Twins Minor League Report (7/28): General Lee's Miracle
The Twins were off on Monday, but there was plenty of activity on minor league fields and front offices.
Before we get into the action there were a few announcements that should get a mention: CF Jason Kanzler was promoted to Fort Myers (who had a spot open, presumably, for Indy ball P D.J. Johnson) and OF Max Murphy (!) was promoted to Cedar Rapids from Elizabethton.
Murphy is a unique case. He’s crushing it in the Appy League, but it’s a pretty rare occurrence for a hitter to get drafted, report to E-town and then get a production-related promotion to the Midwest League. I seriously can’t think of one.
Monday afternoon, the Miracle released OF Nate Roberts. This opens a spot back up.
RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 0, Indianapolis 5
With the PawSox dropping their second straight, Rochester blew a golden opportunity to jump back into the driver’s seat to earn the International League Wild Card spot. As it stands now, the Red Wings (60-49) remained tied for that spot, two games behind Syracuse.
Tonight’s tilt matched up Mark Hamburger with the rehabbing Gerrit Cole. Cole struck out seven Red Wings over five shutout innings. While Hamburger outlasted him (six innings), he did allow five runs and took the loss. Deolis Guerra struck out four in two innings.
The Red Wings couldn’t muster a single run - and struck out 14 times. Seven different players got hits with Josmil Pinto and Deibinson Romero the lone players to have extra base hits (both doubled).
Rochester was done in by going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
ROCK CATS REVIEW
New Britain 1, Trenton 6
The Rock Cats dropped their second straight and fall to 52-55, 16 games out of first and 10.5 out of a Wild Card position.
Pat Dean made the start tonight and only lasted four innings. He got knocked around for 10 hits and six runs. Alex Wimmers did a good job in relief retiring six batters. Daniel Turpen did the same. However, it was too little too late from the pitching perspective.
The offense offered very little support, mustering only five hits. Tony Thomas’s double and Brad Boyer’s triples were the only extra base hits. Boyer knocked in Mike Kvasnicka to score New Britain’s lone run.
Jorge Polanco was 1-for-4 with a strikeout in his third AA game, all of which he’s gotten hits in. Polanco continues to play shortstop and you have to figure - with New Britain’s relevance coming to an end - that Polanco will get a lot of at-bats for the Twins once rosters expand.
Fort Myers 14, Clearwater 0
Whatever it is, Fort Myers has it. The Miracle improved to 65-40 behind an offensive barrage and great pitching. I think Doug Mientkiewicz has “it” too.
Brett Lee was downright terrific and - according to Brice Zimmerman, the Miracle play-by-play man - recorded 17 of his 21 outs on ground balls. Some other crazy stats: Only four times did Lee allow the ball out of the infield. Besides the Clearwater sixth - when Lee issued a walk and allowed two batters to single - they never brought more than three men to the plate in an inning.
Brandon Peterson finished the game with two perfect innings, along with two strikeouts.
Today’s box score leaves a lot to sift through: seventeen hits, an eight-run fourth and a six-run sixth just to name a few. Let’s look at the most important parts of the game.
Byron Buxton was 2-for-4 with two runs, a walk and a hit by pitch. Most importantly, he’s healthy. He also deserves a promotion. Of course, staying in Fort Myers guarantees a few extra games of baseball (in the playoffs, no less) than going to New Britain would.
Mike Gonzales, Dalton Hicks and Jason Kanzler all homered. Each homer has it’s own significance. Gonzales has a 19-game hitting streak and has homered in three straight games. He drove in five runs and was a triple short of the cycle tonight. Hicks hit his fifth bomb in the last seven days. Kanzler’s home run came in his first game in high-A. He had three RBI.
Stuart Turner was 3-for-5 (double) and Travis Harrison was 2-for-4 (double) as he continues his pursuit for .300.
Cedar Rapids 2, Dayton 3
Cedar Rapids remains in a dogfight for a playoff spots. Tonight’s loss doesn’t leave them any worse - they’re still tied for a spot - but a string of wins could hopefully help them separate from the pack.
Here’s the long and the short of it: Mitch Garver needs to move up. He and Turner can split C/DH duties. (And Mike Gonzales should move to AA to split DH/1B duties with Kennys Vargas.) After tonight’s 2-for-4-with-a-bomb performance, Garver is now 5th in the MWL in home runs (14) and 4th in OPS (.877). He’s also top 15 in batting average (.295) and top 10 in on-base percentage (.385) and slugging (.492).
Alex Swim also continues to hit: two more tonight and a .330 average. Of course, he’s a catcher playing right field because there’s not enough at-bats to go around otherwise. If only there was a solution…
Aaron Slegers took the loss. He pitched five innings and struck out seven. The three runs on eight hits and a walk were more than the offense could overcome.
Elizabethton 13, Greeneville 6
Well, Max Murphy might be gone, but he left his bat for Trey Vavra apparently. Tonight, Vavra went 3-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and six (!) RBI. And not to be outdone, Tyler Mautner went 2-for-4 with a double, home run, two runs scored and four RBI.
Nick Gordon didn’t play today.
Mat Batts struck out eight in six innings of one-run, two-hit ball to earn the win. Batts isn’t a hard thrower, but apparently has a very good changeup.
GCL TWINS TAKES
GCL Twins vs GCL Rays
Today’s game was postponed due to rain. The GCL Twins (12-20) are currently eight games behind the first-place GCL Rays (20-12). The next three days match the same two teams, so it’s likely that one of those days is turned into a doubleheader.
DSL DIALED IN
DSL Twins 11, DSL Diamondbacks 10
Just your typical DSL game where one team, trailing 8-5, scores five ninth-inning runs to take a 10-8 lead… only to cough up three runs in the bottom of the ninth and lose in walk-off fashion.
This marks the DSL Twins 10th win in their last 13 games.
Bonus baby Lewin Diaz was 1-for-4 with a double, one walk and two strikeouts.
Twins Daily Minor League Players of the Day
Pitcher of the Day- Brett Lee, Fort Myers
Hitter of the Day- Trey Vavra, Elizabethton
Rochester vs Lehigh Valley (6:05 CST) – Alex Meyer (Listen)
New Britain at Trenton (6:05 CST) – Jose Berrios (Listen)
Ft. Myers vs Clearwater (6:05 CST) – TBD (Listen)
Cedar Rapids vs Burlington (6:35 CST) - Lewis Thorpe (Listen)
Elizabethton vs Greeneville (6:00 CST) - Felix Jorge
GCL Twins at GCL Rays (10:00am CST) – TBD
GCL Twins vs GCL Rays (Game 2) – TBD
DSL Twins at DSL Diamondbacks (9:30am CST) – TBD