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  1. Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month - August 2019

    Before we get to our Top 5 relievers in the Twins system in August, here are several Honorable Mentions.

    • Jovani Moran - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 7 G, 2.13 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 12.2 IP, 8 H, 7 BB, 15 K
    • Calvin Faucher - Ft. Myers Miracle - 7 G, 1.54 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 11 H, 3 BB, 16 K
    • Moises Gomez - Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 3.29 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 13.2 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 23 K
    • Nate Hadley - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 8 G, 3.14 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 11 H, 5 BB, 15 K
    • Tyler Beck - Elizabethton Twins - 8 G, 1.23 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 14 H, 4 BB, 19 K
    • Benjamin Dum - Elizabethton Twins - 8 G, 3.21 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 14 H, 0 BB, 20 K
    • Ryan Shreve - Elizabethton Twins - 6 G, 2.70 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 20 H, 2 BB, 20 K
    • Bradley Hanner - GCL Twins - 5 G, 2.45 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 4 H, 6 BB, 13 K
    • Niall Windeler - GCL Twins - 5 G, 1.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.0 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 10 K.
    THE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS


    #5 - Preston Guilmet - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 2 GS, 2.33 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 19.1 IP, 15 H, 2 BB, 27 K


    The 32-year-old Guilmet made his MLB debut in 2013. He played for four MLB teams between 2013 and 2015. Then he returned to the big leagues and played for two more MLB teams in 2018. He signed early in the offseason with the Twins hoping for an opportunity to make it to the big leagues again, for a seventh team. That didn’t happen as Guilmet struggled some, especially early in the Red Wings season. However, he finished the season with a strong month. Call me impressed with the two walks to 27 strikeouts ratio. In addition, opponents hit just .214 with a .547 OPS against him during the month.


    #4 - Jonathan Cheshire - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 10 K


    Cheshire was the Blue Jays 37th-round pick in 2017 out of college. Toronto released him in early June and the Twins signed him in late July. The 24-year-old made a solid first impression in the Twins organization by posting a 0.00 ERA over his first full month in the organization. Opponents hit .205 off of him with a .510 OPS.


    #3 - Gabriel Moya - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 5 G, 1 GS, 1.69 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 10.2 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 13 K


    The Twins acquired Moya just over two years ago from the Diamondbacks in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy. He helped Chattanooga to a Southern League title that year and earned a promotion to the Twins. He spent time with the Twins last year. Unfortunately, he began the 2019 season hurt and when he went to Rochester, he really struggled. He ended up back in Double-A to end the season. But, he pitched well. Most important is that he didn’t issue walks and was back to recording strikeouts. Opponents hit just .179 with a .456 OPS against him. He is now off of the Twins 40-man roster, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the still just 24-year-old lefty resurfaces in the big leagues in 2020.


    #2 - Jorge Alcala - Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings - 10 G, 1.10 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 18 K


    It was a generally tough season for the hard-throwing right-hander. The Twins finally made the decision to move him to the bullpen in July, and he had mixed results. However, he and Brusdar Graterol were promoted to Triple-A Rochester in mid-August. Graterol was good, but Alcala was fantastic. With the Red Wings, he pitched in 7 2/3 innings over five games. He didn’t give up a run, gave up just four hits, walked two and struck out 11 batters. For the month, opponents hit .186 with a .526 OPS against him.


    And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is:

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos – RHP Anthony Vizcaya - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 13 K

    Every year there are a number of great stories in any MLB organization. One such story in the Twins organization in 2019 is that of Anthony Vizcaya. He signed with Cleveland in 2011 from Venezuela. However, he was released in 2014 after posting an ERA over 10 in the advanced rookie league. Since that time, he has only played in the Venezuelan Winter Leagues, and event that was very limited. He didn’t play during the 2017-18 season but returned last winter. He pitched in eight games, but it was enough to catch the eye of Twins pro scout Rafael Yanez who recommended the Twins sign him. They did, and he has been terrific all year.

    He posted a 2.22 ERA over 15 games with the Miracle. In 28 1/3 innings, he struck out 35 batters. He has now pitched in 26 games for the Blue Wahoos and has a 0.78 ERA. In his 46 Double-A innings, he has struck out 48 batters. Combined, he has 11 saves.

    In August, he was at his finest. The 25-year-old did not allow a run in eight games and 14 innings. Opponents hit just .149 with a .370 OPS against him.

    It’s a great story, but those great stories are always even a little more fun when they pan out with a successful season.

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

    As you can see, there were several strong relief pitcher performances in August. These guys are all worthy of some recognition. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today.

    Congratulations to Anthony Vizcaya, the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for August 2019.

    • Sep 05 2019 09:24 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  2. Twins Minor League Report (4/21): Pensacola Pounds Out 12 Hits

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester has had a slow start to the season with a 5-11 record. Currently the club is seven games back in the International League North. Rochester starts a four-game series with Scranton/WB on Monday. The RailRiders are 8-6 on the season and sit in third place in the division. If Rochester is going to make a move, this is as good of time as any to start moving up the standings.

    BLUE WAHOO BITES
    Pensacola 8, Mobile 5
    Box Score
    Jordan Gore got things started with a lead-off double in the first frame. He moved to second on a wild-pitch. Even without an out at that point, it took a two-out single from Taylor Grzelakowski to bring in Gore for the first run of the game. That wouldn’t be the end of the scoring for the Blue Wahoos.

    Pensacola put up a five-spot in the third inning with help from the middle of the order. Ernie De La Trinidad singled before coming around to score on a Caleb Hamilton double. Jaylin Davis followed with his second home run of the season. Grzelakowski walked and then he moved to third on a Luis Arraez double. Jimmy Kerrigan singled to drive in a run and put runners on the corners. Joe Cronin drove in the final run of the innings with a sacrifice fly.

    Del La Trinidad got things started again in the fourth inning with his first homer of the year. Hamilton followed with a single and Davis added a double to put runners on the corners. Grzelakoski drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to put the score at 8-0.

    Jorge Alcala was cruising through four shutout innings before running into trouble in the fifth. He allowed five runs that inning, but he was able to finish the frame. He struck out eight and walked one. Tyler Jay took over and was fantastic through two shutout innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out four.

