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Twins Minor League Report (7/13): Rooker Smashes! And a Rookie League No-Hitter*


A couple of major leaguers were activated for rehab assignments with the St. Paul Saints, but it was a different slugger with major league experience who stole the show at CHS Field on Tuesday night. There were also several big innings from lineups across the system on the night, and even a no-hitter rookie leagues (that asterisk in the title is for a reason, but the scorebook says what the scorebook says!).

To find out who hit all those home runs in St. Paul, how the big innings all went down, and who was responsible for that no-hitter in the FCL, keep reading! 

TRANSACTIONS

  • Catcher Mitch Garver was sent on a rehab assignment to the St. Paul Saints. Good to see him back on the field after his freaky injury. Jake Cave was also activated for a rehab assignment with the Saints.
  • LHP Kody Funderburk and RHP Jordan Gore were promoted from Cedar Rapids to Wichita. LHP Aaron Rozek was assigned to the Mighty Mussels from the Wind Surge, and RHP Jason Garcia was placed on the 7-day injured list.
  • Taking the place of the departing pitchers from Cedar Rapids were RHP Osiris German and RHP Louie Varland from Fort Myers.
  • In addition to Rozek the Mighty Mussels also were assigned RHP Orlando Rodriguez.


SAINTS SENTINEL
Columbus 1, St. Paul 19
Box Score

With Jake Cave, Mitch Garver, Brent Rooker, and Willians Astudillo in the lineup for the Saints on Tuesday, this one played out just like you might expect when putting a lineup of major leaguers out against one of minor leaguers.

St. Paul bludgeoned Columbus pitching early with three runs in the first then four more in the third before exploding for 10 runs in the fourth. When they needed a hit, they got them, and big ones in bunches too. Cave led off the game with a homer and Rooker hit another blast in the first. Rooker and Mark Contreras each went yard in the third. Then Rooker again, and Jose Miranda took one out of the park in the big fourth inning.

The lineup got multiple hits from Miranda (2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, K), Rooker (4-for-6, 4 R, 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2 K), Contreras (2-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K), and JT Riddle (2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI). Cave and Rooker each scored four runs. As a team St. Paul was 9-for-13 (.692) with runners in scoring position and left only five men on base. In addition to their 14 hits and six walks, five hitters were hit by pitches leading to their runs outpacing hits for the game.

Righthander Griffin Jax took the mound for the Saints and went the first five innings, working efficiently. He allowed one run (solo homer) on three hits. He did not walk or strike out a batter, and threw just 63 pitches with 40 going for strikes (63.5%). Reliever Juan Minaya came on for the sixth inning and finished the next three scoreless innings. He allowed three hits, one walk, and struck out four. Joe Harvey finished off the game with a scoreless ninth, allowing one hit and punching out two.

WIND SURGE WISDOM
Tulsa 7, Wichita 2
Box Score

Wichita got on the board first in this one when Trey Cabbage clubbed his third home run of the season, a two run-shot in the second inning. But that was all the offense they would muster on the night as the lineup managed just two other hits on the game.

They had only one at-bat with a runner in scoring position and left only two men on base for the game. There is not much you can if you never have the opportunities.

Righthander Austin Schulfer got the start for the Wind Surge and went five solid innings. He allowed three earned runs on two hits and three walks, while striking out six.

Jovani Moran went the next 1 2/3 and was not his usual knife through butter self, being charged with one run on one hit and three walks, though he still did strike out four. Zach Neff came on gave up three runs of his own in 1+ innings. He allowed four hits and struck out one. Jhonleider Salinas finished the game off for the Wind Surge with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. He walked one and struck out two.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 8, South Bend 5
Box Score

The Kernels too, got on the board early and then often in a single inning on Tuesday as they put up three runs in the first then a five-spot in the fourth that put them ahead 8-1 at the time. The three runs in the first came courtesy of Seth Gray’s seventh home run of the season.

The lineup got multiple hits from Gray (3-for-6, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, K), Wander Javier (2-for-5, R, 2B, BB, 2 K), and Edouard Julien (2-for-5, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K). Julien’s 2-RBI single in the fourth inning capped the scoring for Cedar Rapids and he continues to lead the minors in walks while sporting a .475 on-base percentage across two levels.

The eight runs were more than enough to pick up the win as the pitching staff held strong enough as South Bend attempted a comeback. Starter Cody Laweryson went the first four innings for the Kernels, allowing a single earned run on three hits and two walks while punching out six. Tyler Palm allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in his single inning. Ryan Shreve was credited the win after his two innings where he allowed one run on two hits and struck out two. Zach Featherstone pitched the final two innings, allowing a run of his own on one hit and two walks while striking out three.

