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  1. Twins Minor League Report (AFL Week 3): Hits and Holds

    In week 3, Taylor Rogers was again the only Twins representative who didn’t see action.

    Did Eddie Rosario continue to hit? Did Byron Buxton turn it around? Did Zack Jones and Jake Reed continue to mow down hitters?

    Read on to find out!


    Byron Buxton – 4 games, 6-18 (.333), 2B, 3 R’s, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K’s, 3 SB’s (4).

    Buxton played in four games this week, including another appearance in RF.

    His big game of the week came on Friday, when he went 3-5 with a double, scored two runs, drove in two more and stole two bases. It was the second game in a row he collected multiple hits, having gone 2-5 the day before.

    It’s a good sign to see all of his tools back on display, and Buxton is happy to be moving forward after his injury-wrecked 2014 season.

    Buxton raised his average from .229 to .264 during the week.


    Eddie Rosario – 4 games, 6-13 (.462), 2 R’s, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 3 SB (9).

    Rosario continued to bat third in the Rafters lineup this week, and continued to rack up hits.

    He currently is second in the league in batting average (.429) and total hits (21), fourth in RBI’s (11) and second in stolen bases (9).

    He had at least one hit in all four games during the week and collected multiple hits twice. In Tuesday’s 5-0 Rafters win, he was 2-2 with two RBI sac flies in four plate appearances.

    He was 2-4 with three RBI in his next game on Thursday, where he also stole two more bases.

    Of major note in reference to Rosario, is the fact that he has hit safely in all ten games he has played in the AFL, and seems to like the pace of play created by the 20-second pitch clock.


    Max Kepler – 3 games, 5-12 (.417), 2 R, 2 2B’s, 3B, RBI, 1 BB’s, 4 K’s, SB (3).

    Kepler saw action in three games during the week, and made the most of his opportunities as he went 2-4 on Tuesday, 2-5 with a double and triple on Wednesday, and 1-3 with a double, walk, and RBI on Thursday.

    His triple in Wednesday’s 9-3 victory sparked a four run second inning for the Rafters.

    He raised his average to .290 in league play, with an on-base percentage of .405.


    Taylor Rogers – Did not play.

    Rogers took a line drive to his shoulder in his only start for the Rafters in week 1, and has not pitched since.


    Jason Adam – 1 game, 1 IP, 0 R’s, 1 H’s, 0 BB, 1 K. 0.00 ERA.

    Adam finally made his first scoreless appearance in Friday’s 8-1 win, allowing just a single in the sixth inning. The runner moved to second on a passed ball, but he finished the inning with a strikeout and picked up his first hold.


    Zack Jones – 2 games, 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H’s, 3 BB, 0 K, 2 Holds. 0.00 ERA.

    Zack Jones made appearances in the wins on Monday and Thursday, picking up a hold in both contests.

    In Monday’s win, he gave up a double but retired the three other batters he faced.

    In Friday’s win, he lost his control in the seventh inning, throwing just eight of twenty-one pitches for strikes while walking three to load the bases. He recorded just one out, but still picked up a hold as Kaleb Fleck from the Diamondbacks organization retired the next two batters.


    Jake Reed – 2 games, 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K’s, 2 Holds. 0.00 ERA.

    Reed pitched in the same games as Jones, pitching the inning before him in each contest. He was extremely efficient, throwing twenty of twenty-four pitches for strikes, while allowing just one hit in his two innings. He also recorded two holds.

    Of note from Jones and Reed: neither hurler recorded an out with a strikeout on the week.


    Notes

    -Twins hitters combined to bat .395 with 3 2B’s, 1 3B, 7 R’s, 10 RBI, 4 BBs, 9 K’s, and 7 SB during the week.
    -Twins pitchers compiled a 0.00 ERA in 4.1 IP, allowing 0 R’s on 3 H’s and 3 BBs, while striking out one on the week.

    • Oct 27 2014 09:20 AM
    • by Steve Lein
  2. Twins Minor League Report (AFL Week 2): The Rosario Show Continues

    Let’s see how all of the Twins prospects fared in week two of the Arizona Fall League.


    Byron Buxton – 4 games, 3-18 (.167), 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K’s. Batting .229 overall.

    Buxton again played in four games, playing centerfield for three games and right field for one, while batting leadoff in each.

    After a two-hit day (including a double) in Monday’s 7-4 win, he cooled off for the rest of the week.

    In Tuesday’s game he was 0-4 but made good contact, lining out to both third base and left field. On Thursday he was 0-4 with two K’s, and finished his week by going 1-6 in Friday’s tie.


    Eddie Rosario – 4 games, 7-18 (.389), 2B, 2 R’s, 2 RBI, 3 SB (6), 1 BB, 5 K’s. Batting .417 overall.

    Rosario continued his hot hitting from week one, and enters week three sitting atop the AFL batting average leader board.

    He also sits in second on the stolen base leader board with six as he swiped three more bags in his four games. He was also caught stealing for the first time.

    In the eleven inning tie, Rosario went 3-6 and stole two bases.

    Also notable was that Rosario batted leadoff, second and third in the lineup during the week, and also played one game in centerfield. .


    Max Kepler – 3 games, 2-10 (.200), 2 R’s, SB (2), 4 BB’s, 2 K’s. Batting .211 overall.

    Kepler played right field in all three games and was moved up and down the lineup. Despite collecting just two hits on the week, he also drew four walks, compared to only two strikeouts. Despite the .211 batting average, Kepler’s on-base percentage through two weeks is a strong .375.


    Taylor Rogers – Did not play.

    Rogers took a line drive to his left arm in his only start for the Rafters last week, and has not pitched since.


    Jason Adam – 2 games, 3 IP, 2 ER’s, 7 H’s, 0 BB, 1 K. 6.00 ERA.

    Adam is looking to make a good impression on the Twins in the AFL after coming over in the Josh Willingham trade with Royals.

    He struggled in week one, and was only marginally better this week.

    His ERA sits at 9.00 overall, with a WHIP of 2.33 in six total innings. He has allowed at least one run in each of his four appearances thus far.


    Zack Jones – 2 games, 2 IP, 0 ER, 2 H’s, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 Hold. 0.00 ERA.

    Jones picked up his first hold in Monday’s 7-4 win, and made his second appearance of the week on Thursday.

    He gave up a single in each appearance, but didn’t surrender any damage on the scoreboard. Though he didn’t walk anyone, he did hit one batter on Monday (hope it wasn’t a fastball!).


    Jake Reed – 1 game, 2 IP, 0 ER, 0 H’s, 1 BB, 2 K’s. 0.00 ERA.

    Reed made just one appearance during the week, but it was of the two inning variety.

    He entered the game in the fifth inning of Thursday’s 5-1 win, and pitched a 1-2-3 inning, including a strikeout. In the sixth, Reed walked the second batter he faced, but got a fielder’s choice groundball out and his second strikeout to end the inning.

    He now has seven K’s in five IP in the AFL, and in 36 innings since being drafted by the Twins in fifth round of June’s draft, has allowed just one earned run.

    Notes

    -The Rafters have the best record in the AFL at 7-3-1 after two weeks.
    -Twins hitters combined to bat .261 with two 2B’s, five R’s, three RBI, six BBs, 10 K’s, and four SBs during the week.
    -Twins pitchers compiled a 2.57 ERA in seven IP, allowing three R’s (two ER) on nine hits and one BB, while striking out four on the week.

    • Oct 20 2014 01:11 PM
    • by Steve Lein
  3. Twins Minor League Report (AFL Week 1): Rosario Comes Out Swinging/Running

    Byron Buxton – 4 games, 5-17, 4 R’s, 2 RBI, 2 BB’s, 4 K’s, 1 SB, 2 Errors.

    Buxton batted leadoff and played centerfield in all four games on the week, getting a day off after the first two games.

    In the season opener, Buxton was 0-4 but scored a run after drawing a walk and stealing second base. He also committed a fielding error in the first inning, misplaying a single up the middle. Buxton also committed a fielding error in game two as he works off some rust after missing almost the entire 2014 season.

