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Article: Twins Minor League Report (6/1): Miracle Return For Jax

griffin jax alex kirilloff adalberto mejia nick gordon brent rooker
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 10:35 PM

Just over a month ago, Griffin Jax learned that he had been accepted into the Air Force’s World Class Athlete Program. He’ll be able to keep pitching for the Twins while on active duty. He’s been working his way back in extended spring training and made his first start of the year for the Ft. Myers Miracle.

Rochester got some strong pitching from a couple of familiar names as well as some power. Chattanooga was in Birmingham where weather caused their game to start very late. And Alex Kirilloff continued to rake.Keep reading to find out more on the night in the Twins minor league system on Friday. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions.

ALL STARS
The Florida State League announced its All-Star roster. Four members of the Ft. Myers Miracle made the team. LHP Andrew Vasquez, 3B Travis Blankenhorn, and OFs Jaylin Davis and Jimmy Kerrigan made the roster.


TRANSACTIONS
  • Ft. Myers announced that Griffin Jax was added to their roster and started for them on Friday night. As you recall, he learned in late April that he would be able to resume his baseball career on a full-time basis due to the Air Force’s World Class Athlete program.
  • Aaron Slegers also reported to Rochester a day after being sent down from the Twins.
RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 3, Norfolk 1
Box Score

Down 1-0 going into the sixth inning, the Red Wings tied the game on Jake Cave’s fifth home run. The next batter, Chris Carter, gave the team a 2-1 lead with his third Red Wings homer. Nick Gordon provided a little insurance late in the game. After a Zack Granite double, Gordon singled him in. Gordon went 3-for-5 with his third double.

Adalberto Mejia has been a bit of a forgotten man in the Twins pitching depth, but he had a very nice start on Friday. In six innings, he gave up just one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out four. Trevor May came on to replace him and worked the final three innings to record the save. He gave up just one hit, walked one and struck out one. He needed just 37 pitches to get through the three innings.

The Red Wings improved to 28-23.


CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Chattanooga 4, Birmingham 6
Box Score

The game started late due to rain. The Lookouts fell behind early and were unable to come all the way back despite a big game from Brent Rooker.

Anthony Marzi made the start. The lefty gave up six runs on ten hits over the first four innings. He walked one and struck out four. Ryan Eades struck out three over three scoreless innings, and Zack Jones walked two and struck out one in his scoreless inning.

Rooker led the offense. He had a single, his 11th double and his second triple in five at-bats. Brian Navarreto went 2-for-4 with his eighth and ninth doubles. Sean Miller added a single and a walk.

The Lookouts are now 31-23 on the season.


MIRACLE MATTERS
Game 1 - Ft. Myers 2, St. Lucie 3 (completion of game suspended on May 19)
Box Score

Way back on May 19th, these two teams started this game. However, it was suspended in the sixth inning, so they had to resume the game starting tonight. Previously, Brady Anderson had thrown 2 2/3 scoreless innings, and Paco Rodriguez (who has since been promoted to Chattanooga) gave up two unearned runs over 2 1/3 innings. When play resumed, Tom Hackimer took the mound. He was charged with one run on four hits and three walks over three innings of work. He struck out four. Logan Lombana struck out two (and walked one) in a scoreless inning.

Game 2 - Ft. Myers 2, St. Lucie 3 (regularly scheduled game)
Box Score

The big story in the Twins system on Friday night was the return of Griffin Jax to the mound in a game. Along with not having pitched since last July, he moved up a level to the Miracle. He had a solid first outing. While his final line may look pedestrian (4.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K), he actually started with four shutout innings. He was replaced in the fifth by Hector Lujan who gave up just two hits over 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

Taylor Grzelakowski hit his fifth home run of the season in the eighth inning to tie the game at three.

However, in the bottom of the eighth inning, Alex Robinson came in and gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk.

Grzelakowski went 3-for-4 in the game with the home run. Lewin Diaz added his fifth double. Travis Blankenhorn had a short outing. He had a sacrifice fly in the first inning. He was the pivot man on a double play that ended the second inning, and then he came out of the game, replaced by Luis Arraez. No official word on why he left the game. Arraez walked twice in his place.

