Week 6 was busy for the Twins organization. All four full-season affiliates played in six games. There were a lot of minor league signings, and more injuries. Let’s take a look back and
- Released by the Twins last week, RHP Tom Hackimer has signed with the Mets.
- The Twins signed RHP Ramon Pineda to a minor league contract. The 23-year-old is the younger brother of Twins starter Michael Pineda, he signed back in 2016 with the White Sox and pitched at three rookie levels through the 2019 season. He was released in May of 2021.
As always, I welcome your feedback on what you would like to see from these Week in Review articles, so let me know in the comments below. Of course, I also encourage you to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday.
With that, let’s look at Week 6 in the Twins minor leagues:
Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (2-4 hosting Omaha), overall (17-19)
Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (2-4 @ Tulsa), overall (20-16)
High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (4-2, @ Beloit), overall (17-19)
Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (4-2, @ Jupiter), overall (20-16)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
With the Twins struggles early this season, we have had a lot of minor league articles including articles on players who could be promoted and the daily minor league reports.
- Twins Minor League Week in Review: Walk-Offs and Wins
- 2017 MLB Draft Retrospective: Was Royce Lewis the Right Choice?
- Blayne Enlow to Undergo Tommy John Surgery
- Tuesday: Buxton Begins Rehab Assignment
- Wednesday: Early Arms Dazzle Down South
- Thursday: Big Scores and Big Performances
- Nick Gordon is Carving Out a Role in the Big Leagues
- Friday: Late Drama for Kernels
- Cano, Moran are Relievers to Watch with the Wind Surge
- Saturday: Rehabbing Big Leaguers and Another Breakout?
- Sunday: Miranda, Winder Shine Again on Sunday
We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week, and then mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 6 performances too.
Twins Player of the Week: Spencer Steer, Cedar Rapids Kernels
On the week, Spencer Steer played all six games and hit .222/.276/.703 (.980). He had hits last week, a single, a double and four home runs. The third round pick from 2019 out of Oregon has had a solid start to his season. He has hit .248/.372/.473 (.845) with five doubles and eight home runs.
Twins Pitcher of the Week: Jordan Gore, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Gore pitched twice this past week. The former shortstop posted a win and a hold. In five innings, he gave up one run (1.80 ERA) on two hits. He struck out nine and did not issue a walk.
Gore was the Twins 19th round pick in 2017 out of Coastal Carolina. He spent the first three seasons of his professional career as a smooth-fielding, strong-armed shortstop. In 2019, he was the starting shortstop at Pensacola (having skipped High-A) and hit .204 in 84 games. He was sent to the GCL and worked on transitioning to the mound. That is where he worked throughout the lost 2020 season. So far in 11 games out of the Kernels bullpen, he is 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA. In 23 innings, he has give up 14 hits, walked 11 and struck out 38 batters. He’s got a big fastball, but he also has a solid slider, curveball and changeup. As you would expect, he needs innings and time, and hopefully his control and command will continue to improve.
Other Strong Performances this Week
First, here is a highlight for OF Gilberto Celestino.
St. Paul Saints
Brent Rooker remains very productive. In five games last week, he hit .278/.409/.667 (1.076) with a double and two more homers.
Byron Buxton played in three games for the Saints and went 5-for-12> He hit .556/.583/1.556 (2.139) with a single, double, a triple and two home runs. He also walked twice with just one strikeout. On the mound, the Saints lone good start was by the rehabbing Kenta Maeda who gave up one run over four innings.
Danny Coulombe had a nice week. He pitched in three games and finished two of them, one was a save. He gave up zero runs in three innings. He gave up one hit, walked one and struck out six batters. Ian Hamilton also threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out seven batters in two appearances.
Wichita Wind Surge
Josh Winder had a solid week. He went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA. Over 11 innings, he gave up three runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out 16 batters. Cole Sands had a very good start last week. He tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit, walked three and struck out eight batters. Jovani Moran struck out six batters over 3 2/3 innings (2 games). Hector Lujan went 3 1/3 innings in his outing. He gave up zero runs, zero hits, one walk and struck out four.
Caleb Hamilton had another solid week. In five games, he hit .333/.455/.667 (1.121) with two homers. He had four walks. Roy Morales also hit .333 and got on base 48% of his plate appearances. Ernie De La Trinidad played all six games. He hit .261/.393/.478 (.871) with two doubles and a homer. Andrew Bechtold got on base 41% of the time and posted a .476 slugging percentage thanks to two doubles and a home run.
