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Twins Minor League Report (8/24): Saints Begin Battle For Division Lead


On Tuesday night the St. Paul Saints kicked off their biggest series of the season, facing off against the division-leading Toledo MudHens with big-time playoff implications. A couple of games were also rained out in the system, so it was a slow news night when it comes to prospect performances.

To see if the Saints were able to take over the division lead, and how the rest of your favorite Minnesota Twins prospects who were able to play on Tuesday fared in Tuesday nights action, keep reading!

TRANSACTIONS

After a flurry of transactions on the MiLB off-day yesterday, there was even more movement before today’s games:

  • RHP Randy Dobnak was sent on a rehab assignment with the St. Paul Saints.
  • OF BJ Boyd was officially promoted from Wichita to St. Paul.
  • The Wichita Wind Surge placed OF Leobaldo Cabrera on the temporary inactive list.
  • 1B Gabe Snyder was sent on a rehab assignment with Fort Myers from Cedar Rapids.
  • The Mighty Mussels were assigned RHP Logan Campbell and RHP A.J. Labas from the FCL Twins.

SAINTS SENTINEL
St. Paul 0, Toledo 2
Box Score

In a battle of the top two teams in the Midwest Division of Triple-A, the Toledo MudHens used a dominating performance from their pitching staff, including a rehabbing Matthew Boyd, to take the series opener and increase their division lead to 1.5 games over the Saints.

St. Paul’s pitchers were pretty good too, as they actually held Toledo to less hits than they managed, but the MudHens got the big one in the form of a two-run home run in the first inning off starting pitcher Beau Burrows. That was it for the entire game when it came to runs scored, as the teams combined to go 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on the night.

Burrows went the first four innings, and allowed those two runs on two hits and four walks, while striking out four hitters. Ian Gibaut got the fifth inning and delivered a scoreless frame, walking one and striking out two. Andrew Vasquez then went the next two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and sitting down two MudHen hitters. Chris Nunn finished off the game with a scoreless inning, walking two and striking out one.

On the offensive side, Jose Miranda led off the game with a single, but the next fourteen hitters in a row (including 7 K’s) were retired before Ben Rortvedt drew a walk in the fifth inning. Byron Buxton lined a two-out double to left-center in the sixth but the Saints never could get a rally going. They struck out 11 times on the night, including three each from Trevor Larnach and Jimmy Kerrigan. They left only four men on base for the game and had just two at-bats with runners in scoring position. Gilberto Celestino and Drew Maggi each had a single.

The Saints will look to trim the division lead back to a half-game tomorrow with Joe Ryan on the mound.

WIND SURGE WISDOM
Tulsa 4, Wichita 6
Box Score

Starting pitcher Austin Schulfer didn’t begin the game as well as he’d like, allowing four singles and a walk in the first inning, but thanks to a strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out-double-play, was able to limit the damage to just a single run. He settled in from there, holding Tulsa scoreless for the rest of his outing, including retiring the last seven batters he faced and allowing only a walk to his last twelve. In total Schulfer went five innings, allowing just the one run on five hits and two walks, while punching out six Drillers.

The Wind Surge offense got the run back for him immediately in the first inning, after Jermaine Palacios singled with two outs, reached second on a balk, and scampered home on a Trey Cabbage single. Austin Martin had led off the game with a double, but was doubled-up at second base on a line drive to second base from the following hitter, Roy Morales.

Wichita would extend their lead to 4-1 through five innings thanks to an RBI double from Ernie De La Trinidad in the second, then an Aaron Whitefield RBI single and RBI walk from Martin in the fourth.

Zach Neff was summoned from the bullpen to start the sixth inning but immediately put himself in trouble by hitting the first batter with a pitch, which was followed by a double and a single that cut their lead to two. After a mound visit Neff was able to get out of the inning without any further damage, but he ran into trouble again in the seventh, with his night ending with two outs after a two-run homer cut the Wichita lead to one.

