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Twins Minor League Report (9/1): Saints Clip Columbus, Vallimonster Not Enough for Wichita


The big story from a minor league perspective on Wednesday night, was perhaps the MLB debut of Joe Ryan for the Minnesota Twins. But since that is not actually the minor leagues, you’ll have to settle for a 1-3 night on the farm for Twins affiliates. Besides the St. Paul Saints, it was tough sledding for the lineups throughout the organization on Wednesday as they were unable to reward most of their pitchers for some solid efforts.

TRANSACTIONS

  • RHP Joe Ryan was officially promoted to the Twins, and made his MLB debut Wednesday night against the Chicago Cubs. Ryan was excellent besides a one inning blip, as he set the Cubs down in order in four of his five innings, striking out five and walking just one in the process.
  • RHP Vinny Nittoli was assigned to the St. Paul Saints, rejoining them after pitching with the Saints during the 2017-18 season while in the American Association. He joins infielder Drew Stankiewicz and LHP Chris Nunn as players to suit up for the Saints as independent and affiliated players. 
  • C Stevie Berman was assigned to the Wichita Wind Surge roster after being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever LHP Andrew Vasquez.
  • SS Ruben Santana was released from the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels roster.

SAINTS SENTINEL
St. Paul 9, Columbus 2
Box Score

St. Paul's lineup jumped all over Columbus starter Kirk McCarty with a five-run first inning that would prove to be more than enough for Bryan Sammons and the Saints bullpen on Wednesday night.

Jose Miranda and Trevor Larnach got a rally started from the jump, with both delivering a single on the first pitches of their at bats. Mark Contreras got the first run on the board with a sac fly to score Miranda two batters later, then Gilberto Celestino made it 2-0 with a double to score Larnach from first. Jimmy Kerrigan then reached on an error and a Drew Maggi walk loaded the bases before Damek Tomscha and JT Riddle delivered back-to-back singles to score three more for the 5-0 lead.

Sammons recorded 1-2-3 innings in the first and third, sandwiching the second inning where he struck out three and walked one, before facing his first challenge in the fourth. A walk, and two one-out singles loaded the bases before an awkward swinging bunt resulted in a force out at home, but a throwing error from catcher Tomas Telis to third then allowed two unearned runs to score. Sammons dusted himself off and struck out the next batter to keep the score at 5-2. Sammons would finish five innings on the night to pick up his first triple-A win, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out four Clippers.

The bullpen trio of Luke Farrell, Derek Law, and Robinson Leyer then finished the game with a combined four scoreless innings. Farrell walked one in his one inning, Law allowed two hits and two walks in two frames, and Leyer walked one and struck out one in the ninth inning.

The Saints added two runs to their final total in each of the third and seventh innings. Drew Maggi hit his 13th home run of the season in the third, a two-run shot, and in the seventh Celestino delivered an RBI double that was followed by a sac fly from Kerrigan.

In all the good guys collected ten hits and four walks on the night, with Miranda (2-for-5, R) and Celestino (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K) collecting multiple hits. Maggi and Tomscha also added two RBI to the effort.

WIND SURGE WISDOM
Wichita 3, Arkansas 4
Box Score

The Wind Surge were able to build a 2-0 lead for starter Chris Vallimont after four innings, thanks to an RBI double from Roy Morales in the third to score Aaron Whitefield, and an RBI groundout from Jermaine Palacios in the top of the fourth.

Vallimont was solid in his five innings, allowing only a single run on three hits and four walks, while striking out nine Travelers. He worked around some walks over the first four innings with some big strikeouts, and struck out the side in the fourth inning. Evan Sisk was brought on to start the sixth inning, and struck out three in the frame although one of those reached base as his pitch got past the catcher. Back out for the seventh, a single and a walk put an end to Sisk’s outing, and Erik Manaoh gave up a two-run double to the first hitter he faced allowing Arkansas to tie the game at three. He would then escape that inning with the game still tied after inducing a double-play ball and a pop out to the next two hitters.

Wichita had taken a 3-1 lead in the top of the sixth thanks to a sacrifice fly from Spencer Steer to score Morales, who had singled to lead off the inning, before Arkansas was able to tie it up.

Manoah remained in the game for the bottom of the eighth and after a one-out double, he sent an errant throw toward second base on a comebacker that allowed the go-ahead run to score.

