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Twins Minor League Report (5/4): Happy Minor League Opening Day


Happy Minor League Opening Day!! After a completely canceled minor league season in 2020, it is exciting to have minor league ball back, and we are excited to bring back the Twins Minor League Reports. Here is a refresher below, with some stories, pitching probables and more in there.We expect that over the course of the season, the Minnesota Twins will be good, and they will attract much of our attention. As you know, at Twins Daily we take a ton of pride in our minor league coverage. We are bringing back the daily Twins Minor League Reports. We have six writers who will help us cover the games each night.

 

Below, you will find some reminders of what to expect from the daily reports. I have also included Tuesday’s Twins minor league starting pitchers as well as the opening series starters for both St. Paul and Ft. Myers. You will find information on the Saints 2021 broadcast and more. You will find a long-ish story on the Mighty Mussels with some information from their press conference on Saturday. You will see that we’ll continue to post updated on the team’s top prospects, and we’ll pick the hitter and the pitcher of the day each day as well. And then, we will spend time in the comments section, answering any questions you may have.

 

I know I am very excited about being able to follow the Twins, but also follow four more box scores each night. I know the players are very excited to get back on the field for games against players from other teams.

 

I will be in Cedar Rapids this first week, so feel free to ask questions below and I’ll try my best to answer as many as I can. With that, let’s get to the Opening Day Twins Minor League Report primer, re-introduction and more. But first, a couple of links to recent stories about the upcoming minor league season and prospects.

 

Depth Camp Opportunities: Hear from six Twins players about their first big-league spring training experience.

 

 

Follow the Affiliates: Find out how you can keep tabs on the Twins four full-season affiliates throughout the season.

 

 

TRANSACTIONS

  • On Monday, the Twins announced that RHP Randy Dobnak had been optioned to St. Paul, and that LHP Brandon Waddell had been called up to the Twins.
SAINTS SENTINEL

St. Paul, Omaha

Box Score

 

Each game played by a Twins affiliate will have the score and a link to the box score. Then in this area, we will write up highlights of the games. Who pitched? Who had multi-hit games or extra-base hits? We will hopefully be able to add some tweets or video from the game when possible. If there are stories on players from the team, we want to link to them.

 

For instance, the Saints announced that all 120 of their games will be broadcast. Most of the games will air on KFAN Plus (96.7 in the Twin Cities), but some Sunday games will air on KFAN (100.3 in the Twin Cities). All games will be on iHeart radio. Sean Aronson will be entering his 15th season as the Saints play-by-play broadcaster and is scheduled to do all 120 games.

 

The Saints begin their first affiliated season with a trip to Omaha. Here are the expected starters for the first five games:

 

Tuesday: LHP Andrew Albers, Wednesday: LHP Charlie Barnes, Thursday: RHP Randy Dobnak, Friday: LHP Devin Smeltzer, Saturday: RHP Bailey Ober, Sunday: TBD.

 

Here is the Opening Day Saints' roster (before the Dobnak/Waddell transaction).

WIND SURGE WISDOM

Wichita, Springfield

Box Score

 

The Wind Surge begin their season with a series on the road in Springfield, Missouri. Josh Winder will make the start for Wichita in Game 1.

 

Take a look at the Wind Surge Opening Day roster.

 

 

KERNELS NUGGETS

Cedar Rapids, Peoria

Box Score

 

I am excited as I will be at four or five games in Cedar Rapids this week, starting tonight. Lefty Kody Funderburk, a former 1B/OF, is the Opening Night starter for the Kernels.

Here is the Kernels Opening Day roster.

 

We also want to highlight articles on players written in their local newspaper or by the team’s beat writers. Here’s a good example. Jeff Johnson, the terrific beat reporter for The Gazette in Cedar Rapids wrote this season preview and story on OF Trey Cabbage.

 

 

MUSSEL MATTERS

Fort Myers, Bradenton

Box Score

 

Fort Myers announced earlier this week that RHP Regi Grace will be their Opening Day starter. The 2018 tenth round pick will be making his full-season debut.

 

Asked how the team could be this year, Grace said, “We’re going to dice! Every guy we send out there is going to do his job. Of course we want to get to CR (Cedar Rapids), but at the end of the day, we want to win. Up-and-down, one-through-nine in the lineup and whoever is going to toe the rubber, we’re just going to go out there and compete.”

 

A quick look at the Mighty Mussels’ roster shows a pitching staff with a lot of guys with starter experience. In a press conference on Saturday afternoon, pitching coach Peter Larson said that we can expect to see a lot of piggybacking throughout the year.

 

“Coming off the missed year, workload volume management is the most important thing. We don’t want to blow these guys out. We have a lot of starters and 15 pitchers. We’re going to look to piggyback starters, especially in the early months, and it could go the full season. So that’s the exciting part because you look at the guys who progressed through our system like Dobnak and Smeltzer, they started and came out of the ‘pen. I could definitely expect to see a mixture of that. Maybe one guy starts the first week and comes out of the bullpen the next week. We’re just very mindful of the workload. We’re not trying to tax anyone especially in the first month. It’s going to be critical. The adrenaline is going to be high.”

