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Article: Twins Minor League Report (8/7): Williams Powers Elizabethton

chris williams griffin jax jose miranda jovani moran
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#1 Steve Lein

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 10:33 PM

With two affiliates traveling, there were only four games on tap for Tuesday. There was little offense in a few of those games, but the action in the others more than made up for it. A starter in Fort Myers delivered another strong performance in a shutout victory, while bombs went off in Elizabethton led by a standout performer drafted nearly two months ago to the day.

To find out how all the Minnesota Twins prospects who were in action on Tuesday fared, read on!TRANSACTIONS

There were a few moves in the system before the games:
  • The Chattanooga Lookouts sent LHP Casey Crosby on a rehab assignment to the GCL Twins. Also, in some sad news RHP Todd Van Steensel was released from the Lookouts roster.
  • In Cedar Rapids, outfielder and 2018 first round draft pick Trevor Larnach was officially promoted. To make room, Jean Carlos Arias was sent back to Elizabethton, and Christian Cavaness was released from the Kernels roster.
RED WINGS REPORT
Toledo 5, Rochester 1
Box Score

Starter Zack Littell had to try to work around a bunch of trouble in his outing, and he wasn’t able to on enough occasions. He finished 4 2/3 innings with 96 pitches (61 strikes), allowing five hits and five walks. Two errors from his defense led to five runs (two earned). This was more than enough for the Mud Hens as Rochester finished 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base.

Gregorio Petit finished the day 2-for-4 with a double to lead the way. Edgar Corcino added a triple and scored their only run on a RBI single from Juan Graterol that followed.

The bullpen duo of Luke Bard and John Curtiss combined to finish the game in scoreless fashion. Bard went 2 1/3, allowing one hit and striking out two. Curtiss finished the final two innings by allowing one hit and one walk. He struck out three.

CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Scheduled Day Off.

After taking three out of five against the Mississippi Braves, the Lookouts got a day off on Tuesday before continuing the second half of their 10-game homestand against the Jackson Generals tomorrow.

MIRACLE MATTERS
Fort Myers 5, Lakeland 0
Box Score

The Miracle got a fantastic start from right-hander Griffin Jax and as a result Jose Miranda’s first home run in the Florida State League would be all the run support needed, but the lineup added some insurance just in case.

Jax pitched into the eighth inning where he allowed a leadoff double before getting a groundout for his final out. In his 7 1/3 innings, he gave up only four hits, walked one, and struck out seven. Of his 94 pitches 67 went for strikes and he retired twelve in a row at one point. He improved to 3-1 on the season.

July’s Twins Daily MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month, Jovani Moran, came on and finished off the victory with 1 2/3 scoreless frames to pick up his third save with Fort Myers. He retired all five hitters he faced including punctuating the win with his second strikeout to end it.

The offense got two hits from Taylor Grzelakowski (2-5, RBI, 2 K) and Caleb Hamilton (2-for-3, R, 2B, RBI), While Miranda’s home run was a two-run shot in the eighth that made it 3-0. Royce Lewis singled, stole a base, and scored a run in five trips to the plate. Alex Kirilloff finished 1-for-4.



KERNELS NUGGETS
Scheduled Day Off.

Cedar Rapids got a travel day on Tuesday to head further east across the state of Iowa. They will begin a five-game road trip with three versus the Clinton Lumberkings on Wednesday.

E-TWINS E-TALK
Kingsport 10, Elizabethton 16
Box Score

The lack of offense in the other games on Tuesday was more than made up for in this one. The E-Twins racked up 16 runs on 16 hits, seven walks, and two errors against the Kingsport defense in a scoreboard slugfest. Even more remarkable was that the Mets scored their 10 runs on just six hits. Combined the teams finished 9-for-21 with runners in scoring position and left half as many runners on the bases as they scored.

Chris Williams had a mammoth day, finishing 2-for-3 with two home runs and six RBIs. He also was hit by a pitch, had a sac fly, and scored three runs on the game. His first home run in the eight-run third inning was a three-run blast. His second was a two-run shot in the fourth. Robert Molina concluded the fireworks in the third with a grand slam. Williams now has 14 homers in 42 games with Elizabethton (that’s a better rate than Brent Rooker had last year, if you were wondering). Molina’s slam was his second in the Appalachian League and drove in five runs in total.

