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Article: Twins Minor League Report (8/27): Kernels Clinch Another Playoff Berth

fernando romero michael davis randy dobnak alex kirilloff andy wilkins
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 08:34 PM

Following the 2012 season, the Minnesota Twins made the decision to end their time in Beloit. They worked out a Player Development Agreement with the Cedar Rapids Kernels starting in the 2013 season. On Monday night, the Kernels clinched a 2018 playoff berth with a win. It marks the sixth straight season (all six with the Twins) that the Kernels will be in the playoffs. Jake Mauer managed the first four teams. Tommy Watkins was there in 2017. Congratulations to Toby Gardenhire and his coaching staff on another strong, successful season in Iowa!Keep reading to find out more on the night in the Twins minor league system on Mondays, please feel free to discuss and ask questions.

TRANSACTIONS
  • RHP Omar Bencomo was activated from the Lookouts DL. Clark Beeker was returned to the Miracle.
RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 3, Syracuse 6
Box Score

When Fernando Romero left the mound with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Red Wings held a 3-1 lead. Ryne Harper came on and allowed both inherited runners to score. Harper went another two innings after getting the third out of the sixth inning.He gave up five hits, walked one and struck out four in his 2 1/3 innings. Romero ended up giving up three runs on eight hits over his 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six without issuing a walk.

Byron Buxton had a single and his ninth double in the game. He was the lone Red Wings batter with more than one hit. Johnny Field, Kennys Vargas and Juan Graterol each added a double.

CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Chattanooga 4, Jacksonville 1
Box Score

Casey Crosby was the team’s “opener” on Monday. The left-hander gave up two hits and walked two over two shutout innings. He struck out three. Omar Bencomo went the next five innings to win for the eighth time this season. He gave up five hits without allowing a run. He walked none and struck out four. Devin Smeltzer pitched a scoreless eighth inning. He was charged with a run in the ninth inning and recorded one out. Cody Stashak got the final two outs to record his fourth save.

Andy Wilkins had another strong game. He went 1-for-2 with two walks and his 10th home run. Brent Rooker drove in a run with his 32nd double. Jimmy Kerrigan’s sixth double drove in a run as well.

MIRACLE MATTERS
Ft. Myers 3, Bradenton 2
Box Score

Brusdar Graterol turned 20 years old on Sunday. On Monday, he made his first start as an non-teenager. He threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up four hits, walked on and struck out six. Colton Davis came on and struck out three over the next 2 1/3 innings. He gave up no runs on no hits and no walks. He did hit one batter. Kevin Marnon recorded the save despite giving up two runs on three hits in the ninth inning for the save.

Alex Kirilloff led the offense. He went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. He had RBI singles in his final two at-bats. Caleb Hamilton’s 18th double drove in the team’s first run. Aaron Whitefield was back in the leadoff spot and responded by going 2-for-4 with his sixth double.

Royce Lewis was moved to the #3 spot in the lineup for this game. He went 0-4 and is now 5-for-48 (.104) in his last 12 games. Just a reminder, slumps can happen to anyone.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 5, Kane County 1
Box Score

The Cedar Rapids Kernels will head to the Midwest League playoffs for the sixth straight season (also their sixth straight season as a Twins affiliate).



Randy Dobnak has been a key starter for the Kernels throughout the season. With seven innings of one-run ball on Monday night, he earned his tenth win of the year. He gave up three hits, walked two and struck out four. Jared Finkel worked the final two innings without allowing a run. He gave up one hit, walked two, hit one and struck one out.

Michael Davis continued his impressive professional debut. On this night, the shortstop went 2-for-3 with his eighth home run and three runs driven in. In 36 games with the Kernels (he played three games for Elizabethton), the 24th round pick from Texas Tech has nine doubles and eight home runs. He is now hitting .292 as well.

Victor Tademo, making his Midwest League debut, hit his first home run of the season. He had spent the majority of this season in extended spring training and in the GCL (though he also played a few games with the Miracle).

E-TWINS E-TALK
Elizabethton 6, Pulaski 2
Box Score

The E-Twins are approaching the playoffs and got a strong all-around game on Monday night. Luis Rijo started and went just two innings, but he was perfect and struck out four. Brian Rapp worked the next three innings. He gave up two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three. Blair Lakso struck out four, and walked two, over three no-hit innings. Tanner Howell worked a scoreless ninth inning, striking out one.

Jean Carlos Arias led the offense. He went 2-for-4 with a walk, his third triple, and his third stolen base. Jared Akins had two hits in three at bats. Trevor Casanova knocked his 14th double, and he had a walk. Ricky De La Torre doubled for the 10th time.



GCL TWINS TALK

The GCL Twins season came to an end on Saturday. They finished with a 32-24 record which was 1 1/2 games behind the GCL South Division champion GCL Red Sox.

