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Twins Minor League Report (5/17): Alex Isola Goes Off

Twins Daily Contributor

In minor-league action on Tuesday night, a top pitching prospect was on the mound for Wichita looking to continue an impressive streak, but it was a monster effort from a hitter who led the team to a win in a shootout. In other action, a pair of affiliates struggled on offense, and in Florida the Mighty Mussels played a little more than usual, completing a suspended game from earlier in the month.



St. Paul 1, Omaha 5
Box Score

The Saints were unable to mount much offense on Tuesday, finishing the game with just three hits and four walks, while striking out 14 times as a team against the Storm Chasers in Omaha to open their series. They were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position, leaving only five men on base for the game.

They scored their lone run in the fifth inning when Curtis Terry led off with a double, and came around to score later on a single from Kevin Merrell. Merrell finished 2-for-3, leaving the rest of the lineup not named Terry 0-for-22 on the night.

St. Paul did get a decent pitching performance from starter Chi Chi Gonzalez, who went the first five innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks, along with picking up six strikeouts. Ronny Henriquez came on in relief to start the sixth and delivered a quick one-two-three frame on just eight pitches. The seventh was a different story, however. He walked the first three hitters, hit another batter, then surrendered a grand slam before his outing was ended. He was charged with five runs on two hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings. Ian Hamilton was able to prevent any more damage in the frame, but allowed a run of his own in the eighth for Omaha’s final tally.

Springfield 9, Wichita 11
Box Score

Top pitching prospect Matt Canterino took the mound for the Wind Surge, looking to continue his streak of five starts without allowing a run to the opposition. He wasn’t able to come out unscathed in this one however, as there were fireworks from both lineups on a windy night in Wichita. The Cardinals and Wind Surge combined for 20 runs on 29 hits (14 for extra bases), and 14 walks between them.

The right-hander did showcase his devastating stuff in his outing, sitting mid-90’s with his fastball and missing bats with all his pitches (11 swinging strikes total). But a few more than usual also connected with barrels, as he got tagged for some loud outs and hits, including his first home run allowed of the season. In 3 2/3 total innings, Canterino was charged with four runs on five hits and two walks, while punching out six. All that considered, he looked very good again to these amateur eyes, and I thought he might get a fifth inning with his pitch count where it was when he started the fourth inning.

Down 4-0 after Canterino left the game, the Wind Surge lineup got to work, tying the game at five thanks in large part to an Alex Isola Grand Slam in the fifth.

In relief of Canterino, Casey Legumina allowed four runs of his own pitching into the sixth. In 1 2/3 total innings gave the lead back to the Cardinals on two hits and four walks, while striking out one. With one out in the sixth inning, Kody Funderburk came on and got them through the seventh, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out two.

Down 8-5 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Wind Surge lineup batted around en route to take their first lead of the game. Isola led off the frame with another double, and five hits and a walk later they were up 11-1. Dennis Ortega (in the game to replace an injured Edouard Julien) and Wallner each had a two-RBI single in the inning to account for most of the runs. 

Wichita had bases-loaded situations in several innings and were able to cash them in with some big hits to secure the win. Six of the nine hitters in their lineup collected multiple knocks, with Isola leading the way with a big 3-for-5 night including two runs scored, two doubles, the grand slam, and five RBI.

Steven Cruz closed out the win with two innings, allowing three hits and a run in the ninth, but striking out five to pick up his first save of the season.

Lake County 5, Cedar Rapids 1
Box Score

Fresh off of a 5-1 series win against the Peoria Chiefs last week where they outscored their opponent 47-12, the Kernels were unable to continue popping in this one, and instead were left with a bunch of Old Maids. 

They had just four hits as a team, and their one run came on a Willie Joe Garry Jr. home run in the third inning that gave them an early 1-0 lead.

It remained that way until the sixth inning, as until that point starting pitcher Sean Mooney had stifled the Captains in a similar fashion. He allowed no runs in five total innings, allowing just one hit, walking three, and striking out six. He was a bit effectively wild, with just 46 of his 82 pitches going for strikes (56 percent), but got the job done.

Bobby Milacki was brought on to start the sixth, and a pair of singles and a double led to the tying run. In the seventh Milacki got one out before a walk and a single ended his outing. He went 1 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, walking one, and striking out one. Orlando Rodriguez came on to escape that jam and also delivered a scoreless eighth inning. He struck out two and walked one in 1 2/3 innings pitched.

In the ninth the Kernels brought on Andrew Cabezas, looking to keep the score tied and give his lineup a chance. Unfortunately, a one-out error seemed to derail his outing, and three batters later a three-run home run made the score 5-1 and put it out of reach.

Cedar Rapids finished this one just 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position, left only four men-on-base, and struck out 18 times as a team, including the last 11 outs of the game. They’ll look to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday with Aaron Rozek on the mound.

Game 1: Clearwater 5, Fort Myers 4 (11 innings, completion of game suspended on 5/1)
Box Score

This game was suspended before the top of the 11th inning got started over two weeks ago, with the score tied at four. Sonny Gray and Jordan Balazovic had both made rehab appearances on that day.

When it resumed, something you’ll likely only ever see in the minor leagues happened. With the runner starting on second base, Fort Myers pitcher Matthew Swain was hit with consecutive balks to give the Threshers a 5-4 lead. He retired all three hitters he faced, including a pair of strikeouts, but whatever was the cause of those balks (likely rule changes being forgotten in the moment) the Mighty Mussels found themselves down.