Cedar Rapids Kernels
While Spencer Steer was named the player of the week by the Twins, three other Kernels hitters had a higher OPS for the week. (Note, for our purposes, we look at the week as Tuesday through Sunday. The Twins announce their award on Sunday, so they may go Sunday to Saturday.) Gabe Snyder played in four games. He hit .333/.474/.800 (1.274) with two doubles, a triple and a home run. Alex Isola has been an on-base machine all season, but this week, he hit .333/.364/.810 (1.173) with a double and three homers in five games. Wander Javier played all six games. He hit .296/.321/.741 (1.062) with four homers. In addition, Trey Cabbage hit .269/.321/.577 (.898) with two doubles and two home runs over six games.
Melvi Acosta pitched in two games and finished both of them with a save. In three innings, he gave up zero hits, zero walks and struck out four batters. Jon Cheshire and Zach Featherstone each pitched twice and combined for five innings. They gave up zero runs on zero hits. They walked three and struck out nine batters. Ben Gross tossed four scoreless innings in his start. He walked four but struck out five. Cody Laweryson made his first start of the year. He gave up one run on two hits over four innings.
Ft. Myers Might Mussels
The Mussels had a 4-2 week based almost entirely on their pitching staff. Their starters had strong starts. Brent Headrick went five scoreless innings in his start with eight strikeouts. Sean Mooney tossed four scoreless innings in his start, with seven Ks. Louie Varland struck out 11 batters over six, two-hit innings. Miguel Rodriguez gave up two runs (1 earned) over 4 2/3 innings in his start.
They also got strong bullpen work. Osiris German, Denny Bentley and Steven Cruz each pitched twice and each worked four innings and gave up zero earned runs. Bentley struck out ten batters. Cruz struck out four. German struck out six and was credited with a Save. In addition, Erik Mahoah, Bobby Milacki, Juan Pichardo, Zarion Sharpe and Johnny Wilson all pitched and didn’t give up a run.
Yunior Severino played all six games. He hit .273/.407/.500 (.907). Aaron Sabato got on base 43% of the time thanks to seven walks and posted an .857 OPS due to hitting a double and a homer. Justin Washington played just three games, but he hit .429/.467/.571 (1.038). Keoni Cavaco also hit .556/.600/.667 (1.267) with a double. Unfortunately, he played just three games and is on the IL with a concussion.
We are talking about small samples for these six-game weeks, so it’s important not to make any big decisions or develop a full impression on a player from this small size. It’s just a reminder of the fact that baseball is hard, and all players have good and bad stretches.
St. Paul Saints
Starting pitching was not good for the Saints this week. It started out well as Charlie Barnes gave up one run on three hits over six innings in his start on Tuesday. Unfortunately, he ended the week by giving up eight runs (6 earned) on seven hits (including four homers) in just three innings. Jhoan Duran came in after Kenta Maeda’s rehab appearance. He gave up three runs on six hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings. Andrew Albers gave up four runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. And Chandler Shepherd took one for the team this week. He gave up 11 earned runs on 14 hits and four walks in just 3 2/3 innings.
Wichita Wind Surge
Reliever Calvin Faucher had a tough outing. He gave up five runs on six hits and a walk over just 1 2/3 innings. Jordan Balazovic made his second start after returning from the Injury List with an oblique issue. It’s also just his third Double-A start total, so he’s working back physically and pitching at a new level. In his start this week, he gave up four runs on four hits and two walks over just two innings.
Peter Mooney’s offensive struggles continued. He hit just .105 last week (2-for-19). BJ Boyd went 3-for-22 over six games (.136).
Cedar Rapids Kernels
Tyler Palm gave up five earned runs on three hits and four walks over 1 2/3 innings (27.00 ERA). Derek Molina gave up five runs on two hits and four walks over 3 2/3 innings (12.27 ERA). Jon Olsen gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in just 3 1/3 innings in his start this week.
Ft. Myers Might Mussels
Bradley Hanner has done a nice job for the Mussels this year, but he would acknowledge this wasn’t his best week. He gave up six earned runs on three hits and eight walks over 1 1/3 innings.
Charlie Mack went 0-for-10 in just three games. Willie Joe Garry went 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts. Nick Anderson was also 2-for-16. Misael Urbina played all six games. He hit .126/.276/.167 (.442). He went 3-for-24.
Not really a storyline, but something that those of us who contemplate prospect rankings will need to consider. Three of the Twins top four prospects are about to graduate from prospect status. Alex Kirilloff (#1), Trevor Larnach (#3) and Ryan Jeffers will surpass the 130 at-bat limit.
Kirilloff and Jeffers will reach that plateau in this Seattle series. Larnach is not far behind. Ben Rortvedt has just 40 at-bats, but as a backup catcher, he may surpass the days on the active roster plateau. Nick Gordon, Gilberto Celestino and Brent Rooker are all 80 to 100 at-bats from passing that mark.
