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Twins Minor League Report (8/16): Wind Surge Blows Away Tulsa


Twins Daily Contributor

There was lots of action on the farm on Tuesday, as both the rookie leagues played pseudo-doubleheaders in addition to the regular slate. A top pitching prospect, and heck, the whole team, went off in Double-A, and a new top prospect hit a milestone in Cedar Rapids.

 

 

 

TRANSACTIONS

SAINTS SENTINEL
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 10, St. Paul 9
Box Score

The Saints took a 9-0 lead in this one after the first two innings, so that should tell you about the disappointment that came late.

Dereck Rodriguez made the start and was solid for five innings, the first four of those being of the scoreless variety. The RailRiders finally broke through for one in the fifth, before they’d decimate the St. Paul bullpen in the next three innings. Rodriguez allowed one run on four hits and three walks, while striking out four in his five innings.

He had the big lead the entire time he was on the mound, as the home team used two walks, a single, and a hit by pitch in the bottom of the first, before a Chris Williams sac fly and Andrew Bechtold RBI single to take a 3-0 lead. They piled on six more in the second inning as seven straight hitters reached base, including a couple of RailRider errors to extend the inning, before Williams put an exclamation on it with a three-run home run for the 9-0 lead.

Unfortunately, sixteen straight hitters after that were retired by Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pitchers, and a John Andreoli single in the eighth inning was the only offense they mustered the rest of the game.

After Rodriguez’s exit, the bullpen trio of Ronny Henriquez (2 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K), Austin Schulfer (1/3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER), and Jovani Moran (1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 4 K) couldn’t hold off the RailRider bats. Henriquez allowed two home runs, and Moran got charged with the blown save and loss after giving up the go-ahead home run in the eighth.

Mark Contreras (2-for-3, R, RBI) was the only Saints hitter with multiple knocks, while Williams finished with four RBI, and Michael Helman chipped in a double.

WIND SURGE WISDOM
Tulsa 4, Wichita 17
Box Score

This was just one of those games for the Tulsa Drillers. It’s always tough when you give up something like 17 runs, but they put forth a meager effort against Wichita’s pitching, which saw several records be set.

To set the tone, Simeon Woods Richardson was on the mound for Wichita, and was electric for the first five innings. While he did allow seven hits, that number doesn’t tell an accurate story. I remember three balls that never should be counted as hits, including a sawed-off-bat fly ball that managed to fall safely into center field for a single. Woods Richardson was fooling RailRider hitters with the entirety of his arsenal, including 19 total swings-and-misses. Of his 87 pitches, 60 went for strikes (69%). His 10 strikeouts on the game are a new career high, and at one point he had struck out five straight hitters. It was a masterful performance.

Then the bullpen followed him with perhaps an even more impressive four innings when it comes to punching out batters. Denny Bentley struck out two in a scoreless sixth inning, Alex Phillips picked up all six of his outs on K’s, and fireballer Steven Cruz added two more in a scoreless ninth inning.

The 20 strikeouts in the game for Wind Surge pitchers set a club record and is the most strikeouts in any game in the Texas League this season.

Jeez, I was so impressed by the pitching I even forgot about all the hitting, and patience…

The Wind Surge lineup notched 14 hits, and matched that number by drawing 14 walks on the night as well. Will Holland had a double and a grand slam, in addition to three walks to reach base in all five of his plate appearances. He scored two runs and drove in five. Yunior Severino clubbed his first home run in a Wind Surge uniform, a three-run shot in the second inning that put Wichita in front.

In a 10-run sixth inning, 14 straight hitters reached base, including an astonishing six straight walks that followed Holland’s grand slam, the culmination of five straight hitters reaching with hits.

Aaron Sabato (2-for-4, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB), Cole Sturgeon (4-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB), and DaShawn Keirsey Jr. (2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, RBI, BB, K) joined Severino and Holland with multiple hit nights. In a game like this, it’s almost astonishing to see that Edouard Julian and Anthony Prato were the guys who didn’t get hits. Then again, Julien drew a walk and scored a run, and Prato drew four walks and scored three runs. 