The Kernels improved to 35-26 on the year and are firmly in second place of the Midwest League West Division.

MUSSEL MATTERS
Jupiter 10, Fort Myers 12
Box Score

Fort Myers jumped out to a beg early lead after an eight run second inning, but struggled to keep that lead for the rest of the game and it turned into a back-and-forth contest late.

Willie Joe Garry Jr. got the scoring started in the second with a two-RBI single. Misael Urbina followed two batters later with a grand slam that made it 6-1. A Jeferson Morales double and Jesus Feliz single would plate the other two runs in the frame.

Starter Brent Headrick went four innings in total, allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks, while striking out six. Matthew Swain came out for the fifth inning but was not able to get out of it before being charged with four runs on three walks. He struck out one. With two in the fifth Carlos Suniaga was summoned and went the next 2 1/3 scoreless innings, keeping the Mighty Mussels within one going into the bottom of the seventh.

They were able to tie it at nine thanks to an RBI single off the bat of Ruben Santana, but gave it right back in the top of the eighth.

Righthander Bradley Hanner came into the game and gave up consecutive single to start the inning, that resulted in a run as the first hitter stole second and reached third on a throwing error.

Now down 10-9, Fort Myers would not give up. Yunior Severino delivered an RBI sac fly in the bottom of the eighth after Aaron Sabato reached base on an error and moved to third on a double from Morales. Feliz then put them up by one with an RBI single and executed a double steal with Justin Washington for another run to make it 12-10 in favor of the home team.

Back out front for the top of the ninth, the Mighty Mussels brought on Denny Bentley to close out the win. A one out walk and single made it a little interesting, but Bentley buckled down and struck out the final two hitters (and all three outs in the inning) to end the game and pick up his fifth save.

In addition to Morales and Feliz, Washington (2-for-4, R, 3B, K, SB) and Santana (2-for-2, R, RBI, 3 BB, SB) also multiple hits on the game.

COMPLEX CHRONICLES
Game 1:  FCL Braves 5, FCL Twins 1
Box Score

The FCL Twins played a doubleheader with their Atlanta Braves counterpart on Tuesday afternoon, and they each picked up a victory.

In game one the Twins were outhit 8-5 and were not able to mount any rallies in losing 5-1.

Alexander Pena led the way with a 2-for-3 effort including a double. Kala’I Rosario picked up the only RBI.

Starter John Stankiewicz went the first two innings, allowing one run on two hits and a walk while recording all of his outs via the strikeout (six total). Wilker Reyes went the next four innings and allowed three earned runs on six hits and two walks. Cole Bellair finished the game with an unearned run on two walks in the seventh, striking out one.

Game 2:  FCL Twins 8, FCL Braves 0
Box Score

The Twins got back at the Braves in game two behind a no-hitter from their starting pitcher. The caveat here is even in the normally shortened 7-inning game of a doubleheader, only 5+ innings were completed in this one as lightning moved into the area.

The Twins scored two in the first and six in the second to account for all their runs. Rosario had two more RBI in this one thanks to a double. Catcher LaRon Smith had three RBI and his second home run of the season. Pena (2-for-4, R, RBI) and Miguel Vallejo (2-for-2, R, 2 2B) had multiple hits. As a team they were 7-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left just six on base for the game.

Pitcher Giovahniey German went five innings and walked just two while striking out four. Quite a performance for the 20-year-old in just his third game pitching in the states! Goes down as a no-hitter in the scorebook no matter who is reading it, congratulations!  (Reliever Zach Goree was meant to start the sixth inning before the game was called)

TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY

Pitcher of the Day – Giovahniey German, FCL Twins (5 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 4 K)
Hitter of the Day – Brent Rooker, St. Paul Saints (4-for-6, 4 R, 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2 K)

PROSPECT SUMMARY

Take note that we have finished our midseason update, so there is a new list! Here is a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:

#1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL)
#2 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Injured List (elbow strain)
#3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Did not pitch
#4 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (right elbow strain)
#5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, K
#6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – 1-for-2, R
#7 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – All Star Break
#8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Did not pitch
#9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 1-for-4, R, BB
#10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (wrist sprain)
#11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery)
#12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – All Star Break
#13 – Cole Sands Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch
#14 – Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 4-for-6, 4 R, 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2 K
#15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 1-for-5, R, GS HR, 4 RBI, BB, K
#16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 0-for-4, 3 K
#17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 2-for-5, R, 2B, BB, 2 K
#18 – Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (foot injury)
#19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow)
#20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – Did not pitch

WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

Columbus @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) – TBD
Tulsa @ Wichita (12:05PM CST) – TBD
Cedar Rapids @ South Bend (6:05PM CST) – RHP Tyler Beck (1-1, 1.93 ERA)
Jupiter @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) – RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (4-2, 5.89 ERA)

Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!


