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Article: MIN 5, OAK 1: Gibby’s Arm, Cave’s Bat and Adrian...

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Twins Minor League Report (6/15): Blankenhorn Blasts Way To Derby Title

It’s All-Star weekend in the Florida State League, and on Friday night, Miracle infielder Travis Blankenhorn won the home run derby. Cedar Rapids has just two games remaining before the Midwest League All-Star Game, and they prepared by scoring a dozen runs. Unfortunately, offense was less abundant for the Twins top two minor league affiliates on Friday.
Image courtesy of Taylor Grzelakowski (photo of Steve Singleton and Travis Blankenhorn)
Keep reading to find out more on the night in the Twins minor league system on Friday. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions.


TRANSACTIONS
  • Jake Cave officially reported to Rochester after being sent down from Minnesota a day earlier. Joe Mauer was officially activated by the Twins, and they also recalled utility man Taylor Motter.
  • Later in the day, the Red Wings announced that Trevor May was placed on their disabled list with some shoulder inflammation.
RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 3, Buffalo 4
Box Score

The Red Wings scored two runs in the top of the ninth, but they needed a third run in order to tie as they fell to 30-34 on their season.

Zack Littell started. The right-hander gave up three runs on six hits over the first 5 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out four. DJ Baxendale got the next four outs and was charged with only an unearned run. Luke Bard struck out one in the final inning.

Zack Granite led off and led the Red Wings offense. He went 2-for-3 with a walk.


CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Chattanooga 1, Birmingham 4
Box Score

Kohl Stewart put together a good start, but the Lookout offense wasn’t able to provide any run support. Stewart gave up only an unearned run on four hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out five. Williams Ramirez came on and gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in an inning and a third. Sam Clay came on and got the final four outs, three of them on strikeouts.

Jimmy Kerrigan went 2-for-4. Tanner English was 2-for-3. Edgar Corcino had a single and a walk.

The Lookouts are now 35-33.


MIRACLE MATTERS
Ft. Myers
Box Score

A large chunk of the Miracle roster was able to enjoy Day 1 of their All-Star break. However seven players were named to the Florida State League South All-Star roster.

On Friday night, infielder Travis Blankenhorn and Jayline Davis participated in the Home Run Derby. In the first round, Davis was eliminated after hitting three homers. Blankenhorn knocked eight home runs.He increased that number to 11 in the second round. He was even better in the finals where he hit 12 home runs to win the championship.



In addition to Blankenhorn, the Miracle will be represented by RHP Tyler Wells, LHP Andrew Vasquez, 1B Lewin Diaz, OF Jaylin Davis and catcher Taylor Grzelakowski. OF Jimmy Kerrigan was also named to the team, but he was recently promoted to Double-A Chattanooga.


KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 12, Peoria 4
Box Score

The Kernels’ offense showed up in a big way on Friday night. They scored 12 runs on 14 hits. Things got started quickly when Royce Lewis homerd in the first inning. It marked the fourth straight game that he has had a first-inning, extra-base hit. Lewis led the way, going 3-for-5 with his sixth homer and four RBI.



The Kernels scored six runs in the fourth innings. Trey Cabbage drove in two with a double. Lewis drove in two with a single, and then Jose Miranda hit a two-run homer. Cabbage went 2-for-3 with a walk, his tenth double and three RBI. Miranda was 2-for-4 and the home run was his sixth of the year. Robby Rinn went 2-for-5 including his third Kernels homer. Andrew Bechtold had two hits including his eighth double.

Bryan Sammons was the beneficiary of the offensive support. The lefty put together a quality start. He gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks over six innings. He struck out two to record his third win of the season. Melvi Acosta picked up his first save as he worked the final three innings. He gave up one run on two hits and two walks and struck one out.

The Kernels are now 32-35. They have two more games in Cedar Rapids before the Midwest League All-Star break. The Kernels will be represented by Jared Finkel, Brusdar Graterol, Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff in Lansing, Michigan. Kirilloff, who leads the league in home runs so far this season, will participate in the home run derby. Listen to the four of them discuss the All Star experience and what they’re looking forward to.




