- St. Paul Saints place OF Trevor Larnach (left-hand contusion) on the 7-day injured list
- RHP Carlos Suniaga was promoted from Low-A Fort Myers to High-A Cedar Rapids
- C Kyle Schmidt was sent from Triple-A St. Paul to High-A Cedar Rapids
- C Caleb Hamilton was promoted from Double-A Wichita to Triple-A St. Paul
Columbus 7, St. Paul 6
The Saints dropped yet another game to the Clippers on Friday evening due in large part to poor pitching. Drew Strotman started on the bump for St. Paul and while his overall numbers weren’t great — five innings, five runs, seven hits, six strikeouts — he was *this close* to producing a truly great start.
Strotman’s lack of command has been his biggest bugaboo since arriving in the Twins’ farm system. However, Friday night was his second start all season in which he did not walk anyone. (The other came on May 18 when he struck out eight batters in six innings.) His command still wasn’t great — when he missed, he missed pretty badly; more on that in a second — but allowing zero walks in five innings is a step in the right direction.
Of Strotman’s misses, at least four were left in the exact spot a pitcher never wants to miss: middle-middle. Three misplaced fastballs were launched for two doubles and a home run and an errant curveball was blasted well over 400-feet to dead center for another round-tripper. If he places those pitches elsewhere, there’s a good chance that he and the Saints would have walked away with the win.
Strotman’s future role and success are predicated on improving his command. He has the raw stuff and number of pitches to be a starter long-term, but he will likely be relegated to a bullpen role if he is unable to hone his ability to spot his offerings.
Reliever Jovani Moran took the loss after he walked in the deciding run in the bottom of the ninth. He finished the night with one earned run in 1 1/3 innings to go along with two walks and two strikeouts.
Moran is an exciting relief prospect who will likely find his way onto the Twins’ roster before the end of the season. He possesses the best changeup in the system — perhaps the team’s best since Johan Santana — and racks up the strikeouts. However, his biggest wart at this time is his walk rate. Entering Friday night, Moran owned a 4.78 BB/9, which translates to a 13.2% BB%. As long as his walks remain at their current level, Moran will always be susceptible to nights like Friday, though his overall dominance more than outweighs that risk.
Luke Farrell and Nick Vincent also made appearances for St. Paul and combined to allow one earned run over their two innings.
Drew Maggi was the Saints’ primary contributor offensively as he went 2-for-4 with four RBI at the plate, with one of his hits being his 14th home run of the season. Maggi owns a .848 OPS this season and provides some versatility defensively. At 32, he likely isn’t long for the franchise, but it would be nice to see the Twins reward his strong play, particularly as of late, with a promotion.
Jose Miranda went 1-for-4 with a walk, while Mark Contreras and Jimmy Kerrigan drove in the team’s two other runs.
WIND SURGE WISDOM
Wichita 6, Arkansas 5, F/10
The Wind Surge came from behind to win an exciting affair in Arkansas on Friday evening despite picking up only four hits.
Recent addition Stevie Berman — whom the Twins acquired from the Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Andrew Vasquez — pulled a grand slam to left field to tie the game at 4-4 in the seventh inning. However, the tie was short-lived as the Travelers reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the seventh.
Aaron Whitefield knotted the game up at 5 with a sacrifice fly in the ninth before Spencer Steer drove in the game-winning run in the 10th with a sac fly of his own. D.J. Burt and Berman each contributed two hits.
On the mound, the Wind Surge were led by potential future Twins Ben Gross and Jordan Gore, who combined to throw six innings in the relief. The two struck out 11 batters, walked three, and surrendered only a single run. Austin Schulfer started and struck out five in four innings of work.
Quad Cities 9, Cedar Rapids 5
The good news is that the Kernels pitching staff — Sean Mooney, Osiris German, and Andrew Cabezas — struck out 10 batters and only issued a single walk during the game’s nine innings. The bad news is that the River Bandits roughed them up for nine runs, five doubles, and a home run.
At the plate, Seth Gray led the way by going 2-for-3 with a double, triple, and three runs scored. Daniel Ozoria registered his first home run — a two-run shot — in a Cedar Rapids uniform out of the nine-hole, and Jeferson Morales drove in two runs on 3-for-4 hitting; the catcher is hitting .323 with a .922 OPS since being promoted to the Kernels in early August.
The Mighty Mussels and Tortugas began their evening of ball by wrapping up the game that was suspended on Thursday due to rain. Fort Myers — who led 3-1 at the time of suspension — added two more runs in the fifth inning and did not surrender any en route to picking up the win.
Casey Legumina earned the win after tossing 5 2/3 shutout innings. He struck out five, walked one, and surrendered three hits, two of which were doubles. Bradley Hanner threw the final innings, striking out one and setting the side down in order.
Alerick Soularie went 1-for-3 with a double and two walks. Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Jesus Feliz each contributed three hits. Patrick Winkel went 2-for-5 with a double.
Fort Myers followed their win with a loss in seven innings.
The Mighty Mussels bats did not wake up until the top of the seventh when they scored both of their runs. Encarnacion-Strand and Misael Urbina contributed doubles and Will Holland added a triple. In total, Fort Myers was only able to muster four hits.
Miguel Rodriguez, Juan Pichardo, and Logan Campbell combined to throw seven innings for the Mighty Mussels, striking out nine and walking five.
FCL COMPLEX REPORT
FCL Twins vs. FCL Red Sox postponed due to rain
TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Pitcher of the Day — Casey Legumina, Fort Myers: 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K
Hitter of the Day — Drew Maggi, St. Paul: 2-for-4, 2B, HR (14), 4 RBI
#1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL)
#2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - Did not play
#3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch
#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, BB
#7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch
#8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain)
#9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - No game
#10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play
#11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement)
#12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 4 K
#13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-for-4
#14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
#15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - No game
#16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-for-1, K
#17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery)
#18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 2-for-3, 2B
#19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch
#20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-3, BB, game-winning RBI
SATURDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS
St. Paul @ Columbus (3:05 PM CST) - RHP Beau Burrows (2-3, 5.98 ERA)
St. Paul @ Columbus (approx. 7:05 PM CST) - TBD
Wichita @ Arkansas (6:10 PM CST) - TBD
Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - LHP Aaron Rozek (0-1, 6.14 ERA)
Fort Myers @ Daytona (6:05 PM CST) - LHP Cade Povich (Debut)
Feel free to ask questions and discuss.