The lineup was unable to score one of their own, with Mikey Perez, Noah Miller, and Emmanuel Rodriguez going down in order to end the game.

Miller (2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, SB) and Kyler Fedko (2-for-4, R, RBI, BB, K) had multiple hits able to become official to lead the team. There were no extra base hits for the Mighty Mussels, and they were unable to take advantage of 10 walks as they finished 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position, and left 13 men-on-base for the game.

Game 2: Fort Myers 5, Clearwater 4
Box Score

In their regularly scheduled contest, the Mighty Mussels got a quality effort out of their starting pitcher, right-hander Travis Adams. He went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out six to pick up his third win of the season. Adams has gone at least five innings in all six of his starts so far this season, and the three runs allowed in this one are a season-high. He’s been the model of consistency for the Mighty Mussels, sporting a 2.03 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and a 28:5 K-to-BB ratio in 31 innings thus far.

Fort Myers got single runs in each of the first, third, and fourth innings to keep the game tied at three while Adams was on the mound. Emmanuel Rodriguez scored in the first on an error after reaching base on a hit-by-pitch. The Noah’s, Miller and Cardenas, each had doubles in the third for their second run. Kala’i Rosario tripled and scored on a Luis Baez singled in the fourth to account for those tallies.

They took a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh thanks to a double-steal after three batters had drawn walks in the frame, allowing Adams to be in line for the win. They added a needed insurance run in the top of the ninth, as an errant throw from the Threshers catcher on a steal attempt allowed pinch-runner Dylan Neuse to scamper home for a 5-3 lead.

In relief of Adams, right-hander Juan Mendez went two scoreless innings, allowing one hit, walking two, and striking out two. Hunter McMahon was brought on for the save opportunity in the ninth, and although he made it a bit interesting allowing a single and run-scoring double to start the inning, was able to finish it off with a pair of K’s and groundout for his third save.

The lineup didn’t get multiple hits from any batter, but drew five walks and only struck out five times. They also stole five bases as a team and two others were thrown out, so they were running all game.


Pitcher of the Day - Sean Mooney, Cedar Rapids Kernels (5 IP, H, 3 BB, 6 K)
Hitter of the Day - Alex Isola, Wichita Wind Surge (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, GS (5), 5 RBI)


#1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 2-for-4, 2B, HR (2), RBI
#4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-4, 2 K
#7 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - L, 3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, K
#9 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
#10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-3, R
#11 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, R, 2B, K
#14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 1 1/3 IP, 2 H 5 ER, 3 BB
#16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-for-6, 2 R, 2B, K
#18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 2 K
#19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-2, BB, K (left game with injury)


St. Paul @ Omaha (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP Jake Faria (0-2, 7.17 ERA)
Springfield @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (4-1, 3.69 ERA)
Lake County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - LHP Aaron Rozek (4-1, 4.73 ERA)
Fort Myers @ Clearwater, Game 1 (11:00 AM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (1-1, 5.50 ERA)
Clearwater @ Fort Myers, Game 2 (makeup of 4/30 PPD) - RHP Mike Paredes (0-1, 3.31 ERA)

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



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Verified Member

Thanks for the report, Steve.

Couple questions about Wichita.  Any word on what Julien's injury was?  Is it serious and will cause him to be out for more than a couple day?  Also surprised that Martin didn't come into the game as his replacement.  Haven't been looking for him in recent box scores, is he also out?

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I have been a big Steer fan since he added power to his game and felt for a long time he was the best hitter they had at AA. However, Isola has been even better.  He has quietly crept up to that elite .954 OPS.  I knew he had a good bat but last year I got excited about him and he fell off in the later part of the year.  He is a catcher and they get dinged up and it can affect them at the plate. He ended last year with a 767 OPS.  Not bad but for that level you would like to see mid to high 800's at minimum.   

If he stays healthy the Twins will have to add him at the end of the year because he won't make it through the Rule V draft.  He is one of those diamond in the rough picks at round 29, but he sure looks like he has a good approach at the plate.  One that is working at the upper levels of pro ball and just needs to translate that to MLB.  I am pretty stoked about this guy even if he is a no name not even on the top 30 list prospect.  He just might be the Twins backup catcher next year.

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12 minutes ago, roger said:

Thanks for the report, Steve.

Couple questions about Wichita.  Any word on what Julien's injury was?  Is it serious and will cause him to be out for more than a couple day?  Also surprised that Martin didn't come into the game as his replacement.  Haven't been looking for him in recent box scores, is he also out?

It looked like Julien was grabbing his hammy before being taken out (thanks to Tom Froemming for putting stuff like that in his highlight videos).

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Twins Daily Contributor
Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, roger said:

Thanks for the report, Steve.

Couple questions about Wichita.  Any word on what Julien's injury was?  Is it serious and will cause him to be out for more than a couple day?  Also surprised that Martin didn't come into the game as his replacement.  Haven't been looking for him in recent box scores, is he also out?

There wasn't a great view of it, but Tim Grubbs remarked it looked like he tweaked a muscle in his leg (likely hamstring), but have not seen an official word. It was a weird play, and I think he was dealing with it before the play that got him removed. He was on 3B when a grounder was hit to short, and it kind of looked like the shortstop noticed something happened to him, and thus tried to throw behind him back to third base to catch him. Julien kind of hobbled back in just safe, but then was grabbing the back of his leg.

Martin played on Saturday, and don't think anything is going on there, but he was removed from the lineup before this game.

edit: you can see the Julien play in Tom's video above at the 3:06 mark.

Edited by Steve Lein
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