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Article: Twins Minor League Report (4/11): Top Pitching Prospects Take Mound

brusdar graterol jordan balazovic jhoan duran luke raley luis arraez
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 09:30 PM

It was a night of top pitching prospects in the Twins minor league system on Thursday. Check out how Lewis Thorpe, Brusdar Graterol, Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic did in their second starts of the season. Find out how each did, as well as how their teammates and teams did on Thursday.Find out everything and more that happened happened in the Twins system on Thursday, starting with the transactions of the day

TRANSACTIONS
  • The Red Wings announced that RHP Chase De Jong was back on their roster after being optioned by the Twins. RHP DJ Baxendale was removed from the injured list. Also, RHP Sean Poppen was transferred back to AA Pensacola.
  • Cedar Rapids announced that catcher David Banuelos was on the 7-Day IL with a concussion. RHP Tyler Palm also placed on the IL. RHP Derek Molina and 1B Gabe Snyder were promoted from extended spring training .
RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 6, Lehigh Valley 13
Box Score

It was the home opener for the Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Field on Thursday.

Lewis Thorpe was back on the mound for his second start of the season. In his first start, he was charged with nine earned runs in four innings. He was better this time. He gave up six earned runs on seven hits and five walks in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out five. Thorpe gave up three in the first inning and one in the third inning. When he left with two outs in the fifth inning, he left two runners on. Ryan Eades allowed both of those runners, plus one more, to score.

Eades did throw two scoreless innings after that fifth frame finished. He struck out three and didn’t issue a walk over his 2 1/3 innings. DJ Baxendale came on and threw a scoreless eighth inning. Unfortunately in the ninth frame, he was charged with six earned runs on five hits and two walks. Mike Morin finished the ninth by getting all three outs.

Luke Raley provided much of the offense. He went 3-or-4 with his first homer of the season and three RBI. John Andreoli was the only other Wings hitter with multiple hits. He was 2-for-5 with his second double. LaMonte Wade walked twice.


The Red Wings, now 2-6, have played quite poorly early in the season. They have statistically been the worst defensive team in the International and from what I have watched, it is earned.

BLUE WAHOO BITES
Pensacola 4, Jacksonville 3
Box Score

Brusdar Graterol picked up his first Double-A win on Thursday night with a real solid performance. The hard-throwing righty gave up three hits and walked three batters over 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He struck out four batters. He left the game with a runner on second and two outs. Tyler Jay came on and got the final out of the sixth inning quickly.



Jay was charged with two runs (1oneearned) in the seventh inning. He gave up two hits and walked one in that inning. Dusten Knight came on and gave up a run in the eighth frame. But he pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the win and earn his second save of the season. He struck out four in the two innings. And, as he does when he closes out a win, Knight does a backflip.



The Blue Wahoos got three hits from Luis Arraez. Jordan Gore and Jaylin Davis each had a single and a walk. They got an RBI single from Mitchell Kranson to take the lead in the first inning. In the sixth inning, Jimmy Kerrigan came through with a two-run double to give the team a 3-0 lead. They added a fourth run on a error by the pitcher.

Pensacola improved to 5-2.

MIRACLE MATTERS
Ft. Myers 0, Dunedin 5
Box Score

Jhoan Duran made his second start of the season. He gave up single runs in the second and third innings. But he pitched pretty well again. In five innings, he gave up those two runs on three hits. He walked just one and struck out five batters. 46 of his 66 pitches were strikes.

Melvi Acosta came on in relief and pitched pretty well, though it may not look it. Acosta gave up three runs (one earned) on three hits, a walk, and a hit batter over the final four innings. But he threw three scoreless innings before the three-run ninth.

Acosta did get some help from his defense. He loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh inning, but Royce Lewis made a diving catch to his right to make a great catch that kept the Miracle in the ballgame at the time. Hopefully we’ll get some video at some point, but here is a report from someone who was there.



The Miracle offense managed just five hits in the game. Trevor Larnach had two hits and a walk. It was his second straight multi-hit game.

The Miracle fall to 4-4 on the season.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 3, Kane County 7
Box Score

Jordan Balazovic had another impressive outing. He struck out two batters in each of the first four innings of the game. In the fourth inning, he gave up his first two hits and a run. He struggled in the fifth inning. He left the game with the bases loaded and two outs (one one a strikeout). Derek Molina came in and got a ground ball to shortstop. But the throw to second base was to slow and late, allowing a second run to score and be charged to Balazovic. Molina then got a strikeout to end that inning.

Balazovic’s final line? He gave up two runs on four hits and two walks. In 4 2/3 innings, he struck out nine batters.

Molina struck out four batters in his 1 1/3 innings. But in that sixth inning, he gave up four runs on three hits and a walk, the biggest hit was a three-run homer that pushed the Kernels’ deficit to 6-1.

Jose Martinez gave up an unearned run on two hits and a walk over two innings. Infielder Joe Cronin came in to pitch the ninth inning and worked a 1-2-3 innings. He led off the bottom of the ninth with a double. He later scored on a double by Michael Davis, who took over at shortstop when Cronin pitched.