    He collected multiple hits in games two and four during the week, going 2-5 and 2-4 with a BB and two RBIs. He finished the week by collecting a single in Saturday’s game to put his batting average at .294 after the first week.

    Above all else for now, it is good to see Buxton on the field!


    Eddie Rosario – 4 games, 8-18, 2 R’s, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K’s, 3 SB, 1 Error.

    Rosario had a rough 2014 season, like Buxton, but for different reasons. After missing the season’s first 50 games due to a drug suspension, he never really got going at AA with the New Britain Rock Cats.

    But whatever ailed him there hasn’t shown in his first four games in the AFL, as he notched two hits in each of his four games to compile a batting average of .444. He primarily was in the two-hole behind Buxton on the scorecards.

    In addition to the impressive start with the bat, Rosario has also swiped three bases to pace the league in that category.


    Max Kepler – 2 games, 2-9, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K’s, 1 SB, 2 outfield assists

    Kepler appeared in two games, playing RF in both contests.

    He collected a single in each game, and has also thrown out two runners on the bases with outfield assists, which is good to see. I also expect he’ll get some work at 1B with the Rafters, but for now they’re using his, and the rest of the Twins position player’s athleticism, to roam their outfield.


    Taylor Rogers – 1 game started, 2.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H’s, 2 BB’s, 3 K’s, 4.09 ERA.

    Rogers is the only Twins pitcher to be used in a starting role thus far, and though it wasn’t a bad performance by any means, he didn’t last very long as he racked up the general pitch limit of fifty for starters in the AFL relatively quickly, with only 29 strikes.

    In his first inning he struck out two batters, but also walked two before surrendering an RBI single. Kepler limited the damage for him as he notched one of his assists on a throw to third base on that same play.

    Rogers pitched a 1-2-3 second inning, before two singles in the third put an end to his day. Rogers took a line drive off of his shoulder. He recovered and recorded the inning's second out but left the game. The next day, Rogers told Twins Daily that he is "Doing good, just going to take some time".


    Jason Adam – 2 games, 3 IP, 4 ER’s, 6 H’s, 1 BB, 1 K, 12.00 ERA.

    Adam was roughed up in his first appearance, coming into the season opener for the fifth inning.

    Top prospect Brandom Nimmo led off that inning with a ground-rule double. A walk and a second ground-rule double scored Nimmo before Adam recorded his first out. A wild-pitch plated the second run, and an RBI single the third before he induced an inning-ending double play.

    In his second appearance Adam pitched two frames, allowing one run on three hits. The run scored in the sixth on (another) ground-rule double and except for a fielding error by Rafter shorstop Trevor Story, pitched a clean seventh inning.


    Zack Jones – 1 game, 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K’s. 0.00 ERA.

    Jones had just one appearance during the week, but made the most of his two innings, pitching the seventh and eighth on Thursday. He surrendered only a walk and a single, while also picking up three K’s, including the last hitter he faced. 22 of his 34 pitches went for strikes, which is a good sign after he missed much of the season.


    Jake Reed – 2 games, 3 IP, 0 ER, 2 H’s, 1 BB, 5 K’s. 0.00 ERA, 1 Win, 1 Save.

    Reed was a very strong performer for the bullpens of Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids after he was drafted in the Twins in the fifth round this year. He compiled a 0.29 ERA in 31 IP, racking up 39 K’s and a WHIP of just 0.45. With a strong AFL performance, he could find himself on a very fast track to the Twins bullpen in 2015.

    In his first game on Wednesday, he pitched the fifth and six innings to pick up the win. In the fifth he struck out the side, Brandon Nimmo, L.J. Mazzilli, and Greg Bird. He also went 1-2-3 in the sixth while adding a fourth strikeout.

    In his second appearance on Saturday, Rafters manager Andy Haines brought him in for the ninth inning, and though he made it interesting, surrendering a walk and two singles to load the bases, he picked up the save while adding another strikeout.

    Notes

    -The Rafters lead the AFL East Division with a 4-1 record after the first week of the season.
    -None of the fifteen hits from Twins position players during the week went for extra bases.
    -Twins hitters combined to bat .341 with 7 R’s, 5 RBI, and 5 SB.
    -Twins pitchers compiled a 4.41 ERA in 10.2 IP, with 12 H’s, 5 BB’s and 12 K’s.

    • Oct 13 2014 09:10 PM
    • by Steve Lein
  4. Twins Arizona Fall League Preview

    In a rather unusual situation, four of the seven Twins minor leaguers will be returning to the Fall League. On the most basic level, each hitter has the opportunity to get more at bats while every pitcher gets to work more innings. They get to do that against some high-caliber competition from around the minor leagues. For each, their opportunity is a little different.

    ----------

    For Byron Buxton, it provides him with an opportunity to get 22 to 25 games and 75 to 100 plate appearances. After missing so much time in 2014 due to injury, this is a great opportunity for him to regain some timing in real games. Timing at the plate, but also timing and confidence in the outfield following his concussion. This is about getting him time to alleviate some of the concerns that might pop up in his own mind going into 2015. Although he played in the league a year ago, he is the second-youngest player on the 2014 Rafters team, older than only Rio Ruiz.

    For Max Kepler, it provides more repetitions. He came on strong in the Ft. Myers Miracle’s second half at the plate, but various minor injuries hurt him in the first half. He continued to play all three outfield positions during the season as well as recording time at first base. Despite being a professional since he signed with the Twins in 2009, he is still young in his development. For him, there is an opportunity to show that he warrants a spot on the Twins 40 man roster. Kepler is the third youngest player on the team’s roster.

    Eddie Rosario is looking for an opportunity to redeem himself. Since the end of last year’s Fall League, his career trajectory has certainly gone in a concerning direction. Shortly after he left a year ago, news broke that he had failed a drug test and would be suspended. He was given permission to take some time off during spring training and did not arrive in Ft. Myers until the regular season. After serving the 50-game suspension and getting to New Britain, he didn’t hit like we know he can. This time will give Rosario more opportunities to regain his offensive prowess. He will be added to the 40 man roster in November, to be sure, but he can again raise his prospect status.

    Jason Adam is a right-handed pitcher who came to the Twins organization in the Josh Willingham trade on August 11. It’s an opportunity for Twins scouts to learn a little more about him. It’s an opportunity for him to work with some of the other top prospects to get to know him, and vice versa. The 23-year-old is also eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year so the Twins will need to determine whether or not to add him.

    Zack Jones’ season was cut short this year before it even started. In fact, it was toward the end of his run in the Fall League last year that Jones said that his right-hand’s fingers felt cold. After the New Year, doctors found an aneurysm in his right shoulder and he had surgery. After that, a blood clot was found in his leg. He didn’t need surgery for that but it further delayed his return to Ft. Myers and to the mound. He got back to the Miracle for the final two weeks of the regular season and reclaimed the closer’s role. He hit 96 and 97 many times, but as he was closing out games in the Florida State League championship series, he hit 98 on several occasions. Now he will get more innings against great competition. He replaced Mason Melotakis on the roster a couple of weeks ago.

    The truest test for college starting pitchers seems to happen in AA. Despite a rough first month in New Britain, Taylor Rogers passed the AA test with flying colors. He missed two or three starts with a biceps strain, but returned and continued to throw well. He doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts, so it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to the offense-friendly Arizona Fall League. Baseball America reported that the lefty was hitting 95 on the radar gun this season, and he has a good slider. He should join the likes of Archie Bradley and Mark Appel in the Rafters’ rotation.

    Reliever Jake Reed was the Twins fifth-round draft pick just this year out of the University of Oregon. He dominated in four games in Elizabethton and 16 more appearances in Cedar Rapids. It will be a great opportunity for the 22-year-old to show what he can do against a higher level of competition, guys typically from AA. With a fastball reaching into the upper-90s, Reed has the opportunity to progress quickly with the Twins.

    ----------

    It’s important to remember that the statistics accumulated in the Arizona Fall League are not as important as the plate appearances and the innings. A great showing doesn’t guarantee future success, and a poor showing doesn’t mean that a player won’t become a big leaguer.

