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  • Minor League Report (8/31): Wichita Whacks, Louie Lights it Up


    Ted Schwerzler

    For both Wichita and Cedar Rapids the scoring was the highlight tonight, but that’s not to overshadow a strong pitching performance and a rout led by the bats down in the complex league.

    TRANSACTIONS:

    • The Twins traded Saints LH RP Andrew Vasquez to the Dodgers for minor league catcher Stevie Berman. 
    • RHP Jason Garcia promoted from Double-A to St. Paul
    • C Kyle Schmidt promoted from High-A to St. Paul
    • RHP Ben Gross promoted from High-A to Wichita
    • IF Andrew Bechtold placed on 7-day IL

    SAINTS SENTINEL
    Postponed (Rain)

    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Wind Surge 10, Travelers 3
    Box Score

    Twins pitching prospect Jordan Balazovic threw tonight for the Wind Surge, and it was a bit of a mixed bag. He gave up nine hits in just 4 2/3 innings, but he also limited the damage to just three runs (two earned) while walking two and striking out three. Hardly dominant, but he did work around danger.

    After getting down in the 1st inning, Wichita took the lead in the 4th inning and never looked back. Leobaldo Cabrera tallied his fifth double of the season scoring Austin Martin and Roy Morales. D.J. Burt then singled to drive in Trey Cabbage and Cabrera, doubling the tally to four.

    Arkansas made noise in the 5th inning, but Jermaine Palacios lifted his 19th homer of the year in the top of the 6th inning to make it a 5-3 lead. Aaron Whitefield then singled in the 7th inning scoring Burt and extending the lead before Cabrera, Burt, and Whitefield drove in runs on a trio of singles in the 8th inning.

    Palacios pushed across Wichita’s 10th run scoring Cabbage in the 9th on a single, and the 17 hits for the Wind Surge resulted in double-digit runs. Arkansas used a 9th inning grand slam in an effort to make things interesting, but the 10-7 score held strong.

    Morales and Burt both recorded three hits on the evening, while Palacios picked up a four-hit effort. Cabbage, Cabrera, and Whitefield all had two-hit nights for Wichita in the rout.

    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Kernels 12, River Bandits 2
    Box Score

    It was a Louie Varland start tonight for the Kernels, and that’s good news when you’re looking for a win. The righty went five strong innings and allowed just one run on three hits. He struck out eight and worked around three walks. His ERA drops to 1.85 since the promotion to High-A Cedar Rapids.

    Cedar Rapids gave up the first run tonight on a 4th inning single, but they quickly erased the deficit with a crooked number in the bottom half. Aaron Sabato recorded his third Kernels double to score Alex Isola before a Michael Helman single plated Matt Wallner. Wander Javier then grounded into a fielder’s choice that featured a Quad Cities throwing error, and Sabato was able to scamper home. Before the inning ended, Seth Gray hit a two-run single driving in both Helman and Javier.

    Tacking on in a big way again, it was a seven-spot in the 6th inning for the home team. Javier’s 14th double drove in Helman before a Gray single brought Wander across the plate. Edouard Julien crushed his ninth dinger with the Kernels, a three-run blast, making it 10-1. Isola followed up with a solo shot of his own, his 12th of the year, and Helman picked up another RBI on a single to score Wallner.

    With 12 hits recorded by the Kernels tonight, there was a trio of hitters putting up multi-hit efforts. Isola and Gray both recorded two while Michael Helman went 3-for-5 on the evening.

    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Tortugas 9, Mussels 1
    Box Score

    A.J. Labas made his first start for the Mighty Mussels tonight, just his second appearance for the club. The recently-signed righty from LSU recorded just two outs, however, and gave up five runs on six hits while both walking and striking out a single batter.

    After the Tortugas put up a five spot in the home half of the 1st inning, Fort Myers was going to be up against it all night. Daytona added another run in the 2nd inning and then two more in the 4th inning. Trailing 8-0, the Mussels needed a response.

    Christian Encarnacion-Strand provided the first offense for Fort Myers. His 7th inning single scored Will Holland and they finally found themselves with a tally in the run column.

    Encarnacion-Strand compiled two hits on the evening and was joined with that designation by Jake Rucker. 

    COMPLEX CHRONICLES
    FCL Twins 15, FCL Orioles Orange 2
    Box Score

    Niklas Rimmel took the ball for the Twins FCL squad today and worked two innings giving up a single run on two hits. Brandon Koch started his rehab stint and came on in relief punching out two. Juan Mendez worked three innings and earned his second win of the season.

    DaShawn Keirsey also kicked off his rehab while leading off. He went 1-for-3 with two runs scored before being lifted. Three runs crossed in the first as Noah Miller roped his third double of the season to score Keirsey. A Rubel Cespedes single then scored both Emmanuel Rodriguez and Kala’i Rosario.

