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  • Twins Minor League Report (8/24): Gray, Webb Provide Huge, Late-Inning Hits

    Seth Stohs

    In the Twins' minor leagues on Saturday night, the E-Twins were on the road but got a huge late-inning home run to take a lead. In Cedar Rapids, as they await the arrival of Byron Buxton, they did have a walk-off win. One of the newest Twins prospects pitched well and earned another win for the Miracle. Another new prospect got the save in that game. The Miracle and Red Wings had plenty of offense. Oh, and Brusdar Graterol pitched.


    Also, the Twins topped Detroit 8-5.

    Image courtesy of Steve Buhr (photo of Chris Vallimont)

    Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Saturday, starting with some awards and the transactions of the day.


    But before we do that, in case you missed it, Twins prospect and 2019 draft pick Edouard Julien injured his elbow in the Pan Am Games and will have Tommy John surgery in the next couple of weeks.




    On Friday, the Midwest League and Appalachian League announced their postseason All-Star teams.

    • Kernels 1B Gabe Snyder was named to the Midwest League team.
    • E-Twins OF Max Smith was named to the Appy League team.


    • Mariana Guzman posted early on Saturday morning the news that RHP Edwar Colina had been promoted to Triple-A Rochester.

    • The Twins optioned RHP Ryne Harper and promoted RHP Cody Stashak to the big leagues.
    • RHP Danny Moreno came off of the GCL's 60-day injured list.


    Rochester 6, Syracuse 2

    Box Score


    It was a good offensive night for the Red Wings as they got contributions from a lot of players. Willians Astudillo is now hitting .474 with the Red Wings after a 2-for-5 performance which included his first double. Wilin Rosario went 3-for-5 with his 23rd double. He’s now hitting .310. Ian Miller went 2-for-5 with his third double and he stole his fifth bag. Ronald Torreyes went 2-for-5. Also, Zander Wiel hit his 36th double, a noteworthy milestone.




    It was a bullpen game for the Red Wings. Preston Guilmet started and tossed three scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out three batters. Trevor Hildenberger came in. He faced six batters and got all six out. Jake Reed pitched 1 2/3 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on two hits and two walks. He struck out two batters. Brusdar Graterol got the final out of the seventh inning but not before allowing the inherited runner to score. He worked a scoreless eighth frame. He struck out one batter in the four outs he recorded. Ryan O’Rourke pitched a scoreless ninth inning.



    Pensacola 4, Jackson 8

    Box Score


    Bryan Sammons was back on the mound for the Blue Wahoos. The lefty started the game with four scoreless innings. However, he ended up giving up three runs on five hits and three walks over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four. Marcos Diplan gave up three runs on two hits over 1 2/3 innings. Alex Phillips gave up two runs on three hits (two HRs) with two walks and three strikeouts. Anthony Vizcaya gave up a hit in his scoreless inning.


    Ryan Costello provided much of the Blue Wahoos offense. The slugger knocked his seventh Pensacola home run, a two-run shot. Ryan Jeffers went 1-for-2 with two walks. Alex Kirilloff hit his 17th double. LaMonte Wade went 1-for-4 with a walk in another rehab game.



    Ft. Myers 4, Palm Beach 1

    Box Score


    Chris Vallimont made his fourth Miracle start since joining the organization on July 31st. On this night, he gave up one run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out nine. He improved to 4-5 overall in the Florida State League, but with the Miracle, he is 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA. In 22 1/3 innings, he has walked four and struck out 28 batters.


    Moises Gomez continues his terrific season with 2 1/3 perfect innings. He struck out three. Then Yennier Cano came on and worked a perfect ninth inning for his second save.


    Gilberto Celestino had another multi-hit game. He went 2-for-5 with his third and fourth doubles. Andrew Bechtold went 2-for-5 with his eighth double. Yeltsin Encarnacion went 2-for-3 with a walk. Jose Miranda and Brian Schales each had two hits as well.


    The Miracle won their fifth straight game.



    Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 2

    Box Score


    Tyler Webb has done it a couple of times already, once in E-Town and soon after with the Kernels. The Kernels were down 2-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. They tied the score on a fielding error. Webb came to the plate and lashed a single to score Matt Wallner and give the Kernels the walk-off win. And a celebration ensued.




    Andrew Cabezas started for Cedar Rapids. He tossed six shutout innings, overcoming six hits and four walks. He struck out just one. Jose Martinez gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk over two innings. Ricky Ramirez struck out two in a perfect top of the ninth inning to earn the Win.


    Jared Akins went 2-for-4 with an RBI. DaShawn Keirsey added a triple.


    Byron Buxton is expected to DH for the Kernels on Sunday afternoon and then play center field on Monday night. From there, it is to be determined. He may be ready to play in Chicago on Tuesday.





    E-Twins 4, Danville 2

    Box Score


    Seth Gray has played hero for the E-Twins several times this season. On Friday night, his walk-off homer was his second of the year. On Saturday night, he hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. The Twins added one more and got the nice road win.


    Willie Joe Garry gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning with his fifth home run. Charlie Mack went 2-for-3 with his eighth double. Anthony Prato went 2-for-4.


    Ben Gross, the Twins 10th-round pick, put together the best start of his young career. He struck out seven batters over five shutout innings. He gave up just two hits and didn’t issue a walk. Denny Bentley came on and did well too. He struck out three over two scoreless innings. Brent Headrick came on for his second pro appearance. He gave up two unearned runs on two hits and a walk and recorded just two outs, one on a strikeout. Tyler Beck came on and got the final four outs to give the team the win.



    GCL Twins 3, GCL Red Sox 10

    Box Score


    Stephen Gonsalves made another rehab start in the GCL. On this day, he was able to complete three innings. He gave up just two hits and no runs. He struck out four and did not issue a walk.


    Venezuelan Danny Moreno came on and made his first appearance of the year. He tossed a scoreless inning .He gave up just one hit, and he struck one batter out. It as a rough one for Miguel Rodriguez. In 2 2/3 innings, he gave up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits and two walks. He struck out five. Matthew Swain came in and gave up three runs on five hits and a walk in his inning. He struck out two. Steven Theetge struck out two in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.


    Luke Raley continued his rehab and went 1-for-4. Victor Heredia hit his first home run. Jim Caceres, Erick Rivera and Jesus Feliz each hit a double.




    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Ben Gross, Elizabethton Twins

    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Seth Gray, Elizabethton Twins



    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:


    #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - 1-5, RBI

    #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 1-5, 2B(17), K

    #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) - 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (22 pitches, 15 strikes)

    #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - 0-2, 2 BB, K

    #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, K

    #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch

    #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Did Not Play

    #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch

    #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch

    #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List (lower leg contusion)

    #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - 1-2, 2 BB, RBI

    #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - 1-4

    #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, K

    #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Injured List

    #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured (Tommy John)

    #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch

    #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - 1-3, BB, RBI, K, SB(19)

    #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - 0-4, 3 K



    Rochester @ Syracuse (12:05 CST) - LHP Devin Smeltzer (1-3, 3.28 ERA)

    Jackson @ Pensacola (5:05 CST) - RHP Griffin Jax (4-3, 2.69 ERA)

    Ft. Myers @ Palm Beach (12:00 CST) - LHP Lachlan Wells (2-4, 4.15 ERA)

    Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 CST) - RHP Josh Winder (7-2, 2.82 ERA)

    Danville @ Elizabethton (4:05 CST) - TBD

    GCL Red Sox @ GCL Twins (11:00 CST) - TBD


    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Saturday games or any other minor league topics you would like.

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    IT is time for Graterol; he can add a different dimension with his stuff, if he can mentally handle it.  I think with Colina, Alcala, Duran, and then, Balazovic, Sands, Vallimont, and Enlow, we are really on the forefront of some high potential home-grown pitchers.  WTH happened to Landon Leach?  High draft pick, and he has pitched 34 innings in 3 years!?!  