    A quick look at the past Twins participants shows that to be the case:

    • 2013 – AJ Achter, Zack Jones, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario
    • 2012 – Logan Darnell, Kyle Gibson, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Evan Bigley, Chris Herrmann, Nate Roberts, Dan Rohlfing
    • 2011 – Cole DeVries, Bret Jacobson, Bruce Pugh, Dakota Watts, Brian Dozier, Chris Herrmann, Aaron Hicks
    • 2010 – David Bromberg, Carlos Gutierrez, Tyler Robertson, Kyle Waldrop, Joe Benson, Chris Parmelee, Ben Revere
    • 2009 – Alex Burnett, Steven Hirschfeld, Michael McCardell, Spencer Steedley, Chris Parmelee, Steve Singleton, Rene Tosoni
    • 2008 – Rob Delaney, Tim Lahey, Jeff Manship, Anthony Slama, Dustin Martin, Steven Tolleson, Danny Valencia
    • 2007 – Nick Blackburn, Eduardo Morlan, Ryan Mullins, Anthony Swarzak, Drew Butera, Matt Macri, Trevor Plouffe
    • 2006 – Kevin Cameron, Jay Sawatski, Errol Simonitsch, Kevin Slowey, Doug Deeds, Matt Moses, Matt Tolbert, David Winfree
    • 2005 – Ricky Barrett, Travis Bowyer, Glen Perkins, Garrett Jones, Matt Moses, Denard Span
    • 2004 – Scott Baker, Jesse Crain, JD Durbin, Rob Bowen, Jason Bartlett, Jason Kubel, Kevin West
    • 2003 – Henry Bonilla, Pat Neshek, Brian Wolfe, Rob Bowen, Jake Mauer, Terry TIffee
    • 2002 – Willie Eyre, Brent Hoard, Brad Thomas, Rob Bowen, Justin Morneau, Michael Restovich
    • 2001 – Grant Balfour, Pete Fisher, Kevin Frederick, Rob Bowen, Michael Cuddyer, Matthew LeCroy
    • 2000 – Matt Kinney, Kyle Lohse, Lee Marshall, Ryan Mills, Bobby Kielty, Matthew LeCroy
    • 1999 – David Hooten, Matt Kinney, Nate Yeskie, Dan Cey, Michael Cuddyer, Chad Moeller
    • 1998 – Mike Lincoln, Joe Mays, Brent Stentz, Torii Hunter, Doug Mientkiewicz, AJ Pierzynski
    • 1997 – Tom Gourdin, Jeff Harris, Brad Niedermaier, Dan Perkins, Benj Sampson, Corey Koskie, Chad Moeller, Mike Moriarity
    • 1996 – Jason Bell, Mark Redman, Todd Ritchie, Dan Serafini, JJ Johnson, Jamie Ogden
    • 1995 – LaTroy Hawkins, Dan Naulty, Kevin Ohme, Matt Lawton, Jamie Ogden, Kevin Simons, Todd Walker
    • 1994 – Gus Gandarillas, Dan Serafini, Scott Watkins, Marty Cordova, Brian Raabe, Scott Stahoviak
    • 1993 – Sean Gavaghan, Todd Ritchie, Bill Wissler, Anthony Byrd, Mike Durant, Denny Hocking
    • 1992 – Jon Henry, Rex De La Nuez, Chip Hale, Ray Ortiz, Derek Parks

    If you’re able to make a trip to Arizona over the next six weeks, the Salt River Rafters play in Scottsdale. Single game tickets are just $8. And, you’ll have a great seat as too few people attend the games. It’s a wonderful experience.

    I went for a couple of days in 2009 and sat right by the dugout for two games. It was fun to see the Twins prospects, but it was also fun to see the prospects I had read about online or in Baseball America and such. It’s a very laid back, relaxed experience that should be a Bucket List item for baseball fans.

    • Oct 06 2014 11:54 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  5. Buxton and Sano: Maybe the Time is Now

    True, General Manager Terry Ryan has some time before he has to give much thought to such an un-Twins-like idea.

     (This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com) 

    Ryan can spend October finding a manager, gathering with his staff for organizational meetings in Florida and putting together a minor league field management organization. But when the final out is made in this year's World Series, it's time to get serious about this roster. When he does, maybe Buxton and Sano should part of his plan.

    My thoughts aren't firmly in place yet, but it occurs to me that, if we're all so certain that the Twins' GM needs to think a bit differently than he has in the past when it comes to hiring a manager and coaching staff, maybe it's time to think a bit differently about how he treats his future superstars, too.

    So, even if you think I've lost my mind (and I may ultimately conclude the same thing), hear me out for a moment.

    I think most Twins fans would like to see improvement in two specific areas next season.

    First, as seems to always be the case, we want another top-tier starting pitcher. Maybe Ricky Nolasco will bounce back or maybe he won't. If he doesn't, Phil Hughes is going to need help at the top of the rotation. Even if Nolasco does rebound, I'd love to have him as my #3 starter rather than my #2, if I could land a bigger fish in the offseason.

    The second area of relative consensus is that the outfield must improve.

    The Twins scored enough runs in 2014 to be a competitive baseball team. They simply didn't keep opponents from crossing the plate nearly enough. If the starting pitching was problem number 1A, the outfield defense was certainly 1B.

    Fixing the starting pitching is easy enough. You shell out the money to lure one of the top free agent starters. If you're not willing to do that, you might reach for another Phil Hughes-type, but I'm not enthused about that approach. I think you go for the top guys or you just load up Trevor May and Alex Meyer to go with Hughes, Nolasco and Kyle Gibson and get Jose Berrios ready for an early call-up when it becomes necessary.

    As tired as we all are of losing 90 games, making a managerial changes takes a little bit of pressure off in terms of the 2015 season. For the first time in about three years, you don't enter the season with the staff coaching for their professional lives.

    So, if you can't (or won't) add a true difference-maker to your rotation, you can simply accelerate the advancement of those minor leaguers that you feel are closest to being ready.

    Which brings us to the outfield dilemma.

    The outfield situation is only a dilemma because of Byron Buxton. Without his presence looming, you could address the outfield just like you do the starting pitching - go out and get the best guy you can buy or trade for on the market. But Buxton's presence means (1) the Twins won't add someone on a high-dollar long-term deal that would "block" Buxton, and (2) no centerfielder on the free agent market with designs on a long-term deal is going to want to come to Minnesota, anyway.

    That appears to leave the Twins with two options. Either they identify a short-term solution they can sign/trade for or they keep the status quo, using Jordan Schafer or Danny Santana until Buxton is deemed ready for prime time. With expectations dampened and a new manager in the dugout, however, maybe it's time to just say, "screw development," and throw Byron Buxton out there right from the start.

    And while you're at it, do the same thing with Miguel Sano.

    Posted Image
    Miguel Sano

    These two guys are going to be the cornerstones of the Twins for years to come, so why not just get them in the game right now? Sure, they'll struggle. But if they don't arrive until 2016, you have to assume they'll struggle some, then, too.

    Okay, I know, we can think of a number of reasons NOT to do this. They both essentially lost their entire 2014 seasons to injury and there is no assurance either player is really ready to face Major League pitching.

    The specter of Aaron Hicks' two years of near-abject failure, after being pushed up to the big leagues prematurely, looms over the organization. And he came up after spending almost twice as much time as Sano at AA, a level Buxton hasn't technically completed a full game at, much less a season.

    You certainly wouldn't want to damage the psyches of Buxton or Sano by having them fail miserably.

    But you know what? From what I've seen of these two guys, I don't think we have to worry about their psyches. Both players know what their destinies are and they aren't going to let a little bit of a learning curve keep them from getting where they know they belong in this game.

    We have seen how they address new challenges.

    They see. They learn. They adjust.

    Then they dominate.

    So, maybe the Twins should just skip the whole, "what do we do to improve the outfield until Buxton gets here," era and put the guy in centerfield.

    Maybe you take them aside and say, "Guys, if you're healthy in April, you're going to be Minnesota Twins. You may perform like Kennys Vargas or you may look more like Aaron Hicks, but you're going to stay in Minnesota. You will not be sent back to the minors. From this point forward, you are Major League baseball players. Now get to work and act like it."

