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  • Cano, Moran are Relievers to Watch with the Wind Surge


    Seth Stohs

    There is no question that the Twins need help in the bullpen. However, there are a couple of big-time arms in Double-A Wichita that we are likely to see later this season. 

    Image courtesy of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge

    Hearing Wichita Wind Surge manager Ramon Borrego talk about lefty Jovani Moran and right-hander Yennier Cano, one can’t help but be excited about the idea of them joining the Twins bullpen, maybe even later this year. Both have been really good so far through the season’s first six weeks.

    Through games on Friday, Jovani Moran was 2-1 with a 0.84 ERA over 11 games. In his 21 1/3 innings pitched, he has given up just seven hits, walked six and struck out 32 batters (13.5 K/9). Yennier Cano has also pitched in 11 games. He is 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA. In his 16 1/3 innings, he has given up 17 hits, walked five and struck out 27 batters (14.9 K/9). 

    “Cano is a monster,” stated Borrego. “He’s a hard worker. He’s a Cuban guy. He’s so fun. Cano is one of those guys that wants the ball. It’s unbelievable. Give me the ball. If he pitched the night before, he wants to pitch the next day.”

    The Twins signed Cano in the summer of 2019. He got into a couple of GCL games to start his career before joining High-A Ft. Myers where he pitched in eight games before the end of the season. 

    Borrego shared a story that Cano had told him recently. When in Cuba, Cano started one night and went six innings. The next night, he came in and was the closer and recorded the save. His team played the next day again, and he worked three innings. 

    Cano told Borrego, “That’s what we do there.” 

    Because of his Cuban backstory, Cano didn’t sign until he was 25. Now 27, the Twins could choose to move him aggressively this season. Cano has a mid-90s fastball with some movement as well as a slider that can be devastating. 

    For Moran, he has a devastating pitch too, his changeup. Borrego said of the lefty, “Everybody is talking about how he’s throwing 94 with a changeup that’s reminding us of Johan Santana. That changeup is unbelievable. He can even say (to the batter) ‘Here comes the changeup. Here we go.’ and nobody’s going to hit it. That changeup is nasty.” 

    Borrego emphasized how dominant Moran has been. “ It’s kind of like, you give the ball to (Moran), and you can relax and go drink some coffee. That guy is going to dominate. That happened two nights ago. We brought Moran into a really tough situation because we needed strikeouts. That’s what he did. He faced two batters. Bang. Bang. Strikeouts. Went to the next inning easily.”

    Bringing up memories of that Johan Santana changeup will certainly create excitement. It hasn’t been a smooth road for Moran since the Twins made him their 7th round draft pick in 2015 out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. 

    He pitched a little that summer but then he missed the season in 2016 after having bone chips removed from his elbow. He returned in 2017 and struck out 45 batters in 24 2/3 innings at Elizabethton. He went 3-1 with a miniscule 0.36 ERA and a 0.73 WHIP. He was again good in 2018. Between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers, he went 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA. In 76 innings, he struck out 107 batters. 

    In 2019, he struggled in his jump to Double-A, but also missed quite a bit of time due to injury. He ended the season with nine innings in the Arizona Fall League. 

    Borrego noted, “he lost his confidence a little bit. Spike one in the dirt. He wasn’t as consistent. We tried a lot of things to help him out. I was worried about him.“

    But after a lost 2020 season, Jovani Moran and his confidence appear to be back. “This year, we have that guy back. Now, he’s a different guy. It’s unbelievable. You can see it.”

    Borrego relayed a conversation he had with Moran during batting practice earlier this week. When Borrego asked him how he is feeling, Moran responded by saying, “I’m ready to play in the big leagues. I’m ready to show that I’m ready to pitch at that level.” 

    Borrego agrees. “I have no doubt about it. He’s dominated. I’m glad for him. He’s healthy. That’s a big thing.” 

    The Wind Surge manager knows that Cano and Moran probably won’t be in Wichita for much longer. “It’s our job. When we can move guys up, we feel so happy for them.” 