In their half of the sixth, Wichita got a needed insurance run thanks to a sacrifice fly from Caleb Hamilton, and they got another in the seventh when Andrew Bechtold clubbed a double to score Jermaine Palacios, who had reached base earlier in the inning with his third single of the game.

After Neff had given up the home run in the seventh, Jordan Gore came on from the bullpen and shut the Drillers down for the final 2 1/3 innings, picking up his third save in the process. He allowed no hits, no walks, and struck out two to lower his ERA in double-A to 1.89 on the season.

The Wind Surge got multiple hits on the night from Palacios (3-for-4, 2 R, K, SB), Cabbage (2-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, K), Whitefield (2-for-3, 2 R, RBI) and Ernie De La Trinidad (3-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB, K) in the win and extended their division lead to six games over the Drillers and Arkansas Travelers.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids @ Beloit, Postponed: Rain

The Kernels game against the Snappers was postponed due to the rain we experienced across the midwest on Tuesday. They will play a doubleheader tomorrow starting at 4:30 PM.

MUSSEL MATTERS
Bradenton @ Fort Myers, Postponed: Rain

Just like their High-A friends, the Marauders versus Mighty Mussels was also postponed due to rain yesterday. They’ll have multiple doubleheaders this week as they are already making up a postponement from August 13th tomorrow.

COMPLEX CHRONICLES
Game 1: FCL Twins 1, FCL Orioles Black 0 (Completion of game suspended on July 26th)
Box Score

Way back on July 26th this game was suspended in the bottom of the first inning. They resumed in the morning with Juan Mendez on the mound instead of Giovahniey German, who had gotten two outs, including a strikeout, before the lightning came into play. 

Mendez was fantastic on Tuesday, fanning six in 4 1/3 innings pitched and allowing no runs on just one hit and zero walks allowed to pick up his first win. Develson Aria pitched a scoreless inning to pick up a hold, striking out one, before Malik Barrington finished the final three scoreless innings for the save. Barrington allowed one hit and struck out five. In all the pitchers allowed just two hits, walked none, and struck out 13 Orioles.

The Twins lineup got their lone run in the third inning after an error put a baserunner on third base, and Carlos Aguiar beat out a double-play turn at first to allow him to score. Luis Baez (2-for-4, K) and Rubel Cespedes (2-for-3, R, K) each had two hits in the win.

Game 2: FCL Twins 10, FCL Orioles Black 6 (7 innings)
Box Score

The regularly scheduled game on the day was much different than the first, as the teams combined for 18 hits and 16 runs compared to just seven and one. Luckily the Twins did most of the damage as they got two home runs from catcher Wilfri Castro, including a grand slam in the fourth inning, and another off the bat of Emmanuel Rodriguez. In addition to Castro (2-for-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI) and Rodriguez (2-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, K, SB), shortstop Noah Miller (2-for-3, R, 2B, RBI, BB) also had multiple hits on the night, including his first double as a pro.

Left-hander Wilker Reyes got the start for the Twins in this one and held the Orioles scoreless for his first four innings. He lost his control in the fifth however and left the game with the bases loaded and one out after two walks, a hit-by-pitch, and a couple of wild pitches. Rafael Feliz was summoned and allowed all three of those runners to score and another three of his own after giving up a three-run homer later in the frame. He got just one out, on a K, before Samuel Perez finished off the final 2 1/3 innings to pick up his fourth win. Perez allowed no runs on two hits and struck out two batters.

TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY

Pitcher of the Day - Malik Barrington, FCL Twins (S, 3 IP, H, 0 R, 5 K)
Hitter of the Day - Wilfri Castro, FCL Twins, 2 games (2-for-7, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, K)

PROSPECT SUMMARY

#1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL)
#2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB, 3 K
#3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch
#4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch
#5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain)
#6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, K
#7 - Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
#8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain)
#9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch
#10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Game postponed
#11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List 
#12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - Game postponed
#13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, K
#14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
#15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 2-for-3, R, 2B, RBI, BB
#16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, R, BB, 2 K
#17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery)
#18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Game postponed
#19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch
#20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Did not play

WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35 PM CST) - RHP Joe Ryan (4-3, 3.54 ERA)
Tulsa @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Tyler Beck (1-1, 2.79 ERA)
Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (Game 1: 4:30 PM CST) - LHP Tyler Watson (2-3, 4.13 ERA)
Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (Game 2: 30 min after game 1) - TBD
Bradenton @ Fort Myers (Game 1: 3:30 PM CST) - TBD
Fort Myers @ Bradenton (Game 2, at Hammond Stadium: 30 min after game 1) - TBD 

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

 


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"On Tuesday night the St. Paul Saints kicked off their biggest series of the season, facing off against the division-leading Toledo MudHens with big-time playoff implications."

Sooooooo....... is there AAA play-offs? This article is confusing, and says that if you win the playoffs you still may not be crowned champs, because the champion will be the team with the best total overall record! Seth was saying yesterday, on the Predicting Minnesota’s Next 4 Top Prospects to Debut thread that there would be no playoffs. Now you are talking about AAA playoffs. Very confusing. Any light to shed?

 

https://www.milb.com/news/playoffs-return-to-minor-league-baseball

"July 1, 2021
Dust off your highest hopes because playoff baseball is returning to the Minor Leagues.

After the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 season and pushed back the start of the 2021 campaign, the postseason was tentatively put on hold. But now, it's back for three levels.

After the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 season and pushed back the start of the 2021 campaign, the postseason was tentatively put on hold. But now, it's back for three levels.

At the Double-A, High-A and Low-A levels, the top two teams in each league will compete in a best-of-5 series, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 21. The Triple-A regular season was extended to Oct. 3, and champions will be crowned based off their overall records. The Florida and Arizona complex leagues will not have playoffs.

The two teams from each league will be determined by best full-season winning percentage, regardless of division. Tiebreakers will be based upon:

1. Head-to-head record
2. Best winning percentage over last 20 games
3. Best winning percentage over last 21 games, etc.

The Triple-A East was originally scheduled to end on Sunday, Sept. 19, but clubs on that circuit will begin two five-game series beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 22, with a pair of off days before the next one starts on Wednesday, Sept. 29. In the Triple-A West, which was set to end on Tuesday, Sept. 21, the two five-game series will begin on Thursday, Sept. 23, and Sept. 29. The team with the best record on each circuit following the completion of games on Oct. 3 will be declared the league champion."

Kelsie Heneghan is a writer for MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.

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.... and this one talks about a 10 game final stretch that includes all AAA teams ...... with the best record in those games, among all 30 Triple-A teams, will be “awarded a prize from Major League Baseball,”  - and the acutal champion being crowned before the Final Stretch at the end of the 120 game season by best record.

In St. Paul's case, that would mean they are currently 9.5 games behind Durham, and behind 6 other teams for the "championship" of the East. The West has their own champion.

 

https://www.truebluela.com/2021/7/17/22580277/dodgers-minors-triple-a-schedule-oklahoma-city

Congratulations, Triple-A teams. Your season just got two weeks longer, but no, unlike your minor league brethren, you will not have any playoffs in 2021.

The conceit of the 10 extra games added to the end of the Triple-A schedule is that it makes up for half the games lost when the start of the season was delayed. The original Triple-A schedule was 142 games long, set to start on April 6, but in early March was postponed to start on May 6, with a 120-game schedule.

Oklahoma City will play five games at Las Vegas from September 23-27, then finish at home with five games against El Paso from September 29 to October 3. That makes for a 130-game schedule, but it’s not that simple.

Both Triple-A leagues (West and East) will crown a regular season champion, based on the best record through the 120-game schedule, which for Triple-A West ends on September 21. But they are calling those final 10 games the Triple-A Final Stretch — a trademarked phrase that sure seems ripe for a sponsor at some point — and the team with the best record in those games, among all 30 Triple-A teams, will be “awarded a prize from Major League Baseball,” per a press release this week.

