Here we are. Itís September 1st which has so many meanings to a baseball fan. Rosters can expand. Elizabethton and Beloit will play in their league playoffs. It also means that it is time to report the August players of the month for the Twins farm system. I know itís a holiday weekend, but thatís no reason not to check out Twins Daily, right? The plan is to post the top relievers today, followed by the top starting pitchers tomorrow and the top hitters on Labor Day. Having looked at the numbers, there were a lot of terrific performances in August. Thatís encouraging as you want to see improvement in players throughout the year.
With no further ado, here are my choices for the Top 5 Twins Minor League Relief Pitchers in August:
Number 5 Ė Ft. Myers Ė RHP Ricky Bowen - 8 G, 0.69 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 13 H, 4 BB, 14 K
The 25-year-old Bowen has been a very consistent performer for the Miracle all year. His ERA pre and post All Star break have both been over three.
Number 4 Ė Ft. Myers Ė RHP AJ Achter - 6 G, 0.90 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 10.0 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 11 K
Achter had to wait awhile to get his promotion to the Miracle. However, he has made the move flawlessly. He has terrific control and strikes out more than a batter in the inning out of the bullpen.
Number 3 Ė Ft. Myers Ė RHP Michael Tonkin - 9 G, 2.38 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 11.1 IP, 10 H, 2 BB, 21 K
Tonkin finally got the promotion to Ft. Myers in mid-June, and he has not missed a beat. He continues to show great control and an ability to miss bats. This week, he found out that he would be representing the Twins in the Arizona Fall League.
Number 2 Ė Elizabethton Ė Josh Burris - 7 G, 1.32 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 13.2 IP, 7 H, 5 BB, 14 K
Burris was the Twins 17th round draft pick in 2012. He signed on the deadline date which means that his debut came this June with the E-Twins. He has been a key component in the teamís bullpen. He is now 7-0 on the short-season. A great athlete, he has a very live arm. Occasionally, he struggles with his control, but he has a very good fastball and a sharp 12-6 curveball that helps him miss a lot of bats.
And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is:
Elizabethton Ė Tyler Duffey - 7 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 12.0 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 18 K
Duffey was the Twins 5th round pick this summer out of Rice. This summer, he has been filling a role similar to the one he filled in college, setting up JT Chargois (Twins 3rd round pick). In August, he has been completely dominant, walking none, giving up few hits and striking out a batter and a half per inning. Overall, he has walked two and struckout 29 in his 19 innings. Duffey, like many of the other hard-throwing relievers drafted by the Twins, could move quickly through the Twins system.
So what do you think? Iíve listed five relievers here that deserve be recognized for their terrific performances this past month. Who would your choice be? How would you rank these guys? Feel free to include others like Anthony Slama who recorded four saves in his nine appearances. In his 11.1 innings, he gave up ten hits, walked five and struckout 19.