Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • Observation from Minor League Intrasquad Game 1

    On Monday, the Minnesota Twins had an actual off day. The players and the coaching staff were given a full day off. However, on the minor league side, things were really busy. They held a regular workout from about 9:30 until 11:30, but then after lunch, they played their first intra-squad game of the season after four full days of workouts. On Tuesday afternoon, there will be another set of intra-squad games.

    At 1:00, the Rochester Red Wings work group played against the New Britain Rock Cats work group. At the same time, on an adjacent field, the Ft. Myers Miracle work group went up against the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

    There was actually quite a crowd at the game. For a minor league guy like myself, this is an amazing atmosphere. I walked back and forth between the fields with a camera, trying to get pictures of everyone. However, with prospects playing on both fields, it can be a little overwhelming. It is also pretty incredible.

    As mentioned on Sunday, the Twins cut 16 players from Twins camp. Those players were encouraged to take Monday off as well and are expected to report to minor league camp on Tuesday.

    Notes from the day:

    Pitchers of the day:

    • ROCHESTER: Virgil Vasquez, Taylor Rogers, Matt Summers, Matt Hauser, AJ Achter and Ryan ORourke.
    • NEW BRITAIN: Jason Wheeler, Mason Melotakis, Tim Shibuya, Chad Rodgers, Matt Tomshaw, Tyler Jones.
    • FT. MYERS: Aaron Slegers, Kuo Hua Lo, Christian Powell, Fernando Romero, Randy Rosario.
    • CEDAR RAPIDS: Kohl Stewart, Lewis Thorpe, Ethan Mildren, Derrick Penilla, Tyler Stirewalt.


    Of course, the questions you will want to ask likely revolve around seeing Stewart, Thorpe and Romero. I cant blame you. Those are three guys that I found myself gravitating toward when they were on the mound. Obviously what they did statistically doesnt really matter at all, especially five days into camp. Where all of these pitchers were on Monday is not where they hopefully will be in April and throughout the season. Here are my thoughts on those three and some others.

    Kohl Stewart He certainly is an athlete. He has a good delivery, and he does throw pretty hard (though I dont think he was airing it out yet). He struggled some with his control and walked a couple. Hes not as tall as many of the Twins pitchers. Hes about 6-3 and has room to grow.



    Lewis Thorpe The lefty was pretty impressive as well. He showed a good fastball and a good curveball, and many think his changeup may be his best pitch. There was contact on him, but for the most part, he also just threw strikes. He has a very smooth delivery. It is clear hes got a high baseball IQ and knows how to pitch. Couple that with his stuff and he has a chance.



    Fernando Romero He threw the hardest of the group, and he does have that slider. He struggled with his control as well. He is not tall, and he is pretty stocky. Scouts likely notice that he has some pretty big, strong legs.



    Randy Rosario Jorge and Landa didnt pitch, but Rosario was impressive. Hes a small, athletic guy with a lot of energy. He does throw pretty hard, and when he throws strikes, its hard to make great contact off him.



    Jason Wheeler The very tall (6-8) lefty looks pretty impressive. Hes lanky, and the mechanical adjustments he made while working with Ivan Arteaga last year have helped him increase his 87-89 mph fastball to 91-92 mph. He has very good mechanics and a nice delivery. He also has a brother that plays in the big leagues.

    Mason Melotakis He definitely did not have his best control, but he does throw hard. He threw a lot of fastballs in the dirt.

    Matt Hauser* He throws really hard. It might be a bit straight though as he was hit really hard. Again, nothing to worry about, but he is a reliever to watch this year.

    Tim Shibuya He missed much of the early part of the 2013 season after shoulder surgery the previous offseason. He showed his old impeccable control and appeared to be throwing harder than I recall.

    Taylor Rogers The lefty makes it look pretty easy out there. He has a great delivery and really good arm action. He also touches 93, so hes worth watching.

    Kuo Hua Lo He struggled with his control early, walking a few in a row. He has a delivery in which he brings that ball and his glove over his head and then pauses before throwing.

    Tyler Stirewalt I know hes a guy that Jeremy Nygaard and I talk a lot about due to his football background. He didnt throw as hard on Monday as I thought he might, but you can see that its there. He works from about a release point and has a good slider. Definitely a project.

    The Hitters:

    Travis Harrison Yes, they had him playing left field throughout the game. He will likely spend some time at third base again in 2014, but he will get a lot of time in the outfield. Hes one that goes without batting gloves to get that feel in his hands. He worked a count against Matt Summers and crushed a pitch well over the left centerfield fence for a home run. He put some really good swings on the ball. He also showed more speed than I recall from last year.



