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Minor League Report (9/9): Legumina and Varland Roll, Sticks Cookin' in Low and High A


Big bats and stellar pitching were a-plenty at Low-A Fort Myers and High-A Cedar Rapids. Read up on all the action across the Twins' farm!

TRANSACTIONS

  • Minnesota Twins recalled LHP Andrew Albers from St. Paul Saints.
  • Fort Myers Mighty Mussels placed RHP Orlando Rodriguez on the temporarily inactive list.
  • Fort Myers Mighty Mussels placed SS Keoni Cavaco on the temporarily inactive list

 

SAINTS SENTINEL
Omaha 4, St. Paul 2
Box Score

Gilberto Celestino put the Saints on the board with a crisp line drive homer (5) over the center field wall in the bottom of the first inning to tie the game at one. 

St. Paul scored their second run thanks to an RBI ground out from Tomas Telis that scored Damek Tomscha. 

Starting pitcher Beau Burrows lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on four hits while striking out six. Burrows' Achilles was the long ball, giving up three home runs on the evening. Burrows did enough to keep the game close and had a little help from his defense as well!

Ryan Mason followed Burrows and was efficient, giving up no runs and zero hits while striking out three and walking two in 1 1/3 innings. Yennier Cano followed that up with two innings on the bump, giving up a run on two hits while striking out two. Edgar Garcia pitched the final inning for the Saints and escaped with a scoreless inning after walking two batters. 

WIND SURGE WISDOM
NW Arkansas 14, Wichita 7
Box Score

After gaining an early 2-0 lead the Surge were unable to hang with the Naturals after giving up 10 runs in the second inning. 

Wichita got things going early when D.J. Burt laced an RBI double that scored Austin Martin in the first inning. After advancing on the previous play, Burt scored thanks to an RBI groundout from Roy Morales.

Top Prospect and Olympic Silver Medalist Simeon Woods Richardson didn't have his stuff on the bump tonight. Woods Richardson lasted only 1 2/3 innings and gave up six runs and three walks on his short outing. Tyler Beck took the brunt of the relief work for the Surge, giving up six runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. Evan Sisk and Mitchell Osnowitz carried the caboose for the Wind Surge bullpen. tossing a combined two innings while giving up two runs and walking one. Sisk struck out one batter. 

Despite the surplus of scoring from the other dugout, Ernie De La Trinidad knocked his eighth homer of the year in the second inning. Jermaine Palacios plated the final run for Wichita when he struck a fourth inning RBI single to left field that scored Leobaldo Cabrera. 

Cabrera added to Wichita's run count in the eighth inning when he demolished a three-run homer (10) to left field, plating Burt and Morales.  That would prove to be the final run for Wichita on a rare night where the team was outscored in a football-esque score.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 11, Wisconsin 4
Box Score

On the opening night of the NFL the Cedar Rapids Kernels attempted to put up a football-like score...and succeeded. Cedar Rapids scored 11 runs in the first five innings to propel the Kernels to a 11-4 win on Thursday night. 

The offense was great, but Cedar Rapids starting pitcher and Minnesota native Louie Varland was just as solid. Varland didn't walk any hitters and struck out seven, giving up three runs on six hits. Varland is now 6-1 on the year and has been one of the brightest surprises in the Twins organization all season long. 

The Kernels offensive barrage began in the first inning when Edouard Julien led off the game with a single. Michael Helman followed suit with a triple (3) that scored Julien all the way from first. Helman's efforts were rewarded when he later scored on an RBI sac-fly from Aaron Sabato.

The second innings was 'thrice' as fruitful for the Kernels. Cedar Rapids scored six runs in the inning to open the flood gates. To the eye, one would assume a six-run inning would consist of at least one extra base hit. Not the case. The Kernels recorded six walks (2 HBP) and singles from Deshawn Keirsey, Alex Isola, and Jeferson Morales to put up the crooked number on the inning. 

The Kernels DID see a pair of extra-base hits two innings later. Isola and Morales tallied back-to-back solo home runs to expand the Kernels lead to 10-0 after four innings of play. Julien added a homer of his own to inflate the lead to 11-1 in the fifth. 

After Varland exited the game, reliver Carlos Suniaga touted his own dominance on the mound with two innings of one run, one hit ball with one strikeout. Tyler Palm sealed the deal for the Kernels with a perfect ninth inning.

