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Twins Minor League Report (6/23): Saints Roll While Others Play Close

Ted Schwerzler

The St. Paul Saints won in convincing fashion today thanks to a rebound performance from star prospect Spencer Steer. The Cedar Rapids Kernels and Fort Myers Mighty Mussels both played tight contests on the farm. Pierson Ohl and Aaron Rozek looked great on the bump. Take a look at the other Twins Territory happenings.

None to report

St. Paul 7, Buffalo 1
Box Score

Top pitching prospect Jordan Balazovic got the start today for the Saints and worked three scoreless innings. He has put together shorter outings of late, but this one was a good one. He allowed just two hits and struck out three while walking none. Balazovic was lifted after 39 pitches.

Roy Morales started the scoring for St. Paul when he singled in Spencer Steer in the top of the 3rd inning. After allowing Buffalo to knot things up in the 4th inning, the Saints came marching in during the 7th inning.

A night after going 0-for-4, Steer blasted his 10th homer at Triple-A, a three run shot, to score both Michael Helman and Braden Bishop. Caleb Hamilton then lifted a dinger of his own to plate Jermaine Palacios and Morales, making it a 7-1 game.

Steer and Morales were the lone Saints with multi-hit games on the evening.

San Antonio 11, Wichita 4 (Resumption of Wednesday’s game)
Box Score

The Wind Surge resumed the first game tonight following a postponement in the 4th inning on Wednesday. It was played as a nine inning game with the originally schedule tilt being a seven-inning affair afterwards.

Wichita 7, San Antonio 4 (F/7)
Box Score

Southpaw Blayne Enlow was on the bump for the shortened regularly scheduled game and he went 3 2/3 innings. Enlow gave up two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out three. The only damage against Enlow came on a 2nd inning homer.

It took a few innings for Wichita to push a run across despite leading in the hit column, but Kevin Merrell tallied the first Wind Surge run when he singled in Cole Sturgeon during the bottom of the 4th inning. Just an inning later, Wichita got their first lead when Sturgeon singled in both Matt Wallner and Austin Martin.

After seeing the lead evaporate in the 6th inning, Wichita buckled down and got back to work. With the bases loaded, Martin got plunked and drove in a run the hard way. Edouard Julien singled driving in both Daniel Ozoria and Wallner before a Sturgeon ground out brought in Martin.

Pulling away and putting some distance behind them, Wichita was able to ride the three-run lead to a victory.

West Michigan 3, Cedar Rapids 2
Box Score

Tonight was Aaron Rozek's turn on the bump for Cedar Rapids and he twirled a good one. Throwing five innings of one hit ball, Rozek kept West Michigan scoreless while allowing just two walks and punching out four. He lowered his ERA to 3.35 on the year.

Runs were tough to come by, and that made Will Holland's double in the 4th inning that much more impactful. Scoring both Seth Gray and Yunior Severino, the two runs were enough to fend off a comeback from the Whitecaps. Cedar Rapids tallied just six hits on the evening.

The lack of production bit the Kernels when West Michigan pushed two across in the top of the 9th inning. With Cedar Rapids trailing for the first time, Aaron Sabato doubled to lead off their last at bat. Stranded at third base though, that's as close as the comeback attempt came.

Fort Myers 6, Lakeland 4
Box Score

Pierson Ohl took the ball tonight for the Mighty Mussels. He pitched six innings of one-run ball allowing just three hits and a walk. Ohl struck out eight and lowered his ERA to 4.70 on the season.

Noah Cardenas started the scoring early with a 1st inning single allowing Noah Miller to cross the plate. Miller then followed suit in the 3rd inning when his single drove home Jake Rucker. After giving back a run on a 4th inning wild pitch, Fort Myers grabbed an insurance run in the 8th inning on a Rubel Cespedes single to score Cardenas. With the bases loaded, LaRon Smith drew a walk to score Cespedes, but that's where the scoring ended for the Mighty Mussels.

Unfortunately Fort Myers watched their lead evaporate in the bottom of the 8th inning, and no team could push a run across in the 9th inning. Going to extras, Nelson Roberto launched his second homer of the season and gave the Mighty Mussels a two run lead as Cespedes began the inning on second. Things got dicey in the bottom half with Lakeland having runners on 2nd and 3rd and only one out but Matt Mullenbach came on to relieve Malik Barrington and slammed the door.

Miller, Cespedes, Cardenas, and Smith all picked up two-hit nights. Smith recorded doubles for both of his.

FCL Twins 6, FCL Pirates 5
Box Score

Elpidio Perez pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief work to end this game and got the win. He allowed two hits, no runs, and punched out four. Gregory Duran and Andres Centeno both had two hits for the Twins. Centeno launched his first homer of the season and Alex Rodriguez hit his first dinger as a professional.