    The thing is, you can't wait until spring training to make this decision. It wouldn't be fair to Trevor Plouffe. If Sano is going to step in as your primary third baseman, Plouffe needs to spend some time this winter learning to play left field. Maybe he and Joe Mauer could learn together.

    For that matter, I'd tell Sano to go out there and shag some fly balls, too, because I'm not convinced the Twins won't discover they're better off defensively with Sano in the outfield and Plouffe at the hot corner.

    But one way or another, maybe Buxton and Sano should be in the Opening Day line up. Imagine for a moment:

    Buxton CF
    Dozier 2B
    Mauer 1B
    Vargas DH
    Sano LF/3B
    Arcia RF
    Plouffe 3B/LF
    Escobar/Santana SS
    Suzuki C

    I'd buy tickets to see that line up, no matter who the starting pitcher is. I bet a few other people would, too.

    • Oct 05 2014 10:32 PM
    • by SD Buhr
  6. Twins Top Ten Prospects (Preliminary)

    Reminders: This list is preliminary. Following research for the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2015, as well as your feedback, I’ll provide my final Top 30 prospects list. Players eligible to be on this list include players who remain eligible for Rookie of the Year voting in 2015. That is to say, hitters with less than 130 at bats and pitchers with less than 50 innings.

    Before we get to the Top 10 Twins prospects, you can review prospects 11-50 here:

    Top Prospects 1-10

    #10 – Nick Burdi – 21 – RH RP – Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle

    The Twins drafted Burdi in the 24th round of the 2011 draft out of high school. He chose to go to Louisville where he became the most dominant college reliever. A three-digit fastball with a 90+ mph slider creates a lot of strikeouts. The Twins drafted him again in the second round this June after the College World Series. Upon signing, he was assigned to Cedar Rapids where in 13 innings he gave up eight hits, walked eight and struck out 26. He moved up to Ft. Myers where he pitched 7.1 innings in seven games. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out 12. I would guess that he’ll be invited to big league spring training and start the season at Chattanooga. I also think he will be up with the Twins before June.

    #9 – Taylor Rogers – 23 – LHP – New Britain Rock Cats

    Rogers was my choice in 2013 as the Twins minor league starting pitcher of the year when he went 11-6 with a 2.55 ERA. Drafted in the 11th round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Kentucky where he teamed with Logan Darnell and Alex Meyer. Rogers' 2014 got off to a slow start. Through his first five AA starts, he went 1-3 with an 8.14 ERA despite a 26/5 strikeout to walkout rate. Over his final 19 starts, he went 10-3 with a 2.31 ERA. In 120.2 innings, he walked 32 and struck out 87. The left-hander is blessed with a fastball that touches 95 mph and a sharp slider. He will pitch in the Arizona Fall League and could debut with the Twins in 2015.

    #8 – Trevor May – 25 – RHP – Rochester Red Wings/Minnesota Twins

    May came to the Twins in December of 2012 from the Phillies. In 2013, he went back to the Eastern League in New Britain. After two years of AA ball, he advanced to AAA this year and was terrific. He went 8-6 with a 2.84 ERA in 18 starts before being called up to the Twins. It likely would have happened a month or more earlier if not for a calf injury. His debut in Oakland on August 9th was a disaster. He walked seven in two innings. In his first three starts, he walked 13 and struck out three in nine innings. In his final seven starts, he walked nine and struck out 41 over 36.2 innings. That kind of improvement should have Twins very optimistic that May can be a solid mid-rotation guy.

    #7 – Jorge Polanco – 21 – SS – Ft. Myers Miracle/New Britain Rock Cats/Minnesota Twins

    Polanco had a breakout season in 2013 in Cedar Rapids. He hit .308/.362/.452 (.813). He moved up to Ft. Myers to start this season. In 94 games, he hit .291/.364/.415 (.780) with 17 doubles, six triples and six home runs. In late June, the Twins surprised fans by calling up Polanco from the Miracle for a small cup of coffee. He was returned to the high-A Miracle. A month later, he was well on his way up to AA New Britain, but instead he was called up to the Twins again for a short stint. Quickly returning to AA, he hit .281/.323/.342 (.665) with six doubles and a homer. With the Twins, he primarily just pinch hit, though he did make one start. He went 2-6 and walked twice. After splitting time between shortstop and second base in 2013, he made the move to shortstop in 2014. He spent 119 games at short and just 10 at second base in the minor leagues. He committed 35 errors at shortstop and three more at second base, but he does have decent range. His arm is best suited to second base. He should start 2015 in Chattanooga.

    #6 – Nick Gordon – 18 – SS – Elizabethton Twins

    The Twins were thrilled when Nick Gordon was still available when they were on the clock with the fifth pick. He certainly fits a mold that the Twins have used in the past. Gordon is an athletic high school hitter with a lot of tools who plays in the middle of the diamond. The Twins believe he will be able to stay at shortstop as he develops. He can hit, field his position, has a very strong arm and good speed. Though he isn’t the burner that his brother, Dodgers infielder Dee Gordon is, he has well above average speed. Currently 6-0 and 180 pounds, the hope is that he will develop some power. He began his professional career with Elizabethton where he played in 57 games. He hit .294/.333/.366 (.699) with six doubles, four triples and a home run. In Elizabethton’s playoff series, he broke a bone in his finger. He will most likely spend the 2015 season with the Kernels in Cedar Rapids.

    #5 – Alex Meyer – 24 – RHP – Rochester Red Wings

    He missed about two months of the 2013 season with shoulder pain. As much as Twins fans wanted to see Meyer in 2014, it is clear that the organization’s goal for Meyer in 2014 was to get him through the season healthy. He left his final start in the second inning when he was unable to get his shoulder loose, but he has been deemed healthy heading into the offseason. He had a solid season, posting a 7-7 record with a 3.52 ERA. In 130.1 innings, he struck out 153 batters to lead the International League starters with 10.6 per nine innings. However, he also walked 64 batters, 4.4 per nine. He has the stuff to be a very good starting pitcher, but he will have to throw more strikes. Some believe there is a chance he could wind up in the bullpen at the end of the day. However, with a 98 mph fastball, a great slider, a curveball and an improved changeup, it’s worth giving him every possible chance as a starter.

    #4 – Kohl Stewart – 19 – RHP –Cedar Rapids Kernels

    Stewart was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft out of St. Pius X High School in Houston. As we know, he was a star on the football field, but the Twins signed him away from Texas A&M. He made 19 starts for the Kernels this year and went 3-5 with a 2.59 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He was limited to 75 to 80 pitches throughout most of the year. This, combined with missing several weeks with shoulder soreness limited him pitching only 87 innings. Stewart has good control of his pitches. His fastball sits between 93 and 94 mph but at times has hit 97. He has a slider, which he threw only sporadically. He has a sharp curveball and a solid changeup. He is also very competitive and wants to be great. He has a chance to move up quickly on national prospect rankings next year.

    #3 – JO Berrios – 20 – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle/New Britain Rock Cats/Rochester Red Wings

    The Twins made Berrios their supplemental first round pick in 2012 out of high school in Puerto Rico. After an unspectacular 2013 season in Cedar Rapids, Berrios was the top pitcher in the Twins farm system in 2014. He pitched at three levels and combined to go 12-8 with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in 25 starts. At Ft. Myers, he went 9-3 with a 1.96 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He started the Florida State League All- Star game and the Futures game. He was promoted to AA, and when the Rochester Red Wings needed a starter on the final weekend of the season, they went to Berrios. At 6-0 and just 185 pounds, Berrios throws hard, topping out at 96. He has a sharp breaking ball as well as a very good changeup. He has good control and struck out a batter per inning over the season. He will likely begin 2015 in Chattanooga, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that we could see Berrios in a Twins uniform sometime in 2015.