The win puts Cedar Rapids a full game ahead of Great Lakes and Lake County for the second spot in their playoff race. The team has now won three straight!

 

MUSSEL MATTERS
Game 1
Fort Myers 7, Palm Beach 6 
Box Score

With weather postponing the completion of Wednesday's game, the Mussels showed up at Hammond Stadium for double the amount of baseball on Thursday. The squad didn't disappoint.

After Palm Beach plated four runs in the seventh and eighth innings to tie the game at six, Fort Myers scored the go-ahead run to push the Mussels past the Cardinals' affiliate in game one of a double-header. The go-ahead run came courtesy of an home run from Alerick Soularie, who punished a 2-0 pitch over the left field wall to secure the lead for the Mussels. 

Soularie's late-inning blast wasn't the only time that the Tennessee Volunteer touched home plate in the game. Soularie scored a run in the fourth, one of four on the inning for Fort Myers. Willie Joe Garry Jr. led off the inning with a triple and scored on an RBI single from Mikey Perez. Soularie and Christian Encarnacion-Strand joined Perez on base thanks to a pair of walks. Patrick Winkel and Jake Rucker followed suit with a pair of back to back singles to score Perez, Soularie, and Encarnacion Strand. 

Fort Myers starting pitching John Stankiewicz lasted four innings, giving up five hits and two runs while walking two and striking out four. David Festa took the bulk of bullpen duties for the Mussels, pitching 2 2/3 innings of three strikeout ball, walking two and giving up two runs. 

Reliever A.J. Labas received one of the more unique stat lines on the night. Labas tossed 1 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and two-runs, including the game-tying run that tallied a blown save under his name. However, thanks to Soularie's blast, Labas also recorded the win (W, 1-2) on the game. Juan Pichardo cleaned up in the final inning and earned his fourth save of the season. 

Game Two
Fort Myers 11, Palm Beach 2
Box Score

Just like they relied on a big inning in the first game of the doubleheader, Fort Myers soared in game two thanks to a five-run third inning....and an absolutely electric outing from starting pitcher Casey Legumina. 

Legumina was stellar through 5 2/3 innings, striking out six while only giving up one run on one hit and a walk. The outing was the second outstanding appearance that Legumina has recorded in the month of September. The Dallas, Texas native went the same distance on the mound on September 2 against Dayton, giving up zero runs on three hits while striking out three and walking one. 

Yet dominant pitching is often a biproduct of dominant offense, something the Mussels did not lack in the third inning. Charlie Mack launched a three-run homer (7) followed by a Will Holland solo shot (10) to give Fort Myers a comfortable lead. Mikey Perez added to the scoring party with an RBI double in the inning, his first of the year. Holland continued his impressive night with an RBI single in the sixth inning that scored Encarnacion-Strand to put the Mussels up 11-1.

After Legumina's masterpiece reliever Logan Campbell closed the door for the Mussels, tossing 1 1/3 innings of one-run ball while striking out one and walking none.

 

COMPLEX CHRONICLES
FCL Twins 4, FCL Pirates Gold 3 (10)
Box Score

A three-run fourth inning and a sac-fly walk-off from Rubel Cespedes powered the Twins to a victory against the Pirates on Thursday afternoon. 

Wander Valdez and Rubel Cespedes each tallied RBI singles to score runs in the Twins' dominant third inning. LaRon Smith also drew an RBI walk to score a run.

Noah Miller, the Minnesota Twins' second pick in the 2021 draft tallied two hits on the day, including a single and a run in the fourth. 

Twins starting pitcher Erasmo Moreno was excellent, pitching three innings of scoreless baseball while striking out two and walking three. Jordan Carr followed Moreno with three innings, giving up one run on four hits while striking out three. Similar to A.J. Labas of Cedar Rapids, Complex reliever Malik Barrington tallied a blown save but also the win (W, 1-1), thanks to Cespedes' walk-off sac-fly that scored Ka'lai Rosario.

 

TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Pitcher of the Day - Casey Legumina (Fort Myers) - (W, 4-2) 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
Hitter of the Day - Michael Helman (Cedar Rapids) - 3-for-5, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI

PROSPECT SUMMARY
#1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL)
#2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-3, R, BB
#3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch
#4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 1.2 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 2 K
#5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain)
#6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-4
#7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 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) - Did not play
#11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement)
#12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, RBI, BB, 2 K
#13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, HR, R, RBI
#14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
#15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not pitch
#16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, K
#17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery)
#18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 2-for-2 
#19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch
#20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2 K

FRIDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Omaha @ St. Paul (7:05 PM CST) - LHP Charlie Barnes (6-3, 3.93 ERA)
NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (4-4 3.61 ERA)
Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-1, 11.25 ERA)
Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CST) - LHP Cade Povich (0-0, 3.00 ERA)

Thoughts? Comments? Concerns? Drop a comment below!


