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  1. Twins 2017 Minor League Hitter Of The Year

    Seven Twins Daily Minor League writers were asked to vote for the various awards. For the hitter of the year, we each voted for eight players. The player who was voted as #1 received eight points, #2 received seven points and so on with the #8 vote receiving one point. Results were tabulated and can be found below.

    Short profiles of our top nine are to follow, but first, some players worthy of honorable mention. These players also received votes.

    Honorable Mention

    • Wander Javier – Elizabethton Twins – 41 games, 47-157 – .299/.383/.471 (.855) – 13 2B’s, 3B, 4 HRs, 34 R’s, 22 RBI, 4 SB. Was #4 in our Short Season Hitter of the Year rankings and displayed the plethora of tools that made him an attractive big money international signing in his first year in the states.
    • Max Murphy – Fort Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts – 130 games, 144-506 – .285/.361/.401, (.762) – 29 2B’s, 6 3B’s, 6 HRs, 80 R’s, 62 RBI, 9 SB. Played 78 games with the Miracle to start his season, slashing .307/.390/.430 before being promoted to Chattanooga for his final 52 games.
    • Daniel Palka – Rochester Red Wings – 84 games, 96-350 – .274/.329/.431 (.759) – 13 2B’s, 3 3B’s, 11 HR, 47 R’s, 42 RBI. Also played in six games with the GCL Twins while rehabbing, and had another home run in those 20 plate appearances. Missed time with an injury, otherwise he might have earned a spot on the Twins September roster.
    • Nick Gordon – Chattanooga Lookouts – 122 games, 140-519 – .270/.341/.408 (.749) – 29 2B’s, 8 3B’s, 9 HRs, 80 R’s, 66 RBI, 13 SB. Was a tale of two seasons for Gordon, as he was scorching hot in the first half of the season (.880 OPS), but wasn’t able to keep that up in the second half (.609 OPS). Despite all that, he ranked third in the Southern League in hits and runs scored, fourth in total bases, and led the circuit in triples.
    • Chris Paul – Fort Myers Miracle – 61 games, 80-238 – .328/.380/.471 (.851) – 18 2B’s, 2 3B’s, 4 HR, 35 R’s, 32 RBI. Missed the months of June and July and the first week of August with a broken hamate bone. In the month of May before that injury, he slashed an impressive .383/.459/.585 (1.044) in 26 games.

    Minor League Hitter of the Year

    Here are the top nine vote getters for Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year.


    9. Travis Blankenhorn – Cedar Rapids Kernels – 118 games, 110-438 – .251/.343/.441 (.784) – 22 2B’s, 11 3B’s, 13 HRs, 68 R’s, 69 RBI, 13 SBs.

    Blankenhorn spent the entirety of the 2017 season in Cedar Rapids after amassing a .774 OPS in 25 games with the team in 2016 as a 19 year old. He largely repeated that performance with a .784 mark this season, but got there a different way. His average fell by .035 points, but he increased his slugging percentage by .023 because he racked up 46 extra-base hits to lead the Kernels (tied with Lewin Diaz). That total included double digits in every category (22 2Bs, 11 3Bs, 13 HRs) which is very hard to do. He also led the team with 69 RBI. If you’re into advanced hitting statistics, his weighted runs created (wRC) mark of 72 ranked eighth in the Midwest League on the season and he created 21% more runs than the league average hitter (wRC+, per Fangraphs). Just shy of 15% of his plate appearances in 2017 came against pitchers who were younger than he is and he was selected as a Midwest League All-Star.


    8. Lewin Diaz – Cedar Rapids Kernels – 122 games, 136-466 – .292/.329/.444 (.773) – 33 2B’s, 1 3B, 12 HRs, 47 R’s, 68 RBI.

    Diaz was 20 years old for the entirety of the 2017 season with the Kernels, and 90% of his plate appearances were against pitchers older than he is. What did he do against that competition? He led the Midwest League in doubles with 33. In 2016 he hit .310 with Elizabethton, and didn’t slow down much in Cedar Rapids with a mark of .292, placing him sixth in the circuit. He also led the Kernels with 207 total bases. While the batting average was great for Diaz and he struck out just 80 times in 122 games, he will continue to need to work on his patience as he drew just 25 walks as primarily the #3 hitter in the lineup. Diaz also represented Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League All-Star Game.


    7. T.J. White – Chattanooga Lookouts – 96 games, 101-366 – .276/.358/.484 (.842) – 26 2B’s, 4 3B’s, 14 HR’s, 44 R’s, 65 RBI.

    After missing the opening month of the season with an injury, White proved to be a steady presence in the Lookouts lineup from May 15th onward. His OPS was .912 in the month of June, and 1.010 in August. When patrolling Fangraphs, you’ll find that his wRC+ mark of 144 ranked fifth in the Southern League and trailed only another hitter on this list for the Lookouts team lead. If you’re looking for a “clutch” hitter, White also came through big in that category this year, as his .325/.429/.571 mark with two outs and runners in scoring position was stellar.


    6. Brent Rooker – Elizabethton Twins/Fort Myers Miracle – 62 games, 64-228 – .281/.364/.566 (.930) – 11 2B’s, 18 HR’s, 42 R’s, 52 RBI.

    On the surface Rooker’s numbers are especially eye-popping considering he was just drafted at #35 overall in the 2017 MLB draft on June 12th. In an organizational sense, his 18 HRs on the season ranked second in all of the minors for the Twins despite him playing in only half the games. When you have some #FunWithNumbers after he was promoted to Fort Myers, his 11 home runs in 40 games rivals the pace that Miguel Sano put up with the Miracle in 2013 before he was promoted to Chattanooga. There was some strikeout to his game in his first taste of the pros (26.5% of his plate appearances), but it wasn’t an egregious rate and he also showed an ability to draw a walk (11.3% mark). After being a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award as best college player and his initial success as a pro, Rooker is an intriguing name for me to be added to the Twins stable of players being sent to the Arizona Fall League. The only question might be whether the Twins think he’s all ready played enough baseball this year.


    5. Jermaine Palacios – Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle – 124 games, 149-504 – .296/.333/.454 (.788) – 21 2B’s, 10 3B’s, 13 HRs, 82 R’s, 67 RBI, 20 SBs.

    Palacios spent all of his 2016 season with Cedar Rapids, and wasn’t able to match the immense potential he showed in his first season in the States, when he hit .370 in the rookie leagues. He made up for that in 2017 with the Kernels by batting .320/.362/.544 before being promoted to Fort Myers. Like Blankenhorn, he also racked up double-digits in all extra-base hit categories on the season. He wasn’t as successful in the Florida State League (.662 OPS vs .907 OPS), but it’s hard to ignore season-long totals like his as a middle-infield prospect. For his output in the MWL before being promoted, he too, was selected as an All-Star for the Kernels.


    4. LaMonte Wade – Chattanooga Lookouts – 117 games, 124-424 – .292/.397/.408 (.805) – 22 2B’s, 3 3B’s, 7 HRs, 74 R’s, 67 RBI, 9 SBs.

    All Wade has done since becoming a professional is get on base. In fact, he’s walked more than he has struck out in his career (177 vs. 151) and in each of his first three seasons. 2017 was no different, as his .397 on-base percentage and 76 walks ranked third in the Southern League. He also ranked seventh in RBI with 67 on the year alongside a host of other Lookouts players. He also set a career high in extra-base hits with 32 on the season. Wade spent a majority of the season batting #3 in the lineup of the best offense in the Southern League and was especially deadly with runners in scoring position (.955 OPS) and late in close games (1.092 OPS). For his efforts in 2017, Wade was selected as a Southern League All-Star at the midseason break.


    3. Zack Granite – Rochester Red Wings – 76 games, 103-303 – .340/.394/.479 (.872) – 17 2B’s, 5 3B’s, 5 HR’s, 48 R’s, 30 RBI, 18 SB’s.

    Granite followed a breakout 2016 season in which he hit .295/.347/.382 for Chattanooga with an even better 2017 that led to his promotion to the Twins in early July. After having his average fall to .237 on May 31st, Granite went on one of the hottest streaks you will ever see in the month of June. He slashed an otherworldly .470/.527/.667 and raised his average on the season to a high of .371 on June 27th before his promotion. Another impressive stat is he struck out just 36 times in 76 games, a rate of only 11.8% of his plate appearances. His 144 wRC+ ranked sixth in the International League (44% more runs created than average hitter) and he found himself on the ballots of both the midseason and postseason All-Star teams. In his time with the Twins, he’s also shown fans what he is capable of as an outfielder, displaying range more than adequate to back up Byron Buxton in center field.


    2. Jonathan Rodriguez – Chattanooga Lookouts – 124 games, 137-452 – .303/.408/.518 (.926) – 31 2B’s, 22 HR’s, 89 R’s, 78 RBI.

    The 28-year-old first baseman came to the Twins organization in 2017 after spending the first eight years of his career in the St. Louis Cardinals system. He was quite the addition to an already potent Chattanooga Lookouts lineup. He took home the Lookouts Triple Crown as well as leading them in doubles, average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. In the Southern League, he tied for the league lead in average (.309), led in on-base percentage (.414), slugging (.525), and OPS (.939). His 21 home runs ranked second and his 31 doubles ranked third. You really don’t have to go far down the list in many categories to find his name. Although he did not play in the Southern League All-Star Game at midseason after getting off to a slow start in April, he was named as the postseason All-Star at DH. Rodriguez always seemed to come up in the minor league reports as the season wore on, and it was because he kept delivering big time hits. In the second half of the Southern League season he crushed to the tune of a .346/.449/.632 slash line, good for a 1.081 OPS. He was the most valuable hitter in the International League by the measures of wRC, wRC+, weighted runs above average (wRAA), and weighted on-base average (wOBA) per Fangraphs. His wRC+ mark of 173 meant he created an astonishing 73% more runs than the average hitter on the season.

    In many years it would be hard for anyone to best what Rodriguez accomplished this year, but that just makes this awards winner even more impressive.


    Hitter of the Year

    Mitch Garver – Rochester Red Wings – 88 games, 93-320 – .291/.387/.541 (.928) – 29 2B’s, 17 HRs, 56 R’s, 45 RBI.

    The 2017 award marks the second time Garver has taken home Twins Daily’s metaphorical hardware, as he also won the voting in 2014 while playing for Cedar Rapids.

    Drafted in the ninth round of the 2013 draft as a fourth-year senior, Garver’s age (26) may be a barrier for some in considering him as a prospect, but it’s hard to argue with the development path he undertook in making his MLB debut on August 19th. He was on the raw side of the catcher position when he was drafted, but has developed those skills along with his bat as he’s moved up the ladder.

    He spent all of his time in the minors this year with the Rochester Red Wings, playing primarily catcher but also got time in left field (14 games) and at first base (five games) as the organization made it a priority to add versatility to his game. The reason being, they’re going to have to find a place for his bat.

    In that sense, Garver was as consistent as you could possibly be, amassing a .928 OPS in the first half of the International League season, then a .927 mark afterward before his call-up to the Twins. For his exploits on the season, Garver was named the IL’s postseason All-Star at catcher. His on-base percentage (.387) and slugging percentage (.541) marks ranked second in the league, while he also shows up on the leader board for doubles and home runs despite having about 100+ fewer at-bats than those around him. His .291 batting average also ranked in the top five among his peers.

    Also impressive for Garver when you dig into his numbers, were his lack of platoon splits as he hit .304/.427/.557 against lefties and .286/.373/.535 against right-handers. With two outs his OPS was over 1.000. When you venture over to Fangraphs his 166 wRC+ ranked third in the International League, behind only the league MVP Rhys Hoskins (who if you haven’t noticed, has 17 HRs in just 33 MLB games thus far to start his career) and Yandy Diaz, who both also made their MLB debuts this season.

    It’s quite easy to see how exceptional Garver was during the 2017 season at the highest rung of the minor league ladder, and it made him an almost unanimous selection in the award’s voting. But perhaps the greatest reward of all for him after his stellar season is that now all he has left to look forward to is making his impact in the major leagues instead of the minors.

    Congratulations Mitch!


    The Ballots

    In an attempt to be transparent, here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers:
    • Seth Stohs – 1) Mitch Garver, 2) Jonathan Rodriguez, 3) Zack Granite, 4) LaMonte Wade, 5) Jermaine Palacios, 6) T.J. White, 7) Travis Blankenhorn, 8) Lewin Diaz
    • Jeremy Nygaard – 1) Mitch Garver, 2) LaMonte Wade, 3) Jonathan Rodriguez, 4) Brent Rooker, 5) Jermaine Palacios, 6) Zack Granite, 7) Travis Blankenhorn, 8) Lewin Diaz
    • Cody Christie – 1) Mitch Garver, 2) Jonathan Rodriguez, 3) Zack Granite, 4) Brent Rooker, 5) Jermaine Palacios, 6) Chris Paul, 7) T.J. White, 8) Max Murphy
    • Tom Froemming – 1) Mitch Garver, 2) Brent Rooker, 3) Zack Granite, 4) Jonathan Rodriguez, 5) LaMonte Wade, 6) T.J. White, 7) Jermaine Palacios, 8) Travis Blankenhorn
    • Steve Lein – 1) Mitch Garver, 2) Zack Granite, 3) Jermaine Palacios, 4) LaMonte Wade, 5) T.J. White, 6) Nick Gordon, 7) Brent Rooker, 8) Jonathan Rodriguez
    • Eric Pleiss – 1) Jonathan Rodriguez, 2) Mitch Garver, 3) T.J. White, 4) Lewin Diaz, 5) Jermaine Palacios, 6) LaMonte Wade, 7) Zack Granite, 8) Wander Javier
    • Ted Schwerzler – 1) Mitch Garver, 2) Zack Granite, 3) Jonathan Rodriguez, 4) Travis Blankenhorn, 5) Lewin Diaz, 6) LaMonte Wade, 7) Daniel Palka, 8) Jermaine Palacios
    Feel free to discuss. What do you think? Do you agree with our rankings? How would your ballot look?

    • Sep 14 2017 09:23 PM
    • by Steve Lein
  2. Twins Minor League Report (8/1): More Extra Innings, Littell Makes Twins Debut

    To find out how all those extra innings finished on the night, keep reading!


    TRANSACTIONS

    The Twins made a couple of moves in the system on Tuesday as well.

    They recalled Dillon Gee to the majors and assigned Dietrich Enns to Rochester. Zack Littell was assigned to the Lookouts and made the start.

    To make the room at AA Randy LeBlanc was sent back to Fort Myers and David Fischer was released.


    RED WINGS REPORT
    Lehigh Valley 3, Rochester 1
    Box Score

    With Dillon Gee on his way to the Twins, the Red Wings ended up with a bullpen game against IronPigs on Tuesday night.

    D.J. Baxendale started and pitched the first three innings. He allowed two hits including a solo home run and struck out three. Alex Wimmers added two perfect innings before he ran into trouble in his third. He got two outs but ended up with two earned runs on two hits in 2.2 innings. He struck out two.

    Mason Melotakis allowed an inherited runner to score in the sixth and got the first two outs in the seventh before he was replaced by Michael Tonkin. Tonkin allowed just one hit in his 2.1 innings to finish the game, while striking out three.

    Rochester’s lone run came in the bottom of the first inning, as a throwing error on a Byungho Park single allowed Matt Hague to score. They would collect only one more hit the entire game (a Mitch Garver single) so not much to recap on the offensive side. Park also drew a walk in a 1-3 night and is hitting .324/.368/.577 in nineteen games since the Triple-A All-Star Game.


    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Chattanooga 5, Montgomery 6 (10 innings)
    Box Score

    The story in this one for a lot of Twins fans may have been that one of the new prospect additions they received from the Yankees started the game for the Lookouts. It wasn’t one of Zack Littell’s best games this year, but he did finish six innings in his organizational debut.

    The first inning was a rough one for him as a couple of hits, a walk, an error, and a balk led to an early 3-0 lead for the Biscuits of Montgomery.

    It was a good thing for Littell though, that Chattanooga is the best team in the Southern League. They took the lead right back for him in the top of the second with a four-spot.

    T.J. White led off the inning with a homer, and then Travis Harrison, Nick Gordon, and Levi Michael each had run-scoring singles (Gordon’s included a fielding error, so no RBI for him).

    Littell settled in from there with three scoreless frames, though he did hit a couple of batters and walked three. In the fifth, an RBI ground out accounted for his fourth run allowed of the evening. Overall in six innings, Little allowed those four runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out six.

    The Lookouts were facing off against #OldFriend Logan Darnell, and although they knocked him around for twelve hits in five innings, the four runs in the second were all they were able to get as he played Houdini in every other frame.

    Randy Rosario came on in relief of Littell and pitched two innings. He allowed one run on two hits and it was 5-4 biscuits going into the ninth inning. You know how this is going to go, right?

    With two outs and Max Murphy on first base, Carlos Paulino delivered the game- tying hit with a double to right field to drive him in and tie it at five. Luke Bard pitched a one-two-three ninth and Chattanooga was looking at their third extra- inning game in their last four.

    The Lookouts threatened in the top of the tenth, but with Gordon on third base Montgomery elected to intentionally walk Jonathan Rodriguez (wise), and then escaped.

    Bard then got himself into trouble he couldn’t escape in the bottom half, as a two-out double put the winning run across for the Biscuits.

    The two through seven hitters in the Chattanooga lineup amassed fourteen hits on the game and as a team outhit Montgomery 16-9, but going just 4-17 with runners in scoring position and leaving fourteen men on base means you left a lot ducks on the pond. The Lookouts lead the Biscuits in the North Division standings by six games after this one.


    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Fort Myers 6, Clearwater 4
    Box Score

    Fort Myers battled back in this one to steal the game late thanks to a big two-out hit from Jaylin Davis.

    Starter Eduardo Del Rosario went the first six innings for the Miracle, allowing four runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out six. The biggest problem with that line, is the three home runs he allowed. Alex Robinson walked one and struck out two in one inning of relief work and thanks to his offense, picked up his second win of the season.

    Down 4-2 in the top of the eighth, Sean Miller started the rally for Fort Myers with a single to lead off the inning. Zander Wiel moved him to third on a single of his own, and Jermaine Palacios put down a squeeze bunt that scored the first run of the inning. After strikeouts from Brandon Lopez and Brent Rooker, a walk to Kevin Garcia brought Davis to the plate. With the count a 1-0, Davis lined a single into center field to score two and put the Miracle out front 5-4.

