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Twins Minor League Report (7/16): Romero Strong in Short Start, Rooker Homers Again

The Twins lost a tough game at Houston, but there were plenty of bright spots across the minor league system on Sunday. Fernando Romero delivered another strong, albeit brief start and Brent Rooker hit his seventh homer.

Plus, the Kernels finally busted out of their hitting slump, scoring eight runs in a victory. Oh, and how could I forget, it was Sean and Poppen (h/t Jeremy Nygaard) in Fort Myers once again.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Fernando Romero)
Find out everything that happened in the Twins minor league system on Sunday.

RED WINGS REPORT
Lehigh Valley 4, Rochester 3
Box Score

J.R Murphy hit a solo homer, but the Red Wings could muster only three other hits and Tim Melville had his worst start for Rochester. Over 4.1 innings, Melville gave up four earned runs on seven hits.

All that’s a shame, too, because the bullpen was phenomenal. Craig Breslow retired both batters he faced, one on strikes. Mason Melotakis gave up a hit over his 0.2 shutout innings. Alan Busenitz was particularly impressive, striking out four of the five men he faced. John Curtiss finished things off with a perfect inning with two strikeouts.

The Wings were rallying in the eighth, as Matt Hague reached on an error with one out, and would scored on an Edgar Corcino double. ByungHo Park drew a walk, but the Iron Pigs were able to turn two on a Tommy Field grounder to third to end the threat.

CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Chattanooga 5, Jacksonville 2
Box Score

Fernando Romero held the Jumbo Shrimp to two runs over his five innings of work, striking out six in the process. Romero threw 82 pitches, 54 for strikes. It was the third-straight start in which Romero pitched exactly five innings despite not eclipsing even 90 pitches. It would appear he’ll be on a pretty strict innings limit for the rest of the season.

The Lookouts were trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the second, but a big two-out rally led to Chattanooga tallying three runs in the inning. Travis Harrison had the big hit of that frame, a two-run double. Nick Gordon had a nice night at the plate, going 2-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base, but he also made his 19th error of the season.

Jonathan Rodriguez and Max Murphy also had two hits each. Ryan Eades followed Romero with three shutout innings and Paul Clemens pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save.

MIRACLE MATTERS
Fort Myers 6, St. Lucie 3
Box Score

The Miracle improved to 17-5 in the second half behind another great start from Sean Poppen, who lowered his ERA with Fort Myers to 0.55. Poppen held the Mets to one run over 6.1 innings and racked up five strikeouts while walking just one batter.

Zander Wiel hit a two-run homer, his eighth of the season, and the following players got two hits a piece: Sean Miller, Mitchell Kranson and Jaylin Davis. Kranson has had a nice first 20 games since being called up from Cedar Rapids, hitting .304/.360/.430 (.791 OPS).

Tom Hackimer, who has a 0.96 ERA of his own, got the last two outs of the seventh. Alex Robinson gave up two runs over the final two innings, striking out three in the process.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 8, South Bend 4
Box Score

The Kernels snapped a season-high five-game losing streak with a much-needed offensive explosion. Cedar Rapids had scored just four runs total in their previous six games, but they managed to tally two runs before even recording an out in this one.

Aaron Whitefield led off the game with a walk and stole his 20th base of the season. Joe Cronin followed with a walk and Travis Blankenhorn delivered a two-run triple. Lewin Diaz plated Blankenhorn on a groundout. Diaz was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. Amaurys Minier hit a three-run homer in the third inning, his second of the year with the Kernels

Anthony Marzi had a three-run lead before even taking the mound. He improved to 3-0 on the season by holding the Cubs to two runs over six innings. Marzi, who the Twins signed out of the Atlantic League, now has a 1.37 ERA and 0.71 WHIP over his first three appearances in the organization.

E-TWINS E-NOTES
Greenville 8, Elizabethton 4
Box Score

Brent Rooker hit his seventh home run of the season in just his 21st game played, but it was one of only four hits on the day for the Twins. Shortstop Jordan Gore delivered the other big knock, a three-run double.

Edwar Colina gave up three runs over 4.1 innings, Rickey Ramirez was rocked for four runs in his 1.2 innings and Jared Finkel gave up a run over two innings. This was a big game in the landscape of the Appalachian League, as the loss dropped E-Town to a half-game back of Greenville in the West division.

GCL TWINS TAKES
Scheduled off day.

TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Sean Poppen, Fort Myers (6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Amaurys Minier, Cedar Rapids (1-for-4, HR, BB, 3 RBI, 1 R).

MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester vs. Charlotte, 4:05 pm CT, David Hurlbut (3.44 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)
Rochester “at” Charlotte (in Rochester), Game 2, Aaron Slegers (3.75 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)
Chattanooga vs. Jacksonville, 10:15 am CT, Felix Jorge (3.14 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
Fort Myers vs. St. Lucie, 10:05 am CT, TBD
Cedar Rapids at South Bend, 12:05 pm CT, Eduardo Del Rosario (4.48 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)
Elizabethton at Greenville, 6:00 pm CT, Huascar Ynoa (5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP)
GCL Twins vs. GCL Rays, 11:00 am CT, TBD

Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday's games.