    Gabriel Moya made his second rehab appearance. He recorded two outs and both were strikeouts. However, he surrendered two walks and one hit to make things a little dicey. Dusten Knight finished off his fourth save by pitching 1 1/3 innings. He struck out two and went for the back flip.



    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Fort Myers enters play on Monday with a 10-7 record. The Miracle are currently in third place in the Florida State League South and trail first place by two games. Fort Myers will start a three-game set against first-place Bradenton on Monday. If the club were to sweep, the Miracle could take over first place in the division.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids has started the year 7-9 and they will start Monday 4.5 games out of first place in the Midwest League Western Division. The Kernels start a three-game set on Monday in Wisconsin, which is currently half a game back in the standings. Andrew Cabezas will be looking to pick up his first win of the season.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    TD Pitcher of the Day- Tyler Jay, Pensacola (2.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 K, 3 H)
    TD Hitter of the Day- Caleb Hamilton, Pensacola (3-5, 2 2B, 3 R, RBI, K)

    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:

    #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured List
    #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) – Did not pitch
    #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) – Did not play

    MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Rochester vs. Scranton/WB (5:05 CST) – TBD
    Pensacola vs. Mobile (6:35 CST) – RHP Brusdar Graterol (1-0, 0.52 ERA)
    Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:30 CST) – TBD
    Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:35 CST) – RHP Andrew Cabezas (0-0, 6.00 ERA)

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

    • Apr 21 2019 08:50 PM
    • by Cody Christie
  3. KC 6, MIN 4: Coming Down is the Hardest Thing

    Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
    Home Runs: Cave (11)
    Multi-Hit Games: Cave (2-for-4, HR)
    WPA of 0.1 or higher: Moya .104
    WPA of -0.1 or lower: Busenitz -.437
    [attachment=12040:WinChart913.png]
    The Twins went with the opener/primary picher strategy again today. Any time they roll that out I like to give an overview on how everything worked its way out from the top down.

    Gabriel Moya was the opener. He pitched well, but was pretty inefficient. He threw two scoreless, no-hit innings and had a strikeout and a walk. The main problem was it took him 38 pitches to do so. With the expanded rosters that’s no big deal, but if the Twins were to test this during any of the other five months, that kind of an outing from a reliever would not be ideal.

    Stephen Gonsalves followed as the primary pitcher. The good news: He pitched three no-hit innings and didn’t give up an earned run. The bad news: He walked four batters, which helped the Royals to score an unearned run thanks to a Jorge Polanco error. Gonsalves threw 69 pitches.

    Alan Busenitz took over in the sixth. He gave up a double, then back-to-back home runs. Ouch. He threw 16 pitches, gave up three runs and failed to record an out. Matt Magill took over, but couldn’t get through the inning either.

    Magill gave up a run on a pair of hits and a walk. He got two outs and threw 21 pitches. Andrew Vasquez took over and hit the first batter he faced, but the finally recorded the final out of the sixth. He threw 10 pitches.

    Tally all that up and you get five pitchers combining for six innings, needing 154 pitches to do so. Not good.

    Things settled back down from there, as John Curtiss pitched a scoreless seventh and Oliver Drake covered the eight, giving up an unearned run. An error was charged on Chris Gimenez’s throw to second base on a steal attempt, but it really should have been Polanco’s second error of the game. He whiffed on the catch, the ball just sailed right on by him.

    The Twins held a 2-0 lead early thanks to a Jake Cave two-run homer in the second inning. They added two more runs in the eighth on an Eddie Rosario RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Robbie Grossman. That pulled them to within a run of KC, but the Royals added that insurance run in the bottom of the eighth and took care of business in the ninth.

    Next Three Games
    Fri at KC, 7:15 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs. Jorge Lopez
    Sat at KC, 6:15 pm CT: Chase De Jong vs. Ian Kennedy
    Sun at KC, 1:15 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Jakob Junis

    Last Three Games
    MIN 3, NYY 1: Odorizzi Carries No-No Into 8th Inning
    MIN 10, NYY 5: Joe Mauer Grand Slam Highlights Big Night for Bats
    NYY 7, MIN 2: It Was Close, Until It Wasn’t

    • Sep 14 2018 04:16 AM
    • by Tom Froemming
  4. TEX 18, MIN 4: Speechless

    Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
    [attachment=12007:WinChart92.png]
    In the sixth inning, Matt Belilse made his first appearance since being activated off the disabled list. He threw three pitches, the last of which hit Adrian Beltre. For some reason, home plate umpire Alan Porter determined it was intentional and tossed Belisle. The score was already 10-0 at that time.

    In the eighth inning, Addison Reed got ejected for arguing balls and strikes. The score was 13-2 at that time. I hope Mr. Porter is real proud of himself for entertaining all the people who came out to the ballpark to see him.

    Gimenez came in to replace Reed, because of course. At least Gimenez provided a light-hearted finish to this game by hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.

    The Twins experimented with the opener today, starting things off with Gabriel Moya. He gave up a two-run homer in the first. Zack Littell came in for the next four innings and gave up three runs, though only two were earned.

    Oh yeah, the Twins also committed three errors today.

    Tyler Duffey recorded only one out and gave up five runs (four earned). Alan Busenitz recorded two outs and gave up a run on a homer. Reed gave up a run before he got tossed and the Rangers scored five runs off Gimenez in the eighth.

    If you ask me, it’s a little bit bush league to have your guys swinging out of their shoes against Gimenez. On the other hand, I guess it’s pretty bush of the Twins to have him pitching in the first place, especially in September when there should be an abundance of arms.

    Jake Cave was a bright spot for the Twins, as he hit his 10th home run of the season. He’s now gone deep in three straight games and has has six homers in his last 13 games.

