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  • Minor League Report (8/5): Shootout in Wichita, Pitcher's Duel in St. Paul


    David Youngs

    Over 20 runs were scored in Wichita and pitching dominated in St Paul. Read up on all the minor league highlights from across the Twins organization from Thursday!

    Image courtesy of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge

    TRANSACTIONS

    • Minnesota Twins optioned SS Nick Gordon to St. Paul Saints and activated Rob Refsnyder. 

    SAINTS SENTINEL 
    Louisville 1, St. Paul 0 
    Box Score

    After a rough first outing in a Saints uniform, new Twins organization pitcher Drew Strotman was excellent on Wednesday night. In fact, the entire pitching staff was. 

    Unfortunately, on Thursday night, Louisville was the only team to squeak out a run in a tightly contested pitchers duel at CHS Field. 

    Despite getting the loss, Strotman (7-3) was as good as one could ask for, pitching five innings of one-run ball while striking out three. His lone run allowed came in the second inning from a walked batter scored on an RBI double. 

    The Saints bullpen was just as efficient after Strotman left the game. Jovani Moran and recent addition Edgar Garcia combined for four innings of perfect ball to complete the game, striking out five and walking none. Moran now has a 2.16 ERA on the year and Garcia a 2.96 ERA. 

    The Saints' lone hits came from Nick Gordon and Mark Contreras. Gordon has a .275 average with the Saints this year, and Contreras has a .254 batting average. 

    Joe Ryan at the Olympics

    New Twin/Saint Joe Ryan made his second starting pitching appearance in the 2020 Tokyo Games and was nothing short of brilliant. Ryan tossed 4 1/3 innings of one-run, four-hit baseball while striking out three en route to a 7-2 victory over South Korea. The win advances Team USA to the Gold Medal game against Japan. 

    Ryan has been rock-solid in his two starting pitching endeavors with Team USA. He's pitched 11 innings and only given up two earned runs on nine hits and eight strikeouts. While it's unlikely that Ryan will pitch in the Gold Medal game, the Twins can't wait to have him back in St. Paul. Well done, Joe!

     

    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Midland 13, Wichita 12
    Box Score

    A dozen runs would typically win a baseball game for the Wichita Wind Sure. Unfortunately for the Twins’ AA affiliate, however, they were outscored in a slugfest on Thursday night at Riverfront Stadium.

    The Surge saw seven of nine batters reach base, with six of nine gaining hits on the night. Roy Morales, Trey Cabbage, Jermaine Palacios, and Ernie De La Trinidad all tallied multi-hit games. 

    That run was just a precursor to what Wichita would do in the third. 

    Cabbage led off the third with a solo shot to left-center (7) to pull the Surge within two. Palacios then doubled, stole third base, and scored on an RBI single from Palacios to cut the lead to one. Facing a four-run deficit after the first inning, the Surge began to chip away at the lead. With the bases loaded in the second, Spencer Steer was hit by a pitch, scoring De La Trinidad. That was followed by a pair of walks and a fielder's choice courtesy of Aaron Whitefield. Spencer Steer took advantage of the bases-loaded situation, bringing in DJ Burt from third on an RBI sac fly. Morales followed suit with a two-out, two-run RBI double, scoring Whitefield and Austin Martin to give the Surge a 7-4 lead. 

    Wichita would tack on two more runs in the fourth, thanks to a two-run RBI single from Austin Martin. Martin has now hit safely in his first three games with the Wind Surge and as a member of the Twins organization. 

    Midland added four runs in the eighth, but thanks to solo shots from Andrew Bechtold and Palacios, the Surge were able to keep a 12-10 lead going into the ninth.  

    Yet, with the lead in hand, Midland was able to scrap across two runs to tie the game in the ninth and force the contest into extra innings. They tacked on the go-ahead run in the 10th inning that would secure them the win. 