The Miracle fell to 20-31 on the season.


KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 3, Burlington 4
Box Score

Alex Kirilloff just continues to mash. The outfielder had three hits in five at-bats including his 17th double and his ninth home run off of former Kernels pitcher Eduardo Del Rosario. Akil Baddoo went 2-for-5 including his fourth home run. Jose Miranda drove in a run with his ninth double. He went 2-for-3 with a walk as well.

Randy Dobnak was on the mound on Friday night for the Kernels. His night began with four no-hit innings. However, he gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits in the fifth inning. In total, he walked one and struck out four. Melvi Acosta threw three scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out one. Calvin Faucher threw a scoreless ninth inning, but he allowed the game-winning run with two outs in the tenth to take the loss. The run allowed was, of course unearned, since that runner started the inning second base.

The loss dropped the Kernels to 25-27 on the season.


STARS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Hitter of the Day: Tyler Grzelakowski, Ft. Myers Miracle (3-5, (5))
Twins Daily Pitcher of the Day: Adalberto Mejia, Rochester Red Wings (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)


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

#1 - Royce Lewis (Cedar Rapids) - 0-5
#2 - Fernando Romero (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch
#3 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - 3-5, 2B(3), RBI
#4 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch
#5 - Alex Kirilloff (Cedar Rapids) - 3-5, 2B(17), HR(9), 2 R, RBI
#6 - Wander Javier - out of for the season
#7 - Brent Rooker (Chattanooga) - 3-5, 2B(11), 3B(2), 2 RBI, K
#8 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Pitch
#9 - Brusdar Graterol (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Pitch
#10 - Akil Baddoo (Cedar Rapids) - 2-5, HR(4), R, RBI, K
#11 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch
#12 - Lewis Thorpe (Chattanooga) - Did Not Pitch
#13 - Lewin Diaz (Ft. Myers) - No Game
#14 - LaMonte Wade (Chattanooga) - Did Not Play
#16 - Ben Rortvedt (Cedar Rapids) - 0-5
#17 - Travis Blankenhorn (Ft. Myers) - 2-4, 2B(8), 2 RBI
#18 - Yunior Severino (Extended Spring Training)
#19 - Tyler Jay (Chattanooga) - No Game
#20 - Felix Jorge (Chattanooga) - Disabled List, still no official timetable for return.


SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester @ Norfolk (6:05 CST) - RHP Zack Littell (1-1, 2.57 ERA)
Chattanooga @ Birmingham (6:30 CST) - RHP Cody Stashak
Ft. Myers @ St. Lucie (DH @ 3:00 CST) - LHP Charlie Barnes (1-4, 4.42 ERA), RHP Andro Cutura (2-1, 4.13 ERA)
Cedar Rapids @ Burlington (6:30 CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (1-3, 2.70 ERA)


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

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#2 glunn

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 11:25 PM

Great writeup.

 

Seth, what do you see as Jax's upside?

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#3 jimbo92107

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 12:43 AM

Does this mean Griffin Jax will get to stay in the minors uninterrupted? Is he actually free to work his way through the system?

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#4 jokin

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 04:22 AM

 

Does this mean Griffin Jax will get to stay in the minors uninterrupted? Is he actually free to work his way through the system?

 

Lots of great questions. I believe that when he resurfaced it was stated that Jax would be in training as part of the 2020 US Olympic team. Little detail on a prospective roster or training schedule for the Olympic squad as of yet, other than the team would be made up solely of minor league players.

 

Joyous, fact-based and tireless Twins fan for 40+ years, who unfortunately has been characterized as-

 

"forcing Twins fans to endure more bitter, baseless, and tiresome cheap shots about the Twins FO."


#5 jokin

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 04:55 AM

 

 




Taylor Grzelakowski hit his fifth home run of the season in the eighth inning to tie the game at three a piece.



Grzelakowski went 3-for-4 in the game with the home run. 

 

 

Hey Seth, what do you know about the guy who CAUGHT Griffin Jax las night, Taylor Grzelakowski?