    Postgame With Molitor


    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
    [attachment=12008:Bullpen92.png]
    Next Three Games
    Mon at HOU, 1:10 pm CT: TBD
    Tue at HOU, 7:10 pm CT: TBD
    Wed at HOU, 7:10 pm CT: TBD

    Last Three Games
    TEX 7, MIN 4: Is Jose OK?
    MIN 10, TEX 7: Tex-plosion!
    CLE 5, MIN 3: Odorizzi Fades, Busenitz Blows It

    • Sep 02 2018 06:57 PM
    • by Tom Froemming
  5. MIN 6, PIT 4: New-Look Bullpen Boosts Twins Over Buccos

    Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
    Jose Berrios: 30 Game Score, 3.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 K, 2 BB, 66.3% strikes (57 of 86 pitches)
    Home Runs: Bobby Wilson (2)
    Multi-Hit Games: Logan Forsyhte (2-for-3, BB), Bobby Wilson (2-for-3, HR)
    WPA of 0.1 or higher: Forsythe .225, Wilson .183, Duffey .170
    WPA of -0.1 or lower: Adrianza -.103, Berrios -.288
    [attachment=11940:WinChart815.png]
    This was Berrios’ second-shortest outing of the year, but the third time in his last five starts he failed to complete five innings. It took him 86 pitches just to record 11 outs. He gave up seven hits, walked two batters and hit another.

    To make matters worse for Berrios, the defense committed two errors behind him. Jorge Polanco skipped a throw that first baseman Ehire Adrianza couldn’t scoop, resulting in a run, and Eddie Rosario, playing right field for the second-straight game, couldn’t cleanly field a single.

    Miguel Sano made a pretty nifty play on a foul popup. His momentum carried him into the Pittsburgh dugout, but luckily the Pirates were quick to come to Miguel’s rescue. Oh wait, that’s not how it happened at all …


    How about a li'l help here fellas? Bad karma right there ...

    The Twins managed to get to Chris Archer, taking a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, and the new-look Twins bullpen stood strong.

    Oliver Drake kept things clean for 1 1/3 innings. He’s now up to 4 1/3 shutout innings since joining the Twins. Gabriel Moya gave up singles to three of the seven batters he faced, but thanks to Tyler Duffey, he also ended the day with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Since being called back up in late July, Moya has given up three earned runs over 11 2/3 innings (2.31 ERA).

    Going back to Duffey, he took over with runners on first and second and one out in the seventh. A huge spot with the Twins clinging to a one-run lead. He got the next two batters to fly out, ending the threat. Since his return, Duffey has now thrown 3-1/3 no-hit innings.

    A couple more familiar faces took over from there, as Taylor Rogers handled the eighth before Trevor Hildenberger got the job done in the ninth for his third save. Altogether, the bullpen combined for 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball, giving up five hits and two walks while striking out four batters.

    Logan Forsythe was 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs. He’s gone 17-for-44 (.386) since joining the Twins. Bobby Wilson had an RBI single in the second inning, then added a solo homer in the seventh. Karma.

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
    [attachment=11941:Bullpen815.png]
    AL Central Standings
    CLE 68-51
    MIN 56-63 (-12)
    DET 50-71 (-19)
    CHW 44-76 (-24.5)
    KC 36-83 (-32)

    Next Three Game
    Thu vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT: Ervin Santana vs. Francisco Liriano
    Fri vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Matthew Boyd
    Sat vs. DET, 6:10 pm CT: Kohl Stewart vs. Artie Lewicki

    Last Three Games
    MIN 5, PIT 2: Odorizzi, Polanco Spark Comeback
    DET 4, MIN 2: Stewart Debuts, Bats Slump in Loss
    MIN 4, DET 3: Austin Homers, Hildy Survives Save Chance

    • Aug 15 2018 03:58 PM
    • by Tom Froemming
  6. BOS 10, MIN 4: Twins Blow Lead in Spectacular Fashion

    Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
    Jake Odorizzi: 34 Game Score, 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 K, 1 BB, 64.4% strikes
    Home Runs: Logan Morrison (13)
    Multi-Hit Games: Joe Mauer (2-for-4)
    WPA of 0.1 or higher: Polanco .133, Dozier .122
    WPA of -0.1 or lower: Rosario -.124, Moya -.144, Odorizzi -.290
    [attachment=11877:WinChart728.png]
    Let’s go around the horn …

    First Base
    Ryan Pressly made his Astros debut and gave up a solo homer in his inning of work. Eduardo Escobar started at third and hit fifth in his D-Backs debut. Seeing him in another uniform makes me want to throw my computer out the window.


    Second Base
    Anyway, let’s get to the guys who are still here. Well, for now, at least. Paul Molitor was in Cooperstown to celebrate Jack Morris’ induction into the Hall of Fame. That meant bench coach Derek Sheldon took over as manager, and that meant Matt Magill actually got to pitch.

    Magill gave up a run on two hits over 1 ⅔ innings, but he also struck out three batters.

    Third Base
    That’s where Miguel Sano was, making his first appearance with the Twins since June 13. Parker wrote a great article titled Ready Or Not Here Comes Sano earlier today, I encourage you to check that out. Well, I don’t know if you could necessarily say that Sano didn’t look ready, but he certainly didn’t shine in his return. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

    Home Plate
    Gabriel Moya, the other guy who was just added to the 25-man roster, didn’t look so great himself. He faced four batters and gave up a double, a walk, a single and threw a wild pitch. I thought it was a little curious that the Twins would add a third lefty to the pen.

    Zach Duke hasn’t pitched for three games now. Duke was already a likely trade candidate, but putting two and two together tells me his days in a Twins uni have to be numbered.

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
    [attachment=11878:Bullpen728.png]
    AL Central Standings
    CLE 56-47
    MIN 48-55 (-8)
    DET 45-61 (-12.5)
    CHW 37-67 (-19-5)
    KC 32-72 (-24.5)

    Next Three Games
    Sun at BOS, 12:05 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs. Nathan Eovaldi
    Mon vs. CLE, 7:10 pm CT: TBD
    Tue vs. CLE, 7:10 pm CT: TBD

    Last Three Games
    BOS 4, MIN 3: No Escobar, but at Least We Still Have Belisle
    MIN 2, BOS 1: Gibby the Great
    MIN 12, TOR 6: More Like Er-win Sweep-tana!!!

    • Jul 28 2018 09:23 PM
    • by Tom Froemming
  7. 2018 Twins Midseason Top Prospect List: 31-35

    35. Tyler Watson – LHP
    Age: 21
    ETA: 2021
    2018 Stats (A-/A+): 56.1 IP, 4.47 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 2.33 K:BB
    2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR
    Seth: 36 | Tom: 28 | Cody: 44

    When a late-July swoon caused them to pivot into seller mode last year, the Twins flipped All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler to the Washington Nationals for Tyler Watson, a former 34th-round draft with a tall frame and a short track record. The 6'5", 200 lb southpaw has a physique any scout can love, and the Nats lured him away from college in 2015 with a $400K signing bonus.