    Sam Clay pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning, and Fort Myers added an insurance run in the top of the ninth as Tanner English singled, stole second base (his 23rd steal) and got to third on a throwing error before Palacios drove him in with a triple.

    Clay came back out for the ninth, and worked around a leadoff single to secure his ninth save of the year (he’s also 8-0), striking out the final hitter of the game.

    Miller (2-5, R) and Palacios (3-4, 2 R’s, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, SB) had multiple hits to lead the offense. Zander Wiel scored two runs with a single and a walk in five trips to the plate. Lopez (0-4) and Davis (1-3) each drove in two.


    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Clinton 7, Cedar Rapids 8 (11 innings)
    Box Score

    The Kernels jumped out to a 5-1 lead after three thanks to home runs from Christian Cavaness and Caleb Hamilton in the first inning, and a two-run double from Travis Blankenhorn in the third. They extended their lead to 6-1 in the sixth when Cavaness clubbed an RBI double.

    But after that the game turned for the LumberKings.

    Cedar Rapids starter Tyler Beardsley had been cruising for the first six innings. He had allowed just one run on three hits and two walks to that point while striking out four.

    Two singles and a double scored two and ended his night in the seventh with two outs. Overall, Beardsley went 6.2 innings with three earned runs of six hits and two walks, with five K’s.

    Colton Davis came on and got the final out in the seventh, but a bases clearing double with two outs in the eighth tied the game at six. Hector Lujan came out for the ninth and Clinton took the lead after a leadoff walk and error was followed by a run-scoring double.

    The Kernels weren’t ready for the game to end yet though, and mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning after the first two hitters to bat went down on strikes. Jimmy Kerrigan got an infield single, stole second base, and then Blankenhorn delivered a big triple to tie it, but was stranded as Lewin Diaz grounded out to send it into extras.

    Max Cordy came in from the bullpen for the tenth, and allowed a hit but no runs. Same in the eleventh to get his team up to bat again.

    They didn’t need another extra frame. Joe Cronin led off with a double, moved to third on a sac bunt/throwing error play, and scampered home on a passed ball for the not-so-dramatic walk-off victory.

    The top four hitters in the Kernels lineup led the way, with Cavaness (3-5, 2 R’s, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Kerrigan (2-6, 2 R’s), Blankenhorn (3-5, R 2 2B’s, 3B, 3 RBI), and Diaz (2-5) collecting multiple hits. Hamilton drove in two and Cronin scored two runs.


    E-TWINS E-NOTES
    Kingsport 4, Elizabethton 5
    Box Score

    Elizabethton took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning after Wander Javier led off with his ninth double of the season, and later scored on a single from J.J. Robinson. They had runners on second and third with one out later in the frame, but were unable to add any more runs. The opportunity missed would come back to haunt them.

    Twins starter Nick Brown began the game with four scoreless innings, including retiring eight in a row at one point, but the Mets finally got to him in the top of fifth thanks to an error that was followed by an RBI double.

    Brown would finish 5.2 innings, allowing just that unearned run on six hits while striking out six.

    The offense for Elizabethton got that run back and one more in the bottom of the fifth as Akil Baddoo drove in a run with a double, and later scored on a single from Jose Miranda to put them in front 3-1.

    Juan Gamez replaced Brown in the sixth and got out of the inning, and added a scoreless seventh. He got two outs in the eighth and was replaced by Jose Martinez with a runner on third, who scored on a double to Martinez’s first hitter. Another RBI double and an RBI single followed to put Kingsport in front 4-3. Martinez worked through a single to the leadoff man in the ninth to keep the Twins in striking distance in the bottom half.

    And strike they did.

    Colton Waltner led off the inning with a walk and Mark Contreras followed with a single to put the tying run in scoring position. A sacrifice bunt from Rainis Silva put the winning run in the same position. T.J. Dixon tied the game with a sacrifice fly to center field, and Ariel Montesino ended with a two-out single.

    Martinez ended up with a blown save and win (4-0) in the score book. Javier (2-4, R, 2B) and Montesino (2-4, R, RBI) had multiple hits on the game to lead the offense, but everyone else except Silva contributed with a run scored or an RBI. Silva’s bunt however, was likely most important play in the game (if you like bunts), so it really was a team effort in the walk-off win.


    GCL TWINS TAKES
    Game 1: GCL Rays 3, GCL Twins 5
    Box Score

    In the regularly scheduled game of the day, the Twins saw the first in-game action from their 2017 2nd round draft pick, Landon Leach. Although he likely had some nerves and wasn’t great, you have to remember he’s going to be eased into action at this point. He walked his first batter (just like Blayne Enlow) and uncorked a couple of off target pitches that put that runner on third, before picking up his first strikeout as a pro. He then got a ground out that scored the runner and issued another walk before he was removed the game. So just two outs in his debut, but it means literally nothing at this point.

    Pedro Garcia came into the game to get the final out of the first and went the next five innings in total including four scoreless. He got two outs in the sixth before leaving with the bases loaded. Overall Garcia allowed one run on four walks and one hit, and struck out four.

    Joe Rosenstein came on and struck out the batter he faced, but on a wild-pitch so that’s how Garcia’s run scored. Rosenstein gave up one run of his own in the seventh and gave up one hit, walked one, and struck out one in 1.1 innings while picking up his first save.

    The Twins early offense came courtesy of an Alex Robles RBI single in the first and a Benjamin Rodriguez RBI double in the third before they tacked on three more in the fourth for a 5-1 lead. Victor Tademo led off the inning with a solo home run, and later in the inning a Jean Carlos Arias single brought in two.

    Emmanuel Morel was 2-3 with a double, walk, and three runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Kerby Camacho added a double.

    Garcia improved to 5-1 in the GCL season.

    Game 2: GCL Twins 0, GCL Rays 2
    Box Score

    In the makeup game of yesterday’s rainout, the teams combined for just seven hits between them. Unfortunately for the Twins the Rays were the only ones to get any extra-base hits, and they came in the form of back-to-back-to-back doubles in the fifth inning that scored the two runs for the Rays.

    Derek Molina made the start and went two scoreless innings. He allowed one hit, walked one, and struck out one. Jordan Balazovic finished the final four innings, allowing the two runs on just those doubles, and striking out four.

    On offense, Arias, Rodriguez, and Robles all went 1-3 for the Twins only hits on the game.


    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Pitcher of the Day – Nick Brown, Elizabethton Twins (5.2IP, 0 ER’s, 6 H’s, 6 K’s)
    Hitter(s) of the Day – Jermaine Palacios, Fort Myers Miracle (3-4, 2 R’s, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, SB)
    Travis Blankenhorn, Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-5, R, 2 2B’s, 3B, 3 RBI)


    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Lehigh Valley @ Rochester (6:05PM CST) – RHP Tim Melville 3-3, 2.44 ERA)
    Chattanooga @ Montgomery (7:05PM CST) – RHP Fernando Romero (10-6, 2.64 ERA)
    Kane County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – LHP Evan Sanders (1-3, 8.53 ERA)
    GCL Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00AM CST) – TBD


    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!

    • Aug 02 2017 04:29 AM
    • by Steve Lein
  3. Twins Minor League Report (7/27): Del Rosario is Stunning and Rooker Goes Yard

    Find out everything that happened in the Twins minor league system on Thursday.

    Transactions: Anthony Recker promoted to Rochester from Chattanooga, taking Murphy’s spot, Brian Navarreto was promoted from Fort Myers to Chattanooga to take Recker’s spot, and the Lookouts also added LHP Gabriel Moya (the return for John Ryan Murphy). Twins signed Indy baller Jimmy Kerrigan and have assigned him to Cedar Rapids, and he’ll join the team Saturday.

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 3 @ Indianapolis 1
    Box Score

    I just don’t even know what to do about Kyle Gibson. He started on Thursday night for the Red Wings and tossed 5.0 innings of 1-hit baseball. He struck out five and didn’t walk a soul. Alex Wimmers replaced Gibson, throwing 2.1 innings and giving up no runs, two hits, a walk and grabbed a strikeout. Michael Tonkin threw in 0.2 innings of scoreless ball but then ran into trouble in the ninth, giving up a walk and a pair of hits to start the ninth before striking out the next batter and being replaced by John Curtiss with one out in the ninth and the bases loaded. Curtiss induced a sacrifice fly to give Indianapolis their first run of the night (charged to Tonkin), and then struck out the final batter of the game to earn the save.

    The Wings used efficient team play, as they had just seven hits, only one for extra bases, a double, to push three runs across, thanks to a lousy 1-10 performance with runners in scoring position. No Wings player had more than one hit, although Kennys Vargas was 1-2 with a double and two walks, and Tommy Field had a pair of walks as well. Niko Goodrum was 1-3 with a walk and a run scored, plus a pair of stolen bases.


    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Birmingham 9 @ Chattanooga 6
    Box Score

    The Lookouts played from behind most of the night, despite taking an early 1-0 in the first inning. They gave up multiple runs in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh innings, allowing nine runs to cross the plate. Not a great game for the pitching staff. The hitters tallied 11 hits, six for extra bases and threw in another three walks, led by Carlos Paulino, the nine-hitter, who was 2-3 with an RBI, a walk and two runs scored. Nick Gordon was 1-5 with a pair of RBI at the top of the order, and former first-rounder Levi Michael was 2-5 with a solo home run, and 2 RBI.

    Starter Dereck Rodriguez went 5.2, giving up seven runs, all earned, on six hits and four walks. He struck out four. He was lifted for Randy LeBlanc, who lasted 2.1 innings giving up five hits of his own, and two more runs before Luke Bard came in for the ninth, holding the Barons hitless and grabbing a strike out.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Fort Myers 9 @ Lakeland 2
    Box Score

    The two best performances from the Twins system both came in Lakeland on Thursday night as Eduardo Del Rosario was nearly flawless in his Florida State League debut, and Jermaine Palacios nearly hit the cover off the baseball. Del Rosario pitched 8.0 innings and gave up only gave up one hit, one unearned run, one walk, and he struck out four. This is the second time Del Rosario has thrown 8.0 innings on the year, and might be his best start (though a 7.0 inning shutout game with 10K's back on April 25th is a strong contender as well). Del Rosario turned the ball over to Anthony McIver in the ninth, who ran into a wee bit of trouble and came out after 0.2 innings, after giving up a pair of hits and an unearned run. He was replaced by Andrew Vasquez who struck out the only batter he faced to end the game.

    Big day with the sticks for the Miracle as Tanner English, Jermaine Palacios and Brent Rooker all went deep as part of a nine-run outburst. Palacios led the way with a 4-5 night that included a solo home run, and three RBI. Zander Wiel also had a nice day, 3-5 with a run scored.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 1 @ Peoria 3 (Game 1)
    Box Score

    In the first game of two 7-inning games on Thursday night (making up for a rain out on Wednesday) the Kernels took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first but gave up a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning and never scored again. The Kernels were just 1-5 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base. No player had multiple hits, but three of the five hits were doubles, one each from Travis Blankenhorn, Ben Rortvedt and Amaurys Minier.

    The Kernels got a full game out of their starter Tyler Beardsley on just six innings, saving the bullpen for game two. Beardsley pitched 6.0 innings, gave up six hits, three earned runs, struck out one, and gave up a home run. Beardsley gave up a fair number of hits, but was fairly efficient over six innings, throwing just 80 pitches. Quick game at Dozer Park in Peoria, even for a 7-inning game, clocking in just under an hour and a half at 87 minutes.

    Cedar Rapids 0 @ Peoria 4 (Game 2)
    Box Score

    Kernels starter Evan Sanders struggled through 4.0 innings, giving up just three hits, but he walked six and gave up four earned runs. He also struck out four. With a fully rested bullpen after the first game, it was time to bring in a reliever and Patrick McGuff got the call in the fifth. McGuff gave Cedar Rapids 2.0 innings of scoreless ball, giving up a pair of hits and recording three strikeouts.

    After not scoring for the final six innings in the early game, the Kernels extended their scoreless streak to 13 innings, failing to bring anyone home. The Kernels had just three hits, and a pair of walks for five base runners, and were 0-3 with runners in scoring position. Travis Blankenhorn, Lewin Diaz and Trey Cabbage all had singles. Lewin Diaz and Caleb Hamilton walked.

    E-Twins E-Notes
    Elizabethton @ Princeton
    Postponed, Rain

    GCL Twins Takes
    GCL Twins 8 @ GCL Orioles 14
    Box Score

    It takes a lot to blow a 5-0 lead, but after seeing the Twins do in earlier this week, the GCL Twins figured they’d give it a try as well. Up 5-0 heading into the bottom of the third, the GCL Twins gave up 11 runs. A lot of things have to go wrong to give up 11 runs in an inning. But three errors, a passed ball, a home run, a walk, a pair of intentional walks, a walk, six singles and a double will pretty much do it every time. All that before an inning-ending double play. Not a great day for starter Taylor Clemensia who gave up seven runs, but just two earned, through 2.1 innings. Amilcar Cruz suffered as well, giving up four runs, all earned, over 2.2 innings before turning the ball over to Joe Rosenstein who got into the run-giving up game as well, giving up a three spot over 2.2 innings. Dane Hutcheon, mercifully, ended the eighth, and the night for GCL Twins pitchers, striking out the only batter he faced. Hutcheon, you may not be aware, is an infielder.
    The GCL Twins did manage put eight runs across the plate, so a couple of guys had pretty solid days, led by Benjamin Rodriguez 3-5 with a double, a run scored and 3 RBI. Royce Lewis was 2-4 with three runs scored. Every other GCL Twins player had a hit, except Roni Tapia, who was 0-4 with a K.
    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Eduardo Del Rosario, Fort Myers Miracle
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jermaine Palacios, Fort Myers Miracle


    FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Rochester @ Toledo (6:05pm) – Tim Melville (3-3, 2.63)
    Birmingham @ Chattanooga (6:15pm) – Fernando Romero (9-6, 2.68)
    Fort Myers @Lakeland (5:30pm) – Brady Anderson (4-6, 4.65)
    Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (7:00pm) – Domenick Carlini (3-8, 5.40)
    Elizabethton @ Princeton (4:00pm) – Bryan Sammons (1-0, 1.83)
    GCL Red Sox @ GCL Twins (11:00am)

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday's games.

    • Jul 28 2017 04:46 AM
    • by Eric R Pleiss
  4. Twins Minor League Hitter Leaderboard (Though July 15)

    Did you know that the Twins and Yankees are battling for the best overall record in the minor leagues? Three of the Twins affiliates have half-season playoff berths. Chattanooga and Cedar Rapids already clinched playoff spots in their league’s first half. Three affiliates are working toward making second-half berths. The short-season leagues are going full bore too.

    • Rochester is 51-40. The Red Wings are 6.5 games back of the International League North Division-leading Scranton/Wilkes Barre, and two games behind Lehigh Valley for the wild card. They’re in third place in the International League North Division. In their last 34 games, the Red Wings are 24-10.
    • In the second half, Chattanooga is 18-5. That puts them in first place, four games ahead of Tennessee in the Southern League’s North division. Jake Mauer’s got this team playing some very good baseball.
    • Doug Mientkiewicz’s Ft. Myers Miracle team has been playing very well too in the second half. They are 16-5 in the second half. They are in first place in the Florida State League’s South division, three games ahead of Bradenton.
    • Cedar Rapids is 10-13 in the second half after their current five-game losing streak. That puts them a seven games back of Quad Cities and Peoria in the Midwest League’s Western Division.
    • Elizabethton is 15-8 to start their season. That is half a game better than Greeneville, whom they are playing this weekend. The E-Twins are used to being near the top of the Appalachian League’s Western Division.
    • The GCL Twins are 11-7, which puts them one game ahead of the GCL Red Sox at the top of the GCL’s South Division.
    With that, let’s look at the minor league statistical leader board (through games on Saturday, July 15).

    THE HITTERS
    (Rate numbers- minimum 255 plate appearances)

    Plate Appearances - Max Murphy (380), Nick Gordon (374), Matt Hague (371), Travis Blankenhorn (369), Jermaine Palacios (361), LaMonte Wade (358), Lewin Diaz (357).

    Batting Average - Zack Granite (.361), Jermaine Palacios (.321), Jonathan Rodriguez (.310), Max Murphy (.303), Nick Gordon (.299), Matt Hague (.296).

    On-Base Percentage - Zack Granite (.414), LaMonte Wade (.406), Jonathan Rodriguez (.404), Mitch Garver (.386), Max Murphy (.379), Matt Hague (.377), Nick Gordon (.369)..

    Slugging Percentage - Mitch G arver (.529), Jermaine Palacios (.515), Jonathan Rodriguez (.495), Zack Granite (.494), Jaylin Davis/Aaron Whitefield (.460), Nick Gordon (.455), Lewin Diaz (.451).

    OPS - Mitch Garver (.915), Zack Granite (.908), Jonathan Rodriguez (.899), Jermaine Palacios (.875), Nick Gordon (.824), Max Murphy (.814).

    Hits - Jermaine Palacios (108), Max Murphy (101), Nick Gordon (100), Matt Hague (94), Zack Granite (92), Lewin Diaz (90).

    Doubles - Lewin Diaz (26), Tommy Field (23), Nick Gordon (22), Jonathan Rodriguez/Zander Wiel (20), Four with 19.

    Triples - Travis Blankenhorn (8), Nick Gordon/Jermaine Palacios/Christian Cavaness (6), Seven with 5.

    Home Runs - Jaylin Davis (13), Jermaine Palacios/Mitch Garver (12), Jonathan Rodriguez (11), Aaron Whitefield/Lewin Diaz (10)

    Runs Scored - Jermaine Palacios (65), Max Murphy (58), Jonathan Rodriguez (54), Nick Gordon (53), LaMonte Wade (48), Aaron Whitefield/Travis Blankenhorn (46).

    RBI - Jaylin Davis (53), Lewin Diaz (50), Jermaine Palacios (49), Travis Blankenhorn/Nick Gordon (47), Jonathan Rodriguez (46), Zander Wiel (44).

    SB - Tanner English (22), Aaron Whitefield (19), Zack Granite (18), Jermaine Palacios (14), Ryan Walker (10).

    • Jul 16 2017 01:27 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  5. Twins Minor League Report (7/15): Saturday In The Minor League Parks

    Find out everything and more that happened happened in the Twins system on Saturday.

