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Twins Minor League Report (5/23): Debuts and Longballs

Lots of action took place on the farm today. Miguel Sano homered for the second straight day during his rehab assignment and Ervin Santana began to work his way back up to the Twins. Specifically among minor leaguers though, Nick Gordon debuted at Triple-A, and Jacob Pearson made his stamp on the Twins organization. There's a lot to dive into here, so let's get started.
Image courtesy of Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Willians Astudillo)
TRANSACTIONS
Cedar Rapids Kernels
Placed OF Akil Baddoo on the DL with right hamstring spasms
Received OF Jacob Pearson from Elizabethton
Fort Myers Miracle
C Robert Molina transferred to Elizabethton
C Mitchell Kranson reinstated from the DL
Chattanooga Lookouts
P Ervin Santana begins MLB rehab assignment

RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 3, Lehigh Valley 2
Box Score

For the second night in a row, former Twins third basemen Trevor Plouffe would get the scoring started between these two clubs. A fifth inning home run, his third of the year, wasthe first damage off Red Wings starter Zack Littell. The Iron Pigs then tacked on a second off of Littell using a sixth inning sac fly to center.

Despite ceding two runs, the Rochester starter was again sharp. He held the home squad scoreless through four innings, and ended his night twirling six innings of two- run ball. The former Yankees prospect gave up just five hits, while walking one and fanning seven.

Better late than never was the mantra for Rochester tonight, and the damage started to come down in the eighth inning. Willians Astudillo launched a solo shot, and rehabbing Miguel Sano homered in the top of the ninth for his second in as many days. The longball parade wasn’t over, and Astudillo notched his second of the night (fifth of the year) in the ninth inning to put the Red Wings in the lead for good.

Nick Anderson continues to be great in relief for Rochester, working one inning and striking out the side. John Curtiss earned the win, his second, by posting two scoreless innings of relief. Down to a 1.65 ERA on the year, he remains on the shortlist of possible relievers the next time Minnesota needs someone.

In his first game at the Triple-A level, Nick Gordon went 1-4 with a strikeout for the Red Wings. He took over at shortstop and manned the two hole in the batting order. After leaving Chattanooga completely on fire, it will be worth keeping an eye on just how hot he can stay at the next level.



Playing all nine innings at first base this evening, Sano went 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI. He’s hitting .375 during his rehab stint, and could be activated by the Twins soon. With Joe Mauer on the shelf and Sano getting work in at first, it’s worth wondering if he’ll rotate in some with Logan Morrison, leaving Eduardo Escobar entrenched at third base.



CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Montgomery 8, Chattanooga 1
Box Score

Ervin Santana was in Tennessee making his first official rehab start for the Minnesota Twins. On the bump for Chattanooga, he tossed two innings, giving up two runs on four hits. A leadoff home run could’ve been more damaging to Santana’s psyche, but he settled in from there.

The Biscuits were able to manufacture a run in the second when Minnesota native Ryan Boldt stole second after a leadoff single. He came around to score on a single by the next batter.

Piggybacking Santana, Lewis Thorpe worked the next 5 2/3 innings. Five runs crossed the plate on four hits, but none of the tally was attributed to Thorpe. Two runs scored on a throwing error in the fourth made by Lookouts second basemen Alex Perez. Montgomery then plated another in the inning increasing the lead to 5-0.

Chattanooga would commit two more errors on the night, further rendering the two plated runs in the eighth unearned against Thorpe. By the time they had just six outs left to rally, the Lookouts found themselves with a 7-1 deficit and three errors accounting for the bulk of the damage. The Biscuits added one more in the ninth, and getting just three hits on the evening, Chattanooga didn’t have it in them to answer. The Lookouts can even up the five game set with a win tomorrow evening.

MIRACLE MATTERS
Bradenton 7, Fort Myers 6
Box Score

Early and often was the theme for Bradenton and Fort Myers today. The two teams combined to score 13 runs on 20 hits and needed extras to determine a winner. 2017 draft pick Charlie Barnes was on the bump for the Miracle, and he turned in six innings of three-run baseball. Allowing just six hits and striking out five while walking none, a quality start was in the books.

The Miracle gave Barnes an early lead with Caleb Hamilton and Mark Contreras scoring on a Brandon Lopez double and a wild pitch respectively. That third inning lead wouldn’t hold up though, as Bradenton knotted things at two in the top half of the fourth. Barnes was touched up for a solo homer in the sixth, and Fort Myers saw their first deficit of the ballgame.

Down 5-3 in their last at-bats, the Miracle decided this one wasn’t over. Jaylin Davis continued to display a hot bat, and his single drove in Jimmy Kerrigan. Newly activated Mitchell Kranson doubled home Travis Blankenhorn and the two sides found themselves tied at 5.

In the 10th, Tom Hackimer came on for Fort Myers, but found himself in a tough spot and surrendered two runs. Needing another comeback, the Miracle could only muster one run on a Luis Arraez fielder’s choice. After walking off Bradenton on Tuesday, this rally came up just short.

Paco Rodriguez, who was recently acquired by the Twins, did extend his scoreless innings streak to 5 2/3 by working 1 2/3 scoreless in this one. Fort Myers now heads out on the road for a seven-game trip.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 8, Kane County 7
Box Score

In a flip-flop of yesterday’s tally, the Kernels and Cougars traded places. Again accounting for 15 combined runs in the game, it was Cedar Rapids that came out on top Wednesday. Bailey Ober got the start for Toby Gardenhire’s squad and turned in five innings of work allowing four runs on eight hits.

Cedar Rapids jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top half of the first inning thanks to runs from Jordan Gore and Jose Miranda. Unfortunately their lead would be short lived as Kane County answered with three of their own in the bottom half.

