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Article: Twins Minor League Report (5/5): Littell Impresses in Triple A Debut

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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 09:45 PM

Zach Littell threw six shutout innings in his Triple A debut, LaMonte Wade hit a three-run homer in an 11-run night for Chattanooga and Trey Cabbage was 3-for-4 with a homer in a big offensive night for Cedar Rapids. Also, Blayne Enlow returned from the DL and both Nick Gordon and Royce Lewis had multi-hit games (among many others).TRANSACTIONS
With Jason Castro placed on the DL, catcher Bobby Wilson was called up from Rochester. The Red Wings activated Brock Stassi from the temporary inactive list.

The Kernels activated Blayne Enlow from the DL and assigned Rickey Ramirez to he E-Town roster. Enlow was recovering from a lower back strain.

RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 8, Lehigh Valley 0
Box Score

W: Zack Littell (6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K)
HR: Taylor Featherston (2)
Multi-hit games: Jake Cave, James Ramsey, Jermaine Curtis, Featherston.

Zack Littell impressed in his Triple A debut, shutting out the IronPigs for six innings. He walked four batters, which is very uncharacteristic for the 22-year-old, but he also racked up six strikeouts. Altogether, Littell now has 38 strikeouts and 11 walks over 29 innings this year.

The Wings’ bats provided Littell with a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, thanks to RBI singles from Sean Miller and Jermaine Curtis. Then they really took the pressure off with a five-run fourth inning that was highlighted by a two-run single from Leonardo Reginatto and a Jake Cave double that also plated a pair of runs.

The Rochester lineup has gotten off to a sluggish start, posting a league-worst .620 OPS as a team, so the offensive outburst is an encouraging sign. Cave and James Ramsay both had three hits while Curtis and Taylor Featherston each collected two hits, with Featherston socking his second homer of the season.

Alan Busenitz threw two scoreless innings and struck out four batters and John Curtiss also delivered a scoreless frame.

CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Chattanooga 11, Mobile 5
Box Score

W: Randy LeBlanc (5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)
HR: LaMonte Wade (4)
Multi-hit games: Edgar Corcino, Nick Gordon, Chris Paul, T.J. White, Alex Perez, Tanner English.

Oh what a night for the Lookouts’ lineup. They combined to score 11 runs on 14 hits and drew nine walks. The biggest blow came from LaMonte Wade, who blasted a three-run homer with two outs in the fifth inning.

Chris Paul hit a pair of doubles, Edgar Corcino drove in three runs and Tanner English scored three times. Nick Gordon was 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and is now hitting .337 for Chattanooga.

Randy LeBlanc held the BayBears scoreless over the first four innings, but then ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth. He gave up three runs over five innings and had five strikeouts. He earned his fourth victory of the year. Williams Ramirez gave up two runs in his two innings of relief. Todd Van Steensel was perfect over the final two innings and had three strikeouts.

MIRACLE MATTERS
Jupiter 2, Fort Myers 1
Box Score

SP: Brady Anderson (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)
HR: None
Multi-hit games: Taylor Grzelakowski

Brady Anderson turned in a quality start but the Miracle offense struggled. The only run Fort Myers scored was on a wild pitch. Anderson was going right after hitters, needing just 71 pitches to complete six innings. He has a 5.59 ERA on the year, but has walked just two batters in 25 1/3 innings pitched.

Ryan Mason, who was the runner up for Twins Daily’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month award for April, turned in two shutout innings, striking out three batters in the process. Andrew Vasquez pitched a scoreless ninth to finish up a strong performance from the pitching staff.

The Miracle had some scoring chances, but they were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base. Catcher Taylor Grzelakowski had a great night, going 2-for-2 with a double and a pair of walks.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 7, West Michigan 6
Box Score

W: Randy Dobnak (5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)
SP: Blayne Enlow (2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)
HR: Trey Cabbage (2), Ben Rortvedt (1)
Multi-hit games: Trey Cabbage, Royce Lewis, Ben Rortvedt.

Blayne Enlow was on a short leash, this being his first start off the DL, but he showed some good signs. He struck out three batters and threw 73.2 percent of his pitches for strikes (30 of 41). On the down side, he also gave up a run on four hits and a walk over his two innings.

