After looking at the Twins top hitter and starting pitcher performances for August the last couple of days, today we’ll take a look at the top relievers in the season’s final month. Next week, we’ll start looking at the players of the year.
There were a lot of terrific bullpen performances throughout the month of August. The Twins have focused their attention in recent drafts on hard-throwers, including several bullpen arms. That becomes apparent as you look through both the Honorable Mention and the Top 5.
Here are my choices for the Top 5 Twins Minor League Relief Pitchers in August, starting with several Honorable Mentions.
- RHP AJ Achter – Rochester – 8 G, 17.1 IP, 14 H, 5 BB, 18 K, 2.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
- RHP Stephen Pryor – Rochester – 12 G, 17.2 IP, 6 H, 14 BB, 18 K, 1.02 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
- RHP Michael Tonkin – Rochester – 12 G, 12.1 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 14 K, 2.92 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
- LHP Jim Fuller – New Britain – 7 G, 13.2 IP, 12 H, 7 BB, 16 K, 1.32 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
- LHP Mason Melotakis – Ft. Myers/New Britain – 10 G, 13.0 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 20 K, 1.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
- RHP Brandon Peterson – Ft. Myers – 7 G, 10.1 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 15 K, 1.74 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
- RHP Todd Van Steensel – Ft. Myers – 8 G, 13.1 IP, 9 H, 7 BB, 13 K, 0.68 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
- RHP Chris Mazza – Cedar Rapids – 10 G, 20.0 IP, 22 H, 6 BB, 34 K, 3.15 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
- RHP Randy LeBlanc – Elizabethton – 7 G, 17.0 IP, 19 H, 1 BB, 14 K, 1.59 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
- RHP CK Irby – Elizabethton Twins – 9 G, 16.0 IP, 12 H, 4 BB, 30 K, 1.13 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
- RHP Trevor Hildenberger – GCL Twins – 10 G, 10.1 IP, 10 H, 1 BB, 15 K, 1.74 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
TOP 5 MINNESOTA TWINS RELIEF PITCHER OF AUGUST 2014
Number 5 – Cedar Rapids – RHP Dallas Gallant - 9 G, 1.46 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 22 K
Gallant was #2 on this list in July, and he was just as good in August. The hard-throwing right-hander continued to dominate the Florida State League as a set up man who also recorded two saves in the month. He has walked a few too many, but his stuff is such that he doesn’t give up many hits. In fact, opponents hit just .122 off of him in August with a .422 OPS. After missing the first 50 games this season, Gallant is a guy who will likely start in Ft. Myers next year, but with some others, he could move up quickly.
Number 4 – Elizabethton – LHP Sam Clay - 7 G, 0.00 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 20 K
Clay was the Twins 4th round pick this June out of Georgia Tech. His first nine appearances with Elizabethton were pretty brutal. However, he has figured out something and been very good the last month. In fact, he didn’t give up a run and found ways to miss bats. This is just the start of the run of 2014 Twins draft picks that appear on this list.
Number 3 – Rochester – RHP Lester Oliveros - 12 G, 0.90 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 15 H, 7 BB, 31 K
His first big league appearance in over two years following Tommy John surgery didn’t go so well, but Oliveros has been spectacular throughout the 2014 season. He was dominant in August while also being a workhorse for the Red Wings. The still-just-26-year-old throws hard and has had much better control of his breaking ball than we saw the other night. With a strong September, he could find himself in the mix for a roster spot on Opening Day 2015.
Number 2 – Ft. Myers – Nick Burdi - 10 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 10.1 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 17 K
When he was drafted, we knew about the 100 mph fastball, and we had heard about the 91 mph slider that he flashed early in the college season. Burdi has touched those numbers in his 2+ months in professional baseball. He was promoted to Ft. Myers at the end of July, and he is yet to give up a run. He has plenty of strikeouts, but it’s more encouraging to see his walks decreasing. Burdi is a guy who will likely fly through the Twins farm system and could certainly be in Minnesota in 2015.
And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is:
Cedar Rapids – Jake Reed - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.54 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 16 K
Reed also won this award in July when he posted a 0.18 WHIP through that month, his first month with the Kernels. The 5th round pick from Oregon remained dominant in the season’s final month. He is strong enough yet that the Twins are sending him to the Arizona Fall League this year. In August, he went 1-0 and recorded three saves. Opponents hit just .116 off of him with a silly .295 OPS. Reed throws hard, hitting 97 at times. He has a breaking pitch that will need to improve, but considering he’s been a pro for a little over two months, he’s on a good track toward Target Field.
So what do you think? I’ve listed five relievers here (along with several other Honorable Mentions) that deserve be recognized for their terrific performances this past month. Who would your choice be? How would you rank these guys (and feel free to include others)?