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 4, Lehigh Valley 1
    Box Score

    With his opt-out looming (and maybe passing by the time you read this), Dillon Gee went out and put together a terrific start. The right-hander gave up just four hits and a walk over seven shutout innings. He struck out four. In his three starts for the Red Wings, he threw 15 innings without giving up a run. He gave up ten hits, walked three and struck out eight.

    Mason Melotakis came on and got one out. He was charged with a run on a hit. He also struck out one. Drew Rucinski came on and got the final five outs. He gave up just one hit.

    Byungho Park led the offense. He went 3-5. Niko Goodrum went 2-5 with his 19th double. He also stole his fifth bag. Matt Hague went 1-3 with two walks.

    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Chattanooga 7, Jacksonville 0
    Box Score

    It was a well-played game for the Lookouts on Saturday night. Obviously a shutout means pretty solid pitching. The offense did its part as well.

    Dereck Rodriguez made the start and clearly didn’t have his best stuff. He needed 77 pitches to get through three innings. He gave up four hits, walked two batters and hit another. However, he threw three shutout innings. Raul Fernandez came on and went the middle three innings. He gave up just one hit, didn’t walk anyone and struck out five. Todd Van Steensel struck out three over the two innings he worked. Nick Anderson worked a perfect ninth inning to finish the shutout.

    Nick Gordon was back in the lineup after missing a couple of games after being hit by a pitch earlier in the week. He went 2-4 with a walk. Jonathan Rodriguez continued his terrific season. He went 3-4 with his 20th double and 11th home run. Carlos Paulino was 2-4. TJ White added his seventh home run of the year.


    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Ft. Myers 4, St. Lucie 3
    Box Score

    Tim Tebow and the St. Lucie Mets were back in Ft. Myers for their final series against the Miracle. He went 0-4 in this game and is now hitting .298. Over 4,600 fans showed up to see the former Heisman winner, but they got to see a dramatic win for the home team.

    Cody Stashak gave up three runs on four hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out six. Tom Hackimer, Alex Muren and Sam Clay each worked a scoreless inning.

    The Miracle were down 3-2 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. Tanner English was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. He stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. He scored on Brandon Lopez’s fourth Miracle double to tie the game. The next batter, Jermaine Palacios, then knocked in Lopez with his fourth double to end the game.

    Palacios and Lopez were each 3-5 with a double. Sean Miller went 3-4 as well. Nelson Molina went 2-3 with a walk and his fifth double. Zander Wiel added his 20th double.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 0, South Bend 1
    Box Score

    On Saturday night, the Kernels lost for the fifth straight time. For the fourth time in those five games, they were shut out. In this game, the Kernels managed just four hits.

    Griffin Jax put together another strong start. He gave up one run on three hits in seven innings. He walked three and struck out two.


    E-TWINS E-NOTES
    Elizabethton 9, Greeneville 6
    Box Score

    Nick Brown, the Twins 32nd-round pick this June out of William & Mary, made his first start as a pro. He went four innings and gave up four runs on four hits (three home runs). He walked two and struck out four. Bryan Sammons went the next 4.1 innings. He gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits. He walked three and struck out five. Juan Gamez came on to get the final two outs and record his first save.

    The E-Twins went into the ninth inning down by a run. Brent Rooker came up with the bases loaded and cleared the bases with his fifth E-Twins double. He then scored on a single by Shane Carrier for the final tally of the game.

    Rooker went 2-4 and drove in four runs. Carrier was 2-5 with his fourth double and four driven in. Andrew Bechtold went 0-0, but he walked four times. The E-Twins had nine walks in the game.


    GCL TWINS TAKES
    GCL Twins 1, GCL Red Sox 6
    Box Score

    The Twins played the Red Sox in a Saturday morning game. Daniel Palka played in a game for the first time since breaking fingers. He went 0-3. Brian Olson played in his second rehab game and went 1-3.

    Akil Baddoo had another strong game. He went 3-5. Royce Lewis went 2-5 with his first triple. Ben Rodriguez, Alex Robles and Victor Tademo each went 2-4. Robles also stole his third base.

    Lefty Taylor Clemensia gave up two runs on two hits in 4.2 innings. He walked one and struck out seven. Amilcar Cruz gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits over 2.2 innings. Jose Bermudez came on to get the final two outs, but not before giving up a run on two hits.


    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Dillon Gee, Rochester Red Wings
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jonathan Rodriguez, Chattanooga Lookouts


    SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (12:35 CST) - RHP Tim Melville
    Jacksonville @ Chattanooga (4:15 CST) - RHP Fernando Romero
    St. Lucie @ Ft. Myers (3:30 CST) - RHP Sean Poppen
    Cedar Rapids @ South Bend (1:05 CST) - LHP Anthony Marzi
    Elizabethton @ Greeneville (6:00 CST) - RHP Edwar Colina
    GCL Twins - No Game Scheduled

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday’s games.

    • Jul 15 2017 09:31 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  6. Twins Minor League Report (7/2): Jax Debuts For Kernels

    Find out everything and more that happened happened in the Twins system on Sunday, starting with the transactions of the day. OK, there was just one transaction. Felix Jorge was returned to Chattanooga following his MLB debut as the 26th man in the Twins doubleheader.


    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 0, Lehigh Valley 3
    Box Score

    David Hurlbut put together another quality start, but the Red Wings offense was unable to score. The left-hander gave up three runs on eight hits over 7.2 innings. He struck out nine without issuing a walk. Alex Wimmers came on and struck out the one batter he faced.

    The Red Wings offense had just five hits in the game. Zack Granite went 2-4 and is now hitting .367. Mitch Garver - who played left field again - went 0-3 with a walk which ended his 15-game hitting streak.


    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Chattanooga 5, Mississippi 3 (completion of suspended game from Saturday)
    Box Score

    On Saturday, the Lookouts started their game, but after two innings, it was suspended by rain. They completed that game on Sunday. Fernando Romero started on Saturday and threw two scoreless innings. He gave up a hit, walked two and struck out three. Randy LeBlanc started when the game resumed on Sunday. He gave up four runs on five hits and two walks in 5.2 innings. He struck out five. Luke Bard picked up the save by recording the final four outs. He gave up three hits and walked one without allowing a run. He struck out two.

    Nick Gordon went 2-4 and drove in a run. Levi Michael went 1-3 with a two-run homer, his third of the season.

    Chattanooga 4, Mississippi 0 (regularly-scheduled games)
    Box Score

    In the regularly-scheduled, now-7-inning game, the Lookouts got some really good pitching. Ryan Eades made the start and threw three shutout innings. He didn’t give up a hit or issue a walk and struck out five. Alex Muren came on and also threw three shutout innings. He gave up four hits, and struck out one. Randy Rosario pitched a perfect ninth.

    Edgar Corcino led the offense with a 2-3 game. He stole his second base and scored two runs. They scored three runs in the 6th to solidify their lead. TJ White knocked a two-run double, his tenth of the year. Levi Michael followed with his ninth double to drive in White.


    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Game 1 - Ft. Myers 4, St. Lucie 5
    Box Score

    Through the first four innings, Brady Anderson gave up only one run. However, he started the fifth by giving up three singles to load the bases. The bases were then unloaded with a grand slam. That certainly, and quickly, altered Anderson’s pitching line. He gave up five runs on eight hits and four walks in four innings. Jonny Drozd came on and gave up a hit and two walks but no runs over two innings. David Fischer worked a scoreless seventh frame.

    The Miracle started slow and made a comeback in the seventh that fell just shy. In that inning, Brandon Lopez and Jermaine Palacios had RBI singles to cut the lead to one, but the team could not get one more hit to extend the game. Lopez went 2-3 with a walk and has hit .438 in his first five games with the Miracle. With a 3-4, Palacios is now hitting .407 through his first seven games since joining the team. Max Murphy went 2-4. Sean Miller was 1-2 with a walk and his second stolen base.

    Game 2 - Ft. Myers 12, St. Lucie 1
    Box Score

    Playing a mid-afternoon doubleheader in early July in Ft. Myers is not advised. With that heat and humidity, it can be difficult. After a close first game, the Miracle were able to put a strong offensive performance together for a big win.

    Nearly everyone in the offense contributed in some way. Brandon Lopez stayed hot. He went 3-5 in game two and is now at .476 in six games. Shane Kennedy went 3-3 with a walk and his second triple. Max Murphy went 2-5 with his 16th double. Nelson Molina went 2-4. Tanner English was 1-2 with two walks and his eighth double. Jermaine Palacios hit his second double and drove in three runs. Zander Wiel hit his seventh home run.

    Anthony McIver made another start and did well again. He gave up one run on five hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out three. Keaton Steele gave up two hits and a walk over two scoreless innings.

    Lopez has enjoyed his time in Ft. Myers and appreciates the coaching he's received. "The adjustment has been easy really thanks to the coaching staff and my teammates. It's a fun group of guys that love to go out there have fun and at the same time get better doing it. Since I got up here I've been working with Doug (Mientkiewicz) and Sing (hitting coach Steve Singleton) in cages on a few things with my swing and I've definitely felt more comfortable in games at the plate."

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 3, Clinton 0
    Box Score

    The Kernels made another commuter trip to Clinton and drove home with a nice, clean win. Griffin Jax was terrific in his first Midwest League start. The right-hander drafted a year ago from Air Force worked seven shutout innings. He walked one and struck out four.

    Jax was happy with his performance following the game. He said, “I was able to establish my fastball to both sides of the plate for the most part. Our report on them was that they had trouble with the fastball, so that was the game plan moving forward. I had some early-game nerves but after the first inning I settled in.”

    Jeff Johnson from The Gazette posted the following on Saturday night regarding Jax.



    Assume he does have a 60-day leave, and that he’s been at extended spring training and made a start in Elizabethton, he should be able to spend four to five weeks with the Kernels.

    Logan Lombana worked a scoreless eighth inning. Hector Lujan recorded his seventh save of the season.

    The Kernels scored one run in each of the first three innings. In the first, Travis Blankenhorn hit a two-out double and scored on a Lewin Diaz single. The in the second, Andre Jernigan walked and scored on a Lean Marrero double, his first since joining the Kernels a week ago. In the third, Aaron Whitefield hit his ninth home run of the season.


    E-TWINS E-NOTES
    Elizabethton 1, Danville 7
    Box Score

    The E-Twins played an afternoon game in Danville on Sunday. It was a good game until a five-run bottom of the eighth gave Danville a big win.

    Charlie Barnes made his second start. In 3.1 innings, he gave up one run on five hits and two walks. He struck out five. Chris Broussard worked 3.2 scoreless innings, but he was able to get just one out in the bottom of the eighth. He was charged with four runs on six hits and a walk. Jared Finkel came on and got the final two outs, though he was charged with two runs (one earned) in that inning as well.

    The E-Twins managed just three hits in the game. Wander Javier had two of them including his fourth double. He stole his second base as well.


    GCL TWINS TAKES
    GCL Twins
    Box Score

    There are no Gulf Coast League games on Sundays (with some exceptions).


    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Griffin Jax, Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Brandon Lopez, Ft. Myers Miracle


    MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (6:05 CST) - RHP Aaron Slegers
    Chattanooga @ Mississippi (6:00 CST) - LHP Matt Tracy
    St. Lucie @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) - RHP Cody Stashak
    Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (6:30 CST) - LHP Anthony Marzi
    Elizabethton @ Danville (6:00 CST) - RHP Edwar Colina
    GCL Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00 am CST) - RHP Brusdar Graterol


    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games.

    • Jul 03 2017 08:38 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  7. Twins Minor League Hitter Of The Month - June 2017

    Pitching wins, but only if the hitters score enough runs in that game. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 hitters of the month, but first here are some players deserving of honorable mention.

    HONORABLE MENTION

    • Mitch Garver - Rochester - 23 G, 29-94, .309/.371/.521 (.893) with eight doubles, four homers, 12 RBI.
    • Nick Gordon - Chattanooga - 22 G, 31-99, .313/.382/.465 (.846) with seven doubles, one triple, two homers, 16 RBI.
    • Brandon Lopez - Cedar Rapids/Ft. Myers - 20 G, 25-67, .373/.427/.433 (.860) with two triples, and nine RBI.
    • Alex Perez - Ft. Myers/Chattanooga - 19 G, 21-55, .382/.507/.418 (.925) with two doubles and four RBI.
    • Ben Rortvedt - Cedar Rapids - 17 G, 21-62, .339/.423/.516 (.939) with five doubles, two homers and 12 RBI
    THE TOP FIVE HITTERS

    Number 5 – Chattanooga - TJ White - 24 G, .297/.385/.527 (.912). 27-91 with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs and 17 RBI.




    White returned to the Lookouts lineup in mid-May after starting the season on the disabled list. He made a few mechanical alterations to his swing. He’s come back strong to this point. In June, he hit very well, hitting liners all over the part. He has shown even more power than he has in past years as well.


    White went to high school in Las Vegas where he was a teammate of Joey Gallo of the Rangers. They played against Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper. White stayed home for college, attending UNLV. The Twins made him their 19th round pick in the 2014 draft. He’s gradually moved up the ladder, reaching Chattanooga early in the 2016 season as an injury replacement. Reports indicate that his third base defense has improved as well


    Number 4 – Cedar Rapids/Ft. Myers – SS Jermaine Palacios - .353/.391/.565 (.956). 30-85 with four doubles, one triple, four home runs and 13 RBI.

    What a year it has been for Jermaine Palacios. Just under a year ago, a frustrating season in Cedar Rapids came to an end when he was hit in the wrist by a pitch. He returned to the Midwest League this season, still just 20 until recently, and has been on fire. He hit .400 in April, slowed down some in May, but he took off again in June.


    While he showed in the rookie leagues in 2015 what he could do, this year’s success comes as some surprise. He has never shown the kind of power he displayed in the first half of the Kernels, hitting 11 homers. He was promoted to the Miracle following the Midwest League All-Star Game. He’s hit .348 over his first six games.



    Number 3 - Ft. Myers – OF Max Murphy - .388/.464/.541 (1.005) 33-85 with five doubles, one triple, two homers and 12 RBI.

    Murphy began this season hitting down in the Miracle lineup. But in mid-May, he started hitting well and getting on base. He was moved to the leadoff position and he’s been very good since. As you can see, in June, he hit for average, took a lot of walks (and was hit a bit) and showed some extra-base power.


    Murphy was the Twins ninth-round draft pick in 2014 out of Bradley University. He played his high school ball at Robbinsdale Cooper in New Hope, Minnesota.


    Number 2 - Cedar Rapids – 3B Travis Blankenhorn - .309/.430/.619 (1.048), 30-97 with four doubles, seven triples, four homers and 19 RBI.

    Blankenhorn is used to having big June’s. Last year, he started very quickly in Elizabethton and earned a promotion to Cedar Rapids. That’s where he is this year. He began the year really hot for two weeks, but struggled for about a month. In June, he turned things around.


    He has always had a good eye and a willingness to take walks. That will benefit him going forward. However, he really showed some good power and speed in June. 15 extra base hits are impressive, but seven of them were triples. Of course, most will remember his eventual game-winning steal of home as the Kernels really needed a win to secure a playoff berth.




    And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is:

    Rochester – OF Zack Granite - .470/.527/.667 (1.193), 55-117 with 11 doubles, three triple, two homers and 12 RBI.

    What a month! Even the International League didn’t have to wait to name Zack Granite their player of the month. I’ve been writing about Twins minor leaguers for more than a dozen years, and I can’t remember seeing a guy have a month like Granite just did. He hit .470! Granite started the month with a 17-game hitting streak, had that streak snapped, and then ended the month with an 11-game hitting streak. Putting that all together, he hit in 28 out of his 29 games in June. He had 20 multi-hit games.


    It’s been an interesting past year for Granite. Last year, he was likely heading to Ft. Myers to start the season, but an injury to the likely Lookouts centerfielder meant Granite started in Chattanooga. He stayed there all year and earned the Twins Minor League Player of the Year award.


    In November, he was added to the 40-man roster which meant he was going to his first major league spring training with the Twins. Paul Molitor raved about him throughout spring training. When he was sent down to minor league camp, Molitor said, “I like Zack a lot. I like how he prepares. I like how he competes. It was good to watch him play. He got into actually a lot of games. Made an impression almost every day he played in some capacity.”


    Granite enjoyed the experience and took a lot from it. He told Twins Daily on Saturday, “Big league camp was a lot of fun and a good learning experience for me. It was cool to see how guys go about their business and talking to guys about their approach and working with guys like Torii Hunter and (Michael) Cuddyer.”


    Unfortunately, on the final day of spring training, he pulled a muscle in his side. It cost him a month. He played five games for Ft. Myers before joining the Rochester Red Wings on May 7th. He had two hits that game. He struggled a bit in May, relatively. He was coming back from injury and playing at a new level. And then came June.


    Granite just takes it all in stride. “I'm just trying to keep things simple and get a good pitch to hit, if I start to think too much then I start worrying about things I shouldn't be thinking about.”


    When asked if he’s given much thought to possibly being called up soon, and what it would me, he said, “That's something I can't control. I can't waste my time thinking about things I can't control. I just have to do my job and let the people in charge make the decision. My job is simple. Just play the game. If it happens it happens. But I'm going to go out and have fun playing the game.”


    Fair to say that Granite had a lot of fun playing the game in June!



    Congratulations to the June Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Month for 2017, Rochester Red Wings outfielder Zack Granite.

    • Jul 02 2017 06:17 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  8. Twins Minor League Report (6/20): Diaz Homers In MWL All-Star Game

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Buffalo 3, Rochester 4
    Box Score

    The Red Wings scored early and held off the Bisons to win their fourth game in a row and move above .500 at 34-33 on the season.

    In the bottom of the first inning, RBI doubles from Mitch Garver and Byungho Park were followed by a sacrifice fly from John Ryan Murphy to jump out front 3-0.

    Starter Aaron Slegers kept Rochester out front through five innings before he ran into enough trouble to chase him after recording the first two outs of the sixth. In his 5.2 innings, he allowed three runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out six. With runners on first and second, Jake Reed was summoned from the bullpen for the first time at AAA, and struck out the final hitter of the sixth to keep Slegers in line for win.

    The offense had added the needed insurance run for their starter thanks to the speed of shortstop Engelb Vielma in the fourth inning. He reached base on a bunt single, stole second base and advanced to third on the errant throw before trotting home on a Matt Hague single. It was Vielma’s first stolen base at AAA.

