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  • Twins Minor League Report (8/18): Affiliates Blast Off

    Allen Post

    The Twins' affiliates hit homers early and often tonight, and some victories followed. Check out who hit it out and who dominated on the mound in tonight's Minor League Report!


    • Minnesota Twins recall LHP Lewis Thorpe from Triple-A St. Paul
    • Minnesota Twins designate RHP Nick Vincent for assignment

    Iowa 11, St. Paul 7 
    Box Score

    The Saints fell behind early, but used the big fly to get back in the game and take the lead, only to blow it in the ninth. They battled to force extras, but sputtered in the additional frames to lose 11-7.

    The I-Cubs got the scoring going early with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly off the bat of Jared Young, but couldn’t manage to add any additional runs from the chance. The Saints responded immediately with a Trevor Larnach solo blast that tied the game at a run apiece.

    In the third, however, Iowa put one across on a single from Young and then two more came in on a Trent Giambrone homer. And in the fourth, Chandler Shepherd grooved a hanging breaking ball to the ninth hitter in the Cardinals lineup, and Edwin Figuera hit it about 400 feet over the left field wall to add one more.

    The Saints had a response though, in the form of a two-run Gilberto Celestino home run onto the Killebrew Root Beer awning in left-center.

    Moments later, Jimmy Kerrigan put a ball a bit further left:

    Then, in the next inning, Tomas Telis tied the game and gave the left field spectators yet another souvenir.

    In the seventh, the Saints finally got their noses in front. In an inning with three stolen bases (including a steal of third from Telis!), Mark Contreras drove in Telis with a double. He was thrown out at the plate two batters later trying to grab another run, but St. Paul took their first lead nonetheless.

    Unfortunately, that lead wasn't enough, as Jovani Moran uncharacteristically allowed two runs in the ninth to blow the save and give the Cubs the lead back.

    Still, the never-say-die Saints weren't out of it yet. Mark Contreras hit his third double of the night and moved up to third on a flyout. At that point, Cubs pitcher Dillon Maples walked Ben Rortvedt unnecessarily and threw a ball a foot behind Kerrigan, allowing Contreras to tie the game on a wild pitch and send the game to extras.

    However, Iowa answered with four runs in the top of the tenth. At that point, the never-say-die Saints were, in fact, out of it. They lose 11-7.

    Chandler Shepherd ended up getting through five innings, but allowed five earned runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out three. Ryan Mason (6th) and Chris Nunn (7th and 8th) combined for three scoreless innings to set the game up for Moran. Moran only got two outs and allowed two runs on two hits, two walks and a homer. He needed Robinson Leyer to come in to get the last out in the top of the ninth. He managed that, but fell apart in the 10th, as he allowed four runs and gets saddled with the loss. Telis, Contreras, and Kerrigan had multi-hit games (all three of Contreras's hits were doubles).

    Wichita 7, Springfield 1
    Box Score

    Springfield squandered big opportunities for runs early and late, while Wichita capitalized on theirs all night long. The Surge win this one in a rout.

    Springfield led off the game with a triple and loaded the bases in the third, and both times, Tyler Beck was able to weasel out of the inning without allowing a run. Beck’s threat management paid off immediately as Leobaldo Cabrera blasted a two-run shot to give his team (and his starter) a two run cushion. 

    Then, in the fifth inning, after (another) Austin Martin hit by pitch, a ground ball from B.J. Boyd led to two errors from the Springfield defense which allowed Martin to score and Boyd to take third on a Little League triple. Boyd scored in the next at-bat on Jermaine Palacios’s double.

    After a few close brushes early in the game, Beck settled down nicely into the middle innings. He only allowed two baserunners in innings four through six and handed the ball over the bullpen after the sixth without ever allowing a run. He worked around five hits and two walks, and struck out six. 

    The Surge fully broke the game open in the eighth, when they scored three runs. Cabrera, D.J. Burt and Chris Williams each grabbed an RBI and the Wichita lead ballooned to 7-0. 

    Springfield finally pushed one across in the eighth, but then, for good measure, they squandered another bases loaded opportunity in the ninth. Surge win 7-1.

