Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Monday, July 21, 2008

Minor League First Half Grades -- Part 2

I realized after I posted the first one of these that "First Half" is pretty inaccurate, since the minor league season ends at the end of August. Then I decided that I don't really care, and I'm sticking with the title. Today's post covers the relievers currently on the Rochester and New Britain rosters, and tomorrow I'll be posting on the Ft. Myers and Beloit relievers. The only reason I'm breaking things up this way is that there are a lot of relievers, and I don't want to overwhelm myself (or all of you) with a monster post that can easily be broken into two. Without further ado:

Rochester Red Wings

Casey Daigle
I wasn't particularly thrilled with the Casey Daigle signing over the off-season -- "indifferent" would probably be the best word -- but I have to admit that he's held his own this season. Daigle has the most innings in the Red Wings bullpen at 56.1, and has a 3.04 ERA and 1.30 WHIP along with a very respectable 53-25 K-BB ratio. I don't see Daigle getting a shot with the Twins barring a whole lot of injury problems, but I have to give credit where it's due and give him credit for putting together a solid season.

Julio DePaula
After stringing together a series of excellent years rising through the organization, DePaula made his big league debut last year. While he struggled, there was every reason to think that he'd be fine back in AAA. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened this season, as DePaula has utterly collapsed. It seems like every other time out, he gives up multiple runs -- and this is reflected by his 5.80 ERA and 1.77 WHIP in 54.1 innings of work. This is not necessarily a make-or-break season for DePaula, since he'll have an option year left next year. However, will the Twins really want to keep him on the 40-man roster if he doesn't improve by the end of the year?

Ricky Barrett
Barrett has been in Rochester since 2005, which is fairly remarkable really. You would figure that after that amount of time he would have been given a cup of coffee, or something. Barrett has been pretty good since 2006 when healthy, but he hasn't really pitched all that much. This season, Barrett has been healthy and successful, posting a 3.06 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 53 innings while striking out 63 and walking 28. I would not be all that surprised to see him added to the 40-man roster either in September or during the off-season, since he's a lefty who has had some success and is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.

Bobby Korecky
Twins fans finally got a chance to see the 28-year-old Korecky when he pitched in 9 games for the Twins earlier this season. Korecky was actually pretty successful in the big leagues, with a 3.48 ERA in 10.1 innings. Unfortunately, he got shipped out in a numbers crunch and ended up back in Rochester. Korecky just keeps churning out solid seasons, with a 3.53 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP and a 45-17 K-BB ratio in 51 innings. Based on his ERA, I'd be inclined to give him a B+; his solid stint with the Twins and nice K-BB ratio, however, have convinced me to bump him up to an A-.

Tim Lahey
Lahey was selected in December's Rule 5 Draft, but was returned to the Twins. After 2 scoreless outings with the Ft. Myers Miracle, he was assigned to the Red Wings. The results haven't been all that pretty, as Lahey has a 5.62 ERA and 1.41 WHIP along with a 45-16 K-BB ratio in 49.2 innings. The WHIP and K-BB numbers aren't really bad (especially the K-BB), so I'm inclined to discount the ERA to some degree.

Mariano Gomez
Gomez has put together some good seasons in the past while coming up through the Indians organization, but had never pitched above AA. That makes it a bit of a surprise (to me at least!) that he's been the best reliever in Rochester this season. So far this year, Gomez has a 2.03 ERA and 1.34 WHIP along with a 32-15 K-BB ratio in 40.6 innings. While his WHIP isn't bad, it isn't quite as good as you would expect with an ERA around 2.00 -- so that might indicate that Gomez has been a bit lucky. Still, there's no arguing with the numbers -- and I have to wonder whether the left-handed Gomez would get the call if Dennys Reyes or Craig Breslow were hurt.

Carmen Cali
Cali has been another solid lefty performer out of the Red Wings bullpen, but with Gomez and Barrett having even better years, the veteran is probably not in line to get to the big leagues anytime soon. Cali has a 3.51 ERA and 1.38 WHIP to go along with his 43-17 K-BB ratio in 48.2 innings this season.

