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Article: Twins Minor League Report (6/6): Six Games/Six Wins

jake cave sean poppen andro cutura jordan balazovic michael davis
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 09:50 PM

A pitcher threw six, two-hit innings, and he wasn't the pitcher of the day. A hitter had a home run and two triples, and wasn't the hitter of the day. It was a day of strong performances and Wins in the Twins organization.

It was a full day in the Twins minor league system on Thursday. The Twins got back to winning. Rochester got a great start and some serious run production. Pensacola swept a double-header with strong pitching and big hits. Ft. Myers got a strong start and enough power to score seven runs. The Kernels needed ten shutout innings to get a win. Great day in terms wins in the Twins organization.Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Thursday, starting with the transactions of the day... well, after a Misael Urbina update from the DSL.




TRANSACTIONS
  • Catcher Brian Navarreto was activated from the injured list. Mitchell Kranson was released by the Twins.
AWARDS

Trevor Larnach was named the Florida State League Player of the Month for May. Probably no surprise as he was named the hitter of the week twice during the month. Hard to argue, though we at Twins Daily named his teammate Lewin Diaz the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month, with Larnach finishing a close second.

Also, we finished our May Minor League Awards by announcing that Hector Lujan was the choice for Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month.


ALL-STARS
On Thursday, the Southern League announced their All-Stars. Six members of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos made the South Division team. They are RHP Brusdar Graterol, Griffin Jax, Ryan Mason, C Caleb Hamilton, 2B Travis Blankenhorn and OF Jaylin Davis.

RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 9, Syracuse 0
Box Score

Sean Poppen has moved up and down from Pensacola to Rochester a couple of times this season, but after a start like Thursday night’s, he just might stick. The right-hander from Harvard tossed seven shutout innings. He gave up just two hits, walked two and struck out eight. Jake Reed got the final six outs, four of them on strikeouts.

The Red Wings got offense from a bunch of people - all nine starters had at least one hit - but Jake Cave stayed hot. The outfielder went 4-for-5 in this game with four doubles. In his last three games, he has eight hits.

Jordany Valdespin went 2-for-5 with his fifth home runs. Zander Wiel added his ninth homer. Tomas Telis went 2-for-4 with his eighth double. Brent Rooker went 2-for-5.

BLUE WAHOO BITES

Before we get to the double-header, but we're just going to start with Jimmy Kerrigan, who did this:



Game 1 - Pensacola 2, Jacksonville 0
Box Score

Andro Cutura has had a rocky start to his 2019 season, his first at Double-A. But on Thursday, he was fantastic. The right-hander threw six shutout innings. He gave up just two hits, walked none and struck out two batters. Sam Clay worked a scoreless seventh inning for his fifth save.

Michael Davis connected for his first Double-A home run since his promotion from Cedar earlier in the week. It gave the Wahoos a 1-0 lead in the second inning. In the third, Travis Blankenhorn scored on an error. That was all the scoring. Jimmy Kerrigan went 2-or-3.



Game 2 - Pensacola 11, Jacksonville 4
Box Score

The bottom of the Wahoos lineup led them to a big Game 2 win. A four-run fourth inning was followed by a five-run fifth inning. The six through nine hitters combined to go 6-for-11 with seven runs on nine RBI. Sixth-place hitter Caleb Hamilton went 2-for-3 with his 11th double and fifth homer. He drove in three runs. Next up was Michael Davis. After hitting his first homer in Game 1, he hit his first two triples in Double-A. Brian Navarreto drove in two runs with his second home run, and nine-hole hitter Joe Cronin hit a two-run homer. It was his third Double-A homer.

It was a bullpen game for Pensacola. Anthony Vizcaya got them off to a fast start. He needed just 42 pitches to get through three scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out six batters. Williams Ramirez came on and gave up two runs (1 earned) on two hits and a walk in his inning. Cody Stashak gave up two runs over his two innings. Zack Weiss pitched a scoreless final frame and struck out two.


MIRACLE MATTERS
Ft. Myers 7, Florida 4
Box Score

Jordan Balazovic was really good again on Thursday night and improved to 4-0 since joining the Miracle a month ago. In this one, he started with five scoreless innings. He did give up a run in the sixth frame, so his final line had him giving up one run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out seven. Calvin Faucher gave up three runs (one earned) on three hits over two innings. Melvi Acosta pitched in another different role. This time he was the closer and came on for the final four outs to record his first save. He struck out two.

