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Twins Minor League Report (5/16): Guess Who's Back? Back Again, Royce is Back, Tell a Friend

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Twins Daily Contributor

He’s created a phenom, ‘cause nobody wants torn ACL's no more, they want Royce bein’ a top biller. Well if you want Royce, this is what he’ll give ya, a bunch of speed mixed with some bat vigor.

Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints (photo of Royce Lewis)


  • My poor Eminem lyric-rework aside, there were several transactions in advance of Tuesday’s games, including SS Royce Lewis's rehab assignment officially being transferred to the St. Paul Saints. His rehab window is 20 days, and the end of that is also when he is eligible for activation from the 60-day injured list, FYI.
  • The Saints also were assigned RHP Jose Bravo from the Wichita Wind Surge, as the Minnesota Twins selected the contract of RHP Jose De Leon to replace RHP Jorge Alcala, who was put on the 15-day injured list. De Leon was scheduled to start tonight's game for St. Paul.
  • In Wichita, the Wind Surge activated LHP Denny Bentley from the IL, sending down C Kyle Schmidt to Cedar Rapids to make room.
  • The Kernels released RHP Matt Mullenbach, and transferred RHP Owen Griffith from the 7-day IL to the 60-day.
  • Finally, the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels were assigned RHP Danny Moreno from the FCL Twins.

St. Paul 6, Columbus 5 (10 innings)
Box Score
It didn’t take long for Royce Lewis to make an impact in his first game back with the St. Paul Saints since tearing his ACL for the second time. He was slotted number three in the batting order by manager Toby Gardenhire, and he shot the fifth pitch he saw through the left side of the infield for a single in his first at-bat. The Saints loaded the bases in the first but weren’t able to push a run across.

They got two in the second, and you’d be right if you thought Lewis played a part in that. After a Tony Wolters double put runners on second and third, Jose Miranda brought in the first run with a sac fly, and Lewis followed an Edouard Julien walk with and RBI single the opposite way to make it 2-0 St. Paul.

With scheduled starter Jose De Leon being called up by the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, it was right-hander Randy Dobnak who took the mound in his stead for the Saints. He allowed three runs (zero earned) on four hits and a walk in his three innings, striking out three Clippers. All three runs scored in the bottom of the second, after the first batter reached on an error by center fielder Andrew Stevenson. It could have been worse, but Matt Wallner cut down a runner at home to end the inning with a perfect and strong throw from right field for the assist.

Cody Laweryson came on in the fourth and delivered three strong innings. He allowed no hits, walked two, and struck out four. 

With the score 3-2 Clippers in the top of the seventh, the top of the Saints lineup again got things cooking. Miranda led off with a single and Julien drew his third walk of the game to tee it up for Lewis, who drove it over the wall in center for a three-run homer and a 5-3 lead for the Saints.

That lead didn’t last long, however, as Kody Funderburk had trouble in the bottom half of the inning. He surrendered two singles and two doubles that led to a pair of runs and tied the game at five before getting out of the inning. He did strike out two in his lone inning but the Saints still had work to do. Patrick Murphy then delivered two scoreless innings to get them into extra innings.

In the top of the tenth with Mark Contreras starting on second base, Kyle Garlick led off the inning with a single to move him to third base, and Andrew Stevenson atoned for his error earlier in the game (I might have ruled it a hit, anyway…) with an RBI single and a 6-5 lead.

Oliver Ortega then slammed the door on another comeback, getting a pair of flyouts to Stevenson in center field that weren’t deep enough to move the runner over, and first baseman Tyler White nabbed a liner to end the game.

Arkansas 4, Wichita 6
Box Score
Wichita got a big night from their top prospect, opening their series by surging past the Arkansas Travelers at home in Riverfront Stadium.

Starting pitcher Travis Adams allowed a two-run homer in the top of the first, but after that stifled the Travelers for 3 2/3 total innings. He allowed three hits, walked three, and struck out one. In the fourth inning, he was replaced by Osiris German after his second walk of the inning, and German got the final out with a grounder to third base.

The Wind Surge had taken the lead at that point thanks to an RBI single from Alerick Soularie in the second that followed a David Banuelos triple, and a two-run homer from Alex Isola in the third, his fourth of the season.

Although Wichita fell behind 4-3 after the top of the fifth, Brooks Lee wasn’t about to let them stay there. Will Holland led off the frame with a single, and Lee cashed them both in with his third home run of the season, putting the home team back in front for good 5-4.

Chad Donato came out of the bullpen to start the fifth inning and allowed two runs on four hits and a pair of walks over 3 1/3 innings pitched. He struck out three. Jordan Brink closed out the game with 1 2/3 perfect innings, striking out one.