    “At some point, you’re going to see those guys in St. Paul. I don’t know when, but it’s right there. It’s really close. For right now, those guys have fun. They are competing really well. Those guys just want to play the game and they want to win.” 

    And hopefully, before too long, these two intriguing pitchers will be helping the Twins win.

     

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    Seth:  Spot on with your analysis of Cano and Moran as they've both been extremely impressive all season for Wichita. Moran further proved he was ready for a promotion to Saint Paul as he picked up Wind Surge starter in the 5th tonight keeping deficit at 2-0.  Moran has two more shutout IP tonight to go along with 4 K's while allowing 2 walks and only 1 hit. Those two scoreless IP lowered his ERA to 0.77.  I've been calling for the promotion of Cano for several weeks.  I would like to add 1 more RP for consideration for a promotion:  Ryan Mason.  Mason was drafted by Twins in 2016 in the 13th round out of University of California.  Mason was excellent in the 1 game (May 5th) I saw in person as he threw 1.1 shutout IP with 3 Ks against Springfield to preserve the win.  Other than 1 poor appearance (May 15th vs. Amarillo/ 4 ER in 2 IP), Mason has been very good.  Mason also had a solid outing tonight--lowering his ERA to 3.12---taking over from Moran throwing 1.2 shutout IP after the Surge tied the game at 2-2 in the 7th.  Selfishly, I'd like to see Twins hold off for a few days promoting these guys as I have a road trip planned to see the Wind Surge in Wichita on June 15-16.  All 3 of these guys have earned the opportunity for advancement.  Time for Falvey/Levine to admit the truth that certain bullpen arms--namely, Colome, Thielbar and Shoemaker--have not performed well enough to keep their jobs.  Rest of this season is for evaluation.  Lets get it started.

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    1 hour ago, tony&rodney said:

     Bring Cano to Target Field. Why not? He might help and if he has a rubber arm and proves useful, even better.

    Seth, do you think one or both should get a call?

    They can't go straight from WIchita to the Twins without stopping in St. Paul, even if just for one day (like Celestino). Cano has given up more hits than innings pitched, so I think he's behind Moran. to be honest, I think that Ryan Mason should or at least could be ahead of Cano. 

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    52 minutes ago, darwin22 said:

    Seth:   I would like to add 1 more RP for consideration for a promotion:  Ryan Mason.  Mason was drafted by Twins in 2016 in the 13th round out of University of California.  Mason was excellent in the 1 game (May 5th) I saw in person as he threw 1.1 shutout IP with 3 Ks against Springfield to preserve the win.  Other than 1 poor appearance (May 15th vs. Amarillo/ 4 ER in 2 IP), Mason has been very good.  Mason also had a solid outing tonight--lowering his ERA to 3.12---taking over from Moran throwing 1.2 shutout IP after the Surge tied the game at 2-2 in the 7th.  Selfishly, I'd like to see Twins hold off for a few days promoting these guys as I have a road trip planned to see the Wind Surge in Wichita on June 15-16.  All 3 of these guys have earned the opportunity for advancement.  Time for Falvey/Levine to admit the truth that certain bullpen arms--namely, Colome, Thielbar and Shoemaker--have not performed well enough to keep their jobs.  Rest of this season is for evaluation.  Lets get it started.

     

    I agree on Mason. I just happened to ask Borrego about Cano and Moran. Mason is ready to move up.

    And, while Shoemaker has not been good, Thielbar's K numbers have been amazing, and definitely worth giving opportunities to. And COlome has been much better since mid-May. Too good to release. Need to give him some opportunity to try to gain some trade value. His track record is great, so there could/should be teams interested. 

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     Cano has given up more hits than innings pitched, so I think he's behind Moran.

    Thielbar's K numbers have been amazing, and definitely worth giving opportunities to. 

    Seems a bit contradictory here, Thielbar has also given up more hits than walks. Cano's K numbers have been even better than his. Obviously the competition level is quite different, but do we really need to hold onto a 34 year old replacement level reliever like Thielbar over prospects who might pan out long-term?

