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Minor League Report 5/22 Hungry Like the Wolf (Jhoan Duran's First 2021 Start)


Top pitching prospect Jhoan Duran made his 2021 debut for the St. Paul Saints this Saturday. Read all about how his start went along with all the other action in the Twins minor league system.

 

TRANSACTIONS

None. 

 

Saints Sentinel

St. Paul 1, Indianapolis 5

Box Score

Jhoan Duran: 3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K

HR: Jimmy Kerrigan (3)

Multi-hit games: Nick Gordon (2-for-3, BB)

Even if the Saints got blown out by 20 in this game, the story still would have been the 2021 debut of top prospect Jhoan Duran. The #86 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline possesses the kind of raw stuff that likely intimidates his own catchers. 

Duran pitched about as well as he was going to given his pitch limit. His six strikeouts over just nine total outs reflect exactly the sort of upside he can bring on the mound. The St. Paul radar gun had his fastball velocity consistently at 102 MPH with an occasional 103 in the mix. Toby Gardenhire himself all but confirms that the radar gun is juiced at higher velocities, however. It is more likely that Duran was only throwing 100. In any case, it is great to have Duran back on the mound and it seems as if it is only a matter of time before he finds himself in Minneapolis.

Jimmy Kerrigan continued his power surge with his second homer in as many games. Old friend Chase De Jong threw a curveball that caught a bit too much of the plate and the righty did not miss it. That homer proved to be the only run the Saints could score.

A barrage of assorted relievers followed Duran’s start on Saturday. Of note was Juan Minaya who allowed a run but struck out five over his three innings of work. The Saints pitching staff struck out 14 batters in total.

 

Wind Surge Wisdom

Wichita 5, Tulsa 1

Box Score

Chris Vallimont: 4 ⅔ IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

HR: None

Multi-hit games: Mark Conteras (2-for-4, R), Jermaine Palacios (2-for-4, R, RBI), Ernie De La Trinidad (2-for-5, 2B, R, RBI), Aaron Whitefield (3-for-4, R, RBI)

While all the attention was on Jhoan Duran, Chris Vallimont submitted his objection to such an isolated focus. Vallimont’s AA debut went smoothly as a solo homerun was the only blemish on his sheet for the night. The eight strikeouts were a nice touch as well.

But games cannot solely be won by the pitcher. The Wind Surge offense provided all that was needed for a successful team effort. Jermaine Palacios knotted the game at one run with a single in the 2nd before Aaron Whitefield gave Wichita the outright lead with his own single in the 4th. 

Uncomfortable with just a one-run lead, the Wind Surge added on in the 6th inning as well. Ernie De La Trinidad doubled home a run, Sherman Johnson singled home yet another, and Jose Miranda brought in yet another one with a sacrifice fly. 

Calvin Faucher and Brandon Koch took over after Vallimont’s day was finished and they made sure his effort was not to be made in vain. Faucher and Koch combined for the final 13 outs with seven of those coming via the strikeout. 

Kernels Nuggets

Cedar Rapids 5, Beloit 8

Box Score

Andrew Cabezas: 3 ⅔ IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

HR: Spencer Steer (3), Gabe Synder (5)

Multi-hit games: Gabe Synder (3-for-4, HR, 2B, R, 2 RBI)

It was another back-and-forth game for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Their penchant for such a battle is becoming quite clear (and likely quite tiring for them).

It was looking to be all Snappers early as a homer by Griffin Conine (yes, he is the son of former MLB-er Jeff Conine) and a double by Thomas Jones gave Beloit the first lead. This would hold up until the 6th inning when the indomitable Spencer Steer launched a three-run homer to give Cedar Rapids the lead. 

Steer has cooled down somewhat since the author last wrote the minor league report but he is still hitting well over .300 on the season. It is looking like it may only be a matter of time before he is packing his bags for Kansas.

The lead did not hold for long. Beloit struck back with two runs of their own in the top half of the 7th to ensure that the Kernels would not command the lead for long. The Snappers would add even more runs (four to be exact) in the following inning to all but end the game. 

Matt Wallner left the game in the 6th inning with an apparent injury. It is unclear exactly why he left but we hope that it was just a precautionary move. 

