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:
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.