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Article: Twins Minor League Report (4/17): Wiel Walks it Off to Back Littell

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#1 Steve Lein

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 08:55 PM

As the Midwest waits for this mythical season called “Spring” to arrive, Cedar Rapids did not play for the fourth day in a row. But unlike yesterday, all four teams were scheduled to play and the other three got their games in. The big news came from Double A on this night, as a sleeper starting pitcher prospect tossed a gem, and a sleeper hitter walked it off in the ninth.To find out how all your other favorite Minnesota Twins prospects fared on Tuesday night, read on!

RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 3, Charlotte 5
Box Score

The Red Wings jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the games first two innings but were unable to muster any offense after that in falling to 4-4 on the season. Zack Granite led off the game by reaching on an error and would come around to score on a double off the bat of Jake Cave. In the second inning, a Jermaine Curtis walk was followed by a double from Nick Buss to put runners on second and third, and an RBI groundout from Willians Astudillo and sac fly from Gregorio Petit put Rochester up 3-0.

Starter Dietrich Enns wiggled out of trouble for the game’s first three innings, but in the fourth the Stone Crabs struck for four runs and took the lead. Enns allowed five singles and a walk in the inning before being lifted in favor of D.J. Baxendale. In his 3 1/3 innings, Enns allowed the four runs on seven hits and four walks. He did
strike out four.

Baxendale finished 2 2/3 strong innings getting the Red Wings to the seventh. He allowed three hits and struck out four. Nick Anderson finished the final two frames, allowing an insurance run in the eight on a solo home run. He struck out two.

Buss collected three of the Red Wings five hits in the loss, finishing 3-for-3 on the night with a run scored and the double. The offense left only three men on base for the game and finished 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Jacksonville 2, Chattanooga 3
Box Score

The Lookouts offense also struck first in this one thanks to the bat of T.J. White. His third home run of the season in the second inning put Chattanooga out front 1-0. Besides that, it was the Zack Littell show until the fourth inning as he retired nine of the first 10 hitters he faced. In the fourth, consecutive singles to start the frame and a two-out double would tie the game at one.

In the bottom half of the fourth, the Lookouts took back the lead when Nick Gordon led off the inning with his first home run of the year to right-center field.

Littell would leave the game in the sixth after retiring the first two hitters of the inning. In his 5 2/3 innings he allowed just the one earned run on three hits and a walk, while striking out eight. Of his 91 pitches, 59 went for strikes including 15 swinging (an excellent 25.4% percentage).

Left-hander Anthony McIver came on to record the final out of the sixth and would add a scoreless seventh. He allowed two hits, walked two, and struck out one. Todd Van Steensel came on for the eighth inning and worked around a double with two strikeouts to keep the 2-1 lead intact for Chattanooga.

The Lookouts stuck with Van Steensel in the ninth and it...got pretty interesting. A triple to the leadoff man put the games tying run only 90-feet away, then a hit batter put the go-ahead run on base with no outs. A squeeze play tied the game at two and was followed by flyout for the second out, but another hit batter then an errant throw on a pickoff attempt put the runners on second and third. Steensel was able to recover and picked up a K to end the inning, but Chattanooga would now have to walk it off if they wanted to go above .500.

They did just that when Zander Wiel clubbed his first home run of the season in the bottom half. I said this when Chattanooga’s first lineup of the season was announced:

And Wiel is now hitting .400/.462/.571 on the year, has a nine game hitting streak, and has collected two or more hits in five of those games.

The Lookouts got two hits from leadoff man LaMonte Wade and a double from Chris Paul to account for almost all the rest of their offense. As a team they only had one plate appearance with a runner in scoring position and left only three men on base in the victory. After blowing the save, Steensel improved to 2-1 on the year in four appearances.

MIRACLE MATTERS
Fort Myers 2, Dunedin 5
Box Score

The Blue Jays jumped on Miracle starter Sean Poppen for four runs in the bottom of the first inning to jump out to a big early lead and would not look back. Two singles, two doubles, and a hit batter led to those runs and were aided by an error on outfielder Taylor Grzelakowski. Poppen settled in from there and finished three more scoreless innings. In total he allowed four earned runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out five. Of his 75 pitches, 49 went for strikes (including eight swinging strikes).

