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Twins Minor League Report (5/14): Pitchers Have Their Way

The Twins affiliates' opponents didn't score much tonight, as there were solid pitching performances across the system. Check this out and more in tonight's Minor League Report.

Saints Sentinel
Iowa 3, St. Paul 4
Box Score

Andrew Albers staved off a rocky start to fire a solid six innings and set the Saints up to win in a close one. Albers allowed two runs off hard-hit balls early, but settled down to post a final line of 6 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 5 K, 1 BB.

Iowa grabbed a run in the first when Keon Broxton dove well short of a P.J. Higgins drive to left-center, allowing Rafael Ortega to score from first and Higgins to take third for a triple. They doubled their advantage in the second, on a solo home run from Taylor Gushue. 

The Saints had men on first and third with two out in the third, but a strikeout from new addition Daniel Descalso ended that threat.

Abiatal Abelino was potentially robbed of a homer in the top of the fifth as his blast to right seemed to bounce off the fence on top of the wall in right, before bouncing over the wall in foul territory. With no replay to consult, Abelino was awarded second base and the inning ended in the next at-bat when Tomás Telis (catcher by trade) made a marvelous diving play at first base for the third out.

Nick Gordon’s shot in the bottom of the fifth, however, left no doubt. The Saints shortstop lit a fire under St. Paul’s sputtering offense with a three-run to take the lead 3-2. And in the very next at-bat, Brent Rooker hit a bomb of his own, this one to left. 


That 4-2 lead lasted until the eighth, when Ian Hamilton came into the ballgame with a man on first and two out. Hamilton made a mess of his appearance, walking the only three batters he faced, including a bases-loaded walk to Andrew Romine that cut the lead to 4-3. Danny Coulombe cleaned up Hamilton’s mess as he got Sergio Alcantara to fly out to Rooker to end the inning.

Coulombe came back out for the ninth and, though a Trayce Thompson single and a Ryan Jeffers passed ball caused a moment or two of panic, he got three outs to secure a four-out save and, more importantly, a win for the Saints.

Descalso Yet to Find His Swing

The Twins signed infield journeyman Daniel Descalso to a minor league contract Thursday and put him right into the middle of the Saints lineup. In two starts, he’s 0-6 with three strikeouts and a walk. Not Great. Obviously it’s only six at-bats, but as a 34-year-old who hit .173 in his most recent time in the majors, it’s unclear if the Twins have much here.


Wind Surge Wisdom
Wichita 4, Amarillo 0
Box Score

Josh Winder was on for the Wind Surge tonight as he made the offense’s job easy by setting the tone for a combined shutout with his dominant outing. Winder went 52/3 and allowed zero runs on only three hits with eight strikeouts. The big righthander had Sod Poodles lost, hitting mid to high 90s throughout the night, and missing bats with regularity. With the help of a few generous calls from the home plate umpire, got a few guys looking as well. 

As for the offense, Aaron Whitefield picked up where he left off, ripping a triple off the center field wall to lead off the Wind Surge offense. He scored on the next at-bat on a Peter Mooney single. Whitefield drove in a run of his own in the third, on a groundout, after Ernie De La Trinidad was hit by a pitch and advanced from first to third on an errant pickoff attempt.

The Surge left the bases loaded in the fifth when Mark Contreras struck out and stranded Whitefield, Mooney, and Jose Miranda, who all singled.

The Surge added two runs in the bottom of the eighth off a wild pitch and an Andrew Bechtold single. They proved inconsequential as Yennier Cano pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the game.

Whitefield Stays Hot

Fresh off of being awarded Double-A Central Hitter of the Week, Aaron Whitefield showed us why again tonight. The speedy Surge center fielder was 2-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored and the only time he didn’t reach base, he drove in a run. Whitefield is now slashing .372/.438/.651 through 10 games to start the season. With his speed and power, Whitefield is the type of player who is worth the price of admission by himself, as evidence by his electric triple in the first. Whitefield has filled in with the big club before and, though there are multiple guys above him in the center field depth chart, he may be the most exciting as long as Byron Buxton remains hurt. And, with a team as bad as the Twins look right now, excitement is about all you can hope for.


Kernels Nuggets
Quad Cities 2, Cedar Rapids 6
Box Score

Solid pitching and hitting across the board gave Cedar Rapids a win that, save for a few worrisome moments, was pretty comfortable.

Matt Wallner gave the Kernels the lead in the first frame with an RBI single through the left side. That lead did last long, however, as a Vinnie Pasquantino sac fly scored Nathan Eaton to tie the score for the River Bandits in the bottom of the frame. Cedar Rapids didn’t seem to like that too much  as they took the lead back in the second, scoring two off a passed ball and a Spencer Steer sacrifice fly.