    Watson blew hitters away in rookie leagues, but was struggling a bit in A-ball when the Twins acquired last summer. That hasn't changed, as the numbers above illustrate, but Derek Falvey views the burly left-hander as a long-term project.

    "Tyler is a young left-handed starter we feel is just scratching the surface of who he can be," Minnesota's chief baseball officer said at the time. "Taller pitchers can take a little longer to develop, but we feel there's more in the tank."

    Right now he's a fairly hittable starter with a low-90s fastball and a developing curve, neither of which he commands all that consistently. But Watson is still only 21, with an almost ideal build and an 8.9 K/9 rate through his 250 innings as a pro. I'm definitely curious to see what else is in the tank.

    34. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. – OF
    Age: 21
    ETA: 2021
    2018 Stats (Rk): .258/.303/.419 (.722 OPS), 1 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 3 K, 2 BB
    2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR
    Seth: 43 | Tom: 30 | Cody: 29

    Bill Kinneberg, head baseball coach at the University of Utah, knew DaShawn Keirsey Jr. was destined to be an early-round MLB draft pick from the first time he watched him play. "I remember him running faster than anyone we've ever had, and you add that to his 6-foot-2 frame — yeah, it was evident right away."

    Last June, he was the 124th player to come off the board when Minnesota took him in the fourth round, and it's possible he would've gone earlier if not for a major injury in 2017 where the aggressive and speedy center fielder collided with an outfield wall (sound familiar?) and came off the field in an ambulance, his hip dislocated and the socket fractured. "Nobody could give us a timetable. That was a scary deal,” said Coach Kinneberg.

    It was a very tough break for a player whose game was built around speed, but Keirsey rehabbed hard and bounced back this spring with an outstanding junior season, batting .386 with a 1.049 OPS while leading the PAC-12 in doubles and reaching base in 45 of 50 games. He's a speedy gamer with good contact skills from the left side and an excellent defensive rep (he was three-time PAC-12 All Defense in center), so comparisons to Zack Granite or even Ben Revere are apt, but some foresee more power in Keirsey's future.

    33. Gabriel Moya – LHP
    Age: 23
    ETA: 2018
    2018 Stats (AAA): 33.0 IP, 1.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 4.22 K/BB
    2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR
    Seth: 40 | Tom: 35 | Cody: 22

    Whereas Tyler Watson, profiled above, was clearly more of an acquisition guided by scouting, the Twins were pretty clearly going by the numbers when they picked up Gabriel Moya from Arizona in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy around the same time. The rare example of a lefty reliever whose changeup is his best pitch, Moya won't wow you with his high-80s fastball and modest breaking stuff. He'll more likely confuse you with his unique and twitchy mechanics.

    But his stats? Those'll wow you. Moya had a 0.82 ERA and 14.0 K/9 rate in Double-A last summer when the Twins acquired him, and he has kept the magic going in Minnesota's system with a 1.32 ERA and 57-to-12 K/BB ratio in 48 innings between Chattanooga (last year) and Rochester (this year).

    He has only received limited chances in the majors so far, amounting to 11 1/3 total innings with less than wow-worthy results, but is clearly deserving of an extended opportunity. Maybe it will come if the Twins open a spot by trading Zach Duke before the deadline.

    32. Andrew Bechtold – 3B
    Age: 22
    ETA: 2021
    2018 Stats (A): .217/.320/.281 (.601 OPS), 11 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 67 K, 32 BB
    2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR
    Seth: 27 | Tom: 41 | Cody: 42

    A righty-swinging infielder who grew in the Philly suburbs, Bechtold has followed a winding path to reach this point. He was selected by the Rangers in the 37th round of the 2014 draft following a strong senior year in high school, but elected not to sign, heading instead to the University of Maryland where he'd join fellow current Twins prospects LaMonte Wade and Alex Robinson.

    Due to injuries and other factors, things just didn't work out for Bechtold at Maryland. After two years, he transferred to Chipola, a junior college, where he got his baseball career back on track. He hit .419 with 12 home runs and 24 steals in 60 games, impressing the Twins enough that they drafted him in the fifth round and went well above slot to sign him at $600K.

    Bechtold's power hasn't shown up yet, as he's managed just three homers and a .337 slugging percentage in 107 games between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids, but he has shown a solid plate approach and an ability to get on base (he posted a .426 OBP for the Kernels in June). Ultimately the third baseman's development will hinge on his adding muscle and turning it into game power, but as a skilled defender with a good idea of what he's doing at the plate, Bechtold has the right foundation.

    31. Jordan Balazovic – RHP
    Age: 19
    ETA: 2022
    2018 Stats (A): 26.2 IP, 2.36 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 13.8 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 5.86 K/BB
    2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR
    Seth: 20 | Tom: 40 | Cody: 34

    One year before taking Bechtold in the fifth round, the Twins used that selection on Jordan Balazovic, a Canadian right-hander who was catching some eyes north of the border. Like Bechtold, the Twins went over-slot to sign Balazovic, coaxing him out of a commitment to Auburn.

    The organization has taken it slow with Balazovic, who was only 17 when drafted in 2016. He spent two seasons in the rookie Gulf Coast League, with decidedly mixed results. This year he's made the move to Cedar Rapids, and things have really come together. He has struck out 41 in 26 2/3 innings of work, and in his most recent outing on Saturday, hurled six innings of one-hit ball with 10 strikeouts.

    Balazovic is a teenager who's thrown less than 100 official innings since being drafted, so all standard caveats apply, but he's a very live arm, and his arrow is pointing directly upward and flashing at this moment.


    PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS:

    2018 Twins Midseason Top Prospects: 36-40

    • Jul 02 2018 08:15 PM
    • by Nick Nelson
  8. Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month - May 2018

    Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Relievers for April, here are some terrific bullpen performances that just missed the cut.