It was a big night for the Cedar Rapids offense, led by Trey Cabbage, who was 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI. Ben Rortvedt also hit a homer, drove in two runs and scored three times. Royce Lewis was 2-for-5 and stole his ninth base. Akil Baddoo was 1-for-3 with two walks and a couple of stolen bases.

Randy Dobnak did a great job shouldering the load after Enlow’s exit, holding the Whitecaps to two runs over five innings while striking out five batters.

STARS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Zack Littell (6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K)
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Trey Cabbage (3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, R)

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

#1 Royce Lewis: 2-for-5, SB
#3 Nick Gordon: 2-for-3, 2B, 2 BB,
#5 Alex Kirilloff: 1-for-3, 2B, BB, R
#8 Blayne Enlow: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
#10 Akil Baddoo: 1-for-3, 2 BB, R, 2 SB
#11 Zack Littell: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K
#13 Lewin Diaz: 1-for-4
#14 LaMonte Wade: 1-for-5, HR, BB, 3 RBI, 2 R
#16 Ben Rortvedt: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R
#17 Travis Blankenhorn: 1-for-4

SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester vs. Lehigh Valley, 12:05 pm CT: Stephen Gonsalves (0.00 ERA, 0.26 WHIP)
Chattanooga at Mobile, 2:05 pm CT: TBD
Fort Myers vs. Jupiter, 3:00 pm CT: Clark Beeker (2.76 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
Cedar Rapids va. West Michigan, 2:05 pm CT: Bryan Sammons (3.06 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)

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

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#2 jokin

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 10:03 PM

Good AAA debut for Littell against the #4 team OPS in the IL. 

 

Perhaps he's got the secret location sauce to keep good hitters mostly guessing wrong. It would be a big plus if he can come on into the League as a strong #4-5 man in the rotation with a high K/BB ratio.

 

Even though his 2018 AA numbers don't look great, his K% was nearly 33%, as was his IFFB%.

 

If Littell can somehow break through and continue his magic, this rotation could be almost completely made over (for the better) by mid-2019. 

Edited by jokin, 06 May 2018 - 01:34 AM.

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#3 D.C Twins

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 10:51 PM

Where has Rooker been? Injured?

 

All the early season turmoil seems to have really thrown Vargas off. He is really struggling.  Anyone know what is holding Gordon back at this point (honest question)?.I think it is time to get his MLB party started

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#4 Danchat

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 11:08 PM

 

Good AAA debut for Littell against the #4 team OPS in the IL. 

 

Perhaps he's got the secret location sauce to keep good hitters mostly guessing wrong. It would be a big plus if can come on into the League as a strong #4-5 man in the rotation with a high K/BB ratio.

 

Even though his 2018 AA numbers don't look great, his K% was nearly 33%, as was his IFFB%.

 

If Littell can somehow break through and continue his magic, this rotation could be almost completely made over (for the better) by mid-2019. 

Yeah, I think Littell can be a #4 starter. Looking at his minor league track record, I'm thinking he's going to need to spend most the season at AAA.

 

For 2019, we'll have Berrios, Pineda, Gibson (final year of arb.), Odorizzi (final arb.), Romero, Mejia, and possibly Littell and Gonsalves all poised to be able to start. Based on the arbitrary starter 'number' comparisons, I'd say we have:

 

#1: None

#2: Berrios, Romero

#3: Gonsalves

#4: Odorizzi, Gibson, Littell, Pineda, May (could be higher, but he's been gone for so long)

#5: Mejia, Slegers (maybe AAAA)

 

I really like the depth, but there's still no clear #1 starter. Oh, and they should be able to DFA Hughes at some point. 

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#5 glunn

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 12:38 AM

Great writeup and great day for the organization.

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#6 slash129

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 01:07 AM

Dobnak was even better than his line. The runs he gave up we're assisted by less then stellar defense. A passed ball, a steal of third where the catcher couldn't get the ball out of his glove and a poor throw from RF by Kirilloff all lead to the runs he gave up.

