Utterly horrible game yesterday at Oakland in several levels. There have been tomes of virtual ink describing this game already today, so I do not plan to focus on it. Instead I will focus on something more positive, identifying the best arm in the Twins minor league system, who is a well-kept secret, btw (unless you read this blog last year as well.)
Who is he? I'll get to this in a second, but I will get to his numbers this season first:
He started 9 games, won 6 and did not lose any. In the 50 innings he pitched, he allowed one earned run in 28 hits while he walked 6 and struck out 50. This translates to 0.18 ERA, 0.680 WHIP, 9.0 K/9 and 8.33 K/BB. Outstanding numbers, especially given the fact that his league averages are 3.84 ERA, 1.404 WHIP, 7.84 K/9 and 1.79 K/BB. He is the 19 year old Pedro Guerra in his second stint with the Twins' DSL team, following a team-best season of 2.45 ERA, 1.032 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, 6.25 K/BB (his age 18 season in 2008). If someone like Shooter Hunt or Kyle Carr (or insert the name of any 2008 Twins' draft pick) had similar numbers the last 2 seasons, the Twins fans and all the major project publications would have been all over him and had listed him as a top prospect. Furthermore, the GCL is an easier league to pitch than the DSL. The 2009 pitching averages for the GCL are 3.51 ERA, 1.285 WHIP, 7.84 K/9, 2.27 K/BB; compare those to the ones previously listed for the DSL.
Pedro will probably be in the states next season as a 20 year old, but he does deserve a spot at least at the GCL roster this season. He was signed as a 16 year old out of Venezuela (he is from Cagua, home of former major league SS Alex Gonzalez of Marlins' fame) and played his first professional season in 2007 with the Venezuela Summer League Twins/Cubs split squad (the Twins stopped playing at the VSL after 2007) where as a seventeen year old he put up excellent numbers (3.64 ERA, 1.011 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, 2.63 K/BB).
What does the future hold for Pedro Guerra? It is extremely early to tell, but he has been the top minor league pitching performer in the Twins' organization and he has to be recognized for it. I hope that he finds his way up north sooner than later...