Team: Gulf Coast League (GCL) Twins
League/Division: Gulf Coast League / South
League Rank (of 16):
ERA – 8th (3.46)
Batting Average – 14th (.228)
The first of two Twins rookie level affiliates, the GCL Twins have struggled. Forty-nine games through their 60 game season, the GCL Twins record of 19-30 has them all but eliminated from playoff contention.
The league’s prime directive is player development, and on that theme, one player has used his time with the GCL Twins this year as a springboard to success. After being drafted in the 17th round of this year’s Rule 4 Draft, LHP Mat Batts started with the GCL Twins, but after not giving up a an earned run in four appearances, has been promoted twice and currently is pitching for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in A ball.
Team: Elizabethton Twins (E-Twins)
League/Division: Appalachian League / West
League Rank (of 10):
ERA – 1st (2.85)
Batting Average – 2nd (.258)
The second rung of the Twins developmental ladder, the Appalachian League starts its season in June after the Rule 4 Draft, and schedules between 65-70 games in a season. The top two teams from each division play each other in a best-of-three semifinal, with the winners facing off in a best-of-three championship series. The E-Twins currently lead the West division by a game and a half and are one game behind the league’s best record.
Along with team success, the organization has also been able to pass several players on to the next level. OF Max Murphy, LHP Stephen Gonsalves, RHP Chih-Wei Hu, 3B Jonatan Hinojosa and RHP Jake Reed all started their season in Elizabethton but have since been promoted to Class A. Throw in Mat Batts, who started in the GCL and made only a brief stop in Elizabethton, and there has been a lot of turnover in the Elizabethton squad.
Team: Cedar Rapids Kernels
League/Division: Midwest League / West
Overall Record: 65-60
1st Half Record: 31-39
2nd Half Record: 34-21
League Rank (of 16):
ERA – 9th (3.87)
Batting Average – 5th (.260)
The first full season affiliate, the Midwest League qualifies two teams from each division (East and West) in the first half, and then two more teams from each division in the second half (no repeats). Two rounds of best-of-three series followed by a best-of-five championship series. With a 31-39 record in the first half, the Kernels were unable to secure one of the division’s two playoff spots. Their 34-21 record currently has them second in the West Division, but leading the second half playoff standings since Kane County has already clinched a spot in the first half. They hold six and eight game leads over the 3rd and 4th place teams respectively with 15 games remaining.
The Kernels have sent 6 RHPs on to A+ affiliate Ft. Myers Miracle (Brandon Peterson, Ethan Mildren, Todd Van Steensel, Nick Burdi and Aaron Slegers) along with OF Jason Kanzler and 3B Bryan Haar.
Team: Fort Myers Miracle
League/Division: Florida State League / South
Overall Record: 74-52
1st Half Record: 41-28
2nd Half Record: 33-24
League Rank (of 12):
ERA – 4th (3.36)
Batting Average – 4thth (.262)
Like their A level counterpart, the Florida State League uses a first half/second half playoff structure. The Miracle ended the 1st half as the South division leaders clinching their spot in the playoffs. Their 33-24 second half record, while only good enough for 3rd in the South, has vaulted the Miracle to the best overall record in the league, leading the Dunedin Blue Jays by a half game.
The Miracle have sent five pitchers (LHP Jason Wheeler, RHP Alex Wimmers, LHP Mason Melotakis and RHP Jose Berrios, RHP Tyler Duffey) on to AA affiliate New Britain, along with 2B/SS Levi Michael, 2B Stephen Wickens, OF Lance Ray and 1B Mike Gonzales.
Team: New Britain Rock Cats
League/Division: Eastern League / Eastern
League Rank (of 12):
ERA – 8th (4.00)
Batting Average – 9th (.254)
The Eastern League is the first level that uses a standard full-season playoff system. The top two teams in each division make the playoffs. The Eastern division is a two horse race, with New Britain in 3rd place 15 games out of first and 14 games out of second place.
The Rock Cats most notable promotion was Kennys Vargas going straight to the major league club in July. RHP Lester Oliveros, LHP Sean Gilmartin, RHP Mark Hamburger, RHP Virgil Vasquez and LF Daniel Ortiz have been sent to AAA Rochester. After starting the year in A+, Tyler Duffey earned his second promotion of the season when he was moved to Rochester last week.
Team: Rochester Red Wings
League/Division: International League / North
League Rank (of 14):
ERA – 2nd (3.55)
Batting Average – 5th (.266)
The International League is broken into three divisions. Each division sends its winner to the playoffs with the top non-division winner earning a wild card spot. Two rounds of best-of-five series then determine the champion. At 68-61, the Red Wings sit 4.5 games back in their division and 2.5 games back in the wild card standings with 15 games to go.
The Red Wings have been anchored by a very potent starting rotation which has seen plenty of time with the parent club. Logan Darnell, Kris Johnson, Yohan Pino and Trevor May have made starts in the majors. Shortstop Danny Santana has also exploded onto the scene as a SS and CF, and C Eric Fryer and relief pitcher Ryan Pressly have also contributed in the majors.
Wrapping up, there figures to be plenty of postseason ball, though sadly it won’t be at the major league level. Only the GCL Twins and Rock Cats are out of contention, the Miracle have clinched a spot, the Kernels are in good position to clinch a second half spot and the Red Wings sit only 2.5 games back.
In the next installment of this blog, we’ll start our look at the players that make up the future of the Twins organization. We’ll start with an in-depth look at the catching position. Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions below.
- glunn likes this