Trey Cabbage went 2-for-5 in the game and is now hitting .458. He has at least one hit in all six games he has played. He has had four multi-hit games.

Gabe Snyder, in his first Kernels game, went 2-for-4. Andrew Bechtold also went 2-for-4 in the game. Cronin also went 2-for-4 with the double.

The Kernels fall to 2-6 on the season.

TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Brusdar Graterol, Pensacola Blue Wahoos
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Luke Raley, Rochester Red Wings

PROSPECT SUMMARY

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

#1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 0-4, K
#2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured List
#3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K (77 pitches, 47 strikes)
#4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 2-3, BB, K
#5 - Wander Javier (EST) - No Game
#6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - 1-4, RBI, 2 K
#7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (66 pitches, 46 strikes)
#8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - 4.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 5 K
#9 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Pitch
#10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - 0-4, 2 K
#11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List
#12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured List
#13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, 2 K
#14 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Play
#15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - 1-5, 3 K
#16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Play
#17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - Pitches Friday
#18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - 0-3, 2 BB
#19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Did Not Pitch
#20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Play

FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

Lehigh Valley @ Rochester (5:35 CST) - RHP Zack Littell (0-1, 10.38 ERA)
Jacksonville @ Pensacola (6:35 CST) - LHP Devin Smeltzer (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Ft. Myers @ Clearwater (5:30 CST) - LHP Tyler Watson (0-1, 7.20 ERA)
Burlington @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Cole Sands (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday’s games.

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#2 h2oface

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 12:30 AM

After 8 or so games.... I am really surprised at how poorly so many of the top prospects are doing. I sure hope that changes.

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#3 rdehring

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 06:44 AM

As you know, Seth, I am a huge fan of Thorpe.Certainly didn't expect this ugly start to his season after pitching well at AAA late last year.I seem to remember that he got off to a slow start last year also?

 

Checked to see that Arraez is now hitting .357!Do you see him moving up to AAA early this year, Seth?Or is he one that could be called up straight from AA should they have a need this summer?Have to think that he could be a great lead off hitter for the Twins, perhaps as soon as next year.Yet, the Blue Wahoos have him in the #2 slot.Where do you see as his best spot in the lineup?

 

Great seeing Larnach get back to back two hit games.Need a few other top prospects to join in the hit parade.

 

Was so looking forward to this report to see how the big four pitchers did.Gotta say I am disappointed with Graterol putting up the only dominant performance.Although Duran was solid and Balazovic was dominating his game until it sounds like he ran out of gas.Imagine we have to expect that to happen early in the season, eh?

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#4 rdehring

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 07:17 AM

Did some digging about Thorpe's start last year, Seth.He had a 4.74 ERA the first half (AA) and sub-2.00 ERA the second half (AA only).April's ERA was in the mid-5's with all the other months below 4.00.So yes, he did get off to a slow start, but I don't recall any games like these first two.

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#5 Seth Stohs

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 07:38 AM

 

Did some digging about Thorpe's start last year, Seth.He had a 4.74 ERA the first half (AA) and sub-2.00 ERA the second half (AA only).April's ERA was in the mid-5's with all the other months below 4.00.So yes, he did get off to a slow start, but I don't recall any games like these first two.

 

It's AAA and the Red Wings defense is horrific! I didn't watch, but maybe that was a factor too. 

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#6 Seth Stohs

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 07:45 AM

 

Checked to see that Arraez is now hitting .357!Do you see him moving up to AAA early this year, Seth?Or is he one that could be called up straight from AA should they have a need this summer?Have to think that he could be a great lead off hitter for the Twins, perhaps as soon as next year.Yet, the Blue Wahoos have him in the #2 slot.Where do you see as his best spot in the lineup?

 

Great seeing Larnach get back to back two hit games.Need a few other top prospects to join in the hit parade.

 

Was so looking forward to this report to see how the big four pitchers did.Gotta say I am disappointed with Graterol putting up the only dominant performance.Although Duran was solid and Balazovic was dominating his game until it sounds like he ran out of gas.Imagine we have to expect that to happen early in the season, eh?

 

Graterol was good.

Duran was good.

Balazovic was the most dominant. Man he was good! Even the two hits in the fifth weren't real hard hit. 

 

As for Arraez, he's a fun guy to watch and he's come a long way. His ability now to play some 3B helps. I don't think he jumps to the big leagues unless it's a Polanco thing where they need a guy for like 2-3 days since he's on the 40-man... though they'd' go to Torreyes first. 

 

No need to push him up any time soon though. Eight games of good means about as much as Eight games of bad. 

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#7 terrydactyls1947

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 07:52 AM

When the defense behind you is really bad, a pitcher tends to try too hard to throw perfect pitches and it really impacts his performance. I think the Rochester pitchers will have awful numbers this year unless the defense improves.

#8 gunnarthor

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:08 AM

Klaw might have been right about Balazovic. Sounds like he's got incredible stuff.

