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Article: Twins Minor League Report (4/9): KKKKKKKKKohl Stewart's 2018 Debut

kohl stewart travis blankenhorn brent rooker aaron slegers andrew bechtold
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 08:54 PM

Weather has won the day, but on Monday night all four Minnesota Twins affiliates (and the Minnesota Twins too) played their regularly scheduled games. Game-time temperatures were between 35 and 40 at Target Field and in Rochester and in Peoria, Illinois, where the Kernels played their first road game. Fortunately the weather in Tennessee warmed up a bit for Monday, and well, it’s always plenty warm in Ft. Myers. Check out how the four Twins affiliates did on Monday. There were some strong offensive, defensive and pitching performances.Well, on the fifth day, all four Twins affiliates and the big league club played their games. The Red Wings, after having their first three games weathered out, finally played their opener. I’m sure they’re looking forward to a southern road trip starting on Thursday. The Lookouts finished out a five-game series against Birmingham. The Miracle took on Florida, and a hitter stayed hot. The Kernels made their first road trip and found a way to win a close ball game. After reading tonight’s report, be sure to add your comments and questions in the forum.

RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 1, Syracuse 2
Box Score

Before the games began, the Red Wings announced that their three weathered-out games against Buffalo will be made up as parts of doubleheaders on May 25, May 27 and August 28.

Aaron Slegers woke up Friday, Saturday and Sunday thinking he might be making his first start of the season. It wasn’t until Monday that it actually happened. However, Slegers proved ready for the Opening Day challenge. The right-hander went the first six innings. He gave up just one run on five hits and a walk. He struck out just one. 49 of his 66 pitches were strikes.

Veteran Edwin Jackson got the start for Syracuse. In 3+ innings, the Red Wings worked him for six walks, but they managed just one run.

Tyler Duffey came on in relief of Slegers. He was perfect in the seventh and eighth innings. He got the first out of the ninth inning, but a three-base error and a sacrifice fly meant that the Red Wings were down 2-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. They got two runners on base but were unable to push a run across the plate.

Kennys Vargas went 1-for-2 with three walks in the game. Gregorio Petit went 2-for-4 in the game. Petit also played some impressive defense at shortstop.



CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Chattanooga 5, Birmingham 2
Box Score

The Lookouts finished out their five-game series against Birmingham on Monday night. Kohl Stewart took the mound against former Twins minor leaguer Matthew Tomshaw. The left-hander was charged with five runs (three earned) on nine hits over just 3.1 innings before exiting the game.

Stewart, on the other hand, was fantastic. The former #1 draft pick worked the first five innings for the Lookouts. He gave up one run on three hits. He walked none and struck out nine batters. He got five ground ball outs, all of which could be described as slow rollers. The lone run came on a single, a slow roller that advanced the runner to second base. Stewart then threw two wild pitches to allow the run to score.

Ryan Eades came on and gave up one run over the next two innings. He gave up two hits, but he walked none and struck out three. Williams Ramirez came on and in 1.2 scoreless innings, walked three and struck out three. Ryne Harper had to come on for the final out. He recorded a strikeout to end the game and record his second save. He’s faced four batters and struck out all four this season.

The Lookouts got their runs early. Brent Rooker came into the game 1-for-14, but he had singles in his first three at-bats. Like Rooker, LaMonte Wade went 3-for-4 in the game. Zander Wiel and TJ White each went 2-for-4. White hit his first double and stole his first base.

The team improved to 3-2 on the season.


MIRACLE MATTERS
Ft. Myers 6, Florida 4
Box Score

It always sounds strange to say that Ft. Myers is playing against Florida, but we’ll have to get used to that over the next few days as the Twins affiliate takes on the Florida State League affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. On this night, the Twins minor leaguers faced Ian Anderson, one of the talented young Braves starting pitcher prospects.

Travis Blankenhorn is off to a fantastic start this season. On this night, he had a single, his fifth double and his first triple. On the season, he now has nine hits. He’s got five doubles, a triple, a homer and two singles.

Jimmy Kerrigan was a nice signing out of the independent leagues a year ago. He went 2-for-3 with a walk and his first home run of the year.

Clark Beeker made the start. He was the Twins Daily all-star right-handed pitcher in 2017. In his first Miracle start of the season, he went five innings. He gave up two runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out five. Cody Stashak came on in relief. In his two innings, he gave up two runs on just one hit. He walked two and struck out three. With the lead back, Alex Robinson came on for the final two innings. He walked one, hit one and struck out four batters to record his second save of the season.

The Miracle moved back over .500 at 3-2 with the win.


KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 1
Box Score

The weather was still cold in Peoria, but the Kernels made their first road trip of the year and came out of it with a win.

