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Twins Minor League Report (5/24): Offenses Explode in Series Openers


Twins Daily Contributor

There were runs in bunches for Minnesota Twins affiliates on Tuesday, led by an unforgiving onslaught in Cedar Rapids. While one team wasn’t quite able to hold on, falling in extra innings, they combined to outhit their opponents 45-25 on a night filled with big hitting performances.

TRANSACTIONS

  • The St. Paul Saints received LHP Danny Coulombe to continue his rehab assignment, and also activated RHP Cole Sands, who made the start on Tuesday.

SAINTS SENTINEL
Indianapolis 8, St. Paul 5 (11 innings)
Box Score

The Saints struck first in their series opener with Indianapolis, taking a 3-0 lead after two innings when Roy Morales cleared the bases with a two-out double, his first of the season. Curtis Terry made it 4-0 after three with a sac fly that scored Alex Kirilloff, who had singled to lead off the inning.

Right-hander Cole Sands was activated before the game and kept Indianapolis off the scoreboard for the first three innings. He allowed just one hit, walked one, and struck out three in his return from the injured list. Danny Coulombe followed to start the fourth and continue his rehab assignment in triple-A. With two outs, he surrendered a solo home run that made it 4-1 and then a double, but escaped any further damage with a strikeout to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth St. Paul added another run when Royce Lewis started the inning by reaching on an error, moved to third on a Kirilloff single, then scampered home on a double-play grounder from Spencer Steer. In his first game with the Saints, Steer was batting third in the lineup playing second base, and reached base multiple times. He would finish his triple-A debut 1-for-4 with a walk.

The top of the sixth is where fortunes started to change for the home team. Jake Faria came on to start the fifth and delivered a scoreless inning, but couldn’t overcome a leadoff double, walk, and throwing error on a double-steal in the sixth that made it 5-3. In the seventh Faria got two outs around a walk, but was lifted for Jovani Moran, who promptly gave up a game-tying home run. Moran would stay in the game and delivered a scoreless eighth, but the lineup wasn’t able to mount any rallies, sending it to extra innings.

Juan Minaya got the ball for the ninth and tenth innings, keeping the game tied in the first extra inning, but after getting two outs in the eleventh, a walk brought in JC Ramirez from the bullpen. Three walks and a single later Indianapolis had an 8-5 lead the Saints weren’t able to come back from.

Kirilloff led the way for the lineup with a pair of hits in five at-bats, while Steer and Terry each reached base multiple times. Despite the good start, they finished 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and had only one extra-base-hit on the game, and thus were unable to put it out of reach after the early lead.

WIND SURGE WISDOM
Wichita 8, Corpus Christi 3
Box Score

The Wind Surge were also able to jump on the Hooks early, scoring runs in each of the first three innings to go ahead 5-1 after three. Austin Martin and Michael Helman started the game by drawing walks, and would score on an Alex Isola single and double-play ground ball off the bat of Matt Wallner. In the second it was Leobaldo Cabrera’s third home run of the season that added two more, then in the third an RBI double from Wallner made it 5-1.

Louie Varland took the mound for Wichita, and was unceremoniously greeted by a solo home run on his second pitch of the game. He would go on to fight through a couple of threats, finishing 4 2/3 innings, being charged with two earned runs on four hits, four walks, and striking out six. They tried really hard to get him through the fifth to be in line for his fifth win of the season, but a pair of walks leading to a run in his final frame had him up to 97 pitches, prompting his exit. 

Kody Funderburk came on and got the Wind Surge through the next six outs. He allowed one run of his own on two hits and two walks, while striking out two to get credited with the win. Evan Sisk went 1 1/3 scoreless after him, allowing one hit and striking out two. Austin Schulfer got the final three outs, striking out two in a scoreless ninth.

Wichita added single runs in each of the sixth, eighth, and ninth innings to keep the game out of reach for Corpus Christi. Martin and Cabrera had RBI singles, while Helman launched his fifth home run of the season to account for those runs. 