Kody Funderburk left after three; he was uneven at times tonight, allowing four hits and two walks in his three innings, but his five strikeouts helped him work around his mistakes to the tune of only one run allowed. Derek Molina took over in the fourth and spun three scoreless with five strikeouts.

Spencer Steer added to the Kernels lead in the top of the fifth, with his first homer of the year, a solo shot to left. 

Then, after a walk and a single, Gabe Snyder doubled, scoring Seth Gray and bringing the Cedar Rapids lead to 5-1. Gray got an RBI of his own in the sixth, when his single scored Gabriel Maciel.

After lying dormant for much of the game, the River Bandits offense was given some life when a walk, an error, and a hit batter allowed them to load the bases with one out. Jordan Gore then walked in a run, but after a mound visit (that included the trainer), he recovered to strike out two to end the inning. 

After that misadventure, Gore fired a scoreless eighth and Zach Featherstone pitched an equally scoreless ninth to secure a well-deserved win for the Kernels.

Mussel Matters
Clearwater 6, Fort Myers 3
Box Score

Fort Myers just couldn’t stay out of their own way in this one, as four errors, eight walks, and two wild pitches contributed to Clearwater’s six runs in a big way.

The Threshers struck first in the top of the second with an RBI single from Carlos De La Cruz, but the Mussels got that run right back when Edouard Julien and Willie Joe Garry Jr. executed a first and third double steal that allowed Julien to swipe home. Then, birthday boy Jeferson Morales bopped a solo homer to left in the home half of the fourth to give Fort Myers their first lead, 2-1. 

The Threshers loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth and scored one off a Steven Cruz wild pitch, but a ground-ball double play and a comebacker to the mound ended the inning and kept the damage to a minimum. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, Aaron Sabato decided he didn’t need anyone on base to score a run, as he hit his first professional home run to give the Mussels a 3-2 lead. 

However, there was more trouble for the Mussels in the top of the seventh, as Clearwater used three singles and a throwing error to score two and grab the lead for themselves, at 4-3.

The Threshers had the bases full yet again in the eighth (off three walks from Donny Breek) and again stranded all three runners as Juan Pichardo came in and got a fly out to end the inning. 

Unfortunately, Fort Myers shot themselves in the foot in the top of the ninth and allowed Luis Garcia to make an entire trip around the bases off of throwing errors on back-to-back plays. Clearwater would add another in the ninth, off a Baron Radcliff groundout, to build a 6-3 lead that proved to be insurmountable. 


Pitcher of the Day- Josh Winder (Wichita)- 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K
Hitter of the Day- Nick Gordon (St. Paul)- 2-4, 1 R, 3 RBI, HR


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

 #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – Injured List (wrist)

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

#3 - Trevor Larnach (Minnesota) – 0-4

#4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 1-4

#5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Did Not Pitch

#6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back)

#7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 0-4, 2 K

#8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 1-4, solo HR, 3 K

#9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did Not Pitch

#10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did Not Pitch

#11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – Did Not Play

#12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 1-4, solo HR, K

#13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-4, BB, RBI, K

#14 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-3, BB

#15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did Pot Pitch

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

#17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – 1-2, K

#18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A

#19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 2-4, R

#20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – Did Not Pitch


Iowa @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes (1-0, 5.40 ERA)
Amarillo @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) – LHP Bryan Sammons (0-0, 6.23 ERA)
Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30PM CST) – RHP Matt Canterino (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Clearwater @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) – RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (0-1, 189.00 ERA)

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Descalso is a mystery signing. I want the young players to move up, not fill the roster with old and incompetent.  That goes for RP too - Hamilton is another of our questionable signings and Albers is not going to prosper in MLB - I can't wait for Balazovic and Duran to come back. 

Whitefield is giving us some hope - what a contrast in CF between  Whitefield and Kepler/Cave.


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Thanks for the report.  Took a look at the box scores and see that Wichita and Cedar Rapids are both playing really great baseball, especially the Wind Surge.

Expect Whitefield will stay in Wichita for a few more weeks, but then they have to get him to St. Paul as he may be the best young outfielder to join the Twins when they begin trading current players in the next month or two.  Is he the most exciting player in the organization?  Was also great seeing Cano with another solid outing.  Speaking of Wichita outfielders, any word on the health of Celestino after getting hit by a pitch the other night?

What was disturbing when looking at the box scores was seeing that Wander Javier is again hitting a buck something.  I recall seeing him get hits in his first few games and assumed/hoped he was off to a better start...wrong.  Its still early, but certainly time for him to get his bat going.  Gotta feel for this kid, hopefully, he had some people making smart decisions with the four million bucks he got to sign.

Watched the Saints on Thursday and yesterday's blast seems to confirm that after another slow start to his season, Rooker is heating up.  Great to see as I recall how impressed I was by him after watching Seth's interview this past winter.

Thanks again for bringing us something positive from the Twins organization!

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