If you’re in the “too long, didn’t read” crowd, the box score link above is highly recommended.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Wisconsin 2, Cedar Rapids 7
Box Score

While it was pretty much a team-wide effort of domination for Kernels against Wisconsin on Tuesday night, I’d be remiss if I didn’t immediately point out the first professional home run of infielder Brooks Lee’s career:

This two-run shot in the seventh inning pushed the lead to 7-2 for Cedar Rapids.

They got there behind a solid effort from their pitching staff, led by starter Orlando Rodriguez. He struck out the first three hitters of the game, but the final pitch to the last one got away, so he had to strike out another. If you’re counting, that’s 4 K’s in one inning. He then struck out two more to start the second, two more in the third, and one in the fourth before he was lifted. In all, he tossed 3 1/3 innings, striking out nine. He was charged with two runs (one earned) on three hits.

Derek Molina added 2 2/3 perfect innings to pick up the win, followed by two more perfect innings from Matt Mullenbach (2 K), before Samuel Perez (1 IP, H) finished off the victory for the home team.

Before Lee’s blast, the Kernels built a 5-2 lead thanks to a sac fly from Jake Rucker in the first, an RBI single from Willie Joe Garry Jr. in the second, and a three-run homer from Jeferson Morales in the fourth.

Lee (2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI) and Garry Jr. (2-for-4, RBI, K, 2 SB) led the way with two hits apiece. Alerick Soularie went 1-for-3 with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot, also drawing a walk and stealing a base. Mikey Perez scored two runs with a single, a walk, and another stolen base. As a team, they swiped six bases on the game. Lee did have two errors, one fielding, one throwing, playing shortstop.

MUSSEL MATTERS
Fort Myers 10, Palm Beach 1
Box Score

The Mighty Mussels outhit the Cardinals 11-to-5 on the game, taking advantage of seven walks and timely hitting to put up double-digits on the scoreboard. 

Left-hander Jordan Carr made the start for Fort Myers and was excellent, pitching into the seventh inning. In all he completed 6 2/3 innings, allowing just a single run on four hits and a walk, while striking out four. It was his fifth win of the season, and he has yet to take a loss. Zaquiel Puentes finished off the game with 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three.

The good guys took the lead for the first time, and for good, in the top of the second inning when Noah Cardenas led off with a double, and was promptly driven in by a single from Keoni Cavaco. A pair of singles and a sac fly from Noah Miller in the third led to their second run, before a Carlos Aguiar homer in the fifth stretched their lead to 4-0. In the sixth Cavaco delivered an RBI double and they’d add another run on an RBI single from Alec Sayre in his FSL debut. In the seventh it was again Cavaco coming through, this time in the form of a sac fly to put them ahead 7-0. They tacked on three more runs in the ninth after loading the bases with three walks.

Cardenas (2-for-2, 3 R, 2B, 2 BB), Cavaco (2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI, K), Sayre (2-for-5, R, 2 RBI, K) and Aguiar (2-for-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, K) all had multiple hits. Dillon Tatum drew two walks, scored a run, and drove in a run.

COMPLEX CHRONICLES
Game 1: FCL Twins 7, FCL Braves 0 (Makeup of Aug. 15 PPD, 6+ innings)
Box Score

In game one of their doubleheader, the Twins shut out the Braves, jumping out front 6-0 after two and never looking back.

Danny De Andrade and Gregory Duran each hit homers, with DeAndrade finishing 3-for-4, scoring two runs, driving in three, and also stealing a base. Third baseman Rafael Cruz also had multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI.  

Develson Aria made the start and went the first three innings. He scattered four hits, walked one, and struck out seven. Jack Noble (IP, H, K), Jacob Edwards (IP, H, K), and Wilker Reyes (IP, H, BB, 2 K) finished out the final three innings, keeping the shutout intact.

Game 2: FCL Braves 3, FCL Twins 1
Box Score

The Twins managed just one hit in their second game of the day, being unable to take advantage of the six base on balls they were able to draw. They were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left only six men on base. 

The rehabbing Austin Martin was 0-for-3, but drew one of those walks. Fredy Michel had the only hit, a single in the fourth inning, and also stole two bases, scoring their only run of the game.

On the mound for his first rehab appearance and first game of the 2022 season, was Randy Dobnak. He pitched a clean first inning, retiring all three hitters including a strikeout, as he began to work his way back toward the majors.