Helman finished the day 1-for-3 with three runs scored and two walks, in addition to the home run. Wallner (2-for-5, 2B, RBI) and Cabrera (2-for-4, R, HR, 3 RBI) each had multiple hits in the win.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Wisconsin 2, Cedar Rapids 13
Box Score

While they didn’t score in the opening frame, the Kernels put this one out of reach early as well, with crooked numbers in four consecutive innings to go up 11-0 before the Timber Rattlers could respond.

Kyler Fedko got it started with an RBI single in the second, which was followed by a two-RBI triple from Anthony Prato. A Jair Camargo two-run homer and Fedko sac fly brought in three more in the third. In the fourth frame, Aaron Sabato and Camargo each notched RBI singles, before a two-RBI triple from Christian Encarnacion-Strand and another single from Sabato capped the 11 run explosion in the fifth.

The Timber Rattlers were held scoreless until the seventh inning, as the Kernels got a solid outing from starter Aaron Rozek to pick up his fifth win of the season. He went five innings, allowing no runs on three hits and three walks while striking out two. Derek Molina pitched a scoreless sixth inning before a pair of doubles against Denny Bentley in the seventh finally got the visitors on the scoreboard. Bentley would record four outs, allowing one run on two hits and a walk, along with striking out two. Melvi Acosta finished off the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing an unearned run on a hit and walk. He struck out one.

Encarnacion-Strand put an exclamation point on the game with his eighth home run of the season in the eighth inning, making the final score of 13-2 in favor of the good guys.

All nine hitters in the Cedar Rapids lineup reached base in the game, with Prato (4-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, BB) falling a home run short of the cycle to lead the way. Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-6, 3 R, 3B, HR, 3 RBI), Sabato (2-for-5, R, 2 RBI, BB), and Camargo (3-for-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB) all finished with multiple hits in the blowout effort as well.

MUSSEL MATTERS
Fort Myers 9, Bradenton 3
Box Score

In a continuing theme for the night, the Mighty Mussels jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in this one, but they never looked back, tacking on four more runs late to keep the Marauders at bay.

Mikey Perez got them on the board in the top of the first with a run-scoring double, his ninth of the season. They tacked on four more in the second after Keoni Cavaco led off the frame with a triple. He would score on a wild pitch, then a couple more walks loaded the bases and scored another before Emmanuel Rodriguez delivered a two-run single.

Right-hander Pierson Ohl took the bump and was fantastic for the first five innings. He allowed just one hit and one walk while punching out seven. He faced the minimum until his two-out walk in the fifth inning, as left fielder Dylan Neuse cut down a runner trying to stretch a single into a double in the third. Ohl was efficient as well, throwing just 65 pitches (39 for strikes, 13 swinging) in his five frames to pick up his second win of the season. 

Juan Mendez gave up a pair of runs to Bradenton in the sixth thanks to three walks and a hit, but also struck out two. Matt Mullenbach allowed an unearned run on two hits in two innings of relief, striking out three. Hunter McMahon finished the game with a scoreless ninth, striking out one.

Fort Myers broke the game open in the eighth, thanks to a two-run home run from Kala'i Rosario, and a two-run single from Noah Miller.

Rodriguez (2-for-2, 2 RBI, 3 BB), Perez (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI), Cavaco (2-for-5, 2 R, 3B), Rosario (2-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB) and Miller (2-for-4, R, 3 RBI, BB) all collected two hits on the game in a 12 hit effort.

TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY

Pitcher of the Day - Pierson Ohl, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 5 IP, H, BB, 7 K)
Hitter of the Day - Anthony Prato, Cedar Rapids Kernels (4-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, BB)

PROSPECT SUMMARY

#1 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 0-for-5, R, 3 K (played SS)
#2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, R, RBI, BB
#4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 2-for-3, 2B
#6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) -
#8 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - Save (4), IP, H
#10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 2-for-2, 2 RBI, 3 BB
#11 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 2-for-4, R, 3 RBI, BB, K
#12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 4 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 6 K
#13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 3 IP, H, BB, 3 K
#16 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, BB, K
#18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-6, 2 R, 3B, HR, 3 RBI

WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

Indianapolis @ St. Paul (5:07 PM CDT), Game 1 - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-1, 8.38 ERA)
Indianapolis @ St. Paul, Game 2 - RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-2, 3.45 ERA)
Wichita @ Corpus Christi (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (2-1, 2.39 ERA)
Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (12:05 PM CDT) - LHP Cade Povich (3-2, 3.25 ERA)
Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:30 PM CDT) - RHP Mike Paredes (0-1, 2.66 ERA)

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

 


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There appear to be a couple of catchers who can hit in the system.