    Entering the 4th inning leading 4-1, the Twins added in some less conventional ways. Miller and Rodriguez both drew RBI on bases loaded hit by pitches and then Keirsey scored on a wild pitch with the bases still chucked. Leading 7-1, Rosario drove in another on a ground out, and it wasn’t until a Carlos Aguiar single that a run scored on a hit.

    Another goofy run scored in the 7th inning when Rodriguez came home on an Orioles balk. The tally stood at 11-2 going into the 9th inning. Because this one wasn’t enough of a laugher yet, Aguiar crushed a grand slam that pushed the final total to 15-2.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland (Cedar Rapids) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jermaine Palacios (Wichita) - 4-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, HR(19)

    PROSPECT SUMMARY

    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:

    #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL)
    #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-4, R, BB, K
    #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - 4.2 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
    #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain)
    #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - No game
    #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - 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) - 0-3, BB, 3 K
    #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement)
    #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-3, 2 R, 2B, BB, 2 K
    #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - No game
    #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - No game
    #15 – Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - 2-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B, BB
    #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 1-2, K
    #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery)
    #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 0-2, 2 BB, K
    #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-4, BB, 2

    TRANSACTIONS
    RHP Miguel Rodriguez reinstated from 7-day IL at A Fort Myers
    RHP Ramon Pineda transferred from FCL Twins to A Fort Myers

     

    Saints Sentinel
    St. Paul 9, Toledo 9 (Paused game)
    Box Score
    Drew Strotman: 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, 2 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: 

    Well, I had a write-up here, but apparently the game ran so late that it was paused due to a curfew. I'll leave the box score link so that people can check it out as they please, but know that the game is not technically finished. Also know that this is the first time I have ever seen something like this happen in a minor league game. Weird stuff.

    Wind Surge Wisdom
    Wichita 13, Tulsa 4
    Box Score
    Cole Sands: 3 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
    HR: Leobaldo Cabrera (8), Andrew Bechtold (16), Austin Martin (2), Spencer Steer (13)
    Multi-hit games: Spencer Steer (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB), Austin Martin (3-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI), 

     

    Wichita gave Tulsa the business on Saturday.

    ...Oh, I need to say more? (Editor's Note: Yes, please.)

    Here are a few questions: Is it a good thing when eight out of nine of your batters get a hit? Is it a good thing when six different hitters earn an RBI? Is it a good thing when your 1-2 hitters combine for six runs? I’m not a baseball expert, but I tend to think that the answer to all of those questions is yes.

    Tulsa actually had the first lead of the game but a homer by Leobaldo Cabrera put the lead firmly in Wichita’s grasp. They would not let go. With five runs already on the board, Andrew Bechtold demolished a three-run homerun to make it a cruel seven-run lead. With a nine-run lead, Austin Martin clobbered a homer to make it an evil 11-run lead. Finally, with 12 runs on the board, Spencer Steer obliterated a solo shot to add a cherry on top of this battered cake. Tulsa actually out-hit the Wind Surge on Saturday which is objectively hilarious. 

    Cabrera:

    Bechtold:

     

    Martin:

     

    Steer:

     

    Cole Sands allowed only one run over three innings but was inefficient as he tossed 80 pitches in order to do so. From there the combination of Kody Funderburk, Zach Neff, and Hector Lujan took Wichita to the finish line on Saturday.

     

    Kernels Nuggets
    Cedar Rapids 1, Beloit 6
    Box Score
    Ben Gross: 5 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: Daniel Ozoria (2-for-3, RBI)

    Cedar Rapids had the lone offensive dud on Saturday.

    Ben Gross brought the strikeouts, but the Snappers proved resilient, and dropped 10 hits on the starter. It was an all-or-nothing approach that netted Beloit six extra-base hits off of Gross en route to a lead that would never really be challenged.

    The lone Kernels run came thanks to a Daniel Ozoria infield single in the 5th inning. The team put together just six hits on the night, but oddly enough, three of those hits were doubles. 

    In another odd turn, both teams had matching one walk, 14 strikeout performances by their respective pitching staffs (and lineups, technically). But, Beloit bunching their extra-base hits proved to be a wise strategy as they easily beat Cedar Rapids on Saturday.

    Mussel Matters
    Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 8 
    Box Score
    Miguel Rodriguez: 1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 K
    HR: Jesus Feliz (7)
    Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (2-for-5, 3 R), Will Holland (3-for-4, 2B, R, RBI)

     

    Fort Myers was unable to recover from a 4-0 deficit on Saturday.