DSL Twins 8, DSL Cubs Blue 3
Box Score

Roger Duran got the win, improving to 3-0. He worked four innings of relief allowing just a single run. Harold Grant had a 2-for-3 night with a double after coming off the bench and taking over as the designated hitter.

Pitcher of the Day – Pierson Ohl (Ft. Myers) - 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
Hitter of the Day – Spencer Steer - (St. Paul) - 2-4, 2B, HR(10), 2 R, 3 RBI

We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed:

#2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-3, R, K
#3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-2, BB, K
#4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
#7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 2-4, 2B, HR(10), 2 R, 3 RBI
#9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 2-5, R , RBI
#14 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
#15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-1, 2 R, 3 BB
#16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-4, 2 RBI, K
#18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, 2 K

St. Paul @ Buffalo (6:05PM CST) - RHP Cole Sands
San Antonio @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina
West Michigan @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - RHP Cade Povich
Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30PM CST) - TBD

Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates and the two Complex Season affiliates back and playing.


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Thank you for the great report again. One correction - Wichita seems to still be playing game #2 of the doubleheader as it is now tied at 3. 

Great starting pitcher - Ohl, Rozek, Balazovic. Nice to see Martin with two multi-hit games in one night. Steer with a great day as well. 

Bullpen - blown saves from the top to bottom in the Twins organization this week - Gore, Shreve, Klimek, Barrington to go with Cano last night.

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Great summary, Ted.  Three thoughts.  First, Steer continues to impress, which adds another legitimate prospect to move up and/or use for trade capital for pitchers.  I suspect in the next month we will lose a few prospects.  Second, it was nice to see Balazovic make it through 3 decent innings.  I confess I am having doubts about him even with his incredible stuff.  Finally, I think if I were the Twins, I would move Wallner up to St. Paul as he is pounding the ball at Wichita. 

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Any night with Balazovic and Enlow both throwing is a good night.  Great seeing Balazovic have maybe his best outing of the year.  Don't care how many innings, just want to see him dominate.  As for Enlow, coming back from TJ, huge success just seeing him pitch a few innings.

Double down on the above comment about hopefully seeing a few of these better, not best, prospects moved over the coming month.  If not, gotta believe a couple are going to be gone come winter.  Only question is knowing which ones should be dealt?

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50 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

Balazovic pitching short outings - are we preparing for his arm to be in the BP in Mpls soon?

possible, but I think they're trying to get him fully healthy and built up since he's been battling injuries.

Wallner just keeps taking walks. Can't blame him, I'm sure he's not getting much to swing at, but it's good that he keeps drawing walks and not expanding the strike zone out of frustration and swinging at marginal stuff. The more he can do to show he knows and can control the strike zone the better off he'll be. He's having a really good season after that dreadful start. I'd say he's ready for promotion.

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I really like Pierson Ohl so was happy to see him get pitcher of the day.  He seems to be getting more consistent after his rough start.  Haven't been able to see him pitch yet but would like to.

I watched a bit of the Wichita game with Enlow pitching.  He looked like he was giving up hard contact and having trouble missing bats.  Granted he is still working on getting back on track from TJ but his stuff didn't look as good as I had hoped.  He definitely has worked on his lower half as his legs are thick now.  Hopefully he just gets stronger through the year and gets better movement for some swing and miss.  

The other team totally pitched around Wallner except for the first at bat which I missed. They even gave him an intentional walk with two men on at one point in the game.  Maybe move him up to AAA where at least they pitch to him?

Steer looks good.  He looks like another viable option at the big league level.

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Some good outings from guys who have had tough seasons so far.

Austin Martin actually had 3 hits, a walk, and HBP on the night since he picked up a hit and walk after the continuation of yesterday's suspended game.  He also had a very nifty fielding play in game 2.  He came in on a soft liner to short to make the catch around his knees, then immediately flipped from his glove to second base to double off the runner.  He wouldn't have had time to complete the double play with a transfer and toss, so it was a pretty slick play showing really good awareness.  He also did make a fielding error in the continuation game 1, but still a good night overall which is good to see from him.

Balazovic definitely had his best outing of the season.  He had some inconsistency dating back to last year really, so even with the injury I've been pretty concerned with his struggles.  Hopefully last night was a sign of him turning the corner.

I also watched most of Enlow's start and I think he looked good even if his line was sort of mediocre.  He got the fastball up to 95, threw a lot of cutters at about 90 mph, and had his big low 80's curve working pretty well.  I could be wrong but I think I also saw at least one well located changeup mixed in at 88 mph.

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