    Brian Navarreto The 6-4, 220 pound, 18-year-old catcher was pretty impressive. Behind the plate, he set up surprisingly low. He also displayed a very strong, accurate arm, throwing out a would-be base stealer at second base. He came to bat with the bases loaded one inning. He destroyed a pitch down the third base line that the ump called foul. Tom Kelly joked, "Hey, you hit it too far anyway. A couple pitches later, he settled for an RBI single.



    Engelb Vielma There has been a lot of talk about him. I will say this, he plays a pretty good shortstop. He made a play up the middle on a ground ball and flipped it perfectly to second base to start a double play. Hes thin and has a lot of room to grow. Offensively, he is a slap hitter, as youd expect. He does have good speed. Well have to be patient, but you can see what the Twins see in him.

    Nelson Molina Again, he is a guy whose tools are quite evident. The teams 11th round pick a year ago has the tools. He has a good glove at shortstop with good range. At about 6-2 and really skinny, he has some growing to do. If he does, he could be one to watch. That would also help him at the plate, where he looks like he could struggle in the short term. Also, Will Hurt plays a tremendous shortstop.

    Tom Kelly TK warrants his own section. We know hes a roving instructor, but you can see, up close, the love and passion that he has for the game. He was frequently talking to Chad Christensen. In fact, he held up a full round of infield before the games to show Christensen a couple of tips. In the game, hes walking around with his fungo in his hands. Hes shouting encouragement to players, and hes observing. Hes seeing the minutiae that most of us miss.
    Players who didnt pitch today were behind the home plates, watching their teammates. Many of the pitchers will throw on Tuesday.



    John Murphy made a remarkable diving catch down the left field line in the second game. He all-out dove after it and made the play.

    JD Williams was in centerfield for the New Britain team, at least for a few innings. He made a terrific diving catch in left center. He remained on the field for a little while before coming in. He told me later that he was feeling much better. He had landed on his hip and was moving slowly.

    Levi Michael At one point, he found his way on base. He stole second and then grabbed a leg. It looked like it could have been a pulled muscle, or maybe even just a charley horse.

    A couple of new hitters hit back-to-back in the first game. Brad Nelson and CJ Ziegler both look to have a lot of power and not much speed. They are both big and strong and clearly around for power.

    Twins Daily contributor AJ Pettersen had a single, a walk and a couple of stolen bases. He didnt play defense early in the game, but he did go play centerfield for a couple innings. The first two batters flew out to him when he got out there, and he made the plays.

    Before the game, I had the chance to talk to a couple pitchers. I talked to Tyler Jones who was my choice for minor league reliever of the year last year. He provided the best shape of my life line, but he certainly looks the part too. With that 97 mph fastball, he has a chance to move a couple of levels this year.

    I also talked to veteran Mark Hamburger. He is incredibly excited to be back with the Twins. He said this spring he feels so much better and he sounds like it too. He is in a much better place in his life. He looks truly happy. Asked whether he will get a chance to pitch as a starter or out of the bullpen, he said he wasnt sure. He will be working late in the intra-squad game on Tuesday, but he was told that he would be given an opportunity to start. He talked about how he has his 50 games to get stretched out down in Ft. Myers. He enjoyed his time with the Saints, but this is where he wants to be. Dont forget that he pitched in September for the Rangers briefly in their first World Series run. He has a chance to contribute this year.

    I plan to spend time at the major league camp some on Tuesday morning and again watch the minor league intrasquad game in the afternoon. Remember that Jeremy Nygaard and I will discuss all kinds of Twins and Twins minor league topics on Tuesday night's Twins Hangout at 8:30 (central time).

    One last thing... here is some video of Lewis Thorpe on the mound.
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      Great work and information Seth. Thats the kind of coverage I love to read. Much appreciated.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Awesome. Can't wait for the season. You talk as if the Rosters are set and Thorpe and Stewart are pitching with Cedar Rapids. I was under the impression that doesn't get announced until later. Am I wrong here? Does this indicate that Thorpe and Stewart are with CR to start the year?

      Wheeler - When did he add that extra MPH to his FB? This winter? If this holds up and if he still has his change up and good control, he could go from organizational filler type, to potential big leauger.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      In minor league camp, they are split into work groups. As players move down from big league camp, there is a trickle-down effect. You can almost assume that a player will go down one work group over the course of camp. Right now, Jeff Smith is managing the Rochester work group, Mientkiewicz the New Britain roster and Jake Mauer the Ft. Myers roster. The reason? So they're working primarily with the guys that will play for them to start these season.

