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Affiliate Round Up

Posted by naobermiller , 18 August 2014 · 881 views

minor leagues
Affiliate Round Up Another year, and it seems as if the story isn’t changing. With 40 games left in the season, the only thing the Twins have to play for is an attempt at avoiding a fourth consecutive 90 loss season. So as it’s been the last 3 years, the focus for the last two months shifts to player evaluation. With the minor league regular season in its final two weeks, followed by September call ups, I felt it would be as good a time as any to start a piece by piece look at the organizational depth chart of the Twins. Before we get into the players though, I want to take a look at the record, playoff chances and promotions for each individual affiliate.

Team: Gulf Coast League (GCL) Twins
League/Division: Gulf Coast League / South
Level: Rookie
League Rank (of 16):
ERA – 8th (3.46)
Batting Average – 14th (.228)

The first of two Twins rookie level affiliates, the GCL Twins have struggled. 49 games through their 60 game season, the GCL Twins’ record of 19-30 has them all but eliminated from playoff contention.

The league’s prime directive is player development, and in that theme, one player has used his time with the GCL Twins this year as a springboard to success. After being drafted in the 17th round of this year’s Rule 4 Draft, LHP Mat Batts started with the GCL Twins, but after not giving up a an earned run in four appearances, has since been promoted twice and currently is pitching for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in A ball.

Team: Elizabethton Twins (E-Twins)
League/Division: Appalachian League / West
Level: Rookie
Record: 32-24
League Rank (of 10):
ERA – 1st (2.85)
Batting Average – 2nd (.258)

The second rung of the Twins Developmental ladder, the Appalachian League starts its season in June after the Rule 4 Draft, and plays between 65-70 games in a season. The top two teams from each division play each other in a best of 3 semifinal, with the winners facing off in a best of 3 championship series. The E-Twins currently lead the West division by a game and a half and are 1 game behind the league’s best record.

Along with team success, the organization has also been able to pass a couple players on to the next level. OF Max Murphy, LHP Stephen Gonsalves, RHP Chih-Wei Hu, 3B Jonatan Hinojosa and RHP Jake Reed all started their season in Elizabethton but have since been promoted to Class A. Throw in Mat Batts, who started in the GCL with a brief stop in Elizabethton, and there has been a lot of turnover in the Elizabethton squad.

Team: Cedar Rapids Kernels
League/Division: Midwest League / West
Level: A
Overall Record: 65-60
1st Half Record: 31-39
2nd Half Record: 34-21
League Rank (of 16):
ERA – 9th (3.87)
Batting Average – 5th (.260)

The first full season affiliate, the Midwest League’s qualifies two teams from each division (East/West) in the first half, and then two more teams from each division in the second half (no repeats). Two rounds of best of three series followed by a best of 5 championship. With a 31-39 record in the first half, the Kernels were unable to secure one of the division’s two playoff spots. Their 34-21 record currently has them second in the West Division, but leading the second half playoff standings since Kane County has already clinched a spot in the first half. They hold 6 and 8 game leads over the 3rd and 4th place teams respectively with 15 games remaining.

The Kernels have sent 6 RHPs on to A+ affiliate Ft. Myers Miracle (Brandon Peterson, Ethan Mildren, Todd Van Steensel, Nick Burdi and Aaron Slegers) along with OF Jason Kanzler and 3B Bryan Haar.

Team: Fort Myers Miracle
League/Division: Florida State League / South
Level: A+
Overall Record: 74-52
1st Half Record: 41-28
2nd Half Record: 33-24
League Rank (of 12):
ERA – 4th (3.36)
Batting Average – 4thth (.262)

Like their A level counterpart, the Florida State League uses a first half/second half playoff structure. The Miracle ended the 1st half as the South division leaders clinching their spot in the playoffs. Their 33-24 second half record, while only good enough for 3rd in the South, has vaulted the Miracle to the best overall record in the league, leading the Dunedin Blue Jays (Toronto Affiliate) by a half game.

The Mircale have sent 5 pitchers (LHP Jason Wheeler, RHP Alex Wimmers, LHP Mason Melotakis and RHP Jose Berrios, RHP Tyler Duffey) on to AA affiliate New Britain along with 2B/SS Levi Michael, 2B Stephen Wickens, OF Lance Ray and 1B Mike Gonzales.

Team: New Britain Rock Cats
League/Division: Eastern League / Eastern
Level: AA
Record: 63-63
League Rank (of 12):
ERA – 8th (4.00)
Batting Average – 9th (.254)

The Eastern League is the first level that uses a standard full season playoff system. Top two teams in each division make the playoffs. The Eastern division is a two horse race, with New Britain in 3rd place 15 games out of first and 14 games out of second place.

The Rock Cats most notable promotion was the promotion of Kennys Vargas straight to the major league club in July. RHP Lester Oliveros, LHP Sean Gilmartin, RHP Mark Hamburger, RHP Virgil Vasquez and LF Daniel Ortiz have been sent to AAA Rochester. After starting the year in A+, Tyler Duffey earned his second promotion of the season when he was moved to Rochester last week.

Team: Rochester Red Wings
League/Division: International League / North
Level: AAA
Record: 68-61
League Rank (of 14):
ERA – 2nd (3.55)
Batting Average – 5th (.266)

The International League is broken into three divisions, of which each team sends the division winner to the playoffs with the top non-division winner earning a wild card spot. 2 Rounds of best of 5 series then determine the champion. At 68-61, the Red Wings sit 4.5 games back in their division, and 2.5 games back in the wild card standings with 15 games to go.

The Red Wings have been anchored by a very potent starting rotation which has seen plenty of time with the parent club. Logan Darnell, Kris Johnson, Yohan Pino and Trevor May have made starts in the majors. Short stop Danny Santana has also exploded on the scene as a SS and CF, and C Eric Fryer and relief pitcher Ryan Pressly have also contributed in the majors.

Wrapping up, there figures to be plenty of post season ball, though sadly it won’t be at the major league level. Only the GCL Twins and Rock Cats are out of contention, the Miracle have clinched a spot, the Kernels are in good position to clinch a second half spot, and the Red Wings only sit 2.5 games back.
In the next installment of this blog, we’ll start our look at the players that make up the future of the Twins organization. We’ll start with an in depth look at the catching position. Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions below.

Aug 18 2014 09:47 PM

Members of the Miracle have had the best record in the league 3 years running from (Appalachain league to the FSL).The future looks good for them. Combine them with the level ahead and behind them and WOW.Going for 2 championships in 3 years (those players).

    • naobermiller likes this
Aug 18 2014 10:15 PM

Members of the Miracle have had the best record in the league 3 years running from (Appalachain league to the FSL).The future looks good for them. Combine them with the level ahead and behind them and WOW.Going for 2 championships in 3 years (those players).


Great observation!I had limited my research to only this year, but now that I think about it, I used the Appy league 2012 championship picture as the header!