    #2 – Miguel Sano – 21 – 3B – Did Not Play

    We all had hoped to see Sano with the big league club sometime in 2014. However, in the first spring training intra-squad game, a slow-roller to third base was fielded by Sano. He made an off-balance throw to first base, and his elbow popped. Less than two weeks later, he had Tommy John surgery and missed the entire season. He rehabbed in Ft. Myers and hopes to get some at-bats in the second half of the Dominican Winter League before heading back to spring training. Coming in to the season, he was Baseball America’s #6 prospect in baseball. At 6-4 and 255 pounds, he has elite power potential. He’ll strike out, but he will also take some walks. He is a very good athlete who has a cannon for an arm. It will be interesting to see how his arm returns to playing shape. Despite the injury, he’s still just 21 years old. He still could debut in 2015, though we need to remember that he missed an entire year of development.

    #1 – Byron Buxton – 20 – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle/New Britain Rock Cats

    There was a chance that we would have seen Byron Buxton in Target Field (and not just in the Futures game). Unfortunately, it was a tough season for baseball’s top prospect. He represented himself well in big league camp, but in a minor league spring training game, he hurt his wrist making a diving catch. When he came back, he hurt it again and missed more time. Then he was hit on the other wrist with a pitch and missed time. He moved up to New Britain, where he likely would have started if not for the injury. In his first game, he collided with Mike Kvasnicka and suffered a concussion that cost him the rest of his season. Fortunately, he has been cleared to play in the Arizona Fall League. Kris Bryant may take over the #1 prospect list, but Buxton remains an upper echelon prospect in the game. He can hit for average and take walks. He has the potential to hit for a lot of power. He is one of the fastest base runners in baseball. He is a potential gold glove centerfielder with a great arm. He has confidence and humility. At the same time, he doesn’t just want to be a very good player. He wants to be great.


    So, what do you think of Part 5, the Twins Top 10 Prospects?

    • Oct 02 2014 08:21 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  7. Inside the Florida Instructional League

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    Further down is the brand new three-story housing unit and office for the Players' Developmental Academy, and let me tell you, the Twins did this right. That is except for the marked up rates they charge the players for simple things such as contact solution. I sweet talked my way into the first floor unit and it was nice, furnished with ping-pong tables, pool tables, conference rooms and offices. The walls are decorated with blown up old school Twins baseball cards and ESPN The Magazine covers with Baseball America magazines strewn about and the MLB network playing on flatscreen TVs. The players live on the second and third floor and room with a teammate unless they have family.

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    The best part of this experience is that I'm the only "regular" person out there with all these players, coaches and trainers. With the 10am game cancelled due to wet conditions, the day started off as a fizzle and I was honestly about to leave but who do I see come out of the Academy Complex but Bryon Buxton and the rest of the Instructional League squad. Buxton was the first player out and has definitely hardened over the last two years since I've seen him in that he doesn't like the chit-chat or pictures or autographs as much as when he was fresh out of a small Georgia high school. Following Buxton were the rest of the Instructional League positional players minus Nick Gordon. The pitchers stayed behind in the Complex listening to a Rasmussen speech and watching video.
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    At 9:30 the position players reported to what they loving refer to as "The Hill". At first glance it doesn't appear ominous but if you talk to any player out there, they hated it by the end. I've included some video of the process. First, the players were broken up into two teams with captains (the two oldest players in camp) Jason Kanzler and Chad Christinsen picking teams schoolyard style.The first player taken was Miguel Guzman (and boy, can he fly) while the catchers were all picked near the end with Alex Swim getting the notorious last pick and crying about it. Kanzler ended up with Rainis Silvia, Jorge Fernandez, Nelson Molina, Trey Vavra, Tanner English,Tyree Davis, Rafael Valera and Stu Turner.

    Kanzler talked strategy with his teammates, before deciding on slow-fast-slow placement of runners and picking Rainis Silvia to go first, which Rainis was pleading not to do. Jorge Fernandez is quiet the character: very verbal with encouragement, a quick wit and always cracking a joke.

    I said that I wasn't impressed with last year's strength and conditioning regime. This time around leadman Eric Beiser pulled out a great drill. It included a tremendous number of difficult exercises on that hill. Tommy Watkins, the FIL manager, loves giving his players crap, riding them hard. Most of the players thought he was joking when he said we're hitting after this but he was serious.
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    Believe it or not, this drill killed several of the players with three of them puking. Tyree told me, "I never had to do this even in football. They said you work every muscle but I only feel it here (quadriceps). I know what I'm doing this offseason (pointing to the hill). I've never had to workout like this before."
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    Buxton just stood on the sidelines and watched as he's nowhere near in shape. He's only hitting in the the cage at this point. Tyler Kuresa asked Buxton if he had done this drill before which Byron replied "Yeah, but I was in shape then." The ending came down to almost a photo finish between the two Captains, Chad Christensen and Jason Kanzler, before Christensen pulled off the win for his group, thus making Kanzler group having to hit second and clean-up the hill and collect balls in the cage.
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    While the positional players were finishing up with their drill, the pitchers came out at about 10:30 AM. Many of the positionals asked if the pitchers had to do the same drill, and received an emphatic "NO!" in reply. To which Tyler Kuresa replied back, "Gotta work on covering first today?"

    Eric Rassmussen asked Field Coordinator Joe Lepel if he had two catchers that weren't tanked so Rainis Silvia and Mitchell Garver were nominated to catch JT Chargois and Brandon Easton in their very abbreviated side session. Of course, that was after the pitchers played catch and long toss for 20 minutes.

    After JT Chargois finished I was able to call him over and get him to talk briefly about his recovery processs and how to correctly pronounce his name. According to JT, the arm is feeling the best it has in a long time but he's having trouble with his location and command. He says he doesn't know how hard he's throwing which I'm sure was a lie, but according to a source he was 96-98 mph in his last outing. He's throwing mainly fastballs at this point and that's all he threw in his side session. The source I talked to said they plan to take it slow with JT, possibly starting off in extended spring training and/or Fort Myers and see from there. From my perspective Chargois seems like a genuinely nice kid and I wish him the best of luck but don't think he needs too much because that ball just explodes out of his hand.

    The pitchers then reported off to the inside arena while the hitters continued to hit in the cages. The rain started to come and I departed. Hopefully next week the rain subsides enough to get a game in when I'll be back the 27th. I hope you enjoyed the ramblings of a baseball fan.
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    *I have no affiliation with any club, organization, company, etc the above blog is just one baseball fan's look inside the not often covered Florida Instructional League.

    • Sep 22 2014 01:24 PM
    • by Bob Sacamento
  8. Injuries Have Hurt Prospects' Development

    Let’s take a look at the Twins Daily Top 10 Prospects coming into the 2014 season.

    #1 Byron Buxton – Outfielder

    Baseball’s top prospect has seemingly been snakebitten in 2014. In mid-March, he dove for a ball in centerfield and hurt his wrist. He missed two months. He returned in early in May. However, five games into his return, he slid, feet-first, and reinjured the same wrist. He missed two more months. He returned in mid-July, and in his eighth game back, he was hit by a pitch in the other wrist and missed another week. As you know, a week ago he was promoted to New Britain. In his first game, he collided with right fielder Mike Kvasnicka and while there were no broken bones, he had a concussion and will not play again this season. The team is hopeful he can participate in the Instructional League and the Arizona Fall League.

    #2 – Miguel Sano – Third Baseman

    Miguel Sano came to big league camp this spring, but in the team’s first scrimmage, an off-balance throw hurt his elbow. He had Tommy John surgery a week later. He is recovering in Ft. Myers. He will not play in the Instructional League, the Arizona Fall League or the first half of the Dominican Winter League. He may play in the second half of the DWL in an attempt to be ready for spring training.

    #3 – Alex Meyer – Right-Handed Pitcher

    Meyer has actually remained healthy throughout this season. However, he missed two months last year with a shoulder injury. The goal for Meyer this year clearly is to get him through the season healthy while attempting to meet an innings limit. He has been held to just 75 pitches several times. However, getting him to 130 innings this season is a key. He should be able to get to 160 innings in 2015.