In just his second at-bat during his Kernels and Twins organization debut, 2017 third-round draft pick Jacob Pearson notched an RBI single to bring Cedar Rapids back even. Ben Rodriguez also scored in the inning, and once again the Kernels had the lead at 4-3.

Shane Carrier then decided to steal the show in the middle innings. A third inning solo shot, his third of the year, gave the away team a two-run cushion. In the fifth, an RBI single drove in Pearson and Gore, putting Cedar Rapids up 7-3.
The Cougars worked at chipping away, getting back runs in both the fifth and seventh innings against Kernels pitching. After a Jose Miranda RBI single in the ninth though, Cedar Rapids had an 8-5 lead to protect with just three outs remaining.

Working a second inning of relief, Carlos Suniaga made things interesting by walking the first batter and promptly allowing a double to begin the last half frame. Two runs would eventually come around to score, but the third and only important one, was stranded at second base.

The top-pick factory continues to roll on for Gardenhire’s club. Even with both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff out of the lineup tonight, Pearson’s debut was a highlight. The Kernels continue to run top tier talent out on the diamond each evening, and wondering who’s going to be the guy that day is always fun to ponder.

STARS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Pitcher of the Day – Zack Littell 6.0 IP 5 H 2 R 2 ER 1 BB 7 K
Twins Daily Hitter of the Day – Willians Astudillo 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR (4,5)

TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY
3. Nick Gordon (Rochester) – 1-4, K
7. Brent Rooker (Chattanooga) – 0-2, 2 BB
11. Zack Littell (Rochester) – 6.0 IP 5 H 2 R 2 ER 1 BB 7 K
12. Lewis Thorpe (Chattanooga) – 5.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
16. Ben Rortvedt (Cedar Rapids) – 0-3, BB, K
17. Travis Blankenhorn (Fort Myers) – 0-3, R, BB, K

THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (6:05PM CST) – LHP Stephen Gonsalves (3-1, 2.95 ERA)
Montgomery @ Chattanooga (6:15PM CST) – RHP Kohl Stewart (3-1, 4.70 ERA)
Fort Myers @ Charlotte (5:35PM CST) – RHP Andro Cutura (2-0, 5.48 ERA)
Cedar Rapids @ Kane County (6:30PM CST) – RHP Blayne Enlow (0-1, 4.34 ERA)

Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games!

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11 Comments

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Homer Hanky
May 23 2018 09:14 PM

Who is the "bigger" guy... Sano VS Carter

 

I'd do one more full game at 1B with Sano, give him a day off, and get him to Seattle.

The lineup needs some kind of spark, and it's a pretty significant series if we want to leave the door open to potentially creep back into the Wildcard neighborhood.
    • glunn likes this

Thanks Ted. I appreciate the work that went into this report. You made it easy to get the highlights and you packaged them well.

    • Han Joelo, caninatl04 and MN_ExPat like this
I hear so much about Gordon, but it's almost all related to his bat. Which of course is important. I hear virtually nothing about his defense.
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Old Twins Cap
May 24 2018 06:16 AM

Is Astudillo next on the Twins catching depth chart?

 

And, is his defense at the dish capable of that?

Some of us are waiting on a dominant performance from Thorpe...then another and another.But he just can't get that first one behind him.Tonight, his routine was off as he came on in the third inning in relief of Santana.And then there was the Lookouts defense, or lack thereof.  

 

A one out error followed by a second error (throwing) one batter later led to 3 runs crossing the plate before Thorpe could get out of the 4th inning.An error on the lead off hitter in the 8th inning led to 2 more unearned runs.Three nice innings between the sloppy 4th and 8th innings should be something to build on as we await his first shut down start.

    • Oldgoat_MN, bluechipper, mikelink45 and 1 other like this

For these: is there any chance we could list out the Top 20 and just put a DNP next to guys who DNP. It would be interesting to see the whole top 20 daily and to see when position players get a day off etc.

 

I'd do one more full game at 1B with Sano, give him a day off, and get him to Seattle.

The lineup needs some kind of spark, and it's a pretty significant series if we want to leave the door open to potentially creep back into the Wildcard neighborhood.

 

Give him today off and get him in Seattle for Friday's game against Lefty James Paxton. The Twins lineup could use the right-handed thump.

    • cmoss84 and Don Walcott like this

 

For these: is there any chance we could list out the Top 20 and just put a DNP next to guys who DNP. It would be interesting to see the whole top 20 daily and to see when position players get a day off etc.

If somebody really wants to go bonkers, do it spreadsheet like, with stuff like season totals, last 30 days, last 7, etc.  See who's trending up and down and whatnot.

    • Seth Stohs and ThejacKmp like this
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Tom Froemming
May 24 2018 09:08 AM

 

For these: is there any chance we could list out the Top 20 and just put a DNP next to guys who DNP. It would be interesting to see the whole top 20 daily and to see when position players get a day off etc.

 

If somebody really wants to go bonkers, do it spreadsheet like, with stuff like season totals, last 30 days, last 7, etc.  See who's trending up and down and whatnot.

These are good ideas. The DNP thing seems doable.

 

For the idea of totals/who's trending, I could see us maybe implementing those into another regular feature, but these minor league reports are labor intensive as it is, especially once the short season leagues start. I'd be hesitant to pile anything extra on to them.

 

We're also going to need to find some time as a group to update the rankings, probably sometime after the draft.

    • Dantes929 likes this
If you do the season totals maybe a minor league monthly stat update could be posted showing the stats of each team or links to each teams stat page with some thoughts as a prelude.

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