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  1. Minnesota’s Farm System is Key to Sustainable Contention

    Back in 2016, the Twins revamped their front office by hiring Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. One of their biggest tasks in their first year on the job was preparing to have the number one overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. That draft was just the start of how they were able to add to Minnesota’s well stocked farm system.
    [attachment=15255:Farm System Rankings.JPG]
    Minnesota’s current crop of regulars was moving through the system back in 2015-16 and that’s why the farm system ranked so highly. The new front office crew saw some of their impact after the 2017 MLB Draft and that continued into the following year’s draft. The results of their time at the helm are already being felt at the big-league level.

    2017 Draft
    There were multiple options with the top overall pick back in 2017 with names like Hunter Greene, MacKenzie Gore, Brendan McKay and Kyle Wright all in the discussion. Minnesota decided Royce Lewis was the best option and he has been the organization’s highest-ranking prospect since he was drafted. Last season, Lewis finished at Double-A and under normal circumstances, he might have made his big-league debut this season.

    Lewis wasn’t the only strong pick in this draft. Brent Rooker was recently called up and he has been contributing to a team in the middle of a pennant race. Time will tell if he can develop into a big league regular, but his powerful swing should keep him on the roster. In the same draft, Minnesota had to offer Blayne Enlow a big signing bonus to lure him away from LSU and now he is one of the organization’s top pitching prospects. He might be a couple years away from debuting, but he add to the depth of the farm system.

    2018 Draft
    Coming off a surprise run to the playoffs, the Twins had a much lower draft pick in 2018, but that didn’t stop them from finding players to restock the farm. Trevor Larnach was the team’s first round selection and he has developed into one of the best hitting prospects in the organization. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year and the Florida State League Player of the Year. He finished last year at Double-A and now he has been part of the team’s 60-man roster that is working out in St. Paul.

    Another player from this draft, Ryan Jeffers, has played a pivotal role with the club due to Mitch Garver’s injury. When he was drafted, he was seen as a bat-only catcher, but he was given very little coaching on his catching defense throughout his collegiate career. Now, his 51.2% strike rate has him in the top-20 among all MLB backstops when it comes to catcher framing.

    Trades Add Depth
    Making trades is another way to stock a farm system and the Twins front office has already seen some of the rewards of those trades. Zack Littell was acquired back at the 2017 trade deadline as part of the Jaime Garcia trade and he has fit nicely into the Twins bullpen when healthy. At that same deadline, Minnesota added LHP Tyler Watson who pitched all last season at High-A with a 3.62 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.

    The 2018 trade deadline was where Minnesota was able to revamp the farm. Trading Eduardo Escobar to the Diamondbacks got the Twins back a trio of prospects including RHP Jhoan Duran, who is considered one of the team’s top pitching prospects. Also, Minnesota traded away Ryan Pressly for RHP Jorge Alcala and OF Gilberto Celestino. Alcala has shown electric stuff out of the Twins bullpen this year and Celestino could become a regular at the big-league level in the years ahead. For the Twins, this trade could pay dividends for multiple years into the future.

    How do you feel about the Twins consistency in their farm system? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    • Sep 09 2020 09:08 AM
    • by Cody Christie
  2. Trade Retrospective: How Did the Twins Do in the Ryan Pressly Trade?

    Time can change the view of a trade, so here’s what was said back in 2018 at the time of the deal.

    What Did People Say at the Time of the Trade?
    Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said, "We had ranked all the relievers that we had interest in a few weeks ago taking a really deep look at all of them (and) we felt Pressly was the best combination for stuff, control — how much time he would be with us — and acquisition cost and ability to plug right into our bullpen. We like his stuff a lot."

    At the time, Twins general manager Thad Levine said, both scouts and data analysts found the team’s haul in the deal “very exciting.” When referencing the Eduardo Escobar trade and the Pressly deal, he said, “I believe four of them will go right into our top 30 prospects, and that’s meaningful. What we were able to accomplish yesterday may not pay dividends tomorrow, but on the horizon, that just got brighter.”

    Alcala was still starting in the Astros organization at the time of the trade. Here is what Baseball America said, “Alcala has a plus-plus fastball, but there are times as a starter where he gears down to try to maintain his stamina. At his best, he’s reached triple digits in the past. There are days when Alcala looks like a one-pitch pitcher trying to start, but seen on the right days, he has the makings of being a devastating bullpen option.”

    When looking at Celestino, Baseball America projected him to “end up as a plus defender in center with the ability to hit .270 with 15-20 home runs, with a fourth-outfield future as a decent fallback option.” When the Twins acquired them, Alcala and Celestino were among the top-15 prospects in the Astros' farm system, according to MLBPipeline.com.

    Pressly’s Houston Success
    Pressly has pitched a grand total of 78 1/3 innings in an Astros uniform over the course of three seasons. He was a first-time All-Star last season at the age of 30 after posting a 1.36 ERA in the first half. During that same stretch, he held opponents to a .176/.208/.282 slash-line with 47 strikeouts compared to six walks. He was one of the best relievers in the game, but things haven’t gone as perfectly since then.

    In 2019’s second half, Pressly ran into some struggles and dealt with an injury. His ERA jumped to 4.91 and his WHIP rose from 0.78 in the first half to 1.23 in the second half. He was forced to undergo arthroscopic right knee surgery and didn’t pitch in a game from August 15-September 21. He’d make the team’s postseason roster, but his ERA was 9.00 or higher in every round of the playoffs.

    So far in 2020, Pressly was in line to become Houston’s closer in place of Roberto Osuna. Pressly had a finger blister during Summer Camp and he has been dealing with elbow soreness. He left his only appearance of the year early with a cut on the cuticle above his thumbnail. The team seems optimistic that he will be able to avoid any extended time on the injured list.

    Minnesota’s Trade Return
    Jorge Alcala split time as a starter and reliever in 2019 and the Twins were aggressive with him after switching him to the bullpen. He made six relief appearances (10 2/3 innings) at Double-A and allowed two earned runs while holding opponents to a .502 OPS. At Triple-A, he did even better as he didn’t allow an earned run and he struck out 11 batters in 7 2/3 innings. He made two big league appearances as a September call-up and only allowed one hit.

    Since switching to the bullpen, Alcala has been able to focus on using his best two pitches, his fastball and his slider. His fastball is constantly in the mid-90s and so far this season it is averaging 96.8 mph. His slider has also ticked up a few miles per hour from 85.9 mph last year to 88.0 mph in 2020. He’s looking like he could be Minnesota’s closer of the future.

    Gilberto Celestino was added to the Twins 40-man roster this off-season after a breakout season. He was always seen as a strong defender, but his offensive improvements helped put him on the prospect map. He changed his base at the plate and started his swing earlier after working with Kernels hitting coach Ryan Smith. From May 9 through season’s end, he hit .303/.374/.464 with 38 extra-base hits in 98 games.

    Who Won the Trade?
    It will probably be multiple years before Twins fans will know if the organization “won” this trade. Houston got what they wanted out of the deal with Pressly turning into one of baseball’s best right-handed relief pitchers. He set an MLB record for consecutive appearances without giving up a run, the team has signed him to an extension, and he could be the team’s closer this season if he proves to be healthy.

    Minnesota got two players in return that could impact the big-league roster for multiple years. MLB.com updated their top-30 prospects this week and both Alcala (27) and Celestino (16) make the list. Alcala missed more bats than previous seasons and seems destined for a bullpen role. Celestino is one of the best defenders in the Twins system, but if his offensive improvements could make him an impact player at the big-league level.

    Looking back, what do you think about the trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    • Aug 06 2020 02:26 PM
    • by Cody Christie
  3. Chalmers, Duran Show Why They Were Easy Additions to the Twins 40-Man Roster

    Before we get too deep into things, let’s step back for a quick reminder of how the Twins acquired pitching prospects Jhoan Duran and Dakota Chalmers.

    JHOAN DURAN

    The 22-year-old Duran is from the Dominican Republic. He signed with the Diamondbacks in December 2014 and worked his way up the ladder. In late July of 2018, he came to the Twins organization with outfielders Ernie de la Trinidad and Gabriel Maciel as part of the Eduardo Escobar deal.

    Twins Bench Coach Mike Bell was the Diamondbacks’ Vice President of Player Development for eight years. He said of trading Duran, “It was a painful trade, being on that side of it, watching him go. I was definitely in the room. I think it was a good trade for both teams. Escy’s a very good player, and a good teammate. I’ll tell you what, Duran is an incredible talent. I think he’s going to do a lot of good things here in the organization.”

    Get to know Jhoan Duran from this story from January, shortly after he was added to the Twins 40-man roster. At that time, he spoke of his best pitches. ““Obviously I feel most comfortable with my fastball, but I also have another pitch that I really like to use and feel really comfortable with, and that’s my sinker.”

    DAKOTA CHALMERS

    Dakota Chalmers was the 3rd round draft pick of the Oakland A’s in 2015 out of high school in Georgia. The highly-touted, hard-throwing prospect showed great stuff, but early in 2018, he had Tommy John surgery.

    In August of 2018, the Twins traded veteran closer Fernando Rodney to the A’s for Chalmers, knowing he would not be able to pitch until at least the second half of the 2019 season.

    He began making rehab appearances last July, and on July 30th, he debuted with the Ft. Myers Miracle. After a rough first start, he was really good in his final four starts before the end of the regular season. He then went up to Pensacola and pitched for them in the playoffs. And after that, he went to the Arizona Fall League where he struck out 25 batters in 17 2/3 innings.

    Like Duran, Chalmers became an easy choice to add to the 40-man roster after the season. We caught up with the 23-year-old at Twins Fest as well for this Get to Know him story.

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

    Now, back to their performances on Sunday. For each, it was their first appearance in Summer Camp intra-squad games. Hard to know what to expect. As pitching coach Wes Johnson pointed out, they weren’t necessarily looking for results.

    “I told those guys that it wasn’t, for me, as much about balls and strikes - as crazy as that sounds - it was How was their presence? We gave them some different situations. We started their second innings with runners on.”

    But it was hard not to notice that they each threw two scoreless innings, despite those situations. Also, Johnson added, “Both of those guys had to go through the heart of our order. That’s not easy. In my opinion, we have the best offense in baseball.”



    Johnson said that Nelson Cruz provided the biggest compliment, “Nelson Cruz came up to me and said ‘Hey, both of those guys who just threw, they impressed me. They looked like they belonged, and they were in control.’ And I 100% agree with Nelson obviously.”

    Following Sunday’s game, Rocco Baldelli excitedly discussed Duran, Chalmers, and also hard-throwing reliever Jorge Alcala. He said, "I think all three of those guys are going to be impacting us at the big league level, and probably soon... The type of stuff we're talking about is the type of stuff that impacts major league games."

    Duran hit triple digits multiple times in 2019 in Ft. Myers and Pensacola. Chalmers has reached 97 at times. Alcala works 94 to 97 too. But for each of them, they have multiple pitches that could become, and maybe soon, plus pitches.

    Will that happen in 2020?

    While Duran and Chalmers have the stuff and the potential to be big league, impact starters, they are young. Also, in 2020, it becomes about opportunity.

    The Twins have a veteran pitching staff. Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Homer Bailey would appear to be the starting five at the beginning of the season. In addition, Randy Dobnak, Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe all showed something in 2019 in the big leagues and give the team major-league-ready starting pitcher depth.

    So for 2020, especially the shortened 2020 season, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which they get the call to start this year.

    However, as Wes Johnson pointed out, “Crazy things happen, as you guys know. It’s crazy times. It’s going to be tough to answer that question. There’s always that possibility. We wouldn't have them here if we didn’t think that if we needed to we could call on them and bring them up.”

    Maybe even more important, these pitchers indicate that the Twins player development, and specifically, their pitcher development has come a long way. It also speaks to their pro scouting department to tout these guys as targets in that large group of late 2018 trades.

    Baldelli is excited about what they can be. “Those guys are going to help us win for a very long time.They don't just have pretty good stuff. They don't just have pretty good ability. They have elite traits that are going to allow them to get a lot of outs, a lot of swings and misses.”

    The reigning AL Manager of the Year specifically mentioned one of Duran’s pitches that he thinks can be great. “I don't even know what anyone wants to call the pitch Duran throws, as well, the splinker pitch, or I don't even know what to call it, but it's coming in hot. It moves and just kind of disappears.”



    While it is OK to question the plate discipline of Eddie Rosario, just watch the movement of that Jhoan Duran pitch from Sunday again. That’s not a pitch that can be hit, certainly not with any authority.

    The future is bright for the Twins, and specifically for these high-upside Twins pitchers. Remember that Jordan Balazovic isn’t even in the current Twins 60-player pool.

    Baldelli thinks this group is going to be special, and more importantly, it really continues to enforce just how much depth the Twins have on the mound.

    Baldelli noted, "What we're watching is not typical. You could watch some really good major league baseball and not see some of the stuff those guys threw out there today."

    So while Dakota Chalmers and Jhoan Duran are unlikely to make starts for the Twins in 2020, it’s not impossible to think that they could contribute out of the bullpen for stints if needed. And, it’s exciting to think of what they can become - and what it means for the health of the Twins organization - if they continue to develop and gain consistency moving forward.

    Their futures are quite bright.

    • Jul 20 2020 10:28 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  4. Wes Johnson Assigns Homework

    First, some background.

    The “couple other guys” Johnson referenced were Jorge Alcala and Jhoan Duran. All three were optioned to the minor league side this week but all are highly touted arms in the organization. Chalmers, who was acquired in the Fernando Rodney trade in 2018, impressed in the Arizona Fall League. He flashed a mid-90s fastball and, what one American League scout told Baseball America, the best curveball in the fall league. He has swing-and-miss stuff, the critical lifeblood to becoming a successful modern pitcher. In 17.2 innings facing the game’s most promising prospects, Chalmers struck out 25. That said, he also walked 12 in that same time.

    Johnson referenced velocity when comparing Chalmers to Alcala and Duran. The latter two have seen their fastballs touch triple-digit territory while Chalmers has not. Johnson says there is a mechanical reason for this.