    Highly touted pitching prospect Jordan Balazovic didn’t have his best night on the mound. Balazovic went 4 2/3 innings on the night, giving up six runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out four batters. 

    The Surge bullpen ended up surrendering seven runs of their own to Midland. 

    Yet, there was one excellent pitching performance on the night for Wichita. Jhoanleider Salinas was the first of four Wichita relief pitchers to take the bump and was excellent, pitching 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball on three walks and three strikeouts. 

    The loss puts the Wind Surge at 46-35, still three games ahead of Arkansas for the second playoff spot in the Double-A Central Division.

     

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Quad Cities 8, Cedar Rapids 2
    Box Score

    Strong offensive performances from Deshaun Kiersey and Seth Gray weren’t enough to propel the Kernels to a win against league-leading Quad Cities on Thursday night at Perfect Game Field. 

    Gray punched his second triple of the season in the second inning along with a single in the ninth to give the Kernels some action at the plate. Kiersey added to the action with a two-run homer (3) in the fifth to put the Kernels on the board. 

    Yet despite moments of brilliance, the River Bandits were just too good at the plate and on the bump throughout the night. 

    Jair Camargo also had a strong night at the plate for Cedar Rapids, hitting his fifth double of the year in addition to a single. Those two hits bumped his batting average up from .234 to .239. 

    Starting pitcher Ben Gross, who has been dominant all season, didn’t have his best night, giving up seven runs on eight hits in 4 ⅓ innings. Gross (L, 4-1), still has a 3.27 ERA and will surely rebound after a night where he just didn’t have his stuff. 

    Twins Daily Minor League Reliever of the Month Erik Manoah Jr. entered the game following Gross and put up solid numbers. The Miami native tossed 1 ⅔ innings of one-run, three-hit ball while striking out four. RHP Tyler Palm had the strongest pitching performance of the night, throwing three scoreless innings while only giving up one hit and striking out two. 

    As always, a loss to a division rival is unfortunate. The good news? The Kernels will have the chance to gain ground on the River Bandits. The two teams play each other nine more times before the end of the season, all at Perfect Game Field in Cedar Rapids. 

     

    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Dunedin 8, Fort Myers 0
    Box Score

    Despite a pair of nail-biters on Wednesday night, the Mussels were trounced by the Dunedin Blue Jays by a score of 8-0 on Thursday night at Hammond Stadium. Jefferson Morales and Jesus Feliz tallied the only two hits for Fort Myers on a night that was dominated by Blue Jay bats and pitching. 

    Ironically, Morales’ hit came in the first at-bat of the game for the Mussels, punching a 1-1 pitch into right field for a single. Fort Myers would fail to see a hit again until the eighth when Feliz laced his third double of the year to center field. 

    Starting pitcher Landon Leach had a rocky night on the hill, giving up four earned runs on six hits with two walks in five innings pitched. Leach did strike out five batters. Reliever Juan Pichardo didn’t have his best day at the office either, pitching 1 ⅔ innings of three run, three hit ball with two walks and two strikeouts.

    Yet despite the rocky outing for their first two pitchers, the Mussels saw excellent outings from their back two pitchers on the night. Bradley Hanner followed Pichardo and pitched 1 ⅓ innings of scoreless ball, striking out four. Zaquiel Puentes finished the game with an inning of one-hit ball, surrendering only one run that wasn’t credited to him. 

    The loss puts Fort Myers at 41-37 on the year. 

    COMPLEX CHRONICLES

    Game Postponed- Rain

    The FCL Twins were unable to take the field on Thursday due to another rainout in the Sunshine State. The team will make up the game against the FCL Orioles Orange on August 18.