    Reed also pitched the seventh inning, allowing a single but picking off the runner before also notching his second strikeout in a scoreless Red Wings debut. Ryan Pressly picked up the two inning save, his third with the Red Wings with two scoreless innings to finish the game. He walked one and struck out two.

    J.B. Shuck (2-5, R), Park (2-4, R, 2 2B’s, RBI, BB), and Niko Goodrum (2-4) each had multiple hits to pace the offense.


    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Southern League All-Star Break
    North All-Stars @ South All-Stars

    Unfortunately for the Southern League and host Pensacola, the All-Star Game scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled on account of Tropical Storm Cindy pounding the region with rain. As a consolation prize, I recommend you read about the “toxic” road that was taken by the Blue Wahoos franchise to reach the point of hosting the game.

    The Lookouts were represented on the North Division squad by pitchers Fernando Romero, Mason Melotakis (though he was promoted to Rochester this week), and John Curtiss; and position players Nick Gordon, Edgar Corcino, and LaMonte Wade.

    Chattanooga kicks off the second-half of the season at home on Thursday against the Blue Wahoos.


    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Fort Myers 0, Jupiter 2
    Box Score

    Left-hander Anthony McIver made his first professional start on Tuesday night after his first 64 career appearances came as a reliever. You could say it went well, so maybe it will stick for a bit longer?

    He went the first 3.2 innings, allowing no runs on just one hit while striking out four. The lone hit allowed came in the fourth inning and he was removed immediately as he had likely reached his pitch limit, at 60.

    Tom Hackimer came on for the final out and then went two more scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and one walk, and struck out one in his 2.1 innings.

    Unfortunately for those two pitchers, the Miracle offense was nowhere to be found in this one, as the first eleven hitters of the game were retired by HammerHead starter Scott Squier. As a team they struck out four times and managed just three hits and one walk against him in his 6.2 innings of shutout baseball.

    Fort Myers did threaten in the eighth inning as they had runners on second and third with one out, but strikeouts of Max Murphy and Zander Wiel closed the door on the opportunity.

    David Fischer was tagged with the loss as he gave up single runs in both of the seventh and eighth innings in finishing the game for the Miracle. Those runs scored on four hits and a walk in his two innings.

    Fort Myers finished the game 0-2 with runners in scoring position and left only six men on base as a team. They look to pick up their first second-half win of the season on Wednesday after dropping the first two games of their three game series versus Jupiter.


    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Midwest League All-Star Break
    West All-Stars 5, East All-Stars 2
    Box Score

    The Midwest League All-Star Game in Midland, Michigan (home of the Great Lakes Loons, affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers) was able to be played on Tuesday night and all six of the Kernels representatives played, with their four position players also starting the game.

    Jermaine Palacios was the shortstop, batted second in the Western division lineup, and was 1-2 with a single before being lifted in the mass substitutions in the fifth inning.

    Lewin Diaz batted clean-up and manned first base, and put his squad out front 2-1 in the fourth inning with a two-run home run. If not for a two-home run game from one of his all-star team mates, he might have been player of the game (he’ll have to settle for the Twins “Daily” MiLB Award)

    Travis Blankenhorn was at third base and batted sixth in the lineup. He flew out in both his plate appearances.

    Mitchell Kranson started the game as the designated hitter, but also finished the game at first base. He doubled in the fifth inning and was 1-4 on the game.

    Pitchers Sean Poppen and Clark Beeker both gave scoreless appearances. Poppen struck out one in a one-two-three second inning, and Beeker gave up a double in the sixth and was replaced with two outs.

    The Cedar Rapids Kernels get back to action on Thursday on the road against the Quad Cities River Bandits, whom the Kernels edged out for the second Western Division playoff-spot in the first half.


    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Pitcher of the Day – Anthony McIver, Fort Myers Miracle (3.2 IP, 2 H’s, 4 K’s)
    Hitter of the Day – Lewin Diaz, Cedar Rapids Kernels (1-2, HR, 2 RBI in MWL All-Star Game)


    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Buffalo @ Rochester (12:35PM CST) – LHP Hector Santiago (first rehab start)
    Chattanooga – No game. Southern League All-Star break.
    Fort Myers @ Jupiter (5:30PM CST) – RHP Cody Stashak (2-3, 4.02 ERA)
    Cedar Rapids – No game. Midwest League All-Star break.


    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!

    • Jun 21 2017 11:11 AM
    • by Steve Lein
  9. Minor League Promotions Coming Soon?

    There are many reasons for promotions (or for a player to stay at a level). Obviously performance tends to be one of the factors. Also, behind the scene types of things like leadership, growth, maturity and more. In reality, sometimes age factors into the decision of who to move up. There have been guys who have been pushed to a level, maybe without the numbers to justify it, but they’re being given one final opportunity to take off. Sometimes that player does. Other times, it doesn’t pan out. Like the draft, player development and timing of promotions are not science, though more and more there are scientific (or advanced statistical) reasons for them as well.

    In other words, there may be some promotions of players not mentioned below. It is somewhat fun to speculate the reasons for them to try to gain understanding. Or, maybe that’s my way of saying that I don’t know what will happen… Either way… Enjoy and at the end post your thoughts.



    ROCHESTER → MINNESOTA

    There have already been several players who have taken that direct flight from Rochester to Minneapolis and back. Last week, I chatted with Alan Busenitz in an article stating that he was ready, the next bullpen arm in line for a promotion to the big league club. On Friday night, we learned that would happen, and on Saturday night he made his MLB debut.

    But Busenitz isn’t the only Red Wings player who is deserving of an opportunity. In the Red Wings bullpen, Trevor Hildenberger should be next in line for a spot in the Twins bullpen. He has thrown 29 innings over 20 appearances this year in Rochester. He is 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9 and 10.2 K/9. At 26, the side-winding right-hander has confidence in his ability to throw three or four pitches for strikes at any time, in any count. Frankly, he’s got little more to prove in the minor leagues.

    From an offensive standpoint, the choice for player most ready is pretty obvious. Though he missed the first month of the season with an oblique injury, Zack Granite has returned. In his last 19 games, he has hit .487. In 41 games with the Red Wings, he has hit .349/.410/.485 (.895) with 14 doubles, four triples and a home run. He’s walked 16 times and struck out 18 times. He also has 16 stolen bases. Frankly, his readiness isn’t even about the results and stats. It’s also just about his advanced approach at the plate and the types of at-bats he produces. He has good range all around the outfield. In my opinion, Granite needs to play every day and bat leadoff somewhere. If he’ll get that with the Twins, call him up. If he’s going to sit on the bench, stay in Rochester and keep raking. Either way, he’s ready for the opportunity.


    CHATTANOOGA → ROCHESTER

    Right before the All-Star break, lefty Mason Melotakis was moved up to the Red Wings. On Monday, Jake Reed returned to the Red Wings after a short stint with the Lookouts after missing the first six weeks of the season.

    But there are a couple more relievers who should be promoted to the Red Wings too. I think everyone would agree that John Curtiss is ready to move up. He’s playing in the Southern League All-Star Game, but I would think he’d move up right after it. Since some early control concerns, he has been incredible. He didn’t give up a run until his 20th appearance of the year. The superlatives could continue, but we’ve been writing about the 24-year-old’s readiness for over a month here at Twins Daily.

    Luke Bard had several injuries early in his career, but since coming back last year, he’s been a strikeout machine. Maybe it has to do with his incredible spin rate. In 32 innings this year, he has 52 strikeouts to go with just 11 walks. Not that there has to be a rush to promote the 26-year-old, it might be good to push him as he’ll be a potential 40-man roster add. And, those strikeouts sure are intriguing.

    Evaluate just a little bit longer (pitchers): Stephen Gonsalves, Fernando Romero and Felix Jorge are all pitching really, really well for the last month or more, but for various reasons, they should stick in Chattanooga. In my opinion, Gonsalves is the closest to ready for a promotion, but I’d give him two or three more starts before doing that. Fernando Romero has really been good as well, but there is reason for patience. And frankly, if he reaches a pre-established innings count, call him right up to the Twins and put him in the bullpen. And Jorge quietly continues to improve and put up strong start after strong star.

    Evaluate a bit longer (hitter): Nick Gordon has had a terrific season at the plate. He’s walked more. He’s hit for more power. He’s been everything we’d hope for, taking a big step forward. But in my mind, there is little incentive to moving Gordon up. At AA, he’s facing some of the better pitching prospects. There’s nothing wrong with him spending a season playing well all year. If they want, they could call him up directly from AA sometime. But it’s also important for him to keep playing shortstop most every day, and he can do that in Chattanooga. Let Engelb Vielma play shortstop every day in Rochester. Let Jorge Polanco play shortstop most every day in Minnesota. And let Gordon continue to work on things with the bat and in the field in Chattanooga.


    FT. MYERS → CHATTANOOGA

    Randy LeBlanc has moved up and down from the Miracle to the Lookouts several times in the last month. Dereck Rodriguez was also moved up to the Lookouts, but after one start, he was sent back to the Miracle and pitched in the Florida State League All-Star Game. I would expect that he will move up to Chattanooga and stick there. Also, relievers Alex Muren and Nick Anderson have moved up recently. So, there isn’t a lot left to promote from the Miracle to the Lookouts. But we’ll figure out a couple of names.

    Soon, and if now, OK… Sam Clay gave up six earned runs in ⅔ of an inning in his first outing of the year. He then went over 24 innings without giving up a run. Overall, he’s 5-0 with a 2.18 ERA. In 33 innings, he has 36 strikeouts, but he’s also got 18 walks. That’s likely the biggest reason for hesitation in promoting him. However, most of those walks have come in just three of his 20 games. If several Lookouts pitchers make their way to Rochester, Chattanooga will need some arms.

    Consideration: In part, some promotions are due to need and roster spots. 24-year-olds Zander Wiel and Max Murphy could be moved up if there is a need. For instance, when Brent Rooker moves up to the Miracle, he can play first base and in the outfield. One of those two could move up to make room.


    CEDAR RAPIDS → FT. MYERS

    The Kernels clinched a playoff spot and now begins their All-Star break. Following the break, I could see a few players promoted. Dominant relievers Tom Hackimer and Andrew Vasquez were already promoted to the Miracle. Colton Davis is another reliever who could move up for the second half.

    The easiest choice would be promoting shortstop Jermaine Palacios. He spent 2016 struggling in Cedar Rapids before his season ended early with injury. Now 20, he has put up a terrific season in 2017 with the Kernels. He’s hitting .322/.362/.549 (.911) with 13 doubles, six triples and 11 home runs. He’s done that while playing a very good shortstop. He’s ready to move up.

    I think that Jaylin Davis should receive strong consideration for a promotion to the Miracle as well. He’s been solid throughout the season and leads the organization in home runs. His 28% strikeout rate is obviously still a little high, but a slight improvement from last year.

    Sean Poppen and Clark Beeker are representing the Kernels starting staff in the Midwest League All-Star Game. Poppen is 5-1 with a 2.80 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In 74 innings, he has 17 walks and 67 strikeouts. Beeker is 6-2 with a 2.99 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. In 75.1 innings, he has 11 walks and 52 strikeouts.

    Tyler Wells has arguably been the Kernels top starting pitcher this season. In 10 starts and 57 innings, he is 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. He has 14 walks and an impressive 80 strikeouts. He missed two starts with some biceps tendinitis, but he has continued to impress since his retur, making arguably his best start on Saturday night when the Kernels really needed a win.


    EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING → CEDAR RAPIDS

    Elizabethton starts its season on Thursday night. They are traveling via bus as I type this. The GCL season starts on Monday. However, as we don’t yet have the short-season rosters, it is possible that a few players from extended spring training will not go to Elizabethton but instead head to Cedar Rapids.

    Pitchers Henry Centeno and Keaton Steele are in EST and could go to Cedar Rapids or Ft. Myers at some point. Catchers Justin Hazard, Rainis Silva and Brian Olson could go to Cedar Rapids or Ft. Myers. Infielders Andre Jernigan and Amaurys Minier could go to Cedar Rapids. Outfielder Shane Carrier could return to the Kernels, particularly if Jaylin Davis were to move up to Ft. Myers.


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------


    In coming days, we’ll post previews of the Elizabethton Twins and GCL Twins rosters. In our daily Twins Minor League reports, we stay on top of all of the transactions, so keep looking there for more promotions.


    But for today, make some of your predictions about who you would like to see promoted. And feel free to ask about any others that I may have missed.

    • Jun 20 2017 05:48 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  10. Twins Minor League Leaderboard (Through June 10, 2017)

    With that, let’s look at the minor league statistical leaderboard (through games on Saturday, June 10).


    THE HITTERS
    (Rate numbers- minimum 144 plate appearances)

    Chris Paul still finds his name on the leader board, but last week, he had surgery to fix a broken hamate bone. It is likely he will be out between six to eight weeks.

    Plate Appearances - Nick Gordon (261), Max Murphy (251), Travis Blankenhorn (245), Lewin Diaz (244), Jermaine Palacios (241), LaMonte Wade (237), Jaylin Davis (236).

    Batting Average - Chris Paul (.351), Jermaine Palacios (.327), Zack Granite (.320), Nick Gordon (.309), Edgar Corcino (.300), Aaron Whitefield (.291), Lewin Diaz (.286).

    On-Base Percentage - LaMonte Wade (.409), Chris Paul (.402), Mitch Garver (.396), Nick Gordon (.379), Ryan Walker (.376), Zack Granite (.370), Jermaine Palacios (.369).

    Slugging Percentage - Jermaine Palacios (.566), Jaylin Davis (.507), Chris Paul (.495), Nick Gordon (.489), Lewin Diaz (.482), Aaron Whitefield/Zander Wiel (.460).

    OPS - Jermaine Palacios (.936), Chris Paul (.897), Nick Gordon (.869), Mitch Garver (.843), Jaylin Davis (.825), Zack Granite (.814), Lewin Diaz (.810), Aaron Whitefield (.800).

    Hits - Jermaine Palacios (74), Nick Gordon (72), Chris Paul (66), Lewin Diaz (64), Max Murphy (63), Edgar Corcino (61), Jaylin Davis/Matt Hague (58), Aaron Whitefield (55).

    Doubles - Lewin Diaz (21), NIck Gordon (17), Chris Paul (16), Tommy Field (15), Niko Goodrum (14), Zander Wiel/Mitchell Kranson (13), Jermaine Palacios/Max Murphy/Travis Harrison (12).

    Triples - Jermaine Palacios (6), Nick Gordon/Zander Wiel (5), Zack Granite/Rafael Valera (4), 5 tied with 3.

    Home Runs - Jaylin Davis (12), Jermaine Palacios (10), Daniel Palka (8), Travis Blankenhorn/Lewin Diaz (7), Zander Wiel/Aaron Whitefield (6), 5 tied with 5.

    Runs Scored - Jermaine Palacios (46), Max Murphy (37), Nick Gordon (35), Jaylin Davis (34), Travis Blankenhorn/LaMonte Wade (33), Aaron Whitefield (32).

    RBI - Jaylin Davis (37), Jermaine Palacios/Lewin Diaz (35), Nick Gordon/Travis Blankenhorn (34), Zander Wiel (30), Chris Paul (28).

    SB - Aaron Whitefield (14), Zack Granite (13), Tanner English (9), Jermaine Palacios (8), Jaylin Davis/Max Murphy/Ryan Walker (6), 5 tied with 5.


    THE STARTING PITCHERS
    (Rate number - minimum 44.0 innings)

    Innings Pitched: Clark Beeker (70.2), Sean Poppen (68.1), Dereck Rodriguez (68.0), Aaron Slegers (66.0), Felix Jorge (65.0), Fernando Romero (64.2).

    ERA: Tyler Wells/Nik Turley (2.05), Dereck Rodriguez (2.51), Sean Poppen (2.63), Clark Beeker (70.2), Felix Jorge (3.32), David Hurlbut (3.44), Ryan Eades/Fernando Romero (3.48)

    WHIP: Nik Turley (0.91), Tyler Wells (0.96), Clark Beeker (0.96), Dereck Rodriguez (1.03), Sean Poppen (1.08), Ryan Eades (1.14), Lachlan Wells (1.20)

    K/9: Nik Turley (14.4), Tyler Wells (12.7), Eduardo Del Rosario (9.1), Fernando Romero (8.8), Sean Poppen (8.3), David Fischer (8.0), Dereck Rodriguez (7.8)

    BB/9: Clark Beeker (1.1), Dereck Rodriguez (1.5), Brady Anderson (1.6), Sean Poppen (1.8), Aaron Slegers/Lachlan Wells (1.9), David Hurlbut (2.0)

    K: Nik Turley (84), Sean Poppen/Fernando Romero/Eduardo Del Rosario (63), Tyler Wells (62), Dereck Rodriguez (59), Matt Tracy (51), Clark Beeker (49).


    THE RELIEF PITCHERS
    (Rate numbers - minimum 21.0 innings, and less than 2 starts)

    Innings Pitched: Sam Clay (31.0), Anthony McIver (30.0), Luke Bard (29.2), Williams Ramirez/DJ Baxendale (29.1), Tom Hackimer (29.0), Michael Theofanopoulos (28.1).

    ERA: John Curtiss (0.00), Nick Anderson/Andrew Vasquez (1.37), Randy Rosario (1.65), Colton Davis (1.67), Tom Hackimer (1.86), Alex Muren (1.88), Trevor Hildenberger/Todd Van Steensel (1.96).

    WHIP: Alan Busenitz (0.80), Randy Rosario (0.81), Drew Rucinski (0.857), Tom Hackimer (0.862), Nick Anderson (0.87), John Curtiss (0.955), Mason Melotakis (0.958), Hector Lujan (0.99).

    K/9: Luke Bard (14.6), Andrew Vasquez (13.3), John Curtiss (13.1), Alex Robinson (12.4), Trevor Hildenberger/Todd Van Steensel (10.6), Logan Lombana (10.2), Alan Busenitz/Sam Clay (9.9).

    BB/9: Hector Lujan (1.1), Drew Rucinski (1.2), Randy Rosario (2.0), Jonny Drozd/Nick Anderson (2.1), Tom Hackimer (2.5), Alan Busenitz/Trevor Hildenberger/Luke Bard (2.7).

    K: Luke Bard (48), Andrew Vasquez (39), Alex Robinson/Sam Clay (34), John Curtiss/Williams Ramirez (32), Tom Hackimer (31), Alan Busenitz/Williams Ramirez (29).

