Relief pitchers often go unrecognized unless they don’t do their job. However, in April, when starters are on pitch counts and may not always go even to the fifth inning, they are very important. Today, we’ll look at the top relievers in the Twins farm system in April.
Number 5 – New Britain – Cole Johnson- 1.74 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 10.1 IP, 7 H, 7 BB, 11 K
Number 2 – Cedar Rapids – Brandon Peterson – 0.84 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 10.2 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 16 K
Number 3 – New Britain – Lester Oliveros – 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 10 K
Number 2 – New Britain/Rochester – AJ Achter – 1.10 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 20 K
And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is:
Rochester – Yohan Pino – 1.17 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 12 H, 7 BB, 27 K
There was no question that the overall pitcher of the month (and maybe the player of the month) in the Twins farm system in April was Yohan Pino. Should he be categorized with the starters (he does have more innings pitched than most starters in the organization) or the relievers (he’s made four bullpen appearances and two spot starts)? Of course, in one of those starts, he threw a seven-inning, complete game shutout.
This offseason, the Twins brought him back, signing the veteran free agent to a minor league contract. Ten years earlier, 2004, the Twins had signed Pino out of Venezuela. That summer, he was the Dominican Summer League Pitcher of the Year. In 2005, he was in Elizabethton where he went 9-2 with 64 strikeouts in 67.2 innings. In 2006, he went 14-2 with a 1.91 ERA, primarily out of the Beloit bullpen, though he ended the season making seven starts. That’s the role he has had ever since, splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. He got up to Rochester in 2009, but in late August, he was sent to Cleveland in exchange for Carl Pavano. In early 2011, he went to the Blue Jays organization. He was there until this spring when he was invited to Twins spring training.
Maybe Yohan Pino should be in his own category. Either way, he deserves to be recognized for a tremendous opening month.
Quickly, here are some Honorable Mentions, a few guys worthy of recognition:
- Matt Hoffman – Rochester – 0.96 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K
- Madison Boer – Ft. Myers – 1.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 1 K
- David Hurlbut – Ft. Myers – 1.59 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 17.0 IP, 16 H, 7 BB, 6 K
- Brandon Bixler – Cedar Rapids – 0.73 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 7 H, 9 BB, 14 K
Relief pitchers often don’t get the recognition they deserve. They are generally unnoticed unless things go bad. That’s why we recognize the relief pitchers here. Each of these pitchers did his job, and they all did it well.
Later today, check back for the April Hitters of the Month.