Trey Cabbage and Aaron Whitefield drew walks in the ninth to put the tying run in scoring position, but Caleb Hamilton’s 103 MPH line drive with two outs found the shortstop’s glove to end the game.

Both teams collected six hits on the game, but the Travelers drew seven walks compared to three from the Wind Surge, and had three hits with runners in scoring position while the good guys were 0-for-8.

Morales led the way for Wichita with three hits out of the leadoff spot, including a double. He scored a run and drove in one. Spencer Steer also added a triple to the effort and scored a run.

Wichita still remains the top dog in the Double-A Central Texas League, with a four game lead over Arkansas in their division.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Quad Cities 4, Cedar Rapids 0
Box Score

The Cedar Rapids Kernels and their second best record in the High-A Central Midwest League faced off against the team ahead of them in the standings in the West Division, the Quad Cities River Bandits on Wednesday night. While there’s very little hope for them to catch the River Bandits in the division standings over the last three weeks of the season (11.0 games behind entering play tonight), the series is still big in terms of securing a playoff matchup with them as the Kernels hold a one game lead over the next team in the league standings, the Great Lakes Loons of the East Division.

Cedar Rapids had right-hander Sawyer Gipson-Long on the mound for his fourth start with the team, and he did as much as he could to keep his team in second place in the standings. Over six total innings he allowed just one hit, but it was a big one for Quad Cities as it left the yard for a two-run shot in the fifth frame. He also walked three and struck out four on the night and retired the first twelve men he faced, including three K’s in the second inning.

Unfortunately, he was bettered by his opposing starter, Christian Cosby, who held the Kernels lineup to just two hits and struck out six over six shutout innings. The home team got leadoff hits from Edouard Julien (single) and Michael Helman (double) in the fourth and fifth innings but were unable to make anything else happen afterward.

Reliever Denny Bentley was the first man up from the bullpen to start the seventh inning and worked around a pair of walks for a scoreless inning. Back out for the eighth he immediately ran into trouble however, loading the bases with one out before a single made the score 3-0 and Osiris German was summoned. He escaped that jam without allowing another run, but in the ninth also allowed a run of his own. Bentley went 1 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits and three walks, while German finished the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing one run on one hit and a walk along with picking up one strikeout.

Alex Isola tried to get a two-out rally started in the bottom of the ninth with a double, but Matt Wallner would swing-and-miss on three straight pitches to end the game. In all, the Kernels managed just three hits, were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, and left only three men-on-base for the game. They also did not draw a single walk compared to seven for the River Bandits. 

MUSSEL MATTERS
Fort Myers 2, Daytona 3
Box Score

The Mighty Mussels went with a bit of a bullpen game on Wednesday night, with right-hander Matthew Swain making his first start of the 2021 season. He went the first three innings, allowing one run on three hits and three walks, while punching out six Tortugas hitters. Matt Mullenbach went the next three innings and was just as good, allowing only one run on four hits and a walk while striking out four. Zaquiel Puentes got the final two innings, and allowed just an unearned run on three walks while striking out four more Daytona hitters, while being saddled with the loss.

That was because the Mighty Mussels were unable to put any further runs on the board outside of the third inning, when Christian Encarnacion-Strand delivered a two-run home run that scored Alerick Soularie, who had doubled to lead off the inning.

Jake Rucker added another double to the effort, but Fort Myers had just six hits as a team, were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, and left seven men on base for the game. They drew just one walk compared to 16 strikeouts on the night, with six of their nine hitters striking out two or more times on the night. Soularie, out of the leadoff spot, was the only hitter in the lineup not to be sent walking back to the dugout on the game.

TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY

Pitcher of the Day - Chris Vallimont, Wichita Wind Surge (5 IP, 3 H, ER, 4 BB, 9 K)
Hitter of the Day - Gilberto Celestino, St. Paul Saints (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K)

PROSPECT SUMMARY

#1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL)
#2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4
#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) - 2-for-5, R
#7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - MLB Debut: L, 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, 5 K
#8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain)

#9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch
#10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, 2 K
#11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement)
#12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 2 K
#13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K)
#14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
#15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - No game
#16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 2-for-2, HBP
#17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery)
#18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, 2 K
#19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch
#20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-3, R, 3B, RBI, 2 K

THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

St. Paul @ Columbus (11:05 AM CST) - RHP Chandler Shepherd (6-5, 5.56 ERA)
Wichita @ Arkansas (7:10 PM CST) - RHP Cole Sands (2-1, 2.93 ERA)
Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Cody Laweryson (1-4, 4.75 ERA)
Fort Myers @ Daytona (6:05 PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz (0-0, 2.45 ERA)

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


 


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Thanks for the report, Steve.  Can't recall the last time the Kernels beat Quad City.  But with a 68-34 record, they don't lose very often.