    HONORABLE MENTION

    • John Curtiss, Rochester Red Wings, 8 G, 2.61 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 12.2 K/9, 10.1 IP, 6 H, 7 BB, 14 K
    • Luke Bard, Rochester Red Wings, 8 G, 3.00 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 12.0 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 13 K.
    • Cody Stashak, Chattanooga Lookouts, 7 G (1 GS), 1.88 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 10.7 K/9, 14.1 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 17 K
    • Ryan Mason, Ft. Myers Miracle, 8 G, 2.51 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, 14.1 IP, 14 H, 3 H, 14 K
    • Jovani Moran, Cedar Rapids Kernels, 8 G (1 GS), 2.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 13.0 K/9, 14 H, 7 BB, 26 K.
    THE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS



    #5 - Gabriel Moya - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 1.38 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 9 H, 3 BB,18 K


    Moya made the Twins Opening Day roster wen Phil Hughes began the season on the disabled list. He was sent down to Rochester in late April. The 23-year-old southpaw from Venezuela had a strong first month in Rochester (remember, he jumped up to the big leagues directly from Double-A last year). Along with the solid numbers and striking out 12.5 batters per nine innings, opponents hit just .196/.260/.326 (.586) off of him in May.


    #4 - Andrew Vasquez - Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 15 H, 2 BB, 18 K


    Another left-hander, Vasquez had a one-game stint in Chattanooga already this year. The Twins 32nd round pick in 2015 out of Westmont College has been moved along slowly, in large part due to some inconsistent control. After ending 2017 with the Miracle, he pitched well in the Arizona Fall League last year. He has returned to the Miracle, but he’s in need of a promotion to AA. In May, he struck out 11 batters per nine inning. He’s blessed with what should be a dominant slider.


    #3 - Nick Anderson - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 1.46 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 3 H, 5 BB, 19 K


    Anderson was the Twins Daily April reliever of the month, and he was nearly as good in May. The Brainerd (Minnesota) native signed with the Twins out of the independent ranks late in the 2015 season. He has been blowing hitters away ever since and now finds himself one promotion from his big league dreams. In May, opponents hit a miniscule .077/.182/.154 (.336) off of him. He’ll turn 28 in early July. It’d be great to see him debut his big fastball/slider combination by then.


    #2 - Alan Busenitz - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 19 K


    It is inexplicable to the writer of this article why Busenitz is not in the big leagues. He dominates AAA, and he pitched very well last year and he got just four innings early this year in the big leagues. He’s got the big fastball and what can be a very good slider. In May, opponents hit just .159/.213/.159 (.372) against him. His 13.2 K/9 shows the type of dominance that he can have.



    And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is:

    Chattanooga Lookouts – RHP Todd Van Steensel - 8 G, 1.13 ERA, 0.44 WHIP, 16.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 17 K



    Van Steensel is the kind of player that you just can’t help but cheer for. Signed originally by the Phillies, he was released after one year. The Twins signed him, but after one season in Elizabethton, they released him. He played in Europe and in his native Australia and a couple of years later, the Twins brought him back, this time as a reliever. Since returning, Van Steensel has been one of the best relievers in the organization. He made over 100 appearances in Ft. Myers and despite a fantastic 2017 in Chattanooga, he’s there again in 2018. He put up incredible numbers again in May. Opponents hit just .100/.148/.120 (.268) off of him. He continues to rack up big strikeout numbers and his walk rate has certainly come down this year. Van Steensel frequently shows up in these reports, but he is very worthy of this award for May.


    There were several very strong relief pitcher performances in May throughout the Twins minor league system. As you can see from their representation, the Red Wings have had a strong bullpen this month. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today, but again, congratulations to the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for May 2018, Todd Van Steensel.

    • Jun 04 2018 08:11 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  9. Twins Finalize Opening Day 25-Man Roster

    The first moves of the day finalized the final battle for position players.


    With Granite heading to Rochester, it meant Ryan LaMarre would be joining the Twins outfield for the season’s beginning. LaMarre was crowned the 2018 Sire of Fort Myers. Earlier this week, Seth speculated that LaMarre could break camp with the club.

    Kennys Vargas also saw his crazy week continue. It looked like he might be heading to the National League with the Reds but they figured out they don’t need a DH. Over the weekend, the Twins claimed him back from Cincinnati. Today, they were able to pass him through waivers and outright him to Triple-A Rochester. This move leaves the Twins with one open spot on the 40-man roster.

    Phil Hughes also provided an interesting situation for the club. Hughes looked like an option for a long-relief role. During his last spring start, Hughes was pulled with a mild oblique strain. This means he will start the year on the DL. This seemed like a convenient solution to the Twins roster crunch.

    With all of the moves above, here’s how the Twins 25-man roster will look on Opening Day.

    C: Jason Castro, Mitch Garver
    1B: Joe Mauer, Logan Morrison
    2B: Brian Dozier
    SS: Eduardo Escobar, Ehire Adrianza
    3B: Miguel Sano
    OF: Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, Ryan LaMarre, Robbie Grossman
    SP: Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, Lance Lynn
    RP: Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed, Zach Duke, Ryan Pressly, Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers, Gabriel Moya, Tyler Kinley
    DL: Ervin Santana, Phil Hughes

    With a four man starting rotation, the Twins won’t need a fifth starter until April 11th. Last week, I thought that spot start might be filled by Hughes. His injury puts that start into question. Tyler Kinley’s impressive winter in the Dominican and his electric fastball made it easier to keep him around.

    How do you feel about the final 25-man roster? Obviously, there will be plenty of other players who impact the roster this season. Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

    • Mar 27 2018 09:30 PM
    • by Cody Christie
  10. Report From The Fort: Sorting Out The Lone Position Battle

    The first four slots in the Minnesota rotation are set with Jose Berrios, Lance Lynn, Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson. The fifth spot is almost certain to go to Phil Hughes, who figures to function as sort of a starter/long reliever hybrid in the early going.

    With five off days in the first three weeks, the team's schedule is such that they can get through April while only needing a fifth starter two or three times. And by the time they'll require one on a more regular basis, Ervin Santana should be close to returning if not back already.

    That means barring injury, someone from the Opening Day staff will be bumped by Santana in late April or early May. So the competition doesn't end once camp breaks. Whoever wins that final bullpen job will need to prove his worth throughout the early part of the schedule.