     

    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day- Drew Strotman (St. Paul), 5 IP, 4 H, R, ER, 3 BB, 3 K
    Hitter of the Day- Ernie De La Trinidad (Wichita)- 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI, SO

     

    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Take note that we have finished our midseason update, so there is a new list! Here is a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:

    #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL)
    #2 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Injured List (elbow strain)
    #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) –4.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
    #4 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (right elbow strain)
    #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 0-for-3, K
    #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – 0-for-4, K
    #7 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – Did not play
    #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Did not pitch
    #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 0-for-3
    #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 0-for-3, BB, K

    #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery)
    #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – All-Star Break
    #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) –Did not pitch
    #14 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – 1-for-4, K
    #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-for-3
    #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 1-for-4, 2 RBI
    #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play
    #18 – Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (foot injury)
    #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow)
    #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – Did not pitch

     

    FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Louisville @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) – RHP Chandler Shepherd (5-5, 6.41 ERA)
    Midland @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) – RHP Chris Vallimont (3-4, 5.11 ERA)
    Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:05PM CST) – RHP Louie Varland (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
    Dunedin @ Ft. Myers (6:00PM CST) – RHP Bobby Milacki (0-2, 4.09 ERA)

     

                           


     

     

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    While nothing to do with this article - does anyone else notice in the first picture that the fans in excellent seats are ALL paying attention to something else other than the game?  Except maybe the two fans in the front row if the batted ball was hit toward left field. e

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    I just reviewed the one day stats of our top prospects - don't look.  It is not a pretty picture.  So disappointed that Balazovic had such a bad day.  I was hoping for a big finish.  The 12 runs and a loss reminds me of another team that had 14 runs and lost!  

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    After two ugly starts, wanted to watch the Wind Surge last night to see Balazovic.  Watched the first inning, in which he gave up four runs on several hard hit balls.  After being unhittable for what, six games, don't understand what has been going on of late.  Stayed with the game to see Martin hit in the bottom of the inning, then flipped to the Saints game.

    What a night in St. Paul.  Hunter Greene was throwing every fastball between 101 and 103, meaning he was unhittable.  Based on what I saw last night, gotta believe the Twins made the wrong decision that year they had the #1 overall pick.

    Fortunately, Strotman was also very good.  Then Moran and Garcia provided no hit baseball for the last four innings, with five K's (4 by Moran).  As I watched the late innings kept wondering, who has the better bullpen today?  The Twins or Saints?

    With the Saints celebrating their 2019 championship team, looked like a full house in St. Paul with fans having a big night while seeing a special game.

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    I don’t how others feel but I am getting concerned about Balazovic.  He doesn’t seem to be gaining traction at AA and I believe he is 24 or 25.  He’s been a prospect that has gotten a lot of attention and one that a lot were counting on to solve the pitching problem. Hopefully he doesn’t end up being the cautionary tale about prospect attrition. 

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    50 minutes ago, Linus said:

    I don’t how others feel but I am getting concerned about Balazovic.  He doesn’t seem to be gaining traction at AA and I believe he is 24 or 25.  He’s been a prospect that has gotten a lot of attention and one that a lot were counting on to solve the pitching problem. Hopefully he doesn’t end up being the cautionary tale about prospect attrition. 

    All of this stuff is easy to look up. He's 22 going on 23 in September. He's had two/three poor starts in a row, but before that, he had a scoreless innings streak of over 25 innings. He's got plenty of time and will get plenty more opportunities to improve.

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    54 minutes ago, Linus said:

    I don’t how others feel but I am getting concerned about Balazovic.  He doesn’t seem to be gaining traction at AA and I believe he is 24 or 25.  He’s been a prospect that has gotten a lot of attention and one that a lot were counting on to solve the pitching problem. Hopefully he doesn’t end up being the cautionary tale about prospect attrition. 

    I have my concerns as well.  Right now I am blaming\hoping that his body just isn't used to pitching this much after the year off and he just isn't as sharp or maybe having a dead arm to some degree.  He just needs to keep pitching and learn what works and what doesn't.

    Like you I was hoping he would stay dominant and give us all some much needed hope for the pitching pipeline but this year just seems devoid of all hope for whatever reason.  Struggling is part of the process he has good stuff so I assume there are better days ahead.