Royce Lewis led off and led the way for the offense. He went 3-for-5 with his 13th double. Ernie De La Trinidad also had three hits, including a triple. Jose Miranda went 2-for-3 with a walk and his 12th double. Lewin Diaz added his 11th home run.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 1, Clinton 0 (10 innings)
Box Score

For the second straight night, there wasn’t much scoring in Clinton, but the Kernels were able to scratch one across in the top of the tenth to take a 1-0 win. Wander Javier came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the tenth and grounded into a fielder’s choice. The out was made at third base while the runner, Ricky De La Torre, crossed home plate.

Jared Akins went 2-for-4. Gilberto Celestino had a single and a walk.

The story, of course, was on the mound where Kernels starters struck out 15 batters over 10 shutout innings. Kody Funderburk made the start and worked five scoreless, one-hit innings. He struck out seven without a walk. Alex Schick came on and tossed two scoreless innings. Derek Molina followed with four strikeouts over the next two innings. Zack Neff came on for the bottom of the 10th inning and kept the LumberKings from scoring.


TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Sean Poppen, Rochester Red Wings
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jake Cave, Rochester Red Wings

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

#1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 3-5, 2B(13), R, RBI
#2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured List
#3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured List (shoulder)
#4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 1-5, 2K
#5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, BB, RBI
#6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - 2-5, RBI, 2K
#7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch.
#8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch.
#9 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch.
#10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured List (Tommy John surgery)
#11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - 1-5, R, RBI, 2B(8)
#12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured List (elbow)
#13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, BB
#14 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Game 1 (0-3, 2K), Game 2 (1-4, R, K)
#15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (thumb)
#16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, BB, K
#17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch
#18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - 1-5, 2B(6), R, 2 RBI, 2K
#19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Did Not Pitch
#20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 2-3, BB, 2B(12), R, RBI

FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester @ Pawtucket (DH @ 4:05 CST) - RHP Kohl Stewart (4-3, 3.95 ERA), TBD
Pensacola @ Biloxi (6:35 CST) - LHP Charlie Barnes (0-0, 3.60 ERA)
Jupiter @ Ft. Myers (6:00 CST) - RHP Jhoan Duran (0-5, 3.61 ERA)
Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 CST) - RHP Tyler Palm (1-4, 4.75 ERA)

Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Thursday games or any other minor league topics you would like.

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#2 mlhouse

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:27 PM

Was at the Miracle game and Jordan Balzovic pitched the best game I have seen for the Miracle.He was simply outstanding for the first 5 innings plus.  

 

While he gave up 5 hits, two were infield squibs that barely made it past the pitchers mound and one was a dying duck flare hit the opposite way by a hitter who was just blindly swinging. He only walked one batter and struck out 7.Up until the 6th inning, if they did not strike out, it was one collection of weak hit balls after another.

 

His fastball was very, very impressive.I try to describe a pitchers fastball with a little system I develped that gives the range of speeds.

 

In the first two innings he was 94-94-94-95-96 (meaning the bulk of his fastballs were 94, some 95, touch 96).Note:I think the Hammonds Field radar gun is a bit fast.

Third and 4th inning93-94-94-94-95.

 

Fifth you could tell he was tiring a bit:93-93-94-94-94He literally had his first 3 ball at bat in this inning.

 

And in the 6th he was 92-93-93-93-94

 

He pitched in all of the speed ranges with the mid-90 fastball.With his fastball at 93-96, he also throws a slider in the87-90 mph range.Then a curve in 82-84 and looks like a change upat 78-80.He threw all of these pitches for strikes and hit almost all of his marks. What was really impressive to me was at least 3 of the 7 strikeouts were looking and almost all of the looking strikeouts were 94-96 mph fastballs he just burned by the batter who looked on helplessly.  

 

I was also impressed with how he won every battle.There were a couple of batters that fouled off 2-strike pitch after pitch. The batters were just hanging on as Jordan powered fastball after fastball into the zone and they could not handle it.Finally, he threw a curve and struck them out.  

 

While I would like to see his 6 inning endurance hold better, he is 20 years old and at 6-4, only 175 lbs.As he matures he should be able to maintain his fastball velocity later into the game.A couple of more outings like this and I think they need to move him up to AA.I am telling you, this guy is a top 10 prospect and probably the #2 pitching prospect in our system behind Graterol.I have seen Thorpe, Stewart, and several others at Ft Myers, andBalazovic was much more impressive than any of them.

 

Other notes:

 

Lewin Diaz absolutely crushed a home run over the Truly Nolen 2018 FSL Championship banner in center field.The guy is really flashy (he has huge earings in both ears and lots of chain) and holds his hands really low.If he had a more conventional hitting approach he might be a much more solid prospect.Im just not certain you can hold your hands just above your waist and hit higher level pitching.

 

Ryan Jeffers is a good hitter that has some potential to move up the ranks, but he is never going to be a major league catcher.The team should use him there in the minors so he can serve as a backup catcher, but he doesn't have the movement skills.  