    Here are the three pitchers from their 2019 season:

    [attachment=13537:FSFrameGIFImage (2).gif]


    Chalmers differs in his delivery in the use of his lower half, beginning with his feet. This is the critical component of a pitcher’s mechanics as pitchers who have the tendency to get to their toes limit their velocity ceilings. This is something that Jose Berrios' has wrestled with last season using quad-dominant mechanics. Johnson spoke extensively about the subject last spring, noting how having contact into the ground through the heel (but really the entire foot) aids in creating additional hip speed by engaging the gluteus muscle along with the quadriceps muscle.

    Here are shots of the pitchers’ feet. Notice that Chalmers’ foot is entirely on his toe while Alcala and Duran maintain more contact throughout. Chalmers gets quad dominant quickly. This leads to reduced hip speed which leads to lower peak velocity. Velocity, it is said, comes from the ground up.

    [attachment=13538:IMG_5412.jpg]


    More issues can spring from these mechanics. When using predominately the quad muscle, less velocity and more stress is put on the arm. It may be one of the reasons Chalmers required Tommy John surgery in April 2018 while with Oakland, placing additional strain on the UCL. Another factor is command. When rotating from a stable full-foot, there is consistency in the mechanics.

    The Twins aren’t guessing on all this either. Sure, they can look at the video or watch a bullpen session and see this happening, but with the various array technological devices at their disposal, they can break down exactly what these movements mean to the pitcher.

    Starting with the release and working backwards, the Twins have available to them the standard pitch flight data systems available, like Trackman and Rapsodo devices, which measure the velocity and spin rates. They can track release point consistency as well. They have a legion of Edgertronic cameras which isolate all or small portions of the delivery, including how the ball comes out of the hand. These programs have now been widely utilized throughout baseball. Even some high school programs have invested in that equipment.

    Here is where things start getting advanced. From the ground up, the Twins recently invested in Newtforce ground plates. These data-collect mounds allows the Twins to capture how much pressure and where during the delivery process it is being created or applied. They can tell a pitcher just how much force they are generating from their back leg. On the field, the Twins have a Simi Motion system installed at Target Field and now at Hammond Stadium. This system can feed the team’s analysts information on components like hip speed, the driving factor in velocity, or valgus stress applied on the elbow (which could be an indicator of potential injury risk).

    In short, the Twins are no longer just visually assessing pitchers and telling them to make changes. They come armed with more data than NASA.

    The Twins players themselves are not necessarily diving into all the data after every pitch or every outing. Taylor Rogers says that he does not look at the information unless a coach notices something is off. Others have used the numbers to improve. Trevor May spent last season adding to his velocity and cited hip speed as a factor. The key has been having a coaching staff and analytic department that has worked together to identify and deliver the message to the player in ways that can help them understand how it will help them on the field.

    The other aspect is implementing the plan that the Twins create for their pitchers. Chalmers, for example, could be told exactly what he needs to do -- i.e. stay in his heel more and engage his glute more -- and be on board with the plan, but that specific movement may require additional physical preparation on Chalmers’ part. A pitcher could lack some hip mobility that would restrict his movements. The Twins training staff assesses all their players to figure out how their bodies move and then creates a plan to help them reach optimal movements. Chalmers told Twins Daily’s Seth Stohs that he had spent the off-season working on strengthening his core and lower half to stabilize his delivery.

    Still, given Johnson’s quotes this spring, the Twins haven’t seen Chalmers incorporate those changes in his mechanics just yet. Furthermore, Chalmers will be on an innings restriction so his work this spring has been varied from that of Alcala and Duran. If he does, we may see an uptick in his velocity, command and health this season.

    When contemplating the immediate potential of the three arms just sent down to the minor league camp, Johnson says the Twins are looking for swing-and-misses to add to the big league staff. “Those are the guys that impact your bullpen. We don't need ground ball guys coming in out of the 'pen.”

    Swings and misses can come from breaking balls, such as on Chalmers’ impressive bender, but velocity always helps play it up. 96 is cool but 99 is really cool.

    While this is a story of just one minor league pitcher’s journey, the real takeaway is how impressive the Twins development system has become in a short period of time. With numerous tools and minds at their disposal, the Minnesota Twins could soon be a pitcher development factory unrivaled in the game.

    • Mar 12 2020 04:57 PM
    • by Parker Hageman
  5. Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospects: Honorable Mentions

    Before we look at the 2020 Honorable Mentions, a quick look at last year’s Honorable Mentions shows that 2019 Twins Top Rookie Luis Arraez was mentioned, referred to as a “Hit Machine.” Also, Jordan Balazovic went from Honorable Mention to, well, you’ll see him profiled soon. So which players who received votes this year will climb the prospect ladder in 2020?


    ALREADY DEBUTED

    Four players who made their MLB debuts in 2019. These players may not have super-stardom in their futures, but as we saw last year, they absolutely can be contributors to winning teams.

    Randy Dobnak went from non-drafted free agent who spent all of 2018 in Cedar Rapids to a guy who pitched well at four levels in the Twins system in 2019, including at the big league level, on his way to the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Likewise, Devin Smeltzer pitched in some big games and performed wellat various times throughout the year. LaMonte Wade debutedmid-summer, and after an injury, he played most every day in September. Hard-throwing Jorge Alcala moved from a starting role to the bullpen late in the season and received a mid-September promotion to the big leagues.


    OTHERS ON 40-MAN ROSTER

    Along with those four players, a few other Honorable Mention players are on the Twins 40-man roster. Nick Gordon was added after the 2018 season. This past November, the Twins added Luke Raley and Dakota Chalmers to their 40-man roster, putting them one call away from the big leagues.

    In addition, Luis Rijo and Griffin Jax were two guys that Twins fans (and probably the Twins too) were worried about potentially losing in the Rule 5 draft. They were not selected, but as we know, both have the potential to move up this list.


    RETURNING FROM INJURIES

    Injuries are a part of the game, any game, and several Twins prospects fought injuries in 2019. Injuries can mean missed time and fewer development opportunities. They can sometimes be played through and affect performance.

    Ben Rortvedt suffered a knee injury late in the season, but he had surgery and should return at 100% in 2020. Akil Baddoo’s season ended in mid-May. He had Tommy John surgery and is excited to return to the field. Nick Gordon’s season started late due to a stomach ailment. His season ended early because of a knee injury. In between, he played well in Rochester. Luke Raley got off to a fast start for the Red Wings in April but at the end of the month he hurt his ankle and had surgery. He returned for the Arizona Fall League. Bailey Ober fought elbow injuries at times during the season, but when he took the mound, he was great. Yunior Severino fractured his thumb early in the season for Cedar Rapids. He was able to return in August. And Dakota Chalmers returned in the second half from his Tommy John surgery.

    You see the names, and you know several of them were previously Top 20 prospects, some even Top 10 guys. If healthy, their talent could push them quickly back up the rankings.


    WE HARDLY KNOW YE

    Spencer Steer had a strong first impression in pro ball. The Twins third-round pick from Oregon played for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids in his debut. Chris Vallimont came to the Twins organization along with Sergio Romo (and cash) from the Miami Marlins for Lewin Diaz at the trade deadline. He’s got a big fastball and a solid pitch mix. Willie Joe Garry was a Twins draft pick in 2018 out of high school from Mississippi. He is a tremendous athlete with great speed and improving power. He’s got all the tools and is one to watch in 2020.


    DEADLINE TRADES 2018

    The Twins were not good in 2018, and at the deadline, the front office traded several expiring contracts (and 1 1/4 seasons of Ryan Pressly) for a plethora of prospects. A couple of those prospects will be profiled later in this series, but a lot of them received votes and would appear in the 21 through 35 range of Twins prospect. Clearly that flurry of trade activity has much helped the Twins' prospect depth.

    From the Dodgers for Brian Dozier, the Twins received both Devin Smeltzer and Luke Raley.
    From the Diamondbacks for Eduardo Escobar, the Twins received Gabriel Maciel.
    From the Yankees for Lance Lynn, the Twins received Luis Rijo.
    From the Astros for Ryan Pressly, the Twins acquired Jorge Alcala.
    From the A’s for Fernando Rodney, the Twins acquired Dakota Chalmers.

    Tomorrow, we will begin our look into the Top 20 Twins prospects with prospects 16-20. Be sure to check every day to see where your favorite Twins prospects rank. And feel free to ask questions and leave your comments below.


    2020 MINNESOTA TWINS PROSPECT HANDBOOK
    For more information on these Honorable Mentions, pick up a copy of the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It is available in paperback or PDF(for immediate download). Order your copies today!


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    • Feb 02 2020 06:57 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  6. Twins Game Recap (9/21): Twins Blow Lead, Implode in Ninth

    Box Score
    Berrios: 6IP, 8H, 5 ER, 1BB, 5K, 68% strikes (66 of 97 pitches)
    Bullpen: 3IP, 8H, 7ER,2 BB, 2K

    Home Runs: Wade Jr. (2)
    Multi-Hit Games: Wade Jr. (2-for-3 HR, 3B, BB), Arraez (2-for-5, 2B), Cruz (2-for-5), Sano (2-for-4)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Rogers (-0.43), Berrios (-0.24), Rosario (-0.14)

    Kansas City Strikes First

    In the top of the second inning, with one out, Jose Berrios hit Alex Gordon in the foot. After a bloop single, Ryan O’Hearn doubled, scoring Gordon. Meibrys Viloria then hit a shallow fly ball to Eddie Rosario and Ryan McBroom tagged from third. Rosario’s throw was slightly off-line, but appeared good enough to get McBroom. However, after reaching across to tag McBroom the ball popped out of the webbing of Jason Castro’s mitt when it hit the ground. Berrios was able to strike out Brett Phillips and keep the score at 2-0.

    Rookies Spark the Offense, Man

    With Dick Bremer lamenting about how many first pitch fastballs Twins hitters were taking, LaMonte Wade Jr. came up in the bottom of the third and turned on the first pitch Glenn Sparkman had to offer. 416 feet later Kansas City’s lead was cut to one. The home run was the second of Wade Jr.’s young Twins MLB career.



    Broadcaster

    Latroy Hawkins claimed that he joked with Wade Jr. before the game that he hit like Reggie Jackson in batting practice, but like Michael Jackson in games. It appears that Wade Jr. took Hawkins' words to heart.

    In his next at-bat, Wade Jr. led off the bottom of the fifth with a triple. Luis Arraez followed Wade Jr.’s triple with his second hit of the game, a hustle double that scored Wade Jr. to tie the game. With the rookies doing their job, the anti-rookie, Nelson Cruz stepped up and singled in Arraez for his team-leading 104th RBI.

    That marked the end of the day for Sparkman.

    With runners on first and second and no outs, Eddie Rosario stepped up to the plate and did the most Eddie thing possible – he immediately popped out on the first pitch. But luckily for Minnesota Miguel Sano stepped up and singled in Jorge Polanco (who had earlier walked) to put the Twins up 4 – 2. Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi was kind enough to gift Minnesota another run by botching a Willians Astudillo groundball, allowing Nelson Cruz to come home and put the Twins momentarily ahead.

    Berrios stumbles, Royals Strike Back

    Things were looking good going into the sixth and Jose Berrios was able to induce a double play after allowing the first two Kansas City hitters of the inning to single. With a runner on third and two outs, McBroom singled to bring the score to 5 -3. The next batter, the other Ryan, took a Berrios’ changeup for a ride, tying the game up. Berrios was able to finish out the inning, but it marked the end of the day for Berrios.

    Rogers, Hildenberger Falter

    Both Kansas City and Minnesota got great efforts from their bullpens after Sparkman and Berrios left the game. However, after Tyler Duffy and Serio Romo went six up, six down in the seventh and eighth innings, Taylor Rogers struggled mightily in the ninth. Rogers managed to get only one out, giving up three hits, the most damaging one a two-run dinger coming off the bat of pinch-hitter Cheslor Cuthbert. It’s worth mentioning that it is the fourth time in the last six games that Rogers has pitched (although he hadn’t thrown more than 14 pitches in any of the appearances).

    Trevor Hildenberger relieved Rogers and the wheels really fell off. Hildenberger faced six batters and failed to record an out. It doesn’t get much uglier than that. By the time the top of the ninth finally ended the Twins were down 12 – 5 and the game had been lost.

    Jorge Alcala Debuts

    If you bothered to stick around after the meltdown, you were rewarded by getting to see Jorge Alcala make his MLB debut (and see a seemingly never ending, nearly 50-minute(!) top of the ninth). He came into the game with the bases loaded and one out and gave up a single that Marwin Gonzalez had a chance to catch but didn’t. His four-seam fastball topped out at 95. He would go on to walk in another run but finally ended the inning by retiring two Royals batters.

    Postgame With Baldelli




    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

    Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

    • Sep 22 2019 12:24 PM
    • by Patrick Wozniak
  7. Leading Off Podcast With Matt & Cooper: Movin' Me Down the Central

    Link to Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/7FnITrhARBvuOpnJrvO5k6

    Time stamps

    Week in review: 4:45

    Magic number is nine: 15:00

    Jose Berrios: 16:55

    Brusdar Graterol: 20:00

    Buxton done: 25:40

    Dobnak/rotation talk: 33:45

    Jorge Alcala: 47:20

    Injury news: 51:40

    Fan questions: 63:15

    Looking ahead: 82:00

    https://open.spotify...ARBvuOpnJrvO5k6

    Give it a listen and leave a comment on this post or tweet at us what you thought
    Matt: @Matthew_bTwins
    Cooper: Carlson_MnTwins

    • Sep 16 2019 10:15 AM
    • by Cooper Carlson
  8. Get to Know Jorge Alcala

    The 2019 season marked Alcala’s first full season in the Twins organization. He began the year as a starter in Pensacola, but he would eventually end up pitching out of the bullpen at Double- and Triple-A. There were some ups and downs as a starter, but his time as a reliever saw some positive improvements.

    As a starter, he posted a 5.86 ERA in 16 starts (73 2/3 innings) with a 1.43 WHIP and a 75 to 22 strikeout to walk ratio. There were some issues with control as he hit five batters and allowed nine home runs. His posted an impressive 9.2 SO/9 which was even higher after the first month of the year where he had a 4-1 record with 11.0 SO/9.