Gilberto Celestino (2-for-6, 2 R), Colton Burns (3-for-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Ricky De La Torre (2-for-5, R, K), and Lean Marrero (3-for-4, R, BB) joined Williams and Molina with multiple hits.

With all that offense, the pitching wasn’t as great for the Twins. Luis Rijo made his first start with his new organization and due to an error in the fourth, ended his debut being charged with five unearned runs. In 3 2/3 innings he allowed two hits, walked two, and struck out four. Pedro Garcia went the next 3 1/3 and allowed five earned runs on three hits and four walks while striking out three. Zach Neff finished the game for the Twins with two scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and struck out one.

GCL TWINS TAKES
GCL Twins 2, GCL Rays 3
Box Score

The Twins lineup was only able to muster three hits on the game and combined with drawing zero walks, they just didn’t have or make for themselves many opportunities. They were just 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left only one man on base. Their runs were courtesy of an Agustin Marte solo home run in the sixth (his first in the states), and an RBI single from Estamy Urena after Gabe Snyder reached second base on an error in the eighth.

Despite all that the score was tied 2-2 heading into the ninth, so the Twins also had some good pitching. On a rehab assignment from Chattanooga, Casey Crosby struck out three in the first inning but due to a walk, a stolen base, error, and wild pitch also gave up an unearned run. Prelander Berroa went the next four frames and allowed an unearned run on three hits and one walk while striking out three. Junior Navas then threw two scoreless frames, allowing two hits and striking out two. Denny Bentley added a one-two-three eighth inning setting the stage for climactic ninth.

When the Twins went down in order in the top half, Niklas Rimmel came on to pitch the bottom. He was greeted by a double from the leadoff man, got the next to fly out, but couldn’t escape as a single a few batters later walked it off for the Rays.

STARS OF THE DAY

Twins Daily Pitcher of the Day – Griffin Jax, Fort Myers Miracle (W, 7.1IP, 4 H, BB, 7 K)
Twins Daily Hitter(s) of the Day – Chris Williams, Elizabethton Twins (2-for-3, 3R, 2 HR (14), 6 RBI)

TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY

#1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) – 1-for-5, R, SB (5)
#2 - Alex Kirilloff (Ft. Myers) – 1-for-4, K
#3 - Brusdar Graterol (Ft. Myers) – Did not pitch.
#4 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) – 0-for-4, 2 K
#5 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) – Did not pitch.
#6 - Trevor Larnach (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play (officially promoted on Tuesday).
#7 - Brent Rooker (Chattanooga) – Did not play.
#8 - Akil Baddoo (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play.
#9 -Wander Javier – Out of for the season.
#10 - Zack Littell (Rochester) – L (3-5), 4.2IP, 5 R (2 ER), 5 H, 5 BB, 3 K
#11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play.
#12 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) – Did not play.
#13 - Travis Blankenhorn (Ft. Myers) – 1-for-4, R, K
#14 - Lewis Thorpe (Chattanooga) – Did not play.
#15 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) – Did not play.
#16 - Yunior Severino (Elizabethton) – 1-for-6, R, 2 K
#17 - Lewin Diaz (Ft. Myers) – Will have surgery on his wrist soon. Out for season.
#18 - Ryan Jeffers (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play.
#19 - Jacob Pearson (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play.
#20 - Luis Arraez (Chattanooga) – Did not play.

WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

Toledo @ Rochester (6:05PM CST) – RHP Chase De Jong (0-1, 12.27 ERA)
Jackson @ Chattanooga (6:15PM CST) – LHP Lewis Thorpe (7-4, 3.67 ERA)
Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30PM CST) – RHP Clark Beeker (4-6, 4.04 ERA)
Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (7:00PM CST) – LHP Tyler Watson (4-5, 4.76 ERA)
Kingsport @ Elizabethton (6:00PM CST) – TBD
GCL Rays @ GCL Twins (11:00AM CST) – TBD

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

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  • glunn likes this
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 carlito_b

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 01:07 AM

larnach and Jeffers got promoted why not williams?

#3 ScooterDance

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 04:08 AM

Is williams a legit prospect, or do his peripherals scream AAAA filler?

#4 rdehring

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 06:11 AM

What a nice game from Jax, probably the best of his career.Have been waiting since he was drafted to see him have a real chance, and he is delivering.I know his situation with the Air Force is somewhat unusual.Does he go back on active duty after his season ends?

 

And there isn't a lot more to say about Moran.This kid just keeps getting better and better.  