It was a bullpen-type game from there, with Michael Boyle (IP), A.J. Labas (2 IP), Zach Veen (IP), Danny Moreno (2/3 IP), and Cole Bellair (1 1/3 IP) all making appearances. Moreno was saddled with a blown save and loss, by allowing all three Braves runs.

DOMINICAN DAILIES
Game 1: DSL Cardinals 6, DSL Twins 13 (Completion of July 27 SUSP)
Box Score

The first game of the day for the DSL Twins was a completion of a game suspended back on 7/27.

The Twins pounded out 15 hits, going 6-for-9 with runners in scoring position to keep the scoring train going in multiple innings. They put up four in the fifth, three in the sixth, and five in the eighth behind 13 singles and four walks.

Isaac Pena had a triple, single, and sac fly to lead the way with six RBI in three at-bats, also drawing a walk and scoring a run. Ricardo Pena (2-for-4, 2 R, HR, RBI), Denyerbe Gervis (3-for-5, 2 R, RBI), and Bryan Acuna (3-for-4, 2 R, RBI) all had multiple hits.

Anthony Narvaez had made the start and completed two innings back in July, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk, while striking out three. Orlando Rubio went the next three innings before the game was delayed, allowing one run on two hits and two walks, along with striking out three of his own. When the game resumed today, it was Leonardo Lugo on the mound, and he was fantastic finishing the final four games. He gave up one run on three hits, walked none, and struck out eight.

Game 2: DSL Cardinals 7, DSL Twins 4
Box Score

The Twins outhit the Cardinals 10-to-6, but eight walks issued by Twins pitchers led to a losing effort on the scoreboard.

Starting pitcher Miguel Olivares had an uncharacteristic outing, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits, four free passes, and struck out just two. His two runs allowed in the second inning were the first earned runs he had allowed in his last 18 innings pitched.

Jose Ojo (1/3 IP, H, 3 ER, 2 BB) and Juan Mercedes (2 2/3 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, 5 K) finished the final three innings for the Twins bullpen.

Leadoff man Yasser Mercedes led the way for the lineup with three hits in four at-bats and also stole second base each time he reached (giving him 27 steals in 36 total games). Luis Rodriguez added a double and scored a run, while Jose Rodriguez hit his 11th home run of the season, which ranks second in the DSL.

TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Pitcher of the Day - Simeon Woods Richardson, Wichita Wind Surge (W, 5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, BB, 10 K)
Hitter of the Day - Will Holland, Wichita Wind Surge (2-for-2, 2 R, 2B, GS HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB)

PROSPECT SUMMARY
#2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI
#4 - Austin Martin (rehab, FCL) - 0-for-3, BB
#6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - W, 5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, BB, 10 K
#7 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-3, R, RBI, BB, K
#9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-for-5, R, K
#14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-for-5, R, BB
#16 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 2 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
#17 - Cole Sands (Minnesota) - 1 IP, H, 2 K
#19 - Alerick Soularie (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, 2 R, BB, SB
#20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, R, BB, 2 K

WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Scranton/WB @ St. Paul (7:07 PM CDT) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-5, 10.15 ERA)
Tulsa @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Cody Laweryson
Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - TBD
Fort Myers @ Palm Beach (5:30 PM CDT) - TBD
DSL Brewers 1 @ DSL Twins (10:00 AM CDT) - TBD

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

 

 


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After St Paul was up 9-0 I had them penciled in for the win.  It would have taken an epic melt down to lose that game but when you have Henriquez on your team bad things can and did happen.  Henriquez came out of it with 4 K's but giving up two homers and six runs is just unfathomable for a guy who was a top 10 prospect in the Twins system (I see they dropped him to 22 now). Moran comes in and also gives up a HR which is exactly what you don't want to see from a guy you hope can make it back to the MLB roster.  And for as good as the hitting was early they never scored again the rest of the game so big healthy boo to the offense as well.  Baseball is a crazy game.

Wichita what can you say.  I have been pretty hard on SWR especially about K rate and looking more dominant at the AA level.  He really looked good.  The line could have been a bit better because the WHIP was higher than you would like but still that is the kind of fire I have been looking for and was happy to see.

