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  • Twins Minor League Report (8/21): Seasons drawing to a close

    On Monday night, Twins fans with Fox Sports North had the opportunity to watch the New Britain Rock Cats on television. In the game, fans were able to see good and bad, and most important, that even at the Double-A level, there is still a lot of development left, even for the best prospects. On Wednesday night, Twins fans saw a terrific pitcherís duel in Detroit between Kevin Correia and Anibal Sanchez. However, in the 7th inning, we saw that even the big leaguers make the types of mistakes you expect to see in the minor leagues.

    Thatís why I encourage Twins fans to go to minor league games if you have a chance. Itís enjoyable to see the play improve as players move up the system. Yes, there will be errors. Physical errors are a part of the game, and although players should be expected to improve and minimize the errors over time. What you hope to see improve as players move up through the farm system is a decrease in the number of mental errors. There should be less situations where a player throws to the wrong base or forgets the number of outs.

    The seasons are winding down. Labor Day is the final day of the minor league regular seasons. Cedar Rapids will be at home from August 24-30. They will then begin a Best of Three playoff series the following week. The Ft. Myers Miracle will be home from August 23 through September 1 with the exception of games in Bradenton on the 29th and 31st. They too will be in the playoffs that next week. New Britain has four more games at home, August 30 through September 2. Rochester will have some home cooking the rest of the season. Starting August 22, the Red Wings will play at home through their season finale on Labor Day with the exception of two games in Buffalo. Elizabethton goes on a six-game road trip before ending their season with three home games August 28-30. The GCL Twins are at home on the 22nd, 24th, 27th and 29th. Get out to a game if you have a chance.

    See what else happened in the Twins farm system on Wednesday.

    Rochester Red Wings


    No Game Scheduled.

    New Britain Rock Cats 1, Trenton Thunder 3

    Box Score

    Cole De Vries made another start for the Rock Cats and was very good. In six innings, he gave up only an unearned run. He allowed five hits, didnít walk a batter and struck out two. Ryan OíRourke pitched a scoreless seventh inning, but he gave up a base runner to lead off the eighth. He was replaced by Dan Sattler who gave up the inherited run and one of his own. Matt Hauser pitched a scoreless ninth frame.

    Danny Santana led off the first inning with his 10th triple and was driven in by Brad Boyer (who was playing 3B and giving Miguel Sano a night off). Eddie Rosario and Dan Rohlfing were each 2-4.

    Game 1 - Ft. Myers Miracle 1, Charlotte Stone Crabs 2

    Box Score

    It was a quiet day for the Miracle bats, and it started in game one when they managed just four hits. Byron Buxton went 2-3 with a walk. He also stole two bases.

    Matt Tomshaw was terrific on the mound. The lefty gave up one run on six hits in eight innings. He walked one and struck out five. Chad Rodgers came into a tie game in the 9th. He got two outs, but gave up two hits and an unearned run to end the game.

    Game 2 - Ft. Myers Miracle 0, Charlotte Stone Crabs 6

    Box Score

    The bats did even less in game two. They managed just two hits off of Jared Mortenson. The two hits were doubles. Dalton Hicks hit his seventh Miracle double and Jairo Rodriguez hit his third.

    Manuel Soliman got another start. He was charged with four runs (3 earned) on seven this. He walked one and struck out two in five innings. Corey Williams pitched one inning and gave up two runs on three hits and a walk, while striking out two.

    Cedar Rapids Kernels 6, Quad Cities River Bandits 1

    Box Score

    Miguel Sulbaran made his second Kernelsí start, and it was a good one. He gave up only an unearned run (on a passed ball) in five innings. He gave up five hits, walked none and struck out six. Alex Muren threw three shutout innings. He gave up just two hits, walked none and struck out two. Mason Melotakis finished the game off with a scoreless ninth inning.

    The Kernels got plenty of offense to back Sulbaran. Bo Altobelli was 2-4 with his first double and two RBI. Michael Gonzales went 2-4 and added a two-run double. Joel Liconís second homer of the season drove in two more. Adam Walker went 2-5.

    The win was the Kernels eighth in a row, and their 80th of the season. That is nine wins better than the Miracle.



    Elizabethton Twins


    No Game Scheduled.

    GCL Twins 3, GCL Orioles 0

    Box Score

    It took five pitchers, but the GCL Twins threw a shutout against the Oís. Fernando Romero started and threw five shutout innings. He gave up four hits, walked none and struck out five. Zach Hayden came on and gave up one hit and one walk and recorded two outs. Miguel Gonzalez came on and gave up one hit, but got four outs. Leonel Zazueta walked two in a scoreless eighth inning. Derrick Penilla recorded his third save. He struck out two in the ninth, though he also gave up one hit and one walk.