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Man what a game by Rooker he was superman last night,  Almost every time he came up he did damage.  The closest thing to that performance was Miranda's big day.  Rooker is never happy until he is in that 900 OPS range.  If can do anything close to that at MLB level the Twins have a very good hitter.  Hopefully he earns himself a call up after the deadline.

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What a beat down by the Saints, eh Steve?

Recall watching their game against Columbus a few weeks ago.  The Clippers had Reyes and Pena playing for them that day, so it goes both ways with these rehab assignments.  Great seeing Garver back on the field, although I must say I am surprised he was the catcher rather than DH in his first game.  And Miranda just keeps hitting.  Really got to believe this kid is for real and should be a big part of the Twins future.  Also good seeing Jax have a solid start in his first game back. 

As usual, checked the Kernels box score and saw that Javier was 2-5 with a walk and run scored.  Another nice game to build on his current hitting streak.  Saw that Urbina had just one hit, but a big one.

If my math is correct, Pena was 4 for 7 on the day, which is about what his batting average is for the season (0.563).  This kid can't keep hitting like this, can he?

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1 hour ago, Dman said:

Man what a game by Rooker he was superman last night,  Almost every time he came up he did damage.  The closest thing to that performance was Miranda's big day.  Rooker is never happy until he is in that 900 OPS range.  If can do anything close to that at MLB level the Twins have a very good hitter.  Hopefully he earns himself a call up after the deadline.

Do you know Dman what the actual numbers are for Rooker for say the first half of the season and the second half?  I recall that he was disappointing us early a few years ago, then tore the cover off the ball the last couple months.  Last year he was at the ALT Site, then hit very well late in the year for the Twins.  Is it possible he is just flat out a slow starter who gets really good as the season goes on?

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7 minutes ago, roger said:

Do you know Dman what the actual numbers are for Rooker for say the first half of the season and the second half?  I recall that he was disappointing us early a few years ago, then tore the cover off the ball the last couple months.  Last year he was at the ALT Site, then hit very well late in the year for the Twins.  Is it possible he is just flat out a slow starter who gets really good as the season goes on?

Not much data out there for 2020.  IN 2019 he had a slow April but for the month of June he had an OPS over 1000 points. So I think there might be some validity to your slow start theory, but it also could just be adjusting to different levels and circumstances too.  

In 2021 he had another hot June OPSing over 1000 again.  The main difference seems to be patience or eye at the plate.  He walked more in June and his slugging was better.  July he still has over a 900 OPS but he isn't walking as much and slugging was suffering until last night of course.

 

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Rooker is your righty at bat for the outfield and you send Celestino back down to AAA for at bats.  Cave doesn't need to be called back up, doesn't bring anything better to the outfield mix that is already there.  Garver catching for a few innings is nice to see, how does his body recover from playing a full game at catcher will be interesting to see.  This opening line makes me laugh... With Jake Cave, Mitch Garver, Brent Rooker, and Willians Astudillo in the lineup for the Saints on Tuesday, this one played out just like you might expect when putting a lineup of major leaguers out against one of minor leaguers... Let's see, Cave 1 for 2, Garver 0 for 3, Rooker who has been with AAA for almost the whole year was the stud and Astudilo 0 for 4.  2 guys did all the damage.  

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8 minutes ago, umterp23 said:

Rooker is your righty at bat for the outfield and you send Celestino back down to AAA for at bats.  Cave doesn't need to be called back up, doesn't bring anything better to the outfield mix that is already there.  Garver catching for a few innings is nice to see, how does his body recover from playing a full game at catcher will be interesting to see.  This opening line makes me laugh... With Jake Cave, Mitch Garver, Brent Rooker, and Willians Astudillo in the lineup for the Saints on Tuesday, this one played out just like you might expect when putting a lineup of major leaguers out against one of minor leaguers... Let's see, Cave 1 for 2, Garver 0 for 3, Rooker who has been with AAA for almost the whole year was the stud and Astudilo 0 for 4.  2 guys did all the damage.  

While the MLB guys weren't necessarily the ones who made the score, the point of MLB-ers vs MiLB-ers stands, hah.

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11 minutes ago, Steve Lein said:

While the MLB guys weren't necessarily the ones who made the score, the point of MLB-ers vs MiLB-ers stands, hah.

