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  • Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month - July

    The trade deadline has come and gone which means just one thing: it’s time to start announcing our Minnesota Twins Minor League Awards. Today, we’ll start with the starting pitchers for July.

    This month the numbers of the five players ranked are better than they were in June. Consider: Miracle righty Tyler Duffey went 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA and opponents batted just .202 off of him and he isn’t in the top 5. Matt Tomshaw made two starts and three long-relief appearances totaling 25 innings. He went 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA and 22 strikeouts. He’s also not quite on this list.

    Here’s a look at the Top 5 starting pitching performers from July.


    Number 5 – Cedar Rapids – LHP Mason Melotakis – 5 G, 4 GS, 3-1, 2.51 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 28.2 IP, 26 H, 3 BB, 17 K

    Melotakis was the Twins 2nd round draft pick in 2012 out of Northwestern State University in Louisiana where he was primarily a relief pitcher. He is one of the pitchers who has been given an opportunity to start this year. Overall, he has done well. He is 9-3 with a 3.38 ERA. As important, he has thrown just about 100 innings. After striking out nearly 13 per nine innings between Elizabethton and Beloit’s bullpens a year ago, he has struck out just 6.2 per nine this year as a starter. He throws a fastball between 89 and 91, although earlier in the year, he was frequently touching 94. He had a very good month in June. The one game that he came out of the bullpen was the start that was given to a rehabbing Mike Pelfrey. Melotakis went the final three innings and was credited with the save. He ended the month with a very good 8.1 inning performance. Where will he wind up at the end of the day? We ho in the big leagues, but will it be as a starter or as a reliever?

    Number 4 – Cedar Rapids – RHP Tim Atherton - 4 GS, 1-1, 1.88 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 24.0 IP, 18 H, 6 BB, 26 K

    Atherton was inserted into the Kernels starting rotation at the end of June. He made four starts in July and went at least five in all of them. Atherton has a busy delivery which can be deceptive for hitters. He also throws in the low 90s and gets good movement on his pitches. Overall with the Kernels this year, he is 5-3 with a 2.37 ERA in 25 games (20 out of the bullpen). He has 70 strikeouts in 60.2 innings. Long-term, he may be a bullpen guy, but the Australian has the arm strength to eat some innings.

    Number 3 – Cedar Rapids – LHP Brett Lee - 4 GS, 2-0, 1.57 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 28.2 IP, 22 H, 4 BB, 22 K

    Lee was the Twins 10th round pick in 2011, out of St. Petersburg College. He pitched for Elizabethton last year and has been with the Kernels all season. Overall, he is 7-4 with a 3.23 ERA in 18 games (16 starts). In 100.1 innings, he has walked just 23 and struck out 78. On July 12th and 19th, he threw back-to-back complete games, giving up one run in each start. Lee has a good three-pitch mix that could keep him as a starter as he moves up the system. He throws a fastball in the low-90s and has the changeup and slider/curveball to go with it.

    Number 2 – Rochester – LHP Andrew Albers - 6 GS, 4-2, 2.23 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 40.1 IP, 32 H, 8 BB, 36 K

    Albers was the June winner in this category and he was about as good in July. There is no question that the 27-year-old has been the most consistent starting pitcher in the upper levels of the Twins organization (including the big leagues). Like Lee, Albers has now finished July with back-to-back complete games. He also ends July as the International League leader in strikeouts. Overall, Albers is 11-5 with a 2.86 ERA in 22 starts. Although he doesn’t throw terribly hard, he has 116 strikeouts in 132 innings. One hopes that at some point this year Albers will get an opportunity to make his big league debut with the Twins.

    And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is:

    Photo by Linwood Ferguson/Ft. Myers Miracle

    Ft. Myers – RHP Matt Summers - 5 GS, 2-1, 0.25 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 35.2 IP, 20 H, 8 BB, 26 K

    Summers was the Twins 4th round pick in 2011 out of UC-Irvine. In 2012, he started at Beloit but quickly moved up to Ft. Myers. This year, he began with the Miracle, but made three appearances with New Britain late in June before returning to the Miracle. Since that time, he has been amazing. Just to highlight, he gave up just ONE earned run in 35.2 innings this month. He gave up a total of three runs. He began the month with a complete game. His most recent start lasted four shutout innings, though he needed 97 pitches to go that far due to some walks. He is actually a very good control pitcher. Summers throws 92 and has good secondary pitches. Overall with the Miracle this season, he is 4-5 with a 2.49 ERA in 19 starts. In 108.1 innings, he has walked just 30 and struck out 78. He could (or should) move back up to New Britain when there is a need.

