Top Stories For 2006

In this edition of Twins Minor League Notebook, we look at six players who have really done a phenomenal job this season. On the pitching side, we look at the seasons of Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, and Oswaldo Sosa. On the offensive side, we look at the seasons for Erik Lis, Brock Peterson, and Alexi Casilla.

During the course of a Minor League Baseball season, players have their fair share of ups and downs. Some people bust out of the slumps, and some succumb to them, ruining an entire season. But for some players, the hits just keep on coming, or it could be they come up with the big hit in the big spot, or the big strikeout with the game on the line. Then, once the dust settles, they have put together years where they rank at the top of the organization in specific categories.

During the 2006 season, we have seen our fair share of surprise stories in the Twins farm system. From the rise of Matt Garza, to the extended slump of Matthew Moses, this has definitely been an exciting year to be a Twins fan. Not to mention our parent club's unheard of rise to the top of the Wild Card standings. In this piece, we take a look at three great pitching performances, and three great batting performances put on by Twins' prospects so far this season, and why the Twins' farm teams have the fourth-best winning percentage in all of baseball.

First off is Matt Garza, the hard throwing 2005 first-round pick who has taken Minor League Baseball by storm this season. Though he has recently been promoted to the Minnesota Twins, Garza started out the season in only High-A ball, and by the time he got the call, he was leading the Minor Leagues in wins and strikeouts. Overall, Garza won 14 games in his three stops in the Minors, and finished with 154 strikeouts in 135.2 innings of work.

Linked alongside Garza all season long has been Kevin Slowey, the 2005 second rounder who has been an absolute monster on the hill this season. Slowey has demonstrated pinpoint control this season, and his 1.97 earned run average is the best mark in the organization. After terrorizing Florida State League hitters, Slowey has made a smooth adjustment to the Double-A level, and has walked only 20 batters in 141.2 innings this season.

Another starter who has flown under the radar this season has been Oswaldo Sosa, who made an seemingly easy jump from Beloit of the Midwest League to Fort Myers of the Florida State League. This season, Sosa's 2.79 earned run average is the third highest among full-season players, and he is currently tied with for Snapper teammate Yohan Pino for second place in the organization in wins (10). Pino himself is having a great year, and would be in the leaderboard in earned run average too if he had enough innings in.

On the offensive side, Erik Lis has been a monster all season long for the Beloit Snappers, and you have to wonder why he is not in a Fort Myers Miracle uniform yet. All he has done this season is lead the Twins Minor Leagues with a .327 batting average, smack 15 home runs, which is good enough for second in the system, and driven in 68 runs, which is also second. His 133 hits are also second in the organization, and his 68 runs are second best as well.

Alexi Casilla is the player that Lis is looking up at in the hits column, though he only has one more knock than Lis. Casilla, however, has done his damage at the High-A and Double-A levels this season, making his season even more remarkable. In his first year with the Twins, he was the player they got when they traded J.C. Romero to the Angels, Casilla has batted .321 in his two stops, and was a Florida State League All-Star. Oh yeah, he also has swiped a system-best 46 bags this season.

Finally, we look at the very underrated Brock Peterson, and how he has been consistent all season long in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. He is currently seventh in the organization among full-season players in batting average, posting a .288 mark, and his 15 home runs are tied with Lis for second in the system. He also has driven in 60 runs this season, giving him the fifth best total in the Twins organization.

All six of these players are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to those having great seasons. As the Minor League season comes to a close, it has sure been a fun ride, and some players have really separated themselves from the pack.


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