    #4 – Kohl Stewart – Right-Handed Pitcher

    Stewart was the Twins top pick just last year and spent the season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He was part of a six-man rotation. Through his first 17 starts, he posted a 2.42 ERA and opponents hit just .230 off of him. Unfortunately, shoulder soreness from a long bus ride to Lake County cost him a month, though nothing was found wrong structurally. He returned to action last week. As mentioned above, however, he left his start on Tuesday with more shoulder discomfort.

    #5 – Eddie Rosario – Second Base/Outfield

    Rosario has been healthy this year, but his development was slowed by his 50 game suspension to start the season due to a second failed test for a drug of abuse. He hasn’t hit real well, though he does have a bunch of doubles. He also missed four or five games last month for violating team rules. He may not have been injured, but he has been hurt by missed development time.

    #6 – JO Berrios – Right-Handed Pitcher

    There was no pitcher in the Twins organization, and maybe through minor league baseball, whose stock had risen this season as much as JO Berrios. He was a Florida State League all-star, started the Futures Game at Target Field and was promoted to AA New Britain. However, he left his fourth start with the Rock Cats due to shoulder stiffness. After evaluation, he was deemed fine. He skipped one start and has returned to the mound looking strong. Hopefully that was a short-term blip on the radar.

    #7 – Josmil Pinto – Catcher/DH

    Josmil Pinto made the Twins opening day roster, but he was relegated to the backup catcher role. When he performed, it was as a third catcher who was primarily DH'ing. In early June, he was optioned to Rochester. Late in the month, he suffered a hip injury and missed three weeks of play. He has returned and has, of late, been playing better.

    #10 – Trevor May – Right-Handed Pitcher

    May performed very well early in the season. In fact, many believed that he would be called up in late May or early July. He was named to the Futures Game, but he suffered a calf injury and ended up missing a month. When he returned, rain cost him one start and cut short another start to just three innings. However, he has now debuted with the Twins and despite early struggles, could be part of the Twins future rotation.

    EVEN MORE

    As you noticed, I skipped numbers nine and ten. Number eight was Jorge Polanco who has remained healthy and played well in Ft. Myers and in a recent promotion to New Britain, and even in two short stints with the Twins. Number nine was Lewis Thorpe who we expected to spend the season in Elizabethton, but he was promoted to Cedar Rapids in mid-June and has held his own.

    However, other prospects have also been hurt and lost development time because of injury. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • Max Kepler – Outfielder/First Baseman – The youngster from Germany has been on the disabled list a couple times this year for various reasons. He missed time last year with elbow issues and has missed time this year for a couple of reasons, including a serious case of strep throat.
    • Mason Melotakis – Left-Handed Pitcher – Melotakis made the shift back to the bullpen this year in Ft. Myers and earned himself a promotion to New Britain. He missed two weeks with elbow inflammation. He returned to the mound on earlier this week.
    • Zach Jones – Right-Handed Pitcher – In the offseason, Jones learned that he had an aneurysm in his right shoulder. He needed to have surgery. As he was recovering from that, doctors found a blood clot in his leg. He got to Ft. Myers in May and continued to rehab. He pitched in several games for the GCL Twins and earlier this week he returned to action with the Ft. Myers Miracle.
    • Corey Williams – Left-Handed Pitcher – Williams suffered an elbow injury during spring training and had Tommy John surgery on April 1st.
    • JT Chargois – Right-Handed Pitcher – The former 2nd round pick from Rice has been hurt since signing with the Twins. He rehabbed throughout the 2013 season before having Tommy John surgery last August.
    • Luke Bard – Right-Handed Pitcher – Bard had a couple surgeries during 2013. In mid-May this year he had another surgery. According to Bard, he had a “latisimus reattachment and a teres major reattachment.” Basically the muscles between his scapula and his humerus were completely detached. Once in, doctors wondered how he was able to throw at all. He will likely be out until mid-2015.
    • Yorman Landa – Right-Handed Pitcher – The hard-throwing righty began the season in Cedar Rapids’ bullpen. He was throwing very well in May, but he needed shoulder surgery and is out for the year.
    • Randy Rosario – Left-Handed Pitcher – Rosario began the season in the Cedar Rapids starting rotation. Unfortunately, two of three starts into the season, he hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery.
    • Fernando Romero – Right-Handed Pitcher – the 18-year-old came out of nowhere last year, hitting 96 mph. He began this season in extended spring, but he was called up to Cedar Rapids where he made a handful of starts. Unfortunately, he too experienced elbow pain and soon after had Tommy John surgery.
    • Taylor Rogers – Left-Handed Pitcher – He was my choice for Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year last year. After an early struggle in AA, he has been very good. He did miss about three weeks with a biceps injury, but he has been good again in his return.
    • DJ Baxendale – Right-Handed Pitcher – He has been hurt much of the year and struggled when healthy. He is currently pitching in a rehab stint in the GCL.
    • Zack Larson – Outfielder – The 20-year-old began the season in Cedar Rapids and did well. In early May, he pulled his hamstring and did not start playing rehab games in the GCL for two months. After just a few games, he had a setback and missed another two weeks. He just returned to the Kernels this week.
    • Brett Lee – Left-Handed Pitcher – He was named an all-star for Ft. Myers but shoulder discomfort kept him out of the game. He has returned and continued to pitch well.
    • David Hurlbut - Left-Handed Pitcher - Like Lee, Hurlbut was a Florida State League All Star, but he has not made a start for the Miracle since June 2nd due to shoulder issues. He is rehabbing in the GCL now.
    There have been other injuries in the Twins farm system. To be fair, there have also been a lot of very good performances that are certainly encouragement.

    The disabled list time is just development time missed. It doesn’t necessarily affect prospect status.

    So, what can be done?

    That is a pretty open-ended question. I certainly don’t know. Injuries like Byron Buxton’s or Zack Larson’s are injuries incurred through baseball activities.

    What about all of the pitcher injuries? There have been several Tommy John surgeries and even shoulder injuries. Is there something the Twins are doing wrong? It would seem to me that their rules regarding innings counts, pitch counts and such are pretty much the same as other organizations.

    Is it bad luck? Are the arm injuries due to the Twins process? Should they pitch more? Could they possibly pitch less? What about in between starts?
    I’m more and more developing the opinion that it is pretty much a 50/50 proposition that a pitcher will have some arm issues. The odds may even be worse.

    Which is why I will continue to say that the Twins have just been snake-bitten this season. I have never seen anything like this, and hopefully this is a one-year thing and next year they won’t have as many injuries.

    Any suggestions?

    • Aug 21 2014 08:03 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  9. Twins Minor league Report (8/13): Buxton Suffers Concussion

    Terry Ryan happened to be in New Britain. He went with the players to the hospital. He later told the Rock Cats radio announcers what he had learned. Mike Kvasnicka was back in the dugout with the team and had just a sore hip. Buxton was given several tests and found no broken bones. He did suffer a concussion and will likely be placed on the disabled list and miss more time. Though a concussion is not a good thing, things could have been much worse. By the end of the game, Buxton had returned to the clubhouse as well.

    (If you would like to, here is the video of the play.)

    To find out more about how that Rock Cats game ended up, and much more from around the Twins farm system, you’ll want to continue reading. A top Twins pitching prospect made his first start in nearly a month. Here is the Minor League Report for Wednesday:

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Game 1 – Rochester 7, Durham 8 (11 innings)
    Box Score

    Knowing they were playing two games on Wednesday, extra frames in Game 1, a continuation of a suspended game, is probably the last thing that either team wanted. Sean Gilmartin had started this game with two innings. He had given up one run on two hits and a walk. He struck out four. When the game resumed on Wednesday, Mark Hamburger took the mound. He was charged with six runs (five earned) on ten hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out five. Stephen Pryor struck out three over two scoreless innings. Aaron Thompson faced two batters in the 10th inning and both got hits. Michael Tonkin came in and gave up the game winning run.

    Game 2 – Rochester 4, Durham 2
    Box Score

    It most likely was a one-start promotion, but right-hander Tyler Duffey made the most of this appearance with a terrific start. In six innings, he gave up just two runs five hits and two walks. In that sixth inning, he allowed a two-run homer to Nick Franklin. Duffey struck out seven to earn the win. Lester Oliveros struck out two in the 7th for his fourth save. In his last seven games, he has given up 0 runs in 13 innings and has struck out 21 batters.

