still, they all put up respectable numbers. Each hit between .278 and .291 with an OPS between .719 and .756. Together, they had 14 doubles, five home runs and 40 RBI in May.

But perhaps the most disappointing player on the Red Wings has been Wilson Ramos (#2), who continues to play with no motivation. While his .175/.321/.407 tri-slash line probably isn't effecting his prospect status very much, it's very, very irritating to see him play so badly. There have been reports that he's just not motivated by playing in Triple-A Rochester, but the Twins aren't going to reward him if he's hitting like this. Especially with Morales getting closer and closer to returning.

What's Next?: In 20 of their 30 games in June come against either first or second place teams in the International League...Luke Hughes (#25) has been on the disabled list with a strained groin since May 11th, but he will hopefully return to the Red Wings lineup at some point this month.... June is typically a very active month when it comes to player movement, and while none of the current Triple-A guys really threaten to be "Super-2"-type players, the Twins may call up Slama or Waldrop if they find a spot open in their bullpen or Valencia or Plouffe if they find a spot open in their infield... Also, make sure to watch Ben Revere (#4) in Double-A, who could surprise people with a promotion.