    Saves: John Curtiss (12), Tom Hackimer (6), Mason Melotakis/Alex Wimmers/Hector Lujan(4), Trevor Hildenberger/Jonny Drozd/Max Cordy (3).


    Feel free to ask questions about any of the players or teams.

    • Jun 11 2017 11:34 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  11. Twins Minor League Report (6/9): Palacios Tallies 13 Total Bases

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 9, Syracuse 3
    Box Score

    Adam Wilk earned his first victory in the Twins organization, aided by a big day at the plate from Tommy Field. Wilk had a clean first inning, was then spotted a three-run lead, but gave it all back in the top of the second.

    To his credit, the 29-year-old lefty kept battling, and held Syracuse scoreless over the next four innings. Wilk ended the night having pitched six innings while giving up three runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out five.

    The game was tied in the bottom of the sixth when singles from Field, ByungHo Park and John Ryan Murphy produced the go-ahead run. Rochester later tacked on five runs in the eighth. Field was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, two runs and two RBI.

    Alan Busenitz followed Wilk with two scoreless innings before Drew Rucinski finished it off in the ninth. Zack Granite (2-for-5) had his eighth-straight multi-hit game. Mitch Garver started the game in left field, his first professional appearance in the outfield.

    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Chattanooga 7, Montgomery 4
    Box Score

    Fernando Romero didn’t have his best stuff or command, but he was able to hold the Biscuits at bay. Romero walked five batters, but only surrendered three hits, limiting the damage to two runs over 5.2 innings. He tallied six strikeouts.

    Ryan Walker hit a go-ahead, bases-clearing triple in the top of the sixth. Nick Gordon was 2-for-5 with his 17th double of the season and drove in a run. Jonathan Rodriguez was 2-for-3 and drew a pair of walks. Both T.J. White and Dan Rohlfing had three hits on the evening.

    Montgomery scored four of about the flukiest runs you’ll ever see. The first two came on a chopper that should have been the third out of the first inning, but instead bounced off second base and into the outfield to go down as a two-run double. The last two came in the bottom of the ninth on a bases-loaded wild pitch that should have been a strikeout to end the game.

    Luke Bard and Mason Melotakis both recorded four strikeouts out of the bullpen. Bard pitched 2.1 innings. Melotakis technically only recorded three outs. Baseball math is funny sometimes.

    The win put the Lookouts in a three-way tie with Montgomery and Tennessee for the Southern League North division lead.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Tampa 2, Fort Myers 1
    Box Score

    Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the ninth, the Miracle made a comeback attempt, but it fell short. The inning started with back-to-back singles from Max Murphy and Alex Perez. A couple of strikeouts were sandwiched between Trey Vavra reaching on a fielding error. The Miracle’s lone run came in on a bases-loaded wild pitch before Rafael Valera flied out to right field to end the game.

    Starter David Fischer went 4.2 innings, limiting the Yankees to just one run despite walking five batters. Andrew Vasquez had two strikeouts over 1.1 IP in his second appearance with Fort Myers. It was a tough night for the Miracle bats, as they managed just five hits (all singles) and a walk while striking out 11 times.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 15, Burlington 5
    Box Score

    What’s better than hitting for the cycle? Whatever you want to call what Jermaine Palacios did Friday night. Palacios was 5-for-6 with two homers and two doubles. I suppose he “fell” a triple short of the cycle, but I’m sure he’s happy having to settled for 13 total bases on the night. Heck, let’s call that hitting a Palacios! The Kernels shortstop scored five runs and drove in three.

    Travis Blankenhorn was 3-for-6 with a home run. Lewin Diaz, Mitchell Kranson and Ben Rortvedt also had three hits each. Brandon Lopez had two hits, including a triple, as did Aaron Whitefield, who stole his 14th base.

    Clark Beeker gave up four runs but managed to pitch six innings, extending his streak of pitching six or more to seven-straight starts.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Adam Wilk (6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jermaine Palacios (5-for-6, 2 HR, 2 2B, 5 R, 3 RBI)

    SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Rochester vs. Syracuse, 6:05 pm CT, Yohan Pino (4.50 ERA, 0.93 WHIP)
    Chattanooga at Montgomery, 6:35 pm CT, Stephen Gonsalves (2.45 ERA, 0.82 WHIP)
    Fort Myers vs. Tampa, 5:05 pm CT, Lachlan Wells (4.42 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
    Cedar Rapids vs. Burlington, 6:35 pm CT, Eduardo Del Rosario (5.30 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Friday's games.

    • Jun 10 2017 04:58 AM
    • by Tom Froemming
  12. Twins Minor League Report (6/7): Felix Jorge Carries Chattanooga, Strikes Out Nine

    Transactions: The Twins claimed Chris Heston off waivers from the Dodgers and placed him on the active roster and to make room, the Twins released Nick Tepesch. Additionally, the Twins placed Jorge Polanco on the bereavement list, and Kennys Vargas recalled from Rochester. In Cedar Rapids, the Kernels released Zack Tillery; no corresponding roster move announced at this time.

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Scranton/WB @ Rochester
    Box Score

    With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the seventh inning, Red Wings starter David Hurlbut made quick work of the first two batters on a called third strike and lazy fly ball. Then things went south. The next two batters singled to put runners on the corners and Hurlbut left the game, replaced by Trevor Hildengerger to face Gleyber Torres. Hildenberger, who hasn’t given up an earned run of his own since May 16th, gave up a double, plating both runs, and hanging two additional earned runs on Hurlbut. Hildenberger struck out the next batter to close the inning with the Wings now down 3-1. Hurlbut’s day should have given Rochester a chance, 6.2 innings, eight hits, three earned runs, one walk and 11 strikeouts.

    Unfortunately the bullpen didn’t have their best stuff on Wednesday afternoon.
    In the top of the ninth the Wings got into more trouble and Kevin Chapman and Kam Mickolio each gave up a run. Down 5-1 in the bottom of the ninth, with their 3-4-5 hitters due up, Rochester managed only a single from clean-up man Matt Hague, while Niko Goodrum and ByungHo Park went down on strikes, and designated hitter John Ryan Murphy ended the game, forcing Matt Hague out at second on a grounder to the shortstop.

    The Red Wings had just four hits of their own on Monday, led by Zack Granite, leading off, with a 2-4 night that included a triple and a run scored. In addition to Hague’s single, the only other player with a hit was Leonardo Reginatto with a single of his own. The Wings struck out 12 times as a team and walked just twice. ByungHo Park was 0-4 with four strikeouts, winning himself a Golden Sombrero.


    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Jackson 2 @ Chattanooga 7
    Box Score

    The Lookouts used 12 hits to defeat the Generals on Wednesday afternoon in Chattanooga. The Lookouts took the lead in the third with a three-spot and never looked back. The game was as close as 4-2 after six innings, but another three-spot in the seventh inning put the game out of reach for Jackson.
    The Lookouts were led by Dan Gamache 2-3 with a triple, a walk and three RBI, and every Lookouts player recorded a hit with the exception of Ryan Strausborger, but Strausborger contributed on the defensive side of the ball with an outfield assist on a force play at second base. Levi Michael, Edgar Corcino and T.J. White all had multiple hits.

    Lookouts starter Felix Jorge had another strong start, his fourth quality start in a row, giving up just two runs over 6.2 innings. He gave up seven hits, including a solo home run, struck out nine and walked just one. Jorge appeared to have things under control in the seventh inning after striking out Colin Walsh for the second out of the inning and a man on first, but with the game in hand, and Jorge at 104 pitches, Jake Mauer made the call for Raul Fernandez to come in and face the General’s designated hitter. Frenandez did his job inducing a ground out to end the inning. Fernandez pitched two more innings to earn the seven-out save. He struck out four, walked one and gave up one hit.


    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Tampa @ Fort Myers

    Postponed due to rain. Game will be made up on Thursday as part of a doubleheader with two 7-inning games, starting at 4:30pm Central.


    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids @ Clinton
    Box Score

    The Kernels raced out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to run scoring doubles from Mitchell Kranson (two RBI) and Caleb Hamilton (one RBI). The Lumberkings got two runs back in the second inning, and then took the lead with a three-run fourth. The Kernels then tied the game at 5 in the top of the fifth on a Jaylin Davis double that scored a pair of runs. Unfortunately, the Kernels then gave up four runs in the sixth, putting them down 9-5, a deficit they could not overcome, despite a ninth inning rally.

    Kernels’ starter Sean Poppen was tagged with the first five runs of the game over 4.2 innings. He gave up six hits, two walks and struck out three. He was replaced by Alex Robinson who gave up three runs in just a third of an inning despite not giving up a single hit, just a pair of walks and a hit batsman as he left with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth. Hector Lujan allowed those three runs to score, after replacing Robinson, and then gave up a run of his own as well. Ryan Mason came in and got the Kernels back on track, 2.0 innings, two hits and five strikeouts.

    The Kernels scored their six runs on just four hits, which is a pretty impressive feat considering they had just four walks as well, but all four of their hits were doubles and all came with runners in scoring position. No Kernels player had more than one hit, just doubles from Davis, Kranson Hamilton and Whitefield (ninth inning).


    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Felix Jorge, Chattanooga Lookouts
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Dan Gamache, Chattanooga Lookouts


    FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Rochester - Aaron Slegers (4-3, 6.23)
    Chattanooga – Ryan Eades
    Fort Myers – Dereck Rodriguez (4-2, 2.66) & Brady Anderson (2-1, 4.01)
    Cedar Rapids – Domenick Carlini (3-3, 4.85)

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Wednesday's games.

    • Jun 08 2017 10:49 AM
    • by Eric R Pleiss
  13. Twins Minor League Report (6/6): Turley Blows RailRiders Away

    To find out who made the headlines on 2-1 night in the system on Tuesday, read on.

    TRANSACTIONS

    Nik Turley was assigned again to Rochester on Tuesday, made the start for the Red Wings and made more than a statement to stay in AAA for good this time, and maybe even a call-up to the Twins. To make roomon the roster, right-handed pitcher Ryan Eades was swapped back to AA.

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Scranton Wilkes-Barre 1, Rochester 8
    Box Score

    The Red Wings offense exploded for multiple runs in each of the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings in this one to put the RailRiders away. But the story wasn’t that late offensive explosion to secure the victory.

    The story was starter Nik Turley whose name has appeared quite frequently in these reports this season, but even he hadn’t done something like this.

    What you ask? How about recording his first ten outs of the game via the strikeout.

    He did punch out fourteen in a seven inning start for Chattanooga on April 25th, but would eclipse that number in six innings in this one, with fifteen K’s total. He did allow four hits (including two doubles) and two walks on the game, but whenever any trouble materialized he simply shrugged it off and overpowered the next hitter(s).

    Mitch Garver started that scoring for Rochester with his fourth home run of the season, a three-run shot in the sixth. Zack Granite added an RBI single in the three-run seventh inning that also included three errors, and John Ryan Murphy added an RBI double in the two-run eighth to account for most of that late offense. Granite finished 3-5 with two runs scored.

    Out of the bullpen, Drew Rucinski pitched two perfect innings including one strikeout, while Michael Tonkin allowed a run on two hits and a walk in the ninth to close out the game. He also struck out one.

    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Jackson 4, Chattanooga 2 (14 innings)
    Box Score

    The Lookouts were taken into extra innings in this one, as the pitching staffs of both teams limited the chances throughout.

    Matt Tracy made the start for Chattanooga and went the first six innings. He gave up a two-run home run in the fourth that made the score 2-1 in favor of the Generals, but that was it. He allowed five hits and two walks along with five strikeouts on the game.

    Chattanooga scored single runs in the third and fifth innings thanks to the bat of Nick Gordon, who brought in the run with a single in both frames. The Lookouts left the bases loaded in that fifth inning, and with the game tied the bullpens took over.

    Todd Van Steensel, Luke Bard and Mason Melotakis all pitched two scoreless frames for the home team, extending into the extra frames. Van Steensel was perfect in the seventh and eighth. Bard allowed two hits but struck out three in the ninth and tenth. Melotakis walked one and struck out three in the next two innings.

    Jackson’s bullpen pitched nine scoreless innings, combining to allow just five hits and four walks, while striking out fourteen to keep Chattanooga from walking this one off.

    Nick Anderson came on in the thirteenth frame and kept the game tied, but ran into trouble that spelled doom for the Lookouts in the fourteenth. Three singles, a walk, and a sac fly plated two runs for 4-2 Jackson lead.

    Ryan Walker led off the bottom of the inning with a walk and Gordon reached base as the tying run with an infield single before an out was recorded, but a double-play ball and ground out shut the door on the extended game.

    Gordon (4-6, 2 RBI, BB), Edgar Corcino (3-7), and Walker (2-5, R, 2B, BB) accounted for nine of the Lookouts eleven hits on the game. The rest of the team was 2-33 with twelve of their sixteen total strikeouts. They were just 2-14 with runners in scoring position and left thirteen men on base.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Cancelled – Rain.

    After their game was postponed due to rain yesterday, the weather persisted in Palm Beach and both games today were cancelled. Per a press release from the Miracle, the games will not be made up.

    Lewis Thorpe had started the game yesterday and his team was down 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth due to a couple of unearned runs when it was postponed. No stats from that game will count.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 7, Clinton 2
    Box Score

    Cedar Rapids notched runs in four of the first five innings in this one, jumping out to a 5-0 lead that would be more than enough offense for their pitching staff.

    Lewin Diaz put them up 1-0 with an RBI double in the first inning, keeping his name at the top of the leaderboard for extra-base hits on the season with twenty-eight (21 2B, 3B, 7 HR). They scored two in the third thanks to an RBI triple from Jermaine Palacios and an RBI single from Jaylin Davis. In the fourth, after his first double of the season and advancing to third on a fielder's choice, Hank Morrison raced home on a wild pitch before Palacios clubbed his eighth home run to make it 5-0.

    The LumberKings were held scoreless through the sixth inning thanks to the effort of Kernels starter Tyler Wells. In the high quality start, he allowed just two singles to the opposing offense while striking out seven. Of his 83 pitches, 56 went for strikes including eight swing-and-misses. He struck out the side in the fifth inning. He lowered his ERA to 2.05 on the season along with picking up his third win.

    The Kernels tacked on two more runs in the eighth thanks to a Caleb Hamilton double, and he scored on a wild pitch.

    In relief of Wells, Max Cordy allowed a run on a walk that was followed by an RBI double in the seventh, but struck out two in his inning. Colton Davis pitched a scoreless eight, striking out one. Patrick McGuff came on to finish the game, and gave up a run on a walk and a hit for the final score of 7-2.

    Palacios finished a double short of the cycle with a 3-5 night and scored three runs in addition to his two RBI. Davis was the only other player with multiple hits and also drove in two.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Pitcher of the Day – Nik Turley, Rochester Red Wings (W, 6 IP, 4 H’s, 2 BB’s, 15 K’s)
    Hitter of the Day – Jermaine Palacios, Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-5, 3 R’s, 3B, HR, 2 RBI)

    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Scranton Wilkes-Barre @ Rochester (11:35AM CST) – LHP David Hurlbut (3-3, 3.35 ERA)
    Jackson @ Chattanooga (10:15AM CST) – RHP Felix Jorge (5-1, 3.39 ERA)
    Tampa @ Fort Myers (6:05PM CST) – RHP Brady Anderson (2-1, 4.01 ERA)
    Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (6:30PM CST) – RHP Sean Poppen (4-1, 2.12 ERA)

    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!

    • Jun 07 2017 07:13 AM
    • by Steve Lein
  14. Part 4: Seth's Midseason Top 40 Twins Prospects (11-15)

    This group of prospects is a little more experienced than most you’ll find. Four of these five players are at least in AA, with three of them spending most of this season in AAA, one step away from the big leagues. So grab some coffee and check out who is in this section.


    15. Jermaine Palacios, SS, 20
    While he has cooled off from his torrid April in which he was the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Month, Palacios has reclaimed his place as a top prospect in the organization. The Twins signed Palacios out of Venezuela in September of 2013. He burst on the scene in 2015 when he hit .421 in the GCL and .336 in Elizabethton as an 18-year-old. Last year, he went to Cedar Rapids and really struggled. Whether it was the adjustment to a full season or the weather in the Midwest League, Palacios hit just .222/.276/.287 (.564) in 71 games before being hit by a pitch ended his season. He is healthy and he returned to Iowa where he has put up strong numbers offensively while also playing a very solid defensive shortstop.

    Preseason Ranking: 32
    Pre-2016 Ranking: 21


    14. Zack Granite, OF, 24
    It’s been an interesting year for Zack Granite. Consider he began the 2016 season in Chattanooga in large part due to an injury to Shannon Wilkerson. But, given that opportunity, he took off and had a terrific season, one commemorated by the Twins with their Minor League Player of the Year award. He hit .295/.347/.382 (.729) with 18 doubles, eight triples and four home runs. He also collected 56 stolen bases. The Twins 14th-round pick in 2013 out of Seton Hall, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster after last season. He made a great impression on teammates and his future manager during spring training. Unfortunately, he missed a little more than a month because of an oblique injury, but after a short rehab stint with the Miracle, he moved up to Rochester. He has hit .247 in his first 21 games since his return to the Red Wings. He has already stolen seven bases in AAA.

    Preseason Ranking: 25


    13. Mitch Garver, C, 26
    Since the Twins made him their ninth-round pick in 2013 after four years at the University of New Mexico, Garver has been a very good hitter. He was the Twins Daily choice for Minor League Hitter of the Year after a strong 2014 season in Cedar Rapids. He moved up to Ft. Myers in 2015. Last year he was a Southern League All- Star for the Lookouts in the first half, and he finished the season by hitting .329/.381/.434 (.815) in 22 games for the Red Wings. He was added to the Twins 40- man roster in the offseason and reported to his third big league spring training (first as a rostered participant). He was sent to Rochester where he had hit .256/.413/.463 (.877) with eight doubles and three homers in his first 26 games. His defense has steadily improved over the years to the point that he’s ready. Now it’s about opportunity as Jason Castro and Chris Gimenez are in the big leagues. He should see big league time in 2017.