    What do you think? Please feel free to discuss and ask questions.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Minor League Start Pitcher of the Month - July started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Really like the SO/9 being posted by Atherton and Albers.

      Albers had a good month. Atherton is >10 SO/9 for the season and he did that last year, too.
    1. TKGuy's Avatar
      TKGuy -
      There is certainly hope on the pitching horizon just not hitters. I am really getting excited for the next two years to see what we are made of. We should have tons of salary room with all of these youngsters to shore up a few areas.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      There are definitely more really good arms than there have been in recent years, for sure. Hopefully they all keep developing!
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      I'm happy with the improvement in quantity of capable arms. I can't say that I'm not a little disappointed in the lack of velocity and/or strikeout ability though. I guess I had my hopes too high after last year's draft class put up big numbers in the rookie leagues and the Midwest League last year. I know the numbers generally drop once pitchers get into full-season leagues but I was hoping they wouldn't drop this much.

      I was never sure if Melotakis' strikeout numbers were decreased due to lower velocity or if it was because his changeup and curve were still in development. I didn't realize the velocity dropped this much, this seems to be the logical answer. Any idea if it is just the pitcher not being accustomed to a lengthy season or if he was instructed to not overthrow in an attempt to go deeper into games?
    1. Thegrin's Avatar
      Thegrin -
      I noticed that May, Myer have not measured up. Nor have any of the Rochester starters that were in the Twins rotation are listed. If Liam Hendricks had had Andrew Albers numbers, would he have made the list ? or does the list only include pitchers who have not yet made the majors ?
    1. Smcginnity's Avatar
      Smcginnity -
      I really think they need to start moving these guys up and challenge them more. I think it's a little ridiculous that some of the guys are stuck because of pitchers such as Blackburn, Virgil Vasquez, and PJ Walters. Summers should be in AA. Albers should be in the majors. Brett Lee should be in A+ and one of the GCL or Elizabethton guys should get moved to low A. I don't understand the slowness of moving guys up...
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Seth do you consider rookie ball pitchers? If yes, do you differentiate between Elizabethton and GCL since GCL pitchers don't throw near as many innings? I imagine that a few of Jorge, Thorpe, Landa, Rosario, et al have put up similar numbers to the pitchers above.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Hopefully Scott Diamond's demotion means that Andrew Albers will finally get his ticket punched to "The Show." According to Lavelle E. Neal, we will know more on when the Twins, we will know more on Friday.Minnesota Twins swept by Royals; Diamond, Hicks demoted | Star Tribune

      I saw Albers pitch in Buffalo on July 3rd. Albers went 7 innings, striking out six. He surrendered five hits, no walks. One of the five hits was a solo homer by Kevin Pillar, a vastly underrated prospect in the Blue Jay's system. I posted this about Albers 7/3 start on the minor league update:

      "Albers was awesome! Kevin Pillar's home run was a nice piece of hitting on a pitch low in the zone, and away. Pillar dropped the head of the bat down and connected. Pillar finished the game hitting .382, after going 2 for 4, which means that Albers made a quality pitch to a quality hitter. Nice matchup between two talented players. We should eventually enjoy watching them face each other again, and again, in the big show."

      Uggh. I too, am noticing that the M & M guys (May & Myer) aren't on this list...
    1. big dog's Avatar
      big dog -
      Meyer's been shut down for a lot of July.
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      Yeah, I'm disappointed Meyer hasn't had a strikeout in two months, too, but geez, at least understand why. There should be a test prior to logging on.

      And the first question is if you know how to spell the simple words, like Meyer. I'm not sure there is even a last name "Myer." Perhaps.

      Sorry, surly. And now I need one.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinstalker View Post
      Yeah, I'm disappointed Meyer hasn't had a strikeout in two months, too, but geez, at least understand why. There should be a test prior to logging on.

      And the first question is if you know how to spell the simple words, like Meyer. I'm not sure there is even a last name "Myer." Perhaps.

      Sorry, surly. And now I need one.
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