Jair Camargo from Colombia has a .314 BA, 6 HR, .862 OPS, and is but 22 and playing high A ball at Cedar Rapids.

Alex Isola, Twins 29th rounder in 2019 is sporting a .303 BA, 5 HR and an .873 OPS, a 23 year old in AA at Wichita.

I know nothing of their catching abilities, although Camargo has thrown out 35% of attempted steals.

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See that Schulfer keeps putting up zero's with lots of K's.  Also see that Sisk, the guy they got from St. Louis last July, has an ERA and WHIP of 1.00.  Recall he was a bit scarry when he came over last summer, but sure seems to be getting it done this spring.

Always great to see Miller with a great game.  Also see that Cavaco is beginning to show signs of life.  Still young, who knows?

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Pierson Ohl has had a tough start to his pro ball career. In April he had ERA of 7 and WHIP of 2.  In May he was close to those same numbers until something clicked last night for him.  If you haven't seen Seth's interview with Pierson you should watch it.  You will really like what you see. I have been waiting for him to have a breakout game and am hoping this is the first of many more really good pitching performances for Pierson Ohl.

Emmanual Rodriguez might only be batting .250 right now but his OBP is .484 so approaching .500.  That seems like a crazy good eye at the plate.  He is also a kid that has power in his bat when he wants to use it.  If he keeps his K rate down he looks special to me at least in the batters box.

I was wondering why the Twins had Schulfer up in spring training so much given how short spring training was but I think now I am beginning to realize why.  So far he has a 0.42 ERA and 0.60 WHIP with 30 K's in 21 innings pitched.  Time to move this guy up to AAA IMO.  I know he hasn't been added to the 40 man but he might be an arm that could help down the stretch this year if he is for real.

A quick shoutout to Michael Helman who had a nice year least year and who is putting up good numbers again this year.  He is older at 26 and in most years would be a solid utility player candidate for the Twins but with all the players in front of him his numbers will need to be really, really good to get a chance.  At any rate his numbers are solid and he has been an important bat at AA.

Prato finally got back on track and was back to his pesky ways.  Camargo was trying to steal the OPS lead from CES but then CES went and hit a triple and a HR.  Camargo doesn't walk much and has a 30% K rate so he has things to work on to be a more well rounded hitter he hasn't had a .700 OPS since 2018 so he is off to a good start this year.

Man this system is so much fun to watch with so many players doing so well.

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Couple of observations.  I agree with Roger and Dman that Schulfer looks like he could be a potential bullpen add later this summer.  He has increased his strikeouts this year while reducing his walks.  I suspect he will be in St. Paul soon.  Second, Emmanuel Rodriguez is a work in progress but I noticed he drew three more walks and now has 44 for the year and a .484 OBP.  Great eye for a yound kid.  Finally, CES is still producing.  I know rbi's is not a perfect analytic, but 37 in 38 games indicates he is getting some big hits.

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You know the system is deep when Wallner & Sabato can no longer crack the top 20!

I'm rooting for Cavaco to figure it out, but it's not looking great for him. He's repeating low-A at 20 (almost 21) and not really hitting any better. He's striking out more than ever...and he struck out a lot last year. He's going to need a lot more games like this before I'm going to be convinced he's figuring something out and that he's ready/earned promotion.

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7 hours ago, jmlease1 said:

I'm rooting for Cavaco to figure it out, but it's not looking great for him. He's repeating low-A at 20 (almost 21) and not really hitting any better. He's striking out more than ever...and he struck out a lot last year. He's going to need a lot more games like this before I'm going to be convinced he's figuring something out and that he's ready/earned promotion.

I still think it's too early to count Cavaco as a bust. He is still like the 5th youngest on his team I believe. He started out okay this year, went on the IL and came back with a month-long slump. But look at his recent run - 10 for 24 in his last 6 games. But he has to keep improving this year. No more, "he's young" excuses at the end of the year.

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