 

Doing a little research on his background, he appears to be another one of those undrafted mystery prospects the Twins scouting staff finds in strange places.

 

- Alum of Madonna College? (NAIA) in MIchigan.

- Absolutely mashed there his senior year with a BA of .426 and an OPS of 1.294.

- And apparently, a softball player body build of 5'11" and 245 lbs.

- Twins staff saw enough positives to send him directly from Rookie Ball in 2017 to A+ level in 2018.

- Admittedly older for FSL ball, still, he leads all catchers in SLG, OPS, wOBA

- Not only that, he ranks 4th overall in FSL in SLG, OPS and ISO (100 PA)

- 30% CS rate

- Seems like with those numbers lt should have been harder to keep him off the FSL All Star squad. What held him back?

 

So.... does he have the chops with the glove (and the bat, for that matter) to be considered a prospect?

 

Or... is he inevitably headed for superstardom in Independent League ball?

Edited by jokin, 02 June 2018 - 05:04 AM.

 

Joyous, fact-based and tireless Twins fan for 40+ years, who unfortunately has been characterized as-

 

"forcing Twins fans to endure more bitter, baseless, and tiresome cheap shots about the Twins FO."


#6 jokin

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 05:48 AM

 

Does this mean Griffin Jax will get to stay in the minors uninterrupted? Is he actually free to work his way through the system?

 

Yes and no. Assuming he makes the US Olympic team, that would be his focus for at least a year.

 

Joyous, fact-based and tireless Twins fan for 40+ years, who unfortunately has been characterized as-

 

"forcing Twins fans to endure more bitter, baseless, and tiresome cheap shots about the Twins FO."


#7 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 06:03 AM

Good outing for Trevor May. Thanks for the informative report.


#8 ashburyjohn

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 08:33 AM

Hey Seth, what do you know about the guy who CAUGHT Griffin Jax las night, Taylor Grzelakowski?

http://twinsdaily.co...r-grzelakowski/

 

Seth's article from a few weeks ago.

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#9 rdehring

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 09:13 AM

Great news getting Jax back on the mound on a somewhat full-time basis.   

 

A bit surprising that Cedar Rapids is under .500 with a top five hitters of Baddoo, Lewis, Kirilloff, Miranda and Pearson.Kirilloff has to be a leading contender for Player of the Year.Has he had a slump this season?Even two or three games without a hit? 


#10 Seth Stohs

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 09:14 AM

 

Does this mean Griffin Jax will get to stay in the minors uninterrupted? Is he actually free to work his way through the system?

 

yes... here is the story from last month.  http://twinsdaily.co...r-resumes-r6715

 


#11 Seth Stohs

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 09:15 AM

 

Great writeup.

 

Seth, what do you see as Jax's upside?

 

Upside is probably a #2... More likely a 3-4He's got the pitches, and he's got the makeup. 

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#12 Seth Stohs

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 09:17 AM

 

Lots of great questions. I believe that when he resurfaced it was stated that Jax would be in training as part of the 2020 US Olympic team. Little detail on a prospective roster or training schedule for the Olympic squad as of yet, other than the team would be made up solely of minor league players.

 

The program comes about because baseball is an Olympic sport again. So, by working with the Twins, he is working toward "preparing for the Olympics." Rosters won't even be considered until 2020 probably, so he's just doing work with the Twins. 

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#13 Seth Stohs

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 09:21 AM

 

Great news getting Jax back on the mound on a somewhat full-time basis.   

 

A bit surprising that Cedar Rapids is under .500 with a top five hitters of Baddoo, Lewis, Kirilloff, Miranda and Pearson.Kirilloff has to be a leading contender for Player of the Year.Has he had a slump this season?Even two or three games without a hit? 

 

They have some talented young hitters, but they're 2-4 years younger than the average player in the league, so these 18, 19 year olds are often hitting against 22-24 year olds. The talent will eventually rise (and these guys are even more exciting because of how well they are doing), but that has little to do with wins and losses. I think it's pretty impressive that such a young team is close to .500. 

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#14 jokin

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 10:16 AM

 

http://twinsdaily.co...r-grzelakowski/

 

Seth's article from a few weeks ago.

