Twins Minor League Report (8/14): Mat Batts Continues to Impress
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs (of Max Kepler)Red Wings Report
Durham 9, Rochester 0
Consistency matters to the Twins front office, and Alex Meyer hasn't strung a bunch of solid starts together for a while now. Last night he had his second poor outing in a row, lasting just 3.2 innings, surrendering a home run, three walks, and five hits. With all of that damage he limited the Bull to just two runs, but threw 84 pitches, jut 45 for strikes. The lone positive from Meyer's outing is that he stuck out seven of the nineteen batters that he faced. A.J. Achter stranded both of Meyer's runners when he took over int he fourth, and then pitched two more innings without giving up a run. The floodgates opened up when Deolis Guerra gave up three runs in 1.2 innings, and then Aaron Thompson gave up four runs in 1.1.
The Red Wings hitters did not have a strong night either, picking up only four hits, one walk and striking out 11 times. One hit for Wilkin Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Aaron Hicks picked up two more hits, and is playing very well in the week since he was promoted to AAA, continuing to earn a September call up.
Rock Cats Review
Bowie 11, New Britain 6
A day after the Byron Buxton/Mike Kvasnicka collision, the focus returned to the action on the field. Pat Dean started for the Rock Cats and went 5.2 innings. Dean gave up seven runs, five earned, in route to his ninth loss of the season. Dean's AA ERA is over five and he's given up five or more runs in four of his last five starts. Adrian Salcedo finished up the sixth and the newly acquired Jason Adam pitched the final three innings. Adam struck out one, walked one, and was tagged for four earned runs on six his.
The Rock Cats had an opportunity to break this game open in the first inning with the bases loaded and one out, but managed to score only one run, likely costing themselves a chance to win. Levi Michael followed up his strong AA debut with another big day at the plate. He was 2-4 with two runs scored, a walk, and his first RBI in a Rock Cats uniform. Eddie Rosario was 2-5 with two RBIS, and two strike outs. He's hitting just .245/.302/.386, while being used primarily as an outfielder. Tony Thomas had a nice evening as well, 2-4 with a double and a run scored. The Rock Cats had plenty of opportunities to win this game late, but combined for 13 strike outs and stranded eight runners.
St. Lucie 8, Fort Myers 9
The Miracle won via the walk-off hit by pitch, as Travis Harrison took one for the team to push home the winning run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. Steven Gruver started for the Miracle and gave up ten hits through five innings. He struck out two, walked one, gave up a home run and was tagged for five runs, three earned. B.J. Hermsen came on and walked three batters in the sixth, giving up a run on no hits. Tyler Jones pitched a great seventh, striking out the side. Alex Muren struggled in the eighth, surrendering two runs on a long ball to Gavin Cecchini. D.J. Johnson pitched the ninth and vultured a victory. Johnson has now made seven appearances for the Miracle and has yet to give up an earned run. Opposing hitters are hitting just .192 against him, and he owns a 1.00 WHIP.
The Miracle hitters took advantage of seven free passes from the Mets' pitching staff, and along with fourteen hits, managed to squeak out a victory. Max Kepler (perhaps angry that all four Talk to Contact hosts left him unprotected in their pretend MLB expansion draft) had three hits, including a triple, a walk, an RBI and three runs scored. Kepler is hitting over .350 in his last ten games, and has raised his batting average fourteen points in that time. Kepler is currently on the 40-man roster and hopefully he's taking the step forward the Twins have been hoping for from their German Wunderkind. Aderlin Mejia was 2-4 with a double and two walks, and Adam Brett Walker had a double of his own as part of a 2-5 night with an RBI a strike out and a run scored. Travis Harrison, despite driving home the winning run on a hit-by-pitch, as I mentioned above, was 0-3 but picked up a pair of free passes and two RBIs.
Cedar Rapids 10, Beloit 3
The Kernels were firing on all cylinders on Thursday night. Mat Batts picked up his first win as a member of the Kernels with six innings of five-hit baseball. He struck out seven and walked one. He's sporting a nifty 2.12 ERA for the Kernels over three starts and 17 innings. Batts was drafted in the 17th round of the most recent MLB draft, out of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and is now pitching at his third level of the season. He was successful in three appearances in the Gulf Coast League, not giving up any earned runs there, he was 2-0 in four starts in Elizabethton with a 2.05 ERA over 15 innings, and now has that nice 2.12 ERA in Low-A with Cedar Rapids. If you're curious about the uncommon spelling of Mat, his full name is Harison Mathis Batts. After Batts left, Brian Gilbert pitched the next two innings, giving up a run, and Brandon Bixler mopped up in the ninth, giving up a run as well but preserving the victory.
The Kernels picked up fourteen hits and struck out just five hits en route to a 10 run game. Ever starter except for Logan Wade (0-4 with a walk and two runs scored) and Michael Quesada (0-5) had a hit, and six players had multi-hit games. Mitch Garver led the way for the Kernels on a 3-5 night with a double and three RBI. Chad Christensen had a double of his own, he went 2-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. The win on Thursday gave the Kernels a three-game sweep against the Snappers and moved them to 62-60. The Kernels have a four game lead for a playoff spot with just eighteen games remaining.
Greeneville 3, Elizabethton 5
Michael Caderoth earned his fourth victory of the year for the E-Town Twins with five innings of two run baseball. He struck out five, walked two and gave up only a single earned run. Flamethrower Brandon Poulson made his second appearance since being signed as a Minor League Free agent, and struggled. Poulson walked the first batter he faced, Edwin Medina, who then promptly stole second and third. The next batter singled home the run. A passed ball then moved the runner over to second. Poulson then induced a fly out and a strike out. Then the runner on second base stole third. Poulson then walked the next batter and was lifted for Cameron Booser. Not a great day for Poulson, but I'm sure his head is still spinning as he transitions into professional baseball. Booser pitched 2.1 scoreless, and Dereck Rodriguez picked his his fifth save of the year with a scoreless ninth (though he did give up a pair of hits).
Jeremias Pineda led the way for the Elizabethton Twins, leading off and going 4-5 with a run and a double. Trey Vavra also had a nice night, he was 2-3 with a pair of doubles, a pair of RBIs, and a pair of runs scored.
GCL Twins Takes
GCL Rays 5, GCL Twins 3
Josh Guyer pitched five innings, walked two, struck out two, and was charged with a single unearned run. Reyson Zoquiel (whose name is listed in the box score but I am sure is a made up person) pitched only a third of an inning, giving up a walk and a hit. Zack Jones pitched 1.2 scoreless, and then Trevor Hildenberger came on and coughed up the lead thanks to three unearned runs. In fact, of the five runs the GCL Twins gave up on Thursday night, only one was earned.
Tyree Davis was the only Twins player to record multiple hits, he was 2-2 with two doubles after entering the game for Frank Encarnacion. The GCL Twins had just seven hits, but three were for extra bases, all doubles.
TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Mat Batts, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Max Kepler, New Britain Rock Cats
FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Syracuse @ Rochester (6:15 CST) – Kris Johnson
Harrisburg @ New Britain (6:05 CST) – Taylor Rogers
Palm Beach @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) – Aaron Slegers
Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) – Stephen Gonsalves
Greeneville @ Elizabethton (6:00 CST) – Sam Gibbons
GCL Twins @ GCL Red Sox (11:00am CST) – TBD
Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Thursday games.