The offense tacked on an insurance run in the eighth when Lee led off with a single and was driven in by a Jake Rucker double a few batters later.

Lee finished the night 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored in addition to the homer. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. joined him with multiple hits in the game (2-for-4) and stole two bases, giving him 16 stolen bases on the year, which ranks second in the Texas League. Will Holland was 1-for-1 with a pair of walks and scored two runs.

Peoria 5, Cedar Rapids 6
Box Score
The Kernels rode a four-run seventh inning to victory on Tuesday at home in Cedar Rapids, holding off the Chief's late rallies.

Orlando Rodriguez made the start for the home team and scattered five hits and two walks over five innings. Although he did not strike out a single batter, he did allow only one run, and the Kernels held a 2-1 lead when he left the game. 

The lineup pounced in the bottom of the first inning with two outs, as a hit-batter preceded a two-run home run from Kala’i Rosario, his second of the season.

Reliever Mike Paredes held it down for the next two innings after Rodriguez’s exit, delivering two scoreless. He allowed two hits, walked none, and also struck out none. 

Noah Miller led off the bottom of the seventh with his second home run of the year, kickstarting the four-run inning. Misael Urbina followed with a triple and was driven in by a sac fly from Jose Salas. Willie Joe Garry Jr. then had an interesting trip around the bases, reaching on an error, and advancing all the way home on two wild pitches that followed. A couple of walks then led to an RBI single from Rosario to cap the Kernels scoring.

Peoria did their best to make a comeback, getting a pair of runs off both Regi Grace in the eighth and John Wilson in the ninth. Grace allowed those runs on three hits and got the only strikeout of the game for the pitching staff. Wilson’s runs also came on three hits.

Rosario finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBI. Urbina was the only other hitter with multiple knocks, going 2-for-4. Emmanuel Rodriguez drew two walks and scored a run.

Fort Myers 6, Lakeland 5
Box Score
Mighty Mussels starter Christian MacLeod was making just his second start after returning from Tommy John surgery and was fantastic in this one over four innings. He allowed just one run on one hit and two walks, while punching out seven Flying Tigers. He threw 62 pitches, with 38 going for strikes (61%), including ten swinging. He didn’t allow a hit until his final inning, but it came after a walk and a wild pitch, leading to his earned run allowed.

Fort Myers took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third when a bases-loaded wild pitch was followed by a two-RBI triple from Jorel Ortega. The lineup added single runs in the fourth, fifth, and seventh innings, accounting for their six runs. In the fourth, it was an RBI triple from Dylan Neuse, a sac fly off the bat of Ricardo Olivar in the fifth, and an Andrew Cossetti RBI double in the seventh.

Right-hander Jose Olivares came on for MacLeod to start the fifth and contributed four solid innings of his own. He allowed two earned runs on four hits and one walk, while striking out four. His two runs allowed came on solo home runs, but the score was 6-3 when his game was done.

Fort Myers called upon Johnathan Lavallee to close out the game, and I’m sure he was thankful his team had added some insurance runs for him. A single, consecutive doubles, and a wild pitch left the tying runner on third with just one out before he buckled down. He picked up a strikeout and got a lineout to end the game, picking up his second save of the season in the process.

The lineup got multiple hits in the game from Ortega (2-for-5, R, 3B, 2 RBI, K), Alec Sayre (2-for-4, 2 R, 3B), and Neuse (3-for-4, R, 3B, RBI). 

Pitcher of the Day - Christian MacLeod, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (4 IP, H, ER, 2 BB, 7 K)
Hitter of the Day - Royce Lewis, St. Paul Saints (3-for-5, R, HR, 4 RBI, SB)

With about a month and a half of the season in the books, Twins Daily has your first Top 20 Prospect List update of the year.
#1 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 3-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI
#2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab-St. Paul) - 3-for-5, R, HR, 4 RBI, SB
#3 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-2, R, 2 BB
#4 - Edouard Julien (St. Paul) - 1-for-2, R, 3 BB, K
#5 - Connor Prielipp (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List
#6 - Marco Raya (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch
#7 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
#8 - David Festa (Wichita) - Did not pitch
#9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, BB, 3 K
#10 - Yasser Mercedes (FCL) 
#11 - Austin Martin (St. Paul) - Injured List
#12 - Jose Salas (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-3, RBI, K
#13 - Noah Miller (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, R, HR, RBI, BB
#14 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
#15 - Brent Headrick (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
#16 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - Injured List
#17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - Did not pitch
#18 - Jose Rodriguez (FCL) 
#19 - Yunior Severino (Wichita) - 0-for-4, 3 K
#20 - Michael Helman (St. Paul) - Injured List

St. Paul @ Columbus (11:05 AM CDT) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (0-3, 7.17 ERA)
Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Carlos Luna (0-1, 5.64 ERA)
Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (12:05 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (2-2, 2.77 ERA)
Tampa @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - LHP Develson Aria (1-0, 3.38 ERA)

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

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Steve:  Excellent report on our affiliates tonight.  Even better with all 4 winning!  

