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Jeremy Nygaard

Twins Minor League Report (7/30): Sano Celebrates Victory

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Happy Trade Deadline Eve! All is still quiet on the Twins front, though activity around baseball has started to heat up. Division rivals Detroit and Chicago have already been active (with Boston’s help). Detroit added SS Jose Iglesias to replace Jhonny Peralta (who will be suspended soon) while Chicago traded Jake Peavy to the Red Sox. The White Sox get in return OF prospect Avisail Garcia (from Detroit - who might rank as their new #1 prospect) as well as other minor-league prospects.

If you missed it earlier, Seth tweeted that RockCats P Tom Stuifbergen is set to undergo Tommy John surgery. He will likely miss most, if not all, of the 2014 season.

Let’s take a look around the farm.

ROCHESTER RED WINGS 5, LEHIGH VALLEY IRONPIGS 4
Box Score

The Red Wings will finish this month off tomorrow at 11:35 ET with Andrew Albers on the mound. The current leaders in the International League North, the Red Wings are only three games behind the Indianapolis Indians for the second-best record in the IL.

Tonight’s game wasn't looking very promising. Heading into the top of the 8th down 4-0, the Red Wings found their horseshoe. This time it came in the form of walks. Specifically walks with the bases loaded. It happened four times. FOUR TIMES! Four times the Red Wings came to bat with the bases loaded and the at-bat ended up with a walk. It’s as unbelievable as it sounds.

Offensively, there wasn’t much else. Deibinson Romero doubled. The 7-8-9 hitters (Brian Dinkelman, James Beresford and Drew Butera) all had two-hit games and scored four of the five runs.

Speaking of Butera, when is someone going to connect the Red Wings turn-around to the activation of Drew Butera?

Liam Hendriks pitched 6.1 innings. He struck out three and gave up four runs on eight hits. Luis Perdomo picked up the win, recording five outs – four by strikeout. Michael Tonkin picked up the save, with two strikeouts, despite giving up two hits.

NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS 5, AKRON ZIPS (12 innings)
Box Score

Oh, Miguel Sano. It’s well-known that Sano has had a documentary made about him and a second one currently in production. But this guy is like a soap opera. In his return home after his “benching”, Sano came up with runners on the corners, down one and in extra innings. So what does he do? He doubles in both runners and the team celebrates the win. You can’t make that up. You can’t script it either.

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He finished 2-for-5 with that double and RBIs. He also walked and struck out once. He’s now batting .240 in AA.

Eddie Rosario, Danny Santana and Dan Rohlfing all also had two hits. Rohlfing added a double. Daniel Ortiz also drove in two runs.

Santana committed his 27th error of the season.

Trevor May threw 99 pitches and got through six innings. He only walked two (his most important stat). He struck five out and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits.

The bullpen was awesome. Before Dakota Watts allowed the run in the 12th (on a wild pitch) the four guys who bridged the gap from May to Watts – Daniel Turpen (1.2 IP), Ryan O’Rourke (1 IP), Matt Hauser (1.1 IP) and Blake Martin (1 IP) – allowed one hit, one walk and struck out four combined.

The RockCats are 17.5 games out of first in the Eastern League Eastern Division (and only 2.5 games ahead of the last place team), but they are also only six games out of 2nd place, which earns a wild card berth. It’s possible – not probable – but possible that if the team gets really hot in August, they could be knocking on the playoff door.

They’ll look to pick up another win tomorrow at home against Akron. Pat Dean makes the start against Akron at 7:05 ET.

FORT MYERS MIRACLE 5, DAYTONA CUBS 2
Box Score

Super prospect Byron Buxton is getting a couple of days off to rest. (It has nothing to do with how he did or didn’t handle a recent home run or triple.) It’s just soreness and time to recover as far as I understand.

Without Buxton, the Miracle still managed to improve their record to 66-38. They used a combination of walks (7) and stolen bases (5) to supplement their five hits including a double by Stephen Wickens and a triple by Jhon Goncalves. Both Wickens and Levi Michael stole two bases.

Matt Summers pitched four strong, shutout innings. He allowed three hits and walked four. He struck out three. His pitch-count got high and was lifted.

Corey Williams struck out four in two innings. He allowed two runs (one earned).

Chad Rodgers (win) and Tyler Jones (save) combined to complete the game with three hitless innings. They each struck out two.

CEDAR RAPIDS KERNELS 1, BURLINGTON BEES 4
Box Score

Adam Brett Walker had a triple and was the only multi-hit player in the lineup today. Getting to watch Walker take batting practice over the weekend was a treat. He has very easy power, though it doesn't have the same sound as Sano produces.

Max Kepler had an RBI single and a walk. He also struck out. Kepler was back in the outfield after a very impressive showing at first base over the weekend. Going forward, it makes sense to keep Kepler in the outfield (especially with Vargas and Hicks already at first and other position question marks existing), but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Kepler eventually finding his home there.

The lineup managed to strike out 16 times. Yikes!

Christian Powell struck out six in five innings. He allowed two runs on six hits and two walks. Dallas Gallant had an uneventful first inning, but then loaded the bases without recording an out in the sixth. Hudson Boyd came in an allowed two of the runners to score. He returned and retired the side in the eighth inning.

Despite Boyd’s lack of success this year, I’m not ready to push him off of prospect lists (ok, maybe off a Top 30, but not a Top 50). Boyd has completely remade his body. It might take a while, but at some point I see Boyd becoming a productive pitcher, though probably as a reliever.

The Kernels are now 65-40 (just behind the Miracle) with Josue Montanez taking the hill in Burlington tomorrow at 6:30 CT.

ELIZABETHTON TWINS 7, KINGSPORT METS 1
Box Score

The pitching tonight was very good. Josh Burris struck out three, walking three and allowing three hits and five shutout innings. Ethan Mildren struck out three in two innings. He allowed an unearned run. Kuo Hua Lo struck out three in his two innings of work.

Mitch Garver and Logan Wade doubled. Zach Granite and Kelvin Ortiz tripled. Ortiz drove in three while Granite plated two. Derek Rodriguez stole two bases. Both Bryan Haar and Ortiz also swiped a bag.

The E-Twins continue to hang around .500 (19-18) and aren’t nearly as dominant as they have been in the recent past. The win tonight brings them within 3.5 games of the team they’re chasing for the Wild Card spot – the Kingsport Mets

Yorman Landa gets the start tomorrow night at 7 pm ET as they look to close the game again.

GCL TWINS 2, GCL ORIOLES 3
Box Score

Today’s game was a who’s-who of rehabbing players.

Darin Mastroianni was 0-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base. He played left field before being replaced in the bottom of the 6th, which was by plan.

Wilkin Ramirez, who DH’d the entire game, went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

Lester Oliveros is on the Tommy John comeback trail. In his first appearance since the surgery, he pitched one inning and struck out one batter.

Luke Bard, who technically isn’t rehabbing, but shouldn’t be at this level, was credited with a blown save. In recording two outs, Bard allowed a walk and a hit. Of his two runs allowed, only one was earned.

As for guys that are playing where they belong, Stephen Gonsalves continued to impress. In three innings, Gonsalves only allowed one hit. He struck out six, but did walk three. His season ERA now sits at 0.63.

The offense only managed two hits, but Zach Larson still had a good game despite going 0-for-3. He walked, drove in a run and stole two bases.

The 15-18 GCL Twins continue their season with a Noon Eastern game tomorrow.
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