I have been a big backer of Holland until recently when he looked pretty over matched at High A.  Maybe a fresh start was needed?  He is taking walks, not striking out as much and hitting the ball really well.  I know he won't stay this hot forever but still those are all good trends and I hope he can keep that up.

After Lee hadn't had an extra base hit I was going to write that he needed to work on developing more power but he beat me to the punch with his HR last night.  I have to say he has been impressive at hitting the ball where they ain't.  He is not a guy I would shift on as he finds a way to put the ball in the open space no matter where that is on the field.  I hope he dominates and starts next year at AA.  The Twins might finally have options at short in the future.

The Twins need to move Cardenes up.  He has an unheard of 1.171 OPS in August and his July was elite as well. Low A ball is a tough hitting environment and has more than proven he is ready.  Get one of those catchers they drafted to take his place his bat is ready for the next level.

Mercedes and Jose Rodriguez among others keep doing there thing in the DSL.  The hitting pipeline is alive and well even after the deadline.  Pitching could still use some help.

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SWR since coming back from IL has been like he was at start of year.  He started off 4 great games, to then have some ehhh games, then on IL, only to come back with 4 good games again.  Not great, but he is showing maybe the bad games were in part injury related. 

Brooks Lee early numbers sure look like he will hit.  He should break camp at AA next year and from there if he hits and there is a need he could be someone to force his way into lineup.  I am not expecting he debuts next year, but if injuries arise and he shows his bat is MLB ready why not. 

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Great seeing SWR have a game like last night.  Believe that this kid can and will be special.

Saw that Wichita put up 17 runs and when I checked the box score couldn't believe my eyes.  With 17 runs on the board, Julien was 0-5?  

Good seeing Acuna with another big game.  After missing a few games, great seeing Mercedes back with a 3 hit night...or I guess day game down there.  

And like Dman, I couldn't believe what I was reading when I read about the Saints game over coffee this morning.  

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1 hour ago, Trov said:

SWR since coming back from IL has been like he was at start of year.  He started off 4 great games, to then have some ehhh games, then on IL, only to come back with 4 good games again.  Not great, but he is showing maybe the bad games were in part injury related. 

SWR hasn't had any injuries this year, has he? He missed 5-6 weeks with Covid, but I don't think he's been hurt. 

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Congrats to Brooks Lee on his first professional home run! Clearly, there are many many more to follow. He's certainly not having too many problems adjusting to the pro game, and it's great to see him hit the ground running at cedar rapids.

I'm bummed to see Canterino done for the year. Again. At what point do you just have to say no to drafting pitchers from Rice? At what point to kids start saying "oh HELL no" to even going there when they're ruining arms like that? 

Great performance by SWR, who I remain high on. I think he's a really talented pitcher, and I like these numbers for a 21-year old pitcher at AA. the WHIP is good, the k/9 is good, the HR/9 is REALLY good, and he's bringing the BBs back to where they need to be. Considering how screwed up his development path has been (no competitive ball at all at 19 because of the pandemic, a trade & Olympics (where he didn't get to pitch) at 20, and missing substantial time at 21 with COVID), he's doing quite well, I think.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Dman said:

Wichita what can you say.  I have been pretty hard on SWR especially about K rate and looking more dominant at the AA level.  He really looked good.  The line could have been a bit better because the WHIP was higher than you would like but still that is the kind of fire I have been looking for and was happy to see.

I watched this entire game. The inflated WHIP in this case was a huge red herring.

I remember specifically three of those hits (and I believe there was another similar one), that went like this:

1. Swinging bunt. Too far from SWR off the mound but was fielded about 15-20 feet feet into the grass by the SS after charging from normal depth. There was no play.
2. Slow roller to the right side against a shift that got through said shift. 2nd Baseman ran about 40 feet to try and get it, missing it with a dive in the outfield grass. That's how slow it was.
3. Broken bat duck fart that managed to drop in shallow center.

He threw 69% strikes, and had 19 swinging strikes. So while his ERA on the game was 3.60, and his whip 1.60, his FIP likely would work out to a negative number. The only knock I really would have, is it was five innings. 

I can't understate how good of a performance this was.

Edited by Steve Lein
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4 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

mlb put up its new prospect list.  At 33, Brooks Lee is on the list with Emmanuel Rodriguez at 97.  Let's hope some others rise quickly.