 

Royce Lewis might be slumping a bit, but he is going to be a solid player.The ball jumps off his bat and he is a really solid leader.He keeps his teammates loose. 

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#3 MNT1996

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:33 PM

Jake Cave is on an absolute tear. Could he possibly be used in a trade package? Seems like our outfield is pretty stacked at the moment.

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#4 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 06:16 AM

just a question, but are we not tracking the DSL in these?

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#5 rdehring

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 06:37 AM

Isn't it a fantastic day when the Twins go 6-0.Does that include the DSL 3-2 win or are you including the Twins, Seth?

 

And thanks for the first hand report on the Miracle and Balazovic from MLHouse.It is great seeing Lewis get three hits, maybe his bat will take off for the rest of the season.

 

As the Twins search for pitching, could Poppen be part of their future?


#6 Han Joelo

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 06:52 AM

 

Jake Cave is on an absolute tear. Could he possibly be used in a trade package? Seems like our outfield is pretty stacked at the moment.

I was reading an article about the Phillies options for CF with McCutcheon out, and kept thinking about what a great opportunity that would be for Cave.  However, I doubt they are trading major league ready pitching for him.  So meanwhile, he will have to remain as young quality depth.

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#7 birdwatcher

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 07:36 AM

mlhouse, you can see by the number of likes to your post that we absolutely eat up these first-hand reports! Yours was so excellent! Please do us an enormous favor and do it often!

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#8 2wins87

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 07:50 AM

 

While I would like to see his 6 inning endurance hold better, he is 20 years old and at 6-4, only 175 lbs.As he matures he should be able to maintain his fastball velocity later into the game.A couple of more outings like this and I think they need to move him up to AA.I am telling you, this guy is a top 10 prospect and probably the #2 pitching prospect in our system behind Graterol.I have seen Thorpe, Stewart, and several others at Ft Myers, andBalazovic was much more impressive than any of them.

 

6'4" 175 is a string bean.I assume he's above his listed weight.Did he look bigger or is he really that skinny?


#9 MMMordabito

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 07:56 AM

 

mlhouse, you can see by the number of likes to your post that we absolutely eat up these first-hand reports! Yours was so excellent! Please do us an enormous favor and do it often!

 

Yes! +1 ... UpVote ... This!


#10 MMMordabito

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 08:02 AM

 

 If he had a more conventional hitting approach he might be a much more solid prospect.Im just not certain you can hold your hands just above your waist and hit higher level pitching.

 

That type of hitting stance always makes me raise an eyebrow as well, but some have had success.Alex Rios comes to mind.Our own Marwin Gonzalez holds that bat pretty low as a lefty as well.


#11 markos

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 08:05 AM

 

Jake Cave is on an absolute tear. Could he possibly be used in a trade package? Seems like our outfield is pretty stacked at the moment.

I absolutely think this is a sell-high moment for Cave. His path to playing time with the big league team seems long. Honestly, I would trade him for prospects right now, kind of like what the Yankees did with him last year.

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#12 MMMordabito

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 08:07 AM

 

Jake Cave is on an absolute tear. Could he possibly be used in a trade package? Seems like our outfield is pretty stacked at the moment.

 

I would want it to be an above value offer for him .... I wouldn't want him to be a throw in .... The thing with Cave is that he is basically a plug-and-play if any of the big three go down .... Obviously, Gonzalez fills in as the fourth right now, but his value would be lower if he was forced to be a starting OF and not available to swiss-army around the field ... I also think Cave is a better OF than Marwin (didn't check if numbers back that up)

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#13 Seth Stohs

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 09:09 AM

 

Was at the Miracle game and Jordan Balzovic pitched the best game I have seen for the Miracle.He was simply outstanding for the first 5 innings plus.  

 

While he gave up 5 hits, two were infield squibs that barely made it past the pitchers mound and one was a dying duck flare hit the opposite way by a hitter who was just blindly swinging. He only walked one batter and struck out 7.Up until the 6th inning, if they did not strike out, it was one collection of weak hit balls after another.

 

His fastball was very, very impressive.I try to describe a pitchers fastball with a little system I develped that gives the range of speeds.

 

In the first two innings he was 94-94-94-95-96 (meaning the bulk of his fastballs were 94, some 95, touch 96).Note:I think the Hammonds Field radar gun is a bit fast.

Third and 4th inning93-94-94-94-95.

 

Fifth you could tell he was tiring a bit:93-93-94-94-94He literally had his first 3 ball at bat in this inning.

