Beloit Snappers Awards: April

Olson is batting close to .300 this season.

Here are the monthly awards for the Beloit Snappers. In it, we give a Batter and Pitcher of the Month for the month of April, as well as some Honorable Mentions. We also look at who had the Slump of the Month:

The Beloit Snappers have not been getting much hitting lately, except for a couple of prospects, but they have got the best starting pitcher in the Midwest League. The Snappers are currently 11-9 on the young season, thanks to their pitching staff, but their young bats should get hot very soon.

Batter of the Month: Danny Valencia, 3B
.303 BA, 9 R, 5 HR, 13 RBI, .597 SLG
Valencia was one of the hottest hitters in the Midwest League for nearly the entire month of April, and though he struggled through a 3-22 slide to end the month, he is our Beloit Batter of the Month. Valencia was hitting in the high .300s for nearly three weeks, and his five home runs are the most among Twins minor leaguers. He has a nice .597 slugging percentage, and once he breaks out of his recent swoon, he should be back in the mid .300s. He could be promoted to Fort Myers soon, as they are having trouble with the sticks as well. Valencia is proving his breakout season in the Apply League in 2006 was no fluke.

Honorable Mention: Johnny Woodard (.321, HR, 7 R), Garrett Olson (.290, 9 R, 8 RBI), Brian Dinkelman (2 HR, 2 (3B), 11 BB)

Slump of the Month: Joe Benson, OF
.175 BA, 3 RBI, 1 extra-base hit, 7R, 20 K
Benson is a much better player than his statistics are showing right now, and I fully expect him to break out of this slump very soon. He is a five-tool outfielder who is just struggling to find his groove to open up the season, and is swinging at bad pitches to compensate, leading to a high number of strikeouts. He needs to be more productive, and if he can get going at the top of the Snappers lineup, then the runs should follow.

Pitcher of the Month: Jeffrey Manship, SP
5 G, 5 GS, 0.84 ERA, 2-0, 32 IP, 36 K, 3 BB
Manship is the hottest pitcher in the Twins organization right now, and he should be hearing from the Fort Myers Miracle very soon. He has overwhelmed Midwest League hitters to start the season, and is showing no setbacks from 2004 Tommy John Surgery. He has been dominant with the strikeouts, whiffing better than a batter per inning, and has walked only three. This kid is the goods, and could make a rapid rise through the Twins farm system this season. He is 22-years old, which means it is not out of the question for him to be in Double-A by the end of the season, maybe even Rochester.

Honorable Mention: Cole Devries (5 GS, 1.65 ERA, 18K), Armando Gabino (6 G, 0.71 ERA, 1-0), Adam Hawes (3.48 ERA, 4 GS)

Slump of the Month: Dan Leatherman, RP
5.59 ERA, 7 G, 9 K, 9.2 IP
Leatherman is a very good reliever, who has really only been touched up in two of his seven appearances this season. The reason his earned run average is so bloated is because in those two games, he allowed three earned runs. Still, he has good stuff, and the Snappers will continue to hand him the ball in tight spots.

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