Blayne Enlow made his first start of the year. The right-hander got off to an interesting start. He got the first two batters that he faced out. But the next three hitters had singles to load the bases. Enlow was helped by a diving catch by right fielder Mark Contreras who caught a sinking liner to end that threat. In the second inning, Contreras made a leaping catch at the wall to save at least one run. But Enlow started with four scoreless innings. In the fifth inning, he left the game with one out and runners on first and third. Tall left-hander Kevin Marnon came on and gave up a sacrifice fly to give Peoria a 1-0 lead (run charged to Enlow). But Marnon finished the fifth inning, as well as the sixth and seventh frames and gave up just one hit and one walk. Side-winding Jared Finkel came on for the final two innings. He gave up three hits, but no runs, to record his first save of the season.

The Kernels responded to the fifth inning run allowed by scoring a couple in the top of the sixth inning. With runners on second and third, Ben Rortvedt singled through the left side of the infield to drive in two runs and give the Kernels the lead. Rortvedt went 2-for-4 in the game. Mark Contreras did more than make great plays on defense. He went 2-for-4 with his first double of the season. He drove in an insurance run in the ninth inning as well. Third baseman Andrew Bechtold is now hitting .600 on the season after going 3-for-4 in this game. Ben Rodriguez also added his first double of the year.

The Kernels remain undefeated at 3-0.


STARS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Hitter of the Day: Travis Blankenhorn, Ft. Myers Miracle
Twins Daily Pitcher of the Day: Kohl Stewart, Chattanooga Lookouts


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

#1 - Royce Lewis (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, 1 K
#3 - Nick Gordon (Chattanooga) - 0-5, RBI, K
#5 - Alex Kirilloff (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4
#7 - Brent Rooker (Chattanooga) - 3-4, RBI
#8 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - 4.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
#10 - Akil Baddoo (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, BB, 3 K
#13 - Lewin Diaz (Ft. Myers) - 0-4, K
#14 - LaMonte Wade (Chattanooga) - 3-4,
#16 - Ben Rortvedt (Cedar Rapids) - 2-4, 2 RBI
#17 - Travis Blankenhorn (Ft. Myers) - 3-4, 2B (5), 3B (1), K


TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Syracuse @ Rochester (4:35 CST) - LHP Adalberto Mejia
Chattanooga - Travel Day
Florida @ Ft. Myers (6:00) - RHP Sean Poppen
Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (11:00 am CST) - LHP Tyler Watson


Please feel free to ask any questions about Monday’s games, or ask any questions you may have.

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#2 Carole Keller

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 09:04 PM

Good to see that start from Stewart ... hope it's a trend for the season.

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#3 jkcarew

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 09:10 PM

Ironic that Stewart no longer qualifies for the “Top Prospect Summary”, no? Good things come to those that wait?

#4 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 09:50 PM

 

Ironic that Stewart no longer qualifies for the “Top Prospect Summary”, no? Good things come to those that wait?

 

There are a lot of talented players outside the Top 20 Twins prospects, several of them will make it to the big leagues. Kohl Stewart will probably be one of them.

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#5 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 10:21 PM

What, Stewart finally upping his velo?

 

Or, a really bad team he was facing?

 

Or done working on his off-speed pitches?

 

Or the new emphasis on fast-ball command working for him?

 

Gotta hear the inside story.No walks.No hard hit balls.AA players.

 

Someone has to dig this out.Unless, of course, next start he returns to the old days.


#6 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 10:35 PM

 

What, Stewart finally upping his velo?

 

Or, a really bad team he was facing?

 

Or done working on his off-speed pitches?

 

Or the new emphasis on fast-ball command working for him?

 

Gotta hear the inside story.No walks.No hard hit balls.AA players.

 

Someone has to dig this out.Unless, of course, next start he returns to the old days.

 

His velo has never been the problem. Chattanooga doesn't have milb.tv, so we can dig, butno real great, easy way to find out the rest. Let's just call it a really strong start. Good to see the strikeouts. He's obviously not going to strike out 9 in 5 every time, but it would be nice to see him at 7.5 K/9 or more. 

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#7 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 05:50 AM

 

His velo has never been the problem. Chattanooga doesn't have milb.tv, so we can dig, butno real great, easy way to find out the rest. Let's just call it a really strong start. Good to see the strikeouts. He's obviously not going to strike out 9 in 5 every time, but it would be nice to see him at 7.5 K/9 or more. 

 

Seems his problem had to do with not playing as much ball as the typical prospect. Plenty of scouts think his problem isn't stuff as much as sequencing and those types of things... which I find strange. He's got the stuff.

 

I'll echo what' you're saying here. Hopefully, it's a good start that gets him on the right track. Stewart suddenly looking like the guy we hoped for would be a big win for the team. 

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#8 Tommygun921

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 06:11 AM

Hopefully Stewart can keep it going. I wonder if he made some changes over the off season or if this is just a small sample size? Good to see nontheless.
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#9 rdehring

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 06:56 AM

Haven't been a fan of Stewart the past few years as he hasn't become the pitcher one would hope for from a #4 overall pick.Must say that last night was encouraging, but just one night.Hopefully, he will put it together all year and EARN a 40-man roster spot this fall.