    Switching to a relief role seemed to help some of Alcala’s peripheral numbers. Across 15 appearances (36 2/3 innings), he allowed 19 earned runs on 34 hits. His strikeout rate increased from 9.2 SO/9 as a starter to 10.1 SO/9 as a reliever. He added in 41 strikeouts, but he walked 17 batters, which was almost as many as his time as a starter.

    Some scouting reports critique parts of Alcala’s mechanics. He doesn’t use his legs enough and his effort with his pitching hurts his ability to repeat his delivery. There are times when he can overthrow and that impacts his control at the plate. His fastball is very good, but he needs to be able to locate all of his pitches to be a successful starter or reliever.

    In the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, this is what we said about Alcala:
    The first thing to know about Jorge Alcala is that he throws hard. His fastball sits anywhere from 93-99 MPH, but he frequently hits triple-digits, topping out at 102 MPH. Because of the velocity, his secondary pitches can be effective if they are merely average. His slider sits between 87 and 89 MPH, with a little bit of late movement. His changeup sits more in the mid-80s. It doesn’t move much, but he uses the same arm motion. Those secondary pitches aren’t consistent, and at best they’re average, and they will be the key in determining whether his future is as a starter or a late-inning reliever.

    Right now, it looks like he will be a reliever and that’s what the Twins might need at this point in the season.

    What are your thoughts about the Alcala call-up? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

    • Sep 14 2019 12:44 PM
    • by Cody Christie
  9. 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
  10. 20 Names for Twins September Callups

    Over the course of the season Minnesota has used the fringes of its roster as a revolving door to a certain extent. The rotation has utilized a taxi squad for both length and bullpen help, while the final bench spot has rotated with players offering positional flexibility as starting talents have needed time off. There are both avenues for reward and merit-based promotions here and I imagine it would behoove the Twins to capitalize on all of them. Let’s look at some of the groupings.

    Taxi Squad (5): Devin Smeltzer, Zack Littell, Kohl Stewart, Lewis Thorpe, Sean Poppen

    Cody Stashak and Randy Dobnak both find themselves a part of this group as well but are currently on the 25-man roster. This collection of arms has been utilized to be used at a moment's notice for the Twins this season. Whether making spot starts, pitching mop up, or keeping games close in the middle innings, these guys have provided immeasurable value to Minnesota during the 2019 season.

    The trio of Thorpe, Smeltzer, and Littell have all operated in some very high leverage spots thus far and could be counted on down the stretch. Stewart and Poppen have been more product of circumstance, but there’s no reason for the front office not to reward these guys. A month of big league pay as well as some additional development could go a long way toward growth and future development.

    Retreads (5): Ryne Harper, Trevor Hildenberger, Fernando Romero, Willians Astudillo, LaMonte Wade

    Don’t get this twisted, retread is hardly a negative definition here. This trio is a group of guys who have been on the big-league roster, have been optioned out, and their future status remains in flux. Harper obviously offered the most to the major league team this season. His Bugs Bunny curveballs were a thing of beauty until they weren’t. Having a book on him now, he needs to find a way to keep opposing batters off balance. Sent to Triple-A after struggling for months and owning options, it made sense, but he should get the opportunity to wrap up 2019 with in the big leagues.

    Pairing Hildenberger and Romero is an interesting case study. One is a former stud that wore down, and the other was expected to take a leap that never came. Now healthy, Hildenberger has been lights out since his activation from the IL, and a return to form would give the Twins an arm that has pitched in some very big spots the past couple of seasons. Romero hasn’t been as expected, and we’re still as confused as ever considering what he could provide, but letting him get some low leverage work and try to finish the year on a high note makes some sense.

    As the first position player here Willians Astudillo will return, to the delight of Twins fans. He’s a character and energizer bunny, but Minnesota will need more in terms of production. It’s great that he doesn’t strike out, but a heightened ability in the box needs to come in the form of commanding the zone, not just covering it. If he can take more of a Luis Arraez approach and rein in his swing to pitches he can do something with, the Twins will have two of the better contact hitters in the game. Wade isn’t much of a retread given he played in just two games before hitting the shelf. A 60-day IL move would open a spot, or he could be activated despite the short runway back to game action.

    Fresh Faces (2): Brusdar Graterol, Jorge Alcala

    Easily the two biggest names tied to potential promotion are two of the Twins' top prospects. Graterol is a top-100 pitcher that’s expected to be a difference maker in the rotation. There’s some uncertainty about how good he’d be there, and he’ll have a chance to flash his relief arm in 2019. A triple-digit fastball is going to play, and if he can miss bats while keeping hitters off balance, you can assume he’ll make a difference in the postseason.

    The prized part of the return in the Ryan Pressly trade, Alcala too is a fireballer who can pump the cheddar. He’s as much an uncertainty for the rotation as Graterol (if not more) but has looked great since switching to the pen at the end of July. Both guys need 40-man spots, and with just one opening, some roster shuffling will need to take place.

    Needing a Spot (5): Jake Reed, Zander Wiel, Wilin Rosario, Alejandro De Aza, Ian Miller

    Only Reed here is a former top prospect. Drafted out of Oregon with the intention of getting to the big leagues in short order, though the fiery fastball and clean bill of health have escaped him at times. He warranted a look last season but was passed over. This year the numbers are much worse, but he’s incorporated a new arm slot and has dealt with the Triple-A baseball as well. Subject again to being lost this offseason, it may be a final opportunity to see what’s there.

    Wiel has been the pride of a Rochester team that employed bigger names. The former Vanderbilt star has 29 doubles in 121 games while owning an .838 OPS. Twenty-two homers show off his power, and while there’re plenty of strikeouts he’s pushed for an opportunity.

    The trio left over is an interesting bunch. Rosario is essentially a DH and hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2015. The 30-year-old owns an .858 OPS at Triple-A though, and his 19 dingers are bolstered by a .306 avg. De Aza was a late season depth acquisition and he’s done his part with a .994 OPS in 29 games. Miller represents Minnesota’s version of Terrence Gore. He hasn’t played in an MLB game, but the 27-year-old has stolen 34 bases in 119 Triple-A games this year. All these guys would need a 40-man spot.

    On the Mend (3): Stephen Gonsalves, Nick Gordon, Brent Rooker

    Had the season gone, or ended, differently for any of this trio they could’ve found themselves in a different category. Gonsalves just recently got back on the mound and has only 12 IP in 2019. He’s at Double-A right now but has worked for Minnesota previously and did come out of the pen. Nick Gordon had a strong year two at Triple-A, following a path he’s repeated most of his pro career. He’s been on the shelf since early August after taking a pitch to the knee, so his season could be over. Rooker recently returned to action and was rehabbing at the GCL. With that season done though he’ll need game action elsewhere. A 1.036 OPS in 41 G from June 1 through his injury, along with a .933 OPS in 65 total games with Rochester, it appeared he was ready for more.

    Two of three in this section have current 40-man spots, and their inclusion or exclusion from the active roster could swing plenty of decisions. Gordon and Gonsalves could be placed on the 60-day IL (with service time implications) to free up openings. Rooker would need an avenue to inclusion on the 40-man for the first time in his career.

    If we’ve done the math correctly, there’s a total of 20 names that are potentially in play for the Minnesota Twins to use on the 40-man active roster in a couple of days. No matter how aggressive the club wants to be, the maximum number of additions would be 15. Of those 20, eight need a spot on the 40-man roster that currently sits at 39 occupants. If this exercise shows us anything, it’s that there’s a good amount of opportunity, but still a large number of mouths to feed.

    Being a better man, I’d put the O/U on Twins call ups at 5.5 and take the over without thinking twice. Rochester’s season ends Monday September 2, so we probably won’t have complete clarity until that point. I’d bet the Twins mix in a good number of bodies to provide rest, as well as talent to provide help, when they make their decisions in the coming days.

    • Aug 29 2019 03:47 PM
    • by Ted Schwerzler
  11. Twins Minor League Report (8/28): Balazvoic Befuddles, Astudillo Annihilates, Seasons Conclude

    TRANSACTIONS
    Rochester
    LHP Lewis Thorpe optioned by Minnesota (August 26)
    INF Ivan De Jesus Jr released
    RHP Sean Poppen begins rehab assignment. Was scheduled to throw today with GCL. Game was cancelled, as well as the rest of their season.
    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 10, Buffalo 2
    Box Score

    Rochester isn’t making the postseason, but with just five games left after tonight they’re all about finishing strong. Going with a committee tonight, they did just that. Five pitchers combined to throw nine innings of two-run baseball while striking out 13 and walking just three. Jorge Alcala is the stud prospect eyeing a September call up, and he turned in two scoreless with four strikeouts.

    La Tortuga himself started things off with his fourth Triple-A dinger in the top of the first. Rochester added another in the second before a five-run fourth innings really got things going. Two singles and a sac fly did the damage and the Red Wings posted a crooked number.

    Insurance runs came across in both the sixth and ninth to give the away team nine runs of breathing room. A nine-inning tally by Buffalo was inconsequential in this one and Rochester was able to slam the door.

    BLUE WAHOOS BITES
    No Game Scheduled

    Pensacola had a scheduled off day today. However, both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff were confirmed as going to the Arizona Fall League to play for Salt River on behalf of the Twins.

    Tomorrow the Wahoos are schedule to start a series against the Montgomery Biscuits. Rays prospect Blake Bivens lost his wife and one year old son in a tragic and senseless act of violence a couple of days ago. A memorial has been set up in their honor. You can see that here.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Dunedin 2, Fort Myers 1 (Game 1, 7 innings)
    Box Score

    Jordan Balazovic took the ball for the Miracle in this one and he was nothing short of exceptional. Turning in five innings of two-hit ball, he allowed no runs and just one free pass while striking out nine. The effort lowered his Single-A ERA to 2.84 in 2019.

    Although both clubs generated the same number of hits (five), it was the Blue Jays that got the extra run. A Trey Cabbage single accounted for Fort Myers' only tally in the top of the 6th, but two Dunedin runs in the bottom half were enough for the victory.

    Dunedin 4, Fort Myers 3 (Game 2, 9 innings)
    Box Score

    Another tightly contested game that wound up being a one-run loss saw the Miracle turn the game over to the bullpen. Four Miracle pitchers combined to throw nine innings in the regularly scheduled seven-inning affair. Recently named to the Arizona Fall League roster for the Twins, Moises Gomez gave up an unearned run with one out in the final frame that allowed the Blue Jays to walk it off.

    A Yeltsin Encarnacion double plated Brian Schaled and Jose Mirande in the fourth to open the scoring. After giving one back, Fort Myers and Dunedin traded runs in the fifth after Trey Cabbage homered for the ninth time this season. The Blue Jays evened the score in the bottom of the seventh before their eventual walkoff.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 1, Quad Cities 0
    Box Score

    Matt Canterino was making his fifth start for the Kernels in this one and he was excellent. Going five strong while allowing just one hit, no free passes, and striking out seven, Minnesota continues to be impressed with their 2019 draft pick.

    These two clubs combined for just six hits on the evening, but it was the final one that mattered most. Jared Akins came up in the bottom of the ninth and delivered an RBI single to score Spencer Steer and walk this one off for the Kernels.



    E-TWINS E-NOTES
    Greenville 7, Elizabethton 3
    Box Score

    The E-Twins turned to Ryley Widell in this one and he gave them six innings of four- run ball. Widell allowed seven hits but just one walk while striking out seven. Even though Elizabethton won in the hit column (10 to 9) they couldn’t generate the necessary run production.

    Greenville took an early three-run lead in the second and the E-Twins answered with just one. It was 4-1 before Charles Mack hit his eighth homer of the year, a two-run shot in the fifth. Down by one into the eighth, that’s where Greenville pulled away and Elizabethton couldn’t mount a rally.

    Unfortunately the loss also ended the season and Elizabethton finished at 33-34 in 2019.

    GCL TWINS TAKES
    Doubleheader today was cancelled and the remainder of the season followed suit due to the incoming hurricane.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Willians Astudillo (Rochester) 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR(4)

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

    #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - No Game
    #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - No Game
    #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch
    #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - No Game
    #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, 2 K
    #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
    #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Season Complete
    #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Did Not Play
    #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) - No Game
    #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch
    #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch
    #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List (lower leg contusion)
    #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - No Game
    #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) -
    #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, K
    #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Injured List
    #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured (Tommy John)
    #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
    #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - Season Complete
    #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - No Game

    THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Rochester @ Buffalo (6:05PM CST) - LHP Lewis Thorpe (5-4, 4.63 ERA)
    Pensacola @ Montgomery (6:35PM CST) - TBD
    Ft. Myers @ Dunedin (5:30PM CST) - RHP Blayne Enlow (4-3, 3.20 ERA)
    Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Tyler Palm (3-9, 4.02 ERA)

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Wednesday games or any other minor league topics you would like.

    • Aug 29 2019 04:58 AM
    • by Ted Schwerzler
  12. 6 Potential Non-Roster September Call-ups Who Could Impact Games

    There are other players currently on the 40-man that may receive the call as well. Will Willians Astudillo conveniently be brought back from his rehab on September 1st? Will Nick Gordon be recovered in time to finally experience his first major league clubhouse as a player?

    Today, we'll look at six players who are not currently on the 40-man roster who could help the Twins wrap up the AL Central pennant. While not all of these players - and perhaps most - will not join the team, they all offer something that could make an impact on the current team.

    RHP Brusdar Graterol - With Graterol, it's not a matter of if he joins the Twins, but when. After missing a few months earlier this year with a shoulder ailment, he has returned to Pensacola and pitched in three games, all relief appearances. In those games he's thrown five scoreless innings, allowing one hit and two walks while striking out four. Of the 64 bullets he's fired, 43 (67.2%) have been strikes. Most impressively and famously, Graterol threw a fastball 103.8 mph in his last outing. He joined the Red Wings on Monday. He spent 10 days in Pensacola after recovering from his injury. How long will he be in Rochester?

