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Article: Twins Prospect Spotlight Series: Ben Rortvedt

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Twins Minor League Report (4/8): Saturday In The (Minor League) Parks

The first Saturday of the minor league season presented us with several interesting story lines. Two pitchers that Twins fans have high hopes for made their first starts of the season, Jose Berrios for Rochester and Fernando Romero in Chattanooga. The Red Wings had to wait two days, but they played their first game of the year. Meanwhile, Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers both played their home openers.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Mitch Garver)
Find out everything that happened in the Twins minor league system on Saturday. It might help get your mind off of the fact that the Twins will not have an undefeated 2017 season.

RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 10, Syracuse 0
Box Score

They had to wait a couple of extra days to start their season, but things went well in the season debut for the Red Wings.

Jose Berrios still received the Opening Day call. The right hander used 77 pitches to work through six shutout innings. He gave up just three hits, walked one and struck out seven batters to improve to 1-0. Just 48 of his 77 pitches (62%) were strikes, but he was able to work through that well.

DJ Baxendale came in for the seventh and earned a three-inning save. He continued the shutout and gave up just one hit. He walked none and struck out three.

Mitch Garver got things going and kept it rolling. He drove in the first run for the Red Wings with an RBI double. A couple innings later, he added a two-run double. He came to the plate three more times, but he was walked twice and also hit by a pitch. Late in the game, Ben Paulsen added his first hit, and it was a big one. His grand slam capped a six-run seventh inning.

Matt Hague went 3-6 with two doubles. Byungho Park went 2-4 with a walk and a double. Daniel Palka went 2-4 with a walk.


CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Chattanooga 2, Mobile 3
Box Score

It was the much-anticipated 2017 debut of Fernando Romero for Chattanooga. After just 11 starts in Ft. Myers, Romero was pushed to AA this year. He gave up just one run through three innings. However, his final line was three runs on three hits and three walks in 3.1 innings. He struck out four. Ryan Eades came on and gave up a hit, a walk and hit a batter, while striking out two in 1.2 innings. 27-year-old Nik Turley was another minor league free agent signed by the Twins. He’s been on 40-man rosters in the past. The left-hander gave up one hit in four scoreless innings. He walked none and struck out ten (yes, that is accurate).

The Lookouts had some chances. They had the bases loaded and were unable to score in the seventh inning. They scored two runs in the eighth inning. In the ninth, down by one, they had a runner on third base with one out and were unable to bring in a third run. Dan Gamache went 2-4 and drove in one run. Ryan Walker and Engelb Vielma each hit a double. Nick Gordon had a single and a walk in the game. He started at shortstop for the third time in three games. Vielma started at second base for the third straight game.


MIRACLE MATTERS
Ft. Myers 5, Jupiter 2
Box Score

David Fischer was the starter for the Miracle on their opening night at Hammond Stadium. The right-hander threw four shutout innings. He gave up five hits and struck five out without a walk. Anthony McIver came in and worked the next two innings. He gave up a run on a hit and two walks. Williams Ramirez went the next two innings. He gave up a run on two hits and two walks while striking out three. Lefty Jonny Drozd recorded the save with a perfect ninth inning, including two strikeouts.

Daniel Kihle made his first start of the season. He went 2-2, was hit by a pitch, doubled and hit a home run. Alex Perez was 1-3 with a walk and an RBI double, his second of the season.

Luis Arraez was carted off the field after tripping awkwardly over first base in the 7th inning.


KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 6, Beloit 7
Box Score

The Kernels made the trek back to Cedar Rapids following their Friday doubleheader in Beloit. Cedar Rapids was able to play their home opener. When Travis Blankenhorn knocked a three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth, it gave the Kernels a 6-1 lead. Unfortunately, it was a lead they were unable to hold.