    Starter Miguel Rodriguez had one to forget. The righty was activated just before the game and more than a bit rusty on Saturday. Allowing three walks over just a single inning more or less speaks for itself. Let’s hope that Rodriguez can get back on the horse the next time he’s called upon.

    To their credit, the Mighty Mussels did not lie down and let the Marauders win this game without a fight. They were down by a score of 7-1 before a burning offensive spirit took hold across the dugout. 

    Jesus Feliz kicked off the rebuttal with a solo homer in the 7th while Will Holland doubled home a run later in the inning. This would be just the first attack. Kyler Fedko unloaded the bases in the 8th with a double that was followed by the classic double error on the part of the Marauders. Unfortunately, the fight would end there. Bradenton plated one more run in the 9th, and Fort Myers fell narrowly short of a victory.

    Casey Legumina provided a strong effort in the loss. He was able to siphon off the bleeding over five strong innings of one-run ball in relief of Rodriguez.

    Complex Chronicles

    The FCL Twins game was suspended in the 8th inning on Saturday. Nash will have the update for you on this game when it is completed on Sunday.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Casey Legumina
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Spencer Steer 

     

    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:
    #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL)
    #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 3-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, K
    #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain)
    #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - Suspended game
    #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
    #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain)
    #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - 
    #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play

    #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement)
    #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - Did not play
    #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - Suspended game
    #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, 2 K
    #15 – Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - 1-3, RBI, BB, 2 K
    #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-1, R, BB, K
    #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery)
    #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-3, 2 BB
    #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - 3 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
    #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-4, HR, 2B, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB

    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    St. Paul @ Columbus (5:15CT PM) RHP Bryan Sammons (0-2, 5.86 ERA)
    Wichita @ Arkansas (7:10CT PM) TBD
    Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35CT PM) RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (2-1, 2.12 ERA)
    Fort Myers @ Daytona (6:05CT PM) RHP Matthew Swain (6-2, 4.99 ERA)

    If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask below. 

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    Stevie Berman. Shades of missing out on Drew Butera. Well, maybe Vasquez will get to throw for the major league Dodgers and be in the playoffs. Kudos to a fine lefty who only had a distant opportunity with the big ballclub. One less pitcher to still call up in 2021.

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    Have to wonder if Palacios is nursing an injury. He hasn't been tearing it up quite as much this month, but he also hasn't been consistently starting at all. My take was either the Twins have seen all they care to see and aren't intending on giving him a 40 man roster spot or they've been giving him extra time off due to some unknown injury.

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    Also, Varland is absolutely killing it this year. The fastball, curveball, slider combination is really playing well at A+ level, though there was a major drop off in his K rate from video game numbers 14.45 K/9 at Low A to a still very solid 9.89 K/9 after today's performance. Luck seems to be a factor in his overall numbers at A+ with his BABIP and HR rate being low. Fangraphs is showing a high 23% pop up rate and a crazy 38% pop up rate at Low A earlier this year, but of course, those numbers are super sketchy, especially considering his A+ line drive rate is only 5%. Still, it could explain the HR/FB rate being so low.

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    Can you explain the Vasquez trade to me?  Not that I think he'll be anything great, but he's 27 and is 4-0, 3.61, 1.02 WHIP with 68 strikeouts in 42.1 innings in St. Paul.  Berman is 26, has never hit above Class A, and has barely played above AA.  I don't get it.

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    34 minutes ago, Jeff A said:

    Can you explain the Vasquez trade to me?  Not that I think he'll be anything great, but he's 27 and is 4-0, 3.61, 1.02 WHIP with 68 strikeouts in 42.1 innings in St. Paul.  Berman is 26, has never hit above Class A, and has barely played above AA.  I don't get it.

    Yeah I don't understand these types of trades for most teams not just the Twins.  Often the other team just takes cash and calls it good.  In fact I would have thought the Twins would have taken cash considering the year they are having attendance wise.

    Spit balling but maybe the Dodgers felt they got the short end of the stick on the Graterol trade and the Twins are trying to stay in good with Friedman?  Or maybe they just think that they won't be adding Vasquez to the 40 man and will likely lose him in the offseason to Rule V or free agency so why not get something instead of nothing.

    Berman did have a pretty good 2019 but I think I like all the catchers we currently have better but then I don't know a lot about Berman.  Most of these trades never amount to much of anything but I do think Vasquez has potential.  When he is on he is unhittable but he has lacked consistency.  Friedman has a good eye for these types of players I wouldn't be surprised to see him have success with the Dodgers.

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    Is the Vasquez trade a situation where he could/would be lost in the Rule 5 and they traded for a player who won't?  Or maybe he will be a MiLB free agent and Berman isn't?  Otherwise, I don't understand other than catcher is an area of need in the organization.