    If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Minor League Report (8/21): Seasons drawing to a close started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      Still can't believe the Twins got a good pitcher like Sulbaran in return for Butera. Even if he doesnt reach the majors.
      It seems like Button has really cut down on his being caught stealing. Didn't Molitor spend some time with him? I remember reading about how he was really just out running the ball more the stealing earlier in the year.
    1. Pitz's Avatar
      Pitz -
      Quote Originally Posted by tjsyam921 View Post
      Still can't believe the Twins got a good pitcher like Sulbaran in return for Butera. Even if he doesnt reach the majors.
      It seems like Button has really cut down on his being caught stealing. Didn't Molitor spend some time with him? I remember reading about how he was really just out running the ball more the stealing earlier in the year.
      Someone made a similar comment about Buxton's caught stealing in yesterday's minor league report, and for the second straight day Buxton was caught stealing in the game. (Maybe those need to be included in the report so as not to mislead anyone.)
      However, Buxton has improved his success rate by a couple percentage points while making the jump to FtM, which is nice to see since one would speculate that pitchers/catchers in general would be better at limiting the run game at a more advanced level.
      I think it's an area where Buxton is still learning, but he has shown the propensity to learn quickly.

      Additionally, when you have over 50 steals in a season other teams know you're likely to be on the move and will pay more attention to trying to prevent it.

      All of that to say, Buxton is a terrific prospect who's pretty good at this whole baseball thing, which we all probably know by now.
    1. TRex's Avatar
      TRex -
      Not to make excuses, but...

      Buxton's CS yesterday came with 2 outs in the top of the 8th in a 1-1 tie ballgame. I am sure the opposing team was definitely focusing on him!
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Thanks Seth. Saw the Kernels game a week ago yesterday when they had one of their walk off wins. I now understand what you have been talking about all year...what a wonderful ballpark. Was able to sit about eleven rows up right behind home plate. Learned that umpiring is part of the game as that nights umpire had a more than generous strike zone. Certainly helped Atherton with his big night of K's. Only disappointement was I really wanted to see Walker play and he had the night off.

      Appears the FSN televised game from New Britain was the night Rosario broke out of his slump. As Dozier continues to improve at the plate, what to do with Eddie becomes an interesting question?

      Have a great day Seth!
    1. AROG's Avatar
      AROG -
      Quote Originally Posted by TRex View Post
      Not to make excuses, but...

      Buxton's CS yesterday came with 2 outs in the top of the 8th in a 1-1 tie ballgame. I am sure the opposing team was definitely focusing on him!
      It is also impossible to tell by stats if they are pitching out to try and stop him from running. I would imagine the other teams are doing that quite a bit to try and slow him down. Another note, if you steal on first movement of a lefty and he throws to first and they get you at second it is still considered a caught stealing.

      If anyone is able to watch some of these games and could let us know if he is being "caught" or if they are "scheming" towards him, that would be great?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Aren't there good major leaguers with stuff to work on? I struggle with the belief that a player has to be perfectly polished at a level before moving on......that said, I'm confident Sano and Rosario will be up in MN no later than 2015, probably in the 2nd half of 2014.
    1. Pitz's Avatar
      Pitz -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Aren't there good major leaguers with stuff to work on? I struggle with the belief that a player has to be perfectly polished at a level before moving on.
      Can you be more specific about what you are referring to? I just didn't see anyone making a claim that a player needed to be polished before moving on, so I am wondering where this comment is directed.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Quote Originally Posted by AROG View Post
      If anyone is able to watch some of these games and could let us know if he is being "caught" or if they are "scheming" towards him, that would be great?
      From my admittedly amateur observations during his time in CR, I thought he seemed to get relatively small leads off first base and not always the greatest jump. That said, these guys don't exactly have professional 1st base coaches with years of experience reading pick-off moves to help them out. The 1st base coach is almost always a team mate getting the night off who has less knowledge/experience than Buxton himself at reading pitchers.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Pitz View Post
      Can you be more specific about what you are referring to? I just didn't see anyone making a claim that a player needed to be polished before moving on, so I am wondering where this comment is directed.
      It is widely reported that the Twins FO looks to promote primarily only after they feel comfortable that a legit prospect has "mastered" a level. Certainly not a "claim" by any means.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      I do think the FO response to any player who asks, "what do I have to do to get promoted?" is, "dominate your current level."

      That said, obviously not EVERY promoted player has done so. Injuries, needs, being in the right place at the right time, status with regard to actual "prospect status," all can lead to promotions.

      Honestly, you don't have to look far to see promotions this year of players that not only hadn't dominated lower levels, but hadn't even played well. Some of those guys were even released not long after their promotions.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      The Twins have acknowledged that they like having speed-guys attempt stolen bases a lot in the lower levels. I think Molitor and others have said that the only way to learn how to steal bases is to try to steal bases. Getting caught is part of that, and they're fine with that as long as the player is learning something. We don't know a lot of things; whether there was a pitch out, whether the pitcher was left or right handed (we can see that in the box score, but it's never broken down), etc.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by TRex View Post
      Not to make excuses, but...

      Buxton's CS yesterday came with 2 outs in the top of the 8th in a 1-1 tie ballgame. I am sure the opposing team was definitely focusing on him!
      That's the kind of experience he needs to have - to take the base when the signal to do it comes, even when the opposing team expects it strategically. I'm not bothered that he failed. He'll likely learn from it.