STARS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Hitter of the Day: Royce Lewis, Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-5, HR(6), 4 RBI)
Twins Daily Pitcher of the Day: Kohl Stewart, Chattanooga Lookouts (5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0ER, 3 BB, 5 K)

PROSPECT SUMMARY
Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:

#1 - Royce Lewis (Cedar Rapids) - 3-5, HR(6), 4 RBI, 2 R, K
#2 - Fernando Romero (Minnesota) - Did not pitch
#3 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - 0-3, BB
#4 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch
#5 - Alex Kirilloff (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, BB, K
#6 - Wander Javier - out of for the season
#7 - Brent Rooker (Chattanooga) - Did not play
#8 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Disabled List
#9 - Brusdar Graterol (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Pitch
#10 - Akil Baddoo (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, BB, RBI
#11 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
#12 - Lewis Thorpe (Chattanooga) - Did not pitch
#13 - Lewin Diaz (Ft. Myers) - All Star break
#14 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - 1-4, 2B(1), RBI, 2 K
#16 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - All Star Break
#17 - Travis Blankenhorn (Ft. Myers) - Florida State League Home Run Derby Champion
#18 - Yunior Severino (Extended Spring Training) -
#19 - Tyler Jay (Chattanooga) - Did Not Pitch
#20 - Felix Jorge (Chattanooga) - Disabled List, still no official timetable for return.


SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester @ Buffalo (5:05 CST) - LHP Stephen Gonsalves (4-3, 5.89 ERA)
Chattanooga @ Montgomery (6:30 CST) - RHP Sean Poppen (0-3, 9.00 ERA)
Ft. Myers - Florida State League All Star Game (5:30 CST)
Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Edwar Colina (2-2, 4.26 ERA)


Please feel free to ask any questions about Friday’s games, or ask any questions you may have.

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25 Comments

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ScooterDance
Jun 15 2018 09:28 PM
Looking forward to some promotions to high-A. Lewis, Kiriloff. Maybe even that phenom sano we’ve been hearing about if he tears it up down there.
    • glunn, TheLeviathan and dbminn like this

Looking forward to some promotions to high-A. Lewis, Kiriloff. Maybe even that phenom sano we’ve been hearing about if he tears it up down there.


I don’t know about Sano. Rooker is 1 1/2 years younger and already a level above him
    • bdodge22, 70charger, DocBauer and 2 others like this

Diaz made the all-star team with a .576 OPS?

    • Kevin, 70charger, Danchat and 5 others like this

Great report and the Cedar Rapids video was a good choice.

How bad are the First Baseman in the FSL that Diaz made the all-star team?
    • bluechipper and DannySD like this

 

Great report and the Cedar Rapids video was a good choice.

 

Wow- The Twins drafting Lewis was a good choice, too. The Twins marketing team is probably already building a future PR campaign around Royce and that million dollar smile of his. This kid looks like the full package-

 

oozing w/ Talent, dynamic Leadership and Charisma-Plus! 

 

Kiriloff, OTOH, looks like he has the personality dyanamics of a young and already-laconic Joe Mauer. (But I guess that worked out pretty OK for the Twins, too!)

    • glunn, Han Joelo, Oldgoat_MN and 1 other like this

Good to see Kohl Stewart pitching well again. Then again, it seems like every time he has a couple of good games, he takes a step back again. Any additional news about Trevor May going on the DL again? Not encouraging news.

    • glunn, 70charger and D.C Twins like this

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that the Twins have calledup someone named Taylor Motter to the big league club.

    • glunn likes this
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ashburyjohn
Jun 16 2018 06:46 AM

Royce Lewis's big leg kick seems like something a crafty pitcher could exploit to mess up his timing. Not so?

    • glunn likes this

Taylor Motter.

Seem like the F.O. is digging for Gold in the scrap heap again, just like the old F.O. Cave or LeMarre, Petit or Motter. Duffey or Belisle.Theses are just Distractions from the Sano,Dozier,Morrison,Buxton,Reed failures.I know Vargas isn't killing it at AAA, (i don't blame him) but what part of Career .250 hitter and .748 OPS looks bad now.Vargas wasn't the problem.We needed a RH Bat for the OF-DH and didn't get one, thus we have LeMarre-Cave.The F.O. also decided to keep Grossman- no bat, no glove???Also, never sign reliever for more then 1yr.Is it time for Gordon,Vargas,Wade, any Catcher or any of the relievers yet.Something needs to change. Paul-F.O.?