    OF Alejandro De Aza (pictured) - Before being placed on Rochester's injured list on Sunday with a hand contusion, De Aza slashed .333/.410/.588 (.998) in his 28 games with the Red Wings. De Aza, 35, has not played in the MLB since 2017, but does have postseason experience which could help in September. In 2014, De Aza went 7-for-21 with three doubles and three RBI for the Orioles, who fell to the Royals in the ALCS. De Aza would be limited to below-average defense in an outfield corner (or DH), but would provide both experience and depth in the form of a left-handed bat who hits righties well.

    OF Ian Miller - Miller came to the organization in August from Seattle in a minor-league trade. The potential value of adding Miller to the big-club comes exclusively from his legs. Over his seven minor league seasons, Miller is 240-for-289 (83%) on stolen base attempts. The Twins this year - without Byron Buxton - are 11-for-28 (39%). I'm not suggesting the Twins bring up Miller to have him steal a bunch of bases. But the lack of successful stolen bases suggests that the team doesn't have a ton of speed. And there's going to be an occasion (again!) where a game will hang in the balance with a runner on first with one out or nobody out... and we'd all prefer that runner (or pinch-runner) is someone actually fast, not someone that is fast compared to the TwinsDaily writing staff. (Jeremy's note: When TwinsDaily writers competed at the mascot race a few seasons back, I won. And it wasn't even close. Believe me, these other guys aren't fast. They made me look like The Freeze.)

    LHP Ryan O'Rourke - Since ROR last pitched the for the Twins in 2016, he's had Tommy John surgery and bounced around baseball, eventually recently bouncing back into the organization. O'Rourke has always been death to left-handed hitters and could be a very useful commodity in September.

    RHP Jorge Alcala - Along with Graterol, Alcala joined Rochester on Monday. Acquired in the Ryan Pressly deal last July, Alcala has been a less-heralded prospect than many and his results haven't done a lot to make people take notice. In 26 AA games (16 starts), Alcala went 5-7 with a 5.87 ERA. He allowed a WHIP of 1.47 and opponents hit .284 off of him. But since moving exclusively to the bullpen in late July, Alcala has been a different dude. In 10 2/3 innings, Alcala has allowed seven hits and two walks (0.84 WHIP) and has struck out seven. Like Graterol, he's pounded the strike zone - 106 strikes in 165 pitches (64.2%). Pre-season scouting reports had Alcala up to 98 mph as a starter. In short stints, he'll be over 100 mph. Combine that with an above-average slider... and this bullpen might be OK after all.

    C Wilin Rosario - Like De Aza, it's been a bit since Rosario was a major-league baseball player. After hitting 28 home runs and finishing fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting as a 23-year-old in 2013 with Colorado, Rosario had three years that increasingly got worse before playing the last three years in Korea and Japan. Back in America in 2019, Rosario has hit .307/.347/.527 (.874) in 385 plate appearances. He's a liability behind the plate, but could play there in a pinch. While it's not likely for Rosario to come up with the pending addition of Willians Astudillo, Rosario would be a phone call away if any of the three catchers go down to injury.

    • Aug 21 2019 01:03 PM
    • by Jeremy Nygaard
  13. Brusdar Graterol Hits 103+ MPH, Is Promoted To AAA

    The 20-year-old Graterol started the year as a starting pitcher and posted a 1.89 ERA with 46K in 47.2 IP, but suffered from a shoulder impingement condition in early June, and was shut down until late-July. Since his return to Pensacola, he’s been used as a reliever, throwing five innings, holding opponents to a 0.71 ERA, though he’s only struck out four batters. His outing yesterday versus Chattanooga was when he threw the 103.8 MPH pitch.



    He is being joined at Rochester by Jorge Alcala. Like Graterol, Alcala also has a triple-digit fastball and started the year at AA-Pensacola as a starting pitcher, but he has posted a 5.87 ERA. He also was recently moved into a relief role and has posted a 1.69 ERA, and held opponents to a .179 batting average and struck out seven in 10.2 IP.

    The move to Rochester gives both time to build on their move to the bullpen, while facing a higher level of competition and using the more homer-friendly major league baseball, which AAA adopted this year. Both could help the Twins bullpen for the stretch run and help the team in the playoffs. Rosters expand on September 1st, and both are eligible for the postseason roster.

    Both would also likely shatter the previous records for “fastest pitch ever thrown by a Twins pitcher.” The top five are:

    Juan Morillo 100.3
    Trevor May 99.8
    Ryan Pressly 99.0
    JT Chargois 98.9
    Fernando Romeo 98.7

    • Aug 18 2019 04:08 PM
    • by John Bonnes
  14. Twins Minor League Report (8/17) Bullpens Bring The Bull And The Horn

    TRANSACTIONS

    OF Lamonte Wade Jr. sent to A Cedar Rapids on a rehab assignment

    RHP Yancarlos Baez assigned to Elizabethton from extended spring training

    RHP Brusdar Graterol will reportedly be promoted to AAA Rochester along with RHP Jorge Alcala



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

    Adam Bray: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: Ian Miller (2-for-4), Tomás Telis (2-for-4)

    The Red Wings made everything perfectly balanced as they won a 10 inning game last Saturday and then lost a 10-inning game this Saturday.

    The Red Wings ran a bullpen game to much success as Adam Bray, Jeremy Bleich, Preston Guilmet, and Fernando Romero combined for nine and a third innings pitched with just two earned runs. Bray was effective to start as he struck out seven over four innings and Guilmet was the other pitcher who allowed no runs as he threw three shutout innings.

    Fernando Romero had an interesting outing as the lead-off batter bunted the starting runner to third (remember the extra innings rule in the minors) and after an intentional walk, an infield single ended up winning the game.

    The Red Wings offense was scattered and the only time a run was scored was when Zander Wiel tripled home Brandon Barnes after Barnes hit a double.




    BLUE WAHOO BITES
    Pensacola 5, Chattanooga 1
    Box Score

    Alex Phillips: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
    HR: Alex Kirilloff (9)
    Multi-hit games: Willians Astudillo (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI), Alex Kirilloff (3-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI), Travis Blankenhorn (2-for-4, 2B)

    The Blue Wahoos flirted with a no-hitter during a very successful bullpen game.

    Alex Phillips, Brusdar Graterol, Jorge Alcala, Andrew Vasquez, and Tom Hackimer combined to give up just one measly single (an infield single in the 9th) en route to their attempt at pitching a no-hitter. The end result was still just one earned run, one hit, three walks, and 10 strikeouts, a pretty good performance all around.

    Willians Astudillo had a pair of hits and a pair of RBIs thanks to a 3rd inning double. He ended up catching seven innings before being replaced behind the plate by Taylor Grzelakowski.

    Not to be outdone by the rehabbing major leaguer, Alex Kirilloff had a three RBI game thanks in part to a two run blast in the 5th inning. He is well on his way to getting back to doing Alex Kirilloff things as he had a 149 wRC+ over the week coming into Saturday’s game.




    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Ft. Myers 3, Jupiter 1
    Box Score

    Chris Vallimont: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: Jacob Pearson (2-for-4), Ernie De La Trinidad (2-for-4, 2B)

    Chris Vallimont had his second straight seven inning performance and the best start of his in the Twins’ system. His nine strikeouts is tied for his third highest amount in a game this year and he has now given up just five hits over his last 14 innings combined.

    Melvi Acosta relieved Vallimont and would eventually end the game with no earned runs given up but one unearned run so not shutout would be had for the Miracle on Saturday.

    There’s more to the game than pitching, however, and the Miracle received all their scoring in the 8th inning thanks to a bases-clearing double off the bat of Andrew Bechtold.

    Gabriel Maciel was hit by a pitch in the 3rd inning and eventually left the game, hopefully the move was more preemptive than anything and Maciel is fine.


    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 1, Quad Cities 4
    Box Score

    Tyler Palm: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
    HR: Spencer Steer (2)
    Multi-hit games: Spencer Steer (2-for-4, HR, R, RBI)

    It had seemed like a game that was going to go well for the Kernels as Spencer Steer blasted a home run to lead-off the game for the Kernels but that was all the offense they would get as there would only be three more hits in the game for the Kernels and Steer was the only player with multiple hits.

    Tyler Palm fought through six innings but was ruined by a 5th inning three-run home run that stained the ledger and put the Kernels in a deficit that they would not overcome.

    Rickey Ramirez relieved Palm and tossed a pair of scoreless innings to lower his Kernels ERA to an incredible 0.90.

    Lamonte Wade Jr. played in his first rehab game and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout as he played seven innings.

    E-Town E-Notes
    Elizabethton 2, Danville 3
    Box Score

    Tyler Benninghoff: 0 IP (left with injury)
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: Kidany Salva (2-for-4, 2B)

    Tyler Benninghoff had the first pitch of the game hit back at him off his hand and left the game. Hopefully everything is alright for him.

    Frandy Torres took over and was outstanding for pitching on a moment’s notice as he fired off four scoreless innings to keep the Twins’ heads up despite having their starter leave the game early.

    The Elizabethton offense left many ducks on the pond as they went just 1-for-14 w/RISP and had a team LOB of 12. The two runs scored were not enough and the chances the Twins had with runners on proved to be their downfall.

    In total, Elizabethton’s pitching was impressive as Torres, Denny Bentley, and Benjamin Dum combined for just two earned runs allowed over nine and a third innings pitched. Seems like a number of teams in the Twins’ system received fine performances as they attempted to piece the game together with their bullpen.

    GCL Twins Takes
    Game one: GCL Twins 5, GCL Red Sox 6 (7 innings)
    Box Score

    Stephen Gonsalves: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
    HR: Jesus Feliz (4), Francisco Martinez (4)
    Multi-hit games: Wander Valdez (3-for-3, 2 2B, R)

    Stephen Gonsalves made another rehab start for the GCL Twins. In this start he allowed a homer and a double but also got five of his six outs on strikeouts, a solid sign for the lefty. Trevor Hildenberger relieved Gonsalves and he also went two innings with a pair of strikeouts and only one hit allowed. Strangely enough, only one out came on a ground ball, an unusual feat for Hildenberger.

    The GCL Twins’ offense was firing early as Jesus Feliz hit a three-run home run in the 1st inning and Francisco Martinez hit a two-run home run in the 4th which gave the GCL Twins a 5-1 lead.

    Unfortunately for the Twins, the lead would not last as some sloppy play allowed a handful of runs to score and the GCL Red Sox would eventually walk them off in the 7th.

    It started with a throwing error by catcher Jeferson Morales in the 5th on a steal that allowed a run to score to make it 5-2. Then in the 6th, a balk by Donny Breek scored another run before a bases-loaded walk made it a 5-4 game. Jose Guevara took over for the 7th and with two outs he allowed the game-tying single before a passed ball from Jeferson Morales allowed the winning run to score.

    Game two: GCL Twins 7, GCL Red Sox 4 (7 innings)
    Box Score

    Anthony Escobar: 2 ⅓ IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
    HR: Francisco Martinez (5)
    Multi-hit games: Jeferson Morales (2-for-2, 2B, 2 R, RBI), Jake Hirabayashi (2-for-3, 2 RBI)

    The GCL Twins again got out to a quick offensive start thanks to a two RBI single from Jake Hirabayashi in the 1st that was followed by a wild pitch which scored another run in the inning.

    Much like the game before, the scoring did not stop there for the GCL Twins as a Jeferson Morales double in the next inning scored another run and Francisco Martinez’s second homer of the day plated two more runs to give them seven runs total in the game.

    The big difference was that the pitching held firm as just two pitchers gave up runs and even though runs were given up in the 7th again, the lead was much bigger this time around so it didn’t matter. Steeve Theetge pitched two and a third shutout innings to earn the win and Niall Windeler punched out the side in his lone inning of work. Evan Gillespie was the culprit in giving up the runs in the 7th but it didn’t matter as the runs came with two outs and Gillespie was able to get the final out to win it.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Chris Vallimont
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Alex Kirilloff

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

    #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - 1-for-4, R, K
    #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 3-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI
    #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Did not pitch
    #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - 0-for-4, K
    #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-3, 3 K
    #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch
    #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Did not play
    #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Injured list
    #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) - Did not pitch
    #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch
    #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Twins) - Did not pitch
    #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured list
    #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - Did not play
    #14 - Luis Arraez (Twins) -
    #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) - Did not play
    #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Did not play
    #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Out for year with Tommy John surgery
    #18 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - 1 ⅔ IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
    #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - 2-for-4
    #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - 2-for-4, 2B, K

    SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Rochester @ Louisville (1:00 P.M.) - RHP Randy Dobnak
    Pensacola @ Mississippi (5:05 P.M.) - TBD
    Fort Myers @ Jupiter (12:00 P.M.) - TBD
    Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (5:15 P.M.) - RHP Andrew Cabezas
    Elizabethton @ Princeton (4:00 P.M.) - RHP Ben Gross

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

    • Aug 17 2019 08:55 PM
    • by Matt Braun
  15. Deadline Rewind: A Progress Report on the Twins 2018 Trade Deadline Additions

    Chronologically, the first trade was the Eduardo Escobar trade. Escobar was a beloved by Twins fans but trading him made loads of sense because he was an impending free agent and seemed unlikely to resign with the Twins. In return for Escobar the Twins received RHP Jhoan Duran, OF Gabriel Maciel, and OF Ernie De La Trinidad from the Arizona Diamondbacks. At the time of the trade it seemed like a pretty good return as Duran and Maciel were intriguing prospects with some upside. After one year the trade is looking even better.

    Jhoan Duran has been really good since joining the Twins. After the trade, Duran pitched for Cedar Rapids for the remainder of the 2018 season and was dominant. In 36 innings Duran struck out 44 batters while walking only 10. He finished with a 2.00 ERA and .81 WHIP and opponents hit just .154 off him. It has been more of the same this year, as Durant started in High-A Fort Myers and has pitched to a 3.23 ERA with 95 strikeouts in 78 innings pitched. In the past week Duran was called up to AA Pensacola and is inching closer and closer to the big leagues. He can hit triple digits with his heater and certainly appears to be the top dog of the 2018 trade acquisitions. Duran looks like he may make it as a starter but would certainly be enticing at the back end of a bullpen as well. Duran is 21-years-old.