Sean Poppen started for the Kernels. The right-hander from Harvard provided the team with a quality start. He gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits in seven innings. He struck out seven without issuing a walk. Lefty Andrew Vasquez came on for the eighth inning. He gave up a run on two hits in the inning. Tom Hackimer came on to hold a two-run lead in the ninth inning. Hackimer was charged with three earned runs on three hits and a walk before getting out of the inning.

Blankenhorn had the homer (video below), and he went 2-4 with a walk and a double as well. Shane Carrier also added his first home run of the season. Jaylin Davis added an RBI triple. Caleb Hamilton went 1-3 with a walk.




TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Nik Turley, Chattanooga Lookouts
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Mitch Garver, Rochester Red Wings


SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

Rochester @ Syracuse (DH @ 12:05 CST) - RHP Nick Tepesch, Drew Rucinski (bullpen game)
Mobile @ Chattanooga - (1:15 CST) - RHP Felix Jorge
Ft. Myers @ Jupiter (3:05 CST) - RHP Keaton Steele
Beloit @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 CST) – RHP Alex Schick
Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday's Opening Day games.

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19 Comments

I took a boatload of photos at the Kernels home opener, including a decent series of catcher Ben Rortvedt catching an excellent throw from Jaylin Davis and applying a tag at the plate to end the top of the first inning.

 

Rather than posting a separate blog article here, I think I'll just provide the link to the post over at Knuckleballs for those who are interested to click to.

 

Click here if you'd like to see those photos as well as others, including each of the Kernels' starting lineup.

 

Here's just a sample:

 

Rortvedt2017d.jpg

 

    • ashburyjohn, Seth Stohs, glunn and 7 others like this

Why was Romero pulled in the 4th? Injury? Or ineffectiveness that would have lead to further damage?  I mean at three runs, Romero hadn't yet precluded the 'quality start'.

    • glunn and nytwinsfan like this

Seventy-four pitches through 3.1 innings, and the last three batters were double, walk, walk.

Why was Romero pulled in the 4th? Injury? Or ineffectiveness that would have lead to further damage?  I mean at three runs, Romero hadn't yet precluded the 'quality start'.

 

    • Oldgoat_MN and nytwinsfan like this
Photo
HitInAPinch
Apr 09 2017 05:58 AM

 

I took a boatload of photos at the Kernels home opener, including a decent series of catcher Ben Rortvedt catching an excellent throw from Jaylin Davis and applying a tag at the plate to end the top of the first inning.

 

Rather than posting a separate blog article here, I think I'll just provide the link to the post over at Knuckleballs for those who are interested to click to.

 

Click here if you'd like to see those photos as well as others, including each of the Kernels' starting lineup.

 

Here's just a sample:

 

Rortvedt2017d.jpg

Great picture!

Photo
HitInAPinch
Apr 09 2017 06:01 AM

Anyone hear of a strategy for Berrios?I'm curious to hear what management want's him to work on to be more successful against MLB'ers.

    • nytwinsfan likes this

 

I took a boatload of photos at the Kernels home opener, including a decent series of catcher Ben Rortvedt catching an excellent throw from Jaylin Davis and applying a tag at the plate to end the top of the first inning.

 

Rather than posting a separate blog article here, I think I'll just provide the link to the post over at Knuckleballs for those who are interested to click to.

 

 

 

Thanks for sharing.  Your photos reminded me I of another photographer from Cedar Rapids I got the chance to river guide with back in the nineties, Goerge Henry.  He would bring two full trips worth of folks from Cedar Rapids out to Utah every summer on whitewater rafting trips.  Every time I smush down a piece of french toast with a spatula, I think of Goerge Henry.  Anyhow, what a nice looking day at the ballpark.

Free Park!
    • Oldgoat_MN and sploorp like this
Any thoughts as to why Blankenhorn didn't start the year at Ft. Myers? I would imagine he'll be there shortly.
    • nytwinsfan likes this
Photo
Don't Feed the Greed Guy
Apr 09 2017 07:10 AM

 

Nick Gordon had a single and a walk in the game. He started at shortstop for the third time in three games. Vielma started at second base for the third straight game.