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    2 hours ago, LanceJS said:

    While nothing to do with this article - does anyone else notice in the first picture that the fans in excellent seats are ALL paying attention to something else other than the game?  Except maybe the two fans in the front row if the batted ball was hit toward left field. e

    Most people are married to their phones now. Real life is just something that happens between likes.

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    2 hours ago, LanceJS said:

    While nothing to do with this article - does anyone else notice in the first picture that the fans in excellent seats are ALL paying attention to something else other than the game?  Except maybe the two fans in the front row if the batted ball was hit toward left field. e

    Haha!! Yeah, I notice that while watching the games on TV too... I definitely think it is a good visual of why they needed to putting netting all around... 

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    2 hours ago, LanceJS said:

    While nothing to do with this article - does anyone else notice in the first picture that the fans in excellent seats are ALL paying attention to something else other than the game?  Except maybe the two fans in the front row if the batted ball was hit toward left field. e

    Great Wind Surge seats are like twenty bucks, so I guess there are worse places to shell out for a seat to sit around and text in.

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    1 hour ago, Linus said:

    I don’t how others feel but I am getting concerned about Balazovic.  He doesn’t seem to be gaining traction at AA and I believe he is 24 or 25.  He’s been a prospect that has gotten a lot of attention and one that a lot were counting on to solve the pitching problem. Hopefully he doesn’t end up being the cautionary tale about prospect attrition. 

    Balazovic is only 22, in AA, after a missed year. He started the year with an oblique injury. He came back and struggled for 3-4 early outings... Then he was absolutely dominant for 4-5 starts (25 consecutive scoreless innings)... and now he's had 3 rough starts... Nothing to worry about long-term here. He's young. He's making adjustments. He's didn't really pitch last  years. 

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    My only concern about Balazovic is whether or not he's wearing down. I agree with the sentiment here... you don't have 25 inning scoreless streaks without "gaining traction" in AA.

    Having a bit of difficulty understanding why Palacios isn't in AAA at this point, but I do get the strong feeling the front office gets awfully arrogant about their position once they've written a prospect off, no matter how quickly they do so.

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    2 hours ago, roger said:

    After two ugly starts, wanted to watch the Wind Surge last night to see Balazovic.  Watched the first inning, in which he gave up four runs on several hard hit balls.  After being unhittable for what, six games, don't understand what has been going on of late.  Stayed with the game to see Martin hit in the bottom of the inning, then flipped to the Saints game.

    What a night in St. Paul.  Hunter Greene was throwing every fastball between 101 and 103, meaning he was unhittable.  Based on what I saw last night, gotta believe the Twins made the wrong decision that year they had the #1 overall pick.

    Fortunately, Strotman was also very good.  Then Moran and Garcia provided no hit baseball for the last four innings, with five K's (4 by Moran).  As I watched the late innings kept wondering, who has the better bullpen today?  The Twins or Saints?

    With the Saints celebrating their 2019 championship team, looked like a full house in St. Paul with fans having a big night while seeing a special game.

    Outside of Duffey and Thielbar, I’d legitimately take the AAA bullpen over the MLB one. Moran should be up now, Hamilton too. 

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    20 minutes ago, Danchat said:

    Outside of Duffey and Thielbar, I’d legitimately take the AAA bullpen over the MLB one. Moran should be up now, Hamilton too. 

    Had a tough time deciding whether to hit the 'like' button or 'sad' button as the Saints just may have the better overall pen.  Was also really impressed with several of the relievers from Louisville.

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    As has been noted-------Hamilton & Moran have earned and deserve a promotion from Saint Paul.  If there are 40-man roster implications so be it, but both need to be called up NOW!!  Moran has had a great season----1.98 ERA with 85 K's in 50 IP and an outstanding 0.70 WHIP.  Burrows and Minaya can pack their bags whether its back to AAA or to another organization.

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