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  • Twins Minor League Report (6/12): Pino Wins Again!

    The Twins did not play on Thursday, but that does not mean they were idle. Reports are that center fielder Sam Fuld is ready to join the Twins on Friday in Detroit and that catcher Eric Fryer has been recalled to take the place of Josmil Pinto. The Twins have not announced a corresponding roster move to make room for Sam Fuld, but Aaron Hicks is a likely candidate to either go on the disabledl list with a bum shoulder, or be demoted to AAA to work on hitting right- handed against right-handed pitchers.


    Mitch Garver, Cedar Rapids Kernels. Photo Credit: KnuckleballsBlog.com

    Red Wings Report
    Rochester 4, Lehigh Valley 0
    Box

    Yohan Pino ran his record up to 9-1 with seven shutout innings. He struck out nine batters, walked three and surrendered just two hits. Ryan Pressly finished the game for the Red Wings, throwing two scoreless innings and allowing only one hit. This is the eighth shutout of the year for the Red Wings and their eighth consecutive series opening win as well.

    Rochester had just six hits of their own, but five of them came from the top of the order with leadoff hitter Eric Farris and number two hitter James Beresford both enjoying 2-4 nights. Deibinson Romero, in the third spot, was 1-3 and Pedro Florimon, hitting in the nine-hole, picked up the Wings' only other hit of the night. Beresford's 2-4 night extended his hitting streak to nine games and he had two RBIs as well. Josmil Pinto, making his 2014 Red Wings debut, went 0-4.

    Rock Cats Review
    POSTPONED

    Rain kept Reading and New Britain from taking the field on Thursday night. The Rock Cats head back home to take on the Trenton Thunder over the weekend, so this game will be made up at a later date.

    Miracle Matters
    Charlotte 8, Fort Myers 7
    Box

    Matt Tomshaw gave up ten hits, including a home run and five runs (four earned) through the first six innings, but the Miracle bats kept Fort Myers in the game and he left with a no decision. Mason Melotakis was charged with a blown save. He pitched three innings, struck out four and gave up just two hits. Brandon Peterson came on to pitch the tenth inning and escaped unscathed, but when he returned in the top of the eleventh he lost the lead when he gave up an RBI triple. He recorded one out and ultimately was charged with two earned runs and the loss. Brian Gilbert finished the game, giving up two hits before retiring the side.

    The Miracle had eight hits to go along with seven walks, led by Dalton Hicks and Tyler Grimes, who both had 2-5 nights. Second basemen Anderlin Mejia was on base three times, going 1-4 with a walk and he also scored a run. Adam Brett Walker was on base three times as well, also 1-4 with a walk, but the Miracle could not find a way to bring him across the plate. Despite scoring seven runs, the Miracle were done in by ten strikeouts and 4-16 hitting with runners in scoring position. The Miracle stranded ten runners.

    The Miracle are on break until June 16th for the Florida State LEague All-Star Game on Saturday in Bradenton.

    Kernels Nuggets
    Cedar Rapids 5, Quad Cities 2
    Box

    2013 second round draftee Ryan Eades pitched seven innings and worked around nine hits to allow just two earned runs. Eades struck out two and walked one. Alex Muren pitched the final two innings for the save. Muren struck out three and walked one, but faced just six batters thanks to a double play.

    The Miracle were out hit on the night 9-5, but they took advantage of eight walks to push some runs across. Mitch Garver was the standout performer, going 2-3 with two doubles, two RBI and a run scored. He's now hitting .312/.407/.489 in 62 games with the Kernels. Garver also caught James Ramsay stealing to end the first inning. No other Kernels hitter had multiple hits, but Engelb Vielma, Ryan Walker, Bryan Haar and Jon Murphy all reached safely twice thanks to all those free passes the River Bandits gave up.

    Twins Daily Players of the Day
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Yohan Pino, Rochester Red Wings
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day - Mitch Garver, Cedar Rapids Kernels

    Friday's Probable Starters

    Lehigh Valley @ Rochester (6:15 CST) Alex Meyer (Listen)
    Trenton @ New Britain (6:35 CST) Virgil Vasquez (Listen)
    Burlington @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) Lewis Thorpe (Listen)
    Comments 35 Comments
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      After the Kernels game, they activated Zack Granite and released Ivory "Trap Boy" Thomas, a late-round 2013 draftee.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Adam Walker with a couple of walks yesterday. OBP now about .50 ahead of his BA. Still needs work there, but I like the end result if the improvements continue.