 

You compared Williams home run rate to Rooker last year, Steve.Do you know how it compares to Sano and Rosario?I recall Sano ended up with 20 and Rosario with 21, but don't know what they had thru 42 games.

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#5 Joseph Chihos

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 06:27 AM

My dad and I went to the Miracle game last night and sat right behind home plate.

Lewis’s first AB was a rocket to center that was robbed by a great catch by he CFer.

He also had a solid two-strike approach, shortening up and putting the ball in play in his second or third at bat with a shallow chopper. The call at first could have gone either way (and the Miracle got a make-up call later that night). He was a collective 12” from a 3-5 night. Such is baseball.

Not mentioned in the summary, he looks very mature at SS. Jax only spot of trouble was early in the game after a HBP and another guy got on base. Runners on 1+2 with nobody out, a sharp grounder went up the middle, Lewis ranged far to his left, made a diving stop to start a double play. The range and glove are real, and a few plays in the hole suggest the arm is enough.

 

Here's that first Lewis AB (YouTube is currently processing the rotation of the video, so check back if it's still sideways):

https://youtu.be/xzqHdfsD1HA

Edited by Joseph Chihos, 08 August 2018 - 07:13 AM.

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#6 Steve Lein

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:15 AM

 

What a nice game from Jax, probably the best of his career.Have been waiting since he was drafted to see him have a real chance, and he is delivering.I know his situation with the Air Force is somewhat unusual.Does he go back on active duty after his season ends?

 

And there isn't a lot more to say about Moran.This kid just keeps getting better and better.  

 

You compared Williams home run rate to Rooker last year, Steve.Do you know how it compares to Sano and Rosario?I recall Sano ended up with 20 and Rosario with 21, but don't know what they had thru 42 games.

 

I think Jax's commitment to the Air Force is now over, or it was worked out he could pursue baseball full time instead. Seth could probably correct me if I'm wrong on that.

 

Moran has been unbelievable!

 

As far as the HR rates, Sano had 9 through 42 games, and went on a binge his last 24 games (11 in that frame). Rosario had 11 through 42, and went toe-to-toe with Sano the rest of the way to edge him with 21. My caveat there is this was also before Elizabethton did some changes to the dimensions in the stadium. It's not the bandbox it was back then anymore :)

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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)

#7 rdehring

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:23 AM

 

I think Jax's commitment to the Air Force is now over, or it was worked out he could pursue baseball full time instead. Seth could probably correct me if I'm wrong on that.

 

Moran has been unbelievable!

 

As far as the HR rates, Sano had 9 through 42 games, and went on a binge his last 24 games (11 in that frame). Rosario had 11 through 42, and went toe-to-toe with Sano the rest of the way to edge him with 21. My caveat there is this was also before Elizabethton did some changes to the dimensions in the stadium. It's not the bandbox it was back then anymore :)

Wasn't aware they made changes to the ballpark.Thanks, Steve.


#8 Doctor Wu

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:55 AM

Another great and informative roundup. Many thanks for keeping us in the loop. I have to admit that Williams had not been on my radar at all thus far this season, but you can't ignore the impressive HR numbers. Hope he can keep it up at the next level.


#9 drivlikejehu

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 08:48 AM

 

Is williams a legit prospect, or do his peripherals scream AAAA filler?

 

He got a $10,000 signing bonus . . . his power is legit but obviously scouts have never seen him as having the full set of skills needed to make it at the MLB level.

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#10 slash129

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 08:50 AM

 

larnach and Jeffers got promoted why not williams?

 

He's going for Russo's record. Let's not make it more difficult. ;)


#11 MN_ExPat

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 09:02 AM

 

Is williams a legit prospect, or do his peripherals scream AAAA filler?

If by peripherals you mean more walks than K's... then yes definitely a AAAA filler :)


#12 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 09:07 AM

 

Is williams a legit prospect, or do his peripherals scream AAAA filler?

 

The power is legit. The approach appears to be solid. The Ks are probably going to be an issue, but I am surprised that he hasn't moved up yet. 

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#13 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 09:11 AM

 

What a nice game from Jax, probably the best of his career.Have been waiting since he was drafted to see him have a real chance, and he is delivering.I know his situation with the Air Force is somewhat unusual.Does he go back on active duty after his season ends?

 

And there isn't a lot more to say about Moran.This kid just keeps getting better and better.  

