Rochester 2007 Recap: The Pitchers

Here are the pitchers who were on one of the better staffs in the International League in 2007. With the offense struggling for most of the season, these arms are the ones who kept the Red Wings in the IL playoff race. Take a look at who could be in Minnesota next season.

Ricky Barrett
Barrett had his regular season end in July, but he has since come back from injury, and is currently pitching very well in the Venezulean Winter League. Before the injury, Barrett was slated to get a shot with the Minnesota Twins, but was passed over for Carmen Cali. The injury, which was to his pitching elbow, kept him out from July on, but before that he had posted a 4.11 earned run average. I believe he could help the Twins in 2008 if he is healthy.

Brian Bass
Bass is currently a minor league free agent, so it is up in the air whether he will be back with the Twins organization next season. However, the Twins should think about keeping Bass, after he won seven games for Rochester last season. He had a very respectable 3.48 earned run average, and was used from both the bullpen and the rotation. He is a great guy to have on any minor league pitching staff.

Nick Blackburn
The 2007 season was a breakout season of sorts for Blackburn, who came into the year as one of the top starting pitching prospects in the organization. He took his prospect status to the next level in 2007, as he was one of the better pitchers in the International League. Blackburn would go on to get his first shot in the Major Leagues, and really put himself into contention to make the Twins out of Spring Training next season. He was also named TwinCitiesDugout.com Pitcher of the Year.

Carmen Cali
Cali had a very successful 2007 season, appearing for both the Rochester Red Wings and the Minnesota Twins. Cali got the nod to appear with the Twins early in the year, and he did not disappoint at the Major League level, or the Triple-A level. He had an earned run average under 3.00 for the Red Wings, as the team counted on him in some high pressure situations. He will get a long look to be in the Twins bullpen in 2008.

Julio DePaula
DePaula had a great season for the Rochester Red Wings, as he was another Wings pitcher who got the call to Minnesota in 2007. DePaula won a team high 12 games for the Red Wings, appearing in 49 games out of the Rochester bullpen. DePaula had a nice 2.90 earned run average, held opponents to a .226 batting average, and walked only 27 batters in over 80 innings of work. He is definitely ready to be in a Major League bullpen right now.

Brian Duensing
Duensing challenged Blackburn for Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year, as he established himself as one of the better left-handed starting pitching prospects in the organization. The young lefty made 19 starts for the Red Wings, winning 11 of them. He would finish the season tied with Jeff Manship for the most wins in the Twins farm system, winning 15 games overall. For Rochester, Duensing tossed three complete games, including a shutout.

Matt Garza
Garza, the Twins number one prospect in 2007, did not have the kind of dominating season he had in the minors last year, but the young fireballer showed why he was named top prospect last season. Garza made 16 starts for the Red Wings, striking out better than a batter per inning, but he had to deal with being shuttled between Rochester and Minnesota. Garza is one of the better starting pitching prospects in all of baseball, and I fully expect him to have one of the five spots in the Twins starting rotation to open the 2008 season.

Dave Gassner
Once again, Gassner was an innings eater in 2007, making a team-high 26 starts for the Rochester Red Wings. On a team where the starters were getting shuffled around the organization, Gassner was a rock in the rotation, solidifying himself as a very important member of the Red Wings pitching staff. However, Gassner is currently a minor league free agent, and I do not expect the Twins to bring him back.

Bobby Korecky
It was a special season for Korecky, who established the Rochester Red Wings single-season save record. Korecky led the International League in saves, as he tried to get himself out of the shadow of 2006 Wings closer Patrick Neshek. While it is hard to replace such a prospect like Neshek, Korecky did a serviceable job for the Wings in 2007, though he did struggle a bit at times. Korecky will likely never be a Major League closer, but he definitely is a very good late innings guy in the minor leagues.

Jason Miller
Over the past couple of seasons, Miller has established himself as one of the better left-handed relief pitchers in the Twins organization. In 2007, Miller got a shot with the big league club, and although he struggled, displayed a nice arsenal of pitches. Miller is never going to blow people away with his fastball, but he is a crafty lefty, displaying the kind of off-speed stuff that can get people out. He'll get a shot to make the team in Spring Training.

Kevin Slowey
Slowey continues to be one of the better pitching prospects in all of Minor League Baseball, and he pitched incredibly well for Rochester in 2007. Slowey led the Twins organization in earned run average, posting an ERA under 2.00, and really dominated in his 20 starts. He also got the chance to showcase his talents at the Major League level, putting himself in position to lock down a rotation spot in 2008. His incredible control and mastery of his pitches could make him a 15-game winner in the Majors very soon.


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