Down on the Farm: High A Report
The two best starts of the week were both turned in by former Santana-acquisition Deolis Guerra, who went 10.0 innings in his two starts without allowing a run. Guerra picked up the win in one of those games, allowing 8 hits and 6 walks with 6 K's between the two starts. On the season, Guerra has an extremely solid 0.60 ERA. Lefty Tyler Robertson was so-so in his two starts, neither of which led to a decision. In his first start, Robertson lasted just 4.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7 -- with that many K's and hits allowed, I imagine his pitch count was awfully elevated. His second outing was a bit better as he lasted 5.0 innings and allowed just an unearned run on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out five. Robertson has a 2.57 ERA on the season.
Elsewhere, the results were mixed. Bigtime prospect Jeff Manship picked up a win in the first of his two starts this week, going 5.0 innings and allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits and a walk while striking out four. Unfortunately, in his second outing Manship went just 4.0 innings and allowed 5 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5. Manship has a season ERA of 4.50, so needless to say he hasn't been dominating to this point. Alex Burnett turned in a solid performance in his sole start of the week, going 5.1 innings and allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk with 4 K's -- his season ERA now rests at 5.23. Finally, things haven't gone so well for former Gopher Cole Devries, whose ERA is at 6.92 for the season after he allowed 5 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks in 5.2 innings of work in his sole start of the week.
The most pleasant surprise of the early season in the Miracle bullpen to this point has been Anthony Slama, who has yet to allow an earned run in eight innings of work. This week, Slama appeared in 4 games, picking up 2 saves and a win over that span. He is joined in the 0.00 ERA club by regular closer Robert Delaney (who did suffer an unfortunate loss after giving up an unearned run in the second of his two appearances this week), and Danny Vais (who got the win in both of his relief appearances this week, striking out 3 batters in each case and allowing just a hit and a walk in his 7.0 innings of work.
Elsewhere in the 'pen, Matthew Fox went 6.1 innings over three games, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks in that stretch while striking out 7 batters and picking up a win. His season ERA is at 3.76, so to this point he's been a reasonable option for the Miracle. Julio Lugo, whose season ERA is sitting at 8.53, started to drop it a bit this week as he went 4.2 innings while allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk with 5 K's. This week also saw the season debut of former Reds closer Danny Graves, who was . . . not that good. Graves pitched 4.0 innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits and a walk in his first two appearances in the organization. Finally, the Twins released Aaron Craig, who made a couple of appearances for the organization without recording an out this season.
Highly touted prospect Wilson Ramos has struggled so far this year, posting a .194 batting average 36 AB's. This week's 2-for-17 performance certainly didn't help matters. Backup Allan de San Miguel has also struggled offensively, thus living up to his "great defense, horrid bat" reputation. To this point, de San Miguel has a .154 batting average on the season after going 0-for-7 this week. Third stringer Rodolfo Palacios, meanwhile, actually got a chance to crouch behind the plate this week (albeit as a defensive replacement late in a game), going 0-for-3 in extremely limited playing time. Palacios is the last Miracle player without a hit this year.
Johnny Woodard held down the fort at 1B again this week for Ft. Myers, getting 7 starts there along with a start as the DH. It was a pretty solid week for Woodard, who belted three home runs on the way to going 12-for-33 on the week and raising his season batting average to .273.
At second base, Brian Dinkelman picked up seven starts and went 9-for-28 with a homer, four doubles and a triple. Dinkelman is now hitting .319 on the season, and seems to be making a pretty solid impression so far.
Third base belonged primarily to Danny Valencia, who started 6 games there and 2 games as the DH. Valencia struggled at the plate this week, going 5-for-29 as his average fell to .250 on the year. He did pick up a homerun, but his other four hits this week were all singles. ON the plus side, Valencia drew 6 walks and struck out just 3 times, which is a pretty solid ratio. Whit Robbins also got some playing time at third this week, starting two games there and getting two more starts as the DH. Robbins went 4-for-16 on the week, which raised his season batting average to a rather anemic .208.
Speaking of anemic offense, Miracle shortstop Yancarlos Ortiz did his part by going 3-for-18 on the week to bring his season average to .172. Week one success story Toby Gardenhire, meanwhile, fell back to earth in a big way this week by going 1-for-12 in his 3 starts at short and 1 start at second. Gardenhire's season average is still sitting at .300 thanks to a strong first week, but if these four games were any indication Gardenhire is once again in for a year of offensive struggles.
Juan Portes once again got the bulk of the playing time in left field, starting four games there along with a start as the DH. Portes went 7-for-21 on the week and is now hitting .216 on the season. All seven of Portes hits this week were singles, which surely isn't doing much for his slugging percentage. He also struck out 5 times, including three K's in an 0-for-3 performance in his second start of the week.
Center belonged exclusively to Danny Santiesteban this week, as he started all 8 games there. He went 9-for-30 on the week to raise his season average to .243, and he did it with some pizazz, picking up 2 doubles, a triple and a longball. He also picked up 8 RBI's, so he was all over the run production for the Miracle.
In right field Rene Tosoni got the start 6 times to go along with 2 starts in left. Tosoni has been the best offensive performer for the Miracle this season, with a season average sitting at .342. This week's performance (8-for-26) was therefore actually a bit of a drop for Tosoni, but he remained extremely consistent, getting a hit in all but one of his starts. Edward Ovalle picked up the remaining three starts in right along with 2 starts in left, going 5-for-17 on the week to raise his average up to .212 on the season. In his best game, Ovalle went 3-for-4 with a run, an RBI, a walk, and a couple of steals.