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43 Comments

 

We did it with Santana, Liriano and Perkins (among others). There's nothing overly risky about getting him some BP time in the majors. He'd get to face ML quality hitters in limited situations, building up confidence, while learning to play in the majors. He seems to be able to handle AA pitchers. Over his last ten starts - 55 innings - he has a 1.46 era and 60 strike outs v 20 walks. Move him.

 

I have pretty much zero doubt that Romero will pitch in the big leagues this year. Maybe as a starter, and maybe as a reliever. But, it'll be done with care, making sure they're taking care of him arm.

 

Santana was obviously a special situation with a Rule 5 thing. Liriano was a September call up, and I think Perkins was too. That's probably what Romero would be (Sept call up) unless he's called up sooner as a starter (which is very possible). 

 

I have pretty much zero doubt that Romero will pitch in the big leagues this year. Maybe as a starter, and maybe as a reliever. But, it'll be done with care, making sure they're taking care of him arm.

 

Santana was obviously a special situation with a Rule 5 thing. Liriano was a September call up, and I think Perkins was too. That's probably what Romero would be (Sept call up) unless he's called up sooner as a starter (which is very possible). 

Liriano was a sept call up but spent the first six weeks of 2006 in the pen as well. Perkins spent nearly all of 07 in the pen (i think he was on the DL as well) Santana wasn't a fulltime starter until his third season with the ML team. The point is that the Twins have certainly used the bullpen as an introductory method for young pitchers before. 

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clutterheart
Jul 17 2017 09:50 AM

 

We did it with Santana, Liriano and Perkins (among others). There's nothing overly risky about getting him some BP time in the majors. He'd get to face ML quality hitters in limited situations, building up confidence, while learning to play in the majors. He seems to be able to handle AA pitchers. Over his last ten starts - 55 innings - he has a 1.46 era and 60 strike outs v 20 walks. Move him.

 

Santana, Liriano and Perkins did not get their first taste in the majors in their first full season back after Tommy John surgery.  

 

If it wasn't for the Tommy John I would agree with you.  But in this case, why risk it?  

    • Seth Stohs, d-mac and Tom Froemming like this

 

Santana, Liriano and Perkins did not get their first taste in the majors in their first full season back after Tommy John surgery.  

 

If it wasn't for the Tommy John I would agree with you.  But in this case, why risk it?  

That's not an unreasonable position. I guess I'm not as worried but if the brass was worried about it, fine. 

    • 70charger likes this

 

Santana, Liriano and Perkins did not get their first taste in the majors in their first full season back after Tommy John surgery.  

 

If it wasn't for the Tommy John I would agree with you.  But in this case, why risk it?  

 

because babying pitchers doesn't work either, and I say get them up and see what they can do. Get them some acclimation to the majors. Get some nerves out of the way. Prepare for the future, and maybe get lucky this year also.

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clutchhittin18
Jul 17 2017 10:05 AM

 

Rooker also got his 20th K. There are several hitters in the Appalachian League hitting better than he is and his K rate suggests that he might be selling out for homers. He has nowhere to go in the Twins system, with Diaz and Minier at Cedar Rapids and none of the three ready for the Florida State League. Unless he demonstrates better bat control in the Rookie League before he gets promoted, history shows that he'll get eaten alive.

I'd also like to add, looking at his statistics, Rooker has about a 22% K rate at Elizabethton right now; which while not fantastic, is also really not that far off from what he did at Mississippi St. this past year when he had 19% K rate for the season.  This is what Rooker is.  I'd also add, that again a 20% K rate is not great, It's not in the realm of former Twin, Adam Brett Walker, who had a 31% K rate in Elizabethton and continued that trend through the system.

    • Mike Sixel and 70charger like this
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Tom Froemming
Jul 17 2017 10:07 AM

 

Santana, Liriano and Perkins did not get their first taste in the majors in their first full season back after Tommy John surgery.  

 

If it wasn't for the Tommy John I would agree with you.  But in this case, why risk it?  

I agree with this. I'm not a doctor, I have no evidence that suggests it is risky to let Romero continue to pitch, but the longer he's throwing the more and more nervous I get. The team is clearly concerned about overusing him, limiting his pitches/innings, so why continue to push it?

 

I have already reached out to the Empire to see if I can borrow that thing they froze Han Solo in. Gonna ship it Chattanooga. We'll melt Romero out of the carbonite around spring training. 