In the bottom of the fifth inning Hector Lujan was brought in from the bullpen and had a one-two-three inning. Back out for the sixth, consecutive singles to start the inning were followed by a two-out double that added an insurance run for Dunedin and gave them a 5-0 lead.

When the Dunedin bullpen came into play in the seventh inning, the Fort Myers lineup was finally able to string enough hits together to get on the scoreboard. Doubles from Joe Cronin and Alex Perez got the inning started, a groundout from Nelson Molina scored one, and a sac fly from Aaron Whitefield scored the second.

Lefthander Andrew Vasquez came on in the bottom of the inning and retired the Blue Jays in order, striking out two along the way. In the eighth, Vasquez walked the leadoff man and he got as far as third base, but three consecutive groundouts ended the threat.

Down 5-2, the Miracle were unable to mount a threat in the ninth, going down in order including two strikeouts to end the game. The offense was led by Jaylin Davis who had two doubles, and Cronin who finished 2-3 with a walk and a run scored. Fort Myers was just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base for the game.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (PPD – Inclement Weather)

The Kernels game with the Snappers was postponed on Tuesday due to a Winter Storm Warning in Eastern Iowa. The game will be made up on Thursday in a doubleheader. Cedar Rapids now has not played a game in four days and will look to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday provided the Spring weather cooperates,

STARS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Pitcher of the Day – Zack Littell, Chattanooga Lookouts (5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, BB, 8 K)
Twins Daily Hitter of the Day – Zander Wiel, Chattanooga Lookouts (1-4, walk-off HR)

TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY
3. Nick Gordon (Chattanooga) – 1-4, HR (1), RBI
7. Brent Rooker (Chattanooga) – 0-4, 2 K’s
11. Zack Littell (Chattanooga) – 5.2 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 8 K
13. Lewin Diaz (Fort Myers) – 0-4, K
14. LaMonte Wade (Chattanooga) – 2-4
17. Travis Blankenhorn (Fort Myers) – 0-4, K

WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester @ Charlotte (6:05PM CST) – RHP Myles Jaye (0-0, 4.76 ERA)
Jacksonville @ Chattanooga (4:15PM CST – Game 1) – RHP Randy LeBlanc (1-1, 2.70 ERA)
Jacksonville @ Chattanooga (makeup of 4/16 PPD) – LHP Stephen Gonsalves (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30PM CST) – LHP Anthony Marzi (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (6:30PM CST) – TBD

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

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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)

#2 Han Joelo

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 09:14 PM

One of the FO's finest moves was transforming Ynoa into Littell, via Garcia. And Enns, but hanging onto him at the cost of others might turn out to be one of their worst moves. Actually, I better check Ynoa's stats...17.37 ERA so far. Okay, yeah.
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#3 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 05:11 AM

When is it ok to start worrying about Rooker?
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#4 rdehring

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 06:03 AM

Is this the first time since TD was formed that your pitcher and hitter of the day both had names starting with Z?  

 

And I see that Wiel was in left field yesterday.Saw it was DH the other day.Is also playing some first base?  

 

Not worried about Rooker.He just needs to switch to one of Wiel's extra bats.  

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#5 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 06:29 AM

 

When is it ok to start worrying about Rooker?

2019?The guy is being rushed. I'd note that each of his stops last year were marked with some pretty awful starts as well. His season is about 2 weeks old right now, so I wouldn't worry just yet. It's pretty rare for a college guy to start in AA his first full season. It may take some time for him to adjust. 

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#6 chaderic20

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:56 AM

No mention of the Red Wings' hidden ball trick?

 

https://www.milb.com...ngs/c-272690860

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#7 Seth Stohs

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 08:10 AM

 

No mention of the Red Wings' hidden ball trick?

 

https://www.milb.com...ngs/c-272690860

 

That was pretty impressive... 

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#8 Seth Stohs

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 08:12 AM

 

Is this the first time since TD was formed that your pitcher and hitter of the day both had names starting with Z?  

 

And I see that Wiel was in left field yesterday.Saw it was DH the other day.Is also playing some first base?  

 

Not worried about Rooker.He just needs to switch to one of Wiel's extra bats.  

 

Without going back and looking, I'm going to venture that it is the first time. 