      That said, 2012 draft is really starting to look good, despite being a weak class overall.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Looking forward to Granite being back. My understanding Jeremias Pineda is back in FtM now to get work in before rejoining CR, as well. JD Williams, Logan Wade and Zack Larson remain on the DL but if the Kernels can get guys healthy, scoring runs may become a little bit easier in the 2nd half. Going to be some more tough decisions made on some players, perhaps, however.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      After the Kernels game, they activated Zack Granite and released Ivory "Trap Boy" Thomas, a late-round 2013 draftee.
      Is this just the first among a slew of moves and releases coming in the next week or so? Low A and High A have their All Star games in the next couple of days- a traditional time to make roster adjustments. Both teams have a boatload of players on the DL. Hearing anything on the health progress of the key injured players or..... any pending promotions?-

      Of interest for the Kernels, Kohl Stewart, obviously, but has Mitch Garver turned enough heads to push out one of the catchers at Ft Myers? And how about a couple of the RPs? For Ft Myers, Berrios, of course, and maybe Shibuya and Adam Walker?
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/mi...d=pino--001yoh Pino is really interesting. We all saw last year and earlier this year what likely happens when a very successful and older player from AAA gets promoted but he is still interesting.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Twins scouting director Deron Johnson was with the team in Kane County over the weekend and has been with them in CR this week. So, yeah, with FSL AS break starting now and MWL AS break starting Monday, there's some evaluating going on.

      As I mentioned above, the Kernels have several players nearing readiness to come off the DL. They're going to need to clear room for those guys on the roster, whether by release, sending down to EST or promotion.

      Garver, who has reached base in 21 straight games, and Chad Christensen would both be candidates for promotion IMO.

      As for pitchers, almost the entire bullpen has looked stong. Van Steensel has K'd 28 in 14 (correction, 22.1 innings) innings and has a 0.90 WHIP. Jared Wilson, Brandon Bixler, Alex Muren, Hudson Boyd all have probably shown enough to get promotion consideration if there's room cleared ahead of them. (Not suggesting all would be promoted, just that it wouldn' shock me if any of them were.)

      If Stewart wraps up the 1st half with another strong start on Sunday, could make a case for himself if the organization were to decide they want to push him aggressively. I just think that's unlikely given his age and experience level.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SD Buhr View Post
      Twins scouting director Deron Johnson was with the team in Kane County over the weekend and has been with them in CR this week. So, yeah, with FSL AS break starting now and MWL AS break starting Monday, there's some evaluating going on.

      As I mentioned above, the Kernels have several players nearing readiness to come off the DL. They're going to need to clear room for those guys on the roster, whether by release, sending down to EST or promotion.

      Garver, who has reached base in 21 straight games, and Chad Christensen would both be candidates for promotion IMO.

      As for pitchers, almost the entire bullpen has looked stong. Van Steensel has K'd 28 in 14 innings and has a 0.90 WHIP. Jared Wilson, Brandon Bixler, Alex Muren, Hudson Boyd all have probably shown enough to get promotion consideration if there's room cleared ahead of them. (Not suggesting all would be promoted, just that it wouldn' shock me if any of them were.)

      If Stewart wraps up the 1st half with another strong start on Sunday, could make a case for himself if the organization were to decide they want to push him aggressively. I just think that's unlikely given his age and experience level.
      Thanks JC! You posted while I was composing. Yes, you're right, it looks like the BP has been the Kernels salvation this year. Is there any buzz yet about Burdi possibly landing in Cedar Rapids when his college season ends (or Gordon before the end of the season)? Do you have an opinion or projection on Van Steensel and Bixler long-term?

      On Stewart, given the huge success of Berrios this year at Ft Myers, I was wondering if there's any benefit to moving Kohl to Ft Myers should Berrios get the promotion to AA? ( With the understanding that it would be a disappointment to the Kernels and all of you guys in Cedar Rapids ).
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      It would be disappointing to see Stewart leave, but if Gonsalves replaced him, the disappointment could be tempered. In any event, we're quite familiar with losing good players at mid-seson. I just think they're wanting Stewart to work on his fastball and change up command, while doing so at a level where he can also have some success getting guys out. If someone like Slegers or Eades put together 2-3 good starts in a row at this point, I could see them getting pushed a bit more aggressively than Stewart.

      Bixler looks really good about 2 out of every 3 appearances, but still has a clunker occasionally. He has ability, but he's 22 and when you look at all the RPs ahead of him in the organization, he's clearly got his work cut out for him to climb that ladder.