    Josmil Pinto went 2-3 in the game. Doug Bernier and Chris Herrmann each doubled.

    ROCK CATS REVIEW
    New Britain 8, Bowie 5
    Box Score

    Obviously the big news in this game was the collision between Mike Kvasnicka and Byron Buxton, but the game did continue and the Rock Cats picked up a win. Buxton was 0-3 with three strikeouts before his injury. He also threw out a base runner at third base. Levi Michael also made his AA debut at second base. He went 2-3 and stole two bases. Eddie Rosario went 1-3 with two walks. The Rock Cats had seven hits, walked four times and four players were hit by a pitch.

    It was a bullpen game for the Rock Cats. Cole Johnson started and threw 2.2 scoreless innings. He walked one and struck out three. Edgar Ibarra came on and was charged with one run on one hit and a walk in 1.2 innings. He struck out two. Alex Wimmers gave up four runs on five hits and a walk in two innings. He struck out two. Jim Fuller struck out two over the final 2.2 innings. He gave up no runs on three hits and recorded his first save of the year.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Game 1 – Ft. Myers 1, St. Lucie 6
    Box Score

    Brett Lee made the start in the first game of this doubleheader. The lefty gave up five runs on eight hits, three walks and a hit batter in 3.1 innings. Todd Van Steensel came on and gave up one run on a hit and two walks over 2.2 innings. Madison Boer pitched a scoreless inning.

    Niko Goodrum hit his third home run of the year. Aderlin Mejia was 2-3 with two walks in the game.

    Game 2 – Ft. Myers 7, St. Lucie 3
    Box Score

    The Miracle were able to split their doubleheader with a Game 2 win. This was also a bullpen game. Brandon Peterson started and went the first 2.1 innings. He was charged with two runs on four hits and two walks in 2.1 innings. He struck out two. Alex Muren came on and gave up just two hits over 2.2 scoreless innings. Nick Burdi made his Florida State League debut. He gave up a hit, but he struck out two in his inning. DJ Johnson got the final inning and gave up an unearned run on one hit.

    Dalton Hicks went 2-4. Tyler Grimes was 1-1 with two walks. Jason Kanzler also walked twice.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 6, Beloit 1
    Box Score

    It had been nearly a month since he had last pitched, but Kohl Stewart returned to the mound for the Kernels in Beloit on Wednesday night. Limited to just 50 pitches, Stewart completed four innings. He gave up a run on three hits. He walked none and struck out four. Chih-Wei Hu came on and earned the win with five shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked a batter and struck out three.

    JD Williams led the offense. He went 2-2 with two walks, his 16th double and his third home run. Max Murphy had a big game as well. He was 2-4 with his fourth double and third home run. Jonatan Hinojosa led off and went 2-4 with a walk. Mitch Garver was 2-4. Chad Christensen went 1-3 with his seventh triple. He was also hit by a pitch twice.

    E-TWINS E-NOTES
    Elizabethton 4, Greeneville 0
    Box Score

    John Curtiss was a tremendous reliever in college, but he’s being given an opportunity to start in Elizabethton. He had a terrific game on Wednesday. The right-hander gave up just two hits over six shutout innings. He walked none and struck out ten. Sam Clay came on and walked two and struck out two over two scoreless innings. CK Irby struck out two in a perfect ninth inning.
    Jorge Fernandez went 2-2 with a walk. Trey Vavra went 1-1 with a walk, a sacrifice fly and his 13th double. Jeremias Pineda went 2-3.

    GCL TWINS TAKES
    GCL Twins 9, GCL Rays 1
    Box Score

    The Twins had a much-needed and rare big win. Zach Larson had a terrific game in his rehab from his hamstring injury. He was 3-4 with a walk, and he stole his first base. Amaurys Minier went 2-3 with two walks and his first triple of the year. He also threw out of base runner at home. Joel Polanco went 2-5 with two RBI.

    Lefty Brandon Easton improved to 2-1. He gave up just one run on six hits and a walk over the first five innings. He struck out six. Eduardo Del Rosario pitched a perfect inning. Zack Jones had his best outing. He struck out two in a perfect inning. Leonel Zazueta struck out two over the final two innings.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Chih-Wei Hu, Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – JD Williams, Cedar Rapids Kernels

    THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Durham @ Rochester (6:05 CST) – Alex Meyer
    Bowie @ New Britain (6:05 CST) – Pat Dean
    St. Lucie @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) – Steven Gruver
    Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (7:00 CST) – TBD
    Greeneville @ Elizabethton (6:00 CST) – Michael Cederoth
    GCL Rays @ GCL Twins (11:00am CST) – TBD

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

    A quick reminder:

    Thanks to the Twins win against the Houston Astros on Wednesday, it means that on Thursday you can get 50% off a Large of Extra Large pizza when you use the “TWINSWIN” promotion code at PapaJohns.com.

    • Aug 14 2014 08:09 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  10. Twins Minor League Report (8/7)

    The Red Wings pulled out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning and cruised to victory. James Beresford was a big catalyst for the Red Wings, finishing the night 3-5 with a double and two runs scored. Daniel Ortiz was 2-3 with two runs scored, a home run, three RBI and a walk. Josmil Pinto was 1-2 with a walk, a double and an RBI.

    Rock Cats Review
    New Britain 1, Akron 3
    Box
    Tyler Duffey pitched 7.1 innings and gave up three runs on four hits. He struck out five and walked one. Unfortunately, the Rock Cats could manage only one run and Duffey took the loss. He's now 8-3 with a 3.80 ERA. Edgar Ibarra pitched two-thirds of an inning and walked two.

    The Rock Cats actually out-hit the Akron RubberDucks 6-4, but the Rock Cats didn't receive any support from the bottom of the lineup as the 7-8-9 hitters went 0-9. Jorge Polanco was 2-4 with a strikeout, the only Rock Cats player with multiple hits. Brandon Waring was 1-3 with the Cats' only extra base hit of the night, a double.

    Miracle Matters
    Fort Myers 6, St. Lucie 2
    Box
    The Ethan Mildren Fan Club has reason to be excited as Mildren picked up his second win at High-A with six innings of two run baseball. Mildren gave up just four hits, but two of them were solo home runs. Alex Muren earned a hold with a scoreless seventh inning. He walked two and stuck out one, so it was a little bit of a bumpy ride. Tyler Jones pitched a scoreless eighth and D.J. Johnson did the same in the ninth.

    Levi Michael continues to play well. He was 2-4 with a run scored, a walk and two RBI leading off for the Miracle. Byron Buxton was 1-5 (infield single) with a run scored and two strikeouts. He's hitting just .236 for the Miracle. Adam Brett Walker II hit his Florida State League leading 23rd home run of the year, a solo shot in the eighth. Aderlin Mejia and Niko Goodrum each added two hits with 2-4 performances.

    Kernels Nuggets
    Kane County 3, Cedar Rapids 4 (11 innings)
    Box
    The Kernels took an early lead in the bottom of the second, but Mat Batts ran into some trouble and left after six down 3-2. Batts gave up five hits, three runs (two earned), walked no one and struck out eight. His ERA is 2.45. Jared Wilson pitched the seventh and eighth without giving up a hit or a walk and he recorded a strikeout. Jake Reed pitched two scoreless innings as well, to take the Kernels through the tenth. Reed gave up just one hit and struck out four. Dallas Gallant pitched a scoreless eleventh and picked up the win when the Kernels scored in the bottom of the inning.

    Mitch Garver and Engelb Vielma both had 3-4 nights and they each hit a double. Engelb Vielma led off the 10th with a double, but could not come around to score. Garver's double also came in extra innings, leading off the 11th inning. He was lifted for pitch runner Jon Murphy who raced around to score when Bryan Haar doubled to left field, winning the game for the Kernels.