Although the AAA players are showing that they are learning the  Yankee/Twins way!

And Royce Lewis who is also in the top 100. 

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47 minutes ago, FlyingFinn said:

Is Steven Cruz looking as good as his numbers in the box score show lately?

He looked good last night. Still fell behind a couple hitters, but came back to get them with some nasty stuff. And he didn't miss anything badly, which is not usual from my observations earlier this year. A thread:

I'll note that last night I wasn't seeing 100 or 101 on the radar gun readings like was common earlier this year. Saw 97's when I looked. Could have missed some, but maybe he's backed off a tad?

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27 minutes ago, Steve Lein said:

He looked good last night. Still fell behind a couple hitters, but came back to get them with some nasty stuff. And he didn't miss anything badly, which is not usual from my observations earlier this year. A thread:

I'll note that last night I wasn't seeing 100 or 101 on the radar gun readings like was common earlier this year. Saw 97's when I looked. Could have missed some, but maybe he's backed off a tad?

Would really be nice if Cruz could find more consistency.  With Duran, Cruz, Alcala, and Lopez all being hard throwers that could be a tough pen next year.  

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Last night's Kernels game was the very first minor league game I have attended in person.  It was a terrific experience and also lucky to have witnessed Lee's first professional HR.

That said, the level of baseball was a bit disappointing, specifically in the first few innings.  The number of botches, errors and passed balls (Lee's two errors including a butchered routine pop-fly stand out) were less than impressive.

For those that have seen vastly more affiliated baseball at the High-A level - was yesterday's game an outlier from a quality baseball perspective?  (we were left speculating how the players might have spent their day off on Monday).

Just curious to hear from anyone with more experience watching and if what we saw is to be expected more often than not?  

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6 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

SWR hasn't had any injuries this year, has he?

Isn't that TwinsDaily's job, @Seth Stohs @Steve Lein, to report for us whether he has had any injuries? 🙂

So the deal with SWR is that in June, he missed a start. Then, he missed a second start. At that point he was put on the IL with an unspecified injury. Then, a week or two later, he was placed on the Covid IL. So it's not strictly a Covid thing (in fact at one point I thought I saw him celebrating a walk-off with his teammates when he was technically on the Covid IL and maybe there were protocols, don't know.)

If he continues to pitch well and stay on the mound then I guess the details won't matter. I would like to see him pitch a full season at a minor league level before he joins the big leagues. 

 

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6 hours ago, Chachi said:

Last night's Kernels game was the very first minor league game I have attended in person.  It was a terrific experience and also lucky to have witnessed Lee's first professional HR.

That said, the level of baseball was a bit disappointing, specifically in the first few innings.  The number of botches, errors and passed balls (Lee's two errors including a butchered routine pop-fly stand out) were less than impressive.

For those that have seen vastly more affiliated baseball at the High-A level - was yesterday's game an outlier from a quality baseball perspective?  (we were left speculating how the players might have spent their day off on Monday).

Just curious to hear from anyone with more experience watching and if what we saw is to be expected more often than not?  

Generally you're going to see really good talent, that sometimes, is lacking in the polish we get used to seeing at the MLB level.  These guys are still really good.  They're just young, and sometimes prone to the mistakes or misjudgments that younger players can make.

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22 hours ago, Steve Lein said:

 The only knock I really would have, is it was five innings. 

I can't understate how good of a performance this was.

Out of curiosity are there any Twins minor league pitchers doing much more than this? (5 innings)

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1 hour ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

Out of curiosity are there any Twins minor league pitchers doing much more than this? (5 innings)

No... I could have added a "/s" there 🙂

In fact, Jordan Carr's 6 2/3 innings on this night are the most I remember seeing from any starter this season (I certainly could have missed some). Louie Varland has had a few 6 inning ones, and I believe he leads the Twins minors in innings pitched on the year by quite a significant margin.

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30 minutes ago, Steve Lein said:

No... I could have added a "/s" there 🙂

In fact, Jordan Carr's 6 2/3 innings on this night are the most I remember seeing from any starter this season (I certainly could have missed some). Louie Varland has had a few 6 inning ones, and I believe he leads the Twins minors in innings pitched on the year by quite a significant margin.

thanks, good info!

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