Wonderful that Miranda keeps hitting and Celestino is also hitting very well after his too soon callup to the Twins.  The player I want to see settle in at AAA and start raking is Larnach.  Kid is too good.  Gotta believe it will happen, hopefully, soon.  

See that the two 2021 draft picks both had extra base hits again for the Mussels.  Fun seeing a couple guys step in and hit like they are.

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There's a Vallimont start for you. Tons of Ks, a bunch of walks, and a start that keeps you thinking, "Man, if he can figure it out..." He's a fascinating case. If his command comes together, he's going to be a beast. Could be a high-end starter, with a floor of high impact reliever. If he can't get his command up to where it needs to be, then he might never see MLB. Got to be one of the biggest boom/bust players in the Twins system. 

Not great news about Canterino; the talent is there, but the injury is worrisome. Hopefully it is just tendonitis and not a symptom of something more serious. Wonder if he's a candidate for winter ball or the AFL? He needs innings and his lack of innings is why I don't see him as a serious candidate to pitch for the Twins in 2022. As good as he's been, I don't see him jumping from limited innings in A-ball to the majors that quickly.

I would love to know what the injury record has been like for the top 20 prospects across all of baseball this year. Twins have had a ton of them, and I'm wondering if they're unlucky, screwing something up, or in the same boat as everyone else...

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28 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

There's a Vallimont start for you. Tons of Ks, a bunch of walks, and a start that keeps you thinking, "Man, if he can figure it out..." He's a fascinating case. If his command comes together, he's going to be a beast. Could be a high-end starter, with a floor of high impact reliever. If he can't get his command up to where it needs to be, then he might never see MLB. Got to be one of the biggest boom/bust players in the Twins system. 

Not great news about Canterino; the talent is there, but the injury is worrisome. Hopefully it is just tendonitis and not a symptom of something more serious. Wonder if he's a candidate for winter ball or the AFL? He needs innings and his lack of innings is why I don't see him as a serious candidate to pitch for the Twins in 2022. As good as he's been, I don't see him jumping from limited innings in A-ball to the majors that quickly.

Vallimont starts can definitely be a roller coaster! I think your take is spot on at this point. Lot to like when you watch, just sometimes can't find the zone.

Canterino would be an ideal candidate for the AFL if he's healthy enough when it gets underway. He'd be likely to get 15+ more innings if he was sent there as a starter. He did throw 125+ innings in 2019 so I don't actually consider him that far behind (from an innings standpoint) as far as getting called up if healthy and performing (see Ober, Bailey) as far as 2022 is concerned. If he was healthy this year he surely would have been in double-A months ago at the rate he was going.

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1 hour ago, jmlease1 said:

There's a Vallimont start for you. Tons of Ks, a bunch of walks, and a start that keeps you thinking, "Man, if he can figure it out..." He's a fascinating case. If his command comes together, he's going to be a beast. Could be a high-end starter, with a floor of high impact reliever. If he can't get his command up to where it needs to be, then he might never see MLB. Got to be one of the biggest boom/bust players in the Twins system. 

I've sort of been thinking he could have career similar to Duffey, though I think Duffey was more of a control guy at this stage of development.  I'm not super confident Vallimont will be a starter long term but I could definitely see him being very successful reliever focusing on his fastball and slider while keeping the curve as more of a change of pace offering as Duffey does.  Not that there needs to be any rush moving him off of the starter role, it just feels like that's where he might end up to me.

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2 hours ago, jmlease1 said:

I would love to know what the injury record has been like for the top 20 prospects across all of baseball this year. Twins have had a ton of them, and I'm wondering if they're unlucky, screwing something up, or in the same boat as everyone else...

I was wondering the same thing.  Are the Twins the only organization that has been impacted by a significant amount of injuries to their top prospects?

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