    • James, 70charger and Bob Sacamento like this
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Taildragger8791
Jul 17 2017 11:14 AM

 

I'd also like to add, looking at his statistics, Rooker has about a 22% K rate at Elizabethton right now; which while not fantastic, is also really not that far off from what he did at Mississippi St. this past year when he had 19% K rate for the season.  This is what Rooker is.  I'd also add, that again a 20% K rate is not great, It's not in the realm of former Twin, Adam Brett Walker, who had a 31% K rate in Elizabethton and continued that trend through the system.

 

The comparison isn't quite that even. ABW's K rate in college was also about 19.6% his last year and he was only 20 years old in Elizabethton, not 22 like Rooker. I'm not making any assessment about what this means, just pointing out that their situations weren't as equivalent as you suggest.

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Bob Sacamento
Jul 17 2017 12:41 PM

Rare Monday Backfield notes today, (I took the morning off from my bday partying the night before) Brusdar Graterol started the GCL game but only made it two batters in before the game was delayed an hour due to lightning strikes in the area.  An hour later, the umps came out and called the game due to lightning and impending weather although the Miracles game across the street continued on throughout without any delay.  Port Charlotte's coach was not too happy.

 

Graterol only threw a few pitches but his fastball was 97-99 mph, I also got to meet his girlfriend and his agent today.  His slated opponent was to be rehabber and talk of TD forums all winter RHP Jose De Leon.  In the lineup today for the GCL Twins was rehabber Daniel Palka.  On the bench, OF Lean Marrero is slated for surgery on his hamate bone and will be out until Instructional ball.  

    • Tom Froemming likes this
Not sure if Romero could or should pitch in the pen for the Twins this year. (If there is any concern, then no, protect the arm). Buy can't he be pitching his 5 innings for Rochester going forward? He is clearly ready for the promotion.
    • Mike Sixel likes this

 

Santana, Liriano and Perkins did not get their first taste in the majors in their first full season back after Tommy John surgery.  

 

If it wasn't for the Tommy John I would agree with you.  But in this case, why risk it?  

 

I've been pretty pro getting Romero in the mlb pen at the end of the year, but this is a pretty compelling counterpoint.

 

There certainly is wisdom keeping him on the same routine, limiting innings and having him finish the year, rather than trying to stretch him at the end in an unfamiliar role when he is fatigued and more susceptible to injury coming off his previous injuries.

Normally I would agree. But he is coming off UCL issues and his arm /routine is based around being a starting pitcher. He has already pitched more innings than he ever has so don't put him in a situation whre he has pitch in the 8th inning and he goes out and tries to throw 100 mph.

He is young, and a potential #1 or #2 starter. Why screw with that?


The Twins employed some of the same excuses for the perfectly healthy Berrios a couple years ago...
    • Mike Sixel likes this

Santana, Liriano and Perkins did not get their first taste in the majors in their first full season back after Tommy John surgery.

If it wasn't for the Tommy John I would agree with you. But in this case, why risk it?


I don't know if technically this should be called his first full season back after TJ. He had the surgery way back in June 2014. They already slow paced his recovery and conservatively held him back in 2016 (probably his real "first full season back"). At some point you can't lean on that excuse anymore.

Manage his innings and expectations and I think you can do whatever you want with him this season.
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howieramone2
Jul 18 2017 08:43 AM

 

The Twins employed some of the same excuses for the perfectly healthy Berrios a couple years ago...

They weren't excuses though they were facts. Besides Duffey beat him out. Maybe the board can start a campaign to have Gonsalves pitch game 163.

    • gunnarthor likes this
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Bob Sacamento
Jul 18 2017 08:50 AM

 

I don't know if technically this should be called his first full season back after TJ. He had the surgery way back in June 2014. They already slow paced his recovery and conservatively held him back in 2016 (probably his real "first full season back"). At some point you can't lean on that excuse anymore.

Manage his innings and expectations and I think you can do whatever you want with him this season.

Romero had knee surgery as well after his Tommy John, so that pushed him back even further.  To start 2016, Romero was throwing at the end of spring training/beginning  of extended spring training ball but no more than 20-30 pitches per outing for a long period before joining up with Cedar Rapids at the end of May.  He was hitting 98 mph back then but was on a strict pitch count much as he has been since then.  The goal is still building back up arm strength, El Toro has logged 100 pitches once this year (and once since coming back from TJ), although he does have 8 starts of 90 or more pitches.  

    • howieramone2 and Tom Froemming like this

The Twins employed some of the same excuses for the perfectly healthy Berrios a couple years ago...


And they were right.
    • howieramone2 likes this

And they were right.


Well, who knows how Berrios would have done in a pen role at the end of 2015. Does Duffey's 2016 mean the Twins were wrong to promote him in 2015? Wouldn't have cost them anything to find out, really.

And the point was, they said the same thing about not messing with his starting routine, etc. Doesn't seem to matter that he never had surgery.

I can't help but think they are limiting Romero's innings so they can bring him up later this season.  Probably September.

    • gunnarthor likes this

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