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  • Twins Minor League Report (9/10): Balazovic Pulled From No-Hitter


    Allen Post

    Jordan Balazovic was incredible on the mound in Wichita and there was late drama for Cedar Rapids. Check out that and other news and notes in tonight's Minor League Report!

    Image courtesy of Ed Bailey – Wichita Wind Surge

    TRANSACTIONS
    No transactions today.

    SAINTS SENTINEL
    Omaha 6, St. Paul 3
    Box Score

    Omaha touched St. Paul for four homers in this one and led wire-to-wire, taking the game 6-3. 

    Bobby Witt Jr. got the game started for the Storm Chasers with a solo homer in the first frame, and Ryan McBroom matched his teammate three innings later to make it 2-0.

    Omaha added on in the sixth and Witt was involved again. The Royals’ top prospect doubled in a run and later scored on an M.J. Melendez sacrifice fly. 

    The Saints offense finally got off the mark in the sixth, when a Gilberto Celestino double started a rally that scored two and featured an RBI each from Mark Contreras and Jimmy Kerrigan. 

    The Saints’ momentum stopped there, though, as Robinson Leyer gave up a solo bomb to the first batter of the next inning to make it 5-2, and a second McBroom homer in the eighth stretched the Omaha lead one notch further. 

    Tomas Telis homered in the eighth to cut the deficit to 6-3, but the Saints went down quietly in the ninth and lose to that score.

    Charlie Barnes got the start for the Saints tonight and made just the one mistake to Bobby Witt Jr. over 3 ⅓ innings. Barnes’ early hook didn’t seem to serve any purpose for the Saints in this game, but manager Toby Gardenhire may still have taken him out for a reason:

    As Seth noted in his tweet, Chandler Shepherd took over from there, but he struggled, allowing three runs in 1 ⅔ innings. Leyer allowed just a solo homer in his two innings, as did Nick Vincent in his only inning of work. Chris Nunn took the ninth and was the only Saint pitcher to not allow a run.

    Telis and Celestino were the Saints with multi-hit games tonight.

     

    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Wichita 5, NW Arkansas 3 
    Box Score

    Jordan Balazovic did a lot to confirm his title as the Twins’ top pitching prospect with a truly special outing on the mound that keyed tonight’s victory for Wichita. 

    Balazovic allowed a run on an RBI groundout in the third, but he went six full innings, struck out five, and, most notably, did not allow a hit. Balazovic, who had thrown 88 pitches when he left the game, was showing no signs of slowing down, but manager Ramon Borrego evidently didn’t see the benefit in stretching his top asset’s limits. Still, enjoy Balazovic’s six innings of dominance:

    Meanwhile, the Surge offense was having quite the interesting game as well. Wichita got their first two runs in the third, thanks to Austin Martin. The Wichita star shortstop came to the plate with men on first and second and poked a weak grounder to right side, but he busted out of the box and forced an overthrow (allowing one to score), and then got in a rundown that allowed the second run to score. Just watch:

    In the fifth, Trey Cabbage (who else?) also drove in two runs, but in a very, very different way:

    The Surge added another run in the fifth off a Roy Morales single that scored Chris Williams.

    The Naturals got their first hits of the game in the eighth off Zach Neff, and they scored two as well. Clay Dungan doubled in Kevin Merrell and later scored on a Vinnie Pasquantino sac fly to cut the lead to 5-3. Jordan Gore was rock solid in the ninth inning, though, and put away the two-run W.

    After Balazovic’s six no-hit innings, Adam Lau pitched a no-hit inning of his own, though he did walk two batters. Neff allowed the two runs (and the Naturals’ only two hits) in the eighth and only managed to get two outs. Gore grabbed the last four outs of the game without allowing a base runner. 

    Cabbage and Roy Morales had multi-hit games for the Surge.

     

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids X, Wisconsin X
    Box Score

    This game was an absolute nail-biter until it wasn't: the Kernels explode for four runs in the ninth to take it 7-3. 

    Matt Wallner and Aaron Sabato struck first for the Kernels with back-to-back solo homers in the top of the first: 

    However, Sean Mooney allowed that lead to slip away immediately by allowing a three-run shot to Joey Wiemer in the bottom of the inning. In the third though, Alex Isola pumped a homer of his own well over the fence in the left center to tie the game for Cedar Rapids.