STARS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Hitter of the Day: Michael Davis, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2-3, HR(8), 3 RBI).
Twins Daily Pitcher of the Day: Brusdar Graterol, Ft. Myers Miracle (5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 IBB, 6 K)

PROSPECT SUMMARY
Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed.
#1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 0-4, K
#2 - Alex Kirilloff (Ft. Myers) - 3-4, 2 RBI
#3 - Brusdar Graterol (Ft. Myers) - 5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K (88 pitches, 59 strikes)
#4 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - 1-4, K
#5 - Stephen Gonsalves (Minnesota) - No game scheduled
#6 - Trevor Larnach (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4
#7 - Brent Rooker (Chattanooga) - 1-4, 2B(32), RBI, R, K
#8 - Akil Baddoo (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, K
#9 -Wander Javier - out of for the season
#10 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - Did not pitch
#11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch
#12 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - 1-4, R, RBI
#13 - Travis Blankenhorn (Ft. Myers) - 0-3
#14 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch
#15 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - Did not play
#16 - Yunior Severino (Elizabethton) - Did not play
#17 - Lewin Diaz (Ft. Myers) - Out for the season (wrist)
#18 - Ryan Jeffers (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4
#19 - Jacob Pearson (Cedar Rapids) - 1-2, BB, R, RBI, K
#20 - Luis Arraez (Chattanooga) - Did not play
#21 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 0-4
*Since Wander Javier is out, I’d add #21 to the list.


TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Buffalo @ Rochester (DH 4:05 CST) - RHP Zack Littell (5-6, 3.42 ERA), TBD
Jacksonville @ Chattanooga (6:15 CST) - RHP Sean Poppen (5-6, 3.44 ERA)
Bradenton @ Ft. Myers (5:30 CST) - RHP Andro Cutura (4-6, 3.88 ERA)
Cedar Rapids - No game scheduled
Pulaski @ Elizabethton (6:00 CST) - TBD
GCL Twins - Season Completed


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

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#2 108Stitches

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 08:44 PM

Nice job baby corn!
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#3 Jham

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 08:50 PM

What's wrong with the Rolls Royce?

#4 Han Joelo

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 08:52 PM

Nice game for Romero.  While I'm glad they are taking care of him, they pulled him after a strikeout-single-single-strikeout sequence, at 84 pitches, and of course as stated, Harper let his runs in.  Had they left him in, one more K and his line would have looked awesome.  Or the opposite could have happened.  Still, stats hinge on a lot of things.  
 

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#5 MikeW

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 09:04 PM

Congrats to the Kernels!They have some boomers on that team along with promising pitchers.
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#6 clutterheart

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 09:14 PM

Any idea why Arraez was pulled yesterday and didn't play today? Injured? Or just precautionary?

#7 Seth Stohs

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 09:18 PM

 

What's wrong with the Rolls Royce?

 

Absolutely nothing. He's in a slump in the late season of his first full professional season. Happens to them all... well, apparently except Alex Kirilloff... 

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#8 launchingthrees

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:15 PM

Who's going to get spicy in the offseason and place Graterol as the Twin's #1 prospect? His combination of missing bats and control all while playing against guys 4 years older than him is really special. He's likely to make a mockery of A+/AA next year.

Edited by launchingthrees, 27 August 2018 - 10:19 PM.

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#9 nater79a

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:25 PM

Nice win for the Miracle to stay in the FSL South playoff chase.

 

Unfortunately, didn't get much help from the Tortugas as Daytona lost to the Charlotte Stone Crabs. FTM still 1.5 games back, I believe..

 

The Miracle needs a hot streak this final week.

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#10 nater79a

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:32 PM

The Kernels almost have to roll with a playoff rotation of Dobnak, Duran and Enlow in some order, right?

 

Not sure what Balazovic's availability is going forward since he's on the 7-day DL.

 

Is there an outside chance Cedar Rapids can get back Edwar Colina or Bryan Sammons (if healthy) should the Miracle not make the playoffs?

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#11 SD Buhr

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:47 PM

 

The Kernels almost have to roll with a playoff rotation of Dobnak, Duran and Enlow in some order, right?

 

Not sure what Balazovic's availability is going forward since he's on the 7-day DL.

 

Is there an outside chance Cedar Rapids can get back Edwar Colina or Bryan Sammons (if healthy) should the Miracle not make the playoffs?

I think it's better than just an "outside chance" that Colina returns to the Kernels. Will be interesting to see how it plays out roster-wise.

 

Dobnak, Duran and Enlow are solid options for the postseason, but you can't get by with 3 starting pitchers in the MWL postseason. There aren't any scheduled days off during the first two rounds of the playoffs (unless you can win games 1 and 2 of the first series).