    As things stand, there are four relievers remaining in camp to vie for that last relief gig. One could argue it's really a two-man race. Let's first take a look at the two longshots:

    Alan Busenitz, RHP

    Busenitz has a couple of very attractive numbers working in his favor: 1.99, and 95.7. The first is his ERA in 28 appearances during a sparking 2017 debut with the Twins. The second is his average fastball speed during that stint. Of the 462 pitchers to throw at least 30 innings in the majors, only 54 threw harder, placing Busenitz near the 10th percentile.

    But here's the problem with the 1.99 ERA: it came attached to a 4.20 FIP and 4.80 xFIP, owing to the fact that Busenitz benefitted from a .212 BABIP and 86.6% strand rate. Minnesota's analytically minded front office surely recognizes the suspect sustainability of those numbers.

    And as for the 95-MPH heater, it was really the sole pitch he used effectively. His other offering is a curveball and it was nothing special, helping explain why the righty produced just 6.5 K/9 and a 7.2% swinging strike rate, which nestled between relative soft-tossers Hector Santiago (7.4%) and Phil Hughes (7.2%).

    As a fly ball pitcher who allows quite a bit of contact, Busenitz walks a dangerous line. Only one qualified MLB reliever finished with a FB rate above 45% and a K-rate below 20% last year – Seattle's Nick Vincent, and he succeeded with a very different formula, drawing weak contact with a high-80s cutter.

    So there's reason for concern around Busenitz's long-term outlook unless he can crank up the K's or cut down the flies. But in the short-term, the biggest thing working against him is that – since he has multiple options remaining – the Twins have nothing to lose by sending him down to Rochester to work on those things.

    Gabriel Moya, LHP

    On the other end of the whiff spectrum lies Moya, whose 12.4% swinging strike rate during a very brief stint in Minnesota last year tied Pressly for best on the staff. Moya has also had an extremely impressive spring up to this point, allowing just one run (a solo homer in his first appearance) on three hits in six innings of work.

    Something that could work in Moya's favor is the Twins going with five right-handers in the rotation. Theoretically this might increase Paul Molitor's desire to have a third southpaw in the bullpen, but Moya – who relies heavily on an excellent changeup – has never had big platoon splits, and in fact last year he was much better against righties.

    Like Busenitz, he has options remaining so there's no harm in sending him to Triple-A to start the season. But I am confident Moya will be a solid weapon at some point.

    And now, the two leading contenders:

    Tyler Duffey, RHP

    On Wednesday, Duffey made his first start in almost exactly one calendar year, allowing two runs (one earned) over three innings with two strikeouts and two walks. Molitor indicated afterward that the team plans to have him make another start in five days, on March 19th.

    The right-hander has basically no shot at a rotation spot, so why is he getting starts? The answer is easy enough to see.

    "I've been told I've been just lengthened out," Duffey said. "That's just to make sure I'm ready for that long role and maybe if something happens like a rainout or whatever and they need a guy."

    In this capacity, Duffey looks like a very obvious fit. One thing lacking in the current bullpen makeup is a pitcher with such a profile. In 2017 he got six or more outs in 15 of his 56 relief appearances. He even completed three full innings a couple of times.

    "We know he can be that guy, he did it last year quite a bit," Molitor said of Duffey's capability to fill the long relief role.

    The manager didn't have an especially positive review of the 27-year-old's performance against a tough Boston lineup – "Overall you have to say that he battled really well, I don't think he had his best stuff" – and Duffey has generally been unspectacular on the mound this spring, but that seems almost immaterial. They need him.

    Or do they?

    Tyler Kinley, RHP

    Ah, the Rule 5 pick. Always fun for a skipper to deal with in spring camp. Kinley has certainly caught some eyeballs with his big velocity, including a heater that reaches 99 and a slider that can touch 90. His Grapefruit numbers have been about what you'd expect based on his track record; six innings, six strikeouts, five walks.

    It's becoming a little easier to understand what the Twins saw in Kinley – and Molitor had high praise for the 27-year-old earlier this month – but how does he fit? Another one-inning guy in a unit full of them? Isn't his signature short-burst velo a bit redundant with Pressly? Can a team with hopes of contending really dedicate a roster spot to such an unproven commodity?

    One would surmise no. But of course, if the Twins don't carry Kinley on the active roster or trade for him, they'll have to ship him back to Miami. That wouldn't be the biggest deal but Molitor is well aware of what Minnesota's front office has invested in the righty.

    Not financially, mind you, but with Kinley occupying a 40-man slot they've had to let some other promising players slip away – most recently J.T. Chargois, who is having a strong spring with the Dodgers. As such, the Twins owe it to themselves to get a good long look at Kinley. Could that mean bringing him north, even if it means sending Duffey down (he does have an option) and forgoing a traditional mop-up option?

    It's not unthinkable. Hughes can ostensibly handle that long relief role between his sporadic starts in April. I don't think Molitor's going to go with a guy he flat-out can't rely on in a key spot, but if Kinley is able to convince the manager he's worth counting on? Like I said, not unthinkable.

    But also not at all likely. If the team is sold on Kinley I suspect they'll try to work out a trade with Miami that would allow them to send him to Triple-A. Duffey is in the driver's seat until further notice. His flexible arm is just too useful to be sent away.

    Sorry to put the kibosh on whatever minimal suspense existed around the lone "position battle" in camp. But if you're into such things, the good news is that Duffey will essentially be locked in a battle with Hughes to maintain that long relief role upon Santana's return.

    • Mar 14 2018 04:29 PM
    • by Nick Nelson
  11. Exploring The Back-End Of The 40-Man Roster

    Buddy Boshers, LHP
    Boshers has made 75 appearances over the last two seasons with the Twins. During that time he has a 4.56 ERA with a 1.25 WHIP and a 65 to 17 strikeout to walk ratio. Last season, the left-handed hurler held lefties to a .655 OPS while righties managed a .904 OPS. Boshers will be 30-years old this season and he has never posted an ERA under 4.00 in any of his three big league seasons.

    Dietrich Enns, LHP
    Enns joined the Twins organization last year along with Zack Littell as part of the Jaime Garcia trade. He only made two appearances and allowed three earned runs in four innings. However, he’s posted a 1.86 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP in 116.0 innings at Triple-A. Those numbers are hard to ignore. Enns will turn 27-years old in the middle of May. Minnesota’s new front office saw enough in him to include him in the trade so maybe that keeps him safe.