    • jud6312 and D.C Twins like this

No need to get concerned about the Motter call up.He can play almost anywhere on the field and is merely keeping a bench spot warm until Polanco returns in a couple weeks.

 

Was trying to figure out what is going on in Fort Myers.They have 7 (actually 8) all-stars and are in last place.Then I too saw that Diaz is an all-star with a sub .600 OPS.The FSL All-star team must be chosen by the voters and Miracle fans were motivated.

 

The player who jumped out at me this morning was Jose Miranda.While dealing with the cold for the first time in his life, he hit only a buck eighty in April.But he has been a hitting machine ever since.And he won't turn 20 until the end of this month.He probably has moved into the top spot of future third base prospects for the Twins.Will he replace Diaz as the #13 prospect in TD mid-season rankings?Or should he be even higher?

    • Oldgoat_MN and DannySD like this
Doubt we should be concerned about May unless told otherwise. This is still about getting full strength back and getting in to a routine, I would expect things lime irritation or inflammation to be normal here and there. I've always thought he might help, in some capacity, the second half of this season, with an eye toward a bigger role, potentially, in 2019.

Motter is just a fill-in who still has a little potential and can play almost anywhere. Guys out and the Sano demotion means we need another utility guy. Of course, I have stated before the one area where I feel the FO failed was not constructing a better AAA player roster.

Still not sure I understand LaMarre over Cave unless they just trust his defense more at this point and want the RH bat.

I am expecting a big second half from Ft Myers!
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ashburyjohn
Jun 16 2018 10:39 AM

No need to get concerned about the Motter call up.He can play almost anywhere on the field and is merely keeping a bench spot warm until Polanco returns in a couple weeks.

Polanco's return appears to be delayed due to an off-field injury involving a car door.

 

Royce Lewis's big leg kick seems like something a crafty pitcher could exploit to mess up his timing. Not so?

 

Yeah, that is a BIG leg kick! He plants it early, but geez.

    • ashburyjohn likes this

 

Of course, I have stated before the one area where I feel the FO failed was not constructing a better AAA player roster.

Still not sure I understand LaMarre over Cave unless they just trust his defense more at this point and want the RH bat.

I am expecting a big second half from Ft Myers!

 

How do they go about constructing a better AAA roster? 

 

They brought in one pitcher who they had no problem dealing quickly when the guys moved up from AA (which we wanted). Their bullpen is stacked.

 

They hand-picked a right-handed outfielder capable of playing all three OF positions well (LaMarre) and he's contributed. 

 

They brought in a bunch of solid veteran utility infielder types (Petit, Featherston) who were depth moves. They brought in Aybar too, though he left after he wasn't going to make the team (and still hasn't signed with anyone, I don't think). 

 

They brought in a veteran, defensive, team-minded catcher like Wilson as depth. And Astudillo has been good.

 

They acquired Jake Cave, who still has potential. They had Zack Granite. They kept Vargas who is still fairly young. They've added Chris Carter, who led the NL with 41 HR two years ago. 

 

They moved up Gonsalves and Littell quickly. Gordon was up within two months. 

 

I don't know what better players they could have convinced to sign a AAA contract and be a depth piece. 

    • DocBauer and RaymondLuxuryYacht like this

How bad are the First Baseman in the FSL that Diaz made the all-star team?


No kidding. I thought they’d have 1 maybe 2 all stars. Not that many. Wow

Holy unsurprising and lengthy defense of the front office and every move they make, Batman.

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RaymondLuxuryYacht
Jun 16 2018 03:14 PM

 

Holy unsurprising and lengthy defense of the front office and every move they make, Batman.

I agree completely!Would be such a better place if everybody repeated the same mindless criticisms, ad infinitum

    • Carole Keller likes this

Holy unsurprising and lengthy defense of the front office and every move they make, Batman.


Do you have a substantive reply? If you disagree, I’d love to hear why. Seems like it might be an interesting discussion.
    • Carole Keller likes this

The front office baffles me.  Theres things that they do that I absolutely love and others that I cant stand. I think they are still at a net positive but I can understand other peoples frustrations.

    • D.C Twins likes this

How do they go about constructing a better AAA roster? 
 
They brought in one pitcher who they had no problem dealing quickly when the guys moved up from AA (which we wanted). Their bullpen is stacked.
 