“With all 30 teams participating in this Final Stretch, all Triple-A players and communities will have the opportunity to win this year’s postseason tournament,” said Peter Woodfork, MLB’s senior vice president in charge of minor league operations.

Only that’s not much of a tournament at all. It’s just all 30 Triple-A teams playing two more series. Meanwhile, Double-A, High-A and Low-A leagues will all play a best-of-5 playoff series to determine league champs. You know, like a real postseason.

Triple-A got screwed.

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With the Twins 2021 season hopes long gone, why do the Twins still keep Andrelton Simmons and JT Riddle on the Twins and Saints respective rosters? Wouldn’t it be helpful to evaluate potential 40 man roster decisions with promotions and pruning the AAAA veteran players that were important stopgaps if the Twins had injuries while competing for the playoffs but no longer needed for that role? I would like to see Jermaine Palacios at SS for the Twins or the Saints this year.
 

Similarly, I would like to see Celestino for Cave, Miranda for Austudillo, Moran, Hamilton/Cano, Strotman up for Albers, Coloumbe, Barnes. 
 

What do you think? If we do not see the player on the 40 man next year, why wait? The development clock is ticking. 
 

As an aside,, if Maeda is out, it may trigger a more extensive rebuild in the off-season. Kepler, Donaldson, Duffey, Rogers and possibly  Buxton - I hope not, his ceiling is so high we will never get equal value. Anyway, a refresh of the roster for the last month may help decision making and inject some interest - even if it disrupts the Saints playoff run. 

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6 hours ago, WilliesWorld24 said:

With the Twins 2021 season hopes long gone, why do the Twins still keep Andrelton Simmons and JT Riddle on the Twins and Saints respective rosters? Wouldn’t it be helpful to evaluate potential 40 man roster decisions with promotions and pruning the AAAA veteran players that were important stopgaps if the Twins had injuries while competing for the playoffs but no longer needed for that role? I would like to see Jermaine Palacios at SS for the Twins or the Saints this year.
 

Similarly, I would like to see Celestino for Cave, Miranda for Austudillo, Moran, Hamilton/Cano, Strotman up for Albers, Coloumbe, Barnes. 
 

What do you think? If we do not see the player on the 40 man next year, why wait? The development clock is ticking. 
 

As an aside,, if Maeda is out, it may trigger a more extensive rebuild in the off-season. Kepler, Donaldson, Duffey, Rogers and possibly  Buxton - I hope not, his ceiling is so high we will never get equal value. Anyway, a refresh of the roster for the last month may help decision making and inject some interest - even if it disrupts the Saints playoff run. 

Not quite, if there is a floor (possible, not certain), the injury would reduce Maeda's number to $3 million.  Twins would need to extend Buxton and sign a couple of more players to get anywhere near $100 payroll.  Donaldson would be the only player over $10 million and most of the rest are on long term (Sano, Kepler, Polonco) or not even to arbitration yet.

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I think many are missing the reason why AAA extended their season with no playoffs.  By extending, all teams will be playing until around October 1.  That means that all major league teams will have their AAA team playing, versus only a few who are in the playoffs.  Considering that rosters expand from 26 to only 28, having their AAA teams playing until the big league season ends is important for when players are needed on the big league roster.

Was surprised to see Dobber move up to the Saints this soon.  Expect with all the starters dropping from the Twins rotation, he will get two, at the most, starts for the Saints before rejoining the Twins rotation.

Was reading Reusse this morning about the Giants-Dodgers.  Interesting that the Giants are using Wade primarily as a platoon versus right handed pitchers and the results have been excellent.  Also talked about Tyler Rogers and Zach Little.  Appears Little was coerced into adding a splitter with the results putting him among the most effective relievers around.  Also saw that Tampa kept Nelson Cruz in their lineup last night versus the Braves in Atlanta by having him play first base  All this got me wondering why some of these thoughts never occurred to the Twins coaches while these players were at Target Field?