    Both teams built and squandered numerous chances over the middle innings of this game, but it stayed tied at three into the late innings. Like they had in the fifth, the Timber Rattlers loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, and, just like the fifth, they couldn't bring even one run across.

    And, unlike in the fifth, this time Wisconsin's lack of clutch hitting really hurt them. While the Timber Rattlers were likely still cursing their failures in the eighth inning, Aaron Sabato came up with a man on and blasted his second bomb of the night to give the Kernels a two-run lead. Then, not to be outdone, Isola followed up with his second homer of the night, and the Kernels still weren't done. Gabriel Maciel ripped an RBI single up the middle to make the score 7-3 and effectively seal the game for Cedar Rapids. However, seemingly just to torture themselves, the Timber Rattlers loaded the bases one more time in the bottom of the ninth, and, one more time, they failed to score.

    But hey, it's hard to be that upset when you're dressed like this:

    Other than his three-run mistake, Sean Mooney hung tough on the mound for Cedar Rapids. Those were the only runs he allowed in four innings of work and he struck out six, though he did walk three. Denny Bentley was rock solid again in his 2 ⅔ innings of work, striking out four and working around three hits and two walks. Zach Featherstone got the Kernels into trouble with three walks in the eighth, but Osiris German got them out of the eighth. German went out for the ninth, too and got two outs but was removed from the game with two runners on. Melvi Acosta came on for the last out, and walk the bases loaded before finally closing out the game.

     

    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Palm Beach 2, Fort Myers 0  
    Box Score

    The Fort Myers’ arms, led by Cade Povich in his second Single-A start, were excellent in this game. However, the Palm Beach pitchers were two runs better and the Mussels drop this one, 2-0.

    Povich, the Twins’ latest third round draft pick, was very impressive in his three innings to start this game, allowing only one hit and no runs, while striking out five Cardinal batters. Miguel Rodriguez took the middle three innings of the game, and only allowed one run, a home run off the bat of Ryan Holgate in the fourth inning.

    Zaquiel Puentes took over from there and allowed only one run over the seventh and eighth innings, as he, too, fell victim to Holgate, this time through an RBI single. Bradley Hanner hurled a scoreless ninth inning to finish off a solid outing from the Mussels pitching staff.

    Still, despite the successes of their pitchers, Fort Myers never looked like winning this game because their offense fell flat. They did get seven hits – and even loaded the bases in the fifth – but they couldn’t string knocks together and their clutch hitting was atrocious. Alerick Soularie and Mikey Perez got multi-hit games, but the Mussels’ hitters might owe the pitching staff dinner after this 2-0 loss. 

     

    COMPLEX CHRONICLES
    FCL Red Sox 16, FCL Twins 10
    Box Score

    The bats came out to play for the FCL Twins tonight, but unfortunately, they came out in greater force for the FCL Red Sox and Minnesota’s complex leaguers drop this one 16-10.

    Leading the offense for the Twins was Carlos Aguiar, who bopped two homers for a total of four RBI, and Kala’i Rosario, who was 3-for-5 with three runs, two RBI, and a homer of his own. The Twins scored two in the top of the first, but never had the lead again despite plating seven runs over the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. They added one in the ninth, but fell well short of the offensive output from the Red Sox. Other than Aguiar and Rosario, Wander Valdez was the only other Twin with a multi-hit game.

    It goes without saying that it was a struggle on the mound for the FCL Twins tonight. Giovahniey German started the game and allowed seven runs (six earned) over 2 ⅓ innings. His outing was low-lighted by three different wild pitches and five walks. John Wilson replaced German and was the most effective pitcher for the Twins, allowing only two runs (one earned) in 2 ⅔ innings of work. Danny Moreno followed Wilson, but followed more in German’s footsteps as he was touched for five runs in an inning and a third. Rafael Feliz finished the game by allowing two earned run in 1 ⅔ innings. 