    After Beck’s excellent work, Bryan Sammons struck out two in a baserunner-less seventh inning. Jason Garcia was tasked with finishing the game, but allowed a run in the eighth, and loaded the bases in the ninth frame, requiring Jordan Gore to get the final out. Cabrera, Burt, Palacios, and Aaron Whitefield all had multi-hit games. 


    Cedar Rapids 10, Wisconsin 1
    Box Score

    The Cedar Rapids offense was explosive in this game and Louie Varland was excellent again, leading to a big Kernels win.

    Michael Helman started the Kernels onslaught with his solo homer in the second inning. However, Joey Wiemer answered for Wisconsin with a solo shot of his own to lead off the fourth. Wiemer, with his homer, was the first Timber Rattler to reach base.

    In the bottom of the inning the Kernels had another homer, only this time it wasn’t a solo shot. In fact, Jeferson Morales’s deep bomb to center came with the bases juiced and Cedar Rapids took a 5-1 lead, just like that. 

    Manager Brian Dinkelman said, "(Morales) competes well at the plate, has a good feel for the zone, good bat-to-ball skills, puts the ball in play. So far he's driven the balls hard, has a couple of home runs, Big grand slam for us tonight. He puts together good at-bats and seems to find the barrel." 

    Matt Wallner helped the Kernels add on in the fifth with a two-run double down the right field line. Wallner scored on a Seth Gray sac fly minutes later to stretch the lead to 8-1. The Kernels kept pouring it on in the seventh, as another Gray double drove in Wallner and Edouard Julien.

    After Wisconsin’s catcher, Kekai Rios, took the mound to do his best Willians Astudillo impression, the Timber Rattlers went down quietly in the ninth and this game came to its official conclusion. 

    While the offense was making noise all night, Louie Varland was silencing the Wisconsin bats. He became the first Kernels starter to record an out in the seventh inning. He got through seven full innings (the longest start of his career) and allowed one earned run on six hits. He also struck out six. Varland was also remarkably efficient, needing only 75 pitches (54 strikes) to get through seven innings.

    Dinkelman said, "Louie attacks the zone. Tonight, they were very aggressive and he switched his plan to a lot of off-speed pitches and induced a lot of weak contact, and got outs early. He threw the ball well again for us and gave us seven strong innings."

    Of his efficiency, Varland noted, "I had all three of my pitches working. I went off-speed heavy and got a lot of soft contact for outs. I'm happy with it." 

    He acknowledged, "I need to find that changeup and use it more consistently and throw it in the zone more. That right now is my next step moving forward, finding that consistent third pitch." 

    Tyler Palm covered the final two innings of the game, allowing no runs on two hits and striking out four. Julien, Morales, and Wander Javier had multi-hit games in tonight’s drubbing.

    Fort Myers 1, Dunedin 0 (Game suspended due to weather)
    Box Score

    Tonight’s Mighty Mussels was suspended after three innings due to inclement weather and wet field conditions 

    Jesus Feliz’s solo homer in the second inning was the only run scored before the postponement. On the mound, Aaron Rozek was effective for Fort Myers, as he struck out four in three scoreless innings.


    FCL Twins 9, FCL Orioles Orange 5 (F/7)
    Box Score

    The Complex League Twins have turned around their form of late, as today’s win over the Orioles’ Orange squad makes it four victories in their last five. The Twins scored in all but two innings of this seven-inning contest and the offense was keyed by contributions from the bottom of the order. Seventh hitter Malfrin Sosa had a two-run shot in the second and an RBI double in the fifth, eighth hitter Rubel Cespedes hit a LONG home run, and ninth hitter Nelson Roberto had a two-run homer of his own (and also made a nice, running catch in center). Leadoff man Luis Gomez also had a two-hit outing, but didn’t score or drive in any runs. Kala'i Rosario added a big, booming double

    On the mound, Samuel Perez was perfect through five innings. He ran into a bit of trouble with back-to-back singles in the sixth and was removed.

    Ricardo Velez replaced Perez and only managed to get one out while allowing two inherited runs and three runs of his own. Fortunately, the offense was humming, and John Wilson got the Twins out of the sixth and covered the seventh and final inning to close out a 9-5 win.