Mussel Matters

Fort Myers 0, Tampa 13

Box Score

Louie Varland: 3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K

HR: None

Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-4, 2B)

It was a game that got ugly quick for the Mighty Mussels and never found its way back on the tracks. The game was so ugly, in fact, that you did not even realize that I mixed my sayings in the previous sentence. 

Starter Louie Varland found himself in trouble in the 2nd inning as a two-run homer off the bat of Chad Bell put the Mighty Mussels in a quick hole. A few more knocks by the Tarpons doubled the deficit before Varland could escape the inning. Four runs allowed would be a pleasant dream compared to the 13 that Tampa ended up with.

The Tampa Tarpons took a “Earth Wind and Fire” offensive approach into the game. That is to say, they destroyed the competition with an unfathomable amount of great singles. 

The offense fared little better than the pitching for Ft. Myers. Edouard Julien supplied the sole extra-base hit of the game for the Mighty Mussels and the team was only able to scrape up six hits in total. Strikeouts, however, were plentiful. The platter of Tarpon arms were able to punch out Ft. Myers hitters a total of 16 times in the game. 

The best thing to be said is that Sunday is a new day with a clean slate. We shall see if the Mighty Mussels seize that opportunity. 

TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Chris Vallimont

Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Aaron Whitefield 

PROSPECT SUMMARY

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

#1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – 1-3, RBI, BB

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

#3 - Trevor Larnach (Minnesota) – 0-4, 2 K

#4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 0-4, K

#5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K

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

#7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 0-4, 3 K

#8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 1-4

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

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

#11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – 1-5, K

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

#13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-3, K (left game early)

#14 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 0-4, 2 K

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

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

#17 - Ben Rortvedt (St. Paul) – Did not play

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

#19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 0-4, RBI, K

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

SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

Fort Myers @ Tampa (10:00 PM) - TBD

Wichita @ Tulsa (12:05 PM) - RHP Austin Schulfer

Beloit @ Cedar Rapids (1:05 PM) - RHP Ben Gross

Indianapolis @ St. Paul (1:05 PM) - RHP Griffin Jax

 


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I was at the Saints game tonight, and didn't realize Duran was starting. Here's a shot of him in the 1st inning:

https://i.imgur.com/YbF7Rxw

He was pretty rusty in the 1st inning, giving up 3 singles in a row to start, but he settled down and looked better, but did throw a lot of pitches. I found it amusing that he hit 103 MPH on their radar, but it was probably more 99/100. The Indians hitters weren't blown away by it.

Here's one later in the game of Jeffers hitting:

https://imgur.com/QNMzkVd

The Saints hitters were very unwhelming. Kerrigan was the notable exception, he has some pop in his swing, and he nearly hit a second HR to straight-away CF. He's got some speed and pop, perhaps he gets a shot at some point.

Hmmm, looks like the old way to share images isn't working. Darn.

 

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42 minutes ago, Danchat said:

I was at the Saints game tonight, and didn't realize Duran was starting. Here's a shot of him in the 1st inning:

https://i.imgur.com/YbF7Rxw

He was pretty rusty in the 1st inning, giving up 3 singles in a row to start, but he settled down and looked better, but did throw a lot of pitches. I found it amusing that he hit 103 MPH on their radar, but it was probably more 99/100. The Indians hitters weren't blown away by it.

Here's one later in the game of Jeffers hitting:

https://imgur.com/QNMzkVd

The Saints hitters were very unwhelming. Kerrigan was the notable exception, he has some pop in his swing, and he nearly hit a second HR to straight-away CF. He's got some speed and pop, perhaps he gets a shot at some point.

Hmmm, looks like the old way to share images isn't working. Darn.

 

What a pleasant surprise! I would have been delighted to find out that Duran was on the mound. If I could see Hackimer, it would be an added bonus.

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I love the Duran update and the fact he came back with a little rust, but mostly just raw talent.  I see Polanco hobbled now and wonder, again, why they don't bring up Gordon?  Kerrigan has been doing great.  Is he the next CF fill in on the Twins or is it Whitehead?

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Great seeing Whitefield with another three hit game.  Was this the second or third game this week that the Yankees scored double figures against the not so mighty Mussels?

If Duran stays healthy, is it realistic to see him with the Twins at some point this summer?

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I am pretty sure Mr. Veck has tampered with the radar gun a little.  No way are guys hitting 102 with regularity.  It sure looks exciting for the fans though. 

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