 

Larson was the rehab coach in 2019, so he got to see pitchers like Casey Legumina, Sean Mooney and Hunter McMahon work that year and then worked with pitchers throughout the 2020 season.

 

Shortstop Keoni Cavaco pointed out that he’s excited to get the season started, but it was also important for him to make a full-season squad to start the season. “I put a lot of work in last year when we didn’t have a season. Just to know that all the hard work that I put in is paying off. It’s exciting to play 120 games. I’m excited for it.”

 

Cavaco pointed out that he has moved around a little bit in spring training but is mostly at shortstop.

 

Manager Brian Meyer said, “One thing that we have been stressing from an infield standpoint is to be able to play multiple positions, second base, third base, shortstop, even first base. We’re trying to get them comfortable at each because if you look at the trend right now in the big leagues, guys can play multiple positions, and if you’re hitting, we’re going to get your bat in the lineup. The more ability you have to play different positions, the more flexible it makes rosters. But it is going to be a challenge.”

 

Here are the Mighty Mussels starters for their opening series:

 

Tuesday: RHP Regi Grace, Wednesday: RHP Casey Legumina, Thursday: RHP Sean Mooney, Friday: LHP Brent Headrick, Saturday: RHP Steven Cruz, Sunday: RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long.

 

 

TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY

 

Every day, we will select one hitter of the day, and one pitcher of the day, and you can discuss who it should have been. Hopefully many days we will have many good options!

 

Pitcher of the Day –

Hitter of the Day –

 

 

PROSPECT SUMMARY

 

We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. For tonight, only Twins 1B Alex Kirilloff and catcher Ben Rortvedt have stats. Tuesday night, several more will.

 

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

 

#1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) - 2-4, 2-2B, 3 R, RBI, K

#2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL)

#3 - Trevor Larnach (St. Paul) - Did not play

#4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) - Did not play

#5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Did not pitch

#6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch

#7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) - Did not play

#8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) - Did not play

#9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch

#10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch

#11 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch

#12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) - Did not play

#13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - Did not play

#14 - Misael Urbina (Complex) - Did not play

#15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch

#16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow)

#17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) - 0-3, 2 K

#18 - Alerick Soularie (Rehab) - Did not play

#19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) - Did not play

#20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) - Did not pitch

 

 

TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

 

St. Paul @ Omaha (6:35PM CST) - LHP Andrew Albers (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Wichita @ Springfield (6:35PM CST) - RHP Josh Winder (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - LHP Kody Funderburk (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:05PM CST) - RHP Regi Grace (0-0,0.00 ERA)

 

 

Please feel free to ask questions! It sure is exciting to have minor league baseball back.

 

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I'm sure glad that some are excited about the farm. I used to be, and there was a bunch to get excited about, but plenty of disappointment prevailed, and now I have a hard time seeing the promise. I must be getting old. 

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Opening Day for the minor leagues, Seth. Have been waiting for this day for nearly two years.

 

Was going to jump thru the hoops needed to get BSN and watch Twins games since Hulu dropped FSN. Decided yesterday that instead of doing that, will get MiLB and watch minor league games this summer.

 

Was planning on watching the Saints tonight, but with Winder going in Wichita will watch that game instead. Can you believe it is time to PLAY BALL for these young guys?

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Seth, Thank you for your dedication and   your informative and entertaining writing about the Twins minor league players. Your hope-filled and positive minor league reports have been missed by us all. Let the games begin. Let the enjoyable reading about the minor leaguers begin. Play ball. 

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Keep your eye on the Muscles this year as there is going to be a 2019, 2020 blend along with later in the year guys that might have started at Elizabethton needing time there as well.  There will be lots of guys to look at.

 

High A and AA have lot's of starting pitchers to keep an eye on.  Will be interesting to see how our hitters do this year. There doesn't seem to much for elite hitters after Kirilloff and Larnach.  I guess Sabato might make it in that range at some point but pretty much every other hitter in the system has to make a lot of progress to get to that elite level.

 

Maybe Wallner, Soularie, Steer and Gray can challenge but have been average at best to this point.  Celestino, Miranda have an outside chance as well but again on paper the hitting looks weak this year IMO.  Hopefully we have some guys that break out this year otherwise it looks like we will have to wait for Cavaco, Valdez, Urbina, Rosario, Rodriguez and Diaz to make a difference but they are a ways a way.

 

Gonna be fun to follow these guys this year.  Can't wait to see who shines.

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Just got to Veteran's Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids! The Peoria Cardinals are taking BP. The sun is shining... 

Watching on MiLB.tv. Wave if you see a camera pointed your way!

 

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