    Gabriel Maciel has also done well early in his time with the organization. The Brazilian is a center fielder who has elite speed but has yet to develop much power and is listed as 5’10” and 170 pounds. He held his own last year at Cedar Rapids and began 2019 there as well. After 45 games and an impressive .309/.395/.377 triple slash, Maciel was promoted to High-A Fort Myers. He has done well since joining the Miracle, hitting .288/.366/.360, and is an ideal leadoff hitter with his speed and ability to get on base. Maciel has stolen 20 bases so far this year and is still just 20 years old.

    Ernie De La Trinidad was more of a throw in and has struggled to a .228/.314/.300 triple slash between Fort Meyers and Pensacola in 2019. He actually started the year in AA Pensacola but was sent back down to Single-A where he played in 2018. He is rather small in stature, has limited upside, and is already 23-years-old.

    Overall this trade is looking really good as Duran has become one of Minnesota’s top pitching prospects and Maciel has done quite well while flying a bit under the radar. Either one of these two could become important trade chips and have a good chance of reaching the majors.

    The Twins quickly made another big trade when they traded Ryan Pressly to the Houston Astros for RHP Jorge Alcala and OF Gilberto Celestino. Pressly was having a solid 2018 for Minnesota pitching to a 3.40 ERA (2.95 FIP) and was striking out 13/9 IP. He still had one year of team control left. Pressly has become one of the best relievers in all of baseball since joining the Astros. Pressly has pitched to a 1.60 ERA (2.31 FIP) with a WHIP of .768 for Houston. He has been absolutely filthy and would obviously be really, really nice to have in the current Twins pen.

    Like Duran, Jorge Alcala is another guy who tops out at over 100 mph. He too joined the Twins organization as a starter but many questioned whether he would remain so. Alcala pitched exclusively as a starter since joining the Twins but very recently shifted to the pen. Alcala has pitched in AA in both seasons with Minnesota and the results have not been pretty. In 2019 he has an ERA of 6.22 with a WHIP of 1.51 but he still gets strikeouts (98 in 94 IP). Walks have always been an issue with Alcala but hopefully Alcala will be able to tone things down in the pen and reach his full potential. Alcala just turned 24.

    Gilberto Celestino was a big international signing for Houston in 2015. Like Maciel, Celestino is a centerfielder but has a better chance to hit for power than Maciel. After joining the Twins, Celestino spent 2018 playing short season ball in Elizabethton and has played for Cedar Rapids in 2019. Celestino’s numbers on the year are not overly impressive (.249/.324/.366) but he has shown improvement month by month and has really heated up of late (.322/.390/.500 in July). Like Maciel, Celestino will only be 20 for the remainder of the season and contains plenty of upside.

    Although Alcala and Celestino have plenty of upside, this is probably a trade the Twins would like to take back. Pressly would make quite a 1-2 combo with Taylor Rogers and had the front office known the Twins would be contenders in 2019 this trade likely would not have been made.

    Next, the Twins traded Zach Duke to the Seattle Mariners for RHP Chase De Jong and 1B/3B Ryan Costello. As a lefty specialist, Duke was unlikely to bring back much and so far the results of this return have been fairly underwhelming.

    Chase De Jong split time between the minors and the major league club and was not particularly effective in either. For the Twins he did okay it 2018 as he posted a 3.57 ERA in four starts but the outings were short and his FIP was 4.92. 2019 has been a complete disaster for De Jong. He pitched one inning for the big league club and gave up four runs. Unfortunately, he wasn’t much better in Rochester, as he was 0-5 with a 9.73 ERA in 45.1 innings. He was released by the Red Wings on July 12.

    Ryan Costello is another player without a ton of upside but he did show some “pop” by hitting 20 home runs in 2018 (16 of them came with in low-A ball with Seattle). 2019 has been a struggle for Costello. Between High-A and AA he has hit just .212/.337/.361 for an OPS of .698 with eight long balls. Costello spends the majority of his time at first base so he will need to hit to further his career. He is 23-years-old.

    On the same day that Duke was traded, Minnesota traded Lance Lynn to the New York Yankees for 1B Tyler Austin and RHP Luis Rijo. Minnesota’s haul in this trade seemed pretty impressive as Lynn had struggled with the Twins and was a rental player.

    Austin was traded again from the Twins to the San Francisco Giants early this season. His time with the Twins was brief, but he made sense as a depth piece at first base with Joe Mauer’s looming retirement. With the Twins picking up C.J. Cron off of waivers and signing Nelson Cruz to DH, there was no room for Austin in 2019. Austin hit .236/.294/.488 with 9 home runs in 35 games for the Twins last season and since joining San Francisco he has hit just .181/.278/.402 in 68 games.

    The second piece of this trade is looking really good so far for Minnesota. Luis Rijo finished 2018 pitching for Elizabethton in rookie ball and his numbers were impressive as he was 2-0 with a 1.27 ERA in five starts. He has built upon that success in Low-A Cedar Rapids this year with a 2.55 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 77.2 innings. Rijo’s fastball now sits in the mid-90s and he also throws a curve and changeup. With his success this year and added velocity, Rijo is sure to continue moving up the prospect lists. Rijo is 20-years-old.

    On the last day of the trade deadline the Twins sent fan favorite Brian Dozier to the Los Angeles Dodgers for 2B Logan Forsythe, OF/1B Luke Raley, and LHP Devin Smeltzer. Dozier was having a down year for the Twins and was also in the last year of his contract so his trade value had greatly diminished. Forsythe, who like Dozier was in the last year of his contract, was thrown in to offset Dozier’s salary and is no longer a Twin.

    Luke Raley is a strong and athletic outfielder who has raked since joining the organization. He hit .276/.371/.449 in AA for the remained of his 2018 season and joined AAA Rochester for the start of 2019. This year Raley was turning heads by hitting .302/.362/.516 but suffered a dislocated tendon in his left ankle that required surgery and has been out since mid-May. The Twins will need to decide whether or not to add Raley to the 40-man roster this off season as he will be eligible for the Rule-5 draft. Raley is 24-years-old.

    The other prospect acquired in the Dozier trade is one that Twins fans have become quite familiar with this year. Devin Smeltzer was moved to the bullpen in 2018 while in the Dodger’s minor league system and finished last season in the bullpen after joining the Twins organization as well. However, Smeltzer wanted one more chance to remain a starter and the Twins granted him his wish. In 2019, between AA and AAA Smeltzer has pitched to a 2.21 ERA and .993 WHIP with 92 Ks in 89.2 innings. Smetzer has been up with the Twins three times this season, making two starts and a total of four appearances. So far Smeltzer has done well with the big league club, pitching to a 2.91 ERA and 1.015 WHIP in 21.2 innings of work. Smeltzer is likely to see more time with the Twins this season either as a spot starter or out of the pen. Smeltzer is 23-years-old.

    The MLB has done away with the August waiver wire trade deadline but the Twins did make one August trade last season. The Twins traded closer Fernando Rodney to the Oakland A’s for Dakota Chalmers. Rodney had a team option for 2019, but exercising the option was far from certain due to Rodney’s age and performance (he has not been good in 2019).

    Dakota Chalmers is another high upside player who has struggled with control throughout his career. The former third-round pick ($1.2 million signing bonus) recently returned from Tommy John surgery and joined High-A Fort Meyers after a short rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League. Chalmers struck out 19 batters in 13.1 innings in the GCL but also walked eight. Chalmers is more of a lottery ticket at this point, but if he is able to put it all together he could be another player with the potential to shoot up the prospect lists.

    Overall, the 2018 trade return looks pretty solid. Duran, Maciel, Rijo, Raley, and Smeltzer have all had great starts in their first full year in the organization and Celestino, Alcala, and Chalmers still offer plenty of upside. The Twins were able to add great depth to an already good farm system and the only significant loss was not having Ryan Pressly in the 2019 bullpen. The Twins would love to have Pressly now but they were able to gain plenty of prospect capital and depth. This makes it easier to deal prospects without decimating the farm as well as giving the Twins plenty of hope for the future.

    Looking back a year later, how do you think the FO did for the 2018 trade deadline? Did all the additions make the loss of Pressly worthwhile? Which of the additions has most impressed you since joining the Twins organization?

    • Jul 30 2019 08:57 PM
    • by Patrick Wozniak
  16. Internal Relief Help Could Provide Second-Half Upgrade

    Lefty Duo
    Lewis Thorpe, a left-handed pitcher, made one start for the Twins this year. Back on June 30, he held the White Sox to two earned runs on five hits while striking out seven. Thorpe is coming of a 2018 season where he was named Jim Rantz Award winner as the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

    Thorpe’s pitching repertoire might be a good fit as a bullpen arm. His fastball sits in the low-90s and he mixes in a slider, a curveball, and a changeup. Throughout his five professional seasons, Thorpe has been used as a relief pitcher on three separate occasions. In the last week, Rochester used Thorpe in relief, but this was so Fernando Romero could be utilized as an opener.

    Devin Smeltzer, another left-handed pitcher, has made three appearances with the Twins this year. Across 16 2/3 innings, he has a 3.24 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and a 13 to 4 strikeout to walk ratio. Right before the All-Star break, Smeltzer was used as a relief arm after Kyle Gibson had started the game as an opener. In that appearance, he allowed one run on five hits in 4 1/3 innings.

    Smeltzer doesn’t exactly fit the mold of power-throwing lefty. His fastball sits in the high-80s while his change up (82.9 mph) and curveball (76.4 mph) help to keep hitters off-balance. Out of his 216 big-league pitches, only three pitches have been barreled up against him. Since Smeltzer is more of a finesse pitcher, it might make more sense for Thorpe to be given the first crack at a relief role.

    Other Names to Consider
    Over the last couple weeks, multiple 40-man roster spots have been vacated. Adalberto Mejia, Andrew Vasquez, Mike Morin and Ronald Torreyes were all either outrighted or designated for assignment. Minnesota currently has three open 40-man roster spots and no clear indication of what the plan will be for these openings. Perhaps, the club could be looking at internal options to add to the bullpen.

    Cody Allen, the former Indians and Angels closer, has been working his way through the Twins system. He made three appearances with Fort Myers and didn’t allow a run. Since joining Rochester, he has allowed two runs in three appearances with two strikeouts.


    Over the weekend, Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press mentioned that the Twins could look at other internal options. “It’s not necessarily Triple-A pitchers the Twins are considering, either,” Walters said. “They could reach to Double-A and even high-A for help. Those would be pitchers with fastballs in the mid-to-high 90s-mph range.”

    Edwar Colina is a player that could fit that mold as he was just promoted from High-A to Double-A. As a right-handed pitcher, he can hit triple-digits with his fastball. In 61 2/3 innings as a starter, he has a 2.34 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP. Also, he has a 61 to 15 strikeout to walk ratio. He made his Pensacola debut on Tuesday as he allowed two runs on four hits in four innings.

    Other than Colina, Jorge Alcala, who has pitched all year with Pensacola, could be a relief option. His fastball can hit into the high-90s, but there have been some struggles in his first taste of Double-A. He has a 6.15 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 89.1 innings. His 9.8 K/9 is good for a starter and the Twins could hope to take advantage of his strikeout ability.

    It seems more than likely that the Twins will be adding a relief piece or two in the weeks ahead. Could any of these arms help the Twins in the second half? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

    Other Stories of Interest
    Is Taylor Rogers the AL’s Most Valuable Reliever?
    Wouldja? Trading For Giants Closer Will Smith
    Week in Review: Second Half Statement

    • Jul 17 2019 06:41 AM
    • by Cody Christie
  17. Twins Minor League Report (7/8): Alcala, Kirilloff Shine for Pensacola

    Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Monday, starting with the transactions of the day.

    TRANSACTIONS

    • Blake Parker was activated from the Paternity List.
    • Following Sunday’s game, Devin Smeltzer was optioned to Rochester.
    • Yeltsin Encarnacion was returned to Cedar Rapids from Rochester.
    • Royce Lewis was activated by the Miracle from the temporary inactive list (Futures Game).
    • Cody Allen was placed on the temporary inactive list by the Miracle. No issue, just giving him his All-Star break.
    • RHP Sawyer Gipson was placed on the Elizabethton roster.
    • The Twins signed RHP Steve Theetge, a non-drafted player out of Bryant University.


    AWARDS
    • Jaylin Davis was named the International League Hitter of the Week.
    • Andrew Cabezas was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week.
    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester
    Box Score

    The Red Wings are on their All-Star break… well, except for Brent Rooker and Tomas Telis who will be participating in the game.

    BLUE WAHOO BITES
    Pensacola 1, Birmingham 2
    Box Score

    There weren’t a lot of runs scored in this game, but unfortunately, the Wahoos lost on a walk-off homer in the ninth.

    Jorge Alcala put together his first really good start in a while. In six scoreless innings, he gave up just four hits and one walk. He struck out seven batters. Jeff Ames came on and was charged with an unearned run on two hits and a walk over two innings. Anthony Vizcaya came on for the ninth but gave up a leadoff homer to end the game.

    Alex Kirilloff led the offense. He went 3-for-4 with his second triple. Joe Cronin walked, hit his fourth double and stole his sixth base.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Ft. Myers 1, Daytona 6
    Box Score

    Cole Sands put together another quality start for the Miracle, but the offense didn’t provide enough run support. Sands gave up three runs on six hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out five batters. Ricky Ramirez came on and gave up three runs on two hits over two innings. He walked three and hit a batter while striking out two. Derek Molina pitched a scoreless ninth.

    Gabriel Maciel provided the offense. He hit his second home run since joining the Miracle. Royce Lewis returned directly from Cleveland and went 1-for-3 with a walk.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 6, Quad Cities 5
    Box Score

    In his first game with the Kernels (and his first game with the E-Twins this year), Tyler Wells hit a walk-off double. On this night, he singled in two runs to cap a four-run top of the ninth for the Kernels. Earlier in the game, Gilberto Celestino had a two-run single. He was 2-for-4 with a walk in the game.

    Austin Schulfer started for Cedar Rapids. He gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out five without issuing a walk. Tanner Howell gave up two hits but no runs in the sixth inning. Brian Rapp gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in the seventh inning. JT Perez struck out two in a scoreless eighth inning, and Jose Martinez struck out one in a perfect ninth for the save.