#7 jokin

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 01:45 AM

 

Yeah, I think Littell can be a #4 starter. Looking at his minor league track record, I'm thinking he's going to need to spend most the season at AAA.

 

For 2019, we'll have Berrios, Pineda, Gibson (final year of arb.), Odorizzi (final arb.), Romero, Mejia, and possibly Littell and Gonsalves all poised to be able to start. Based on the arbitrary starter 'number' comparisons, I'd say we have:

 

#1: None

#2: Berrios, Romero

#3: Gonsalves

#4: Odorizzi, Gibson, Littell, Pineda, May (could be higher, but he's been gone for so long)

#5: Mejia, Slegers (maybe AAAA)

 

I really like the depth, but there's still no clear #1 starter. Oh, and they should be able to DFA Hughes at some point. 

 

Good classifications and projections. (I predict Hughes will be gone by August 1).

 

I guess the question we all ask: Can Romero become a #1?

 

In any case, I see the potential rotation by mid-2019 becoming possibly Berrios, Romero, Odorizzi, Gonsalves and Littel. The good thing is, to get to that point would mean great internal competition and the potential of the 4 young arms to rise to the top to claim those spots. (And again, as you hinted, the starting depth would be near-Dodgers-like, with the above, plus Jorge and Thorpe knocking at the door).

Edited by jokin, 06 May 2018 - 02:04 AM.

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#8 mikelink45

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 07:34 AM

I agree with the writeup and comments on the pitchers.I still hope Gonsalves is up this year and early.But I am still puzzled with the reluctance to give Gordon a try while Polanco is out.I would also like LaMonte Wade to get some 4th OF time with the Twins, what we currently have is not good. 


#9 birdwatcher

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 08:01 AM

Keith Law recently said he sees Romero as a mid rotation starter. Of course, he also saw Berrios' ceiling as a #3, with a higher likelihood being back end or even relief. The Twins really need those two to be at least #2/3 rotation pieces. Maybe just as importantly, they need someone like Graterol or Enlow to be thought of as an almost can't miss front end guy at the culmination of this season.


#10 jorgenswest

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 08:02 AM

Maybe Wade is working on his swing to get more power. If that is the case, they really need to give him the time to develop that stroke.

With moderate power, he might project similar to Matt Lawton instead of Robbie Grossman.

#11 DocBauer

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 09:06 AM

Yeah, I think Littell can be a #4 starter. Looking at his minor league track record, I'm thinking he's going to need to spend most the season at AAA.
 
For 2019, we'll have Berrios, Pineda, Gibson (final year of arb.), Odorizzi (final arb.), Romero, Mejia, and possibly Littell and Gonsalves all poised to be able to start. Based on the arbitrary starter 'number' comparisons, I'd say we have:
 
#1: None
#2: Berrios, Romero
#3: Gonsalves
#4: Odorizzi, Gibson, Littell, Pineda, May (could be higher, but he's been gone for so long)
#5: Mejia, Slegers (maybe AAAA)
 
I really like the depth, but there's still no clear #1 starter. Oh, and they should be able to DFA Hughes at some point.


Berrios and Romero as legitimate #2's who pitch like a #1 at times would be really good, IMO. But I haven't given up on Berrios still establishing himself as a true #1. He hasn't looked as good the last couple of times out, but has great stuff, the right make-up, and is still very young and developing. The depth is so very encouraging.

Anyone have the latest on Jorge?
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#12 rdehring

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 10:15 AM

Great seeing Rortvedt have a big game with his bat after a bit of a slump.This kid can't move up fast enough with the Twins current lack of catching depth at all the higher levels.

 

Speaking of catchers.Does anyone know more about Grzelakowski?Did he play some independent ball out of college before signing with the Twins?  

 

And lets not assume that either Berrios or Romero don't have what it takes to become a #1 or even a true Ace.No one knows what their ceilings are, but they sure have a lot of talent. 