     

    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - 6.0 IP, R, ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 5 K
    Hitter of the Day - Aaron Sabato (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR, BB, K

    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL)
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4
    #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - 6.0 IP, R, ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 5 K
    #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain)
    #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, K
    #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch
    #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain)
    #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch
    #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play
    #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement)
    #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, 2 R, RBI, HR, 2 BB, K
    #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, R, 2B, K
    #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
    #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 1-for-5, 2 K
    #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-for-5, 3 K
    #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery)
    #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Did not play
    #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-4, K

    SATURDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Omaha @ St. Paul (6:05 PM CST) - TBD
    NW Arkansas @ Wichita (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Chris Vallimont (5-6 5.75 ERA)
    Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (1:05 PM CST) - LHP Aaron Rozek (0-1, 4.38 ERA)
    Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CST) - RHP Regi Grace (1-0, 3.47 ERA)

    Feel free to comment and discuss tonight’s games!

     

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    Observations from the Saints game: 

    1.) Charlie Barnes looked good. I'd like to talk to him about what he learned about himself and his pitching, and how is he incorporating that into his starts with the Saints now.

    2.) Barnes threw only 45 pitches. It was clearly a plan. My guess is he will be called up relatively soon.

    3.) Bobby Witt Jr is going to be really special. The HR he hit off Barnes was incredible.

    4.) Gilberto Celestino is a terrific CF. And, he has an absolute canon for an arm.

     

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    If anyone else is curious, as I am, on how a run scored in 6 no hit innings..... Balazovic walked the lead off batter in the 3rd on 4 pitches - all high - who stole second. Balazovic got a stike out on a foul tip, and then the lead off batter took 3rd on a wild pitch, and scored on the subsequent tapper/ground out back to Balazovic for the second out. A fly out to center to ended the inning.

    Miranda keeps hitting. I can't believe we don't see him in the show yet as this lost season ends. 

    I hope Celestino can bring it the next time he gets a chance. He sure has been lighting it up in St. Paul. Great to hear. He sure had some defensive mental gaffs in the show and couldn't hit worth a lick, and that is all I have seen. Personally, I hope we don't get to see him in center much at all, which would mean Buxton is healthy, stays on the field, and is extended for years.

    Charlie Barnes looked good, eh? I've heard that before. 

     

     

     

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    Guys, can you check the prospect summary? Once again, Noah Miller's stats are getting reported as "Did Not Pitch". Now, 1-5 with 2 K's is not exactly exciting, but I know people are still interesting in seeing how he's doing in rookie ball since he's on the top 20 list.

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    6 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

    Guys, can you check the prospect summary? Once again, Noah Miller's stats are getting reported as "Did Not Pitch". Now, 1-5 with 2 K's is not exactly exciting, but I know people are still interesting in seeing how he's doing in rookie ball since he's on the top 20 list.

    Edited... thank you! 

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    6 hours ago, h2oface said:

    Charlie Barnes looked good, eh? I've heard that before. 

     

     

     

    I think Barnes is worth giving a shot. Last night, he was consistently 91-92, and with his changeup and slider, that makes him intriguing. Obviously he has to have really good command to be successful, but he knows how to pitch. It's interesting... at 88-89, hard to be too excited... at 91-92, worth a shot.  

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    Marten should have not get in the second run down.  Once they threw home he should have stayed at first.  

    I have no issue pulling a pitching prospect in 6th with a no hitter going.  If he was  at 88 pitches after 8 then I would say give him a shot at it, but no way at current pitches he was going to complete the game and he has had arm issues over his career, like all pitchers. 

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    52 minutes ago, Trov said:

    I have no issue pulling a pitching prospect in 6th with a no hitter going.  If he was  at 88 pitches after 8 then I would say give him a shot at it, but no way at current pitches he was going to complete the game and he has had arm issues over his career, like all pitchers. 

    100% correct... Easy decision. 

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    Appreciate some of the above comments about Balazovic, as I also watched much of that game.  Great start for the young man, but one I would not label 'incredible.'

    He seemed to have a problem settling into the strike zone early in the game.  Walked the first batter in the second inning on four pitches.  Walked the lead off hitter again in the third, also on four pitches.  Then went 3-0 on the next guy before recovering and striking him out.  Seemed to be struggling finding the strike zone in both of those innings with lots of balls up.  