 

Great article on Grzelakowski.

 

I guess despite his hitting success, he's still considered too raw as a catcher to make the FSL All Star team.

 

You and he mentioned that he's on a weight control program with the Twins nutritionist. Any idea of his current weight?

 

Moving straight from Gulf Coast League to A+ ball is fairly extraordinary, especially at a premium position. Your quotes from him seem to indicate that he has the personal makeup to make it.

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Joyous, fact-based and tireless Twins fan for 40+ years, who unfortunately has been characterized as-

 

"forcing Twins fans to endure more bitter, baseless, and tiresome cheap shots about the Twins FO."


#15 jkcarew

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 10:40 AM

They have some talented young hitters, but they're 2-4 years younger than the average player in the league, so these 18, 19 year olds are often hitting against 22-24 year olds. The talent will eventually rise (and these guys are even more exciting because of how well they are doing), but that has little to do with wins and losses. I think it's pretty impressive that such a young team is close to .500.


Agreed. FWIW, the offense is right about at league average overall, and the pitching overall has been solidly below league average. Record-wise, they’re right about where they should be, I think. As a group, the pitchers (the ones that get the most innings) are also ‘solidly young’ for low A.
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#16 Darius

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 11:39 AM

It's a little strange to me that the military would let some if its best and brightest go for the sake of playing a game.

You look at the flip-side, Ted Williams took a break in his prime to serve around the time of WWII. Pat Tillman put a promising career on hold to go fight after 9/11. Jackie Robinson was drafted to fight in WWII. David Robinson went to the Naval Academy, and fulfilled his service before beginning his NBA career. Roger Staubach fulfilled his service after the Air Force Academy and fought in Vietnam. DiMaggio voluntarily put his career on hold to fight. Current NFL O-Lineman Alejandro Villanueva served multiple tours in Afghanistan after West Point, prior the NFL.

Not disparaging anyone, here, but I'm not sure I like the idea of certain giving high profile an atheletes a pass to play a game. I don't like the precedent it sets, and I'm sure it rubs a lot of his fellow average-joe sailors the wrong way that he gets preferential treatment.

I know I would've been a little miffed that the Marine Corps was forcing me to fulfil my duty that I willingly signed on for by risking my life, whole showing preference to others based on nothing that has to do with the military. For example, if I was an especially talented financial analyst who happened to learn that craft at a military academy, would they have let me out to go make millions at a hedge fund on Wall Street?

#17 Tom Froemming

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 01:07 PM

I'm really impressed with Jax's control despite the lack of competitive innings. In his five starts last year, he only averaged 2.0 BB/9 and now he opens 2018 with zero walks in his first 4 2/3 innings. If he was at all rusty, you'd figure that's where it would have shown up.

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#18 Mike Sixel

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 01:15 PM

It's a little strange to me that the military would let some if its best and brightest go for the sake of playing a game.

You look at the flip-side, Ted Williams took a break in his prime to serve around the time of WWII. Pat Tillman put a promising career on hold to go fight after 9/11. Jackie Robinson was drafted to fight in WWII. David Robinson went to the Naval Academy, and fulfilled his service before beginning his NBA career. Roger Staubach fulfilled his service after the Air Force Academy and fought in Vietnam. DiMaggio voluntarily put his career on hold to fight. Current NFL O-Lineman Alejandro Villanueva served multiple tours in Afghanistan after West Point, prior the NFL.

Not disparaging anyone, here, but I'm not sure I like the idea of certain giving high profile an atheletes a pass to play a game. I don't like the precedent it sets, and I'm sure it rubs a lot of his fellow average-joe sailors the wrong way that he gets preferential treatment.

I know I would've been a little miffed that the Marine Corps was forcing me to fulfil my duty that I willingly signed on for by risking my life, whole showing preference to others based on nothing that has to do with the military. For example, if I was an especially talented financial analyst who happened to learn that craft at a military academy, would they have let me out to go make millions at a hedge fund on Wall Street?


Lots of great ideas in here.

One of the best opening day rosters in years. Now go get 'em.




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