At this point, Bailey Ober and Griffin Jax are the lone pitchers who appeared with the Twins in 2021. Randy Dobnak, Lewis Thorpe, Jorge Alcala and Cody Stashak all lost their “rookie” status in 2020. Newcomer Shawn Anderson lost his rookie eligibility in 2019. As for innings, the number to watch is 50. When a pitcher reaches the 50 inning mark, he passes prospect status. Of course, they also have the same service time requirements as well, which is how Alcala and Stashak surpassed the number.
So, in the coming weeks, we will need to update our Twins Prospect Rankings. Who will remain? I would appear that Royce Lewis would be the easy choice to take back the #1 spot. The next two on the list would be pitchers Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic. Blayne Enlow and Matt Canterino are both in that next category, though both are currently on the IL with elbow issues (Enlow had Tommy John surgery last week). Jose Miranda could be in line for a nice bump in his prospect ranking. Josh Winder was just outside our preseason Top 20, and he’s certainly moved up both because more is known about his stuff, his makeup and his performance has been very good. Maybe Wander Javier is working his way back up your rankings.
So, let’s get some conversation going on this? Our minor league writers need input from you on the Risers and Fallers in your opinion. Maybe how does your Top 10 or Top 20 list look? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.
Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects have performed on the season (as well as too many unfortunate injuries). This was requested in the comments last week. Let me know if it provides value.
#1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – St. Paul (2 rehab games, went 3-6 with 2 homers, 2 K), Minnesota (34 games, .254/.292/.443 (.735) with 6 doubles, 1 triple, 5 homers, 19 RBI, 7 BB, 32 K)
#2 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL)
#3 - Trevor Larnach (Minnesota) – St. Paul (3 games, went 3-11 with two homers, two walks, 8 strikeouts), Minnesota (32 games, .273/.390/.434 (.824) with 7 doubles, 3 homers, 9 RBI, 14 BB, 34 K)
#4 - Ryan Jeffers (Minnesota) – St. Paul (24 games, .217/.340/.446 (.786) with four doubles, five homers, 16 BB, 26 K), Minnesota (21 games, .203/.247/.406 (.652) with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 26 K)
#5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 4 G, 3 GS, 15.1 IP, 14 H, 10 BB, 22 K, 4.11 ERA, 1.57 WHIP
#6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 2 GS, 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 8 K, 6.75 ERA, 1.69 WHIP
#7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 28 games, .264/.333/.340 (.673) with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 11 RBI, 10 BB, 32 K, 4 SB
#8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 35 games, .182/.377/.306 (.683) with 6 doubles, 3 homers, 12 RBI, 35 BB, 53 K
#9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 4 GS, 18.0 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 35 K, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP (went on the IL with right elbow strain)
#10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (underwent Tommy John surgery on June 9th)
#11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), Minnesota (9 games, .138/.138/.276 (.414) with 0 BB, 6 K)
#12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (30 games, .235/.373/.520 (.893) with 2 double, 9 homers, 22 BB, 41 K), Minnesota (8 games, .103/.133/.241 (375) with 1 double, 1 homer, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 13 K)
#13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 17 games, .333/.384/.621 (1.005) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers, 14 RBI, 5 BB, 28 K. (on IL with wrist injury)
#14 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – Ft. Myers (28 games, .165/.288/.223 (511) with 2 double, 2 triples, 17 RBI, 16 BB, 29 K, 5 SB)
#15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Wichita (7 GS, 31.1 IP, 22 H, 18 BB, 42 K, 2.84 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
#16 - Edwar Colina (Minnesota) - 60-Day IL (elbow)
#17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – St. Paul (5 games, .286/.318/.571 (.890) with3 doubles, 1 homer, 1 BB, 6 K), Minnesota (18 games, .150/.209/.250 (459) with 1 double, 1 homer, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 17 K)
#18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (injured)
#19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 35 games, .307/.381/.521 (903) with 6 doubles, 8 homers, 28 RBI. 13 BB, 17 K
#20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – St. Paul (4 GS, 16.0 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 21 K, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), Minnesota (3 GS, 13.0 IP, 17 H, 2 BB, 15 K, 4.85 ERA, 1.46 WHIP)
Lakeland @ Ft. Myers (Louie Varland, Sean Mooney, Miguel Rodriguez, Brent Headrick, Casey Legumina, Sawyer Gipson-Long):
South Bend @ Cedar Rapids:(Kody Funderburk, Jon Olsen, Andrew Cabezas, Cody Laweryson, TBD, TBD)
Springfield @ Wichita: (Jordan Balazovic, Chris Vallimont, Austin Schulfer, Cole Sands, Josh Winder, Jordan Balazovic)
Iowa @ St. Paul: (Jhoan Duran, Chandler Shepherd, Rob Whalen, Andrew Albers, Charlie Barnes, Jhoan Duran):
Feel free to provide some feedback below regarding these reports. What do you like to read? What types of information would you like added? Also, feel free to ask any questions you like.