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#9 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:27 AM

Why is the defense so bad in Rochester? Is it because Gordon isn't playing and Torreyes can't play SS? That really limits his value as a utility guy/Adrianza replacement if he can't play SS. In the OF, there's Rooker, Raley and Wade, all of whom we've talked about playing on the Twins as early as later this year. Are they all that bad?

 

I'm just curious because it says something about reinforcements available to the Twins if there is poor performance or injury, or if we need to make a trade from the 25 man for relief pitching down the road. If the OFs can't really play OF very well, that limits our ability to trade Cave or Wade as part of a package for pitching because we need them around in case/when Buxton gets hurt. The IF defense might help explain why Polanco seems to be the anointed SS for the foreseeable future and also means we need to keep Adrianza so we have a SS if Polanco gets laid up. Also curious if there's a catcher that could help in case we need to trade one for pitching. 


#10 rdehring

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:38 AM

 

Graterol was good.

Duran was good.

Balazovic was the most dominant. Man he was good! Even the two hits in the fifth weren't real hard hit. 

 

As for Arraez, he's a fun guy to watch and he's come a long way. His ability now to play some 3B helps. I don't think he jumps to the big leagues unless it's a Polanco thing where they need a guy for like 2-3 days since he's on the 40-man... though they'd' go to Torreyes first. 

 

No need to push him up any time soon though. Eight games of good means about as much as Eight games of bad. 

Thanks for the added comments on the pitchers, Seth.Didn't get that feel from reading the initial report.I know its only two starts, but is Balazovic the biggest surprise early this year.....or at least good surprise.


#11 gunnarthor

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:42 AM

 

Why is the defense so bad in Rochester? Is it because Gordon isn't playing and Torreyes can't play SS? That really limits his value as a utility guy/Adrianza replacement if he can't play SS. In the OF, there's Rooker, Raley and Wade, all of whom we've talked about playing on the Twins as early as later this year. Are they all that bad?

On the OF, I think Wade and Raley can be a solid corner OFers defensively but one is playing out of position in CF now. As to Rooker, I would expect him to be a below avg defender. So, realistically, the Red Wings are playing two LFers and a 1B in the OF on most nights.

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#12 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:42 AM

It's AAA and the Red Wings defense is horrific! I didn't watch, but maybe that was a factor too.


5 walks in 4 2/3 innings has nothing to do with the defense.
Hopefully it's just a blip on the radar, but Thorpe has always been somewhat finesse over stuff, hopefully this isn't him getting to the level where his stuff no longer plays.

#13 caninatl04

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:44 AM

Seth wrote:
"Graterol was good.

Duran was good.

Balazovic was the most dominant"

But the teams continue to lose.

#14 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:46 AM

Seth wrote:
"Graterol was good.

Duran was good.

Balazovic was the most dominant"

But the teams continue to lose.


What is the point you are making?

This isn't basketball, one guy can't will a team to win.

#15 Mike Sixel

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:57 AM

It's AAA and the Red Wings defense is horrific! I didn't watch, but maybe that was a factor too.


All around defense? Is anyone any good?

It's IL now, btw, not DL.....


#16 Doctor Wu

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:59 AM

A Twins pitcher throwing 99 mph? Whoa! Be still my heart!

Ad Code Goes Here GOOD

#17 Mauerpower

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:59 AM

A freak April blizzard... like the one we had last year...and the ones we’ve had every spring, ever.
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#18 Seth Stohs

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:25 AM

 

Klaw might have been right about Balazovic. Sounds like he's got incredible stuff.

 

I don't know about putting him ahead of Graterol and maybe Duran, but Balazovic is good. I was probably wrong. 2017 was such a struggle, so I was a little hesitant to push him up too high despite the fact that he was really good in a dozen games for the Kernels last year. Then seeing him and talking to him this spring... he is definitely legit. 

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#19 Steve Lein

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:31 AM

 

Did some digging about Thorpe's start last year, Seth.He had a 4.74 ERA the first half (AA) and sub-2.00 ERA the second half (AA only).April's ERA was in the mid-5's with all the other months below 4.00.So yes, he did get off to a slow start, but I don't recall any games like these first two.

 

He gave up 9 runs in a start in early June, but after that he dialed it in and went 6-0 in his final 10 starts in Double A.

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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)

#20 spycake

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:38 AM

 

I don't know about putting him ahead of Graterol and maybe Duran, but Balazovic is good. I was probably wrong. 2017 was such a struggle, so I was a little hesitant to push him up too high despite the fact that he was really good in a dozen games for the Kernels last year.. 

That's another thing to keep in mind here -- Balazovic is repeating the level. Not that he's old, of course, but he has faced this level of competition before, which might explain some of his hot start.

 

Also, while he's been very good through 2 games, he hasn't been as efficient as one might like to see. 83 pitches and he didn't finish the 5th inning in this start. Outs and strikeouts are nice, but it seems like the best prospects can put away minor league hitters with a bit more efficiency.

 

Obviously still very early in the season, and early in Balazovic's career, so plenty of time for him to improve -- but it's also probably still early to say Law was right and others wrong too.

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