    On the other hand, the run they got shouldn't have scored, at least in my opinion.  He stole second with a late throw from the catcher.  If he gets off a clean throw and doesn't double clutch, he would have likely been out.  Then goes to third on what was called a wild pitch.  They don't do a lot of replays, but when the pitch was made it looked low and inside to me.  Seemed like something the catcher should have either caught or blocked, so I was thinking passed ball.  Then scored on a dribbler down the line...so yes, he didn't allow a hit and should have gotten a shutout.  But with those early walks, I wouldn't call it incredible.

    Was able to watch Martin on a few plays at short and wasn't impressed.  Was one ball hit to him when he hurried his throw a bit, throwing high for an error.  Understand that NW Arkansas is a Royals farm club with lots of speed, but didn't seem to be a difficult play.  Next hitter hits a ground ball to Martin's right.  His throw to second to begin the double play was high, above the second baseman's head resulting in an awkward, late throw to first for no double play.  Didn't see him do much more defensively, but those back to back plays weren't smooth and certainly not clean.  Will agree with the above comment that I thought he made a mistake getting into the rundown when they scored the two runs.  

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    5 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

    I think Barnes is worth giving a shot. Last night, he was consistently 91-92, and with his changeup and slider, that makes him intriguing. Obviously he has to have really good command to be successful, but he knows how to pitch. It's interesting... at 88-89, hard to be too excited... at 91-92, worth a shot.  

    I agree but was he throwing 91-92 with the Twins? He looked very hittable and frankly, a long way from being able to contribute to a MLB team.  He looked very overmatched when he was up before. 

    It would be great if Barnes could help next year. So far it looks like Ober and Ryan (I know, SSS) can really help us next year in the rotation absent injury. We need at least one more internal pitcher and Jax does not look like the answer to that question.  Maybe Gant, but his track record as a starter in St. Louis does not inspire confidence.  He looks more like a decent reliever.  

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    4 hours ago, roger said:

    Appreciate some of the above comments about Balazovic, as I also watched much of that game.  Great start for the young man, but one I would not label 'incredible.'

    He seemed to have a problem settling into the strike zone early in the game.  Walked the first batter in the second inning on four pitches.  Walked the lead off hitter again in the third, also on four pitches.  Then went 3-0 on the next guy before recovering and striking him out.  Seemed to be struggling finding the strike zone in both of those innings with lots of balls up.  

    On the other hand, the run they got shouldn't have scored, at least in my opinion.  He stole second with a late throw from the catcher.  If he gets off a clean throw and doesn't double clutch, he would have likely been out.  Then goes to third on what was called a wild pitch.  They don't do a lot of replays, but when the pitch was made it looked low and inside to me.  Seemed like something the catcher should have either caught or blocked, so I was thinking passed ball.  Then scored on a dribbler down the line...so yes, he didn't allow a hit and should have gotten a shutout.  But with those early walks, I wouldn't call it incredible.

    Was able to watch Martin on a few plays at short and wasn't impressed.  Was one ball hit to him when he hurried his throw a bit, throwing high for an error.  Understand that NW Arkansas is a Royals farm club with lots of speed, but didn't seem to be a difficult play.  Next hitter hits a ground ball to Martin's right.  His throw to second to begin the double play was high, above the second baseman's head resulting in an awkward, late throw to first for no double play.  Didn't see him do much more defensively, but those back to back plays weren't smooth and certainly not clean.  Will agree with the above comment that I thought he made a mistake getting into the rundown when they scored the two runs.  

    Thanks. Always good to hear from someone who watched live and could give it a close eye. I wish the news was better on this night. Maybe just an off night; sounds like his bat will definitely play somewhere. 

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    8 hours ago, Trov said:

    Marten should have not get in the second run down.  Once they threw home he should have stayed at first.  

    I have no issue pulling a pitching prospect in 6th with a no hitter going.  If he was  at 88 pitches after 8 then I would say give him a shot at it, but no way at current pitches he was going to complete the game and he has had arm issues over his career, like all pitchers. 

    Two good and insightful points. Regarding Balazovic gettin pulled, we must keep in mind that the purpose of the minor league system is to produce major league players, not necessarily to win games and certainly not to pad personal stats.

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