 

Wiel will get a little time in LF. He's spent most of his time in LF since Rooker got to Ft. Myers last year. 


#9 mikelink45

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 08:26 AM

 

When is it ok to start worrying about Rooker?

When is it time to worry about Grossman and Morrison?Two week slumps happen, three weeks and its time to start to worry.

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#10 brvama

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 08:34 AM

Dare I say ZZ Top Twins played ball last night?

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#11 ashburyjohn

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 10:04 AM

That was pretty impressive... 

Indeed. Kudos to MiLB.com's Tyler Maun for finding 1300+ words to say about one (albeit very entertaining) play. :)

 

This interviewer did it better, though - not content with a prosaic "I hit the ball first time and there it was in the back of the net":

I'm in big trouble at home. I used one of the couch pillows AS A PILLOW.


#12 Steve Lein

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 11:35 AM

 

No mention of the Red Wings' hidden ball trick?

 

https://www.milb.com...ngs/c-272690860

 

Wow, I totally missed that!

 

The game log has the play as this: 

 

"Patrick Leonard singles on a line drive to left fielder Nick Buss. Kevan Smith out at home, third baseman Jermaine Curtis. Daniel Palka to 2nd."

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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)

#13 Tibs

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 11:41 AM

Small sample size and everything, but I haven't seen much discussion about Littell's increased k rate so far. That's now 25 Ks in 14 IP

I couldn't be a player because of bad eyesight, so I decided to be an umpire instead.

#14 Mike Sixel

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 12:13 PM

 

When is it ok to start worrying about Rooker?

 

I think people got ahead of themselves a bit on him.....by a lot.

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There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#15 TNTwinsFan

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 12:32 PM

I think people got ahead of themselves a bit on him.....by a lot.


As has been mentioned before...he has struggled to immediately adjust at each new level. 2 weeks is too small a sample size to make a definitive determination that he's in over his head. If at the 6 week mark he's still struggling, that may be the time to rethink whether he's at the appropriate level. A solid week-long tear would change EVERYONE'S minds and his numbers would look more like what was expected of him. Relax folks...2 weeks...it's been 2. WEEKS.

#16 Mike Sixel

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 12:38 PM

 

As has been mentioned before...he has struggled to immediately adjust at each new level. 2 weeks is too small a sample size to make a definitive determination that he's in over his head. If at the 6 week mark he's still struggling, that may be the time to rethink whether he's at the appropriate level. A solid week-long tear would change EVERYONE'S minds and his numbers would look more like what was expected of him. Relax folks...2 weeks...it's been 2. WEEKS.

 

I said this over and over on teh site months ago....people thought he'd be here this year....which I thought was ridiculous, and still do.

 

and, I am relaxed, it's just a messageboard.

There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#17 ashburyjohn

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 01:50 PM

I said this over and over on teh site months ago....people thought he'd be here this year....which I thought was ridiculous, and still do.

 

and, I am relaxed, it's just a messageboard.

Just. A. Messageboard? JUST. A. MESSAGEBOARD???

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#18 Steve Lein

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 02:06 PM

 

Small sample size and everything, but I haven't seen much discussion about Littell's increased k rate so far. That's now 25 Ks in 14 IP

 

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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)

#19 h2oface

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 02:39 PM

 

As has been mentioned before...he (Rooker) has struggled to immediately adjust at each new level. 2 weeks is too small a sample size to make a definitive determination that he's in over his head. If at the 6 week mark he's still struggling, that may be the time to rethink whether he's at the appropriate level. A solid week-long tear would change EVERYONE'S minds and his numbers would look more like what was expected of him. Relax folks...2 weeks...it's been 2. WEEKS.

 

I guess that makes his arrival to the Show a bit of a non-event. He will arrive and fail? I will remember to take it off my calendar.


#20 h2oface

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 02:42 PM

 

When is it time to worry about Grossman and Morrison?Two week slumps happen, three weeks and its time to start to worry.

 

Sad when the option at DH is someone that is currently just as horrible, eh? But Grossman said he only needed 10 ABs in spring training.

 

The plan of having Grossman in the outfield is very flawed. It makes the team much weaker. The plan of giving him at bats at DH, not so good either. 

 

But this is a minor league recap thread......




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