 

It's early, but any sense of a trend forming here? 

 

Any thoughts as to why Blankenhorn didn't start the year at Ft. Myers? I would imagine he'll be there shortly.

He had 25 games and 102 plate appearances there last year. 

Note: I added the note about Luis Arraez's injury. 

Photo
ashburyjohn
Apr 09 2017 07:17 AM

It's early, but any sense of a trend forming here? 

Giving reps at SS to the guy with the higher upside but who still has questions about whether he can stick at short, plus adding positional flexibility for the other guy? Just a guess.

 

Vielma was playing 2B in Florida the week I was there, too. As with Polanco, fulltime duty at 2B at one minor league stop doesn't close the door on shortstop. If it were me, I'd give him (some more) time at 3B too.

 

/ edit - I took a look, and the guy who played 3B last night, Ryan Walker, has been mostly a second baseman in his career. Maybe the new regime is emphasizing positional flexibility a little more?

    • sploorp likes this

 

Giving reps at SS to the guy with the higher upside but who still has questions about whether he can stick at short, plus adding positional flexibility for the other guy? Just a guess.

 

Vielma was playing 2B in Florida the week I was there, too. As with Polanco, fulltime duty at 2B at one minor league stop doesn't close the door on shortstop. If it were me, I'd give him (some more) time at 3B too.

 

/ edit - I took a look, and the guy who played 3B last night, Ryan Walker, has been mostly a second baseman in his career. Maybe the new regime is emphasizing positional flexibility a little more?

Remember that Levi Michael is also on the roster and hasn't played the first three games. 

 

As for Gordon/Vielma, SS/2B... it'll be interesting to see how it goes. Sometimes guys need to get into a flow. Maybe Mauer will have Gordon play SS for a week with VIelma at second and then switch them around the next week. It's a trend of three games so far, so I'm not ready to say too much about it. It's also possible they've just decided that they're going to go with Gordon and hope he can do it. Vielma can still play SS. If he spent the full season at 2B, he'd still be a great SS. 

    • rdehring likes this

Anyone hear of a strategy for Berrios?I'm curious to hear what management want's him to work on to be more successful against MLB'ers.


Nothing officially...but I would guess it has something to do with consistently throwing strikes. 62% strike rate is not good.
    • Deduno Abides likes this

Nothing officially...but I would guess it has something to do with consistently throwing strikes. 62% strike rate is not good.

Well the target is generally 2 out of 3 strikes (66%). So it's not like 62% is awful.
Photo
Deduno Abides
Apr 09 2017 11:00 AM

Nothing officially...but I would guess it has something to do with consistently throwing strikes. 62% strike rate is not good.


League leaders are around 67%. That would mean 52 strikes yesterday instead of 48. 70% would be 54 strikes. Let's hope Berrios can make the jump.
    • Vanimal46 likes this
Photo
ashburyjohn
Apr 09 2017 11:04 AM

Remember that Levi Michael is also on the roster and hasn't played the first three games.

You'll forgive me if I continue to forget about him. :)

    • Oldgoat_MN and Deduno Abides like this
Photo
ashburyjohn
Apr 09 2017 11:11 AM

League leaders are around 67%. That would mean 52 strikes yesterday instead of 48. 70% would be 54 strikes. Let's hope Berrios can make the jump.

Get him up to the majors pronto, and let Castro start framing him up to the 85-90% range. :)

    • Deduno Abides likes this
It would be interesting to learn how the new regime measures Berrios' success. Having a great stat line has never been the issue in AAA.... When I hear about measuring strike rate, "pitch to contact" enters my mind... Berrios has too good of stuff to be a pitch to contact player.

Do they measure him by how accurate he's hitting his spots during an at bat? Since catchers do set up for a low and away slider to get a batter chasing for example....

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