    Tyler Kinley, RHP
    The Twins just acquired Kinley from Miami during December’s Rule 5 Draft. Because of the rules associated with his acquisition, the club has to keep him on their 25-man roster for all of 2018 or offer him back to Miami. Between High-A and Double-A last season, Kinley had a 3.54 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP and a 72 to 22 strikeout to walk ratio (53.1 innings). It’s rare for Rule 5 players to be sent back to their clubs this quickly but the Twins might not have anticipated adding Fernando Rodney and Addison Reed.

    Gabriel Moya, LHP
    Originally signed by the Diamondbacks, Moya was dealt to Minnesota for John Ryan Murphy. He made seven big league appearances last year and allowed three runs in 6.1 innings. In the minors last season, he was almost untouchable. He compiled a 0.77 ERA while striking out 13.4 batters per nine innings. Moya was able to do this while being over two years younger than the competition in the Southern League.

    Kennys Vargas, DH
    Earlier in the off-season, reports had Vargas open to playing overseas. Vargas is out of options and would need to stick with the Twins next season. His lack of defensive flexibility makes it hard to pencil him into the team’s line-up on a regular basis. Players like Joe Mauer, Robbie Grossman and Mitch Garver might all need to see time at DH. At the big league level over the last four seasons, he has hit .252/.311/.437 including double digit home runs in each of the last two seasons.

    How would you rank the back end of the 40-man roster? Who will be the first to go? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

    • Jan 13 2018 09:43 PM
    • by Cody Christie
  12. MIN 5, DET 1: Behind Castro, Colon Twins Cap Off Regular Season With Victory

    Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs)
    [attachment=10903:Snapshot101.png]
    Jason Castro quietly had a very nice season for the Twins, but he was overshadowed by many of his teammates. He had the second-best season of his career at the plate, surpassing the numbers he had posted the previous three years. He also played a role in turning the pitching staff from having the worst ERA in the league in 2016 to 20th this season.

    Castro was the only significant addition the Twins made this offseason, which makes their turnaround from 103 losses to the postseason all the more impressive. It was the guys who were already in place who really led this team out of the basement.

    Guys like Brian Dozier, who was 2-for-2 with his 30th double, 78th walk and scored his 106th run. Chris Gimenez hit a pinch-hit homer, his seventh of the season and Joe Mauer had an RBI double. Joe closes out the regular season with a .305 batting average and an .810 OPS. That's the first time he's hit those marks since 2013. Byron Buxton stole his 29th base of the season. The only time he was thrown out stealing all year was when he overslid the bag.

    Miguel Sano was 0-for-3 with a strikeout, and did not look especially comfortable the two times he had to run to first base. Paul Molitor has until Tuesday morning to submit his roster for the Wild Card game. It seems likely Sano will be present, but the Twins skipper will have a difficult decision to make as to whether or not to start Sano or turn to him as a pinch hitter.

    It was nice to see Colon’s season end on a high note, especially after he struggled in September. The game ended with Gabriel Moya, who entered the game in the eighth inning with the score 4-1, picking up his first career save. He struck out two batters over 1.2 perfect innings.

    So that does it for the regular season. Next up: The Wild Card game in New York. I'm already stressed out just thinking about it. This is gonna be awesome.

    Final AL Central Standings
    Cleveland 102-60
    Minnesota 85-77 (-17)
    Kansas City 80-82 (-22)
    Chicago 67-95 (-35)
    Detroit 64-98 (-38)

    Final AL Wild Card Standings
    WC1: Yankees 91-71 (+6)
    WC2: Minnesota 85-77
    Kansas City 80-82 (-5)
    Angels 80-82 (-5)
    Tampa Bay 80-82 (-5)

    Postgame With Molitor


    Pitcher Usage
    Doing something different for the finale. Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the staff over the course of the entire season:
    [attachment=10904:Pitching101.png]
    Looking Ahead
    Mon: OFF
    Tue: Twins (Ervin Santana) at Yankees (Luis Severino), 6:00 pm CT
    Wed: OFF
    Thu: Twins (TBD) at Cleveland (TBD) … book it.

    Looking Back
    DET 3, MIN 2: Twins Lose In Romine Sideshow Game
    MIN 6, DET 3: Dozier, Escobar Lead Offense To Victory
    CLE 5, MIN 2: Ervin Caps Banner Year With 5 Shutout Innings

    • Oct 01 2017 07:40 PM
    • by Tom Froemming
  13. Twins Minor League Report (9/11): Decisive Game Three

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 1, Quad Cities 6 (QC wins series 2-1)
    Box Score

    Kernels starter Tyler Wells posted a 5-3 record with a 3.11 ERA in 75 1/3 innings with the team this year. He walked fewer than three batters per nine innings. The playoffs for Wells, though, have been a different story. Wells got roughed up by Burlington last week, surrendering eight runs on ten hits and a walk and only recorded six outs.

    Tonight wasn't as bad, but it certainly wasn't good. Wells retired the first batter, but then walked the next three. A two-out double cleared the bases. Wells settled in after that, sending the next eight batters back to the bench. He did allow another pair of hits and a sacrifice fly to push his tally to four runs. He did manage three strikeouts, all of the swinging variety.

    In the meantime, the hitters weren't posing much of a threat. Travis Blankenhorn singled in the first. An Aaron Whitefield walk pushed Blankenhorn to second. Both were stranded when Lewin Diaz and Caleb Hamilton went down on strikes.

    Shane Kennedy's single in the second was erased when he was caught stealing. The Kernels then went down in order in the third, fourth, fifth and six innings.

    Bryan Sammons relieved Wells and pitched the next 3.1 innings. He struck out three, but worked around five base runners, allowing none to score. But only thanks to Max Cordy, who came in with the bases loaded and got a strikeout.

    Aaron Whitefield put the Kernels on the board with a solo home run to lead off the seventh inning. Whitefield, a former softball player in Australia, was primarily known for his speed coming into the season. He batted .298 in the GCL in 2016, but hit only two home runs and slugged .366. It's been a new Whitefield this season, as he hit 11 home runs. His OBP has dropped as his slugging has risen, though, and his OPS went from .737 to .732. After stealing 31 bases in 51 games this year, Whitefield stole (only) 33 in 117 games.