    Preseason Ranking: 11
    Pre-2016 Ranking: 24
    Pre-2015 Ranking: 26


    12. Felix Jorge, RHP, 23
    Jorge signed with the Twins in February of 2011 out of the Dominican Republic. The Twins were able to sneak him past the Rule 5 draft following the 2015 season, but they didn’t try it again after a nice 2016 season. He started the season with Ft. Myers where he went 9-3 with a 1.55 ERA in 14 starts. He walked just 11 and struck out 77 in 93 innings. He moved up to Chattanooga where he went 3-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 11 starts. He has made nine starts this season with the Lookouts and gone 5-1 with a 3.48 ERA. Like Stewart, Jorge will need to figure out a way to miss more bats. He attacks the zone, sitting in the low-90s and touching 94 at times. He gets good movement on all of his pitches. He generally has thrown a lot of strikes. Ideally he can spend the full season at Chattanooga though a late season promotion to Rochester is possible.

    Preseason Ranking: 10
    Pre-2016 Ranking: 22
    Pre-2015 Ranking: NR
    Pre-2014 Ranking: 19


    11. Daniel Palka, OF, 25
    Palka came to the Twins from Arizona in the offseason following the 2015 season in exchange for catcher Chris Herrmann. He had a strong debut season in the Twins system and was named by Twins Daily as the Minor League Hitter of the Year. Between Chattanooga and Rochester, he hit .254/.327/.521 (.848) with 24 doubles and 34 home runs. He was added to the Twins 40-man roster in November and impressed the manager during his time in big league spring training. He is currently hitting .261/.316/.452 (.768) with six doubles and eight homers through 41 games. Unfortunately, he is now on the DL with a fractured left index finge and will be out for some time. He is another guy that we could see in 2017.

    Preseason Ranking: 15
    Pre-2016 Ranking: 25

    Starting soon, we’ll jump into the Top 10 Twins prospects. Feel free to discuss this group, your Top 10 or Top 20, and ask any questions you may have.

    • May 31 2017 04:49 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  15. Twins Minor League Report (5/22): Palacios. Hero.

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester - DAY OFF

    Rochester is 19-19 and on a two-game losing streak.

    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Chattanooga 4, Biloxi 3
    Box Score

    Felix Jorge took the ball and improved to 4-1 on the season. In seven strong innings, Jorge scattered five hits and a walk. He allowed three runs and struck out three. Mason Melotakis picked up the hold with an inning that included a walk and hit… and Melotakis also striking out the side. John Curtiss picked up his seventh save and struck out one.

    T.J. White led the offense with two hits. Jonathan Rodriguez hit his fifth home run, a two-run shot in the third inning. Ryan Strausborger tripled and his eighth inning walk drove in the game-winning run. Nick Gordon was 1-3 with a walk and run scored.

    The Lookouts jump to 24-21.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Fort Myers 13, Dunedin 6
    Box Score

    The Miracle and especially David Fischer got a chance to see Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki on Monday night. No problem. They combined to go 0-4 with three strikeouts and a walk.

    Fischer picked up his third win of the season. He pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing only a run on two hits… but walked six. He struck out five. Michael Theofanopoulos got beat up, he surrendered five runs on six hits and a walk, striking out out in 2.2 innings. Nick Anderson pitched a perfect ninth.

    The bats put up innings of five, three, two and three runs on their way to a 13-run barrage. Kevin Garcia, 3-5 with an RBI, two runs, and a walk, and Sean Miller, 3-5 with two runs and a walk, paced the team with three hits each. Max Murphy was 2-5, but scored three times and drove in four. Murphy had a double and a walk. Also in the two-hit club were Zander Wiel, who hit his fifth home run, a solo shot and Alex Perez, who scored three runs and drove in a run.

    FSL POW Chris Paul was replaced in the fifth inning after going 0-3 with two strikeouts.

    Fort Myers is on a hot streak and improves to 24-21.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 6, Clinton 3 (12 innings)
    Box Score

    It’s Monday, so naturally at least one affiliate was going to go into extra innings. But it ended in walk-off fashion as Jermaine Palacios hit a three-run walk-off home run in the twelfth inning.

    With the Kernels trailing 3-2 after an inning and a half, the scoring slowed down. The Kernels tied it in the seventh inning. Then the scoring stopped for four more innings.

    Sean Poppen gave up three runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out five in five innings. Colton Davis (two innings, three hits), Andrew Vasquez (three innings, walk, two strikeouts) and Tom Hackimer (two innings, three strikeouts) combined to give the bullpen seven shutout innings.

    Christian Cavaness was 3-5 with a triple, walk, RBI and run. Lewin Diaz was 2-5 and is batting .294. Ben Rortvedt added two hits. Aaron Whitefield, from the 9-spot, scored two runs and is batting .288.

    But the story, again, is Palacios. Batting .329, he’s now got six home runs and added his ninth double on Monday as well. Last year’s injury-shortened season is now just a blip on the radar and he’s back to being the breakout prospect he was in 2015.

    The Kernels are 26-18

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day – Felix Jorge, Chattanooga
    Hitter of the Day – Jermaine Palacios, Cedar Rapids

    TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Rochester vs Durham (6:05 CST) - LHP Jason Wheeler (3-1, 5.35 ERA)
    Fort Myers at Dunedin (5:30 CST) - LHP Lachlan Wells (2-5, 3.51 ERA)
    Cedar Rapids vs Clinton (6:35 CST) - LHP Domenick Carlini (2-2, 4.73 ERA)

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Monday’s games.

    • May 23 2017 04:31 AM
    • by Jeremy Nygaard
  16. Twins Minor League Report (5/17): Wells Tosses Complete Game

    Find out everything and more that happened happened in the Twins system on Wednesday night, starting with the transactions of the day.


    TRANSACTIONS

    Check out the transactions through the minor league system on Wednesday:

    • Chattanooga placed RHP Todd Van Steensel on the disabled list with a groin strain. Taking his place is RHP Alex Wimmers (who had been sent to extended spring training on Monday from Rochester).
    • Because of the doubleheader Thursday, the Twins are able to call up a 26th man. That player will be RHP Drew Rucinski.
    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 8, Lehigh Valley 11 (11 innings)
    Box Score

    In his first four starts this season, lefty David Hurlbut gave up a total of four runs in 22.1 innings. He had his first clunker of 2017 on Wednesday night. He was charged with seven runs on nine hits (two homers) and a walk in just 3.2 innings. Alan Busenitz came on and was terrific. The hard-throwing right-hander gave up just one hit over 3.1 scoreless innings. He struck out five without issuing a walk. Michael Tonkin came in for the 8th inning, protecting a one-run lead. He gave up a solo homer to tie the game, but he then worked scoreless innings in the ninth and 10th innings. Kevin Chapman came in for the 11th frame. He gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits in the inning to take the loss.

    The offense provided plenty of support. Byungho Park went 3-4 with his fourth double. JB Shuck was 3-4 with a walk and his fifth double. John Ryan Murphy went 2-5 with his third homer, a three-run shot. Matt Hague and Daniel Palka each went 2-5 with a double. It was Palka’s fifth and Matt Hague’s third.

    In the bottom of the 10th, the Red Wings got to go through the Pat Venditte Experience. Venditte is the ambidextrous pitcher who has moved up and down from AAA to the big leagues the last few seasons.

    Posted Image

    The bases were loaded, but John Ryan Murphy grounded into a double play to end the threat to end the game.

    For Lehigh Valley, old friend Pedro Florimon went 5-5 with a double and is hitting .349 on the season.


    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Chattanooga 6 Birmingham 8
    Box Score

    It was an early start on Wednesday for the Lookouts. Their fifth and final game of a home series against Birmingham began at 11:15 local time. Following the game, the Lookouts headed to Biloxi for their next five-game series.

    Down 2-0 in the third inning, TJ White, Ryan Strausborger and Nick Gordon hit doubles to tie the score at two. Then in the bottom of the fourth inning, Levi Michael added a two-run homer to put the Lookouts on top. It was his first homer of the season. They added two more on an Edgar Corcino single. But that was it for the offense. In fact, after that fourth inning, they didn’t have another hit. The one base runner reached on a walk and was erased immediately by a double play.

    Felix Jorge was strong through six innings. He gave up an early two-run homer, but that was it. Until the seventh inning. He started the inning with a strikeout, but then he loaded the bases with a walk, a single and another walk. That’s when Mason Melotakis came in. Melotakis gave up a pinch-hit, grand slam and the game was tied. After recording the inning’s second out, he gave up a single which was followed by another home run. That gave the Kernels their 8-6 deficit that ended up being the final score.

    Melotakis worked a scoreless eighth frame. John Curtiss did pitch the ninth inning as well. He has now pitched 13 games this season, and in 14.2 innings, he is yet to allow a run. He has 19 strikeouts. However, he’s also given up nine walks to go with nine hits.

    TJ White was the lone Lookouts hitter with more than one hit. He went 2-4 with his first double.


    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Ft. Myers 3, Clearwater 1
    Box Score

    Complete games are a rarity in minor league baseball. Pitch counts are more tightly monitored, and especially in the lower levels, the pitchers are young and will be taken care of.

    However, on Wednesday night, lefty Lachlan Wells delivered a complete game in a Miracle win. Wells gave up a double to lead off the game. After a sacrifice bunt, the run scored on a ground ball. After that, it was eight straight shutout innings. In fact, only one more runner the whole game reached second base. He gave up the one run on four hits and two walks. He struck out four. Most important, he needed just 92 pitches (67 strikes) to complete the game and win his second game of the season and reduce his ERA to 3.51. No surprise. It was the first complete game of his career.

    Offensively, the Miracle offense waited an inning to do their scoring. In the bottom of the second inning, Daniel Kihle launched a three-run homer, his third of the season. That was it for the Miracle offense, at least in terms of runs scored. After hitting a walk-off home run the night before, Chris Paul added two hits on Wednesday. Rafael Valera walked twice.


    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 7, Peoria 4
    Box Score

    It looked as if Wednesday’s Kernels game had the potential to be a long one. Through two innings, a combined ten runs had already been scored. However, just one more run was scored the rest of the game.

    The Kernels got a two-run homer from Lewin Diaz in the bottom of the first inning, his fifth of the season. Sean Poppen gave up three runs in the top of the second frame, but the Kernels put up a five-spot in the bottom of the second inning. Aaron Whitefield drove in a run with a single before Jermaine Palacios launched a three-run homer, his fourth of the year. Two batters later, Mitchell Kranson hit his third homer of the year, a solo shot.

    Palacios had been in a bit of a slump, seeing his average drop from .398 to .326 over the past 13 games during which he hit .196. However, on this day, he went 3-5 with his eighth double, fourth homer and he stole his sixth base. Mitchell Kranson went 3-4 with his 12th double and third home run. That’s two guys who ended the day a triple shy of the cycle.

    Brandon Lopez went 3-4 with his second double. Aaron Whitefield went 3-5. Ben Rortvedt went 2-4 in the game.

    Sean Poppen made the start. The right-hander from Harvard gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out five. He has completed six innings in all seven of his starts this season. Zach Tillery came on for his first appearance of the year and in a year. He gave up a run on three walks in his inning. It was his first appearance since May 7, 2016, with the Kernels. He missed the year with a shoulder injury. Alex Robinson recorded his second save with two shutout innings. He struck out four.


    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Lachlan Wells, Ft. Myers Miracle
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jermaine Palacios/Mitchell Kranson, Cedar Rapids Kernels


    THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Lehigh Valley @ Rochester (12:35 CST) - LHP Jason Wheeler
    Chattanooga @ Biloxi (6:35 CST) - RHP Fernando Romero
    Clearwater @ Ft. Myers (5:35 CST) - RHP Brady Anderson
    Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:35 CST) - LHP Domenic Carlini IV
    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Wednesday’s games.

    • May 18 2017 04:48 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  17. Minor League Notebook: Injuries And Kernels Report

    I like to encourage fans of the Twins and minor league baseball to make the trek down to Cedar Rapids. From St. Paul, it takes about four hours to get here. Cedar Rapids has such a rich baseball history going back well over 100 years. You’ll want to spend some time in their ballpark gift shop which also holds the Cedar Rapids Baseball Hall of Fame. The ballpark is beautiful. They do a great job with fan interaction and giveaways.

    This morning, I spent about 18 minutes walking around the stadium and talking about Cedar Rapids. Take a few minutes to watch and listen to this Twitter Live/Periscope video from earlier today.




    KERNELS NOTES

    If you’re a prospect hound, it’s fun to see players before they become big leaguers. Think back to that 2013 Cedar Rapids team, the first year of its affiliate with the Minnesota Twins organization. Players from that team who are now members of the Minnesota Twins include Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers, Jorge Polanco.

    Which players from this year’s Kernels roster will be future Minnesota Twins? Who knows? But it is likely at least two of them will, and maybe seven or eight of them. It’s fun to watch and see them at this level and try to project for yourself.

    On Thursday night, Tyler Wells started for the Kernels. At 6-7 and 255 pounds, he can be an intimidating guy on the mound. He throws a good fastball in the 91-94 mph range, and he’s got pretty good command of it. He also has a good slider and a mid-70s slow curve ball. He began the inning with five straight strikeouts. He gave up a couple of runs in the third inning, but two scored on a broken bat bloop double that Christian Cavaness dove and missed. I think he’s one to watch.

    On Friday night, Sean Poppen was on the mound. He got hit pretty hard in the first inning, but he settled in and held Ft. Wayne to four runs (three earned) over 6.1 innings. I asked him after the game what adjustments he made. He said, “I like to stick with the fastball, but they came out swinging. I wasn’t locating the ball where I should. The next innings, I started working a little more offspeed just to throw them off balance.”

    Poppen is a control guy, but he also hits 92-93 with his fastball. He is a Harvard guy and obviously smart in a classroom but also on the diamond. “You can’t really judge yourself on wins. You can do your job to get late in the game and get out with a lead, but after that you just have trust in your relievers, and most of the time they pull through. Most of the time we’ve been getting run support and sometimes it doesn’t happen. Today we got plenty of run support.”

    Tonight we’ll see lefty Domenick Carlini start for the Kernels, and it’ll be right-hander Clark Beeker for Sunday afternoon’s game.

    Andrew Vasquez came on in the sixth inning on Thursday. He is impressive .He’s a big man (6-6, 240), and he throws hard. He has good pop and hides the ball well and has a good slider. To my untrained eye, he looks like a guy who has a chance to keep moving up and being a good reliever.

    Tom Hackimer posted a 0.58 WHIP in April yet somehow he has already blown three saves. I wouldn't worry about that as he has some really good stuff, and that side-winding delivery will be able to throw off a lot of hitters.

    The Kernels have three catchers and yet it seems to really work out well. Ben Rortvedt is the 19-year-old high draft pick, so you know he’s going to play. While he hasn’t hit much yet, you can see he’s got a swing that over time will develop well. But behind the plate, he is really impressive. I like to watch catchers, and he just seems to have all the tools. While he’s still got room to grow and will continue to get better, he has the makings of a real fine defender. Let’s start with the arm. He has great throw and catch mechanics, and he threw some absolute ropes to second base to nab would-be base-stealers on Thursday night. As impressive, he really seems to relish the role of leader of the staff. After each inning, he walks in with his pitcher, and I saw them continuing to talk in the dugout. I wouldn’t worry about the offense, though I think that will come. Rortvedt is legit behind the plate.

    Mitchell Kranson caught on Friday night. He’s a hitter first. That’s not to say he’s not a good catcher. I thought he did real well behind the plate. He too communicated well and blocked a few balls in the dirt. His arm isn’t Rortvedt like, but he has a strong and generally accurate arm. But he can hit. While he hasn’t had a lot of hits in these two games, it’s clear that he has a great approach. He knows the strike zone, but he is incredibly aggressive when he gets a strike. He looks like he wants to damage the baseball, and he’s got good power.

    In college, Kranson played all over. One year he did catch over 40 games for Cal-Berkeley. Another year, he played mostly third base. He’s listed at 5-10, but he played a solid first base one year for the Bears. He even got time in the outfield. This past offseason, Kranson worked hard. He lost 25 pounds without losing any muscle through workouts and dietary changes. This spring he’s only caught four or five games. He’s played some first and some third, and he’s in the lineup almost every game because of his ability to hit.

    Caleb Hamilton is another catcher on the roster. He was drafted by the Twins out of Oregon State just last year. He had never caught until last fall at the instructional league. He talked a lot about how much he’s grown to enjoy the position. But he also has played around the diamond. On Friday night, he was at third base. He made a great diving play to his backhand side, near the third base line, Got up and threw a pea across the diamond for the out. He’s played some in the outfield (starting in left field tonight) and first base as well. In college, he played a lot in the middle infield.

    I tweeted that I talked to Lake County starting pitchers Juan Hillman and Brady Aiken on Thursday night because they both have connection with a couple of top Twins prospects (those stories coming this week). There was another connection. The primary catcher for Lake County was Logan Ice. He was the catcher at Oregon State for three years and the roommate of Caleb Hamilton.

    Travis Blankenhorn was hit by a pitch on Thursday night, a slider that seemed to just keep coming in on him. He went down. It hit him in the knee, but he was able to stay in the game. On Friday, he had the marks to show it, a huge black and blue bruise. On Friday, he was back in the lineup, though as the team’s DH. On Saturday, he returns to third base. He’s been slumping since early-season success, but on Saturday, he crushed the ball a few times, lining out to right once and having a ball caught at the wall.

    Lewin Diaz is a big man. He’s not swift, that’s for sure, but he is a very young developing player with a ton of potential. He’s listed at 6-3 and 254 pounds, and that would seem to be accurate. At first base, it’s a work-in-progress, though he does put in the work. He’s a pretty good athlete for his size too. Offensively, he has struggled to connect with some good fastballs, but in the two games, I think he’s got three doubles and a triple. Yes, a triple. I think he’s got a world of offensive potential.

    Brandon Lopez is a pretty solid all-around player. Drafted last year out of Miami, he has a real professional approach at the plate. He knows the strike zone and does a nice job. He also isn’t afraid to take a real big swing and has some pop. He played shortstop at Miami, but he’s played mostly at second base for the Kernels.

    That’s because Jermaine Palacios is back. After what had to be a frustrating 2016 season, he is off to a great start this year. He was the Twins Daily Hitter of the Month. Of course I got here on Thursday and his 15-game hitting streak came to an end. But he has stung the ball, and on Friday night, he had a bases-clearing double off the base of the wall in left center field. Defensively, he has looked real solid too. He just looks much more confident this year, or at least right now.