    I would like to see what Mason/Moran/Cano can do in AAA and there is plenty of room for them (Leyer/Minaya/Gibaut are expendable), and have them audition for a potential late season cameo with the Twins. This doesn't need to happen all at once, but Cano is already 27 and Mason & Moran have already pitched in AA in 2019. I'd rather give innings to guys who might be the future of the pen, as compared to guys like Thielbar.

     

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    At this point, with the prognosis for the season dismal, move these guys up.  It's time to cut bait with Shoemaker.  Happ isn't far behind.  The FO isn't going to get a bag of baseballs for either.  So send them packing and accelerate the progression of these young pitchers.  

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    8 hours ago, Danchat said:

    Seems a bit contradictory here, Thielbar has also given up more hits than walks. Cano's K numbers have been even better than his. Obviously the competition level is quite different, but do we really need to hold onto a 34 year old replacement level reliever like Thielbar over prospects who might pan out long-term?

    I would like to see what Mason/Moran/Cano can do in AAA and there is plenty of room for them (Leyer/Minaya/Gibaut are expendable), and have them audition for a potential late season cameo with the Twins. This doesn't need to happen all at once, but Cano is already 27 and Mason & Moran have already pitched in AA in 2019. I'd rather give innings to guys who might be the future of the pen, as compared to guys like Thielbar.

     

    Thielbar's peripherals are all over the place, but you don't cut bait on a lefty reliever with a 13.3 K/9 rate. As you note there's a big difference in the level of competition; if Cano is giving up that many hits in AA, he's likely to get lit up in MLB. 

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    From this post and comments it seems clear that relief help is unlikely to appear from the farm any time soon. The prospects need an opportunity in St. Paul. Bullpens are very tricky and the answers are never clear. It is interesting to see TB trade for Matt Wisler. Yet I would agree he had used up his time with the Twins. 

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    MiLB will pass the 1/3 of the season mark this week, in another 3 weeks will get to the half way mark.  I expect some movement between now and then. There are a few prospects discussed on TD that will hopefully get promoted-Moran and Cano being in that group. Winder and Miranda seem to have accomplished all they need to at AA also.

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    Just smiled when reading this Seth.  Seems like years ago we were watching Moran, wondering if the Twins could get him on the fast track to Minnesota.  What is good is that he has hung in there and having another fantastic season.  Looking just at the numbers, I would think that Moran should be the first to move up and it should be soon, very soon.  Cano is older with a different background, so he should be right behind.  Expect we all want to see both with the Twins come Labor Day.  

    Speaking of Labor Day, what are the rules this year for adding players in September?  Does anyone, including the Commish, know?

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    I have been very impressed with Moran this year.  In 2019 I thought maybe AA was as high as he could go.  So nice to see his WHIP down from the 1.43 in 2019 that pushed his ERA higher than it had ever been.  His current sub one WHIP makes him an excellent prospect to push to MLB as all his peripherals shows he is ready for a bigger challenge.  Glad to see he found his way back after a tough 2019 hopefully it made him better than ever.

    I love the K's Cano gets, almost two guys an inning and while the WHIP isn't horrible it is disconcerting to see batters making so much good contact and getting hits.  No reason he can't refine all that in AAA but I would not want him on the 40 man just yet.  I would want to be more confident in him keeping guys off the bases.

    Mason has always been Mason which is pretty dependable game in and game out.  His WHIP and ERA are always at good levels and his K numbers have climbed as he has moved up.  HIs WHIP this year is little high but can't see why they could send him to AAA.  Odds are he does just as well there and hopefully can make it to the majors.

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    2 hours ago, roger said:

    Just smiled when reading this Seth.  Seems like years ago we were watching Moran, wondering if the Twins could get him on the fast track to Minnesota.  What is good is that he has hung in there and having another fantastic season.  Looking just at the numbers, I would think that Moran should be the first to move up and it should be soon, very soon.  Cano is older with a different background, so he should be right behind.  Expect we all want to see both with the Twins come Labor Day.  

    Speaking of Labor Day, what are the rules this year for adding players in September?  Does anyone, including the Commish, know?

    I believe they're keeping the 28 man roster for September 2021 instead of the old "call the whole 40 man roster up" rule.

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