    Pitcher of the Day - Louie Varland, Cedar Rapids (7.0 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 6 K, 75 pitches)
    Hitter of the Day - Jeferson Morales, Cedar Rapids (2-for-4, R, 4 RBI, Grand Slam)

    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-for-3, R, BB, HBP
    #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-6, K
    #7 - Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
    #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch
    #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch
    #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 0-for-1 (game suspended)
    #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (shoulder)
    #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, K
    #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, R, 2 RBI, BB, K, HR
    #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
    #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not play
    #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play
    #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery)
    #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-for-1 (game suspended)
    #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-5, R, 2B, BB

    Iowa @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) - RHP Beau Burrows (2-1, 4.34 ERA)
    Wichita @ Springfield (7:05PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (3-7, 4.19 ERA)
    Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - LHP Tyler Watson (2-3, 3.33 ERA)
    Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina (2-1, 4.63 ERA)

    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games!


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    FCL Twins Win!  FCL Twins Win!  FCL Twins Win!!!

    We all have been following Varland this summer as he flat out pitches much better than many have hoped/expected.  Is this Beck kid another guy we should begin following more closely.  Looking at his stats, I see that he must have been used out of the pen until maybe around July 1.  Is that correct?  But he is pitching great and at AA, so he is another pitcher who may work himself into the mix of prospects the Twins will consider calling up...maybe as soon as late next year.

    Saw Javier had a nice night, but they are way to infrequent to get him on the 40-man.  Also found some other good news when looking at the Top 20 above.  There are only four on the IL.  It was at least double that early in the season, wasn't it?

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    1 hour ago, Alex Schieferdecker said:

    Looking at the box scores, I was a bit concerned by Varland's lack of K's recently. But the quotes seem to suggest that he's working on things, especially the kind of things that would give him a chance of sticking as a starter. More power to him then. Hope he'll get a look in Wichita.

    He certainly seems to understand the need to work on those secondary pitches and be more consistent with them. I watched several of his innings last night. In one inning, he got a batter to 0-2 and then had a really nice slider just off the outside corner. A batter or so later, he threw another 0-2 slider, but it was over the middle of the plate and hit for a double. He worked out of that inning, but it shows 1.) He does have to continue to make progress on those pitches, and 2.) he's got really good stuff that could keep improving. 

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    4 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

    Yes, they are playing. 

    The question and your answer, Seth, about the DSL got me wondering.  Went to their site and after several attempts was able to navigate my way to their roster.  WOW, their record is similar to the FCL Twins, ie, terrible (they are in last place in one of four divisions).  Went thru their lineup and see that most hitters are barely over .200 average or below.  The big signee last year, DeAndrade, is hitting about .215.  But, all these are small samples.

    Then took a closer look at their roster.  Twenty-six (26) of the 39 players on their roster have birth years of 2003 or 2004, making them under 18 or just recently turned 18.  Didn't spend the time to look at other teams, but the DSL Twins are very, very young.  That may be the reason why they are winning only about a third of their games...or not, if the other teams are all just as young.

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    3 hours ago, Alex Schieferdecker said:

    Looking at the box scores, I was a bit concerned by Varland's lack of K's recently. But the quotes seem to suggest that he's working on things, especially the kind of things that would give him a chance of sticking as a starter. More power to him then. Hope he'll get a look in Wichita.

    I have had my concerns as well but starters are always battling efficient outs versus Strikeouts.  Strikeouts usually run up pitch counts and we all know most teams don't want their starter to throw more than 100 pitches and monitor them the third time through the order as well.  

    You have to risk contact but if you can get a guy out on just one pitch that is better than striking him out using 5,6,7,8, or 9 pitches.  We know he strike guys out as he had the highest K rate in the system at one point and maybe still does not sure. What we didn't know for sure is if he could be a more efficient pitcher than he has been.  It is a balancing act to some degree but if he can get weak contact and have strike out stuff that is a perfect combination to have in a starting pitcher.  

    I am fine if he sacrifices some K's and goes an extra 2 innings.  Especially if it is a quality start.  We'll see how he does the next time out but he has had one of the better seasons I have seen a 1st full year guy have.  He has been fun to watch and I hope he continues to improve especially that changeup and he just might end up a starter yet.

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