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#12 nater79a

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:52 PM

Good to see Nick Gordon get a hit and go 1-4 if only to inch away from the Mendoza Line. Could Nick stand to build up some more strength in his 6-0 frame?Thought I had read somewhere that he looked noticeably bigger this past spring training, but perhaps not.

 

Can't help but think this is leading to his second half swoons the past couple years.He just seems to wear down as the season progresses.


#13 nater79a

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 11:04 PM

 

I think it's better than just an "outside chance" that Colina returns to the Kernels. Will be interesting to see how it plays out roster-wise.

 

Dobnak, Duran and Enlow are solid options for the postseason, but you can't get by with 3 starting pitchers in the MWL postseason. There aren't any scheduled days off during the first two rounds of the playoffs (unless you can win games 1 and 2 of the first series).

 

Ahh, okay...now that you mentioned it I did see your tweet on the MWL playoff schedule.No off days should you get to round 2.

 

Yes, would be nice to get Colina back.Have Tyler Watson too, but he's been a little up and down.


#14 curt1965

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 11:11 PM

Seth- I haven’t paid attention to the entirety of the minor leagues, but it seems to me that Kirilloff should be given some consideration for Minor League Player of the Year- no?
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#15 AZTwin

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 03:24 AM

Seth- I haven’t paid attention to the entirety of the minor leagues, but it seems to me that Kirilloff should be given some consideration for Minor League Player of the Year- no?


Vlad Jr in a landslide. Hit over .400 at 19 years old in AA for 61 games. Now in AAA hitting .350. 19 homers on the year with 1.091 OPS across leagues. He is a rare of a prospect you’ll ever see so it’s not even fair
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#16 nater79a

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 04:23 AM

 

Vlad Jr in a landslide. Hit over .400 at 19 years old in AA for 61 games. Now in AAA hitting .350. 19 homers on the year with 1.091 OPS across leagues. He is a rare of a prospect you’ll ever see so it’s not even fair

 

Eloy Jimenez is right up towards the top too, but behind Vlad Jr.

 

But yeah, in any "normal" year (ha!) Kirilloff would be right there in the mix.


#17 spycake

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 04:55 AM

Eloy Jimenez is right up towards the top too, but behind Vlad Jr.

But yeah, in any "normal" year (ha!) Kirilloff would be right there in the mix.


Not so sure. Assuming we are talking about the Baseball America award, the last guy to win it without playing in AA or higher was Buxton in 2013, and before that Andruw Jones in 1995. (And before that, Dwight Gooden all the way back in 1983.)

I'd guess Kirilloff, as a corner player in high-A, would be a longer shot in any season. He's had a great year, but usually there is somebody who has a great year at a higher level and/or up the middle defensively (or on the mound).
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#18 SD Buhr

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 05:49 AM

Yes, I absolutely should have included Watson in my list of CR starting pitchers & if he throws like his last start, he'd be great. As you mentioned, just has not been as consistent as the other 3. I haven't seen Neff yet & Acosta has been ok thru 4ish innings, which is what you'd hope to get from a guy who has been a pen arm most of the year.
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#19 MplsFan

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 06:37 AM

Had a chance to go to the Lookouts game last night as I was in town on business. A couple observations: 1. Very nice ballpark and night for a game, but attendance was less than 1,800 attendance the place felt pretty empty. I'm assuming it fills up a bit more when the team is in contention. 2. I wonder if the lack of attendance could also be due partially to the lack of marquee players on the roster. I was scanning it a bit before I got there and Rooker was really the only one I knew anything about. Seems like the Twins system has position players to be excited about in A ball and lower, but not a lot at AA or AAA. 3. I was impressed with Rooker. He was far more athletic than I thought he would be. For some reason, I was picturing him as a Daniel Palka/Tyler Austin-type, but he's much quicker than that. He flew in from third on a passed ball. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this as he's started 42 games in LF for the Lookouts this season, but it was interesting. Versatility can't hurt!
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#20 rdehring

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 06:51 AM

Great seeing Romero have a very good game.If he can get 6.2 innings in his last start, he would hit 150.0 innings for the season.Should put him on track to be solid for the Twins in '19 with no innings concerns.

 

Last night sure made me take notice of AK.And belated happy birthday to Graterol.Will he pitch for the Twins as a 20-year old?I will go out on a limb and say he won't make it until a week after his 21st birthday.

 

Expect that Lewis has just plain run out of gas in his first 'full' season.May be a reason we won't see him in the AFL.

 

I remember Tademo catching my eye two years ago when he had an excellent season in the DSL as a 17-year old.Great seeing him have a good year and moving up to A ball after a disappointing 2017.

 

And CONGRATS to the Kernels!

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