    An eighth-inning Shane Carrier double didn't result in any runs and though Cordy was able to escape the eighth, he couldn't get himself out of trouble in the ninth inning, allowing a walk and three singles that pushed the Quad Cities lead to 6-1.

    Whitefield walked to start the bottom of the ninth. But Diaz struck out and both Hamilton and Jimmy Kernigan grounded out to end the game.

    Royce Lewis continued and finished his playoff struggles, going 0-4 tonight and he has gone hitless since returning from a hamstring injury.

    Though the season didn't conclude the way Kernels fans hoped, it was another successful year that promises more hope for next year. 2016 first-round pick Alex Kirilloff should spend a majority of his year in Cedar Rapids after missing this year with Tommy John surgery. Royce Lewis will likely be back to begin the season.

    Also joining the 2018 version will be many members who helped the Elizabethton Twins win the Appy League title last week.

    So take the winter off, except for the Arizona Fall League, and be ready for more minor league fun next season!

    • Sep 11 2017 09:04 PM
    • by Jeremy Nygaard
  14. Replenishing The Pitching Pipeline

    Sure, it's great to draft and develop your own arms. But the draft is a known crapshoot, especially where pitchers are concerned (hello, Kohl Stewart and Tyler Jay), so the real key is identifying players in other organizations and getting them at just the right time.

    Three of Cleveland's top starters were acquired at a point when they were big-league ready, or very close, but had little or no MLB experience

    Corey Kluber came in a trade with San Diego in 2010, when he was in Double-A. He arrived in the majors the next year. Carlos Carrasco was a Triple-A pitcher for the Phillies when he came over in 2008, and debuted for Cleveland the next year. Trevor Bauer was a 21-year-old with four big-league starts when the Indians got him.

    The Twins, positioned at the front end of what they hope will be a prolonged winning cycle, should be targeting players at this very stage. And they have been.

    It actually started a year ago, before Falvey and Thad Levine even arrived. At the 2016 deadline, acting GM Rob Antony sent Eduardo Nunez to San Francisco in a deal that looked good at the time and now looks even better. Adalberto Mejia has made 16 starts for the Twins this year, and he's been their third-best starter.

    In the Rule 5 draft, Minnesota selected Justin Haley, another prospect on the verge of MLB-readiness, though injuries robbed him of the chance to make an impression and he was recently sent back to Boston. When the Twins traded John Ryan Murphy to Arizona last week, they got back Gabriel Moya, a reliever who was dominating Double-A and could enter the picture very quickly.

    Then, over the weekend, Jaime Garcia's frantic journey landed him in New York, as the Twins flipped him for two more high-performing minor-league pitchers who are close. Dietrich Enns was pitching in Triple-A, with a 2.29 ERA in seven starts, and Zack Littell was 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA in seven starts at Double-A.

    The sum result of the Garcia moves is this: Minnesota swapped out a teenager in rookie ball for two pitchers capable of helping in 2018. Their entire strategy has followed this general pattern under Falvey and Levine, and I suspect that if any big deals occur on Monday, we'll see it continue.

    You're not often going to find a Kluber or Carrasco through this method, unless you have big-time talent to dangle, but even getting a few more Mejias would be hugely helpful for the Twins.

    • Jul 30 2017 06:52 PM
    • by Nick Nelson
  15. 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
  16. John Ryan Murphy Traded For Intriguing Lefty Reliever

    Acquired following the 2015 season from the New York Yankees in exchange for Aaron Hicks, John Ryan Murphy started the 2016 season with the Twins. When he didn't hit in the first month, he was sent down to Rochester where he has spent most of his time since.

    He has been very good defensively (elite-level pitch framer), but the 25-year-old backstop just was not able to reach the offensive potential that was assume when he spent parts of three years catching for the Yankees.

    As Nick pointed out shortly after the news came out, this would explain the addition of Anthony Recker in the Twins/Braves trade earlier this week.



    While this trade may not be a page turner, a Mark Feinsand tweet from a bit ago may create further discussion.



    In Moya, the Twins get a young pitcher who has worked solely as a reliever in his career. This year at AA Jackson, he is 4-1 with a 0.82 ERA in 34 outings. In 43.2 innings, he has issued just 12 walks and struck out 68 batters.

    Jeff Wiser is the preeminent Arizona Diamondbacks prospect expert. Find his work at Inside the Zona. Here are his thoughts on Gabriel Moya:

    Moya is a pitchablity over stuff kid at present. The fastball isn't overwhelming, but he can throw it for strikes and gets ahead of hitters. The changeup is special and is easily his best offering. Hitters don't see good changeups very frequently in the lower levels of the minors, explaining some of his success. He's held his own and exceeded expectations in AA, however. Facing AAA hitters could provide a bigger challenge, guys that have professional approaches and have seen some quality changeups in the past. He's been pretty dominant to date, but given his size and raw stuff, it's prudent to remain slightly skeptical until he faces better hitters. He's proven he can handle AA, and if it all breaks right, he could end up a solid middle reliever.


    From Darren Wolfson:



    According to Baseball America, Moya had the Best Changeup in the Diamondbacks minor leagues.

    Here is a scouting report from 2080 Baseball from before this season:

    Quick Hit: Not an overly physical kid, Moya does have some strength to his medium-sized frame and manages to get very good swing and miss despite just average velocity. The arm works very well, and he has excellent body control throughout the delivery that helps him get out front on a consistent basis. The changeup is his best pitch, with a chance to be plus with hard bottom that plays up due to the small crossfire and easy arm action. The fastball is pretty straight and in the low 90s, but it is sneaky quick and gets on hitters.
    He handled both righties and lefties and showed very well in his first full season above rookie ball. Historically, he has done a great job keeping the ball on the ground, but saw the fly ball rate spike a bit once he moved to High A. But he only gave up two bombs in 44 2/3 innings in the homer-happy Cal League and the low hit totals (5.4 H/9 in 2016 across Class A and High A ball) remained consistent. Expect him to head to Double-A in 2017 and if he repeats his success there, could be ticketed for Phoenix later in the summer of 2018 with eyes on him being a solid sixth-to-seventh inning contributor.

    • Jul 27 2017 11:39 AM
    • by Seth Stohs