 

And in the 6th he was 92-93-93-93-94

 

He pitched in all of the speed ranges with the mid-90 fastball.With his fastball at 93-96, he also throws a slider in the87-90 mph range.Then a curve in 82-84 and looks like a change upat 78-80.He threw all of these pitches for strikes and hit almost all of his marks. What was really impressive to me was at least 3 of the 7 strikeouts were looking and almost all of the looking strikeouts were 94-96 mph fastballs he just burned by the batter who looked on helplessly.  

 

I was also impressed with how he won every battle.There were a couple of batters that fouled off 2-strike pitch after pitch. The batters were just hanging on as Jordan powered fastball after fastball into the zone and they could not handle it.Finally, he threw a curve and struck them out.  

 

While I would like to see his 6 inning endurance hold better, he is 20 years old and at 6-4, only 175 lbs.As he matures he should be able to maintain his fastball velocity later into the game.A couple of more outings like this and I think they need to move him up to AA.I am telling you, this guy is a top 10 prospect and probably the #2 pitching prospect in our system behind Graterol.I have seen Thorpe, Stewart, and several others at Ft Myers, andBalazovic was much more impressive than any of them.

 

Other notes:

 

Lewin Diaz absolutely crushed a home run over the Truly Nolen 2018 FSL Championship banner in center field.The guy is really flashy (he has huge earings in both ears and lots of chain) and holds his hands really low.If he had a more conventional hitting approach he might be a much more solid prospect.Im just not certain you can hold your hands just above your waist and hit higher level pitching.

 

Ryan Jeffers is a good hitter that has some potential to move up the ranks, but he is never going to be a major league catcher.The team should use him there in the minors so he can serve as a backup catcher, but he doesn't have the movement skills.  

 

Royce Lewis might be slumping a bit, but he is going to be a solid player.The ball jumps off his bat and he is a really solid leader.He keeps his teammates loose. 

 

I always enjoy getting these reports from people who were at the games!

 

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#14 mlhouse

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 09:11 AM

 

6'4" 175 is a string bean.I assume he's above his listed weight.Did he look bigger or is he really that skinny?

 

He is thin.But throws hard and he is just 20 years old.


#15 Seth Stohs

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 09:13 AM

 

Jake Cave is on an absolute tear. Could he possibly be used in a trade package? Seems like our outfield is pretty stacked at the moment.

 

He certainly could be a 3rd piece in a bigger trade... or the 2nd chip in a medium-size trade. Individually, I don't think he would bring back more than an A-ball player. I think he's seen in the industry as a quality 4th outfielder. Remember the Twins added him a year ago for a hard-throwing RHP who had not thrown a pitch in the US yet. His value is certainly a little higher this year, but I don't think it'd be significantly more.

 

The question I would throw back to you all is this: I think we can all agree that if a team is insisting on Cave or a trade won't be made, you add him to the deal. But if adding him doesn't bring back a meaningful return, then what? I personally would rather keep him in AAA and if one of the three starting OF get hurt, he can provide more value to the Twins being really good depth playing well in AAA. 

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#16 mlhouse

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 09:14 AM

 

That type of hitting stance always makes me raise an eyebrow as well, but some have had success.Alex Rios comes to mind.Our own Marwin Gonzalez holds that bat pretty low as a lefty as well.

 

The kid has been in the organization for almost 6 years now and has over 1,500 plate appearances.You would think they would have adjusted that bit by bit.  

 

He is a big kid, but he looks very athletic.


#17 Seth Stohs

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 09:14 AM

 

just a question, but are we not tracking the DSL in these?

 

We never have... I bring it up every year and there doesn't seem to be a lot of interest in doing it. I do check what Urbina does all the time though.

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#18 Aerodeliria

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 09:57 AM

Great pitching and timely hitting. And as for defense, we tend to throw words around like spectacular when players make good catches, but Kerrigan's catch really was spectacular. If you have played in the outfield, you know how tough catches are when you have to dive full-length acrossyour body (opposite your glove, i.e., backhand) because the ball disappears completely from your view. That was really a highlight reel grab.

 

Can anyone tell me how hard Poppen throws? Is he primarily a fastball and slider type of pitcher? That was a pretty dominating performance.


#19 Seth Stohs

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 10:32 AM

 

6'4" 175 is a string bean.I assume he's above his listed weight.Did he look bigger or is he really that skinny?

 

He ended last season at 6-4 and 198. He's long and lean, but he's not like skinny. He's strong. 


#20 Seth Stohs

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 10:34 AM

 

Can anyone tell me how hard Poppen throws? Is he primarily a fastball and slider type of pitcher? That was a pretty dominating performance.

 

I'm told that Poppen sits 92-94 hits 95 fairly often and touches 96. Yup, he's a fastball slider guy and has worked to try to improve the changeup. 




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