      Van Steensel has just been lights out since joining CR. He's given up 3 runs, total, in 22.1 innings over 14 games and all 3 were on solo HRs. Again, though, he's 23 yrs old so he will need to start passing up some guys ahead of him.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Josmil Pinto, making his 2014 Red Wings debut, went 0-4.

      More importantly, he was catching Pino. I hope Pinto has the opportunity to catch pitchers that we may see with the big league club because in the long run, I think that familiarity between pitcher/catcher will be helpful to all of them. From several comments, I've sensed that there may be a bit of reluctance by pitchers with the ML club to put their fate in the hands of a rookie catcher. While that is understandable -- particularly if the pitcher is in a troublesome spot himself -- it had to make everything harder for Pinto.

      So get Pinto as much experience as possible behind the plate while he's in ROC (and with a variety of different pitchers). The hits will come.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SD Buhr View Post
      It would be disappointing to see Stewart leave, but if Gonsalves replaced him, the disappointment could be tempered. In any event, we're quite familiar with losing good players at mid-seson. I just think they're wanting Stewart to work on his fastball and change up command, while doing so at a level where he can also have some success getting guys out. If someone like Slegers or Eades put together 2-3 good starts in a row at this point, I could see them getting pushed a bit more aggressively than Stewart.

      Bixler looks really good about 2 out of every 3 appearances, but still has a clunker occasionally. He has ability, but he's 22 and when you look at all the RPs ahead of him in the organization, he's clearly got his work cut out for him to climb that ladder.

      Van Steensel has just been lights out since joining CR. He's given up 3 runs, total, in 22.1 innings over 14 games and all 3 were on solo HRs. Again, though, he's 23 yrs old so he will need to start passing up some guys ahead of him.
      Thanks again, JC, very helpful. One more. Speaking of guys who need to move up because of age, have you seen enough of Garver as a Catcher to surmise that he's good enough with the glove to supplant someone up the chain? It looks like his bat is too advanced for the Midwest.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Thanks again, JC, very helpful. One more. Speaking of guys who need to move up because of age, have you seen enough of Garver as a Catcher to surmise that he's good enough with the glove to supplant someone up the chain? It looks like his bat is too advanced for the Midwest.
      I like Garver behind the plate. Case in point was last night. This is the kind of night he had:

      Coached Ryan Eades through 7 innings of 9-hit ball, giving up just 2 runs and 2 Ks (and in an interview after the game, raved about his pitcher... very mature).

      Threw out 2 guys stealing.

      Threw out another guy trying to advance from 2nd to 3rd on a ball in the dirt. Technically, not a "caught stealing," but tell that to the runner and his pitcher.

      Similarly, on another ball in the dirt, a runner on 1st started toward 2nd. Garver controlled the ball and the runner froze, waiting for Garver to throw at one of the bases. Instead he ran right at the guy. In fact he made the tag himself when the guy finally tried to move back toward first.

      I like Garver a lot.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Thanks JC! You posted while I was composing. Yes, you're right, it looks like the BP has been the Kernels salvation this year. Is there any buzz yet about Burdi possibly landing in Cedar Rapids when his college season ends (or Gordon before the end of the season)?
      Sorry, I meant to respond to this earlier and didn't.

      I could see Burdi getting up to CR. It's not really unusual to see college pitchers get their feet wet in Elizabethton after they sign and then spend August at low-A.

      With Gordon, I'm not so sure. If they didn't send Buxton to Beloit his first season, I don't know that we should expect them to send Gordon to CR, either. Seems more likely we'd see him to open 2015.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SD Buhr View Post
      I like Garver behind the plate. Case in point was last night. This is the kind of night he had:

      Coached Ryan Eades through 7 innings of 9-hit ball, giving up just 2 runs and 2 Ks (and in an interview after the game, raved about his pitcher... very mature).

      Threw out 2 guys stealing.

      Threw out another guy trying to advance from 2nd to 3rd on a ball in the dirt. Technically, not a "caught stealing," but tell that to the runner and his pitcher.

      Similarly, on another ball in the dirt, a runner on 1st started toward 2nd. Garver controlled the ball and the runner froze, waiting for Garver to throw at one of the bases. Instead he ran right at the guy. In fact he made the tag himself when the guy finally tried to move back toward first.