 

You compared Williams home run rate to Rooker last year, Steve.Do you know how it compares to Sano and Rosario?I recall Sano ended up with 20 and Rosario with 21, but don't know what they had thru 42 games.

 

Jax will continue to train for baseball in the Olympics, so he will not need to report back to a base. His job in the Air Force is to train for the Olympics. 

 

http://twinsdaily.co...r-resumes-r6715

 

 

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#14 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 09:15 AM

 

My dad and I went to the Miracle game last night and sat right behind home plate.

Lewis’s first AB was a rocket to center that was robbed by a great catch by he CFer.

He also had a solid two-strike approach, shortening up and putting the ball in play in his second or third at bat with a shallow chopper. The call at first could have gone either way (and the Miracle got a make-up call later that night). He was a collective 12” from a 3-5 night. Such is baseball.

Not mentioned in the summary, he looks very mature at SS. Jax only spot of trouble was early in the game after a HBP and another guy got on base. Runners on 1+2 with nobody out, a sharp grounder went up the middle, Lewis ranged far to his left, made a diving stop to start a double play. The range and glove are real, and a few plays in the hole suggest the arm is enough.

 

Here's that first Lewis AB (YouTube is currently processing the rotation of the video, so check back if it's still sideways):

https://youtu.be/xzqHdfsD1HA

 

 

I added the video of the Royce Lewis diving double play to the article, at the bottom of the Miracle notes... Terrific play, and thank you for your first-hand report...

 

Its always important to know that not every 0-4 or 1-5 is built the same. The important thing is that when Lewis has a play against him like that, the front office will know about it. It would be part of the postgame report. 

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#15 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 09:16 AM

 

Wasn't aware they made changes to the ballpark.Thanks, Steve.

 

Yup, the fences were moved back a year or so after that year. 

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#16 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 09:19 AM

 

He got a $10,000 signing bonus . . . his power is legit but obviously scouts have never seen him as having the full set of skills needed to make it at the MLB level.

 

He got a $10,000 signing bonus because he was a senior sign. Twins liked him enough to take him in the 8th round,, the same round they took Brian Dozier as a senior sign in 2009. A round before they took Mitch Garver as a senior sign in 2013. 

 

I don't know that scouts don't think he can be an MLB player, but hes about the power right now and then we'll see how it goes over time. Has at least one elite tool, so that's a good start. 

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#17 rdehring

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 09:29 AM

 

Jax will continue to train for baseball in the Olympics, so he will not need to report back to a base. His job in the Air Force is to train for the Olympics. 

 

http://twinsdaily.co...r-resumes-r6715

Thanks, Seth.


#18 slash129

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 09:45 AM

 

The power is legit. The approach appears to be solid. The Ks are probably going to be an issue, but I am surprised that he hasn't moved up yet. 

 

Looking into the numbers a little, Larnach (30%) and Jeffers (40%) were hitting line drives a lot more than Williams (20%) is.Williams seems to be an extreme fly ball hitter with power.He has the 22% HR/FB rate, but he also pops-up 33% of the time.  

 

I'm also surprised that he hasn't moved, but that's my best attempt to understand why (with numbers).Rodriguez and Cabbage are already taking a good share of those 1B PAs and don't seem like move down candidates, so there is a player numbers issue as well.I'm sure they want Williams playing every day with the short season.  

 

Maybe, it's just what happens when you add 11 players to the system at the deadline.

 

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#19 drivlikejehu

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 10:31 AM

 

He got a $10,000 signing bonus because he was a senior sign. Twins liked him enough to take him in the 8th round,, the same round they took Brian Dozier as a senior sign in 2009. A round before they took Mitch Garver as a senior sign in 2013. 

 

I don't know that scouts don't think he can be an MLB player, but hes about the power right now and then we'll see how it goes over time. Has at least one elite tool, so that's a good start. 

 

Well that's the point though, college prospects generally are drafted and signed as juniors . . . Williams was drafted last year but not until the 31st round and presumably was not offered much of a bonus then either. Under the slotting system, good college seniors are highly valuable as part of an over-slot strategy, so you can't really compare Williams with Dozier in that sense.

 

Of course, sometimes fringe prospects improve after the draft and turn into great finds. Dozier didn't have his breakout minor league year until his 2nd full pro season at age 24. It would be great if Williams dramatically improved in the same fashion, but nothing he's done so far has moved him up the charts.

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