    I chatted for quite some time yesterday with Aaron Whitefield. It’s still amazing to me that he didn’t play any baseball until he was 17. Before then, it was just fast-pitch softball (and some other sports like soccer and Australian Rules Football). He is a great athlete, at 6-4 and 200 pounds. He can run and he’s got a lot of power. I’ll write up a story on him this week as well. Impressive young man, and he won’t turn 21 until September.

    As I’m typing this, it’s now 4 ½ hours before the game. The relievers are set up in two groups. JP Martinez is hitting ground balls for pitcher fielding practice to one group on the main field with minor league pitching coordinator Eric Rasmussen observing. Down the right field line, LaTroy Hawkins is working with another group of pitchers (looks like the starters maybe) on pick-off plays at second base.

    LaTroy Hawkins has been here since Wednesday, and today will be his last day before he heads back to Minneapolis for a while, but he will be back. The players seem to really enjoy it. I was told by one player that Hawkins had a session with the pitchers and catchers and just had the players feel free to ask him questions about anything. What an opportunity for these kids.

    Brian Dinkelman is back for his second season as the Kernels hitting coach. I learned last night that when he got the job last year, he and his family moved to Cedar Rapids, so he’s hear all year around. He is originally from a suburb just outside of St. Louis, so he was very excited last night watching the Blues hold on to a late lead and win their Stanley Cup series.

    Tommy Watkins is in his first year as manager, and he has this team playing very well right now. While there aren’t a lot of high-end prospects on this roster, they have a good team, and all reports are that Watkins is doing a terrific job. I’ll have a chance to go one-on-one with him later today to see how he’s enjoying this experience.

    Again, if you ever have a chance to get down to Cedar Rapids, try to do it. It’s definitely worth it.


    INJURY UPDATES

    I got some reports today on several Twins minor leaguers who are currently on the disabled list. Here’s the quick report:

    Stephen Gonsalves threw three innings on Thursday. He’s still getting stretched out and is expected to miss three more weeks.

    That is the same timeline projection for Tyler Jay.

    Jake Reed is starting a throwing program now and will likely be out about another month.

    Byungho Park is playing in extended spring training games now.

    Working his way back from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, Alex Muren is still working his way back to where he was pre-injury, but he’s getting close.
    Lewis Thorpe is also continuing to work. He’s healthy but working to get back to where he was.

    Others who are currently playing in EST and could be back soon, pending roster developments or other moves include outfielder Ryan Strausborger, infielders TJ White and Brian Olson, catcher AJ Murray, and pitchers Cam Booser, Michael Cederoth and Zack Tillery.

    Henry Centeno is rehabbing his elbow. Yohan Pino is still getting stretched out. Nick Greenwood is supposed to throw an inning down in Ft. Myers today.

    Well, this is probably enough ready material for a Saturday afternoon. I’m going to go watch some more infielder/pitcher practice and some batting practice. Again be sure to follow me on Twitter, as well as the Twins Daily Twitter account. And “Like” Twins Daily on Facebook.

    • May 06 2017 08:37 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  18. Twins Minor League Hitter Of The Month - April 2017

    Pitching wins, but only if the hitters score enough runs in that game. There were quite a few hitters that started their seasons strong. Let’s take a look at the Top 6 hitters of the month, but first here are some players deserving of honorable mention.


    HONORABLE MENTION

    • C Mitch Garver (Rochester) - .278/.435/.500 (.935). 10-36 with five doubles, one home run and eight RBI.
    • OF Daniel Palka (Rochester) - .259/.318/.469 (.787). 21-81 with two doubles, five home runs and 13 RBI.
    • 1B/3B Matt Hague (Rochester) - .313/.398/.450 (.848). 25-80 with two doubles, three homers and 12 RBI.
    • 2B/SS Engelb Vielma (Chattanooga) - .320/.373/.387 (.760). 24-75 with five doubles and ten RBI.
    • OF Max Murphy (Ft. Myers) - .297/.402/.432 (.834). 22-74 with four doubles, two homers and eight RBI.
    • OF Jaylin Davis (Cedar Rapids) - .268/.341/.465 (.806). 19-71 with one double, two triples, three home runs and 11 RBI.
    THE TOP SIX HITTERS

    Number 6 – Chattanooga – 2B/SS Nick Gordon - .322/.381/.437 (.818). 28-87 with three doubles, two triples, one home run and 12 RBI.


    Gordon was the Twins top pick, fifth overall, in the 2014 draft out of high school in Orlando. He has gradually worked his way up the system, one step at a time, always well younger than the average player in his league. This year, he is one of the youngest players in the AA Southern League, and he’s off to a terrific start.


    Gordon has been the team’s leadoff hitter most every game. He’s split his time between shortstop (13 games) and second base (8 games) with Engelb Vielma and done well at both spots. Talking to Nick Gordon in spring training, it was clear that he was ready to have a big season. He told me that his confidence was very high following his AFL performance last year as well as his time in big league camp. He’s still got work to do. For instance, I think that more power will come. But at least to this point, he has taken more walks and better plate appearances, something that will help him in the long run.



    Number 5 – Ft. Myers – 1B Zander Wiel - .259/.337/.506 (.843). 21-81 with eight doubles, three triples, two home runs and 18 RBI.



    Wiel was the Twins 12th-round pick in 2015 out of Vanderbilt. He led the Midwest League in RBI in 2016. This year he has moved up to the Miracle where he is off to another solid start. To this point, he has been an extra base hit machine which is always impressive in the Florida State League. The first baseman also had 18 RBI in the month, tops in the Twins minor leagues.


    Last week, Wiel was taken out of a game after being hit by a 95 mph fastball in the face. He had a few stitches put in, missed one game and was back in the lineup. He’s got work to do defensively, but it will be his bat that will have to carry him up the ladder.



    Number 4 – Cedar Rapids – OF Aaron Whitefield - .289/.304/.566 (.877). 22-76 with five doubles, two triples, four home runs and 12 RBI.



    Two years ago, Aaron Whitefield was playing softball internationally for Australia. A Twins scout saw him play and decided the tremendous athlete had good size and speed, and signed him. He played just a few games in the GCL in 2015 after signing. Last year, he was the lone GCL Twins player to be named to the postseason All-Star team. He made the jump from the GCL to the Midwest League, and after some early struggles, he has been very good.


    He has hit mostly first or ninth in Tommy Watkins’ lineup. He has mostly played center field where he has tremendous range and a strong arm. While he will need to be more patient at the plate, He had just two walks to go with 19 strikeouts in the month, he has some natural yet raw abilities that are very encouraging. In time, he’ll hit for more power and can steal some bases. Expect some ups and downs, but the 20-year-old’s talent is immense.



    Number 3 - Rochester – IF Tommy Field - .314/.380/.543 (.923) 22-70 with seven doubles, three homers and five RBI


    Between 2011 and 2015, Field played in a combined 47 big league games for the Rockies, Angels and Rangers. The 30-year-old utility infielder came to the Twins as a free agent during the middle of the 2016 season. He showed an ability to play all three infield positions very well, as well as playing well in some outfield time. In 82 games for the Red Wings last year, Field hit .235 (.726) with 11 home runs.


    Field had a nice showing in big league camp this year before being sent to Rochester again. He had a strong first month. He hit over .300 with ten extra base hits while continuing to be reliable wherever manager Mike Quade puts him in the lineup or on the field.


    Number 2 - Cedar Rapids – C/1B Mitchell Kranson - .324/.351/.535 (.887) 23-71 with seven doubles, one triple, two homers and 11 RBI



    After four years at Cal-Berkeley, Kranson was the Twins ninth-round draft pick last June. He went to Elizabethton and hit. In the offseason, he lost 25 pounds and gained strength. He came to spring training looking like a different person. It’s good to see when a guy works that hard sees immediate success. He’s hit anywhere from two to five in the Kernels lineup and been productive all month. He’s hit for extra-base power. He uses the whole field well. He’s a very professional hitter.


    Defensively, he played first base, third base and catcher this month. He’d like to do more catching in time, though part of his value as he goes forward will be his ability to play multiple positions including behind the plate.


    And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is:

    Cedar Rapids – SS Jermaine Palacios - .393/.432/.573 (1.005). 35-89 with three doubles, five triples, one home run and 11 RBI.

    A year ago, a 19-year-old Jermaine Palacios finished April in Cedar Rapids hitting .186/.256/.214 (.471). It didn’t get better as things warmed up, and his season came to an end after being hit by a pitch in mid-July.


    2017 has been completely different. Now 20, Palacios got off to a fast start and it has continued. With a couple of hits last night, he now has a 14-game hitting streak. He’s hit the ball hard all over the field. He leads the organization in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, total bases, triples, and several other offensive categories. And despite this being his second go-round in the league, 85% of his at bats have come against older pitchers.

    Defensively, he’s played at shortstop every game. He’s been pretty good, posting a .955 fielding percentage. Many believe that he has the ability to stick at shortstop.


    While it is easy to think that the Twins should move Palacios up to Ft. Myers, and that may happen. However, he’s still got things to work on and it doesn’t hurt for him to experience some extended success at this level. Also, he has just four walks to go with 18 strikeouts, so he’ll have to continue to work on his plate discipline. However, to this point, aggressiveness has paid off for him.



    Congratulations to the April Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Month for 2017, Cedar Rapids shortstop Jermaine Palacios.

    • May 03 2017 04:51 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  19. Twins Minor League Report (5/2): Diaz Pops, Navarreto Walks-Off

    To find out how it all went down on Tuesday night in the minors, keep reading!

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester @ Buffalo (Postponed – Rain)

    Tuesday’s series opener against the Buffalo Bisons was rained out and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Wednesday. David Hurlbut will likely take his normal spot while early season standout Nik Turley, freshly promoted to AAA is scheduled for game two.

    In award news, Jose Berrios was named the International League player of the week for his two most recent, dominating efforts.


    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Scheduled day off.

    The Lookouts were on their way back home on Tuesday after winning three of five against the Generals of Jackson, TN. They start a five game series at home vs. the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Chattanooga is looking to get back to .500 on the season in the opening game, as they are 3.5 games back of Jackson in the North Division at 12-13.


    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Daytona 1, Fort Myers 2 (10 innings)
    Box score

    Fort Myers got on the board in the bottom of the first inning courtesy of Zack Granite, who led off their half with an infield single. He then stole second base, moved to third on a groundout, and raced home on a passed ball to put them up 1-0.

    It got pretty boring after that as pitching took over on both sides.

    Starter Cody Stashak scattered six hits over six innings, allowing just one run while striking out seven in a quality start effort. His one run came in the sixth as three consecutive singles loaded the bases with one out, before a sacrifice fly tied the game at one.

    Tortugas pitcher Jose Lopez matched Stashak through the sixth as the Lookouts couldn’t capitalize on a double-steal attempt of home in the third after Brian Navaretto led off the inning with a double, his fifth of the season.

    Michael Theofanopoulos took over for the Miracle in the seventh, and struck out the side in a scoreless inning. He went on to pitch two more scoreless frames, getting Fort Myers to extra innings. He allowed two hits and struck out five.

    In the bottom of the tenth, Navaretto stepped into the batter’s box with two outs, and walked his team off instead of playing another inning. His solo shot was his second homer of the season and capped a 2-4 day at the plate for the 2013 sixth rounder from Florida.

    Jonny Drozd picked up the win by pitching a scoreless top of the tenth. He struck out one while setting the opposition down in order.

    Granite was 3-3 on the night with a walk and his first three stolen bases of the year. Chris Paul added his sixth double in a two-hit game.


    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Lake County 3, Cedar Rapids 7
    Box Score

    Lewin Diaz put the Kernels up early when he popped one out to right field for his second home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning. He made it 2-0 in the fourth when he hit his third, marking the first multi-home run game of his young career.

    On the mound for Cedar Rapids was Eduardo Del Rosario, coming off a seven inning shut-out effort in his last turn where he struck out ten. He wasn’t as good in this one although he didn’t run into major trouble until the fifth. That was when he loaded the bases and walked one run in before a Diaz throwing error led to another and ended his night at 4+ innings. He allowed five hits, three walks, and struck out four on the night.

    Right-hander Hector Lujan came on in relief and allowed an inherited runner to score and give the Captains the lead 3-2, but escaped further damage with a double-play ball and a caught stealing attempt to end the inning.

    The home team tied the game back in the bottom of the fifth when Aaron Whitefield slugged his fifth home run of the year. Lujan finished two more scoreless innings to keep the game tied and struck out two along the way.

    As if Diaz hadn’t done enough already to make up for his earlier miscue, he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the seventh and cleared them with a double to break the game open and give him five RBIs on a 3-4 night at the plate.

    Catcher Caleb Hamilton tripled in the eighth and was driven in by a Brandon Lopez single to add an insurance run before Colton Davis picked up his first hold with a scoreless inning. Tom Hackimer closed the door in the ninth, striking out the side to put an exclamation point on the victory.

    Lopez (2-4, R, RBI) and Jermaine Palacios (2-4, R, 2B) added multi-hit efforts for the Kernels offense.


    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day – Cody Stashak, Fort Myers Miracle (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H’s, 7 K’s)
    Hitter of the Day – Lewin Diaz, Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-4, 2 R’s, 2B, HR, 5 RBI)


    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Rochester @ Buffalo, Game 1 (3:15PM CST) – LHP David Hurlbut (1-2, 1.04 ERA)
    Rochester @ Buffalo, Game 2 – LHP Nik Turley (0-1, 0.44 ERA, 20.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 36 K’s at AA)
    Pensacola @ Chattanooga (6:15PM CST) – TBD
    Daytona @ Fort Myers (5:35PM CST) – RHP David Fischer (2-0, 0.95 ERA)
    Lake County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Tyler Beardsley (2-1, 3.94 ERA)

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!

    • May 03 2017 09:55 AM
    • by Steve Lein
  20. Twins Minor League Report (4/28): Transactions And Tough Losses

    Find out everything that happened in a busy day in the Twins minor league system, starting with a whole bunch of transactions.


    TRANSACTIONS
    Friday was a busy day in terms of transactions throughout the Twins organization. Here is a quick rundown:

    • Hector Santiago placed on bereavement list.
    • LHP Buddy Boshers recalled to Twins.
    • RHP JT Chargois placed on the Rochester DL (elbow impingement)
    • LHP Nik Turley added to the Rochester roster.
    • RHP Randy LeBlanc added to the Chattanooga roster.
    • RHP Chris Anderson added to the Ft. Myers roster.
    • LHP Domenick Carlini added to the Cedar Rapids roster.
    • RHP Quin Grogan sent from Cedar Rapids to extended spring training.


    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 1, Louisville 2 (10 innings)
    Box Score

    Adalberto Mejia made his first start for the Red Wings since being demoted from the Twins. And he was terrific. The left-hander struck out the side in the first inning. He went seven shutout innings and gave up just two hits. He struck out six without issuing a walk. Raul Fernandez came on. He gave up one run on two hits over two innings. Trevor Hildenberger came on for the tenth inning. He gave up a run on two hits to take the loss.

    The Red Wings bats did little in the game. They managed just four hits, though they did take seven walks. However, they just weren’t able to come up with any big run-scoring hits. Ehire Adrianza, who started in left field for the second straight game, drove in the lone run with an eighth inning single. Bengie Gonzalez had two hits. Mitch Garver walked twice.


    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Chattanooga 3, Jackson 10
    Box Score

    Randy LeBlanc was called up early in the day and made his first start. In 21 innings over his first three starts in Ft. Myers, he gave up just one run. With the Miracle last year, he posted a 4.70 ERA, but he ended last season with ten shutout innings with the Lookouts. So, how did his initial 2017 start in AA go? Well, not quite so well. The right-hander from Tulane gave up eight runs on eight hits and three walks in just two innings.

    Randy Rosario came on and gave up one run on three hits and two walks in three innings. Mason Melotakis came on and threw two more scoreless innings in relief. That pushes his streak to 10.2 innings to start his season. Nick Burdi came in for the eighth inning, having started the season with 7.1 scoreless inning. The first batter of the inning, Colin Walsh, ended the streak with a solo home run. But Burdi got the next three batters out.

    LaMonte Wade led the offense. He went 3-4 with just his first double of the season. Engelb Vielma went 2-4 with his fifth double. Dan Gamache went 2-4.


    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Ft. Myers 4, Dunedin 8
    Box Score

    It was another rough start for Keaton Steele. The right-hander went the first four innings. He gave up seven runs on nine hits. He walked four and struck out just one. Williams Ramirez came on and struck out three over two shutout innings. He gave up a hit and walked two. Jonny Drozd came on and gave up a run on two hits over two innings. He struck out three. Michael Theofanopoulos worked a scoreless inning.

    Max Murphy had a strong game. He went 2-3 with two walks and his third double. Chris Paul also had two hits in the game. Kevin Garcia went 1-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly. Nelson Molina added his first double.


    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 2, Peoria 5
    Box Score

    Domenick Carlini made a start for the Kernels last week, then was sent back to extended spring. Quin Grogan pitched a bit out of relief, but before this game, Carlini was added to the roster to make another start. The left-hander gave up five runs on five hits and four walks over 3.2 innings. He struck out one. Logan Lombana came on and gave up three hits and a walk but no runs over 2.1 innings. He struck out three. Max Cordy then struck out three over two scoreless innings. He walked two and gave up one hit.

    Jermaine Palacios stayed hot. The shortstop went 3-5 in the game to bump his batting average up to .395. Jaylin Davis went 2-3 with a walk. Travis Blankenhorn and Aaron Whitefield each hit their fifth doubles of the season. Blankenhorn and Ben Rortvedt had the two RBIs for the Kernels.


    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Adalberto Mejia, Rochester Red Wings
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Max Murphy, Ft. Myers Miracle


    SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Louisville @ Rochester (12:35 CST) - RHP Aaron Slegers
    Chattanooga @ Jackson - (6:05 CST) - RHP Kohl Stewart
    Dunedin @ Ft. Myers (5:05 CST) - LHP Lachlan Wells
    Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:30 CST) - RHP Clark Beeker

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Friday night’s games.

    • Apr 29 2017 08:51 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  21. Twins Minor League Report (4/24): Affiliates Salvage One On Otherwise Ugly Night

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester - OFF DAY

    The Red Wings open a set at home against Gwinnett on Tuesday. Rochester is 8-7.

    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Chattanooga 4, Tennessee 7 (7 innings; Game 1)
    Box Score

    Houston, we have a problem.