    E-TWINS E-NOTES
    E-Twins 3, Johnson City 4
    Box Score

    Matt Wallner led the offense. He went 2-for-4 with his fifth double. Ruben Santana was also 2-for-4 in the game. Anthony Prato went 1-for-3 with a walk.

    Ryley Widell started. The left gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out seven batters. Steven Cruz walked two and struck oune out in a scoreless 1 2/3 innings. Frandy Torres worked two innings. He gave up a run on two hits and struck out three. Dylan Thomas started the ninth, but he gave up a run on two hits before recording an out to take the loss.

    GCL TWINS TAKES
    GCL Twins 1, GCL Pirates 4
    Box Score

    Bailey Ober was back on the mound for his second rehab start. The lanky right-hander gave up an unearned run on two hits, a walk and a hit batter in five innings. He struck out eight. Niall Windeler came on for the sixth inning and gave up two runs on three hits in the inning. Donny Breek pitched the last two innings. He gave up one run on one hit. He walked three and struck out five.

    Wander Valdez went 2-for-3. LaRon Smith hit his second double. Francisco Martinez provided the one run with his first homer of the season.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Jorge Alcala, Pensacola Blue Wahoos
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Alex Kirilloff, Pensacola Blue Wahoos

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

    #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 1-3, BB, K
    #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 3-4, 3B(2), R
    #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured List (shoulder)
    #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 1-4
    #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB, 3 K
    #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch
    #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Did Not Play
    #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - All Star Break
    #9 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch
    #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch
    #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - All Star Break
    #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - All Star Break
    #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 1-4
    #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - All Star Break
    #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) - 204, 2B(5), R, RBI
    #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Did Not Play
    #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured (Tommy John)
    #18 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K (82 pitches, 57 strikes)
    #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - 3-4, R, 2 RBI, 2 SB(13)
    #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - 0-4, 2 K

    TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Rochester - All Star Break
    Pensacola @ Birmingham (7:05 CST) - TBD
    Daytona @ Ft. Myers (6:00 CST) - TBD
    Cedar Rapids - No Game Scheduled
    Elizabethton - No Game Scheduled
    GCL Twins @ GCL Pirates (11:00 CST) - TBD

    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Monday games or any other minor league topics you would like.

    • Jul 09 2019 04:19 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  18. 2019 Twins Midseason Top Prospect List: 16-20

    Here are our choices for the Nos. 16-20 spots in the system. Make sure to let us know how you feel about these rankings in the comments below. We put a lot of work into compiling these lists, but it is an inexact science.

    20. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF
    Age: 22
    ETA: 2021
    2019 Stats (AA/A+): .295/.349/.502 (.851 OPS), 15 2B, 0 3B, 14 HR, 71 K, 22 BB
    2019 Preseason Ranking: Honorable Mention
    Seth: 17 | Tom: 19 | Cody: 33 | Ted: 29 | Steve: 17

    We should probably come up with a name for the post-FSL breakout. How about the Pensacola push? Whatever you want to call it, that’s what Blankenhorn is doing this season.

    After posting a .686 OPS over a full season with the Miracle last year, Blankenhorn boasted a .781 OPS in his second time around the circuit and was promoted up to Double-A after just 15 games. He has terrorized Southern League pitching, boasting a .300/.342/.525 line (.866 OPS) in 54 games. He’s among the league leaders in virtually every major offensive category.

    Blankenhorn has struggled against same-sided pitching over his career, but is making positive steps in that regard. He has a career-high .702 OPS vs. lefties this year. In the field, Blankenhorn has spent 43 games at second base, 25 in left field and just two games at third base this season.

    Here’s a look at some of his highlights since joining the Blue Wahoos:



    19. Misael Urbina, CF
    Age: 17
    ETA: 2024
    2019 Stats (Rk-DSL): .269/.371/.442 (.813 OPS), 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 K, 5 BB
    2019 Preseason Ranking: Honorable Mention
    Seth: 20 | Tom: 27 | Cody: 16 | Ted: 21 | Steve: 23

    This kid is 17. It’s entirely possible we have him way too low on this list. Then again, might be way too high on this list. The Twins signed Urbina out of Venezuela for $2.75 million last July. He has great speed, which should serve him well in the outfield, but he also came highly regarded for his baseball acumen and makeup.

    There’s such a wide range of talent in the Dominican Summer League. It can be difficult to try to put much stock into statistical performance down there, but it is encouraging to see Urbina hit the ground running in his first 14 games of pro ball.

    18. Jorge Alcala, RHP
    Age: 23
    ETA: 2020
    2019 Stats (AA): 71.2 IP, 5.65 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 2.85 K:BB Ratio
    2019 Preseason Ranking: 19
    Seth: 12 | Tom: 22 | Cody: 35 | Ted: 14 | Steve: 15

    It’s starting to appear more likely that Alcala’s future will be in the bullpen, but it’s pretty exciting to think about what he could be in that role. He’s been used as a “primary” pitcher following an opener in four of his outings this year. He has not responded well to that adjustment. As a traditional starter, Alcala has a 4.73 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 3.86 K:BB ratio. As the primary, he’s at 8.35 ERA, 1.96 WHIP and 1.77 K:BB ratio.

    Alcala has also had a difficult time limiting damage with runners on. He’s limited opponents to just a .666 OPS with the bases empty but they’ve roughed him up to the tune of a .920 OPS with runners on. Opponents also have a sky high .360 BABIP against Alcala in 2019.

    Taking a look at the breakdown of how our writers ranked Alcala individually, you get a good idea for the range of opinions on Alcala.

    17. Akil Baddoo, CF
    Age: 20
    ETA: 2022
    2019 Stats (A+): .214/.290/.393 (.683 OPS), 3 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 39 K, 12 BB
    2019 Preseason Ranking: 10
    Seth: 23 | Tom: 16 } Cody: 14 | Ted: 19 | Steve: 20

    Baddoo gets leapfrogged by several prospects in large part because he’s going to lose a year recovering from Tommy John surgery. The dip from 10th to 17th may seem a bit harsh, but all the guys who passed him by are all either brand new to the system or having incredible seasons.

    It’s still fairly rare for a position player to have to undergo that procedure, but in recent years we’ve seen Miguel Sano and Alex Kirilloff come back and show no ill effects from Tommy John. This injury will cost Baddoo time, but he still has as much potential as always. In the little time he spent with Fort Myers prior to the injury, 29 games, Baddoo was hitting for power (.393 slugging in a league where the average is .356), but his plate discipline slipped a bit.

    16. Ben Rortvedt, C
    Age: 21
    ETA: 2021
    2019 Stats (AA/ A+): .247/.352/.409 (.760 OPS), 10 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 42 K, 28 BB
    2019 Preseason Ranking: 14
    Seth: 21 | Tom: 13 | Cody: 17 | Ted: 17 |Steve: 16

    Rortvedt’s bat keeps showing more and more as he climbs up the ladder. His OPS has progressed from .559 to .599 to .710 to .760 so far this season. He already has a career-high six home runs this season, and his plate discipline hasn’t suffered. He has a 19.2 K% and 12.8 BB% so far this season. At 21, he’s among the youngest players in Double-A. The Southern League weighted average age for batters is 23.7.

    Rortvedt’s always had a good arm, but he’s committed to trying to improve on getting the low strike called this season. Moving up the ladder has also meant more competition for reps behind the plate. After appearing at catcher in 97% of his games in 2017, that number dipped to 82% last season and is all the way down to 67%. The drop in time behind the dish has allowed Rortvedt to get more plate appearances to date than any of his prior seasons.

    Here’s some recent video from Rortvedt’s time with the Blue Wahoos:



    Twins Daily 2019 Midseason Prospect Rankings
    Prospects 36-40
    Prospects 31-35
    Prospects 26-30
    Prospects 21-25

    Prospects 11-15 Coming Soon

    • Jun 27 2019 12:10 PM
    • by Tom Froemming
  19. Twins Minor League Report (6/15): A Mostly Quiet Night in the Land of the Minors

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester suspended vs Charlotte

    The bats came out early in this game but it mattered not as the rain decided to come out as well and the game was suspended in the bottom of the third. The game will be continued tomorrow as the first game of a doubleheader.

    BLUE WAHOO BITES
    Pensacola 1, Tennessee 2
    Box Score

    Jorge Alcala: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 66.3% strikes (53 of 80 pitches)
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: Jaylin Davis (2-for-3, 2B, RBI, BB)

    The Blue Wahoos lost a close 2-1 game Saturday in the only game that was actually played in full in the Twins’ system.

    Jorge Alcala had a middling start but his strike rate indicates that he may have gotten unlucky in his walk and strikeout totals. Alcala was picked up by Adam Bray and Sam Clay who combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief with four combined strikeouts, two combined hits allowed, and no walks given up.

    The Blue Wahoos offense was largely stagnant all game as they could only put together six hits total and just a pair of extra-base hits. Jaylin Davis was the bright spot as he reached base three times and hit one of those aforementioned extra-base hits.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    There was no Miracle game today because it was the all-star weekend for the Florida State League. The Miracle had four hitters in the starting lineup for the FSL South all-star squad along with two pitchers that entered the game.

    Lewin Diaz did not get a hit but started the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the first, Trevor Larnach went 1-for-2 with a single, Ryan Jeffers went 0-for-3, and Royce Lewis went 0-for-3. Johan Quezada and Alex Phillips combined for three scoreless innings to end the game and Phillips received the save. Here’s the box score if you care to read it.

    But that was not all as Ryan Jeffers participated in the home run derby before the game and made it to the finals but unfortunately did not win. Here is some footage of Jeffers hitting dingers, hopefully any fans in left field had some helmets:





    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids suspended vs Clinton

    The Kernels started their game against the Clinton Lumberkings but Mother Nature had other plans and the rain started to fall after only a full inning was played. The game will be continued tomorrow as the first part of a doubleheader.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Adam Bray, Pensacola
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jaylin Davis, Pensacola

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

    #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - No game
    #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured list
    #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured list
    #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - No game
    #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - Suspended game
    #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Suspended game
    #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - No game
    #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Suspended game
    #9 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - No game
    #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Tommy John surgery, out for year
    #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Suspended game
    #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured list
    #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - No game
    #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - 1-for-4, K
    #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured list
    #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - Suspended game
    #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - With the Twins-did not pitch
    #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - Suspended game
    #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
    #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - No game

    SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Charlotte @ Rochester Game 1: (11:05 A.M.) - Continuation of suspended game.
    Tennessee @ Pensacola (1:05 P.M.) - RHP Andro Cutura
    Clinton @ Cedar Rapids Game 1: (2:05 P.M.) TBD

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

    • Jun 16 2019 05:47 AM
    • by Matt Braun
  20. Here's Why You Don't Need to Freak Out Over the Twins Trading Prospects

    Kimbrel is a Cub, Keuchel is a Brave and so now the Twins are going to have to spend prospect capital to boost their pitching instead of “just” money. As things currently stand, the Twins appear to have several difficult decisions on the horizon this offseason anyway, so dealing a few prospects for bullpen help may actually help clear up space.

    A big crop of Twins prospects will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this winter. That means the team will either have to add them to the 40-man roster or risk potentially losing them to another organization.

    For more on the Rule 5 Draft, check out Jeremy’s article on the subject from last month. Jeremy also maintains an amazing Twins Roster and Payroll spreadsheet that’s available on the top navbar at the desktop version of the site (click on Roster & Payroll) or you can just access it here.

    Rule 5 Eligibles
    Here’s a list of some of the players who will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this winter:

    Travis Blankenhorn
    Wander Javier
    Luke Raley

    Jorge Alcala
    Edwar Colina
    Jhoan Duran
    Brusdar Graterol
    Griffin Jax

    That group of players joins another few guys having impressive seasons who were already Rule 5 Draft eligible in Lewin Diaz, Jaylin Davis and Zander Wiel.

    Not all of those players would end up being selected, but why risk losing them for nothing when you can turn them into trade bait? Of course, the other option would be to try and deal some of the other young players currently on the 40-man roster to avoid that logjam. Guys like Luis Arraez, Nick Gordon, Lewis Thorpe, LaMonte Wade or even Jake Cave.

    But Wait, Isn’t the System Having a Down Year?
    It’s true that there are a lot of guys on the shelf right now, and some who are active have not been putting up great numbers. But, what Royce Lewis does in the first few months of 2019 in Fort Myers probably doesn’t have a huge impact on who he ends up being in, say 2022. The same is likely with Brusdar Graterol and his shoulder impingement

    Likewise, Alex Kirilloff missing some time this year doesn’t really cloud his future outlook too much. I mean, the guy already missed a year due to Tommy John and still established himself as among the better hitters in the minor leagues last year. Speaking of Tommy John surgery, that's what's going to cost Akil Baddoo the rest of his 2019 season.

    And while there have been blips, there have been other guys who’ve surged. Diaz, Blankenhorn and Davis are having tremendous seasons. Jordan Balazovic has really exploded, Gordon appears to be having a bounce back and Ben Rortvedt is another riser. Misael Urbina is a player you can expect to hear a lot about in the coming years.

    Trevor Larnach, Ryan Jeffers and Cole Sands from last year’s draft continue to look good. Speaking of which, the Twins just added a bunch of new talent via the 2019 Draft. Click here for an update for who has signed. Where will those new draftees fit as far as the rankings? You'll find out soon, as Twins Daily will be sharing our 2019 Midseason Twins Prospect List in the coming weeks.

    The farm system is always going to need to be an area of focus for the Twins, but if there was ever a time to part with some prospects to improve the big club, now’s the time.

    40-Man Roster Spots Opening Up
    The Twins do have several players currently set to become free agents at the end of the season. That group is highlighted by Jake Odorizzi, Jason Castro, Michael Pineda, Kyle Gibson and Jonathan Schoop. There also always seems to be some fat that can be trimmed from the 40-man roster.

    But, I suspect the Twins will be more interested in free agent additions to replace those departures rather than just protecting prospects. When the competitive window opens, priorities have to change at least a little bit.