They hand-picked a right-handed outfielder capable of playing all three OF positions well (LaMarre) and he's contributed. 
 
They brought in a bunch of solid veteran utility infielder types (Petit, Featherston) who were depth moves. They brought in Aybar too, though he left after he wasn't going to make the team (and still hasn't signed with anyone, I don't think). 
 
They brought in a veteran, defensive, team-minded catcher like Wilson as depth. And Astudillo has been good.
 
They acquired Jake Cave, who still has potential. They had Zack Granite. They kept Vargas who is still fairly young. They've added Chris Carter, who led the NL with 41 HR two years ago. 
 
They moved up Gonsalves and Littell quickly. Gordon was up within two months. 
 
I don't know what better players they could have convinced to sign a AAA contract and be a depth piece.


I hear you Seth and won't disagree entirely. I liked the Cave move. Being able to bring back Vargas, who I have been a supporter of in the past, seemed nice. But Carter was an afterthought.

Wilson seemed smart, and would be smarter without the Castro injury.

Petit and Featherstone just don't move the needle for me. They fill out the Rochester roster, but just didn't feel they offered legitimate depth. Maybe he just wanted to move on, but Goodrum would have been a real nice re-sign to me.

Maybe money vs opportunity just didn't line up. I would have liked to see a Buscher type, or an Aybar sticking around. I just felt there was enough of a depth/opportunity situation to bring in a couple more experienced AAAA guys for depth.

 

I hear you Seth and won't disagree entirely. I liked the Cave move. Being able to bring back Vargas, who I have been a supporter of in the past, seemed nice. But Carter was an afterthought. Wilson seemed smart, and would be smarter without the Castro injury. Petit and Featherstone just don't move the needle for me. They fill out the Rochester roster, but just didn't feel they offered legitimate depth. Maybe he just wanted to move on, but Goodrum would have been a real nice re-sign to me. Maybe money vs opportunity just didn't line up. I would have liked to see a Buscher type, or an Aybar sticking around. I just felt there was enough of a depth/opportunity situation to bring in a couple more experienced AAAA guys for depth.

 

The Twins definitely wanted Goodrum back, but not on the 40-man roster... Detroit swooped in quickly, and he knew he'd have a better opportunity there. He stayed with the Twins organization a year after he could have already. 

 

Brian Buscher? I mean, I just don't know how any organization can fill a AAA roster with "needle movers."If they were needle movers, they'd probably get MLB deals. I just think they filled with very useful pieces. I didn't even mention Magill, a guy who was a failed starter who clearly has a chance to be a solid long reliever. 

 

Aybar wasn't deemed as good as Featherston, Reginnato, Petit and others, so I don't get why him sticking around would be better.

    • Han Joelo likes this
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Carole Keller
Jun 17 2018 05:48 AM

Polanco's return appears to be delayed due to an off-field injury involving a car door.


He cut his finger. I read that while his rehab start date might be pushed back, they still expect his return to the big club on July 2nd.

That said, I'd argue the "quality" AAA depth they brought in was really more quantity.

 

Cave was a decent pick-up, retaining Vargas was an OK depth move at the time, and Carter is a low-risk move that could help should something happen to Mauer and/or Morrison.

 

The rest though? AAA depth is great, but wouldn't you want that depth to be able to contribute something should the situation arise? 

 

Honestly, Petit, Featherston, Wilson, and Aybar aren't guys that could do that. It gives Rochester a handful of former MLBers to promote, but are they capable of doing anything at the MLB level? The same could be said for LaMarre (Mr. Great Story). He's acceptable in the field, but his bat is pretty atrocious. 

 

The problem isn't that these kinds of guys are around, it's that they're so prevalent and the next line of defense when starters go down.

 

If the injury call-ups are going to be bad, I'd rather watch a young guy be bad than an older one with no future.

That makes sense in theory, but if there's a guy who's ready to step right in to the major league team and start contributing, why is he in the Twins' AAA system? I'd guess that the guys who are forced to take minor league deals are forced to take minor league deals for a reason. I'd also guess that every AAA team is full of quantity over quality.

 

Do you have suggestions for players they could have taken instead of the ones you named? I'm imagine there are better options out there with the benefit of hindsight. Anyone out there now you could grab for depth?


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