 


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7 hours ago, jkcarew said:

One of the sneakiest, under-the-radar, silver linings of 2021 has been what Celestino has done in AAA this season.

Agree, it's great to see. He was certainly put in an unfair situation when they called him up way too early. But apparently he took it as a learning experience and is now hitting better than he ever did before. 

7 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Couldn't agree more. Celestino becomes far more important if Buxton gets traded.

I still hope they can extend Buxton. But if they indeed accomplish that I wonder if Kepler could be on the trading block instead. 

In fact I could see Celestino fill the Kepler role on this team as an okay hitting outfielder that backs up Buxton in center and plays the corner otherwise (if they keep Buck and trade Kepler, that is). Maybe not right away but in the long term. 

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Tough second start for SWR, but whatever he does before the playoffs is meaningless following spending six weeks or so with the Olympic Team in which he never appeared in a game.  Saw that Encarnacion-Strand was 1 for 4 with a walk and 2 for 4 yesterday.  What a start for this young man.

Will agree with the above regarding Celestino.  Sat down with my coffee and the Strib sports section this morning.  Got to the Saints article and box score and saw that Miranda had his expected two hits, but so did Celestino.  Yes, he has really hit well since going back to the Saints after his premature time with the Twins.  

Never thought all that highly about the young man.  Don't know why, probably because he didn't do anything so much better than others to get noticed.  He is a good defensive outfielder who can and does play center field, but he isn't Byron Buxton.  He is fast, but he isn't Byron Buxton.  He runs the bases well, but he isn't Byron Buxton.  Has a little pop in his bat, as he showed yesterday, but he isn't Byron Buxton.  He will hit for an ok batting average, but he isn't the Byron Buxton we saw this past April.  But heck, there is only one Byron Buxton and I hope like hell the Twins get it done this winter and he stays at Target Field for the next five or six years....plus.

I would hope that Celestino begins next year back at CHS Field playing every day.  He would then be available to come over when/if Buxton, or another outfielder is hurt.  Does he ever replace Buxton in center for the Twins?  I hope not.  Doesn't mean he can't be a valuable fourth outfielder who does a good job both in the field and at bat for the next six or seven years.  And yes, I have now noticed this young man and like what I see.

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Noah Miller appears to be off to a decent start playing professionally? (even if on the top 20 prospect list he keeps showing up as "did not pitch", which is accurate, I guess, since he plays SS) Hitting for average and a bit of power, getting on base a respectable amount...and plenty of Ks, lol. Be really interesting to see the evaluation on him at the end of the season, especially to hear what people think about his defense. It's rookie ball, so who knows if the stats mean anything, but glad to have him playing!

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Twins have to feel good about Celestino. He's hitting almost as well as Miranda. A lot of focus on how he pushes Byron Buxton, but I think ideally he pushes Trevor Larnach and Max Kepler instead.

Rough game from Woods Richardson, but he's so young and was advanced so far for his age that it's really not a problem. He'll take his lumps and be better for it. He and Vallimont can work on their control in Wichita.

Varland could make the majors next year, but I'm concerned about his strikeout numbers. I know he is working on things, but he won't progress much further if he can't return to getting punchouts like he did in Low A.

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3 hours ago, jmlease1 said:

Noah Miller appears to be off to a decent start playing professionally? (even if on the top 20 prospect list he keeps showing up as "did not pitch", which is accurate, I guess, since he plays SS) Hitting for average and a bit of power, getting on base a respectable amount...and plenty of Ks, lol. Be really interesting to see the evaluation on him at the end of the season, especially to hear what people think about his defense. It's rookie ball, so who knows if the stats mean anything, but glad to have him playing!

That is interesting, jm, that they posted 'he didn't pitch.'  Checked and saw that a day earlier they did have his stats included.

See that he was 2-5 yesterday and is now hitting .290 with an .825 OPS.  And yes, I understand that is is a small sample, but he is up to 67 at bats...so it is no longer tiny sample.

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