 


#13 Penthang

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 10:58 AM

Does anyone know what the progress is on Granite making a return from his shoulder injury? I for one really missed his defense as an option while Buxton has been out. I’m guessing the pitching staff did as well. Of course having the genuine article back in center can’t come soon enough, I just hope he can stay on the field more than off of it.
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#14 mlhouse

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 11:43 AM

The Twins need to call up Lamonte Ward to the big leagues.He is a professional hitter, a solid lead off man who can get on base yet has some pop to his bat, and a reasonable fielding outfielder.  

 

As a college draft pick, Ward is already 24 years old and the Twins decided he needed to return to Chatanooga where he played full time in 2017 and had an OPS of 805.This is typical of the Twins, making players who have already successfully played at a level repeat, all while AAA is stocked with old, never has been players and we have a 29 year old backup OF that has not had a major league extra base hit.

 

I have been saying this for 5 years and two organizational management groups:Why are the TWins so reluctant to promote their own minor league prospects?


#15 Seth Stohs

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 01:11 PM

 

 Anyone have the latest on Jorge?

 

Still probably 3-4 weeks out. 


#16 Seth Stohs

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 01:12 PM

 

Great seeing Rortvedt have a big game with his bat after a bit of a slump.This kid can't move up fast enough with the Twins current lack of catching depth at all the higher levels.

 

Speaking of catchers.Does anyone know more about Grzelakowski?Did he play some independent ball out of college before signing with the Twins?  

 

And lets not assume that either Berrios or Romero don't have what it takes to become a #1 or even a true Ace.No one knows what their ceilings are, but they sure have a lot of talent. 

 

Rortvedt may need the full season at Cedar Rapids, and that would be fine. He's in the same place as fellow 2016 picks Kirilloff, Miranda and Baddoo.

 

More on Gelly coming soon. And yes, played indy ball.

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#17 Seth Stohs

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 01:14 PM

 

Does anyone know what the progress is on Granite making a return from his shoulder injury? I for one really missed his defense as an option while Buxton has been out. I’m guessing the pitching staff did as well. Of course having the genuine article back in center can’t come soon enough, I just hope he can stay on the field more than off of it.

 

Granite's still working his way back from the non-throwing shoulder injury. Could be back in a week, at the soonest. 


#18 Seth Stohs

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 01:17 PM

 

The Twins need to call up Lamonte Ward to the big leagues.He is a professional hitter, a solid lead off man who can get on base yet has some pop to his bat, and a reasonable fielding outfielder.  

 

As a college draft pick, Ward is already 24 years old and the Twins decided he needed to return to Chatanooga where he played full time in 2017 and had an OPS of 805.This is typical of the Twins, making players who have already successfully played at a level repeat, all while AAA is stocked with old, never has been players and we have a 29 year old backup OF that has not had a major league extra base hit.

 

I have been saying this for 5 years and two organizational management groups:Why are the TWins so reluctant to promote their own minor league prospects?

 

One argument... what is that hurry to get Wade to AAA when most prospects are at AA? Also, do you really want Wade up in the big leagues and being a 4th outfielder rather than playing every day at AA or AAA? He's not old for a prospect, even at AA. I'd have him up at AAA, but I don't see it as some huge deal, especially if they've told him that they'd like him to add some HR power to his development. 

 

I think the "Twins Promote Guys Too Slowly" thing is kind of an old thing now... It's all about the individual. 

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#19 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 02:03 PM

One argument... what is that hurry to get Wade to AAA when most prospects are at AA? Also, do you really want Wade up in the big leagues and being a 4th outfielder rather than playing every day at AA or AAA? He's not old for a prospect, even at AA. I'd have him up at AAA, but I don't see it as some huge deal, especially if they've told him that they'd like him to add some HR power to his development.

I think the "Twins Promote Guys Too Slowly" thing is kind of an old thing now... It's all about the individual.


There is zero reason why Wade couldn't play every day on the MLB team, then go back down when Buxton gets back.
Also, Buxton, Kepler and Rosario are all here at least 3 more years. What is his future here, if not 4th outfielder?

#20 ashburyjohn

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 02:45 PM

I think the "Twins Promote Guys Too Slowly" thing is kind of an old thing now... It's all about the individual. 

What is it about this individual that says, "have him repeat AA"?

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