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    Don't forget Ober and Jax. They are pretty good as well. Graterol, Balazovic, Colina, Ober, Jax, Duran, Alcala, Enlow, Sands...Btw, Sam Clay has been good too.


    Despite virtual lost seasons for Wells, Wells, Gonsalves and certainly Romero, just look at the arms who have excellled, or at the very least have teased, as you listed them. Toss in Thorpe and Smeltzer, along with Poppen and Littell and Stashak, maybe even Dobnak.

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    Jeffers will be in the majors next year. Bank it.


    I'm certainly willing to put my money where my mouth is. Especially after what he's doing in Pensacola.


    I've been following Jeffers closely since his exceptional debut in E-town. A gutsy 2nd round draft choice by the Twins for a catcher from a small D-1 school. 59th pick overall and not even in the top 250 on prospect lists.


    As gutsy as the pick was, the Twins FO has been even gutsier in pushing Jeffers rapidly up the system via the fast track. The Twins treatment/advancement of catcher development in the post-Mauer era has been glacially slow. By contrast, we now have Jeffers who has advanced FOUR levels in 1.5 seasons with the Twins.


    Consider Mitch Garver. Out of a more prestigious school (New Mexico) in a more prestigious conference (Mountain West), Garver was TWICE named MTN. West Conference Player of the Year, and finished 2nd in the Johnny Bench Award TWICE. Batted nearly .400 his senior season.


    Despite these successes, Garver was slow-tracked by the previous Twins regime, spending full seasons in E-Town (2013), Cedar Rapids (2014), Fort Myers (2015)... and nearly a full season in AA Chattanooga in 2016 before moving up to AAA for his final 22 games. And then, Garver only reluctantly was given playing opportunities with the Twins after tearing up AAA in 2017, until catastrophic injuries forced the Twins' hand to hand the job to Garver in the middle of 2018.


    The result? Garver is finally in the ascendancy of his career;

    unfortunately, he turns 29 in January.


    I'm thrilled to admit my own mea culpa on how Jeffers was initially handled when he was making a mockery of Appy League pitching in 2018. The Twins seemed to have learned, perhaps by the example of Garver, to hypothetically, NOT waste some of Jeffers more productive and healthy years while he's still in his 20s.


    Is there a review out there about how Jeffers is advancing in his catching skills/pitcher handling? I doubt he would be moving this quickly up the ladder if he was struggling. I'm assuming that the Twins have already made the decision internally for Jeffers to play AFL ball in October. Just one more stepping-stone to claiming a 40-man spot in 2020.


    Goodbye, Good Luck, Jason Castro.


    Hello Ryan Jeffers, sometime following Super 2 date, late June 2020?



    Edited by jokin
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    Are the ETon Twins going to miss the playoffs this year, Seth?  Currently 1.0 game out of second place, but must pass two teams to slide into that second spot.  Don't know the details, but know that they have been in the playoffs most years for seemingly forever.


    And yesterday's loss sure didn't help the GCL Twins chances of making it.


    I have this feeling that a lot of you are going to be more than disappointed when Graterol isn't called up by the Twins next week.  Seems to me that he is going to be a bit short of performances at AAA for them to make the call.  But that's just my feeling this morning.


    And isn't it great seeing Bechtold's name mentioned in these reports nearly every day.

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    Rated players 5 - 23 today.  It seems like we have had a lot of days like this.  Jeffers and Arraez are the two who consistently have hits and Larnach has been good all season, otherwise pitchers are dominating our prospect thoughts. 


    And that's a good thing. With all of the great pitching performances on the farm, both prospects and non-top 40 prospects, there's finally a fighting chance that the Twins can replenish their major league roster and depth with quality arms developed from within the organization, and not relying so much anymore on scrap heap lottery tickets, bounceback candidates, or weird two-year/one year-on-active-roster deals with another TJ case like Pineda.

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