      Wheeler did that by the end of last season.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Good stuff. Watching minor league games is fun, especially in that set up where you can get to watch parts of two games by turning your head in different directions

      BTW, did you sneak any looks at that radar gun table as far as Stewart and Thorpe goes?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Hey Seth, what's the deal with Ryan Eades? I haven't heard anyone mention him this spring.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Great stuff. Thanks Seth.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Good stuff. Watching minor league games is fun, especially in that set up where you can get to watch parts of two games by turning your head in different directions

      BTW, did you sneak any looks at that radar gun table as far as Stewart and Thorpe goes?
      I didn't. Gonsalves was keeping it most of the game. Coudln't really get behind there because the minor leaguers that weren't playing were all sitting there watching. Neither would have lit up the radar gun though. Probably low 90s. They didn't seem to be airing it out.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Hey Seth, what's the deal with Ryan Eades? I haven't heard anyone mention him this spring.
      He's listed on the Cedar Rapids roster. He's not listed on the DL or anything. Seems to be fine. I'll be sure to get a picture this afternoon to prove he's alive.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Jared Burton and Matt Guerrier are scheduled to start in the minor league game here this afternoon.

      JO Berrios and Stephen Gonsalves are starting the FM/CR game. Jorge and Landa are scheduled to pitch as well.
    1. Tibs's Avatar
      Tibs -
      Thanks, Seth. This was great. I can't wait for the season to start!
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Great stuff Seth. Looking forward to more reports on the minor leaguers. Interesting that you talked about a trickle down impact as roster cuts are made. So will most of the guys throwing for Cedar Rapids now end up in extended spring (and then ETown)??
    1. oldguy10's Avatar
      oldguy10 -
      I will not be in Fort Myers until March 24 - will this sort of action be taking place beginning that day and all through the following week? And if so can we as fans purchase tickets for it? I will be in Fort Myers until April 1 so does this activity continue through that day?
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by oldguy10 View Post
      I will not be in Fort Myers until March 24 - will this sort of action be taking place beginning that day and all through the following week? And if so can we as fans purchase tickets for it? I will be in Fort Myers until April 1 so does this activity continue through that day?
      The minor leaguers will either play intra-squad (AA v AAA, A+ v A) games like those Seth watched or will play games against same-level squads from the Red Sox, Rays or Orioles (2 games at home, 2 on the road) pretty much every day from now through March 30. The full-season squads break camp on March 31.

      By next week, we should see players (and coaching staffs) adjusted downward more closely to the group where they're more likely to be assigned to start the season.

      May be reading more in to it than was intended, but I did see LEN3 hypothesize in his recent article that Kohl Stewart could start the season in Cedar Rapids. he quoted Brad Steil as saying about Stewart, I think were looking forward to seeing what he does in his first full season.

      I have kind of assumed Stewart would stay behind in EST and maybe skip E'town to go to CR in May, but maybe there's a shot he starts the year with the Kernels. Could be they want to accelerate him up at least through high-A by the end of the summer.
    1. bdoom5's Avatar
      bdoom5 -
      I went to 2 spring games and came away with a horrible taste in my mouth for a few players. 1. Bartlett needs to be cut. He looked awful. Danny Santana looked better. 2. Vance Worley can be cut also. He couldn't get anyone out. 3. Kubel isn't even close to the player he used to be, and he wasn't all that good before. On a positive note, I saw Dick Bremer in the parking lot getting out of his car and his tan looked great.
    1. ChiTownTwinsFan's Avatar
      ChiTownTwinsFan -
      Seth, thanks for explaining to me who was on which field and why. It was nice to meet you. Wish I could've stayed to watch more of the games, but with octogenarian parents in tow, there was only so much before it was enough. Great write up.
    1. oldguy10's Avatar
      oldguy10 -
      Quote Originally Posted by bdoom5 View Post
      I went to 2 spring games and came away with a horrible taste in my mouth for a few players. 1. Bartlett needs to be cut. He looked awful. Danny Santana looked better. 2. Vance Worley can be cut also. He couldn't get anyone out. 3. Kubel isn't even close to the player he used to be, and he wasn't all that good before. On a positive note, I saw Dick Bremer in the parking lot getting out of his car and his tan looked great.
      Hopefully both Bartlett and Kubel will be cut before the season starts I am thinking, anyone else share that thought or do you still hope for improvement from them this pre-season?
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.