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Twins Minor League Talk 29 May 2020
Baseball America takes a look at what is happening in the minors, a season that would now have been a couple of weeks old.   https:/...
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Twins Minor League Report (5/3): Tanner English Grand Slam Sets Tone in Wild Blue Wahoos Win

Tanner English hit a first-inning grand slam in what was a crazy game that ended with a Pensacola victory, Devin Smeltzer impressed in his Triple-A debut and Ryan Jeffers had a big day in a Miracle win. Come check out what else happened across the minor league system Friday evening.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Tanner English)
-Miguel Sano was bumped up from Fort Myers to Pensacola as he gears up to return to the Twins. He was not in the Blue Wahoos’ lineup tonight.
-Jordan Balazovic was promoted to Fort Myers. He had a 2.18 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings for the Kernels. To make room, Moises Gomez was sent down to Cedar Rapids. He made one appearance with the Miracle.
-Mark Contreras was promoted back up to Pensacola. He’s been a busy guy, spending his first six games with Fort Myers, moving up to Pensacola for four games, then rejoined the Miracle for seven games.
-Outfielder Malique Ziegler has joined Fort Myers. He’s the player the Twins acquired from San Francisco for Tyler Austin.

Rochester 7, Pawtucket 1
Box Score

Devin Smeltzer: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 69.8% strikes (67 of 96 pitches)
HR: None
Multi-hit games: Zander Wiel (3-for-4), Randy Cesar (2-for-4, BB), Luke Raley (2-for-3, BB)

After pitching to a 0.60 ERA in five starts for Pensacola, Devin Smeltzer was moved up to Rochester to make his Triple-A debut. Since the MLB ball is being used at the Triple-A level this season, any pitchers making the jump up have a built in excuse if they struggle right out the gates. Smeltzer didn’t need any excuses.

If Smeltzer was at all nervous, it didn’t show. He looked composed on the mound and went right after hitters, throwing nearly 70% of his pitches for strikes. The funky lefty used his defense plenty, but opposing hitters struggled to square up to the ball. He gave up just one hit through the first five innings and the only run he allowed was unearned.

Despite Smeltzer’s effort, the Red Wings entered the top of the ninth in a 1-1 tie. They had a big six-run ninth inning that was aided by a couple walks and a throwing error.

Gabriel Moya, who had been struggling, threw a perfect inning and struck out two batters. Tyler Duffey pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Zander Wiel had a three-hit game, and is hitting .379 over his last seven games.

Pensacola 10, Biloxi 8
Box Score

Brusdar Graterol: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 55.8% strikes (43 of 77 pitches)
HR: Tanner English (2), Joe Cronin (1)
Multi-hit games: Luis Arraez (3-for-4, BB, SB), Ernie De La Trinidad (3-for-4, BB), Taylor Grzelakowski (2-for-5)

Tanner English blasted a first-inning grand slam to put the Blue Wahoos up 5-0. That granny also knocked the opposing starting pitcher out of the game.

That was plenty enough run support for Brusdar Graterol, who continued his great start to the season. His first pitch of the night was clocked at 100 mph, but he was just warming up. He was clocked at 102 mph.

One thing about big innings is they mean your starting pitcher ends up sitting around a while. In addition to that five-run first inning, the Blue Wahoos also scored four in the fourth. Joe Cronin hit a three-run homer that inning, his first at the Double-A level. Maybe all that downtime made it tough for Graterol to stay sharp, but he didn’t go after hitters like I would have liked to see.

That’s some ultimate nit-pickery there, as Graterol still gave up only one earned run on four hits over five innings of work. He struck out five, but also walked two and his strike percentage was only around 56%. His ERA on the season is down to 2.23.

You wouldn’t think that English grand slam would turn out to be a difference-making hit in this game. After all, Pensacola opened up a 10-1 lead in the fourth inning. But, this one was far from over.

Unfortunately, Jovani Moran also struggled with the big lead. He gave up seven runs in 1 1/3 innings of work, throwing just 21 of his 40 pitches for strikes. Alex Phillips allowed a couple of inherited runners to score, but then helped stabilize this game. He got the final two outs of the seventh before working a scoreless eighth inning, thanks in part to a nice double play started at third base by Cronin. Sam Clay pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the save.

Alex Kirilloff picked up his first Double-A hit in what was a weird game. He was 1-for-2, drew a walk and was hit by a pitch twice.

Fort Myers 7, Palm Beach 4
Box Score

Tyler Watson: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 68.2% strikes (58 of 85)
HR: Ryan Costello (3), Akil Baddoo (4)
Multi-hit games: Trevor Larnach (2-for-4, 2B, BB), Trey Cabbage (2-for-5, 2B), Michael Helman (2-for-4, 2B), Ryan Jeffers (2-for-4, 2B)

The Miracle jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning behind a Ryan Jeffers RBI double and a Ryan Costello two-run home run. Tyler Watson couldn’t get that lead to hold up, as he gave up three runs over his five innings of work, but good thing the Fort Myers lineup still had some runs in those bats.

Jeffers hit a two-run single in the sixth before Akil Baddoo slugged a solo homer and Trey Cabbage added an RBI double in the seventh. Tom Hackimer and Joe Record each provided two shutout innings out of the bullpen. Hackimer struck out four more batters tonight, putting him up to 27 over just 15 1/3 innings. He’s only given up three hits and one earned run.