    Great seeing Miller with another two hit game.  Also interesting seeing that two players from this year's draft, Encarnacion-Strand and Rucker, got five of the Mussels six hits.

    Thanks for the report, Ted. 

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    6 hours ago, bean5302 said:

    Have to wonder if Palacios is nursing an injury. He hasn't been tearing it up quite as much this month, but he also hasn't been consistently starting at all. My take was either the Twins have seen all they care to see and aren't intending on giving him a 40 man roster spot or they've been giving him extra time off due to some unknown injury.

    Might be coincidence but he started playing less when they acquired Martin IIRC.  That certainly doesn't mean he might not be injured but it seemed like around that time he was only playing part time.  

    With his slump and OPS at 823 not sure he makes the 40 man roster this coming year.  He does look like he is going to have 20 HR's so they might need to add him if they want to keep him.  My guess is the Tigers take him in Rule V just to mess with the Twins FO and get the fans to revolt. :) 

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    Both Vasquez and Berman will be min or league free agents, so they could walk if NOT placed on the 40-man during the off-season.,

     

    Vasquez ahs the ability to hit a lot of batters. And is probably behind others for the lefthanded prospect spot at this point. Berman may not be a lights out catcher, but the Twins will undoubtedly lose Telis from AAA and Hamilton from AA. Players may have a tendency to resign with a new organization if they are handled well the last month. Players will pretty much walk if hey are being passed over when a possible advancement could be had, and there is depth pushing behind them. The Twins aren't strong in catching right now. Kyle Schmidt made a two-level jump to St. Paul, partly because Rortvedt was called up and Telis is playing more first base.

     

    Yes, it probably could've been a straight cash deal, but basically is a soon-to-be-gone player for a soon-to-be-gone player. The Dodgers COULD use Vasquez in the playoffs as he is dynamite against lefties. Will wait and see. Both both will be looking for work in the off-seson. If Berman can hit above the Butera-line, he could stay with the Twins for another season. Look to see him get lots of action in St. Paul.

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    They were just shifting him around the diamond when Martin was aquired for a few days before they moved Martin to CF. But yeah, it was after Speer was promoted to AA and Martin was acquired the crunch got really bad. Instead of promoting Palacios, the Twins elected to start spot starting him and using him as a pinch hitter. Meanwhile, JT Riddle of the OPS in the .500s and 32 year old Drew Maggi are in AAA. If the Twins don't put him on the 40 man, I'd hope they don't if I was Palacios, I certainly wouldn't return to Minnesota on a MiLB contract.

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    55 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

    They were just shifting him around the diamond when Martin was aquired for a few days before they moved Martin to CF. But yeah, it was after Speer was promoted to AA and Martin was acquired the crunch got really bad. Instead of promoting Palacios, the Twins elected to start spot starting him and using him as a pinch hitter. Meanwhile, JT Riddle of the OPS in the .500s and 32 year old Drew Maggi are in AAA. If the Twins don't put him on the 40 man, I'd hope they don't if I was Palacios, I certainly wouldn't return to Minnesota on a MiLB contract.

    Yeah if the Twins don't add Palacios to the 40 man if I were him I would look at one of the rebuilding teams that need shortstop help.  Odds are he might get a shot at MLB in 2022 with one of those clubs.  He doesn't look like he will be an All Star at Short but he looks like he could be solid there and certainly a great utility player to have around especially since he has power.

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    I do not understand the shortstop agenda here - we continue to play Simmons, and we apparently have long given up on Gordon or he'd be getting a chance. You'd think Palacios or Javier would get some sort of shot - both needing to be added to the 40 man. I do believe both these kids get picked off this winter if not protected. Javier had former hype (like Baddoo) - Palacios will hit 20hr's, and has the glove potential. What are we doing in this organization at this crucial position? I see nothing. I take it we hope to resign Simmons to a team friendly deal for next year? ugh ugh and more ugh. I have an idea, give some youngster a shot, right now, why not?

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    5 hours ago, roger said:

    Is the Vasquez trade a situation where he could/would be lost in the Rule 5 and they traded for a player who won't?  Or maybe he will be a MiLB free agent and Berman isn't?  Otherwise, I don't understand other than catcher is an area of need in the organization.

    Vasquez is a free agent after the season. He's got a chance to go home and play for his hometown team, and he's close enough that maybe they call him up. 

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    4 hours ago, In My La Z boy said:

    ...I take it we hope to resign Simmons to a team friendly deal for next year? ugh ugh and more ugh...

    That is exactly my thought on the Twins' plan. I'd bet money Simmons is back next year (not a lot of money, mind  you).

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