      I like Garver a lot.
      OK, now you've got me going.....from very intrigued....to.....get me out of the Fever Swamp! I get that Stuart Turner has better catching tools, is younger, and outplayed Garver last year, but after some fast digging..... look at this from Baseball America last year before the draft:

      Asked to name the Top Five offensive catchers and top 5 defensive catchers, Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt answered:
      From a defensive point of view, I think those two and Ty Ross are the cream of the crop. Offensively, I’ll go with Indiana’s Kyle Schwarber and New Mexico’s Mitch Garver along with Stuart Turner. Turner is the best all-around catcher, the way I see it.
      So our 2013 9th round pick, Mitch Garver is mentioned in the same breath with this year's #4 overall pick, Schwarber, as well as with Turner? And unlike Schwarber, no talk of Garver having to necessarily switch positions at some point.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SD Buhr View Post
      Sorry, I meant to respond to this earlier and didn't.

      I could see Burdi getting up to CR. It's not really unusual to see college pitchers get their feet wet in Elizabethton after they sign and then spend August at low-A.

      With Gordon, I'm not so sure. If they didn't send Buxton to Beloit his first season, I don't know that we should expect them to send Gordon to CR, either. Seems more likely we'd see him to open 2015.
      Thanks again. Tom Kelly pushed Mike Radcliff on the air last weekend, and Radcliff relented on Burdi as a very possible candidate for starting out in Cedar Rapids, so fingers crossed.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      BTW, it's an absolute atrocity that Mitch Garver was left off the MWL All-Star roster.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Great stuff on Garver, SDBuhr. Was very curious about his defense. I really think that he is a bit underrated. Yes, he was a ninth round pick in part, maybe, because he was a senior and they were able to sign him for well below slot and sign other guys with that extra money. However, he was runner up to Stuart Turner in the Johnny Bench Award voting last year which is an award for the top college catcher in the country. In other words, he's also very good.

      To compare statistically Turner and Garver this year isn't really fair due to level of competition from Cedar Rapids to Ft. Myers, but Garver deserves quite a bit of credit for being pretty solid prospect.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SD Buhr View Post
      BTW, it's an absolute atrocity that Mitch Garver was left off the MWL All-Star roster.
      Yeah I saw that, and coupled with the seeming indifference about that disappointing development for him from the Twins prospect rankers, as Seth states in the previous post, I assumed that he must be displaying Ryan Doumit-like catching skills in Cedar Rapids.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Since I'm on a roll here and I'd obviously rather be doing this than working today, let me just add a couple more position player names to the possible promotion list. Probably not at the AS break, but as a possibility down the road: Jason Kanzler and Engelb Vielma.

      Kanzler's K/BB ratio is pretty ugly, but he's an excellent outfielder carrying a .291/.338/.466 slash line, with 5 doubles, 5 triples and 6 HR. He's also stolen 10 bases. He's not at the Garver/Christensen level, by any means, but he's worth watching.

      I'm having a lot of fun watching Vielma play baseball. He looks like he should be playing JV on a high school team somewhere (listed at 157 pounds, which might be generous), but this guy can play shortstop. It's a little deceiving because he makes everything look so easy. Last night, he made a play up the middle and had to spin to throw to first - right on target. He also fielded a throw from Garver that short-hopped him to catch a guy trying to steal. Those things don't show up in a stat line, but you notice them. Makes good contact with the bat, just needs to get stronger. But he's just 19 (for another 9 days) and plenty of room/time to do that.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SD Buhr View Post
      Since I'm on a roll here and I'd obviously rather be doing this than working today, let me just add a couple more position player names to the possible promotion list. Probably not at the AS break, but as a possibility down the road: Jason Kanzler and Engelb Vielma.

      Kanzler's K/BB ratio is pretty ugly, but he's an excellent outfielder carrying a .291/.338/.466 slash line, with 5 doubles, 5 triples and 6 HR. He's also stolen 10 bases. He's not at the Garver/Christensen level, by any means, but he's worth watching.

      I'm having a lot of fun watching Vielma play baseball. He looks like he should be playing JV on a high school team somewhere (listed at 157 pounds, which might be generous), but this guy can play shortstop. It's a little deceiving because he makes everything look so easy. Last night, he made a play up the middle and had to spin to throw to first - right on target. He also fielded a throw from Garver that short-hopped him to catch a guy trying to steal. Those things don't show up in a stat line, but you notice them. Makes good contact with the bat, just needs to get stronger. But he's just 19 (for another 9 days) and plenty of room/time to do that.
      Hopefully the bat will come, obviously, it's not as big a priority at SS if he's got the fielding chops, but how about Vielma's arm?
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Hopefully the bat will come, obviously, it's not as big a priority at SS if he's got the fielding chops, but how about Vielma's arm?
      Arm plays fine at shortstop. Obviously, even that could improve as he gets stronger. But his throws are straight lines.
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