Dayton 4, Cedar Rapids 3
Box Score

Blayne Enlow: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 67.0% strikes (63 of 94 pitches)
HR: Chris Williams (6)
Multi-hit games: Gabe Snyder (2-for-4, BB)

Blayne Enlow looked a lot better than his stat line would suggest. His breaking ball was sharp, he was getting plenty of swings and misses, but he paid for a mistake. Enlow left a 1-1 pitch right in the middle of the plate and watched it sail over the fence for a two-run homer. He was also called for a pair of balks.

Enlow exited with Cedar Rapids trailing 4-1. The Kernels tallied a couple of runs in the seventh inning, then mounted a rally in the ninth. Gabriel Maciel led off the inning with a single, then Gabe Snyder walked. Chris Williams struck out one pitch after hitting a laser just foul. Jacob Pearson then flew out, bringing DaShawn Keirsey to the plate.

During the plate appearance, yet another balk was called, the third of the game. That brought the tying run to third base and pushed the winning run into scoring position. Keirsey struck out on a checked swing to end the game.

Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Devin Smeltzer, Rochester
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Tanner English, Pensacola

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

1. Royce Lewis (FM): 0-for-4, BB, E (2)
2. Alex Kirilloff (PNS): 1-for-2, BB, 2 HBP
3. Brusdar Graterol (PNS): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 55.8% strikes (43 of 77 pitches)
4. Trevor Larnach (FM): 2-for-4, 2B, BB, R, K
9. Blayne Enlow (CR): 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 67.0% strikes (63 of 94 pitches)
10. Akil Baddoo (FM): 1-for-3, HR (4), 2 BB, RBI, R, 2 K
11. Nick Gordon (ROC): 1-for-5, 2B, RBI, 2 K
13. Ryan Jeffers (FM): 2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI, R
16. Gilberto Celestino (CR): 0-for-3, BB, 2 K
18. LaMonte Wade (ROC): 0-for-5, K
20. Jose Miranda (FM): 1-for-5, R, 2 K

Rochester at Pawtucket, 5:15 pm CT (Lewis Thorpe)
Pensacola vs. Biloxi, 6:05 pm CT (Randy Dobnak)
Fort Myers at Palm Beach, 4:30 pm CT (Charlie Barnes)
Cedar Rapids vs. Dayton, 6:35 pm CT (Tyler Palm)

Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.

  • brvama and caninatl04 like this

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May 03 2019 09:28 PM
Almost seems like Smeltzer (and Balozovic) need to be in the prospect lists at the bottom of teachers review.
    • PseudoSABR and Danchat like this
May 04 2019 07:36 AM
Enlow saved my trip to CR from being a complete disappointment (coming down here after Balazovic gets promoted and before Javier shows up). He was consistently sitting at 94-95 with the fastball and dropping hooks that made some hitters look silly. The defense behind him was even worse than the four errors in the box score. It was a treat to watch him but not the rest of the game.

Celestino must still be in the top prospects list to make everyone feel better about getting fleeced in the Pressly trade. He's just filler in a string of automatic outs after Chris Williams in the lineup.

I hope they turn things around, because this looks like a cellar-dweller team at the moment.
    • brvama and bluechipper like this

When looking at the Red Wings box score I always begin by seeing how Wiel and Raley did.They are two prospects that have a real chance of playing for the Twins.And yes, I understand that neither is a top 20 prospect...maybe they should be?With Gordon back on the field, now have three to look at.


As for Red Wing pitching, always eager to see how Thorpe does and he will be back in action tonight.Also think Stewart could play a role for the Twins this year.But Mr. Smeltzer sure didn't lose anything moving up to AAA for his first start.Can't wait to see how he does next time out.Could he be the first to join the Twins this summer?


Good seeing Graterol have another fine performance.Curious how many times he hit 102?Also always good to see Arraez get 3 hits.But I am concerned when I see that Kirilloff was hit by pitches twice in the same game.To me, that isn't an accident.If he gets hit regularly, eventually one is gonna find his hand/wrist and he will be out for much of the season.Baseball needs to do something about this if/when it becomes more than a pitcher losing one pitch...especially in the minors.


Also good hearing that Enlow pitched well which a first glance his line didn't indicate.Thanks MMMordabito.And speaking about Kernels pitchers, how exciting is it that Balazovic is now in Fort Myers?

    • brvama, RaymondLuxuryYacht and caninatl04 like this


When looking at the Red Wings box score I always begin by seeing how Wiel and Raley did.They are two prospects that have a real chance of playing for the Twins.And yes, I understand that neither is a top 20 prospect...maybe they should be?With Gordon back on the field, now have three to look at.



I think Raley ought to be by now (especially considering the slow starts by so many other guys).I shifted him up to 19th on my own personal ranks after his good spring training, and he's been moving up after he initially had a bit of a slow start too. He's looking like a solid hitter again, hopefully he cuts his K rate down closer to where it was last year.


Wiel's still more of a sleeper in my opinion, but he certainly has a shot at the majors.His K rate is still worrying and he's pretty much 1B only, so that makes it pretty tough for him to break through.

    • Danchat likes this

Whoa, Smeltzer just keeps dealing! I hope we can see some rookie starters make it to the big leagues and not fall apart when they do. I don't know if Smeltzer will be one of them, but who knows at this point.

    • brvama and caninatl04 like this
May 04 2019 02:40 PM

Smeltzer doesn't miss enough bats.How is he going to be successful striking out only 3 over 7 innings??(Yes - said with tongue firmly in cheek).

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