Hah is correct, point to you sir.  I would imagine we will see Rooker after the trade deadline I would think.  Brining Cave back to bigs, is very questionable move.  Play Gordon in CF to spell Kepler and you have Rooker, Larnach and Kiriloff on rotation in the corner spots.  Cave has to be odd man out

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Add me to the camp that is 100% against promoting Cave back to the active roster.  I don't hate Cave, but when looking at his putrid numbers from this season and in 2020-----he hasn't done squat to deserve ABs at the MLB level.  IMO, the only purpose he serves is as at LH bat to pinch hit, a pinch runner late in the game or as a late inning defensive replacement.  The issue is--the Twins already have that in Nick Gordon, who has better speed and offers more flexibility defensively.  It has become time to demote Celestino.  This is especially true when Cruz is traded.  Rooker offers a needed RH bat that can DH in lieu of Sano and can play either corner OF position.  Celestino needs REGULAR ABs, which he's not getting--nor should he---at either Wichita or Saint Paul.  I think Wichita is the better spot for him for at least the remainder of the season.

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1 hour ago, Steve Lein said:

While the MLB guys weren't necessarily the ones who made the score, the point of MLB-ers vs MiLB-ers stands, hah.

Well, if we're going to count Rooker and Astudillo for the Twins, we should probably count Columbus's Yu Chang, Owen Miller and Wilson Ramos, right? And their starter, JC Mejia, started against the big-league Twins a couple of weeks ago, and Brad Peacock has a couple of years of service time under his best too. 

Sam Hentges looked pretty good for them though! 

 

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37 minutes ago, Seth Stohs said:

Well, if we're going to count Rooker and Astudillo for the Twins, we should probably count Columbus's Yu Chang, Owen Miller and Wilson Ramos, right? And their starter, JC Mejia, started against the big-league Twins a couple of weeks ago, and Brad Peacock has a couple of years of service time under his best too. 

Sam Hentges looked pretty good for them though! 

 

I wonder what it would take to get Owen Miller from Cleveland. It's not that the Twins need him, but it would be cool to bring back the Minneapolis Millers as the keystone combo for the Minnesota Twins when Noah hopefully graduates in a couple/few years. Marketing department dream right there. 😀

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3 hours ago, jmlease1 said:

Rooker has prodigious power, but unless he learns to recognize and at least defend himself against MLB-quality breaking balls...he's a 4-A player. he can hit fastballs and will punish plenty of fastballs in the zone, but he's got to do better in laying off breaking stuff out of the zone and being able to react to breaking pitches in the zone and doing damage with them. Because next time he comes up to MN (and i do believe he deserves another look), he's not going to see hardly any fastballs at all. If you think Larnach and Kirilloff are seeing a heavy diet of breaking stuff...The Brent Rooker Experience will be substantially worse until he proves he can manage it.

I seem to remember that when he was sent down earlier this season, Rocco or someone said that his defense needed to improve.  Maybe his bat is what's improved enough, but bat-only is a really high hurdle in the major leagues.  Has he shown any ability to play an acceptable defensive game?

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Rooker will turn 27 at the end of this years World Series. It's crazy to think guys like him have 3 option years remaining 7 years after he was drafted. Well, at least that's how it is for now. I'd be surprised if there weren't some big changes in regard to that kind of team control in the next CBA, especially if we're going to see a universal DH. Reducing team control would free up some fringe DH-ish talent for rule 5 acquisitions. He is taking a lot of walks at AAA this year (15%), but that K rate is just brutal for MiLB at 30%. There are a couple notable changes, though. I'm not sure how accurate this is, but Fangraphs shows Rooker has been using the whole field this year rather than being the straight pull hitter he was and his K rate is technically down from 35% in 2019. Looks a lot like Daniel Palka.

Jose Miranda is just destroying the baseball this year. Hopefully, he keeps scorching the ball and forces his way onto the roster. The problem is finding a place to put him if the Twins don't move a couple guys before the deadline.

I was thinking Palacios would get a promotion to AAA, but he's been scuffling in July. A stat line of .176/.300/.206 with a 25% strike out rate this month will hopefully turn back around. It's no serious slump, but a bad couple weeks. At least he's taking some walks at 12.5%.

Still happy to see Cavaco hitting back from his stint on the IL. He's at .360/.484/.440 for a 924 OPS since his July 6th activation. SSS, but he's taking a ton of walks (20%), albeit with a 30% K rate too, but I'm hoping taking the walks will lead to him getting some better pitches to hit to show a little more power that's been absent from his game.

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