    No, I’m not saying I expect the Twins to be active at the top of the market, but it is pretty easy to envision Derek Favley and Co. setting out to add another solid crop of veterans in the middle tier, much like they did this past offseason. Rocco Baldelli seems to be establishing a very player-friendly atmosphere. That, combined with the team’s success, should make Minnesota an attractive destination for free agents.

    Recommended further reading: When the Twins Go Buying ... Who Are They Selling?

    • Jun 14 2019 06:40 AM
    • by Tom Froemming
  21. Twins Minor League Report (6/4): Javier Powers Kernels Comeback

    To find out everything that happened in the minors on Tuesday, read on!

    TRANSACTIONS

    It was a busy day for player movement in the Minnesota Twins organization on Tuesday:

    • In Rochester RHP Chase De Jong was activated from the injured list while left-handed reliever Andrew Vasquez was placed on the injured list due to a shoulder strain.
    • In Double-A the Blue Wahoos added several new names to their roster, including first baseman Ryan Costello from Fort Myers, shortstop Michael Davis from Cedar Rapids, and RHP Zack Weiss from Rochester.
    • In exchange for Costello, the Miracle received back center fielder Ernie De La Trinidad who had some struggles after starting the year in Double-A after just 27 games in the Florida State League last season.
    • In the Midwest League the Cedar Rapids Kernels were assigned shortstop Ricky De La Torre who will be making his full season debut after spending his first two years in the rookie leagues.
    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 9, Syracuse 3
    Box Score

    Rochester scratched the first run of the game across in the top of the third thanks to a Luis Arraez RBI single in his first game back in Triple-A. They later found themselves down 2-1 until the sixth when they took the lead for good after Jake Cave led off the inning with a triple. Wilin Rosario promptly drove him in with a single and would later score the go-ahead run on an error.

    Starting the game on the mound for the Red Wings was RHP Chase De Jong, who was making his first appearance since May 10th. He went three innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks, along with notching two strikeouts. He threw 58 pitches with 34 of them going for strikes. Zack Littell also made his first appearance back in Triple-A and picked up the win by finishing the fifth inning before his teammates took the lead back. He went two innings, walking just one and striking out three.

    The Red Wings offense blew this one open with six runs in the top of the seventh as they loaded the bases with one out. Rosario scored two with a double and was followed by a 2-RBI single from Brent Rooker. Randy Cesar and Tomas Telis then added RBI singles of their own to make the final of 9-3.

    Jake Reed got the defense through the seventh with two scoreless frames. He allowed three hits and struck out one. Fernando Romero then finished the final two innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk.

    Cave, Rosario, Rooker, and Wade Jr., and Jordany Valdespin all had multiple hits. As a team they were 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Arreaz also drew two walks in addition to finishing 1-for-4.

    BLUE WAHOOS BITES
    Jacksonville 5, Pensacola 7
    Box Score

    The Blue Wahoos got multiple hits from four hitters including Travis Blankenhorn, Jimmy Kerrigan, Jaylin Davis, and Caleb Hamilton en route to a 7-5 victory on Tuesday. They scored runs in each of the second, fifth, sixth, and eighth innings to outlast their seafood brethren in the Southern League.

    Blankenhorn slugged his seventh and eighth doubles of the year while scoring two runs with a 3-for-4 night at the dish, while Kerrigan was 2-for-5 and drove in three to lead the offense. Ben Rortvedt also scored two runs and drove in another with a 1-for-2 night at the plate that included a walk.

    Jorge Alcala got the start on the mound and went 5 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out four. Of his 95 pitches, 66 went for strikes (69%) with 12 of them the swinging variety. Tom Hackimer picked up his second win of the season by finishing 1 2/3. He walked one and struck out two. Jeff Ames came on in the eighth with one out and escaped a jam with two men on base. Back out for the ninth he gave up two runs and was replaced by Sam Clay with the tying run coming up to bat. Clay shut the door with a three-pitch strikeout to pick up his fourth save.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Florida 8, Fort Myers 2
    Box Score

    While the Miracle outhit the Fire Frogs 8-6 on the game, it was the eight free passes they surrendered that made the difference as the visitors took advantage of their pitching mistakes.

    Right-hander Blayne Enlow made his second start since being promoted to the FSL, and delivered his second quality start. He lasted 6+ innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on just two hits and two walks. He struck out five and threw 63 of his 94 pitches for strikes (67%) including 12 swinging. He left the game responsible for two runners on base and his team up 2-1.

    Johan Quezada came on for him and proceeded to give up two bases-loaded walks, a two-RBI single, and a run-scoring wild pitch before they could get another reliever warmed up. That was Tanner Howell who got the final out of the inning, but the damage was done. Howell then got bit by the same control bug in the eighth and allowed two more runs for Florida’s final tally. Joe Record came on in the eight and finished the final 1 1/3. He walked one and struck out two.

    Royce Lewis was the only batter in the lineup with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-5 with an RBI and his 12th double on the season. Ernie De La Trinidad contributed a double and scored a run in his first game back with the Miracle. As a team they finished 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 8, Clinton 6
    Box Score

    Making his full season debut for the Kernels in this one was starting pitcher Kai-Wei Teng who the Twins signed in December of 2017 out of Taiwan for a $500,000 international signing bonus. He had a solid rookie league debut in the GCL last year and skips the Appalachian League with this promotion.

    It was a mixed bag for him, as the first three hitters he faced got hits, with a 2-RBI double putting Clinton up 2-0 before he recorded an out. But he got the next three to limit the damage, including his first strikeout, added two more Ks in the second, then had a one-two-three third before more trouble found him in the fourth. An error from Wander Javier cracked opened the floodgates, and another from Andrew Bechtold blew them open. The LumberKings capitalized with four runs, all unearned, to take a 6-1 lead. Teng finished 3 2/3 innings, allowed six runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks. He struck out four.

    Reliever Zach Neff calmed it down after that going the next 2 1/3 scoreless innings and striking out three.

    That’s when the Kernels lineup also woke up. They cut the lead to 6-4 in the top of the fifth behind a two-out, three-run blast from Javier, his first home run of the season. In the eighth inning Bechtold led off with an infield single and advanced to second base on an errant throw, before Gabe Snyder drove him in to cut the lead to 6-5. Gabriel Maciel then delivered a game-tying triple before scoring the go-ahead run on an error off the bat of Gilberto Celestino.

    Jose Martinez had relieved Neff to start the seventh and had a one-two-three inning on just seven pitches. Back out for the eighth he got one out before he deflected a comeback toward short and was removed from the game due to injury (since there was no update provided from the Kernels, it may have been just for precautionary reasons). Derek Molina replaced him and finished the game to pick up his sixth save. He allowed one hit and struck out two. With the win Cedar Rapids moved to above .500 for the first time this season at 29-28.

    The Kernels added an insurance run in the ninth for the final score and Maciel, Javier, Snyder, and Estamy Urena finished the game with two hits. Ben Rodriguez also clubbed his fourth home run of the year.

    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Pitcher of the Day – Blayne Enlow, Fort Myers Miracle (6+ IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)
    Hitter of the Day – Wander Javier, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2-for-5, R, HR, 3 RBI)

    PROSPECT SUMMARY

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

    #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-5, 2B, RBI, K
    #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured list
    #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured list
    #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-4
    #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 K
    #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - 2-for-3, R, 2 BB, K
    #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch
    #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch
    #9 - Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) - 6+ IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
    #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured list (Tommy John surgery)
    #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Did not play
    #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured list
    #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-3, BB
    #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - 1-for-2, 2 R, RBI, BB
    #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured list
    #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-5, R, 2 K
    #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - W, 2.0 IP, BB, 3 K
    #18 - LaMonte Wade Jr. (Rochester) - 2-for-3, R, BB, K
    #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - 5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, BB, 4 K
    #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4

    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Rochester @ Syracuse (9:35AM CST) – LHP Lewis Thorpe (3-3, 6.27 ERA)
    Jacksonville @ Pensacola (6:35PM CST) - TBD
    Florida @ Fort Myers (12:00PM CST) – LHP Tyler Watson (1-4, 4.24 ERA)
    Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (6:30 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfur (4-2, 2.95 ERA)

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

    • Jun 05 2019 04:12 AM
    • by Steve Lein
  22. Twins Minor League Report (5/13): Baller-Zovic

    TRANSACTIONS

    • Hopefully Tyler Duffey hadn’t already boarded a plane back to Rochester, NY after being the 26th man on Saturday and officially being returned yesterday, as he was recalled Monday.
    • To make room on the 25-man roster, Jake Cave was optioned to Rochester.

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Scheduled Day Off

    The Red Wings got the day off on Monday to travel as they end six-day homestand where they went 2-3 and had another game rained out that will be made up on June 21st against the Toledo MudHens. They begin a three-game series on Tuesday against the Charlotte Knights with righthander Zack Littell on the mound, coming off a six-inning scoreless outing his last time out.

    BLUE WAHOOS BITES
    Game 1: Pensacola 1, Chattanooga 0
    Box Score

    Starter Jorge Alcala was brilliant for 5 2/3 innings to pick up his fifth win of the year and needed to be as his offense was able to scratch across just one run on the game.

    Alcala retired nine men in a row from the third through the sixth inning, but a two-out single after consecutive strikeouts to open the sixth inning brought an end to his outing. He allowed just two hits and two walks, struck out four, and threw 49 of his 82 pitches for strikes, including seven swinging.

    The Blue Wahoos scored the only run of the game in the fourth inning after Taylor Grzelakowski drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on an Ernie De La Trinidad double, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Tanner English. Luis Arraez had three of their eight total hits on the game, a trio of singles but never got farther than second base as Pensacola was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

    Ryan Mason finished the final 1 1/3 innings, allowing a two-out double in the seventh to make it somewhat interesting, but bookending that with a pair of strikeouts to pick up his seventh save of the year. For those keeping track, Mason has now appeared in 11 games, totaling 16 1/3 innings pitched, allowing zero runs on eleven hits and two walks, while striking out 23. That means his ERA is a perfect 0.00, and his WHIP a stellar 0.80 so far on the year. He’s also struck out multiple hitters in his last nine appearances.

    Game 2: Pensacola 4, Chattanooga 5 (9 innings)
    Box Score

    The Blue Wahoos got on the scoreboard first in the fifth inning, taking a 2-0 lead after a couple of walks were followed by consecutive two-out RBI singles from Joe Cronin and Jaylin Davis. They extended that lead to 4-0 in the seventh when Luis Arraez drove in two with a two-out bases-loaded single.

    Those insurance runs wouldn’t be enough however, as in their final chance the Lookouts got one big swing of the bat to extend the game. After Alex Phillips loaded the bases, lefty Tyler Jay was brought in from the bullpen to face Chattanooga’s cleanup hitter, and he sent an 0-1 pitch into the seats for a game-tying grand slam. Jay was later saved from losing the game by a ground-rule double for escaping to send it to extra innings. He would remain in the game and delivered a scoreless eighth, but the first hitter of the ninth snuck a base hit into center field and the winning run came home.

    Pensacola took a bullpen approach to game two, with Adam Bray making the start and getting through 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and struck out three. Sam Clay pitched the next 1 2/3 giving up a hit and a walk while striking out one. Phillips was responsible for most of the comeback, as he was charged with three runs on two hits and three walks in 1 1/3. He struck out one. Jay allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in his 1 2/3 innings, striking out two.

    The lineup for the Blue Wahoos tallied just six singles and three walks on the day and were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Bradenton 2, Fort Myers 8
    Box Score

    Fort Myers poured it on late to put away the Marauders, but before that newly minted pitching phenom Jordan Balazovic chewed through his opposition. For his second start in a row, Balazovic struck out double-digit hitters, but in this one also set a new career high for K’s in a game with 12. He did run up a bit of pitch count to get there, as he only finished five innings with his 94 pitches and also walked four, but is hard to complain about two runs allowed when it’s all said and done with that amount of punchouts. He struck out three hitters in a row on two separate occasions and all three outs via K’s in two other frames. Of his 59 strikes, an astounding 22 were of the swing and miss variety.

    Calvin Faucher and Anthony Vizcaya combined to toss four innings of scoreless relief (two innings apiece), allowing four hits and a walk while striking out five between them. Faucher notched his fourth hold, while Vizcaya picked up his fourth save.

    The Miracle took the lead 3-2 in the fourth after a solo home run from Michael Helman, extended it to 4-2 after a Trevor Larnach RBI-double in the seventh, then blew it open with a four run eighth. Helman (single), Royce Lewis (double), Larnach (single), and Ryan Jeffers (double) all drove in a run in the inning.

    On the game Larnach led the charge by going 4-for-5 with two RBI, while Helman and Ryan Costello each also added two hits to the effort. Lewis scored three runs by chipping in a walk and two stolen bases to go along with his double in a 1-for-4 night at the dish. After hitting just .209 in the month of April, Lewis is at .292 so far in May with five multiple hit games in his last eleven.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Game 1: Quad Cities 4, Cedar Rapids 9
    Box Score

    Righthander Josh Winder took the mound for the Kernels in game one and followed his eight-inning gem on May 6th with a complete game in this one. Because of the doubleheader it was *only* seven innings, but he kept the River Bandits in check when it mattered, finishing by allowing four earned runs on five hits and four walks, while striking out three. Of his 102 pitches on the game, 65 went for strikes (64%).

    The Cedar Rapids lineup put things at ease for Winder with two big innings, including the bottom of the first. Three of the first four batters of the game for the Kernels reached by via walk or a hit-by-pitch, then an RBI groundout from Gabe Snyder, an RBI single Gilberto Celestino, and two-RBI single by Gabriel Maciel made it 4-0. In the fourth, a three-run bomb from Snyder and two-RBI double from Andrew Bechtold added five more runs for the home team’s final tally.

    Game 2: Quad Cities 7, Cedar Rapids 0
    Box Score

    Cedar Rapids wasn’t able to continue their offensive barrage from the first game of the day, as they were being no-hit through 4 2/3 innings. Gabriel Maciel broke that bid up in the fifth with a two-out single, but that would basically be it for the home team on the game. They had just four chances with runners in scoring position and were unable to capitalize. Gabe Snyder added his fifth double of the year and Yeltsin Encarnacion added a single to account for their three hits in the nightcap.