Took a look at Austin Martin's stats since joining the Twins.  See he has 2 stolen bases and attempts in 65 at bats with the Wind Surge.  Prior to coming over to the Twins, he attempted 12 stolen bases (successful 9 times) in 196 at bats.  So 2 in 65 versus 12 in 196 has him running about half as much as before the change of organizations.  Don't know what that means, but isn't his speed and base running supposed to be one of the tools that makes him such a high prospect?  Doesn't make sense to me to have him running so little, other than the Twins almost never steal a base.

 

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7 hours ago, WilliesWorld24 said:

With the Twins 2021 season hopes long gone, why do the Twins still keep Andrelton Simmons and JT Riddle on the Twins and Saints respective rosters? Wouldn’t it be helpful to evaluate potential 40 man roster decisions with promotions and pruning the AAAA veteran players that were important stopgaps if the Twins had injuries while competing for the playoffs but no longer needed for that role? I would like to see Jermaine Palacios at SS for the Twins or the Saints this year.
 

Similarly, I would like to see Celestino for Cave, Miranda for Austudillo, Moran, Hamilton/Cano, Strotman up for Albers, Coloumbe, Barnes. 
 

What do you think? If we do not see the player on the 40 man next year, why wait? The development clock is ticking. 
 

As an aside,, if Maeda is out, it may trigger a more extensive rebuild in the off-season. Kepler, Donaldson, Duffey, Rogers and possibly  Buxton - I hope not, his ceiling is so high we will never get equal value. Anyway, a refresh of the roster for the last month may help decision making and inject some interest - even if it disrupts the Saints playoff run. 

This seems to be a popular opinion with many on TD including me. Looking for Buxton to bump Cave off roster, let Celestino continue his success at AAA and gain confidence. Lets seen some of the relievers-Hamilton, Moran. Ryan may need another start or 2 at AAA, but get him up after that. What does Miranda have left to prove at AAA.

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Interesting comments on Triple-A playoffs, fellas. It appears I have been misreading what they were doing at the level as far as a postseason goes (probably got it confused with double-A). They did a lot of weird stuff with realignment and what not before the season, but another item that got forgotten about, is this year only players from a triple-A roster can be called up to the big leagues (This is why Gilberto Celestino was promoted to the Saints, but never played a game for them before being called up to the Twins). The start of the triple-A season also had a delayed start, and what was supposed to be a 142 game schedule turned into a 120 game one.

Then they pivoted earlier in the summer (and I think this is one of the stupidest ideas ever), and created the "Triple-A Final Stretch." They partly want triple-A players to continue playing while MLB teams are as a way to kind of mimic the old September call-up rules where you could bring up your entire 40-man roster, if you wanted to, because of that must be at triple-A rule.

This "Final Stretch" is now sort of an end-of-the-year crapshoot. Division winners will be crowned based on the records before these extra 10 games, but every single Triple-A team is part of the Final Stretch, and it doesn't matter if you had the worst record in the regular season, if you go 10-0 in those final 10 games, you'll be crowned the "Final Stretch" champion or whatever. it's essentially a home-and-home 10 game series against the same team. Very odd for me, and I have no idea how they are going to determine which teams play against each other for those 10 games.

So thanks for the clarifications!

 

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On 8/24/2021 at 11:27 PM, HrbieFan said:

Damn, I need a pop-up blocker to visit this site SMH 

Made the site more mobile friendly meant adding more ads that load on mobile. The pop-up videos are annoying as can be. I really appreciate the content on this site but the increase in pop-ups is frustrating. 

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On 8/25/2021 at 12:27 AM, HrbieFan said:

Damn, I need a pop-up blocker to visit this site SMH 

The only pop-up on this entire site is Twins-related video created by Twins Daily's staff but you do you, I guess.

And even that pop-up video only loads 10% of the time on mobile and 50% of the time on desktop. The rest of the time it's a static entity that doesn't follow you on the page.

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