New Britain Rock Cats

Kyle Aselton
Aselton's first season at the AA level has been a mixed bag. His 4.31 ERA is reasonable, and he's pitched 71 innings -- so he's getting his work in, at least. Unfortunately, his 1.65 WHIP and 49-43 K-BB ratio are both pretty subpar. Aselton will be Rule 5 eligible this December, and at one point I would have felt it likely that he would be added to the roster to protect him from the draft. Now, however, I'm somewhat doubtful that he'd be taken (although he is a lefty, so who knows). Hopefully he can drop that WHIP over the rest of the year and force the Twins to really think hard about whether he needs a roster spot.

Zach Ward
This year has seen Ward make a successful transition from a starter to a reliever, as he's posted a 3.60 ERA and 1.50 WHIP along with a 60-34 K-BB ratio in 70 innings. The WHIP is high, but the other indicators are solid. I'd guess that as long as Ward continues to pitch well, he'll end up in Rochester next year -- especially if he manages to drop down his WHIP.

Jason Miller
Miller was supposed to get a chance to start for the Rock Cats this year, although that never made a lot of sense to me. Turns out, Miller has started only 2 ballgames, and has struggled all year while pitching out of the 'pen. Miller has a 5.10 ERA and 1.52 WHIP along with a really solid 65-25 K-BB ratio. A nice K-BB doesn't really mean anything when the other indicators are bad, though, and that's where Miller finds himself. Last year's callup to the bigs seems a loooong way away right about now.

Armando Gabino
Gabino has a 3.09 ERA and 1.25 WHIP to go along with a 42-16 K-BB ratio this season, and that would seem to put the 24-year-old on pace for a promotion to Rochester next year. Gabino is still largely an unknown quantity, because he really doesn't have all that much experience -- but he's pitched well pretty much everywhere he's been assigned, and it's starting to look an awful lot like it's not a fluke.

Ben Julianel
Julianel struggled in AAA last season in the Marlins system, but as he always has throughout his career he was fine in limited action in AA. The Twins picked him up in the 0ff-season and assigned him to AA, where he's always been solid. He hasn't disappointed, putting up a 2.47 ERA and 1.37 WHIP along with a 56-21 K-BB ratio in 51 innings of work. I'd like to think that someday, Julianel will get a shot again in AAA -- but whether that will be in the Twins organization, it's hard to say.

Jay Sawatski
It's been a tough year for Sawatski, as he's put up a 7.75 ERA and 1.90 WHIP in 38.1 innings. His 39-22 K-BB ratio isn't terrible, but it also doesn't overcome his terrible performance elsewhere. The 26-year-old lefty hasn't had a really good season since 2006, but last year wasn't nearly this bad. The Twins have to hope that he's not finished. Sawatski is currently on the DL, and hasn't pitched since June 21. How much, if any, of his poor performance can be attributed to the current injury, I have no idea.

Robert Delaney
The numbers put up by Delaney are remarkable, considering he was acquired by the Twins as a non-drafted free agent in mid 2006. Delaney's short 2006 season showed no indications that he was going to be anything special, but in 2007 he bolted through Beloit and Ft. Myers with excellent numbers. He started off 2008 back in Ft. Myers, and after 31.2 innings of great work, he was moved up to New Britain. In 15.1 innings with the Rock Cats, he has a 1.76 ERA and 0.78 WHIP along with an 18-3 K-BB ratio. How a non-drafted free agent puts up numbers like this, I don't know -- but I'm not complaining!

Frank Mata
Mata has had a pretty mixed season, starting off by pitching well in Ft. Myers (1.93 ERA/1.00 WHIP/15-4 K-BB ratio). Unfortunately, since being promoted to New Britain, Mata has a 6.75 ERA and an 8-8 K-BB ratio. Pretty mixed results, but I'm going to give him a solid C since he at least advanced through Ft. Myers successfully.


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