Great to see Lewis return to SP with a mammoth BOMB!  

Also nice seeing Brooks Lee have a strong night.  Looking forward to seeing the Wind Surge in person next week as I'm making a road trip to Springfield for two games.  Hopefully David Festa starts 1 of those games.

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Nice game from Brooks Lee, who had been scuffling a little bit. Especially good to see him flash the power.

But Royce Lewis is the story. Jumping back into the AAA and looking good. There might be a setback along the way, but he really does look healthy. I'm rooting so hard for this dude.

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Another nice game for Kalai Rosario who is probably not getting enough attention at this point.

One thing I noticed when going through last years game logs at baseball savant is that his exit velos were on par if not slightly better than Emmanuel Rodriguez's.  He looked the part of a slugger in spring training, and I think there is some underlying upside despite mediocre numbers last year.

He's been more hit over power so far this year with only his second homer last night, but I'm guessing that is more down to launch angle than exit velocity.  But the most encouraging sign is that his plate discipline umbers have gone in the right direction this year.  I think he's a top 30 guy for me right now who's maybe just a minor swing tweak away from a big breakout.

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2 hours ago, FlyingFinn said:

Should the Twins claim Gus Varland who was DFA'd by the Brewers? Would DFA Deleon to get him and problem DFA Gus as part of the train to St. Paul. Could end up with another arm to work with in St. Paul.

Gus was a Rule 5 pick so if he passes through waivers he goes back to his original team.

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The Twins tried something different this year putting the young prospects at Cedar Rapids and the older org guys in Fort Myers. I think that might have been a mistake. Some of the players at Cedar Rapids are failing at that level (Salas, Urbina, Cavaco) while some of those at Fort Myers are not being challenged (Cossetti, Shuffield). Making each team a mix of older and younger players for the rest of the season would be a better idea.

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9 hours ago, darwin22 said:

Steve:  Excellent report on our affiliates tonight.  Even better with all 4 winning!  

Great to see Lewis return to SP with a mammoth BOMB!  

Also nice seeing Brooks Lee have a strong night.  Looking forward to seeing the Wind Surge in person next week as I'm making a road trip to Springfield for two games.  Hopefully David Festa starts 1 of those games.

Have a great time in Springfield!!! I'm a big fan of that town, spent a lot of time there for past work, and have gone to a few games at Hammons Field myself!

Make sure to visit Ebbet's Field (few blocks south of the stadium) and Springfield Brewing Company downtown (try the beer cheese soup!). Mother's Brewing also worth a stop if you're into that type of thing. And the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World there is worth the experience as well.


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Just wanted to give a shout out to Dylan Neuse> I know he is old for the level and likely lack a power stroke but he has a .300 BA and is walking about the same amount as he is K'ing. He is a tiny guy as I got to see him in Beloit but he is off to nice start.  These are far and away his best numbers as a pro.

Jorel Ortega is looking like he might be a special bat.  Hitting for average and power with nice walk and K rates.  Hopefully some of these really good performers at A ball get moved up in June.  There must be complex guys who can replace them but it would be nice to see these guys get greater challenges sooner rather than later.

Happy to see Macleod getting on track. I always felt he was a good pick where the Twins got him.  Since they traded away their top 3 pitcher picks from 2021 it sure would be nice if Macleod worked out well.

Nice to see the affiliates winning some games and hopefully once the short season teams start we will get to see how well the younger guys on the top 30 are doing as well.  Gotta keep that pipeline moving.

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1 hour ago, DJL44 said:

Gus was a Rule 5 pick so if he passes through waivers he goes back to his original team.

But, the Twins could claim him, put him on waivers right away, hope he clears and try to work out a deal with the Dodgers to be able to keep him and send him to Triple-A. 

If they could pull that off, it'd be great. Varland is intriguing. He's very similar to Trevor Megill. Has incredible two-pitch mix and can be successful, but consistency and command has been a struggle. He was actually doing a nice job with the Brewers until getting hit in the head by the comebacker. 

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They all scored six runs and they all won! I'd much rather the teams I'm pulling for consistently put up five or six runs rather than scoring double digits a few games and then getting shut down to three runs or below for five or six games. 

Nice to see Lee have a really good game. His overall numbers are good, but don't scream for promotion just yet. 

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