 

Did I read correctly, Seth, that Rochester has double headers on May 25 and 27?Ouch.Hopefully their starting rotation is healthy going into that weekend.

 

Was great seeing Rortvedt back in action after his injury scare a couple games ago.And what's up with Blankenhorn?Can't keep this up, but maybe he will become the player we hoped for when drafted out of high school.


#10 jud6312

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 07:00 AM

I'm really hoping this is just him turning the corner. A lot of people were ready to give up on him because we've heard about him for so long, but the guy is still only 23.

 

 

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#11 Steve Lein

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 07:57 AM

 

Haven't been a fan of Stewart the past few years as he hasn't become the pitcher one would hope for from a #4 overall pick.Must say that last night was encouraging, but just one night.Hopefully, he will put it together all year and EARN a 40-man roster spot this fall.

 

Did I read correctly, Seth, that Rochester has double headers on May 25 and 27?Ouch.Hopefully their starting rotation is healthy going into that weekend.

 

Was great seeing Rortvedt back in action after his injury scare a couple games ago.And what's up with Blankenhorn?Can't keep this up, but maybe he will become the player we hoped for when drafted out of high school.

 

Stewart has been fascinating to follow for me. Up until sometime during last season, he actually had a better career ERA in the minors than Jose Berrios did. He's also now thrown over 450 innings, and has allowed only 17 home runs. There's something to the idea he doesn't get hit hard, but a final development piece has yet to fall into place. This start is encouraging in that regard for sure, but will have to keep it up.

 

Also Blankenhorn started hot like this last year too. Was at 409/.458/.909 through six games. Question with him is can he keep it more consistent throughout the season, much like Stewart.

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Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)

#12 slash129

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 08:14 AM

Blankenhorn seems like the minor league version of Steve Pearce.Goes on streaks where he hits everything and his manager has to try to hide him all over the field where he plays poorly.1B/DH would be nice, but he has to get in line.


#13 Shaitan

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 08:20 AM

I see that it's the same old Edwin Jackson.


#14 rdehring

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 08:38 AM

Have a question for Twins Daily, Seth.

 

I like having the 'Like This' that you can click on to show your support for a given comment.What about having the opposite of that also, ie, a "Don't like" you can also click to show your dislike of a comment?

 

Nothing in this post for me to dislike, but there sure are lots of examples throughout the week!


#15 Loosey

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 09:40 AM

I obviously have never seen Stewart pitch in person, but from what I have read the knock on him has always been lack of strikeouts.His final lines and stats always appear to look good from an outsider if you are just looking at ERA, etc.

 

Hopefully, another year older and developed he is figuring out how to pitch and get strikeouts.If he adds the strikeouts he might fly back up the prospect list.

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#16 ashburyjohn

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 09:45 AM

Have a question for Twins Daily, Seth.

 

I like having the 'Like This' that you can click on to show your support for a given comment.What about having the opposite of that also, ie, a "Don't like" you can also click to show your dislike of a comment?

 

Nothing in this post for me to dislike, but there sure are lots of examples throughout the week!

I doubt if Seth is the right guy to pose the question to. Try asking in the Questions About MinnCentric and see if a useful discussion occurs. I don't want to derail this minor league thread, except to say that perhaps the intent of the site designers was to focus more on the positive. If you find something that actually violates site posting standards, feel free to click the Report button on that post. Otherwise, if you simply disagree with a poster's opinion, I suggest either just moving on, and let the poster infer from the lack of support, or else post a constructive rebuttal if you feel strongly enough about it.

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#17 Steve Lein

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 09:47 AM

 

Hopefully, another year older and developed he is figuring out how to pitch and get strikeouts.If he adds the strikeouts he might fly back up the prospect list.

 

Yup, he's still only 23: http://twinsdaily.co...wins-2018-r6569

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)

#18 jimmer

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 09:48 AM

Got to be honest, I thought Kohl wasn't with the Twins organization any more. Good to see/hear him doing well.

#19 Tom Froemming

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 11:41 AM

Here are pitch counts from all the starters last night:

Slegers 66

Stewart 75

Beeker 66

Enlow 48

 

No Twins minor leaguer has thrown 80 pitches in a game yet this season. I wonder if this is something new minor league pitching coordinator Pete Maki has implemented across the board, or if it's just a coincidence.

 

Either way, I like it. It's a long season, and most of these minor league teams have enough multi-inning relievers to help pick up the slack. Might as well let the starters ease their way into the season.

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#20 Seth Stohs

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 11:54 AM

 

Have a question for Twins Daily, Seth.

 

I like having the 'Like This' that you can click on to show your support for a given comment.What about having the opposite of that also, ie, a "Don't like" you can also click to show your dislike of a comment?

 

Nothing in this post for me to dislike, but there sure are lots of examples throughout the week!

 

I'm not smart enough to know how to do that. ha!




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