    It’s Kohl Stewart. Stewart dropped to 0-4 and his ERA inflated to 6.46. More alarming than those numbers, though, is what is causing them to pile up: Walks (four tonight) and wild pitches (also four tonight!). Stewart made it through only three innings and struck out five (which is an improvement) but struggled to find the strike zone. Of his 79 pitches, only 43 were strikes. He gave up five hits and four runs. At some point - probably soon - the organization needs to consider the DL with “left knee tendinitis” or heading back to Fort Myers (probably to pitch in extended spring games). Because, right now, this Chattanooga thing isn’t working for the young quarterback.

    Randy Rosario gave up a run on three hits in three innings. Luke Bard gave up two runs on one hit and two walks. He struck out two. Both relievers were touched up for longballs.

    Nick Gordon paced the offense with two hits, including a double. Jonathan Rodriguez also doubled and drove in two runs. Even though seven regulars got hits, it was much too little, too late.

    Chattanooga 5, Tennessee 0 (7 innings; Game 2)
    Box Score

    Matt Tracy struck out five in six shutout innings. He allowed three hits and three walks. Mason Melotakis preserved the shutout with a scoreless inning of his own.

    There wasn’t a lot of offense in this game either, but well-timed hits opened up the scoring. Dan Gamache had a two-run single and Ryan Walker followed with a three-run single. A five-run fourth inning was all the Lookouts needed.

    Gamache was the only multi-hit player in the lineup. LaMonte Wade stole his second base of the season.

    The Lookouts are 9-8.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Fort Myers - OFF DAY

    Fort Myers will be back in action on Tuesday. They are 8-10 on the season.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 0, Burlington 8
    Box Score

    Not pretty in Cedar Rapids on Monday.

    Tyler Beardsley made the start and was knocked out without recording an out in the sixth inning. He was charged with seven runs (six earned) on nine hits. He struck out three and gave up a solo home run. Quin Grogan got four outs in his Kernels debut. Though he was not charged with giving up any runs, he allowed four hits and a walk and both runners he inherited scored. Tom Hackimer recorded two outs before turning the game over to Logan Lombada. He gave up a run and struck out three. Colton Davis finished the game with two strikeouts in a scoreless inning.

    Palacios and Jaylin Davis both led off innings with triples, but failed to cross the plate. Aaron Whitefield recorded the third hit, but was picked off first base. Travis Blankenhorn singled.

    Blankenhorn (third base), Caleb Hamilton (catcher) and Jaylin Davis (right field) all committed errors.

    Cedar Rapids drops to 9-9.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day – Matt Tracy, Chattanooga Lookouts
    Hitter of the Day – Ryan Walker, Chattanooga Lookouts

    TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Rochester vs Gwinnett (6:05 CST) - RHP Jose Berrios (1-0, 1.42 ERA)
    Chattanooga vs Tennessee (Game 1) (4:15 CST) - RHP Fernando Romero
    Chattanooga vs Tennessee (Game 2) - LHP Nik Turley
    Fort Myers vs Bradenton (5:35 CST) - RHP Cody Stashak (0-2, 3.38 ERA)
    Cedar Rapids vs Burlington (6:35 CST) - RHP Eduardo Del Rosario (1-1, 4.26 ERA)

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Monday’s games.

    • Apr 24 2017 09:32 PM
    • by Jeremy Nygaard
  22. Kernels Hitting A Stride

    After trouncing Kane County 11-2 in the series finale on Sunday to earn a split of the four-game series, Cedar Rapids was one game over .500 (at 9-8), trail the Cougars by two games in the standings and are tied for second place in their division.

    That sounds more mediocre than it was, in reality.

    Kane County, the MWL affiliate of the Diamondbacks, have some game and the rest of the division will be challenged to keep up with the Cougars if they continue playing at early-season levels, so getting that split was hard work.

    Still, it could have been better.

    The Kernels had a 3-2 lead heading to the ninth inning on Thursday, but gave up three runs to the Cougars in the ninth and fell 5-3. On Saturday, The teams were tied 3-3 headed to the final stanza, where Kane County scored the winning run.

    In fact, in five of their eight losses this season, Cedar Rapids has surrendered the winning run in their opponent's final inning at the plate.

    All those close losses don't have manager Tommy Watkins concerned, however.

    "The good thing is, after all those games, we responded afterwards," Watkins said on Saturday. "We’ve lost a couple of games in the ninth inning, but it happens. We’ve got a young team. We’re going to take some bumps and bruises, but I think things have been pretty good to start the season."

    In fact, Watkins said his team has pretty much performed at expected levels.

    "I didn’t have any concerns with either side of the ball. Pitching or hitting. Like I said at the beginning of the season, this is a fun team to watch up and down the lineup – pitching, defense, offense, running the bases. We’ve got some guys that can steal some bases. I really enjoy having these guys here."

    One player that's certainly been as much fun to watch as any position player in the league has been Jermaine Palacios.

    "Palacios has been swinging a hot bat and giving us a real boost at the leadoff spot," Watkins said, of his shortstop. "He’s being aggressive to balls in a zone."

    Indeed he is.

    The 20-year-old native of Venezuela is hitting .406 through Sunday and he hasn't been just slapping the ball, either. Palacios has three doubles, two triples and added his first home run of the season in Sunday's win over the Cougars.

    He's leading the MWL in batting average and his 1.012 OPS is ninth best in the league, but not good enough to lead his own team.

    That honor goes to Mitchell Kranson. His six doubles, one triple and two dingers have propelled him to a 1.045 OPS.

    By and large, the pitching staff has been solid, as well. There have been a couple of games where, as one Kernels pitcher told me, "none of us could miss a barrel." But those instances have been rare.

    Cedar Rapids continues their current homestand with a three game series against the Burlington Bees (Athletics) before traveling to Peoria (Cardinals) for four games with the Chiefs beginning Thursday.

    I'll wrap up with a couple dozen pictures from the games on Saturday and Sunday at Veterans Memorial Stadium, as well as the traditional Sunday post-game autograph session.

    (It appears I've exceeded Twins Daily's limit on photos below, so if you want to see them all, you may just need to pay Knuckleballsblog.com a visit.)

    • Apr 24 2017 10:15 AM
    • by SD Buhr
  23. Twins Minor League Report (4/23): Kranson Cranks, Beeker Deals

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester --, Charlotte --
    Rochester and Charlotte were postponed on Sunday due to inclement weather. The game will be made-up as part of a doubleheader when the Knights play a three-game series in Rochester near the middle of July. Rochester has an off-day on Monday before starting a six-game homestand. With Sunday's game not being played, they went 2-3 on their six-game road trip. The Red Wings are tied for second place in the International League North as they trail first place Buffalo by 2.5 games.

    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Chattanooga --, Tennessee --
    Chattanooga was scheduled to play a double-header on Sunday to make-up for Saturday night's postponed game. However, the weather didn't cooperate again as inclement weather, unplayable field conditions and the forecast got in the way. The Lookouts will make up these games as part of two double-headers, one on Monday and one on Tuesday. With an 8-7 record, the Lookouts are tied with three other teams for second place in the Southern League North. Each team trails Jackson by two games.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Fort Myers 1, Dunedin 7
    Box Score
    Lachlan Wells ran into he buzz-saw that was the Dunedin offense. In three innings of work, he allowed five hits with four of those hits being home runs. He walked two and struck out three. Williams Ramirez took over in the fourth and pitched two shutout innings. He limited the Blue Jays to two hits. Anthony McIver pitched two frames and struck out two. Brady Anderson pitched the eighth and allowed one run, a solo home run.

    There wasn't much excitement on the offensive side of the ball. Fort Myers went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Chris Paul went 2-for-4 and Casey Scoggins reached base three times including a multi-hit game. Alex Perez scored the team's lone run.

    With the loss, Fort Myers drops two games under .500 on the season (8-10 record). The Miracle had won four straight games before Sunday's loss. They currently sit two games out of first place in the Florida State League South.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 11, Kane County 2
    Box Score
    While the Miracle lacked some offensive pop there was plenty of action in the Kernels line-up. Mitchell Kranson went 4-for-5 including a solo home run and Jermaine Palacios drove in five runs as the Kernels routed the Cougars. Kanson finished a triple shy of the cycle. Cedar Rapids tied their season high with four home runs.

    Besides Kranson and Palacios, Jaylin Davis and Caleb Hamilton each had a homer. Hamilton scored twice and drove in a pair as part of a multi-hit day. Aaron Whitefield went 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. Ariel Montesino and Lewin Diaz were the lone batters not to reach base for the Kernels.

    Not to be outdone by the hitters, Clark Beeker put together a very strong performance on the mound. He pitched seven strong innings by allowing one earned run on eight hits with five strikeouts and no walks. It marks the first time in his career that he has won back-to-back starts and it was his third straight quality start. Hector Lujan didn't allow a runner in the final two frames while striking out three.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day – Clark Beeker, Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Hitter of the Day – Mitchell Kranson, Cedar Rapids Kernels

    MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Rochester - Scheduled Off-Day
    Chattanooga vs. Tennessee (4:15 CST) - TBD
    Chattanooga vs. Tennessee (Game 2) - TBD
    Fort Myers - Scheduled Off-Day
    Cedar Rapids vs. Burlington (6:35 CST) - RHP Tyler Beardsley (2-0, 0.82 ERA)
    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games.

    • Apr 23 2017 08:42 PM
    • by Cody Christie
  24. Twins Minor League Report (4/21): Wheeler Deals In Wings Win

    Continue on to find out all the specifics on a busy night in the Twins farm system. Be sure to go to the Minor League forum and check out the Adopt-a-Prospect. We’d love to have you adopt a Twins prospect or three and follow them throughout the season.

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 3, Charlotte 2
    Box Score

    Jason Wheeler has never been described as a strikeout pitcher, but seemingly each year he reaches double digits in strikeouts once. He did so once each year from 2012 through 2015. He didn’t have a ten strikeout game in 2016, but on Friday night the left-hander struck out a career-high 11 batters in seven innings to improve to 2-1 on the season. He gave up two runs on five hits and walked two batters.

    Drew Rucinski got the first two outs of the eighth inning on strikeouts. Buddy Boshers recorded the third out of the inning. Alex Wimmers recorded his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth frame.

    The Red Wings tied the game at two in the fifth inning. A wild pitch on a strikeout with the bases loaded allowed the first run to score. Next, Matt Hague grounded out to score the game-tying run. Then in the eighth inning, Kennys Vargas walked for the second time. Bengie Gonzalez pinch ran for him. Daniel Palka doubled him to third base, and Leonardo Reginnato drove him in with a sacrifice fly.

    Reginnato went 2-3. JB Shuck went 2-4 with his third double. Palka and John Ryan Murphy added doubles.

    Former Twins starter Mike Pelfrey was supposed to start for Charlotte. Instead, he was called up and will make a start for the White Sox this weekend.


    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Chattanooga 6, Biloxi 3
    Box Score

    Chattanooga was able to end their series against the Biloxi Shuckers with a nice win. The Lookouts got the majority of their offense from their top two hitters. Nick Gordon went 3-5 with his second double and three RBIs. In the sixth inning with the game tied at three, he hit a bases loaded single. He tried to stretch it into a double but was thrown out at second. In the meantime, the third runner scored all the way from first giving Gordon three RBI on that single.

    The second-spot hitter was Engelb Vielma. He went 3-5 with two RBIs. He gave the Lookouts the early lead when he hit a two-run single in the third inning. The other Lookouts run scored on an RBI single from Ryan Walker in the fourth inning. LaMonte Wade went 2-3 with a walk. Levi Michael, who made another start in center field, went 0-1 and walked twice.

    Paul Clemens was back on the mound for the Lookouts. The veteran right-hander gave up three runs (one earned) on three hits in six innings. He walked four and struck out seven. Todd Van Steensel came on and worked 2.1 scoreless innings. He gave up three hits, but no walks and struck out four. John Curtiss recorded the final two outs to earn his second save of the season.

    May have to do a little digging, but lefty Mason Melotakis was ejected from the game in the first inning. UPDATE:




    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Ft. Myers 10, Dunedin 4
    Box Score

    A five-run third inning gave the Miracle a lead. They kept adding to it including three runs in the ninth inning to claim a big win. The bats have continued to hit after a very slow start.

    Ehire Adrianza played in his first game on rehab assignment. He started at shortstop and went 3-5 with a stolen base and three runs scored. Max Murphy was also 3-5. Zander Wiel hit his fourth and fifth doubles and drove in three runs. Nelson Molina went 2-4 with his first triple and two RBI. Chris Paul had just one hit, but his three-run homer was the big blow in that third inning.

    Keaton Steele was back on the mound. The right-hander gave up four runs on ten hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out four on his way to his first win of the season. Michael Theofanopoulos struck out four batters over two scoreless innings. Jonny Drozd came on and got the final three outs.


    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 4, Kane County 3 (12 innings)
    Box Score

    Travis Blankenhorn led off the bottom of the 12th inning with a walk. Two wild pitches advanced Blankenhorn to third base. After Lewin Diaz was intentionally walks, Jaylin Davis singled in Blankenhorn, ending a long night in Cedar Rapids with a 4-3 Kernels win.

    Blankenhorn had the big hit early in the game when his double scored two runs for the Kernels. Jermaine Palacios went 3-6 with his second double. Brandon Lopez was 3-5 in the game. Davis went 2-6.

    Sean Poppen was back on the mound and provided the Kernels with another quality start. The right-hander from Harvard gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out seven. Logan Lombana struck out four over 2.2 scoreless innings. Thomas Hackimer picked up the win with 3.1 scoreless innings, with three strikeouts.


    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Jason Wheeler, Rochester Red Wings
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Nick Gordon, Chattanooga Lookouts


    SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Rochester @ Charlotte (6:05 CST) - RHP Aaron Slegers
    Tennessee @ Chattanooga - (6:15 CST) - RHP Kohl Stewart
    Ft. Myers @ Dunedin (5:30 CST) - RHP Randy LeBlanc
    Kane County @ Cedar Rapids (5:05 CST) - LHP Domenick Carlini
    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Friday night’s games.

    • Apr 21 2017 10:22 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  25. Deserving Of Discussion

    In today’s article, I’m going to write about one hitter from each of the Twins affiliates who is off to a good start without much fanfare.

    Rochester Red Wings IF Matt Hague

    In spring training, the thought was about how much Byungho Park did to earn an Opening Day job with the Twins. Park is hurt, and now the favorite to be called up if (or when?) the Twins jump back to 12 pitchers has to be Kennys Vargas. If it was me, I would give serious consideration to calling up Mitch Garver since he can play first base and also catch, and he’s hitting well.

    But the unsung guy all along has been Matt Hague. The 31-year-old was the International League MVP two years ago with the Blue Jays organization. Last year, he played in Japan. The Twins signed him to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. He was one of the last players sent down at the end of camp. In 47 plate appearances this spring, Hague hit .349/.429/.558 (.987) with six doubles and a home run.

    He went to Rochester, and through his first 13 games and 58 plate appearances, he is hitting .353/.431/.451 (.882) with two doubles and a homer. He’s been a factor in the middle of the Red Wings lineup. While it remains unlikely he will be called up, he is off to a good start and warrants discussion.


    Chattanooga Lookouts - OF Edgar Corcino

    I’ve been a fan of Edgar Corcino, the player, since first seeing him at spring training in Ft. Myers in 2015. He was one of the better athletes that I saw. Still just 24, Corcino has been in pro ball since the Tigers drafted him in the 26th round of that draft out of Puerto Rico. He spent four seasons in the Tigers organization. In 2013, he played in the independent leagues.

    The Bayamon, Puerto Rico, native works out in the offseason with Jose Berrios. The Twins took a chance on him before the 2014 season and he has been solid since. He split the 2016 season between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga. After hitting .266 (.760) in 74 games in Ft. Myers, he hit .284 (.754) in 50 games in Chattanooga.

    Corcino is capable of playing all three outfield positions well. He has good speed and a strong, accurate arm. Last Friday, he singled in his first at-bat and sprained his ankle. He returned to the lineup on Tuesday. He is currently hitting .308/325/385 (.710) with three doubles.

    While his ceiling is likely not that of an MLB starting outfielder, his skill set and all-around game make him a possibility as a fourth or fifth outfielder.


    Ft. Myers Miracle - IF/OF Alex Perez

    Alex Perez was a four-year starter at shortstop for Virginia Tech. The Twins drafted him in the 23rd round in 2015. He began 2016 in extended spring training. He moved up to Cedar Rapids, where he sporadically played. In his 18 games there, however, he hit .262/.403/.311 (.714). He moved up to Ft. Myers and actually played quite frequently. In 69 games with the Miracle, he hit .242/.345/.273 (.618).

    The slick fielder can play all over the field. He has played second base and third base this season along with left field. While he’s not a big guy, so don’t expect a lot of slugging, he showed an ability to really control the strike zone. That hasn’t turned into walks so far this season, but he has been very good. He started the season with a nine-game hitting streak, and he has multiple hits in six games.

    Despite on 0-5 on Thursday, he is still hitting .322/.365/.407 (.772) with three doubles and a triple this season. There is value in guys who can play good defense at several positions. There is also value in guys who put the ball in play and know the strike zone.


    Cedar Rapids Kernels - SS Jermaine Palacios

    A year ago at this time, Palacios was a highly-touted prospect. In some local and national rankings, he was a Top 10 Twins prospect. He was 19 years old and coming off a 2015 season when he combined to hit .370/.398/.540 (.938) with 23 doubles, four triples and three home runs between the GCL and Elizabethton.

    However, last year, he really struggled early in the season in Cedar Rapids. In 71 games, he hit just .222/.276/.287 (.564) with eight doubles, three triples and a homer. His season came to an early end when he was hit by a pitch and broke his hand.

    Palacios returned to Iowa this spring and his start was much, much better. On Thursday night, Palacios hit a single, double and triple which helped raise his slash line to .388/.444/.490 (.934). For much of this group, the ceiling is that of a role player, but Palacios has the upside to be a MLB shortstop, and he’s certainly one to watch this year and beyond.

    ------------------------------------

    So there you have it. A quick look at four minor leaguers who are, for whatever reason, not at the forefront of Twins prospect conversation. Who are some of the other Twins minor league hitters that you’re interested in? We’ll do this from time to time, discussing minor leaguers who deserve to be discussed.
    Though I’m looking to you to help me come up with a catchy title for this series… Leave your suggestions or ideas in the comments below.

    • Apr 21 2017 09:24 AM
    • by Seth Stohs