    Austin Schulfer got the start for the Kernels and finished three innings. He was hit for three runs in the third after a two-run triple and an RBI single to end his day. He allowed those three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out one. Carlos Suniago chipped in two scoreless innings, striking out three to keep his team within striking distance, but Jose Martinez followed by allowing three more runs in the sixth on two hits and three walks to make it 6-0 Quad Cities. Moises Gomez came on for the final frame, and a leadoff triple led to a sac fly before finishing the game. He struck out one.

    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Pitcher of the Day – Jordan Balazovic, Fort Myers Miracle (W, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 12 K)
    Hitter of the Day – Trevor Larnach, Fort Myers Miracle (4-for-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI)

    PROSPECT SUMMARY

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

    #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-4, 3 R, 2B (6), BB, K, 2 SB (8)
    #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 2-for-8, K (2 games)
    #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Did not pitch
    #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 4-for-5, R, 2B (12), 2 RBI
    #5 - Wander Javier (EST) - No game
    #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - No game
    #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch
    #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - No game
    #9 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch
    #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Did not play
    #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - No game
    #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured list
    #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-4, 2B (5), RBI BB, K
    #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - Did not play
    #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List
    #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-6, 2 R, BB, K
    #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - No game
    #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - No game
    #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - W, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K
    #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-5, RBI

    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Rochester @ Charlotte (6:04PM CST) – RHP Zack Littell (2-2, 3.82 ERA)
    Pensacola @ Chattanooga (6:15PM CST) - RHP Brusdar Graterol (4-0, 1.91 ERA)
    Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:30PM CST) – RHP Edwar Colina (0-1, 11.57 ERA)
    Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Luis Rijo (0-3, 4.05 ERA)

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

    • May 13 2019 10:02 PM
    • by Steve Lein
  23. Twins Minor League Report (5/2): Kirilloff, Gordon Make Season Debuts

    Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Thursday, starting with the transactions of the day.

    TRANSACTIONS

    • The Twins put LHP Adalberto Mejia on the Injured List with a “strained right calf.”
    • RHP Mike Morin was added to the 40-man roster and called up to the Twins.
    • SS Nick Gordon was activated from the Injured List.
    • LHP Devin Smeltzer was promoted to the Red Wings and will start on Friday.
    • OF Alex Kirilloff was activated from the Pensacola Injured List.
    • RHP Andro Cutura was placed on the Injured List, and RHP Dusten Knight was placed on the Restricted List in Pensacola. (In other words, he has been suspended.)
    • RHP Randy Dobnak and RHP Alex Phillips were promoted from Ft. Myers to Pensacola.
    • RHP Joe Record was promoted from Cedar Rapids to Ft. Myers.
    • RHP Moises Gomez and RHP Rickey Ramirez were promoted to the Miracle from Extended Spring Training.
    • RHP Andrew Cabezas was activated from the Cedar Rapids Injured List.
    • Phil Miller also wrote that following Game 1 of the Miracle doubleheader, Miguel Sano packed up his stuff and was moving up to Pensacola to start playing for the Blue Wahoos this weekend.
    I think that’s it… Uffdah!


    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 3, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 7
    Box Score

    After missing the first month of the season, Nick Gordon made his season debut for the Red Wings. He singled in his first at bat and ended the game 3-for-5. Jordany Valdespin was the only other player with more than one hit. He went 2-for-3 with a walk. He also stole his second base.

    Ryan Eades was the “opener” for the Red Wings. He gave up just one hit over two scoreless innings. Chase De Jong came on as the “primary” pitcher. He gave up four runs on seven hits, three walks and a hit batter over four innings. He also threw two wild pitches. He struck out three. He falls to 0-3 with a 16.20 ERA. Jake Reed was next to the mound. He threw one scoreless inning and then gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. He gave up three hits, walked three and struck out one.

    BLUE WAHOO BITES
    Pensacola 0, Biloxi 1
    Box Score

    Alex Kirillloff made his return to a lineup after missing the first month with a wrist injury. He also made his Double-A debut after just half of a season last year with the Miracle. He flew out to deep center field in his first at bat. He was intentionally walked his second time to bat. He struck out the next two times he batted.

    Jorge Alcala made the start for the Wahoos. He threw five shutout innings. He gave up five hits and struck out eight batters without issuing a walk.

    Jeff Ames then struck out four batters over the next two innings. Cody Stashak worked the final two innings. He struck out five batters, but he was charged with an unearned run and took the loss.

    Pensacola had just three hits in the game. Jaylin Davis went 2-for-3 with a walk. Luis Arraez added a single. Ernie De La Trinidad walked twice.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    The Miracle had a doubleheader on Thursday after their Wednesday afternoon game was rained out.

    Game 1 - Ft. Myers 4, Clearwater 3
    Box Score

    The Miracle fell behind Clearwater 3-0 in the first inning, but they kept clawing their way back and won in walkoff fashion.

    With two runners on and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Trevor Larnach singled in Akil Baddoo from second base to give the Miracle the Game 1 win.

    Miguel Sano starred for the Miracle. In his first at bat, he singled. In the fourth inning, he hit a two-run homer to cut the deficit to 3-2. The next inning, he came through again with a two-out, RBI bloop single to tie the game. In the bottom of the seventh, he recorded his fourth hit of the game, a single to left field before being removed for a pinch runner.

    Royce Lewis went 2-for-3 with a walk in the game. It marked his third multi-hit game in his last four games. In addition to his walkoff single, Larnach added his team-leading eighth double.

    Jhoan Duran gave up three runs in the first inning. He needed 32 pitches to get through the inning, but since he didn’t hit the Magic Number of 35 pitches in the inning, he continued. He gave up only those three runs on seven hits over five innings. He struck out six batters without issuing a walk.

    Hector Lujan is credited with the win. He worked two scoreless innings. He gave up one hit, walked one and struck one out.

    Game 2 - Ft. Myers 1, Clearwater 0
    Box Score

    Melvi Acosta has been a swingman throughout his career with the Twins. He’s worked out of the bullpen, in long relief, and occasionally starting. With the doubleheader, he had the chance to make a spot start and it couldn’t have gone much better. Acosta worked six shutout innings. He gave up four hits, hit one batter and struck out three. He threw 71 pitches. 46 of them were strikes.

    Moises Gomez, called up from extended spring training earlier in the day, threw a one-two-three seventh inning to record the save.

    The Miracle bats were quiet as well in a 1-0 game. Michael Helman led the way, going 2-or-3 in the game. Lewin Diaz doubled and scored the game’s lone run on a sacrifice fly off of the bat of Ben Rortvedt. In his second game with the MIracle, Trey Cabbage doubled for his first Florida State League hit.
    • Shortstop Dalton Guthrie had a triple in three at-bats for Clearwater. He was the Twins 40th round pick out of high school in 2014. He also is the son of 1991 Twins World Series champion Mark Guthrie. Dalton was the Phillies sixth-round pick in 2017 out of Florida.
    • Alec Bohm was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Wichita State. He was promoted to the Threshers before this series. The third baseman went 1-for-7 in the doubleheader. Clearwater’s Game 2 starter,
    • Colton Eastman, was the Twins 20th round pick in 2015 out of high school. He went to Cal State-Fullerton and was the Phillies fourth-round pick in 2018.
    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 0, Bowling Green 2
    Box Score

    Andrew Cabezas returned from the IL and got right back on the mound. He pitched well. He gave up one run on four hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out four batters. Brian Rapp came on and worked the final three innings. He gave up an unearned run on four hits. He struck out one.

    The Kernels had just five hits in the game. Estamy Urena went 2-for-3 with a double.

    There wasn't much offense, but check out this play by centerfielder Gabriel Maciel.



    Rays top prospect Wander Franco went 1-for-3 in the game and is now hitting .321 on the season.

    And some more Kernels defense, this time from 1B Ben Rodriguez.



    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Melvi Acosta, Ft. Myers Miracle
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Miguel Sano, Ft. Myers Miracle (Nick Gordon, Rochester Red Wings - of players not on MLB rehab)

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

    #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - Game 1 (2-3, BB, R, K), Game 2 (0-3, 2 K)
    #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 0-3, BB, 2 K
    #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Did Not Pitch
    #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - Game 1 (2-4, 2B(8), RBI), Game 2 (0-3, K)
    #5 - Wander Javier (EST) - Injured, early May return
    #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Did Not Play, hamstring
    #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (84 pitches, 53 strikes)
    #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch
    #9 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Pitch
    #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Game 1 (0-3, BB, 2 R)
    #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - 3-5, R, RBI, K, E
    #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured List, late-May return possible
    #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - Game 1 (0-2, BB)
    #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - Game 2 (0-3, RBI SF)
    #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List
    #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, 2 K
    #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch
    #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - 1-5, K
    #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K (88 pitches, 63 strikes)
    #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - Game 1 (1-3), Game 2 (0-2, BB)


    FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    Rochester @ Pawtucket (5:05 CST) - LHP Devin Smeltzer (1st AAA start)
    Biloxi @ Pensacola (6:35 CST) - RHP Brusdar Graterol (2-0, 2.30 ERA)
    Ft. Myers @ Palm Beach (5:30 CST) - LHP Tyler Watson (0-3, 4.98 ERA)
    Dayton @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Blayne Enlow (2-2, 7.64 ERA)

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

    • May 03 2019 08:03 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  24. Wahoos Weigh-In (4/23): Rotation Domination

    Last Weighed In: N/A

    ***

    Overall Record: 13-5 (1st in South Division)

    Last 10 games: 7-3

    Starting Rotation ERA: 2.10


    While Pensacola’s season started a day late due to the weather on the Florida panhandle, Jorge Alcala set the tone for the starting staff by throwing five strong innings in the season opener as the Blue Wahoos shut out the Mobile BayBears 7-0. Alcala has since gone on to win every one of his four starts thus far but in the context of the rotation as a whole, is probably the fourth most impressive performer on the list.

    That’s because Brusdar Graterol, Griffin Jax, and Devin Smeltzer have been even more lights out. Along with Andro Cutura and one start from Sean Poppen, as a starting staff they’ve combined to post a 10-1 record with a miniscule 2.10 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, while striking out 9.8 hitters per game.

    Graterol brought a 0.52 ERA into his start on Monday, after a start that was was arguably the best of his minor league career, where he carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning. He wasn’t dominant like that again but showed some resolve to reset after a bad inning that left the game tied at four and finished five innings. His offense then got a run back for him that allowed him to pick up his second win of the season in four turns. His 2.01 ERA after this game is still rock solid and he has paired it with a 0.94 WHIP while striking out 24 hitters in 22 1/3 innings. The Twins haven’t had a starter with an arm like his velocity-wise since…Pat Mahomes?!...But what’s even better than the velocity he brings, is the movement Graterol can generate along with it. Behold:


    While Graterol has the top prospect shine and both he and Alcala get glowing scouting reports for their stuff, Jax and Smeltzer have arguably been even better when it comes to performance thus far. Both carry an ERA below 1.00 in three starts apiece.

    In total Jax has thrown 16 2/3 innings, allowing just one earned run on 12 hits and seven walks while striking out 14 hitters. His last two turns were of the quality variety and if you didn’t know his somewhat weird path to get here as a baseball prospect, the Blue Wahoos reporter Bill Vilona has you covered.

    Smeltzer came to the Twins organization as somewhat of a throw-in in last years Brian Dozier trade with the Dodgers, but maybe the scouting department of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine found something they liked in him. He had been a starter for most of his time in the Los Angeles system, but when acquired had been transitioned to the bullpen. That’s also where he pitched for the Twins after coming over and got some more time there in the AFL. That makes it a little odd that he’s back in a starting role with Pensacola, but I’m not going to argue with the early results.

    He has just a 0.67 WHIP in 18 total innings, allowing just nine hits and three walks while punching out 21 hitters and his performance earned him a Southern League pitcher of the week award:


    He doesn’t possess a big arm, working only around 90 miles-per-hour with his fastball, but maybe there’s a secret sauce that has been found with his breaking balls or something else. Smeltzer had a scary moment in his last start, where a line drive struck him in the head to lead off the top of the fifth inning. He was removed from the game and walked off under his own power, and luckily didn’t miss any time as Minnesota Twins farm director Jeremy Zoll told the Star Tribune that “Smeltzer has checked out fine” and as of this writing is throwing another gem for the Blue Wahoos (and will end the night leading the league in strikeouts).

    If not for the Rochester Red Wings needing a spot start on April 10th another starter, Sean Poppen, may have got a bigger note than this paragraph as well. He’s started one game and struck out 11 hitters in five innings on April 20th against the Mobile BayBears.

    Pensacola is currently dominating the Southern League in the standings, and it’s been their starting pitching leading the way thus far. It could be an interesting dynamic as the year wears on, as if this continues, they may not have these horses for long. Luckily for them though, Fort Myers has some horses of their own that look like they’ll be ready to take their place.

    Batting League Leaders (as of 4/22)

    -Luis Arraez ranks second in the Southern League with a .343 batting average and first in hits with 24
    -Tanner English is tied for third in steals with 5 in 10 games
    -Brian Schales is tied for second with 13 RBI, and second in home runs with three
    -Jordan Gore leads the league with 15 runs scored in 16 games

    Pitching League Leaders

    -Devin Smeltzer (0.50) and Griffin Jax (0.54) are #1 and #2 in the Southern League in ERA. Smeltzer is second in WHIP (0.67)
    -Jorge Alcala leads the league in wins (4-0)
    -Alcala (25) and Graterol (24) rank #3 and #4 in strikeouts
    -Backflipper Dusten Knight is tied for the league lead in saves with 4


    Every two weeks during the season I’ll be looking back at what happened for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and welcome any input our readers may have on what you would like to see in these posts. I consider this space a work-in-progress that will evolve as the season wears on, so please leave a comment and discuss the Blue Wahoos performance thus far!

    • Apr 24 2019 11:34 AM
    • by Steve Lein
  25. 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