      / a little posting synchronicity with Seth, so I'm handing him one of my hard-to-earn Likes
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      It is widely reported that the Twins FO looks to promote primarily only after they feel comfortable that a legit prospect has "mastered" a level.
      Is that necessarily a bad thing? It would seem to me a person should be playing at an above average pace at their current level of competition before being considered for a tougher challenge.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SD Buhr View Post
      I do think the FO response to any player who asks, "what do I have to do to get promoted?" is, "dominate your current level."

      That said, obviously not EVERY promoted player has done so. Injuries, needs, being in the right place at the right time, status with regard to actual "prospect status," all can lead to promotions.

      Honestly, you don't have to look far to see promotions this year of players that not only hadn't dominated lower levels, but hadn't even played well. Some of those guys were even released not long after their promotions.
      The Twins certainly promote guys that don't necessarily deserve it, based on need or longevity. I carefully qualified my statement by saying their slow-go, "dominate and master a level first", promotion philosophy is with the guys they consider "legit prospects".
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I do think that there have been more promotions this year than in the Rantz era. I'm not talking about the non-prospects, they get moved up even if they're not necessarily 'ready' just because they need to push those guys and determine if they'll stick around. The "prospects" have moved up quite a bit this year. No surprise with Sano and Rosario moving up to New Britain. The Twins have always done that with guys in Ft. Myers. I'm still a little surprised that Buxton was moved up. Yes, after seeing him, I saw how advanced he was, but generally, the Twins have not promoted high school guys and guys that young beyond the Midwest League in that first year. They didn't with Mauer. They didn't with Sano. so, I think there have been and will be some changes with Brad Steil in charge. Not significantly, but I certainly think he's been a little more aggressive. Even last year, promoting Berrios and Buxton from GCL to ETown was something that was rarely done with the young guys. Same thing this year with Gonsalves and Stewart.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by IdahoPilgrim View Post
      Is that necessarily a bad thing? It would seem to me a person should be playing at an above average pace at their current level of competition before being considered for a tougher challenge.
      I agree with you. Maybe "Mastered" isn't the right word, but certainly there has to be a level of proficiency and core competencies. That may or may not show up in statistics.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I do think that there have been more promotions this year than in the Rantz era. I'm not talking about the non-prospects, they get moved up even if they're not necessarily 'ready' just because they need to push those guys and determine if they'll stick around. The "prospects" have moved up quite a bit this year. No surprise with Sano and Rosario moving up to New Britain. The Twins have always done that with guys in Ft. Myers.
      Yes, many of the promotions have seemed like a welcome change this year, but the last statement is what always puzzles me. Ft. Myers is the Twins home base outside of Target Field. They seem to put the better coaches and instructors are always there. They also have the best facilities. So why does the team almost always insist on keeping the youngsters in the Midwest League for an entire season? I would think if there was one stop they would try to keep players for an extended period of time it would be Ft. Myers.
    1. apollo_tsg's Avatar
      apollo_tsg -
      I went to last nights Cedar Rapids game in the Quad Cities – here are my observations (and I am not a scout, nor have I ever been a scout…):

      Sulbaran was actually pretty amazing the first two innings, every pitch had the bandits fooled, they were missing his breaking stuff by a mile. They don’t have a radar gun up so I don’t know how hard he was throwing. The 3rd and 4th inning he was completely different, they made contact with his pitches for the first time and started to hit some line drives. The 5th inning he was back to making them look silly.

      Melotakis throws hard – noticeable harder than any other pitcher out there. My wife even said something (she hates baseball and knows next to nothing about the game). He throws 1 pitch and that is it – his fb. All 4 batters he faced were way behind on each of the first few pitches and then they would each start to catch up to it.

      Quesada is not a good catcher and I think might actually hurt the pitchers getting calls based on the way he handles some pitches – (purely on my non-scout observations).

      Mike Gonzales is a really big dude

      Walker seems to talk a lot to his teammates

      Goodrum has great patients at the plate and really works the pitcher

      Tommy Watkins is a really friendly guy – he went out of his way to say hi to every fan in the stands wearing Twins gear before the game.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Nice writeup, Apollo. Looking forward to hearing more from you.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Yes, many of the promotions have seemed like a welcome change this year, but the last statement is what always puzzles me. Ft. Myers is the Twins home base outside of Target Field. They seem to put the better coaches and instructors are always there. They also have the best facilities. So why does the team almost always insist on keeping the youngsters in the Midwest League for an entire season? I would think if there was one stop they would try to keep players for an extended period of time it would be Ft. Myers.
      Obviously I am just guessing, but there is something to be said about players in their first full season. 140 games is a long season. Lots of adjustments. Certainly different than their "rookie ball/EST" seasons. There are developmental things, for sure. It has to be an individual thing for every player. They mature at different times. The jump from MWL to FSL is not simple.
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