    E-Town E-Notes
    Danville 0, Elizabethton 12
    Box
    The Elizabethton Twins had their bats working early and had a 9-0 lead by the end of the fifth inning, adding three more in the bottom of the seventh. Every E-Twin hitter except leadoff man Jeremias Pineda had two hits, and Nick Gordon (3-6), Tanner English (3-5) and Jorge Fernandez (4-5) did even better than that. Gordon added a triple and three RBIs to his three hits. English had a double and two RBIs and Fernandez had a triple and three RBIs of his own.

    The pitching staff held their own as well, giving up just five hits and two walks while they stuck out 13 Danville Braves hitters. John Curtiss started, struck out eight in his five innings, and then turned the game over to the bullpen. Kuo Hua Lo pitched two hitless innings, striking out three and walked none. Samuel Clay mopped up the final two innings of the night, giving up a lone hit and stuck out a pair.

    GCL Twins Takes
    GCL Twins 5, GCL Orioles 6
    Box
    Despite two runs in the top of the ninth, and four errors from the GCL Orioles, the GCL Twins fell to the GCL Orioles 5-6. The Twins received a nice performance from their starter Brandon Easter who went five innings, gave up two runs (one earned), struck out six and walked two. Callan Pearce gave up four earned runs in the bottom of the sixth and picked up the loss. He also pitched a scoreless seventh. Zack Jones pitched the eight inning, striking out the side and scattered a hit and a walk.

    Rainis Silva was 2-4, the only Twins player with two or more hits. Amaurys Minier was just 1-5 but he made it count with a two-run home run. No other player had an extra base hit for the Twins on a pretty quiet night in the batters box.

    DSL Twins Takes
    DSL Padres 3, DSL Twins 4
    Jose Ramirez gave up two earned runs over five innings, scattering three hits to go along with a walk and six strike outs. He turned the game over to Jose Martinez with a 3-2 lead. Martinez lost the lead in the top of the seventh, but the DSL Twins retook the lead in the bottom of the seventh, so Martinez earns the win and a blown save. Martinez pitched the final four innings, he gave up two hits, a run and struck out one batter.

    The DSL Twins and the DSL Orioles combined for seven runs on just six hits, three hits for each team. The only Twins players with hits last night were Jorge Andrade (1-2 with a walk and two runs scored), Luis Martinez (1-3 with a walk and an RBI) and Lewin Diaz (1-3 with a double and two RBI).

    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter and Pitcher of the Day
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day - Nick Gordon, Elizabethton Twins
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Ethan Mildren, Fort Myers Miracle

    Friday's Probables
    Rochester @ Indianapolis (6:15 C) - Mark Hamburger (Listen)
    New Britain @ Erie (6:05 C) – Pat Dean (Listen)
    Ft. Myers @ St. Lucie (5:30 C)– Brett Lee (Listen)
    Kane County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 C) - Stephen Gonsalves (Listen)
    Danville @ Elizabethton (6:00 C) - TBD
    GCL Orioles @ GCL Twis (11:00am C) – TBD
    DSL Twins @ DSL Padres (9:30am C) – TBD

    • Aug 08 2014 06:21 AM
    • by Eric R Pleiss
  11. Twins Minor League Report (7/30): May Day Approaches

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 6, Lehigh Valley 8
    Box Score

    Trevor May was finally able to stretch out. In fact, he recorded more outs on Wednesday afternoon than he had in the previous five weeks combined (due to being on the DL for a month and a couple of rainouts). He needed just 77 pitches to get through 6.2 scoreless innings. He gave up five hits, walked just one and struck out five. It will be interesting to see if he gets the call up now or gets one more start (to get to 100 pitches) before that move comes.

    When he left, the Red Wings had a 6-0 lead. Aaron Thompson got a strikeout to get out of that seventh inning. Things went downhill from there. Thompson pitched to four batters in the 8th inning and gave up two hits and two walks. All four came around to score. Michael Tonkin allowed two of Thompson’s runners to score and was charged with another run of his own on two hits before getting out of the 8th. AJ Achter came on for the ninth inning, trying to protect a one-run lead. He gave up three runs on four hits in the inning to take the loss.

    Offensively, the Red Wings were led by Deibinson Romero who went 2-4 with his eighth home run. It was the 27th straight game that he has reached base. Josmil Pinto hit his fifth home run and second in as many days. Pedro Florimon went 2-4. Doug Bernier hit his 19th double, and Chris Rahl hit his 16th double.



    ROCK CATS REVIEW
    New Britain 3, Trenton 2 (10 innings)
    Box Score

    Aaron Hicks had the Rock Cats lone hits in Tuesday night’s game. On Wednesday, he had two more hits, both doubles. Michael Gonzales went 2-4 and hit his first AA home run. Tony Thomas played left field. He had two outfield assists in this close game, including one at home plate.

    Jason Wheeler returned to the Rock Cats rotation after a one-start stint with the Red Wings. In 6.2 innings, he gave up one run on seven hits. He walked one and struck out four. Ryan O’Rourke finished off the 7th inning with a strikeout. Cole Johnson worked the next two innings and gave up one run on two hits. Mason Melotakis pitched a scoreless tenth frame for the save.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Ft. Myers 7, Clearwater 8
    Box Score

    The Miracle bats were shut down early, and the team got a tough start from a guy who has been one of their best starters all year. Tim Shibuya got the starting nod. He was charged with eight runs on nine hits and a walk in just three innings. He struck out two. BJ Hermsen came on and gave up a hit and a walk over three scoreless innings. Madison Boer threw two scoreless innings that were followed by a scoreless ninth inning by Tyler Jones.

    The Miracle attempted a comeback. They scored five runs in the seventh inning and another two in the eighth but fell a run shy. Byron Buxton went 2-4 with a walk. Adam Walker went 2-5. Max Kepler knocked his 11th double.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 3, Burlington 2 (11 innings)
    Box Score

    Ryan Walker went 3-6 in this game. His 11th inning, walk off single gave the
    Kernels a much-needed win. Michael Quesada went 2-4 with his ninth double in the game.

    Ryan Eades put together a very solid start. He gave up two runs on four hits (2 homers) in seven innings. He walked two and struck out three. Nick Burdi came on. He gave up three hits in two innings, but no runs in part because of five strikeouts. Dallas Gallant pitched the final two innings without giving up a run. He struck out five as well for the Win.

    E-TWINS E-NOTES
    Elizabethton 1, Greeneville 5
    Box Score

    The E-Twins fell behind early and were unable to muster much offensive firepower. The team had just three hits and walked five times. Tyler Mautner hit his 11th double.

    Derrick Penilla started and gave up five runs on six hits and two walks in three innings. He struck out four. Sam Clay put in his best game of the season. The lefty gave up just one hit and walked one over three scoreless innings. He struck out three. Cameron Booser walked one and struck out one over two scoreless innings and struck out four. Kuo Hua Lo struck out two in a perfect inning.

    GCL TWINS TAKES
    GCL Twins 2, GCL Rays 4 (14 innings)
    Box Score

    It was a long day for the GCL Twins, and unfortunately it ended as most of their games have this season, in a loss. Zach Tillery started and gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits over five innings. He didn’t walk any and struck out five. Mike Theofanopoulus came on and gave up just one hit over three shutout innings. He struck out four. Miles Nordgren ate up the next 5.1 innings. He gave up two runs on four hits and a walk (intentional). Nordgren left the ballgame tied but with the bases loaded. Callan Pearce came on and walked the next two batters to allow two runs to score.

    Manuel Guzman led the offense. He went 3-5 with a walk and his second double. Joel Polanco had a walk and his fifth double. He also stole his fifth base. Amaurys Minier went 2-6.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Trevor May, Rochester Red Wings
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Ryan Walker, Cedar Rapids Kernels

    SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (6:05 CST) – Sean Gilmartin
    Erie @ New Britain (6:05 CST) – Tyler Duffey
    Clearwater @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) – Matt Tomshaw (vs Aaron Nola)
    Burlington @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) – Chih-Wei Hu
    Elizabethton @ Kingsport (6:00 CST) – TBD
    GCL Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00am CST – TBD

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

    • Jul 31 2014 06:38 AM
    • by Seth Stohs